Disclaimers: Don't own the characters except the ones out of my imagination...poor things. Whoever owns the rights on the rest...owns it. Not making any money, only having some fun, appeasing myself and hopefully others with the continuing adventures. I've never read the comics, only read 'about' what they contained from LXG related articles. This is my little twist on everything from the movie and the comics.
Rated PG-13 for action and some swearing.
LXG 2: THE SEQUEL
BY SAWYER FAN
The young man strolled away slowly from the freshly dug grave, pondering the past several days that had led him so tragically to this point. Despite his friend's reassurances, Tom Sawyer couldn't help but feel the weight of the old adventurer's death on his shoulders. After all, it was for him that the great hunter and renown adventurer, Allan Quatermain, gave the ultimate sacrifice-his life. Glancing back at the grave, the handsome American sighed heavily. He was truly grateful for the selfless act, but yet... What he wouldn't give to have the old codger glaring at him right now, blustering about some foolish reaction to a situation.
Sawyer smiled sadly. It was odd, but he could still feel the bond he shared with the older man as if they were only separated by location...not by eternity. He would never admit it to his other comrades, but Tom saw Quatermain more as a father figure than as a friend. Stuffing his hands into his pant's pockets, the Secret Service agent continued down the path with his friends, ignoring the dark clouds and random streaks of lightening that were now filling the skies behind him in this small area of Africa.
Watching the youth leave, an elderly, tribal witch doctor grinned under the white paint that was smeared all over his countenance. He turned his dark face heavenward, and began to chant over and over, feeling the earth begin to quake under his feet.
The cross bearing Allan Quatermain's name swayed to and fro as the mound of dirt under it rumbled in response to the violent disturbance. A single bolt of lightening struck as a hand clawed it's way through the earth, reaching out to touch the modified Winchester rifle placed upon the grave by Sawyer. Ice cold fingers gripped around the stock of the weapon, the metal hot from the lightening.
Only the witch doctor heard the yell booming from the depths of the grave.
Rodney Skinner was many things, but what he desperately wished to be right now was a man of sage wisdom. He watched his American friend sit quietly on the deck of the great submersible craft, the Nautilus, and struggled to find the words to say how sorry he was about everything. If he hadn't been so careless, Sawyer wouldn't have been captured, forcing a life or death situation to occur. Pulling on a trench coat and a pair of dark glasses, the totally invisible man approached Sawyer cautiously.
"Hey, Skinner," Tom greeted with a slight grin. Only Rodney could make an entrance like this; only the coat and shades being visible. If the sneaky thief didn't wear face paint or clothes, you'd never know he was there at all. "How are your burns doin'?" Sawyer asked in his soft, Southern drawl.
"Hardly know they're there, mate," Skinner replied in his thick, Cockney accent. Clearing his throat nervously, he gestured towards his young friend. "What about you? Sure been sitting around this tub just staring out at nothing."
"Just thinkin'," Sawyer shrugged sadly.
"You?" Skinner jabbed, hoping to see a tiny smile.
It worked. Tom let out a quiet chuckle. "I am an American Secret Service Agent, y'know."
"Yeah, but I thought those blokes behind the desks did the thinking while you did the action," the invisible man continued.
Guessing that Rodney was only trying to cheer him up, Sawyer decided to play along. "Don't you reckon I have to do some thinkin' on my own?"
Skinner threw his coat arms wide. "I guess anything's possible. We're sitting on a vessel that swims underwater...and don't forget that incredible piece of metal that you wrecked in Venice." Scratching at his non-visible head, the rogue laughed. "What'd ol' Nemo call that thing?"
"An automobile," the American agent supplied. "Sure was a damn fine machine. Hope Cap'n Nemo builds another one."
"If the ol' fish lover does, you best learn how to drive better."
Sawyer wrinkled his nose at the comment. "I knew how to drive it. You weren't even there." He glanced over at his invisible friend, thinking back to the mad race through the city of Venice, Italy. "Were you?"
"Might've been," Rodney replied. "Oh, by the way, I was winking when I said that."
Grinning big, Tom's mind wandered back to another wink that was made only recently, causing the young man to sober instantly. It was the first time he actually saw the great Allan Quatermain face to face, in the home of the forever youthful, Dorian Gray.
Having followed Quatermain and the other recruits of the newly formed "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Sawyer had stumbled upon an unexpected ambush. He remembered knocking out one the henchmen of the evil madman behind the trap, and taking his place on the upper story of Gray's expansive library.
The League was surrounded and outnumbered by deadly marksmen, their rifles aimed at the group, awaiting the orders of a man known only as the Fantom. When Quatermain had finally glanced up in his direction, Tom winked at the older man, letting him know he had at least one ally in the coming fight.
Skinner noted the forlorn expression that had crossed over Sawyer's face. "You sure you can't get those ol' buggers back home to let you come on our little sea excursion?" Before the remaining members of the League had embarked on their journey to see some of the world, the young agent had contacted a member of the Secret Service, only to be told he was expected in Washington, D.C. by the week's end.
Sawyer shook his blonde head. "Since the Fantom's a done deal, they want me State side." He clutched the railing tightly. "Maybe it's for the best..."
Looking out towards the calm, blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean, Rodney placed his hand briefly on his young friend's shoulder. "Listen, just wanted to say how sorry I am about how things turned out back at M's fortress. Some calvary I was."
The American picked up on the tinge of guilt in the former thief's voice. "You aren't blamin' yourself for anythin' are you?" he accused. "I'd probably be a pile of ashes if you hadn't stopped that metal covered maniac." A cold shiver raced down Sawyer's back as he recalled the fully armored, flame wielding henchman who had him cornered in a room full of burning documents and books. "You saved my life."
Skinner snorted softly. "Only to put you back into danger..."
"I'm the one who let my guard down," Tom insisted.
"Only because I got myself burnt, and you were trying to help me," Rodney shot back.
"Gentlemen..., please!" Both men turned to face the austere features of the Nautilus' creator, Captain Nemo. "Why are you both so intent on blaming yourselves for something that couldn't be helped?"
Sawyer lowered his head, unable to look the wise native of India in the face. "No disrespect, Cap'n Nemo, but you don't understand..."
"No, I don't understand how you could carry such guilt for something you didn't do," Nemo answered in his rich, deep voice.
"Didn't do?" Sawyer's hazel eyes blazed. "Allan died because I let some damn weasel sneak up behind me! How can it not be my fault?"
Gently stroking his thick, black beard, Nemo found himself saddened by the sudden flash of grief in his young friend's face. True, they would all miss the crusty, old adventurer in their own ways, but Sawyer's mourning went deeper. Even though the secret agent did his best to mask it, the melancholy emanated through every inch of his being.
"So, helping Mr. Skinner was wrong?" Nemo asked calmly.
"No! Of course not! He was hurt bad, and needed help!"
"Then where is the fault in that?"
Skinner chuckled under his breath and nudged Captain Nemo with his arm. "Heh, good one there, Cap'n," he whispered.
"I forgot all about the Fantom's invisible bastard still sneakin' around," Tom replied bitterly. "He sure didn't forget about me though."
"Yes, the invisible attacker..., I'm sure you would have easily seen him if you had been searching for him," Nemo scoffed gently. He paused, watching the younger man's face intently. "I'm sure if Mr. Quatermain was here, he would be placing the blame solely at his own feet."
Shaking his head vehemently, Sawyer frowned. "No...all Allan did was give his life to protect mine." Instinctively his hand went to his throat, remembering the feel of the knife blade pressing against his jugular as his invisible captor forced him onward to where Quatermain and the Fantom, also known as M, were fighting.
"You and Quatermain were obviously separated," Nemo pointed out. "How did that happen?"
"We were goin' after the Fantom...M...when I got slammed into a wall by some unseen force," Tom answered, suddenly aware his friends didn't know much about his ordeal after they had parted ways in the castle. "Knocked my gun from my hands, and I waved Allan on, thinkin' Skinner had fallen into me..."
"Quatermain paused," Nemo nodded sagely, "and thought you were safe, so he continued to pursue M, leaving you alone with an invisible assassin. I'm sure that thought occurred to him when he saw you in the villain's clutches."
"He didn't know it was Skinner..."
"Neither did you," Rodney added. "Sounds like that poor imitation of me was playing dirty."
"Sure was," the secret agent had to agree.
"Must've gotten away from him though," the invisible man recalled, "because when I came across you, some bloke wearing more armor than a knight was chasing after you with some kind of flame throwing weapon."
"I was gettin' ready to finish that invisible low-life when that other maniac showed up," Sawyer explained, his fists doubling in frustration. "If I had gotten a chance to beat..."
"But fate had other plans," Nemo inserted quietly. "Everything worked to the chosen outcome. If Hyde and myself had killed the guards instead of stunning them, would M and his other henchmen had discovered our presence in the castle? If Quatermain had stayed with you instead of going after M, would he still be alive? Or if you had conquered your invisible foe, would that have changed anything?" The older man grasped Tom by the upper arms. "We do not know, because it was not meant to be. I do know that an evil force was defeated...and if the outcome had been different...maybe it would have been the world who was defeated instead."
Looking into the captain's intense gaze, Sawyer shrugged his shoulders helplessly. "I know you're right..., but..," he faltered.
"We all knew the risks we faced on this mission," Nemo continued, "and none knew that more than Mr. Quatermain. He gave you a precious gift, young man...now honor him by living, not by guilt and sadness. Be the optimistic, spirited, and courageous man he saw in you."
"That...that was something, Cap'n," Skinner sniffled. "Hits you right in the heart."
Nemo regarded the former thief for a second. "Only if I had made my point," he said, looking back at Sawyer.
The young agent's head dipped once in agreement. "You did," he acknowledged. "Thanks, both of ya."
"That's what we're here for, laddie!" Rodney cried out in bravado, smacking the blonde spy on the arm. "Now...how 'bout we go poking around Nemo's kitchen for something to eat?"
Rolling his eyes, Nemo made a grand gesture towards his galley. "By all means, Mr. Skinner, help yourself...to my food."
"See?" the invisible thief said with a jerk of his thumb. "Smart man. Knows the right thing to say."
As the two men left the conning tower, Sawyer threw the Indian captain a grateful smile before disappearing into the sub's hold. He would do whatever it took to make Allan Quatermain's belief in him justified.
The seasoned gentleman sat brooding in the large, plush chair he had been regularly occupying since the hasty rebuilding of the Britannia Club in Nairobi, Africa. It had been two months since his dramatic return from the dead, and Allan Quatermain spent every day the same way; sending everyone away with a churlish scowl so he could be left alone. He glanced over at the modified Winchester rifle nestled protectively beside him and sighed heavily. Damn it all...why did the boy have to leave 'this' gun?
"Why don't you go see for yourself?" a deep voice asked from behind the great hunter and adventurer.
Quatermain whirled around in his seat and fixed the intruder with a cold look. "What are you going on about?" he snapped irritably.
The witch doctor grinned knowingly, and reached out for the rifle, only to have it snatched from his fingertips by Quatermain. "You sit here and make yourself more miserable," he continued, pointing to the weapon. "Go...see him...ease your mind."
"The boy's better off thinking that I'm dead," Allan answered curtly, his grip tightening on the rifle.
"Better for him, or for you?" The dark skinned man shook his head. "Why do you guard that weapon like it was the young man himself?"
"That's preposterous!" the hunter chuffed out indignantly.
"Are you punishing him for something then?"
Quatermain glared angrily at the man. "He did nothing but follow me! And what did he get for it? Damn near got his throat slit...that's what!"
"Ah..., so it is yourself that you are punishing," the witch doctor mused aloud.
"I don't have bloody time for this...," Allan growled as he rose from his chair. He sent the witch doctor one final glare before storming off. Nosey, tribal doctors...
Before he could exit the Britannia Club, the doors swung open wide, and an elderly man rushed up to him. One of the few explorers who was lucky enough to have been outside the club when the horrible bombing happened months earlier, Jonathan Smithe, knew the famous man before him was his only hope.
"Allan!" Smithe cried out, his face red and his breath labored from the exertion of running. "Need your help! Please!"
Quatermain grasped the man by the shoulders before he crumbled into a heap. "Get this man a drink!" he ordered the barkeep. Helping his friend to a nearby chair, the hunter loosened the man's clothing. "Now calm down, Smithe, and tell me what this is all about."
Smithe thrusted a piece of paper into Allan's chest. "Read this...help me...," he implored his old friend, taking a sip of the strong drink the African bartender gave him.
Giving his friend a quizzical look, Quatermain did as asked, reading over a letter that was obviously penned in a hurry.
I write this to you at great risk, but I fear I have no other recourse. I know that you are acquainted with many influential people, and so could help me. Please forgive my intense secretiveness over your receiving of this letter, but as you will find, it is necessary. Over the past months, many of my colleagues have seemed to have disappeared. At first I didn't pay much mind...after all...our work for the government is hazardous. I have never told you this before, Father, but I am an agent for the British empire. I had to keep it a secret from you, but now I can no longer stay silent. When four agents disappeared, all the same mysterious way, I became concerned. It has now become ten agents, and I fear something evil is afoot. I cannot get any answers from my superiors, and I know they have been watching me day and night since my inquiries. Thankfully I have been able to sneak away from my guards, and have discovered some alarming facts. Agents from several governments around the globe are also missing. Not a trace of them found, dead or alive. America has had five agents gone missing in the past two weeks...
Quatermain didn't finish, his mind reeling. Missing agents? He looked down at the rifle placed beside Smithe's chair, one young man coming clearly into his thoughts.
"How long ago did you receive this letter?"
"Less than a day ago," Smithe answered. "Can you help me find David? I have this awful feeling that he is in trouble!"
"He may not be the only one," Allan muttered, his gut tightening at the idea his young American friend was possibly in a dire situation.
"Will you go meet with David then?" Smithe pleaded. "He specifically asked for you."
"He did?" Quatermain's brow furrowed. How did the younger Smithe know he was alive? Smithe only found out days ago himself, and there wasn't enough time to tell his son. Certainly the British government knew of his death... The old adventurer snorted softly to himself. And certainly the British government would know he survived too.
"It's in the letter," Smithe persisted. "Don't tell me that you didn't finish reading it, man!"
Patting his friend reassuringly on the arm, Allan rose and motioned for the tribal doctor to come over and check the other man out. "I'm leaving immediately, Jonathan. I can't promise you much, but I will look into it." Assured his friend was going to be all right, the hunter tucked the letter into the pocket of his jacket and hastened out of the club. Inside he fervently prayed that Sawyer wasn't one of the missing agents, while the outside facade showed a steely-eyed determination.
There would be no mercy for anyone who laid a hand on that boy!
Another pile of papers were plopped down in front of him. Sawyer sighed heavily and frowned in displeasure. He wished now that he had asked Nemo to delay his coming home for even longer. The Nautilus' captain had made an offer to that extent, but the American agent didn't want to infuriate his superiors any further. After all, he had gone over their heads to come to England, and finish what his murdered friend, Huck Finn, had started.
"Don't be so down in the dumps, Tom," a pleasantly plump secretary smiled. She fought to control her blushing when the handsome spy looked up at her and grinned shyly. "You won't be in the woodshed for long."
"Wish they woulda taken the tree branch to me and be done with it," Tom replied with another frown. "I forgot all about this 'part' of the Secret Service."
"The Secret Service was created for this purpose," the blonde woman reminded him. She regarded the younger man before her with a tinge of pity. "I know it must be hard for you after getting to trot all over the globe, to have to come back and do paperwork about some boring forgers."
"Always did prefer doin' things, rather than readin' 'bout them," Sawyer admitted. "Never guessed there'd be so many idiots tryin' to fake our money."
"With you on the job, they won't be getting away with it for long."
Giving the woman a disarming grin, the spy picked up a folder and opened it. "Appreciate the words, Miss Laura."
Laura Appleton left the room, placing a hand over her racing heart. That man did that to her every time! She giggled inwardly as she rounded the corner to her little desk, her day made complete just from a smile and soft drawl. Thank goodness Tom Sawyer wasn't around much...or she'd never get any work done!
Sawyer heard the firm footsteps before he even saw the man enter his work area. Reluctantly he looked up, knowing he would have to get this initial meeting over with. When he had left Washington, the Secret Service director, Trevor Whitcomb, was not a happy man. Whitcomb and supervisor, Patrick Malloy, had forbidden his assignment to the Fantom, claiming he was too 'close' to the case. Undeterred, the young agent took his argument to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, knowing the rowdy statesman would see his side and help him convince the proper people. Within a week, Tom was on the first ship bound for Europe.
"Agent Sawyer," Patrick Malloy greeted casually as the younger man rose from his chair.
"Sir," Sawyer answered back with a nod of his head, forcing his tense body to relax. Malloy had been the most vocal about going after the Fantom, and sometimes Tom got the faint impression his supervisor was less than confident in his abilities.
"Just recently got back into town myself, so I haven't had the chance to say it's nice to have you back on American soil."
"Thank you, Sir," the blonde agent said without much enthusiasm. He forced a smile when he noticed his boss scrutinizing him. "Seems things have quieted down a bit."
"You mean the paperwork?" Malloy suppressed a smug grin. "Oh, things are going to be very quiet for you for a while, Agent Sawyer. I think you've had enough action back in Europe...need to rest a bit."
"Yes, Sir," Sawyer half muttered, trying to keep his disappointment from being too obvious. He was being punished...pure and simple.
Malloy turned to leave, his message delivered. Stopping at the doorway, he paused, giving the disheartened young man a fleeting smile. "By the way...excellent job on your work with the Fantom. Did your Country proud."
"Thank you, Sir," Tom replied. A brief moment of sadness entered his heart, his mind going back to Quatermain. No, he couldn't wallow in this defeatist attitude any longer, Allan wouldn't approve.
Seeing the somber look cross the handsome agent's face, Malloy remembered hearing of Allan Quatermain's death at the Fantom's castle in Mongolia. "Sorry about Quatermain, Sawyer. From what I've heard about him, he sounded like quite a character."
"Yes..., yes he was," Tom concurred with a reverent tone. Clearing his throat, the spy pointed to his pile of paperwork. "I best be gettin' back to work."
Nodding his head, the senior agent left the room, knowing that Quatermain's death was plainly too sensitive a subject to bring up now. Maybe after a few days Sawyer would open up more about what had really happened in that castle. There was definitely something deeper gnawing on his top agent's mind.
Quatermain glanced up at Big Ben through the thick London fog, his impatience growing. He had re-read the letter David Smithe wrote several times, following the instructions for the clandestine meeting to the exact spot. Had the lad been abducted too? A chill raced down his spine...had Sawyer been taken as well? The seasoned hunter forced any other negative thoughts from his mind. He'd drive himself crazy with worry if he kept this up!
"David Smithe?" the adventurer countered, peering into the fog-hazed distance. Under a nearby gas street lamp, a figure began to emerge. Allan rubbed at his eyes, unsure he was seeing correctly. The last time he had seen David, he was a tall, slender young man, but the person coming towards him was rather plump, and decidedly much older. Instinctively, he clutched at the modified Winchester by his side, ready for any treachery.
"My apologies, Mr. Quatermain," the man said in a quiet, dignified voice, "but I'm afraid I used David Smithe's name falsely."
"Explain yourself," Quatermain threatened, raising his rifle mid-way. "I don't care much for games."
The elegantly dressed gentleman edged closer, his round, handsome face showing no ill intentions. "So I've heard. My name is Bond...Campion Bond, from British Intelligence."
"What? Come to ask me to help Queen and country by assembling a group of unique individuals?" Quatermain scoffed. "I've already heard that speech, and all it bloody did was get me..."
"Killed?" Bond finished. "I admit I was quite astonished to hear you had actually survived... Mr. Skinner and the others were positive you had perished."
"I'm here," the older man snapped irritably, lowering the gun slightly. "And I ought to smack you upside the head with the butt of this rifle for using..."
"Your American friend as an enticement?" Bond interrupted.
"No, Smithe's son," Allan argued half-heartedly.
"But I'm sure you came more out of concern for Agent Sawyer," Bond said smoothly. "I see you are carrying around that rather distinct rifle he used."
"How do you know..."
"So much about you and the others?"
"Stop that!" Quatermain growled angrily.
"What? Finishing your thoughts?"
"I am perfectly capable of finishing my sentences," Allan muttered indignantly, "and you still haven't answered my question properly as to why you brought me here under false circumstances."
"If you'll indulge me," Bond asked, pointing to the still aimed rifle, "I intend to do just that. We'll take a small stroll, and I'll explain to the best of my knowledge, our government's urgent need of your assistance."
"I'm not interested," the hunter replied cooly as he began to turn away.
"Agent Sawyer could be in dire peril as we speak," Bond threw out, praying it would prevent Quatermain from leaving. It did.
"So help me..., if this is another bloody..."
"Ruse?" Seeing the look of annoyance on Allan's face, Bond shrugged. "Sorry. David Smithe has been missing for several days, and as my letter has indicated, America has missing agents as well."
"You think whoever is behind this has gone after Sawyer?" Though he tried to hide it, the worry in the adventurer's voice shown through. "Do you know if he's all right?"
"At the moment, yes. He's back in the States, and for the time being, has been assigned paperwork detail." Bond rubbed the neat goatee on his rounded chin, and motioned for Quatermain to join him in a walk. "But Agent Sawyer is their top field agent, and they can't afford to keep him contained for long."
"Sawyer is their best agent?" Receiving a nod of confirmation, Allan felt a tinge of fatherly pride for his young friend. Despite even his own misgivings at first, Sawyer had proven his worth to the League.
"He's a very...spirited...young chap, isn't he?" Bond mused out loud, having thoroughly read over Agent Sawyer's records.
Quatermain chuckled sarcastically. "Spirited is only a moderate term to describe Sawyer. The boy seems to crave action, and if its not happening, he creates it." The tone softened as the hunter thought back to the young spy's often over enthusiastic methods. "But he's a smart and courageous lad whose not afraid to try."
"That would explain why the American government actively sought him out and recruited him." Noting the explorer's interest piqued, Bond continued, hoping the man's fondness for the American would result in the desired goal; Allan Quatermain back at the helm of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.