“You are raving,” said Caranthir roughly. “The best part is a bed to sleep in with no rocks in your spine. A bed that keeps one’s arse actually warm. A bed that I can fuck you in with no centipedes or sandlice or steppe-wolfs making their appearance mid-thrust. Beds are the best part of being in Eregion.”
No, said Finrod’s fingers placidly against his stomach. It is this. And he splashed Caranthir to punctuate his point.
Caranthir shook his head, sending droplets flying and the earrings he had forgotten to take off jangling against the tub lip. Warmth and cleanliness was all well and good, and he certainly wasn’t going to complain about anything that had Finrod wet and naked and splayed over his lap, but lingering in increasingly tepid bathwater was not his idea of luxury.
Finrod, though; Finrod who had learned to swim before he learned to walk; Finrod who loved the sea and talked to rivers and couldn’t pass a puddle without putting his feet in it; Finrod was pure damp bliss, his head lolling on Caranthir’s shoulder as strands of hair escaped the cloth he’d bound it up in and drew curling lines against his throat.
Beneath the lavender scented water Caranthir could see Finrod’s long body all stretched out and languid, beautiful as an undersea creature with the scars that drew their long ropes around his thighs and carved a savage chessboard into his soft stomach. Caranthir reached down to touch his belly and then stroke him, and Finrod sighed and his fingers hummed with pleasure over Caranthir’s chest.
Maybe, Caranthir mused, he could be persuaded on this whole bath thing.
A black mass streaked across Celebrimbor’s second best bathroom, ricocheted off the mirror, and fell with a shriek into the water. Caranthir jerked back, cursing, as a vortex of sodden black feathers churned beneath the surface and razor claws just missed transforming his vitals into so much cut bait.
“Bloody screeching besom!” he roared and stood upright in the tub, water streaming down his naked body and his fist clenched around the legs of an equally outraged crow. “I should throw you into Celebrimbor’s hottest forge! I should bake you into a pie! I should pluck, skin, and gut you with my letter opener!” He shook the hapless bird again. It gave a watery caw and flapped its free wing so vigorously that Caranthir dropped it. It splashed back into the water and scrabbled onto the nearest safe perch.
Finrod looked at the dripping creature on his shoulder, then up at his dripping husband. He started to shake.
“This,” said Caranthir, breathing heavily, “is why beds are better than baths.”
Finrod shook even harder.
“This,” said Caranthir, raising his voice slightly because he wasn’t being taken seriously. “Is why I should have fried that damned thing in the egg.”
Finrod leaned his head back against the edge of the tub and shook with laughter until the tears streamed down his cheeks and his head cloth had entirely unwound, spilling like so much turquoise from his head to the tiled floor.
“And I get no sympathy at all,” muttered Caranthir. “Right, I’m done.” He bent down and scooped Finrod into his arms before he could complain about being removed from the water. But as Finrod nuzzled into his neck and laid sharp bird kisses against his ear, Caranthir conceded that he had something rather better than sympathy.
That, and a lavender-scented crow.