Disclaimer: I don't own Beyblade. Never have, never will.

A/N: A shout-out to the reviewers: Android 71: Just keeps getting curiouser…^_~ When would the next chapter for 'My Light' be coming out? Go write if it isn't finished yet! * jumps up and down in anticipation * MistyEyes: Yes, I keep asking that question, too. * shakes head * Poor, poor Rei…SoulSister: I'll kick his ass for you! * kick's Kai's ass * And don't worry, more angst next chapter…^^ Chibi Kitty: Here is the next one. Hope you like! ^_^ Damian Morte: Tomatoes from you? Aagh! * ducks incoming tomatoes * Y'all will have an idea soon of why Rei is suffering from…something. * evil grin * Kaloas and Yami: Why do I torture Rei? Because I get mind-numbing pleasure from it! No, seriously, everyone likes to torture their fave charas., ne? And I'm no different. =) huh: Konnichiwa to you, too! ^_^ Kai as an 'evil elephant', eh? * gets an idea for an AU starring Kai the elephant * Anyways, thank you for the comment! Psycho-Chik: * bows * You just ultimately made my day! Thank you! I really try not to rush with the plot and make this too dramatic. It's a hard job, but I really try. I saw your profile and I hope you write BB fics too, someday! ^^v Doumo Arigatou! Maytel: You..will..know…soon…really… @_@ AmBeR*siLvEr-SnOwFlAkEs: Here it is! Next chapter is already in the works!

A/N # 2: It has come to my attention that I mentioned in the first chapter that this is supposed to happen BEFORE they went to Russia. I apologize, because I really intended for it to be that they were already IN Russia. So please take note of that. On a sidenote, for the Western Fanbase, I realize that the Nelvana dub has made almost all of their viewers believe that 'Dizzi' is real. In the original Japanese version, 'Dizzi' does not exist on Kenny/Kyoujyu's laptop, and as such, will not be included in this story. Also, this chapter is dedicated to a friend and fellow author, corn3ts, for dragging me out of my writer's block and inspiring me to continue with all my projects. A big, huge THANK YOU goes out to all my reviewers. You guys are truly the best!

"Fool for Love"

~Takao's POV~

Peacefully snowing day…WASTED! All because of that plague our Oh-so-wonderful leader Kai describes to be practice. Kami-sama ( 1 ) knows how much I hate, abhor, am revolted ( Hah! Take that, chief! I can use big words, too! ) by this thing that Mr. "praise-me-I'm-the-greatest-bad-ass-beyblader-in-the-whole-damn-universe" imposes on us at least eight days a week. ( I know it's seven, but still, I'm not exaggerating here. ) I know that Dragoon can already kick ass in any match, and so can Draciel, Drigger and of course, we mustn't forget Dranzer. Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't have a grudge against Kai's blade or anything, but I am not forgetting that it is Kai's blade, and is associated with the sourpuss himself. In effect, it's…

Wait, I just confused myself. Sigh…this always happens whenever when I try to analyze stuff.

Anyway, as I was saying, Kai was never really one to cancel any practices, so even though Max and I try to convince him otherwise, he doesn't budge. Not even one bit. It frustrates me, to say the least, and I whine and scream and argue with him, but none of it works. Damn, the guy sure has some huge stick up his ass for him to resist that long. ( Max' puppy eyes are supposed to be irresistible. Well, at least to me, they are! ) And sometimes, he even has the nerve to lecture us when we've already done our best! I mean, "Takao, don't do that!" and "Max, your offense is too weak" or "Rei, power up on the defense". Sheesh, some nerve indeed. I mean, can we ever give him tips on how to strengthen his Blade? Big, fat NO! We're a team! We're supposed to work together! But, oh no, Kai thinks that just 'coz he's the leader means that he's supposed to be all-knowing and all-perfect. We're like the lowly subjects to his kingdom. Just thinking about it makes me want to hit him in the head with a jackhammer or something, I mean, HE LOST TO ME! I beat him fair and square. That means that he ain't perfect and everyone has their own share of losses. Yeah, I hate to lose, but it's a part of being a blader. You win some, you lose some. And you even learn something on the way.

You know, I read in somewhere ( Grandpa forced me to read some book on Taoism…or was that Buddhism?…he practically shoved it in my face! ) that a good leader doesn't just know how to lead, he also knows how to follow. If that applies to Kai, the world is officially toast in five friggin' seconds.

Yeah, read between the lines. It ain't never gonna happen. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever.

" Watch out!"

Thud.

OwOwOwOw!!! Okay, why are chibis suddenly spinning around before my eyes? And…cold concrete? What the hell am I doing lying on snow-covered cement?! I groan out loud as pain seeps in the back of my skull. It is so not my day today. Must be some weird form of Karma or something…

"Hey, hey…daijobu ka, Takao-kun?" ( 2 )

A blur of blond and a flash of blue enters my eyesight. Well, I'm glad someone cares. I know chief is still a little bit pissed off ( okay, make that VERY pissed off ) at the bathroom incident this morning and Kai…well, he just doesn't care. And I can accept that. Who needs him, anyway?

"Hai, daijoubu dayo…what happened?" I ask Max, who is still looming above me like an overprotective mother hen. ( 3 )

Kai answers for him. "You hit a lamp post. Watch where you're going next time, or else you might hit a car or a bus." Gee, thanks Kai. You just made my "today-is-gonna-be-a-great-day-o-meter" drop a gazillion points. God, how I love the guy. ( Notice my blatant insincerity and sarcasm. Cynical guy today, aren't you Takao? ) Let's not forget that I actually hit the lamp post because of him. And my thoughts aren't exactly the most flattering ones, either. Thankfully, Max, good ol' buddy Max, is kind enough to help me stand up. What am I ever going to do without you, Maxie?

Max then puts his arm around my shoulder, and I hear him grunt a bit as he helps me up. "Sorry Maxie" I murmur, feeling horrible that Max had to go through all this trouble to help me. The blond-haired, good Samaritan beside me gives out a warm, toothy smile. "It's al right, Takao. Everyone hits a lamp post once in a while." I chuckle weakly at the joke. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kai tap his foot impatiently, looking at us in his usual "What-the-hell-are-you-doing-get-here-NOW" look. Okay, I just have to ask this, and I'll give bonus points to anyone who can answer, WHAT is the guy's problem? Huh? HUH?!

Once I prove to Max that I'm able to stand on my own two feet again, I approach Kenny, leaving Kai on the front and Max on the back so he could fiddle with Draciel for awhile. "Heya, Chief!" I greet, slapping him on the back. Chief almost lost hold on his laptop. Oops…my bad.

"Takao!" He hisses. I think he really isn't that happy with me ( Whoah, what an understatement! ), so I guess I'll have to go with Kai now.

Very cautiously, I walk faster to reach Kai's pace. Maybe he's got ants in his pants or something, 'coz he is definitely in a hurry today. Wonder why? Hmm… curiouser and curiouser…

"Oi, Kai!" I am now walking beside him. I wonder, am I toast or am I toast? The choices are so diverse.

"What is it now?" Wonder of all wonders! He did not toast me! Rejoice, world!

"Oh, nothing. I was just—"

"Guys! Look!" Kenny suddenly shrieks, effectively breaking our ( soon-to-transpire ) conversation. Kai, Max and I all turn to look at the direction Kenny was pointing at. Oh, cool! Amateur Beybladers! Maybe Max and I could challenge them so we could practice our Beys for the tournament. I know Dragoon hadn't had some practice for awhile now, and he could definitely use it. Wrapping my blue BBA robe more securely around myself, I leave my place beside Kai and approach Max. "Do you want to ask some of those kids if they could battle with us, Max?"

Max blinked up at me, and took a long glance at the aforementioned kids, gathered around the fighting ring. I try asking again. "So, what do you think? Should we ask them or what?"

"Sure!" Max replies at last.

"I don't think that's such a good idea." Kai interrupts. " Eh? But why?" I ask, confused. Why wouldn't he think this was a good idea? Didn't he want us to practice? I hear Kenny gulp, and I turn to look at him questioningly. " What is it now, Chief?" Kenny not so subtly points at the kids.

"Ne, Takao…" Max slowly clutches the sleeve of my robe. "Those 'bladers…why are they looking at us like that?" Out of the corner of my eye, I see what they're talking about. Icy wasn't enough to describe the looks on the faces of those Russian kids. They were looking at us like we were some sort of criminals. One of them even made an obscene gesture at us. Boy, these Russians sure are 'friendly'. Maybe because they weren't used to seeing tourists.

A brown-haired boy about our age grinned cockily at us, and made an imaginary cut through his nape. What in the hell?!—This guy was practically telling us to die! Why I oughta punch the living daylights out of that guy! "Oh, so now you're threatening us?" I ask, rolling my sleeves up. "Well then, let's settle this with a bey battle." Feeling confident enough, I carefully take out Dragoon, the silver color shining dimly in my eyes. Oh, you're gonna get it, kid—

"Let's go."

I blink dumbly. What? Did I just hear right? " Kai! You're not making me back out of this!" I shout at Kai's retreating back, making him face me. "Don't waste your time with them, baka." He said, eyes darting to the Russians to glare at them through his crimson orbs.

"They just insulted us! Anyone who insults my team isn't going to get away with it!" I snarl back, feeling anger bubble up inside. Who was he to tell me when to battle or not?

Kenny speaks up. "Leave it, Takao. It isn't going to do us any good if we don't go now."

Max nods. "Come on, Takao." I stare at Max incredulously. " You're not actually siding with them, are you?" I extend a hand at Kai and Chief's direction, suddenly feeling hurt. I can't believe Max would do this to me! "Please Takao, just let it go." This time, he pleads at me, his hand clutching my wrist to stop me with whatever I was planning to do at that moment. His bright blue eyes are begging, persisting…

"Demo…" ( 4 ) I respond, my voice dropping to a resigned sigh. "Okay, but just this once!" I declare, looking back at the sneering faces of those two-faced snakes known as Russian Beybladers. "If they do it again, don't think any of you can stop me!" I glance from Max, to Chief and finally to Kai. Max lets go of my wrist and nods happily while Kenny just nods once in acknowledgement. Kai snorts, a barely audible sound, and starts to walk away.

I sigh, raking a hand through my snowflake-covered bangs. Ignoring the obvious jeers made at us by the kids, I keep Dragoon safely nestled in the insides of my robe. These are the days when I just feel like taking a nap on the couch or getting a massage for myself at one of those spa houses aniki loves to go to. ( 5 ) I feel so worn out even after I didn't do anything but walk and have the occasional talk with my teammates ( who all don't feel like responding except for Max ). I wish Rei were here. But then again, he seemed a bit off during breakfast. Maybe he really is so sick.

The four of us walk in an almost uncomfortable silence, which would kill me if I didn't make a comment or two about the sights all around us. Max and Kenny would laugh with me, and I was grateful for that. At least I had people who I could share a bit of happiness with. But Kai…

I watch him put both of his hands in the pockets of his pants, looking ahead of us and not really bothering to see if we were still alive or anything. It's taken me forever to admit this, but believe it or not, I do care for the guy… in a sort of leadershippy, brotherly way. ( Not like that! If I ever see Kai in that way…eeeww ) Even though he practically treats everyone within ten feet of him like dirt. I know he's human, and he feels emotions like the rest of us, too. It's just that he has a really great way of not showing it.

I leave Max and Chief at the back for awhile so I could, uhh…bond with Kai. Lord knows the guy needs some company. I wonder if he really feels so lonely now…

"Ne, Kai" I call out to him, feeling a little nervous. I could virtually feel the tension between us, and I could slice it with a knife if I wanted to.

"Nani?" He answers, not looking at me. ( 6 )

I look down at my snow boots, desperately trying to think of a conversation-starter that won't make him pissed. I blurt out the first thing that comes into my mind.

"What do you think of Rei's condition? Do you think he's really sick? Or maybe he was just looking for some excuse to skip practice, which I really don't think he would do since Rei's an honest kind of guy and he wouldn't do that without a reason, or maybe he's going to leave the team and go back to China and—"

"I think he's fine"

I frown. "So, you think he isn't sick at all?" I touch his shoulder, and I feel him go stiff in my hold before he says a rude "Don't touch me, damnit!" and roughly shrugs my hand off. I huff my cheeks indignantly as he moves to walk faster, obviously wanting to avoid me. Well, if he thinks he could get away from me that easily, he's got something else coming to him!

"Aha! I've got it all figured out now! You're hiding something, aren't you?" I ask him, smirking triumphantly as he slows his pace down. I jog up to him and was about to pat his back when he turned to face me.

"Look Kinomiya, what do you want from me?" He speaks, his eyes narrowing to mere slits. I've learned a long time ago not to mess with Kai's glares. So I answer him in the most casual tone I could muster, careful not to show any fear or anxiousness.

"I just want to know, Hiwatari."

His lips twisted into a grim frown. "Know what?"

I smile up at him. "All the answers to my questions."

Silence greets my statement. I take it as an invitation, since he didn't actually say 'no', right? ( He didn't actually say 'yes', either. But I am willing to overlook that now. ) Flexing my fingers, I prepare myself for his short interrogation.

"So…" I whistle innocently. "Why'd you think that Rei's just fine and dandy?"

"Because he is." He growls, enunciating every word for emphasis. Oh yeah right, like I'd take that for an answer.

Hmm… there must be some reason to him denying Rei's true condition. C'mon, Rei wouldn't miss out practice without a very good cause! I try to think back to yesterday. Nothing special there. How about the day before that? Yeah, I think there could be something on that day. Wait…I'm remembering something. Maybe this could be the missing link to Rei's mysterious absence from practice today! Think Takao, think…

Aah… A headache later, I think I'm starting to recall. We were out for practice yet again that afternoon. And after hours of hard work, the whole team went out to the local snack shops and cafes to eat. The café we went into had a lot of trees in the foreground and Max, Chief and I were surprised to say the least, when Kai practically dragged Rei to the shade of one of the bigger, snow-laden trees, and they…talked? Heh, not exactly, if I must say so myself. I sat on an angle which gave me a good sideview of what was happening behind that tree. I just saw Rei, but I could guess what was happening on Kai's side of the story. I think they were arguing over something. I would hear brief snippets of phrases or words like 'weak', 'stop that' and 'you don't understand' being spoken angrily, roughly. Wow, must be one heck of an argument over there.

The strange thing was, I've never really seen Kai and Rei fight over anything. They actually got along really well, at least from what I've seen. Why did things suddenly go in the wrong direction?

I felt like I shouldn't be prying, so I turned back to Max and Chief and ate our snacks while talking with our mouths full. ( Our moms must be so proud ) A moment later, I heard a soft 'crack' in Kai and Rei's direction, like…like a hand against a cheek. My eyes widen and I wondered what in the hell was happening in there. Now, I was really tempted to walk in there and stop whatever fight they were having. But then I thought, hey, that's their business, and it's theirs alone. And they wouldn't really do anything to hurt each other, right?

A few minutes later, both of them emerge, looking fine. Heck, I was expecting rumpled clothes and messy hair, but that would be reminiscent of a rendezvous instead of a fistfight. Then, it caught my attention. A red welt on Rei's cheek. Kai did slap him.

With both of them looking very furious, Max suggested that we go back to the hotel suite. We all gladly take his suggestion and go back to the hotel. Upon arriving however, Kai immediately motioned for Rei to follow him back into their shared room. With a visible aura of protest from Rei, I thought he wouldn't. But with a frown and a defiant "Al right", he did. Kenny then suggested that we go down the hotel to get some more snacks.

"Why don't we just call room service?" I asked.

Too late. They were al ready pulling me with them before I even got the chance to mention to them that we were leaving Kai and Rei alone. ( Which I bet they knew, but refused to talk about )

It was about 3 hours later when the three of us went back to the suite. We had so much fun that we all forgot about the time, I suppose. We entered the room only to find Kai dressed in his usual garb, drinking some juice in the living room. "Ano…Kai-kun, where's Rei?" Max asked, looking around. I nodded and looked expectantly at him for an answer.

Kai gave us a skeptical look, before replying, "He's sleeping." Kai raised the glass to his lips again, and drank in quick gulps. I swear, he had the faintest hint of a grin after he put the glass down. What it meant? I'll never know. But it was something, al right.

Hearing no sound from their room, I assumed he was telling the truth since Rei wasn't a noisy sleeper. Seeing that there were no questions, Kai went back to their room. Max and I went back to our shared room while Kenny worked on his laptop. And that ended our day.

Now, I see it. Something must be up.

I was knocked back into reality when Max bumped into my shoulder. "Gomen ne, Takao." ( 7 ) He smiled sheepishly, and I couldn't help but respond. "It's okay, Maxie. It's better than hitting a lamp post." He giggled and I put an arm around his shoulders, squeezing him in a friendly bear hug. I realized that during my flashback time, I must have slowed my pace down and let Kai be the only one in the front again. But that didn't matter now. He wouldn't talk to me much, anyway.

I would tell this to Max, and we were going to get to the bottom of this.

I wonder when we would stop and practice. Our walking seems to be going on and on and on…

I wonder what Rei's doing right now…

I wonder what Kai is thinking…

I wonder…

For the people who don't know basic Japanese:

( 1 ) Kami-sama= God

( 2) Daijobu ka?=Are you al right?

( 3 ) Hai, Daijobu dayo=Yes, I'm al right

( 4 ) Demo=But…

( 5 ) Aniki=Older Brother * For the people who don't know, Takao's older brother is Jin, and he appears in the later seasons. Thanks for the info, corn3ts! *

( 6 ) Nani=What

( 7 ) Gomen ne=I'm sorry

What is really happening with Kai and Rei? Will Takao get to the bottom of things? Find out in the next installment! That's all for now! Don't forget to tell me if I should continue or not! ^___^