Title: The Man For The Job
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: Property of Stephen Sommers & etc., not me. Alas.
Summary: Jonathan hadn't left Hamunaptra empty-handed, after all. 1200 words.
Fandom: The Mummy (1999)
Notes: Yuletide 2007 Treat for lilyayl, prompt "Jonathan and Rick getting used to one another as brothers-in-law." Set immediately after the movie. Stands alone, but also works as prestory for the DIOTB series.
Jonathan rubbed his hands over his arms against the bite of the cooling night air, then stifled a yawn and glanced over at O'Connell and his sister. Evie had fallen asleep not long after sunset, snuggled up against the brash American adventurer; O'Connell seemed perfectly content with the situation, cradling her against him with one muscular arm and holding the reins of his camel with the other.
They looked perfectly cozy together. Anybody looking at them would never guess that mere days before they'd been standing on opposite sides of a set of prison bars, complete strangers to one another.
Not to Jonathan, however. He wondered if O'Connell ever intended to tell Evie just what he'd been doing to earn himself a hanging in the first place. If it was anything like what he'd seen the man up to in the casbah where Jonathan had stolen that infernal key from him, then it was probably just as well if he didn't; sheltered little sisters didn't tend to be very understanding of that sort of thing.
Which begged the question. "Say, O'Connell," Jonathan spoke up, just loud enough to carry over the space between their mounts.
O'Connell turned to him, teeth flashing in a wry smile. "You know, you should probably start calling me Rick," he replied.
Clearly, the man had unnatural powers; Jonathan had seen him accomplish some pretty amazing feats of manual dexterity and physical prowess over the last couple of days, but he'd had no idea that his abilities extended to mind reading as well.
Of course, it probably didn't take any special talent to guess where Jonathan's mind would be going after the heated kiss he'd witnessed outside the ruins, and the way O'Connell and his sister had been flirting with each other since before they'd even boarded the boat in Cairo. It would take a blind man not to guess where their relationship was going, and a more arrogant man than O'Connell-- Rick-- to think he wouldn't have to account to her brother for it. Even as poor a brother as Jonathan tended to be.
"Very well then, Rick," Jonathan replied, drawing himself up and setting his face in stern lines. He didn't often have cause to be serious and authoritative, but if there were ever a time for it, this would be it. "Might I ask what your intentions are toward my sister?"
Rick's eyebrows shot up, and he mouthed the word "intentions" in a quiet, incredulous tone of voice before glancing down again at Evie. His expression softened as he took in her features, slackened with sleep; Jonathan wondered if he'd even noticed that she was drooling on him. Clearly, the man was smitten; but then, that had been obvious from the beginning. "Something I borrowed off our American brethren," indeed. The question was, whether he intended to make an honest woman of her. What Evie knew of men in a romantic context could probably fit inside of a thimble; someone had to look out for her.
"Right now?" Rick finally said, glancing back up at Jonathan. "My intentions are to never let her out of my sight, ever again. She get into this kind of trouble very often?"
"What, mummies and plagues and all?" It was Jonathan's turn to raise his eyebrows. "No, not usually. Adventure is generally more my line; when we were children, she always wanted to look up the stories our mother told us, whereas I simply wanted to go looking. Although...." He grinned, remembering the mess she'd made in the museum just before he turned up to ask her about the key. "That isn't to say she can't find plenty of ways to cause disaster even in a library."
"Well, there you have it, then," Rick replied, his tone of voice light but his expression as serious as Jonathan had ever seen it. "Someone needs to look after her. And as long as she'll have me, I think I'm just the man for the job."
Evie stirred then, shifting against him and locking her hand more tightly around the leather bracer he wore on his wrist. "Looks like she agrees with me," Rick added, smiling down at her again.
Well, he had his answer. So why didn't he feel any better? Jonathan sighed, then rubbed at his arms again, careful of the wounds where the scarab beetle had entered and exited his body.
At least he knew Rick was capable of protecting her. The man had a way with knives, that was for sure. And swords. And guns. And even the occasional wooden chair. He didn't appear to be rich, nor did he belong to the sort of society the Carnahans circulated in when they bothered to travel back to England, but he'd proven himself intelligent, dependable, and, not to forget the most important factor, the apple of Evie's eye. Provided the man continued to treat her properly, Jonathan rather thought he'd be able to put up with him as a brother.
"If you ever hurt her," he replied quietly, then trailed off. What sort of threat could he make that a man like Rick would take seriously? "Well, I don't know what I'd do, but there would be pain involved. And insects of some kind. And possibly shovels."
Rick snorted, but his nod of acknowledgement seemed perfectly sincere. "Don't worry," he told Jonathan. "I don't intend to." Then he snapped the reins a little, encouraging his camel to speed up, and the space between them widened.
Jonathan watched them pull ahead with a heavy heart, wondering just when it was that his baby sister had grown up. He'd seen less and less of her in the last few years, leaving her safe and sound in the museum library while he went on his adventures, but she'd always been there waiting for him to return; despite all their bickering, they'd been each other's anchors ever since their parents died. And now she'd found someone else, and he would be left all alone.
That wasn't to say that he wouldn't still visit as much as he possibly could, of course. But it would never be the same as it had been before.
He sighed, then chivied his own camel forward, squinting past the others toward the horizon. He'd thought he'd seen a glimmer of light just then, but the dawn should still be several hours away--
The glint came again, and Jonathan narrowed his eyes, staring at the right-hand saddlebag on the other camel. It was half-hidden under the saddle blanket, and it had been on the other side of him when they'd started out, but he usually had an instinct for that sort of thing; it couldn't be what it looked like, could it?
, Jonathan observed as he pulled closer. That looked like gold
sticking out of the bag; part of the pharaohs' treasure trove?
He grinned, spirits lifting, and began plotting ways to switch camels the next time they stopped. Rick and Evie would never know the difference if he lifted a few things before he "discovered" their unexpected cargo, would they?
It looked like Rick had been right; he hadn't left Hamunaptra empty-handed, after all.