Disclaimer: It should be noted that I do not own these characters (duh). I just love playing in Tolkien's world.

The embers in the fireplace had long ago fanned out, and in her sleep she had pulled her heavy velvet robe tighter about her slender frame. The book she had been reading now lay discarded beside the plush chaise she reclined upon, her hand dangling carelessly over the edge. Bits of raven hair, once tightly secured in a long braid, had managed to break free of the binding ribbons and frame her lovely face. She had fallen asleep while reading, mindless of the dying fire and only subconsciously aware of the growing chill of the evening. Her serving maid had tried to rouse her lady, but had finally given up after three failed attempts. i It's better to let her sleep /i , the maid had thought. i She's been so tired and moody lately. The sleep will do her well. /i

It was this tender sight before him that gave Aragorn reason to pause and appreciate his wife in all her unwitting beauty.

He had left two weeks ago for a summit in Harad, full of hope that for once they might reach a peaceful resolution to past years spent in constant tension. She had all but begged her husband to bring her along. She did not, she tearfully explained, want to be left behind where she could be of no use to him should he need her. She was fearful for him, going as he was into an unfriendly land. Her mood had struck her husband as unusual. It was not normal for her to carry on and worry such as she was. She knew of his abilities to watch for himself and others, and deep down Aragorn suspected something more was troubling his precious wife. He had soothed her worries and assured her that he would return quickly. Stubborn as she was, she made sure that if she couldn't go with him, her twin brothers certainly would. Surprisingly he had agreed, and off he went with Elladan and Elrohir in tow.

The trip had been as successful as he could have hoped, but when the King of Harad offered to extend the stay for more discussion, he had declined politely on the grounds that there were pressing matters at home requesting his attention. The two kings bid each other farewell and promised to continue their burgeoning treaty from afar. The King of Gondor set out immediately, his only true destination his wife.

Now here he stood, his kingly garb glinting in the soft moonlight coming in through the windows of their chambers. It had taken him eight days to trek across Harad and finally reach the boundaries of his own lands, but the weariness and ache of travel disappeared as his eyes rested upon his slumbering Queen.

He crossed the room in a silent stride. Years spent as a ranger had taught him well the benefits of being quiet, and his feet made no sound as they carried him to his wife's side. He reached down and picked the book up off the floor. He fingered through the pages, amused to find that once more, his dear wife was reading Master Baggins' i There And Back Again /i . His mouth curved in a gentle smile and he set the book on a nearby table. He turned back to his wife, and sat gently beside her as she continued to slumber.

Her dark eyelashes fluttered against her pale cheeks, a sign that she was truly lost in the dream world of the Elves. He leaned over her, inhaling the soft lilac scent of her hair. He pulled back and began removing the royal armor covering his own velvet tunics, carefully placing the metal pieces on the thick pelts upon the floor. When he had shed the heavy bits of metal he discarded his boots, sighing quietly at the freeing feel of fur beneath his feet.

His wife stirred, murmuring in her sleep. He looked over his shoulder at her as she rolled from her side onto her back. She looked so inviting that for a moment he had to contain himself from smothering her in a greeting embrace. Instead he leaned over her once more, his mouth a mere whisper from her delicately pointed ear.

"Melleth, are you awake?"

She stirred, rubbing her cheek on the soft fold of velvet covering her shoulders, as if to rub the whisper of his voice from her ear. He chuckled and bent to press a soft kiss to her full lips. At the touch of his lips upon hers, her eyes opened and she found herself gazing into his crystalline stare. He watched as she blinked once, twice, the sapphire of her eyes cloudy but recognizing immediately that this creeping intruder meant her no harm. Indeed, she suspected, he probably only had the best of intentions for her. She sighed into the kiss, lazily bringing her arms to wrap around his neck and pull him closer.

"I see you kept your promise." He leaned into her embrace, resting his forehead against her own.

"I had to. You know how nagging wives can be if you don't do something you're supposed to."

She laughed softly. She moved to sit up, and he helped her by offering her a hand. She surprised him by climbing into his lap and resting her head on his shoulder. He held her against his chest, smoothing her hair with a wandering hand. She kissed his neck and then his whiskered chin. He looked down at her and kissed the tip of her nose.

"I've missed you." He stated the confession as she ran a hand down his covered chest.

"Perhaps you shouldn't leave me behind next time." She mocked him with loving eyes.

"Perhaps I won't from here on out. I'm fairly certain you make better company than your brothers." His tone held an amused lilt, and Arwen suspected that her husband had probably returned from Harad with more than one scandalous tale.

"You do at night, at least."

She laughed out loud at that, and Aragorn picked her up from his lap in two strong arms. He carried her over to their bed and placed her upon the silk bed sheets. She pulled the ribbon from her dark hair, allowing it to fall about her shoulders in satiny waves. She watched as he tugged his own garment over his head and tossed it aside, the tunic falling in a crumpled heap beside their bed. She studied him with appreciation as he loosened his breeches, the leather tight about his hips and legs. i Those leggings certainly show off his better side /i , Arwen thought mischievously as Aragorn removed the trousers.

He joined her upon the bed and drew her onto his lap before he set about removing her robe. The dark blue of the material was a dark contrast to the pearl essence of her skin, and he drew the fabric over her shoulder teasingly. Inch by inch he unwrapped her, as though she were a gift of the rarest sort. He kissed each little bit of skin as it was exposed, and she bit her lip in growing anticipation. His hands roamed down her bare back, and she shivered from his touch. He grinned, and as always was struck by the reality of the moment. He kissed her with all of the passion he had been forced to repress during the years before their marriage.

She returned the kiss with equal fervor. She pressed against him fully, her breasts crushing against his chest. He steadied her with one arm as he moved to lay them down.

Arwen pulled away from his kiss and smiled up at him, her eyes sparkling and alive.

"I've missed you as well, Estel."

He grinned widely as his hand brushed the hair from her forehead. He kissed her again, his hands busy loosening her robe and tracing small circles across the smooth skin of her belly. She stilled his wandering hands, a shy smile upon her lips.

He cocked his head at her, a curious glint in his eye. "I've never seen this smile before. You're hiding something."

She pursed her lips together in an effort not to laugh.

"I see your travels have made you no less perceptive, husband." Her flirty gaze nearly broke him.

"Out with it, wench." He tickled her ribs for a few brief seconds while she squirmed and giggled.

"I have a confession to make." Her eyes took on a serious shine, and Aragorn nodded for her to continue, his curiosity now overriding his lust.

"I've been so tired lately, and…detached…if you will." She began quietly.

Aragorn nodded his head. His wife's strange mood had worried him of late, but he would never in his right mind think to question her for fear of being banished from their bed. i And what good would that be? /i , he thought as he gazed down at his lovely wife in all her naked glory.

"Well, I know why I've been so sour and woeful." She stopped, and Aragorn waited for her to continue.

"I'm carrying your child."

He blinked. Once. Twice. Three times.

"You're carrying a child?'

"I'm certainly not carrying an Orc. Yes, you dolt, I'm with child. Two months so."

He laughed loudly, quickly sitting upright on the bed and dragging her with him. He crushed her in a tremendous embrace. She laughed at his enthusiasm, and she accepted his kiss with joy equal to his own.

"Two months, you say? We've certainly lain together more than once since then." he winked saucily and she laughed at his brazenness. He scratched his chin in pondering, a slew of recent pairings racing through his brain. "Where did we conceive this babe?"

Arwen blushed. "In the most fitting setting imaginable."

Aragorn thought a bit more, and a slow smile crossed his feature as realization dawned.

"Ah, the Throne room." He laughed again. "Of all my kingly duties that day, b that /b was by far my favorite."

The couple shared another lengthy kiss, and it was a while before they parted breathlessly.

"So my lord is happy?" She asked as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Utterly. Foolishly." He kissed her with each punctuation. "Completely."

And so the announcement of an impending heir was made two days later to a cheering crowd.