Chapter 31 ended with:
"I never see you complain about that when you keep me awake all night. Go!" she pushed him. "Go see your sons! I will spend time with our daughters-in-law."
Chapter 32 - Epilogue
Year 120 of the Fourth Age
95 years later
The small ship had been build by Lord Cirdan, commissioned by Glorfindel and Thranduil. While most people in Valinor thought that both ellyn had suddenly developed a passion for sailing, their mates and close family had known what the ship's true purpose had been: sailing back to Middle Earth. At this point, most of them had been in Valinor for more than a century, and they had never heard any news from Legolas and Mithrellas. Everyone refused to even contemplate the idea that they were no longer alive. They were hoping that they were simply unable to sail and were waiting for some help. Their adars were ready to go to their rescue.
The plan had been very simple. Adam, Oropher, Phoebe, Thranduil and Glorfindel were to sail back to Middle Earth and discreetly cast anchor near the Bay of Belfalas. From there, journey on foot to Minas Tirith and obtain information on the whereabouts of Legolas and Mithrellas. Once they had found them, force them to go to Valinor, even if King Elessar was still alive, even if it made an oath breaker out of Legolas.
The preparations had been kept secret. No one had attempted to sail from Valinor to Middle Earth since Glorfindel millennia before, after he had been reborn and tasked to protect Elrond's family. This journey had been made under the guidance of the Valar. The one they had been about to make was far from having received the Valar's blessing. They even had been wondering if the Valar had known about the plan, since they had not heard from the gods during the year the preparations had taken. It had seemed unlikely that none of them had realized what the family was about to do.
They had been a few days away from sailing when an envelope had been delivered by a messenger of the Valar. In no uncertain terms, the Vala Ulmo, King of the Sea, had informed them of his extreme displeasure about their plan. He had written that regardless of the fact that it was ill-thought, the plan had been completely unnecessary as Legolas and Mithrellas were already on their way. The missive was ending with a warning that the ship should not go beyond a few miles from the coast or the Vala would send it back to the coasts of Valinor. If the disobedience was serious, he may decide to send their ship crashing on the cliffs. The warning was unequivocal.
"Does he mention the dwarf?" the Elvenking had asked Glorfindel.
"No, he does not."
"Maybe my son will spare us this folly. Sailing with a dwarf! Only a simpleton would defile Valinor in such a way."
"Thranduil, we must focus on the fact that our beloved ones are coming back home as we have wished it for more than a century," Phoebe had said in a rare moment of diplomacy. She had avoided mentioning that said simpleton was his own son.
"I am so relieved to know that they have sailed," Valerie had said. "However… that means that Estel passed away. He was part of our family for a little while. He was raised with you all. I hope he had a happy life and a peaceful passing. He deserved it."
"Arwen is probably gone too by now," Glorfindel had added somberly. Valerie and him had hugged for a long time, trying to cope with the mixed emotions of what the sailing of Mithrellas and Legolas meant.
And so, the family had reunited that afternoon once again and for the last time on the quay of Alqualondë. Even if only close family had been allowed to join, it was an important group of people waiting for the ship to finally arrive.
King Amroth was trying to calm his queen Nimrodel, who was very nervous now that her reborn twin sister was about to appear back in her life. They had been friends in their first lives, but had become even closer after spending their entire second childhood and early adulthood as twin sisters. Nimrodel had missed Mithrellas dreadfully, and only her family and her second chance at love had distracted her from this melancholy. As a reborn elfling, Amroth had spent a lot of time with Nimrodel and had quickly developed a fascination for her. It had quickly morphed into infatuation as a teenager, until one day, at 48 years old, he had recovered all his memories at once. Waiting the customary fiftieth birthday had been agony, but this time around, the king had not taken a chance and had asked Nimrodel to bind with him on his birthday. Almost all the Lothlorien elves had attended the celebrations, which had lasted more than a week in the house of the Golden Flower clan.
Beside the royal couple, the newly bonded Elweth and Haldir were quietly talking, still in the happy bubble that every recently mated couple was living in. Strangely, they had only met a few years before. Glorfindel had explained this by Haldir's reluctance to go anywhere near their family, since he had still been disgruntled by the fact that Glorfindel had snatched Valerie away before he had had a real chance. They had finally met when Galadhon had brought his younger sister during one of his visits to Celeborn and Galadriel. Haldir had been smitten with the young elleth from the moment he had seen her. They had never been apart since then. And as Valerie had predicted almost a century before, Glorfindel's guilt had disappeared the moment the couple had been wed. Haldir had finally made peace with the entire family and had been welcome in it with open arms, if not without badgering from his irritating and numerous brothers-in-law.
Adam was standing beside Phoebe, both of them trying not to smirk at the Elvenking, who was valiantly putting up a cold mask to hide his emotions in complete turmoil. Oropher and Tialyn were hand in hand with Aranel, who was impatient to see her half-brother Legolas. Standing beside them, uncomfortable but grateful for the acceptance, was Bereth, Legolas' naneth. She was not a friend of the family by any stretch of the imagination, but over the decades, Phoebe had extended a hand to Thranduil's first wife, knowing that Legolas would be torn between his mother and the real fëa-mate of his adar. There was one elleth who had never been part of any reconciliation effort - Lithil, Oropher's first naneth. He had once declared that she was no longer his mother, and he had held true to this declaration. Although Valerie felt some guilt about the state of affairs, she was selfish enough to enjoy the peacefulness his decision brought her and the family.
Turgon and Elenwë, Galadhon and Malrin, Gil-galad and his betrothed were at the back of the group with Allison and Elrohir, who had made the journey from New Imladris. Even Elladan and his mate had joined them, the twin remembering how he had liked the sweet Mithrellas as she was growing up. Elladan had bonded with his mate after spending years as her lover, visiting her in Túna regularly until he had realized that he was practically living with her in her home. Elrohir had not reacted well when his brother had announced his decision to leave New Imladris to live in Túna, but he had seen reason when realizing that his brother was entitled to love just as much as he had with Allison for many decades.
Gil-galad and Adam had spent many decades as joyful single ellyn, meeting ellith all over Valinor and leaving many broken hearts behind them, until the High King had met an elleth who had outright rejected his advances. Making her fall in love with him had been an everyday goal for many years, until she had actually deemed the change in his ways to be permanent. Only then had she accepted his proposal to bind with him. The family really loved Vanya, and sincerely hoped that Adam would eventually meet an elleth that would make him settle down too. Adam was not interested at all in changing his lifestyle, and provided the family and Valinor with plenty of gossip material. Valerie and Glorfindel only wanted his happiness, and were supportive of him in all his decisions.
At the front of the group, Valerie was standing with Glorfindel, once again trying to see an arriving ship that everyone could already see but herself, Phoebe and Adam. It finally entered the port, a small ship that was more like a tiny boat, barely big enough to contain three people, four at the most.
"They crossed the sea on that flimsy boat?" Valerie whispered furiously to her mate. "If it had sunk, I would have killed Legolas in the most painful of manners."
"The water in his lungs would have taken care of that for you," Adam whispered from behind. "Maybe not as painfully as you wish, but the end game would have been the same."
The small ship finally docked and Legolas jumped on the quay, immediately turning to help Mithrellas off the boat.
"Nana!" the elleth cried, running into the open arms of her second mother. Nimrodel pushed her mate and siblings away, and hugged her sister and mother, the three of them crying and murmuring sweet nothings to each other while Legolas was being welcomed by the rest of the family. The reunion was interrupted by a loud throat clearing, from a somewhat lower standpoint.
"Well well, it seems that a royal simpleton has defiled the sacred Valinor after all!" Adam said out loud. "Are you the famous Lord Gimli, Master Dwarf?"
"Yes, I am," the dwarf lord replied. "Red hair, green wicked eyes, fully armed despite the peaceful land, you must be the male version of the Queen of Greenwood!"
"I am! It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. Phoebe told me you are deadly with your axe. I am ready to show you that my sword is unbeatable."
"You are on!" the dwarf replied with his thundering voice. "I will show you that nothing defeats a dwarfish axe. And right after I am done teaching you how to fight, I will take down that sister of yours!"
"Oh Gimli, I do not believe that you remember who you are talking about!" Phoebe replied charmingly. "Do you know who keeps winning the tournaments organized by the Vala Tulkas? It is always either Adam or myself."
"Darling, you forget that your adar has won quite a few times," the Elvenking chided in with his sweetest voice. "In fact, if my memory serves me well, most of your winnings took place when Glorfindel was not participating in the tournaments."
"It is a privilege to see you defending my honor," Glorfindel discreetly whispered to the king.
"I am always at the service of damsels in distress," Thranduil replied just as softly, a wicked light in his eyes.
"I can see that my father is as pleasant as he used to be," Legolas told Phoebe. "Believe it or not, I missed that side of him."
"Strangely, I love him that way too," she replied to her stepson. "Mother!" she cried, turning to Valerie, "do you think we will soon be able to welcome Mithrellas, maybe give her a quick hug, exchange a few words with her? Or will you monopolize her attention until next week?"
Mithrellas laughed through her tears. "I missed you all so much!" she said, moving on to her father and her siblings, giving them hugs and kisses. "The last few decades have been so hard! We were the only elves left in Middle Earth, and the people of Gondor were really getting suspicious of us. Even Elessar and Arwen were aging and yet, we remained young looking. Gimli was such a comfort during those days, he was the only one who understood how we felt, who could share the guilt that infiltrated our hearts when seeing our friends at the dusk of their lives. I hope you will welcome him as part of our family. This is how Legolas and I consider him. He is like a brother."
"Lovely," Thranduil whispered, yet loud enough for the dwarf to hear. "I will certainly not consider him as my son." Phoebe pinched him.
"Adam! You were reborn!" Mithrellas cried, holding her older brother who had died while she was still a young elfling. Her memories of him had been vague, but now that he was a grown ellon again, standing in front of her, all her memories came rushing back. He had never played very much with her and Nimrodel when they were elflings, Phoebe had been much closer to them. He had been that faraway hero, courageously fighting foes with their adar. Getting his attention, even for just a few moments, had been like getting a wonderful gift.
"Sweet-pea!" he called her by her childhood name, returning the hug. "You have grown into a beautiful elleth! I am hoping that your character is much sweeter than the other charming ladies of this family. Speaking of intolerable harpies, let me introduce you to our younger sister, Elweth."
"I am one year older than you," Elweth mentioned.
"You forget the technical matter of these 18 years I lived back in Middle Earth. It still makes me 17 years older than you are."
"Adar," Mithrellas said, delighted, "you have a daughter of your own!" She eyed the younger elleth, who looked so much like Glorfindel that his fatherhood could never be doubted.
"I have four daughters, all of them mine fully and completely," Glorfindel reminded her. Through the decades, he had always been firm about that. All his children were equally his, regardless of their origin. This fairness had been an anchor for them all throughout their lives.
"You know what I mean, Ada!" Mithrellas replied, rolling her eyes. "Hello, Elweth! I am so glad to have an additional sister!"
"Thank you," Elweth said a little shyly. "Let me introduce you to my mate, Haldir."
"I know Haldir, we have met frequently in Middle Earth. Marchwarden, I can see that you have a particular taste for the ellith of this family."
"Mithrellas!" Valerie cried.
"I am afraid that her manners have appallingly worsened since she has been in constant contact with Gimli and I for more than a century," Legolas apologized with a grin.
"We will make do," Glorfindel replied. "We are grateful that you have brought us back our daughter. I will not deny that we have doubted the likelihood of your return for many decades. In fact, we were about to sail to Middle Earth when we were informed of your imminent arrival."
"Sail to Middle Earth? Whatever for?"
"To bring you back."
"That was a nice thought. Completely unnecessary, but thoughtful regardless."
"Estel has passed away?" Glorfindel needed the confirmation to have closure.
"He did. He died of old age. His son Eldarion now rules over Gondor. He will be a great king, although we could see that he will not be as long lived as his father. He was aging faster."
"What about Arwen?"
"After his passing, she left Minas Tirith and journeyed to Lothlorien. She wanted to fade in the woods of Lothlorien, where she peacefully lived with her grandparents for decades. She gave me letters. For her parents and grandparents, for her brothers. There is one for you, Valerie. All this time, she was worried about you. She was hoping that you had recovered from your… ordeal."
"I did. As soon as I arrived here, the Valar took care of me. I have been myself completely since then. We had Elweth and then a year later, Adam was reborn. I have the favor of the Valar, Legolas. They gave me countless blessings."
"You deserve each of them," Legolas replied. "After all you did for your family, and what you did for Middle Earth."
"I just love my children. Nothing more than that. It was hardly an effort!"
"Then I guess only you had such an ability to love. Thank you, on behalf of everyone."
Legolas went back to his adar and grandparents while his mate was now being introduced to the mates of her brothers Turgon, Galadhon and Gil-galad.
Glorfindel took Valerie in his arms. "Our family is now reunited. Everyone is here, with us forever. I do not want you to worry ever again. Nothing unfortunate can happen to us."
"I will try not to worry, I promise. But with such children, you must admit that it is more than likely that they will cause trouble everywhere they go, hence make us worry."
"Then I will have to endeavor to distract you frequently. What about another romantic escape? We could stay a few weeks here in Alqualondë."
"Under normal circumstances, I would never say no to that. But I would like to spend time with Mithrellas, reconnect with her properly. She could visit us in Valmar, or we could go to Greenwood if this is where they are planning to stay for the next few weeks. Perhaps we can come back here in a few months?"
"That would be perfect. It will give me plenty of time to terrorize Haldir into submission."
"Glorfindel, you are channeling Thranduil at the moment. I am not certain I like that sarcastic version of you," Valerie laughed. "I much prefer my serious, caring mate. The one who seduced me without even trying back in Imladris. I remember the first time I saw you, in Elrond's office, you were the only one who seemed to care about me while I was begging them to send me back home in my rudimentary Sindarin."
"I remember that short, indecent dress of yours. I wanted you to be mine the first moment I saw you. And I made you mine," he whispered in her ear.
"And so are you. Mine until the end of days." She kissed his lips sweetly. "That seems like an awful lot of time, when I think about it."
"Yet, it does not seem enough for me."
"Is there a reason why we are still standing on this quay instead of being comfortably installed at the inn? Are we planning to spend the night here?" Gil-galad asked around.
People gathered around him, slowly making their way to the inn where the entire family was staying for a few days. Valerie and Glorfindel followed them at a slower pace, walking leisurely hand in hand.
"Come on, Mom and Ada, you can walk faster than this!" Phoebe impatiently shouted from the front of the group.
"You would think that she is still five years old," Valerie whispered.
"Ada is getting quite old, almost like a fossil," Turgon added loudly. "But the slowness is inexcusable from Nana. She is one of the youngest in this family."
"They are very selfish and capricious, the lot of them," Glorfindel whispered back.
"Yes, they are. And they entertain you."
"They do! I want to thank you."
"For this life you gave me, when you manipulated me into joining you in your room that night in Imladris."
"I am glad you were weak that night," she replied with a wicked smile. "Thank you for loving me, protecting me, and trying your hardest to understand me. And most of all, thank you for loving them all so much."
"You know I have cherished them from the moment you put them in my arms after their birth. Being their real adar is completely irrelevant for me."
"I love you."
"And I love you more."
They stopped to passionately kiss each other, Glorfindel crushing her against his chest.
"Hey! Will we have to drag you to the inn? We are hungry!" It was Gil-galad this time.
"Looks like they need a room urgently. We may have to wait a little before we have dinner." This comment could only come from Phoebe.
Valerie and Glorfindel stared reverently at each other, then kissed more chastely before running like elflings to catch up with their family. After all the duties they had accomplished and the adversity they had faced, they had finally earned eternal peace in the Undying Lands. As much peace as their family would allow, but for Valerie and Glorfindel, it was their happily ever after.
A/N: Well, this is it, the end of the Glorfindel version. I want to thank all the readers who left me reviews throughout the story, your comments and encouragements were really appreciated. If you haven't left me one yet, please take a minute to let me know what you liked!
Aralinn: thank you for all your reviews! It was great to hear your comments at every step of the way!
Princessnera: I hope you were happy with this Glorfindel story – they are so rare on the site.
Paperlanterns86: Gil-galad and Haldir both got their happy ending too – only Adam is still single, and he likes it that way. If you remember, he actually ended up with Lady Nienna in the Haldir version. I like to think he would have ended up with her again.
Maggie: for now, I will concentrate on the Thranduil ficlets, I don't have another idea for a different story yet. I never know when an idea will pop up in my head!
Glassary: I will try to meet your expectations about Thranduil in the ficlets! There will be so much more opportunities to see him be is pleasant self! I believe Thranduil and Phoebe are much more peaceful since they arrived in Valinor, they would never kill anyone, that's certain – but they remain sarcastic and unpleasant when something doesn't go their way… That's how people like them.
Vanime: I never thought of an Elrond version. I must admit that I think that with the Thranduil version, I will have explored all the variations that I can come up with. I have to get inspired by something different next time I write a story. Thank you so much for reviewing!
Laurelin: Haldir was such a passionate ellon, while Glorfindel was more of a gentleman. Legolas was somewhere in the happy middle. I cannot decide which one I personally prefer, I will wait to see how Thranduil turns out as I get inspired writing before I decide!
Reonoru: Yes, it wasn't Elrond's greatest moment. But everything will turn out all right, you will see!