In the end they explored the pyramid in groups. Charlie, Ford, and David followed the great tunnel down towards the right, Fifield and Milburn went left, Vickers returned to the ship with her guns and her equally icy stare, and Elizabeth stayed sitting at the entrance near the man who wasn't a man at all.
She wondered, if they hadn't, if they had gone as a single group or if she had perhaps gone with them, if things might have gone differently.
He'd removed his headdress and goggles, revealing surprisingly delicate, but inhuman features. His eyes were much too large and dark to be human, only the barest sliver of silver iris showing beyond a black pupil, and his skin was too pale with hair almost pale enough to match. Still, with the rest of his features so human, the nose, the lips, the cheekbones, it made him seem off rather than purely alien. As if he had once been human.
He hadn't said a word when they'd gotten inside, simply stood there and waited for them to explore the pyramid on their own until only Elizabeth remained. Then, when it was just them, he'd looked at her with an expression she couldn't read, and then he'd sat and she'd sat as well, both of them waiting for something.
The sounds of the expedition had vanished, the shouts, the joys of discovery, muted by distance. Sitting here, Elizabeth wondered what it was they were seeing. She'd see it for herself, it was only the beginning, but all the same she had this irrational feeling that this might be her only chance. That if she sat here, she would never see the pyramid like this again.
Only the wind, howling outside the pyramid, could now be heard.
"You have a strong will," the man finally said. He didn't look at her, instead stared straight ahead, back out towards the entrance. She still couldn't read his expression, and she wondered if it was the eyes, were the eyes different enough, inhuman enough, that it made him impossible to read or was it something else?
"What do you mean?"
The man finally looked at her, and this time, there was a small rueful quirk of his lips, a hint of a smile, "You were supposed to go with the others."
"Why would I do that?"
"I am not what you're looking for," he said, the smile growing wider, as if he could no longer contain it, "I am as much an unwilling visitor to this place as you are."
"I'm not an unwilling visitor," Elizabeth corrected, and now the smile was a grin, as if she truly had gone and amused him yet again.
"Ah, right, I had almost forgotten that you are a fool."
"Why do you say that?"
He said nothing to that, simply looked away from her again, the smile disappearing as quickly as it came and leaving the oppressive silence once again.
Elizabeth counted her breaths, let her head rest against the tunnel wall, and tried to think of what she was supposed to say. Suddenly, she didn't know. She had imagined, of course, that the Engineer would not speak English, that David would have to do the talking at first. However, if they had, there had been a script for that as well, painfully put together and edited for months on end.
The words were gone though, she couldn't recall a single one now, and all that was left was the quiet.
Finally, she asked, "If you're a visitor too, then where did you come from?"
"Far," he said, shortly and stiffly, making it clear she wasn't getting an answer beyond that.
"And how did you get here, if you're unwilling?"
He didn't answer for some time, enough time that she assumed he would not answer at all, but then, "I… crashed."
"And that's why you need the Prometheus," Elizabeth concluded, but his expression didn't change, no hint of any thought lying beyond it.
Finally, she asked it, the question she had been meaning to ask for so very long, "Then… Did you meet the people here?"
"In a sense," he responded, before, another almost amused smile, "You could say that I found what's left of them."
He then looked back over to her and this time, more than any other, Elizabeth felt as if he was looking into the very heart of her and judging her for all she was worth. She had never in her life felt so mortal and so human.
"What do you expect to find here, exactly?"
"Answers," Elizabeth said, not faltering, not daring to falter even now, especially now that he kept looking, "Why they made us? Why they left their invitation? They have so many answers to so many questions I have always wanted to ask."
"And if you don't like their answers?"
"I came for answers," Elizabeth said, blinking, "I don't expect any one response or another."
The man laughed, then stood, wrapping his shawl around his head and face once again and readjusting his goggles.
Elizabeth stood as well, "You're leaving already?"
"A storm's coming," the man said, Elizabeth looking down at her suit for messages from the Prometheus, but there were none to confirm his words, "If you want your answers, I suggest you catch up to the rest of them."
"Of course," the man said, turning to regard her with his costume fully in place, "I suppose you could come with me instead."
Instead, he'd said, as if she couldn't simply return to the pyramid later or see the results on the Prometheus that night. Instead, as if it was either or. Choose your Engineers, Elizabeth, or choose the stranger who claims to be something you never looked for in the first place.
Each of them had made that choice already.
Charlie had chosen the ruins, Vickers had chosen the Prometheus, and even David as artificial as he was had chosen the Engineers. Elizabeth, despite all her brave words and her faith, had unthinkingly chosen something else entirely.
She thought, that even then, he knew what would happen. He knew, warned them offhand, and then pushed them towards their fate in retribution for simply lacking room on the Prometheus. He knew before they even landed that the Prometheus wouldn't last more than a day in this place.
He knew, that for Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, there was only ever one choice in this place. That, in choosing to place her hand in his and have him guide her to his shelter, coming the Prometheus to let them know she was exiting the pyramid, she had forsaken her Engineers and chosen life.
He knew that, she did not.
When things went wrong on a human vessel, they let you know, loudly. Red lights flashed, sirens blared, and over the intercom the human captain shouted orders to send the ship into quarantine and lockdown.
They were faster, this time around, but this was not his first ship nor even the second. It was one in what seemed to be an endless line of human deep voyage vessels which made to plunge past the borders of the solar system in search for planets similar to their own. They were like ants, an endless stream of ants, and no matter how many he crushed beneath his heel they simply kept coming.
With each ship noisier, brighter, and more unbearably obnoxious than the last. They would not survive this. Surely, they knew that, and yet here they were all the same with that thin hoped that they, somehow, would be the first to make it past him.
"And what, exactly, do you expect them to do?"
Looking over he saw none other than the lord his god, leaning against the ship as if there was nowhere she'd rather be in all the worlds, and grinning at him like a fool.
"Star flower," he acknowledged, an edge to his voice as he looked at her. There were times and places that he wished to greet her, but their relationship had always been complex, and he knew that her appearance was not always in his favor.
"Do you really expect them to just surrender and die?" she pressed, leaning forward towards him red curls swaying gently with the motion.
"I don't see why not."
"Coming from you, I find that hilarious," she said, "After all, as I remember it, your people chose to do anything but that. Why should the humanity be any different?"
"We did not destroy ourselves," he hissed back, "We didn't waste what we were—"
"They have very different circumstances, Light, remember that they don't know who and what I am," she interjected, "Not like you do."
Yes, he knew that very well, and he considered it a strike against them. They complied with her wishes, had forgotten her face and her name as she had asked them to years ago now, but in return they had grown arrogant and greedy. In forgetting her they had forgotten themselves, and now they blundered about in the vast dark, attempting to make up for that fact.
"Let them go," she said with a sigh, holding out her hand to him in offering, as she always did, as she had even at that first ending when he had thought she would eradicate all hint of his people's existence, "Let them have their worlds, they will never touch yours, and come home."
"And if I don't?" he asked.
What if he did more than attack these ships that wandered too far? What if, instead of crushing ants that wandered into his kitchen, he turned his eye to the source of them? What would she do then? How far would she let him go, let them go, before she was forced into making a choice. As she so often liked to say, there could only be one lord of the rings, and it was time she bestowed the title on one of them already.
She retracted her hand, slowly, let it fall listlessly to her side, "Don't make me do this."
"I am tired," she said, head bowing forward, ignoring the blaring of sirens, the red flashing lights, and the screaming of the captain, "I am spread thin, like butter on bread, and each year that passes I just keep spreading thinner. Don't make me do this to you."
"Do what?" he asked again, moving forward and gripping her shoulders, but she just smiled up at him. It was too soft, too old, and entirely too sad.
"There's something to be learned here, my friend," she said, gripping his arms in turn, "There's something I think you should see."
He felt the ship twist around them, fall out of existence as the star flower pulled them back into the warp. Stars burst into existence and burned out in the same second as they hurtled through the infinite dark, further and faster than he had ever been before.
He screamed but the sound tore away from him, empty, without particles for it to travel in.
Then, when it felt as if his limbs were burning and he might go blind, he hit solid earth, skidding and falling back against a craggily mountainside. The air was filled with dirt and death, a yellow jaundiced cast to the atmosphere, this was a world that was habitable yet abandoned.
She stood on the peak of a rock, balancing on its uppermost tip as she looked down at him, watching with those dark green eyes as he scrambled to his feet.
"Enjoy your stay here, Light and Shadow of the Distant Sun," she said, and it was that same voice, that same tone she'd used all those years ago when she had condemned his people, "Remember your wars and your bitterness, while you sit here in the ruins of mankind's vengeful progenitors. Remember who and what you are, and when the time comes, remember how to let go."
And just like that, she was gone, leaving behind only particles of dust in the howling wind.
Author's Note: So, yes, to answer people's questions he is kind of stuck here and does need a lift. But look at Lily, trying to teach people things with mixed results. She's come so far.
Thanks for reading and reviewing, reviews are much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Prometheus or Harry Potter