(A/N) And yet another One-Shot! This time, a Gift-fic for Thin K, just because. Not entirely sad, not entirely cheerful… just a bit of strange emotional distress to deal with. This is shares a few details with my main working universe, but is still set in cannon. Or at least I hope so.

I'm just thankful I can't do mushy crap. Heh.

Disclaimer, I do not own Beyblade or any related material. Original characters and Situation are mine, though, please don't take them. The poem in italics at begining and end, "I choose to hope", can be found in my fictionpress account, the link is in my bio.


I still choose to hope, to keep my faith alive, even when my heart is broken, my dreams are shattered, my wings are missing, and my purpose hazy.

It was strange, to be sitting at the pier, the salty breeze of the sea gathering dew on his pale hair, filling his lungs with pure air and his heart with bittersweet memories. It was… over. He swung his feet as he had done when he was twelve, a childish trait that not even the dark moments he had gone through could erase. His eyes took in the golden glow of the sun, slowly drifting downwards as afternoon wasted away. The golden and red reflections of the water reminded him of the cause of his inner turmoil, and he sighed.

He was no longer a reckless teen with a sadistic steak that enjoyed torturing those around him. He was no longer a lonely child, too sweet to survive the hellhole his fate had entrusted into. He was a man now, one that had traded the recklessness for ruthlessness, sadism for irony, loneliness for success, sweetness for longing.

And yet he was still the Falcon, and he would be until he exhaled his last breath.

As Cylah had changed into Falborg, he had changed from Bryan to Kuznestov. He was feared, as he had been, and as he would be, it was part of who he was, but until now he hadn't realized just how lonely he had become.

"All because you're gone" His voice had changed too, rougher, huskier, lower.

It was the voice fitting of a man like him. The wind messed his hair, the already stubborn locks dancing wildly with the soft caress of the breeze. So much had changed and so much was still the same. The rays of the sun made his eyes glow unnaturally, their green deeps contrasting greatly against his otherwise pale anatomy.

"You're procrastinating. You always procrastinate" That voice hadn't change much; it was still arrogant, self assured and confident.

It was the voice of one that owned the Forest and the Winter, one that was conscious of his domain and his limitations, one who knew of secrets and dreams, one who was powerful and strong, one that was unique and special, one that would never be defeated.

It was the voice of a Wolf.

"Yes, Tala, I am. Bite me" He turned to glare slightly at the redhead, his face showing his little appreciation of his presence.

The redhead hadn't changed much, at least not as much as he had. The sapphire hung from his neck was a latent proof of the contrary, though, clearly indicating that this was no common man. Tala had attained the golden dream of his bloodline, absolute control over Anuk. How he had managed to tame the Winter Spirit was a mystery, would probably be forever. His eyes still held the innate amusement that was intrinsic of his personality, but now they also shone with a light of understandment and wisdom, and the pale haired man often wondered if his friend knew where the Wolf ended and the Human started.

His eyes drifted behind the redhead, to a figure that was standing nervously on solid ground, smoking quickly. Tall and tanned, every bit wild as he was gentle. A paradox incarnated, a free creature that chose to roam and live among humans. The hair was the same, long, silky, shinny. It trailed after him as the tail trails after a tiger, but the eyes had changed. They were still breathtaking, but instead of the bright golden windows they had been once, they were now polished, flat mirrors. Reflecting everything that was outside, but guarding tightly what was held inside. The owner of the green eyes knew it had been partly his fault, as he had planted the seed of maturity, of mistrust and of hatred in those eyes, all those years ago. And still, the beast was latent, lurking right underneath the surface, keeping those muscles taunt as a bowstring, those eyes narrowed as slits. The White Tiger lived strong within the Black Beauty.

He was uncomfortable in the situation, the lavender haired man realized, partly because he never quite got over that irrational fear of him, partly because against all odds, the cat inside him hated water. It was amusing; sad and bitter, but amusing none the less.

Looking down at his side, he saw the polished urn, reflecting the sun's rays over it, making it glow almost as if were on fire.

Fire. Like the one that had burnt in those garnet orbs until the very end. Like the one that had made every second of his existence worthwhile. Fire that had caressed the cold body that had housed a flaming spirit. Yet this time, as he held the ashes in his hands, the phoenix would not emerge from them. He was gone, and this time it was for good. No more empty promises of fidelity, of staying by their side. No more.

Chains like morality, fidelity, honor, hatred, love, they had been useless to keep him at their side when he had been alive. Empty promises and nothing more, that's what his words had been. To stay with them when they were young, to be part of their team, to be part of who they were. They hadn't been lies, for the Phoenix never lied, but they had been ephemeral, worthless. He had not lied, he had not betrayed them, but he had walked away. Each time, every time.

And it had hurt. Not only because their pride had been pierced by the Phoenix's carelessness. No, it hurt because slowly, the Falcon started to long for wings of fire instead of wind, he had started to wonder if he could burn that way, to feel in such extreme, to let everything go in a single display of emotion.

But he soon discovered he couldn't. After the final trail as bladers, once the nightmare of their childhood had been brought to an end, they had gone their ways. Spencer had left silently, his eyes speaking volumes of what he felt, and so they let him be. The Whale needed space, and space was what they gave him. Last he had heard, the blond was living in a remote corner of Siberia, exiled on his own, writing a book Bryan doubt that would be finished before his death. But the Whale was wise and older, so they let him be.

Ian was tired, jaded. He had willingly given up his chance at fame and fortune when the Phoenix had approached them the last time, satisfying himself with the knowledge that he was being useful in a subtle, quiet way. But quiet wasn't meant for the Cobra, and once Sherra had been released, once the nightmare had stopped, he had gone too. Not quietly, for the impatient one would never be silent, no, but not forcefully either. He had said his good byes, asked forgiveness for any misdoings, spoke calmly for once, and then he left. Bryan had received an invitation to a wedding some years later, but he had not gone. He was pleased that the youngest of them was happy, but he knew he was no longer part of his life. He was part of the nightmare, and he dared not to bring the nightmare into the Cobra's well deserved dream.

Tala had stayed the same, calculative, curious, inquisitive, worried. He lived up to his guardian, unpredictably. Changing professions as he changed his shirt, living wildly, enjoying the taste of freedom, rejoicing himself in the knowledge he was safe. He had traveled the world, poking and questioning wherever he went, making friends and enemies in his wake, living life at his fullest. And in those trips he had run into Rei, or Rei had run into him, Bryan was never sure. And they had found comfort with each other, Tala being what Rei had been waiting for, Rei being what Tala had been searching for. He figured it made sense, they both were wild, reckless even, brave and loyal. Yes, they were good for each other, and they had reached something akin to happiness together.

But Bryan hadn't, because he was a creature of the Wind, he was the Falcon, owner and master of Cylah, and he had fallen in love with someone he could not have. The very creature that ashes rested in a small polished silver urn by his side. He had loved the Phoenix, and for a moment, a fleeting moment, when the nightmare was over, when everything was cleared, the Phoenix had loved him too. But again they were empty words, easily forgotten vows. The Phoenix was a creature of fire, of passion. Passion so strong that burnt whatever it touched into ashes. A passion so strong it made him a wanderer. Not searching, like Tala, haunting. He had shared scarce three months of his life with a lavender haired, green eyed teen that was starting to think that maybe, just maybe he could allow himself to be happy. And for three, short lived months, he had been. He had held the one he loved into his arms, he had gotten to know him past his mask, past the grudge, past the scars. He had tasted him, tried to memorize him, all of him, to make him feel what he did. But just as he was starting to get deeper, just as he felt his love couldn't burn brighter, he left. A kiss, a chaste kiss was the only thing that was left, a saddened look and a soft apology. And the Phoenix roamed the world again. He had moved on, after a while, he had chosen to take care of his business, of all the rotting empire Voltair had left him, he had gotten married with a proper lady of high society, who had bear a heir for him.

But he could not move on. He would not allow himself the taste of another. The love of the Phoenix burnt within him still, and as long as the small flame still flickered inside him, as long as the dying ember existed in his heart, he would not look to another. And he hadn't. He had settled down, done something with his life, he had gotten a job, not the best job around, but he had done it. He had a house, not a home, never a home without the Firebird at his side, but a decent house. He had even gained friends, true friends, friends that did not walk away. But in his heart he held the hope, small, trembling, but present, that he would return someday.

But he hadn't.

A small hand touched his chest, and looking down, his eyes softened. Holding the small creature closer to him, the green eyed man allowed himself to smile, sadly, but a smile none the less. He had returned, but not in the way he had hoped. His wife, his whore, she had died giving birth to his heir, this little creature, whose eyes shone with the same fire his father's had. A small thing that was now alone in the world, blindly trusted into his care. Garnet eyes looked up at him, the small child laughing when he met them with his own, rejoicing in the simple act.

Sighing, he stood up, one arm safely wrapped around the baby, the other one reaching for the urn. His grip tightened around the cold surface, knowing what he had to do, and yet worried about it. But the Phoenix had asked him to do this. Not Tala, who visited regularly and who wrote him a letter each month. Not Rei, who practically lived with him, and who did all that kind of things best friends did. Not anyone else, not his former teammates, no. Him, Bryan. Because I trust you, it had said, and Bryan had, had to leave the room, less he started crying.

And because he trusted him, Bryan would comply.

Rei looked up from his nerves attack in time to see Bryan throwing the container high into the sky and then, with a swift movement of his hand, the gentle breeze turned into razors that cut cleanly through the urn, freeing the soft, grey powder inside. Chills ran down his spine as the dreadful attack sliced through metal with ease, bringing back memories he rather not have. Tala smiled as the wind took the ashes, turning them into a small wind whirl, until they reshaped into the form of a flying bird.

"I'll see you around Kai" Bryan's words were soft, not meant to be heard, as the ashes fell, getting lost into the swinging sea.

Kyle snuggled down against his chest, letting himself fall asleep as the lavender haired man walked back towards the waiting car. Tala patted his back, smiling knowingly as he motioned the still nervous Rei to follow. Bryan casted one last look at the imposing waters, and he smiled.

For a moment, it was as if the waters smiled back, and then he was gone.

I choose to hope... I just wish you did too.

Cylah isFalborg.

Anuk is Wolborg.

Sherra is Wyborg.

And yeah, Kyle is Kai's son XD.

Mm,yeah so… Review!