Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR. Loosely based on a true story, one which original members of WIKTT might recognize. OOC and AU.A Sunrise in Cairo
It had been a gruelling three weeks and, it was generally agreed, we were all deserving of a break. Besides, when one was in Egypt, one was under some sort of obligation to climb a pyramid. At least, that was my thought on the matter. After three weeks of researching the dark magic of the ancient Egyptian priests for a means of defeating Voldemort, I felt that climbing one of the pyramids at Giza would be relatively tame in comparison.
After a bumpy taxi ride (were we not told to play the roles of British tourists?) and the discreet presentation of 'gifts' to the local security guards (consisting mainly of Egyptian pounds and, I believe, a few cartons of American cigarettes) we found ourselves clamouring over ancient limestone blocks that stood almost a metre high and leaving behind various amounts of skin (and blood, as in my case).
I never did have the heart to heal the scar on my left knee. Not that I need it to remember, but I like it all the same.
We had decided to start with the relatively smaller pyramid of Menkare and sat at the top like some conquering heroes. Ridiculously proud of our achievement, some of us thought that Khufu's more massive structure would be the logical next step. I, however, was tired both physically and mentally and wanted nothing more than to just sit and wait for the others.
The others looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted Hippogriff wings from my nose. However, Professor Snape, a man I secretly admired more than I dared admit, agreed to stay behind with me. I suppose he could tell that I was exhausted although, sometimes, I am not entirely certain that was the reason.
We accompanied the others to the false entrance to Khufu's pyramid and watched as they walked in pursuit of their guide. I sat down with my back resting against the side of the pyramid. He sat down next to me and we chatted about what we had discovered and our thoughts on the upcoming battle. It felt so comforting to talk to him. The air was warm and there was no breeze. In the distance, I could just barely hear the call to prayer from a nearby mosque and I wished I could speak Arabic more fluently than the few phrases I had managed to learn.
I heard footsteps approaching and tried to peer into the darkness to see who it was. The others had only been gone for about twenty minutes, not nearly enough time to get even halfway up the pyramid. I was tempted to use a Lumos spell but knew better than to reveal exactly who and what I was.
Two soldiers, armed with sub-machine guns, came into view. I was terrified and quickly inched towards Professor Snape until I was pressing against his side. He did not seem worried and began to speak to them fluently in Arabic. I could only discern the occasional word or sentence fragment but could not follow the conversation at all. The soldiers did not seem angry so I took what comfort I could from that fact.
The conversation lasted a few minutes until I saw one of the soldiers reaching into his pocket. For a moment, I thought he was going to pull out another weapon with which to dispatch us to the underworld. I grabbed my Professor Snape's arm in sudden fear as I watched the soldier take his hand out of his pocket to reveal…
English toffee, to be exact.
I nearly fainted with relief. Professor Snape murmured a quiet spell and was able to produce a rather large quantity of sweets from his small satchel. The soldiers were evidently delighted with this exchange and, after several blessings, they left, unwrapping candy as they went.
It wasn't until I felt the sudden warmth of his hand covering mine that I realized I hadn't let go of his arm. I looked up in sudden embarrassment and saw that he was smiling gently.
"Why were you so frightened, Hermione? You have faced worse evils," he said in a quiet voice that held no rebuke.
I did not have an answer so I said nothing and I found myself unable to let go of his arm. His other hand moved soothingly up and down my arm.
"Although I know you are certainly capable of defending yourself, you must know that I would never let anything happen to you," his eyes were dark and unreadable.
I nodded, seemingly paralysed under his gaze.
The hand moved to my face and caressed my cheek in a way that suddenly made me tremble. Did he know that his face had often haunted my dreams?
He leaned over and his lips met mine. My eyes closed and I gave myself over to the sensation. Warm and dry. Soft but the slightest bit rough. Not demanding. Not forceful.
I never wanted it to end but it did…all too soon.
He placed an arm around me and held me close. We said nothing as we watched the sky lighten in anticipation of the sunrise. The heavens heralded the arrival of the morning with soft peaches and pinks which gradually replaced the velvety blue-black of night.
And then, the sun appeared and suddenly I was reminded of the heretic king, Akhenaton, who worshipped the solar disk. I felt like worshipping it myself…did that make me Nerfertiti? I almost giggled at the thought.
In the years that followed, we never spoke of that kiss. We drifted apart, as students and their teachers are wont to do, and I have often wondered what it was that led to that kiss. And sometimes, his face still haunts my dreams.
You might say that I should get on with my life and not ascribe so much importance to something that is now so far in my past.
But, I would be willing to bet, you have never been kissed quite like that.