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[Podfic] and one epic road trip too

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Cover art for the podfic. The background is a picture of Shao and Zeke made to look like it has been folded and worn. It depicts them laying on the hood of a car, Shao is leaning into Zeke. On top, with the same worn asthetic, it says 'And one epic road trip too' like a stamp on the photo and 'by wingedwords' in a handwritten font.

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TRANSCRIPT:

and one epic road trip too

written and read by wingedwords

A not-fic sequel to the prelude to a small series of road trips.

(as it turns out, the small series of road trips itself is, quite unfairly, not very consequential to this story.)

There are long, long train rides between New Haven and the Bronx, back and forth, until finally Zeke's first year is over.

...How does this lead to a road trip?

You know, I don't know how this leads to a road trip, I just know that it does.

So this wouldn't be a road trip story without a destination. And that's where Mylene comes back into the picture. Zeke and her haven't really talked that much since he left and since she left, but they were never really willing to admit that it was over.

So, in theory, Zeke was going to drive across the country to LA when his first year is over, and spend the summer together. But he honestly doesn't really think that he's gonna go.

But he also- The main reason he wants to stay is because of Shao. And he is not really quite ready to admit that either. So he doesn't want to tell Shao that he wants to stay. He doesn't want to tell Mylene that he wants to stay. So he just sort of pretends like he's going to go, just knowing that at some point, he's going to have to face the both of them and admit that things have changed.

Not yet.

And that "not yet" gets repeated over and over and over. Through midterms. Through finals. And then it's time to go and he has not told anyone that he isn't planning on going.

And at the same time, Shao also wants him to stay. You know, he feels the same way and it's been a year of long train rides back and forth. And neither of them have said it. Shao still thinks that Zeke is leaving him to go to LA to be with Mylene. But he's not going to be the one to ask him to stay. He's not going to admit how much he'll miss Zeke but he's also not willing to give him up.

So instead, he just sort of... inserts himself into the plan. "Zeke is going to LA in the summer" has become "Zeke and Shao are going to LA for the summer."

But he doesn't really tell Zeke that that's the plan.

So the summer comes, the semester's finally over and Zeke is not going to LA and nobody knows that. Shao is going to LA and nobody knows that. This could be a moment of interesting high jinks where Shao goes to LA on his own, but that doesn't really make sense as- How- Were they going to take separate cars?

But, so, what it is, is that Shao shows up right before Zeke is supposed to leave and before Zeke can open his mouth to admit he's not going, Shao - just pure bravado - says "All right, what time do we leave?"

And Zeke starts to realize that he apparently doesn't need to say that he wants to stay with Shao because Shao's coming with him. He has the length of the entire United States to figure out what he's going to do with Mylene.

And he's really into that idea. Of driving across the entire continental US with Shao. So... they start driving.

Cue the road trip.

Also cue some big questions as to what happens when they get there.

Spoiler alert, I think that it ends with the three of them together with a long metaphorical road of how they get there- I'm getting off track. Honestly, I might cut this bit.

I think I've decided how they do their road trip.

It's way too much to drive all at once. You can't drive across the United States in one go. And neither of them really have getting there as a big priority.

So Shao didn't tell Zeke that he was coming. He didn't tell Mylene that he was coming. He barely even admitted to himself that he was coming. But he did need to prepare for his absence. And so he told the other people that he has since come to know. (Because I hope that after the series ends, he has other people in his life. Nice opportunity for some OCs.)

And so he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who's throwing a show in Philadelphia.

So they decide to stop by there. They couch surf a little bit. They go to the show. They get to know some people. Maybe they perform. And just as they're about to leave - because they told Mylene that they're coming, and they told each other that they're going - somebody mentions-

Hold on, I gotta look up a map of the United States.

-they hear that someone is having a show in Cleveland. It doesn't hurt to stop in Cleveland.

So they stop there. They get to know a few more people. They get to see a few more shows. There's not as much hip hop. It's still fairly new, disco is still big. But it's still music, it's still people, and it's still them being able to experience music together.

After Cleveland, they stop in Detroit. After Detroit, they stop in Chicago. Then it's down to St. Louis, and to Kansas City. At this point, they're moving west basically out of plausible deniability. But the further west they get, the fewer cities, and the fewer people, the fewer shows.

Around the same time that they finally get to know some people who know people in LA, they've also gotten to know some people who know some people in Maryland, and then there's no easy answer as to where they're gonna go next.

In theory, Shao doesn't have to go any further, he doesn't have a reason to go to LA. Technically, Zeke still does. And there are more and more reasons pulling Shao back east. There's no more plausible deniability. There's no more convenient excuses.

So finally, finally, they have a heart to heart. It's not as clear cut as maybe either of them wanted it to be. Because though things with Mylene aren't the same as they were, there's still a reason that Zeke is driving across the United States. And it's not just guilt. It is not just a fear of messing with the status quo.

It's Mylene.

For so long, it has been Mylene. It's a little bit always going to be Mylene. And Zeke thinks, this is it. He can't choose. So Shao was gonna choose for him. But Shao doesn't choose for him. He doesn't make him choose at all.

So they go to LA.

I could go into more detail as to what happens next. But that wouldn't really be a road trip story anymore. I guess they ride off into the sunset? I don't fucking know.

The end. (a second time)