AN: I'm raising this fic from the dead!

00000

Quatre rinsed his face in the clear water of the oasis- feeling the sting of the flesh around his eye as he washed the blood from his tunic. It wasn't noon yet but the sun beat down on him like a living thing.

Flowing through the ancient fronds of the palm trees that surrounded the small oasis they had gathered in. They had left the secluded chateau around 2 in the morning to reach in time for sunrise. They had barely made it too, the two feuding tribes had already arrived arranging tents and a small camp in the spirit of the negotiations that would soon begin.

Unfortunately despite that encouraging gesture it had been a grueling morning- with Sada- sama out of commission for the time being it was up to him and Radha-sama to negotiate the more contentious issues with the neighboring Bedouin tribes. Hit on his life or no- these were his people & he had a responsibility to help them.

He had just come from the men's tent- apparently there was a ongoing embittered argument on whether or not the Abeer leaders son was good enough was to marry a young woman from the Alkala tribe. The Alkala tribe was one of the few in the area who had a female tribe leader & as a result had very few men to assist in the men's tent.

A female tribe leader wasn't entirely unheard of, but Sania Alkala was a tough woman. According to custom she could not mingle with the men of the tribe- instead they had Radha-sama & himself negotiate the issue. To make matters worse a fistfight had already started in the men's tent & Quatre was sure he would have a black eye come the evening from just trying to break up the fracas.

Unluckily this also meant that he could not be with Dorothy, she now sat in the perfumed tent with the other women of both the Alkala and Abeer tribes.

He shouldn't worry for her, as he knew her to be as strong- no stronger than any man. But this was still to new...Quatre let out a sigh and cast his eyes towards the brightly colored tent...

000

Meanwhile Dorothy sat silently near Radha-sama- close and yet apart from the other women of the tribe. Air in the tent was tense, with few scattered conversations between the members. The tent redolent of perfumed oil, roses and incense that burned in a brazier near the small raised platform which Radha-sama sat on with a select few woman. Radha was a beautiful women in her late sixties her richly tanned mocha skin without blemish. She wore plain but fine coral silk robes- her dark hair pinned under the scarf she wore. Deeply absorbed in a long handwritten document in ornate Arabic script while another younger woman wearing tan and black tensely watched on.

Dorothy had come to gather that she was the leader of the Alkala tribe. Her eyes glimmered with a hard edge as she stared diffidently into her lap awaiting Radha's verdict. Dorothy was impressed & strangely shy. The women in the tent though did not overtly stare at her, glanced at her with wide interested eyes. Did she look strange in the salwar kameez and veil that Quatre had found for her this morning? It was pale pink, perhaps to loud for what was turning into a somber and tense situation.

Her face burned- she really stood out with her blonde hair and alabaster skin. Knowing so little of the Arabic language was also a disadvantage. Where had Quatre gone? He had left shortly after Radha-sama had come in. Minutes later from the neighboring tent of men she had heard raised voices and Quatre's own raised in gentle placating. A cool hand touched her shoulder.

Dorothy turned to see a pretty young woman with sparkling blue eyes and mocha skin- even beneath the veil she could see the strong resemblance to the hard eyed woman that sat like a statue in front of Radha- sama

"Jamil like the moonlight" the women touched the long tress of her hair that had come loose from her hijab "no wonder the amir married you"

"Jana! Leave the foreign one alone" the tribe leader said waspishly. The woman known as Jana dropped Dorothy's hair to pool in her lap. Radha didn't so much as blink so absorbed she was in the scroll. However Dorothy had the distinct feeling that the older woman was quite in tune with everything around her despite her look of concentration. Dorothy couldn't help but admire her-

"Your amir is bathing in the oasis English" Jana said then in a low tone. She indicated over Dorothy's shoulder. Turning around Dorothy caught the sudden glimmer of pale blonde hair,water droplets glimmering like diamonds through the dappled facets of light flittering through the palm trees.

Her eyes widened and Jana gave a little giggle " The other women are not allowed to look but I look because you do not. Do you not desire him English? All the women here do- the amir is a cool diamond glittering temptingly for one alone. You are lucky"

Dorthy was transfixed by the sight of Quatre through the thin walls of the tent. He was so wet now that his loose linen pants pasted to his lean legs making the dark fabric almost transparent.

Why-why couldn't they take the step forward? Now that the numbness of their hasty travel was wearing off Dorothy was feeling equal parts frustrated and vulnerable. Though Quatre had explained everything to her this morning before they had departed she was feeling lonely and aching for him.

This sight inflamed her all the more. As if sensing her train of thoughts Quatre paused and looked almost shyly over his shoulder. She swore that through the thin fabric of the tent his eyes met her own.

Before she knew it she had rose and like a snake hypnotized beneath the charmer she found herself exiting the tent and coming to his side.

Quatre paused in running his wets hands through his hair. The bloodstained linen shirt he wore was now drying on a rock in the relentless sun.

"Dorothy you should go back into the tent" he began gently when she had come close.

Her eyes widened briefly to see that he had the beginnings of a serious black eye.

Resisting the urge to touch his face she folded her arms tightly over her chest.

"What happened to your eye husband?" she asked casually. Trying to cut the tension that was building between them like a thick fog.

"It made the reluctant acquaintance with a gentleman's fist"

Dorothy let out a little snort watching how a smile quirked his lips- her eyes hungrily taking in his alabaster tone of his flesh- glistening now with water. The lean hips and washboard abs- with the rosy nipples a shade darker than his lips.

"How unfortunate" she replied reaching out to touch his cheek. Gingerly touching the reddened flesh under his eye with her thumb.

Quatre winced, gently grasping her wrist- "It is alright. I need to get back to the men's tent, my tunic must be dry now" He murmured lowering his eyes from her's "everyone is watching- it is not custom for a woman to see her husband during negotiations"

Dorothy turned to see that most of the inhabitants of both tents had come out to watch the two of them. Reddening she dropped her hand and stepped away as Jana came over to them with a wicked smile on her face.

She said something in Arabic to Quatre with a suggestive leer of her eyebrows and he reddened.

"Come English" she said taking Dorothy's hand "it's back to the tent for lunch. Radha-sama is close to making a decision."

Doggedly she pulled Dorothy forward "What did you say to him?"

Jana turned to her with a perfectly innocent look on her face. "I told him he shouldn't be so excited seeing you in such thin clothes English."

Dorothy turned back to Quatre but he had already donned his tunic and was walking towards the men's tent.

0000

When Dorothy ducked into the coolness of the tent all eyes were upon the two of them including those of Radha-sama but it was in the older woman's eyes that glimmered a knowing look that made Dorothy's face burn red. The other women were grinning behind their hands as Dorothy took her set. Jana was grinning like a cat who had gotten into the cream.

"Are you pure English?" she asked then Dorothy looked at the young woman with wide eyes

"I am not" she managed shocked by her brazen question

Jana sighed "I am envious- the amir must truly love you to take you when you are not pure"

"Jana! Leave her be" Radha-sama finally spoke up. Only slightly mollified Jana turned away from Dorothy with a grin and applied herself to the plate of food that a few women were passing out.

Taking her own plate from a women with a smile- Dorothy cast the older woman a grateful look. Before Radha turned and began to address the tribe leader in Arabic. She rose and then exited the tent- the moment that she did the whole tent broke into excited chatter. Wordlessly she looked at the tribe leader whose face had given nothing away. Jana was grinning

"It is a disadvantage English that you do not know our language- but Lady Radha has ruled favorably in the marriage despite several other men coming to claim my sisters hand" Jana said then after observing Dorothy's face.

"Your sister?"

"She is there" Jana pointed to the only other woman who sat apart from everyone on the opposite side of the raised platform. Her face was a mask of nervousness.

"Aarti is in love with Silas the Abeer tribe leaders son- he has many rivals & many enemies."

Dorothy watched the pretty young woman to see that indeed she was suffering. She would have to ask Quatre about this when they were allowed to meet.

A unfamiliar woman pulled back the tent flap with jugs of date wine to be passed out...

0000

"Dorothy-san would you like tea?" Dorothy dozed by the fire the flames a hypnotic lull to sleep. She shook her head and pulled the blanket tighter over her shoulders.

"Come" strong gentle hands touched her shoulder, dreamily she looked up through her heavy lids to see that Quatre was standing beside her his hair flowing around him.

She nodded and rose following him to a smaller tent richly scented with incense. Bending she ducked through to reveal a cozy layout of thick Persian rugs a beautifully carved wooden bed shrouded with embroidered netting and a lovely spread of food laid out on large silver platters near a nest of pillows. There was a screen for privacy and even a small equally ancient writing desk.

"Lovely" she smiled at him and he gently unpinned the hijab from her hair and set it to hang in the screen.

He grinned "The tribesman wanted it to be most comfortable for us. Apparently everyone knows that we have not yet consummated our relationship."

Her eyes widened some of the grogginess gone from them, "It is a shame really 2 days married" she began as Quatre took her hand and brought her to the nest of pillows.

He gently settled in "Sit in front of me please I want to fix your hair"

Drowsy Dorothy sat in front of him with a very unladylike plop, her blanket coming loose from her shoulders. Quatre arranged the blanket carefully around her, his hands came to her hair where he patiently began to unbraid it. Dorothy closed her eyes in pleasure as his worked on her hair. Gently taking the harsh pins one of the tribeswoman had quickly stuffed into her hair this morning.

Finally the tight braid was free and Dorothy let out a sigh of relief. The fine teeth of a comb followed and Dorothy grew positively languorous with the heat and the gentle sensation of the comb in her hair. Quatre did not speak other then to offer gentle instruction- by the time she knew it she had laid back into his arms

"I'm not finished- a handmaiden takes pride in her work." Dorothy grinned as his arms came to wrap around her waist. Pulling her onto his lap- before his hot lips touched the soft skin at her neck. Kissing gently- nipping the sensitive place behind her ear.

Dorothy moaned "Quatre"

Quatre purred like some big cat before his hot tongue glided into the delicate shell of her ear. Dorothy felt a thrill pass through her, heat pooling low in her belly.

"Come to the bed with me Dorothy"

Those simple words made Dorothy suddenly unbearably shy- she was no virgin but she had never been so torridly attracted to someone as Quatre Raberba Winner.

"Yes"

After that there was no more time for words-only pleasure.

0000

Argent extended the long antenna of the satellite vid phone as he sat down in the small oasis they had come to rest at since leaving town. Even in the late evening tents were being busily set up for the Market that would begin tomorrow.

Even if the townspeople had been unhelpful apparently money in any form greased palms including those of the entrepreneurial caravan that had been passing through the village. By way of rumor he had been told that there was indeed a dispute and marriage meeting taking place between two tribes some 50 miles from here. The caravan leader Sameel was passing that way before going deeper into the desert.

He knew who would be there- with the old man recovering he knew that little bleeding heart would be there with the girl. Good, it should be soon...Swiftly he dialed the number he needed to contact headquarters.