Chapter 20 – The Future
Jasmine lost count of the time that had passed where she stood watching her husband stare at the ground. His eyes were wide as he gazed at the spot where his uncle had vanished and at his lids beads of tears had already begun to swell. She tried squeezing his arm in reassurance, but nothing tore him from his trance.
"Phew, that was a close one," Genie moved beside them to share in the sight. "Nice thinking, kid."
"I didn't," Aladdin shook his head softly. "I didn't mean to… Is he gone?"
"Good as gone," the genie nodded with a smile. Jasmine glared at the great-being for missing the man's clear distress. The thief glanced at the lamp in his hand before staring at his free palm as if it were bathed in blood.
"I, I killed him?" He asked quietly. The genie shrunk his giant body to stand at their level while his eyes softened with compassion.
"Magic was all that kept him alive all these years. Without the kingdom, his body could no longer survive."
"Ababwa? You mean it's gone?"
"Afraid so, kid."
"Everything, everyone there, they just disappeared?" Aladdin's voice became softer with every question.
"I'm sorry kid, but you did wish for all magic there to be gone. Everything in Ababwa was magic." A large blue hand fell upon his shoulder. "No one is meant to live forever."
"They were innocent," the prince shook his head.
"You said it yourself, they weren't real," Genie appeared to remind him. Jasmine opened her mouth to ask his meaning, but was quick to stop herself at the terrible sight of her husband's sorrow. Answers could wait. The genie twiddled his thumbs anxiously and the princess was surprised to watch him struggle with words. "But, you know kid, you still have one wish left. I could bring it all back. Well, all except the crazy guy of course."
Aladdin's expression molded between various emotions, from a hopeful smile to a disappointed frown all in the matter of seconds. He finally sighed before smirking at the genie mischievously.
"You could do that? Just bring them back?"
"Please," Genie scoffed dramatically. "It'd be like they never went away."
The thief smiled lightly before meeting her gaze. She returned his smile, regardless of her own confusion as she met his playful stare. He squeezed her hand before pulling away to face the genie. As he lifted the lamp, the blue man stretched his arms in preparation.
"Alright, here we go!" Genie shook his hands.
"Genie, I wish," he began as his hand skated along the side of the lamp.
"I'm ready," the genie stretched his great arms.
"I wish, to set you free."
"One magic kingdom coming… what?" The genie stuttered in great confusion. His wrists began to glow brightly as his bracelets started to vanish. Genie's mouth fell in awe as his body transformed on its own accord. His giant form was reduced to a normal man's height while his blue hue darkened to a natural color. "What?"
He nearly cried in disbelief and Jasmine's heart melted at his innocent expression. She didn't realize how fiercely she had been gripping Aladdin's arm, but his smile offered no indication that he was bothered. Dalia moved to stand beside them with an expression that matched their own.
"Wait, am I…?" The genie shook his head with skeptical eyes. He met the thief's gaze before insisting, "Wait, wait, wait. Um… tell me to do something."
"Um," Aladdin stuttered as he was placed on the spot. "Get me some jams."
Jasmine hardly refrained a smirk while the former genie winced; raising his brow in concern. "Get it yourself?"
Genie's eyes widened in surprise as no consequences followed and Aladdin smiled widely at his new friend.
"Get your own jams!" He exclaimed again with more excitement. Aladdin chuckled with a shake of his head, before the genie's expression collapsed in emotion.
Jasmine blinked away the silent tears as she watched the genie embrace her thief; once again basking in the joy of being bound to a man as humble as he. A soft tug at her arm pulled her gaze away and the princess turned to see her father.
"Sit with me, my child," he ordered gently. Jasmine obeyed, taking in the sight of her elder father. His skin had become wrinkled from days of great stress and she once again found herself wondering just how taxing Jafar's sorcery had been on the man. And yet, despite his aged body there was a glow in his stare that she hadn't seen in a great number of years. "You look happy."
Jasmine smirked at the comment before taking in the subtle tremble in the elder's voice. "Of course, Baba. Are you not?"
"There is much that weighs on my mind," he sighed before glancing above her shoulder. Following his gaze, together they watching the thief smiling beside Dalia and Genie. "Does he treat you well?"
The princess flinched at the question, but turned to smile. "Better than I deserve, baba. Though I'm sure he would disagree."
Her father breathed a sigh of relief before wiping away a fallen tear.
"He is a good man," the sultan smiled. Jasmine turned once again to see her husband, thankful that it had been him to seek her hand that dreadful day so long ago. With a stab of terror, she realized that this moment would not have happened without his intervention. Jafar undoubtedly would continue his secondhand reign and Agrabah would have fallen down its dark path. Without him the genie would have remained a prisoner and Dalia would not currently be prancing at his side. The princess was more than grateful to welcome the great relief the moment offered.
"He is everything that Agrabah deserves," she nodded with a smile.
Jasmine snapped her attention to her father with a raised brow. "Baba?"
"I'm sorry, Jasmine. I feared losing you. Like I lost your mother. I was so desperate to keep you safe and Jafar had promised to do so." The elder grasped her hand tightly. "You have shown me courage and strength. You are everything that our kingdom deserves. You are the future of Agrabah."
Jasmine's head began to spin as the man began removing his ring; the ring of a sultan. Her father lifted the item and gently placed it upon her palm. "You shall be the next sultan."
She shook her head in disbelief while running the tips of her fingers along the jewel. Only a moment later, the realization of his words sent a wave of emotion through the princess.
"Thank you, baba," she breathed through her tears.
"Do not thank me, my child," the man chuckled. "It was the boy's idea."
A grateful tear slid along her cheek as she turned to look for the thief. Unfortunately, she saw only her handmaiden strolling along beside the genie. "Where did he go?"
Aladdin stared hopelessly at the palace wall, recalling the days he had waited at the other side to see his princess. He had felt so small standing in its shadow while the guards stood by with a cautious eye. He had been nothing then, nothing but a filthy street rat without even a single piece of copper to his name. And yet, as the sun lowered just enough to put him in the shadows once again, he could not help but feel no different than he had then. He had simply managed to slip to the other side of the wall.
The thief sighed deeply, but nothing could rid his heart of the turmoil he felt. Because of him an entire kingdom had fallen in a matter of seconds. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself that they had all been fake, the memories he had created in Ababwa stalked his wounded heart. He was almost tempted to take his horse across the desert to it see for himself, but the colt that had carried him had already vanished. That, and the sword that had once swung at his waste had too dissolved into nothing. Only a fool would believe that he would find anything but desert.
"Surely you're not thinking about escaping by scaling a wall only fifty yards from the gates?" Jasmine's taunt lifted his frown as she moved beside him. He could not help but recall the moment he had found her stuck in the very vines they stared at now.
"At least I know where to put my feet," he retorted playfully.
"Bold of you to speak to your sultan in such a manner," she attempted to joke but he could hear only her elation. Aladdin turned to see her excitement and basked in the beauty of her joy.
"So your father came to his senses?" He asked knowingly. She answered by simply slipping a hand into his, while her head fell against his shoulder. Aladdin tensed at the undeserved contact and was reminded of his disgraceful roots.
The thief thought back to the last time they had stood in that place, recalling the disgust beneath her glare. For so long he had believed her harsh treatment to be unjust, though perhaps she had been right all along to be short with him. He had always been a thief, never anything more. He simply managed to fool her into believing that he could be worthy of a princess; he had even fooled himself. With a sigh, he was almost remorseful when met with her confused stare as he pulled away.
"What's wrong?" She asked quietly.
He ignored her worry as his eyes fell to the necklace at her chest, thankful that she had woken to find it. How fitting it was to have finally returned her treasure, just as he had once again become nothing. "It looks better on you."
Jasmine searched his gaze in confusion, failing to hide her concern.
"You deserve this," he smiled as his fingers played with the sultan's ring at her finger. Fighting desperately against his heartbreak. "You deserve so much."
"Aladdin," she whispered in concern. Her hands moved to cup his face, but his own clasped around her wrists before he was graced with her angelic touch. His eyes closed to hide the tears as he brought her fists to his lips and he prolonged the kiss as he knew it would be the last they felt her skin.
"You deserve more than me," he whispered against her fingers. However, when he opened his eyes expecting to find her confusion linger, he found only an impatient glare.
"More than you?" Her brow raised. "Where is this coming from?"
"My entire life has been a lie," he sighed. Swallowing hard before continuing. "Ababwa was nothing more than an old man's wish for a perfect kingdom."
"Ababwa," she whispered as her gaze narrowed in thought. "The king, your father, he had found the lamp?"
"He and Abbas," Aladdin nodded. "And now, nothing remains except a memory. All of my training, all of my accomplishments are false. I am no prince."
Jasmine appeared to think for a moment before surprising him with a smirk and this time she refused to allow him to deny her. Her thumbs grazed along the sides of his face as she scolded him with a glare.
"I would think of all people that you would know that I have no interest in status," she spoke firmly.
"Jasmine, the law says…"
"The law can be altered by a sultan's power. The law will be altered," she interrupted. Her grip tightened as she stepped in closer with a smile. "And besides, whether you like it or not, you are already bound to me."
Aladdin smirked as her head fell against his chest. He finally brought his arms around her and welcome the sweet warmth he had missed. "Well, your father's sword could change that if you truly desire it."
Jasmine chuckled lightly against his shirt before sighing. "I would have eagerly taken my thief's hand had it been he who had arrived that day. Instead, he came hiding behind a mask of treasures."
"I would not have been allowed to marry you if I hadn't," he pointed.
"You could have told me," her voice softened. "It would have spared you my rage."
Aladdin began to shake his head, but before he could promise that he would have endured it all again for the same outcome she whispered again.
"For freeing me." She raised her head to meet his gaze, while her arm rose once more to push away intruding hairs from his eyes. "You have given me everything I thought I could never have."
Aladdin scoffed in doubt. "A necklace that wasn't even mine?"
"Jafar is gone." She ignored his jest. "My father is free of his curse and I am finally allowed to speak for my people. Most of all, I am bound to a man that I can actually tolerate."
"Tolerate?" His own brow raised with his smirk. "You should write poetry with such romantic language."
"You know what I mean," she laughed with a shake of her head. For a moment, they stood in silence before she whispered against his shoulder. "Tell me our future."
The request finally brought a smile as Aladdin sighed in content. The thief recalled the stress of asking the same question seemingly so long ago, expecting a bleak outcome from the stubborn princess who was so blinded by fury. He certainly never expected the path they had taken. His chin fell against her hair after placing a lasting kiss at her forehead.
"You're going to be loved at your coronation," he assured. "We'll rebuild the orphanage and help our people grow. We can travel the world on a magic carpet, seeing a new sight every night."
"I like the sound of that," she sighed in content. Aladdin mumbled in agreement before continuing.
"I'll give you as many children as you desire," he promised before smirking. "I'm thinking ten."
"Ten?!" She exclaimed against his chest.
"An argument could be made for nine." He failed to contain his laughter as she lifted her head. "Eight?"
Jasmine shook her head playfully before silencing him with a kiss. Her fingers clasped at his shoulders and the warmth of her body was finally enough to banish his worries. Together they reveled in the touch that they had been denied for days and the memory of nearly losing her only tightened his arms around her. When they finally parted, the softness of her eyes melted away all his foolish worries.
"So, sultana," he smiled. "What shall we do first?"
"Meet our people," she stated with a smile. Aladdin took her hand with a nod as they began to walk towards the gates. The very same gates that had kept them apart for so long. Only now as they passed through together, the guards did not scowl at him in disgust and instead saluted as they walked hand in hand.
The moment they stepped foot onto the open streets, they were surrounded by smiling faces. Aladdin stepped away to allow her the chance to be with her people. Though he was thankful that it would be the first of many moments. He stood back watching her greet each child as if they were one of her own. Knowing that the bit of kindness she offered would see them fight for another day. With a smile, he remembered how that same expressions had saved his own life.
"Hey kid," a large hand fell upon his shoulder. Aladdin craned his neck to see Genie standing beside him. The once powerful being smiled at the sight. "Still worried about Ababwa?"
"I'll miss them," the thief sighed. He would never forget the friends he had made, nor the family that had given him the chance to see this moment. However, as the handmaiden slipped an arm through the genie's to watch the princess hug another soul, he finally smiled in content. "But I wouldn't change a thing."
A/N – Friends, thank you for sticking around until the end. I am so glad that I was able to finish the story and I hope you all feel this is a good conclusion. It's been a pleasure to write and communicate with you all. I just watched Star Wars this last weekend, so there might be story potential in that area, if anyone's is interest than hit that follow button. I hope that Aladdin 2 gets an official go and that I will step foot in this fandom again in the future! Until the next story, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!
Katiepierce23 – That is very kind of you to say! I am so glad that you think so and I hope that you enjoy the end! Thanks for reading!
Shyguest3 – Alright! Good to see you with your official account! Aww I am very honored and thank you so much for the reviews you've left. I hope that you enjoyed the ending!
Jellybean – I am glad that you have been enjoying the adventure of this story! I am very happy that I ended up writing it as well, it has been a pleasure to make it through until the end. Thank you so much for all your reviews and for reading until the end! :)
RosePetal158 – Aww I am so glad to hear! You're very welcome and thank you for reading!
Uia – Sad indeed, but at least he has a new family :) Thank you so much for all of your reviews and for reading this far!
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Malila Rose – Great to hear! I'm glad that you enjoyed the chapter and the story in general! Thank you so much for reading and I hope that you enjoyed the ending!
Aviator – You are very welcome! I am glad that you have enjoyed both my stories! I am sure that I'm not done writing, I'm toying around with a Star Wars idea but haven't started anything yet. I do hope that I return to the Aladdin fandom because I do have a daddy fic half-written, but at the current moment I have unfortunately lost the drive to finish. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed the ending chapter!
AmethystDragon14 – I am so glad to hear that! I hope you enjoyed the ending chapter and thank you for all your reviews! :)