A/N:There are a number of people responsible for this fluffy piece of nonsense - two of whom have no idea who I am. The first is the artist of a lovely Eomer/Lothiriel image featuring our delightful couple standing in a pool of water. My apologies to this person as I neither know their name or where the image is archived, but it is truly inspirational. The second is Novedhelion, who wrote the wonderful Trust to Hope story. (If you haven't read it go immediately to the Open Scrolls Archive.) Anyway, Novedhelion wrote a wonderful Eomer/Lothiriel romance, which has now spun off into a second story BUT - and it's a big but - our poor couple have yet to consummate their marriage in her story. Which brings me to the third culprit - my good friend rynogeny. We spent much time muttering that poor Eomer must be terribly frustrated by all the lack of (coughs with embarrassment) bedroom action. This story is one attempt to rectify that. It is, however, rate PG-13 so don't expect anything too steamy ;-)

And yes - I will be updating Rohan Conspiracy very soon!

Heat

Alone together at last, Eomer thought, as he followed his wife into their chamber. He closed the door with a sense of relief and momentarily rested his forehead against its smooth wooden surface. It had been a trying day – very, very trying in fact. Rohan was suffering from a heatwave, and as a result, tempers were short - a most unwelcome state of affairs given that he had spent the entire afternoon mediating a particularly difficult dispute over a parcel of land that no longer seemed to have a genuine owner.

"I'm dying," Lothiriel declared loudly from behind his back. "Why didn't anyone warn me that summer in Rohan was like living in a potter's kiln?"

He sighed wearily and then turned from the door, intending to comment that the extreme heat was not at all usual. However, the sight of his beautiful, young wife stole his breath away and banished all thoughts of disputes and weather. In the brief few moments that they'd been alone together, she'd stripped off her dress and flopped backwards onto their bed with one arm thrown over her head. Her hair was a cascade of dark curls against the creamy white of the bedspread, and her thin petticoat clung to her curves in a manner that sent the blood rushing from his brain to far more interesting parts of his body. She was stunning. Desirable. And all his.

She lifted her head off the bed and looked at him with a puzzled expression that almost immediately turned to disbelief as her eyes moved down his body to his crotch. "Oh no, Eomer, you can't possibly be thinking... In this heat?"

"I can't help it," he said. "Just looking at you, lying there... on your back, looking... wanton."

"Wanton?' She gave a soft laugh. "This is not wanton. It's heat exhaustion. I'm so hot and sticky that if you try anything we'll most likely be glued together permanently."

Eomer chortled as he began to unlace his shirt. "I could think of worse fates."

"You are incorrigible," she retorted. She pushed herself onto one elbow and gave him a long suffering look that softened into one of desire. "However, I would not have you think I would shirk my wifely duties." She tugged her petticoat over her head, cursing softly as the material clung to her sweaty skin. When finally she was naked she flopped back onto the bed again. "There. I'm all yours. Do with me as you will."

"Such sweet romantic words," Eomer commented dryly. He dropped his shirt onto the floor, but was dismayed to discover he wasn't any cooler without the garment. The air in their room was unpleasantly humid. Despite the fact that both windows were thrown wide open, there was not so much as a hint of a breeze to relieve the heavy weight of the air.

"This really is unbearable," Lothiriel complained, with a heavy sigh.

"That isn't what you said the other night," Eomer teased, knowing very well that she was referring to the temperature rather than his lovemaking. "But if you truthfully find me so repugnant..."

Horrified, she sat up. "I didn't mean that you were unbearable, Eomer." She pouted as he laughed and she realised she'd fallen for his trap. "That was mean."

By the time he'd removed the rest of his clothes, sweat was trickling between his shoulder blades and the oppressive heat had sapped his energy. He dropped onto the bed next to her and stared up at the ceiling. "I hate to admit it," he said. "But you're right. This heatwave is unbearable. I can barely breathe in here, let alone make love to you."

She propped herself up on one elbow again and looked down at him, disappointment now plainly written across her face. "It would seem that your earlier enthusiasm is somewhat deflated."

He groaned in frustration. Six days. It had been six days since this unrelenting humid quagmire that passed as weather had hit Rohan – making it difficult to sleep and quite literally damping his thoughts of being amorous. While he had no objections to ending up hot and sweaty in bed with Lothiriel, it was all together less romantic to start off feeling sticky and uncomfortable. Suddenly, though, he had an idea. Of course. Why hadn't he thought of it before? Rolling off the bed he scooped Lothiriel's petticoat from the end of the bed. "Put that back on," he said, as he reached for his pants.

"Why?" she asked, wrinkling her nose in distaste as she pulled the damp fabric over her head.

He gave her a wolfish grin and then took her hand and pulled her gently towards the door. "You'll see."

"Eomer..."

He silenced her with a quick kiss. "Trust me," he said. "There's something I want to show you."

-------------------------

Don't think about it. Don't think about it. She stifled a semi-hysterical laugh at the knowledge that she was creeping through Meduseld dressed only in a flimsy petticoat. What was Eomer thinking? Oh wait, she knew what was occupying his thoughts, and it had nothing to do with the wearing of clothes. She just hoped her father didn't get to hear they spent their time sneaking through hallways scantily clad. Or her brothers. Eomer might be a king, but she could imagine they would have a few sharp words to say to him about this little escapade. The relaxed court etiquette of Rohan was altogether different to the more formal atmosphere of Dol Amroth – something for which she was extremely grateful.

Much to her surprise, they managed to reach the outside door without being seen. It was dark outside and they were both barefoot, which slowed their progress somewhat, but within moments Lothiriel realised where they were going.

"Eomer," she hissed. "You had better not be thinking of rolling me in the hay in that beloved stable of yours."

He turned to her, his expression one of mock hurt. "As if I would treat my queen like a serving wench."

She snorted. "Oh, was it then not my king who was responsible for the straw in my hair but two weeks ago?"

He laughed softly. "As I recall, my dearest wife, it was you who took advantage of me."

She joined in his laughter. "Oh yes, so it was." Memory of the incident sent a shiver of anticipation through her. They'd been out riding, and ended up in a race which, she was well aware, Eomer had allowed her to win. On their return they had found the stable deserted; all the grooms and stable boys having already gone to dinner. The surprise on Eomer's face when she had decided to claim her prize there and then was something she would treasure for a long time. It was not, however, an experience to be repeated on a hot, sticky night.

Once they reached the stable, Eomer quickly retrieved Firefoot's bridle from the tack room, but he did not waste time collecting his saddle. He murmured softly to his horse as he slid the bridle over his head and settled the bit in place, and then he swung Lothiriel up on to Firefoot's back. With a pat to Firefoot's neck, he led them outside and then lithely vaulted up behind her. She sighed happily as she felt his strong arms encircle her waist and his muscular thighs against her legs. Not for the first time she thanked the gods for physical strength of her husband. And then they were off. Eomer urged Firefoot into a brisk trot and headed for the open gate of Edoras. As they got within a few yards he nudged the horse into a canter. They were out onto the grassy plains before the gate guard had chance to identify them.

"Where are we going?" Lothiriel asked, as Eomer slowed Firefoot and turned him north.

"You'll see," Eomer replied, leaning forward to plant a kiss on the back of her neck. "Just enjoy the ride."

That was one order she was only to glad to follow. She leaned back against him and let her senses enjoy the moment. The rich aroma of horse and grassland. The movement of Firefoot's strong muscles against her legs and the press of Eomer's bare chest against her back. The tickle of his beard on her neck as he once again leaned forward to press his lips against her skin. The beauty of the Rohan night with its sparkling stars and silvery moonlight.

"A river?" She heard the music of the water before she caught sight of the grey band curving through the darkness of the landscape.

"I've been sadly remiss in not bringing you out here sooner," Eomer said quietly. "There is a spot just along here that is one of my favourite places in all of Rohan."

It was more of a stream than a river, she realised when they reached its banks. Barely a stone throw across, it was little more than knee deep – a gurgling swirl of water that spilled past tiny islands of tussocky grass. Eomer turned Firefoot to the west and they meandered along at a leisurely walk for quite some time, heading upstream. After a while the ground began to rise. Eomer leaned forward again."Close your eyes," he said. "We're almost there and I want it to be a surprise."

She did as she was bid, and now she could hear the rush of the water growing louder.

"Whoa," Eomer said to Firefoot, who obediently came to a halt. "Don't look yet," he said to her.

"Eomer," she protested, impatient to see. He slid from behind her, and then she felt his hands around her waist. He lifted her from Firefoot's back, set her on her feet and then took her right hand in his.

"This way. No looking."

"It's a good job I trust you," she laughed, feeling dry grass beneath her feet as she allowed him to lead her.

"And stop," he said, resting his hands on her shoulders and gently turning her so she faced away from him. "You can open your eyes now."

She did. And a laugh of delight exploded from her at the sight. Unlike along the rest of the river, the banks here were stepped sharply. They created a secluded horse-shaped hollow at the closed end of which water tumbled from the top of the rise to the bottom in a rush of silvery bubbles that exploded in a small pool before once again returning to the gentle dance of the main river. "A waterfall. It's beautiful." She reached out and crushed the leaves of one of the many lush bushes that thrived in the shelter of the steep banks. The sharp scent of pine and lemon filled the air.

"I'm afraid it's rather small," Eomer said apologetically. "Barely as tall as Firefoot's shoulders, but it is the best I can offer you this close to Edoras."

She reached up and kissed his cheek. "It's lovely. And it's so much cooler here." She drew in a deep breath, relishing the feel of fresh air in her lungs.

A mischievous grin broke across Eomer's face. "You didn't think I bought you all this way just for the view did you?" He stripped out of his pants, completely at ease with his own body.

"Well, there are views and then there are views," she commented, drinking in the glorious sight of her naked husband in the moonlight.

Laughter rippled through him as he stepped forward, caught the hem of her petticoat and removed the garment in one smooth movement. "There certainly are," he murmured appreciatively. Then he caught her hand and led her towards the pool, only to momentarily hesitate. "You do swim, don't you?"

She was indignant. "Of course I swim. Dol Amroth is a coastal country." With that, she ran past him, determined to be first into the water. "Is it deep?" she asked.

"Deep enough," he replied.

She was up to her knees before she realised how cold it was. But by then Eomer had caught her up. Wrapping one arm around her waist, he pulled her with him as he did a shallow dive. Seconds later they both came up for air. Lothiriel was gasping for breath.

"You... didn't... tell me... it would be... freezing!" she complained, wrapping her arms over her chest and shooting an indignant look at Eomer.

He roared with laughter, and then flipped over, floating happily on his back, apparently completely at ease with the icy cold. "What did you expect? The water comes from the mountains."

"I'm turning blue," she protested.

"You've been complaining about being too hot for days."

"That doesn't mean I wish to become an icicle." She took a step towards the bank, but before she could take another he caught her arm, and spun her towards him.

"Let me warm you," he said, drawing her into his arms. She tilted her head up to make another sarcastic comment, but before she could form the words, his lips were on hers. Warm and moist. A shockwave of desire shot through her and the cold water lapping up to her waist was suddenly forgotten. All she could think about was the fact that Eomer's naked body was pressed up against hers, and that his tongue was seeking entry to her mouth. She gave herself up to kiss, savouring the familiar taste of him.

"Still cold?" he murmured, breaking the kiss long enough to allow them both to catch their breaths.

"Think I've moved from cold to merely chilled," she replied. "Perhaps you should kiss me some more."

His mouth found hers again, and she opened up to him, riding the wave of passion that was rising in her belly, spreading warmth through her limbs and sending a delightful tingle to that most intimate part of her. Locking her arms around his neck, she wrapped one leg around his hips. He responded instantly, dropping his hands to her buttocks and lifting her weight easily so that she could completely encircle him. She wriggled experimentally against him, and then leaned away in disappointment.

"Eomer?" she asked, searching his face for an answer to a rather unexpected problem.

Embarrassment raised the colour of his skin. "The water is very cold," he said.

She gave a peal of laughter and unwrapped herself from him. "Then, perhaps, we should seek a different venue where I might warm you." Taking his hand, she led him back to the river bank. "Perfect," she said as she found a spot of soft grass at the base of the steep incline. Pressing her lips to his, she pushed him gently to the ground. His skin was deliciously cool against hers as she settled herself on top of him, and starlight lit up his dark eyes as he gazed up at her with love and anticipation. Slowly she leaned forward and licked a drop of water from his shoulder. He shivered beneath her, but now it was not from the chill of the water dripping from her hair. She dipped her head, tasting the sweet river water as she trailed her tongue down the smooth plane of his chest to his right nipple, then taking it in her mouth she sucked gently and felt him buck beneath her with pleasure.

"Do with me as you will," he murmured, throwing one arm behind his head in imitation of her earlier pose.

She released him, laughing at his playful mockery. "Are you sure you're up to that?" she teased, rocking gently against him. His body responded instantly and the heated look he gave in answer seared through her, filling her with desire, overwhelming her with need. Oh yes, he was definitely up for it. Shifting her weight, she smoothed a strand of damp hair from his forehead, and then, with a sigh of pleasure, became one with him beneath the star-filled sky.

---------------------------

Eomer woke to the sound of tumbling water, the warmth of the sun on his bare skin, and the vibration of horses' hooves. Horses? He was suddenly alert.

"Lothiriel?" She was draped over his chest, still fast asleep and completely naked. "Wake up!" How could they have been so foolish as to fall asleep in the open? Had the hot nights of broken sleep really left them so exhausted? He shook his head. Whatever the reason for their slumber, his intention to return to the Golden Hall under cover of dark was no longer an option. Worse, he had no idea who was heading their way, although this close to Edoras it was unlikely to be a foe. However, he was painfully aware that in his romantic mood the previous evening, he had not thought to bring a sword or any other form of weapon.

"What is it?" she asked, sitting up and looking around bleary eyed. A soft smile lit up her face as she realised where she was. "Oh, I remember. The waterfall."

"Riders are coming," Eomer said urgently. "We need to get dressed." His sharp ears could hear how close they were. "Too late!" he hissed. "Hide." He shoved her towards the bushes, snatching up his pants as he did so.

"Eomer, my petticoat," Lothiriel protested as she dived for the nearest bush, pushing her way beneath its thick foliage.

He turned and saw the offending garment lying on the river bank. "Take these," he said, thrusting his pants at her. She grabbed them, shoved them beneath her belly and then squirmed further into the foliage. Meanwhile, he sprinted across the grass, snatched up the petticoat, and then glanced up at the top of the rise. He froze as he found himself looking up at a horse and rider.

For a moment his heart was pounding so badly he could scarcely think, but then, with a rush of relief, he recognised the armour. It was his very good friend, Elfhelm. His relief faded as Elfhelm removed his helmet, though. There was a broad smile on the man's face – the kind of grin that said the newly appointed Marshall of the East-Mark knew there was sport to be had. Heat burned Eomer's cheeks as more horsemen halted on the rise and he realised that behind Elfhelm was an entire eored of men, most of whom did not seem quite sure where they should be looking. He glanced desperately over his shoulder and was relieved to find there was no sign of Lothiriel. He just hoped the same was true from Elfhelm's high viewpoint.

"Hail, Eomer-King," Elfhelm said, as though it was entirely normal to find his monarch stark-naked on a river bank.

"Elfhelm," Eomer replied, trying to keep his voice at a normal pitch. "What brings you to this secluded spot?"

"We're returning to Edoras, Sire, to report on the rogue orcs as you commanded. I did not expect you to come out to greet us."

Eomer gestured desperately towards the river. "It has been so infernally hot of late, I was tempted by the thought of an early morning swim."

"Indeed." Elfhelm's lips quivered with amusement as his gaze shifted to the petticoat in Eomer's hands and the obvious absence of any other clothing. Eomer shot him a dark look that he hoped relayed the fact that he wasn't beyond locking Elfhelm in the deepest, darkest part of Meduseld's dungeon if he dared comment on that particular part of the scenery. With obvious difficulty, Elfhelm wiped the smirk from his face, but he couldn't keep his delight at Eomer's predicament from sounding in his voice. "Do you require an escort back to Edoras, Sire? I have heard there are ruffians in the area who would not think twice of stealing a man's clothes from his back."

"Thank you, but no," Eomer replied, with forced politeness. "I am sure you are eager to breakfast. Let me not keep you from Edoras longer than necessary. I will return as soon as I have... swum."

"Perhaps we could join you? It has been a long and dusty journey."

"Elfhelm," Eomer growled, knowing only too well that the man was deliberately making the most of the situation. "I am sure your men would prefer full bellies to clean skin."

"Perhaps you are right, your Majesty," Elfhelm said, finally showing mercy. He twisted round in his saddle and gestured to his men. "To Edoras!" The eored immediately wheeled around and set off at a canter. "Fare you well, Eomer," Elfhelm said, no longer able to keep his smirk at bay. "And please, give my regards to your fair lady when next you see her."

As the thundering hooves faded away, Eomer sank to the ground and buried his head in his hands, groaning softly to himself. Moments later his pants dropped in front of him, and the petticoat was snatched from him. He looked up to find Lothiriel almost beside herself with laughter.

"I wish I could've seen your face," she said, pulling her petticoat back on. "It must have been a picture when all those horsemen appeared on the rise."

"This is no laughing matter," he protested, shoving his legs into his pants. "It will be all over Edoras by the time we get back."

"And what exactly will be all over Edoras?" Lothiriel asked, pressing herself up against him and wrapping her arms around his neck. "It isn't exactly news that we sleep together, Eomer. Or have you forgotten that we are married?"

"Of course not."

"Then what is there to say other than that the king and queen sensibly sought a night of coolness and solitude by the river?"

"What if Elfhelm assumes that I was embarrassed because I was out here with someone else?" Eomer demanded. "What then? I would not have you hurt by idle gossip."

"I am sure Elfhelm would neither think such a thing or spread such a story," Lothiriel said calmly. "However, since you are so concerned, we must make sure that the people of Edoras know the truth."

"What do you mean?"

Lothiriel gave a long-suffering sigh. "Eomer, we have to return to Edoras. We might as well do so in style, rather than attempting to steal back into the city like two youngsters trying to pretend they are still virgins."

"Are you seriously suggesting that we ride through the gates in full sight of anyone who might care to look?"

"Do you have a better idea?"

"Your brothers will kill me."

"Should they hear what we've been up to, I will speak with them. Although I fail to see that it is any of their business where I choose to make love to my husband." She smiled coyly. "Besides, I have learnt that the best way to deal with an embarrassing situation is to pretend that nothing is amiss. Let us hold our heads high and act as though we fully intended to return to Edoras this morning."

"With you wearing nothing but a petticoat and me without a shirt?"

"Extremely sensible clothing given the weather, don't you think my lord king? Perhaps it will start a new fashion."

He couldn't help but laugh at her logic, and he had to admit that they really didn't have any choice. "Very well, then. Let us ride proudly into Edoras and care not who sees."

She smiled happily. "Nothing makes me prouder than knowing that you are mine and I am yours, Eomer. Gladly would I declare it throughout all of Middle Earth."

"Likewise, my dearest wife," he replied. And with that he gave her one last lingering kiss before whistling to Firefoot.

---------------------

Bregdan blinked, rubbed his eyes, and blinked again. He'd seen a great many strange sights during his long years of service as a gate guard at Edoras, but this was definitely a first. He nudged at his companion. "Crawine, look. Do you see what I see?"

The second guard hauled himself wearily to his feet and gazed down in astonishment at the sight. "Is that the king riding barefoot and without a shirt?"

"Aye, looks well enough like him."

"Then that young woman in the petticoat must be..."

"The queen. Aye". He shook his head in bemusement. "'Tis a mighty strange way to be dressed for a morning ride."

Crawine smirked. "Depends on what kind of riding you have in mind."

Bregdan was shocked. "That's the king and his lady that you speak of."

"And does being royal mean that they do not enjoy the pleasures of the flesh?"

"Well, no, but..."

"Indeed I have heard it said they can barely keep their hands off one another."

"Crawine!"

The younger man wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. "I thought you would approve of that. Are you not always saying that Rohan is in need of an heir?"

"That's as maybe," Bregdan replied stiffly. "But I do not think it is our business to comment upon such things. Besides, it is barely past dawn and already it is as hot as midday. Perhaps they are dressed so simply for comfort." He tugged at his tunic, wishing that he could be bare-chested instead of clad in a guard's uniform. "

"I suppose so," Crawine said. "After all, they are married. It isn't as though they need to sneak out of Edoras in order to find privacy."

"No, only you and that kitchen maid indulge in behaviour of that nature," Bregdan said primly. "If you ask me it is high time you used that tongue of yours to ask her to be your wife rather than gossiping about the king."

Before Crawine could reply to that, the king waved up at them. "Good morning," he called.

They both immediately came to attention. "Good morning, Sire. My lady," Bregdan replied.

"Good morning," the queen returned. "A very fine day, is it not?"

"Aye, my lady. That it is."

"Please excuse our attire," Eomer called. "I'm afraid the heat made us put aside protocol this morning."

"Entirely understandable," Bregdan replied. "I would follow your lead except I would then get burnt in this sun." He relaxed his stance as the royal couple passed through the gate and headed towards the stable. "Told you it was naught but the weather that made them dress so," he said to Crawine.

The younger man sighed, his gaze still on the queen. "Eomer-King is a fortunate man," he murmured. "And I think you're right. I need to be wed."

Bregdan didn't comment. The return of the king had turned his mind to other, more pressing matters. He eyed Crawine, wondering if he should ask the question that he really wanted answering.

"What?" Crawine demanded as he realised he was being studied.

"It is true that you know all the gossip of the Golden Hall, is it not?" Bregdan asked, hating himself for his weakness.

Crawine grinned triumphantly. "I knew you were as nosy as the next man. What is it you wish to know?"

Bregdan sighed and gave into his urgent desire for knowledge. "Is the cook really serving bacon for breakfast this morning?"

The end