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Driver's Test

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"Alright, now just pull out onto course, nice and easy."

Nick looked over at his eleven o'clock tester and not for the first time wondered how in the hell he'd ended up ... well, back in the States, first of all, and working for the goddamned DMV of all places.

Oh right, of course, like most things in his life these days, it was pretty much entirely because of Cassie. Clairvoyant Cassie who'd made a pretty decent argument about "hiding in plain sight" and government agents fighting government employees and needing actual money since he still couldn't focus his telekinesis finely enough to cheat on his stupid dice games, and his luck wasn't good enough to win without it.

It had made perfect sense at the time, but Nick was having a hard time remembering exactly how it had gone as the kid with the spiky blue hair took the course at five times the speed limit.

"Whoa!" he shouted, waving his little clipboard. "Slow down! You've gotta follow the posted speed limit!"

"Why?" the kid demanded, tires squealing as he took a turn without bothering to slow down. "It's not like I'd drive better slower."

And the thing of it was, the kid was right. Nick had taken kids through this course at one-third the posted speed limit who'd still managed to ride up on the curb; or, on one notable occasion, had backed up into the stop sign at the fake four-way intersection. This kid clearly knew how to maneuver, it was just that he was doing it at fifty miles an hour in a 15 mph zone.

Nick looked down at the name on the evaluation sheet.

"Listen, Ikki, right?" he said. "You obviously know how to drive, I can help you pass this thing, but you've gotta slow down. I can only push the rules so far, alright?"

"Who asked you, old man?" Ikki snorted, blowing him a raspberry and flipping him off.

Unfortunately he held it a little too long and didn't look back at the road until Nick started shouting at him to watch out. He swerved just before the car would've jumped the curve and rammed right into the DMV building.

A few more skidding turns, tires lifting off of the road, and shouts from Nick to, "Slow down you little punk!" and the car skidded to a perfect stop between the parallel parking cones.

Ikki got out, took a quick look, gave a triumphant, smug laugh, and shoved a piece of bubblegum in his mouth as he sauntered off, not even waiting for Nick to climb out and finish marking down his test sheet.

"Just so you know," he shouted after Ikki, "you failed!"

Ikki just waved his hand over his shoulder, "Whatever," and headed over to a group of irate looking young women who Nick could only assume were his family. The eldest one looked at him like she was willing him to shatter into tiny little pieces; she kind of looked like she could do it too.

"You failed again?!" Nick heard her scream. "That's the third time this month! That's it!" She grabbed him by the ear and dragged him off towards her car. "You're grounded! No skates! No Kogarasumaru! Don't even think about even looking at your little friends! Plain rice for all of your meals for the next month and you're going to clean up Mikan's and Ume's rooms!"

Nick barely heard the answering protests about not even wanting to drive in the first place; he just took Ikki's test form inside to file it and announced that he quit. No more risking his life on a closed 15 mph course, he's out.

Cassie was going to kill him.

God he hated teenagers.