By now, it had become tradition. Once Harvey started to snore, Noah would walk out the door, and Clara would close it. They would climb up to the roof, usually with a carefully rationed bottle of alcohol, and talk until someone began to fall asleep, when they would climb back down and go to sleep.

They talked a lot. At first, it was memories – Noah's escapades as the only male student in his mother's dancing class, purely for the effect of a male student to lift and twirl adolescent ballerinas or showcase a Virginia Reel, despite his distinct lack of grace. Then a Clara memory would resurface and cut in, usually of formal parties her parents threw and overly-drunk guests who became shockingly forward as Clara entered junior high. It went on to general beliefs and alcohol preferences and finally the most recent past.

One night, when the pair were shockingly sober, Noah was recounting a memory of trying to find Clara, guessing his way through a maze of train schedules and stations. She laughed loudly at his description of the seemingly unchanging walls of chain-smoking hobos, and it became soothingly quiet afterwards.

That is, until Noah decided to talk again.

"So, uh, what happened after – "

"After you followed me off the train and I punched you in the face?" Clara asked with the faux innocence only the youngest sibling could have.

"To be honest," Noah started. "It was more of a slap than anything else."

"Still had to hurt," Clara laughed. She took a tentative sip of the bottle and shrugged. "Couldn't find the circus, so I decided to stay in town for awhile, just until I could reach the circus, which I never could. Got a job and a cheap apartment and was living the dream, obviously. Then you came along, and voila – robbed a bank."

"You didn't miss much with the circus, by the way. The Ringmaster was a bastard; Will pissed him off, so we split. And that's the full story."

"And that's it?" Clara asked speculatively. "you have every cop in the country tailing your ass and you give a ten second sum-up that basically made me fall asleep. Full story, my ass!"

"Fine, fine. But to clarify, it isn't every cop in the country, just a select few."

"What do you mean?" Clara asked, furrowing her eyebrows. Noah tried not to notice the wrinkles in her forehead – as a matter of fact, there were a lot of things about Clara he tried not to notice, specifically things that made her more likable as opposed to a runaway she-witch.

"I mean, we're not being actively followed by the police. Isn't that what I said?"

"Then why do you all act as though the cops are going to find us wherever we go?"

"I might need to the rest of the bottle," Noah grumbled. Clara sat as patiently as she could as Noah squinted into the bottle. "Not nearly enough," he muttered as he swigged. "Okay, so we've kind of been lying around you. Don't give me that look, it's a lot more convenient to blame the cops without going into this entire story, so just bear with me. There's these three guys, yeah? They rob banks, too, just not out of necessity. We had a bit of a nasty run-in with them awhile back."

"Details," Clara ordered.

"I was getting to that point, just stop interrupting. Look, in the beginning, things were getting really bad and we were really crap at robbing banks and were basically living off grapes we could steal at grocery stores. So we hear about these guys who can easily score a few grand off a single bank run, and we go to join them for a run. Just one, no attachments, we got a cut of the money that would easily let us on for a few months. These guys, though, they're not the kind of guys you can trust. There's three of them, basically a leader, his bodyguard, and his rat, and they like to act like some kind of old-fashioned gang – at least, the two that can think – and are serious about bank robbing.

"So we rob the bank, no big deal, and we get the cut fine enough. But they decide their merry group needs a few extra members and try to convince Fauna that she'd make an excellent addition as their communal girlfriend, or whatever, which sets Will off, obviously. So here we are, the big one, the bodyguard, has Will in a headlock in one hand and Fauna in the other, while Harvey and I are trying to fight off the other two. Thank God we left Heath in the van, locked up and sleeping, because things got a bit bloody. Needless to say, we barely escaped and they've been following us ever since."

Clara got a cold flush through her stomach, but tried to shrug it off with more alcohol. "So, in short, they're trying to bust your kneecaps?"


"Great. Fun. Adventurous life I joined, really."

"It's not that bad. With any luck, you'll never see them." Noah said deciding that nonchalance was the best way to camouflage his terror, as the alcohol had run out.

"Because we're obviously so full of luck." Clara had the same strategy, using sarcasm as her outlet, not knowing how truly awful she was at sarcastic remarks.

"You did rob that bank…" Noah smirked, ducking as Clara's hand came dangerously close to his face, remembering what happened the last time she punched him.

"Oh, shut up! That was pure skill and you know it!" Clara bellowed, full of pride.

They both started laughing, happy to forget the three men that would be more than happy to kill them, and Noah was about to say something when a door below them crashed open and an old woman in a sheer polyester robe ambled out.

"Shut up or I'm calling management!" She called out blindly, waving her fist at a bush below. Clara started quietly giggling and, shaking with pent-up laughter, covered half her mouth and most of her cheek quickly. The woman went back inside, mumbling about "damn kids" and their "damn nocturnal-ness."

So they snuck back down to their room, where Harvey was faithfully snoring away. Ten minutes later, once they were both in their respective beds, Noah was still awake. "Clara?" Noah called out, as quietly as he could. There was no response, except Harvey's snores. "Stupid," he whispered to himself and rolled over, facing the wall, not noticing that Harvey's snores had been too perfectly choreographed to be natural for the last ten minutes.


Clara blearily opened her left eye. As with most mornings these days, her head was pounding, the room was too bright, and it seemed as though her tongue began to rot in the handful of hours she slept.

A pillow crash-landed on her face. "All right, all right, I'm getting up," she muttered, rolling out of bed. "Why is the bathroom locked?" Clara yawned, facing Harvey, who was eating a bowl of cereal, perched on the edge of his bed like a cat.

"Noah's in the shower, just go next door and use their bathroom."

There was a door joining the two rooms, which opened easily enough. The motel rooms were almost identical, only Fauna's was neater and smelling of sick people. Heath was curled up in the furthest bed, muttering and turning loudly but still asleep. Fauna and Will were on the other side of the room, speaking in hushed tones Clara could barely hear.

"This isn't helping, he can't get better like this," Fauna hissed.

"What do you think we can do, Faun? We can't just run off with Heath, where would we go? They'd never forgive us."

"God, I don't know, Will. We just need to think about Heath, and he's only going to get worse if we stay on the run." Fauna looked as though she was going to start to cry, and so did Will, and they seemed to melt into each other. Clara, feeling rather rude and as though she had violated a rather private moment, quickly jumped back in her own room and shut the door.
"That was fast," Harvey remarked, still eating his cereal.

"Didn't have to go that bad," Clara answered, hoping Noah wouldn't be much longer in the shower. She didn't want to think about what would happen if Noah or Harvey learned that Fauna and Will were ready to jump ship, and she didn't want to think of their relationship - she just wanted to pee and get back on the road.