Rupert and Alice entered the large house, Claire continuing to scold all the while. She ushered them back to their bed.
“I have porridge for you both, and I strongly suggest you eat your breakfast.”
“Yer wife seems to grow more demanding as she ages,” Rupert said to Jamie.
“Aye, and with good reason, you and Alice have only just recovered.” Rupert shook his head as Claire reentered the living room with two bowls of porridge on a breakfast tray, which she placed on their laps.
They quickly did as she asked, eating the hot porridge, and drinking the cold milk that she placed in front of them.
“Today is your anniversary is it not?” Jamie asked. Rupert nodded, a soft smile on his face.
“Aye, that is right,” he replied.
“Can you tell us your story?” Claire asked. “About how you met and fell in love? I wasn’t there or privy to all of it.” Alice and Rupert smiled at her.
“It is a long story,” said Alice.
“You have a long recovery,” said Jamie.
“Well, all right then,” said Alice. She took another bite of porridge.
‘Akicita, would you mind starting?” Rupert asked.
“Akicita?” Jamie and Claire asked together, pronouncing the word wrong.
“What on earth does that mean?” Claire asked.
“That is my Lakota name,” Alice replied. “Akicita, which means warrior. The Lakota tribe has a complex naming system, I received this name when I was eighteen. My first name meant dancing maiden, sense I loved to dance.” Rupert grinned at her.
“Ye still do lass,” he whispered. Alice laughed.
“Well, it all started as you know, in the future in the year 2016. I was at a protest of people who wanted the government to stop a project that would poison our water.” Claire gasped, looking quite a poled to Rupert’s eyes.
“That sounds horrible,” said Jamie in disgust. There was more of course, but Alice didn’t want to go into the hole situation, so she cleared her throat and continued.
“It was October, a beautiful fall evening.”
October 15th, 2016.
Standing Rock Reservation.
Alice Cross ran, screams and gun shots filling her ears. The smell of the tear gas was strong in the air, causing her to cough as she stumbled forward, though, it was a bit difficult to run with a cane in her hand, but she did her best.
Sean had insisted that she run, placing himself between her, and the police dogs.
“I will not see you in jail,” he said.
“Isn’t that not my decision to make?” she asked, the tear gas making her nostrils burn. ‘This is my reservation, my people, not yours, you don’t have the right to keep me from protecting what is mine.” Her voice rose to a near shout as she glared in her friend’s direction.
What right did he have? She had been in the second wizarding war, and had experienced far worse than a fucking jail cell. Sean placed a hand on her arm.
“Alice, I understand what you went through in your war, and I know that you are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself, but this is bad, you could go to jail, or worse get killed or injured. Please, I won’t see you get hurt over this, please, go home, just this once, until this madness dies down a bit. There are people who are hurt, and I won’t see that happen to you. Please.”
“What if it doesn’t die down Sean? This is my land, my tribe, it is my duty to protect the water, and sovernty, the government broke treaties Sean.”
“Look, can you just wait this one night?” Sean asked. “Just for tonight, the police are everywhere, just waiting to arrest people. Just for tonight, can you wait it out until things are less insane? Then I will never stop you again, I just don’t want you to die or get anybody party blown off by those damn rubber bullets.” Alice had to give in to that, Sean was not the type of person to beg, his pride wouldn’t let him.
“Oh, all right, but you owe me some rocky road ice cream.”
“Yeah, I’ll have some for you next time I see you, now get the hell out of here.” Alice did as she was told, running and stumbling over loose gravel, and fighting through the panicking crowd of people.
Alice let out a scream as a gun went off right next to her. She ducked just in time, but could still feel the wind of the bullet as he just missed her head.
She screamed once more as a hand landed on her shoulder.
“Shhh, it is just me,” said Sean, gasping for breath. “I just managed to get away, barely.” He grabbed her hand, and pulled her towards the parking lot. “Come on, we can go and get some ice cream, and watch a movie until things calm down a wee bit.” Alice couldn’t fight her friend’s logic, so she allowed herself to be pulled along, the sounds of screams, and orders from police growing farther away as they ran.
“Let’s watch Titanic,” said Alice.
“Oh God, not that piece of shite movie,” Sean groaned. “That movie has so many inaccuracies, it isn’t even funny, why, it is a bad as fucking Braveheart.”
“Oh, I know it is bad,” said Alice.
“Well, why do you want to watch it then?” Sean asked in exasperation.
“Because, if I can’t trash the fucking United Sates government, I can at least trash a shitty movie without risk of getting thrown in jail.”
“Awe, if it isn’t Shalice,” said a sugary sweet voice from behind them.
“Piss off Linda, and grow the fuck up, you are twenty-one, not fifteen anymore.”
“You are so cute when your mad, the girls in my dorm are talking nonstop about you and your girlfriend.”
“Oh, shut up and go away,” snapped Alice. “For the final time, we are not dating, we are friends, or are you stupid people under the delusion that guys and girls cannot be friends because oh no, we can’t have that, or the entire universe would explode, and cats would turn into dogs, while pigs fly. Come on Sean, let’s go and get that ice cream Sean, I can’t believe that is your sister. Were you adopted?”
“I pretend that I am,” Sean replied with a sigh.
“Yeah, go back to your stupid Tipi, and smoke your peace pipe.” Alice was about to make a sharp reply when Linda began dancing around them, with a terrible attempt at native American singing. “You guys need to get with the times, I mean fires and medicine men, this is the 21st century, I mean, do you really believe a few dances and mumbled words will magickly heal someone, or your prayers to the magic creator will fix—”
“Alice, No!” Sean yelled as Alice sprinted at the girl, shaking with barely controlled rage.
“Do you dare!” she roared, getting right into Linda’s face. “Do you dare mock the sacred traditions of my people that go back thousands of years? You little bitch, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Here are some things you should know to keep you from insulting another one of my people. Not all tribes lived in TPS, or smoked piece pipes. My tribe did, but there are others like the Cherokee who dwelled in cabins. Now, get the hell away from me and go back to where you are trying to go to.””
Alice was resisting the urge to take out her wand and curse the ignorant girl. She whirled away, and ran down the path that lead to the parking lot, Sean running after her, the tap of her cane the only sound part from their footsteps and the wind.
Sean finally caught up to her at the entrance of the lot and stopped, catching his breath.
“My God, you are a fast runner,” he panted. Alice smiled sadly through her tears, not answering him as she leaned against a car.
They got into Sean’s car, and drove to her Father’s home in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
Her Father was there to greet them.
“Hello Sean, Alice, how was the protest this evening?” He said, getting to his feet.
“I am doing good, the protest didn’t go very well, the police showed up halfway though, threatening to arrest people with their attack dogs and rubber bullets, so I got Alice out of there before she got hurt.”
“Damn them,” said John coldly. “They won’t be happy until our people are completely wiped off the face of Mother Earth, will they? It wasn’t enough that my people were forced to live in concentration camps. Oh, did I say concentration camp, I meant reservation.” John sighed. “There is hot coco on the stove if either of you want any, I need to harvest some herbs for the inipi ceremony coming up this week.”
“What has gotten into him?” Sean asked. “I mean, that was a long time ago.” Alice bristled at Sean’s words and annoyed tone.
“There is a lot that you don’t understand Sean, the land isn’t just something that should be parceled out like a pie. It isn’t just the land either, my grandparents were forced to go to boarding schools where their hair was cut, and they were beaten, and forced to watch their mouths out with soap if they spoke their language. There is a lot more I could tell, but it would take more time than I have to explain it, and I don’t know everything myself.”
“I’m sorry for sounding so insensitive and condescending,” Sean replied, pouring himself a cup of coco.
“It’s not your fault,” Alice replied. “Schools don’t exactly have proper classes on native American history.”
“Maybe I will talk to your Dad after dinner,” Sean replied. “If I am to be a high school history teacher, I want to teach the truth about history. “Alice smiled as she flicked her wand, causing several pork chops to zoom towards her. With a flick, they were instantly thawed, and sizzling away in a frying pan.
“No fare,” Sean grumbled as the dishes began to wash themselves. “I have to wash mine by hand. Why can’t I be a wizard?”
“Because you can’t,” Alice replied, working on a broccoli and cheese casserole for the side dish.
Once the meal was done, Alice sent the food outside. It was a pleasant evening, one for eating outdoors.
The three of them sat down to the delicious food, and had chocolate ice cream for dessert.
Sean and her Father volunteered to do the dinner dishes, while Alice finished up an article she was writing for the Daily Prophet.
She had one more paragraph to finish her article about the latest broomstick, and then she would be finished. The wizarding British population needed more news media than the Daily Prophet or the Quibler, she thought with a sigh. I may just have to start my own newspaper, she thought, then I could write about more serious topics.
She wrote down her final sentence, and put down her dictation quill.
“As long as I don’t run into that bitch Rita Sketa at work tomorrow, I will be fine,” she said.
“Is that so-called journalist still working for the Daily Prophet?” her Dad asked, sitting down across from her. “I still remember reading those stupid articles about your friends Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, I through the paper into the trash after reading it.”
“Yeah, unfortunately, she still is,” replied Alice. “I’m hoping to make enough to start my own newspaper, I’m tired of reporting on broomsticks and the like, I want to report on what is really happening out there.”
“You will honey,’ John replied. “Sometimes, you just have to wade through the bullshit in order to get to what you want in life, you just have to remember to hold on and be patient.” Alice laughed.
“Patience and I don’t always go together,” she replied.
“You take after your Mother in that department, she was quite impatient at times, especially when she was younger. I too had to learn how to be patient, especially learning how to be a single parent after she died.”
“That is true,” Alice replied. “Well Dad, I need to get going home, Sean and I are going to watch a movie together and have ice cream. Are Grandma and Grandpa coming over tomorrow?”
“Yes, they are,” said John. “I will have them drop by to say hi, shall I?”
“Yeah, tell them I will make some fried chicken for them.”
“Your Grand Mother in particular will love that,” John replied. Alice got to her feet, and gave her Father a hug, not knowing it would be the last time she would see him.
“Are you ready to go and watch that movie?” asked Sean, closing the door behind him.
“Yeah, let’s go, I am ready for that ice cream.” Alice replied.
It was a wonderful evening watching Titanic while eating ice cream while they trashed the love story between Jack and Rose.
“My God, they barely know each other and they are already confessing their undying love for one another,” said Sean as Jack talked about the fire that he loved about Rose.
“What do you expect from a Gary Stew and a Mary Sue like those two?” All too soon the movie was over, and Sean had to leave for home to study for final exams.
“But that’s two months away,” said Alice, feigning surprise. Sean chuckled.
“Yes, it is, that is why I get such a high GPA, I study extra hard, unlike a certain someone that I know.”
“Oh, shut up, Alice said, hitting him with a couch cushion. “I did well enough, I passed my OWLS and NEWTS, didn’t I?”
“What I don’t understand, is why anyone would name exams after an animal.”
“No silly, they stand for O,W,Os, Ordinary Wizarding levels, while N.E.W.Ts stands for nastily exhausting wizarding tests,” Alice replied.
“That last one sounds like torture, whoever came up with that name was a rather straight forward and honest character,” said Sean. Alice grimaced, remembering the panic filled study sessions for her newts.
“I was lucky to pass those damn tests,” Alice replied. “You don’t know how many sleepless nights I had leading up to that week. Of course, it didn’t help that I procrastinated, much to the annoyance of Hermione. Believe me, I have learned a lot sense then.”
“I’m glad. Well, I need to go home and study, I will call you tomorrow, all right?” Alice smiled as she walked him towards the door.
“All right, until tomorrow then.” Alice listened as Sean started up his car, the gravel crunching beneath the tires.
After drinking some tea, Alice decided to go for a walk, it was a beautiful fall evening, and Winter would be coming soon.
Singing a little song, Alice started out, carrying her broomstick, flute, and a basket of apples.
She walked until she reached a running river, and sat down to eat. The apple was good and sweet, perfectly ripe. She decided to make an apple pie for her grandparents tomorrow.
She continued on, enjoying the cool evening and the sounds of the night animals.
She was the only one out at the moment, so she took her time. She soon came upon what felt like a pile of rocks in a circle. She bent down to take a closer look. No, they were stones of some type, her ears soon caught a strange buzzing noise which grew louder as she approached the center of the circle. She said a prayer to Wankan Tanka, and placed her hand on the center stone, hoping the sound was just a figment of her imagination.
The next thing she knew, she was experiencing a sickening sensation of falling, but far worse, it was so sickeningly fast that she thought she was going to lose her dinner.
Luckily for her, the sickening ride was over, and the sound of bird song filled her ears as she slammed into the ground, gasping for breath.
The air felt much warmer than it was before, and the faint shouts of men filled her ears. Shaking all over, she grabbed her wand and broomstick, before setting out.
She could feel dryness in her mouth, so she concentrated, trying to find the sound of a running river or stream through the sound of the wind. She just managed to hear what she was looking for, off to the west, so she headed in that direction, her head pounding. She kept her hand in her wand pocket, and drew closer to the stream.
She stumbled forward towards the welcoming sound, leaned forward, and lapped from the river like a dog, enjoying the ice-cold flavor. She vaguely thought of water purification, but dismissed it for now, she was far too thirsty and her head pounded for her to care at the moment.
Sighing, she decided to sleep here for now, this obviously was not her home, she could feel it in the air, it was far warmer than a fall evening, while the echoes of strange voices filled the air. She would sleep for now, and then assess the situation in the morning, maybe she could get some help in finding where she came from.
She thought about placing anti muggle protection, but she didn’t want to risk anyone seeing. Sighing, she stretched out, trying to get comfortable on the hard ground as her head continued to pound. She closed her eyes, trying to block out all the noise and sleep.
“So, you came through the stones a day before I did,” said Claire. Alice nodded.
“I did,” she said.
“Rupert, can you tell us what happened next?” asked Claire.
“Aye, I can, I was on guard duty, making sure the red coats wouldn’t cause any trouble when I needed a drink of water.”
Rupert McKenzie hummed a song as he walked, scouting the aria for Dougal. Everything seemed peaceful at the moment, but he knew all too well that the peace could change in an instant. He was looking forward to going home for some good food and drink, as well as a fine lass.
He stopped at the top of a hill, eyes scanning for some water to quench his thirst. He spotted a river in the distance, and made his way towards it. He stopped about twenty paces away, spotting a small huddled figure in the long grass. Placing his hand on his dirk in case of an enemy, he slowly crept forward, eyes lingering on the figure. It was a lass he saw, with long brown hair, and equally brown skin. He wondered where she came from, not from around these parts, he was certain of that fact. His gaze moved to her neck where a simple necklace of wooden beads lay at her bonnie throat.
A strange looking broom lay beside her. Well, the broom itself was not strange, but the fact it was with her was, it should be in her house, along with the lass. He picked up a beautifully carved flute, and gazed at the plant and animals that were carved in the wood. Whoever made this had excellent skill. With one final gaze, he put the flute in his pocket. It stuck out a bit, and he would have to be careful how he walked, so it wouldn’t fall out. Shaking his head, he decided to bring her towards the cottage, she was clearly alone, with no one else with her.
He hesitated a moment, but the thought of red coats and their scouts sealed the deal, he didn’t want her meeting with Black Jack Randal, that would spell disaster, and she was an unarmed woman, surrounded on all sides by danger.
Being as gentle as he could, he scooped her up, along with her broom stick, and ran with her towards the cottage where the men were camped. Dougal wanted to leave for Castle Leoch tomorrow evening, so they needed a good long sleep for the journey ahead.
She stirred slightly, mumbling in an unknown language in her sleep before breathing deeply once more. Shaking his head, he moved on swiftly towards the cottage.
Dougal looked up at them as they entered, his gaze lingering on the woman in his arms, still sleeping deeply.
“Who have you found?” he asked, voice as tense as his body as he glared at her.
“I do not know,” Rupert replied, “I found her near a river, not too far from hear, about a mile away.”
“Aye, wake her up, so I can question her,” said Dougal.
Rupert shook her awake. She opened her eyes with a groan. she mumbled in that strange unknown language. It sounded quite pretty to Rupert, and he secretly hoped to hear more.
“Do you speak English?” Dougal barked. The woman scowled at him.
“I do,” she replied in clipped tones. “Who are you, and where am I?”
“I believe I will be asking the questions around here woman,” Dougal growled. “Now, tell us your name and where you are from.” The question was given as a statement.
“Oh, I thought you already decided my name was Woman,” she replied, eyes flashing at him as anger appeared on her face. “Did your Mother ever teach you manners? I suppose not by the tone you spoke to me in.” Rupert could see that she was afraid as well as angry, but was choosing to let her anger show at the moment.
Dougal grabbed her wrist in a firm grip.
“Now lass, when I ask you a question, you answer,” he barked in his most dangerous tone. Rupert could see the other men watching this exchange with interest. She spat something in her own language before ripping her arm from his hold.
Dougal didn’t understand a word, but he seemed to get the meaning as his face grew red with rage. Before he could speak however, she beat him to it.
“I am Alice Cross. Now, who the hell are—”
“Where do you come from?” Dougal interrupted.
“America, can’t you not tell by my accent?” Alice asked with a roll of the eyes.
“Ye mean the Colony’s?” Dougal replied.
“Colonies, whatever you want to call it, it means the same damn thing, now, are you going to let me go so I can find my way back home?”
“Rupert, find the woman some blankets, we will be taking her with us to see my brother, he can try and make sense of her.” He turned to Alice. ‘As for you, you will speak only when spoken to woman, is that clear?”
“Yeah, you can fuck off with that,” Alice growled, still clearly angry with the man. ‘I can speak whenever I want to, I am Lakota, and I will not be silenced by a wasicu!” Rupert had no idea what that final word meant, but he and the other men could tell it was an insult towards them. She spat in the dirt, and turned away from them, shoulders tense and rigid. Rupert went to the back room, and asked the woman for a spare blanket. She quickly gave it over, casting a frightened gaze at the strange woman.
Rupert thanked her, and gave the blanket to Alice. She nodded at him, giving him a small smile of thanks.
“My flute and broom,” she said, voice full of alarm. Rupert silently handed her both objects.
Alice took the flute, and went into a corner, dragging along her broomstick, and blanket.
“What is a La-ko-ta?” Dougal asked, pronouncing the strange word slowly so he could get it right.
“I dinna ken,” Rupert replied.
“Well, it is yer job ta find out,” Dougal growled, then he spoke for the hole cottage to hear. “Now lads, get some sleep, we have a long journey ahead of us.”
Rupert nodded along with the others, watching the lass as she sat down, ram rod straight, and listening for everything.
“I wouldna mind grinding her corn,” Angus whispered, giving her a lavish look. “I wouldna mind riding her all night long eh Rupert?” Rupert shook his head at his friend.
“All I ken is that I am tired, I am going to get some sleep Angus, though, she is rather bonnie, I do wonder where she comes from?”
“Perhaps Jamie will ken,” Angus replied, eyes raking her up and down. “He went to Paris for his university remember?” Rupert nodded with a yawn.
“Ye can ask him in the morning, I am going to bed. Good night Angus.” Angus smiled at his friend.
“Good night Rupert.” Rupert laid down as the lass put the flute to her lips, and began to play softly. The tune was beautiful and haunting. Something stirred in his heart as he listened. He could see that she was clearly shaken by tonight’s events, and this was her way of calming down.
“Quit yer pipping and go to sleep,” Dougal barked at her. Alice gave him a cold look as she continued to play, clearly ignoring his order. Something in the man snapped. Rupert know that Dougal was a man who was not used to people disobeying his orders. The men watched as he stalked over, and snatched the instrument from her in mid-play.
There was a crack and crunch of breaking wood under a boot as Dougal broke it. The woman reacted then, letting out a loud cry of grief.
“My Grand Father made that for me!” she screamed, launching herself at Dougal, several men sprang into action, roughly grabbing her, and holding her back from the war chief. She continued to scream, a mixture of English and her unknown language pouring from her mouth between sobs of anger and sadness. The men finally subdued the woman, forcing her back in her corner where she curled up into a tiny ball, sobbing into her arms.
Dougal turned away towards his own corner, and lay down, shutting his eyes. While no one else was looking, Rupert picked up the pieces of broken flute, placing them in his pocket. He would try and fix it for her.
He sat up, listening as she continued to sob, alone in her corner. He pondered her for a bit, how she didn’t look at anybody, and how she felt along her environment. Was she blind? It seemed like she was.
Rupert shook his head as he drifted off to sleep. He knew one thing for sure, things were about to get interesting.