Disclaimers: I don't own any of the characters, much as I might wish otherwise. I make no money from this.

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Sounds of joyful laughter drifted through the open doors to reach Elrond's ears. A smile curved his lips, and he pushed his chair back from his desk, standing and walking over to the balcony. Glancing down, he watched Aragorn playfully shove Legolas as they laughed. Elladan and Elrohir sat nearby, laughing at the by-play between their brother and the elven prince.

The smile slipped from Elrond's face as he watched the younger beings. Aragorn would be leaving soon. After much discussion, it had been decided that he would travel to the lands due East, to Rohan and Gondor and beyond, learning what he could of the lands and people. It was necessary for Aragorn to learn about the people they all hoped would one day welcome him as king, but Elrond feared what might happen while his son was far out of their reach.

Hearing a light footstep behind him, Elrond turned to see Glorfindel approaching. The golden elf looked over the edge of the balcony, and smiled at the sight. Turning to Elrond, he saw the serious expression on the elf lord's face. Knowing where his thoughts had led, Glorfindel spoke softly. "You worry for him."

"Yes," Elrond admitted, turning away from the view below to face his friend. "He will be further away than he has ever been before. We will not be able to come to his aid if he is in need. This will be a solitary journey for him, and as his father, I cannot help but fear for him."

Another burst of laughter brought a smile to Glorfindel's face. He simply listened for a moment before answering. "It is true that Aragorn must make this journey on his own, but he will not be alone, my friend." Gesturing toward the gardens below, he continued. "Wherever he may go, he will carry them with him. We have done all we can to raise him and train him, and now, as with any child, we must allow him to leave us behind, trusting that he will carry our love with him at all times."

Elrond was silent for a long moment as he stared back out into the gardens. "His path will be long and hard," he said softly. "There will come a time when thoughts of duty and his destiny will not be enough to sustain him, when his life will seem harsh and dismal. It is during those times that he will remember this day, his friends, his family, and it is those thoughts that will enable him to keep going beyond all endurance."

Glorfindel heard the distant tones in Elrond's voice that indicated his words were from a vision of the future. A chill shot down his spine at the thought that Aragorn would find himself in such a state of mind. Forcing himself to show no reaction, he sought to comfort Elrond. "Then friendship and love will see him through all the days of his life."

Elrond nodded slowly, a soft smile crossing his face. "Yes, they will."