Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing.

Warning: Violence, language, possible mild religious themes, sexual situations.

Notes: College is kicking my ass, hence the slow update.

Raising Hell 3

brkstrtrcr

February 2010

Two days after the race everything had returned to normal at the Blue Dragon Restaurant.

Wufei was out back mowing the lawn while Meiran took the girls to school, and Hiirou found himself standing in the kitchen for yet another morning of food preparation and produce orders. Before that first unofficial race, his life had seemed content enough, but now every chore that he took on seemed so menial, so pointless. He'd forgotten what it felt like to get on his bike, gun his engine, and let his adrenaline take over, and now that he'd been submersed in that temporary euphoria once more everyday tasks seemed so mundane.

But he had a job to do, and he set to it with a conviction borne of preoccupation. The knife in his hands sliced cleanly and expertly through its target without thought, and Hiirou mulled over his current situation.

No one had openly mentioned the race since that night, though Meiran would make the occasional odd comment in reference, and Wufei seemed a little preoccupied with the other garage lately. He'd caught the Chinese man and Duo in heated discussions in the dining room at all hours of the night, recently.

Speaking of Duo...

The mechanic had been livid with him after the altercation with the uptown garage members. He'd claimed to have been 'sticking up for Hiirou' when he'd smarted off to the men, but the Japanese youth knew better.

The braided idiot just had a knack for causing trouble. It followed him around like a damned rain cloud and Hiirou preferred to steer clear of any potential storms brewing in that moron's head. He'd been avoiding prolonged contact with his violet-eyed counterpart after their first meeting, anyway. No, he felt more than justified in his attitude of moderated tolerance of the boy.

"Yo, Hiirou! There's something in the mail for you!"

It was just that no matter how hard he tried to be hostile with the mechanic, Duo shrugged it off and came back for more. It was like living next door to an abused spouse. The long-haired young man came barreling into the kitchen, a confused look on his handsome face, and Hiirou wanted to scream in frustration. Even when the mechanic was raiding Hiirou's mail he was attractive. What the fuck?!

"It's a Christmas card," Duo mumbled. He handed the green and red envelope to Hiirou. "Who the hell sends a Christmas card in October?"

The Japanese youth tried to shrug nonchalantly, mentally cursing his traitorous mind, and opened the envelope with a frown on his lips. When he pulled the card out, Duo snorted, obviously unamused.

It was a generic holiday greeting card, the cheap, thoughtless type sold at convenience stores, and it featured a tacky reindeer image on the front. Scrawled across it in permanent black marker were the words, "Merry Christmas, Fags!"

"Nice," Duo growled from behind him, and Hiirou decided to overlook the not-so-festive greeting, opening the card. Inside, he found a folded map of the more metropolitan area of their town. A section of the streets had been highlighted. The note inside the card read, "Starting point: Starbucks on Fifth Avenue. 1AM, Sunday. BYOB."

Hiirou paused at that last part. "Bring your own beer?" he asked, turning to Duo. The mechanic was fuming.

"No, stupid. Bring your own bitch." The Japanese youth still looked confused, so the other boy elaborated. "It's a racing term. A 'bitch' is a derogatory term for your mechanic. Your engine tech. The guy that makes your bike go 'vroom,'" he snarled. He waited for the delivery boy to catch on, but Hiirou still looked quite perplexed. What in the name of speedometers did bitches have to do with anything, and where was he supposed to acquire one? Duo groaned and stared at Hiirou incredulously. "Me!" he shouted, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world and Hiirou was mentally handicapped for not having grasped the concept. Then he threw his hands up in disgust and stormed out of the kitchen, leaving Hiirou to ponder over how Duo had become his new mechanic. Sure, the guy had touched his bike and not lost a limb or two, but that didn't make him Hiirou's technician. That just makes him a special case because you want to bend him over your bike and--

Hiirou growled under his breath and shook his head viciously to clear his thoughts. This was getting a little ridiculous. That braided nimrod would be the death of him... He removed the map from the card, glancing over it again quickly before tucking it into his back pocket. As he turned to toss the envelope and card into the trash bin he noticed one more line written sloppily inside the card.

"Reward for winner is one grand."

Hiirou's eyes widened at the figure.

This racing business was looking to be both dangerous and lucrative.

The city was quiet as Hiirou sat listening to the referee of the races.

He could hear distant, faint traffic noises, but the coffee shop across the street from them was dark, as were the office buildings that loomed twenty or so stories over them. To his left Duo stood with his arms crossed over his chest, a baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, and from under the ducked brim of the hat Hiirou saw the glowing orange cherry of a cigarette burning. Hiirou had never known him to smoke before tonight. The mechanic was in a foul mood, but it kept him from talking the Japanese youth's ear off, so he supposed he'd let it go for now.

On Duo's other side, the idiot with the temper from the last race was sitting on his bike, pretending to snore as their 'ref' gave instructions. He didn't recognize this new guy, but he seemed fairly level-headed, and he certainly wasn't favoring one team over the other, thus far. Then again, he could have just been luring them into a false sense of security. Hiirou sighed. He still couldn't remember why he'd decided to race again, but he supposed that he'd probably had a fairly good reason. Probably.

More than likely, Hiirou had simply contracted whatever degenerative brain-wasting disease Duo had.

"Here's how this is gonna work. On my signal you two start, and you'll follow the course highlighted on the maps. If you forget where to turn, we've got you covered." Another young man behind the ref stood up with a brightly-colored band poster and held it up for everyone to see.

"We pinched these out of the local concert hall. We've posted them on the corresponding side of each street where you need to turn. Right now we've got a decoy running up and down the course, so as soon as I get the all-clear we'll start the race."

Hiirou reached out and grabbed Duo's arm, ignoring the annoyed look he received and tugging him over.

"What's a decoy?" he inquired in a hushed tone.

The American rolled his eyes. "A decoy is another bike or car that runs the course about half an hour before you do. They use him to keep the local law enforcement preoccupied. He leads the cops away from the course and leaves it clear for the race." Then Duo pulled unceremoniously away from him and stalked off into the shadows.

Hiirou rolled his own eyes and considered this business of employing decoys. That idea was pretty smart. If they didn't distract the cops, the races would be over in minutes, because in a small town like this one the police were everywhere. There was simply nothing better for them to do than hassle young kids out on the streets at night.

"All right, techs. Check your opponent's bike so we can start."

Hiirou shifted nervously as a greasy-looking guy slumped down beside his bike to check for any special features that might give him an unfair advantage in the race. He snorted wryly. As if racing against this garage isn't a big enough disadvantage...

Across the street, Duo was kneeling down beside the redhead's bike, cigarette between his teeth, giving the other guy a hard time. "You wanna get that damned cigarette away from my ride?"

Duo arched an eyebrow, blowing a large cloud of grey smoke into the other man's face and smirking. "Not particularly." He stood, dusting his knees off, and flashed their ref a thumbs-up.

"Listen up," their mediator collapsed his cellular phone and nodded. "The cops are taken care of. We've got them halfway across town, so let's get this party started. On my signal."

Hiirou revved his engine, feeling a lot more confident than he had at that first race. He realized that these subsequent face-offs were all-important to the hierarchy of the uptown garage--Duo had taken to calling them the "Jets", a joke from an old American musical.

These current races determined who would assume leadership of the garage, and Hiirou was the test. He guessed that the first man to beat him in these races would replace Blondie as head of their circle. Unfortunately for the jackasses' power struggles, he had no intention of losing, any time soon.

Zechs Merquise was bored. He'd been sitting outside his favorite diner for nearly an hour, trying to decide whether he wanted to eat or simply call it a night and go home, when a black Nissan Maxima had flown down the street beside the diner, a group of squad cars in hot pursuit. Zechs had flung the door to his Celica open, grabbing his radio and calling in to dispatch to see if the officers needed assistance, but he was off-duty so the woman had told him more or less to stay out of it.

Minutely heartbroken, the officer had slumped over his open car door, radio in-hand, and his night was beginning to look like a total waste, when from around the corner the roaring of engines had echoed through the empty parking lot almost twenty minutes later, and for a moment he wondered if the Maxima was just leading the police cars around in a circle. Instead, he watched as a silver motorcycle with a jagged scratch down one side came barreling down the road, a blue bike close behind it. They were operating at dangerously high speeds, and Zechs suddenly felt like a kid in a candy store.

Chuckling, he jumped into his car and peeled out of the parking lot, leaving a cloud of dust behind him. "0136 to dispatch," he practically sung into his radio, jerking his steering wheel sharply to keep up with the much more agile bikes , all the while fumbling with his seat belt. "Be advised, I've got two import bikes in my sight traveling on Seventh Avenue at speeds in excess of seventy miles per hour. Standby for plate numbers."

The guy behind him had to be a cop.

Hiirou mulled this over as he made a hard left, trying to keep up with the other racer, but at these speeds one of them was going to total. He fell back just a bit and tried to find a way to ditch the Celica that was practically up his ass. He wasn't coming up with anything useful. Swearing, he sped up. This guy was fucking crazy. Maybe if he drove a little more recklessly the cop would have no choice but to fall back. The problem with that idea was that the car behind him was definitely not a police vehicle, and from the hissing noises it made every time the transmission shifted, it probably wasn't even street legal. It was definitely a cop though, because from his side view mirrors Hiirou could see the man talking into a radio. This was decidedly not a good situation. Wasn't that damned decoy supposed to prevent shit like this from happening?

Beside him, the redheaded racer looked pretty confident, and it struck Hiirou then that those garage assholes had probably prepared for this kind of thing. Sure enough, the blue bike veered down a side alley, driving up a metal ramp and into the back of a moving van that had been waiting there for him. A few of the uptown garage members pulled down the back gate on the van and effectively hid the bike from view. "Son of a bitch," Hiirou sighed. He was losing his patience and now this crazy bastard in the Celica only had one target.

Things weren't looking good for Hiirou.

The Japanese youth glanced down at his gauges. He was almost forty over the speed limit. That added up to speeding, reckless driving, public endangerment, and racketeering if they could prove he was engaged in criminal behavior for profit. His options were to either pull over and spend the next decade of his life as jail bait in some shitty Nevada prison or try to outrun the cop and add evading arrest to his list of possible convictions. It was a split-second decision. but Hiirou made it and swerved between two slower moving vehicle to escape his pursuer.

The Celica avoided a near-accident, bypassing the cars, and was back on his tail.

Time for more drastic measures. There was an interstate exit less than one hundred yards away. Gritting his teeth, the Japanese youth drove his bike over the solid yellow line in the center of the street, directly into oncoming traffic, and prayed that the cop wouldn't dare to follow him. For a moment all Hiirou could see was the headlights of an opposite-bound truck, and the blare of the other driver's terrified horn echoed deafeningly inside his helmet. He barely made it around the other vehicle in time, turning onto the entrance ramp for the highway so sharply that he could have sworn the outside of his right leg brushed the asphalt. His hands were shaking as they gripped his handlebars, white-knuckled, and his rapid breathing was fogging up the inside of his visor. When Hiirou caught his breath enough to get his wits about him he checked his side view mirrors again, dreading to see the silhouette of that damned Celica still dogging his every move, but there was nothing behind him besides pitch-black pavement and the dark Nevada night sky. The silver car was no where in sight.