The Fourth Tournament

Or

Hijacked by Astro V.

I wrote the Mariam Max battle whilst watching the amazing Just The Two of Us. It made me extremely emotional, especially the medley, so I really hope you like it. I still think Chris and Jo are the best duet ever to grace the stage, but all the duos singing One Voice makes me feel like crying! I'd like to say Congratulations to Sian and Russell for winning, but Chris – you are the winner in my heart! (Oh yes, blame Naioka1992 for the update, I bet you guys were glad I wasn't updating!)

Chapter 13

"Sis!" Mariam looked up as she supported Ozuma back into the stadium. Joseph came running towards them. "The BBA have gone mad! They're refusing for us to change anything, which means that Ozuma has to blade! And you're blading in about five minutes!" Mariam gaped and tightened her arm around Ozuma. He unhooked her arm and looked up at her.

"Mariam, you have to blade. You'll be fine." He said in his deep voice, his green eyes looking at her with an undistinguishable emotion in them.

"You only have five minutes, sis!" Joseph hopped from one foot to the other in impatience. Ozuma looked at his young team mate with a small smile on his face, as their eyes met, they understood each other. Mariam looked at them uncertainly, unsure of what they were planning.

"Ozuma? Joseph? DUNGA!" She screamed as the taller boy lifted her up suddenly and ran with her. "Put me down you big oaf!" She battered at him playfully with her fists. All she could hear were her three compatriots – laughing. It suddenly struck her. She'd never heard them laugh. She felt as though her heart could burst with love – for her brother, for her boyfriend and for her… friend? She'd never thought of Dunga that way before, but it was becoming clear. They didn't have any family anymore, so they were their own family. She was brought back to earth with a bump – literally – as Dunga dropped her. He suddenly brought her in a hug.

"Good luck." He muttered. She blinked and Joseph threw his arms around her, chirping the same thing. She smiled, properly, for the first time in ages. Ozuma caught her hand as she twisted away from Joseph. To her amazement, he brought it gently to his lips, before the three boys walked away to the sidelines. She shook her head, a small smirk on her face. Maybe things would work now…

Battle 1 – Mariam v Max

Max smiled as he saw the Saint-Shields messing about. We used to be like that once… he thought sadly. Well, admittedly, there had been no romance in the Bladebreakers, but they'd had the friendship element… not anymore. When had it all changed? When Kai left? After all, seeing him with Blitzkrieg Omega, he didn't seem to be the same Kai that they knew. When Ray had decided to get revenge on Bryan? Maybe that was where it changed; he couldn't even stand to be in the same room as the neko-jin anymore. Whatever it was, it was splitting up the team. Whilst the Bladebreakers and the White Tigers began to drift apart, the Saint-Shields and Blitzkrieg Omega were acting like idiots and having fun… acting like idiots was generally not something you would apply to Ozuma or Kai.

The two bladers looked at each other. Once upon a time, Max had had a slight crush on Mariam, but he knew that she was taken, by the way Ozuma acted. Now he'd have to look for someone else… Oh no, didn't he take Emily to the last dance? Max sweat dropped. Oops, silly me!

"Max?" Max came back to his senses as Mariam stared at him. "Hello? Anyone in there? I mean, they told me blondes were dumb, but I didn't think they were that dumb… oh no, wait. There's Dunga." Max grinned slightly as the bluenette tossed back her hair with a cocky glance. But there was no malice in her tone, nor in her glare. It was simply like Tyson teasing Kenny about being smart. Max reckoned he preferred the new Mariam. "Come on! I haven't battled properly in over a year and I am dying to beat you with my new blade!"

"You didn't beat me last time; you won't beat me this time, Mariam!" Max replied, smiling broadly. Smiling like there was no tomorrow, the two launched their blades into the stadium.

"Yes, but now my mission has changed, Maxy. Last time I was trying to secure the four bitbeasts, now I'm fighting for honour for my family!"

"Your family?" Max was confused; she only had Joseph, right?

"Yeah, my team. See, what you Bladebreakers taught us was the fact we weren't friends, we were just team-mates. But it seems that you guys haven't been following your own advice. Even me and Dunga are old hands now. But you and Ray aren't getting along now, are you? Loosen up, Max. Everyone makes mistakes. I've seen bad things happen to my friends, and it's made me and Sharkrash stronger."

"Bad things?" Max was confused.

"I would tell you, but I swore I never would. SHARKRASH! ABYSS FIRE!"

"DRACIEL, DEFEND!" As the two blades crashed together, Max saw exactly what Mariam has been talking about.

"Ozuma. Mariam. Dunga. Joseph. You have betrayed The Saint-Shield Village. You have failed to secure the four bit beasts and come back with a cock and bull story about them being safe. For this, we cast you out of The Saint-Shield Village."

"Where's Ozuma?" Mariam's green eyes were red rimmed as she looked around the gathering. The elder just smirked.

"You are forbidden from ever coming back, and from contacting anyone." Joseph gave a cry and Mariam wrapped her arms around her brother. "If you do, you will be killed."

"You can't just chuck us out!" Mariam yelled, stepping away from her brother, fists raised.

"If you do not leave this instant, you will be killed." To prove this, the elder drew his sword. Mariam didn't flinch. He stepped forward, flourishing the sword unnecessarily. As it swept across her cheek, she gasped. But suddenly, Dunga was there, pushing the sword away and standing in front of the brother and sister. Salt tears mingled with the blood on her cheek as Joseph hugged her, trying to comfort her.

"Don't worry." For once, Mariam was glad of how big Dunga was, big and comforting. "We are never coming back."

"But who would be that evil?" Max gasped. Mariam chuckled.

"This is coming from the boy who faced Boris twice?" Blue battled against emerald. "SHARKRASH! ATTACK AGAIN!"

"Dunga?" Mariam whispered. Joseph whimpered slightly in his sleep and she shifted him gently in her lap. "Dunga, is that you?"

"Yeah. Is Joseph ok?" The blonde sat down beside Mariam and pulled her into a one armed hug.

"He's fine. Any sign of Ozuma?" She relaxed in his arms as the fire flickered beside them.

"There's nothing. Nada. Can't see any sign of him. I hate to sound horrible, but have you ever thought they might have killed him?" Mariam stiffened as a leopard growl echoed through the clearing.

"He's not dead. I can feel it."

"What's that?" Joseph suddenly sat up, his green hair in disarray.

"The leopards?" Dunga asked, ruffling his hair.

"No… there was a thump." He gripped Mariam's arms in fear. Dunga walked into the forest. They heard an exclamation of shock before he walked back into the glade. In his arms was Ozuma.

"Ozuma!" The brother and sister cried out as one, rushing towards their unconscious captain. Dunga laid him down by the fire and pulled off his shirt. Mariam and Dunga looked at each other and Mariam covered Joseph's eyes.

"Stop playing with my mind!" Mariam screamed, tears running down her cheeks. She dropped to her knees, sobbing.

"Mariam!" Ozuma yelled. Max gawped at the normally strong blader.

"Please… Sharkrash… Just finish it…" She breathed as the blades clashed again.

Ozuma's vibrant green eyes were closed, he was barely breathing. Mariam checked for a pulse, thankfully, there was one, no matter how weak.

His chest was just a mess of whip marks. The way his legs flopped made it apparent that at least one of them was broken. His strong arms looked so weak it didn't look like they would ever hold a blade again. His hands were trembling with fatigue. Every time he breathed, his chest rasped, as though every breath could be his last.

Mariam wrapped her cloaks around his shivering frame and hugged him gently, trying to miss the prominent scars that crisscrossed his thin frame. Ozuma opened his eyes, scared at the touch. When he saw it was Mariam, tears threatening to overflow. Mariam rocked him gently as he began to cry.

"STOP IT! LEAVE ME ALONE!" Mariam was so scared, so full of pent up anguish, that it scared the stadium. With a final movement, Max knocked Sharkrash out of the stadium and Dunga picked up the sobbing girl, rubbing her back and muttering soothingly in Chinese. Joseph reached for Sharkrash, but Ozuma beat him to it. The green eyed blader stared at Max, something very like anger in his eyes. He opened his mouth to speak, then shook his head and walked back to his team.

"Sis? You ok?" Joseph looked at Mariam, who was leaning on Ozuma, her green eyes closed.

"I'm fine." She whispered. "Be careful. And don't forget to win!" Joseph grinned.

"If you insist!" He gave a mocking bow and Mariam smiled softly. Joseph took a double take and wondered why his sister knew what he had just done.

"I'm your sister, Joseph. I can read your mind." Mariam replied. Ozuma wiggled his fingers in a 'spooky' movement. Joseph rolled his eyes.

"You are so immature!" He mocked, before stepping up to the stadium. Ozuma just snickered and wrapped an arm around Mariam. "跟我的姐妹一起看它! (1)" He snarled jokingly. Mariam scooted up slightly until her head was resting on her team leader's chest.

"Get a room!" Dunga and Joseph yelled as one.

Battle 2 – Joseph v Daichi

"Remember, Daichi! One more win and the game is ours!" Tyson yelled, prancing about like an idiot.

"Don't worry; he'll probably be just as easy as his idiot sister was!" Ray also called.

"Yeah! He'll probably start crying!" Daichi agreed and turned to the stadium, only to be met with the most threatening look he had ever seen.

"Don't you ever talk about my sister like that." Joseph snarled as he released his beyblade into the stadium. "She has been through more in the past year then you will go through in your life. She's one of the bravest people I know, and the very strongest. She's been all the family I ever need, and it's no surprise that sometimes things can get on top of her!"

"Sheesh!" Daichi threw up his hands. "Somebody needs a break!" Joseph narrowed his green eyes angrily as the memories threatened to overcome him.

"Joseph!" Joseph spun around, almost dropping the knife and half-skinned rabbit he was holding. "Can you do it any quieter? Ozuma hasn't been to sleep for days!"

"Too late." Ozuma turned over, his green eyes glimmering in the fire light. "I was awake before, honest, Mariam. You don't need to fuss over me!" He protested half-heartedly, as she stroked his hair tenderly.

"EWW! Look, I don't know what turns you on, but my sister and my team captain is not on my list!" Joseph protested. Ozuma flushed slightly and Mariam chased after him, brandishing the saucepan. Joseph soon discovered that running, laughing and looking behind was generally not something you could do at the same time, as he ran into Dunga.

"Excellent! Dunga, hold him still!" Mariam cackled. Dunga turned the small boy upside down, shaking him slightly. Ozuma pushed the quilt away and reached for his home-made crutches, propelling himself forward.

"I wanna join!" He smiled slightly, the first time in ages. And then he poked Joseph in the stomach with a crutch.

"Oh joy. Now I have to share my memories with the rest of the world. Fun fun." Joseph snapped, shaking back his hair.

"Don't think I want to see them!" Daichi replied.

"Vanishing Moot!"

"She really likes you." Joseph said, as the two boys clambered over the rocks that surrounded the lake.

"Who?" Ozuma narrowly escaped falling into the said lake. "Mariam?"

"Do I know any other girls? Let's see… there's Hilary, the foghorn with a skirt on, Queen, the demon in human form and… Salima… who I've barely spoken to. Yes Mariam!"

"I really like her." Ozuma admitted, perching on one of the rocks.

"Not like… not like that… she really likes you… yeah, like that." Joseph smirked as a look of dawning comprehension passed over his captain's face.

"Really?"

"Don't mess with my sister, Ozuma. If I ever see her upset because of something you've done… I'll… I'll kill you."

"You're one pleasant guy." Daichi sneered. Joseph flushed slightly.

"Hey, you try being the man of the house when everyone is ogling your sister!" Joseph snapped back. "Vanishing Moot! Great Rock!"

Joseph leant back on his sister's knees as he watched the fire. All the Saint-Shields had a fascination with fire, no matter how big. He turned his head slightly, so he could see all of his team. Mariam was in the middle, with Ozuma next to her. The captain was almost asleep, his head on Mariam's shoulder. Dunga was on the other side, an arm around Mariam. Only since they had been cast out had they allowed themselves to get so close, before that, none of them had shown any feelings for another, with the exception of the brother and sister, who occasionally would.

"Come on, Joseph. Time for bed." Mariam smiled, standing up, supporting a sleepy Ozuma. Joseph stood up, pulling a blanket further around his shoulders. Ozuma curled up in his bed, like a cat, or a leopard. Dunga stayed, watching the fire and Joseph knelt down, trying to make up his bed to the way he liked it. Someone tapped him on the shoulder and he looked up to see his sister. "Share?" She asked, holding out a hand. Joseph nodded emphatically and wriggled in beside his sister.

As he drifted off to sleep, he wished they could stay that way forever.

"Finish him off!" Joseph yelled and Daichi gawped as Strata Dragoon was catapulted out of the dish. "Told you not to talk about my sister like that." He smirked. "It only made me angry and, when I get angry, I get strangely good at blading."

"All you had to do was wear him down!" Tyson yelled, yet again prancing around like an idiot. "And, what do you do? Get him angry and lose!"

"Just shut up Tyson!" Max snapped. "What Mariam said was right! Since Kai left, we've become enemies. Oddly enough, Kai seemed to be the person who was keeping us as friends, even though he barely spoke two words to us! I know we'll never be as close as the Saint-Shields, or Blitzkrieg Omega, we haven't been through half as much as those guys have, but we were friends. I don't know why, but we've split."

"Shut up Max!" Ray growled uncomfortably.

"No, Ray. He's right." Hilary said, staring at him with large brown eyes. "We've split since your battle against Bryan. Max is holding a bit of a grudge, but you certainly didn't help things by attacking Bryan. Can't we just… forgive and forget?" Under the watchful eye of Hilary, the American and the Chinese shook hands.

"Good luck, Tyson." They chorused.

Ozuma gently tapped Mariam on the top of the head. She looked up, moving off his chest to look him in the eye.

"It's your match now, right?" She said quietly. He nodded, giving her a quick hug. Dunga cleared his throat.

"Good luck Ozuma." He said pointedly. Joseph nodded his agreement. Mariam grinned and ruffled his hair. Ozuma wriggled away and stepped up to the dish.

"Ozuma!" The captain turned around in surprise. Mariam ran up to the stadium. "I just wanted to say… Good luck." With that, the bluenette captured his lips gently, and Ozuma stiffened, slightly stunned at the contact. Mariam broke away. "I'm sorry… I just…" She shook her head and walked away. Ozuma placed a finger on his lips in shock.

"Ozuma?" Tyson waved a hand impatiently. Ozuma blinked.

"Sorry. Let's get this battle underway, shall we?" Ozuma launched his beyblade into the dish, memories spinning through his brain.

Ozuma opened his eyes, not sure of where he was. His legs, arms and chest hurt more than they did the day before. He was aware of a pair of arms encircling him, keeping him safe. Unused as he was to physical contact, he completely trusted the person who was holding him… wait, it was Mariam! The previous days events flooded back into his mind, making his head hurt as he thought about it. The girl murmured in her sleep and he turned his glance to her much loved face. Her green eyes were closed, her long eyelashes prominent against her ivory skin. Her blue hair lay free beside her, the slightest kink in it from the ponytail she usually held it in. Across one side of her heart-shaped face was a vivid red scar that would have marred the beauty of the face for anyone but Ozuma. He frowned, regretting more than ever being away. The murmuring grew louder and Ozuma began to pick out words of the nightmare she was having. He wrapped one arm around her, pulling her closer, whilst with the other, he stroked her long hair. Ozuma closed his eyes again, willing his mind blank.

"Perfect. Why do the memories that you see have to be mine? And have to be that… special?" Ozuma groaned, running a hand through his spiked hair.

"If you want, I'll close my eyes!" Tyson offered. "I'm not the biggest fan of romance films, and this is beginning to feel like one!"

"Say anything and I will hunt you down!" Ozuma growled.

"Aww… Who would have thought that Ozuma had feelings? Especially for-"

"FLASH LEOPARD! CROSS FIRE!"

"Hello Ozuma." Ozuma stopped dead, his heart in his mouth. "You're looking better than the last time I saw you." Ozuma balled the hand that wasn't holding the crutch into a fist.

"You were the one that put me into the state I was last time!" he growled.

"Tut tut… I thought I'd taught you better than that." The elder chuckled, stepping into the clearing. Ozuma looked around frantically, but his team members were out hunting and collecting firewood. He cursed himself for not have gone with them.

"Just… leave me alone! Leave us alone! You've cast us out the village, what more can we do in relation to you? This isn't part of the village, you can't…" Ozuma trailed off. "You are, aren't you? You're here to kill me!"

"Perceptive. I'm impressed, you appear to have acquired the gift of reading minds." The elder drew his sword. "Do you recognise this sword, Ozuma? Oh no, you wouldn't. You were a coward and ran off. If you hadn't, you'd recognise this sword as the one that scarred pretty young Mariam!" Ozuma shook with suppressed rage, but kept still. The key to this was to wait it out… "I wonder, who will marry the slut now? It will have to be you, or Dunga. No one else would want to marry such a little whore…" Ozuma threw caution to the winds.

"Shut your face!" He screamed. "Don't you dare talk about her like that!" Ozuma launched himself at the elder, broken leg or no broken leg. Although the boy was several inches smaller than the elder, he certainly had the element of surprise as he tackled the older man to the floor. But he was soon pushed aside in the fury of the fight, and the elder was on top of him, his sword drawn.

"I'm going to enjoy this…" The elder hissed, beginning to push the sword down over Ozuma's heart. Ozuma's eyes bulged as he tried to suppress the cry of pain that was racking his body. Eventually, though, he just had to scream…

Ozuma pushed his hair out of his eyes and looked at the Japanese boy. The smirk had been wiped off Tyson's face as the scream echoed in his ears. He was having problems connecting the tortured scream with the focused blader. Ozuma smirked.

"Yeah, that was why we were so desperate to take the four sacred bitbeasts. That was the welcome we got instead." His green eyes glimmered as he looked at Tyson, almost as if he could see into his mind. Tyson could feel his blood pressure rising angrily.

"Dragoon! Galaxy Turbo Twister!"

"Ozuma! Wake up! We're here!" Joseph stared out the window as the plane landed. "We're back in Japan!"

"We'll be safe here." Mariam sighed. "No elders to try and stop us… we can start again." Joseph and Dunga walked on ahead, to give Ozuma and Mariam some privacy.

"You think too much." Ozuma growled, helping her out of the plane. He picked up her bag and held it just out of her reach.

"Give me my bag back!" Mariam snapped playfully, reaching for it. Ozuma jumped back a step.

"Nope!" His green eyes sparkled with health and happiness as he teasingly held it out of her reach again. She stepped forwards and grabbed his wrist, being careful not to split any of the scars. She pulled him forward, until they were looking at each other closely. Their eyes met and Mariam tilted her head slightly, as Ozuma began to move forwards… They were mere millimetres away from each other when Joseph cleared his throat, and Dunga followed, dragging several bags behind him.

Tyson flinched as Dragoon went whizzing past his ear.

"But… how?" He breathed in shock. Ozuma smirked.

"Guess you aren't as good as you thought you were!" He walked down the steps to where his team were standing. Joseph was dancing around him, babbling in his excitement, Dunga was almost jumping up and down in excitement… Only Mariam seemed slightly off put, but she offered her congratulations readily enough, and pulled Ozuma into a friendly hug. As they drew apart, he seized his chance and planted a kiss on her cherubic lips. Mariam stared at him, her colour rising. Ozuma grabbed her wrist, pulling her into the corridor, where they could talk freely.

"But… I thought…"

"That I didn't like you? Gods, Mariam. I love you! Want me to shout it out to the whole world?" Mariam flushed as Ozuma drew closer again, but this time she was ready…

Ooer… That chapter was unabashedly romantic and very focusing on the Saint-Shields… Yet again, I've strayed off track… oh well, Ozuma/Mariam is practically the only pairing I actually like on beyblade, that and Kane/Salima. Every other pairing ends up being with an OC… I guess King/Julia doesn't count!

(1) – Keep your hands off my sister! I think…