Rodney Skinner couldn't help but let out a quiet chuckle, even though the tiny movement sent waves of pain crashing through his burned body. Though the glowing spots of flesh had faded, he could still feel them every time that he took a breath. It was ironic... he had given up so much to gain invisibility, and now he was going to die alone and unseen. Even if they came looking for him, the odds of anyone finding his body were slim.
His vision blurred slightly, and he had to struggle to keep his eyes open. The boy, Sawyer, had told him to stay there and wait while he went to find Quatermain. Not that he had any choice in the matter. Though he couldn't see the burns that covered him, he could feel them. They made it all but impossible for him to walk, to move, to breath.
The world around him seemed to fade in and out of focus, and Skinner felt the tiniest hint of fear travel through him in the form of a shiver. He could feel his body shutting down, and he knew that it was only a matter of time before he lost consciousness and never woke up. Sighing quietly, he closed his eyes for just a moment.
Just a moment...
Skinner felt a cool hand place itself on his shoulder, and his eyes flew open in an instant. He felt disoriented, and as he attempted to move he was forced to choke back a cry of agony that threatened to escape his lips. A few tears sprang to his eyes, and had to blink several times before he could see the figure kneeling beside him.
"Sawyer?" he choked out, grimacing at how much it hurt just to say a single word.
"It's me," the young American said with a grin, though it was lacking its usually unflappable cheerfulness. "You had me worried there for a second, Skinner."
Skinner smiled, but after a second he realized that there was no way for the younger man to see his face. "Sorry about that," he said weakly.
Sawyer's grin faded a bit. "Do you think you can walk?" he asked, more than a hint of worry in his eyes.
Skinner let out a low chuckle, grimacing again as waves of pain shot through his body. "I think that standing up is even too much to hope for."
The young American didn't say anything for a moment, and then an apologetic expression suddenly appeared on his face. "I'm so sorry," he whispered, moments before he grabbed Skinner's arms and roughly pulled him to his feet.
Skinner didn't even try to hold back a scream, but he managed to stifle it after a second. His vision faded wildly in and out of focus, and he felt his legs immediately begin buckling beneath him. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked sharply, his voice breaking as he attempted to hold back another cry of pain.
"Getting you back to the Nautilus," Sawyer shot back as he gently began steering them toward the doorway.
As his body protested against its forced movement, Skinner couldn't hold back another choked cry. The world around him grew dangerously dark as conscious began to fail him, and had no choice but to let his weight rest almost entirely on Sawyer.
"I can't do this," Skinner mumbled as he stumbled forward a few more steps. "Just leave me here and go find the doc. I ca--"
"No," Sawyer said firmly, cutting Skinner off mid-word. "We've already lost one member of the League, and I'm pretty damn sure that we'll lose another if I don't get you back right now."
Skinner stared at the younger man for a few seconds before comprehension dawned on him. "Quatermain?"
Sawyer didn't say anything for a second. "Yeah," he finally said. "Quatermain."
Skinner was silent for a moment, and when he finally spoke his tone of voice had gone from defeated to determined. "Well then," he said weakly, "let's get back to the Nautilus."