When they left their room in The Seawanderer’s Haven in the early afternoon, Sage and Sorka found Rhianis and Larak waiting for them in the common room. The Atlantean Auror Office had sent them all their belongings, the ones they had left with them during their ‘wedding’ and the others, now all safely tucked again in their bag. Larak gave it to Sage, who sent it to their room, thankful that they wouldn’t have to hunt everything down.
"Come on, you must be hungry," Rhianis said, leading the way to the garden. "Larak and I were about to have lunch and we were hoping you would join us."
It was a hot and sunny day, but the breeze from the sea made the heat bearable. Colorful birds were zooming around the trees, some still in bloom. It was the quietest hour of the day. A table was set for four in the shade. They took place and started to help themselves while enjoying polite conversation.
"What do we have to do to find a place of our own?" Sage asked the Atlanteans as Rhianis was conjuring a plate of spicy slices of meat from the kitchen. The recent events had taught them that they were indeed in unknown territory.
"You claim one of those that belong to the community," Larak shrugged. Then he noticed that Sorka and Sage were looking at him, puzzled, and he explained, "Not many people know about this island, but it still makes a lot around the world. However only a few come to settle here. And some Atlanteans in every generation fall victim to wanderlust and prefer to live in other wizarding communities. All in all, the population is rather stable. New comers like you rent houses that belong to the Ministry, it is to say to the community, and can buy them after having lived on the island for ten years if they want to – it’s only five years if you were born an Atlantean."
"What about the house next door?" Sorka asked, remembering how lonely and close to tears it had made her feel when she had seen it during the night, before finding her husband again. Sage gave her a quizzical look, and she told him about the shop and the loft. "They reminded me of our home in Quill Alley," she concluded, shrugging her shoulders.
They both waited for Larak’s answer, but it was Rhianis who spoke up. "The couple who lived there returned to Europe four years ago." She exchanged a look with her husband, and he nodded encouragingly. "They were quiet people, but there were strange rumours about them," she continued. "I guess that’s why the house is still empty after so much time – no Atlantean wants to live there."
Sage and Sorka looked at each other, then turned again towards their new friends. "What kind of rumors?" Sage asked, and Sorka was glad he had, because she was curious too.
"All sorts," Larak replied. "But none were true."
"We are a close-knit community, and when people come and keep to themselves, most of us tend to suspect them," Rhianis admitted with a sigh.
"The truth is, the wife was scared of everyone and everything. She had been tortured almost to the brink of insanity by some dark wizards," he added. "That’s why they had come to Atlantis, being both of Atlantean blood. The husband was trying to protect her from herself."
"But he was bound to fail," Sorka stated.
When Rhianis and Larak seemed surprised, Sage explained, "He tried to protect her, but he was doing it the wrong way. You can’t outrun your fears. If you want to get rid of them, you have to face them."
Sorka was reminded that her love had been tortured by a friend, then had offered that friend his help. And when they had gone after Grindelwald, he had returned to the cell where he was tortured with herself, Aquilla and Godric to search the Death Eaters’ lair. "He probably knew it or came to understand it, and when she was strong enough, they left."
Larak nodded slowly, then Rhianis. "Is there a new dark lord?" she asked them. It was Sage and Sorka’s turn to look surprised. "The rest of the world doesn’t know about us, but we are well informed."
Sage simply nodded, and the Atlanteans didn’t insist. "Do you want to see the house?" Larak asked, changing the subject.
"Sure," they answered.
When Sage saw the house next door, he immediately shared Sorka’s feeling about it. If a place could look sad, this one did, and it almost begged for being inhabited again. Like any other buildings they had seen on the island – most Atlanteans liked the word ‘continent’ better though –, it was white with a colored front door and shutters. But those were sickly green. If they ever lived there, both silently promised themselves to change that quickly.
Larak opened the door with a wave of his wand and they climbed the stairs to the loft. On the first floor of the apartment, there were a drawing room, a dining room, a spacious living room and a kitchen, and on the second, three bedrooms, one big overseeing the garden, with a French door leading to a balcony, and two smaller ones on the other side. Sorka and Sage cringed when they saw the walls of the master bedroom – they were dark green and peeling. And behind the moth eaten curtains, the windows were painted in black.
"And I thought the door and shutters were hideous," Sorka muttered under her breath, looking around her.
Sage shot her an amused look, and when their eyes met, they couldn’t help but laugh.
Rhianis cleared her throat. "So, what you think? Do you…uh… like it?" The Atlantean too was stunned by the choice of colors.
Before answering her question, Sorka opened the French door and the sun flowed into the room. Then she walked out on the terrace, followed by Sage, and they took a look at the garden. There were lemon and orange trees, an arbor covered in flowery bougainvilleas and an empty pool with a blue and white mosaic in the bottom and at one end, the statue of a woman kneeling, holding a jar. The pool was in bad repair, but after a few waves of a wand, it would look like new. Sage and Sorka exchanged another look, and they turned towards the Atlanteans.
"Yes," Sage replied.
"We like it," Sorka added.
"I can take you to the Home Claiming Office right now," Larak offered, talking to Sage. "I have an appointment at the Ministry in an hour."
Sage nodded, and a few minutes later, the two men were gone.
"I have to go back to the inn and start making dinner," Rhianis said.
"Larak and you have been so kind to us. I would be glad to help you," Sorka smiled.
As they were chopping vegetables, she looked at the other woman, opened her mouth, then changed her mind and closed it again. Rhianis lifted up her eyes and laughed. "I can see you have a question. And though you’re newly wed, I don’t think you’re still a virgin and need… uh… tips?"
The redhead laughed too, feeling her cheeks warm slightly. "Um, no, I’m not." She took a deep breath and said, "We found some strange…uh, actually, I don’t know how you call them… they look like identical tattoos…"
Rhianis slapped her forehead. "Of course, you wouldn’t know! They are tattoos, sort of, but magical. But I’m sure you guessed that much. They are unique, the magic of the island giving each married couple a different mark – well, we all have a different last name, but it’s not just it. Every pair represents a sea creature. Mine and Larak’s look like a starfish. And if you two had a starfish too, the pattern would be different somehow."
"We have a dolphin." Sorka wondered if the creature had anything to do with the two people who wore it. Dolphins were smart, and they were among the best fighters and hunters of the sea. "What happens when a couple gets divorced? It… disappears? If all the couples…"
The Atlantean looked shocked at the first two sentences, but the last made her nod her head in understanding. "Ah, I don’t think you got it. There is no divorce – all the people who go through this and find each other aren’t people who would ever get divorce anyway. Most couple aren’t lawfully married. They are just companions, even if some will stay that way all their lives."
Sorka tilted her head on one side, thoughtful. "Oh, I see. Well, I can understand why they won’t risk losing each other." She shuddered at that thought. Of course, they didn’t have to prove they were made to be together to be allowed to stay… unlike Sage and herself. Her eyes narrowed in anger – the Atlanteans were almost as bad as some purebloods!
"You sound like you regret it," Rhianis hazarded.
"No, I don’t. But I didn’t need to be bewitched to know that Sage was the one for me and he didn’t need that to know I was the one for him either," Sorka huffed. "And I wonder how many times I will wake up in a cold sweat after dreaming of the loneliness, of that feeling that half of me had been torn away."
Rhianis pondered that. "It wasn’t like that for me. I had the feeling that I had forgotten something important, and it was annoying, but apart from that fact, I was ok. And Larak felt so good that he made new friends. We almost missed each other!" She rolled her eyes. Then she added, "Now you and Sage are both part of our community, even the one of you who isn’t part Atlantean. And the wards will always recognize the both of you, thanks to the mark."
"Good to know," Sorka sighed and smiled at her new friend. She didn’t mind the tattoo – especially if Sage thought it looked sexy on her – but she would have liked to have some more informations. It was a good thing they had met Rhianis and Larak.
Soon, Sage and Larak came back. Sorka looked up and gave her husband an enquiring look. "We’ve got a home, love," he announced, smiling, and she threw herself in his arms.
"And I thought old Pafris was going to have a coronary when Sage claimed that house," Larak added, chuckling.
Sorka and Sage spent one last night in The Seawanderer’s Haven – Rhianis had argued that they couldn’t sleep in their house, not in the state it was in. But the next morning, they woke up early and moved in.
"Let’s take care of the inside first," Sage suggested. "Or are you going to threaten to dress me in a pink apron again if I offer to help you?"
Laughing, Sorka slid both arms around him and kissed him lightly. "You were so cute in pink robes."
"Ha ha," he answered sarcastically. And he got his revenge – he gave her the kind of kiss that he knew would make her legs go weak. When Sorka had caught her breath again, she said, "If you don’t mind, I want to begin with our bedroom…"
"Do you have something in mind?" Sage teased.
"Well, yeah. The sooner that nightmarish sight will have disappeared, the better of course!" she retorted slyly, pulling away.
One hour later, all the rooms were clean, the walls painted white again and each door a different bright color. Then Sage went fix up the outside while Sorka was taking care of the shop. When she was done, the grayish whitewashed walls were white again and the dark and dull woodshelves were the color of poured honey. In the street, Sage had finally settled on a bright blue for the doors and shutters as there was no building like this in the vicinity.
"That’s much better," Larak said. "I’m glad this house is going to be inhabited again, and you and Sorka have taste. That green was just…" he shook his head, at a loss for words.
"Why leave it that way then?" Sage inquired. They were wizards and witches – they could have changed the color with a wave of a wand since no one was living there!
"The law," the innkeeper grimaced. "But I guess that if anyone had done something in the night, the whole street would have covered up for them," he added, lowering his voice, his hazel eyes darting around.
Sage noticed for the first time that a few people were looking at him and at the newly refurbished house through the shop windows.
"Oh, yeah, I came out to see if you needed a bed," Larak said, as if just remembering why he was there.
"You have extras?" Sage knew they needed a bed – and a couple of other things.
"A few, in the attic."
"That would be great," Sorka said, smiling her thanks, joining them in the paved street.
As Larak was going back home to fetch the promised bed, passing by his wife on his way in, a grizzled witch walked out of the apothecary to introduce herself.
"I’m Renata Demetres," she said, indicating the sign of her shop with a nod of her head.
"Sage a’Sorka and Sorka a’Sage," Rhianis introduced them.
It still felt strange to hear themselves being introduced that way, but it was how married people were in Atlantis.
Renata gave them a sharp look, then enquired, "I saw you two cleaning the shop. Are you going to open it?"
"It’s been closed for twenty years, now," a middle-aged wizard said, coming from a cauldron shop across the street. "My name is Arzyl Lars."
"Yes, we are," Sage assured them. He felt Sorka’s hand slip in his and squeezed it. They had brought some of the most interesting items they had found in the secret workshop of their home in Quill Alley.
"Good," Renata smiled. "We all know an empty window in a street is no good for business."
"She’s right, you know," Arzyl nodded. Then he looked hopeful. "Is any of you good at potion making? I don’t know what people have been thinking, but you’d believe potions are not magical enough for us, Atlanteans! You’ll find maybe two good potion makers…" He shook his head.
Sorka looked at her husband, then replied, "Well, we are both very capable of brewing all kinds of potions."
"But my wife is far more gifted than I am," he added. "She was taught by one of the finest potion masters."
Their new friends’, Renata’s and Arzyl’s faces brightened at their answers.
That night, Sorka and Sage slept for the first time in their Atlantean home among the pieces of furniture they had brought and the ones they had bought at the best prices thanks to the help of their friendly neighbors.
Sage found Sorka on the balcony, looking at the garden in the moonlight. They had weeded it out and cleaned the pool. He wrapped his arms around her, and she covered them with hers, leaning against his bare chest. "I can think of several ways to christen our new home," he whispered to her, then nibbled her ear.
Sorka gasped when their bodies pressed to each other and she could feel that he was indeed very serious. "We should start exploring them," she purred, turning around to him. They kissed, softly at first, then Sage let one hand brush up her spine and cupped the back of her head to deepen the kiss. Then he looked at her, hooked his fingers in the spaghetti straps of his love’s chemise and slipped them off her shoulders. Mere seconds later, she was naked in his arms. "Do you want to go back inside?"
"Hmmm, no, I like it here," Sorka replied mischievously. She undid his pants and he cast the necessary spells.
Sage lay Sorka down on the pillows that he had just conjured and their bodies came together in a passionate embrace under the stars.
Two months later, they were used to most of the Atlantean customs and at the head of a successful little business. The Atlantean Ministry of Magic was their best customer, secretly buying potions and all sorts of items from them. Curiously, there was no wandmaker on the island, and the ones Sage crafted soon became their best sellers. It was a good thing the Sorka of this timeline had learned a lot with her love – and what she didn’t know, she was learning – and she could help him. But even so, she had to admire him for the way his mind worked. Sage was always so creative, and she couldn’t help it, it was a challenge her own brain had to rise to and she started to come up with ideas of her own. The first time, Sage was impressed and slightly amused, saying he had a bad influence on her, a pureblooded witch.
However he knew her better than that. He loved that she was a proud woman, but she was not your average pureblood. Unlike most of them, Sorka liked working with her hands, and she loved watching him used his – something no pureblood would never admit to.
Renata took them to the hills and showed them where one could find some potions ingredients she didn’t sell in her apothecary because they were used in advanced potions no one was able to make. And Rhianis lent them a very helpful handbook about the indigenous plants that she had found among the things her great grandmother had left her.
Time passed by. Sage and Sorka were happy, even if they missed their English friends at times. They sent them a letter once a month, and got one as regularly. Little by little, they lowered their guard – even if they still practiced with wands and knives in the secret of their home. They had been in Atlantis for a little more than six months when all of a sudden, their peaceful life took an unexpected turn…
Sage and Sorka were waking up and losing themselves in each other when the young witch had to scramble out of bed and run to the bathroom. He followed her there. "Are you all right, love?" he asked, concerned.
"What you think?" she answered miserably, trying to get up from her crouching position in front of the bowl. Sage helped her up, and Sorka rinsed out her mouth a couple of times and sat on the edge of the tub. She was pale and trembling, and her legs had gone numb. Merlin, she hated feeling sick and weak! He took a towel, ran it under the tap and walked to her. She held out her hand to take it, but he gently lifted her chin and pressed it to her clammy brow and cheeks. "I’m sorry," Sorka whispered, thinking of what they had been doing.
He leaned down and kissed her forehead. "I’d never have thought I would ever have this effect on a woman," he chuckled. "Especially on you."
She shook her head and grimaced. "Please, don’t try to make me laugh, Sage."
"Do you feel any better?" He thought that she didn’t look any better. The day before, they had rejoiced because the epidemic was over, neither of them had caught the nasty – but rather harmless – virus and no one they knew had been sick for a week.
"Not really," she sighed.
"You should go back to bed," Sage advised. "Come on, " he added when she hesitated. He picked her up in his arms and took her back to their room.
"Don’t you think you should stay away from me?" Sorka mumbled against his neck.
"Too late for that," he smiled. "Stay here. I’ll be right back."
"I’ll be ok. We don’t have to close the shop… I’ll be up in a few, you’ll see."
Sage looked dubious, "We don’t have to, but we will, for a day or two. I’ll be in the workshop while you get some more rest." On those words, he went downstairs.
Sorka drifted back to sleep and woke up again two hours later. She got up slowly, and though she was still a bit queasy, she was already feeling better. Reaching the kitchen to take a glass of water, she heard her stomach rumble. She took a piece of bread and a fruit and headed toward the bathroom to take a shower and brush her teeth.
When she was done with her morning routine, she was still feeling good, so she decided to go down and say a proper ‘hello’ to the love of her life. But when she reached the shop, she heard two voices there, one was Sage’s and the other was a flirty woman voice – Niala’s.
Niala was Renata’s sixteen year old niece and apprentice. Sorka knew the teen had a crush on her husband. It was obvious – obvious to everyone but Sage, of course. Men could be blind to that kind of things when they so chose. Then Sorka corrected herself – Sage knew, but he chose to ignore the girl’s attempts.
She watched them from the doorway. Seeing Niala lean forward to give Sage a good view of her cleavage, Sorka rolled her eyes, but at the same time she was pleased that he didn’t seem to notice the girl’s antics. The little bitch still had a lot to learn. You never asked a man to tell you about anything that was of some interest to him if you wanted to catch his attention. Obviously, she had requested informations on the binoculars he was holding, and he was all to his lecture. Sorka knew he had every reason to be proud of these – if you clicked on a button, you could see at night as if it were the day. The Muggles had something a bit like that, but not so good.
Hence she wasn’t really annoyed when she entered the shop. Sage had eyes only for his wife and never paid that kind of attention to Niala or any other woman. In fact, seeing him, hearing the tone of his voice, it was obvious he was teaching again, like he had at Hogwarts. Then he saw her walk in and fell silent, and Sorka smiled at him. Lesson #2, bitch, she thought. Only one person can catch Sage’s attention anytime, whatever he is doing – me.
"Hey, Sorka," Niala said brightly. "Sage and I have been having a long chat."
On those words, she tried to put her hand on his forearm – she would have if Sage had not evaded it on the pretense of turning to put the binoculars away –, and for some reason Sorka felt like hexing the teen to oblivion. Who did she think she was, trying to seduce her husband when she was in the room? It was clearly an insult, and any other time, Sorka would have ignored it, because she knew she had nothing to be afraid of. Any other day… but today.
"I wouldn’t chat from so close if I were you, Niala," she advised far too sweetly. "I’ve not been feeling well, and the chances are good that Sage caught it too." She had the satisfaction of seeing the girl pale.
"I didn’t know," she stammered, backing off a step or two. However she recovered and pouted, "I wondered why the shop was closed, so I knocked at the door and Sage opened. He was alone and looked so lonely."
Sage opened his mouth, frowning slightly, but wisely closed it again. He slid an arm around his wife’s waist, kissed the top of her head and disappeared in the workshop. Niala’s gaze followed him. "Well, then I should thank you for entertaining my husband," Sorka quipped. The slight emphasis on the last word was enough to make Niala’s eyes widen in alarm. "But I won’t, because unlike Sage, your aunt probably needs your help. She’s still recovering after having been so sick."
"Uh, yeah, right…." Niala blushed. "Bye!"
She left in a rush, and again Sorka had a hard time not hexing her on her way out.
Then she stormed in the workshop. Sage sat at a table, working as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened. Sorka pushed the table against the wall with a wave of her wand as she was crossing the room to her love and straddled him.
"Sorka…" he started, wrapping his arms around her.
"I heard you need to be entertained," she cut him off, a dangerous glint in her eyes. "Would you have wanted her to do that?" she inquired, starting to move against him. She didn’t let him any time to answer though. She gave him a searing kiss. Feeling himself respond, Sage growled, "No." She had never been so… aggressive. But he didn’t want her to stop. She was driving him insane with want – and she was so beautiful with her face flushed and that fire in her eyes! "You’re the only one I want," he added. What she was doing was leaving them gasping. "And you want me now?" she purred, biting on his neck. For an answer, he opened her blouse, sending buttons flying everywhere. However, before he could touch her, she stood up, swinging her leg off him, and his body screamed for hers. Was she just being a tease? But she took off her panties, straddled him again and, her lips claiming his, undid his pants. The next thing he knew, she had joined their bodies, roughly. And she kept on going in a way that would probably leave them bruised, but neither cared. As she was losing control, she bit on his lower lip, almost drawing blood. He groaned and tensed.
They stayed like that for a few minutes, trying to catch their breath. Now that he could think again, Sage wondered what had possessed Sorka. He had left her sick and weak in the morning, and she had just pounced on him like a wild animal. He had never seen her being jealous before. And she had no more reason to be than he had. Till now, she had been mostly amused by Niala’s behavior.
Sorka leaned back to look at her soulmate. Her hands framed his face and she brushed his bruised lip with her thumb. Sage didn’t need to focus on her ring to know she was upset, and as if to prove him right, her eyes were soon brimming with tears. "What’s wrong, love?" he asked her softly.
"You mean, what’s wrong with me?" Sage shook his head. Her lower lip was quivering slightly. "I don’t know," Sorka whispered. She had made love to him to remind him that he was hers and she was his, as if to sear an invisible mark on them. Her gaze lingered on his mouth before meeting his. "I’m sorry."
Sage let out a soft chuckle, "Don’t apologize. It was… amazing." He kissed her gently. Blushing slightly, she poked him in the ribs. "I wasn’t apologizing for that, but for… you know…" He nodded his head, and Sorka wrapped her arms around his neck and nestled her face there, nuzzling his skin. "It was amazing, but…" She sighed. "I would like to know what got into me. I was so mad at her and…"
"At me?" he inquired, tightening his hold on her. When she shook her head, he smiled, "Ah, then you were jealous." Sage knew he had never given her any reason to be, but he couldn’t help but being flattered by what had just happened – obviously, she was ready to fight for him and it boosted his ego.
"No… yes," she admitted sheepishly.
"I’m twice as old as she is, Sorka. She’s just a kid, and even if she weren’t…" His hand travelled down lightly to the small of her back. "I don’t need that to know that I belong to you." She gave out a soft laugh. Her behavior had been irrational and he knew she knew it as well as he did. "Come on, let’s go upstairs. We need to clean up a bit."
He apparated them in their bedroom. Of course, they could have used a few spells, but why do so when they could share the bathroom? When he heard Sorka softly humming a song, Sage shook his head happily. Her mood swings were… spectacular. But she had been sick in the morning, so she was allowed to some. "I’m glad you’re feeling better," he told her when her right arm brushed against his chest to catch a towel. She lifted up her eyes and smiled at him. "Yeah, it was probably something I ate, after all," she shrugged.
That night, Sage lay awake, listening to Sorka’s peaceful breathing. Something was nagging at his mind. He wasn’t concerned, he just felt like he was missing something that was right under his nose. As if she sensed that he couldn’t sleep – and she was so attuned to him that she probably did – his wife snuggled up closer to him and he held her tighter, breathing in her flowery scent. Her breasts pressed against him, and all of a sudden, the pieces fell together. There were changes a lover couldn’t help but notice, if only unconsciously until they slapped him in the face. And when he added to that mood swings and morning sickness…
His face broke into an incredulous smile. Less than a year before, half of him was beginning to think he would never met anyone he would truly care for, and the other half, the Sage of this timeline, thought he would never have the chance to marry the woman he loved and much less have a child. He couldn’t help himself – he kissed his sleeping soulmate and wasn’t surprised when she kissed him back.
"What was that for?" she yawned.
"I’m sorry, love…"
"S’ok." Sorka looked at her husband face in the moonlight. His emotions and feelings were overwhelming. "Why are you so happy? You had a nice dream?"
"Better than a dream." He was tracing her features with the fingertips of one hand. "When was your last period?"
Sorka looked surprised, then narrowed her eyes. "If you are implying that I’ve been being a bitch because…"
"No," Sage cut her off. They had been busy for the past three months, but he knew the answer to his own question. It was more than two months ago.
Sorka’s eyes widen when she understood what he didn’t say. Then she slowly smiled back at him. "Oh my…" she breathed.
Sage kissed her again, pulling her into his arms before untightening his hold on her. "Sorry."
"Oh, don’t start!" she warned him. "I’m not going to break."
Authors' Note: Again, sorry for the delay. Like I said on my page, rl has been busy lately. We hope you enjoyed reading this chapter and it was worth the wait...
So, what do you think of Atlantis and of the Atlanteans? There will be more about them in the next chapters.
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