Chapter 1

This is my first Beyblade fic. I don't own Beyblade. If I did, I'd get rid of that dreadful rock/pop music that plays in the dub, hire Yoko Kanno and some decent voice actors, and play up the yaoi angle so much that the homophobes couldn't flame us fanfic writers anymore. Then I'd laugh. Heh.

History is full of stories about great men whose downfall was brought about by love, or even lust at a basic level. Julius Caesar signed his death warrant when Cleopatra emerged from that rug. Henry V111 converted an entire country just so he could marry his pregnant mistress. And such devotion isn't merely inspired by the so-called "fairer sex." James 1 risked his reputation and his kingdom on his relationships with the young men he was infatuated with. In the end, he died alone in his prison cell, murdered by someone who didn't approve of his lifestyle.

How foolish, to risk your life and lifestyle over something so simple. Though love is something we cannot do without, it is easy to inspire. But the real dilemma is, who is worthy of my love? If it is such a valuable thing that lives could be risked for it, as a superior being my love should only be bestowed on superior beings. And why stop at just one? Could I truly be happy with just one? No, never. No great man ever has just one. I shall have as many as I desire.

And they will all love me.

" Hey, Max, have I put on weight?

Takao was looking at the picture from as many angles as the newspaper would allow, his forehead crinkled in annoyance. Max peered over his shoulder at the photo, and soon he was frowning too.

"Why didn't anyone tell me I look that stupid when I smile? I'm cross-eyed here!"

The photo was taken by someone with a very expensive, very unforgiving camera by some journalist for a mawkish tabloid. The story that accompanied the picture was mindless filler, the whole idea was that a picture of the relatively famous Bladebreakers would encourage hormonal teenage girls into buying the otherwise trashy paper. Unfortunately, the photo wasn't a very flattering one.

" Relax, Takao. The camera adds ten pounds." Rei sounded very relaxed over the whole thing. Then again, it was hard to take a bad picture of Rei. Today was an exception. Takao threw the paper across to him. When Rei looked at it, his heart sank.

" Aw, man! I look like a girl!" The offending picture looked to have been taken from a clump of bushes, while the team of unfortunate bladers were unaware. Tyson was caught stuffing a handful of potato chips into his mouth while his stomach bulged unattractively from his t-shirt. Max was caught mid-laugh, with a nice view of the back of his throat. And yes, his eyes were crossed. Kai looked the way he always looked, scowling away quite unhappily. But the digital lens and shutters highlighted every bag, line and wrinkle. Kai looked twenty years older than he really was.

Only Rei seemed to have gotten away with his image intact. His face was fixed into a neutral expression so that his natural attractiveness shone through. But the camera caught him on a day when he had his hair undone, and it flowed gracefully down his back. The sight of his silky black strands shining under the midday sun reminded Rei of some really bad movies from the seventies. He did look like a girl.

" Okay, affirmative action time! I say we go to every newsstand in the district, buy every copy of this paper and have a little bonfire in the hotel grounds. Who's with me?" Due to the cringe worthy nature of the photo, Takao's plan sounded promising. Rei spoke up from his spot on the couch, under a pillow.

" I say we hide in here for a few months until this all blows over."

" What the hell are you complaining about? You look good in this picture! You're the only one who does, lucky bastard!"

" One day. The one freakin' day I let you convince me to leave my hair down, and the world gets to see me looking like Cher. That's lucky."

Later that night, Rei was sitting on the bed of the hotel room he was sharing with Kai, brushing his hair. In was a tedious ritual that had to be done every night otherwise he's wake up the next morning to find a mess of knots. Kai was lying on the other bed, eyes closed. Rei couldn't tell whether he was sleeping or deep in thought. Over the last two years since they'd been team mates, Kai was becoming less introverted and a little more friendly. Getting him to open up was still an uphill struggle, but every little helped. He was always more likely to talk to Rei, who wasn't as in-your-face as Takao or a chatterbox like Max. Rei had a knack for knowing when to speak and when to shut up. If they didn't connect, at least they didn't clash. Rei cursed as the brush caught a tangle and pulled his scalp with it.

" Why don't you just cut it off, if it bothers you?"

Kai's voice, quiet as usual, sounded like a gunshot in the silent room. Rei considered the question.

" My hair's always been this long. Back in the village, it was always easier to tie it back than get it cut. It's been like this so long, I couldn't imagine myself without it."

" Never know until you bite the bullet."

" It'd be like hacking of an arm or a leg. I couldn't go through with it."

That was something Kai could understand. He still applied those strange blue triangles to his face every morning. He had never known exactly what they were, but he felt a sense of comfort knowing they were there. Rei finished dealing with his hair and took a quick glance in the mirror on the nightstand across from him. What he failed to mention was the reason his hair had been kept long. Thirteen years ago, Rei's father had forbidden him to have it cut, ever. Six years ago, Rei's father had died, but Rei couldn't bring himself to sever that last tie with his parents. Still, he could never stand to leave it the way it was, so he kept it hidden. It was the best he could do.

He liked to look at the papers. Mindless drivel for the masses, but they proved to Him day after day his superiority. And they offered some outside contact for the ones who loved Him. He leafed through each page with an air of disgust. Celebrities, fashion, sex, scandal, this is what passed for news? Where was the art, the literature, the culture? He let out a long-suffering sigh, and was about to throw the paper away when a picture in the corner caught his eye.

The photo was of four young players of some ridiculous sport or other, and three of the young men in the picture were unremarkable. One of them, however, made His breath catch in His throat.

A beautiful young boy, with ebony black hair long and silky cascading down his back, eyes dreamy and staring into the distance at some mystery target lost to those liquid gold depths. His mouth was open slightly, just enough to show a hint of white teeth against the pale pink of his lips. If He were an artist, and He considered Himself an art connoisseur, this was an invitation, an enticement, one that He fully intended to answer. He ran his finger gently over the photo, whispering gently to it.

" You will be mine. And maybe, I will love you."