AN: Yes, it is finally here: the very last chapter of An Unselfish Wish. I can't believe it. This one was insanely difficult, guys. At one point, it shot off on a tangent that would have doubled the size of the entire story. That just didn't feel right and so I had to scrap it and start again. And again. And again. Seriously, it's like my muse didn't want this story to end.
All of you have been such wonderful inspirations and support over the course of this fics publishing and revision and in honor of Battle of the Five Armies (which was awesome, by the way), I finally forced myself to finish the epilogue and post it. Please let me know what you think. Thank you all who have stuck with me-especially those who have reviewed and even created artwork for this story. You're irreplaceable.
(As an aside, my muse would dearly like to know if anyone would be interested in reading a Kagome/Thranduil piece, completely not related to AUW. I have one I've been mulling over for a while, but I don't know if there would be any interest in it. Obviously, due to Elven custom, the story would be pre-Legolas and pre-Legolas' mom, which means before the events in the Hobbit and LotR. Give me a shout, if it might appeal to you...something totally different.)
Please enjoy. And thank you.
A Wish Fulfilled
Kagome smiled as Celebrían wove braids and flowers into her hair. So much had happened recently, that she could scarce believe it had been an entire year since she had woken from her exhaustion of the final battle. So many changes.
Fortunately, she had come around in time to witness Aragorn being crowned king. After all the time she'd invested in him, she would have put an arrow through him if he hadn't waited for her to see the fruits of those labors. He'd admitted afterwards that he'd been very aware of that fact, making her grin. It had been one of the proudest moments of her life.
Another moment had been her reunion with her dear Hobbits. Sam related to her privately the unabridged tale of his and Frodo's journey.
"He was so surrounded by darkness, Kagome," the Hobbit whispered. "There were times I thought the Ring would just…just swallow him up. But, he'd stop and put his hand over his heart and then he'd shake it off." His eyes were shiny when they met hers. "Whatever he remembered, it let him throw away that cursed thing, in the end. Good thing, too, since neither of us knew that Gollum had followed us. Wretch went right over the edge after his 'precious'. Good riddance, I say."
Frodo didn't say much about the adventure. Only once, clasping his arms around Kagome tightly, did he utter a fervent, 'thank you.' Wrapped in those two words, however, was a wealth of meaning and all the things he'd never be able to say to her. Smiling, the miko returned his embrace, closing her eyes against the emotion his gratitude invoked.
"You are more than welcome, Frodo Baggins."
And that had been that.
Arwen had finally wedded Aragorn soon after his coronation. (Such that it was, standing outside the gates of Gondor and all. Kagome always pictured less…dirt involved. And a throne room. At least there was a crown. Oh! And trumpets. The trumpets were awesome.)
But the wedding was beautiful and Arwen surpassed even her grandmother in her joy. Kagome had beamed and wrapped her hands around Legolas' arm to keep her excitement and happiness from bursting out of her. He'd chuckled quietly, covering her hands with one of his own, feeling her delight twining in her True Self.
"They've waited so long for this," she noted lowly as Arwen was crowned Queen of Gondor.
"Indeed," Legolas agreed, meeting her eyes steadily. "Though, I find myself with little compassion for the handful of years they waited, Tirelen-Nín."
Blinking, she felt a blush creep up her face at the message behind his words. He'd waited far longer for her, after all. Flexing her fingers, the miko rested her head against him, silently offering her apology. Smiling, he wrapped an arm around her and pressed a light kiss to her hair.
"Not so long now," she sighed and felt him hum his acknowledgement.
Thranduil had been pretty insistent on having the wedding in Greenwood. Kagome understood and didn't fight him on the subject. It had taken some time to convince her adopted family, considering the upset that had happened over her Mark being altered so prematurely. Elrond had been beside himself in outrage, but Celebrían had been almost amused at the whole thing. She had been impressed with Legolas from the beginning and knew Thranduil had long felt Kagome part of his family. That he had so quickly Marked her as such-tying her irrevocably to his Line-spoke of that love, at least to the She-Elf. Her heart was lightened in that knowledge. What the Elvenking's Line cherished they guarded fiercely and loved strongly. Her adopted daughter had found the happiness she so deserved.
It helped also, knowing that Kagome would still be in Middle-Earth when Aragorn passed. Celebrían ached for the pain Arwen would experience when that event happened. Her daughter had turned chosen mortality and there would be few friends left to her when that choice collected its due.
"There, now," she stated, pulling Kagome around so that she could see the finished work.
Gasping in awe, the miko stared, wide-eyed at her appearance in the mirror. White flowers were in her hair beside small white jewels, a gift from Thranduil. The effect that her adopted mother had created was of stars and light dancing across the night sky. She and Arwen had crafted her wedding dress, a flowing creation of whites and blues that enhanced the effect of her hair. Together, with Mîrthilion, Kagome truly appeared Elven-her Otherworldliness apparent fully for the first time.
"You are lovely beyond measure," Celebrían told her with tears in her eyes. "Both my daughters outshone the moon on their wedding days."
Sniffling, Kagome gave a wet laugh and clasped the She-Elf's hand. "I love you, Mom."
At that, tears spilled down the older female's cheeks. Patting her hand, she wiped away the moisture. "And I love you, Kagome. I could not let you go to anyone who loved you less than your prince does. Even Glorfindel did not look at you as Legolas does."
Kagome felt her heart turn over at the mention of her fiancé. He'd been strangely absent for months, claiming a task with Gimli that could not be avoided. Thranduil had pitched a fit-well what constituted a fit for the Elvenking which was mainly icy glares and cutting sarcasm that melted into stony indifference-when he found out. Of course, the next day, he'd apparently done a complete 180 and was in full support of his son's 'task'. That led Kagome to believe Legolas had confided in his father the details of the task. It was only the knowledge that the Elvenking knew and approved of the reason Legolas would be absent that Kagome was able to reign in her own fit. Thranduil was a freak about the wedding and obsessed with every detail. Whatever Legolas and Gimli were doing must be huge for Thranduil to support it.
She just missed him. They'd spent almost every moment of their time together for months and then suddenly he was gone. She felt like part of herself was missing and she hadn't slept well since his departure.
Stupid Kagome, she amended. They'd not been able to communicate often, since wherever he was didn't have a lot of trees, but they had managed at least once a week. It wasn't like he'd disappeared completely. Still, he'd been vague about what he was doing or even when he would be returning. She only knew he'd arrived yesterday because Thranduil informed her at supper. He hadn't come to see her or tried to contact her, leaving her feeling melancholy on what was supposed to be the day she finally received her happiness.
She took her amendment back and reinstated her original thought.
Stupid freaking Elf.
"Have," here she swallowed thickly, "have you seen him?" she asked and watched in the mirror as her adopted mother's face softened with understanding.
"Yes," she answered, adjusting a fold in the wedding dress. "Elrond and I thought to discover the reason he would abandon you so close to your wedding."
Turning, Kagome met her eyes hopefully and saw Celebrían smile in reassurance. "I cannot reveal the reason, Kagome. It is Legolas' gift to you. Just know that he does you great honor. Do not be so hard on him for his absence, dear. Regardless of Thranduil's reasons, Legolas knows that he was unable to ask for you properly and that weighs on him. He is a great Elf, I think. He will be an equally great husband."
Relieved, Kagome nodded. "I know. I just miss him. And these last few weeks…I could have used a heads-up that there were a couple of chicks half in love with him, the jerk."
Laughing, Celebrían shook her head. "You are intelligent enough that the thought should have occurred to you, Kagome. Legolas shines as bright as a star in his own right. Of course there are those that would have that light for themselves."
Blushing, she bit her lip and shrugged. "Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up."
The older female sighed in affectionate amusement. Kagome never saw those males that would have her, either. She wagered Legolas was aware of those She-Elves that wanted him, but was so uninterested that it wouldn't occur to him to warn Kagome. The poor Elf.
Elrond took that moment to knock gently and then sweep into the room. When he saw Kagome, a delight took him, one tinged barely with sadness.
"Two years pass and two daughters given," he murmured, "both occasions colored with joy and grief. How you've grown, Higurashi Kagome."
Smiling tremulously, she held out her hands to him and held tightly when he accepted the invitation. "You were the first thing I saw when I came here," she told him. "I didn't know how much you'd come to mean to me, but right from the start you've taken care of me."
Elrond's face relaxed into an expression of infinite love and affection. "Yes, you've been a constant source of surprise and friendship, little one, and of hope when all else seemed too dark to bear. I have the honor of three children born, but Ilúvatar blessed me with a fourth when looked-for least."
An old pain flickered in his eyes. "The Third Age has ended and soon we will sail."
He didn't ask, but Kagome could feel the inquiry. Nodding, she released one of his hands to clasp Celebrían's as well.
"Yes. Legolas wishes to sail eventually. We have things still to do here, but when he is ready, he and I will sail to the West."
Relief washed away much of the pain in both Elves' eyes. Shaking off the weight of the conversation, Elrond turned and opened the door. Elrohir and Elladan stood waiting with Arwen between them. The four siblings embraced each other, whispering words of love and promises. It was much as when Arwen was wed the year before and would repeat twice more if the twins ever got around to finding a worthy She-Elf.
When they were done, the family escorted her down the long corridor until they entered the King's Garden. In the last year, Thranduil had transformed it into a veritable Eden, Kagome gaped to herself. It was beyond beautiful, with the stars shining down and lighting the foliage with a silver light. When it hit her hair, she shone as bright as Eärendil, her True Self brightening in radiance when she saw Legolas.
He was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen, standing beside his father in his finest clothes and face slack in awe of her. Their True Selves twined together, almost painfully so since they could not fully combine until after their marriage. It was glorious to see for anyone who could see in both planes and brought tears to many eyes.
Kirara's heart swelled with love for her mistress as she sat between Frodo and Merry. The ceremony was a mix of Elven and the traditions from Kagome's time that she wanted included. It was truly unique and something everyone present would remember forever.
Kagome held it together very well until the exchanging of rings. She had worked with Elrond to design a ring for Legolas and her adopted father had even forged the intricate band himself. But the ring Legolas gave her…
Smiling, he wiped away her tears while still holding her right hand. "I labored in Erebor until a jewel whose brilliance could match Mîrthilion was found." A rueful look took his face as he admitted, "That took half as long as crafting the ring, Tirelen-Nín."
A tearful laugh escaped her as she dropped her eyes to the wonderful gift. She knew Legolas hadn't taken after his father in metal-crafting, but the ring he'd presented her was gorgeous. The stone was softly glowing and so white it was almost transparent. Only in Mîrthilion and the White Gems of Lasgalen had she seen such a radiant gem. Mithril curled about the stone in intricate leaves and curls, matching the style of Mîrthilion, but altered just enough to testify to the different crafters. That he had spent so long working for her made her heart feel full to bursting.
"Calad-Nín," she breathed, meeting his stormy eyes with all the love she had for him, "Thank you."
Thranduil's visage was openly proud as the two finished their modified ceremony. Legolas barely had time to kiss his new bride before he was ushered aside, an impish light in her eyes.
"I've got a surprise for you and your father," she told him lowly.
Indeed, Thranduil had worked with Celebrían on a song for their children and had meant to surprise them with it. He was not aware that Celebrían and Kagome had collaborated on a gift for him in complement to the song. As his voice rose with the She-Elf's playing, Kagome stood before them, her eyes closed. Swaying gently, she began to glow with the trademark pink fire before she astonished those present by slowly beginning to dance.
Perfectly timed with the song, Kagome moved in a modified traditional dance that took her back to the handful of mortal years she'd lived. Even so far away from them-what she'd thought of as her happiest-the things that meant the most to her remained. Now, with a lifetime of happiness stretching out before her, she put all of her mind and power into dancing a blessing the like none would ever witness again.
Legolas was moved such that words escaped him. Kagome danced with such life and vibrancy that Ilúvatar's song seemed to flow around her and into the ground beneath her feet. Each twirl brought another swirl of pink power into the air, wrapping around her and slowly reaching toward something. His father's voice perfectly matched the sight, seemingly lending his power to what she was doing, though the son knew that he hadn't been aware of the miko's plans.
Before his eyes, a small shoot pushed up from the ground. Kagome danced around it, her power caressing and nurturing it, prompting it to grow further. It swayed in time with her, almost as though it was aware of her movements. As the song swelled into a crescendo, Kagome swept in a circle and the plant erupted into full bloom. Large, glowing pink flowers pulsed with power and then flared brightly as the song faded.
Kagome collapsed, panting, as the power washed over all those there, spreading to the very edge of Greenwood. Thranduil's eyes slid shut as he recognized the depth of the gift that she had given him and his people. She had created a barrier around his kingdom such that Melian had created around Doriath. Instead of herself, however, Kagome had created a permanent anchor to the barrier. The flowering plant that even now hummed with her power was evidence of that.
As Legolas pulled his wife into his arms, those gathered watched as the great Elvenking bowed deeply to the miko. Shocked exclamations were hurriedly muffled at the sight as Kagome beamed and then hugged her father-in-law tightly, tears once more in her eyes.
And though no one save the two embracing heard her quiet words, "So that your people need never again fear," they all saw the emotion that passed over his ethereal features.
For long ages after, songs would tell of the return embrace the stoic ruler gave his long-time friend.
When Kagome and Legolas were finally left to themselves, they had only the starlight to witness the consummation of their union. That was probably for the best, the miko mused later, when she was curled around her husband, happiness thrumming through her in absolute completion. The merging of their True Selves would have most likely blinded any poor sap that happened to be glancing their direction.
Sliding her foot up his bare leg, she smiled into his chest as he chuckled lowly and stroked her hair. He wasn't prone to rash actions, her love, (not like she was) but she had no doubt that he would have killed anyone that had laid eyes on her in her unclothed state. In her most vulnerable state.
All those ages she'd been alone, waiting for the ephemeral promise of a long-dead warrior to transpire…were a trifle to pay for the joining of her True Self to her other half. She'd been a juxtaposition of eager and shy, so excited and yet so very afraid of giving herself over truly. If she didn't know that Elves didn't do premarital relations she'd swear Legolas had quite a few notches in his bedpost. He'd been perfect.
It made her sick.
Stupid, stupidly freaking perfect Elf.
"You grumble about me often, don't you?" he mused, lowering his eyes to hers.
Blushing, she pinched his side, making him laugh and catch her hand. He couldn't really tease her, not when she was so lovely in her happiness. The Elf had thought he knew what she looked like without the sorrow weighing on her. Seeing her come apart in his arms and now basking in contentment beside him, he realized he hadn't seen her truly happy until now.
"Inuyasha's wish is fulfilled," she finally told him on a sigh. "Wherever he is, I hope that he knows that. I hope it brings him the peace he needs."
Nuzzling her temple, he nodded. "I'm sure he does and that it will. Now then, if you are able to speak of other males while naked in my arms, I have more work to do."
Giggling, she didn't protest as he rolled to cover her body with his much larger one. "The moon isn't even half way up," she agreed. "I told Elrohir that I would emasculate anyone that bothered us before we're ready. He'll make sure Elladan and anyone else stays delightfully away while I'm having my wicked way with you."
Legolas couldn't help but laugh again, kissing her deeply.
"By the way," she breathed as he sucked on her pulse-point, "I need to have a word with you about the trail of females panting after your tight ass. I almost yanked out one of their hair by the roots."
Pausing, he pulled back and looked at her in disbelief. "You want to speak to me of others desiring what is yours? I have been the picture of patience with those that would have you for their own, Tirelen-Nín."
Blinking large blue eyes in confusion, she furrowed her brows at him. "Er…I thought…I didn't think the whole Glorfindel thing bothered you."
Sighing, he dropped his forehead to hers and closed his eyes in affectionate exasperation. She truly did not understand-would likely never understand-the effect she had on males. It was both a blessing to him and a curse.
"I am not concerned with your relationship with Glorfindel, Tirelen-Nín. You do not see the looks other males cast upon you. I do. I see and yet I know that you have eyes for none of them save me. Do you not know that my eyes see only you? What do any others matter? I knew of them and their wishes are irrelevant. I have chosen you. No other would fit me as you do."
Translation: They are so completely unimportant that I didn't think it worth mentioning. Now, can we get back to having sex?
Kagome mentally cackled at her thoughts, knowing that her husband would never come right out and say it like that. Twining her fingers in his too-soft hair, she gently tugged him down to kiss him.
Nothing more was said for a great while.
Kagome stood beside Legolas, his hand griping hers tightly as the ship sailed further away from them. Elrond, Celebrían, Celeborn, Galadriel, and Gandalf had finally sailed, taking Frodo and Bilbo with them. Her heart ached with the distance, only lightened by the knowledge that she would see them again someday.
Placing a hand over her gently swelling stomach, she sighed and forced herself to turn from the sight. Legolas wrapped an arm around her tightly in support.
"I wish they would have waited," she told him, fighting back tears. "Just a few months and this little guy would be here."
Grey eyes soft with compassion, he pressed a tender kiss to her cheek. "Their time had come, Tirelen-Nín, and they knew it. To linger would be to fade, even for such a reason. Come, let us return home before father sends an escort."
Huffing, she wiped her eyes. "He's worse than you are."
Glancing to where Sam, Merry, and Pippin stood unsurely, she gave a tearful smile. Seeing it, the three friends rushed to her, throwing their arms around her for comfort. They'd stayed in touch with each other in the long years since the War of the Ring, and the Hobbits looked upon Kagome as an older sister.
Legolas' eyes brightened at the love the four held for each other, and easily slid into the circle when Kagome reached out a hand to him.
Boromir was gone, Frodo had sailed, and the Fellowship was watching as the world moved on. It was the way of life, for no moment-no matter how impacting or defining-could freeze time. If one survived, then one adapted; one changed.
Eventually, Aragorn passed and Arwen faded. Legolas watched his wife take a walk with her sister one day and return alone. Whatever had transpired between the siblings would stay between only them. The elder female wasn't seen again.
Merry and Pippin passed later, one being laid to rest in Rohan and one beside his dear friend Aragorn in Gondor.
Sam and Rosie and then their children.
It nearly shattered Kagome's heart when Kirara finally died. For days on end she wept with no comfort to be had. Beside himself, Legolas sent for his father, Kagome's oldest friend still in Middle-Earth.
The Elvenking-still ageless and regal-swept into the room, taking in his daughter-in-law's despair quickly. Motioning to his son to leave them, Thranduil sat quietly beside his friend as she stared blankly out the window.
"She once shredded my favorite tapestry when I had particularly upset you," he told her with narrowed eyes.
That startled a snort from her before she'd realized. Blinking rapidly, she shook her head. "I remember that. She was protective of me…especially when we were first sent here."
Her eyes met his with a brokenness that alarmed him. "She was all I had left, Thranduil. Kirara was so amazing and loyal, even when I wanted to just give up. She was my best friend and my last link to when I was…when I was just Kagome. When I was still stupid and small and, and…she was, she was…" but the rest of her words trailed off into incoherent sobs.
In a rare show of affection, Thranduil placed a comforting hand on her head. Toppling over, she buried her face in his chest, letting him comfort her as only a parent could. He didn't say anything, only let her cry into him, occasionally mumbling some story or fact about her departed friend who was so much more than that.
When he finally emerged from the room, Kagome was sleeping deeply and Legolas was staring at him in question. Nodding, the older Elf looked to the two children hiding behind their father's legs. The youngest shot out and wrapped her chubby arms around his knee then, beaming up at him in childish reverence.
"Is mother all right?" The oldest asked quietly, his serious face almost an exact replica of his grandfather's-a fact that caused Thranduil no end of delight, though he never admitted it.
"She will be," he replied, sweeping his granddaughter into his arms. "Come, you and your sister will retire with me tonight."
Legolas inclined his head in gratitude and slipped into his room as his father took care of the children. Kagome slept the first peaceful sleep she'd had since her friend's death. Curling around her, he sighed in relief. Her True Self had brightened from the despairing grey it had begun to be.
Over the years, the roses that Kagome had danced into existence became a valued commodity far and wide. It was said that even the Dwarves valued them above jewels and precious metals. They never wilted, never aged, and would glow softly even years after being cut. Thranduil honored very few with a bloom. Imladris and Lothlórien, Frodo for the Shire, Aragorn for Gondor, and Gimli for Erebor the only ones that could truly claim to have the rare cutting.
The bush that she'd originally grown did its job well: protecting Greenwood from all who would do it harm. As the Fourth Age came to a close, most of the Elves left in Middle-Earth had moved to Greenwood. Kagome modified the spell she'd woven on the barrier, then, having recognized some of the happenings in the world of Men.
Her additions allowed Greenwood to fade from the outside world such that only those who knew of it were able to find it. Slowly, though, the Ages passed and Elves abandoned Middle-Earth until the day that Kagome approached her husband and father-in-law.
"I am certain," she told them, taking Legolas' hand. "I've spent the morning sending out my powers. We are the last besides Círdan."
Inclining his head, Thranduil motioned to his eldest grandson. "Make preparations. We will journey on the morrow."
That night, Legolas took Kagome in his arms and traced the starlight on her skin as he had first done so very long ago.
"We could stay longer," he offered her, caressing her cheek. "Now that you know you could see them all again."
Smiling wistfully, she shook her head and let her True Self take comfort in his. "No. As you said when Elrond sailed, it is time. I've had my life with them and been a part of theirs until the end. Our children are happy and your father will see your mother again." Her blue eyes were content when they met his. "This is right, Calad-Nín. I know it in my bones."
Kissing her deeply, he let the matter drop and spent the rest of the night remembering their wedding and the joy they'd found with each other.
Thranduil and Kagome together were able to transplant her rose bush into a planter for travel the next day. They could not leave such a powerful artefact behind.
As Kagome watched her family board the last ship to Aman, Legolas wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"It astounds me to think of all that transpired to bring you to me," he murmured.
Grinning, she leaned back against him, wondering at the faint outline of red, pink, blue, purple, and cream she could just see in her peripheral vision as the boat slid away from the dock.
"It was a lot," she agreed, reveling in the feel of him, even after so many years. "But, really it was a single thing at its heart."
Feeling his question, she turned away from her past and looked toward her future. "An unselfish wish."