Title: Fire and Darkness
Rating: 18 (mainly for Faith's very loud potty mouth near the end).
Disclaimer: Settings, characters, ideas, and entities from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lord of The Rings belong to their respective creators and other entitled parties (none of which are me). No harm is intended, no profit is being made, and I promise to return them good as new when this is all said and done.
Spoiler Warnings: Post Chosen for BtVS, sort of movie-verse AU for LotR.
Summary: An ancient prophecy and a visitor brought from another dimension by the Powers result in Willow and Faith being sent to Middle Earth, but it isn't exactly the world they expected. In their attempts to aid the Fellowship, things go from bad to worse, and the two end up wondering whether it is truly the will of the Powers That Be or something much more sinister which brought them there.
Notes: REALLY, REALLY sorry this has taken so long, especially with your original author flaking on you and all. Overtime and writer's block conspired against this story until it's fourth incarnation. I'm really sorry if it doesn't measure up . . . this has turned out to be a completely different story than I had intended to write. Also, the style of this one came out really oddly for me, so I apologize if it's stilted or disjointed (I think the plot idea really wanted to be a LOT longer . . . novel length at least).
Genre: Lord of the Rings, Roswell, WWE
Max Rating: NC-17
Characters: BtVS - Willow, Faith & Anya. LotR - Aragorn, Legolas, Faramir, Eomer. Roswell - Michael, Kyle, Maria, Isabel. WWE - Jericho, Edge, HHH, Lita, Batista.
Want To See: Willow & Faith actually getting along.
Not Want To See: Slash
Fire and Darkness
The elf had come through Dawn's mirror, met with a great deal of terrified shrieking and an unsettling number of weapons pointed in his general direction. After it was confirmed he was no demon and had somehow "slipped through" a dimensional portal, he introduced himself as Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of the Mirkwood realm. Or at least, that was what Andrew had translated the lilting, musical words as, right before he nearly peed his pants in excitement while dancing around and chanting that he "always knew it was real."
The "it" in question turned out to be the story from The Lord of the Rings . . . sort of. Apparently, in this dimension, it was only a story, but the story had somehow created a new dimension where the events of the books had yet to unfold. It was all very confusing, to the point that even Willow had trouble following the convoluted theories and explanations. In the end, it was decided that rather than an accidental dimensional hop, the elf had been sent to them for a reason, probably by the Powers That Be.
The conclusion was verified by the discovery of a partial prophecy written in what must have been elvish (er, was that what it was called). The portion of the scroll still in existence spoke of a terrible weapon of power and destruction and a wearer who would destroy one world before moving on to the next.
According to what Andrew was able to translate and Legolas' grasp of a rather archaic form of English, things weren't going well. Apparently, the books and movies and various other versions and incarnations were best case scenarios. The as yet unformed Fellowship of the Ring needed help of scooby proportions. Decisions were made, bags were packed, and Andrew cried when informed he couldn't go along. Next came the problem of getting there, a little too neatly solved by the Powers' decision to suck Willow, Faith, and the elf who really did look like a truly blond Orlando Bloom (but taller, broader, and even prettier) through another portal.
Without Andrew to attempt translating, the red-haired witch and brunette slayer were at a loss when Legolas attempted to address them. Making a decision Faith agreed with (even though the others would probably have argued against it) Willow tried her magic in an attempt at some semblance of a translation spell. It was rather nice, actually, having Faith encourage her without pointing out that being in another dimension might cause her spells to . . . well, go all wonky again. Add to that the fact that it worked and Willow was a very happy witch. Faith was just thrilled to be able to swear and make inappropriate comments in more than one language.
There was little time to enjoy their surroundings. The elf had been on his way to the fated Council of Elrond when his little side trip was arranged and now he was terribly behind schedule. How he managed to find horses for them all the women never did ask, wondering if they really wanted to know. After all, when the PTB interfered in a Scooby's life, it usually went badly, so they convinced themselves that it was simply some trick of elven magic, nothing more and ignored the prickling at the backs of their necks.
Upon reaching Rivendell, Willow and Faith stopped in spite of Legolas' urgings. It was more breathtaking than any artist could ever convey, even Faith had to admit that. The Council had already convened however, and they had to give in and continue after a few precious, spellbound moments.
She stared into the fire, watching the flames jump and dance and wishing they hadn't even gone on, that they had simply stood, spellbound, forever, staring at the wonder of this new world and never continuing in their quest.
It hadn't been so bad for a while. They had tagged along after the Fellowship, knowing that was their purpose in this world. The danger was no different than the threat of the First had been only months before being sucked through that damn portal. The members of the Fellowship had been pleasant enough company. The small ones-hobbits-knew plenty of songs and stories. Legolas sang, too, and the clear, even tones brought a measure of peace and joy to them. Aragorn and Boromir, just men, high ranking and nobly born though they were, had helped Faith grow accustomed to sword play (that had always been more Buffy's thing) while Willow spent hours questioning Gandalf the wizard about the nature of magic in Middle Earth. Gimli the dwarf filled in lonely silences with stories of the great treasures of his people-jewels and precious metals and great halls carved deep within the mountains.
It was within one of those great halls that she had first noticed the changes. At first, she denied the truth before her, convincing herself that it was simply the unending darkness and the knowledge of what was to come-knowledge only the two of them possessed (well, maybe three . . . the wizard seemed to realize something, too).
In the mines of Moria, she pretended not to hear the whispers, the seductive call of the ring and its master.
In the mines of Moria, she had forgotten about the scrap of prophecy.
"Two will come
Flame and Darkness
Bride and Mother
Meant for the One
Fire and Shadow
In the mines of Moria, things began to go terribly wrong.
The journey so far had been fairly close to the story Willow and Faith were somewhat familiar with. There had been a few more skirmishes, but nothing too far from what was expected. Faith was enjoying the sporadic battles as only a true warrior could. Willow had learned a few new tricks from Gandalf and was thrilled and flushed at her latest successful combination of her own earth magic with what she had dubbed "big-stick magic" (a moniker which had drawn snorts of laughter from Faith and, after a moment, the hobbits as well). All had been fairly predictable until they met the Balrog, a demon of sorts, seemingly composed of shadows and flame. That was when, predictably enough, all hell broke loose.
The "Fellowship Plus Two" had done fairly well for themselves so far, fighting off orcs and goblins and avoiding plunging to their deaths or being crushed by falling rock. The tide turned against them when the Balrog cornered them long before they could reach the fateful bridge. Knowing magic was their best hope, Willow and Gandalf had joined forces, managing a narrow gap through which the men and hobbits had escaped. Faith was to follow with Legolas and Willow, but they had waited too long. The creature realized what had happened and was determined not to allow the rest of his quarry to escape so easily.
There had still been a chance until Faith had come between the demon and Willow, who had been stunned by the good sized rock she had caught with her head. Then the Balrog was simply there, and he had Faith clutched in his hand before anyone could help her. The dark slayer screamed as her skin bubbled and darkened and then she blacked out from the pain.
It was cold here, and damp-both surprising considering where she was being held. It felt more like a dungeon than a tower. Her wrists and arms had long ago gone numb, a small blessing really, as the chains holding her up had bitten deeply into her flesh.
Blood had dried to an itchy, sticky coating on her arms and face. Her bare feet just touched the cold stone floor. Too much longer and she would suffocate.
She was beginning to pray for death, for surely that would be better than the fate awaiting her.
Faith and Willow had been revived by the harsh light of day outside the mines. Boromir had been the one to tell them of Gandalf's demise, much the same as it had been in the different story versions, and yet much more gruesome and violent. There was no accident of fate, no near escape. He had not been caught by the demon on its fatal plunge. Rather, the thing had chased them all, Willow and Faith being practically dragged out by the elf as Gandalf fought to slow its pursuit. In the end, the wizard had given himself as bait, taking his own swan dive off the broken bridge, the Balrog following after.
Willow blamed herself, somehow believing he had chosen that way because of her. She had told him of Buffy's sacrifice to save Dawn, how that one graceful leap had seemed to happen in slow motion. He had called it a noble sacrifice, told her that this life would have been well served should they all meet such an end. She had felt a chill at the time, but chalked it up to the close air of the cavernous mines.
There was little time for mourning. The demon may have met its end, but there was a sizable army of goblins and orcs close behind. Neither woman spoke of the possibility that the wizard might not be gone forever, fearing that the very knowledge that it could happen meant it never would.
They remembered little of the journey to the fabled wood, drifting in and out of consciousness thanks to their injuries. Even Faith's slayer healing could not work so quickly on so much damage. After, they would wonder what argument had been made that they were taken along. Certainly, it helped that they were women, but it had been made very clear from the beginning that any who fell behind-or simply fell-had to be left.
Upon awakening, they were told of a night spent among trees, and the group of foul orcs following behind. They heard of the Fellowship's meeting with the Lady of the wood and looked toward their own introductions with a mix of fear and excitement.
They had come again. Being freed from the enchanted bindings had almost been more painful than the punishment itself. She was chained again, but she could move a bit, and breathing was easier.
She shifted uncomfortably, turning to her side in hope of relieving the pressure a bit. It wouldn't be long now, she knew. The life inside her was nearly ready to come forth into the world. She had long ago given up on referring to it as a thing, and yet, knowing what was to come, she could not bring herself to refer to it as anything else.
For months, she had clung desperately to the fact that her pregnancy was the result of the night in the forest of Lorien, under the protection of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Surely, nothing bad could come from that place. It was a place of purity and goodness, one of the last in any of the worlds.
And yet they had brought evil into the very heart of that realm.
His hands were gentle, skin smooth and soft. His hair had tickled where it brushed against bare skin. It wasn't the sort of coupling she was accustomed to, but he had certainly left her with nothing to complain about. He was pretty limber for an old guy.
Yes, she knew he was older. Hell, he was immortal. It seemed Buffy'd had the right idea all along . . . sort of. She'd take an elf over a vampire any day.
Her return was met with smirks and stares and knowing looks and one reaction she couldn't quite place. Maybe jealousy, but not of her . . . and a bit of hurt? When she looked again, the emotion was gone as quickly as it had come, and she had to wonder if she had imagined it altogether. After all, Legolas wasn't attracted to her. Why would he care?
Days later, as the two chased after Frodo and Sam because Willow insisted, she almost understood.
The first of the pains came, and all she could remember was the look of hurt and betrayal in that one unguarded second.
They would come for her soon. They would know the time was near. Likely that was why they had taken her down, even more so the reason they had strung her up in the first place. They wanted the life within her, and without the scooby cavalry to ride to her rescue, they would have it.
She was a helpless prisoner in the grip of a familiar enemy. The First had never truly been defeated, and without Buffy and the others, she was powerless to fight it.
The door opened as the second spasm grasped her, twisting her in its grip.
"Well, looks like we were just in time."
Faith looked up to see Willow smirking at her as the pain began to fade.
"Come on Red, you know you don't want to do this."
Willow tilted her head to one side, fathomless black eyes trained on the nearly broken slayer. Pale fingers trailed through black locks. "Red?" she said, her voice too deep, "I don't think so."
"Willow . . ."
"Sorry, Willow's not here right now," the thing said, leaning against its companion.
In Middle Earth, the First was corporeal.
They had lost the Hobbits. Only hours after setting out behind Frodo and Sam, Willow and Faith had lost any sign that the two had ever even existed. They had been delayed by the battle which brought the death toll of their little band to two. Boromir was dead. Faith hadn't realized how close he and Willow had become, until she flipped out and incinerated every orc within sight, including the already dead. Uruk-hai the others called them. Faith simply thought of them as nasty muthas. She couldn't finish the phrase because Red would give her that disapproving look. The hobbits had several hours on them when Willow and Faith set out after them. Something felt wrong about that, but Red was the one with the witchy powers and all so the slayer hadn't argued.
She knew she was pregnant in the dead marshes. She'd thought so before, but finally she KNEW. She should have been frightened that Willow knew first, but she hadn't realized that until too late.
It was in the dead marshes that the witch had turned. Her eyes and hair had gone black and one of the ring wraith things everyone had warned them about showed up on some flying demon creature. Some kind of spell had taken her by surprise, and Faith remembered no more until she woke up in a high tower, a chained prisoner in Sauron's fortress.
She didn't scream until her water broke. Dark Willow and the First wearing Boromir's body leaned over her eagerly. "The child will have HIS power," Willow hissed in someone else's voice. "Lord Sauron, reborn in the blood of slayer and elf."
"Fuck . . . off," Faith hissed between desperate gasps for air. This child birth thing sucked ass. Kinda like prophecies . . . prophecies sucked big hairy ass.
"Sorry Faithie," Willow cooed at her as she struggled against the chains. "It had to be this way. Don't you see, it's why we're here."
"We came to help the good guys Red."
Willow sniffed. "We came because the prophecy required it."
"We came because we have to work for our redemption."
She cackled this time, a purely evil sound that sent shivers down Faith's spine. "Oh no. Not redemption. The Powers," she sneered, "Didn't send us here. HE did. Remember the prophecy? Giles only found part of it. I hid the rest." She giggled gleefully, like a little child (OK, an evil, insane, Children of the Corn kinda child, but still). Faith felt sick as Willow danced around the room, waving a piece of parchment. "He's been talking to me since I found it, telling me things, whispering to me," she offered in a conspiratorial whisper. "He gave me the translation charm. It's about us, you know."
"The prophecy, silly. I'm the Bride of Fire, see." She stretched out one pale hand, proudly displaying the glinting ring on her finger. "You're the Mother of Darkness, slut that you are. You're the Shadow, I'm the Flame. Together, we were meant for the power of the One Ring, to possess, bear, contain it . . . until HE is ready to reclaim it."
The First had interrupted, coming into the room and smirking. Faith hadn't understood until Boromir's features faded, replaced by those of Haldir. The first evil smiled in triumph. "And so it begins."
The contractions came swiftly, one on top of the other, then another and the next. It would happen soon. In spite of her earlier determination not to think of this life struggling to break free as a child, Faith couldn't help herself now that the time had come.
Her child had a soul, and he deserved a fair chance. With a growl, Faith bore down and prayed to whatever power was listening that her slayer strength wouldn't crush the fragile bones.
She had no idea how to accomplish it, but somehow, she was going to get them all out of this mess.
Faith watched, helpless, as the creature once known as Smeagol struggled to take the ring from Frodo. The hobbit fought back, violently so, and in the end it was a chance of fate that sent Gollum careening down into the fiery depths of Mount Doom, ring clutched tightly in his palm.
She felt a momentary surge of triumph as it dipped beneath molten rock, and Sam and Frodo escaped the collapsing mountain. The relief was short lived as all hope crashed down around her at the sight of Willow hovering over the chasm, hand outstretched as she chanted in a language Faith could not understand.
The life inside her cried out in protest and despair as the witch closed her hand around the ring, still whole and undamaged.
She cried for the first time in years as the words of the prophecy echoed inside her head.
Two will come
Flame and Darkness
Bride and Mother
Meant for the One
Fire and Shadow
Dark Power will find form
And the power of the flame will overcome
Bride of Fire and Mother of Darkness
In two can the shade survive.
She was awakened when her son cried.
He was alive!
Weak though she was, Faith felt a momentary flash of elation. She had done it, she really had done it. She smiled at the thought before her thoughts returned to the reality of the situation.
"Take him now," the First demanded. "There is no time to waste." Willow clutched the baby and looked at Faith. Her eyes were green.
All at once, in a moment of astonishing clarity, she understood what she had to do.
The First was corporeal. The First knew she was at her weakest.
And somehow she knew, in that moment, the First could be hurt.
She struck once, for herself, for Willow, for all those who had fallen, but most of all, for her son. The makeshift club had once been a table leg. A word from Willow and it burst into flame. The body the First had taken caved in on itself.
"The guards will be here soon. Can you walk?" Faith nodded, though she really wasn't sure it was true. She gained her feet and was surprisingly steady, though only through sheer force of will.
"Give him to me."
"Are you sure? You might drop him? What if you black out again?"
"I need to hold him."
"I . . . OK, yeah. You're right." Faith felt stronger as soon as the tiny bundle was placed in her arms. She took one quick look, risking the glance just to be certain he was really OK.
They stumbled out of the fortress tower, making for the gates. Somehow they made it, falling to the ground outside the great dark walls. They watched in silence as what was left of the structures crumbled to dust.
"Do you think they made it?"
"Huh?" Willow blinked and turned her once-again-red-head towards Faith.
"Frodo. Sam. The rest of the Fellowship. Do you think they made it?"
"I . . . I don't know, Faith. I hope so."
Faith shifted a bit, clutching the baby close to her heart. "How did you do it, anyway?"
"All of it. The ring. The thing with the First."
"I just did," Willow said with a shrug. "It had to be done because it was the only way. Well, except the ring. That was an illusion, and a damn good one if I do say so. I think most of the place went when the ring did, but there was just enough evil left because of the First . . . " She trailed off, seemingly not really sure what else to say.
"Red, did you just curse?"
"That's more like it. So, got any ideas for what I should name him."
"Um, Faith, I really think you should reconsider-"
"The hell I should! There is nothing to reconsider. My son is not evil and I will not just leave him here to-"
"FAITH! That's not what I meant. You just really oughta take into consideration the fact that that is not your son."
"Wait, wait! Nothing like that. I just thought you should know the baby's not a boy."
"Huh? What is it then?"
Willow chuckled slightly at Faith's wide-eyed expression. "A girl Faith, you had a daughter."
"Oh. OH! Well, that's even better," the slayer returned with a grin. "So, do you think we'll ever make it home."
"I don't know. I think maybe the reason the Powers picked us it that as long as we have friends we can make our own home."
The two shared a smile as the baby yawned and burrowed into her mother's chest. "Hold on a second there, kid, I ain't the 7-11, yo."
"Um, I think you kinda are."
"Oh, yeah, right. Well still . . ." Faith trailed off with a grimace. "Uh, Red, you don't think you can whip up a few diapers do ya?" Willow laughed and offered her cloak for the time being as the two set about settling in for the night. They had a long walk ahead of them to . . . wherever they would end up next. They'd need sleep first.