A/N: After a year and a half, this story is finally complete! While it's very bittersweet to come to the end, I think this fic has met with a satisfying ending (well, to me it has).

Firstly, I decided to forego an Epilogue because I think this chapter holds up well as a solid ending to the story. It's a bit open ended for our characters, but, as the author, I find that I prefer it that way.

Secondly, I'm sorry that this update took as long as it did. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get this portion of the story right, seeing as it's (obviously) a very important transition for our pretty pairing. I treated the 'act' slightly differently than the norm, toosince they're Elves, you know ;)—and you should get a clearer sense of that once you begin your read.

I hope this chapterand, more importantly, this storyhas met its faithful readers' expectations. Thank you to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging of this little story over the course of its long journey, and I hope it was worth your while to stick it out to its conclusion. Much love and hugs!

Lastly, I would greatly appreciate it if you would please indulge me with your final thoughts as we wrap things up. Thank you so much!

Warning: This chapter is rated M for mature content.

Disclaimer: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are copyrighted to and belong to J. R. R. Tolkien. I'm just playing in his sandbox and receive no financial gain from this.

Chapter 15: Melda heri, Melda tár (Beloved lady, Beloved king)

Tauriel inhaled as long a breath as her lungs would accommodate, hoping to still her rapidly beating heartbeat in the process. The exhale that followed was shakier than she anticipated, providing little pacification to the nervous flutters roaming about in the pit of her stomach and offering little peace or composure. She was both anxious and excited as she lay spread across the the king's magnificent four-poster bed, fidgety, yet, willing for what was in store. More than willing, in fact. Not only was the redheaded beauty's mind made up on the matter before her but her Elven Light was equally committed—insistent, even—to what her heart had already decided: her choice was him.

Tauriel was as enlivened but tense as any inexperienced Elleth might be in the methods of 'lovemaking', aware that the copulation about to take place wasn't a new practice for her partner, unlike herself. Thranduil was on edge, too, though, despite that outwardly cool exterior he had established (and perfected) Ages ago. Tauriel had caught glimpses of his anxiety a few times since they had begun their heavy, invigorated kissing session in the privacy of his bedroom. Those intensely blue irises couldn't lie, not to her anymore. Their depths, which Tauriel had come to regard with understated warmth and respect, now roved over her face with a touch of caution and uneasiness, their communication transmittable but unspoken to this point.

Thranduil hadn't bonded himself to another since the tragic death of his wife over an Age before. Tonight would mark a special transition for the both of them, and Tauriel couldn't withhold the lump tugging at the back of her throat as she longingly gazed up into her lover's fine face, reading his Elven Light with quiet awe: he would not only have her, but he would commit himself to her in every way possible but in name. He may remain her king but, from hence forth, he would become more than the highest-ranking Elf in their kingdom to her; or someone to be merely revered from afar but not often addressed. To Tauriel alone would that social shift change quite dramatically, and she was ready for it.

Steady, Tauriel. Trust. Let go, she kept prepping herself, not unlocking her tense gaze from his.

It was trying not to be so restless—or a tad apprehensive—in Thranduil's presence, though. Lovemaking wasn't a practice the Elves took lightly. It wasn't a spontaneous act or conducted with tepidness, calculation, or without passion either; but it was a highly weighty decision, nonetheless. Unlike Mankind, sex was far greater than a mere physical pleasure between partners. Rather, it was a soul bonding union—magical for the Elves—and transcended them to another spiritual plane. Although she may continue to share Thranduil outwardly with their people, his body and soul would belong solely to Tauriel, and she to him.

Let go, Tauriel. You've made your choice.

Tauriel drew in another quivering, excited breath. Months of personal growth, with added guidance from the heavens, had steered the lowly, formerly banished Elleth and her king to this decisive moment in time, and both parties were feeling its gravity and the irresistible, ravenous pull towards one another's cherished Light source. "Are you with me, Tauriel?" he whispered to her amidst the darkness, his purr subdued but filled with yearning, as he bent over her heaving chest and began leaving a series of feathery kisses atop the pulse point on her neck.

"To the end," Tauriel returned, utterly breathless to his ministrations. She let out a strangled groan when his warm lips reached the junction where her neckline met the back of her jaw. Her eyes fluttered shut, wanting to memorise each sweet bestowment that touched her overly sensitive, porcelain flesh from here on.

It was difficult to keep her focus when the pounding of her heart was beating faster than ever, however. As Thranduil's heated breaths and taunting pecks trickled up and down her cheeks, slightly swollen lips, neck once more, and down to where the mound of her breasts met the top of her robes, Tauriel's breaths came in much quicker spurts. Thranduil didn't hesitate there, though, and continued his too tempting exploration of the Elleth laying beneath him. Strands of shiny, long hair tickled Tauriel's goose-pimpled flesh and brushed at her collarbone as two large hands slunk slowly up her sides, every so often digging teasingly into her curves. He pressed his lips in between her breasts, issuing only light kisses at first. They turned more eager once those same playful hands found her breasts as well.

Tauriel kept her eyes closed and resorted to chewing on her bottom lip after Thranduil furthered his experimentation. She hadn't expected to be so easily—or speedily—turned on by the intense feel of smooth lips on her increasingly sensitive skin or the manner with which his plush fingertips squeezed her hardened nipples through her clothes.

When she sharply became aware moments later of her own loud, moaning responses, Tauriel clamped down on her bottom lip to keep from uttering another sound. A thumb gently nudged her lower lip away from her teeth, breaking their too firm contact; she hadn't realised that she had nearly drawn blood from becoming so aroused, yet, restrained.

"Don't stifle yourself," he whispered close to her face, and Tauriel shuddered. His heated mouth lowered to hers and added, "I want to hear every sound you make, Tauriel; every gorgeous breath; every insatiable moan..."

An appealing smile spread across Tauriel's reddened cheeks, but her eyes remained shut, trying to savour every spoiling, sweet treatment the king was supplying her. Thankfully, to her galvanising excitement, Thranduil carried on without delay, paying ample attention to her breasts some more, though one hand slipped behind her back to try to undo the buttons that were keeping her upper garments in place.

Preferring those dexterous hands on the front of her body, and after writhing in frustration for a couple moments, Tauriel hastened onto her elbows. She nearly knocked a winded Thranduil backward, and assisted him with his efforts. Her robes were hastily disposed of and tossed somewhere onto the floor; Tauriel couldn't afford to care where they landed. She needed to be on her back again, with the seductive weight of a thermal Thranduil hovering over top of her in between her legs.

Once she had been properly disrobed—at least, from the waist up—Tauriel threw herself down on the bed again and gazed up at Thranduil for the first time in several minutes. He was staring at her, too, though his skin wasn't as ashen as usual. There was a nice, rose-tinted flush to his cheeks and bare chest, which Tauriel admired from her lower viewpoint, before his face and hands came back to where they had been prior to their minor interruption. Parts of his skin made tantalising contact with Tauriel's for the first time, and that was enough to send Tauriel into a tizzy, for she hadn't even heard or seen the king disrobing parts of his attire as well.

She loved the pressure of Thranduil on top of her, even though they were both still fully clothed from the waist down. She relished his faithful, nonstop attentions as his (obviously) capable hands unapologetically explored her. In appreciation, she brought his face to hers to kiss with more fervour and urgency. Her greedy fingers skimmed along his scalp, needing to deepen the exchange as well as to keep the king close.

Tauriel's ardent efforts came to a sudden halt when she felt a tempered nudge between her thighs. Her lips abruptly broke from Thranduil's, both panting madly but without exhaustion, only thrill. Their fiery gazes glued to one another's, and Tauriel let out a small gasp when two distinct fingers rubbed up to the apex of her crotch, exercising slightly more pressure against the material of her trousers than the first attempt; but her eyes—and his—held strong to each other.

Then Thranduil murmured, his voice gravelly but soft, "You have nothing to fear, Tauriel. Don't be afraid."

"I'm not afraid," she assured him quietly, and she was surprised by how much she meant the words. The nerves in her stomach had all but dissipated, replaced by an undeniable craving and all-consuming want. She needed more than this; the physical aspects were proving seductive in themselves but Tauriel sensed that she was on the cusp of something greater that the whole of her body couldn't quite distinguish.

A non-identifier was stirring within, and it seemed to match what Tauriel could visually see manifesting in her lover as well: their Elven Lights beginning their own connection, permeating and gathering strength by the pair's increasingly ravenous physical desires. Tauriel swallowed in awe. Evidently, there was more at play than just heat and prickling flesh bringing them together on this night; there was the perceivable confirmation of their Elven Lights intertwining as one, too.

"Tauriel?" Thranduil spoke up, sounding somewhat hesitant. "What's the matter?"

"I..." Tauriel started and stopped, finding it difficult to draw out the words she wanted to express.

A faint, golden glow was now outlining them, like the softest of rays overlapping in shadow. Reading where her mind had drifted, Thranduil asked in a tender whisper, "Do you see?" Tauriel's regard fell back on him, her inclinations fortified. Even Thranduil's irises, always a piercing, exceptional blue, were brighter on account of their Lights' divine intervention.

"Yes," she murmured back, blinking and soaking in what she saw but also profoundly felt and finally understood.

It was like being wrapped in an immensely warm blanket, though it merely coasted over their skin rather than swaddled them. It was wondrously new, and yet, they had only kissed and sampled one another's flesh to this point.

Tauriel's heart bounded with livened excitement and Thranduil, interpreting the inter-workings of the Elleth he had come to love, let his hand fondly grope her sex again. His fingers kneaded up and down Tauriel until she was soaked and nearly begging for release. Then they inched away momentarily to untie her trousers. Tauriel would have cursed the king outright for stopping his intense ministrations had she not unconsciously bitten down on her bottom lip to keep from screaming. Thranduil noted the return of her suppressing manoeuvre, for he arched an eyebrow but, otherwise, never allowed his attuned gaze to slip her face—not once—and Tauriel refused to unlock eyes either. No matter how the Elven king might work to make her moan or cry out in the very near future, Tauriel was determined to maintain eye contact. It hadn't been all that trying so far, what with their Lights' fastening to one another with greater security at each passing moment. The serene gleam covering their bodies was proving a nice distraction from Tauriel's nerves, which, too, were suddenly resurfacing.

Tauriel felt Thranduil's fingers coil possessively across her hips before tugging down on her trousers. With little effort, he guided them to around her ankles and slipped off her boots in order to remove them completely, leaving Tauriel completely bare and exposed. Her fingers clutched uselessly at the silk duvet. For whatever reason, now that she was entirely naked in front of her lover, her flighty nerves were back and in full throttle.

A towering, dark shadow crossed Tauriel's angst-ridden face, prompting her to look up at Thranduil again. He had stepped away from the bed to remove the lower half of his garments, too, all whilst keeping his gaze levelled and on hers. His demeanour was calm and put her at ease.

As their eyes met, he purposely slowed de-clothing himself, taking considerable time to toe off his leather boots and form-fitting trousers without so much as blinking or glancing elsewhere for the briefest moment. His painstaking efforts saw Tauriel scooting to sit upright and face him, her wavy, red locks draping ravishingly over her left shoulder; but she wasn't aware of such small pleasures, having only attention for the king. She watched with heightened delight as he, at last, exposed himself fully, standing before her as beautifully raw as her. He was pasty—his tall form arresting in its robust shape and size—and other worldly to behold. The visual temporarily stole Tauriel's breath away.

With a blushing grin, Tauriel shifted onto her knees, enticing Thranduil to inch closer. He leaned into the side of the bed, permitting a kneeling Tauriel to touch him as she saw fit. Following his conveyed, un-vocalised consent, her dainty fingers began their curious exploration of his strong, sturdy frame. Her hands roamed freely, from Thranduil's jutting collar bone to his broad, unfurred chest to his well-defined stomach muscles that clenched under her attention. Her smile widened at that; she hadn't expected her king to be ticklish.

Saving his well-endowed manhood for last, Tauriel's enthralled eyes rested there for some time, petal-like fingertips ghosting over his lightly dusted happy trail and across the impressive length of his shaft. He inhaled several deep breaths through his nostrils but kept steadfastly quiet otherwise, allowing her to continue. Once she began circling his tip, however, a small, guttural moan escaped Thranduil's throat that had Tauriel shivering in anticipation. Newly sheepish eyes peered up into the king's, finding that they had closed in order to relish her rewarding touch; but they flickered open soon enough and fixated on her flushed face. Whiffs of his uneven breaths permeated her cheeks as Tauriel boldly stroked him up and down, forward and back, testing the motions and making a mental note of what he liked best. Her pace slowed or quickened based on Thranduil's erratic breathing patterns.

After several blissful moments, Thranduil inclined into Tauriel to recapture her lips, his hands cupping her face as he moaned into her mouth; she echoed his sentiments in return. His hands found purchase around her upper arms and gently lured Tauriel onto her back again, where he nestled himself comfortably on top without crushing her. Her legs instinctively wrapped around his waist, her heels digging into his lower back the longer they kissed and provocatively brushed skin against skin.

"Thranduil," Tauriel declared moments later, sounding winded, though she hadn't tired of any of it; she reared back so as to stare lovingly up at him, "I'm ready. Gi melin."

Thranduil made a deliberate pause. "Gi melin," he then reverberated, his words filled with equal loyalty and adoration.

Another warming sensation of their Lights' energy spun and sparked between them, overpowering Tauriel as Thranduil's lips drew forward to connect with hers. She sensed their enhancement glistening, even as her closed eyes shut out their majesty to preferably soak in her lover's physical caresses.

Thranduil shifted above her but his small movements didn't disrupt their intensified kissing and stroking until, moments later, he slid inside of her. Tauriel hitched a breath as he proceeded to stretch her walls to capacity, though there was no pain, no discomfort, and no barrier to breach. What she felt instead was novel and unexpected: utterly whole and reborn. Their physical joining together was a mere pathway—the final passage towards the official unity to their Elven Lights—and both gave no lengthy halt to its culmination. Rather, they easily resumed kissing, fondling, and intertwining their limbs tighter together, burning for evermore of the other's taste and touch.

Tauriel soon found a matching rhythm to Thranduil's, who led their physical dance. Having him inside her and pressing her most sensitive areas was unlike anything she had ever experienced, and Tauriel found it difficult to maintain her goal of eye contact for more than a few seconds at a time.

His gradual plunging movements were, at first, heavenly to receive but grew too tortuously slow for her liking. She groaned for him to pound faster and he obliged, though not without cautioning her to hold out. He cradled the back of Tauriel's head and nudged her nose to coax her now hazy eyes open. "Stay with me," he urged as he began dipping his hips lower and deeper into her.

Tauriel moaned in reply, "Yes... Yes…" Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, mind and body gone to the physical and celestial motions taking hold.

Thranduil roped one arm behind Tauriel's back, keeping her snug against him so that she wouldn't squirm. With the other, he reached down to circle her hypersensitive nub. She jerked and writhed in his arm. A strangled gnarl tore forth from the back of her throat and sounded unlike anything the king had ever heard. A pleased smile twisted the corners of Thranduil's mouth and he avidly repeated the motion; the more he stroked and rubbed at her clit, the more Tauriel's spine arched off the bed and her fingers dug into whatever skin of his she could cling to.

There were repeated gasps, acute moans, and breathless declarations of love, though their energy remained high and without need for respite, followed by further spirited kissing and an increasingly hastening pace towards climax. It wasn't sloppy or tediously predictable, either. Every admission was a whimsical confirmation, like a song, kindling the flame of their spiritual bond. Their skin never broke a sweat, even as their bodies rocked closer and closer to orgasm, their swaying forms illuminated like two birthing stars in a darkening universe.

Finally, Tauriel could hold back no longer. The desperate urge to reach for the series of constellations faintly appearing in her sights pushed her onward, and she bowed to their whim. Her back sharply arched, her throbbing chest pressing itself against Thranduil's. She threw her head back and cried out into the dark world—calling to the Lights of the Valar and their ancestors—and finally reached the cusp between the physical world and the spiritual realm which now tied her forevermore to her king. The exchange was brief and opaque, rousing and unforgettable.

Shortly thereafter, Tauriel collapsed onto the duvet—into Thranduil's tight, heartening embrace—her body nothing more than a heap of lax, temporarily unmovable limbs. Her eyes were watery as they bore into Thranduil's. The Light of their magic had since snuffed out, but the comforting sensation of their interwoven connection still lingered, and always would be present.

"Gi melin," the relaxed Elleth heard Thranduil rasp once more into the night air.

Tauriel peered up at him and gently cushioned the side of his face, whisking a few dangling hairs out of his eyes. "Gi melin," she, too, uttered without wavering. Somehow, saying it this time seemed to solidify their spiritual bond, and they sighed into one another's fold.


Tauriel's lips curled upward. She was feeling quite dazed and assuaged by the ginger-working fingers that had been roaming through her tousled locks for the past half hour or so, luring her farther and farther into a late morning doze. "Hmmm?" she hummed in acknowledgment, her reply more akin to a moan than an answer.

Thranduil smiled discreetly into her hair. "May I ask you something?"

"Of course." Tauriel was too sleepy to consider that the king had just done the unthinkable: asked permission to make a mere inquiry of one of his subjects, a feat Thranduil never vocally weighed beforehand with anyone...except, evidently, her.

A short pause later, "Would you consider...resuming your post as my Captain of the Guard?"

Tauriel's eyelids slowly opened, mind and body awakening at his unexpected proposal. Even Thranduil's soft digits grazing over her flesh this morning couldn't entice Tauriel to return to her near-slumber repose following such a question. For a lengthy pause, she said nothing, unaware of how her shoulders had clamped up. "You mean...?" she began, somewhat holding back. "Are you...? You're offering me my position back?"

"Yes," came his simple reply; his lips daintily nestled her forehead as he added quietly, "that is, if you want it. I'll respect whatever decision you choose."

Tauriel gradually brought her eyes to meet Thranduil's and propped her chin on top of his brawny chest. She found his returning expression to be just as thoughtful and open as her own. "Why?" she pressed him after a short lapse, curious as to his explanation for such a change of heart.

"Because you never deserved to have it taken from you in the first place."

Tauriel's eyebrows came together, perplexed. That answer was too simple to her. "But I showed disrespect to you in front of your own troops."

"And yet, what you said to me on that mountain was correct, Tauriel. I was a fool not to take your advisement under account."

'Advisement'? Is that how he sees it now? Tauriel's cheeks brightened, recalling hers and the king's angry spar that day. "Not everything I said at that time was warranted, though," she all but whispered into his skin, diverting her softened, green eyes towards the contours on his chest, which she lightly traced with her index finger. "I claimed that there was no love in you...and that was wrong of me."

"It wasn't entirely incorrect," he retorted in a mirroring soft-spoken address, reaching up to enfold the hand that was drawing circles across his skin.

"No, Thranduil. You are loving and good...and have been understandably guarded with your heart. I shouldn't have told you that you were anything less than honourable."

At that, Thranduil took a moment to squeeze her hand. "I also insinuated that you knew nothing of love, as if I had any right to judge you on such a subject. I, too, was wrong."

Tauriel's serious expression morphed into an uplifting smile. For Thranduil, it was as though he was personally receiving the gift of the sun's warmth. "I should hope so," she snickered and leaned in for another kiss. Her breasts heaved against him, her slim frame melting into his side. He pressed her back to him as well, deepening the exchange.

Roused by Thranduil's reciprocation, Tauriel rolled over top of him and let her reenergised, eager hands comb through his hair, scrunching and tugging the strands in between her fingers. Thranduil responded by cradling her face, then her back, and, lastly, her perfectly round buttocks. Tauriel groaned into his mouth.

"Is that a 'yes'?" Thranduil asked, rearing back to smirk up at her.

Tauriel responded with one more all-consuming kiss, direly throwing herself against the king. She detected his favourable response stir beneath the sheets. "Yes," she confirmed and pecked him again.

Tauriel discovered Thranduil stooped over the side of his balcony and heavily immersed in thought, staring at a portion of the intricate, imposing cave that was his safely guarded kingdom. For over twenty-four hours, he and Tauriel hadn't left the comforts of his bed—their bed now. Thus, waking in the evening and finding his side cold and empty had summoned Tauriel awake and searching for him in a flash.

Thankfully, he hadn't retreated far, and Tauriel stepped onto the stone balcony to join him in her bare feet and wrapped in one of his pale blue robes that had been flung over the bedpost. The monstrous thing drowned her and dragged considerably on the ground, but she didn't care and suspected Thranduil wouldn't either. He didn't seem to mind much what she did nowadays when it came to his personal space and belongings, so long as she didn't drift too far from his side.

"Thranduil?" she didn't hesitate to invade his privacy tonight, placing a concerned hand on his shoulder. He remained hunched forward but casually turned his head to her, his shimmering, blond tresses rippling fluidly with the small toss of his head. "Is something wrong?"

His expression was accommodating when it met hers. "You should go back to bed, Tauriel, unless you're hungry? I can have food brought to our room."

'Our' room? Tauriel admittedly liked the sound of that. After devouring dinner naked and in bed, snuggled against one another for warmth, and then retreating beneath the sheets again to let her king have his way with her, Tauriel's stomach was a touch famished and grumbled at the mention of food. Yet, her cares weren't so critical that they couldn't wait a little while longer.

Sensing that something was weighing much on Thranduil's mind, Tauriel's curiosity overpowered her hunger. She leaned into him and roped an arm across his back, her head finding suitable purchase against his shoulder. "What is it?" she prodded carefully.

Thranduil twirled the half empty goblet of water he held in one hand, his face carrying the burden of something not yet disclosed. "Tauriel," he began in a fainter voice than was normal, "I didn't simply ask you to be my Captain again because it was the right thing to do. To be sure, that was a large part of it, but..."

"'But'?" she pressed when he ceased speaking.

"Well, as you know, war is coming...and I can no longer afford to let my son and his friends fight Sauron alone."

"Of course you can't," she wholeheartedly agreed and stroked a portion his upper arm. "I know we must fight; all of us. I'm prepared to do as you ask of me, Thranduil."

The king fully turned his head, his gaze austere and heedful. "It's quite a favour I'm asking of you, Tauriel."

"I don't see it as a favour at all."

"I'm asking you to lead our troops—"

"You're asking me to do my job, Thranduil; a job I carried out to the best of my abilities before; a job I can most certainly do again."

Thranduil's reserved features didn't falter. "You're certain you want this responsibility, Tauriel?"

"Yes, I'm certain."

"I'll be right beside you," he made to assure her, gazing deeply into her eyes as he declared each word, "to whatever end."

"'To whatever end'," she sombrely conceded, unaware of one of her hands now clutching his. With the other, she reached out and touched his right cheek, her thumb tenderly skimming the contours of its graceful structure. "I see you, hîr vuin," she stated after a thoughtful pause, "and I'm with you."

Thranduil cradled her hand that was linked through his, raised it to his mouth, and left an affirmative kiss upon it. It was a silent 'thank you' for all she had done for him, and all she was about to do in the days, weeks, months, and (hopefully) years ahead. It conveyed his appreciation better than words could provide, though he did express, as he pressed her hand over top of his heart, "Melda heri."

"Melda tár," she returned with a warm-hearted smile. His eyes flickered at such high regard, and he took her chin in hand to bestow her with one more loving, captivating kiss—one of many to come.

Elvish Translations:

Gi melin = I love you

Melda heri = Beloved lady

Melda tár = Beloved king

A/N #2: Fin!

Thank you for reading! :)