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Reminiscing It was quiet.

That was the first thing that struck Mina as she walked out of the top hatch of the Nautilus. She was used to there always being some kind of noise going on around her; her enhanced vampire hearing meant that she could normally hear any sound going on around her for quite some distance. How far she'd never been able to find out, but it was definitely far. But up here, above the bustling submarine that had been her home for the past few days, she couldn't even hear the crew through all those thick hulls.

And to think, only a few days ago, she'd stood up here with that traitorous Dorian Grey, looking around her at the incredible scene while he just planned her death. At the same time, Skinner and Jekyll wandered along the hull and Quartermain examined his guns, blissfully unaware that he wouldn't live the week out.

And, beside him...

Tom Sawyer.

Recently, Mina had found everything tracing back to him. Ever since that race through Venice in Nemo's car, she'd been unable to stop thinking about him for too long. And, after their attack on the Fantom's palace, she couldn't help but be impressed at him. He'd taken on a second invisible man when he couldn't even be certain he wouldn't just hit the wall, and he'd actually managed to shoot the Fantom in the back as he ran away. That was the most impressive, mainly because the Fantom had been so far away that, if Mina had been in his positions, she couldn't have been sure she'd have hit him, even with her heightened senses.

Could it be...?

No, she vowed to herself silently. After she'd witnessed Quincey sacrifice his life to kill Dracula and spare her from his curse (A partly hollow gesture), and then having to see Jonathan pass on himself, she'd vowed that she would never go through that sort of pain again. Besides, with her fears of reverting to her base vampire instincts at her height, affairs like the one she'd had with Dorian were all she would ever allow herself.

"Penny for your thoughts?" a voice behind her said. Mina glanced behind her and saw Tom standing behind her. She was surprised that he'd been able to get there without her knowing it, but knew his training with the Americans had taught him expert stealth abilities.

"Oh, nothing much," she replied causally. "Just thinking about the old days."

"Really?" Tom said, smiling as he stood beside her on the platform, staring out at the sea. "You know, I never thought to ask you about those. What happened to you after that vampire... Dracula, right?... bit you?"

Mina glanced over at him, wondering whether she should tell him. Then she decided she would; after all, he had a right to know about his team-mates. Besides, although he didn't know it, there was talk among the League of making him the new leader...

"About what you'd expect," she said, folding her arms and leaning over the railing. "While I stayed this age, all the friends who I got to know and love while we fought Dracula aged. Jonathan- you know, my husband," she added, just in case Tom hadn't heard that was his name. When he nodded, she continued. "Anyway, he and I were terrified when we realized that I was still infected by Dracula's kiss, but Professor Van Helsing, the man who led us against Dracula, tested me out with crucifixes and some sunlight, and confirmed I wasn't classified by the Lord as evil until I drank innocent blood. Since I haven't done that, I'm not subject to all the normal vampire weaknesses, like the sun or crucifixes."

"But you got the lack of aging, huh?" Tom smiled, as he turned around and rested his back against the railing.

"Exactly," Mina sighed. "The only blessing was that I didn't have to endure seeing them all die while I remained unchanged; Jonathan and I were caught in an accident and a cab we were in fell onto some rocks. My vampire physiology saved me, but Jonathan died before I could get him to a hospital. I left then, leaving my son Quincey in the hands of Doctor Seward and Arthur Godalming; I couldn't bear to see him die while I lived on unaltered. I see him now and again, but I shall never return permanently until I can age normally."

Tom stared up at the sky, as he absorbed the story. Then, he looked over at her and sighed sadly. "That's tough," he sighed. "And I thought I'd seen tragedy when Becky ended it with me..."

"'Becky'?" Mina asked curiously, but with a slightly harsh undertone. An old lover of Tom's...?

Then she realized she was being stupid. If she wasn't interested in Tom in that was, then she had no business in being jealous of an old lover, and if she was, it was irrelevant, given that he wasn't with her now.

"A former... fiancé of mine, I guess you'd say," Tom said, not noticing her little flash of jealousy, if that was what it was. "We had an on and off relationship when I was younger. We were always happy together. We were each other's... firsts, as well," he said, looking a little sheepish as he said the last sentence. Mina felt slightly flattered that Tom had confided that personal information to her.

"So, what happened?" she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

"A friend of mine, Joe Harper, died," Tom said. "The two of us were out boating on the river, and we fell off the boat. I was knocked out, and Joe hurt his leg on a rock. He managed to drag me to the shore, but just as he'd got me to safety, the current... pulled him away. We never found his body."

"Oh," Mina said. She placed one comforting hand on his left shoulder. Looking down at it, Tom smiled, and raised his right hand to put on top of it. "I'm sorry."

"Thanks," Tom replied, sighing a little. "I guess I went into a bit of a 'survivor's guilt' moment for a while. I couldn't shake the feeling that I should have died, and not Joe. Becky got tired of it after a while, and ended it. She ran off with some other guy she knew."

"Tough break," a voice said from somewhere. However, Mina and Tom didn't bother to look around for who'd spoken; the accent was unmistakable, and looking wouldn't have served any real point.

"Skinner, I thought we all made it clear that we want you to be clothed when you aren't in action?" Tom asked, looking in front of him at where he thought the voice originated from.

"Yeah, you did, but I just couldn't resist a little laugh," Skinner replied, chuckling a little. "Besides, I heard your little stroll down memory lane, and felt like listening in."

"Well, can you at least get dressed if you're going to be staying up here?" Mina asked, looking where Tom had been looking.

"Oh, sure thing," Skinner commented, his voice sounding like it was echoing. A few seconds later, a coat came up the steps as though the air was wearing it. At the same time, a sleeve reached into the left pocket and pulled out a jar of cream, which was then applied above the coat by cream- covered fingers. As Tom and Mina watched, the face of Skinner became visible through the cream, although the eyes remained unnervingly see- through.

"Skinner, if you're using the cream, could you possibly...?" Mina asked, indicating the pocket where he kept his hat and glasses.

"Oh, sure thing," Skinner smiled, as he pulled them out and slipped them on. As he pulled the coat around himself, he managed to look relatively unremarkable if you avoided looking down at his legs. "So, if we're talking about the past up here, can I tell my story as well?"

"If you want," Mina replied, indicating the foremost part of the Nautilus' lookout post. Nodding in agreement, Tom and Skinner moved over there with her at once, bending over and resting on the railing. Skinner was in the center, staring out at the vast ocean as the Nautilus ploughed through it, Tom and Mina on either side of him.

"So, Skinner, how did you find the original's formula anyway?" Mina asked, after they'd stared in front of them for a few seconds.

"Oh, I'd been scouring the town where he died, and heard the rumors that his formula was kept in the Invisible Man inn," Skinner explained, smiling as he looked ahead of him. "I had a fairly good grounding in chemistry, and decided I might as well see if there was anything to it. I found the books with the formulas in them after a brief search, and used them on myself. Given that I was an albino myself, it was relatively easy to use it on myself, and, well, you can guess how it went from there."

"Not entirely," Mina said suddenly. "If things worked out for you, how were you captured by Moriarty's men?"

"Good point," Sawyer said. "How'd that happen?"

"Simple, really," Skinner said. "They worked out the pattern I was operating on, and set up the house that I was going to break into next so they could lock it up automatically the second I entered, and I couldn't pick the locks because I'd left my equipment outside. From there on in, it's simple. Not much compared to your stories, but it could be worse, I suppose."

"True enough," another voice said. Looking behind them, the three saw the other two members of the LXG, as some of them had come to call their group; Doctor Jekyll and Captain Nemo.

"Oh, you going to tell us your stories as well?" Tom asked, as he and Mina moved apart to accommodate the other two. This whole talk was definitely getting interesting, Mina thought to herself. She'd come up to think, and now she was hearing the histories of her fellow members? She'd need to try this more often.

"Well, if you wish," Nemo said, smiling behind his beard as he stood between Skinner and Tom, while Jekyll positioned himself beside Mina. He glanced over at Jekyll. "Who tells first, you or me?"

"I will," Jekyll said. "It'll probably make yours sound nicer."

"Why? Not the best of stories, is it?" Tom asked. "I heard a little of it from Alan when the two of us went hunting you, but it wasn't that much. All I heard was that you['d been terrorising the Rue Morgue for months."

"That phrase barely even scratches the surface," Jekyll began to explain. "When I first changed into Hyde, I was more of a dwarf than the rampaging engine of destruction you know him as today. Everything really changed after I began to run out of a certain white powder that played a key role in the original formula."

"Why?" Mina asked. "I mean, you must have been able to order a new batch of it."

"There was a certain factor unique to that batch of powder that I couldn't duplicate. I was forced to modify the formula so it could work without that, but it mutated Hyde into the version you know now. I was forced to flee London for Paris, and everything from there is easy to work out."

"Tough break, Henry," Tom sighed, patting him consolingly on the shoulder before turning over to Nemo. "How about you? What's your story?"

"A bit more difficult than yours, but not incredibly long," Nemo replied. "I developed an interest in science at an early age, especially anything to do with the sea. After India fell under the control of Britain, I secretly arranged for several parts to be constructed in various countries. Once they were all completed, I had them bought to an island of my choosing, and, with the aid of several people I had managed to locate who thought the same way I did, I managed to create the Nautilus. I then launched my ship, taking with me several books and paintings that I valued highly. I continued my exploration of the undersea depths, occasionally attacking British ships, and was only interrupted by the brief arrival of a Professor Aronax, with whom I traveled several seas until he left, although promising to remain in contact now and again. From him I received news of the Fantom's attacks on several countries. I managed to track down a man who claimed to represent the British Government- our old 'friend' M- and offered my services to help them. He accepted, and from there on it, it's obvious."

"True," Tom said, shaking his head as he stared out in front of him. Beside him, the other four members of the League did the same, not really looking at anything in particular. Then, Nemo got up and dusted his hands off.

"Well, I should get down to the control room and prepare for the dive," he said, looking around at the rest of the LXG. "You four should get down as well; we've got a long way to go before our next stop for supplies."

"Good, good," Skinner smiled, as he strolled down the steps after Nemo, followed by Jekyll. Just as Mina was about to join them, she heard a small chuckle behind her. Looking around at Tom, she raised one quizzical eyebrow at him. "What's the joke?"

"I was just thinking," Tom replied, looking back at her with a grin on his face. "You, me, Nemo, Henry, Rodney... All different people, ought together by a common uniqueness. Who knows? Maybe all those events were meant to happen, in some weird quirk of fate that could change everything we know?"

"Or maybe not," Mina replied simply, as she walked away from Tom and headed towards her cabin. However, she waiting briefly until she heard him start to come down after her to go all the way.


It was only as she lay in bed that night that Mina realized she'd thought of Tim as just 'Tom' all day.