Aragorn stood with his head bowed slightly as Mithrandir reverently placed the winged crown of Gondor on his head. "Now beings the days of the king," announced the wizard grandly.
'Funny,' the Man thought, almost in his own little world. 'This doesn't weigh as much as I thought it would.' He raised his eyes up to Mithrandir. "Thank you for telling me," he whispered.
Mithrandir raised his bushy eyebrows in question. Aragorn smiled with nostalgia and fulfillment. "I heard you that night," he confided quietly. "When I was ten-years-old and crying myself to sleep because Legolas had left and I was afraid I'd never see him again. You said 'What is meant to be will find a way to be.' I was asleep, but I still heard you and I never let go of that."
Mithrandir gave him a grandfatherly smile. "May each and every one of your days be blessed," he whispered back fondly.
Taking a deep breath and steeling himself, Aragorn turned around and faced the crowd for the first time as King Elessar. "This day does not belong to one Man but to all," he declared in a loud, clear, and commanding voice. "Let us now rebuild this world so that we may share it in peace."
The crowd responded in a resounding cheer. Aragorn wondered fleetingly how loud they'd be cheering if they realized just how much work and time would be required in order to restore the ancient realm and bring Minas Tirith back to glory, but he quickly banished the thought. This was not the time for cynicism, but for celebration and tradition. It was time to remind them of their past and to honor Elendil by renewing his vow.
He closed his eyes, recalling from his childhood schooling what Elendil said when he came to the shores of this land, and sang out solemnly:Et Earello Endorenna utulien. Sinome marvuvan ar Hildimyar tenn'
Ambar-metta! (Out of the Great Sea to the Middle Earth I am come.
In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.)
Rose petals that seemed to fall out of the sky surrounded Aragorn as he walked down the steps. Once he'd reached the crowd, his family was immediately at his side. Tears were in Elrond's eyes as he said. "I am so proud of you, ion nin. So proud."
The four walked forward as the crowd parted in front of them. "This is it, little brother," said Elladan in a whisper. "Are you ready for the moment you've been waiting for?"
A gasp that rose from the crowd cut off Aragorn's response. The parting crowd had revealed a large group of elves, but that wasn't the reason for the gasp. The reason was walking at the group's head, slightly in front of his father and barely restraining himself from running forward into the arms of the newly crowned king. Legolas seemed to be glowing with both happiness and an inner light. A murmur ran through the people as they realized just how beautiful the Sun Star of the elven people truly was.
Legolas never took his eyes off of Aragorn as they both moved away from their families and met in the middle. The Man stared at his intended as if mesmerized. Legolas, always a prince well versed in court etiquette, bowed his head to show the Gondorian people that he respected Aragorn's position as king. Aragorn quickly snapped out of his daze to grab his chin, gently raise his head, and finally to capture the elf's mouth in a soul-searing kiss.
"This is real," said Aragorn in awe as the crowd cheer yet again. "We're going to be married right now. This is real and you're real."
Legolas gave him an indulgent yet playful smile. "Was there some question about the matter?" he asked teasingly. "Do I not feel real?"
"I'll have to count every strand of your hair just to make sure," replied Aragorn as he buried his face in Legolas' golden hair. The elf let out a joyful laugh. "However," Aragorn continued, whispering in that pointed ear, "the real test will come tonight when I most thoroughly touch and kiss every inch of your body."
Legolas turned his face into Aragorn's neck so that the crowd wouldn't see his naughty grin. "I shall have to hold you to your word," he replied with feigned exaggerated propriety. "But first we must attend to the matter at hand."
"Of course," agreed Aragorn readily, though he was reluctant in breaking their embrace. He took Legolas' hand and together they walked back up the stairs to stand in front of Mithrandir. Once they'd reached the spot where Aragorn had been crowned only moments before, they turned and looked out over the crowd. The four hobbits were there, gleeful and excited. Gimli stood slightly behind the wizard and was practically swelling with pride. King Eomer stood with his people while Eowyn beamed with happiness from her place at Faramir's side. The elves – Elrond, the twins, Galadriel, Celeborn, even Thranduil – had dropped their customary trademark serene expressions, showing how thrilled they were. Aragorn remembered the dark vision he'd had at Amon Hen, when he was tempted by the ring, and smiled knowingly. In the end, he realized, the ring would never have been able to offer him anything that he wasn't capable of achieving himself – and making him a better Man for having done so.
"This is Prince Legolas Thranduilion of Mirkwood," he announced proudly so that all could hear. "His name means Greenleaf, a symbol of hope for the elven people, and is also called the Sun Star. The realm of Gondor has my fealty and he, who I now take as my husband, holds my heart."
"With my love of King Elessar," declared Legolas, "also comes my love for his kingdom. My heart could never belong to anyone but him, and my fealty now belongs first to Gondor. I take him now as my husband and this land as my home."
Mithrandir took their clasped hands into his own and held them aloft for all to see. "This union has been 77 years in the making," he called out. "The blessings of both families have been bestowed upon it. Now is time for the people of Gondor to decide: will you accept this marriage, for Elessar your king to wed Prince Legolas and make him the prince consort? Is now the time for the Sun to shine on the world of Men?"
The crowd responded in one voice: "Yea!"
The celebration showed no sign of dying down as the night wore on. Aragorn and Legolas were more than ready to retire to their bechamber, but circumstances kept getting in the way. First they had to endure the Gondorian nobles, who used a lot of words to let them know (with varying degrees of sincerity) how pleased they were for the new royal couple. Legolas laughed inwardly as he silently thanked all of the troubadours he'd endured for making him learn how to handle a lot of flowery words and hot air.
When the couple finally escaped the nobles, a good number of their families and friends were waiting. Thankfully, Mithrandir had shooed the hobbits away after a short congratulations and the elves from Rivendell and Lothlorien were restrained by both etiquette and the respective lords and lady. King Thranduil, however, seemed reluctant indeed to let Legolas and Aragorn go off into the night.
"The elves are leaving Mirkwood," Thranduil told them.
"All of our people?" asked Legolas in dismayed surprise. "All of you intend to take the ships to the Undying Lands soon?"
"Not I," replied Thranduil fondly. "I will not forsake this land as long as you are in it, and a number of our people plan to stay with me. But a good many will leave soon for the harbors and it does not seem right that those who remain must stay in caves and do battle with spiders to defend a kingdom that cannot last much longer. We would rather bless the fair woods of Ithilien in these dwindling years. It is close to the river that leads to the sea – and to you, my Little Greenleaf."
As the two wood elves hugged, Aragorn pondered what his life would be like with his father-in-law living so close by. 'Oh, well,' he decided, resigned. 'It's probably best if I don't think about it right now.' He was so lost in thought that he didn't notice the smaller person approached them until he was almost at their sides. "Gimli!" he exclaimed.
"I don't mean to interrupt anything," said the dwarf, casting a wary look at Thranduil. "I just wanted to offer you both my congratulations.
Legolas moved away from his father and embraced Gimli. "Thank you," he said tearfully. "There was no way I could have gotten through all of this without you."
"Come now, none of that kind of talk, laddie," soothed Gimli gently. "This isn't a goodbye by any means. Why, there's too much stonework and repairs to be done for that! I'll be here for a very long time."
Thranduil and Gimli hovering around for a very long time. Aragorn hoped they didn't notice the soon-to-be-long-suffering look on his face. At this rate they were never going to get out of there! Just then an evil plan popped into the new king's mind. "King Thranduil, this is Gimli son of Gloin," he said smoothly. "Legolas and I must go now, but you two talk; you have so much in common."
Elf and dwarf stared uncomfortably at each other as Aragorn gently but insistently steered his husband away from his overprotective father and father figure. Neither Thranduil nor Gimli had been in a situation quite like this before. "Gimli," Thranduil said finally in a thoughtful tone. "Legolas called me that when I knocked on his door this morning. He said something about eating and not fussing."
"That lad!" Gimli rolled his eyes in exasperation. "He was refusing to eat anything, saying he was too excited and nervous, or some other such nonsense. I tell you, he doesn't know how to take care of himself! Not sleeping and always worrying and never thinking about what's best for him. Why, he wasn't even going to tell Aragorn about his mortality at first because he didn't want to burden him."
"Burden him!" burst out Thranduil. "He should have told him right away. It was Aragorn's responsibility too; he needed to know!"
"That's what I said!" commiserated Gimli as they sat down at a table.
"Tell me everything, master dwarf," insisted the elven king.
Across the room, Legolas groaned. "They're talking about me," he informed his husband.
"They have a lot to say on that topic," teased Aragorn. Legolas shot him a filthy look. "My love, they may be talking about you right now, but they'll be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. Just think – Eowyn!"
The White Lady of Rohan smiled as she approached them. "Greetings," she said. "I wanted to tell you both how happy I am for you."
"I believe that sentiment is also called for in your case," Aragorn told her. "There are many whispers going around about the steward of the city and his engagement to the Lady of the Eorlingas. Where is Faramir?"
"He and Eomer are currently having – how did my brother put it? – a gentlemanly discussion on the proper behaviors of a husband." Eowyn replied with an exasperated scoff. Her face brightened and the couple realized that this was the first time they'd seen her look truly joyful. "I am happy, though. I won't delay you any longer; I just wanted to thank you for, well, everything."
Legolas hugged her briefly. "I'm so happy for you," he told her. "It's always nice to see a fellow caged bird escape."
Another blonde elf approached her as Legolas and Aragorn departed. "Are you Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan?" he inquired.
"Yes," she replied hesitantly. "Who are you?"
"My name is Glorfindel."
"Glorfindel?" Eowyn repeated in awe. "The very same elf who slew the balrog, the one in those songs?"
"The very same," Glorfindel told her. "I'm pleased and honored to finally meet you in person."
"That's very kind of you," she blushed, "but I don't see how you could've waited too long to meet me."
"On the contrary," he explained. "I've been waiting for thousands of years, ever since the first time I saw you. It was during a battle with the Witch-king and his forces. I saw you defeat him in a vision and knew that it could only be you who did the deed. In fact, I told the others there that no man would ever destroy him. It is a great honor to finally know your name."
"We made it!" cried Aragorn in triumph as he and Legolas finally walked through the doorway to the private part of the royal chambers.
"And not a moment too soon," grinned Legolas.
"My king, my prince," greeted a servant as he descended the stairs that led to the royal bedchamber. "Your room has been made ready for you, as Mithrandir requested."
"Always the wise and nosy wizard," commented Legolas playfully to Aragorn before he turned to the servant. "Thank you. Would you also see to it that a warm bath is drawn for us in perhaps one -"
"Three," interrupted Aragorn. "It would be best if you made it three."
"Three hours," amended Legolas.
"Yes, my lords," said the servant with bow and departed.
"A bath, huh?" commented Aragorn.
"It's been a long day," replied Legolas with a spark in his eyes. "I think it'll be nice to have a warm bath."
"You do realize that I'm going to be peeking," reveled Aragorn mischievously. "And I'm not even going to feel guilty about it."
"Aragorn!" scolded Legolas with jovial firmness. "The only way you'll be allowed to peek is if you join me. It's about time I did a little peeking of my own."
"I can hardly wait."
"Well, we have three hours before any of that can happen," said Legolas. He stroked Aragorn's face before lowering his hands slightly to unbutton the top clasp on the Man's shirt. "Thankfully, I have an idea of how we can make the time pass quickly."
"I think we have the same plan," moaned Aragorn as Legolas started suckling his neck. "Shall we take this upstairs?"
"With haste, my love," said Legolas emphatically. Leaning against each other, Legolas and Aragorn ascended the stairs, ready and eager to being the first night of their life together.
A/N: I can't believe this is actually done! Thank you so much to everyone who read and who reviewed this story - you people make it all worthwhile I'm sorry that I had to end it where I did, but this is rated PG-13 and let's just say that Aragorn and Legolas have a very nice wedding night. The sequel is in the works - with one chapter already written and plot bunnies still abound - so I'm aiming for next week to begin posting. The title as of now is What Love Brought into Being (but I'm not emotionally attached to it or anything if anyone out there has a better suggestion) and it will most likely go up a rating.