Disclaimer: I know that you're all desperately trying to find a way to send me some cash for this fine piece of art I have created in the lonely hours of distraction, but really, there's no need. This is absolutely free to you all, I only ask reviews for gratitude. I own only these settings that I have shamelessly put the characters of Beyblade in, the story in which they play a part, and Shiroyama Masato, my lovely OC. But I appreciate the thought.

Summary: Max gets invited back to States. Will he go? Meanwhile Rei is ready to kill. Implied TaMa! YuBo, KaRe, HiromixOC. Sequel to Little Myy's Sapphire for your Eyes.


The Mess with cleaning
by rebecca85

The Kinomiya residence was in a mess. Which was actually quite ludicrous since the mess was due to the cleaning and organizing the house was going through. As soon as the Christmas day was officially over, the ornaments had been collected and stored, the tree found a new resting-place by the dumpster and the preparations for New Years was started.

Takao was grateful for the help he got, he really was. The house was big (dojo and the numerous guestrooms, plus everything else) and he was the only Kinomiya present at the time. It would've taken him well over New Years to get the house as efficiently cleaned as it was getting now. But could Rei be any bossier?

"Boris! Take this and dust all the bookcases," Rei commanded promptly. The man in question looked decidedly confused from his place at the sofa and then at Yuriy. The redhead only shrugged and pushed up his glasses with the fingers that had been fondling his necklace while he read, without breaking the eye-contact with his text. Boris rose from his place diligently and received the duster Rei was waving at him. The Russian looked over the offending puffy object, clearly missing the point of its function, but the neko-jin was out the door before he could voice his questions. Uncertainly he estimated the dirty shelves full of thick volumes.

It seemed he hadn't done this before.

Takao sneaked in, having seen the conversation from the hallway where he was organizing the winter ware with Max. He was bringing out the best of this stealthy-ness; he wasn't keen on explaining to Rei why he had left his post.

"Boris," the blue-haired boy said in a low voice. Even Yuriy got interested in his silent-mode and looked at him over his white-rimmed spectacles, his fingers freezing their journey on the golden chain.

"Start from the top, you're tall enough without a chair, and continue downwards. When you have finished one bookcase, wipe it clean with a damp cloth. If you don't, Rei will make you after you're done. The wiping keeps the dust settling down back so quickly," Takao explained to the bewildered man who just raised an amused eyebrow. Takao looked at him pointedly, "You do know that Rei was with us the last New Years?"

A look of realization came upon Boris' face. This was why Takao was so good at cleaning? Explains… Yuriy snorted in amusement from the couch. The Bladebraker looked calculatingly at the Russian, then back at Boris.

"You know," he started nonchalantly which Boris noted but Yuriy didn't. "You might not be tall enough, after all. Why don't you get some help for your work?" Takao suggested innocently. "Someone could sit on your shoulders and dust the top easier." With this, the boy returned to the hallway, first looking that the coast was clear.

Boris glanced at the sofa, to his boyfriend, and smirked.

"Yuriy, care to help?"

Takao snickered in turn. It was great to help people to manipulate their boyfriends.

"Hey, Maxie," he called to the blond as he reached the boy, "have you noticed that weird necklace on Yuriy?"

"Why weird?" the blond asked, sounding disinterested.

"Well it seems he can't get his hands off of it. And I think it's a ring on the chain. Why does he have a ring on his neck? Wouldn't it be better to put it on?"

"He does seem to play with it all the time… Maybe it's because it's from Boris," Max offered as an explanation, offhandedly. Takao rounded at him.

"What?! It's from Boris!" he yelled, while trying not to be too loud. They were still on ear shot of the two, if you listened carefully. The American blinked at Takao, then frowned.

"Sure. He got it for Yuriy as a Christmas present. Remember that time Yuriy was so upset with Boris and then suddenly jumped at him? He gave it to him that time…" The blond lowered his gaze. Suddenly the Japanese boy stopped and looked carefully at Max. He had noted that they weren't quite as near as they had been to the closet they were organizing before.

"Max," Takao said in a low voice, "what's wrong?"

The boy spoken to looked up at the blue-haired blader, surprised. His eyes were watery, like tears were about to break the dam and caress his cheeks. Takao was slightly taken aback and he grabbed Max gently from his shoulders.

"Max?"

He still looked unsure of what to say, but then he decidedly wiped his eyes clear and looked at Takao.

"My mom called," Max started. Takao took a surprised breath. "She asked if I could come to spend the New Years with her and dad. Because I was at Christmas here…"

The blue-haired boy was in a small state of shock. Max was going back to the States? After he had just been there three weeks prior? But Takao knew how much Max loved being with his mother. And now they would spend time with the three of them again, right? So, Max was really looking forward to seeing them, just didn't know how to tell him that he wouldn't be here for New Years, right?

"But I thought—"

"Well, that's good to hear!" Takao said encouragingly. The blond boy looked startled at him. "You're going to spend time with your folks again, right? Isn't that great! Remember to bring me a souvenir again," he winked at Max, to make him see that it was o.k. to go.

"Yeah… I'll remember that…" the young blader said and smiled, but his eyes were not laughing. Takao couldn't read Max's expression, like he normally would. Was Max still unsure of leaving the Kinomiya residence?

"Max—"

"TAKAO," Rei called at him, sounding… ahem, slightly mad. "Where. Is. Kai? You wouldn't happen to know?" The boy addressed to gulped. The Chinese boy was emitting a killing intent.

"He's probably training. I haven't seen him all morning," Takao promptly informed, afraid of the neko-jin's revenge if he wouldn't be co-operative. Rei put his hands on his hips in a huff and looked at the living room, still angry as hell. There he suddenly noticed the peculiar sight and he temporarily forgot about their captain.

"What are they…?" Rei was flabbergasted.

"Oh, they," Takao noted, and smiled. "I gave Boris the idea to get some help. It wouldn't be fair if Yuriy was the only one doing nothing, right?" Rei's mood darkened considerably.

"He isn't the only one doing nothing…" he mumbled ominously, and Takao noticed his mistake of topic too late.

Luckily, he was saved by the bell. A doorbell, to be exact.

"I'll get it," Max said quietly and rounded for the door. Behind the wooden protector and fender of chilled air, stood three guests.

"Hiromi! What are you doing here?" Takao exclaimed in surprise. "And Kyouju, even!"

"Nice to be noticed," the little boy commented dryly, while Hiromi complained of his reaction. The blue-haired boy rubbed the back of his neck and sweatdropped. Then he realized that there was one more person standing there; someone he hadn't seen before.

"Ah! Could you be…!" Takao realized, "You're that boyfriend! Hiromi's new boyfriend!"

The boy in question smiled uncertainly at him, his face questioning about Takao's sanity, which he tried to confirm from Hiromi by glancing at her. She only rolled her eyes, as if saying that yes, Takao didn't exactly have all the wires connected.

"As eloquently as Takao put it; yes, this is my boyfriend, Shiroyama Masato."

"Pleasure to meet you, I'm Shiroyama. You can all call me Masato, I get my last name heard enough at school," the boy smiled. He had short brown hair and deep brown eyes. He was almost a head taller than Hiromi and obviously lifting some weights at his free time. He was very fit and starting to show some real muscles. All this could be seen just from his posture. He was handsome, in some rascal-but-smart-of-it –kind of way.

"Takao, we start dripping icicles from our noses if you don't shut that door soon," Rei commented quite harshly. He was obviously trying to be polite despite of his bad mood, and failing miserably. "Invite them in or kick them out, we have cleaning to do." Then the Chinese boy stomped back to the kitchen, thin on cursing.

Again, Masato raised an inquiring eyebrow, and Takao sighed. He ushered them quickly inside and they proceeded to the living room. There, they found another surprise.

Boris and Yuriy.

They had obviously finished their cleaning. Or they were taking a break.

"Guys, we have guests," Takao kindly broke in to them. The two Russians ended their 'break' and sat slightly apart. To avoid temptation, Takao was sure.

"Oh, don't mind me," Masato said offhandedly to the two. "I'm Shiroyama Masato, Hiromi's boyfriend. Now that you know, you can continue. Right?" he asked from Hiromi. The girl blinked at him uncertainly.

"You don't mind?" she asked timidly. "You really don't mind them?"

"My room-mate's gay," Masato explained as they all sat down. Yuriy and Boris seemed too interested of his new, open-minded guy to go back to their previous activity, but the red Russian had shifted himself to sit on Boris.

"And when I say gay, I mean gay," he emphasized. "I don't think there can be a guy gayer that he is, so compared – you guys seem really normal," Masato said to the couple. "And thanks to him my ignoring skills are honed to perfection. You really don't want to know what kind of things I've walked into."

Takao, Max and Kyouju shivered at this, Hiromi looked worried and the couple was snickering at his story.

"Actually, another friend of mine turned out to be gay," he suddenly mused. "But I think he was more surprised to be labelled as 'gay' as that he was dating a guy. And I think that's how it should be. At these times, you can't be too picky. When you find the one, it's the one. End of discussion."

They all sat in a sober silence. Masato had hit the nail on the head on this one, as they all thought how correct he sounded. But the topic was still a little uncomfortable – too serious, or something the like.

"You really went all out and decided to take the best, huh?" Yuriy asked lightly but stared right to Masato. Hiromi broke into a sweet smile and the straight couple took a hold of each others hands.

"Yeah… I picked good, didn't I?" Hiromi and Masato locked gazes and a loving look came upon their faces. Masato bend slightly down and gave the girl a longing kiss.

"Ewww!" Yuriy commented immediately, making the couple part. "You might have developed an ignoring skill for kissing, but I haven't. Get a room!" They all broke in to a good natured laugh and the redhead snuggled himself better in Boris' arms, in which Boris answered by tightening his hold around Yuriy.

Hiromi gave Takao the New Years gifts and the bento-box that her mother had made for the young Kinomiya. Mrs Tachibana had been worried for the Bladebreaker's sake, since he was spending the whole holiday all alone. Well, he wasn't exactly alone, as Hiromi commented at the way out. She tried to ask the exact course of action that had ended up them with Yuriy and Boris here for all the holiday, but Takao didn't have the opportunity to explain. And frankly, he really didn't want to. It was just so confusing. Kyouju had come to bring some gifts as well for the New Years, and left pretty quickly, with Hiromi and Masato. The short nerd had his parents waiting at home and his very own cleaning was yet to be done.

So their guests departed fairly soon, and the quartet stayed in the hall-way, standing around.

"So, what's next?"

"Boris and Yuriy will continue with the dusting," Rei's voice said from the hall-way – neko-jins are scary when they hit full stealth-mode –, "because I believe you aren't ready yet with that." Even Yuriy seemed a little intimidated by this silently fuming Chinese boy, and the two Russians hurried themselves to their job, this time sure to make it quick. Takao and Max were left to fend for themselves against a pissed off Rei.

"The bedclothes need to be aired. Go strip the beds from the sheets, take them to the laundry and the bedclothes you hang outside," was the prompt command. Takao didn't even dare to mock-salute; he just nodded and headed upstairs with Max.

Takao was about to ask Max of their course of action, but the American headed for the closest room and went it. Takao's shoulders slumped slightly, but he drew himself back together. He couldn't be depressed! Max was going to the States to be with his family, like it should be in New Years! (The thought that he was the only Kinomiya of the house still left in Japan, never crossed his mind.)

"Okay! I've got work to do! Work!" he prepped himself quietly. He too headed for a room and tried for the time being forget how lonely he would be again without the blond boy around.

They collected the bedclothes from their respective beds and dumped them outside of their rooms. Then they stripped the sheets on one pile at the hall-way and the to-be-aired –ones to another. Takao suspected that he now knew what being a hotel maid felt like.

When the last of the rooms had been ransacked of their comforters and pillows, Max mumbled a quick 'I'll take these' and vanished downstairs with the sheets before Takao could even properly turn around. The blue-haired blader sighed heavily and ran a hand through said hair. He was trying to act like it was no big deal for Max to leave, but he guessed the American felt still sorry for leaving in such a short notice. He would have to leave in the next few days to get to his family before the actual day of celebration. Maybe even tomorrow morning already.

Silence seemed to have fallen as they worked together. Takao had tried to start up a conversation, but Max's obvious desire to keep quiet was hard to ignore. And it was making Takao sad. He hadn't been this sad since… well, he didn't want to reminisce that – but the point was that he was very sad. It was weird to have a silent Max beside you when normally they couldn't stop talking. Kai might've been the only one ever to shut them up. At the same time.

They were almost done with the workload and were just straightening the new sheets at Hiro's bed when Takao's hand slowed down. He clenched his hands to fists and then even crossed his arms, trying to keep it in. But it was tearing at him so…

Max finally noticed Takao's odd behaviour and looked at the boy. His fringe was covering his eyes so Max couldn't read Takao at all. He was usually so easy to read; now his jaw was set and his lips were stretched to a tight line. His body-language was telling everyone to back off, which Max had ever only seen Kai do. Even the Demolition Boys had had an aura of danger; never 'keep-out' like their captain… and now Takao. Max was suddenly very worried.

"Takao..?"

"Don't go."

Max was slightly taken aback at this answer. "Eh..?"

"I shouldn't be selfish, but I don't want you to go," Takao said quickly. "I know how much you want to be with your mom, and dad, and I shouldn't say this to make you feel bad about leaving, but… It's just not fun if the Max I know isn't here. I'm going to be lonely without you."

First the blond American looked surprised at this tirade but slowly a sweet smile formed on his lips and his eyes shone. That was the straightforward Takao that he knew.

"Yeah… Me too."

Takao looked surprised at Max. Then they grinned at each others at the same time.

"We're really stupid, huh?" Takao asked.

"Really stupid," Max confirmed.

This time it was a lot easier to ask Rei for more instructions. Because they did it together.