"Your heart rate had suddenly fallen and we were trying our best to stabilize your condition. Then your heart completely stopped beating. It was then when, when this strange reddish-gold aura surrounded you and minutes later, your heart started to beat again and you woke up!"
Isn't that like… like…?
"W-where… is Kai?"
"W-where is he?"
It's strange how everything turned out. It's been three days since I awoke, and for the length of three days, I've been asking the doctor to let me out of the ward so I could visit Kai. I had been healing quickly, much to the medical staff's surprise. I had just simply stated that I had always been a fast healer – the Abbey did toughen me up by a great lot. But I knew that it also had something to do with Dranzer. The phoenix saved me after all…
And you heard me right. Kai's alive.
Apparently Miguel had found Kai crumpled on the floor, head bowed and his side against the tunnel wall. According to the European blond teenager, Kai was dripping blood from almost everywhere and the red, life-giving substance was pooling around the injured youth who currently looked like he was a casualty of World War III.
Which he very well might be. I had watched the replay of his battle against Brooklyn. It was one hell of a match. Brutal was probably the only word I could think of to describe it. Anyway, back to how Kai was found.
Next to the slate-haired youth lay a tiny mountain of shredded and cracked metallic bits, which, no doubt to anyone, were the remains of Dranzer Metal Spiral. There had been no sign of the phoenix bit chip, probably having shattered along with the rest of the blade. Miguel had then frantically called for an ambulance and it was said that Kai had already stopped breathing.
But he survived after some emergency treatment. I was more than relieved. It really needed a lot more to take Kai totally out…
But still, it's so strange seeing him lying motionless in the bed, with countless bandages covering him… He looked vulnerable. Something that he had never looked like in ages… And how would I know that he looked like that? Well, I had finally persuaded Dr. Hirota and Mr. Dickinson to allow me to visit Kai, although they restricted my time, stating that I needed my rest. I could only see Kai for a maximum of an hour. They'd send a nurse to get me back to my own room once the hour was up.
And so, I was currently standing (had already been standing for five minutes), albeit using crutches, by Kai's bedside alone, staring down at him. Bryan and Spencer had volunteered to come along with me after unsuccessfully dissuading me from doing so, but I had told them not to. I wanted to be alone.
I continued to look at Kai's heavily bandaged face.
It was so wrong. It was so wrong that Kai had landed in a coma… Like I did. I guess you could say that we shared similar experiences. If that were so, would he hear me? Like I had heard him when he came? I have to try. But what should I say? It's been so long since I had been able to actually speak to Kai privately and also of such a nature, a more sentimental nature… We grew up together and were really close, yes… but we've never been the touchy-feely kind.
"Hello, Kai…" I started, trying to ignore the nagging thought of how ridiculous it was to actually talk to someone who was very obviously unconscious. Well, the other bladers had talked to me when I was in a coma and I had heard them. Heard everything they said, in fact. There was a chance that Kai would hear me now too.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I could do this. I could tell Kai that I really didn't want to seem to be at loggerheads with him all the time… that I want to be friends with him again… and how darn stupid he was to sacrifice Dranzer to save me. It wasn't going to be easy to say all that out aloud. It never would be as the walls of ice had been around me for a long time. Both of us had been hiding. Tearing the shields down all at once was going to be difficult, and in front of Kai no less… Both of us had a lot of pride, and although in the past, he was my friend; we were rivals too. We rarely admitted defeat to each other. But I know, I know I can do this.
"Look Kai, I don't know if you can hear me. If you can… just listen," I started again. "I've realized that I've been so stupid for years. I've been fooling myself. Boris' brainwashing, his twisted reasoning of why you left, had blinded me. He wanted to make me hate you; he couldn't stand our friendship… And you know what? I despise myself for actually believing that slime ball. It was my fault mainly. How could I have let such a strong friendship that had been built up and been through the harsh Russian winters and countless grueling Abbey trainings go to waste by a few lies Boris cooked up? I think I had forced myself to believe those lies and even when the truth came to light, I still didn't want to believe that you didn't leave of your own accord…"
A faraway look came into my eyes as they found the window. A wistful smile curled my lips. "Do you remember how we first met, Kai? We were both six, but I had been in the Abbey a year earlier…"
The solid metal door of the small and dim dormitory room swung open. Six-year-old Tala Ivanov looked towards the doorway curiously from his bed. It was night, past the 8pm curfew for those his age already. He wondered who could be coming in. It couldn't be a recruit; he shared the room with nobody. Although there was an extra bed inside. But most rooms had two recruits sleeping in them anyway.
Two figures appeared at his doorway. One was a guard working in the abbey while the other was a blue-haired boy he didn't recognize. Tala took a quick scrutiny of the child, noticing that the most striking thing about the boy was the four blue triangles that contrasted with his pale skin. In time to come, these blue markings would make the boy feared to all who saw him.
"This is the new recruit. He will be sleeping in this room," the guard said in a monotone before roughly pushing the blue-haired boy inside and slamming the door shut. A soft click told Tala that the door was now locked from the outside.
His azure eyes surveyed the boy in front of him, neither speaking yet. Tala still hadn't seen the other boy's eyes yet – his blue bangs were shadowing them and he wasn't looking in Tala's direction. Usually a person's eyes told millions about him and by now, Tala was used to judging a person based on their eyes… However, Tala was feeling strangely intrigued by this mysterious new recruit and decided to try and make some conversation with him. And perhaps even make a friend too.
"Hey. I'm Tala. What's your name?" he said, genuinely sincere about trying to make friends with the blue-haired boy.
The boy jolted slightly before raising his head to look at him straight in the eye. Then, Tala noticed the glowing fire burning in the boy's mahogany eyes that were now revealed. He felt the power and passion that were ablaze in those eyes. Being as young as he was, Tala could somehow tell that the boy in front of him had a great fervor for Beyblading and possessed great talent too. Much like him.
The two young boys held each other's intense gazes for a minute or so before they both broke it simultaneously. Tala marveled at the other's ability to hold his gaze before wondering to himself whether the other boy would actually speak to him. The redhead was about to give up on getting a reply when the boy spoke up quietly but in a strong voice:
"Kai. Nice to meet you."
Tala smiled, as did Kai.
With just those few words and the simple actions, the first bonds of friendship between both six-year-olds were formed.
"We didn't talk much that night. But we became friends, friends that respected each other just like that… and the Abbey only served to bring our ties closer." I look back at Kai said after taking a trip down memory lane to the particular memory I had been talking about. "You know, after you disappeared, I had constantly blamed myself for not being able to stop you from entering the lab. You were so fascinated by Black Dranzer that I felt afraid for you…"
"Where are you going, Kai?" Tala asked suddenly from where he lay on his bed. It was very late at night now, but he couldn't sleep peacefully. Not with Kai acting so strange ever since seeing the scientists tested out their newest Beyblade three days ago. Kai had been totally mesmerized by it… and Tala had to agree why.
Black Dranzer was totally perfect. Flawless. There hadn't been any Beyblade that was as magnificent as this one in decades. The spin rate was fast and steady. It had perfect balance at high velocity. Changing directions with it were sharp and precise. And when it met with opposing blades, the sheer power and slickness of the destruction it created captivated many.
Unfortunately, "many" included Kai.
"Somewhere," the blue-haired boy replied vaguely.
Tala felt that his worst fears had been confirmed. For the past three days, Kai had been talking non-stop about Black Dranzer – whenever he spoke that is. And Tala could see this glint in those mahogany eyes that told him that Kai would do whatever it took to be able to test out the black and green blade. But it was risky. Too risky. Neither of them had mastered full control over their own blades and bit-beasts yet… Black Dranzer was out of bounds to them and all other students. Even the seniors who, no doubt, had more experience under their belt.
"You're not going to test out Black Dranzer," he said sternly, though not getting up from his bed to face his friend.
"You can't stop me, Tala."
"You'll get yourself found out."
"I won't. I'm only spinning it for a while."
"You won't be able to control it."
"I won't know unless I try."
"What if Boris finds out?"
"He won't. You don't have to worry about me."
Tala finally sat up, swinging his legs onto the floor. Kai was already at the door and was just short of opening it. Kai had been very quiet, but Tala's sharp senses had sensed his movements. Had Tala been a little later in speaking, Kai would've left without anyone knowing, or more precisely, before anyone could stop him for Tala certainly knew his friend very well to be able to detect him.
Fixing an icy cold stare on the blue-haired boy's back, he almost commanded, "You are not leaving this room."
Whipping his head around, Kai fired a heated glare at Tala although it didn't have much effect on the redhead. "Nobody orders me around, Tala. You know that better than anyone." Then softening his fiery gaze, Kai added, "See you later, Tala." Then he slipped out of the room before Tala could make a sound to protest.
The nine-year-old redhead never expected that it would be five years later before he next saw his blue-haired friend.
"Five years is certainly a long time… And when we next met, I was already poisoned by all those wrong thoughts about you. And you had changed, although you still carried the burning passion for Beyblading… and the same defiance for authority. You were different. Colder and much deadlier than before. You were under Black Dranzer's influence too. You wanted nothing to do with us… you just wanted Black Dranzer and all the power you could obtain. Right?"
"Then I started to dislike you even more because of your attitude change. I still had some minuscule hope that you would return to the team because you wanted to blade with us, but that flicker of hope was crushed. When you returned to the Bladebreakers afterwards, I felt even more betrayed. I mean, who wouldn't?"
"It was probably a hell lot worse with Boris around poisoning minds," I added as an afterthought. It was true. That bastard is just pure evil. I think he's the improved (though not for the better) version of Satan's incarnation. Though I don't think the devil himself might have had gross purple hair and a taste for some strange goggles or visor… Whatever. Everyone has a certain fashion sense… though Boris' is seriously warped. But for someone like him, it isn't too surprising.
"Those of us from the Abbey don't trust easily, which made me reluctant to believe the truth about you. Now that I think of it, it was a foolish mistake. I still don't understand how I had let our friendship disintegrate, let it be suppressed and hidden by my own self-denials and the icy outlook I carried. But you could've seen through me pretty easily. Don't you find it ironic? How the Abbey and Boris seem to strengthen our friendship instead of weakening it? And when Boris doesn't interfere, we seem to grow distant? Strange, eh?"
Kai's bandaged faced continued to face me silently and I wished I could see him open his eyes, or eye, seeing that the right one is covered by the bandages around his head. I gave a little sigh, what would it take to make him awake?
Glancing back at the same window, I asked him, "Remember the incident where Boris tried to separate us using a Bey Battle…?"
It had been a month since Tala and Kai had been given different training schedules. Both boys hadn't had time to so much as glance at each other during the hectic and grueling days at Balkov Abbey. Both had been drilled with ideas that Boris wanted them to adopt to change them into soldiers without conscience. It had worked with most boys, but not Kai and Tala.
Both boys talked to each other during the night in their room. This helped them retain some conception of what they thought was right or wrong about the ideas that were constantly repeated to them. Though bright for their age, both boys were still children, making them uncomprehending to why they had to block out all emotion and treat all opponents as enemies that they had to thoroughly destroy. However, both boys had made a mutual agreement to act like they were supposed to in public.
Then came the day where Tala found himself pitted against Kai in a battle…
"Tala Ivanov!" Boris Balkov barked at the seven-year-old redhead.
Tala immediately walked towards the Abbey's director and gave him a smart salute. "Present Boris, sir!"
"Ready, aren't you? Well, your opponent today will be…"
A sinister smirk that Tala didn't like at all curled Boris' thin lips as the man paused for dramatic effect.
Tala suppressed a gasp of shock and kept his expression blank, knowing that if he showed any emotion, Boris would punish him harshly. Tala was all but happy about the prospect of facing Kai. He wasn't afraid of losing to Kai; he knew that they were evenly matched. But Tala couldn't help but feel uneasy about it. "Yes, sir."
"I am looking forward to your battle against young Kai, Tala. It will be… interesting."
Five minutes later, Tala was facing Kai opposite a dish. From Kai's stoic expression, nobody could tell that the blue-haired boy was just as apprehensive about the battle as Tala. But to Tala, it was quite easy to read that. Both boys shared a quick glance at each other before their battle began. It was to be a 'best of three' match.
Both boys were told the same thing before the battle started: "He is your enemy. Crush him! Do not show him mercy!"
The first battle went underway soon enough and in a matter of minutes, Tala had knocked Kai's blade out. But for the second battle, Kai won instead, which left the third and final battle as the decider.
As the third battle begun, Tala used all the skills he had learnt and all his wit and cunning to battle Kai. The redhead could also tell that Kai was doing the same. Thus far, this was the battle that they had been the most evenly matched. Although Tala knew Wolborg was built for endurance, Kai had an attacking power that could seriously break through its endurance limit. Simultaneously, the two young boys went full out on offense.
The sheer force of the collision created cracks in the dish, however, both blades were still spinning steadily. Tala could feel the adrenaline rushing through him and his heart rate was increasing far more rapidly than usual. He felt surging power inside him. Something wanted to be released. Not comprehending, he almost panicked. He looked across at Kai and was startled to find the boy having a red aura surrounding him. He soon realized that Kai was looking at him in the same startled manner.
"What are you two doing? Crush your opponent!" Boris' voice rang out, effectively snapping both boys out of their trance.
"Dranzer! FIRE ARROW!"
Tala watched, suddenly fascinated, as his gray beyblade glowed blue and from the bit chip, a beam of white light shone out and a winged, gray Siberian wolf appeared with an eerie howl. He then noticed that a flaming red phoenix had appeared out of Kai's cobalt blade, which was currently surrounded with dancing flames.
The two beasts charged at each other, the wolf leaving a trail of ice in its wake while the phoenix left the dish scorching and smoking. A clash of two conflicting elements ensued. Ice versus Fire. Tala felt the power inside of him rushing out, and he had the notion that it was due to the wolf. Then there was an explosion, which made every one present shield their eyes.
When the light cleared, both blades had stopped spinning and were lying idly on their sides in a wracked dish. There was no sign of either beast. Tala was speechless, not over the tie, but over the mysterious happenings during this battle and why he was beginning to feel exhausted after a battle. Perhaps his apprehension wasn't unfounded after all. But it was clear to the young boy that the result hadn't gone down well with Boris.
"A tie? Unacceptable!" the man roared. "Guards! Take them to the underground cells!"
Tala knew which cells Boris was referring to. It had to be the punishment chambers. He didn't move as two cloaked guards approached him. However when he saw another guard hitting Kai because the blue-haired boy didn't want to move, he growled, "Don't hit him!"
It earned Tala a biting backhand. "Shut up!" the same guard barked menacingly.
Tala bit his lip to prevent himself from crying out. He turned back to the guards and glared at them, blue eyes freezing into icy glacial chips. Even at such a young age, Tala was beginning to master the art of scaring the wits out of others with a simple look. The abbey guards hesitated for a second before grabbing the redhead's arms and dragging him out of the Beyblading arena. Tala could also see Kai being forcibly dragged away and scowled at how the guards were treating his friend.
The two boys were separated in the depths of the abbey, both being whipped. Tala winced as the stinging lashes tore through his clothes and cut his skin. Albeit such circumstances, he was more worried about Kai, knowing that the boy's behavior earlier would earn him a much harsher punishment. As the guards continued to beat him, using their fists and feet this time, Tala took his mind off the pain that shot up through his body and focused his thoughts on Kai. But time and again, a particularly painful hit would jolt him out of it and his young self would feel the agonizing punishment.
When the beatings finally stopped, Tala was left panting heavily on the dirty, cold stone floor. His wounds were bleeding and bruises were forming on his torso. Still, he was anxious to know about Kai. Knowing that the guards would not allow him to see his friend, Tala pretended to be only half-conscious, hoping that the guards would forget to lock the door. Luck was on his side as he saw through half-lidded eyes that the guards left without even a backwards glance at him or the other cell. After a minute or so, Tala felt safe enough to try and get to Kai.
The young boy lithely slid out of his own cell, ignoring the protesting of his body and entered the next cell apprehensively. Through his blue eyes, he saw with some relief that Kai, though covered with about as many cuts and bruises as himself, looked otherwise fine.
"Kai!" Tala hissed softly and worriedly as he scrambled over to where the other boy was sitting, leaning against the wall. The redhead felt like flinching as he saw a particularly nasty whip lash across his friend's stomach.
Kai looked up at him with slightly glazed eyes before they widened. "Tala? How did you…?"
"Stupid guards didn't lock the doors," the flame-haired boy replied, rolling his eyes at the idiocy of the guards. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine… You shouldn't come here. If they find out, you're going to be in big trouble."
"Who cares? I had to make sure you were fine. Friends have to stick together."
Kai cracked a smile at the last comment and Tala soon felt a similar smile curving his lips too.
"We'll always stick together no matter what Boris tries to do," Kai affirmed. "Forever."
"Forever," Tala repeated firmly.
This time, large and genuine grins broke out on both the faces of the seven-year-olds. It was a promise that they would seek to keep and never break.
"It's been ages since we've considered each other as friends since your departure from the Abbey," I mused, "And now, because of Boris, those hidden ties of our friendship have resurfaced. Perhaps we should thank him for this. He'd take it that we were mocking him anyway. So he'd still be our nemesis." I paused for a moment to catch my breath and also to prepare myself.
"We've looked out for each other since young, Kai. The last time I looked out for you was just before the first Black Dranzer incident… Which meant you owned me a favor. We've always worked this way. But you've repaid that last favor with far too much during your moments in the tunnel. How? How could you have sacrificed your life to save mine? I… I don't know what you were thinking then. Why did you place me before your own life? Why, Kai? Why?"
This was one thing I was afraid of – losing my composure. There was nobody else around, but up till now, it still scares me to crack and breakdown. Stopping for another moment, I took another deep breath before continuing. I had decided beforehand that even if I had to be more emotional than usual, I would not crack.
"I still don't get why you wanted me to see Boris fail. I'd love to see that happen, you got that right, but at the expense of your life? I know I've missed millions after being kept in the Abbey for ten years, but I've been slowly catching up. Yet I still don't understand why you would sacrifice yourself. I want explanations, Kai. And to have them, you, you have to awake. I want you to wake up, Kai! You just have to. It's not only for me; think of your other friends. The BBA Revolution, they've stuck by you through tough times too… I don't know what they were, but I know enough that they care a lot about you. They don't want to see you like this. Isn't that enough reason for you to wake up? You work by rational reasoning, and I've provided you with enough reasons… Why won't you wake up?"
Damn it. I want him to open his eye and shoot back some sarcastic comment about me becoming overly sappy. I want to be able to argue with him over minor things like during the World Championships. Why the hell can't you just, I censored my thoughts, wake up?
"This sounds totally like it's coming from some melodrama, but I have to say it to you. I don't care if you blackmail me with it next time. I want to be your friend again. I want us to be like when we were young, maybe not exactly like then, but I want that kind of trust we used to have. I want to relearn what being a friend truly means…"
The prickling feeling was back once again and I fought internally not to let any tears show. It was becoming difficult, but I had to finish what I want to say. "If I could control time, I'd turn it back; all the way to when I made that rash decision to confront Boris at BEGA. It was a stupid idea. If I hadn't gone there, I wouldn't have battled Garland. Wouldn't have landed in a coma and wouldn't need you to sacrifice Dranzer to save me…"
"…We promised to stick together. And you can't break that promise. We've had in on hiatus for years, and it's time to put it back on track. So… Kai, you've got to wake up. I've listed enough reasons, but I have one more. Here's one more to convince you. Haven't we always been defying Boris whenever we're together? Let's do it again. I've done my part, and now, I'm waiting for you to do yours. Throw it in the idiot's face. Show him that we, you, can defy whatever he gives us and throw it back at him with a vengeance. You defeated his 'prized possession', that's salt to the wounds already. Now… just, god damn it, wake up, will ya?"
"Your element is fire. Dranzer is a phoenix that's linked to rebirth and resurrection. You and Dranzer are one. Why did you sacrifice her to save me? You were such a fool! You needed her so much more than I did! You meant well by asking Dranzer to save me, but don't you know that I actually feel even guiltier? I practically killed you! If you don't wake up, I don't think I can ever forgive myself!"
My vision was starting to acquire a watery blurriness. I lowered my head; still trying to fight back the damn drops of water. One teardrop, however, managed to trickle out and it fell from my eye and landed on Kai's left hand over a part of his skin that I just noticed had a reddish tint to it. It didn't look like a burn, but nothing more registered in my mind. Another teardrop fell from my eye, landing at the exact same spot. I shut my eyes in an effort to shut out the tears.
A few minutes later, I raised my head, feeling a little awkward to be crying once more, to look at Kai's face for the umpteenth time, hoping for a reaction from him.
My eyes widened.
Contemplated pinching myself.
Yep. What I was seeing was real, as unreal as it sounded. A few teardrops were making their way down Kai's left eye. Which meant only one thing: He had heard me and understood what I was talking about.
At that moment, the door opened slowly, almost tentatively and a nurse popped her head in. "M- Mr. Ivanov?"
I sighed. One hour could pass so rapidly. It didn't even feel like an hour to me. Straightening up, I blinked back any remaining tears before turning away from Kai's bed. One glance at the nurse I knew that she had heard some parts of the conversation I had with Kai. Her eyes were bloodshot though the tears had dried up. Ignoring that, I walked out of the ward, the nurse sniffling a little and followed me back to my own ward to rest.
Rest? I don't need it.
I just want to see him awake with my own eyes.
Ah well... Tis' the end of "Comatose"... And if anyone's wondering how Kai survived, it has to do with the teardrop from Dranzer. It's sort of a cross from Harry Potter, you know how phoenix tears can heal wounds. I took that idea, but changed it to something like preserve a life. You get the idea.
Thank you to all reviewers who reviewed. They provided me with much cheer and encouragement to write more! Thanks again! I'll probably be writing even more Blitzkrieg Boys fanfiction after this. I'm seriously influenced now. Not that I think it's a bad thing. Haha.
In the now empty ward where Kai Hiwatari lay, something miraculous was happening. The two drops of tears from Tala were reacting with the mark left by Dranzer's teardrop. A soft red glow spread from the hand until it covered every part of the teenager. The temperature increased by a few degrees. Then all was still…
His fingers twitched.
Heehee... Wicked me. So it isn't that much of a tragedy after all, eh? But I don't classify tragedy as death. I mean, don't you think it's quite tragic to land in a coma and to go through what Tala and Kai did? Oh yeah, a sequel may come out for this story. Perhaps it'll be only a one-shot. Not too sure yet. See where it takes me.
Now a big thank you to: FlamesOfFury, Star-Serious-Laser, ducky76, Chibi-Lothlen and AngeLhearteD. Wheehee! You guys really made my day! Anyway, some individual responses.
FlamesOfFury: Actually, I do know that Tala does well, tear. Reading too many sypnosis and collecting too many pictures can have such an effect. Not saying that I regret that though.
Star-Serious-Laser: Hey, just realized that you're Sailor Star Destroyer. I love your AMVs! Totally cool! Just wondering, what video editing software do you use?
Chibi-Lothlen: No, you're good in your own way. You write in the more... how do you say? Introspective way? Yeah, you sort of write the personality of the characters through description rather than stories with climaxes. Right, I'm sounding like an English teacher...
AngeLhearteD: Glued. Wow. Didn't think I'd write something that could cause anyone to reread it again and again. Your stories are great too. Simple but engaging. My friend mentioned that to me just today. She read "Infiltration" and believe me, she does not watch Beyblade. Never have. Probably never will. But she did write a pretty good Kai introspective nonetheless. It's in Chibi's favourites' list: Kai: Dear Diary.
Once again, thank you to everyone who read's this even if you don't review!