A Journey Prepared
Title: Holidays for the Heart
Author: Restive Nature (aka bavite)
Rating: FR-13 (at most)
Pairing: none for this chapter
Disclaimer: All things Buffy belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. All things Lord of the Rings belong to Tolkien.
Timeline: This story is a continuation fic of “The 8 Days of Hanukkah”. In the Buffy universe it is Season Three, after the episode “Helpless”. It is the end of January. In the LotR universe, it takes place some time after the destruction of the ring, but the Hobbits have gone home to the Shire and come back.
Summary: Always with a thirst for knowledge, Legolas finds a way to travel to Sunnydale to learn more of Willow’s world, and her holidays.
A/N- If you are interested in reading the fiction that prompted this, “The 8 Days Of Hanukkah” it can be found at my writing group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/restive_nature/
OR at http://www.tthfanfic.org/story.php?no=5836&chapter=3
If not, the summary pretty much is that Willow traveled accidentally to Middle Earth before the Fellowship left Rivendell. She told them a great many things about her world and also about being Jewish and the tradition of Hanukkah. After returning to Sunnydale, she managed to send her new friends eight days worth of gifts, the last of which, a lamp and oil, helped save their lives on their descent from Caradhras.
A/N2- This fiction will concentrate on Legolas pairings produced for the TtH Fic-for-All.
Holidays For The Heart
“Well young Greenleaf,” Gandalf spoke softly, as he fell in step with the Mirkwood Elf. “I see you are at long last prepared for your journey.”
Legolas Greenleaf, not at all surprised by the silent and sudden arrival of the Maiar Gandalf the White, also known as Mithrandir, the White Rider, glanced up at the just slightly taller figure. Then his glance fell to his side and the haversack that he’d packed full of his belongings. “Aye,” he confirmed, inhaling deeply. “I am ready.” And he believed he was. Although this task he was undertaking, was almost as monumental as joining the famed Fellowship of the Ring had been it was vastly different. It was certainly fraught with unknown danger, but the end goal was of a different caliber.
For Legolas was not going on a quest to destroy a thing of evil. No, Legolas was undertaking a journey to discover the young woman who’d intervened in their time in Rivendell slightly over two and a half years ago. After the Fellowship had broken and the splintered pieces of it had achieved something they’d barely dared dream of, freedom from Sauron, Legolas and Gimli had kept their promises to each other. As Legolas had promised, he had marveled at the beauty of the gems and brilliance in the deepest bejeweled recesses at Helm’s Deep in the heart of the country of Rohan. And Gimli had reciprocated by traveling back to the fearsome forest of Fangorn at the foot of the Misty Mountains. But, having fulfilled these oaths to one another, Legolas had found himself at a loss for what to do now. His blood, stirred by adventure and not quite ready to accept the call of the seagulls that lured him to the sea and thoughts of the ancient promise of the Elvish haven of Valinor, determined to find a new source of adventure
And it was a chance remark by Samwise Gamgee, dedicated gardener and friend of Frodo Baggins, the Ring Bearer, that made Legolas think more on the young woman, Willow Rosenberg. Sam had simply wondered if Miss Willow had safely returned to the bosom of family and friends, hearth and home, as the four young hobbits, Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Sam himself were planning to do.
Many times, Legolas had wondered himself if Willow was safe. He could scarce believe that she was, knowing what she had told him and others of her world and this… Mouth of Hell where she resided. Legolas was honest enough with himself that it was more than care and concern over Willow’s welfare that prompted him to approach Gandalf with the proposition of checking on the young woman.
Gandalf had vehemently opposed the idea. In the beginning, at least. He had explained to the Elf that meddling with the fabric of the Universe at large was not a good idea, especially to do so on purpose. Willow’s accidental traveling to their world was bad enough and so Legolas had remained quiet on the subject, ready to accept that it was simply not possible. But over the course of the next few days, something, or perhaps it was a someone, changed Gandalf’s mind. Or perhaps he was just overruled. An irritable Mithrandir had shown up in the throne room of Minas Tirith, city of the King Of Gondor (who just happened to be a dear friend to Legolas). There he had told Legolas that his wretched idea had been bandied about, never revealing who had been bandying, and that the Elf was going to be granted his wish.
Immediately Legolas had been urged to explain himself to the King of Gondor, one Estel, whom Legolas still privately called Aragorn, and his dearest friend, Gimli the Dwarf. And he had, in matter of fact tones, described the adventure he sought. Gimli had agreed that it did indeed sound like a fine time and a curious one as well. He had been fully and wholeheartedly in agreement, until he was informed by Gandalf, that he wouldn’t be going. It was for Legolas alone to do this. And then it was that it became the worst idea in all of Arda. Much worse than attacking Sauron head on in an attempt to divert his interest from Frodo and the ring. But despite all objections, Gandalf and Legolas were adamant and had their way.
Now Legolas just hoped to be gone and return before his father, Thranduil, caught wind of this idea. And so now he was on his way to the throne room of Minas Tirith, where the spell would take place. One designed to cut through the fabric of the separate dimensions with little fuss. There was danger of upsetting the balance of the worlds in which they each dwelled, but it was important enough for Legolas to go. So go he did. He only hoped that Gimli would not sulk, for long at least. He knew his Dwarven companion too well.
Finally recalling himself to the words that Gandalf had spoken, Legolas replied politely. “I am ready Mithrandir,” he agreed, then cocked his head to the side, his long blonde hair falling in accordance with the movement, making his features appear even slimmer than usual. “Unless there is more that you wish to speak to me of? Or something that I have forgotten?”
“Nay,” Gandalf smiled. “As long as you abide by the guidelines set before you, I believe that you shall prosper in your time in young Willow’s world. From all she described, I can not say that an Elf would be amiss. Especially in her home town. How did she describe the citizenry there?”
“As ones apt to practically indulge in the art of self delusion,” Legolas recalled with a delicate shrug of his slender shoulders.
“I don’t think she put it so kindly,” Gandalf chuckled as they paused to wait for the guardsmen to wrench open the large floor to ceiling doors that marked the entrance of the throne room. Stepping through the entry, they were forced to wait once more as the herald announced their presence to his liege lord and King, Aragorn. As if the Ranger couldn’t see for himself that they had arrived. Well, it was one of the things a newly throned king must endure. And since the country of Gondor had been without king these many, many years, Aragorn and all around him understood the need for the citizens to indulge in their every whim with their new monarch.
Estel immediately put aside the matter he was perusing when he saw his old friends. He dismissed the servant with a wave of his hand, though it was anything but a dismissive gesture. Already he took care of his people to a greater extent than they were used to under the Stewardship they had recently known. He rose from his throne, which really was an uncomfortable piece of furniture, in favor of greeting his friend and companion in a manner befitting those of brothers.
Aragorn grasped Legolas’ upper arms and squeezed quickly, a wolfish grin coming to his face. “I see your plans to leave us have not changed,” he murmured. Legolas simply smirked. Sometimes Aragorn enjoyed stating the obvious. But who was Legolas to deny him the pleasure of his banality. There was a scuffled sound from the corner, which neither man nor Elf had to look at to identify.
“How long has he been pouting?” Legolas asked in dulcet smooth tones, not letting his face belie the slight pain that his friend’s behavior was causing.
“Since you first announced your plan, as you well know,” Aragorn blurted back immediately.
“I meant today,” Legolas clarified with a long suffering sigh.
“Ah, today,” Aragorn drew out the words. He tilted his head to the side and scratched at his cheek, seeming to ponder. “What time did the rooster crow upon his rise?”
“So all day then?” Legolas bantered, shaking his head. He could easily see that this journey that he planned was upsetting his human friend as well, but in true fashion of the man Aragorn had become, he was trying not to judge Legolas’ decision. He understood that Legolas was no youngling that needed a nurse to stand over him constantly.
The pair continued to joke as they finally made their way to the table at which Gimli was seated. Gandalf had already joined the Dwarf and was breaking his fast with the sumptuous food the palace chefs provided. Gimli, reserved in a manner very foreign to the stout creature, simply smoked on his pipe and avoided Legolas’ gaze.
Eventually, what was left of the Fellowship and some others that they had managed to gather along the way, had joined them, wishing to say a farewell to the Elf of Mirkwood. To Legolas’ surprise, they seemed to have planned almost a small going away party. At least, each had something, a small gift to give him to help him fare well on his journey.
From the Hobbits, came food. For as Samwise put it, he might not know where his next few meals were coming from. And as wonderful as lembas bread, the Elvish wayfarer meal, was, it could get boring after a while. From Aragorn and his bride, Arwen Undomiel, the gift of weaponry, for they had no wish to lose their friend to the harsh clime of Willow’s world.
The king’s steward, Faramir, and his bride, Eowyn, White Lady and Shieldmaiden of Rohan, offered to him more clothing. Both laughed over the fact that they’d both ridden many days without chance to change and that one moist likely wanted to meet an old, ahem… friend again while looking one’s best. Legolas tried to protest that Willow was just a friend, and barely that, since they knew each other for such a short period. This was the truth. But the couple was still caught in the first blushes of romance and was apt to see it in everything and everyone around them.
Gandalf, for his part, was as secretive as he usually was. He pulled Legolas to the side and handed him a medium sized bag, admonishing him not to open it until he was somewhere safe. He was to keep it from any suspicious characters and not let it near fire. Merry and Pippin’s eyes lit up when he mentioned that and Legolas was about to refuse and shove the proffered gift back into Gandalf’s arms, but then Sam and Frodo gasped. Sam announced it a very fine gift indeed and Frodo’s smile matched Gandalf’s. So if Sam and Frodo approved, then Legolas had no choice but to accept. And after a moment, he believed he knew as well what the bag contained. And agreed with all of Gandalf’s conditions.
At long last, it was Gimli’s turn for farewells. Legolas had been half afraid that the Dwarf would refuse and they would part on bad terms. But Gimli was made of much sterner stuff. And he also had the most unexpected and treasured gift to share with his unlikely Elvish companion. From his inner vest pocket, he withdrew a small chain, on which there resided a brilliant diamond, set among a backdrop of metal shaped golden leaves. Legolas gasped in appreciation.
Although the Elves were not inclined to mine through rock and strip the world of its resources as Dwarves were inclined to do, they did appreciate the beauty to be found in these simple things. And the diamond that Gimli had chosen could only have come from the mines of Helm’s Deep. The leaves of course, reminded him at once of many places. First and foremost was the Woods of Lothlorien, with their golden Mallorn trees. He remembered also Fangorn forest, as he and Gimli wandered there for many days. But he also thought a moment on home. The forest of Mirkwood, once Greenwood the Great. And as he did, something within the diamond shimmered. He pulled the gem closer to his eyes, though he need not have done so. His eyesight was keener than most.
“Gimli!” he gasped, surprised almost beyond words. “Is that-?” He couldn’t finish. Within the diamond was something more precious than all the riches in the earth. Precious simply because it was worth that much to his friend.
“Aye,” Gimli finally spoke, gruff, his throat full of emotion. “One of Lady Galadriel’s hairs.” There were noises of surprise from everyone gathered, save Gandalf, who had helped Gimli achieve the final outcome of the pendant. They all knew how highly above anything else Gimli valued the three strands of hair that Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien had given him, showing favor that she had shown no other man, Dwarf or Elf. For Gimli to have parted with even one, as he had done, assured all gathered how highly the Dwarf valued his friend.
“Gimli,” Arwen spoke softly into the stilted, heartfelt silence, “this is most exquisite.” She glanced down at the Dwarf and laid a soothing hand on his shoulder. “But I expect there is more to it than just to be a pretty bauble.”
Gimli nodded and with a deep breath and a glance at Gandalf, explained. “Gandalf needed something to warn you about when the spell would end and you would be returned home to us. He asked if I had something that would suit.”
“Any old gem would have sufficed,” Gandalf interrupted with a scoff. “But Gimli refused that path.”
“Well can you blame me if I thought the overgrown squirrel needed a few reminders of home while he’s off gallivanting around the God’s know where!” Gimli exploded. He looked surprised at his own outburst and took a deep breath. “Anyway lad, the leaves are to remind you of your home. The gem is to remind you of your friends. And Lady Galadriel’s hair is to remind you of the beauty that our world has.” Legolas could see that Gimli would have said more, but he seemed to be choking up. So Legolas simply bent over and gave the Dwarf a one armed embrace about the shoulders.
“With friends like you Gimli,” Legolas whispered quietly, for the Dwarf’s ears only, “how could I forget?” There was a snort from the shorter male and then laughter. It eased Legolas’ heart to know that their parting would be easier now that Gimli had accepted it. Had even gone to great lengths to secure. He looked up to Gandalf. "How long will the spell allow me?”
“It is hard to say,” the White Rider murmured. “I was never able to comprehend if time moved in the same manner in Willow’s world as it did here. Some of the days of week and months were the same as the Hobbit’s shire reckoning calendar. But the years were different. And some of the words were slightly unfamiliar. That is why we came up with this. The gem will change color when the day of returning has come.”
Legolas nodded. That certainly made sense. He looped the necklace around his throat and let it settle comfortably against his chest. The diamond, though icy looking, still held the warmth of being so close to the Dwarf’s body for so long and Legolas took it as a good sign. Gandalf seemed to as well, for he began shooing everyone back.
“It’s time, it’s time,” he chanted, pulling a curious Pippin away by a slightly pointed ear. “Out of the circle Master Took, unless you wish to be thrown into the nether regions or the void of Morgoth. Never telling where inquisitive Hobbit’s might end up when they stick their nose into businesses not their own!” The warning was enough to make Pippin gulp and jump back, even though no definitive circle had been produced.
It was a slight that Gandalf quickly took care of. Legolas and his belongings were surrounded by a pale golden light. The light, along with Gandalf’s chant rose and fell, like waves, the tide rising further and further until Legolas was encompassed. And when they dropped for the final time, the Elf and all his belongings from the circle were gone.