The Highway.
Bayport, Barmet Bay.
October 8, 2012.

Being back home was what the doctor had ordered. Joe smiled, pleased at the breeze blowing through his blonde hair. He was driving down the highway, his convertible's roof down, as he neared his home in Bayport. Sure, New York had been nice. But nothing could beat home. Joe found it incredible that just four years before, as he was heading to NYU, he had been eager to leave his small town behind.

The Man Who Can't Be Moved by The Script, his current favorite band, blasted through the speakers. He smiled, as the sights around him became more familiar. As he began to drive through the suburbs area, he slowed down. That neighborhood was divided from the street by a stone wall, which was where he usually got stopped by police for speeding. He groaned, slowing down even more. He'd have to resume his usual speed after those suburbs were long-gone.

He decided to turn down the radio, already have been ordered by the neighborhood to not pass through those streets with his blasting speakers.

However, as soon as he looked up, he spotted a strawberry-blonde girl climbing up the stone wall.

"What?" Josh began.

In a blink of an eye, the girl fell from the wall right in front of Joe's car. The recent college graduate tried to stop, but it was too late.

He had ran over the girl.

Joe stopped his car. He remained in shocked silence inside, staring at the steering wheel. I just killed a person... he told himself. I can't believe it! He snapped up and opened his car's door, rushing toward the girl's side.

"Are you okay?" he asked, breathless.

The girl looked up at him. She was quite pretty, with blue eyes, a heart-shaped face and bow-shaped lips.

The girl nodded, trying to seat up. "I think so-" She stopped with a silent gasp as she saw something on the wall. Joe turned around, but he saw nothing. However, once he looked at the girl, she sighed, and fainted in his arms.

"Oh no..." he muttered. Not knowing what else to do, he took her in his arms and gently placed her on the back of his car. He'd have to take her to the hospital.

Beep. Beep.

After entering the car, he took out his phone. He had two new messages. One from Frank, his brother, and the other from his dad.

Where r u? Dad's b-day bufett is about to begin, and we dont want 2 keep the mayor waiting! Frank's said.

Joe's blue eyes widened. It was his father's birthday! He had completely forgotten, and he hadn't even bought a gift.

Not only is the mayor already here, but so are the Shaws! I'm supposed to find information about them and Callie's intention on marrying Frank. And how am I gonna do that without my little spy here? Hurry, son! read his dad's.

Joe wanted to smack himself. How could've he forgotten? Not only was his father turning fifty, but they were supposed to spy on his brother's fiancée's family. His father owned a hotel franchise. But he had also helped the FBI solve a case involving the American mafia and others. And the Shaws... well, they didn't have such a nice reputation. According to the FBI's database, there was evidence that incriminated the Shaws of being part of the American mafia's subgroup, the Soldis. And it was no secret that the Soldis and the FBI hated each other's guts. And, after they had vowed to take revenge on Joe's father, it was quite obvious that they also hated the Hardys. The Shaws could just be taking advantage of Frank to get to their father, Fenton.

Joe quickly typed an answer to both. I'm coming. He was about to tell them about the girl, but he decided on stretching the truth a bit. I found a girl near-dead in the street, and I just had to take her to the hospital.

Putting his phone away, Joe resumed his drive. But this time, to the nearest hospital. He'd buy a gift in a nearby antiques shop once he was on his way home.

Bayport Hospital's Emergency Floor.
Bayport, Barmet Bay.
October 8, 2012.

Somehow, Nancy had managed to fall asleep. When she woke up, she found herself in the hospital. Could it be that Maniac's crew had finally gotten to her? She inspected herself, sighing in relief once she found she wasn't shot or broken. Then it all came crashing down on her. Running away from Maniac, climbing up the stone wall, landing right in front of some car, and pretending to be unconscious.

Nancy shook her head, smacking her forehead with her hand. She was beginning to act more like her gambling father now that she had proposed herself not to.

Five years ago, when Nancy was seventeen, her father, Carson, had been a really well-known lawyer. Until her mother died unexpectedly. Carson began a short-lived depression, which ended when Nancy entered her senior year. However, that year he dropped out of his job, bringing her family to a very hard situation. She then had to juggle between getting straight A's, working part-time as a waitress, and helping her father search for a job. Luckily, their housekeeper, Hannah, had stayed by their side. Unfortunately, her father had not kept up like them. He saw gambling as a way of winning money, and even if he had been a lawyer, he'd always been the goofy kind of person that couldn't hurt a fly. Of course he'd be bad at gambling! The Drews ended up owing a lot of money to some American mafia, and they'd hired Maniac, some martial arts expert, and his tugs to frighten the Drews into paying them. In fact, that was not the first time Nancy had been chased down by them.

"Oh, you're awake," a friendly-looking nurse told her.

Nancy blinked. "Uh... how long have I been out?"

"A couple of hours," the nurse replied. She smiled. "Don't worry, though. You're fine. We ran a few x-rays and we-"

"X-rays?" Nancy cut in, gasping. "But... I... I'm so sorry, I'll end up owing to the hospital."

The nurse laughed. "No, the guy who brought you in paid for everything. He felt pretty guilty for hitting you with his car."

Nancy's eyes twitched. "He paid for the x-rays? If I may ask... were they too expensive?"

The nurse grimaced. "Sort of."

Nancy let out a pained sigh. She'd just made an innocent guy pay for something he hadn't done. Couldn't the hospital tell she was pretending? Instead, they made the guy pay who-knows-how-much for her.

A golden business card was placed under her nose.

"This is from the guy," the nurse informed her. "He said that if you needed anything else, just call and ask for Joe Hardy."

Hesitating, Nancy took the card. It read Hardy Family, owners of the Sweet Dreams Hotel franchise. Nancy's eyes widened. Joe Hardy... one of the Hardys paid for everything? Nancy asked herself. The Hardys were a really rich family, so it took away some of the guilt. Some.

"Thank you," Nancy told the nurse. She handed the card back to her. "But I think he already did enough."

I'll have to stay out of his way now, Nancy thought, wondering what would happen if he found she'd been pretending all along.

a/n: Hey! My name's Elizabeth, and even though this isn't my first story, it's the first one I publish in this archive. Well, as you might've noticed, this is completely AU. Also, Nancy isn't older than Joe. They're the same age. If that made you wonder if this will be a Joe/Nancy... then the answer is no. Not at all. It's strictly Frank/Nancy :P

Hopefully, you guys liked it! If you feel confused about anything, feel free to ask :)