Disclaimer: I don't own the Fast and Furious series.
Rating: Strong T
Warnings: Quite a feworiginal characters
Edgar Styles had had a lot of concrete ideas to keep his magazine relevant in the fast changing era, but he had to pat his back on this one. As they say entrepreneurs were people who were innovative, it didn't mean one couldn't take an existing idea and make it even better. Which was what he was doing, taking an over done article idea and changing it up to make it current. Now, all was left was getting to ball rolling on his little goldmine and not only will he remain relevant but, be rolling in it.
"Eddie, you called?" the familiar voice of Rayne Cassidy interrupted his happy musing. Speaking of players of his sure goldmine, the brunette was the centerpiece in all of it. If she gave him the negative on his proposal, it would all be shot to hell. So, mustering his most charming and disarming smile, he gestured for her to take a seat ready to lay on the charm thick to get what he wanted.
"Yes, Rayne," clasping his hands together. "I have good news for you," he opened with an easy smile trying to bait her. It was no secret she hated her current assignment on fluff pieces and society gossip and was itching for real journalistic work, something that was already in his favor of getting a yes.
Now, she didn't want to hope, but she was praying hard he was saying what she thought he was saying. "No more gossip by anonymous?" The career change had been big and drastic for her, unfortunately though she had yet to make a dent in the new career line, so color her desperate, but she need him to say the words.
"That all depends on what you do on this assignment," he baited once again, already seeing her itching for an opportunity. "That is, if you say yes of course."
She chuckled, "are you kidding, if it gets me away from Cruz de la Rhea's new clothing line, I am there!" Yes, that was what she had been reduced to, a puppet chasing after It-girls, would-be celebrities and their latest fling with the who's who of the A-list. And lord knows she'd been tossed around the second rate gossip rag long enough to make her want to pull her hair out. Money was good, but assignments were for crap. Her aim had always been the main stream Motor Magazine, which was still the publishing houses pride and joy. Cars she knew, cars she got. Petty squabbles and scandal of sex, lies and videotape of celebrities she could care less about, even though it was pretty easy to infiltrate that feeble world.
"M Magazine is thinking of doing an exposé piece and you're perfect for it," Eddie went on, knowing he had her full attention. "You used to be part of the street racing scene when you were young right?"
"And Maggie never keeps her mouth shut does she?" Rayne mumbled with a sigh, knowing the red head had a penchant habit of running her mouth too much without a second thought, and an eavesdropping ear that would rival FBI communicators. She should have never put in her two cents on her thought about the Maggie's street racer boyfriend. "But, to answer your question yes I was. It was long time ago though so –"
He smiled wider, "perfect, you're just the person I need."
"No offense, and I mean this with the most respect, but isn't the whole street racing and it's hazards a tired story. I mean, everyone and their mother has done some sort of piece on it, why follow the flock when you stay above the rest by being… unique?" The street racing scene wasn't something she was looking to delve into anytime soon, even if it got her a good assignment. But she couldn't flat out refuse either because it would make him overlook her for future projects because she wasn't playing ball on this one. Maybe Cruz's line wasn't such a bad assignment after all?
"And there you go," he chuckled, "We are you unique! That's why we want to take the story to new heights, to places it hasn't been before. Things people haven't seen before. You are also right about it being over done, because everyone uses the same angle –either glorifying it or crucifying it as an outsider looking in. We want to look at things for the inside, understand the Why, What, Where, Who and How's of the world from the perspective of a racer."
She furrowed her eyebrows, "So a tell-all?"
"We don't want to be subjective in our views of things, but objective," he explained. "You are a former racer and have a view from the inside, but I want you to go in and note the changes that have taken place since you raced. Give me that satire you write in your pieces, plus the depth you used to convince me to hire you." She was still on the fence about it, he could tell but he was going to give her one subtle push to his side. "Rayne you have talent as a writer, but also a car enthusiast. When you speak about cars you bring such soul into it that could have the chauvinist bow down at you understanding their point of view when it comes to cars. I won't hold it against you for saying no, but are you telling me you don't want the opportunity to write about something that encompasses everything you care to write about?"
-~*+*~-:Fast and Furious:-~*+*~-
On her drive over she had weighed all the pros and cons of coming to Rei for mechanical help, but the pros outweighed the cons. Sure he'd be reluctant to help, probably yell at her for a while like she was a little school girl, huff and puff before conceding, even though she could do without all the dramatics it was best to go to family for this. Besides, she needed him to help her honed her rusty racing skills –and that would be the most trying of feats if she had to be honest.
The garage was the same as she remembered, packed with cars in different states of repair –imports as well as good old American muscle. No matter how pretty and aerodynamic they made the newer models or the imports she was still partial toward Classic American muscle. There was just something about its edge and its flaws that exuded power much more convincingly than the prettied up modern versions or imports.
Luck was on her side she guessed, when she spotted Rei's trademark Orange Mustang with black racing stripes down the middle, sitting outside the office building of the garage with its overall clad owner stick out under the hood, hard at work. As always, classic rock was blasting out of the speakers at volume she was sure could wake the dead. Now she was a lover of most music, but metal just grated at her last nerve, especially at the ear piercing volume he was blasting it. She wasn't surprised he couldn't hear the clicking of her heels on the cement floor, as she crossed the room to shut the thing off. Even less surprising were the expletives coming out of his mouth, "Kane, I know you love the classical crap, but I need me mood music to work. So turn it back up."
"Is that what you tell all the ladies?" she asked, amused at the 'mood music' comment. Her tone was enough to get his attention it seemed, when he whipped around with a crooked smile playing at his lips.
"No, just the one's I like," hugging her tight, once he wiped his hand clean of grease –well as clean as he could get them with a dry cloth which wasn't much. To his defense however, he kept his palms off her clothing and hey, he worked the whole grease monkey thing. "What brings you by?"
Rayne slugged him in the arm, hoping to keep the good mood longer before dropping the bomb on it. "What, I can't come see you without it looking suspicious?" eyebrow raised in question.
"When you, Maya or Nic come over it's always suspicious," Rei teased good-naturedly, throwing an arm around her and leading her back outside to the wooden picnic table set-up under the one of the two trees in the lot. "Beside you have the, I need something look on your face. Let's have it, what do you need?"
Of course it looked suspicious, her dropping by in the middle of the day when she was suppose to be socializing with the celebrities and getting gossip right about then, but she'd come this far to chicken out and was determine to push through. "It's not what I need, more like what he Impala needs?"
"Something wrong with it you can't fix, never thought I'd see the day," Rei chuckled, knowing that there was nothing on that car Rayne couldn't DIY her way through. She knew her way around that car like a mother knew her child –very well. "So, how can I save you today?"
"She's running fine, I just need your help upgrading her a little bit," It was best to ease him into the idea, than just tell him, less yelling and have-you-lost-your-mind's that way.
Oh, he could smell a rat and a big one at that. He and Kane had always toyed with the idea of upgrading the car in horse power, but Rayne had been adamant about keep it 'clean' of upgrades in honor of her father's memory. So color him surprised with that statement. "Upgrading? Last time I even came near her with the thought of upgrade you nearly castrated me. Now you want an upgrade? Is this some kind of joke I'm not in on?" His blue eyes searching her hazel-greens for the punch line, there had to be one because no way Rayne Cassidy was letting him upgrade that car, heck she still had that old, beat up stereo system in and was only coming around to the idea of changing it recently. Forget smelling a rat, there was a rotting fish too –one that included wages, NOS and a whole lot of adrenaline. "But say I believe you are sober and not losing your mind right now, what kind of upgrade are we talking about? And it had better not start with N and end with OS." He waited a beat for reassurance that the upgrade was just the stereo system, but she didn't jump to correct his assumption and he was feeling the increased urge to shake her senses back. "No," he stated stonily, his good mood completely dissipating within seconds.
"Rei –" she tried, reaching out for his arm before he got too far, but she was cut off immediately when he wrenched his arm from her feeble grip and turn toward her, anger clearly marring his handsome features.
"Are you kidding me right now? Racing, Rayne!" he voice teetering on the edge of a shout, while he combed his fingers through his hair in frustration. "You must be outside your mind, thinking I'd help you so you can do it."
"You haven't even tried to hear me out?"
Rei scoffed at the sheer ridiculousness of the statement. "Hear you out? Hear what out, Rayne that you have lost your god damn mind and decided to race again? Did you bump your head someplace? Because I'm pretty sure the only way you could come here and ask me that is amnesia."
"It will only be for a little while Rei, not forever."
"Oh don't give me that crap, Rayne. Are you that starved for excitement and adrenaline?"
Rayne rolled her eyes, with a sigh. "If you think that, then you don't know me at all."
"You want to race again, street racing tell me where I've got it wrong. Because, I know I have all bases covered."
She knew what he was seeing in his head, but things were different. "I'm not Kane, Rei stop comparing me to him on this!" her fight returning easily. "But, fine if you don't want to help me with this, then I'll just go to Dante's"
Without even a second thought he grabbed onto her arm, before she stormed out of there and to Dante's. "Rayne hold up," he deflated, knowing she didn't like or handle hot headedness very well and if he wanted to get through to her he'd have to calm the hell down. "I'm sorry, I lost it. It's just… I'm I the only missing something here. Last time any of us went into street racing, the result were pretty bad. I just… I can't understand why you'd go do something that nearly tore us apart?"
She knew where he was coming from; heck she had the divorce, depression and isolation to prove it. But, life had been good since then and she was ready to face the demons that came with the world of street racing. So if she could step way out of her comfort zone on his one, then why couldn't he? "Rei, in case you forgot, I'm the one that lost a child," it wasn't something to forget and move past, heck Kane hadn't been able to and his actions after were what really almost destroyed them. But, maybe her article could help her heal further. "Rei, I'm not going back because I'm pumped up and need some action, alright. I'm doing it for an article I'm writing."
"An article your writing needs you to be a street racer again? I thought you wrote satires about the lives of the rich and famous or rather young and stupid."
She smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood, "I do, but the Editor in Chief of M Magazine, gave me an opportunity to move away from that, and I'm taking it."
"I'm no genius but I can put two and two together and say, you're writing an exposé aren't you," Rei sighed, the conclusion was worse than he expected. It was bad enough she wanted to race to gain access, but writing about it and the people that live it with the way the scene was now, it was downright scary. "Rayne, you need to let this one go. Please, just go back and tell him you can't do it."
"Because it isn't like how it used to be when you raced," he told her gently, stepping closer and catching her eye. "Kane obsessed, doesn't even begin to touch on how some of these guys are and I don't need to illustrate how bad that was."
Placing her hand over his she sighed once again, seeing the worry clearly displayed on his face. "Rei, I need to do this, and I came here because I need you to help me with it. Please, Rei, just help me out with this."
"Fine," he conceded, hating the puppy dog eyes she was giving him to get her way. "But, I'm going to be beside you the whole way," now he'd expected a nod, but that wasn't at all what he got. Instead she pulled away from his touch shaking her head in contradiction.
"No," she stated, firmly.
"Then you're not doing it," he stated equally as firm, even crossing his arms over his chest for emphasis on his stance in the matter.
"Why are you so stubborn?"
"Because I care about you and I don't want my sister getting hurt. Racers they like beautiful women, meaning you're just their type. I'm not letting you go it alone."
"I thought you were heading to Japan for training in the drift circuit?" she reminded him, hoping it was enough of an argument to get him to back off. It wasn't a secret that Rei loved to drift, and with the professional and established circuit he'd gotten his chance to do what he loved, with sponsor backing too. No way would he give that up to play big brother, even when he was way younger than her.
He laughed, "Nice try, but I can postpone the trip. Besides, I have three months to get there."
"This is ridiculous," she argued. "You've wanted this, your whole life and now you're getting it, but you want to throw it away. Oh, P.S. I know the training in two weeks is mandatory in your contract so don't bullshit me about having time." He rolled his eyes, and she softened her tone. "Rei, I used to race and I'm a big girl I can take care of myself."
"Okay," he conceded once again, but before she could relax he added. "But, I'm telling Kane."
"Uh-uh, no way in hell," her protest spirited and adamant at the thought of it, "weren't you the one talking about Obsessed Kane? You know how he is… how he gets; we don't need that right now."
"I'm running out of options here, Rayne, because even if you're singing 'I'm a big girl', I'm not letting you go it alone. So, either come up with something to appease me or its Kane –even if I don't want to go there."
A familiar blonde haired male and his mocha skinned counterpart caught the corner of her eye, spurring on an idea, "How about Nix and Fox? They are still in the racing scene and as much as I would have rather done it without the crew, they'd be good. " He looked skeptical. "Come on, you know it's a good idea."
"Quit with the puppy dog eyes, you've got me," the girl really had him wrapped around her finger. "That doesn't make me any more thrilled about this reintroduction to street racing so don't get any idea. I hear of any trouble, I'll be on a plane and back here pulling you out kicking and screaming myself." A roll of the eyes was all he got for his threat, so he added more fire. "Then I'll sit back while Nic and Kane rip you a new one, got it?"
She gave him a grudging nod, but he remained unconvinced. "What you want me to cross me heart?" completely unmoved, "fine, I got it." He was angry still and it was understandable with the can of worms she opened, but at least he didn't refuse. However, there was one fact she knew he wouldn't compromise on, "You're still going to tell Kane aren't you?"
"Damn straight," he confirmed. "Besides, he will be better of knowing from the get go, than finding out later and going on a rampage, that and need training if you hope of making even a dent on the current scene."
-~*+*~-:Fast and Furious:-~*+*~-
To his credit, Kane had been calm at the news, even his eyes had remained neutral and steady at the news instead of stormy like they usually are when his angry. The only outward show of anger was the ever so slight clench of his jaw and his fist. But, unlike his expressive brother Rei, Kane hadn't shouted at all if anything his voice was calm throughout the conversation. Was he happy about her decision? Far from it, Rayne was pretty sure that if they were still married, he would have thrown her in a room, locked her up until she came to her senses. Okay that was extreme, but she was pretty sure it would have been more than what he put out.
"I thought you said the street racing world was toxic, Ray. Now…"
Rayne sighed, rounding the table and sitting in front of him. "Kane I didn't divorce you because you were a racer and you know it. I never condemned you for it, I just couldn't stand –"
"Seeing me obsessed with revenge?" he completed for her, leaning back in the chair looking at her with those blue eyes that always saw to her soul. "I know. It just feels that way with his new development."
"Kane, this has nothing to do with us and what happened. I know you feel slighted and cheated with me saying that I want to race again, but it's not for the same reasons I had before." She assured him, reaching for his hand and holding it in her own. "It's selfish of me to come here and ask you for this, and you have every right to tell me to take a walk after everything. But I need your help, Kane and if after you don't want me around for a while I'll understand," twining her fingers with his own she pleaded with him. "I don't like you worrying about me –"
He interrupted immediately, looking her dead in the eyes. "I'll always worry about you racing or not, you know that."
The emotion dancing in his eyes that he rarely let through, made her feel horrible for doing this to him, but the selfish part of her convinced itself that he wouldn't be involved beyond a certain point so it was okay. "I know," she broke eye contact, unable to stand the emotions. "I hate dragging you back in."
"Let's face it; you know I'd have caused much more havoc if you didn't tell me upfront about this."
The protectiveness Kane held for her and his family was fierce, and that perhaps was still what scared her. Not of him, but about what he'd do for them, for her. The real reasons of her divorce from him: his anger, heaven help the person that thought of hurting someone he loved. Keeping her re-entry to racing would have probably him seeing red, and storming the streets to drag her back out or throwing her over his shoulder which ever worked. Yes, Rei had been right, being upfront was best. Heck, she could see the determination and threat shining in his eyes, while he spoke. He wasn't messing around about it. "God forbid," she sighed with a laugh, earning her that slight tug of his lips.
"But, we're not touching the Impala," he told her, standing up to tower over her. "I also know you hate imports –"
"Hate is a strong word."
"So, the Lancer's out, leaving 1970 Camero. It needs less work, so it will be ready by the end of the week."
She smiled, standing herself, "thank you," her gratitude sincere as were arms wrapped around his waist, giving him a hug. The familiarity wasn't lost to her. He smelt the same, was as warm as she remembered and she still fit rather well in his arms, but the feelings were different.
"Anything for you, Tenshi," he assured her, with a soft kiss on her temple before letting her out of his embrace.
Nix could see her mind was far away, it usually was after a conversation with Kane and him being the guy's best friend and a surrogate brother to Rayne, he was always left to pick up the pieces to whichever side that needed it. Since it was street racing involved, Kane you'd be drinking tonight and need a designated driver. Rayne would need an unbiased ear, which he guessed was him since Fox –the supposed calm one of the group –was off on calming ride after hearing the news. To say the blonde was angry would be putting it lightly. "Need an ear?"
"No, but I wouldn't mind the company," she confessed, making space for him on the picnic table. "Fox still pissed?"
"You saw the hiss fit huh?" Nix said with a laugh, even if he was well aware about how serious it was. Fox was the guy that never got upset, kept things peaceful which was why when he got upset or pissed off, you felt horrible for causing it. "He loves you, he'll get over it."
She sighed, for what felt like the hundredth time that hour alone. The anticipated resistance had been harder to take that she would have imagined. "I hope so. The world doesn't seem right when Fox is pissed."
"Why pretty boy's a real buzz kill when he wants to be," he nudged her with his shoulder, getting a small chuckle. "But, he's not the only one getting you down is he?"
"Thought we agreed on no ear, but company?" Not wanting to divulge what was really bothering her.
Nix sighed, pulling her into a half hug. "You're not an awful person, and he can't help that he's still in love with you. Asking him to help you out with one of the things that led to the divorce may not have been tactful but, it is what it is."
"I know you're angry too, Nix."
"He's my best friend, my brother. When he's down, I'm down along with him," he shrugged. Was he upset? Sure, but he couldn't hate her for the situation. The divorce as much as he hated to put it out there had been upsetting but necessary; Kane's love for Rayne border on dangerous, couple that with that angry protection mechanism it was sometimes murderous. The racer who'd rammed into her, causing the loss of their unborn child, sure as hell knew what kind of fury the guy possessed when pissed. And even if she didn't voice it herself, the brunette knew how much Kane cared for her and the extent he was willing to take his fury out of revenge. So yes, he felt awful that Kane still loved her the way he did, and how it broke him every time Rayne was around him. It had gotten better, but with her wanting to race again… progress was shot. "It's it what it is, Ray. But I'd advise you to stay away for a couple after this is over, to let him get his bearings right. I love you, I do but we don't need him unhinge."
"Maybe I should stop coming round, period."
Nix rolled her eyes, "Enough dramatics, Ray. I didn't say stay away for good, just giving him time."
"You know as much as you try to hide it, that Psychology degree shine through always," she lightened the mood, not wanting to get everyone down.
"I'm taking that as a thank you," he informed her, giving her one last squeeze and kiss on the temple before letting her go completely.
A/N: Tenshi – Angel
A lot of OCs here and you're probably wondering where Dom and the gang are. They'll be here soon, just needed to set the pace and back ground for the character, so you understand where my head is at with this. This is an AU story, so if something's don't match up it's probably purposeful on my part. Chapter One is posted along with this, so tell me what you think.