Summary: Left in the aftermath of Hades City, Team Dungeon is reunited once more, but two of its members will never be the same.
Any self-respecting blader knew how to put together a bey. When Toby had started out, he’d cycled through dozens of fusion wheels and performance tips to find the perfect combination. Zeo had never managed to perfect his first bey, but he’d always had a new trick up his sleeve after replacing some part. Even Masamune had cycled through a few designs before landing on his Ray Striker.
It was weird to have to start that process all over again. Having to buy a brand new bey off the shelf and figure out what parts fit them now. Toby and Zeo had both put off doing it for a while, but they really couldn’t anymore.
Toby had lost his original bey when Ziggaraut had taken him, and for understandable reasons never wanted to use Twisted Tempo again. He had tried to remake his original bey at first, he remembered all the parts he used after all, but when he had tried to launch it, it just wasn’t the same.
It wasn’t his bey anymore.
Or perhaps he wasn’t its blader.
Zeo had never had a good bey to begin with. He’d tried, he truly had, but never connected to his bey in the same way Masamune and Toby had. Maybe if he’d just tried harder he could’ve made his old bey work and never gotten into this mess-
Zeo hated Flame Pyxis. It was the first bey that had felt truly his, that he’d understood all the abilities of, that had felt like a part of him. But now, whenever he looked at Pyxis, all he could feel was shame at the rage that had consumed him then.
So, both of them had ended up needing new beys.
Masamune had clearly tried to be patient with them. After first suggesting that they get new beys, he had waited for them to go themselves, but both could tell Masamune was anxious to battle them again and didn’t understand what the issue was.
Toby couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty that after feeling a bit too pressured he had snuck yellow hair dye into Masamune’s shampoo as payback, but not guilty enough to delete the photos. Especially after it had made Zeo laugh so much. Besides, Masamune hadn’t looked bad with yellow hair (not as good as he normally did though).
After looking around the shop for an hour, they both got basic beys (neither of them were happy but maybe one day they could get these beys to work). They spent the rest of that night trying out new parts on them to see if that made them feel any better.
Zeo felt out of place hanging around Dungeon Gym. No one there treated him much differently, but on some level that felt even worse than if they did. Zeo had abandoned the gym and gone off and-
It felt even worse that he couldn’t train. At least if he could train he would have a reason to hang out in the gym, but launching his new bey still felt wrong.
Yet he still returned to the gym almost every day and hung out in the corner.
Toby had missed Dungeon Gym. He’d missed many things while in the hospital. While Zeo had visited almost daily to tell him about everything that was going on, there was something different in getting to be a part of the action himself. He still felt a thrill at running around the gym, cheering on the battles and doing some light ribbing.
Now, if only he could battle, then maybe he would really feel like part of the gym again.
Zeo refused to battle against Masamune with his new bey. He had tried to once, but as soon as they had faced off against each other in the arena, Zeo could feel the haunting sparks of the Arrangement in his skin, reminding him of the last time they had battled.
It was a group agreement to never try that again, the fallout had not been fun.
Toby basically only battled against Masamune as he tried to adjust to his new bey. He didn’t want anyone else at the gym to judge his currently unsatisfactory skills. It was still a bit frustrating to continuously lose to Masamune again and again and not even feel like he was improving.
They ate dinner together most nights. Zeo was the only one who knew how to cook, and he was too exhausted half the time. They had memorized each other’s takeout orders, and at this point, dinner depended on who grabbed the phone first.
Toby once ordered hawaiian pizza, and had smirked as he watched his friends faces squish in disgust as he ate it right in front of them. He also learned that day that he was allergic to pineapple. Zeo didn’t let him order food for the next week.
It was at one of these dinners that Masamune finally brought up the topic of their beys.
“Hey, you both want to join me at the gym tomorrow?” Masamune asked around a bite of noodles.
“What else would we be doing?” Zeo joked, jabbing his fork at Masamune.
“Ah, Team Dungeon, always at work training,” Toby nodded sagely, expecting the eye roll Zeo through his way.
“Yeah yeah, I guess it was a dumb question,” Masamune laughed, and rubbed the back of his head. “I meant if you both wanted to train with me.”
“What do you mean by that?” Toby asked as Zeo froze. Both were sure Masamune wasn’t asking to battle Zeo again, even Masamune wasn’t that oblivious, but Zeo couldn’t help but worry.
“Well,” Masamune paused, which only put Zeo more on edge. Masamune didn’t think before he said stuff, ever. “It seems like you both aren’t really training, you just don’t seem to want to use your beys at all.”
It was the truth, Toby could admit. Even though he was forcing himself to battle, he still only used his bey a fraction of the amount he had before. It was just hard to be told when he was truly trying.
Zeo wanted to scream. He was- he was trying to get better! He was trying to train! He knew he wasn’t a good blader, everyone knew that. He could still remember when Masamune had returned with Team Gan Gan Galaxy and they had asked him why he had called Zeo weak (when Zeo had been Pyxis’s blader and had been strong).
Zeo stood up from the table and left the apartment.
They lived close to the outdoor court where they normally practiced their blading. Zeo knew the route there so well that his feet carried him there subconsciously. He sat down in the grass and leaned against the metal fence. He wanted to have Pyxis in his hands again, to launch it and watch it tear through a stadium.
Watch it tear through every doubt he’d ever had and tell him that his anger was right, it was justified.
He felt someone plop down beside him, and a quick glance at their shoes told him it was Toby. “You wanna talk about it?” Toby offered.
Zeo didn’t answer.
How could he have wanted Pyxis again? It was practically a betrayal to these two who were putting up with so much from him. He was the one who had messed everything up-
“You know, Masamune’s right, at least about me,” Toby laid his head on Zeo’s shoulder and Zeo could help but mirror the action, laying his atop of Toby’s. “He’s waiting at the coffee shop for me to check on you. He wants to apologize, but I can’t say he’s wrong.”
Zeo took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Sitting like this, it felt like they were curled up together on a couch back home. All that was missing was Masamune on his other side.
Masamune was always missing, but this time-
This time he was just waiting for Zeo.
“Yeah, he’s right,” Zeo admitted, and stood up, pulling Toby along with him.
They walked back to the apartment in mostly silence. Masamune had run over to join them when he saw them walking past, and had opened his mouth to apologize, but Zeo had just shook his head.
Maybe Masamune did need to apologize, maybe he did bring up a topic that was too sensitive to talk about at the time, maybe he was a bit more pushy than he needed to be.
But he was here, and he cared, and that’s what really mattered to Zeo.
The living room in their apartment was pretty sparse in furniture. They had painted it a ton of bright colors though, and the coffee table was covered in papers, and bey parts, and all the other random trash they were too lazy to put anywhere else.
Zeo sat down on the couch and motioned for the other two to sit down beside him.
Toby didn’t want to be the one to start the conversation. He didn’t know how to put words to the swirling mess of emotions and confusion inside of him. But there was no setting this conversation off, and even if Zeo and Masamune didn’t understand him, he knew neither would judge him.
Toby’s hair was still right.
“No bey feels right anymore Masamune,” he sighed as he ran his hand through his hair. Zeo nodded beside him.
“What do you mean by that?” Masamune asked, and Toby couldn’t help but feel a rush of warmth for his friend. He could tell that Masamune had purposefully kept his voice softer and less aggressive than normal, trying to put him and Zeo at ease.
God Toby loved his friends.
“The Arrangement changed us,” Toby stated. “Or at least, it changed me.” It felt wrong to speak for Zeo as well, when he didn’t know this for certain, but Zeo shook his head.
“No, it changed me too.” Zeo’s voice was so quiet that Toby could barely hear it, but this was a start.
Masamune looked at them confused but held back his obvious questions, and his want to refuse that. Toby knew that it would be Masamune’s first instinct to refuse that the Arrangement had changed them at all. After all, wouldn’t that be admitting that the Toby and Zeo of now were different than the Toby and Zeo Masamune had become friends with?
But it was so much more complicated than that.
“I chose to get the Arrangement done,” Zeo whispered. “I chose to get it done, I wanted it, I wanted to become stronger, and- and to get back at you.”
Masamune winced at that, and Toby tried not to let the pain of that sentence show on his face either. Because in the end, they were all human, and they made mistakes and had anger. Zeo- Zeo hadn’t been right in what he had done, but what he had done had been human.
“And that’s a part of who I am, and- and I can’t deny that, I can’t act like that’s never who I was, like what happened doesn’t affect how we interact with each other now.” Zeo’s hands clenched into fists, turning the skin so white that Toby could barely see the tears that began to fall onto them.
“Zeo,” Masamune mumbled.
“It’s kind of the same for me,” Toby agreed. He reached out and rubbed his thumb in circles on Zeo’s back. “It might not have been my choice to get the Arrangement done”--he ignored Zeo’s wince at that, it wasn’t something he could tiptoe around--”but it did change me. I can’t act like I’m not the person who tried to make Spiral Force to control the world, or that I don’t feel different. Fuck man, I even look different.”
He let out a wet laugh at that last point, and Masamune joined in. “I still don’t get how the Arrangement gave you long white hair,” Masamune snorted.
Toby could feel Zeo begin to shake with laughter. “Yeah man, I guess it just knew my secret wish to be a white haired gay anime boy.”
“Stop it,” Zeo whined as he buried his face in his hands. “You're both so goofy.”
“I guess it was always a part of your inner power or whatever,” Masamune continued.
Toby nodded, putting on his best face of sage wisdom. “My true power was never beyblade, but rather my amazing anime vibes.”
Zeo broke down into full peals of laughter and Toby and Masamune joined him.
Masamune brought their dinner over to the couch and they sat there, the TV playing softly in the background. Zeo’s eyes were still rimmed red with tears, and Toby felt like he could sleep for hours, but it was nice.
The conversation wasn’t over yet though.
“So, what does this have to do with your beys?” Masamune asked. “Do you both want to use Pyxis and Tempo?”
“No,” Toby immediately wrinkled his nose, his sentiment only followed a split second later by Zeo.
“It’s just that none of the beys we’ve tried feel right anymore,” Zeo looked over to Toby for the nod of confirmation that it was how Toby felt as well.
“Maybe there’s just something weird about us now,” Toby snorted.
Zeo shrugged, and they turned back to the TV.
Zeo and Toby arrived a bit later at Dungeon Gym the next day than normal. Something had gone wrong with the dishwasher in the middle of the night, and they sent Masamune along ahead as they had figured out how to fix it.
Toby was still wearing the construction worker’s cap he had grabbed to do the mechanical work. Zeo was still judging him for that, it wasn’t even the right hat for the job.
It seemed like a normal day at the gym when they entered, only Masamune was nowhere in sight. As Zeo went to go hang up their bags, Toby walked over to Kim (one of the other students). “Yo, where’s Masamune?” He greeted her.
“In the back room with the Coach,” she answered as she continued with her drills.
“Thanks man,” he motioned for Zeo to join him as he wandered to the back room. He was gonna offer Coach Steel his hat, and wanted two reactions for the price of one.
As Toby stepped into the back room, both Coach Steel and Masamune turned to face him. “Oh! Hey dude, did you manage to fix it already?” Masamune greeted them.
“Yeah, it wasn’t any big issue,” Zeo responded as he wandered into the room.
“Toby, what the hell do you got on your head?” Coach Steel sighed exasperated.
Toby smirked and Zeo realized only a second too late what Toby was going to do. “It’s the new fashion Coach, I brought it for you.”
Zeo sighed and rubbed his hand down his face while Masamune doubled over in laughter.
“Well then Toby, if you got enough time to be a smartass, then you got enough time to do one hundred shadow launches,” Coach grumbled, rolling his eyes and Toby’s honestly terrible joke.
“Aye aye captain!” Toby saluted and started to make his way for the door.
“What were you two doing here anyway?” Zeo asked.
“Oh yeah! Toby, wait a minute,” Coach Steel called out, snapping his fingers as Zeo seemed to have reminded him of something. Masamune also straightened up at this point, and Toby turned back around in confusion.
“What is it Coach?” Toby asked as he leaned against the doorway.
“Well, Masamune here told me you were having some trouble with your beys.” Zeo and Toby both stiffened a little at that. It wasn’t like they had asked Masamune to keep it a secret, honestly, Toby didn’t even mind Coach Steel knowing, it was just a bit sudden.
“Yeah, I guess,” Zeo laughed awkwardly.
“Well, he had an idea that might help you both. I’m no amazing bey genius, but I can make you both your own original beys. Maybe having some brand new stuff that you get to design will work better than the mass produced stuff,” Coach Steel explained.
Zeo stared at the Coach with his mouth open just a bit. Masamune stepped forward and continued, “Sorry if I overstepped a bit you guys, but I figured if it was the beys you weren’t connecting with, maybe this would help.”
“You sure you could do that Coach?” Toby asked in shock. He knew new beys could be created, but it couldn’t be an easy process.
“‘Course, I wouldn’t offer if I couldn’t,” Coach Steel nodded.
What else could Toby and Zeo do but agree. The offer was just too good to pass up, and maybe it was the actual answer.
And if Coach Steel let the duo hug him, well, no one outside the room had to know that the Coach had basically adopted this trio.
Designing the beys took a few days. Toby and Zeo spent a lot of their time studying diagrams for beys and trying to figure out what changes would make their beys feel perfect. In the end, their designs ended up having a bit in common.
Coach Steel took the designs from them and got straight to work. Zeo knew their designs weren’t up to professional standards, but Coach seemed to make due.
And two weeks later, a new bey was placed into each of their hands. Zeo couldn’t help but stare at his bey, and Toby began to smile. They weren’t Tempo, or Pyxis, or any of the beys they’d had before. These beys were new, and yet…
“What are you gonna call them?” Masamune asked as he leaned over their shoulders.
“Spiral Fox.”/“Spiral Lyra.”