Title: My Inner Child Plays With Matches

Rating: PG-13, bordering on R-ish for slash stuff (nothing graphic) and language.

Disclaimer: If I owned them, neither Edge nor Matt would be seen in long pants again on TV. It'd be hot pants. That's why I don't have a nice plush office in Titan Towers somewhere, too.

Notes: This was in answer to Stasia's challenge issued a few days ago. A bit of warning to those of you who get squicked easily: it's both slash and real-person fic, so if that bugs you, go play somewhere else.

******

"Uh . . . Matt? See, there's this neat little invention they put in cars a few years ago. It's called a turn signal. It's your friend, trust me."

Matt Hardy sighed and took another hard right turn, sending his passenger flying halfway over the armrest between them.

"I lived here most'a my life, Adam. I think I know when an' where to use turn signals."

"I don't think you ever passed Driver's Ed!" Adam shrieked, gripping the dashboard with one hand and the windowframe with the other. Matt allowed a tiny smile, taking one last sharp turn and then speeding up once they made it onto a narrow blacktop-covered road that wound seemingly into the woods themselves.

"Never took it, actually," Matt confessed while fumbling with the radio dials, nodding in approval when an old Megadeth song blared from the speakers. "I passed it up. Not enough room in my schedule. Took a graphic design class instead." He paused to shift the truck into a higher gear and effectively throw Adam against his seat. "And besides - remember when we were on the UK tour and I trusted you to drive? And you, bein' the all-knowing driver you are, forgot the lane switch deal and almost got us nailed by a delivery truck?"

"One time, Matt. One time I forgot to drive in the left lane. Let it go already."

"I saw my life flash before my eyes, man," Matt continued, laughing a bit as he did. The paved road eventually gave way to a dirt path worn with use. The truck sped up as if of its own accord when it saw the familiar ground, making a large dust trail in its wake.

Adam Copeland was, to his credit, not squealing like a little girl. There was a whimper here or there and the occasional incisive curse, but as yet no squealing. "Matt, I don't mean to sound like I'm nitpicking or anything, but . . .uh . . .where exactly *did* you learn to drive?"

"Here."

"Here as in the state?"

Matt shook his head, causing dark hair to fall into his face. "No, here as in on this road."

"Oh. Great. Reassuring, uh huh," Adam grumbled, turning his attention out the open window to see trees flying past at a blinding speed. "I'm gonna die here."

"Dad had an old model-t me an' Jeff used to drive up an' down the road. Only problem was we were too short to reach the pedals, so we had to tie wood blocks to 'em." He smiled faintly in remembrance. "I don't know if he ever found out or not."

"You got your license from Wal-Mart, didn't you?"

"Hey, it was cheaper." Matt glanced over to see Adam's eyes wide and frightened and he laughed. "Oh, c'mon. Y'know I'm just jokin'. I'm really not that bad a driver compared to Jeff."

Adam cringed and unconsciously tightened his grip on the window frame. "That's like saying you drive better than a blind, deaf, suicidal four-year-old."

Matt started to make a rebuttal in his younger brother's defense before he realized that the comment was fairly accurate. Rather than start another argument, he went back to enjoying the song on the radio.

The previous day had been spent flying from San Diego to North Carolina to kick off what several WWF employees had affectionately termed the Bible Belt Tour. The next several events would take place in the south and east coast, gradually moving north for the pay-per-view in New York's Madison Square Garden. With their usual travel partners being missing-in-action for varying reasons - Jeff being stuck with a meet-n-greet fan event in Tennessee and Jay nursing a sore shoulder back at home in Toronto, though Adam secretly suspected it was more because he had the entire previous Maple Leaf season taped and had yet been given a chance to watch it all - they were in effect paired together by extenuating circumstances. Matt had, naturally, opted to spend the next couple free days at home with his family.

Of course, Adam, being a native Canadian, could adapt considerably well to even the coldest Minnesota and Michigan winters. He was not, however, adept at handling early August Carolina weather. It was because of that particular defect that he sat virtually panting in the passenger's seat. It was also providing Matt with no small amount of entertainment.

"Would you stop it? It's not that hot at all. I think it's pretty nice, actually."

Adam turned incredulous eyes to his friend, revealing a few strands of blond hair plastered to his sweat-covered face. "Yeah, well, so says the guy who got his license from a junk-for-a-quarter machine at Wal-Mart."

"Adam, it's only eighty-six. The humidity ain't even that high today. You should be thankful."

In response, Adam huffed and crossed his arms stubbornly over his chest. "So this is Hell."

"Nah. My senior trip was to Atlanta. Go there an' then you can come talk to me about being hot."

"Like I don't talk about being hot enough as it is," Adam pointed out with a small grin. Matt's brow furrowed in thought for a moment, then he rolled his eyes.

"Y'know vanity's a sin, don't you?"

"Yeah. It's my favorite one, right next to lust and gluttony." Matt glared. "What? I'm a guy. I like to eat, watch TV, and have sex . . . not necessarily in that order." He stopped to place a cigarette in his mouth and light it, much to Matt's distaste. "But I gotta admit, sloth has its advantages, too."

"Cancer."

Adam frowned. "Call me stupid, but I don't get the connection."

"Cancer stick in a white wrapper. That's all those things are," Matt explained with a pointed look to the open pack of cigarettes now resting on the dashboard.

Adam rolled his eyes and took an exaggerated drag from the cigarette. "Okay, now that's just wrong. You sound just like Mom and Jay." Silence due to a thoughtful pause. "And damn near every girlfriend I've ever had."

"Maybe you should listen to 'em once in a while. Didn't you ever watch those li'l films in school about what those things to your body?"

"Huh uh. I must have been busy smoking in the bathroom," he answered with a low chuckle. "Yes, Matt, I've seen the movies and heard the guest speakers and read everything about how the Marlboro Man is the Antichrist, but I can't help it if I like 'em anyway."

The argument faded into silence, giving Adam time to take in the unfamiliar surroundings. It took a moment of close inspection to find they were in fact traveling down a road that ran alongside a single front yard. Impressive as it was, it paled in comparison to the two story white washed house a couple hundred yards away that even from that distance made Adam's eyes widen slightly. Of course, he had grown up with his mother in a two bedroom house that was barely even large enough for the both of them. Anything larger had a tendency to stun him, and something like this seemed purely excessive.

Matt glanced casually to his right and was unable to suppress a laugh. "What's wrong with you?"

Adam shook his head. "I'm just expecting a horse and buggy to pop up somewhere. Or maybe some Southern belle'll walk out on the porch with a parasol and fanning herself."

"Not unless it's my aunt Tammy, but she's not exactly Scarlett O' Hara."

"Y'know," Adam started, flicking the remains of the cigarette out the window, "I watched this movie a long time ago - one o' those made for TV deals - and Angelina Jolie was this big Southern belle type. You wouldn't have anyone like her around, wouldja?"

Matt snorted as he pulled into the gravel driveway and slid the key out of the truck's ignition. "Haven't seen one yet, no. Welcome to the twentieth century, Adam."

While they exited the truck and pulled their duffel bags from the bed, Adam looked nervously down at the Yankee 2000 World Series shirt he'd stolen from Jay's bag when he wasn't looking. It was, coincidentally, the only thing he'd been able to find that morning that seemed even remotely fit for wearing. "No one's gonna kill me for this, are they?" He asked with a vague gesture to his chest. Matt stifled a huff.

"Also, being the twentieth century, not all of us really care about the Civil War."

"Good."

"Which isn't to say Dad's not a Braves fan," Matt went on, smiling to himself at the look on Adam's face. He didn't dwell on it, though; rather, he started up the porch steps and entered without knocking.

Two hours later, after extensive introductions and gossip, Matt and Adam both sat on the back porch, each holding a bottle of Coke. Matt was just about ready to get up and throw his empty bottle into the trash can by the door when he noticed Adam staring expectantly at him. Although he ignored it at first, after two minutes of solid staring his curiosity got the best of him.

"What?"

Adam shrugged and looked back out into the yard. "I'm just waiting for you to start about the history of this place and how some great battle was fought in your back yard or something."

"Would you get off it already? Not everyone in the south has a Civil War story. Stereotypes are just that. You should know, hockey boy."

Adam's eyebrows shot up defensively. "What's wrong with hockey?"

Matt shook his head, refusing to answer as he pulled open the screen door and tossed the bottle in the trash.

"You're just jealous 'cause you never get any ice to play hockey on."

"Really."

"Yeah."

"Well, it's good to know all this pent-up aggression has a source."

"Glad I could help." Adam paused long enough to light another cigarette, paying no attention to Matt's reaction. "But seriously, Matt, I've never seen a house this big for real. I mean, not one that someone I knew lived in."

Matt remained silent on the matter, opting instead to change the subject entirely. "About what you said earlier . . ."

"There really is an Angelina Jolie person around here?"

"No."

"Damn."

"Sorry," Matt shrugged, turning a bit in his seat. "No, about you bein' hot."

Adam's smile gradually faltered and slipped. No good could possibly come from this line of talk. None. "Uh, maybe I should -"

"Stay and talk? Great. I think so, too," Matt interrupted, pulling his chair closer, the wicker surface scratching noisily against the porch's wooden surface. Their eyes locked, unsettling enough to make Adam gulp visibly.

"Matt, I-I know where you're going with this, and you need to stop right there."

Matt poked his lips out into a barely-there pout, the same one that had suckered Adam into falling for him in the first place. Weeks earlier, a post-event binge sent them both on a drunken spree, during which they taped every article of Jeff's clothing to the hotel walls, filled the bathtub full in Jay's room and threw every shoe and sock he had with him in there to soak overnight, and eventually ended up more or less screwing each other senseless the rest of the night. Needless to say, the whole ordeal had left them both more than a little confused about their feelings. Even while Adam was trying everything he knew to forget the most passionate night he'd ever spent with anyone, let alone another guy, Matt seemed persistent in reminding him every chance he got.

Drawing closer, Matt reached out and brushed the hair out of Adam's face, then moved his fingers down to trace the outline of his lips. Eyes closed, Adam allowed himself to lean into the touch before coming to his senses and pulling away. "Matt, don't," he whispered in a barely audible voice. "Please."

Despite his own wish to push on, Matt complied and slumped back against his seat. Adam took the opportunity to run while he could and before his common sense lost out to unbridled want.

"Twenty-first," he commented suddenly when he reached for the screen door. Matt's brow creased, to which Adam continued, "it's the twenty-first century, not the twentieth."

He disappeared from Matt's view without another word.