Disclaimer: Ardeth, Rick, Evy, Jonathan, Anck, Alex, historical figures and the Egyptian deities named herein do not belong to me. Nor do Yanit or Nizam Toth (although I'd be willing to trade for Ardeth) On the other hand. . .Celia and Miranda, Lady Ardath, and the various original characters, DO belong to me.

Warnings: Some petting between various married couples. Some fighting, but then, this is a Mummy fic.


Rick O'Connell lost track of how long he sat here. It seemed like his world only consisted of this room, and those who went in and out. One of those people now looped arms around his neck, saying softly, "You should get some rest. . .if not for yourself, then for him. He needs you strong right now, Rick, not exhausted." The American shook his head, his eyes focused solely on the man lying in the bed.

"It's my fault, Evy. . .if I wasn't such an ass, none of this would have happened," Rick answered. He shook his head, trying to shake the lump in his throat with the motion. Rick O'Connell wasn't a man who usually bothered with fluffy sentiment or with such guilt, but usually, his best friend wasn't dying because of something he did or failed to do. In this case. . .protect his pregnant wife, who was due any day now.

Evy hugged him gently, whispering, "Celia was angry with you, Rick, angry and scared. She simply lashed out. Ardeth w. . ." Her voice trailed off as Rick pulled her into his lap. The American looked away from his friend, long enough to stare into Evy's brown eyes. His wife. One of the two. . .soon to be three. . .most important people in his life. The mother of his child, and the center of his entire world.

"Ardeth is unconscious and likely dying, Evy. He collapsed at the train station, and just lay there for god knows how long. Don't. . . please don't tell me. . .that Ardeth would understand. Please don't. Because there is a very good chance he will never wake up," Rick replied. Evy just sighed, tightening her arms around Rick's neck. He closed his eyes, his heart aching as he remembered how everything began, only days ago.

It actually began three months earlier, when Rick and Evy finished up their final dig in Egypt before returning home for the birth of their child. Ardeth just asked Rick, when Evy first started talking about the expedition, to dissuade his wife. *There are things at that site, my friend,* Ardeth said softly, *which are best left to the sand and away from the eyes of humans.*

Oh yeah, that sounded *real* familiar to the American. Rick had no desire to go on that expedition, and he DID try to talk his wife out of it. But as usual, he couldn't deny Evy. One of these days, he would learn not to do things like that. Whenever he couldn't say no to his wife, bad things ended up happening. To them, to the people they loved. The item they found this time, a gorgeous necklace, was found in a temple to Isis. According to Evy. . .or rather, Evy's memories. . . it belonged to the mother of Nefertiri.

Rick wasn't too sure about that. There were no curses, no catches, to the best of Evy's knowledge. But Rick's own instincts were telling him that the necklace was dangerous. Ardeth only asked them to stay away from sites if they were dangerous to humanity as a whole. While Imhotep was neutralized as a threat, there were other evils in the world. . .one of which was also found at Hamanuptra. Khaldun. Five months passed since his defeat at the hands of Lady Ardath, but Rick preferred to stay away from Hamunaptra. He hated that place. Hated it.

Ardeth and his new wife Celia were tying up some loose ends before leaving for their honeymoon, four months after their wedding. Rick was still amazed that Ardeth even *got* a honeymoon. They were going to England and Scotland, while Altair kept her new granddaughter. Miranda would be all right, since she knew her mother would be with Ardeth. Never mind that they were both vulnerable, and she saw them both hurt badly. Ardeth would protect Mommy, and Mommy would protect Ardeth. End of story.

They would spend some time with Evy and Rick before heading north into Scotland. Rick wondered why they would go to Scotland. Celia smiled and reminded him that she was of Scottish extraction, just as Lady Ardath was. Which made sense. On the other hand, Rick had to wonder if Lady Ardath was as scary as Celia was when she was angry. He sure hoped not. Celia was scary enough, even without her husband's height, black robes, and tattoos. She was alive, and Lady Ardath was dead. That meant the late concubine could do a lot more damage to Rick than Celia could, if she wanted.

Good-byes were said, and hugs exchanged, and vows to write. Evy was a demonic letter writer, and Ardeth answered her letters, if only to be polite. Evy wept as they left Egypt. . .it was the first time she was away from her Med-jai family in almost a year, and it was difficult for her to say good-bye. But they both wanted this baby born in England. . .and it was time for Ardeth and Celia to start their new life, with a few less distractions.

Things went well since their return. . .at least, Rick thought so. No scary guys, head to toe in red. No bracelet threatening to suck the life out of his son. Nothing. For a few months, Rick thought it was over. Things would finally settle down for his family, and he could concentrate on loving his wife and raising his children. Evy announced that she knew what she wanted to name their daughter, but she didn't want to tell him yet.

Alex returned to boarding school shortly after Ardeth and Celia's wedding, accompanied by Jonathan. Evy's brother didn't want to go back to England. He was still recovering his memories of being Nassor, and he wanted to remain with Celia and Ardeth. Sometimes, things came full circle, and what went before paved the way to the present. This was the case for Jonathan, who found himself changing at such a rapid rate, he didn't know how to react.

On this particular day, only a short time from Evy's due date, everything changed. The day started out the same as usual. First breakfast, then lunch, followed by Rick and Jonathan in the kitchen, cleaning up. Despite Rick's wishes, Evy continued to cook even in this last month of her pregnancy, but the men in her life insisted that they would clean up the kitchen. That always seemed to take hours, and was why Evy was alone in the library, when the attack hit. . .