To Dream - Ch20: Why Do You Love 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: Well, this was suppose the be a "short n'quick" chapter, but when I kept putting it off, I decided that I might as well make it long since you already had to wait. So here ya go, another long chapter... enjoy...

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Chapter 20.) Why Do You Love Me?

***
You will come one day in a waver of love,
Tender as dew, impetuous as rain

- Carl Sandburg
***

Recap: Elladan and Oloriel have received a blessing from Elrond for their courtship. Kallindo, unaware of her current attachment has declared his love to Oloriel, but she has rejected it. This chapter occurs the same night as the last chapter.

Elladan walked slowly down dimly lit hallways toward his private chambers. It was already well into the night, the festivities of that evening keeping many an elf awake beneath the stars. Some of the elves were still celebrating, but Elladan was tired, and he wanted to see Oloriel. On the way to his room, he strolled passed his father's study and noticed that a light was still burning. He paused for a moment, thinking to go in, but then decided against it. His feet continued their journey toward his bed but did not get very far; he had only taken a few steps when his father's head appeared from behind the heavy oak door of his study.

"Elladan," he called gently, "I thought that was you. Will you come here a moment?"

Elladan obligingly retraced his steps, and followed his father into the warm, fire-lit room. The two of them sat down before the crackling flames. Silence reigned for several moments. Elrond seemed rather thoughtful, as though he wanted to say something, but wasn't sure quite how to word it.

Finally he spoke. "Do you see Oloriel every night?"

Elladan raised his eyebrow. So that was the topic of this conversation. "Yes, I generally do. Why?"

Elrond chose not to answer his question just yet. "And when you meet it is simply the two of you?

"Aye. I have not dreamt of other events or people since I met her."

"How exactly do these meetings take place?" Elrond continued his inquiry

"I go to sleep, it is simply a dreamscape, and when she has fallen asleep she is there with me."

The fire continued to leap about as Elrond let out a contemplative sigh. "This may sound rather prosaic, ion nín {my son}, but I have called you in here to talk about matters of propriety. Lady Galadriel has informed me that Oloriel has no near kin in Middle Earth - she has no one to protect her or her honor, and you must be very careful of that. This courtship that you desire is certainly unorthodox. Normally it would be thought rather shocking to spend so much time alone in each other's presence, unattended; how do propose to handle this situation."

Elladan was rather dumb-founded by this question. Of a truth, he had never really thought about it before. "I... well, it's only a dream; I did not think that much harm could be done in that way."

"But it is obviously more than a dream, ion nín. The two of you have experienced things unheard of. You said once that she was even able to use her healing skills on you during one of these `dreams'. I think it is safe to say that the same rules do not apply. The two of you already have a very... intimate bond. There have been some spouses who shared thoughts or dreams together, but that has only occurred after being joined in marriage for some time. With such a bond it will be tempting for you to feel as if she already belongs to you; but she does not belong to you, Elladan, and you must be careful in your treatment of her."

Elladan felt distinctly uncomfortable discussing this with his father; he did not want to admit even to himself how much he ached to touch Oloriel when he was near her. Now he would have to face the issue head on. "I suppose I will just have to be careful then."

Elrond raised a doubting eyebrow at his son. He chuckled softly to himself as he remembered how he had acted when he first fell in love. He knew what it was like. "Aye... very careful," he agreed, "In fact, I would suggest this: try to think about how you would have Aragorn treat your own sister. Be over-protective. This girl might one day be my daughter-in-law; if you hurt her in any way I may be forced to hurt you."

Elladan tried not to look nervous under his father's unwavering gaze. Clearing his throat slightly he finally managed to murmur, "Thank you for the advice, adar {father}." Then, as quickly as he could, he made his retreat.

To his chagrin, he had not made it more then a few steps outside of the room when his father called out to him yet again. "I was not finished."

Elladan tried to stifle a sigh. All he wanted to do at that moment was fall into bed, not be grilled by his father over matters of decorum. "What?" he asked rather testily as he turned back.

Elrond did his best to hide the amusement he felt at his son's bristling exterior. Young lovers could be so volatile. "Do not fret, I am done lecturing you. I actually have a proposition to make that I think you'll be very glad to hear."

Elladan raised a questioning eyebrow. It was amazing how much he resembled his father when he did that.

Elrond continued. "As you know, lady Nessúlë and her companions* will be travelling to LothLorien soon; the snows on the mountains have receded enough to make the journey possible. I have grown to respect all of them, and am desirous to insure their safety. I thought that I might send you and Elrohir to accompany them. You could meet with your grandparents there; it would be profitable for me to receive some first-hand news and counsel from the Lord and Lady of the Wood. Also, I think that after Elrohir's mischief making it would be good to send him away for a while - he grows restless..."

Of course, most of what Elrond said did not register with Elladan at all, so shocked and overjoyed was he with the prospect of visiting the Golden Wood. Forgetting his recent aggravation, he jubilantly broke into his father's words. "Yes... yes, it will all be done... diola lle, adar {thank you, father}. I know that you have need of us here, but thank you... thank you!" With those words he dashed down the hallway without saying goodnight. He had to tell Oloriel.

~~~

Elladan was not prepared for the scene that met him in sleep. Rain was falling heavily from dark gray clouds, smearing the dreamscape into a mass of drab, muddy colors. The rain itself was dull; there was no wind to toss it about, no thunder to enhance it; it was just rain, falling wearily to the sodden ground.

Elladan meandered through the sparse trees, wondering if something was wrong. For several minutes he could not find Oloriel, and he worried for her. What could have kept her up so late that she was not here already?

But then he found her. Oloriel sat in the middle of a clearing, wet dress clinging to her and mud splattered across her skirts. She did not look his way, but kept staring into the distance complacently. Elladan walked forward and knelt down next to her, not caring if the mud and water seeped into his clothes. Still she did not acknowledge him. Finally, Elladan rested his fingers beneath her chin and gently turned her face toward him. Only then did he catch a full glimpse of her features; suddenly she did not look quite so complacent. Her face and eyes held a rigid quality, as though she was just trying to hold herself together. As Elladan held her in his gaze, a single tear escaped its prison and wandered down her cheek. At least he thought it was a tear; in the rain these things were hard to judge.

He brought his hand up to her face and cradled it softly, brushing his thumb across her cheek. The gesture in itself was rather pointless, since the rain just kept spattering across her pale skin each time he wiped the moisture away, but still, it had its effect. Oloriel leaned into the caress and let out a gentle sigh; she closed her eyes and her face took on a more peaceful aspect as Elladan brought his other hand up minister in the same way.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, they began to draw closer to one another. Oloriel's eyes remained closed for some time, but they fluttered open softly when Elladan's hands slid up into her hair. His face was very close, his mouth hovering just slightly above hers; she could see a new fire in his eyes that stirred up a nervous excitement in her. I slight shiver ran up her spine as Elladan leaned down to claim her lips. But, just as his lips began to brush against hers, she spoke softly. "Why do you love me?"

It took a few seconds for her words to register, but when they did Elladan pulled back to meet her eyes. His brows were slightly furrowed. "How can I explain such a thing?" he inquired.

Oloriel leant her head against his chest and entreated softly, "Please try."

Elladan smiled. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and attempted to indulge her curiosity. "I know that I love you... because my soul yearns for yours every hour of every day. I want to protect you and cherish you forever. In my eyes, you are the most beautiful creature in all of Arda."

Oloriel sighed. "But how can you be sure of what you feel? Isn't it possible to be mistaken? Some say that Ilúvatar has fashioned a soul mate for each of the Eldar, but what if we don't choose correctly? How can we know that our hearts are not misleading us?"

A dart of fear stabbed into Elladan's heart. Was Oloriel unsure of her love for him? "What are you saying?"

Oloriel could feel Elladan's muscles tense beneath her. She realized that he could be worrying about any number of scenarios and tried swiftly to ease his mind. Lifting up her head she quickly answered. "Kallindo... it is about Kallindo. He believes that he loves me... that he genuinely loves me. But... but it can't be real, can it? How can two people love me truly? ...It isn't fair."

Shuddering slightly, she buried her face in his chest again, trying to gain some assurance from Elladan's comfortable embrace and familiar, though rain-washed, scent.

He understood now. His heart ached for her dilemma; he knew that she hated feeling helpless, and when it came to matters of the heart, there was really nothing she could do for Kallindo. He also knew that she still felt uncomfortable leaning on someone else for aid; and now, not only was she allowing others to become a part of her life, but she was also having to experience some of the pain that went along with that gamble. He wished, like every other young lover that he could just make everything wonderful for her... but he knew that he couldn't.

She spoke again, mumbling into his drenched tunic. "I want to believe that I love you and could love no other, but by believing that, I condemn Kallindo. He is sure that he loves me. What will happen if he cannot have me? Is he doomed never to love again? Will grief take him or is his love somehow less than mine? How does one tell the difference?"

Elladan sighed. He wasn't sure that he knew the answers to her questions, but he had to try and ease her burden.

"Love is... well, it is the most precious gift of Ilúvatar, but he does not give it to us freely, we must earn it. True love only comes with time and great patience. I have known the love of my parents and siblings, and I trust it because it has lasted throughout millennia. I want to be able to tell you that I love you with all of my heart, but in truth I cannot be sure. Ask me ten years from now and maybe I'll be closer to the answer. Right now it feels like you are my entire world, but I have to admit that my love is as yet just a seed, a brilliant spark of what might be. ...I hope that, if you will help me, this seed will one day grow into a mighty forest that will stand against every onslaught; I pray that it will keep growing, ever-green, through all the ages of this world...

"Sadly, it appears that you hold the love and the hearts of two elves in your hand, lady; one of those seeds will never greet the light of day. But remember that our love is young yet, and take comfort in knowing that, whereas you cannot save him, Kallindo can save himself. He has a choice; if he allows himself to fade there is nothing that you can do for him, but if he determines to live, then he will live, and eventually he will prosper. It is his decision; you are not responsible for his fate."

Oloriel sighed into him. "Why do you always have to be so wise?"

Elladan's face split into an amused grin. He squeezed her shoulders gently then replied, "Am I not the son of Elrond Peredhil, lore master extroardinaire? It would be a great pity if at least some of his intelligence had not rubbed off on me, would it not?"

Oloriel laughed quietly. "Aye, I suppose it would." Her laughter tapered off as she met his gaze with her own. Sobering quickly, she reached up and brushed a strand of dark hair out of his face as she continued. "And not only are you wise, but you are honest... thank you for that. Many an elf would swear his undying devotion with empty words; your actions have always shown me the greatest affection and tenderness, and yet you will not boast of it. If the love you have shown me is only a seed of what your heart can contain, then I stand in awe of what may yet be."

Elladan did not reply, but took her hand in his and kissed the palm of it almost reverently. After several moments of silence, he stood, trying to ignore the mud that now caked his leggings. Looking down at Oloriel, he reached out his hand for her to take. "Tolo, nethmeleth nín {Come, my young love}, let us see if we cannot find some shelter from this incessant downpour."

Oloriel agreed to his proposition willingly, grasping his hand as he pulled her up from her sitting position. Only then did Elladan notice how very well Oloriel's wet dress clung to her figure, outlining, well, everything. To his dismay he found it extremely... distracting. Suddenly the words of his father echoed through his mind: "try to think about how you would have Aragorn treat your own sister. Be over-protective." It made sense; he wanted someone for his sister who would love her for more than her beauty and who would always treat her with the utmost respect; Oloriel deserved no less. There would always be time to explore their love for each other; but if he ever wanted to discover how true these first initial stirrings of love were, now was the time to be clear-headed. Now was not the time to take advantage of his lady's unfortunately revealing position. With reluctant determination he turned his eyes back to the landscape, trying to find a place for them to take shelter in.

As they were searching it dawned on Elladan how ridiculous this situation was. They were, after all, dreaming; why should they have to find shelter? He voiced his confusion. "Oloriel, couldn't you just make the rain stop?"

She looked up at him with a contemplative look on her face. "I suppose I might be able to, but I don't think it's that simple. Dreams do not always reflect things that we have control over. I think my heart is set on rain tonight; it will be alright - I love rain. Let's us just duck in under that over-hang." Oloriel pointed to a large rock that jutted out from a hillside. It wasn't perfect but it would do.

Oloriel curled up next to Elladan, who sat with his back against the hill. He folded her in his arms and drew her closer to him, resting his head against her wet hair. Matters of decorum were pushed to the side for later examination as he was presented with a waterlogged Oloriel; he let himself be ruled by the instinct to keep her warm. It was a rather silly impulse - elves were not that fragile, and it was only a dream - but it seemed natural nonetheless. After all, as Elrond had said, these dreams definitely did not follow the same rules.

As Elladan thought of his fathers words again, and happy jolt shot through him. He had yet to tell Oloriel the good news.

Shaking her shoulders gently to get her attention he bent his head down and whispered, "I can't wait till I can finally see you as you truly are."

Oloriel smiled up at him. "I look forward to it as well; I wish that we did not have to wait so long. I would just come to you if I could, but I'm afraid that I don't hold enough importance to secure the escort that would be required to make the journey safely; the guard is needed at home."

"So why do not I come to you?"

Oloriel looked up at him in surprise? Elladan had claimed before that he was needed at home and that the journey could not be made for at least several months. What had changed?

"What... what do you mean?" she asked excitedly. Her mouth was parted in surprise, and her eyes widened in anticipation.

Elladan laughed, and then placed a kiss on her hairline. "It means that my father has requested my brother and me to join a convoy that is journeying to LothLorien before the end of the month. It should not take much longer than two weeks on horseback to arrive there... but every day will seem like an age until I can truly hold you in my arms."

Oloriel's face broke into a brilliant smile. Throwing her arms around his neck, she planted a kiss on his cheek and whispered joyfully, "Oh, Elladan, I will start looking for you a week before you are expected, just in case... Oh, I can't wait to see you... you will make everything better, I am sure of it."

Elladan circled her waist with his arms and leaned his face into her neck. Sighing, he whispered back, "I shall try."


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

It was early morning as Kallindo slid off of his horse, feet landing on the ground with a dull impact. He had not the energy to be graceful. He felt a great hollowness within that grew with each passing moment; as though the wind had been knocked out of him... permanently.

Oloriel would not have anything to do with him. That was the only thing that his mind could register at the moment. The dream that he had been harboring for months had been shattered with one swift motion. And now he felt nothing. There was a hole inside of him somewhere, a great vacancy, but the sting of the blow had not yet found its way to his heart. He simply felt heavy; his whole body ached to rest and, if possible, to forget.

As Kallindo was putting away his horse, a noise on the other side of the stable drew him out of his reverie. Soon an elf stepped out from a stall a few yards away. Kallindo recognized him; he was one of the March wardens.

Haldir had been busy in his own thoughts, but when he saw the ashen countenance of Kallindo he paused. Normally he wouldn't have pried into affairs that were none of his business; but where the border patrol and those of the border patrol were concerned, everything was his business, and he knew that something was amiss. "You are Kallindo, are you not?" he enquired.

Kallindo swallowed then replied softly, "Aye."

"Have ill tidings fallen upon you? You do not look well. Is there any way that I can I be of service?"

Kallindo laughed a dry, shallow laughed, then muttered, "You cannot help me... no one can."

Haldir cast a quick glance over the other elf. His shoulders sagged; his hands hung limply at his side and the light of his eyes was dimmed. Haldir could only think of a few reasons for an elf to look so down-trodden, but he decided not to voice his opinions. Instead, he took Kallindo by the shoulder and started leading him out of the stables.

"Come, if you cannot fix your problem, you can at least try to forget it. Several of the western patrolmen are having a breakfast gathering this morning before they head off on a rather lengthy tour of duty. There will be food and song and good company. I cannot leave you alone in such a dark mood."

Kallindo didn't have the energy to resist. Inclining his head in agreement, he was released from Haldir's hold on his arm. Together they walked out into the ever brightening dawn.

***

1. I've chosen to speak of Nessúlë as the head of their group because I've decided that Lantél is actually younger than her, and Alarkelú is more of a "protector" to both of them.

Things to Know:

Oloriel: `dream daughter'
Nessúlë: `young spirit'
Kallindo: `noble heart'
ada/adar: `father'

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