Title: Down a Dark Road
Fandom: Speed Racer (Movie-verse)
Pairing: Speed/Racer X (Rex)
Disclaimer: Speed Racer is not mine. I make no money out of writing this.
Warnings: Incest, Slash
Notes: I just had to slash these two. I know I have a lot to work on in my other pieces, but I was inspired to write this. Don't worry I'm going to finish the rest of my pieces! This is, of course, the beginning of a much bigger piece.
CHAPTER ONE: Breaking Records
Speed could feel the power of the Mach 6 vibrating up through his feet to the top of his head as he took the last hairpin turn before the flag at Thunderhead. He was racing neck-in-neck with Racer X who drove the yellow and black Shooting Star #9. Speed glanced over at X's handsome profile only to realize that X was looking right back at him.
Time slowed to a crawl and the cries of the crowd were suddenly muted as Speed and X locked gazes. Speed knew that X's eyes were staring directly into his even though X wore his customary impenetrable black glasses.
'He's looking at me. Really looking at me. What does he see?' Speed thought.
X tipped his head towards the front of his car. The unvoiced warning caused Speed's gaze to snap back to the windshield and to see where he was going. He swore softly under his breath. While he was watching X, the Mach 6 had been drifting to the left and almost off the track. Sparky had been squawking in his headset.
"Speed! Speed! Watch the track!" Sparky's voice rose to a near shriek in Speed's ear.
"Sorry, Sparky," Speed said with a grimace as he wrestled the Mach 6 away from the track's edge.
"Jesus, Speed, are you okay? I thought we'd lost you for a minute there!" Sparky said, relief tinging his voice.
"I …," Speed's voice faded out. He couldn't explain that he was lost.
Losing himself in thoughts of X was happening more and more since last year's Casa Cristo where he and the older racer had partnered up to take down E.P. Arnold Royalton, the corrupt owner of Royalton Industries. They'd been wildly successful as teammates and in their joint quest to take the crooked Royalton down. Although, in the end, Royalton's incarceration hadn't mattered much, because a dozen more criminals had taken Royalton's place. And some of these replacements were far more brutal and frightening than Royalton had ever been. Inspector Detector's job was certainly secure.
But neither the successful partnership nor the continued corruption of racing was the reason Racer X occupied Speed's every waking moment these days. Speed flushed. He knew why. He'd tried to deny it because the last time he'd felt anything like this for a man it had been Rex. His brother. And yes, he'd been just a boy when Rex had died so he'd been too young to understand what his feelings really were back then. And yes, to feel that way about a sibling was … wrong … Speed supposed. But he had loved Rex, still loved Rex, in a way that made it seem right.
Racer X reminded Speed so much of Rex from the way Racer X moved, both in the car and out, to the way he smiled. Maybe considering all of these similarities it wasn't surprising that Speed was attracted to Racer X. But there were great differences, too. Where Rex had been sunlight, Racer X was darkness. However, the differences didn't seem to register in Speed's heart.
The black and white checks of the finish line suddenly filled Speed's vision. "I'm fine, Sparky, don't worry about me. Let's put this thing in the bag."
"Alrighty then, Speed, take the Harbinger of Boom down!" Sparky agreed.
Speed might be obsessed with X, but that didn't mean he was going to lose a race to him. He jammed down on the pedals to shift the Mach 6 up another gear and pushed on the gas. The Mach 6 leapt forward, but the Shooting Star kept up. Gritting his teeth, Speed willed the Mach 6 to go faster.
The crowd roared. The engines thundered. The Mach 6 and the Shooting Star zoomed over the finish line.
Speed slowed the Mach 6 down to a crawl then stopped her altogether. Adrenaline buzzed through his veins. He took a deep breath to calm his beating heart as he drew his helmet off and tossed it onto the passenger seat. He ran a gloved hand through his sweaty hair and then hoisted himself out of the Mach 6's driver's seat. His gaze landed automatically on Racer X as the older racer exited the Shooting Star. X was grinning. His face alive with happiness.
'He enjoyed that. He likes racing me. Just as much as I like racing him,' Speed thought as he grinned back.
He started walking towards X, hand outstretched to congratulate the other man with a handshake. He wished it could be more. A hug, without the typical manly slap on the back. Speed wondered what it would be like to be enfolded in leather arms, to have Racer X's strength surrounding him, for just a moment. But he knew that it would never happen. He'd have to accept the simple press of hands. Speed slipped off the white leather racing gloves. He at least wanted to feel that simple press of hands.
He saw a flash of guardedness enter Racer X's expression, a slight tensing of his expressive mouth, as the older racer saw him coming.
'He's worried about us being seen even as friendly competitors,' Speed thought, his grin faltering.
There was flash of some expression on the exposed part of Racer X's face when he saw Speed's smile fade, but it passed too quickly for Speed to understand what it was. But what he could understand was that Racer X was suddenly walking towards him and then clasping the younger racer's hand between his own. The warmth of X's skin seeped into Speed's; Racer X had taken his gloves off, too.
"Congratulations, Speed," Racer X said, his low voice resonated pleasantly in Speed's ears.
"You, too! We tied, you realize," Speed said.
"If I hadn't been distracted by someone running off the track, I would have won," X said, his generous mouth curving up into a teasing smile.
Speed ducked his head before finally looking up at Racer X's face through his thick black lashes. "Well, I think that was more your fault than mine."
"Oh? How so? I wasn't the one attempting to fly."
Something about the warmth of X's hands, which were still covering his, made Speed bold. "You distracted me first. I find I can't stop looking at you." The last was softly said.
Racer X flushed. The redness extended below the line of his visor. It was such a human reaction that it surprised Speed. Racer X so rarely had human weaknesses like blushing. Speed's heart seemed to relocate to his throat both. Had he said too much? Was he about to be decked? Or worse, was the older racer going to turn his back on him with a snarl of disgust? But Racer X's hands never let go of his. The grip tightened and Speed felt a wild hope light in his chest.
"Speed …" Racer X began, the way he said Speed's name like a whispered prayer, but he didn't get to say anything more as they were suddenly surrounded and parted by a shouting Sparky, a screaming Spritle and a whooping Chim Chim. Speed's hand felt cold.
The monkey wrapped himself around one of Speed's legs while Spritle did the same to the other. Sparky was preening like a rooster as fresh cold milk was brought over to both Racer X and Speed. Speed gave the bottle immediately to Sparky and the mechanic greedily gulped it down. Pops, Mom and Trixie walked over to him more sedately, wide smiles on all their faces. Although Trixie's expression was more guarded.
Speed saw her eyes flicker over to Racer X then back to Speed. He found he couldn't meet her gaze. The Grand Prix had been their last kiss. She'd tried to bring it up with him countless times since then, but he'd evaded the conversation he knew she wanted to have. Then she'd abruptly dropped it as if she were satisfied with just being friends. But now he sensed that she might know at least part of the reason why he'd drawn away without him having to say a word. He owed her better.
Racer X was staring at Speed, too, watching Speed's family mill around him while X was standing alone. An outsider looking in. Speed's heart hurt seeing how solitary X appeared. Speed opened his mouth to ask X to come over; to be with them; to be with him. But at that moment Minx slinked up to X. She draped her long lean body across his broad shoulder. Speed's hands unconsciously clenched his hands into fists as the slit in her red sequined dress parted as one of her legs wound around X's.
'She's his girlfriend. She's his family. You're just an annoying kid. A competitor at best. What were you thinking? The fact that he didn't deck you earlier didn't mean that he felt for you what you feel for him. No, he was just surprised and being … kind,' Speed thought, cold wrapping around his heart.
It was then that announcer Ben Burns' voice rose over the clamor, "Believe it folks, it's official. A new course record set by Racer X and Speed Racer in a spectacular tied finish! Rex Racer's record has been shattered."
Speed's heart already feeling frozen suddenly plummeted into his feet. His mouth fell open.
"What? No, that's not …" Speed's throat was suddenly tight with tears and he couldn't speak.
"Didn't you know, Speed?" Spritle said, still clinging to him. "Didn't you know that you were gonna break Rex's record? I knew! I told Pops you would!"
Speed's vision suddenly went dark and he couldn't bear to be around others at that moment. He had never meant to break Rex's record. It was to remain a marker of his brother's life. He had purposefully not broken it a year earlier when he'd won Thunderhead. But because of his obsession with Racer X he hadn't even noticed how fast he was going this time around.
Speed shook off Spritle and Chim Chim. The two gave surprised, but unhurt, gasps as they rolled off of him. He hardly heard Pops and Mom calling to him, asking what was wrong. He didn't stop to answer them. Instead, he walked off the racetrack to the semi-private walkway into the locker rooms. Away from the glare of the cameras and the roar of the crowd he stopped and rested his head against the cool metal wall. His face felt hot with anger and anguish. That was when he caught sight of Trixie walking towards him. Her hands were clasped tightly in front of her. She guessed what was troubling him. She'd been his best friend for too long not to know.
But suddenly someone else cut in front of her and she froze. This larger person was by Speed's side, holding his right forearm in a tight, yet comfortable grip. Trixie wavered for a moment in the mouth of the walkway, but then she turned and disappeared from view leaving him alone with Racer X. Speed knew he should feel sorry for her pain, but his attention was completely subsumed by X's closeness.
"Rex would've wanted this, Speed. He wanted you to be the best. Even better than him," Racer X said. His breath felt warm against the side of Speed's face. It smelt of mint. The fact that X knew, too, why he was upset warmed something in side of Speed.
"It's not that. The record was …" Speed's voice hitched and Racer X tightened his hold on him. "The record was one way of keeping him alive."
"Oh, Speed," Racer X's voice was gentle, tender. The way Speed had heard it only once when they were alone on this track after Taejo Togokhan had betrayed them and Speed had accused X of being his dead brother.
Speed's eyes rose to meet X's. He could feel wetness on his lashes and his vision blurred as he tried to blink back tears. "Part of me died when he did, X. And seeing that record gone … its like wiping away another part of him," Speed explained.
X's hands were cupping Speed's face, his thumbs gently brushing away the tears that Speed had fought hard not to fall.
"He's always with you, Speed. Always," X told him, a fierceness in the older racer's voice breaking through Speed's pain. "Nothing can wipe that away. I swear it."
"I wish I could believe that, X," Speed responded softly.
"Forgive this interruption, but I'm afraid it couldn't wait," Inspector Detector said, abruptly appearing beside them.
"It better be a matter of life or death, Inspector," X growled, his gaze not leaving Speed's face even though his hands did.
Speed mourned their loss but realized it would be strange for them to remain in such a practically intimate embrace.
"I'm afraid it is," Inspector said, taking X's anger in stride. "I don't know if you both realized that racer Karl Kaczak crashed during the race."
"I can't say I did," X responded dryly. "I take it the fact that Kaczak crashed isn't the news you're interrupting us for?"
"Is he ok?" Speed asked.
The CIB officer grimaced. "I'm afraid not. His safety system was sabotaged. He's dead."
"Oh!" Speed said, shaking his head. "Wait, sabotaged … like Rex's?"
Racer X went very still beside Speed as they waited for the inspector to answer.
Inspector Detector didn't look at Speed, instead he was staring hard at Racer X as he said, "Yes, exactly like Rex's."