Aragorn finished his bowl of sweetened gruel with gusto and motioned to the serving girl to pour him more tea. Throughout breakfast he had studied his notes for the speech he was to deliver to the House of Lords later that morning. Arwen buttered a piece of lembas, a look of resigned disapproval on her face, something Aragorn did not fail to notice. He could always tell when she was peeved.
"Alright," Aragorn finally asked, "what have I done?"
Arwen swallowed a bite of lembas and washed it down with a sip of tea. "Are you going to address the House of Lords on the state of the economy dressed like that?"
"Why not? I always dress like this." He wore a billowy brown shirt, dark green trousers and polished black boots. Even as Gondor’s sovereign, he considered elegant clothing pretentious. "Do you think the Lords will care how their King dresses?” He asked aloud. “Will any of them have the nerve to say anything about it?” he thought smugly.
"It's just not regal enough,” Arwen pouted. “You look as if you're off on a hunting expedition. You're King of Gondor, Estel. You’re not captain of a band of rangers anymore."
"Oh, why must we always have this discussion every time I preside over an official meeting?" he groaned in feigned agony. "I'm a man of the people, my love. I'll never get used to all of this pomp and royal flummery."
"Well, like it or not," she giggled as she leaned forward, "you were never a commoner by blood. Your office calls upon you to be a hero once again. As you have discovered, some of the King's duties are very hard."
"What would you have me do? Wear senatorial robes?"
The pagegirl barely suppressed a giggle. They both ignored her.
"Why not?” Evenstar insisted. “It doesn't bother me to dress up in a manner befitting my status."
"Humph!” Aragorn snorted and lifted a finger for the servants to remove the dirty dishes. “That's easy for you to say──you grew up in a royal household."
"Estel," she huffed in feigned exasperation, "if memory serves me correctly, you grew up in Imladris under my father's protection. He and your mother always tried to ingrain you with the dignity of a princeling."
"I guess it never took," he grinned.
Arwen took another bite of lembas. "You're impossible," she said around her chewing. "You sound just like my brothers──stubbornness for its own sake!"
"How would you have me dress, my love?" he asked, his resolve weakening. "Must you insist on suffocating me in formal attire?"
Arwen leaned back in her chair as a dreamy look came over her features. "Hmmm. I would dress you in a shining Elvish robe and mithril tressure with a deep green elfstone on your forehead."
Aragorn pursed his lips and raised an eyebrow. "You mean just like Galadriel dressed me before you and I met in the woods of Caras Galadon?"
"Yes, exactly!” Arwen replied exuberantly. “Ooh! How like an Elven lord you looked. Why not again?"
Again, he feigned a groan of pain. "Alright, you win,” he whined reluctantly. I'll wear the senatorial robes."
Arwen knew when to press her advantage. "And your crown too," she smirked, daintily brushing the crumbs from her fingers. "Okay, that's settled," she cooed smugly, gesturing elegantly to the pagegirls for more lembas and tea. "Now, let me hear your speech."
Aragorn sighed and spread his notes upon the table. Even before his marriage to Evenstar, he knew better than to challenge the stubbornness of an Elf. “Next time there’s a scheduled meeting,” he silently vowed, “I'll dress the way I please and she’ll hear about it after it’s over!”
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Disclaimer: This story is fan fiction based upon the world and characters of J.R.R. Tolkien. It is written solely for the enjoyment of my readers and I make no profit from it of any kind.
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