full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
When Worlds Collide: The Journey by enigma_k
Chapter 4: Birth of Hope
Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. - Vaclav Havel


“The Ents have not troubled with the wars of men and wizards for a very long time. But now, something is about to happen that has not happened for an age.”

“What’s that?” Buffy asked, sure that since she was new to Middle Earth, she was the only one not in the know.

“’Tis a gathering,” Treebeard continued in a gravely voice.

“A gathering?”

“Look, Buffy!” Merry pointed to a group of Ents.

The Slayer stared at the motley group of tree people and wondered what in the world Gandalf had been thinking, believing that they’d be able to take on Isengard. Yeah, Saruman had dispatched nearly all of his home-grown forces, leaving the mammoth tower all but deserted. But still…

“…Now we must decide if the Ents will go to war.”

Decide? Surely they knew that war had already come to Fangorn Forrest. At least according to the wizard it had.

Buffy felt herself being lowered to the ground, along with her two companions, Merry and Pippin.

“You will wait here,” Treebeard told them.

“Yeah, ok.” Buffy barely suppressed an eye roll. Not like she knew exactly where she was anyway. Being weaponless guaranteed her sticking close to her guide. That didn’t mean she couldn’t stretch her legs, especially since after having been tied to the back of some Orc for three days her limbs were still seemingly tied in knots.

She walked around the outskirts of the clearing, her mind not on the conference between the Ents, but on Spike. It had taken a lot of convincing on Gandalf’s part not to wait for the vampire to catch up, but to forge ahead with the two hobbits and the Ent. Only his reminder of her commitment to the Fellowship had managed to win her capitulation. That her seeing to a weakened Isengard would help ensure Frodo’s completion of his task.

Still didn’t mean she liked it. Or agreed with the wizard.

What if something were to happen to him? Buffy shook the negative thoughts from her mind before they could grab hold and take root. She knew better than to even think something like that…that on the Hellmouth, nine times out of ten, ideas became reality.

And the worse the idea, the more likely the reality.

She just prayed it had gone unnoticed by those that watched over Middle Earth.


Buffy sat, leaning against a tree trunk when Treebeard separated himself from the others and walked over to them.

“I have told your names to the Entmoot and… we’ve agreed…”

The Slayer perked up a bit.

“…you are not Orcs.”

“Well, thank god for small favors,” Buffy grumbled under her breath.

“We told you that already,” Merry added, equally frustrated that the last few hours conversation had revealed something so completely useless in nature. At this rate, Middle Earth would be decimated before the Ents decided to offer their support.

“What about Saruman?” Buffy asked, rising to her feet.

“Yes! Have you come to a decision about him?” Merry walked over to stand beside Buffy.

“Now, don’t be hasty, Master Meriadoc.”

“Hasty! Our friends are out there. They need our help! They cannot fight this war on their own.” His eyes were overly bright, frustration having reduced him to near tears.

“War… yes… it affects us all... But you must understand, young hobbit... it takes a long time… to say anything in old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth... taking a long time to say.” His voice lent credence to that statement, drawing out the words as if speaking in Man’s tongue was foreign to him.

He walked away, leaving both Slayer and hobbit gaping after the tree man in astonishment. Buffy flopped back into her spot, leaning her head back against the tree’s trunk, frustration with the entire situation nearly radiating from her body.

Several hours later, Treebeard returned and his news left the Slayer dumbfounded. They weren’t going to do anything?

“Weather things?!” she demanded. “Don’t you understand?”

“This is not our war.”

“Yeah, well… tell that to Sauron. He doesn’t seem to care who he tramples on in his bid to take over Middle Earth. And I hate to break it to you, but this isn’t just a war!”

“You are brave, Little One. But, your part in this tale is over. Go back to your home.”

Buffy stared up at the Ent and gaped.

Home? I have no home here. And, even if I did, it’s only a matter of time before it, too, is destroyed. Haven’t you been listening to anything I’ve said?”

“Maybe Treebeard is right,” Pippin cut in. He turned to look at his friend. “We don't belong here, Merry. It's too big for us. What can we do in the end? We've got the Shire. Maybe we should go home.”

“The fires of Isengard will spread, Pippin,” Merry told him wearily. “And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. All that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won't be a Shire...”

Buffy shared a look with the blond hobbit. At least someone else besides her understood.


“I thought you dead, Kriger,” Aragorn told him, clasping him about the shoulder, secretly taking the majority of the other’s weight onto himself as he led his brother away from the small gathering near the main gate of Helm’s Deep. Though the vampire would never show it to anyone save his brother, Aragorn could see for himself that Kriger was weak.

He needed blood. Quickly.

Aragorn was nearly to his chamber when he sensed the presence of another.

“He is stubborn, is he not,” Haldir commented in elvish. He slid in on the opposite side of the Ranger and wrapped Kriger’s arm about his shoulder so that the vampire barely had to support his own weight. The hall was deserted as Aragorn guided them towards his temporary quarters; every man, young and old, seeing to the defense of the Theoden King’s keep. “Thought he was going to fall off the bridge once or twice. Either that, or die right where he stood.”

Aragorn smirked at Kriger’s disgruntled expression, but when his brother offered no retaliatory remark, the smile left his face.

“Let’s get him on the bed,” the Ranger told the elf.

Haldir nodded, and together they got Kriger settled on his back upon the mattress and quickly divested of weapons and armor. Aragorn peeled his tunic away and gasped at the cuts and bruises marring his flesh. It still didn’t explain his weakness, however. Nimble fingers flew over his lower extremities assessing for further damage. When he got to his left leg, his lips turned downward in a frown. The material was slit from damn near his waist…all the way to his knee. Aragorn peeled the material back and almost lost his lunch, what little he’d eaten. The vampire’s leg was slashed nearly to the bone. The dark, wet cloth had clung to his leg and masked the blood that was leaking heavily from the wound – which was no doubt compounded by the vampire’s stroll about Rohan.

“Get me needle and thread…and blood…lots of it…hurry…” he whispered to the elf. His hand retrieved the dagger belted about his waist, and when Aragorn would have cut his wrist and offer it Kriger, the Ranger found it grasped in an unyielding grip.

“No…” The voice was weak, but no less commanding.

“You need blood,” he told the vampire matter-of-factly.

“Haldir is getting it. Can’t…can’t afford for you to be off your game. Too… many are coming.”

Aragorn nodded at his brother’s logic, though he didn’t like it.

“Go… stick that in the fire and lay it against the wound. Don’t have time for you to play nursemaid. Saruman’s army will be here soon.”

Even as he said it, Spike could hear the faint battle horns sounding in the distance.


Spike couldn’t control his demon features from appearing, or the inhuman roar of pain, when Aragorn laid the fire red blade against his thigh.

The smell of charred flesh seemed to overwhelm the room, but Aragorn forced himself to draw his dagger down the length of his brother’s leg, cauterizing the wound, sealing it quicker than thread and needle would have done. He was amazed at the vampire’s tolerance for pain, how Kriger laid there, leg unmoving beneath his brutal treatment.

“’Tis done,” he announced, lifting the blade away from Kriger’s flesh and sticking it into a jug of water to cool.

Haldir returned then with two mugs filled with blood. “Here, drink this.”

Spike sat up and took one mug gratefully, downing its contents in a few long swallows, his other hand already outstretched for the second. That, too, when it was handed to him, was drunk quickly.

A pile of clothes was dumped in his lap, and Spike stood and peeled off his torn pants and quickly donned the spare set. Three sets of hands worked quickly to garb him in mail and weaponry.

“Come,” Spike told the others. “They draw near and your men will need guidance.” He limped towards the door, ignoring the stabbing pain in his leg, both Haldir and Aragorn falling into step behind him. By the time the vampire had reached the end of the hall and stepped out into the night sky, neither man could see a trace of his limp.


Spike paced back and forth along the battlements while Aragorn stood quietly beside Legolas and Gimli. It was eerily quiet, only the sound of the approaching army could be heard, drums beating out the cadence to their steady march on Helm’s Deep. He finally paused beside Haldir, who stood some distance from his brother and the others. The elf at his side shifted slightly to allow him to stand beside their leader.

“Thank you.”

“You would have done the same for me, Kriger.”

“Not just for that, but for coming.”

Haldir looked over at the vampire, the only person, outside Aragorn, that had earned the elves’ trust.

“Couldn’t let you seek all the glory. I’d never hear the end of it.”

Though Spike smiled at the other’s joke, his eyes were serious, silently conveying his gratitude that the elvish people had sought fit to honor the alliance with Men.

“You just guard your back so that I can brag when all is said and done.”

Spike laid a hand on the elf’s shoulder; he moved off after a moment, continuing his journey toward the end of the battlements. He turned around and started back, eyes constantly scanning the men, and the army growing steadily closer and closer.

Lightning danced across the sky, the sound of thunder following closely in its wake. The clouds seemed to open up of a sudden and drop buckets of rain on the waiting soldiers and the advancing Orcs. Spike watched the torches flicker under the deluge, some extinguished entirely. Didn’t matter really, he could still see them, hear them.

Their pounding march reduced to squishes on the sodden ground. Not that it slowed their pace one whit.

No, they kept coming, until the first line stood less than a hundred yards from the outer walls of Helm’s Deep. An inhuman roar was a signal for them to stop, and they did, coming to a clumsy halt.

The two groups stared each other down, humans and elves from high above, a seemingly superior position to the Orcs’ own. But, the sheer number of their enemy was daunting. Spike knew they were in for a rough night.

The Orcs began growling, pounding their spears upon the ground. He could sense the restlessness among many of the humans; the elves were far more disciplined. His head snapped to the left at the sound of an arrow being let loose. His eyes closed momentarily as the tip slammed into one of the front line, killing the Orc instantly, knowing that there’d be no turning back.

Sure enough, their leader let loose with a battle cry and they advanced, their formation broken as the demons raced towards the wall. Their goal: the annihilation of all that lay within the protective borders of Helm’s Deep.


Aragorn gave the command to let loose their arrows, and Spike zeroed in on his first victim and fired. His hand moved in a blur, similar to the elves around him, firing fast and furious on the advancing Orcs. Trying to take out as many as he could before they began raising their ladders to breach the outer walls of the Theoden King’s stronghold.

After a time, he was caught up in the battle, barely managing to keep one eye on Aragorn and the other two – Legolas and Gimli. He could only trust in their skill, their will to outdo their enemy, as he continued to battle against the sheer overwhelming numbers of the Orc army. Bow and arrow were eventually given up as the enemy surged over the top of the wall, making the weapon useless at close range. Elf and man alike armed themselves with sword, doing their best to keep the Orcs at bay.

Suddenly, a section of the outer wall exploded not far from where Spike was standing. The blast threw him several feet away, dazed for a minute. He shook it off and clamored to his feet – he couldn’t stop now.

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a group of Orcs charging the main gate, and managed to call out a warning. A group of elves fired on the heavily armored demons, trying to stop their forward progress.

The sound of retreat to the inner bailey was given and Spike turned to command the elves standing guard to return to the keep. He glanced over the wall and saw Aragorn and the others making their way safely back to the keep.

“Haldir… come on!” Spike shouted in elvish. His eyes widened in shock when the elf was struck from behind, and he battled his way through Orc and elf alike to reach his side.

Holding the mortally wounded Haldir tight against his chest, for one second Spike debated turning him… before he shoved the thought firmly from his mind.

“You fought well, my brother… go now… rest with your brothers and sisters. Be at peace…” When the elf’s life force slipped away, Spike reluctantly tore himself away to follow the other elves back to the keep. He glanced over the side of the battlements and saw his fool brother and the dwarf taking on the contingent of Orcs that had been beating steadily on the main gate into Helm’s Deep. Then, further up the line, Legolas called out to Aragorn, throwing him a rope. Spike rushed to the elf’s side and helped raise the two to safety.

“Remind me to kick your ass for that fool stunt once we’re finished here,” Spike told his brother, half hugging Aragorn as he urged him and the others back towards the safety of the main keep.


“Stop!” Pippin yelled suddenly.

Buffy looked askance at the hobbit; Merry did the same.

“We’re going the wrong way. We need to go south.”

“South?” Treebeard questioned. “But that will take you past Isengard…” The Ent stopped, frozen in shock at the hobbit’s suggestion.

“Yes! Exactly! If we go south we can slip past Saruman unnoticed. The closer we are to danger, the further we are from harm. It's the last thing he'll expect.” Pippin nodded convincingly, looking pointedly at Buffy and Merry.

“He’s right,” Buffy added, suddenly catching on to the hobbit’s plan. If they could get the Ent to see the destruction being done to his forest, it might anger him enough to get involved. “I use that strategy all the time. Saruman probably thinks he’s too powerful, and that we wouldn’t dare try going near his stronghold.”

“Well, that doesn't make sense to me, but then, you are very small. Perhaps you are right. South it is then,” he told them in that slow voice of his. “I’ve always liked going south. Reminds me of going downhill…”

“Are you mad?” Merry hissed.

“No… for once, I think Pippin’s got the right of it. Good thinking,” she told the dark-haired hobbit.

“Thanks. I just pray this works.”

“So do I.”


“A little family of field mice that climb up sometimes and they tickle me awfully. Always trying to get somewhere where they—”

Treebeard drew to a halt, staring at the destruction wrought by Saruman.

“Many of these trees were my friends... Creatures I had known from nut and acorn.”

“I’m sorry, Treebeard.”

“They had voices of their own…Saruman! A wizard should know better!” He let out a bellow of rage. “There is no curse in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of Men for this treachery. My business is with Isengard tonight. With rock and stone.”

“Well, alright!” Buffy cheered, glad to be putting her skills to good use…finally.

The sound of thundering footsteps could soon be heard, and the Slayer scanned the edge of the forest and smiled as various types of Ents stepped into the clearing.

“Come, my friends. The Ents are going to war. It is likely that we go to our doom… Last march of the Ents.”


“We’re royally buggered if he’s not there, you realize that,” Spike told Aragorn. Both were mounted, like the other Rohirrim, waiting for the doors to give under the Orcs assault.

“Yeah… but, at least we’ll give the women a chance to get away.”

The Horn of Helm Hammerhand rang throughout the keep, signaling their battle charge. The men rode out, just as the doors gave way, killing any and all Orcs that happened across their path. Down across the bridge they rode, and as they cleared the outer perimeter of Helm’s Deep, Aragorn looked to the east…

And saw Gandalf, mounted on the back of Shadowfax.

Aragorn’s smile seemed brilliant in the dark of war; he was never so pleased to see someone as the Rohirrim charging down the hillside.


Mounted on the back of Shadowfax, Gandalf stood at the head of the small group of riders staring out over the countryside.

“Sauron’s wrath will be terrible, his retribution swift. The battle for Helm’s Deep is over. The battle for Middle-earth is about to begin. All our hopes now lie with two little hobbits, somewhere in the wilderness.”


Buffy stared around at the watery ruin of Isengard with something akin to satisfaction. Saruman had been defeated; his army-making disciples dead, his means for creating them destroyed.

Now all that needed to be done was to rescue the friend that had been left behind and free her from the evil wizard’s clutches.

But, they had time yet. Saruman had nowhere to run, and Buffy was beyond tired. She’d just rest for a bit, allowing the Ents to see to their safety while they regained their strength.

‘Yes, just rest for a minute…’ she silently told herself, making a pallet near the edge of the forest beneath one of the unharmed trees. ‘…and maybe when I wake, Spike will be here.’

End of Book Two