Disclaimer: I don't own beyblade.
I'm not taking a break or anything from Maybe In Your Dreams, but since everyone seemed to like 'Things You Don't Deserve,' I thought I'd write another one.
The Things By Which We Call Ourselves Bound
They weren't sure what was wrong with him.
Kai Hiwatari, their stoic captain, their leader, their security blanket, was not who he had once been. It wasn't like with Brooklyn, where he had lost control of himself, what he wanted, or his anger had fueled him. It wasn't like he had been taken to the dark side. Dranzer hadn't abandoned him, everyone was still together. Things were good, everything was fine.
Kai sure as hell wasn't.
"Dude, come on, practice, training, you know, the time of day where you scream at us to move our asses and to stop being wimps, then we end up challenging each other every five minutes? Practice, dude, let's go!"
His eyes opened this time. It was the first time in a long time since he had given anyone, much less Tyson, even the time of day. It didn't look like the Phoenix Prince had been crying, it didn't even look like he had done anything. Hadn't slept, eaten, moved, in well, they had no idea how long it had been.
He had sat there, in front of the window, looking out at the sky.
They left him there, thinking that he'd figure everything he needed to on his own.
Kai wasn't sure, as they weren't, how long it had been since he had eaten. They thought he was asleep, but he just couldn't. It had been two days now, that he had been in this spot, by the window. He could feel the cool Autumn day approaching. The calendar told him it was October sixteenth. The seventeenth was the day he feared.
That day held too much memory. And he was bound to his memory, to his past.
It would mean the anniversary of the day his father had left him in the hands of his grandfather. He had been nine.
It would mean the day he had first painted his cheeks and declared himself against fun in the sport of beyblading, against all those who, like his father, chose it over everything else. He officially considered himself abandoned on that day. He had been ten.
That, just that oath in general, the one that made him paint his cheeks, made him so angry that the fire inside him burned beyond their knowledge, stirred emotions he was not used to.
Was he against himself?
At times, he answered weakly. Sometimes he sunk to their level, let down his guard and had fun, something that was unforgivable.
He had broken his own oath then, and for that, he was not worth his own pathetic existance.
It wasn't that he wanted anyone to feel bad for him. He knew his team mates would. Hell, they'd blame themselves. That was sometimes, what he figured was holding him back from just ending himself via cliff, beyblade, alcohol... there were plenty of methods.
Sometimes he figured that they knew, because he was never left to his own devices for too long. They would always peek in on him if he was alone in the kitchen and was too silent, or if he was outside late at night, any of that. Now, they gave him plenty of time to himself, and for that he was grateful. Like now, for instance.
He pushed the thought of suicide back onto the dark and morbid shelf it had come from. That was the coward's way out. And as much as he knew no one really wanted him, he decided that killing himself, however appealing it may have sounded at times, would've been like holding out Dranzer on a platter with a sign that said 'Steal Me!' And even then, all their fights would've been for naught, and the red phoenix didn't deserve that from someone whom she called a partner.
Why, why did she fight so hard for him after all the times he'd lost, all the times he'd let her down? Why did she call him her partner?
Then again, he didn't deserve her, and he knew she had heard that, as tendrils of firey red thought blazed through his mind, trying to brighten it up. He felt his heart rate quell a bit, and relaxed a little into the chair. His mind was sharp, but the rest of him felt dull. He figured it was a bit of the sleep deprivation he had inflicted upon himself.
He knew better, though. If he slept, he'd have nightmares. And that was nothing he wanted to cope with again. Everything was vivid when he slept.
It was better that he didn't dream of anything other than beating Tyson. That was something pleasurable.
"Hey, Kai, you move yet?"
The sound of flesh on flesh, obviously a slap, sounded through the room.
"Oww... Hilary, that left a mark."
Max and Ray came into the kitchen, whose doorway overlooked Kai's lean form, still pensively positioned at the window. Hilary and Tyson, who nursed a hand-enprinted left arm, followed, Daichi and Kenny coming up the back. Kai didn't turn around to look at the gang.
Hilary approached him timidly, but knew that with Kai, you couldn't doubt yourself, because he could sense it, and turn it around on you without blinking. She sat down next to him, pulling up a wooden chair. She looked over at him, and he turned to look at her for a moment, in which he saw sincere concern. He wished to tell her it was fake and that she really didn't care.
She looked at him, shocked. He was surprised too, since words had yet to work for him, except for the last two he had finally said. "Kai," She said seriously, "We're all worried about you. You can tell us what's wrong," she added softly.
Part of him registered this, while the other part of him seemed gone. She slung an arm around his shoulders.
"Please," she whispered. "We just wanna help."
His next action scared Hilary half to death. If anyone had learned anything about Kai over the years, it was that his spectrum of emotional intensity went from zero to sixty in about a millisecond. He jumped up, and it was apparent from the wild look in his eyes, that he was seething.
"You can't help me! Don't you see? Why can't you all just leave me the hell alone?"
Hilary had, in the process, fallen off the chair, to the floor, and was staring up at the wild-eyed captain, who looked down upon her, the warm breath coming out in frequent, shallow puffs hitting her face. She first looked up at him in intensive fear, before her angry and frustrated half took over. She slid out from underneath his deadly glare and stood up, backing up behind the chair she had knocked over.
"You know what? I've heard some stories," she said, wagging her finger in his direction. "Something involving a Lake in Russia, Black Dranzer, and a near death situation in which your self pity nearly killed you. God knows you don't want our pity, and I'll be- no, we'll be damned if we let you drown."
Tyson reached up and snaked an arm around Hilary's shoulder, while Ray and Max came up on the other side of her. Kenny and Daichi had also made their way into the room. "Something's up with you," Max said, his aqua colored eyes bearing the same concern as Hilary's.
"Yeah, man, we just wanna know what's up," Ray added.
Kai snorted. "Yeah, that's why you left." He rolled his eyes and made his way to the door, brushing past Tyson in a rather angry matter, their shoulders colliding, Kai's left with Tyson's right. "Just leave me alone!"
The speed at which Kai had left surprised them. He had seemed rather sluggish up until the point he had scared the living shit out of Hilary, who went to go after him. Ray and Tyson both grabbed her shoulders. She sent them a worried and surprised look.
Both boys shook their head, and Ray spoke. "Let him calm down. He'll come back; he always does."
She seemed skeptical. "How do you know? He's never been this bad!"
"I know, but Kai is Kai. We can't go head first into his business, he'll only reject us. If he doesn't come back by tonight, we'll go out and find him."
Hilary sighed, not seeming convinced. Tyson pulled her back from Ray. "Don't worry too much about Sourpuss. We're all a bit concerned about him, but he'll be okay. He'll talk when he's ready. He always has."
"I hope you're right about this..."
Kai ran until he felt like his muscles were eating themselves. It was at that point when he collapsed did he realize how stupid he was being. He didn't want to be alone. It was late already; the sun had already set, and the sky was becoming it's night time color of a deep navy, too blue to be black, but too black to be blue. It was a sight he enjoyed, but the cool wind and all too clear sky felt frightning to him.
Fear was for the weak.
Ah, one of the things that his grandfather told him. Was it a lie? Well, he didn't know. He had found his morals strewn amongst a battle ground and a hell that he had grown up in, only to be scared, abandoned, and unstable.
For someone who was supposed to be heartless and emotionless, he seemed very emotionally unstable. He figured it was a side-effect of his childhood, which he cursed himself for bringing up. All it did was cause more inner-turmoil. And that was just what he wanted, of course.
He wanted to scream to the sky. To ask all the questions that had never been answered. Most of them began with why.
Why did he push people away?
Why couldn't he bring himself to let go of his pride?
Why did he have to be the one tortured into becoming his grandfather's puppet?
Why did his father leave him?
"Why the hell am I not good enough for you?!?!"
He returned to his state of silence, surprised by his own outburst. He didn't sound like the untouchable being he presented himself as in the beystadium, but rather, the broken child he was. He was still that nine-year old, who watched his father walk away, and still that ten-year old, painting his cheeks and telling himself that it was his own fault, that his father abandoned him because he wasn't good enough.
He couldn't lie to himself. He could lie to the rest of them as much as he wanted, but to himself, he knew.
He hadn't changed since then, and neither did the things he wanted.
"Okay, now will you please go look for him?" Hilary asked, pacing by the window, annoying the rest of them. "I'm really freaking out here, in case you've been hiding under a rock or comatose."
Ray looked to Tyson and Max. "C'mon guys, we should probably go out. It's been like five hours and it's almost midnight."
Daichi was about to get up, but Tyson held an arm out. "Dude, you should probably stay here. It's just a Bladebreakers thing."
Daichi looked confused. "Bladebreakers?"
Kenny smirked. "I'll explain, and I think we have some cookies, right Hilary?"
Hilary smiled, leading the two boys into the kitchen. Tyson and Ray nodded, Max smiled brilliantly. "Save us one," He chimed happily. "I'm sure we'll be hungry."
"Hey, look there-" Max said, pointing. Kai sat alone, out in the open, overlooking the grassy strip of land near the river where they typically practiced. It was by no means warm on this night, and Tyson had a black blanket over his shoulder.
"Shh. I don't want to freak him out too bad, he probably doesn't wanna see us anyway."
Tyson shrugged. "Well, he doesn't have a choice. We're going to be there for him. He's always got our back, when we really need it."
"Shut up," Max said, nudging him, "You just want a whole-hearted rival. Who the hell are you kidding?"
"Apparently no one," he said, with his mega-watt smile. "I guess I'm not that convincing."
Ray rolled his eyes. "Come on, guys, let's go take care of this."
Kai felt the wind pushing against the right side of his body, his tired amethyst eyes peering out at the blackened river. He dared not look up at the sky. Though, he did look up just a little bit. He swore he had heard something. He figured it was just the fact that he was tired and cold that was catching up to him, as his arms were pricked with goosebumps. When his face hit the slightly more than subtle wind, he felt the tear stains on his face more than before.
He didn't remember crying at any point. Though, he knew, as he had been sitting there, midnight would come soon, if it hadn't passed already. That would make it the worst day of all three hundred sixty-five and one-whatever-ith of them in a year. And he really didn't want to deal with that day.
Without warning, something warm, fleecy feeling covered up his white exposed arms. He snuggled into it before realizing that this something hadn't been over him five seconds ago.
It was then that he heard the people behind him. Two people sat on his left, one on his right.
"It's after midnight, you know," Ray said thoughtfully.
Kai's breath caught in his throat, and he said nothing. They heard his near gasp and Tyson looked over at him. "Dude, you gotta fess up. What the hell is going on?"
The boy looked up, sighed, and via the streetlight in the distance, they saw his porcelain cheeks, and more importantly, the tear stains that painted them. Kai knew they had seen those tears, since he had heard their gasps of shock.
Max was obviously shocked. All their team mates knew that Kai was Max's hero. It was his strength, and his ability to know when something was up, not to mention Kai's uncanny ability to be there right when you need it. "Kai, you can tell us what's wrong."
Another sigh followed. Kai's breath testified to the fact that he was shaking. He didn't have anything to hide, did he?
Tyson put his arms around Kai's shoulders, and the boy looked up at the blunette champion. "It's just us Bladebreakers. All for one, one for all, dude. We're here for you."
Perhaps that was comforting. Perhaps because this was what it had all begun with, and this was what he needed. They were the only ones who had tried. "Today is not my day," He said bluntly, "In case you haven't noticed."
There was a smidge of laughter, but it was quickly smothered. They didn't dare add a comment, knowing full well that this would stop the talking process.
He reached a hand up from under the blanket to rub the tear stains off his cheeks. A bit of blue face paint came with it. "Today is the anniversary of the day I first painted my cheeks, and before you ask Tyson, yes, the 'shark fins.' The year before, to the day, was the... the day my Dad-"
"You don't have to tell us, if you don't want to," Ray piped up. "No one's gonna make you."
Kai shook his head. "I know, Ray." He took a deep breath, "Today's also the anniversary of the day my Dad abandoned me."
Max, who was on the left side of Kai, hugged the boy fiercely, much to everyone's surprise. Kai held completely still for the first moment, until he sagged into the embrace tiredly. Now, as we all know, Kai is not the public crying type. But here, in the presence of the first three friends he ever had, it was alright. He'd cry, and no one would pity him. These three knew that he had been through more in a childhood than men could handle. It was okay for his insecurities to show. The whole world wouldn't have to know. It was just his team, and his team made him stronger than he had ever thought possible.
They stayed with him until sunrise came, all four of them huddled under the same blanket. It was a different feeling this time, Kai realized, opening his eyes from a much needed sleep. A new beginning. He looked over at them, and realized, that during the night, not one of them slept. He remembered confiding his fear of sleep during this time, and their promise to watch him if he did. When his eyes met Max, the blonde smiled proudly. Tyson, to his right looked out at the sunrise, while Ray looked at Kai as well. He nodded, they nodded, and it went unsaid.
Maybe he was back at the beginning. The beginning of a time when he was not bound by his past. A time when all he was bound to was the light and the people he cared for the most.
Yeah, he decided, his lips curving into a smirk-ish smile, That would be it.
A little short of seven pages, but a cute little one-shot about Kai, his past, and some team support.
Here's hope you'd review!
Distant Storm, signing off!