Chapter 10: Headlines And Headbutts

When Michiru had left after almost three hours of talking – and yelling at reporters through the closed door – Haruka had slightly calmed down. The rage that had been burning inside her, boiling like a volcano close to erupting, had died down to a small flame, but was ready to return to it's previous state if anyone should try anything that would annoy her. Haruka knew that the aggressions she felt probably came from the withdrawal she still was going through, and that they would vanish when her body had gotten used to the new situation, but still they felt strangely good. The next reporter who would dare to bug Haruka with his questions would have to pay dearly, although the blonde was aware of the fact that she really would end up in court if she beat a reporter to shit. Then, another thought hit her. How come they know? Who told them about my alcoholism? Michiru? No. Takeshi? Probably not. Someone else from the racetrack? Possible. Slowly, the flame of rage inside Haruka returned to the hot, searing fire, and she clenched her fists. "I pity the one who is responsible for this." She pressed out between gritted teeth, the nails of her fingers digging into the palms of her hands until they were close to bleeding. Letting out her trademark low growl, Haruka grabbed the keys of her private car, as well as her cigarettes and the lighter, and stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door close behind her.

Takeshi looked up in surprise when Harukas yellow sports car pulled up into the parking lot of the race track; while the blonde turned the engine off, the mechanic rose from the chair he had been sitting on, studying the blueprints of the newest car the team had received, and jogged over to Haruka, who just got out of the car. "Haruka! What are you…" Before he had the slightest chance to finish his sentence, Haruka had pushed him aside roughly, walking towards the garage where the mechanics were working. No, Takeshi thought to himself, walking was the wrong word. Stomping would be the better description. "Haruka!" Takeshi shouted, wondering if the blonde was drunk again, although she had seemed pretty sober to him in the moments he had managed to look at her. "Haruka, wait!" The mechanic called out once more, but his best racer didn't even turn around. Finally, Takeshi managed to catch up to the blonde, and he put one hand on her shoulder. "Haruka, what's wrong?" Instead of answering his question verbally, Haruka stopped her walk for one second to push a newspaper into the stunned mechanic's hands. Takeshi looked down on it, the headline almost jumping into his eyes. Revelations: Star Racer Haruka Tenoh (28) is an alcoholic! "Shit." The mechanic mumbled to himself while he carelessly threw the newspaper aside, hurrying to follow the blonde. He had a slight, not really pleasant idea of why Haruka was here, and he hoped that he would be able to stop the blonde from doing what she intended to do.

Three mechanics looked up in surprise when a very angered Haruka stormed into the garage, her feet thundering over the asphalt floor. The one who stood closest to her let out a scared yelp when suddenly the blondes hands closed around his collar and pulled him up until they were eye to eye. "Who told them?" Haruka pressed out between clenched teeth, her eyes blazing with anger. "What are you…talking about?" the mechanic who was in her grasp asked, his voice shaking with fear. "I want to know who told the fucking newspapers that I'm an alcoholic!" Haruka shouted, shaking the poor man until he was close to wetting his pants in fear. "I don't know! It wasn't me!" the mechanic cried out, hoping and praying that Haruka would believe him. The blonde was just about to ask  - or probably shout – something else when suddenly one of the other two mechanics let out a scared little yelp, dropped the screwdriver he had been holding and started to run. Haruka looked after him, letting out a growl once more, before she let go of the man who had been in her grasp and started to chase after the fleeing mechanic. After a short run, the blonde had caught up to the man; she tackled him like a football player would tackle his opponent, sending him to the ground and landing on top of him. Surprisingly quick, Haruka grabbed the man's collar and flipped him around, making him lie on his back, before she jerked his head up to herself and brought her own one down. Her forehead connected with the man's nose, producing a horrible cracking noise when it broke. The mechanic screamed in pain, his eyes filling with tears, while Haruka let go of his collar, letting his head fall back on the concrete floor. "Haruka!" Takeshi's voice came, sounding – amazingly enough – angered and pleading at the same time. "Haruka, leave him alone!" "He told them!" Haruka shouted in reply, pulling her fist back to punch the mechanic's light out, who let out a small whimper and brought his hands up to shield his face. Takeshi reached the two and put one hand on Harukas shoulder. "Even if he did, hitting him won't help." He softly spoke, trying to calm the blonde down. "Leave him alone, Haruka." Haruka squeezed her eyes shut, trying to fight her anger down. "Do you know what he did to me by telling the newspapers about me?" she then spoke, looking up to meet Takeshi's face. "I haven't had a single calm minute ever since eight in the morning! The reporters are almost camping in front of my apartment!" "If it is that way, I'm sorry, Haruka. But beating the shit out of him won't make them stop!" Finally, Haruka slowly rose from her victim, staring down at him with hate in her eyes. She took one step back, allowing the mechanic to stand up. Slowly, the man came to his feet, holding his bleeding nose while he fearfully looked at Haruka, who just glared back at him. Then, her eyes suddenly softened visibly, and she asked: "Why? Just tell me why." "They…they paid a lot." The mechanic stammered out, looking down on his feet. "I'm sorry." He then added, daring to look up again. Haruka just shook her head and turned her back on him. "Go see a doctor." Takeshi ordered the man while putting one arm around the blondes shoulders. "We will talk about the consequences of your behaviour later." The mechanic nodded and hurried off while Takeshi started to lead Haruka over into his office, hoping that he would calm her down enough to keep her from attacking the next best person she saw. "Come on, Haruka. We'll talk about this and find a solution." He softly spoke. Haruka slowly nodded, staring down on the floor while she walked next to Takeshi, and trying to fight down her desire for a nice glass of whiskey.