Summary: This is a vignette of Aragorn and Arwen's reunion in Gondor immediately after he was coronated. Based on the movie The Return of the King.
And it came to pass that in the hour of defeat Aragorn came up from the sea and unfurled the standard of Arwen in the battle of the Fields of Pelennor, and in that day he was first hailed as king. And at last when all was done he entered into the inheritance of his fathers and received the crown of Gondor and sceptre of Arnor; and at Midsummer in the year of the Fall of Sauron he took the hand of Arwen Undómiel, and they were wedded in the city of the Kings.
--The Lord of the Rings; The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen
Eternity Begins Here and Now
One word that now held so much weight to Aragorn… King Aragorn.
As he descended the grand steps after being coronated, he felt as if the world was both spinning around him at super speeds, and that it was eerily still. People bowed as he walked by—his first instinct was to rush over to them and tell that there was no need to bow to some ranger from the north. Wouldn't that look amusing to onlookers? However, slowly another instinct was coming… a new instinct he never knew he had. The nature to raise his chin higher, his chest up— a natural feeling, he realized, that he had inherited through his blood. He had the lineage of kings, some legendary for being great, some legendary for not. What would he be remembered as?
As he continued striding through the parted walkway, and as people
continued to bow as he passed, he saw a tall blonde creature approaching that Aragorn would never want to bow before him-- Legolas Greenleaf. As clean and glowy as ever, the opposite of myself in our past months' trials, Aragorn thought to himself with a small grin. His memory briefly brought the image of the elf fighting in the battle of Helm's Deep— afterwards, Legolas still looked as if he had just taken a bath, while Aragorn appeared as if he had fallen into every mud puddle on the battlefield. Ah, the Elves…
He almost stopped in his tracks. No, I can't think of the Elves right now, he thought gravely to himself. Not when I haven't heard from them— I've been too fearful to ask!— and I haven't seen her since… that dream.
Pushing the thoughts aside, with great force, Aragorn kept the grin on his face as he approached Legolas.
Several feet away from the man and the elf, she held her breath once more. He was coming closer. Of course, he hadn't noticed her yet, but now the wind was carrying his scent under her nose, and she breathed it in quickly, lavishing in the feelings it rose.
She felt a warm hand on her shoulder, and she turned her head. Her father was giving her that look… the quiet look she'd been receiving from him several times over the past days. She realized that this was the last time he'd be able to give it, so she tried to soothe him one last time with a warm smile. She received the same gift in return, albeit a much smaller, and sadder version of it.
The look the two shared was one only close friends would know and appreciate. Legolas nodded his head in respect, and Aragorn paused for a moment, before lifting an arm to rest on his friend's shoulder. Legolas did the same, and they stood there for a moment, the two a very symbol of eternal brotherhood.
Respect flowed through Aragorn's gaze and into his friend's. "Hannon le," he murmured earnestly, using the Elvish words for 'thank you'.
Her head snapped forward again when she heard him speak. He was speaking in Elvish to Legolas, and a rush of emotions flooded her. She had heard him give a speech immediately after being crowned king, and hearing his voice again for the first time in months had made her heart start beating faster. That feeling had then seemed minimal to the next emotions, as she had heard him singing upon conclusion of his speech.
But now, he was speaking close enough for her to hear the elegant inflections that only he was capable of. His voice rolled off of his tongue like the sweetest Elvish wine.
She suddenly hid herself behind the banner she was holding, for fear that if she looked upon him for one more moment, she couldn't stop herself from running to him and flinging herself in his arms.
Legolas didn't say anything to the king, but, smiling, the elf did suddenly turn his eyes to something else.
A quick movement from the side caught Aragorn's attentionor was it the distinct feeling of a certain presence?
and his focus shifted away from his brother. If his eyes had remained on his Elven friend, he would have seen the large, knowing grin on his face. As it was, Aragorn's mind, heart, and soul were gradually entering a world were no else existed outside of what he was looking at. A white banner, bearing the White Tree of the King, was blowing in the swift breeze not to far away. Below the banner, he could see the person holding it— at least from their mid-thighs down. It was enough. Enough to see someone, someone standing by the regal Lord Elrond, was wearing a green flowing dress—a maiden.
His arm dropped. He took a few unsteady steps forward. The world was spinning again, and he needed something to hold onto, something to keep him balanced, or else he would surely fall.
Green was his much loved color—the color of the forests, the grass, the color of life. He had told this to someone several times.
Is she wearing my adored color? Wearing it because I'm seeing her again, finally seeing her again, and she…? Is it even she?
By the Valar, she could feel the heat of his eyes on her. Through the feet of space, through the white banner still in front of her, she could feel the intensity of his gaze searing into her being.
She took a breath—it sounded more like a gasp as it drew on her lips—and gripped the staff tighter. Slowly, she leaned the decorated emblem to her right.
The banner, which was still blocking his view, started moving away. Aragorn's breathing pattern increased to be ten times faster. He realized a part of him wanted the banner never to move—just in case it wasn't her. Why take the risk? Why risk his vulnerable heart in such a cruel fashion?
Another part of him wanted the magical powers necessary to fling the damn banner out of the way immediately so his view of the person holding it could be clear.
With agonizing slowness, more and more of the person holding the banner became apparent. First a bit of a shoulder—it looked soft and comforting—then, by the grace of the Valar, wavy black hair appeared. Flowing like ocean waves, paused by time during their crescendo up and down a beach shore, her hair caressed down and over her shoulder. His fingers itched to touch, to feel, to escape in the dark tresses.
Skin, first a hint of a slender neck, then the softest pink cheeks… they beckoned to him to come and nuzzle his cheek against them.
He took a step closer, and just then, the biggest treat to the eyes was revealed as the banner continued to move. He froze, completely unable to move.
Eyes, as deeper than the gap from the clouds to the ground, blue as the sky and the purest water—flicks of hazel hidden in their depths, known only to those who had spent time inspecting them eagerly. Her lips were as red as the rose petals scattered around on the ground. When was the last time he had kissed them?
Having forgotten to breathe for too long, Arwen Undómiel parted her lips, a faint breath coming from them.
As if pulled by some strange force, the two walked on shaky legs towards each other as if meeting for the first time in their lives. Air only entered their lungs when they remembered to breathe, or when they had not remembered for too long and were abruptly reminded by their own screaming lungs.
They stopped two feet away, feeling the distance like a canyon. It was abnormal for them to rest so far apart, but both were still unsure if the other was real. Both Aragorn and Arwen feared that if the went to touch the other, they would feel nothing but air. This was too good to be true… wasn't it?
He noticed her right hand, the one still holding the banner, was shaking. Aragorn extended his own trembling hand and firmly held the mast, and her grip loosened on it.
The only sound he could hear was the quick pants of air she took and his own heartbeat. Suddenly, her eyes fluttered, and she gracefully lowered her head towards the ground, taking her eyes off of his for the first time since she had moved the banner concealing her a minute ago.
Her actions brought Aragorn out of his dazed reverie with a rough, abrupt pull, and he frowned deeply with discomfort and confusion. Arwen bowing to me?! For a moment he wished he could give up the crown, the title, the whole affair, just so that she would cease bowing to him. The others had knelt to show extreme respect for their leader, their ruler. Aragorn was not Arwen's ruler— he never would be. He still held her in greater regard than him; at the very least they were equals. It was like the Queen of the Elves, the fair Galadriel, bowing humbly to a beetle.
He would have said the word "No", had his vocal cords the strength to work. Instead, he quickly let go of the staff, rushed closer to her, and ever-so-gently placed his fingers under her lowered chin.
Touch. He was really touching Arwen.
The warm shock of contact, after all this time, caused Arwen herself let go of the staff, though more out of surprise, and it fluttered into the awkward arms of someone standing nearby. Neither the king nor the elf noticed.
She raised her wide eyes to meet his as he softly pulled her face up. His brown pools and her blue ones locked on each other. Time paused.
Arwen stood there anxiously, her heart pounding against her chest so hard she thought it might explode. She wouldn't care, as long as Aragorn did something to end the silence.
He looked her over as his dream flashed before his eyes. Then a rush of memories flooded him: their first meeting, their pledge on Cerin Amroth… her second pledge in Rivendell on their bridge… leaving her in Imladris…
…I choose a mortal life…
She'd fulfilled that oath. For him.
Just as Arwen couldn't wait another second, Aragorn suddenly moved forward to capture her lips in his. It was passionate and tender, extremely protective and boundlessly free, and above all, loving. It was a kiss of reunion.
Only faintly did they hear the happy applause roaring around them as he picked her up in his strong arms and swung her around blissfully. Watching off to the side, her great and noble father was stuck between laughing heartily and crying— his sorrow mingled with happiness.
Aragorn set her down upon the ground like a cherished jewel, the treasure of Middle-earth. They both brought their hands to stroke each other's cheeks lovingly, their eyes saying things that words could never get across. Speaking wasn't needed. He kissed her again, and then pulled back to let his eyes drink her in thirstily. As he looked at her desperately, only one thing was on his mind, and she knew his thought—how could she not, when it was written all over his face?
I thought I'd lost you…
His loving gaze and sweet caresses brought tears to her eyes, and another shaky gasp escaped her. For a moment she considered saying aloud, "I'm right here, you didn't loose me", but she let her eyes say it instead, as well as their next kiss. He got the message.
She's all right. She's here in my arms, safe, alive. She's all right.
Arwen pulled away, but only to embrace Aragorn while an eruption of laughter brought mirth from her lips. They hugged each other tightly, consumed with each other's presence. The image of their future son came to her again, the most beautiful child she had ever seen— she couldn't wait to tell Aragorn! All her dreams were starting coming true. Her smile shone with hope, promise, and blissful happiness.
This is where it begins. With Aragorn, my eternity begins here and now.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.