The Dream Within
Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters, so don't sue me… but if anyone out there knows how and where to get a real live elf, (preferably Legolas Ü) help me place an order. *grinz*
'The Dream Within' comes off the 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' soundtrack and is sung by Lara Fabian.
By the way, this is slash, or rather, as slash as I can write without scaring myself. So don't say I didn't warn you. Ü
In case anyone gets confused about the timeline, it starts off in Lórien, then shifts to the journey to Helm's Deep, followed by the battle at Helm's deep before ending off in Minas Tirith after the Ring was destroyed. Hope that helps a little…
Dedicated to zephyr, ai and sakayume. ^_^
It was the night before the Fellowship was due to leave Lórien and continue on their mission. The night sky was a like a piece of black velvet, liberally sprinkled with diamonds, the stars striving to outshine each other in their brilliance.
He could feel it again, those conflicting emotions. They were exasperating him, as he did not know what they were. Those feelings had just grown stronger ever since their arrival in the Vale of Lórien, and they were definitely starting to aggravate him.
He let out a frustrated sigh and leaned back against the smooth bark of a tall mallorn. He had wandered away from the rest of the Fellowship, wishing to seek inner peace and soothe the turmoil within. And had ended up sitting at the base of a tree not far from where the Elves had gathered.
A gentle breeze brought the sound of elven voices to his eyes, like the ringing of numerous silver bells, only more ethereal. A simple melody, beautifully haunting, floated through the air and stilled his thoughts for a moment. He closed his eyes and let the tune wash over him.
The dream within
The stars are crying a tear
Escapes from heaven
And worlds end
Now that he noticed it, there was something strangely amiss amid all the laughter around him. He thought that, perhaps, now that he was back in the peaceful valley of Lothlórien, he could have the peace he had been yearning for. Something was missing, but he didn't know what…
His eyes snapped open as he quickly scrambled to his feet. "My Lady, I did not hear you…"
Galadriel smiled fondly at him as she said, "Peace, Estel. There's no need to get so excited over nothing."
She paused for a moment, then said gently, "Is there something troubling you?"
Aragorn's frown came back as he muttered, "Not that I know of." He sank back into his thoughts once more, seeming to forget the presence of the Lady of the Galadhrim.
There was another silence, as he felt her brush his mind gently, the feather touch bringing him some of the peace he sought. Then, unexpectedly, she said, "Estel, the mind often plays games with us; it is the heart you must trust, for it will seldom lead you astray."
He gazed at her in wonder, his heart grasping the meaning of what she said in an instant, though it still made no sense to him. "My Lady?"
She gave him a smile that was laced slightly with sadness. "Treasure what you have now, and hold dear to it, for in the end, all things will cease. Seek what your heart desires, and in all you do, may you find the peace and will to carry on." She eyed him for a moment, as though debating whether or not to say more, then turned and left him.
Aragorn bowed slightly at the retreating figure, still slightly confused by her parting words to him, yet strangely at peace within himself. Follow my… heart?
Then, he heard a very familiar voice rise above the others in yet another song; a familiar laugh that sent a strange thrill down his spine as he stood in the half-light, listening with the whole of his being.
The voice of an angel, a fair elf who did not yet know the havoc he had wrecked upon the heart of a mortal.
The dream within
Legolas lay on his back, eyes staring unfocussed at the night sky sprinkled with stars. Normally, his heart would have been singing with joy at the beauty around him and weaving his dreams from the view.
But not lately. Not since they had left the peaceful woods of Lórien.
He had been having long conversations with himself, trying to sort out his tangled thoughts and emotions.
Especially over the matter of a certain human.
He sighed and sat up suddenly, startling Gimli, who was on watch.
"What's the matter?" the dwarf grunted brusquely, his gruff tone hiding the concern he felt for his friend. He had noticed that the elf had become more fidgety and restless since leaving Lothlórien, especially after the Fellowship had broken up.
"Nothing, I just couldn't sleep." He saw the look Gimli was giving him and smiled slightly. "Really."
Gimli shrugged and muttered into his beard, "Whatever." He scrutinized his friend's face and commented, "Too many things on your mind?"
Legolas frowned slightly, his eyes unconsciously darting over to where Aragorn lay with his back to them, before focusing on the glowing embers of their fire. "No… it's just that… I'm worried about the Halflings." Well, that was the truth, a small portion of it at any rate.
Gimli smiled to himself. He had not missed the quick glance Legolas had given the prostrate form of the Ranger. He had long suspected that the elf had feelings for the man. "Well, since you're awake, you might as well take your turn now." He yawned as he lay down, then said over his shoulder, "Don't worry about them too much, they're tougher than they look, they will be alright, provided they don't starve to death before we find them."
Legolas chuckled slightly, then drew his knees up beneath his chin and sighed softly. He wished that he was back in Lórien where, perhaps, he could ask the Lady for counsel. He remembered what she had said to him the night before the Fellowship left the golden forest:
'Don't cage your emotions within you, my prince, or you might regret it one day. Don't fret too much about what your future holds either, what's meant to be will be, and nothing can change that.'
He didn't understand what she meant then, and he was no closer to understanding it now. The two voices in his head were starting to argue with each other again…
It is impossible, you will never be together.
I know, but-
He is mortal.
I know. You don't have to remind me.
He has Arwen.
He felt a stab of jealousy at the thought of the Evenstar. They deserve each other, I should be glad for them. I am glad for them… I think.
No, you're not. You're just lying to yourself. Give up; he'll never see you the way you want him to.
Dejected, Legolas buried his head in his arms and wished he had never met Aragorn.
He didn't know that on the other side of the campfire, another being struggled with the same emotions he was battling.
We tremble and
Legolas knew that they couldn't hold the door to Helm's Deep much longer; already the warriors were retreating into the caves, for their only safety lay there. He searched frantically for the human, even as his hand mechanically plucked the arrows out of his quiver and sent them flying with deadly accuracy. Finally, he found him, battling wave after wave of Orcs, too stubborn as usual to retreat and save his own skin.
"Aragorn! Get back here before it's too late!" He shouted above the din of clanging metal and crackling fire. He saw the hesitance in the grey eyes even from afar and shouted once more, "Hurry!"
Aragorn turned and made a dash for the stairs where Legolas knelt on the top step, his last arrow drawn and placed ready on his bow. He watched as Aragorn made his way up to safety amid the fires of the attack, the Orcs snarling at his heels…
Overcome by weariness, Aragorn stumbled.
Immediately, the Orcs behind him leapt forward for the kill, but they had not taken into account the greatest archer in all Mirkwood.
The bow of Lórien sang as the last elvish arrow found its mark, burying itself deep into the throat of the foremost Uruk-hai, killing the Orc immediately and sending it crashing backwards into those directly behind it…
But the marksman paid the price for that last arrow.
Immediately, an arrow whistled past Aragorn's head, flying straight for the defenseless archer.
Aragorn watched the fair elf before him in fascinated horror, as Legolas staggered and gasped, his hand reaching up to grasp at the black arrow which had pierced his chest, an ominous dark patch forming around it.
Legolas removed his hand, staring at the crimson stain on it disbelievingly, then, almost as though time had slowed down to a crawl, the bow he held loosely in his hand slipped to the floor and he toppled forward…
Falling toward his doom…
Then a pair of strong arms encircled him, catching him before he fell into an abyss of oblivion and pulling him back to safety. He heard the faint boom of the doors being swung to, as a voice murmured into his ear -
"It's alright… you're safe."
Where hearts can see
Dream in peace
Trust the belief
Aragorn cradled his friend, his panic mounting as he struggled to maintain a calm exterior in front of everyone. Already, the dark patch had spread over the entire front of Legolas' shirt. Aragorn's own hands were stained with the precious life that was draining mercilessly out of the elf. The feathers on the black shaft quivered slightly with every ragged breath he took, as though mocking his futile efforts to stay alive.
"Hold on, Legolas; bear with it for a while longer. Gandalf will be here soon, he'll know how to help you." Aragorn tried to busy himself with staunching the bleeding wound without moving the arrow. He knew that he should pull it out, yet he feared that if he did it the wrong way, he could very well end up killing his friend as the shaft was dangerously close to his heart.
Just a friend? That treacherous little voice within him asked softly.
Shut up, I don't have time for this now. Aragorn snarled back. Legolas is dying!
Then, tell him, before it's too late.
A slender hand reached up and grasped Aragorn's, as a pair of once-brilliant blue eyes locked with grey. "Don't bother. You know it's not going to work, Aragorn."
Aragorn tried to keep his voice even as he said, "What do you mean, Legolas? I'm only trying to stop the bleeding…"
Legolas shook his head slightly and gave a small smile. "Don't fool yourself, Aragorn. You know as well as I do I'm dying."
Aragorn shook his head vehemently. "No. NO! You're not dying, I won't let you die…"
We tremble and spin
"It's no point convincing yourself that I will live, Aragorn, I've already accepted death," the elf replied calmly, his voice hiding any trace of the emotions he felt.
Because being with you, and living with the knowledge that I can't have you pains me more than death…
"It does seem rather strange though," the elf continued with a distant look in his eyes, "that I would be the second of the Fellowship to leave Middle Earth." He chuckled, which only made him cough up blood and gasp. "What would Gimli say if he saw me now…"
That I am a fool to have loved one who was never destined for me.
Aragorn clenched his eyes shut and said through gritted teeth, "How can you be so calm about all this? You don't know how much we need you here, you can't leave us just like this…"
You can't leave me, now that I've found you.
His voice dropped to a whisper, "What will we do without you with us, Legolas?"
What… what will I do… without you?
He felt a gentle hand caress his face slightly, and opened his eyes to stare straight into a fathomless sea of blue.
"You'll survive, because it is your destiny, and because you are Estel, the Hope of all the free races in Middle Earth. Don't lose your hope, or the light that shines within you. Promise me." His voice was becoming softer, and he was having difficulties preventing himself from losing himself in the white fog that threatened to swallow him and free him.
Aragorn clasped the elf's hand tightly and nodded. "I promise," he said in a low voice, fighting the urge to weep. "I will not give up until the end, but you must promise me that you will share my victory with me."
Legolas smiled slightly, his eyes clouding over, as he struggled to move his lips one last time. "Namarie, Estel; perhaps, one day we will meet again."
His eyelids fluttered shut slowly as his mind numbed his pain and fear. He could feel the human shaking him, calling his name frantically, telling him not to leave, but he was beyond the reach of the mortal world. Everything seemed so far away, and it was so cold…
Before the world faded out to nothing, his last thought was of the human holding him, and who would be forever beyond his reach. Remember me, Estel, let me live in your dreams …I will remember you for eternity - because you taught me how to love.
The deadly shaft quivered once more as he sighed, then remained motionless. Another elf would no longer sing or walk under the trees he loved
Aragorn clutched the lifeless body of the elf close to him, and, ignoring the other people around him, gave vent to his grief and regret in a storm of tears. The pain he felt at the elf's passing was made even more bitter by the void that had opened up inside of him, as though part of his heart had been ripped out.
I didn't get to tell you how much I loved you…
And now it's too late.
The dream within
The voice is calling a song
From deep inside you
To guide you
Aragorn stood on the wall of the White City, staring unseeing at the horizon where the setting sun turned the sky a blood red.
He closed his eyes involuntarily as the pain he still felt washed over him, as raw as it was on the day the elf had died in his arms. And as always, it was followed by regret -
You were right, My Lady, I should have followed my heart…
His bitter recollections were interrupted as a shout went up.
"It's the Evenstar! The Evenstar has arrived!"
He opened his eyes and beheld an entourage of Elves headed by Elrond approaching the city gates. A familiar figure rode gracefully by his side.
Aragorn felt his spirits lift slightly, in spite of himself, yet a small part of him couldn't help wondering…
Why did he not feel as much joy at her arrival now as he would have before the War of the Ring?
Why did he still feel so empty inside? Even though the one he had loved for so long was finally his…
Was it… because another had replaced her in that special place in his heart?
He shook his head slightly, repeating to himself that he would stop thinking of Legolas; that he only loved the elf as a brother, and not as…
He took a deep breath to clear his thoughts, then went down to the gates to greet his bethrothed.
At the feast that night, even the most casual of observers could have told at a glance that the new King of Gondor was only physically present at the celebrations. His thoughts were wandering elsewhere.
Finally, Arwen laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, startling him out of his reverie.
"Estel, what is the matter with you?"
He looked into her eyes and saw the worry in their crystal depths, and immediately felt a pang of guilt. He patted her hand and forced a smile. "It's nothing, I was just… thinking."
Arwen shook her head slightly and smiled ruefully. "Estel, you are definitely not a good liar. I know that something is troubling you, why won't you share your thoughts with me? Tell me what is causing you so much grief, for the pain is obvious in your eyes."
Aragorn was silent for a while, then spoke a single word, "Legolas."
Arwen's face grew sad. "He was a good friend," she said in a low voice, "one who was noble enough to give his life - "
Aragorn cut her off abruptly, "No, Arwen, if I had been more careful, he would be still alive. He would still be here…"
He was supposed to share my victory with me…
He was supposed to be here with me till the end…
He was supposed to be immortal.
Arwen caught his hands in hers, forcing him to look at her. "Estel, listen to me. It was not your fault that he died. He knew the dangers of the quest even before he set out from Rivendell. He would not want you to blame yourself for his passing. You should be feeling honoured that he traded his life willingly in order to give Gondor her king." Her voice became gentler as she finished, "Estel, I believe that he died happy in the arms of his friend."
Aragorn slowly absorbed the full weight of her words, and realized that she was right. He smiled genuinely and said, "Thank you, Arwen, your words have finally made me see the light. My apologies for causing you so much worry, it's just that I wish… I wish he could be here to celebrate with us."
Arwen brushed his cheek gently with her fingers, and said, "So do I, my love… so do I."
The dream within
The light is shining
He shut the door to his room with an air of relief, as though he was shutting out the flurry of activity going on in the castle despite the late hour.
After all, Gondor was busy with the preparations for her king's wedding on the morrow.
As he prepared himself for bed, he happened to look out of the window, and saw a young moon hanging lazily in the sky. The crescent shape seemed as though the night was smiling softly down at him. He was struck by a whimsical thought: Wherever you are, I hope the view is as beautiful as this.
He drew the curtains across the windows and lay down on his bed.
Before long, Sleep had enveloped him in her soft embrace, and he was off in the land of Dreams.
There was a fog all about him – a thick grey fog that swirled around him and surrounded him completely. He could feel it clutching at him as he moved with difficulty through space, pulling him downwards…
He tried fighting it, but to no avail. The grey tendrils closed about him, dragging him down, down, down…
He blinked his eyes and looked around him. The thick fog was gone, in its place was a forest filled with tall, graceful trees. It seemed to be a cross between that of Rivendell and Lórien. He could even smell the soft fragrance of the flowers as he walked through the carpet of gold leaves, which rustled gently with each step he took. The dream he was having was more real than any he had ever had before.
He paused for a moment, and looked around him.
Where am I?
He thought he heard a light footfall behind him, but whirling round, he saw nothing, only the white trunks of the trees.
Strange… I thought I heard someone behind me…
He froze at the sound of that familiar voice. He did not dare to turn around, for fear of finding its owner gone.
"Estel." The voice was closer now, coming towards him from behind. The sound of it made his heart leap for joy, but…
His heart beating an irregular rhythm that sent the blood pounding in his head, Aragorn swallowed and said forcefully, "Go away. You're not real." I can't hold you, or have you, stop tormenting me…
"What do you mean?" It sounded puzzled, and slightly hurt.
"You're dead, Legolas. You're… dead." His voice cracked slightly on the last word as he struggled to compose himself.
A flight on the wind
There was a long silence after he had made that statement. Aragorn remained standing with his eyes and hands clenched shut. Then –
"Does it really matter?"
"… … …"
The voice continued, "Tell me truthfully, does it really matter to you what I am?"
Aragorn took a deep breath, and replied in as calm a voice as he could, "Yes."
"… … …"
"Go on, tell me why it matters so much to you." The voice was coming closer to him now, and took on a slightly mocking tone. "Or perhaps you're too scared to tell me?"
This line of questioning was going absolutely nowhere, and it was starting to irk Aragorn. He whirled round and retorted, "Because if you weren't dead then I…"
Aragorn's breath caught in his throat at the sight of his old friend and forbidden love. Even in a dream, the elf still looked so beautiful that all the human could do was stand and stare with his mouth hanging open.
Legolas raised an eyebrow at him and asked, "You what?"
They stood there, staring at each other for what seemed like eternity. Finally, the elf tossed his blonde hair over his shoulder and folded his arms across his chest, before asking playfully, "Well? Don't tell me that you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Isildur's heir, King of Gondor - the list goes on - are speechless with surprise at my presence?"
Aragorn blinked, then grinned back at the fair prince of Mirkwood. "No, it's just that I was, well, I mean, yes, I am surprised to see you here. How… how did you get into my dream anyway?"
Legolas shrugged nonchalantly and replied with somewhat forced cheer, "I managed to persuade the Valar to manipulate your dream so that I could come back and say goodbye to you properly. And you haven't told me what you where going to say to me if I wasn't dead."
Aragorn chewed his lower lip nervously as he tried desperately to think up of an excuse. But all that he could think of was that this was the perfect time to tell him. He groaned inwardly and wished that the forest floor would just open up and swallow him, then he wouldn't have to feel like he wanted to hit his head against something hard multiple times.
"Well," he began slowly, "I was saying that if you weren't… weren't dead, then I would be able to… to tell you that I, err…" He raised his gaze from studying his very interesting boot and found himself looking into a pair of beautiful blue eyes, and blurted out, "That I love you."
He hurried on, not wanting to hear Legolas' reaction to that declaration, "I mean, it's not as though I wanted you to – "
"Say that again."
"I – huh?" Aragorn stared incredulously at the normally impassive elf, who looked as though he was struggling to keep his emotions in check. He stepped forward, closing the distance between them, and reached up to caress the cheek of the fair being he had wanted for so long. Looking into the depths of the brilliant blue eyes, he said feelingly, "I love you, Legolas Greenleaf. I've loved you ever since I've known you, and I don't know why it took me so long to see it."
He bent his head to claim the elf with a kiss that was long overdue and burnt with all the passion and desire he had kept bottled up within him. He met with little resistance, for the elf only pulled him closer and deepened the kiss.
When they finally drew apart, the elf said, slightly breathlessly, "Why didn't you tell me earlier?"
Aragorn ran his fingers gently through Legolas' hair. "Because I was too blind and stupid." He traced the delicate cheekbones of the fair being before him and said softly, "Forgive me. If it wasn't for me, things wouldn't have turned out this way."
Legolas smiled and pressed Aragorn's fingers against his lips. "I have never blamed you for anything, Estel." He pulled the human towards him into another kiss more urgent than the first.
A gentle wind rustled the leaves at their feet as the man and the elf remained as one for a long time, savouring what the dream gave them, which they could not have in reality:
Where hearts can see
Dream in peace
Trust the belief
The time they had spent together seemed to have flown by on swift wings. Aragorn knew that before long, he would have to return to the real world.
Reluctantly, he broke the comfortable silence that stretched between them as they sat together on a riverbank that had somehow appeared as they wandered through the forest. "Stay with me. I don't care how, just…don't leave me; come back with me. I don't know what I would do without you."
Legolas stared sadly into the river that ran at their feet, before he closed his eyes and sighed, leaning back into the man's embrace. "I love you, Aragorn, but… I cannot stay with you. You know that as well as I do, for I am no longer mortal."
"You never were a mortal in the first place."
Legolas smiled slightly, then grew serious once more as he replied, "That's besides the point. We are of different worlds now. I cannot go to you now, but one day, you will come to me…" He stood up abruptly and walked away from the human, resting his head against the smooth bark of a nearby tree as he struggled to hide his pain. He could feel Aragorn approaching behind him, feel the comforting hand on his shoulder…
He turned to face his love, looking at him with pain-filled eyes as he said slowly, "Let go of me, Estel. Love Arwen, as you would have loved me. It is the least you can do for her. And for me."
He stepped forward and took the human's face in his hands, gazing into the grey eyes he loved. He stared at him for a long time, as though committing his face to memory, then sighed and leaned forward, enveloping the man in a tight hug.
His face hidden from the man's view, Legolas whispered into his ear, "I will always be with you, my love, even when you cannot see me."
"I know you will," Aragorn whispered back fiercely, before he drew away slightly and caught the elf's lips in a last kiss that seemed as though it would last forever.
He tightened his grip around Legolas slightly, and suddenly found himself holding nothing. The dreamscape around him faded slowly, the gold of the trees blending into each other such that they resembled the golden waterfall of the elf's hair, flying loose in the wind as they rode side by side in a distant past.
"Legolas!" He cried, as he whirled wildly, trying to find out where the elf had disappeared. "Legolas! Don't leave me now!"
He sank to his knees, wrapped once again in the dismal grey fog. "Don't leave me now…"
He suddenly felt something wrap around him from behind, and smiled slightly through his tears. "I knew… I knew you wouldn't leave me just like that… without saying goodbye…"
A musical voice spoke into his mind. Be happy Estel, for yourself, and for me. Let go of me…
Aragorn drew a deep breath, then said resolutely, "Only if you promise me I will see you again."
He heard a chuckle as something brushed the tears away from his cheek: a gentle hand he could not see. Dream of me, and you will see me…
Aragorn stirred slightly in his sleep, his body gradually awakening to the new morning, even though the part of him caught in the dreamscape refused to leave.
Then live in my dreams, since that is the only place we can be together…
Finally, he crossed the border between sleep and wakefulness, and he had to leave the comfort of his dream. But before he left, he thought he heard a voice call out in farewell:
Namarie, Aragorn. I will love you and dream of you, until we meet again.
He opened his eyes to a bright morning, the morning of his wedding. But now, the world didn't seem as dreary as it was the night before. He couldn't help smiling as he recalled his dream, then murmured to himself: 'Namarie, Legolas, a part of me will always belong to you.'
We tremble and spin
Aragorn smiled proudly at the infant he held in his arms. Little Eldarion wriggled around slightly in his father's arms before settling down again into a doze. Arwen came up behind them and wrapped her arms around Aragorn's waist.
"Isn't he beautiful?" she said proudly. "He already has his father's eyes."
"Indeed, and he will grow up to be a great king, like his father is," Aragorn replied mischievously.
Arwen laughed lightheartedly, "But hopefully, he will not be as boastful as his sire."
Aragorn was about to make another comment when he fancied he saw a faint image of a blonde elf perched on the windowsill not far from them, laughing at their antics. He stared at the spot in disbelief, but the phantom was gone.
"Estel? Is something bothering you?" Arwen's voice was full of concern.
Aragorn blinked and shook himself out of his reverie. "No, I'm fine. I thought I saw… it's no matter."
Arwen looked him for a while, then gently took the slumbering infant from his arms and left, saying, "I'll go put the little one to bed."
He stared at her retreating back, wondering whether she had sensed his thoughts. He looked out at the field where the wind sent the flowers bobbing and curtseying. The distant trees waved their graceful limbs as though dancing to the tune of an unheard song of an elf…
He shook his head slightly to clear it of its fanciful thoughts, then turned away from the window as a last ray from the setting sun struck him, illuminating him from head to toe and making him dance with golden fire - a parting salute from one who lived for beauty. Behind him, the blonde elf smiled slightly, then faded into the twilight.
Dream of me.
The dream within
The stars are crying
Escapes from heaven
And worlds end
Insane Author's notes:
*streamers and balloons* WOOHOO!! Finished at last!! Big thanks to zephyr, who has been periodically threatening me for the past 2 months to get me to finish this; ai, from whose fics I drew inspiration from when I got stuck at… certain parts ^_~; sakayume, for being a partner in crime. ^_^ (sorry I didn't let you beta in the end, otherwise this little ficcy would have collected even more virtual dust by the time I got round to posting it.)
Oh yes, sorry about the middle part of the dream, I wrote it when I was rather hyper, so I think you will notice that there was a sudden change of tone. (i.e.: it became more… crap, before suddenly reverting back to angst.)
Hope you guys out there enjoyed this, remember to click on the nice little button at the bottom of the screen that says review, ya?
Hm… my collection of angsty songs is increasing… maybe there'll be another songfic coming your way soon. ^_^A dream can be so many things,
Messages on angel wings,
Silver, gold, or brass it brings,
Hope to man and fear to kings.
- 'Show Us the Dream' from 'It's Cool In The Furnace'