CHAPTER FORTY FIVE

Randy was searching worriedly for a place to drop off his passengers. He hadn't said anything, naturally. But he needed to get rid of them. Soon. The further into LA proper they moved, the more anxious he became. Damn, he wished he could calm down. It felt as if his heart was going to pummel its way right out of his body. And he was hot. So damn hot. His thoughts kept flying back to his dream. His friends. He had to reach them. Had to find them. Had to explain. So they wouldn't desert him again. Again? No, they hadn't deserted him. Ever. That was in the dream. Only the dream. Once they knew the truth, why he'd done it, they'd understand. They wouldn't go away. They wouldn't.

He glanced frantically around him. This van. So damn hot. So damn small. All these people in it. Too many people. Depending on him. Making demands. Dragging him down. Keeping him from his friends. Damn. It was so hot. He couldn't think straight. He glanced in the rear view mirror again, checking Sam. He had awakened a while ago. Had been talking with the bitch. What was he telling her? More important, what was she telling him? He'd seen Daryl talking to her, too. He knew he should've left those two guys behind.

Randy watched the traffic ahead of him. The freeway was getting clogged, the flow slowing down. Damn. Damn! He had to get off this freeway, get onto the side streets. It would be faster that way. Lots faster. He took a quick glance in the side mirror. Still there. They were good, whoever they were. They were also stupid. Did they think he was just going to pull over and surrender to them? Maybe they needed a couple of bodies along the way to get the picture. God knows he had enough of them in this damn van. Starting with that bitch.

He swiped the sweat from his eyes yet again. Damn. It was so hot...


*****

She had watched Sam slowly come out of the sedative a few miles back. Luckily it was after they had finished that catapulting ride down the hillside. Maybe it was the jostling back and forth that had brought him back to consciousness. He'd looked around, confused, anxious. Until he saw her, leaning over him. She'd smiled, reassuring him.

"Sam?" He'd looked at her closely, unsure. "It's Maggie. I'm going to take care of you, don't worry, okay? We're in a van. Your friend, Randy? He's taking us somewhere, I'm not sure where. Kurt and Daryl are here with us. You're going to be okay. You've got an infection of some kind, but I've given you some antibiotics and we'll get it taken care of. You're going to be fine."

"Randy? Is he okay?" His voice was soft, almost a whisper, but firm. "Is he?"

"Is there some reason he shouldn't be okay, Sam?" Maybe she would start getting some answers now, so she knew what to do, what not to do.

"Drugged...A long time...off them now...withdrawal..."

Oh, God, no. Not...an addict? He couldn't...No...and going into withdrawal? Good God! Maggie looked up quickly at Daryl, who was watching them. Had he heard? Did he know?

Daryl looked down at her, concerned but not panicking. "It's a long story, Dr. Sullivan." He spoke softly, a glance to the front letting her know that he did not want Randy to pick up on what he said. "Randy was on special medications, thanks to Uncle Sam, and he ran out yesterday. I think he's going into withdrawal but it hasn't hit him hard yet. I'm hoping we'll get wherever he's going before it gets too bad. But we have to be careful what we say. He's getting very unpredictable."

"Is it safe for him to be driving?"

"So far. Kurt's watching him. I have been, too. He's getting...scattered...but so far he's holding on. If it gets too bad, either Kurt or I will have to take over. But that could be more dangerous than letting him drive."

Maggie nodded. She turned back to Sam, seeing the worry in his eyes.

"Not his fault, Doc...had no choice in it...don't blame him..."

"I won't, Sam. I won't." She still didn't understand exactly what was going on, but between what she'd gotten from Carla, and what she'd learned here, she knew now that Sam was not the only reason these men had come to her. They'd known what was coming. She began to understand some of Randy's behaviors now.

"What was he on?"

Daryl stole another glance to the front, then carefully pulled a paper from his jacket pocket. It was folded up several times. He slipped it over to her.

"It's not pretty, Dr. I hope you can figure out what to do with him."

Maggie carefully opened the paper and began to read.


*****

"BA?"

"I see. Figure he'll be turnin off sometime soon."

"Can you make it?"

BA shot Hannibal a disgusted look. Hadn't he just said he was expectin these guys to get off the freeway? Like he wasn't ready to make a fast move to the exit? He shook his head, scowling.

Hannibal looked back at Murdock and winked. The jazz was still humming, loud and clear. Once they got off the freeway, these guys would definitely try to lose them. Then the fun would begin.

Murdock grinned back at Hannibal. Murdock didn't just feel the jazz - he was plain higher than a kite on adrenalin. He knew they would be taking them soon. Knew that Face would be theirs again. He couldn't help bouncing on the seat, just a bit. Too much and BA would turn around and start yelling, and then they might lose Face. So he just bounced a little.

Frankie was not quite so excited. He was worried. Once again the guys were off in their fantasy world, thinking taking down armed men was fun...geez. Did they even stop to think about what could happen? What happened if these guys started shooting at them? They couldn't very well shoot back, maybe hit Face. Had they even considered that maybe the guys with Face weren't really with him, but holding him? That they were really the bad guys? Maybe Face wasn't even with them. They'd gotten close enough for Face to recognize the van and they still hadn't stopped. Maybe Face didn't want to come back to the team.

Frankie stared out the window and worried.


*****

Randy took a quick swing across lanes and hit the exit for Beverly Boulevard, ignoring the horns blaring around him. Three sets of eyes grew wide at the sudden swerving, Kurt almost grabbing for the wheel, thinking Randy had lost focus yet again. Only when he saw the determined frown on his face did Kurt see that Randy was actually still in control.

"What the hell, Randy?"

"Freeway's too slow now. Faster this way."

"Faster where? You still haven't told us where we're going."

Randy smiled. "You'll know, soon enough."

Randy watched behind him again. No sign of the black van, but that didn't mean anything. The anger he'd felt at their being there was going away. The desperation was gone. He didn't care if they followed. Let them. Nothing was going to stop him now. He could feel it. It was humming in him again. That feeling. That...euphoria. He was so close. So close. He'd be at the beach in just a little while now. Half hour, maybe 45 minutes. So close! He'd find his friends then. He wouldn't have to explain anything. He knew them. They'd welcome him back. Open arms. No questions. They wouldn't care where he'd been, what he'd done. It wouldn't matter. Because he belonged to them. They belonged to him.

He grinned. His heart wasn't pounding out of anger any more. No, that was pure joy, man. He felt almost light-headed with it. Soon. So soon. He wiped his face off again. Still hot, but it didn't matter. Soon he'd let the breeze off the ocean cool him off. He swim in the waves again. Coming flying back onto the sand on the waves. Let himself get knocked down and tossed around by the waves.

He glanced over at Kurt, back at Daryl, Sam...the doctor. What the hell? He'd introduce them to his friends. Maybe they'd like each other. That would be nice. An even bigger family. Yeah. A huge family. A gigantic family! He grinned even more.

This was gonna be so great...