Since I can't sleep, I'll do apocalypsos's pairings list challenge. I claimed Merry/Buffybot.
Yes, I know. The girl who kvetches all the time about obsessions with pairings. Mea culpa. I wanted a plot bunny. Let's see what I can do with it. One hour. I'll stop at 3:14, unless I've fallen asleep suddenly on my keyboard before then.
I'll try to keep it in character, but I have a feeling that allowances will need to be made try and mix Tolkien and Whedon. They don't really mix well.
Merry Brandybuck went out through the gate in the High Hay, kicking it closed behind him in an irritable way. "Out too late," he muttered. "It's my ruddy business how late I'm out, not hers. We're not even engaged."
He turned to lock the gate, muttering more incoherently at the key in his hand, then slapped at a nearby tree. This wasn't always the brightest thing to do in the Old Forest, but nothing came of it. He'd just have to remember not to do it again. He didn't fancy being caught inside one of them.
He stormed down the path that led away from Buckland into the shadows of the woods, toward the scar from the long ago fire. The path shifted and moved, but this no longer bothered him. He'd made his way through other forests, older forests, and he knew he could find his way back.
Or, at the very least, find the Withywindle and get to Tom Bombadil. A visit with old Tom might be a fine thing to do.
A long visit.
A visit in which Miss Estella where-do-you-think-you've-been-I've-been-w
He might have stormed right through the meadow that had formed in the burn scar if he hadn't been busy thinking of irritated things to say to her when he got back--after a nice respite of never ever thinking about her--and had been watching his footing instead. Alas, as luck would have it, he was quite occupied with formulating a biting remark about how she had turned him down before he'd gone off to war and had no business asking after him now, and he didn't see the tree root that raised itself stealthily from the forest floor. Nothing dangerous, just mischievous. He could swear he heard the trees laughing as he flew, face forward, into the center of the clearing.
"Are you all right?"
Merry blinked and raised his head. He was looking at a pair of feet in strange sandals, made of some kind of leather he had never encountered before--it was bright blue and shiny, and had little markings, like iron which had been poured into a mold. What appeared to be a paper flower was situated above a neat, hairless toe.
He scrambled to his feet.
The girl was a child of Men, shorter than Eowyn, but with the same golden hair. She was wearing a very short skirt, which came only to her knees and had a flounce of white at the bottom. Her blouse was tight across her...
She blinked at him vapidly and smiled widely. "Did you hurt yourself?" she asked cheerfully. "I can kiss it and make it better if you'd like. Or maybe you'd like to have sex."
"Are you the one that Eugene was sending me to? Warren found me all broken and sent me to his friend Eugene in England, and Eugene fixed me and he was going to send me back to Warren for something, but then there was a whirlpool. It was bright and shiny, and then I was here." She tipped her head back and forth. "I miss Spike, but Eugene said that I wouldn't be going to Spike. Am I going to you?"
"Er... what? I mean, I don't believe so. Are you lost, Miss?"
"Oh, yes. I know what direction is east, and north, and south, and west, but I don't know where I am or where I'm supposed to go. Do you know how I could get back to Oxford? I'm supposed to be shipped by air mail. Warren and Eugene figured out how to cheat on postage years ago." She smiled again in a daft sort of way.
"I'm not familiar with the place you're speaking of. Is it in Gondor?"
"It's in England. That's where Spike was from."
"Oh. Could I perhaps arrange for an escort to Bree? Someone there could help you. A Ranger."
"What's a Ranger?"
Not from Gondor, then.
Merry frowned, a bit nonplused. He wasn't accustomed to meeting strange girls in the Old Forest, certainly not of the race of Men, and certainly not so chipper and... eager.
"Listen, Miss, I know a house where someone might be able to help you. It's on the Withywindle, a bit further into the Forest. It--"
She cocked her head very suddenly and narrowed her eyes. "Look out," she said.
In a smooth move, she broke a long limb from a dead tree and split it in two, twirling each pointed half like a showman's dagger.
A snarl broke the air, and a wolf jumped into the clearing, claws out, teeth bared. He ignored the girl and leapt on Merry. He barely had time to draw his sword for the fight before the sharp claws were descending toward him and then...
The wolf flew backward.
In a blur of motion, the girl--still smiling--wrestled the animal to the ground and plunged her sharp stick into it. It fell limp.
She stood up and brushed the twigs from her skirt. "Are you all right?" she asked again. The other half of the limb was still held in one hand, casually, the way a seasoned soldier would hold a sword. For a moment, Merry was reminded very strongly of Eowyn.
He nodded. "You're... quite strong."
"I work out."
"You know. Exercise. To keep me healthy and strong. Would you like to have sex now? You're very short, but that's all right. We could play games."
The resemblance to Eowyn shattered in a second. The girl was a warrior, certainly, but--
Her strong hands gripped his shoulders, and her mouth descended on his without warning, pressing into it deliciously, her tongue darting between his lips.
"Miss--" he managed when she stopped, then couldn't think how to follow it up. What did one say to someone whose tongue had just been in one's mouth? "I... don't believe I know you well enough to take such a liberty," he finally managed. "I don't know your name, nor do you know mine."
"I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," she said, blinking happily. "Or, well, I was supposed to be, but I saw the other me come back just before I was broken. And then Spike was there, and Dawn. And then it was dark, and then Warren found me. What is your name?"
"Meriadoc Brandybuck. People call me Merry."
"Oh. Well, that's all right. Other men have girl's names, too. And some of them are short," she added thoughtfully. "What would you like to do now?"
"Nothing I can... did you say vampire slayer?"
Merry considered asking for clarification, then decided that he might well be better off without it. "And Buffy."
He supposed it was a hobbitish name of sorts--short and not terribly impressive. It could have come from Hobbiton or thereabouts, where such names were common, particularly in the Baggins family. But Buffy was certainly no hobbit. He shook his head. "Well, as, er, invigorating as you are, Buffy, I think maybe we should get to someone who can help you find your way."
Merry took that as an affirmative, and held out his arm for her to take. She smiled brightly and looped her own through it.
It took them three days to reach Tom Bombadil.
By the time they got there, Merry was beginning to wonder if Estella would be willing to "work out."
Huh. That's all I have, and it's only 2:56. I guess that's it. I never tried a bizarre pairing before. Story cross-posted to ithurtsmybrain, appropriately enough.