Title: The Way I Am

Authoress: Ladya C. Maxine

Rating: K

Summary: Bryan says something that deeply hurts Tala. What could it be?

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or any of its characters. Any and all unrecognizable characters belong solely to me and are not to be touched. I am not making any money off of this and I write with the sole intent to entertain.

A/N: Yet another little one-shot. Takes place in part of the Untold Truths universe. I just like writing about these guys in this environment. Here they are older than in the Christmas one-shots. Kai and Tala are now both eleven and Bryan is thirteen.

The Way I Am

by Ladya C. Maxine

Frowning, Kai paused in his playing, the string of the guitar fading into silence, quickly compensated by heavy foot steps and shouting. He sat up straighter where he had been lounging on his bed as the door to his room slammed open, admitting in a familiar redhead who was coincidentally his best friend. Except Ata didn't usually stomp around crying. Which he was doing now, marching straight over to the bed and flinging himself on it, burying his face into the sheets.

"Ata?" he asked, crawling over to kneel next to the smaller boy. "What's wrong?"

He answered was but a muffled and unintelligible word.

"What?" Kai asked, straining to hear.

Ata took his face out of the quilt long enough to sob,


And then buried himself once more into the soft material.

Kai grew worried. Was the falcon hurt? He had left the two of them playing video games downstairs no more than an hour ago and the older boy had appeared to be perfectly fine. Had they gotten into yet another argument about who had cheated at the game? Bryan hated losing and tended to shout foul play whenever someone else was beating him.

Once again the door of his room, which Ata had shut behind him soundly, opened. Kai immediately pitted the visitor with a glare. Bryan hesitated with entering. Definitely a sign of guilt, or, as this was Bryan, having done something. Whether he felt guilty about it or not was always up for debate.

"What did you do?" Kai asked, stroking the red hair.

"I didn't do anything!" Bryan defended himself vehemently. "It's not my fault he's so sensitive!"

Ata sat up, glaring through the tears balefully at their friend.

"I am not! You're just a jerk!"

"You're just making a big deal out of nothing!"

"What you said wasn't nothing!"

"It's the truth!"

Now Ata became even more upset, turning to sit cross-legged in the middle of the bed with his back to the falcon, arms hugging his chest. Kai grew tired of being left out.

"What is going on?"

"Ask him," Ata spat coldly, wiping his face with the back of his hands though the tears were still falling.


"We were playing Mortal Kombat and I was winning--"

"I was winning!" Ata interrupted.

"Were not! I was winning and Ata was getting jealous so he started to argue and when I argued back he stood up and left."

"That's not what happened!" the redhead turned around, placing his weight on his arms on the mattress. "Tell the whole story! Tell Kai what you called me! Tell him you called me a girly boy!"

The bluenette blinked, looking back at the wolf in surprise. Where on earth did that come from? Having had all four of his friends over a number of times he had heard a lot of name calling but this was the first any of them had ever called the other the G-word. Amongst young boys, that was the gravest insult ever.

"Why did you call him that?" he demanded, putting an arm around Ata's shoulder.

"It just slipped out."

"It did not! He said that I wasn't a worthy fighter because I'm girly!"

"But you are!"

"So what if I am!"

"It's not normal!"

Wrong reply. Ata's shoulder slumped and he began to cry openly again.

"It isn't," Bryan insisted when the bluenette gave him a disapproving look. "He's always standing with his hands on his hips; he doesn't like rough housing or any thing that makes him dirty; he's always acting so dainty; and he does look like a girl. It's not like I'm lying!"

Well, Bryan was right about the points he had mentioned, but the falcon himself had a number of strange traits, yet none of them ever used it against him. And Bryan should know better. Like he himself had said, Ata was very sensitive, particularly about how others perceived him, brought on mainly by how he had been treated by his parents years ago. To be put down in such a degrading way by anyone, worst of all a friend…

Pulling Ata onto his lap to offer the redhead his shoulder to cry on, Kai cuddled him close.

"I just want to be like you guys," the wolf sobbed, staring with wet eyes at the wall beyond Kai's shoulder. He took a shaky breath, his voice small. "I don't want to be different. It's not fair. You're not fair, Bryan. I can't help the way I am."

Bryan looked away from the distraught redhead and the glaring bluenette who was silently ordering him to do something. Kai could calm their friend down, but it had been he who caused all this; Ata wouldn't be at peace as long as he thought that his supposed friend held him in such low regards. And though he had trouble admitting it, he was angry with himself for doing this to the young boy who was usually the voice of optimism in their group.

When the newly-turned teenager didn't respond Kai sighed. It was going to take him all afternoon to comfort Ata; he had promised Saskia that he'd take her to the indoor park at four, which was only half an hour away. He might have to ask Natasia to bring her, though she would be disappointed. While she lived in the penthouse he himself could only visit, though sometimes for extended period of time, but in the end he always had to return to the abbey with the others. What little time they could spend together was always the highlight of her day.

The bed dipped and he looked up, surprised to see Bryan take a seat before him, the violet eyes studying Ata who was too exhausted to keep up his tears and so could only sniffle and hiccup now. Pale arms reached out but Kai instinctively hugged Ata closer, giving a warning leer at the older boy. Bryan paused, meeting his eyes. He looked deep into the light orbs and only relinquished his hold on Ata when he saw the other's honest intent. The redhead struggled, however, still angry at their friend for his thoughtless words earlier. But Bryan, having just begun to develop the body of a pubescent teen, not to mention having always been one of the physically strongest of their group, didn't let him go and soon, having used up the remaining bit of his energy, Ata sagged back against him, tearfully staring down at the quilt.

Kai knew that Bryan, though being the eldest, was also the one who had to most difficulty expressing himself, especially when around others. Leaning forward to give Ata a light kiss on a salty cheek, he slid off the bed. He was just going to have to trust Bryan to do the right thing. At least now he could take Saskia out. Still…Closing the door behind him, he paused, ear against the door. It was silent on the other side for many moments. Then he heard Bryan speak,

"You're right. You were winning."


"And I am a sore loser."


"I didn't mean to hurt you."


"I'm sorry, Tala."

"…Love you too, Bry."

Smiling, Kai stepped away and quietly made his way down the stairs.

Sometimes, all you have to do is give them space.

The End

A/N: Awwww...Now what the hell does that have to do with anything? Search me! I just felt like writing it.

I think I'm going to be writing more of these little one-shots. The reviewer destiny-fulfilled suggested that I write Kai and Ata's first kiss, so I bloody well think that I will! I like that idea! Thanks girl.

Read & Review, please.