Disclaimer: I do not own LOTR and am making no money

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Peace and prosperity reigned in the Reunified Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor. Middle-earth knew a peace and shared a friendship between races like none it had ever known before. The land healed and grew strong again. And the kingdom of men rejoiced, as it had not ever recalled doing before. Their king had returned and brought with him healing and a destruction of evil that they had never dared to hope for. Nearly three quarters of a century had passed since Sauron's fall and little now remained of him but stories that were starting to lose their potency. A new generation had been born and raised with a peace that they could almost take for granted, if their elders had permitted it.

Old and new generations alike though were often in awe of their king. It often seemed as though he had an almost mystic connection to the land that bypassed even that of the few elves that remained in Middle-earth. Despite his high position he and his family were almost always available to the populace at large. He seemed to care about the little problems as well as the ones that threatened the peace and prosperity of his kingdom. The only exception was every sunrise and the many sunsets when he stood on the city walls or on the balcony terraces and looked south or west. When he looked south, toward the now destroyed Mordor, that was only just beginning to be habitable again, his eyes contained a desperate yearning. Always at these times a family member or one of his close companions joined him and forcefully pulled him away. Those moments were seldom and had grown less as the years had gone by. More often his gaze was pulled to the west. To Arnor and the wilds of his younger days many said. No, others said, he looked beyond to the grey havens where his wife's kin had traveled beyond the reach of Middle-earth. A sorrowful longing seemed to fill him at those times and when his wife or elf-kin joined him they seemed to become as lost in contemplation as him. But those times were easy to ignore. Their king and his family were often among them and seemed happy and content with each other.

"Which way does he look today?" Arwen asked quietly as she joined Legolas at the window.

The prince of Mirkwood slid an arm around her waist. "To the west. He gazes that way more often than even I."

Slowly Arwen nodded. "The time of his passing is upon us. Now he must choose his final path."

Legolas looked down at his best friend's wife and childhood playmate. "And you."

Her smile was both sad and content. "I will follow his path. If you will excuse me." Despite her soundless tread Aragorn turned with a smile at her approach and opened his arms to her. Not surprised that he had sensed her presence Arwen gladly walked into his embrace and felt contentment fill her. They had always been able to sense each other and after nearly eight decades of marriage they instinctively felt each other's presence, even without using Nenya. "Eldarion is ready to take the kingship."

His arms around her tightened but she knew his gaze had drifted toward the sea again. "I know." She could feel his deep sigh in his chest against her cheek. "I am ready to lay down the burdens, but I do not know if I wish to journey to the Havens and beyond." Pushing her a little away from him he looked into her eyes. "What is it you desire?"

A smile was her answer as she gently brushed his still unruly hair back. "I shall go wherever you choose. I cleaved to thee my Estel. I would have followed you into darkness I will find it easy to follow you to Valinor or the Halls of Mandos."

Closing his eyes he turned away, for a moment his gaze drifted to Mount Doom and he could feel the sense of loss that had never completely left him. Nenya and his family filled most of the void, but sometimes he could still feel the call of darkness and power pull at him. Resolutely he pulled his eyes away only to find them drawn toward the Grey Havens. That call had grown steadily stronger as the years had gone by. But if he answered that call he would not see his parents again or Halbarad, Boromir, and Faramir or the hobbits. But if he chose the Halls of Mandos he would never see his Ada or Legolas again. And he would take the evenstar of her people into death with him and possibly Elrohir and Elladan as well. He knew his brothers had put off their choice until their younger brother and sister had chosen their path. Instinctively he knew it was quite probable they would follow him. They had always been close and that bond had only grown closer over the years as they worked together to bring peace to Middle-earth.

A small part of him also could not help but wonder if he would ever find true contentment. Duty and love had long held him to Middle-earth and her people but he was tired and had been growing increasingly weary as the long years went by. He wanted to put down the burdens and just be with his family and know a peace that he did not have to fight for. Reluctantly he turned away from the sea and walked with his wife back to the castle. "When do our brothers arrive?"

Arwen couldn't help smiling at the question. If he had wanted Aragorn could have reached out with Nenya to sense where exactly they were but her husband did not like to use the power the ring granted him. Sometimes she thought he could put his innate abilities to better use with the ring because he made it a point not to use it unless necessary or when trying to heal the land. "The rangers guess tomorrow afternoon."

"Which rangers?"

"The last ones Faramir trained."

For a moment he hesitated before resuming his stride. The captain of the rangers was on his deathbed. His beloved wife, Eowyn had died a couple of months ago and with her death Faramir's will to live had seemed to give up. Following as it did the death of his beloved older brother in an orc skirmish the year before he seemed to have simply grown tired. "How long will it take to arrange Eldarion's coronation ceremony?"

"No more than a couple of weeks. It will take more time for those coming from Arnor to arrive," she answered without thinking. She had been making preliminary plans for the last month as she sensed that the end of her time on Middle-earth was near.

His arm around her tightened. "That will not be necessary. He will be crowned in Arnor in a separate ceremony. The people of both Reunified Kingdoms deserve to see their new king take the throne."

"We go to Valinor?" Arwen asked, unable to keep the tinge of excitement from her voice. When she was completely honest with herself that was her preference death and what lay beyond it scared her. But she knew that she would face that fear if that was Estel's chosen path. They would have their eternity together."

Slowly he shook his head. "I do not know. I am still to caught up in what must be done to make the transfer of power easier for our people and our son. Until that is taken care of and the needs of the kingdom and our family met I can not focus on myself or us alone." He smiled down at her before leaning down to give her a quick but passionate kiss. "This is too important to choose quickly."

She pulled his head back down for a lingering kiss. "You my Lord, do not know how to think of just yourself. I love you."

"I love you too." Returning her kiss he lifted her into his arms. "I think we should be selfish for a while."

Laughing she lay her head on his shoulder as he carried her to their room.
Aware of, but mostly ignoring, the celebrations going on behind him Aragorn stood on the wall of the rebuilt city of Annumus. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath feeling the undercurrent of sorrow that ran through the joy. The people welcomed their new king, but were saddened at losing their familiar king and queen. He and Arwen had always been well loved by the people. That acceptance and familiarity had made the years since the end of the War of the Ring bearable. But Arwen was right, the knowledge came from deep within himself, it was time for him to leave Middle-earth. The ring he bore must now be taken over the sea to its final home. But did he want to go to Valinor. Reaching out with his senses he could almost sense Halbarad's welcoming presence. Even after ten years he still missed his friend. "How is your ship?" he asked as Legolas silently joined him.

"Completed. It simply waits for me to sail." The elven prince turned to face his human friend. "It waits for your choice, as do we all."

The former king's smile was rueful. "It feels as though everyone has always waited upon my choices."

Legolas swallowed hard, knowing how difficult it had been at times for his friend. "Only one more to go and you can be free."

The answering smile was wistful. "I hope so." His gaze moved back towards the Havens. "We leave at dawn."

With a slight smile and small inclination of his head Legolas left him to his thoughts.
Standing on the prow of the ship Aragorn could feel the change in the air as the grey elven ship cut through the last of the mists. Taking a deep breath he slowly released it, feeling the weights he had carried for so long slipping away. For the first time since he was twenty years old he felt true contentment and for the first time in nearly a century he felt no call to the south. Slipping his arm around Arwen's waist he pulled his wife in close. They had all of eternity to be together and simply be.

The sun had risen to its zenith, banishing all darkness as the ship sailed to its home. Aragorn closed his eyes and felt more than heard a voice "Welcome home, my son. Be welcome and at peace."

And he was.
A/N: This is the end. Not the best ending I realize, but I hope it is satisfactory. I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.