(1937-11-29) Cooling Off
Details for Cooling Off
Summary: Ria finally manages to get Lucian to talk to her again.
Date: November 29, 1937
Location: Black Lake
Related: Perspectives of Honour

Water. Freezing. Cold. Water. But Lucian mastered the charms to stave off hypothermia years ago, so he could use the lake year round. Swimming has always been one of the few things that soothes the savage beast. He has finished his vigorous laps, and now just floats lazily on the surface, gazing up at the sky. Nearby, on the end of the boathouse dock, his clothes are piled up next to a towel.

Ria realize how deep she had gone the morning after the fight when her boyfriend was nowhere to be found no matter how much she searched for him. Following him lead to dead ends or short glimpses of his back as he fled any room she entered. But there was no way he could avoid her now, right? A fourth year told her he was out swimming, and the pile of clothes she encounters at the boathouse docks confirms it. So she bends down to pick up his shirt and begin folding everything neatly, out of habit mostly. Her eyes skim the water until she finds him floating. "Lucian," she calls out to him, wrapped tightly in her robes and green scarf about her neck.

For a moment it seems that he may not have heard her, as the water is lapping up over his ears. But he lifts his head, glancing her way in acknowledgement. For a moment he just states, his face impassive. Then he twirls and dives under the surface, disappearing, only to eventually resurface near the dock. He says nothing, watching her expectantly while he treads water.

And Ria stands there, like a doe standing still in the middle of the woods, her green eyes wide and apologetic while she holds his pants, half folded. For a few seconds she simply stares straight at him in the water, her breath becoming visible in the freezing air while she tries her best to be still and not shiver. "I'm sorry." Ria's voice is filled with rue and she lets her apology linger a while before adding. "I'm…really really sorry. Please talk to me."

Lucian's cold glare certainly suits the chilly environment. Still silent, he strokes closer, then grips the edge of the dock and hauls himself up onto the wooden platform. He takes up his towel and starts to rub himself down, giving a little shiver as the Impervius Charm shielding him from the cold starts to falter. All the way, his eyes remain fixed on Ria, nothing but pained, quiet anger.

Ria licks her lips and presses them together as watches him swim toward the dock and emerge from the water. And ever so subtly she turns a rosy hue to see him before her, shirtless, wet and heating steaming off of him into the cold. But that's not why you're here, Ria! She snaps herself out of it instead cautiously taking a step toward him, feeling rather meek and frightened under her cold gaze. "I'm really sorry Luc…I shouldn't have called you what I did. I was acting irrationally and said things I didn't mean. I was an idiot" Her face grows even more apologetic as she clenches the material of his pants in her hands. She won't give them back unless he talks to her. "And I failed to listen to you when you were explaining how important your decision was."

Lucian tilts his head, his expression finally cracking, at least a little. It's a shift to a more discerning gaze than a death glare. "And now that you've thought about it? Do you care? Do my reasons mean a damn thing to you?" He bends down to dry off his legs. He'll need those pants soon.

No matter what kind of gaze it is, Ria still seems rather meek under it and her slight shivering over makes her more frightened-looking. But her jaw stiffens and she looks down at her feet briefly when she admits, "I still don't agree with your decision to leave only because it's not what I would have done…" She looks back up at him though and quickly adds, "But I understand why you did it. I respect it, and I'll still support you for it. And I'd defend you against anyone who'd question you." She clenches the pants even tighter as if she had a feeling that might not be the answer he wants to hear from her, but she's trying to be honest.

Lucian sees that tightening of her fingers. He's not getting the pants back without wresting them from her. Fine. Let her just deal with his near-nudity. "This is who I am, Ria. I can't believe you didn't get that. I know you're sick of the 'poor little bastard' routine. But its true. Honour is the only thing I have that can't be taken from me. So, yes, it matters more than what the rest of this stupid school thinks of me." He lets out a long breath, misting the air around his lips. "Your opinion is the only one I care about."

Ria's brows upturn in an even more sorry look. Biting her lip she nods, "I know. I know it is, and I'm sorry. I was so preoccupied with the things I wanted for you and my own interests that I disregarded your feelings. Not even disregarded. I stomped on them, and Merlin help me…I never want to put you down." The guilt makes her hand massage her forehead. "You make me feel like I'm on top of the world and you give me so much confidence in the choices that I make and the things I do. And it kills me that I degraded what you find so important. You withdrawing … it's not what I would have done, but I know it's necessary to you. It's necessary for you to take yourself out of something violates an art you respect so much. I never should have demeaned that." Her hands clench so hard that her knuckles whiten as if the bone came out from underneath and takes another cautious step forward to look into his eyes, "You have a passion and I love you for it, and I never want to do anything to quell it." Ria doesn't even realize she slipped in the heavily loaded 'l' word and instead just furrows her brow at him, her eyes wide with intense sincerity.

Lucian catches the word, and his heart suddenly races in his chest. As close as she is to him, there's simply no room to do anything but kiss her. His hands slide up to cradle her head, and he presses his lips to hers. All of the raw rage and heartbreak he'd been bottling up is poured into that kiss, and he isn't letting go. It isn't simply another snogging session to make up after a fight. It's a make-or-break moment, a crossroads in their relationship.

Ria is swept up way sooner than another word can slip it's way out of her. Her head is turned up to meet his lips as she's simply trapped into the intense kiss which overwhelms her initially making her groan just a little bit. But in time, she too responds with equal fervor that's filled with guilt but pure relief that he isn't ignoring her anymore. She could take his avoidance for much longer and aching to have him near, she wraps her arms around him and pulls him closer. "I'm sorry, Lucian," she pulls back with a gasp for air, making puffs of her breath linger into the col. "I'm so sorry…"

Lucian shivers as his spell completely fades, and he is suddenly exposed to the freezing late autumn air. Now needing warmth both within and without, he slips his arms under her robe, curling them around her back. "I know," he murmurs. "I forgive you. Just…don't ever call me that again." He leans in for another kiss, refusing to let the passion of the moment fade away.

Vigorously her head shakes, and Ria whispers, "Never again. Never. Ever. Again. I promise." Pulled in once more, she's so desperate to feel him close that she presses up against him as she kisses him, a hand slipping into his wet hair. And that's when she realizes it. Wet hair. She's touching his bare chest and he's hardly clothed and his arms are snaked around under her robes so that she doesn't know where his heat ends and hers begins. The red flushes her cheeks instantly as she pulls her head away again. This time perhaps a bit more nervously. "Uhm…," she clears her throat quiet and holds up his clothes which she was still gripping and offers it to him, "Your uhm…your pants. You must be cold…"

Lucian leans his forehead against hers, a few chilly drops hitting her skin. "Oh, sure, remind me. Now I'm freezing." He can't help an awkward chuckle. But he doesn't let go of her right away. Cold be damned, he is not going to let this moment get away from him. "You said you love me. For my passion. You said you love me for it."

Ria shivers a bit at the cold drops, scrunching her nose gingerly. Lake water gross. But there may be other reasons why she's shivering. Even her own brief but awkward laugh settles, leaving her to think of how close they are at this very moment. The flush on her cheeks remains aggressively burning on, and what he says to her only adds to the fire. "That's because I do…l-love you," she says quiet with her nose practically touching his. Her lips press together nervously. There, she said it. "I love how fired up you get over dueling and hippogriffs. I love seeing you have a commanding authority when you're handling stupid first years. I love seeing you smile and laugh, and I hate seeing you scared or angry…especially at me. But that's because I love you." She pauses and thinks about it a moment, "I mean…that's part of what love is like, right?"

With every word she utters, Lucian's breaths come a little faster. For a moment, his eyes shut, just listening to what she's saying. But he cannot bear to be without her in his sight for long, and when they open, those beautiful blues are bright as sapphires, wide and awestruck. He gives her a solemn nod, his lips curling into a slow smile. "Yes, that's what love is like. Ria…I love you so much, and I've ached every day since I asked you out to hear those words."

Something in Ria's chest aches at what he says, but possibly in a good way because she too bites her bottom lip and smiles. The kind of restrained smile that she struggles to keep lest she break out into cartwheels, which is something she really wants to do right now. "Well, you're hearing them now that I know I mean them," she presses the back of her hand gently on his one cheek before tip-toeing again to kiss him, fully, deeply, full of sweet relief that their fight was over and she could stop missing his presence so much.

Lucian tightens his arms around her, and lifts her up, off of her feet, so she doesn't have to stretch to kiss him, and to feel her fully against him (and thankfully the cold prevents anything too embarrassing from happening). But, it is the cold that eventually defeats him. He starts to tremble, and is forced to put her down. "S-sorry…" He steals another kiss even as he goes to collect his garments and finally get dressed.

Ria exhales a laugh into the kiss as she feels his grip tighten around her and her feel leave the ground. Yes, thankful for cold indeed. Oh the barrage of awkward vibes that would surround them if she felt anything poking around in this moment. When she's put down though, that's when she remembers that status of his nudity and scratching the back of her head and blushing like mad, she holds out his pants for him to take and for the sake of self preservation, turns around in the other direction so she doesn't gape while he gets dressed.

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