When he sets out with Tafas as his guide he is still dressed in the British uniform, the brass buttons reflecting painfully in the midday sun searing through a cloudless sky; his leather boots heavy and constricting trapping the heat as if he were setting them before a hearth. He rubs his fingers above the stiff uniform collar where sand sticks to the sweat dripping down his neck, feeling how the grit has accumulated and pulls his hand back to study the individual grains.

Tafas doesn't speak at first and when he does he does so with disdain, a small smirk crinkling the roughened skin around his eyes. "You may drink here."

Lawrence is a foreigner to this man, a stranger to be distrusted, rightfully so.

"One cup."

There is much to distrust in his appearance, but Lawrence finds it difficult to discern the difference in between his guide and himself. Already the notion of the Englishman begins to fade. Even as he contemplates him with eyes that match the color of the desert sky and his skin turns redder under the Arabian sun. No , no of course there is a difference, but he does not want his people, here in the Spartan desert. This is where gods are born. This is where prophets appear from behind mirages, real and tangible. There is no stifling bureaucracy. Lawrence contemplates the man and with a smile of his own says, "I will drink when you drink."

Before Tafas' can say another word, Lawrence has his camel lumbering forward with a soft "hut hut."

Later, when the sun begins to descend and the sweat has dried, he and Tafas stop in a circle of desiccated juniper branches. Pain arches across Lawrence's back as he leans back in the saddle, but he keeps his face a mask as he makes his camel kneel and almost loses his balance as he dismounts, the pain doubling as he stands.

Tafas beholds the gun around Lawrence's waist with a child like reverence. The moment they had been introduced, his eyes had gravitated towards the weapon. How could something so mundane and abhorrent produce such rapture? Tafas quickly looks away.

He gives Tafas the gun. In the darkness he takes the food from Tafas' fingers now almost indistinguishable from his own in color in the fading light. He swallows thickly, the rancid mutton fat coating his teeth, and refuses the grimace that tries to pull at his lips. Tafas' holds out the container and offers him another, resigning himself; he reaches in and plucks the fat from the remainder of Tafas' food supply. It's truly awful and he almost gags, but he can't help the happiness welling up inside of him. It's a desire to jump up and dance and scream and laugh.

Tafas inspects the gun carefully, wiping his hands across the fabric of his shirt and making sure he has brushed all of the sand away before reverently running his fingers over the barrel, letting them dip and linger in the small grooves. His nails make small clicking noises against the black metal. His reflection morphs and elongates by the light of the fire.

"I can fire it then?"

"Yes, but at what?"

"Show me."

He does and Tafas takes the gun back, raising it to his eye and pointing the barrel into the darkness. Lawrence doesn't jump at the crack of the gun, nor when Tafas' hand flies back with the recoil. He laughs when his guide laughs and once again his fingers find the sand clinging to the back of his neck, now they are dry, now they brush away and fall back to the terrain. He rubs them between his fingers and he can't help but smile. Little things accumulate and little things become great powerful things.


I'm not sure if Fanfic100 is still being moderated, but I signed up to write fanfiction for Lawrence of Arabia. I haven't been approved, but I was just so excited to get started that I dove right in. The quality of fics for this fandom is amazing and truthfully I'm not sure of the quality of my entry. I rarely write fanfiction, and this was my first foray into Lawrence fic. It's a pretty short fic and tentatively my entry for "touch", but the title only works loosely. It was supposed to be "strangers", but I couldn't get the story to go where I wanted it to. I would love some feedback or helpful criticism. I'm not sure if I'm just going to try to adapt and extend scenes from the movie or write some AU situations. I might try to crossover with events from Seven Pillars and maybe the movie Lawrence After Arabia.