This is a companion piece to 'Have You Never…?' (Another installment for Fluff Week *sigh*)
A couple of people asked if we would hear what went on over at Morrigan's camp the same evening the boys were playing 'Have you never…?' I dutifully jotted the idea down in my notebook and then I started thinking about it. You know what happened next. I have mined a few lines of dialogue (toward the end) from one of Morrigan and Leliana's little banter sequences.
Oh, and in case you're wondering what happens next, read 'More Than Friends' which is set just a few days later.
Morrigan held up a hand. "Sh, 'tis working now I think."
Leliana giggled, then clapped a hand over her mouth and leaned toward the small orb of light the witch held in her hand. The voices were soft, but she thought she could pick out Zevran's distinct accent.
Leliana exchanged a confused glance with Morrigan. "They are talking about Wynne?"
Leliana frowned. She thought quite highly of the circle mage, Wynne had a gentle soul and possessed and infinite wisdom. The older woman certainly held her age well and Zevran did seem a little obsessed with her bosom. Leliana glanced over at Morrigan's ill concealed cleavage. No doubt they would be talking about her next.
She beckoned Morrigan over and the witch sat cross-legged before her. Leliana started to loosen the pins that held the dark hair away from Morrigan's shoulders.
"…at least I don't entertain the same fantasies as you do." Alistair's voice.
"The men discuss daydreams and fantasies. Do you find this as odd as I do?" Morrigan sounded a little confused.
Leliana combed her fingers through Morrigan's hair, admiring the length. She kept her own hair short for practical reasons, but perhaps she should think of growing it out.
"I think men discuss all sorts of things when they are alone. They have hidden depths."
Morrigan snorted and then pulled her head forward. "I said you could do my hair, why are you rubbing my head?"
"Don't you like it? I always found it so soothing when Lady Cecilie rubbed my head."
"All this touching, I still don't understand it."
Leliana sighed and picked up her comb and began to simply untangle Morrigan's hair instead. "We will return to Denerim soon, did you think more on my offer to shop together? I really want to find some ribbon for these dreary boots."
"Will you stop your prattling? I thought you wanted to listen in on the men, I can't hear over your incessant chatter."
Leliana blinked and her hands fell still a moment. She felt sure Morrigan's terseness was a defense mechanism, but it still stung. Though she tried to be friendly toward the witch, to all the companions, it seemed only Aedan actually liked to listen to her talk, when she wasn't telling tales, that is.
Alistair's voice floated from the small orb again. "Have you never cooked a meal, Sten?"
"It seems these hidden depths also contain an interest in cooking, though if Alistair plans to try a Qunari recipe next I am quitting this campaign." Morrigan's tone, as usual, held derision for the ex-templar.
"Why do you dislike Alistair so much, Morrigan?"
"He is a fool, a lack-wit, stupid and annoying."
Leliana dropped her hands from Morrigan's hair and said teasingly, "You expend so much energy insulting him, he must be on your mind a lot, I think."
"You think so, do you? What is your opinion of Alistair then?"
Leliana smiled as she thought about Alistair and his endearing innocence. "I think there is a very thoughtful man behind that façade of silliness."
"You have finished playing with my hair?" Morrigan made to lean forward and Leliana laid a restraining hand on her shoulder.
"I have finished combing it, how would you like me to do it, up or down?"
Morrigan made a grumbling noise, but didn't rise. "Whatever you wish, 'twill not survive the night anyway."
Leliana smiled. Though she knew Morrigan meant her words to be careless the very fact that she remained sitting spoke more clearly. Perhaps she enjoyed the attention and companionship after all.
Zevran's voice floated from the orb next and Leliana listened carefully to the words.
"Certainly, my young Warden, and I highly recommend the experience. But now it is my turn to ask a question, yes?"
"I wonder what experience Zevran recommends." She mused.
"Sh, he is about to ask a question." Morrigan once again held a finger to her lips.
"Sten, have you never seen a woman lift a blade before?"
Leliana chuckled. "Ah, that Sten, he has such funny ideas about the roles of men and women. The Qunari culture is fascinating. I wish he would share more of his stories with me."
"The Qunari looks at me as if I should be in a cage."
"He really is just a big softie, you know." Leliana smiled and then chewed lightly upon her lower lip. She would liked to have told Morrigan that she had seen the huge warrior playing with a little kitten, but thought neither Morrigan or Sten would appreciate her sharing the tale.
"Tsk. I saw him stealing cookies from a child. Hardly seems soft behavior to me."
"Sh!" This time Leliana raised her finger to her lips, encouraging the witch to silence. Aedan's voice sounded through the orb.
"My mother was a fearsome warrior, Sten; she would have faced you down and not blinked."
Leliana found she was leaning forward slightly to better hear his words. A flush took her cheeks and she immediately set about shifting herself as if she'd simply been adjusting her legs.
"Aedan does not speak of his family much." Morrigan's voice softened slightly and Leliana's fingers once again faltered, the braid she held loosening.
"Did he tell you what happened to them?"
Morrigan went to turn her head and the braid slipped from Leliana's fingers. The witch's voice took on a harsher tone. "Oh, I suppose he told you during one of your cozy fireside chats?"
Leliana frowned. Morrigan sounded jealous, did she harbor feelings Aedan? A little pang just below her breastbone tickled and Leliana looked down as though she expected to find a finger poking her there, squarely in the chest. Was it possible to feel jealous over someone else's jealousy? She cleared her throat and answered Morrigan's question. "Well, yes, he did tell me. We have often talked of our childhoods together."
Morrigan snorted again and turned her head forward once more. "He pesters me with questions about Flemeth and the wilds, so perhaps I could say the same."
He did? Leliana's frown deepened. When had she come to care where and with whom Aedan spent his time?
Alistair's voice sounded again and his tone and his words had both Leliana and Morrigan drawing their brows down in consternation.
"I'm not sure I do. Have I never seen a basilisk? Ate jellied ham? Have I never licked a lamppost in winter?"
"'Tis a mystery how that man manages to walk in a straight line. What is he going on about now?"
"Oh, I wish we'd heard that question. Can you make it any louder, Morrigan?"
Leliana finished putting the last of the pins back into Morrigan's hair and leaned back to admire her handiwork. She had separated the dark hair into several braids and twisted them upon themselves, pinning the artfully, she thought, against the nape of Morrigan's neck. The witch leaned forward and lifted a hand to feel the back of her head. She touched the braids inquisitively before dropping her fingers and moving away from Leliana to sit across from her. Morrigan picked up the small orb and held the glowing spell in the palm of her hand as she chanted softly toward it. The volume increased.
Aedan's voice again. "You know, sex."
Leliana drew in a quiet breath and exchanged a glance with Morrigan. They both looked at the orb again, saying not a word.
Alistair's voice. "Oh, so that's what we're talking about! You tell me first."
Morrigan broke the silence, raising her brows and muttering, "If what I have heard about this Chantry of yours is at all correct, I doubt Alistair has…"
"Sh!" Leliana interrupted.
They missed a comment and Leliana glared at Morrigan as Zevran's voice floated from within the glowing spell.
"I can attest to the truth of that, Alistair. My young warden friend certainly knew how to please Isabella, no blushing virgin there."
Leliana flushed. Isabella? Who was Isabella? More importantly, why did she care?
"You seem interested in my opinion of the fools we travel with, what do you think of Zevran then?" Morrigan inquired.
Leliana looked up. "Hm?"
"Your fellow rogue? Why do you flush so, are you too close to the fire?"
Leliana patted her cheeks and sat back from the fire a little, the voices from the orb fading as she put some distance between herself and Morrigan. She tried to think about Zevran, to answer the question, but Aedan's face kept popping into her mind. Why did the thought of him pleasing this Isabella disturb her so much? She heard his voice again.
"You lack the proper parts?"
Alistair followed this comment up with a whine and Morrigan laughed. "What did I tell you? I pity the woman…"
"What do you think of Zevran, Morrigan?"
"I think the little man is merely biding his time. You wait, one of these days none of us will awaken from our sleep, or we will to find Aedan's and Alistair's throats neatly cut."
Leliana gasped and turned toward the main fire, casting her eyes over the men until she picked out the flaxen head. She liked Zevran, she found him amusing. They shared a bond of sorts, comrades in arms, and had danced about one another's secrets while exchanging commentary on such things as the merits of daggers versus longer blades.
She turned back toward Morrigan and said, "I think you are wrong."
"And I think you are terribly naïve."
"I am not!"
A silence fell between them and Sten's voice floated from the orb.
"You follow the bard everywhere with your eyes, Kadan, why have you never taken her to your tent?"
Another flush took Leliana's cheeks and she raised her hands to cover them. Aedan watched her? She glanced at Morrigan and saw the witch's eyes glinted with thought and her jaw had set. When she spoke her voice no longer carried her usually disdainful tone. "It would seem you have an admirer."
Leliana waved a hand to silence her companion, her ears straining to hear Aedan's soft response.
"We're still getting to know one another."
Alistair teased his fellow warden about this Isabella again and then Zevran said something that made her heart skip a beat.
"Ah, so feelings are involved then, my friend."
Feelings, Aedan had feelings for her? Leliana stood up abruptly. "I think I have heard enough, Morrigan, I might go to my tent now."
"What? You would leave just as they are getting to the good part? Don't you want to hear what feelings Aedan might have for you?" Morrigan's tone had become waspish and the witch continued, almost under her breath, "if any."
"Why would you say that? You heard as well as I did that he watches me."
Morrigan waved a hand. "Oh, yes, as you watch him. You think I haven't noticed your interest in the warden?"
"Why do you speak so, Morrigan?" A thought occurred. "Have you an interest in Aedan?"
"He is quite pleasing to look at, I will give him that."
Leliana shivered and glanced over her shoulder just as Aedan looked toward Morrigan's camp. She didn't catch his eye and she couldn't tell who his gaze sought. Alistair poked him and his attention returned to his companions.
"'Tis a wonder who he might have been looking this time."
"Do you have feelings for him, Morrigan?"
Morrigan laughed harshly. "Feelings? You think I harbor feelings for any of you? All this talk of friendship and more, 'tis a waste of time."
Leliana's flush faded, but the feeling of it burned in her words. "Are you jealous? Is that what this is about?"
"You can't possibly think he would prefer you?"
"Funny, I was about to say the same thing. It seems I am the one his eyes are following."
"Oh, and what exactly is it, you believe, you have to offer?" Morrigan sounded as if she spoke to an inferior being and Leliana drew her shoulders up.
"I don't know, but if Aedan asks me to his tent, it will be because he wants me and he loves me, these things are real."
"Love, you talk of love?" Morrigan flicker her fingers toward the dirt. "Love grows rotten on the vine so quickly. A sour fruit, that offers only a memory of sweetness. What is it worth, truly?"
"Everything, only a dried up shell of a person would not know that," Leliana replied, her cheeks burning with indignation now.
"We shall see," Morrigan murmured softly, her eyes firmly fixed upon the main campfire. She looked at one warden in particular, Aedan.
Leliana followed her gaze and saw the men laughing together, sharing camaraderie. Her eyes lingered on Aedan and her heart skipped a beat. They were friends, she knew that. He gave given her flowers and often bestowed upon her that cheeky grin of his. He listened to her; she had seen the interest in his eyes as she talked, sometimes about nothing at all. She wanted to be more than friends with Aedan, she realised. She would tell him. She didn't quite know how, but she knew when. They would be holding watch together two nights hence, she would tell him then, when they were alone with only the stars to listen and no witch to mock.
Leliana glanced back at Morrigan and bid her goodnight. She saw the challenge in the other woman's eyes and she silently acknowledged it, lifting her chin. She would not compete with her for Aedan's heart, she didn't believe she would have to as she felt fairly certain Morrigan did not seek love, she sought only physical comfort. A shame, really, as at one time Leliana might happily have provided it.
Leliana made her way to her tent, these thoughts circulating in her head. She glanced in Aedan's direction once more before she disappeared inside and caught him looking at her. She held his gaze a moment before offering a tentative smile. He returned it, as if surprised, and lifted his hand in a gesture of goodnight. Leliana's smile widened and she turned around before he thought her a grinning fool.