Title: What Dreams Can Tell Us

Author: ak-stinger

Rating: PG

Summary: Set (for the most part) after Chapter 4 in What is Meant to Be. A compelling and intriguing dream about Estel (Aragorn) and Legolas inspires Mithrandir to journey to Rivendell. His visit couldn't have come at a better time for Estel, whose heart is broken after Legolas departs for Mirkwood.

Warnings: This story contains SLASHY ELEMENTS though it's mostly implied. It's also AU and Arwen doesn't exist in this universe. Finally, this is a COMPLEMENTARY piece to What is Meant to Be. It will make the most sense (not that it's terribly complicated) if you've read that story. Those who have only read What Love Brought Into Being might appreciate it as well since it deals with the origins of Aragorn and Legolas' relationship. Heck, maybe you'll still like it even if you haven't read either; I'm not very good at gauging this sort of thing.

Reviews: I am always happy to accept complimentary reviews and constructive criticism. Don't bother flaming; I just delete them from my e-mail and (if the flamer did so anonymously, as most do) from my story as well. It would just be a big waste of energy.

Disclaimer: I don't own The Lord of the Rings or any of these characters. If I did I wouldn't be a poor graduate student contemplating whether or not I could get through a Michigan winter with a car that has a malfunctioning heater. They belong primarily to J.R.R. Tolkien and his estate and secondarily to Peter Jackson, et al.

Onto the story!

Over the years Mithrandir had many dreams that danced through his mind while he slept. Some were of pleasant things; the fun he might have if he'd been able to live a life that was as sheltered as that of the hobbit folk he was so fond of. A few consisted of images of his existence before he'd been sent to that troubled Middle-earth. Most of them concerned the task he'd been sent there to do, including some visions that could be considered to be prophetic. He knew, though, that glimpses of the future never told the entire tale. Many a creature had been driven to madness, despair, and even death because they'd taken what they'd seen as fact, interpreted it wrongly, or both. Even some that would have been considered very wise had met their doom in such a manner.

Because of this, Mithrandir took special care not be allow himself to be fooled by those images. If he didn't keep his wits about him, he knew he would fail and the result would be an endless darkness falling over all the lands. Oh, he had hunches, feeling, and inklings of what was to come but he made sure never to try and force any of it in happening. 'What is meant to be will always find a way to be' was the belief that he held firmly to.

So when such a dream came to him on night at the Prancing Pony in Bree he was at first inclined to dismiss it. It featured Aragorn; but many of those glimpses into the future did that. Something told Mithrandir that Elrond's young foster son would plan an important role in his task against Sauron. He was featured in so many of these nocturnal prophecies, in fact, that they all tended to get jumbled up in his memory. It had gotten to the point where the wizard could no longer distinguish between all of them, nor safelyrecount all of what they foretold.

This dream, however, was different from all the others, for it showed Estel as he was at the moment rather than Aragorn, the Man he would grow up to be. Ten-year-old Estel's face didn't hold the burdens, cares, and worries that would etch the lines in his adult counterpart's face. The lad was just running around Rivendell, laughing and enjoying himself immensely. Occasionally he would glance down at his hand – he was holding a long, pale, slender hand, Mithrandir realized – and then up to his side. The look on his face was both exceedingly mature and utterly childish at the same time. It was the look of a child who was absolutely in love.

Who did the hand belong to? Mithrandir willed his vision to move, revealing…Legolas Greenleaf, Thranduilion of Mirkwood. The glimpses of the future would sometimes involve him as well, as the wizard had come to believe that he'd have something to do with it all before the end as well, but he'd never seen them together in either dreams or waking life before. Despite this change, Mithrandir was slightly disappointed. It didn't mean much that Estel might fall in love with the prince. Almost everyone that laid eyes on the Sun Star of the elven race came to love him in some fashion – something the young elf had long come to resent.

He watched as they wove their way around the statues and trees. For his part, Legolas seemed to tolerate Estel's naked admiration quite well. Better than, he noted with some satisfied amusement, he did with the strong stream of troubadours and suitors that marched through his father's courts hoping to see him, to make him fall for them through verses and song. Thranduil would only shake his head in long-suffering resignation if he knew that his son preferred the company of a human child above all the others. He could see Legolas smiling fondly at the boy, pulling him this way and that to talk to people before ducking behind a gathering of bushes in order to escape some unseen – and unthreatening – pursuer.

The view vision changed again – this time without his intervention – to focus on their clasped hands. Everything looked…strange. It was suddenly blurry and something was obstructing the full sight. 'Another pair of hands,' thought Mithrandir. 'Ones that are lifting theirs upward.' Who was showing that Legolas and Estel were holding hands, and why? Was it even them at all? The elven hand remained unchanged but little Estel's hand was gone, replaced with that of an adult's.

The upheld hands were released and lowered, bringing their owners into focus. Mithrandir stared at the sight: A figure in white that he couldn't see clearly was standing behind a majestic couple. That couple was Legolas and Aragorn. The young mortal boy of Elrond's house was now a grown man with the crown of Gondor upon his brow and looking every bit a king. The elf was dressed in his finest ceremonial robe and wearing the circlet of mithril on his head that signified his position as a prince. As white rose petals seemingly fell from the sky, the two turned to each other. The looks on their faces told the tale of a deep love dreamed of, waited for, fought for, and eventually obtained.

The wizard awoke with a gasp. He spent the remainder of the night trying to rid himself of the images burned into his memory of that dream. 'It is foolish to trust glimpses of the future,' he argued with himself. 'They rarely come to being just as you see them; even when they do, they always come with grief from all involved. Be wise, you old grey fool.'

By dawn Mithrandir was packed and setting out to Rivendell. There was no harm in seeing how everything was there, he decided. Besides, what was the point of being wise if one didn't occasionally share that wisdom with others?


Elrond, being wise himself and possession the gift of foresight, was not terribly surprised when the wizard arrived without any warning. "Greetings, Mithrandir," he said stately.

"Greetings, good Lord Elrond," Mithrandir returned, scanning the party there to greet him under his bushy eyebrows. He frowned as he realized that the one person he traveled all that way to see was not present. "I see Elladan and Elrohir, but no Estel. Tell me, where is he?"

"He's in his room, moping," supplied Elladan, rolling his eyes. His father and brother apparently were displeased with both his words and his attitude; Elrond shot him a sharp, censoring look while Elrohir punched him none-too-gently in the shoulder.

Intrigued by that response, Mithrandir raised his eyebrows in a silent bid for more information. Elrohir noticed the gesture and offered an explanation: "He is grieved over the departure of the Sun Star."

"Estel has met Prince Legolas?" the grey wizard murmured, speaking more to himself than to the others. That in itself wasn't enough confirmation to make him fully believe the prophetic dream, but still the image of Gondor's king and Mirkwood's prince together flitted around his mind…

"Yes he has," sighed Elrond, interrupting his revelry. The elf lord sounded pained; it was difficult for him to see his youngest child so miserable and know that there was nothing he could do to remedy the situation. However, he'd been through this before and was relatively unconcerned about any long-lasting negative effects. "And now he suffers from the pain of first love, unrequited and impossible. I wish he'd fallen for someone a little more, well, within his reach. Right now I fear all we can do is give him time for his heart to mend."

"Too right, too right," agreed Mithrandir quickly, "but I'm still going to check on him before we discuss the business at hand."

Elrohir stepped forward with a kind smile. "I'll escort you there," he offered.

"And who is this polite and proper elf that looks like one of the twins?" asked Mithrandir jovially as they set out to the Last Homely House.

"I'm still me," Elrohir reassured him. "But I'm also worried about Estel. I fear it will take him a long time to recover from all this."

"Is that so? Well, Elrohir, you can help me help him by telling me all that transpired during Legolas' visit."


Mithrandir's mind was reeling by the time the elf had bid him good day outside of Estel's door. According to Elrohir, the boy had taken quite a shine to Legolas, who'd in turn bestowed on him more attention and tolerance than either brother felt was necessary. He'd even instructed Estel on the archery field, assisting him all the way to victory in a contest against Elladan and sharing secrets about the twins' less than impressive beginnings in the sport. Their parting, he reported, seemed to be painful for both parties: Legolas had been unwilling to leave without bidding him farewell and Estel refused to simply say goodbye, choosing instead to write a poem for the occasion.

Eager to hear Estel's view on the matter, Mithrandir knocked on the door. When he received no response – positive or negative – he decided not to wait and let himself in. The room was as dark as night with the heavy curtains drawn to block out the sun and the lamps that remained unlit. Estel apparently didn't want to have any light in his life if he could not have the Sun Star there as well.

The boy had cried himself to sleep, judging by the red, blotchy tear stains on his cheeks. Poor, desolate child; whether the vision told the truth or not it was still difficult to be parted from his first love. Mithrandir stroked his hair, partly to comfort and partly to awaken him. His efforts yielded nothing, as Estel didn't even stir. "Do not despair," he murmured. "You do not yet know on what paths your life will take you. You will see him again; for what is meant to be will always find a way to be."

With that he turned and left, not noticing the boy's eyelids flutter as something that sounded like both a piece of advice and a promise for the future entered his dreams. That only lasted for a moment, though, before he settled once again into a deep slumber.


Lord Elrond was in his study, patiently awaiting the wizard when he finally arrived. "Estel is sleeping at the moment," Mithrandir reported briskly, getting right to the heart of the matter. "You can let him continue to do so for another hour or two, but I shall need to speak to him before I leave tonight."

"You came all this way just to talk to Estel?" asked Elrond in confusion. Fear knotted in his stomach as he pictured all the terrible things that could involve his son. "Has the Enemy learned about his existence? Is my child in danger, Mithrandir?"

"This involves nothing of the sort. I merely hand a dream concerning him and Legolas of Mirkwood."

Despite his relief that Estel's immediate safety wasn't being threatened, Elrond still felt uneasy. "Mithrandir, please do not do anything that would raise his hopes too much," he pleaded wearily. "I love my son with all my heart, but he is mortal and Legolas, aside from being royalty, is one of the most beautiful elves that has ever existed. The sacrifices that they would have to make to be together would be grievous indeed. What chance does Estel have at winning his love?"

"About as much as Beren had when he came to love Luthien Tinuviel," replied Mithrandir blithely. "For sometimes doom and love must exist together. I shall wait for him outside."

Elrond was left alone once more to ponder the meaning of his words.


"You wanted to see me, Mithrandir?" asked Estel a couple of hours later as he approached the wizard.

"Yes, dear boy," said Mithrandir fondly, patting the area of bench next to him. Estel obediently sat down as he continued, "What's all this nonsense about you being asleep on such a lovely day? You're not sick, are you?"


Mithrandir ran a hand down the boy's hair. "Lovesick, perhaps?" he suggested secretively. Estel blushed. "I hear Prince Legolas came to visit."

Estel's only response was the barest of nods. Still, the wizard was encouraged enough to continue. "Your father and brothers seem to think that you love him and are now pained by his departure."

Another nod. "Estel, listen to me," Mithrandir said sagely. "You are not the first person to be separated from someone you love, nor will you be the last. It hurts, but you must not let it lead you to despair utterly."

"But I messed up!" the boy cried with sudden passion. "I ruined it and now he'll never love me back."

"More nonsense," commented Mithrandir, rubbing comforting circles into his back. "What would make you believe such a thing?"

Estel's p.o.v.

"We were running away from the twins 'cause they were playing that they were mad after I hit the bulls-eye and Elladan didn't, and when they found out Legolas told all that stuff to me about when they were learning how to shoot. Legolas told everyone we saw what I did; he said I was more mighty and mature than Elladan could ever be. 'A fine warrior indeed;' that's what he said.

Anyway, the twins were starting to catch up with us so Legolas pulled me behind those bushes by the west garden. 'Shh, victorious one," he told me. "Two blatantly jealous forces are approaching. You must pay them no heed, for they are only envious because you got all the talent and beauty in the family.'

He called me beautiful! My heart was beating so fast. 'Even if they do find us they won't be able to do anything about it,' I said to him. 'Neither of them know anything about fighting.'

That's not true, of course, but it made Legolas laugh. Have you ever seen him laugh, Mithrandir? There's nothing else like it. They'll never be anything like it. I was just kneeling there; I could see him and he looked so happy and so pretty. I couldn't help myself! 'Will you marry me?' I asked him.

He stopped laughing and stared at me for a really long time. 'Oh, Estel,' he finally said. 'You're so young. You should be enjoying this time before you have to take on the responsibilities of adulthood.' He reached out and tucked my hair behind my ear. 'That time will be upon you all too soon. For your own sake and my happiness, please do not concern yourself about marriage until you come of age.'"

Normal p.o.v.

Tears poured down the boy's face as his body was convulsed with sobs. "I'm so stupid! I ruined everything!"

"Do not say things that are not true," Mithrandir admonished gently. "You are not stupid and you have ruined nothing. From all I hear, he was quite fond of you."

"You don't understand. I didn't tell Legolas that I love him before I asked him to marry me," explained Estel with between sobs. "No wonder he didn't say yes; he probably didn't think I was serious! Oh Valar, what if he thought I was teasing him?"

"Oh, I'm sure he knew how you felt and that the offer was made in earnestness," the wizard comforted. "Legolas has had a lot of practice in interpreting the feelings of others. But sometimes there are other reasons for refusing a marriage proposal even when all that love is present."

Estel wiped his eyes with the back of his hands. "I told him eventually," he recounted miserably. "But because he's so special and so wonderful I had to do it right and that sort of thing takes time. By the time he knew, he was – he was already l-l-leaving."

Mithrandir, sensing that he could do nothing more at the time, held him while he cried.


Staring up at the stars as he journeyed once more, Mithrandir thought about all he'd seen and heard that day. He resisted the urge to ride to Mirkwood to speak with Legolas. The young elf seemed to possess a wisdom and foresight that he wasn't even aware of yet; and was most likely pondering the events of the visit on his own. In this matter he'd reacted correcting by letting Estel down gently. Mithrandir could say nothing that would be of any use to him – yet.

Yes, Estel needed time to grow up; time to take on his true name and all the responsibilities that came with it. In some years, short to elves and wizards but long off to a mortal child, he would become a ranger of the north. By that time, he'll have come of age. 'Then,' Mithrandir mused, 'it will be time for him and Legolas to meet again.'

It was not wise for anyone to place all their hope and faith on a vision of the future. However, there was also no point in being wise if one did not occasionally interfere in matters such as this.


As Mithrandir rode away under the stars Estel laid in his bed, finding it difficult to fall asleep. This was in part due to the long nap he'd taken earlier and to the wizard's visit. It stirred so many memories and emotions; he could almost hear the voices of the recent past whispering to him in the dark:

"For your own sake and my happiness, please do not concern yourself with marriage until you come of age."

"Sometimes there are other reasons for refusing a marriage proposal even when all that love is present."

"What is meant to be will always find a way to be."

"For your own sake and my happiness, please do not concern yourself with marriage until you come of age."

"Sometimes there are other reasons for refusing a marriage proposal even when all that love is present."

"What is meant to be will always find a way to be."

"…your own sake…my happiness…until you come of age."

At that moment, Estel Elrondion sat straight up in bed and laughed at his own foolishness. Of course! How many times had he played in the corner of his father's study while Elrond carried on meetings? How many times had Ada whispered to him beforehand to listen to the words that weren't being said just as much as he listened to the words that were?

Still laughing he threw back the covers, jumped out of bed, and raced down the hall to Elrond's room. "Wake up, Ada," he chanted joyfully, unable to contain his laughter as he jumped up and down on the bed.

Elrond awoke to find his youngest making quite a racket, especially for that hour of the night. He could have been dancing and singing through the entire house, though, and the elf lord wouldn't have minded. How wonderful it was to see Estel so happy again! "Well, well, ion nin," he laughed as he pulled him into his arms. Estel immediately snuggled up to him. "What has put you in such a good mood?"

"I asked Legolas to marry me."

"Come again?"

"I asked Legolas to marry me," Estel repeated. He shifted slightly so that he could look into his father's face. Elrond had never seen him grin so brightly and widely. "I asked him to marry me and he didn't say no."

The End

A/N: This plot bunny has been with me for awhile. It all started when I realized that there was never an actual marriage proposal in What is Meant to Be. While thinking about this, I watched The Royal Tennenbaums. If you haven't seen that movie, there's one scene in there where a character receives a marriage proposal and the narrator tells us that she's received many such proposals, but this was the first one she'd ever actually considered. I was suddenly struck with this image of little Estel proposing with perfect innocence and sincerity to Legolas; who knew he couldn't say yes, didn't quite want to say no, and didn't understand why he was feeling so conflicted. It's nice to have this story out of my system!