The room is chilly after the hot shower, but she sits in front of the mirror in just her lightweight robe anyway. It's going to be a hot day and Peeta forgot to close the bedroom windows after he'd gotten up; she'll warm up soon enough.
The floor length mirror sits in the corner of the bedroom next to his closet. Her closet door is open but she remembered she needs to put the cream on the burns before dressing. So she sits on the floor and pushes the robe off her shoulders to puddle behind her.
She sighs as she examined the scars again. Every day the same. She wrinkles her nose as she pops the tube of ointment open. She hates the metallic, medicinal smell. But it does make the tissue less sensitive. It does protect her from the sun. It does work. So she squeezes some out of the tube onto her fingers and applies it.
Her right shoulder. Her left shoulder blade. Across her ribcage. Along her left breast. Across her right hip and down onto the thigh. Across her lower back and the left hip. Behind to the knee. Her right and left ankle.
She stands up. She stared again. Now the skin shines slightly as the medicine is absorbed. It dissolves and dissipates the slight sting always left by the shower. She sighs. She squeezes the tube again onto her fingers and steps closer to the mirror.
Her left cheekbone. Her right ear. Behind where they had to remove part of the lobe. Her chin. Her neck. Her right temple and eyelid. The crease of her left nostril. The patch above her lip.
She lets the tube drop to the floor and stares at the mirror again. Her fingers trace the scar on her neck that runs to the right shoulder and down to the ribcage. A trail of destruction.
His face appears around the open bedroom door. He smiles. "You said you'd make the bed today."
She doesn't answer.
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. I will, I just…had to shower. First."
She offers him a perfunctory smile, a quick upturn of lips. But she hasn't moved.
He walks over and stands behind her. He rests his chin on her right shoulder. She sees how her scars blend up to the scar from his chin that stretches to his right ear.
"You're beautiful," he whispers, kissing her softly on the neck and wrapping his arms around her ribs. His scarred hands rest on her scarred ribcage.
She exhales, not quite a laugh. Not quite a scoff.
"You're beautiful," he repeats, firmly. He squeezes her ribcage ever so slightly. Demanding her attention.
She shakes her head and lets it hang forward. Her eyes find her toes. "No," she whispers.
He surprises her and pulls her onto his lap as he sits suddenly. His jeans are soft from wear against her bare thighs and backside. She gasps and falls against him, but he holds her tight.
"You're beautiful," he says again. He's not angry. It's more upset. It's more a need. More that she needs to understand what the word means. She wants to understand what he sees. But she doesn't see it.
He kisses her left shoulder blade. He kisses her spine. He pushes her forward in his lap. She grips the sides of the tall wooden mirror frame to keep from falling as he kisses her lower back. He slides out from underneath her to kiss the rippled flesh of her thigh.
He stops when he's between her and the mirror.
He pulls off his shirt. She sees. His chest. His left shoulder from the collarbone to the left elbow. His stomach. He moves to his knees to push his pants down, rolling back to pull them off. His right hip. She can see in the mirror it goes around his back and down all the way to the left rear thigh. His burned left knee. His right false calf.
He throws his clothes away towards the bed. He moves back to her. He kisses her right ankle, kissing a trail up her leg to where she rests the arm torn apart where the tracking device was torn out on a beach on a night not so very long ago. He kisses the pink flesh by her left breast.
He kisses the left side of her nose. The patch above her lip that lines up with the patch above his. She lets her mouth open to receive his. She kisses him back. She wants to understand what the word means.
He slides behind her and holds her hips to lift her back into his lap. She watches his eyes over her shoulder in the mirror as his hands move over her flesh, the smooth and the puckered the same. The wide, flat scars and the short, choppy ones. The sensitive flesh and the areas where the nerves are forever dead.
His hands slide into her lap.
His fingers find her and she inhales sharply. He moves with confidence. He knows her body. He's loved it so many times.
He pushes his fingers inside her to feel the flesh there, hot and aching for him. His right hand knows how to slowly torment while his left hand knows how to gently pulse. He coaxes babbling words and guttural noises from her scarred throat.
She grips his thighs, trying to stay in his lap as her back arches and she rises up and settles back down involuntarily.
"You're so beautiful," he rasps, watching her under his spell in the mirror.
She drops her eyes forward. She dares to look at herself. Her cheeks are red, her eyes glassy. Spots of perspiration stand out above her lip. Her chest is heaving. She squeezes her eyes as she tries to control another shudder that runs through her.
"Look. Look how beautiful you are," he whispers.
She opens her eyes and looks. She looks at him watching her.
She sees. The love. The passion. The want. The hunger. The desperation. It's beautiful.
She reaches down and stills his hands. She leans forward and reaches between then to find him. He's ready.
She eases herself back, letting him fill her. The air tumbles out of her lungs as she bears down to take him inside her. To feel him. He waits for her.
She rises and falls like the tide. She watches him the mirror. His ears and nose are red. She knows the flush that spreads down his chest that is hidden by her own body. She sees where they are joined in the mirror. She watches him disappear inside her.
She can feel the tension in his arms as he holds her to his chest, feelings his mottled skin against her back. She gently moves his right hand back down to the juncture of her thighs.
His fingers search until he feels her hips twitch and she jumps at the sudden sensation. The noises that escape her throat are uncontrolled. They mix with his in the warming room.
She lets her head rest on his shoulder as the tidal wave comes. She cries out, her back arching. He holds her firmly too him, pressing her down as her body spasms. His fingers move faster and her cries get louder as her climax soaks his lap. Her arms try to hold on to rug, the bedpost, anything to keep her on earth here with him.
She is still falling back from heaven but she feels his need. The desperation is now his. He pushes her forward onto her hands and knees in front of the mirror. She can see the flush now reflected. It's on his chest. The color stretches down to his ribcage. A spot of blush is above his bellybutton. It's beautiful.
He fills her again, demandingly, his fingers wrapping around her hips to hold her steady while he rocks back and forth. She watches his face as he strains to hold on. She sees her mouth opening and closing as she gasps. Her skin shines with sweat. A droplet hangs from his ear.
He comes inside her, pushing forward with the otherworldly cry that makes her heart soar. She knows that she made him feel beautiful.
He holds himself there, his eyes on where they are joined. She loves that moment. Where he's still lost in euphoria. Where he still can't believe they are here. They are home. They are together. She loves that it makes her heart feel whole. His joy makes the world seem unbroken.
His breathing slows and he gently withdraws. His fingers pull on her hips and she follows him back.
They lie next to one another on carpet, breathing and watching the changing patterns on the ceiling as the sun moves outside.
She rolls her head to look at him.
"You're beautiful," he smiles tiredly at her.
"You make me beautiful," she answers. She smiles at him. She kisses him.
She believes him.