Part IV


Kali Notes:  FYI, this part picks up in the middle of the manga’s end, just before Tyson runs into Kai again.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then this would be a huge hint that there will be a huge spoiler at the beginning.  Can’t avoid it though!  But after that…the rest comes directly from the muses through me!  Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Part IV

                I ignored the protests of my underlings as I walked purposefully through the halls of the new BBA stadium toward the distant sounds of the audience cheering and blades clanking and grinding away.  Oh.  And the huffing and puffing of the out-of-shape executives of my company that had chased after me all the way from my offices at Hiwatari Enterprises.

                “President!”

                “Please wait!”

                “President Hiwatari!”

                I scowled internally, asking myself for the billionth time why I bothered returning to run my grandfather’s company – something I’ve asked myself several times a day and had for the past ten years.  But I kept walking and ignoring them.  The things I had come here to do were far, far more important than any job.

                I have put something off for too long, now, and I finally had come up with the courage to actually fix the situation.

                My son is blading today.  It is a major tournament, and Gou’s first.  The boy has certainly taken up where I had left off in the world of Beyblade.  At supper the evening before, Gou had told me that he had an opponent that he had to face and beat no matter what.  It gave me shivers of recognition, and I was almost completely certain that there was only one possibility of competition enough out there that could make a Hiwatari that determined.  I have kept in touch with the Chief over the years, mostly because of the considerable funding Hiwatari Enterprises provides to the BBA.  So I knew what had been going on in my friends’ lives since I’d left.  And I knew what was going on in Tyson’s life.  I knew about his son. 

                 I’d studied my own son carefully, nodding at the determination in that expression.  Yep.  No doubt at all.  “I will be there.”  I promised.  “For you, and for myself.”  Gou had given me a weird look, but I didn’t feel the need to explain anything to him.  I wasn’t ready for that yet.

                Even though I’d obviously puzzled the child, Gou didn’t ask any further questions about it.  He knew that when his father said he’d do something, then he would, and that was enough for him.

                My pace increased slightly the closer I got to the stadium.  I could feel it, tugging on me like an invisible thread, urging me on.

                “Please return to the office!  We have an important afternoon meeting!”

                That made me pause, cold anger at being given a near direct order – no matter how politely – by a subordinate turning my expression to stone as I turned on them.

                “I have something to do that’s more important than work.”  I stated softly, my tone making the poor men and one woman quake in fear for their jobs.  That tug was becoming stronger, and I was getting impatient to follow it.  It wasn’t like I didn’t know what that tug was.  I knew it very well, and I had missed it more than I can ever say.

                At that moment…my life changed again forever.  I heard a voice.  It was deeper, more mature and maybe a little more subdued than it had been over ten years ago when I’d last heard it, but it was still the same voice.  Beloved.  Welcoming.  Forgiving.  A voice I have wanted to hear for so long, ending on my name.

                “That makes two of us, Kai!”

                “Tyson…”  I turned slightly to look over my shoulder, and saw him standing there with a smug smile on his face with his arms crossed over his chest.  My heart leapt up into my throat and it was hard to keep my face from showing just how much his appearance affected me.  The insistent tugging had stopped, now that he was here, and instead there was a pressure in my chest that was constricting and wonderful.  He just tilted his head at me, waiting.  I gave him a short nod and spared a glance at my…groupies (I had better names for them, but they ceased to be important with Tyson there).  “Get lost.”  I ordered.  “I will not be returning today, and probably not tomorrow, either.  Anyone who disturbs me will lose their position.  Understood?”

                Shock appeared on all their faces, but none were brave enough to offer any further protests or to follow me when I left, going with Tyson the rest of the way to the stadium.  We stood at the railing and watched the match down below in the main dish, where Gou and a young boy of equal age and ridiculously familiar blading style – not to mention sense of fashion – battled it out for the tournament title.  They were so determined, so eager, and so concentrated on the battle.  I couldn’t help but be a little more than proud of both kids for it.

                “There was a time when we were just like them.”  Tyson spoke up after a few minutes, his tone nostalgic.  I felt the corners of my mouth tilt up a little.  Yes…we certainly had been like those kids, if not worse.  “Sure brings back memories…”  He added.

                I nodded, watching the battle below a little longer.  It was winding down.  I could see that Gou and the other boy, who was a mini-Tyson and obviously his son, were tiring quickly, and both blades were beginning to wobble.  No matter who won, though, I knew it wouldn’t be the end.  It never was.

                Knowing that, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a familiar blade.  With Dranzer in hand, I gave Tyson a questioning smirk of my own.  “Tyson!  I have no intention of discussing the past with you!”  I stated, reaching up with my other hand to pull off my tie.  Now wasn’t the time to talk about the past, the present, or the future.  Now was the time to reacquaint ourselves in the one way we knew best.

                Tyson chuckled and brought out his own blade.  Dragoon appeared to be in perfect condition, though I’d expected no less from my rival.  “You haven’t changed a bit, Kai.”  He smiled at me fondly, and I gestured for him to follow me.

                After all, when we bladed…we didn’t hold back, and we didn’t need unnecessary casualties or damages.  I think we’ve destroyed enough stadiums in our lifetime, thanks.

                We found a quite spot not far from the stadium, in a peaceful little park.  There was no one around, not even a stray dog or cat.  It was here that we took up positions apart from each other and raised our launchers to face off for battle.

                “Bring it on, Tyson!”

                “Here I come, Kai!”

                Our launches were typically furious, and we didn’t hesitate to get down to business.

~~~~~~~~~~

Elsewhere…

                “Man…”  Kinomiya Makoto complained, adjusting his hat after dusting it off.  “I was so close!”

                “Close isn’t winning, baka.”  Hiwatari Gou pointed out smugly, watching his rival with folded arms.  “But it was a good battle.  You’re almost as good as I am.”

                “Jerk.  If you hadn’t pulled that stunt right at the end like that I’d have won!”  Makoto stuck out his tongue at the dual-haired boy.  Then he sighed dramatically.  “Dad’s going to be disappointed.”

                Before Gou could say anything to that, he was interrupted by a flying pink blur.

                “Makoto!” the blur squealed.  “That was great!  Even though I wanted to be the one to blade against you in the final round, it was still a really great battle!”

                Makoto winced as he was tackled in a flying glomp and landed on his butt on the floor.  Hard.  “Ow!  Geez, Rin!  I’m not a plushie!  Let go!”

                Gou raised an eyebrow.  “I take it you know each other.”

                The pink blur, a little girl otherwise known as Kon Rin, left off squeezing the air out of Makoto to look up at the new Regional Champion curiously.  “Of course.  Our dads are really good friends.  They used to be teammates.”  She tilted her head at Gou.  “Congrats on winning the tournament, by the way.”

                “Thank you.”

                “Ha ha!”  A very adult voice laughed and drew the children’s attention to the locker room doors.  “I’m glad to see you can all get along so well.”  A blond man in a brightly coloured checkered shirt and jeans sauntered in, followed by a shorter, spectacled brunette man in a lab coat, then a woman with pink hair like Rin and a man with long, black, wrapped hair.  The four adults studied the kids with fond amusement and nostalgia.  “Don’t they remind you of us, guys?”

                “Oh, maybe a little, Max.”  The raven-haired man chuckled, his arm around the woman’s waist.  “Rin, let Makoto get up off the floor, at least.”

                “Oops!  Sorry, Makoto!”  Rin moved away and Makoto stood up, inching closer toward Gou and away from Rin to safety.  “Hey, Daddy!  Can we invite them to supper tonight, too?”

                “Ask your mother.  I don’t get to make these decisions.”

                “I think that was the plan, sweetie.”  Mariah gave Rei an elbow in the side.  “Your father is just being silly.”

                “Uncle Kenny…” Makoto tugged on the lab coat to get his attention.  Kenny knelt down to the child’s height and dropped a hand on his head.

                “Wondering where your Dad is, huh?”  Kenny smiled.  “Don’t worry, Makoto.  He was watching the whole battle.  You know he wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”

                “I know…but…I lost.”

                Gou rolled his eyes.  “You still did pretty good, for an amateur.”  Gou poked a finger into Makoto’s face.  “But if you don’t start practicing, you’ll never beat me!”

                Makoto scowled at him.  “Sure, you can say that because you won.”

                Max was chuckling again.  “Wow.  Some things don’t even change in a generation.  Oh yeah!”  He walked over to the kids and held out a hand to Gou.  “I guess we never introduced ourselves!  Mizuhara Max.”

                Gou looked up at the blonde and tentatively accepted the offered hand with a quick shake.  “Hiwatari Gou.”

                “Yep.  Kai’s son, right?”  Max grinned, slapping Kenny on the back and nearly knocking his glasses off.  “Good to meet you!  And congratulations.  It was a great battle.  The Chief here, and I, were both keeping a close eye on everything from the sidelines.”

                “Indeed.  I was quite impressed.  Kai has trained you well, Gou.”  Kenny observed.  “Not that I’d expect anything less.”

                “No kidding.”  Rei laughed.  “I think we all remember his training sessions well enough to sympathize.”

                Gou frowned thoughtfully.  “So…you all know my father?”

                They looked down at him, startled, then at each other.  “Wait…you mean Kai hasn’t mentioned us before?”  Kenny asked.  Gou shook his head.

                “Ouch.  That hurts.”  Max sighed.  “Though…not unexpected for a lot of reasons.”

                Makoto frowned, too.  “I don’t understand.”

                “It’s okay, Makoto.”  Max patted the youngest Kinomiya on the shoulder reassuringly.  “It’s…old news.  Kai was our team captain, once upon a time.  He…didn’t always get along with us, but we respected him a great deal and we cared about him, even though he didn’t want us to most of the time.”

                Rei laid a hand on Max’s shoulder in return.  “That’s not important though.  The important thing is that we do, indeed, know your dad, Gou.  And he knows us.”

                “Okay.”  Gou glanced at a clock on the wall.  “Funny though…he said he was going to come today.  But I haven’t seen him.”

                “Kai?  Here?”  Max’s face took on a slightly pale expression.  “Oh…”

                “So that’s where Tyson ran off to!”  Kenny sighed.  “I should have known….”

                Mariah slipped her hand into Rei’s, squeezing lightly.  “Can you blame him?  He’s been waiting for years…”

                Rei squeezed back.  “I’m sure they’re fine, Mariah.  Those two…”

                “Hey!  Here you all are!”  DJ Daichi interrupted, appearing in the doorway.  “I was hoping you’d all still be around.”

                “Oh it’s the rude guy.”  Rin huffed, sticking her tongue out at Daichi.

                “Rin!  You stop that!”  Mariah scolded.

                “Sorry, Mama.”

                “Have you seen Tyson, Daichi?”  Max asked.

                The young man looked thoughtful for a moment, then shook his head.  “Nope.  I actually thought he’d be here with everyone else.  Don’t tell me he didn’t show up for his own kid’s first tournament!”

                Makoto crossed his arms and stomped a foot down on Daichi’s.  “Dad’s right.  You are a brat.”

                “OW!  Why you little…”

                Everyone laughed at their antics.

                “Maybe we should go look for Tyson.”  Kenny suggested a moment later.  “After all, I think we could all use a bite to eat, and…”  He stopped abruptly as the ground shook under his feet and a strange energy pulsed through the air.

                Earthquake?”  Mariah asked, hugging her daughter to her leg protectively.

                “No.”  Rei shook his head, eyes wide and golden.  “That was Power.”

                Max chuckled uneasily.  “You don’t think…?”

                A sonic boom crashed from seemingly all around them, rattling the windows with its force.  Kenny went very pale, and started for the door.  “I think we’d better find them and run some interference before they blow up another stadium.”

                The others followed him quickly in agreement, the kids trailing along behind in confusion.

                “Do you know what they’re talking about, Gou?”  Makoto asked in a hushed whisper as they ran along behind the adults.

                “No.  I assume they mean our fathers, but I don’t know why.  Or what that noise or the ground shaking was all about.”

                “That’s ridiculous!”  Rin objected.  “How could they do something like that?”

                “I don’t know!  I’m saying what I understood from what the adults were saying!”

                “Don’t fight about it.  We’ll just go with them and find out for ourselves, right?”  Makoto tried to diffuse the argument before it even started.

                They followed their elders into a park, and stopped abruptly when they stopped and stood staring at whatever was going on in the distance.  Makoto and Gou peeked around Kenny and Max to see what it was, while Rin went to her mother and clutched at her hand on the other end of the line.

                Some few hundred metres away, a beybattle was going on.  Two blades bashed and slashed and generally tore into each other with a force that could be felt even from their distance.  Makoto exchanged looks with Gou briefly before both boys stepped forward – only to be held back by Kenny and Max.

                “No, boys.  Stay here.  Don’t get too close.  It’s dangerous.”  Max cautioned.

                “But…that’s Dad, Uncle Max.”  Makoto protested.  “Why is he battling?”

                “And that’s my father!”  Gou added, struggling against Kenny’s hold.  “What’s going on?”

                “Kids…this is a battle that has been a lifetime in the making.”  Rei was the one who finally answered after a few minutes of watching the battle continue to rage before them.  “Your fathers have been rivals since the day they met.  Friends, too, although their relationship is so much more than that.”

                “I don’t get it.”  Makoto stated grumpily.

                “Baka.  It’s like you and me.”  Gou nudged him.  “You really want to beat me, and I really want to beat you, and we are always working hard to try and do that, but at the same time we’re friends, right?”

                “Oh.  Yeah.”

                “It’s more than that, too, though, Gou.”  Max smiled sadly.  “I don’t know if we can explain it to you well enough.  I think you’ll have to talk to you father about it.”

                “It…isn’t our place.”  Kenny added.  “I just hope they don’t take this battle past their rivalry.  There’s too much potential for it to get out of hand.”

                “And none of us is nearly powerful enough to stop them if it does.”  Daichi agreed.

                “Heh.  This coming from the one who wanted to defeat Tyson almost more than Kai ever did?”  Max teased.

                “Shut it, Mizuhara.”  Daichi sniffled indignantly.  “Even I know when to throw in the towel.  But it doesn’t mean I’ve given up, you know.  He is still a three-time World Champion, and he is still the one to beat.”

                “How very true.”  Rei agreed with a grin.  The grin faded when another sonic boom preceded a blinding flash of light and a huge blast of wind and fire, and Rei quickly ducked, curling himself over his wife and daughter to shield them.  Kenny and Max had done the same for Makoto and Gou, while Daichi just simply ducked.

                When the fury was over, they slowly stood up and looked over to where the two bladers were still standing amongst the yet-swirling dust and grass and leaves.

                Makoto went to take a step forward but Kenny’s hand on his shoulder held him back again.  “Wait.”  Kenny said.

                Max peered through the dust, trying to see if the blades were still spinning.  When he saw both blades lying on their sides, still, he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.  “They’re done.  And it was a tie.”

                Rei sighed.  “Of course it was.  Do you think they worked anything out?”

                “I don’t know.”

                Two minutes later, the adults were ushering the kids away, bribing them with promises of food.  Obviously the two World-class rivals needed some more time alone.

~~~~~~~~~~

                Struggling for breath, I stared hazily across the battlefield at my rival.  God, that had felt really good.  Swaying slightly, but somehow managing to keep on my feet, I stumbled forward to grab my blade from the ground.  Tyson did the same, and we stood there panting, sweating, and generally exhausted for a few moments grinning rather foolishly at each other.

                “I missed you, you know.”  He said suddenly, in a soft voice I had rarely heard him use.  I tilted my head at him, unsure of his meaning.

                “Same.  But then, I have always been your only true competition.”

                He laughed.  “Yes.  But that wasn’t what I meant.  I mean I missed you, Kai.  Not just the battles.  Not the competition.  You.”

                Why did that make me feel like crying?  I managed a tiny smile, and I answered as truthfully as I could.  “Same.”

                “Why did you come back, Kai?  I know it wasn’t just for this.”  Tyson gestured around at the destruction our battle had wrought.  There was going to be a nice little donation to the city from Hiwatari Enterprises, I decided absently.  New park.  Must make a memo of it for my secretary to get started on.

                “What makes you think…”

                “Don’t even.”  Tyson’s eyes flashed at me in warning and I promptly shut up.  “Okay, I know you came here for Gou – I did for Makoto – and you came here for this battle between us, but that wasn’t it.  You think you can hide it from me?  Me, Kai.  I still feel it.  It’s still there.  You can’t hide a damn thing from me, so tell me the truth for once.”

                Urk.  I flinched and ducked my head sheepishly.  Damn weird bond thing.  Tyson’s the only person in the entire world that can do this to me without even trying.

                “Kai…”

                “Geez, give me a second, would you?!  I’m trying to find that courage it’s taken me this long to work up to even BE here.”  I growled back at him, fiddling with my rather destroyed business shirt.

                “Forgive me if I’m impatient.”  He threw back at me with a raised eyebrow, arms folding over his chest.  I shuffled a foot.

                “This is hard enough as it is without you throwing my cowardice back in my face, Kinomiya.”

                “I’m not doing that.  I’m waiting for you to say the words, Kai.”  He reached out and dragged me into his personal space by the shirt.  I wasn’t in any shape to protest, and really…I didn’t want to.  Physical communication worked best for me, after all.  I’m not that good with words.  “I could hear it just fine during our battle just now.  But I need to hear it from your mouth, not your head.  I’ve been waiting, Hiwatari.”

                I was already shaky with exhaustion, but now I couldn’t keep from visibly trembling.  No really.  Damn that weird bond thing!  “I’m a coward.  That’s the truth of it.  I ran away, again.  It seems to be the only thing I’m really good at.”

                He sighed, seeming to deflate before me, and his hand eased from a fist to flatten against my chest, rubbing in apology.  “No, Kai.  You didn’t run away.  I know that.  I know you needed to get yourself and your life back together again.  I was willing to wait as long as you needed for that.  I just…wasn’t expecting it to be ten years.”

                “I’m sorry, Tyson.  I don’t know if you need an apology but I need to give one.  I’m so sorry.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what else to say.  Oh wait.  Yes I did.

                He looked up at me, though it wasn’t that much of a distance up any longer.  We were about the same height now.  Okay, yes.  I was distracting myself.  I met his eyes with my own and didn’t try to hide anything from him, not that I could.

                “No.  I don’t need one.  But I do appreciate that you wanted to make it.  So thanks.  And I forgive you.”

                I shivered and let my head drop forward, my forehead pressed to his as I leaned into him.  His hand slid up my chest and around the back of my neck, and I could feel his fingers absently playing with the small hairs there.  “Thank you.”  I whispered.

                “Mmm…” Tyson shrugged.  “So…you were saying?”  Those fingers at the back of my neck were distracting – more than my own thoughts were.  I shifted restlessly, my hands finding their own way to Tyson’s waist.  My nose bumped against his and I began to wonder what in the world I was getting myself into.

                “Um…” Very coherent, Kai.  So smooth.

                I knew he wasn’t going to be patient forever.  I didn’t expect him to be.  And here I was, right?  This was why I had allowed myself to be found, instead of hiding somewhere and watching Gou.  “Kinomiya…I…”

                “Kai?”

                I blinked.  “Yeah?”

                He gave me a crooked smile.  “Shut up and kiss me.”

                I huffed.  Did he want me to talk or what?!  I was trying here…  I gave a quiet growl and did something I should have done a very, very long time ago.

                “Baka.”  I pressed my mouth to his and pulled him flush against my front.  His lips parted under mine on a gasp and his hand tightened on my neck.  I felt a full-body shiver run through him – or me, I couldn’t separate us any longer – and suddenly my nerves sprung to life all at once. I heard him mumble something into our kiss and suddenly I was backing up until my shoulders hit a tree trunk.  Oh god, oh god, oh god… it was like trying to capture the wind.  And I thought our beybattles were passionate and furious and hot.  A moan, deep and throaty, burned into my ears and I distantly realized it was me.

                “Tyson…oh god, Tyson!”  His mouth left mine and latched onto my throat and my ear instead.  I let the tree support our weight and clutched at him helplessly.

                He wrenched away from me with visible effort and just went still, pressed against me as if he was sure I would disappear otherwise.  My heart was pounding harder and faster than it had during our battle, and I was sucking in air like I’d never breathed before.

                “Please tell me that you’re here to stay.”  Tyson’s voice was muffled by my shoulder.  “I don’t care if you lie to me, just…tell me that.”

                My heart did that leap-frog thing in my chest and my arms were around him faster than you can say, “let it rip!”  I didn’t have to lie.  I’d made up my mind, after all, long before I’d come here today.

                “It’s not going to be easy integrating our lives, you know.”

                “I know.”

                “We have the kids to think of now.”

                “They already get along, and I think they need each other about as much as you and I always have.”

                “We’ll probably drive one another insane.”

                “I’ll go insane without you now.”

                “Alright.  Just so we have that understood.”

                “We’ll work it out somehow.”

                “God.  Your never-ending faith is really a force to be reckoned with, Kinomiya.”

                “One last thing.”  I blinked when he backed away from me enough to look me in the eye.  “No more ‘Kinomiya’ from you.  It’s ‘Tyson,’ Kai.  Tyson, lover, honey…I don’t care if you call me buttercup.  No wait.  Yes I do.”  I choked back a laugh and did the one thing I had just figured out (aren’t I quick?) that shuts him up really quick.  I kissed him, though this time it was soft and rather chaste.

                “Tyson.  I do love you.”

                That had come out before I could even think about it.  And it hadn’t hurt a bit.

                His smile was the most beautiful thing in the world.  The sun paled in comparison.

                Nope.  Didn’t hurt at all.  We were kissing again before I even realized it.

                “We…should go back.”  I managed to get out on breathing spaces between kisses.  “The kids…”

                “Yeah.”  Tyson’s hand had somehow gotten under my shirt and onto my bare back, his fingertips slipping dangerously close to the waistband of my pants.  “And the others…”

                I shuddered as those fingers did dip under my waistband.  “Ahh…the others?”

                His mouth nipped at the thick pulse in my neck, then soothed with his tongue.  I was putty in his hands and I really didn’t care if I ever left.  “Max…Rei and Mariah…Kenny…Daichi…”

                “Oh.”  That took a minute to digest and then it hit me.  “Shit!  Tyson, come on…stop…”

                “Don’t wanna.”  He suckled at my neck, sure to leave a nice, tell-tale hickey.

                I groaned, and slid my fingers into his hair, firmly – but gently – pulling him away from me by the head.  “I don’t either but we have to stop.”

                He pouted at me and sighed, pulling back and straightening my completely useless shirt fondly.  “I am jumping your ultra sexy bones the minute I can.  Fair warning.”

                “Duly noted.  Let’s go before they send out a search party.”

                “Worse yet: Daichi.”

                We both shivered dramatically, then grinned at each other.  Hand in hand, we headed back toward the stadium.

~~~~~~~~~~

                The giddy relief and euphoria had toned down by the time we got there – not to mention the lust.  I was no stranger to it – obviously.  I had a son.  So did Tyson.  And while it did give me twinges of regret and jealousy that we weren’t each other’s firsts, would I have traded that over my son?  No.  Gou meant everything to me, just as Tyson did.  And I had a feeling it wouldn’t take long for Makoto to win me over either, if he was anything at all like his father.

                “We have a lot of talking to do, don’t we.”  It was a statement more than a question.  I nodded, squeezing his hand.

                “Yeah.  I suppose we do.”  I answered.  “More…how do we tell the kids?”

                Tyson ran a hand through his hair.  “Uh…well, the truth usually works.”

                He had a point.  I sighed.  This was going to be an awkward conversation.

                We entered the halls that led to the locker rooms.  Tyson stopped at the door to one of them, and I watched him shore himself up for the entry.  I did the same, but it was completely inward.  Some habits don’t die.  I pushed open the door and was met by several pairs of eyes.

                I swallowed.

                “DAD!”  A mini version of Tyson went zipping past me and leapt onto his father before I could blink.  Dear god.  I think Makoto may actually be faster than Tyson.  “Dad!  Are you okay!?  You were battling Gou’s dad!  How come?  What’s going on?  Why won’t anyone tell me what’s going on?”

                Tyson grinned at the whirlwind of energy and tugged on the extremely familiar hat on his son’s head.  So that’s where it went to…

                “I’m just fine, Makoto.  Yes, I was battling Gou’s father.  It’s a…long-standing rivalry.  We tend to do that every time we see each other after a long time apart.”  Tyson glanced at me and winked.  “He seems to think he’s good enough to beat me someday.”

                I resisted the urge to thwack him upside the head, and looked down as a little hand grasped mine.  “Gou.  That was a very good battle, son.  Congratulations on winning the tournament.”

                He smiled at me and I picked him up.  Wrapping his arms around my neck, he said, “Thanks, Papa.  I’m glad you were here!”

                “Of course I was.  I said I would be.”

                “I know.”

                I ruffled his hair.  There was a muffled wail from Makoto and when I looked over he was clinging to Tyson like a monkey.

                “Makoto…son, I don’t care if you didn’t win!  It was the battle that counted, and you did very well.  You can’t win every time.”

                “But…you do!”

                I couldn’t help it.  I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.  Tyson gave me a glare that said, “Shut up, Kai.”

                “Tyson!”  The others all chorused, minus Rin, in admonishment.

                “What?!  What did I do!?”

                “Have you been letting your ego tell Makoto stories?”  Max asked, eyeing the bluenette with a sharp sea-blue eye.  Tyson scowled at him.

                “No-o.  What do you think I am?  Give me a break you guys.”

                I shook my head.  Gou was staring at me in astonishment and I gave him a questioning look.

                “You laughed.”  He answered, sounding rather awed.  “You never laugh.”

                I face-vaulted, and the others began to laugh themselves after a short pause.

                “That’s our Kai.  ‘Course, the only person who can make him laugh like that is Tyson.”  Rei’s grin was a little too knowing and fang-filled for my liking.  Pink stained my cheeks.

                “Rei?”

                “Yes, Kai?”

                “Go soak your head.”

                “Aye, Captain.”

                Tyson intervened before I could soak Rei’s head for him – in the river.  “Guys, really.  A big reunion like this and you two are already sniping at each other.  Don’t you think we should go have a big celebratory dinner or something?”

                “And Tyson is still thinking with his stomach.  Nice to see that nothing has changed.”  Kenny added wryly.

                Tyson and I exchanged glances.  “Well…not ‘nothing.’”  Tyson said, slowly.

                “Huh?”

                Max, eternal child that he is, bounced up and down like a ball, letting out a rather happy squeal of delight.  “FINALLY!”

                “Papa…is he alright?”  Gou whispered in my ear, eyeing the blonde warily.  “Like, in the head?”  I snickered.

                “He’s perfectly normal.  For Max.”  I reassured him.

                Tyson was looking a little pained.  I sympathized.  “Max…cut it out, would you?  It’s not like…”

                “What?  You mean you aren’t finally getting together?”  His expression fell.

                “Uh…I didn’t say that…”  Tyson looked at me.  “A little help here?”

                I set Gou down.  He looked up at me.  “Papa?  What’s Mizuhara-san mean?”  Those innocent eyes stared up at me and I couldn’t not answer.  I crouched down and replied in a solemn voice.

                “Son…Tyson is a very special person to me.  He and I…we’re not just rivals.”

                “I get that part.  They,” Gou gestured at the others, “said as much earlier.”

                I nodded.  I hadn’t planned on having this conversation with all these other people around.  Maybe just Tyson and Makoto, but not the others.  But…Gou was my son.  And he was just like me in that he would demand answers and now, no arguments.  So, embarrassment aside, I told him the truth.  “I love Tyson very much, Gou.  But I…have been too scared to tell him so, until now.”

                As with myself, Gou saw right past the “I love him” part and went right to the real heart of the problem.  “You were scared?”  I think I was scaring him, now.  I did have a reputation for being fearless, if not downright reckless.

                There was a great deal of silence in the room, and it was really uncomfortable.

                My face was burning.  I could feel it.  But I swallowed my pride and nodded.  “I do get scared sometimes, Gou.  Even me.  Is that bad?”

                I watched him think about that for a bit, then he smiled at me.  “No.  I don’t feel bad for being scared sometimes, too, then.”  He hugged me and I sighed, hugging him back.  “But Papa…does that mean that Makoto and his father are going to live with us or something now?  Like, a mother or something?”

                My mouth twitched at the corners, a mental image of Tyson in a dress with a frilly apron and rubber gloves washing a sink full of dishes came to mind.  “Or something.”  I agreed, trying not to snicker.  I felt Tyson’s eyes bore into the back of my head, and heard a faint, I saw that! somewhere in there in what was very much Tyson’s voice.  Then…  You know you’d love it, too, hentai.  I coughed as my cheeks absolutely flamed and I threw a sharp glare back over my shoulder at him.  You.  Zip it.  I returned.

                “Papa?  Are you okay?  Your face is all red.”

                “Oh I’m fine.”  I assured him quickly, getting to my feet.  “We can talk about it all you want later, okay?”

                “Okay.”

                “Hey, Dad?”  Makoto’s voice piped up.

                “Yeah?”  Tyson set the boy down and sat on a bench.

                “Are we moving?  ‘Cause I really like the dojo, and…”

                “Whoa, hold on, kiddo.”  Tyson blinked.  Obviously Makoto’s mind moved a little faster than ours did.  I raised an eyebrow.  “Nothing’s been decided on that yet.  We just wanted to tell you two about us, that’s all.  Kai and I still have a lot of things to talk about, you know.”

                “Like what?”

                He had a great deal Tyson’s curiosity, too.

                “Ah, well…living arrangements, of course.  But other things that won’t mean anything to you.”

                “Dad…you’re hedging.  Spill it.”

                Again, I couldn’t help it.  I started laughing again.  I got a rather disgruntled look from my…boyfriend?  Lover?  Well…not yet, but as soon as humanly possible.

                “What?”  Makoto looked back and forth between us, looking equally disgruntled.  Now Gou was snickering, and the others in the room weren’t far behind.  “What?!”

                “Ignore the peanut gallery, son.”  Tyson stuck his tongue out at us all and stood up.  “So!  How hungry are you?  I think because Gou won, you should get to pick where we eat tonight.”

                “Hey!”  Gou protested.  I patted him on the shoulder.

                “Sportsmanship, Gou.  Remember?”

                “Yeah, yeah.”

                “I want sushi!”  Makoto declared.  “Lots and lots of sushi!”

                “Sushi?”  Tyson blinked.  “You hate sushi.”

                “No.  I hate your sushi.  You can’t cook sushi, Dad.”

                Rei, Max, Kenny, and Daichi all burst into laughter.  Tyson looked absolutely dejected.  I shook my head and made a mental note never to try any of Tyson’s sushi.

                “Sushi sounds good to me.  Let’s go, everyone.”  I fell into a role I hadn’t been in for a very long time – captain mode – and was vaguely surprised to discover that the shoes still fit.  “I know a good place.”  Gou in tow, I led the way out of the locker room and the stadium.

~~~~~~~~~~

                Dinner was a noisy affair, as it usually is with Tyson around.  It was just a little bit noisier because there were two Kinomiyas at the dinner table.  That was going to take some getting used to, but I think I could live with it for most nights.  Correction.  The kids were at another table, protesting that they didn’t want to sit with the adults and be bored to tears over the conversation.  Lucky them…

                “So, Kai.”  I knew it wasn’t going to take long for one of them to start the inquisition.  “Where have you been all this time?”

                I felt Tyson’s leg move next to me and saw Max wince.  I smiled with deceptive peacefulness.  “None of your business, Mizuhara.”

                “I’ve kept in contact with Kai the whole time, Max.”  Kenny interjected hastily.  “Leave him be, okay?  Besides…he’s right.  It isn’t our business.  He’ll talk to Tyson about it when he gets the chance, so leave it be.”

                Max pouted, but I didn’t believe it for a second.  Under the cuteness was a crack mind.  I’d learned my lesson in underestimating him well.  “Maybe.  But don’t we get an explanation, too?  He was our friend.  Our captain.  We worried about him, too.”

                Ouch.  Point for you, Max.  “I’ve been busy with Hiwatari Enterprises.  I took over Voltaire’s company and I’ve been reorganizing and reallocating resources, funding, and employees to change the types of businesses it is involved in.”

                “And starting a family.”

                “Max.”  Tyson was the one who cut him off this time.  It should have surprised me to hear that no-nonsense tone in his voice, but it didn’t.  I could feel a wave of protectiveness from him down the bond between us, and under the table his hand fell on my knee, resting there in support.

                “I’m just curious!  I’ve never pictured Kai as a daddy, okay?”  He glanced at me.  “No offence.”

                “None taken.”  It was the truth after all.  I didn’t think I’d make much of a father, either, once upon a time.

                “We’re all curious, but Kai can tell us about it when he wants to.”  Rei sipped his tea calmly.  He was used to us.  “As has been said…that’s none of our business.  Besides, I hardly think it matters.”  He gave me a grin.  “Gou’s a good kid, Kai.  You’ve done a really good job with him.”

                Mariah rolled her eyes.  “He is a good child.  He’s far too much like you, but we can overlook that.”

                I blinked at her.  “What did I do to you?”

                “You made Rei and Max, and Kenny, and Hilary, and especially Tyson worry about you.”

                “Oh.”

                I’m glad we all understand each other.  Oh well.  I should have known that while Tyson would be willing to forgive and move on, the others would take some convincing again.  So I’d start with Tyson, and work my up from there.  I casually let my arm fall to my side, my hand ending up covering Tyson’s on my leg.  I felt him start in surprise as I threaded my fingers through his.

                “Don’t worry, Kai.  We won’t pry.  We’re just concerned, is all.”  Rei gave me a small reassuring smile.  “And curious.  But…if Tyson can be patient, then we sure as hell can be, too.”

                I nodded in acceptance of that.  “Thanks.  I’m…not trying to shut you out, I just…”

                “I know.”

                Kenny, who’d been mostly silent and watching us with his usual powers of observation under that hair of his, spoke up.  “So I have a suggestion for you two.”

                Tyson stuffed a roll of kappa maki in his mouth and nodded to show he was listening.  “What’s that?”  I asked, grateful Tyson had finally learned table manners.

                “If you have no objections, why don’t you let Gou and Makoto come stay with me for a couple days.  I wouldn’t mind at all.  You two need some time alone, and having the boys around constantly won’t allow you much time to talk about everything you need to.”  He coughed slightly and reached for his tea.  “Among other things.”

                This time Tyson turned bright red.  I’d already humiliated myself enough in front of them so the fact that Kenny was hinting that we were in need of some serious sexual activity was nothing.

                “Chief!”

                “What?  You can’t tell me you aren’t going to take advantage of that.”

                “Urk.  You’re not supposed to just come out and say it, though!”

                “Why?  It’s been completely obvious to the rest of us forever now.  It’s only the two of you who are oblivious.”

                That earned my attention.  But if I stopped to think about it, which I did, Kenny was totally correct.  I had been very blind to my feelings for Tyson until…well.  Yes, it had been shortly after I’d left for the last time that I figured out why I was so scared of my emotions and what they implied for myself and Tyson.  And was also the reason it took me as long as it had to work up the courage to do what I’d done today and finally take that first step toward a relationship.  A real one.

                “Thank you, Kenny.”  I said to him when Tyson simply stared at him, gaping like a fish out of water.  A very red fish.  “If Gou agrees to it, I don’t have a problem with it.  And I’m sure Tyson doesn’t mind, either.”  The bluenette shrugged, still unable to say anything.

                “Sure.  Besides, I need a couple of test bladers, and they’d be just the right kids for it.”

                I rolled my eyes.  Of course.

                “Hey, Max, how’s Hilary?  I almost forgot to ask.”  Tyson changed the subject.

                The blonde’s smile was at full Wattage.  “She’s perfect!  Well…she didn’t come to the tournament today because she didn’t sleep well last night – baby was kicking too much, I guess – and she wanted to rest today.”

                “Good.  At least we didn’t have to try and keep her from killing Daichi for calling her an old pregnant hag again.”  Tyson nodded, and I nearly choked on my spring roll when I swallowed back a laugh.

                “Still calling her that, huh?”

                “Variations thereof, but yeah.”

                I’d known of Max and Hilary’s engagement through Kenny, but he hadn’t mentioned she was pregnant.  I eyed Max and held a hand across the table to him.  “Congratulations, Max.  I hope you know what you’re getting into.”

                “Which?  Marrying Hilary or having a baby?”

                “Either.”  My grin was just a touch evil, I admit.  “Both.”

                He just laughed good naturedly.  “Thanks.  And yeah, I do.  She’s mellowed, Kai.  Though…you may not want to run into her until after the baby’s born.  Hormones make her do drastic things…”

                I took that warning to heart.  She was fiercely protective of her friends, and that translated into fiercely protective of Tyson.  Hilary was almost like a mother to all of us wild boys.  Ever since she became part of the team, she’s been the mother figure for all of us.  Even me, to a certain extent.  If she had run into me after today (now that I was back in Tyson’s life, hopefully on a permanent basis), not pregnant, she’d probably just kill me.  But with the hormone soup in her body it was highly likely that death was the least of my concerns.  I’d probably face torture, too.

                “Um…has anyone seen Daichi?”  Mariah looked around.  “He disappeared some time ago.”

                Tyson sighed and pushed away from the table.  “I’ll go.  He’s probably trying to chat up some poor waitress or else he’s attempting to devour the buffet again.”

                I pushed my plate aside and picked up my teacup.  Yes, some things definitely didn’t change.

~~~~~~~~~~

                Gou had been intrigued by the idea of being a test blader for Kenny, so he had no problem with staying at the Chief’s house for a couple days.  Neither did Makoto.  His eyes had lit up like it was Christmas.  And it was kind of annoying how very correct Kenny was about how Tyson and I would be spending a great deal of our time.

                I followed Tyson home in my car after dropping the boys off with Kenny.  Once there, I had to stop outside the dojo and look around.  Not much had changed.  It was still the same.  Home.  I was home.

                Before I could get choked up about it, Tyson took me by the hand and led me inside.

                And the moment we were through the door and our shoes were kicked off, I was shoved up against a wall with a very enthusiastic Tyson kissing me breathless, his hands tugging my shirt out of my pants and undoing my belt.  I groaned and pushed his jacket off his shoulders then grabbed his shirt to try and get that off him, too, my mouth completely occupied fighting back against Tyson’s.

                “Hmm…eager, aren’t we?”  Tyson smirked, pulling back from me and leaving his jacket on the floor.  He took my hand and dragged me into the dojo, heading back toward the residence.  “Come on, Kai.”

                “What happened to all that talking we have to do?”  I asked, bemused.  He looked at me over his shoulder and the naked lust there made me swallow back any other words I might have said.  Okay.  He had a point.  Talking could wait.  My whole body was tight and hot, and there was a ball of need growing at my centre that demanded attention and relief.  I met his eyes with mine, full of my own desire for him.  He seemed satisfied with that and continued past the living room and kitchen and down the hallway.  I barely noticed that the room we entered was his same old bedroom as it had been back then.

                “I have wanted this…you, Kai, for so long.  I wanted to make love to you every night and wake up with you in my arms every morning for the last ten years – no, longer!”  Tyson stopped next to the bed and drew me close to him.  I raised a hand to his face, resting it tenderly on his cheek.  “I admit I had a brief moment of doubt.  I wasn’t sure for a while there that you were going to come back.  That’s where Makoto came from.  But…”

                “Shh…Tyson.”  I smiled and kissed him lightly, my thumb tracing the fullness of his bottom lip.  “I understand.  I didn’t expect you to wait for me, you know.  I’ve taken you for granted far too often over the years, but…I love you.  And I want you just as badly, then and now.”  I kissed him again, this time a little more strongly.  His hands gripped my hips and pulled me tightly against him, prying my lips apart with his tongue and thoroughly taking control.  Oddly enough, I didn’t mind.  It felt so right – natural, even.  Where, in everything else, I would have been pushing back and fighting him with everything I have to be in control, as I despise not being in control of any situation, I was instead perfectly happy to surrender to him.  In this, I would give him everything of me.

                Finally, I was ready to do that.

                Tyson tugged off my battered shirt and tossed it aside, letting his palms slowly rub up and down my chest.  “God, you’re so beautiful.”  He traced a prominent scar that crossed my ribs with one finger.  “Battle scars and all…”  I shuddered under his touch and grabbed his hands to still them.

                “They’re not beautiful, Tyson.  But I appreciate the thought.”

                “Baka.  Yes they are.  They’re more beautiful because I know where each of them came from and what you were fighting for at the time.”  His eyes were a gorgeous, unreal shade of silver blue as they stared into mine, and I let myself drown in them.  “Will you let me show you how beautiful you are?  Will you stay here with me tonight, and be here with me from now until…for as long as time lasts?”

                “I’m here.  I’m not leaving.”  I let go of his hands and removed his shirt, then his belt.  “Nothing could make me leave you now, Tyson.”  He smiled at me, love reflected in his eyes so deeply it seemed fathomless.  No, it was fathomless.  If there was an end to his love for me, I couldn’t see it.  My breath hitched and we kissed once more, ending any further conversation for this moment.  Later, we’d talk about all the things that needed discussing, but right now was just us.

                It wasn’t long before passion took over and he was guiding me back to lie on the bed.  Tyson crawled over me and watched his hand as it traced the lines of my body, as if he were trying to memorize each part of me by touch.  Then his mouth was following his hand and I gasped, arching into the warm, wet heat that left a trail of sensation as it passed over every inch of my skin.  One of my hands found its way to his hair and my fingers slipped through the silken midnight blue strands, tangling there as his lips brushed one of my nipples teasingly.  I murmured his name softly and restlessly ran my free hand down his shoulders and back, encouraging him to continue.  God, he felt so good!  I wanted desperately to touch him, to explore him as he was currently doing to me.

                I heard him chuckle darkly.  “Easy, love.  I’m definitely not going anywhere either.”  Tyson moved back to kiss me deeply again.  “Mmm…I should have known you’d be like this in bed.”

                I gave him a slightly frustrated, slightly curious, half-hearted glare.  “Like what?”  It came out a little more wary than I’d have liked.  Suspicious even.  So sue me, I’m still self-conscious with him.

                “Passionate.  Intensely passionate.”  He kissed me again, his fingers running through my hair and gripping the strands while his tongue mimicked what he would have liked to be doing with another part of his body, currently pressed tightly against my pelvis and rubbing with every movement he made.  I let out a deep groan, which was promptly swallowed by his kiss, and I tried to bring him closer to me, my leg curling around his.  He ended the kiss after a moment, and stared into my eyes with heavy-lidded, stormy blue eyes that had become almost silver-black with his desire.  I swallowed hard.  I still didn’t believe that I could make him feel that way, even though he did the same for me.  He smiled at me and rocked against me slowly.  “Ah…and that wonderful fire that’s always in your eyes whenever you look at me.  I can’t tell you how many times in practices I wanted to battle you just so that you’d look at me.”  Now he smirked.  “But now I’d much rather you’d look at me when we’re together like this…”

                I answered his smirk with one of my own, and stared at him with interest.  “You really wanted that?  In practices, I mean?”

                He rolled his eyes at me and propped himself up on his elbows.  “Kai?” he crooked an eyebrow at me.  “Do you truly want to chat right now?”  He slid a hand down my chest and stomach to unceremoniously grip me through my pants.  I nearly yelped, but managed to make it more of a high-pitched grunt of pleasure-pain.  I think my eyes may have rolled back into my head because he snickered.

                “Bastard…” I groaned out, this time, as his hand wasn’t gripping so much as stroking me through the material of my pants and underwear.  “Damn it…Tyson!  I…”

                “That’s what I thought.”  Suddenly he was gone and I opened my eyes, wondering what happened.  He was standing next to the bed fumbling with the buttons on his jeans.  I licked my lips and sat up, reaching out to grab the waist of his jeans and pull him close enough that I could assist him myself.  I was getting tired of the barrier of our clothes, and decided I’d much rather he (and I) were naked.  Very naked.

                His hands fell away and he watched me hungrily as I pulled the fly of his jeans open and slid my hands inside to push the denim off his hips and down his legs.  He hissed out a breath when my hand brushed the tent in his boxer shorts.  I looked up at him and didn’t try to hide the smug glint in my eyes.  I could see quite obviously how very turned on he was and that for all the posing he was doing to pretend he was fully in control, he couldn’t hide how his body reacted to my touch.  It was a heady feeling to know I could affect him like this.  Tyson stepped out of his jeans and kicked them off to the side, tilting my head up by the chin to kiss me lightly.  “Thanks.  I think you need to lose the rest of your clothes, Kai.”

                I nodded and stood up, not wasting any time in shedding my pants and underwear, all in one go.  I couldn’t help sighing as my erection was released from confinement, and I blinked when I heard a murmured, “Damn…”  Glancing up, I nearly burst into laughter at his expression.  He must have noticed me watching him because he looked up and promptly blushed hotly.  I wasn’t exactly free of a blush, either, but it was still funny.

                “Honestly, Tyson…” I tried to keep a smile off my face but it didn’t work.  “Penis envy?  I don’t know why you’re even worried about it.”

                “Shut up.  I’m not!”  He denied just as hotly, hastily pulling off his boxers and pushing me onto my back on the bed.  He crawled over me once more and my brain simply shut off.  This was much, much better.  Skin-on-skin and our bodies fitting together in all the right places.  Oh god nothing has ever felt like this.  His hands don’t hesitate at all to touch me everywhere, completely un-shy about it.  Every nerve in my body tingles, on fire.  I’m not used to human contact – except my son’s – and I never have been used to it.  Rationally (with what was left of that part of my mind at this point) I understood this and realized that’s why my body was so hyper-sensitive…and in the two seconds I thought of it, I ceased to care because now it wasn’t just his hands on me, it was his mouth.  I let out a low, purring moan of pure pleasure, and he paused, looking up at me with these eyes that were full of a hunger that was more primal than Dranzer’s battle-cry.  “You make the most interesting sounds, lover.  I think I’m going to have worlds of fun getting them out of you.”

                “Tyson…you…don’t stop…” I gasped out in reply, reaching up above my head to grab onto whatever was within reach, which happened to be a couple of nice, fluffy pillows.  Sweat was beginning to trickle down the sides of my face I was so hot and bothered.  The one time I’d had sex before, it hadn’t been anything like this.  I arched into the kiss he placed on my stomach, nuzzling my naval with his cheek and nose and lips.  Shit…at this rate, I was going to come without much more effort on Tyson’s part.  It was more than a little embarrassing to be very close to begging.

                My soon-to-be lover, in his playful glory, smirked and happily continued kissing down my body.  His hand was wrapped firmly around my erection, which ached and throbbed and drove me crazy, and that was being excruciatingly teasing in its stroking.  Okay…if he was going to keep this up…  I think I growled something suitably harsh, but in a couple of quick moves I wrapped my legs around his waist and my arms around his upper body, rolling us over so that he was under me.  I pinned his arms down to the mattress by his wrists, and watched him while I panted for breath.  There was a brief flash of shock in his expression before it passed and he simply regarded me hotly with heavy-lidded eyes.

                “This is interesting…and here I thought you were going to let me…”

                “Now, I haven’t said I wasn’t.”  I licked my dry lips, my gaze traveling down his form and back up again slowly, lingering here and there with some rather interesting ideas of the things I wanted to do to that golden-hued, gorgeous skin.  Like mark it as mine and only mine.  I groaned quietly, releasing his wrists and sliding my hands up to meet his palm to palm, my fingers threading with his.  “I just had to…take a breather…”  I scowled at his self-satisfied smirk.  “Get over your inflated ego, Tyson.”

                “I can’t help it!  I never expected to have such a…pleasant effect on you.”  He made the ‘pleasant’ sound like something far more erotic and continued to grin at me.  “Besides which, you’re so wonderfully sexy when you’re horny.”  His leg snuck up and hooked around my hip with a deceptive movement, the inside of his thigh rubbing against my hip encouragingly.  I shuddered and let my lower half grind into his, rocking forward.  He threw his head back on a gasp and moaned for me, long and loud.  Stars were forming in my vision behind my now closed eyelids.  Maybe that hadn’t been a good idea because I was going to come.  “Kai…damn it, don’t you dare!  I want you to come for me!”  Tyson admonished in a rough voice that told me he wasn’t that far off either – and that he was still in my head.

                “That’s…so not…fair!”  I whimpered and forced myself to go still, freezing in place.  I buried my face in the crook of his neck and counted the rapidly pounding pulse beats I could hear from my own chest.  “How…can you…be so…”

                “I’m in there, you know – just like you’re in me.”  Tyson turned his head a little and I felt his lips, then his teeth, at my earlobe.  “You’re just not looking hard enough for me.  Our bond is too strong to ignore, especially right now…”  He tugged with his teeth and I shuddered.  Huh.  Who knew that part of me was so sensitive?  “…when I want so damn badly to be inside you, Kai.”  His voice was thick and dark with want.  The hell with it.  I wanted him and now.  No more playing around.

                I pulled away from him and looked around with slightly glazed eyes.  “I hope you have something.”  I muttered, reaching over to his beside table to wrench open the drawer and dig through without caring for the invasion of privacy.  Forget that.  I wanted to get laid, get fucked, and be nicely blissed out for the foreseeable future in the arms of my greatest rival and one love.  I came up with a tube of KY and practically ripped the cap off.  Tyson reached for it and plucked it out of my hands, sitting up a bit and wriggling backward so he could be propped up by the headboard of the bed.

                “I see you’re losing that iron patience of yours.”  He commented, squeezing out some of the lube and coating his fingers with it, warming it.  His other hand went to my ass and squeezed, pulling me forward until I was basically straddling his lap and well within reach.  I leaned down from my perch a bit, lightly pressing my lips to his.

                “Since when have I had patience with you?”  I reminded him, nibbling on his bottom lip while staring into his eyes from almost too close.  “I suggest you get going, lover, or I’ll flip you over and do you my…ah ahhh!  Nngh…Ty-son!”  His slick fingers slipped between the lobes of my ass and I discovered just how sensitive I really could be.  “Oh my god…

                His answer was to draw me into the deepest kiss yet, as if he were trying his best to crawl inside me from both ends.  A finger penetrated the tight ring of my defense and thrust carefully in and out while his tongue mimed the movement in my mouth.  I couldn’t hold still, not like this, and my body moved in a rhythm to match his ministrations and his kiss.  The moan that came from me as his second finger joined the first was swallowed up.  Air was non-existent between us, and my hands feverishly began to run through his hair, pulling out his ponytail so it framed his head and let me run my fingers through it.  Rapidly becoming overwhelmed, I broke the kiss and gulped in air, swearing succinctly, “Fuck.  Me.  Now.”

                “Yes.”  Tyson growled, his fingers leaving me empty and aching until suddenly something much larger and thicker and harder was probing for entry.  This time I know my eyes rolled back into my head and I actually mewled as he pushed himself into me carefully.  At least he had enough control left not to simply force things, because as much as I wanted a quick and dirty end to this session (there would be more tonight, I was certain), I didn’t like pain and he was big enough that it would hurt.  Hell, it did hurt, but when he was fully seated in me he went incredibly still and gripped my hips tightly, breathing hard and actually trembling with the effort not to move, giving me time to adjust.  For my part, I just sort of hovered there above him, working through the ridiculously intense sensation of full and coming to terms with the fact that it was Tyson who was giving me that.  After all these years, I finally had him.  I could feel the tears building up behind my eyelids, and my breathing hitched.

                “I love you.” I whispered thickly against his lips, seeking his kisses in a desperate need for comfort and reassurance.  “I love you…” I had to say it again and again.  I’d been too silent about my feelings for him and I was not going to go one more day without telling him just how much of my heart he’d captured.  “I love you…”

                “Kai!”  His hands left my hips to cup my face between them, holding my head in place while he kissed me so passionately and tenderly I nearly sobbed at the beauty of it.  “God how I love you.  So long now…always.  Stay with me, my love.”  I nodded helplessly, my voice lost to my emotions as any lingering pain was lost in a flood of pleasure and love.  I let my forehead rest against his, bringing my hands up to grab onto the headboard rather than him, and lifted myself off the throbbing erection I was impaled upon before dropping myself back down again hard and fast.  Stars didn’t just form, they burst and I cried out, doing it again…and again, and again, so many times…my ears ringing and my head spinning deliriously with pleasure.

                For the first time in my entire life, I simply let go and did nothing but feel.  Euphoria broke over me in waves, crashing through my mind and body and drawing out a long, hoarse cry that sounded vaguely like Tyson’s name.  I twitched and writhed and shuddered, spilling myself over his chest in thick pearlescent streams.  My fingers dug into the wood of the headboard and I hung on for dear life while white filled my vision followed by black.  I actually blanked out for a few moments, barely registering it when Tyson lifted me and rolled me off him onto my back, shoving my legs up and to my chest before he thrust back into me without any hesitation whatsoever.  I did register it when his hand dipped between us and curled around my flagging erection, though, because my now hyper-sensitive nerves lit up again like the neon lights of Las Vegas and I went rock solid hard in a few strokes.

                “Shit, shit, shit!”  I sucked in air and groaned, clutching Tyson’s shoulders so tightly that he was definitely going to have bruises come morning.  “Fuck, Tyson!  Yes…yes…harder!  Faster!”  Somehow I managed to get my eyes open and found his, locking on and holding, one hand thrusting fingers into his hair and gripping a fistful as he gave me an absolutely wicked grin and proceeded to pound me into the mattress.  It was as if he were trying to etch a permanent groove into me, and the bed creaked and threatened to crack with the force of it.  He shifted just a little and suddenly every thrust was beating against a spot that had me whimpering his name in a pleading tone that begged for more.  I couldn’t tell where he left off and I began any longer, that’s for sure.  And he was right.  He was there, in my head, and it was so easy to reach out to him in that way, too.  We were truly one in this moment – body, mind, and even soul.

                I am not ashamed to admit that when I came for the second time I didn’t just cry out – I screamed.  How could I not have with this strong, courageous, caring man doing his best to kill me with ecstasy?  Oh but what a lovely little death it was.  I absolutely exploded and Tyson wasn’t far behind me.  I could feel him filling me with more than just his body and I twitched, moaning blissfully as I clung to his shoulders, then welcoming his weight as he withdrew gently and let my legs flop back to the bed on either side of him.  He collapsed on top of me.  I curled one arm around his shoulders and buried my hand in his hair to hold him to me, his face buried in my neck as he gulped down oxygen.

~~~~~~~~~~

                Some time later, our hearts had slowed back to a normal pace and we’d stopped breathing heavily.  I was feeling a little sleepy, but I wasn’t ready to roll over and go to sleep just yet.  I stretched out languidly underneath Tyson, smiling at the protesting little murmur he made before he propped himself up on his forearms above me, smiling at me fondly.

                “Hi.”  I pushed some of his hair out of his eyes, brushing my fingers across his lips that were still red and swollen from kissing.  “You okay?”

                “Hey.”  Tyson kissed my fingers and sighed deeply in contentment.  “I have never felt better.  Are you okay?  I was a little rough…”

                I snorted.  What did he think I was?  Fragile?  “Please.  I can take whatever you dish out, Tyson.”  He laughed and kissed me softly.

                “Oh yes.  I forgot that you’re tough and bad-ass, and that if I’d really hurt you there’d be no way you’d admit it.”

                “The hell I wouldn’t.”  I eyed him.  “If you ever did, I’d kick your ass.  Besides,” I massaged his shoulders absently. “You’ve never held back on me before so why should you do so now?”

                “I wouldn’t.”  He moved off me to lay facing me on his side, head propped up by one hand.  His other hand rested on my chest and idly traced patterns.  “But we’ll take a break to recover so I really don’t hurt you, unintentionally.”

                I rolled my eyes and ran a hand through my hair.  I was going to need a shower before long.  “So…” I stopped before I’d even begun.  I didn’t know where to start the conversation that was a long time in coming.

                “So.”  He answered, his tone suggesting he didn’t really know either.  “I guess I should be demanding why it took you so long, but it’s really kind of pointless to ask.  I know.  And I don’t want to dwell on something that really doesn’t matter in the long run.”

                I nodded.  “True.  But I owe you an explanation, Tyson.  Of all people, you deserve to hear it.”  I closed my eyes briefly and took a deep breath.  “I left because I wanted to, as you said before, get myself and my life back together.  I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer you any longer.  I’d already betrayed you and given you everything I thought I had, and I didn’t know – didn’t understand – that all that stuff wasn’t what you really needed from me.  What you wanted from me.”

                “Kai…love, I did want your best as a rival, and I wanted your friendship just as much.  Don’t ever think that I was disappointed in you for that!  I was so proud of you, Kai.  So proud.”  His eyes met mine, shining with an affectionate light I have always seen there but was too afraid to acknowledge.  “And I was so honoured that you thought enough of me to work so hard at our rivalry and our friendship.  As for being betrayed…” he sighed and gave me a wry smile.  “Well, we both know I was an immature brat on occasion, and I had a habit of seeing things in only one way and not looking at things from different perspectives.  You did what you felt had to be done.  And I just want to say I’m sorry for not listening to what everyone kept telling me and said all those things to you.  I was…too full of myself to see that you were trying to show how much you cared about me in the only way you knew how.”

                I reached out and wiped the solitary tear that trickled down his cheek, bringing it to my lips and kissing it away.  “Honestly, Tyson, at the time I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.  But when I figured it out for myself…I was so scared.  I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that our friends and whatnot wouldn’t care one way or another if we were ever…more.  But I…” I gave a frustrated huff.  “It wasn’t that I cared what people thought of us, because I didn’t.  I don’t.  I just…I didn’t want you to have to deal with that, because even though I know you could care less what the general population thinks of you, it still hurts you deeply.  I never wanted to hurt you again, not like I already had, and I knew that with our lives in the limelight if we tried to be anything other than rivals and friends you would get hurt.  I couldn’t stand that.”

                “You realize how ridiculous that is, right?”  He raised an eyebrow at me and I frowned, brow furrowing in self-admonishment.

                “Yeah.  Now I do, when I’ve had all this time to think about it and to realize what an idiot I am.”  I blinked when his fingers touched my brow and rubbed gently to erase those frown lines.  “And a coward.  I should have just told you straight out that you meant absolutely everything to me, Tyson.  Instead I ran off and left you hanging for ten years.”

                He sighed and pulled me into his arms, curling them around me tightly.  “As I see it, we have two options.  We can bemoan and berate ourselves and each other for not trying sooner, or we can put it behind us and focus on the here and now, and move on.”  Tyson’s breath ruffled my hair, tickling slightly.  I hugged him more tightly and kissed his bare shoulder.  “Since I know you don’t go for that first option at any other time, I say we just go with option two and leave it at that.”

                “Agreed.”  I looked up at him.  “About Gou…”

                He laid a finger across my lips, halting my words.  “I don’t care.  I know what’s in your heart, Kai.  And the fact is…he’s a beautiful little boy.  And you love him.  You’re trying to be a good father to him.  That means more to me than explanations about where he came from.”

                “Still.  I want you to know.  I don’t want to have secrets with you.”  I protested, pulling his hand away from my face.  “There’s been too much of that already.”  He seemed to understand this was important to me, so he just nodded.

                “Alright.  I’m listening.”

                “She was…well, she wasn’t important to me, if you want the honest truth.”  I sat up, wincing a little at the brief flash of soreness, and propped myself up with pillows against the headboard.  I blushed heavily and looked away, unable to meet his eyes.  “It was little more than a one-night fling.  A moment of weakness.  I…won’t bore with details on that, but a few weeks later, she came looking for me to tell me she was pregnant, and that she was going to have an abortion.  She didn’t want a baby.  At first I thought it was a ploy to get money from me.  I’d had plenty of attempts at that in the past.”

                Tyson chuckled.  “When you’re hot, you’re hot, and you happen to be rich, too.  So goes the life of a sexy millionaire CEO, I suppose.”  He sat up too, facing me.  He laid his hand on my knee and patted encouragingly.  “What did she really want then, if not your money?”

                “At first…I was suspicious, because if she did want my money, then she was doing it the intelligent, sneaky way.  I mean, why else would she come to tell me she was pregnant and going to get an abortion and not demand money for the procedure and to compensate for…emotional trauma or whatever excuse she could have thought up?”  My fingers plucked at the sheets as I spoke, relaying my memories and thoughts of the time.  “She didn’t need my money.  She had plenty of her own.  It turned out that she had a fight with her fiancé a couple of days before we met up.  They had broken it off after that fight, and she and I…she was on the rebound, to put it short.  I had thought she was just another person looking for a night of companionship and sex with no string attached, or I wouldn’t have taken her home with me that night.”

                “Kai?  You don’t have to sound so guilty.  If she chose not to tell you the details of her life that’s her business.  Her choice.”  Tyson’s hand was soothing on my leg now.  I nodded.

                “I know that, I just…still feel bad for putting her in the position she ended up in.  See, she came to me about the abortion because she felt I had the right to know I had fathered a child, even if she wasn’t keeping it.  When it hit me…I was going to be a father.  It just…knocked me flatter than one of Dragoon’s wind attacks.  I think I accepted that she was going to have an abortion for about a day, mostly because I was in a panic and had no intention of trying to raise any child ever.  But then…I don’t know.  Something in me changed and I couldn’t let her go through with it.  I met up with her and told her if she was willing to carry the baby to term, I would take it and she wouldn’t have to worry about it at all.”  I hugged myself, thinking of the first time the doctors laid that little bundle in my arms and a pair of my own eyes stared up at me silently and solemnly.  “She agreed after some negotiation, and…I have Gou.”

                Tyson smiled at something, sliding forward to pull me into a warm embrace.  I held onto him gratefully.  “You never fail to make me more proud of you than I was before, you know.”

                “Oh stop.”  I mumbled into his shoulder, embarrassed but pleased at the same time.  “He’s my son.  Maybe he came from a night that didn’t happen because I was in love, and maybe neither of us wanted kids in the first place, but I don’t regret stopping her from getting that abortion or for keeping him.”

                I felt lips press to my temple.  “Kai…I love you.”  He said it so simply.  I returned the affection and pulled away, letting him keep my hands in his own.

                “Has he asked you about his mother?”  Tyson asked after a minute or two.  I nodded.

“I explained it to him as best I could.  He…doesn’t seem to mind that the woman that should have been his mother…isn’t.”  I wasn’t sure I understood that, but maybe Gou was smarter than I was, and I knew he was more forgiving and less serious than I ever had been.

                “Well, that’s good.  At least you were willing to tell him the truth and not try to hide it from him, as many people try to do because they think their kids aren’t capable of understanding.”

                “Yeah.  Gou is really smart, Tyson.  He makes me feel very inadequate some days.”  I admitted wryly.  Tyson laughed.

                “That’s what kids are for – to remind us that we aren’t as all that as we think we are, and that we have just as much to learn from them as they do from us.”

                “How very true.”

                Tyson glanced away, his expression becoming sad and serious.  It was totally unnatural and I squeezed his hands.  “What’s wrong?”  I inquired softly.  “You went serious on me.”

                “My turn, that’s all.  About Makoto…”

                I nodded, tilting my head at him and waiting patiently to let him know I was listening.  He let go of my hands and drew his legs up to his chest, hugging his knees.  “Makoto’s mother was a friend.  She and I started seeing each other out of that friendship, at first.  We were both lonely, I guess, and needed someone to enjoy life with.  Max and Kenny were always busy with their labs and development centres, and Hilary was always wherever Max was and assisting Kenny with his work.  Rei married Mariah and they stayed in China, even though they come over to visit often enough.  And Daichi…well, Daichi is Daichi.”  He rolled his eyes and I snickered.  Yes, I knew how well those two got along.  I didn’t ask about Gramps Kinomiya, since I’d heard from Kenny that he had ‘retired’ and moved to a senior’s home on the beach where he spends most of his days sunbathing and girl-watching (much to Tyson’s consternation).  I shook off my thoughts and paid attention to him again.  “So I was mostly hanging around the dojo alone with nothing particularly important to do.  I tried working but it didn’t last long.”  He grinned at me and I smirked.

                “No really.”  I commented sarcastically.  He punched me lightly in the arm.

                “Yeah, yeah, shut up.  I met her in the bookstore, actually.  I accidentally knocked her over because I couldn’t see where I was going over a stack of books I was carrying.  Anyway, we had coffee and got to know each other, started hanging out with each other, and then…” he fell silent for a moment, but I waited patiently.  “I don’t know.  She knew I didn’t love her in that way.  She knew I was waiting for someone – she didn’t know it was you specifically, but she knew it was someone.  And despite that, we somehow ended up in bed together.”

                “Friends with benefits?”  I asked.  He gave me a reproachful look and I sighed, hanging my head in apology.  “Sorry.  I didn’t mean it like that.”

                “No, that’s okay.  It was basically like that, from my end.  From her end, I think she genuinely wanted to love me.  Wanted, not did.  I also think she had given up on finding anyone else to love her at all.  She had no other family, and she didn’t have that many friends, really.”

                “What happened?”  I asked, gently directing him to tell me about it.  He let his chin rest on his knees as he continued.

                “We had our little affair.  It was fun and all, and neither of us were expecting her to get pregnant because she was on the pill and we used protection.  I don’t know how it happened, honestly.  But it did.”  Tyson looked away from me, and I frowned.  I could feel his emotions clearly, and at the moment it was guilt, pure and simple.

                “Tyson…hey.”  I slid my fingers through his hair and he raised his head to meet my gaze.  “It’s alright, you know.  I had no illusions or expectations that you would stay celibate while you waited for me to get my act together.  I don’t care about that any more than you did.”  My mouth quirked slightly.  “I know your heart.  And I understand the need for companionship, especially you.  You’ve always needed people, Tyson, around you.  I’m not a social sort of guy, but you are.  So don’t agonize or flog yourself for being you.”  His eyes closed and he held my hand to his cheek, shivering.

                “Thank you.  It wasn’t just that…  I…  She was about six months pregnant when we began discussing marriage.”  He refused to look at me now, and I just watched him, unsurprised.  Sure it stung – a lot – but I knew him, and his sense of honour was one that meant he’d marry the girl he got pregnant even if he didn’t really love her like that.  “I’m so sorry, Kai!  I…I didn’t want to give up on you, on us, but I…”

                “Tyson!”  I cut him off, pulling him into my arms this time and holding him fiercely to my chest.  “It’s okay!  Love, you’re being guilty for nothing.  It’s enough for me to know that you love me, that even if you had married her, you still loved me.  You think I would begrudge you doing the right thing by a girl?  No.  So don’t even go there.”

                He chuckled in a watery way, tears dripping down my chest.  “Kai…in these modern times, ‘doing the right thing’ is a very male chauvinistic, medieval concept.  Feminists everywhere would be hanging you by your toes off the Tokyo Tower to hear you say that.”

                I scowled at that idea.  “They’d have to catch me first.  And I didn’t mean…”

                “I know!” He sat back up again and kissed me fondly.  “Relax.  Kai…  It wasn’t that I was going to marry her just because she was pregnant, it was…I was beginning to doubt myself and whether or not you really wanted a relationship.  It had already been about three years since I’d last seen or heard from you.  Not one word from you, and I was…”  He stopped.  “Well, I was beginning to question whether I’d really seen what I thought I’d seen in you, for me.  I was being stupid, I know that, but…”

                “And that’s my fault.  I should have…well.  There are a lot of things I should have done that I didn’t.  We’ll be here until the apocalypse listing all those should-haves.”  I kissed him again, lingering a little just because I could.  I found I liked kissing him.  A lot.

                “Thank you.”  He keeps thanking me for things and it was beginning to annoy me a little.  “Really, though, I needed to be stronger, and I wasn’t.  But anyway…” he hastily continued before I could give him any more hell.  “There were some complications during her pregnancy.  She wasn’t a very big woman, and Makoto was a big baby.”  His face fell and took on this sad, pained expression that nearly broke my heart.  I knew what he was going to say before he said it.  “She went into labour early, and the doctors ended up having to perform a Caesarian.  It was to save Makoto.  They couldn’t save her.  They said something to me about internal bleeding and infection, but I wasn’t really in a frame of mind to understand it.  All I knew is that she had died giving me a son, and I didn’t love her in the way that she deserved for something like that.”  Tears poured down his cheeks and I did the only thing I could: I held him and let him weep quietly in mourning for a woman I’d never meet but was still oddly grateful to for making him happy, at least for a little while, when I wasn’t capable of it.

                “I’m sorry, love.”  I murmured, stroking his hair and rubbing his back soothingly.  “Makoto obviously turned out fine.”  I tried cheering him up, pointing out the good that had come from the bad.  “He’s as bright and wild as you.”

                Tyson sniffed and reached for a tissue from the bedside table.  “The boy is a whirlwind of pure energy.  I don’t think I ever had that much energy as a kid, though Gramps assures me I did.”

                I grinned.  I agreed with Gramps.  I’d met Tyson later on in his life, older than Makoto is now, but he was still almost more energetic than I was willing to try and put up with.  “He’s your son, after all.”

                Tyson grinned back, and I felt very relieved to see him bounce back.  “Yep!  My son.”

                I sighed and leaned against the headboard.  “We should clean up a bit.  We’re still all grimy from our battle earlier.”

                He wriggled his eyebrows at me suggestively.  “Which battle are we talking about?”  He teased.  I made a face.

                “Brat.  Both.”  I swung my legs to the side of the bed and looked around for my underwear.  Tyson’s arms banded around me from behind and his nose nuzzled behind my ear.  “Tyson…” I moaned as his lips brushed a sensitive spot on my neck.  “Don’t you start anything…”

                “Did you have something better to do?”  He replied innocently, my ear becoming his favourite toy.  I twitched at the jolt of pleasure and squeezed his knee warningly.

                “You’re incorrigible, you know that?”  I turned in his arms partially and raised my mouth to his willingly.  He captured it and kissed me passionately, all tongue and lips and teeth, which I returned in kind, my fingers burrowing through his hair and tangling.  I could get very used to this with him.  “Mmm…Tyson, we should at least clean up some before we get all sweaty and stuff again…”  My stomach muscles clenched and I hissed as his fingers trailed down over my navel and teased the light sprinkling of hair there.  “Damn it, Tyson…”

                “Alright, love.  I don’t see what the point is when we’re just going to get more dirty than before.” I shivered at the blatant lust in his voice, but held firm and pushed away from him to stand up.  “Come on, Tyson.”

                Half an hour later, we ended up in the living room with mugs of tea and a movie on TV.  Tyson was snuggled in against my side, sleepy and content as a cat.  “Hey, Kai?”  His voice broke my attention that was fixed on the TV, not that I was actually watching the movie or anything, I was just staring at it, lost in thought.

                “Yeah?”

                “Any thoughts on just how we are going to work this out?”

                I pondered that briefly.  Gou and I still lived in the Hiwatari mansion, but I knew I didn’t have any particular attachment to the place.  It was never home, to me.  If any place could be said to be that, it was here at the Kinomiya dojo.  But Gou…I’d have to ask him about it and I said as much to my lover.

                “Do you see any point in that whole phase of a relationship they call dating?”  I asked.  “Because it seems kind of redundant.  And we’ll have to talk to the kids to find out how they feel about possibly living together, right?”

                Tyson turned his head to look up at me.  “We could still go out on dates, you know.  I think I’d like going out and doing things with you sometimes.  But you’re right.  And yeah, we do have to talk to the kids.  I know they get along just fine right now, but its different living with someone than it is just seeing them every day at school or whatever.”

                I nodded.  “Yeah.”  I looked down at him seriously.  “And us?  Do you think we can live with each other?”

                He smiled and pulled me into a kiss.  “Love, we’ll probably drive each other crazy, but I’d rather have that than nothing at all.”

                I smiled back in agreement, because so would I.

~~~~~~~~~~

 Part V:  https://kalichaos.wordpress.com/beyblade/between-the-lines/part-v/

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