Chapter 1

"I've been sittin', waitin', wishin' you believed in superstition..." Max sang softly in English, walking through the brand new BBA headquarters in search of the weight room. He was thinking of doing some endurance training... for what good was it to have a world-famous defense if you couldn't maintain it?

Humming the next bit, the blond turned the corner to see his catlike friend Ray apparently...trying to push down the door? How very odd. He was pressed against the surface, those telltale golden eyes squeezed shut in extreme concentration.

"Hey, Ray, what are you-" Max never finished the sentence, as his friend started in surprise, then shot down the remaining distance, one hand covering the startled blond's mouth, the other pulling their faces close. Ray's lips ghosted over his ear, breath fanning across his cheek in heavy waves. The blond shivered.

His face was probably a bright red! What was Ray doing?

"Quiet Maxie, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event!" The neko-jin whispered with that wonderfully tempting mouth of his.

His own mouth moving in silent questions against his dark-haired teammate's hand, Max's bright blue eyes met now wickedly amused gold.

"Well," Ray then stopped and snickered. Yes, SNICKERED. What in Sam Hill's name was going on here?

"Well," The Chinese Beyblader started again. "You know what they say about exercise- Exercise makes endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!" He pulled back, fanged grin very wide, arm gesturing to the door.

Unsure of what he may find, Max slowly crept over and peered through the slit.

The inside was interesting, alright...

Kai was doing sit-ups, face flushed and shining with sweat. Gone was his scarf, vest and (Gulp! - Think of Ray!) shirt...but his stripes were still in place...Hm... The taxed state he was in probably didn't mean the Russian was out of shape, however, since Max knew firsthand Kai could keep up this pace for hours... and he had, from the look of things. That, and Kai looked sort of scary, because his eyes were shadowed by the glaring overhead lights...

Across the BBA private gym, Tala, also shirtless, was beating the living daylights out of a bloody peace of meat! Okay, a red punching bag, but from the expression on the redhead's face, you wouldn't know that.There was just something about watching the Russian,sweaty and concentrated, beatsomething... If Kai was a little scary, then Tala was... in one word: terrifying.

These were happy people?

"...They get really chatty when hyped up from a good work out, it seems." said Ray, fanged grin stretching further.

Max looked back in again, and sure enough, their mouths were moving in conversation. If he squished himself up against the door, he could just barely hear what the childhood buddies were saying...

"You call me a stalker? At least I've talked to him!"

"Hmph, I'm sure! 'Hn, go away, leave me alone'- that's greeeeeat Kai." The familiar voice of Tala sneered. "Real engaging conversation."

"It's better than just coming to his matches to stare at him." Kai shot back, rather sarcastically.

"Oh, and you've never done that."

"At least he knows I'm there for him, unlike someone we know."

"Yeah, yeah..." Electric blue eyes rolled as he slammed his fist once more into the poor punching bag. "Well, at least I don't know his shoe size."

Their duel-haired friend made an almost imperceptible 'huff' sound. "You'd check too, if he just left the room, and they were just right in front of you..." Violet eyes glinted in sarcastic triumph, having found yet another way to get a dig on Tala. "Not that he'd ever invite you in, giving you a chance..."

There was a lull in the talking for a long time, so much that Max was able to turn around and give Ray a very puzzled look.

"Primary colors. All he wears are primary colors." Tala stated randomly, his gloved fist connecting with a 'thump' once more.

"Well, at least he doesn't look like some Safari Tour Guide."

The redhead sighed wistfully, something neither Ray nor Max had ever witnessed before. "He wouldn't dress so badly if I could get a hold of him..." He tugged up his pants, the ones to his orange, white and blue outfit. Max repressed a giggle with his bright green gloves, his green-and-yellow-clad shoulders shaking slightly. Ray rolled his eyes at both of them.

...But... Primary colors? A safari tour guide? Both sounded eerily familiar...

Another giant, gaping pause passed in the World of Incredibly Intimidating People aka the gym. Max didn't really notice, as Ray chose then to listen in as well, meaning he pressed all that yummy Rayflesh against Max's back.

"...And he didn't dress like that when I met him. He had that 'School Nerd' necktie/pocket protector thing going. It was...endearing." The redhead finished, also randomly.

'AND TRAUMATIZINGLY!' Max added in his head, though unsure if 'traumatizingly' was even a word.

"And did he dye his hair? I was sure he was a cute carrot-top red when we first met."


Kai stopped mid-up. "I have no clue- I don't ask those things."

The redhead Russian smirked. "I can just see what that would be like- he'd have a heart attack."

"Hn. At least I can talk to him about certain things without his fragile little heart exploding... Imagine you trying to make ANY conversation with him."

"Heh, I haven't had much time on my hands between the end of the world championships and the BEGA incident." Tala explained, then boasted, "I'll break him down..." Smirk. "You, on the other hand... How long have you known him? Two years?"

"Bordering on three, actually," was Kai's dry reply.

"And you two still can't have a 'normal' moment together." Tala's smirk grew considerably. "I haven't been in... you know, that long..."

'You know'? No, they didn't, but Max could think up some ideas...scaaaary, traumatizing ideas, if they involved Tala.

"Hnn..." Kai heaved himself up once more. "We together... normally..." Violet eyes narrowed at the 'Yeah, right' expression forming on his childhood friend's face. "If I tried."

"Then why don't you?" Tala's voice had grown very loud, as it always did when a challenge was made. "I bet- I BET you can't even do it. I bet a conversation with Kenny and I could last longer than one with you and Tyson."

The two outside froze, jaws hanging limp as they listened, rather numbly, to Kai responding sarcastically, "Oh really, Tala? You think so... Kenny wouldn't be able to last three minutes in a conversation with you, if it didn't involve Beyblade parts. He'd wet himself, he'd be so damn terrified."

Their eyes met. 'Tala...and KENNY?' Max was too stunned to even twitch.

"You think so? Kai, if you brought up anything besides Beyblade with Tyson, he'd laugh his ass off!" Tala stopped his brutal beating of the bag and swaggered over to where Kai continued to exercise his already flawless abdomen. "So, do you want to test that, Kai?"

"Test what?" Kai snapped irritably, stopping to wipe some sweat from his eyes.

"Test and see... which one of us could hold a conversation longer. And no Beyblade." Electric blue eyes positively glowed. "No awkward silences, either. This will be a fair fight."

Sweaty gray bangs fell to obscure Kai's face. Maybe he was thinking it over... Or maybe he had finally frozen into a complete statue...

"Scared?" Tala taunted.

"You're on." Was the final, dark reply. Kai stood, and the guys outside felt themselves give a nervous twitch. The Russian blader looked so intense...

"Wait" his old 'acquaintance' called. "Winner has to..." Tala racked his brain for a good and evil punishment. "Fess up to the world he's gay as hell."

"Whatever." Their friend's lip curled in a sneer. "Everyone already knows that about you."

Kai then whirled away majestically, without a scarf, even! Then left through locker room exit on the other side of the weight room.

Suddenly squaring his shoulders, the redhead faced the door. "Hey, eavesdroppers, get out here." Command, not question. Eeep!

The members of the former-G Revolutions timidly pried the door open and slowly moved inside.

The blond tried to think rationally and calmly, glancing at his feline companion... Suddenly, all he could think of was how either Brad or AJ (he didn't remember which) dubbed him 'Zen Master Ray'.

Said Zen Master looked completely composed, asking a simple, "How?"

"Your breathing was so loud, people in Australia can hear you." The terrifying youth scoffed, finding his shirt and pulling it on despite his sweatiness.

Max, in a state of mental void, decided then and there that the way Tala said 'Australia' was interesting. Australia, Australia, Australia...

"...I'll win, I'm sure of it. If Kai really could hold a conversation with Tyson he would have, by now." The redhead was saying, the picture of absolute arrogance. Max decided he'd better try and pay attention.

"...Um...About you..." Ray tried to tactfully pose a question, tugging on the neck of his shirt. "Why, er... Kenny?" he settled for asking, rather incredulously.

"...I don't need to explain myself!" Tala snapped angrily, electric eyes narrowing. Max hopped in surprise, glomming onto Ray's arm.

"Err, okay."

The blond whimpered slightly.

The neko-jin raised an eyebrow, turning slightly pink. "...Right."

"Good luck!" Max squeaked out, spinning quickly on his heel. The Chinese blader valiantly held his position.

"...Get your ass back here." Another command. The blond spun back around. Ray just looked really calm, as if being ordered around by sweaty, murderous-looking Russians was a normal thing for him. "You're not getting off that easily."

"Oh..." Max stared as the redhead cracked his knuckles.

"First off, no blabbing, you understand?" They nodded together. "Good. If I find out you told anyone, especially Tyson or Kenny-" Tala's cheeks turned pink, and it was not from all that exercise. At that moment, Kai could've barged back in, chewing the bitten off heads of several small rodents and no one would have been fazed. "You will regret it."

More nods.

Dammit, why was he so SCARY? Max didn't remember being this intimidated before!

Blushing Tala was scary. Suddenly amused and smiling Tala was ALSO scary. "Now, I think I've found a use for you two eavesdroppers..."

End Chapter