A/N: Well, this is it, guys. This is the end of the entire story. I hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it. If you haven't already, please leave a review! I love reading feedback and your opinions on the story-reader's response is part of what motivates me. :) But that aside, the ending of a story is always a bittersweet thing. It's great finally finishing a story, but then you don't get to write it anymore. XD That's how I feel right now. But I will see you guys in the next fan fiction! Enjoy. :)
Len's brow was covered in droplets of sweat as he grasped an iron hammer in hand. A loud clanging sound pierced the air, synchronizing with his heavy breathing. He squinted his eyes at the red sparks flying below him, carefully inspecting the piece of heated metal that he was working with. Len's brow was furrowed in concentration as he placed the hammer down next to him and carefully lifted the piece of metal and lowered it down into a tub of water. Seeing steam rapidly rise and just beyond the sound of sizzling water, Len heard a voice call out to him.
"To think that you just suddenly appeared one day—nearly unconscious on the side of the streets. Who knew that you would be such a hard working man?"
Len turned toward the approaching blacksmith and smiled, "Thank you, Sir. It is you that I am grateful for helping me get by."
"Think nothing of it. I only did what was the right thing to do." The blacksmith waved his hand, "How is your wife?"
Len blushed at the word, "She's doing well. She's been experimenting with different baking recipes—I wouldn't be surprised if she wants to open up a bakery with the way she's cooking so much." Len chuckled to himself.
The blacksmith laughed along with him before adding, "Is the baby healthy?"
Len's eyes lightened, "Yes, she is! She'll be about a month old very soon."
The blacksmith smiled at Len's enthusiasm. He glanced at Len's handiwork before him before returning back to his face, "You've already done enough work. Why don't you go home for today?"
"Are you sure? I can work a little longer—"
"No, I don't want to keep you from your wife. You've been working late for the past few days, you need to be home with your family once in a while."
Len hesitated for a bit, feeling guilty that he would be leaving some work undone, but the blacksmith nodded in encouragement. Len's lips curled into a grin and he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and moved to a corner of the room where he wiped himself with a towel. He slipped on his coat and took up his satchel before looking back at the blacksmith to give a nod of thanks.
"You know, you have the face of a noble. You could probably get by in higher social circles if you really wanted to. Why would you choose a life like this?" The blacksmith interjected just as Len set his hand on the door handle.
Len paused for a moment, silently thinking back to the world of aristocracy. He silently laughed at the thought and turned toward the blacksmith, "Sometimes there are things that are worth sacrificing for." And with that, Len bid one final farewell and left the workshop.
The street he stumbled into was crowded and bustling with people. Though unlike the crowded parties of lavish clothing, Len loved the feeling of this environment. The energy around him seemed to sustain him and bring him to life. And knowing he was on his way home, Len began to bound as quickly as he could down the street toward his home. It appeared nothing more than a single door among many to a brick building.
Len approached the door before him, reaching his hand toward the handle, eager to enter. To his subtle surprise, the door opened just as his fingers barely brushed against the rusted metal. Len quickly lifted his head and met a familiar pair of eyes staring back at him. A smile immediately crossed his lips as the woman standing before him slightly jumped in shock, not expecting Len to be on the other side. Rin placed a hand over her chest and sighed before feeling familiar arms wrap around the small of her back. She gladly welcomed this and stroked her hands across Len's back until her arms were wrapped around his neck. Heat trailed into her mouth as Len moved his lips over hers. There was no hesitation in his kiss, not even when he knew other people passing on the busy street could see them—they were free. When Len pulled back, smiling, his heart fluttered at the sound of Rin's giggle.
"I'm glad to be home..."
Len was so relieved to speak those words. In truth, it felt as if this was his first real home. He briefly kissed Rin once more before following her into their abode. The place was dimly lit with few candles sitting here and there and a single window in one corner of their home. It was small and a little worn, a setting that the couple was certainly most unfamiliar with, but both of them couldn't be more satisfied.
"I was just about to check if you were coming down the street from work." Rin mused, placing a few things here and there.
"You were that anxious to see me?" Len asked teasingly approaching Rin and backing her up against a wall.
She giggled as Len touched his forehead against hers, moving his hands to the sides of her body, stroking her beautiful frame. Watching Rin's smile grow wider, Len nuzzled the side of Rin's jaw. Just as he was about to move his lips across the skin of her neck, a small sound interrupted him. Len quickly turned toward the crib in the corner of the room.
"Ah, did I wake her?" Len looked toward Rin with arched eyebrows.
"She's just greeting you, too." Rin smiled.
Len left Rin's side and quietly approached the small crib that he had carefully made, peeking over to peer inside. Amongst the white sheets and pillows, he saw a small bundle with a cherub-like face. Tiny hands balled into small fists came from under the blanket and jerked through the air. Len lowered his hand into the crib and smiled as the tiny hand curled around his finger. Len looked at the doll-like face below him and watched as small, beautiful, blue eyes gradually opened and stared straight back at him.
Len gently wrapped the blanket around the infant and slowly pulled up the bundle close to him. Moving over to a slightly withered chair, Len seated himself placing his daughter on his lap, having one hand support her head while the other supported her back. She kicked her legs back and forth, looking up at her father and moving her hands around. Len rocked her up and down, softly cooing her. Then very gently, he lifted the baby close to him and set a warm kiss on her forehead. The infant below him squirmed and made another sound, moving her body against his hands. Len smiled wider and looked up at Rin, who was had moved in front of him.
"She's so beautiful." He whispered, grinning widely at Rin.
"You say that every time you hold her." She giggled.
Len stood up, cradling his daughter once more before carefully handing her to Rin. As Rin gently held her child, Len couldn't help but notice the strong resemblance their daughter had to her. The baby moaned and Rin gently cooed, shushing her gently and rocking her close to her chest. Len could see the glimmer of the ring on Rin's left hand as she supported her child, swaying back and forth. Such a sight overwhelmed Len's heart with warmth to the point where tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. Before, he had all the money and status he could get in the world, yet he had nothing—now here he was with just enough to survive, but with a loving wife and a beautiful daughter in her arms. He had everything. Yes, some things were worth sacrificing for. What was standing before him was something simply known as "happiness."
"Len?" Rin looked up, her eyebrows arching, "What's wrong?"
Len said nothing—only sniffling, as he very warmly embraced Rin and his daughter together, clasping his entire world while laughing as tears streamed down his cheeks, "I love you, Rin..."
Rin's heart fluttered at the sound of Len's words and felt a soothing warmth envelop her body. He would show her how much he loved her for every day of his life—and so would she. Rin cradled their daughter closer to her chest and moved her lips to Len, setting a kiss on his cheek,
"I love you, too, Len..." She whispered, "Always."
A/N: I wrote this story with several things in mind. First was simply to write about what love is and what it truly is. Second was to write about the importance of moral values. Third was to write about facing your consequences and not denying truth. And fourth was to write about the sweetness and sanctity of marriage between man and woman and how precious the ability to start a family of your own is. Though I have never experienced true love, marriage, or starting a family of my own, I can only imagine how sweet it can be if it is with the right person. It's something I can hope for and look forward to, I suppose-as all of you should, too. :) I usually don't put the reason for why I write a story at the end of a fan fiction, (because I like leaving it up to the readers), but I felt it appropriate to state my reasoning this time. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, and I will see you around next time!