Disclaimer: The story is just mine, as in Nicol Leoraine. But I borrowed some of the characters (grin:-) otherwise it wouldn´t be a fanfic. Diagnosis Murder and all the characters and plot connected with the show is a property of CBS/Viacom. Anyone else you don´t recognize from the show, is probably just a piece of my mind, or a character from the other show, namely ER, which is a property of Warner Bros Television and its producers, more so to John Wells and Michael Crichton.

Feedback: Greatly appreciated, wanted, begged for and so on. You can write? Here´s the adress: or

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Category: Angst

Rating: PG13 should do (few curses, violence)

Summary: This is a sequel to Crossroads and Reunion. It´s right after the Reunion ended. John Carter, Steve Sloan and Jesse Travis are going on the vacation to the cabin. They think it will be quiet and fun - they couldn´t be worse. John sees a ghost - or is it? The band of thieves is threatening the near village. Can they evade all the problems?

Warning: You should read the Crossroads and Reunion first, as this is the final part of that little trilogy. The ID for Crossroads is /s/2081898/1/ and the Reunion is on /s/2081904/1/

Author´s notes: I was never in U.S., never near Lake Superior. Few of the locations mentioned does exist, some not. I hope no one will be offended. I know nothing about medical situations, so this will probably suck. I tried to make it as believable, as I could though.

I want to thank Sharon for her review on the Reunion, AOK2 and Christiangirl for the reviews on Crossroads. Poet2002 - thanks for the tip in chapter management. Also for the others who reviewed my stories on PTL, DM, MASH or ST:Voyager. It really helps to know you like it.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Cabin Mirage xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Diagnosis Murder/ ER fan fiction crossover by Nicol Leoraine

Sequel to Reunion

"Why am I always sitting in the back?" asked Jesse, when another cramp hit his legs. Riding in the Jeep for several hours was one thing - doing it in the back of the car, where there wasn´t enough space for his legs, was other.

"Because the car is mine, and I doubt Steve could sit there, he´s too big."

"Oh, so it´s about my height?" asked Jesse annoyed as Steve laughed.

"It´s not so far Jesse," assured him John Carter. He was sitting behind the wheel for the last five hours and his head was permanently pounding, but he tried to ignore it. After the blow he received yesterday it was pretty normal. At least they were really close to the cabin. They stopped at the restaurant for a lunch and a little rest an hour ago and John started to regret his choice to drive all the way. Only the passing landscape eased the tension he felt building up in his head. There was only small amount of cars heading to the woods - after they took the side road even those were rare.

"Just so we know, how far is the cabin from any city or village?" scouted Jesse.

"The nearest village is fifteen miles, but Lake Superior is nearer - maybe eight or ten miles. There are few cabins along the river, though they´re mostly vacated."

"Shouldn´t we buy some groceries?"

"Nope, I called the guy who´s taking care about the cabin and he prepared everything."

"You coming there often?" Steve tried to keep up the conversation, rather than fall asleep. The light of the day was slowly abating and they could see the moon creeping up the sky.

"Not really," replied John, thinking. "I was the first year on Medicine and it was New Year. My parents were in London and I just met this girl," the corners of his mouth turned up slightly as both men stared at him, waiting for the conclusion.

"So, you took her to the cabin? At New Year´s Eve?"

"Yeah. We stayed three days - well," John grinned at the thought, "didn´t get out of the cabin, if I should be accurate." Steve and Jesse laughed at that.

"She possibly doesn´t even know there´s a river," joined them John, relaxing at the memories. Yep, he had the worst hangover that Silvester, but at the same time the best New Year celebration he ever had. It was a shame that the girl had to return to Spain, where she worked as a trained nurse.

"I met her on a Christmas party in the college. Her name was Carla - pretty little Creol woman. She then returned home," sighed John.

"This cabin is yours or just rented?"

"My grandfather bought it for my parents when Bobby was born. After he died..." there was that sigh and Steve watched John for any sign of depression, but saw only old sorrow and peace. After all the events ocurring in his life, John didn´t have enough energy to languish over distant past - the present gave him more than enough causes for that.

"...my sister used to come there, for vacation."

"What is she like?" asked Jesse with interest and both Steve and John threw him a surprised look.

"What?" blushed Jesse, holding up his hands in a innocent gesture.

"Nothing," said Steve and turned, trying to hide his smirk. Jesse rolled his eyes, frustrated.

"You have to know, Jesse, that my sister is older from me about five years. She has a temperant I envy, but I had to disappoint you - she´s already engaged."

"Jesse is too," countered Steve as Travis shot him a look, clearly saying how much he appreciated the little fact.

"But I think there´s some photoalbum inside, Jesse," said Carter with a grin and blared the horn, as the car stopped.

"We´re here, folks," he announced and let out a sigh of relief. By the time it get dark outside and they could hardly make out the lines of the surroundings. John looked around himself, but saw only trees and the cabin. Not much of a view, but the air was cool, without gas fumes circling above Chicago. All three of them took some deep breaths, enjoying the fresh air.

"John Carter?" the voice startled them all, because it didn´t come from the cabin but from behind. Steve spun around, almost grabbing at his side, touching the barrel of his gun.

"Bill Todd?" the grin on John´s face was genuine, once he recognized the man. Todd smiled in answer, extending his hand and pulling John into a quick embrance, then just as quickly pushing John away, giving him a critical once over.

"Well, I thought the last girl will feed you up - I see she didn´t have much luck."

"Ah, Carla returned to Spain three days later. You changed, Todd. Last time I could see your face, but now..." the man had a dark beard and long hair pulled into a pony tail. He was a head taller than John and was seemingly in a good physical health.

"Yeah I changed my style. So, who´s your companions this time?"

"Ah, sorry. These are my friends - Lieutenant Steve Sloan and Dr. Jesse Travis - both from L.A. Bill Todd - the man who´s taking care about all the cabins in these woods."

They shook hands and eyed the building. It was a solid house from bricks not wood, like it was a custom on the south.

"Well, I would gladly talk, but Cheryl is waiting for me with dinner. Everything is there, the phone is okay, you should keep the fire in the fireplace, because it´s really cold at night. Uh... if you need anything, you have my number. Are you planning some hike?"

"No," replied John with a grin.

"Good. Because there are some disturbances in the vicnity of the village."

"What disturbances?" asked Steve with interest.

"Ah, nothing serious. There were some house burglars in the village. The sherif thinks that the thieves are hiding in the caves southwest from the river. The cops are gonna look for them tomorrow with dogs.

"Them? It could be only one man. Why are you assuming there is more than one of them?"

Todd grinned.

"You said Lieutenant?" he looked at Steve then at John.

"He´s a cop," answered John frowning. He thought that the cabin is the perfect place for a break, but it seemed as if troubles followed him everywhere. Jessie was scowling at Steve and coughed to remind him of his presence.

"We´re here for vacation, Steve. I´m sure the thieves won´t bother us."

"Yeah, well... I should really go. Maybe we could meet tomorrow and change some news," suggested Todd.

"Yeah, maybe," replied John quietly. He didn´t really feel like changing news - sure it would be great to know what was going on there for the last few years, but after this topic it would surely change to his own life and he wasn´t prepared for it. Todd sensed the reluctance, shrugged and said his goodbyes to the others. When his car was gone, John sighed out in relief, even if little ashamed. Steve walked next to him, slightly shivering from the cold.

"Should we go inside, or are we gonna stay here for the night?" he asked with a smile. Before John could reply, Jesse strolled next to them, one bag in his hands. They followed him to the cabin.
There was a little hall where they could take off their shoes. The reluctance about that vanished, because the cabin was warm. The fire in the living room was a welcome change from the cold outside and all three of them sat down at the big couch before the fireplace, looking around the room.

"It´s pretty," said Jesse, glad that there wasn´t any stuffed animals like trophies - only rusticate paintings from the 18th century and later. The only sign of the hunting purpose of the cabin were two shotguns above the hearth.

Steve stood up and eyed them with interest.

"My grand-father used to shoot ducks with them."

"Are they still working?"

John only shrugged.

"Think so, but I never tried," admitted John as his stomach grumbled and Jesse chuckled.

"Seems like someone´s hungry," as if to prove it, Steve´s stomach followed.

"At least I´m not alone. Want to look what´s in the kitchen?" To say the truth John was more tired than hungry, the strain from driving pretty visible on his sullen face.

"We´ll make the dinner, you rest," said Steve, seeing the weary look. John wanted to protest, but Steve and Jesse were out of the room, looking to the fridge. After a minute of hushed mumbling as the duo shuffled through its contest, John heard a triumphant exclamation.

"Ribs! You think we can find some grill there?"

"In the basement," shouted John overhearing the question. He immediately regretted it though, as his head protested.

"Cool!" replied Jesse as he found something interesting to eat. Steve quipped his head inside the living room, startling John.

"You want pizza or spaghetti? Or we can have some canned beans, but I doubt anyone will want these,"

"We have pizza?"

"Yeah, or at least I hope it´s pizza . Jesse found it in the freezer."

"Ah, whatever. Spaghetti sounds better, though,"

Steve grinned.

"I bet - with my super secret sauce..."

"Ah is that the one from the canned bolognese?" picked at him John innocently. Steve snorted.

"If you don´t like it-"

"No Steve, I like it, really," convinced him John. "Do you need some help in the kitchen?"

Steve eyed the younger man and saw the little twitch of his eyes, indicating a headache.

"Nah, Jesse´s there. You can go up and rest for a while,"

"I´m okay, Steve," said John openly. "But I think I need to unpack. Call if you need something,"

"Sure," Steve watched as John made it up the stairs then returned to the kitchen, seeing Jesse picking at the ham. Steve clapped his hand and took it away.

"Hey!"

"We voted for spaghetti," announced him Steve as Jesse grimaced and picked up a banana.

"Where´s John?"

"Upstairs. I think the drive didn´t help him much,"

Jesse looked at Steve and shrugged.

"He´s probably having a hell of a headache. It´s pretty normal after that blow he incassed."

"Yeah, well - at least it wasn´t a bullett," sighed Steve and put the water to boil.

"He´s not a kid anymore Steve,"

"What?"

"You´re fussing over him like he´s a child. But I saw him working Steve, and let me assure you, he´s grown up. Do not need a baby sitter."

Steve grumbled and turned away from Jesse, annoyed that his friend knew him so good. Yes, he still saw John as a 13 year old who needed protection and it didn´t even occur to him, that two days ago John saved his life. And it wasn´t an act of a child.

"But I can check on him, if you want," said Jesse, not sure if he didn´t said too much.

"Thanks Jesse, but I don´t need to be checked," intervened John a little annoyed. Jesse spun around, startled and almost fell from his seat. John grinned at that, while Steve was curious how much Carter heard of their conversation.

"Your bags are in the rooms. It seems there´s no TV, but there´s plenty of whiskey."

"Cool," exclaimed Jesse and indicated for John to sit down. John turned his chair, sitting counter. He couldn´t stay alone otherwise he would fall asleep and he don´t wanted it. There will be dreams and someone would wake him for dinner. He rather washed up his face in cold water and hoped, that the headache will abate.

"So, Carter...any chance to meet with some girl here?" asked Jesse earnestly and John along with Steve burst out laughing.

"What?!"

"You came here to try and find a girl? Travis, I thought better of you! We´re in the middle of the woods, the only girl you´ll meet there will be only your phantasy." Jesse blushed, threwing the hull from the banana into the trashcan.

The dinner went by, they even found a box of ice-cream to add like a dessert after the spaghetti. Once the hunger was subdued, they sit by the fireplace, enjoying the quietness and heat. Jesse shared one of his unbelievable stories from the ER about a guy who swallowed a handful of living worms, then complained, that they´re tickling him in the stomach. John laughed, while Steve looked disgusted. After that Steve started a story of his own about a recent case of murder. A young man, hazard player, was killed when he attempted for a suicide. He jumped from his apartment building but didn´t die from the fall. John quirked his eyebrow at that, interested. Jesse only smirked, because he heard this story earlier, but don´t wanted to spoil John the punch line.

"Then what happened?" asked John cuious, after a few silent moments from Steve.

"Well, he was shot."

"When falling?"

"Yep," Steve smirked and emptied the can of ale he was drinking.

"Paradoxly, if he wouldn´t be shot, he would´ve survived the fall."

"How´s that?"

"Well, there was that safety net, just few storeys bellow. Want to tip who shot him?" John shook his head.

"His own father."

"You´re kidding?" smiled John.

"No, I´m serious. His parents were just arguing, when the man jumped. His father used to threaten his wife with a shotgun - well, this time it was loaded."

"So, he wanted to kill his mother instead?"

"Nah, it was just a game they played. He pulled the trigger, thinking that the gun is empty, when it wasn´t. Pity that the guy was just falling around their window."

"So the man was charged by murder?"

"No, it was stated as suicide."

"Why? Because the guy jumped? You said that he would be alive," mused John. Travis only grinned, enjoying the slight banter.

"Yeah, well... it seems, that the guy himself loaded the gun. He needed money and his parents wouldn´t give him. So he thought out the plan with the gun. But his parents didn´t argue for weeks, and the guy got restless. He had problems and didn´t see an exit from the situation. He wanted to die - and he did. He loaded the bullet to the gun which killed him."

"And this really happened?" asked John incredulous.

"Yeah, it happened in 1994 though it wasn´t my case. But it´s a popular story at our precinct."

"I can imagine," laughed John as Travis yawned.

"Urgh, I think I´m gonna lay down."

"Good night, Jess," said Steve and looked at John.

"You tired?"

"Nah," John shook his head, trying to stiffle a yawn of his own.

"Wanna talk?"

"And I thought we´re singing all night," joked John, but the smile didn´t reach his eyes.

"Serious talk," specified Steve.

"Oh," was the reply, then silence. Both men watched the playing flames in the hearth, each one deep in thoughts.

"It´s-" started John, then stopped. Should he talk about it or rather keep his mouth shut? Steve looked at him, waiting.

"Half day ago I thought all of my problems were miraculously solved. That I found some strength in me, that will enable me to look at this world through pink glasses. I was on the top of the world, because no one died on the NA meeting, and I saved one life, not ending dead or in hospital myself. I completely forgot what happened that week, the months before. Then it all came back," John snapped his fingers. "just like that. And I realised that Alex was just another druggie at the NA meeting I was attending. But I shouldn´t complain, knowing that you experienced worse than that."

"Well, I think there´s still a little difference, John. I´m a cop, I knew what I´m going into with the profession. You on the other side thought, that your job is safe. Which I should remind you, it isn´t. My father can get into more problems than I, even if I think it´s an exception," smiled Steve slightly.

"You know, the nightmares aren´t the worst. Yeah, they scare the crap out of me, but when I woke up, I know they were only dreams. But when I look at my family, at my parents - I know they´re real. Still, after all these years, they don´t care a shit. Now they can toss at me my cousin Chase and the drugs, the fact how I distained the name of the Carter´s family. That´s all that matters - all that ever mattered."

John tossed a crumpled paper into the fire, watching as it burnt up with grim satisfaction.

"I think I can thank for much of what I am my father," conceded Steve. "I lost my mother as a kid, and my sister not so long ago. Dad helped me overcome it, because he don´t wanted to lose me too. Though he wasn´t the only one. Jesse and Amanda were also there. The family is a person, whom you can trust with your life. A person who cares enough to inflict pain, when he knew in the end it will help you heal. The person who is willing to lose your friendship, when it can save your life. You told me about people like this, John. Maybe they aren´t perfect, maybe they wouldn´t be there for Christmas or Birthday, but when you needed them most, they stood behind you."

"Yeah," admitted John, lost in thoughts. "They were at the end."

"That´s what matters."

"But... I think I´m losing them, Steve. One by one." Steve shook his head.

"No, you´re pushing them away. I saw the way they acted, John. That chief of yours, with crutches..."

"Kerry."

"When she heard what happened, dad had to calm her. She wanted to come to the house, you know,"

"No, I didn´t," John was surprised. "I thought she´s just checking - you know, making sure I´m not high."

Steve scowled at him.

"And that Dr. Green? He gave you three days off."

"Yeah, and told me not to come back without a consult with a psych."

"At least they care."

John rolled his eyes and snorted.

"Thanks for that." Steve patted his shoulder and stood, not hiding his yawn.

"I think I´m gonna crash down. Tomorrow - we will look outside. Maybe spot some burglars."

"Just dream on," muttered John. Once alone, John´s thoughts returned to Steve´s words and he recalled how Luka sent him home after the shooting. How Mark always tried to talk with him, how Kerry used to let him leave sooner when he had enough of the hustle and the ER was quiet. He felt crowded, somehow betrayed in May, walking into curtain three with false smile on his face, then facing the accusations and finally, fleeting from the room, from the hospital, feeling as if they just stabbed him the second time. They were staring at him, wanting to see his wrist. He just ran, his whole world crashing. Weird as it was, he didn´t believe them. Don´t wanted to believe. Then Dr. Benton stopped him. Said those words which hurt more than any physical wound could, piercing through his heart.

He hit him, with all his anger, wanted to silence him, to silence his mind. But it couldn´t be silenced, realized John later, much later. Maybe some self preservation, or pure reaction. How did Steve formulate it? Family is someone, who is willing to inflict pain, when it can help you heal. Yeah, Benton did just that. Abby Lockhart did it, too - even if John couldn´t think of her as "family". Maybe friend, sometimes later.

The thinking wasn´t good for his headache. Hell, his head wasn´t good for his headache. John stood, casting one last glance at the fire. The bed was waiting.

It was the aroma of pancakes or coffee which woke him? John didn´t know, but the smells were coming from the kitchen, just like the hushed voices and laughter.

"Shouldn´t we wake him up? He´s gonna sleep through the whole day,"

"Look who´s talking. The one I had to drag from the bed with coffee in one and gun in the other hand?"

"Hey, I didn´t ask for the wakey," protested Jesse.

"Yeah, but someone had to help me do the breakfast. You was the first asleep, so I assumed you had enough sleep. Anyway, I think you can wake him up now, or the pancakes will get cold."

"Oh, I doubt they get the chance, Steve," said John grinning as he saw Jesse pouring a jam and chocolate at his portion.

"Wow, and I thought I have a good metabolism,"

"You see, we had to buy that BBQ, in effort to keep this little monstrum alive. How else could we provide him enough food. Tell me, Alf, when are you gonna return to Malmac?" asked Steve.

"You didn´t hear it? Malmac was destroyed, I´m staying."

"Uh, well... lucky we don´t have cats."

"Cats? Said someone "food"?" They laughed, enjoying the slight morning banter.

After the breakfast, the trio peeked out. Jesse and Steve shivered at the morning cold, while the fog was just starting to rise, and everything was cast in white. John took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh air, without the Chicago´s smog.

"Wonderful day," he sighed and returned inside, looking at his companions.

"Cold day, more like it," replied Jesse as John laughed.

"Oh come on, kids. It´s still above zero, that´s good. And today will be warm and sunny."

"And how do you know that?"

"Because I was there few times, and I know from experience, that the mist will go up in two hours. Believe me, if it should be a rainy day, you would know it. But we can wait an hour, to make sure we don´t get lost. Wanna play cards or rather Scrabble?"

"Scrabble," said Jesse.

"Poker," quipped Steve and they looked at John expectantly.

"Uhm," he thought about it. "Cards."

Steve grinned and patted John at the back.

"About money?"

"Hey!" protested Jesse. "I didn´t brought so much cents,"

"I´ll lend you some,"

Jesse looked at John smugly, not sure if it´s a good idea. In the end, John was glad when the mist raised, because he was poorer of five dollars. A smiling Jesse counted his bill and Steve grimaced at his own stock of quarters. He didn´t lost much, but didn´t win, either.

John grabbed two dollars from Jesse.

"Hey!"

"I borrowed you, remember?"

"Yeah, but that was only a dollar!"

"Percentages, Watson. Percentage!"

"Huh, now I know why are you living in a castle and I only in little apartment. Percentage!" snorted Jesse as John grinned, stacking the money into his pocket.

"Great. So were do you want to go? We didn´t make any plans coming here."

"My grandfather used this cabin for his fishing or hunting trips. One mile to southwest is a little river, discharging itself into Lake Superior, which is to the Southeast, probably eight miles. There´s also a cliff maybe two miles to north, offering a wonderfull view at the Eagle mountain, if the weather is good. So... wanna go hiking or rather see the lake, maybe rent some boat?"

"The lake," voted Jesse and Steve agreed.

"You said eight miles - we don´t have to go with a car. You think we can walk by the river?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Great. Jesse, go pack some sandwiches and coffee,"

"Why me?"

Steve rolled his eyes. "Because I have to change into something more... proper."

"Careful, Steve. It can be pretty warm at lunch," warned him John, already dressed in tracksuit with a light coat, while Steve returned in a wind-jacket.

Jesse had something between the two - a wind-jacket on the shirt with long sleeves. Finally they were prepared to leave.

"This looks more like a stream than a river to me," commented Jesse as they saw the water slowly making its way to the lake. The shore was rocky, but it was low and walking wasn´t a problem. The fog was long gone, replaced by a fresh breeze, sun rays and a slight scent of the forest. Putrid leafs, green grass and almost undetectable odour of wilderness filled their nostrils, but it was a heavenly release from the city smog, exhaust fumes or the antiseptic smell of hospitals.

They walked slowly, there was no need to rush. John whistled a tune from the Last Mohykan, while Steve and Jesse talked about the animals. They saw an osprey, going down for a fish, then with a triumphant shriek flying away, the fish tossing in the birds claws. Though it was John who saw the cabin.

It was more like a rumble, with the walls branded by fire. The trio stopped, surprised at the sight. It was a little two storey cabin - house more like it - with damaged roof. The windows along with doors were a history and John could only imagine what it looked like inside.

"Wanna look?" asked Jesse all at once. John spun around, a frown on his face.

"It could be unstable," objected the Chicago doctor. Jesse only shrugged.

"Steve?"

"Why not?"

John eyed both men, it seemed uncharacteristical for them to take such chances. But then, he thought about the adventures the Sloans could get into, and shrugged it off. It´s probably him who´s exaggeratedly cautious.

"Silly, I don´t remember this cabin," muttered John, while the other two made their way ahead. The cabin lay only few yards from the stream, if someone had put out the rod from one of the windows, he could´ve been fishing even from the house. John chuckled at the image it brought up in his mind - he saw himself in the dark house, while the rod was straining, till it broke.

"What´s so funny?" asked Jesse, who stopped before the doors, waiting for John.

"Nothing," answered John quickly and hesitated.

"I don´t know if we should,"

"Come on, Carter. What, are you afraid of ghosts?" taunted him Jesse.

"No," was the serious reply and Jesse rolled his eyes, looking for Steve. The cop was already inside, taking careful steps up the stairs. The two doctors followed him, separating below the stairs as Jesse took to the left and John to the right. The house seemed much bigger from inside. It was half empty, but here and there they spotted a burned painting on the wall, shards of a vase in the corner, few pieces of furniture, mostly chairs or in the room which could be used as a parlour, even a table and a couch with burnt edges.

It all looked like remains of some fire , but it was surprising that there was something left at all. As if someone saved the things from the fire, a little burned, but whole, then after the fire died, they brought them back. But why? And who?

The weather outside radically changed. While it wasn´t really raining, the heavy blow of wind from north caused a draught. It raised a wave of soot and dust and John instantly started sneezing and coughing. He took few steps back, his eyes tearing up, when his back hit someone and both John and the other being stumbled to the floor in scare.

"Wha-?" mumbled John, when the other figure sneezed and shot up, quickly retreating. John blinked, trying to clear his vision and saw a small, dirty girl, running from the house. He got up, at least tried to when a wave of dizziness hit him and John groaned, leaning his head against the wall.
When he opened his eyes, it was a figure of man, coming to him and for a second, he saw Sobricki with the knife and he jerked back. But it was only a second, and the figure came closer. John sighed out in relief seeing the concerned face of the other doctor.

"Steve! Come here!" yelled Jesse and John grimaced, getting up the floor. The room spinned and Jesse grabbed his arm to steady him.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, just got dizzy for a sec. Where is she?"

"Who?" asked Steve, frowning at John´s dusty clothes. Carter pointed at the door and outside the house, and sneezed. It didn´t help his head, but he could breath easier, the soot and dust out of his lungs. However, the relief didn´t last long as John faced his two concerned friends. It started to irritate him, how everyone looked "concerned" around him.

"The girl. She was... I don´t know, maybe eight or ten. Long red curly hairs, dirty clothes. I think I scared her - Hell, she scared me!" exclaimed John, feeling like some intruder, or worse - like someone scaring little girls and sending them outside , running to the forest. He frowned, rubbing at his eyes, not aware of the confused looks Steve and Jesse shot each other.

"I found him lying on the floor," rattled Jesse, still holding John´s left arm. "He said he was dizzy."

"I wasn´t," protested John abruptly, seeing where the conversation heads. "Well, I was, but that was after I fell."

"You fell?"

Now John was getting annoyed.

"Yeah, I fell, okay? She bumped into me, and we both fell. She was up first and I tried to get up too quickly, because I wanted to catch her. But that stupid dust-" as if on proof, John sneezed, three times over. "We should find her," he coughed and looked out. The sky was getting darker and the wind got stronger. It was promising one hell of a storm. Both Steve and Jesse followed his gaze.

"I think we should get you back to the cabin," stated Steve firmly.

"But-"

"You could´ve worsened your concussion," quipped Jesse as John shot him a warning look.

"No, my concussion is just fine. As am I. But that girl can get into problems, if she stays outside in the storm."

"There wasn´t any girl," said Steve, nervously eyeing the sky. "I checked it around, while you were still outside. The house was empty. Anyway, what would a girl be doing here all alone?"

"That´s what I´m asking, too," snapped off John, earning another frown from both men.

"Damn, I´m not hallucinating!" he defended himself, feeling quite surely that nobody believes him.

"It´s not so uncommon with a head injury," recited Jesse and John let out a sigh.

"I´m a doctor too, Travis. I definitely don´t need a lecture."

"Okay," answered Jesse a little injured at the use of his name.

"We still need to return to the cabin," spoke Steve as they heard a low rumble. The storm was coming.

"What about her?"

"Look, if there was any girl, she´ll be smart enough to return here."

"We can wait,"

"No," stated Steve resolutely. He didn´t know how strong and long the storm could be. The house was almost empty, the heating wasn´t functioning and there wasn´t any food. Not mentioning, that Steve would rather have John as near the car as possible. He was sure there wasn´t any girl inside the house when he checked it, and Jesse had that look on his face, clearly stating he was concerned. If something happens, they could handle it better in the cabin than there.

"John, she ran away. Maybe when we go, she will return. But if we stay, she will surely stay outside, too afraid to return," reasoned Steve and was glad to see that John understood him.

"Okay," mumbled the young doctor somehow resigned.

"Good," he patted his back, and quickly led them out of the house. The cold hit them with surprise and they started to run, seeing the first lightening cross the sky and hearing the rumble. John cast one look back at the house, blinking as he saw a blur of red, heading back. He smiled, a little relieved. They were near the cabin when the rain started. Only yards were between them and the doors when the first raindrop fell, but when they broke inside, they were all wet like kittens.

I know, I know. Not much happened. But there will be more action. Want the second chapter? So please, send reviews and write mails. I promise I´ll update very soon.