muir_wolf: (Default)
muir_wolf ([personal profile] muir_wolf) wrote2011-12-09 10:08 pm

FIC: clinging to our pride | Lord of the Rings/Hart of Dixie fusion

Title: clinging to our pride
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2300
Disclaimer: Neither Lord of the Rings nor Hart of Dixie are mine.
Summary: Wade, from the outlying villages of Rohan, answers Théoden’s call for an army to go to Gondor’s aid. Zoe is a lady of Gondor, and a healer in the Houses of Healing. Saving of lives and the usual misunderstandings ensue.

A/N: fic for the ridiculously sweet [ profile] deathgetsusall. I don't even know where to start an explanation of how this came to be, so. IT JUST IS.

clinging to our pride

His father’s armor is old and has seen better times. He remembers sitting at his father’s feet as he told stories of those times he’d been called to defend Rohan, as well as those older tales of times crueler and darker, when courage had been rare to find, and loyalty in short supply.

Wade has worked his father’s land until it became his own. He’s buried his father and his mother and scraped up what little he could to help his sister and her husband start their new family. His family name might not be as praised and vaulted as those that have statues of marble and stone carved out, and there may be no grand epochs of their lineage, but he is a proud man.

He works oil into the leather the night before he leaves, loosening the armor. He’s kept his father’s sword sharp and ready, the way his father always had before the drink took over, and he’s glad of it now, because it means less preparation. He wishes his sister still lived close, so he could tell her goodbye and promise to keep her husband safe and all those little things one should have before he leaves for war. Before he leaves for honor and for country and for Rohan. The townsfolk are good, and he’s well-liked, but right now, as he straps his leather on and sheathes his sword, he realizes there is no one left to wish him well.

Minas Tirith is under siege by the time they arrive. Smoke rises from the city, and the white walls are broken and battered. When Théoden leads the charge, Wade urges his horse forward and follows. The Uruk-hai fall before them, but Minas Tirith stands in smoldering flame. Near the shattered doors, a scream floats down, and Wade does not stop to pause or think before turning and riding hard into the city. A dozen—more—break off and follow him, and they are through the doors and riding up into the city. Wade has never led men before, but he recognizes the faces around him. They’re good men, men he met and camped with these last few days, and they’re looking to him as he rides.

Wade follows the twisting city road, and they cut down the Uruk-hai that have broken through into the city, their swords rising and falling in the heavy air. Just as outside, they’re caught by surprise by a rear attack, and they are no match for men on horseback.

There are bodies on the ground from those not so fortunate, though, and Wade tries to keep his eyes and mind on the task at hand. They keep riding, and Wade knows they’ve strayed too far from the rest of the army, cut themselves off if it all goes sour, but still there are cries from unarmed villagers and children above them, and Wade will not leave them to their fate. And still the others follow him.

Towards the higher levels, there is a lady in rich cloth, her hair tied back in disarray, her embroidered sleeves pulled up to near her elbows. As he watches she tears the bottom of her dress and presses the cloth to a wounded man.

“Can you help him?” she asks another man, who’s holding a rag to his bleeding side. Wade slows, because there are still people fighting and dying out here, and this is no place for an unarmed lady.

“Get inside!” he yells to her. She looks up at him, her eyes skimming over him and then dropping back down, and her reaction burns inside of him, the way she dismisses him of hand. “It’s not safe for you!” he yells again, and this time her lip curls a little but she stays kneeling and tending to the wounded man.

Wade moves to ride on, because there is a city falling to pieces around them, and he is not responsible for this woman, but one of the men with him hang back for just a moment, and a pack of Uruk-hai burst out between the buildings. Whatever is happening further up, they’re clearly fleeing from something, and Wade and his men just happen to be in their path.

Wade tightens his grip on his sword, and readies himself in the saddle.

He wakes slowly, in agonizing stages, the world rocking unsteadily around him. Dark brown eyes waver above them; she presses a cool cloth to his cheek, and when he reopens his eyes he can see her leaning over him. Her teeth press into her bottom lip and her fingers linger on his skin as she draws the cloth down to his neck.

“Hi,” he whispers, his eyes at lazy half-mast and unable to look past her full dark eyes.

“You gave us a scare,” she says, frowning a little. He puzzles over the absent parts of his memory and the missing pieces of this puzzle, it’s a long moment before he can pull it all together.

“I’m in Minas Tirith,” he says. “The battle went well?”

“We survived,” she says, smiling a little. “We would not have done if not for Rohan’s aid and the army of the dead.”

“The army of the dead?” he asks, confused and more than slightly startled, and he can see the way she tilts the corners of her mouth down as she tries not to laugh.

“You were unconscious when they arrived,” she says. “Aragorn brought them.”

Wade smiles at that. He’d met Aragorn, spoken with him before he’d had to leave on the eve of the battle. “He came in time.”

“He did. Fortunate, or you wouldn’t have made it,” she says.

“I wouldn’t have made it?” Wade repeats questioningly.

“You barely survived your reckless—”

“Such as saving your life?” Wade asks, his voice tilting proportionately higher as he stares at her. “You were the one who shouldn’t have been out there, unarmed and helpless!”

Helpless?” she says. “I wasn’t helpless! I was doing my duty as a healer! We were gathering the wounded to tend to them!”

“In the middle of a battle,” he says.

“I saved your life.”

“I wouldn’t have needed saving if I hadn’t had to rescue you in the first place,” he snaps.

“I didn’t ask you to,” she says, pulling back. He bites back the whimper that wants to come when she removes her hand from where it’s been resting lightly on his chest, the warmth of her touch almost painful in its absence. Which is foolish nonsense, since he barely knows her, and she’s clearly not worth knowing. “I’ll check on you later,” she says, managing to sound both worried about his health and irritated at his mere presence. He scowls a reply.

“And how is your fiery lady?” Faramir asks. The two of them are sitting on a bench outside, less bandages now than when they first met some few days ago. For all of Faramir’s teasing about Zoe, Wade has watched Faramir’s eyes return, again and again, to Éowyn, the wounded shieldmaiden. Now Éowyn, there’s a lady that’s strong and brave and beautiful, so very unlike Zoe, who seems determined to look down on him for being a simple farmer.

“Ask her yourself,” Wade says, unable to hide the irritable scowl in time. Faramir’s eyes are wide and knowing, and Wade busies himself with fiddling with the scraps of bandage that cover his arm where a scimitar nearly cleaved through his bone. “Why was I brought here instead of with the wounded down in the city?” he asks.

Those wounded not well enough to ride with Aragorn to the Black Gate had remained in the makeshift hospital below, where those that did not or could not fight tended to their defenders. Those of the Rohan army that were wounded remained down there, for the most part. Lady Éowyn is here, of course, but she is a lady and Aragorn’s friend and she is royalty.

“Your lady healer tended to you,” Faramir says, his eyes dancing. “I think she wished to heal her savior.”

“I’m not her savior,” Wade says, a little more bitterly than maybe he meant. “I’m not anyone’s savior.”

“Oh, Wade,” Faramir says. “I know a little of what you feel. Do not let doubt poison your mind. It can be seductive in its pain.”

There is a shadow in Faramir’s eyes as he speaks, and Wade cannot find it in himself to deny Faramir anything, certainly not this small comfort he can provide.

“Then I am everyone’s savior,” he says, his lips tugging up into a small smile. “Come, Faramir, do not look so dour. Minas Tirith would have fallen if not for my might. I expect monuments erected in my honor.”

Faramir rests his hand lightly on the back of Wade’s and squeezes once. “You are a good man,” he says. “Even though the knowledge of it must pain you,” he adds, smiling a little, and Wade laughs.

Wade notices it, now that Faramir’s pointed it out. Zoe’s eyes linger on him and her fingers skim across his skin as she checks his bandages. There’s affection in her voice beneath the bite.

“I’ve heard you wanted to tend to me yourself?” he asks at last. He knows he’s pressing his luck, but if he can ride into battle he can surely he can handle this.

“It wouldn’t be fair to inflict you on anyone else,” she says, trying and failing to hide her amusement.

“Thought you’d be eager to tend more suitable injuries,” he says. His eyes are a bit shadowed, but she looks at him askance. “Surely there are people of a better class that could use your skills?”

She stares at him for a long moment and then laughs and laughs.

“Is that what you think?” she asks, and as he looks at her, torn between mortally offended and painfully confused, she shakes her head and slips away.

“You're looking well,” Aragorn says, grinning as he takes in Faramir and Éowyn. Faramir blossoms under Aragorn’s delighted gaze, and Éowyn gives him a small smile in reply.

“I am,” Faramir says. “Something here must agree with me,” he adds, and Aragorn’s eyes dance as Éowyn fails to hide her blush. “Wade tells me the two of you have met?” Faramir says, gallantly drawing the attention away from her and gesturing to the other side of the room.

Aragorn looks over just in time to see a laughing Zoe dump a pitcher of water over Wade’s head. He presses his lips tightly together and does his best not to lose his kingly composure. Faramir is not quite so skilled.

“I see he’s met Lady Zoe,” Aragorn says.

“She is a most excellent healer,” Éowyn says, keeping an enviable straight face.

“So I have heard,” Aragorn replies.

Faramir still hasn’t finished cackling.

“Wade,” Aragorn says, clapping him on his good shoulder. Wade looks understandably taken aback as Aragorn pulls him aside. “I wonder if I might request a favor?”

Aragorn has been crowned king not five days ago. There is not much question what Wade’s answer will be.

“Of course, Sire.”

“Lady Zoe’s quarters were destroyed in the battle. Faramir has arranged for both her and Éowyn to have a temporary set of rooms in the palace, and I had hoped that, given her tireless care for you, you would delay your departure and help her move her belongings?”

Wade swallows and tells himself that the amused smirk in the corner of Aragorn’s mouth is entirely in his imagination.

“Of course, Sire,” he says. The look in Aragorn’s eyes is wicked, truth be told.

He was not expecting the state of her previous quarters. Destroyed is merely a word, and therefore cannot encapsulate the ruination of her rooms. She walks between the shattered walls and collects what she can, her shoulders bowed a little despite herself.

“I’m sorry,” he says softly when he lifts a necklace from beneath ash and rubble. She shrugs lightly but does not speak, and he can see by the set of her mouth that she does not trust her voice. Against, perhaps, his better judgment, he stands and catches her hand in his. He runs his thumb down the outside of her hand, and he can see her shiver a little against him. “I’m sorry,” he says.

Her teeth press into her bottom lip. “I didn’t think you lowborn,” she says. “You ordered me about as if I were some foolish girl. I thought you pretentious.

They’re standing in the rubble of a place she lived and most likely loved, and he knows he should be respectful, but they have been at odds for reasons that are meaningless, and he cannot help but laugh. She softens against it, though, her own lips curving up in gentle amusement.

“Well,” he says. “Clearly we’re both awful judges of character.”

“At least we saved each other’s lives,” she says.

“We did, at that.”

She says it’s freeing to move. She’s lived in one place all of her life, and even though this is only a small distance away, she says she likes cutting ties.

Wade stays, and stays, and stays.

Zoe decorates her rooms little by little, and Wade works on rebuilding Minas Tirith. Aragorn assigns him more men and larger projects and insists he come to dinner each night to give him updates. Arwen seats him next to Zoe, and Faramir eyes him with amusement. Wade has a room three hallways down from Zoe’s, and six from Faramir.

He has a room he only uses to sleep.

Wade keeps his things packed and is always just about to leave.

Except he hasn’t, and he doesn’t, and he’s not sure if he wants to. His farm doesn’t call him like he thought it would, and Faramir tells him his father’s land is not a burden he has to keep. Aragorn tells him he has nothing to prove. Éowyn tells him only he can decide his fate.

Zoe takes his hand when he offers it. Her eyes dare him and her laughter mingles with his until they sit together, breathless and smiling. She heals the small scrapes he gets from labor and he builds her shelves for her books.

Faramir and Aragorn and Éowyn and Arwen tell him all the reasons he should stay.

Zoe tangles a hand in his shirt and kisses him back.


[identity profile] 2011-12-10 06:20 am (UTC)(link)



[identity profile] 2011-12-10 06:25 am (UTC)(link)
Well I already had the frame/backstory of the story from yesterday, and that's what usually trips me up the most - once I have that I can often write something straight through.


Playing ridiculous pairings/prompts/crossovers for serious is like, my crack, so it was kind of ridiculously fun.