The Past Is The Past

BY : zekesbabe
Category: Beyblade > General
Dragon prints: 1465
Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

I, zekesbabe do not own this story. I am putting this story up with full permission of the original authoress. This story has only been put up as I realised that no one would understand "The Past Is Now."

"Dad-dy!" five year-old Rosa whined, running into the kitchen and stamping her bare foot on the slippery linoleum. "I want a sweet!"
"No sweets before bedtime, kitty." Ray said distractedly from the lounge.

"Sweets?" A hopeful face popped round the door, flicking her black hair out of her amber eyes with seven year-old sophistication.

"That means you as well, Lynnie." The two girls scowled at him, then turned their backs and started whispering mutinously to each other. Ray sighed good-naturedly and trailed his fingers lightly up Mariah's bare arm. "Why is it always me?" he complained, imitating their daughter's whiny tones.

"Because you're just such a pushover, tiger." Mariah teased, tracing the outline of his mouth with a long nail. Ray let his mouth slide open and gently bit her finger, his eyes dancing.

"Now now, Mariah, no antics until after nine o'clock, remember?" he whispered.

"Hey, I'm hormonal. Take pity on me." Ray grinned and disengaged himself from her arms and the comfort of the sofa.

"You know that doesn't get anything from me. I still remember the first time you had a period." He chuckled. "If you'd screamed much louder they'd have heard you in London." Suddenly, the doorbell rang loudly. Twin screeches of "I'm getting it!" rang out from the hyped-up girls, the sound of racing feet echoing through the house.

"No, I'm getting it!" Ray shouted. The pounding feet descended the staircase rapidly, paying him no attention at all. "If you two touch that door you won't get to see Driger for a month!" Ray threatened. One set of footsteps stopped.

"Or Galux!" Mariah called. The second set stopped. "Now, come upstairs and we'll watch a video while Daddy talks to whoever's out there, okay?"


"Video! Yay!" Mariah gave Ray a wry smile and got up, kissing him lightly on the lips.

"Cartoons work every time. Thank God for TV." she whispered. Ray chuckled and nodded, walking towards the front door. He turned round, one hand on the doorknob and smiled at Mariah, who was leading their daughters upstairs, Rosa clinging possessively to her leg. Still smiling, he opened the door. The smile slipped off his face, to be replaced by a look of utter shock. How many years was it now? Eight? Nine?

"Hello, Ray." the person standing on the doorstep said calmly. "Good to see you again." Ray blinked, finally finding his voice.

"Kai, what the hell are you doing here?" he hissed, casting a quick glance upstairs. Kai smirked briefly. Most of his face was in shadow; Ray could only just see his features.
"As I said, good to see you too. Would it be okay if I stayed for a bit? I haven't particularly got anywhere at the moment." Ray blinked again, trying to get his frozen brain working. While he was still scrabbling around trying to find a few un-paralysed brain cells, Mariah came down the stairs behind him.

"Ray, who's tha-" Ray winced as Mariah literally flung herself down the stairs to land in front of him, her eyes blazing. "Get out of my house, you twisted, schizophrenic bastard!" A faint light seemed to die in Kai's eyes.

"Time didn't do a very good job on you, did it, Mariah?" he said quietly. Ray watched uneasily as Mariah glowered at his old friend.

"Get out of my house." she snarled again. Kai shrugged, his face expressionless.

"I can take a hint, you know." He gave a Ray a disappointed look. Ray returned it blankly, his brain still frozen with shock. "Never though I'd see you hen-pecked, Ray." Mariah made an impatient movement with her head. "All right, all right, I'm gone." He turned around and started to make his way down the driveway. Mariah made to slam the door shut, but Ray pushed past her and hurried outside, his brain finally clicking into gear.

Kai was leaning heavily against the shoulder-height wall that surrounded their house, rough, barking coughs coming from his mouth. As Ray watched, he fell to his knees, still coughing violently. Ray swore softly and went quickly to him. Kai half-opened one eye and gave him a weak grin.

"You always were a softie, Ray." His voice was harsh and strained.

"Shut up." Ray ordered. Surprisingly, Kai obeyed, closing his eyes for a brief second. Ray looked at him.

Close up, he could see that Kai's face was tight and strained, the dark shadows that he had noticed merely empathising the overall look of ill health. He was thin to the point of being gaunt, but had clearly tried to hide it by wearing a baggy grey jumper with the collar turned up and equally baggy ripped denim jeans. Something told Ray that the rips weren't for fashion. His sunken cheeks were unnaturally flushed and the ferocious coughing fit shook his emaciated frame. Ray reached out and laid one hand lightly on Kai's forehead. It was warm, not fever-hot, but not healthily cool, either. Kai swatted his hand away impatiently.

"I'm fine. Just got over the flu, that's all," he muttered hoarsely.

"Sounds like it went to your chest. You should get that seen to." Ray advised. Kai snorted.

"Yeah, right." he said scornfully. He closed his eyes again and took a few deep, slow breaths, clearly fighting down another coughing fit. Mind made up, Ray took hold of Kai's ice-cold arm and helped him to his feet. Kai looked at him questioningly.

"You can stay." Ray said firmly. Kai's eyes flashed surprise and relief.

"Thank you. What about Mariah?" Ray gave him a sly look.

"Despite what you just saw, when push comes to shove, I rule supreme around here." Kai chuckled hoarsely.

"Oh, I can't wait." he muttered. Ray turned around and caught Mariah's furious eye. She came outside, shutting the door quietly behind her.

"Are you mad?" she hissed angrily. "I am not having him in the same house as our daughters, no, fuck that, the same street! I can't believe that you would even consider it!" Flinging her hands up in the air, she switched to Chinese, ranting on for a good five minutes. Ray stood still, waiting her out. When she finally subsided, panting, her eyes blazing bright amber, he took a step forwards, putting himself instantly in the power position as he put his seven-inch height advantage to good use.

"Kai is staying here." he said pleasantly. He met her heated gaze coolly and held it with ease, waiting for her to drop her eyes. Eventually, she did so, bowing her head submissively.

"Yes, Ray. But-" She raised a warning finger as Ray stepped forwards. "He sleeps in the spare bedroom, and he can't talk to either of the girls without one of us in the room with him." She looked Kai up and down scornfully. "Also, he comes out looking better than he did when he went in." she finished finally. Ray gave her a grateful smile, knowing that that was the closest she could get to a compromise.

"Is that okay with you, Kai?" he asked. Kai nodded.

"Better than I'd expected." He chuckled again, a slight cough escaping his lips. Mariah had the grace to blush slightly.

"So? Are you coming in or what?" she snapped, walking in before either of them could say anything. Ray started walking, but stopped, waiting for Kai. His old friend was standing still, eyes closed, suppressing another spasm of coughing. Just as Ray was about to go to him, Kai's eyes opened again and he walked in, showing no sign of his previous breathing difficulties.

Kai stepped through the door and swayed as the sudden, unaccustomed heat hit him in the face. He began to shiver, realising how cold it had been outside. He'd gotten used to it. He felt a hand on his shoulder, steadying him.

"You okay, Kai?" Ray asked him. He nodded shortly.

"Haven't been inside for a while." he explained quietly. Speaking at any kind of volume aggravated his cough. It hadn't been this bad for a while. It flared up like this from time to time, had done for years now. If he thought about it, it was probably some kind of low-level bronchitis, made slightly worse by his recent, violent, brush with influenza. He brought himself quickly back to the present and followed Ray further into the house. He disregarded his surroundings for now, concentrating on examining Ray.

Ray's long black hair was almost exactly the same length as he remembered, but tied back with a simple red band. He was wearing a long red robe with black slipper-like shoes. On the front of the robe were a number of embroidered Chinese characters. Kai racked his sketchy knowledge of Chinese writing and slowly figured them out.


Strange. He made a mental note to ask Ray later.

Ray's facial features had changed very little, becoming if possible, even more striking. His amber eyes had darkened slightly to the colour of honey, his skin even more tanned. He was slim, yet muscular, the robe, pulled in around the waist by a thin strip of black cloth, accentuated his impressive musculature. Kai stopped a particular train of though dead in its tracks, disgusted with himself. As they ascended the stairs, they passed Mariah, standing in the doorway of what looked like the children's bedroom, the "girls", going from the blinding pink on the walls. Kai swept her with a quick look as they passed her.

She had certainly grown up. Her chest was impressive, empathised by the low-cut dress she was wearing. The deep purple, nearly black material showed off her golden skin tone to perfection. Her eyes still blazed bright amber and her pink hair was cut to a soft, curling bob, waving attractively around her oval, delicately featured face. He nearly walked into Ray as the younger man stood still. With an amused grin, Ray opened the door and stepped inside, beckoning Kai to follow.

The first thing that Kai noticed was that this room was nowhere near as luxurious as the rest of the house. A plain cream carpet covered the floor, white wallpaper on the walls, a single bed and chest of drawers in the middle of the room. At the far left was a light-coloured pine wardrobe. A small armchair sat off to the right, its two cushions placed with mathematical accuracy. Ray shuffled uncomfortably.
"I know it's pretty poor," he apologised. "But I have to keep Mariah happy in some ways…" Kai shrugged off the fumbling apology.

"Forget it." he said, walking over to the bed and sitting down on it. "If you saw what I've been making do with…" He trailed off, laughing humourlessly. "This is paradise compared to that." Suddenly, a whine came from the girl's bedroom.

"Mummy, I wanna see the man Daddy brought in!" a child's petulant voice complained. Kai felt the beginnings of another coughing fit tightening his chest.

"Well you can't, sweetie!" Mariah said impatiently. "The man is…" She trailed off, scrabbling for an excuse. Kai took a couple of deep breaths, his throat closing up.

"Ray." Ray looked at him questioningly. "Mariah could use - this as an - excuse, if she wa - wanted to." He leaned forwards and started coughing again, shutting his eyes as the choking gasps shook his body. With an effort, he regained control of his breathing. Over his panting, he faintly heard Mariah latch onto the idea with a degree of relief.

"You can't see the man because he's not very well at the moment." Apparently satisfied, the whining stopped. Kai ran a hand through his hair, wincing as he touched three bruises and ripped a tangle.

"Never thought I'd see you with kids, Ray." he commented. Ray grinned.

"Yeah. I didn't think I would, either!" He shook his head. "Ah well, that's what I get for not taking the proper precautions…"

"How old are they?"

"Lynette's seven and Rosa's five."

"Lynette and Rosa. Hardly Chinese names."

"Are Mariah and Ray?" Kai shook his head, smiling slightly.

"Don't let me keep you." he said abruptly. "If you've got something else," He raised his eyebrows slightly. "to attend to, feel free to go." Ray gave him a dry smile.

"Mariah can wait. Have you spoken to any of the others yet?" Kai shook his head.

"Not personally, but Kenny somehow managed to get my email address, so he's been telling me about everything that's happening."

"And?" Kai blinked, surprised. He would have thought that Ray would've kept in contact with them. Apparently not…

"Well, Tyson and Hilary are married," He let Ray absorb that startling fact. "and Max has finally worked out what side of the fence he's on. Good for Mariam, bad for poor old Raul." Ray laughed.

"Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about that mess. At least Max knows what he's doing now. He should've just become bi. Best of both worlds." Kai nodded in agreement.

"You know Max, though. Everything's black or white, no grey areas allowed."

"So," Ray said enquiringly. "What've you been doing for the past, what is it now, eight years?"

"This and that." was Kai's cursory reply. He fixed his gaze on a crack on the wall, willing Ray to leave it at that.

"Do you still beyblade?" Kai felt an all-too-familiar headache start pounding at his temples.

"No." he said tersely. "Nor am I ever likely to again." He would have smirked at Ray's shocked gasp, but his head was throbbing, images that he would rather forget were flashing through his mind… He couldn't deal with b…bey…that word yet. Not when he was still run-down and tired from the recent flu virus. Not yet…just…not yet. He realised that he had turned to face the wall, both fists clenched. He forced himself to speak.

"I'm sorry, Ray."

"It's okay, mate." Ray clapped him lightly on the shoulder, and stood up. "Shall I go now?"

"What, Mariah's that good?" He turned around. Ray was watching him, one eyebrow raised, waiting for a proper answer. Kai lay down on his stomach, resting his head on his folded arms.

"Yes." he said softly. "Please." As the door clicked shut, he began to shake violently, burying his head in the pillow to muffle his sobs, stifled coughs racking his body.

Dranzer…oh Dranzer, I need you now…

Ray walked into the lounge and sat down on the sofa. Mariah came over and snuggled up next to him.
"Kai settled in?" she asked. Ray sighed softly. "Ray? Talk to me!"

"I asked him whether he still bladed." He grimaced as Mariah gave him an annoyed flick on the arm. "He went…quiet afterwards, then asked me to leave." He didn't want to tell Mariah about the dark, haunted look that there had been on his old team mate's face.

"Well, I'm not surprised." Mariah said acidly. "Considering what he's like for facing up to things…" She stopped, realising that Ray didn't particularly like this line of conversation. "Sorry, tiger. You know what I think about Kai."

"I do." Worried at Ray's abrupt tone, Mariah wriggled onto his lap and kissed him gently. He responded eagerly, pressing her closer. She shivered with delight as he slipped a hand inside her flimsy dress, toying with her bra straps. "I like your dress." he said in a husky voice, which made her want to rip it off. She kissed him again, harder, feeling her bra straps slide down, Ray tossing the lacy undergarment aside.

Yay, that's the first chapter up! Well? What did you think? Review!

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