A/N: This scene seems wholly unrealistic, but it was such an interesting idea I couldn't resist writing it out (and it was fun to write). It was somewhat inspired by a certain genre of treasure hunting video games/movies, for which I certainly do not hold any rights.

I will probably not extend this clippet into a story (and even if I did, I would probably update this as slowly as I update Water Baby and nobody wants that).

Therefore, I propose something a little bit different: if you would like, you are welcome to use this chapter as a jumping-off point for your own story, or include/mangle it into another story as you would like. My only stipulation is that you share how to find your story in your review for this clippet (title, author, what site it's on, for example) so that I can easily find it, and, of course, that you give me credit in your own story. I would love to see how the story goes, so I will try my best to read/review at least part of your story if you decide to use it. :)


It was a beautiful day that day- the sun was warm, the wind was crisp, the leaves were beginning to lose their green and show the reds and yellows and oranges they had carefully hidden all summer. Sky was in her room on her computer, as she had been the day before and would be the day after. She gazed intently at the screen as she read through walls of text. Occasionally she stirred enough to grab a pretzel from the bag on her right or to scroll farther through the document she was reading, but otherwise she was as immobile as a statue.

When the door to her room suddenly slid open she jumped and hastily closed the document, turning in her chair to scowl at whoever had entered her sanctuary. "What IS it?" she griped, her voice fading out in the astonishment of seeing a totally unknown person surveying her room. After a startled silence, she finally managed to get out, "and who, exactly, are you?"

The man finally looked directly at her and replied, "good morning, how would you like to join my expedition?"

Sky gaped at him, trying to fashion a logical and cohesive response to such an illogical statement, finally settling for, "no."

The man sighed and ran his hand through his longish brown hair. "Come on, who doesn't want to go on an adventure? Just think, we'll get to see jungles and tundra and far off waste lands in our search for jewels and historical artifacts of incomparable price!"

Sky was torn between bafflement, amusement, and annoyance at the handsome stranger who waltzed into her cozy room demanding she uproot herself. "Sir, I suggest you vacate the premises before the guards arrive and perhaps redirect your proposal to someone who has the skills necessary for such a grueling odyssey to made-believe worlds."

"How can you say that?" He put his hand to his chest in mock-anguish, "such landscapes do too exist outside of these ugly cities everyone has confined themselves in! Just think of the beautiful blue sky, the high mountains, the green forests…" He trailed off and looked at her expectantly, a look she returned with one of blatant shock.

"You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am actually interested in such pursuits. I must hasten to assure you that I'm not. At all. In going outside, I mean," she hastened to clarify. "Besides," she added, "I'm quite busy at the moment, and surely there are other much more capable, crazy, and perhaps slightly more experienced persons who would be more willing to help you in your endeavor."

The man sighed and shook his head. "I don't know how people like you ever manage to enjoy life with that sort of attitude. Besides," he hurried on as she opened her mouth to defend her way of life, "you were the one who wrote that interesting paper on the origins of aboriginal mythology, right? And you read legal documents and do your father's accounting for fun?" When she nodded at the first and scowled suspiciously at the second and third, he continued, "and that's why we need you and your skills, in particular."

"What exactly do you need me for? I could just as easily sit here and advise you via satellite phone or internet as I could there."

"But that would be incredibly inconvenient. Besides, your father seemed quite pleased with the idea when I brought it up to him and offers his assurance that he can find another accountant for the duration of your trip."

At this point in the conversation, Sky's irritation turned to straight up dislike. "You do realize that I am legally an adult, yes? Then perhaps you could elucidate the reason as to why you never even considered getting my consent in the first place?"

"Well, we were pretty sure you'd say no, so we tried to check off all the reasons you'd say no first."

Sky tilted her head in consideration, her respect for him returning slightly as she admitted the wisdom of such a decision. "Who is 'we', and where is your planned destination or destinations?"

"'We' are the acquisition team of Msrs. Jamieson, Karlton, and Associates, called upon to discover rare treasures to auction off to museums and private collections. So far, there are two of us," at this Sky snorted and he gave her a wry smile, "my good friend Sir Forrest Mains and myself, but his girlfriend may possibly be joining us as well. And I cannot give you a precise destination for safety reasons, except that it is located in a warm remote area south of the equator, so you'll need to be up on your vaccinations before we leave."

Sky sighed, rubbing her temples. She wasn't used to talking to people very much anymore, and this conversation in particular was wearing her out. "What if I persist in refusing your offer?"

"Well, we still have a while before we leave, and since your father has so kindly promised to house us as we put the final touches on our expedition, I could just continue to bother you about it. Every day. Maybe multiple times. There's also kidnapping and extortion, because we are pretty desperate, even if it doesn't look it."

The idea of having to him daily waltzing into her room to argue with her was enough to turn Sky's stomach, and she turned away from him to consider her options carefully. The idea was intriguing (except for the whole "out-doors" part) and an adventure sounded undeniably exciting. Besides, the man in her room- whose name, she just realized, she still didn't know- seemed to be trustworthy and capable enough, and the quick search she ran on him on her phone seemed to back up her initial opinion.

Something in her eyes seemed to tip him off to her changed opinion as she turned back around, because he seemed to vibrate in expectancy. Sky held up her hand to ward off any unexpected interruption, and said, "I… suppose… I could possibly accompany you. However, it may take me as much a few months to prepare. Also, I hope you are aware that bringing a female along may significantly alter your preparations and requirements for the trip."

His reply of, "oh, but you're barely female," caused Sky to leave her chair for the first time that day and head off for the door, which he got to and blocked well ahead of her. "What I mean to say is, is that your 'requirements', are probably much less than the average female and will be easier to plan for. That's all," he smoothly explained.

Sky glared at him and his wide-eyed smile. Finally she sighed and massaged her forehead again. "I already gave my affirmative, and the effort required to talk to you has already far exceeded my normal daily caloric intake. In other words," she sighed as he looked at her blankly, "I need a nap, so move. We can discuss the finer points of necessary preparation in detail at a later date."

The man grinned down at her and moved, bowing with a flourish and an "as you wish madam," earning him another scowl and a firmly closed door in his face as Sky made good on her word and went to take a well-deserved nap.