FIC: Infodere Ch 2
This story was formerly know as Lost Treasure of the Zapotec but I hated that title so in the thousand years that have elapsed since chapter 1, I have changed it. Hope no one minds.
Hope you enjoy this one and chapter 1 can be found here for those that haven’t read it
Her back arched at the sensation. Hair like fire tickled her thighs. She gasped as strong hands grasped her under her hips lifting her towards his mouth, her breath coming in gasps. His tongue worked gently but persistently and she could feel the muscles of her stomach and thighs tighten as her climax built. One of his hand reached up and caressed her breast and she brought a hand down and ran it through the red hair.
A loud crash jerked Claire awake. She blinked dazed and struggled to sit up. She was breathing heavily, sheened in sweat which wasn’t entirely to do with the tropical heat. She looked around as she realized where she was and who exactly the red hair and wandering hands belonged to. She blushed further when she realized that all that separated her from the man in her dream was two thin walls of canvas and six inches of grass between the tents. Pulling herself together she grabbed a pair of sweatpants and dragged them on, as she headed out to investigate the commotion.
Running across the clearing to where a crowd had begun to gather, she pushed her way to the front. One of the equipment trailers, which had arrived with the last of the convoy at dusk and had therefore not yet been unloaded had been forced open and some of its contents were flung about. Only the top layer seemed to be disturbed however.
“Wi’ the racket they were making, they’d no have any time to really find whatever it is they were looking for. What’s in this trailer, Sassenach?” Jamie turned to her in question and it took her a moment to realise he meant her.
“Oh, erm, this one..” She shone a torch into the trailer “Reference materials mostly. Dr Moreno’s stuff from the university.” She was referring to the cultural anthropologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who along with Jamie, Claire and a physical anthropologist, Dr Zapote, made up the senior team overseeing the dig.
“Maybe they thought there was something else in her?” She wondered out loud. Jamie made a Mmmmph noise in the back of his throat and Claire fought the urge to laugh at such a thoroughly Scottish sound here in the middle of the Mexican rain forest, surrounded by the remains of another, very different culture.
“Well, we’ll lock this up the best we can and I’ll maybe talk to the camp manager in the morning about having some extra security here at night.”
Claire made her way back to her tent and laid there in the dark listening to the sounds of the camp. She heard Jamie come back to his own tent sometime later. She could him him rustling around as he undressed and her stomach flipped slightly.
“Damn it, Beauchamp” she murmured into the dark turning on her side
Breakfast had been eaten and after several hours of frantic activity which involved the arrival of the archeology students from the local university who would along with a group of interns do the majority of the actual digging and cataloguing, and Dr Zapote the physical anthropologist they gathered for a site briefing before the dig began in earnest.
“Okay,” Claire’s voice was clear and rang out across the clearing. Jamie leaned against a trailer drinking coffee and watching her. “We need to lay out some very strict rules for this dig. This is an area of immense cultural significance to the indigenous community. We have been invited here. Very strict protocols must be observed when it comes to the excavations. First up, nothing bigger than the palm of your hand comes out of the ground without running it by Dr Moreno or one of his team. They will decide if it needs special handling or if it is not appropriate for it to be handled by someone outside the Zapotec community. You photograph, document and only when you have permission do you bring it out of the ground. “ Claire looked around the assembled group, catching eyes and trying to impress the importance of her words. “This goes double if you find human remains. We have no idea what this area was used for. As a result in the case of any bones, photograph, document and haul ass to Dr Zapote, here. He and his team will make all decisions about how these finds should be treated. There are to be no exceptions to this. This might make this dig slower than some that you might have worked on, but ethics are important in archaeology, as is the understanding that we show respect to the past.”
She continued, introducing the various team leaders, outlining protocols and assigning teams. She was lovely, but there was something slightly ferocious about her, something wild and untamed. She fascinated Jamie more than any other woman he had ever met. It wasn’t just her intellect, formidable though it was. As an academic her knew any number of intensely gifted women, his last girlfriend, Geneva had been a highly published sociologist, but Claire was different. His reaction to her at first meeting had caught him off kilter.
“Dr Fraser?” He started as he realised she was looking at him along with 65 archaeologists, 8 technicians, 4 physical anthropologists and cultural anthropologist. He shook his head.
“Sorry, could you just repeat that, Dr Beauchamp?”
Claire rolled her eyes a little but she was smiling.
“I said, would you like to explain our documentation and classification process?”
“Oh aye, sorry.” He stepped forward then, explaining the paperwork that should be completed for the different artefacts and how they should be then packed for shipping to the museum in Mexico City.
By the end of the week the first trench had been dug and a significant number of small items recovered. So far they had found the usual expected items, pottery, household items and a smattering of jewellery, but they boded well for more significant finds to come. The camp sat scattered across the clearing in sociable groups, chatter in Spanish, Portuguese and English drifting through the air. Jamie sat down next to Claire on ground close to their tents. He held out a bottle of beer to her and she took it with a nod of thanks.
“You happy with the finds?” he asked?
Claire nodded as she took a swig of beer.
“I think so. There was definitely something here beyond just the pyramid, but what we’ve found so far don’t really tell us much more than that. I’m hoping the second trench will give us some structures, or at least some slightly more quantifiable artefacts. We only have a limited permit to dig here and without some significant finds it will be hard to justify our presence. There are plenty who don’t want excavations here. Its why the protocols matter so much.”
“Aye, and then there’s the legends?” Claire laughed slightly at this and chinked her bottle against his.
“The great lost treasures. Ha. Those stories are just that. If anyone seriously believed those stories someone would have dug here long before now, permits or not. There were plenty of people with less scruples about desecrating indigenous sites in the past. Our knowledge of the past is practically founded on it.” Her voice was wry and she pulled a slight face at this.
“True” He replied, slowly. “And there still are.” Claire followed his gaze towards the trailer that had been broken open a week earlier.
“You can’t seriously think…?” she practically stuttered in her incredulity. “That people might actually think…? That we ‘know’ something? Oh God that is too ridiculous, we are a serious fieldwork team not Indiana Jones style treasure hunters. God…”
“Aye, Sassenach.” was his measured response. “We ken that, but there might be others that don’t. Most people dinna realise that 90% of archaeology is digging up wee bit of pottery and trying to glue them back together. How many times have ye been asked if you’re like Lara Croft?” Claire threw her head back and laughed at this statement.
“Honestly, more than once. And I bet you get the Indiana Jones thing all the time don’t you?” She was grinning at him now. “Especially in that hat.” She nudged him cheekily in the ribs and he nudged her back. They stayed like that for a moment, both leaning against the other, savouring the warmth of the person next to them as the night cooled, both overcome with how *right* it felt. Almost without thinking Claire shifted slightly bringing her body closer to Jamie’s so that they were flush along their sides and rested her head on his shoulder. Jamie shifted in time, his arm coming round her back, bringing her close to him. Neither of them spoke, they just looked out over the camp, watching the lamps sway in the gloaming light. A shriek of laughter from the group nearest to them made them both jump and made them suddenly aware of their intimacy. Jamie turned to Claire, meaning to apologise but instead found her mouth against his. Without hesitation he returned her kiss, the heat of her lips and tongue making his stomach flip. His hands ran across her back as hers came up around his neck pulling him closer to her as she bit his lip gently. She leaned back pulling her down with him onto the grass.
“Jamie” she murmured against his neck as she moved down and kissed his throat. “Jamie”
It had been dark in that part of the camp, neither had brought a lamp when they sat down and the nearest group was far enough away that the light did not reach them. They could have been alone in the world as he kissed her, and she kissed him in the darkness.
She didn’t know what had prompted her to do it. Claire was not one for kissing men for no good reason, especially ones that she had to live in very close proximity for the next few months. But there was something about him that defied her conscious thought. She hadn’t planned to kiss him, she hadn’t even realised she was going to kiss him until the moment their lips met and it was too late by then. The weight of him above her as they kissed felt like home and his soft kisses with a hint of promise made her blood pound in her ears.
But then suddenly he was gone. He was on his feet and pulling her to hers. Light flashed around them as a row of tents went up in flames. Jamie went to move towards the commotion when gun shots rang out. Quickly changing course he turned and headed into the cover of the rainforest dragging Claire behind him. He came to a stop about 200 metres from the camp, so suddenly that they collided. The forest around them was full of people fleeing and screaming. Claire looked towards the camp and saw the main tent catch fire. She made to run towards it, but Jamie caught her arm.
“No, mo nighean donn” he murmured into her ear, holding her close to his body both in protection and restraint.
“But the equipment, the finds…” She was twisting in his arms trying to free herself but she could not overpower him. He pulled her closer murmuring comforting sounds into her ear, in what she guessed was Gaelic, And around her the world burned.