A/N—This is a friendship fic.

Once again, I don't own Lawrence of Arabia. That belongs to the wondrous David Lean.

Many thanks to for the script, which is where I got the quotes.

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"Now may I speak?" Ali stared at the crouching man, watching as he wrung out the frayed and filthy white cloth that Ali himself had given him that morning that seemed so long ago now. Then, he had been merely an Englishman—albeit one who accomplished a feat unheard of. Now he was different. Now he blew up trains, he led troops of whooping Arabs down sandy slopes towards stopped carriages, he danced along rooftops, posing for the camera, and he proclaimed himself invincible, disregarding the angry wound on his shoulder. Now he was more Arab than English, though he could never truly be one of them. But he could never, ever, be an Englishman again. That had disappeared the day that he rode back into Akaba, dirty, beleaguered and haunted by the death of the boy that he had led into Sinai.

"Yes," Aurens answered, shaking hot water from his hands and sitting back on his heels. He glanced at Ali, his brilliant blue eyes glittering defensively.

"Aurens," Ali said, "one more failure, and you will find yourself alone." The pipe in his hands sent smoke spiraling up into his face, where it blocked Aurens' face from view. They sat in silence for a moment, Ali waiting for an answer that the Englishman apparently couldn't answer.

Ali spoke again, softening his voice. "I do not count myself."

Aurens' answered swiftly. "I do not include the others."

Ali rose quickly, leaving his seat, dropping the pipe carelessly to the sand. He went over to Aurens and crouched down, so that his eyes could meet the Englishman's. In their deep blue, he could see a reflection of his dark eyes.

"So, say they love you: the more reason to the thrifty with them. Give them something to do that can be done." He waved a hand in front of Aurens' face, suppressing the urge to slap him. "But you?" His voice rose. "No, no, they must move mountains for you: they must walk on water."

Aurens stared at him, and his blue eyes snapped and crackled just like the small fire burning beneath the dark pot that still bubbled with boiling water.

"That's right," he said coldly, glaring at Ali. "That's right! Who are you to know what can be done?" His voice grew sharp, biting, almost hateful. "If we'd done what you thought could be done, we'd be back in Yenbo now, and nowhere. Whatever I ask them to do ,can be done, that's all. They know that if you don't."

Ali took a deep breath. He hadn't expected the torrent of words, and he certainly hadn't expected the sudden burst of hate that Aurens had poured on him. He opened his mouth to speak, but Aurens beat him to words.

"Do you think I'm just anybody Ali?" the Englishman's voice was softer now, his hate gone, replaced by firm determination. "Do you?"

Ali had no answer. He looked away and heard Aurens rise. Looking up, he saw Aurens heading for the flap that led to the main part of the tent, where the others waited. Rising, he followed, unable to resist.

"My friends," Aurens said, clutching his robe to him as he entered the room. "Who will walk on water with me?"

Ali felt his jaw drop. He was asking such madness? Even in metaphor, it was the height of conceit.

"Who will come with me into Da'ra?"

It also only served to incense the tired Bedu army, because the answer Aurens got was enough to make him scowl.

"Da'ra is garrisoned," one of the men said, looking up scornfully from his gun. "Will you take twenty against two thousand?"

"I'll go by myself if I have to," Aurens replied.

"Why?" the man demanded.

"Because I told the English generals the Arab revolt will be in Da'ra when they will be in Jerusalem."

The man answered belligerently, "Or perhaps you are here for the English generals."

Aurens was taken aback. "Who says this?"

Ali cut in, supplying the answer bluntly before the man could jeer. "Rumor."

A pause, and then Aurens spat at the man's feet.

"That is not an argument," the man said angrily, pointing at the ground, where Aurens' spit was still visible against the bright sand.

"No argument," the Englishman replied coldly. He faced off the group of mutinous men. "This afternoon, I will take the Arab revolt into Da'ra while the Arabs argue." He headed for the door, but the man—Ali was ready to give him a piece of his mind—called after him,

"Aurens! Can you pass for an Arab in an Arab town?"

Aurens nodded. "Yes, if one of you would lend me some dirty clothes."

Ali knew, and he knew that Aurens knew, that he would come also. Together, they would walk on water.