Fandom: Sky High
Characters: Warren Peace and the gang
Word Count: 3,009
Spoilers: All of the film
Disclaimer: Sky High is owned by Disney. I make no money.
Notes: If you’re reading War and Peace In Mind this could be in chapter 23.
Summary: Warren goes on a road trip with the gang. Wacky hijinks ensue!
“Don’t tell me you’re not going.”
I gave Magenta my best glare.
She crossed her arms, as stubbornly unmoved as me.
“And don’t tell me you don’t do road trips.”
Since I’d been about to say exactly that, I just kept quiet in what I hoped was inscrutable silence. We’d been having this argument for five minutes and I was starting to lose.
“Ethan’s got his family’s van and Layla has her mom’s car. You can afford to take a week off from your night classes for once.”
I still refused to talk.
“It’s spring break, and we’re going to the Grand Canyon. It’s in the desert, it’ll be warm!”
“We’d still be camping,” I cracked finally.
“So, it’s a week without our parents.”
“It’s not like they won’t know where we are,” I pointed out. Superkids never got to go entirely off the map. All our phones had GPS locators; so it wasn’t exactly like we were totally free to do whatever we wanted.
“So what? They still won’t be looking over our shoulders,” she said.
“Ok, you remember how great our last long camping trip went?” I demanded.
“Oh. Oh yeah,” Magenta said with a knowing smile.
In retrospect I shouldn’t have brought up the Yellowstone Incident.
“We aren’t planning to stop at any hotels or anything, but if you really feel the need to hop in a hot tub we could always-.”
“Shut. Up,” I said through clenched teeth.
“Come on Warren, it’s our last vacation together before you graduate,” she said, her tone going from confrontational to pleading.
“Please?” Will added from the doorway of his garage, having just come in with a huge load of the dreading camping gear.
I was about to reply with something scathing when Magenta went on the offensive again.
“Seriously, this is like trying to convince my five-year-old cousin. ‘I don’t wanna,’” she said in a penetrating childish whine.
I muttered something under my breath about emotional blackmail and nodded in acquiescence. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with my friends but…
It was a damn road trip! Notorious for wacky misadventures and hijinks. Shenanigans. Inside jokes, the works. High potential for embarrassing situations and photos. And-.
“Come on man, you aren’t going to wuss out on us, are ya?” Zack asked, following Will in with a bunch of sleeping bags.
“I just don’t want this to turn into a bad movie or something,” I said in warning. I was only two months from graduation, so I was understandably stressed. It figured my friends would try to cheer me up with something like this!
“Ethan and Layla are doing the driving, so how bad could it be? They never get lost,” Zack said with a frightening display of logic.
I relaxed marginally. If anyone else were responsible for getting us there… Zack might be inclined to stop at every tourist trap that we passed, Will would get lost and then refuse to ask for directions (something he inherited from his dad, Layla claimed), and Magenta would pull over at every fruit and vegetable stand by the road (her inner guinea pig demanding fresh produce).
But with Layla and Ethan driving the worse that could happen would be the occasional side trip to a local park.
“Ok, fine, I’m in,” I said, finally cracking a smile.
“Awesome!” Will said enthusiastically. “I thought you were going to burn yourself out for graduation.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Hey, bring your cat along, would you?” Magenta asked as I punched Will in the shoulder to no real effect.
“Sure-. Wait, are you insane?”
The next day I was more or less regretting everything. Less than I thought, but still, the shenanigans were starting right out of the gate.
My cat Trixie was happy to go along with the gang, once Layla’s mom had explained the situation, but refused to go in her carrier. She wanted the freedom of Ethan’s van or nothing. So she ended up snoozing on the sun-drenched dashboard as we headed southwest.
Layla and Will were somewhere behind us in her car, so Ethan, the rest of us, and all the gear were leading the way. And we were starting off the trip with a lengthy “discussion” that Zack started before we were even out of the city.
“Look, all I’m saying is that it’s Spring Break. We can’t we just ditch the cars and have Will fly us to a beach somewhere?”
“Because,” Ethan countered, for the fifty-seventh time, “superkids don’t get to drop off the map.”
Which was exactly what he, Magenta, and I had been saying for the last two hours. Right about then it seemed to sink in.
“But why the Grand Canyon? Why not somewhere cooler?”
“Because you plus the beach equals trouble. Do you think our parents would have let us go if they knew or even thought we were heading for Cancun?” Magenta pointed out.
“No, they wouldn’t have. And you said you’d rather go anywhere than stay in Maxville during vacation,” she reminded him.
“Well yeah but-.”
“Besides, if we did go to the beach, Warren’d get swarmed by girls and end up really cranky,” Magenta said with a really wicked smile.
I should have figured that her Ethan-like speech on responsibility was only setting up a really good backslam. On the other hand, it did silence Zack for a mile and a half.
“Ok, tell me this then. Why is it whenever we end up with parent-free vacation time we always end up out in the woods somewhere?” I asked.
The Yellowstone Incident notwithstanding, there had been three other weekends where we’d ended up in the county park with hotdogs and marshmallows. Not that those hadn’t been sort of fun, but I’d found out the hard way that Will and Layla knew approximately five dozen campfire songs, with no less than six versus each, the legacy of seven summers at the same Y camp.
“Oh please, I thought you were smarter than that,” Magenta said, rolling her eyes.
“Things are easier to cover up out here,” Ethan chimed in.
“Ah.” I finally got it. There’d been that incident with Zack and the beehive, Layla and the poison ivy, Ethan and the mudpit, and even Will and the moose (which we never talked about), all of which hadn’t actually had witnesses other than ourselves.
All things considered, this was probably all for the best.
And that terrified me.
90 miles later
“Dudes, I’m thirsty,” Zack complained.
“That’s your own fault for eating all that salt from the bottom of the pretzel bag,” Magenta said.
Ethan and I had been quietly trying to keep our sanity during the Magenta-and-Zack show in the back seat. Both of us were wondering how the two of them managed to stand each other on a daily basis when the banter had reached near-lethal levels.
“Come on guys, just stop for a second!” Zack pleaded.
Ethan sighed and pulled over at the next gas station, Will and Layla pulling in behind us.
Five minutes later Zack came out with-.
“What the hell is that?” I asked, eyeing the large, straw-studded, garish neon plastic container he held in his hands.
“The Bucket O’ Pop. Ninety-six ounces of pure refreshment!”
“What did you fill it up with?” I asked with trepidation.
“They had like twelve different kinds of pop, and an energy drink bar, so I took some of everything!” he said happily.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I muttered. Beside me, Ethan looked a little shellshocked and Magenta a little worried.
“Hey, I’d take one!” Will said enthusiastically, but Layla put her hand on his arm and shook her head.
“Not while I’m driving,” she warned.
“What about me?” Ethan asked. “He’s going to be bouncing off the walls!”
“You didn’t stop him fast enough,” Layla said mischievously.
“Oh God,” I groaned.
Fifty miles later the sugar and caffeine had started to kick in and Zack’s behavior started to go from typical Zack to downright bizarre.
“Dude, check out that cloud over there. It’s like… a dog or a cloud or Boomer or something…”
“Ya know, Trixie’s like our own personal dashboard Jesus!” he exclaimed.
Trixie opened one eye at her elevation to savior, licked a paw, and settled back down to sleep.
“This song rocks! Hey Trixie, wanna dance? Dancing kitty, dancing kitty, da- Ow! She bit me!”
One hundred and ten miles
“Damn I’m hungry…”
“Leave the map, don’t eat the map, watch that pop!”
There was a horrible sizzle as the last of the pop concoction slopped over the dashboard as Magenta tried to haul Zack back into his seat.
“There went the GPS system,” Ethan said in a very controlled tone.
“And the map,” Magenta said, glaring at her boyfriend. He grinned unrepentantly, still chewing on the map.
“Layla and Will have one, don’t they?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Airplane! Zoom, zoom, zoom!” Zack dived into the pile of gear at the back, still making airplane noises.
“Can’t you restrain him or something?” I asked, holding onto sanity with teeth and toenails.
“That’s your job Warren,” Magenta said with a tight smile.
“Since when?” I nearly yelled.
“Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall…” Zack started to sing.
“Get me the rope.”
Two hundred miles later, later that evening, side of the road, still not at the Grand Canyon
“You were high,” Magenta accused Zack after taking off the gag.
“Sugar high!” he said with a grin.
“You have no idea how close we were to just chucking you out of the van and leaving you for the vultures,” I threatened.
“Dude, I have no idea what you’re smurfing about.”
“Did you just use ‘smurf’ as a verb?”
“You fried my mom’s GPS, and ate the map!” Ethan nearly yelled. After nearly six hours of Zack’s hyper-activity, even Ethan’s long fuse was at an end.
“…I was hungry?” Zack offered, looking a tiny bit penitent.
“Tell me you still have your map,” I asked Layla, who was only now getting the idea of what we’d been dealing with for the last several hours.
“I spilled my water and we figured we still had yours…”
“This is getting ridiculous.”
“What about your GPS?” Ethan asked.
“A bee got in the car and I tried to swat it out the window and-,” Will started.
“And nearly took out the entire dashboard,” Magenta finished.
“We’re lost?” Zack asked, still looking confused.
“This is stupid. We can get directions on our cell phones or get a map at a gas station or even do something really radical and ask someone!” I nearly roared.
“That’s not the point,” Will said.
“Yeah, we could consider it a-,” Ethan started.
“If you said ‘training exercise’ I’m going to cook you for supper,” Magenta interrupted. Ethan shut up.
“It’ll be fine, we don’t need directions,” Will said calmly. “We’re going to a major public park, aren’t there signs or something to follow?”
“We were sort of taking the scenic route,” Layla admitted sheepishly. “There were some parks along the way…”
“This is dumb, let’s just get some directions and go!” I said impatiently, flipping open my phone.
“Come on Warren, the journey is half the fun!” Will said.
“You guys weren’t in the van with Zack for the last six hours!”
A little later that evening, local KOA
“See, we found a campsite! Everything’s fine, we’re on an adventure!” Will said, pounding in the last tent stake by leaning on it slightly. That was an improvement over the three of them he’d bent accidentally.
“Does that adventure include watching Zack detox from whatever was in that pop?” I asked mildly. I’d just gotten back from paying our fees at the front office and had passed a sight I hadn’t really ever wanted to see.
“Why?” Will asked with trepidation.
“Because right now Trixie and Magenta are in a wrestling match and Zack’s taking bets on the winner,” I said. I hadn’t even bothered to stop them. Magenta and Zack could get themselves out of this mess on their own.
“Bets from whom?” Ethan asked.
“The college girls’ basketball team in the next five campsites.” Which was reason number two I wasn’t going to break up the fracas.
“Oh Lord, Magenta!” Layla called, and ran toward the rising noise the next campsite over.
Will and Ethan came up next to me, looking a little shellshocked. I stopped myself from saying “I told you so,” only because they looked about as weirded out as I did.
“Marshmallows?” Will suggested finally as a peace offering.
“As long as there are no campfire songs.”
Fifteen minutes later Layla returned with Trixie and Zack returned with Magenta, still shifted and looking as mad as hell. Both cat and guinea pig were pointedly not looking at each other. Luckily neither looked hurt.
“Did you drink what Zack did?” Layla was scolding Magenta fiercely.
“Trixie started it,” Magenta said indignantly.
“What are we, five?” I asked.
“You tell your cat to keep her tongue to herself!”
“That’s an image that’s going to haunt me on my deathbed…” I said faintly.
“And I won fifty bucks!” Zack crowed, oblivious.
“Shut up!" everyone said simultaneously.
By morning Zack’s energy level was back to usual, and his behavior had stabilized at Zack-normal. I breathed a mental sigh of relief. As usual, it was too soon.
As it turned out Layla had been in charge of packing all the food. Other than the pretzels and marshmallows, all we had to eat was-.
“Granola and oatmeal?” I asked, after looking through the food box with quickly covered dismay.
“Organic granola and oatmeal. And apples and bananas,” Layla corrected proudly.
“Where’re the Pop Tarts?” Zack asked.
“Do you know how many preservatives are in one of those things?” she asked in horror.
“Yeah! I found one last week that had been under my bed since last Christmas and it was still good,” he said with a grin.
Layla looked scandalized, and Will quickly ate one of the organic granola bars in a show of solidarity with his girlfriend. Then he had to heroically try to keep his expression neutral as he chewed and swallowed the thing.
“What flavor is this?”
“Natural peanut butter with flax seed and soy. Do you like it?” Layla asked, her expression hopeful.
Will, constrained by wanting Layla to keep speaking to him, nodded and smiled.
“See! If Will likes them, and he usually had bacon and eggs for breakfast, then you’ll like them too.”
Behind Layla’s back, Will was making pitiful “help me” expressions.
Magenta declared it a girl’s day for our second day of travel, and kicked Will out of Layla’s car to ride with the rest of us guys, much to his relief. As we resumed our misguided adventure (my predictions about this becoming a bad movie were already pretty accurate), Will laid himself down on the back seat.
“What was it like?” Zack asked, referring to the granola bar.
“Like eating a tree branch. I love Layla but…”
“You want people food,” I finished. Will nodded, looking pained.
“Then Zack’s secret stash is open!” Zack said proudly, opening up a box concealed under the tents. Inside was more junk food than I actually thought existed.
“Wow…” Will said with awe. “How did you fit all this in there?”
I took a closer look out of curiosity and almost choked.
“How the hell did you make a warpspace generator?” I demanded. For sure enough, puttering away on the side of the box was a small device that made the box bigger on the inside than on the outside.
“Warpspace generator?” Ethan yelled from the front, and the van swerved to a great honking of horns as he tried to turn around and drive at the same time.
“Eyes on the road!” Will exclaimed, and Ethan quickly got the van straightened out.
“Zack, you nearly failed Mad Science,” I commented, still in awe at the lengths Zack would go to maintain his level of cool.
“Ray theory was boring. Warpspace is cool! Magenta helped too. Want a hamburger?” Zack asked, digging out a fresh, hot cheeseburger from somewhere in the box.
“Wait, you made a stasis chamber too?”
“Duh. How was I supposed to keep the burgers fresh?”
Will and I exchanged incredulous glances.
Then we both grabbed a cheeseburger.
Later that day
“Only ten miles to the Grand Canyon!” Ethan called from the front.
“I thought you said it was cheating to call for directions,” I said to Will. He’d swallowed his pride and looked up directions about four hours back. Will looked over his shoulder at Zack, who was zonked out in the very back of the van.
“It was either that or risk another Bucket of Pop.”
“You’re smarter than you look Stronghold.”
“I kind of have to be, don’t I?”
Ethan starting snorting in laughter in the front as Will looked closer at the road.
“Yeah, campground’s that way… Mom used to take me flying, I remember this from a few years back,” he said, pointing out a road to Ethan.
I sighed in relief as I saw the end of the journey in sight.
“Thank God,” I muttered, relaxing back in my seat.
“Um Warren?” Will asked as I closed my eyes. The tone of his voice made my stomach sink somewhere to the vicinity of my knees.
“What?” I asked with trepidation, cracking my eyes open again.
“You know we just got started with this vacation, right?”
I must have looked pretty horror-struck, particularly when Will pulled out a list as long as his arm.
“We all had some ideas of things we could do while we were here…” he started, and tried to hide a grin.
As I gaped at Will, at the front of the van I was sure I could hear Trixie snickering.