Title: Of Ravens And Wolves

Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine

Rating: PG (one cuss word, that's all)

Summary: While carrying out one of Tiffany's many orders, Claudette meets a certain red-head. A little one-shot, NON-romance Tala & Claudette (OC) friendship story that takes place one year before the events of 'Untold Truths'.

Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or any of its characters. All unrecognizable characters belong solely to me and are not to be touched. I am not making any money off of this and I write with the sole intention to entertain.

A/N: Hi again. This is the fic I have written as a [belated] thank-you to 'A Certain Nitpick' since I owe her for her support. Hope you enjoy it! ^_^

This fic deals a lot with things that happened in 'Untold Truths' so for those who haven't read that story they will be pretty confused as to what is going on.

"......" = normal speech

//....// = phone conversation

'.......' = thoughts


//Finding's report.//

"Tiffany McSnobbe has rang up a credit card bill of $8643,23- in clothing, $3432,50- in jewelry, $1987,- in make-up, and $5364,12- in shoewear and handbags. Everything has been placed on account 957693725448."

//Impossible, Raven. Mr. McSnobbe only has $10,000- on that account.//

She rubbed her eyes in both weariness and irritation. Why did her superiors have to be so stuborn? Did they think that she couldn't read the bills that she had in her very hands?

"Sir, I have the papers right here."

//Then this just proves our suspicions. The McSnobbes are involved in a large fraud scheme. They are getting money from an unknown source, undoubtedly illegaly. Also...//

Zoning out as he went into another long, and unnecesary, lecture, Claudette looked about as she made her way through the sparse crowd of the five star hotel's mall. Not her favorite place in the world as it was here where millionaires' wives and such people came to shop. All rich people with so much money that they gave it away without really being interested in what they were buying.

'The least they can do is use that money to pay for some socialing classes,' she mused as a lady wearing a long fur coat brushed past her, looking down her nose at the young girl in the maid outfit.

//...and keep an eye out for Ata.//

That last sentence got her attention.

"Ata? As in *the* Ata? Why would he be here? Balcov* doesn't allow his aprentices to wander about out of the Abbey."

//I know. Which is why you must be alert. Despite the rarity of it, our computers have detected that he, for some reason, has left the Abbey and is nearby your position.//

"But his isn't my case. Where are the agents who were assigned to his case?"

//They're tied up here at headquaters. Listen, I don't need you to do anything. Just know that he is in your vicinity. Actually, try to keep him in one spot.//

"And how would I do that?"

//Talk to him.//

She stopped walking.

"And why must I talk to him?"

//As a distraction. With his guard down he will not so easily detect us. We need to monitor his chip for any new data. The only way to get through his defence is to go in while he has his guard down. Even the shortest amount of time will be enough.//

"Sir, with all do respect, I am currently a bit occupied with my own case. Tiffany has me running erands like a dog. I don't have time to go looking for a wayward cyborg."

//He is not a cyborg. And you do not have to go looking for him.//

She looked around for any signs of their 'target' but found nothing.

"Why? Because he's not here?" It had been a very tiring day and this little hide-and-go-seek game was not making it any better.

//Watch your tongue, agent.//

"Sorry, sir. But I still don't see him," she turned around, walking backways as she thought maybe to find him somewhere behind her.

//Oh, he should be there pretty soon.//

"How soon?"

//Right about now.//

"Sir, please check the system because I don't-- umph!"

She backed up into someone and the sudden resistance, plus the excessive amount of shopping goods she carried, made keeping her balance very difficult. Her cellphone slipped from her hand and fell, clattering to pieces on the floor. And she started to go down.

And stopped as the person grabbed her upper arms with quick reflexes, though the force was enough to leave a definite mark by tomorrow.

"I know that things are done differently in other countries, but I'm pretty sure that walking while facing forward is a pretty universal habit," said a smooth voice that was underlined with amusement.

Finding her footing, she turned to thank the person. And froze.

Flaming red hair complimented brilliant, bright blue eyes**. Long bangs framed the very cute face of a teen who was around sixteen. He wore long white jeans, an orange over vest and a slight smirk that gave him a know-it-all look and a touch of humor. For a boy, his features were rather soft. Still, something about him spoke of independence and confidence. She swore that she even felt a hint of danger in his calm stance but that was understandable.

There was no way she could not recognize this boy. They had never met personally and he didn't know what the secret service was up to, but she had heard and seen enough to know him to be none other than teamcaptain Ata, aka Tala, of the Demolition Boys. At the moment Headquaters were buzzing over this one, gathering information and keeping track of his whereabouts. Not being on that really big case, she only knew the outer layers of this highly enigmatic boy.

Seeing him narrow his eyes at her lingering stare, she remembered her cover and schooled herself, remembering what her advisor had told her to do.

Bowing her head slightly, she said, in a soft, and accented, voice, "Forgive me, sir. I fear that my mind was not completely focused on my path."

A red brow raised but he nodded.

"Well, you british people drive on the left side of the road so I guess walking backwards is not all that strange to you."

Not crossing her boundaries as a supposed servant, she retorted, "And I suppose walking right into someone who you could plainly see is a russian thing then?"

He looked at her for a moment before snorting a laugh.

"Touche." He watched as she started to pick up the bags she had dropped before kneeling down to help her. At her questioning gaze, he explained, "I'm afraid that I'm not insured for mall collisions so let me atleast repay you by helping you get all this."

"Thank you," she said shyly, smiling at the jib.

However, he fixed her with an icy-blue stare that felt as if he was looking right through her. An unknown feeling, kind of like having a bucket of ice water dumped on her, ran down her spine.

Then, as sudden as it had came, it was gone as he blinked, something now different in his eyes; a light that hadn't been there before, like he knew something new.

His voice sounded more at ease as he spoke, though, as he adjusted a laptop he carried in a case over a shoulder.

"What about your phone?"

"Oh..." She looked down at the shattered mobile device. "Don't worry about it. My mistress will buy me a new one."

"That's very generous of her."

"She's a good person."

As if. Tiffany was going to be really angry, call her names and give her even more chores. Then she'd calm down once she realized that it would be an excellent excuse to go phone shopping. It was a never ending cycle.

"Generous enough to not mind that this dress is going to need some serious ironing?" he asked, holding out a very wrinkled garment.

"Oh no, she loves her clothes more than her phone! Mistress Tiffany is going to be very mad at me," she groaned, knowing that, under cover or not, it was the truth. The blonde will probably blow a vein at the state of her clothes.

"Perhaps if mistress Tiffany would get up off her lazy rear and do a few things for herself than she would have nothing to worry about," he pointed out, kneeling to help her gather the strewn garments.

How she secretly agreed with him, but it wouldn't do to say that aloud. Instead, she was forced to defend the blonde, much to her dislike.

"Sir, I must ask you to not speak about my mistress like that, especially since you know her not."

"Uh-huh," he smirked. "And I'm sure that you think about sweet melodies and rainbows whenever she comes to mind."

"Not to that extent, but she does have a good heart in her," she argued, embracing the role of loyal servant to keep up the guise.

He sat back on his heels and stared at her.

"Well...it is buried beneath her somewhat pampered attitude," she tried to keep her voice serious.

He crossed his arms.

"....Really, really deep beneath it."

He simply raised a brow.

"Alright, fine!" she gave in, "She is a conceited, irritating, spoiled brat who thinks that her manicure is much more important than her grandmother's funeral and sometimes I truly wish to give her a good, ringing slap upside the head to bring her back to reality! There, are you happy?"

"My life has finally found a meaning," came his smirking reply.

The data back at headquaters had every available information on him. His history, his parents, his beyblading skills, his physique, his skills; everything. Except for his attitude. This was something she had not expected to come from a boy with such a traumatic past, present and future. Soft spoken with intellect filled eyes and a tongue that was quicker than a bolt of lightning. And, she found herself liking this attitude.

"So why do you serve her? You look intelligent enough to have a much better position in life," he asked, face more serious now, blue eyes softened.

"Because I must." Wishing to move away from this topic, she asked, "And, may I ask what your name is?"

That devilish smile appeared once more.

"Geesh, aren't you going a bit too fast? We've only just met each other. I don't like rushing into relationships so soon." He handed her a bag though remained with the rest, obviously intent on carrying them for her.

She laughed a true laugh for the first time in the entire rotten day.

"Well, I could just keep on saying 'Hey, you'."

"I happen to find that a very attractive name," he smirked. Then, tranferring the load to one arm, he extended a hand. "Let's just skip formality and go by the first name basis. I'm Ata."

"Claudette," she smiled, shaking the hand though he brought it to his lips and gave the hand a soft kiss. Goodlooking, gentleman, quick-tongued, and a charmer.

"And what theatre part does your mistress have that would need all these customes?" he asked, looking in one of the bags he carried at a brightly sparkling green dress.

"They're not for theatre," she rolled her eyes though smiled. "It's the latest in Paris."

"More like 'belated'; this is what they used to wear in the Middle Ages. Pretty flamboyant."

"Well, she has a pretty flamboyant character," she said, putting it mildly.

"Whatever she is, she is probably getting impatient. Shall we?" he asked as he allowed her to lead him to wherever her mistress was.

"So, what brings you to the mall? Shopping?"

"Not really my passion. No, I'm here to meet up with a friend of mine. I had just hung up talking with him when you walked into my life," he said in mock romance.

"Whoever your friend is, he must have some patience for dealing with you."

"My friend has the tolerance of a mountain. Nothing seems to bug him, except when I boast the fact that I'm a few months older than him. I like to use that excuse to overrule his decisions."

This confirmed her suspicion; he was meeting Kai. The two had a friendship that dated years back and both shared a secret so dark that only the light of trust they had for each other could overpower.

"I recognize your face," she said, still holding onto the whole innocent maid act. "You've been on television, haven't you?"

"Yeah, I suppose." His smile was no longer as bright and he became more subdued. "I'm a blader. You mean you've watched the championships, right?"

"Yes. My mistress love's watching them."

"She's into beyblading?"

"Well, she herself isn't a really good blader. Once she launched her blade and it struck one of her mother's priceless ming vases, leaving a rather nasty crack in it." Ata snickered. "But she watches it because her...idol...is also a blader."

"And who is--"

"Where *HAVE* you been!?!?"

Both turned surprised eyes to see the blonde standing before them, hands balled into fists and stance secured to the ground. Her green eyes flashed like lightning as she sneered at her maid, not even noticing the teen next to her.

"I've been waiting for over fifteen minutes!! My soap opera start in 30 minutes and I haven't even picked out my shoes yet!"

"I'm really sorry miss Tiffany. You see, I--"

"Hellooo" Tiffany interupted, eyes fixed on Ata with much interest, having just noticed him. Tossing her hair over her shoulder in an exagerated display, she held out her hand for him to kiss it. "I'm so sorry if my maid had burdened you with her miserable presence. I'm Tiffany McSnobbe."

"Charmed," Ata said, not hiding his sarcasm whatsoever, and instead of taking her hand, he hung the bulging bags of clothes on her arm. "And I believe these are yours."

The blonde's demeanor immediately changed and she dropped her hand, making the bags fall to the floor once more, face reddening with indignant.

"How rude! Have you no manners on how to treat a lady!"

"I'll let you know when I see one."

'Oh, I am so liking him,' Claudette said to herself, trying to keep a straight face as she innocently watched the exchange.

"If you think that looking good is going to get you attention then think again! No one likes someone who has no sense of manners."

"I take you are speaking from your own experiences?"

Claudette knelt down, pretending to be picking up the bags Tiffany had dropped though she was really trying to hide her face which was dying to laugh. If she held her breath any longer she would pass out.

Not amused to say the least, Tiffany scowled.

"Enough of this silly banter. I want to go home. Claudette," she snapped her fingers and the brunette stood, "we leave now. I would have a more intelligent conversation talking to a pile of dung."

"Yeah, the two of you have a lot more in common."

Huffing indignantly, the blonde narrowed her eyes in *extreme* dislike and stalked pass him, practically shoved two people out her way and walked off, high heels clicking loudly.

"Is there a time when she isn't a total bitch?" Ata asked the brunette who came to stand beside him softly, cringing as she watched her mistress roughly pushed anyone unfortunate enough to be in her path out of the way.

"Sometimes...when she's asleep."

Their laughter was drowned out by a loud shout from somewhere ahead in the mall.


Sighing, she adjusted her baggage.

"I had better go find her, she tends to get lost sometimes without me."

"So stay."

"Tempting, but a mere dream," she said laughingly. Extending her hand, she shook his. "It has been a pleasure meeting you, Ata. Maybe we will see each other again?"

"Maybe," he smiled devilishly.

Smiling back, she turned and headed towards the direction her mistress had just taken, leaving him standing behind her. She hadn't taken more than a few steps when his bemused voice made her stop dead in her tracks.

"And tell your people that it takes more than a little distraction to bring my guard down,... Raven."

She spun around, eyes wide in stunned surprise.

"How did you...know...?"

No one stood there, the spot where he had been standing was now deserted. Shopperd walked by her like they always did but the red-haired boy had disappeared, without a word, sound or trace.

"Yeah, I'll do that..."

With a pensive look on her face, she turned and started walking once more.

Somehow she had the feeling that her encounter with the enigma was just the beginning of something really big.

*~* The End *~*


*Balcov is Boris' last name. Just wanted to let you know incase you didn't ^_^

**If any of you are wondering "Where's Tala/Ata's glasses?" Remember that he had begun wearing them *after* the world championships, which takes place a year after this story, due to an experiment gone bad.

Once again, this story is really based off of the events in 'Untold Truths' so some things can be confusing to some readers.

To 'A Certain Nitpick': Yeah, belated, as always. But still, just for you as a thank-you for being the person you are (yes, annoying and everything else). Hope you enjoyed it.


Read & Review, please.