Well, hey everyone. I know it's been about two years since I actually upload this fic, but er, I have no idea what happened. Except that I couldn't be bothered to write it. So this chapter has very very slowly come into existance, and I only just finished it today on a whim. Most likely I won't update reguarly until my exams are over, which is in mid-June.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Cept Willow, Kara, Ivy. Mirror belongs to Truble. Chase and Matt are RisingPheonix's.
Chapter Two: Welcome to Miami
On the fringes of Manhattan, New York, there were several old converted warehouses that had been sitting empty until someone decided to invest in them. When New York College bought several of them to cater for their physics and engineering students, a couple of students asked to turn one of them into a student run car garage. No one could've predicted the impact it would have on the student life.
Every Friday night, fifty odd cars would park along this abandoned street outside the garage, their owners being students at New York College. Most of them were old rust tins that had been spruced up, customized and messed about with. A few were flashy sports cars that stood out in the sea of unique cars. Their owners gathered around the garage's wide open doors, listening to the drum and bass blasting out of the five feet tall amps, shouting over each other and drinking beer. Several girls dressed in colourful overalls would walk through the crowds with clipboards, taking down plate numbers and keys, and the list of things needed done. It was a Friday night affair that never grew old.
It was hitting twilight on this particular Friday, and already the street was starting to get packed out. A large group of girls stood inside the garage, where the music was slightly muffled and speaking was easier; amongst them a stunning black haired girl with an ever present smile sat on the only clean desk in the vicinity, her overalls black with orange paint splatters, and a clipboard in her hand. Beside her, the piles of keys were continuing to get larger.
"Chang—my engine—" one particular blonde girl started, and Mirror Chang shook her head.
"Keys, plate number." She said, and within seconds she had both. She smiled amiably, "What's the problem?"
She wrote down the answer on her clipboard, ripping the paper at the bottom and handing the blonde girl the receipt. "Come back next Tuesday. Should be done by then." She told her, and then turned to another girl who was patiently waiting by her side.
"Wait," the blonde girl said, "Could you get Willow Tate to do it?"
"With her schedule?" Mirror replied, taking a set of keys from the girl beside her, "You should be so lucky. She's overbooked, hun. Very popular, after all."
The blonde nodded in defeat and headed back outside. Mirror continued her job, taking down the lists of jobs to do for the next week. She supposed it was lucky they had twenty engineers working for them; otherwise nothing would ever get done between classes, assignments and partying.
"Miiiii!" called a voice cheerfully from behind her. A shorter green eyed nineteen year old swerved through the few cars parked in the garage, the crowd around Mirror parting instantly at the sound of the girl's voice. She was wearing black overalls as well, but hers splattered with red and silver paint; her hair was tied messily in a high ponytail and she seemed to head straight for the sink near Mirror to wash her hands of grease.
"Hey, Willow. Been working on the Viper again?"
"How could I resist? Such a gorgeous car, McKenna will be lucky to get it back," she said cheerfully, drying her hands. "What have we got so far anyway?"
Both ignored the hush that had befallen the others in the garage with them.
"A lot. Engines, paint jobs, scratched body frames, wreckage or two and…oh, the twins blew their engine up again."
"Great," Willow Tate sighed, shaking her head in disbelief, "Third time this month. They're lucky their parents can afford these bills. Engines aren't half expensive."
"Tell me about it," Mirror agreed, "You heading out?"
"Yeah. Has Tara passed by?"
"Nope, not yet."
"Tell her I have something she'll like," Willow smiled, unzipping her overalls and wriggling out of them, revealing a simple band t-shirt and black jeans combination. "I'll be back in an hour or so…"
A phone rang from somewhere behind them.
"Could you…?" Mirror said, as a boy practically ran in and rushed towards Mirror.
"Uh huh," Willow said, heading back to the office down at the other end of the garage, quickly snatching up the phone. Throwing her overalls onto the nearby swivel chair, she jammed the cordless phone between her shoulder and ear, "New York College Garage, how may I help?"
"Willow Tate?" questioned a highly familiar voice that Willow, for the life of her, could not identify.
"Speaking," she said.
Willow Tate dropped the phone.
Kara Hiwatari, the only girl in Miami that could steal several cars and then convince the police that they all belonged to her without a single piece of paper to prove it, was in a little bit of a pickle.
But, really, it wasn't that bad. Okay, so, she had stolen twenty odd cars, gotten busted by the police and barely just got away, chased down by her evil father on her eviler Grandfather's commands, her best friend was murdered in cold blood before her very eyes before she herself had been shot in the shoulder.
Someone up there hated her…
Alright, this was the worst situation she had been in since she was kidnapped by the Italian mafia boss five years ago. Now that hadn't been pretty.
"Are you okay?" Brooklyn asked her quietly, putting a hand reassuringly on her uninjured shoulder. Kara nodded slowly, her eyes unblinking, refusing to meet his. She seemed to be staring into space, but Brooklyn knew better.
"Your brothers are coming," Brooklyn announced, squeezing her shoulder before letting go, "Don't worry, Kara. Everything's going to be alright."
Kai and Chase had come last time. And she died. That girl…that amazing, clever girl…who never deserved it…who had her whole life in front of her to change the world…she had died. For Kara.
She didn't want her brothers to come.
She didn't want any more deaths on her conscience.
Ten thousand feet above the North Atlantic Ocean, the Hiwatari Boeing Business Jet cruised happily at approximately five hundred miles per hour. It only had four passengers at this very moment, and two were the renowned sons and heirs of the Hiwataris.
Kai Hiwatari, tired and worried, sat in a comfortable beige leather armchair, his phone constantly at his ear, murmuring in a low voice to avoid waking up his redheaded best friend currently passed out in the bed in the corner. It was currently one in the morning, local time, and Kai knew his body clock would be completely out of sorts when they landed. Even now, he felt wide awake.
On the other side of the varnished oak cabin, Kai's twin Chase Hiwatari and his best friend Matt Kamiya sat talking to each other quietly, their words inaudible to anyone but them. Chase seemed to be saying something heatedly, hands making large gestures, but Matt only responded coolly. Eventually, Chase calmed down a little, poured himself a glass of expensive champagne, and took a lengthy swig. He was obviously as worried as Kai about his little sister.
Finally, he called over to his twin, who had just got off the phone.
"Have we got her?"
"She screamed at me to leave her alone," Kai sighed. Chase snorted. "but I kept calling until she picked up again, gave me another earful about how she didn't want a reunion, before I finally managed to tell her that Kara was in big trouble…again. She's agreed to meet us at JFK."
"JFK? Aren't we going straight to Miami?" Chase questioned.
"No, we're making a fuel stop at JFK. It's enough time to pick her up."
"Is it worth it? Cinders suffered a lot last time," Matt said, picking at the biscuit crumbs on the table before him, "She took off for a reason. She wasn't at all stable. What makes you certain she's okay now?"
"It has been five years." Came Tala Volkov's muffled voice from under the covers of his bed. He pushed the covers off his head, blinking sleepily.
"Is five years enough? How much time d'you really need to get over that kind of thing? I mean, are all of you really over it?"
Instantly, everyone's eyes flickered between Tala, who averted his eyes, and Chase, who met their eyes furiously, his hands gripping the leather arms of his chair. "Stop it." He growled, and Kai and Matt looked away.
"Willow can do it," Kai said, clearing his throat, "Closure, right? She needs to see us again if she wants to fully accept what happened. That, y'know, she's de—"
"DON'T!" roared Chase and Tala, who then glared at each other furiously. Kai sighed. Matt rolled his eyes, but even he looked unsettled.
"When are we landing?" Matt asked, ignoring the tension in the room.
"In about three hours…"
Ivy Volkov stood in Miami Airport arrivals terminal alone, with just a magazine to keep her occupied. It was a car magazine, and she found herself wanting to see another episode of Top Gear; just to laugh at the three middle-aged men making complete asses of themselves and checking out the new cars in the upcoming market.
But even as she stood there remembering the great things of English television, she almost missed the four men and one woman making their way towards her. It was only Tala's stark red hair that managed to grab her attention, and then the fact it was Willow, Willow Tate, walking with them. Last time she had seen the younger girl, she was just a wreck.
"Oh my God. Willow. Willow!" she gasped, running towards the black haired nineteen year old. She tackled her in a hug, almost suffocating the mechanic with her warm embrace.
"Ivy—Ivy—AIR!" Willow gasped.
"Where have you been?" Ivy demanded, reluctantly letting the girl go, "All we get is a note—I'm going to New York. Don't contact me. D'you know how fucking worried I was? We had to find out from Max what you were doing, if you were okay, how you were handling things—"
"'Oh, hi, brother dearest, long time no see.'" Tala quipped in a terrible imitation of Ivy's voice, looking put out. "What are we, the side show?"
"Yes," Ivy told him flatly.
"Look, we're not here for the reunion, we're here to bust Kara's ass," Kai interrupted, looking anxiously at his watch, "So lets go, okay?"
"We're going, we're going…" Willow placated, following Kai to the exit with Ivy easily catching up to her. "How've you been, Ivy?"
"Not too bad…I mean, it was really rough going for a bit after you left. But, eventually, everyone went their separate ways, to make something of themselves. Just like Ho—um, she would've wanted us to." Ivy gulped, glancing sideways at the mechanic. She had almost said her name. Who knew what kind of state Willow was in?
"You can say her name, y'know," The mechanic said calmly, as she lifted her bag into the back of the taxi Kai had just hailed, "It isn't forbidden."
Ivy blinked, surprised.
"And tell your brother and Chase they can stop avoiding talking or looking at me; the only thing I ever had in common with my sister was a love for cars, our height, birthday and surname."
Ivy stared. Willow took her bag off her and hauled it into the trunk as well.
"Illusion, focus. We've gotta save Rave, that's what this is about. Not her. Not Holly."
With that, Willow slammed the trunk shut and slid into a seat beside Matt, leaving Ivy Volkov more stunned than she had ever been in her lifetime. She quickly snapped out of her stupor, getting into the taxi and sitting in between Kai and Chase. Opposite her, Willow was talking quietly with Matt, trading stories on the last five years.
"It's weird, isn't it?" Kai murmured, looking at the dark haired duo as well, "Seeing her again…"
Ivy looked at him and sighed, "She's changed."
"She's just grown up, really. Her own twin sister dying in her arms…it stole any remaining childhood she had left in her. But she's coping, and that's better than I expected." Kai said, before smiling gently at the redhead. Ivy realised how much she had missed her brother's best friend in the year she hadn't seen him; he always had an air of calm about him, and not to mention he was handsome to the boot.
"So…" she said, "Now what?"
"We go to my Grandfather."
"Sounds like fun…!"
When it came to Voltaire Hiwatari, Chase was the first to admit that their Grandfather was one of the most horrible men alive. Kai was always quick to follow. It was, perhaps, the only thing the twins had ever agreed on. Besides loving their little sister, that is.
It was because of said little sister that they stood together, not at all quibbling or throwing insults as was per usual, but waiting rather impatiently for their Grandfather to admit them into his study.
"Come in." called an icy voice.
Kai pushed open the heavy oak doors and walked into the large, richly furnitured room with Chase at his heels. Their father, David Hiwatari, regarded his sons with a cool look. Voltaire was sat as his desk, a tell-tale smirk gracing his lips.
"What can I do for you, my dear grandsons?"
The two heirs repressed a shiver at the mock-polite voice.
"Where's Kara?" Chase demanded, forgoing any sense of decorum. Kai rolled his eyes. Chase was always one to plunge in head first without so much as thinking.
"In her room. Where else would she be?" Voltaire answered calmly.
Chase actually made to leave, but Kai grasped his elbow for a brief second, and with a rather annoyed expression, the volatile twin stood in place.
"How do you plan on…" Kai paused, deliberating his words, "…punishing her for the botched job?"
Voltaire smirked, leaning back in his cushioned office chair. "David."
Their father nodded. "Kara will be punished sufficiently for her mistakes. We'll lose a lot of money if those cars aren't on the race track in exactly a week. And besides, we have two heirs to choose from, and Kara has not proved herself worthy of the Hiwatari name. There isn't really any need to keep her around, is there?"
Chase's eyes widened at the subtle implication. "You wouldn't!" he spat. "She's your only daughter for Christ's sakes!"
"Christ has nothing to do with this."
Kai shot down the growl that was starting to rise in his throat. "How much money?"
Maybe he could pay it off. He had saved up a lot over the years…
"Pounds or dollars?" Kai questioned with a slight incredulous tinge to his voice.
Damn. The pound was currently at twice the market value of the dollar. It would've been less of a loss had it been in dollars. Hell, they wouldn't even have noticed the loss, had it been in dollars.
"What an extravagant bet to make with the Inoyezes, Grandfather." Kai murmured.
"Fucking hell, we'll do it!" Chase snapped, "We'll do the boost. We'll get the stupid cars there. Just—you don't kill Kara, okay?"
Voltaire grinned, and the twins did their best to repress a flinch. It didn't quite work.
"Very well! Here is a list of the cars. Thirty in total. You have til sundown, next Friday." David handed Kai the list, who read through it quickly. This wasn't good. They were all expensive, or classics, or extremely rare, or…all three. A week? They wouldn't be sleeping much. And they'd need the whole crew. There was no way around it.
"Dismissed." Voltaire waved a hand.
They were out of the room in a shot, tearing through the marble-floored corridors without a worry of perception now that they were out of Voltaire's sight. Chase led the way up several staircases into the east wing of the building, breathing heavily as they approached the oak double doors at the end of the large corridor. Chase crashed through them without a second thought, Kai hot on his heels.
Their little sister was sitting at her desk in her small living room, and she whirled around in her seat upon hearing her name. Her shoulder was bandaged up and held stiffly, indicating the pain it was causing.
"Fuck!" Chase gasped, dropping to his knees in front of her, burying his face into her lap. Kara stared at him in shock, before lacing a hand through his black hair soothingly. "Shit," he groaned, "I can't believe he shot you. We should've—I should've been here to protect you—"
Kara didn't quite know what to say. Her brother was normally the one comforting her, teasing her, not acting like—this. She turned to Kai, who bent and hugged her tightly, careful of her shoulder. He pulled away, kissing her on the top of her head. She blinked. Kai showering affection on her, Chase panicking and hating himself over something he had no control over—yep, she was in complete shit.
"Guys…" she said weakly.
"Yo, Zeus." Brooklyn greeted from the window seat, putting down his newspaper. Now that Kai had greeted his sister and seen that she was mostly alright, he took in his surroundings. Brooklyn's clothes were strewn everywhere, having taken Kai's demand to heart and kept an eye on Kara twenty-four/seven. The place was in a state of disarray.
Kai slapped his hand into Brooklyn's, giving him a half-hug that men tended to share.
"Brooks. Is she…?"
"Went into shock for a while. Then cried for a bit. It's alright now, though. Rave's a tough little girlie."
"Who the fuck are you calling little girlie?!" Kara snapped, causing Chase to come out of his self-pity and laugh uproariously.
"Nice to see you Shade." Brooklyn smirked, which Chase mirrored easily.
"You too Brooks." He said, with slight sarcasm, the sincerity in the statement only visible in his eyes.
"C'mon, you lot. Let's not stay here any longer than we have to. Kara, throw some stuff together. You're gonna stay with us while we're getting those cars."
"You mean…you took on the boost?" Kara said, as both she and Chase got to their feet, Kara as carefully as she could without jarring her aching shoulder.
"Yeah, of course," Chase said, "Not like we'd leave you at the mercies of Voltaire and Daddy Dearest, right?"
"I don't know," she muttered, "At least that way…" she trailed off, eyeing Chase apprehensively. He read her train of thought and stiffened slightly.
"No one is going to die," Kai interrupted smoothly, his auburn eyes determined, "Not this time. I promise, Kara."
An uneasy silence followed, only broken by Brooklyn's awkward cough. "Er," he started, "Who have we got so far?"
Chase's eyes suddenly lit up and slid over to his sister playfully, "We've got Matt, Tala, Ivy and…Willow."
"Cinders?!" Kara shouted, eyes widening, "She's back?"
"Yeah, and she seems pretty good actually…she's studying at New York College, Major in English, Minor in Engineering…she helped start up a college-run garage actually."
"But of course. Willow always was the best teenage mechanic on both sides of the pond. Speaking of mechanics, we should get a hold of Johnny. I mean, might stir things up with Willow, what with them being exes, but we need everyone we can get a hold of really…"
"What about Willow's brother, Max?"
"Obviously. And Enrique, of course."
Kara smiled slightly as she handed a few clothes to Brooklyn, who folded them and put them inside a small pack for her—her shoulder meant she had to do everything one handed for at least another week. But hearing her brothers talk about the old gang, about the upcoming reunion…it made her heart soar.
Back to the rough and tumble of the old days.
Despite the circumstances, she couldn't wait.