The 8 Days of Hanukkah
Title: The 8 Days of Hanukkah
Author: Restive Nature
Timeline: For Buffy Season 2 Christmas/ Hanukkah. For LotR, the Fellowship has left Rivendell and are journeying to Moria.
Disclaimer: Neither of these shows/ books belongs to me. Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Lord of the Rings belongs to Tolkien.
Summary: It doesn’t matter who you share your holiday with as long as you care enough to share it.
A/N- For the TtH Fic-for-All. Pairing # 312 Willow/ Legolas
A/N2 – I am not Jewish, so all of my information on the holiday comes from the Internet. For any readers that are Jewish, I respect everyone’s religion and the right to practice it. If there are any errors in regard to the Hanukkah holiday in this fiction, please let me know how I can correct them. Thank you.
"Another one mellon nin?" Aragorn asked of his tall Elven friend Legolas. The blonde elf was crouched over his pack, holding some small gold colored, flat rounds that had mysteriously appeared. They certainly hadn’t been there the evening before when he’d rearranged his pack. The weight needed to be spread around occasionally as gravity befell it and things shifted equally to the bottom. "What are those?" Aragorn continued, looking on with interest.
The past few days it seemed that the Elf was always finding something of interest in his pack. From the small wooden toy shaped like a top that had amused the Hobbits so well when Gandalf was considering rationing the food. To the small round powdered doughy treats that had been filled with jelly that had greeted them the first morning after said rations were most definitely reduced. Sufganiyot, Legolas recalled the word that the young redheaded witch had given the description of the treats. And the toy had been a dreidel.
Though the words had been strange to him, the memory the objects had evoked in the witch had tugged at Legolas’ heart. There were many days that the Elves celebrated during the seasons that turned and each one held import to him. But his mind had ever been eager to learn and explore.
When the young human had inexplicably shown up in Rivendell a few days after their council had finished, everyone had been baffled. Elrond and Gandalf had immediately taken council, wondering if she were a spy sent by Saruman or worse, Sauron. But after talking to the girl and hearing her explanation, they’d rested easier. Although, the excuse, that she was just learning her magic, earned her an hour long lecture from Gandalf about the need for caution in that area.
She had been let out to roam the fair city of Rivendell, with a pair of Elven guards at her heels. But if the girl brought any danger with her, it was that everyone she met quickly forgot any unease they may have felt around her as her natural enthusiasm, eager mind and sometimes babbling mouth engaged. Legolas was one such victim and they’d spent many hours walking under the leaves over soft glades, comparing their home worlds.
When Gandalf had announced that he’d found the correct measures to return her to her home, many had been saddened, but relieved that the girl would once again be with her family, such as it was. But while she had been there, they had shared many things and her life story had been among that. So Legolas and many of the others in the Fellowship heard about the difference in religions and peoples. They knew that the redhead was of a different people than her friends and that sometimes she felt the separation keenly. It was a minor admission she made, especially in the light of the darker things she had revealed about her world and her life. But it was what Legolas thought most on.
This young girl had embraced the fight against darkness along with these friends of hers. They knew the dangers, many of them grave. But instead of backing away, they gave it their all and then some. Never stopping until the fight was done. As he looked over the collective people of the Fellowship, so named by Elrond, he could draw the obvious conclusions. They had come together to fight their own darkness. And none of them, he hoped not one, would give up until the very end.
"Legolas?" Aragorn prompted, amusement in his tone. Legolas glanced up, slightly ashamed that he had fallen so deeply into his thoughts.
"Yes," he cleared his throat minutely. "They are called gelt, I believe. They are another type of treat."
Aragorn laughed. "As strange as young Willow was, I do not believe her people ate gold." Legolas smirked and looked down at the small rounds in his hand. He dropped them back into the pack, save one and fiddled with it for a moment. He pulled back the golden paper and exposed the brown candy underneath. He showed it to Aragorn and both men shook their head.
"And there is enough for everyone to have a taste," Legolas declared happily. Together, they set about handing them out; everyone cheered by this small gesture from a young lady sure to be long gone.
That evening, Legolas was walking softly, in his Elven way when he felt his pack shift about. He whirled around looking for the attacker, when something fell from the top of his sack. Glancing about once more, ever wary to the threat of danger, he leaned over to pick it up. The rest of the Fellowship, of whom he had rear guard at this moment, had entered the campsite that Aragorn and Boromir had set up.
Legolas shook off his pack and was not surprised to discover that the sudden weight shift he had felt had been the appearance of a goodly number of edible tubers. He settled the fallen potato on the rest and swung the pack up into his arms. He hurried into the campsite, a smile on his face. One large enough that the others quickly took notice.
"What is it this time?" Gandalf asked, his hands fumbling with his pipe.
"Potatoes," Legolas exclaimed, folding back the cover of his pack to show them.
"What’s that there?" Merry piped up; pointing at something nestled within the potatoes. Legolas glanced down again, startled to see a piece of parchment tucked among the food. He took it out and slowly read the missive, his face lighting up when he came to the end.
"Willow sent them," he explained as everyone nodded. "She says that she’s sure that we’ve not the correct equipment to make latkes," he stumbled slightly over the unfamiliar word, "but she’s confidant that Samwise will have some idea as to how we can enjoy them."
Sam reached for the potatoes, almost reverently, his eyes slightly misty. "That Miss Willow sure is a more generous soul than any I’d ever met." And there was not one among them that could gainsay him.
"Nothing?" Pippin asked hopefully, staring at Legolas. The blonde Elf shook his head regretfully, even as his hands scrabbled though his pack once more. Everyone in the Fellowship had, hoping against hope that the last gift, the eighth had somehow gotten waylaid into one of the other packs carried with them. Sam had even stripped down his pony Bill. But it was for naught. There was no eighth gift forthcoming.
"I’m sorry," Legolas apologized quietly.
"You’ve nothing to be sorry for," Gimli grumped, staring off at some wisp of cloud in the sky. "The lass just didn’t send it."
"Perhaps it’s not her fault," Frodo spoke up. He glanced towards Gandalf, where the old man was enjoying his pipe as he reclined against a rock. "You said she’s still young in her magic. Perhaps we’re too far for her to send it?"
"Perhaps," Gandalf replied enigmatically.
Legolas sighed and settled his pack at his feet. The Fellowship went on about their business. Aragorn and Boromir turned back to the education of Merry and Pippin in the art of swordplay. Sam continued to cook their noon meal. The others lounged, each one saddened that Willow could possibly have forgotten about them.
"He’s trying to bring down the mountain!" Aragorn yelled, still only barely heard by the rest as the driving snow over Caradhras played havoc on their fateful journey. "Gandalf, we must turn back!"
They were lucky to find the small enclosure. The Hobbits were near to freezing to death, especially after being buried in the avalanche Saruman had wreaked upon them. All nine of them struggled to stay awake as the cold and howling wind hammered at them. Gandalf had tried lighting a fire, but it was no use. All their materials had been used up and they could find nothingthat would burn, as wet as everything was. Even Gandalf, with his staff could not produce a flame that would live.
As everyone huddled together for warmth, occasionally jostling another back to wakefulness, especially the Hobbits, Legolas felt a strange sense of ease and once again, his pack shifted before his very eyes. With a startled gasp, his hands darted forward to open the pack.
"What is it?" Pippin mumbled sleepily. Gandalf had warned them against slumber, though they all knew the dangers of falling asleep in bitter cold. It was a sleep they might not wake from. But even knowing this, it was a battle Pippin was slowly ceasing to care about.
Legolas examined the small brass container that now rested in the palm of his hand. There was a small wick leading from the tiny opening in the top and a strange aroma filled his nostrils. He brought the container closer to his face and sniffed again. "It’s oil," he announced excitedly. He busied himself with clearing a patch on the ground as clear of snow as he could get it. "Quickly Gimli," he instructed. "Retrieve your flint and steel."
Gimli looked mildly exasperated at being ordered to get the items he’d finally settled back in his tunic with the mindset that they’d be no use. But he obeyed, yearning for warmth just as much as the others. "It won’t light," he grumbled under his breath even as he handed the flint and then the steel to the Elf.
"If Miss Willow sent it, it will," Sam defended staunchly. And true to his word, a spark caught on the wick and began to dance merrily in its small circle. Somehow that tiny light managed to push back the darkness of both the weather and the fears that weighed on their minds.
"Well it’s lit," Boromir announced morosely, staring at the flame. "But there’s not enough oil to last long."
"Perhaps there is," Legolas mused. "In the story Willow told me…" he trailed off and glanced at the others.
"Tell us," Frodo entreated. Anything was needed to stave off the madness that was oppressing them now and if it was a Willow story, all that much better. And so Legolas passed the evening, telling the others the story of Willow’s Jewish ancestorsthat had only had a small bit of oil and of the miracle in which that oil lasted for eight days.
Smiling and more relaxed now that light and a margin of warmth was theirs, Aragorn sighed. "I doubt we will be able to linger here for eight days, but this oil has already lasted a good while."
"It has," Gandalf agreed. "And moreover has provided enough warmth that I do believe one of our concerns has been taken care of." He gestured to the Hobbits that had finally succumbed to slumber, all of them piled together like a heap of exhausted puppies. Aragorn was slightly concerned and reached to wake them, but Gandalf shook his head. "Let them sleep. We need not fear the deep sleep now with this warmth surrounding us. Although we should sleep in shifts."
The others nodded and agreed and it was decided that Boromir and Gimli could have their turns now and in time the others would wake them. Then Gandalf and Aragorn would sleep. Legolas needed no rest as yet and it was better for the Hobbits to rest as much as allowable.
Later, when Aragorn and Gandalf were moving to wake Boromir and Gimli, Legolas took the opportunity to try something he’d been thinking on for some time. He relaxed himself almost into a trancelike state, forming the image of the redheaded young woman that had been so briefly in their lives. Somehow, the miracle had not been that she had appeared in their world. It was not the gifts that had appeared from her to buoy their spirits at odd moments. It was a miracle that she had such a beautiful spirit that she had shared part of it with the Fellowship in giving without expectation of receiving anything in return.
That she was able to retain that spirit, living as she did at the Mouth of Hell was another miracle. And Legolas felt truly blessed by the Gods of his world and of hers that theirs lives had been able to touch. "Happy Hanukkah Willow," he whispered.
Willow tilted her head to the side as she watched her father light the last light of their family menorah. It was always a special moment to her as the soft glow of candlelight played over her parent’s faces. As much as her parents might not notice her, or be involved in their own worlds, she was pleased that they always insisted on lighting the candles as a family. It was one tradition that she still clung to, reminding her of a time when things were simpler.
But even as she watched the wax melting under the heat of the flame dancing along the wick, she felt a warm tremor race along her spine. And then she smiled.
"And a Happy Hanukkah to you too Legolas," she whispered back.