Authors: cordelianne, reremouse, savoytruffle
Warnings: Car theft, gas guzzling, action
Summary: Xander's got places to be, things to do. Giles wishes Xander had given the Council a heads up. Spike figures, what the hell, the pay's good and it's not like he's got other plans at the moment.
Note: With fantastic movie posters by the talented katekat1010 beneath the cut. Both can be seen here. Thank you, kate!
Previous parts are here.
"I feel like we're being followed," Xander says, three days and a change of car later.
The car judders with impact and Xander grips the wheel with increasingly sweaty hands and shouldn't he be finding a pair of driving gloves in the glove box about now?
"Y'don't say!" Spike says, gripping the hand hold over the door.
Xander'd been wondering why he needed a Hummer. "Check the glove box."
The next impact throws Spike against the dashboard. "Get the lead out, Harris!"
"This is a Hummer, Spike. It's nothing but lead!"
Which is a good thing because whatever's behind them is a lot faster and really likes ramming his bumper. "What the fuck am I looking for? He's not going to ask for registration and insurance."
"Gloves," Xander says.
"Oh. Right. Here." Spike hands over a pair of driving gloves. Even pries Xander's fingers away from the wheel long enough to put them on him.
They're rammed again and Xander swerves into a Dairy Queen lot, bumps over a low dividing wall into the Fluff N Fold and roars out onto the street to the sweet music of crunch behind them.
He imagines he can hear footsteps in the distance coming closer and tries harder not to.
He also keeps driving until they cross the state line into Pennsylvania.
They don't look at each other.
Or, more accurately, Xander doesn't look at Spike but even if he couldn't see Spike staring at him out of the corner of his eye he'd feel the stare.
Spike lights a cigarette and doesn't crack a window. Asks casually: "The hell was that?"
Harris drums his fingers on the wheel like a man looking for a way not to answer something he really really wants to answer. "Um," he says.
"This um," Spike says and ashes onto the floor, "It got a name?"
"Right about now?" Harris chews his lip and swerves into a full service gas station and hands over a couple of fifties from the coin compartment under the steering wheel. "Fill it up," he says to the attendant. To Spike, he says, "I'm thinking the name we're looking for is Trouble. Big Trouble." He pauses and looks around. "In little...Pennsylvania."
"That sort of thing's a compulsion with you, isn't it?" Spike observes.
"Pretty much, yeah." Harris is drumming his fingers again. "Nervous tic."
"One of many," Spike agrees.
"I never play poker."
"Not a gambler then?" Spike asks.
Harris darts a glance at the rear view mirror and licks his lips. "I didn't say that."
"High stakes then?"
This time the glance lingers on him longer. It's a glance with heft for all Harris has only got the one eye to deliver it with. "The highest." He drives off once the tank's full without waiting for change and flexes his hands around the steering wheel.
"Care to name 'em?" Spike cracks the window and flicks the butt onto the street in a shower of sparks.
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Spike stares at him in disbelief. "Oh, come on!"
"What? They're totally valid! A whole country was founded on them."
"Yeah, sure but you read that off the billboard!"
Harris' hands are flexing again and as nervous tics go, it's contagious so thank god Harris lets Spike grip his hand over the center - thing. His hand is sweaty. It squeezes Spike's.
And Harris says, "It's still true."
"Bollocks," and then because Spike's not completely sure it is bollocks: "So what's following us?"
"Trouble," Harris says again, "lots of it," and stifles a yawn. "Look, do you mind if we pull over and switch up ahead?"
The poor bloke looks knackered. "Sure, pet."
"Thanks." Harris checks the rear view again before slowing down and pulling over. He does not get out of the car, just slides over the hump in the middle of the cab and scoots into the free space on Spike's seat. "Your turn to drive," he says and gives Spike a shove toward the driver's seat.
When they're settled and moving again, Harris says, "It's not a Slayer, exactly."
"Yeah. I got that bit."
Harris doesn't say anything else for a minute. "It's not exactly not a Slayer either," he says eventually. "I think."
"He thinks." Spike peels off onto the expressway toward New Jersey, "Bloody great."