A/N: A thousand apologies. I love writing but God knows I'm a procrastinator of epic proportions. Love you all to bits. I promise to never start a story unless I have all the chapters ready.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters used in this story
People from all over the kingdom came through the gates of Mystic Falls. The entire city was bustling with procession of people, horses and carriages; it's streets congested. Something was happening, something exciting. At the castle's entrance, guests were greeted with banners that hung high, but of a colour unfamiliar to Elena.
As they reached the castle doors, the crowd was even grander in size and appearance. All the ministers, tradesmen, dukes and duchess, lords and ladies…people of importance, came spilling troughs the doors of the great assembly hall of Mystic Fall castle. They were all dressed for an occasion but an occasion not yet known. The invitation received noon yesterday did not convey much except insisting the Gilbert household's presence. The scroll of paper was hand delivered to their home; decorated with gold borders and bore a mysterious crest. Surely, a political gathering intended for matters of the state. Only Elena and Jeremy were curious enough to tag along as long journeys are not favourable for the rest of the Gilberts.
But not much could be speculated about the intentions of the letter. She caught sight of men in armour lining the hallway and briefly wondered if Damon was there.
Beside hearing news of the war from Damon himself, no one was really certain that the war is over or in what position king Klaus was in. Perhaps a truce of peace has been agreed and King Klaus shall announce it. Klaus's new marriage to Lady Caroline could also be a cause for great celebration and a reason to cease war or at least deter it for awhile; Elena hoped.
She glanced around the ocean of curious people that started to fill the great hall. Like an auction house, they exchanged suspicions and gossips about this unknown ceremony they were all invited to.
"I heard we're invited to watch Klaus's beheading. It's cruel"
"What else can you expect from a man like Salvatore"
A couple of people spoke behind Elena and Jeremy as they entered the hall.
"I suggest we do not speak ill of the man, we are obviously in his den now" a nervous looking man in gold robes interrupted the gossipy pair.
Desperate for some explanation, Elena turned to the man who seemed to know a great deal.
"What do you mean by that, good Sir?" She pried, forcing her way through the small circle of socialites.
The man glanced at her dismissively, as if trying to be sure if Elena had the right to be there among the important and the elites invited. "Have you not heard? Klaus lost the war to Salvatore."
Elena's eyes widened.
"Aaah she must be from the north. News tend to travel slowly to those far regions." A fancy dressed woman joined in and giggled.
"It became obvious to me when the invitation did not carry The royal crest...didn't you notice?" A man next to that woman asked.
Without a chance to talk, Elena saw that more started to join the circle. "You don't need a crest to see what's going on! Look around us, these guards are not Klaus's...their armours are as black as crows" another man said, looking scared rather than curious like the rest.
"Well he can't kill us, if that's what you are suggesting. This kingdom needs us, our resources and skills. We're respected politicians and businessmen" the man in the gold robe stated, waving his gold ring clad fingers around.
"Aye we are, but if the kingdom changes hand...who knows the disposition we will be thrown into..."
Elena could not make sense of it. These overly dressed, pompous men and women were only concerned about their interests and money. It did not matter to them who ruled for as long as they get their fair share. Elena knew that for Damon, this victory meant the world to him.
He succeeded in fulfilling his family's legacy...a promise he made to his father as a young boy and became his reason for living ever since. Everything he had ever worked hard for; every drop of blood shed and every single sacrifices made not just by the War Lord but by his brave men as well, boiled down to this very day. A day of recompensation.
"He did it" she whispered to herself. Elena felt her eyes swelled up, tears brimming the edge of her lower lashes.
Jeremy suddenly appeared next to her. "What are these fools on about? Come on Elena...let's go"
He tugged her through the crowd, making their way to John who was seated at a corner with old friends, retired soldiers and forgotten noblemen.
Unlike the past group, they were more concerned of the village they guard over, the prosperity of their people and homeland.
Elena glanced at John rather nervously, wondering if he knew that Damon had won the war. She feared chaos will break if the two met eye to eye.
Not long after, an old man strode across the front of the hall, his long white robe trailed behind him. Instantly, the chatters stopped at the sight of the respectable royal priest. He welcomed all and announced the inauguration of a new king.
The hall suddenly broke into gasps of excitement, everyone was talking at once...a sense of confusion and mixed feeling filled the air.
Through the wall of spectators, Elena could only watch in awe at the ceremony that took place. Damon was crowned King as priests chanted prayers in old latin around him. He was seated in a magnificent throne, showered in jewel and gold, his cloak made of rich fur and a crown that would suit his new status. Stefan was seen standing on Damon's right side while the rest of the men she knew and grew to miss were loyally standing on the left; Mason and Alaric were nearest to Damon. But there were also rows of unknown faces that were given priority at the front of the crowd. Elena learnt that they were Salvatore blood.
Elena felt like a stranger. She was not more than an audience, witnessing the route of Damon's destiny that seemed to take a turn furthest from hers. She barely recognised him in his regal glory. His gaze was fixed at a distant nothing, concentrating at the words of the high priest as a long list of his future duties were read out loud to him. It was suddenly difficult to imagine him as the man she fell in love with, the man who professed his love to her, the man who she shared her heart and soul with.
All she managed to do was sat in the midst of the mass and pick up on any talks around her regarding the new King and his family lineage.
A majority of people seemed to be pleased that they were finally free from Klaus's claw and his reign of tyranny; expressing their new hopes for the Salvatore empire. Older generations seemed to recall the family's deeds towards Mystic falls and spoke highly of their virtue and honesty.
She felt touched that Damon was finally being perceived in a new light. Like a new turning leaf, Damon could begin a new chapter of his life where he would not be portrayed as a monster, a ruthless war lord or as The Black Wolf. Instead he was given a chance to be seen as a gentle and generous man, the way she had always seen him. The world could at last see Damon Salvatore as he truly was now that the clouds of war have passed and no longer fogged people's judgement of him.
In this new role, Elena imagine Damon demonstrating the same kindness she was showered with towards the people of Mystic Falls. With his bravery and compassion, he would keep the country safe and at peace. Damon's years of hardship had shaped and formed him to be a humble man, surely he is able to sympathise with those who are far less fortunate in the society. Beyond any doubt, Damon will become a great King and much loved by his people.
Perhaps his new queen will be of similar stature, full of refined elegance; Elena thought sadly as she was reminded of her own heritage. As King, he would surely choose wisely; Elena told herself as she eyed distant Salvatore cousins who were present, ladies with eyes as blue as the sky and hair as dark as coal.
Elena felt herself shaken to the core as the royal subjects shouted "Long Live The King..." repeatedly around her, once Damon was crowned.
Following the coronation; the men of all military ranks pledge their loyalty to the new king. One by one, knights and great admirals were called upon to kneel at the throne renewing their vow of service.
Soon after, her father was summoned.
"Sir John Gilbert, guardian of Arca, village of the north." announced the man with the long list of names.
Jaws dropped as Jeremy and Elena watched their father calmly approached the new king. His mighty air and arrogance shattered as he submissively kneeled before his king.
It was almost as if he had chosen to forget that the very person who sat on that throne had terrorised his village and his people for over a decade.
Elena could not believe her eyes.
It was clear to them that John knew this would happen, from the moment he received the letter, he knew Damon will be crowned and yet he came, graciously accepting the invitation.
He may seem fierce, heartless and at times intolerably arrogant but that day, his children saw who he truly was...
He was a true servant to a king.
Damon looked down upon him, feeling overwhelmed. He never knew the extent of John's dedication to his king...his country. With a heavy sigh, Damon spoke;
"I do not ask for your loyalty, John Gilbert. You may pledge if you wish to do so. From our years of battle, I know we are equal"
Damon urged John to rise to his feet.
"But the very fact that you're here tells me that you are a respectable man, who puts aside your pride for the safety of your people." He continued on.
"Whether you pledge your loyalty to me or not, your tittle will remain as it represent the honourable man that you are, it is no wonder that my father loved you." Many around them nodded their heads in agreement to John's unflinching devotion to the throne.
"I am loyal to the throne, and so...I am loyal to you." John replied sternly with the tone of a soldier.
"I accept your service..." Replied the King.
As John was about to walk away, Damon's words struck him motionless.
"I hear you have a daughter, Sir Gilbert" with a mischievous smirk on his face while everyone else started whispering. John simply turned and nodded "Aye, I have two...Your Grace" trying to sound calm simultaneously getting used to the title he needed to address Damon as from that moment onwards.
"I mean to ask for the one most spoken of, whose beauty is often mentioned and glorified; your eldest daughter, Lady Elena"
Elena heard her name mentioned in the great hall, it bounced off the wall and echoed from one person's mouth to another. She felt her heartbeat skipped. Hidden from view, she looked up at Jeremy who was also looking at her with confusion. The wall of people standing around her had made it difficult for her to see what was happening. Elena was not sure if she even wanted to; afraid of the million ways this could turn into a public disaster.
"Is she here?" Damon asked casually.
John was uncertain of Damon's intention. But seemingly, Damon chose to act as if he had never met Elena and talks about her beauty had caused him to ask for her out of curiosity. He played along, not wanting to explain to anyone how Damon had truly known Elena "Aye, she is..."
John then turned to meet eyes with Jeremy in the crowd. He gave his son a small nod before Jeremy turned to his sister. She looked so small among the people there. Her eyes widened with panic. By then, the entire hall of people were chattering and gossiping; wondering if they knew this woman whom the King desired.
"Jeremy, what should I do?" Jeremy heard her whispered and tugged at his hand.
She consciously looked around. She was invisible in the crowd but knowing full well that the moment she makes a move; the whole country will recognize who she was.
Jeremy knew Damon as a fighter for the longest time, but Damon as a man...just recently. What could he possibly wanted to prove in front of all these people? Jeremy wondered. Nonetheless, he knew the love he saw between Damon and Elena was not imaginary. Hence, Jeremy decided to put his faith in Damon and was sure that he will not harm nor embarrassed Elena. "He asks for you. You should go to him, Elena" he whispered back, assuring her with his words and tenderly stroking her hair.
Elena shakily took her brother's hand as he ushered her to the front, their footsteps echoed as the hall became deafeningly silent. Attention in the hall was instantly drawn towards her, curious eyes followed her every movements to the front as the crowd parted to make way for her.
Jeremy let go of his sister only for John to retrieve her. She felt her father squeezing her hand ever so slightly but his expression was unreadable. She dared not look at Damon but instead focus on her father, forcing him to give her some sort of sign to carry on. She was frightened. The last time three of them were in a room together...Damon was overtaken by rage, her father was almost killed and she was drenched in her own tears of remorse. The image was forged into her memory, fresh and painful. She thought she would truly break should that happen again in front of all these onlookers.
It was not until John kissed her hand that she finally exhaled and breathed, feeling assured and safe. It was as if John had silently told her that everything will be alright.
Damon took Elena's hand as soon as John released it and stepped behind. He caressed the soft flesh of her hand with his thumb, his eyes never left hers. He looked at her with a small yet reassuring smile that sent shivers up Elena's spine, melting away the anxiousness that was beginning to shroud her. Suddenly, all the eyes she felt on her were not as frightening and she steadied her breathing.
He had been waiting for this moment for a very long time, a moment where he could finally claim her as his own. With or without an audience, it was of no difference; all that mattered was that Elena knew he wanted her, wanted to keep her in his life and tirelessly wanted to make her happy.
Elena allowed herself be calmed by his nearness and her shoulders fall as tension left her body. Eventually, the hundred pairs of eyes watching them were forgotten.
Like a predator seeking his next meal, she let him circled her.
Memories of their first encounter surfaced, except she had hated him then. It was safe to say she was not planning to swing any dagger at him this time around.
She caught him smirking when he too had remembered the night they first met, a private jest between the two.
Suddenly the world ceased to exist, and they felt as if they were the only two people there.
"Rumours do not lie. You are as beautiful as they say...and more" his statement was followed by an outbreak of murmurs in the female audience, more jealous than they were curious.
Elena watched his slow stride around her until he faced her again. "Tell me milady, what sort of talent a beautiful maiden such as yourself possess? Sewing? Poetry perhaps?"
Elena's lips curved into a half smile, obviously enjoying this rouse Damon was determine to show for all to see. "I could shoot an arrow to over 20 feet at an aim the size of a sheep's eye...Your Grace."
Damon looked impressed in contrast to the mortified expression plastered on every other person there.
Once the commotion died down, Damon continued.
"And what do you seek pleasure from? Matters that interests you?"
"What could be more enjoyable than horseback riding and taming wild horses in the open glade, Your Highness?"
Damon just raised an eyebrow, standing inches away from her with his hands safely clamps behind his back. Elena replied with her own raised delicate eyebrows; as if challenging him to throw a more difficult question.
Damon thought about it for a moment while he enjoyed how applaud his guests seemed to be at Elena's such unconventional responses.
They were surely frustrated at how Elena seemed to be throwing her chances of snatching a king, out the window.
But to him, she was telling exactly what he loved about Elena Gilbert. She was never like the others, Damon realised from the second he first saw her. Elena was like a shooting star that cuts across the sky once every a thousand years. She burnt bright and hot, unique in her own spectacular way. Only a fool would give up this chance of claiming her. Finding it harder to restrain himself from taking her into his arms and create further offences, Damon cleared his throat "And finally Lady Elena, please end my misery of wondering what sort of man would be worthy of your trust and affections?"
He wasn't expecting his name to roll off her tongue but any answer she gave will suffice for as long as he can end this pretentious interrogation; intended to convince people that Elena had managed to capture his heart. When in truth...it was he who was captured and held captive by her charms and splendours.
Elena was staring into his blue eyes now, hers suddenly shined from suppressed tears. She stood straighter and Damon could tell her answer was a carefully thought out one. He stared into her eyes intently, waiting patiently.
"A man that will honour his promises, honour his wife..." She bravely said with trembling lips;
"...and honour his child"
Damon felt his breath caught in his throat at her last words, his heartbeat suddenly thudding violently against his chest. He questioned his own hearing.
Just when he thought he had painted a perfect enough picture of their future together, it was no match to what God could craft. Never had it crossed his mind the possibility of her carrying his child and he wondered why he never considered it before knowing the child will bring a great blessing into their lives.
He searched for confirmation in Elena's eyes with his own widened ones. And when she slowly smiled...Damon reached to place his hands on each side of her face; placing a tender kiss on-top her forehead. Elena simply shut her eyes, letting a lone tear of happiness roll down her cheek. She have never felt so relieved. For Damon to finally know about the child she carried and for him to accept this, she was beyond grateful.
Damon could not comprehend the overwhelming joy that swept over him. He looked at her once more, seeing his future in her eyes more brightly than ever.
She answered without a moment's hesitation and they both broke out in the largest grin. With that, Damon left the hall with Elena's hand securely trailing behind him, leaving a very confused mass behind.
Damon and Elena's conversation seemed private and was barely audible to others. The high priest who was too rather flustered by what just happened, was forced to clear the air and announced to the hall;
"It is done then..." He looked over his shoulder towards Damon's close companions and family, searching for answers. But when all he received were shrugs, he carried on "...King Damon and Lady Elena shall be wed"
The crowd was inconsolable now, loud chatters, gossips and congratulations were thrown around the hall, resembling a busy morning market. Most women were dubious as to how a queen get selected so quickly while other women wondered if they would have been the lucky ones had they known the king was searching for a queen. Others predicted the date of the union, clustering around John and Jeremy to congratulate them.
After some time, John stood at one side of the hall, feeling rather confused himself. The look on the couple's faces were undeniably the look of love. Even a blind man could not deny to that. The moment the couple retreated the hall with nothing but smiles of their faces, John felt his eyes open as if he has never seen all his life.
He realised that he also found satisfaction from the fact that despite Elena's answers to Damon's questions, he still accepted her. Damon accepted Elena for who she truly was and that was the biggest satisfaction a father could ever wanted.
Concerned, Jeremy landed a hand on his father's shoulder; "It seems that we have a great news to deliver to mother. Are you alright, father?"
"Fine son, a little shocked as you can imagine...and relieved"
"When you are as old as I am, you'll come to learn that fate works in mysterious ways...but today, I am reminded of that. Today, I've seen fate unravel in the most peculiar yet perfect way."
AND I HEARBY DECLARE THIS STORY COMPLETED (finally)!
after an epilogue of course :P