Title: My December
Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine
Summary: Kai meets the future Demolition Boys' captain for the first time, eight years before the world championships.
Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or any of its characters. Any and all unrecognizable characters belong solely to me and are not to be touched. I am not making any money off of this and I write with the sole intention to entertain.
A/N: Hmm…this was written purely on a whim. It's midnight and I should be in bed but I've been listening to "My December" from Linkin Park all afternoon. The song (especially the melody) just fits what I perceive life in the abbey could be like. Also, anything relating to snow, loneliness and December strongly reminds me of Tala. If you've never heard the song, then listen to it! It's very moving.
And no, this story does not relate to the "Untold Truths" universe. It doesn't relate to any of my other fics, actually. It's just a stand-alone one-shot that relates to…well…the song, and Kai and Tala.
Ladya C. Maxine
"Why are we here?"
"Because your father has to do business with Mr Balcov."
"…But why are we here?"
His mother sighed impatiently and gripped his hand tighter, her stilettos clicking on the drab stone floor, her bright red business suit standing out like a sore thumb in the grim corridor. Annoyed that he wasn't getting any answers, Kai tried to pull free and was rewarded with a stern jerk.
"Kai, behave," his father ordered, walking a few feet in front of them.
"Don't be silly. You have your jacket. And I don't want this kind of behavior when we get there. You will play with your new action figures while us adults discuss a few things."
Anytime they went somewhere that had Us Adults it meant that he had to sit quietly and not interrupt Us Adults because he was Just A Child.
Frowning, Kai stared at the bulging bag of pricy goods his mother had presented him in the limo. It was just a little token, really. The good stuff was no doubt being kept under lock and key somewhere in the mansion. With Christmas just around the corner he had made his needs known to his parents, who, like all parents, had made sure that they got everything on his list, plus a lot of things he hadn't even asked for.
That Santa Claus rubbish was for babies. His parents never even introduced him to the lame fat man with flying deer. He could understand why not; in the end, everyone knew that there wasn't a Santa Claus, so why go through all that? When he told his parents what to buy him he knew he'd get his request. No Santa could ever get him more toys than his father's credit card.
Still, after just six years of gift getting, and twelve rooms filled till the ceiling with his toys, Kai was beginning to get…bored. He had more toys than all the toyshops in Russia combined, but sitting in the middle of the mountains of action-figures, video games, car- and plane models and bikes wasn't as fun as it was supposed to be. All the things his parents bought him were beginning to lose their appeal.
"When are we going to the circus?" he asked, blowing away his bangs with a bored look.
"There isn't any room in our schedule to visit the circus," his mother answered without looking at him. "You know your father has to catch a plane tonight."
"But you're going to be home for a whole week!"
"Just enough time to meet and dine with business associates. And don't slouch, Kai; it's very unbecoming."
Straightening his back, the bluenette stared at the large stone squares on the floor. The corridor was still going on forever and no one spoke. To amuse himself, Kai tried to walk only on the creases in the floor, which required him to take very wide steps to compensate for his short legs.
Having lost her patience, she looked down at him for the first time that day, though it was only an hour until dinner time now; her dark hair framing her round, beautiful but vain face.
"You know your teachers wouldn't approve of such bad behavior."
Mainly because she didn't want him to appear uncouth (as she like to call it) in the presence of grandpa's business partners. "A dignified heir always carries himself with a dignified air": that's what she liked to say, meaning that being part of the Hiwatari meant that he had to act like a prim and proper grown-up, even though he was never included in Us Adults-sessions.
Kai tried to emulate his grandfather and father's glare. Somehow, his version never seemed to work with adults. Sometimes, his version made his mother very angry and he'd be sent to bed at three in the afternoon, or sent to one of his teachers who "could deal with such outlandish behavior", because his mother couldn't. She was always busy and never tolerated his attitude and was keen on sending him off with the nearest servant.
Still, he saw more of his parents when he was acting up than when he was acting good. He'd be sent to either his mother or father, or both sometimes, and they'd be forced to stop whatever they were doing to lecture him before sending him away. Sometimes, when he hadn't seen them in a long while, he'd break something around the house, since he knew that'd make enough room in their schedules to see him. To scold him, but at least they saw each other.
"Ah, you made it."
The room was as dark and plain as everything else in the abbey. The strange smell was still there and he was still cold, despite his jacket. All those working in the place wore thick robes and gloves so he didn't believe for a minute that he was being overly dramatic.
"Boris," his father said, meeting the director halfway with a firm handshake.
"And the missus," the pale man said, taking her hand and kissing it.
"Good of you to have us this late. The administration has been a disgrace, taking so long to get everything processed," was her greeting. "I trust you managed to get it all sorted out?"
"We managed, of course," Boris replied in his slithery voice.
Kai hated him. Even more than being ignored.
"Then let us proceed at once," his father said, motioning to a door on the other side of the room. "My flight leaves in three hours."
"After you," Boris said politely. "Everything's on my desk."
His mother went first, then his father. Having been told nothing, Kai assumed he was meant to stay put until they were done here. Looking around, he sighed. The floor was bare, the ceiling was bare and the walls lined with doors and corridors. How could anyone want to work in such a place? It was so boring!
"Don't worry. You're parents will be back shortly."
Boris was smiling down at him.
"Whatever," he shrugged, dropping his bag of toys carelessly and taking a seat on the hard floor.
Boris' smile looked more forced now. He watched him for a while, then, without turning, called, "Here!"
Was he talking to him? Kai was about to stand again but something broke away from the shadows of one of the corridors and unassumingly came over like a well-trained dog. Actually, it was a boy around his age with flaming red hair and bright blue eyes and a lot of grime on his hands and face.
"I thought that you might like to meet someone of your own age here," Boris said.
Kai scowled at the redhead's appearance. His all grey uniform looked like the uniforms the janitors in the hotels they always stayed at wore and his hands were dirty and his boots were worn and torn.
"What am I supposed to do with him?" Kai asked when Boris didn't continue.
"He will keep you company."
"You will keep him company," Boris told the redhead, who nodded.
"Yes, sir," Kai mocked under his breath, picking at the end of his sleeves.
The redhead didn't sneer back or even react, but saluted Boris as he exited, like a good little soldier, and then took a seat opposite Kai. For many minutes, they sat in silence, Kai pretending to not notice the other while the boy sat obediently, sometimes looking at him, sometimes looking around and sometimes not really looking at anything at all. Usually, Kai would wait until the other person would finally give in and say the first word.
The redhead looked sleepy. His eyes kept drooping and he used his hand to cover is mouth when he yawned a few times. Using the long sleeves on his sweater, he wiped his eyes repeatedly too, removing some of the dirt to reveal pale skin. Kai waited to see if he'd fall asleep while sitting upright, but he didn't.
Another ten minutes passed and, finally growing bored of waiting, Kai took his bag and emptied it out on the floor before him. Metal and plastic and paper and cardboard rattled and clanked and crunched as he shifted through the small pile. He picked out a pair of lightsabers. They didn't look that expensive and he was sure that he'd seen a newer, better model on television. He gave them a second's worth of attention, then tossed them away and moved on to something else. While studying a model fighter jet's packaging, he saw movement out of the corner of his eyes.
The redhead wordlessly reached out and picked up one of the rejected lightsabers. Holding it with careful hands, he turned it over a few times, very much interesting in the harmless weapon. Pressing a small red button made the plastic "blade" pop out. Intrigued by the on/off switch, he pressed it. There was a low hum and the saber glowed blue.
Kai was unimpressed with the boy's nerves and was about to demand his toy back when the redhead experimentally swung the blade. It made a dramatic whooshing sound that caught the redhead completely off guard; he almost dropped it, eyes wide. Sitting there like a lost Jedi Knight, he looked at the other lightsaber, as if trying to make a connection.
Kai pushed all the other toys away and picked up the neglected lightsaber. The redhead looked on as he deployed the "blade" and pressed the on-button. The saber buzzed to life, giving off a red light. Holding it upright, Kai looked at the redhead, who slowly copied him. Then, when the redhead least expected it, Kai made a quick jab with his lightsaber, striking the redhead's. The loud synthetic clash made them both jump and the redhead actually dropped his.
At first they only stared at the fallen weapon. Kai, despite himself, giggled at the stunned look on the redhead's face.
"Again," he commanded.
The redhead looked hesitant but complied.
"Hold it with both hands. Like this," Kai demonstrated.
When satisfied with the redhead's posture, he swung his blade again, intent on knocking it out of the other's hand just like before. To his surprise, the blue lightsaber avoided his own with a fluent swish and actually countered his attack, bringing the two "blades" in rough contact. Again, the blaring sound effects rang out.
He should have been miffed that the redhead beat him in his own game, but Kai wasn't thinking about that, for once. Instead, he smiled, excited. Jumping to his feet, he took up a fighting stance, his lightsaber held out in front of him.
The dirty face remained bland, but the blue eyes crinkled as the redhead followed suite. Before Kai could even give the go-ahead, the other lunged, his technique improving with every passing second. Though at first taken back by the quiet boy's surfacing aggressiveness, Kai retaliated and, after a few strikes, forced the redhead a few feet back. The blue eyes narrowed and Kai soon found himself deflecting heavier blows.
The longer they dueled, the more intense the battle became, the less they held back. The once somber, dreary room was now filled with flashing red and blue lights and theatrical sound effects and quick footsteps and heavy breathing.
It went on for hours, it seemed. No one came to check on them, so they just dueled on, only stopping for a couple of minutes for a breather, or to think up a new strategy. Though Kai was stronger and bigger in size, the redhead was a better tactician, even successfully using some of Kai's own attacks against him. The need, and thrill, to think up the next clever move drove them to keep going, even as their bodies began to ache.
Kai wasn't bored anymore. Nor was he cold anymore.
There were better toys on the pile that laid neglected several feet away. Newer toys. More popular toys. Toys that other kids screamed and cried and threw tantrums to get. Kai didn't even like lightsabers. He didn't like it when other people touched any of his things. He didn't like not being the undisputed best at something.
This was something new. This was…fun. This was actually fun.
The redhead moved in, using fancy footwork that enabled him to move even faster. Kai raised his lightsaber, readying all his strength to withstand the blow. The blue "blade" came down and…fizzled out.
They stood there, staring at the now skin-colored "blade".
"You broke it," Kai concluded, lowering his lightsaber.
The redhead tried the on/off button a few times, but nothing happened. Slowly, the light in his eyes faded as well as he stared at his now dull weapon.
"…Sorry," he whispered, speaking for the first time.
Kai didn't like it when people touched his things. He hated it when people touching the things they weren't supposed to be touching broke those things. But…
"It was an old model anyway," he said, shrugging it off.
That didn't cheer the redhead up. He brushed several wild strands of red hair out of his face and Kai saw that, beneath the gritty dirt and soot, the redhead's skin was even paler than his and very smooth.
"Maybe it just needs new batteries."
"Yeah. Kids are always trying these things out in the stores; they probably used up most of the energy and our battle finished it off. If you get fresh batteries, we can continue."
"I don't have any batteries…"
They both turned as one when they heard the approaching footsteps. Kai recognized the sharp clicks of his mother's stilettos.
"I have to go home now," he said, regrettably. "Help me pick my stuff up."
Together they had everything rounded up before the adults arrived on the scene. His parents didn't look too pleased about something. Neither did Boris, but Kai had never seen him look pleased about anything. They were still talking amongst themselves, still debating things only Us Adults understood.
"Here," the redhead said, holding out the blue lightsaber. "This is yours."
The big eyes blinked at the unexpected command.
"Keep it. Find new batteries and it'll be as good as new."
The redhead stared at him, perplexed, before a small smile revealed itself in the corners on his mouth. He quickly stuffed the "blade" back into the pommel and hid the toy beneath his sweater, making sure that Boris didn't see it.
"…and outrage! Voltaire won't be happy," his mother sighed as the adults came into hearing distance. "Dickenson is taking things too far. Someone has to put that man in his place."
"Lord Voltaire and I are already working on it," Boris assured. "It will take some years, but it is foolproof. Once this experiment is completed, Biovolt will reap in the benefits and the company's worldwide affiliation will boom. The team has already been chosen and the real training will begin next week. Ours is a force that will be unbeatable."
"Brave words," his father commented. "And I suppose my father plans to keep the exact workings of this operation completely under wraps, even from me?"
"I only follow Lord Voltaire's others," Boris said, and in doing so confirmed his father's suspicions. "But I can assure you, the results will be…astounding."
"Indeed," his mother said, unconvinced. "Then we are done here."
Kai sighed, already thinking of his rooms filled with toys with no one to play with. Then, an idea struck.
"Mother," he said, breaking the no-talking-when-Us-Adults-are-talking rule. He grabbed the redhead's arm and pulled him over to the tall beauty. "Can I have him for Christmas?"
The redhead blushed and lowered his eyes, though he did step closer. His father and Boris actually chuckled at the question, though Kai didn't understand what was so funny about it. He had asked nicely, after all.
"I'm afraid that he's indispensable at the moment," Boris informed. "We have…plans for him in the future."
His mother was less amused. Noticing the unknown child for the first time, she made a displeased face.
"I do wish you wouldn't let your lot walk around loose, Boris," she said, lightly batting Kai's hand off the other's being and wiping it clean with a handkerchief. "What have I told you about talking to strangers, Kai? Good day, Boris."
His father was already walking ahead, as always, having already shook Boris' hand in formal but dishonest parting. His mother didn't give anyone or anything a second glance as she walked out of the room. Kai turned to the redhead, who was solemn once more with Boris hanging around, though the director merely sniffed at his parents' quick departure.
"Come," he ordered over his shoulder, making an exit himself.
The redhead didn't obey him as quickly as earlier. Hugging the lightsaber beneath his sweater, he stared at the scuffed toes of his boots.
"Would you really want me?" he asked in a soft voice.
"Yeah…You'd be the best present I ever got."
"Why would you want me?"
"It gets lonely at home," Kai admitted, also staring at his shoes, though they were clean and shiny.
"Your mother and father…"
"They're always working. Yours?"
"They didn't want me."
"Kai!" his mother called from somewhere down the corridor.
"Tala!" Boris called from somewhere behind a closed door.
"You have a nice name," the redhead commended.
"I like your name too."
"That's when we have no school and get presents and do nice things for other people."
"Nice things?" Tala parroted. "Like what?"
"Like…um…like….Let's see…" Kai grinned when he thought of something. "Like this!"
He pulled the redhead into a hug. Tala started but when nothing happened he relaxed. His mother was going to mad that he got his expensive clothes dirty, but he held the other boy for many moments. When he loosened his hold on the redhead, there was an evident blush on the smudged cheeks.
"When's Christmas?" Tala asked.
"Near the end of December."
"I like December. I like it when it snows."
"It snows in January and February also."
"Someone else can have those months. I like my December."
They pulled apart. Tala shyly adjusted his long sleeves, looking smaller and even more solemn than before.
"I don't want you to go," he admitted.
"I don't want to go, but my parents…"
"Yeah. And Boris…Are you coming back?"
Kai thought of his mother's reaction to Boris, the abbey and Tala.
"Maybe not," he finally said, bitterly.
"But if you do?"
"Then I'm taking you with me for sure. I'll make my parents let me keep you. Okay?"
Again, that ghost of a smile.
"…" Tala turned, face downcast, hugging the bulge under his sweater. "Bye…"
And he was gone, disappearing into the shadows behind the door that Boris had used.
"For Godsakes, Kai!" his mother huffed, exasperated as she returned. "I'd think that the teachers thought you to listen to your parents. Come on. Your father has to go. You can play with your toys in the limo."
He let her grab his hand. He didn't protest or complain that he was cold or hungry or tired or bored the entire way. He didn't backtalk her when she noticed the state of his clothes. He walked fast so as not to slow her down.
Reaching the end of the hall, the snowy courtyard in sight, he watched the falling snow as it fluttered by gently. Not the harsh snowfall of January, or the runny, black snow of February, but the fluffy white flakes that only fell at the very beginning of winter.
The purest snow always fell in December.
'Our December…' he smiled, even as he was tugged down the slippery steps. 'Tala…Me and you…'
The bag of toys felt like a deadweight in his hand.
"Such a horrid place. I don't know why Voltaire bothers to deal with such people," his mother muttered, keeping a good hold on his hand to help them both balance. "Bad influence…Nothing good will come of it, mark my words…Ugh, and they leave the garbage out here in the open…And those people…Don't linger, Kai…"
He allowed himself to be ushered into the limo.
Taking a seat at the window, he didn't mind that his parents didn't ask him what he had done while they were away or whether he had enjoyed himself. They went on with their business and he didn't try to get their attention by demanding something outlandish. He even handed his mother a report when it slipped off her lap, eager to keep them occupied with their work, for once. That way, he could look outside at the passing trees as he remembered…
'…To finish our duel…in December…one day…Just me and you…Tala…Yeah, that'd be the best…'
Back in the abbey courtyard, amongst the trashcans and black plastic bags, was a large bag filled with the newest, most expensive toys on the market, slowly being buried by the falling snow.
'…My December…My Tala…'
A/N: Uh, yeah. Not Christmas, I know. Christmas kinda snuck its way into the story.
Love Kai. Love Tala. Love the song "My December". And this was the result.
Read & Review, please.