Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or anything connected to the series. I am merely an avid fan who wanted to borrow and create my own world based off of theirs.
Rating Warning: The rating is Teen, but the characters are older than the original series. I do curse in this story and will possibly have implications of sexual activity, but don't plan on going into much detail on the act itself. This is just a pre-warning because I know how some people feel about swearing, but I don't want to discourage some teenage readers because this series as a whole is geared towards that age group.
Thank you and enjoy!
Welcoming Back Normality
"Y'know, they're pretty good."
"Pff," the other woman scoffed, holding out a hand towards the laptop. "Yeah, when they were fourteen. They're what, eighteen—nineteen now, going on retirement?"
"What, you don't think it's worth it then? Like we're any younger." The first girl leaned back on her hands, crossing her ankles near the keyboard. "And besides, what's the point of Beyblade's return if you don't invite the people who helped against BIOVOLT? And they have bitbeasts so it's a win-win."
"Yes, I know. It's about time we prove it's just a game again and not some plot for world supremacy. Although, I think you're inviting that team only because you're interested to see the professor's son blade."
"Don't get snarky, Cori." She kicked her feet to the side, barely missing the laptop between them, but only managing to nick the calf of her teammate. Frowning, she wished she would have made a more painful impact, but her twin sister wasn't her sparring partner for nothing. "This whole tournament was your idea."
"And you agreed to it, Kenz. Besides, we're old enough now to host our own event and Beyblade needs to come back."
"Having Johnny's help makes things a little easier too," Kenzie grumbled, her displeasure about his assistance evident. "He's never gonna let us live it down if we blow it."
"We've done things like this before on a smaller scale and the worst that's happened was a fire in the dish."
"And I guess that was Johnny's fault."
"Gotta love brothers." They both laughed and sighed at the same time, an interesting mixture that only masked their true concerns. That tournament had been a small, local one and their brother had been the guest of honor. If something like that had happened during a tournament of that size they could only pray nothing went wrong this time.
"I've already filled out the press sign-in sheet and got the box seats ready for the delegates."
Cori nodded. "I guess we shouldn't be surprised some of the world leaders are sending in sitters to keep an eye on things. If anything should go wrong on a large scale we might as well kiss the sport goodbye. Johnny's anger will be nothing compared to the world's wrath."
"We've taken precautions," Kenzie replied, although she didn't sound as convincing as she was probably hoping. Her lips flipped into a frown as the grey-screened laptop glitched. "Hiro and the Majestics should keep things from getting out of control."
Shifting to the side, Cori pulled her blade out of the pouch at the small of her back. Twisting it in her hand, she stared at the black dragon bitbeast, its red eyes shifting against the limited light. Staring for another long second, the beast curled its head for a low growl before she stuck it back into the pouch. "You're right; they'll be able to handle anything Beyblading-wise that gets out of hand. Secret service can keep an eye on everything else."
"Hard to believe topnotch security's needed at a tournament." Kenzie felt around back for her own blade, sticking her fingers into the pouch and wincing when one got pricked. She wasn't sure if it was the attack ring on her blade or her own black dragon bitbeast, but it could have been either. It was almost poetic how she and Cori were twins and their bitbeasts could pass for the same if it wasn't for their eyes and different shade of black. Her beast had blue eyes and even though she could have sworn there was no such thing as two different blacks, placing their beasts side by side would prove otherwise. Cori's dragon was a black abyss while Kenzie's had a tint of grey.
"BIOVOLT really screwed up the sport and the fact that Voltaire was never officially locked up didn't help the matter. House arrest didn't stop him from contacting Boris."
"I know." Kenzie grew silent and stuck her pricked finger in her mouth. Boris had continued BIOVOLT's plan despite all odds, regaining Black Dranzer by some spin of luck. He operated the bitbeast himself—gaining some support from old followers—and went on a rampage. His first target was the U.S., nearly sinking Florida with tsunamis then moving on to level Berlin with murderous bitbeasts not three months later. Their last big devastation involved a sandstorm that buried Cairo and many nearby towns. Half of people in their archaeological dig were suffocated in that attack and they were only a small number in the overall casualties. Some, less grandeur attacks weren't even broadcasted for the sake of panic control. And then, after all that, Black Dranzer disappeared.
"But we're gonna bring the sport back," Cori announced, seeing her sister's face darken with the memories. It was a miracle the professor had even survived and the two of them were lucky enough to have been back in school for that month. Remembering the television broadcast, however, was still a nightmare.
"Yeah. No matter what, it's a game and not all bitbeasts are out to demolish humanity."
"Or the ones that were thinking about it are now being coerced to think otherwise."
Nodding, Kenzie stretched and crawled over to shut the laptop. Fishing out a flashlight she accidentally blinded Cori, but the brief humor was worth the cutting insults her sister spat out in response. "Yeah, yeah, I'm sorry." Laughing she set the laptop off to the side and found her sleeping bag. "Alright, early morning tomorrow. Meeting at seven-thirty then the teams should be arriving around noon."
Cori reached over to her backpack to grab her phone, yanking the hair tie out of her McGregor family red locks. "Set it to…"
"I'm getting up at six. Wanna go for a run around the stadium with me? Or even an early morning beybattle?" Kenzie ran a finger through her own hair, the same red just chopped shorter than her sister's mid-back length. Kenzie preferred layered and down only as far as her chin.
"Run for a warm-up then hit the dish." She nodded and set her phone back down on the bag. "As long as we're in the meeting room by seven-thirty."
"Sounds good." Throwing the top corner of her sleeping bag aside, Kenzie climbed in. Muttering an "Oops," she unclipped her beyblade pouch and set it near her pillow.
"Just think, sis. Tomorrow this place will be crawling with bladers again."
"And the day after that, the tournament pool play will begin."
Cori smiled, putting her blade pouch near her pillow as well and twisted to stare up at the dome ceiling. "Olympia Stadium's gonna be hosting the best bladers this world has ever seen."
Kenzie laughed before curling up onto her side, barely seeing the outline of the dish against the dark interior. "Welcome back, Beyblade."
Robert Juregens was the one who really owned Olympia Stadium. He had managed to put together a tournament roughly five years ago—before the championship in Russia that started pulling the BBA down—and the facility had been vacant ever since. The girls were going to have the tournament somewhere else, but since Robert was a personal friend of the family, it seemed easier to get him to agree to more things than any anonymous company. And knowing Robert's personality that was saying something.
"I still like the idea of the televisions facing the fans outside the arena. That way we can get more people to come and watch," Robert said, leaning back in his chair as he crossed his legs. He wore a shirt and tie that morning, his black slacks only adding to his chic façade. Typically, his purplish hair was spiked up, but all but some pointed bangs was tame and lying a little closer to his head. The twins never thought there was enough mousse in the world to make that mop lie flat, but—then again—their brother had managed to chop off most of his wild locks and he still looked human.
"It's a good idea, Robert, but just not in our budget," Kenzie remarked, moving some papers aside on the table to pick up one with too many numbers. Rubbing her forehead, she tried to stop the headache forming there. "We maxed out once we decided to change the kiddy pool into an exhibition area."
"Not to mention registration starts at noon. You'd only have—" Cori looked at her watch, "—four and a half hours to get them all up and the men cleared out before the rush. And that's if you start now."
"With Robert anything's possible," Oliver Polanski muttered, sitting across from Kenzie. Adorning his typical blue fedora, he straightened his matching dress shirt and brought his hand up to cover a yawn. For such an early meeting Oliver was looking quite dashing as well, but he had opted out on the tie. Robert, it seemed, was the only one to stomach such formalities at seven-thirty in the morning.
"True, but all that chaos is just going to give me a headache," Enrique Giancarlo groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes as he leaned back and put his feet on the empty chair next to him. He barely bothered to dress, wearing nothing more than a black t-shirt and khaki pants. "Cori, is the coffee ready yet?"
"Just because you have a hangover doesn't mean you can just come in here sounding so damn snippy." Cori rolled her eyes and Kenzie shook her head. Leave it to Johnny to be the only one pissy without having drowned himself in alcohol the night before. Enrique could have been added to that group, but they had all been pre-warned about his late night. Technically, they couldn't complain because they had told him to show up anyway, but Johnny needed something to gripe about and knowing his past relationship with Enrique it was bound to happen sooner or later.
"C'mon, guys, we're trying to have an important meeting—"
"I'm sorry, Kenz, but seven-thirty? Seriously?"
"Enrique, you've known about this meeting for weeks and we even let you stay out late so shut the hole and actually pipe in something useful for once." Johnny did his typical scowl and crossed his arms, fixing the bandana tied across his bicep. It had migrated down from his head—mostly because it wasn't needed to keep his hair under control anymore—but still looked awkward with his t-shirt and sports jacket. At least he had bothered to put on some proper pants that morning, even if they were just jeans.
"Robert, what's the news on ticket sales?" Kenzie asked, ignoring the bickering.
Clearing his throat, he sat straight in his chair and folded his hands on the tabletop. "As of yesterday we have a full house. I was considering selling tickets for standing room only, but I doubt the security would go for that."
"No, we wouldn't," Johnny added, but Kenzie waved for Robert to continue.
"We have confirmed delegates from seven countries will be staying for the whole tournament: United States, Germany, Egypt, Russia, Greece, England, and Japan. More offers are flooding in daily from others, but no solid decisions on whether or not they're going to take the trip. We're broadcasting it live on television so some might just decide to stay at home or come later on when the pool play ends."
Cori nodded and jotted some notes down on the paper in front of her. "Any estimated time when they're arriving?"
"In the evening just before the banquet."
"Good. How's security, Johnny?" Cori asked, turning to him and pointing her pen in his general direction. "I saw them this morning when Kenz and I went for a run, but any more news?"
"They got here yesterday and did a quick sweep of the stadium before heading to the hotels to do some security checks there. They came back around five this morning to do a more thorough search and we should have full staff by the banquet tonight."
"Alright, perfect." Kenzie nodded and switched her papers to a new page, looking across the table. "Oliver?"
"The hiccup we had yesterday with the catering is being fixed this morning. They plan on coming in around one to start setting up for the banquet. The vendors have limited food for this afternoon, but will be fully stocked by this time tomorrow."
"And the staff?"
"All accounted for and, as far as I can tell, all passed security checks."
Kenzie looked over at Johnny for confirmation and he nodded. "Good."
"Enrique, update on the media?" Cori asked.
Sighing, he reached over to the table and pulled his notes closer, but made no inclination to sit up straight. "We have confirmation we'll be broadcasting live on twenty national networks throughout the world and internet. Newspapers include at least two per country and other local media coverage will be given special, limited passes since they didn't contact me first. You should already have the list of networks and papers. They've all been told to arrive an hour before the registration begins to sign in and set up, but I saw some news vans outside already this morning. They're supposed to have a separate place to park, so I'll handle that as soon as we're finished here."
"And the media suite?"
"Clean and ready for use, darling." Enrique smiled at the remark and Cori sighed.
"Banquet preparations are still on schedule. The band will be arriving at four to set up and everyone will be ushered in around six. Kenzie and I will oversee that registration. AJ Topper, Brad Best and Daren Jict—better known as DJ Jazzman—flew in late last night and may or may not show up today for registration, but they'll definitely be at the banquet. On a side note," Cori continued, straightening the papers on her desk and knocking the end against the wood, trying to make it as loud as she could. "Hiro's coming in later this evening. At least that was the last I had heard as of yesterday."
"I just talked to him this morning, actually, and he said he might be getting an earlier flight. He should be in time for the banquet if all goes well. You'll all be debriefed on match security prior to the banquet, so he'll be given the 101 once he arrives," Kenzie finished, pushing Enrique's feet down from the chair on her left.
"Oh, c'mon. It's not like he's here now," he complained, but the smirk on his lips told her it was nothing more than a ruse. Most likely he had put his feet on Hiro's vacant chair purposely. "And when you gonna drop him anyway?"
"Enrique," Oliver, Robert, and even Cori said, all of them sounding more exhausted than anything.
Kenzie didn't even flinch. "You all have the special attachments for your blades, I'm assuming?"
"Oh, Kenz, you mock us," Robert said, holding up his Griffolyon. There had been some improvements made for this tournament specifically, but nothing was evident on the blade itself. The only differences were with the bitbeast, the chip on the front wrapped in a chain-like metal. Usually that had meant the beast was trapped inside, but the décor was more for appearance. It was to symbolize their roles in the tournament, the protection detail. Anything that goes wrong in the dish was within their jurisdiction. If all went well, the tournament would go on without a use for them, but with so many bladers around and many still getting over the BIOVOLT tragedies, they were more for morale than anything. Johnny, Enrique and Oliver held up their own blades, their bitbeasts wrapped in the same metal.
Cori nodded. "You know we have to check. Now, Robert, I need you and Oliver manning the registration tent."
"Alright," Oliver replied, but Robert held up a finger.
"Have Enrique be my place filler. I have to look into those televisions. I'll use my own money if I have to."
Kenzie sighed. "Damn it, I was hoping you'd forget about that."
"Fine," Cori replied, crossing out his name on her sheet and scribbling in Enrique. "Johnny, I need you in the back watching the supply trucks. There should be three other security guards back there, but the last thing we need is something—uh—interesting being brought into the stadium."
"Got it. What are you two gonna do then?"
"Mingle." Kenzie laughed when they all frowned, standing up and moving her chair so Cori could do the same. Johnny even growled, but she had expected that from him. "There are still some banquet matters that need to be attended to, but why should you guys get to see everyone and we don't until tonight? Besides, everyone knows you. We're still new on the market."
Cori laughed at the remark and nodded, knocking the papers against the table again. "If you wanna put it that way."
"New on the market?" Enrique asked, slinking up from his chair to rest his arms across the girls' shoulders. Slipping his head near theirs, he looked at each in turn and smiled. "Damn, I'm always in the mood for some fresh meat."
Robert sighed and Oliver shook his head, although, he seemed more amused than his teammate. Johnny was the only one defensive, the girls hearing his chair screeching against the wood floor long before they felt Enrique stumble backwards after his shove. Enrique kept his grip, however, pulling the girls back with him. "Come now, Johnny. What's that face for?"
"My sisters aren't 'meat,' jackass."
"Wow, I didn't mean it literally. Although." He paused, giving each one a full body checkout before returning to their hotheaded brother. "I'd definitely go for a slice."
"Any time, any where," Cori responded, enjoying how flustered her brother was getting.
"I heard you have a yacht," Kenzie cooed, deciding to add her two cents to the ruse. "If there's no phone reception Hiro would never have to find out."
"Oh ho, really? Well, ladies—"
"For God's sake, Enrique!"
"What, Johnny? If they want to what's the harm? And we all know they're definitely old enough now—"
Johnny reached out and pushed him again, but the blond jumped back and out of the way, letting go of the twins and holding his arms up in surrender. "C'mon, bud. You know your parents were trying to set me up with one of them anyway."
"Ugh, that ridiculous nonsense? I refuse to be an uncle through you, Enrique!"
The room grew awkwardly silent, Oliver holding in a laugh and Robert just plain stunned. Johnny was fuming and Enrique was failing miserably at keeping his laughter contained. Cori was the first one to really break the silence.
"Hey, don't I get a say in this, bro?" she asked, slipping both arms around Enrique's waist and twisting her head back to smirk. "He's right, y'know. I am old enough."
Kenzie started laughing first then the others joined in, Enrique dropping his arms to envelop Cori in a hug and swing her around to use her as a shield when Johnny started charging them. At one point the shield backfired and Johnny started pulling on his sister, making her the rope in a tug-of-war game, but Enrique gave in fast, pushing Cori back onto her brother then running out of the room.
Just another typical meeting for the Majestics plus two.
"Awesome! I can't wait to start this thing!" Tyson Granger yelled, throwing a punch into the air as he laughed and did a couple of jumps. His hair flopped against his back, the ponytail a bit shorter than it had been nearly five years ago, but he still enjoyed the look. Having had a growth spurt not long after the Russian tournament, he now stood just under six feet tall, but had a couple more years yet before he reached the same height as his brother Hiro. "It's been so long since we've all been together like this!"
"I agree, this is precisely what the sport needed." Kenny Saien—standing next to Tyson—matched his smile but was a little less enthusiastic. Given Tyson's amount of energy, anyone would look bored compared to him. The Chief had grown as well, almost catching up to Tyson, but still a bit shy. Thin-rimmed glasses rested on the bridge of his nose, just under some rather scraggly-looking bangs. It seemed he was going for the sophisticated jock look, but if the ladies glancing his way were any indication, it was working out pretty well. Not to mention he had gotten his own set of followers after the World Championships, some even starting a website. He blushed under one look and cleared his throat, fixing the collar on his polo shirt. "It was definitely an unhappy surprise when BBA crashed."
"And to think it was all because of BIOVOLT."
Tyson and Kenny turned to see their old teammate—and Tyson's blading partner—Max Tate weaving his way towards them. His signature blonde locks were cropped short, giving his mature stature more of a chic look. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans, he still seemed to be the same bumbling sports nut as five years ago. Him and Tyson clasped hands before embracing, their short fingerless gloves starting to look more like a team commodity than for fashion's sake.
"Max, you made it!"
"Of course I did, Chief," he laughed, hugging the other man next. "Damn, can you believe it's been a year since I've seen you both?"
"That's what happens when you skip back to the States." Tyson chuckled as well, fixing his cap after Max's hug had knocked it off center. Shrugging his sports coat back comfortably onto his shoulders, he straightened, looking over Max's shoulders to see the blonde's parents trailing behind and holding hands. "I take it your parents were happy to be together on the same continent again."
"Huh? Oh." He laughed as he turned, offering a small shrug. "My dad started working for the same company as Mom, but specialized in merchandising. Or, that's just a fancy way of saying he sells the blades the company makes."
"Last I heard, you were working there too, right Max?" Kenny asked, sidestepping some kids running around the lobby. It was starting to get pretty packed.
"From time to time. I'm actually in college now. I'm hoping to start my own Beyblading organization someday."
"Wow, quite the dream, man!"
"Why don't you help me, Tyson," Max suggested, noting his partner's enthusiasm. "You're going to college too, right?"
"Only part time. I've practically taken over the dojo since Grandpa's finally admitting he's getting too old. And my dad's been travelling around with Hiro so I'm really the only one around nowadays."
"Well, we never know what's gonna happen next," Kenny added, sounding a bit nostalgic. "I mean, who knew this many people would even keep Beyblading after all the bad publicity and restrictions?"
"You can't kill the spirit, Chief." Tyson patted his chest then put his arms around each of his friends' shoulders, pulling them in close. "Oh man, this is so wicked sweet! I can't wait to get back to tearing up the dish!"
"Hey, Chief," a voice muttered and they all paused, "when you gonna tell them I'm still ticking?"
Kenny flinched and panicked at the voice, but even though there was no one else really around them, both bladers knew the only bitbeast those words could have come from.
"Oops, sorry, Dizzi," he apologized, pulling the mobile phone from his pocket. Turning the screen, he showed the other two.
"For the sake of not embarrassing you in front of the guys, I'll save the scolding, but know I'll let you have it later on." The bitbeast tapped an impatient foot on the black screen, its 3D anger less intimidating on the 2D surface. Back in her original form—at least they could assume her original form was a white rat—she was still trapped in a computer equivalent, but had moving appendages at least. Although, it was a little unnerving to see a rat standing on its hind legs and tapping its fingers and toes impatiently. "Despite Kenny's abuse, it really is awesome to see you guys again, especially Max because I see Tyson way too much for my old eyes to handle."
"Ah, Dizzi, beautiful as always," Max cooed and Tyson said his typical "Hiya!" apparently not offended by her remark.
"What I don't get is why you guys are still standing here. Isn't that one of the directors putting up the tournament spreadsheets?" Dizzi asked, pointing out behind them and towards the wall. Sure enough, Kenzie—wearing jeans and a black blouse with an old BBA lanyard draped around her neck—was stapling some papers to the bulletin board. She was going a little overboard with the office device in her hand, but the onlookers were too transfixed on seeing the pools than to be scared of a redhead with a stapler.
"Go see who you're versing before the crowd gets there," Dizzi suggested.
"But the tournament doesn't officially start until tomorrow," Tyson whined, although he was still making the effort to follow after Max.
"Geez Tyson, did you learn nothing from our blading way back when?"
"Getting a leg up is never a bad idea," Dizzi finished for Kenny, the rat picking up its own leg to demonstrate. The phone jerked as Kenny walked, but the bitbeast didn't seem affected. Knowing that duo, they probably put in some kind of shock system so she didn't have to deal with motion sickness. "Our data might be out dated, but we still have common sense."
"And then we can go talk to them during the welcoming banquet," Max added and slipped through the crowd to see the board.
"Wait, welcome banquet?"
"Oh, Tyson." Kenny sighed, shaking his head. "Dizzi, you wanna handle this one?"
"Don't say another word." Reaching up, she grasped the top of the screen and pulled down, a list of phone applications falling down like a series of blinds. When the first page didn't have what she was looking for she pulled down another one. "Ah-ha! Here it is." Reaching towards a folder-looking icon, she pulled it open and it swung as if it were some miniature closet door. She siphoned through some pieces of paper stored there before finding what she wanted. Closing the door and pushing the icons upwards and off the screen again, she plastered the sheet against the screen then threw both arms out to her sides, the document now large enough for all of them to view.
"There, see?" Kenny pointed to one line in particular. "There is a formal welcoming banquet the night of registration and all bladers are required to attend. Anyone who misses the banquet is disqualified."
"Either that or you have better have one hell of an excuse," Dizzi added, poking her head around the side of the paper and twitching her nose.
"F-formal?" Tyson stammered, his mouth shrinking into a frown as his eyes grew large. "Formal!"
"What? I told you that about a week ago."
"Oh, damn it, Chief, you did, didn't you?" Groaning he spun a frustrated circle. "I totally forgot!"
Dizzi sighed. "You have about four hours until the banquet. Just go shopping."
"Yeah, take your girlfriend with you and it'll go by real quick," Kenny added with a laugh and wink. Dizzi twitched her nose again.
"B-but then she'll want to do some shopping for herself and—oh, Chief, it'll be a nightmare!"
"Wait, Tyson has a girlfriend?" Max asked, walking back over to the duo and covering up a laugh. "And why wasn't I let in on this little secret?"
"They've only been dating for a couple of months," Kenny explained. "But he did invite her here to Greece with him."
"Woah, that's serious, bud!"
"No it's not! I just didn't want Hiro to—oh—nevermind!"
"Hiro to what?" Max prodded, taking a step closer.
Dizzi laughed. "Hiro has a girlfriend and Tyson didn't want his older brother to show him up." She laughed again as Tyson reached out towards the phone. "Oh men and your pride, I swear."
"Who is she? Do I know her?" Max asked, scanning the crowd as the other two fought over possession of Kenny's phone. "Oh, now I'm curious!"
"You'll see her at the banquet," Tyson grumbled, finally giving up when Kenny went to hide behind Max. "She didn't want to come to the registration."
"But," Tyson began, slinking up to his partner and putting an arm around his shoulders. "You could see her sooner if you come with us shopping. I have to get a suit for tonight."
"Oh shit! I totally forgot it's formal!"
"Oh, Max, not you too!" Kenny groaned, shaking his head.
Laughing, Dizzi rolled her eyes as well. "And here I was afraid everything would change."
Kenzie shoved her way out just as everyone sucked in to see, sharing some interesting words with herself. She tripped once, but caught herself on someone's arm. The someone made a noise and she didn't have much time to right herself before she looked up to apologize. Turning her head upwards, she craned to see Rei Kon, his traditional ponytail and Chinese garb making him stand out in the crowd, not to mention his growth spurt put him well past six feet. However, it was his reputation she knew more about than his black pants and tiger shirt, but since she was still stumbling and grasping his sleeve, the wardrobe was priority one.
"Damn it, just let me back through and then you can look all you want!"
A girl on Rei's other arm chuckled at the comment, sticking out a hand to pull her upright again. "Sorry, I guess we're all pretty excited." Mariah Wong was unmistakable, her red and pink hair chopped short much like Kenzie's own locks and clipped back to avoid any future annoyances. Her outfit mirrored Rei's, the main difference being the symbol on her shirt. Somehow Kenzie figured all the other old White Tiger members had their own bitbeasts on their garb.
Kenzie smiled and thanked her for the help. "That's a good thing, really. I'd just like to live long enough to participate."
"Oh, you're blading too?" Rei asked, the surprise on his face almost insulting, but Kenzie had expected the questionnaire at some point. Typically hostesses didn't participate.
"Yes. My twin, Cori, and I are a team."
"Wow, brave enough to have a sibling as a partner, huh? You just gained a lot of my respect."
"Either her or my brother Johnny."
"Wait," Rei began, trying to shift his features from respect back to confusion. He must have just remembered the names on the invitation. "Johnny McGregor?"
"One in the same."
"Wow, I guess I just never made the connection before. I had no idea he had siblings."
"We don't exactly come up in polite conversation, so that's probably why you've never heard of us," she replied, slowly making her way to the rear of the crowd. Rei and Mariah must have been more interested in talking to her than seeing their competition since they were following. "I'm Kenzie."
"Are you guys younger or older than Johnny?" Mariah asked after they introduced themselves.
Kenzie frowned. "Glad to know I might look like an old hag."
"Sorry, it's just a simple question. Younger than, I'm guessing."
She smiled and nodded, patching up the small misunderstanding. "Only by ten months. My parents didn't really know the meaning of restraint, we're guessing." They each cocked an eyebrow, but didn't respond, probably not wanting to delve into that subject any further.
"So, where is your teammate then?" Rei asked, waving over at Max when he saw him slip away.
"Around here somewhere. It's our turn to mingle since the Majestics get to enjoy the banquet. Cori and I are in charge of that shindig so we'd be lucky if we even get a dance in."
"I'll make sure you get to enjoy one fast song at least," Mariah promised, winking at her fellow redhead. "After all, you're giving us back Beyblading. It's the least I can do."
Kenzie smiled at that. "It needed to be brought back and if everything here goes without a hitch, we should be able to put it back like it used to be."
"Ah, to see young bladers playing in the streets again," Rei said, his eyes brightening at the memory. "A dream come true."
"Stranger things have happened." Kenzie shrugged but then quickly held up a finger, remembering some names Robert had rattled off nearly ten minutes before she had posted the pool play. "You know you're all required to attend the banquet, right? Any duo with only one player present will be disqualified."
"Oh, Lee will be here soon," he remarked, reaching up to wave at another person across the lobby.
"And Emily's just getting in." Out of all the pairings Mariah and Emily York's was probably the most unexpected. Not only because of the distance, but Kenzie had heard plenty of whisperings surrounding their obvious discomfort around each other. Given their talents they were going to make a great team, but it helps when partners could stand each other. Maybe the long years have patched more rivalries than anything and, no doubt, Michael Parker's death during the Florida tragedy had put more than a few things into perspective.
"Glad to hear. Those were two names Robert mentioned so I thought I'd bring it up. I'd hate to see you kicked out on a mere formality."
"Wouldn't we all."
"Kenzie and Cori, you're needed in the office."
Kenzie held up a finger and put a finger to her ear, trying to hear the radio more clearly.
"I repeat. Kenzie and Cori McGregor you're needed in the main office."
"Sorry, guys, duty calls. I'll see you at the banquet."
"Yes, you will."
Cori knew who the two were even if one had an alias. Kai was notorious in the Beyblading community and his redheaded friend would have been if he hadn't gotten out of BIOVOLT after the Russian tournament. Although, that kind of attention would have been far less favorable than the glances his full name already managed.
Tala Valkov, she thought, tossing the words around as she fixed the lanyard over her green blouse. She had heard that name a many number of times, but only because she had studied the Russian tournament prior to Cairo's destruction. She and Kenzie had almost joined the war effort after Berlin was destroyed, but Cairo had put things into a different perspective. They were of more use helping with the funerals than attempting to add their corrupted bitbeasts into the military. Their friends' deaths were apparently a blessing in disguise, however. Kenzie and Cori may not have survived Bahamut and Tiamat's influence so soon after getting them.
"Out of all the ones to be here so early, I didn't expect it to be you two."
They turned towards the girl, their Russian coats draped over their arms. Greece was far warmer than Russia even with the stadium being surrounded by water so fewer layers seemed justified. Kai still wore his traditional long white scarf hanging down past his black jeans with two red and black belts drooping at his waist. He sprouted a navy muscle shirt with a chain dipping down onto his chest, his bitbeast Dranzer dangling at the end.
"Are you one of our hostesses?" Kai asked.
She nodded. "Cori McGregor and, yes, I'm his sister."
Kai gave the smallest of smirks and held out a hand to his partner. "This is Stefan. New to Beyblading, but strong nonetheless."
"Is he now? To be honest, I've never heard of him, but if you say he'll survive here, there's nothing I can object to." Turning to Tala, she gave him a stern look, all but voicing she knew who he really was.
Tala's eyes flinched, the subtle grow and shrink proving he understood the glance. Looking away, Cori studied him. He still sprouted his red hair, white stripes adding a touch Cori found favorable. He had it cropped short, leaving only the two bangs. He wore blue slacks with a white, belted top, strangely fashionable with the straps sown horizontally across his chest and arms.
Cori sighed and smiled lightly, amused by his embarrassment. "The only people to notice and be bothered by it are simple-minded. The rest of us are more understanding than you may think. Perhaps it's about time you wore your proper name again." She kept her voice low, pretending to scribble something onto her clipboard.
"I already told him it'd be obvious as soon as he blades," Kai muttered, readjusting his jacket.
"Secrets aren't exactly wise at this point in the game either," Cori explained. "At the banquet we have some announcements of our own to make. Just think about it. Proclaiming yourself as—well—yourself might clear the air, so to speak."
"So I should just go along like nothing's happened?" Tala asked, his confidence returning despite the touchy subject. "Sounds a lot harder than you make it out to be."
"You don't know what things we have to confess. And besides," she added quickly before they could dwell on her vague response, "it's about time Beyblading had its restart. Hopefully, we don't have to begin on petty lies."
The three of them smiled, small things, but comforting nonetheless.
"So, where is Johnny?" Kai asked, doing a quick look around as if the blader was merely playing a game of Hide and Seek.
"Helping load in some supplies and hopefully not bitching with Enrique about something."
Kai cocked an eyebrow. "They're still at odds? Somehow I thought the Majestics had grown closer after our last series of battles here."
"Some things never change. Wait—scratch that—some things aren't meant to change."
Laughing, Kai gave a small wave to someone behind her. Cori turned to see who, watching Rei put his hand down after his greeting and seeing Kenzie talking to Mariah right next to him.
"That's the other McGregor twin, I take it?" Tala asked, seeming just as curious to see whom Kai had willingly waved at.
"Yup, that's Kenzie."
"Wow, I guess I never expected you guys to be identical twins."
"Is that a problem, Stefan?" Cori asked, glancing to Kai as if looking for some kind of explanation. Seeing the look, he just shrugged.
"No, I'd just hate to mix you guys up with Johnny standing nearby. Seems like it'd be a painful mistake."
They all laughed again.
"Kenzie and Cori, you're needed in the office."
Cori reached up to her earpiece and turned up the volume.
"I repeat. Kenzie and Cori McGregor you're needed in the main office."
"Sorry, but that's my call; gotta run. Remember the banquet's mandatory!" she yelled after a small wave, walking away from the duo and disappearing into the crowd. Somehow, she doubted the two she left behind were as excited about the social event as she was.
"Ah, Mr. Dickenson, I'm so happy to see you on your feet," Cori said. She had met her sister outside the office door after hearing the announcement, both arriving at about the same time. Kenzie had directed her in first so the other redhead had seen the former head of the BBA before her sister. Walking towards him, Cori embraced him around the neck and kissed his cheek, the older man's mustache tickling her skin. He kissed her back then she stepped away so Kenzie could do the same.
"Oh come now, it wasn't serious. Just the flu, was all. Leave it to the media to blow things out of proportion. As soon as you think you're out of the spotlight, an ambulance shows up on your doorstep and a journalist happens to be there taking pictures." Despite the ranting, however, he seemed to be happy about the embraces.
"Any hospital visit deserves concern, Mr. Dickenson." He just smiled at Cori's comment. "We're glad you came on such short notice."
"If anyone even says the word Beyblade I'm there. After the BBA went under…" He trailed off and the girls exchanged looks. The BBA took the brunt force of allegations once Boris was captured, blamed for not being able to stop him back in Russia and for staying out of the politics surrounding his terrorism. In all reality, they had little to do with what Voltaire was conducting and even if they had hired some bladers and their bitbeasts to help the governments, there was little the organization could accomplish. Some bladers did volunteer, but there wasn't much they could do against Boris when the world militaries didn't even know how to use their skills to apprehend him. So, Mr. Dickenson swallowed his pride and took the blame. After he left, the BBA survived a mere six more months then disbanded. Since then, smaller Beyblade tournaments and skirmishes were the only thing considered "organized" and it's been nearly three years. Nothing this large scale had been considered, even though the bitbeast hysteria had died down almost a year ago.
"But people still like to blade," Kenzie said. "You can't scare away the love of the game."
"Which is inspiring!" the older man remarked, spreading his arms out wide in exclamation. The effort must have been too much because he sat a second later, leaning his cane against the armrest and taking off his hat to wipe his forehead. Perhaps he wasn't as strong as he had previously thought. "I haven't been to the registration desk yet. The old BladeBreakers are here, right?"
"So far most have been accounted for—including the former BladeBreakers—except for the few still flying in. There's one blader named Daichi that no one has any solid travel information on. Apparently, he missed his first scheduled flight." Cori frowned, but ended up shrugging it off. They held some of the blame since the blader had already booked another flight before they had heard about the mess-up. Hopefully, he would get to the tournament on time. "We kind of stumbled upon him and his bitbeast accidentally and asked him to find a partner. No go as of the first deadline. He has until the banquet for the super late registration." Cori walked over to the desk and set down the clipboard. "We want everyone we invited to get a chance to play."
"I might be able to help with that."
Another gentleman walked into the room, younger than Mr. Dickenson, but definitely out of his prime. With spike blue-black hair someone could say he looked in upper twenties. That was if he ever combed his hair. Oh well, he could look as shaggy as he wanted since he was in the cheering section dedicated to his son.
"Professor Granger!" the girls exclaimed, shuffling over to give him two strong hugs. It had been nearly six months since they had left his archaeological dig. It was hard to head back to Europe—and for such a long time—seeing as they had been on and off that dig for nearly seven years.
"Ah, how're my favorite interns?"
"Wondering when you'd get here. Your plane landed nearly five hours ago," Kenzie said, punching his arm playfully. She could hear Mr. Dickenson laughing behind her.
"Sorry girls, I had to meet a guest of mine."
"Hiro?" Kenzie asked, but the professor shook his head.
He shrugged. "Sorry, Kenz. Last I heard he was still en route." He actually smiled as her lips flipped into a small frown, but shook off his fatherly amusement and pointed back to the doorway. "Girls, I'd like you to meet someone." Turning, he motioned for a boy to come inside. He looked to be about their age if not older with shaggy black hair and glasses. Wearing a flattering button up shirt and slacks, he looked ready for the banquet, not having just gotten off a plane. "This is Luka Alcott and I think he can be that other blader's partner."
"You know our qualifications, right Professor?" Cori asked.
"Of course. Mr. Dickenson has been keeping me informed. He has a bitbeast." The man prompted the blader and Luka reached into his pocket to pull out his beyblade. Flipping it around in his hand, he displayed the bitbeast chip as soon as it was face up.
The girls cursed.
"No," they said simultaneously.
"C'mon, I took a chance on you guys," the professor replied.
"Yes, but Bahamut and Tiamat are different," Cori countered.
"How so? They were also evil turned good, right?"
"But that's Black Dranzer. BIOVOLT—" Kenzie began, but he cut back in.
"Is gone. The world doesn't have to worry about them anymore. And you said yourselves you want to put all that in the past."
"They are the reason blading was nearly considered treasonous. And the bitbeasts were the closest thing to weapons of mass destruction the world has seen in years with Black Dranzer leading the charge," Mr. Dickenson began, leaning forward in the chair. "You saw their raw power first hand in Egypt. Those bitbeasts had the ability to destroy entire countries!" Sighing, he shook his head. "Tatsuya, why didn't you tell me about this?"
"Because Luka here has been working just as hard at saving Black Dranzer as you two have been at saving your dragons. And isn't that the point of this tournament? To prove all of those evil bitbeasts and their influences are in the past? Wouldn't someone controlling Black Dranzer be the ultimate assurance?"
"It's still too fresh, especially since Boris had been the one to control him personally."
"Kenzie's right," Mr. Dickenson continued. "BIOVOLT's only been officially out of the paper for a year, but that doesn't mean people have forgotten them, and most—if not all—these bladers were directly connected with that affair. What do we tell them?"
"Listen, we have four pools of bladers and in each of those pools we have at least two bitbeasts transformed into good. Some bitbeasts here might even be escapees from BIOVOLT. We don't know. We have to stop being so afraid of them and start moving beyond that tragedy instead of pretending it never happened."
"You're making a lot of sense and we are aiming for the same goal," Cori muttered, glancing over at her sister who shared a similar look. "But if the players start getting uncomfortable, we're pulling Luka out. If any of them go rogue, for that matter, we're putting a stop to them too; that includes us. This is supposed to be a rebirth of the sport, not another funeral."
The professor nodded. "Which is why it's the perfect time to present the results of our experiment. Bladers who have been able to harness and turn corrupted bitbeasts into the good spirits they were meant to be."
Mr. Dickenson sighed loudly. "I don't fully agree, but I'm old and tend to think differently. I trust you, Tatsuya, so you'd better be right."
"So, I'm in?" Luka asked, somehow surprised the conversation had gone in his direction. He pocketed his blade and looked at each in turn. Frowning, he wiggled his fingers nervously at his sides when they didn't look as optimistic as him. "I know Black Dranzer makes you nervous, but his influence comes from the blader, not some evil inside. Black Dranzer is a leech, nothing more."
"Then how do you explain Kai? He wasn't 'evil' when he had the blade," Cori stated.
"From what Tyson had told me," the professor began, putting a hand on Luka's shoulder, "Kai had a lot of thoughts running through his head, good and bad. And since Black Dranzer was in such an evil environment, there was bound to be some influence there."
"So you're blaming all of that chaos on Kai's ignorance?" Mr. Dickenson asked. "I'm sorry, Tatsuya, but I knew Kai better than that. Sure, he was anti-social, but to deliberately want to destroy the world? That beast had to have something to do with it."
"Fine, I guess I'll just have to prove it to you in the dish. Black Dranzer is not the real problem here. Perhaps you should all rethink why you're having this tournament if you're going to throw in the towel now," Luka finished, shaking off the professor's comforting hold and turning towards the door.
"Yes, yes, you make a good point; we get it," Kenzie said. She shared another look with her sister, but her shoulders slumped in defeat nonetheless. "I don't want you to feel threatened in this tournament, but you have to know what this world has gone through because of that bitbeast." Luka nodded so she continued. "And despite your confidence, we have to make an official statement at the banquet tonight." Everyone held up a hand before the boy could argue. If anything it was intimidating to see them all agree against him. "If word got out we withheld this kind of information, Beyblade's through."
"I agree," the others replied in turn, Luka being the final one to nod.
"Very well, you'll join us on stage when we prompt you to," Kenzie finished, casting him a look that proved there was no other choice. If Luka was going to argue, he would have to face more than the redheaded twins and given their strength alone—not to mention influence—he wasn't going to enjoy any of it.
"Now, Stanley, wanna come with me to see if we can find my rambunctious son?" the professor asked, reaching out to the older gentleman and ushering the three of them outside.
"Which one?" Mr. Dickenson remarked and they laughed. Cori and Kenzie watched them leave, their muscles tense until Luka had closed the door and they could no longer be heard walking down the hall.
"Black Dranzer," Cori muttered. Sighing, she sat down in the now vacant chair and crossed her left leg over her right. "Damn that scares me."
"I know what you mean," her twin replied, propping herself up against the desk. She crossed her arms over her chest. "After knowing what change the world went through—and especially the Beyblade community—do we really need to relight that fire?" She shook her head. "I dunno, sis."
"Tala's here too. He's Stefan, Kai's partner we had never heard of before." Cori continued when Kenzie didn't respond. "I suggested he share his real name, but I can't be certain he'll take my advice."
"Being an ex-member of BIOVOLT makes him hesitate, I'm sure." She sighed as well, rubbing her forehead again. "But he wasn't a member when they turned completely violent, so he has some leeway there. People had forgotten all about him once he had disappeared after the Russian tournament."
"I even heard rumors he had died."
"No doubt sparked by Tala himself," Kenzie said, giving a wry chuckle. "Hence the alias."
"So, do we make an announcement on that as well?"
"It's gonna be obvious as soon as he blades."
Now Cori laughed. "Kai said the exact same thing."
"Did he? Well, I don't agree with the secrets thing with so much on the line, but if he wants to feed off the rumor he's dead, who are we to step in?"
"So we just put pressure on him in private then play ignorant in public?"
Kenzie sighed but gave a half shrug. "Sounds just like the shady business we've been trying to avoid, but what choice do we have? It's his life and since he wasn't directly involved in any of the disasters there's nothing we have against him."
"I wish I could say we'll keep an eye on both him and Black Dranzer, but with us running the tournament, we'd be lucky if we can concentrate on our own battles."
"I mean we could switch the brackets to put Luka in our pool, but that would outwardly prove we're nervous about the whole affair. Not to mention it would cause complete chaos." Kenzie bit her bottom lip, mentally moving the pools around to see if she really could do it without confusion. Each bracket was made to give each team a fair chance, however, and even one team switching over would throw off the balance. Black Dranzer should have caused a power rift no matter what, but since his partner, Daichi, was already in the pool needing a power blader it actually worked out. "Maybe we should just back out and make this tournament along with Black Dranzer our first priority. If anyone knew what was at stake they wouldn't blame us."
Cori nodded slowly, but still looked sad. "I will be honest though, I really want to blade."
Kenzie sighed and shook her head, a small smile resting on her lips. "I want to as well. These are the best bladers the sport has to offer and we've never faced anyone other than the Majestics and some amateurs."
"I feel comfortable with Tiamat, despite his past."
"And I with Bahamut," Kenzie admitted. "But to go as far as saying they're 'good'? I feel I can trust Bahamut with my life, when it comes down to it, but he's not exactly…good." She stuck her pricked finger in her mouth at the memory.
"I agree the professor can get ahead of himself sometimes and if we—the original subjects in this experiment—can't confidently say our bitbeasts don't have any evil in them, how can the others who have only been training for three years or less?"
Both nodded knowingly and fell silent, debating it further. Tiamat and Bahamut were among nearly twenty bitbeasts excavated in an Antarctica dig. More likely than not they had been banished and sealed there by some ancient civilization. Given how old Kenzie and Cori figured them to be—their connections to the dragons placed them around the dinosaur era—they just hoped their evil presence wasn't the real cause of the snow and desolate land on the continent. So, if they all were that old, how could they ever be officially "good"? Some of the spirits were actually destroyed for being too evil and the two dragons were only spared because they had shown some kind of connection with the redheaded twins. Out of that whole excavation only half were allowed to be set "free." Whatever beasts were left were placed under locked supervision until the experiment ended, waiting to see if they were going to be given the chance to be "changed" or just destroyed so the world didn't have to go through such a tragedy again.
"We can still call it off."
"Right when everyone's so excited? Kenz, we'd crush them all and you know it."
"So we go through with it then and pray nothing happens? Sounds like sleepless nights for the two of us."
"And with Black Dranzer floating around, sounds like others won't be sleeping either."
A/N: So, I had this sudden urge with my good friend Death-Scimitar to watch the first season of Beyblade for old times' sake. Well, it transformed from a craving to full blown inspiration and this is what popped out. I had started a Beyblade story way back when, but never finished it. For those of your who have read it, it's Blades of Fate. I never did complete it (for a many number of reasons) and I was attempting a rewrite when I got inspiration for my longest story, Weapon's Waltz. Needless to say, Blades of Fate stayed unfinished. When my inspiration hit I had every intention of restarting the rewrite, but then I had an idea, Johnny McGregor's twin sisters. I still may get back to Blades of Fate, but (to be honest) I'm sick of writing whiney teenagers. That's one reason behind making them eighteen-twenty, but I feel like I can also incorporate more adult-based issues when they're older and have it make sense. Should fifteen-year-olds really be charged with stopping a crazed man from taking over the universe? Probably not, but that's Anime for you.
I was going to put this in the disclaimer before the story, but didn't want to boggle you guys with too much info too early. My story's happening in a timeline where V-Force and G-Revolution never happened. You might see some ideas that happened in both of those series, but I loved the first series so much (and was terribly let down by the second and third) that I wanted to base my story off that reality. And I just wasn't convinced Boris and Voltaire couldn't do anyworld damage with all the resources they had at their disposal. If there is enough interest, some of the bladers from the other series will show up, but I can't guarantee anything's going to be the same.
On that note, let me know if you want me to continue this. I want to focus mainly on my Weapon's Waltz story, but this little off-shoot has given me even more inspiration for that story. It's nice to do something different, I guess. I'll only put effort and time into this now if you want me to. If not, I'll gradually chip away at it, but make no real haste to post chapters.
Anyway, thank you all for reading this. I wasn't sure on the popularity of this Anime anymore, but I had to get this idea down on paper.
Huge thanks to my Beta and great friend Death-Scimitar for telling me just to "go with it" and for geeking out over this Anime as much as I do.
Hope to hear from you!