There were very few times in Fran's life he felt uncomfortable – but being in the car with Belphegor driving across cliff faces recklessly was one of those times, exactly what was happening now.
The blond drove like a maniac, and Fran had to wonder just who exactly gave him a license – or, more importantly, why the older man hadn't crashed the car yet.
"Bel-senpai…" Fran was careful to keep his emotionless mask up, despite how uneasy he was feeling – Bel was doing well over the speed limit as he drove across winding cliff faces, heading back to the Varia headquarters. "…Bel-senpai, you should really slow down."
"Shut up, brat," Bel growled, one hand picking at the lollies in his lap. "Maybe when you get your license you'll get off the prince's back about his driving and focus on your own."
"Bel-senpai, it's starting to rain, and these roads are slippery when it's wet."
"Kaching…" Bel considered throwing one of his raspberry lollies at the younger before deciding it would merely be a waste of good food. "Just shut up before I push you out of the car."
Fran didn't reply to these words, knowing it was useless trying to get through to his partner – if he kept pushing, it would only make the situation more dangerous. Instead, he stared out of the passenger window, down into the huge drop beside them.
The rain Fran had pointed out was now pelting down but Bel refused to slow the car, despite feeling the way the back tires were sliding out every now and then – if the boy had ever wondered if Bel had a death wish, this surely proved it.
This sucks… Fran closed his eyes as he struggled to control the shaking of his body. I'm going to die before I'm even eighteen… All because a stupid fake prince thinks he's invincible…
The familiar clicking of Bel's phone drew Fran's attention and, to his horror, he found the older man texting, the other's attention far from the road.
Before Fran could say anything about Bel's behaviour, the rail guard that drew ever closer to the front of their car screamed you're going to die and, with the adrenaline that came with a near-death experience, leant over and grabbed the steering wheel, jerking the car into oncoming traffic.
"What the fuck?!" Bel pushed Fran away, his foot slamming down on the accelerator unintentionally as he forced the car out of the way of a truck heading straight for them. Hitting the brake as hard as he could, Bel felt the car spinning out of his control, heading straight for the edge of the cliff Fran had tried to avoid going over.
The sound of the windshield smashing and metal crunching as the car went through the barrier filled the air as the car fell from the road, falling onto the steep hill and rolling for what felt like an eternity.
Bel wasn't even sure how long it took before the car stopped rolling, resting on its side at the bottom of the hill, the black four-wheel-drive as battered as a coke can being ran over by a truck.
The blond didn't know where Fran was – he was probably buried beneath the wreckage somewhere. Bel himself was stuck, caught in between the dashboard and the seat, blood covering his aching body.
"Fran…?" Bel called weakly, hating how pathetic he sounded. He tried to get out of the car but, not only was he trapped by the crushed shell of the car, the door wouldn't open even if he wasn't trapped. "Fran!"
The only sounds Bel could hear was the hissing of the engine, the rain beating down on the car ferociously as if taunting him, his own whimpers and pleas for Fran to answer him.
The first and only thought that was running through Bel's mind was that he had lost Fran, just like he had lost Mammon.
With that acknowledgement in mind, Bel lost consciousness.
Fran had no idea where he was – all he knew was that it was night, it was cold and wet, and he seemed to be in bushland. His clothing was bloodied and torn, but there was no memory of anything.
Above him, a man with long silver hair stood by his side, his eyebrows creased as he frowned. Fran could see that the clothing the man wore looked just like his, and it made him wonder if that was a good or a bad thing.
Where am I…? Fran frowned as he pulled off whatever was weighing down his head, coming face-to-face with what he could only describe as a frog hat. Holding it close, finding it strangely comforting, Fran spoke his most-distressing thought. "…Who… Who am I…?"
The wreckage of a car lay not far from him, but Fran didn't pay it any attention, finding it distressing for reasons he didn't know. It looked as if it had been on fire earlier, but that only made his stomach churn more and more.
Looking back at the man to take his thoughts of the anxiety-inducing wreckage, Fran trembled. "…"
The man didn't speak; he merely reached out and picked Fran up, bringing him into his arms.
The boy whimpered and gasped in pain as his body was jostled, feeling as if his entire body had been crushed, just like the car not far from them.
"It doesn't matter…" the man said in a gruff voice, almost as if he were upset about something and was trying to hide it. "Let's… just get back to headquarters…"
Headquarters…? Fran's head throbbed angrily as he tried to think about the man's words. …H-hurts…
"Looks like that little shit did it this time…" the man mumbled, bringing Fran to a car that was parked a few feet away from them, looking identical to the one that lay in a mess further away.
For whatever reason, the idea of getting into the car made Fran nervous, but he couldn't protest – his body hurt too much to put up a fight.
The silver-haired man shifted Fran into one arm as he opened the back door, pulling a blanket from the seats. He wrapped the boy into it before kicking the door closed and moving to the passenger side seat, placing Fran on that one instead.
The whole idea of being in a car – not just this one, but any car – terrified Fran, and it was then he realised – he must have been part of the wreckage. Had he crashed the car? Or had someone else been driving?
Fran trembled as the man drove slowly through the bushland, sticking close to the base of the hill before taking a trail up to the road above them Fran could see.
The rest of the trip was silent, and Fran could only wonder; who was he and where was this man taking him?