A/N: Just...it hit me and it's been bugging me. Not meant to be slash, but it may seem so.


         "Sawyer!" Skinner shouted, pushing the flame-bearer to stop him from killing Tom Sawyer. Instead, he was engulfed in the searing fire, and he darted away as fast as he could, burning, in extreme pain.

          Tom grabbed the long-unused torch and smashed it into the flame-bearer's gas tank, igniting it killing the bearer instantly, and setting the whole room on fire. Papers and old books worth a fortune cackled merrily in the flames.

          "Skinner?" Tom asked, looking around. He found Skinner, badly burnt and obviously in pain. "Skinner? Are you alright?"

          "That's the last time," Skinner's voice was strained, and the burns made visible more than half his body, "I play with matches."


          Tom Sawyer paced outside the Infirmary, aching all over but still pacing nonetheless. Skinner was inside, being treated for first-degree burns by Mina and Jekyll. They weren't sure if he was going to survive.

          He has to, Tom thought to himself, if he doesn't...I can't live with that.

          Nemo was somewhere, helping his crew settle the scientists and their families. By some small miracle, only a few of his men had been killed or injured.

          How would he be able to live with the guilt, knowing that it was for him that Skinner faced near-death? Would he be able to pass day to day, with the burden of the death of a good friend resting on his shoulders? The fancy title of Secret Agent, the praise from those high-up in the ranks, even the President's personal thanks — they would mean nothing if his unlikely friend didn't make it out of the operation.

          Allan was already dead.

          Tom wouldn't be able to take the burden of another death.

          A death that was caused by him.

          He ran a hand through his thick blond locks, trying in vain to keep them out of his face just as Dr. Jekyll walked out of the Infirmary. Tom rushed to talk to him.

          "How is he?" Tom asked, concerned. Jekyll looked grave, and almost all hope vanished from the pit of Tom's soul.

          "The burns are worse than we'd first thought," the good doctor said. "And he needs blood, but I'm afraid Nemo doesn't have the stocks we need."

          "How much do you need?" Tom asked. Maybe I can help with this.

          "A few pints, maybe more," Jekyll said, "From a young healthy man, too." Tom gave the doctor an expectant look, with a "I'm-the-obvious-choice" written all over his face in red ink. Imaginary red ink, anyway. His saucer-wide eyes widened when he realized what Tom was implying. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

          "I know it's risky," Tom admitted. "But I've gotta do something. Standing here, just waiting...it'll drive anybody nuts." Jekyll nodded, understanding in full what drove Tom to make this decision. With a gesture, Jekyll led Tom inside.
          Mina was just cleaning up, and barely glanced at the two; she knew why he was there. "Be careful," she warned them. Tom nodded, and she left. Jekyll pulled up a chair and Tom sat down next to the bed, watching as Jekyll prepared the instruments needed for the transfusion. Tom couldn't help but feel a little nervous; he knew that blood transfusion was a dangerous risk. Even a young man like him might not survive.

          "Ready?" Jekyll asked. Tom nodded, and then felt the blood leaving his body, going into Skinner's unconscious form. It kept going, moving from one person to another, repaying a debt of honor.

          Tom was still pale from the transfusion the day before, and Jekyll noticed this as the younger man came into the dining room for breakfast the next day.

          "Feeling better?" Mina inquired, watching his face.

          "A little light-headed, but otherwise I'm okay," Tom answered, glancing at Jekyll. "And Skinner...?"

          "He'll live, thanks to you," Jekyll smiled. Tom looked relieved. A debt of honor repaid, the American thought.

          Jekyll gave a little chuckle. "And also thanks to you, he'll be up and about soon, up to his usual shenanigans."

          Tom laughed.