Legend of Emeralds

AN: Here it is: the end. I hope you enjoy it!

shadow 3013: I think I said to someone else, but you never see Katie's reaction in the story - it made my head hurt. But perhaps I'll write it to go with my other snippets at some point. I like Burton, too - it's rather a shame I didn't have more of the story with him in. The snippets may come in handy there as well... Anyway, thanks for reviewing; I've really appreciated all your praise while writing this. I hope you like the ending.

sunk batch: I'm glad I could manage some sweetness for you - possibly you'll think the epilogue qualifies, too! Thanks so much for reviewing so often, and I hope my story was cute enough (despite the angst) to satisfy you. I hope you like the ending!

blessed-dragon: So soon for you, perhaps, but not for me! It's been months since I started this, and I haven't written very much else in the meantime, so I'll actually be rather pleased to work on other stuff. Still, it brings warmth to my heart to know that you like the story still, and while I wouldn't dare apply the word 'lucky' to David and Philip - not with all their angst! - I will admit to having a soft spot for happy endings. Thanks for reviewing so often, and I hope you like the end!

Totally Raven: Yeah, Burton's pretty cool, but he fades out in this chapter, I'm afraid. However, I'm sure he'll have a huge role if I ever decide to write a sequel. Anyway, Katie is back in this chapter (although not much), and she'll figure widely in the snippets I plan on posting after this. And don't worry about the bad things happening - this is the very last chapter, so it just gets used to tie everything up in a neat little bundle. Apologies for the shortness of last chapter - it was going to be part of the epilogue, but then I changed my mind, thus them both being short. Thank you for your compliments towards New Zealand - and I now have evidence to use against my Australian friends that I'm better than them. Muah. Sorry about not much happening next, and thankyou hugely for being an absolutely excellent reviewer!

Some random reviewer (): I'm afraid you have discovered the story just as it makes it's final bow - still, I'm glad that you did, and thanks very much for reviewing! I hope you like the epilogue, short though it is.

Marlyse: Well, Burton is technically a valet, but the distinction is a small one sometimes. I'm glad that you liked the chapter, and I hope you like the epilogue, too. Thank you very much for being a wonderful reviewer for the story!

Chapter 27: Epilogue

David had his arms folded on the stern rail, gazing back with an unreadable face. The wind toyed with his unbound hair, sending strands of it flickering delicately over his features, but his expression didn't change, remaining pensive around a pair of eyes that reflected the cloudy skies.

Philip came up beside him, muttering something under his breath as a larger than usual wave made the boat pitch, making him lose his grace and lurch slightly into the rail beside his lover. David, listening, decided that it was probably a dire indictment against all forms of travel that spoiled the redhead's poise.

"Feeling better?" he asked with a slight smile, turning slightly towards the other man.

Philip grimaced. "Yes, I suppose," he sighed. "I thought it was girls who were meant to get disgracefully seasick, but Katie's fine. She's flirting with the sailors." This last was added with an eyeroll.

"Scandalous creature," her brother remarked absently. "I wonder if I should go rein her in?"

"She'll get bored of it soon enough," Philip shrugged tolerantly. "Anyway, there's no one to stare at us now."

David looked back again at the country they'd just left, the land a dark, brooding line above murky green sea. "Do you think we'll ever go back?" he asked softly.

"Maybe," Philip said, voice equally quiet now. "Someday. When people have forgotten us, we can go back, under assumed names, see how it's all changed." He leaned closer to David then. "But it doesn't matter, whether we do return or not. I don't need England. I have you. All I care about is on this boat. You, my clothes -" This made David's mood lighten, as Philip had known it would, and the brunet laughed ruefully. "And if we do go back, under a false name, I think I want to be a Count."

David shook his head at Philip's flippancy, but straightened his back again with a wistful sigh. "Fare thee well, England," he said with half-mocking melodrama, raising a hand to his lips and blowing the far off land a kiss.

Katie came up behind them, the breeze frisking merrily with her skirt in a way that made it unsurprising how amenable the sailors were to her. "What are you boys still doing back here?" It had taken her a while to adjust to being accepted back into their group, and to accept them in turn, but they were both now beginning to regard her as a younger sister once more - and she was even starting to accept Philip as a kind of brother-in-law, something David suspected they could owe to the influence of her new maid and friend, Rachel. "Come on, we can see France!"

She turned, to lead the way back to the prow of the ship. Following behind, Philip flung an arm around David's shoulders to steady himself against the sway of the deck as they went to see the new land they were approaching, and David felt a lift in his heart.

Because sometimes, you have to leave your regrets behind, and trust in happy endings - and emeralds.


Final Note: I realise that that was probably the most ridiculously corny last lines I could have created, but I'm afraid I just couldn't resist. I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who read this story, particularly those who also reviewed - remember, it's not too late.

I would also like to thank Emily and Nadia, my two lovely - not quite beta-readers, I'll go with 'fangirls' for the sake of accuracy. Since I started to bring this story to a close, they've been saying things about a sequel. Quite frighteningly enthusiastic things, in Emily's case. To that, and anyone else at all interested, my reply is maybe someday. I may have time to start contemplating one over the summer holidays. Also a thank you to Ril, who came to the story later than them, but was just as gleeful about it, and has said invaluably adoring things and pointed out several typos.

In the meantime, I will shortly be releasing Chips of Emerald, a collection of snippets, crack, and deleted scenes from this story, because I love it too much to let it die.

Shameless plugging, here - other stories going up on my account in the next few weeks will include a one-shot by the name of In the Genes and a story called Midnight Stranger, which is another Regency, but this time with highwaymen. Please feel free to read them.