Series Title: 37 By 37
Chapter Title: Take It Like A Man
Author: Restive Nature
Rating: PG-15 for language
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer or LotR. They belong respectively to Whedon and Tolkien.
Genre: Crossover of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and LotR
Type: Stand Alone
Time line/ Spoilers: Post Chosen for Buffy and towards the end of the Fellowship for LotR.
Summary: Faith is a little fed up with Boromir.
A/N: This is for the TtH Fic-for All. Pairing # 671 Faith/ Boromir. It comes too late, as the spot has already been filled, but please enjoy my take on this scene.
Take It Like A Man
She didn't know how she had ended up there. It had been another normal night for Faith Lehane. Fighting, slaying, wise crackin' and takin' down the enemy with the power granted to her by the smart asses upstairs.
She did remember several flashes. That much was clear in her brain as time marched on. But goin' from a cemetery at night, with B and some of the newbie slayers that they had created in the fall of the Hellmouth of Sunnydale California, to a forest at twilight was a situation that she had never found herself in before.
Faith, as she had started moving around, trying to get a sense of what the hell had happened, recalled, just prior to the flashes starting, that she had lost her axe that she'd been using to decapitate the clan of demons that had been attempting open up the new Hellmouth that had formed in Cleveland. Since that was never of the good, she and Buffy had roused and mustered up what recruits they had and headed out. She knew that when she'd lost the axe, Buffy, ever mindful of her environment and the people and things in it, just like a good little Slayer she was, had tossed the Scythe to Faith.
The rightness of it in her hands was still just as fresh and strong as it had been the first time and every time since that she'd been able to get her hands on it. But there was also the sense, coming from herself, she knew, that felt unworthy of handling the weapon. Like she was too dirty to touch such a pristine piece of history. This time though, it felt powerful, strong, able to conquer anything with Faith at the helm. It was odd and Faith, she liked it.
And hated it.
She'd had her stint as leader and it was the loneliest number for a reason.
Surprisingly, as she moved through the dense copse of trees and other flora that she couldn't for the life of her, identify, she began to hear the sounds of a fight and a thought, only slightly absurd crossed her mind.
Slayers are always called where they are needed most.
It was something she had heard numerous watchers, not just her own, say. And she knew it to be true. From what they understood, Buffy was called in Los Angeles to deal with a master Vampire there. Once dealt with, her mother had had an insane urge to move and they'd ended up in Sunnydale. Really, an art gallery in the exact speciality that Joyce Summers dealt with in a town that could maybe boast forty thousand people in population? But Buffy had been needed to guard over the Hellmouth and the coming prophecies that dealt with that sinkhole of misery.
Kendra had been called at Buffy's first death when she and her watcher had been in the right place, close to some demonic activity. She'd put it down and when word came her way of happenings in sunny Cali, her watcher had sent her off to deal with it. Surprise, surprise that Buff had already been there, doin' that, take two.
And then when Kendra had died, Faith had been called because Kakistos, another Master Vampire, had been settin' up shop in Bean town. She'd dealt and then moved on to Sunnyhell, because that was where her watcher had been directing her to, as the Hellmouth had been growing dangerously. And all those girls that had gone running to B, with Giles' encouragement. Well of course they were called on the Hellmouth They'd forced that one.
But from what the witches research was uncovering, as they all ran around trying to get to these new Slayers the world over, the more demonic activity in an area, the denser the concentration of Slayers called. So some cities would only have one or two potentials suddenly turned Slayer and others? A dozen, easy.
But now, Faith wondered if the potential pool had been tapped and there was a big bad that needed dealing with. So if they couldn't call the Slayer the usual way, they'd tapped the Scythe another way. Well, if so, that was five by five for Faith. Because she'd just caught sight of something large, mo-fo ugly and about to get it's ass handed to it.
“Hey handsome!” she yelled out as she ran towards the demon that was trying to run down two little people. Male, she guessed, though it was hard to tell with the longish curly hair. Probably on location for a shoot, judging by the period clothes they were wearing. But the hair was really iffy. But they looked and sounded masculine. They were throwing rocks at the demon, but it didn't seem to be doing much. Faith, woefully for it, dismissed by the demon, took a running leap, stabbing the demon through it's back as she landed.
The force of her attack took the thing by surprise and it's legs out from underneath it. Faith was just able to yank the sharp and pointy end of the Scythe out of the way as it rolled backwards. She danced back and without bothering to delve into her usual banter with the bad guy, much different from B's quips and puns, brought the Scythe down, burying it in the creature's head. It jerked once as the central nervous system was compromised, as far as she could guess, because these things where a new breed of monster to her.
She didn't have any more time to wonder as there were shouts and when she whirled, saw even more of these creatures coming. And those two little guys? Seemed about as stunned as if someone had taken a stun gun to them. Faith didn't have time to mollycoddle the victims. Not that she ever did. A sharp short word to smarten up and be aware of bad things was usually the most she handed out. Common sense really. Most people, in her opinion, didn't have it. She, as a Slayer did what she could. But there was a popular saying that she often subscribed to. You just can't fix stupid.
As the nearest creature got within striking distance, Faith whirled, the Scythe screaming it's whistling song of death as she brought it across the creature's chest, while it stupidly had it's arms raised, a sword overhead. Surprised that that wasn't enough to make the creature react, Faith followed it up with a backwards roundhouse kick that had little effect, other than to bring the creature to a skidding halt and jar her leg slightly. Those things were heftier than she had thought. Using the Scythe to maximum capacity, she swung again, this time severing the creature's head from it's body.
There were too many coming and Faith quickly fell into her battle dance that she had taught herself so many years prior. Her senses were stretched out, ready to engage the enemy in single combat, or as some of them tried, with group formation. But Faith was ready for them all, staying fluid, staying unexpected. It seemed to confound them, when they would think they had her cornered and then, without even batting an eyelash, dodge a huge ass arrow aimed at her back, ducking to let it land in the chest of the current opponent.
Relieved that she had some arsenal aside from the axe she had lost and the Scythe still in her hands, Faith retrieved a blessed dagger that flew from her fingers with a skill that made the other mini Slayers jealous. She'd always had a thing for projectile weapons and if none were available, making her own.
It was while she was battling hard, that she noticed the little people had run off again, following no clear path, but it seemed to her, that they were actually trying to get these demons to follow them. Wondering at that absurdity, she started easing in the direction that she had seen them go. After a few minutes, she heard a strange horn sound a short distance away and like it was a homing beacon, the demons she was fighting broke off and started running like lunatics in the direction the sound had come from.
Not bothering to bite off the curses that poured from her lips, Faith gave chase and when she caught up, stabbing and slicing as she went, it was to see that another actor had joined the little ones. But man, this guy was actually one of those non pretenders who had some idea of what he was doing. He used the sword in his hands to maximum effect, looking kinda buff as he did so. The stringy hair was a little turn off, but then, swords had heft that most people didn't realize and he'd probably been busy with something else, working up a sweat.
Faith had to admire his coolness under the pressure of the situation. She was pretty sure that aside from cops, soldiers and the merry band of Slayers, not many people expected to have things attack them. But as he lifted his weird horn thing once more and blew on it, obviously calling for what help he could, Faith began to feel a niggling in the back of her mind. Though the trio looked worried, they didn't look that surprised by these things.
Faith was startled out of her thoughts when she heard the thunk-ing sound that usually denoted a large hit of sorts and a loud gasp. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that one of the creatures had landed an arrow in the bigger human, stunning the little people from their rock throwing.
“Shit!” Faith yelped as that distraction caused her to receive a whack to her wrist. She brought her attention back to her own fight, using every resource she had to stem the flow of creatures that were after the little people. Musta figured that since they were little, they wouldn't put up much fight. Unless of course they were needed for some strange ritual...
Trying to divide her focus wasn't working for her. She couldn't keep an eye on the others as well as she liked and she began to allow the demons to push her back. Their leering faces as they attacked held a smugness that she knew she would be mirroring as soon as she was where she wanted to be. She could see a level of just the barest smidgens of intelligence in some of the creatures she fought. But there was a single-mindedness in getting to the others that told her that someone else was probably in control of them. Directing them in some way.
Finally, she was several feet from the group she was protecting and with a fury that denoted her Slayer senses aroused to their fullest, Faith became a whirling dervish, taking down anything big and stinky that came within her striking distance. Everything around her was a weapon, including her own body.
But when she caught sight of the big and burly notching another arrow to take aim at the little people's friend and protector, she broke off quickly. Her dash was well timed as she leapt before the male that had just knocked down several more creatures, looking partially stunned and if her momentary glimpse of his face was correct, battle weary and in shock from his injury. But he kept fighting. That was what was important.
Faith herself barely noticed the arrow that pierced her body between shoulder and neck. It went through almost neatly, miraculously high over the clavicle, missing the bone. Her landing broke the shaft, which saved her the trouble of doing so. She saw the large creature with the funny markings on it's face growl and snarl, reaching for yet another arrow as it stood back from the small battlefield. Snarling her own battle cry, Faith pushed to her feet and holding the Scythe crosswise over her body, ran straight at it, using the axe-head to block another arrow shot. The bolt shattered on impact and Faith felt the sharp sting of wood pieces embedding in her cheek.
The creature, looking as if it couldn't believe her impudence in not dying, lifted it's bow, but she was too fast and in a slight panic, it dropped the weapon and reached for it's back, pulling loose an old blade. Looked like a Saracen designed, curved weapon and that was all Faith could discern before it met the Scythe, the ringing almost ear shattering as metal met metal. Knowing how big and burly these bastards were, Faith put all her forced behind the blow, knocking the demon's sword down to the ground, bowing him over with it. Faith used the momentum, holding the sword down low with the Scythe as she followed the move up with a circular kick to it's head. The unexpected use of martial arts brought the creature to it's stomach and Faith yanked the Scythe back, reversing it slightly as she leaped slightly to ram the point of the Scythe into the creature's spine. She heard a shout from a human sounding voice, but she knew without a doubt that this creature, slightly bigger and more intelligence in it's eyes, that she couldn't be distracted. The Scythe didn't puncture clear through the bones of the demon, if it had actual bone. Surprisingly, it was able to, even though partially skewered, throw it's sword and sword arm back, catching her shin and taking her legs out from under her. Faith rolled backwards even as it pushed itself up, uncaring it seemed of the large implement jutting from it's back.
Looking for a weapon, any weapon, Faith's eyes darted around only briefly, because that thing was moving way faster than it should, climbing up as well, the sword still in it's hand. The Scythe quivering in time to it's pulse. But even as it raised it's sword arm, Faith spied the creatures discarded bow. She swooped low to catch it off the ground, figuring that she could use it to block, and probably end up turning it into kindling. But then, another guy was there, catching the lowering sword with his own and splitting the creature's offense. Faith waited, seeing that this new guy, just as oddly dressed and stringy haired as the other, though his hair was darker, more hints of gray in it, knew what he was doing.
The bow still in her hand, she waited only momentarily as the creature parried rapid blows from the newcomer. She darted forward, only to be knocked backwards to the ground by a large shield covering the demon's forearm. She rallied, as the other man tried to move in again, only to have the shield thrown at him in a truly, she could admit later, inspired move. It drove him back into the tree, the shield's bottom edge catching the man's throat, nearly decapitating him. Faith knew that they had little time then and catapulted to her feet, bow still in hand.
“Hey ugly!” she shrieked as she flew forward. “You still got somethin' of mine!” The creature paid her no attention as he ran forward, his sword aloft. But before he could make the final blow, she had hooked the bow string around his neck, jerking the creature off balance. It snarled and then roared, spinning around as Faith ducked the sword, her hands coming up upon it's completion of it's tight circle, to yank the Scythe free. It roared and raised the sword again, but Faith danced nimbly out of the way, catching the thick wood of the bow bouncing along it's back and deftly spinning it as she stayed behind the monster, creating a very strange noose.
The creature reached for it's neck but she was too fast and it could not get it's fingers adequately under the string immediately at it's neck. It forewent dealing with Faith though, as the man had escaped the shield and was on the attack again. The parried each other's blows, until the man was able to chop off the creature's arm.
She helped as much as she could, jerking the demon here and there to keep him from landing a full blow on the shorter man. She had to shrink back though when the man stabbed the creature in the belly area and the crazy ass demon yanked the man's sword all the way through to the hilt. She could only imagine that it was trying to back her off. But the sword was pulled free quickly and she spun the Scythe landing a beautiful blow that severed the creatures head from behind in mid growl.
The man stared at the creature, then lifted his eyes to her just before the body toppled to the ground, his eyes dark and troubled. But Faith had no time for whatever bug was up his ass. The bad guy was dead and those little people were nowhere in sight. Seeing the other guy, the one she'd been helping before, struggling to get to his feet, she hurried over to him. Newcomer was hot on her heels.
Faith stopped short, because although she knew real well how to cause injury, she sure as hell wasn't as sure about curing it. The other guy had no compunctions about it though, falling to his knees by the man on the ground, who was grasping at the arrow wounds inflicted in his body.
“They took the little ones,” he managed to get out. Faith looked around, but the killing field was empty of the other creatures that had been attacking, and like he said, the little folks that she had been trying to protect were gone. She scanned the ground, looking for a clue as to the direction that they had taken.
“Be still,” the newer guy warned softly.
“Where is Frodo?” the one on the ground wondered aloud harshly and Faith wondered if that was someone's name. It obviously was, as the new guy spared hurt guy a glance.
“I let Frodo go,” he answered.
“Then you did what I could not,” injured guy nodded. He was still grasping, this time now at the other guy's shoulder and head. Faith frowned. “I tried to take the ring from him.” Ring? What ring? This guy was weird and just as much the other one who sat there listening to him.
“The ring is beyond our reach now,” darker haired guy sighed.
“Forgive me,” hurt guy gasped. “I did not see. I have failed you.”
“No Boromir,” the other guy crooned softly and Faith, distracted from scanning the path the creature's must have taken, started to wonder if there was something more between these guys. Lovers perhaps?
“You've fought bravely,” new guy commended. “You have kept your honor.” That said, he reached once more for the arrows sticking out of the guy. Boromir? These weird ass name's were really starting to make her head hurt as Faith realized that the suspicions she had been fighting down really were a possibility. Was she in some new place, transported by God alone knew what? It seemed she was. But she didn't have time when it happened, nor did she now to figure it out.
“Leave it!” Boromir spoke harshly, pushing the other guy's hand. “It is over. The world of men will fall and all will come to darkness,” he stammered out, fighting against his injuries to speak. “And my city to ruin.”
Faith was starting to get the idea here. Kinda like they had fought the Turok-hans to keep them from over running first Sunnydale, then the world, at the behest of the First Evil, these guys were fighting off these demons. And from the looks of it, they needed all the help they could get. Boromir was grasping at the other guy's shoulder again as the newer guy regarded him.
“I do not know what strength is in my blood,” he finally spoke and she could hear something tangible in his voice as strangely, the Scythe seemed to warm in her hands. “But I swear to you, I will not let the White City fall! Nor our people fail.”
Our people? Were they brother's, or cousins maybe then? Didn't matter to her. It did to Boromir thought as a tremulous smile came to his lips.
“Our people,” he repeated. “Our people.” It was said like an affirmation and truthfully, she was starting to get bored. She wasn't cut for this maudlin crap.
But Boromir was now stretching out his hand and the other guy reached for his sword, which Boromir dragged, hilt first to rest over his chest. She would have continued watching, but caught movement in her peripheral vision and swung around, the Scythe coming up to cover her body defensively.
The latest guy in the trio of males left behind by the marauding demons, was blond, so there was a relief, since she only had one name, well, perhaps two. Was this the elusive Frodo? He paid her scant attention, focusing more on the other two guys, but he slowed considerably, holding his empty hands up. It didn't deter Faith from keeping a firm grip with both hands on her Scythe, because the guy was definitely loaded for bear. But he finally came to a halt, his head tilted sadly as he regarded the other males.
“I would have followed you,” Boromir continued his little diatribe of whatever the hell it was, which made Faith relax. If this new blondie was an enemy, wouldn't he have warned his friend? And blondie made no move to take them out, so they were probably friends, or at least on the same side. “My brother,” Boromir gasped, which made Faith's lip curl. But he went on, “my captain... my King.”
“Oh my God!” she finally spat out, drawing blondie's and brother-captain-king's attention. “Can we can the bullshit?”
“Lady?” captain guy spoke sharply, his head twisting to look at her, heavy censure in his eyes, but it was like water off a duck's back. That type of look had long ago ceased to matter to her with strangers. “I do not know who you are-!”
“And it ain't important right now,” Faith snorted as she took a few steps forward.
“She protected me, the little ones,” Boromir groaned. “She fought...”
“And I'm still ready to fight,” Faith snapped. “Unlike you, mister urgent death scene. For cryin' out loud, it's just a few freakin' arrows. Get your ass up!”
“Lady,” captain guy broke in, looking slightly bewildered, as if suddenly remembering that she had helped save his life as well. “The arrows were tipped with poison and-!”
“And if the guy's anatomy is typical, then no major organs were hit,” Faith denied angrily. “So get him up, give him an antidote and let's go. Those little people? Still... need... help.” She saw that they were all frowning at her, even blondie and she rolled her eyes. “Fuck! I took an arrow and I'm still going. You guys do what you want.” She turned to storm away, but the captain king guy scoffed.
“One arrow to his several lady,” he pointed out. “And we have no antidote.”
“So he's gonna die because he refuses to stand up and do something about it,” Faith nodded knowingly, like she was expecting this. She glanced down at Boromir, who was staring up at her, dumbfounded. “You ever hear the expression, 'talk is cheap'?”
“I... have not,” he coughed.
“It means that everyone can afford promises and swearing, but the price comes when you have to back that crap up,” she pointed out angrily. “So if you really mean it, then take it like a man and get your ass up!” She darted forward, not wanting to lose any more. Her prices had already been too great. “You die, you do it on your feet, boy!” She knocked the other guy aside and hauled Boromir to his feet. He swayed unsteadily, grasping at her shoulders, beads of sweat rolling down his face. Faith regarded him and then turned to the other guy. “Get a fire going and see if you can burn the poison out. We can at least close the wounds.”
He seemed content to stare at Faith for the longest time before he gave a nod. “My Lady, you are... indeed correct.” He turned his face back to his Captain-King friend and reached one shaky hand up. “Honor will only be served on my feet in such a time as this.”
The other guy sighed, long and heavy before he moved to help Boromir further. The groan he gave as he moved his impaled body was painful for them all to hear and his friend instantly moved to support him as best he was able. Blondie moved to help, but Faith was already there. Boromir glanced down at her as she snuck under his other arm. “Don't be afraid to lean on me,” she instructed. “I'm a lot stronger than I look,” she chuckled, knowing they would be wary. But for some reason, it seemed like this Boromir was ready to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“I... thank you Lady,” he murmured as they shuffled along, wincing along with every moan and groan the guy gave.
“Do you know aught of the healing arts?” the other asked as blondie guided them through the forest.
“Other than slap a bandage on it and hope it quits bleeding?” Faith asked derisively. “Not really.”
“But you know to try burning the poison out?” blondie asked from several feet ahead of them. Faith tried to shrug, which elicited another soft grunt from her passenger.
“Believe me, that's it,” Faith sighed. “Where I'm from, I get hurt, I keep going until the job is done and I'm either dead or the winner. And if I know I'm gonna die, I'm gonna take as many of the evil baddies with me as possible, ya know.”
“Indeed,” Boromir huffed. “As I was trying before you graced me with your interference.” That finally got a chuckle out of the other one on Boromir's other side.
“I believe that was gratitude, of a sort,” he commented.
“Snarking under pressure,” Faith nodded. “Better to quip than quit. I know all about that shit.” She lifted her head to glance across Boromir's chest. “Look, you guys got names I can call ya? I'm confusing myself a little.”
“If you will return the favor,” the other guy grunted as together, they lifted Boromir over a fallen log. “I am known in these parts as Strider. The man we carry is a countryman of mine, Boromir.” They heard a shout and Strider sighed, even as Blondie chuckled and shook his head, his feet picking up speed. “There yonder is Legolas of the Woodland realms and we go to meet a companion of ours, named Gimli.”
“Okay, that works,” Faith nodded. “My name is Faith and don't laugh, my ma picked it.”
“Why would one laugh at your name?” Boromir wondered, sounding breathless.
“Because it's not kosher to name your kids like that,” Faith sighed. “You know destiny, chastity, karma...”
“Kosher?” both males questioned. Faith wrinkled her nose as she thought how to explain. A word they weren't familiar with. That wasn't new to her since she'd come across plenty of occasions like that.
“Kosher as in, well, I know it used to mean that certain foods were okay to eat under Jewish law,” she rambled a little. She wouldn't admit it outright all the time, but her years in prison had allowed her the opportunity to learn and she had decided to take advantage of that. If only to keep her mind from exploding from the boredom. “Other people use it to mean anything that's acceptable.”
“And naming your children in such a way is not?” Strider wondered. Faith felt Boromir leaning a little more on her, which wasn't a problem, since Legolas was picking the easiest route he seemed able to find. Perhaps these were his realms and he knew them well.
“You name your kid something like that, and you usually end up with the opposite,” she grunted. “Like Patience, and the kid has none.”
“I see your meaning,” Strider agreed. “So you have no faith?”
“I didn't,” Faith retorted, “until the powers that be decided to throw my ass into a fight bigger than the world. Give me the power to protect the weak and innocent. And finally, the maturity to know what I had to do, rather than exploit the gift I was given. Don't get me wrong, I like kicking demon ass. But I take my responsibilities a little more strongly these days.”
“Then perhaps your mother knew more than you credit her for,” Strider seemed to be teasing and Faith just shook her head. If the guy knew what kind of mother she'd had, he'd not be joking. Unless this was some misogynistic world... but she hadn't seen proof of that yet.
“We are here,” Legolas man announced as he pushed aside brush, holding it out of their way as they made it through to an encampment along a river bank. There was another short dude there, though not as short as the others little people.
It was just as well that he had already gotten a small fire lit as Strider helped her lower Boromir to the ground. Guy wasn't looking too good know, as sweat was erupting from his skin like the river they were camped next to. Legolas quickly performed introductions between Faith and their friend Gimli, who was worried about the 'wee ones'.
“I think I saw which direction they were headed off in,” Faith announced as she helped Strider pulling paraphernalia off of Boromir's torso. “We can track them if we need to.”
“Who is this wench?” Gimli demanded huffily.
“Gimli!” Strider snapped, leaning over to grab up a bag and a pot. Faith suppressed a smile. Word must mean the same as her world. Didn't bother her any. The dude didn't know her. A little caution was never amiss. For others at least.
“She fought to save the little ones,” Boromir gasped from his position on the ground. “And me.”
“And her actions kept me from being beheaded by one of the enemy,” Strider added. He glanced up at her with a half smile. “Very unusual, but I was not going to quibble over the manner of said help.”
Faith shrugged as Strider handed the pot to Legolas who moved down to the river edge to scoop up some water. But something apparently caught his sight and he gave a sharp noise before tossing the pot to the side and dashing over to a boat that Faith had noticed, but hadn't given thought to.
“Frodo and Sam are on the other side,” he called back, apparently ready to shove the boat into the water.
“No!” Strider called and Legolas turned back, staring at his friend in puzzlement. It was quiet for a long moment after that as Faith looked between the group of males. Sighing, Strider shook his head slowly. “I let Frodo go. His path lies on a different way now.”
There were soft groans and then Gimli scoffed. “Then it was all for naught. The Fellowship is destroyed.”
“Not so long as we hold true to one another,” Strider retorted and it was Faith's turn to frown.
“You guys have a goal in mind?” she wondered. They were obviously up to something, protecting these little people. She could see who Legolas had been after and they looked like the two little people that she had seen before. Except one of those across the river was blond. The other two had both been darker haired. How many of these little people were running around? There were wary looks thrown her way and she held up her hand. “Don't need the details,” she offered. “Just sayin', you try one way, it don't work, then you try another. They seem to be tryin' another. Doesn't mean you've lost the battle.” She squinted her eyes and then grinned. “Or okay, maybe a skirmish, but not the war, right?”
“The lady Faith is indeed correct,” Strider nodded. He took the pot of water from Legolas who had slowly returned. He settled it near the fire and made a gesture and Legolas immediately began building the fire up. “We must heal Boromir if we are able and we will not abandon Pippin and Merry to death and torment at the hands of their captors!”
“Aye!” Gimli immediately growled, coming to his feet. Legolas nodded as well.
“We must hurry,” he implored. “The beast flees on swift feet.”
“Gotcha,” Faith nodded. She glanced around at their encampment and then turned to Strider. “You got any slim pieces of metal. The sword blade is probably too wide and hard to heat up enough to do it.”
Strider nodded and began rummaging through his packs while Gimli and Legolas moved to brace up Boromir for the process. Arrows had to come out, flesh burned, and it wasn't a pretty sight. The screaming alone would have brought down the enemy upon them, if they hadn't all fled the area.
But just as the final puncture wound was being burned, Boromir gave a huge gasp and then fell back on the ground. Nothing. There was nothing.
“What?” Strider gaped and then threw himself back a little. “He has stopped breathing!” He pushed forward, laying his hand to Boromir's neck, his eyes wide, his body shaking. “Boromir! Awake!”
Faith took the situation in in a glance and shoved the other man away. “Glad I learned CPR in prison,” she muttered and checked for his pulse, which was almost non-existent. She placed her mouth over his after tipping his head back and pinching his nose shut. She blew two hearty breaths in and began compressions on his chest. She was mindful of her Slayer strength and was relieved when after four rounds of compressions, the man gave a gasp and coughed weakly. She had just been about to breath for him again, her lips hovering over his when Boromir came back to them. Instead, his eyes fluttered open and his hand moved with more swift movement than Faith would have thought possible and he caught the back of her head, pulling her down.
It had been not that long ago that she had felt Robin Wood's lips upon hers as they had celebrated what they thought would be their last night together on earth. She had her suspicions that it really had been hers. But it was nothing compared to the kiss that Boromir gave her. Like she could feel his gratitude, his strength and not a small amount of desire. It awoke senses in her that she hadn't thought present since the days before she was a Slayer. When people, men actually might care for her and not what she could do for them. True, there had been only one man, more of a boy really, but...
Faith pulled away, her eyes wide as Boromir stared up at her. “What the hell was that?” she demanded.
“Twas but following you directive, milady,” Boromir retorted, obviously breathless once more. But at least this time he had the power to draw oxygen on his own.
Faith chuckled. “Yeah, you took that like a man. Typical.” Then she shrugged and glanced at the amused faces of the others. “Looks like they don't call it the kiss of life for nothing.”
“It was... most instructive,” Strider mused, his lips quivering with suppressed amusement. But it was over quickly as he turned to assess the patient. “Can you sit Boromir?”
Boromir nodded and together they helped him to a seated position while the male did his own assessment of his injuries. Finally he glanced up at them. “I will be sore for many days to come, but I will not impede our mission.”
“Good to know,” Faith nodded as she scooted back. “So now we get to the planning, yeah?”
“Forgive me lady,” Legolas interrupted softly, “but truly, in this dark time...”
“You don't know if you can trust me still,” Faith nodded. She shrugged then, taking them all in. “Strange times makes strange bedfellows,” she sighed. Removing the Scythe from where she'd slung it on her back, she held it before her. “This might be hard to believe, I know I'm having trouble with it. Back where I came from,” she decided to delve right in, “my friends and I were engaged in a battle, with something not unlike what you guys were fighting. We took the fight to them, on their turf. Their ground We won, but the underground cavern we fought in,” her lips twitched at the thought of trying to explain the Hellmouth, “it began to collapse. My friend Buffy and I were the last ones out,” barring Spike of course. But sunlight coursing through a Vampire? Only one way for that to end, she knew. “It was a miracle that any of us survived. Now, I don't know what power made it happen, but when we were fighting some more baddies, we saw your little friends being attacked. She went left, to protect our friends, I went right to protect them. And then I was here. And the job's not finished. I guess the powers,” she gestured with her forefinger, up to the sky,” aren't done with me yet. Got myself a new destiny, yeah?”
There was silence all around her as Faith continued to hold various gazes, waiting uncharacteristically patiently for their answers. Out of them all, none looked assured, except maybe... and then Faith felt her lungs hitch as Boromir struggled upwards. Strider tried to keep him from rising, but upon seeing his determination, turned instead to help. Once he was on his feet, Boromir lifted his sword in an awkward salute, before allowing it to drop.
“Lady,” he began, slightly breathless and sounding as wounded as he looked, but attention was riveted on him nonetheless. “I began this quest, sworn to be true and through no intention of mine, I played false against my companions, my compatriot and those that I swore to protect. Through all I have seen and done, you have shone in our short acquaintance as one that has held these promises in your heart and soul from the moment you came to us. I do not know that I can as yet accept the story you weave for us. But as I have been given another chance, I believe in my heart that you should be given one as well.” He turned to his friend and country man and leaned against him. “I have spoken my piece. Do with it what you will.”
Strider stared a long moment at his friend and then turned to regard Faith. “In these times, we can not afford to fall in with the enemy. But even less can we afford to turn away those who would aid us. My heart tells me that you have come here by a greater design than most can understand, let alone even acknowledge. If our companions will agree, we will welcome you to our Fellowship.” He turned to look at the others, even as he helped Boromir to sit and then recline once more.
It was Legolas that spoke up next. But he barely glanced at Faith. “Strider, you have brought us and the little ones through dark times and dangerous places. Stood against the greatest of poor odds and still you stand. I will trust you, as I have trusted you for many long years. My vote is aye.”
And as a group, they turned to the dwarf as he harrumphed. He didn't rise, didn't make a pretty speech, just leaned on his axe and glared at Faith. “Lass,” he began, “I don't think I need to make it much more clear than this. You go with us, you fight with us. You betray us, and I will take that verra pretty axe of yours and chop your traitorous head from your body. And then I'll shine that pretty axe up, strap it to my back and step over your dead body as one would a fallen bit of stone broken away in the quest for gems of real worth.”
Faith nodded. She got it. She felt about the same when someone new and extremely suspect entered her realm. Her world. Her killing field. With ease, the Scythe came free and with a flourishing whirl, she balanced it on her palm. She looked to Gimli first and with a trace of a grin, told him, “just to make things clear, it's The Scythe,” she emphasized, “not just an axe. It carries the purity of my line, all that came before me, all that are and all that will come after me. It has made me what I am today.” She turned slightly to include the others as she finished creating an oath that meant more to her than words she had spoken before. “By my blood and that of my kin, wherever they may be in these worlds, I will not rest until the darkness is beaten back, or my death takes me.” With that promise, she thrust the Scythe into the ground and reveled in their wide eyes as the Scythe quivered between them, zinging in the still air, almost as if it were making her promise true, written in something more eternal than blood. And truly, Faith could feel it.
With a soft chuckle, Boromir stirred once more, his hand over his heart. “Welcome to our Fellowship, Lady Faith.”
That was all she needed, to know that she had indeed, found a new destiny.