(1941-06-26) Getting Acquainted
Details for Getting Acquainted
Summary: The morning after Samira returns to London from Hogwarts, she and her brother, Amir, get better acquainted.
Date: June 26, 1941
Location: Prince-Azam Residence
Related: Oh, Brother

When Amir and Samira arrived to their new home in the Mysticked District yesterday, there wasn't much time for pleasantries. Amir had work to attend to, and Samira had already had a full day anyhow. There was some time to explore the two-story house before sleep claimed her, though.

Though quite old, the home has been well-maintained, the wood kept polished, the walls clean and painted, any damage handily repaired. There are three bedrooms, all of them spacious, though the master bedroom has clearly already been claimed. As one would expect, it is fairly typical of a British style, though it will undoubtedly take on more Egyptian affectations soon. Meanwhile, the downstairs parlor contains a number of stacked boxes, mostly unopened. Some boxes are scattered through other rooms as well. The whole house is in a state of being moved into.

Like the rest of the house, Samira's bedroom hasn't quite been set up. The girl wakes in her four-poster bed to the sunlight streaming through her sheer-white curtains. Her cat opens his eyes to watch as she eases down to the polished wood floor, but it doesn't stir. In the utter stillness of the morning, the floorboards groan under her bare feet. Hugging a change of clothes to her chest, she sneaks through the hall and into the bathroom.

Samira emerges wearing a dress of sun-faded yellow. It is a bit small for her now - tight around her upper body and hips. And it had been an inch or so longer on her when first purchased. But it will do until she can acquire new clothes.

And thus, in her bare, stockinged feet, she makes her way down the stairs in search of breakfast.

Amir sits in the parlour upon a long sofa, rather plush with a polished wooden frame. Was that even here last night? He is seen for the first time without his turban — baring his dark, curly locks — and his eyes are clean of kohl. He is clad in a simple, wool bedrobe. Glancing up from the Daily Prophet, he gives her a subdued smile. "You glow in the morning, sister," he says in Arabic, seeing no need for English when they are alone. "If you are hungry, I made fuul. Or there is fruit, if you prefer it." He gestures to the kitchen. "Dishes are in the box on the counter."

Samira halts upon catching sight of her brother. On first glimpse, she could mistake him so easily for her father. But his smile and soft greeting are far different. She blinks as it catches her so off guard and kindles an unexpected warmth in her chest. It has been two years since she has spoken Arabic. Her words come slow and careful. "Thank you, my brother. I have not had fuul for so long." She gives a small bow of her head before turning to pad onwards into the kitchen.

Moments later, she emerges with a small bowl of fuul. She approaches and carefully settles down beside him on the sofa, tucking her bare feet beneath herself. Having already taken a few spoonfuls in the kitchen, she murmurs, "It tastes of home. Thank you."

Amir dips his head and folds up the newspaper to set it aside. "I want you to be happy here, Samira. I want this place to remind you of what is good about Egypt." He squints, peering curiously at her. "Our people there are concerned about you and the effect this country is having on you."

Samira shifts, sinking down and lifting her stockinged knees to curl up a bit on the sofa beside him. "To know that makes me feel warm," she says, lowering her gaze. "I've missed Egypt a lot. Its warmth… and beauty. The customs are strange here and I still don't always perceive or anticipate their hidden expectations. And most of all…” She peeks over at him. “I miss the ancient secrets open to us."

"Ahh, yes…the British fear of the Dark." Amir gives a soft, dismissive snort. "You are above that. You are an Azam. I assume you have not given in to the fears of these lesser al-sahara. But I do worry that you have adopted other ways of British thinking. I understand that you have broken your engagement to…whomever you were to marry." Apparently he wasn't all that invested in that arrangement, either.

Samira nods watching Amir with a hint of caution. "Yes. It was a good match. Great Uncle Penzington was kind to arrange it. But, marriage or- or any relationship… it isn't something I want. Not soon. And as I grew to hold Edward Carrow in higher esteem, I did not want to waste his years." Her toes curl on the plush cushion beneath her. "It was permitted here. Great Uncle Penzington did not object in the slightest. So what I could do, I did do."

Amir sighs, tapping fingers on the plush cushion of the sofa. "So you have not only broken a promise of marriage, but you do not intend to find another suitable match?"

Samira nods, watching him carefully. "Yes, ya Akhi. I have other ambitions. I wish to be a healer. To develop new spells to thwart and conquer death. Gaining power over death… That is our family's legacy, is it not?"

Amir leans back on the sofa, lifting his hands to link his fingers behind his head. "Our family's legacy is also the continuation of our bloodline. Our power will come to mean nothing if we do not pass it on to future generations." He tilts his head to peer down at his little sister. "I admire your ambition. But you must not forget your duty, either. Our father is displeased with how permissive our Great Uncle has been. That is why he asked me to come here." Amir cannot help the smile that follows; the deliciousness of their father being forced to rely upon his estranged son is more than he can contain.

Samira watches, listening with care as Amir reveals why he has come. And his reminder echoes the expectation drilled into her from her earliest age. She can almost feel it tightening around her arms, chest, and belly - her family's will binding her. She strains against it. "I haven't forgotten, brother. I just wanted more time. Once I've become established as a healer…"

"…you will be thoroughly indoctrinated into the British way of life," Amir interjects. "That, of course, is the Azams' concern. Both sides of the family are unhappy, Samira. Both want me to steer you back on course. If only they could agree on what that course should be. But they do agree that you have been allowed too much liberty."

Samira's brows furrow, but she maintains a calm and respectful demeanor before her brother. "And… you have been sent to balance their wills… to steer me. Onto what course?"

Amir gives Samira a mysterious smirk. "That will remain to be seen. It is possible that we have been given a rare opportunity here. I am not only the representative of our family here, but of all of Egypt. I am in a powerful position, at least for the time being. It would be foolish not to take advantage of this position to ensure future prosperity. Perhaps we can find a way to appease all parties, and still forge our own destiny."

Such words kindle a tender flicker of hope in Samira's eyes, but her caution lingers. Folding one foot over the other, she simply nods. One last bite of breakfast, and she leans over to set the empty bowl on the floor. She doesn't get up yet. Instead, she glances back over at him. Tension grows in her shoulders as she steels herself to pose her next question. "I am scheduled to start at St. Mungo's tomorrow. I can still go… yes?"

Amir arches an eyebrow. "So soon? Hm. I trust that you will be supervised? You will not be left alone with male patients? Or any male, for that matter." The memory of her apparently close association with those Slytherin boys remains fresh in his mind.

Warmth floods Samira's cheeks. Sinking a bit deeper, half hiding behind her knees, she says, "No, brother. I would only be assisting the full healers. Never unsupervised."

Amir nods in consideration. "Very well. You will go to St. Mungo's." After a moment, he asks, "Have the Carrows shown any sign of offence at the breaking of the engagement?"

Samira shakes her head. "No, my brother. Edward Carrow and I parted as friends. And he smoothed things over well with his family. He even said one day he might extend his hand to me again."

"Still, it would be diplomatic do something for them. A gift, perhaps." Amir chuckles, shaking his head. "Can you believe they made me an ambassador? I'm no diplomat." He shrugs, smirking wryly.

A soft smile flits to Samira's lips. "You have the bearing for it, brother." Though she has been watching him, only now does she dare to gaze up into the eyes of her mysterious brother. Her arms slide across her belly. "Our family - the Azams - they arranged it?"

Amir nods. "They did, at our father's suggestion, in fact. I'm sure each believes that they are manipulating the other…and perhaps both are right. Personally, I don't want to be anyone's pawn. So…here we are. For now, I simply want to be certain that you are safe and your reputation is secure…and I want to know you better. I know that I am a stranger to you, but we finally have a chance to be brother and sister."

"I'd like that," murmurs Samira, with more shyness than she'd anticipated. Neither of them wants to be anyone's pawn. The shared desire brightens the warmth of kinship between them. "And… I have been safe. And my reputation here, I've cultivated carefully."

"Yet you seem far too familiar with those boys, in my opinion," Amir says with just a hint of sternness. "You are a beautiful girl, and to them you are an exotic flower to be plucked. Believe me, their thoughts about you are not pure, and I do not trust young men to behave appropriately with a pretty girl if given the chance."

Samira's arms tighten over her belly. Her cheeks radiate heat. "They have always been kind, brother. And with them… and a few other boys… we seek to study ancient magics that are forbidden at Hogwarts."

Amir's eyes narrow, his lips forming a tight line. "A few other boys? No girls? You are spending time with an entire group of boys? This is your careful cultivation of your reputation?" He shakes his head firmly. "I cannot permit this."

Samira bites her lower lip as she missteps with her brother. But she doesn't show the emotion she might were the door to her friends truly slammed shut. "At Hogwarts… boys and girls share houses, brother. We sit together, work together. There is no harm in it here."

Amir lifts a finger to command silence. "You told me that you are studying forbidden magic. This means that you must meet in secret, which means that you must be alone with these boys. No, this must not be allowed. If you wish to continue this association, you will find respectable female friends to accompany you."

Samira falls silent as commanded, listening to the condition he imposes. Lowering her gaze, she gives a small but obedient nod. "Yes, my brother. I will ask them to invite another girl." She hesitates before looking to him once more. "Brother… until they do… would… you teach me?"

Ahh, now that catches Amir's attention. "Ahh…I see. You did not finish your schooling at Heka, and now Hogwarts gives you an incomplete education. So you want me to fill in the gaps? Of course I will. You deserve every opportunity to better yourself. But what of your friends? Will you pass this on to them? They have not been prepared for such powerful magic. It could overwhelm them."

Samira's dark gaze widen, brightening with a glint of hunger to learn what has been forbidden to her. She nods. "I know. We have studied from Hogwarts' own books… and I have only taught them theory. They don't know how much else I know. Not truly."

Amir drapes an arm along the back of the sofa, turning more to face her. "Those boys yesterday — Abraxas Malfoy and…the irritating child — they are a part of this group?"

Samira gives a slight, hesitant nod. "Yes, oh brother. But… as you said, I won't study alone with them again. Not until they have invited another girl."

"Well, the young one is a fool. I would question his capacity for controlling such magic. The Malfoy, though. He has composure, as well as a respectable lineage." Amir's fingers slightly part his robe to scratch at his chest. "Perhaps I should meet these other boys. I can help you to determine who among them has the will for Dark magic." Not to mention which of them are likely to be threats to Samira's reputation.

Samira bites her lower lip. "It is a secret what we do. I don't think they would be pleased if they knew I'd told you, brother. They might cast me out… and I would have no other chance to study what I can at Hogwarts."

"They don't need to know that you told me." Amir gives her a conspiratorial smile. "I did mention that we should invite your friends to visit. So invite them. After the house is in order, we'll host a dinner for them."

Samira smiles with relief. "Thank you. I'd like that. I think… they would be very keen to meet you." Averting her gaze, she tucks her loose curls behind her left ear. "May I help? To put our home to order?"

Amir dips his head with a smile. "Of course. I would expect nothing less. To be honest, I hardly know what to do with this place. I have not lived in a house for ten years."

Samira's brows lift over widening eyes. "Truly?" She leans closer, resting her weight on a palm placed between herself and him. "You wandered the sands?"

Amir nods, "The sands, the jungle, the Far East…I have wandered many places, and seen many things. I have fought in battles, killed men, saved others, explored forgotten tombs, and witnessed rituals so Dark they would burn your soul." For all the braggadocio, his tone remains somber, his eyes haunted.

Samira stares up at him, transfixed. Deepening awe shines in her eyes. Without a trace of haunted horror nor pain in her dark gaze, she seems as pure and unscarred by life as when he last saw her as a small child. "No one ever spoke of you. I wish they had… I wish I'd known you," she murmurs.

Amir's brow lifts in an expression of resignation. "I am not surprised. Sorrelus and I had become enemies, and I am sure that Mother was hurt that I left. But it was necessary," he attempts to assure her. "Life with me around would have been terrible. I could not be the man Sorrelus wanted me to be, so I needed to go find out who I was. Now my path has finally steered me back to my blood. You are my true family, Samira. You are the only one who is like me."

"Am I?" To be so accepted fills her chest with another unexpected flood of warmth. But the shy awe in her eyes shows well how she can't imagine how she could be like one such as him.

"Of course, my sister. Sorrelus does not understand what it means to be an Azam, and the Azams do not understand growing up half Prince." Amir places a hand gently on her shoulder, dipping his head to stare into her eyes. "You and I are the only ones that have lived this life. Nobody else in our family has felt what we have. So how could they know what is best for us? They do not. So you and I will find our destinies together. Together, we will be powerful. But you must put your trust in me."

Samira holds quite still under the hand on her shoulder, gazing up at Amir. He is neither her father's chosen guardian asked to mind her, nor her mother's family's agent sent to control her. He is his own man and her own blood like none other. "I will. You have it… ya Akhi."

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