I can't believe I did another one. The idea came to me while waiting in a car for an hour for my brother to get off of work. It was written sometime in the middle of the night, which is either a very good thing or a very bad thing. Like most stories I write, I find it great to begin but at the end I'm never sure how to finish it. Does this happen to other people too, or is it just me? Regardless, I did the best of my abilities at that hour and hope someone can enjoy it. I think the hardest thing for me is naming theses damn things. Usually I think about this before, but as I write this author's note I have absolutely no idea. Anyway, another 4/5 friendship fic to add to the collection.

Happy reading! Oh, and I don't own anything you recognize. It's kind of depressing how I have to repeat this.

She pulls up at the curb at precisely two-thirty seven AM and knows there are at least ten things she'd rather be doing. The number one thing on her list is sleeping, because that's what she believes most people are doing at this hour. She, of course, doesn't get to have this luxury because she's the first one of them to get a license and people want to go everywhere. She doesn't mind playing chauffeur every once and a while, but there are times where she just has to draw the line.

Like this for instance. She's got work in the morning and she's got to be up by seven. She's got to shower and get herself dressed and fed and whatever else she usually requires to look decent enough to leave the house. It doesn't help being woken up in the middle of the night by an extremely vague phone call. It doesn't help that her friend's stranded in the middle of a bad neighborhood without a proper ride home or a proper excuse. She doesn't want to get up but she knows she has to, so she does. It's times like this she wishes she didn't really care.

When she gets there he's waiting alone in the dark, as if he had been hiding from a monster that he knew was coming for him. Perhaps he deserved what was coming, because going out there in the first place was just a horrible idea, obviously, but he hadn't been using his head at the time so one can't really blame him. Sometimes he wonders if he ever uses his head. He's relieved when he sees the familiar truck pull up alongside the road, but for some reason he won't just get in. He knows he's done her wrong and he knows he needs an invite first. It's her car, after all. She's here on her own accord. It isn't entirely an invite she gives him, per se, but it's as close as he's going to get.

"Get in the car so Abby can kill you herself before someone else can."

Without hesitation he does as he is told. He pulls the door open and climbs into the seat and steels himself for the inevitable lecture he's about to get, about how she doesn't need to be doing this every other night, or that she has work in the morning, or how he still has to go to school and graduate because it's not her fault she finished early and he needs to get his act together and start to give a shit. But she says nothing. She just waits for him to get buckled in and begins to drive off.

It's obvious she's reached her boiling point because for the first time she's not deafening him with her anger.

He wants to stop the sickening silence but he isn't entirely sure he knows how. He's afraid of saying something wrong, and frankly, at this point it seems like speaking in general would be the wrong thing to do. Unsure of what she wants from him, he resorts to leaning his head back and glaring holes into the dashboard. If it's possible, he hates himself more than she does.

"Are you okay?" She suddenly asks.

He's startled by the question. It's quiet, and sudden, and her concern sounds genuine. He can just imagine the conversation now. He'll say he's fine, she'll say good, that way she can beat him herself. But he says no such thing. He turns to her stupidly and stares for a moment, as if she's just grown a second head.


"Are you okay," she presses again. "Are you all right?"

"Oh," he replies, as if he's just barely become fluent in English. He blinks and glances out the window for a second, as if he might find the answer out there but there's nothing. Sure, he's fine. He doesn't understand why she's even asking. "Yeah. I'm okay."

"You sure?"

"Yeah," he hesitates. He wonders if he will continue to be okay in a second. The streets are empty enough that she could pull the car over then and there and murder him herself without any witnesses. He wonders briefly what she's got in the back of the truck. But then she catches his gaze and for that quick moment of eye contact they share, he knows she's serious. "Why do you ask?"

She shrugs. "Because Abby has to."

He takes a moment to try and get that through his head, that she's somehow obligated to question his current condition, even though she probably has already planned her alibi. They're friends, sure. More than friends. He'd consider her the sister he never had, but it's something he would never say out loud or in her face. He probably doesn't even need to bother. But she's entitled to feeling annoyance and he wouldn't hold anything against her if she berated him for it. He would welcome it, actually. It's the only way he would learn.

"Why?" He asks her.

"Because Abby cares," is all she says.

Again, he's left not immediately knowing what to say in return. There's something comforting about the idea of him messing up in the worst possible way and still being asked important questions because people care. It's heartwarming to say the least, and it's a good feeling but by God, it absolutely drives him nuts. He turns to her and frowns. He wishes she didn't have to be so...so...loyal. He wishes she would just knock him upside the head and leave him on the side of the road to die.

"What?" She asks him, confused at why he suddenly looks sick.

"Why do you even care?" He demands, as if he's never experienced anything like this before. "It's two-forty in the freakin' morning. You're supposed to be asleep, anyway! You're not supposed to be here."

"You aren't supposed to be here, either."

"That's not what I'm sayin'," he counters. "I'm sayin', you've obviously got better things than this to be doing. Like sleeping. You're not supposed to be out here in the middle of the night picking people up. It's not your fault I'm out here, it's mine."

She glances between him and the road incredulously. "You asked Abby to come get you."

"But you didn't have to do it!"

"Yeah, right. Like Abby was really goin' to leave you out here by yourself." She said, shaking her head as if it were the most absurd thing she's ever heard. It probably is but she knows she's going to hear more so she doesn't keep the thought for long. "How else would you have gotten home?"

"I don't know," he admits in exasperation. But that isn't the point of this conversation and he won't let her believe it for a second. "But you shouldn't feel obligated to do this every time I call you like it's a job. It's not fair," he tells her. "You aren't supposed to be here."

She thinks she understands what he's getting at. She's a good friend, and he's been taking advantage of it, and he's sorry. He looks so distraught with himself for a second she forgets how sorry she feels for herself having to get out of bed at ungodly hours and debates whether she should pull over and give him a torturing embrace or not. She doesn't, because she knows it would kill him but she finds momentary pleasure in the thought.

They're over-taken by a silence. She drives on. He doesn't know what else to say to her. It wasn't a complete apology but it's as close as he can get at a time like this and she takes it with a grain of salt because she understands it. She doesn't say anything because she doesn't want to say the wrong thing and ruin everything. It's times like this she wishes caring didn't have to be so hard.

"It's okay," she decides to say after a minute.

"It's not," he tries to deny, but before he can get another word out she interuppts him.

"Shh. Shush! Abby says it's okay, it's okay." She goes on, "Now it's Abby's truck, she gets to decide what she does with it. If it means crawling out of bed and driving twenty minutes out into the hood at two in the morning to pick her stupid friend up, Abby'll do it. Because it's Abby's truck. Abby gets to decide. But that don't mean Abby wants to keep doing this over and over every other night."

He bites his lip and nods. When she uses that tone with him, he can't help but give her his full attention. It's something she might want to teach his teachers if she's serious about getting him to graduate.

"There are other ways we can see eachother," she teases. "All you have to do is ask."

He rolls his eyes, but she can see the smirk forming and she knows she's done good here. The entire trip might have been worth it all, just to see herself winning.

"I wish you weren't so nice to me."

"Yeah, well. Don't get used to it," she laughs. "Now. Where's Abby taking you? Your place? She just wants to get back into bed and hit the hay before she has to go to work. But maybe Abby will just call in sick. She could use a day off." There was another good thing that had come out of it.

"Oh, uh. I told my mom I was stayin' over at Mikey's."

Just the way he says it lets her know that what he told his mother isn't in the slightest way true. She verts her eyes to him and sighs. "Does Mikey know about this?"

"He's out of town," he says. "So no."

She exhales tiredly and shakes her head. "Guess Abby can let you crash with her tonight. It doesn't matter now, since she ain't goin' to work tomorrow anyway, thank you. But you gotta be quiet. The normal people in this town are still trying to sleep. Which we both should be doing. So no sneaking around for a midnight snack, no yelling at the T.V. Nothin'. We get inside, and we go to bed."

"I got it," he agrees.

"Right," she says, gripping the steering wheel tighter. "We'll see."

He feigns hurt at her teasing and shakes his head. "Unbelievable. My friend has no faith in me whatsoever. What has the world come to?"

"Abby's got no faith in you because she's driving you to her house right before three in the morning, Edison." She reminds him, "You're just lucky she likes you enough to look past it."

"I know, huh." He jokes, suddenly leaning over and resting his head against her shoulder. "What would I do without you?"

She shoves him away and narrows her eyes. "Easy there, bub. Don't push your luck, all right. Abby can pull over now and let you out if you'd like that."

He hastily shakes his head no.

"That's what Abby thought. 'Sides, without me you'd probably still be in the fourth grade."

He dramatically takes in a breath of air and manages to look absolutely astonished. His expression is hilarious. "Just for that I'm going to eat all the food in your fridgerator and then borrow your dad's credit card and order some pizzas and say it was you who did it."

"Right," she plays along. "We'll just have to see about that. Can't make phone calls if you're dead, can you?"

"Oh-ho. I'm so scared," he teases. "Really. Is that a threat or a promise?"

"Abby don't know just yet," she tells him as she pulls into the driveway. "But if Abby were you, she'd sleep with both her eyes open."