A/N: This takes place during the previous chapter. Harry's proposal to Rose. The rose, Rainbow's End was the inspiration.
The part Harry had dreaded was here. How to put into such a plain and simple language the feelings, even that was inadequate, he had for this individual?
As if on cue Rose stretched upward and kissed him, at first a hesitant brush of the lips all the while seeming to gauge his reaction. Then she closed her eyes, her arms winding around his neck and pulled him into another kiss, this one more demanding and confident. Harry didn't hesitate, eagerly returning her advance until they both found themselves panting for air.
"How long will you stay with me, Rose?" he whispered in her ear, even as his tongue traced warm, moist patterns over the delicate lobe, eliciting delightful little mews from its owner.
Harry thought he was in danger of regeneration when her reply forced its way through his muddled brain.
Rose ran the tips of her index and middle fingers along his jaw line, stopping at the point of his chin before raising her gaze to meet his. Her light touch sent electrical currents coursing through him, and he suddenly found himself having to remember to breathe as her dark eyes conveyed the truth behind her words.
"That okay?" she murmured, her warm breath caressing his jaw and retracing the path her fingers had first outlined. She reciprocated with her tongue on his ear and he swallowed hard, scarcely able to nod in response.
Her movements stilled when Harry answered with a hoarse, "Why?" His arm curled around her waist, preventing her from stepping away even as she leaned back to study his face. Rose rested a hand lightly against his chest, the other she'd slid down to his bicep. He tensed momentarily, then shrugged away the thought of her readying to push away. She remained relaxed in his embrace and he followed suit, the tenseness turning to unmasked curiosity.
"Penny for your thoughts?" She prompted, fingers toying with the button on his shirt. Fearing she could read his thoughts he dropped his chin, watching as he brought his other hand up to run over the back of her hand before slipping his fingers between hers and pressing their hands together against his chest. Two heartbeats thumped steadily beneath, echoing a new rhythm.
"Why are you—not afraid of me?" he rushed the last few words and Rose leaned forward, tipping her head in an attempt to catch his eyes, unsuccessfully. At last she sighed, kissed the back of his hand and forced his head upward or risk knocking their heads together. Able to meet his eyes again she edged closer, the arm on his bicep now grazing through his close cropped hair. He tilted his head, pressing into her touch, enjoying the feel of her fingers massaging his scalp and waited, wondering what thoughts were hidden from him.
He remembered a time he had dreamt, catching the smallest of glimpses into her mind. In that dream he'd followed a golden thread of twisting light that had brought sharp reminders of home, at once comforting, intriguing, and left him with a longing for more. It had only been a short time before Rose discovered she could channel her innermost thoughts, and suddenly he'd found himself floundering, completely at a loss without the reassuring presence of that beacon. He'd experienced panic at the absence and was left to rely on his own intuition, which led to doubt.
Now here he stood upon a precipice, once again filled with reservations. How to express the rolling turmoil that battled within? Part of him wanted to reach out and seize what rightfully belonged to him, yet there was another voice, insisting his desire would be freely given if he'd but wait. He was perplexed as to when he'd acquired a conscience, and worse when he actually heeded its advice. He drew a shaky breath, wanting nothing more than to pull Rose closer to him until there was nothing but them, together as one.
"I don't fear you, because one doesn't fear that which one knows," Rose stated simply, refusing to break eye contact with him.
"How do you know me?" he whispered, captivated by the golden light mirrored in her darkened eyes and unable to discern if it was a reflection or a part of her.
"You let me in," Rose answered, but he heard a more ancient voice layered over hers and suddenly he was fearful. There was an underlying power that burned within Rose and it was that influence that had attracted him to her, he was beginning to understand. She was a part of his world, an element he'd thought lost forever and here it had presented itself in this human.
Her words twisted through his mind. "It was you who showed me the door and opened yourself to me. I've seen so much of what has made you, Harry. I've witnessed destruction at your fingertips, the cruel malice displayed to your enemies, the merciless evil you wrought upon innocents."
Undeserving, his mind screamed at him as he listened to her words of judgment. "Why—why don't you rid yourself of me then? I'm unworthy of you," his voice was hoarse, and still he was unable to let her go, or tear his gaze away.
"No." Rose shook her head, her eyes filled with tears as she cupped his face ever so gently in her hands. "That's all in the past. Because I've also seen another man, one hidden inside so very deep, I almost overlooked him. His are eyes that fill with awe upon discovering new wonders; there's an innocent joy in his explorations, a sense of accomplishment at his constructions. He's always curious, perceptive and lives with a hunger for knowledge that drives him. But beyond all that, there's a need for companionship, for acceptance." She smiled and pulled him forward for a kiss, a simple gesture, a promise of forgiveness and absolution.
Harry's arms wrapped around her, one thought left to him, Rose.
He'd bared his soul to her, this apparition of a goddess, and even now she was unafraid and waiting. Waiting to see what his decision might be. Would he stand with her, or cast her away, wanting nothing more to do with her.
Harry's own hands caressed her face as his eyes searched hers, their faces mere centimetres apart as he spoke softly, his heart and soul pouring themselves into a few words. "Take me, Rose." It was a prayer, full of desire and surrender
He felt a freedom at last as he gave himself to the phoenix and together, Rose and Harry soared amongst the stars. Hand in hand and heart to heart, they discovered every nuance and explored a world of pleasure between them.
Together they lay sated in each other's arms. Rose's head rested on Harry's chest as she listened to the comfort of the twin beats below, and Harry's arm wrapped around her protectively and possessively. He kissed the top of her head, nuzzling her hair and she turned her head to look into his eyes. His finger traced her cheek, his warm smile finding its way to his eyes.
"Marry me?" he whispered, raising his head towards her. She met him with her own smile and teary eyes, kissing him passionately before answering.
The rest was all minor details, thought Harry as he lay back contented and closed his eyes.