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He'd always been distracting, even from that very first salute he gave her aboard the SR1. She'd thought that in time he would affect her less, but she'd been wrong. She hadn't been aware of quite how wrong, however, until he had walked back into her life at Alliance HQ in Vancouver and stolen her breath away all over again.

He was aging exquisitely, cliches about fine wines and all. She hadn't been kidding, and certainly hadn't just been flattering him, when she told him as much in the hospital. It was all she could do to keep her focus sometimes in the field, to not be drawn into daydreams about his smoky, rasping voice, by his profile, his little pouts and half smiles. Luckily she was a consummate professional, but there were times when it was touch and go (and not least when he was walking ahead of her).

Worst of all, though, were the patches of grey threading themselves through his hair now - especially the ones at his temple. There had been a time, watching him sleep in her bed on the way to Ilos, when she'd thought to herself that he couldn't be more beautiful. But that was before the salt and pepper hair.

Luckily, in moments like this, when they were curled up together in the loft, she was free to indulge herself fully. She was snuggled up against his side as he looked up at the stars above the bed (he loved to watch the stars, she'd learnt), her head propped up by one hand as the other stroked through his hair. Their earlier activities had left his carefully styled pomp ruffled, and she alternated between smoothing it down and mussing it further, letting short curls wrap against her fingers. She ran her fingers down to his temple, caressing that distracting patch of grey.

He turned his face towards her hand, kissing the inside of her wrist, right over the pulse point in the way that made it seem to stutter and skip (at least, that's how it felt in her chest).

"You made me lose count," she admonished. His reply was a soft, almost sleepy "hmm?" as he turned to look at her.

"I was counting the greys," she told him with a smile. She felt his chuckle rumble in his chest as much as she heard it.

"Are you implying I'm old?" he poked her in the side, in the spot that was just ticklish enough to make her squirm against him. She gave him in return what she hoped was a wicked smile.

"I don't need to imply anything, Major, the evidence is right here," she tugged gently where her hand was still tangled in his hair, before finding herself rolled onto her back.

"I'm pretty sure calling a ranking officer old is a punishable offence," he smirked down at her as he tugged the bed sheets away...

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Even after all these years, one of her favourite places to be was still wherever they were when they ended up curled around each other and basking in the afterglow. More often than not these days their afterglow seemed to be interrupted by children attempting to sneak into their bed, or help themselves to a glass of milk, or the cries of a nightmare, and that's if they got to the afterglow at all.

Kaidan was almost asleep, lulled by her fingers stroking through his hair as he used her as a pillow, when her laughter shook him awake. He cracked an eye open to mock glare up at her, and jokingly grumbled that he was trying to sleep.

"Sorry," she whispered, dropping a kiss on top of the mess of (now mostly grey) curls she'd been rumpling.

"What's so funny, anyway?" he asked, closing his eyes again.

"Just remembering how I used to count your grey hairs," she looked down at the top of his head and ran her hand back through his hair, nails scraping his scalp gently and earning an appreciative grunt. "Of course, now it would be quicker to count the black hairs," she mused.

He hmphed, and reached for the sensitive spot on her side in that way he always did to playfully poke or tickle whenever she sassed him. "Such impudence," he complained in a tone that implied he really didn't mind at all. "You're lucky I love you."

"Yes," she agreed.