I don't own anything and am not making any money.
Fanfics so totally rock, dude! Ahem, sorry, I got a little carried away there. Well, I haven't seen an MA! episode in years, but somehow this site got me writing again. Special thanks to tigereve920 for that! I don't remember a whole lot about the show, but I hope I didn't mess things up too badly. Enjoy! - IshTara
P.S.: QuickEdit is trying to annoy me to death. Hope you can still make it out!
Of Vows and Promises
Presley turned to face the warning he heard coming through the battle noises, but was thrown to the ground just as a large flash of light shot by him.
When he looked up he saw the full moon smiling at him. When he turned he saw Nefertina lying by his side, one arm covering him to keep him down.
He blinked in surprise at her fast reaction time. "Thanks."
Shooting him a big lopsided grin, she was about to join back in the battle when the light exploded. The two battling sides in the water halted their skirmish and looked at the light that now surrounded them and paled the stars.
All of a sudden the water seemed to open. White light flashed from underneath the warriors and then they were gone. All that was left was the softly rippling water.
A loud bout of laughter ripped through the air. Scarab stood by the side of the road, clinging to Heka, whom he held as a staff. He turned to the boy prince and his last remaining guardian.
"You will be next!" he growled. Then he disappeared.
Presley stared back at the water in front of him. A moment ago his guardians had been in there, fighting Scarabs Shabties. Fighting for him.
He could still see Armons baffled expression, Raths almost intrigued face, Ja-Kals surprised fear, as all three of them looked up to make sure their prince was alright. The next moment they had been gone.
He looked at Nefertina, who still stood next to him, too stunned to move. As if she felt the boys eyes on her, she very slowly shook her head. A soft whisper escaped her lips.
"They can't be gone… They can't."
Presley opened his mouth to answer, but when no sound came out he closed it again.
Nefertina moved forward, towards the water. She slowly waded in until the water reached up to her waist.
She walked much further than where her friends had stood a few moments ago. She turned around a few times, looking for any sign of the light or her friends, her eyes browsing the surface.
Then, a movement on the shore caught her eye. Presley was sitting on the grass near the water. The poor boy looked like his world had just fallen apart around him.
The cat warrior closed her eyes for a moment. They were gone. Probably even more dead than they had already been.
All she wanted to do was cry. Scream until all her pain dissipated.
But she couldn't. She had to be strong and responsible. She had to keep the prince save. It was her duty, one the others had trusted her with. And she would never let them down. Never.
Determinedly she moved back to the shore and sat down next to Presley. "Are you all right?"
The boy shook his head. "You?"
She smiled at him. "I will be," she whispered.
She pulled the boy close to her as tears filled his eyes. Burying his face against her shoulder he cried. Nefertina swallowed back her own tears and picked the boy up.
As she put him in the back of the Hot-Ra, she kissed him on the top of his head and made another silent vow to always keep their little boy safe.
Scarab almost sang with joy. Almost... Three of them annihilated! That was more than he could have wished for. Unfortunately he had left one of them alive, or passing for alive anyway.
His Shabties had all been sucked in with the Egyptian guardians and there was no way he could have taken on the cat girl alone. The spell had taken a lot out of him. But it had been worth it.
Heka slithered up around his seat. "So what's the plan now, boss?" she hissed.
Scarab let out a tired, but gleeful chuckle. "We restore our powers and then we get me my immortality."
The golden snake rolled her eyes and slid back down to the floor. "What do you mean 'we'," she muttered softly. "I'm the one doing all the hard work." She kept on grumbling all the way out the door, leaving the battered magician to rejoice on his own.
Presley sat on the couch in front of the TV. Nefertina always kept it on nowadays. She said the Sphinx was too quiet otherwise. With a silent pounce Kahti landed on his lap, made a few circles and curled herself up into a little ball.
It had been almost two months since Ja-Kal, Rath and Armon had disappeared. The first few days the young prince had kept his hopes up, telling Nefertina that they were just lost and would find their way back to them.
But slowly the truth had dawned on him; they were gone forever. He had cried, screamed and even hit Nefertina when she tried to comfort him. The girl had just held him until he calmed.
He still got lost in his grieve every now and then, but he managed to pull himself out of it.
And now he was worried about her. She hadn't cried or mourned the loss of her friends. She seemed to be her usual cheery self, albeit a little less reckless. She stayed near him at all times, only leaving her stakeout post outside his house when he had gone to bed.
Presley smiled slightly when he thought about the first time she had come to pick him up. He hadn't recognised her.
Since she would be outside a lot more than before, she had adapted her outfit. Instead of her long read coat, she had worn wide black slacks with a red turtleneck.
Aside from her eerie grey skin tone and bright white hair, she had looked just like any other young woman. And as Presley had assured her, her hair and skin were pretty much accepted as a fashion statement.
Of course there was always the stray bandage popping out around her waist or arms, but hey, she looked great.
Nefertina dropped down on the couch next to her protégé with a big bowl of popcorn. "What're we watching?"
Presley grabbed a handful from the bowl and stuffed it into his mouth. "Duphty Damphing." he smiled, knowing it was one of her favourites.
The mummy's face lit up. "Really? Wicked!"
She sank back and tried to relax. She was so tired. About a week after the attack that had left her a solo guardian, Scarab had started his attacks again.
Fortunately, his powers seemed to have depleted somewhat since the 'big lightshow', because she had so far been able to keep Prince Rapses out of his hands.
She hadn't stayed unscathed though. To her great dismay some of her best clothes had been torn and, much to Presley's dismay, there were quite a few new scars running up and down her body.
She really didn't care though. Her emotions and feelings were buried deep inside of her, and they would stay there until the prince had died of old age and she could retire. Or so Nefertina told herself every waking moment.
Her sub conscience wasn't as cooperative though. Each night she would wake up screaming from the most horrible nightmares. It usually took her until early dawn to calm down and get a few more hours of sleep.
After the movie had ended Presley faced his guardian. "What do you want to do tonight."
Nefertina looked the face that had become so dear to her and then at her watch. "How about we go get something to eat and head to the park. I'll teach you some new moves."
Presley beamed at her and jumped up to get his coat, dumping a disgruntled Kahti on the floor.
Nefertina had taken up all the other guardians tasks and was actually doing a pretty good job. She still wouldn't let him drive the Hot-Ra, but he had patience. Some…
"Well, as Prince Rapses would say, that sucked!" Armon frowned at Rath who was pinned underneath him in the shallow water.
"I would like to emphasise that, although it may not have been a very smooth ride, at least I got us all back," came the haughty, though slightly muffled reply.
Just as Armon took a breath to answer him back, Ja-Kal sighed and carefully stood up. "Will you two stop it and get going? We need to make sure the prince is alright."
Armon gave Rath one last sharp look and then proceeded to get to his feet, making very sure he stood on the poor scribe a couple of times.
As they walked through the streets, Rath made a rather surprising discovery. "That's strange."
Ja-Kal frowned. "What is?"
Rath pointed at a small building on their left. "That's the new post office. When we passed that building before Scarabs attack, it was still under construction. The roof wasn't finished yet."
Armon gave it a blanc look. "Modern technology is quite amazing. Can we stop at Beefy Burger?"
"Armon is right," Rath glared at his leader and Ja-Kal suppressed a smile. "I mean, we were in limbo for two days. How hard can it be to build a roof in such a long period of time?"
Rath shrugged and walked on, trying very hard to ignore Armons pleas for food.
Scarab lurked behind a large tree. He watched as Presley flipped Nefertina over his shoulder and sighed.
If only it were that simple. After numerous attempts, he still hadn't been able to get Prince Rapses, and with him his immortality. The she-mummy was defending the whelp as if it were her own. Sekhmet would be easier to handle than this cat on a rampage.
This time would be different though, he was sure. He had gathered as much Shabties as he dared with his limited amount of resources and magical power.
Destroying those darn mummies had meant using a way to destructive spell. But no use crying over spilt magic. Tonight, was the night.
With an ugly smile on his face he stepped out from behind the tree and motioned for his minions to approach the couple.
Ja-Kal smiled at the continued bantering going on between his two team-mates. He kept a sturdy pace though, he needed to make sure Rapses was unharmed. His faith in Nefertina's skills was great, but one never knew what Scarab might be up to.
As the small group turned a corner they had a beautiful view of the park. Ja-Kal squinted to make out the lone figure standing near the trees.
Their approach was unnoticed by the teen, until Rath greeted him. "Good evening, your highness."
To the mummies great surprise the boy jumped as if stung.
Ja-Kal immediately reassured him. Or so he thought. "My prince, it's just us."
Presley's reaction was again not exactly what the guardians had expected. Instead of greeting them, he just stood there. Completely expressionless. Just staring at them.
"Hey Presley, yoohoo," Armon waved a hand in front of his face. "anybody home?"
With a surprisingly fast movement the young prince suddenly grabbed the waving wrist and pulled it down. His gaze fell to the arm he was holding and realization dawned on his face.
"Armon..?" he whispered softly, looking up. "Rath… Ja-Kal?"
By now Ja-Kal was sincerely worried. "Is something wrong?"
Presley couldn't help himself, tears started to form in his eyes. The next moment he found himself hugging the three friends he thought he had lost forever.
"Oh God, I thought you were dead. When you disappeared… I mean… I thought… I hoped… But you didn't..."
Ja-Kal pulled the now shaking boy into his arms. "Shhh, it's alright. We're here now." He exchanged troubled looks with his fellow guardians.
Rath kneeled down to look Presley in the face. "Can you tell us what happened?"
Presley wiped at his eyes and after a few failed attempts told them the whole story. How they had disappeared with the light. How Nefertina had been taking care of him. How hard it had all been.
Rath was astounded. "But then, how long have we been gone?
Presley gave him a watery smile and answered. "About seven weeks, two days and twenty-three hours. Just about."
Ja-Kal seemed to pale even beyond his usual uncanny complexion. "You mean, Nefertina has been convinced we're dead…" he hesitated. "-er for almost two months? And fighting Scarab on her own?"
A short nod was his only answer as at that moment a loud bang resounded through the park. The mummies looked around, immediately alert. Presley ran back to the trees and peered through, his guardians right behind him.
They were just in time to see Nefertina fly through the air and land on hard her back, sliding a few feet over the ground before lying completely still.
Ja-Kal moved forward to help his fallen companion, fear etched in his face, but the prince held him back.
The guardian started to protest, but then he saw Scarab standing over the female mummy. They could see his mouth move in what was most likely a very depriving and scathing remark.
As the sorcerer turned to look for Presley, Nefertina's leg hit him hard in the face. She kicked upwards when she spun to her feet.
The remaining mummies let out a breath of relieve as Scarab retreated as fast as he could.
When Scarab was out of sight Presley ran up to his tutor. Nefertina immediately retreated her battered battle armour and hugged the excited boy.
Ja-Kal was a bit reluctant. She looked different. Beautiful. Not that she hadn't looked beautiful before, he had always admired the young girl. But that was exactly what she had been to him. A young girl.
Then Presley turned around and guided Nefertina towards their friends. Ja-Kal frowned when he saw how the girl was clutching her midriff.
As they approached they could hear Presley complimenting her on her last move. His fear decreased when he saw the pleased smile and vivacious glow on Nefertina's face.
She stumbled and Ja-Kal, Rath and Armon hurried towards the couple. Nefertina stood a little doubled over, leaning on Presley for support.
Ja-Kal smiled. "Nice fight, Nefertina."
"Yeah, you kicked Tut!" Armon added.
Rath nodded. "Indeed, very impressive."
Nefertina couldn't believe her ears. She had finally done it. She had gone completely mad. Probably been hit in the head once too often. She shook her head to get rid of the voices.
She felt Rapses squeeze her arm and looked at him, her hunched posture obscuring his face.
When he pointed to something in front of them she almost grunted out loud. Not another battle. Her ribs were killing her and she was so tired.
Having no other choice she straightened and looked up. Her eyes locked with another very familiar pair.
Ja-Kal frowned. "Are you-" His question was cut short when Nefertina's eyes rolled back and her body fell limp. He only just managed to catch her before she hit the ground
Rath looked up from the fragile body on the couch and addressed his friends. "She should be fine. Her injuries, though probably quite painful, are not severe. I'm not sure why she passed out though."
He seemed very distraught about his not being able to find the problem and moved to his desk, all the while mumbling about the errors of youth.
Armon watched him go, then shrugged and looked at Nefertina. "She's tough as nails, that girl," he softly patted her arm. "she'll be fine." He then turned to Ja-Kal. "I'll take Presley home."
Presley yelled a loud goodbye to Rath, who gave a vague wave. Then he kissed Nefertina's forehead and hugged Ja-Kal around the middle. Armon put him on his shoulder and walked out into the street.
For a long moment Ja-Kal just stood there and looked at the unmoving body on the couch.
Why did she look so different? It wasn't just the clothes, although they did make her look more human, or more alive, than she used to. He couldn't grasp it.
Being very careful not to hurt her, Ja-Kal slowly sat down by Nefertina's waist. He never took his eyes of her sleeping face.
"I'm sorry," he softly said, "we should have been here for you. I should have been here. We had no idea time had passed so fast, honest."
He sighed deeply. He should probably wait with the excuses until she was actually able to hear them.
As he stroked a tendril of hair from her face her eyelids seemed to flutter.
Ja-Kal bent over her. "Nefertina?" he whispered softly.
She slowly opened her eyes and looked at him. Blinking to get him in focus, she started to sit up.
Ja-Kal smiled. "How do you feel?"
Nefertina almost laughed. She felt completely numb, but there was no way she was telling him that. She opened her mouth, but then slowly shook her head.
Was he really here? That wasn't possible. Was it? She looked at his hand, which casually rested on her thigh, and back up to his face.
"Are you real?"
The question seemed to take him aback for a moment, but then he nodded. "Yes, I am. We all are."
Again Nefertina was at a loss for words. Was she happy? If she was, then why didn't she feel it? Her head felt like it was filled with cotton.
"Tired." She mumbled.
"Of course you are. Here, let me help you."
With Ja-Kals help Nefertina stood and started to hobble over to her own corner. After two excruciating steps Ja-Kal picked her up and carried her over to her sarcophagus.
He gently laid her down. "You have a good night sleep and we'll talk tomorrow, okay?"
Nefertina nodded and closed her eyes as Ja-Kal softly closed the lid. Within seconds she had drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep.
The next morning came bright and sunny. And very early. Ja-Kal was usually the first one to awake, but today he had apparently missed his chance.
He blinked sleepily at the soft footsteps and clanking sounds coming from the room outside his sarcophagus. With a big yawn he pushed the lid up and stepped out onto the cold floor.
Following the noise led him to the kitchen area, where Nefertina was apparently making coffee, a cell phone clenched between her ear and shoulder.
"Honey," she spoke into the receiver, "I know how you feel, but it's not like I can do anything about it."
There was a short silence as she turned the coffee machine on and listened to the person on the other end of the line.
"Well, of course I know that. And I'm sure they will do just that…. Yeah… Uhuh… No! I… Uhuh… Sure… Yeah, I'll try. Bye sweetie."
She put the phone on the counter and picked up a small bag. When she noticed Ja-Kal she froze on the spot.
"Good morning," he said pleasantly. "you're up early."
Nefertina's eyes darted in every direction but his as she answered him. "Presley has a class trip today so he's leaving early."
"Sounds like fun."
"Yeah… Is Rath up yet?"
Ja-Kal blinked at the sudden sting caused by the question. Why was she asking about Rath? He mentally shook himself and looked at the two closed sarcophagi behind him.
"No, I don't think so."
Nefertina hesitated for a moment, her eyes focused on a spot on the wall. Then she seemed to make a decision as she sighed and spoke again. "Would you wake him, please? Presley's going to some art exhibit and he thinks Rath might be interested. If he hurries he can follow the bus and look after Presley.
Relieve coursed through his body as Ja-Kal realised his mistake. He quickly nodded and went to wake up the scribe.
Rath was immediately enthused and scrambled to get ready. He tried to get some answers about the exhibit from Nefertina. The girl hardly replied, though her eyes followed him across the room until he had left. Then she glanced at Ja-Kal and moved away to clean the Hot-Ra.
"You need to talk to her."
Ja-Kal was startled by Armons abrupt appearance. For a moment he looked at his friend.
Then he nodded and walked over to where Nefertina had been polishing the exact same spot for the last ten minutes.
When he approached her she doubled her efforts.
"You okay?" Ja-Kal started.
Nefertina nodded her head vigorously, but refused to look up.
"You don't seem okay."
Ja-Kal sighed. "Would you turn around, please?"
Slowly her head moved from side to side.
If he pressed too hard she might never open up, he knew that. But he also knew that something was very wrong.
The way she had taken in Raths movements as he went through his usual routines. Ja-Kal wasn't sure why she had been so absorbed by his actions. Unless…
Suddenly it hit him. She was still afraid. Afraid they were fake. Or that they would disappear again.
"Nefertina, you are not alone in this. We are all fine."
When she didn't react, he continued. "I'm really here. And I'm not going anywhere."
She stopped rubbing. He had finally gotten her attention.
When she spoke her voice was thick with tears. "I thought you were gone… Forever."
Ja-Kals heart went out for her. He couldn't imagine what she had been through. He opened his mouth to speak, but she wasn't finished.
"I felt so… alone. And I was so scared."
It was obvious from the sound of her voice and her shaking hands that she on the verge of braking down.
He wanted to hold her, pull her close. But he was her leader, her mentor in some ways. And married. Sort of. Had he forgotten his wife so quickly?
He was so engrossed in his own past that it wasn't until she uttered a heart wrenching sob, he noticed she was crying.
Immediately he lost all coherent thoughts and he reached out to comfort her. He pulled the shaking girl against his tall frame and stroked her hair.
Instead of calming her this only seemed to aggravate her grieve.
"Oh Gods!" she exclaimed tearfully, "you have no idea how much I missed you."
Ja-Kal closed his eyes at the pain he heard in her voice and held her tight. "I'm here now, my love."
Nefertina abruptly pulled back and looked at him, her eyes large.
"What did you say?" she whispered.
He hesitated. "I called you 'my love'." Was he moving too fast? Did she not feel the same?
"But… but, your wife…" Nefertina couldn't believe what she was hearing. She was quite sure this was not a dream.
"… is dead." With his head as near to hers as he dared, he tried to make her understand. "I've been holding on to a past long gone. I felt obligated to my family. But that was another life. Another time and place. I will always have a place in my heart for the family I once had, but I have a new family now."
Nefertina moved her hands from his chest to his face. "Why now?"
Ja-Kal swallowed hard. "I can't stand to see you in so much pain. You need and deserve a family and you have found one with us. But I can't live with just the roll of older brother.
He sighed and shook his head. "I'm sorry, I understand if you need time. I'm rushing into things." He chuckled softly. "Not usually my style."
Nefertina lifted an eyebrow and slid her arms around his neck. "I like it."
Confused, Ja-Kal looked at the girl in his arms. Before he could ask anything, she pulled his head down and softly kissed his lips.
The baffled expression on his face was so adorable, it threw Nefertina into a fit of giggles.
Her smiling face made his heart sing and he lowered his mouth onto hers for another burning kiss. Slowly it got more and more passionate.
Almost reluctantly Nefertina broke the kiss and looked her returned love in the eyes.
He could see unshed tears hiding behind the surface and gave her a worried look as he wiped at her still wet cheeks. "What's wrong?"
Pain and fear fought with happiness. She wanted to love him, but… "I can't… I don't…" She faltered and shook her head.
He lifted her chin and kissed her deeply. "I'll never leave you again."
She beamed at the love and understanding portrayed in that single sentence. "Promise?"
Another Authors Note:
How's that for a first attempt? Sigh I know, I know, but I tried! Does it need a sequel? Or a prequel? Does it need to be here at all???
For all of you who were wondering; the film was Dirty Dancing and Sekhmet is the evil side of the Egyptian goddess Bastet. She's supposed to be really, REALLY bad.