Chapter 1: A Realization

"I'm too old for this," Allan Quatermain groaned in his heavily accented voice. Tom Sawyer glanced over at him, grinning roguishly.

"Come on, old man. We've got things to do!" he replied teasingly. Allan glared up from where he was standing, panting slightly.

"Shut up, boy," he grunted. Tom grinned some more. Then, Nemo stuck his head down from the stair case.

"Come on then, we do not have all day. The whole crew's waiting aboard..."

Sometimes it seemed the whole crew just didn't appreciate that Quatermain was an old man. By the time he made it on board, Sawyer was making a big show of glancing at his watch. He rapped the insolent boy on the head with his pistol.

"Hey, easy now," Tom complained.

"Letting an old man beat you up, hmm?" A voice came from behind, causing Tom to jump.

"Dammit, Skinner!" he exclaimed, after getting over his initial surprise. Allan frowned.

"What have I said about clothes, Skinner?"

Although Tom couldn't see the invisible man, he was sure he winced slightly. Skinner was, of course remembering Allan's previous threat to boot him where "the sun don't shine".

"Now who's getting bullied by him, hey?" he teased Skinner.

"Same goes for you, boy," Quatermain said to Tom before leaving for his rooms.

"Whaaa? Why would I go around without clothes?" Tom protested.

"Ooo, you're blushing, Sawyer," Skinner's disembodied voice said. "Do you have the hots for older men then? Or father figures?"

"He's another man, Skinner!! What's the matter with you?!"

"You say that, but you should totally see yourself. Hey, there's no shame in feeling something for another man...then again, if that man's old enough to be your grandfather..." Tom could hear Skinner chuckling all the way down the hall.

"Bloody hell," Tom growled, his good mood gone. "I don't have a crush on Quatermain."

"You what?" came the cool voice of Dorian Gray. Sawyer spun around in time to face the immortal. "Did I hear that you like Quatermain?"

"No!!" Tom cried.

"Well, if you're looking for tips of any sort in catching and pleasing your man, come to my room...I can show you."

"Ugh-What?! Are you gay or something?"

"When you live as long as I have, you try all sorts of things. And, although I prefer women, I'm not at all judgemental."

"I- I don't like Quatermain. God, that's disgusting!"

"Say what you will. If it makes you feel any better, I think Nemo and Jekyll have something going on too..."

"So now we're all gay or something?!" Tom shouted.

Dorian smiled a secretive sort of smile. "Do what you must, Tom."

At dinner, Tom avoided eye contact with Allan. The old man seemed neither to notice or mind, but Dorian smiled all meal long, and Skinner sniggered quite a bit.

Quatermain finally grew exasperated with the two of them. "Mind shutting up?" he asked gruffly, glaring over at Skinner. Skinner pretended to look surprised.

"Who, me?"

"Yes you, you imbecile."

"Fine, fine," Skinner replied to the rather intimidating hunter, waving a hand to sooth the man.

"And quit smirking," he told Gray as he stood up to go.

"But of course," Dorian replied, baring his teeth further in a false smile.

Quatermain offered Tom many shooting lessons on the three day trip across the ocean, but Tom slipped out of all of them, trying to avoid any alone time with the man. What if Skinner and Dorian were right? What if he was developing feelings for the old guy?

It hardly seemed wise to over expose himself to Allan's presence while he was trying to puzzle over these odd thoughts. The truth of the matter was that Huck had actually admitted to a slight crush on Tom while still alive. Call him old fashioned, but Sawyer had not wanted to participate in a relationship with another man.

Yet here he was, seeing another man, and a way older one at that, in a different light. The question to be raised, in Tom's opinion was this; what did Quatermain have that Huck hadn't? Making a firm choice, Tom decided to avoid Quatermain until he'd figured out the answer to this question.

By the time the Nautilus reached its destination, a remote area of Pennsylvanian woodland near the Atlantic Ocean, Tom was worn out from avoiding Quatermain.

"Land ho, Captain!" A crew member announced eagerly early one morning, coming into dining quarters looking quite proud of himself.

"Good, good," Nemo replied, clapping his hands together. "Pull in to the shore then. The rest of you, prepare to unload. We've made it!"

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If you think this was even worth reading, please review!! By the way, I love it when readers who have my story on alert review to as many chapters as they can; gimme your feelings on what happened, my writing itself, where you think/would like the story to go from here, anything at all!! I love reviews.

Oh, yes, and sincere apologies to any of those who find my use of "gay" offensive. You must, however take into consideration how Tom might've reacted under the circumstances; it just seemed like something Tom might've said if he was flustered and defensive.