“We nearly home yet?” Piper asked, fidgeting in the backseat of the car.
“‘Nother fifteen minutes,” Mick grunted from the driver’s seat. Piper shut his eyes and swallowed thickly.
“Mark, ‘n you open the window?” he mumbled to the man on his right.
“What’s up with you?” Len asked loudly from the passenger seat, frowning at the Piper in the rearview mirror; the young man had pulled his nightcap style hat off of his head and was clutching it in a white-knuckle grip in his lap. He was even paler than usual, face clammy with sweat as he stared determinedly past the Captain and out of the windscreen ahead of him. With the exception of Mick, the rest of the Rogues in the car turned in their seats to stare at him.
“Yeesh, ‘e’s gone as green as his getup!” sniggered Digger, his face leering over the back of his seat at Piper. “Watch out, lads, he is gonna hurl!”
“If you must, aim at him,” Mark said dryly from beside Piper, nodding at Digger sat in front of them, as he wound down the car window. Piper made a tiny noise of appreciation as a neat flick of the weather wand wafted cool breezes into the back of the car.
“You not feeling good, mate?” James asked from the seat next to Digger’s, his tanned and freckled nose poking over the edge of his seat as he twisted round. When Piper gave a tiny shake of his head, James propped his chin up on the back of his seat and gave Piper a sympathetic pout. “Poor baby.”
“He’s older than you,” Roscoe pointed out from Piper’s other side on the back seat. James shrugged, still pouting.
“Still a sick baby.”
“Wasn’t something you ate, was it?” Mick asked the rearview mirror with worried frown. He’d cooked them all breakfast before they’d left this morning, and he cooked things thoroughly; he’d never had any complaints before.
“No,” Piper mumbled, mouth barely moving like he didn’t trust himself to speak. “Car sick,” he forced out. Mick winced.
“Sorry, bud. Maybe you shoulda gone back with Sam through the mirrors.” There was a derisive noise from the backseat so shrill that it set the Rogues’ teeth on edge.
“Like the mirrorverse is any better,” Piper said, teeth chattering as he hugged his arms around his stomach. He had travelled with Sam through his mirrors a grand total of once, and that was one too many times for his liking.
“‘S faster,” Mick shrugged, focusing on the road again, doing his best to drive carefully.
“Hang on,” Roscoe said suddenly after minute’s silence. He shifted in his seat so he could face the man on his right who was unwillingly committed to his impersonation of a zombie as he stared out the front window. “You’re sick? From the car moving?”
“That’s what he said,” Len drawled, rolling his eyes. “That not fit in with all your learned studies, Dillon?”
Roscoe grit his teeth. “Look at me,” he ordered.
Len snorted. “Why’d I wanna-”
“Not you,” Roscoe snapped at Len. He turned his attention back to Piper who was watching his tentatively out of the corner of his eye. “Look at me,” he said, more gently. “No, properly,” he frowned when Piper only turned his head a fraction towards him.
Piper swallowed, turning his head reluctantly; his stomach churned and his head span as his eyes slid inexorably to the blur of colours rushing past the passenger window behind Roscoe’s head.
“Uh,” Roscoe tutted, clicking his fingers in front of Hartley’s eyes and forcing the musician's attention back to him. “Eyes on me.” Then the Top placed his striped fingertips against Hartley’s temples without another word.
“What’s he doing?” James muttered, watching the exchange curiously. “Trying to mindmeld with him or something?” The Trickster jumped when Piper flinched away from Roscoe, blinking heavily with a sharp inhale of breath.
“Better?” Roscoe asked conversationally, sitting straight in his seat again. Piper licked his lips and nodded slowly, a surprised smile gracing his lips.
“Yeah, thanks. What-” he asked with an awkward laugh, “what did you actually do?”
“I reversed the car sickness,” Roscoe said simply. The occupants of the car stared at him.
“You what,” Len said flatly. Roscoe sighed and mimed inspecting the fingernails of his left hand, hidden beneath his striped costume.
“His nausea was caused by the motion of the car. I gave him a dose of vertigo to counteract it.”
“So you stopped him being sick by...trying to make him sick?” Mark asked incredulously.
“If you like.”
“What, like when people tell you to spin the other way when you’re dizzy to make it go away?” Mick asked curiously.
“Precisely that,” Roscoe said brightly.
“‘S just weird,” muttered Digger.
“It worked,” Piper shrugged, placing his hat back on his head. “Thank you, Roscoe. I really appreciate that.” Roscoe nodded silently, smiling to himself.
“You are most welcome.”
A content silence fell upon the party in the car.
It didn’t last.
“Um, so I know Piper problem’s sorted now and you’re free to enjoy cruising speed,” James piped up, leaning over the shoulder of the driver’s seat with a guilty grin, “but could you drive a bit faster? I really have to pee.”
The Rogues groaned as one.