League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Sawyer stepped into the room, where slept all the wounded. It has been a week when he last saw the invisible man, and that was when he and Nemo helped him to Nautilus from the destroyed base of M. Just a while ago Nemo left his side after telling him about Quatermain, giving Sawyer the permission to meet Skinner. His wounds were better, but still able to see. And as they can be seen, they are cruel, actually the look hasn't changed, or that was what Sawyer thought when seeing the third-level burns floating above the bed.
He walked next to the bed, where the man laid. Thomas couldn't tell if he was sleeping or not. The greasepaint Jekyll and Mina used while fixing his wounds was now washed away, and Sawyer could only see him breathing by looking at his wounds. It was magical, so calm. The blanket rose and lowered, rose and lowered... Still, the rasping in Skinner's breathing interfered Tom's thoughts. He sat on the chair next to the bed, looking at the pillow, at the place where the imprint caused by head was.
Sawyer didn't know was he awake or not, so he decided to stay quiet, always until: "Hah, what's with the face?" Sawyer tried to give him a smile, but seeing only the wounds, he couldn't.
"You are hurt", was the only thing he could get out. Egghead, he called himself. Why did you had to say that?
"Mmh, seems like it, at least", Skinner said, having his usual humour in his words. That was a good sign, after all. Skinner was alive, and will get better soon. Sawyer was sure of it.
"I am sorry, it was my fault. I should have been more careful back at the base. Because of me, Quatermain-"
"Hush, don't say it", Skinner stopped him by taking his hand to Sawyer's knee, which was towards his bed. The movement hurt, it could be heard from the man's breathing, but he seemed not to care. Tom looked at the invisible hand on his knee. It was badly burn, third-level burns all around his body. All just to save him.
"It-it wasn't your fault, Sawyer. Don't blame yourself about it", Rodney told him, having seriousness and calmness in his words this time. This was unusual, but even he can be serious, whenever he needs to be.
"Skinner, thank you for everything you did for the League", Sawyer told him, having no expressions, smiles, chuckles, or even cries to answer. Nothing. Skinner stayed quiet.
"Welcome", said he, and gave a painful moan after it. Actually, what could he answer? You are welcome, even if you thought I was the traitor and were maybe ready to kill me, but hey, you are welcome! Sawyer understood Skinner well, even if Skinner's emotional side was still a stranger to Sawyer.
As Sawyer chuckled with a smile, and was ready to apologize, Skinner reached to say: "That smile." A small moment passed before Sawyer realized what Skinner meant.
"...huh? My smile?" Sawyer amazed, and Skinner took his hand slowly, painfully, to Sawyer's face and always to his lips. This made Sawyer shiver a bit.
"That smile made me to change my plans", answered Skinner, and Sawyer took his hand inside of his, lowering it down from his lips and asked: "Plans? What plans?"
Skinner took a deep breath, and started: "As the League was bein' called together, I only cared for myself... As the mission would be over, I would get the antidote M promised me... When I would turn back to visible, I could go and leave the League... I never wanted to... to be a part of it." This made Sawyer sad, and he felt shame for asking it. He turned to look at the floor, holding Skinner's hand in his hands on his lap.
"...But there is no cure", Skinner added, having Sawyer's look upon him once again. Skinner looked at the roof as he continued: "As staying invisible, what else did I have than this league? Nothin'. I had absolutely nothin'."
Skinner seemed to be very down, and Sawyer wasn't happy about it. He held the hand tightly, and after thinking for a minute, he said: "You know, when I was a kid, I was very wild. I could left the school while it was still on, I could go swimming just like that, go to the woods to play Robin Hood with my friends... We even became pirates for few days, and arrived to out own funerals." Skinner had his view turned to Sawyer.
"No, you?" he asked, and Sawyer could hear the normal, humorous tone in his voice.
"Yes, me. I know it sounds odd, but that is how it is. One day, I and a friend of mine got lost into tunnels underground. ...We ended up lost, and spent days in there, without any food and just a bit of water from a small well. We were so scared, thought we would die", Sawyer told him. Rodney stared at him. Tom actually had a past like that? What other secrets does that smile hide under it?
"...We thought we would never get out. But then I saw light at the end of the tunnel, and we survived. With courage, some hope and ideas, we were able to survive. But oh how we were scared! It even makes me laugh now", Sawyer continued, making a chuckle, and that smile Skinner had longed after the first time he saw him smiling at the library appeared yet again on his face, making Skinner smile as well. But of course Thomas didn't see this. But he did hear it, as Skinner groaned silently in pain while smiling.
"I know how you scared when everyone thought you betrayed us", Sawyer then said, having Skinner's smile to fade in confusion. The tight of Skinner's hand inside Tom's tightened, taking a strong hold of his hand.
"But you showed us that we can trust you. More than that, you got to know M's base, all by yourself! And the bombs, I wonder how you even had the courage to wander there alone, surrounded by the enemy and their weapons... That was very brave", Sawyer said, smiling at the invisible man on the bed.
"I... I was scared back then, too... I wasn't sure if I could make it", Skinner said silently, his voice tone starting to shiver a bit.
"I know how you felt, and-"
"I was scared of losing you", interfered Skinner, making Sawyer to stop and look at him with amazed expression. What, he thought. He wanted to ask what Skinner meant, but he already knew. Skinner lifted his head from the pillow.
"I... You fascinate me, agent Sawyer. Your attitude, voice, smile, look... everythin' in you makes me wonder what kind of a man you are. ...I wanted to get to know you better... You... you charmed me, stole my heart at the moment when you smiled at me... outside Dorian's house, at the docks...", Skinner explained, making Sawyer amaze his feelings.
"Heh, never thought I was this way..." he chuckled and rested his head back on the pillow, which had some small blood stains from his burns on his head.
Sawyer was quiet, his tongue stopped working. He tried to find words, but couldn't. Then Skinner sighed: "There is the door, go on and leave the room." Then Sawyer took a hold of himself, taking a better grip of Rodney's hand and said: "Why would I?" Skinner looked at him.
"Well, I just confessed my interest in you, and usually when people don't like it they-"
"Who said I didn't like it?"
"Skinner? I never thought that you could have been the traitor", said Sawyer, who noticed then that Skinner was amazed, and relieved of this. Rodney felt bad about being named as the traitor, and hearing this from Sawyer, the man he liked the most in the League, made him feel safe.
"You didn't?" he wanted to make sure, and Sawyer answered: "No, never." A silence fell upon them, as they had nothing to add to this. Then Skinner continued the earlier conversation: "Do you know why I changed my plans? Or what changed them?" Sawyer nodded curiously.
"I... I was going to leave the League, but you... You made me stay."
"Mh, me? How?"
"You just... did. By being there. By just giving that smile, it... well, like I said before, stole my heart..." Skinner explained, and now Sawyer felt a lot stronger grip.
Sawyer smiled now gentle and understanding smile, and he felt how Skinner's hand shivered. He was in pain, but he didn't let it take control. Sawyer leaned towards him.
"And I thought you were the thief here, Rodney", said he, having a chuckle from Rodney before their lips met.
"Thank you for saving me back there..." Sawyer said as they parted, and Skinner chuckled.
"You live... I live... That is all that matters to me", answered he before diving into another kiss.
Liked? I will start soon a longer fic, this being the background for their relationship... Thanks for reading, and comments are welcome!