...And Back Again and Again
Warning: Slightly cracked fic.
Disclaimer: Do not own BtVS or LoTR. Also Tindómë is from the Return of the Key series by curiouslywombat. Used with permission. Also do not own. Thank you to curiouslywombat not only for permission to post this but also for Betaing this for me.
Inspired by but not an actual response to: http://www.tthfanfic.org/Challenge-7780/Holy+Gender-Changing+Costume+Xander.htm Just a one-shot.
Background info: Tindómë is the new name for Dawn after she fell to Middle Earth and became ‘not quite an elf’. Read the rest of her story here: http://www.tthfanfic.org/Series-1215
– This is fanfiction of fanfiction. If you haven’t read the original series yet, this story will seem very odd to you; also, it contains spoilers for all of the Return of the Key series.
Summary: The elleth once known as Dawn Summers gets sucked back to Earth from her home in Middle Earth once again. Rumil is going to be pissed. (Fanfiction of Return of the Key)
‘Oh no they didn’t
!’ was Tindómë’s first thought at finding herself where she was standing. Which was no longer Middle Earth but plain, old Earth. Again! And Buffy had promised! Willow promised! Xander pinky swore! The last time they’d brought her back to Earth had been a disaster – she’d nearly faded. She didn’t think, this time, that that would be a problem. Her children were both fully grown now so she needn’t fear them fading without her and she knew she would be back in Middle Earth sooner or later; whether he sought out Radagast again or just sailed west with Legolas to get Gandalf’s help, Rumil would be coming.
“Oh no!” she gasped out loud. Rumil was going to kill them all. And not in the figurative sense. She would have to make sure he promised to make their deaths quick and painless. He would probably be nice about it and take her away first so she didn’t have to watch. Or not. Actually, he’d probably have Legolas take her away so he could get to killing sooner. Actually, Legolas would probably give her to Galanthir so he could help with the killing. At least he’d have toast to make her feel better about their deaths. Maybe she could warn everyone to run away? If they ran far enough and Tindómë made it worth his while not to go chasing all over this strange- “Willow?” Tindómë noticed the redheaded witch, dressed very oddly and looking around in confusion.
The witch in question looked at Tindómë in confusion. “Xander?”
Tindómë looked behind her for her childhood crush, but no. Willow had been addressing her. Tindómë had gone by many names in her lifetime. Dawn, Tindómë, Dawn-patrol, Tinu, Tithen maethor, etc. But no one had ever called her ‘Xander’ on purpose before. And why in the name of the Valar was Willow so young? She should have been coming up on 80 now, not 16.
“Willow, why am I on Earth again?” Tindómë said evenly. Elves showed no emotion to outsiders. And after so many years apart, the Scoobies were totally outsiders. “And why are you calling me Xander?”
“Because your name is Xander. Kind of. You see- Wait. If you’re not Xander, how do you know my name?” Willow realized.
Tindómë took another look around. Child-sized monsters and heroes battled each other up and down the street. She was struck by a strange feeling of Déjà vu – a memory of her ‘first life’. Or a memory implanted by the spell that had created her, she was never quite sure where the cutoff point was. “Willow, is this Halloween?” she asked in response. If it was that
Halloween, then that explained why and how she was here and why Willow was so young; it also hopefully meant she would be sent back when the spell ended. Which filled Tindómë with relief as Rumil would have no reason to kill her former sister and all of Buffy’s friends. It didn’t explain how she had apparently traveled back in time or why Xander had dressed as a female elf, even if she was
wearing leggings. Tindómë turned and shot an arrow into the foot of a demon that was trying to sneak up on her from behind. She didn’t kill it, it was just a kid in a costume, but that didn’t mean that she had to be nice. Tindómë was glad that she had showed up armed this time instead of just in her night dress.
Willow barely had a chance to go “Meep.” before the arrow had already pinned the demon child in place. She also never answered Tindómë’s question.
Tindómë looked over Willow’s shoulder to see Buffy, the girl she had once called sister, dressed in a noblewoman’s costume. Dawn had envied Buffy getting all dressed up like that the first time around. Now that she, as Tindómë, had met actual noblewomen, she knew she wasn’t missing anything. “Willow, you go get Giles. I’ll see Buffy home.”
“But- but-” Willow stood frozen in confusion.
“Go!” Tindómë waved her off. “I said I’ve got this.” Willow finally started walking. Why Willow was moving her feet to travel when she couldn’t actually touch the ground would always be a mystery to Tindómë.
Tindómë hadn’t bothered trying to explain that she was Buffy’s sister and/or a mystical ball of energy called the Key. Or even trying to explain that the woman was possessing someone named Buffy. That was more information than the poor noblewoman could probably process. Instead, a simple, “Come with me if you want to live.” had brought her along. Tindómë smiled at the thought that the woman who had followed her to their old house wouldn’t get the joke, but Buffy would when she got back into control, and would then be majorly weirded out that the girl possessing Xander had known a phrase like that. If Buffy thought about it long enough, she might wonder how this girl she’d never met before (Dawn checked the photos on the table and she was in none of them) knew where she lived. Truthfully, it had taken a few familiar houses to jog her memory properly, but she had gotten them there.
She settled Buffy into a chair and told her not to move. A pounding on the front door drew her there, but it turned out to be a demon. It reached its hand through one of the small windows there and tried to grab her, instead it received a stab wound from Tindómë’s knife for its troubles. It quickly went in search of easier prey.
“Who are you that you fight so well?” Lady Buffy asked. Tindómë had wounded several monsters very expertly on their way here. She had said nothing at the time as there had been near and present danger all around, but she felt safer indoors and decided to speak her mind.
“A warrior.” Tindómë answered as she cleaned her knife of demon blood and re-sheathed it. It was true. She had earned her warrior’s braids at a very young age, which had been a rather long time ago. At least by mortal reckoning.
“Don’t be silly. Women are not meant to be warriors. We’re meant to look pretty and then someone nice will marry us. Possibly a Baron.” Lady Buffy insisted.
Tindómë was fairly certain that those thoughts came from Buffy’s own twisted idea of what it meant to be a noblewoman and not any real person. Because Tindómë had met many such women over her life and though she could call them many things, petty, preening, even predictable when she was in the mood for alliteration; stupid had not been one of the names she would have called them. If for no other reason than the social networking among nobles was cutthroat so that a woman had to be intelligent to navigate it and thus achieve the position and/or husband they were after.
A woman screaming outside broke Tindómë’s thoughts and whatever retort she was going to make. She looked out the broken window in the door. “Cordelia?” was her surprised observation. Cordelia had been in LA helping Angel when they had closed the Hellmouth and when Tindómë had been brought back the first time. Tindómë hadn’t seen Cordy in a very long time, much longer than it had been since she’d seen the rest of the Sunnydalers. She opened the door and sent an arrow into the leg of the beast that was chasing Cordy. Cordelia stopped screaming and looked at Tindómë who motioned her to come in. Whether it was Tindómë motioning her in or recognizing Buffy’s house as a place of safety, Cordelia came.
“Fancy meeting you
here.” Tindómë said.
“Yeah. What the heck’s going on out there?” Cordelia wondered. She didn’t recognize the girl who had saved her, but she wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
“People who shopped at a certain costume store changed into their costumes. Oh yeah! I forgot to tell Willow that! Be right back.”
As Tindómë came back from calling and telling Giles what costume shop they’d gotten their costumes at, she found Cordelia talking to Angel who was trying to talk to Buffy.
“You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny.” Tindómë said.
“Excuse me?” Angel said as he turned to meet the newcomer.
“I guess I should add ‘deaf’ to my list.” she smirked. She took her bow, nocked an arrow and fired towards the back door without even looking. At that distance she couldn’t miss and indeed she had pinned the spelled-vampire, who was trying to sneak in, to the door frame by his shoulder.
“What the heck?” Angel yelled as he turned to face the interloper then looked back at her. His head looked like he was following a tennis match as he looked back and forth several more times.
“It’s a vampire, Angel. Honestly, you
should be able to tell that by now. We may need to add ‘dumb’ to my list.” Tindómë said as she moved behind Angel. “Oh yeah, did I ever tell you about the time I met a eunuch? Well, he wasn’t a eunuch when I met him, but by the time he left...” Tindómë’s tone turned dark.
She was thinking more about the time when the Haradrim eunuch had attacked the elven settlement at Ithilien than she was about when Angel had deflowered her sister and then tried to kill everyone. She was holding a knife between his legs such that no one in the living room could tell that anything untoward was happening. “You don’t know me, but I know you.” she breathed, barely loud enough for the vampire to hear. The humans in the next room would hear nothing. “You can think of me as Dawn Summers, Buffy’s half sister. And I want you to break up with her... gently. If you’re not broken up by her birthday, I’ll be back and these... will be gone.” she lied. Or she assumed she was lying. Maybe she was right and didn’t know it. The important thing was that Angel believed it.
Surprisingly after that, Angel discovered an urgent need to patrol around the outside
of the house and search for more monsters trying to get in.
This left the three girls alone inside to veg while they waited for the spell to end. Tindómë really wanted to see Spike while she was here, but he would still be evil. She could handle him, of course, but she worried about the spell ending without warning and Xander being left in Spike’s clutches. Instead she took the opportunity to put in an old movie (she didn’t want to forever wonder how a new movie ended if she left Earth suddenly) and popped some popcorn in the microwave. And it was a good thing she picked an old movie as halfway through the movie, the spell suddenly ended.
Xander got home and set the contents of his pockets on his desk. On the top of the pile was a short note in Tengwar. It began; Big Bads: 1. If Angel sleeps with Buffy...
He didn’t need it of course, he had nearly 20 years of memories of being Dawn Summers and over 120 of being Tindómë. He was going to be a very confused young man for a while. But an incredible lover when he actually found a girlfriend. He wondered if he could manage to not screw things up with Cordelia this time around.