Disclaimer - BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and all its characters belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien.
They call her Anoriel, and Buffy thinks it’s the funniest thing because while she may walk in the sunlight she is still a creature of the night. The Slayer is restless in this elven paradise, and Buffy feels her like an itch under the skin. She had been there for over two years until she finally convinced Haldir to let her join the Wardens of Lorien. Now five years later the Slayer still feels restless, still feels like it is waiting
Sometimes she wonders how she can fit so many people inside of her - Buffy Summers, the Slayer, Celebrían. At first she suffered quite an identity crisis, questioning everything about herself and both of her lives. She wondered how this could have happened, why she came back, why she has no memory of this important life. Galadriel, with her mirror that can see the past, present, and future, had no answer either. And then, when her head was so full of confusion and self-doubt, she dreamed.
She smelled the salt of an ocean in the hall she stood in, could even hear waves crashing in the distance. The hall was dim, hard to make out the details even with her enhanced sight, but a dreary feeling encompassed the place, made her wrap her arms around herself. She walked to the nearest window, where the sun was beginning to set, and past the vast dark ocean she saw a door. It was larger than any skyscraper she had seen in her world, made of what looked like stone with great dragons carved into it where smoke wafted from their jaws. Slowly, the doors began to open, and for a moment Buffy saw blinding light and terrible darkness and everything in between. Then the sun descended inside it, and the door closed once more, the moon taking its place in the sky, casting a soft glow into the hall she occupied.
“That is the door you passed through.”
She gasped, turning towards the voice, and found a woman illuminated in the moonlight. Though she had been living amongst the elves, beings known for their beauty, she thought this woman outshone them all. Her long silver hair glowed under the moon, along with her alabaster skin and silver eyes that constantly flowed star-like tears from her taller than even the tallest elves form. Buffy couldn’t help but stare in awe for a moment, until finally her words registered. “I’m sorry, but huh? And while we’re at it, who are you?”
She gave a small smile and took a step forward. “I am Nienna. These are my halls that you are standing in, and the Door of Night is where you entered as Celebrían, and emerged as Buffy Summers.”
Buffy looked out the window once more, toward that distant door. “But why? Why did I leave this world?”
“Because you chose to,” she stated. Walking closer to Buffy, she continued, “You came to this land to heal, but you found no ease with your brethren, you found no rest in the Gardens of Lórien amongst Irmo and Estë, and not even my tears helped your suffering.” She stopped before her, her silver gaze penetrating Buffy’s own. “You were fading, and so the Valar offered you a choice.”
Her voice came out a whisper when she asked, “What kind of choice?”
She lifted the sleeve of her iridescent dress, her hand cupping Buffy’s cheek in a motherly touch. “You could continue to fade, or you could have incredible strength and save innocent people as a warrior amongst the race of Men in another world,” she said, “And you would forget.”
Buffy let out a shuddering breath, questioning the choices of her former life. Did Celebrían know what trials awaited her when she made her choice? That she would witness her first watcher’s death, send her lover to hell, bury her mother, and battle apocalypse after apocalypse? She closed her eyes, the feeling of despair lingering in the air weighing her, and when she opened them she was standing by a pool of water where silver willows hung over it and the scent of nightflowers filled her head. The feeling of despair left her, replaced by a sense of deep rest. She looked out over the pool and noticed a small island full of red poppies, and there a beautiful woman in gray slept.
Nienna appeared beside her. With her was a man of similar height who had eyes as silver as Nienna’s but hair as dark as a moonless night. He noticed that Buffy’s attention was on the sleeping woman. “She sleeps during the day,” he said.
She turned to him in confusion. “But the sun went down.”
He tilted his head in amusement. “Do they not call you the sun daughter?”
“This is Irmo, my brother,” Nienna said, “He is the reason we are able to have this conversation.”
“You’re much shorter than I remember,” Irmo said.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I get that a lot.”
Irmo moved in front of her and held his hand over her head and then measured it against himself, noticing she barely came to his waist. “Is that height common in Slayers?”
She grabbed the wrist above her. “What do you know about Slayers?”
“I’m guessing more than you.” Irmo gently pried Buffy’s fingers off his wrist and placed space between them. “The sun sets in our world and rises in yours; I try to keep my eye beyond the Walls of the World when Eru wills it. You were not the only one to pass through the Door of Night.”
She searched Nienna’s weeping gaze for the truth. She stepped beside her brother. “We once cast out a great evil from our lands. We called him Morgoth, but you know him as The First.”
Buffy felt her teeth clench, her hands turn into fists at her side. “Met him. Quite the charming guy, and you mean to tell me it’s your fault he’s in my world? He almost killed someone dear to me.”
“I saw your distress that night,” Irmo said, “and prayed to Eru to delay the sun from passing through.”
She remembered that night well, when instead of Angel meeting the sun they were greeted with rare snow. She had thought it a miracle. Perhaps she wasn’t wrong.
Nienna spoke again, her tears coming faster. “I understand the suffering your world has gone through, and that is why we tried to bring a spark of light into it.”
“Into every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”
She had heard the spiel so many times, but it was still surprising to hear Irmo voice it here. “I was that spark.”
Nienna nodded. “We knew that the soul of an elf with the spirit of the Slayer would create a formidable force. One that wouldn’t fall to the Gift of Men so early.”
“The Gift of Men?” Buffy’s brows furrowed before realization dawned and smoothed them out. “You mean death.”
Irmo caught her eyes, his silver gaze as penetrating as his sister’s. “Death is your gift.”
The first slayer flashed in her mind, where those same words floated in the desert air. She thought she had understood what it meant, that she was giving her life for Dawn, but then she remembered Spike and how he claimed all Slayers had a death wish, and thought maybe the phrase was more literal than she believed. Finally she sighed and said, “Can we just stop with the cryptic and actually explain things normally?”
Both Irmo and Nienna looked taken aback and shared a glance with each other. Irmo shook his head. “I don’t understand what is cryptic. The Slayer’s spirit is everlasting, is it not? But making the girl immortal as well would be condemning her to an eternal fight against darkness. Thus, the girl remains unchanged until she desires her final rest, where all her sorrows and burdens and regrets are no more and the slayer spirit is passed on to another. Death is your gift.”
“Oh,” Buffy whispered. She turned towards the sleeping woman, noticed how at peace she seemed laying against the flowers with a serene smile on her face. She remembered wearing that smile when she watched the sun rise in her world and told Dawn her final goodbye. “I thought I wished for death when I dived off the tower.”
The shuffling of a dress alerted Buffy to Nienna standing beside her, then she once more felt her warm hand touch her cheek, drawing her gaze back to her. “No. You wished for home.”
“Varda heard your plea and Manwe plucked you from the Void and brought you through the Gates of Morning where the sun rises in our world. You were then sent to Lothlórien.” Irmo stood beside his sister, his hand resting on her shoulder. She looked at the siblings, how close they seemed, and felt a pang in her chest for Dawn.
“Home,” Buffy said.
“Home,” Nienna repeated. She leaned forward and pressed her lips on Buffy’s forehead, her tears falling onto Buffy’s face. She closed her eyes at the soft touch, and when she opened them she was back in her rooms in Lothlórien. She blinked, jarred by the transition, but her eyes soon settled on Galadriel standing at the foot of her bed.
Her blue eyes twinkled. “It looks like you had an interesting dream.”
Buffy, feeling lighter than she had in months, smiled. “Let me tell you about it.”
Buffy recalls that day fondly, how she finally left her dreary state and hunted down a certain marchwarden, meeting the person who would become her first real friend in this world. Now, sitting in the talan between Haldir’s brothers, Rúmil and Orophin, and teasing the marchwarden in front of them till they’re all holding their stomachs in laughter, she is coming to love her place here. Although she has had to fight the perceptions of her, of Celebrían, with everyone she has met so far (including her old life’s lover, and she still feels his deep disappointment at times), it is becoming easier here.
But the Slayer is still restless, makes her leave her company to walk the woods at night with a whittled piece of wood in hand hoping for anything to cross her path. She has slaughtered orch after orch with the blade they gave her, but it doesn’t fully quell a certain need
Lately she has been having dreams of a man who carries a ring with two serpents with emerald eyes and a broken sword. She could never see his face, but knew that this man was important somehow, that he carried a destiny just as great as hers. She doesn’t know how they are connected, but she has time to find out.
The Slayer waits.