So, I started this around the end of June.
The reason why I haven't posted it till now is because I was having some trouble on figuring out how to post it. It was originally going to be placed in Vicissitude, but then it decided it wanted to be multi-chaptered. . . sort of. So, I had a bit of a predicament.
But now, I've finally figured it out: This will not be a full-length story; I don't have the energy for it. However, I will be posting this in installments as I finish each distinct part. This is part one, and I'm not actually sure how many other installments there will be. . . just depends on how much I want to develop it, I suppose. :)
Anyway! Yeah, this is an AU on street racing. . . Neji/TenTen pairing . . . as usual. XD
Guys, please don't street race! It's illegal. . . Yeah.
And like many other things, I know nothing about cars. Absolutely nada. Everything you read here I learned about off Wikipedia or from my dad, who used to be a mechanic.
Okay, now that we've got all of that straight. . .
Disclaimer: Yeah, so, this Japanese guy owns this. . . *cough cough*
The first time Neji saw a street race was by accident.
He was eleven, and his father had taken him out for a late night snack.
As Neji and his father consumed their late night ice cream, they turned to view the brilliant Tokyo skyline.
Neji's eyes drifted lazily over the tall buildings and onto the strip of tar before him.
In an instant, three cars appeared on the horizon, moving abnormally quick.
They were colorfully decorated, painted in bright and funky colors that personified their magnificence.
The trio moved swiftly past them, one blaring loud music.
Neji's father scoffed softly.
"These teenagers are all crazy these days . . . with their fast cars and strange way of talking. . ."
Neji did not know at that time that only seven years later he himself would be the victim of the game known as street racing.
Naruto was being his usual mischievous self.
Neji, once again, found himself in some strange, unknown place being led by the blonde idiot he called his friend.
Well, at least he's consistent.
"Naruto," grumbled Neji, absently glancing at the people the were passing.
They stared back, threatening.
Neji unconciously quickened his stride.
"Naruto, where the hell are we?"
Naruto casually threw a glance over his shoulder.
"You'll see. Just be patient for Kami's sakes."
Neji glared at the back of Naruto's head, sending him dirty looks.
They were by far in not one of the most respectable districts in Tokyo. If anything, they were in a rough section where thugs and robberies went hand-in-hand.
The clumps of people surrounding them on all sides were not exactly pleasant either.
Most of them had multiple piercings in uncomfortable places, highlights of various exotic colors, and were smoking, the exhaust floating up into the night sky.
Neji's experience with these much wilder peers was far and in-between.
He went to a private school, where types of people were strictly refined to preps and jocks.
This was a much wider and diverse universe Neji was walking into, and it sort of concerned him how he didn't know how to deal with the situation.
Naruto led him past the small crowds, directing him to a large hangar-looking building.
Inside, Neji was assaulted by the blast of loud pop and rap music.
The hangar lights were on, and it took Neji a moment for his eyes to adjust to the brightness.
When he focused, he set his sights on the awe in front of him.
Lined in perfect, neat rows were cars.
Every shape, every size, every possible color.
Neji slowly roved the vehicles, memorizing every detail possible.
"What—what is this place?" he asked Naruto in a quiet tone.
Naruto grinned and clapped his friend on the shoulder.
"This, Neji, is heaven."
Neji had always, somehow, had an affinity for fast things.
When he was a child, it was his bike.
In middle school, he ran on the track team and placed in the regional finals.
And when Neji had turned sixteen two years ago, he got his first car—a perfect little second generation Cadillac CTS-V that could do zero to sixty in three point nine seconds.(1)
Neji received his first speeding ticket four days following him getting his car, penalized and charged for going thirty miles over the speed limit.
The presentation before him was a car enthusiast's dream.
There were all types of makes in the room, rivals and partners all together under the full light.
There were also less people in the room than outside, but Neji found these characters before him much more interesting to view.
There were various genders, Neji was surprised to see.
Many of the people Neji saw were his age or a little older.
The girls naturally looked younger, but that was due to their ridiculous amounts of make-up.
It was unnaturally hot in the hangar and Neji began to perspire, his brow releasing beads of sweat.
Neji turned his attention to the cars surrounding him, walking down the line of cars.
If Neji neared too close to a car, most owners glared at him dirtily, a warning for him to back away.
Neji obeyed these glances without question.
But then there were the owners that accepted his approving eyes.
One girl, the driver of a hot pink Saleen S7, even winked in Neji's direction, waving him over sultrily.(2)
"Yumi, stop being a kiss ass and get your damn car ready!" snapped another girl, a few cars over.
The girl named Yumi angrily flounced away, instead going over to one of her friends.
Neji looked at the girl who had saved him.
She was at the back of a white Honda S2000, tinkering around with a tailpipe.(3)
Her brown hair was tied back in a rushed plait, a few strands of hair sticking out.
Unlike the people around, this girl did not dress in the crazy insane styles the others wore.
Her overalls were tattered and worn, the denim faded to extremes. Her undershirt held stains and oil spots.
Neji suspected her to be a mechanic for the car, at the very most.
He approached the car, admiring the elaborate crimson ribbons that ran from the front wheels to the rear of the car, and the pure white spoiler on the back.
The girl quit tampering with the tailpipe as Neji came closer, cursing, and appearing frustrated.
"Hey, Jun! Make sure that valve is tightened up!" she called, eyes certain.
A guy a little younger than Neji nodded his head busily, doing as he was told.
Neji stopped just short of the front bumper, making eye contact with the previous speaker.
"Thanks," he said to her, having to yell a little over the music and buzz of conversation.
The girl's eyebrows knitted together, confused.
"For saving me from that girl," Neji clarified, gesturing toward Yumi a few cars away.
"Oh," replied the girl, nodding in comprehension. "No problem. She's too horny for her own good. What she should be doing is working on her car, the lazy cow."
Neji smiled a little at the look the girl threw at Yumi.
"If she were a bit smarter and not as much of a whore, she might actually win a race once in a while."
Neji's analytical gaze ran over the Saleen.
In terms of pretty, look-at-me cars, the Saleen was easily the winner. But the S2000 held power. The Honda was the real race car.
"Nice car," Neji commented airily, to no one in particular.
"Thanks," the girl replied.
Neji's forehead wrinkled.
"It's yours?" asked Neji.
The girl glanced at him balefully, crossing her arms as she strode toward Neji.
"What, you think that just because I'm a girl I can't drive a fast car?"
"Um. . ."
The girl appeared satisfied, and nodded.
"Well, it's not like I haven't heard it before, I suppose," she murmured.
She met Neji's gaze, obviously thinking carefully.
"I'm TenTen," she greeted, holding her hand out to shake.
Neji briefly clasped her hand and replied, "Neji."
"Well," TenTen began, glancing over her shoulder at her car, "I should probably finish before the race."
Neji nodded and stepped back, away from her.
"Sure. Good luck."
TenTen smiled and gave her thanks.
Neji turned, searching the large room to locate Naruto.
He was standing closer to the entrance, talking to some girls dressed in Ganguro style.(4)
No doubt they were paying attention to Naruto because of his American appearance.(5)
"Naruto, what exactly is this place?" Neji inquired of him after the girls had left.
Naruto withdrew his gaze from the girls sauntering away and focused on his tall friend.
"This is an underground street racing event. Apparently, they have them about every two weeks in different locations so the cops won't find 'em. Neat, huh?"
Neji raised his eyebrows and looked around again, taking it in.
"Yeah. Except that street racing is illegal. . ."
Naruto waved this away as if it was inconsequential.
"You worry about details too much."
"How'd you find this place?" questioned Neji further, ignoring Naruto's previous comment.
Naruto scrunched up his face, remembering.
"I heard some idiot talking about it on the bullet train. So, I showed up at a meet a few weeks ago and it was like hearing my calling. . ."
"Naruto, you can't drive worth a crap," Neji flatly said.
Naruto glared at his friend.
"For the sake of the lovely people around us, Neji, at least act like I do."
Neji rolled his eyes.
"So," started Naruto a few seconds later, "I saw you talking to that girl over there."
Naruto flicked his eyes from Neji to TenTen several yards from them.
"She's good, man. Really, really good. She won the race I went to a few weeks ago by like, twenty yards from the other cars. Apparently she's been pissing people off at these things since she was fourteen."
"Because she's a good racer?"
"No, she's a fantastic racer. She could probably be professional once she got a little older. She's one of the regular winners at these things."
Neji raised an eyebrow.
"She's so . . . innocent, though."
"Oh, trust me, Neji, she's not as innocent as she appears. Last time, she drove this girl who blocked her off the road. Totally screwed her car over."
Neji had a slight inkling it was the girl with the Saleen.
"When are they gonna start?"
Neji checked his watch.
"Any minute now, actually. Yeah . . . look."
Naruto pointed to a young man around twenty with dyed electric blue hair and wearing a school uniform with a loosed tie.
"Attention! Drivers, take your places and line up outside!"
A few boy drivers yelped out, excited.
Neji watched as TenTen slammed the hood on her engine and do a quick once-over of her car to make sure things were in place.
She slapped high-fives with a few of her crew members and swung herself into her car, shutting the door.
A roar of engines echoed as the multiple cars pulled out and left the hangar.
Neji and Naruto followed, walking out of the large hangar and into the night, merging with the bigger crowd.
TenTen's car was at the direct front, rewarding her for her win the previous race.
Some cars were showing off as they lined up, doing donuts and showing off their nitrous.
Neji and Naruto moved with the crowd to the sides of the lined up cars, carefully watching as the starter appeared.
She stubbed out her cigarette, the fumes swirling up and out.
Her wig was neon pink, complimenting her black army boots with pink laces.
Neji was still not very surprised to see the girl not wearing very much at all either.
Her skirt was barely enough to cover her butt and the shirt she was wearing was a low, see-through, off-the-shoulder number.
But Neji recalled that he would probably find worse in Harajuku.
"The way they do this is a type of mixing drag racing with touge," Naruto educated quickly. "The winner from the previous race goes in front and picks the course they all drive. That girl right there, the one with the red hair? She's the starter, letting the racers know when to go. Once the starter signals the race has begun, anything goes. They can run each other off the track, bump, use NoS, whatever. . . Concerning the route, it depends on how many wrecks and stuff there are. When they get to an area where they have to touge, there are usually more wrecks 'cause most of the younger racers don't know how to handle their cars in the tight turns. . . Your little buddy in front there is a pro at it. That's usually where she does damage to the other cars."
Neji stared at Naruto blankly.
"And just where the hell did you learn so much in two weeks?"
"Street Racing for Dummies."
Neji rolled his eyes and turned back to the cars and the girl starter.
He could see TenTen through the slightly tinted window of her car, glancing suspiciously out of her rearview mirror at a green car behind her.
She vaguely turned her attention back to her dash, fingering a few knobs.
Neji's eyes went back to the starter, who was easily filtering through the hoods of the racers' cars, making eye contact.
Slowly, she raised her arms simply, her hands outstretched easily to the sky.
"Ready, Set, GO!"
The girl's skirt ruffled about her legs as the racers made a fast and clean line past her, onto the winding street.
As the last of the cars pulled out, the spectators moved to the center of the street to watch the racers continue on their course.
The cars moved quickly over the rise of the street, passing easily.
A few feet from where Neji and Naruto were standing, a TV screen stood, connected to several wires.
From the way the footage was being shot, Neji suspected a car was in the race recording with a video camera.
The car with the camera was back a few yards from the frontrunners, but they were still in view.
TenTen's car was still in the front, currently blocking a green car from gaining the lead.
The Saleen from before was trailing next to the car holding the camera; Neji could make out Yumi's features in the dim lighting.
A yellow Noble M15 briefly sped up behind TenTen's S2000, taking her left flank and gaining past her, taking a brisk lead.
He wasn't there for long.
Neji saw the curve in the road and Naruto muttered to him that this one curve began the touge.
TenTen's white Honda took the outside of the touge, no longer paying any attention to the green car she'd been previously blocking.
"She's going to fishtail him," Naruto murmured solemnly.
Neji flicked his gaze to Naruto before turning back to the screen, watching intently.
TenTen was accelerating, her car whizzing into the curve almost at a reckless pace.
The yellow Noble seemed panicked as it slowed down some for the curve.
Neji watched, intrigued, as TenTen did not even attempt to slow down for the touge.
The dangerous proximity of the Noble did not even faze TenTen as she continued at her elevated speed.
"They're going to crash," Neji said, glancing at Naruto.
"No," Naruto replied. "Just watch."
Neji looked back, inhaling deeply.
TenTen stayed on the outside as the yellow car took the middle, nearing him ever closer.
The two cars disappeared from sight, view blocked by a spill of cars excelling past the car carrying the camera.
A groan echoed through the collective crowd.
Neji held his breath, awaiting the outcome.
Seconds later, the camera was swooping over the hill, leaving a bird's eye view of the action below.
The yellow Noble was crashed into a tree, the interior dark.
Neji threw a darted glance at Naruto.
In turn, Naruto shrugged, his hands shoved deep in his pockets.
Neji shook his head.
"She ran him off the road," he stated, disbelieving.
Naruto nodded, responding, "Yep. It's not the first time she's done it either."
Neji breathed deeply, studying the screen carefully.
TenTen was still in the lead, but. . .
"COPS!!!" bellowed a youth from a few yards away.
The next thing Neji knew, Naruto had tightly grabbed his wrist, pulling him away from the crowd.
"Naruto, what the hell—?"
"I'll explain later!" Naruto shouted back, his voice barely audible against the yells and screams of the tires and the revs of the engines.
They ran all the way to Neji's car, amongst the other spectators who were just as eager to get out of there.
Neji jumped into the driver's seat, slamming his foot down on the clutch as he started the engine.
Easily, Neji hit the gas and maneuvered out of the thick crowd, avoiding hitting a few people by inches.
He did not realize he was breathing heavily until he reached the highway, casting nervous looks into the rearview mirror.
Hastily, he pulled on his seatbelt with one hand.
"Okay. Explain," Neji sighed, calming his fast-beating heart.
"Alright, well, remember that minor detail about street racing being illegal?"
"Yeah, it includes cops in that deal. Every few weeks or so someone'll tip us all off that they're coming and then we have to run for it so we don't go to jail."
Neji threw a glance at his friend.
"And you couldn't have told me this before you dragged me into illicit activity?"
"Aw, come on, Neji, you have to lighten up for Kami's sake. A little excitement oughta do you some good."
Neji rolled his eyes.
"What about the racers?" he inquired, thoughtful as he flicked his eyes past the headlights.
"Ah, they'll be okay. They all have those police monitors in their cars anyway, so they know if they're on the right route or not."
Neji's mouth lifted into a half-smile.
"Well, I guess I'm a little behind then."
"Neji, you have no idea."
(1) Cadillac CTS-Vs are assembled in Michigan and they are in a line of high performance cars produced by Cadillac, starting in 2004. The car Neji has is a 2009 model, the newest one Cadillac has introduced. It has a base price of 59,995 US dollars and Cadillac began selling them November 2008. The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V can do 0 to 60 in 3 point nine seconds.
(2) Saleens are HOT cars. I wish I had one. Saleens are a very limited produced car and you can read more about them on Wikipedia (they have pictures!). :D
(3) Honda S2000s are really, really neat cars. They were manufactured by Japan around 2000. If you remember in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the pink car driven by the girl was a Honda S2000. But TenTen's is better. :D
(4) Ganguro is a style of street fashion in Japan. Basically, they bleach their hair, get tans, and wear lots of mini-skirts and jewelry. Read about them on Wikipedia.
(5) A note about Naruto: In this one-shot, he is American and Japanese. Kushina met Minato because of a business trip Minato had in the States. They fell in love, yada, yada, yada and had Naruto in the States. Well, eventually, Minato persuaded Kushina to move back to Japan before Naruto started high school. So, Neji met Naruto around tenth grade and they've been buddies ever since. :D
. . . Yep.
So, review. :D