Season 1 : The Mirror

Summary: 'Lifting his eyes up to the mirror before him, he allowed himself to see what he had been avoiding in his reflection for the past few weeks. A child of the Abbey. A child of fear. A child Kai had forgotten existed. Until now.' In the weeks following the World Championships in Moscow and the return of his memory, Kai is left with the impossible task of sorting through what his memories are, and what are only nightmares. Who will help him piece his mind together?

Disclaimer: Kai, Voltaire and any other Beyblade related themes belong to Takao Aoki, not me. Mori Towers and Chiyoda are real places and they belong to, well, Japan. I own nothing!

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3. Not Alone

Kai felt the cool, hard surface of the kitchen floor against his cheek. Someone's hands were grasping around his shoulder, trying to turn him over and pull him up into a sitting position against the kitchen counters. He wished they wouldn't – the world hadn't started spinning until they did.

...Whoever it was, they were small – Kai found this out when he made to push them away, but ended up grabbing at their wrists for support instead.

"Hiw – Hiwatari-sama...?"

The voice only just penetrated the very edges of his awareness. Kai endeavored to lift his eyelids at the sound, but the sudden onslaught of light shot splinters through his brain and he closed his eyes again as the world flipped upside-down. There was one thing that his mind had managed to register, however.

Mousey brown hair.

...The maid? She was only due to clean up the apartment once a week, and he wasn't entirely sure if it was Thursday yet. He tried briefly to remember what day it was, but gave up. It was a thoroughly fruitless effort when he couldn't even pinpoint the location of gravity from one second to the next.

He tried opening his eyes again and squinted hard. The face of a girl swam into view. Yes, it was her – only memorable for being a girl as mousey as her hair. He could just make out her large, dark eyes, and her eyebrows lifted just-so in an expression of deepest anxiety.

Kai wasn't sure what was harder to stomach – the relentless way in which the world continued to lurch around him, or the shame he felt at allowing himself be seen in such a state. Regardless, a couple of labored breaths later and it was clear that his poisoned insides had no intention of stomaching anything.

He still hadn't let go of the girl's wrists, so he pulled her a little closer instead. Clearly, he wasn't going to be able to stand alone.

"… Bathroom," he managed to croak out hoarsely.

"Huh? Oh! – Okay, umm…" She eased one of her wrists free and hesitantly placed a hand under his elbow, inexpertly trying to lift him to his feet. She wasn't so much helping him stand as she was supporting his entire weight, and Kai was vaguely impressed that she was still on her feet at all. But the world gave an even larger lurch beneath his feet now that he was upright, and, with his head resting pathetically against the maid's shoulder, he gulped. He wasn't going to make it to the bathroom.

Fortunately, the girl had sense enough to realize this and settled for steering him towards the kitchen sink – just a blessed three steps away.

Insides burning, eyes stinging, head pounding, Kai bent forward over the sink and braced himself for the bitter assault that, by now, he ought to have been a little more used to. But damn, it was still as bad as ever – worse, even. It seemed that those few painkillers had exaggerated, rather than lessened, the effects of the alcohol. Kai made a definite mental note to never mix his drinking with the painkillers again. It just wasn't worth it. Of course, he'd had no intention of mixing them to begin with, but last night was… different. It, too, was worse.

In the midst of his barely restrained vomiting, Kai had almost forgotten about the maid. To her credit – she didn't hover. Nor did she try and make some sort of vain, tiresome, and not to mention unwanted, effort to help – like rubbing circles on his back or something useless and entirely out-of-her-place like that. Instead, she just stepped back and left him to it, and for that he was grateful.

He heard her scuttle off somewhere in the direction of the bedrooms, and only realized then that he'd had a faint buzzing in his ears because it stopped. It must have been the shower. Had he left it running – all night? Kai tried to count the hours he'd been out cold for, but the next wave of nausea promptly cut that effort short.

Some minutes later, Kai believed he was through the worst of it. His head was still pounding, and his body still aching, but it seemed his stomach and liver had stopped trying to sever themselves from his body, for now, and had settled for a mild churning instead. He'd have to remember to treat them a little kinder in future. Fumbling through the cupboards for a clean glass, Kai poured himself some cold water from the tap and, leaning against the kitchen counters against the still slightly spinning world, made his way towards the table and sat down.

Cradling the cool glass between his hands, he tried to gather everything he could remember of last night.

It was all shrouded in such a haze, it was hard to define one image from another. But he remembered the last thing he saw. After countless more bottles, pathetically tossed back and thrown around, the boy had returned to him through the cracks in the broken glass. In his last few moments of consciousness, Kai hadn't really been sure if he was seeing him at all. But he'd heard him.

'You're all alone…'

That's what he'd said. It wasn't gloating, or mocking. It wasn't sorry, either. It was simply stated. Stated softly as the moonbeams that filtered down through the fractured window and dusted through his hair. Yet it was the sharpest thing he'd ever heard.

Kai had smirked wryly at his miniature reflection at that. "Just like always then."

The other Kai tipped his head to the side, his messy bangs shifting to reveal puzzled eyes.

'No… not always.'

Kai was sure he was barely conscious at this point. The scene had become gauzy, purple tinted. But the words must have registered all the same; they rose now, swimming to the surface – shimmering, almost, against the violet wisps of memory.

'I wasn't alone. Not alone.'

Not alone.

The phrase echoed on the periphery, dancing just out of reach, teasing him with a promise of something… more.

And then it was gone, and replaced by that other thing. The thing that had been flitting in and out of his dreams each night, but which only made sense now. That flash of –

"Hiwitari-sama?"

Kai jerked back into the present moment and blinked around, once again the sudden brightness of the room taking him by surprise. What was it now? He rubbed his eyes tiredly for a second before casting his glance over to the maid again. She was standing a few feet away from the table, shifting hesitantly from foot-to-foot, fixing her gaze on anything but him. He wondered vaguely how she'd even managed to muster up the courage to address him at all.

"Yes?" When all she did was open her mouth to speak, but then close it again and continue to look around the room, he sighed. Was he really that intimidating – in his current state? "Look, if it's about the … the mess, I can –"

"No! No no," she squeaked, shaking her head and her hands, "it's umm, it's just I –" she took a deep breath and said, all at once, "if you want, Hiwitari-sama, I could go to the pharmacy and get something for your – for your, ...futsukayoi."She ended sheepishly, tip-toeing around the word.

Futsukayoi. The Japanese expression for hangover was...unique. It basically meant 'drunk for two days'.Of course, the level of hangover could be exaggerated by saying mikkayoi (drunk for three days), or yokkayoi (drunk for four days), and so on. And this was something he'd always found slightly amusing. Today, Kai decided, he was feeling distinctly mikkayoi at the least.

Kai glanced back up at the maid and realized that, in the time he'd spent not answering her question, she'd probably convinced herself that she'd crossed some sort of line. His well-being wasn't part of her job description, after all. She was clearly terrified of him, and looked as though she was praying for the floor to open up and swallow her. Kai wished it would, he was almost beginning to feel sorry for the poor girl. But, since the floor wasn't putting the maid out of her misery, Kai decided he'd have to do it himself. Besides, his head still felt like it was about to implode on itself and, having written off another dose of painkillers already, he wasn't about to refuse an alternative source of relief.

"Yes. Yes, I would... uhm," he drummed his fingers on the table, trying to kick his slow mind back into its regular cool and detached state. "I'd appreciate that."

In an instant she had bowed, scurried out of the kitchen and left the apartment. It was a few moments before Kai realised he hadn't even given her any money. And a few moments more before he realised that he didn't even know her name. He supposed he'd have to put some extra in her paycheck this week. And then perhaps thank her. After all, she had no obligation to be concerned for him. Yes, that's what he'd do. He'd learn her name, thank her properly, and then put this whole embarrassing episode behind him.

Now that he was alone again, Kai cast his mind back once more. He only wished his mind wasn't so sluggish this morning.

The memories that came to him at night and in his dreams were always to chaotic, so disordered, he hadn't known what to do with them. A jumbled mix of sounds and sights, of smells that clung to him even after he'd been propelled back into the conscious world. Every night, split-second impressions of pain and fear and unwanted feelings were heaped upon him. They simply made no sense to him – or at least, no sense that Kai felt he couldn't live without, at any rate.

But there was that one thing that was always there – he saw it in the spaces between the memories, the only constant he could ever rely on.

A flash of blue.

Sharp; but undeniably and undoubtedly there.

Kai saw it in his memories, in the eyes of a boy not much bigger than himself. A boy who commanded the respect of all the other children in the Abbey. A boy who'd practiced everything to the point of perfection, who would win matches before they'd even began. A boy who'd seen the depths of fear and rose above it.

But he was more than that.

Kai remembered him now as the boy who sat beside him in the mess hall, who'd pulled faces at the nasty meals they were given, trying to scheme up ways for them to be upgraded to the older boys' high-protein diets. The boy who stood beside him during the launching drills and who had his back during combat trials. The boy who wasn't above sneaking out at night to steal food from the kitchens. The boy who wasn't afraid to kick a guard in the shins after he'd lashed out at Kai, taking a beating himself to try and lessen the other's.

Kai remembered him when he'd first joined the Abbey. He was dragged there, tiny, scruffy, scared out of his wits – but he'd still put up a fight, even knocked out the tooth of one of the guards with his flailing feet. They were cellmates, Kai remembered, and hardly ever apart.

More than that, they were… friends.

But something had happened. Something that changed them both. Something that made Kai forget everything he ever knew. Something that changed that boy with the blue eyes into the cold, emotionless, bitter person he'd seen in Moscow less than two months ago. The one who couldn't even stand to be in the same room as Kai for more than two seconds.

But Kai's mind just drew blanks. No matter how hard he tried to remember, there was just… nothing.

As of now, he could remember some of his time at the Abbey up until he was about twelve or so. And then he could remember his grandfather confining him to the mansion, hiring private tutors to teach him everything he could possibly need to know about business, from number crunching and manipulating deals to how he should dress, act, speak, and walk into a room.

But for the time in between there was… nothing.

Kai had forgotten.

Tala hadn't.

Just then, Kai heard the door to his apartment open and, not too long after, the maid hurried in with a small paper bag tucked under one arm and what looked (and smelled, Kai noted) like a take-out carton of –

"Miso soup," she squeaked, almost as if she was afraid she'd be stepped on if she didn't explain herself quick enough, "from the café down the street." She pulled out a bowl from one of the cupboards and tipped the steaming contents out, before carefully placing it in the middle of the table. "My auntie swears by it… but the man behind the counter recommended this." He just nodded, and she placed the small paper bag next to the soup, then bowed and scurried off again. A few seconds later, he heard a faint tinkling and, glancing over his shoulder, saw her begin to clear up the broken glass.

Turning back to the table, he peered curiously inside the paper bag and found a tiny, dark glassed bottle. She'd gotten him a genki drink. They were various 100ml potions said to relieve all kinds of different complaints from colds, fatigue and, of course, hangover. Kai hadn't had much luck with them so far, but he hadn't seen this particular bottle before so he thought he may as well give it a go. After necking the bottle down in one go, he pushed it to the side and decided to make a start on the soup since it was there.

Kai was loath to ask for help, but he couldn't carry on pretending anymore. These memories… they were coming to him whether he liked it or not. That boy in the mirror, it was who he used to be – he couldn't keep running from that.

Hell, Kai had never ran from anything in his life.

He knew he was grasping at straws but… the Demolition Boys used to know him. If he talked to them, there was a chance things might grow a little clearer. He was sure Tala wouldn't give him the time of day, though.

"Ah, itai!" 

Kai glanced over in time to see the girl whip her finger in the air. Did she just cut herself? Kai sighed. Wonderful, now he had a twinge of guilt to add to his humiliation and his headache. The headache which was, strangely… not quite there anymore. Kai blinked. He shook his head quickly from side to side. No throbbing. And his body was no longer aching either. He was feeling positively… perky.

His crimson eyes flashed over the the small bottle and he snatched it up. Lipovitan D. He had absolutely no idea what was in it, but he committed the name to memory, just in case.

"There's a first aid box under the sink," Kai called over his shoulder. When looking over, he saw that she was still exactly where she was before. Apparently she was the kind of girl who would do absolutely nothing for herself. How tiresome. He stood up and, marveling on the inside about the way the world didn't spin, turned around to face her. "You have a name?"

"Y – Yoko." Finally. Looked like mean was the way to go.

"Right. Yoko. Honestly, I'd rather not have you bleeding all over my floor, if it's all the same to you."

She blinked like she'd just been shot. "Oh, of course! I – I'm sorry, Hiwatari-sama. I'll…" she dropped the pan and rushed over to the cupboard beneath the sink, eyes trained on the ground the entire time.

"Just 'Kai' will be fine."

She paused in the middle of running her hand beneath the tap. "Umm, okay… Kai-sama –"

"– And '-san' only, if you must."

She just nodded and turned away. Looked like she'd reached her limit of bravery for the day.

"Yoko?" Her dark eyes darted apprehensively back to him. He waved the tiny bottle in his hand. "Thank-you."

"Not... not at all, Hiw – er, Kai-san."

Finally. The thanks were over and Kai could focus his mind on more pressing matters. With a nod and the smallest of smiles (which he hoped would be enough to convince the poor girl that he wasn't actually an ogre) Kai turned on his heel and made his way towards the office.

If he was going to try, however hopeless it might be, to contact Tala, then the first person he'd need to call was Dickenson. Kai had heard that he was the man in charge of re-housing all the Abbey boys, so logically, Dickenson was his best bet at finding him.

Walking past the large windows in the office, he couldn't help but notice that he saw only his own image reflected in the glass – a little worse for wear, perhaps, but definitely him – and he spared a moment to enjoy the feeling of calm he felt at the sight. It was the best he'd felt in weeks.

But then again, Kai thought, it was probably just the crazy little genki drink talking.

 

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