Two Mummies and a Baby?
Mummy fanfic by Katie Sullivan
Rating: PG for innuendo and mature themes
Disclaimer: I don't own anybody in this fic except Jendayi, but I'm not making any money, either. Don't sue me.
Note: This makes vastly more sense if you've read my other fic, "To Begin Again." It takes place between that fic and "Pawns of the Gods." This is also just mushy, fluffy filler stuff, so don't expect anything terribly deep, okay? If it were a movie, I'd say it was a chick-flick, but since it's not, I'll label it "chick-fic!" LOL! ;-)
Luxor, Egypt 6 November 2001 A.D.
Sunlight streamed through the east-facing window of the apartment, warming Imhotep as he sat at the kitchen table with his nose in a book. It was the latest work on Egyptology, and he kept shaking his head at the numerous inaccuracies. Someday he vowed to write one of his own, just to clear up a few things...
He glanced at the clock, one of the few concessions he and Anck-su-Namun had made to modern life. Being ruled by the hands of a machine seemed silly, but to function in the modern world it was a necessary annoyance.
The Temple of Osiris would be opening to tourists before long. He knew he should start walking to work--he refused to bother with the hassle and expense of a car--but his wife wasn't home from the market yet. It was unusual for her to be out and about so early, and he was curious about what was so important that she'd leave even before he was awake. Her note said only, "Gone to the supermarket. Back soon. Love, Anck-su-Namun," in hastily scribbled hieratic. Her destination was almost as odd as her timing; they rarely patronized modern supermarkets, preferring instead to shop at the local bazaar. Imhotep was always amazed at how little the bazaar had changed in location and ambiance--and smell-- in the last few millennia.
He replaced the papyrus bookmark in his book and checked in the bathroom mirror to make sure he hadn't missed any spots shaving. Anck-su-Namun often helped with the back of his head--when she was home.
A troubled frown formed on his face. He didn't mind her shopping, but something just didn't seem right. She was never out this early, she'd never go without waking him first, and...the supermarket? It wasn't like her at all. She'd been out of sorts lately, but this...
He checked his briefcase and sighed, scolding himself for worrying too much. Just because he'd lost her before--for various reasons--didn't meant he had to fret like a mother hen every time she was out of his sight. He'd just go to work for now and perhaps call or come home at lunchtime.
Only partially satisfied with the compromise, Imhotep headed for the front door. Before he could reach it, however, it opened and Anck-su-Namun walked in toting a brown grocery bag.
"There you are!" he said with more audible relief than he had intended.
"Hi," she said a bit sheepishly. "You weren't worried, were you? I left a note."
"Of course not," he said too quickly. He followed her into the kitchen. "You were up early."
"I wasn't feeling well."
"But you went out?"
"Well, I felt better after awhile, and then for some reason I got this terrible craving for a pistachio-nut ice cream banana split. Isn't that weird?" she chattered as she unpacked the groceries and got herself a bowl from the cupboard.
Imhotep set his briefcase on the kitchen counter and regarded her curiously. "Um..." He was about to say something, but stopped in amazement as she ripped the ice cream container open and stuck a spoon into it, momentarily disregarding the bowl.
"Mmm!" she said, closing her eyes in ecstasy at the first taste.
"My love," he tried again, "has it occurred to you that just maybe--"
"Yes," she said through a mouthful of pistachio-nut.
"I know what you're thinking, and it's crossed my mind, too." She swallowed and began scooping ice cream into the bowl.
"So you think--"
"Well, let's put it this way," she said, plopping down on a high stool at the counter. "Remember back in our first life, when Pharaoh asked you to examine me, thinking I'd fainted because I was pregnant?"
"And all I ended up doing was increasing the chances that you were?" he said with a crooked smile. "As if I'd forget."
"Yes, well..." she said with a laugh. "That might not be a bad idea now." She licked ice cream off the spoon and grinned slyly.
"Which part?" he asked, smirking.
"That depends on how late you want to be for work..."
Laughing, he picked her up by the waist and spun her around. "Oh, Anck-su-Namun!"
She grimaced. "Spinning...not good."
"Oh. Sorry." He set her down on the stool again and finished putting the groceries away while her stomach calmed down. "But...you really think you're pregnant?" he asked over her shoulder.
"I got up at five A.M, threw up, laid down for awhile, got up and alphabetized the canned foods in the cupboard, polished the silverware, burst into tears over that dent in the countertop over there that's probably been there for weeks, got an insane craving for a pistachio-nut banana split, of all things, and...I'm late. Really late."
He leaned down in front of her and grasped her shoulders, gazing into her eyes with amusement. "And you still need me to examine you?"
"Um...well...now that I add it all up...not really." She blinked several times, first in bewilderment and then with oncoming tears. "Oh my gods...after all this time, I just sort of assumed it wasn't meant to be!" She threw her arms around his neck and wept.
He made soothing, shushing sounds and caressed the back of her head with one hand. "The gods have finally blessed us, Anck-su-Namun. Be happy!"
"I am!" she burst out, jolting back to look him in the eyes. "Oh, I am! I'm just...surprised! It's been so long, and...and maybe I'm a little scared, too," she added softly. She would never admit fear to anyone but him.
He gently wiped the tears off her cheeks. "It may seem like a long time, but when you think about it...we were so careful when you were in Pharaoh's harem, just to protect our own lives. The second time we met, you were killed again before I could even touch you." Renewed pain flashed in his eyes. "And the third time we had such a short time together before..."
"Don't say it," she said, closing her eyes tightly. "I'm sorr--"
"Ssh," he soothed, touching her lips. "I know. All I'm saying is that this last year we've been married here, in this time and place, is really the first time you've had the opportunity to get pregnant. The time is finally, finally right!"
"I know so."
"So we're happy?"
Imhotep shook his head in fond disbelief. "You have to ask? Anck-su-Namun, I've waited over three thousand years to have a family with you, my true love, my soul mate. How could I not be happy?"
She sniffled and looked embarrassed for ever doubting. He drew her trembling body close in a comfortingly possessive manner. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too."
He held her silently for a moment, then mumbled, "I wasn't talking to you."
"I was talking to this one," he said with a crooked grin, placing a hand on her stomach.
She rolled her eyes, her tears giving way to laughter. "You're going to be impossible about this, aren't you?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Now finish your ice cream while I call everyone we know and tell them the good news. Maybe I'll put an ad in the newspaper..."
He left the room, grinning as if to burst.
"Come back here!" she snapped. "You're not really going to-- Imhotep! Don't you dare!"
"Finish your ice cream, darling," he called from the other room.
"Don't you 'darling' me! I'll...I'll... Arg!" She groaned in exasperation and put her head down on the countertop.
Seven months later...
"I hate this."
Imhotep looked up from the newspaper at his wife, who was moping listlessly at the other end of the couch. "Care to elaborate?"
"Yes, I would. I hate being all fat and puffy. I hate craving foods that haven't existed for thousands of years. I hate that I can't just go to an artisan and buy an idol of Bes, that I have to try making one out of modeling clay. I'm terrible at it!" She gestured miserably at the lump of clay on a shelf nearby which only vaguely resembled the Egyptian dwarf god of childbirth. "I hate that you won't buy a stinking car so I have to walk to the market like this!" She stuck out her swollen feet. "I hate all this Lamaze idiocy I have to study. In our time, you just squatted on a rock, for heaven's sake!" She burst into tears and buried her face in a pillow.
Imhotep shrugged helplessly. She had never been a weepy person before, but now with her hormones out of whack she cried over things like flowers and television commercials...one more reason he didn't like television.
"I know it isn't easy, my love, but--" he attempted.
"Oh, what do you know?" she snapped, her voice muffled by the pillow. "You're not all fat and ugly and...and...and..." A fresh sob prevented her from finishing that thought.
He sighed, set aside his newspaper and hugged her. "There, there... It'll all be over soon. We're happy about this, remember? A baby? Being a family?"
"So you're saying I'm fat and ugly?"
"No! No no no! I mean, I--"
She shoved the pillow at him and attempted to storm away in fury--but was unable to get up from the soft couch. "I am! I'm fat!"
"You're not fat," he insisted. "You're pregnant. There's a difference."
She put a hand to her cheek in mock amazement. "Really? No wonder you used to be an esteemed physician!"
He closed his eyes briefly, attempting to keep his temper from overwhelming his patience. "Look. Anck-su-Namun. I love you. You'll always be beautiful to me. You were beautiful to me when you were a three-thousand-year-old rotting mummy in Hamunaptra. You're certainly beautiful to me now. I know you're miserable, but please, my love, try to be patient. In another two months this will all be over and we'll finally be a family."
She tried to find something to cry or yell about but couldn't. Instead she just nodded and hugged him again. "I'm sorry."
"You don't need to apologize."
"At least I'm not apologizing for what happened at Ahm Shere," she said with a weak smile. "I mean, not today, anyway..."
"I think it's been at least a week."
"All right. I'm sorry for that, too."
"You apologize too much."
"Sorry. I mean...er..."
He shook his head fondly and kissed the tears from her face. "Apology accepted...for the millionth time."
She sighed and surrendered to his embrace.
Imhotep finally bought a car. He also hired a professional sculptor to make a better figurine of the childbirth god Bes. He attempted and failed miserably at making her some of the ancient foods she'd been craving. He even brushed up on his medical knowledge to assist in a natural childbirth, without the modern distractions.
Once all those obstacles were dispensed with, there was nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait.
"I hate this."
Anck-su-Namun scowled at the calendar. "This due date business. In our time you just had to guess, and when you gave birth, you gave birth. There was none of this sitting around staring at the calendar, waiting for some magic date to come. And that might not even be The Day!"
Imhotep hugged her from behind, leading her away from the calendar. "So don't pay any attention to it."
"I made you that date pudding thing you like, from the ancient recipie."
"Is it green this time?"
"It's the right color this time."
"You're a lousy cook."
"I still love you, though."
She laughed and allowed him to lead her to the kitchen.
It was late. On a normal night, Imhotep and Anck-su-Namun would have been asleep in bed by this hour. It was not, however, a normal night.
She waddled ponderously from one end of the apartment to the other, looking pale and worried. Maybe she was imagining things. It hadn't really been a labor pain...had it? It was probably nothing. Wishful thinking. A false alarm. Something she ate.
Every time she was about to wake her husband and send him to bed, she began second-guessing herself and decided to let him stay dozing on the couch just a little bit longer.
Imhotep was slumped against a pile of pillows, snoring with his mouth hanging open. Had Anck-su-Namun recently opened a certain cursed chest she might have been frightened to see his jaw in that position. As it was, she merely smiled fondly and gingerly plopped down beside him. He was instantly awake. "Well?"
"I don't know. I'm probably imagining it, but--"
Switching from concerned husband mode to curious physician mode, he asked her to describe exactly what she was feeling. She did, and he shrugged. "If there's not more pain more often, there should be plenty of time yet."
"So we should just get some sleep?"
"Probably a good idea."
"Okay. There's just one problem."
"I can't get up off this couch again."
He hoisted her awkwardly into a standing position and led her to bed. They were soon asleep.
The next thing he knew, his wife was nudging him awake none too gently. "Imhotep! Wake up!"
He mumbled something incoherent. He was in the middle of a lovely dream about floating down the Nile on his back, watching birds fly overhead, and--
"Imhotep!" she said again, more insistently. "My water just broke!"
He jolted awake. That would explain the river in his dream...
Everything after that was a blur. There was no sense of time, although it was by no means a fast labor. Drawing on his refreshed medical skill, he acted as a midwife, coaching her as best he could until--
"It...it's a girl," he announced breathlessly, staring at stupefied wonder at the squirming infant in his hands. She coughed a little before breaking into a loud, healthy wail.
"Let me see," Anck-su-Namun gasped, stretching out her arms. He quickly wrapped the sticky baby in a blanket and laid her on her mother's chest. There was still much to be done, but for now they allowed themselves a minute to catch their breath and welcome their firstborn.
"I've been waiting so long to meet you," Anck-su-Namun said through her tears. It was obvious she meant far longer than nine months.
The baby regarded her parents with large, dark, unfocused eyes, then closed them to open her mouth instead.
Imhotep stood for several long seconds, absently rubbing his hands on a towel and staring. Finally, he laid a hand on his daughter's damp head. "Welcome, Jendayi," he said simply, his voice choked with emotion.
Anck-su-Namun quivered with the thrill of hearing the name. They had decided on it for a girl's name some time ago, but somehow it seemed different now, being spoken to the child herself. It meant "thankful," and no adjective better described the new parents at that moment.
As she contemplated this, a warm voice echoed in her head. "You're welcome, my child."
Her eyes widened. "Hathor?"
"What?" Imhotep asked.
She smiled serenely and hugged the baby tighter. "Hathor says we're welcome."
"She...spoke to you?"
"Yes." On a day as marvelous as this, a blessing from the goddess of love--above and beyond the baby herself--seemed right in place.
Imhotep merely did what he always did when he couldn't think of anything to say: he kissed his wife. As a welcome coda, he kissed his daughter's forehead, as well. Jendayi squeaked and wriggled at his touch.
"At last," he murmured.
"At last," she echoed.