To Dream - Ch15: Do You Trust Me?

Things you need to know about this story...
1.) Elven dreams are very realistic
2.) Elves shouldn't normally meet *real* people along the Olórë Mallë (Path of Dreams)... but something happens in this story that is not normal

Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter.
`*' signals a footnote

A/N: This chapter is shorter than usual, but it just seemed to be finished. I have a good idea of what's going to happen next, but it didn't seem to fit in with the mood of this chapter. I hope you enjoy it anyway. = )

______________________

Chapter 15.) Do You Trust Me?

***
"O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noon-day sun of the June-day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine..."

- Sydney Lanier
***

Recap: Same evening as last chapter. Elladan has decided that he's not going to give Oloriel up without a fight. Oloriel thinks that Elladan doesn't love her, but is determined to treat him as a friend to make up for her coldness the night before.

Oloriel slid under the covers cautiously that night. Her mind was racing in several directions, and she couldn't seem to regulate her breathing very well. Every nerve seemed to be set on edge as she nestled down under the blankets. She had determined in her mind to treat Elladan as she always had, but now that it came to it, she wasn't sure how she would manage being around him.

`Stop being so irrational!' she chided herself, `He is just a friend, there is no reason to be nervous.' She continued to repeat this thought over and over to herself until she fell asleep...

She drifted off into an ancient gnarled forest. Moss and vines hung from every tree limb, and only occasionally did small amounts of light filter through between the entwined branches. There was an overwhelming quiet about the place - as if nothing had disturbed it for centuries. A small, rugged path lay ahead of her; slowly she began to follow it, wondering where it would lead her. As she came around a bend in the path, her question was answered. The small trail led straight to the base of an old, massive oak tree and there ended. Despite the lack of sunlight, small white flowers surrounded the base of the tree, creating a soft, rippling carpet. Amid its leaves, and all throughout the air floated small glowing lights, which could have been lightening bugs, but were not.

Oloriel slowly approached the massive roots of the tree; they seemed to be arranged quite conveniently above ground, with the wood curving this way and that to provide seats and benches for anyone who might pass by. She took position on a particularly massive root, and then looked around expectantly, wondering what would happen next.

After several minutes of silence, Oloriel began to grow apprehensive. It was a beautiful, dear old forest, but these dream-trees were not real - she could not feel their consciousness, their being, as she could real ones. She felt lonely and unsettled. It struck her as odd that she never used to have such difficulty in sleep when she was young; there was always a peacefulness to be found in dreams. But now everything was different - she felt restless, expectant. Without thinking of what she was doing, she began to sing; this usually helped to calm her ruffled nerves. The dense, mysterious forest around her brought an old and beloved song to mind.

Will you wait for me beneath the twirling vines?
The hanging sky
Is but a memory within these dripping shadows.
The sun, careening down, comes splashing through the trees
And over leaves
Until it spills its fairy gold across the ground.
I have wandered far since morning in the meadows bright and fair
But in the silence
Of the sunset I will hope to find you there.

I search beyond the reach of sunlight, `neath the long and sleepy branches
Sleepy quiet and
Seclusion of these bent and creaking forms.
And the whisper of the leaves, the stirring of the grass
The slurring of
The stream, spread a peace as thick as fog.
I will look for you in twilight, mid the pulsing of the air
And in the pale
Of silent evening, I will hope to find you there.

Won't you wait for me beneath the twirling vines?
The huddled night
Will not seem quite so lonely underneath your gentle smile.
I am almost to that place, lovely solace of the willow,
May your arms
Be waiting there to surround my yielding form.
I will search for you beneath the stars, with stardust in my hair
And in the softening
Glow of moonlight, I will hope to find you there.
*

The song came fluttering to an end and Oloriel sighed contentedly. She leaned back against the tree and began humming softly to herself; a smile crept back onto her face.

She brought the lilting tune to an abrupt halt when she heard a movement to her right. Turning to see what had caused the disturbance, her eyes came in contact with a pair of all-too-familiar brown ones.


*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Elladan had gone to sleep that night with an irrepressible enthusiasm. He was not sure how he would do it, but he was determined to win Oloriel, even if it took him a thousand years to do it. He smiled to himself as he wandered underneath the shadowy trees in his dream: the picture of Oloriel, older and more beautiful, rolling her eyes and giving a melodramatic sigh before she finally gave into him was quite amusing. He could hear her voice now, saying, "Oh alright, I'll marry you... but only because I'm tired of your pestering." Then she would chuckle softly, throw him a crooked smile, and twine her arms around his neck before she kissed him...

Elladan was brought abruptly out of his reverie by the sound of Oloriel's voice. He felt a little silly for letting his daydream run away with him. Focusing back on what was at hand he realized that somewhere ahead of him and to the left Oloriel had begun to sing. He couldn't see her, but he would have known her voice anywhere. Walking quietly, he came into sight of Oloriel, but held back behind the trunk of a large tree. She looked so peaceful when she was singing, her eyes closed, and her face tilted slightly upward as if she were singing to the trees.

Elladan recognized the song - it was written a great many years ago, and had been one of his mother's favorites. She had told him once that it reminded her of when she was being courted by his father, and how she would sometimes arrange to meet him in one of Imladris' secluded glades after sunset. This memory alone made the song one of his favorites as well. He smiled softly as he watched Oloriel bring the song to a close.

...May your arms
Be waiting there to surround my yielding form.
I will search for you beneath the stars, with stardust in my hair
And in the softening
Glow of moonlight, I will hope to find you there...

At the moment his arms itched to hold her, but he didn't know how `yielding' she would be. He sighed inaudibly. `I have to start sometime,' he thought to himself. And with that, he stepped out from behind the tree, rustling the leaves of a branch as he brushed it aside.

Oloriel's head turned quickly at the sound; her eyes found his almost instantly, and the peaceful aura that had once resided on her face was shattered, to be replaced by a look of uncertainty and confusion.

Elladan swallowed nervously and then came forward. He stopped a few feet away from Oloriel and spoke. "Would you possibly allow... um, could... could we perhaps..." Elladan sighed in exasperation - this was not the eloquent speech he had had planned. He finally blurted out: "Do you want me to leave?"

Oloriel could not help smiling slightly - he had that confused elf-ling look on his face again. She cleared her throat tentatively. "Um, no... no, you may stay." Feeling that this was still rather cold she went just a bit farther: "I would... enjoy your company."

Elladan's mood seemed to lighten slightly at this, his features returning to their usual, calm state. Secretly, Oloriel couldn't help regretting this. Somewhere in her mind a voice whispered, `He looks much more adorable the other way.' Annoyed with her straying thoughts she exclaimed without thinking, "Oh hush!"

Elladan took a step back, confusion returning to his eyes.

'There's that face again,' her inner voice continued, unconcerned that it was causing discomfort for its mistress. Thoroughly flustered by the fact that she was arguing out loud with her own rebellious mind, Oloriel could not contain the blush that was beginning to flow across her skin. This did nothing to help stem the tide of self-consciousness that had already welled up within her.

"Is something the matter?" Elladan inquired.

"Oh no... no, it's nothing," she replied, turning her flushed face away from him as she absent-mindedly began brushing her fingers across a jagged edge of the tree, where a chunk of wood seemed to have been ripped out.

"Ai!" she exclaimed, drawing her hand back quickly and cradling it against herself.

Elladan came to her side. "What happened? Are you alright?"

Oloriel sighed loudly. "Oh it's nothing - I've just gone and put a splinter in my finger ...What is wrong with my dreams?" she cried petulantly, "Nothing is as it should be. Who ever heard of being hurt in a dream? Splinters indeed..." She continued on, muttering under her breath against the injustice of the world.

Elladan couldn't help smiling slightly - she looked adorable when she was aggravated. "Here, let me see," he spoke softly. Taking her hand gently but firmly he inspected the offending object. A small sliver of wood was almost thoroughly imbedded in the soft skin of one of her delicate fingers. He was not sure if he could get it out, but he would try anyway.

"May I...?" he inquired, glancing up at her.

Oloriel hesitated before nodding her consent. She was not entirely sure that her voice would have functioned properly. Her cheeks were still tinged with pink and the fact that Elladan was now holding her hand, massaging along the finger to try and work the splinter out, did not help matters. She knew that she was acting foolishly; there was simply no reason to be so nervous or childish. She kept trying to tell herself this, but it just wasn't working. For some reason she felt it was imperative that she put some distance between herself and Elladan. Unfortunately, however, at the moment her hand was firmly encased in his two strong ones, and she had the feeling that he would not relinquish his hold easily. And so, having no alternative, Oloriel sat there obediently, trying very hard to not notice how close Elladan was standing and, strangely enough, how nice he smelled. `Like trees...' she mused, before calling her mind back to a stern attention.

"Ah! - here we are," Elladan exclaimed as he successfully withdrew the splinter of wood after several minutes of effort. Oloriel breathed a sigh of relief: now she would get her hand back. However, her hopes did not reach fruition. Instead of releasing the injured hand, Elladan took up her other one as well and gave them both a gentle squeeze.

"Come now, mellon{friend} - something is wrong. Won't you tell me?"

Oloriel met his gaze but then quickly turned away. Trying to sound cheerful, she replied, "No. No, there's nothing. I... I think I should like to explore this place." With that Oloriel sprang up from her seat and tried to depart, but Elladan would not release her hands.

"Oloriel... Oloriel please look at me." Reluctantly, Oloriel raised her eyes to his. Elladan sighed raggedly; they did not look on him with trust, the way they used to. "What have I done to make you so afraid of me? I swear I'll never do it again."

Oloriel was taken aback by this question and by the look in his eyes: they radiated pain and... longing? Oloriel's mind was whirling in confusion - she didn't know what to think or say, all she knew was that she couldn't stand to see so much pain in Elladan's eyes. "Oh Elladan, it's not true. I'm not afraid of you, it's just...it's... I can't explain, I'm so muddled... Please don't look at me like that... I... I can't bear it." Oloriel felt like her heart was being squeezed in a vice; unshed tears began to sparkle in her eyes as she tried in vain to pull her hands away from Elladan's grasp.

Elladan turned his head away to try and spare her what pain he could. `How did things come to this?' he wondered, `And how do I begin to fix them?' When he had regained some control over his raging emotions, he turned back to face the girl, his hands still surrounding hers. She had ceased to struggle against his hold on her, and now stood with head bent. She looked so small at that moment, so vulnerable; Elladan felt an almost overwhelming surge of protectiveness rise up within him. He wanted to guard her against anything that would ever dare to hurt her - even himself.

"Oloriel," he began softly, "I am grieved at the thought that I may have hurt you - please know that I never meant to. You have become... very dear to me, and I hate the thought that I may have done something to push you away. I don't understand everything that has happened between us, but I ask you... I beg you to grant me one last request before you flee from me."

Oloriel raised her eyes to him in question. With breathless hope Elladan released her hands and answered her silent inquiry. "Please trust me one more time - as you used to. I vow that I will do everything in my power to never betray that trust... it is precious to me."

The elleth {she-elf} did not know what to say. Something inside her was still telling her to run away, to get out of danger, but she couldn't move any more - Elladan's deep eyes held her motionless. Finally, the true import of the words struck her heart and created a small ripple in her spirit. He cared for her in some way; he wanted her confidence and trust. `For all of Arda, I can't imagine why he goes to so much trouble over me - I'm sure I've done nothing to deserve it,' she thought to herself.

It was all a little overwhelming: here, standing in front of her, was a truly noble, utterly confusing, infuriatingly hard-to-stay-angry-with elf, who seemed to actually care what she thought of him. This was the Elladan she knew; this was the elf that had drawn her back into the light with his open, caring manner. How could she resist his plea? It couldn't be dangerous... could it? After all, he just wanted her friendship, and that she could give. Smiling softly, she reached out to take up one of Elladan's hands, squeezing it gently. "You shall always have my trust, Elladan son of Elrond."

Elladan's face broke into a brilliant smile. At that moment he had an intense urge to sweep the girl up into his arms and kiss her senseless, but he restrained the feeling admirably. Instead he merely swept up her hand to his lips, placed a feather-light kiss upon it, and then deposited it safely within the crook of his arm. Looking up and around at the massive trees and hazy lights he asked, "Now that we've settled that, shall I take the lady on a tour of this fine wood? We can talk as we go."

Oloriel carefully swept up her long skirt in one hand, then smiled timidly at Elladan. "I think... I think that sounds like a lovely idea."

The two spent the rest of the night roaming arm-in-arm throughout the old, shadowy forest; their pathway illuminated by the sparks of light that were floating in the air and the glow of hope that was rekindled in their hearts.

***

1. The "song" is an original poem by Iluvien (Me!). If any one can come up with a good title for it I'd be much obliged to them.

Stuff to Know:

Oloriel: dream daughter
elleth: she-elf
mellon: friend


This one seems to be brainwashing you all quite well, so let's use it again. ,_~
Repeat After Me: "I will be a good reader and review... I will be a good LotR fan and review... I will be a good citizen of Middle-earth and review..." Got that? Good...


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