Rivendell. October 12th 2998, Third Age...
Lord Elrond was determined to find out what his sons were keeping from him and if he had to resort so something as undignified as crawling and hiding behind a bush for the chance to listen in on one of their private conversations, then so be it.
He just hoped Galadriel, or Eru forbid, Thranduil never caught wind of this for they would never let him hear the end of it.
"What do you think Buffy's doing?" Elladan asked his twins, causing Elrond to hold his breath at the wistful tone of voice.
There was that name again, it sounded as if they were speaking about a person. The longing that Elrond could clearly hear in his son's voice gave him a strange feeling in his stomach.
Elrond watched as his twin sons turned to each other with matching grins. "Killing orcs," they said simultaneously with an amused chuckle.
Elrond would've smiled if it wasn't for the fact that even their laughter sounded wrong somehow.
"Aye, she's probably killing those beasts while complaining about ruined clothes and broken nails," Elrohir sighed. "I wish we were there listening to her complain."
Elrond's eyes narrowed in thought. Buffy was a female, that was surprising. He did not know many female warriors, he could think of only a few, and none of them were named Buffy. The name sounded foreign, it was not an Eldar name, nor was it a name used by the Edain. He had never heard it during his life time.
Who was this female, a what was her relation to his children?
"I wish she had accepted our offer and journeyed home with us," Elladan suddenly spoke, startling Elrond from his thoughts. "She needs a rest from killing. Without us there who knows what kind of trouble she is getting herself into. We should have forced her to come with us."
Elrond couldn't ignore the apprehensive feeling that came over him when he heard Elladan's words, and the fear his son tried, but failed to hide.
He obviously felt a great deal about this...Buffy, whoever she was. Why had they not spoken to him about her. It was so clear to see from his son's words that they cared about the female, loved her even. Why had they kept this from him as if it was some great secret they could not share with anyone?
In any other situations he would have been ecstatic to know Elladan had found someone to love. Elves did not love easily, and when they did, they loved deep and eternally. To find out his son had found this gift for himself would have left him ecstatic.
This situation however, was different. Elladan and Elrohir were keeping her existence a secret which meant she was unsuitable in some way.
Elrohir chuckled harshly.
Elrond could not say that he liked the sound of it. It sounded bitter, angry and utterly helpless. He had never heard such a sound come from his son's mouth, and never wanted to again
"Yes, of course," Elrohir scoffed "You and what army? Buffy would have beaten you within an inch of your life had you tried to force her to do something she did not want to do. Do you think I relish the thought of her out there on her own fighting Eru knows what, and knowing her, probably angering Sauron himself in the process? I do not. But I knew she would never come with us, and instead of wishing she was here I cannot stop myself from wishing we were with her."
His words were drenched in helplessness.
This female clearly meant a great deal to both Elrohir and Elladan, and the apprehension he previously felt was slowly turning into outright panic. Somehow, call it father's intuition, call it for-sight, he didn't know what it was, he just knew with absolute certainty that this woman was mortal.
Suddenly it dawned on him that Elrohir loved her too. It became obvious just by watching him.
Both his sons were in love with the same woman. Did they know? Did Elrohir know his brother was in love with the woman he loved? Did Elladan know?
Was this woman playing his sons against each other?
Did she love his sons the way they clearly loved her? And if she did, who would she choose? Was he about to lose his sons to mortal deaths, because they chose to tie their life force to a mortal?
Either way, he would lose both his sons to this woman. One to mortal death, and the other would choose to fade if his love was not reciprocated. When elves fell in love it was forever, one of his sons would not want to live on.
Fear, mind numbing fear at the thought of losing his sons.
"I think it is time for us to join her," Elladan offered quietly, causing Elrond to take a sharp intake of breath. "The last letter that infernal bird of hers delivered said she was headed to Mirkwood to work out some of her aggression, we know she was there, if Estel's pretty dwarf story was any indication. It should not be too difficult for us to track her."
Estel's story? Elrond's mind was racing in countless directions, trying to understand what Elladan could mean. Pretty dwarf...the woman who saved Estel...was Buffy.
He knew Elladan and Elrohir were up to something. To think, that they knew Estel story was the truth and never said anything to confirm it. Elrond had forced that poor boy to drink all kinds of distasteful medical potions, trying to cure him of his none-existent delusions.
He was going to make them pay for that.
Just as he thought there was nothing else the twins could say to shock him like finding out they were both in love with the woman who saved their brother's life, Elrohir spoke.
"I agree," he said, nodding thoughtfully. "I have grown restless as of late. I could use a good fight, patrolling the borders is becoming a bit tedious, especially with Buffy killing off all the orcs before they come withing smelling distance of Rivendell."
Elrond's eyebrows rose in shock. He had heard the worrisome reports of his men; they were encountering less orcs than usual on their patrols. The borders had been unusually quiet and many had wondered if it was perhaps the calm before the storm.
There were endless debates and many speculations about what the orcs were planning. To find out that it wasn't a nefarious plot cooked up by their enemy but rather a warrior girl killing the orcs before they could get close to Rivendell was shocking.
Why had Elrohir and Elladan not said anything? Why had they left their people to worry when there was a different explanation for what was happening?
"So it is agreed upon," Elladan nodded firmly, the corner of his mouth curled into a pleased smile, bringing Elrond out of his shock to focus on their conversation.
"Yes. I did not want to leave without at least seeing Estel, but now that he is safely home, it is time for us to join Buffy. My eyes long to see her and my hands are itching to go on an orc killing spree."
Elladan snorted. "You do know she did it deliberately, yes? If this does not have Buffy's deviousness written all over it, I'll kiss that infernal, sorry excuse for a bird."
Elrohir's smirked amusedly. "No need to go that far, Brother. I am well aware of Buffy's machination, she made sure of that."
"It was rather obvious, was it not?"
Elrohir chuckled amusedly. "What? Buffy killing every enemy that dared to tread too close to Rivendell? It was less subtle than a written invitation asking us to come out and play," he snorted. "She knows how twitchy you become without having a daily dose of orcs to decapitate."
Elladan scowled. "You are even worse. I'd liken you to Buffy not being an early-bird, but honestly, there's no comparison. Buffy is worse, much worse. If she ever meets Glorfindel I will ask him if she reminds him of the Balrog he slayed. I am quite certain they are related somehow."
Elrohir laughed. "Don't let her hear you say that. She'll make you pay for it."
Elladan cocked an eyebrow. "I am not that foolish. I will however give her an earful about robbing me of my prey."
Elrohir smiled. "Do not be too hard on her, Brother. Knowing Buffy, it's a sign she misses us as much as we miss her. She may not write about it in her letters, but we both know how she feels, for we feel it too."
"Incomplete," Elladan muttered so softly that Elrond almost didn't catch it.
Elladan stayed silent for a long time, wearing a thoughtful frown, Elrohir sitting patiently by his side, waiting for his brother to collect his thoughts.
Finally after a long time, just as Elrond was about to leave, convinced there was nothing more to learn, Elladan turned to his brother with an unreadable expression, and Elrohir met his gaze unflinchingly.
Elrond did not know why, but he had a feeling the wordless exchange between his sons was important somehow. As if they came to a momentous decision.
Elladan gave his brother a wistful smile that caused a tight feeling in Elrond's chest, and nodded curtly.
"Let's go to training fields to practice our swordplay before Buffy gets the ridiculous notion she needs to 'teach us some moves' as she would say. My back almost aches from the mere thought of one of her training sessions."
Elrohir chuckled mirthfully as he followed his twin out to the training fields.
"I can honestly say that is at least something I do not miss."
Elrond watched his sons leave with happy smiles on their faces at the thought of leaving Rivendell and he could do nothing but worry.
He was unsure how to feel about this strange development. Rivendell was a haven of peace and tranquility for his people. To watch his sons grow excited at the mere thought of leaving left him confused and hurt.
It pained him that Elrohir and Elladan preferred someone else's company over that of his and their brother and sister. A mortal's company over that of their own kind.
It also scared him. His twin sons, that had not noticed a female looking their way since their naneth sailed into the West, loved a possibly mortal warrior girl named Buffy.
A small part of him was happy his sons finally showed interest in something other than killing orcs, but the larger, more dominant part, was panicking.
He could not lose his sons to death, he simply could not. It was painful enough to watch his twin brother make the same choice centuries ago, but not his sons, he would not let them. How could he face his beloved Celebrian knowing he left her sons in Middle Earth to grow old and wither?
This would not do, this would not do at all. He was going to have to put a stop to this.
He took a deep breath and turned away from the retreating backs of his twins. There was no need to do anything rash. He still had time, he would use it to think of a plan.
Elrond would not let his beloved Elrohir and Elladan die, he simply could not.