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I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Thirty-Five:
When You Find Yourself

A shining speck appeared in the distance, followed by a cloud of dust. What started out as a faint buzz, like that of a beetle’s wings, grew louder and louder. The entire population of Radiator Springs sat on the sidelines, watching with bated breath, as Vee came speeding around the final turn. Doc Hudson stood just beyond the finish line, nervous eyes glancing back and forth between the Chrysler and his stopwatch. Sarge stood across from him, equally intent on timing her. Just a short distance away from both of them stood Mack. His unblinking gaze never left Vee’s face.

With a sudden boost in speed, Vee flew the last hundred yards toward the finish line like a bullet charged by lightning. Doc clicked the stopwatch as the purple blur zoomed past him. Sarge nearly dropped his own watch as he was shaken by the wind of her wake. Cheers rained down from the rise where the crowd had parked to watch. Several of them started driving down to congratulate her in person. Mack was the first to reach her, sweeping her up in a gigantic hug.

“Now hold on just a damn second!” Sarge commanded, and everyone fell silent and turned to look at him. He glared at Vee and huffed an irritated breath through his grille. “Sorry to rain on your little victory, but you said you could beat the course in thirty-five minutes FLAT!”

“Yes, I did,” Vee replied evenly. “What’s your point?”

Sarge smirked and held up his stopwatch. “Thirty-five minutes and two point eight seconds! You lose, Missy! You lose, and I win!”

Vee, Mack, and the rest of the crowd stared at the watch in disbelief.

“Hold on a minute, Sarge,” Doc spoke up. “I think one of us has a faulty stopwatch, because mine says she beat the time, with two seconds to spare!” He showed everyone his own watch. Sarge glared at him and snorted.

Sheriff double-checked both watches before holding up his own. “Thirty-four minutes and fifty-eight seconds exactly,” he stated. His smile caused Sarge’s frown to deepen. The crowd cheered again.

“All right!” exclaimed Ramone. “I just won a hundred bucks! In yo face, ese!” he taunted, lifting up his back end and waving it in Guido’s face. Guido responded with a string of Italian curses and a tire iron shoved up Ramone’s tailpipe.

During the commotion, Sarge fixed Vee with an accusatory glare and growled. Vee just smiled back and nodded at something behind him. Sarge turned around and his tank churned at the sight of Fillmore standing there.

The bus smiled at him. “Hey man,” he murmured. Sarge growled at him and his smile faded. “What?”

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” the crowd started chanting.

Sarge turned to Vee with brimstone in his eyes. Again, Vee just smiled.

“You have got to be kidding me!” he growled.

Mack parked beside Vee and gave the Jeep an expectant look.

“’Fraid not,” she replied.

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”

Sarge glared daggers at everyone else before turning back to Fillmore. The furious look on his face did not lessen. He could feel himself overheating already. Taking a deep breath, Sarge shut his eyes tight and plunged forward. He had barely pecked Fillmore’s bumper when Mack rolled up behind him and gave him a sharp nudge. The Jeep’s startled cry was silenced as his lips meshed with the hippie’s in a passionate, if unintentional, kiss. The crowd went wild.

It seemed to take a ridiculously long time for Sarge to break away from Fillmore and when he did, the star on his hood was glowing bright pink and it was impossible to tell whether his bumper was curled in a smile or a grimace. A sudden stream of ice-cold water shot him in the face before Red turned his hose on every other vehicle present. Far from upset, everyone had a good laugh except Sarge, who glared heatedly at the fire truck. His normally intimidating scowl was lost on Red, who was now eagerly hosing down a giggling Mia.

Mack’s own attention was quickly distracted by the sopping wet Chrysler parked beside him. He grinned down at her. She grinned back and winked, then turned and drove away. Mack wasted no time following her.

* * *

Dusk had fallen by the time Mack and Vee reached the lookout point. Above and behind them, the peaks of Cadillac Range were bathed in a warm, rosy glow while far below Ornament Valley lay in a sea of deep blue shadows. Cotton candy clouds floated across the darkening sky and the sun shimmered like molten gold on the black horizon.

Mack parked next to Vee and pulled her close with a tire. They stood on the cliff, side by side, surveying the valley before them. Neither one said anything for a long time. Both were simply content to watch the sunset together.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Vee asked after a while.

Mack looked down at her and smiled at the way the golden light played off her curves. “It sure is,” he replied, without taking his eyes off her.

Vee glanced up at him and chuckled. Mack turned to face her and pulled her closer, planting a large yet tender kiss on her door. Vee purred and leaned into him.

“You know what?” he murmured against her side.

“Mm, what?”

“I’m kind of glad that I pulled out in front of you that day,” Mack said with a blush. “I felt bad about it for a long time, but… well, I still do, actually. But now… now I’m sort of glad I did it.”

Vee smiled. “Me too.”

Mack arched a brow at her. “You’re not just saying that, are you?”

“Of course not. I mean it.”

“Even though I dented you up real bad?”

Vee nodded. “It was worth it.” She gazed up at him and the last rays of sunlight danced in her eyes before the sun disappeared below the horizon. “You stopped me, Mack. You stopped me from running away, and you stopped me from making some very stupid mistakes and ruining my life. You saved me that day, and that’s worth way more than a few measly dents. I should really thank you for that.”

Mack blushed and smiled. “No you shouldn’t.”

“Yes, I should,” Vee argued. “If you hadn’t stopped me, we wouldn’t be here right now, and I wouldn’t be thanking you like this…” she trailed off, turning toward him until her groping lips found his. They kissed deeply and for a very long time.

When at last they broke apart, they were both breathless and nighttime had settled over the valley. Neither vehicle bothered turning on their headlights. Even in the dark Vee could see that Mack was blushing redder than ever and grinning like a fool. “Well in that case, I really am glad I stopped you,” he said. “And I’d do it again in a second!”

Vee chuckled. “I hope you do,” she purred, kissing him again. Then they turned as one toward the cliff and parked there side by side, gazing out at the sleepy valley below.

THE END
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I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Thirty-Four:
Route 62

Mack’s tires carried him over to the ditch as though they had a mind of their own. He felt like he was driving through a dark, narrow tunnel, the strip of lavender he knew to be Vee guiding him forward. She lay there, at the bottom of the ditch, in a bed of tumbleweeds, trash and mud. All he could see of her from where he stood was her back end, sticking out from beneath the trailer. She didn’t move. Without thinking he grabbed hold of the trailer and pulled it up out of the ditch. Now that he could see the rest of her, he sucked in a sharp breath and a sob escaped his throat.

A wide, deep scrape ran from bumper to bumper along her right side, and both her roof and hood had such large dents in them that they appeared to be caved in.

“Vee!” he cried. She did not respond. Mack tried to reach down into the ditch to pull her out, but she was too far down. The dirt ledge crumbled beneath him and he nearly toppled into the ditch himself. A moment later Doc and the others flanked him. Yvette looked down, let out a strangled cry, and turned away.

“Mater!” Doc shouted, looking around for the tow truck. Mater was already lowering his cable down into the ditch. Lightning dove in after and slipped the hook under Vee’s back bumper. He then drove around to her front and started pushing. Mack stared numbly at the scene that was playing out before him. Both Doc and Sheriff had to order him aside as Vee was lifted out and set down in front of them.

Mater didn’t even have a chance to unhook himself before Mack burst forward and snatched the Chrysler up in his tires. Tears spilled from his hood and splashed on hers. “Oh Vee…”

He heard Doc saying something, but the words went right over his cab. Something pulled at his tire and he was dimly aware of Sheriff trying to pry him away from the woman he loved. Mack let go of her finally and set her down with utmost care, then allowed the squad car to lead him away.

A silent circle formed around Doc Hudson as he worked over the injured Chrysler. Hours seemed to pass when in reality only a few minutes ticked by. Now and then there was a quiet moan or the faint shimmy of an engine trying to turn over. Mack never took his eyes off her. Please, Vee. Please be okay. Please…

With a heavy sigh, Doc shut her hood. The loud bang made everyone jump. Mack rolled forward an inch or two, watching Vee’s face for some sign of consciousness. After a moment, her eyelids began to flutter. Mack held his breath. Her mouth twisted in a painful-looking sneer. She groaned and creaked as she rose up on wobbly tires.

Mack’s engine flooded with relief and he flung himself at her, snatching her up in an enormous hug as a fresh wave of tears rained down on her.

“Easy there, Mack!” Doc said with a chuckle. “I don’t want to have to fix her again so soon.”

Mack ignored him. It wasn’t until he heard Vee’s muffled protest that he dared release her. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again!” he scolded her, his headlight to headlight smile betraying his harsh tone. Vee said nothing. Her smirk spoke volumes.

The small crowd closed in around her, each car cheering and hugging her in turn. Mater smacked her bumper with his hook and laughed. Vee laughed too and slugged him back.

“That was the most incredible racing I’ve ever seen!” Lightning exclaimed.

Sheriff snorted, then turned to face Vee with a frown. “Racing, my ass!” he growled. “That was THE most horrendous display of reckless driving it has ever been my displeasure to witness! Why, I ought to slap a boot on you right now!”

Vee did not argue. She just stared back at him, blank-faced.

“However,” he continued, “seeing as we’re not in Carburetor County, I’m afraid that this incident falls outside of my jurisdiction.” Everyone was surprised by his sudden smile.

* * *

Vee stared numbly at the remains of the two men who had made the last four years of her life so miserable. She was achy and exhausted from her ordeal. It was late afternoon now, and the autumn wind brought with it an icy drizzle that stung her scrapes and made her shiver. Mack noticed and put a tire around her. She leaned into him with a grateful sigh. If he hadn’t been there to support her, she didn’t think she would have had the strength to endure the endless interrogation from the Highway Patrol.

Besides the two fatalities, there had been very few injuries resulting from the wreck. Vee and the two big rigs had suffered the worst of it, yet thankfully all three were fit enough to drive home unassisted. It seemed to take forever for the trailers to be removed and the bodies to be cleaned up and hauled away. When the road was finally cleared, Mack, Vee and the others stood aside and waited for the backed-up traffic to thin out.

The sun was setting somewhere beyond the clouds by the time the group was back on the highway and heading home. Vee drove alongside Mack at the front of their little caravan. Neither one spoke, simply content to be together again. After a while Mack turned his radio on to check the local weather and traffic reports.

“Hey Vee,” he said suddenly. “Turn your radio on!”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

Vee complied. All she got was static.

“99.9 FM,” Mack clarified.

It took her a moment to tune in to the station. Though she had no idea what she was supposed to be listening for, she was mildly surprised when she heard Chuck Berry singing “Route 66.” She gave Mack a questioning look. In the last of the light she could see his mischievous grin.

Well it goes through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty…

“Yeah, that’s great,” she mumbled, “but in case you haven’t noticed, this is Route Sixty-TWO, not Sixty-six.”

Mack’s smile grew. “Exactly!”

Vee arched a brow at him, but said nothing. She turned the volume up and listened to the rest of the song.

Won’t you get hip to this kindly tip
Take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66
And I’ll meet you on Route 62...

Vee looked at Mack again, eyes wide.

Mack chuckled. “I guess we finally figured out what that last part means, huh?”

Vee shook her hood. “I thought it was just a coincidence. What do you think it means?”

Mack shrugged. “Eh, I dunno. What do you think it means?”

“Something really corny, I’m sure.”

“I thought it meant something special.”

This time Vee shrugged. “I suppose.”

“Well, after all we’ve been through, and after coming all this way just to meet you here, I’d say that’s something pretty special, wouldn’t you?”

Vee chuckled. “Okay, now that was just plain corny! And special,” she purred, driving closer to him.

* * *

Looking back in her rearview mirror, Vee spotted Yvette driving by herself several car-lengths behind. She fell back until she was level with the young woman. Even in the dark she could still clearly see the tread marks on her face and the distant look in her sky blue eyes. She appeared to be lost in thought.

“Hey,” said Vee, giving her an encouraging smile.

“Hey,” the Corvette replied, smiling back.

They drove in silence, side by side. The pavement hummed beneath their tires and the rain ran in rivulets up their windshields. Vee turned her wipers on, then looked over at Yvette to see that she had done the same. Yvette glanced back at her and both women laughed.

“Been one hell of a day, hasn’t it?” Vee said, turning them off again.

“I’ll say! Thank Dodge it’s over now.”

“Oh, it’s not over,” Vee replied solemnly. “Not by a long shot.” Yvette stared at her curiously. Vee smiled again. “It’s just the start of something better.”



Chapter Thirty-Five: [link]
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I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Thirty:
A Helping Hook

“I’m… so cold…” Mack’s words were little more than a whisper on the icy air, so faint that at first Vee wasn’t even sure she had heard them.

She forced her eyes open, the lashes sealed with frozen tears. “What?”

Mack’s body shook from a fit of coughing. “Cold,” he said again, slightly louder this time.

Vee sniffled and nuzzled the side of her hood against his. She shivered. He was as cold as ice. “Turn your heater on,” she told him. Her own voice was as frail as his from crying. “Warm yourself up.”

Mack squeezed his eyes shut and grimaced. He looked like he was in pain. When he opened them again, he looked even more miserable than ever. “I can’t,” he moaned. “C-can’t turn it on. Can’t s-s-start engine. Too c-cold.”

Vee blinked back the threat of more tears and swallowed hard. “Well, you’ve got all that snow on you. No wonder you’re cold.” Despite her words, there was no denying the thin layer of snow laying across her own hood and roof. “Here, lemme brush it off.” She stood up on her back tires and, using one front tire to balance herself against Mack’s hood, tried to reach up with her other front tire and clear away the snow that had fallen on him. There was little she could reach from her position, and after her second slip she decided it was pointless and gave up. Sniffling, she pressed herself close to him again, sheltered from the bitter wind in the space between his hood and the brim of his cap.

“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed, tears brimming here eyes once more. “I tried.”

As miserable as he felt already, seeing his best friend so upset over him made Mack feel even worse. "P-please don’t cry, Vee,” he murmured. “Ev-everything’s g-gonna be okay. You’ll see.” This was followed by another coughing fit that only discouraged her even more.

“Oh Mack…” she sobbed all the harder. Mack stopped coughing and frowned.

“Stop it,” he ordered. His voice carried an unexpected strength and resonance that effectively silenced his friend. Vee stared at him in shock. “No more tears,” he continued, gentler this time. “I ca- I can’t stand seeing you like this, V-vee. It hurts. Worse than f-falling off that m-m-mountain.” His voice grew weaker by the word until he was whispering again. “So please. P-please don’t c-cry anym - anymore.”

Vee’s lip trembled, and she bit it to keep it steady. She clenched her eyes shut and rubbed her left side against Mack’s hood. Whether that gesture was meant to comfort Mack or herself, she couldn’t say. She held back the tears for his sake, but inside she was weeping openly, her mind screaming in panic. There was no telling how much time had passed in their frozen hell at the bottom of that ravine. An hour? Half an hour? Half a day, perhaps?

The snow had long since ceased and the wind had calmed considerably. Now and then a frail sunbeam would break through the dingy clouds. It was eerily quiet in the gorge. After a while Mack opened his eyes and looked at Vee.

“Try again,” he whispered.

Startled, Vee jumped and stared at him. “Huh?”

“Storm’s over. T-try again.”

Vee backed away from him slightly. “We’ve tried five times already!” she replied. “Either your CB’s damaged or we’re out of range!”

Mack drew in a deep breath. “Weather m-makes a difference, too.”

Vee sighed. “All right. I’ll try.” She rolled closer to him. “Hello? Is anyone out there? We need help! We’ve fallen into a ravine and my hauler is hurt badly. Please! It’s an emergency! We need help right away!” There was a faint hiss that faded into silence, but no answer. Vee started sobbing.

“It’s no use! There’s no one out there who’s gonna help us!” she growled, kicking up a small flurry of snow.

Mack drew in another deep breath. “Then you - you’re gonna have to go,” he wheezed.

Vee stopped kicking the snow and stared at him. “What?”

“I’m not - not gonna hold you b-back. Just go. Leave m-me here.”

Vee’s eyes widened in shock. “No! No, Mack. I’m not leaving you! Ever!”

“F-forget me. I’ll be -”

“NO!” Vee’s shout echoed off the surrounding mountains. “This is all MY fault, and I’m not going to let you lie here and suffer because of me! I’m going to get help, and I WILL be coming back for you! That’s a promise!”

And without even giving him a chance to protest, Vee kissed him fervently on the lips, then turned and plowed her way through the snow. Too weak to call her back, Mack watched helplessly as she disappeared from sight around a boulder.

Vee didn’t get very far before the snow grew too deep for her to drive through. When it started coming up over her hood, she stopped and tried to back out of it, only to find herself sinking even more. She managed a single, strangled cry for help before the snow poured into her mouth and silenced her. Vee gagged and spat it out. She tried to turn around, pulling herself up onto a nearby rock. Her tires started to slide so she tightened her grip, but it was no use.

Vee tipped back into the snow and was swallowed up by it, buried up to her roof. Her engine raced and she struggled with all her might, but to no avail. After several minutes, she gave up, exhausted. The icy walls of her prison seemed to close in around her.

Then suddenly, it happened. CLANK! Something small and hard landed on her trunk, causing her to yelp and start struggling again. The small something - a rock? an icicle? - slid off and slipped underneath her back bumper, where it seemed to attach itself to her. Vee let out a second, much louder yelp as she suddenly found herself being yanked backwards and out of the snow.

Whatever had seized hold of her was now dragging her, screaming, up the side of the mountain. As suddenly as it had happened, it was over with. Vee was dropped onto a flat, rocky surface, not far up from where she had been trapped. Panting heavily and trembling, she could only stare numbly down at her imprint in the snow for a moment before something touched her side and she jumped.

“Shoot, Miss Vee! Ah didn’t mean tuh scare ya none, but you was turnin’ into uh right perdy lil carsicle down there!”

Mouth agape, Vee stared at her rescuer. “Mater?”

The rusty tow truck grinned proudly. “That’s muh name!” Behind him on the ledge stood Doc Hudson, Sheriff, and Lightning McQueen. Vee blinked several times and shook her hood, hardly daring to believe what she was seeing.

“Oh my Dodge!” she exclaimed, rushing forward to embrace each of them in turn, including Sheriff, who stared back at her as though she’d just bitten him. “What are you all doing here?”

“After I came back to town and heard what happened, I knew something smelled fishy,” Doc explained. “Especially after hearing these three tell their separate versions of the story. Something about it all just didn’t add up, so we set out to find you and Mack and try to help you in any way we could.”

“That’s right,” Lightning confirmed. “We’ve been on your trail for days. We would’ve caught up to you a lot sooner if someone hadn’t been dragging his ass the whole time!” He glared pointedly at Sheriff, who glared back and mumbled something about “gal darn speeders.”

“How did you ever find us?” Vee asked Doc.

“It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that much. If you want to thank anyone, thank Mater here for tracking you down to this gorge.”

Vee turned to Mater, who blushed and scuffed the ground with a tire. “T’weren’t nothing, really. Ah jist heard ya calling fer help on mah CB radio. Y’all kept callin’ and callin’, and Ah jist kept followin’ and followin’ and perdy soon Ah took a little trip down inta this here ravine and there you was in the snow right there.”

Lightning snorted. “Little trip, huh? More like a hundred-foot fall if you ask me.”

Mater gave him a puzzled look. “Sorry, but Ah don’t recall askin’ ya.”

“Where is Mack, anyway?” Doc asked. He glanced around the ravine.

“And my trailer!” Lightning demanded. “Taking it to hide out in I can overlook, but if you’ve been fooling around with any of my stuff…”

* * * * *

Lightning’s horrified cry went ignored by the others as they crowded around Mack. Doc immediately seized control of the situation.

“Mater, unhitch that trailer. Sheriff, get the tool kit and the transmission fluid out of my trunk. Vee, I’m going to need your help with this. Rookie, for crying out loud, forget about your damn trailer! It’s replaceable. Mack isn’t. Now get over here and help us!”

No one wasted any time obeying Doc’s orders. Not wasting any time himself, the old Hudson promptly opened Mack’s hood and started to work on him. Time ticked by. After some (fairly) minor repairs, followed by infusions of oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze, Doc shut his hood again and moved back.

“All right. I’ve done all I can for now.” He sighed, slightly out of breath. “Now all we’ve got to do is get you back on your tires and out of this gorge. Mater?”

“Yeah, Doc?”

“Think you’ve got what it takes to tow a semi?”

Mater’s smile faded as he looked from Doc to Mack. “Uh well, Ah guess Ah kin try. Ah ain’t never towed no one bigger’n mahself before.” That said, he rolled closer to Mack and let out several feet of his tow cable. Sheriff grabbed the hook and slipped it under Mack’s wheel well. Mater reeled the cable back in until the line was taut.

“Ready?” he yelled.

Mack murmured something and Vee patted his grille. “Ready!” she shouted back.

“Okay!” With a roar of his engine and a screeching of tires, Mater began to crawl forward. Snow flew up from behind him. “Rrrrrrrrrrgh…” He clenched his teeth and switched gears, towing harder than he had ever towed in his entire life.

“Come on, Mater, you can do it!” Vee cheered him on.

“Yeah! That’s right!” Lightning joined in. “It’s just like pulling Bessie, and I know how much you like her!”

“She were a breeze!” Mater grunted. “No offense, Mack - hhrrrnnn - but ya might wanna think about losin’ a ton or three.” Just as he said this, Mater felt himself sliding backwards. Without snow chains, he had little traction in the snow.

“Quick!” Doc shouted. “Sheriff, Lightning, get behind Mack and start pushing!” They obeyed and were followed immediately by Doc, who aided them in their effort. Vee approached Mater and laid a reassuring tire on his.

“I know you can do it, Mater,” she told him. “I just know it.”

Mater looked at her guiltily. “Ah’m tryin’ hard as Ah can, Miss Vee. Honest to Dodge Ah am.”

“I know, but… try harder. Please?”

The pleading look on her face was like a high-octane fuel injection. It empowered him. His engine roared to life again and he surged forward. Very slowly at first, Mater inched his way through the snow, lifting Mack up off his side. Behind him, Doc, Sheriff and Lightning pushed with all their might. Vee glanced back and forth between Mack and Mater, watching the progress with bated breath. The tow truck continued to claw his way forward, growling and grunting and panting heavily.

Suddenly, the line went slack. There was a muffled thud as Mack landed upright on his tires. A round of cheers went up from the group. Mater collapsed, breathless and trembling, in the snow. Vee drove up to him and hugged him.

“Thank you, Mater,” she whispered. Mater blushed.

“Aw shucks, Miss Vee. T’weren’t nothin’. Ah’s jist doin’ what Ah was built fer, that’s all.”

Vee shook her hood. “No. You did so much more than that.” She gazed at him for a moment, then, to everyone’s surprise (including her own), she leaned forward and kissed him, long and hard, on the lips. When at last she pulled away, slightly breathless, her face was as rosy as the dawn. Mater blushed redder than Mack. His headlight to headlight grin was infectious. Vee smiled back.

“Hey, what about me?” Mack demanded. He drove over to Mater and Vee, slightly unsteady. “Don’t I get a kiss too?”

Lightning parked beside him. “Yeah, and what about me? I helped too!”

Mack growled at him and Vee chuckled. “Of course you do,” she purred, wasting no time in capturing Mack’s lips with her own.

* * * * *

“Are you sure you want to do this? I think it would be best if you allowed yourself to recover a little first.” Vee pulled up beside Mack as he came to a stop, hauling the trailer behind him.

“I’ll be fine,” he assured her. “The storm’s over and the sun’s out. Plus it looks like a salt truck came by recently.” He nodded at the iceless mountain road before them. “Should be easy going from now on. Get in.”

Vee shook her hood. “It’s Lightning’s trailer. He should be the one riding in it, not me.”

“Go ahead,” said McQueen. “I’ll drive.”

“Well, okay…” Hesitantly, Vee drove up the ramp into the trailer. The interior was a mess. Vee swept all the Lightning merchandise into the back and settled down on the plush carpet, mulling over the day’s events.

Ford Almighty, what have I done? Mack could have gotten killed because of me! If he didn’t have me to worry about, he’d be safe at home back in Radiator Springs right now, without a scratch on him.

A single tear brimmed her eyes until she blinked it away. It slid down her hood. “Oh Mack…” Another tear fell and she heard it splash on something that was not the carpet. She turned a tire and heard something crinkle beneath her. Vee backed up a little and looked down. On the floor before her lay a signed Lightning McQueen poster, wrinkled and ripped. She stared down at it for a long time, then sniffled and turned the paper over.

Just as she’d hoped, the backside was blank. She turned and searched the mess for one of those tacky pencils she’d seen earlier. They had lightning bolts on a red solid background and a red eraser shaped like McQueen. After a minute or two, she found one. This pencil had lost its eraser, and the graphite point was dull but thankfully still intact. Blinking back a fresh wave of tears, Vee took the pencil and paper and began to write.

* * * * *

The sun was setting by the time Mack and the gang pulled up to a diner in a tiny town in the foothills. Mack unhitched the trailer with a sigh of relief, then knocked on the door.

“The guys and I are gonna go drain the old oil pan,” he announced. “Be right back.”

Vee peered out the cracked and tinted window, watching the five men drive around to the back of the diner. She stared after them for a moment, then took a deep, shuddering breath and let it out slowly. The ramp did not descend fast enough for her, having been damaged in the fall. Vee rammed it twice to get it to open. Once outside, she glanced around both sides of the trailer to see if the coast was clear. Tears splattered the broken asphalt, only to be replaced by black tire tracks and the stench of burnt rubber as she sped away.

A minute later Mack and the others returned. “Hoo boy, what a relief that was!” Mack sighed as he drove around to the back of the trailer. “Hey Vee, are you hungry? Cuz they’ve got a lot of -” he trailed off, noticing that the ramp was down and the trailer empty. Sheriff pulled up beside him.

“Something wrong?”

“Vee’s gone.”

"Probably just went to the restroom.”

“Yeah, probably.”

Lightning drove up the ramp and groaned. “I seriously doubt my insurance will cover this.” He gasped. “My stereo! Oh my Dodge!” Another gasp. “And the mini-bar!”

Mack smirked and turned away.

Lightning spotted something on the floor. “Hey, what’s this?” he murmured. Mack ignored him. In the center of the trailer floor, near the door, stood a Lightning bobble-head. Underneath it was a large piece of paper. Lightning pushed the bobble-head aside and started to read what was written on the paper.

“Uh, Mack? I think you’d better come take a look at this.”

Mack turned around and was surprised to see the troubled look on his friend’s face. Lightning pushed the paper toward him. The note appeared rushed, but he recognized it immediately as Vee’s writing.

Mack -

Words can’t express how grateful I am for your friendship. You’ve done so much for me, and all I’ve done in return is cause trouble. I’m so sorry for what happened today. I can’t bear to see you get hurt again, which is why I’m going away. I love you so much, and it hurts me to do this, but I know it’s for the best. Please do not come looking for me. The further I am from you, the better off you are.

Love you always

Vee



Chapter Thirty-One: [link]
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by:nevuela
:iconlolen9:
Collection by
Just like the title says.
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This is a scene from a 1-on-1 RP of the same name between :iconrollerwings: and myself at Wingnut City. Here our OC's are on their first date. The orange hatchback is Rollerwings' OC Charlie Vette, the mini hatchback is my OC Benji, and the white Corvette is my OC Yvette. Benji is not related to Charlie, despite his appearance. Their identical looks are purely coincidental.

P.S. That thing Benji's reaching for is supposed to be a "bug." I added it at the last second and that's why it looks questionable. IMO it looked weirder having Benji stare off into space and pointing a tire at nothing. XP
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Rosie's all grown up now, and she still adores her uncle Sarge. Despite the look on his face, the feeling IS mutual. ^_^

Rosie is a Jeep Liberty, which is why she is so much bigger than Sarge.
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Keep On Truckin’
(sequel to IMYOR62)

Chapter Twelve:
The Wedding

Mack took a deep breath and sighed. His rear axles twitched nervously. Ramone couldn't help but notice. He'd have to be blind and deaf not to know an anxious semi when he was standing right beside him.

"Yo relax, man. You look great."

Glistening from fender to fifth wheel, and with an elaborate corsage affixed to his left blinker, Mack nodded appreciatively. "Thanks. You did an excellent job, no question, but don't you think the undercarriage wax was a bit much?"

"Pssh, hell no! You wanna give Vee a wedding night she'll remember, right?"

Mack blushed. "Well yeah, but -"

"But nada!" Ramone interrupted. "Listen, chicks love it when you polish up down there. Gets 'em all hot and stuff. Trust me, man."

The truck raised a skeptical brow. "And you would know because -?"

Ramone grinned impishly. "Dude, paintjobs aren't the only thing you get at Ramone's. I seen lotsa guys come through wantin' a little wax for their honeys. Chicks too. In fact, Vee came in here last night for a full-body wax." At Mack's scandalized look he added, "Don't worry, ese. I didn't see nothin'. Flo handles the ladies for me."

As if on cue, Flo came speeding around the corner, headed toward the courthouse. Sheriff, who was just exiting his garage there, ordered her to slow down, though there was little authority in his voice. All day long the town had been filled with frantic cars speeding about, hurriedly preparing for Mack and Vee's wedding that afternoon. The patrol car had long since given up pulling folks over after Vee, the speediest speeder of them all, had told him to take that annoying siren of his and shove it somewhere most unfavorable.

"If you weren't gettin' married today, I'd throw you in Impound!" had been his ruffled reply. So Sheriff stopped harassing those who exceeded the speed limit and resigned himself to harassing everyone else. As self-appointed supervisor, he fell with ease into a pattern of barked orders and unhelpful critique over nearly every aspect of the preparations.

Every single vehicle in town did their part. Red hosed down the entire length of Main Street and parts beyond. Luigi and Guido strung up garlands and other decor. Flo and Fillmore busied themselves with catering. Ramone helped all the men spruce up, doing everything from simple touch-ups to full-body waxes. Sarge ordered everyone around, even though he knew next to nothing about wedding planning and more often than not working against Sheriff. The two slave drivers quickly got into an argument and forgot about their jobs, much to everyone's relief.

Even old Lizzie pitched in, daintily polishing or dusting whatever she saw fit between constant naps; everything from teapots to back bumpers. Lightning kept best man Mater busy by demonstrating repeatedly how to drive up the aisle with Yvette while keeping his tow hook to himself. Sally, and to a lesser extent the twins, helped Vee and Yvette get ready. Midge looked after Benji and Gaspar, the latter far more difficult as he insisted on pestering his son every chance he got, giving him unwanted and embarrassing tips for his wedding night.

Not that every other man in town hadn't already given him some advice by now. Especially Ramone who, it turned out, was nearly as bad as Gaspar.

"Dude, it's almost time. You ain't gettin' cold tires, are ya?"

Mack shook his hood. "I just wish I could have a moment alone with Vee before the ceremony."

Ramone quirked a brow. "Oh? Can't wait to start consummatin', huh?"

"What? No! I just want to talk to her, that's all."

"Heh heh, yeah right. No can do, bro. You know it's bad luck."

Mack sighed. "Yeah, I know. I'm just so nervous about this, and not getting to see her all day is just making it worse. You know what I mean?"

Ramone nodded. "I do, hombre. Believe it or not, I feel the same way every time me and Flo renew our vows. S'like I'm gettin' married for the first time all over again."

"How many times have you guys renewed your vows, anyway?" Mack asked, remembering the small ceremony that had taken place less than two weeks earlier, while Sally and Lightning had just celebrated their second anniversary five days ago. What was it about the month of June that made people want to marry?

Ramone grinned. "We been doin' it every single year since we got hitched for real. Good way to celebrate your anniversary, ya know," he added with a wink.

Sheriff rolled up to the two men just then. "Curtain call's in five minutes, gentlemen." He nodded at Mack. "You ready, son?"

Mack looked down at the squad car, and suddenly he felt several feet shorter. "As I'll ever be," was his meek reply.

* * *

In the living room at Flo's house, a group of women swarmed around a breathtakingly beautiful bride. Her pearly lilac paintjob dazzled. Orchids, roses, daisies and lilies formed a colorful and fragrant crown atop her cab, from which trailed a long, sequined train of the finest lace.

"Oh honey, your Mack is gonna have massive engine failure when he sees you!" Flo gushed as she drove in through the front door. "It's a good thing for him you're getting married by a doctor."

Vee chuckled. "Is it safe to go outside yet?"

"Not quite. Last I saw, my man was giving yours a hard time out by the café," Flo said. "No chance in getting past without him seeing you. We'll just have to wait till Luigi tells us it's time."

Vee nodded. She looked up at the clock on the mantle. 11:54. A sudden attack of nerves sent a small shiver through her chassis. 'Only six minutes to go. Well, not necessarily. I mean, it's supposed to start at noon, but it's easy to fall behind schedule by a minute or ten.'

Knock-knock! 'Or twenty or thirty or forty or fifty -' Sally opened the door. Luigi was standing on the front stoop, his excitement only barely contained. In his newly retouched paintjob, he looked like a banana ready to burst open at the seams. Vee gulped. 'Or, we could always end up AHEAD of schedule.'

"Eet ees-a time!" he announced breathlessly, then sped off without another word.

* * *

Solemn and silent, Doc Hudson stood in front of the courthouse, the Stanley statue hovering just behind him like a most unusual altar. Mack stood to his left, doing his best to keep from fidgeting. Despite his nerves, he forced a small smile as Lightning and Sally drove up the street, the first groomsman and bridesmaid to grace the open-air aisle. Once they reached the altar they split, Lightning driving to Mack's side and Sally to the side opposite the men.

Next came Mater and Yvette. The best man and maid of honor drove a bit too quickly for custom's sake, blushing and glancing around anxiously all the way. Sheriff clocked them at two miles over the previously rehearsed five-mile-per-hour limit. Once the two had taken their designated places, a hush fell over the already quiet crowd.

Moments of tense silence followed as Red rushed off to change the CD. The velvety violin music faded away, to be replaced by the rumbling organ notes of a traditional wedding march.

Mack's engine sputtered and died the instant he saw Vee coming up the aisle. The summer sun dazzled her pearly paintjob, glittering like stardust sprinkled across her hood. He had waited all day for tradition's sake just to catch a glimpse of her, and now, he decided, it had been well worth the wait. It wasn't until Vee was parked beside him that Mack realized he had been holding his breath. One look at the Chrysler's flushed face and he guessed she had been doing the same.

The music ended. Mack and Vee exchanged shy smiles before turning to face Doc Hudson. A final hush descended on the crowd, from the back of which Midge could clearly be heard sobbing.

Doc's smile was as warm as the sun. "We have gathered here today in the presence of the Manufacturer to join in holy matrimony Mack Gaspar Trucker and Veronica Violet Vroom," he declared. "Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold tires. It is remembering to say 'I love you' at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted."

The Hornet's gaze shifted from the couple standing before him to the crowd beyond. "The courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways." Doc paused for a moment to let his words sink in.

"It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner."

Doc paused once more and turned his full attention to the groom. "Mack, will you have Veronica to be your lawful wedded wife? Will you love her, comfort her, keep her in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her so long as you both shall live?"

A little sob of anxiety mixed with joy caught in his throat, causing Mack to choke up slightly before he managed to get control of himself. He locked eyes with Vee and smiled. "I will," was his quiet answer. Doc nodded and turned to Vee.

"Veronica, will you have Mack to be your lawful wedded husband? Will you love him, comfort him, keep him in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him so long as you both shall live?"

There were a hundred ways she could have answered that question. Duh!, Of course, Will I ever!, Yes, Always, Until the end of time... a hundred things she could have said, but only one answer was needed. And, sometimes, the simplest answer is the best one of all.

"I will," she whispered, just as a single tear came free and rolled down her hood. Seeing this roused a few tears in Mack's eyes as well.

At a cue from Doc, Guido sped up to the altar. He was holding a white satin pillow on which lay two gleaming lug nuts, identical save for their size. One was considerably larger than the other. He set the pillow down between Mack and Vee, then from seemingly out of nowhere he brandished an impact wrench. The little forklift picked up the smaller of the two lug nuts, then looked to Doc, who in turn looked up at Mack.

For a moment it appeared the truck had forgotten what came next. That is until Guido held up the lug nut. "Peet stop?" he said, jabbing a fork in Vee's direction.

Mack blushed. "Oh! Right." He looked down at Vee. "With this lug nut, I thee wed."

The beauty of the moment was mangled only by the high-pitched whir of the impact wrench as it applied the lug nut to the bride's tire. Guido picked up the other lug nut and stood poised beside the semi's large tire, awaiting Vee's word. She couldn't help smirking up at Mack. If truth be told, she too had nearly forgotten her line, until he had spoken his.

"With this lug nut, I thee wed," she repeated. The words were barely out of her mouth when Guido rushed to work. One point five seconds later the nut was in place, and the little forklift had already retreated back into the crowd.

"By the power vested in me by the state of Arizona, I now pronounce you husband and wife," Doc proclaimed. His bumper curved in a grin. "You may now kiss the bride."

Cheers erupted from the crowd as the newlywed couple melted into each other, sharing the kiss that sealed their vows. From their place at the back of the crowd, Mack's parents managed to make the most noise: Midge bawling her eyes out and Gaspar howling with joy. Mater, Robbie and Ramone were each doing their best to compete with them, while a mute Red outdid them all by blaring his horn.

Mack and Vee broke apart laughing. With a flick of her antenna, Vee flung her bouquet straight up in the air. It bounced off several hoods as nearly everyone in town scrambled to catch it. After the chaos and confusion died down, it was discovered that the bouquet had come to rest on Yvette's canvas top. It had landed right in front of her son Benji, who had climbed up onto her roof during the ceremony. The little boy squeaked in surprise, then giggled and buried his face in the fragrant flowers.

"Whoa! Nice catch, little man!" said a male voice. Yvette turned and glanced up at Robbie Dieselman, the Roto Rooter van who was Mack and Vee's high school friend. He caught her eye and grinned. Yvette blushed and smiled meekly in return.

Meanwhile the crowd had surged in and surrounded the newlyweds, all hugging and kissing and jostling and congratulating the bride and groom. Vee, feeling an odd sensation on her backside, tilted her mirror to see Ramone hovering rather close on his hydraulics, but before she could say anything he dropped out of sight.

Moments later the crowd parted to allow the new couple to pass. As Mack and Vee drove down the street toward Flo's, and the banquet prepared in their honor, everyone honked and cheered and laughed. Hearing a metallic jangling sound, Mack slowed down for a moment and looked behind himself. Only then did he realize that someone (probably Lightning, from the grin on his face) had tied a bunch of tin cans to his fifth wheel. It was also then that he spotted the words JUST MARRIED spray painted in white on Vee's rear windshield. Mack laughed.

Vee stopped and looked back at her husband. "Something wrong, Mister Vroom?" she teased.

Mack grinned. "Not a thing, Mrs. Vroom-Trucker," he purred, nuzzling his wife.

"That's Mizz Vroom-Trucker to you!" Vee declared, kissing him.




Chapter Thirteen: [link]


**A note of interest to Doc Hudson / Paul Newman fans: The wedding vows used in this chapter were the same ones used by Paul Newman on his marriage to Joanne Woodward in Las Vegas on January 29th, 1958.
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Just an idea I had for a Cars pic. ^_^ Problem is I haven't had many good pic ideas in a long time, and I don't want to draw anyone just standing there doing nothing. That's boring. So, I am open to suggestions.
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:iconbarryrescueengine:
Collection by
Keep On Truckin’
(sequel to IMYOR62)

Chapter Two:
Semi Sweet

Mack backed the trailer into the garage at Lightning’s racing headquarters. The recently finished building stood a few miles outside of Radiator Springs. He let Vee out and the two drove back to town together in the dim light of late afternoon. Neither one said a word during the short drive back. The cool desert breeze carried the scent of sage and recent rain. Vee breathed it in deeply and sighed, happy to be home again.

They arrived at Flo’s to the usual cheers and congratulations reserved for every return from a race. Lightning was already there with Mater and Sally, telling his own version of what had happened at the track and forgetting that they had seen it on TV. Mack braked suddenly at the sight of his former boss parked beneath the awning.

“What the… how the heck did you beat us back?” he demanded.

“Duh, I’m Lightning McQueen!” the racecar replied with a smug grin. Sally rolled her eyes.

Mack smirked. “Right. Of course. I take it that means you either fell out of the trailer or you worked my dad to death to hurry home.” He looked around. “Where is he, anyway?”

“Gaspar? I dunno. He was here a minute ago.” Lightning also glanced around, but there was no sign of the older semi.

Vee parked beside Sally under the edge of the awning and Mack parked on her other side. The last rays of the sun faded like dying embers beyond the Cadillac Range just as the diner’s neon lights buzzed to life.

“Sonia Alexa’s having a retirement party in Houston next month,” Sally said as she turned toward Vee. “Her sponsor’s giving her a big sendoff and all the racecars in the Piston Cup circuit are supposed to be invited. You going?”

Vee shrugged. “I doubt it. I mean, I’ve never even met her. And I seriously doubt they’d put a rookie like me on the invite list.”

“Why not? They invited Stickers here.”

“That’s right!” Lightning beamed proudly before he realized what Sally had meant. “Hey!”

Vee chuckled.

“If you do go, and if it’s not too much trouble,” here Sally lowered her voice and moved closer to Vee, “do you think you could get Dale Earnhardt Junior’s autograph for me?”

“Well sure, I can try, but… isn’t Lightning going to the party?”

“Yeah, he is, but he’s not too crazy about Junior ever since he found out I’m a big fan of his.”

“That’s cuz you’re supposed to be MY fan!” Lightning said with a pout.

“Oh, suck it up, you big baby,” Vee told him. Sally laughed.

Tia drove up just then and stood shuffling her tires as she waited for Mack and Vee to place their orders.

“The usual,” Mack told her. Tia nodded and looked at the Chrysler expectantly.

“Oh, nothing for me, thanks,” Vee murmured and waved her away with a tire.

The waitress looked her over. “Still on that diet?”

“Yup.”

Tia’s lips curled in the smallest of smiles. “You look good,” she said, and in the split second before she turned and drove back to the café, Vee could tell by the look on her face that she had meant it.

“Will you can the diet thing already?” Mack grumbled. “I tell you every day that you look great, but you never believe me!”

“I know, but there’s a difference between dieting to stay thin and dieting to stay healthy,” Vee reminded him.

“And you’re already both! At least have a quart of mineral oil. My treat. You just finished a two-hundred-lap race! You’ve got to be hitting empty by now.”

“No thanks. I’m good.”

Mack shook his hood and sighed. “I reeaaally don’t want to have to take that nozzle there and cram it down your throat again.”

Vee chuckled. “All right, fine. I’ll bum some of your oil, if that’s okay.”

“Of course.”

Tia came back a minute later with Mack’s super-sized order. She was about to set it down in front of him when the sound of a diesel engine made her pause. A powder blue Mack Pinnacle truck sped past on the main street, followed shortly by a dark red Superliner with an out-of-tune engine.

“Woo! Yeah, baby!” shouted the red truck. There was a lusty gleam in his eye as he chased the blue truck. “Come ‘ere and give Big Daddy some of that sweet sugar!”

Mack closed his eyes and sank low on his axles. “Aw jeez. Not again,” he groaned. Vee gave his tire a reassuring pat. The two big rigs rounded the corner and disappeared behind the diner, leaving behind a cloud of dust and the ringing sound of their laughter.

The din of conversation at Flo’s was hushed now; everyone seemed to be waiting for something to happen. Seconds later, the twin roar of engines grew louder as the two semis reappeared from behind Flo’s after having circled the block. The blue one slowed as she pulled into the lot and drove toward Mack. The crimson truck just barely slowed down, if he slowed at all, and swept past Tia with such speed that she nearly spilled the oil she was holding. Mack caught it just in time.

Sheriff’s beacon flashed as he pulled forward out of his spot between Doc and Sarge. “Dagnab it, Gaspar!” he huffed. “I swear to Dodge this is your last warning about that!”

Mack turned, very reluctantly, to find his parents now parked on the edge of the lot. The crimson truck had one tire hooked around the blue truck’s tire and was pulling her close for a kiss. He stopped when Sheriff yelled at him and turned around. “About what?” he asked innocently. “The speeding or -”

“Speeding AND public indecency!” the squad car clarified, pulling up to him and shining his searchlight in his face. Gaspar squinted and backed away from his wife.

“Thanks, Sheriff,” said the blue truck. Her voice was deep but pleasant. “I tell him no but all he hears is yes.”

“That’s all right. I ain’t blaming you, Midge,” Sheriff replied. He kept his light on Gaspar, who was now trying to edge around the much smaller car and make a break for it. “You, on the other tire…” he glared up at the big truck, but said nothing more. He drove back to his spot, leaving the two semis alone. The blue one sighed and shook her hood, giving her husband a look to match Sheriff’s. The two trucks drove off to find a parking spot.

Gaspar went over to Mack and slugged his fender. “Ha! Didn’t think your old man’d beat ya home, didja?” Mack growled and slugged him back, and the two fell into a little father-son wrestling match. It quickly ended in a stalemate in which each man had the other in what looked more like a loving embrace than a chokehold. They both chuckled, then let go of each other.

Midge drove up to Mack then and nuzzled her son’s grille. Mack returned the gesture with a contented purr. Vee smiled. It always warmed her heart to see how close a family the Truckers were.

Mack’s mother parked across from them and settled on her axles. Beside her, Gaspar gingerly inched his way closer to her. When their sides touched he began to brush his tire against hers. Midge pointedly ignored him as she asked Vee how the race had gone.

“Oh, not bad,” she replied, her eyes on Gaspar. She tried not to smile at his attempts to rouse a response from his wife. The twins came out of the diner at the same time, one to collect Lightning and Sally’s empty cups and one to take Midge and Gaspar’s orders.

“Can I getcha anything?” Mia asked the two trucks. Gaspar quickly withdrew his tire from Midge’s and grinned big at the little car.

“Yeah, I think I’ll have a couple gallons of coffee. Strong black. I have a feeling I’m gonna be pulling another all-nighter.” He winked at Midge, who rolled her eyes.

Gaspar lowered his voice. “Oh, and how ‘bout a double helping of Miata on the side?” This time Mia rolled her eyes. Midge glared at him and he chuckled.

“I’m just kiddin’, hun,” he assured her. “You know you’re the only one fer me.”

After the waitress left Gaspar promptly resumed caressing her tire, though she seemed more determined than ever not to respond.

“Mm, that’s right. Just keep ignorin’ me, babe,” he purred. “When I get you alone tonight you won’t be able to ignore me, even if you wanted to. And you won’t want to, I guarantee you that.”

Midge pulled her tire away from him. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir,” she mumbled sarcastically.

Gaspar pressed closer to her. “Oh yes you do!”

“Hmph!” She turned her nose up and looked away.

Gaspar chuckled. “Aw c’mon, baby. Don’t be like that.” He hooked his tire around hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Hey, who’s my sexy lil Midget?” Midge said nothing. Mack blushed and groaned. Lightning snickered.

“Come ooooon,” Gaspar prodded her. “Who’s my gal?” He gave her big, pleading puppy dog eyes. She glanced back at him and smiled.

“I am,” she answered proudly, and allowed him to kiss her cheek.

Mack blushed darker than his dad and started to back out of his parking spot, but Vee caught his tire with hers and smiled up at him in a way that always managed to make him feel more at ease.

Ramone pulled into the lot just then and Flo came out of the diner to greet him. He gave her a peck on the cheek, then turned to survey the dinner crowd. He spotted the two semis nuzzling each other affectionately and grinned.

“Hey, Big G!” he addressed Gaspar. “You still wanna get that tattoo for Valentine’s Day?”

Midge turned to her husband with a look of surprise. “What tattoo?”

Gaspar blushed slightly and gave Ramone a dirty look. “That was supposed to be a surprise!” he growled through gritted teeth.

“What tattoo?” Midge demanded again.

“Oh, it’s nothing, really,” he murmured. “I uh, I was just gonna get a little heart on my side here with your name in it. That’s all.”

Ramone drove up to them. “Hey man, don’t forget the pinstripes! Remember, you said you wanted the Von Dutch style on your -”

Gaspar waved a tire to silence him. “I said it was a surprise!” he growled again.

Ramone backed away and turned to face Mack and Vee. His impish grin returned. “So what about you?” he said. “You two got plans for Valentine’s Day besides rockin’ the casbah?”

Mack blushed and Vee chuckled. “We do,” she replied, “but Mack won’t tell me what they are. Will you?” She looked up at the big rig with a seductive smirk. Mack was still blushing, though the smile he gave in return promised a very special Valentine’s Day indeed.



Chapter Three: [link]
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Keep On Truckin’
(sequel to IMYOR62)

Chapter One:
Life in the Fast Lane

“Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, twenty-one losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Oh crud, I knew I should’ve eaten breakfast this morning instead of worrying about that stupid photo shoot! Mmm, pancakes… No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Veronica Vroom.”

There was a knock at the trailer door. “Hey Vee, you ready?” came Mack’s voice from outside.

The door opened. Vee descended the ramp to a flurry of cheers and flashing lights as dozens of cars crowded around her. Fans and the press bombarded her with questions. Cameras clicked away like crazy. Mack came forward and with one intimidating sneer managed to keep the crowd at bay. Vee smiled seductively for the multitude of cameras poised on her every move. She turned slowly on the spot, winking and blowing kisses to her admirers. No one noticed the single kiss strategically aimed at the big red semi who was her driver. No one, that is, except Mack, who caught it and acknowledged it with a smile.

Whistles and catcalls rang out as Vee joined the other racecars on their way to the starting line. Before anyone could shout out “Break an axle!” they were off, streaking up the track in a roaring rainbow blur. Mack quickly made his way through the lumbering forest of RV’s in the center field until he had a clear view of the track. He just barely caught a glimpse of the Chrysler as she sped past the fourth turn of her first lap.

Her pearly lavender paintjob glinted like moonlight on chrome, beautiful in spite of her sponsor’s tacky stickers. The most notable of these was a blue letter V inside a large pink heart in the middle of her hood. Several smaller hearts dappled her sides, along with the number fourteen.

“Hold onto your hoods, fellas!” announced Darrell Cartrip. “Taking the lead in the first lap is the voluptuous Veronica Vroom! Helloooo mama, wouldja lookit that, Bob?”

“I’m looking, Darrell! Believe me, I’m looking!” replied Bob Cutlass. “That spicy little Chrysler’s caught everyone’s eye! And though she only just started racing last season, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this lovely young lady may be the hottest thing on four wheels since the recently retired Sonia Alexa. In fact, I’d say even hotter!”

“You’d better watch out, Bob! We don’t want to offend any Alexa fans down there!” Darrell chuckled. “If you wanna compare Vroom to anyone, then let’s not forget fellow female racecars Mitzi Bishi and Carmen Cruz! Eat your hearts out, ladies, and make room for Vroom!”

* * *

Twenty laps… twenty-five laps… thirty laps… forty… fifty… a collision in the second turn leaving four racecars out of commission. Vee just barely managed to avoid becoming part of the pileup.

“And thank the Manufacturer for those reflexes!” exclaimed Bob. “Did you see that swerve, Darrell? Talk about a precision instrument!”

“I sure did, Bob. Vroom’s really on the ball today. Slicker than slick and faster than lightning!”

“Surely you don’t mean faster than McQueen!” Bob teased.

“Surely I do, Bob,” Darrell replied, “and speak of the devil! Here comes McQueen now, rounding the third turn. Looks like he lost more than one lap after that blowout back in lap forty-four. It’s going to take a miracle for him to catch up with Vroom now!”

“After spending the first half of the race neck and neck with each other, and only eight laps left to go, he’s gotta be wondering, how the heck did this ravishing rookie manage to steal second place right out from under his nose?”

“Same way she stole my heart, I’ll bet!”

* * *

Seven laps… six laps… five laps… four… three… two… one… a swish of the flag, a roar from the crowd, and the race was over.

* * *

Mack forged his way through the crowd to get to Vee. “Hey Vee!” he called out to her over the roofs of several reporters and security vehicles. Vee squinted her eyes and looked past the blinding flash of cameras until she spotted him. She smiled and went to meet him halfway. Mack had to resist the overwhelming urge to sweep her up in his tires and kiss her passionately right then and there. Without a word he escorted her away from the clamoring crowd.

“So did you get second or third place?” he asked her when they reached her trailer. “It looked too close to call from where I was parked.”

“I tied for second with what’s-his-name,” Vee answered. “The Leak Less guy.” Though her voice was subdued and her face blank, Mack could tell she was holding back a grin. He drove closer to her and gave her a congratulatory nudge that, though a small gesture for him, nearly caused her to collide with a forklift carrying a stack of tires.

“I guess that means Lightning came in third?”

“Third or fourth,” Vee replied. “They’re still trying to figure it out, I think. That guy sure likes sticking his tongue out.”

“Oh hey, there he is now! Hey, kid!”

Lightning was standing near his trailer, arguing with a blue racecar.

“You only got third place ‘cuz you just can’t keep your dang mouth shut!” exclaimed his rival. “There’s no way you would’ve beaten me otherwise!”

Lightning smirked proudly. “One word, pal: nnnnyeh!” he replied, sticking his tongue out at him. The blue car growled and drove away.

Mack chuckled. “You’ve come a long way, McQueen. Nice to see that you’ve become so refined over the past few years.”

“Thanks,” Lightning replied, having misinterpreted Mack’s remark as a compliment. “Say Mack, have you seen Gaspar? I asked him to wait for me by the Rusteze tent after the race, but he’s not there.”

Mack groaned inwardly and glanced around. “Knowing him, he’s probably over by the… yep. There he is, over there.” He nodded toward the big blue stage where the Dinoco girls were posing for a photo shoot with the King. Though he had retired from racing two years earlier, Strip Weathers had yet to be replaced as Dinoco’s golden boy. Off to one side of the stage stood a crimson semi truck. He looked nearly identical to Mack save for his brown eyes and darker red paintjob.

“What’s he doing over there?” Lightning asked.

Mack sighed and shook his hood. “Only one thing I can think of.” He drove toward the stage. Even though Gaspar’s back was to him, there was no doubt what the big rig was up to. When he was near enough, Mack could clearly hear him flirting with one of the Dinoco girls. He rolled his eyes.

“Hey Dad,” he said, giving the crimson truck a nudge. No response. “Dad!”

Gaspar jumped and turned around. “What?” he yelped. “Look, I’m keepin’ my tires to myself! See?”

“Lightning’s looking for you!” Mack explained.

“Oh, is that all?” Gaspar appeared both relieved and disappointed by this news.

“Yeah. Time to go home.”

At these words Gaspar perked up. He turned to the nearest Dinoco girls and with a tip of his hood said, “Sorry ladies, but this truck is spoken for!” As he drove away the girls whispered amongst themselves and snickered.

Mack smirked at his father. “I don’t know why Mom doesn’t come along to make sure you behave yourself,” he grumbled.

“Hell, if she did, I wouldn’t have a reason to misbehave!” Gaspar chuckled, then sighed. “Dodge, I miss that woman.”

“You just saw her yesterday,” Mack reminded him, “and we’ll be home in a few hours.”

“So? That don’t mean I don’t miss her when she’s not around.”

* * *

A few minutes later Mack and Gaspar had hitched themselves up to their trailers. Lightning snickered at Mack. “I still can’t get over how ridiculous you look hauling a purple trailer!” he teased.

Mack smirked at him, but did not reply. A purple trailer he could live with. Inwardly he thanked his lucky stars that he hadn’t been coerced into getting a paintjob to match or Vee’s sponsor’s logo printed on his cap. Even she wasn’t all that thrilled about being sponsored by Velvalube, the joint lubricant for women. The design was far too girly for her taste, and the overpowering floral scent of the product caused Mack’s allergies to act up.

“Hey Vee,” Mack called to her over the intercom. “Can you hear me back there?”

“Loud and clear!” she replied.

“Ready to go home?”

“You bet!” A few seconds of silence, then - “Hey Mack, guess what tomorrow is?”

“Uhhhhh, Thursday?”

“Yeessss…”

“The fourteenth?”

“Bingo!”

It took him a moment to realize what she was hinting at. “Oh, right! Valentine’s Day!” He grinned at the prospect of what such a romantic day would entail for them both. It had been over two years since that fateful day when his best friend from high school had crashed into him in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Two whole years, and his love for her was just as strong as it had been the night they’d shared their first kiss while on the run from the law. Mack was determined to make this Valentine’s Day one she would never forget.

Beside him on the freeway, Gaspar seemed to be thinking the same thing. His grin was far more devious, but Mack ignored him. He had plans of his own to worry about.



Chapter Two: [link]
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I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Thirty-Five:
When You Find Yourself

A shining speck appeared in the distance, followed by a cloud of dust. What started out as a faint buzz, like that of a beetle’s wings, grew louder and louder. The entire population of Radiator Springs sat on the sidelines, watching with bated breath, as Vee came speeding around the final turn. Doc Hudson stood just beyond the finish line, nervous eyes glancing back and forth between the Chrysler and his stopwatch. Sarge stood across from him, equally intent on timing her. Just a short distance away from both of them stood Mack. His unblinking gaze never left Vee’s face.

With a sudden boost in speed, Vee flew the last hundred yards toward the finish line like a bullet charged by lightning. Doc clicked the stopwatch as the purple blur zoomed past him. Sarge nearly dropped his own watch as he was shaken by the wind of her wake. Cheers rained down from the rise where the crowd had parked to watch. Several of them started driving down to congratulate her in person. Mack was the first to reach her, sweeping her up in a gigantic hug.

“Now hold on just a damn second!” Sarge commanded, and everyone fell silent and turned to look at him. He glared at Vee and huffed an irritated breath through his grille. “Sorry to rain on your little victory, but you said you could beat the course in thirty-five minutes FLAT!”

“Yes, I did,” Vee replied evenly. “What’s your point?”

Sarge smirked and held up his stopwatch. “Thirty-five minutes and two point eight seconds! You lose, Missy! You lose, and I win!”

Vee, Mack, and the rest of the crowd stared at the watch in disbelief.

“Hold on a minute, Sarge,” Doc spoke up. “I think one of us has a faulty stopwatch, because mine says she beat the time, with two seconds to spare!” He showed everyone his own watch. Sarge glared at him and snorted.

Sheriff double-checked both watches before holding up his own. “Thirty-four minutes and fifty-eight seconds exactly,” he stated. His smile caused Sarge’s frown to deepen. The crowd cheered again.

“All right!” exclaimed Ramone. “I just won a hundred bucks! In yo face, ese!” he taunted, lifting up his back end and waving it in Guido’s face. Guido responded with a string of Italian curses and a tire iron shoved up Ramone’s tailpipe.

During the commotion, Sarge fixed Vee with an accusatory glare and growled. Vee just smiled back and nodded at something behind him. Sarge turned around and his tank churned at the sight of Fillmore standing there.

The bus smiled at him. “Hey man,” he murmured. Sarge growled at him and his smile faded. “What?”

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” the crowd started chanting.

Sarge turned to Vee with brimstone in his eyes. Again, Vee just smiled.

“You have got to be kidding me!” he growled.

Mack parked beside Vee and gave the Jeep an expectant look.

“’Fraid not,” she replied.

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”

Sarge glared daggers at everyone else before turning back to Fillmore. The furious look on his face did not lessen. He could feel himself overheating already. Taking a deep breath, Sarge shut his eyes tight and plunged forward. He had barely pecked Fillmore’s bumper when Mack rolled up behind him and gave him a sharp nudge. The Jeep’s startled cry was silenced as his lips meshed with the hippie’s in a passionate, if unintentional, kiss. The crowd went wild.

It seemed to take a ridiculously long time for Sarge to break away from Fillmore and when he did, the star on his hood was glowing bright pink and it was impossible to tell whether his bumper was curled in a smile or a grimace. A sudden stream of ice-cold water shot him in the face before Red turned his hose on every other vehicle present. Far from upset, everyone had a good laugh except Sarge, who glared heatedly at the fire truck. His normally intimidating scowl was lost on Red, who was now eagerly hosing down a giggling Mia.

Mack’s own attention was quickly distracted by the sopping wet Chrysler parked beside him. He grinned down at her. She grinned back and winked, then turned and drove away. Mack wasted no time following her.

* * *

Dusk had fallen by the time Mack and Vee reached the lookout point. Above and behind them, the peaks of Cadillac Range were bathed in a warm, rosy glow while far below Ornament Valley lay in a sea of deep blue shadows. Cotton candy clouds floated across the darkening sky and the sun shimmered like molten gold on the black horizon.

Mack parked next to Vee and pulled her close with a tire. They stood on the cliff, side by side, surveying the valley before them. Neither one said anything for a long time. Both were simply content to watch the sunset together.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Vee asked after a while.

Mack looked down at her and smiled at the way the golden light played off her curves. “It sure is,” he replied, without taking his eyes off her.

Vee glanced up at him and chuckled. Mack turned to face her and pulled her closer, planting a large yet tender kiss on her door. Vee purred and leaned into him.

“You know what?” he murmured against her side.

“Mm, what?”

“I’m kind of glad that I pulled out in front of you that day,” Mack said with a blush. “I felt bad about it for a long time, but… well, I still do, actually. But now… now I’m sort of glad I did it.”

Vee smiled. “Me too.”

Mack arched a brow at her. “You’re not just saying that, are you?”

“Of course not. I mean it.”

“Even though I dented you up real bad?”

Vee nodded. “It was worth it.” She gazed up at him and the last rays of sunlight danced in her eyes before the sun disappeared below the horizon. “You stopped me, Mack. You stopped me from running away, and you stopped me from making some very stupid mistakes and ruining my life. You saved me that day, and that’s worth way more than a few measly dents. I should really thank you for that.”

Mack blushed and smiled. “No you shouldn’t.”

“Yes, I should,” Vee argued. “If you hadn’t stopped me, we wouldn’t be here right now, and I wouldn’t be thanking you like this…” she trailed off, turning toward him until her groping lips found his. They kissed deeply and for a very long time.

When at last they broke apart, they were both breathless and nighttime had settled over the valley. Neither vehicle bothered turning on their headlights. Even in the dark Vee could see that Mack was blushing redder than ever and grinning like a fool. “Well in that case, I really am glad I stopped you,” he said. “And I’d do it again in a second!”

Vee chuckled. “I hope you do,” she purred, kissing him again. Then they turned as one toward the cliff and parked there side by side, gazing out at the sleepy valley below.

THE END
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I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Thirty-Four:
Route 62

Mack’s tires carried him over to the ditch as though they had a mind of their own. He felt like he was driving through a dark, narrow tunnel, the strip of lavender he knew to be Vee guiding him forward. She lay there, at the bottom of the ditch, in a bed of tumbleweeds, trash and mud. All he could see of her from where he stood was her back end, sticking out from beneath the trailer. She didn’t move. Without thinking he grabbed hold of the trailer and pulled it up out of the ditch. Now that he could see the rest of her, he sucked in a sharp breath and a sob escaped his throat.

A wide, deep scrape ran from bumper to bumper along her right side, and both her roof and hood had such large dents in them that they appeared to be caved in.

“Vee!” he cried. She did not respond. Mack tried to reach down into the ditch to pull her out, but she was too far down. The dirt ledge crumbled beneath him and he nearly toppled into the ditch himself. A moment later Doc and the others flanked him. Yvette looked down, let out a strangled cry, and turned away.

“Mater!” Doc shouted, looking around for the tow truck. Mater was already lowering his cable down into the ditch. Lightning dove in after and slipped the hook under Vee’s back bumper. He then drove around to her front and started pushing. Mack stared numbly at the scene that was playing out before him. Both Doc and Sheriff had to order him aside as Vee was lifted out and set down in front of them.

Mater didn’t even have a chance to unhook himself before Mack burst forward and snatched the Chrysler up in his tires. Tears spilled from his hood and splashed on hers. “Oh Vee…”

He heard Doc saying something, but the words went right over his cab. Something pulled at his tire and he was dimly aware of Sheriff trying to pry him away from the woman he loved. Mack let go of her finally and set her down with utmost care, then allowed the squad car to lead him away.

A silent circle formed around Doc Hudson as he worked over the injured Chrysler. Hours seemed to pass when in reality only a few minutes ticked by. Now and then there was a quiet moan or the faint shimmy of an engine trying to turn over. Mack never took his eyes off her. Please, Vee. Please be okay. Please…

With a heavy sigh, Doc shut her hood. The loud bang made everyone jump. Mack rolled forward an inch or two, watching Vee’s face for some sign of consciousness. After a moment, her eyelids began to flutter. Mack held his breath. Her mouth twisted in a painful-looking sneer. She groaned and creaked as she rose up on wobbly tires.

Mack’s engine flooded with relief and he flung himself at her, snatching her up in an enormous hug as a fresh wave of tears rained down on her.

“Easy there, Mack!” Doc said with a chuckle. “I don’t want to have to fix her again so soon.”

Mack ignored him. It wasn’t until he heard Vee’s muffled protest that he dared release her. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again!” he scolded her, his headlight to headlight smile betraying his harsh tone. Vee said nothing. Her smirk spoke volumes.

The small crowd closed in around her, each car cheering and hugging her in turn. Mater smacked her bumper with his hook and laughed. Vee laughed too and slugged him back.

“That was the most incredible racing I’ve ever seen!” Lightning exclaimed.

Sheriff snorted, then turned to face Vee with a frown. “Racing, my ass!” he growled. “That was THE most horrendous display of reckless driving it has ever been my displeasure to witness! Why, I ought to slap a boot on you right now!”

Vee did not argue. She just stared back at him, blank-faced.

“However,” he continued, “seeing as we’re not in Carburetor County, I’m afraid that this incident falls outside of my jurisdiction.” Everyone was surprised by his sudden smile.

* * *

Vee stared numbly at the remains of the two men who had made the last four years of her life so miserable. She was achy and exhausted from her ordeal. It was late afternoon now, and the autumn wind brought with it an icy drizzle that stung her scrapes and made her shiver. Mack noticed and put a tire around her. She leaned into him with a grateful sigh. If he hadn’t been there to support her, she didn’t think she would have had the strength to endure the endless interrogation from the Highway Patrol.

Besides the two fatalities, there had been very few injuries resulting from the wreck. Vee and the two big rigs had suffered the worst of it, yet thankfully all three were fit enough to drive home unassisted. It seemed to take forever for the trailers to be removed and the bodies to be cleaned up and hauled away. When the road was finally cleared, Mack, Vee and the others stood aside and waited for the backed-up traffic to thin out.

The sun was setting somewhere beyond the clouds by the time the group was back on the highway and heading home. Vee drove alongside Mack at the front of their little caravan. Neither one spoke, simply content to be together again. After a while Mack turned his radio on to check the local weather and traffic reports.

“Hey Vee,” he said suddenly. “Turn your radio on!”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

Vee complied. All she got was static.

“99.9 FM,” Mack clarified.

It took her a moment to tune in to the station. Though she had no idea what she was supposed to be listening for, she was mildly surprised when she heard Chuck Berry singing “Route 66.” She gave Mack a questioning look. In the last of the light she could see his mischievous grin.

Well it goes through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty…

“Yeah, that’s great,” she mumbled, “but in case you haven’t noticed, this is Route Sixty-TWO, not Sixty-six.”

Mack’s smile grew. “Exactly!”

Vee arched a brow at him, but said nothing. She turned the volume up and listened to the rest of the song.

Won’t you get hip to this kindly tip
Take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66
And I’ll meet you on Route 62...

Vee looked at Mack again, eyes wide.

Mack chuckled. “I guess we finally figured out what that last part means, huh?”

Vee shook her hood. “I thought it was just a coincidence. What do you think it means?”

Mack shrugged. “Eh, I dunno. What do you think it means?”

“Something really corny, I’m sure.”

“I thought it meant something special.”

This time Vee shrugged. “I suppose.”

“Well, after all we’ve been through, and after coming all this way just to meet you here, I’d say that’s something pretty special, wouldn’t you?”

Vee chuckled. “Okay, now that was just plain corny! And special,” she purred, driving closer to him.

* * *

Looking back in her rearview mirror, Vee spotted Yvette driving by herself several car-lengths behind. She fell back until she was level with the young woman. Even in the dark she could still clearly see the tread marks on her face and the distant look in her sky blue eyes. She appeared to be lost in thought.

“Hey,” said Vee, giving her an encouraging smile.

“Hey,” the Corvette replied, smiling back.

They drove in silence, side by side. The pavement hummed beneath their tires and the rain ran in rivulets up their windshields. Vee turned her wipers on, then looked over at Yvette to see that she had done the same. Yvette glanced back at her and both women laughed.

“Been one hell of a day, hasn’t it?” Vee said, turning them off again.

“I’ll say! Thank Dodge it’s over now.”

“Oh, it’s not over,” Vee replied solemnly. “Not by a long shot.” Yvette stared at her curiously. Vee smiled again. “It’s just the start of something better.”



Chapter Thirty-Five: [link]
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Nevuela
:iconforever-art-fan:
Collection by
Drabble for Forever-Art-Fan
Characters: Lightning, Strip, Lynda
Words: grassy, indebted, evening

"Sharing Victory"

Lightning turned left into the long, dusty driveway leading up to the Weathers estate. The house was smaller than he had expected for a celebrity of The King's stature, but somehow that seemed to suit the older gentleman. Little more than a bungalow, the façade of the house was white with slightly-darker-than-Dinoco-blue trim. Quaint and welcoming, the house seemed almost to smile at the young racecar approaching it. Lightning smiled back, his admiration for The King deepening.

The rays of the late afternoon sun were a brilliant gold as they stretched from beyond the Tennessee hills to illuminate the many different colors of gladiolus and jessamine adorning the front yard. The King himself was relaxing on the grassy lawn, settled low on his axles, his eyes closed. He looked a far sight better than he had the last time Lightning had seen him, which had been in the hospital right after his wreck in the Piston Cup race only two weeks before. There were a few small dents left here and there, but time would eventually work out what the mechanics could not.

Lightning pulled into the yard just as Mrs. Weathers came out of the house with two tall glasses of what appeared to be iced tea, complete with lemon wedges, balanced on her hood.

"Why hello, Lightning!" she greeted him, causing her husband to open his eyes and look from her to the young racecar. His smile mirrored hers as he greeted him too.

"What brings you all the way out here?" he asked, offering the tea Lynda had brought out to his guest. She gave the other one to her husband and went back inside to fetch more.

Lightning accepted it cordially and took a sip. "I thought I'd come see how The King is enjoying his retirement," he replied, looking around. "Not exactly what I'd call 'living it up,' but it certainly looks cozy."

Strip grinned and nodded. "We've got a vacation home up in Montana, and compared to that, this IS living it up."

Lightning chuckled. Lynda returned a moment later with a large platter on her hood containing an iced tea for herself, a fresh-from-the-oven pecan pie, and three plates.

"Here, Mrs. The King, let me help with that," Lightning said as he eased the heavy platter off her hood and onto a small patio table nearby. "That pie smells great. Did you make it yourself?"

"She sure did," Strip answered proudly, leaning over to peck his wife on the fender. "No one makes pecan pies quite like her. I keep telling her she ought to go into business with them, at least open a local bakery or something, but I guess she's too humble for that, aren't ya, honey?"

Lynda smiled shyly. "I really don't see what all the fuss is about. It's just a pie. And besides, seeing you enjoy my cooking is all I want."

The couple exchanged a loving gaze that made Lightning smile.

"Would you like some pie?" Lynda asked him as she cut into it. "You don't mind if Lightning has a slice, do you, hun?"

Strip shook his hood. "I insist on it."

"Well, that's really nice of you," Lightning replied, "but I just had dinner not too long ago, so I'm still kind of full."

"I insist on it," Strip repeated, passing him the first slice. "There's always room for Lynda Weathers' famous pecan pie."

Lightning took a tentative nibble. After that first taste, it was all he could do to try to restrain himself from wolfing it down like a ravenous combine. "It's delicious!" he exclaimed through a thick mouthful. Strip and Lynda chuckled.

"Told ya," Strip said with a grin, enjoying his own slice at a considerably slower rate.

The first shades of a dusty blue evening began to descend on the valley. Soon there was only a single slice of pie left. All three cars shot occasional glances at it while they talked as though wondering which of them would be the lucky one to eat it. Lightning, who had already eaten dinner AND more pie than anyone else, found himself glancing at the remaining slice more often than both of his hosts combined. Strip noticed this with a passive smile.

"Ya know, Lightnin', I'm indebted to you," he said, causing the young racecar to tear his gaze away from the pie and fix it on him. Strip's smile widened. "You pulled me out of a rough spot, and you sacrificed a lot doin' it."

Lightning blushed and scuffed a tire in the grass. "I just gave a fellow racecar a little push, is all. Nothing amazing about that."

Strip sighed. "Well, whether you think so or not, you did me a huge favor, and I owe you one for that."

Lightning shook his hood. "No, Mr. The King. If anything, I owe you. If it hadn't been for you –"

"You don't owe me a thing, son," Strip overrode him, his expression solemn for a moment before the smile returned. "I owe YOU, and the least I can do is let you have the last slice of pie."

Lightning blinked. "Are – are you sure? I mean, I think I've already had more than my share. I kinda feel bad enough taking advantage of your hospitality here, especially when I can't help feeling indebted to you already."

Strip and Lynda exchanged a curious look, then chuckled.

"Well, if that's really how you feel," Strip said, "then how would YOU like to make it up to ME by having the last slice? Lynda always makes such big pies, I can never finish them. I'd be much obliged if you'd help me out here. Then maybe we can finally call it even, instead of sittin' here arguing all night about who's indebted to who."

Lightning thought for a moment, then returned The King's grin. "Now that's one tie I DON'T mind holding with you!" he said, and the three cars shared a hearty laugh.


THE END
...
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This is a LONG overdue gift art promised to... I forget her DA name, but I know what she goes by at Wingnut City.

Anywho, these are her OC's Morry (the white truck), his wife Kikyo (silver SUV) and their daughter Dusk (tiny silver truck).

Hope ya like it, whatever-your-DA-name-is! XD
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Keep On Truckin’
(sequel to IMYOR62)

Chapter Fifteen:
Their Racing Hearts

Despite the tough front he put on, Gaspar couldn't bear the thought of facing his son through the bars of a jail cell. Not alone, anyway. That's why he waited at the hotel for nearly four hours for Midge. There was little else he could do. The police wouldn't allow him so much as a glimpse at Mack yet. He couldn't help wondering how long it could possibly take just to "book" someone. And he couldn't get within a thousand feet of Vee because the hospital she was taken to was designated for smaller vehicles. Ambulances were about the biggest things that could fit through the doors. What made matters even worse was the fact that Doc couldn't even report to him on Vee's condition, as he had not been permitted past the entrance to the ER.

He had just gotten off the phone with him for the third time when the sound of a familiar diesel engine caught his attention. Gaspar turned around to see Midge pulling up to the hotel. She looked considerably calmer than she had sounded on the phone earlier, though her expression was grim. The two stood staring at each other for a long moment, the silence heavy between them.

"Midge," Gaspar murmured, rolling closer to her. She met him halfway with a tearless sob. They held each other close for another long moment, almost afraid to let go. It was only when Gaspar backed away that he noticed the rusty tow truck standing behind Midge.

"Mater?"

Mater grinned. "That's mah name!"

Gaspar gave his wife a quizzical look. "What's he doin' here?"

Midge smiled faintly. "Half the town wanted to come, but he was the most insistent. Plus he was the only one ready to leave right away."

Mater nodded. "Tha's right! 'Cuz Ah gots ever'thin' Ah need right here!" he said, waving his back end. This caused his tow cable to swing wildly about and the loose assortment of tools in his bed to clink together.

Gaspar smirked. "Well, just so you know, this ain't no vacation," he said sternly. "This is some very serious stuff goin' on here."

Mater dropped his smile and nodded agreement. He looked so uncharacteristically solemn just then that no one could possibly doubt the sincerity of what he said next. "Ah know. Ah wouldn'ta come all this way on such short notice if it weren't. Ah came 'cuzza Vee an' Mack. They's mah bestest buds, right after Lightnin'. An' besides, it jist weren't right tuh let Midge drive two hundred miles all on her lonesome."

Both Midge and Gaspar smiled fondly at the smaller truck. Then Midge turned to her husband suddenly and said "How is Vee? Have you found anything out yet?"

Gaspar seemed hesitant to answer. "Well, I found out some, but – it's still kinda wait-and-see at this point. They've got her stable, but it was a pretty bad crash, and right now the main concern is the baby." At his wife's horrified expression, he quickly added, "It's fine, for now. She hasn't miscarried or anything like that, but… that doesn't necessarily mean that she won't later on. That's what the doctors are worried about."

Midge bit her lip, stifling a sob. She stared morosely down her hood, unresponsive both to Mater's tire touching hers and to her husband's grille nuzzling her cheek. Lightning came out of the hotel lobby just then to join the group. Gaspar glanced down at him, then at Mater, then back up at his wife.

"C'mon, hun," he whispered, "let's go see Mack."

* * *

The holding area for larger vehicles was located in the back of the jail. Oddly, it was far smaller than the rest of the place, the individual cells barely big enough to allow a bus to turn around. There were only four cells, half of which were empty. Of the remaining two, one contained a street sweeper sleeping off a DUI, the other a forlorn-looking red semi truck.

"MACK!" Midge shrieked, all but throwing herself against the bars of his cell. The sweeper jolted awake, glanced around blearily, mumbled something incoherent, and promptly resumed snoring.

Mack took one look into his mother's watery eyes and tears began to threaten his own. "Mom?" he croaked, his voice hoarse and faint. He rolled forward, extending a tire. Gaspar pulled up beside Midge, and when Mack saw the look on his face, his oil ran cold and he quickly backed away. It was a strange and terrifying look, one composed of equal parts disappointment, pain and fury. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen his father so upset.

Gaspar struggled with these emotions, unsure which to reveal first. "Mack Trucker, how could you – why did you – damn it, Mack, do you have any idea how bad this is? What have I always told you growing up? Huh? That you don't ever, EVER hurt another vehicle, especially the little ones! There's no Dodge-given excuse for beatin' up someone weaker than you! None whatsoever!"

"Gaspar!" Midge pleaded, and he stopped for a moment to consider her. Glancing around, he noticed that everyone, including the guard and the drunk street sweeper down at the other end of the corridor, was staring at him. He hadn't realized he'd been yelling so loud. With a weary sigh, he lowered his voice to a growl.

"You hurt a lot of people today, Mack, and not just that Chick character. You hurt Vee, you hurt your friends here," he gestured to Lightning and Mater standing nearby, "and you hurt your mother. Real bad. You made her cry. You feel like a big man now? Huh? Do ya?"

Mack, who had been withering visibly under his father's reprimand, suddenly sprang back at the mentioning of his wife. "Wait! You saw Vee? How is she? Is she okay? Is the baby okay?

"She's fine," Gaspar answered gruffly, his dark mood unspoiled by his son's concern. "Baby's fine too, though I didn't get to see her. Hospital's too small. They wanna keep her a while to make sure she doesn't have complications."

Mack's obvious relief at this news only fueled Gaspar's anger. "But that don't change what you did. Not by a long shot. Chick's in the same hospital as Vee, and Doc says he's worse off than she is. You're in big trouble, even if he doesn't press charges, 'cuz you're gonna have a hell of a time convincing anyone that you weren't tryin' to bump off a competitor!"

"But I wasn't!" Mack replied. "You know I wasn't going to kill him, Dad. You know that! But you saw what he did to Vee. It wasn't an accident. He could've killed the baby!"

"Use your common sense, boy! Do you honestly think he knew she was pregnant? And do you really think he'd a done what he did if he had known?"

"But he still had no right to do it," Mack said bitterly.

"For the love of Peterbilt, it's NASCAR! What do you expect? That sort of thing happens all the time!"

"But I—"

"No more excuses!" Gaspar snapped. "We can stand here arguing all day and you aren't gonna convince me of anything, except how desperate you are to justify yourself. You attacked a car, Mack! You beat up a vehicle much smaller and weaker than you, who stood absolutely no chance of defending himself! You wanna rationalize, be my guest, but not with me. You look your mother in the eye and tell her why you did it. I'm through with you."

And without another word, Gaspar turned away, ignoring his son's protests as he drove down the corridor and parked at the far end, near the door. Mater and Lightning, who had been standing by awaiting their turn to speak to Mack, were stricken silent by Gaspar's reproach. Neither one dared to utter so much as a syllable.

Midge stared sadly at her son after Gaspar had taken his leave. There wasn't an ounce of his venom in her aching, loving look, and though it hurt Mack just as much as his father's hard glare, it nonetheless invited all the things Gaspar's demeanor had prohibited.

He brushed a tire against the treads Midge had wedged between the narrow bars, his eyes fixed on his hood ornament. "I know what I did was wrong," he murmured, "and I know there's no forgiving it, but… I just wish I could make you and Dad understand why I did it, why I was able to justify it the moment it happened." He sighed heavily. "I wish I knew why, but I don't. It hardly makes any sense now."

Midge flexed her treads in order to grip her son's tire. "Try," she whispered, giving him a look of the utmost willingness to understand.

Try as he might, Mack was reluctant to divulge certain facts. "I don't know if I should," he confessed. "It's kind of personal. Kind of really personal."

His mother said nothing. She didn't need to. The look in her eyes said enough. Even more, it begged him to open up to her so much that he finally gave in.

Mack sighed. "Well, you know what Vee used to do in L.A., right?" he said quietly, almost a whisper, though the sound carried well down the corridor to where his father stood glaring at him.

Midge nodded. Vee had come clean to the Truckers about her past not long after they'd moved to Radiator Springs. Mack had told her that they didn't need to know, but she'd insisted. "I can't keep living a lie," she had argued. "If they hate me for it, then so be it. It lets me know who my true friends are." Far from passing judgment, Midge and Gaspar had been nothing if not completely open and understanding. Not only them, but everyone in town knew about her former profession. Reactions had varied from laughter and disbelief to mild disgust and indifference, but in the end everyone, including the cantankerous Sarge and uptight Sheriff, came to accept her as one of their own.

Mack glanced warily at Lightning and Mater, but avoided eye contact with his dad. "I don't feel right telling you this, but here goes." He paused, his next words already tasting rancid in his mouth. "Her and Chick… got to know each other pretty well through her old job."

The silence that fell after this statement was like a piano hitting the ground from the hundredth floor. If not for the street sweeper's gurgling snores, it might have crushed them all. The fire in Gaspar's glare smoldered and died.

Mack shook his hood, blinking back the sting of tears. "I told her I wasn't jealous," he murmured, "and I told myself that, too. All this time I tried to convince myself that I wasn't, that I just loved her so much and felt bad about what she'd subjected herself to. But then when she told me about— about him— I couldn't help it. I hated him for it, but I didn't want her to know, so I just pretended it didn't bother me. That none of it bothered me. It was her life, not mine. I kept telling myself I had no right to be jealous, but… after what he did to her today… I couldn't take it anymore."

A sharp noise escaped his throat, and he shuddered. A sudden torrent of tears streamed down his hood. "I just wanted her to be happy," he sobbed, throat tightening. "Let her know I didn't judge her for what she did and that I could never love her any less for it. She feels guilty enough as it is. That's why I could never let her know how much it did bother me. But now… now she knows. And the worst part is, I'm stuck here. I can't even be there for her when she needs me the most!"

"Wull don't feel bad, Mack," Mater spoke up. "Ya couldn'ta been there anyways 'cuz the hospital's too dang small!" Everyone turned to stare at the tow truck. "Whut? Ah's jist tryin' tuh cheer 'im up a little. It hurts tuh see a friend hurtin'." He drove up to the bars that separated him from his friend. "Ah know it probly don't mean much, but Ah promise ya, Mack, me an' Lightnin' is gonna go to that hospital and look after Vee fer ya. We won't leave her side fer nothin', will we?"

Lightning turned a tire outward in a shrug. "Welllll…"

"Tha's right! We's gonna have ourselves a good ol'-fashioned bedside vigilante!"

For the first time since his incarceration, Mack managed a smile. A small one, but sincere just the same. "Thanks, guys," he sniffled. "That does mean a lot to me. Really, it does."

"Ya want us tuh give 'er a message?"

"Sure. Tell her I love her and I'm sorry and – well – Mater, give her a kiss for me, will you?"

Mater nodded gleefully. "Ten-four, good buddy!"

"What about me?" Lightning asked, a little too eagerly.

Mack smirked at him. "Yeah, you can tell her to punch your headlights out if you try to kiss her."

"Ha! Joke's on you 'cuz this car ain't got headlights!"

"Then tell her to make some holes for headlights if you come within ten feet of her with your lips puckered!"

Gaspar rolled forward just then, and the smile vanished from Mack's face. He stared at his father with a mixture of guilt, anticipation and dread. To his surprise, Gaspar dipped his hood to him respectfully. "I can't make any promises, but I'm gonna see what I can do about gettin' you bailed out of here."

* * *

Vee didn't fully regain consciousness until the morning after the crash. By then her private hospital room had been crowded with flowers from friends and fans alike. Most prominent among these were contributions from Red's personal garden, Easter lilies from Flo and Ramone, red roses and baby's breath from the Truckers, freesias and snapdragons from the Weathers, tulips from Sally, chrysanthemums and carnations from Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and pink roses from Darrell Cartrip.

Before she even opened her eyes, the floral scents overwhelmed her. They were practically intoxicating. Vee breathed in deeply and sighed, wondering vaguely if she had died and woken up in Paradise. It didn't occur to her in her drug-induced haze that Paradise promised an end to pain, including the all-over ache tingling to life throughout her frame. The razor-sharp reek of alcohol lurking just beneath the various flower fragrances should have been her second clue that she had survived the crash. It wasn't until she managed to pry open her bruised and swollen eyes and focus them that she realized where she was.

Cables and tubes went under her battered hood, attached at either end to who knew what. Something beeped quietly nearby. She moaned. There was a small sound to her right, followed by a familiar voice. "Well, good morning, Mizz Vroom." Unable to move (both a front and rear tire on opposite sides had been removed), she tried turning only her gaze in the direction of the voice. Doc moved to park himself directly in front of her. "How are you feeling?"

Vee's mouth felt like it was full of peanut butter. Her throat was parched. "Mm— what— ooh, my hood." She looked cross-eyed down at her crumpled hood and grimaced. "Where's the morphine? I feel like crap."

Doc smiled. "Sorry, no morphine during pregnancy. I'll have the doctor find something safe to give you."

Vee blinked. "S-so the baby's okay?"

"For the time being, yes. You were both extremely fortunate to come away from that crash intact." She smirked as he looked her over. "Well, for the most part. They want to keep you and the baby under close observation for about a week to make sure you don't develop any complications."

"But it's – it's really okay? My baby's all right?"

Doc smiled again and nodded. "It's just fine. Can you feel it moving?"

Vee didn't answer right away. "Not right now, no," she said after nearly half a minute. "Are you sure it's okay?"

Doc shrugged. "If you don't believe me, have a look at the monitor."

"I can't quite—"

"Here." Doc rolled the device around the bed until it was easily within Vee's limited field of vision. "See that second line from the top there? That's the baby's heartbeat."

Vee stared wide-eyed at the fluctuations of the green line for a long time, unblinking. "It's so fast," she murmured, awestruck.

"It's usually a bit faster than that," Doc informed her. "Looks like he or she is asleep right now."

"Can they tell what it is yet?"

"Well, they did do an ultrasound, but— don't you want it to be a surprise?"

"I do, but I meant the make and model, not the sex. Can they tell what it is yet? I just want to know if what I'm carrying isn't going to be… you know…" Vee blushed and bit her lip.

Doc nodded. "I understand. From what I saw, it wasn't very clear, but it didn't look nearly as big as you might have been expecting. Of course, now that you're entering the second half of your pregnancy, it's going to start growing really big, really fast."

Vee said nothing in response to this, though Doc could have sworn she paled a little. The Chrysler turned her attention back to the monitor, and as she stared at it solemnly, her eyes began to shimmer. When she blinked, tears spilled down and pooled in the dents on her hood.

"I'm so sorry," she whispered, watching the green line that tracked the baby's heart rate rise and fall rhythmically. "Mommy's an idiot. She never meant to put you in danger, but she did, anyway. All for a stupid hunk of brass."

The young woman's words hit a nerve in the elder racecar. Silently, he reached out to her, placing a worn but gentle tire on hers. They stayed that way for a long moment, until finally Vee blinked away the last tear and turned to Doc with a thankful smile. He smiled back.

"Where's Mack?" she asked hoarsely, and his smile vanished.

"He's— being detained at the moment," he answered carefully, "but he sends his love—"

"And us!" came a voice from the doorway. Vee didn't need to see who it was to recognize Lightning's voice.

"Yup! We're here tuh keep ya comp'ny, Mizz Vee!" Mater said, driving up to her and kissing the minimally damaged space between her wheel well and right headlight. "That's from Mack," he added with a blush.

"Thanks, Mater," Vee replied, smiling. "But where is Mack?"

"In jail," Mater answered before Doc or Lightning could intervene.

Vee stared at him. "What?"

"He beat up Chick Hicks, who looks WAY worse than you, by the way," Lightning spoke up, putting on a casual air in order to downplay the severity of Mack's crime. "I saw him a few minutes ago. He's just down the hall, as a matter of fact."

"I thought you two went to the cafeteria?" Doc said, raising a brow.

"We did," Lightning assured him, "but it's closed till lunchtime, so I went to see Chick."

"An' Ah went up tuh the maternity ward!"

Doc turned a stern look on the two truck. "You weren't by any chance trying to scare someone up there into labor, were you?"

Mater grinned. "Nope! Jist the babies! They's got this li'l newborn minivan in the nursery, cute as a lugnut, till ya go like this: BLEEEAAAH!" He bounced forward, baring his buck teeth and lolling his tongue around like an epileptic serpent. "Ooooh-ee! I never saw nuthin' so cute turn so ugly so dang fast!"

Mater guffawed, pounding the linoleum with a tire. At Doc's and Vee's smoldering glares he quickly sobered up. "Aw, Ah's jist kiddin', Mizz Vee. Ah only does that tuh baby tractors! But that li'l minivan liked me. Kids always like me!" he bragged. "Ah smiled at 'im, and he was smilin' back an' gigglin', and purdy soon every baby in the nursery was all happy and gigglin' an' makin' cute li'l faces—"

"That did SO not happen," Lightning interrupted. Turning to Doc and Vee, he explained, "I went up there with him. All the babies in the nursery were asleep, so Mater started tapping on the glass to wake them up. Then suddenly they're all crying, and this big, burly nurse comes out and yells at him, and he races off screaming with his tow cable between his tires!"

Vee laughed, and Doc smiled at the two young men, thankful for their presence. Still, with or without the dynamic duo, it was sure to be a long, hard week.


Chapter Sixteen: [link]
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Keep On Truckin'
(sequel to IMYOR62)

Chapter Thirteen:
Collision Course

There was something about the way her sponsor's decals looked these days that made Mack realize that Vee was starting to put on weight.

"It's called bloating," she assured him for the dozenth time that day. "Doc says it's normal." A forklift from her pit crew approached with a variety tray of Ensure protein shakes. "These things are pretty fattening," she commented before pouring half the tray down her throat in a matter of seconds. Mack watched this with a mixture of awe and disgust.

"But if you're so worried about me gaining weight, I suppose I could cut back." At her gesture, the forklift set the rest aside and left.

"You're supposed to gain weight," Mack spoke up once he'd gone. "All I'm saying is, you're definitely starting to show now. But not that much!" he added quickly before Vee could glare at him. He glanced around, making sure they were truly alone, then lowered his voice. "And you know you did say you'd stop before then. Remember?"

Vee sighed heavily and drove up the ramp into her trailer. "Yeah, I know, but… but this doesn't really count," she said, looking in the mirror at her slightly curved side. "Most of it's water weight. You saw the chart in Doc's office. The baby's no longer than a hubcap at this point."

Mack looked her over doubtfully. "Whose hubcap are we talking about here? Yours or mine?"

Vee backed down the ramp with a scowl. "Let's not forget who's responsible for this!" she snapped.

Mack smirked at her. "Last I heard, it takes two to make a baby."

Vee smirked back. "Last I heard, it only takes one to slip up, and you weren't exactly playing it safe that night, now were you?"

"Ohoho! Don't you try pinning this on me! You're the one who neglected to take your pills. Plus you seduced me!"

Vee snorted and grabbed another Ensure shake, retreating once more into her trailer. "Now you're just trying to piss me off. And don't think you can charm your way out of a good beating later. I've got hormones on my side."

Mack stifled a laugh. A voice over the intercom called for racers to take their place at the starting line in exactly five minutes. The big rig immediately sobered up on hearing the announcement. He peered into the trailer at his best friend and wife, watching grimly as she fussed over a pealing decal on her side.

"Pssh, I can't tell if this says 'Velvalube' or 'valve lube'," she muttered, trying fruitlessly to smooth it down with a tire. "Can you get this for me?"

Mack hesitated. "I dunno. You and your hormones aren't gonna castrate me if I mess it up, are you?"

Vee's smirk was more like a sneer. "Keep talking and we'll just see how it goes." She grumbled something else that he didn't quite catch, though he was pretty sure the jist of it had something to do with which exact head men did their thinking with.

"Oookay, I'm just gonna pretend I didn't hear that and go grab a beer from the concession stand. Want one? Oh, wait, I forgot. You can't have any!" he teased.

His snickering was cut short by a full quart-sized can of oil that flew out of the trailer and bounced off his right wheel well.

"OW! Jeez, babe, can't you take a joke?"

"Sure I can, if you can take another one of these upside your grille!"

Mack dodged the second one just in time. Someone chuckled behind him.

"Only married a month and already you're behaving like a seasoned couple."

Mack turned to see Doc Hudson driving toward him. The elder car's benign smile faded as he peered past the truck into the trailer. "She still planning to race?" he asked Mack, though quite loud enough for Vee to hear too.

"Yes, she is," the Chrysler announced airily as she descended the ramp. "And this racecar is not listening to either one of you, so you can both save your breaths." When she turned to face the two men, she immediately regretted her haughty tone. She didn't know which made her feel worse, Doc's stern glare or Mack's worried pout. She sighed and shook her hood.

"Look, this is going to be my last race until after the baby's born. The very last one. There'll be no more after this one. I swear."

"That's what you said last time," Mack said.

"I know, but… but this time, I mean it."

"You said that last time, too."

Vee sighed again. "I know, but I really, really mean it this time." Here she hesitated a moment, suddenly shy. She looked away, hiding a small smile. "I can feel it now," she said quietly, almost a whisper. Mack looked at her questioningly. She gazed up at him and smiled openly. "The baby. It started moving this morning. I mean, I started to feel it finally. It's like it's trying to tell me this is for real."

"Really?" Mack grinned and rushed forward to press a tire to her side.

Vee giggled, rather girlishly, he thought, which he found both cute and creepy. Hormones, he told himself.

"It's not moving right now, thank Dodge. Can't have any distractions on the track. But there really is a baby in there, and I can't deny that anymore." Vee turned to Doc with a firm nod. "I'm not going to do anything crazy. Just one more race, then maternity leave. I promise."

The old Hornet just stared hard at her for a moment, then nodded back. "All right. But if you so much as utter the word 'race' after today, I'm notifying NASCAR about your condition. Got that?"

"Okay, okay. I promise," Vee replied, knowing full well that Doc never made an idle threat. Less than a day after informing her that she was pregnant, he had explained how this new condition would disqualify her from the remainder of the racing season. On learning this, Vee had been quite upset, but not for long. After some research she discovered a few loopholes that could potentially minimize damage to her track record, should her condition ever become public.

If, indeed, it did become public knowledge at this particular point, only her placement in her two most recent races could be rescinded. And, of course, she would not be allowed to race again until after her pregnancy ended. If, however, she quit after today and managed to stay discreet about it, she would be able to maintain her record as it stood presently.

Ever since learning of her pregnancy, Doc had taken to accompanying her to all of her races. Early on his pretense had been merely to coach his two young protégés (Vee and Lightning both), but he quickly shed that pretense as his concern for Vee grew along with her baby. Nowadays both Doc and Mack (and Lightning, too, whenever he was present and could be coerced by the other two) habitually begged, bullied, pleaded and pestered her to withdraw from the upcoming race. Rather than make her feel guilty, it was starting to drive her insane.

"ATTENTION ALL RACECARS! PLEASE TAKE YOUR PLACE AT THE STARTING LINE!"

At the announcement, Mack and Doc both turned on Vee with identical expressions of concern. She resisted a chuckle, and instead gave them a reassuring smile. "We'll be fine," she said, coasting forward.

Something large and heavy was laid on her trunk, stopping her in her tracks. Vee looked back at Mack, whose enormous tire held her firmly in place. His expression was unreadable. It chilled her to look into his eyes just then.

"Please don't do this." He spoke so quietly, she almost couldn't hear him over the soft purr of her own engine. His green eyes shimmered beautifully, as if with the beginnings of tears. "Every time I watch you race, my own heart races, but… not always in a good way."

"I have to do this," she told him, her voice almost as low. "Just one more race. I have to. Just one more." She wriggled out from under his tire and turned to face him fully. "Please don't worry, Mack. It's not good for either of us."

Instead of arguing or pleading, Mack did the only rational thing he could think of: wrapping both front tires around her, he pulled her crushingly close to himself and kissed her passionately for a very long moment.

"ALL RACECARS PLEASE TAKE YOUR PLACE AT THE STARTING LINE!"

At those words, Vee ended the kiss with an indecipherable murmur and pulled away. It took an astounding amount of willpower for Mack to let her go. She sped off toward the tracks without looking back.

"I love you!" Mack shouted just a split second before she disappeared around a corner.

All day long he had prayed for her success, he had prayed for her safety, and now he prayed that the only reason she hadn't said "I love you" back was because she hadn't heard him.


* * *


Vee tailgated the pace car, waiting tensely for the signal for the start of the race. The summer heat was sweltering. It warped the air like gasoline vapors rising up from the tracks. The cramps that she had 'conveniently forgotten' to mention to Doc clenched her abdomen like the jaws of a ravenous beast. At least they were ignorable, for the most part. Other things weren't nearly as easy to ignore.

Knowing that Chick Hicks was in the same race, she half expected him to get in some last-minute pestering before the green flag was waved. Sure enough, the stickered stock car was already muscling his way up to her from his original position six cars back.

"Well hello, Vee-ronica," he purred, now cruising along beside her. Vee rolled her eyes, but said nothing. "So, how's the hubby?" he asked casually.

That did it. Vee nearly braked right then and there, but just narrowly saved her composure. "And who says I'm married?" she asked coolly while keeping her eyes straight ahead.

"Same person who told me you got knocked up by your driver. Is that who you married? Or is it some other guy?"

"For your information, I stopped seeing more than one guy the day I left Ford's," Vee growled. "Also, I don't know where you're getting all this BS, but I am not pregnant."

Chick guffawed. "So you did marry your driver! Well, how do you like that? Hey, didn't he used to be McQueen's driver? The big red guy? What's his name – Mark?"

"Mack, and yes, I married him. What's it to you?"

"Oh, nothin'," Chick murmured. "But I could've sworn you were knocked up too."

Vee revved her engine loudly to match her equally loud growl. "You've really got to stop believing every little thing you hear. Haven't those stupid tabloids taught you anything? Or need I remind you what they said about you just a few years back?" Of course, a good chunk of what they'd printed about him had been supplied by Vee herself.

Chick acted as though he didn't remember that particular fact. "True, but I gotta say, you do kinda look like you're glowing, Dollface." He eyed her with a cheesy grin.

Vee snorted. "It's the middle of July and a hundred freaking degrees out. Everyone's glowing."

Chick laughed. "I am pretty damn hot, if I do say so myself. And I do! You're not so bad yourself, although," he looked her over, "I think you've put on a few pounds since L.A.."

Vee scowled, but bit her tongue. This was no time to lose her temper. 'Jeez, first Mack, then Doc, now Chick. Why does everyone have to make it so damn hard for me to run one simple little race?' She tried tuning him out, but the mention of a particular name nearly made her brake in her tracks yet again.

"Darla? You're still seeing that – that woman?" she demanded, restraining herself from using a far less favorable term for her old rival.

"Of course!" He veered closer to Vee and lowered his voice to a seductive purr. "Aw, don't be jealous, babe. You know I'd still be seeing you too if you'd just let ol' Thunder roll once in a while."

'Okay, Vee. Stay cool. Don't let him win now. Not the race, and not this either'. She tried to convince herself that it was her hormones that were irritating her and not Chick, but to no avail. She tried again to tune him out, but all too often some suggestive or otherwise provocative sentence fragment managed to snag her attention.

"…weren't as good as you, though… all night long… pretty hot the way you… couldn't get enough…"

'Dodge, when will he learn to quit?' Vee wondered, temper flaring and ebbing as the beast continued to worry at her belly. 'Chrysler, could it be any hotter out here?' The baby rolled over, squirming as it settled into place. All around her, engines revved at an earsplitting decibel, and beside her, Chick rambled on and on about "the good old days back in L.A.." It was all enough to make her see red. A smooth tire brushed against her own just then, sending her straight over the edge.

"GAH, SHUT UP, CHICK!" Vee shrieked, just as the flag went down. "AND LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!" With a deafening roar of her engine, she was gone, leaving her rival behind in a cloud of exhaust.

* * *

Seventy-three laps down, two-hundred twenty-seven to go. There was no way she was going to make it. Not without a dozen pit stops. 'Why do they call it morning sickness when it lasts all freaking day?' Eighteenth place wasn't so bad, not when there were more than twice that many competitors. But it was bad for Veronica Vroom, who claimed a place somewhere in the top ten in nearly every single race. 'Damn it, kid, why'd you have to pick today to make your presence known? Give Mommy a break!'

"I hate to say it, Darrell, but Vroom's not looking so hot today."

"For once, I actually hate to agree with you, Bob, but you're right. I don't know what it is, but that gal's got something weighing her down big time."

Vee rolled her eyes. Normally Bob Cutlass and Darrell Cartrip were her favorite commentators, but today they were nothing short of effing annoying. Especially when they mentioned either "Vroom" or "number fourteen."

"If she doesn't get her head into the game soon, ol' 'Last Place' Laramie's gonna overtake her for the— ooh! Too late, he just did."

'Yeah, thanks for the heads-up, Darrell. You're really helping me out here.'

Ahead of her by three laps already, Chick approached Vee from behind, and she readied herself for his inevitable snide remarks as he began to pass her up for the fourth time that day. Instead, he hung back, cruising leisurely beside her as he began once again to boast of his self-perceived greatness.

"I told ya before this ain't no girl's game," he teased, veering in uncomfortably close as he did so.

"Uh-huh. Then what about Sonia Alexa?" Vee reminded him of the recently retired female racing legend from Greece. "She's won more cups than you can even count. Forget about her already, did you?"

Chick snorted. "Drag queen, obviously."

"What are you up to, Chick?" demanded Lightning, suddenly appearing on the stock car's other side.

"And you're a real drag, McQueen," Chick replied smartly.

Not having arrived soon enough to get the joke, Lightning ignored this remark. "Don't you have some catching up to do?" he asked coolly. "Or need I remind you that you're six laps behind me!"

Chick growled at this, but let it pass. "Beat it, McQueen. Can't you see Thunder's on cruise control right now?" He winked at Vee, who shoved him aside rather violently and accelerated, leaving him behind.

"Whoa!" Chick skidded a little before righting himself with a curse.

Lightning laughed. "What, cruising for babes, or cruisin' for a bruisin'?" He sped ahead to catch up to Vee. Doc had asked him to be watchful of her during the race, and even though he knew nothing of her past with Chick, he knew from experience that a certain green stock car wasn't to be trusted on the tracks.

"He giving you trouble?" he asked her, noticing how flushed she appeared. Her paintjob looked more hot pink than lavender.

"Eh, nothing I can't han— HEY!"

Both Vee and Lightning jumped at the sudden intrusion of Chick Hicks squeezing in between them.

"Do you mind?" Lightning growled. "We were talking!"

"Take a hike, Queenie boy," Chick growled back, nudging him aside. Lightning lost momentum and fell back a ways.

"Damn it, Chick!" Vee shouted. "That was rude! How would you like it if I started doing that to you?"

Chick chuckled darkly. "If it was you doin' it, I'd say, bring it on, baby! Show ol' Thunder what you've got!" And to show that he was serious he bumped her side playfully.

Vee's on-and-off cramps were starting up again, and that little bump, harmless though it was, in her mind's eye only intensified her discomfort. She bumped him back, harder, but Chick merely laughed and pressed himself up against her, slowly but surely pushing her toward the outer wall. Vee gritted her teeth and slowly started pushing back, now driving Chick towards the inner field. He laughed and growled and purred intermittently as he pushed back. The two cars looked like a pair of slow dancers as they swept back and forth, side by side, across the tracks.

From somewhere behind Vee could hear Lightning's protests, and over the loudspeaker Darrell Cartrip joking about "Hicks and Vroom waltzing around the second turn." Vee decided it was high time to give up this pointless tactic and finish the race. She peeled herself, quite literally, away from Chick.

"Chrysler, why are you always so sticky?" she demanded, feeling certain that the two had exchanged a few decals when they separated. Why, oh why did he always stick to her so easily? If it wasn't the cheap spray-on body glitter he always made her wear on their dates, it was the damnable Gatorade residue he never washed off after a race. Even now, in the absence of both, it was his stickers. Constantly peeling off, new ones being added all the time… Chick was nothing more than an embarrassing bumper sticker she couldn't get off her ass, no matter how hard she tried.

"Why are you always so sexy?" he countered, veering toward her again.

She saw him coming in her mirror and swerved just in time to avoid contact with him. "Seriously, Chick, do I need to report you for sexual harassment? Because I will! Those days are over. I'm not putting up with your BS anymore!"

Taken aback by this, Chick stared at her in surprise. "Well, I'm sorry you can't take a compliment, babe, but this ain't sexual harassment when I do it to everyone here!" he said as he once again bumped her side.

Vee growled and bumped him back much harder, so much harder, in fact, that it sent him momentarily spinning out of control. Three car-lengths back, Lightning swerved just in time to avoid being taken out by the green car.

"Hoo boy! Can you believe that, Bob?" Darrell commented gleefully. "Vroom's starting to get aggressive. I think a little of Hicks rubbed off on her, literally! She's got some smooth moves right there. Ow! Is it hot in here, or is it just me?"

"I don't know, Darrell, but if it wasn't already hot enough down there on the tracks, it looks like things are heating up fast for that femme fatale. She is not letting Hicks through if she has anything to say about it."

And Bob was right. Vee was no longer shying away from Chick's advances – personal or otherwise. Any time he got near enough to pass her, she swooped into his path suddenly, forcing him to fall back. No one else was letting him through, either. Frustrated, he bided his time, watching for his chance. And there it was. He surged forward, throwing himself headlong at the sudden opening he saw between Vee and Lightning. But there wasn't quite enough room to make it through.

Chick's immediate solution to this was to catch Lightning off-guard with a slam to the back bumper, but just as he was about to do so, Vee cut in close and knocked him back when her own rear bumper swung in and smacked the side of his hood. Affronted by this, Chick threw himself forward again, aiming straight for her license plate.

It was only meant to be a harmless retaliation tactic. You know, maybe knock her off her tires for a second. Toss her out of the running for a minute or two. Nothing serious. But the fourth turn was coming up fast, and she was already hugging the outer wall. And it didn't help that McQueen was veering over to try to stop him, not when he already had all that momentum behind him. Because of that sudden interference, Chick was forced to change angles, and to change angles by even a single degree can drastically change the outcome.

He struck Vee on the corner of her back bumper. She jolted and started to skid toward the infield, then bounced off another car and shot straight back toward the outer wall. She hit it, rolled up it, then back down, landing on her roof. But it wasn't over yet. She fell directly into the path of another racecar, who could not swerve in time to avoid hitting her. She spun wildly back toward the infield, colliding with three other cars on the way. When she stopped, another car came skidding in, but could not stop or swerve in time, either. He sent her cartwheeling over two other wrecked cars into the center of the track, where she finally came to rest, unconscious and leaking various fluids, on her roof.

Lightning was the first to reach her. Two other racecars were next, followed by the medics. In all, nineteen cars had gotten caught up in the crash, thirteen of which only sustained minor injuries and were already struggling through the wreckage to continue racing. Vee was being loaded into an ambulance by the time Doc arrived at the site. He told the ambulance he was Vee's personal physician and that he would accompany her to the hospital.

"Doc! Wait!" Lightning shouted, hobbling after him. "I'm going, too!"

Doc stopped and shook his hood firmly. "No, kid. You stay here and finish the race."

"But I—"

"No buts. Vee wouldn't want you losing because of her. Now go get that tire fixed and then get back out there!" And without another word, the Hornet took off after the ambulance.

Numb from the whole ordeal, Lightning looked down at the tire he'd flattened running over Vee's broken mirror. He wouldn't be able to chase an ambulance OR race if he didn't get it taken care of right away. There was a yellow flag waving, and nearly everyone was taking advantage of it. As he headed into the pits, he caught a glimpse of Mack's horrified face amid the Velvalube team, and his heart lurched.



Chapter Fourteen: [link]

* * *

A/N: Yeah, I know I messed up the pic. Cars are supposed to race in the OTHER direction. D'oh!
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Cars
:iconsunsationgal07:
Collection by
SD::giggle: Lightning is surprised seeing Sally with Racing Numbers on her like a Race Car.
Nyahahaha 89 sponsored by Dolltwins! =3 that is the year we were born!
Enjoy!

Cars Characters copyright Pixar
Art by Sakura Doll
Date:06-14-06 06-15-06
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They're like.. training in the morning.. or something. Lightsources make no sense but I hate them so it's all good.

ANYWAY... they're human versions of Doc Hudson and Lightning McQueen from Cars: Doc designed by the ingenious ~dobie and Lightning designed by moi. I KNOW, it's another Radiator Springs background, stfu it's fun to draw. l:< Rushed the mountains but whatevs.

....that's it I guess. yaay


Cars © Pixar and uh. Disney.
Doc designed by :icondobie:
Lightning design and art by :iconblue-fox:
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SD:its Sally the porche from the Pixar movie Pixar! =3 i really excited to see this movie it looks cute and fun!
I fixed my pic by using PhotoStudio 5.5
Sally the Porche copyright Pixar
Art and Sally humanized characted design by Sakura Doll
Date: 05-04-06
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CARS is a movie that applies human personalities and qualities to vehicles, and turns them into the characters. Well, what if we reverse-engineer that and translate the CARS back into people? You might get a lineup like this:

From left: Lightning McQueen, Sally Carrera, Mater, Doc Hudson, Luigi, Guido, Filmore, Sarge, Lizzie, Red, Ramone, Flo, The King, Chick Hicks, Sheriff, Dusty, Rusty, Wingo, DJ, Boost, Snot Rod, and Mack.

CARS, its characters, logos, and all that other fun stuff are trademarks of and copyright to Disney/Pixar. The art is (c) me, wannabemustangjockey.
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plus Chick Hicks and The King :D. Sorry, I didn't put Lizzy, McQueen, and Mack...but there was no room. So there is going to be a part 2 to this. *thinks: needs bigger computer paper* Just a quick stetch of some of the CARS characters. Some turned out pretty good, others...not so much. I'll let yous guys chose with ones are they..*coughthewholethingcough*

CARS (c) Pixar/Disney
ART/Draw (c) me
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Story time
:iconduallygirl178:
Collection by
Jack and all of his friends were coming to the stadium to join the fun at the Cars club.
Mater looked from outside and sees a big crane.

"Hey Buddy! they're here!" Mater exclaimed to Lightning
"Well everyone, we are going to meet our new friends. Big smiles everyone!" Lightning called out

When Mater waits outside to see the new vehicles, he noticed that Jack and his friends don't have eyes on their windshields, they use their headlights as eyes, which really creeps him out; ever since he saw that french car with headlights for eyes he was grossed out. Now he was creep out by Jack and his friends, including Craner the crane.

Jack noticed Mater and rushed over to him
"Hello! what's your name? I'm Jack" said Jack. Mater just stared at his eyes nervously. After Jack blinked, Mater screamed in fright and ran inside the Stadium. Jack was confused, he didn't understand why that tow truck ran away.

"Well that guy seems excited to go in" said Dan the dump truck as he drove beside his best friend, along with Max the monster truck.
"Can not blame him, it's col-col-COLD!" Exclaimed Max as he drove right inside. Craner couldn't fit into the stadium because he's too tall to fit through the cargo door, but he can just go in from the sky roof since it's opened and he can lower himself down to chat or look around.

"hmm... who's the owner of this club?" Craner asked. Lightning came to Craner as he thought he needed help.
"I'm the president of this club, anything I can help you with?" Lightning asked.
"Not really, but next time you're hosting a club, make the entrance easier for me" asked Craner as he rises up. Lightning didn't reply or got a chance to reply. Then he noticed his best friend in the tight corner.

"Hey, Mater, we have guess. Don't you want to meet the other trucks? there's a tow truck in the club too" said Lightning as he was talking about Ted the tow truck. "I'm good, buddy... really I am... I'm just... just... well..." Before Mater has a chance to say the last sentence, Jack came to see Lightning. "Hey, Lightning!" Then Jack noticed Mater "is that tow truck ok? he seemed scared after I introduced myself" said Jack all concerned. "Mater? what's the matter with you?" Lightning asked. "I can't talk about it buddy, it's too embarrassing" said Mater. "But all the trucks wanted to meet you!" Lightning exclaimed. "Yeah, especially Ted, he's loved to meet you since you're also a tow truck" Jack smiled. Mater thought about it and decided to give it a try. Jack sticks out his tire and he was going to take Mater to his friends, but Mater isn't comfortable, so he just drives by himself.

Sheriff was outside keeping watch until he sees a group of vehicle from another world (show); they're monster trucks. But he's got a human with him and decided to stop him. "Hold on there, son. This is no place for you and your friends" said Sheriff. Blaze was confused. "How come? we're cars too; monster trucks" said Blaze. "I know, son. But we can't have humans in this club" Everyone was shocked. Crusher the monster truck was there too to join the Cars club, along with Pickle. "Sorry Blaze, I guess this means *you* and your little friend can't be in the club" laughed Crusher as he was about to go in. "Sorry son, you were with that hotrodder who owns a human, so you can't go in either" said Sheriff to Crusher. "WHAT!?!? But--but I'm not even friends with Blaze, and I don't even have a human for a friend!" Crusher exclaimed. AJ the human boy; who is known as Blaze's driver and best friend jumped out of Blaze to talk to Sheriff.

"Look officer, I don't have to go in if there is a no humans policies. Can't you just have Blaze and his Monster friends in?" AJ asked. "Nope, sorry. It's against the rules, the signs right here" said Sheriff as he was pointing to the sign. "Who's the founder of this club!? I command to see the founder!" Crusher exclaimed to Sheriff. Pickle came to Sheriff to apologize. "Sorry officer, my friend Crusher is just cranky" said Pickle. "C'mon Crusher, lets go and do something else, we don't need this Cars club anyway" After Sheriff asked everyone to leave, Crusher hid behind the cactus field and sneak past Sheriff.

Pickle is concerned; Crusher always has a plan that never works. "Uh, Crusher... what are you doing?" Pickle asked. Crusher places his tire over his friend's mouth and shushes him. "I'm going to go into this club if it's the last thing I do, thanks to Blaze and his human friend we can't have fun inside. So I'm going to sneak in and crash the stadium for having that stupid rule. But first... I need someone to help with my plan" Pickle thought Crusher was going to pick him but it turns out that he's looking for someone else. His first thought was Max the monster truck, until he sees that Max has four eyes. "Eww! no thank you!" cried Crusher. He keeps looking around and sees Big Rig the Hauler. "Yes... he's perfect!" "Ooh... what a pretty porsche" said Pickle staring at Sally. "psst. hey big guy" Crusher whispered to Big Rig. Big Rig noticed Crusher and decided to come over. "Yes, you. How would like to team up with me and trash this stadium? how about it big guy" Crusher doesn't talk much and he was making new friends and didn't want to trash anything "No" that's all Big Rig said and left. Crusher is getting impatient and begins to dry.

The Pickle noticed a rusty tow truck. "aww, that poor tow truck looks scared, I think he's scared of the new trucks" "Lemme see!" exclaimed Crusher as he pushed Pickle aside. "I think I just found the perfect party trasher, or should I say... Party CRUSHER?" Crusher laughed at himself. "I think party trasher sounded better" said Pickle. Crusher stared at Pickle with the oh really look. "That was a rhetorical question, Pickle!" said Crusher. 
In this chapter, Mater gets scared of the new guest that were joining the club.
Then  there's Crusher from Blaze and the Monster Machine. He's not around in the stadium only because Blaze has a human for a friend, so he plans on trying to destroy the club because of that "no cars with humans allowed" rule. So he thought of hiring someone to destroy the club 
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Axle City. A city where all the citizens are vehicles of some kind. All that are not children, at any rate. There are two human children. But that's not the point. Here, we have Blaze and his best friend and driver AJ at their place in the city. They live in what looks like some kind of lab. They were getting ready for a little special event. This was going to be their first slumber party in Axle City and they wanted everyone to be there.
"Okay, let's see...music...snacks...movies...games...looks like we're all set," said Blaze.
"Hold on. Forgot something," said AJ.
He busted out their sleeping mats to sleep on when it was time to go to sleep.
"Well, it's not a slumber party without the slumber part," said Blaze.
They were then off to go and invite their closest friends. They headed off to Starla's ranch where she was busy plowing the fields with her wheels.
"That should about do it," she said.
"Hey, Starla!" said AJ.
"What brings y'all here?" Starla asked.
"We're having a slumber party and wanted to know if you wanted to come," said Blaze.
"Hoo-wee! You know I'd love to come to a slumber party!" Starla agreed.
"Great! See you tonight!" said Blaze.
Next, they headed to the prehistoric valley where their friend Zeg resided. He was busy organizing his boulder collection.
"There. Zeg finished with arranging boulder collection," he said.
"Nice collection, Zeg," said Blaze.
"Thank you, Blaze. Zeg take great pride," Zeg thanked.
"Zeg, would you like to come to our slumber party?" AJ offered.
"Zeg love to!" Zeg agreed.
"We'll see you tonight!" said AJ.
Next, they headed off to Stripes' Jungle. He was busy prancing through the trees, having a little game of tree swinging with a car gorilla.
"Nobody can out-swing me, old friend," said Stripes.
Just then, Blaze and AJ arrived.
"Are you busy at the moment, Stripes?" Blaze asked.
"Time out!" Stripes told the gorilla.
"What brings you guys over?" Stripes asked.
"We're having a slumber party tonight. You wanna join us?" Blaze offered.
"Sure! I would be happy to attend!" Stripes agreed.
"See you tonight, Stripes," said AJ.
Next up was their friend Darington. He lived at the skate park where he would do all sorts of cool tricks off the ramps.
"DARINGTOOOOOOOOOON!~" he cried with panache. He made a bit of a shaky landing, but it was good enough.
"Nice trick, Darington," said AJ.
"Thanks. I can do those and some others in my sleep," said Darington.
"Speaking of sleep, tonight, AJ and I are having a slumber party. You wanna come?" Blaze asked.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world!" Darington accepted.
"Great! See you tonight!" said AJ.
"I can't wait," said an excited Darington.

Meanwhile, at the gas station, the biggest, baddest, most downright cheating truck Crusher was just a little bored. He yawned to show it.
"Hey, Crusher! You wanna play catch with me?" his best friend Pickle asked.
"No thanks, Pickle. We did that yesterday," Crusher sighed.
Just then, Blaze's horn sounded, which makes Crusher uncomfortable.
"Oh, great. Here comes Mr. Everybody-Loves-That-Do-Gooder himself, Blaze," he sighed.
"Hi, Blaze!" Pickle greeted.
"Pickle, don't talk to him. You know he and I have our differences," Crusher ordered.
"Crusher, Pickle, we came by to ask you something," said Blaze.
"If it's if I'm gonna stop cheating, the answer is no," said Crusher.
"No, it's not that," said AJ.
"Oh, thank goodness," Crusher sighed relieved.
"What is it?" Pickle asked.
"Would you guys like to come to our slumber party tonight?" Blaze invited.
"You...want us...at your slumber party? Even after all of the rotten, yet totally justified, things I tried to do to you and your friends?" Crusher asked.
"We figured you deserved a break," said AJ.
"Well, as long as there's nothing too messy or noisy, I think I can come along," said Crusher.
"You bet we'd like to come!" said Pickle.
"Great! See you both tonight!" said Blaze.
"You hear that, Crusher? We're going to a slumber party with Blaze!" Pickle cheered.
"Whoopee..." Crusher sighed.

Gabby was getting ready for her things to take to the party and closed up her garage early for the day.
"That should do it," she said.
The sun was ready to go down and it was time for everyone to head off to Blaze's place for the party.
"I'm been lookin' forward to this all day!" Starla cheered.
"Me too," said Stripes.
"Zeg three!" Zeg added.
"This is gonna be a lot of fun," Gabby believed.
When they got to the party, they noticed Crusher was there, too.
"CRUSHER?!" they all gasped.
"Oh...hey, guys. How's it going?" Crusher asked a little awkwardly.
"We didn't think you would be at Blaze's slumber party," said Stripes.
"What gives?" Darington wondered.
"Blaze and AJ invited us to come, so we were more than happy to," said Pickle.
"Well, Pickle was, anyway. I just came because I didn't wanna be alone tonight," said Crusher.
"You promise not to cause any trouble tonight?" Gabby asked.
"Cross my engine," said Crusher.
"Come on, everybody! Let's party!" Pickle exclaimed.

They all headed on in and their hosts were happy to see them.
"Glad you could all make it," said Blaze.
"Even Crusher," Darington added.
"So, what do you wanna do first?" AJ asked.
"What should we do first? There's so much to decide!" Gabby answered so excited.
"Ooh! Buffet!" Zeg cheered.
He rushed over and got some of the snacks.
"Let's watch some cool movies," Stripes suggested.
"I hear there's a good one about a real athletic car," said Pickle.
"We gotta check it out," said Blaze.
They all decided to watch the movie about the athletic car. It was doing some stunts that the others were impressed by, but not Darington as much.
"I could do stunts like those in my sleep," he stated.
"I'd like to see you try," Crusher joked.
"I didn't mean it literally," said Darington.
"Who wants to play some games?" AJ asked.
"I'm in!" said Pickle.
They were all playing a board game together. Gabby rolled the highest number there was and made it to the end.
"Tripe star bonus kazoo!" she cheered as she blew into the kazoo.
"That's the sixth time in a row Gabby won," Crusher complained.
"Crusher, remember what you promised," said Pickle.
"Yeah, yeah," Crusher sighed.

The music was really picking up and the cars and kids were dancing their bumpers and booties off.
"Now that's a beat I can shake my blinkers to!" Starla cheered.
"Definitely Top 40 material," Blaze thought.
Just then, it was about that time for everyone to go to sleep.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm more tired than...well...my tires," said Stripes.
"Zeg need nap," said Zeg.
"Aw. We were just getting to the good part," Pickle sighed disappointed.
"We can save it for tomorrow, Pickle. Right now, we should probably get some sleep," said Blaze.
"Okay," said Pickle.
And so, they all rolled out their sleeping mats and went right to sleep.
"I never thought I'd say this, but...this was actually kinda fun," Crusher admitted.
With that, they all went to sleep.

That night, everything seemed so quiet. The others were resting up very well. But then, something was kicking around in Darington's sub-conscious.
I could do stunts like those in my sleep.
Those words echoed inside his head, and something stranged happened. He was still asleep, but he started to wheel on out of the lab and onto the streets of Axle City. Pickle woke up and said,
"I need to get a drink of oil."
With that said, he headed up to get some oil, but when he got it, he tried saying good night to everyone, but when he got to Darington, he saw that the daredevil truck was gone and spat out his oil. Right on Crusher by accident.
"Oh, yuck! Pickle! You squirted oil all over my face!" Crusher complained.
"Sorry, Crusher. It's just...Darington's gone!" Pickle panicked.
"What?" AJ asked.
"Darington's missing?" Gabby asked.
"Well, I'll be a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs! This is terrible!" Starla gasped.
"Darington go bye bye!" Zeg panicked.
"Maybe not. Wherever Darington is, he couldn't have gotten far," said Blaze.
"We gotta find him!" said AJ.
He hopped into his best buddy and was ready to go.
"AJ, give me some speed!" said Blaze.
With that, they rode off.
"Yeah, okay. Good luck with that. We'll just be here when you get back," said Crusher.
"We should go help them," said Stripes.
"Who knows what kind of trouble Darington could be getting into?" Gabby wondered.
"Not me. But we'll find out soon enough, I think," said Pickle.
They all headed out.

The streets of Axle City were lit up by the streetlights and some people were still out at this hour.
"Darington!" Blaze called out.
"Darington!" AJ echoed.
But there was no answer from him. But they weren't too far off from him.
"Look! There he is!" said AJ.
"Why is he out here at this hour?" Blaze wondered.
They could hear some sounds coming from Darington's mouth. But they weren't words. They were snores.
"Is he...still asleep?" AJ wanted.
"Uh-oh...I think Darington is...sleepwheeling!" Blaze figured it out.
"Is that like sleepwalking, only with the wheels of a car?" AJ wondered.
"Pretty much," Blaze answered.
Darington was wheeling all the way to the harbor where all sorts of cranes were still active.
"He went into the harbor!" said AJ.
"This could get ugly," said Blaze.
Darington sleepwheeled right into a giant pipe and started doing some loops in it and got launched out of it like he was shot out of a cannon.
"Did you see that?" Blaze wondered.
"How did he do that?" AJ pondered.
Just then, a crane came by and grabbed Blaze's bumper.
"Gaskets! I'm hooked!" he punned.
Just then, Starla's lasso came into the scene. She grabbed the crane and held it into place, giving Gabby enough time to unhook Blaze.
"There you go," she said.
"Thanks, Gabby. You too, Starla," said Blaze.
"Don't mention it!" said Starla.
"Did you see where Darington went?" Blaze asked.
"I think he might have gone down to the recycling plant," said Pickle.
"The recycling plant? But the smashers could...well...smash him!" Blaze claimed.
"What are we waiting for? We gotta get going!" said AJ. They wheeled on off to the plant.

At the plant, Debris the garbage truck was making sure all of the recyclable goods were compacted and ready to be used again.
"Ah, oui oui! Today has been very, how you say, productive," he said.
Just then, Darington came wheeling on into the smashing process without knowing about it.
"Sacre bleu? Ees zat Darington?" Debris gasped. "I must stop ze assembly line!"
Debris tried to stop it, but the off button was jammed.
"Oh, what a tragic sight zis will be for mon friend," said Debris.
"Darington! Come back!" Blaze called out.
"Blaze? AJ? Et tu?" Debris asked.
"Debris! Shut off the smashers!" Blaze requested.
"I am afraid I cannot! Zee button will not cooperate!" Debris pointed out.
There were so many smashers and Darington was swerving past all of them. Blaze and AJ took their time to get out of that mess.
"That was a close one," said Blaze.
"I think my heart stopped pounding for a second," said AJ.

They got out of the plant, but now Darington was heading right for the train station and riding on top of the car instead of inside it. He still couldn't see what was happening due to his sleep state.
"Darington! Get off of there!" said AJ.
But Darington couldn't listen. They tried to get him off, but the train started with them on it and took them for a wild ride.
"This won't end well," Blaze thought.
Zeg saw what was going on there.
"Zeg save you, Blaze!" he called out. The dino truck got onto the tracks and stopped it dead in its tracks, no pun intended, with his mighty horns so they could get off. Darington took off for another location.
"Thanks, Zeg," Blaze thanked.
"Now look where Darington is going," said AJ.
Darington was off to his home.
"Well, at least he'll be safe in his own home," said Blaze.
Just then, Darington was going up his tallest ramp that reached for the clouds.
"You had to say it," Crusher sighed.
"DARINGTON!" Blaze and AJ shouted.
Darington took off down the ramp with Blaze and AJ trying to follow him and stop. They were a little too late for that. Darington leaped off the ramp.
"I can't watch!" AJ panicked.
Just then, their daredevil buddy landed on Axle City's largest pillow. It was a very soft landing.
"You can look now, AJ. Darington just landedo n Axle City's largest pillow," Blaze told his driver.
"Phew," AJ sighed relieved.
"Now look at where he's going," said Pickle.
Darington was off to a late night race at Axle Stadium.
"I don't think he should be racing in his sleep," said Blaze.

The monster machines that were gonna be racing in tonight's race were raring to go.
"ON YOUR MARKS...GET SET...GO!" the referee announced.
The machines took off with Darington riding on into the scene.
"And it looks like we have a last second entry from Darington!" said the referee.
Blaze and AJ drove into the scene.
"Come back, Darington!" said Blaze.
"And Blaze, too!" said the referee.
They were going around every sharp turn, bumpy bump, oil slick, and other obstacle that came to mind. There were some obstacles that did not seem very appropriate for the show itself like spikes, a giant snake pit, and a few others to name, but somehow, despite sleepwheeling, Darington managed to get through all of those just fine. Blaze and AJ were getting a little tired from all of this chasing around and almost crashed a few times here and there.
"That was way too close," said Blaze.
Darington managed to win the race in his sleep.
"And Darington wins!" said the referee.
"Wow. That guy did it in his sleep," one of the fanboy trucks said impressed.
"Awesome, to say the least," his buddy stated.

Just then, Darington was about to come into an intersection and reach an open manhole at the center.
"He's not gonna be able to see the light!" said Blaze.
Just then, Stripes raced in and covered up the manhole so Darington wouldn't fall in.
"Just in time," he said.
"Thanks, Stripes," AJ thanked.
"Don't thank me right now. Darington's about to drive through the park's pond," said Stripes.
"Oh, come on!" AJ lashed.
This wasn't usually like him to do that.
"We can still stop him," said Stripes.
Darington was about to go right into the pond in the park.
"He'll get waterlogged if we don't stop him," said Blaze.
"What about that log over there?" Stripes pointed out.
"That should help," said AJ.
They pushed a log right onto the pond and Darington got right onto it and sailed right across the pond and out of the park.
"Close one," said Stripes.
Blaze and AJ were really getting tired. Both from lack of sleep and having to keep Darington out of harm's way all night.
"We...gotta...catch him..." AJ yawned.
"Can't...let him...hurt...himself..." Blaze yawned.
"You sure you guys wanna keep trying? You look exhausted," Gabby wondered concerned.
They were indeed exhausted, but AJ thought,
"We look awesome."
"You should really get some sleep," said Pickle.
"We'll worry about that after we get Darington back to the party," said Blaze.
"Uh...Blaze? You might wanna look," said Crusher.
Blaze saw that Darington was going across on a construction site.
"Oh no! Darington's sleepwheeling on a construction site!" he pointed out.
"A construction site is the most dangerous place for anyone to sleepwheel, or sleepwalk, on," said Gabby.
"Not to mention the most cliche place," Pickle pointed out a little savvy there.

Darington was getting ready for the most dangerous stunt of all in his sleep.
"Wait a minute. Doesn't something about this seem familiar?" Crusher asked.
"It's just like in the movie!" said Pickle.
"So...Darington is sleepwheeling...and performing the stunts in the movie at the same time!" said AJ.
Blaze chuckled and thought,
"I guess he really is doing those stunts in his sleep," said Blaze.
"Come on. I know what will..." AJ yawned. But he was too exhausted to come up with something to turn Blaze into and collapsed from exhausted.
"Come on, AJ. What is it? What can we turn me into to save Darington?" Blaze asked. He yawned and felt too sleepy to try.
"Oh no. They're too tired to keep going," said Gabby.
"Well, Crusher, I guess it's up to us now," said Pickle.
"Us? Being the heroes for once? I don't know. It goes against my cheat code," said Crusher.
"Crusher, Darington needs us!" Pickle told him.
"Oh, alright. Gabby, do you still have the kazoo form the board game?" Crusher asked.
"Of course!" said Gabby.
She took out the kazoo and blew right into it. The toot from it was loud enough to wake Darington up right before he went off the last girder.
"Huh? What? Where am I? This isn't the slumber party," he analyzed from his waking up. He then saw he was up high on a skyscraper and was about to fall over.
"SOMEONE! GET ME DOWN!" he shouted. "BLAZE! AJ!"
"They can't help you, Darington! They were busy keeping you safe while you were sleepwheeling!" said Gabby.
"I was sleepwheeling?" Darington asked.
"Yeah! And you were doing all of the stunts in your sleep!" said Pickle.
"Now, you're on the most dangerous one of them all!" said Gabby.
"But there isn't anything safe for me to land on!" Darington pointed out.
"Don't worry. I think I know what I can help with that. I was saving this for a cheat on Blaze, but now's as good a time as any to use it," said Crusher. He got something out of his cheat pouch and created something that was sure to save Darington.
"It's a Sticky Taffy Net. It should be able to get Darington down nice and safe," said Crusher.
"Go ahead, Darington! Jump!" Pickle called out.
"Okay...here I go..." said Darington. He took the plunge and shouted, "DARINGTOOOOOOOOOON!~"
And that moment, he landed right on the Sticky Taffy Net.
"It worked! Crusher! You saved Darington!" Gabby cheered.
"Whoa...for once, I saved the day! You hear that, Blaze? I actually saved the day!" said Crusher.
"That was great, Crusher! You're really good at this!" said Pickle.
"I never thought I'd say this, but...thanks, Crusher," Darington thanked.
"No problem," said Crusher. "Just don't expect me to make a habit out of this," Crusher told him.
The other Monster Machines heard about this.
"Did we miss anything?" Blaze asked.

Everyone headed on back to the slumber party where they were still talking a bit about what happened with Darington and his sleepwheeling problem.
"I think I got all of the sleepwheeling out of my system now," said Darington.
"You sure were more jumpy than a kangaroo on a trampoline," said Starla.
"That was more wild than the animals in my jungle," said Stripes.
"Darington crazy, but cool!" said Zeg.
"And to think, Crusher actually managed to help for once," said Gabby.
"Usually he's a troublemaker, but with Blaze and AJ out of commission, I guess anyone was willing to help," said Darington.
"I was just doing what had to be done. Nothing special," said Crusher.
"You're a hero, Crusher. Isn't that great?" Pickle asked.
"Yeah, I guess it is. For once, I was the hero," said Crusher. "What do you think of that, Blaze?"
"That's great, Crusher..." said Blaze.
"Congratulations," said AJ.
"You did good..." Blaze added.
Just then, he and AJ simply collapsed from exhaustion again and started snoring.
"Blaze? AJ? You okay? I saved the day. You need any saving yourselves? Yoo-hoo! Guys!" said Crusher. They were sound asleep from that.
"You'd think they'd be awake for this moment, right?" Crusher asked.
For once, Crusher was the hero of this, but it wasn't gonna be much of an often occurrence. Everyone was tired from all of this and just decided to sleep the rest of the night, thus ending Blaze and AJ's slumber party.

THE END
This next art trade goes out to :iconchameleoncove:, and I am way overdue on this one. She finished her half long before I had a chance to open up the shop. Anyway, she asked for a story based on the Nick Jr. show "Blaze and the Monster Machines" where the character Darington has started sleepwalking, or sleeptrucking in this case, and performing all sorts of crazy stunts. Blaze and AJ must awaken their daredevil buddy before he gets in an accident.

NOTE: This episode actually has Blaze and AJ taking the heat instead of Crusher for once as requested by the recipient who requested this. Sort of a little reversal for once.

Blaze (c) Nickelodeon and Nerd Corps
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(5 years ago)
At an unknown area somewhere in the mountains, a large metal cage was dropped off at a base. It was eventually loaded onto the truck where it will be deported to another place.
“Are you sure we should be doing this? It...It doesn’t seen right.” Selene asked.
Selene Anderson was a part of a group called The World Explorers. They explore and discover new places and things. Although they’ve encountered unusual things, this time they discovered a living thing they never thought they would encounter.
“Listen, Selene. This is an unholy combination that shouldn’t even exist.” said an unknown biologist. “It shouldn’t be possible.”
“But, it became possible.” Selene inquired. “Poor thing. He should be free.”
“Wait. ‘He’ should be free? Dont you mean ‘It’? Last time I checked, ‘it’ doesn’t deserve a gender. ‘It’s’ not even legal.”
“But our world is unpredictable. It made something that defied normal expectations. I know this because I met and helped another like him.”
“Except that creature that it came from wasn’t extinct. This is a byproduct of an extinct creature.”
“And there are more like him. Didn’t you see it back there?”
“Yes, but we’ll ignore those and focus on him.”
“Can we at least focus on what he wanted?”
The biologist sighed. “Fine. What did he want?”
Selene explained. “He wanted to be free. He wanted to survive, to enjoy what he has been given. He didn’t want tons of people to attack him and take it all away from him.”
“So we’ll just put him back where he came from.” The biologist said.
“No. Even if we put him back there, the trauma he has experienced will still linger and he won’t be able to live his life like before.”
“Well, we’re sending him to the labs to be ‘tested’ and then he can end that trauma there.”
“The experience there would make it even worse.”
“Then what do you suppose we should do with him?”
Selene had an idea. “Take him to Axle City. This is the only option.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” Selene looked to the to the metal cage. “Don’t worry. Nothing bad is gonna happen to you. I promise.”
---
The creature moved as fast as possible so that those other creatures did not catch up. Despite the rainy weather, he could clearly see where he was going. He found a cave and decided to hide there. He was safe, but not for long. He felt a sharp sting in his shoulder. He was starting to feel dizzy, but he could could still barely keep enough conscience to find the other creatures surrounding him. They all carried odd-looking things. The creature managed to run up to one of the other creatures and attack him. More sharp stings. The creature lost consciousness.
--
After an unknown amount of time, the creature woke up, no longer in the cave or the lush greenery. It was a cold, plantless environment with tools he’d never seen before. He didn’t know whether to panic or not.
“Good Morning.” said a voice.
It was Selene, wearing baby blue pajamas instead of her usual uniform. She was holding two mangoes.
“I’m Selene and I don’t usually look like this. Hope you enjoy mangoes.” She gave one of the mangoes to the creature. "Are you okay?" The creature didn't know how to respond. Everything he was hearing sounded new to him.
"You don't know English. Right. Here's the deal. I asked some people to let you stay in Axle City so you can recover from...anyways, I want to show you something you've never seen before." With that, Selene pulled out a mirror from behind her and showed the creature what was inside it.
There was another creature. He was a large green triceratop with turquoise and silver accents. This creature, however, looked badly dented up, dirty, rusted, and covered with a few holes. The creature reacted with shock, while the creature in the mirror reacted the same way.
"It's you! Aren't you excited to see yourself for the first time?"
"Aahhh!" The triceratop slapped the mirror away. Despite knowing he's a triceratops, he didn't think he would look that badly beaten and rugged.
"Don't worry. My husband and daughter will be waking up any second to fix you up, so don't go anywhere."
The triceratop shook his head "yes". He didn't know what was going to happen next.
Wow! What a long chapter! This is the first chapter about how Zeg adapted to his new life in Axle City.

Blaze and the Monster Machines © Nickelodeon
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Axle City was a big thriving motor city. Most of the citizens were extreme gear vehicles that lived the way most cars did. One of the most recognizable citizens was Blaze the speedy racer and his driver AJ. They often helped out with the problems in Axle City and were pretty much their heroes.
"LET'S BLAZE!" Blaze shouted as he achieved blazing speed and had won yet another race at Axle Stadium. This time, it was on one of the A-Rank courses. The crowd was really impressed with it. Well, the whole crowd sans one machine. That machine's name was Crusher.

As Blaze and AJ were receiving their accolades for their victory on the circuit, Crusher just sat on the sidelines.
"That Blaze...he's not so great. The only reason he ever wins is because he's got such "blazing speed". Ah, I don't care anyway," said Crusher.
Of course, there was always something inside of Crusher that made him feel empty. He just didn't know what it was.
"Boss, is there something wrong?" his partner Pickle asked.
"NO, PICKLE, THERE'S NOTHING WRONG!" Crusher insisted irritatedly.
It was clear that he was feeling a little irate at the moment, but he just didn't feel like going into it.
"You seem more upset than usual," said Pickle.
"Oh, why? Just because Blaze gets all the attention and I'm stuck on the sidelines like an outsider? Not at all."
"It looks that way to me."
"Who asked you, anyway?"
"Just thought I'd try to give you some comfort, boss."
Crusher just looked on at Blaze and AJ. They were always the big shots of Axle City. And as for him, he was just...overshadowed.

Crusher and Pickle were back home and Crusher just went to get a little motor oil to calm himself after a day like today.
"Come on, Crusher. You can tell me anything. I'm your best friend, after all," Pickle begged.
"You're more my henchman than my best friend, but I guess it's good enough," said Crusher. "It's just...everything here in Axle City was fine before Blaze came along. Now everyone cheers for him. And what do I get? Nothing. Just a big boo because I always want things to go my way."
He looked on at the many times he tried to make Blaze look a bit miserable. He recalled the first nasty deed he did to the newcomer, and that was send all of the racers, Blaze included with his debut, in different directions outside Axle City so that he would win by default. Of course, that didn't work. He had almost won if Blaze hadn't been noble and diligent.
"Where did I go wrong, Pickle?" Crusher wondered.
"Somewhere around Blaze arriving in the city and cheating in his debut race," Pickle guessed.
"That was a bit rhetorical, but you may be right about that," said Crusher. He sipped his oil and soon ran out. "I need more oil."

Out on the streets, they were just cruising along with nothing special to do. The other monster machines that Blaze hung out with were all talking about the latest track in Axle Stadium having opened up. Apparently, it was said to be so difficult, nobody in their right mind would consider entering. Even Blaze might not make it out unscathed.
"What's going on here?" Crusher asked.
"There's this new track in Axle Stadium," said Stripes.
"Yeah! It big! Zeg get frightened just thinking of course!" Zeg added a little shaken.
"This track is more twisted than a tornado in a pretzel factory!" Starla thought.
"Even I wouldn't dare doing something like that!" said Darington.
"I bet Blaze could do it," said Pickle.
"Oh, here we go," Crusher sighed.
"Nope. Not even Blaze is considering it," said Starla.
"What?" Crusher and Pickle asked.
"Course so scary, even Blaze get shaken up," said Zeg.
"Really? This is the first time Blaze was unable to pull something off!" said Crusher.
"Crusher...you think..." Pickle wondered.
"Are you crazy, Pickle?! Even Blaze can't do it, what chance do I have?" Crusher responded.
"Just saying," said Pickle.

But Crusher didn't need to do something like that. This S-Rank course was going to be the end of his engine if he were to try something like that.
"Even if I were to go on that track, the only way I would win is if I were to cheat! And you know that every time I do, something bad happens to me!" Crusher explained.
"You know, maybe this talk over the new course has gotten you a bit jumpy. Why don't we just stop here for a little snack?" Pickle suggested.
"Thanks, Pickle. That would be nice," said Crusher.
They went into the shop for a little something to eat. By coincidence, Blaze's driver, AJ, was there. But he was by himself.
"AJ? What are you doing here?" Pickle asked.
"Blaze is in the shop right now," said AJ. The tone in his voice was a little off. He didn't seem as excited or determined as he usually was.
"Oh, let me guess. Time for his monthly fine tuning or something?" Crusher asked.
"No...it's something else," said AJ. "Blaze and I tried a practice run on the new course, but it didn't go so well. I barely got out fine, but Blaze wasn't so lucky."
"Blaze...got hurt?" Pickle asked.
"Is he...okay? Not that I am worried about him or anything," Crusher asked.
"Gabby's fixing him up right now," said AJ.

At Gabby's garage, she was busy putting the dented Blaze back together.
"How does it look, Gabby?" AJ asked.
"Well, the rods are a little shot, and your spark plugs took a bit of a blow, too. But it isn't too serious. You were smart not to use your blazing speed out there. That would have made the damage beyond repair. I'm thinking of having that track banned from all Axle Stadium races," Gabby diagnosed.
"Wow...the first track ever to be banned from the stadium. Who would have thought?" Crusher thought as he looked at Blaze's state.
"I'm just happy AJ didn't get hurt. He and I are practically inseparable," said Blaze.
"We didn't need anyone getting hurt out there, that's for sure," said Gabby.
"Crusher, if Blaze couldn't do it..." Pickle thought.
"Then I'm nowhere near up for that," said Crusher.

Crusher was doing a little thinking. Seeing Blaze in the state of damage that he was in kinda put a little state of fear inside of him.
"I know I don't like Blaze all that much, but I don't want him to be put out of commission! That would be insane!" said Crusher.
"He's gonna be alright, isn't he?" Pickle wondered.
"Blaze? He's a tough guy. Me? Not so much," said Crusher. "I mean, think about it. I'm spoiled, I'm selfish, I don't take losing all that well, and I cheat just to try to get things to go my way. And for what? Just to have it all taken away. And yet, you stick by me no matter, Pickle. You may admire Blaze, but you never give up on me."
"I guess you can say I always have a spot for the underdog," said Pickle.
The two of them had a nice hug.
"You know, as soon as Blaze is back on his wheels, I think I'll challenge him to a little friendly race. And this time, I'm gonna race with honor," said Crusher.
It was something that he felt he had to do.

Soon enough, Gabby had just finished up the repairs on Blaze and he was ready to go racing again.
"Back up and running. Good as new," said Gabby.
"Thanks, Gabby. You're a better grease monkey than Funky Kong," said Blaze.
"Oh, shucks," said Gabby.
"Blaze! You're looking better already!" said Stripes.
"Yeah! Blaze fixed! Blaze fixed!" Zeg cheered.
"I ain't never seen you get turned all topsy-turvy like that on the asphalt before!" said Starla.
"Well, one thing's for sure, I'm not going on that track again," said Blaze.
"Blaze! You're better!" said AJ.
"Thanks to Gabby," said Blaze.
AJ hopped right on in and started up the engine. Blaze was purring much like a kitten.
"The engine's purring, Gabby! Good job!" said AJ.
"You're good to go!" said Gabby.
Just as they were ready to hit the road with Blazing Speed, Crusher and Pickle showed up.
"Hi, Blaze!" they greeted.
Everyone just turned with a gasp.
"I take it the shocking gasp is a bit of a state of surprise?" Pickle asked.
"What are you doing here, Crusher?" Blaze asked.
"Well, we heard about what happened, and..." Crusher started.
"You just wanna do something nasty and then cause trouble, don't you?" Darington asked.
"Not this time. I just want to race Blaze is all," said Crusher.
"Oh, really?" Starla wondered.
"Let's hear it," said Stripes.

Crusher and Pickle explained everything.
"So, if you would just let us have this one race here, we'll show that we mean well and feel sorry about what happened to Blaze," said Crusher.
"How we know Crusher no cheat?" Zeg asked a little suspicious.
"I promise, this time, I'm racing fair and square, win or lose," said Crusher.
"But you've never beaten Blaze before," said Darington.
"You never know. Crusher might surrpise you," said Pickle.
"He'd surprise us more if he played fair," said Starla.
"Just give me a chance, please please please please please!" Crusher begged in his usual desperate tone.
"Okay, Crusher, I accept your challenge," said Blaze.
"Oh, thank you, Blaze! Thank you!" Crusher cheered.
"The only thing to decide on is what course we'll have our race on," said Blaze.
AJ decided with deep thought.
"We're racing on the new track," he said.
Everyone gasped in shock again.
"Been getting that a lot today," said Pickle.

The word about the race spread, and every citizen in Axle City was coming to see this. There was no way there were gonna miss an insane race on the craziest course imaginable.
"You know, Crusher, now's the time to walk away," Pickle hoped.
"No, Pickle. I'm getting this race over with and proving that I am not that bad a guy. I assure you, I'll be fine. Even if I haven't really been on this course before and will have no idea which way to go, I'm not gonna let you down," said Crusher.
"If you say so," Pickle responded worried.
The other machines were revving up for this insane ride. Gabby was worried about Blaze and AJ, though.
"Guys, this is insane! You could BOTH get hurt severely! Maybe even worse than that! I would say it, but the standards won't let me," said Gabby.
"Gabby, Blaze and I can't let this track intimidate us. We're gonna go out there and we're gonna race on it. And I promise you, we'll be alright," said AJ.
"Yeah, Gabby. And if Crusher promises to race fairly, then it'll show he's a good sport after all," said Blaze.
"Okay. Just be careful, and promise me you'll make it out in one piece," said Gabby.

The race was about to start.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to Axle Stadium's big challenge race! Today, our racers will be driving on the latest, craziest, deadliest course that has been installed in our stadium as of yet! The Speed Demon!" the announcer announced. The track was set up and revealed to have all sorts of crazy turns, corkscrews, loops, ramps, and obstacles that only the most daring yet foolish would dare take on.
"So, this is the course," said Crusher.
"The Speed Demon has been tested out by a few, and those few only met with an unfinished run. So ashamed. But this race will sure to be a hot one! The hottest in all of Axle City!" said the announcer.
"Ready, Blaze?" AJ asked.
"As I'll ever be," said Blaze.
"Here goes nothing," said Crusher.
They were ready to get on the road.
"On your mark, get set...GO!" the announcer called out as the lights turned green. Crusher went at the moment he was supposed to as a starting sign of his promise.
"And they're off!" said the announcer.

On the course, Stripes and Darington hit the sharpest turn that they could come across with Stripes using his jungle cat-like reflexes to evade a crash while Darington leaped off the turning signs.
"DARINGTOOOOOOOOOON!" he shouted as he landed after such an impressive stunt. Zeg was about to fall off after one of the turns as he was on the corner of the road, but Starla lassoed him in just in time. Next came a ramp over a giant pool of water. They all ramped off with Crusher closing his eyes in terror. But thankfully, he made it across without a hitch.
"Phew," he muttered.
"Phew," Pickle echoed. "GO, CRUSHER!"
AJ and Blaze were about to reach the loop that cost them the last run. They were upside down and about to come across some icy terrain on the road.
"Who thought putting ice on that part of the track was a good idea?" Gabby wondered.
"Not me," said Pickle.
A few slips here and there but they were just fine. Next came a slalom of some swinging sandbags that could knock the racers off. They swerved right past them and came out just fine. The corkscrew was then proceeded with incredible speed.
"Now this is awesome!" said Darington.
"Yeah!" Zeg agreed. He roared with excitement.
There was then a giant drop with mud and bumps here and there. They got a little shaky there and nearly popped their wheels, but nothing they couldn't handle.

The race was getting even more intense. Now there were coming across the pipe railing that was like racing on a giant cylinder. It was like something out of a futuristic racing game.
"This is crazy!" said Crusher.
"But fun!" said Darington.
"Here comes the final obstacle!" said Blaze.
The last obstacle was a ramp off through three flaming hoops.
"Mama..." Crusher muttered.
At that moment, he could see it all. The moments he and Pickle shared together when they had first met. They weren't very popular around Axle City, but at the very least, they had each other. They did all sorts of things together. They played at the arcade and went out for some lunch. They took a roll through the park and hit the open road for a little time to themselves. Even with all those times overshadowed by his jealousy of Blaze, he still remembered the good times. And they were probably going to end because of this one final obstacle. Back in reality, all the machines hit the ramp through the hoop and came out unscathed. Crusher could see he was alive.
"I'm alive? I'M ALIVE!" he cheered.
The racers were coming to the finish line.
"LET'S BLAZE!" Blaze shouted.
He and AJ were about to reach the finish line and performed a barrel roll in the air. But at that moment, they were slowing down. Apparently, Blaze wasn't able to pull off his Blazing Speed entirely after his repair.
"I don't think I can use that fully yet," he said.
They stopped inches before the finish line. And out of the blue, the first racer to pass them and cross the finish line was...Crusher.
"And the winner is Crusher!" the announcer announced.
Everyone was cheering for the underdog.
"Did I...do it?" Crusher asked.
He passed out from the excitement of the race.

Soon enough, a hose was sprayed on his face and he came to me.
"What happened? Is the race over?" Crusher asked.
"It's over, Crusher. And you won!" Blaze cheered.
"I did? I won? I won the race without having to resort to underhanded tactics?" Crusher asked.
"You did!" Pickle cheered.
"Congratulations, Crusher. You are the first racer in Axle Stadium to finish and win the S-Rank course," said Gabby.
Crusher was put on the top pedestal and given the S-Rank champ cup.
"I...I don't know what to say...I feel so honored! Oh, it's just too much for me!" Crusher cheered overcome by this victory.
"You earned it, Crusher," said AJ.
"Never gave up on you," said Blaze.
"That was some rootin'-tootin' motorin'!" said Starla.
"You really were wild out there!" said Stripes.
"Crusher win!" said Zeg.
"Now that was off the chain!" said Darington.
"I'm just happy you're alright, Crusher," said Pickle.
"Sorry to worry you, friend," said Crusher.

After the race was over, everyone was chatting over the excitement they had witnessed. Gabby hugged AJ for coming back alright.
"Thanks for keeping your promise, AJ," Gabby thanked.
"No problem, Gab," AJ welcomed.
"Much better than our practice run," said Blaze.
"Well, Blaze, I'll be seeing you around. Maybe I'll be back to what I usually do, or maybe I'll be doing something a little more worth my time," said Crusher.
"You stay sharp, Crusher," said Blaze.
"You know it," said Crusher.
They high-fived with their wheels and went their separate ways.

Crusher and Pickle put the S-Rank Champ Cup on their shelf.
"There it is, Pickle. The very first thing I ever accomplished. I even did it before Blaze, which is saying something," said Crusher.
"Blaze may be awesome, but not as awesome as you, Crush," said Pickle.
"You said it, Pick," said Crusher.
They looked on at the trophy that Crusher had won fair and square and knew that while they weren't as popular as Blaze and AJ, they still had each other and learned that was what mattered most. And that was what made them feel welcome in Axle City.

THE END
This next art trade goes out to someone whom I have not seen in a while, :iconchameleoncove:. And she asked me to do a story focusing on Crusher and Pickle from one of the more recent Nick education/Nick Jr. shows "Blaze and the Monster Machines". Here, they try to go about their day with Crusher just minding his own business and not getting into Blaze's. He and Pickle just decide to make it the two of them. Even the other machines are surprised.

Blaze and the Monster Machine (c) its creator and Nick
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MJ's mom got her daughter ready for work at the Cafe; where MJ bakes delicious goodies. Her mom drove beside her daughter to prevent her from crashes; autistic cars who aren't fast thinkers must drive with a partner for protection. MJ wears an orange warning suit to let the cops know that she needed someone to drive beside her.

Just as they made it to the Cafe, her mom gave her daughter a kiss and a pat.

"I'll pick you up at 5:00 pm, have a good day dear, I love you" called her mom
"Love you too, mom" replied MJ, thankful non of the staffs heard it.

As she went in, there was still little time before she can work; normally she just drives around. She would've bake, but she can't bake anything until her boss tells her what to bake.

Meanwhile, while over-hearing, the two girls were talking about their dates.

"My boyfriend is asking me out tonight again, this time, he takes me out to Smittys" exclaimed the hyper waitress.
"Smittys?! My boyfriend proposed to me at that restaurant. Your boyfriend might even propose to you tonight" said her friend.
"I KNOW!!! I can't wait"

Normally, MJ tries her hardest not to join in the subject but it just slipped out.
"Smittys is also a break-up place. I should know because Smittys has never been dusted, if your boyfriend was going to propose to you, he'd be doing that at a five star restaurant"
"hmph, you're just jealous because you don't have a boyfriend!" Exclaimed the waitress.
"I don't need a man to make me happy! I'm always happy!" MJ replied

Secretly, she really does wish for a boyfriend... "What chance do I have if I'm not attractive enough to even distract a guy?" MJ sighed.

As the Cafe opens, everyone went to work, and MJ starts baking a lot of sweet goods; cookies, muffins, squares and bread. She loves to bake, even though she gets hot in the kitchen. Outside the kitchen, there were a lot of customers waiting for her baking.

"Four dozen muffins, Ms MJ!" Called the waitress.
"As you wish!" She called back.

Then there were more orderings; even MJ is used to making a lot of dozens, but she's normally slow when it comes to doubling or tripling the recipe because she thinks of the math equations.

After all the baking is done, she is all set for a break. Until the waitress calls for her.
"MJ, I know it's your break, but someone wants to meet you about your cooking; he really loves your baking" MJ was surprised, she's never been asked to meet the satisfied customer before.
"OK, which one is he?" MJ asked.
"He's right over there" replied the waitress as she was pointing at the orange Dodge Coe.

MJ came out with a smile.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"

"It depends... Didja bake all these muffins?" Asked the tow truck, who is known as Bubba.
"Yes... Muffins are my specialty, next to cookies" MJ replied.
"I thought so... what'ur name, sweetheart?" Bubba asked smiling.
"The names Makayla, sir... MJ for short"
"That's good, I never liked the name Makayla anyway... the names Bubba" He replied

MJ is never rude to customers, but she didn't think he's at all nice as she expected him to be.
"It's nice meeting you, Bubba, but I must get on with my break or else I'll get sweat all over my pastry" said MJ. While MJ wasn't looking, Bubba was staring at MJ non-stop because he thinks he has found the perfect women. "Well MJ, looks like it's your lucky day" he said wickedly to himself.

MJ gets a can of V-O and parked. She was going to drink it until she heard a baby cooing. MJ gasped in awe and puts her drink down to meet the baby. "Ohh, what a cute baby! Aww he's so cute"

Bubba has a plan to have MJ for a maid and wife. He puts some pills in her drink that will put her unconscious for as long it takes to keep her quiet as he tows her... out of State. After MJ came back for her drink. She takes a sip and starts feeling drowsy. Her boss came out after she sees MJ about to pass out. After a brief second. She went to sleep. Her boss tries to wake her but couldn't.

Bubba came to the boss and said "I am a professional tow truck, I can tow her to the hospital while you call her emergency spouse"

MJ's boss didn't get a chance to think, so she lets him do the favor.
"Just drive her to the emergency room, I'll call her mother" called the boss

Bubba sets off to get out of Canada and drive straight to USA, Oklahoma, Ornament Valley, without letting anyone know or suspects anything. "Well Mater, You may have everythin', but you don't have a car that can cook" Bubba laughed wickedly.  
 
The Pilot of the story before How MJ and Mater Met by :iconduallygirl178: on how MJ the BMW's abduction happened.

Poor MJ:( (Sad) 

MJ belongs to me

Bubba belongs to Cars-Race-O-Rama and The Adventures of Tow Mater series comics

WARNING this is not base on a true story 


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To Be Viewed Later
:iconcomet72:
Collection by
That is my first attempt at doing a stamp, obviously it didn't turn out so great and the theme is not original, I know - there are a lot of better stamps about it on dA... :blushes:

I did the stamp again, the transparency is not the way I wanted to, but it's 3am and I have to go to bed ^^

If someone who has more experience in doing stamps wants to give me some tips, I would apreciate :)

thanks to :iconsylfaenn: and :iconbark: for the tips :hug:

PS: I changed the symbol because the previous one is the symbol for transgenders and I didn't know. Thanks for :iconnostrildarmus: for telling me :D
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This stamp is set for remake to use more appropriate and less offensive terms.
"Anyone" is a nonoffensive term and is appropriate for the situation. Sorry about the terms used before, if you were offended. I was simply trying to think of queer labels, but I just managed to think up queer slurs.
Anyway. Updated.

Rewriting this since some people can't take a fucking hint:
I AM BISEXUAL. I AM CAPABLE OF LIKING ANYONE. I AM NOT PANSEXUAL. STOP ERASING MY VOICE.

The origin of the word bisexual and how it relates to homosexual and heterosexual is this:
1. Hermaphroditus is the god of bisexuality. They are an intersex genderqueer individual. Both but neither. Like the colour purple we tout today, Hermaphroditus represented both but neither; the two genders but also those between the genders. Which, due to the ignorance of the time, included everyone who didn't fall within a set gender role. From lady warriors to homosexuals to transgender persons to asexuals to crossdressers to bisexuals and so on and so forth.
2. Bisexual as an orientation has always meant Both Hetero (other/opposite) and Homo (same), because that is what it is bouncing off of as a orientation. Not 2. Not men and women. Not cis men and cis women. Other and same.

You do realize bipedal animals can and do still use all four limbs? BUT HOW CAN THEY DO THAT WHEN BI MEANS TWO??!?!?!? Or maybe there's something to be said about context of language and how a word is created! Hm! Nah, couldn't be, right? Fuck you.

Thousands of bisexuals identify this way, hundreds are transgender, hundreds are genderqueer. Bisexual groups around the world define bisexuality as "same" and "other". To say "only pansexuals can like anyone" and "bi = 2" and "bi means binary" is to erase all those bisexuals, is to erase real bisexual experiences and real bisexual people, is to exclude bisexuals from the discussion of their own sexual orientation as well as in some cases who they can and can not be loved by based on their gender orientation. It is bi erasure. It is biphobia. It is trans erasure. It is transphobia.

PANSEXUALS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES CAPABLE OF LOVING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE.
To say this, is transphobic. It is saying that they are not "real" men and women, that they are "unlike" men and women, that they are "separate" from men and women. But this is false. Homosexuals, heterosexuals, asexuals, and bisexuals are all capable of loving a transgender person. Transgender is not a gender identity. It is a gender condition, like cisgender. Gender dysphoria does not make a person less lovable. In fact, pretty much 100% of bisexuals don't give a shit if their partner is transgender, and a surprisingly large amount of mono and asexual people don't either. BECAUSE IT'S THEIR GENDER IDENTITY THAT MATTERS, NOT THEIR GENDER DYSPHORIA.

The difference between bisexuality and pansexuality is which you prefer to identify as. It is like the difference between identifying as queer and identifying as gay.

I am not ignorant.
I know what the identification of pansexual is. I don't need everyone and their fucking mom jumping down my throat and trying to tell me how I am "supposed" to identify and categorize myself.

I find calling myself pansexual as overcategorization. Bisexual suits me fine.

I am not telling you pansexuality doesn't exist.
Identify as pansexual if you so choose, if that's what feels right.

As I described it before, pansexuality is a "subspecies" category of bisexuality that makes a clarifying statement of being "more open" than a "typical bisexual."

REQUIRED READING: bialogue-group.tumblr.com/post… damegreywulf.tumblr.com/post/5… damegreywulf.tumblr.com/post/5… sulkylass.tumblr.com/post/4737… bisexualintellectual.tumblr.co… bisexualftw.tumblr.com/post/46… sulkylass.tumblr.com/post/4682… damegreywulf.tumblr.com/post/4… sulkylass.tumblr.com/post/4528… damegreywulf.tumblr.com/post/4… sulkylass.tumblr.com/post/4284…

My very heart and soul tell me I'm bisexual. You got a problem with it? Think I'm "invading your turf"? Well, too damn bad.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPxY8l…

If you're gonna get into a big bawwww about what a meanie face I am you can choose one of these for your page - > dametora.deviantart.com/art/Qu… or dametora.deviantart.com/art/HE…
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Homosexuality exists in over 450 species.
Homophobia exists in only one.
Which one is unnatural now?


I think this was somebody's comment on a stamp and I presently forgot who's, but I got their permission to turn this into a stamp after I asked them about it and Xe didn't want to turn it into a stamp themself.

My stamps
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The second of a small series I've done. You know, to celebrate the diversity that we have, and how we can coexist peacefully.
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:iconpotternutter:
Collection by
Did this one yesterday as suggested by many fans from my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/Stanleyartger…

You can watch the recorded stream in my Livestream channel: new.livestream.com/stanleyartg…

For related products, please visit my Society6 store: society6.com/Artgerm/Frozen-AG…

** I edited the title from Princess to Queen cos some of the commenters felt strongly about it. ;p
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I used to have a Venus Fly Trap... Then I remembered I'm no good at taking care of plants and well...
Anyway, here's an update!

Previous: [link]
Next: [link]

-----------------

:star: StupidFox Book : Available at the StupidFox Store !

Official Site : [link]
SF on FB: [link]
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Sparrows having fun in bath....and I had so much fun watching them...:laughing:

Edit 110418: Whihoo, tnx for 10.000 :+fav:s!
To be quite honest I never understood why this photo is my most populair, but anyhow: thanks a bunch for all the support! :dance: :boogie: :w00t:




Comfortably Wet
Guide of Souls


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One of the three Red Panda cubs born on June 28, 2009. The little ones live with both of their parents and are already exploring their large habitat on their own.

MASOCHO and I waited the whole afternoon for them to wake up from their nap. Then, just when we almost gave up and left, they started moving at supersonic speed... High ISO and camera panning effect.




------------------------------------------
Photography: © Sooper Graphics™
Location: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Ohio
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM IS
Filter: Tiffen 77mm UVP
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cars
:iconseekess:
Collection by
Doctor say-what-now? x3

Pixar (c)
BBC (c)
Hasbro/L.F. (c)
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Damn, I put so much effort into creating her... ^^' I hope you like her guys.


Bullet; Black Starting bid (SB) : 10$ (USD)

Bullet; Black Minimum increase : 3$ (USD)

Bullet; Black Ending time : 48 hours after last bid

Bullet; Black Auto buy (AB) : 50$ (USD)

I accept points, only rule is 100points=1$.

The character belongs to :iconhyperion-inc:

RULES
After buying the character belongs to you, you can give them a name, a personality, you can add him clothes and accessories, gender, anything you want like your Original character.
You are not allowed to resell it or claim the art or the original design as your own.
If you'd like to reserve the character- please, note me and tell me that before you bid...
If you wouldn't pay for the character within 2-3 days I'll put it back up for adoption.


Links to the pictures of adopted character drawn by you are WELCOME! :-) (Smile) I'd love to see all of them ^^
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Not the colors for game Horwse!
Any copying will be considered as plagiarism.
Kotetaliya There is a dog Hetalia ...The world has gone mad and I'm with him.Now is the time horses

Earlier, I published the horsemen, a collection of everything on the stage of development
moon-illusion.deviantart.com/g…

Breed Ukrainian horse
Height 151
Coat Palomino light.
Markings

The elder sister of Russia and Belarus. In my opinion the most kind and caring person.
Good relations with Turkey.

America: moon-illusion.deviantart.com/a…

Germany: fav.me/d4pm2d6

China moon-illusion.deviantart.com/a…

Egypt: moon-illusion.deviantart.com/a…

Spain: moon-illusion.deviantart.com/a…

England: moon-illusion.deviantart.com/a…
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Helo
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:iconmomogirl: showed me the new My Little Pony series. That show is so cute, it will claim your soul forever. And that's okay. ;u;

I went and made my own! But I am awful at making up these girly pony names. All I could think of the whole time was SPARKLES AND STARS.

AND PONIES PONIES PONIES.

EDIT: I WAS A DOOF AND MADE HER AN ALICORN BEFORE I EVEN KNEW WHAT THE HECK AN ALICORN WAS, SO PLEASE IGNORE HER HORN NOW, I AM SO EMBARRASSED OK...


--SAI + Wacom Intuos4 tablet--
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:iconchristine317:
Collection by
Ranger Meets a Human...

Ranger, creeped out guy (C) Me... so on forth..
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Mature Content


or, enter your birth date.


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I’m so glad I finished this, its been one of those days where the stuff in my mind refuses to come out on the screen. 


I'm sorry for the recent radio silence, I am still reading my comments and I will get to them tomorrow I swear! 

Artwork on Tumblr 

Artwork 
© :iconsolo-swift: Solo-Swift 2015 
Characters 
© Disney

Do not redistribute without my permission!  
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Chapter 4 - "Reverse Interrogation"

The interrogation room's dull yellow walls seemed to do the opposite for Ambrogio in terms of psychological effects. The walls, to him, really did have eyes. He saw the walls as if they were staring right back into his eyes and speaking, "Break."

He shook his hood, nope, he thought, not me. He spoke to the walls in his mind, like any good agent put in his situation would. When a spy is put into a situation where he's being interrogated or being threatened, he doesn't keep his attention only on the subject. His attention goes in all directions - evenly - which is why many people think spies are "super" beings; and the attention to the smallest details keep their attention from giving into whatever feeling was trying to be forced upon them; like a grandmother's knitting as she's parked at her husband's funeral. These walls will not intimidate me, he said to himself, they will not for these walls are nothing but cheap paint.

"Break."

Never.

His tongue slipped out from between his dry, cracked lips. As he pulled it back, the saliva left behind ran through them; except for the split in his lip. In fact, when his tongue tasted the hint of oily blood, he smirked at the wall and the thought of the cars who did that to him. He raised a lid, make your move, you insignificant wall. The wall stared him down even harder, and after a few moments, the deep dull yellow started to look lighter and more pale to Ambrogio. That's right, he thought as his smirk started to fade back into a blank stare, run from me. Even Rod, who was extremely intimidating, started to just look like a car who was just too nosey for his own good; rather than a car trying to break his mind down. At this point, it was just spy against spy.

"When was the last time you stared down the barrel of one of those guns you point at other cars, Redline?" who was idling across from him with narrowed eyes and furrowed lids, confused by the apparent pleasure the Maserati in front of him was getting from the taste of his own blood, "Ever?"

Rod kept his stare as blank as Ambrogio's, "I'm asking the questions."

"So am I," Ambrogio said, "And mine will be answered."

"So will mine."

"Game on."

"And if you must know," Rod started. He stopped as he saw Ambrogio's eyes start to have a bit of a twinkle to them, knowing he just made Rod start to answer, so he made his thought continue in a different way, "And if you must know, because I can see it in your eyes that you're wondering, you won't get your job back unless I know everything."

Ambrogio blinked and rolled his eyes, scoffing, "You honestly think I am that stupid."

"What?" Rod asked, pretending he didn't know why Ambrogio said such a thing. Ambrogio leaned forward until the chains locked up tightly and stopped him from going any further, "We both know you cannot see a damn thing in my eyes," he slowly brought himself back, "We were trained by the same man, Redline," he looked him up and down, he brought a tire up, "But," and he slowly brought it back down, "You were doing so good. And I give you credit."

Rod didn't say a word. Instead, he used the pause to regain his composure and make his soul back into stone.

"Ah," Ambrogio moaned, "I can see the fog rolling back into your irises and fogging up those - hmm - windows to your feelings," he nodded, "No matter, I will clean them up for you really well," he took a look at the Land Rovers guarding the door and his reflection in the mirror, in case someone was watching behind it besides his own reflection. Angie, who was behind the mirror, lowered on her axles as the agent seemed to lock his eyes right on hers without even knowing for certain if she was there or not. She gasped lightly, eyes widening.

Ambrogio brought his eyes back to Rod again, but constantly looked around the room afterward, as if he were speaking to all who were watching him, "Just so you know I am that serious about staying in the Central Intelligence Agency.."

Rod worked on building his guard right up when he said that, knowing Ambrogio was probably about to hit a sore spot.

"Just so you can see how good I still am.."

Rod's lips started to get dry from the lack of natural movement of his mouth, and Ambrogio saw this. He immediately knew that Rod was working very hard. He already had him under his treads. He was in the process of locking imaginary chains on Rod's axles.

"When was the last time you stared down the barrel of one of those guns you point at other cars, Redline?"

"If you mu-"

"IF YOU MUST KNOW," Ambrogio finished for him, snarling, "So then what you said before was a lie," he stomped his tire down, "You did not see a thing in my eyes."

"I haven't had that happen, no," Rod replied, just wanting to get to his own questions and wanting to evade everything Ambrogio was asking now.

"Hmm..," Ambrogio's pupils widened and constricted like the lens of a camera trying to get the perfect shot. He caressed the roof of his mouth with his tongue and smiled, chuckling, "But Evelyn sure did."

Rod's pupils immediately constricted. Evelyn. The yellow on the walls started to melt down to the floor and as it became covered, it started boiling down the floor as well; engulfing the entire room in darkness where only Ambrogio idled watching him.

"Didn't she?" his voice echoed. Rod shook his hood no, even though he knew that's exactly what she experienced.

"DIDN'T SHE?" his voice boomed. Rod's lips separated and he backed away from the table about an inch. Jackpot, Ambrogio thought. He saw the agent softening more than rotting fruit. Not once did Ambrogio take his eyes away from Rod's. He brought a tire up and made a gesture like a janitor spraying a cleaning solution, and that same tire made a gesture like the janitor wiping it away, "The fog from your eyes," he pouted, raising the pitch of his voice to that of a child's, "It is rolling away."

Rod felt his rpms starting to rise as out from the side of Ambrogio's body, just behind his left fender, an air vent opened up and let out a pistol that looked almost identical to the gunman's who shot Evelyn that night, "Rod."

"NO!" he yelled, revving hard.

"Rod."

His heavy breathing caused him to stagger his own breath, "YOU! IT WAS YOU!"

Suddenly Ambrogio's voice got softer and sounded more like a woman's, "Rod."

Rod shook his hood and the room was yellow and dull once again. Ahead of him was Ambrogio, looking extremely confused, and next to him was his Tiguan secretary, Michelle. His gun wasn't out at all. In fact, nothing seemed to have changed about him.

"Rod," she said, "You were getting very excited.."

Rod's pupils didn't budge one bit. They stayed tight in the center. Michelle softly tapped a small pack of papers on the table with her tire, "Rod, come on now. Snap out of it and take a look at these files."

As Michelle spoke, Rod slowly raised on his axles, about to pounce on the Italian car, who in that moment was seen as a complete enemy to him. Ambrogio didn't make any harsh movements that might have yanked on the seasoned agent's instincts.

"Rod..," Michelle tried again, "Rod, we can settle Ambrogio's mess some other time."

"No," Ambrogio cut in, "No, I was a part of this agency for long enough to have some sort of priority-," he pointed to the stapled papers on the desk, "-over a mission that probably got to the agency late anyway."

Michelle's eyes widened at the absurd statement. She quickly turned to Ambrogio, "How dare you."

"Why not? It isn't like I work here anymore, right?"

The door of the interrogation room was left open from Michelle coming inside and Angie poked her hood in, curiously. Her attention wasn't on the proud secretary or the determined ex-agent, but on the agent in clear distress. The muscle car, who she could even admit was slightly intimidating; and definitely more intimidating than the Maserati at first glance, completely broke in front of her own eyes in a matter of seconds. Being that Michelle and Ambrogio were busy arguing with each other, she rolled inside even more and over to Rod, parking herself right next to him. He didn't move, as if he didn't even know she was there. She looked extremely concerned for her new partner, who she barely got a chance to get to know yet.

"You and every other agent who applied and worked their trunks off in training made a promise," Michelle continued, "A promise to gather intelligence from targets. Not to give intelligence away," she started to point in his face as she spoke to him, "You went against the agency by giving away very classified information in an attempt to save your own life, which still did not help, since according to you they were still about to kill you. The only reason why you got away was because they were drunk enough to let you go by winning a poker game," her upper lip started to twitch a little from the anger inside of her, "You are a hypocrite."

Angie slowly, carefully brought a tire up to Rod's fender. As soon as her treads touched him, out of instinct, Rod nudged her away hard. His cobalt eyes finally shot over to her. He didn't expect such a light touch from a woman with such a strong attitude out in the lobby. Angie flinched only slightly at the nudge, knowing that all spies have heightened senses. Her senses told her to pull back from the car who seemed to want to hurt her, but before she flinched hard, her mind kicked in. Her voice was almost a whisper, even though it didn't have to be from the intense conversation Michelle and Ambrogio was having, "Agent Redline.."

Ambrogio watched Angie and Rod at the corner of his eyes as he confronted Michelle, who didn't have the skills to pay complete attention to more than one thing at the same time.

"Miss. Helfen," Ambrogio said, "Erm, Michelle rather. You have the audacity to call me a hypocrite yet the very agency you work for-," he yanked on his chains a bit, "Did this to one of their own."

"Not now, Ange..," Rod said to Angie. His voice wasn't as strong as it was in the lobby and Angie didn't have the heart to remind Rod again that she didn't like "Ange" as a shorted name for her shortened name.

Michelle had no words for Ambrogio. He was completely right, but even though he had every right to have his feelings, rules are rules. Ambrogio gave Michelle all the time she needed to respond, but when he saw that she stuck her nose up at him, he knew that the conversation was done. He looked back to Rod, clearing his throat, "Ahem."

Angie went to speak to Rod, but held back at the noise Ambrogio made. Rod inhaled deeply and looked back to Ambrogio as well, feeling his anger rising up inside of him again. Something was different however. His anger didn't seem to rise back to same height it was before. It was as if something was holding him back. He shifted on his tires and felt a little pressure on his fender; and he knew exactly what held him back - who held him back - and it was Angie.

"My intentions were not to show off, prove I'm better than you, or anything of that nature. All of us here are more or less the same. It was only to show you that I'm still capable of being one of the many agents here who take their job very seriously. Who are able to pierce into the minds of many, no matter what their strengths," the GranTurismo pressed his tongue up between his front teeth and upper lip, studying Rod carefully for a few moments. Rod didn't say a word, mostly because everything he wanted to say couldn't come out coherently with all of his feelings the way they were.

"Don't take it personally..and I hope you forgive me," he continued, "And before I practically dismiss myself from these chains, I want you to think about something. Because I am telling you right now, I can definitely see it in your eyes," he started thinking of how he could possibly make the next thing come out in a way that wasn't so horrible; especially after what he put Rod though to make his point, "You are a passionate man. You may not know exactly when to shut that mouth of yours, but we all have our weaknesses, hm?"

Rod exhaled slowly, the heat from his grille seeping out and swirling around the room. It was safe to let his walls down now.

Ambrogio lifted one tire, "Evelyn," he brought that tire down and lifted his other tire up higher than the last, "Margarita."

"You leave my sister out of this," Rod said coldly.

"Friends need friends to show them the reality of things. Believe me, I am your friend," Ambrogio replied as he brought his tire down again, "Evelyn is your weakness," he nodded, "But let me offer at least some advice to you. If you're going to take anything from this, anything at all, listen to this. When you feel like breaking again. When you feel like a car, no matter who, is trying to pull you away from your focus," he gave another yank at his chains, which let out a small spark this time, "Think about your sister. Think about her."

Rod's pupils started to widen up. Margarita, Maggie Redline. The memories started to shoot into his mind like the bullet that went into Evelyn.

"Little Maggie, Rod."

Rod reversed, pulling himself away from Angie.

"Rod..? Wait..," she said, but it was too late. Rod turned to the door and quickly drove out of the room.

"She's your strength!" Ambrogio called out, hoping he would hear. It was no use. He sighed as Michelle's expression caught his eye. He looked over at the woman, who was more than angered.

"I was presenting our best agent with a mission and you go and bring up his sister," she grabbed the files off of the table, "They're classified until further notice," she turned to the Land Rovers, pointing to Ambrogio, "Unchain it."

The Land Rovers did exactly as they were told, rolling over to Ambrogio and unlocking each chain.

"You're working with Rod and Angie now," she looked at the agent in disgust, "And go get yourself fixed."

She turned and rolled out of the room. Ambrogio massaged each of his axles a little from the tightness they endured. Each time Ambrogio yanked on his chains, they tightened, and he felt much more relieved now. Angie watched Michelle until her taillights disappeared, and when they did she looked back to Ambrogio.

"I..have questions," she pulled her bottom lip in. She wasn't afraid of much, but something about Rod struck the wrong chord inside. Ambrogio looked to himself in the two-way mirror, "Yeah," he stared at the dents on his body, "Everyone who comes in this room does."
Chapter 3 [link]

Hopefully this sheds some light on Ambrogio's personality. ;)

-----
Torque Fan Fiction (c) :icon0lemons0:
Rod Redline (c) Pixar Animation Studios
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Chapter 3 - “The New One and the Reunion”

"...and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty, and justice for all," Rod mumbled to himself. He brought his tire up and out, saluting the small star spangled banner pinned to the cork board in his dorm.

The walls were a clean, cream color which complimented the white tile floor. A chestnut writing desk stood proudly against a wall, ready to be of assistance as a golden lamp that sat off to the side slept through the morning's daylight. Next to the desk, a tall bookcase - which matched his desk - filled with books from his training served as a reminder every single day that Rod's efforts were worth it. The bed, however, wasn't much. It was a cot, but more "decorated" than ones in the army. It was clean, it looked fresh, but it still didn't seem to be a permanent area to rest, just like any other cot. One thing was for sure - at least it wasn't Detroit.

He took in a deep breath as his eyes traveled to the windows. He exhaled with a smile and rolled towards them, throwing the white, slightly transparent curtains away from his view and smiling at the view of the CIA's lawn in front of him.

Another mission well done, Redline, he thought to himself. He had just come out of his first deep sleep in weeks. Missions always took a toll on agents, which is why spies usually don't work alone even though it's meant to appear that way. However, not every mission is the same, and sometimes a spy had to do what a spy had to do; and if it meant working alone, it meant working alone.

A knock was heard on the door, along with a peppy, young adult male's voice, "Hey! Mr. Redline! I'm ready for the tour!"

Rod's eyes widened slightly, and quickly lowered. He sighed, "Dolan.."

The knocking was heard again, but faster, "Come on! Open up! Come on!"

Rod reversed and turned over to the door, "What's the magic phrase?"

"Pleeeeease Mr. Spy Guy?"

Rod chuckled to himself, muttering, "I've taught you well."

He opened his door for the young trainee. He rose on his axles and flashed the young man a very professional smile, "So you want a tour, huh?"

The tiny 2008 Fiat 500's teeth were a brighter white than his paint job, "Yeah! Yeah!"

Rod stretched out his axle and patted him on the fender, "Some other time," he said, "Michelle is assigning me a new partner today."

Dolan's expression was lulled away by his reply, "Oh..well..alright, Mr. Spy Guy," he nodded, "Some other time, like you said," he revved up and his smile returned again, "See ya later!"


And there he went, zipping down the hall and back into the lobby. Rod shook his hood, "Someone needs more training in the emotions department.."

Suddenly the status bar under his hood scoop lit up to get his attention. Rod's eyes shot over to it.

Incoming Call - Michelle Helfen

When he saw the name, he immediately picked up. He shut the door to his room and he started to drive down the hall slowly, to not catch up to Dolan and to pay attention to what she wanted.


"Micheeeeeelle, how ya doin'?" Rod asked.

"Agent Redline - ugh - speaking of that we need to get you an undercover name because if you ever get caught one day, you're gonna be sorry for using your real last na-"

"I'm not changing anything," Rod replied, "Because I'm never going to get caught. I didn't spend all that time in training, making sure everything was crystal clear, to get caught."

"As your secretary-"

"Yeah, yeah, I know. It's your job to make sure everything is working like a well-oiled machine. I got you."

"That wasn't what I was going to say, Redline."

"Yeah, yeah, anyway - what were you saying?"

"As I was saying...we spoke before about assigning you a new partner and-"

"Yep, on my way now," he stopped at the end of the hall to look both ways, making sure he wasn't going to crash into anyone.

Michelle's tone started to deepen a bit, "Would you let me finish? Goodness, your mouth is going to get you into a lot of trouble one day."

The lobby was huge. The ceiling was a giant dome of bulletproof frosted glass and the sunlight did most of the lightning work. The floors were while tiles, like most of the facility, and a bunch of sleek cars zipped here and there, all looking as if they had some place to be. Some of the agents looked pleased, while others looked extremely tired and stressed. The soft sounds of voices conversing with each other filled the air along with the typing and paper shuffling of the secretaries in the center of the lobby at large circular desk. Rod continued into the lobby when he saw his way was clear and rolled right up to the desk without his tires making a sound.


"You might want to work on your mouth-," she heard her own voice echoing behind her and into her own communicator at the desk. She furrowed her eyelids looking down at it.

"And you might want to work on your attentiveness," Rod said behind her. Michelle jumped up, her front bumper hitting the desk and knocking over a couple of pens that were undisturbed before Rod showed up. He stretched his axle over and hung up the communicator for her, "So, who'd you say was gonna get caught one day?"

The light pink 2008 Volkswagen Tiguan looked up at Rod with tired grey eyes, "Very funny."

Rod's eyes softened slightly when he saw that his secretary didn't seem so hot, "Hey, you good?"

"Yeah," she sighed. She looked over at the stack of papers on her desk and put her tires around them. She picked them up and hit them against her desk to straighten them out, "Just trying to get all of this work done before we move back to DC."

Rod nodded his hood, "I know, I know. I miss the dorms over there."

Michelle gave him a look.

"What?" Rod asked. "Free refills in the cafeteria over there."

She rolled her eyes up at him, "About your partner..you already know that your last one has gone onto the dark side."

"Ambrogio Quattrocchi," Rod's eyes became stone cold. "Yeah."

Michelle smirked at the change in his expression, "You know your next mission is to get him back, right? With the help of your new partner, of course."

Rod raised a lid, "But the CIA got rid of him."

"He was your friend."

Rod's eyes narrowed, "So?"

"So..who on earth likes when their friends turn over a new leaf that isn't so good?"

Rod turned away a bit. His voice sounded like gravel scraping against a rotting corpse, "I work alone."

He reversed from the desk and a small voice yelped. He felt his rear tap against the body of another car. Rod's eyes widened and he turned for the car behind him, looking at her, "Oh, excuse-"

She was a 2005 BMW 330i. The first thing Rod noticed about her was the brown in her eyes; how it didn't look like any other kind of brown eyes he'd ever seen. They weren't dark and muddy. That's how he usually saw brown eyes, considering how blue his were. No, her eyes were dark and rich like the finest of dark chocolates. The color of her paint made her curves very sleek. She wore a dark, but not quite black, grey color. The sunlight from the dome made the light glitter in her pain sparkle.

He couldn't help but smile at her.

"Hey," Rod said, "Sorry about that."

The BMW's shocked expression dropped into that of a serious one, "Hm," she glared at him, locking her eyes right onto his, "Careful next time."

She had a bit of a Hispanic accent in her throat. Michelle leaned over on her axles to see who Rod was speaking to, "Oh! Rod! I'd like you to meet Miss. Anevangeline Beechwood, whose cover name is Agent Indigo."

"Huh?" Rod looked at Michelle, "Who?"

"You can call me Angie," the BMW said, "It's easier for most people."

"Well, I'm Rod. What are you here for, Ange?"

"Angie," she said, "Don't call me Ange. And I'm here because Michelle told me I was being assigned a partner today."

Rod's lips spread a bit and the bottom of his left eyelid twitched a little, "What did you just say?"

Michelle smiled, "Anevangeline will be working with you on your missions from now on. You know, instead of Ambrogio, considering you like to compete with him a lot."

He raised his tire and pointed to Angie, "And you think I wouldn't compete with her?"

"Well, super spy," Angie chimed in, "First step to getting stronger is admitting you have competition," she smirked. She rolled around him, staring at the muscle car's body, "You looked much stronger when I was rolling over here."

Rod looked at her, "You say that as if-"

"Now, Rod," Michelle interrupted, "Anevangeline is a hurricane in all kinds of weather."

Angie smiled proudly, "Thank you."

"And I think you'll enjoy her company on your missions," Michelle continued, "She might even be able to teach you a few new things."

"As I'll be able to teach her some things as well," he replied, raising a lid at Angie.

"Before your testosterone rises to an even more dangerous level," Angie chuckled to herself, "Why don't you take a few deep breaths?"

"I might have to."

"So what's your cover name?"

"I don't have one."

Angie gave him a look of disgust, "You're kidding."

Suddenly a loud bash from the front doors of the agency was heard and they flew open. Two big, raven black Land Rovers were pulling a very beat up 2004 silver Maserati GranTurismo. On his fenders were two golden modifications that led from the end of his fenders to a little less than half of his front bumper on each side; a statement of wealth, but it wasn't working anymore. Not in his condition anyway.

He struggled in the grip of the Land Rovers, "GET YOUR FILTHY TIRES OFF OF ME THIS INSTANT," he revved, "I WORK HERE."

That he did.

Rod gasped, "Ambrogio!"

Michelle had no words for the fallen agent. She was too shocked, but at least Rod and Angie weren't going to risk their lives trying to get him, she thought. That mission was cancelled. Angie, however, didn't know who he was, and thought of him as just another injured agent with too much pride to be helped back into the facility. Rod wasted no time. He zipped over to the agent, "Ambrogio, what happened to you?"

"And he said he didn't care about him," Michelle mumbled to Angie, which made Angie have a sudden interest.

Ambrogio just looked up at Rod with defeated eyes. He had a busted lip, one of his modifications was hanging off slightly, and he had a black eye that kept squinting at Rod. He too had brown eyes; the dark and muddy kind. His doors were all dented up, along with pretty much his entire front, with tread marks from cars that must have been beating him with no mercy at all. His engine was running with a stutter too.

"Who did this to you?" Rod asked, concerned.

"We're throwing him in interrogation," one of the Land Rovers said.

"Talk to him in there," the other said.

"But he's an agent here!"  

Rod went to pull him away, but both Land Rovers pulled Ambrogio back, making him cringe and moan under his breath. The Land Rover that spoke first looked down at the broken spy with deadly eyes, "Not anymore."

Rod completely forgot that his 'friend' wasn't on good terms with the CIA anymore. He was too focused on the fact that he had a woman for a partner now. The Land Rovers dragged the agent away down into one of the halls. An eerie silence fell over the agency. They all heard about Ambrogio; and Rod seemed to be the only one who didn't get the memo. He didn't move from his spot as Ambrogio was being dragged away. He just turned to Michelle, looking at her eyes. She nodded to him, knowing what he was saying to her without even speaking to her; and Rod went off to follow the Land Rovers.

Angie was so confused. She looked at Michelle, "Should I-"

"You're his partner," Michelle said, "You two are connected now. With your lives."

Angie swallowed hard, not realizing what she was getting herself into. She revved herself up and rolled after Rod. Michelle smiled at her taillights, whispering to herself, "Keep him safe."

The Land Rovers opened up a steel door with the swipe of a card and practically threw Ambrogio in. Rod didn't even hesitate to let himself in as well, considering one of the Land Rovers told him that he would be able to speak to him. The door slammed shut before Angie could make it inside though. She flinched back at the sound of the slam, not expecting it in the moment. Right next to the door was a window showing the inside of the room from the outside, which on the inside only looked like a mirror to the agents and Land Rovers; made so that people would be able to observe on the outside. They all knew it was a window though and so did the smarter subjects that spies and other CIA officers would bring in for questioning.

There was a steel table with chains in the middle of the room that the Land Rovers were attaching Ambrogio to. Rod stood off to the side, waiting for them to finish. The walls were a dull yellow, which is a color known to induce fear. To a degree, it helped keep the subjects dominated. The rest of the work needed to be done by the interrogator. How tough could he be? How well can he hold back his feelings? How well can he not take things personally? How well was he prepared to be insulted? How well was he prepared to speak to a person who might just act like a wall and say nothing? The interrogator never knew what was coming to him. Every subject reacted differently. If the interrogator didn't set his place within the first few minutes of questioning, if he made the subject feel comfortable in the slightest bit, he failed and the subject won. Once an interrogator gives up his dominance for a second, everything falls apart. Angie liked to think of it as a dance, as she watched the cars speaking; one must lead the other.

Ambrogio panted, holding back the pain as best as he could. He stared at himself in the mirror, seeing the damage for the first time himself. That was another technique. Making the subject feel like he was being watched - by himself. He looked at each of the Land Rovers, better with his good eye.


"So," he said, "Which one of you is going to be asking me things?"

He started to brush himself off with his tires, as if it made him look cleaner. One of the Land Rovers when to speak, but Rod immediately spoke up, "I will."

"Ah," he scoffed, "They picked one of the best in the business."

Angie looked over to the side of the window where a set of headphones were permanently plugged into the wall. She took them and put them on, hearing the voices inside of the room.

"This isn't the time to be a smart ass," Rod snapped.

"Ironic," Ambrogio replied. "Coming from you."

"Who did this?"

"Well, where do I start? Look at me."

"From the damn beginning."

"I was caught, obviously," Ambrogio said, looking right into Rod's eyes so he knew that he wasn't fibbing, "And I would have gotten away with the information if you had your communicator repaired. You would have known that I was in trouble."

Rod slammed his tire on the table, "Where was I going to fix my communicator in the middle of the mission?"

Ambrogio brought his tires up on the table, getting in Rod's face. The chains on his axles tightened up, "It was broken before the mission and you know it."

Rod shook his hood, "Never mind, just tell me who it was that did this."

"I can't tell you that."

"Why not?"

"Because I can only tell you that the cars that did this to me are useless to go after. They're not going to do anything. You can capture them. You can question them," he reversed off of the table and settled back down, the chains relaxing, "But those cars, those guys, they're a dime a dozen. They won't talk because they know if you kill them or if you hold them here, there are so many more, who know the exact same things, who are succeeding in their missions."

"Whose side are you on, dammit?" Rod clenched his teeth. All he wanted was a description of anything really.

The room he was in, if he was even in a building when he was beaten up, could give off valuable information.

"Funny," Ambrogio said, gesturing over to Rod, "Because with the way you 'worked' with me on missions, I could ask you the same thing. Just ask relevant questions."

"Were you outside or inside?"

"Inside."

"How many cars were beating you?"

Ambrogio looked past Rod at his reflection, trying to remember. He looked back to Rod, "I think three. Maybe even four if there was a guy behind me."

"And did they speak to you?"

"Of course," he rolled his eyes, "They did their share of interrogating just like this," he sucked at his teeth, "And to be honest," his eyes rolled from Land Rover to Land Rover, then back to Rod, "I'm getting sick of being treated like those cars," he left a long pause, letting it sink into Rod, "And you're not going to get another word out of me until you unchain me from this desk."

Rod thought about it, biting the inside of his cheek as he did, pursing his lips too. Ambrogio just kept his stare, right in his eyes, "Un. Chain. Me."

The Land Rovers looked over to Rod and he was able to feel their stare. He nodded, giving the okay to free Ambrogio. They rolled over and after a few moments of the sound of jingling chains, they unlocked Ambrogio, who was then able to stretch out his tires. He cleared his throat, "Now I can start the story time," he pulled his lips in and slid his tongue against them, stopping on the spot that was split open from the beating, "It all ended with a game of poker."
Chapter 2 [link]
Chapter 4 [link]

And the spy stuff has begun, ladies and gentlemen. In this chapter, Rod meets his new partner and greets an old one.

Hope you like it!

The big jump in time, as I've said before, will be explained as time goes on.


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Torque Fan Fiction (c) :icon0lemons0:
Rod Redline (c) Pixar Animation Studios
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