Title: A Moment

Rating: T

Notes: Fem!Tsubasa, sorry if you don't like that type of thing, must confess normally I don't either, but this idea has played around in my head for a while. Also it's a slight AU, it doesn't follow the show, meaning that although Ginga did battle Ryuuga, Ryuuga never battled Tsubasa.

Summary: Tsubasa had kept the secret that she is a girl from her new friends for so long, but now with the arrival of Ryuuga, her partner and friend, giving her the news that she can go home, she has a decision to make.

Taking a deep breath she tried to calm down; I'm all right, what are the odds of them finding me here? Looking up she saw her eagle perching on a tree branch, carefully looking over the human.

If I am lucky, they won't find me here. She hoped, feeling the wind gently caress her skin and play with her silver hair; I can do this. She took off once more, having chanced from her skirt into white trousers and more practical shoes. The feather extensions she had in her hair were off and it was tied back.

She kept walking, until someone challenged her to a beybattle. It wasn't her skills with her bey that needed to be tested, she was confident enough, but it was making sure that everyone believed that she was indeed a boy that was the bigger challenge.

Luckily her boy-ish voice was working well, none of her challenger's realised that she was a girl, not even the girls were aware of it and over time she never really gave much thought to her deception. It became something of a second skin, a mask as it were, it kept her safe and she forgot about it, although when she became friends with Ginga and all of his friends she felt the pang of guilt in her heart.

They can't know it's too dangerous. She thought to herself, remembering the day when she had to run, just run as fast as her legs could carry her so that she wouldn't be murdered by that man. Doji. She thought with a shudder.

"Tsubasa!" The short green haired boy called over to her and she looked at him, startled out of her thought; "Are we going to battle?"

She nodded and stood up, walking over to the beydish; "3,"

"2,"

"1!" They said together; "Let it rip!"

As the battle continued, neither of them were aware of a white haired teen watch the battle, in the shadows, his amber eyes watching Tsubasa's every move, knowing full well who she was and smirked.

When Kenta's bey was launched out of the dish and landed next to him Tsubasa picked up her own bey, ready to give the younger teen some pointers until someone else spoke.

"So this is where you've been hiding eh Tsubasa?" He stepped out of the shadows and the girl took a step back, her own amber eyes wide in surprise.

"Ry… Ryuuga?"

Kenta looked at his friend to the white haired stranger; he noticed that the other male had a golden dragon gauntlet and a golden cornet, with small ruby eyes to show the shape of the dragon's face at the front.

"Tsubasa who is this?" He asked innocently, wondering how his friend would someone who appeared to be rather eccentric, but also feeling like he knew this teen from somewhere before, he just couldn't place where.

"So not told anyone about your old friends?" He smirked as he walked closer to the girl who backed away and then look at Kenta; "Like you'd be able to defeat h…"

"Kenta, do you mind if we have some time alone?" Tsubasa interrupted him, before he spilled her secret.

"Um, all right," The young blader nodded and walked away uncertainly, looking back to make sure that Tsubasa was okay, slowly getting an idea of who it was that the eagle blader was talking to.

Tsubasa made sure he was out of sight before turning to Ryuuga with a sharp glare; "Why are you even here? I thought Doji would have…" Her voice had become higher pitched, sounds far more like a girl than she did before.

"Doji is looking for you, wants you back," Ryuuga explained, his face grim as Tsubasa paled in hearing those words.

I knew this would happen, why am I so surprised to hear about it from him? She tried to understand what was wrong, knowing that Doji was after wasn't news, she had been a gifted blader, although she could never defeat Ryuuga, nor the other blader, Reiji but she was skilled enough to defeat many other's.

"So is that why you are here? To drag me back?" She accused him, knowing full well that a physical fight or a bey fight she couldn't win again Ryuuga or his dark bey L Drago.

"Tch, no," He said much to her surprise; "I've left them too, Doji is in a coma right now,"

"He… He is?" She said, feeling relief flood through her, but noticed the look he was giving her; "What?"

"You have to return," He said bluntly, holding his hand out; "Right now,"

"I… No!" She shouted at him backing away once more, but he just followed; "I have a life here!"

"You have a lie here," His hand reached out, touching her long silver hair; "Hair as pale as the moon, eyes as bright as fire…"

"Stop it! Just stop…" She hadn't been aware of how close Ryuuga had come until she felt his chest against her own; "I don't want to go back, why should I? There is nothing left for me to return to,"

"Oh? So my little eagle doesn't think I am worth returning for?" He whispered into her ear and she tried not to tremble as his breath warmed her exposed neck, her hands clenched though she just wanted to wrap them around his neck.

"Ryuuga I can't go back," She took a breath; "He wanted to kill me, he had people…"

"Yet I found you relatively easily," He shrugged; "Yea, you were really hard to find," He sarcastically stated.

"Well how come no one has found me before now?"

"Because I was the one looking in this general area," They began to walk away from the beydish, moving further into the park and further away from an audience.

"Why would…"

"We both know what Doji wanted, he wanted power, with L Drago he would have gotten that," He smirked as he looked at her; "Shame it refused him as its master,"

"But it took you instead. I do know this Ryuuga, I was there," She reminded him, annoyed that he thought she needed to be reminded of that moment, when Ryuuga had stolen the forbidden bey and Doji had taken it for himself, only to find that the dragon within the bey rejected him, destroying the small portion of forest around them.

"Humph. L Drago wanted power, so I gave him it," He looked away; his eyes focused on the shadows of the forest, a grim look overcame him again; "Until I had to battle Ginga…"

"Ginga?" Tsubasa repeated in surprise; "Red hair, owner of the bey Pegasus…"

"Yup, that one," He gave a sharp nod; "L Drago wanted the power of Pegasus, so much that he took over me," She gasped, not knowing how that was possible; "L Drago had been around for so long, the negative emotions are what it craves to keep it going, anger and hatred has been part of the bey's history that it doesn't know anything else," He turned to look at her; "I've managed to break it's control, so it's even more powerful but without the darkness that consumed it,"

"But why come and find me now? If Doji is gone then…"

"Why do you think I am here?" He scowled at her; "I'm not here for a picnic, you have to return,"

"But…"

"Doji is gone, if he's not there to keep everyone in place who will?"

"You?" She suggested and he looked at her unblinking before he laughed; "What? I don't see how…" She stopped talking as he moved closer to her once more, his hands on her waist.

"Dark Nebula needs a leader, you know me better than anyone Tsubasa," He said softly and she bit her bottom lip, wondering if he was tricking her; "How can I lead when every one of them fears me?"

"Reiji doesn't," She reminded her as their noses touched; What am I doing? It's Ryuuga… I can't…

"No, no he doesn't, but he wasn't really all there to begin with," One hand trailed up her spine, while the other undid the golden hair band letting her hair fly loose; "Now, tell me you don't want to return?" He whispered into her lips.

She took a deep breath, breathing in his scent, finding herself unable to think straight; What of my friends here? Ginga, Kenta and the other's? How can I just… But I have lied to them for so long, they all thought I was a nomad… and a boy.

"Doji had sent people out to kill me…" She began softly, but never moved away from him. It had been so long since she felt safe, since she could truly be herself around someone and it felt so liberating that she didn't want to continue to lie to people any more.

"I know," He said, his nose rubbed against her own; "Reiji took care of them,"

"Did he?" She didn't believe it, knowing that Reiji only worked to feed L Drago, not to help a co-worker.

"I watched every move and made sure he was aware that I was watching,"

I can go back, be a girl, and this time I will be the one at the top… But… she began to pull away from him and Ryuuga grabbed her forearms, but he didn't hurt her, only preventing her from moving further away.

"I have to tell them the truth," She said softly; "I can't just disappear, they'll worry, I know they will,"

Amber eyes softened slightly and he let her go; "All right fine," He took a step back and looked at her; "How long will you need?"

"I..." She trailed off and held out her gloved hand; "Why not come with me?"

"It's Ginga, we have… history," He finally said, looking into her soft amber eyes with his own cold one's; "Besides this way you can explain everything without anyone getting distracted,"

She raised an eyebrow at him, wondering what history the two could have but the other wasn't going to tell her; I can wait I suppose.

"All right, how about we meet again, tomorrow?" She suggested, knowing that her friends would have plenty of questions and she didn't want to just leave right away.

He nodded and then walked off, going deeper into the forest, but she never stopped him;

"The same place that we met up, when you were battling that kid," He called back to her.

"All right," She called back and began to walk off, towards Madoka's home as she quickly tied her hair back once more, knowing that most of her friend's would be there.

It was no surprise that she did find them all there, but they all looked worried and when the red haired boy looked over to her he cried out happily;

"Tsubasa!" He jogged over to her the other's following.

"Ginga," She said solemnly, wondering how she was going to explain everything and how would they take it; I can't back away now. I just… I need them to know the truth.

"Did Ryuuga bother you?" The scarred blader, Kyouya asked her and she shook her head much to everyone's surprise.

"You know him though," Kenta said, although it wasn't accusing, if anything he was just making a statement.

"Wha…?" Ginga looked at Tsubasa, his eyes beckoning for his friend to explain.

"Er… We should go inside," She gestured to the Bey shop behind them; "It's a long story," She walked past them, with Madoka and Kenta following while the others were left standing, not knowing what to think.

"Kyouya, Tsubasa'a voice seemed a bit… High," Benkei commented, frowning thinking that the boy didn't sound like he had a cold.

"Yea, it was," Kyouya agreed and then turned to follow the others, wanting to find out what was going on.

"Tsubasa, what are you hiding from us?" Ginga asked as they were all settled in the shop.

"First of all," Tsubasa began, her voice clear and all of them took notice that it did sound rather feminine; "I'm not a boy,"

"What?" and "No way!" chorused around the shop as her friends looked at her in surprise.

"You're a girl? And none of us even knew it?" Kyouya asked and she nodded; "Why hide that?"

"Because…" She frowned and took a breath; "Because I left the Dark Nebula Organisation, I can't tell you why, but I knew that the leader wanted to kill me, because I knew too much about the whole organisation, more so than anyone else. If the information was given to the WBBA then it would have meant trouble for Doji and he didn't want that,"

"He was hunting you down?" Kenta repeated and she nodded; "But… Ryuuga…"

"Ryuuga told me that Doji is now in a coma, whether he will wake up is speculation, but right now the Dark Nebula has no leader…"

"Meaning it can disband," Ginga interrupted, but Tsubasa shook her head; "Huh? Why not?"

"Because to a lot of those blader's the Dark Nebula is home," She began, hoping to find a way to make him see that it wasn't evil as he always believed it to be; "Many of those bladers that Doji had found were orphans, when he gathered them they all banded together to be a family. I know you have bad blood with Dark Nebula, but please understand that it's not just about evil intentions. We did what we had to, none of us wanted to be kicked out into the streets again,"

They all looked at her in surprise.

"Orphans? All of them?" Madoka asked, unable to believe it, but Tsubasa nodded slowly.

"The majority of them, others had run away from home. Granted there was a few that joined because of the challenge," She admitted.

"So why go back?" Ginga demanded to know and she saw in his eyes that this topic was important to him, not just because of his hatred of the organisation but also something else.

"There is no leader…"

"Ryuuga would be the leader, he's the strongest," Kyouya pointed out and she smiled.

"Yea, that's what I said to him too," She looked down at her hands, remembering how right it felt that Ryuuga was holding her so close to him, something that he hadn't done it a while, ever since L Drago had arrived the white haired teen had left her alone most of the time; "But when everyone fears him, what kind of leader is that?"

Everyone remained silent, knowing that what she was saying was true, it would be unbearable to have someone be the leader that you feared; you'd never be able to rest properly.

"What about his bey? L Drago?" Madoka inquired, wondering if the teen had changed and become free from the dragon that had managed to possess him.

"All the darkness has gone, he's not overcome with the power anymore," She informed her; "I can tell, trust me, I have been part of the Dark Nebula for a while now,"

"Why didn't you tell us this from the beginning? Even if Doiji was after you we would have…" Ginga began but she interrupted him.

"I couldn't let you guys do that. It was my problem; I had to deal with it. Turns out I needn't have bothered, Ryuuga was the one looking around this way and he found me easily," She shrugged and continued to answer questions long into the night, so late into the night that she and the other's all had to stay at Madoka's.

When morning arrived she was up and already to face the day, she had butterflies in her stomach as she sat in the kitchen waiting for others to get up. Looking out of the window she saw eagle in a nearby tree, its prey in its sharp talons as its beak ripped the flesh off to eat.

"So, you are actually going to leave?" A male voice asked and she jumped, having been so absorbed in watching eagle.

She turned to see Kyouya smirking at her, having enjoyed giving her a fright.

"Yes. It's my home, it's been my home for some time," She informed him, looking right into those blue eyes and then sighed; "With Doji no longer being there I can go back. I don't expect any of you to understand what it's like, but I have to go,"

"That Ryuuga must be something," He remarked and she turned to look at him, trying to figure out what he was getting at, his fang appear at the side of his lip as he smiled slightly; "It's obvious you like him. You were defending him,"

"Before he became in contact with L Drago he was a good friend of mine. He didn't care that I was a girl, but then L Drago rejected Doji as its master and Ryuuga became trapped with its overwhelming dark power," She sighed; "It doesn't matter though, things will never go back to the way they used to be, but…"

"Try again," He finished with a nod and they both heard a thump from above and shouting; "Heh, whatever, I'm through here,"

"Huh? You're just going to leave?"

"Yea, I heard what I needed to, no reason for me to hang about. What about you?" He asked, but walked away and when she heard the door open and close she knew he had gone.

Looking up at the thumps she smiled; she was nothing like Kyouya, who was private and liked to keep his distance. She liked being around people, although she did like her privacy too but if the company was right she wouldn't complain.

All too quickly though she found that she had to go, although part of her wanted to stay and be around Ginga and the other's for longer, she knew that her place was back at Dark Nebula.

The red haired blader walked her to the park in silence, as she could feel the disapproval radiating off him.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" He asked her finally, just as Ryuuga came in sight, waiting underneath the tree.

"Of course…"

"Is it because the Dark Nebula is home? Or is it because of the power you'll have as leader?"

"I…" She starred at him, as he glared at Ryuuga, who didn't appear to notice as he leaned again the tree base, with his eye closed.

"Because if it's due to you being the leader, you shouldn't go, but if it's because it's home then I will respect your wishes," Ginga informed her and she smiled.

"I will admit that becoming the leader of such an organisation is a rather tempting offer, but first and foremost its home," She made sure to look into his eyes so he could see that she was telling the truth.

He starred at her for a moment and then nodded; "All right, just don't be a stranger!" He said cheerfully walking away with a wave.

"I won't," She said with a small wave before walking over to Ryuuga; "I know you heard," She smiled as he opened his eyes to look at her.

"Yea, so, ready to go home?" He held his hand out and this time she took it.

"Yes," She allowed herself to be pulled into him; "Let's go home," She closed her eyes as his lips pressed gently onto her own for a moment and then he whispered;

"Let's go," He gently pulled her along and she laughed, looking forward to seeing all her friends once more and knowing that she would be safe.

And Ryuuga is back to his old self. She thought happy in that knowledge that everything was all right, the world was okay, even if it was just for that moment.