Title: Miles to Go

By: Ringred

Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing...but we all have our dreams.

Summary: BTVS/LOTR - Buffy, Willow, and Dawn were to be cheated out of their just reward and sentenced to an eternity in the void. This was not acceptable. One of the Powers came up with a new plan. The three warriors were finished in this realm, but what about another? Can they fulfill their new destinies and build new lives in this fantasy world turned reality?

Pairings: Read and find out.

Spoilers: BTVS - through S7

LOTR - All the books.

Note: I know the 'going with the fellowship' story's been done before but I couldn't resist. ROTK, finally reading 'The Hobbit' again and through all three books of the trilogy, and reading some amazing BTVS/LOTR xovers that I can never hope to write as good as have inspired me. I had to give it a go. I have no beta reader and no spellchecker so please forgive any errors in spelling. I promise I'm doing the best I can. Any feedback you can send my way would be much appreciated. Does everything make sense? Should I keep writing? Please no flames, but I don't mind some constructive comments.

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Introduction and Chapter One

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'No! This cannot be! This was not meant!'

Several voices argued among themselves. One spoke up clearly and with menace. 'It has been done. That which is done cannot be undone.'

'Think you we know not of your treachery in this matter?' Another voice hissed. 'You are responsible for this end. You have broken the balance and there will be a price.'

There was a feeling of a cold smile on all their hearts. 'Name your price. It concerns me naught. It has been done. It cannot be undone.'

'Why have you gone against the order of all things? Why do you defy the will of the One? Why do you deny them their just reward?' The hissing voice questioned.

'Long have they meddled in our designs and twisted our schemes to their own ends. Long have they deserved their fate and I have given it to them as you would not. Their time in our realm is at an end. They are finished.'

'And to deny them their peace? To deny them their next journey?' Another voice, deeper and brimming with emotion rang out. 'You would sentence them to eternity in the emptiness of the void! This cannot be allowed to happen! They earned their reward and they shall receive it.'

The cold voice now grew angry. 'They are finished in this realm. It cannot be undone!'

The deep voice answered back with a smile. 'In this realm perhaps, but perhaps not so in another.'

'I will not allow it!' The cold voice rang out with much anger and menace.

The other voices rose up to meet it and they were more powerful and angry in their accord. The cold voice cowered back from their strength and it knew fear.

The deep voice rang forth again. 'You have the power to allow or deny no longer. So is the price you shall pay named. You have broken with the way of all things and the will of the One. You have forsaken your position within the voices. Go now and return not...for you are abandoned.'

The cold voice drew back further in it's pain and despair. It was cut adrift, alone and unwanted. It left the call of the voices for the last time.

'And how shall they be delivered into this other realm?' The hissing voice returned, this time stronger.

The deep voice was thoughtful. 'I shall deliver them. They shall face another destiny, one more sure though no less perilous, and upon their triumph they shall receive the greatest reward within my power.'

The voices drew back to silence in their awe. One small yet beautiful voice spoke the question of all. 'The freedom of choice?'

'The freedom of choice.' The deep voice confirmed. 'For this is the reward that their struggles and triumphs truly warrant. Indeed did they thwart the old plans, though not by intent or with malice, and because of their actions we are given new life. In the place of the old plans we may now start anew. New hope dawns for all voices and for all of our realm. A new day dawns and they shall not be forsaken, nor forgotten. They shall be rewarded.'

'And the others? Those that remain?' The beautiful voice rang out this time with more surety.

And a thoughtful silence fell until finally the deep voice spoke again. 'Their fate lacks completion and remains a decision for another time.'

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The clearing was beautiful, like a mirage within the dark murky forest that surrounded it. The air was light and sweet with the scent of flowers. Settled in the middle of the clearing stood a small happy little cottage. The flowers running along the front of the cottage explained the earlier scent and the care with which the cottage was obviously kept spoke of love by those who dwelt within it. The visitor this day could only heave a resigned sigh knowing he was to disrupt and perhaps ruin this pretty scene forever.

It was just past noon when the knock sounded on the door. The two young women sitting quietly in the small but comfortable living room within looked toward the slat of wood and then at each other. It wasn't everyday, after all, that they received visitors. This would be the first in almost six months. They, and their third companion, lived a solitary existence and for the most part they liked it that way.

The pretty brunette nodded to the redhead. "Buffy?"

The redhead nodded her agreement as she stood. "Go get her. I'll answer the door."

Placing the book in her lap aside, the brunette rose to her feet and silently left the room through a doorway leading off the back to another. The redhead rose as well and cautiously walked to the front door even as another loud knock rang out. Pushing aside her nerves, she opened the door and peered at the old man standing on the front step. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Gandalf?"

"Yes, yes, Tasere, move aside and do let me in." The old wizard took advantage of her surprise by pushing the door open further and strolling past her into the living room. "Where are Arato and Aara? I must see you all at once."

The redhead shook herself from her musing and turned to meet his eyes. "You know, we're just going by Willow, Buffy, and Dawn these days...or well to you anyway. Buffy makes everyone else call her Slayer and I'm basically going by Red, but Dawn's pretty much just Dawn."

Gandalf sighed as one accustomed to the redhead's babble. "And where are Buffy and Dawn?"

"Oh, right." Willow nodded. "Buffy was taking a nap so Dawn went to wake her. She usually likes to be up and around when we get any visitors. You know, in case there's something or someone she needs to slay or threaten to slay."

Gandalf looked her over. She was a beautiful young woman with bright green eyes, smooth pale skin, and pixie-like features. She was dressed in a long flowing gown of deep green that matched her eyes perfectly. Her bright red hair fell in silky waves down past her shoulders and stopped just short of her waist. Still, looking past her outward appearance the witch showed little change from her almost five years of residence in Middle Earth. She had not aged a day. It struck him suddenly that he was not surprised in the least and expected no less from her two companions.

Willow read his expression correctly and sighed. "I know. We noticed too. I mean, Dawnie seemed to age for a few years, but Buffy and I just stayed the same. Now Dawn's stopped as well. Buffy blames it on the Powers, but Buffy blames most things on the Powers these days. I don't really know what I believe."

Rather than pursue that course, Gandalf latched onto something the witch had said before. "Threaten to slay?"

The redhead looked torn between laughing and feeling guilty. "The elves. Buffy doesn't exactly get along with them."

A slight smile curved Gandalf's aged lips. "Really?"

"I swear to god, if it's that damn elf again I'm going to follow through with my plans for his arrow. I warned him not to come back." An irate voice filled the air from the direction of the doorway off the back of the room.

"I'm sure it's not, Buffy." A much more calm voice spoke after her. "I think he got the point."

"I'll give him the point..." the owner of the first voice appeared through the doorway and then froze. Buffy made quite the contrast for Willow. Her brown hair with natural golden highlights was drawn up into a ponytail on the top of her head and trailed down almost half her back. Her skin was not pale, but a healthy tan, and her eyes were hazel. Her clothes looked more like a man's than a woman's. She wore a shirt and trousers of brown material that molded her body but did not appear too tight. She moved comfortably and with a grace few could achieve. When she looked upon Gandalf it was not with awe, but with annoyance. "Well, if it isn't the messenger of the gods. To what do we owe this honor?"

The final female was the most surprising to the old wizard. Dawn had indeed grown up. She had long beautiful dark brown hair pulled up much like her older sister's in a ponytail on the top of her head. Her eyes were blue and pure, almost too big for her sweet face. Her skin was lightly tanned and her features were those of a woman. She was a girl no longer. She wore a soft gown of baby blue fabric much like the one worn by the witch she also called sister. Upon seeing Gandalf, she smiled sweetly and then rolled her eyes at her agitated sister. "Buffy, be nice. Gandalf's a good guy, remember?"

Buffy snorted. "Says who?" She continued to eye the wizard. "Well? What's the what?"

Gandalf smiled. "Buffy, Dawn, it is a pleasure to see you both again."

Dawn smiled widely at him, but Buffy just lifted an unimpressed brow.

Meeting the Slayer's hard gaze, Gandalf sighed. This would not be an easy conversation. He asked politely if they could all have a seat before beginning. Buffy reluctantly complied. Her instincts for both her destiny and his purpose in it still continued to amaze Gandalf. The slayer knew that her destiny was beginning and she was not about to accept it quietly. He noticed her patience drawing to an end. At length Gandalf spoke. "The time of the fellowship is at hand."

The reaction was immediate and fierce. "No way in hell." The slayer felt no need for further explanation.

The witch, thankfully, showed more sign of yielding to the inevitable. "Gandalf, we've been over this. We know about the fellowship. We know about the ring. We know about Sauron and about everything that's going to happen. If we go out and join up and change things...it could be bad. We've seen how things end up. This turns out perfectly fine without us. What we see as a good change could completely destroy the end of the story. We can't chance inadvertently tipping the scales in the direction of evil."

Gandalf looked to the youngest woman. Dawn simply nodded. "I have to agree with my sisters on this one. Happily ever after sounds pretty good for this world."

Sighing, Gandalf rose and began to pace. He debated within about his course. How much should he reveal? To tell all would be to go against the will of the Valar, but he had to convince them. He decided on taking the half road. Turning, he faced Buffy once again. She was the leader of this group and her decision would answer for all. "Do you know, Slayer, for what purpose you were placed in Middle-Earth?"

Buffy's expression turned bitter. "Because the Powers got bored and decided that fucking me over again was a good idea?"

His eyes flashed. "You foolish girl! They sent you here not to damn you but to save you!" He took an angry step toward her. "Do you not know that your death was an incomplete death? Do you not realize the consequences for such a death?" The wizard stopped himself. He would reveal too much.

The witch picked up on it anyway. "Oh goddess..."

Gandalf sighed. Willow was too connected to the life and to the earth not to understand. She had gained much in knowledge and power since her fall into Middle-Earth.

Buffy and Dawn turned to face their sister.

Willow covered her mouth and fought back a sob. Pushing away the emotion, she met Buffy's eyes. "The void, Buffy. We would have been caught in the void. Our death was not complete and we could not be sent on. They could not send us back...or send us forward." The witch broke down into tears.

Buffy moved across to comfort her, but the slayer's expression showed that she was considering the witch's words. The youngest sister pondered them as well. Dawn looked to Gandalf. "So, they really sent us here to save us? To give us a second chance?"

Gandalf winced. "I am not at liberty to further discuss their will."

"But that's what it means, Dawnie." Buffy told her youngest sister. "We would have been stuck for eternity so they sent us here." She looked back to Gandalf and her eyes held knowledge far outweighing her years. "Now we have to start all over again. We have another destiny to fulfill and if we don't complete it we'll never receive our reward after death. We'll never get to heaven."

It was a bit more complicated than that, but Gandalf really could not reveal more. All would be revealed in time after all. At present they simply needed a little push in the right direction. That was the wizard's job. He was most excellent at giving little pushes.

"What about our bodies then?" Dawn spoke up again drawing the wizard from his thoughts. "What's with the 'no aging' stuff? Not likely to die anytime soon if we don't even get old." This one was far too intelligent for her own good.

"Or get hurt." Buffy added. She smiled slightly at the taken aback expression on the aged wizard's face. "Yeah, I know all about it. Got some problems with the local pointy-eared people. One of them shot me with an arrow. Not even a slayer heals almost instantly. My wound didn't last ten minutes."

Gandalf frowned. "One of the elves shot you?"

"It was an accident," Willow answered for her, "and a long story. What were you saying about the reason we don't age and can't be permanently injured?"

The witch's eyes were hard now. She wanted answers. The other two were no less determined. Gandalf sighed. "You will not age during your journey." That much was true at least. "As for your injuries? Your bodies can be destroyed and you can die, but not easily. You will heal from almost any wound. The severity of the wound will determine the length of time it takes to heal. If this healing is overtaxed with repeated injuries the time of healing will lengthen accordingly." He looked into each of their eyes in turn. "So don't push it."

"And the fact that we know this book/movie/cartoon and exactly how it ends?" Buffy jumped in.

Finally, to the point. Gandalf smiled. "This is not a book, nor is it a movie or a cartoon whatever they may be. This is reality and our world. I doubt not that many things shall come to pass in just the way you remember them, but others will change. Your knowledge will be of great use in our travels, though we cannot be directed by it. Do not set out to change our story, our destiny, but simply to join it. Do not reveal your knowledge to the rest of the fellowship for they have no need of it. Keep your knowledge to yourselves, keep to the path, and let the Valar lead us where they will."

Buffy snorted and sat back in her chair. "That's easier said than done, wizard."

Willow and Dawn nodded in agreement. Willow spoke up to explain. "We said you got a happily ever after, Gandalf. We didn't say it was a pretty path getting there."

As Gandalf retook his seat and faced these three extraordinary young women he allowed his burdens and his age to settle into his eyes. "It never is, Willow. It never is."

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More to come soon I hope! Please let me know if you like it so far and if I should continue!