Though inspired by a kink meme prompt, this is not a kinky piece. Leliana watches her Warden sleep and thinks back over their friendship and love. I have borrowed snippets of dialogue and some settings from many of my other stories in putting this together and it was nice to go back and read about their growing relationship. I would set the timeline for this just before the Landsmeet, perhaps they are staying at Arl Eamon's residence in Denerim.

Leliana opened her eyes. Though the night still endured, she could detect the slightest graying of light and knew the dawn approached. She often awoke in the early hours, partly a habit of training, partly because she slept lightly, and partly because she liked to watch Aedan sleep. Rolling her head gently to the side she caught his profile in the shadowed light and smiled.

She had not been able to imagine a time when someone would share her bed again and remain there night after night, content to fall asleep beside her and wake up there the next morning. Not being a fool, Leliana knew many found her attractive with her fiery red hair, clear blue eyes and pretty face. She even looked good in leather, or so she liked to think, and her life as bard and constant traveling kept her fit and trim. She hoped her vivacious personality played into it as well.

But Aedan had been different from the start. Leliana knew he saw her as a woman first and foremost, Maker, he'd tried to leave her in Lothering! But he did not see her as just a pretty face or even as a simple story teller. He enjoyed her stories, yes, but he also enjoyed hearing her talk about herself and her thoughts on all things, men usually did not take the time. She remembered well Aedan's first gesture of friendship; he had given her flowers and listened to her talk of her childhood.

Leliana's gaze dropped to his lips which were slightly parted in sleep and she recalled their first kiss. They had held watch together, sitting side by side on a large boulder that marked the boundary to camp. Blessed with a moonlit night and many twinkling stars they had the time alone to finally tell one another how they'd come to feel. She had been so nervous! Leliana didn't usually stumble over her words, she was trained as a minstrel, after all, but something about the way Aedan sometimes looked at her stilled her tongue and paused her thoughts. He had done it that night as he gazed quietly at her, listening intently as always. Smiling, she remembered her reaction to his confession that he felt the same way - she'd been so relieved but cross at the same time! After plucking up the courage to tell him all those things she felt so embarrassed, but he stopped her words and flustering with a kiss and she said the silliest thing!

"Well that settles that then."

A kiss as soft and sweet as that first one settled everything. Aedan merely smiled and nodded his agreement, kissing her again, and there it had all begun.

Dropping lower, her eyes moved over his shoulders and chest. The night was warm and he'd thrown the light blanket back so that most of his torso and one hip was visible. Leliana reached out a hand to touch his warm skin, but hesitated, and dropped it to the bed instead. She remembered the first time she'd seen him without his shirt, how her hands had rested on his chest and how her fingers had traced the few small scars he had there. He'd watched her fingers, both of them mesmerized by the moment. That had been the night they had first made love. Leliana felt more than a thrill as she recalled that night, she felt the tingle, deep down and her smile broadened and her cheeks flushed.

Her hand twitched again, it would be fun to slip it beneath that fold of blanket and stroke him to wakefulness in the most delightful way. But as she considered the thought she remembered how long the days and how short the nights were and that they had much to accomplish before next they slept. She would wait a little while longer and let him sleep, she could still watch him, after all, and remember that first night together. It would always be among her favourite memories.

He had whispered into her hair, "I want to make love to you." Aedan was younger than she, by a few years, and the vulnerable look in his eyes at that moment had shown it. The desire replacing that look moments later had not, not at all.

"Why has it taken you so long to ask?" She whispered in return, her teasing tone belying the thrill she felt inside as she anticipated the feel of his lips and the touch of his hands against her bare skin.

"You could have asked me, you know," he finally teased in return after recovering from her answer, but she was pleased she had not. She nearly had, but after seeing the look in his eyes and hearing the desire in his voice, she was glad she had waited. Moments such as those could never be recaptured.

They had undressed each other so slowly, as if to savor the moment and then they explored one another's bodies, the skin, the scars, the curves and planes.

"You are so very lovely, Leliana." And she had seen that he meant it, these were not mere words to Aedan. He had taken in her nakedness, yes, but looked at her as a whole person when he said it.

"You are not so hard on the eyes yourself, Aedan." And she meant her words too. She loved his looks and thought him very handsome. But Aedan merely scratched his jaw in an embarrassed gesture and shrugged off her compliment, which only made her like him, love him, more.

He carried her to the bed and they discovered the special places each of them liked, on themselves and the other, with their lips and their hands. Leliana shivered as she remembered the frisson of pleasure as he'd touched her for the first time, there at the centre of her being, and the way he had sounded as their hips had finally come together and their bodies had joined. Maker, her thoughts had caused a flush to spread across her skin and she wished that he was awake and touching her now. His fingers were always gentle, but insistent, never shy, always sure. He knew what he liked and he seemed to know what she would like, and she did, so very much.

It had been a long time for both of them and they had been insatiable that night, spending much of it together within one another's arms and most of the next day yawning and blushing beneath the gazes of their companions.

The next morning had been the first time she had watched Aedan sleep and now, two months later, she still did it. She wondered if she would still be watching him sleep in two more months or perhaps after they had won this battle and put their friend on the throne. Aedan had given her his heart; he had said it was hers until death parted them. Leliana had already been in love, foolish as she knew it to be, and she could feel that he cared for her, she could see what she hoped to be love in his eyes. But to hear him say it for the first time, well nothing quite compared. And not only did he say those three little words, but had pledged himself to her … forever.

"Already my heart is yours 'til death parts us, whether that happens next week or in thirty years. I cannot, I will not, take it back. My love for you will be my strength, not my weakness."

Sometimes his eloquence surprised her; he was normally a much more straightforward man. His words were in response to her attempt to stop their relationship before it overwhelmed them both. She thought herself a distraction to Aedan and his quest and tried to pull away. But instead of walking away he reached for her more insistently and held her closer than ever. Leliana had never expected to be loved like this. One hoped, one always hoped of course, but fairy tales were not real. Life was harsh and her previous affairs had not ended well.

Her mind briefly flicked to Marjolaine, her previous lover, and darkness over her betrayal threatened to take her mood. A glance at Aedan's slumbering form restored her sense of peace once more. He had been there for her; at her side when she confronted her former mentor and then again as she'd told him about the scars on her back. What a difficult and sad conversation that had been. They had been so freshly in love and awkward with one another. Aedan hadn't wanted to ask, she had seen the regret in his eyes immediately afterwards, and she hadn't really wanted to answer for fear of his reaction. That had probably been the first time she'd carefully placed her trust in his calloused hands and she'd been rewarded. After he'd put aside his rage Aedan had cried for her and held her close.

"I will protect you now, always." It was unrealistic to believe him, but she did because she wanted to and because she knew he meant it. Her favourite story would now be the one where she remained at her hero's side and he protected her, always, keeping her safe, warm and loved within the circle of his arms.

Leliana's hand moved now, she needed to touch him and she did, her finger lightly tracing the arm nearest to her. The morning had started to grey, she could see him properly now, and as her fingers trailed along the muscles of his arm she studied the features she liked best, which really, would be all of them. His life as warrior lent him a lean and muscled form and their life on the road kept him trim, as it did them all. She found his body something to marvel at and desired him from that alone, knowing that others had and probably still would despite the fact she now stood at his side.

Aedan mumbled in his sleep and Leliana grinned. Her fingers most likely disturbed him, but not enough to wake him just yet. She took in his profile again, the strong, but not overly square jaw which was perpetually covered in stubble. She had seen him clean shaven only once and he'd looked so young! She had giggled at him and his resultant quizzical expression. His cheekbones were high and his nose was narrow and mostly straight with an endearing bump at the bridge, the result of a break.

She'd asked him about it and with twinkling eyes he'd tried to tell her he'd received it in a very manly way. "Well I won a fight, of course, against a far superior opponent, isn't that how the stories always go?"

"Usually, yes, but my sweet Warden, you don't fight with men, you kill darkspawn!"

"Perhaps I was more roguish before you met me." Aedan tried to adopt a secretive expression and failed spectacularly.

"And perhaps you've always been the straightforward warrior you are now, the one I love?"

Aedan affected a wounded look, one he was more successful at, and told her the truth – his brother had broken it for him, completely by accident, a misplaced elbow in a delicate spot as they played in the river together. Aedan held much love for his family and that was something else they had in common, they had both lost them all. Perhaps that's what drew them so close and would hold them together. They were as family to one another now.

Leliana's fingers had moved up to his shoulder now and she rolled onto her side so she could slip her arm around her warden and hug herself to his side. He would wake soon and her moment of quiet contemplation would be over. She wanted to be watching his eyes when they opened. Of all his features, Aedan's eyes could be her favourite. A cool, clear blue, they always held all of his thoughts and all of his feelings. His gaze could be very intense but she never quailed beneath it and she hoped she never would. She could see his entire life in those blue eyes and lately she'd seen herself also, his love for her and his happiness.

Moving her arm further around him, Leliana moved her leg over him also, so that she now lay on top of him. She sat up astride his hips and leaned forward on her hands, skimming them up over his chest until they reached his shoulders. The touch of his skin warmed her without and within and she leaned gently down so that her face hovered inches above his, their noses nearly touching. She waited and he continued to breathe quietly. Dipping her head she brushed her lips over his once, and then again. His lips curved into a smile and he kissed her back, his arms reaching up around her, circling her and holding her close. Leliana opened her eyes, quickly, and caught him looking at her, his eyes open at last. As always they were full of life and love.

"Were you looking at my eyelashes again, love?"

Leliana giggled. "I was looking at all of you."

"And which part do you like best?"

Leliana pressed her lips to his again, kissing him sweetly before murmuring, "Shall I show you?"

In her mind she had said, 'all of you', but this way would be more fun, would it not?