Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm not making any money off this story.
Ranma's Author's Notes: AHHHH IT'S FINISHED! And I updated within a week! Also… this contains very minor hints of Kenny/MingMing and Tala/Hilary (this was for my friend Pluie)…. ACK, I feel like I've betrayed myself. Oh yeah and if you noticed, I changed the title slightly. I dunno, it sounds less campy that way I think hahaha.
Merry Christmas, Tyson
At the end of the last shopping day together, the four friends had made it back to their neighbourhood and camped out in the Granger dojo sorting through their purchases until their faces and fingers were finally warmed up from the cold. Everyone had ended up staying for dinner. Fruitcake excluded.
"Mmmhmm that sure was great, I can't believe that Kenny can actually cook!" Tyson joked as he put away some dishes.
"You don't believe but you still ate it all!" Kenny huffed as he lugged a trash bag outside. Gramps had left to give Hilary a ride home.
The kitchen door closed behind the Chief and Kai stood up from the table bringing plates with him.
"I still can't believe you didn't eat these too." Kai said mildly, holding up the tableware for his point.
Tyson made a face at him.
Kai set the plates down in reply and was about to remove his hands when a tanned one suddenly rested on top of his.
"Hey…." Tyson began, looking into the other's eyes. "I'm glad you stayed…"
"…stayed?" Kai managed.
"Yeah…" Tyson's hand curled around Kai's and his eyes seemed bigger. "I guess I just wanna say I'm really happy how you spent the week with us. We really felt like a... like a team y'know? It felt great, no, it feels really great."
"I wish you could be around like this a lot more, mister!" Tyson pointed a fork at Kai in accusation and then lowered it, leaning onto the dual-haired teen's side. "Cause…. Y'know… I miss you."
Kai's breaths came faster at the prolonged touch. Wasn't it just months ago that he could stare Tyson down with no effort? Now he could barely meet Tyson's eyes without feeling unexplainably embarrassed… He couldn't touch Tyson without memorizing it… and once it was memorized, he couldn't think about anything else for… hours...
Distantly he wondered if Grandpa Granger had slipped something in the eggnog earlier, because there couldn't be any other reason for why he felt so… weightless… right now, with Tyson leaning on him…
The slightly shorter teen pulled back from him and gave Kai a warm smile.
He knew it.
He knew what to give to Tyson this Christmas.
That weekend would be the BBA Secret Santa party, and the more Kai thought about it, the more he was sure it would be the best gift he could reveal to the other blader… but that didn't make giving it to him any easier.
The two finished straightening the kitchen up in silence, but both were clearly thinking about the impending holiday and what could happen with the new year.
Kenny peacefully stepped out onto the open walk-around that encompassed the Granger's traditional home, softly sliding the door shut behind him. Tyson was currently trying to straighten his room out enough so that the Chief could sleep over on his floor that night. Kai had disappeared sometime after dinner, and the brown-haired teen wanted some fresh air while he thought about his Secret Santa situation.
Walking out a bit farther, the short blader was startled to see he wasn't the only one with that in mind.
"Kai, we thought you'd gone home by now." Kenny greeted the taller beyblader with a smile.
The soft white snowflakes fell gently from the night sky as Kai continued to look up at it. "No… Still here..." He answered under his breath, still staring into the starry panorama.
"Ahh," The Chief stretched and walked closer to Kai, looking up at the sky himself. "I sure am glad all that shopping is finally over! I didn't see you buy very much though Kai… don't you know what to get for the one you chose this Christmas?"
Silence answered the shorter teen before Kai let his gaze fall away from the stars to look at some point in the snow. "Huh…The one I chose?" The dual-haired teen clarified. "I have an idea…" Kai trailed off.
"But you're not sure they'll like it?" Kenny finished in question, and then smiled, looking sideways. "…Tyson won't care what you get him." The Chief chuckled in good nature, adjusting his glasses. He had worked it out a while ago – who else could have ever gotten Kai to participate in the holiday game!
Kenny watched as Kai's shoulders tensed. The taller teen turned his head and stared hard at the bespectacled boy for a long moment. "Is that so…" Kai said in an uncomfortable tone, before he dropped his gaze and immediately strode past.
Kai's hands clenched and he sighed under his breath, a mixture of annoyance and embarrassment causing him to mutter the words quietly. "Why do I even bother…?"
"Aahh, because you care, Kai!" The Chief answered loudly from behind him. "And you care because even though you don't want to act like it, Tyson is special to you!" Kenny revealed to Kai's retreating back.
"And the funny thing is…" The bespectacled youth quieted his voice. "He's so special to you that no gift you see is good enough, because….. You love Tyson."
Kai froze, his eyes widening, unseeing.
You love Tyson.
…Was that what it was…?
Those feelings, those emotions, and the cause of them all – Tyson…
Kai felt the tension leave him, and he sighed, his eyes closing, only to have the image of Tyson's smiling face fill his mind again.
Maybe that's exactly what it was…
The cool weather had fogged Kenny's large glasses up, so the chief gingerly rubbed at them as he finally took his eyes away from Kai's unmoving form. "It's nothing to be ashamed of Kai… It's not hard to see why."
"…I don't even know why myself..."
Kai's unexpected answer made the chief's head jerk up in surprise to see the holder of Dranzer turn to face him. The expression on the taller blader's face was filled with quiet resolve.
"Do me a favour, Kenny." Kai started. "Don't tell Tyson who his Secret Santa is," He said evenly, turning to leave. "Turns out I do have a gift to give him."
The Chief's shocked face morphed into a smile, and he nodded as Kai walked away. As the computer-genius watched his former teammate finally whisk away down the snowy streets, he made a fist and nodded to himself.
Kai would give Tyson what he wanted. But Kenny would make sure the former team captain got what he wanted that Christmas.
He was Kai's Secret Santa, after all.
That weekend, as soon as they got to the BBA building, the Chief had spouted off something about checking the sound and lighting out for the huge banquet hall and promptly dashed off for destinations unknown, carrying a backpack with him. Sprigs and leaves trailed out of it in his wake and Tyson and Hilary stared after the short teen weirdly.
"What's he got in there, a substitute Christmas tree?" Tyson exclaimed.
"Knowing Kenny, he's probably got the lights, the decorations and the mistletoe too!" Hilary sighed in embarrassment.
"You said it." Tyson laughed as they both made their way to the glittering hall, presents and cards tucked under their arms.
Inside the huge hall management officials and beybladers alike could be seen settling down at their tables and greeting one another cheerfully. There were lots of groups standing and chatting, and many players you wouldn't expect to see talking were actually laughing it up with each other, obviously brought around from the Secret Santa challenge.
The BBA Revolutions, minus the Chief, took their seats at a table where a hyper Daichi had obviously had WAY too many Christmas candies.
When the hubbub came to a peak and mostly everyone had arrived, Mr. Dickinson walked up onto a large stage that had been set up against one of the walls and tapped at the microphone to make sure it was working.
"Tyson gimme your goodie bag!" Daichi yelled.
"SHUSHH Daichi! Can't you see Mr. D's about to spout it out!" Tyson griped.
"Shhh!" Hilary added in for good measure.
"Test, test… I say! Good day to all you fine Beybladers! Welcome back to the BBA! I trust you've all enjoyed your holidays so far?"
A loud whoop of sound blasted out from all the tables filled with players and Mr. D had to hold onto his bowler hat before it was blasted off his head.
"HO HO HO! They sure do got the punch o' yuletide spirit!" A hip-hopping voice bellowed, and everyone looked on as a skinny Santa Claus carrying a wooden practice sword bounded onto the stage next to the BBA head.
"Hey, that's Gramps!" Daichi shouted, pointing at, sure enough, Grandpa Granger digged out in a Santa costume.
"Wha?" Tyson's eyes bugged out.
"Heyooo T-man!" Gramps yelled from the stage, waving his sword at the world champ. The whole hall burst out laughing.
"Oooh….." Tyson shifted low in his seat in embarrassment.
The laughter died down and a hush fell over the world class beybladers as they sat on their edge of their seats in anticipation.
"Ahh yes." Mr. D smiled knowingly and plucked at his bushy moustache. "As you all know, Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm sure you're all more than ready to reveal yourselves as Secret Santa's! So, without further ado…" The old man paused for effect, and then DJ Jazzman whipped out his trusted microphone.
"THREE!... TWO!... OOOOONE…. LET IT RIP!" DJ Jazzman yelled and chaos broke loose.
Tyson and Daichi were out of their chairs like gunfire, except for some reason those two had used the confusion to be the first to hit up the buffet before they actually gave their gifts out.
Sighing to herself, Hilary bounded up out of her own seat and headed over to a table near the back of the hall.
"Woah!" The brunette dodged an enthusiastic gift-holding Kevin as he was chased by Michael of the All Starz. The Blitzkrieg Boys' table came up faster than she expected and, surprisingly enough, the redhead she needed to see was sitting there alone.
Stepping up behind him, the Russian blader hadn't seemed to notice her. "Um, Tala?"
Tala turned around in his chair and when he saw the BBA Revolutions girl he gave a strange look.
"Erm… here." Hilary held out a cutely wrapped gift box towards the teen and gave a smile. "Merry Christmas. I was your Secret Santa!"
Tala stared at the gift for a full minute before he finally took it. "I…thank you…" He finished awkwardly.
Hilary nodded and grinned. "No problem!" She winked and promptly headed back to her friends' table. Phew!
"What the- Kenny!" The girl exclaimed, finding her short friend seated in his spot. "Where were you earlier?"
"Aaah nevermind Hilary…." The Chief rambled out. "Has the Secret Santa revealing started yet?"
"You're darn right it has. Speaking of which… doesn't Tyson have a gift to give you?"
Kenny groaned. "Knowing Tyson, he probably got me an "I Owe You"!"
They both rolled their eyes, but unbeknownst to them! Tyson had disappeared after grabbing a quick bite to eat with Daichi.
The world champion could be seen sneaking up to a familiar former BEGA beyblader. He whispered something in MingMing's ear and then pointed out someone to her across the decorated hall. The pop idol's eyes widened and she laughed, smiling widely and nodding her consent. Tyson grinned and gave the girl a thumb's up before finally deciding to head back to the BBA table.
"Kenny, you owe me!" Tyson grinned to himself.
In mid-step someone caught Tyson's hand. The midnight-haired teen turned around, and smiled.
Across the banquet hall, the Russian blader Bryan was staring at his teammate. "So she got you?"
Tala didn't reply.
Ian raised an eyebrow and looked at the redhead over his prominent nose. "How'd she know you needed that attack ring?"
"Must be a fluke." Tala crossed his arms.
Spencer took a bite off a bread roll, chewed, swallowed and slowly set the rest down. "Lucky fluke."
"Hm…" Tala murmured in reply, preoccupied.
Slowly, over the large speakers, bells chimed out a pleasant melody throughout the banquet hall and one by one, the noise from before quieted down and the ceiling lights went out until a spotlight was lit upon the stage. There, a female figure stood and sang slowly into a microphone.
"I don't want a lot for Christmas… There is just one thing I need." MingMing, pop idol extraordinaire of the former BEGA team, walked down the stage steps, the spotlight following her as she weaved her way through the various tables.
"I don't care about the presents, underneath the Christmas tree." Her destination was clearly Kenny, as she stood close to the blushing brunet's chair, the spotlight shining down on just the two of them in the darkened room.
Somebody from the All Starz table let out a loud whoop and a catcall and Kenny nearly fainted.
"I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know…" MingMing put her gloved hand to Kenny's cheek and leaned in close with her microphone. "Make my wish come truuue….All I want for Christmas….. Is youuu!" The turquoise-haired pop star sang and quickly kissed the Chief before standing up straight and making her way back to the stage to belt out the rest of her new Christmas single.
Everybody cheered at the catchy music and watched the performance.
"Oooh MingMing!" Hearts formed around the Chief's head and fountains of happy tears flowed down his face as he swooned in perfect bliss, causing Hilary to rush to catch him and prop him up in a chair.
"Oh please…" Hilary shook her head, but smiled in good nature. Suddenly a hand tapped her on the shoulder and the girl blinked, turning around to come face to face with Tala, and behind him, the rest of the Blitzkrieg Boys team.
"Oh... hi…" Hilary greeted the beybladers a bit nervously and held her hands together, only slightly intimidated by the cool looking Russian team.
"…Thank you for the gift." Tala said slowly. "I have a feeling… it'll come in handy."
"Oh! You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it!" Hilary chimed, smiling at the Russian blader and waving it off, as she expected he had finished.
An awkward silence occurred though, when Tala (and behind him, the other Blitzkrieg Boys) continued to stand there not saying anything. One of his teammates, Bryan , if she remembered right, not-so-discretely shoved Tala to keep on talking.
"Ahem… I have something for you, as well…" The redhead muttered, reaching into his pocket.
Hilary almost did a double-take. "Huh?"
Pausing, Tala seemed to think about his words carefully before he replied, icy eyes meeting hers. "It turns out I picked your name by chance, too."
After a look of indecision, the Russian teen took Hilary's hand and placed something cool and metal into it. The brunette gazed down at the object and gasped. It was an orange and white beyblade that Tala had obviously custom put-together – she had never seen a Wolborg version blade like this before!
"This is… this is for me?"
Tala coughed, slightly embarrassed by her extremely grateful look. "Uh, yes… I noticed you were the only one on your team without a beyblade." The brunette didn't reply and seeing her staring at him, wide-eyed in a shocked silence, the Russian blader felt compelled to continue. "…Merry Christmas, Hilary." Tala finished, favouring Tyson's female teammate with a vague hint of a smile.
Brought out of her stupor, Hilary smiled widely, sparkles dancing in her eyes as she held her beyblade to her chest, returning the sentiment. "Thank you… Merry Christmas, Tala."
"WHAAAAAAT!" A loud voice spoke up, and the two teens looked down to see a red-faced Daichi. "How come you got him that tricked out ring and I got a- a-" Daichi looked at the packed in his hand and read the box again. "A sewing kit!"
"Heh HEH!" Hilary suddenly grinned devilishly and bonked the monkey-boy on the head before grabbing him in a headlock. "Because, Daichi, I was Tala's Secret Santa! Besides, you always rip your pants…"
"Aughh!" Daichi struggled in her grip and finally managed to get free.
"Next time you face me, I'll defeat you with her gift, too." Tala smirked, holding Wolborg aloft, the new attack ring shining to accentuate his point.
Hilary grinned at that, and their eyes met over the spiky head of the holder of Strata Dragoon.
Daichi's face turned an alarming shade of red, but all the steam whooshed out of him at the mushiness floating around in the air by his taller companions. "Awwww forget it! I'm hittin' that buffet table again! Here I come!" The scarred boy laughed and stomped on Tala and Hilary's feet as he ran off.
On the other side of the room, near the huge bowl of punch, Mr. Dickinson smiled widely. "I say! This is really turning out to be a true shindig, hmmm my friend?" Mr. Dickinson plucked his moustache and smiled jollily at Grandpa Granger.
"You got dat right D-meister!" Gramps jived, adjusting his old-school shades and Santa hat. "Those youngin's sure do bring that Christmas spirit back up!"
Mr. Dickinson chuckled at Tyson's grandfather's antics and nodded, his eyes surveying the huge group of world class beybladers having fun, from behind his spectacles. "Aaah, I do so enjoy this time of year."
"Ho Ho Ho!" Grandpa Granger agreed, tapping his kendo stick to the music and getting the BBA official to join in with his cane.
Outside on the terrace, the music and noise from the party going on inside the BBA was muted, and it was peacefully quiet as it gently snowed.
Two figures could be seen against the small scenic balcony, looking out at the nighttime lights.
"Wow, it was crowded in there, huh Kai?" Tyson spoke, the crisp air feeling refreshing after the mad rush in the banquet hall.
The baseball-capped blader caught a glimpse of Kai out of the corner of his eye and took a deep breath. Inside, the other teen had caught his hand and wordlessly led him out here. He didn't mind though, being alone with Kai like this was a whole lot better than whatever craziness was going on inside.
Kai shifted and faced the other teen. "Tyson…"
Tyson immediately turned to fully look at Kai. "Yeah?"
"I have… something I need to tell you."
Kai's expression was suddenly hard-pressed and Tyson's chest constricted in fear. Was Kai going to rejoin the Russian team again next season? After all that had happened last season he didn't know if he could handle that again… not when things had been so perfect recently… he couldn't!
"I'm your Secret Santa." Kai stood plainly in front of the other blader.
"You're my…" Tyson gaped. "OH! Oh is that it? You worried me there for a sec, buddy." He laughed it off, shocked yet intensely relieved.
In the craziness of buying gifts for all his friends and family, Tyson had completely forgotten there was someone in this party that had been out there getting something special for him.
"Hey, wait – y'mean this whole time I'm the one we were trying to help you buy a gift for? No wonder you never bought anything."
"About that…" Kai began uncomfortably. "I could've bought you anything for Christmas…" He started quietly. Tyson looked up and Kai's eyes were large, like liquid fire and his gaze was soft in the night air, making him look like every bit an angel from the stars above in Tyson's mind.
"But I didn't buy you anything. The best thing I can give you…" Kai continued, his voice lowering with unidentifiable emotion. "…is Dranzer."
The words were immeasurably soft as they were spoken, but Tyson's breath caught in his throat all the same. Kai held out a hand and in his gloved-palm sat something small, metallic, blue and precious.
"Your… your blade?"
"Tyson…" Kai said, gripping the beyblade tightly in his hand. His eyes burned into Tyson's. "The reason why I beybladed was because I had only one goal… I wanted to be the best… Beyblade was all that made me happy…" He said, and his fist uncurled to reveal Dranzer again. This time Kai placed it in Tyson's hand.
"But now," He looked down. "I've found something else that…that makes me ha…. That makes me want to be the best again."
Their eyes met once more, and Kai's gaze was imploring. "Tyson… I…I want you to know… I…"
Tyson closed his hand around Dranzer and leaned forward, their eyes never breaking contact.
Kai breathed in sharply. "Tyson I'll always be the one… who'll fight by you." He said meaningfully. "I will always be on your side."
For once in his life, the world champion was speechless.
Apprehension swiftly settled in Kai's stomach like a lump of ice, painful at Tyson's stunned silence. Somehow he wished he could take that dangerous promise back… But… he knew… he was in too deep, too aware of just how strong this emotion was to ever go back to the way it used to be. He didn't want it to be that way anymore, anyway….
"You… don't have to accept it." Kai forced out. "I'll understand if you won't…Just know that…I'll be there to help you, in our beybattles, inside the beystadium… and out of it…" He finished, his gaze falling away from the other blader's as he turned to leave.
"Wait! Kai…" Tyson caught his hand and gently let his fingers entwine with the dual-haired teen's paler ones. Kai's lips parted slightly, as if he wanted to say something, but he stopped, unable to. Tyson gripped Kai's hand tighter as that all-too familiar feeling soared through him at the connection of their hands. A smile slowly spread on Tyson's face, one as dazzling and amazing as any holy spirits, and the very sight of it gave Kai's knees a distinctly weak feeling that he didn't mind at all…
"Kai… That's the greatest gift I could've asked for…" Tyson said kindly. "Heh, actually you beat me to it…"
Kai watched as the world champion reached into his jacket pocket and brought out his own beyblade, Dragoon. Soon the former team captain found his hand holding it instead of Tyson's.
Kai stared. "Tyson… I can't-"
"Yes you can! This is a promise." Tyson declared. "It goes two ways." He explained with significance, touching Kai's hand again. "So…" He continued, gazing into the other blader's eyes, as if to convey the importance. "I promise."
Slowly, Kai smiled, and Tyson felt his heart beat fast. There it was again, he could fly away if he wanted to on that feeling alone. In response, Tyson grinned and wound his arms around Kai and hugged him.
"Thank you, Kai." Tyson whispered warmly into his ear.
"You're welcome…Tyson." Kai replied back. The baseball-capped teen simple squeezed him tighter in reply, and after a few more moments, becoming more comfortable in the embrace, Kai added on. "Just don't think I'll ever go easy on you."
Tyson laughed and rested his temple against Kai's. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Kai felt a flame ignite inside of him. Right now, he could take on ten Brooklyn's and beat them with no problem.
This feeling he had for Tyson… Now he could put a name to it… How could he not have realized it sooner? It had been so simple all along. It was love…
Mr. Dickinson really had been on to something when he held the Secret Santa game. The greatest gift comes from the heart, and sometimes the most cherished gift of all… is a heart's love.
"Merry Christmas, Tyson..." Kai said.
Tyson grinned. "Merry Christmas, Kai…"
They held on a little longer before reluctantly slipping away, each holding the other's beyblade in their hands.
"Man! Can you imagine the looks on Ray and Max's faces when they get beat by us? Oh wait," Tyson closed his eyes, imagining something funny, then opened them grinning right at Kai. "Tala's face would ice over."
Kai snorted and couldn't help but smile. "That, I can see."
They turned to come inside out of the cold, but the dual-haired blader paused before they passed under the doorway, looking up at something on the frame. Tyson blinked and followed his gaze.
A large sprig of vegetation was neatly taped in the exact middle of the structure.
"Mistletoe? Tell me that's not what I think it is…" Tyson laughed uncertainly, a blush working its way across his cheeks.
There hadn't been any there when they'd first come out here, had there?
Tyson watched as Kai's brow furrowed. The long-haired teen groaned. "Nobody's watching, we could just walk right past." He suggested, still standing dead-still, staring up at the plant. "I mean, since when do you ever follow tradition anyway?"
"If I can help it? Never." Kai admitted. "But…" His voice was unguarded. "Since nobody's watching…" Kai gave Tyson a slight smile, looking back up at the sprig on the doorway. "We could follow it."
Tyson gaped at the other blader as Kai walked towards the doorway.
But before he could say anything, Kai reached up and tugged the mistletoe down, dropping it to the floor. "But that would take too long." Kai noted, favouring Tyson with a glance before he started walking inside.
"Hah, you…You! I-We-Wah-waha-hat?" The world champion garbled out, and managed to unstick his feet, heading straight after the other young man.
By the time they made it back to the banquet hall, Tyson couldn't take his eyes off Kai and was still rambling. "Did you…? Should we?"
They walked through the large doorway and froze abruptly when a unanimous wall of sound greeted them.
All the world class teams stared back at them clapping and giving shouts.
"Hooo suckers! The trap has been laid!" Daichi crowed.
"Huh?" Tyson blurted. "What gives?"
"There's a huge bunch of mistletoe over every doorway to this place." Ray spoke up from his place in the crowd.
"Yeah, we've been waiting for two people to get caught! Look up!" Max added.
Tyson and Kai looked up and sure enough, there was an obscene amount of mistletoe hanging right above their heads. Tyson's face turned red. "Who put those there!"
Unseen, Kenny hid as much as he could underneath one of the decorated tables.
"Who cares!" Somebody yelled.
"Yep, guess this means a traditional Christmas kiss." Another person nodded.
Tyson started and turned to stare at Kai. He wanted to know what it meant too.
Kai crossed his arms and looked off to the side. "I don't do tradition." His voice was hard. "But, since everyone's watching…" He relented, and faced Tyson with that slight smile once again, before the dual-haired blader took purposeful steps into Tyson and suddenly Kai wrapped his arms around Tyson's shoulders and leaned in.
Their cheeks brushed together and their bangs mingled. Cheers immediately sounded out – From the angle it looked to everyone else as if they were kissing. A flash went off – somebody had taken a photo!
In Kai's embrace, Tyson let out a breath and his eyes were wide. "Man… you are the sneaky one." He whispered, carefully taking hold of Kai's middle. "Will I have to deal with this for the whole of next season?"
Kai's voice was quietly amused against his skin. "You expected not to?"
"Kai, I've gotta get you out of that bad habit." Tyson said teasingly serious, his breath stirring the other's hair.
"Ooh yeah." Tyson pulled back and Kai's arms loosened their hold, but didn't let go from around the baseball-capped teen's shoulders. Their eyes were only for each other, at that moment, it was if the entire universe was theirs.
"From now on, just admit it." Tyson drew Kai close against him, one arm around his waist and the other against his back. "You love Christmas time." They leaned in closer to each other. "And…" Tyson began, their faces immeasurably close. "I love you."
And he kissed him. Their lips pressed lightly together and Kai pressed back.
The other beyblading teams erupted in appreciation, the encore virtually raising the roof.
Outside the snow swirled around and the BBA's coloured lights came on. This was indeed, a truly merry Christmas. Kenny smiled and pocketed his camera. "And to all a good night."
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