Setting: FFX, Airship (aka the Love Boat)
Theme/Number: Watching, #21
Summary: Description triggered by an exquisite bit of fanart which got me to wondering just what Auron was seeing beneath the sheet.
(This piece lovingly dedicated to a talented artist who, for reasons I respect, prefers to share her nude art with friends-only instead of the planet. She knows who she is.)
Auron slides off the bunk, restless and sleepless, performing a delicate maneuver to unhitch his arm and lift the blanket up and away so that Lulu will not wake.
It was simpler before. Lift a sword and chase away the voices with the certain rush of steel through empty air. Of course, if he's careful, Auron can still drop into his warm-up routine, an unarmed dance of squats and lunges and overhand stretches to limber up muscles that have no business moving at all. But in the act of draping the coverlet over deceptively delicate shoulders, the weathered swordsman finds himself arrested by the mere sight of Lulu's parted lips.
A few strands of black hair have drifted across them and stir with each silent breath. Her long lashes just barely brush her cheeks, as if she were coquettishly watching him with a lidded gaze. Pale, white skin -- where in Spira did she come from, this islander girl with a complexion like Gagazet's glassy north face? Her dark hair spills across her throat, and braids snake out around her shoulders and across the pillow, twining around her arms like living vines. She lies on her side facing him, one hand under her cheek and the other curled palm-down against the pillow where it slipped off his face an hour ago. Full, luscious breasts pressed between her arms are a sight to savor, but Auron does not make the mistake that others do, seeing them and missing the rest of the bewitching form before his eyes. Below, the creamy curves of her belly disappear beneath the blanket, but the fabric's folds give away most of the rest: the stately arc of one hip, her long legs, calves firmed by months of walking.
Auron returns his attention to Lulu's face, relaxed and unguarded in sleep. Her controlled mask has melted. It is both gratifying and slightly unnerving to see the delicate, fresh features of youth on a face usually held tightly reserved by cynicism. He wonders where the first wrinkle will fall, and whether her raven hair will turn gray like his or streak with white or silver, kissed by the moon. Will the corners of her eyes ever gather fan-lines from laughter? Will the footprints of a frown mar her firm mouth? And whose head on his pillow will watch her grow old?
Lulu's eyes stir beneath her lashes. Auron freezes, still bent over her with head and shoulders stooped, the corner of the blanket clutched in his right hand, his left arm braced against the corner of the bed where he paused in the act of pushing himself to his feet.
Were she awake, she might also be enjoying the view. His shaggy hair spills unbound around his right ear and over well-knit shoulders. The rugged planes of his face, as ever, could use a shave, and are all too suited to the furrows of old scowls that have left their mark around his nose and mouth. Yet the intimate survey of his sleeping lover has softened the old fighter's expression into an approximation of tenderness.
Lover. Such an alien word.
No other will serve, although swordsman and sorceress are still almost strangers. But she has taught him to be aware of his body again as he has not been in over a decade, not only for any wounds wanting immediate attention or overtaxed muscles pleading for rest, but for how he has aged and weathered in strangely ordinary ways: the veins standing out from his forearm and the back of his hand, the faint creases of loose skin across his trim stomach, the scattered gray in the scraggly dusting of fur across his chest, in contrast to the wild dark bed of hair at the apex of his sturdy thighs--
Auron starts as Lulu tilts carelessly towards him and brushes a drowsy kiss against the smooth fleshy head of his manhood. Has she blessed him with something more intimate than sleepwalking? Then he catches the arrogant curl of a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, the glitter of eyes beneath her lashes.
"What are you doing awake?" he asks rhetorically.
"Watching," she counters sleepily.