Sam looked from the guns to Quorra, then (with difficulty) back to the guns. "Seriously, guys? You couldn't have waited a few hours? Look at this girl! I'm going to die on two and three-quarters base with her? Just look at her!" With that, he pulled Quorra's sheet away. While the gunmen stared, he twisted the sheet into a rope and whipped the gun out of one's hand. Quorra threw something into the other's face and he went down screaming.
"What was that?" Sam asked, finishing off his guy with a right hook.
"Shuriken." Quorra nodded. "Always bring protection on a date. Is he okay?"
"Yeah. I bet he was planning on getting his nose pierced anyway." Sam grabbed his clothes and threw them on like he was late for a booty call with Angelina Jolie. "You'd better get dressed. If mob hits go south, there's usually a back-up plan ready to go."
Quorra put on her shoes first, which was sensible, if more than a little distracting. "How do you know so much about the Mob? Do you have a dark past?"
"No, I just read a lot of true crime."
"My ideal man reads! Not true crime specifically, but anything not by Cassandra Clare! Do you like Harry Potter?"
"Quorra, everyone likes Harry Potter."
"I don't," a recovering mobster groaned.
Sam kicked him. "No wonder you're evil."
Sam was just hopping into his pants when a phone vibrated in one of the mobster's pants. It buzzed for a moment while Sam and Quorra froze, then bullets ripped through the door. They both threw themselves to the ground.
"Balcony!" Sam said, grabbing their coats and scrambling on all-fours for the glass sliding door. They threw it open and stepped out into the cold night air. Behind them, the door to the room buckled.
"We're going to have to jump," Sam said. "Aim for the pool."
"Oh, there's a pool!" Quorra said. "That's neat."
She hopped the railing and dropped down a few stories into it, arms at her side like she had commando training. Sam followed suit as the door burst open behind him. When he landed, the water chilled him to the bone. But then, he needed a cold shower anyway.
Sam thought of going to the police, but one look at Quorra convinced him not to. He didn't want her cover story to be exposed to scrutiny. Any decent cop who spent five minutes with her would be convinced she was on shrooms, and not a natural high. Well, as natural as someone who was born in a computer could be.
Besides, automatic weapons, multiple gunmen… with resources like that, who was to say the cops weren't in on it? Sam made a quick call to Alan, who said he'd do what he could from his end. Alan had made a lot of friends in the law enforcement community investigating Kevin Flynn's disappearance.
"In the meantime, lay low," Alan said. "Whoever these people are, don't give them a second shot at you."
"Don't worry. I've had my fill of people trying to kill me."
From there, they stole a car (which Sam could chalk up to a 'dark past,' although he mostly just went joy-riding in campus security cars. Well, he'd give it back with a nice apology and a brick of cash in the glove compartment) and put pedal to metal.
"I'm sorry about tonight," Sam told Quorra. He rested both hands on the steering wheel and let the roar of the engine massage his frayed nerves. "Let's face it—if one of us has people trying to kill them, it's probably me.
"Don't worry. I'm sure it happens to a lot of guys."
Sam quirked his lips, but let it go when Quorra rested her head on his shoulder.
By 4 AM, they made El Paso, where an old friend was waiting. Sam knocked on the door of the double-wide until it opened.
"Hey," Jet Bradley said, looking at him. "Heeeey," he said, looking at Quorra. He noticed there wasn't much more to their wardrobe than very tightly secured coats. "You're not here to flash me, are you?"
Sam sighed. "Quorra, this is Jet. Jet, this is Quorra."
"Finally, someone with a normal name," Quorra said sotto voce.
"What can I do for you?" Jet asked. "Cuz I'll do anything that doesn't involve being out of bed for over five minutes."
"We just need a place to crash."
"I've got some camping stuff in the back." Jet blinked a little more sleep out of his eyes. "Wait, aren't you a millionaire or something?"
"Long story. We were at a hotel and—"
"It happens to a lot of guys," Quorra said preemptively.
Sam and Quorra set up the tent while Jet went back to sleep. He'd parked his RV way off the beaten path, so there was nothing to see but the stars.
"Sorry again about tonight." Sam rolled out a sleeping bag.
"What are you talking about? We saw a movie, had dinner, went BASE jumping—"
"You're really supposed to have a parachute in BASE jumping," Sam told her, just for future reference.
"And now we're camping!" Quorra slid into her bag and zipped herself up. "If we just had a campfire and s'mores, this would be perfect."
"Still, would've been nice to give the Jacuzzi a whirl."
"Yeah." Quorra nodded to the RV. "So, who's your friend?"
"Jet? Yeah, he's Alan's kid. We grew up together. I'd trust him with anything except you."
Quorra yawned, the adrenaline leaving her body. Then she raised her head, brow furrowed. There was red on Sam's pillow. "You're bleeding."
Sam touched the wound. Just a small cut over his hairline. "Must've been a ricochet. I'll be fine."
Quorra rose and unzipped her sleeping bag in one move, letting it fall off her. "What if they come back? Can you run?"
Sam wasn't interested in a rerun of the pizza episode. "It's just a scratch, Quorra. It's not even bleeding any more.
She crouched over him. "So you can run? You can fight?"
Quorra sat back, now straddling his lap. "So you can do other things too?"
She didn't wait for an answer to work his belt out of his pants.
Sam rolled her underneath him and gave her his answer anyway.
Sam woke up to the smell of bacon and the absence of Quorra. It was amazing how fast he'd gotten used to her body curled around his. He got up, scanning the tent for her, and saw out the open flap and through a window in the RV, Quorra's matte-black hair. Sam threw on his clothes, wincing when the collar of his shirt hit the still-ginger cut on his head, and wandered out into the desert. The Texas sun was already beating down, so he hurried to the air-conditioned RV to find Quorra working the kitchenette like she owned it, the stove top overflowing with sizzling pans. She was already halfway to a banquet and she wasn't even wearing pants. In fact, it was pretty much just slippers and an apron. That said Kiss The Cook.
And his boxers, which Sam had been wondering about. Maybe he was just a little OCD, but that seemed to be taking the 'sexy-wearing-boyfriend's clothes' a little too far.
When she saw him snitching a strip of bacon, Quorra squeaked. "You're not supposed to be up yet! I'm still preparing the first course! You have to wait until I'm flipping pancakes and singing a pop song and doing a little dance…"
He gave her a swat on the rump, which was sure to tick something on her rom-com checklist. "You don't need all that to be adorable, Quorra. Where's Jet?"
"He went into town. Something about picking up some kush to celebrate."
Sam's mind boggled at the thought of a stoned Quorra.
She made do with flipping some eggs on the skillet. "Kiss the back of my neck. It's traditional for post-coital couples in the morning hours."
He kissed her cheek, her neck, everywhere. "Where'd you learn to do that last night?"
"Urban dictionary. It's called a Schrödinger's Cat."
Grabbing some more bacon, he moved off to check the messages on his cell-phone. Alan had left one. For five minutes, Sam listened, then he shot back a quick "A-OK" text to Alan and sat on the counter facing Quorra. "Guess who just wasted a night in a tent?"
"I wouldn't say we wasted it."
Sam grinned. "True. The cops picked up those jokers who took a shot at us. A little Walker, Texas Ranger and they folded. Ed Dillinger Jr. hired them."
"How can he be evil? He's so cute!"
Sam side-eyed her. "Apparently, he'd been running some scams. With him in Finance, he could cover his tracks, but he needed to kill me to make sure I couldn't mess with his plans anymore."
"But you were leaving him alone, right?"
"Yeah." Sam took a seat. "Guess he didn't trust me. Or he was still sore about the punch. Plus, I did call him a dillweed…"
"So he's under arrest?" Quorra repeated. "Just like that?"
"Oh." Quorra picked up a candy heart from a dish Jet apparently owned. She ate it without even looking at the message. "So we don't have to go on the run or get fake IDs or grow facial hair?"
"Quorra, it's the real world. Not everything is a big adventure. Sometimes things just work out and… trail off, I guess."
"It just doesn't seem right." Quorra turned off the stove and sat down across from him. "This is the end, right? We're finally in a real relationship, there was sex, we beat the bad guy… there should be a big climax, and a denouncement, friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming friends…"
Sam nodded along. "A big theme? Aesop's moral?"
"Yeah! That'd be perfect!"
Sam tapped his fingers on the table as he tried to think of a moral. "Moral, moral… with great power comes great responsibility?"
"You stole that from Spider-Man!"
"He won't miss it… you got anything?"
"True love always wins out in the end!" Quorra beamed.
"That's not so much a moral as a statement, though."
"Be true to yourself, then!"
"Nah… we both kinda changed. I grew up, sorta… you stopped being such a spaz…"
"I mean it in a nice way."
"Maybe we're still on the last adventure's moral. Don't strive for perfection; second-best is awesome!"
"When you put it that way…"
Quorra slouched. "Maybe there isn't a moral. Maybe this isn't even an adventure. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened."
"That seems a little… wait…" Sam sat up straighter. "Maybe that's the moral. Not everything can be a big adventure, so you have to appreciate the stuff that happens. Sure, we didn't overthrow an evil tyrant or fall in love…"
"I fell in love."
"Yeah, but that was in the computer world. The real world's been a bunch of evaluating-our-relationship and respecting-each-other-as-individuals CW network stuff."
"You've been in love with me since Tron City?" Quorra happily munched a candy heart. "Love at first sight!"
"Well, first sight after you took off that weird helmet you never wore again."
"That helmet is very fashionable inside a computer."
"So anyway, we didn't have an adventure, but we did spend a lot of time together, I got over my dad stuff, you had awesome sex. And that's really cool too."
Quorra picked up a candy heart. "'Muffin.' Aww… Wait, you aren't talking about my stomach, are you? Damn you, double-stuf Oreos!"
Sam rolled his eyes and took one himself. "'Luv me'. Thank God for emotionally open candy."
Quorra laughed. Sam never would've admitted it, but right then, in that moment, domestic tranquility—white picket fence, 2.5 kids, a minivan—it looked pretty good.
Jet burst through the door. "Okay, hey, none of you have outstanding warrant things with the FBI, right? Ooh, bacon."
Sam bolted up to grab Jet's arm as he rushed by. "Whoa, hold up. What's going on?"
"Just last week, man, I got this wild e-mail. The CIA has some kind of AI software, really serious shit. I tried to hack it, but got shut down. I thought they didn't track me, but, yeah, this would be a good time to go."
"What if there were another way to hack it?" Quorra asked. "A really cool way?"
"Oh, I'd love to find out just what the spooks have cooked up, but no way am I going it alone. Nice seeing you again, Sam, and enjoy the honeymoon, but you have to go."
Quorra was looking at Sam and making emphatic gestures with her eyebrows. After a moment, Sam gave in to the urge to grin.
"C'mon, Jet. Let's hit the arcade. But first we need to pick up some underwear, because I am not free-balling into adventure."