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Two Worlds, One Family

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An elderly woman stands in the middle of the desert, fruit in her basket as she made her way across the sand dunes, unaware of the danger that she faces.

 

Unaware that a shadowed figure was creeping up behind her.

 

“Don’t even think about it.”

 

The figure behind her chuckled warmly, removing the scarf from his face to reveal intricate tattoos on a tanned face.

 

“How did you know it was me ماما (mama)?”

 

“I’m your mother, I know everything…and where were you this morning?”

 

Ardeth smirked, “I thought you knew everything?”

 

At the unimpressed look his mother shot him, Ardeth chuckled fondly. “I was patrolling the borders of Hamunaptra Mother. There have been rumours that tourists are hanging around the ruins.”

 

“Hmph… And here I thought you’d be trying to find yourself a wife.”

 

“Mother-”

 

“- You’re not getting any younger Ardeth. It would do this old heart good to see you happy and married.”

 

“Can’t I just be happy?”

 

There was a brief moment of silence, before his mother sighed wearily. “Do you remember how I met your father?”

 

“عزيزي الله لا (eazizi allah la)! Not this story again mama!”

 

She ignored him.

 

“He was so brave… striking down those who would do our tribe harm.”

 

“Which I understand Mama… but no-one dares attack our tribe anymore. I prove myself everyday by keeping the city safe. I need not do anything more.”

 

“Hmmm… maybe we can resurrect Imhotep. Give you a bit of a challenge.”

 

“Don’t even joke about that.”

 

……………………………………………………………………………

 

“Raise Imhotep…” he muttered to himself later, as he made his third patrol of the city, “… I can find myself a wife without resorting to drastic measures.”

 

His horse whinnied in agreement, speeding up slightly as they headed towards the final stages of the patrol.

 

BANG

 

His horse reared back at the sudden noise, almost bucking his rider to the ground.

 

“Steady! Steady!”

 

Once the horse was settled, Ardeth turned in the direction of where the gunshot came from…. The marketplace.

 

……………………………………………………………………..

 

At first glance everything seemed to be normal.

 

There was a lot of Black Market activity around this area… it was no surprise that the inhabitants had grown so used to the sound of gunshots.

 

Making sure that he blended in with everyone else, Ardeth kept his eyes open for anything unusual. Tourists acting suspiciously. Known grave robbers gathering in the square.

 

“- you sure this is related to Hamunaptra?”

 

There!

 

Immediately turning his attention to the female voice, Ardeth took note of her English accent… and the man that she was standing by.

 

He’d chased that man away from the city before.

 

In her hand, there was a small box, possibly one that had been retrieved from the City of the Dead itself.

 

This posed a problem.

 

“I did apologise for my brother stealing the box, didn’t i?” the woman spoke up again, slightly nervously as the man smirked at her.

 

And then Ardeth saw him.

 

A non-native to Egypt, clearly, but still…. Stunning in his own way.

 

“Oh, come on old mum!” the man rolled his eyes in exasperation, “Give me a break, I already apologised about fifty times!”

 

His sister ignored him, continued to chatter eagerly to the other man about Hamunaptra and the chance of… visiting it?

 

Ardeth wasn’t going to let that happen.

 

He needed more information.

 

Blending in with the crowd, Ardeth made the decision to follow the trio, in the hope to find out more about what they were doing here.

 

And if necessary, stop them.

 

………………………………………………………………………………..

 

The man was called Jonathan and his sister was called Evy…. And they acted like another other sibling pair.

 

There was bickering, nicknames and memories of childish accidents.

 

It was all really sweet… and humorous at times.

 

“Come on…” Ardeth heard their guide mutter, “… I don’t want to spend any more time in this marketplace than I have to. There are spies everywhere.”

 

“Everywhere? How thrilling!”

 

When Jonathan rolled his eyes, muttering “oh yes, thrilling. People wanting to kill us, very thrilling” under his breath, Ardeth couldn’t help but chuckle…. Until the man was distracted by one of the many child thieves that roamed this area.

 

“Cute…” Jonathan muttered, immediately shoving his hands in his pockets as the nine-year-old boy beamed up at him, “… not gonna work though kid. I was an accomplished pickpocket before you were even a twinkle in your mothers’ e- HEY! Why you little- “

 

The kids all scattered, Jonathan’s watch clutched tightly in the hands of one of them, prompting him to chase after him… closely followed by Ardeth.

 

He knew what lay in the direction that the children were running to.

 

“Well this is just peachy…” he heard Jonathan mutter, after the man came to a stop, “… I could have had a normal sister. One who prefers drinking tea with other ladies, instead of trekking through Cairo, but no! Instead, I have to follow her around and have my good watch pinched by some thieving brat!”

 

Eventually, he manged to corner the thief against a wall, holding out his hand and growling, “Give. Me. That!”

 

“من يجد شيئا يحتفظ به! (min yajid shayyanaan yahtafiz bih!)” Roughly, this translated to “Finders Keepers!”

 

And Jonathan knew it.

 

“Right, I’ve had enough of this… I want my watch back on the count of three. One… Two… Oh, God a sandstorm!”

 

The child, predictably, twisted around in alarm, giving Jonathan the chance to snatch the watch back, cackling when the child spun back around and glared up at him.

 

“I can’t believe you fell for that one!” Jonathan chuckled, rolling his eyes as the child started to yell at him, tears brimming in his eyes, “Oh come on! Don’t give me those crocodile tears…. What your parents think… if you have any?”

 

“We think you’re trouble.”

 

From the shadows, Ardeth watched as Jonathan yelped and spun around to stare at the large men standing behind him.

 

“See…” Jonathan glanced at the child and gestured at the men, “… I told you they’d be cross.” He then turned back to the men, “Don’t be too hard on him, children will be children after all!”

 

Taking advantage of their stunned silence, Jonathan made a break for it, running further into the winding maze of alleyways and side-passages, closely followed by the men.

 

Ardeth knew he should have left things as they were… he should have just left, it was none of his business.

 

But he couldn’t leave Jonathan to deal with those men.

 

With a sharp, piercing whistle, he called for his horse, quickly getting on her back and heading towards where Jonathan was likely to end up.

 

All he had to do, was follow the sounds of chaos.

 

Spotting Jonathan suddenly race out onto the main street, Ardeth sped up slightly, pushing his horse until they were practically right next to the other man. Once next to him, Ardeth leaned over and grabbed Jonathan by the collar, hoisting him up onto his horse in front of him.

 

Unsurprisingly, Jonathan squirmed uncomfortably and protested. “Let me go! Put me down!” He yelled… and continued to yell until Ardeth was mildly sure that they were safe on the outskirts of the markets.

 

Jonathan immediately leapt off the horse and glared up at Ardeth, a light flush on his cheeks due to the heat and the running that he had been doing. However, before he could say anything, there was an angry shout from nearby as one of Jonathan’s chasers pointed at him and called out for the others.

 

“Changed my mind! Pick me up, pick me up!”

 

Ardeth rolled his eyes, lifting Jonathan back onto the horse and taking off once again, wincing as his horse huffed with the effort.

 

“Don’t worry...” he muttered to the horse in Arabic, “… it’ll be over soon.”

 

Jonathan however, was taunting the men as they follower on behind, many now on horses…. Needless to say, it wasn’t helping the situation.

 

“Stop.” He ordered the Englishman sternly, smirking as Jonathan stopped in his tracks and flushed slightly, turning his face away in an attempt to shield his face.

 

The men were catching up.

 

Thankfully, they were heading towards the maze of sand dunes that led to his camp. He would be able to lose them in there.

 

“Wait! What are you doing?!”

 

He ignored the Englishman, knowing that the dunes did look rather un-nerving from a distance, but he’d grown up in them… they were nothing to him.

 

“I really must protest!”

 

Ardeth rolled his eyes…. Were all Englishmen like this?

 

How did they survive?

 

Eventually, as Ardeth predicted, they lost the other attackers in the maze allowing them to come to a stop.

 

Jonathan was off immediately.

 

“Okay, okay…” he started to pace, feet slipping slightly in the sand, “… I’ve just been kidnapped by a man, who’s taken me into the middle of the desert…. I can’t deal with this, I can’t deal with this, I can’t- wait!” he took a deep breath, clearly unaware that Ardeth was listening to him, “Remain calm old boy, panicking will only make the situation worse.”

 

Silence.

 

“Oh….” Jonathan seemed to deflate entirely, “… today can’t get any worse!”

 

More silence.

 

“Apparently it can… some little bastard took my wallet.”

 

“Probably when they were getting your watch.”

 

At Ardeth’s voice suddenly coming from behind him, Jonathan yelped, spinning around and bringing his fists up in a defensive pose, hopping from foot to foot and giving the other man his best scowl.

 

“I-if you’re planning any funny business, know that I have been trained in boxing and can- AH!” He yelped as Ardeth grabbed one of his wrists, pulling him against the other man’s chest, “What are you- “

 

“- Silence.”

 

Jonathan’s mouth opened and closed like a fish, his eyes wide in shock, before a scowl appeared on his face. “How dare you! I- “

 

“- My name is Ardeth. I believe you and your sister are snooping where they shouldn’t be.”

 

“Wha- I- “

 

“You are Jonathan and your sister is Evy… I believe the man you were travelling with is called Rick?”

 

“Have… have you been following us?!”

 

“Yes. Because I cannot let you enter Hamunaptra… your sister is meddling in things she shouldn’t be messing with.”

 

………………………………………………..

 

“I can’t believe we lost him…” Evy groaned as they scanned the marketplace, desperately searching for her brother, “… he was right behind us!”

 

“Why are you so worried…” Rick grumbled, “… he’s probably in some bar, stealing from someone else.”

 

“But what if he’s actually in trouble?!”

 

“You looking for someone dearie?”

 

The pair turned to an older man, who was running his fruit stall and giving them a concerned, but wary look. Despite Rick trying to stop her, Evy stepped forwards and nodded eagerly, “Yes, my brother, I- “

 

“Oh, Englishman! Nice suit?”

 

“Yes! Yes!” Evy leaned forward eagerly, only to frown when the men shook his head sadly.

 

“He was chased by Ardeth Bay, snatched up on his horse and taken away.”

 

Evy felt her face go pale, especially when Rick came up behind her and audibly winced.

 

“Yikes… probably a member of the Medjai tribe.”

 

She turned to him and frowned, “The Medjai tribe?”

 

“They patrol the desert and the ruins of Hamunaptra… allegedly.”

 

“So… where do we find them?”

 

Rick rolled his eyes, “Do I look like I’m a member of the Medjai tribe? It’s in a secret location darlin’…. Nobody knows where it is, except the men in it.”

 

“Well then we need to find one of them!”

 

Rick watched in bemusement as Evy stormed away, her head held high as she walked towards a local camel farmer, clearly intending to head out into the desert and search for her brother herself.

 

“Evy! Evy!”

 

When he caught up with her, he gently grabbed her shoulder and turned her around. “You can’t just go out into the desert and try and find someone! You’ll get lost, you’ll succumb to the heat, you won’t survive!”

 

“You have very little faith in me… There is a simpler way to get their attention.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“You need to take me to Hamunaptra.”

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

“Well this is… nice.” Jonathan took a deep breath, trying to remain calm as the children of the camp all stared at him, “No reason to panic at all… he’s just left me in the middle of a camp, where everyone is giving me dirty looks and the sun is burning the back of my neck… no problem at all.”

 

“You complain too much.”

 

Jonathan winced and glanced up, giving the older lady a nervous smile. “I beg your pardon?”

 

The older lady smirked at him, “Ardeth gave you to us to keep you safe…. He could have just left you in the desert to die.”

 

“Thanks… that really helps.”

 

…………………………………………………………..

 

“Let’s just get back to the markets….” Rick sighed, wiping the sweat away from his forehead, “… we’ll get a room somewhere and try again tomorrow!”

 

“I’m not leaving my brother alone with them… one of them must be hanging around somewhere, and I’m not leaving until- “

 

“- until what?”

 

Evy yelped, twisting around on the horse as Rick swiftly pulled his gun out, aiming it at the figure behind them.

 

The man tilted his head to one side and smirked at them, “You should not be here Evy Carnahan. This City is forbidden to outsiders.”

 

There was a brief moment of silence, before Evy visibly straightened up and glared at the man. “We’ll leave… as soon as you give me my brother back.”

 

The man’s smirk widened, “Jonathan is back at my camp. If you want him back so badly, you will have to follow me.”

 

“And how do we know you’re telling the truth?”

 

“… You don’t.”

 

“Evy…” Rick moved closer, “… he might just be waiting for a chance to abandon us in the middle of the desert. I’ll say it again, we need to go back to- “

 

“- Fine, we’ll follow you back to your camp.” Evy interrupted, as though she hadn’t even heard Rick, “But my brother had better be alright!”

 

“I assure you, no harm has come to your brother.”

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

“Evy!”

 

“Jonathan!”

 

The two siblings embraced one another, before Evy pulled away and thumped her brother on the arm.

 

“I was so worried about you!” She growled, “What happened?! How did you get here!”

 

“Well… there was this kid and he pinched my watch, so I just had follow him, it was my watch! But the little… joy ran into an alleyway and all these adults suddenly surrounded me, so I ran for it! They were going to kill me!”

 

“Doesn’t feel too good for it to happen to you huh?” Rick chuckled, ignoring how Evy glared at him, before turning her attention back to Jonathan.

 

“And then? What happened next?”

 

Jonathan was silent for a time, before glancing over at Ardeth, who was watching the proceedings in interest. “Well… this man… saved me.”

 

Evy turned to Ardeth, who held out his hand and introduced himself, “Ardeth Bay…” he greeted, “… Leader of the Medjai tribe.”

 

She returned the handshake, nodding in thanks as she gestured to her brother. “Thank you… I know he can be… a bit challenging.”

 

“Hey!”

 

Ignoring Jonathan’s protests, Ardeth chuckled. “It was the least I could do…” he then glanced around, frowning slightly at the distrustful looks the rest of his tribe were giving the newcomers, “… my apologies for the rest of my family. We usually tend to keep ourselves to ourselves.”

 

“So… why bring my brother here, instead of going back to the market?”

 

Evy couldn’t help but chuckle under her breath as the dark-skinned man shifted uncomfortably, before clearing his throat.

 

“I… believed it would be safer here. Those men may still have been looking for him.”

 

“Of course…” she murmured, “… that was the reason.”

 

Rick and Jonathan seemed confused by the statement, but Ardeth glared at her. “Hmmm… you are all welcome to stay here until we can be that you’ll be safe. And then, I will have to insist upon you leaving and staying away.”

 

“What?! But- “

 

“Curiosity is a dangerous thing Miss Carnahan… don’t let yours endanger the others in this city.”

 

………………………………………………………………………………….

 

“You like him.”

 

Ardeth nervously glanced at Jonathan, making sure he hadn’t heard, before turning back to his mother. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Don’t take me for a fool Ardeth… the Englishman you saved is very handsome, don’t you agree?”

 

He tried not to let anything show, simply shrugging and turning his face away. “If you like men that way.”

 

“Hmmmm…. Yes, very handsome.”

 

…………………………………………………………………………………

 

“Honestly Evy, I’ve never been so scared in my entire life” Jonathan sighed, “He just grabbed me and threw me on his horse… and he didn’t even ask permission!”

 

“He needed to ask you for permission to save your life?”

 

“And he kept staring at me! He was so intense and- “Jonathan suddenly stopped, lost in his memories as Evy and Rick glanced at one another, smirks on their faces, “- and- “

 

“- and maybe we should leave you alone with your thoughts?”

 

At Rick’s teasing implications, Jonathan scowled at him, opening his mouth to protest… only to catch Ardeth’s eyes.

 

He stopped in his tracks, simply choosing to roll his eyes and push himself to his feet, moving to another area of the camp.

 

As soon as he was out of earshot, Rick turned to Evy in excitement, “You do realise what this means, right?”

 

“Oh?”

 

“If your brother can get close to Ardeth, he might agree to take us to Hamunaptra… and you can explore to your hearts content.”

 

Evy frowned, “You really think so?”

 

“Jonathan likes Ardeth… if we can get Ardeth to like Jonathan, then he’ll listen to whatever Jonathan wants…. Including going to Hamunaptra.”

 

……………………………………………………………………………………..

 

The few days passed by in a blur.

 

And Jonathan loved every second of it.

 

After getting over their initial tensions, he and Ardeth started to talk more, communicating about their homes, their traditions, their childhoods.

 

“…. And don’t even get me started on the dancing lessons.” Jonathan groaned dramatically, “Honestly, my Father was so obsessed with making sure I could dance like a true gentleman.”

 

“How do you dance like a true gentleman?

 

Jonathan glanced at Ardeth, before slowly getting to his feet and holding out his hands. “I’ll show you.”

 

They take each other hands and slowly, Jonathan started to sway from side to side, twirling them around as he hummed a traditional waltz.

 

“This doesn’t seem very fun…” Ardeth muttered, allowing himself to be led as Jonathan rolled his eyes.

 

“Well, how do you dance?”

 

Ardeth gave him a fond smile, before calling out something in Arabic. Almost immediately, the rest of the tribe chattered eagerly in glee, many of them rushing into their tents and grabbing musical instruments carved out of wood. They all gathered around the large campfire in the middle and with a click of Ardeth’s fingers, a catchy rhythm started up and everyone linked arms and started to move around the fire, their feet dancing on the sand.

 

It was catchy, no-one could deny that.

 

“Come on…” Ardeth held out his hand for Jonathan to join in, “... just follow my lead.”

 

It was wild, it was completely and utterly uncoordinated… but it was the most fun Jonathan had had in years.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Over the next few days, Ardeth taught him a lot.

 

How to navigate only using the stars in the sky.

 

How to speak and read Arabic.

 

How to ride a horse without looking completely silly.

 

But there were tense moments as well…. Like when Rick tried to talk more about Hamunaptra, only to grow frustrated when Ardeth blew him off, wanting to spend more time with Jonathan instead.

 

It was clear where his priorities lay.

 

………………………………………………………………………..

 

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me Mama…” Ardeth sighed wearily, trying to ignore his Mama’s knowing look, “… every gesture, every move that he makes, makes me feel like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I need to be with him, I need to see his smile, hear him talk!”

 

“I told you…” She murmured, “… I told you he was handsome.”

 

“But… I need to make an heir… that’s what Papa always used to say.”

 

His Mama waved her hand in dismissal, “Pah, there are a lot of orphans in this tribe. You can always make one of them your heir.”

 

At her son’s silence, she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and smiled at him, “You should tell him how you feel.”

 

……………………………………………………

 

It didn’t take him long to find Jonathan.

 

The tribe had set up near another abandoned city of the Ancient Egyptians, and whilst Evy had dragged Rick to look at the hieroglyphs, Jonathan was seated on top of a large boulder, staring out into the distance with a soft smile on his face.

 

“Jonathan?”

 

The Englishman twisted around and smiled warmly at Ardeth, patting the space beside him before turning his attention back to the horizon. “You don’t get views like this back in London…” he mused, “… I’m going to miss this.”

 

“Is it… the only thing you’re going to miss?”

 

It was a loaded question and Jonathan knew it, twisting round and casting a curious look at Ardeth, “Is there… anything else I should miss.”

 

Ardeth was silent for a time, before turning away and clearing his throat nervously. “If you want, we can go for a ride? I find the sunset’s are even more stunning on horseback.”

 

Looking disappointed for a brief moment, Jonathan nodded and slowly lowered himself down onto the sand. “That sounds… perfect.”

 

They each grabbed a horse and set off into the distance, unaware that they were being closely watched by two individuals.

 

They headed further and further away from the camp, the night quickly falling until the only light that was around, was the light from the full moon up above.

 

“It’s so beautiful…” Jonathan muttered, staring up at the moon as the light illuminated all the angles on his face, “… I could spend forever here.”

 

“You could… you really could.”

 

Jonathan smiled softly at Ardeth and shook his head, “I really couldn’t… you can’t deny that I don’t really fit in here.”

 

“You’ve not been here long enough to fit in…” Ardeth reached over and placed a gentle hand on Jonathan’s knee, “… Maybe, if you stayed a bit longer?”

 

There was a brief moment of silence, before Jonathan shrugged. “Maybe… I will have to find something worth staying for though.”

 

……………………………………………………………………………..

 

The walk was one of the most romantic moments he’d ever experienced, and Ardeth knew it was a sign…. A sign for him to make the first move.

 

// “I will have to find something worth staying for though.” \\

 

That’s what Jonathan said… so Ardeth was going to give him something worth staying for.

 

However, his heart sunk when he saw what was happening back at camp.

 

Evy, Rick and Jonathan were all packing.

 

“What’s going on?” He asked Jonathan, gently grabbing the younger man’s arm in an attempt to stop him in his tracks, “Why are you- “

 

“- Packing?” Jonathan shrugged, “Evy noticed that we were getting closer to civilisation, so we just assumed that we would be asked to leave. And of course, without going to the city, there’s no point in the old mum staying around long.” He gave Ardeth a soft smile, “Off back to London for us I reckon.”

 

Ardeth felt all the breath leave his body. “Oh…. W-will you be coming back? I hear Evy has a nice job in Cairo?”

 

“Well… I don’t know if we are coming back.” Jonathan winced, “Evy seemed…. Well, I think she’s a little upset about the whole lost city.”

 

“You’re not… coming back?” Ardeth reached out and took Jonathan’s hand, “I was rather hoping we could spend some more time together?”

 

A light flush instantly appeared on Jonathan’s face as his mouth gaped open in shock. “I-I-I- “

 

“I mean, that was what…. Are you sure you have to go with her?”

 

“I-I can’t…. she’s my baby sister Ardeth.”

 

Stunned, Ardeth watched as Jonathan walked away, muttering something about “need to find my shirt.”

 

“You know…” At the American accent, Ardeth turned around, frowning at the sight of Rick standing so close behind him, the American shrugging and smirking at him, “… I never thought that someone like you would like men… I expected it from Jonathan, all-male boarding schools and all that, but not you.”

 

The slight tone of judgement in the American’s voice caused Ardeth to tense up, until the man continued, “It’s a shame really… Evy was so looking to going to the city. I think she would have stayed in this place forever given half the chance.”

 

A horrible thought flashed across his mind.

 

If Evy Carnahan stayed, then maybe Jonathan would stay as well.

 

“Do you… really think that?” he asked, trying to appear as though it didn’t matter, “About the Carnahan siblings staying?”

 

Rick shrugged, “Who knows…. Probably.” He then smirked at Ardeth and turned away, “Just a little something for you to think about.”

 

It was a big decision to make… and Ardeth knew he had to think about it.

 

Even if he already knew what his answer was going to be.

 

…………………………………………………………………………..

 

“Are you sure about this?” Jonathan frowned, moving his suitcase to one side and turning his full attention to Ardeth, “I mean, I know my sister and she won’t be happy with one visit. She’ll want to go again and again, and you’ll only get fed up of her.”

 

“But there’s a chance she’ll stay… and so will you.”

 

Jonathan paused, before giving Ardeth a nervous smile. “Yeah… probably. And you’re probably right… I-I mean what’s the worst that can happen?”

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

“THIS IS THE WORSE THAT CAN HAPPEN!” Jonathan screamed hours later, as he scratched at his arm as a lump travelled up it, “GET IT OUT! DO SOMETHING!”

 

As Rick flicked out his knife, (ignoring how Jonathan immediately started to protest), Ardeth ripped away Jonathan’s shirt, pinning the man’s arms to his side.

 

“Stay still…” he muttered soothingly into Jonathan’s ear, as Rick started cutting into the skin, digging the point of the knife into the scarab beetle, before flicking it away, “… there we go, you’re okay now.”

 

“Pardon my French… but fuck that hurt.”

 

The pair chuckled, only to be interrupted as Rick rolled his eyes, “If you two are done, we have a little problem? Mummy risen from the dead looking to kill Evy, ringing any bells?”

 

Ardeth didn’t want to mention that if they’d just listened to him, it would never have happened like this… Imhotep wouldn’t be roaming around.

 

But he knew he was partially to blame… he let himself be controlled by his emotions and now here they were…trying to stop Imhotep from taking over the world.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

It was a lot of effort, and almost cost them everything, but Imhotep was put to rest once again…. but Rick, Evy and Jonathan were leaving.

 

The ship was far out into the distance, far away from the coast of Egypt.

 

As Rick and Evy packed their bags onto a sailing boat, Jonathan found himself hanging around near Ardeth.

 

“London’s going to seem so… boring after all this.” He chuckled nervously, rubbing his shoulder where they had had to dig the scarab beetle out.

 

Ardeth was silent for a time, before gently taking Jonathan’s hand. “I… I will miss you Jonathan.”

 

“Jonathan, come on!” Rick called out from the sail-boat.

 

“Americans!” Jonathan threw his hands into the air in exasperation, “So rude!” He then turned to Ardeth and sighed wearily, “I guess this is goodbye then.”

 

He held out his hand, tensing briefly as Ardeth took a hold of it and raised it up slightly, bringing his own face down to kiss the back of Jonathan’s hand. “Goodbye…” he muttered sadly.

 

Jonathan looked as though he was going to say something…. Before he shook his head and raced towards the sailboat, not giving Ardeth a second glance.

 

As the sail-boat drifted towards the open ocean, Evy waved goodbye to Ardeth, was still standing on the shore-line, looking very despondent. Speaking of despondent…. Jonathan was staring at the back of his hand, the others fingers lightly tracing the outline of where Ardeth’s lips touched it.

 

Slowly, Evy leaned over to take her brother’s hand, taking a deep breath as she did so. “Jonathan… I really think you ought to stay here…. In Egypt.”

 

“Old Mum, I promised our parents I would take care you! I can’t do that from here, when you’re in London!”

 

A gust of wind suddenly took his hat right from his head, prompting him to spin around to try and catch it… only for him to catch Ardeth’s eyes once again.

 

“…. But you love him Jonathan.”

 

When Jonathan glanced back at his sister, she gave him a soft smile and an encouraging nod. “Go on… it’s okay.”

 

A brief moment of silence passed, before Jonathan beamed at her and pulled her into a big hug. “Thanks Evy.” He whispered, before turning back around, clambering onto the side of the boat and jumping off into the water.

 

It was a struggle, but eventually he made it to Ardeth, who had come into the water to meet him, confusion all over his face. Without giving the man the chance to question his decision, Jonathan leapt at him, sending them both splashing into the water.

 

As they both tried to push themselves into a seated position, Jonathan lunged forwards again and pulled Ardeth into a kiss.

 

Ardeth didn’t reciprocate.

 

Immediately, Jonathan pulled away, his face flushing as he turned away and mumbled something about “spur of the moment” and “mustn’t be held against him”.

 

But Ardeth wasn’t listening to that… instead, he reached over and gently placed both hands on Jonathan’s cheeks, turning his head and kissing him again.

 

This time, it was reciprocated.

 

Back in the boat, Rick frowned in confusion, “What are you going to tell everyone back in London?”

 

Evy shrugged, “People get lost in the wilderness of Egypt all the time…. We are of course, continuing to search for him.”

 

“…. Of course.”

 

……………………………………………………..

 

Watching as her son and his new husband rode off for an evening ride near the sand dunes, Ardeth’s mother heard someone creeping up behind her.

 

“Why do I sense you planned this?”

 

She smirked, “The initial meeting between them? No…. everything after that… well, maybe I had a little bit of a hand in that.”

 

“Are you sure this is what’s good for the tribe?”

 

“Yes…. But more importantly, it’s what’s good for my son.”