Ran Down

Note: I'm considering this Gen, but I feel I should give a warning that it may also be taken as pre-slash for Beck/Travis, because subtext writes itself.


He doesn't remember the impact, but he comes to on the floor of his Rio de Janeiro hotel room, his hands cuffed together and a man standing over him. It says something about his life that this kind of thing doesn't even take him by surprise anymore.

"This is my fault," his father says.

Travis closes his eyes so he doesn't have to see him. "Yeah, well, I've been saying that all along."

Billy laughs before backhanding him. Travis pulls his head back slowly, running his tongue over the recently split lip, while Billy leans down so he's eye to eye with his son. "I made a mistake with you, I'm man enough to admit it. I very greatly underestimated you. Maybe you're cut out for the family business after all."

"Walker and Son; Crime and Mayhem Inc. Sounds great. I'd love to help out, really, but I've got this one little problem, it's called a conscience," Travis says. "You should look into getting one for yourself."

Billy steps back, choosing to ignore him rather than waste the effort of hitting him again. "You know Beck's never once not finished a job? Not once. What the hell did you say to him to get him to turn on me?"

"You're forgetting he did do his job, he walked me right through that door," Travis says. "So if you've got a problem with me, it's nothing to do with him."

Billy glares at him. "Where is he, Travis?"

"He isn't here. In case you didn't notice, the bed's a single, and I don't swing that way," Travis says. "Forget about Beck. He's long gone by now."

"And you're protecting him, too?" Billy demands, crossing his arms. "What did you offer him, Travis? It had to be good."

Travis laughs. "It's funny, but I think we can safely say that's something else you brought on yourself. It probably wasn't so much to do with him helping me as wanting to screw you. You tend to bring that out in people."

Billy narrows his eyes, turning as one of his men enter. "Have you found him yet?" he demands.

He shakes his head. "No, sir. We searched the whole hotel."

Travis forces himself to look up and meet his father's eyes. "I told you, he isn't here. What did you think, that we'd ridden off into the sunset together? Beck took his money and ditched me the first chance that he got."

Billy laughs. "Yes, well, that sounds more like it, doesn't it?" He nods to one of his men. "Put him in the car. I've wasted enough time chasing after you, Travis. You're coming home until you learn to behave."

x x x x x

Beck pushes his sunglasses further up his nose and moves his shopping bag to the other arm. He's going to make risotto tonight, with mushrooms and red wine. He knows it's going to be an amazing meal, but he isn't exactly sure what he's doing making dishes in the small kitchen of a hotel in Brazil, instead of in a shiny new restaurant.

Somehow, when he had gone to buy Travis his plane ticket, he'd ended up getting himself one too. They were heading to El Dorado in the morning to meet back up with Mariana and get Travis' cut of the blackmarket sell of the Gato, and though it was a much less dangerous place with Hatcher out of the picture, Beck was fairly certain that Travis Walker could find trouble at Disneyland.

And as much as Beck hates to admit it to himself, he'd kind of gotten attached to the kid.

As soon as Travis was set for money, they could go their separate ways. But Beck feels obligated to make sure he makes it back out of here in one piece, since if not for him, Travis could have had his cut weeks ago. He'd dragged Travis back to Los Angeles, though--even if he had always been relatively certain he wouldn't be able to leave him there.

Beck stops at the edge of the road, waiting for a break in the traffic so he can cross. He glances up over at the hotel on the other side, and frowns when he sees Travis. He's being pushed along by two men that would rival Beck for size, and walking right in front of them, a few feet ahead, is Billy Walker.

Beck sighs. He should have known this would happen. Things had been going far too smoothly. He drops his grocery bag and jogs across the street, keeping one eye on Travis as he gets shoved into the back of a waiting limo.

Beck jumps behind the wheel of the Cadillac that he rented when they got here, and the car stutters but doesn't start. He hits the dashboard in an attempt to give it a jump start, and looks up again as the limo pulls out onto the road.

Beck hits the dash again, and then viciously turns the key. The car starts up reluctantly, and Beck follows the limo into traffic.

He really should have just gone somewhere quiet to start his restaurant--because for all his other failings, Billy Walker had been right about one thing. There isn't enough aspirin in the universe for a headache like Travis.

x x x x x

Billy leans back against the limo, and looks at where his son sits across from him, pressed between Dan and Bren. "What is it with you and Brazil, anyway?" Billy asks. "I hate this godforsaken place."

"That's kind of why I come here," Travis says wryly. "I never thought you'd follow me."

Billy laughs. "Well, I would have sent someone to bring you home, but that didn't work out so well the last time. If I want something done right, I have to do it myself."

"Why are you here?" Travis asks. "You going to hand me over to Rogers, is that it? Because I told you, I didn't know she was married, and I certainly didn't know that she was married to a mob boss."

Billy snorts. "Rogers wasn't a mob boss, he was a smalltime crook with delusions of grandeur, and while yes, I had arranged everything nice and tidy, so that all you had to do was go down there and apologize, no, I'm not taking you there, because thanks to your little holiday with Beck, that ship has already sailed."

"What do you mean?" Travis asks nervously.

Billy pulls out a cigarette and lights it. "I mean he wasn't happy when you didn't show up to beg for his forgiveness, and he was going to put a hit out on you."

"He put a hit on me?" Travis asks.

"I said he was going to," Billy corrects. "So I put a hit on him first. He's currently resting peacefully beneath the foundation of his very own construction site."

Travis shakes his head. "Jesus, you killed him?"

"His wife sends you her regards," Billy says. "Now what do you say, Travis?"

"If he's dead what do you need me for?" Travis demands.

Billy nods to his guard, and the man slaps Travis on the side of the head. Travis bites his lip to keep from saying something that will only get him hit again.

"I was looking more for a 'thanks for saving my ass again, dad,'" Billy says.

"Thanks for saving my ass again, dad," Travis mimics. "Now what the hell do you need me for?"

"I've been asking myself that question for years," Billy says. "But let's face it, kid, we're stuck with each other whether we like it or not. You're my one son and heir to the throne. It's time you learned your place. I can't keep chasing you down to fix your screw ups."

"I've been staying out of trouble," Travis protests. "Why don't you just adopt Bren or Dan? Hell, adopt them both. It'll be one big happy family."

Bren turns to glare at him, looking like he'd like to slap again, but Dan looks flattered by the notion. Travis hides a smirk and returns his attention to his father.

"You don't get to choose your family, Travis," Billy snaps. "You have my blood, and you have my name. Do you know how incompetent I look whenever your stunts start getting talked about? You know they say, that Billy, he can't even control his smartass kid."

"So I'm like your mascot, then? Or what?" Travis asks.

"You're my son," Billy says. "That's what you are. It's time you learned what it means."

The dividing window between the cabin and the driver slides down, and the driver glances back at them from the rearview mirror. "We're being followed," he says.

"Christ, you brought Martin?" Travis asks. "You know he scares the hell out of me."

"Why do you think I brought him?" Billy snaps, before turning towards his driver. "You sure?"

Martin nods. "If I had to guess, I'd say it was Beck."

Billy turns back to glare at his son. "I thought you said he wasn't here?"

"He's not!" Travis says. "We're probably not even being followed. I think we all know that Martin's a little paranoid, am I right?"

"58 Cadillac," Martin says without missing a beat. "It's been staying two cars behind us since we left the hotel."

"Can you lose him?" Billy demands.

"In a limo?" Martin asks. "Probably not, and in any case it won't be hard for him to figure out where we're going. There's only the one airport for miles."

"Fine," Billy says. "Let him come. When we get to the airport, Martin, I want you to take care of our old friend once and for all."

Martin just grins in response, and rolls up the window.

"You can't do that!" Travis protests.

"If Beck isn't here, like you say, then you have nothing to worry about," Billy says. "So what are you worried about?"

Travis falters for only a moment. "I'm worried about you letting that maniac loose on all these innocent people. He'll beanbag them all to death."

"Martin's a professional, Travis, you know that. He only ever hits what he's aiming at," Billy says. "I believe you have the bruises to prove it."

Travis frowns, and brings a hand to his right temple. "Is that what happened? You let that crazy person shoot me in the head with a beanbag?"

"I didn't want you to bring out the thunder and lightening and embarrass yourself," Billy says. "I thought it best to get you home with the least amount of fuss possible."

"Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not half done fussing," Travis tells him. "I'm not getting on any plane."

Billy leans back in his seat, watching his son carefully. "Do you want me to have Beck killed?" he asks.

Travis goes pale. "What? No, you can't--"

"You come quietly, you get on that plane and come home and behave, then I'll consider Beck's debt to me cleared. You fight me on this, you're going to end up back home anyway, and Beck's going to end up dead."

"You already told Martin to kill him," Travis snaps. "So I don't see why I should take that deal."

Billy casually reaches back to tap on the glass. The window rolls down again. "Martin, change of plans," he says. "Stop Beck from interfering, but don't kill him. Beanbags only."

A little of the gleam left Martin's eyes, but he nodded. "Whatever you say, boss," he says, and rolls the window up.

"Satisfied?" Billy asks.

"I don't trust your word," Travis says. "And I certainly don't trust Martin's."

"You're not going to get any better offers," Billy says.

Travis crosses his arms, and nods. "Yeah. Fine. I'll go back--but Beck's out of it, got it? Let him just get his restaurant or whatever."

Billy nods, but watches his son shrewdly. "Just what the hell happened between you and Beck in that jungle?" he asks.

Travis turns to look out the window, and doesn't answer.

x x x x x

Beck only follows the limo long enough so that he knows for sure that they're going to the airport, and then he spins out and heads down another road, hitting highly illegal speeds so that he'll get there first.

He does, but only barely. It's not the heavy tourism season, so the airport isn't overly crowded. There's still the occasional bus load of camera wielding travelers, but for the most part it's all rather deserted. Beck has no idea how he's going to get Travis and get out of here, without getting himself or Travis killed.

He's pretty sure that Billy doesn't want Travis dead, but that doesn't protect him from the crossfire when this whole thing inevitably goes to hell. As much as he hates guns, his fingers are twitching with the urge to pick one up; bang, bang, bang and it would all be over just like that.

Beck closes his eyes and counts to ten. He's better than that.

And for all of Travis' talk, he's pretty sure he doesn't really want his father dead. He just wants to be free of him.

Beck leans back against the corner of the building, and watches the limo pull up near the curb. He winces when he sees Martin climb out of the driver's seat, casually taking off a uniform hat and setting it on the hood of the car, before pulling out a rifle, and stuffing a beanbag down the muzzle.

Of course it would have to be Martin.

Beck could take him easy in a fair fight, but Martin doesn't ever fight fair.

Dan and Bren come out next. Bren is dragging Travis along behind him, but Beck frowns when he notices that his friend is strangely subdued, just letting himself get pulled along. When Beck was kidnapping him, Travis hadn't been near so docile.

Billy's the last to come out, tugging on the lapels of his suit jacket to fix the creases. He glances around, saying something to Martin before following after Travis and the goons. Beck knows he needs to act quick. If Billy gets Travis inside the airport, it'll be all but over.

He grabs the lid off a trashcan and starts towards them, tossing it like a Frisbee straight at Dan. It impacts beautifully, and Dan goes down like stack of stones. Bren pushes Travis towards Billy and pulls out his gun, but Beck's already on him, and he snaps his wrist with one hand while he kicks at his knee cap with his foot.

He spins around with his newly acquired gun pointed straight at Billy. Billy just laughs and pulls Travis against him like a shield. "I knew you would be here," he says. "You haven't gotten any better at lying, Travis."

"Let him go," Beck snaps. He sees Martin setting up a shot out of the corner of his eye. "And call Martin off."

"Martin, do as the man says. And, Travis, why don't you explain our little deal to Beck?" Billy says.

Travis lets out a breath. "You need to get out of here, Beck. I'm going back with him. It's fine, okay?"

"No, it's not fine," Beck snaps. "What did he do to you?"

"He promised to leave you alone," Travis says. "So get out of here while you still can."

"I'd listen to him if I were you," Billy says. "Boy's being reasonable for once."

Beck snaps the clip loose from the gun and then sends the gun spiraling forward. Travis ducks out of instinct and it hits his father in the side of his head, sending him falling onto the pavement. Beck grabs Travis by the arm and pushes him in front of him. "Move!" he snaps.

"Just like old times," Travis mutters. "What part of get out of here did you misunderstand?"

"I am getting out of here, you're just coming with me," Beck says. He pushes Travis along to the Cadillac and Travis looks back before getting in.

"Don't even think about it," Beck says. "He was never going to keep his deal."

Travis is about to respond when a gunshot whizzes past them both, taking out the passenger side window. Beck tackles Travis to the ground and glances back behind them. Dan had gotten back to his feet and was about to fire again.

Billy wrests the gun before he can, and knocks him down with a backhand.

Beck's eyes widen at the unexpected help, and he gets to his feet, pulling Travis with him. "In the car," he says firmly.

"Probably a good idea," Travis says, jumping in as Beck goes around to get in the driver's seat.

Beck whispers a prayer of thanks when the car starts up on the first try, and then pulls out into traffic and starts breaking the speed limits to get the hell out of Rio. Billy watches the car drive out of sight and lets out a cry of frustration, turning to where Dan still sits on the sidewalk, and kicking him viciously.

"You almost shot my son," Billy yells.

"Sir, I'm sor--I--"

"You ever do something like that again, and I'm gonna put a bullet in your head," Billy tells him, his expression going from angry to controlled, and his soft words were twice as chilling as the ones he'd just yelled. "You can shoot at Beck, but not when my son's between you and him."

"Understood, sir," Dan says. Billy looks away from him and back down the road as he hears sirens.

"Are we going after them?" Bren asks, cradling his broken wrist against his chest.

"Right now, we need to go back to the hotel to make some arrangements," Billy says. "But don't worry--I have a pretty good idea where they're going."

Billy slides back into the limo with Bren and Dan. Martin replaces his hat and gets back in the driver's seat, and they disappear into traffic just as the police arrive.

x x x x x

Travis glances back behind them again, but there was no sign of a pursuit. He's thinking his father is above attempting a high-speed chase with a limo. He's probably gone for reinforcements. Beck glances over at him and frowns. "Put your seatbelt on," he says.

"I'm sitting on a bunch of broken glass, we're being pursued by maniacs with beanbags and guns, and you're worried about seatbelts?" Travis asks incredulously.

"Just put it on," Beck snaps.

Travis rolls his eyes, but puts the seatbelt on. "You worry about the strangest things."

Beck ignores him. "There's another airport about fifty miles outside of Rio," he says. "I think that's our safest bet."

"Sounds good to me," Travis says. "But, Beck, you really shouldn't have come for me."

"You want to go back?" he asks.

"That's not what I mean and you know it," Travis says. "Billy isn't ever going to leave me alone. You, he'd be willing to let slide. If only you'd stop pissing him off."

"I wasn't just going to leave you there," Beck says. "We're in this together, right?"

"Right," Travis says. "Bu--"

Travis gets cut off at a loud bang, and he spins around, thinking it's a gunshot. Beck pulls at the steering wheel as he loses control of the car. Travis turns back around to see steam coming out from under the hood. "That doesn't look good," he says.

"I can't get control," Beck snaps. "I think one of the tires blew too."

"It must have been hit with a shard of the broken glass," Travis says. "Pull over."

"You don't think I'm trying?" Beck asks.

Beck struggles to get the car under control, but the blown tire sends them barreling off the road. They hit a tree head on and come to an abrupt halt. Travis lets out a shaky breath as he tries to catch his bearings. They caught on the tree and were tilted downhill, and the only reason his head isn't sticking out through the windshield is the seatbelt holding him back. He glances over to make sure Beck is okay, and is relieved to see that he doesn't look anymore beat up than when he'd gotten in the car.

"That's one way to stop," Travis says.

"Shut up, Travis," Beck says, and undoes his seatbelt, falling against the steering wheel the moment he's free of the restraint.

Travis learns from his mistake and braces his feet against the dashboard before pulling the seatbelt loose. He frowns blearily at the hood of the car, which is smoking much more than before. "It's really rare that cars actually blow up, right?" he asks.

"This from the guy that nearly got taken out by an exploding bus," Beck says.

"Right," Travis says. "We should probably get out of the car."

Beck nods and the both push themselves out of the car. The hill is steep, but not so much that they aren't able to keep from rolling downhill. "We need to get back to the road," Travis says.

"No, go down," Beck tells him. "Your father could be coming up behind us, we need to stay out of sight."

"The Cadillac is like a giant smoke signal," Travis says. "If he's behind us, I think we're screwed anyway."

"Downhill, Travis," Beck snaps.

"Jeez, I'm coming," Travis says, carefully going downhill, keeping one hand braced against the ground to keep from losing his balance and tumbling down the rest of the way. Beck meets up with him after they're out of the way of the Cadillac.

"You just had to pick the Cadillac," Beck snaps.

"It's a classic!" Travis says defensively. "You can't blame this on me."

"It's a relic," Beck snaps. "I prefer cars that work."

"It worked fine before, I think you broke it," Travis says.

"I did nothing of the sort," Beck snaps.

"Right, of course not. I'm sure those fist sized dents in the dashboard formed themselves," Travis says.

"The engine isn't in the dashboard," Beck says.

"Not like it matters, we didn't even get insurance," Travis says. "I'm thinking they won't care about the dents now that it's totaled."

They carefully make it to the end of the hill, and Beck sighs, looking back up at the road with desperation. Civilization was that way. Down here, he's back in the jungle. They only walk a few more feet before they are completely out of sight of the road.

"How did I ever let you talk me into coming back here?" Beck demands.

"I didn't talk you into it, you just kind of ended up next to me on the plane." Travis glances back at him as he makes his way through the dense foliage. "So I'm not sure why you're here, Beck, but I'm here because Mariana's got my cut of the money, and a couple of million dollars isn't really the kind of thing you want to Fed Ex to someone."

"I thought it wasn't about the money," Beck says wryly.

"It's not all about the money," Travis corrects. "But I'm not going to turn it down."

"Well, that's the least of our worries at the moment," Beck says, and then frowns as he realizes where they're heading. "You're going the wrong way."

"I lived in Brazil for months," Travis says. "I think I know this area better than you."

"Well, obviously not, because Rio is back that way," Beck snaps, grabbing Travis' arm to spin him around.

"We're not going to Rio, we're going to El Dorado," Travis says, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I still don't have my money."

"We're not--we're not going to El Dorado," Beck snaps. "We're going back. You really think that El Dorado isn't the first place your father is going to look?"

"If that's true, it's only more reason to beat him there and warn Mariana," Travis says.

"We'll call her," Beck says. "After we get a cab and go to the next closest airline."

Travis frowns at him. "Look, Beck, if you want to go, go, but I'm going to El Dorado to get my money."

Beck lets out a heavy sigh. "Travis, I'm not leaving you here."

"Then come with me, but stop complaining," Travis says.

"No, you're not understanding me," Beck says, speaking very clearly, careful to enunciate every word. "I'm not leaving you here."

"And I'm not going with you, so where does that leave us?" Travis asks.

"It leaves us with two options--"

"Oh, not this again," Travis says.

"Option A, you turn around and come with me to find a Taxi, so we can go to the airport and return to civilization--"

"You know, that really loses its charm the fiftieth time you use it on someone," Travis tells him.

"Or Option B," Beck continues, undaunted, "I make you."

Travis sighs in frustration and turns around to face Beck. "This isn't a job, Beck, you don't have to be here, you're not getting paid--in fact, you're heading in the opposite direction of millions of dollars. Seriously, I don't get you, what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?"

Beck steps closer, and catching Travis off guard, bends and pushes his shoulder into his stomach, upending him over his shoulder. Travis lets out a yell of indignation. "At this moment?" Beck asks. "I'm trying to keep your sorry ass out of trouble."

"Put me down, Beck," Travis demands.

"You should have taken Option A," Beck says. "You'd think you would have learned better by now."

Travis was hanging down Beck's back, with his waist and legs effectively pinned--but his hands were free, and he reached out to grab a tree branch, holding on for dear life. The unexpected resistance sends Beck off balance, and both of them crashing to the ground. Travis wiggles free with the ease of much practice, and immediately takes off running.

Beck presses his eyes closed for an instant, debating whether or not to chase after him. No one's ever gotten away with taking Option C, and he wasn't going to start giving breaks now. He forces himself back to his feet and takes off after him. "Travis!"

"Stay away from me," Travis says. "I can take care of myself."

"All evidence to the contrary," Beck snaps. "Do you know what your father's going to do to you if he gets you back?"

"You're the one that said he wouldn't kill me," Travis snaps, not slowing down. He sees his target getting closer, and spins around as he slows his pace, so he's walking facing Beck.

"What he wants to do is worse, he wants to drag you into that life, Travis, and it's not for you--it's no good for anyone, trust me, I've been there," Beck says. "You're not that person. You're not like him. You need to get as far away from him as you can."

"And I will," Travis, says, "just as soon as I have my money." Travis pauses and Beck stops a few feet in front of him, wondering what had caused the other man to stop.

"I don't care what I have to do to save you from yourself," Beck says. "But we're not going to El Dorado."

"You should be worrying about yourself," Travis tells him. "My dad will kill you, so you should be taking your own advice, and getting away from him."

Beck lets out a breath. "Just take Option A, Travis, for once, please. We'll work something out with the money, okay?"

"You know better than that," Travis says. "I'm an Option C kind of guy." With that, Travis spins around and then jumps out of sight.

Beck's eyes widen and he leaps forward as he realizes they're standing on the edge of a cliff. He skids to a stop and glances down at the rushing water below. Travis is still falling, and then he's gone underneath the water.

"I really hate the jungle," Beck mutters, before diving in after him.

Travis comes bursting out of the surface of the water, sucking in a deep breath. He's still brushing the water from his eyelashes when he hears the splash behind him. "Oh, fu--"

Before he can swim away, arms wrap around him from behind, and he feels hot breath against the back of his neck. "You really shouldn't have done that," Beck says dangerously.

"This is ridiculous," Travis says, trying to appease him at the same time that he's trying to slip free. "Beck!"

Beck keeps Travis pulled against him, and pushes them both towards the edge of the water. He drags Travis back onto land by his arm. "You're insane!" Travis snaps.

"You started it," Beck says. "You know what happens when you choose Option B. We're going back."

"You're such a control freak!" Travis says. "Seriously, seek professional help! When I get my millions, I'll even pay for the therapy."

"Don't make this out like I'm the one being unreasonable," Beck says.

"You just followed me off a cliff!" Travis yells.

"You're the one that jumped first!" Beck yells back.

"If your friend jumps off a bridge--"

"Yes, I'd jump after him, to keep the fool from drowning," Beck says, answering the old adage before Travis could finish asking. "Are you done trying to fight me? Or do we need to go through this all again?"

Travis glares at him. "No, we're done fighting," he snaps. "Not that I don't appreciate everything you've done for me, but you don't get to tell me what to do! My father's been doing it to me my whole life, and I'm sick of it, okay? Maybe I'll screw up, maybe I'll get myself killed--whatever, I don't know what's going to happen, but I know I'm not going back with you. I'm through with running from my father."

"Travis--"

"You think you're always right, but you're not, Beck, not always," Travis says. "You never should have taken me back there in the first place. The only reason I came back to El Dorado with the Gato--the reason I came back, it was because I didn't think you would go through with it. I never thought you'd really take me back."

"I didn't leave you there, Travis," Beck says.

"No, you didn't," Travis agrees. "I've always wondered, did you plan that all along, or did the guilt just get to you?"

"Travis--" Beck starts.

"It's a simple question," Travis says.

"Why do you think I had the Konlovos with me?" Beck asks instead of answering. "Did you think I was going to serve them up at my restaurant?"

Travis gives a wry grin. "I guess not, but you still sold me for your $250,000, Beck. Say what you want about me, but I gave the Gato back. I chose Mariana's people over having my name on display in a museum, so don't you begrudge me getting my cut. I haven't got anything else."

Beck glances away, back up the massive cliff towards the way they came. "Option D," he says, after a moment.

Travis looks bewildered. "What?" he asks.

"Option D," Beck repeats. "We're going to El Dorado together."