Another Word for Strength
Chapter 9: Love and Friendship
Friday morning Rei woke up and noticed most of his wounds had healed. The
minor bruises were gone and those that were still there were small things.
Just as he pushed back his covers Takao bounded in, as hyper as the night
before. Rei had to do a double take and rub his eyes. He had never seen
Takao up this early.
"Come on, Rei!" He cried, pulling him out of bed and pushing him towards
the bathroom. "Hurry up! We've got to get ready soon. We're heading to the
Beystadium early so you have to get dressed."
"Ok, Takao." Rei smiled at the boy's enthusiasm. He watched as Takao
bounded back out the door and head to breakfast. Rei pulled on his clothes
and went to the bathroom to splash his face with water a couple of times.
'This is going to be the most important day of my life.' He told himself,
staring at himself in the mirror as beads of water trickled down his face.
He almost didn't want to leave the hotel room. He sighed and walked out of
the bathroom and headed for the door. Checking that he had everything he
needed: Dranzer and Drigger, he left the room and headed to the buffet
breakfast where he assumed Takao was eating like there was no tomorrow.
Once Takao had stopped eating (with a good reminder of the last time he ate
too much) they walked slowly to the stadium to get ready for their match.
They came to a halt at the front desk where a BBA official met up with
"Hello, boys." He greeted them. "Are you ready for your last match?"
"Yeah!" Takao cheered and pumped a fist into the air enthusiastically.
"So, who are we facing in this match?" Kenny asked.
"You will be facing Bryan, Spencer and Tala." He told them, looking over
"What about Kai?" Max asked. "Why isn't he blading?"
"I'm not sure." The man looked at them with a perplexed look on his face.
"It was really weird. They came in ten minutes ago and took him off the
list. That Tala boy told me that they had other plans for him." He shook
"I don't have a good feeling about this." Rei said quietly. The official
offered them his best assuring smile.
"Thanks a lot." Kenny smiled back and they went to their locker room. They
waited patiently for a few minutes while the announcer and the stadium
executives completed getting the arena ready for their final match. Takao,
who couldn't sit still, began to pace back and forth, holding his Beyblade
behind his back, and Max sat on a bench staring at his pacing feet. Rei
leaned up against a locker in the corner near the door with his head down
and eyes closed, much like Kai would have done, had he been with them at
that moment. Kenny, however, was sitting beside Max in his own little world
doing who-knows-what with his little laptop.
"You'll wear a hole in the tiles." Rei said calmly, not bothering to look
up and crossing his arms on his chest. Takao looked up at Rei for a second
then returned his gaze to his feet.
"You can't tell me you're not nervous about being in the finals." He shot
"Oh, but I'm not." Rei replied, smooth as silk. He actually wasn't nervous
at all. It was after the match he was worried about. There was too many
things to do, too little time to do it all in. Takao snorted, but didn't
say anything more. Ten minutes later the call came to have all team members
enter the arena for the starting of the match.
The Bladebreakers walked through the door and entered the stadium to the
sound of thunderous applause. They were the favourite to win even though
the Russian team had the home advantage.
Rei looked across the stadium and noticed that the Demolition Boys were
already seated and Tala was looking particularly smug, whilst Kai was
looking as nervous as Takao was. He noticed that Kai kept making worried
glances at Tala and that's when he noticed the two guards that sat beside
Kai. He furrowed his brows at this and tried to attract Kai's attention,
but the other boy refused to look across the arena at any of the
Bladebreakers. Rei sat down beside Max and waited for Takao's match to
begin. He was facing Spencer, the seemingly easiest of the group.
Takao, it seemed, had the advantage with speed and attack strength, but
when Spencer put his hands in his pocket to fiddle with something, he began
to loose his edge. The stadium began to rock with the force of an
earthquake and Spencer's blade seemed to be able to anticipate each shock
and bounce before the shaking could affect it. Takao called on his bit-
beast, but not even the mighty Dragoon could handle the quaking and
eventually his blade rolled to a stop.
"And the Demolition Boys take the first round!" the announcer cried and
everyone was shocked to see Takao's bit-beast sucked up by Tala's blade.
The Russian boy just laughed, watching Takao crumble to the stadium floor.
The Bladebreakers knew how hard loosing Dragoon would be for him.
Max stepped up to the dish, seeking revenge for his friend, and met with
Bryan. The other boy smirked at the blond and readied his launcher. Max
followed suit and soon their blades were in the dish.
Draciel immediately went on the offensive, trying to force Bryan's blade
out of the dish, but without any warning the other blade began to leak a
foul smelling liquid. Max began to panic as Draciel began to melt at the
touch of this stuff.
"Kenny, what is it?!" he asked frantically, trying to think of a way to get
his blade safely out of this mess. Kenny frantically typed at his computer,
trying to find a way out, but was horrified to find out what the stuff was.
"It's acid, Max!" he cried out. "It's a highly corrosive and toxic form
that's going to eat right through your blade." He warned Max, but there was
nothing anyone could do. Max's blade had already melted far beyond help and
sizzled to a melted heap of metal in the dish. The match was over and it
seemed that the Demolition Boys had won the championship. Rei only had to
play the last round as a formality. Tala again held up his blade and in an
instant the turtle bit-beast was gone.
Max crumpled to the floor and Takao rushed out to comfort his friend,
knowing exactly what the boy was going through.
"Another tough loss for the Bladebreakers, costing them the finals." The
announcer's voice sounded. "Let's see if Rei can save face by claiming the
final round victory." Tala and Rei stepped up to the new dish that had been
brought out, since the previous one had been partially melted.
"Rei!" Tala called out when both bladers stepped up to the dish. Rei looked
up at him and noticed out of the corner of his eye that Kai was looking
even more frantic than before. "How about we bet everything on this match?"
"What do you mean?" Rei didn't understand what Tala meant.
"I mean," he started, nodding to the guards at Kai's side. "If you win,
I'll forfeit the championship to you, and free every single bit-beast the
Demolition Boys have ever stolen." He offered. It sounded like a good deal
to Rei, but he knew there had to be a catch.
"And if I lose?" Rei asked.
"You lose everything." Tala exclaimed, waving a hand. The guards stood up
and dragged Kai towards the dish. Kai struggled for a moment, but stopped
realising he wasn't strong enough to fight the burly men. "You lose your
love, your bit-beast, your life."
"Aa. If you lose, you will return with us to the abbey, and never leave."
"That's not a fair trade!" Kenny cried, listening to Tala's offer. In fact,
everyone in the stadium had heard his deal.
"Oh, but it is." Tala argued. "You'd give up everything for your friends,
to save their bit-beasts, to save the world from Biovolt unleashing its bit-
beasts on the world." Rei thought about his proposal. "I'm making you the
deal you can't refuse. Wouldn't you give up your freedom so that your loved
ones were safe?" Tala asked, nodding to the guards who immediately began to
barrage Kai with fists and kicks.
"Kai!" Rei cried out. "No, let him go!"
"Kai did what?" Rei asked, looking back to Tala.
"He gave up his freedom so that the boy he loved would be safe." With
another nod, the men stopped hitting Kai. He fell to the floor in a limp
pile. "I'm making you the same offer Kai was given. It's an offer you can't
afford to say no to." Rei let out a sob, realising that he had no other way
"Fine." He whispered, loud enough for Tala to hear. "If I win, every bit-
beast is returned, and I win the championships. If I lose, then I'll go
back with you, but only if Kai is released from the abbey."
"Deal." Tala smirked and readied his launcher. Rei held up his blade and
closed his eyes. 'I have never needed a win more, Drigger. Please, do your
best.' He thought to the tiger.
"One. Let it RIP!"
Both blades erupted from their launchers with amazing speed and began their
attack almost immediately. Sparks began to fly everywhere from the metal on
metal and from out of no where Kai was sent another few punches, knocking
Rei out of his concentration.
"Stop it!" he yelled at the guards, losing focus on the battle for a
moment, allowing Tala to gain the upper hand. "Leave him alone!"
"Shouldn't you do something about this?!" Kenny called up to the referee
but the ref just shrugged and shook his head.
"I'm afraid we can't do a thing about how teams treat, handle and otherwise
train their members. If they were doing it to one of you, we could
intervene, but for now we can only let the law handle it outside of the
"But what if he's killed?" Takao yelled defiantly back.
"I'm really sorry, but it's not our problem." The man shrugged again and
returned his attention to the match. Tala was laughing, head tilted back,
hands clutching his sides, laughing.
"I know why this hurts you so much Rei." He cackled and pulled a cassette
player from his pocket. "Cause I know just exactly how you feel for Kai."
He laughed again. Turning up the volume so everyone could hear it, he
"What exactly is it you feel for Kai?"
"Um, well- you see..."
"Are you in love with him?"
"That's a typical Kai response... Does he know how you feel?"
"Hell no! I could never tell him."
Tala stopped the tape, seeing Rei's eyes widen in shock and surprise. Rei
felt like he was the one receiving each blow instead of Kai. He began to
wobble on his feet, much like his blade and his gaze faltered to the
"And you know what the best part is?" Tala sneered, causing Rei to look up
in horror. "He's not going to pass out until the pain stops. The world of
medicine is wonderful these days. The things they can create. I knew it
wouldn't be long before they came up with an anti-sleeping pill. Kai's been
gracious to be our first test subject." Kai lifted his head and stared in
horror at what Tala said. "Yes, that was what was in that glass this
morning. Did you really think I was trying to make amends?" he laughed at
Kai's foolishness. Kai was hit again.
Rei was being torn up inside. Between listening to Tala and trying to
concentrate on the most important battle of his life, he began to lose his
"STOP IT!" he screamed and fell to his knees, holding his head in his
hands. He could still see Kai taking punch after punch. Kai looked up at
Rei's scream and tried to reassure him everything would be okay. He tried
to smile, but his face felt numb. One of the guards saw their exchange and
cuffed him in the side of the head making Kai scream out in pain for the
first time. This pushed Rei over the edge. He screamed like there was no
tomorrow, only this time it was neither pain nor anguish in his eyes. It
was pure unadulterated rage.
Hearing his master's call, Drigger was released from his blade and towered
over the stadium, three times larger than anyone had ever seen him. Tala
looked up at the beast and gasped. The tiger roared, feeling the anger Rei
was feeding to him, while Rei began to glow. It wasn't an ethereal glow,
the light was radiating from his chest a bright red. With a flash of light,
Dranzer emerged from her bit and soared over to Kai, protecting him from
anymore blows. Rei had been able to control and summon her from his need to
protect Kai. She sent a burst of energy at the two guards that sent them
flying backwards, then encased her master in a protective dome to shield
him from anymore harm. Kai smiled when he felt her warmth surround him and
he struggled to stand up and watch the rest of the match.
Drigger was still standing with his head held high above the crowd. He
looked back to his master and then to Tala and began to growl, sending
shivers up and down Tala's spine. He stalked back to the dish, his lip
curled revealing a set of eerily sharp teeth, then began to gallop towards
the inevitable fate that was Tala's blade. Taking a final leap, Drigger
jumped straight at the blade, causing the entire dish to explode in a
brilliant flash of light and a shower of dust. Before the powder could
clear numerous bright lights shot out of the debris, returning to their
"Dragoon!" Takao cheered when his vision followed a bright blue light that
disappeared into his blade. Max was speechless as he watched Draciel return
to his bit-chip as well. Even the bit-beasts that were taken by Black
Dranzer returned to their owners as Dranzer forced her way back into her
own blade, kicking Black Dranzer out. With a cry of defeat the black fire
bird emerged from his former blade and flew out of the stadium to search
for a new home.
When the smoke cleared the only thing that was left was the shattered bit-
chip that once was Tala's bit-beast and Rei's Drigger spinning strong. Tala
couldn't speak, and even when he tried, all he got was a squeak. He
couldn't believe he lost. His master plan to force Rei to give up had back-
fired severely into his own face and his ego had cost him the World
Championship. He looked up from the dish to Rei and his eyes widened even
more. Though the blast didn't affect him in any way, something was
obviously wrong with Rei.
Rei was still on his knees, but his hands were no longer covering his face,
they stayed by his side. His eyes were half-lidded and his torso began to
rock back and forth. Just as his eyes rolled back into his head his head
tilted forward, he lost his balance and fell face first to the stadium
floor. Luckily Kai was also watching Rei and saw what was about to happen.
He jumped forward, escaping Dranzer's protective shield, and caught Rei
before he hit the ground.
Seeing Kai leave his shell, and having lost the only thing Tala had left,
he ordered the guards to attack Kai again.
"Get him!" he cried, driven by a different kind of rage then Rei had been.
"I don't think there will be anymore attacking by anyone." Mr. Dickenson's
voice rang clear over all the commotion. Everybody looked up at the old man
"Biovolt has been shut down." He explained. "You, young man, are going to
youth prison for as long as I can get them to hold you. Boris will be
heading to court and Voltaire," he paused looking directly at Kai.
"Voltaire is going to a prison where he can never get parole. Alcatraz is
lovely at this time of year and I'm sure they have a nice padded room for
him. He's being arrested right this moment." Kai gasped.
"How..." he whispered audibly. "What for?"
"He's being held for about a couple dozen charges of child abuse, attempted
rape, assault, first degree murder on two counts, your parents I believe,
and a few more I can't remember." Mr. Dickenson explained. Everyone was
"How did you find all this out?" Takao asked.
"Rei did a wonderful thing for you, vowing not to tell the Bladebreakers
about your grandfather's abuse, and coming to me instead. I just called in
a few favours and dialled a few numbers and found quite a lot of evidence
to put them all away for a good many lifetimes." He told Kai. Kai smiled
and nodded. "I'm sorry for not keeping the same promise, but you understand
that it had to come out if you were ever to be able to be free of that man.
Don't blame Rei, he was only doing what he thought was right."
"It's okay." Kai replied, fully understanding just what Rei did for him. "I
couldn't be mad at him. He's done more for me than I could ever hope to do
for him in return." Mr. Dickenson smiled and nodded up to the stands. They
all looked up to see Voltaire being carried away by several police. Kai
smiled again and held Rei closer to him. He only then realised the old man
was holding Takao, Max and Kenny back from running up to him and Rei. He
closed his eyes and nuzzled Rei's neck tightly. He had heard everything
from the cassette and vowed himself he'd never leave Rei's side again.
"K-Kai?" Rei whispered hoarsely. He had begun to wake up and started to sob
into Kai's shoulder. "I'm so sorry! I tried to win the match, but all the
stuff he was saying and those guards were doing-" Kai pulled back and
brought a hand to his lips to quiet his unnecessary ramblings.
"You won." Kai whispered back to him. "Voltaire is in jail, as is Boris and
Tala. You freed everyone's bit-beasts and won the championship all by
"I did?" he looked into Kai's eyes to make sure there was no mistake. Kai
smiled, had been doing that a lot lately, and nodded.
"Thank you, Rei, for telling Mr. Dickenson about what my grandfather was
doing to me." He thanked the Chinese boy and helped him stand. Rei gave a
small smile and accepted his help. They hadn't yet noticed that they were
gathering an audience. A man and a woman were climbing down the aisles
towards their little group.
"Rei, I heard you're 'confession' on the cassette." Kai started, turning to
look at Rei again. He was determined to get this out in the open before he
lost his chance. Rei winced and looked down to his feet. He was afraid of
what Kai was going to say next.
"Oh, you did?" he exclaimed, trying to hide the turmoil of emotions he was
going through at the moment.
"Aa, and I want you to know that I feel the same way." Rei opened his eyes
and snapped his head towards Kai to check if he was only making fun.
"Y-you do?" he stammered, dumbstruck as Kai leaned closer.
"Aa, I do." He whispered and pressed his lips to Rei's. For a moment Rei
stood there with his eyes open, unmoving, until his brain finally kicked in
and he realised what was happening. He slowly closed his eyes and pressed
back, opening his lips just enough to run his tongue across Kai's lips. Kai
opened his lips in response and they began a tongue war. It would have
lasted longer had it not been for an unwanted clearing of the throat.
"He has your eyes, Hun." A woman cooed, staring at the new couple. "Though
we'll have to find him a more suitable girlfriend." The man beside her
nodded in agreement.
"Hai, we can't have this sort of thing going on." He looked Kai up and down
in disgust. "I'm sure we can find a nice rich girl for him."
Rei turned to the two people who were bad talking Kai and glared at them.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" he snarled, narrowing his eyes at the
"Your parents, young boy. And if you'll just disentangle your limbs from
that, we can be on our way." The woman explained, motioning to Kai with
enough disgust to match her husbands. Kai narrowed his eyes as well and
stepped in front of Rei.
"Look, I know all about you. Rei's not going with leeches like you." He
snorted, throwing the woman a glare that would stop a deer in its tracks.
"Leeches?!" The woman exclaimed, thoroughly offended. "Do you know who you
are talking to?"
"Hai." Kai snorted again and crossed his arms stubbornly across his chest.
"You're nothing but greedy, back-stabbers who don't give a shit about Rei,
only the money he can make you."
"How dare you." The man stood up for his wife and himself. Takao ran
forward and grabbed the man's coat.
"If Rei doesn't want to go with you, then he's not going." He looked
sternly at the two. He didn't know the exact reason for Rei not wanting to
go with these people, but if he didn't want to go, Takao and the other
Bladebreakers weren't going to let him. The woman shot him a quick glare
for butting his nose in and turned back to her son.
"Oh, Rei darling, how could you do this to your parents?" she whined,
giving him a pleading look.
"How could I do this to you?!" Rei screamed. "You abandoned me when I was
little. Kai's right. You ditched me when you thought I would use up your
money and now that I'm part of the team that won the championships, all you
can think about is how much money you might be able to gain from this." He
spat at them. They looked to each other, aware that they were losing this
"You heard him, now leave." Kai added, stepping forward. They weren't as
angry as before, but now they were worried that their scheme wouldn't work
out so well.
"But we're family." Rei's mother pointed out, trying to get some sympathy
out of her only child. Rei only looked away.
"I already have a family and you're not part of it." He said. Mr. Dickenson
decided this was where he should end it.
"You know, this is being taped and broadcasted by the BBA." He pointed out.
"You're already going to have to spend quite a bit to redeem your
reputation. Leave before it costs you a lot more." He growled. They looked
frantically from face to face but none of them were on the Kons' side.
"Fine. This is more trouble than it's worth." And with that they turned on
their heels and left the stadium without a backwards glance.
Rei's smile returned to his face and he looked at everyone.
"Thanks you guys." He exclaimed. "I don't think I could have turned them
down without your support." He grinned. Takao cheered and everyone embraced
Rei in a group hug.
Everyone, that is, except Kai. When Rei looked at him questioningly, all he
got was a withering stare and a snort. Kai would never change. Rei began to
laugh and soon he had everyone laughing, including Kai who gave an
encouraging chuckle. Nobody expected him to be able to change overnight.
Rei freed himself from everyone's hug and ran over to Kai's open arms. They
held each other for a long while before Rei kissed Kai briefly on the lips.
"Thanks to you especially." He smiled. Kai narrowed his eyes at Rei and
"Don't think that gets you out of trouble. I know how you bent my promise
so you could tell Mr. Dickenson." He glared long and hard at him. Rei sweat
dropped and tried again. He planted a smouldering kiss on Kai's lips and
smirked when he felt Kai move with him. When they parted for air, Kai
"Ok, so maybe it does get you out of trouble." He whispered. "So long as
you keep doing it." He grinned slyly. Rei laughed and pulled Kai towards
the locker room, following the rest of their team. Kai was back for good.
With Rei and with the Bladebreakers.
Two days later, while on the plane back to Japan, Rei rolled over in his
seat and faced Kai who had his chair leaning all the way back so he could
stare at the ceiling. He didn't bother to turn, he knew Rei was awake.
"What?" he asked after getting fed up with having Rei stare at him for a
"You're very strong." Rei announced. "Did you know that?" Kai turned to
look at Rei and gave him a funny look.
"No, you've seen me at my weakest. How could you say that that person is
"That's the precise reason that you are strong." Rei retorted. "You let me
see you when you weren't strong at all. Allowing yourself to get over your
pride is true strength." Rei grinned. "So is love and friendship." Kai
nodded and smiled.
"And now that I have both, I'm the strongest man alive? Is that right?" he
"Pretty much." Rei replied.
"And you're going to take responsibility for it all, ne?" he continued.
"Pretty much." Rei grinned. Kai turned to look at him and gave him a
genuinely happy smile. He leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the
"And you know you're so full of shit, ne?"
[EDIT] Like the edit on Immortal Blood, this story will not have a sequel.
Maybe in the future someone will return me to it, but as of now Beyblade
doesn't even make the top twenty list of my favourites.