A/n: Ok, so be warned. This is the LAST CHAPTER for this story. There is no more. I'm sorry this chapter is very short, and a little fast, but I wanted to get it up. I have also revamped and reposted it after some feedback, so I hope it's better than before. I apologize to the reviwers who weren't happy with the previous ending! Anyways, this is just a wrap-up, an ultimate happy ending, so enjoy. :) (And yet more apologies on timeline screw-up-ery. I will do better next time.)
Shaomer's horse plodded steadily across the grassy terrain. The sun beat down on his back, the sky a beautiful, clear blue. There were birds chirping in nearby trees. All of it was lost on Shaomer. It could have been blizzarding or thundering or cloudy or overly humid. He wouldn't have cared. Not now. Not after losing her.
He had been so sure she would say yes. Now he realized what a fool he'd been. She had thought he was dead and had moved on accordingly. It was only natural for her to fall in love with someone else. It would have hurt less if he had just stayed in Rohan in the first place, and forgot about Ayah.
He couldn't truly forget about her, to be sure. She would have a place in his heart. But it would be a lot easier to move on knowing she was happy and well, then just staying away and never knowing one way or the other. At least, that's what he kept telling himself.
Shaomer thought back to when he proposed, and the way she'd reacted. There was nothing he could have done different, to be sure. Not 'die' in the firstplace would have been the smartest idea.
Shaomer had proposed right on the path not too far from her home, the green hues dancing around them int he breeze and flickering hadlooked so happy and stunned. Yet he could also see a wide mix of emotions flying through her - happiness, confusion, shock, despair, guilt - he couldn't identify them all.
She had not answered for several seconds, so he cleared his throat hopefully, and then the tears filled her eyes. He wasn't entirely sure what they meant.
"I'm so sorry, Shaomer." She'd said sincerely, wiping her eyes. "But I've moved on. I love someone else."
Shaomer shook his head. "I should have known." he got up off his knees. "I was gone too long and you had every reason not to..." he didn't finish his sentence, not entirely sure what he was trying to say. Her rejection hurt, but somehow he'd known it deep down all along. He sighed.
Ayah slowly slid the shining ring off her finger. "It is a beautiful ring. Someone will keep it in her hand someday." She handed him back the ring gently, and pressed it into his hand. "I'm so sorry." she repeated, her voice was barely a whisper. The tears began to streak down her cheeks.
"Don't be." Shaomer said, his voice equally as quiet. He squelched the urge to hold her, and never let go. The situation felt a little unreal and he wished he could just stay there and gaze at her forever. It was not meant to be, and that hurt. He would figure it out, though. He always did.
Ayah wiped away the tears forming in her eyes. "I wanted this at one time, and now that its hapening, I can hardly believe I'm throwing it away." She sighed. "I know that its right, though. I only wish you could be happy too."
"It will be alright, milady." Shaomer had said politely, but meaning it. "I shall return to Rohan – my second home – and seek a new life there. Do not feel guilty. It does your perfect face no justice."
They'd smiled genuinely at each other and hugged tightly. Shaomer briefly inhaled the magnificent scent of her - fresh, outdoorsy, and almost citrus - before relasing her. He knew he wasn't only physically relasing her.
He could see Rohan's familiar settlements coming into view: the sprawling capital of Edoras, with its green hills and mountains in the background. Shaomer couldn't help the familiar sense of calm and peace that washed over him at the sight. He truly felt home.
He rode steadily to the capital, was admitted by a chatty look-out who quite remembered him, and Shaomer immediately made haste to the top of Edoras, the largest home, where he knew he would find his kin - not by blood, but by choice. Already a smile was creeping over his handsome features as he thought about the welcome he would get from Eowyn and Eomer.
Shaomer tied up his horse in the stable, and strode up the stairs. Again, the watchmen and guards recognized him.
"Welcome, Lord Shaomer." one said, and lightly bowed.
Shaomer bowed back. "It is good to be home."
As soon as he entered the main hall where he had once spent so much time, he immediately recognized the back of Eomer. Shaomer grinned, then turned his face gravely serious.
"I expected to find you here." he fairly spat the words.
Eomer whipped around. "I beg your - " his face broke into a wide grin. "Lord Shaomer. You have returned."
Shaomer could not play serious anymore. "Brother." The two patted each other's backs in a manly hug. "So, what news since my departure?"
Eomer shook his head. "Let us sit."
So, the two of them settled at a long table to the right of the main entrance, and Eomer began his tale. He spoke of the War of the Ring from the time Shaomer had left, up until the point the war was finally over, thanks to a brave hobbit named Frodo. Eomer told him the tales of the battle at Pelennor Field, and of how his uncle Theoden, healed not too long ago from the poisons of Wormtongue and Sarauman, was sadly killed. Shaomer couldn't help but wishing he had been there, fighting bravely at his and Eomer's sides. At least it would have saved him from the supreme heartachehe now suffered. He felt great sympathy for Eomer, however. He knew how much his uncle had meant to him.
Shortly, Eowyn entered the room, accompanied by a tall, rugged looking man and a shorter, slender, brunette woman.
"Lord Shaomer!" She greetedhappily. They hugged tightly, and the rugged looking man on her left coughed lightly when the hug kept going longer than he apparently appreciated. Eowyn understood the hint, and broke the hug off. "Shoamer, this is my fiancé, Faramir. He is a ranger from the north, like my lord Aragorn. We haveonly just retunred from King Aragorn's coronation."
"Coronation?" Shaomer asked.
"Yes. Lord Aragorn is now the King of Gondor." Faramir answered.
"Give him my regards!" Shaomer said, smiling. Eomer had earlier explained that the trio they had met when patrolling Rohan so long ago was the same trio who had recruited the army of the Dead, and were part of the Fellowship.
Eowyn sighed and cupped her hand around Shaomer's chin. "Oh, my Lord. I have missed you so much." she let her hand drop, and Faramir promptly and politely held her hand between them.
"And I you, milady." Shaomer replied and gave Eowyn a respectful slight bow. He turned his eyes to the lovely brunette woman still standing patiently beside Eowyn.
"And where are my manners! This my friend from the south, Dylendria, daughter of Dominyous." Eowyn gestured to the brunette woman. "And Dylendria, this is my lord Shaomer, my long-lost brother." she added with a smile.
Shaomer couldn't help but see Faramir physically relax at Eowyn's last comment. He found it hard not to laugh as he realized Faramir may have thought Shaomer and Eowyn to have history together that was not brother-sister like. It seemed absurd to him, but he could see how Faramir's thoughts could have been directed that way.
Not forgetting his manners, Shaomer bowed to Dylendria and politely kissed her hand. "Pleased to meet you, Dylendria."
Her smile was radiant. "And I, you, Lord Shaomer."
Shaomer straightened. Her features were striking, in a completely different way than that of Ayah's. He liked Dylendria already.
As if Eomer and Eowyn sensed the way Dylendria was regarding Shaomer and the way Shaomer was regarding Dylendria, Eowyn subtly announced that she had some things to see to.
"And I will join her." Faramir said quickly, and Eowyn and Faramir smiled at each other.
Eomer cleared his throat. "I must see to the horses."
The other three promptly left, leaving Shaomer and Dylendria behind. She smiled that amazingly radiant smile again, and Shaomer felt a different flip in his stomach than when he was around Ayah.
"Shall we take a walk?" Shaomer boldly offered his arm. He supposed he was going too fast, and looking closely at her, he decided she was definitely no Elven woman. Her beauty was beautiful in an indescribably different way. He was about to recoil his arm, thinking himself foolish, when Dylendria intertwined her arm around his.
Legolas stood beside an Elvish minister, as traditional Elvish music played. He was easily more happy than he had ever been in his life. He could hardly believe that all his dreams had finally come true. The War of the Ring was over. Ayah loved him, and he was marrying her.
This was the real thing - it was not a dream.
It was early spring, Ayah's favorite time of the year, when everything was just barely green and budding. It had rained earlier that morning, giving Rivendell that heavenly scent of just-after-the-rain. It was the perfect time for a wedding to take place under the same wonderous green sun-splashed dome in which the Ceremony had taken place. Already, that Ceremony where Ayah had forgotten his name seemed so long ago.
As the bride was readying herself behind closed doors - or, as it would seem, a thick veil of vines - Legolas took a moment to scrutinize the faces in the crowd, seeing who of his friends were there, and who of the Fellowship had been able to Boromir who was lost, and Frodo and Gandalf who had sailed for the Undying Lands with Bilbo, it appeared all the other members of the Fellowship were in attendance.
Legolas was happy to see Sam with sweet Rosie Cotton, and it appeared he was married, as he had two small blonde children with him. Legolas smiled at him, Sam looked delighted, and gently put his arm around Rosie's shoulders. The children bubbled with quiet laughter, and Rosie cautioned them to stay hushed.
Pippin appeared to have brought along a girlfriend, for healsosat with a small hobbit girl. She had black hair, and she and Pippin held hands. Pippin held up their intertwined fists, and looked quite pleased. Legolas couldn't help but laugh snicker to himself as he looked at the pair, and briefly remembered the Mines of Moria incident...
"Fool of a Took! Why don't you throw yourself in next time and rid of us of your stupidity!"
There was his good friend Gimli the Dwarf, guffawing to himself that he was at an Elvish wedding. He kept asking the male Elf beside him if the reception would have beer or malt, and the Elven man looked rather disgusted but amused at having to sit beside the dwarf. When Gimli caught Legolas looking at him, he gave Legolas a hearty wave. Legolas waved gracefully back.
He could see the new King of Gondor, and his closest friend Aragorn and his beautiful Elven Queen Arwen, seated right near the front row. Aragorn shook his head with a half-smile across his face, in a 'you-crazy-elf-you' sort of way. Legolas returned the look,in a 'you-crazy-man-you' sort of way. The two of them cracked full smiles, and Legolas was so thankful he could be here.
Merry Brandybuck was sitting not too far from Pippin, waving madly, trying to get Legolas' attention. He pointed to a cute hobbit girl beside him with strawberry blonde hair. She turned red and giggled, ducking her head from Merry and Legolas' attention. Legolas grinned. So now they just had to get Gimli a girl...
The curtain of dark green vines parted by unseen hands, and Ayah walked through them, ducking slightly. She was wearing a magnificently white dress, accompanied by a small beaded train coming off the back. The sleeves were long but sheer, and sparkled subtly when she moved. The green and yellow of the viney dome set off her eyes and fair hair, and only made her look all the more stunning.
She smiled brilliantly, knowing she had most definitely made the right choice. Legolas was her love. Maybe not her only love, but he was the one she would love forever. She had not forgotten about Shaomer, of course, and maybe she never would. She briefly remembered the note she had received earlier that morning from him. It had said that he apologized for not being able to attend her wedding on short notice, as the invitation from her arrived to later, but there was an invitation to his own wedding. He was marrying someone named Dylendria. Ayah sincerely hoped he was truly happy.
At that moment, however, Shaomer was quite far from her mind, as she was sure she was from his, and all she could think about was Legolas and how he looked in that silvery colored outfit with blue accents. It complimented his hair, and made his eyes all the more startling and wonderful to look at.
Some gasps and whispers whipped through the crowd as she continued to walk down the aisle, and she knew they were all good things. Her brother was in the front beside Arwen and her husband, and he quickly looked away to wipe his eyes. Tarén was crying! It warmed her heart, and brought unexpected tears to her eyes. When his watery red eyes met hers, he mouthed, "Don't you dare cry. Save your face."
'Darn him for always thinking.' she thought, and grimaced at him to show he'd made his would it look if she had horribly red eyes at the alter? Like she'd been crying of course, but it would spoil the effect of this absolutely magical day.
The vows were exchanged, there was more crying in the audience, Legolas and Ayah held hands. The minister finally came to the end, and Ayah felt her pulse go up million beats per minute. She was going to kiss Legolas, and she could hardly believe it would be their first. It seemed like they had been together for so long - and really, they had - and it had never occurred to her that she had not yet kissed him.
She felt he was thinking the same thing, for as overjoyed as he was, he looked nervous and curious at the same time. He smiled reassuringly, and she barely heard the minister give the ceremony finishing command, "You may now kiss your Elven bride."
Without hesitation, their lips met. And it was bliss. Pure bliss. All the things she had imagined it and more. It was the best moment of her life, par none. She knew immediately: nothing would ever be able to compare to this.
A/n: I hope you enjoyed this story in it's entirety. :) Also, the way to say Dylendria is "duh-len-dree-aah". Thanks for reading!