Title: Of Snowdrops and Marchwardens

Author: Jade Hunter

Disclaimer: None of the characters and/or properties of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lord of the Rings belong to me. Joss Whedon and J. R. R. Tolkien, respectively, have that genius and honor.

A.N.: For #23 at the Fic For All at Twisting the Hellmouth. I saw Buffy/Haldir, and I went "Squee!" I love my Haldir.

He was a serious fellow, that Haldir. No one needed to warn her - she knew. It was like another sense of hers, one that told her that this was the person to rankle.

Buffy had always found enjoyment in needling serious people.

He would say it was a fault of hers; she rather liked to think it was her non-combatant way of making the world a brighter place.

He didn't like her, that was for certain.

He didn't like that Galadriel and Celeborn had ordered him to take her with his party during scouting missions. He didn't like that she could pick up any weapon - even those stupid elven spears that were, like, eight feet tall! - and wield it with surprising efficiency, given that she sometimes had to freestyle, as the size was all screwy for her petite frame.

Those stupid tall elves.

Stupid tall Haldir.

He didn't like that she was stronger than him. Didn't like that she was faster than him. Maybe he even didn't like that she could sense those evil Orc thingies coming a mile away.

And he most definitely did not like the fact that she had wandered off the path, and was now trampling all the pretty flowers on Cerin Amroth.

The scowl pretty much told her so.

But, of course, he was too dignified to ever tell her outright, and it was kind of funny, the way he hesitated to follow her, because of all the flowers.

"They're just flowers," she told him, trying and failing to suppress her smile.

Haldir glowered at her.

Just to annoy him, she plopped down on the grass, and actually picked - horrors of horrors! - one of them, a gold, star-shaped flower that was like nothing she'd ever seen before. "What's this?"

For a minute, she really thought he was going to shoot her.

His fingers short of twitched and he actually began to reach up, but he ended up folding his arms across his chest instead of unslinging his bow.

"They are elanor," Haldir said stiffly. "It means sun-star."

That was one thing he did a lot, and it was really helpful, even if she would never tell him. Explaining the meanings of stuff, even when unasked. One day, she might thank him for making her transition easier - maybe.

"Hmm," was all she said, and she picked another flower. This one was a pale, delicate looking thing, with white petals that almost shimmered. Absently, she began to pluck the petals, knowing the waste would annoy Haldir more than the actual act.

"That," Buffy jumped to hear him suddenly next to her, those stupid elves and their stupid stealth, "is a niphredil. It means snowdrop."

"Snowdrop, huh?" she quirked a smile, looking at the pile of petals in one hand. Snow had always held a special wonder for her, because she'd been a Californian girl, through and through. And, of course, after that snow day in Sunnydale, it had held even more meaning. "Why doesn't it snow here?"

"Lothlórien's climate is temperate," Haldir said in reply, eyes intent on her fingers, which were plucking yet more innocent niphredil petals. "It rarely gets colder than what an extra blanket will not cure, even now, during the heart of winter."


A stupid sort of urge came over her, and, without thinking, Buffy stood up and threw up her hands, releasing the white petals of the niphredil flowers into the air. There was no wind, so the petals simply floated back down, landing on shoulders and in long blonde hair.

Both of theirs, that is.

She laughed at the look on his face as he plucked a petal from his shoulder with elegantly long fingers. For a long moment, he gazed at the petal, then transferred his gaze to her.

"It's just flower petals," Buffy defended hastily. "Just brush it off, and you won't have to worry about looking froofy in front of the other marchwardens, jeez."

Going up on tip toes, she reached up to brush the petals off his shoulders and hair, but he caught her little wrist easily. She frowned up at him; it would be easy enough to break his grip, and he knew that, so the gesture was to express his disapproval more than anything else.

"It's just flower petals," she said again. "You really need to lighten up, Haldir."

He really didn't like her, that was for certain.

She frowned again.

Well, she could not like him, too, if only...

He kissed her.

It wasn't one of those kisses from make out sessions, hot and heavy; it was a simple brush of the lips, brief and fluttering contact, but it sent tingles down her spine.

...If only he wasn't so pretty, she could dislike him, too, as much as he disliked her.

Except, she thought as he drew back and gazed down at her thoughtfully with those silver-grey eyes, he didn't seem to dislike her as much as she had initially thought.

This time, she kissed him.

And they lingered there, on Cerin Amroth, snowdrops still in their hair.