Summary: Some dreams are broken, some are forgotten, and some are fulfilled. An elfling in Valinor dreams of meeting his hero, Prince Legolas. Fluffy oneshot.

A/N: The writing style of this is a bit different from my other stories. I was trying to make it more in the style of Tolkien because I just read the Children of Húrin and my God, that book is depressing so I wanted to write something more hopeful.

Dwelling in Dreams

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

-Prospero, the Tempest

"Get thee back!" The elfling let his arrow fly then quickly notched another, aiming as if at an oncoming foe. "Thou shalt not take my home!" He released the arrow at the imaginary opponent and in his mind it seemed as though the Orcs cried out as he slew them. Five more arrows he released, then, finding his quiver empty, gathered up the arrows he had spent.

The efling had never smelled the foul stench of Orcs, nor felt the bitter sting of their arrows, for he had been born in Valinor, where none save Elves can tread. But the child imagined that he battled fell creatures, for in doing so he was mimicking that Elf whom he most admired: Legolas Thrandruilion, prince of the Woodland Realm, Morningstar of Mirkwood, and one of the Nine Walkers, who had stayed in Middle Earth long after most of his kin had left it for the peaceful shores in the West. The child had heard it said—and sung as well, for there were many songs extolling the Prince's greatness—that the Prince was the most skilled warrior since Beleg Strongbrow, was as fair to gaze upon as Galadriel, and was loyal and brave besides; and that he would sail to Valinor when Ithilien was restored and King Elessar's rule ended.

But the years had passed, and the child was growing impatient. Surely the mortal king would have passed by now? What if the Prince had been sent to the Halls instead, and there was no messenger to relay the tidings to those who awaited him in the Undying Lands? These thoughts struck fear in the elfling, and one day, when the sun was at its zenith, it came to him that he need not wait but could sail to Middle Earth and there meet the Morningstar himself.

Now the child had a clearing he liked to go to, a sandy area that was walled by forest on one side and by Sea on the other, and it was here he constructed a small vessel, keeping it hidden from the eyes of any who might pass by. The vessel when it was finished was crookedly built and not fit for long journeys, but the elfling, seeing with the eyes of youth that often see glory in imperfect things, deemed it satisfactory and went about collecting a store of food and a cloak. Now he had naught to do save wait for an eastward wind. He set down his pack and rested on the beach and waited. He waited patiently but the sun passed seven times overhead and no wind came, or if it did he supposed he had missed it when his naneth called him home in the evenings.

He began to despair and to fear that the Prince would not be in Middle Earth by the time he got there, or that the Prince had been called to the Halls of Awaiting. This last thought set such terror upon him that he wept, and his naneth, hearing his cries, came and embraced him.

"Why dost my heart hurt?" he queried of her. "Is it not said that no grief can find us while here in Valinor we reside?"

"Aye, for no sorrow caused by fell beasts or Dwarves or Men can find us here. But not all grief comes from outside, penneth. Some of it comes from within." She touched lightly the place over his heart, kissed his brow, and held him until his tears ceased.

Thereafter the child eschewed solitary dreaming and played instead with the other elflings, though inside him there burned an undimmed hope that he would soon meet his prince.

*x*x*x*x*

'Twas only two years later that a vessel arrived from Middle Earth. The vessel was plain but it bore the last of the Elves who had remained on Middle Earth and a Dwarf, and the last Elf to depart the ship was the Thrandruilion. The child had come with his parents to the place where the ship had come ashore, but he could not get near the Prince for a great throng of celebrants stood between their two paths. He did catch a glimpse of the Prince, and the Elf was neither as tall nor as broad about the shoulders as he had imagined. Nonetheless, the Prince's hair shone as if spun from stars, his bearing was regal and unafraid, and his voice when he cried "Adar!" was clear and musical.

Then the crowd moved and hid the Prince from the child's view, and so for the second time in his short life he despaired.

*x*x*x*x*

Five times had the sun passed overhead since the day of the Prince's arrival, and evening found the elfling resting in the clearing he had previously abandoned. He was taking his comfort from the trees when his ears discerned light footsteps, and he rose to see a figure emerge from the wood, which the setting sun revealed to be the figure of Prince Legolas. The Elf's eyes alighted on the child and widened. "Forgive me. I did not know another was here."

Seeing the back of his Prince turned toward him, the child in a fit of anguish cried "Stay!", and the Prince heeded his subject's command and, going back into the clearing, settled himself on the sand beside the child. The elfling stared in wonder then asked the first question that presented itself to him.

"Didst thou truly slay a cave troll?"

"Aye, I did..." The Prince, seeing the young one's anticipation, told of what had taken place in the caverns of Moria, and his words wove a tale of great vividity so that the child could see clearly all that had happened. When the tale was done the child asked about Oliphuants and Orcs and the kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan, and he received rich answers to all of his queries.

Thus is was that elfling and Prince conversed until the stars and moon sparkled brightly in the heavens, but to the child their glow seemed dull compared to that of the Morningstar seated next to him. When the child let loose a soft yawn the Prince chuckled and picked him up.

"The hour is late and thy naneth is doubtlessly worried for thee," he said as he carried the child homeward. The trees whispered after them and the Sea lapped gently at the place they had sat. All was at peace.