A repost, because the formatting got messed up. Thanks to Ash De Brie for spotting that.


SHADES OF GRAY

Skinner couldn't believe it. Well, actually he could, but he had to hammer the fact into his head a few times more.

Dorian had betrayed the League. Dorian had been working for M all along. He had been right!

But he still wondered why the bloody hell he had sneaked aboard the 'little fish'.

He'd been following Dorian since the middle of their journey to Venice…Dorian had been the only one sneaking around more than he was, after all, and Skinner was a thief. Now, as his knees were pressed to his chest and he curled up, trying to stay warm, he tried to figure out why he'd followed him. He didn't have any allegiance to this…League of theirs, and now that M was the bad guy, he didn't have any incentive to stay on.

Skinner's eyes were closed. He needed to sleep; in fact, he needed as much rest as he could possibly get. He had to be constantly on his guard — Dorian was immortal, and he would probably be the first to catch on if suspicious things started to happen. What really worried Skinner was that he had no food, and he had no idea how long the journey to wherever they were going would take. He could survive a week at most without food, but he had extremely limited time with no water.

His mind drifted on, to thoughts about good and bad; usually, in London's underworld, there was always black and white. There were no shades of gray…but he was a shade of gray, wasn't he? After all, he had come into the League with only one aim: to get that antidote. He didn't care if he had to betray his League members to get it.

But all that had changed. The dedication and the goodness in the others had given him a change of heart. He had no idea why they wanted to save mankind so much, but it wasn't his place to question. Now he wasn't exactly a good guy, like Sawyer was, nor was he totally a bad guy, like that bastard Dorian. He was a shade of gray.

His thoughts were rudely interrupted when something…no, someone grabbed him and stuffed something into his mouth. Skinner thrashed about, knowing his cover was up; he'd been discovered. By Dorian, nonetheless. Their struggle continued for a few moments, before Dorian's strength triumphed over. He leaned down.

"Shut up," the immortal hissed into Skinner's ear, "If M hears you, I will tell him I found you."

Skinner stopped his struggles and cast a fearful glance over his left shoulder, where M was asleep. How had Dorian known? Skinner hadn't touched anything at all since he'd come aboard. He hadn't been bumped into, nor had he made any noise.

Dorian dragged Skinner into the cockpit and shut the door; the rest area, where M was, was a mere tiny space, just enough for one person. Making sure the door was locked securely, Dorian then turned to face the thief, who had ripped the kerchief from his mouth.

"You bastard," Skinner hissed, "You led all of us on!"

"Shut your mouth," Dorian snapped, "I was blackmailed. I had no choice."

Skinner snarled at him and Dorian rolled his eyes as he moved towards the controls.

The other man froze. "What are you doing?" Dorian had sat down and was fiddling with some dials on a side panel.

"Configuring the transmitter to send Morse code," Dorian replied, concentrating on his task. When Skinner kept silent, Dorian gave his usual sigh of contempt and continued, "For you to send a message to the League."

Skinner kept close to the door, ready to bolt in case Dorian turned on him. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because," Dorian said, turning around, "Because I am not the scumbag you believe me to be. I have lived on this earth for a long time, Skinner, and I have values of honor and pride, unlike you." Skinner looked insulted at the subtle stab at his…occupation. "You will send a message to the League, telling them where we are going and how to follow this exploration pod of Nemo's."

"How can I trust you? You've betrayed us once before."

"Do you want to see Europe go to war and all that you have known destroyed?" Dorian shot back.

Skinner paused, and moved towards the controls. "How do I do it?"

Dorian spent the next ten minutes telling him the letters of the Morse code, and finally Skinner sent his message. The League would get it, and they would be able to stop M.

"Every time we enter a significant area, where the League will need instructions," Dorian told him, "You'll send a message to them when M isn't around, understand?"

Skinner nodded. "And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?"

"Wait around," Dorian said, sounding as if it were obvious, "And don't be seen."

"Ha. Ha," Skinner added dryly. Dorian rolled his eyes, and then paused.

"Hide," Dorian hissed. Skinner hadn't heard anything at all, but then the hatch to the cockpit started to turn and he realized that Dorian had heard M get up. He flattened himself against the wall, as far from the hatch as possible.

M entered, and they continued on their journey.

Shades of Gray, indeed.