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Chapter 18 : Beautiful: Scorpius POV
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“She’s in Reg’s room, mate,” Albus answered the question before I could ask. “She wouldn’t come down and said she would just wait for you there.”
“Thanks, Al – for keeping guard.” I swiped at my filthy robes, trying to lessen the soot that was ground into the fibers. It seemed I was just making them dirtier. My hands were stained with ash and grime. An attempt to shake out the cinders that clung limply to the sweaty strands of my hair was also futile.
“She’s my cousin and you’re my best mate. Easy call. But since I’m off duty now…” Albus stretched his arms over his head. His left arm was bare and still bore the marks from battle. While my wound looked like someone had gouged out a smallish black crater across my chest, Albus’s arm was slashed nearly to threads, with angry whip-like marks criss-crossing from his shoulder to his wrist. The lacerations were thin but deep and each one curled up at the end. I had never seen anything like it. As Al turned to face his girlfriend, I could see that Rose had applied another dose of dittany.
He spoke to me, but was staring hungrily at his lover, “You won’t mind if we have few moments to ourselves? I promise to use that silencing charm Rose mentioned.” He grinned as he kissed her fingers.
Selenia, being careful to avoid his wound, placed her arm around his waist and stared back into his eyes, smiling at the raven haired young man who was giving her all his attention.
I chuckled. “Is James here?”
“Nope. Went out with his Quidditch team after visiting Dom.” Al’s eyes flicked up after giving Selenia a kiss on her exposed neck. His good arm pulled her closer into his side. Al and I had been effectively living together for ten years, which means that Selenia and I had been effectively living together for seven years. The two of them had long since gotten past being discreet around me. Not that they were ever that discreet around anyone.
Her hand was playfully sliding up and down his thigh - my cue to get the heck out of there. “Don’t think he’ll be back tonight,” Al said as his head twisted to claim Selenia’s mouth. She responded willingly. Those two could seriously get it on anytime, anywhere.
“Thanks again mate,” I shook my head at the pair, and turned away before the clothes started coming off. From experience (more experience than I cared to recall), I knew that I was approximately thirty seconds away from seeing more of Al than just his naked arm.
From the sounds they were making as I walked down the hallway, Albus didn’t hear me; he was too busy snogging Selenia. I didn’t think they would even make it to his room.
Instead of apparating, I decided to walk up the three flights of stairs to Regulus’s room, needing an extra few minutes to compose my thoughts before I spoke to Rose. I found myself on the top landing before coming up with anything. The door to my room was open and I could see her in profile sitting on my bed, her knees pulled up to her chest and her arms wrapped around her legs. She was looking away from me, staring off in thought. Rose looked like a warm ray of sunshine, beaming through the dark cloud of a room.
My weight rested against the doorway and I gaped at her simple beauty. Her red waves were pulled easily in a ponytail, trailing down her back, as she usually wore them. I meant every word I had said to Ron; she was my whole life. I stared at her for another minute, desperately searching for the right words.
Nervously, I shifted in the doorway and the floor creaked beneath my feet.
Rose blinked and turned her head to me, a relieved smile spread across her face and her shoulders relaxed.
This was the moment to start talking, but my throat was tight and nothing came out. How could I describe the feelings of remorse, regret and helplessness? I gave her a tight grimace, in the hopes that it would pass for a smile, while I rubbed my hands together. She shuffled herself off the bed and paced across the worn, gray floorboards in haste toward me. I followed her gaze downward as she took and studied my fists smeared with soot and grime. Soft, warm hands cradled my cold, rough ones as she pulled them against her. She then lifted her head to meet my eyes. A look of relief washed over her face and her deep, blue orbs were pleading.
Lightly, she coaxed me along with her, turning me around by our entwined hands. We moved as one, in a half circle, stepping out the door and into the hallway. Rose continued walking backward and gently pulled me with her through the hallway and into the bathroom. Our eyes stayed locked until we were inside the white tiled room and she stood on her toes to to kiss me sweetly. I felt tears prick in my eyes. She stepped back, released her grasp on me and, in one gentle movement, swished her wand from her robes to close the bathroom door. My fingers reached toward her face to trace the side of her cheek, but the contrast between my filth covered hands and her porcelain skin caused me to recoil and pull away from her.
If she noticed my reticence, she didn’t let on. Her hands found the fastening to my robes and she deftly undid the clasp. She guided it off my shoulders and let it fall to the ground.
Rose pointed her wand at the shower and the water started. We began to undress each other slowly and deliberately. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw black streaks across my face from the ash. The darkened wound that slashed from my shoulder to my abdomen had faded a little, but was still tender. My hair was matted and had bits of bark and burnt wood ground into it.
She took my hand again and led me into the warm shower. Once inside, I cupped her jaw to savor the soft, freckled skin. I frowned when I realized that I had smudged her perfect face, leaving an ugly gray streak. Before I could pull away, she grasped my hand with her thin, tiny fingers. She pressed my hand to her cheek tightly and dug her eyes into mine, as if she knew that I was wrestling internally.
Very slowly, I dipped my head toward her and brushed my lips lightly against her cheek, then her forehead and nose and finally ended on her lips as I brought my other hand up to her face, to hold the moment a bit longer. I could feel the tension easing from my mind and body.
As her arms encircled my waist, she opened her lips to mine and the kiss deepened. We danced for a few moments like this, the hot water soothing my sore and tired bones; her touch soothing my strained and fatigued mind.
We could’ve been there for hours; time seemed to stand still in our small, heated waterfall. I released her when she took a step back and pulled away.
Rose put her hands on my chest and smoothed her thumbs over my skin. She carefully traced her fingers around the wound from the night before and followed it down to my lower belly. Unlike last night, when she had looked upon with the eyes of a Healer, now she saw the gash as the battle wound of her lover. She contemplated how deep it went and how close it had passed to several vital organs. Gingerly, she placed her palm against my heart, pressing with the lightest touch, as if to assure herself that it was still beating beneath the lesion.
Both my hands were resting on her hips and I slid my left fingers up until they covered the densest mass of what remained of the scars on her right side. We were both marked now, inside and out.
Rose lifted a cloth dampened with soap and warm water. She traced the edges of my face, ridding it of the dirt and grime. Then she set to work on my hair, lathering it up and massaging it through while she stood on her tiptoes. She continued with the rest of me, paying special care to each mark I had sustained in the battle. Rose used the softest touch to remove all traces of sawdust and cinders from my hair and skin.
She washed my hands last and it took quite some time to get them clean. Every smudge and streak was removed with love and care. I watched her in amazement as she worked, refusing to use magic. I couldn’t stop a tear from escaping as I was, at long last, clean from the grime that plagued me. Rose kissed that tear away as she had removed all my other pains and troubles.
I stepped back and marveled at her. She had never seemed so beautiful to me as she was at that moment. This woman, this woman standing before me was to be honored, revered.
Her hair had come loose from its ponytail and I reached for the shampoo. My hands suddenly felt overlarge, as I worked the soft bubbles through her tresses. The lathered soap felt like velvet as it cascaded down her exquisite skin. She guided my hands through her hair as we rinsed it out together.
It was my turn to lead her. I carefully lifted her out of the shower and summoned a towel to dry her off. She smiled as I fumbled with my inept hands and her delicate features. I attempted again with her thick hair, to try to twist a towel around her head the way she did so effortlessly, but it still hung awkwardly and finally fell off. I settled on a drying and warming charm. She then proceeded to give me similar care, with much better skill. She was a natural with her patient, kissing ever so softly at my wounds and wrapping the towel warmly around my waist. Afterwards, she summoned a nightdress for her and pyjama bottoms for me.
We walked down the two flights of stairs to our room, holding each other the whole way. As soon as the door was closed and locked, Rose turned to me, slid herself out of the thin cotton dress and removed my trousers. I scooped her up when she leaned in for a kiss.
As I lowered us to the bed, she leaned up into me while pulling me down to her. We moved together the way we had in the shower, dancing slowly and deliberately. Our love was unhurried and magnificent.
In the afters, Rose pulled the covers over both of us and she snuggled herself sideways into the crook of my arm, careful to avoid my healing gash. Our eyes locked again as we drifted off to sleep; I knew that she didn’t want me to ask for forgiveness, that I didn’t need to ask her. Rose told me that I was everything to her and our love was all that both of us needed. She told me that we were stronger together than we could ever be apart. She told me that we had a bond that most people wait an entire lifetime for and never feel. She told me all of this and we never spoke one word to each other.
A/N: So this chapter is quite a bit different than the others. I know it is really short, but I thought it was necessary so that Rose and Scorpius could move forward. What do you think? I would love it if you could let me know! Thanks again to everyone who has been reading and reviewing this story!
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