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Fic -- If I Ever Get Out Of Here
Rogues
dillonmania
Title: If I Ever Get Out Of Here
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2135
Characters: Axel Walker, Joey Monteleone, Len Snart, Evan McCulloch.
Summary: Joey has a problem, but Axel may know the solution.
Warnings: Profanity and a Scottish accent.
Notes: Canonverse. For Kennedy (ilikedicks), as part of the Tumblr Secret Santa exchange!



They’d started the day with a round of throwing t-bombs and tar globs at the big Flash statue in the park. Joey scored a direct hit on its face and Axel brought it down with a well-aimed shot at the legs, and then they joyfully sowed random mayhem amongst the picnickers. Cold would bitch about it later, but wouldn’t actually do anything because nobody got hurt, so they were free to have fun.

“Dude, that dog shit itself when you threw the bomb!” Joey crowed, laughing helplessly as Axel helped himself to a family’s abandoned lunch. He lobbed the fruit at some fleeing passersby while munching on the sandwiches.
“Hey, these are pretty good. Want one?” the younger boy asked carelessly, and Joey gave him his best dirty look.
“I don’t eat, man. Remember?”
“Oh yeah,” Axel noted, unbothered by the annoyance in his friend’s voice, and tossed the remaining sandwich in the direction of a camera crew trying to keep a safe distance. “Let’s get out of here before the cops show up. This place sucks ass anyway.”
“I’m good either way,” Joey replied with a shrug. Only the speedsters were really a threat to him, so he didn’t mind tangling with the police, but Axel’s company was more fun than causing trouble by himself. “We goin’ to the Rogues’ place?”
“Nah, the guys will nag me if you come along.” The Rogues didn’t have anything against Tar Pit per se, but tended to complain about his fumes, and Cold disapproved of the way Mick was transfixed by the flames burning on his body. It was easier to hang out with Joey away from them -- and he liked being with someone close to his own age and interests without the old guys around.

Joey had his own little dive in a derelict area of Keystone, a place generally suited to a man of his unique needs. The floor and few pieces of ‘furniture’ were bare concrete, the only substance which could withstand the presence of a burning tar creature. There was a television tucked away in a corner so he didn’t accidentally get too close to it, although he had to rely on someone else to turn it on or off. It was mostly left on all the time for convenience’s sake, generally tuned to ESPN, because otherwise he didn’t have much entertainment. The place was too dank and chilly for Axel’s liking (a barren concrete floor wasn’t very comfortable), but Joey’s body tended to damage everywhere else they went, so it was easier to spend time there.

“What should we do now?” Axel asked as he scrolled through the photos on his phone. He’d taken a few pics of their escapade in the park, and now had some good laughs at the expressions of the people he’d frightened.
“TV’s always good,” Joey replied hopefully, wanting to catch the latest hockey scores, but his friend made a face.
“Sports suck. I wanna play the Xbox.”
The game controller would last about five seconds in Joey’s hot and gooey hands, so it was only there for Axel’s sake. Usually Joey was pretty tolerant about his buddy playing a game he couldn’t participate in, but today his temper was a bit short.
“If you play games I’m just gonna leave,” he said tersely, the flames burning more fiercely on his skin, and even Axel got the message.
“`sokay, man, we can do something else,” the younger boy answered. “You wanna talk or something? You seem kinda on edge today.”

Joey didn’t say anything for a while, and his face was never particularly expressive, but his unhappiness was obvious. “Jack called me a freak. Said I shouldn’t come around anymore, that all I do is mess up his place.”
“The Candyman..?” Axel had met Jack Monteleone only once, but had always admired him. He was a powerful and confident businessman; how could a young hood not be impressed? But that kind of behaviour from family was not okay in Axel’s book, and struck something of a raw nerve. “Let’s go smash up his joint.”
“No way! His goons would kill you, and it’d start stuff between him and the Rogues that’d get real ugly,” Joey insisted. He had no interest in yet another gang war. “I’m just hopin’ he’ll change his mind next month or so, it being Christmas and all.”
“It’s still a shitty thing to do,” Axel replied indignantly, and Joey shrugged.
“Yeah. But Jack’s kinda a shithead sometimes. You know that I was getting hassled by the cops even before I committed my first crime? They figured I had to be up to no good because I was the Candyman’s little brother. Eventually I figured, why the hell not? and held up a liquor store. But sometimes I feel like I got pushed into it `cause of Jack. I was always plannin’ to finish high school and become an electrician, man. I really liked that crap.”

Axel grinned, because he’d wanted to get the hell out of school as soon as he could manage it. But he was struck by his friend’s melancholy mood, which was very much unlike him.
“You think if we got you back into your old body that Jack would do a 180?” he asked, getting the germ of a bright idea, although Joey just shook his head.
“I’m stuck here, bro; you know that. Not gonna happen.”
“You don’t know that for sure. What if we get your tar body and original body real close together? Maybe you could go back.”
“It’s possible…I guess,” Joey said with obvious skepticism. “Don’t matter, though, `cause my body’s in Iron Heights. We’d never be able to get in there and back out.”
“The Rogues could get you in and out,” Axel grinned slyly, and Joey brightened for the first time since they’d left the park.

****


“Forget it,” Len said flatly. “That’s trouble we don’t need.”
“C’mon!” Axel pleaded. “He’d owe you a favour! You wouldn’t be doing it for free!”
“We don’t need favours from a little shit like Tar Pit. Kid’s worse than useless, he’s a drain everywhere he goes. And nearly suffocated Angie and me.”
“He’s ruined more a’ ma mirrors than I can count,” Evan added.
“Guys, please: this is important to me. Joey’s…a friend. I wanna help him, but I need your help too.”
It wasn’t often that Axel said “please”, so it was clear just how serious he was. Len sighed loudly, obviously very annoyed.
“Fine. Don’t make me regret it,” he finally said in a curt tone. “McCulloch will take you there, and I’ll come along to make sure you’re not fucking everything up.”
Axel actually jumped for joy, reminding everyone of his youthful age, and Evan let out a loud grunt of displeasure. He didn’t have the nerve to directly defy Cold, however, and could be counted on to (grudgingly) co-operate.
“Thanks guys!” Axel whooped excitedly, offering a high five to Len that was rudely refused. But nothing could dampen the boy’s mood, so he ran out of the safehouse to tell Joey the good news, bright sparks trailing in his wake.

****


“This is stupit,” Evan griped as he poked his head out of a mirror on the Pipeline. Nobody actually knew where Joey’s unconscious body was kept, so McCulloch had to act as a scout before everyone else went through.
“Cut the commentary and just look,” Len barked from behind him. Tar Pit’s fumes and dripping mess were making him even crankier than usual, and he was keen to get the mission over with. He still wasn’t sure why he’d agreed to it.

Evan was gone for several minutes and then stepped back through the safehouse’s main mirror. “Nowt oan the Pipeline. He must be somewhaur else.”
“I’m gonna be pissed if they killed my body and dumped it someplace,” Joey grumbled.
“It’s got to be there,” Len mused thoughtfully. “Could possibly be on a lower-security level, since it ain’t much of a threat when nobody’s home. Or maybe in the infirmary. McCulloch, check the infirmary.”
“Aye,” Evan muttered under his breath, wishing he’d downed a few beers before going on these ridiculous errands. He slipped through the mirror again and returned just moments later. “Aye, he’s in thare. The hackit wee bawbag ye showed me the photo of, right?”
“Hey!” Joey protested, though he was ignored.
“Then let’s go through and see if this stunt works,” Len ordered the group, who readied their weapons and prepared to step through the mirror together. Joey was suddenly struck by a paralyzing fear: what if it didn’t work? What if it became clear he was never going to get back into his body and have a normal life? What would he do then? He almost lost his nerve, although the others started to move and he couldn’t be the one to chicken out. He had to take the leap of faith.

They walked through the mirror and emerged in the prisoners’ infirmary, a spartan ward clearly inferior to the one used for guards and other staff. One guard was keeping watch over Joey’s body, but was quickly frozen in a block of ice, and the door was blocked too.
“Hurry and let’s do this,” Len told the Rogues brusquely, so Joey and Axel rushed over to the bed holding his unconscious body. It was hooked up to an IV drip and a variety of life-monitoring machines, as apparently the warden was concerned it might die without the host’s mind inside. This was probably not for humanitarian reasons, but rather from fear of Joey’s powerful older brother.
“So how does this work?” Axel asked curiously. He looked down at his friend’s body with a slight smile.
“I project my mind into stuff. Now I gotta try to project it back in there,” Joey answered, closing the eyes of his tar form. He concentrated on making the jump, willing his mind to travel as it had before, and for long moments there was silence in the room.
“Hurry the fuck up!” Len finally snapped, although Axel braved his temper to hold up a hand for quiet. Joey was obviously trying very intently, and the tension increased as time passed.

“They’ve fair seen us oan the cameras by the nou,” Evan told Len quietly, who nodded and made a gesture to go back.
“You can do this,” Axel muttered to his friend, seeing his obvious frustration. “As long as your body’s alive, you can do it.”
“It’s not working,” Joey said despairingly, although he was still trying. Len and Evan walked back through the mirror and disappeared, although they left the gateway open.
“Do it for me,” Axel urged him. “If you’re you again, we can hang out more, and…do stuff.”
“Like stuff stuff?” Joey asked in surprise, and the other boy nodded. Neither was particularly big on eloquent speeches, but they understood each other. “Okay.”

He stood directly over his body, getting as close as possible without burning it, and concentrated again. There was a familiar sensation, almost like flying, as his mind traveled around in search of a home; he had to keep concentrating lest he get lost entirely. There was no time to rejoice that it seemed to be working. His astral self hovered high above his original body, and tentatively reached out to enter it.
“Gah!” Joey’s human body suddenly yelped, thrashing awake in bed. His tar form was slowly dissolving.
“You did it!” Axel rejoiced, grabbing his friend in a tight hug. “Man, you did it.”
Joey allowed himself to be cuddled, although he was grinning a bit self-consciously. “Yeah, I guess I did. Thanks to you, bro.”
“Doesn’t matter who’s responsible, just that it worked. So let’s get outta here before Wolfe’s rent-a-cops bust down the door.”

Joey sat up and gingerly took a step off the bed, very unsteady on his feet. It had been a while since his body had walked anywhere, but he was able to lean on Axel and they walked together. The mirror doorway was still open and they stepped through it, soon returning to the comforting environs of the safehouse.
“You made it,” Len remarked, actually surprised. He tossed the boys a couple of beers; Axel wasn’t quite old enough yet, but probably deserved to celebrate. More importantly, he was careful to guide Joey to the safety of the couch and plant a quick kiss atop his head before opening his drink.
“To us,” Axel said as they clinked cans. “And all the hell we’re gonna raise.”
“Yeah, to us!” Joey answered happily, chugging his beer with great enthusiasm. He was enjoying the simple pleasure of drinking again, something he hadn’t done in a long time. “And to finally being able to do stuff stuff!”


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Aw :) This is really sweet! I don't know much about the non-Rogue characters, so I never knew Tar-pit was so young. You get characters so well. It's always a pleasure reading your fics even when I'm not familiar with the characters because you get me there and make me care about them :) *snuggles you*

Thank you! :) Tar Pit is technically a Rogue, but he's one of Johns' "New Rogues", so I can see why you wouldn't be particularly familiar with him. Anyway, Johns established him as 22, so he is very young, not much older than Axel. He's one of the few New Rogues I actually like because he's so darned goofy.

Anyway, thank you very much, I'm so glad you enjoyed it and my stuff in general. It really means a lot to me :)

I do indeed! =D You have a unique way of telling a story that draws me in because you dig into the meat of a character and what makes them tick. You get very internal, and that's always been the most interesting part of a character to me.

Glad I can do that -- and thank you again :)

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