A/N: The moment we have been dreading has arrived. This is the last chapter, everyone :( Before we get started, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your support. When I started writing this in January, I never expected there would be such a following but I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you for riding this emotional roller coaster with me and for caring about these characters as much as I do. I love you all!
Special thanks to:
Moviegirl 46: Thank you so much for the kind words, your support throughout the last few months has been wonderful and very appreciated. It's not over yet, there's always my new story, but I'm pretty sad this one is coming to an end.
Anonymous: Thank you so much! Your review made me smile! I'm really touched that you think it is an inspiration and I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much :)
mormon31: Aw, sorry about that. Thanks for the review!
SBPride: Thank you for the two wonderful reviews! I'm sorry I made you cry in a Starbucks :s
Guest: Thank you for the kind words. I'm also kind of in shock that this story is over now, I was a little reluctant to start writing the last chapter because I didn't want it all to end.
brankel1: Thanks for the review! Aragorn's death was very difficult to write but sailing will be the best thing for them all.
elfgirrl: Thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the story!
i like ur style: Aw thank you! I pretty much had to let Gimli sail with them, he and Legolas are best buddies and it would have truly broken our favourite elf's heart to leave him behind. Thanks for the review!
XxNaiXx: Thanks for the review! I will miss laughing at the long paragraphs you leave me :( Yes Thrandy will finally be reunited with everyone! Thanks so much for all the support.
Aranel Mereneth: Thank you for the support you've given to this story over the last few months, it means a lot. Hopefully this next chapter will be less depressing :)
Tlcatlady: Aw, sorry about that! Aragorn was pretty ancient when he died and dwarves can actually go up to 250-300 years old so Gimli was around 200 by the time they sail in my story. Thank you for the review and all of your support over the months!
sydney-ivashkov: Thank you so much! I'm glad to know that one of the hardest chapters for me to write was received so well. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and thank you for your support! This has been quite the ride. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of my new story :)
KDSkywalker: Thank you for the review! I owe you a giant thank you for everything and all the feedback over the last few months. Your support has meant a lot to me and there isn't any way I could thank you enough.
Sun streamed into the bedroom with the dawn of a new day. They'd been in the Grey Havens for four days waiting while the boat was prepared and stocked for their journey. The fateful day had finally arrived and Ariel stood alone, looking out the window towards the sea, as a mixture of emotions swirled through her. She glanced down at the golden amulet in her hands, lightly running her fingers over the mallorn leaf engraving and sighed. She'd come so far in just under 70 years and of all the hardship she'd endured at the hands of Sandor now seemed a distant memory.
She and Legolas had made countless wonderful memories in their time together and Ariel had no doubt they would continue to make more. But even after all this time, the pain of not having known her parents was still a dull ache in her heart. This was her one regret, now that she was leaving Middle Earth, and the amulet was a constant reminder.
Ariel had barely been able to sleep the night before, tossing and turning beside a concerned Legolas as nerves took hold of her. Sailing would mean immense changes for their family and the more Ariel thought about it, the more nervous she got.
Several days after Eldarion's coronation and a very teary goodbye, they'd journeyed to the Grey Havens with a very grumpy dwarf in tow. Being very young and unused to travelling, Elenya had become fussy and Gimli had nearly lost his sanity as her parents tried without success to calm her over the week long journey.
Ariel looked back on all those she loved and lost, recalling all of the wonderful memories and the moments of sadness. She'd been so overwhelmed with the thought of immortality when she'd first married Legolas but amazingly the time had flown by, almost too quickly for her liking. Now her eldest was grown and most of their friends had passed on. As much as she didn't want to leave this all behind, it was time.
Hearing footsteps she looked up to see Legolas. He came to stand next to her and she smiled sadly. The boat was ready.
"We've been through a great deal, haven't we?" he asked, looking down at the amulet. He knew Ariel still wished she could meet her parents and the thought saddened him.
Ariel sighed, "It's all very bittersweet isn't it," she said and Legolas pulled her close.
He kissed her and rested his chin on her head, "It is, but I believe this is all for the best. Our time has come and all wounds will be healed once we arrive at Valinor."
Ariel snuggled into him, "Legolas?"
"I'm scared," she said.
Ariel had not the slightest idea of what awaited them once they reached the Undying Lands and after building a life in Ithilien for most of her life, it was the only home she'd ever truly known. She'd been so sure of herself when she told Legolas they should sail and deep in her own heart, she knew it was the right thing for their family. Now that the day had arrived, it was all so final, she would never see Middle Earth again and the thought of leaving all she'd ever known was frightening.
Legolas gently raised her chin and looked into her eyes. "I know, lirimear, but I will be at your side through these changes. Ithilien has been good to us but we will make new memories in Valinor, worry not."
Ariel kissed him gently, "I feel safe when I am in your arms."
Legolas smiled, "Then I will hold you for as long as you need me to, melamin." He wrapped his arms tightly around his wife, letting her know that he was there to protect her, to chase her fears and worries away. Right away Ariel felt as though everything was going to be alright, with Legolas, Élion and Elenya at her side. They could make a home anywhere as long as they were together.
"What if I need you to hold me forever?" she teased, trying to lighten the conversation.
Legolas grinned, "Then I will never let you go."
Ariel knew that while Legolas was jesting, on some level he meant what he said. He would do anything she asked of him. All these years later, Ariel was just as, if not more, in love with this fiercely loyal, caring elf that had stolen her heart. To this day, she wondered how she could have been so lucky. He was perfect, he loved her and he had given her two beautiful children; Ariel couldn't ask for more.
"Come Ariel," said Legolas, "Élion and Elenya are waiting with Gimli. The boat is ready."
Ariel sighed and gathered the last of her belongings. With one last look at the bedroom, she took Legolas' hand and nodded.
"You haven't forgotten anything?" he asked looking over at the amulet which his wife had rested on the bed.
Ariel shook her head, "There is much sadness tied to it, it should remain here," she said, "We are going to make new, happier memories in Valinor. I am ready to move forward."
Legolas walked over to the bed and picked up the amulet before returning to his wife and placing it in her hands, "You can still move forward and think of your parents, sweet one," He said tenderly, "You should keep it. Our children will want to have something of their grandparents."
After a moment, Ariel nodded and Legolas took her hand once more, bringing it up to kiss her knuckles lightly.
Together they walked to the door of the chamber, gently closing it, and with the small clicking sound; both knew that another chapter in their lives had ended.
The four of them stood together on the pier, staring up at the ship as they realized there was no going back. Ariel held Elenya in her arms and was attempting to calm her nerves by occupying the child. She felt torn as she prepare to sail away from all the certainty in her life.
Élion looked up at his father, "This is it," he said with a sigh.
Legolas smiled sadly, "It is."
His son had grown into a wonderful ellon, who would someday come to greatness, of that he was certain. Legolas thought of the day Élion was born and marvelled at how much time had passed. It seemed only yesterday, he'd been teaching his son to hold a bow for the very first time and now he was a master archer. Thirty years had elapsed in the blink of an eye.
"I am proud of you, ion nîn," he said placing his hand on Élion's shoulder, "You are an exemplary older brother to your sister and you have helped your mother come to terms with the changes that lie ahead."
Élion smiled, "Thank you adar."
"Alright, no more of this sentimental stuff," interrupted Gimli. He was impatient to get this voyage over with, "Elves...I can't believe that I'm going to live among them. This is a thing unheard of."
Legolas looked over at his dear friend and laughed, "Gimli, I am pleased to say that in all these years, you have not changed."
The dwarf grumbled, which highly amused Legolas. Ariel walked over to her husband and gently kissed him.
"Are we ready?" she asked.
Legolas nodded and bent down to kiss Elenya's forehead, "We are."
Élion took his mother's hand and slowly they walked up the wooden ramp of the ship together.
Legolas took one last long look at all they were leaving behind and said a final goodbye to their departed friends before he and Gimli followed suit.
Ariel handed Elenya to her older brother and moved to back of the ship to take it all in one last time. Never again would she see the beautiful forests of Ithilien, the towering white walls of Minas Tirith nor the marvels of the Golden Wood, and her heart grew heavy.
Legolas appeared behind her with Gimli and the three companions watched as they slowly, calmly began to sail away towards the horizon.
"Well lad and lass," said Gimli, "One last journey huh?"
Ariel nodded, she was torn between not wanting to leave and wanting to start somewhere anew "It feels so strange, leaving."
"I am of the same mind lass, but at least we are doing this together," said the dwarf sadly.
Legolas smirked, "Now Gimli, you are not getting sentimental on us after all this time?"
"Of course not, elf, I am merely trying to comfort your wife. Something you are not too good at, might I add," grumbled the dwarf.
Ariel laughed and put her arms around her husband, she could always count on Gimli for comedic relief. Legolas looked incredulously at his friend and the dwarf smiled triumphantly.
As the Grey Havens slowly disappeared from view, they all grew silent; reflecting on all that had led them to this point and all that they would miss. They would never set foot on Arda again and the race of men would continue to thrive without them.
Ariel whispered a silent farewell to the world she knew and Legolas held her tightly in his arms. Though he was ready to sail, leaving behind the world he called home was one of the most difficult decisions he'd ever made.
Gimli wiped a stray tear from his eyes, though he would swear later on that it was nothing more than a speck of dust. Middle Earth disappeared into the distance along with everything they'd ever known, save for the memories that they took with them.
"I love you," whispered Legolas only loud enough for Ariel to hear, "Everything will be alright."
She smiled and kissed him tenderly, "I know," she said, "I love you too. I just have to keep telling myself that this is simply the beginning of another chapter in our lives."
"As long as it is our life together, it will be wonderful," said Legolas, "I am here, melamin."
Before Ariel could kiss him again, Gimli grumbled, "Will the two of you stop with the sentimental displays? It will be difficult enough to ward off the seasickness. I would appreciate not being given another reason to hurl."
Ariel giggled, "Sorry Gimli," she bent down and kissed the dwarf right on the cheek and Gimli blushed furiously.
"Well I was not expecting that," he said.
Legolas raised his eyebrows in amusement, "Neither was I. My love, you did not tell me you'd developed a soft spot for dwarves."
Ariel smirked before looking nonchalantly at her husband, "I simply tired of elves."
Gimli clapped his hands together in triumph and Ariel ran as far from Legolas as the deck would allow her. He was going to make her pay for that one.
The elf grinned before chasing after his wife; all worries and qualms were already forgotten.
Gimli simply shook his head and smiled, "So, Aragorn" he said to the wind, as he watched the Legolas tackle a giggling Ariel to the ground, "It seems we've already begun making new memories, just as you desired for us. Rest in peace, my old friend."
With that the dwarf moved to help Ariel fight off Legolas; knowing all of their loved ones were watching over them.
Thranduil sat in his study reading when one of his attendants let themselves in.
The elven King raised an eyebrow questioningly.
"Your highness, the Prince and Princess have reached our shores," said the elf and Thranduil immediately dropped the book in his hands.
His heart pounded like a drum in his chest and a small smiled formed on his lips. After decades of waiting and missing his family, he was to finally be reunited with them.
"When did they arrive?" asked Thranduil urgently.
"Their boat was spotted in the distance moments ago. They will soon be docked. Shall, I instruct them to find you in your study when they have settled, your highness?" asked the attendant and Thranduil shook his head.
"No, I will meet them," he insisted, "I will wait no longer, it has already been far too long."
Hastily, the King sat up from his chair and walked at a brisk pace with a very confounded attendant at his heels. The King was not one to display his emotions so freely but this day, Thranduil was not holding back. He had missed Legolas and Ariel and he was anxious to see Élion after so many years apart.
Just as he had predicted, he had found peace in Valinor that he could not find in Middle Earth. Leaving his family had been a necessary sacrifice and for the first time in millennia, he was no longer pained. The only thing he lacked to complete his newfound tranquility was to be reunited with he loved, and finally the day had come.
Picking up speed, he defied all sense of propriety and made his way to the stable. He mounted the first horse he saw, ignoring the concerned shouts of the guards as he galloped away and made for the pier. Thranduil urged his horse onward, he could not get there fast enough. They had over three decades to make up for and he was not going to waste another moment.
Ariel and Legolas marvelled as they took in the beauty of the land. Never in their entire lives had they ever imagined Valinor would be so beautiful; it was almost beyond description.
"It is... spectacular," said Gimli, he was completely overwhelmed as he took in the high city walls of flawless white marble standing tall in the distance. The surrounding forests were like nothing he'd ever seen and he would almost admit they pleased him more than caves.
"This our home?" asked Élion in wonder.
Legolas nodded, though he was speechless. Ithilien could not compare to the beauty his eyes drunk in at this very moment.
Ariel's heart pounded with excitement and she immediately wondered how she could have been so fearful of sailing. This was truly paradise and she knew that from this moment forth, they would be forever at peace.
Élion looked down at his younger sister and smiled, "There, little one, we are home."
The toddler's eyes stared widely at her surroundings and Legolas laughed, "She is overwhelmed as we all are."
Ariel walked over to her husband as the boatmen unloaded their belongings, "Now we must find your father."
Legolas did not respond and instead furrowed his eyebrows as he looked into the distance.
"Is everything alright, my love?" asked Ariel. When she looked to see what had caught Legolas' attention, she noticed a horse and rider galloping at full speed towards them and upon closer inspection she realized with astonishment that the rider was Thranduil.
"Is that your father?" she asked incredulously.
Legolas smirked, "It is. I never thought I would see such a sight. You will remind me to tease him later."
The elf sighed in contentment, he'd had much on his mind before leaving Middle Earth, but seeing his father now made him realized how much he'd missed him.
The horse soon came to a halt before them and Thranduil dismounted, a smile gracing his lips. It was almost too good to be true, finally his family stood in front of him. He was so joyful that he wasn't even slightly bothered by the presence of the dwarf.
He gave Gimli a small nod before walking to his son.
"Legolas," he said pulling him into an embrace. Legolas smiled, now that he was reunited with his father, he felt whole again.
"I've missed you, ion nîn," said Thranduil pulling away to look at his son, taking him in and committing every detail to memory.
"It feels good to be home adar, I've missed you dearly," said Legolas before pulling his father in for another embrace. Thranduil sighed contentedly and held him close.
Ariel watched happily as father and son clung to one another and before she knew what was happening, Thranduil was pulling her into his arms.
"My dear, you are radiant," he said.
Ariel giggled and held her father-in-law close, "Still a charmer, I see. We've missed you so."
Thranduil smiled before kissing her cheek, "I've missed you as well. Now where is my grandson?"
Élion soon stepped forward with Elenya in his arms, unable to keep the tears of happiness from his eyes. He had waited many years for this moment.
Thranduil looked upon his grandson tenderly. He remembered the 14 year old elfling that he had been forced to leave behind decades earlier but what stood before him now was an ellon who would have looked a mirror image of Legolas, save for his dark locks.
"It is astonishing to see how you've grown. You are no longer an elfling but a strong, young ellon. I regret that I have missed some of your most important years" said Thranduil kissing Élion's brow, unable to hold back his own tears, "but did I not tell you we would be reunited someday?"
Élion nodded, "You did and I have looked forward to this moment from the day you sailed, Grandfather."
"We will never be separated again," said Thranduil. He looked down at the small toddler in Élion's arms and his heart swelled. She was beautiful, "Now who is this little one?"
"Adar, we would like you to meet our youngest, Elenya," said Legolas.
The King looked upon the child, who shared the same name as his wife, and a small tear made its way down his cheek.
"She is beautiful," he said, his voice shaking slightly "May I hold her?"
Ariel nodded as Élion handed the child over to his grandfather. Thranduil looked into the deep blue eyes of the little girl and stroked her golden locks.
"You look just like her, little one," said the King with a smile, "Your grandmother would have been overjoyed."
That evening, Ariel and Legolas snuck into the garden of Thranduil's palace.
Guiding his giggling wife amongst the roses and orchids, Legolas smirked.
"What is so funny?" he asked.
"I feel like we are back on our first night in Minas Tirith, when you showed me the garden," said Ariel.
Legolas came to a halt and lay down on one of the soft patches of grass, pulling a surprised Ariel down with him. He looked into her eyes and slowly, passionately kissed her, the woman who had captivated him so long ago in the woods, the woman who held his heart from the first night they looked at the stars together in the White City.
Ariel kissed him back with equal fervour as she ran her hands through his silky hair. After all this time, Legolas still managed to make her weak in the knees and send her heart racing.
He cupped her face and tucked her hair behind her ear, "I hope you will be happy here. Your happiness means everything to me."
She smiled and gently kissed him, "I will be happy as long as I am with you and our children. I still cannot believe how lucky I am. That day I happened upon you in the woods was the best day of my life."
Legolas smiled and pulled her close to him as they watched the stars high up in the night sky.
"It was meant to be, lirimear," he said taking her hand in his, running his thumb over the the gold wedding band on her finger. Every hardship they had endured, every obstacle in their way had only served to make their love stronger and now they had eternity ahead of them.
Ariel interlaced their fingers and sighed happily, "I want to have another child."
Legolas turned to look at her and smirked, "Are you asking me to get to work right away?"
He received a playful hit on the arm, "In all seriousness, Legolas," she said smiling, "I am ready. We are finally home and the moment is right."
Legolas looked into Ariel's golden eyes and kissed her lovingly, "I would want nothing more than for us to have another child."
"The stars are shining for us tonight," said Ariel and Legolas smiled. He would do it all over again, endure every moment of pain and overcome every barrier just to see the love shining in her eyes as it did now. Finding the companion to one's soul was a rare, beautiful thing and Legolas felt that the Valar had truly blessed him.
"No, They shine for you," he took her hand and placed it on his beating heart, "and this beats only for you." Through their bond she could feel the love coursing through him and her heart fluttered.
Ariel kissed him, smiling against his lips. His emotions were hers and hers were his. There was nothing more powerful or more wonderful in the whole world.
"I love you, my beautiful wife" said Legolas tracing her face, "Forever is ours."
And indeed it was. Nothing had ever felt so right and though they would look back fondly on their days in Arda, they knew they had come home and the rest of eternity would be filled with nothing but love and happiness.
"I love you," said Ariel, "and I will spend the rest of forever showing you."
Legolas kissed her passionately and Ariel melted into his embrace as the stars continued to shine brightly above them. There in his strong, loving arms, she was right where she belonged.
lirimear – lovely one
adar – father
melamin – my love
ion nîn – my son
A/N: :( :( :( I'm so sad, its over. I'm actually going to cry. Thank you so much to everyone who read this story, who laughed and cried with me. Your support has meant the world and I cannot thank you enough. I'm overwhelmed by the following this has received and I couldn't have done it without all of you!
I hope you all have enjoyed this last chapter. Also what would you all think of a sequel that chronicles their adventures in Valinor?
I'm writing another story, "Worlds Apart" so if you want to take that journey with me, I will be more than happy to have you along for the ride.
Thank you again!