To Be Or Not To Be (an orc)
Everyone: Thanks for faithfully reading and reviewing! It really helped motivate me to get going again. In the next chapter, our fabulous duo finally leave Imladris. More excitement and (slightly less) dialogue will follow, I promise! There hasn't been much action lately. For the question about the betrothal, the way I see it (although this may not be accurate), a betrothal in this world is like an engagement. It isn't set in stone, however. Otherwise, in the book (and movie) Arwen wouldn't have had the option of breaking it off with Estel and going with her family to Valinor.
spk: Glad you're still enjoying the story!
bluealieness: Thanks! Keep reading!
KnightWulf: Yay! I will update Evolution soon, I promise. I'm working on the next chapter. I got an awful review (by e-mail) that turned me off of the story for a while, but I'm back. The point was to have fun, and I'm still having fun.
blackwolf: I'm glad it manages to be humorous, it's always hard to tell how these things will come across to other people (that don't live inside my head...). Heh.
ScoobyAngel: Glad you like it! Keep reading & reviewing please!
Dara: Thanks! Funny is good...
It had been an hour, and Elrond’s children were still in shock, watching the trio of Men that had somehow outmaneuvered them.
“This is utterly ridiculous,” Arwen snapped.
Elladan heartily agreed. “Ai, sister, they look far too smug.” He paused, glaring at the casual hand Estel had placed on Buffy’s lower back. “And far too cuddly.”
“I am questioning my Elfhood,” Elrohir announced grimly.
Arwen eyed him with amusement. “They would never have bested us had we not been working against each other,” she pointed out.
Elrohir refused to be comforted. “Ai, but they discovered our plan, despite our legendary stealthiness. How did they manage to manipulate us so handily without our being the slightest bit suspicious?”
Arwen stood decisively, a look of determination on her face. “I do not know, but let us find out.”
“What is your plan?” Elladan questioned, exchanging a glance with his twin. No one could withstand their sister’s resolve face.
“Divide and conquer,” she replied. Her eyes narrowed. “I will take Estel. If all else fails, I can use my wily ways to befuddle him.”
She strode purposefully toward the dance floor, her brothers trailing behind. Estel spotted her approach, and shifted uncertainly. She stunned him with full force of her smile.
Buffy turned just in time to see Arwen unleash her Elf-y powers on Estel. “Uh oh, incoming,” she warned. When the Elleth smiled and flowers sprang up around their feet, Buffy glared. “That’s cheating,” she accused, helpless to stop Estel from falling instantly under Arwen’s spell. Especially since he wasn’t even trying to fight it.
“Estel,” Arwen intoned smoothly. “Would you do me the honor of granting me a dance?” She reached out a hand, and he instantly took it, allowing himself to be pulled from the arms of his friends. The twins followed closely on their sister’s heels, smirking at her easy handling of her quarry. They each grabbed the hand of a Guardian and spun them away onto the dance floor to distract them from aiding their partner in crime.
“Lovely evening, is it not?” Elladan inquired as he led Buffy through a series of complicated dance steps.
She raised a brow. “Peachy,” she replied curtly, eyeing him with suspicion.
“Aarion!” he gasped theatrically. “Why do you look at me so?”
Buffy glared. “Because I don’t trust you?” she offered.
Elladan’s gray eyes widened. “But you have won,” he pointed out. “You have defeated us with the same finesse that you handled the Wargs.” His expression grew full of grudging admiration.
She chuckled. “Hence why I don’t trust you. What’s with the flattery?”
He looked hurt. “Is this not what one does when one dances with a beautiful lady?”
“Hey!” she protested, deliberately treading on his toe. “I thought we were gonna drop the ‘lady’ crap.”
“Ai,” he conceded, a little too graciously. “Aarion Telumehtar, champion of the Valar, you look absolutely ravishing this night.” He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it, never missing a beat.
Buffy scowled. “You’re way too good at this. But I’m on to you, buster.” She glanced over to where Arwen was leading a befuddled Estel around the floor. “If I thought for a minute that I could drag him away from her, your little distraction routine wouldn’t work.”
When she turned back to Elladan, his face was more serious than she’d ever seen it. “I meant every word,” he murmured. “Aarion, do you…” He never got to finish his sentence.
Elrohir led Willow away from her friends, and he quickly learned that the Witch would not budge an inch on the subject of the bet. Instead, they discussed their plans for the near future.
“Ai,” he agreed. “While our goal is to acquaint you with Arda, it is sensible to start with the lands just beyond our borders. Your news of the beast has been most helpful as it has allowed us to know the level of threat we must be ready to face.”
Willow nodded. “I only wish we had a better description, but it was dark and all the bodies went poof.”
“Aarion said that Arwen’s picture was fairly accurate. It is like to one of the beasts of the First Age.”
“That is NOT good,” Willow exclaimed vehemently.
Elrohir sighed. “Ai, it is ill tidings indeed that such beasts still exist.”
“Not that,” she waved a hand dismissively. “THAT.”
He followed her gaze to Aarion just in time to see his brother kiss her hand. A distinctive growl from beside him brought his attention back to his dance partner. “Taserë?” he questioned worriedly.
“That’s MY hand,” she hissed. “No one gets to kiss it but me.” Her face grew heated and vengeful, and it suddenly occurred to Elrohir that no one really knew the extent of Aarion and Taserë’s power. No one had seen them angry before, either.
“He means nothing by it,” he assured her, and then paused. “Well, he DOES mean something by it, but he would back off instantly if he knew… We assumed that the entire show was false, and designed to ensure that we lost the bet.”
“It was,” the redhead replied, gaze glued to her girlfriend as she laughed at something Tall Dark & Elf-y said. “But the part about Aarion and I is true.” Her eyes narrowed at the worshipful expression on Elladan’s face. She blinked, and Elrohir’s jaw dropped.
Estel was quite aware that he was being used. Arwen had been polite and friendly, but rather cool toward him ever since their disastrous first conversation. She was also normally very careful not to bedazzle people, and kept her charms well in check. Of course, she was awe-inspiring even without the aid of her powers. There was a reason why she was considered a treasured beauty, even amongst the legendary loveliness of the Elves. But when she hit him full blast with her smile, he followed her willingly into the abyss, quite happy to be taken advantage of.
“You are absolutely radiant this night, Lady,” he said softly as they moved across the floor.
She smiled kindly, suppressing a smirk. “Thank you, Estel. You clean up nice, yourself,” she added.
He grinned. “You really HAVE been spending too much time with Aarion.”
Arwen pouted, and his heart leapt into his throat. “I could say the same of you,” she pointed out petulantly.
He caught her implied accusation. “I lied about nothing, Lady,” he countered.
“How do you figure?” she exclaimed. “You set me up.”
Estel winced under the weight of her displeasure, but his voice was calm. “Your brothers DID humiliate me, and I DID want them to pay twice. It just was not meant to work out that way, and I neglected to mention that I wanted YOU to pay as well.”
“Whatever for?” she demanded.
He eyed her with considerable disbelief. “You helped your brothers to play around with our affections. It could have ended quite… messily.” Allowing his words to sink in, he said no more.
“I see.” Arwen was secretly impressed. He was clearly bedazzled, but he was also standing up to her in spite of it. It was a refreshing change from the day they met. Apparently Buffy was a good judge of character. She reined in her charms.
Estel sighed; feeling equal parts regret and relief, and met her silvery-gray eyes. “I meant it, you know,” he commented lightly.
She tilted her head in question. “Meant what?”
“You really do look radiant tonight.” They were rudely interrupted by a squawk from the other side of the dance floor.
Buffy was watching Elladan warily, feeling suddenly certain what he was about to ask. The look on his face left no room for doubt. She’d hoped that the earlier display would get the point across, but then again, everyone except Arwen probably assumed the entire thing was a show. Which it WAS, just not a totally untrue one. Considering that she and Willow had only shown their affection in front of Arwen, it shouldn’t be surprising that even the twins didn’t realize they were actually in love.
She could only hope this was lust and admiration on Elladan’s part, and not something deeper. Not only did they have to work together, she didn’t want to lose his friendship. She opened her mouth to cut him off and explain her relationship with Willow.
Then he turned into an orc, and things got confusing.
“What the… Elladan?”
“Squawk!” he exclaimed, livid, waving his newly clawed hands in indignation. She jumped away quickly.
At this point everyone turned to stare, wondering how an orc got into the hall, and why Buffy had her hand up her dress. Willow and Elrohir were the only ones that understood, although Elrohir was currently wondering HOW. The redhead watched with a smirk as several of Elrond’s guard wrestled the orc to the ground.
“Wait!” Buffy shrieked, finally locating the elusive stake. She threw herself in front of the offending orc. “It’s Elladan!”
Elrohir approached rapidly to help diffuse the situation, with a glare at the Witch beside him. “It is true,” he asserted. “I saw him change.” Arwen and Estel joined them.
Buffy stared at the orc, the scene triggering a sudden memory. She turned to face her girlfriend. “Uh, Tas?” she murmured tentatively. “Did you, by any chance, turn Elladan into an orc?”
Willow blushed profusely as all eyes turned to her. “Sort of?” she admitted.
She winced. “Well, he’s not actually an orc, he just LOOKS like an orc.” At their accusing expressions, she defended, “Well he was going all Tall Dark & Elf-y on my girlfriend!” Elrond could be heard chuckling in the background.
Buffy stood and took the redhead’s hands in her own, meeting her eyes. “Can you change him back, Sweetie?”
Willow softened instantly under her girlfriend’s ministrations. She extracted a hand from Buffy’s grasp, and waved casually in Elladan’s direction. "There." The glamour was ended.
“That was so cool!” the Slayer gushed, once the situation had been resolved without loss of limb. “You went all Witch-Fu, and poof! He’s an orc!”
The Witch in question turned a darker shade of red under Buffy’s praise, and the rest of the world fell away. She reached up to place a hand on her girlfriend’s cheek. “I saw him kiss your hand, and I sorta lost it,” she explained.
“But you didn’t go Scary-Veiny Willow,” Buffy countered. She plucked up a lock of burnished red hair. “See? Not a hint of black.” Her voice dropped to a lower register. “And for the record, you have nothing to worry about.” She pulled the redhead closer, wrapping her arms firmly around her neck. Willow’s arms went instantly around her waist, and she rested her forehead against Buffy’s. They began to dance slowly to the music, ignoring the rudely staring Elves.
“Does no one care that I was turned into an orc?” Elladan complained from his place on the floor.
He got a chorus of No’s for his troubles.
Two hours later, the Guardians still hadn’t left each other’s arms. Wisely, no one dared to approach them, unwilling to face down the dual threat of Buffy’s stinging backhand and Willow’s sorcery. Underneath the twinkling glow of Elf lights, they focused solely on each other.
“What do you think the gang would do if they saw us now?” Buffy asked quietly, drawing back slightly to meet her girlfriend’s eyes.
Willow smiled. “Well, Giles would say ‘Oh Dear Lord’ and clean his glasses, Dawnie would squeal and hug us both…”
“Xander would ask if he could watch,” the Slayer added mirthfully.
“And Anya would wish us many happy orgasms,” the redhead finished up. She placed a soft kiss on her girlfriend’s lips. “They would be happy for us.”
Buffy sighed contentedly, reveling in the utter sense of peace that had washed over them. “I think so, too.”
“Can you believe we’re here?” Willow asked suddenly, marveling.
“Here, as in here in Middle Earth, or here, as in here in each other’s arms?” she replied wryly, raising a brow.
Willow giggled. “Both, I suppose.”
Buffy let one hand disentangle itself from Willow’s hair and trace a tingling path down the length of her arm. She gently plucked one of the redhead’s hands from the small of her back and placed soft kisses over the inside of her wrist. Her efforts were rewarded with a tiny moan and hitch of breath. She intertwined their hands, and met Willow’s eyes, floored by the raw desire she saw there.
The Witch retaliated by pulling Buffy’s body flush against her own, leaning in to leave a fiery trail of kisses along the base of her girlfriend’s throat. Buffy gasped and, meeting Willow’s eyes defiantly, pulled one of the redhead’s fingers into her mouth, sucking gently while she massaged the palm of her hand with her thumb.
“I…” Willow stuttered; green eyes glazed with lust.
Buffy whimpered at the loss of attention to her neck. Suddenly realizing they were in a dance hall surrounded by Elves, she murmured, “It’s too bad we can’t sneak out the back.”
Willow eyed her calculatingly. “Yeah. They might wonder where we’re going.”
“We ARE leaving tomorrow,” the Slayer added, considering.
The redhead picked up her trail, “And they’d probably want to discuss strategy and whatnot.”
“So it’d be rude to skip out on all that boring conversation just so we can have hot sex in our room,” Buffy said regretfully.
Willow sighed. “Definitely rude.”
“But more importantly,” the Slayer concluded, “It would be WRONG.” Their eyes met.
Elrond’s children, both real and fostered, had spent the past two hours alternately dancing and watching Buffy and Willow. They were gathered back at their table when things started to heat up between the two Guardians.
“I think they have forgotten that this is a public forum,” Elladan muttered sulkily.
“The Valar preserve us,” Arwen retorted, with an unladylike snort. “You are just annoyed that I was right about those two.”
“Nay,” the grumpy Elf defended, “It is simply that physical affections are meant to be kept behind closed doors.”
Arwen laughed out loud. “Like you and Legolas?” she taunted.
“That was different.”
“Different in the sense that you were both drunk?” she replied innocently.
“And you decided to strip for each other?” Elrohir added helpfully.
“AT MY LEAVING PARTY!” Arwen finished up, triumphant.
Elladan glared petulantly at his siblings. “That is hardly the point. They… ELBERETH,” he broke off suddenly, staring. The others turned to follow his gaze toward their wayward friends. Four mouths dropped open.
“Should we do something?” Arwen asked worriedly.
Estel chuckled. “I would suggest joining them, but I like my limbs as they are, thanks.”
She glared. “That is not what I meant, ARAGORN.”
“Ouch!” Elladan exclaimed on his friend’s behalf. “That was harsh, sister.”
“Ai, well I am surrounded by hooligans,” the Elleth complained. “I suppose it is too much to ask that…”
“Look!” Elrohir commanded, interrupting their bickering. They all turned back to the Hot & Heavy Duo, who had unexpectedly grabbed each other’s hands and were making a mad dash for the exit.
The foursome watched their retreating figures, and then eyed each other speculatively. “That was…” Elladan started, and then trailed off, at a loss for words.
“Stimulating?” Elrohir offered.
“Mmm,” he replied. He was definitely feeling jealous, but there was something so RIGHT about Aarion and Taserë together that he couldn’t deny. Not to mention that it provided enough fodder for a millennia’s worth of fantasies.
“Well,” Arwen mused, eyes still trained on the exit. “I think that I shall find somewhere else to sleep tonight.”
Estel winked at her. “You may stay with me, Lady,” he proposed with a formal bow.
She answered him Buffy-style with a smack upside the head.
They ran all the way back to their house, hands intertwined, and giggling conspiratorially. As they collapsed on the couch, Willow waved a hand to ignite a magickal fire in the fireplace.
Buffy smiled. “Fire pretty,” she mused. Their eyes met, and they burst out laughing.
“So,” Willow murmured idly, planting a kiss against her girlfriend’s fingertips. “Do you think we were discreet enough?”
The Slayer blinked. “Discreet in the sense that we nearly tore each other’s clothes off on the dance floor, and then ran out of the hall like we had Hellhounds on our heels? All the while cackling madly?”
“Maybe no one noticed!” Willow offered brightly.
Buffy arched a brow. “Did you SEE the looks on our friend’s faces?”
“I didn’t look.” She blushed.
Buffy leaned forward to brush her girlfriend’s lips gently with her own. They sighed simultaneously, and sank into the kiss. Buffy’s hands found their way back into Willow’s hair, and the redhead let her arms come to rest on Buffy’s thighs. A few ecstatic moments later, they pulled apart, breathing heavily.
Willow met the Slayer’s eyes searchingly, knowing that she was the experienced one in this situation. Her girlfriend had never done this before, and she didn’t want to move too quickly. “Buffy, do you…”
“My room or yours?” Buffy asked by way of answer. Decisively, she stood, pulling the redhead up with her. Then she placed her hands on Willow’s hips and brought their bodies together. Leaning in, she buried her nose in burnished, fragrant hair and trailed kisses along the Witch’s jaw. Willow moaned, and allowed herself to be led into Buffy’s bedroom.
“Yours is good…” Willow murmured equably, tracing patterns up and down Buffy’s back.
The Slayer chuckled. “Good thing, since we’re sorta already here.”
Willow blinked and pulled her head back to look around. “Oh, hey, would you look at that,” she said wonderingly. Eying her girlfriend’s sexily rumpled appearance, she whispered, “You look beautiful.”
Buffy smiled. “So do you,” she replied softly, reaching out to finger a lock of Willow’s tousled hair. “Less clothes would be good,” she added.
The Witch smirked. “I agree.” Then, her face turned serious. “So this is OK with you? Us, with nakedness?”
“Yes,” Buffy said firmly. “I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I trust you, and this is what I want. Are you OK with it?”
Willow nodded fervently. “Oh, most definitely.”
“Turn around,” Buffy murmured, placing her hands gently on the redhead’s shoulders. She complied, and Buffy trailed her fingers just above the neckline of Willow’s dress, reveling in the pale, creamy skin. Then, she began to unfasten the buttons, slowing peeling the fabric apart, and branding the path of exposed flesh with her lips. Willow sighed contentedly, and Buffy thought it was the best sound she’d ever heard.
The Witch returned the favor, pausing to fumble with the holster strapped to Buffy’s thigh. She held up the stake and met her girlfriend’s eyes wryly. “Don’t think we’ll be needing this.”
Buffy smirked. “As phallic symbols go, it’s a perfect ten.” They burst out laughing and Willow hastily chucked the offending stake across the room as though it burned.
Soon they were naked on the bed, and they took turns worshiping every inch of each other’s bodies. When they were finished, they drifted to sleep, limbs and hearts entangled.