The desert was rolling waves of purple and blue, the sky swelling from tangerine to a vibrant yellow. The air was chill, but that would soon change. Some little part of her heart anticipated the heat that would rise about her when the sun crept over the horizon. The cool colours about her would be set alight, burning with the unforgiving burnished gold that was the Egyptian wilderness. Behind her the white stark shapes of tents huddled about the great cavity in the ground that was the Hamunaptra dig. Beyond it were far more ornate tents, trimmed with bold tassels and surrounded by horses in similar fair. These were the dwellings of the Medjai that guarded Evelyn's dig, of which Ardeth was a member of.

Digging her fingers in the sand she rested on, she leant back, tilting her head at the panorama in a leisurely way. The little boy that sat in the sand next to her was playing with the sand, dragging it into piles and then pushing it flat again. He drew hieroglyphs in the sand, and then he would tell her what they meant. She smiled at him, the struggle of life and death they had shared taking away any discomfort she once had around the boy.

Alex frowned in thought and he looked to her. "Connie, are you staying now? I mean for good?"

Constance's smile turned to a grin. "Yes, yes I am, Alex."

He smiled, very pleased to hear this, and nodded with satisfaction. "That's good."

"For a very long time, I should hope."

"Really?" Alex lifted a brow at her.

She nodded most seriously, a glint of mischief in her eyes.

"Does Ardeth know how long you want to stay?"

Connie shook her head. "No, but I think it'll make a nice surprise for him, don't you?"

With a great hoot of laughter, Alex fell back onto the sand, kicking his legs in the air in pure joy. "Oh brother!"