Between The Lines


Kali Notes:  This fic spans season 01, V-Force, and the first half of G-Rev (‘cause I still haven’t seen the second half yet) of the anime and incorporates elements of the manga as far as I’ve read (which is up to vol. 11 in English).  It’s also told mostly from Kai’s POV in the 3rd person, because I find that I understand Kai better than Tyson as characters and I write Kai better than Tyson.  You’ll notice some of the scenes I put in are from the anime, but some are also just from me.

Warnings:  Yaoi (shonen ai, on ffnet), adult language and situations; don’t read it if you can’t take the heat!

Disclaimer:  Kali and muses do not own Beyblade or its characters.  We make no money from writing this fic – how unfortunate.  Neither do we own the parts in this fic taken from the English dub of the anime.

Pairing:  TyKa!

Summary:  Kai and Tyson’s relationship has always been there for anyone to see…or so it seems.  But what if one could read between the lines?  What more would one find?

Dedication: To all TyKa fans everywhere, especially those hardworking writers, artists, and AMV-techs who continue to support the fandom even though everyone seems to have disappeared… O.o

– and – to TechnoRanma, Feelin Glayish, and Flamable Devil (Crazy Jen) in celebration of Tyson’s Birthday – and because it’s around the anniversary of the time we first ‘met’…

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BETWEEN THE LINES

~~~~~~~~~~

Part I

                Looking back on it, there were so many obvious signs that blared “love!” to anyone who cared to notice.  It was odd, however, that the two people in question had not noticed those signs at all.  And when they did, it was almost a complete surprise to them both.

                It began at a time when the innocence of childhood was beginning to wear off in those tumultuous teenaged years.  Whether they liked it or not, the Bladebreakers had been thrust into a situation that forced them to see that the world was not always a nice, safe place, and that there were people who were ambitious and greedy enough to want to use a sport – something that is meant to bring people together in the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play – to try and dominate the world.  And it had been up to them to stop it, because they had proven they were the best – always with room for improvement, but the best for the task before them nonetheless.

                Things had been rocky from the start.  While their team had been pieced together out of bladers that were as different as the elements they each were only just beginning to master, there was a cohesion among four of the five teammates.  Friends from the start, once the initial rivalries had been smoothed out and respect earned by each, for each.  They were only teenagers, between thirteen and fourteen years of age (except for the Chief, who was a very young eleven years old at that fateful tournament in Bay City that formed the Bladebreakers), but it couldn’t be held against them.  They came from different walks of life, different family situations, different nationalities even.  But there had been one, a lone blader, a silent yet commanding soul who deliberately kept himself separate from the others.  He had only just met these teens he suddenly found himself responsible for, being made captain of the team in order to guide and lead them into victory at the World Championships – a title that he had intended to keep for himself, and not to share with others, initially.

                The group,  oddly mismatched though they were, slowly began to worm their way into the lone blader’s…well, not affection, per se.  Somewhere along the way, they had become his to protect.  His to lead.  The most important people to him in the way of a leader toward his followers.  He would never have admitted to calling them friends.  Hiwatari Kai did not have friends.  He came to admire Mizuhara Max’s talent and sense of sportsmanship.  He already had respected Kon Rei for his power and reputation as a blader, but now also reluctantly admired his loyalty, too.  And the Chief…well, he respected his knowledge of all things Beyblade, even if the kid couldn’t actually blade all that well himself.  Then there was Kinomiya Tyson.  The one who had been the first to defeat him, the first to stand up to him without fear or any idea what sort of power he was dealing with.  The one who had slapped him with the reality that there were other bladers out there worthy of battling, worthy of his time and effort, but most of all worthy of his respect.

                Once he’d had has title ripped out from under him in that first official tournament and forced to realize responsibilities he’d never wanted, Kai set out to make defeating Tyson his life’s work.  Somehow, some way, he would do it.  And it would be done just as it had been taken away from him: in an official tournament, with official rules and in a fair contest.  He’d be patient…there would be an opportunity, someday.  And when it came, he would seize it, no matter what.

                Tyson was an enigma to Kai, however.  The others Kai understood – their character, their attitudes, their foibles.  But Tyson…he didn’t understand Tyson at all.  This kid who literally came out of nowhere had defeated him, a champion blader, was not after power, not like the past challengers that had come up against Kai before.  He wasn’t after fame and fortune – not that he minded much when it descended on him after his name became a known one to the Beyblading world.  And Tyson always seemed to fight for concepts that Kai had lost all belief in when he’d been very young, concepts that couldn’t possibly exist in reality – not as Kai had seen it, at least.  Friendship?  Fun?  Love of the game?  Sportsmanship and fair-play?  These were alien notions to Kai.  Yet every time Tyson bladed, Kai saw the evidence of the growing strength and raw talent that combined in Tyson and his every battle, even when he lost a match – and it did happen.  But Tyson took it as a learning experience and always bounced right back with a vengeance.  Defeat did not exist in Tyson’s vocabulary – in an entirely different way than Kai’s.

                Kai didn’t even notice when Tyson had shifted from merely a rival to be defeated at all costs to a teammate he was responsible for.  Suddenly Kai found himself chasing after the bluenette and dragging him out of the trouble and near-disasters he was always getting himself into, saving him from the scrapes he always managed to somehow get into – usually pulling the other three down with him, because none of them could seem to see the potential dangers of these situations like Kai could.  It drove him nuts.  They’d won two championships and were traveling through Europe on the way to the final tournament when they’d come across some rather creepy bladers – the Dark Bladers – and one after another they fought and defeated the best of Europe.  But the first time Tyson had met his opponent, Robert, he’d suffered a huge defeat.  It had nearly destroyed his spirit to lose that battle.  It was Kai who had brought him back to himself, Kai who told him to get up off his hands and knees and learn from the loss to prepare for the next time he met Robert.  When had it happened that the great Hiwatari Kai had started giving pep talks and motivating his team?  He was never able to say for sure.

                And then it had been a shift from teammate to friend.  But this time he’d had to confront his own past, and more, he’d had to betray his team to learn the hard way about friendship.  He considered himself the luckiest person in the world that it had been Tyson who had taught him one of the most important lessons he’d ever learn.

                As he’d promised himself, Kai had seen an opportunity to seize incredible power, and with it, the chance to blade against Tyson again in the most important match in the Beyblade circuit and World Championship.  He’d been defeated in a local, national tournament, but he’d take Tyson down in a world-class, international battle for all the world to see that he, not this nobody, was truly the World Champion of Beyblading.  Of course, to do it, he had to betray the team and join up with the very people they’d come to Russia to defeat and stop a man’s bid for world domination of a different sort – the kind of power that no one should ever have.  To make matters worse, that man was Kai’s own blood, his grandfather.  In a way, Kai had felt he needed to do this for his family honour, which had been besmirched by his loss to Tyson.  This was the one way he could earn it back – or so he’d been led to believe.

                Tyson would show him differently.  Tyson would once again stand up to him without fear and with a fervent desire to bring Kai back into the light from the darkness that was rapidly surrounding him.  He didn’t know or understand what Tyson saw in him that was so worth the effort or worth saving, but in a moment of clarity, standing on a thick piece of ice that would capsize at any moment and drop in icy-cold waters that even he could not survive long, Tyson had reached out a hand to Kai, and the crimson-eyed teen had seen all his mistakes, all the things that he was going to need forgiveness for – once he’d earned back the trust his teammates (especially Tyson) had had in him – and Kai had shed tears he hadn’t known he possessed as he desperately reached out toward the light and felt that solid connection with another human being that had been lacking in his life for as long as his memory reached back.

*** ***

                “Kai!  Forget everything!  Just grab my digits, dude!”  Tyson desperately tried to snap the phoenix out of his daze.

                “Hurry!”  Kenny cried urgently.

                “You really want to save me?  All the lousy things I’ve done…said to you?”  Kai just couldn’t believe it, not after everything.

                “We’ll talk later!  Now shut up and grab!”  Only Tyson would have the guts to order Kai around – even though Kai was still too stunned to notice it.

                “He…he’s not going to do it!”  For once in his life, Rei didn’t know what to do.

                “Sure he is!  He finally gets that we’re a team!”  Max followed Tyson’s example, and refused to give up.

                “No matter what you think, we’ve always been there for you.”  Kenny added.

                “Even though you are a high-fidelity grump.”  Tyson griped, trying to reach out just a little farther.  “KAI!  Take my hand!”

                “I…I don’t know.  I don’t know if I can change…”  Kai looked down at the rising, frigid waters of Lake Baikal that were now at his knees.  He was sinking fast.

                “Come on!”  Tyson refused to let him do this.

                “Reach out, Kai!”  Rei shouted.

                “Do it now!”  Kenny begged.

                “Come on, Kai!”  Max yelled.

                “Argh!  I won’t let a teammate down…or drown, as it were.”  Tears of frustration and fear escaped as Tyson made one last pleading attempt to get Kai to take his hand.

                “Hey, guys, I’m…I’m so sorry…”  Kai’s eyes were wide with guilt, and like the bluenette offering him…everything, tears were falling unheeded as he desperately reached out and grabbed onto Tyson’s hand.

*** ***

                It had taken a bit of muscle, and the efforts of all his teammates to free him from that ice, but they’d done it.  They collapsed on the ground in a heap, exhausted; Kai had landed partly on top of Tyson, and for one brief moment, he’d let himself sink into the welcoming warmth and safety Tyson was offering him.  He’d thought he’d heard Tyson whisper his name, but it could have been the wind.  He’d gotten up, and turned away with a fierce determination that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

Tyson had called him back, but he accepted that Kai was going to go set things right again.  Kai had a lot of work to do in order to mend the wrongs he’d committed.  He’d start with the Abbey, and with Boris – returning the dark blade and its Black Dranzer bit to the place it had been developed.  Then he returned to his team – his real team.

                Kai was welcomed back with open arms.  Kenny, Max, and Rei, along with Tyson, had thrown a welcome back party for him at their hotel in Moscow that same evening.  In the middle of the party, when Tyson was excitedly chatting with his father and Gramps about all his adventures so far, and while Mr. Dickenson looked on fondly, Kai had retreated to the balcony for a bit of fresh air and to try and wrap his head around these strange new emotions and how good it felt to have a place among these people, to be forgiven and accepted so willingly.  It was Rei who had joined him out there in the chilly Russian air.

*** ***

                “So Kai…” The raven haired teen leaned forward against the railing, staring out at the skyline of the city.  “How’re you feeling?”

                Kai glanced at him from the corner of his eye.  “Fine.”  He shrugged.  “It’s not like I was ill or something.”

                Rei laughed.  “No.  Though, that was the excuse that Tala and Ian kept trying to feed us when we came looking for you.  Tyson didn’t believe it for a minute, you know.  He was sure there was something suspicious going on, and he was really worried about you.”

                “Hn…” Kai looked away guiltily, feigning indifference as best he could.  “Stupid.  I was fine.”

                Now Rei turned and watched Kai with a raised eyebrow.  “Oh really?  Well, whether or not you were, the fact is that Tyson stood out on this very balcony, worrying about you.  He didn’t understand why you would just turn on us like you did, and he shed tears for you.  I hope you can appreciate just how far he was willing to go to get you back.  His loyalty is something I’ve come to admire and respect in him.  And his courage, his power, and his skill.  But mostly he’s my friend.  Just as the rest of the team is – including you, Kai.  We don’t always get along, it’s true, but you and I often understand each other where the others don’t.”

                “Your point?”  Kai finally turned and met Rei’s critical gaze, wondering if he should be angry or apologize for some reason.

                “I know why you left.  You wanted the chance to go after Tyson, and get revenge for your loss in the Regionals.  But Kai…I hope that now you see the difference between a crushing defeat and simply a bump in the road.  No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who comes along to be better than you.  It’s just the way things work.”

                “So what?  You think I should just give up trying?  Because I won’t do that.”  Kai snapped.

                “No.  I’m just saying to remember that’s only a game – a sport.  We’re on our way to winning the Worlds, Kai.  As a team, yes, but each of us is capable of battling as a pro on our own, too.  We just happen to compliment each other perfectly, forming an unbeatable team of bladers.  And isn’t that what we’re truly here for?  We have to stop Boris and his little plans for world domination.  We’re fighting for the game, for every blader in the world, and for our bit beasts.  There isn’t anything more worthy than that, is there?”

                With that parting shot, Rei walked back to the balcony doors.  “Oh, and Kai?”

                “What?”

                Rei smiled.  “We’re glad you’re back.  Tyson’s a lot easier to deal with when you’re around, for some reason.”

                Kai blinked at the door, not sure what that could possibly mean.

*** ***

                The Worlds had proven to be more of a challenge than they’d all thought.  They’d known the Demolition Boys were no push-overs, but their scientifically altered bit beasts were another thing entirely.  And with Max out of the competition because of their sneaky little attack on their BBA bus the day before, it was even harder.  Kai took on the first round, against Spencer and Seaborg.  The first session didn’t go well.  Kai found out the hard way that these enhanced bit beasts were nothing to sniff at.  Feeling the sting of possible defeat, he’d retreated to the back halls of the stadium to think during the break, and there he was confronted by his grandfather, Hiwatari Voltaire.

                Once again, temptation was offered to him.  All he had to do was take Black Dranzer back and defeat Spencer with it, because according to Voltaire, Kai was the only one who was strong enough to control the power of the enhanced bit beast.  And when he had defeated Spencer, he’d have proven he was still reliable and useful to his grandfather.  Then he was to take his teammates’ bit beasts and turn them over to Boris as he’d been supposed to before.  But Kai would not be fooled a second time.  He knew where he belonged, and it wasn’t at Biovolt.

                He took Black Dranzer, but in the end, he didn’t use it.  He and Dranzer fought their battle as Bladebreakers, and lost the match – Kai sacrificed Dranzer – in order to make their point of defiance to Voltaire.  It worked.  He was enraged.  Kai didn’t care about that anymore.  He’d come to accept that the grandfather he’d once admired, respected, and loved was no longer Voltaire.

                He wouldn’t be controlled.  Not ever.

                The next day it was Rei’s turn, battling Bryan and Falborg.  And Kai saw once again the results of the friendship that developed between his teammates and between their team and their rival teams from the past – the White Tigers, the All-Starz, and the Majestics.  Rei fought like the warrior he was, and while the result of the final round was a win for Rei, he took out Bryan in the process, knocking him out and destroying his blade – at great cost.  His battles landed him in the hospital, and he insisted it was worth it to even the score with the Demolition Boys.

                Those battles were bad enough.  But now it was down to the third and final battle – Tyson’s battle against the Demolition Boys’ team captain, Tala.

                While Rei was recovering in the hospital, Max and Kenny were off conspiring to improve Tyson’s blade with the help of the technology of the All Starz and Max’s mother and father.  Tyson was in need of practice and training, and it was to Kai that he turned seeking assistance.

                They found a secluded, quiet patch of forest and set to the task of beating the hell out of each other – figuratively, of course.  They were doing their best to drive each other to the absolute end of their abilities, and in the process growing stronger and improving their skills.  It had personally shocked Kai that he was enjoying every single second of the time he was spending with Tyson, battling him, growing stronger even without Dranzer.  But for the first time, it wasn’t about the beybattle, it wasn’t about being the best – or at least helping to make Tyson the best to save the sport – or any such thing that once were his motivations in life.  No…this time with Tyson was simply fun.

                Which was probably the reason he gave Tyson that absolutely corny piece of advice that as long as he was having fun then no one could truly beat him.  Tyson had groaned and laughed, jokingly saying he liked Kai better as a jerk than as a corny Kai.  The team captain just smirked and told him to get back to work.

                The morning brought the fateful day of Tyson’s battle upon them.  But they were as ready as they’d ever be.  Armed with a new and improved Dragoon blade, Tyson took his place across the beydish from Tala with an aura of supreme determination.  Kai had never been proud of another person as he was of the bluenette in that moment.  It was a very odd and slightly unsettling emotion, one that he was definitely not used to.

                The battle of the first session was not going well.  Tala ruled the snowy, Russian-esque landscape of the beydish like he’d lived there all his life – which he had, of course.  They were fighting in a Biovolt stadium, after all.  But while the others were questioning the wisdom of letting Tyson continue, Kai was waiting, knowing and hoping beyond all hope that Tyson would pull something off.

                “Come on…”  Kai thought, watching Tyson try to keep up to Tala’s vicious attacks.  “I’m not wrong about much, and I know I’m not wrong about you…” 

                And he wasn’t wrong.  Tyson did.  He won that first session, but in the second, Tala provoked Tyson into challenging the redhead to use his full power on Tyson.  All part of Tala’s plan…  It ended with the two bladers trapped in the strangest thing anyone had ever seen.  Locked inside a giant ice crystal, a blizzard whipping snow and wind all around them.  And inside that ice, Tala unleashed his army of stolen bit beasts on Tyson.  The second session ended with a win for Tala.  But on the outside, Kai wasn’t giving up on Tyson yet.  Of any other blader, Kai was the one who could claim – with reason – that he knew Tyson’s skills and power better than anyone else.  Hadn’t he been on the receiving end of it enough times?  Hadn’t he trained Tyson himself?  And didn’t Tyson own a piece of his own soul now that he had given Kai back everything, including control of his own life?

                Kai watched the third session awestruck.  He believed it was happening, and yet he didn’t.  Amazing didn’t cover it.

                When it was all over, and Tyson was declared the winner, his honour showed through as he extended a hand of friendship and sportsmanship to Tala – and was accepted.  It never ceased to amaze Kai how the bluenette was able to do that.

                Now it was all over.  The Championships were done, Biovolt defeated and its deeds brought to light.  The sport, its athletes, and the bit beasts were all safe once more.  All that was left was for the team to say their farewells and go their separate ways again.

                Max returned to America with his mother, to help her continue her research at the BBA labs.

                Rei went home with his old team, the White Tigers.  He wanted to help teach a new generation of bladers how to play the game, and all it entailed.

                Kenny and Tyson were going to return home with Gramps.  They had school to go back to, after all, and their normal teenaged lives outside of the Bey-spotlight.  There would be more tournaments, they knew, but for now, it was back to normalcy.

                As for Kai…he had his own decisions to make.  No longer following his grandfather left him with few options.  The one viable one seemed to be to go back home to his parents and go back to school.  This whole experience and reawakened memories of his time at Biovolt as a child led him to retire his blade.  His desire to battle Tyson again had cooled – for now, at least.  He couldn’t see himself taking on the dragon, not if it meant a battle like the one Tyson had fought with Tala.  Kai knew he was no where near prepared to get into that level of competition.  So…he’d put blading aside and see if he could find something else to hold his interest and to develop his skills in.

                The night before Tyson’s plane was leaving, Kai was once again out on that same balcony.  Tyson left Kenny curled up on the sofa in the hotel room, sleeping, and quietly went out to join the phoenix.

*** ***

                “Hey.”  Tyson gave an easy smile and stood next to Kai at the railing.  “Still awake?”

                “Hn.”  Kai acknowledged, glancing back into the room through the window doors of the balcony.  “Kenny’s out?”

                “Yep.  All this excitement has finally caught up to him.”  Tyson grinned.  “And I’m still really pumped up, oddly enough.”

                Kai’s mouth turned up in a slight smile.  “Gee, wonder why, World Champ.”

                “Heh.”  Tyson mimicked Kai’s stance, leaning against the railing elbow to elbow with the slightly taller teen, their arms resting against each other.  Kai, strangely, didn’t have the urge to move away.  He normally hated being touched.  Any kind of physical contact with other human beings tended to make his skin crawl.  Not with Tyson though.  And when Tyson nudged him gently with that elbow and pointed down at the street below where a group of kids were blading, Kai felt nothing more than a weird wish for more contact.  He smiled, though, at the sight of the kids blading freely in the street.

                “You did good.”  Kai suddenly said, feeling he had to say something.  Tyson looked at him in astonishment.

                “Was that a compliment?  From Hiwatari Kai?  Oh my god.”

                “Shut up, Kinomiya.  You’ll never hear it again.”

                “Nah.”  Tyson blushed suddenly.  “You really think I did something good?”

                “I don’t think.  I know.”  Kai watched the kids cheer and nodded at them.  “Those kids, if you hadn’t won, would not be down there right now, having fun.  Beyblading.  That’s the proof of what you’ve accomplished.”

                Tyson blushed harder and turned away, though he leaned backward against the railing now.  “Well…yeah.  I guess you have a point, there.  But…” he paused and pulled Dragoon out of his pocket.  “As much as I like being the World Champion and all…it’s so surreal, you know?  All of it.”

                Kai turned to him and studied him.  “Maybe.  What happened during your match was more than weird.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  And you didn’t let it phase you.  You kept on battling anyway.  You should have heard everyone cheering you on, Kinomiya.  You are a hero to a lot of people.”

                Tyson stared at him.  “A hero?  That’s…kind of intimidating.”

                “Hn.”  Kai couldn’t imagine that feeling himself, but if Tyson said so…  “It’s the truth, though.”

                Silence descended on them for a time while soft flakes of snow began to drift slowly down to the Earth below.  Tyson broke the quiet moment with a soft inquiry.

                “So what were you planning to do now?  In all the stuff going on earlier with Max and Rei leaving first and the celebrations and all that stuff, I never had a chance to talk to you and find out.”

                Kai stared up at the grey skies, closing his eyes against the falling snowflakes.  “I’ll go back to my parents.  Grandfather wouldn’t let me see them, and he would never tell me why.  I have ideas about it now, but I want to hear what they have to say and…I’d like a normal life, if that’s at all possible.”

                “I’m sure there’s an explanation.  And Kai, you know if you ever need to, you can come to me.  Right?”

                Yeah.  Kai nodded solemnly.  Don’t ask me why, but I trust you, Kinomiya.  And I appreciate the thought, even if…I’m not ready to say it yet.

                “Good.”  Tyson reached out and grabbed his hand, pulling him toward the doors.  “Let’s go in before we become snowmen.”

                Kai smiled to himself, savoring the hand in his and following Tyson willingly into the warmth of the hotel room and out of the cold Russian weather.  He stared at the smaller, darker skinned hand in his – the hand that defeated him, the hand that had taught him, saved him, and finally the hand that guided his new chance at life.  He felt like he would do anything for the owner of that hand.  Anything at all.  He wished he had the courage to tell Tyson that, but for now, his voice was quieted by his insecurities.  One day.  He vowed.  One day I’ll be able to tell you ‘Thank You,’ Kinomiya.  He watched Tyson settle down on his bed under the covers and turned off the light to do the same himself.

                They’d leave this place behind in the morning, and Kai was only too happy to say goodbye to it.

~~~~~~~~~~

 Part II:  https://kalichaos.wordpress.com/beyblade/between-the-lines/part-ii/

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