Part One of Three
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I don’t own Buffy. I don’t own Thorin. If I did the universe would be a far stranger place, but alas, I own nothing.
Summary: She moved with the grace and speed of an elf, but fought with the heart of a dwarf catering to Death as if he were an old and familiar friend.
The Sound of Fury
Part One of Three
Murphy’s law said that anything that can
happen. Buffy felt that her entire life was defined by that law the more and more she thought about the past. It wasn’t something she liked to dwell on because of how painful it had been. The hope that they had after closing the hell mouth, only for it to be ripped away in one horrible moment. Buffy drew in a shaky breath, regarding all of the company around her. They had stayed out of her way for the most part ever since the Grey Wizard spoke of how he had met her. Gandalf too had been wary of retaliation and Buffy had given it some serious thought. She wanted to be mad at him--oh, who the hell was she kidding? She was
mad! Mad enough to threat to shove that staff of his in some very uncomfortable places, but in the end, Buffy would nothing. Gandalf had meant no ill will. Merely for the dwarves to try to find some sort of kinship with the short slayer. It didn’t mean that she wasn’t any less mad, she just understood.
“It was not your story to tell,” Buffy finally spoke after several hours of riding beside the wizard. It had taken the good portion of the night and day to be able to curb the anger inside of her and pull back the hateful words that were just burning to be unleashed from her mouth. But one thing Buffy had learned was that her anger rarely solved anything except perhaps in the heat of battle. Also, she wasn’t so stupid to piss off a man who could turn into a number of unpleasant things at a whim if he so desired. Let it not be said that Buffy Summers did not have self preservation.
“I know,” Gandalf looked slightly abashed, but more resigned than anything. “But it needed to be told.”
“I know,” she echoed his reply, her voice sounding distant and foreign to her own ears. She kept her gaze focused on the road, knowing that Gandalf could easily give her that wounded expression and make her cave in after all that’s what he did when she turned down the request to go on another adventure with him. And well, here she was…on another adventure…
She pulled behind where Kili and Fili were riding along side of Bilbo teasing him, mercilessly. She gave them a pointed look and all she received in return were twin mischief grins that reminded her so much of Xander that a pain seared through her chest. Taking a moment, she steadied herself and then looked at Bilbo who was watching her with a wary expression.
“What’s up?” She asked, when she finally discovered her voice and immediately she wanted to smack her head against something for asking such a dimwitted question.
Bilbo’s brows furrowed in confusion. “I don’t know,” he said, cocking his head back to look at the sky. “I’ve never been there.”
A laugh escaped her, and she bit her bottom lip trying to contain it. “No. I meant, how is your day going so far?” She rephrased the question.
“Oh…what an odd way of putting it,” Bilbo mused, not unkindly. He then smiled at Buffy, it was riddled with uncertain and bemusement. “I haven’t exactly figured it out…” the hobbit admitted with a flush.
“You don’t have to have it figured out in one day, you know?” Buffy told him, with a sympathetic pat to his shoulder. She was careful with her own strength unlike the dwarves. “And it is alright to have mixed emotions right now, even some regrets. Leaving home is never an easy thing, and no one would have any right to begrudge you for feeling the way you feel.”
It was like a line of tension ran out of the Bilbo’s shoulder, and with her words his face split into a genuine smile. “Thank you,” he whispered softly. His smile then fell and there was a troubled look in his eye. “About the other night…”
“You may have asked, Bilbo, but Gandalf did not have to answer,” Buffy stated, firmly. “If anyone deserves my anger it’s the wizard not you and…” Her fierce expression softened. “I am sorry for making you feel that way.”
“It’s alright,” the hobbit assured her, elated that she was not truly angry with him after all. He hadn’t known what to make of Buffy saying he reminded her of her sister, but the passing days, he found himself returning such feelings for Buffy as well. He had never had a sibling, not for the lack of his parents trying and it was something he had always wanted. Being around so many brothers, and cousins made the longing all that much worse. With Buffy, the longing eased and he felt like he had a piece of home with him after all.
“No, it’s not,” Buffy shook her head. There was a touch of sadness in her eyes. “They say history repeats itself, you know? That sometimes we make the same mistakes, and I don’t want that to happen.”
Biblo was uncertain as what to say. He didn’t know if he could find the words to ease Buffy’s sorrow, for he couldn’t quite understand the full sentiment behind her statement. Instead, he just reached out and squeezed her hand in his. Buffy’s expression eased, and her eyes lightened as she drew herself back into the present. She smiled at him, before the hair on the nape of her neck rose upward. She felt the heavy weight of a hard stare and tilted her head to lock eyes with Thorin Oakenshield.
Thorin’s expression was always the two extremes of one spectrum of emotions. His midnight eyes were always brimming with an untold amount of complex emotions that Buffy for the life of her couldn’t untangle, or was simply blank as if he were carved from the mountain’s mighty face than made of flesh. Right now, there was a gleam inside his deep blue eyes. A little bit of anger, a little bit of suspicious, but there was something else. Buffy released a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding in until Balin stole their stoic leader’s attention away.
“Thorin…he’s rather intense, isn’t he?” Bilbo murmured.
“Intense…wasn’t exactly how I would put it,” Buffy commented.
Bilbo blinked up at her. “How would you put it?”
“A lot less nicer.”
Bilbo for the first time in days laughed. It made Buffy smile, but a certain exiled King gritted his teeth and scowled at the road ahead of them.
The day had wasted away, and the sun had just started to set when they finally stopped to set up camp. Now, Buffy sat legs crossed on the ground sharpening her sword. The warmth of the flames blazing upon her face was a contrast to the cool night beating down upon her back. She sat quietly, listening to the dwarves were singing a number of tuneful songs about great warriors of the past, or of the Lonely Mountain when she watched Bilbo head off to take Kili and Fili there rations for the night.
Several minutes past, and Buffy had tried to think of several things to say. Some way to break the ice, and ease the tension that lingered over the company’s head like a dark cloud. However, she couldn’t find the right words. Why could she never find the right words? It’s hard to break out habits, ain’t it, Buffster? A voice that was so achingly like Xander’s echoed from the back of her mind. She closed her eyes against the fresh tears that threaten to burst forth.Don’t cry. Not in front of them, don’t show any weakness,
Buffy told herself, and steeled her expression before she reopened her eyes. Any sign of tears gone from her gaze. She looked at all the dwarves, and contemplated them silently. They were all proud, and stubborn people not unlike herself. It wouldn’t hurt to get know them, would it? But where would she even begin? Balin was old and wise and reminded her of Giles leaving her with bittersweet feeling inside her chest. Dwalin was stand offish and would glare at her if she dared even move a pinky in the wrong kind of way, so that wasn’t happening. At least she earned some kind of respect from him.
Bofur had went against the fold, openly joking and talking to Bilbo and Buffy even if Thorin sent him some glares. Buffy had to admit he had a pretty mean glare, Angelus level kind of glare. However unlike Angelus’s glares that had chilled her very soul, Thorin’s glares ignited some kind of fire in the pit of her stomach. Sometimes it was pleasant, sometimes it was infuriating. Turning her gaze away from the King, who sat against a rock looking out across the wilderness. His blue gaze filled with flecks of azure, and cobalt that could command attention just from a single glance like any good leader should be to were darkened and shadowed with his thoughts. Buffy mused to herself, how many times had she had wore a similar look on her face?
A great sigh fell from her lips, and she felt her shoulders slump a tad. Gandalf had one thing right, if they were to get through this quest they had to be able to have faith in each other. Didn’t mean she was going to tell him he was forgiven right away. She was going to make him sweat it out a bit.
Buffy raised her emerald hazel stare, and continued to look at the group, evaluating them one by one. Bifur only spoke in khuzdul due to the axe in his head, and seeing how that was a secret language communication was strained though when Thorin‘s sour mood had been turned her way, he would offer her an encouraging smile. Or what appeared to be an encouraging smile, it might have just been a crazy smile, but she was going with encouraging. It made her feel better. Bombur was a sweet, jolly dwarf who had an art for cooking and often the butt of jokes that made Buffy want to protect him. Bombur took it all in good nature for the most part, but if she ever though the jokes went too far, she would step in. She hated bullies.
Oin who was had a horn in left ears was stern, but kind dwarf and she had a feeling as soon as Buffy or Bilbo was hurt was going to become quite the mother hen. She supposed that was because he was healer by trade. Dori, and Gloin seemed to be holding out judgment until Buffy or Bilbo proved themselves worthy or not. Ori looked like he wanted to approach them several times, but being the youngest and shy kept him from doing so. He reminded her of Willow sometimes. Nori flirted with her ever chance he got much to Dori’s displeasure. Being a thief didn’t endear him much to anyone so he wasn’t afraid of any repercussion from his actions. Though what Buffy didn’t know was that Thorin was sent him a dark look after ever one of his flirts, and Nori would just sent the future king a smug kind of smile. Fili and Kili, the troublemakers of the group, had no trouble in getting to know Buffy and Bilbo. The two had ridden beside them for the most of the journey, and Buffy had quickly ended any attempt of flirting from them. It wasn’t that they were bad looking, they were quite handsome, but they were younger than her. A lot younger, and while she didn’t mind an older man, she was not a cougar.
They were a good group. All had different talents and strengths. Her heart squeezed in her chest. They were like the Scoobies, but they weren’t hers. A taunting voice in the back of her head reminded her of that and she turned towards Thorin. Her gaze often landed on him, drawn inexplicably. Looking at him, being drawn towards him felt natural, as natural as the sun setting or the moon rising. Buffy felt silly, feeling like a high school girl with a crush. She didn’t understand how Thorin made her feel, and she wasn’t sure she entirely liked it. It wasn’t what she felt for Angel, or Spike…it was so much more
Buffy just didn’t know what to do about it, or if she should do anything at all. Romance never usually ended well for her, and--why was she entertaining it? She was here to help the quest for Erebor, slay a dragon, nothing more! Even as she thought that, her eyes took in the majestic sight that Thorin presented.
The wind blew through his hair and his cape swirled behind him adding a dramatic flair to the stubborn king-to-be. He was stubborn, passionate, and there was something so tragically sad about him that made her heartache. She didn’t know the full story about what happened to Erebor, but she knew the longing for home, and the impossibility of ever seeing it again. Except the dwarves, however impossible it seemed, had a chance. It was one of the reason she had caved to Gandalf’s demand that she accompany them on the journey. Damn that wizard. Damn him twice for not being here so I can glare at him properly,
Buffy thought her eyes darting to where the wizard had disappeared off too after a disagreement with Thorin. She cleaned her bowl, before placing it back with the others. She offered Bombur a smile, “It was very good, Bombur. Thank you.”
“It was my pleasure, Lady Buffy,” Bombur beamed under the praise.
“Please just Buffy, I’m not that much of lady,” Buffy said, with a laugh. She saw a few of the others stare, stunned by the change from sulking and cold to warm and pleasant. She didn’t take it to heart, she knew that her emotions were chaotic at best and she could go from happy to angry in a split second in the right situation. The Slayer in her itching for some kind of battle, and her skin felt tight, tingling with anticipation that had only grown since Gandalf departed in fit after Thorin had flat out rejected going to the Rivendell.
“You are a lady to us, lassie,” Bofur stated, firmly.
Buffy smiled, opening her mouth to say something when Fili burst into the camp, nearly out of breath. His face was layered in panic and sweat and Buffy felt a stone settle in the pit of her stomach. “What’s wrong?” She asked, then frowned when she heard an echo alongside of her voice. Her and Thorin’s gaze locked on each other and Buffy realized it wasn’t an echo, but Thorin’s voice. They stared at each other for a moment, a peculiar look in Thorin’s eyes before he turned his gaze back to his nephew. “What’s happened?” He demanded.
“Trolls!” Fili regained his breath.
That’s when Buffy noticed something that made the blood in her veins turn ice cold, and her heart stop in her chest.
“Where is Bilbo?”
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