Note: This story is one of a pair... the other is "A Touch of Moonlight." I wrote "The Scent of Roses" as part of the 30 Romances LJ community for the challenge "Roses, daisies, lilies, etc" (whereas "A Touch of Moonlight" came later, and is not yet affiliated with any LJ community). I just loved writing this - mainly because it was so deliciously easy to visualize.

The Scent of Roses

The late afternoon sun felt delicious on his skin as he sat quietly beside the river, watching it flow lazily by, sparkling in the sunlight. For at least a little while, the other samurai were off about their own business, the peasants were hard at work getting ready for the battle, and he had a few precious moments to himself. With a happy sigh, he closed his eyes and tilted his head back to feel the warmth of the sunlight on his face.

Then he became aware that he wasn't alone, and inside, he groaned silently. He'd barely had a moment's peace since he and the other samurai arrived... was it really too much to hope that the peasants and other samurai could get by for at least an hour without bothering him?

But as he listened to the soft footfalls approaching, he finally recognized them at the same time that he recognized the faint scent of sandalwood.

She didn't say a word, but he sensed her approach as she sat quietly beside him.

Although he normally enjoyed her company a great deal, for just a little while, he wanted to be alone, so he said nothing to her.

He wasn't certain how long the silence went on, and for that matter, he didn't really care. At least with her, it wasn't an uncomfortable silence. She didn't try to make any awkward conversation, she just sat there patiently.

Then he heard a faint rustling, as though she'd shifted position on the ground, and a soft snapping or breaking sound. He resolutely kept his eyes closed, however, forcibly stifling his curiosity.

Until the light touch of... something... against his cheekbone nearly made him jump. Only by sheer force of will did he manage to keep from flinching, but his reflexive and startled inhalation suddenly filled his senses with the scent of rose.

He frowned, but still kept his eyes shut, and realized that she was tracing his features with the soft petals of the flower. The silky smoothness of the petals and the heady scent of rose, with her own sandalwood scent beneath it, were starting to have an effect, and he was finding it increasingly harder to concentrate.

The flower traced its way down his nose, brushed lightly over his lips, then slid with aching slowness along his jawline. Without even realizing what he was doing, he tilted his head back ever so slightly, and the rose trailed sensuously along the line of his throat with the tenderness of a lover's kiss. He swallowed a moan as the flower was withdrawn, but then gave up any hope of holding back the moan when a soft pair of lips gently brushed against his skin.

He clenched his hands at his sides, digging his fingernails into his skin at the sweet torture of her lips following the exact path she'd traced earlier with the flower. Along his eyebrows, down his nose, lightly touching his own lips (along with a faint swipe of her tongue along his lower lip that nearly shattered his control altogether), along his jawline, then down his neck. He let out another moan as her teeth lightly plucked at the base of his throat, suckling gently there before releasing him.

Then he once again felt the flower's touch, starting at the top of his head, and moving in a straight line down the front of his face, his chest... all the way down. The feeling of the rose against his loins made his entire body stiffen, and his fingernails drew blood from his palms.

Then he became aware that she had laid the rose in his lap, her fingers very carefully skirting what she had so teasingly caressed earlier with the flower.

Then came the sounds of her getting to her feet and walking away, and when he was certain she was gone, he opened his eyes. There in his lap was the rose with which she'd so gently tormented him, and as he lifted it to his nose and drew in a deep breath, he savored not only the scent of rose...

... but the scent of sandalwood that she had left behind.