Hawke walked into the bedroom after a day chasing slavers on the Wounded Coast to see Merrill on the bed, papers and books scattered all around her. A quill was tucked behind one ear, bleeding ink into her skin, small smudges scattered over her exposed skin from her fingers, which danced nimbly over the pages before her.

Despite his exhaustion, Hawke paused in the doorway to watch his lover, an affectionate smile tugging at his lips. After a few minutes, Merrill finally looked up, blinking in surprise.

"Oh! Ma vhenan, I didn't hear you come in."

Hawke grinned, joking, "I'm a rogue, love. If you had, then I'm doing something wrong." Merrill giggled and moved to clear her things from the bed. "No, it's okay," Hawke countered, stepping up to the bed and moving a couple books to make room for him to sit down. "What have you found?" he asked in a low murmur, plucking the quill from Merrill's ear and nuzzling her hair.

"It's amazing," Merrill replied breathlessly. "I had no idea the Circle had so much information on the Dalish! Look!" She grabbed a book and held it open, pointing to one of the words. "There are words here — elvhen words — that I've never even heard before!"

"Bethany really came through for you, I see."

"She did," Merrill agreed, closing the book and setting it to the side. She turned around and swung a leg across Hawke's lap, kneeling over him, her hands moving to gently rake through his hair.

Hawke groaned softly, his eyes slipping shut, muscles automatically relaxing. "I love you," he murmured.

Giggling lightly, Merrill returned, "I love you, too, ma vhenan," and brushed her lips lightly over his. Her love was home — research could wait.