Not In This World
2. Only In My Dreams
Celeborn sat in his study, staring into the fire. Before him on the desk lay the papers he needed to sign in order for his marriage to be dissolved. They came as no surprise to him, but the fact that Galadriel sent them herself was. The note that came with the papers was clear enough indication that she was ready to move on and only needed his signature to make it complete. After millennia spent in wedded bliss with her, it would soon come to an end with the stroke of the quill. There was no divorce among the Eldar, the old books said. Once married, you stayed that way, unless you were killed or died of grief. Separations occurred often enough, when wearied elves left their partners behind and sailed for Aman. But even after separation, one stayed faithful to the other.
He had no such luck.
While he remained faithful to her on Middle-earth, she found comfort in the arms of other men in Aman. He might not have found out about it either if he hadn't caught her in the act. And in their own bedroom, no less! The look in her eyes spoke volumes; she would not stop enjoying herself regardless of who knew. Then, the man she was currently riding thrust up into her so urgently that she turned her attention back to him.
Shaking himself from the horrible memory, he crumpled his return letter to her and cast it into the fire, watching it burn. Then he picked up the quill, dipped it in the inkpot, and signed his name. His marriage was now dissolved. Forever.
Este came back with Varda to peer into the crystal orb herself. Roselinde was preparing for bed, braiding her long red hair. The woman stood and went to bed, pulling the covers over her and almost immediately falling asleep. With a softly spoken word, the scene changed and Celeborn was folding up the documents that were the end of his marriage. Throwing them down, he stormed out of the room and through the house, ending up in his bedroom. He hastily wiped the tears from his eyes. Not tears of grief, but of anger. He stripped down to nothing and went to his bed, sliding under the covers. It took him longer to fall asleep but he did. Finally.
"What do you propose to do?" Manwe asked her as she turned to face them. Varda was pacing.
" I can work with them in dreams."
"But will it be enough?" Varda asked as she came around again. "Roselinde will not get involved with a married man."
"He is no longer married," Este interrupted calmly.
"But he is angry. He might not even heed the dreams," Varda continued on, making another circuit. "Will the dreams be enough?"
"They will have to be until we can get them together." Este reached out to stop Varda, and both turned to Manwe. "Time is of the essence, my lord," she pleaded gently. "If we wait too much longer, all may be lost for him."
"And for Roselinde?"
"She will continue on her path of endless affairs but never anything stable or permanent. She has already taken steps to ensure her own stability in a permanent residence, but in her heart, she wants the same from a man."
"You are still certain the two of them will find what they both want in each other?"
"Agreed. You work with them in their dreams. I will come by and see how you are faring later."
Este nodded and left the room. She needed to be in her island garden, and alone, to make this happen. If all went well, she would have both of them ready to meet within a fortnight. It was cutting it close time wise, but she liked to work slow and sure. Este smiled as she made her way down to her lake. She would have them fall in love with each other before they even met face to face.
Roz awoke with a start as her alarm clock sounded. She was dreaming the sweetest dream, and it was over too soon. Cursing the clock, and mornings in general, she reached over to turn off the alarm and let her arm fall to the bed as she remembered her dream.
She was wandering along this beautiful place; certain it wasn't anywhere near her town, but not caring the slightest bit. There were tall trees that looked rather like cypress and she readily identified the willows. All were pretty with their new spring leaves and little blooms. It felt like magic to be here, and she had none of the worries or concerns that encroached on daily life back home. Eventually, she came to a small, enclosed area with a pool. Little tendrils of steam arose from the swirling surface of the water. Drawn to it, she looked around and found she was alone. The water looked so inviting, so she gave in to temptation willingly. Shedding her clothes, she slipped into the water with a sigh.
As she dunked herself under and came back up, she knew she wasn't alone anymore. Turning around, she saw him standing there. Tall, well built, and almost naked if it weren't for the towel around his waist. Damn shame too, she thought. Roz knew she should have been modest, at least this first time, but he felt kind of familiar. She didn't bother to hide her nakedness from him. In fact, she wanted him to touch her. She let her gaze wander slowly up his body until she got to his face. Yet, it was blurred. She could tell he had marvelous blue eyes and silver-blonde hair, but that was it.
That was the end of the dream. Roz sighed and got out of bed. For the last couple days, it ended at that moment and it was very annoying. But if she lingered anymore, she'd be late for work, and since her job was in the neighboring town, she had to hurry. But as she took her shower, she couldn't help remembering the water of that pool, and the man who stood before her.
Celeborn put down his tea and stared off into the surrounding countryside. His dreams of late were most intriguing, but why would he have them so soon after the dissolution of his marriage? And why, in each dream he had, was it of the same woman? It had to be the same woman, though he could not see her face clearly. Except her hazel eyes that would look almost golden in certain light, and her curiously red hair. Not of the rich auburn shades he'd seen among the elves of Imladris and Mirkwood, but a lighter shade. One he found very pleasing. What also intrigued him about her was that she wasn't of the Eldar. No, she was human, which wasn't something he expected.
But, oh how beautiful she looked, especially standing in the grotto pool. Water ran down her back as she surfaced, and little droplets glided over her ample bosom when she turned to face him. He was glad for the towel he wore or she'd know the effect she had on him already, and he didn't know her. Or did he? There was an amazing sense of familiarity about her. But that cannot be, he mused as he sipped his tea again. I have never seen her before in my life, so how is it that I feel I know her?
It was more than just her looks that gained his attention. He wanted to hear her voice, feel her touch, and know her mind. He wanted to watch her as she moved, whether by walking, dancing, or the more pleasurable movements of body against body. Sweet Eru, she was making him think such thoughts and they hadn't even met!
Celeborn put the empty teacup down and stood up. He had settled all his affairs for the next few days, so he was free to do just as he pleased. Inside, he packed up his bag with a towel and soap, stripped out of his clothes and put on his robes. He would go down to the grotto and bathe.
And all the way there, he thought of nothing but the red-haired woman in his dreams.
"Any progress?" Manwe asked as Este met him on the shore of her lake. Her smile was bright indeed as she looked up at him.
"I have only just begun with their dreams and they are already drawn to each other. I think we might be able to bring them together sooner than anticipated."
"You did say they were a match, Este."
She didn't answer him, but she did look a wee bit smug as she led him over to a pedestal that held a shallow silver bowl and clear water. Manwe chuckled as once again gentle fingers touched the surface of the water and it rippled to the edge and back again. The first scene was of Roselinde sitting behind a counter and staring blankly into nothing. He wouldn't have thought much about it except for the sensual little smile that played on her face.
"Roselinde has not stopped thinking of her dreams of Celeborn."
"Does she know it is him she sees?"
"Not yet." The water rippled again and the scene changed. Celeborn was once again in the grotto pool, pleasuring himself as he always did when he went there.
"I suppose you are going to tell me he is remembering his dreams as well?"
"He is certainly not thinking of Galadriel, that much I know."
"Aye." The picture faded and Este turned to look at Manwe. "A few more nights, my lord. A few more nights and they will be ready to meet face to face."
"If not before that." He turned away and heard Este's laughter as she went back to her island garden.
Celeborn waited for both of his friends to speak. They sat and mulled over everything he told them about the woman in his dreams and occasionally asking questions. What time of day did he meet with her, where did he meet her, what was she doing, and other such questions that he could easily answer. He kept the effect she had on him to himself. They didn't need to know what he did by himself in the grotto pool while he thought of her. He had to shake himself out of his reverie when Thranduil asked what she looked like.
"She has red hair like newly made copper and hazel eyes with gold touches to them," he described wistfully when he was asked again. "Her body is slender, yet pleasantly rounded."
"And you tell us you have not seen her face except for her eyes?" Thranduil asked again, intrigued by this mystery woman.
"No. Just her hair, eyes, and body."
"How does she make you feel?" Elrond queried, his silver-gray eyes fixing on him intently.
"I feel like I have known her for ages, and yet there are things about her that are still a mystery, begging to be solved. When I meet her in my dreams, I feel content and happy again," his voice trailed off as he brought her image to mind.
"And what else?"
"I feel wanted when she looks at me, and not just in the sexual sense. I feel that I could love her and be loved in return, unconditionally."
"What do you think she wants from you?" Thranduil questioned him after a few moments of silence.
Celeborn couldn't readily answer that question. In fact, he had no answer to give them. That was one of the mysteries about his lady that had yet to be solved. A smile touched his lips; he already thought of her as his lady. The dreams became almost story-like in quality, but he knew there was more to them. It was as if she might one day enter his life and stay. The dream that could turn into reality. It was so close, yet so far away. He'd been able to get close to her, but just as he reached out to touch her, the dream faded and he woke up. More than anything, he wanted to be able to touch her, to hold her, to kiss her, and do so much more with her. And when he woke up from his dreams, he found himself wishing she were lying beside him in bed, warm and real and his.
When he brought himself out of his thoughts, he found his friends watching him. "I do not know what she wants," he answered truthfully. "I hope I will find that out."
"You make it sound as if she will walk out of your dreams and into your life." Thranduil replied with a hint of disapproval in his tone.
"If only that were possible, my friend. If only that were possible."
At this revelation, he looked to Elrond who looked as if he was forming the correct words in his mind for the next question. His son-by-marriage was gifted with foresight, but Celeborn was sure he had other talents as well, which was why he told his story to him in the first place. Thranduil was his best friend, and had been so since the dawn of the Fourth Age. He couldn't ask for better companions.
"If it were possible," Elrond started, "Are you sure you are ready to give her what she wants? Are you certain you can?"
Again, Celeborn was left without an answer. For so many years, he was devoid of any feelings other than resentment, anger, and eventually disappointment. Galadriel bereft him of his love and happiness. She made him feel so unwanted and unloved that he safeguarded his heart against any others who got too close. Could he give the woman in his dreams what she wanted, especially if she sought love? Could he allow her to get closer to his heart?
"I do not know," he murmured, covering his face with his hands. "I really do not know."
"I'm impressed," Jessica said as she replaced the returned tapes to their places. "Not just because of your dreams, though."
"Could you be a little more cryptic, please?" Roz called from behind the counter. Having finally closed down the shop for the night, she was tired and cranky and she could barely keep her mind on counting the money in the till. Jess started to answer when the buzzer sounded at the door.
"It's probably Eden," Jess said as she put down the box of videos and rushed to the door.
And indeed it was Eden, the owner of the metaphysical shop three doors down from them. Roz's two best friends came back and Jess was just finishing up filling Eden in on the conversation so far.
"How many dreams does that make in the last week?" Eden asked, leaning on the glass counter. She made a show of looking at the various pleasure toys and exotic items, but Roz knew better. Her friend, the mystic, would try to interpret the dreams. Roz laughed softly and shook her head.
"One every night."
"And she daydreams about him constantly," Jess finished for her. Roz stuck out her tongue.
"Not constantly!" she protested. "Just most of the time. I can at least pay attention to the customers when they come in."
"Tell me about them," Eden asked, giving Roz her full attention.
Eden listened with rapt attention to Roz as she gave every last detail of her dreams. She told of the first meeting in the little pool area to extravagant costume dances, and even what seemed to be a pre-arranged rendezvous in a wooded area near a lake. There were moments when she could get so close, and yet never be able to touch him. Eden's eyes widened when Roz gave her every detail about his build and the fascinating color of his hair. She didn't tell them that she often woke up hot and bothered and ended up pleasuring herself with him still fresh in her mind. Roz had to blink several times to focus on Jess and Eden, who were both at the counter and waiting for more.
"What?" she asked, trying not to look like she was fazed at all. But too little, too late, because she had to recount all the money again. Jess laughed and Eden smiled knowingly.
"You sound as though you're in love with him," Jess replied, taking another box of videos back out to be put on the shelves.
"I am not. He's just a dream."
"Is he?" Eden asked, standing up straight. "Seven incredible dreams, and in every one of them you see him. In fact, you've interacted with him. I think he's more than a dream to you, Roz."
"It certainly feels that way," she whispered. Eden smiled brightly and put her hand on Roz's arm.
"You never said how you felt during the dreams."
Roz looked at her and Jess, who stopped again, but stayed where she was. Jess was ever the skeptic and always believed in what she saw with her own two eyes. Dreams, to her, were the work of an over-active imagination and weren't real. Jess was Eden's perfect foil. When asked about religion, Eden said she believed and left it at that. She believed in the unseen, and was in awe of anything mystical and magical. Roz herself fell somewhere in the middle of the two, and together they made the perfect trio of friends.
"Roz, are you okay?"
"I'm fine. It's just that…" she trailed off and felt herself blush. "He seems so real, and yet I can't touch him to be sure of it. My heart tells me to believe, but my mind says it's only a dream."
"How do you feel when you're with him?"
"I feel like I could give him my heart and not worry that it would be handed back to me in pieces. I feel as if I could be with him forever and that he'd never leave me. I feel loved and wanted and that wherever he is, I'm home."
"That's pretty powerful stuff," Jess said as she resumed her work. "And it explains quite a bit."
"What do you mean by that?" Roz was a little incredulous.
"You haven't had a date in the last couple weeks. I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with you." Roz picked up a pair of soft cuffs and threw them at Jess. "No, I'm serious!" Jess laughed as she ducked behind a shelf. "Besides, this is also the first time I've heard you say such things about any man."
"Does this mean that even the tenacious, free-spirited, happy-go-lucky Roselinde Carroll is considering settling down?" Eden chimed in good-naturedly.
"Maybe I am," Roz admitted, gaining stunned gasps from her two best friends. "Too bad the man that made me consider it is just a dream."
"I wouldn't say that," Eden said as she started for the door. "I mean, with seven intense dreams, numerous daydreams, and with him in each and every one, I'd say that you were destined to meet him."
"You'll have to share that one with us!" Jess called from the back.
Roz laughed and started counting the money again. She waved goodbye to Eden and put the money in the safe deposit bag. She spent the next couple hours helping Jessica stock the shelves with more toys and movies, then bid her boss goodnight and went home. As she walked into her loft apartment, she went about getting ready for bed, and all the while Eden's last words rang in her mind. Sliding underneath the covers, Roz found herself wishing it was true. If she was destined to meet him, she wanted it to happen as soon as possible.
Este met Manwe and Varda on the shore of her lake and together they made their way to the meeting-house. Neither one of them spoke, but Este was grinning madly and her eyes were bright. All other outward appearance was calm and collected. Varda was a little nervous, the only signs of it in the slight wringing of her hands. Manwe kept to himself, showing no emotion. Yet. He was waiting until they were in private quarters. Opening the door for the two women, he followed them until they were all within a smaller room and closed the door behind them.
"Are we ready to proceed?" he asked them.
"I am ready, my lord," Este answered happily. "And so are the two in question. Both long to see each other without being veiled. In fact, the last two nights I have done nothing except watch."
Manwe nodded and then turned his gaze to his wife, who was fidgeting more than before. Eventually, she started pacing. "My love, what bothers you?"
"Everything has worked, so far, without a hitch. But there are a few things that I would like cleared before anything else happens."
"We cannot leave them dreaming for too long," Este said with concern in her voice. "If we wait, they will begin to doubt the possibility of meeting. They will believe it is only a dream."
"Agreed." Manwe focused again at his pacing wife. "What are these things that concern you, Varda?"
"I am not so sure that man, Michael, is completely out of the picture. Are we certain he will not come back? What about Roselinde's shop? There is nothing like that anywhere around here. Are we sure she will want to give that dream up? And what about Celeborn? His recent past might be too much of a barrier for Roselinde to break through."
Manwe was silent, deciding to let Este handle this, as this was largely her operation. She stood quietly, going over each question in her mind, forming answers. Once again, she had to convince Varda that what they were doing was in the best interests of both Celeborn and Roselinde. Whatever was decided, he would implement it. But he couldn't help secretly hoping for Este to win Varda over.
"Michael is no longer a problem," she started to say. "I have made sure he dreamt of nothing but his wife and he will go home to her. It will be quite sometime before he even thinks of Roselinde again. When he does, it will be too late." Este made sure Varda heard her clearly. "As for Roselinde's shop, she is resourceful. I am certain she can still make that particular dream come true. In fact, it might add a little spice to her relationship with Celeborn."
"And what about him?" Varda asked, finally coming to a stop. "Are we so certain that he will accept her? Will he be able to open his heart and love her?"
"I think he already does love Roselinde," Este answered with a smile. Varda looked skeptically at her. "He just does not know it yet." Varda stared at her for a long while before relenting. But before she could form a reply, Este spoke again. "The two of them fell in love with each other quickly. As soon as they meet, without the veils over their faces, and the ability to touch, I think it will all fall into place. And in relatively short order."
"Does this satisfy you, my love?" Manwe asked, though he knew the answer already. Varda made some show of mulling it over, but eventually turned back to face them both.
"Well? What are we waiting for?"
She grinned and led them out of the room and down the halls. It would take all of their concentrated efforts to make the dreams a reality. By unspoken agreement, they knew the perfect place for Roselinde and Celeborn to meet again, and for the first time.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.