How We Define Us
Spike and Buffy awoke in each-other’s arms.
Still in his arms, Buffy turned around so she could look at him. Spike’s platinum hair seemed bright in the early morning sunlight angling into the stable. Their faces were only inches apart. Their eyes met, looking deep into each-other. Buffy smiled at him softly.
Inhaled briefly as she lowered her mouth to his. She could smell him in the air around. A familiar smell, smoke and leather and something else that was so clearly him intermixed with the smells of the stable.
Their first kiss in over a year started softly. Their lips simply came together with gentle pressure. Growing familiar with each other again. Tasting.
The kiss only deepened. Arms coming around each-other, drawing each-other close. Mouths open. Tongues teasing and beginning to explore.
“If you guys are gonna do that can I not have to watch?!”
“Go away, Dawn.”
“I’m just saying . . .”
Dawn raised her hands and turned away. “Okay! Jeez.”
Giggling and still wrapped in his arms, Buffy buried her face in the vampire’s shoulder. They simply laid there for a little while in each-other’s arms.* * * * * * *
“Where are you taking us?”
“Into the wild,” Strider answered simply. They were already deep in the forest. The entire company’s eyes watched as the dark haired Ranger moved up the forested slope with an ease bred of familiarity.
Sam frowned at the scruffy looking man. Quietly, he asked, “How do we know this Strider is a friend of Gandalf?”
“We don’t,” Spike answered.
Frodo was quietly thoughtful, “I think a servant of the Enemy would look fairer and feel fouler.”
Spike suddenly laughed and shook his head. “Now there’s a healthy qualification.”
Merry wrinkled his nose, “He's foul enough!”
Buffy sighed. “I agree. Letting Strider be a guide for us isn’t the greatest plan. It’s a lack of options.”
Frodo exhaled a breath. “We have no choice but to trust him.
Sam, in a quiet voice, “But where is he leading us?”
Strider could obviously hear them. “To Rivendell, Master Gamgee.” Strider’s voice came from further up the slope. “To the House of Elrond.”
Sam smiled and looked at Frodo. “Did you hear that? Rivendell! We’re going to see the Elves!”
Dawn was suddenly smiling, “Elves?!” * * * * * * *
Dawn looked on a little perplexed as Merry and Pippin stopped and suddenly unslung their packs. Pippin purposely began to remove food and cookware.
Strider paused and looked back at them. “Gentlemen, we do not stop ‘til nightfall.”
Pippin frowned. “What about breakfast?”
“We’ve already had it.”
“We've had one, yes,” Pippin pointed out. “What about second breakfast?”
Strider walked away, past a bush at the top of a small hillock and out of sight..
Merry shouldered his pack again. “Don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.”
Pippin was alarmed. “What about elevenses?” he asked quickly. “Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them doesn’t he?”
“I wouldn't count on it.”
From over the bushes where Strider had disappeared came an apple. Merry caught it as it almost dropped into his hands. Merry handed the apple to Pippin and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder as he followed Strider. Another apple followed, this one hitting Pippin in the head.
Pippin threw an accusing look at the young girl. “I’m glad you’re enjoying this.”
Dawn gifted the hobbit with a slight smile. “Enjoying
isn’t exactly the word. Even my blisters have blisters. Trust me, if I’d have known I was going to end up here I would have worn more comfortable shoes . . . boots even. And you might have actually considered wearing shoes . . .”
Pippin looked down at his two bare feet and the small tufts of soft brown hair on top of them. His toes wiggled. He then looked back up at her. “Hobbits don’t wear shoes.”
Dawn chuckled. “Where’s the fun in that?”
Merry called back at them impatiently. “Dawn! Pippin!”
“Alright,” Dawn shifted her pack on her shoulders slightly. “Jeez . . . Who died and made you Drill Sargent?” * * * * * * *
The happy voices of the hobbits rose into the air as they hiked. Most of the songs they sang were about food, or the comfort of the quiet life. They sang about gardening, or the lazy languor of an afternoon spent laying in the sun. Anything really. They seemed happy in spite of everything, a fact which brought about smiles from Buffy and Dawn. The two sisters even caught a faint smile from Spike once or twice.
The four voices of the hobbits rose to a pleasant clamor.Oh, you can search far and wide,
you can drink the whole town dry,
but you'll never find a beer so brown
as the one we drink in our home town!
You can keep your fancy ales,
you can drink them by the flagon,
but the only brew
for the brave and true,
comes from the Green Dragon!
The song finished with the sound of each of them laughing.
“Miss Buffy,” asked Frodo, “could you favor us with a song?”
Buffy shook her head. “I know you hobbits are big with the singing, and good on you, but some of us prefer not to torture people with the sound of our own voice.”
Dawn cut in, “Buffy lives under the delusion that she can’t sing.”
“Neither can Sam,” Merry pointed out. “But we let him join in anyway.”
Sam threw the other hobbit a look. “Hey!”
“Okay, okay,” Buffy surrendered. “Just as long as you stop torturing poor Sam. If you’re gonna pick on someone pick on someone like Dawn who deserves it.”
Dawn shot the other girl a look of her own. “Hey!”
Buffy gave her sister a friendly grin and shifted her pack on her slim shoulders slightly. She was quiet for a few long moments, keeping her eyes on the ground in front of her as she walked.
“Come on,” said Dawn impatiently. “Out with it.”
Dawn gave Buffy a remarkably innocent seeming look. “Well your thinking remarkably resembles wimping out.”
The two sisters looked at each-other and shared a friendly grin.
“Okay, okay,” Buffy shook her hands as if trying to work off the tension. “I’ve slain skanky hell gods and stuck both my thumbs in a demon’s eyes. I can do this . . . I can do it . . . I think I can do it.”
Buffy took and expectant breath and opened her mouth. She smiled at Dawn’s reaction to her choice of song.Morning smiles
like the face of a newborn child
Dawn wore a faint smile at the soft voice coming out of her sister, though that smile was tempered by the emotion that Buffy gave to the words. It was a beautiful melancholy that she sang. Loneliness. The sad realization that she’d always be alone.Winter's end
promises of a long lost friend
speaks to me of comfort
Spike gave the small Slayer brief, halting glances, as if he were embarrassed to be caught looking. She was beautiful. Her blonde hair in the bright sunlight. The sparing moments that she simply let go and bare her emotions to all the world. She glowed, if a person could be said to do such a thing. A warmth that anyone would be lucky to be blessed with for even the briefest moment.but I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
here in this lonely place
tangled up in our embrace
there's nothing I'd like
better than to fall
but I fear I have nothing to give
Buffy glanced over at Spike hesitantly. Their eyes met. His blue eyes were so bright in the sunlight. They seemed to look straight through to the heart of her. She looked away, at the landscape in front of her. Her eyes half-lidded as she poured herself into the song. A tear left her eye and traced down the softness of her cheek.Wind in time
rapes the flower trembling on the vine
nothing yields to shelter it
they say temptation will destroy our love
the never ending hunger
The hobbits each watched her wide-eyed. The small girl who had saved them from creatures more horrible than they had ever imagined as they left the Shire. They saw her sadness. They saw her hopelessness. And they saw her love for everything and everyone that surrounded her.but I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
here in this lonely place
tangled up in our embrace
there's nothing I'd like
better than to fall
There was steel in this small girl. An element as strange and rare as mithril tangled up inside her character. Esoteric. Erudite. The man called Strider didn’t quite understand. She was as much a mystery as the creature she traveled with. He didn’t understand, but he was going to find out. but I fear
I have nothing to give
I have so much to lose
I have nothing to give
We have so much to lose . . .
The Slayer’s voice drifted off slowly, a soft cadence that was carried away by the gentle breeze. She reached up and carelessly brushed at something on her cheek. Some emotions were just too raw.* * * * * * *
The moon hung high overhead, a bright circle against a sea of stars in the clear nighttime sky.
Buffy and Spike lay beneath it, comfortably entangled with each-other in their sleep. The forms of Dawn and the four hobbits lay chaotically around them. Strider, on the other hand, his shape half in shadow, was sitting by a small fire and singing softly beneath his breath.Tinúviel elvanui,
Elleth alfirin ethelhael
O hon ring finnil fuinui
A renc gelebrin thiliol.
Tinúviel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her night-dark hair,
And arms like silver glimmering.
Frodo was awake. He lifted himself up and stared at the Ranger. “Who is she? This woman you sing of?
“ ‘Tis the lay of Lúthien,” Strider told him in a voice that spoke of sadness. “The Elf-maiden who dared to give her love to Beren, a mortal.”
Dawn turned over and looked at him. “Ya know, that’s really not a nice thing to call a girl. A little demeaning.” Dawn’s straight dark hair had a faint sheen in the moonlight. Her inquisitive eyes had a twinkle of starlight. “What happened to her?”
Strider lowered his eyes. “She died,” he responded quietly. “Get some sleep, the both of you. We have a lot further to go come morning.”* * * * * * *
“. . . and there was this one time that Bilbo used the ring when the Sackville-Baggins came calling. Now there are a couple of nutters. Unpleasant people to be sure. Bilbo just slipped the ring on and suddenly he wasn’t there at all. Gone. I wish you could have seen the looks on their faces. They’d been so certain he was in the pantry. I’m pretty sure it was no accident that that basket of salt was dumped on both their heads as they left. No accident at all. I mean if there were ever two people who deserved to be set upon by an invisible tormentor they were it . . .”
Fingering the blade of one of Dawn’s tomahawks, Spike watched Buffy’s face brighten as she smiled. “I can imagine.”
Frodo held up his hand. The ring dangled from it by the delicate necklace, glittering in the morning light. “Such a tiny little thing.”
Buffy looked at the ring and tilted her head slightly.
Blood splattered as the blade of the tomahawk suddenly buried itself deep in her slender neck. Buffy looked up at Spike with wide, confused eyes. His pale hand was gripping the handle of the tomahawk. She raised a slender hand and touched her neck. Her eyes beginning to comprehend the fact of his betrayal. She tried to stand but her feet wouldn’t quite listen. They were unsteady beneath her and she fell to her knees, choking on her own blood. She put both her hands in the dirt in front of her and spit up blood all over herself.
Frodo looked up at the vampire with wide eyes. Spike kicked him, his boot connecting beneath the hobbit’s chin and sending him sprawling in the dirt.
Someone came at Spike from behind. Spike turned as Strider raised his sword. Spike caught the man’s hands, and with a sharp twist he broke both his wrists. Strider screamed, right before Spike buried his face in the man’s throat and bit down. The body fell and he left it where it lay.
Spike wiped at his mouth and the demon melted away.
Turned and looked at the fresh carnage that surrounded him. He felt he should be concerned but he didn’t care. It was like coming home.
He walked over by Frodo. The hobbit lay where he had fell. He then crouched down and picked up something from the ground.
Spike looked down at the small golden ring glimmering in the sunlight in the palm of his hand.* * * * * * *
It was still dark.
Buffy was curled up beside him trustingly. His face was nearly buried in her hair. He could smell her. Feel her all over. In his nose. In his gut. She surrounded him.
Spike untangled himself and stood up. He saw one of Dawn’s tomahawks sitting on top of a pack off to one side. He picked it up and looked at it. Narrow blade one side. Sharpened point on the other. A precision weapon, if you knew how to use it.
He held Dawn’s tomahawk in his hand and looked down at where Buffy laid there sleeping in front of him. Her blonde hair lay softly about her shoulders. Peaceful. Beautiful.
Spike turned, dropping the tomahawk, and ran out of camp into the dark.* * * * * * *
The doe raised its head. It was a fine specimen. Two sharp, perfect antlers atop its head. Lithe muscle beneath soft fur and skin. Its eyes passed over the space between the nearby trees.
The was a shadow between the trees that hadn’t been there a few moments before.
The doe started to move.
It took the first few prancing jumps toward safety and then suddenly it was too late. The predator was upon it. The doe tumbled. The shadow tumbled with it. The predator sank its mouth into the does neck and bit down hard.
Spike finally lifted his mouth away from the carcass and wiped away the blood that smeared his chin.* * * * * * *
The company awoke that morning to the carcass of a doe waiting for them and Spike sitting silently off to one side. He was quiet for most of the day, answering questions in as few words as possible and not saying anything more.
Buffy confronted him about his mood around midday when they stopped for lunch. Spike never told her what was wrong. When she persisted in finding out he simply buried his face in her shoulder and began to cry. Buffy held him and just let him cry.* * * * * * *
Strider stopped and looked at a small hill in the near distance. The sides of the highest peak seemed steep, almost like a butte right here in the middle of the forest. Atop it were the ancient ruins of a stone building. Just fragments really. A few small portions of walls that were still standing. Not nearly enough to even clearly imagine what had once stood there.
“This was the great watchtower of Amon Sûl,” Strider told them. “The hill is often also called Weathertop. We shall rest here tonight.”* * * * * * *
The companions unshouldered their packs on a wide flat overhang near the summit. Dawn sighs and stretches, rolling her sore shoulders. The weight of the pack was gone for the moment, but she could still feel the burden.
She stood on the edge, looking out at the landscape in the distance. Weathertop rose above everything. The forest stretched as far as she could see. The sun was setting in the west, back in the direction they had come. The horizon was turning slowly from blue to violet. The few clouds in that direction were colored by the sky with strange highlights.
Strider opens a cloth bundle that contained four short swords as the hobbits gather round.
“These are for you,” said Strider as he gave one to each of the hobbits. “Keep them close. I’m going to have a look around. Don’t go far from camp.” * * * * * * *
Buffy and Spike came around the corner into the deeper shadows. Buffy was giggling, even as Spike pressed her back against the wall.
She smirked at him.
They came together in a frantic kiss. Hands tugging excitedly at their clothes
He pressed her back against the wall as his hands became familiar with her body again. Every curve. Every inch of soft, excitable skin. Hands up inside her shift and tugging just roughly enough at her nipples.
One of his hands slipped down the length of her body and inside her pants.
Buffy arched against him as his fingers pressed against the cleft between her legs. Rubbed against her. She took and expectant breath and then his fingers were inside her, moving inside her, curled to touch that one place that could make her scream. Her hips moved as he moved. Her heart raced. She felt breathless. Trembling against him. Her hands were on his shoulders. Her knees felt weak.
Spike’s face was viciously buried in the slope of her neck.
She opened her mouth to give voice to a breathless scream.* * * * * * *
Dawn and Frodo laid sleeping a short distance apart in the dark. Both of them were exhausted. Dawn’s head rested on her pack, using it as a pillow. Her dark hair laid softly about her face. Her face beautiful and delicate like porcelain in the moonlight.
Faint voices as Frodo stirred.
Merry, “My tomato’s burst.”
It took Frodo a few moments to realize what he was seeing. Sam, Merry and Pippin sat together around a small campfire. The welcoming smell of cooking food filled the air.
Pippin asked, “Can I have some bacon?”
“Okay,” said Merry. “Want some tomatoes, Sam?”
Frodo, alarmed, “What are you doing?”
Merry answered happily, “Tomatoes. Sausages. Nice crispy bacon.”
“We saved some for you and the others,” Sam added kindly. “Put it out you fools!”
Frodo yelled, quickly running over and stomping on the fire with his bare feet. “Put it out!”* * * * * * *
A distant view of Weathertop. A huge looming shape in the dark rising up above the forest. A faint orange flicker of firelight high up, clearly visible for miles around.* * * * * * *
Pippin was disgusted, “Oh, that’s nice! Ash on my tomatoes!”
Dawn had awoke. She sat up and looked at them blearily, “What are you . . . Did you start a fire?” Anger and frustration flickered behind the girl’s face and her expression hardened. “What the hell were you doing? Do you think . . .”
Dawn’s head snapped around suddenly as the cry of a Nazgûl pierced the night, cutting off her words and cutting her to the bone. She looked over the edge of the ledge and saw at least four black shapes approaching out of the forest below.
“Oh shit!” Dawn threw a sharp look at Frodo. “Where’s Buffy and Spike?”
“I don’t know.”
She raised her voice. “Where are they?” “I don’t know!”
“Fuck,” Dawn spat the epithet beneath her breath. “Fuck!”
The hobbits unsheathed their small swords.
“Get back,” Dawn yelled at the hobbits, retreating backwards up some weathered stone stairs into the darkness. “Get back.”
Dawn and the four hobbits scramble further up Weathertop. * * * * * * *
Darkness surrounded them. Dawn and the hobbits found themselves in an open area, in the middle of a ring of broken pillars and shattered stone.
They could go no further. They stood there, their eyes searching the dark.
Shapes appeared out of the darkness. Moving shadows. The black robes were like shadows themselves. The air turned heavy as the four, no, five shapes came out of the dark, like nightmares turned to flesh and set on you in the dark.
The hobbits stood in a circle with their swords.
Dawn stood alone in front of them, posing with her tomahawks. She was trembling with fear, but she didn’t move. She stood there and faced them.
She wouldn’t run in the face of fear. She wouldn’t cower and hide in the naive hope that it would go away.
She was a Summers.
Dawn stopped trembling and raised her tomahawks, twirling them in her hands.
The five Nazgûl faced her. They each reached within their cloaks and pulled out long, thin swords.
Ruthlessly, a sword suddenly arced down at Dawn. The sound of clanging steel as Dawn blocked with one of her tomahawks, at the same moment as another Nazgûl came at her from the side. “Back you devils!”
Sam yelled, running to her defense, his small sword gripped in one hand. Sam and the second Nazgûl clash swords, but he is quickly tossed aside.
Dawn and the first Nazgûl fight. She attacks it with a flurry of slices from both of her tomahawks. She actually manages to back it up for a few brief moments, the simple fury of her attack driving the creature before her. A black shape in the dark. But each of her attacks are fended off with frightening efficiency. The Nazgûl’s sword moved back and forth, redirecting the sweep of her blows to open air to either side of it.
And then the Nazgûl’s sword flashed out at her side.
Dawn sidestepped swiftly, hissing sharply as the tip of the sword just managed to catch her arm just below her shoulder, splitting her shirt and scoring a shallow slice across her fair skin.
Dawn’s eyes hardened like two flecks of steel. Stubbornly, Dawn bought up her tomahawks and went at the creature again.
A frightened voice suddenly came out of the dark. “Dawn!”
Buffy and Spike appeared out of the darkness.* * * * * * *
Frodo’s sword fell to the ground with a clang. Merry and Pippin try to defend Frodo but the Nazgûl simply push them aside. Frodo stumbled, fell backward. He inched backwards across the stone but eventually found himself with his back pressed against a wall.
No way out.
Desperate, Frodo reached for the ring. The hobbit slipped it on his finger and disappeared from view.
The world around Frodo changed into a white ethereal mist.
In place of the looming Nazgûl stood a man. The man was like a white shape carved out of the mist that surrounded him. A wraith. The man had long hair and a long white beard. There was a long, pale sword in his hand and a pale crown sat atop his head.
The wraith reached out toward Frodo, a hand as if in kindness, and one of Frodo’s hands, with the ring glittering on one finger, reaches out toward the wraith. With effort, Frodo wrenched his hand back.
Fury twisted the wraith’s face.
Frodo screamed as the wraith’s sword stabbed down through his shoulder, pinning the hobbit to the ground.
Suddenly, Strider leapt over Frodo, a dark shape in the mist. He had a sword in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. Swinging the torch in front of him to drive the wraith away. Stepping back, the wraith pulled its sword out of Frodo and dropped it.
Grunting with effort, Frodo pulled the ring from his finger.* * * * * * *
Strider set the wraith’s dark robes on fire. It ran away squealing.
He looked up in time to see Buffy and Spike fighting another. Standing by the edge of the ancient ruin. Buffy grabbed Spike’s hands, swinging around him, adding Spike’s strength to hers as both her feet left the ground. Spike was the pivot of Buffy’s kick that sent the wraith tumbling over the edge. When Buffy landed, Spike held her to him briefly, sharing a smile, before they were back into the fight.
Dawn was fighting another.
A Nazgûl lashed out at Strider with its sword. Strider ducked beneath it, pushing the torch out before him and burning into its loose robes. It was standing between himself and the one Dawn was fighting. He pushed the flailing creature back into Dawn’s. Now they both burned. Dawn sliced viciously into it with one of her tomahawks before it ran away.
Dawn and Strider shared a vicious look.
The last wraith looked briefly between Buffy and Spike, standing on one side of it, and Dawn and Strider on the other. Strider threw his torch. The Nazgul’s robes went up like a roman candle.
It ran over the edge and disappeared.* * * * * * *
Sam held a bleeding Frodo in his arms.
“Spike, Strider,” Sam pled. “Help him.” There were tears in his eyes. “Please.”
Strider crouched down and picked up the broken sword that lay by Frodo and looked down at it in his hand.
“He’s been stabbed by a Morgul blade.” The blade of the broken sword suddenly dissolved right down to the hilt, the dust appeared to be caught by the wind and carried away. Strider dropped the hilt that remained as if it made him feel dirty just touching it. “This is beyond my skill to heal.”
Dawn looked at Frodo sadly. The wound on her arm was still seeping blood but she seemed careless of it.
Spike looked down on Frodo. The small hobbit, laying there, wounded and consumed by blinding pain. Helpless. The ring hanging on a chain from his neck and glimmering in the moonlight.Author’s notes: Again, I used the transcripts at council-of-elrond.com to help me with this.
The song the hobbits sing is stolen from the Return of the King. Wrong movie, but hey.
Buffy’s song is “Fear” by Sarah MaLachlan. I know, with this and the title of the fic I’m on a Sarah MaLachlan kick. So sue me. On second thought, don’t. BtVS & LotR don’t belong to me. Sarah Malachlan doesn’t even belong to me. Please don’t sue.
I usually don’t like song fics, but this is LotR so I figured I can get away with it. It’s all about how you contruct it I guess. I might do it again here.