Author's Notes: I'm working on Chapter 7 of Deja Vous, but in the meantime, I hope this will suit. I always wondered what was going through Evelyn's head in this scene, and wondering inevitably leads to fanfic where I'm concerned...
Take my hand, and I will spare your friends.
I have to go. It's the only logical thing to do, really. What chance do I have if I stay, and we fight? None. What chance do I have if I go with him? It's slim, but it's there. They might rescue me. They might find the way to defeat this monster in human form, this demon-priest.
Why must it be up to me? I'm no heroine. I'm no Rick O'Connell, flying to the rescue--there's no last-minute save with a lit stick of dynamite from this source. I'm a librarian. If there are any books that need reading, I'm the one to call for, no doubt about that. Then again, reading books is what's got all of us into this awful mess in the first place.
Surrender. The word leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. But what choice do I have? These men around me--most of whom I barely know--have risked their lives to keep me safe. I can do no less for them.
I glance at my brother, over my shoulder, just for a second. He looks away. He knows. He knows what I'm going to do; he knows that I'm looking for courage, and I won't find it in his eyes. If it were up to him, Jonathan would turn tail and run, dragging me by the hand, consigning all the others to perdition if that was what it took to get me out. I don't blame him for it; that's who he is, who he's always been. But it isn't who I am.
Jonathan doesn't take the high road. He's not a brave man, or a strong one. Still, here he is, standing with the rest of them. Not to stop anyone from taking over the world, but simply to protect his baby sister.
Do you still believe in heaven, Jonathan? In the Good Book? Do you still pray? What would our mother think, if she could see us now? It strikes me that I might be able to ask her myself, in a short while... no. I will not even think such a thing. If I look to him for reassurance, he'll only lie to me. Chin up, old mum, we'll find a way out of this together, like always. It's so entirely Jonathan: he lies with the very best of intentions. And because it's so much easier than telling the truth.
Oh, Jonathan... who will keep you honest, if I'm not there?
I turn to O'Connell, and ask him whether he's got any bright ideas. He doesn't smile, doesn't respond in kind. His hands are fine and nervous on the torch he holds, steadfast. The reluctant knight of the flaming sword.
He will defend me to the death if I choose to stay. I think he would rather it be that, than to know that I sacrificed myself for him. And I know how he feels. But this is my doing, not his. He said so himself.
I think he'd die before he would surrender.
"Better think of something fast, because if he turns me into a mummy, you're the first one I'm coming after." I'm trying to be flippant, but it doesn't come out quite right. But it's either that, or throw myself into his arms. Ironically, I think I finally understand what made him do what he did back at the prison. That kiss seems a lifetime ago now, and I'm wondering if it isn't going to be our last.
Oh, I can't bear it. I can't bear the way he looks at me. Don't love me, not now. Don't make this any more difficult than it has to be. Please...
Before I lose my nerve, I step forward, into the dead man's grasp. His skin against mine is like stone: smooth, hard, and chill. He smiles. He's won. Arrogance spoils the proud beauty of his face. I try to put on a brave face of my own, but I can't help wondering what being a human sacrifice involves, and whether it will hurt terribly much before it's all over. I rather hope he intends to be quick. I shouldn't like to have my eyes and tongue torn out, or all my skin flayed off, or--
O'Connell draws his pistol. "No," he asserts, as though any of us have a choice in this matter. I feel a surge of irritation; really, what does he think he's going to do, gun down an immortal creature with ordinary bullets? Has it shown even the slightest indication of working thus far? He'll end up shooting me if he isn't careful. A fine mess that would be--I'm the only one of the three of us with any common sense at all.
I try to explain that this is the only way any of us have a chance of getting out of this alive, but he never bloody well listens to me, and that's not about to change now. It's the dark desert man who convinces him to put his weapon away before he gets us all killed. Oh, thank God for that.
Then our eyes lock, and his quiet determination infuses me with the strength I need to go through with this awful thing. He's amazing--like no one I've ever known, and yet somehow as familiar as if I'd been acquainted with him from childhood. I could love him, I realize. So easily, so innocently. To that, I could surrender, and gladly. But what good will love do us if we... if I...
Please God, if I get out of this, I'll never quibble with him or call him names ever again, I swear. I won't be nasty to him just because he doesn't always have good manners or say the right thing, and I won't get angry because he's impulsive and doesn't listen to me and does stupid things like kissing people for no reason or tossing me over the side of a boat without a word of warning. I don't believe that you've brought us to each other now, only to tear us apart...
I don't believe you mean for me to die, just as I've begun to live.
O'Connell gestures threateningly with his torch, grimly intoning, "I'll be seeing you again." And it's not me he's talking to.
Why didn't I ever kiss him? The moment never seems right when you think you're going to have lots of them. And then suddenly you find you've squandered them all.
Imhotep drags me away, the sea of mindless followers parting in waves before us. I look back at O'Connell, over my shoulder, and whatever he glimpses in my eyes is what finally breaks him. He calls my name, straining against the arms of the desert man, who holds him back. I'm torn between wanting him with me and wishing he were far away, out of this. I didn't realize it until now, but I've never felt as safe as I do in his arms. All my borrowed bravery is tied up in him. I don't know if I can do this alone.
Imhotep calls out to his followers to kill them all. I begin to struggle and shout, yelling for O'Connell, cursing the creature with words I've chastised my brother for uttering in my presence.
O'Connell doesn't come.
I'm all alone in this, now. I only hope that somehow, they can find a way to escape. They have to. Otherwise, this thing that I've done has doomed us all.
And as I am whisked away into the night, swept into the air by this devilish, laughing sandstorm, I do the only thing I can to help; I clasp my hands tightly, and I pray. I pray for my brother. I pray for Rick O'Connell. And, last of all, I pray for myself.
I will not give up hope.
And I will not surrender.