A/N: whelp... here I am again XD. I didn't really plan on writing this at all, I started this at eight tonight, and just finished it up. And as I thought of a plot, I realized that the fourth of july is just around the corner! and I never wrote a fic for that holiday before, so why not?

And I figured to myself, I have to do at least one Cars fanfic with them as their automobile selves, just to take the challenge. That, and they're just so much cuter that way :D I set this much closer to the end of the movie, so I knew I couldn't kill off Sally and Lightning's relationship in this. I'm sorry if it seems like she's non-existant in this, but yeah... I couldn't figure out where she could fit in at, so please let me know what ya think of this. So anyway, here be the fic.

Disclaimer: I don't own Cars, nor its characters. eeeeeeee

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"Lights"

by: Marie Mikolay (If Wishes Were Blue Skies)

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The fourth of July was that day, Lightning noted, and everyone in town was getting ready like it was Christmas or something. Special red, white, and blue banners decorated the shops exteriors, Sarge took to playing patriotic music over his loudspeaker at random times during the day, and Mater had even decided to open up a small stand next to his junkyard to sell fireworks.

The holiday had never been one that Lightning cared for. But then again, he hadn't really bothered to notice any holiday, not until now at least. Now that he lived out in Radiator Springs, it seemed like even the tiniest thing mattered. As long as it was something he was able to do with his friends, he enjoyed it no matter what it was. So this was the first time he could say that he was excited about any holiday. And from stories told to him of the "infamous Radiator Springs fourth of July celebration," Lightning felt himself feeling like a little kid again, excited for something so simple.

He'd taken up official residence in the town only two months previous, and it shocked him how much he had changed. The first couple of days there had pretty much changed him completely, but now he felt like he had lived there all his life. How everyone had welcomed him in, it just seemed like they were life-long friends. He began to like the same things they did, be happy over the same things that they did… and it was great. He wouldn't have it any other way.

So with these thoughts in mind, Lightning couldn't help but smile just a little as he drove down the main road, watching everyone start to close up for the day. The lights going off, doors locking, and 'sorry, we're closed' signs going up. As the last of the visitors and customers left, the town's residents and tourists who were there to see the firework show as well all made their way to Willy Butte to watch the show.

He looked around for a moment in search of Sally, but wasn't able to spot her. He shrugged, just figuring she was taking a little while longer to get things done over at the motel, so he drove over to the rusty tow truck that was his best friend.

"Hey, Mater," he greeted as he drove up next to him. As expected, Mater looked considerably happy to see him.

"Heya there, buddy!" he replied cheerily. "Ya excited for the show?"

Lightning smiled. "Yeah! I hear it's the best there is," he said, now noticing that the sky was melting into a rich purple-ish blue. It wouldn't be long now before it was completely dark.

Mater nodded enthusiastically. "Ya best believe it is!" he exclaimed. "But…"

He looked around, as if to check that no one was listening. Lightning raised an eyebrow at him, and then Mater leaned over close to him, and whispered, "… only if ya know where ta go."

Lightning just looked at him, confused, and was about to ask what in the world he was talking about, when Mater looked past him and smiled.

"Hey there, Sally!" he called out, waving a tire in the air. Lightning turned to see her a good few feet away, but when she spotted the two of them, she quickly drove over.

"Sorry I took so long," she said once she made it over, nuzzling up against Lightning in greeting. He quickly returned the gesture, listening as she launched into an explanation about the tons of paperwork she had to fill out before leaving the motel that day.

It was finally dark out by the time Sally was finished speaking, and I watched Doc pull away from the crowd and drive up to the front. Everyone grew quiet.

"First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July," he stated in his calm, but still pleasant voice. Everyone in the crowd cheered in response for a few seconds before going silent once more.

"Second, I would also like everyone to give the visitors we have here today a nice welcome. This'll be our first firework show in a long time with outside visitors," he then stated, his tone even happier. And again, everyone cheered, but also gave acknowledgement to those who were here for the first time.

After it quieted down once again, Doc went on to say, "So without further ado, I present to you the infamous Radiator Springs firework show!"

It was then that Lightning noticed Doc's difference in behavior since the whole Piston Cup incident. The old car had become much more outgoing, and showed his lively side more often. He of course had noticed this many times before, but every time Doc made some excited outburst about something, it always made him smile.

The crowd cheered for a third time, but much louder than before, and went on longer. And then the first firework went off, a bright blue one, and Lightning watched in awe as it exploded into a million tiny sparks in the night sky, as though he'd never seen one before. But watching it with the two cars closest to him in his life, it might as well have been the first time. It made the experience thousands of times more enjoyable.

As Lightning stared up at the sky, he almost lost himself in the beauty of the different reds, blues, yellows, and greens. His mind drifted a bit to how lucky he suddenly felt to be there at that moment. How lucky he was to have found this place purely by chance, and how lucky he was to have the friends he now had. He couldn't imagine being in some fancy hotel room right now, completely ignoring the fireworks that might have been sounding off in the city.

Something nudging him knocked Lightning from his thoughts. Looking over, he saw that the something was Mater.

"Come on," he said, making a gesture to the road behind him. Lightning just raised an eyebrow at him.

"What're you talking about, Mater?" he asked. He wondered why Mater would want to leave. The tow truck just smiled.

"Just come on," he replied, and then turned himself around and began driving away from everyone else. He wanted to call out to him, but he figured that would draw too much attention to himself. So, hopeless, he turned to Sally and told her he'd be right back. She looked confused as well, but just nodded.

Lightning drove away from the crowd as well, following Mater. Once he was next to him, he asked, "Where're we going?"

Mater chuckled. "You'll see when we get there," he stated simply, and Lightning knew he wasn't getting anything out of him. "But we gotta hightail it there if we don't wanna miss much of the show," Mater then told him, and started driving quite a bit faster. Lightning followed in suit to catch up, but obviously didn't drive nearly as fast as he could.

Mater led the racecar up a small hill that ended up winding up around the spot where everyone was watching the show. The further they drove, the higher up the road went, eventually bringing them up quite higher than the ground level. And only a minute or so later, Mater came to a stop upon a small ridge.

Lightning pulled up beside him and looked down at the large crowd of cars below. He looked over at Mater to ask him why he had brought him there when another firework went off, silencing him before he got a chance to speak, and all in an instant, he knew why. The spot they were in now was closer to where the fireworks were being set off, thus making them all the more entrancing to look at. They were closer, and bigger, so they took up all of the sky it seemed. Lightning's mouth hung open; he had never seen fireworks like this before. Not up lose like this.

"I told ya," Mater spoke. "All ya need is ta know where to go."

Lightning was able to tear his gaze away from the sky to look over at Mater for a moment. He was looking upward, completely and utterly happy, and that in and of itself made Lightning happy as well.

"Yeah…" the racecar breathed, looking back up to the glittering lights up above.

"You know…" Mater began after a few seconds. "You're the first one I done brought up here."

Lightning looked at his friend, a bit surprised at what he had said. "But why?" he asked incredulously. "This is an amazing view, why wouldn't you show anyone else?" It was unlike Mater to keep anything from his friends, especially something as enjoyable as this.

Mater looked over at him. "Well, I don't wanna be flauntin' nothin' or nothin', but this place is my…" He stopped and looked around again, despite the fact that there was no one else around.

"… secret base," he finished in a laughable mysterious voice. Lightning chuckled at his friend's childlike behavior.

"But still," Lightning pressed. "Why only show me?"

Mater smiled, but not in the way he did on a daily basis. It was… softer in some way. Lightning couldn't pinpoint why, but he had always liked it when Mater smiled like that. It reminded him of the night he told him that he thought of Lightning as his best friend…

A memory Lightning held dear.

"You're my best friend," Mater then told him. "Why wouldn't I show ya?"

Lightning contemplated it for a moment, but it still confused him. "But everyone else in town is your friend, too," Lightning stated.

Mater nudged him with his tire playfully. "Yeah, but yer my best friend," he replied as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. For a moment, he still didn't understand, but Mater continued.

"Sometimes it just seems ta me like… I dunno, like you're closer to me than all of the others," he said in a thoughtful tone, and then smiling. Lightning could only stare at him for a few seconds, rerunning his friend's words over in his head.

Mater went on. "Ya know, almost like we're more than friends," he said casually. Lightning involuntarily blushed, his eyes widening. What was he trying to say…?

"Kinda like brothers, or somethin'… oh, I dunno," he finished, smiling once again. Lightning couldn't find his voice. What had Mater just implied? He didn't… no, it wasn't possible. Lightning shook his head, trying desperately to pull things together. And he was about to say something, when the finale of the firework show then began. The two of them automatically looked back up to the sky as ten different fireworks began going off all at once, booming all across the valley. Lights of what seemed like millions of different colors shone through the sky, sending sparks this way and that. It truly was a sight to see, Lightning thought to himself. And seeing it with Mater could…

He glanced over at the tow truck beside him.

… only make it better.

Then, all at once, the fireworks stopped, ending the show, but Lightning barely noticed. But then he found himself quite embarrassed when he realized he still hadn't looked away from Mater. The tow truck noticed as he turned to look at Lightning, but for some reason unbeknownst to him, Lightning didn't turn away.

And then, Mater suddenly had an odd expression on his face. He looked down for a moment, as if to think something over. Lightning wanted to say something, but what, he had no clue. What was he…?

But then, Mater looked back up at his friend, his mind set, and he moved closer to the racecar and gave him a small, affectionate nuzzle. But before Lightning could even get back his sense of thought to do anything, Mater pulled away again.

Lightning just stared, his eyes wide, mouth open. He moved his mouth to speak several times, but couldn't get any sound out. Mater smiled one of his 'soft' smiles again.

"Whelp," he said. "The show's over. We best be getting' back ta town with everyone else." And with that, he drove past the still-frozen racecar and down the dirt road they came up on.

Lightning then finally gathered up his scattered thoughts, and was able to move. He spun around and watched Mater drive slowly down the hill.

"Mater!" he called out without even thinking. He began driving down the road after him, but didn't need to go very quickly to catch up. Mater stopped and turned around, but now that Lightning had his attention, he didn't know what to do.

"Mater, I…" he stopped. He had no clue what to say, or even what would be a good thing to say at this point. Mater had just…

Lightning thought for a moment, and figured that if he couldn't say it, then…

Before he could stop himself, Lightning leaned in and nuzzled the tow truck in return for the one he had given him moments previous. He had no clue why he was doing this… nor did he really feel like figuring out. So… he just did it, and Mater returned the gesture wholeheartedly.

Seconds later, they pulled away and looked at each other, both a bit embarrassed, but also both happy. Lightning had no clue as to what had just happened, but he didn't want to worry about it just then. And he didn't think Mater did, either. So, they just smiled at one another, and continued their drive back into town.

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I really apologize for the poo ending there. I tried so hard, but everything else that I wrote was even worse. so yeah, please review, and critique is encouraged! -