Ummm... no explanation. Once again, I'm explanation-less. But don't blame me. *grabs Thrax from out behind her* Blame this sexy hunk of virus. *hauls ass to Timbuktu*

Thrax: ... *still in his robe* ... Did I miss somethin'?

Ozzy: Yeah. The QUEEN just ditched us so she didn't have to explain her crazy ass mind. Oh, and I guess we have to do the disclaimer thingy.

Thrax: ... Disclaimer? What the hell is that?

Ozzy: Ahh, basically just somethin' sayin' she don't technically own us so she don't get sued by the people who DO own us.

Thrax: Hey, yo, NOBODY owns me but ME. Dig it?

Ozzy: *eye roll* Yeah, well, someone created us, didn't they? So they own us. So can we get this outta the way so I can go back to watchin' the game? Super Bowl's on tonight and I just missed halftime.


Ozzy: Well, I don't think she'd ever threaten people with not writin' no more, but I'll just assume that was you bein' an asshole and accept it. Let's beat it.

Thrax: Let's. *puts shades on*

*Ozzy and Thrax walk away while Michael Jackson's "Beat It" plays in the background*

Hope you enjoy!

Lovely day. Not.

Those three words echoed over and over again in Mikaela Jones's mind, as she stalked through the streets of Frank. This could not have been a worse day, at least so far. She doubted it would get better, and she wasn't taking on any attitude that it was. She had a broken heel, it was dark, and on top of it she'd had to walk here (with a broken heel) carrying her backpack and her beading case (which was too big to fit in her bag).

She had come all the way from Shane to see her cousin, who she hadn't been in touch with for the last two years, and so far she was having the worst day ever.

She knew his house wasn't too far away, but she had to stop and take a rest, and wonder why she'd even come over here in the first place. She leaned against the wall by an alley, and slid down, blowing out a breath. This sucked, it really sucked. All she wanted was to see her cousin, and everywhere she turned there was more trouble.

She let her head fall down into her hands. "What am I doing?" she sighed, slumping her shoulders. "I should have just stayed in Shane. Nobody wants me here either. I'm useless... Ozzy probably ain't even home from work yet... I'll be all alone..." She looked up, out into the street. "But that ain't any different from every other day of my life..."

She was about to drown herself in more self-pity, in the hopes that she actually would drown, when she picked up a sound. It was small, barely audible, and nobody else would have heard it. Nobody else was paying attention, and nobody else was as close to this alley, where it sounded like it came from, as she was. It was a groan, the sound of somebody who was in awful pain but was sure they wouldn't be getting help anytime soon.

Mikaela stood up, grabbing her kit and slinging her bag back over her shoulder. She glanced down the alley, but didn't even see a shadow. Sucking up all the courage she had in her and all the air surrounding her, she took a few brave steps into the alley. "H-Hello? Is... Is anybody down there?"

There was another groan, more rife with agony this time. For Frank's sake, she thought, it sounded like they were dying. Oh... Oh Frank, what if they were? She had to do something...

"Hey," she called out again. "Who's there?"

There was a sharp intake of breath, and then, with all the strength the person had: "H-Help..."

Mikaela took a deep breath of her own, then blew it out. How did she know what was back there? She didn't. She had no idea. It could be another cell, or it could be a pathogen. Whatever was back there, how did she know it wasn't going to hurt her or wasn't capable of hurting her? She didn't have a clue. It could kill her, maybe, if it wanted to.

She took a few more tentative steps toward the end of the alley, the darkness. Once she was in that darkness, there wouldn't be any escape. No way of turning back, if she decided that she regretted her actions. "I-I'm coming," she called out, hoping whoever it was could hear her. "Just... Just stay where you are."

No way out. No method of going back. That imaginary line was called the point of no return for a reason. There was no returning to safer thoughts.

She broke into a slow run, and crossed over into the darkness that she knew she couldn't turn away from.

She looked around for the person she'd heard, and her eyes fell on the ground where... something was lying. She couldn't quite tell what it was at first. It was crumpled up, obviously curled up in itself. A weathered black jacket, riddled with holes and filth, was covering it, as if whatever was under it was putting forth a pathetic attempt to hide itself. There was also the faint scent of stinging alcohol accompanying this scene.

Mikaela put her things down momentarily, on the wall, and knelt down by the shape. "Hello? Are you the one who was talking to me?"

The jacket shifted, and all at once she could see a face. It was reddish, and reptilian, and dangerous-looking. Two dark ocher eyes peered out at her from under a pile of violet dreadlocks that had obviously fallen out of place. They looked scared, wanting to know if they could trust her. A small nod followed a few seconds of inspection, and riding on the tail of that was a body-shattering cough.

She just looked down at the creature for a moment. She could recognize it now, as a pathogenic agent. Whether it was a bacterium or a virus, she couldn't tell that much. From its appearance, she couldn't even deduce its gender. The voice she'd heard had sounded male, and its form had a vaguely masculine appearance, but maybe she was mistaken. "I'm not going to ask if you're okay," she said slowly, "because I can see you're not. What's your name?" Maybe if she knew that much, she'd know if it was a boy or a girl. Besides, she'd hear its voice again.

The pathogen drew in a sharp breath, exactly as before, and it looked like it really hurt just to breathe. "Thrax, baby... my name's Thrax." It also seemed like it was a tremendous effort to speak.

"Thrax." Well, she could definitely tell it was male now. The voice was distinctly masculine, with an edge to it, and he'd called her "baby". She reached down, and carefully pulled away the jacket. "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you."

By peeling the leather away, she revealed that his clothes were also torn. There were jagged pieces of fabric missing in several spots on his shirt, exposing his crimson skin, and she could see his knees through the tears in his pants.

"What happened to you, Thrax?" she asked softly, putting his jacket aside for the moment and trying to breathe through her mouth. The acrid smell of alcohol had gotten a little stronger since she'd taken the coat off him. "Looks like you got beat up pretty bad."

"So tired," he muttered. "The alcohol... don't know where I'm suppose... supposed to go... then there were... these guys... I couldn't... I tried, but I... couldn't..."

"Okay. Okay, don't talk if it hurts." She looked back at her things, and sighed, pressing a hand to her forehead. What was she supposed to do? If she just left him, he'd die out here. He was already halfway there, he wasn't going to survive long enough to recover if he stayed here. But she doubted Ozzy would appreciate her bringing a virus into his house, incapacitated or not.

"I don't know what to do," she breathed, letting her hand fall back down. "My heart's saying I should take you with me, but my nucleus says my cousin's gonna shoot you on the spot if he sees you."

She touched his arm, and he grunted in pain. It looked like he was biting his lip to keep from crying out. "Oh baby, it's... it's alright... you go on now, I'ma be fine... fine, just... just like you..."

She shook her head, picking up her things. God. Calling her fine - was he delusional or what? "Okay, you know what? I'm through listening to my nucleus. It's gotten me in enough trouble so far." She slung her backpack over her shoulders, and hung her kit from her wrist. "Alright, here's how we're gonna do this. You're gonna sit up, and I'm gonna help you get yourself up around me."

He didn't really protest the idea, but he did have some difficulty getting his arm up around her shoulder and standing up. "You don't gotta do this, baby... I'll be okay..."

"No you won't. Now come on, up we go." She summoned all the strength in her admittedly weak body, and pulled him up onto his feet. "Alright. Alright, we're moving. This is good, we're making progress. Now, let's see..." She glanced around, and peeked out of the alley as much as she could. "We can't go out there. If we go on the sidewalk they'll see us. There's Immunity everywhere."

"Told ya we... shouldn't do it..." Thrax commented.

"Hey, no problem. I remember a shortcut to my cousin's house, through the alley system." She started walking, first to the left. "We'll be there in five minutes, and I'll get you lying down so you can rest."

"I was restin'," he snorted, tossing his rumpled dreads so they hit her with a very light thump against the chest. "Tryn'a sleep there..."

"Yeah? Well, you weren't doing a very good job. Now shush up, we'll be there soon."

Mikaela took a deep breath as she began to navigate, trying to remember which turns to take and how to stop if there was Immunity peeking down any of the alleys. The first priority, above all, was to get Thrax to Ozzy's house unnoticed.

Second priority... hold Ozzy back from drawing his stupid gun when he figured out that there was a virus in his sacred man cave sanctum thingy. But they'd cross that bridge when they got to it.

Hope you guys liked it! I'm back because Ozzy and Thrax thought it would be funny to ditch ME. So I'm all alone now...

Let that inspire you to feel sorry for me and leave a review! 'Cause I'd love that. And I'd love you! 3

Thanks for reading! ^^