Disclaimer: Beyblade © Aoki Takao-sama
Author's Notes: The Japanese celebrate Christmas, though they also go to school while on holiday… whoops.
The final part. Thanks for reading!
Chinese For Two
Final Part: IX
Hilary shook her head, taking a hand up to clutch her forehead as she rode out the dull aches of pain as her stomach rumbled with satisfied relief. She felt the waves of dizziness begin to wear off as she gripped her jacket tightly in her enclosed fist as more bile poured out of her mouth.
She took a shuddering breath of air, her tongue moving around her teeth, and cringed as it caught the rancid taste in her mouth.
Kai turned his head over to watch the brunette, noticing that she had become quiet over at the bushes where she had let out her lunch. He shook his head, waiting for her to calm herself so that he could speak to her. He stuffed his hands in his pocket, and said, "Hilary."
There was pause, though he could see her wipe her mouth as she began to stand up, and almost instantly, she plastered a smile that didn't match her eyes. "Um… hey, Kai," she said, and she turned her head away from the tall young man. "I… um…" She blinked back the sudden tears of embarrassment that were brimming in her eyes. "I feel terrible." It was the only thing she could think to say in that moment.
"Perhaps you should get home. You don't look too good." Kai jabbed a thumb in the direction behind him, indicating the road that lead back to her apartment was not the one she had taken.
Hilary ran a hand through her knotted hair, feeling her cheeks flair up in frustration and even more embarrassment as her messy fingers caught the once clean strands. "Thanks for the concern!" she snapped, and she felt her still-upset stomach do a small flop before it settled down again. "Your analysis really helps, Kai."
The dual-haired teen stared at her with a flat look.
For a moment, the brunette just stared back, waiting for any kind of response from the stoic man that she had known for years. But he stood silently, staring her down with his narrowed mahogany eyes.
Hilary shivered and pulled her jacket tighter around her body as she felt the wind tug at her weary self. His silence seemed to do that, she noticed. It made her blood run cold and her usual fiery self turn into a small flicker compared to his flame. It unnerved her, and it made her frustration leap over the edge as she yelled at him.
"Well? Say something!" She felt loneliness strike her right then, watching the old team captain give her that look that told her she wasn't supposed to be there. "You never kept in contact with us after the team split up, and I want an answer!"
With a shake of his head, the look faded away and contained nothing more than irritation as he spoke. "You're welcome."
Hilary took a moment to consider his words, and she brought a hand up again to cradle her mouth. "What?" she asked, giving him a bewildered look.
He turned, his neck craning over to give her another blank stare. "You obviously have a cold. Come on before you get worse." With that, he continued on his way down the road in the direction of her apartment.
Grandpa Kinomiya gripped his kendo sword tightly, and promptly let out a small sigh of content as he heard the arguing voices of his grandson and his friends.
Those home bros really know how to have a party in there.
With a grin pushing past his bushy moustache, he let a hearty laugh out as he opened the door, and charged with the kendo stick held high over his old head. He felt the adrenaline pump through his veins as he entered into the guest room, waiting to see the reaction his grandson would show.
The reaction was not one he expected, though, as the only words he could hear were being hurled at each other.
"Well, if you're so smart, why don't you think of something, Daichi? I'm sure we would love to hear your ideas!" Mariah spat, golden eyes narrowed into slits as she glared at the redhead, who was currently sticking his tongue out at her with his own displeased look aimed at the girl.
"It's you're fault! What's the point of this anyways? How am I supposed to think of something when it's not even my plan?" Daichi gave a snort as Tyson intervened, his hands waving frantically as if it would calm the sparks that were crackling between the two.
"Hey, now! Come on, guys. No fighting. I'm sure we can-"
"She started it! If it wasn't for her crazy pacing I wouldn't have had to throw my shoe at her! Stay out of it!"
"Why, you little runt!" Tyson snarled, his face red from anger as he tried to catch the redhead, though he ducked out of the blunette's hold and quickly latched onto his arm with a swing. "Monkey Boy!"
"Ahh! Just be quiet already, you guys!" Kenny called, fisting his dark brown hair and giving it a pull as he brought his head down onto his laptop, giving a grumble as he watched his friends bicker. "I don't even know why I agreed to this! It's none of our business what Kai and Hilary are doing for the holiday! Why can't we just let them work it out?" Kenny let out an exasperated sigh as all eyes turned to look at him. "Thank you!"
Rei and Max sat near the corner of the bed, giving a quirk of their eyebrow or a blink every now and then as they waited for what was to come next. The scene in front of them was almost comical, though the reason behind it made them keep their mouths shut.
"Yo, dudes!" This time, Grandpa took the chance to let everyone know he was standing by the doorway. "Show your elders some respect, here! Take a break and cool down from this little fiasco, yo! The home-girl and the K-man are coming over tomorrow, remember? Dunno what all the fighting's about, but buck up! It's almost time for dinner, so pack away the ugliness, ya dig?" With a heave of his kendo sword, Grandpa Kinomiya kept it mere inches away from the dragon avatar and the redhead. "If ya're gonna call them peeps, ya better do it now before it gets too late!"
Tyson blinked, pulling Daichi's hands off from the back of his neck so he could give his grandfather a straighter look. "Uh… are you okay there, gramps?" He blinked, along with a few others as he stuttered, "W-wha? D-did you say Kai and Hil are coming tomorrow?" His arms flared about as he voiced his confusion. "How the heck did you find that out!"
"Easy, dude!" Grandpa responded, scratching at his chin as he brought the sword over his shoulder and held it there, giving the group a flat look. "Ya invite 'em!" With a satisfied smile, he gave both his grandson and Daichi a pat on the shoulder. "I'll see you dudes in half an hour!" Turning on his heels, the old kendo master made his way out of the room, letting the beginning of a Christmas carol spring forth from his lips just as the door was shut.
Rei shook his head. The old captain had given him such a vague answer, that he almost wondered if his coming over was supposed to be a secret that had just been let loose by the hip oldster.
Mariah slumped, taking hold of one of her pillows and burrowing her head within it as she ground out a sigh. She felt disappointment well up inside of her as she realized that, despite her efforts, it hadn't done a thing. She crawled to the edge of her bed, and brought out the scarf while letting it lie lifelessly in her arms as she realized there was no more reason to keep it, and thought of the brunette while letting a reluctant smile stretch across her features.
"Who are we calling first?"
The room was cleaner than it had been before, Kai noticed as he stepped foot into the silent apartment room. It radiated nothing of the brunette he had known those couple of years ago; though he supposed that the girl in front of him radiated nothing of the brunette he had known either.
The anger she had shown earlier that night gave him a glimpse of the old person, though, and for the first time in awhile, Kai felt he was able to call her Hilary again. He felt the old sensation like when they had been searching for the lighthouse on that creepy island – loyalty, protectiveness, duty – and it all swirled and meshed together into something he could only identify as care and devotion to the brunette who had shown him the same thing in the team's earlier days together.
It was the same now. He supposed it was only right.
Kai leaned against the wall, folding his arms over his chest as he watched the brunette – Hilary, his mind told him – unconsciously pull at her jacket sleeve as she waited for him to say something – anything – that would tell her it wouldn't be a repeat of earlier that night.
Hilary winced as she remembered her words. It had been awhile since she had snapped at anyone lately, and Kai being the one to see her puke into the bushes hadn't helped her frustrations at all. He had been the only one there besides her in that cold and lonely little world, and in those few moments, she had gotten defensive, had let out her thoughts and her anger for him.
He still hadn't given her an answer.
"Thanks for this, Kai," Hilary muttered, pushing down the disappointment that was welling up in her breast. She looked up at him, and almost blinked. He looked tired with his tousled hair and black-rimmed eyes. And for the moment, Hilary took in his thin and scarf-less form, and never before had she ever thought the man to be as frail or gaunt as she did now. "You don't look too good," she commented.
A half-hearted smirk pulled across the young man's face as he took in her words. "Thank you for the concern," was the answer.
Time seemed to stop and go as it wished as the moment grew even more similar to another.
Hilary gave the tall man in front of her a small smile, and silently decided she could wait a little longer for the answer. Shuffling over into her small kitchen that was barely used for cooking, Hilary brought out two bowls and sat them on the counter, giving the staring dual-haired man a glance. "Don't just stand there! Come help me!" Washing her hands and face, she wet a towel and rung her brown tresses with it, hoping it would help her to look a little more presentable than before.
Kai turned his look to the bowls on the counter, before giving a small shake of his head, his bangs falling limply into his sharp eyes. "It's not necessary."
"Of course it is!" Hilary replied, pulling soup from out of the cabinet along with a couple other kitchen items she apparently needed. "You're already here, and I won't take no for an answer, mister! And you need more than ramen noodles." She couldn't remember the last time she had cooked her spicy meals like this, and it was almost refreshing, she realized. It was time to get back on the bike. "Hurry up!"
Kai shot her a glare, not particularly pleased she was giving him an order in such a way, before letting himself push his body off the wall to head over into the kitchen to give the girl a hand.
Handing him the bowl of soup – she felt giddy in knowing she had used her old family recipe – Hilary waited for him to take a bite.
As the hot food went down his throat, Kai resisted the urge to screw his face up as the spicy liquid began to heat up in his chest and spread throughout his entire body as he carefully sipped a couple more bites.
"Do you like it? It's a family recipe!" Hilary said with a certain pride in her voice, and Kai could do nothing but indulge himself in the fact that she acted like the person he once knew from before. The dullness in her eyes seemed to have disappeared for the moment, and he hoped it would stay that way. He hated the thought of someone he had once respected and admired turning weak and limp in spirit – it wasn't her.
She seemed to accept that answer, although a little reluctant, before returning to her own meal, taking small sips so as not to upset her stomach again.
And almost as if it decided then was right, the phone rang a couple times, the drone of it shattering through the once peaceful mood, before Tyson's voice sounded out after the recorder's small beep was heard.
"Hey, Hil? You there? Just calling to say hi! Grandpa said to remind you about tomorrow, so… remember!" Voices could be heard in the background, each overlapping as they tried to get their word in. "Okay! Okay! Geez… now to call Mr. Sourpuss and remind him…see you later, Hil! Bye!" There was a slight buzz as the red light appeared on the recording machine, showing that there was a new message.
"Hn," Kai snorted, deciding not to comment any further on it.
Hilary let a smile tug at her lips in amusement as she watched the man next to her arch an eyebrow. Tomorrow, Hilary decided, she would give him her gift.
They took another bite.