Revelations by Númenora

Rating: M

Disclaimers and summary: See Chapter One

Warnings: Slash (M/M). This story is slightly AU overall and very AU this chapter—so there will be many, many liberties taken. This chapter is un-betaed, all mistakes are mine.

A/N: Remember, Aragorn will be 55 at the time of his coronation (see part one A/N). Also, according to tradition, Yule was celebrated as the winter solstice by the Germanic pagans on December 21 in the northern hemisphere and June 21 in the southern hemisphere.¹ For this fiction (and my other fic, 'Prince'), Yule will coincide with Christmas (December 25). Also, I apologize ahead of time for my shameless use of flashbacks—they can't be helped!

The title for the Epilogue is named for the title of my favorite Etta James song 'At Last.'

Disclaimers and warnings: See chapter one.

Thoughts and stressed words are in italics

Past conversations denoted by ' '

Part 2: Epilogue "At Last"

December 24, Year 1, FA

Steam from the hot bath filled the bathing chamber and surrounded the lovely elf as he submerged himself up to the chin. He breathed a sigh of contentment as the scent of chamomile soothed his nerves, scattering his frustrations to the four winds. He silently thanked the Valar that he didn't give in to his impulses to commit murder or beg Estel to carry out summary executions on his behalf (though he knew that he wouldn't actually do either). But he could dream!

The cause of his ill mood was indirectly linked to his and Estel's bonding ceremony that would take place tomorrow. While the actual planning of the event went along smoothly under the careful guidance of Elrond, Thranduil, Arwen, Indis and Faramir (who with Elrond, coordinated the traditions of Gondor with those of the Elven traditions of Imladris along with those of Mirkwood), other preparations hadn't been as smooth. There were certain duties that Legolas was expected to attend to prior to marriage and one in particular really tested his patience and good nature—Protocol lessons. Protocol lessons of all things! Bah!

"Calm yourself, Legolas—it is over now," the wood-elf said to himself, allowing the heat from the near-scalding water to soak away his ire. It was almost a losing battle, for every time he remembered the self-important and condescending looks on the faces of the Protocol Ministers, he gritted his teeth. Imagine those smug children trying to instruct him—Thranduil's son—on the etiquette of diplomacy and Affairs of State! Legolas was reared and pratically cut his even, white teeth on such matters hundreds of years before these infants were even a possibility. And Aragorn was no help in this, saying that he understood the elf's predicament, but he also had to undergo the lessons—it would pass. Legolas would simply glare at him before storming away.

But the King had been right; it did pass and he had his lesson today, the whole time imagining all manner of torture he would love to mete out to each and every one of the smug bastards. "Just think of tonight—tonight when I and Estel say our private vows to each other at the stroke of midnight, the first morning of Yule, to commorate our first kiss. The kiss that sealed our futures not so long ago." Legolas smiled at that, for this will be only the beginning—the official ceremony would be the next day at five in the early evening.

The day would start with a wedding breakfast in the Royal private dining room with family and close friends (who were thought of as family); then, any final fittings with the tailors or last minute preparations would take place—Aragorn would most likely be with councilors and Faramir who would be taking care of the business of Gondor while the King spends time with his new husband. Then at noon, the couple will attend a formal luncheon with the Nobility and visiting delegates, emissaries and other heads of State; then finally, the two of them will be allowed a short time to be together alone until it is necessary to get dressed for the bonding that would take place in the Tower Hall where the throne of the King of Gondor sits upon a dais; there at the foot, a small altar will be placed where the black chair of the Steward of Gondor used to sit before the King returned.

The simple altar is comprised of white marble with a flat surface where a single candle will be placed. On either side will be cushions for the couple to kneel upon while Gandalf recites a prayer of special blessing from the Valar on the union as done in elven traditions; after which Aragorn and Legolas will make their pledges to each other and to the people of Gondor (a blending of Mannish and Elvish wedding rites). After this, the candle is lit by both to show the union of their souls; then the couple will be presented to those gathered and to the people of Gondor waiting outside.

After this, the reception will start in the Great Hall of Feasts and at the same time, the people of Minas Tirith will be celebrating all over the White City. "Then," Legolas smiled with glee, "We will say our 'goodnights' and retire to our room and the real celebration will begin!" He and Estel had been making love to each other since the man arrived in Mirkwood unannounced years and years ago, but they had never gone beyond touching, kissing and orally worshipping each other. Tonight all that will change when they would finally and fully claim each other. Neither one could wait.

Estel was thinking along the same lines in his room (which soon would be Legolas' as well). He was half-dressed, having just finished his bath—not taking as long as the elf. He was staring at the marriage bed, imagining what would take place tomorrow night when they were alone. "It is finally going to happen, Mela—we will be bonded at last."

Aragorn felt a pang of regret when he thought about how long this was in coming; Legolas was thinking of this, too. They could have been married long ago, but that never happened and Estel knew that this was his fault alone, though Gandalf and Elrond would disagree—citing prophecy.

Flashback:

September 28, TA 2951

Lord Elrond and the rest of Estel's family, including Glorfindel and Erestor, had been in Mirkwood for nearly three weeks and the betrothal celebration was all planned. It would take place to coincide with the Yule festivities and invitations to Lórien and to some of the Dúnedain Rangers (Gilraen as well) who were especially close to Estel had been sent out.

Estel and Lord Elrond were awkward with each other at first—son, because of his behavior towards his father and the hurt he still felt and Ada, because he still worried that he could lose his youngest. After a while, however, they got past their discomfiture going off together at Legolas' suggestion and where they talked through everything, becoming close again. Estel seemed to have matured in Elrond's eyes and the Lord began to feel a bittersweet pang to realize that, in a way, he had lost Estel the boy, but he looked forwards to getting to know Estel—Aragorn—the man.

Everything was perfect as far as the adan was concerned except with King Thranduil; although the elf had given his permission for him to bond with Legolas, the elf Ruler made it hard for Estel. Everything that the dúnadan said or did was under scrutiny—at least it seemed so to him. So he decided to try and make Legolas' father like him or at least be tolerant of him. He didn't know that King Thranduil was deliberately trying to keep the man on edge, telling himself that he wouldn't make things too easy since he had to give up his child. Estel would have to work hard and suffer a bit more before he can claim Legolas.

The Prince figured out what his adar was doing and warned the future King not to worry too much, that his father would stop eventually. Estel wasn't so sure, intimidated by the imposing figure of the Sindar. He should have listened to Legolas for he made a decision that would affect both their futures in his attempt to change Thranduil's opinion of him.

It was two weeks prior to Yule and the betrothal festivities. Most of the guests had arrived, including the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood and Estel's birth mother, Gilraen (who adored Legolas on sight) and all were gathered in the huge formal Dining Hall talking and getting acquainted. Lady Gilraen and Halbarad were getting to know Legolas; Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn and Gandalf were conversing on future matters indirectly tied to Estel; Elrond's children (excluding Estel) and Thranduil's children (excluding Legolas) were talking animatedly about past times together; and Estel, Erestor and Glorfindel were talking—mostly about how he was fairing and about when he planned to come home and resume his training.

Much to the man's misfortune, King Thranduil decided that he'd rather join the Balrog Slayer and Elrond's Seneschal and him. Estel was feeling as he did the morning after his arrival in Mirkwood—fidgeting much in the same manner. Even if the King wasn't scowling at him this time, he felt ill at ease—convinced of the elf's disapproval although he smiled benevolently during this interlude before the evening meal.

The mortal had been half listening to Glorfindel as he surreptitiously glance to his future adar-in-law talking about him and Legolas' bonding with Erestor.

The elf was telling the Mirkwood Monarch about how special he always thought the man was; even as a small boy. Thranduil seemed unimpressed, though inside, he actually was; especially when he heard the different tales of the boy's accomplishments—Erestor even related the story of how Estel won Legolas' heart with the mistletoe. Though the King had heard about it from his son, he was secretly impressed with how it all happened.

But Estel interpreted the Sindar's look as one of derision and hurried to explain how it all truly was; how he and Legolas were destined to be together.

King Thranduil responded by saying, "Yes...this is exactly what I had envisioned for my Greenleaf—to be bonded to a mortal with no title and no home of his own."

"That will not always be so, Your Majesty; someday Legolas with be the Consort of a King and rule Gondor with me." Estel said with a certainty that he was far from feeling.

"Someday? That is so comforting! In the meantime, I suppose that the two of you will dwell here or Imladris or perhaps you will make your home wandering aimlessly until you acquire this kingdom of yours?" Thranduil knew that he shouldn't have been so sarcastic, but his sadness at losing his ion to this man and to mortality came unbidden, making him harsh.

"I swear to you that I will do right by Legolas; in fact, I make a promise to you that when Legolas and I wed, he will be the Royal Consort of Gondor's King—to me." The room fell into a hush as the Imladrian made this declaration, his voice rising above the den in the room.

Even if his voice had not traveled, every elf, as well as the mortals standing nearby, would have been able to hear him as he spoke with conviction—especially Legolas, who looked at him in astonishment. When Estel met the cerulean gaze of his beloved, he knew that he'd gone too far, the hurt clearly visible on the lovely face.

King Thranduil was also contrite for his part in the situation, but nothing could be done for it; he would not ask the man change his mind, nor did he expect that Estel would take back what he said. There would be no bonding until Gondor had her promised King; and that wouldn't happen until Sauron was destroyed.

The dinner that evening was strained between Legolas, his adar and Estel. Everyone else seemed to fare better for the most part, but they were all aware that the relationship between the man and the Prince had changed. Only Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel knew that this was all part of the prophecy that was foretold of the coming of the King.

If Estel and Legolas married now, then there was a very good chance that Middle-earth would perish—for Estel would have his heart's desire in Legolas. Having to wait, the man would be motivated to embrace his heritage. The Elders understood this, but Legolas did not and he made his feelings about this known—not with words, but with chilled silence.

In the days following, Legolas rebuffed any attempts by Estel to speak with him about what happened. He would sit silently at meals talking only to his siblings, Gandalf or the other guests, politely refusing to reconsider his attitude towards his betrothed if someone suggested it. The only people that he didn't speak to in depth were Thranduil (who he also blamed for his part) and Estel—giving clipped or one-word responses (or none) when spoken to by them.

He wasn't disrespectful to his father—or Estel, for that matter—but he remained aloof.

Estel was worried that he was losing Legolas, so he went to find the Prince two days before Yule, unable to take the rift that stood between him and the wood-elf. The blond was on the Archery range despite the falling snow and the man stood for a long time just watching the elf shoot arrow after arrow into a target—never once missing the bulls-eye. He was always amazed by Legolas' skill and today was no exception.

After about twenty minutes, Legolas spoke. "You're not dressed warmly enough for this weather. If you are not careful, you will become ill, Mela."

"Legolas? You spoke to me...I...I don't understand." Estel walked over to his Prince.

"I only spoke to you because I know that if I did not, you would stand there and catch your death."

"I am so happy; I thought that you were still angry with me," The mortal said happily.

"I am," The blond said simply. At the unsure look on the dúnadan's face, he elaborated. "Do you understand why I have been so upset with you, Meleth?"

"Yes. It's because we have to wait to marry—that we may never do so if I fail to gain my crown." Contrition was clearly written on every part of Estel.

"That is only part of it, Estel. While I am not happy about having to wait to bond with you, that is not why I have been so distant."

"Then wh...? The Prince forestalled his question with a lift of his hand.

"I was very disappointed and hurt—not by the waiting so much as by you making that decision on your own. It is not only your future, Estel, but mine as well; you should have discussed it with me first, giving me a say in the matter. But you didn't give me the choice and that is why I have been angry."

"Then you still love me—still wish to bond with me no matter how long it takes?" Estel was still uncertain, but hopeful.

"Of course, I love you! I love you more than my own life—that will never change; and I will bond with you however long it takes. But I am still angry—and I wish to remain so for another day or two." Legolas turned away to aim at the target, letting another arrow fly.

"Oh..." Was all the man could think to say to this, so made to leave.

"A'maelamin?" Legolas called to Estel before walking up to him.

"Yes, Beloved?" Instead of answering, the elf gently kissed his future husband on the lips before going back to his shooting.

With a happy, goofy grin, the dúnadan left the archery field, relieved for the first time since his blunder with Legolas' father.

Everything was right with them and their world of love by the night of their betrothal celebration and their families and friends were very happy to see it—especially King Thranduil who made an effort to be supportive of both lovers.

Later that night underneath the giant Mellyn trees in Legolas' naneth's favorite garden, the Prince and Estel kissed under dozens of boughs of mistletoe as the snow fell and dreamed of their future together.

End Flashback

Legolas smiled at the memory as he stepped out of the cooling water, wrapping a fluffy towel about his waist and grabbing another to dry his long hair. He recognized later that that night was one of those visions that he and Estel saw during their first kiss—a kiss that they will be commemorating later on. But now, he and Estel were expected for a pre-dinner get-together with their close friends and family.

As the beautiful blond sat down to his mirror, he began brushing and braiding his hair. After he was satisfied that he looked presentable, he donned his leggings and prepared to put on his undershirt of black—the perfect compliment to the red tunic that he had especially made. Red was one of the colors that Estel loved seeing him in, saying that it went wonderfully with his pale hair and skin.

As he slipped his feet into his black boots, there was a knock at his door. "Please enter," he called out, standing as Estel stepped inside.

He'd barely had time to smile his welcome before being swept into a very passionate kiss, tongue worshipping his own fervently. When the need for air presented itself, the man buried his nose in Legolas' neck kissing the flawless skin there.

"Excuse me, My Lord, but do I know you? Do you have any idea what the King would do to you if he caught you behaving so inappropriately with his intended?" Legolas' voice was breathless.

"He would have me executed, but I feel that it is worth it to taste so lovely a being as you, Pen Velui (Lovely One)." The King was staring lovingly at the elf. "I don't want to share you with our family; I wish to stay here until it is time to say our private vows." He was serious, all teasing aside.

"I feel the same, but the Lady Galadriel and Gandalf said that they had something special to give us; they were most cryptic." The Prince said with a puzzled look.

"They usually are! I don't suppose that they will ever stop being so. Shall we go then?" They linked their arms holding hands at the same time.

"I hope Gimli behaves tonight—he loves upsetting Ada." Legolas couldn't help smiling whenever he remembered the first time his father laid eyes on the dwarf.

Flashback:

October 25, Year 1, FA (Legolas' return)

It took the procession hours to travel through the city as the citizenry greeted the returning Prince and the Elven Delegation. Once they reached the top level and the Citadel, Legolas dismounted (with the help of Elessar who was loath to let go of him). He briefly glanced around before walking over to new Tree of the King, lovingly stroking it; then he kneeled down before lying prostrate and kissed the ground near the root of the thriving Mellyrn tree.

After he righted himself, he was nearly knocked over by the Hobbits, Pippin wrapping himself around the Prince's neck and practically cutting off his air supply. When kisses and hugs had been evenly distributed, he was next welcomed by the Twins, Arwen and Lord Elrond who was very relieved to see the Sindar returned to Estel.

Legolas smiled as Estel's and his family members greeted each other after so long an absence, the Mirkwood elves being introduced to the Shirelings as well. Then there was a hush as a very gruff voice spoke.

"Well, well—look what the wind blew in!" Gimli was standing on the steps leading into the Citadel with his hands balled against his waist, elbows akimbo.

Legolas turned and regarded the scowling dwarf. "Gimli. I thought that I noticed a dark cloud over the city on an otherwise perfect day," the blond rejoined. He was facing his dwarven counterpart with a scowl of his own.

"It is a good thing you showed up when you did for I was prepared to storm Mirkwood and drag you back here by your hair or those pointed little ears, Princeling."

"You and what army?"

"I'm sure that the Dúnedains as well as my kin would have accompanied me, 'though I'd hardly have needed them for the likes of you!" Gimli stated 'heatedly.'

Legolas huffed at this statement. "You truly think an awful lot of yourself, don't you? You must be compensating for something," Looking down on Gimli now as the two stood close.

"Now you just see here! Don't make me take you across my knee, Brat!" Gimli blustered.

"Now that would be a feat for you seeing as how you hardly have a lap!" Legolas threw back.

The whole time this was going on, the King of Mirkwood was staring hard at the dwarf insulting his son; he even grabbed for his sword until Gandalf stayed his hand, smiling asking him to wait.

"Wha...You...I'd like to show you...you..."

"Yes?" Legolas was nose to nose with his friend.

"Brat!" Gimli was fighting hard not to be the first to laugh or give in so Legolas cheated by kissing him on his forehead, instantly melting the Ereborean.

"Takes one to know one. I missed you, too, Mellon-nin." The blond was kneeling, being pulling into a fierce embrace by the dwarf.

Aragorn was looking on fondly, feeling relieved that his world was indeed getting back to normal. But Thranduil and Legolas' siblings and the Silvans from Mirkwood knew nothing of Gimli or the Prince's relationship with the dwarf, so were nonplussed at the scene before them. Things became less awkward as Legolas introduced his family to Gimli, but just. Then the gathered group went into the Citadel where many more people awaited, especially the Nobility and the King's Council and Faramir (Poor Faramir! He didn't know what he was in store for when Elurín and Indis laid eyes upon him).

And in the weeks following, the dwarf and the Monarch of the newly restored Eryn Lasgalen entertained a strained acquaintance, Gimli enjoying himself whenever possible, bringing up his predecessor's troubles in Mirkwood and 'insulting' Legolas in the King's presence.

End Flashback

It was two hours before dinner when the happy couple reached the drawing room near the Formal Dining Hall, family and friends already waiting. Legolas and Aragorn knew that things weren't going to be very smooth when they noticed the dark look on King Thranduil's face. Whatever Gimli had said hadn't sat very well with the elf and neither Legolas nor Estel wanted to know the details; they just knew that it would be best to change the subject, whatever it was.

"Sorry we're late, but you know how my Beloved loves to lollygag in his bath!" Legolas smacked his hand for that quip, though it was the truth.

"I wasn't the only one lollygagging, Mela. But, I do apologize for our tardiness."

"Your Majesty, Your Highness," Faramir said excitedly (or was it in panic), then quieter near Aragorn's ear, "Thank Elbereth you are here!" Looking over his shoulder towards Elurín and Indis.

Aragorn stifled a chuckle when he noticed the desperate look in his Steward's eyes. "My poor Faramir; are my in-laws giving you grief? And what of the fair Éowyn?"

"She is not much better—all of them treating me as if I were the last food in Middle-earth and they are all starving." The red-head rubbed his forehead.

"Come, my good Faramir, let us go speak with the Lord and Lady of Lórien and Mithrandir—they have something to tell Legolas and me." The King patted his shoulder in support while Legolas smiled.

King Thranduil had joined Elrond, Gandalf, Celeborn and Galadriel putting a room's distance between himself and Gimli. He embraced Legolas as he came to stand beside him.

"Good evening, Adar; did you enjoy your ride today?"

"I did, Ion-nin. You should have joined me—the snow was quite exhilarating." He kissed the Prince at the temple. "Why the sour look, Greenleaf?"

Legolas was frowning darkly. "Protocol lessons! Do you know that those...those...sons of orcs not only felt that I needed instruction on court etiquette, but how not to embarrass Gondor in everyday situations—as if I would do such a thing?"

"Would you like for me to throw them in the dungeons, A'maelamin?" Aragorn said teasingly.

"Yes! For the rest of their days." Everyone laughed at that. "Forgive me my ill mood on the subject, but it is a sore one for me. My Lady, what was it that you and Gandalf wished to speak with us about?" Legolas looked inquiringly at golden Noldo.

"Actually, it something that we as well as Lord Elrond wish to do for you; but it will depend upon you, Prince Legolas." She said enigmatically, Gandalf and Elrond mirroring her.

Estel and the blond stared at each other perplexed. "We don't understand." The King said.

"You will—tomorrow. But until then, let's just say that your futures as well as Gondor's will be quite bright." The beautiful she-elf smile beatifically.

Everyone seem excited about the upcoming wedding and Arwen and Indis, who had joined Estel and Legolas (and Faramir), discussed last minute plans with them until the dinner gong sounded, everyone holding back as the small Hobbits made for the door.

King Éomer stopped briefly to speak with the Royal Couple, his sister on his arm. She was not pleased by Legolas' siblings monopolizing Faramir. Soon, however, all exited the drawing room, Elladan flanking Éomer's other side, whispering into his ear, making the Monarch blush and grin secretly. Éowyn rolled her eyes, muttering something about pretty elves being the bain of her existence.

The dinner was a festive affair with dancing afterwards as a band played. There were even fireworks curtesy of the White Wizard to everyone's delight, especially the Hobbits, Sam remembering fondly Rosie Cotton back in the Shire.

As the evening wore on, Legolas and King Elessar said their goodnights and the two of them retired to the King's sitting room to wait until it was time to go to the Royal Garden just before Midnight.

As Legolas stood on the balcony, Aragorn wrapped the two of them inside a warm throw, his arms around the wood-elf standing cheek to cheek. "You are very quiet, Beloved." Aragorn pulled him closer.

"I know. I am just thinking about tonight and tomorrow—It seems a dream." Legolas said, his breath visible in the frigid weather.

"A beautiful dream for my beautiful intended." The dúnadan could barely wait, the bonding a long time coming.

Legolas was excited too, but he was also thinking about what Galadriel said to him as he stood alone watching the rockets flare, Aragorn had been pulled away for a brief time. She walked over to him so quietly, he didn't notice her. Of course it was quite noisy with the excited crowd and fireworks, but it would have been the same without that.

'Your sacrifice will not go unrewarded, Young One—if you are still planning to go through with it.' Legolas looked at her glowing face and said without hesitating, 'I am, Lady Galadriel. He and I were meant for each other and I can't imagine going on after he has gone. He tried to make me reconsider long ago, but now he realizes that I will not. It saddens him, but he understands.' 'Then I and the others have guessed correctly and it will be done.' As she walked away, the Prince tried to get her to explain further, but smiled mysteriously and went to join her husband.

"Are you cold, Estel? We should go inside, you will be out in the snow soon enough." He turned to regard the man, wrapping his arms around him to share his warmth.

"Alright—we can sit by the fire and practice."

"Our vows?" Legolas asked.

"The kissing for after our vows tonight and tomorrow," The man said raising his brows up and down, sporting a wolfish grin.

"What am I to do with you!" The Prince's laughter was joyous.

"Marry me?"

"Everyday for the rest of our lives." He cupped the mortal's face in his hands before kissing him sweetly. Then they went inside to sit by the fire.

Just before Midnight...

The Yule lanterns glowed brightly reflecting off the snow, luscious boughs of mistletoe hanging everywhere in the beautiful garden beneath the evergreens. All of this was just a backdrop to the beautiful couple that stood staring in each other's eyes with great love and devotion.

"Are you ready, Mela?" Legolas asked the man before him.

"I am. Should I start?" At the Sindar's nod, he cleared his throat a little nervously. "I don't know what I did to deserve someone so special and as wonderful as you are; I only know that from the moment I first set eyes upon you, my heart soared. Being as young as I was, I didn't truly understand it mentally, but I believe that my soul knew you and it still does. I can not imagine my life without you and I thank you for loving me and standing by me for so long—in spite of my many faults and failings. I shall love you until the day that I die, Legolas, and beyond."

"Oh, Estel—I have never considered anything that you have done as a failing and as for your faults, they are a part of you and I love them as much as I love you; how can I not? I was always drawn to you from the beginning and I felt so flattered and touched that you as a small boy was so enamored of me; but when I nearly lost you that Yule, I had to do something to show you that I did care for you. That's when it all started for me and I kissed you; I saw the man you would become and I loved you with all my heart. I can't imagine that ever changing, for my life is with you and I will love you until time itself stops and this life and the next is no more." Tears were streaming from both males eyes and though the official ceremony was later that day, they felt in their hearts that they were already wed and they kissed tenderly.

The bells began, and from somewhere and everywhere, music and singing began, ushering in the first day of Yule and the happy pair began to dance.

December 25, the next day...

Aragorn and Legolas couldn't stop grinning at each other. It has been that way since they said their vows the night before; after they took their leave of each other (which was very hard indeed), they went to separate chambers alone, knowing that it would be for the last time. Neither the King nor the Prince got much sleep, their heads so full of the other and their bonding ceremony that was only a few hours away.

"What are you thinking, Estel?" Legolas carded his fingers through the dark wavy hair at the nape of the King's neck. They were sitting in the common room in the Royal Family wing.

"I can barely think when you touch me!" He kissed the elf sweetly then said, "I am thinking that at any moment, my brothers will be coming to whisk me off to get dressed and yours will probably be doing the same."

"And Adar as well. I just hope Gimli keeps his promise to be nice today; it will be hard enough for my father to escort me and hand me over to you."

"I know. He stands to lose you—in more than one way." Estel looked truly sad as he said this, kissing Legolas' hands.

"Don't be sad, Meleth-nin. This is a day of celebration—it is meant to be this way." He kissed the man's forehead as he spoke.

"Is it truly? It is not too late to change your mind." The King was almost desperate.

"Don't you want to marry me?" The Prince asked in a teasing manner.

Estel was serious when he answered. "That's not what I mean and you know that," He sounded miserable.

"Yes, I know. Would you rather that I fade from my grief when you are gone? I would you know—it is a painfully sad death for an elf."

"I'd hope that you would take the ship to Valinor where you wouldn't grieve." The dúnadan tried one last time.

"That is not my fate; besides the Lady Galadriel said that my sacrifice will not go unrewarded—I don't understand what she meant, but it is very important to her, Gandalf and your ada. Now, give me one of your crookedly handsome smiles I so love."

As he gave the Prince one, he started to feel a little better. Just then his brothers and Elrond came for him. A short time after, Legolas' brothers came for him as well, meeting him half way to his quarters.

Later that Afternoon...

Arwen was so proud of Estel—not only as a King—but as the good and kind person that he'd become. She wished that his mother could have lived to see this day. The last time that Arwen had spoken to Gilraen, she told Arwen that she wouldn't be around for the bonding, but that she had foreseen what would come to pass through a vision; that she knew that Aragorn would be a fine King and that Legolas would be by his side and the two would secure the future of Gondor and the Reunited Kingdoms.

The last was said enigmatically, but Lady Arwen didn't think any more about it until recently whenever she would catch little bits of conversation between her father, Gandalf and her grandmother—most peculiar.

But enough wool-gathering! She was here to check that her brothers were ready just as Indis was seeing to hers. She knocked briefly on the door of the antechamber and was admitted by one of the Rangers from the North who would be escorting King Elessar to the Throne Room. Next, at the answer to her knock on the bedroom door, she entered with a teasing note in her voice, "Legolas will never forgive you if..." What she had been meaning to say stilled upon her tongue at the sight before her.

Estel was standing before the mirror as his winged-crown of gold and mithril was being placed upon his dark head; his hair longer than during the war and worn in the Noldo style of his adar and brothers. Arwen had thought that the man was quite handsome at his coronation, but today he was positively breath-taking in black. He wore a long tunic of black suede that fell well below his knees over black pants, tucked in high-polished black boots. The tunic had a high rounded collar with V at the neck and long sleeves; the collar and cuffs were trimmed in black and white candy-striped piping of silk. Underneath the tunic, was a snow-white silk shirt that showed at the V and through the sleeves that had slash vents on the on either side of the arms. On the right breast was the emblem of the White Tree of Kings and on the left over his heart was a simple emblem of a sprig of mistletoe.

Where was the little boy that she and her father raised? In his place stood a very handsome and confident High King of Gondor and Arnor preparing to bind himself to the love of his life. There was a definite tug on her heart strings and as she glanced over at Lord Elrond, she was sure that the same feelings that went through her, were affecting him as well.

"Oh Estel—you are beautiful!" Tears were welling in her eyes as she said this and Aragorn walked over to her and took her hands in his; he didn't want tears, for he himself were close to shedding them, so he resolved to lighten her mood, "How many times must I tell you and Legolas that I am the ruggedly handsome one and he is the beautiful one!" He grinned that little boy grin that he always used on her to get something he wanted (whether a treat or his way) and it never failed to work—he got her to smile and he wiped away the tears.

"Well, we had better get going or your beautiful Legolas will be most perturbed at having the ceremony delayed!" She cupped his face and kissed both cheeks before stepping back to let Elrohir place the sleeveless robe on his shoulders, the lovely sapphire and mithril locket gleaming against the white shirt.

After exiting the rooms, the group began their long trek from the King's House with Turgon (now Chieftain with the passing of Halbarad) at the front, followed closely by two other high-ranking Dúnedain Rangers carrying standards—one of Númenor and one of Gondor; next were Lord Elrond with Arwen on his arm as the King's 'parents;' then came the King himself, followed by his brothers Elladan and Elrohir who were acting as protectors since he would not be bearing arms this day—Elladan carried Andúril (in the King's stead) along with a long knife and Elrohir, his bow and a standard reflecting Rivendell, the King's first home. Following behind them, were four more rangers bringing up the rear.

When they reached the foyer leading to the Throne Room where the many guests awaited, they were met by Faramir who ordered the doors thrown open and at his nod, trumpeters blew their horns briefly and the Steward's voice rang out, "Here ye, o citizens and friends of Gondor—King Elessar Telcontar walks among you! Today is a day of great rejoicing and celebration; for he is to be wedded to our beloved Prince Legolas of Greenwood the Great and Minas Tirith, hero of the Great War of the Ring!" The procession followed Faramir down the long aisle leading to the altar where the White Wizard stood.

Legolas and his entourage left his chambers at the appointed time, about ten minutes after the Aragorn's. The Elven Prince was a vision in cream and green—the colors reminiscent of mistletoe which was his request for his wedding attire. His garb was similar to Estel's, except his was made of raw silk and more elvish in style; the tunic itself was cream and it fell nearly to his ankles over cream leggings and soft cream-colored boots. It had a wide belted sash of green, inlaid with cream thread embroidered in stylized mistletoe leaves and berries. The outfit was covered by a light robe in the same green. On the front of the tunic was an emblem of the White Tree on the right and like Estel's, a sprig of mistletoe (their flower) over his heart, each trimmed in green.

Legolas had also allowed his hair to grow longer and it fell in pale-gold tresses down his back to the waist; his warrior braids were as always, at his temples, but they were joined by several more that lay on either side of the widow's peak and one more between these and the ones at the temple and all were gathered at the back of his head to join the hair cascading down the beauty's back. And finally, upon his head, he wore a beautifully wrought crown designed by him and cast by Gimli. It was made of gold and mithril like the King's, but it's deceptively simple design was quite exquisite like the Prince himself. It was a swirl of elm limbs and branches intertwined; and interspersed among the branches were their beloved mistletoe with tiny mithril leaves and gold berries.

The sight of him made his family very proud and like Arwen, they fought to keep tears at bay. Legolas' entourage was comprised of elves from former Mirkwood, his family and Guards of the Citadel representing Gondor, the wood-elf's new home and his friend Gimli the dwarf Lord. The two guards (one carrying the flag bearing the White Tree) were preceded by Fingolfin (the elf who often acted as the Prince's body guard at home) who carried the standard bearing the colors of Eryn Lasgalen. They were followed by Oropher, Legolas' eldest brother and Indis, the next oldest child; behind them came Legolas and his father who stood at his side in the tradition of the Silvans; following them, came Elurín and Gimli, flanked by Thranduil's personal guards bearing bows, longknives and swords. Finally, a group of eight (four elves and four elleths) trailed all, singing a beautiful, ancient song of love.

When they reached Faramir who had returned to await the Prince, he announced Legolas in a similar manner as was Aragorn. The gathered guests had exclaimed excitedly when the King entered, his handsome visage and regal bearing awe-inspiring; they were also quite taken with the beauty of his Elven family. But all were beyond words when the Prince's escorts entered; these elves were beautiful as well—especially the Royal family. But Legolas himself was unmatched; not even Arwen who is considered the most beautiful she-elf since Luthien could match the future Royal Consort of Gondor. If any being there had been polled as to their opinion on the subject, the majority would have agreed that Legolas was the epitome of beauty; be it male or female of any race in all of Arda.

The room seemed entranced, no one more so than the man waiting with his family at the foot of the dais. The smile alighting his face was beyond happy and the one upon his Sindarin groom's face was just as joyous—they had eyes for no others.

The ceremony was a simple one; when the Prince arrived at the altar, he kissed his adar and turned to Aragorn. After first Aragorn and then he pledged to serve each other as they serve Gondor, they kneeled on the cushions, facing one another clasping hands. Gandalf asked that the couple's family hold hands as they encircled the pair.

The Istari held his hands high, speaking in ancient Quenya, "Oh bless the joining of Elessar Telcontar and Legolas Thranduilion; grant them a marriage of love and happiness and bless their union with new life." As he finished, Estel and the Prince looked at each other with puzzled expressions at the last part of his statement, but had no time to ponder as Gandalf repeated this blessing in Westron, changing the last part to "Long life." Perhaps the Maia misspoke?

As he finished, they stood and was given two small lit tapers to use to light the large candle on the top of the marble altar. Once this was done, the two moved to the front of the gathered mass, smiling as they continued to gaze in each other's eyes.

"My dear friends—I give you His Majesty, King Elessar and his Royal Consort, Prince Legolas Telcontar!" Gandalf's voice boomed.

As the room erupted with rejoicing, a lovely auburn-haired girl of about six walked carefully to the front where the couple stood. As she stood before the two, she curtsied, trying desperately to balance a silver-domed tray.

Legolas smiled at her a bit confused for they hadn't practice this part during the many rehearsals their sisters insisted upon. When he looked to his new husband, the man smiled secretly, then he thanked the child, lifted the cover and handed the top to Gimli who smirked. When the Prince saw what was there, he placed his hand over his heart, tears threatening.

Estel lifted up with great reverence, a perfect bough of mistletoe—as perfect as the one long ago. He placed it above his husband's lovely head and bent to kiss Legolas' perfect lips. It was the second sweetest kiss in the history of kisses; second only because, where their first had the top distinction due to its chasteness, this one was laced with a deep passion born of their love. This kiss was the most beautiful of kisses ever witnessed by the many guests, family and friends present.

When breathing became an issue, they parted reluctantly, the little girl gaping until her mother came to usher her away. Estel and Legolas stood as their families embraced them, before they walked back out of the hall and outside to briefly greet the people standing in the snow around the Great Court of the Fountain. The people were a cross-section of the population of the Minas Tirith due to a lottery that was held where all had the opportunity to be present when the Royal Couple made their appearance after the wedding.

In the coming week, the couple will arrive on the steps everyday for a week for a few minutes (the inclimate weather not good for the mortal population) so that others who were lucky enough to draw winning lots can see them. After this duty, the pair would be free to be alone.

After the cheers died down and King Elessar and Legolas said a few words of thanks, they went back inside and was met by their families and then made their way the Great Hall of Feasts for the wedding banquet where an evening of receiving lines, gifts, well-wishing and dancing would take place.

Later that evening in the King and Consort's bedroom…

Legolas stood before the mirror in the bathing chamber; he had been in the room for nearly an hour. After leaving the wedding feast where they (especially the Prince) danced nearly every dance either with each other or the guests, he felt that he needed to freshen up. It had been a glorious night; the only part not so enjoyable, was the endless receiving line. It was bearable only because Aragorn was beside him, holding his hand or holding him around his waist, close to the mortal's body.

Legolas smirked briefly as he thought of Lord Belecthor (Chief Minister of Protocol), knowing that the man must be scandalized seeing King and Consort so familiar with each other in full view of the public; but he didn't care. He was very happy. He was also truly grateful that Gimli and King Thranduil had been getting along; mostly because they stayed away from each other—the dwarf spending the majority of his time with Lady Galadriel and the King, with Lords Elrond and Erestor (who arrived the day before). He and Aragorn were very pleased to see Faramir enjoying himself finally; the Steward informing them that he was going to stop fighting and let his admirers court him to their hearts content and he would make a decision concerning which he preferred later—or he would not.

Then, the feasting began and afterwards the gift-giving from the guests; the Prince and his husband were delighted by the wide variety of gifts—not for their actual costs, but for their intrinsic value, coming from foreign realms. Legolas truly appreciated the gifts of live plants from the elves of all three realms and Estel was touched by the specially designed metalwork items gifted to them by Gimli and the company of dwarves. The entire evening was magical, but the King and Consort were eager to be alone, so as soon as it was appropriate, they said their goodnights and retired to Aragorn's (and now Legolas') chambers. Right after they entered, nerves hit and the Prince made his excuse, citing the need to bathe.

Aragorn didn't agree, for Legolas could spend hours in the sun and still smell as fresh as a spring morning; but he didn't comment, smiling at his beloved as he closed the door. The King felt that they both needed a moment before they consummated their long awaited union.

This is why Legolas was still inside staring at his reflection—he was nervous. "What is wrong with you? You have been waiting for this for 35 years—to finally be with Estel." Taking a deep breath and tying his sash more securely, he squared his shoulders and walked into the bed chamber. Aragorn was sitting on the edge of the bed and jumped up anxiously when the door opened and the Prince came out. When the blond saw him, he was relieved that it wasn't just him—his husband was as nervous as he.

Aragorn's heart was racing; at first, it was because their moment had arrived, but when he saw the Prince standing before him, he became completely entranced. Unbeknownst to him, Legolas felt the same about him. After seeing each other all day in elaborate and regal clothing (as stunning a couple as they made) this was how they loved seeing each other most—in simple garb or near nothing at all, wearing only robes.

They slowly made their way to each other, clasping one hand and touching one another's faces with their other hand. Just as he was the day of his return and during the evenings, the Prince's hair was loose and unbraided. Aragorn knew that it wasn't right, but he loved seeing the blond tresses free-flowing and the length that it was now; he wanted to (and did) run his hands all the way through the silky strands.

All they needed was to touch and all apprehension fell away, lips meeting at first gently and then with much passion. The candlelight and the light from the fire, bathed the room in a romantic glow. "Oh, Mela; is this real? Are we finally wed—bonded for all time?" The King felt like he was in a wonderful dream that he never wanted to awake from.

"Very real, my Love; I am your husband and you are mine. We are wedded to each other at last—forever," Legolas kissed him to punctuate this, "And ever," Kiss, "And ever!" The man buried his hands in the silky hair again and deepened the kiss more, taking the elf's breath away.

"I want you now, Love. I want to be inside of you and I want you in me," His lips nibbled the pale, fragrant neck, Legolas bearing it further. As Estel continued to ravish his husband, he untied the sash to his robe, pushing it off the finely toned shoulders, the light fabric pooling at the Prince's feet. Elessar stepped back to take in the sight before him, "I never tire of seeing you like this; you. Are. Exquisite!"

The wood-elf allowed the man to look his fill before he then removed Aragorn's robe. "I feel the same; never wearying of beholding you in naught but your skin." Serious all of a sudden, Legolas pulled the dúnadan close, "I want you, too—let us go to bed!"

They ran like children, jumping on the huge four-post bed, coming together in a heated kiss. They knew each other intimately—what the other liked and how to make the other purr like kittens. Legolas carded his fingers across the man's hairy chest, tweaking his nipples as Estel nibbled the elf's ear, licking and chewing on the point. The Consort growled lowly in his throat as Aragorn went from ear to ear driving the beauty crazy with lust.

Legolas pushed the man down roughly, straddling him while gazing down at him with a wildly wicked grin on his lovely face, running his tongue along his lovely lips hungrily. "What shall I taste first, hum? Maybe these?" He tweaked the man's swollen nubs again, "Or this?" The navel, "or…" He ran his forefinger along the King's hard shaft, encircling the large head. Aragorn nearly came from the sight of his Prince licking his essence from that pale digit.

"Ummm…very, very tasty, my Love; I must have more!" The blond ran his tongue along his husband's length, up and down as it lay against the hirsute abdomen making the man growl this time.

"That feels so good, A'maelamin." The dúnadan lightly caressed the elf's head, the soft hair covering the elf's face, pooling around Estel's lower body. His breath hitched as the questing mouth took the tumescence into his mouth, swallowing him half way before pulling back to encircle the head, gathering more of the nectar there before taking his thickness entirely down his throat.

Pale hands touched the man's tanned frame everywhere they could reach. Releasing the swollen flesh, Legolas began suckling the dangling orbs pooled at the juncture between Estel's legs. He adored his mate's taste—his mate! How he loved the sound of that.

Aragorn lower region rejoiced in the sensations his beloved was creating with his very talented mouth. "I am so blessed to have you in my life, Legolas," His voice hitched as he spoke causing the elf to stop his ministrations.

"Estel? Oh, Meleth; I am blessed to have, too." The blond lay atop the adan kissing him both passionately and tenderly at the same time. They kissed for quite some time until the need to be joined (finally) hit them.

Aragorn turned over until Legolas was beneath him, leaning on his elbows to keep from crushing the lighter framed being. He kissed the Prince briefly before taking one rosy peak sitting atop the elf's pale breast into his mouth, nursing it for what seemed forever before treating the other in the same manner.

Legolas always became very vocal whenever the man nibbled his flesh, spurring him to double his efforts which made the beauty shriek louder. The only action that made him scream louder was when Aragorn took his slender column into that warm mouth, bringing him to the point of release before backing off, only to do so again and again.

"Farn, Estel! Garo nin!" (Enough, Estel! Take me!)

Taking one last plunge down the sweet flesh, the King obeyed and reached over to the stand next to the huge bed and retrieved the small jar of oil that he secreted there. He passed the jar to his Prince, then he parted the slender legs, draping one limb over his shoulder and laying the other to the side, bent at the knee. Aragorn parted his lover's nether cheeks and ran an oiled finger along the crevice back and forth, finally stopping at his puckered entrance where he circled the small opening before pushing carefully to gain entrance.

Though neither of them had ever been fully taken, they had in the past touched the other here, giving the other pleasure. Aragorn knew from experience how tight the elf was, so he was very mindful not to rush in his preparations. When one digit went in easily, he added a second finger, scissoring the opening to stretch it so that a third could be added ere he himself could fill his love.

Legolas panted with anticipation as Estel continued to ready his opening for the man's considerable girth. When those gifted digits touched his pleasure spot, the Sindar's back came off the bed, pushing himself fully onto the questing fingers and shrieking his pleasure simultaneously.

Estel chuckled at his passionate lover and kissed the inside of his bow-shaped leg before removing his fingers. Taking the other leg, he draped it over his other shoulder, then moved closer to the Prince who began to coat the former ranger with oil as they kissed. With the jar safely on the nightstand, the mortal placed his hardness at the virgin portal of his husband; staring into his mate's blue gaze, Aragorn silently asked permission before breaching the tight channel.

Legolas inhaled sharply at the brief pain—his guardian ring resisting the large head as it pressed through. Aragorn halted, "Legolas, I'm so sorry—I did not mean to hurt you!" He waited to give the wood-elf time to adjust, ready abandon the act if Legolas changes his mind.

"No, no, my Love; the pain was brief. I just need a moment." Estel kissed his forehead and then his eyelids before taking the beautiful lips again, stroking the elf's tumescence to help ease the pain and relax him. I am ready now; please join with me—I want to know you this way."

The dúnadan began to push inside him again, carefully backing off before going in further until, finally seating himself fully. The man felt huge to Legolas and as the two lay chest to chest, arms encircling. The Prince could feel the tremendous effort it took for his husband to stay still, giving him the time to adjust to the man's size and he loved him for his care as in all things.

"I am ready for you—please love me, A'maelamin." Legolas threaded his fingers in the dark wavy hair, caressing the King's skull before kissing him.

Aragorn began to move inside his lover, gently at first, then gaining momentum, the elf meeting him thrust for thrust. Pleasure assailed both males, neither having felt this level of delight before—Estel, the tremendous tightness of his lover's grasping body and Legolas, as the man hit that tight bundle of nerves over and over inside his secret cavity.

The blond froze and soon he screamed his release, his seed splattering his chest as it spilled between his and his husband's bodies. As Legolas came, his spasming channel tightly squeezed Estel's pounding tumescence, causing the dúnadan to scream his climax inside his lover, filling him with his warmth.

As their breathing became normal, they kissed tenderly, Aragorn still cradled between the smooth, slender legs of his Prince Consort. "I love you so much, Beloved; I never thought that I could love you more, but everyday, you surprised me and I do. How can this be so?"

"Perhaps, you are being influenced by the great love you inspire in me—a love that grows by leaps and bounds every day that passes." They kissed again and then lay with their foreheads touching. The Prince Consort spoke first. "That was most wonderful—do you think we could do that once more?" His beautiful lips smiled beguilingly.

Aragorn looked at the Prince with a false put-upon look from his youth. "Again? Must I?" At the stern 'instructor's' look Legolas used to give him during archery lessons long ago, he said. "If I must then I must!" They both laughed joyously then kissed, their passion reigniting.

They made love again with Aragorn inside of Legolas and then once with the Prince taking the King. They were insatiable, their Elven blood fueling their passion.

As Legolas and Estel came for what seemed the thousandth time, the man and elf fell asleep in each other's arms, a warm blanket covering to keep the chill at bay.

The guards in the hall outside the Royal chamber felt nothing amiss as they fell asleep, never noticing the three ancients coming towards them. Neither they nor their Royal charges were in danger for a protecting spell was cast as Gandalf, Lady Galadriel and Lord Elrond entered the antechamber of the King and Consort. The room was illuminated by the warm fire glowing in the fireplace and several candles that were lit by the three immortals.

The fine hearing of all ascertained that the newly bonded pair was asleep. Galadriel knew Legolas' mind, having spoken with him earlier, seeing into his heart. Tonight was the night of his great sacrifice and the night of the lovers' great reward.

"Shall we begin?" The Lady said, her voice barely above a whisper but clearly heard by her companions. "As the power of the Rings of the Elven Kings fashioned by Celebrimbor's hand wane, let us use what remains to further serve Middle-earth," Smiling beautifully, she added, "And to thank our beloved sons who have given much to save this world from an Evil that survived for much too long."

With that, the Rings that had remained hidden for so long, were displayed: Narya, the Ring of Fire, worn first by Círdan and now by Gandalf sparkled hotly upon his finger; Vilya, the Ring of Air, borne by Gil-galad who passed it on to Elrond flashed in response to the Maia's; and finally Nenya, the Ring of Water, sat upon Galadriel's pale finger, glowing beautifully, though with less brilliance as before the destruction of the One. Had Sauron himself ever touched these jewels, the gathered three would never have considered using them, but they were wrought by Celebrimbor alone, having hidden them from the Evil Lord.²

Galadriel placed her hand above Gandalf's and Elrond's hand hovered above hers and they each uttered words in ancient Quenya, a soft chant calling upon the Valar for a blessing on what they were attempting. As the words came to a close, the three stood perfectly still, waiting for Legolas.

The Prince stood on the shore looking across the sea, waiting for the longing to assail him. When the call never came, he smiled gratefully before turning away from the lovely sight of the Grey Havens and turning towards the different, but just as lovely sight of the White City where his heart's desire dwelled.

As if he'd sprouted wings, he felt himself soar over plains until at last he stood next to the man who owned his heart, his beautiful blue-green eyes filled with love. 'We are one, Coramin—forever.' Legolas said this as he kissed the man tenderly.

Aragorn felt his husband stir next to him, his head on the Prince's chest. When he heard the elf's breathing become erratic, he woke from a pleasant dream where they were standing on their balcony, Legolas declaring his love for the man. He touched the pale cheek of his beautiful love, but became frightened when he felt it's chill. "Legolas? Legolas, Beloved—please wake up!"

When the elf moaned softly, he calmed slightly; but then, his heart raced at what he saw. The wood elf was glowing brightly—much brighter than normal. He was so bright, Estel had to turn away, so blinding was his essence. But his Prince—his lover—was so cold that the King pulled him close trying to warm him. "Please wake up...please."

At the anxious plea, Legolas abandoned his dreams; awaking to the tremendous cold and his crying husband. "A'maelamin—please do not weep. I am well."

"But you are so cold, Legolas." Aragorn's eyes became wide in alarm. "It has started, has it not? The light of the Eldar is leaving you! It is too soon, A'maelamin...No, please, no."

"It is as it should be." The blond touched the dúnadan's bearded cheek before pulling him close. As their lips touched, the light surrounded the man, too, becoming a part of him.

They continued to kiss, the mortal sharing his warmth and the wood-elf his immortality—for a short time, Estel knew what it was to be immortal, his Elven blood singing in joy as his soul called out to the Prince's. They were one and were able to hear each other's thoughts and then it began to fade; but not before a part of the man melded with Legolas and a part of the Sindar melded with Aragorn.

As the two fell asleep again, the light of the Eldar left them, hovering and simmering above before flying out beneath the door into the antechamber of the Royal suite.

The Immortals were praying again—invoking the remaining power of the Elven Rings. As the Rings shimmered and glowed, the Light that was part of the Sindarin Prince (and the King) surrounded the hands of Elrond, Gandalf and Galadriel, becoming one with power dwelling in the jewels.

Galadriel spoke, "I am ready—join with me." The statement was quiet, but powerful and the light obeyed; becoming very small, but as bright as a star, it flew towards the blonde Noldo, striking her lower body to take root there.

When the light struck, the Golden Lady swooned, her male companions catching her before she fell to the floor. "Are you well, my Lady?" Elrond asked with concern as he carried her to the divan near the fireplace.

"I am well," Then brightly, "We are well." With those words, the two males breathed easier as their plan came to fruition. After they were sure that Galadriel was truly alright, Elrond picked her up from the couch (ignoring her protests) and the three left, lifting the protection spell as the guards became fully awake—never knowing anything was wrong.

Lord Celeborn received his wife from his son-in-law, carrying her to their bed. He was relieved to hear that all went well, though something could have gone wrong—no matter how slim the chance. It was all so amazing to him, though he'd seen much in his long life, especially since Galadriel entered that life.

"Do not be so concern, Herven-nin (My husband); it is for the best. Gandalf and Elrond; please go and find your rest, for tomorrow will be a full one for us and for our beloved pair."

"Very well, Dear Lady, but Lord Elrond and I will be here quite early to check on you," The white Wizard said in a fatherly manner. He and the Lord of Imladris took their leave of the Lord and Lady of Lórien who soon found their rest, too.

The next morning, December 26, Year 1 FA

As the man and elf dressed for the morning meal which they planned to share with the family and friends, they both were quiet and introspective.

Legolas sat at the mirror braiding his hair at the temples, the rest he let fall loose.

"I like the waves created by the extra braids you wore yesterday." The man fingered them for emphasis.

"Thank you, Love. Please do not look so bereft; I am fine." Legolas turned from the mirror and stood before his husband, cupping his face as he spoke. "I do not fear this for I am closer to you now; do you not feel it?"

"I do feel it. I could feel you when you went into the bathing chamber; it is how I knew you wanted me in there to scrub your beautiful back. Last night, I felt extraordinary for a short time; I knew what it was to be immortal—what you must have felt everyday! And now, it is gone; you are as mortal as I." Aragorn felt like a thief who stole something precious from Legolas.

"I will repeat what I said to you last night: It is as it should be. I am as I want to be; we will have a full and glorious life together in this world and the next." As the elf spoke with such conviction, Estel believed him and began to except his love's sacrifice. And though he would periodically feel sad about it, he never let it sour what he and Legolas shared.

"Let us go and spend time with our family and friends, greet our loyal subjects and then promptly drop them all to come back here! Last night's coupling seemed such a dream, it could not have been as wonderful as I remember; we must repeat it to know one way or the other!"

"You are most wise, Meleth." The King agreed sagely before they both erupted into laughter. Clasping hands, they opened their bedchamber door only to be brought up short. Standing just on the other side in their sitting room was the King's ada, Lady Galadriel and Gandalf. "Ada! We did not expect to see you here. Good morning to you all."

The King and Consort were a bit uncomfortable with the way their family (for Gandalf was included there) was staring at them. "Is...Is there something wrong? You are all behaving most queerly." Legolas said.

"Everything is quite wonderful, Penneths (Young Ones). More wonderful than you can imagine." Galadriel was standing in front of the couple now, smiling magnificently, her inner-glow more radiant than normal.

"Grandmother, wh..." She placed her fingers to Aragorn's lips.

"Remember what I said to you both about Legolas' sacrifice?" At their nod, she elaborated. "I know—we know—that you made that sacrifice, Dear Legolas. The light of the Eldar left you and it became a part of Estel before leaving you both. With the aid of the three Elven Rings, that light became life—a new life born of your love and sacrifice and is now a part of me."

"What are you saying, My Lady?" Estel then asked Elrond, "Adar, we don't understand."

"A child, Ion-nin; a Peredhil child that is part you and part Legolas. The Lady agreed to be the vessel by which he will be born." Elrond explained. "It is a gift of the Valar; it was foretold long ago, Estel."

"Your father is correct. Just accept it as the miracle that it is—as you both are." Gandalf added kindly.

Galadriel took both their hands and placed them over her womb and they felt a faint, but definite connection with the growing child and knew that they spoke the truth. They both took a page from Pippin and pulled Galadriel into a fierce hug; then, Elrond and Gandalf were treated to the same.

"Come let us go share this wondrous news with our family." Legolas said. He and Aragorn kissed lovingly and they left to join their extended family to tell them that in a year's time, they would be proud parents.

That night when the citadel was quiet, Estel and Legolas dreamed of the future—of a man and an elf and a beautiful dark-haired, blue-eyed little boy who would one day rule the Reunited Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.

They lived happily ever after? Oh, yes they did!

¹ wikipedia website (Keyword Yule))

² wikipedia website (Keywords Rings of Power)

A/N: I can't believe that this is the end (or is it the beginning?)! I know that this took a while, but I wanted to do right by our Ranger and Elf—I hope you liked it. There are only a couple things that I want to clarify: Firstly, the idea/title concerning the Protocol Ministers came from an episode of Star Trek: TNG where Luoxana Troi was marrying a man she never met and he brought along his Protocol Minister who proceeded to tell her what she could and couldn't do and what was expected before the marriage; I love this episode and I thought it would be great to give Legolas a whole group of them. Secondly, the wedding rituals/ceremony was completely made up by me (with some modern touches); and lastly, I want thank all the wonderful writers of fanfiction who have provided me with all of the Elvish phrases from which I formed a dictionary/glossary (Sorry if I made mistakes).

Please review and I want to thank of you who have been reviewing—from the first-timers to the faithful—I so appreciate your encouragement. Another's Guilt will be updated next—Thanks for your patience!