A/N: My attempts at an Indiana Jones story. I love this series and when this idea popped into my head, I had to take it. Oh, and note: it did not take Indy 10 years to get back to Marion. It only took one. ENJOY!
There are many unspoken rules when it come to my 'line of work', if one were to call it that. However, three stand out. These three rules are the ones that could save your life. They also happen to be the three I find it hardest to stick to.
Rule one; show no fear. When you encounter Nazis, deadly traps, grave robbers, and morally challenged treasure seekers, you can't afford to have fear hindering your judgement and reactions. I have broken this rule time and time again. My irrational phobia of snakes is too crippling to ignore. The trauma runs too deep, but that's another story for another time.
Rule two; keep the few close friends you have close. You'll never know when you need to call a friend to pick your sorry butt up from a failed mission or a bad situation. I make way too many enemies as is. As humans, we tend to seek out revenge if we are wronged, so you have to stay as loyal to your confidants as possible. You betray them, they'll betray you.
Okay, in my defense, I didn't think Abner would find out I was having an affair with his daughter. We were secretive! Well, as secretive as two emotionally unstable young people can be. I'll admit, maybe twenty-seven year olds shouldn't date seventeen year olds, but she was blinded by love and well, even though I denied it continuously, I guess I was too.
Anyways, rule three; never get too attached. I know this may contradict rule two, but it is different. Things come and go in this business so fast that if you blink you miss it. Indifference is safe, but love is dangerous. Heck, even my relationship with my own father is tenuous at best. Maybe I'll tell ya about that later.
Now, I'm not saying give up everything, but you have to be prepared to lose it. That's why I tend to go from woman to woman, never committing to any of them. The same thing with houses; no house is ever a home to me. The only reason I have a stable job as a professor is because I need to have some sort of way of income outside of my usual line of, umm, thievery. I don't keep anything I take. They belong in museums, not with reward seekers. Even though all these rules are the difference between life and death sometimes, I always end up breaking them, and it all relates back to one person; Marion Ravenwood.
Yes, Marion Ravenwood. Daughter of widely respected archeologist Abner Ravenwood. Remember him? He was in rule umber 2. Marion was a mere sixteen when I met her, barely on the cusp of adulthood, a kid, but she could have very well been my age with her maturity and the way she carried herself. What can I say? I was an impulsive young 27 year-old who thought he could get away with murder, though I never went that far. The adrenaline rush of jumping into something you know is forbidden... It's a thrill. Why do you think I chose this career?
We connected on so many levels. Every conversation we had formed another bond between us. Dead mothers; bond. Frequently absent fathers; bond. Stubbornness; bond. So, as soon as I realized my attraction for this now seventeen year old girl who had become my closest friend, I lunged at the opportunity.
But Marion Ravenwood is not like other girls. She's stubborn, fiery, plucky, and most of all, easy to set off. Once, when I jokingly said something unflattering about her, she threw an expensive glass vase at my head. Ah, memories. She wasn't about to just submit to my charm and cocky grins. She needed to be won over. So, I did something that I had never done with any other woman before or since. I fought for her. I did everything I could to prove to her that I wasn't just some punk who was using her.
Slowly but surely, we started a more than friends relationship. See, I still don't know how I would define what we were. I had never been so attached to any girl I had been seeing. But, Abner noticed the subtle hints we dropped. The glances across the room, the winks, the way our hands lingered a little too long when handing each other something. He made it clear that he would not allow it. I could be his star student, but not his daughter's lover. Selfishly, I chose my inchoate career over Marion, thinking it was best thing for both of us, a decision I soon came to regret.
It was too late, though. Marion remained implacable, no matter how much I begged, not matter how much I pleaded, no matter how many apologies I issued. She could barely look me in the eye when I came back for her. She vowed that if it took her ten, twenty, or fifty years, she would learn how to hate me.
When the Nazis discovered Tanis and, by default, discovered the Ark of the Covenant, I knew I had to get there before they could. I had to steal it before they could. A whole country's fate could have very well depended on it. However, I needed Abner's medallion. It's one of the pieces he collected from Tanis. I remember that day a few years ago, being mystified when he called me into his office to show it off in front of my prying eyes. Of course, I knew that neither him nor Marion would hand it over willingly, so I went ready to put on my most convincing attitude and tread lightly to win them over.
To my surprise, Marion was the one to greet me as I walked into the bar he opened up in Nepal. She punched me in the face. Okay, so that part wasn't much of a surprise after what I did to her. It had only been a year since our affair, and those wounds don't heal so quickly. However, her telling me that Abner was dead was a very sad surprise. She promptly threw me out of the bar. I knew that it was only a matter of time until the Nazis came for the medallion just like me. I was right.
After a small mishap, one of which that consisted of her almost getting her face scarred by Nazis, she temporarily forgave me when I saved her. At least she thought it was temporary. My old feelings began to resurface inside me. The repressed love that I once had for her never really went away. I was unable to deny that I love her like I was able to do a few years ago.
As we went through the treacherous desert in search of the Ark of the Covenant, we slowly restarted our romance, just like it left off that fateful summer. Now, nearly a year later (these missions take a long time), it's just like it was before, except this time, we're both committed to making it work between us. However, by bringing her back into my life, I know I'm putting her in danger again.
So now, running through the bazaar in an effort to spot the clothed faces of the men who kidnapped her, I'm breaking rules 1, 2 and 3 all at once. Basket, find the basket. Whoever took her obviously has interest in the ark, too. It would take a professional to know that taking Marion is the best way to get to me. The Nazis are more powerful than I've been giving them credit for.
"Indy!" I hear her distant scream.
"Marion!" I don't care who hears. Let them. This woman means more to me than I've ever thought possible. If she were to be harmed in any way... no, I won't think about it because it won't happen. I can't let it happen. I cut into an alley way where I think I saw them take her into. The long, dusty walls clearly have a pathway at the end of them.
A dirty, beat up moving truck is being loaded. With a basket. I automatically reach for my trusty gun. I know that if Marion is loaded onto that truck, I might never see her again. When the hatch closes, I fire the first shot. It's a warning shot, doing no harm to them other than warning them that I'm here and I want my girl back. I see what looks like a long, black stick poke out of the window. I'm not stupid. It's a machine gun.
As I chase the truck, I make sure to stay to the other side. I almost smirk; this truck is so slow that I could jump on it and climb into the passenger's seat from the window if I wanted to. I go for the next best thing, though. Through the passenger's seat window, I shoot at the driver. Running back in the other direction for cover, I duck behind a few barrels and wait for the car to come to a crash. Marion will probably hound me about the discomfort later, but at least she won't be dead. The car runs head first into the dilapidated brick building in front of it with a loud crash. And explodes. Explodes. The flames consume the truck, leaving no inch untouched. I can feel the heat radiate off my skin from all the way over here.
"Marion!" I yell. My brain is screaming that she is dead, while my heart is telling me that it can't be true. This isn't happening. This doesn't count.
"No, no, no, no.." I mumble to myself. Marion is gone. Gone. Just like everyone else, she left. This was no accident. Someone did this. Someone took her from me. She had so much to live for. She wasn't even nineteen yet. Now she's gone, merely dust just like the sand here in Cairo.
Even dragging myself the two blocks back to Sallah's house is a miracle in itself when I'm in this condition. The shock is replaced with numbness. All my emotions are gone. I feel absolutely nothing. I read something once about the seven stages of grief. I wonder what stage I'm on now? Sallah, who sits out on the porch playing with one of his nine children, is jovial as always. I want to scream at him. The thought is irrational, but how dare anyone be happy right now when all I feel is pain? Sallah notices me immediately.
"Ah, my friend, we were beginning to get worried." I don't even attempt to smile. In turn, his own smile fades.
"What's wrong?" Sallah asks. He looks behind me, like he expects someone.
"Where's Marion?" he asks. I've fought Nazis, rouge explorers and terrorists, but answering that question is by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do. The words catch in my throat.
"She's... she's g-gone.." Sallah is silent. I hate the feeling. It's like no one knows what to say to me, how to comfort me. Instead of waiting for Sallah to say something, I run inside. I don't want my friend to see me cry. His kids are everywhere, unaware of my sadness. They're so young and innocent, I wouldn't expect them to. I quickly shut the door to the guest room where Marion and I were staying. My body slides against the door until I plant myself on the ground. The only thing I want to do right now is be with Marion, but I know I have to stay on this earth. I have responsibilities. For one, the ark is still being hunted down by the Nazis. Who will find it if I'm gone?
A cry interrupts my thoughts. At first, I think it must be one of Sallah's children. Wait, isn't the youngest one five years old? This is a baby's cry... I realize where it is coming from as I stand up with a sigh. In my pain over Marion, I forgot about my other responsibility. The crib is on the other side of the room, which I reach slowly. The little baby girl with my eyes and Marion's hair has her nose scrunched up in aggregation, her face light red from crying. She's so much like Marion...
"Don't cry.." I try weakly as I pick her up. When she senses she's in someone's arms, she stops crying and simply stares up at me, like she's studying me. Usually, I would laugh. Not today. I thought I was clueless about this before, now I have to do it without Marion's guidance. I sit down on the bed holding my beautiful baby. Our baby. Charlotte.
I groan to myself when I hear that name. Only one person alive calls me Junior. Dad. You know, the man I haven't seen in twenty-one years? There he is, standing near the gate of the airplane I'm about to board. There's a reason we haven't spoken in so long. I'm fairly positive Germany and Poland have a better relationship than us. Hey, they've only been at war for a year compared to the thirty-seven years we've been fighting constantly. Nonetheless, I plaster a smile on my face to greet him.
"Dad, nice to see you," I say through gritted teeth, though it is not entirely a lie. I may want to smack him repeatedly in the face with a baseball bat sometimes, but he's still my dad, even if I wish he wasn't.
My loving and attentive mother died of tuberculosis when I was young, so it was always just Dad and I, not that I noticed. He spent days at a time locked in his office, studying the holy grail, much like I do now with other relics. The only difference was that I barely ever saw him. He didn't seem to care when I got in trouble or when I did something to make him proud. It was always his work, not his only child. So, when I was sixteen, I left home. I ran away and joined the war effort. I don't think he's ever forgiven me for that, leaving right when I was becoming interesting to him, just like I haven't forgiven him for being emotionally absent all those years.
When he approaches me, I can see his once brown hair that was just like mine is now a silvery gray. The wrinkles on his face that once were just barely there are now completely visible to anyone. In short, he looks older than I remember him being.
"It's nice to see you, too..." He trails off and looks down at the small, smiling bundle in my arms. How did I not realize that he would notice? When he looks me in the eyes again, there's surprise and a small trace of sadness in his eyes.
"You're a father?" he asks. I nod, not knowing what to say to him, and knowing what he's going to ask next.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He seems not angered, but more hurt.
"What was I supposed to say, Dad?" I ask.
"'Oh, hey, I know we haven't spoken since I left home, but you have a granddaughter'?" It's like every other time we've talked; hostile and awkward. Dad sighs.
"I wasn't a terrible father, Junior. I never told you to do your homework, eat your food, stay out of trouble. I stayed out of your business. I taught you self-reliance." I roll my eyes. I've heard this terribly biased speech before. The day before I left home, I tried to engage in a 'father-son' moment to hold me over until I saw him again. It failed, hence the reason I never tried to contact him. I was done pretending he might care.
"The only thing you taught me was that I didn't matter to you as much as some archaic old relic you were never going to find. In fact, I learned it so well that we haven't spoken in over ten years. I never understood your obsession with the grail. Neither did Mom..." I'll admit, that was low of me to bring Mom into this conversation. I say a lot of things in anger towards Dad that I regret and I know I can't take them back.
"Your mother understood it perfectly," he snaps. "Now, instead of arguing over something we can never change, will you please explain to me why you have a baby? And who is the mother?" The second question hits me hard. I haven't talked about Marion since it happened. I've found it much easier to ignore than to discuss.
"Her mother's name was Marion Ravenwood. Abner's daughter? She's, umm... she dead, Dad." He remains silent, much like Sallah was the day I told him. Finally, he lowers his head.
"I'm sorry, son. If you don't mind me asking, what is her name?"
"Charlotte," I answer immediately. I sound almost desperate, like this little girl is my last connection to my sanity. Sadly, she is. "Her name is Charlotte."
There's a long silence between us. Oddly enough, it's not awkward at all. Actually, it's strangely comforting. I may be twenty-eight years old, but I still need my dad sometimes.
"What am I gonna do, Dad?" I ask him helplessly. He sighs.
"There's not much you can do. Nothing will bring her mother back, just like nothing could bring your's back. You have to raise her now." I never thought about that before now; I'm responsible for a human life now. She's my kid. Suddenly, it feels like the earth is spinning wildly around me. I'm a father. I have a daughter. I know this should have set in the moment she was born, but I guess I had yet to realize the reality of the event.
"That's why I'm taking her back to the states. The ark is taken care of. I want to raise her in the most normal way I possibly can. I'll need some help here and there, though." I gently hint at the fact that I want Dad in Charlotte's life and, maybe I want him in mine. Sometimes I feel like he wants to make up for lost times, too. I also genuinely want Charlotte to have a grandfather to admire when I'm God knows where and will come back God knows when. Dad seems to pick up on my hint.
"Do you want me to come with you? For Charlotte's sake?" I nod.
"Yeah. For Charlotte's sake."
A/N: Tada! I worked super hard on this. Seriously, I have most of the story written already. PLEASE REVIEW, I'M A REVIEW JUNKIE!