Okay, so I didn't think this one would ever see the light of day outside of the sanctuary after I deleted the original version, but of all things I finally found the CD that I had saved it on those many years ago. So please, sit back and enjoy one of my first fics: Impossible Standards.
And yes, I left the beginning alone despite the fact that it sucks. I didn't want to change it from the fic that everyone remembered. So without further A/N here it is:
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Curled up in the chair, lazily flipping through the pages of the latest news in racing, noting briefly that his disappearance was still the hottest topic in the racing community, Atemu turned his thoughts to the upcoming conversation he was going to have with the boy he had marked as his own. So far, it had been pretty hard to get it through his little one's head how badly the racer had fallen for him. But as Atemu had been left to his own devices tonight, he had come up with a plan to let his little one know just what it was that he was feeling.
Suddenly, Atemu's head snapped up, crimson eyes searching around for just what, exactly, had disturbed him. Glancing quickly behind him, he saw the object of his thoughts in the doorway.
"I thought you were out with your friends tonight, little one." He said, eyes widening slightly, before narrowing angrily, as he noticed the condition of the boy in the door way. Sharp crimson eyes taking in the disheveled state of the boy's clothing. Jean jacket askew, shirt torn, pants a splotchy, ripped mess. Atemu quickly made his way out of the chair, attempting to get closer to the shaking boy without startling him.
"What happened, little one?" he questioned, softly, as he started moving toward the door, where his little one stood, eyes wild with fright.
Yugi raised his tearstained amethyst gaze to Atemu's curious crimson one, eyes widening to twice their size, if that were possible. He twitched once at the sound of Atemu's sexy tenor voice. Then the boy shook his head, backing towards the door.
Yugi hadn't expected to see Atemu, his crush, the one that he'd given his virginity to, only nights ago, still at home on a Friday night. But here he was, and from the looks of things, the older boy had been quite comfortable until he had walked through the door. Yugi couldn't go through with his plan here, but where to go? Backing away a step for every advance that Atemu made towards him, he turned and stumbled back out the door and down the steps.
"Yugi, little one, wait! What happened?" Atemu bolted out the door after him, rounding the corner of the house just in time to see Yugi take off in his prize possession, a newly painted 1968 Pontiac Firebird. The dark blue paint of the car reflecting the lights from the lampposts to make the car look almost a purple color.
Watching as the blue car fishtailed wildly before its owner brought it under control, Atemu knew that something serious had happened to his little one. Deciding to give chase, he raced back into the house and snagged his keys off the key rack. Sprinting to his sleek 1971 Dodge Challenger RT convertible , he slid over the trunk in an effort to save time, wincing as he heard a button from pocket of his black jeans come in contact with the expensive color changing purple paint.
Slapping the keys into the ignition, he had only a moment to wait before the 600 horsepower hemi engine roared to life, before turning the car in a tight 180 to take off after Yugi, who had sped away not moments before.
He touched the button on his B&M shifter, throwing the car into a burst of speed, trying to catch up to the blue/purple blur quite a ways ahead of him. Thanking god that there would be minimal, if any, traffic on the streets of this small suburban town, at this late of an hour.
When Atemu was within five car lengths of the Firebird, he let off the button, content to follow the younger boy, to wherever he was headed. He would talk with him once they got there. Tailing the other car through the small town, he noticed that Yugi was paying no attention to either of the town's streetlights, his speed or anything around him. And that, truly, was not the Yugi he had come to know over the last couple of months.
"Damn it, what the hell is wrong with you?" Atemu cursed as he followed the other boy out of the small suburb, and into the desert, continuing along the main road. Their speeds were well in excess of the 55mph that was posted. He watched, tensely, as the scenery flew by at a high rate of speed, calculating the chances of anything going wrong.
'Where are you going, little one?' He wondered, nudging the gas pedal a little further to the floorboard, gaining more ground on the other car.
Inside the Firebird, Yugi was freaking out. He had seen Yami, his major crush, and his first lover, run out of the house after him, but he thought that he had left the other behind. Now, it seems, he was wrong. He would know the car behind him anywhere. Still, he wouldn't let that change his plans.
'This has to end!' He thought.
Yugi knew that he was in love with the older boy. Not that someone like Yami could ever love him back. It didn't matter now, because Ushio owned him. All because of that stupid race. He never should have let himself be bullied into accepting a race from that psycho.
And he should have had the balls to ask what the stakes were, before adding his shakily scrawled signature to the bottom of that contract. Forget the fact that he was facing at least five rather large bullies at the time. From here on out, he had nothing to look forward to but pain and humiliation.
He could never be with Yami again, even if, by some remote chance the other boy felt the same way for him, for tonight he had signed his life away. It was just better for everyone involved if he ended it this way. Then his grandfather would never see the shameful state of his grandson. He never really agreed with Yugi's choices in life, anyways.
And Yami could continue on with his life. It wasn't like he, Yugi, really meant anything to the older boy, anyways. It was Yugi, himself, who had begged the other boy to take his virginity. So what was Yami doing following him?
Shaking his head roughly, to rid himself of those thoughts, his mind wandered to his friends. Jou and the others would be sad at first, but they'd get over it. It was just better this way. Better to end it, than end up as Ushio's unpaid whore. More than likely, he'd be passed around the whole gang before too long. No, it was better this way!
Sexy crimson eyes flashed through his mind. 'No! I won't feel guilty, I won't!' Yugi sniffed, the tears coming freely, now.
Nudging the brake pedal, he spun the car to the right, kicking up gravel as he barreled toward his destination.
'The Point?' Atemu followed Yugi's move perfectly, a spray of gravel marking his passing as he turned off the paved road onto dirt. 'What the hell is out here? This is the middle of nowhere! Damn, this kid is fast! He'd do well on the circuit, with the right equipment.'
As they made their way to the cliffs, known as The Point, Atemu noticed that the other boy had yet to slow down. If anything, the Pontiac had sped up!
"Oh. Hell. No!" Atemu yelled. He now knew what the younger boy was attempting to do. And it pissed him off. He knew that his little one had been going through a bout of depression lately, but he didn't think it was this bad. He would not lose his little one like this. Not without a fight.
Stomping the gas pedal straight to the floor, he reached for the button on his shifter again. He had precious little time to keep Yugi from completing his kamikaze mission. Even if he had to die in the process, Atemu knew what he had to do.
Feeling the bust of speed, as the nitrous oxide coursed its way through the hemi engine, his car shot ahead of the Firebird, by a nose. Taking a deep breath, Atemu tightened his harness, and jerked the Challenger to the left.
And straight into the path of the oncoming Firebird.
Metal screeched, and glass shattered as the cars collided, nose to side, in a cloud of smoke and dust. Atemu's last thoughts, as the cars made contact, were of how he had even come across the young amateur racer that he considered as his, in the first place.
Four months earlier:
"Get back here, you little shit!" Akunadin snarled, attempting to hoist himself up with the help of the door frame, after that one blow sent him reeling to the ground.
'Like hell!' Atemu thought, running down the stairs before the older man could make it up off the floor.
Atemu had leveled him with one lucky shot to the jaw. He usually wasn't so lucky as to get that good of a punch in. In the past year, he had been the one to nurse the bruises, cuts, and sometimes even cracked ribs, after an altercation with his uncle. This was the first time that he would be able to make it out of the house without a major beating for his troubles. That is if he could make it.
Hearing the older man descending the stairs at a high rate of speed, the 17 year old put what was left of his strength into getting through the spacious living room without running shin first into any of the furniture scattered about, making his way toward the back door in the kitchen. He was trying to get to the garage, and his major mode of escape hiding within.
Fortunately for Atemu, he was slightly faster than his middle age, out of shape uncle. He skidded across the expensive ceramic tile in his socks, slamming, bruised side first, into the door.
"That'll leave a mark!" he hissed, quickly working the locks on the door.
A few seconds later, he was sprinting across the well manicured lawn toward the first of three large pole barns, cursing the automatic sprinkler system the whole way.
By now, Atemu was a full minute ahead of his pursuer. Yanking open the door to the pole barn, he paused briefly to smack the garage door opener to the rear door on his way by.
Then he ran to his baby, his pride and joy. A beautifully restored 1971 Dodge Challenger RT convertible that was painted a color changing royal purple with a massive red dragon stenciled on the hood. The car that he had spent every cent of his money, and most of his free time restoring and customizing. He was thanking every god known to mankind that he developed the habit of leaving the keys in the ignition. He'd be damned if he left the one thing that he truly owned behind, while that mad man ruled his house.
As he fired up the engine, he glanced in the rearview mirror to see his uncle charging through the door. The man smirked evilly, as he pressed the button for the garage door, thinking that he had finally cornered his prey.
Pulling away in an awesome display of tire smoke and rubber, Atemu's car narrowly missed the now closing garage door.
"I know where to find you, you ungrateful little shit! You can't hide from me!" Atemu's uncle screeched as the garage door thumped to the ground.
Checking the childish impulse to flip the man off, Atemu flipped a dyed black lock of hair out of his face and concentrated on his driving, while he ran through his options. Once he was sure that he had taken enough turns so as to avoid his attacker, Atemu took stock of his latest injuries.
His black leather shirt was torn in three places, his leather pants torn at the zipper. Various scratches and bruises marked his body. No marks on his face, though.
'Wouldn't want the reporters to know that he beats on me, now would he?' Atemu thought, bitterly, to himself. 'Or that he's now trying to use me to relieve his sexual tension! Bastard! As if I'm just going to let him fuck me up the ass? I highly doubt it! On that pleasant thought, it's definitely time to get the hell out of here, contract or not! I don't care, I've had enough!'
Atemu pulled the car to the side of the road; he was halfway to his friend Bakura's house. If he knew his uncle like he thought he did, the bastard would target his few close friends next.
Not that Bakura, or Seto, for that matter, couldn't handle his uncle, but if the man turned his attention to Ryou, Bakura's gentle boyfriend, the boy couldn't take that kind of abuse.
No, if he was going to skip out on the rest of his contract, he might as well incite his underpaid crew chief and racing partner to do the same. Fame be damned, this was their very lives at stake here. Who knew how far that money grubbing bastard would go to keep his hands on what was considered to be the biggest money making rivalry in the stock car racing world.
Flipping the Nextel, he beeped Bakura. After a few agonizing minutes, he heard, "What's up now, Pharaoh? You do realize that it's one in the morning? A little early to just chat, right?" Bakura' voice was gruff and sleep filled.
Atemu sighed, "Yes I do, tomb robber. I'm on my way over. If you don't want another confrontation with my dear old uncle asshole, then we need to disappear for a while! I got him good, but once he's sober enough to drive we're all in trouble."
"I'm awake, I'm awake. Damn! How bad is it this time? Never mind, Ryou'll check you over when you get here. And if that son of a bitch ever thinks to touch Ryou like that again, I'll turn him into a eunuch! So get your ass over here. I'll bump Seto's phone and see if I can wake his happy ass up. See ya in a few." Bakura rang off.
Setting the phone on the passenger seat, Atemu concentrated on not hitting any of the wild life that were known to venture onto this particular stretch of road. If he 'd ever had to think of what his life was going to be like after his father's death, he never would have imagined this mess.
By the time that he dragged his sore, tired body up the steps to Bakura and Ryou's house, he could smell the coffee that someone, probably Ryou, had started.
Sparing a glance at the beat up, brown Ford dually in the driveway, he knocked on the door to the small, run down modular that now belonged to his friends.
"It's open already. And Seto's on his way here. He had a conniption about being woke up in the middle of the night, but what else is new?" Bakura was sitting at the hand-me-down kitchen table, hands wrapped around a steaming cup of Ryou's special coffee.
"Welcome." Ryou smiled politely, handing Atemu his own cup while looking him over carefully.
"Thank you, Ryou. And don't worry, I'll live." He flopped down in one of the mismatched chairs gathered around the table. Thinking hard about how things had gotten this bad.
Atemu's father, legendary NASCAR driver, Petre Hasan had pretty much adopted Bakura and Ryou when Atemu had first raced against him in Go-Karts at the age of 10. Neither of the twin-like white haired boys had any family left, and Bakura was stealing parts off of neglectful owners' carts to make his competitive. With Ryou acting as his look out and chief mechanic.
Atemu's father had seen that the two boys had talent, but no money. Then he found out that they were both living on the streets. He quickly took the boys into his home and sponsored their cart, along with Atemu's for that season and the next. With the guarantee that Bakura would no longer raid parts from any other carts. The very act that had, in fact, gotten him his nickname, courtesy of Atemu. Whom he, in turn, had started referring to as The Pharaoh, for his highhandedness and attitude.
At fist, Atemu and Bakura were bitter rivals. Atemu saw Bakura as trying to weasel his way into his father's affection, and Bakura seeing him as a spoiled little rich boy. But, after a serious accident while racing stock cars five years ago, at the age of twelve, Atemu earned both boys' eternal loyalty and friendship by pulling Bakura out of his burning car. Now, years later, they were as close as brothers, to the point of constantly annoying each other, every chance they got.
Same could be said of the fourth member of their little group, Seto, Atemu's crew chief and right hand man. He was Atemu's fist cousin, his Uncle Akunadin's only son from a one night stand. The older boy had lived with Atemu and his father since he was six, after a bad incident involving child protective services and his father. He was a full two years older than the other three boys, making him of legal age to be on his own by the time that Petre had died.
Together, the four of them were inseparable. Atemu and Bakura were both drivers in the Busch series of NASCAR, on their way to driving in the premier series, the Nextel Cup with Seto and Ryou as their respective crew chiefs. As soon as they turned eighteen, there were sponsors lined up for miles to recruit either of them for their team. The boys had agreed to hold out for a team that could take all of them, as none wanted to be separated. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with on the race track.
And all of them were caught up in the big contract mess that came about when Petre died in a crash during a major race, leaving behind four distraught boys, three of which were still underage, and no will. As Petre's wife had preceded him into death on the day of Atemu's birth.
Akunadin had gotten a manipulative lawyer, and laid claim to everything that was his brother's. At least until the boys turned twenty one. The lawyer couldn't break that condition, as Atemu was legally Petre's only heir. The dealerships, the corporation that the race teams were a part of, all of their contracts, and even the rights to Atemu's name went to Akunadin until that time. Along with custody of Atemu, himself, all until he was of legal age.
Which basically made the four boys into his high profile slaves. They did all the work, and he took the credit. He took their racing income, sponsor royalties and merchandising income. For Petre had put their income into trust funds that he was to maintain until they reached the age of twenty one.
Normally, the boys drew a monthly stipend, but when Atemu's uncle took everything over last year, he cut them off. Forcing Bakura and Ryou into bankruptcy. Seto had other means to stay afloat financially, but just barely. And since Atemu and his father shared everything, he now had nothing to his name but his Dodge.
And an emergency debit card from fixing other people's cars for cash, that he had hidden in a slit under the drivers seat of his car. It had about $20,000 left on it, for what he fixed were mostly the high end European cars for snobs that he didn't feel guilty for charging $100 per hour. After the first couple of cars, he became pretty well known for his ability to diagnose hard to fix problems, and for being easy on the eye, to love starved trophy wives with older, rich husbands.
"While we're waiting for our exalted High Priest to join this wonderful discussion, why don't you do us all a favor and wash that shit out of your hair. Oh, and you still have a spare change of clothes here." Bakura suggested.
"Good idea, thank you. I see that the dye doesn't stay in your hair past the winner's circle. It must be nice to be able to be yourself at times." Atemu gestured to his friend's naturally white hair, and back to his own mop of unruly black hair. Before Bakura could come back with a smart reply, he had gone off in search of his extra clothing.
Ten minutes and an empty water heater later, he emerged from the shower, steam billowing out of the room after him, in a pair of figure hugging black jeans, his hair a dripping mess of color. A towel was slung around his neck, hanging down his bare chest, to catch the excess water. He looked, for all the world, like a model straight off of the cover of a magazine.
"Wow, it's been a while since I've seen that look on you." Seto commented as he breezed through the door, eyeing his cousin closely, seeing the bruises littering his chest and arms.
"No contacts, either. I forgot that your eyes were that shade. Red really suits you." Ryou said as he sat back down in Bakura's lap after letting Seto in the house.
Atemu shrugged, glancing back at the mirror on the outside of the bathroom door. The reflection showed a petite, well built figure. His Egyptian heritage was highly visible in the deep olive skin tone. Exotic slanted crimson eyes, compliments of his mother's Japanese ancestry, framed by long, sooty black lashes, and blonde bangs that framed a face with full lips, high cheek bones and an aquiline nose. Thick black hair fading into crimson tips, with blonde streaked throughout, was the crowning touch.
The whole point to washing the coloring out was that, now, no one would recognize him. Thank god his father had always had him and Bakura dye their hair and put in colored contacts before dealing with the press. He was so used to the black gelled hair and dark brown contacts that his natural tricolor hair and crimson eyes looked strange to him. When he was younger, his father would tease him about having demon's eyes. His father's nickname for him was Yami, the Japanese word for darkness. Looking at his reflection now, he figured that maybe his father was right.
"So what are we going to do?" Ryou was the first to break the heavy silence.
"I'm going to find my father's old crew chief. Father always said that he would help me if I were ever in a bind. Even if they were no longer talking towards the end of his life." Atemu answered.
"But do you even know where to look? And you won't even make it out of the state with that 'look at me' car. And besides, if you leave, that asshole will start messing with us." Bakura said as he took a sip of his quickly cooling coffee.
"Oh, I can find him. And I guess that means that you'll have to come with me then, won't you." Atemu smirked at the group gathered around the small table.
"In what, my car is just a recognizable as yours." Seto said. "And that piece of shit in the driveway wouldn't make it out of the city limits."
"Actually, that POS is pretty reliable, thank you very much. I'm game!" Bakura grinned.
"Me too." Ryou said. "I've always wanted to go on a road trip, other than the ones to the tracks."
"Alright, just what lame ass ideas do you have floating around in that brain of yours?" Seto sighed heavily. He was just starting to come around to the idea of a road trip. Especially with those three.
Atemu just smirked at him and began to outline their plan of escape. The four teenagers were on the road well before the sun rose that morning, despite all of the bickering and minor problems with the vehicles.
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