Tyson to a Different Tune
The Last Great Place
"Big bro! Big bro! Come quick!" A little boy yelled excitedly.
The brother pretended he didn't hear anything so that he could savor his ice cream cone in peace for a few more moments. Mmm, chocolate.
"Hiiiiro!!" The tiny voice his little brother had could really get loud sometimes. Hiro sighed, then smiled, and quick-stepped his way over to where Tyson was getting himself into a little fit.
The music shop was right next to a hobby store that lots of other little kids were hording around. Apparently some new toy had come out that had the town's tiny generation in excited chaos. Baybits, Bitblades, or something, they were called. Hiro didn't pay toys as much attention these days, if they didn't involve his brother. He was much too old, and cool.
"Hiro!" Tyson sounded reprimanding and to complete his mood, stamped his foot a few times. "LOOK!" He pointed and pointed and pointed.
The teenage Granger brother did look and bit into his cone uninterestedly. "What Tyson? It's just a guitar."
His little eyes shone at the instrument, his nose almost touching the glass. It was an electric guitar in white and blue, shining in the little display next to a saxophone and a keyboard.
Hiro did a double-take. "Wha.. no. Tyson, you can't get it."
"WHY!" He cried.
"Because!" Hiro rolled his eyes, why did he have to be the cool, older, generally more awesome one? "Those are really expensive. And you have to actually practice to not suck. You'll waste it!"
"NO I WON'T!" Tyson continued angrily.
"Yes you will. You're only six, you're gonna grow tired of it and in two weeks move onto something else." He was speaking from experience, of course.
"NO." That frown was so annoying, Hiro frowned back. "And I won't suck! I'll be the bestest guitarer ever!"
The older boy laughed. "Yeah, right. Why don't you get a bitblade thingie. Your kind seems to love them." He pointed to where some of the neighbours' kids were happily putting together their little plastic thingamajiggers.
"I don't want a Beyblade! I want a guitar!"
"Whatever." He popped the last bit of cone into his mouth and crumbled up the empty napkin, stuffing it into his pocket. "You finished your cone, so let's go back now."
Tyson looked longingly at the window display. "But….I don-"
Hiro signed in frustration and crossed his arms. Once Tyson got it into his head he wanted something, there was usually no end to his screaming and crying sessions. "If I give you my hat, will you forget about the guitar?"
"Wha-Really?!" The little boy's eyes lit up, guitar momentarily forgotten. That was his brother's lucky hat, and he was going to give it to him?
"Yeah sure." Hiro took it off and slapped it onto his kid brother's head with a grin. "Let's go, gramps is waiting."
"Okay!" Tyson sang happily, playing with the wide lip of the hat. It was still way too big for him. Hiro rolled his eyes. Baseball caps were uncool now, and he was way too old to wear it. It was a fair trade.
A week later though, Tyson Granger got the guitar.
10 years later…
"Max!" The teacher said loudly.
The drum beats rattled on in no particular rhythm.
"MAX!" She tried again.
Cymbals started to crash at odd intervals, sounding more like someone was driving a truck over the drum set and then backing up to drive over it once more.
"MAX TATE!!" She screamed, and the whole class' warm up went silent. Someone playing the clarinet hit a high screechy note by not giving enough wind.
The blond in question stopped his freestyle drumming sheepishly, looking around for his music teacher. Ms. Treble, a middle aged woman with far too much gray hair for her own good popped out of thin air next to his snare drum. Max jumped and dropped his sticks.
"Young man, what do you think you are doing!" Her tone was definitely sharp, B sharp maybe. Max smiled in embarrassment.
"Sorry I was just warming up, Ms. Treble."
She tapped her conductor's baton on the bridge of her glasses, looking very harassed. Listening to high schoolers play their instruments at 7AM though, who wouldn't be high strung?
"You will do the normal warm up practice, Mr. Tate."
"Uh.. okay… but," He looked around aimlessly for help. His friend Hilary was giving him the evil eye, she liked following the rules a bit too much.
"But what?" Ms. Treble's forehead seemed to be pulsing, and she tapped her baton against the spot until it stopped. It was only the first day of school, how she'd taught for fifteen years at Bay High was anyone's guess.
"It's so boring! I like to be a bit more creative when I warm up!" Max replied with a smile. Somehow his drumsticks had found their way back into his hands and he twirled one aimlessly. The movement agitated the teacher and she sighed.
"The regular warm up, if you please, Mr. Tate. As percussion you are helping to lead the rest of the students through their practice by keeping them on time. Remember, we must always be on time!" The last part rang out clearly to the whole class. It was her phrase, her hook. For those same fifteen years the students at Bay High were sick of it.
"Oh…" He deflated. "Okay then." Max couldn't argue with that. On the flute end, Hilary looked slightly pleased.
They practiced on diligently until the bell rang, signaling an hour had passed and it was time to pack up before classes started at 8:30AM.
"Man, just once. Just once I wish I could let loose!"
Max Tate griped and as if to exemplify this, he drummed in the air a rather complicated looking beat.
"Well, what do you expect?" Hilary retorted, her hands on her hips. "It's a high school band. We play marches, medleys, the occasional anthem… You'd better join a rock band or something!"
The blond raised his eyebrows and smiled in disbelief. No way something like that would happen to their quaint little school.
They walked through the foyer, passing more early-birds skittering around the main locker area. The resident bullies were already congregated around the tree in the corner. No one really knew why the designers decided their main floor needed a tree inside the building, but it was there.
Max had figured it was so that it could balance out the fact that all the smokers loved to stand by it when they asked for bathroom breaks during class. Of course, it never lasted long when their school had hall monitors and an evil guidance counselor who prowled the school like a panther and forced them back to their classrooms.
"Hilary! Could I see you for a moment?" A sensibly dressed woman with a kind smile flagged them down as they passed her classroom.
"Oh, I'm right about to go do announcements Mrs. Staccato." She apologized.
"He's in the office too, it won't take long!" The teacher promised.
The brunette and blonde sent each other a look at the word 'he'. Max shrugged and waved. "Catch ya later."
"Yeah, see you." Hilary said with a little frown and jogged after the English teacher.
Wow, that was the nerdiest looking kid Tyson had ever seen!
He was hanging around in the main office, which was on the 2nd level of the building. He'd just gotten registered for classes by the principal herself, Mrs. Flat! This was probably because he was new and not in grade nine. Grade eleven, thank you very much. Tyson was sixteen years old, going on seventeen on the 23rd of November actually. He was looking forward to making new friends and having a huge party. He rocked back and forth on his heels, hands stuffed in his red jacket pocket. Thank goodness this school didn't have uniforms; he'd had enough of those for his lifetime.
Mostly elderly women seemed to be working in the office, answering phones, photocopying, talking to teachers… He supposed he should go to his class now, but damned if he knew where anything was and everyone looked so busy. However, there was this little desk with a microphone where another student was sitting shuffling through some pages. This kid was like barely five feet tall, was wearing suspenders, shorts, shoes that looked suspiciously orthopedic, and the thickest glasses in the world. Man… Tyson tried to stop staring but he failed miserably because the kid noticed.
"Can I help you?"
He even sounded nerdy! Tyson was in love at once. His very own little geek pal, he grinned in delight. "Yeah, I'm looking for this class." He showed the kid his schedule.
"Welcome back to Bay High School for a brand-spanking new school year! We hope you're awake because your first class starts in five minutes…"
The announcements rolled on and Max jogged up the staircase to where his first class, grade 11 Biology, was. There were a few other students milling about in front of the classroom. His class schedule was, as usual, pretty much exactly like Hilary Tachibana's - His good friend from the school band, and captain of the debate team.
They didn't share the love of a good argument, but mostly everything else between them was shared. Max himself led a rather simple high school life, and his main concern was when his lunchtime occurred and saving a good seat.
A teacher came and unlocked the doors so everyone could file in. When the teacher followed them inside terror instantly spiked in Max's blue eyes. Oh god, not Mr. Tenor! Max felt dread well up inside him as he rushed to the back to procure a good table. He thought Mrs. Crescendo wasn't retiring until next year!
Around him, he could see other uneasy looks. A girl was already crying into her mass of textbooks. Tenor was notorious for his hundred multiple choice question tests and non-bell curving ways. His blond head hit the desk unceremoniously. What a way to start the day…
"This is Biology at the university prep level, if you aren't in this class please leave now." Tenor had an unpredictably high and screechy voice that resembled a rat. His pointy nose drove that image home.
"Now, my name is Mr. Tenor," he said it like it was something they should be copying down for a test with a characteristic self-important pause.
"Please, can I have two volunteers up here to pass out the textbooks?" He unceremoniously pushed the cart of the High Schooler's Heavy Burden in front of a pair of sullen looking boys.
"Thank you. I will do roll call and then we will open our minds and open our books to page…"
He droned on, and Max was wondering where Hilary was. She usually wasn't so late after making the announcements, though all the staff gave her a little pardon because of it. As luck would have it there a soft knock on the classroom door.
"Come in." Tenor looked annoyed at having to stop his spiel.
Hilary shuffled in and Max was surprised to see another boy walk in after her. He left the door wide open, carelessly chewing a piece of gum. Tenor looked displeased.
"Yes?" He waved Hilary to her seat. She'd had many classes with him before. "Name?" He asked the offensive teen.
"Uh, Tyson Granger, I'm new." That sent the class muttering a bit amongst themselves, at least those who were awake enough.
Tenor's large brown eyes scanned down his attendance sheet over his long nose. "Alright, take a seat."
"Cool." Tyson agreed and spun on his heel to find a clear space.
"Mr. Granger, might I tell you that at Bay High there are neither hats nor gum permitted in the classrooms?" It didn't sound like a suggestion, and Tyson looked almost amused.
"Oh, sure, I'm sorry!" His grin was charming, at least.
Hilary waved him to sit by her and Max so he darted off in that direction, pulling his hat from his head and letting his bangs fall into his eyes.
Max mouthed a 'hi' to the new kid, and received a smile in return.
Tenor spoke at an even faster pace having been interrupted and no one got a change to do much of anything but read and take notes before the period was over.
"So this is the 'he'." Max said. They filed out of the classroom, and filed really meant more along the lines of sprinting when the Tenor was involved.
Tyson was behind the blond and brunette duo on the staircase chewing a new piece of gum.
"Yup, I had to show him his locker and some other important things." Hilary replied. "Tyson, meet my best friend Max."
"Yo," Tyson said, almost distracted as his deep blue eyes followed the surroundings. His destination was the locker area closest to the tree so he could put the Heavy Burden of his Biology textbook away.
The new kid caught a glimpse of the whole floor, Bay High at its finest. Whoever had planned the school must've really liked the open concept, because the major staircase was open and as you walked down you could see the vast array of lockers, like isles in a supermarket all lined up in two quadrants of the whole main floor. The rest was made up of the cafeteria, rows of long tables with lots and lots of grey plastic chairs stacked to the wall waiting for someone to take.
The main level was crowded with what seemed like the whole student body now that school had officially started and first period was over. What had been nearly empty before was a buzz with excitement as old friends caught up and tiny new niners milled around like nervous lost bees in search of a flower in the city.
People were already sitting and eating since the kitchen opened early to provide breakfast too. Tyson grinned at the thought of buying junk food right before his next class. He definitely couldn't have done that at his old school! He listened idly to Max and Hilary chat as he continued to take in the sights.
"Tyson, Max's locker is really close to yours. I'm off to mine!"
Hilary interrupted his thoughts and Tyson blinked as if waking up from a dream. The two friends were giving him weird looks before he answered, "Uh, okay…"
Hilary nodded and the busy girl made a bee-line for another row of lockers off to the other end of the foyer.
He kinda wanted to zone out again, and think about the plans for being here in this public school; why he came back to Bay City anyway, when his old school had been just fine. Sure, he was old enough now not to be a struggle to take care of by his Gramps, which was the more obvious place to choose. Before that though, the boarding school closest to his only grounded relative had been three large cities west from here, a boring place where there wasn't any focus other than taking notes instead of playing them. And he had met no one else who wanted to do what he wanted…
"So you have Alto next period too? That's the same math class as Hil and me, we have him every year and he's cool. He loves math a bit too much though, we think the next big equation to be discovered is gonna be Him x Math equals true loooove." Max chuckled at his own joke and looked at Tyson expectantly.
Tyson snapped out of it. "That's… nice." He said and couldn't help thinking everyone here was a little geeky. Not in the one-upping better-than-you way like at his old school, but in the strange homely sense.
Realizing he was already in front of his locker, he hastily entered his combination. He took out his calculator and tossed the Big Bad Biology Book of Burden in like the heavy paperweight made of out of paper it was. They immediately hastened to go up the main stairs to the second floor where the romantic Alto surely waited.
"Mr. Tenor didn't seem that bad either." He said once they were walking down the hallway. He didn't really know any other teachers to gossip about.
"Are you kidding!? Don't get sucked into that illusion." Max spun his drumstick aimlessly as he chatted. "Tenor's bad, real bad. His tests are like—"
"You play?" Tyson asked eagerly, excited at the sudden arrival of drumsticks.
"Sure do." Max said, and looked pleased.
Tyson grinned. There was enthusiasm sparking in his eyes. "I play guitar, and not just air guitar either!" He laughed and brushed some hair out of his eyes. "Actually, I wanna get together a band—"
"Sweets to the sweet!!" Came a shrill and lovesick cry. It was followed by girlish titters.
Tyson and Max jumped and witnessed a small nerdy boy dressed in vaguely Shakespeare-looking robes and trying to force a bouquet of daisies onto a very hot girl with blue hair and a bit too much eye make-up. Her friends laughed behind their hands at what looked likely to be another failed attempt. It was the nerdy boy from the office!
"That's the Chief." Max said absentmindedly. Tyson gave him a questioning look and the blond shrugged. "I don't remember his whole name, everyone calls him that 'cause he's practically the smartest kid in school."
"Geeze, why don't you just call him Genius then?" Privately, Tyson thought anyone that smart needed to get some new pick up lines.
Max laughed. "Because he's a drill sergeant if you ever have to work with him! He'll force you to write lines if you make him get anything less than 100 percent!" He shook his head with a cheerful smile. "He's crazy!"
"He is not," Hilary exclaimed, popping out from no where. "Kenny's just super busy and gets way too high strung for his own good. Needs to take a vaca, that one."
Tyson looked between the two with a confused expression.
Hilary threw her hands up in the air in a 'why me' pose and huffed. "He's in a lot of clubs, and he helps me do the morning announcements. Don't you people listen?"
"OH, yeah." Max said immediately, and quite obviously faking out.
Tyson shrugged and leaned back against the wall right by the classroom, his books held lazily at his side. "Don't see what's so special about being in all those clubs."
The brunette blinked like she'd never entertained the idea and the notion truly baffled her.
"You mentioned a band though." Max said. He smiled and tapped Hilary on the hip with his drumstick. "He plays guitar, Hil!"
"Really!" She said and rounded on him eagerly. "Well the school band is a club. You'll be in a least one!" She seemed pleased with the idea at sorting out his extracurricular-estrangement so soon.
"You'll join the band, won't you? We could use a guitarist." Max encouraged, excited at the idea. "We haven't had one since—" He paused then re-evaluated his words. "Well, we've been guitar-less for ages!"
Tyson crooked his eyebrows in a way that said 'You joking?' The school band wasn't what he'd meant at all!
"C'mon! It's only one club. We don't even take up evenings!"
"When do you practice?" He sensed something was off.
"Seven in the morning—"
Tyson let out a loud laugh and said with great finality, "NO thanks."
The two locals gave each other one of their all knowing looks but before Tyson could pry the bell rang and it was time to file into second period.
The day was going pretty well so far, Tyson beamed. He ran his hand across the vertical bars of the railing as he dashed down the stairs. His new friends Max and Hilary, though a bit hung up on school clubs, were great and he was glad they had classes together. He had visual arts after math, which neither of the blond and brunet took, then English, which they were both miraculously in, and then he had gym.
Gym alternated between actual gym time and class time. Apparently the class was so big that they were split into girls and boys for gym time and then split randomly in half for the classes. Today had been a class day where they broke open the normal sexual education textbooks and Tyson had been hilariously happy when Kenny, who was in his class half, nearly had an aneurism.
Of course, a whole bunch of other girls and boys were snickering at each other or looking queasy. Tyson found it kind of strange that they'd only decided to start the sex ed in grade 11, but then he realized it was a mixed grade class, recognizing some niners because they'd been initiated, black nines in magic marker written on their faces. Tyson remembered that initiation for him at his old school hadn't been nearly so kind. He'd had to replace all the strings on his guitar after that one! Maybe it was safe to bring it to this school after all.
He hoped they'd have the same teacher for gym half as class half he thought distractedly. Ms. Sharp had the perfect amount of humor as she drew diagrams on the chalkboard using various sports balls.
The class finished up uneventfully, and he threw all his books into his locker. Max appeared beside him, looking harassed.
"S'up?" Tyson asked cautiously.
The blond shook his head. "We've got Coach Clef on our half." Looked like Max was taking gym too. "And Kai's in that class. It's a nightmare!" He shuddered and took out his knapsack and starting loading books in.
Tyson watched him pile the crazy amount of books in with an apprehensive expression. "I hope we get Ms. Sharp for gym half," He said.
Max laughed a little hysterically. "Yeah right, we're guys. That means we get the male teacher. The girls are so lucky," He sighed wistfully. "Ms. Sharp's the best."
Tyson wondered if all the guys felt the same.
Just then, Max seized up and a tall guy with blue face paint walked by their lockers to the vending machine that was just down the hall.
Tyson held in a snicker, and Max looked at him warningly.
"What type of guy wears make up?" He laughed and Max covered his mouth with a hand.
A couple of seedy looking kids followed pass their lockers and gave them weird looks, probably because Max was GROPING him, and then started chatting with the tall guy. He had two different colours of hair. Dye job gone wrong, Tyson concluded.
Max pulled him down and they shoved the rest of his books into his bag. Tyson chanced a glance over the blonde's shoulder and the guy was no where in sight.
Tyson immediately caught Max in a headlock. "Alright!" He said cheerfully. "What was that?!"
Max sputtered to explain. "Everyday after class, Kai goes and beats the hell out of that vending machine for a candy bar then goes home to probably kill small animals or something."
"Huh?" Tyson replied brilliantly.
Hilary chose this moment to walk up and give them a queer look. "Why are you two on the floor?"
"I've got Kai in class half with CLEF." He groaned and Hilary shuddered in sympathy. She took History, instead of Gym, with Mr. Triad who liked to cram in as many analogies as he could in one hour.
Tyson got up and dusted his jean knees off. "What's the deal? He didn't seem that bad."
Hilary raised an eyebrow. "That's what Coach Clef said, and NOW look at them."
Max waved a hand in dismissal and they filed out of the side entrance. Tyson went to go unlock his bike.
"He's a mysterious student, but notoriously bad." Max explained without really explaining.
"The Hiwatari Mystery," Hilary nodded sagely. "That's what they call him."
Tyson got fed up. "But no one knows why? He and the Coach don't like each other, that's it?"
Max was a bit alarmed by Tyson's insight and didn't pull punches. "No. Tyson, he's bad news. He once beat up Andrew Jeffery and got suspended. The weird thing is, no one knows why! Andy didn't wanna mention it when asked."
The brunette girl nodded sagely. "Some say that Kai threatened him to never speak about it or he'd 'finish the job'." She made a throat slitting action and a choking sound that sounded more like a hungry seagull erupted from her mouth. "Not to mention he's got himself a little gang too."
Tyson pursed his lips in thought, and then rolled his eyes. "That Andrew kid was probably making eyes at Kai's girlfriend or something."
"Nuh uh," Hilary shook her head. "I know on good authority. Kai's never dated, at least no girl from Bay High."
Tyson snickered. "What about guys?"
Max and Hilary looked at each other, dumbfounded. At their expressions, Tyson gave them an incredulous look. "Oh come on, you mean you've never caught anyone doing that sort of thing?"
The blonde's vacant stare and the girl's scandalized face said it all.
"Wow, Bay City really is 'the last great place.'" Tyson grinned thoughtfully, quoting his grandfather's description. Happy to educate he leaned in and held his hand up like he was about to spill a big secret. "Any guy who looks that good in a tank top is either gay or in denial. You might want to look into that." He laughed loudly, spoiling the effect.
The two locals just gave each other worried glances as Tyson slung his backpack over his shoulder and unchained his bike from the rack.
"Thanks for the lowdown," Tyson smiled and straddled his bike. He pushed off and the friends all waved at each other. "See ya tomorrow!"
When Tyson was out of sight, Hilary turned to Max and asked, "Do you think he was just making fun?"
Max shrugged in reply, "I'll say now though, he's different! Turns out this year definitely won't be boring after all."
"It wasn't going to be boring!!" Hilary exclaimed in high offence.
"Well, uhhh…." He'd asked for that one, and as Max fought for a way to placate the fiery brunette, the sun began to set very slowly on the first day of school.
Author Notes: Alright, so what we have here is an Alternate universe in which Tyson isn't a champion Beyblader (!!) but a cocky teen who's been striving to put together the perfect band. This IS a Tyson x Kai fic, so expect that to be a major part of it!
Disclaimer: Beyblade and all its likeness does not belong to me.