Title: Later Than

Author: S J Smith

Rating: K+

Summary: Aragorn's late, cold, and filthy.

Disclaimer: Just playing paper dolls, here.

"You're late."

Aragorn barely raised his eyebrows at Legolas's tone. "I," he said, "was busy."

"And you stink."

"You try riding for days on end through a spring storm to get here." Aragorn sat on a wooden stool and began pulling at his boots. His fingers were too cold to function properly. A warm hand touched his shoulder and he started slightly, then relaxed as he realized Legolas was helping him with his cloak. It weighed at him, the hem as wet and muddied as the rest of him.

"And you have an appointment," Legolas reminded.

"Yes, yes, mother, I know," Aragorn sighed, getting his boots off and pulling his belt free, then working on the lacings of his breeches. The warmth of the room teased at his chilled skin, turning it to gooseflesh.

Legolas gathered up his filthy clothing. "There's a bath waiting. Do not linger in it if you know what's good for you."

Aragorn glanced ceiling-wise, wishing for Arwen to minister to his needs, rather than this so-called friend. "I hear," he said.

"Good." Legolas hesitated at the doorway. "Remember. You're late."

Waving him off, Aragorn climbed into the bath, sighing as the nearly-too-hot-to-stand water lapped up over his icy skin. To be able to relax here until the water cooled would be worth it – at least until Legolas dumped the tub over, spilling him and the water out. Picking up a ball of soap and a cloth, he began scrubbing the dirt of horse, road and spring off his body, so he could be presentable to his court for the Spring Rites.

- end -