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Chapter 13 : Reunions
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He couldn't tell what was happening to him. When he dared to look up the piercing yellow of the sun scorched his eyes, leaving him blind for minutes after the attack. The blue of the sky was no refuge either as that was an endless thing, giving no hint as to where he was or anything really. All he could feel was the sand running around him in the wind, and the dull ache which ran around his whole body.
Trying to establish whether he did in fact end up in 1920s Egypt was near impossible for Scorpius. The only piece of evidence which suggested success was the multitude of sand now spilling into the crack between his sock and skin. Other than that, he could be anywhere. There were several places with a desert he recollected, though he was fairly certain Antarctica could be ruled due to the lack of snow and ice. Australia could be a possibility or Namibia or even America. Anywhere with a desert really.
“Crap,” Scorpius cried out, realising the full scale of what he was dealing with. Being stranded here with no food, water or shelter was not a good indication this was going well. He didn’t even know if Rose and Lorcan had managed to get pass this barrier, he just had to hope they did or this would all be for nothing.
He lay back further in the sand, feeling his head being almost nuzzled by the ground and felt his eyes slowly close, drifting into another world. Any world would be better than this current one though, Scorpius thought grimly, before giving up on thinking and decided to try and recover before setting out.
“You know, I do think that parchment is of some value, Rose. It certainly does have indicators of what Rashidi told us about.”
“I know, Lorcan, I know. But how we can tell them that? It would give everything away. As we’ve pretty much given up on the idea of going home we may as well keep them on our side.”
“I guess so. Oh well, we’d better head back or they’ll begin to get suspicious.”
“Indeed they will.”
The voices began to fade from Scorpius’s mind, floating off into the distance. It was proof that these conditions were growing to be too much for him, he had already begun imagining things. He felt as if he couldn’t be certain of anything from now on, as if nothing could be trusted.
Scorpius opened his eyes gingerly, the fine molecules of sand slowly peeling out of the cracks as he did so. A blur of red and brown collide before him, merging into one. Scorpius scrunched up his eyes, again and again, hoping for greater clarity, quality, anything but nothing happened. The only thing which did appear was greater confusion of what was happening to him.
He gave up on trying to find out what the red and brown was. It could have been anything here in the desert so it was almost better not to know. Leaning his head in the sand again, he realised he was growing to like it, that it was comforting in a way. Rather like Rose, when he fell asleep with his hand in hers. Rose. Rose. Rose. Rose had red hair. He saw red. It must be her, it must have been her who he heard. He knew it, just knew it.
“Rose!” Scorpius cried out, willing his lungs on to exert as much as possible out of them. His chest was compressing as the cry for her carried on and on. His oesophagus quickly wearied, and the cry grew into a throttle one. This time around, it was his eyes fighting against him, not wanting to carry on marching. Closing them slowly, Scorpius managed to whisper out one final word, “Rose.”
“What do you mean you know him? I don’t understand. How can you know him? He was found in the middle of the desert for Pete’s sake,” the voice cried beside Scorpius’s ear, each word burning through his brain.
“I told you, I know him, we can trust him. Perhaps my family decided to send out a search party after not hearing anything. Perhaps he wanted to come to Egypt too. I don’t know. I am as clueless as you are.”
The last word was accompanied by a fist smashing into the table beside him, the small aftershocks affecting even him.
“There’s no need for that, Rose.”
“I am simply responding accordingly to the treatment I received. There is nothing too unusual about that, is there?”
Rose. It had been Rose. Scorpius wasn’t sure at first; it sounded like her, but in a state such as his many things could appear deceiving. Then the man said her name, his Rose’s name. Then she wanted him to stay here, even after them being apart for weeks. That was definitely Rose.
“Rose,” he said slowly, throat still dry from the crying out earlier. “Rose, is that really you?”
“Scorpius!” he heard her cry out, still invisible to him because the thought of opening his eyes was far too exhausting. “Scorpius, you’re awake. I never thought you would wake up again when Lorcan and I found you in the dessert. It was horrible. We didn’t know what to do, just finding you there, like that, in the middle of the Sahara. Don’t ever do that to me again!”
Scorpius felt her arm come into contact with his own and the following sting as it hit an open cut of his. Definitely Rose. He felt the same hand grasp onto his, the warmness of it feeling like nothing he had felt in months as she wringed his hand in her own. The pain was soon forgotten with the fact she was here. She was alive.
“I’ll leave you to it,” the man replied harshly, and Scorpius could his feet back away from his position by his bed.
“David, no you don’t have to go, please stay,” Rose retorted, her hand tightening in his.
“No, I can see when I am no longer needed,” the man said simply, as if resigning to defeat. “I can see that Scorpius needs you now, not me. I’ll see you at dinner.”
There was a rustle of noise, like the sound of canvas opening and closing, which was then followed by silence.
“Rose, where’s Lorcan?” he asked, squeezing her hand as he did so.
“Out at the moment. He didn’t want to scare you by waking up to so many people. He’ll be back soon. Are you ok, Scorpius, you’re not in pain or anything, are you?”
Ignoring the parched feeling burning up and down his throat, the soreness of his back from the fall when arriving here and the haziness which surrounded his eyes, he nodded. He had to be strong for her. He couldn’t let her down.
“How did you get here? Where are Dalila and Rashidi? They aren’t… aren’t dead, are they?” Rose asked, her voice sounding as if it was close to tears on the last part.
“The man kept us in prison for a while, but we managed to capture him,” Scorpius said, his mouth so dry he sounded as if he were Rashidi and on the way to meet death. “I took the same potion as you did which led me to you; it was as simple as that. They aren’t dead, but Rashidi isn’t well. That’s why we need to get back to them, to help them get back to Cairo.”
Rose let out a mm in response. “I’m glad that they are alive. We've been worried sick, Lorcan and I have, and about you too. We tried to think of a way to contact you but there just wasn't one. I just wish that we can find a way to get back. I want to help them, need to almost as I was the one who led you all into this.”
“Yes, I have an inkling of how to get back. I simply need to wait to test the theory.”
“Any spoilers you can give to me?”
“No,” Scorpius replied grimly. “No, there aren’t any.”
The thought of having to tell her he almost certainly had to die to get them back was one too much for their reunion party. Telling her could wait. The man, or Frederic Russell as he should say, never specified how long he would have to wait to die, only that he must die in the past. The only hope he had was that they remained here for a while and it wouldn't be for a fair few years yet.
Knowing he would have to greet the pain of opening his eyes sooner or later, Scorpius delicately peeled them back and couldn’t have been gladder of doing that. He could see Rose sitting on a chair beside him, the white canvas of the tent framing her. Her red hair pulled back into a bun, a new style for her, a dress clinging to her, another new thing. One of her hands lay in his, the other by his body.
“Rose, I missed you.”
Her face turned slowly to him, a smile slowly framing her face too. “I missed you too, Scorpius. Hanging around with Lorcan just isn't the same. It's not like being with you.”
“I’m glad I rate so highly when it comes to companionship.”
“Of course you do, you always will too.”
Rose’s face turned away from him, ducking down as if she couldn’t face this intimate moment. “I can show you Acanthus when you’re well.”
“You got there? You actually got there?”
Rose laughed at him, the tension reliving slightly between the two. “Yes, we did. We’re actually camped just a little way away from it. We still have a lot to tell you so when you’re well I can show you around and tell you everything.”
Scorpius nodded, smiling at her. Everything was well for now.
“We think that the people who lived here had a fairly advanced society,” Rose told Scorpius as they strolled down the main street of Acanthus. “From the few houses we’ve explored they have things such as fireplace, a water carrying system, and they’ve already begun to find separate storage areas for food depending on the type it is.”
“Wow, I never had you down as an archaeologist,” Scorpius joked, clutching onto the wall to steady himself while laughing.
Rose frowned at him, but that was soon usurped by a smile. Seeing that Scorpius was already capable of taking walks around the ancient city was more than enough to put her in a good mood. “Thanks, but you’re right, it wasn’t me who theorised that. It was Lorcan and David. Lorcan’s, well, Lorcan really and knows everything, and then David knows a lot about the Ancient Egyptians and other ancient civilisations.”
Scorpius screwed up his face before it formed into a proper scowl. “David’s the one who doesn’t seem too keen on me, the one who tends to leave the room when I’m around, right? There you were telling me he was the nice one and it was Anthony to watch out for, but Anthony’s been perfectly nice to me.”
Rose gave a small nod in response and murmured something in a noncommittal manner. The subject of David’s sudden mood change was one that Charlotte was also interested in, theorising away before giving hurt looks at Rose now and then. She had inklings about the reason for it, but delving too deep into them didn’t much good for her conscious so tended to stray away from them. She hadn’t encouraged him in any way, as Scorpius had always been on her mind from the very beginning.
“Yes, David is a very dear person, he just has his off moments now and then. It’s nothing much to worry about Scorpius.”
They fell into silence, taking time to observe the old market place. A few piles of stones stood unswaying in the air, whereas others had been fragmented around the perimeter, torn apart by the Romans. It was even hard to identify what these ancient market holders had sold. Shards of pottery coated in faded dyes were the most common find, the most harmful too if you were Edmund and got excited over any find, Rose thought.
As she walked through the remnants of the aisles, taking it all in, she found it hard to believe that this site may have been as active as the souk she came across in Cairo with Muggles and magical folk, tourists and locals, all haggling away for the best deal. It seemed too surreal, too weird, to think that this ghost town had once been inhabited.
A small stall caught her sight, the setting being fairly familiar to another memory of Egypt. Clusters of bottles varying in size were huddled on the wooden planks. Some were chipped, others smashed down to shards of glass, each one still had scent lingering on it though as Rose approached the stand. Oils were the dominant scent with linseed, castor and almond oil and the softer floral scent of safflower pushing up with the cinnamon mixed in.
“A perfume stand,” Rose whispered. “Like what I was originally looking for in Egypt. The reason why I was here.”
“Yes,” Scorpius added on, his voice being surprisingly louder than expected. “It’s strange how things turn out, isn’t it?”
Rose turned to face him, his face smiling as she did so. She tried to take him in all, trying to persuade herself that this wasn’t a dream. That Scorpius was here, that he found a way. That there could be away for them to go back.
“Indeed it is.”
“It’s great being back with you, Rose, it really is. I didn’t think it would be so strange being away from you.”
Rose let out a little laugh and nodded her head, not really sure how to respond to his comment. She rubbed her fingers around in her hand, the sweat forming in a circle in her hand. She wouldn’t be surprised if her fingertips turned prune like due to the accumulation of it. Then again, in the desert perspiring was such a normal thing, it shouldn’t be thought of too much. Except when Scorpius was around she always did think too much.
Not really knowing what else to do, and knowing moments of boldness were needed in these situations as it worked for her mother, Rose edged towards him. She felt Scorpius watch her take each and every step until they were inches apart, smiling at one another. Leaning in, she wrapped her arms around him and slowly pressed her lips against his.
Rose didn’t even have to wait in fear to see whether Scorpius would respond or not. His lips quickly joined onto hers, their pulses formed one big circulation of blood. She felt his arms snake around hers, as the kiss grew deeper and deeper, holding no care if another person walked in on them. The only care she had was that this, their second kiss after a haphazard first in Hogwarts, was much better than she could have imagined in all those nights she fell asleep, waiting for his return.
This was proof of Scorpius’s return. Now she had to make sure that he didn’t leave her again.
Author's Note Ah, Scorpius is back! Ah they kissed! Ah Rose may have finally admitted she had feelings for him through that! Ah this story has over 100 reviews! Ah there are lots of things to ah over!
On a side note, I really want to get Acanthus finished in under a year but as time is ticking away, you should expect more regular updates so yay for that! I really hope you liked this chapter because I've been looking forward to it for ages, so please let me know in a review on what you thought about it! Thanks for being awesome readers :D
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