Title: Learning To Fly.
Chapter: I - Eyes.
Characters/Pairings: Demolition Boys Centric, OC and 'canon' pairings.
Global Rating: R.
Chapter Rating: PG-13.
Genre: Drama, with lines of Angst and Romance.
Warnings: Follows after the first season, with elements from the second and the third thrown in for spice. This story supports 'canon pairings' (I.e. Rei/Mariah, Max/Emily, Tyson/Hilary), even though it contains OC pairings.
Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade, but I own the plot and the original characters
Feedback: Very welcome, please!
Word Count: 3 860.
Summary: Trying to adjust to normal life is no easy affair. Particularly when your name is Tala Ivanov, and you tend to attract trouble above anything else.
Author's Notes: Hello! If you're reading this story for the first time, welcome to the boat, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you've been reading this story for a long time, welcome back! Recently, I got a hang of someone who's patient enough to attempt to beta this thoroughly. The first chapter of this story was published on June 16th, 2004 and its fate has been rather troubled ever since. Now, whether you read it on LJ as I slowly upload it revised and corrected, or whether you stumble across the old version at I want to thank you for your patience. Comments and feedback are always welcome, and criticism, serious and otherwise, is strongly encouraged. Now, let's enjoy the ride.
Alright, this fic is a D-Boy centered one. I recently (Summer of 2004) made a trip to Russia and found certain circumstances, social and otherwise, that I'm trying to portrait as I saw them. This madness is especially dedicated to the Sokolov brothers who kindly gave me a place to stay during my visit to their country. Vlad, you're one of a kind brat, Aliosha... stop flirting perv!
Date of Edit: December 14th, 2006.
Learning To Fly.
Chapter One: Eyes.
Lies, exaggerated truths and unmasked hatred were things Tala Ivanov had faced more than once in the sixteen years that were his life, and he knew his comrades had faced them too. So when the police officer harshly pushed him into the judgment hall, he gave them the same answer he had give them for years, the look of cool arrogance and collected temper that he knew, flared their nerves immensely. He spoke in a tightly controlled voice, stating clearly what he knew, or what he wanted them to believe he knew. His sentences were closed and short, only long enough to get his point across.
It had been a long day, the next day after the championships. Most of the teams left immediately, satisfied that the threat had been stopped, but not even once stopping to think what would be of the criminals. He sighed as he watched Kai walk away, towards his mother's car, looking much older than he should be. A sardonic smile tilted his lips as he crossed eyes with him; a look of resignation met him in the ruby deeps of his friend, matching the one that stirred in his own. Kai sighed one last time, and walked towards the black car waiting for him, not looking back at probably the only person in the whole planet that really cared for him and what was best for him.
And going to live with Katherine Hiwatari was the best for him at the moment, even if it meant not seeing his brother again. Possibly ever. But Tala knew that, deep within himself, Kai knew it too, and somehow it made it more bearable, if only a little.
The redhead then turned his eyes towards the rest of his family. Spencer was sitting in a corner of the room, looking at the snow falling in the window, Ian was looking at his blade, the purple bit beast glowing slightly inside it and Bryan, the biggest of Tala's worries, was resting against a wall, his arms crossed and his chin resting against his chest, locks of pale hair covering his eyes.
Eyes, Tala knew, that held so much resentment and hatred that sometimes it made him flinch when the glare was settled on him. He sighed inwardly, calling his team attention to him, as he pulled his act together. The paper on his right hand was practically burning him, and with a new sigh, he prepared to give them the news.
"It's over," he told them, sitting on a couch with a dejected gesture, "It's just... over." He shrugged, lifting the paper for them to see. "Kai's gone to Kat's; the rest of the kids sent to Yaroslav, Boris and Voltair... well you know. And..." He trailed off.
"And us?" Spencer asked firmly, voicing their thoughts.
"Siberia," Tala looked up, blue eyes looking frozen in silent indignation, "A god-forgotten 'Rehabilitation Center', since they think we can be saved." The tone of his voice made it clear he didn't like the news a bit.
"Of course they would," Ian said rather acidly, rolling his red eyes in distaste, "And I suppose we must pretend to feel honored for this great opportunity."
Tala sighed again.
"Could have been worse," Spencer pointed out rather resignedly, "Boris and Voltair... well."
"Sometimes Sokolov, death's just better." Bryan intoned quietly, pushing himself from the wall and walking towards the door. He stopped to regard his team with an unnerving glare and spoke with such hatred, that they shivered inwardly. "Move. The sooner we go, the sooner we get this over with." And without waiting for them, he walked out of the waiting room, pretending he didn't noticed the guards glaring at him, or the half concealed guns in their coats.
He had been sold.
And it hurt just as much as the first time, the weight of the small cross hanging from his neck was a clear reminder of that.
Siberia was one of those places where it's practically impossible to survive, and yet people managed to do so. Short summers, with a continuous yet thin layer of snow. Long winters with little or no light and at least 4 feet of snow each night. It made the most simple and common things difficult. And it was there where Tala and his team where heading to.
Sitting in an empty wagon of the train, they pretended they didn't see the guards half concealed in the dark corners, watching their movements closely; ready to repress any sign of trouble.
Repress it permanently.
It took them four days in train, but they finally reached the train station closest to their new home. From there, it around twelve more hours to reach a small city in the very core of Siberia, Logobo Volka (Ian couldn't hold back the snort at that, much to Tala's annoyance), which was three miles and a half away from the so called rehabilitation center. The Nadiezhda Rehabilitation Center.
"I hate life's irony." Ian muttered darkly as they crossed the bridge over the small stream and the big wooden sign.
Tala, Spencer and specially Bryan had to agree with him.
When they reached the first wooden cabin, they were received rather warmly by a twenty something young man, with wild raven black hair and bright grey eyes, that shook the hand of the man in charge of taking them there, took their papers and after calling the man away, turned to smirk at them.
"It's been a while since we had celebrities among us," at the risen eyebrows he received, he elaborated, "Whatever bullshit it was said after the championships, most of us wanted you to beat the goofy goody two shoes, just to make it more interesting... I'm Vladimir Bespokoylov by the way." He tipped an imaginary hat. The smirk was rather pleasant, and they did feel sincerity flowing off the boy, so tension eased slightly.
"I would present ourselves, but I think it'd be rather stupid don't you think?" Tala said shrugging, and Vladimir nodded.
"Indeed. Krystal, the owner and director of the center, is waiting, and is a good half a mile to get there, so if you don't mind, let's go. I don't fancy having my ass frozen here," the grey-eyed man said with a snicker, and tension lifted another notch.
"We wouldn't like that indeed," Tala intoned smoothly, and they started walking though the serpentine road towards the biggest building.
As they passed the smaller wooden cabins, they were aware of the kids that looked at them curiously, the bravest of them venturing outside to get a better look at the celebrities. After a few minutes, Tala started interrogating their guide, feeling up his disposition and trying to piece up the sort of place they had been dumped on.
"I got here when I was seven, got me stealing a big shop in Moscow, and while I was running away I got hit by a car of one of the wealthiest men in the city... he didn't want to deal with a demand and other bullshit so he cast me away, the farthest place he could think of actually... and voila," Vladimir smiled fondly, "Later on, I escaped a few times, just to piss Krystal off, but she always took me back in... I sometimes wonder if she's really devoted to her work, or just plain masochist." Ian, Spencer and Tala chuckled slightly at that, pulling a smirk on Vladimir's face, though he frowned slightly at the blank face Bryan kept on the whole time.
"Aren't you old enough to be on your own, though?" Ian blinked curiously as Vladimir snorted.
"Yeah, but now I work here... meet your 'Self-Developing' Councilor children," he retorted rather sardonically and Tala rolled his eyes.
"Developing of what? My masochist self?" The redhead asked with a risen eyebrow, causing the older man to snicker.
"Actually I'm supposed to teach you manners... though I have the distinct feeling you have them, point is you don't use them."
Krystal Petrova was a rather cheerful woman that made them edgy. She had baby blond hair that waved in soft curls, bright sparkling blue eyes and a motherly aura that made them pretty uncomfortable. She spoke calmly and rather warmly while she explained most of the movement around the center.
There were a total of thirteen cabins scattered in the eight square miles of grounds that belonged to the center, completely independent of each other, each one having enough space for up to six people in it, but only housing two or three teens of more or less the same age range together. There was a day for laundry once a week and meals were served daily in a strict schedule. A bus would drop them at school at seven and pick them up at three all weekdays, while on weekends they had a total of four hours of counseling work with Vladimir in different timetables. Hot water and wood supply for heating each cabin were assigned weekly and it was their responsibility to administrate it accordingly. A 350 rubles allowance was given to each of them weekly for extra needs, like clothing or school material; though they were free to spend it on whatever they wanted. Computer and the internet access were a special service only some cabins had, and they would need to keep a certain conduct level to keep them.
Through the whole speech none of them said a word, leaving the woman and her mother-hen tendencies talk and talk non-stop, while they radiated an aura of annoyance and indifference, pretending not to hear what they were being told, and in truth not really paying much attention. Of course, until they were told who they were rooming with.
"…And I'm sure Lizeth will be delighted to meet you," Krystal said in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"Hold your horse; we are rooming with a gal?" Tala raised a cynical eyebrow at Krystal, who answered with one of her own.
"Apparently so, according to what I just said... sweetheart," Tala's eye twitched at the nickname, but otherwise remained stoic, "As I was saying, you will be rooming with Lizeth Smildrilova in cabin thirteen, that's the farthest one at the south for you, and you will sit meals with her too, she knows what table is yours... oh and almost forgot, please be kind enough to tell someone if you go into the forest. Last year we had this nasty incident with the wolf pack that lives in the Northwest part of the forest and it was really hell to deal with bureaucratic problems. You're free to enter the woods under your own responsibility but do tell someone who's staying where are you planning to go... will make your and my life easier." The woman sighed rather dramatically as she gathered her papers up and clapped her hands, satisfied. "Well, that should be all, my sister Dunia here will lead you to your cabin and give you your keys, don't lose them, because you'll pay the new ones out of your allowance and... basically that's all. Dunia if you please?"
Dunia Petrova was the complete opposite of her sister. Small and more on the chubby side of things, her blond hair looked a shade darker than Krystal's and her eyes were much more smaller as well as rat like. Just at the sight of her, the boys guarded themselves subconsciously, regarding her with cool mistrusting stares. She glared at them as if they were the cause of all her misery and guided them towards the lone cabin at the edge of the forest. She knocked rather forcefully on the door, and after a second the sound of something being slammed, heavy footfalls were heard. Then the door was flung open, revealing what the boys assumed would be their new roommate.
Just that it wasn't what they expected.
Sure, they could see it was a girl. But not the kind of girl they were expecting to find.
Her hair was a raven black, which was neatly held on a tight braid that reached her waist, while to chin long bangs framed her face. Her pale face contrasted with the piercing black eyes that glared venomously at them. Her body was covered by a dark crimson sleeveless top that sank into a pair of black pants that were at a few sizes larger than her slim form needed. A thick black jacket and snow boots finished the attire as well as leather wristbands in each hand. Her well kept appearance, as well as the rare mix of her eye and hair color gave her an alluring air, though the latent warning that flowed from her eyes was overwhelming.
"Your new roommates, Smildrilova, do try and keep them alive." Dunia said acidly and the girl, Lizeth, thinned her lips dangerously, "Careful, I can still kick you out if I see fit," the older woman said condescendingly, but the boys were surprised to see their new roommate snort dryly. When Lizeth refused to speak, Dunia continued, "These are your keys, report to the Director's office first thing tomorrow morning, clear?"
When she received no answer, she hm'ed and walked back to the main cabin, muttering under her breath about them. Ignoring her, Tala and Lizeth were already engaged into a fierce glaring contest, while Ian, Spencer and Bryan just watched from the sidelines.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," The redhead said sarcastically as he crossed his arms over his chest, "Wench."
The unnerving dark glare settled in him as her eyes narrowed, before she brushed pass him, crimson colored blade in her hand, a similar glow in it's core, announcing the presence of a bit beast inside it. Tala raised an eyebrow as she disappeared silently into the woods, not even once turning back to them.
"Lovely." Spencer pointed out with distaste, and was answered by two snorts and a grunt.
"Could have been a bloody goody two shoes," Ian shrugged, trying to look at the bright – or at least less dark – side of things, "Or worse yet, a fan." The last comment made Spencer snicker and Tala shiver inwardly at that implication, before they moved into their new home.
After they dropped their duffel bags in the center of the rather small living room and having explored the cabin, they looked at Tala questioningly, wanting to know who would have to room with the little ray of sunshine.
"Nope, don't look at me," the Shrimp raised his hands defensively, "I'm not suicidal... yet."
"If I have no other choice, but I rather keep my sanity, thank you." The blond said as he raised an eyebrow and Tala sighed.
"Bryan, would you?"
The lavender haired teen shrugged indifferently.
"Do I look like someone who actually cares?" Snapping out rather acidly, and pulling his bag with him, he entered the room at their left, slamming the door behind him.
His teammates winced.
When Lizeth came back into the cabin, she looked a bit more calmer, but her nerves flared up instantly as soon as she found Spencer thrown over a couch, reading a book and generally ignoring the world. When she closed the door, he looked up at her, raising a questioning eyebrow at her. She narrowed her eyes and entered her room without a word.
Only to find Bryan staring up at the ceiling in one of the beds.
Lavender and midnight crashed as they both glared measurably at each other. Lizeth's grip on her blade tightened and Bryan's lips thinned.
After a few minutes of the staring contest, Bryan turned back to the ceiling, ignoring her completely as he sank back into his own thoughts and memories. Lizeth looked suspiciously at him, before settling on her own bed. She took out a notebook and set to doodle something.
Next morning, as told, they walked back to the main lodge, where Krystal received them with the same cherry attitude that flared their nerves. She repeated some points of the day before, and told them about school. Logobo Volka was the biggest 'city' in a few hundred miles around, so it had a huge school complex where kids from all ages and from about 20 different towns went to. Exactly where they would be sent.
"The school's director is an old friend of mine, so you'll get sorted together. She's very strict though, don't cause her trouble and she'll leave you alone, the classes will start next Wednesday, with the annual gathering. You're expected to attend... and you're expected to be civil," the last part had been a clear order, one which caused a few risen eyebrows, "But other than that, I'm sure you'll be fine." Krystal said for the umpteenth time, with that sunny smile that irked them to the point of contemplating violence, before handing out their schedules and a list of school material Dunia would supply. "Now, off to breakfast, I'm sure Lizeth's already waiting for you." She added a wink for good measure.
Tala was itching to send her to hell, but refrained from it, barely. Ian snorted loudly at that, and Spencer was debating whether or not to break her airhead bubble. Bryan stared at the cheerful woman with a mix of distaste and disgust.
As it turned out, breakfast as well as the other meals, they were told, were served in the biggest cabin, by the cook, a seventy-something old woman that gave them whatever she thought was edible. The Wench was sitting at the side of the table, eating an apple and generally ignoring them, while Bryan, sitting across the table, was gazing out through the window. The breeze was cool, and not all that unpleasant, as the last remains of spring finally left the isolated city. He turned his attention towards Ian, when the shorter boy exclaimed in disgust.
"What the hell?" The purple-haired teen asked looking completely shaken as he poked his plate with a spoon.
"Oatmeal, I think," Tala snorted, frowning as his own spoon became stuck in the pale bulb, "A few decades ago, that is."
"I take my chance that's what Boris' brain looks like," Spencer piped in with a smirk, causing Tala and Ian to go into a snicker fit.
Bryan didn't find it amusing. In fact, he found the whole thing annoying. Apparently so did the Wench, since she stood up, carrying the last remains of her apple – all she ate in breakfast – and stalked away silently. Bryan raised and eyebrow and his pale eyes traveled from her plate, to his own, to his teammates, to the window. He snorted.
"It's going to rain again," he told no one in particular as he stood up, having only taken a glass of milk.
"Where're you goin'?" Tala asked, brow furrowed slightly when Bryan rolled his eyes at him.
"To train," he bit back shortly, already walking away, "Mother."
He was sporting a rather satisfied smirk as a raspberry reached his ears.
He had been right. As presumed, the Wench was blading in the one of the concrete dishes near her – their – cabin, and she was blading, not that pathetic excuse for a spin those bitches at the World Tournament had called blading. That was power, that was raw, and to Bryan's surprise, it made something stir within himself. He watched her blade move, spinning overcharged as it zoomed though the dish, the movements were smooth and calculated, not unlike his own, and he could sense the grace and the power of the bit beast lingering inside the blade. He looked at the Wench, and found her piercing eyes staring at his own. It wasn't a glare, but a challenge.
And Bryan liked challenges.
He looked back at her, not with spite, but with a need of showing what he was worth. He allowed himself a smirk, when she matched it.
It wasn't pity what flowed between them, even if they could sense what the other had gone through, it wasn't pity what they offered, because neither need it.
"It's a waste of a good blade, with no one to fight against," he said, either to her or to himself it wasn't clear, but soon, the newly reconstructed white and black blade was spinning in the dish, running alongside the Wench's.
It was a matter of a few crashes, before Falborg emerged from the blade, under Bryan's mental will.
"It's a waste of a good beast, with no one to fight against," Lizeth told him, speaking for the first time, in a rusty, low voice, much less feminine than her whole appearance, but with a smirk, a crimson glow emerged from her blade.
Bryan took in the sight of the majestic beast that arose, so similar to it's owner and yet so different at the same time. The magnificent red dragon let out a growl, opening it's wings powerfully, challenging Falborg forward. The beast was powerful and beautiful, not unlike her master, Bryan accepted, but it radiated light, while Lizeth seemed to absorb it from her surroundings.
Their fight was long, and rather than attacking their bit beasts seemed to be dancing. No one talked and the intimacy of the moment struck Lizeth as odd. Why did she feel so curious by the lavender haired teen then? A nagging whisper crossed her mind and her head tilted slightly to the side, taking in Bryan's frame as he looked up at their bit beasts. He was tall, and burly, and not exactly attractive, but he was... alluring.
Why did he felt safe standing in that dish? Bryan looked up at the beasts entangled in a fight, high above the dish, and questioned himself. What pulled him to follow the Wench? Why did he commented, no, complimented on her skills? He looked down and locked eyes with her.
Her eyes were pitch black.