Summary: What began as a normal car trip suddenly turned into one of the most horrible times of their lives. Songs will be sung, games will be played, gas station food will be eaten, threats will be made, but overall, chaos will ensue. Pre-movie.
Disclaimer: None of the characters from the movie are mine, but this idea was.
A/N: Hey! This was just a small project that I was inspired to do. I promise that I will continue "The Forgotten Heir" shortly. This oneshot was actually greatly inspired by my own road trip that I took with some friends to Cincinnati, OH and back home, so a lot of the games they play and singing did actually take place. Hope you enjoy, and no flames please!
It began as a normal car trip. Treasure hunter Benjamin Gates was sitting behind the wheel of their rented mini van with British financer Ian Howe in the passenger seat beside him, giving him directions to their destination. Shaw sat behind the English man and Phil sat beside him in the two middle seats, the taller man having to angle himself in his seat so that he could stretch his legs more comfortably toward his bald companion. Powell and Viktor sat behind the other two members of their team in the very back seats, and computer hacker Riley Poole sat between them.
The only problem was that it was a twelve to sixteen hour drive to Chicago since that was where they could get the best private charter to the Arctic Circle from Washington D.C., depending on how many stops they made, for these seven men, and tensions were running high between them- especially when it came to what radio station they should listen to on their long drive.
"Hey, put it back to Guns'N'Roses, Ian," Riley advocated from the very back, recognizing the beginning of "Welcome to the Jungle" on the all-rock station. "Come on, Ian! Ian!" He could tell that Phil silently agreed with him by the small smile on his face.
"All right, fine," Ian growled in annoyance, switching it back to the song that Riley wanted to hear so badly. "But once it's over, I'm switching it."
And the English man kept true to his word. As soon as the final chord sounded, Ian pushed the "seek" button to search for another radio station. But heated argument arose among them, especially from Riley and Shaw, and Ben soon banned the radio from being played at all since they couldn't agree on what to listen to.
It was only about an hour and a half into the road trip that Riley began to get bored. Everyone was either looking at information on the Templar Treasure or the Free Masons that they had brought along, were sleeping in Viktor's case since they had all gotten up early to pack, and Ben was listening to the directions that Ian continued to give him. The techie could feel his mind beginning to wander, and he felt as though he had to voice his thoughts aloud to see if any of the others had an answer.
"Did you ever wonder why the sky is blue?"
Powell glanced up from the book he had rented from the library before they left, but otherwise gave no attention to his random question. Shaw focused hard on the papers he was studying so that he wouldn't snap, and Phil just completely ignored him.
"In about sixty seconds, we'll be wondering why your face is blue," Ian muttered under his breath as he carefully looked over the road map. Ben smirked as he continued to drive.
Riley chose to pay no attention to him. "And why are clouds so… poofy?" he continued in wonder.
This time, it was Shaw who had a snappy comeback. "I don't know. Why is your nose about to be so poofy?" he wondered, making sure his threat was loud enough for the younger man to hear. In other words, shut up.
But Riley still didn't take any notice. "Where do the stars go when it's daytime?" he muttered, looking out the window at the blue sky.
Ian sighed and shook his head. He would have to be more direct with the younger man. "You'll be seeing stars in a minute if you don't shut up," he cautioned. He needed to concentrate on his directions so they didn't end up going the wrong way.
"And… I wonder if a sea sponge knows it's alive," Riley said, his eyebrows meeting in deep thought.
Finally, Shaw tossed the papers he was reading to the floor of the van in frustration and turned completely in his seat to face Riley while Phil forced back a smile. "How would you care to debate if you're alive after this?" he snapped angrily.
"All right, Shaw, calm down," Ben ordered from up front, though he was struggling to hold back a laugh also. Did a sea sponge know it was alive? It was actually a really good question. "There will be no killing in the van. Riley, I would stop with the questions if I were you."
"If only I had my gun with me," Shaw muttered disdainfully as he turned back around in his seat to face the front, the comment loud enough for only himself to hear. Unfortunately, his favorite metallic weapon was packed in the trunk with the rest of his luggage.
Riley nodded nervously in agreement, but that didn't stop the classic car question "Are we there yet?" that he would disperse throughout the rest of the trip.
Boredom soon settled in for Powell too as he closed the book he had been reading and set it on the floor by his feet. He glanced at Riley beside him, and they were both soon engaged in many road games, such as the alphabet game where they had to search for words that began with the letter they were searching for on something outside of the car, and the classic game of trying to get people in other cars to wave or trucks to honk at them. Their game ideas continued to get more creative as they continued to move through the alphabet, and they began to change the meanings of common street signs, such as "reduced speed ahead," took one word from different billboards and put them into sentences, and even began to turn all signs they saw into songs that would be sung in a Broadway play. A dark glare from Shaw ended that game immediately.
But soon, the only game that was still continuing a couple hours later was the alphabet game as the two men searched for a word beginning with the letter 'u.' Powell pointed out a U-haul truck before Riley had come up with a better way to pass the time as soon as they at last entered Ohio after an already long day of traveling and many stops to stretch their cramped legs or to use the bathroom. He tried but failed to remember the "Cincinnati Song" from the movie Toy Land, but that didn't stop his singing impulse. So, joined by Powell with the harmony parts, Riley led the mini van through a round of songs such as the "Spongebob Squarepants theme" and the must-be-sung "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
Ben and Ian fought hard to continue ignoring them as they looked at the directions. Phil smiled slightly as he hummed nearly silently along with them while he continued to read, and Viktor continued to snore loudly the entire way through it, which was his way of accompanying them. But again, another murderous look from Shaw quietly them almost instantly, except for Viktor.
"Where do you want to stop for dinner?" Ben finally asked just as Riley pointed out and X-tra truck when, even through the changing time zones, it reached seven in the evening. They had stopped for lunch at about one that afternoon at a mall so everyone could get what they wanted to eat, and they had a stash of snacks in the van to hold them off until they stopped for their next meal.
Many answers greeted him at once, ranging from Italian to Chinese, Subway to Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell to Burger King. Ben sighed wearily. He was beginning to get a headache from driving since eleven that morning, and he wasn't in the mood to put up with the loud arguing. But at least at the end of the very long road, there was treasure to look forward to. "You know what, we're just going to go here," he announced irritably, suddenly pulling into a gas station. "Everyone get what you want, but make sure to wake Viktor. I need to get gas anyway."
About twenty minutes later, the back aisles between seats were filled with assorted chips, a wide range of candy and boxed sweets, and many twelve-ounce sodas. Ben and Ian had assorted donuts and cups of coffee, though the Brit preferred tea, to keep them awake for the long drive that was still ahead of them.
"Do you think that we could order a pizza while we're traveling in a van?" Riley suddenly wondered as he grabbed a handful of cheddar chips.
"I highly doubt it, Riley," Ben told him from up front, but then he lapsed back into his concentration mode as Ian told him yet another direction.
Viktor finished up a Zebra Cake and threw the wrapper into their designated plastic trash bag before he leaned back in his seat to try to catch a couple of more hours of sleep. "You know, I wonder if they sing Christmas songs all year round in a place that's always snowing," he muttered, thinking about their destination before he immediately dozed off again.
But his random inquiry gave Riley a brand new idea that he hadn't originally thought of. Christmas songs! What a great idea! But of course, threats soon came from Shaw and Ian with each song that he tried, but he didn't take them seriously. He just switched the song with each strand of heated words.
"I'll hit you over the head with a silver bell…" Shaw said when Riley began with "Silver Bells."
"I'll run you over with a sleigh," Ian told him from the front seat when the techie switched to "Sleigh Ride."
"How about I get the reindeer to run you over too?" Shaw asked darkly when he finished his handful of barbeque chips as Riley attempted the beloved "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."
"I hope you get lost in the Winter Wonderland so we never have to see you or hear you sing again," Ian commented, almost too anxious to reach the Arctic Circle and fulfill his threat when Riley started on "Winter Wonderland."
"I hope you won't be," Shaw stated firmly when the techie tried "I'll be Home for Christmas," and ended his threat by saying, "I'll roast your heart over an open fire, Riley Poole," when the techie sang the first few words of "Chestnuts Roasting Over an Open Fire."
To make it clear that it was his final threat, Ian cleared his throat loudly before saying, "It will be a silent night once we're through with you," when Riley started on "Silent Night."
Before he could begin a new Christmas carol, Shaw turned around in his seat and glared dangerously at Riley. "If you sing one more Christmas song, I swear I'll rip your tongue out," he threatened heatedly.
Riley smiled at him wickedly, knowing the loophole in the scary-looking, gun-loving, bald man's threat. He cleared his throat, opened his mouth, and began to sing "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid in his best, but still butchered, Jamaican accent, knowing that it would get on the older man's nerves.
He was right. Shaw turned back around in his seat to face the front, laying his head on the back of Ian's seat as an aggravated groan escaped from him. A small smile appeared on Ben's face as Ian rolled his eyes, and they were forced to turn on the previously banned radio to a mixed music station in an attempt to block out Riley's terrible accent.
But after a short while of singing other Disney songs from movies such as Beauty and the Beast and Lion King, Riley grew tired of singing, especially since no one else was joining in this time, and he began to read the Sci-Fi novel that he had brought with him after he and Powell had found their last two words that began with the letters 'y' and 'z' on billboards. Shaw mouthed the words "thank you" as he looked out the window while the sun began to set.
"When are we stopping at our hotel?" Phil asked, looking up from the book that he had been reading for the better part of the trip.
"Soon," Ben answered as he turned off of the interstate. "Judging by the directions, we only need to drive for about another two miles before we reach it."
"Good," Riley muttered from the back while he yawned. It had been a long day of traveling. "I'm getting tired." Shaw smirked triumphantly.
Then, Ian's cell phone rang, and Ben turned down the radio while he answered it. "Hello?" There was a pause while he listened to whoever was on the other end talk, and then he sighed. "All right, thank you for telling me," he muttered before he closed the phone and put it back in his pocket. "Plans have changed."
The plans they had made with the man getting them their private charter had consisted of spending the night in a hotel and arriving at the airport at around noon the next day. Well, it clearly wasn't going to be that way anymore. "What are they now?" Ben asked.
"I would get your sleep now, everyone," Ian advised with annoyance. "I guess some bad weather is coming in, and we have to be at the airport by eight in the morning so we can take off before it hits. We'll have to drive through the night to make it."
A groan resounded from everyone in the van except for Viktor, who was already asleep, as Ben pulled over to the side of the road to try to figure out how to get them back on the right track. Phil leaned back against the window, bunching up his coat to make a pillow, while Powell did the same in the back. Riley, too tired to hold his head up any longer, wound up leaning against Powell, who was too tired to care. The three men were sound asleep even before Ben pulled out on to the road again and turned off the radio. The only ones awake now were the driver, Ian, and Shaw, and all three gladly welcomed the silence.
A few hours later around midnight, they finally crossed the state border into Indiana. "You look tired, Ben," Shaw observed after they were about ten miles into the state, watching the treasure hunter rub his eyes. "Why don't you get some sleep? I'll drive for a little bit."
Ben glanced at him in the rearview mirror and saw that he didn't look tired, and he sighed. Sleep sounded like a great idea. "All right, Shaw," he said quietly. "Thanks." He pulled to the side of the road and left the keys in the ignition since he and Shaw were only switching places.
Riley jerked awake when he heard the sound of the van door sliding open as the light turned on form the ceiling, watching with confusion as Ben climbed into the seat in front of him that Shaw had previously occupied. "What…"
"It's all right, Riley," Ben told his best friend as he shut the door again, Shaw doing the same from the driver's seat so the light would switch back off. "I'm sleeping for a bit, and Shaw's going to drive until I start again."
The techie knew that he instantly didn't trust his life when he was in a vehicle being driven by Shaw and wished that Ian wouldn't have dozed off, especially when he saw the almost evil grin the English man gave him after he made sure that Ben had fallen asleep. He was relieved that it was rare that another car crossed their path. "If you do anything annoying, Riley, I swear I will crash this van," Shaw muttered, the murderous glint in his eyes supporting the threat as he began driving. There was no loophole this time…
Since Shaw was the one that was behind the wheel, Riley didn't think that it would be wise to test the bald man's statement. Instead, he leaned back in his seat and merely watched the reflections that passing street lamps made on the ceiling. But soon, his head somehow ended up on Powell's shoulder again as his heavy eyes began to close.
Unfortunately, Indiana was an incredibly boring state to drive through. Riley felt that he had only been asleep for twenty minutes, and that certainly could have been all that it was, before he was rudely awoken for a second time by being forcefully pushed back into the seat when the speed of the van increased. He sat up quickly, watching all of the dark trees pass by them in a flash and gasping in horror when he saw that Shaw was going almost ninety miles per hour. But he was also once again relieved that there were hardly any other cars out when they were.
The good thing about Shaw's sudden burst of speed was that it covered a lot of miles. But Ben was instantly woken up by the bright flashing of red and blue lights, and he realized that Shaw had been pulled over and gotten a speeding ticket. He instantly decided that he was awake enough to drive again, and he switched places with the English man before continuing on. Once Shaw was back in his rightful seat, he instantly tore up the speeding ticket that he had received and put it in their plastic garbage bag. After all, he had a few driver's licenses under different names, and they would be well on their way to the Arctic Circle before the police could even think of doing anything regarding a simple matter such as speeding by a man named Jeremiah White from Indonesia in his rented van.
"We must be in Chicago." These were the first five words out of Phil's mouth, and on everyone else's minds, as they all began to wake up around six in the morning as the sun was rising.
"How did you know?" Ben asked with a slight smile. He, of course, knew that they were in Chicago, but he and Ian had been the only two awake when they had entered the bustling city.
"Because there's construction everywhere and we're not moving."
This statement was only too true. There were tons of cars on the interstate in Chicago, even at that early hour of the morning, and they were completely stopped in traffic. Ben turned on the radio to the mixed music station once all of the vehicle occupants were awake and looking at the cars around them in sheer boredom. Riley had the sudden urge to hold his breath and touch the ceiling with his index finger whenever they went through a tunnel or under a bridge since it meant good luck, but decided against it since it would be bad if they were halted in said tunnel or under said bridge. He didn't really feel like passing out that morning.
"Forget this," Shaw suddenly said as he unbuckled his seatbelt. "I'm walking. At least that way I'll get somewhere. Pick me up when traffic starts moving again."
"Shaw…" Ben warned, but he was too late. The bald man was already out of the van and walking across the other lanes of traffic toward the sidewalk that was beside the divider.
"Just let him go," Powell advised from the back, rubbing his arm since it had fallen asleep from Riley leaning on it the entire night.
Ben sighed, watching as Shaw continued to walk down the narrow sidewalk as his nerves rose since he could picture him getting hit by a slow moving car. He also noticed that the English man must have appeared too menacing and walked in an intimidating way to everyone in the other cars since no one could gather up the courage to stop him or even honk at him.
About forty-five minutes later, the traffic finally began to pick up again. Ben was able to pull into the farthest right lane to where Shaw was walking to pick him up. Phil leaned forward and slid open the van door, and Ben slowed just enough for Shaw to be able to jump in and close the door again behind him.
Traffic went smoothly for the rest of the trip, and they reached the general location of the airport with thirty minutes to spare. They stopped at a nearby Starbucks for drinks, and after a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors among the van's five back occupants, they finally arrived at the airport and found a space to park. The seven men slowly clambered out of the van, tired and sore from the long road trip, with coffee or tea, or Italian Soda in Riley's case, and snacks in their hands as they unloaded their luggage.
But hoped still gleamed in their weary eyes and burned in their hearts, for they knew that they had made it through the first part of their difficult journey and were now ready to face the next part of their exciting adventure.
"All right, gentlemen," Ben addressed them with a wide grin on his face. "Let's find some treasure!"
A/N: And there you have it! Again, most of this was inspired by an actual road trip I had with friends to Cincinnati, OH. No one got pulled over for anything, but one of my friends really wanted to get out of the car and walk on the sidewalk on the interstate, but we wouldn't let her. We had a lot of fun, but I also know we drove the driver and his wife crazy! Oh, and I'm also experimenting with a Batman fic called "Hostages" for you fans of The Dark Knight, so keep an eye out for that too! Thanks for reading, guys! Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!