Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Mystic's Cave (w.t.)
Setting: July, 1958, post KoTCS
Characters: Indy/Marion/Mutt, probably Oxley and a couple of new OCs, applicable to this story; possibility of some recurring OCs as well; the return of some old friends; I'm not yet sure. Like Indy, "I'm making this up as I go along." In that same vein, I apologize for leaving this as a w.t., working title. It may change as the story progresses.
Rating: T (for language, and a little – ahem! – marital aerobics!)
Disclaimer: I do not own Indiana Jones, Marion, Mutt, Oxley or any of the characters and characterizations notable to the Indiana Jones franchise, and have no desire to commit copyright infringement. However, any original characters and the storyline itself ARE mine. :-) Please consider the MacGuffin for this story copyrighted.
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to my beta. You know who you are. :-) I appreciate your wit, your wisdom and your hilarious asides popped into your proofs... they brighten my day. Much love and thanks.
Description: Lots of adjustments in the Jones household: Mutt's contemplating his future; Marion's wondering when she'll see her feet again; and Indy's trying to decide how old is too old! Mix that in with a new adventure that takes us to the realm of parapsychology, espionage and an enemy right in our own backyard.
It was so quiet. So blissfully, peacefully quiet.
No rock and roll blasting from a record player at a decibel level designed to blow out the human eardrum. No revving of a Harley-Davidson engine outside the bedroom window. No television on in the living room with the volume cranked to the top level, because, after all, a teenager can't be expected to wash supper dishes in the kitchen without SOME distraction! No yelling from upstairs down to the first floor, or vice versa. No slamming of doors. No pounding of motorcycle boots up and down the stairs. And all because the usual source of said noise was likely still out cold, sound asleep, in the bedroom next door. After all, it was seven o'clock on a blissfully sleepy Connecticut Saturday morning in July; nobody had to get up for anything just yet.
The room was warm, but not yet oppressive, though the temperature now, while still so early in the morning, promised that by noon it would be nearly 90 degrees, if not higher. Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones Jr. sighed contentedly and turned onto his side, sliding up behind his wife and nuzzling tenderly the nape of her neck, burying his nose in her long brown hair and breathing in the fresh, clean scent of her. It wasn't too hot yet to cuddle his wife, skin to skin. His arm came around her and gently cupped under her extended belly, tenderly stroking her soft skin. "Morning," he whispered into her ear.
"Mmmmm….." It was almost a purr.
As his arm lay across her, he smiled as he felt the rolling movement beneath his skin, beneath her skin, and marveled again at how remarkable human life was.
"Jones, so help me," muttered his wife, "if this kid is as active outside as he is inside, we're in deep trouble."
Indy chuckled, placing his hand over a particularly active little foot or fist as it pummeled its mother from the inside. "You keep saying 'he' like you're positive it's a boy. What if this is a girl?"
"I should be so lucky," Marion Ravenwood Williams Jones declared dryly. Then she chuckled. "That would be nice, though, I've got to admit. Seeing you two Neanderthals dealing with a little female would be fun to watch. You two think you can handle the big girls pretty well; I wonder how well you'd fare with the smaller variety?"
Indy grinned, but his smile faded as he saw Marion wince, arch a little and move a hand around behind her to rub her knuckle into her lower back. "Hurting?" he asked solicitously. "Want a rub?"
Marion sighed and smiled at him. "Nah, it's just old age, Jones, just old age." Marion kissed his gray-stubbled cheek. She deliberately played the age card with humor, since she knew that Indy's mind was troubled with having just turned 59 and now facing raising a new baby. While she knew he was happy and excited about the baby, he was also worried about having the stamina and youth to be a good father. She could understand that. Hell, she had her own fears. So did her doctor. He was a younger obstetrician who'd never had a patient nearly 50 ready to give birth in about eight weeks. He tried to hide it, but Dr. Ansell was getting as nervous and antsy about the pending delivery as her husband and son.
Indy kissed her mouth and then her freckled nose. He propped himself up on one elbow and gently flicked back the sheet, holding her hand back as she protested, wanting to cover her nakedness. "No," he said firmly, as his hands gently traced her pregnant form. "You have never, ever been more beautiful than you are right now, Marion. Never."
She gazed up at him, and then stroked his cheek. "I love you, Jones."
"Yeah, well, how could you not?" he teased her. He grew concerned when she winced again, and this time she chuckled at him.
"No, not pain, Indy, just a baby squatting on my bladder. Help me up." Laughing softly, he eased her up to a sitting position and then gazed as she leaned down and picked up the nightgown discarded last night before their spontaneous lovemaking, slipped it on, then rose and walked to the arm chair for her light robe. Indy marveled: heavy as she was with child, Marion still managed to look graceful. She turned back to him, glowing and just looking like a medieval Madonna, smiling with the knowledge that she was totally and completely female right now at this moment. "I'll put coffee on, all right?"
He nodded and watched her leave, shutting the door behind her. And heard her hammer on the bathroom door and order her son to "hurry up, there's a pregnant woman out here who needs to use the bathroom!"
He chuckled to himself and lay back, a hand behind his head as he gazed up at the ceiling fan over the bed. It was early July, and sure to be a hot one today. It felt good to know there really wasn't anything he absolutely had to do today. He couldn't remember a summer day like this in a long, long time; generally as soon as classes were out at the end of the spring semester, Indy was on his way to an archaeological dig somewhere in the world. Last year, it had been Mexico. He and his colleague, Bob Davis, had actually started the winter planning a return trip, since his participation had been sidelined by a run in with Russians, among other things… including finding out he had a teenager, defeating Communists, a "side trip" to Peru, and finally marrying the woman he'd loved more than any other for more than 30 years. And though he was very happy with his life right now (particularly since he'd finally managed to see Henry Walton "Mutt" Jones, III walk up and be handed his high school diploma, just a few weeks back) he still felt a little out of his element. His usual way of life was over, apparently. Wistfully, he thought of the wonderful evenings of going over the day's discoveries over a drink at the campfire … Those days were over…
Enough, Jones! He scolded himself. You're only 59, not 80, for God's sake! There'll be time for that again… and this time you can take Marion and the new little squirt along. The big one, too, if he's got any interest… He sighed as he rolled to a seated position and stretched. Indy got to his feet, and padded in bare feet – and bare everything else – toward his dresser across the room
There was a quick tattoo on the door and it immediately opened and a tall, slim figure with a perfect pompadour, tight jeans, a white t-shirt with rolled up sleeves, complete with a pack of cigarettes rolled in his left sleeve, and heavy engineer boots strode in. "Hey, Dad, can I bor- Aw, GEEZ!" Mutt whirled around, slamming the door, and flushing furiously. "For crying out loud, can't the two of you give it a rest for one night?!"
Indy hastily snatched up his lightweight robe from the chair on his side of the bed and shrugged into it. "Let me educate you, kid," he snapped, his voice edged in frustration. "The purpose of a knock on the door is to request permission to enter, NOT to serve as an announcement! In general, people wait to barge in until they hear the words, 'Come in!' " Indy angrily tied the sash to his robe, and planted his hands on his hips. "Besides, neither your mother nor I are dead yet, in case you haven't noticed!"
"Oh, I noticed all right. No one could miss noticin'!" Mutt grunted, peeking over his shoulder, and only turning when he saw his father was decently covered. "That belly of hers comes into a room two seconds before the rest of 'er!" the boy declared.
Indy struggled not to grin at his son's accurate description, and instead wagged a warning finger under his nose. "Do not talk like that in front of you mother, you hear me? She's feeling self-conscious enough as it is." When Mutt started to retort, Indy raised an eyebrow, glared and wagged the finger again once. Mutt hesitated, considered what it was he'd come in to request, and decided that he'd let it go for the moment. Indy nodded as he saw his son shut his mouth and back off. Indy continued to the dresser and pulled out some clothes, tossing them on the chair beside the bed. He started pulling the sheet up on his side of the bed, and glanced at Mutt. "So, what was so important that it couldn't wait until we were downstairs at breakfast? What don't you want your mother to know about?" Indy gestured towards Marion's side of the bed, and nodded at Mutt.
Mutt sighed; cripes, he never made his own bed, much less clean up after one of the 'rents. But he, once again, remembered his mission, and dutifully pulled up the sheet, then bedspread. He also wondered how his father had figured out so fast that he'd wanted to corner Dad alone on this one… "No reason," he lied. "I just wanted to know… could I borrow ten bucks until I get paid next week?"
Indy was about to drop his pillow into place, and looked up, startled, at his son. "Borrow ten … for God's sake, Mutt, you just got paid yesterday!" he said, incredulous.
Mutt flushed again. "Yeah, I know, but I got a date tonight, and I had to pay off Blackie for some parts for the Harley, and – "
Indy dropped the pillow into place as Mutt started his explanation, and shook his head. "Nope."
Mutt stopped. Nope? What's he mean, nope? "But, Dad, I – "
"I'm gonna pay – "
"Dammit, you aren't even listening to me!" Mutt protested, arms out wide in supplication.
Indy smiled grimly. "Oh, I was listening all right, Junior." Indy turned his back on his son, quickly pulled on some underwear under the protection of his robe, then turned back around, hands on his hips and eyed his son sternly with a glare that pinned back his son's ears as effectively as if he'd grasped them both in his big hands. "I heard you loud and clear. You're spending more than you earn, Buster Brown. You're overextended, and you're hoping I'll bail you out." He walked to the closet and pulled out a pair of lightweight pants.
Mutt's mouth opened, and then shut. "It's just a loan," he muttered defensively.
"Nope. And do not, I repeat, do not, ask your mother, either."
"Dad, that's not fair!"
"Tough. Oh, wait." Indy pulled on his pants, and hung the robe up on a hook on back of the closet door. He turned to his son. "I will give you a tip." He leaned in closer to his boy. "You want to spend money like water? Get a second job." Mutt closed his eyes in frustration as his father continued on past him to the chair where he picked up the blue knit polo shirt he'd chosen for the day.
"Thanks for nothin'," Mutt growled, turning and stalking toward the door.
"Are you interested in working for it?"
Mutt's hand stopped on the doorknob, and he hesitated. He literally had a dollar and twenty-nine cents in his jeans pocket. There was no way he could take a chick out on that, much less buy gas for the week. Grinding his molars together he drew in a breath. "Doin' what?" He glanced warily over his shoulder.
"Your mother wants the attic cleaned out."
Mutt turned around, his head tipped to one side. "She wants you to clean out the attic. It's your crap up there."
"Watch your mouth," Indy said automatically, but without a lot of emotion. "Nothing says I can't subcontract the job." Indy's eyes twinkled a little.
Mutt crossed his arms over his chest thoughtfully. "It's gonna be a frigg… it's gonna be an oven up there today," he said slowly. He raised his chin and an eyebrow. "Thirty bucks."
Indy snorted in laughter. "In your dreams, Junior!"
Mutt shrugged, an evil smile on his face. "Fine, Pops. You be the one sweat off 10 pounds up there today. I can take my girl to the nice, cool lake tonight and we can make out for free." He turned toward the door, just slowly enough to let the information sink in.
Indy's grin froze. Damn. He frowned. "Fifteen," he grunted.
Mutt turned back, eyes gleaming. "Twenty."
Mutt shook his head. "Twenty. Take it or leave it."
Indy hesitated, then chuckled, scratching behind his ear.
Mutt saw he had him, and stuck out a strong, young hand. "Deal?"
"Deal," Indy agreed. "Brat."
Mutt cackled and both left the room. Indy headed toward the bathroom while Mutt started for the stairs. "Tell your mother I'll be right down, okay?"
"Sure thing, Pops," the boy nodded as he clattered down the steps. Indy grinned to himself and went into the bathroom. Fatherhood… he began earnestly praying for a girl…
Marion sighed. "Jones, I think I'm in labor."
Startled, Indy's head came around, his grey-green hazel eyes wide with abject terror. "What?!" he choked.
Marion rolled her eyes. "Well, I had to say something to bring you back from Never-Neverland!" she declared, tapping her nails on her coffee mug. "What's up with you, Indy? Your mind is anywhere but here lately."
"Nothing," he protested uneasily.
Exasperated, Marion threw her hands up. "For Chrissake, Jones, do I look blonde to you?!" she demanded.
Indiana flushed a little, and sighed. Giving up, he brought his chin to rest on his fist. He should have known he'd be unable to hide anything from her. He'd never been able to hide anything from her. Mutt said the same thing; that it was always easier to just tell her the truth to start with because she always figured it out. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be distant. I'm just… I don't want to … well, I was just wondering how the dig was going," he finished, uneasily, not at all sure whether or not she'd fly off the handle and misunderstand.
Marion sighed, bringing a hand up stroke his cheek. "Oh," she said gently, understanding. "I'm sorry, Jones. I didn't think about that."
He shrugged. "Don't be sorry," he smiled. "And really, it's not like you think, it's just that I'm just not used to be around the house in the summer. I don't think I've been home in a summer in fifteen years," he mused.
"I wish I could have timed this differently," she sighed, patting her belly.
He leaned over and kissed her, taking her hand. "Don't be ridiculous," he said firmly. "Besides, I enjoyed the production of this way too much to regret it," he teased. "And this'll give me an opportunity to spend more time with Mutt before he goes off to college."
Marion, sighing, rolled her eyes and got to her feet. "Indy, you had better stop setting yourself up for disappointment," she warned, as she headed to the counter to pour herself more coffee.
"So, you don't you want to see him go to college?" he demanded.
"I didn't say that; don't put words in my mouth, buster," she said firmly. "But you've got to remember… he did what you demanded. He went back to school, even though he hated it, and got his diploma. Now let him live his life. If it includes college, fine. If not, it's his life."
Indy opened his mouth to retort, but Marion turned on him with her eyebrow raised in much the way he'd stopped Mutt earlier, and he subsided. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. "I just want him to have the best possible start in life," he said softly.
Marion set the dirty dishes in the sink and smiled. "I know, honey. He knows that, too. But he's a Jones, through and through. He's got to learn these lessons for himself. Just like you did."
They both turned as they heard the front door slam and boots come into the kitchen. "Hey, mail's here," Mutt announced, pawing through the pile and dropped that which wasn't for him onto the kitchen table. Right into a puddle of pancake syrup.
"Mutt!" scolded Marion, quickly wiping up the table after Indy snatched up the mail.
"What?" asked Mutt, surprised. Then chagrined as he saw what he'd done. "Oh." Sheepishly, he shrugged. "Sorry," he apologized.
Indy was nearly bursting with curiosity as he saw three large envelopes in Mutt's hands. "Anything interesting, Junior?" he asked innocently, making a pretense of looking through his own mail.
"Nah, just some stuff from colleges," Mutt replied, knowing how much his father would freak.
Marion rolled her eyes and went back to the dishes. Men… please, God, let this one be a girl…I'll need a sane mind to lean on when I'm old and gray…
Mutt grinned and tossed them at his father. "I didn't make it into Boston, but we figured I wouldn't," he reported. "I did get accepted at Fairleigh Dickinson and here at Marshall."
Indy's face split in a wide happy grin. "That's fantastic, kid! Congratulations!" he crowed, thoroughly delighted, getting up and clapping his son's shoulder.
"Yeah, well, we'll see," Mutt finished, warningly. "Remember, I haven't decided if I'm goin' yet, and you said you'd back off and let me decide for myself."
Indy nodded. "Your mother just reminded me," he sighed.
"Well, I'm gonna head up there before it gets so hot I bake. You marked everything that gets carted out to the dump, right?"
"Yeah," nodded Indy, as he looked down at his mail for real this time. "It's just a question of hauling it out - Utah…who's this?… Herman Mueller… Herman…. my God, Herman!"
Mutt and Marion both turned in surprise.
"Who's Herman?" asked Marion, setting the washrag on the faucet.
"Kid I grew up with in Utah," he replied. "Remember me telling you about the Cross of Coronado?"
Marion thought back and then nodded. "Right, the caves when you were in Scouts."
"Right," nodded Indy. He waved the letter. "Herman was the kid who was with me at the time the cross was uncovered." He glanced over the letter and frowned.
"So what's he writing to you about now?" asked Mutt, folding his arms and leaning against the kitchen counter. Marion, too, was curious and sat back down in her chair.
"He's writing to mention that there's a 45th reunion of our 8th grade class," he said slowly. God Almighty… was it really 45 years?! "Also, that he's found some photographs of my parents from back then that he thought I might like to have."
"When's the reunion?" asked Marion.
Indy glanced at the letter again. "Ten days; next weekend." Frowning, he glanced at the postmark, and his expression cleared. "Oh, I see. The letter went to the college first, that's why it's late…"
"Are you serious?" Indy looked up at his son in disbelief. "Travel to Utah for an 8th grade class reunion?!"
"Why not?" asked Marion, thoughtfully. He looked at her as though she'd lost her mind, as well. She leaned forward and tapped the letter. "You haven't heard from him in 45 years… why's he contacting you now? Read between the lines, Jones."
"Does he give ya a phone number?" asked Mutt, curiously.
Indy hesitated. "Do you guys really want to go spend the hottest part of July in the desert?" he asked in disbelief. "You certainly aren't going," he said firmly to Marion, setting the letter down on the table.
She raised an eyebrow, and leaned back in her chair. "Really. Since when do you tell me where I go or don't go?"
Helplessly, Indy looked to his son for support, but Mutt was studiously reading the letter for more information as to what might truly be going on. "Marion, you're only two months away from delivery, for Chrissake!"
"Jones, there's gotta be more to this than a class reunion. Why would this Harvey – "
"Whatever! Why would he write to you now, 45 years later, and even throw in something about finding old photographs… old photos he could have had shipped to you? It just doesn't make sense."
"Yeah, besides, Pops, we could make this a real family vacation," grinned Mutt, pulling out a kitchen chair, turning it around, sitting down as though he was mounting his motorcycle. He crossed his arms on the top of the backrest, propping his chin on his forearms. These fights were always fun, with Indy and Mom both digging in their heels. What was it the old man had said to Mom in the truck in Peru? "I could never win a fight with you!" Maybe not, but he was sure getting better, and watching the fireworks was cheap entertainment.
And the argument began… a thoroughly useless one, as it turned out.
For two days later, Dr. Henry Jones, Jr, his lovely, very pregnant wife and nearly adult son boarded a train on their way to Utah.
TO BE CONTINUED