Aerinel giggled as she ran down the corridor, purposely ignoring the two sets of voices behind her calling out her name.
“Aerinel, come back here you naughty child!”
“Aerinel, it is time for your bath!”
The small child continued running in the opposite direction, her dark hair flying out behind her.
“Hey, now where do you think you are going?” Aerinel shrieked as Aragorn stepped around the corner and scooped her up into his arms.
Aerinel giggled as she caught Aragorn’s face between her small hands. “Hiding from El’dan and El’hir!”
Aragorn frowned. “Why are you hiding from Elladan and Elrohir?”
Before Aerinel could answer, two flustered dark-haired elves appeared around the corner. “Estel, thank the Valar you have caught her!” Elladan panted, clearly out of breath.
“We’ve been trying to give Aerinel her bath, but she escaped, the little warg.” Elrohir explained, scraping his hair behind one pointed ear.
Aerinel began to wriggle in Aragorn’s arms. “No bath! No bath!” she cried.
“Yes, bath,” Elladan said crossly. “You have led us a merry dance, Aerinel, but it ends now.”
Aerinel pouted. “No bath.”
“Aerinel,” Aragorn warned gently.
Aerinel crossed her arms over her chest and scowled. “Don’t want bath.”
“It’s not what you want, Aerinel,” Elrohir said firmly as he took the child from Aragorn.
Aerinel squirmed and wiggled, desperately trying to escape the elf’s strong arms, but to no avail. She was carried off to the bathing chamber by Elrohir with Elladan and Aragorn in tow.
However Aerinel was determined not to make it easy for the elves and man. She wouldn’t uncross her arms to let Elrohir take off her tunic and sat down when he tried to take off her muddy leggings. She demanded bubbles in the bathing tub, cried that the water was too hot, then cried it was too cold and then refused to sit down in the tub.
Eventually Elladan lost his temper and forced her to sit down. “Honestly, I have never know an eight-year old to be quite so against taking a bath. And I bathed Estel plenty of times.” Aerinel sat there for a few minutes annoyed with the elf as Aragorn began to wash her hair. But then she stared to splash the water.
By the time the twins and Aragorn were finished bathing the child, there was more water out of the tub than it in, suds all over the walls and on the floor of the bathing room, and two soaking wet elves and one ranger covered in suds and cold bath water.
Aragorn glared at Aerinel who now sat quietly in the tub, blinking innocently at the three of them, the perfect imagine of an obedient child. He sighed. “Come on, Aerinel. Let’s get you dressed.”
Aerinel reached up and let Aragorn pick her up as Elladan wrapped a warm towel around her. Elrohir shook his head as he mopped up the floor and emptied the tub. “What a wayward child she is when she wants to be.”
Elladan just chuckled, his previous annoyance with the child all but forgotten. “But you have to admit, she is adorable and well behaved......most of the time!”