Ciao. I shouldn't be doing this, but I am. I have wanted to use Mao for a long time, and…suddenly it just happened. Here; we have Mao and Rei on a rooftop, in China. Looking and talking.

Oh…I liked the idea, my plot, that I had…I'm just not sure about the outcome, like always. And I'm definitely not sure about how I handled Mao. Or Rei, really.

Note: A bokken (木剣, bok(u), "wood", and ken, "sword"), is a wooden Japanese sword used for training, usually the size and shape of a katana, but sometimes shaped like other swords. has mentions of an established relationship between Kai and Rei (homosexuality), references and mentions of sex, and Mao checking out the very first person Rei ever kissed.

"No, Rei," Mao giggled as she slid closer, gently pulling Rei's head up by his hair and pulled off the bandana with the intent of making Rei see better. "The one by the fruit stand!"

Rei's hands flew up to his forehead immediately, and he muttered under his breath, but the smile on his lips never quite died. "You could have just said you meant Hai." Rei said after finally catching sight of the person, who apparently, was sex impersonated. "We lived together before I left, you know."

"You did?" Mao not only sounded, but looked, sceptical. Rei had lived with a scrawny looking boy, a few years older, who had- "The fishing geek? No way! He was all…gangly and a bad case of acne"

"No he wasn't." Rei looked away, yellow eyes fastened on the rather- alright, Mao was right- devilishly attractive young potter.

Rei's village had believed in a system Rei had never understood. It stated that instead of taking in orphaned children; throw them together and give them a roof over their heads. Hai had been a little older, barely two years, and had only just turned sixwhen the elders had thrown them together in a recently abandoned…it had barely been a hut…not until they were old enough to properly fix it and make it completely liveable.

Rei remembered thick hair, incredibly messy and pointing in all directions. Bright orange eyes, and uncannily sharp teeth. Rei knew first hand. "I remember him as quite bright and witty." His lips had been soft, despite the rather chapped look they had.

"Whatever." Mao shuffled around slightly, in the end choosing to rest her head against Rei's shoulder as she continued to quietly spy down on Hai.

Rei simply rolled his eyes, before closing them and rested his head against his folded arms. Still…why was he lying with Mao on a rooftop, spying on Rei's old friend, who had yet to notice them? He frowned, wasn't Mao-? Or this was one of her 'fall-in-love-with-everything-that-moves' phases? But, still…why did that have anything to do with Rei?

He had envisioned himself walking aimlessly around in the jungle, perhaps even venturing up in the mountains. He had even risen before dawn, to do so, but…Mao could be very persuasive and vindictive when she wanted to, and, apparently, checking out potential boyfriends was something she felt she had to have Rei physically present to do. Rei had not even bothered to mention that when it came to the few number of girls she found attractive, she was very quick to make Rei go away. Fast.

Sighing, Rei shifted slightly, starting to regret that he had let Mao talk him into removing his shirt as well, as Mao's arm and head was starting to stick to his swiftly sweating skin. China was unbearably hot during the summer, something Rei had deliberately neglected to remember.

He had just closed his eyes, preparing to doze in the sun, when something he forgot he had buzzed insistently against his hip. Frowning, Rei awkwardly slid his hand down, ignoring Mao's annoyed mutters, and slowly dug out his phone. And promptly lit up in a brilliant smile he had no way of stopping.

Why would he, anyway?

He had received a text message!

Sending Mao a glance showed that her eyes were still intently fastened on the poor, unsuspecting potter, and Rei, still grinning, flipped the phone open and relatively easy found himself in the inbox, reading his very first and new sms.

// Hey, I'll be around tomorrow. Don't wait up.

"Yes!" Rei abruptly clamped his mouth shut and snatched his phone away before Mao could go from staring at him as if he were in need of serious help, and sent her a weak grin. "Um…I mean, nice weather."

It didn't take Mao more than five minutes after rediscovering all of Rei's ticklish spots to steal the phone.

Eyes wide in confusion, Mao sat up, legs sprawled out in front of her. "Who's coming?" She paused, then winked slyly. "Why Rei, is it your girlfriend?"

Rei blinked, smoothing his hair out of his face, chest still rising and falling rapidly from the tickling he had been subjected to. "What-? No," he was only slightly breathless. "A friend, that's all. Kai."

Mao groaned, face suddenly scrunched up in vague disgust as she handed Rei back his possession. But, unlike a few years ago, she no longer objected loudly or verbally. Instead she just growled and groaned, settling down next to Rei once again, this time on her back after removing her shirt to lazily lap up the beams of the sun. With a quiet sigh Rei followed her lead, for once actually grateful of her childish complaints.

For some reason or other, after several hours of silence and drinking the water Mao had brought with her, Mao had slowly started to talk. Rei suspected she had finally grown tired of sun bathing, and ignoring him, but…that was just Rei's secret opinion since he himself was rather soaked with sweat and uncomfortably hot.

While they had started of with female techniques of...masturbating (something that sent Rei cringing and very glad that Mao had her eyes closed and facing away), had soon drifted over to the art of dating and swift sex with no clothes removed in dark alleys or empty restrooms. Mao called it petting, and Rei had grinned (so there had been a name to his and Kai's, very earliest, activities?).

It wasn't until they hesitantly started to talk about real, hot, sweaty naked sex that Rei started to feel he could add bits and advices of his own without feeling as if he'd risk exposing him and Kai, something he still didn't feel ready to do. The step from that, to anal sex had not been far, not really. Not with Mao being the curious and exotic creature that she was. Not with Rei being very gay and comfortable in his sex life.

"…I didn't like that."

Rei nodded, reaching over Mao to grab the water container and slowly drank, thinking. "But…why didn't you just tell him that? I always do, no matter what it is really. Both of us feel that it's one of those major, unwritten rules that should never be broken. I know my lover would be really, really angry if I kept quiet about something like that." Rei smiled very faintly, one hand reaching over to softly stroke Mao's hair. Kai did become upset. Not so much at the beginning of their relationship, when everything was still new and hesitant and they didn't quite known what they liked or how to go about it, but now, after almost three years…oh yes, Kai became very upset, as did Rei. It was just incredibly…disrespectful.

"I was horny, Rei. I wanted sex, and I'm just supposed to tell him off?!" Mao had curled up slightly to Rei, her eyes closing on their own as she purred very softly at the rare treat Rei was indulging her in. "It was a one time thing, anyway, so-"

Rei's eyes and face was serious, and he sat up slightly, leaning on his arm and stared down at his friend, ignoring her disgruntled hiss at having Rei stop his ministrations. "-But it does matter, Mao. Because next time, it's more than just a 'one-time-thing', and if you don't start out honest, the relationship is doomed to fail from the very start." Mao gaped silently at him, before turning her head away, huffing. "Mao-"

"It's not like you would know, Rei! You're a guy!" Mao spat, suddenly very angry.

"I-" Rei blinked, feeling winded and unfairly judged, but…

"I haven't dated or been with one guy that didn't want to 'do it from behind', so why would I expect you be any different, Rei? Because you're my friend? Ha!" Mao snorted.

Rei blinked, licking his lips. This was quite the…predicament…how to, go about it…? "I, uh…" Mao sat up, arms crossed and a knowing glint in her eyes that Rei found he didn't like. It was ugly and defeated. "…I don't mind being the one-"

"Doing it?" Mao hissed.

Rei shook his head, feeling suddenly very hot. "Well, no, but I don't mind having it done to me either." Rei cleared his throat, feeling distinctly uncomfortable as Mao stared at him, mouth wide-open and eyes big and round. "So I do find it very wrong of that guy to just shove his fingers in like that; it's quite painful and very inconsiderate. But…you should at least take some comfort in that it was only a finger." Rei cleared his throat again, coughing uncomfortably. "…you know."

"…you…like it!?" Mao burst, several awkward seconds of silence later when Rei had started to squirm.

"Ah, yes." Rei's eyes followed his finger dedicatedly, as it moved to trace illegible letters on his shorts. Of course, it had probably helped that once they felt brave and secure enough in both themselves and in each other, they were also head over heels in love, and Kai had been almost paranoid in his way of making sure that Rei had been in no way uncomfortable or in pain. Of course, reality was never perfect, but…neither was it unnecessarily painful. "If you, uh, go about it the right way, it's really pleasurable." Rei mumbled, face half hidden by his hair. "It's really all about doing it right. And lube, but-"

"Why do you know this, Rei?" Mao was by now sitting straight, her interest and curiosity piqued.

Rei promptly froze on the spot, his eyes widening as he belatedly realised he had given himself away. "I…like to experiment?"

Mao hummed, her eyes narrowed as she stared him down, eyes trailing his very much exposed body and half shadowed face. "Say…" She said after great length, her voice only slightly off. "Who is that girlfriend of yours anyway, Rei?" Mao frowned, eyes narrowed in a way Rei did not like.

"Girlfriend might be the wrong word, but…um…" How to easiest explain his way out of this? Rei bit his lips, eyes darting over the ground in hesitation before he opened his mouth. He should have been honest from the beginning, he knew that but…"Ka-"

…Mao would have happily given him away to any other guy; even Yuriy or Boris. Just not…

"If you say Kai I'll castrate you." Mao's voice was soft, and Rei hastily swallowed, his mind coming up with another name in the flash of a second.

"Karina." Rei coughed. "Karina, yeah, she's…wonderful. Muscular and good kisser." Rei nodded, not meeting Mao's inquisitive eyes. "Very…dominant. Lovely eyes."

Mao was smirking, but Rei didn't notice as he was busy trying to look at everything that wasn't pink and carrying the name Mao. "Boobs?"

Rei only barely stopped himself from grimacing. "…yeah. Of course." Rei felt himself flush ever so slightly, suddenly speaking with a slightly higher voice. "Boobs, yeah. Um, large, nice…boobs…"

"And you like to touch them? Feel their soft roundness under the palm of your hand? The gentle hardening and the delightful sounds it evicts from your…Karina? How her eyes flutters shut as you gently kiss her, your hands softly massaging and squeezing very, very gently while-"

"Yes!" Rei's eyes were tightly shut, voice another several pitches higher, and he looked decidedly disgusted and ready to bolt. "I love it!"

Mao burst out laughing, collapsing in Rei's lap, who startled and began to look very embarrassed. "That wasn't…very nice, Mao." Mao only laughed louder, tears squeezing out from the corners of her clenched eyes. Rei shot up as she grabbed his hand and held it over her breast, causing Mao to land with a soft thump on the ground, and Rei standing several meters away, a fierce blush on his face. "Mao!"

"Oh yes, Rei!" And she laughed, curled in a ball on the rooftop of her grandmother's house, causing all the passers-by on the street to look up, only to see a very red-faced Rei. "…such a womaniser!"

"Mao!" Rei cried indignantly, feeling severely embarrassed and slightly hurt. "Stop it!"

"-so Hai was your first kiss?"

Nodding, Rei twisted slightly to accommodate for Mao's head, nestled in his lap. "Yes…on the night before I left, he- uh…well, it was a bribe, I suppose. An excuse we'd both been needing to…vent and say goodbye."

Mao sighed, her eyes slightly lidded. "I had envisioned something a little more romantic…" Rei simply shrugged and tapped her forehead lightly. "How…when did you know…?"

Rei was still for so long, not saying anything that Mao was beginning to suspect he was never going to answer, when Rei suddenly shifted, brining his hand down her side to rest against her stomach, fingers gently rubbing and soothing an ache she hadn't known he had noticed. "…to be honest, I'm more surprised that you didn't know, Mao.

"When we were kids, we spent literally every day together. When you had your first crush, I giggled with you and helped you spy and look for clues. I even checked boys out for you, deeming their attractiveness and how nice they were. I…I let you dress me up like your imaginary friend, Tutu. I helped you when you started to get breasts and came up with ways to make them go away."

"I hated my breasts." Rei smiled, nodding knowingly; Mao had thrown so many tantrums, even made Rei stuff crumpled cloths down his clothes to make it seem as if he too, had started growing breasts. "…her name was Kaka."

Snorting, Rei laughed silently. "Kaka, then." Looking away, his hand still gently massaging Mao's abdomen, Rei swallowed heavily. "…I have known I was different since I was…little, Mao. I blushed horrendously every time Hai complimented me. Or when Rai was nice to me, and smiled, patting my shoulder. When Kiki came to me for comfort, seeking hugs in the way you go to a brother, I knew and…when they started talking about breasts and girls and snogging, and all I felt was repulse, I knew. I had touched your breasts and I just thought they were horribly…lumpy. There was nothing desirable about them. And then…then I suddenly found myself wanting to that, just in other ways, to Hai," Shifting, Rei lay down, resting his head on Mao's thigh and he felt her shifting around to place her head on his. Mao pulled at his hand, and Rei slowly started up his soothing rubbing again. "…wanting him to do things like that to me, to notice me and like me. When he finally did, it was too late and I had to leave.

"…and then I met him."

"…him?" Mao's voice was drowsy, and only partially hesitant.

"…the Prince Charming you were always talking about to sweep you of your feet and take you to his big, fancy castle."

Only, Kai hadn't swept him off his feet, but more knocked him down with a kick at his knees that had caused Rei to lash out in a defensive move and grab Kai by his arms, intent on throwing him over his head and failing as Kai suddenly worked his weight to his advantage and sent them both collapsing in a heap on the floor.

At that point, Rei's mind had started to helpfully point out just how close Kai was, and how attractive and toned his body was, mouldedso delicately and intimately with his own that Rei had blushed an embarrassing shade of red, and squirmed, stuttering something about Kai getting off him and it looking like they were doing something.

'Why? You a fag or something?'

…ah, well, Kai had scrambled off rather hurriedly when Rei had just grown redder and his eyes had turned dead and empty looking.

Then…as Kai completely avoided him for a solid week, even going so far as to sleep on the couch to avoid sharing the same room, Rei's crushed feelings had risen with vengeance, and instead of fulfilling the empty threat in his mind of leaving the team, he had…slammed Kai into the concrete wall lining Takao's dojo and dislocated his shoulder.

That had been embarrassing, and Rei had been unable to stop apologising, even after Takao's grandfather had set Kai's shoulder right and wrapped Kai up tightly with more bandage than Rei thought a single dojo capable of having. Until Kai had shot him such a deadly glare that Rei's face turned white, and he'd stumbled down in the armchair across from where Kai was sitting shirtless on the couch.

'I'm sorry.'

Kai had glared again, and Rei fell silent. Then:

'I had to think, Rei.' Rei had nodded, nervously squeezing the fabric of his trousers. 'You don't fit the stereotype I was raised to hate.'

Flinching, Rei had nodded, resigned and starting to suspect he was going to have to leave the team after all. He supposed it was lucky they hadn't properly started to participate in the championship. 'You…hate me?' Rei's voice had quaked, and he had looked away.

Kai had actually chuckled, and somehow, instead of making Rei feel relieved, he had grown more wary. 'No…I like you. It's the…' Kai trailed off, shrugging slowly with one shoulder.

'…fag part you don't like.' Rei had said it with a strong voice; suddenly not unsteady anymore, and finally looked up, meeting Kai's glaring eyes with his own resigned ones.


'It doesn't make me less of a blader, Kai. It doesn't even make me less of a person…I have always been like this, even from before I knew that beyblading existed.' Rei had by then very hesitantly stood up and made his way around the small coffee table, to sit next to Kai who was almost statue-like in his stillness. 'Takao and Max won't become less of a nuisance. And…unless you come up with a valid reason, they are not going to tolerate you sleeping on the couch for much longer. And neither will I. Nothing has changed; we're still who we always were, the only difference is now you know that I much prefer Captain Jack Sparrow over Elisabeth Swann.'

'Elisabeth Swann is not attractive, Rei.' Rei merely shrugged, holding out his hands, palms up. He, of course, knew better than to try and pry a better, proper response out of Kai and quietly retreated, offering Kai tea over his shoulder.

Of course, that was also the day when Rei had fallen hopelessly, irrevocably in love with his Captain, Hiwatari, Kai.

All because he had been honest, stopped avoiding him, didn't threaten with exposing his homosexuality to the rest of their team; not even thinking it as a valid reason, and…and said he didn't find Elisabeth Swann attractive

By the end of the day, when night was falling, Kai had resumed his position in his and Rei's room, once again sleeping on his stomach in the small bed next to his…friend's.

By the end of the next month, the comforting hands Rei had placed on his back were no longer flinched away.

By the end of that summer, there were no sneers at having to share a bed with Rei.

By the end of that year…well, Kai had said he liked him.

Rei could feel himself smiling, probably looking silly. And then he started, blinking with wide eyes at Mao who was glaring up at him, one hand pinching his thigh dangerously close to something very precious, and very sensitive. "Mao?" Rei carefully reached down and gently pulled her hand away.

"I said, Rei, what are you thinking about? Ten times! And before that, I asked who he was, as the prince really isn't a real person."

Rei's smile slowly fell, and he looked away, eyes sombre. "My prince is, Mao. He's perfect. He knows me like no one else does…and he's always there; with a hand or a shoulder or a kiss or an encouragement or-" Rei caught himself off. "…well, always there with whatever I need. And so am I, for him, whether he's down or happy…loving me loving him."

With a feeling of dread that matched her face and voice, Mao awkwardly said something she had never wanted to admit, or see as the truth that had been glaringly visible all along. "…it's Kai, isn't it?"

"…yes." Rei held up a hand, and Mao's mouth fell shut. "I love him."

Mao sighed, eyes narrowed. "How do you know he isn't using you, Rei? How do you know he isn't after you for sex or your body-?!"

"Because he isn't heartless, Mao! We've been together for almost three years, and if that isn't love and dedication, then I don't know what is!" Rei's voice was dangerously soft, and he had closed his eyes. "I don't know why you don't like him, but I've accepted that. I thought that if I invited him here and gave you a chance to properly get to know him and see for yourself that he isn't a heartless bastard everything would go much more smoothly, and make it easier for you to accept…us." Rei quietly snorted. "Silly me, huh?"

Mao made a frustrated sound, her eyes dangerously close to slitting as she could feel her control slipping away and being fast replaced by a hopeless anger she had no way of fighting back. "…he stole you away from us, Rei. He made you not want to come back. He made you like him more than us. He made you choose him, over us!" Mao's voice was heated, and only slightly whiny. "I was fourteen back then, and I saw how my whole world just…crumbled to pieces because of an arrogant bastard that made you not want to return!"

Sliding his hand as far up as it would go, Rei could only just brush his fingers against Mao's, eyes gently and understanding. Now, it felt as if the difference between having been fourteen or fifteen had been nonexistent, but back then…it had seemed great. But it did not change facts. "Mao…you're being stupid." Rei had left the village when he was still five months shy of fourteen. That had more than destroyed the world as he had envisioned it until then.

"Am I?" Mao sighed deeply, her clenched hand coming to rest on Rei's hip, deliberately sliding away from Rei's hand. "I feel I have a right to be stupid, then."

The fact that Rei had left, and been free to discover a whole new world and exotic places with no restrictions other than his own and something addictive as freedom had let Rei see the truth for the very first time; loudly and perfectly clear. "Regardless of Kai, I would never return." Rei felt Mao stiffen against his thigh and under his head. "This village…I can never be completely happy here, Mao. I could never love someone unconditionally here. The elders would throw a fit, and then make me go through an unnecessary and very painful thorough cleansing ceremony." Falling silent, he gently nuzzled Mao's leg, almost in apology. "I…the…Kai didn't really start to like me until after my battle with Boris. The process was hardly painless and perfect. Kai becomes angry and quiet rather than scared and loud when he's confused and can't find a way out or a clear reason behind someone's actions." Rei chuckled, a feeling not unlike nostalgia welling up inside. "I remember the first time I hugged him with no intent other than I felt like it…he was so angry and wouldn't stop glaring at me or snapping at me to make me hurt because he couldn't understand that I would do it without a motive other than the fact that he was my friend. We ended up beating each other senseless with Kinomiya jii-sans' bokkenuntil we were both so exhausted that we could barely stand on our own. I think Kai finally understood why I'd hugged him as we helped each other inside to the bathroom." Rei chuckled again.

If only he hadn't had to make Kai completely exhausted every time he was confused; it would have saved him from hundreds of bruises and sprained joints. Of course, by the time they resulted to physical means, Rei, too, was too angry to back out or let Kai get away with behaving like a spoilt brat. Again.

Sometimes, living with a kendo instructor had its perks.


Mao's almost silent question startled him, and Rei blinked. "…because he's Kai, Mao. Because he's Kai…I can't explain it; I've never even tried to…it seems ridiculous to say, but…after three years, I can't separate what's his from what's mine. It's almost scary, but I can't even begin to imagine my life without him right there next to me."

"…he's a bastard, right?"

Rei sighed, his head dropping face first on Mao's thigh, and he groaned. "Yes, Mao. He's my perfect, dangerous and devilishly attractive bastard. Now shut up." Rei smirked playfully. "I won't have to mention Rick, right?"

So? Review, maybe? Thank you.

Someday, in a very far off and distant future I might do a follow up on this, but…not now. There are some parts I feel I left unfinished, but as of now, this is how it's going to end.

Happy Summer!