Chapter 1 : Catacombs
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Author's Note I cannot post this story without thanking the wonderful Rita (llyralen on the archive, the_tofuubeaver on the forums and at TDA) for all her help in crafting this plot - I really never could have done it without her. Also, a big hug for Leanne (DarkLadyofSlytherin) who helped me a great deal in writing my summary. Thank you both! ALSO: Black is not Sirius Black - he is an entirely different character; an OC of mine.
Visual Aid To help picture Saharan better, I will be adding a list of portrayals to every chapter so that you can visualize the characters. It will be added to as more characters come along. This idea was stolen from Rita (llyralen) for her amazing novel Severance (it's quite enthralling, check it out!). Anyways, here's a little 'casting list', so to speak.
Olga Kurylenko as Grace Lawless
Daniel Craig as Maxwell "Black" Blackthorn
To the Readers I hope you enjoy this story, and I'd be delighted if you took the time to review to tell me what you think! Now, without further ado, here is Saharan Lies.
She ran, barely clearing the entrance of the pyramid before a cloud of dust erupted from within the depths of the tomb and shot past her. She leaned, panting, against the wall of the pyramid, her shirt soiled as usual and sweat dripping down her back. Black hooted with laughter, and Grace glared at him. Of course, he could laugh, he'd not been the one to set the powder, check for leaks, and light the fuse before rushing out of the tomb as fast as was humanly possible.
The sand cleared within the minute and Grace wiped her face with the part of her shirt that looked the least dirty before looking up to find Black doing the same. At least he had the luxury of a baggy shirt - they only had three shirts between them and two of them didn't fit him.
He jerked his head towards the entrance and swept the sand off of the first step with his right foot.
"Go on, then." Black smirked. "Ladies first."
The glare Grace shot him could have reduced a man to ashes, but Black met her incensed scowl with equanimity. His lips twitched.
"If it were that simple, Blackthorn, I'd have given up long ago."
His snicker was a challenge. "Then what are you waiting for?"
Grace shoved herself off the wall, dusted off her shoulders, and stalked past him into the pyramid. With any luck, there wouldn't have been anyone around for miles during the explosion. Knowing that was a luxury she hadn't been able to have, even though she'd set a silencing charm around their perimeter. Her wand wobbled in the back pocket of her torn jean shorts and she pulled it out, gripping the handle fiercely. As the dank air of the pyramid overtook her, she choked out a quick lighting spell and motioned for Black to join her. She felt a slick dread overtake her when she heard the sound of his weight crunching on the sand and bits of bone that had been blasted out.
"Shit!" she heard Black mutter and immediately shushed him. However profane and degrading his previous life had been, she would not stand for it to be so now. At least not without her consent. She was in control now.
With this new resolve, she leaned against the wall of the narrow passage and jerked her chin at Black, indicating he should go first. Black held up his hands in front of him.
"Hold on, now, Lawless. I'm not going into any musty old tomb head first, if you know what I mean." Grace just shook her head.
"I don't care. Actually, I'm beginning to doubt you're even a wizard, by the way you're so shaking and shivery." She paused long enough to catch Black staring daggers at her, and continued swiftly. "So, are you going to prove me wrong or not?"
Black ground his teeth, and Grace knew she had won their little spat. Whenever she called any ability of his into question, he would go out of his way to show her just the opposite of her so-called doubts. In truth, Grace respected Black greatly for his wizarding ability. His courage, she was less certain of.
He went ahead of her, wand in hand. It was strange how those strong, masculine fingers of his so desperately grasped the stick of wood. His fear amused Grace, and she followed him leisurely, her cat-like steps making no sound in contrast to his heavy walk.
He surprised her by commenting on the hieroglyphs. "If we ever get lost in here, at least we'll have enough to read to pass the time." She grunted out an affirmation, and his mouth quirked in the darkness. The labyrinthine corridors that led to the heart of the pyramid were narrow and old, the walls of the tomb groaning with the weight of the years. The memories they held, the secrets, the lies - all of which Grace could not wait to uncover.
And damned Black was taking far too long plodding around the pyramid. If she hissed at him to hurry up, she knew he would only say that if she was complaining, why didn't she go first? But she had made him go first for a reason.
Mainly that she did not trust him.
They had been two people on the run from what the other represented - she an Auror and he a wanted extortionist. Naturally, with a background and a bloodline like hers (needless to say, the Lawless family wasn't called Lawless for naught ...), he had quickly been able to convince her that the rigid course of action that the Ministry presented was far too constraining and limiting for someone like her. Immoral bastard he was, though, living in Paris off of his spoils, blackmailing politicians for a hobby. He was lucky she had listened to him and had given up trying to be something that she was not. Thievery was in her bloodstream; it was that undeniable lust that called her to this Gods-forsaken place. She couldn't deny it, not with Thomas Lawless as her father, and Leila Salih as her mother.
They made it to the center of the pyramid soon enough, having passed the pile of rubble (it had previously been a block of solid stone) that Grace had bombed prior to their entrance. Of course, there were far too many curses set up around the tomb that prevented her from using magic, so she'd made do with Muggle equipment. When she had first started her raids, her most frequent spell had been Bombarda, but Hugo soon told her that any preliminary curse set around the tomb would backfire and she could easily have been blasted to tiny bits.
She was fortunate enough that her first raids had been those of fairly minor pharaohs. What was more, she had been dismally disappointed to find out that they had already been visited by the notorious tomb-robbers of the time. Ones like the one they were currently in, however, were far more protected.
Grace adjusted the gun at her waist and ducked her head as they entered a shallow passageway that led to the heart of the pyramid. She had learned long ago that one should always come prepared when 'visiting' tombs like this one, and that was why she now worked with Black. Two people were always better than one. A duo offered security and backup in case one of the partners happened to be hit by a curse, or, Merlin forbid, a Pestilence.
So far, so good. They had each been hit by a series of curses, both of them beginning with the Arachnid Curse and ending with paralysis. It was manageable, if rather uncomfortable, and as the air around them grew putrid and moist, Grace knew they were nearly to the antechamber. It wasn't the sarcophagus she wanted, she'd never would have been able to carry it out of the pyramid, even with Levicorpus. What she wanted was the jewelry, the artifacts.
Suddenly, she felt a whip lash her on the back, though there was nothing in sight to suggest that. She bit back a cry, dismissing it as a curse she had overlooked, but when she felt the searing pain again the scream escaped her lips.
Black turned back, surprise etched on his swarthy face.
"What's with you?" he asked blithely while Grace, sweating now, grimaced as the invisible whip lashed her again. She fell to the floor, panting.
"What the fuck do you think, Blackthorn?" she growled. She howled in pain before turning her fevered glare back onto him. "Fucking Pest, that's what." Black nodded, understanding, and crouched down, examining her back. Her shirt was ripped in three places where the lash had bit into her skin. The lacerations were deep, blood flowing free.
Black pulled off his shirt and tied it around her back.
"Is that wise ...?" Grace asked, grimacing in pain as she stood up. The whips had stopped for the moment, but her hand now crushed her wand in a death grip. Black shrugged. He could deal with sunburn.
She winced before speaking. "Did you manage to dismantle it?"
Black shook his head. "It's a Pest, Lawless, so even if I did manage to do so, it would regenerate, come back stronger. You were the one who suggested we ignore all the Pests that got us until out of the tomb." Grace nodded, still wishing she had known - or at least heard of - the particular Pestilence that had attacked her. She made a mental note to ask Hugo as soon as they were in contact back at the camp.
The blood trickled down her back in slow, sticky rivulets, but Grace forced herself to move. She would not look weak in front of Black, despite the number of times they had worked together. His mouth twitched as she rose, and silently she passed in front of him to enter the antechamber of the tomb.
And there it was. The treasure room.