(A/N) Second in the three one-shots I made for the YuBo wave, this one is drama/angst, in a more character reflective shade. As per usual in this pairing, dedicated to LadyFiction and her lovelies. May I point out this one in particular, does not have a 'happy' ending. Bryan starts, goes through and ends up with Spencer, and Tala does so with Kai, the main reason this qualifies for the wave, is the unresolve tension between the two, and how exactly does Bryan deal with it.

This one is a pseudo-Bryan-POV, again, because it's in third person.

Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade or related trademarks, but I do own, however, plot, the virus to a very mean common cold and two white rats who like to chew my shoes.


Forever.


The heart is forever inexperienced.

Herny David Thoreau


He couldn't really say when it started. As far back as his memory would allow itself to go, there was Tala and his perpetual smirk, and himself with his equally perpetual scowl. There was the chilly cold in the hallways and the hurried steps under the arches. Hushed whispers and heated arguments, and always, always those icy eyes fixed on himself.

He remembered the first time they spoke, because it was awfully silly and anticlimactic.

"Watch where you're going!" Cried a child too young to be that commanding.

"Hn," Snorted a kid too young to be that vicious.

So they had stuck together. He hadn't bowed to him, and Tala hadn't been scared, so they stuck together. Because even they were susceptible to loneliness. Tala would sit on the windowsill, looking down at the patio and other students, and he would find himself staring at a wall, trying to extract a meaning out of its blissful emptiness. Tala was always loud in a strange, biting way, and he was always quiet in an awfully disturbing manner. The redhead gave him a reason to smile every once in a while, and he knew exactly what buttons to press to make him laugh in the privacy of their quarters. And then others came.

Kai and Ian came first, the first an unreadable mess of emotions and secrets and hatred and everything that was just not Tala, but that even he could tell complimented it well. The second was an even louder mess, but not of emotions or secrets, rather, he was an open book that was just waiting to be torn apart and scattered to the wind. Because that was what happened to those who had the misfortune of living under the high arches and the silent hallways.

And then, there was Spencer.

Spencer was tall and foreboding and twisted and knowing and always, always was a step ahead of everyone. Spencer understood the need of quiet people like Ian tended to ignored, he liked to read in silence and let him be. He had this silly mop of blond hair that stuck at odd angles under his headband and the most irreverent set of green eyes he had ever seen. So he shared his room with the blond, and watched with a faint sense of curiosity as Tala perused Kai's attention, first as a rival, then as a friend. He tried to get a more comfortable relationship with Spencer, but he found a major flaw to the new development.

One couldn't stare at a wall peacefully with Spencer in the room. It was as if he could hear his thoughts, and that was entirely too unnerving.

So they had gone on like that for years, becoming a team, then champions, then Kai had left, as mysteriously as everything else he did, and Tala had been left, for lack of better wording, saddened. He didn't understand it, of course, but he figured it would pass after a while.

It didn't.

And neither did his own apparent fixation with the redhead.

"You know," Spencer said one day, seemingly out of the blue, though he knew it was highly calculated, "I think Red's in love with Kai."

He had arched an eyebrow and shrugged, seemingly uncaring, but he was pondering the strange words. In love? Tala? The thought seem highly unlikely, but he started stroking it close to him after that. The idea of any of them falling head over heels over someone was ludicrous to say the list, their own characters were quite anti romantic and the idea of Tala being gay made things even weirder.

He chose not to ponder why it made him feel slightly excited and breathless when he wondered the possibility, much less to figure out why exactly had he started to shy away from his teammates even more than usual.

Finally came those fateful championships, in which the BBA's team arrived, and with them, Kai. Spencer's suspicions were shown quite accurate when dual haired teen joined them, and Tala stared to viciously attacking him, at the same time, poking his memory with memorable situations even he could remember clearly. He wouldn't admit the idea, until Kai did the unthinkable.

"You idiot," Tala bared his teeth in warning, eyes flashing eerily as Kai looked at him with a risen eyebrow, "Watch where you launch that wrenched thing!"

"You know," The blunette walked towards him smugly, eyes alight with an unknown feeling and steps long and confident, "Shut up."

And before Tala could retort and send the stupid kid to the hells he deserved, Kai kissed him. He and Spencer had seen it all, of course, and the blond had sported that particularly knowing smirk all day afterwards. It wouldn't be until after their defeat that he would be approached by the subject, and in the meantime, he allowed himself to wonder. A particularly cold night in winter, with Tala out of town and Ian asleep for the evening, he rested on his bed, watching the ceiling with his familiar wondering look. Spencer was laying in the bed next to his, also looking at the ceiling, but with a small frown in his brow. There was a shift in the bed, and a weight settled next to him, but he said nothing, stubbornly looking at the small cracks in the ancient stone.

"Have you ever been kissed Bryan?" Wide moonlight eyes turned to watch the blond in surprise, but before he could answer, he was being thoroughfully kissed by a methodical Spencer.

Neither that night, nor the ones to come, did he stop to consider why he dreamt of red hair and blue eyes, even when it was the blond who shared his bed and his time.

And then Tala's heart was broken.

It was the first, of a sadly long chain of brake ups and make ups between the two capitans, since tension between them escalated easily and with their tempers, many things unmeant where said before they could stop each other. He lost count of the times he placed a cup of hot chocolate on Tala's desk afterwards, or of the piercing look behind the green eyes of his lover.

But Tala refused sharply to let Kai slip through his fingers, as he was prone to say, a few shots of vodka gone already, and neither did Spencer show any signs of discomfort.

Not even after the championship with BEGA, in which Valkov showed his ugly face again, damning them to another close and personal look at their past. Spencer had been hurt severely, but Tala felt right into a coma after his unkind encounter with Valkov's new pets. Spencer was surprisingly understanding in his situation.

"Oh stop making a fuss," He told him irritably, the bandages making him look quite smaller than he was in truth, "Go baby-sit Tala if you need to worry about someone!"

So he had, and he had gritted his teeth for unknown reason as the redhead muttered in his slumber. He is quite sure he broke the armrest of one of the hospital chairs in one of those long nights on his friend's nightstand.

Days passed. Granger did his magic and Tala finally got out of bed, but he looked certainly worse for wear. He asked to look for Kai, of course, and he returned to Spencer's side quite happily. Or at least not scowling.

Years later, Kai had stayed true to his nature, and left them once again. This time to marry that slip of a girl he had been engaged with since birth, without the faintest consideration to the redhead who had faithfully trusted him for nearly ten years. He swore he was just distracted when he stabbed dinner as Spencer told him the news off handily, but years had made the whale sharper, and he felt he was about to be discovered.

But what was there to be discovered?

Tala was his oldest friend, his solely companion through the grossest parts of their training, and the only confident he had, of course he was upset.

More the reason for him to be seething when he was told the redhead was planning to leave the country. Permanently.

"Stop scowling, your face will fix like that," The redhead scolded him light heartedly, as he folded the last of his clothing into a neat pile in the suitcase.

"Stop crying, you're gonna rust."

His reply was acid, vicious and tactless.

Tala laughed until he fell on his ass, wiping tears of mirth off his eyes.

"I am going to miss you, you know?" The redhead mused as he took him to the airport, and his fists clenched reflexively against the wheel, "Miss that dammed sense of humor and the survivor eggs in hang over mornings."

Survivor eggs were, indeed, nothing short of surviving, and he felt his lips twitch. Of course no one would ever make half boiled eggs at two o'clock in the morning for the stupid drunk as a madman redhead to cure him of his hangover. No one was quite as stupid as he was.

"Hn, I'll miss you," He said slowly, turning into the avenue and watching the redhead blink from the corner of his eye, "You and your stupid phone calls at three o'clock in the morning, and stealing my wallet every Saturday, not to mention having crashed my car."

"Hey-"

"Twice."

"Hn, comes to show what you know," Tala replied sullenly, eyes fixed stubbornly in the landscape, "You won't know what to do without me."

And to the redhead's surprise, he agreed.

"No, I won't," His eyes never left the road, and his voice did not crack in the slightless, "But you can't be here forever, can you?"

And the redhead stopped just for a second to look intently at the wide forehead and the slightly twisted nose – a nose he broke, when they were twelve, if memory was right – at the disheveled hair, that fell smoothly in rivers of pale lavender, but that would never, ever follow a designed order. He let his eyes travel along the marked muscles in his arms, and the hidden tattoos he knew that were there somewhere, he noticed the slightly crooked fingers and the delicate twist of wrist. He noticed it all, and wondered for a second why he was leaving anyway.

"He's an idiot, anyway," Moonlight eyes turned to him for a second, giving him a very pointy look, and Tala remembered.

Kai.

"Bry-"

"No, honestly," Shrugging, he came to a stop in the parking lot, and then motioned the redhead to get his things out of the trunk, "I wouldn't doubt you being the best thing in his pathetic attempt at a lifetime. He just doesn't know what he's giving up."

"Oh, do shut up," The redhead mumbled somewhat embarrassedly, ducking his face into his high collar, "Spencer will be jealous."

He smirked smugly, but he didn't answer, and before they knew it, Tala was standing before the door to the plane, to his gateway to freedom. He placed his hands on Tala's shoulders, and leaned in slightly, so that he could look at him in the eye.

"Bryan?" The redhead's voice shook very slightly, and the smirk in his friend's face widened milimetrically.

"He is, you know?" And before Tala could ask, he kissed him, roughly, possessively, like Kai couldn't, because Kai hadn't been waiting ten years to do that. As they parted, he licked his lips, amused, "And with very good reason."

Bryan turned and left, swiftly, before the reality of thestupity he had committed could fully sank in, and left a trembling, breathless redhead in there, standing between the unknown of another country, and the unknown of his own friends, and Tala made a choice.

A few miles away, within the comfort of their cozy apartment, Spencer set a cup of tea down, looking at the clock with slight disdain.

"You would do well leaving him alone," The blond muttered to no one in particular, then set to read his book once more.


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