Jonathan looked at the shirt that he had just hung on the hook on the small closet door by the sink now lying on the floor in a crumpled mess. Sighing in annoyance, he bent down and picked it up, only when he stood up and looked in the mirror, he saw not only his reflection, but that of a man dressed from head to toe in black robed, only his dark eyes peeking out.
Once they made eye contact with each other, the man grabbed Jonathan and spun him around, pushing him up against the closet door heedless of the fact that the door hook was pushing painfully into the delicate skin of Jonathan's back. He took out a dangerously sharp looking knife and held it to Jonathan's face, the man wincing when the sharp, cool blade touched the skin directly under his eye.
"Where's the map?" The man's dark voice growled and Jonathan for a moment forgot that he was being held at knife point by a very dangerous man and thought about that same voice whispering to him in the dark of night as they lay tangled with each other.
Another growl from the man, as well as his fingers tightening around Jonathan's neck brought him back to reality.
"M-map?" He stuttered looking around the room trying to buy some time. "What map?" He was not going to lead this man to his baby sister who was definitely in possession of the map, by throwing her under the bus just to save his skin.
"The map to Hamunaptra!" The man roared, taking the knife away from Jonathan's face to stab it through the wood of the closet door right by his ear, showing him that he was serious.
He did the next thing he was great at, aside from stealing, "it was destroyed!" He lied easily. "It was accidentally set on fire." Jonathan was proud that his voice was steady during his lie, his eyes unwavering as they gazed at the dark ones looking back at him, almost through his soul from the intelligence and ruthlessness he saw in them.
The man holding him at knife point tilted his head as if regarding the truth of his words.
Suddenly there was a crashing noise and someone shouting his name.
Never before had Jonathan been so happy to have the American on their side as he burst into the room, drawing the man's attention away from Jonathan, allowing him to push the distracted man away from him.
Jonathan grabbed his shirt and ducked as bullets starting flying, staying low, he made his way over to O'Connell who grabbed him and shoved him out the door into the waiting arms of his little sister.
"Jonathan, what the dickens is happening in there?!"
Not getting a chance to answer as Rick came barrelling into them, pushing them down the short corridor back out onto the deck, the trio saw that all hell had broken loose. The American treasure hunters who were also on the steamship and men dressed in a similar fashion to that of the man who attacked Jonathan were engaged in a gun fight.
There was a sudden burst of light and intense heat as their attention was drawn to the horses’ stable where one of the men had set fire to the hay and stables.
"Time to abandon ship." Rick said as he ushered both brother and sister towards the barge railings, all the while ensuring that no harm came to them. They were almost there when Jonathan felt something snagged the back of his shirt and pull him back.
"O'Connell!" He screamed when he felt a strong fingers grip his throat and a body feeling like solid wall press up against his.
"The map!" The man demanded again. "And the key!"
"Key? What key?!" Evie screamed over the pandemonium happening on board the barge right before Rick pushed her overboard and out of harm's way before turning back to the man who was again pressing his sharp knife to the soft flesh of Jonathan's throat.
"Listen pal, I need you to release my companion."
The man took a step back forcing Jonathan to do the same.
"After you give me what I asked for."
There was another explosion accompanied by an ear piercing scream that sounded a lot like that conniving snake Beni and Jonathan barely processed Rick aiming his gun and firing a shot into the wooden wall a little above both his and the man holding him hostage heads causing them both to react and that was all Rick had needed to grab his troublesome companion and dive over the broken piece of railing to the safety of the dark waters below.
Resurfacing Jonathan swam to shore where he met his sister and the qreasy tag along that had wanted to hang Rick just one day earlier, everyone a bit water logged, but none the worse for wear. Once he was back on dry land, Jonathan stood and looked at the burning wreckage of the steamship, he heard the neighing of horses and thundering of hooves as the men who attacked them road away and he could not help but rub at a certain spot on his right hip.
Jonathan was currently and hurriedly offering up apologies to everyone he had ever caused trouble for as he ran for his life through the ruins of Hamunaptra, with the same man who had cornered him in his room on the steamship just the day before, hot on his trail on horseback wielding a scimitar and shouting in Arabic while another war raged around them.
"O'Connell!" He was sure the American was getting tired of him screaming his name, but what else was he to do when he had a murderous desert person chasing him.
Rick did come to his rescue though, first tackling the man from his horse, shooting the sword from his hand and then threatening to blow the entire camp to kingdom come with a stick of explosive. That last act finally got the man to back down and to call off his men, with a warning.
"We will shed no more blood. But you must leave. Leave now or die." With that he mounted his horse effortlessly and even though Jonathan was at the back of the group, trying to regain his breath, the man's eyes found his, staring at him until he turned and rode off.
For once Jonathan's parents were rolling in their graves and it was not because of him. Jonathan loved his baby sister, he really did love her, but right now he seriously wanted to throttle her.
Why? Why would someone read from a book called 'The Book of the Dead?'
That thought was racing through his head, as he, Rick and Evie ran for cover first from the swarm of locust that descended upon them as soon as Evie uttered that last forbidden word, only to now be running for their lives from flesh eating beetles. He and Rick had managed to evade the scarabs only to realise that they had somehow managed to become separated from his precocious little sister, only to find her a few moments later pressing herself into the wall to get away from a, dear holy God, a real life undead mummy.
Rick shot the mummy and he, Rick, Evie and the other two Americans, Henderson and Daniels all ran back to the wide open and well lit space of the pyramid once again coming face to face with the business ends of several guns of the same men who had attacked them the previous night.
The group on a whole was properly chastised by the man whom Jonathan began referring to as the 'Desert Warrior' in his mind before his men handed over the other American treasure hunter, Burns to his comrades who were properly pissed off that their friend was severely harmed.
The Desert Warrior and Rick had words, where they were once again warned that the creature Evie had unintentionally awoken would not rest until he had regained his powers and laid waste to the world.
"I must now go on a hunt." The Desert Warrior said, his eyes once again finding Jonathan's and in those dark orbs he saw something like confusion before the man was walking off and Rick and Evie were ushering him and other men out of the pyramid, racing to their respective horses and camels and then hauling ass as fast as they could back to Cairo.
Back in Cairo, Jonathan had left his sister and Rick to their domestic quarrel, while he went down to the bar. Those eyes and voice still haunting him. There was something about that man that was bothering him but for the literal life of him, Jonathan could not figure out what it was. He was later joined by Rick, Henderson and Daniels and that is when shit became weirder. All the water and alcohol had turned into blood.
"He's here." Rick said before rushing off to find to Evie.
After that, the world literally went to hell.
There was a sudden thunderstorm of fiery hail and it was discovered that Burns had literally been sucked dry of his life force, furthering feeding the regeneration strength of the mummy that attacked them trying to get to Evie before it was scared away by a cat.
"We are in very serious trouble." Rick stated the obvious and for the first time in his life, Jonathan was questioning his life choices.
"There is only one person who can give us any answers." Evie said as Jonathan and the other men followed her down the corridor of Museum of Antiquities. Once they rounded the corner, they saw Dr. Bey conversing with the same man who had attacked them. Rick, Jonathan, Henderson and Daniels all drew their guns, aiming at the man.
"What is he doing here?" Evelyn asked, her tone terse.
"Do you really want to know or would you just prefer to shoot us?" Dr. Bey asked, sounding as bored as ever.
Rick was the first to holster his weapon, "after what I just saw, I'm willing to go on a little faith here." The other two Americans following his lead while Jonathan still in the background had his gun up and aimed at the man whose dark eyes were staring right back at him. After a moment's hesitation, Jonathan dropped his weapon as well.
For some unexplained reason that Jonathan is still trying to figure out, his little sister's sharp eyes did not miss that the man was staring at someone over her shoulder and followed his line of sight to see Jonathan staring back at him.
Now, the thing about Jonathan Carnahan is, at the age of eight his soul-mate's name appeared on his skin in Arabic.
أرديث، جزء رئيسي من مبنى
And ever since Evie knew what having that name branded deep in his skin meant, she had taken to asking anyone who even looked at her brother for longer than five seconds their name hoping that one in a million chance it was Jonathan's destined soul-mate.
That is why, when Evie had opened her mouth and said, "by the way, we did not you get your name Mister...?" Jonathan held his breath paying close attention to the answer and hoping to every god out there that he was not his destined one after all those runs in with the man, good looking or not Jonathan did not have a death wish contrary to popular belief.
"Ardeth Bay." The dark voice replied.
It took a moment for the name to sink in and the good Lord bless Evie, she revealed nothing as she introduced herself and the others leaving Jonathan for last who suddenly found the skylight interesting when dark eyes tried meeting his; at that same moment the ninth plague hit covering the world in darkness and he was able to put off dealing with this soul-mate issue for a little longer.
With the world ending crisis averted, Jonathan dragged his tired and beaten body back to his hotel room, where he began stripping off his clothes as soon as the door was shut behind him. Walking to the bathroom for a well needed and deserved hot bath when the sight of his reflection in the full length mirror stopped him short.
Jonathan had never given much thought to the name on his hip or to who his soul-mate could be. However, the shock of hearing the name that was engraved on his hip in Arabic being uttered by the same man who had held him at knife point and chased him while on horseback with a wicked looking sword, through Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead the night he and his clan of Medjai warriors invaded his camp was great in its intensity.
It was as if he had been thrown into the Nile while it was freezing cold. Ardeth may have joined forces with him and Rick and sacrificed himself to defeat Imotep and rescue Evie, but contrary to popular belief, Jonathan was not as naive as he passed himself off to be and so was not so quick to forgive the man for the fact that their first meeting was rather violent, even if they had no idea what they were to each other at that time.
Finally in a warm bath, Jonathan could still feel the warmth from Ardeth as he stood beside him when they had sought out Winston, his dark eyes piercing into the side of his face as he informed the pilot that he may die if he helped them.
"Bloody hell." He muttered before submerging himself fully in the bath water.
Ardeth Bay had always wondered what kind of man his soul mate was. When he finally met him, he recalled the memories of the English man stripped bare to the waist in his room on the steamship, with a gun in one hand and a bottle of alcohol in the other shooting one of his fellow warriors off of his horse during that invasion on the camp at Hamunaptra. That is when Adeth decided to go after him and soon the man who he had yet to know was his destined other half was running for his life and screaming another man's name, something Ardeth was going to rectify.
During the few days he spent in the company of the English man, he knew that Jonathan Carnahan was no fool. He may have everyone around him fooled into thinking he was nothing but Evie's tag along, thieving, scandalous older brother but not the Mejai chieftain and warrior. Those dark eyes saw all that others missed, seeing how deep Jonathan's still waters ran.
Where others only saw his surface persona, Ardeth saw a cunning and ruthless intelligence, skilled marksmanship, bravery and loyalty for those Johnathan considered his friends.
Ardeth also recalled that moment when he, O'Connell and Jonathan were all in the tomb, trying to clear away some large rocks when he suddenly heard terrified screams, only to turn around and see Jonathan in utter panic. Both he and Rick had gone to Jonathan's aid, not knowing what was happening.
"It's my arm! My arm!" The English man screamed hysterically.
That was the first time Ardeth was touching the man who had captivated him, gently grasping his arm as Rick had torn open Jonathan's shirt when the scarab beetle literally had gotten under the man's skin. It was a dangerous moment and warrior or not, Ardeth was but a man and could not help the way his eyes roamed over the smooth pale, unblemished skin that was revealed to him. He stood strong behind the English man, holding him tight to his body as Rick got the flesh-eating beetle out and how Jonathan had moved to stand behind him and Ardeth feeling a protective urge come over him stretched out his arm across Jonathan's slighter body to protect him from the beetle as it came scampering back towards them.
Ardeth was glad that a world ending catastrophe was over, however he was disappointed when he parted ways with the riveting English man, taking one last time to touch him, enjoying the way Jonathan had jumped about a mile in the air. However, the Medjai chieftain was sorely tempted to grab him and ride off deep into the desert where he knew no one would be able to find them and where Johnathan would not be able to escape from. On the other hand, he was not a cruel man and would do no such thing to a new found ally even if they were destined for each other by Allah, so he watched from atop his camel on a sand dune as the trio road off back to Cairo, pleasantly surprised when Johnathan turned around and waved 'goodbye' to him. That simple gesture had Ardeth grinning like a fool for the rest of the ride back to his camp.
Three days later, Jonathan felt as if the world was ending again as he stared at the man standing outside his hotel room door, dressed in a navy blue tunic with silver designs along the collar, sleeves and down the full length of it where one part lapped over the other. The tunic was held together with a sash a lighter shade of blue and the outer robe he wore was the same colour as his tunic, with silver patterns as well.
"Please tell me that there isn't another world ending disaster."
Ardeth smiled, his eyes twinkling with amusement. He was not wearing his signature tagelmust, allowing his glorious head of head to be on full display.
"No, my friend, all is right with the world." Ardeth answered, "I am only here to ensure that you and your companions are ok."
Jonathan shrugged nonchalantly. "As ok as can be after having experienced something that if someone told me last week I would have go through, I would have sent them straight to the madhouse."
Ardeth nodded and stood there, his eyes roaming over Jonathan's body and he felt his cheeks warm from the sensation of being stripped bare with those dark eyes.
"Anything I can help you with?" He snapped.
Brown eyes met blue, "where is my name on your body?"
Now, Jonathan Carnahan was by no means a prude, but something about those words sounded scandalous to him. "And this is where we say 'goodbye' again. He attempted to close the room door but found that Ardeth was holding it open.
"No. Nope. We are not doing this." He braced his back against the door but Ardeth was stronger and managed to push open the door and entered the room, closing the door behind him.
This was the first time that Jonathan was able to process the height difference between them as Ardeth stood at his full height of 6'1 1/2" which allowed him to loom over Jonathan's slight 5'10" frame. He took a step back, creating some space between them, ignoring the look of hurt that flashed over the Medjai's face before it was quickly gone.
"Jonathan, we are destined for each other by Allah. Your name is on my wrist." Ardeth removed the leather band from his left arm, turning his wrist over to show his soul-mate's name.
He looked down at his name before meeting Ardeth's eyes again. "Your name is literally an anagram for 'Death By Ra' and you chased after me with a scimitar, after attacking me in my room on the steamship." Jonathan dryly listed Ardeth's slights against him.
The man known for being rather brusque with people at times, actually looked sheepish at Jonathan's words.
"That was before we knew each other."
"Before we knew each other? Or before we knew what we are to each other?" Jonathan's tone was hard, his mind dredging up that memory of their first meeting and how terrified he was of the man standing before him.
Ardeth took another step towards Jonathan, silently pleased that he did not step back this time.
"That is the past, we should look towards the future."
Before Jonathan could respond to those 'fortune cookie' words, his hotel room door burst open and he and Ardeth turned to see who had entered.
"Oh." Was the startled word from Evie who was looking from her brother to their new ally. "Ardeth, so good to see you again." She smiled gently at him and he nodded to her. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes, Ms. Carnahan."
"Oh, please do call me Evie. All my friends do."
Ardeth smiled at being called her friend, while Jonathan was shooting her looks, trying to use their 'sibling telepathy' to communicate with her. Evie's eyes caught his and she smiled sweetly at him and Jonathan knew that he would be receiving no help from her.
"Well, I can see that you two are in the middle of something-”
“No, we aren’t.” Jonathan hurriedly interjected.
“-I will just go and find Rick and leave you two get better acquainted with each other." She winked at Jonathan who scowled at her.
"You are a horrible sister." He said. "He held a knife to my throat Evelyn!" Jonathan rarely raised his voice at his sister, but he was sure this moment called for it; not to mention he was slightly hysterical that the Medjai warrior had showed up at their hotel a three days after they had parted ways in the desert.
Ardeth opened his mouth, more than likely to apologise again, but Evie beat him to it.
"That is in the past Jonathan; let bygones be bygones."
The Medjai warrior looked at her in astonishment that she was defending him to her brother who had all rights to be upset. Jonathan rolled his eyes at her.
"I read from The Book of the Dead, unintentionally brought an evil mummy back to life and my soul-mate forgave me."
Jonathan gave her a flat look, "you just batted your baby blues at him and O'Connell crumpled like a house of cards."
"Well," Evie looked at Ardeth, giving him a slow once over. "I am sure Ardeth can persuade you to forgive him."
Ardeth looked like he was blushing at Evie's not so subtle hint making Jonathan groan. "Oh my God."
"Well, I leave you to it gentlemen." Evie quickly exited the room, leaving the two men with each other once again.
"Traitor." He called out as the door closed.
"Jonathan." Ardeth waited until he had his attention before speaking. "I really am sorry that our first meeting was so violent, but I am a Medjai warrior. I was only doing what I swore to do at manhood, which is to ensure that no one went to Hamunaptra and resurrect Imotep."
"And we bloody well made a mess of that didn't we. Sincerely sorry about that." Jonathan apologised, realising that neither he nor his other two partners in crime had apologised to the poor man when in hindsight he was not only trying to prevent the creature from being awaken but also protecting them, seeing as how he could have slashed his throat the night they first met.
"Thank you for your apology."
"Now if you don't mind." Jonathan gestured towards the door, hoping that the Medjai would get the hint, but that was hoping for too much as Ardeth stepped closer to him, enough that Jonathan could feel the warmth radiating off him.
"That day in the museum, it was all I could do not to push your sister out of the way and pull you into my arms when she introduced you, my other half." He looked at Jonathan as if he had hung the moon and the stars.
onathan's breath caught in his throat at the look of utter adoration. Sure he had many partners over the years, but never had they ever looked at him the way Ardeth was.
"That night, when I had cornered you in your room, I could not get the image of you half naked out of my head. All that smooth, flawless skin, I wanted to press myself to you."
Jonathan's eyes widened at that admission.
"And then again in the tomb, when O'Connell ripped your shirt open, all I wanted to do was put my mouth to your flesh and taste it."
"Umm..." Jonathan for the first time in his life was at a loss for words.
"For some reason I did not know as yet, it burned me those two times you screamed out for O'Connel, feeling nothing but anger at the look of relief that came over your face when he came to your rescue. I wanted it so much to be my name that you were screaming.
Ardeth seeing that Jonathan's resolve to stay mad at him for past transgressions was crumbling took a chance and closed the last few inches between them, so that they were now pressing against each other's bodies. "Please, habbi, tell me where my name is on your body."
Hearing that word fall from Ardeth's lips and as if in a trance from staring in those bottomless dark eyes, Jonathan pulled up the hem of his shirt.
"There." He pointed to where Ardeth's name was written on his hip, gasping when the man suddenly dropped to his knees in front of him, seductive thoughts entering his head from the position they were in.
Ardeth leaned forward and placed a kiss on his name, pressing his forehead into Jonathan's hip, "habbi."
Jonathan had no idea what to do with his hands, so he let them rest lightly on Ardeth's shoulders. "I don't know about you, but this is moving a little too fast for me."
Brown eyes looked up to meet his and Ardeth slowly stood so that Jonathan had to tilt his head back to keep their gaze.
"I understand my friend." Ardeth's voice was low, "I do not wish to rush into anything, even though we are soul-mates, but please, allow me the privilege of getting to know the man whom Allah has blessed me with."
"'Blessed' let's see if you really think that being my soul-mate is a blessing after you get to know me."
"Do not speak ill about yourself." Ardeth's voice was serious, but his eyes imploring. "We all have our faults; we are but humans. We can only learn from our mistakes to become a better version of ourselves."
"You really have a unique way of looking at things Ardeth."
Ardeth smiled at him.
"That is the first time you have said my name."
Ardeth nodded, as Jonathan thought hard about that statement.
"I guess that is true." He said with a shrug.
"I like your accent." Ardeth gently grasped his chin. "I like the way my name sounds on your tongue."
Jonathan's body suddenly felt hot all over, all his nerves alert.
"I can't wait to hear you scream it."
Whatever Jonathan had to say was lost when Ardeth captured his lips in a kiss hotter than that of the Egyptian sun that had beat down on him out in the desert.