Disclaimer: This story is inspired by Professor Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I don't own his characters and don't make any money with my writings.

Tho' in Distant Lands we Sigh

Southern Harmony by William Walker (1853)
Indian's Farewell
Southern Harmony no. 25b

When shall we all meet again?
When shall we all meet again?
Oft shall glowing hope expire,
Oft shall wearied love retire,
Oft shall death and sorrow reign.
When shall we all meet again?

Tho' in distant lands we sigh
Parched beneath the burning sky,
Tho' the deep between us rolls,
Friendship shall unite our souls;
Still in fancy's rich domain,
Oft shall we all meet again.

When the dreams of life are fled,
When its wasted lamp is dead,
When in cold oblivion's shade
Beauty, wealth and pow'r are laid,
Where immortal spirits reign,
There shall we all meet again.

(This story is inspired by the above song)

Part 1: Aragorn

Aragorn inhaled the fragrance of wild flowers before he opened his eyes - a sweet fragrance, heady and soothing, that made his head feel light. He felt refreshed, and he wanted to get up. Deep inside he knew that this was a dream, he was so sure of it that he accepted it immediately.

There was something more, so different this time from Minas Tirith: a soft salty breeze that made Aragorn realise that the Sea wasn't far away. He breathed deeply, reassuringly, somehow filled with an unknown anticipation and a certain disquiet he couldn't name.

What is for sure in a dream? Could this be...

He opened his eyes to see a deep blue sky, while white fluffy clouds made their way fast, riding with the wind and journeying ever further. Aragorn found himself on a meadow, coloured by the flowers he had smelled moments before. He sat up and spotted mountains to his right - high, majestic - so much like the Misty Mountains, and yet very different. The tops of the highest mountains were not to be seen and covered wholly in clouds and mist.

To his left he saw the Sea, ever rushing and flowing, indigo blue with white crowns on the tops of the crushing waves, but to his amazement it was quiet. Not wholly quiet for he heard a distant song, far away and yet deep inside him. It was a melody of dreams, or remembrance and a recognition that he was part of this universal song.

The Ainur.

It was said that they had sung Middle-earth to life. The old legends told that the whole universe was created in a song. Could it be that he was blessed enough to catch a glimpse of the Indescribable in his dreams? That he felt a tiny bit of the pure essence of the existence of it all? He closed his eyes for a second and felt tears welling up behind them immediately.

He had seen many things in his life as a ranger and - since a decade - as the King of Gondor. The feeling of surprise and unbelief that welled up in him came unexpectedly, even more for the overwhelming emotions it was causing in him.

The song went on. While he was looking at the landscape around him, he felt like he was being lifted up, carried into this song of life and eternity. This was kind of a mystery, for he remained at the same place where he had found himself just a few moments ago. His soul was lifted up and joined the song with its own melody.

Words would have failed, even if there had been someone to talk to. But he was all alone, as far as he could tell. He stood up and walked slowly to the sea. He was drawn towards a little silver-white boat that lay on the shore. From this distance it seemed to look much alike the Lorien boats that had carried the Fellowship of the Ring down the Anduin so many years ago. Flashes of remembrance hit Aragorn, like a sharp knife cut into his flesh. Those memories didn't hurt him anymore, but they always filled him with a slight melancholy that made him feel silent deep inside. He had never forgotten this torturous journey, nor his friends and their fates. His heart went out to Frodo the most, for he knew how the hobbit had lived in sadness and pain for a while until he had left the shores of Arda. Long hours he had talked with Sam, Merry and Pippin about the Ringbearer. But Frodo's fate was not to be seen by them all - or anyone else in Middle-earth.

Somehow Aragorn always had high hopes Frodo could recover in Aman. And yet... Aragorn wondered often about his friend. Would he live in peace? Would he be lonely? Happy? Sometimes it seemed to Aragorn that Frodo appeared in his thoughts to tell him that he was fine and there was no need to worry or fear.

'It is just what I am wishing for,' thought Aragorn. 'Just the way I want him to be...'

He approached the Elven swan boat. It was slightly smaller than those boats they got in Lothlórien, and carved beautifully with fine fragile ornaments of trees and flowers. Aragorn touched the carves thoughtfully and was amazed. He knew a lot of Elvish crafts and arts, but this was the most wonderful work he had ever seen.

Aragorn thought of the Teleri; their long search for their king Elwë, and the long journey most of them took with Ulmo to reach the Undying Lands. He was so deep in thoughts that he didn't notice the small shadow that moved in his direction, soundlessly. The song rose, and while Aragorn looked up from the carvings on the boat to watch the silent sea, words began to build in his head.

"Tho' in distant lands we sigh
Parched beneath the burning sky,
Tho' the deep between us rolls,
Friendship shall unite our souls..."

The King listened in wonder. It was not only that the words he heard went straight to his heart - no, he could also hear a real voice, a breathy whisper that had joined the song.

A dream. A whisper. A wish.

He knew this voice. When he had heard it for the last time in Minas Tirith, this very voice had been a cacophony of weariness and melancholy, desperation woven into every husky word. Yes, this was the same voice, but something had changed. This whisper was filled with knowledge, with cheerfulness, ever so light and ethereal, above all pain and despair.

Aragorn turned his head, half expecting to see nothing but the meadows and trees in the distance. But there he stood, Frodo Baggins, smiling, his eyes twinkling in amusement and joy.

Aragorn wanted to say something - just something. But his voice broke, and he swallowed. What...?
Just a second later he found himself in a firm embrace with Frodo, and both of them shivered in that brilliant moment of recognition and reunion.
The King held Frodo close, so close that they both could but hardly breathe. Both of them feared to wake up just in the next fragile second, and that the dream would leave their memories faster than they could keep them deep in their hearts.