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It takes a while to get from Chicago to Las Vegas by train. A lot of stops in weird little towns, a lot of time to get to know your traveling partner, and his abilities and little quirks. Time enough for Mitch to learn that J is a hell of a lot sharper than he seems at first glance (though just as crazy), and has some kind of bizarre reverse-reaction to physical pain, and never goddamn sleeps. Time enough for J to see Mitch have nightmares (maybe even pry something out of him, before he wakes up completely, about how his parents died), and hear him wax poetic about Gotham City, and pick up a few more hints about just how high up on the social ladder he was before he left his former life behind.

(Time enough for the both of them to eat most of a stolen crate of snack cakes, and get really, really damn sick of them, and keep eating them anyway.)

Time and travel run out, though, and the train passes through the Vegas rail yard. And it's time to get the hell off of here.

Date: 2009-07-07 07:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
J not only has theories on Mitch's past, he has a name for the guy Mitch used to be. It isn't important, though. Not right now. For now, only the guy he's been traveling with matters, and his name is Mitch. Good enough.

A long trip and a long sugar high and J couldn't be happier to be getting off that damn train for good. He stretches and cracks a lot of sore joints and scrabbles his way over the gravel floor of the train yard, trying not to be so excited as to get caught, but wanting the fuck away from the train.

Once over the fence and standing outside, the lights of Vegas are glittering on the horizon. He notes each tiny pinpoint sign that moves or twinkles and is just a little nervous about entering the town....but just as excited.
"We are not yet wealthy enough to call for a limo, are we?"

Date: 2009-07-07 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
The less Mitch thinks about how much J knows, the happier he is. Not that he's ever really happy, but he's at least less gloomy and paranoid.

The question about limos gets J a sidelong look. "Not yet."

They picked up some 'donations' on the way, a good little nest egg to get them started. (Mitch has put himself in charge of doling that out, thank you very much.) But he isn't going to waste it on a taxi, much less a limo. If they were even in a place a taxi would go.

"I thought you'd want to stretch your legs."

Date: 2009-07-07 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
Mitch has their money and he isn't being very generous with it. Damn it. Oh well. J shrugs with just a slight pout and starts the walk towards the city proper.

"I do. Just not as ah...enthused...about a walk in the desert."
He stretches his arms over and behind his head, though, and enjoys getting to walk without worrying when or if the train will leave again. Next time they need to go somewhere, J plans to steal a car. To hell with trains.

Date: 2009-07-07 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
God help them both, when and if that day comes. Especially if Mitch isn't the one driving.

He follows J, eyes straying up to the darkening sky, the lights below. There's a whole bright, noisy city, with its own brand of crime and criminals, different and the same as everywhere else, just a walk away. Ready for the taking -- for their taking. But there are priorities.

"First thing I want is a cheap hotel room and a shower."

Date: 2009-07-08 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
J is an excellent driver. There is no reason for concern.

It's such a bright and glittering thing, this city. He's almost happier to hear Mitch wants to just get a room first. Probably someplace small, on the border of all that brightness, before they get into the heart of it.

"Yeah, alright. Can we at least get room service? Order a pizza? Something?"

Date: 2009-07-08 04:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
The way Mitch has seen J do other things makes him doubt this. (Those other things including 'entertain himself' and 'exist.') The first motel, hostel, whatever that they come across is probably going to be it. As long as there's running water and a bed, he's for it.

But, oh... 'Pizza' may have been the magic word, by how the dark-haired man's eyes light up.

"God. Yes. Anything but cake."

Date: 2009-07-08 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"I liked the cakes."
He's a fan of sugar and has a high tolerance for a lot of the same thing, since he doesn't pay much attention to what he's eating anyway.

J sets his feet into the dirt and slides down the bank of a hill, hopping clear at the end and continuing with a bouncy pace. There's a four-lane road not too far off. That has to lead somewhere.
"Now I can leave at night instead of listening to you snore."
Mitch doesn't snore, really.

Date: 2009-07-08 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
Mitch follows him down the hill, leaving a dusty trail down the slope and catching back up with J at the bottom. No bouncing.

"I don't snore." ...does he?

He eyes the road thoughtfully, seeing potential in the cars going by. "Think we could get a ride?"

Date: 2009-07-14 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"How would you know?"
For the hell of it, he'll go about making Mitch self conscious for a while.

He looks at the cars, then grins at Mitch. Is he really allowed to get them a ride?
"I know I can. Don't you about you. ... Are we just hitching, or keeping the car?"
He plays with one of the knives in his pocket.

Date: 2009-07-14 01:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"Someone would have mentioned it before now." Like his college roommates. Maybe? What if he does snore?

He sees that grin, and the way J plays with that knife. But he shrugs. "Whichever you want." It can't be that easy. Where's the catch? "As long as nobody gets hurt."

...of course.

Date: 2009-07-14 02:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"Would they? Do you sleep with a lot of people, Mitch? A lot of brutally honest people?" He arches a brow. Anything to keep the uncertainty going.

Really? Whatever he wants? Oh he knows what he wants and... Fuck. He scowls as Mitch so quickly ruins everything.
"You don't make things easy. Don't know why you're so...so limiting."

He sighs and gestures for Mitch to stay back where he is and J goes to the side of the road. He lowers his head, letting gold curls fall around his face as he sorrowfully thumbs for a ride. He may not have a firm understanding of emotions, but he can imitate them fairly well. He knows he looks innocent and young. He plays that up to get them a ride.

Date: 2009-07-14 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"What does that have to do with anything?" A little too defensive there, Mitch. Love life got you down? How about they change the subject?

"I like to be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning." He has this nasty conscience thing, still.

He hangs back like J wants him to, watching from a safe distance -- too far to interfere if J decides to change his mind about going along with Mitch's limitations, but he's... reasonably certain that won't happen. He hopes.

It's not long before someone pulls over for the innocent-seeming young man. Green Econoline van with faded curtains drawn over the windows.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"Ooh. Touchy. He thinks it's interesting that gets to Mitch so strongly.

"I wouldn't ..ah..worry about that so much if I had your face. Pfft." He laughs. J has no trouble looking at himself. Just the sleeping at night. And that's unrelated.

God, he wants to just knife the driver, watch anyone else in the van scatter, grab Mitch up, and take off. Ditch the van at the first opportunity and pick up a new vehicle. Ah well.
"Thanks for stopping! My friend and I need a ride to civilization. Just to a hotel for the night. ... We were going to try to camp out here, but...it's sort of spooky, ya know?"

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Date: 2009-09-14 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
J folds up very compact for his ride in the passenger seat. His feet push on the dashboard and his knees are pressed into his chest. One arm is pressed between his thighs and the other draws on the window glass in his little choice of 'comfortable riding position'. He watches everything go by outside the window in a state of deep distraction. It's the quietest he's been in a while. He also seems either completely oblivious to the muffled noises of their 'package' coming to and thumping and grunting in his restraints, or maybe just utterly indifferent to it.

The city has so many lights. It seems to shift and change the closer they get. Everything gets brighter. It's like going from two-tone Kansas to Oz.

Date: 2009-09-15 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
Brighter and brighter. "I'll never get used to that," Mitch mutters. Thinking aloud. He's usually fine with silence, but -- maybe he isn't, this time. He's never had anyone with him when he's entered a new city, before.

Date: 2009-09-16 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
A smiley face is smeared on the glass; big round eyes and uneven lines. The lights glint off of it, bent and smudged and so many colors...

He turns his head and tilts it; looking like an interested puppy.
"...used to what?"
This isn't just a new city. This is a different world.

Date: 2009-09-16 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"The neon," he explains. "First time I saw Times Square, all I wanted was a pair of sunglasses." He doesn't hate it -- well, not enough that he won't endure it, but... "Gotham isn't a very bright city."

Date: 2009-09-16 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"It looks like it's on fire if you squint at it."
This is, somehow, a consolation. Sure it's bright, but it could also be destructive. Wouldn't that be nice?

He tries this trick, looking at the skyline through his eyelashes and watching the fuzzy light shift and shimmer. He doesn't look at Mitch. It seems little more than an offhand comment...
"No. It isn't."

Date: 2009-09-17 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"Hm." Mitch, meanwhile, sees little wrong... less, perhaps, than he should... in J's observation about the lights. Maybe it does look like it's on fire. Probably. And?

He's more interested in scanning the street ahead of them, looking for a hotel with a good rate and a bus in the parking lot. One or the other. Or --

"Hey. How about there?" There's a charter bus parked in the back lot of that older motel.

Date: 2009-09-19 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
He's just...agreed with. He isn't looked at strangely or questioned or bothered. Mitch doesn't seem scared or annoyed or convinced that J is trying to be weird. It's...sort of nice, really. He says what he thinks. The fact few agree with him has never seemed like a problem. This, though....is a pleasant change.

"Huh?" He follows where Mitch is looking --where they boy points out to him-- and smiles. "Seems pretty perfect. ... Wonder who came in the bus. One of those ah...tours of retirees out to gamble? Or...or a poorly funded school sports team? Or...Hmm....A uh..a mission. A big bus load of nuns sent to save Sin City's soul?" He giggles. He doesn't honestly care who the bus came carrying. It's interesting to consider the more amusing possibilities, though. He likes thinking of who might open their little gift package.

Date: 2009-09-20 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
Mitch smirks -- call it a smirk, and it doesn't sound as happy -- at the suggestions, as he pulls in to the lot. Right up near the bus. "Choir group," he suggests. "Inner city."

Having someone to agree with is a change, for him. Having someone to listen to chattering on, instead of being alone with his thoughts... (Once he starts making connections in a place there are people, yes. But they think of him as whoever he's saying he is at the time. They don't travel with him, they don't follow him home. They aren't... whatever this weird kid he's fallen in with is.)

Date: 2009-09-20 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
Nothing wrong with being happy. Less wrong with pretending to be happy. Miserable people seem suspicious, Mitch. J, for one, is outright grinning when Mitch plays along with his little 'who gets the victim?' guessing game.
"Tsk. And they were trying so hard to get away from all of this crime and violence. Oh well. Let's uh..add to their luggage, hmm?"
He chuckles and turns in his seat to peer over the headrest at the slightly wriggly bundle in the back. Might be conscious. He still isn't lucid or very strong, though.

This is his first time getting something like enjoyment out of his traveling company in a long time, too. Maybe ever, if we're talking solely about mutual appreciation. He sometimes enjoys the degree to which he distresses those he's working with, but there are subtle differences between that and...what this is.

Date: 2009-09-20 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"And their baggage." ...did he just make a joke? A pun, anyway. Dear God.

The poor guy is conscious, maybe, but manageable. And silent. Mitch can deal with most of the hard work of hauling him, as long as J helps with doors, and keeping the tail end of the fabric off the ground. If they work quick and quiet, they shouldn't need to worry about being caught or questioned.

Date: 2009-09-20 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-bad-joke.livejournal.com
"Pffft." Well, at least Mitch is trying. It's cute. It gets a very wide and appreciative smile, even if it's just a pun.

J is quick and quiet about opening the doors in Mitch's way and helping him along with their package. On the side of the bus best hidden from the road, he goes about prying open one of the luggage compartments. Breaking into things is a skill he feels fairly confident in.
The space inside is largely empty, most of the bags and suitcases now in hotel rooms with their owners. He wonders if they'll find the man first, or just toss their cargo in on top of him and leave him to bake in the Nevada heat before he's found.
"Like dropping off really uncooperative laundry."

Date: 2009-09-20 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] andthethrill.livejournal.com
"No cranberry stains," he mutters to himself.

The luggage compartment is shut, and he takes a look around, working out what the next move should be. Staying at this hotel would be most convenient, but if they find the guy tomorrow, and his truck is right there in the parking lot with him...

"See any cars with Indiana plates?"

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Mitchell "Mitch" Malone

November 2009

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