SET

By Delia Lavender

I do not own the television series L.O.S.T. I do not own

the characters John Locke or Richard Alpert. I only write for

fun, and I only own my invented characters.

He did not tear the ankh from her neck, as he had planned. He took its thick, leather cord between his fingers and gently lifted it over her head.

The ankh could not hurt him. But tearing it away might hurt Nebhet. Surprise and confusion had stunned her, and he did not want to interrupt her trance.

He did not want her bolting now. Let her be docile for just a little while longer...

"Eugenie!"

He heard the cry as the boys emerged from the jungle's edge. He stepped between Nebhet and her guards, in case the fools started shooting.

Set had intended snatching her quickly, before the striplings returned...but he had changed his mind. Jacob's people had already lost their leadership. Set had assumed the identity of John, the "Chosen One", and he had successfully disposed of Richard.

If he took one of their women, it would cause great dissension among Jacob's followers. Who would they search for? Richard? Eugenie? Should they go to the temple? Whose authority should they accept?

Shattered morale and leadership struggles would likely keep them busy for quite a while.

"Stop! Who are you?!" Shouted the largest boy, the one with all the pimples.

Set thought the boy's shout impressive...it was full throated and authoritarian...if only his voice hadn't cracked on the word "you". He almost chuckled.

"Eugenie...get away from him!"

Nebhet's expression cleared a little and she stepped away from Set. She looked anxiously away from him, seeking the boys.

He moved forward, grabbing her shoulders and pulling her body against his. Swiftly he bent his head, speaking clearly into her ear: "Close your eyes. Keep them closed and don't struggle".

His tone must have impressed her, because she obeyed. She did, however, let out a long scream as he transformed into smoke and rose rapidly into the air.

Just as well. Let the boys see this...let them report this to their elders.

There were a few panicky gunshots, and several badly-aimed arrows flew harmlessly beneath him. He controlled himself, resisting the urge to swat the brats like flies. He would deal with them later. He would deal with them all later.

He flew swiftly, changing directions several times, in order to confuse any stray observers.

Nebhet went limp in his grasp. She was not used to any of this. The fastest journey she'd ever taken had been aboard the revolving platform at the DARMA playground.

He could read her mind. He had done so frequently, without her knowledge. She thought he meant to kill her...she was thinking of her sins...

Such as they were. He had already judged her. The filched doughnut...the quarrels with her mother...her teasing of "Acne Arnold"...

Ah - the boy with the big mouth...what a future leader he would make.

There was only one sin that meant anything to Set. It involved the time Eugenie and her friends had spied on Richard in the shower...but he was willing to forgive. What did he expect...when her mother had left her unmarried for so long? In the well-regulated Egyptian society of his youth, no girl as beautiful as Eugenie would be left to languish unmarried past the age of twelve. Stupid people...a girl should be wed as soon as she experienced her first yearnings. But he supposed he owed them a debt of gratitude. They hadn't given her in marriage to "Acne Arnold" or "William the Widower", so he didn't have to kill her husband. Even better - he didn't have to take her away from her children.

Oh, Eugenie...will you ever remember who you really are? Will you ever remember me?

He'd had to manufacture a vessel for himself, so his powers weren't at maximum strength. He could force her body, but he couldn't force her memory - or her heart. If he could only appear as the handsome, red-haired god of her original incarnation...perhaps it would be enough.

But there was little time...

He landed on the rocky landing before the cave, quickly regaining human form and putting Nebhet on her feet.

But her legs would not support her. He caught her as she slumped, settled her into his arms, and pushed through the thick vines masking the cave entrance.

The many candles he'd collected sprang to life at his command. He still remembered the ancient magic. He followed the dim glow deep into the cavern's heart, until he reached the place he had prepared for Nebhet.

It was quite beautiful here. The candle light was reflected in crystal stalactites, it beamed from granite and twinkled in mica. It gleamed golden orange from a profusion of glassy, crystalline mineral deposits.

Here, in the depths of the cavern, he had placed many mats and cushions, covered with one of Jacob's favorite tapestries. There was fruit, bread and wine to refresh them. Here they could renew their love...while the candles glowed all around them. He placed Nebhet gently down on his improvised divan, then he undressed while she retched into a copper urn.

It wasn't too bad...she recovered quickly. He gave her a little wine. Wine and bread were good for settling the stomach and the head. He poured the wine into an earthenware drinking bowl, and he fed it to her slowly.

He spoke to her, a few soothing words in their native tongue. Perhaps the words would help jog her memory.

She just watched him gravely. Her long, midnight eyes fixed on his, and he found himself unable to look away.

He had tried very hard to reproduce something of their former life together. The cavern itself could have been a temple room. The oil lamps and the candles mimicked the light of ancient times. They lay together much as they had long ago...he with a length of white linen wrapped around his waist, she with a long swatch of material tied low on her hip. The band around her breasts was tied carelessly in front.

He doubted Nebhet's mother knew what her daughter wore, when she thought herself alone. The boys certainly wouldn't have told her.

She was staring at him curiously, with great earnestness. His Nebhet. She wasn't fighting him – at least not yet. He felt blessed. He reached for her carefully, hoping not to frighten her. His hands were gentle as he pulled her into his arms.

"Nebhet...it has been so long." he blurted in Egyptian, before he remembered that her name was now "Eugenie".

"Set? My lord?" she asked him slowly, her voice husky with the effort of pronouncing words so long unheard and unspoken.

"Nebhet!" he cried out. Happiness crashed through him. Nebhet knew him...and Jacob had not prevailed. Set crushed his lips to hers and reached down, his hand finding and untying the knot at her hip.

* * * * * *

He had meant to stay only an hour. He had wanted to possess her and leave her to sleep - to await his inevitable triumph and return - in the place he had prepared for her.

But when he left the cave, he discovered he had lost three days.

His inner instincts led him back to the Black Rock. The distressed mental voice he'd been ignoring had not come from Richard...it had come from Ben, who'd been chained up in his place.

Set cursed under his breath as he set the man free. Ben was a valuable servant...losing him would be inconvenient. Ben's punishment was a diversion he'd meant to savor - but some other pissed-off person had gotten to him first.

Ben Linus was a bloody mess – his breathe had almost stopped. Set had seldom healed anyone, but he did possess the ability. He stretched forth his hand and muttered a few words.

Ben convulsed on the brig's floorboards, but then he recovered and opened his eyes. Set bent over to face him.

"Where is Richard? Who did this to you?"

Ben closed his eyes again. He looked like a man having an endless nightmare "Hurley led Dogen and some of his men here. They chained me up...then took Richard away."

"But how did they capture you?"

"They didn't...Ilana jumped me. She tied me up and took me to the temple..."

"I see."

"Why did you leave me?" Ben's bulbous eyes were open again, his expression aghast as he searched Set's face.

"I didn't intend leaving for long. Something...came up. Get on your feet - go find some water and wash yourself."

"But they might be..."

"Go!"

Ben stood up and left the brig. He looked back once, then started to run.

Set thought for a moment, then transformed back into smoke. Things had gone awry, and he had no answers to his most urgent questions.

How had Hurley...of all people...led Dogen and the others to the Black Rock? How had he known about Richard? As far as Set knew, Hugo Reyes was not telepathic. Could that simple, obese man possess unsuspected powers?

The Black Rock was probably being watched. He flew toward the temple, away from the cavern and Nebhet. He had sealed the entrance...she would be safe.

Not even her mother – who possessed a great many psychic gifts – would be able to find her.

But his mind burned as he thought of Nebhet.

Sweeter than mangoes...sweeter than anything he had ever experienced. After all this endless time...after so many lives apart. Centuries of separation, of loneliness, of common, mortal misery. Yet somehow...somehow she still had remembered him.

And now he had someone to fight for.

The End