Hello once again. Sorry for the long wait on this chapter; but I made it extra long to make up for it. In my opinion, the beginning is good, but the latter part seems forced. Ah well, I'll leave that up to you to decide, please R&R and enjoy the story!

Niani: Didn't want to make it seem like they fall in love at first sight, but don't worry; they'll start to warm up toward each other soon.

Crystal: Glad you like the story so far, keep reading ^_^

Hobbit-Luvr: Glad you like it, and don't worry, we all hear voices every once in awhile (at least I do lol!)^_^

Hoshii-chan: I've obtained my goal then. It'll get happier though, well at least for a while….*evil smirk*

Funyun: Well, since I'm a lunatic as well, I can't point fingers! Eep, well, I thought Tom was getting a little sappy (sorry about that) but I didn't think Mina was too bad… I'll have to keep that in check. What are you talking about? Anyways is a word! Lol, anywho keep writing, I'll try to keep everyone in character.

DISCLAIMER: I still don't own anything. *sighs* oh well…  onto the story!


Fire. It's everywhere; licking my skin and caressing my face like a treacherous lover. I am screaming as loud as I can, and yet no sound can be heard. The flames turn invisible when they touch me. Because of this Tom can't even see me when he's trying to find me. Waves of agony and despair take turns coursing through my body as if it were an attraction at a local fair. Sawyer is moving away now; I suppose he is going to search another area to try and find me. I keep screaming, praying that he will hear me, but he just continues to walk away, completely oblivious to my desperate cries. The fire continues to tear at my flesh, to singe my hair, and the smoke has filled my lungs so fully that all I can do is cough and choke. I cannot even move; the pain is paralyzing but unfortunately far from numbing. I never thought of myself as a religious man, but now I find myself praying to anyone who will listen to stop this torment that is being inflicted upon me. What have I done to deserve such suffering? I cannot remember anything and everything is starting to blacken. I can here someone laughing in the distance.

            Waking up drenched in a cold sweat, I am filled with overwhelming relief to know that it was just a nightmare. It was one hell of a nightmare though…the sheets are hopelessly tangled around my waist and my skin feels like it's on fire. Obviously writhing uncontrollably against rough bed covers isn't the best thing in the world to do when you have burns covering your body.

            Glancing around the room, I am surprised to see that there is no one there. Maybe I've finally stopped talking and yelling in my sleep. That doesn't mean that the pain has stopped though. If I want to keep from eventually waking up the whole ship, I'm going to have to find some painkillers. Why do I have the strange feeling that this is going to be a lot harder than it sounds?

            Taking a second more observant glance around the room, I finally notice two things that I can choose from to help me in my predicament. One is a bottle of pills (the very same ones the doctor used to force down my throat) and a needle with what I suppose is morphine nearby. Since I have no idea how to fix morphine, I think I had better go with the pills. Well, now that that decision has been made, I guess I should probably figure out how I'm supposed to get to them.

            I'm thinking that the first step is to get up. Hmm…that's easier said than done. All right Skinner, take it easy, one motion at a time. You know, I just realized that I look like a bloody mummy in all these bandages. Anyway, the real first step is to get myself untangled from all of these darn sheets. It took me about ten minutes, but I finally managed to get the evil things off. It took quite a few whimpers and yelps, but they're gone.

            All right, now it's time to sit up. First I slid myself up onto my elbows, trying to keep from aggravating my burns too much. Okay, from here it's just a little shove and I'm sitting up right? Well, I gave it a try and I was wrong. When I did that, sure I managed to get into a decent sitting position, but I don't think I've ever had such a stomach cramp in my life. Clutching my middle, I leaned forward and drew my legs up, quickly locking my arms around my knees. That'll show me for trying to move after just lying there for a week. I don't think I've ever shaken so badly as I was now; don't think I ever will again either. While I was sitting there whimpering, the song Mina was singing to me came back to me. I closed my eyes tightly shut and imagined her holding me and singing in that heavenly voice. Before I knew it I was humming the song under my breath. Eventually the stabbing pains in my stomach subsided and I smiled wearily. I would have to thank Mina later. After I finally regained my composure, I stated the task of standing up again. Every muscle, nerve, and brain cell in my body was screaming at me not to, but since when do I listen to them?

            Taking a deep breath, I swallow my apprehension and slowly swing my legs over the side of the bed. My feet barely touch the floor; but to me it feels as if they have slammed against it. Biting my lip to stop the cry of pain from escaping, I couldn't help but glare at the hard floor as if it was the cause of all of my troubles.

            "Bloody floor, bloody sheets, bloody room!" I muttered softly, glancing at the door checking to make sure that no one was hearing my not so quiet attempt to get up. Satisfied that there was no one coming, I set my jaw and fixed my gaze on my destination; the counter where the pill bottle sat. In reality it was probably only a few feet away, but it was miles away as far as I was concerned. I took a deep breath and then slowly pushed myself off of the bed. I had to clutch the bedpost to keep from falling on my face, but I was still standing. Not bad Rodney, not bad. Okay, now, just put one foot in front of the other; that's it. Seven steps to go. Six. Five, almost there…four.

            That's when the door unexpectedly opened. My head shot up and my eyes flickered toward the door, landing on the shapely form of our resident vampire-lady. Probably shouldn't have stayed on that thought so long though; next thing I knew I was face down on the floor, clutching my leg and cursing like a sailor. Apparently I had run right into, and over I might add, a stool that had been planted right in front of the counter. I swear these people are trying to kill me. First the lights, now this.

            While I was lying there musing and whimpering, Mina was standing above me fixing the shot with an annoyed look on her face. She gently set the needle down and then crouched down next to me.

            "Mr. Skinner, how many times must I tell you to call for help if you need something?"

            "Well, I'm gonna 'ave ta say one more time, Mina luv. Besides, if yew were me, would yew really want ta stay in one spot forever? I'm not a kid, I can do a few things myself!" I was starting to feel like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum. Especially when Mina gave me this scolding look. Yeah. Nice job winning over the lady Skinner, real nice job.

            She reached down and picked me up, then she started half-carrying me back to my bed. I was really starting to hate that thing. "Of course you can take care of yourself Mr. Skinner. I have no doubt, especially when I walked in and found you tripping over a stool and landing on your face. But even the most coordinated of us need help every once in a while." I swear she was smirking at me. It's cruel to laugh at the wounded!

            I really don't think I've blushed so hard since I was a kid.  New discovery; blushing when burned is yet another stupid thing to do. Ouch…

            After setting me on the bed, Mina went back to the counter, grabbed the shot and came back over. When I saw her standing over me with the needle, I shrank back as far as I could against the covers. Did I mention that I hate needles? Well, I think Mina figured it out when she grabbed my arm and tried to stick me. I let out a scream that would have made any little girl proud. She let go of my arm and put her hand to her ear while she gave me yet another look. I gave her the best I'm sorry/puppy dogface I could make. Don't think it worked very well though, considering she couldn't really see my face.

            " What in the world was that for? Must you attempt to break my eardrums, Mr. Skinner?" she hissed at me. I'm pretty sure I saw a fang there.

            "Well, yew see, I'm deathly afraid of needles. Yew see, as a kid, my mum took me to the doc 'cause I was sick. Well, the doc had a couple nurses draw some blood from me. They missed the vein. Repeatedly. Stuck me about ten times before they finally got whut they wanted. Since then I've 'ad this thing against needles." I was crying like a baby before I finally got out of there. That's one of my fonder memories too. Don't think I need to tell her that much though.

            "Why didn't you say anything before? Oh, don't worry Mr. Skinner, it'll be quick, and I swear it won't hurt." She picked up my arm again and put the shot against it. When I didn't pull away (you have to face your fears sometime they say) I guess she took it as a go ahead sign. I could feel the shot sliding into my flesh, and it took all of my self-control to keep from shuddering.

            "There. Now that wasn't that bad now was it, Mr. Skinner?" I guess she had gotten rid of the needle, because when I opened my eyes and looked at her, it was gone. Wow, that stuff's strong…I'm already getting woozy. "Oh, by the way, Mr. Skinner, the doctor said that if you rested a few more days, without a lot of moving, you could get up and walk around a bit. So I suggest you try to relax until at least the day after tomorrow, alright?"

             I flashed her a quick smile. "Sounds good ta me luv." She said goodnight and began walking toward the door. "Oh, Mina, could I ask yew a favor?" she nodded, "Could yew stop calling me Mr. Skinner? It makes me feel old. My name's Rodney."                      

            I think she actually gave me a smile. "Alright. Well, goodnight then, Rodney." The door closed with a soft click and I drifted off into a thankfully dreamless sleep.


Alrighty, chapter 3 is done! I'll try to get the next one up soon. So, how'd ya like it? Gimme a review and tell me ^_^ Oh, btw, go read "Why Do I Love You?" it's a songfic, try it, you might like it. Happy Easter everyone!