A/N: An AU from my other story, "Through Your Eyes". What would happen if Drusilla had never had her eye set on Draco Malfoy? I'm sorry if it sounds a little Mary-Sueish, but then I'm working on it. And get out tissues later in the story, people. This story WILL NOT HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. Oh, she won't die with Haldir, but still.

For more about her, read "Through Your Eyes".

P.S. A few comments here and there in this are from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and do not belong to me.

"Ouch. OUCH! RON, GET OFF ME!!!" Came the sudden and indignant; albeit a little muffled snap. The topmost person of the human pileup, a fiery redhead, quickly scrabbled off, followed by the other three, two brunette girls; one with bushy hair that seemed to go off in all directions, and another with soft ringlets framing her face, her hair much darker than the other. Another was a boy with brilliant blue green eyes and incredibly messy hair that did not seem to listen to him.

The boy with the ebony hair, Harry, peered curiously at the strange new surroundings of the place as he got up and dusted himself off, his hand automatically drawing his wand. How the hell did they land up in a forest?

"By Merlin, Ron," Drusilla muttered, brushing herself off and wincing. She'd fallen flat on her butt, of all things. "How much do you weigh, a hundred and ninety pounds?"

Ron was about to reply when Hermione frowned, stepping up to stand next to Harry, her own wand drawn and ready. "This place looks strange. Where are we?"

And it was strange; the trees were an enchanting shade of gold that shimmered as they caught the light of the distant sun, and they were unnaturally tall, seeming to reach into the heavens. Beneath them, beautiful little flowers bloomed, and an unfamiliar but very pleasant scent hung in the air. The trees seemed to sing as the gentle wind breezed through them, and each of them felt a strange feeling of power and security radiating from it.

It was strange, this place. Rather unnerving, too. It was so silent.

"We're not in Hogwarts anymore, you guys." Drusilla spoke up as she gazed around, stunned at the drastic change of events. This was most likely the Golden Wood, then. She was familiar with this place, but didn't exactly know where to place it. But one thing was for sure. They were in… "Middle Earth," she realized.

Her home.

"What?" Ron gaped.

"We're in Middle Earth." She pointed out, and a frown was on her face. How did they get to be here? Hermione just touched something and BOOM! They were in this strange place.

"Of course!" Hermione realized, brightening considerably. "The silver mirror I touched was most likely a Portkey! That was what brought us here."

"Whatever it is, we've definitely got to get out of here," Harry said, with surprising calmness. "Do you know how to get home, Dru?"

"I think I might have an inkling," she said, a little uncertain, even as she reached into her regular Hogwarts robes and took out her own wand and glanced at her Elven pendant. How had her mother taught her to portal-jump? She froze, then looked back morosely at her three friends, who were staring at her hopefully. She hated disappointing them. "I-I don't really know."

"I thought your mother came from here," Ron remarked as their faces fell.

"She did, but she disowned me, remember?" she reminded him with a sigh, a shadow flitting in her eyes. "And I've never been to Middle Earth before."

"Then how do you know this place is Middle Earth?"

"Gut instinct. I just know. Do you see trees this big and in this color in our world?" her answer was exasperated.

"Maybe they have them in China," Harry said helpfully.

"Anywhere but China!" Drusilla shook her head, terrified and a little sick. "Those people can eat anything!"

"Guys," Hermione said with forced calmness, her smile very strained. "Can we get back to the subject at hand here? How the hell do we get back from wherever we are?"

That was the question of the moment, even as the four friends contemplated their current situation.

"Maybe we should—" Ron started to say, then squeaked in fear and surprise at the sudden appearance of many drawn, sharp arrows pointing dangerously at them from all around. They froze.

Startled that she couldn't hear them coming, Drusilla glanced up to see a strange person with long, platinum hair that reached beyond his shoulders dressed in some kind of silver-gray garb that seemed more elaborate than the other archers around him. He was well-built, a little larger, and seemingly more graceful and predatory than the archers around him. He must be the leader, from his posture and the arrogance in his aura.

Smoothly and with an air of inborn elegance, he slipped in between the archers, his keen gray eyes raking over them in turn and finally locking on Drusilla's. His face was young, but his eyes, they were ancient, filled with the wisdom and shrewdness of the ages. She caught a breath despite herself as she caught a strange glimmer in those eyes. He was breathtaking, those eyes, that fair face with perfectly chiselled features that one anyone else would look gay, but not on him…he was an elf.

Stop! She snapped, annoyed at her blatant lack of control over her hormones where this strange elf was concerned. He was the epitome of desirable, but he was most likely the person who commanded the archers to stick really pointy arrows in their faces. Some kind of welcome this was.

"Somehow I really don't think they're Chinese," Hermione managed to murmur, a tremble of fear in her voice.

"You trespass in the Northern border of the Golden Wood," his voice was clear and mellifluous, but holding a ring of command within that hinted that he tolerated no nonsense from anyone. And obviously not from them. "Lothlorien does not extend its welcome to intruders."

"We're not intruders," Harry spoke up quickly, a little intimidated from the arrows that were threatening to put new breathing holes in him. "We came here by accident."

The Elf stared at them for a contemplative moment. "You are not from Middle-Earth."

"Right. That's what he's been trying to tell you." Drusilla said, meeting his gaze head on. "We landed up here by accident."

"We mean no harm, I swear," Hermione added. "We just want to go home."

A sudden sound to the right made the archers withdraw their arrows quickly, and the leader to snap his head in that direction, his posture stiff and wary. A strange sort of odor wafted to them a moment later, and boy was it foul.

The leader seemed to recognize it immediately, drawing his own bow and arrow that looked a touch more intricate than the others'.

"Yrch!" he spoke, his eyes narrowing. The sudden tension in the air made the four of them stiffen, too, and Drusilla wondered if what the Elf spoke earlier was some kind of swear word.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Orcs," he replied coldly. "You brought them to us."

"I didn't bring anything to anyone," she snapped, feeling annoyed now.

"Your cries did." It was only a moment when several disgusting, slobbering monsters crashed through, sharp, yellowed teeth filled with drool. Merlin, they were terrifying. Drusilla couldn't help but shudder at the sight. One look at Harry and the others showed that they were also afraid. They raised their wands immediately in a purely instinctive reaction, and saw that there were so many of them…the stench was overpowering.

And so was their terror.

The Elves moved like lightning, firing arrows faster than the eye could see and striking them down with long knives. The leader of the Elves had abandoned his bow and arrow, and had taken to killing them with twin knives that glinted in the sunlight. He wove between the grisly creatures, and she could only see the flash of his blades as he cut down the Orcs as if he was cutting grass.

"Come on," Harry said urgently. "We've got to help them!"

"How?" Ron's voice was a strangled squeak. This was even worse than spiders.

"Spells, silly!" Hermione snapped as she stepped forward, trying to find an opening. "We'll hex them to tomorrow!"
"We can use the Unforgivables on them," Drusilla said grimly, trying hard to remember the various deadly hexes she'd learnt during the Defense Against The Dark Arts lessons. "They're not human, anyway."

The Orcs had spilled over to them, and in the midst of the sudden chaos, the four had been separated. Suddenly having to have to depend on herself now, Drusilla raised her wand and shouted, "Crucio!"

There was a burst of light, and three Orcs had fallen to the ground, screaming and twitching in total agony before they stopped moving altogether. She looked down at their grotesque appearances, pleased at the results. "I got to have Mad Eye Moody to thank for this," she remarked, unaware that one was approaching her from behind, sword drawn to strike…

There was a sudden screech behind her that spun her around, and she came face to face with the monster. It took a moment for her to realize that it was already dead, stabbed through the back by the leader of the Elves. Momentarily shaken at the thought that she would've been killed if it were not been for him, she swallowed, struggling to keep her terror down. "Th-thanks."

He nodded curtly, then moved with fluid grace as he decapitated another without even looking. "Watch yourself, lady. You might be skilled with magic spells, but your instincts need a lot of practice."

She didn't even feel insulted as he turned away in the chaos and began taking on a few of those blasted creatures, and she tried to push away all thought of screaming and running away as fast as humanly possible. Faintly, she could see bright flashes of light and muffled commands of her friends, but couldn't exactly see them, what with all the Orcs and Elves fighting and everything. There was black liquid everywhere, and she grimaced as she watched an Elf cut open an Orc in a blink of an eye. Oh, this was going to be in her nightmares for a long time. These Orcs or whatever they were made Voldemort look like Mr. Manhunt.

Fighting the intense urge to retch, she cursed a few more Orcs with the Crucio spell, then turned just in time to see a particularly gross-looking Orc coming from behind Elf Leader Guy, who was too preoccupied with the present two he was killing.

She leveled her wand in his direction as he snapped their necks, caught his surprised expression—apparently, he thought she was going to kill him—and said the one curse she never wanted to use on any human being, "Aveda Kudavra!"

A sickly jet of green light issued from her wand, and the particular spell was so potent that the green flash killed not only that Orc, but also the next half dozen behind it. They did not scream, but simply dropped dead like flies.

"Ooh." Drusilla was surprised at the spell, too. Now she knew why it was Voldemort's favorite curse on his enemies. By this time, the battle was over, and luckily there seemed to be no Elf casualties. Damn, they were fast. She looked over at the lead Elf. "Hey, favor returned. I don't owe you anything now."

He acknowledged it with a faint nod, then seemed to come to a decision. "I will take you to Caras Galadhon. There, the Lady will decide what to do with you." With that, he turned sharply and swept away.

"How about sending us home?" Ron asked as they followed him. At least there were no arrows pointed at them now. But the Lady, whoever it was, sounded vaguely frightening. He glanced around at his friends, and saw the apprehension on their faces. What was going to happen next?

"I'll never get this stench off my robes," Hermione made a face. "Disgusting."

"Tell me about it," Drusilla mumbled, walking next to her. "This really can't get any worse, can it?"

"Snape might decide to land up here, too." Harry pointed out absently. "We're supposed to be in his detention class after all."

"Stupid git." Ron cursed darkly, distracted from the current situation. "If he makes me scrub out the bedpans in the Hospital Wing by hand again…I mean, we were only discussing the finer points of the Enlargement Potion! It's not like we're planning to plant Stink Bombs in his classroom!"

"You did it once, remember?" Hermione said pointedly.

"And that was how long ago?"

"Last year."

"Honestly, 'Mione, do you keep a record of every little thing I do?"

"What do you mean? If you weren't so childish-"

"What! Me, childish? Why, if it hadn't been for me…"

They were at it again. Rolling her eyes, Drusilla made her way to Harry, eager to get away from the bickering couple. "Honestly, do they ever stop?" she asked. "It's getting really annoying."

He smiled wryly. "You should know, Dru. They constantly need to quarrel. Justifies their reasons for making up with each other later."

Drusilla made a face at the imagery. "Euu. Let's hope they've got broom closets in here, too."

"Or libraries." He added with a faint smile. He patted his robe, then added, "I'm glad I've got my Invisibility Cloak here with me."

She sighed. "I hope this Lady can help us get back home."

***

It seemed like an eternity before they reached civilization. Elven civilization, that was. Drusilla's legs were aching from the long walk, but the view more than made up for it. Tiny lights were woven among the trees, giving the place an almost otherworldly look. Beautiful Elves clad in white seemed to float around, and there was soft singing everywhere. Soft fountains tinkled around them, sparkling like little jewels, and tranquility blanketed the entire place.

This was what Drusilla had imagined Heaven to be like, and the word beautiful didn't even begin to do justice to the place.

Intricate structures—she supposed they were homes for the Elves or something—were perched atop trees, glittering like diamonds, and there were winding steps next to the trees themselves, leading right to the top. Little Elven children were softly playing by themselves, and the four of them watched, awe-struck.

"Bloody hell," Ron murmured, enchanted by the sight, and forgetting about what Hermione had said to him earlier. "'Mione, look at this place!"

"It's so beautiful," she breathed, her eyes taking in the sights and sounds of the place, awe-struck. "Look at all the Elves, it's like no dirt can ever touch them."

Harry and Ron shot Drusilla a meaningful look, and she glared at the two of them. "It's not my fault that I'm not dirt repellent, you know. I'm not THAT kind of Elf."

Elf Leader's—they didn't even know his name—voice cut into their conversation as they reached a particularly large tree with crystalline steps leading upward. Drusilla couldn't seem to be able to see the structure above properly—it was too bright, like the moon itself had come to stay there. "Here is the dwelling of the Lord and the Lady."

He led them up the winding steps that seemed to stretch on forever, which was already a strain on the four of them, being unused to walking very long distances AND going up almost a thousand steps after that.

At last they reached the top, huffing and feeling like their legs would give way. Harry had no chance to speak, however, as a sudden bright light almost blinded him. It was warm and filled with immense power, washing through him, and suddenly, he wasn't aching or tired any more.

It was as if God had come.

When he finally could see again, the image before him took his breath away. Two beings stood on the steps before them, and they seemed to be glowing. A handsome male elf with silver hair held the arm of a beautiful female Elf with hair like spun gold and falling to below her back. Automatically, his eyes lowered, the beauty, the majesty of the two before him was too intense, and he found that he could not look upon the female elf's face for long; she was power and beauty mixed into one, a celestial being…

A Goddess.

We're really in Heaven, he thought dizzily, fighting the urge to fall to his knees in reverence. A quick glance at his friends and he saw that they were experiencing the same feelings as he.

You bring black blood with you into the Golden Wood, little one. Drusilla started at the sudden voice in her mind. The voice, calm and filled with power beyond her wildest dream sounded everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time. She felt naked, her soul bared for the Lady to see, and she was afraid.

The Lady knew who and what she was.

Do not be afraid, Child of Darkness. She could almost feel the Lady smile. The shadow has left your heart untouched. You have come for a purpose, and Lothlorien welcomes you.

A purpose?

"The attack has left none of you hurt, I hope," her voice was like the purest of melodies, even as she gazed upon each of them in turn. No one said a thing; they were too awe-struck. The faintest of smiles was on her face, and she spoke once more. "You have come a long way from your home, and you must be weary. Go now to seek your rest, and we shall speak of your troubles later."

***

Still in a daze, the four friends made no comment as two female Elf maidens showed them to their respective rooms. Drusilla's chambers were between Harry's and Hermione's, and Ron's was beside—three guesses as to where it was located—Hermione's.

For the moment, all thoughts of going home were driven out of their minds as they beheld the peaceful beauty of the place and reflected upon their encounter with the Lord and the Lady earlier.

Drusilla simply stood and gawked at the magnificence of the chambers. A large and elaborate bed was in the middle of the room, with heavy velvet draperies concealing the rest of the bed, a dresser fit for a royal, an ornate door leading to the bathroom, and there was an exquisite-looking balcony that overlooked a wonderful scenery. The ceiling was high, and there were mosaic paintings on them, all painted in soft, pastel colors that were very easy on the eyes.

It was amazing.

She went over to see the rest of their chambers, and it proved to be the same for the rest, and her friends were all pinching themselves to see if they had died and gone to heaven. 'Bloody hell,' was all Ron could say for the first ten minutes.

"These rooms are fit for royals!" Hermione exclaimed, looking overwhelmed.

The Elf maidens smiled slightly. "The Lord and the Lady requests your presence at the banquet held in your honor tonight. Please be prompt."

"Banquet?" All four voices echoed blankly.

***

"This is ridiculous," Drusilla said faintly, staring at herself in the gilded full-length mirror in an expression akin to pure terror. An Elf handmaiden was busy tending to her, dressing her in a flowing, sapphire blue gown with white and silver trimmings and a plunging neckline.

Hermione, who was entangled in a similar fate and had come over to her room, was dressed in a deep yellow gown with gilded embroidered patterns that brought out the color of her chocolate brown eyes, looked at her friend, then back at herself. "Those school robes hide too much. I didn't know I had a nice shape."

"Didn't Ron tell you?" Drusilla asked curiously, her attention temporarily diverted from her current state of dress, or undress. That gown revealed more than it hid, and it was supposed to be flowing and a gown, for Merlin's sakes. What brain had she been thinking with when she agreed to wear the damn thing?

She turned a faint pink. "We don't speak much when we're together. We uh—"

"Don't tell me. Please."

"You asked!" Came the exasperated reply.

"Ouch." Drusilla winced a little as the handmaiden, a pretty thing called Sylina, wove intricate little gold and green leaves into her hair. Hermione's handmaiden, however, was having a much harder time, as her thick, bushy hair defied all laws of God and Man and refused to be put in place properly.

"What did you do to your hair during the last three Yule Balls?" Drusilla wondered. Her hair had been unbelievably straight then, and beautiful, she had to add.

"A spell or two," she gritted, her pretty face reddening from the pain.

"Why can't you do it now?"

"My wand's-well…it's with Ron."

She didn't want to know exactly why Hermione's wand could be with Ron, and she reached into her own gown and removed her wand. Hermione goggled at her, clearly astonished. "Why are you keeping your wand there?"

"Do you see any pockets?" she replied pointedly. "What's the spell called?"

Hermione thought for a moment, then said, "Perfecto Straightus."

"What kind of a spell is that?" she fought an urge to laugh; it was so ridiculous.

Hermione glared at her. "I found it in Witches' Weekly, all right?"

"All right, all right." She pointed her wand at her frizzy hair and said, "Perfecto Straightus."

In a flash of blue light, Hermione's hair lay flat against her back, smooth and shiny, having no sign that it was once unruly and frizzy.

"Wow." Drusilla said, making a note to remember this particularly useful spell. It could come in handy whenever she felt tired of the well-defined ringlets that had always been her trademark.

"Thanks," Hermione said with a smile, admiring herself in the mirror, a dreamy look in her light brown eyes. "I wonder what Ron will say."

"He'll think you're smashing," Drusilla told her. "Like what he'd done the last two times you two went to the Yule Ball together." She sighed, feeling a little envious of her friend. "At least you have someone to try to impress."

Hermione glanced at her and smirked. "What about the Elf we met earlier?"

"Which one?" she asked absently.

"The leader, I think. The one that saved your life and vice versa."

Drusilla's heart skipped a beat as his face floated into her mind. He was certainly very attractive, all right. With that calm, cool, seemingly unattainable personality, those enchanting gray eyes, the face that seemed to be carved from marble and those perfect, perfect features, that amazing body…she shoved him out of her mind almost immediately, feeling a tell tale blush rise in her cheeks. She was certainly drawn to him all right.

"You're a nutter," she said, trying to cover up even as she turned away from her friend's knowing gaze. "I don't even know his name, and he behaves like he's got an arrow stuck in his ass. And besides, I don't think he'll be there, anyway. He seems more interested in Orcs than in social interactions."

"Don't be so sure, Dru." She had that annoyingly superior smile again. "I've seen the way he looks at you. And who knows? He might be interested enough to come."

"Yeah, right." She scoffed, but inside, she was pleasantly surprised. About what, she didn't exactly know, but had a pretty good idea that it was about him.

Him.

What was his name? She wondered. He was so aloof and set-apart, so much different from the rest of the other Elves. She wondered what he was like. Don't even go there, she told herself sternly. You're going to go back really soon, and now is not the time to get into a relationship with an Elf, of all people, even if Middle-Earth is where you come from.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, and it opened to reveal Harry and Ron, both dressed in fine tunics. Harry's normally messy hair was neater now, and both boys looked fantastic.

"Look at you girls!" Ron grinned when he saw them. "What a drastic change!" he gaped at Hermione. "'Mione, you straightened your hair!"

"I did it for her," Drusilla said proudly. "Because she left her wand at your place."

"Oh!" Ron turned a deep scarlet, then reached into his tunic, taking out a wand. "That's why we've come here for, actually. To return Hermione her wand." He handed it to her, still flushing.

"And here I thought you boys came to see us," Drusilla drawled, delighting in the fact that Ron was embarrassed through and through.

"We did," Harry spoke up before Ron could say anything. "But then we've got to go back. They aren't quite done with us yet. And I must say, you look quite beautiful."

"I was thinking of a change in clothes," Drusilla's smile faded as she looked down at what she was wearing. Come to think of it, it would be absolutely horrible if she would have to step out in this. "I mean, I can't do this." she spoke again, her voice bordering on helplessness. "I'm really not used to dresses, and-and look at my breasts!"

For a few moments, that was exactly what all three of her friends did. Then she flushed a deep red and turned away. Where was a trapdoor when you needed it? "I didn't mean it that way!"

"Keep the dress, Dru." Harry nodded, deciding that their time for visitation was up. "You look great in it. And it's not too obscene, don't worry."

He tugged Ron out of the door and shut it.

***

"You are ready," Sylina smiled faintly as she did the finishing touches. It had taken longer than expected, what with spending all that time assuring her that the gown was standard for all the females in Lothlorien and it looked good on her.

Away from her, Hermione was staring at her impatiently; her own handmaiden had already excused herself. "Don't look like that, Dru." She told her firmly. "You look like you're going to fight Voldemort or something."

"I feel sick."

"Honestly, what do you have to be afraid of? You look good!"

She cast her reflection a dubious look as Sylina exited the room. "Huh." She turned to Hermione, already on to her next thought. "Ron is going to escort you?"

The two of them had been informed earlier that they would be escorted down. By whom, they had no idea, but they figured that it would be the two boys. The boys were the only two people the girls knew anyway.

"Yeah, I suppose so," Hermione said, a little hesitantly. "Ron didn't say anything about it, though."

"Maybe he forgot," she suggested, hoping that Harry'd escort her down. Going to the banquet with any Elf from Lothlorien was unthinkable.

Drusilla tried to take a step, but she accidentally stepped on the hem of her dress and stumbled. "Oh Merlin. This cannot possibly get any worse, can it?"

Before an amused Hermione could answer, there was a soft knock on the door.

Expecting Harry and Ron, Drusilla moved to answer it. "About time you c-" she stopped short and froze as she saw who was at the door.

Oh no.

The Elf from earlier today was standing there; he'd shed his silver-gray garments for a deep red robe, looking even more handsome than this morning.

This cannot be happening, she thought numbly, taking in how good he looked and feeling her insides melt at the sight of him.

He bowed slightly. "Good evening, Lady Drusilla." his voice was calm and measured. "I have come to escort you to the banquet." He extended his arm to her courteously. "Shall we?"

Drusilla's face, Hermione noticed, was nothing short of totally petrified.

Then she swung her frantic gaze to Hermione, who was now standing a little way behind her and grinning like a Cheshire cat. "You know, I really don't feel w-" she started to take a few steps back and made Hermione go with the Elf instead. But Hermione, sensing that there was definitely potential for something to go on there, put both hands on her friend's shoulders and gently shoved her in his direction.

"Oh, go on, Dru. I'll wait for my own escort." She smirked, thoroughly entertained by the expression on her face.

Drusilla took one step forward and tripped over her hem again, crudely losing her balance. Closing her eyes, she steeled herself for an up close and personal encounter with the hard floor, when a pair of strong arms wrapped around her, breaking the momentum of her fall.

"You are not used to gowns, are you, milady?" came his amused voice in her ear. She flushed at his nearness and felt totally embarrassed. This was definitely getting worse every minute. Of all people, she had to be escorted by the Elf she was VERY attracted to. And of course, she had to show him that she was severely gown-challenged.

"I don't normally wear gowns." She mumbled, trying desperately not to show how his nearness affected her ability to think properly. And it did not help that she was pressed against his chest.

His deliciously broad, hard chest.

Bad girl, bad.

Turning even redder, she tried to get out of his grip. She had to do something before ...well, before. "Would you kindly let go of me?"

He seemed surprised that he was still holding on to her, and gallantly released his hold. Was it her, or was she detecting a hint of embarrassment there? Elf with an attitude problem looking embarrassed? She thought, fighting an inane urge to laugh. "My apologies, Lady Drusilla, if I had been improper in any way."

"It's quite all right," she quickly lifted the adjusted the front of her skirt a little so that it poofed out and would not get in her way.

Quite shyly, she took his offered arm, feeling very much like a princess in all those fairy tale stories. This day had been a very strange one, all right. Then she remembered something. "How did you know my name?"

He smiled faintly, a breathtaking sight, and Drusilla felt a strange fluttering in her heart. "The Lady Galadriel knows it, and she has spoken to me before I was requested to escort you down."

"Oh." So that was how he knew. Then, working up her courage, she said, "But that's not fair. I don't even know your name."

There was a slight pause. "My name is Haldir."

Haldir, she thought, secretly delighted. Now she had a name to fit with the face. Maybe this night wouldn't be so bad after all.

***

The dinner had ended, and a dance session was starting up. Apparently, Elves loved banquets and dances. Drusilla escaped to where her friends were standing as soon as she possibly could, having had quite enough of the Elf ladies going up to her, clearly intrigued by the fact that she'd entered the ballroom on the arm of the most desirable man in all of Lothlorien and the Captain of Lord Celeborn's guard. And from what she'd heard, this was the first time he'd ever put in an appearance.

She felt strangely pleased at the revelation, but pressured as well. So many eyes had been on her, watching her every move as the ladies speculated among themselves as to how she managed to bring him here—she too had no idea whatsoever—and what kind of relationship they had (that had brought a faint blush to her cheeks).

Haldir, fortunately, had not encouraged the rumours that were even now running rife, as he spoke with a few of the other male Elves over a glass of Elvish wine that Drusilla found nice and pleasant, having had four glasses of the stuff herself.

Hermione grinned at her as she stood close to Ron. "So how was it, Dru?"

"How was what?"

"How was he?" she jabbed a finger in his direction discreetly, her face alight with interest. "I've heard many interesting things about you and him tonight." Her smile was suggestive, and Drusilla groaned, feeling a headache coming on.

"There's nothing going on! He just escorted me down here, that's all. You saw it! You're mental, Hermione."

"Do you know his name?" Harry added curiously.

"His name's Haldir." She said quickly, picking up one wine glass and downing its contents in one gulp, then choked as the liquid went down too fast. Oh, nothing was going right with her tonight.

"Odd name." Ron remarked. Then he frowned at her in realization. "You FANCY him, don't you?"

"She does." Hermione nodded matter-of-factly.

"No!" Drusilla exclaimed, feeling very sure that the deep blush appearing yet again on her cheeks was giving her away. Then she wilted. "It's that obvious?"

"To us, yeah, of course. To them, I don't know." Ron smirked, shrugging.

A soft and beautiful melody begun from the Elven orchestra, and couples began filling the large dance floor. Hermione and Ron had exchanged a look only they understood and had moved out onto the dance floor, thoroughly submerged in their rosy little world of love. Honestly, it was so sweet it was nauseating. Drusilla almost preferred them when they were bickering.

Harry had been swept out to the dance floor, too, by a strikingly beautiful female Elf with light brown hair. Drusilla sighed into her drink, trying not to glance up. It was bad enough being a wallflower without people staring at you, too. Even Haldir had his own dance partner, and she tried hard not to think too much about that. What business of hers was it, anyway?

So far, none of the other Elves had come to ask her for a dance, and Drusilla felt that this night was rapidly going from bad to worse, knowing that she looked like a total idiot simply standing there when everyone had a partner and she had none. She could almost see the pitying looks on some of their faces, and she gritted her teeth. Why had she even come here in the first place?

Steadfastly pinning her gaze to the ground, she tried to think about other, less embarrassing things—and trying to melt into the background so that no one would notice her—when a familiar, outstretched hand filled her vision.

Startled, she looked up to see who it was, and was greeted by the sight of Haldir, a ghost of a smile touching his perfect features. "You do not have to be a wallflower tonight, milady. Would you like to dance?"

Unable to believe what she was seeing, she stared at him in surprise, then managed to find her tongue. With a small swell of dismay, she said, "I-I don't really know how to dance."

"Then I will teach you," he told her gently. "Take my hand."

And she did, the silken, yet calloused touch of his warm hand sending little explosions up and down her spine. Haldir pulled her a little closer and slipped an arm around her waist as she rather awkwardly put her hand on his shoulder, the other hand resting tentatively in his palm. She stifled a small swell of pleasure as his fingers tightened over hers. She was so close to him, close enough to catch a little of his pleasant woodsy scent, and to wonder if his hair was as silky as it looked.

It's not the pale moon that excites me
That thrills and delights me, oh no
It's just the nearness of you


It isn't your sweet conversation
That brings this sensation, oh no
It's just the nearness of you

Haldir looked down at the young Elf in his arms and vaguely wondered if she could hear the harried pounding of his heart. But then again, he had taken all his years of training to properly conceal it, so maybe she couldn't. It had been a strange day for him, no doubt about it.

He had begun the day by taking selected members of his company to patrol the eastern side, acting upon the warning of the scout he'd sent out the day before. The Orcs had been stirring again, and was obviously planning another attack on the borders of Lothlorien. Upon preparation for the short battle that lay imminent before him, he was halfway through strategy talks with them when he heard a bang, unlike anything he'd heard before.

Fearing that the Orcs could have acquired a new weapon, he stopped and signaled for them to be silent as they crept through the trees, intent on snaring the intruding Orcs before they had a chance to attack. For now, the element of surprise was their advantage.

What he did not expect to see were four people, three mere mortals and one Elf. She was vastly unlike any Elf he'd ever seen and known, dressed in a strange black robe with an appalling short knee-length skirt beneath it. But it wasn't her attire that caught his attentions. Her hair, instead of being straight and long like any proper Elf, was curled into tightly coiled ringlets halfway through, framing her face and barely touching her shoulders. She was also a little short for normal Elven height, come to think of it, but she'd caught his eye.

Then he had done something he'd never done before and would never ever do again. He had them surrounded, and he had hesitated.

Hesitated because he was watching the girl he now knew as Drusilla, daughter of Fontaine. He had recovered quickly, of course, and his company merely thought that he was waiting for the right time, but he knew better.

For the first time since he'd been made Captain, he'd failed.


When you're in my arms and I feel you so close to me
All my wildest dreams come true

I need no soft lights to enchant me
If you'll only grant me the right
To hold you ever so tight
And to feel in the night the nearness of you

But she was so young, a mere seventeen years in the world. There were so many things she did not know, so many things that had yet to taint the innocence he now beheld and was captivated by.

She was so young, and she trembled under his hands. She had not known love. Or the closest thing to love, he supposed. She had never been bedded before, and he felt a strange feeling come over him at this revelation. He himself had taken lovers if he so wished, but somehow, in the end, he mourned not their absence when they parted, simply maybe because he had felt nothing for them at all, save for the physical desire he'd had for them. He had known the world, having lived close to four thousand years of age, he knew it's evils, it's goodness.

But she did not.

Her soul was shining through in her eyes, honest and open, and he briefly wondered how long it would take for her to cultivate the mask of coldness and impassivity he had worn as a second skin, to prevent others from seeing him for who he really was and to too get close. He had lost too many people, too many that he could have saved, and he would not risk to dare to love.

But now…it all had become so different.

Watching her, he wondered when she would ever close up. How many deaths of her loved ones this flower would see before it froze and became nothing more than an empty shell, devoid of love, of giving and receiving this gift freely.

He wondered when the world would destroy her, and hoped that it never did.


I need no soft lights to enchant me
If you'll only grant me the right
To hold you ever so tight
And to feel in the night the nearness of you

Just let me have this night, he found himself thinking. Let me have this night with her, to touch her innocence, to feel the light that had been extinguished from me so many ages ago.

"Follow my lead," he said softly as she stumbled slightly for the umpteenth time, and he slowed down his speed considerably to allow her to catch up. She looked down and focused on the movement of their feet and conscientiously tried to learn, which was no easy feat, since she STILL was not used to the darned skirt getting entangled in her legs and tripping her over more often than not.

"I don't think I'm cut out to be a lady after all," Drusilla admitted dryly, trying to grasp the concept behind this ballroom dance. And she had to say that she was getting better. Well, at least she stopped stepping on his toes, even though he was decent enough not to say anything about it.

She felt his hand slip from hers, then felt his fingers under her chin. He gently raised her head to look at him. "Don't look down," he ordered quietly, and she nodded. Man, this was so much more difficult, and this time, she simply had to go by the rhythm of the song and his movement.

And to trust Fate that she did not do something really embarrassing.

And instead of taking her hand once more, he rested his hand on her waist and drew her closer to him yet again. Her breath caught in her throat; he was even more exquisite up close, and her stomach felt as if a thousand butterflies were waging war within her stomach at his closeness. He was close enough to touch, to lay her head on his strong shoulder…

But she barely knew him, and that was the problem. Sure, she admired him and was attracted to the Elf, but she didn't even know who he was, what he was really like, what he liked and hated, and for all she knew, he was old enough to be her ancestor or something.

Her hand fluttered down to rest on his shoulder, tentatively at first, then relaxing as he flashed her the tiniest of smiles. It always seemed like he smiled for her, not to the male Elves he had been talking to, not throughout the feast, not at the female Elves he'd danced with, capturing the very essence of an icy demeanor with everyone else save for her.

"You are simply exquisite today, milady," he said softly, his beautiful eyes never leaving hers at all, and Drusilla felt her heart pounding worse than ever, and she allowed herself to hope. Had his feelings extended beyond mere courtesy for her?

She swallowed. No one had ever said that to her before. "Uh, uhm. Thanks. Lots. You don't look too bad yourself, too. Really."

He looked faintly amused at her babbling, and she quickly looked away, feeling really stupid. Hell, this guy was probably thousands of years old, and here she was, making a proper fool of herself instead of acting like any grown lady might. Why, oh why couldn't she just take that compliment in her stride and said something really witty instead of babbling like an idiot? Why did he have to affect her so much?

Face burning, she tried to twist herself out of his grip. Honestly, the intensity of the feelings she was having now was beginning to scare her. She had barely been here for twenty-four hours, and here she was, being attracted to Haldir like iron to a high-powered magnet. It was scary.

He refused to let go. "The song has not yet ended, milady." He leaned towards her and said softly, his warm breath tickling her ear and sending little tingles of pleasure skittering up and down her spine. "I fully intend to finish this melody with you. And perhaps you might be able to grace me with your presence for the next few dances."

With me, she thought, feeling as if she was on cloud nine. He wanted to dance with her some more, and that was something. Right?

Don't think, a small voice told her. Live in the moment.

Allowing herself a small sigh, she relaxed against him, fully determined to enjoy tonight. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

They did not speak for a long while as they danced, needing no words to break the silence they both shared and experienced, the silent current of emotions running through them, of feelings that words failed to justify, ignoring consequences that would befall them should they succumb to their feelings.

For now, it was just…them. A perfect moment in time where age, world, and social conditions did not matter. All that mattered were the burning embers of something precious called love between them. One fan would light them up, and one cold, bitter wind would forever kill it. Their feelings were vulnerable now, susceptible to change. And Haldir and Drusilla both knew that if they would choose the latter and walked away from it, things would go so much easier between them, and both would be spared of the grief and the heartache that would come when she could return home.

But it was infinitely better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Was it?

In Haldir's experience, it was both true and false.

Because when one did not know love, one will not know heartache, and grief so pure and deadly, like a clear, jagged piece of glass that stabbed into you day after day, bleeding you slowly and painfully even as your life ebbed away before you.

But if one did not know love, how would he know the simple bliss of having someone love you with all their heart, and you them? How would he know the sheer joy of being one and making precious, precious love with your soul mate? How would he know the infinite joy of sharing the beauty of the sunset and sunrise with his lover? The gentle kisses often exchanged between each other that made both soar to the heavens? Of having someone to lean on and to whisper sweet promises in your ear when your heart was broken?

But he did not know love. He knew its friend lust by heart, but not love. It was never love. It always seemed to elude him, and try as he might, he could not reach it, could not grasp it. It dangled high out of reach, and along the way, he despaired, and gave up all hope of finding it entirely.

But now, it had found him. Found him using the most unlikely person ever. A mere child of seventeen. A mere, Elven child. But when one had lost touch with love entirely, there was a question of whether he could still recognize it, and welcome it to his home, his heart. Could he do that?

After a few thousand years of not being loved, could he still find it within him to succumb to its call and let it work its magic on both him and the person who was the least compatible but the most suited for him?

Part 2: Choices.

The night was over, and the morning dawned cool and fresh. Feeling acutely uncomfortable and fidgety under the too tight green dress, Drusilla wondered why the Lady had requested her presence so early in her morning. Led by another Elf maiden and Sylina—who practically had to force her into that cursed dress earlier that morning—she let herself admire the surroundings to occupy herself. Elf handmaidens really did not speak much.

Stumbling over her dress for the umpteenth time, she growled under her breath and hitched the annoying things up, wondering how the hell did those Elves manage not to trip over the hem and look like they're floating at the same time. They were so graceful compared to her clumsy footsteps and awkward movements, and for the first time, she wondered briefly if she was even of their kind. She possessed none of their qualities: they had an otherworldly beauty to them and never seemed to get dirty, she was neither. They were confident and sure of themselves and even looked graceful when they stopped to chat with other Elves, and she was nothing but a crude piece of work.

The two Elf maidens suddenly halted in front of her, forcing her to stop immediately or risk running into them. Thankfully, she stopped just in time, then looked at them quizzically. "Wha—"

They extended a hand in the direction of a particular stone garden. It seemed a little darker here, more ominous and seemingly weighed down by magic that made her look insignificant. And it seemed that not much sunlight touched this place.

"The Lady Galadriel awaits you within, Lady Drusilla," they spoke, as elegant as ever.

"Uh, thanks." Drusilla replied, not really knowing what to say to that.

Not knowing quite how to go about it, she hesitated a little before deciding to step inside. Turning a corner, she felt the glow of power before she even saw the Lady Galadriel.

Dressed in the same flowing white gown as before, Drusilla, once again, could not help but wonder if she was a deity incarnate, or even a star goddess for that matter.

The vision looked up from a stone pedestal that looked like a birdbath, and Drusilla immediately felt like she could not keep eye contact, simply because Lady Galadriel made her feel so small and miniscule, like what an ant was to a human being.

"I trust that you slept well," she began, her voice rich with hidden power and knowledge beyond her wildest dreams. Even Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard in her world and the well-loved Headmaster of Hogwarts, didn't feel like anything compared to her.

"Y-yes."

The Lady began filling a silver pitcher with water from a nearby fountain, her movements smooth and fluid, as if she'd done this many times before. "So much has changed in this world." She spoke, her voice grim. "The Ring of Power is on its way here, and the shadow of Mordor falls upon this fair land that is even now fading away, as with the Age of the Elves."

Huh? Drusilla did not understand half the words the Lady spoke, but it sounded sad and mournful. She said nothing.

"The darkness of Mordor spreads across the lands of Middle-Earth, and we are fading away." She paused and looked straight at her. "Yet, the Valar has seen fit to return you here, Drusilla, daughter of Fontaine, and to bring your friends along with you."

"I don't belong here," Drusilla said slowly. "My mother did."

"You are of Middle Earth, you cannot deny it. You feel something for this place, do you not?" the Lady queried sagely. "The Fates have sent you here for a purpose, that much I can foresee. Whether you contribute towards the dark or the light, I know not."

"But all I want is to go back home," she replied, growing more worried by the moment. "I have my O.W.L.S to sit for in a month's time."

"The ability to open portals to another dimension is beyond my powers, child. I cannot do that."

A dreadful sinking feeling welled up within her. "You can't send us home?"

"I am afraid that it is not possible. You have come for a reason, and the way back to your home is barred until you have fulfilled it." Her voice was laced with regret, and she slowly poured the silver pitcher of clear water into the birdbath thing and stepped back, watching her with glittering, all-knowing eyes. "Perhaps this might help you find the direction that you need."

She stared at the pedestal dubiously as she stepped up to it. This was getting more and more like one of Professor Trelawney's Divination lessons. "What am I going to see?"

"What you will see will depend on what the mirror would wish to reveal to you."

Great. This answer was as good as the one Professor Binns had given her when she'd asked about what a mausoleum was in her first year. He'd simply said, "A mausoleum is a mausoleum, Miss Ferragert." Then looked at her as if she was a total idiot.

She stepped up to the pedestal and looked inside.

All she saw was water.

She was about to turn away when it suddenly rippled and turned darker. Then, the shapes and images focused, and she could see Ron and the others staring sadly at her before turning away, their faces heavy with sympathy, though for what, she was not sure.

Then, she watched as it cleared to reveal another Orc attack, and it dissolved to another warm, tranquil place, with gentle candlelight flickering in the room. She watched as darkness fell over Lothlorien, and saw all four of her friends standing in defense, soaked through in the rain and staring at something very large in horror.

Then it all reverted back into the water again.

"So you harbor ill news to Lothlorien," the Lady Galadriel said after a thoughtful moment. "The impending darkness that will befall the Golden Wood."

"You mean we are going to have to fight it?" she asked incredulously, not used to having her future laid out for her like that.

There was a faint, sad smile on the Lady's face. "Yes, I believe it to be so, for the mirror does not lie."

She paused, taking it all in, her thoughts confused. "When?"

"It will be soon."

Drusilla's thoughts turned to something that was niggling at the back of her mind. "What about that room I saw earlier? The one with the candlelight? Whose room is that?"

"That," the Lady said, her eyes glittering with a strange light, as if realizing something. "You shall find in time, for that would be your true purpose in coming here, the real part you have to play in Destiny's game."

Did she really have to be so cryptic?

***

Drusilla perked up when she saw her friends emerge, one by one from the place she'd been earlier, their expressions a little disturbed. She stopped scuffing her foot against the soft ground and stood up to greet them.

"What did you see?" she asked as soon as they sat themselves down next to her on a stone bench far away from the little garden.

"We're going to fight something big," Ron said, looking a little apprehensive himself. "And Orcs. And I saw myself caught in the crossfire between the Orcs and the Elves. Or something. But mostly, we were supposed to fight something really…serious."

Harry nodded. "I wonder if that's our purpose in coming here. To save this place."

"It is," Ron replied. "She has already said that she could not open a portal to allow us to get back, so that should be it."

"I wonder if Dumbledore knows where we are now." Hermione sighed and glanced down at her feet.

"I don't think so," Drusilla said. "If he did, we'd be back home long ago. I think."

"Come on, guys!" Harry said, a little impatiently. "We'll be able to find our way home somehow. Now, the most important thing is to get ready for the attack. Practice our skills or something."

"Sounds good." Hermione agreed. "We don't even know what we're dealing with, and it's obviously not Orcs."

"Maybe it might be Voldemort's evil twin brother or something." Ron remarked. "Lady Galadriel said something about some bloke named Sauron."

"Sauron is master of the One Ring," Hermione spoke up with an air of superiority, as if talking about Mandrakes in Professor Sprout's class. "He created this master ring long ago to try to rule the world, but was defeated by an alliance of Men and Elves and it was lost long ago. He is now searching for it and trying to expand his influence and building an army in his fortress called Barad-dur in this place called Mordor."

The three of them gaped at her in astonishment. How come she knew so much?

"Why, Hermione!" Ron exclaimed. "How did you—"

Hermione tossed her hair indignantly. "Honestly, why can't you people try to know more about the place you are in? Lord Celeborn has kindly allowed me to enter his library anytime I like." Her eyes took on a glazed expression. "The books there were simply beautiful, filled with all sorts of wonderful legends. Have you heard the one about an Elf named Luthien and—"

"'Mione!" Ron cut in, looking a little annoyed. "We're supposed to be not be studying, you know. Away from Hogwarts and the dreadful O.W.L.s and all." he grinned in anticipation. "We finally have a valid excuse for not studying for the exams!"

Harry had to grin. The prospect of being stuck here for the time being wasn't so bad after all. And besides, this place was beautiful and best of all: Snape-free. And no Argus Filch and that darned cat of his breathing down their necks everywhere they went, eager to catch them in the act of doing something wrong.

Or whatever he thought of as being 'wrong'.

Hermione looked horrified. "Oh no! O.W.L.s! I am doomed!"

"Relax, 'Mione," Drusilla had to smile at her friend's panicked expression. "With any luck, we'd be able to skip O.W.L.s totally! Now won't that be fun." She entertained that thought for a pleasant minute.

She looked even more horrified, and turned on her. "They CAN'T make us skip our O.W.L.s! I've studied so hard for it!"

"Nothing you can do about it now, 'Mione," Harry said easily. "Got to wait until we get back to Hogwarts. For now, I say we practice sparring and everything." His turned a little more somber, and the smile faded from his face. "You guys have seen what the Orcs were like. And there would be an attack coming soon, with something that would be definitely worse than Orcs coming along, too. And they seemed really intent on attacking Lothlorien."

Their faces turned serious, too, as they remembered the less than pleasant experience that would be before them. They would have to be ready, and if those disgusting Orcs were any hint, it was that what they were up against now was certainly dangerous.

The enemy might not be Voldemort, but it didn't mean that it was any less deadly.

***

"Why do I keep thinking of Lockhart everytime I do this?" Drusilla frowned, then thought better of her sparring position. A rather disturbing posture, that.

'I wonder what he's doing now," Hermione said without thinking.

"Not erasing wizard memories, of course." Ron remarked carelessly. "Bloody git, he was, doing something like that. And you liked him."

She flushed, embarrassed. "Well, I did not know Lockhart made it all up!"

"HEY!" Harry stepped in before they could really get going again. "I believe we were SPARRING here?"

Drusilla snickered, twirling her wand between her fingers absently. She looked like she was about to say something, but exercised wise judgement at the last minute and kept her mouth shut.

Feeling slightly sheepish, they stopped from what they were doing.

"We can't really hex people around here," Drusilla spoke. "I mean, there's no Madam Pomfrey to run to when it goes all wrong."

She had a good point.

"Then what can we do?" Ron asked. "We'd be sitting ducks!"

"But that is still not the way!" Hermione exclaimed. "I mean, those evil things need the Unforgivable Curses! Don't tell me we're going to spar with those!"

"We might kill each other first." It seemed like Drusilla and Hermione were always on the same wavelength. Sometimes, anyway.

They had a point.

'She's right." Harry said, sighing. "It's useless trying to prepare."

"Well, we all know the curses," Drusilla said flippantly. "Maybe we should duel for fun, you know? The darkness has not arrived yet, and I think it'll be quite some time before it does. The Lady implied it."

"Yeah, there's no use in worrying, is there?" Hermione added, crossing her arms over her chest. "What will come will come."

"Que sera sera and all that." Ron muttered.

"What?" All Ron received for his comment were three blank looks.

Exasperated, he threw his hands in the air. "Oh, haven't you heard the Muggle song?"

"I'm not too interested in music, thanks. Books are all I need."

"The Dursleys won't let me near a radio."

"Muggles have songs??"

This was hopeless.

***

Successfully hidden, Haldir watched as the four young ones playfully spouted magic from their wands. Well, actually, he was only watching one person. She looked so much younger than she had yesterday, and it suddenly struck him that she was no more than a young child was in Elven years.

But why did she attract him so much? It was one riddle he could never get the answer to.

He watched as she got into some kind of position, leveling her wand at her friend, the one named Harry Potter. A short blast of white light issued from the tip of her wand, and it hit against blue, dissipating it successfully.

He watched as her eyes lit up in a grin mirroring her friend's, and wondered briefly if she would smile like that for him, her eyes dancing, her face free of shadows that trailed her footsteps wherever she went.

Then he heard soft footfalls, and immediately turned away and started sharpening his arrows, making it seem like he had not been watching her.

"Captain," an Elf he knew as Taeloran spoke, approaching him. "The Lady requests your presence."

Haldir frowned, puzzled. The Lady never summoned him unless it was for something of grave importance or the news of impending war. He nodded finally; he could not refuse his Queen. "I will go. Keep vigil here, and send out scouts to search the surrounding area for any possible attack."

***

The Lady Galadriel, it seemed, was already waiting for him, as beautiful as always in her white flowing robes. Bowing deeply, he said, "My Lady."

"There is no need for formality now, Haldir. Rise."

Surprised, he did so. "Is there anything you wish to see me about, My Lady?"

She nodded once, then her gaze slipped faraway, as if recalling from distant memory. "Prepare your company. Sauron's darkness upon Lothlorien draws closer, as is the vision of the one of Middle Earth who had been birthed in the other realm."

He stiffened. "When does it arrive, My Lady?"

She paused. "Three months from now. A dark evil rises, and the four will have realized their purpose at last."

"They are to fight the darkness?" his heart rose to his throat. It had an ominous ring to it, and what if…?

"Yes. What the outcome will be, I do not yet know."

"They are nothing but children, My Lady." Her earlier reply was even worse. It seemed like she thought that they would not be able to live through that.

"You do not feel that way, do you?" The Lady's gaze pinned him; saw through him immediately. And he knew that. There was nothing that he could possibly hide from his Queen. "The young Elf witch captures your affection?"

He hesitated for a long moment, unsure of what to say. "She is only seventeen, My Lady."

"Does it matter?" she queried, coming closer, her eyes all knowing, all encompassing, and then smiled sadly at him. "You are filled with much confusion, Haldir, it was as I have foreseen. Your heart does not pay heed to your mind anymore. Not when you are around her. You love her."

He flinched as the words hit home. It was true.

"What will come, will come, for this is what the Fates have so desired. Your heart holds precedence over your mind, for you do not see love with your mind; you only feel it in your heart. It knows love; it will never be wrong. Your mind is wrought with mistakes, simply because it does not understand what secrets it holds."

He blinked. Was the Lady encouraging him?

"You know that no one can encourage or discourage love." She spoke again, as if reading his mind. "But trials you shall have, more than anyone else's, for love is merciless to you and the young one."

***

"Ah, I feel so much better," Drusilla sighed as she lovingly ran a hand over her Hogwarts robes that had been washed and returned to her. This was more like it. One more day of wearing those cursed gowns and she was going to scream. She buttoned her blouse and slipped on the sweater, ditching the tie. Wearing the tie while NOT in Hogwarts was a little too much.

"I'll never get you, Dru." Hermione shook her head, staring at her. "I personally find the gowns really beautiful."

"Not when you're tripping over them half the time. I might trip down the stairs one day while wearing those blasted things and actually die, you know." She secured the robe and regarded herself in the mirror again, pleased. "Nice and comfy."

"Speaking of," Hermione leaned in, looking suddenly very interested. "You seem to be enjoying yourself last night with the Elf guy."

"His name's Haldir." She said automatically, feeling a tingle when she spoke his name.

"Yeah, him. You two were dancing the whole night," she grinned. "And he spent an awfully long time escorting you back. How was he?"

Drusilla smiled, her eyes faraway. "He's like nothing I've ever met. You know when you see this special someone, and then suddenly the whole world goes dim around you, and he's the only person you can see?"

Hermione moved beside her in the mirror, a smile on her face. "I know the feeling." She paused. "Did you two kiss?"

"No," she replied, turning a faint pink. "I mean, we've only just met!"

"So you don't want to?"

"God, do I want to. But I don't know if he likes me. I mean, what if I read too much into it and make a total fool of myself?"

"True. But I think he does. I mean, he appeared at the banquet for the first time, according to the women there, and that counts as something, isn't it?"

"Maybe the Lady Galadriel pushed him to it. But last night, I really wanted him to kiss me." A dreamy look entered her eyes once more. "His arms are so warm and safe, you know. And his eyes…have you seen how enchanting they are? No wonder he's the most desirable Elf in all of Lothlorien."

"I know that, he's definitely extremely handsome all right." She warmed to the subject. "You want him, you've got to speak up."

"Are you insane? I can't do that! What if he doesn't feel the same? I'd rather go and live with Voldemort."

Her best friend made a tsking sound and shook her head. "You're a nutter, you know that? How will he know that you like him if you don't say anything, then?"

"Hmp." Drusilla adjusted her collar, then glanced out of the window, as if remembering something. "Hey, 'Mione, aren't you supposed to go for a walk with Ron?"

She jumped, remembering. "Oh! How could I forget?" she turned to leave, then turned back to her. "Do you wa—"

She waved a hand dismissively at her. "Don't worry about me, I can find something to do by myself. You go and have fun."

Hermione winked and darted out of the door. "I'll tell you all about it when I get back."

"All right."

***

It was boring.

Drusilla strolled slowly among the large trees, her hands deep in her pockets. I wonder where Haldir is now, she thought. She hadn't seen him so far today. Maybe he was preparing for the coming battle. He had been really wonderful last night, and she hoped that it all had not been a dream. They danced together the whole night, and she felt herself truly falling for him; it seemed like the most natural thing to do.

Pure. Simple.

She sighed. Of all things she had to do while she was stuck here, she had to go and fall in love. But there was nothing much to be done about it, could it?

"Drusilla."

You've got me wrapped up in you
Somehow you let me in
Into your web of bittersweet, of ecstasy and sin
Feel like an angel falling out from grace

She jumped, startled, then whirled around to see whom it was who'd spoken. Her eyes widened in surprise as her stomach suddenly started tingling, pleased at seeing him again. Speak of the devil. "Haldir?"

He stood not too far behind her, his posture stiff, and his eyes unreadable, and looking as attractive as ever. He always looked attractive, but seeing him once more sent a jolt of anticipation up her system; she'd never met anyone quite like him before, and he fascinated her.

I try to run, but I keep on falling
And every time I turn around
I hear your voice and it keeps on calling
I'm bound, there's no way out
No way out.....

"I thought you were supposed to—" she continued, not knowing what to say.

"I need to speak with you." He stepped closer, and she did not move back. His eyes were boring into hers, and she had to fight not to look away.

"Um…okay." She replied, wondering what it was about, and hoping that it was what she had been dreaming of last night. "What is it?"

"You are going to the battle?"

So he knew. She hesitated. What was he getting at? "It's what I'm supposed to be here for."

He took a breath. How was he supposed to say this? "It is not as glorious as you think, Lady. Not the fairytale battles you have seen. This is death. It is war."

"I know what war is." She said, her eyes shadowed as she remembered the dark time during her fifth and sixth years where Voldemort had declared war upon the wizarding world, unleashing his terrible power. The Death Eaters who had purportedly seen the error of their ways and had gone into hiding had emerged once again, and it was a terrible blow to the Ministry of Magic, since it's more weighty members were followers of the dreaded Dark Lord. There was death everywhere she looked, and they—she, Hermione, and Ron—had no choice but to be pulled into it as well, since Voldemort was gunning for Harry, and they would do anything to keep their friend safe.

"You do not." His answer was cool. "You merely have an imagination of what it is like."

"Me and my friends, we've fought the Dark Lord Voldemort and his army. Dark Wizards against the ones standing for light. Dark Wizards against Harry Potter. You think I don't know what that's like?"

"This is not your war."

"This is my chance to make amends." She said suddenly, memories of her mother flooding through her unexpectedly. She knew that her mother had committed many heinous acts within Middle-Earth, worst of all was pledging her loyalty to Sauron and killing off her own kind. She had not wanted to think about it, but when she did, she understood that this urge to fend off Sauron stemmed from the fierce desire to not be like her mother, the lady Morwen. Or her father, a Death Eater.

She did not want to be anything like them.

"You hold not their thirst for destruction," he said, knowing what she was talking about. "There are no amends to make."

She looked at him, troubled. "Why do you care?"

"You are but a child."

That answer cut into her deeply. So he only thought of her as a child. So he wasn't as drawn to her as she was to him. "Is-is that all I am in your eyes?"

He took another step towards her, his eyes intense. He knew what she was speaking of. "Nothing can come out of this, Drusilla."

"Why?" she asked, trying hard not to show that she was dying inside. He was so cold, so emotionless saying it, as if it meant nothing to him anymore. Maybe it really means nothing to him.

"You are seventeen years old. I am four thousand."

His words hit her hard for a moment. Four thousand… He was old enough to be one of her father's ancestors and three thousand years older than Hogwarts. "I did the math," she said, not to sound like four thousand minus seventeen was three thousand nine hundred and eighty three.

You wanted me to want you
I couldn't help myself
You became my addiction
I won't need nothing else
Feel like I'm trapped inside these walls
Trying to find my way

"You do not know what you are doing, Lady. You do not know what you want." He threw at her, crushing everything crushable about her ego. Which, in short, was everything. He sounded so above it all, as if he knew what it was that he didn't want.

"Oh, no?" she hoped desperately that her voice didn't break. "I think I do now. I want to get out of this conversation." This was all horribly going wrong. She turned to walk away, to salvage what was left of her pride.

He grabbed her by the arm and stared hard at her, his light blue eyes flashing a dark sapphire. "If we give in to our emotions, you know one thing is going to lead to another."

So he liked her.

Feeling a little swell in her heart, she raised her head. A strange, charged moment sizzled between them, and for the moment, it was simply guy and girl. He belonged here, she was not. It was all mixed up. But all Drusilla knew was that he was in her life whether she wanted it or not, and whether he wanted it or not.

She was in love with him.

"One thing has already led to another," she said sharply. "You know that." She hoped she was right about this.

"This could get out of control. Out of yours, out of mine." He stood so close, and Drusilla wanted so badly for him to kiss her, she wanted all the things girls wanted from guys they loved with all their heart.

"Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?" she challenged, her voice deliberately low and breathy.


It's like a dream, you can't wake up from. It's a hunger that can't be satisfied....

No matter how I try there's no escape....

Without warning, he pulled her roughly against his chest. A thrill shot through her—half excitement, half fear—as she looked up into his angry face. Was he going to kiss her?

"This is no fairy tale of old. When I kiss you, you don't live happily ever after."

"No." she knew that. In his arms, so close, so very close, she breathed against his neck and said, "I'm not afraid of this. Are you?"

You wanted me to want you
I couldn't help myself
You became my addiction
I won't need nothing else
Feel like I'm trapped inside these walls
Trying to find my way

He said nothing; he looked at her for a long moment as he released her from his grip, and then turned on his heel and left, leaving her to stare after him.

It's like a dream, you can't wake up from. It's a hunger that can't be satisfied....
No matter how I try there's no escape....

***

Hermione observed her friend from across the table. She was listlessly picking at the food and not saying a word throughout the entire dinner conversation.

"What happened?" she asked finally, drawing the boys' attention. They stopped talking immediately, noticing their buddy's lack of reaction today.

Drusilla glanced at them, feeling dejected—more like rejected—all over again, regretting that she'd taken Hermione's advice and told him that she liked him. In an indirect way, of course. But he'd gotten it anyway. "Haldir."

Harry and Ron perked up, impressed. "He kissed you?" they asked in unison.

Hermione shot them a withering look. How thick could boys get?

"What happened with him?" she pressed, wanting to know what had gotten her so badly.

Drusilla hated talking about this. She felt very stupid, remembering her earlier talk with Hermione today, then remembering the way-too-intense encounter in the forest. "Nothing. A good deal of nothing." She told them everything that happened today, and when she was done, Hermione sat back, thinking hard.

"But it's so obvious that he likes you, too!" she spoke, puzzled. "More than likes you, I might add."

"He treats me like a child. He said so himself."

"But he likes you, that's what matters."

She sighed again, looking sad. "Can we please talk about something else?"

Harry helpfully filled up her glass. "All right, then. Did you know that there was this river a good way away from here that has advanced healing properties? If you are dead tired and you go for a dip in there, you'll come out of it feeling as if you've slept for ten hours straight."

"The River Nimrodel," Ron added helpfully, shoveling food in his mouth. "Want to go there one day? We can show it to you."

"Sure," she agreed, trying valiantly to engage herself in their conversations. After all, they were her friends, and were definitely there for her more times than she could count.

***

Drusilla spent the next few days in a slightly depressed mood and had tried to avoid the place where she and Haldir had that little talk, spending all her time exploring with her friends and wandering into the city of Lothlorien where they amused themselves by admiring the pretty and intricate little objects.

Despite the threat of an oncoming battle, their manner was easy and relaxed; they'd survived Voldemort, and they could most possibly survive anything. Hermione had holed herself in the giant library a little later—something she'd wanted to do for a long time but couldn't—and dragged Drusilla along as a reluctant accompaniment, since the boys were about to experiment taking a bath in the river like the Elves did and of course, as a matter of conditioning, girls were not allowed.

"This is so boring," Drusilla said finally, after carefully shutting the ancient-looking tome and returning it to the ornate bookshelf. "Even the footnotes has footnotes!"

There was no answer. Hermione simply sat there, her attention rapt on the beloved book before her, and the only sign that she wasn't petrified was the quick scanning of her eyes across every line.

It was very annoying.

Drusilla herself was not a book person, not even in the loosest sense of the word, vastly preferring to go out and do things rather than sit still in one place for five hours staring at a whole bunch of words that would make no sense to her after the first two hours.

"Hmm." Hermione mumbled, turning the page, her eyes already focusing on the words even before the page was rested.

"There's a fire under your chair."

"Hmm." She said amiably, her eyes still pasted on the book.

"Ron's got a new girlfriend."

"Really?" her reply was offhand, and she squinted as a particular paragraph that caught her attention.

"Yeah. They are necking even as we speak in the garden just outside."

"That's nice."

Drusilla stood up and heaved an impatient sigh. "I'm leaving now, okay? See you back at our chambers."

As expected, there was no answer.

Figures, she thought, leaving the room.