A/N: I suppose my taste in books is somewhat questionable. Well, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games aside, I write Twilight fanfiction. Yeah, I know. But, frankly, I've moved on. I no longer await the sparkly, brooding vampire/prince; that's soooo 8th grade. That being said, I've being reading more... empowering(?) books. I mean, Twilight is fine and all, but empowering? No, not really. Recently, I borrowed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo from my aunt and instantly became hooked. Lisbeth Salander is the definition and embodiment of badass. (She and Katniss Everdeen, imo.) Aaanyway, this fic is set somewhere prior to the events of The Girl Who Played With Fire, - or mid; the continuity of the book is just... - during Lisbeth's trips. I believe that they are mentioned in the books, but not in detail. If I make any mistakes, I do apologize.

Disclaimer: Um, Stieg Larsson was a fucking genius. I am just a commoner who adores his work.

Lisbeth Salander is sprawled on the comfortable king-sized; she really doesn't regret her decision to spend over five thousand Krona on something as insignificant as a hotel room. Besides, she is filthy rich; she might as well enjoy it.

She absently browses through Dimensions in Mathematics, deliberately avoiding the chapter about Fermat's Last Theorem; she still hasn't found the solution and that enervates her.

She thinks of Mimi. She has been for quite some time, really. (She thinks she's a bitch and has treated Mimi like shit and she hates it, but... But, but, but.) She thinks of Mikael too. More often than not, and certainly more than she'd like to admit. She thinks how she had never let anyone work their way inside her because they would find a way to stay there. She has miserably failed with these two. And perhaps Holger Palmgren. During her childhood and adolescence, she was forced to coexist with people she detested or, at best, tolerated. There weren't many genuinely good people in her life, people who unconditionally cared for her.

Bullshit, she thinks and in a matter of minutes she's fast asleep.

She dreams of that repugnant maggot, Bjurman.

In her dream– no, not dream. Dream implies something more... utopic. This is most definitely a nightmare. In her nightmare, he rapes her again, nearly kills her again, and then she's holding a lighter and he's on fire, he's screaming, trying to remove himself from the horror. She catches a glimpse of his face, now blackened and marred by the flames, but she recognizes him. He isn't Bjurman. He's...

She wakes up with a start. It's still dark outside and she's all sweaty. She removes all her clothes and gets under the covers naked, still feeling the fire linger on her skin.

The honk of a truck in the distance wakes her up at noon. She stares at the ceiling, pondering whether she should stay in Dominica for another day and travel to Barbados the following afternoon. Yes, that sounds like a good idea.

She has a quick shower, just to relieve herself from the unbearable heat, and quickly heads for the pool bar. Before she leaves, though, she admires her new breasts in front of the full-length mirror. A little voice in her head tells her that Mimi would love them. Shut up. Mikael would love them too. Shut the fuck up.

She sits on a bamboo armchair by the pool, spreading her legs before her, massaging her temples. She orders a vodka on the rocks; the waiter stares at her like she is a fucking unicorn and Lisbeth contemplates whether telling him to fuck off or ignoring him, but contents herself with smiling at him when she catches him briefly glancing at her chest.

She slowly sips her vodka and observes the people around her. She notices that there are a few newcomers; a couple in their early forties and their teenage son, a boy with an apparent skin problem, a group of loud teenagers, a homeless-looking man - a hippie? - in his early twenties, and another, younger couple. Lisbeth winces when the woman removes her sunglasses, just to wipe them with her tunic, to reveal a purple mark just under her eye. Son of a bitch.

Lisbeth has encountered plenty of women like her during her trips. Sitting next to her on the plane, asking for a lighter, praising her choice of lipstick. Preys of their fathers, boyfriends, husbands. Victims.

Lisbeth Salander is not a victim.

She spends her day in the hotel, sipping vodka, swimming in the pool, having launch, reading Dimensions in Mathematics, occasionally thinking of Mimi, Mikael Blomkvist, and Holger Palmgren. She even spends some time experimenting with Fermat's Last Theorem. (In vain, obviously. She slams Dimensions in Mathematics shut in exasperation.) She watches an episode of an idiotic reality show and goes to bed before ten o'clock.

The night is another distorted trip down memory lane. While she spent the day thinking of people that once made her almost happy, her dreams are filled with those she so fiercely hates, those who have scarred her and twisted her beyond repair, those who bullied her, those who deemed her as a lunatic bitch.

Fire. That's the only thing she remembers in the morning.

I am so fucking proud of this one. Like, seriously, I love this. It's pretty pointless, no actual plot, I guess, but, guess what! I don't care. It just felt so... natural to cuss. (I mean, Bella Swan and the word 'fuck'? Not the best of friends.)