Author's Notes: I'm not sure what my life has become that I am officially writing for two separate Disney fandoms. It's clear to me that my inner child needs to grow up.


your heart might be hard, but your hands are so soft

Sonny has a finger in her ear. She's not sure how long it's been there, but she's worried about how long it took her to notice it.

"I told you this was a bad idea," Chad's voice hisses to her right.

Sonny means to respond with a flippant retort about people with other their fingers in other peoples' ears not having valid opinions about just what is and what is not a good idea, but instead she just hears herself go pfffft and accidentally snorts dust up her nose. "Nooo-oo-ooh," she half-gasps, half-coughs, "You said, 'Sonny, the Falls is hiring a new male co-star and I need to make sure his dressing room is smaller than mine.'"

Chad shifts, his elbow jabbing into her stomach, and he covers his nose and mouth with his shirt. "You say poe-tay-toe," he grumbles.

His finger is still in her ear. Sonny's still not saying anything about it.

"Yeah, 'cause that's how it's pronounced," she snaps. "Now will you just look at the map and tell me where we are?"

They've been lost for half an hour, and Chad refuses to stop and ask for directions. He claims he has an "impenetrable' sense of direction. Which is just more proof that Sonny will never, ever take him up on that offer to road trip back to Wisconsin for the bi-annual Hard Cheese Festival.

"We're going in the right direction," he insists, and wriggles in a vaguely 'left' kind of way. Then he kind of gives up, because there really isn't enough room for two people in one vent.

Sonny give up. She props her head up on her elbows. "You have your finger in my ear," she says at last. "It's been there for like ten minutes."

Chad makes an impatient sound. "Yeah I know, Sonny, will you please be quiet so I can read this thing?"

"What do you mean, you know?"

The finger in her ear wriggles a little. It's… not unpleasant? Which is weird.

"Earwax makes the best moisturizer," he tells her absently. "Duh."

He says it like this is something that everybody knows, and um, it's totally not. "Seriously," she says, "you guys think that people from Wisconsin are weird, just because we like cheese? You like earwax."

"I don't think you're weird because you like cheese," Chad murmurs. He sounds… sort of sincere. Which is also weird. Then he ruins it: "I think you're weird because your state animal is a dairy cow."

"Yeah well. You're state animal is - " she pauses. "Wait. How do you know what the Wisconsin state animal is?"

Chad finally looks up from the map. He hasn't removed his finger from Sonny's ear yet. She's getting sort of used to the way it feels there. It's … comfortable, in this totally strange way. Not good, exactly. But not bad. Definitely not bad. He grins at her, for a brief flash, with that kind-of-sincere-but-mostly-smug smirk of his. Then it's loss in the upward swing of an eye roll. "I'm Chad Dylan Cooper, Sonny."


"So I have people to look things like that up for me."

"Why would you want to look up the state animal of Wisconsin?"

His expression doesn't change, but he slow-blinks at her. "You're from Wisconsin."

She feels herself blush a little, because Chad has that effect sometimes, much to her annoyance. She blames it on the sparkly eyes. Well, eye. The left is far more sparkly than the right. Everybody knows that (and by everybody, Sonny actually means everybody, not Chad's 'everybody' who thinks earwax makes good moisturizer (speaking of, his finger hasn't moved, and it's getting weird how not-weird it is)).

Anyway. Back to focus. She tries to remind herself that Chad doesn't mean these things the way she wants - that is, the way normal people would mean them. When he says 'you're from Wisconsin' what he means is, ' I need embarrassing information to humiliate you with.'

"There's nothing wrong with Wisconsin," she grumbles sullenly.

He says, in total seriousness, "It doesn't have me in it."

Sonny buries her face in her hands. She's not sure how she gets herself into these situations. "I have to pee," she whines. "Can't we just find the nearest exit and knock on the door?"

"That's so … pedestrian," Chad sniffs. "Knock on the door and then what? Say hello?"

"Umm… yes?"

"What do you think I pay Jack the mailman for?"

"Uh, your mail? And his name is Josh."

"Poe-tay-toe, Sonny, remember?"

"I will potato your face if you don't get me out of here in the next ten seconds!"

Chad sighs in that Chad-Dylan-Cooper-y way of his and wriggles forward. "Nearest exit's right around the corner. It'll drop you in the cafeteria."

Sonny's jaw drops and she rolls onto her side to glare at him from a better angle, dislodging his finger as she does so. He gives her a hurt look. Like she's personally responsible for any and all future calluses he might acquire. "You've known where we were this whole time?"

"Of course I have. I told you. My sense of direction is impenetrable."

"Why didn't you say anything?! We've been sitting here for half an hour!"

"Yeah, but I was comfortable," Chad answers. He's making it sound like her logic is messed up. This from a guy who's had his finger in her ear for the past ten minutes. "And I don't have anything to do until six or so. We can't film the kiss scene between Chloe and me until it's sunset. Got to get just the right amount of pink light reflecting in my eyes."

Sonny growls in the back of her throat and wriggles away from him, turning a hard left and slipping easily into the cafeteria. Okay, well, so, maybe what happens is more of like, a graceless tumble? But the point is, she gets into open air. And doesn't wet her pants.

Nico and Grady have their heads under the frozen yogurt machine again. Grady throws her a nod. "Whatcha doin' in the vents?" he asks. It sounds more like, "Wrmf yer dmooin yin da vons?"

Sonny laughs nervously, brushing herself off. "Oh, um, you know," she says loudly, "Just … looking for the bathroom. Where's Marshall's GPS when you need it? Ha, ha. Get it? GPS? H'okay, see ya."

She beats it out of there before Chad realizes she took the map.