Title: Only Second Best
Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine
Summary: The world knows him as the perfect blader, but Brooklyn knows that, to Boris, he'll never be anything more than second best…
Warnings: angst, yaoi
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 intent to entertain.
A/N: I am just in freakin' Brooklyn-angst mode. He isn't a favourite of mine, but he's interesting to write, and this thing has been clogging my laptop for too long. My "inspiration" (ahem) came from a friend who'd noted that Brooklyn and Tala were kinda alike. Shouldn't have listened to her since she isn't an anime fan and to her every anime character looks alike, but once my angst engine goes into motion it's hard to shut it down. So here you go, another unnecessary Brooklyn-angst fic!
This was intended to be the second chapter of "The Colour of Envy", but I found that it didn't really relate to that story so I decided to post it as a separate fic. Also, as you may have noticed, I have labelled "The Colour of Envy" and COMPLETE, meaning that it will remain a one-shot. Sorry.
Also, as you will noticed, I have tweaked a few events in the series. Hey, it's fanfiction! Written by me! Whatcha expect?
Only Second Best
Ladya C. Maxine
"And you are…?"
"Brooklyn Kingston, sir," I answered politely, bowing deeply.
"Kingston…," He looked at me, my hair, my eyes, my clothes. "Yes…You are exactly what I need."
Standing at the end of a long row of hopefuls, I gave the tall man an agreeing smile. Was there ever any doubt? The others looked defeated; they knew that the position's already mine. No one else but I was worthy of it. Many had fought hard to earn the last place on team BEGA; they'd spent months, maybe even years, practicing, intent on becoming a member of the elite. Everyone had muttered, amused, when they heard that I hadn't prepared myself.
Training was so overrated, if you asked me. You didn't just become a strong blader. You just couldn't. Either you were naturally gifted or not. I knew this for a fact. I was living proof of my own philosophy. The thought that I'd never practiced before made them laugh and talk amongst themselves.
They weren't laughing anymore. They weren't even given the chance. Boris sent them off, without even seeing the rest. A disinterested wave of his gloved hand sentenced them back to their dreary, mundane, practice-riddled lives, a chance to attain greatness and fame snatched from their greedy fingers.
Walking alongside the director, I felt his eyes on me several times. He's evaluating me. Studying me. I supposed he's judging my being, judging how to handle me, judging which of my many natural talents would be the most beneficial.
"Have you ever been on a team, Brooklyn?"
"Have you ever been in a beyblade training facility?"
"Have you ever entered a beyblading competition."
"Yes, sir, but I don't believe in training and I don't need a team. They will only hold me back. I think you'll find my skills more than sufficient."
Apparently, that wasn't enough for Boris Balcov.
"Like the others, you will have to go through mandatory training," he said, studying me with a critical eye, the likes of which I was unused to. No one had ever looked at me in any way other than appraisingly. "And a few friendly battles, to gauge your limits."
"With all due respect, sir," I informed, making sure to convey my regret of having to interrupt him, "I have never trained a day in my life, nor do I plan to start now."
Boris' back stiffened and his voice lost its indifference, only to be replaced with offence.
"If you wish to be a part of this team then you will have to obey my orders, Brooklyn."
Of course I would. Boris was used to getting his way. He was used to ordering others around. And to be disobeyed, or even questioned, displeased him terribly. I soon learned why.
I was…taken aback, I admit, when we first started. He placed me with the lowest ranking bladers in the facility. To him, I was not a blader, but a part of his ambition, lived through a team I had yet to meet. I made quick work of the would-be rookies, shattering their blades to pieces and sending a few to the emergency room. I never meant to hurt them; I am not a naturally violent person. I would wait them out, let them attack me with all their power, and only then, when they were exhausted and pitiful, did I move in and help them by ending their embarrassing attempts. They were just too weak and even my lightest attacks left them bruised.
And Boris knew this.
He knew that I was holding back. The man had dedicated his life to the sport. I didn't know anything about him, or this facility, but I'd heard tales of him having once managed the most powerful team in the world. Beyblade, while a fun little side hobby, didn't have that important a place in my life. I was there because I needed something to do; my parents had been forced to take me from school because I knew everything and the teachers were worried that their feeble teachings could affect my I.Q., or something. I don't like to exert myself unless necessary, and, quite frankly, these rooky bladers I kept blasting out of the dish weren't worth my while or energy.
For some reason, Boris thought otherwise.
"Your style isn't aggressive enough, Brooklyn. You need to attack, not meander until your opponent loses strength!" he'd bark from the bench, his lackeys with clipboards and computers monitoring my matches. "Don't just stand there! Go for the kill at once and finish them off quickly!"
I was a calm person. Nothing bothered me much. And I didn't like to make a scene, not even when blading. While every other idiot shrieked out his next move or roared, I assumed to intimidate me, I preferred to battle in silence. The peace was a nice counter force to the adrenaline. Sometimes, when my opponent would put his all into an attack, push himself to the limit, and actually manage to nudge my blade by half an inch, I'd smile, wordlessly complimenting him on his futile but honest effort. I didn't necessarily want those I blade against to know that I thought them to be incompetent bores; that would be rude.
Somehow, Boris didn't appreciate my sportsmanship.
"Your attitude is unacceptable for a blader! Put your strength and anger behind your blade. Let your enemy know that you are the one he will fear for the rest of his life. Don't ever smile at them; that is showing him a weak spot. Anger and force, that's all you need to show!"
When I was finally introduced to my team I wasn't as much excited as curious. We made a well-rounded group, I suppose. I blended in, keeping to the background during minor team matches. We always won. Despite my inexperience, I learned to work with them, mainly because I let them make the decisions. There was no appointed leader, but Garland was the one the others looked up to the most. He made rational choices and, without needing to consult me, he knew that I preferred to be kept on reserve. Together we ploughed through competitions, never dropping a single match. I was surprised and proud of myself, travelling and blading with others, who I slowly started to like.
And yet, Boris quickly grew impatient.
"Too lenient. You are too meek with the others, Kingston. You are the strongest! You are the greatest! You have to represent them. You are supposed to be the leader. I don't like seeing you sitting on the bench all the time. Assert yourself. Let the team and the public see your dominance. Show them! Show them your power!"
As time went on Boris' comments became more numerous and more insistent until I could no longer shrug them off. He watched my matches, hounded me to train, continually spoke to me as if I was the team captain in front of the others, recited the results of the scientific studies performed on me. He insisted, demanded, ridiculed, shouted, threatened, pressed. He didn't treat the others like he treated me, despite them being weaker and more in need of his full attention.
I never back talked him. I'd nod and say "Yes, sir" and sometimes I tried to appease him by ending a match a bit quicker, or shouting out my next attack, or questioning Garland whenever Boris was nearby. But I didn't like to make a scene, so I accepted what my director said, like an obedient solider.
Strangely, on some days, that would set him off too.
"You have no backbone! You're too submissive! Is this how you expect to get anywhere in life? You are even meeker away from the dish! Open your mouth and defend yourself, Brooklyn! I saw your reaction to a rookies insults; you did nothing! You didn't lash back, verbally or physically! You just stood there, watching him with that indifferent look while everyone watched! What type of example is that?"
"What was I supposed to do, sir?"
"Put him in his place, of course! Punch him! Ridicule his low rank! Launch your blade at him! Humiliate him and leave him in a pool of his own tears!"
"But…That would be wrong, sir."
He wanted something from me. Troublemakers were swiftly dealt with, but he there he was, urging me to break the rules. He dared me to inflict pain on those who crossed me. It would be alright if I showed aggression and loathing to others, even him.
What? What did he want from me? He had picked me out himself. I'd been his first and only choice. I was powerful, smart, obedient, a team player (in the making), a disciplined student. And still he never stopped shouting. He never stopped pushing me. He was…goading me to shout back. He was trying to get me to strike back at him. Once, when he'd gone so far as to insult my mother, I had come close to snapping a retort, my teeth clenching and eyes narrowing. An ecstatic look crossed his face and he'd waited for me to say something, but I didn't, restraining myself at the very last moment. He'd spat at my feet, cursed me and walked away.
He wanted me to change. He wanted me to be someone I wasn't. I didn't know who, or why. Sometimes I wondered if my blading talent ever mattered to him. It took a while, but I began to notice that, after my trail match, he'd spend a lot less time looking at what I was doing and just looked at me. Even when I wasn't blading, his stare would follow me wherever I went. I would spot him looking at me from an upstairs window while I lay in the facility's atrium. During team meetings he'd stare at me from across the table when not talking. At times, while travelling to tournaments, he'd insist that I sat next to him in the bus or made sure to book my seat next to his.
"And?" he asked me after I'd experimented with a new prototype the company had developed.
"It's a lot more sensitive to command," I said, picking up my blade. "It forces the blader to focus a lot more on movement, rather than power. I like it."
Again, he stared at me. I said nothing, waiting for him to say something else. He raised a gloved hand and lightly brushed my bangs aside. I didn't ask him to stop. When he leaned in, face coming close enough for me to feel his breath on my lips, I didn't step away. I flinched when he applied pressure, pressing me against the wall, but I didn't push him away.
I wasn't frightened. I wasn't disgusted. I wasn't outraged. I was perplexed. Still, by the time he pulled away I was breathing rapidly, cheeks burning and skin tingling.
"Nothing," he said, pulling away, hands still on my waist. He looked disappointed. "Nothing."
Why? Why did I infuriate him like that? He wanted something. It had to be something specific. Boris knew what he wanted. Physically, I was what he wanted. Mentally, I was not.
It went on for months. Team BEGA settled in. The others were friend. Yes, I considered them friends. Even Ming Ming. I hadn't attended a single training seminar or simulation practice. I never lost a match, and even fought a few times in tournaments. Lesser bladers no longer confronted me. I had become a god in their eyes. They begged me to give them tips and asked me to join them to hang out sometimes. My results were off the chart. I was officially the strongest blader in the world. The strongest ever.
My first kiss with Boris wasn't the last. Almost every day he'd call me to his office or pull me to the side or come to my room, under every circumstance. He'd barge in, shouting about something I'd done wrong earlier, berating my performance, only to push me up against the wall and smother me with needful kisses; or he'd start off softly, discussing future plans for the team with me in private, sidling up alongside me for a touch that always led to kisses. Sometimes he'd be gentle, other times rough. Sometimes he'd be angry, other times sweet. He slapped me across my face a couple of times, or threatened to take things to the next level, going so far as to push me down on the bed, pulling away when I didn't do anything.
I never did anything. At first, because I didn't think much of it, but overtime I started kissing back, thinking that that is what he wanted. He'd start something, only to pull back after a few seconds, so I figured he wanted a reaction. Whenever I started to comply, though, it would only repel him quicker.
"That's not it…" he'd often say to himself as he released me. "Not it at all…"
And I'd be left, confused and, as I grew more familiar with his advances, wishing that he hadn't stopped.
Then, one night, he didn't. His didn't change tactics. He shouted at me as I stood next to my bed, ready to retire after a long day of refusing to train, and slapped me, outright urging me to retaliate. I shook my head and told him that I wouldn't. I was raised to respect my superiors.
"Do something, Kingston!" he demanded, forcefully kissing me, gripping my hair painfully. "Fight me! Resist me! Scream! Curse! Something!"
I did struggle, trying to get out the painful hold. I didn't curse or fight him, but it was enough. He pushed me down, keeping one hand knotted in my hair, forcing me to keep on squirming in an attempt to free myself. I didn't shout for help or call him names when he finally did it, content to let my soft gasps and cries be muffled by his mouth. He wasn't gentle, still hoping to ignite a violent spark within me. I was sore afterwards, satisfied, but wanting more. Boris wanted something more too, but in a different way. One that I could not provide. So I was surprised when, during one of his nightly visits which had become routine over the weeks, he said in between his moans:
"You are my favourite."
"Am I?" I asked, eyes closed and panting, my cheek pressed into my pillow.
"My absolute favourite," he insisted, picking up the pace.
I bit my lip, unable to not smile.
Team BEGA had kept a relatively low profile for months, away from the media spotlight. Now Boris was ready to expose us. He'd been planning for over a year and, with a move that shocked the world, he took over the BBA. Garland tried to explain to me how influential the BBA was, but up until then I'd never even heard of it. I preferred to leave the world alone, and am grateful that it returned the favour. So, with this apparent monumental takeover, Boris threw the whole blading community into a tizzy, as Mystel said.
People began to take notice. One name kept popping up a lot in the facility: Tyson Granger, the current world champion. People said that he and his defunct team, the Blade Breakers, had a history with Boris. Another name that also made its rounds in the new BEGA headquarters was Kai Hiwatari, one time captain and top blader of Boris' old team, the Demolition Boys, of whom I'd never heard of. Both names meant nothing to me. Boris never blinked when the staff and bladers spoke of Tyson. He would sneer whenever someone whispered Kai's name. Overall, though, he was unaffected. He'd moved on, away from his past.
Until an article of our team appeared in the headlines on morning.
Until the past stormed into BEGA headquarters hours later.
Until Boris found himself face to face with his past.
I wasn't present at the time. I was in the park, watching butterflies while Mystel swung happily from branch to branch. We'd slowly made our way back to the building, only to find the whole place tense. Everyone was talking in huddled groups, excited about something but too scared to raise their voices above hushed whispers. Mystel, ever curious, ran off to find the others, eager to be clued in. I just walked on, more interested in a nice long nap.
Two people caught my eye when I reached the fourth floor, where our rooms and Boris' office were. Tall teens, well built and impressively intimidating, were leaning against the railing at the top of the stairs, talking in a language I didn't know. They stopped when they spotted me. Somehow, I knew they knew who I was, though we'd never met before, I was sure.
"What the fuck are you looking at?" the ganglier of the two demanded, his light grey eyes hinting that he wasn't a stable character. His blond companion didn't speak, using his height and size to relay his feelings.
"I'm sorry," I said, wondering what I could have done to have gotten such a vulgar and fierce reaction. "I didn't mean to stare. It's just that I've never seen you before. Are you new trainees?"
They shared quizzical but menacing looks.
"You've got to be shitting me," the grey haired snickered. "Looks like Boris got himself a new bitch. You're Brooklyn, right?"
"I am," I said, not sure how he had meant the part before that. "May I ask who you are?"
"No, you may fucking not. You're the best that asshole could find? Hn."
He laughed outright this time. A manic laugh. I looked around, trying to spot his caretakers. Should he be allowed to walk around freely?
"It was a pleasure to meet you," I lie. "Perhaps we'll see each other again sometime."
Neither answered, one still laughing, the other still mute.
'What strange people', I thought as I left them there and headed down the long corridor, turning corners as I weaved my way closer and closer to my room. I wondered what they were doing here. Were they the topic that was being so heavily talked about downstairs? Shouldn't security have done something about them entering? Whatever. I was feeling tired and my room was only a few steps away.
"You've got some fucking nerve, Boris!" a voice shouted from beyond an open door. Boris' office door. He never left it open, especially not when he had visitors.
I was surprised. One, because no one called him that to his face. Two, because no one raised their voice at him. And three, because, when I peeked inside, I saw that the person who had wasn't a superior of his, or even an important business associate, but a teenager not much older than me.
Boris was standing before his desk, arms crossed as he looked down at a fiery redhead before him. For once, I was intrigued, peeping with one eye around the doorframe. Was this a friend of those two I had left near the stairs? He certainly had a temper like the grey haired teen. Throwing a wrinkled newspaper at Boris' feet, he glared at the man.
"A new start in life? A gift to Beyblade? A changed man? Who do you think you are kidding? No one believes a word of this bullshit! You haven't changed, you never will! Who the fuck will think any better of you after what you tried to pull? You should have fucking stayed dead to the world, you worthless piece of…!" he went on, spouting vulgarism, his blue eyes hard and his body shivering with more rage than he could verbally expressed.
Boris said nothing. He stared at the ranting teen. Even from here I could see that he was forcing himself to breathe evenly. Anger? Insult? No…Not according to his stare. His eyes…were longing. They were hungry. Ravenous. He looked like he was restraining himself, his fists clenched as he took in the sight of a wrathful redhead. He discreetly licked his lips.
I don't know how long the two had been here, but Boris could no longer contain himself. He grabbed a wrist and pulled the redhead towards him. The teen cursed and his other fist shot out, nailing Boris across the cheek. Boris didn't let go. If anything he only craved more.
"You haven't changed either, Tala," he said, grabbing the hand before it could smash into his skull again. He held both behind the teen's back, forcing the redhead into an uncomfortable embrace as he started to kiss and lick at the pale neck. "You haven't changed in the past two years at all. Still a fighter…Still passionate. Just the way I remember you. Just the way you were when you lead the Demolition Boys. Feisty and stubborn and refusing to obey the rules of the Abbey. Two years down the road and you still possess every quality that drew me to you the first time."
"Prepare to be hospitalized, you bastard!" the redhead, Tala, sneered, tugging at the hands gripping his. "I'm not even going to give you a chance to walk away! They'll be searching for your teeth for days whe—!!"
My cheeks burned red when Boris silenced him with a ravenous kiss, bolder than anything he'd ever given me. Risking serious harm, he used one hand to tug at the redhead's clothes, touching as much skin as he could. Blood was going to splatter now, I knew it. Once Tala got over the shock, he'd beat Boris into a pile. He had so much hatred in him. A violent person. He meant business and Boris was going to go down.
Tala, however, did nothing. He allowed himself to be kissed. He allowed the hand to go wherever it wanted. I could see his chest heaving and his eyes were closed, but he was not an active participant.
I didn't know what to think. What did this mean? Here was Boris, crushing a volatile redhead to him, groaning and grunting as he plundered Tala's mouth. Here was Tala, having put up a savage fight, eyes closed and body willing. And here was I…
Where was I now? I was still the favourite…right?
Boris had also looked at me with those hungry eyes. He'd touched me the same way he was now touching Tala. He'd kissed me the same way. Held me the same way. I had done my best to satisfy his appetite…but his eyes were always hungry, not fulfilled.
Hungry, but not longing.
Hungry, but not interested.
Now he indulged himself. And Tala let him, waiting until the director pulled himself away with a big gasp, his lungs no doubt on fire. Boris, the powerful owner of BEGA, the historical trainer of top bladers, the immoveable man who cared for no one but me, he'd claimed, looked humbled. Cupping Tala's face with shaking hands, he kissed the tip of the redhead's nose disbelievingly.
"I knew you'd come back, Tala…" he moaned, running a thumb over the redhead's lips. The need in his eyes was returning, hungry for more. "I never stopped hoping…I knew you'd come back to me…"
"You…" Tala said in a low voice. He raised his head, offering Boris to plant another searing kiss. Boris was too helpless to refuse. A smirk as cold as his eyes touched Tala lips beneath Boris' roving mouth. "You…are so pathetic."
"You know you can't have me."
"I need you. All this time, all this work, it's all for you. I did this all for you!"
"Am I supposed to care?" the redhead asked, nibbling at the man's lower lip. "You know how I feel about you. You know I hate you more than anything else in the world. You know that I'll soon walk out of this office and leave you, begging like street urchin. You are getting old and senile, Boris. You just don't get it."
"I can't let you go. Not now...Not after all those years."
"Hn," the teen said, allowing a hand to slip beneath his shirt. "You never had me in the first place. Anyway, I have a train to catch in fifteen minutes," he said, checking the clock over the man's shoulder, ignoring the hand. "Bryan, Spencer and I will see you and your latest projects at the tournament."
"Five more minutes…" Boris begged, refusing to let go. "Just…let me touch you…I've forgotten how you tasted…"
"You are so pathetic," Tala sighed, wrenching himself free, almost twisting Boris' hands clean off his wrists. "I won't take you out in here. I'll wait until the tournament, where you'll be humiliated in front of millions. I am looking forward to it."
"But you won't kill me."
Looking back at the man, Tala smirked, the corners of his mouth curving slyly.
"Where would be the fun in that? You know me, Boris. I prefer to let you suffer." He walked back to where Boris was now kneeling, rubbing his sore wrists, and crouched down. "And I know you like it just as much as I do."
He did. I could see it in his eyes. Boris loved the way Tala treated him. He loved to be humiliated and insulted and even assaulted. It fed the fires in his eyes. It fed his ravenous appetite, and satisfied it. Tala's utter loathing, his coarse nature, his smooth skin, his degrading treatment; it drove Boris crazy with want.
"See you at the tournament," he said, giving a mockingly loving kiss on Boris' brow, pulling away before the man could grab him. "I'm curious to see your latest toy. I've heard that he looks a bit like me. You really are incurable."
"He's nothing compared to you. He isn't even half of what you are. He's nothing at all."
I turned and ran, unable to hear more. I wasn't crying, but something did hurt within me. Hearing him say that, hearing him speak trash of me, after what he'd told me those nights he'd hurt me as well as pleasure me, was too much. Things were beginning to fall into place and I was beginning to get the picture. Things were adding up quickly and by the time I burst into my room, panting, I understood.
I understood why Boris had been on my case for months. I understood why he'd stare at me and make me sit next to him as much as possible. I understood why he'd kiss me so suddenly, out of the blue. Everything was obvious now, down to his frantic whispers he'd utter to me while sating himself in me.
I paced my room, hiccupping, my whole world upside down and spinning. My inner turmoil was interrupted minutes later when the door opened. Boris stood there, his clothes and hair still ruffled. Shutting the door behind him, he quickly walked over, shoved me back onto the mattress and pinned me down, pressing our lips together hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. Whether he knew that I'd been there I'd never know, but I knew a lot of other things now.
So much want and passion…but not for me. So much desire…mere remnants of his encounter with his former student and lover. As he slipped off my clothes, I could still hear his moans as he worked the redhead's mouth. As he touched me, aroused me, I could still hear him begging Tala to take him back.
Begging him to take his place next to him. Beneath him. To take the place I was now in.
Begging him…to replace me.
Because I wasn't who Boris wanted. I wasn't who he wanted me to be. I could never be who he had been trying to mould me into over the past months. I couldn't be Tala even if I tried. I didn't have it in me to be as fiery and fierce and aggressive. Perhaps there was a vague resemblance between us, enough to have caught Boris' eye that day when he picked me from a line of one hundred bladers. Enough to have tempted him. Yes, when the light was low and when ecstasy blinded a desperate man, it was alright to settle with someone else.
"You're my favourite," he whispered in my ear, eyes shut tight and nails scraping my skin, refusing to give up on me, praying that I'd react in a violent way, just like the person he believed he was talking to.
I wasn't his favourite. Those words had never been meant for me.
He had chosen me, but I hadn't been his first choice.
I was just a temporary replacement. That's all I'd ever be, both in the dish and out of it.
I stared up at the ceiling with empty eyes as he whispered over and over again:
"…You are my favourite…You'll always be my favourite…No one will ever replace you…I love you…Always my favourite…Always the first…"
"…Liar…" I said softly, blinking away the tears.
To the most important man in the business, I was not the greatest blader in the world. I wasn't the greatest in anything. I'd never be.
Next to Tala, I was only second best.
A/N: There ya go! Random fic that didn't need to be written, but that's what writing fanfiction is all about, isn't it?
Oooh! Tala is such a whore! Always love writing him as a heartless person! Aw, poor Brooklyn keeps getting upstaged by Tala in my fics, doesn't he? Gee, I wonder why…
Read & Review, please.