Aragorn gave up a soft moan as he allowed himself to collapse on the wide, soft bed, wearing nothing but soft trousers.

He had just returned from a hunt after a few straying wargs, which were easily enough dealt with, few and lost as they were.

He absentmindedly pulled a hand through his still only half dried, dark hair and closed his eyes with a sigh. The battle might have been smaller than most he had known, especially during the war, and neither he nor Eomer had lost any men, but there had been several hard struggles, both on the battlefield and in the healing tents, after the fact, to keep all men alive. After having used his gifts to this extent, he was beyond exhausted.

Aragorn tensed as he suddenly felt a hand trace over his skin, and threw his eyes open with a gasp, only to see his wife leaning down over him, her dark hair almost reaching his own as she bent closer, running ever so gentle fingertips across his cheek in a caress. He gave her a sheepish smile.

Arwen sat down by her beloved husband, smiling warmly. "I did not mean to startle you…" she could not hold back a small, slightly worried, laughter "but you were just lying there… it was all too tempting".

Aragorn smiled back, looking up at her softly, his eyes almost as tender as they were tired. "Well, I always was yours for the taking, anyway". His queen smiled back at him, but then suddenly became serious. "How are you? What happened? Are you hurt?" Aragorn shook his head lightly. "No, not at all… Well, I might have bruised my knuckles at one point…" he laughed, this too softly "hardly a serious injury. And as for the rest… Well, we found the wargs. They're dead, as you might have heard already. We seem to all have gotten out of it alive" he looked up at her seriously, through his exhaustion "hopefully it will stay that way".

Arwen nodded, still looking worried "but you are all spent…" her husband closed his eyes once more. "I will not deny it. It was long now since I had to use my healing abilities to this extent. Or those of battle, at that". Arwen sighed, looking down on her tired husband, gathering all her force of will to make herself stand. Trying to make her voice light and soothing as she said "I will let you get some rest. Sleep well, Estel". It did not fool him at all, of course.

Aragorn smiled softly again as his wife kissed his forehead. "You need not go for that" he opened his tired eyes with an act of will alone and patted the bed beside him, his gesture showing clearer than words that he understood, and more than that, understood her need to get to be near him. See him, touch him, know for herself that her was not hurt. "Relax, my love".

Arwen offered him a warm, loving smile back. "You are right. I am happy to see you back, and whole…" her eyes instinctively darted over him, stopping at the white, soft bandage tied over his left hand. She gratefully sat back down.

The king smiled fondly, the smile still reaching his eyes as he closed them, not caring to actually tuck himself into bed at this point. Arwen, as if reading his thoughts, started to move the covers, and tucking him in under them, gently ran a hand across his chest, wondering momentarily if her husband was already asleep. A soft, whispered "thank you, my love" confirmed that he was not.

Arwen sat down beside him, leaning comfortably into a few pillows and the headboard, eying the love of her life attentively. His calm, soft breathing betrayed him to be asleep within a minute. Or less.

She kept watching him as the minutes went on, and he slept. Finally, unable to resist any longer, she reached out and touched his shoulder, tucking him in better and tracing her hand over his smooth, warm skin, feeling ever so thankful that he was back again. He had been gone for only half a week, but it had felt like decades. And some of the longest decades she had ever witnessed, at that.

She exhaled slowly, letting herself relax as she slowly moved her hand downwards over his collar bone and chest, loving every moment of getting to touch him, caressing as she went. Of getting to belong with here, with whom she loved most of all. To get to be his queen. She knew no deeper joy.

So, just to prove that I actually do know of the great love between those two, and, even thought it can seem like not (as my own extensive AU cuts her out), I really do love Arwen, not to mention her and Aragorn together. Their lovestory is actually very, very dear to my heart, and that is really why I started to figure what an immense impact their love had, on them and on the overall story, on middle earth, and how the book would be without it. I have spoken of their commitment before, and with commitment, I meant this. The greatest lovestory since Beren and Luthien.

I do in no way own them; Aragorn, nor Arwen, and mean no copyright infringement, make no money from this, and write it only to entertain. This story now has a companion piece, "The King and His Queen", as well as a final continuation: "the Prince and His Parents"! The first set before their marriage, after Aragorn's coronation, and the latter set a few years after this one. They can be read independently, but if you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy them as well.

More LotR shortstories, connected or half-connected to my longer "What If" arc, you can find on my profile under the name "These Plot Bunnies Who Bite", as can that arc itself. Reviews are appreciated.