Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just play in their world.

"You smell like a horse."

"That occurs every now and then, when one typically spends a long amount of time riding them."

"Typical or not, I doubt your Queen will be eager to welcome you home when you smell like the stables." Faramir smiled at Aragorn, amused as the King of Gondor lifted the hem of his shirt to his nose and inhaled deeply. The King made a face, finally aware that he did indeed smell. Wrinkling his nose Aragorn nodded at his companion. "I suspect you might be right, Steward. Perhaps I should find the time to bathe before I seek out my wife."

"Before you seek her out? We are presently upwind of the White city. I am sure she can smell your approach already."

"Be mindful, Faramir. Though friends we might be, I am still your King."

"Ay, my Lord. And such a pungent King at that." The Steward smirked before laughing aloud at his own attempt to rile the King.

Aragorn eyed his friend, an evil look passing across his features. "Keep it up, Faramir, and I will inform your wife of the events surrounding our stay at that tavern."

Instantly the grin dividing the face of the younger man vanished. "You would not dare. She would not see it for what it truly was..."

Aragorn laughed as he held the reins of his horse. "Than perhaps we shall forget the unfortunate business of my odor."

Faramir cleared his voice, eyes roaming over the vast expanse of the open plains before them. Returning to meet the eyes of the King, the Steward shrugged. "What odor?"

The banners announcing the return of the King appeared on the horizon, long white material catching and whipping about in the strong breeze of the Pelannor. A wall guard noticed the movement in the distance and sounded a horn, it's deep sound alerting the citadel's resident of their Lord's arrival.

The King and several of his advisors had decided three weeks back that a small hunting party should be organized, more for a slight break from responsibility than for any real sport. It took little urging for Aragorn to convince Faramir that they should break from work and spend a few nights roaming the wild and sitting by a crackling fire. Like the King, Faramir found himself occasionally wishing that he might return to his ranger ways, if only for a short time.

They had set out a little over a week ago, leaving their destination unknown and forgoing the expected entourage one would expect a King to travel with. Though his Chamberlain had complained bitterly of Aragorn's decision to simply vanish to anyone who would listen, he dared not voice his disapproval to Aragorn himself. He had to force his consternation down even more so when the King announced his intention to leave the Queen in charge during his absence. Traditionally, in the days of the old kings, when the Steward was unable to stay in place as the King's regent, the Chamberlain had been the next in line to govern during the ruler's absence. Never before had the Queen been elevated to a higher position than the Chamberlain. But than again, never had a King so obviously revered his wife and her abilities. Besides, Aragorn had insisted, Arwen was an Elf, an ancient being who contained all the wisdom and judgment of the world within the depths of her soul. The Chamberlain had ignorantly groaned at the King's declaration. Though a wise Elf she might be he mused, she was still in fact only a woman.

Not surprisingly, Arwen had agreed to her husband's request, deciding that he indeed deserved this slight period of rest ah it was the least she could do to assure him of it. In the days that he had been gone, Arwen had taken over his duties to a fault, in fact doing them so well some wondered whether or not she should advise the King on the ways of proper bureaucracy.

However, with the return of the absent King, the Queen reverted to her normal position and simply became his wife once more.

Standing beneath the White tree, eager to great her sorely missed husband, Arwen clasped her hands behind her back, mindful of the strong breeze whipping her white gown into the air. To her side stood a pregnant Eowyn, whose hands lightly rested on the tiny bulge of her stomach. Behind her, the court stood chattering, commenting on the King's arrival and wondering on the bounty of the hunt. When a lone figure appeared at the foot of the pathway dividing the royal courtyard, Arwen's sharp vision recognized the soft features of Faramir. For a brief moment she wondered where her husband was, but Eowyn's excited sigh caught her attention. Turning to her companion, she smiled as Eowyn's face registered her delight at seeing her husband.

"It would appear M'lady, that at least one of our husbands has managed to return unscathed from the hunt."

Eowyn laughed as Arwen nodded to the Steward, who, as was expected, lowered his head in respects to the Queen as he approached. "Believe you your husband injured, your Majesty?" The Queen shook her head and laughed softly, before resting a hand on her friend's shoulder. "No, Eowyn. Moreso I believe him to be hiding something from me. He can be quite devious at times." At that Eowyn giggled.

"You don't say? And all this time I thought a Ranger was incapable of keeping secrets."

Arwen held up a hand, smiling as she silenced the other woman. "Nay. FORMER ranger. I would prefer he remained with his current post." Laughing, the two women turned their sights on the Steward, now fully approached and lowering into a bow before the Queen.

Arwen stepped forward and placed a hand on the shoulder of the kneeling man. "Mae Govannen, Lord Faramir. Please, rise."

Faramir did so, and took Arwen's hand in his to place a kiss on the soft skin of her knuckles. Winking at Eowyn was she came to stand beside her husband, Arwen joked, "Be mindful, sir. Your Lady stands neigh." Releasing the Queen's hand, Faramir turned to his wife and leaned down to press a light kiss upon her pink lips. "Of that I am aware, Majesty. And if I might be so bold, I would request that I be given leave so that I might reunite with my wife in more personal settings." Arwen looked at the couple, her gaze catching on their entwined hands. She nodded.

"Of course. Please, do not let me delay you. There will time for stories this evening. I trust my husband will be following you shortly?" Leaning down to speak more softly to her two friends, Arwen sighed in a most unladylike manner. "If I have to deal with his", she gestured to the Chamberlain, "incessant complaining and whining for one more minute I shall hurl myself from the top of Ecthelion's tower."

"I do not believe your husband would be pleased by that course of action, Arwen. Although I will admit I have heard similar sentiment expressed by your husband over the same fellow." Faramir laughed, and placed a comforting hand on Arwen's shoulder. "Do not fear, Aragorn will be along presently. He wished to make a stop before seeing you."

Arwen eyed the man suspiciously. Deciding to let the matter go and instead let her husband have the upper hand, Arwen dismissed the gathered court and said a quick farewell to her friends. Walking down the quiet stone halls of the palace, she allowed her mind to wander as she headed for the rooms she shared with her husband. Paying little mind to the guards posted outside of their chambers, Arwen decided that she would enjoy a warm bath while she waited for Aragorn to return from his errand. Releasing her long ebony hair from the intricate updo she had endeavored upon this morning, she exhaled softly as she ran a hand through it's thickness, detangling the heavy curls and allowing them to cascade down her back.

She did not see Anduril resting on the top of the stone table in the corner, nor did she did notice her husband's leather boots placed by the open archway. Unlacing the bodice of her white gown, she felt the warm material slip down the lengths of her arms and hips to pool at her feet. Reaching for her silk robe strewn across the foot of their bed, she shrugged into the dark blue wrap and tied it's sash lazily around her waist.

Her feet made no noise as she crossed the large room. Upon reaching the doorway of the bathing chamber, she finally noticed the thick tendrils of steam curling from the wash basin. Nestled deep within the warm water lounged her husband, eyes meeting hers as she stood in the doorway. Arwen inhaled the smells of the room, taking in the soft musk of the soap her husband had just used, along with another, more primitive smell. Finally understanding why it was her husband was late for arrival, Arwen giggled.

"You smell like a horse."

Aragorn threw his hands up into the air, sending small drops of crystal water all over the floor.

"Now you sound like Faramir."

"What a pity, then. To surround yourself with those who speak the truth. Such a foolish King you are in that case." Arwen teased her husband as she came to sit on the edge of the basin. She leaned over her husband to place a kiss upon his whiskered cheek, making a face as she drew back.

"You also need to shave."

Aragorn rolled his eyes and smiled. "Anything else, nag of a wife?"

Arwen flicked her husband with a small splash of the warm water, eyes dancing with mirth. "Estel, mind your tongue. An Elf does not 'nag'. We remind..." Her husband pressed his lips together as he remarked, "Ah, yes. The words make all the difference."

"Of course they do. As a politician, you should know that rule by heart."

Aragorn fingered her thin robe, the hungry look of a husband marking his rugged features. "Would you like to join me, or were you planning on staying in that sheath all night long?"

A coquettish glint flashed in Arwen's eyes at the innuendo his words held. "I'm afraid that that would be impossible for me to do, Meleth-nin. That's your role." Laughing at her brazen comment, Aragorn watched as his wife stood and drew the sash from it's knot. Drawing the robe from her body, Arwen stepped into the water basin and allowed her husband to encircle her in his arms.

"So your trip...", Arwen began.

Aragorn pressed light kisses down her neck, nibbling the sensitive hollow at the base. "Now is not the time for discussion, Love." His voice was soft and low in the quiet of the room. She sighed as his tongue joined his lips in his assault upon her silky skin. After years of marriage, she had become aware of his amorous inclinations. The very touch of his hand spoke volumes about his desires, and right now the harsh claim being laid upon her soft skin told him he wanted her now, and hard. Even short seperation from his wife had habit of reverting Aragorn into the man he had been many years ago, insatiable and insistent.

Turning in his lap to straddle him, she felt his hands snake up to cup her breasts, and arched into him sharply, drawing a quick gasp from him as she easily took him inside without warning. Not having prepared himself quite yet for that sweet torture, he paused for a moment to collect his thoughts, straining with the effort as his wife worked his body torturously.

They rocked together for a long while, simply enjoying each other's presence and giving equally of each other. The King groaned as Arwen slowed her movements, drawing his breath from him in exquisite moans. His hands rested upon her hips, allowing her to set the pace of their loving. Sensing his nearness, Arwen once more quickened the pace, riding him triumphantly as her own release began to burn deep in her belly. The water in the basin, now cool, splashed over the marble edge, soaking their clothing and snuffing out low laying candles.

His wife's cries of pleasure pushed Aragorn further towards his completion. Gripping her hips, he tipped over the edge as his writhing wife took his earlobe between her teeth and sucked on the sensitized skin. Bright lights sparked behind his closed eyes, and with a throaty cry he came, bucking and panting.

She leaned into him, breathing deeply. He cradled her, and pressed soft kisses into the crown of her hair. They sat thus for a long time, happy to be together. Content silence passed between them, but finally a curious Aragorn whispered into his wife's ear.

"Do I still smell like a horse?"

Arwen giggled faintly, and looked into her husband's eyes. "I'm afraid so, Love. To me at least. Other might not notice it however. But I'm an Elf. We notice such things. You mortals are such a smelly lot-"

Aragorn laughed and kissed his wife into silence.