"Hey, Torrent. Come on, wake up, you lazy son of a bitch.", American Psycho said, shaking Toxic Torrent until they rolled over and groaned.
"What is it now?"
"We need to leave. I heard an engine a little ways away, and the only ones who don't drive on roads are-"
"-Dracs, because they don't know how to drive. Yeah, I'm on it.", Torrent said, packing up their things and shoving them inside their rolled-up sleeping bag. They tossed the bundle into the back of the car, where Psycho's was already sitting, and climbed in the passenger seat. Their companion hopped in mere seconds later.
"We need to be fast if we're going to outrun them, since they're so close.", Psycho said. They started the engine and took off like a rocket in the opposite direction of the approaching headlights.
"Why didn't you wake me up earlier?", Torrent asked as they bumped along back towards the road.
"You needed the sleep. You've hardly slept since-"
"Don't. Don't bring it up, just keep driving.", Torrent snapped.
"No, Jon, we're going to talk about it eventually. You've been a mess ever since your mom died, and you need to let her go.", Psycho shot back, suddenly swerving the steering wheel to get back on the road. They looked back, putting one arm around Torrent's seat to keep them steady, to see if the BL/ind van was still following them. Cursing when they saw the all-too-familiar sights of headlights behind them, they turned back around and gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles.
"Please, Pete, save this for a time when we're not being hunted down like animals.", Torrent said, unlocking the glove department and taking out a rare gun, one that uses bullets instead of lasers. Rolling down the window, they climbed out of it until they could get both arms out in front of them. Firing three shots, they took out the two front wheels and the driver, and climbed back in as the van swerved and crashed into a cactus a ways off the road.
"There, now we can talk.", Psycho said as Torrent put the gun back in the glove department of the old Impala.
"We're not doing this. I'm-"
"If you say that you're fine one more time I'll send you to your own grave.", Psycho interrupted. "Jonathan Jacob Walker, you are not fine and you damn well know it. You don't sleep, and when you do you have nightmares and wake up screaming. You don't eat, and I've stopped trying to get you to eat because when you do, you throw it all up again. This isn't healthy, Jon." Torrent remained silent, crossing their arms and looking out the window, which was their way of saying that the conversation was over. Psycho sighed and continued driving, turning on the radio like they normally did when they weren't speaking. As the music faded out and Dr. Death Defying's voice drifted in, Toxic Torrent turned up the volume.
"Bad news from the Zones, tumbleweeds. It looks like Jet Star and the Kobra Kid had a clap with an exterminator that went all Costa Rica and, uh, got themselves ghosted, dusted out on Route Guano. So it's time to hit the red line and upthrust the volume out there, keep your boots tight, keep your guns close, and die with your mask on if you've got to. Here is the traffic...", the familiar voice crackled. Torrent turned the volume back down after that, since the traffic wasn't something either of them payed attention to.
"Jet Star and the Kobra Kid? They're part of the Fabulous Four, right?", Psycho asked. Torrent hummed in answer, remaining silent for a few more seconds afterwards before they spoke up.
"Hey, aren't we on Route Guano?" American Psycho looked at the street in front of them and, sure enough, after a few seconds a road sign appeared, bearing the name "Route Guano".
"Yeah, we are."
"It's possible that they're still alive, you know.
"I know. Sometimes Dr. Death Defying isn't all that accurate when it comes to who's actually dead and who's still kicking. You remember that one time when he thought I was dead for a whole year?"
"Yeah, I remember. God, he nearly had a heart attack when you showed up at his doorstep." Psycho chuckled, before slamming on the brakes and bringing the car to a screeching halt.
"What the fuck?"
"There, over there. Do you see that?", Psycho asked, pointing out into the now-brightening desert. Torrent squinted to see through the glass, and soon two dark shapes made themselves visible to them. One of them was very obviously supporting the other, dragging their limp body through the desert in the direction away from their car. As the sun rose up further, Torrent made out a head of bushy hair on the person being carried, and a bright, cherry red shone off of the other's jacket in the weak sunlight.
"Do you think that's them?", Torrent asked.
"I don't know, but they're definitely not from BL/ind.", Psycho said. They revved the engine again, shooting forward until they had pulled up parallel to the pair. Torrent was the first to exit the car, Psycho soon following, and raced over to the duo.
"Hey, are you guys alright?", Torrent yelled. The standing one looked over his shoulder at them before turning himself and his companion around to face the two killjoys.
"Does it look like we're alright?", he snapped.
"Chill out. We're here to help you.", Psycho explained.
"How do I know you're not from BL/ind?"
"Do you think someone from BL/ind would drive that kind of car?", Psycho asked, pointing to their cherry red car.
"Guess not. You don't really look like you're from BLI either.", the stranger said.
"I'm American Psycho, and this is Toxic Torrent."
"Kobra Kid, and this useless lump is Jet Star.", Kobra Kid introduced. Psycho nodded as Torrent dashed forward to help support Jet Star.
"We just heard about you two on Dr. D's show. He thinks you're dead."
"Oh, fuck. Poison and Ghoul probably heard it, too, then." He looked up and met Psycho's eyes. "I don't like asking for help, but it's a long way back to our hideout, Poison took the car to go rescue the Girl again, and Jet needs serious medical attention, so could we hitch a ride? Our team mates are probably freaking the fuck out right now."
"Of course. Hop in.", Psycho said. Kobra shot him a grateful look before he and Torrent started dragging Jet Star to the backseat of the glaringly red Impala, which almost matched his jacket. Once everyone was inside, Psycho started the engine and sped off down the road, following Kobra Kid's instructions. Along the way, the three conscious people in the car made friendly conversation to pass the time.
"Okay, turn left here and drive west for about half an hour.", the blonde-topped man said finally "And then we'll be there. By the way, I never asked you guys for pronouns."
"We both use they/them. I'm genderfluid, and Torrent's just... Torrent.", Psycho said.
"Okay, cool. Jet and I are both trans boys."
"Who else is on your team, besides you and Jet?", Torrent asked.
"Party Poison and Fun Ghoul. Party Poison's my sibling, and Fun Ghoul's his datemate. Poison's genderfluid and Ghoul's agender. What about you guys? Anybody else on your team?"
"No, it's just us. We've been friends since childhood, so we tend to stick together.", Psycho answered. Kobra nodded before asking another question.
"How long have you guys been in the Zones?"
"Our whole life?", Torrent said. When Kobra gave him a confused look, Torrent elaborated.
"Our parents were killjoys, too." They conveniently left out who their parents were, though.
"Really? Wow, so you guys have been living this life since you were babies."
"Yep. How long have you been in the Zones?"
"Ever since I was ten. G-... Poison was fourteen, and he was going to be sent off to the Retinal Resort since he had been questioning everything too much. He woke me up in the middle of the night, we gathered our things, and we fled. We bumped into Jet and Ghoul later on, when we were raiding the BL/ind headquarters. They were being held as hostages, so we freed them and they joined our team. I never thought we'd make it this far, though."
"Yeah, you guys are almost as famous as our parents now.", Psycho said. More silence followed this until Kobra pointed out a small diner about half an hour later.
"This is it.", he said. "Thanks for the lift, guys."
"We'll help you carry Jet inside.", Torrent offered. Kobra nodded, and soon the four killjoys were walking through the front door of the diner.
"Honey, I'm home!", Kobra called out. Setting Jet down on a small booth just inside the door, the tall man turned around just in time to get attacked by a man with bright red hair, letting out a high pitched screech as they squeezed the life out of Kobra. Psycho guessed that this man was Party Poison, Kobra's genderfluid sibling. A rather tiny person followed Poison- Fun Ghoul- and wrapped their arms around the siblings. Poison was openly crying now, burying his face into his brother's shoulder as both Kobra and Ghoul comforted him.
"I thought you were dead! Don't you ever fucking do that to me again, you piece of shit!"
"Hey, Poison, calm down. I'm okay, trust me." Ghoul started sniffling too, but then they stiffened when they spotted Torrent and Psycho.
"It's ok, they're not from BL/ind. This is American Psycho, and that's Toxic Torrent. Their parents were killjoys, so I don't think we have to worry about them selling us out." Kobra explained. Torrent offered up a half-smile and raised their hand, while Psycho smiled brightly. Kobra blinked, obviously not used to seeing Psycho's smile yet, but stepped back as Ghoul went to shake their hands. Poison, however, stayed by Kobra's side, arms looped around his torso.
"I'm Fun Ghoul, and that's Party Poison. Pronouns?"
"They/them for both of us. You?"
"Poison doesn't care, and ze/hir for me.", Ghoul answered. It was then that ze noticed Jet in the booth, and ze screamed.
"Oh God, he's not dead is he?"
"No, he's alive.", Kobra answered. At that moment, as if on cue, Jet Star's eyes opened a fraction and he groaned.
"Jet!", Poison yelled. He remained in Kobra's arms, though, clinging tightly as he watched Jet sit up.
"What the fuck happened?", he asked. While Kobra filled his team mates in on what happened, Psycho noticed Dr. Death Defying and Show Pony emerging from a room in back. The crippled soldier gave Psycho and Torrent a quick nod.
"Nice to see you two again.", he said before turning to witness the scene in front of him. He took in Kobra and Poison, attached at the hip, Jet sitting in the booth looking half-asleep, and Ghoul laying upside down on the table, and sighed heavily.
"I'll be in my office. Damn killjoys, can't even stay dead for an hour after I sign off...", he mumbled. Psycho knew he was just kidding, and that he was glad to see that Jet and Kobra were unharmed. Show Pony skated after him, waving to Torrent as he left.
"So, have you guys actually worked out a plan yet?", Kobra asked, facing his sibling.
"Yeah, we have. We thought it was just Ghoul and I, so having you two will make things easier. And you two can help, if you want.", Poison said, looking at Psycho and Torrent. "Until now, we've been travelling with a ten year old girl, who we call The Girl because she's a trans girl and she hasn't picked a name yet. Korse stole her from us, and we're gonna get her back and hopefully take down BL/ind as well."
"We're in. What can we do to help?" Poison grinned wickedly before diving into detail about the plan.