Author’s Note: One of my reviewers complained that I misrepresented Boromir’s and Faramir’s mother as a shield-maiden of Rohan, when she was actually a princess of Dol Amroth. I have two things to say to that.
1) I didn’t have access to the books when I was writing that part, and was working solely from an outline of the book I found online, which didn’t mention the particulars of Boromir’s ancestry. Therefore and to wit: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (if you imagine me saying this in Gregorian plainsong, it’s ever so much more fun).
2) You’re ok with the concept of a vampire slayer falling through a portal, her sister-the-blob-of-energy coming through another portal, Boromir living instead of croaking, and a number of other changes I made to the canon for my own nefarious purposes, and the one thing you object to is Boromir’s genealogy? That’s pretty funny. I like your priorities.
The Gift of Death, Chapter 27
There was much fluttering and muttering, giggling and wiggling the next day. Too much, thought Faramir, for a place of healing, but he was becoming used to his brother’s future wife and her sister. They had strange manner of speaking, and were oddly masculine in both dress and demeanor sometimes—even now, Dagnir sat sprawled in a chair on the far side of Dawn’s bed with her ankle resting on the opposite knee, chattering happily with her sister, Boromir, and her new husband.
That was another odd thing—Dagnir’s relationship with the elf. Boromir had shared a grim tale of misunderstanding, death, and boons from the Valar until Faramir’s head quite swum in confusion. That she would forgive Legolas so quickly was testament either to her immense love for him, or else her immense foolhardiness. He hoped it was not the latter.
He still did not know what the elf had whispered into Dawn’s ear the previous night. It was very frustrating, this being bedridden. He was a soldier, a warrior, a Man of action. He was bored, and his new scars itched ferociously. His only comfort was in knowing that he was healing quickly, for had not the healer allowed him to take a short walk around the garden yesterday afternoon? He was not as well as Merry, for while the Hobbit had been able to take each of the seven meals a day he desired, Faramir could only yet eat sparingly, but he fared better than Dawn, who was still too weak to leave her bed.
Or poor Eowyn… Faramir was most impressed with the shield-maid’s resilience, and even more so with her brother’s devotion. Rarely did Eomer leave her side, but tried ever to coax her to stay awake just a moment longer, or to drink just a sip more of the fortifying broth supplied by the gallon.
Faramir was aware of Eowyn’s mortification when Aragorn and Gandalf returned for their answer; he felt her acute embarrassment at being privy to a private moment due to her stationing in the room, and smiled at her, looking to make her feel more at ease.
He did not expect, then, the flash of sudden attraction he felt at the sight of her eyes so large and sad against her white face, golden hair spilling over the pillows, and she offered him a wobbly smile of her own in gratitude for his kindness. “I thank you, my lord,” she whispered. “It is not meet for me to know of these private things, but you must feel as awkward as I.”
Faramir found himself scrambling for a reply. He settled for saying, “Um, yes,” and then flinched at its inanity. She did not seem to find fault with it, however, for which he was profoundly pleased. “You are feeling better this day?” he queried.
And so started their conversation, held in hushed tones as the rest of the room with its raised voices and disappointed sighs receded into the background.
“You refuse our plea?” Gandalf said, his voice bleak as he met Dawn’s gaze. Beside him, Aragorn rubbed his hand wearily over his face.
“Yes,” she replied softly. “I’m sorry, but I’m just not well enough. There’s more than just me to consider. My health is important to Buffy and Boromir and… others. It’s just not a good idea.”
“But—“ Aragorn began, only to be cut off by his foster brother’s hand on his arm.
“Leave off, Estel,” Elrohir said quietly, staring at Dawn. “You ought not try to change her mind; it is decided.”
“Very well.” Gandalf’s disappointment was palpable. “We should go, now, and prepare to depart on the morrow.”
Buffy caught up with them as they cleared the doorway. “Um, I’m sorry,” she said awkwardly. “I know you were really counting on her Key-ness helping out To be honest, I’m surprised she refused. I was positive she would insist on going.”
“It matters not, Dagnir,” Gandalf replied tiredly. “We will just have to find another way.” He turned and made his way down the street, a solitary figure all in white, very upright despite his aged appearance.
Aragorn was about to follow him when Buffy tugged at his sleeve. “Are we okay?” she asked the Man, eyes huge as she looked up at him.
He sighed. “Of course, Buffy,” he said, one of his rare instances of him using her actual name. “Just because we shared harsh words does not mean our friendship is severed.”
“Oh, good,” she said in relief, and hugged him fiercely. “I love you, you big jerk.”
“Likewise, you… big jerk,” Aragorn replied, grinning down at her even. The strange words felt odd in his mouth, but seemed to fit when speaking to her. “You are happy with Legolas?”
the popular question around here lately,” she said, fairly glowing at the
thought of the elf. “Yeah, I am.”
”And he is aware of the beating to follow should he behave as he did after Helm’s Deep?”
“Oh, yeah,” Buffy replied with a laugh. “He’s been threatened, like, twenty times. I think he’s suitably frightened enough to be a model husband.”
“Excellent,” Aragorn said with a slow, dangerous smile before remembering something and sobering. “Have you spoken to Haldir recently?”
A pang of guilt shot through Buffy. “No,” she said slowly. “Haven’t really had the time… where is he, anyway?”
“He has been tending those of his elves injured in the battle, and doing what he can to help the Men as well.” Aragorn slid a glance her way. “He knows of your bonding with Legolas, and is… unhappy… you did not see fit to inform him yourself.”
“Oh, boy,” Buffy muttered under her breath. Haldir ‘unhappy’ was not a pretty sight. Ok, it was a pretty sight, as he was a damned hot elf, but it was certainly an unpleasant experience. “I should go see him, shouldn’t I?”
Aragorn nodded. “Yes, you should. And you should apologize sweetly, as well, for he has worried greatly about your pain only to learn you have wed he who caused it in the first place.”
“Ooh,” Buffy groaned. “You’re giving me to big-brother lecture on how to treat people.”
He only smiled. “It is nothing compared to what Haldir will say, I assure you.”
And it was, too—Buffy sought and found Haldir in a tent healing the infected stump of a Rohirrim who’d lost a leg in the battle, and the cold look the elf sent her way sent actual chills over her flesh.
“Can we talk?” she asked timidly. He nodded curtly and rose from his patient, washing his hands with typically brisk, efficient motions before following her outside and leading her to another tent. Inside were three cots and the detritus typical to three elves at war, as he was sharing it with Elrohir and Elladan. A snarled, broken bowstring lay discarded on the floor; there was a whetstone tossed haphazardly on the hastily straightened blankets of one of the cots; a small table held a packet of carefully wrapped lembas.
Once inside, he turned to face her, arms crossed over his chest, and remained silent. Was he waiting for her to speak first?
“I don’t like when you’re mad at me,” Buffy said pitifully, eyes huge and sad as she gazed up at him, but still he said nothing thing. “Haldir, please.”
“What do you wish me to say, Dagnir?” he asked at last. “Would you have me tell you I understand what you have done? I do not. Would you have me approve of your binding with Legolas? I cannot. Would you have me give you my blessing? I will not.”
“I love him,” she whispered, hanging her head.
“Love,” he repeated with a snort. “Always have I admired the capacity you have for that emotion, Dagnir, but love is what has gotten you into every mess that has ever hurt you. You will forgive me if I do not believe it will be different this time?”
“It will be!” Buffy protested. He merely arched a dark-gold brow. “It will be,” she repeated sullenly.
“And you have this on whose authority? Not the Valar’s certainly.”
“Things are different this time,” she insisted. “This time there’s nothing to keep us apart, like him being a vampire. We’re both immortal.”
“But he is an elf. You have heard yourself how his blood sings for the sea. Think you he will remain on Arda all his days? What will you do when it is time for him to leave for Valinor? Know you if you can join him there? Or will you have to remain? Will he go without you, or will he stay here, slowly wasting from the longing to join his kin in the Undying Lands? If you bear him a child, will it go with his father, or remain with his mother?” Haldir’s rapid-fire questions were making Buffy’s head swim.
“And what of Thranduil? No matter that you are immortal, think you the King of Mirkwood will be pleased to have a human, and not even a human from our own world, to daughter? He has not the same lax attitudes as myself, Dagnir, and will not be won easily.” He paused. “And yes, I mean that as a warning—he is a hard elf, as ancient and unmovable as that mountain in which he lives.”
“Do you plan on making that forest your home, so far from Dawn? No? Where then shall you settle?” The look of bafflement on her face told him she hadn’t thought of any of these things. He exhaled sharply.
“I do not blame you for not knowing the answers to these questions, for they are not concerns common to your people, but Legolas—ah, him. Yes, him I blame fully. He knows well that these issues shall cause much pain and many tears for you both.” Haldir stepped close to her and cupped her face, his thumb wiping away the lone tear that traveled down her cheek. “I would not have you hurt or cry more than you have already, Dagnir. It distresses me to see it.” And he pulled her into his embrace, resting his cheek on her head .
“You must think I’m an idiot,” she mumbled against his chest.
“Yes, but I am used to that sentiment,” he replied, and smirked at her when she pulled away to glare at him.
“Why is it that every time we have one of these talks, I can’t decide whether to kiss or kick you?”
“I suggest neither, my lady,” Haldir drawled. “You are a married woman, so the first is improper; I too am a warrior, and would match your attack easily, so the second is unadvisable.”
“You’re such an idiot,” Buffy sniffled, and hugged him again.
When Buffy returned, Dawn insisted she have a bath and get dressed in one of the gowns she’d gotten in Caras Galadhon. “I’m tired of looking all skeevy,” she declared. So Boromir carried her into a small bathing chamber and Buffy helped her scrub until her whole body was bright pink with cleanliness.
“Can’t tell you how happy I am you decided not to go,” Buffy announced as she brushed Dawn’s hair dry.
Dawn’s gaze met Boromir’s. “Yeah,” she said at last. She smiled at Legolas. “My answer would have been a lot different if not for Elf-Boy.”
Buffy arched a brow at her husband. “Oh? And why is that?” Dawn blushed then, and looked down at the coverlet; it was a very strange reaction for her of all people. “Boromir?” Buffy prompted. “I know you know what’s going on.”
Boromir looked to include his brother in the conversation, but Faramir was deeply involved in talking to Eowyn, so turned back to the others. He gave his betrothed a look of such melting sweetness that Buffy found tears coming to her eyes. “We are to be parents, according to Legolas,” he said at last, his voice husky with emotion.
Her head whipped around to Legolas. “What? So soon? How can you tell?”
He smiled. “It is a combination of things, Dagnir,” he replied. “Her scent has changed, and her fëa is altered as well. Any elf would tell you the same.”
“So that’s why Elrohir told Aragorn to lay off,” Buffy murmured in comprehension, and Legolas nodded. “How far is she along?”
“Not more than a few days; less than a sen’night, I would say. But I am sure.”
Buffy turned troubled eyes to her sister. “Fighting in that battle, and your injuries… they didn’t do anything, did they?”
“You mean to hurt… it?” At Buffy’s nod, Dawn shook her head. “I don’t think so, but it’s so soon. I just don’t know.”
Legolas placed the flat of his hand on her belly, barely touching. “There is no sign of illness there,” he said after a silent moment. “I believe all is well, but you should have Elladan check, he is vastly more skilled than I.”
“At this, perhaps,” Buffy murmured for his ears only, and the tiny smile that quirked his lips was the only indication he’d heard. “Let’s go take a walk,” she said suddenly, standing and grabbing his hand.
“Subtle, Buf,” Dawn snarked. “We don’t suspect a thing, not us. Totally sure you’re just going to walk, and not run back to the house for a booty call.”
“Hey, we’re newlyweds,” Buffy replied perkily, unperturbed that her ruse had been seen through, and pulled Legolas from the room, her sister’s and Boromir’s laughter following them out. She led him to Boromir’s house, as suspected, but instead of entering it she went to the largest tree in the garden and plopped down at the base of its trunk, drawing him down beside her.
“Outside?” he inquired, and reached for the hem of her tunic. “It bothers me not, but I would not think you unmindful of Pippin or Aragorn disturbing us—“
“I actually do want to just talk, honey,” she interrupted, brushing his hands from her clothing, and he sobered.
“Your discussion with Haldir has given you much food for thought, then?” Legolas asked quietly, and she nodded.
“He tried to blame it all on you, but I’ve been around elves enough to know that I should have asked these questions before we joined, Legolas,” Buffy said. “I was just so… happy.”
He smiled sweetly at her, making her breath come faster as it always did at the sight. “That is my plea as well, for such an omission.” Taking up her hand, he pressed his lips to her fingers in turn before laying a kiss in the palm. “I fear my eagerness to be one with you clouded my judgment. And much as it pains me to say it, Haldir is correct.”
“He brought up three issues that are pretty important,” Buffy told him, allowing her free hand to stroke the cornsilk of his hair, threading through the fine strands that ran like silk over her fingertips as she admired the play of sunlight over him. God, she loved him. “Your father… he’s gonna be pretty pissed off that you married a human, isn’t he?”
Legolas shifted to lay on his side, and placed his head in her lap. “My father is ever agitated over aught I do,” he replied. “Though he loves me dearly, I am not the son he would wish. This no longer concerns me. He has another son to lead our people if I will not.”
Okay, then. One issue down, two more to go. “Are we… do you want to have children, Legolas?” she asked, suddenly a little shy.
He rolled onto his back and looked up at her. “Right now? You said you wanted to talk.”
Buffy lightly smacked his shoulder. “Stupid elf,” she admonished, and he grinned. “I mean, eventually.”
“Perhaps in a century or two,” he said comfortably. “Let us wait until the world settles down from this latest conflict.”
“But you do want to?”
He nodded, taking her hand once more and pressing it to his cheek. “Eventually. I can think of naught better than to look at my child, and see your eyes.”
“Aw,” Buffy breathed, and bent to kiss him. His lips, as always, were soft and beckoned her to explore them more fully, but she steeled herself and merely dropped a quick smooch on them before straightening again. “That leads us to our next topic… Valinor.”
“Valinor?” Legolas was surprised enough to sit up and face her. “What of it?”
“Well, are you going?”
“I… yes. Yes, I am. I know not when, but yes. I am going.” Realization was dawning on his face. “Unless you cannot, and then I will stay here with you.”
“But… what about the gulls?” she asked, her voice small. “You said you heard them in your dreams, that you would have no rest under any tree ever again.”
“That is true,” he admitted, pulling her to sit on his lap and winding his arms around her. “I will lie not, and say it will be a simple matter for me to endure. But more deeply would it wound me to part from you, Buffy. I would remain in Arda to the end of my days, to be with you and our children, and never see the shining shores of Valinor if that is what is required.”
Legolas lowered his head and sipped the tears from her cheeks. “Weep not, tithen maethoramin,” he admonished gently. “I have what Haldir does not, and that is hope. I cannot think the Valar would keep you from their home, nor our children. If they would, surely there must be some way to convince them of your worthiness to make that journey and live your days in the Undying Lands.”
He pressed her hands to his chest, where she could feel the steady, comforting beat of his heart. “Where there is love, there is hope; where there is love, there is strength. We shall endure, herves-nîn, no matter what sour Haldir might say.”
Buffy tucked her head under his chin and snuggled closer. “I love you,” she told him, and kissed the smooth skin of his throat.
“And I you, Buffy. And I you.”
fëa = aura, soul, spirit
herves-nîn = my wife
tithen maethoramin = my tiny warrior