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Never Be Replaced - Chapter Two

Two days had passed since Kai found out about the plane crash. He couldn't sleep; he couldn't eat… Every time he closed his eyes all he could see was Rei's vibrant, honey-coloured eyes. When he was in bed, even though the blankets were covering him… he still felt cold; he missed the warmth the neko-jin produced, his scent and the way Rei breathed slowly while sleeping.

The crimson-eyed man didn't go to work during those two days, feeling that it was his fault that Rei had… he couldn't say the word died, because he knew that Rei was still alive. The authorities were looking for survivors, according to the news, and so far only a few dead bodies had been found. Kai also made sure that if anything was found other than the other civilians; he was to be contacted immediately. He ignored the phone calls that were coming, thinking that they were from work, and focused mostly on the news about the plane crash whether there were any survivors at all.

Yuriy and Boris often came to visit, making sure that he ate and slept well. They both knew what their friend was thinking, and they had to make sure that he actually did something other than brood over the incident.

"Have you talked to Kinomiya yet?" Boris asked his lover one time as they drove on their way home from Kai's apartment.

The redheaded Russian shook his head, and clasped his hands tightly on his lap. "No, not yet… I was hoping since they knew Rei's other friends very well… maybe they would tell them… that…" he trailed off; he too didn't want to say that Rei had truly passed away.

"Yuriy, that crash was all over the news not only here but probably the whole world. I'm pretty sure that they would find out one way or another…" He turned around the curb, seeing their apartment building. He then opened the gate to the underground parking area.

"I know but it would be at least considerate to tell them that they're not alone in sadness…" Yuriy replied, when the car came to a stop. With a sigh, the redhead stepped out of the vehicle.

Boris looked at his lover with a transfixed gaze. Ever since they both found out what happened, his lover was most unusually quiet, not to mention he always zoned out. The taller Russian expected that Yuriy would shed tears, but they didn't come. He often just saw the melancholic look on Yuriy's icy blue eyes when he was quiet. When they got to the elevator, Boris subconsciously put his arm around Yuriy's lithe frame, holding him close.

The other Russian looked up at Boris questioningly, hoping to make eye contact. But instead Boris was looking ahead, as if he was deep in thought. Yuriy smiled a bit and sighed contently, burying his face on his boyfriend's shoulder. They both stepped out of the elevator and Boris opened the door to their home, guiding the red-haired man in and into the living room.

The taller Russian sat down on the couch, letting Yuriy sit down on his lap. "Yuriy…" he said.

"Hmm…?" he looked up at his lover.

"…" Boris didn't know what to ask him. He wanted to know why Yuriy wasn't crying at all. He knows that he shouldn't force him to shed tears but… keeping it inside like that would make it worse. "Why… why weren't you crying…?" he finally asked.

Yuriy kept on staring at him until he leaned his head on the crook of Boris's neck. "I honestly don't know… I suppose it's because… crying won't make a difference. They only make your eyes all red and puffy, and your cheeks all blotchy…" he trailed off, not noticing Boris's small, yet amused smile. "Or maybe because you don't have anymore tears left…"

Silence took over them for a bit, just content in holding each other. Boris could feel Yuriy shaking again, but did not notice the warm tears from the crook of his neck. He sighed inwardly and lowered his head, enough that his mouth was near Yuriy's ear and whispered,

"You know… it's okay to cry."

A few minutes later, Yuriy wept as Boris whispered soothing words to him.

Somewhere in China…

Takao nervously wringed his hands on his lap as the taxi drove by the bumpy roads towards the Baifuzu team's remote village. He didn't really know what to say to Lee and the others. Supposedly, they should probably know the news by now, right? He wasn't sure about that, and so when the cab stopped and he had paid the driver, the blue-haired man stepped out of the vehicle and took a deep breath.

'It's now or never… I just hope they knew this beforehand so that this could be easier…'

He slowly walked up the path, noticing little children playing with their beyblades by a hollowed tree stump. He gave a small grin at the children's antics and continued on until he saw the certain people he was looking for.

"Hey there," he replied after clearing his throat to get their attention.

Lee, who was outside playing with a little boy, noticed him first and gave a welcoming grin. "Hey there, Takao, long time no see! What brings you here to our humble village?" he jokingly boasted, while heartily patting the Japanese man on the back.

Takao gave an uneasy smile and laughed nervously. "Uh, yeah I know… it has been a long time. Say, where are Mao and the others? I really need to tell you something…" he trailed off, looking serious all of a sudden. He was a bit disappointed that he would have to tell them from the beginning; it was hard telling them what happened to their childhood friend.

The Chinese man looked at Takao surprisingly. He had never really seen the blue-haired man with a serious expression in his face, but when he does then it must be something serious. "Uh… sure wait a sec'," he answered and then he crouched down to the little kid and said something in Chinese to him.

The little boy gave a nod and ran to the next street, yelling Kevin and Gary's name.

"This way," Lee motioned the younger man to follow him inside the house. He gestured the sofa to Takao, indicating him to take a seat.

Takao accepted after saying 'Thanks' and waited with his patience wearing bit by bit. The more he waited, the more he didn't want to drop the news. They all seemed so happy and content… but then again, they did deserve to know; after all they had known Rei for years.

He watched the raven-haired man go upstairs and indistinctive voices were heard before two pairs of footsteps came from upstairs descending down to the living room. Takao gave a smile when he saw Lee guiding a pregnant Mao carefully down the staircase. He gave a small gulp when he realized that he would be telling a pregnant lady that Rei was…

"Takao! Look at you!" exclaimed a voice by the entrance. The said man turned and saw Kevin giving him a grin with Gary behind him, holding a basket of assorted fruits. Takao waved at them and turned towards to Mao when she greeted him and briefly hugged him.

"So, where's Max? I thought you guys were together," said the only female when they all got comfortable on the couch.

"We are together, it's just -"

"How's Rei? The last time we ever got in contact with him was last month," Kevin interrupted as he took a fruit from Gary's basket.

The Japanese man cleared his throat and closed his eyes, trying to stop the tears from showing again. "I-It's about Rei a-actually…" he muttered, realizing his voice was started to break. "Something happened to him…"

Right after he said that, all four of them suddenly went alert and gave him a solemn look.

"What do you mean…?" Lee asked him, feeling the tight grip on his hand when Mao squeezed it in anticipation.

While opening his eyes, the former Baifuzu members were surprised to see his navy-coloured eyes glazed with tears as Takao somehow managed to speak again. "H-He… was going to visit Max and me in Japan and then…" he choked a sob and started shaking. Damn, he wasn't supposed to go and cry again! He had enough of that… "H-His plane… it crashed - " he stopped suddenly, when he heard the thumping noise of the falling basket when Gary dropped it.

Mao covered her mouth with her hand, her golden eyes full of disbelief at what she heard. "W-What you're saying isn't true, right? Rei can't be dead - " Everybody in the room flinched at the word. "He just can't! He promised that he would see his little nephew right after…" she trailed off, tears of anguish coming out of her eyes as Lee took her in his arms and patted her back, trying to calm her despite the fact that he couldn't calm himself.

The youngest of the five, slammed his fist on the coffee table and muttered incoherent words every now and then. His shoulder were shaking non-stop while Gary was just sitting there, silent as a mouse.

Takao gulped slightly, feeling a tug of guilt for being the one who dropped the really, really bad news. "I-I'm really sorry… I know that this wasn't really a good idea - especially since there's a baby in the way and all - "

"No, don't be sorry," Lee interrupted, whilst giving the blue-haired man a small smile, albeit a little forlorn smile. "On behalf of the rest, we just want to thank you for telling us… Our village's so isolated that we probably wouldn't have found out for at least another month."

Takao didn't say anything and just smiled back. He was about to leave, giving them some time to recuperate but they insisted on him staying with them for one more day. He might as well stay for a bit, he subconsciously mused. He didn't even realize that the sun was setting for the day until he went outside for a breath of air.

"Anything yet?" Max asked the Chief as he gave him a mug of coffee and sat down beside him on the couch.

Kyouju gave a frustrated sigh and shook his head. He was on his laptop, always checking his e-mail every so often to see if there was any news. Like Kai, he had also been focusing his entire time about the plane crash, only to be taking breaks when he has to go to the washroom once in a while. "You know, you should've gone with Takao to China instead of waiting here," he said, when he heard Max drumming his fingers on the armrest of the sofa.

The blond gave a rueful smile. "No… that's fine. I want to know if there were any changes anyway and besides… I still have to make a phone call to someone…" he trailed off, looking thoughtful all of a sudden.

The brunet didn't need to ask whom Max was talking about. They all know that Kai and Rei were together, and he was sure that no matter how aloof their former team captain was, Kai was sure to be feeling at least ten times worse as they were feeling right now. He pushed his glasses up a little farther and stood up, excusing himself, saying that he needed to phone someone.

Max didn't heed any attention to his friend and kept on staring at nothing. Should he really call Kai? He knows that Yuriy and Boris were doing everything they could to try and comfort the slate-haired man but, according to them, every time they visited they were ignored like everything else that Kai considered unimportant. Finally, after debating with himself for a few minutes, he picked up the cordless phone and started to dial Kai's phone number. He was sure that the Russian wouldn't be at work (after all, who could work at a time like this?) and waited patiently.

The phone rang for a while until the answering machine was activated. Max gave a sigh and decided to talk to the machine instead.

"Uh, hey Kai… it's me, Max. Listen, I don't really know how to say this but… I just want you to know, that we - as in Takao, Kyouju and I - we're in search for Rei as well… and, I know that you're doing the best you can but don't hesitate to ask for help, okay? Well… say hi to Yuriy-san and Boris-san for me when they visit you again. Ja ne." He turned off the phone and then cradled his head with his hands.

Even though he knew that Takao arrived in China perfectly fine, but he couldn't help but worry. What about the ride back? He would be fine, right? Takao will be back to him and he'll snuggle up to the older man until he fell asleep, right? Max shook the impending negative thoughts away and went to the bedroom he shared with Takao and laid on the bed. Despite the fact that it was only nine o'clock in the morning, he felt tired and sluggish.

Max nervously watch his boyfriend as Takao talked on the phone. "Are you really sure you have to go now?" he asked him anxiously when the blue-haired man buttoned up his polo shirt. "Can't you just mail them or something…?"

The Japanese man turned to him and gave a small reassuring smile. "Hey, I'll only be gone for two days, koi! Lee and the others deserve to know what's going on… after all, they've known Rei more than we ever did…"

With turning to face Takao and simply looking down to the ground, the blond agreed quietly. He was just scared, that's all… he knows he shouldn't be this scared but he couldn't help it! Takao noticed this, walked towards Max, lifting up his chin to see the clear blue-eyes watering up again like the day before. He sighed and shook his head.

"Look… if you don't want me to go, then - "

"No," Max contradicted as he took Takao's hand in his. "You're right… they should know, but just be careful, ne?"

Takao grinned at him and kissed him on the lips. "I promise, I'll call you as soon as I get out of the plane, okay? I'll even call you before the take-off. What do you say?"

Max smiled a bit and nodded. "Okay."

Clear, blue eyes were not seen as Max curled up against Takao's pillow, fast asleep.

Yuriy came out of the bedroom, whilst rubbing the sleepiness away from his eyes. For how long had he been sleeping? He wondered as he went inside the kitchen to get a glass of water. When he got out of the kitchen and went to the living room, what he saw made his heart melt. There was Boris, sitting on the couch sleeping with the laptop, and today's newspaper sitting innocently on the coffee table.

The red-haired Russian carefully went back to the bedroom to retrieve a blanket and draped it around his lover. 'Did he stay up all night?' he thought amused, as his fingertips ghostly touched Boris's forehead when he started frowning. Unfortunately though, Boris was a light sleeper and right before he could pull his hand away, the older Russian's hand caught his wrist.

"How long have I been sleeping?" Yuriy asked him when Boris blinked a bit and yawned.

He shook his head and let go of his boyfriend's wrist so that he could stretch a bit. "You fell asleep on the couch and I had to carry your heavy ass all the way to the bedroom," Boris replied, ignoring the icy blue-eyed man's pout at his comment and smirked. "Relax, I was only joking…"

Yuriy huffed and sat on the other end of the couch. "So? You still called my ass fat…" he muttered dejectedly while crossing his arms.

The taller Russian sighed and shook his head. "Fine, fine… I'm sorry. Anyway, one of Kinomiya's friends phoned," he changed the subject, in hopes that Yuriy wouldn't be bitchy for the rest of the day.

"Which one?"

"The one with the glasses… I think."

Yuriy arched an eyebrow. "Kyouju? Well, what did he say?" he asked, as he moved a bit closer to his lover.

Boris shrugged and leaned back. "He said that Kinomiya went to China." He didn't need to elaborate more for he knows that Yuriy would understand what it was, after all they were just talking about it yesterday.

The other Russian gave a sigh of relief and smiled smugly. "I knew Takao would go to China eventually… ne, Boris do you think I'm psychic?" He gave the lilac-haired man a small albeit cute smile.

The boyfriend in question however, snorted and crossed his arms. "Psychic? You didn't know that Kinomiya would go to China… you were hoping that he would," he corrected, smirking slightly when Yuriy frowned at him.

"Whatever," he mumbled, suddenly leaning his red-haired head on Boris's shoulder. "Everything will be okay, right?"

Boris didn't answer for a while, making Yuriy think that he had fallen asleep again until he shrugged. "I hope so," he replied softly, taking Yuriy's smaller hand in his.

'I hope so…'

End Chapter Two

Johnny: So, tell me again why am I not in this fic...?

Crystal: -gives Johnny a blank look- Do I have to, Jonathan? -smiles too sweetly-

Johnny: -glares- It's Johnny! GEEZ, people these days... -storms off-

Crystal: -blinks- Wow, what's wrong with him? -shakes head- ANYWAY, I hope that you guys enjoyed this awfully short chapter -frowns at it- But... I swear I'll make the next one long... I hope... ANYWAY! -smiles sweetly again- I would like to thank my dearest Nee-chan for beta-ing this for me! Arigatou, Ruby-neechan! -glomps her-

Thanks to: AnimeDragonofFire, BloodyShadows, Tntiggris, WildChipmunkofYonder, Animeobsession, Ashley, Da-Ku Hisaki, Ladyfiction, Neko Phoenix Girl, Blood Tears Dying Angel 0previously magic and sparkle0, Toboewolf7, Delirious Fantasy, Tenshi-Tara, Night Kitten, Chi no hana, and SweetKatie97 for reviewing the previous chapter!

Please don't forget to review! The feedbacks always give me lots of inspiration, tee-hee! Until next time!