This is just an idea that I had based off a scene in another of my fics. It'll probably be two or three chapters long. Please enjoy!

Me own not this Beyblade of which you speak.

"Hey, guys!" Everyone looked up at the sound of Tyson's excited cry.

"What's up, Ty?" Max yelled back.

"Come see what I found wandering around outside!" Resigned, Max and Kenny got up and hurried out of the room. Kai shifted slightly in his chair and raised an inquiring eyebrow at Ray, who was curled up on a cushion.

"Why aren't you going?" Ray shrugged.

"It could be anything, knowing Tyson. Let them check it out first." he answered sensibly. Kai returned to sharpening Dranzer, noticing with narrowed eyes the definite tenseness of Ray's posture.

"Ray! Kai! Come and see!" Max begged loudly from outside. "It's so cute!" With an irritated sigh, Kai stood and headed for the door. Looking over his shoulder, he surveyed the motionless Ray suspiciously.

"Coming?" he asked eventually. Ray shook his head.

"No, I'm fine here." he replied quickly. Frowning, Kai left the younger blader alone as he went to investigate Tyson's latest find.

A large, exceedingly muscular dog stared docilely back at him, its bloodshot eyes blinking slowly.

"Isn't he so cool?" Tyson exclaimed, patting the massive head.

"No." Kai said flatly. Tyson's face fell. "It's a huge lazy oaf. A little like you, really." Tyson scowled.

"He's a wolfhound!" he proclaimed proudly to Kenny, who nodded and made an effort to appear interested.

"I don't care. It's not staying here." Kai snapped.

"It's my house!"

"Gramps gave me charge of it while he was away. And you."

"He's right, Tyson." Kenny interjected. "You can't very well keep it here, can you? Where would it go?"

"Hey, I'm going to go and show Ray him!" Tyson decided, changing the subject with no hint of subtlety. Kai felt a twinge of unease, but ignored it, focusing his attention on making sure that Tyson didn't go and do something really stupid to, or because of, the dog. Clicking his fingers, Tyson walked towards the room where Ray was.

Tyson stood in the doorway, casually scratching the dog's head. He laughed, surprised, as the dog turned its head and licked him with a long, hot tongue.

"Good boy!" he chuckled affectionately. "Look, Ray! He likes me!" Ray didn't look up from where he was concentrating on plaiting his hair.

"Could you take that thing away, Tyson?" he asked. Kai, standing just down the hall, noticed the same tenseness audible in his voice that had been visible in his posture earlier. Clearly ignoring Ray's discomfort, Tyson took a step forward, puzzlement written all over his face.

"Why, Ray, don't you like dogs?"

"No, I don't, Tyson, and they don't like me either!" Ray stated emphatically, hissing in pain as he pulled his hair a little too hard. The dog let out a low woof and Ray froze.

"Tyson, take the dog awa-" Kai began, then stopped. Everyone gasped as the previously meek animal took a threatening step forwards, staring at Ray and growling low in its throat. Ray backed up slowly until his back was flat against the wall. His pupils were narrow black slits in eyes stretched wide with fear. The dog took another step forwards, then another and another. Ray's lips drew up to expose long, pointed canine teeth and a harsh, feral growl rattled from the back of his throat. With a puzzled expression, the dog paused.

"Back off, bitch," Ray whispered, the words virtually indistinguishable through the constant growling of both him and the dog. "I said back off!" As the dog started moving forward again, Ray moved forwards with it, faster than a streak of lightning. A horrible yowl rang through the air and, with a startled yelp, the dog backed away so quickly that it nearly tripped over its own legs and assumed a defensive position, rump in the air, tail wagging ingratiatingly. It was bleeding from a gash to its side. Ray, crouched nearly nose to nose with the deferential animal, suddenly swung aside and retched violently, spitting and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Looking up, he caught sight of the rest of the team, staring at him in what he took to be horror. With a strangled cry, he leaped up and shoved past Tyson, running as fast as his legs would take him, faster than anybody could hope to follow.

For a split second, nobody moved. Shaking himself mentally, Kai took command.

"Tyson, get the dog out of here. Kenny and Max, go and check he actually does it. I'm going after Ray." Before they had a chance to answer him, he had given them one final glare and left.

"Bitch?" Tyson said at last, bewildered. "It's a girl?"

Running at a steady pace through the streets, Kai racked his brain. Ray, Ray, where would he be? Unlike the others, Ray didn't have a specific hiding place for when he needed peace or felt upset. He couldn't think properly; his mind thrown into turmoil by the strange sight he had just witnessed. Ray had become almost…catlike. He had seen Ray's pupils slit before, of course, everyone had. It happened a lot when he fought. But growling, hissing, attacking a dog? What was Ray? Never mind that, he ordered himself, just find him!

Suddenly a thought struck him, and it was so obvious, in a peculiar way, that he wondered why he hadn't seen it before. If Ray was behaving like a cat for some strange reason, then why not look up a tree? Wondering what was possessing him to be thinking in the lines that he was, he sped up, heading for the park.

Almost instantly, he saw Ray. The younger blader was curled up in an uncomfortable-looking ball in the crook of a branch. His hair had come partially loose from its wrap and was obscuring his face. Kai stopped at the foot of the tree.

"Ray!" he called up.

"Go away." came the almost inaudible response. Kai sighed.

"Ray, come down! I want to talk to you!" A glaring, belligerent golden eye stared down at him.

"Sure you do." Ray drawled, his tone dripping with sarcasm. "You want to tell me I'm a freak, and you're disgusted at me, that's what you want!" Irritation rising inside him, Kai grabbed a low-hung branch and swung himself up until he was just below Ray's curled-up form.

"Come down now or I will pull you down." he ordered curtly. Ray gave an unsteady laugh.

"Haven't you heard, Kai? Cats always land on their feet." Tiring of Ray's stubbornness, Kai took hold of one of the younger boy's legs and pulled, hard. Ray came flying out. Cat-like again, he twisted in mid air and landed heavily on his feet, stumbling and falling to all fours. Quickly, Kai let go of the branch he was holding and jumped the few metres down to the grass.

Ray was breathing raggedly, tears streaking down his tanned face. He flinched as Kai laid a hand on his back. He had kept it a secret for so long, so very long, why did it have to come out now?

"Calm down, Ray." Ray laughed again, a harsh, breathless sound. His arms and legs were trembling and it was taking all of his energy to stay even in this pathetic position.

"Make me." he retorted childishly. Hearing a sigh, he looked up. Kai was sitting cross-legged next to him, surveyed him with a look of part cool interest and part real concern.

"Fine then, tell me what happened back there."

"No." Ray snapped. He tried to stand, run, get away from Kai's prying eyes, but his limbs gave way underneath him and he landed ungracefully on the grass. Tears of humiliation slipped out of his burning eyes as he lay there. "Fine." he whispered. He had already lost Kai's respect by behaving like an idiot, he might as well go the whole hog. "I'm a…well, the Japanese call my kind neko-jins." Silence. Then, unexpectedly, Kai laughed quietly.

"And I thought they were just a myth…" Ray scowled into the muddy grass.

"Clearly not." he mumbled under his breath. He could feel Kai's gaze on him, searching, probing, analysing. Typical Kai. The revulsion would come soon, though. It always did. He was different. And humankind has always hated exceptions.

"So, you really are like a cat?"

"No, Einstein, I'm like a bloody squirrel." Ray snarled. Kai raised an eyebrow, unperturbed by Ray's temper. "Look, just stop the questions, all right? I'm a freak, that's all you need to know."

"You're not a freak." Kai stated calmly. Ray snorted disbelievingly. "You're different, that's all. It's not a crime." He shifted his position slightly. "Why are you so ashamed?" Incredulously, Ray pulled himself up onto his elbows and stared at his team captain.

"Let's run through this, shall we?" he suggested, his voice mocking. "I'm not even a true human. Being a…neko-jin, it's not just an anomaly, it's a whole different race. Homo felis. And I'm a sub-species of that, I'm a homo panthera tigris amoyensis. Human-South Chinese tiger. Nice, huh? It means people always subconsciously sense that there's something different about you, and when they find out, it means punishments ranging from exclusion to persecution to execution. My parents fell into the latter category." His eyes were suddenly bleak, bitter. "I've had to put up with persecution my whole life. People hate our kind. They fear us. Just like you and the rest of the guys will now." He looked away, staring blindly into the distance.

"Says who?"

"Says me." Ray replied bitterly. He stared in shock at the outstretched hand before him.

"Isn't it a good job that I never listen to anyone but myself, then?" Kai looked down at the silent boy. "Ray, I certainly don't care if you're different and I doubt the others will either. If it were to affect your blading, then I would care. Now, get up and come back." His voice was clipped, businesslike. Ray's lip curled.

"Do you even have feelings, Kai?" he demanded suddenly. "Do you even know what it's like to be afraid?"


"Then you'll know why I can't go back." Kai groaned under his breath and sat back down.

"No, I know why you don't want to go back. There's a difference." he said evenly.

"Can't, won't, who cares?" Ray demanded, his voice rising. "Just go away, would you?" Kai stayed motionless.

"Why?" he asked flatly. "Why are you so scared of me?"

"I'm not scared of you!" Ray spat.

"Then stop telling me go away."

"I don't want you around, okay? That better?"

"Why?" Kai repeated. "I'm not judging you, and I'm not trying to hurt you. Why are you so scared?" This time, his harsh tone demanded an answer. Ray snarled wordlessly and pulled himself slowly into a sitting position. "Why?" Kai said one last time, his voice low.

"Go away." Ray muttered, his voice thick.

"No." Kai replied, in the coldest voice Ray had ever heard him use. "Tell - me - what's - wrong." Each word was clearly separated.

"What's wrong? What do you think is wrong, genius? I'm a subhuman cat-thing, that's what, and…" Suddenly, all the fight seemed to drain from Ray. His shoulders slumped. "And sooner or later, you'll all…hate me, because everybody hates me eventually…" He laughed sourly. "God, I sound pathetic… Ha, maybe that's 'cause I am…"

"Get up." He looked up at Kai uncomprehendingly. "Up." He shook his head numbly, then gasped as he felt Kai grab him by the wrist and haul him upright. He stared into Kai's blazing crimson eyes and cringed back, waiting for a blow, for cruel insults. "You're not pathetic." Kai stated matter-of-factly. "Hear me, Ray Kon? You are not pathetic. Now, come with me. We're going back." Ray mumbled something rude under his breath, but followed the older blader.

His head was reeling from Kai's strange reaction. How…why… He shook his head sharply. Never mind. Surely when he got back there would be a more normal reaction. Inwardly he tensed at the mere thought and readied himself to lose yet another set of friends.

Well? All opinions welcome! In case anyone's wondering, the reason that Ray is finding Kai's acceptance of what he is so unsettling is because it's never happened to him before. No one has ever accepted him, they've all just turned away.

Aw, poor little Ray... (hugs)

Please review! If not, you won't getanext chapter!