Alistair turned his gaze, feeling his captain's eyes on him. The way he was looking at him started to make the grey-skinned cyborg shift uncomfortably, feeling his back up against the wall. "Hey mate, what's with the look?"

"What did you say to Emily to make her so upset?" Slade asked, his voice cold and stern. He would whip his teammate's butt for hitting on Emily, but he wanted to know what made the ginger-haired girl so angry. It was rare to see her like that, but not to the extent of being provoked.

The other two Renegades stared at the two, watching them stare down and it felt like a Mexican stand-off. Only there were no pistols to draw out, only blinks to make either one crack. "Twenty bucks says Slade makes Alistair crack." Drake said sarcastically

The older blader glanced at Drake like he was crazy. He shook his head, knowing Slade would always make Alistair crack, no matter what the other did.

As those silver eyes on the British cyborg bore into him, his lip twitched and comically broke down. "I told her she couldn't win. I also told her your mother doesn't really want her, so Judy chose Max and Rick to be on her 'ideal team'." He explained, feeling the look on Slade's face tense. "And I said she was… Worthless to the team; that she should stick to a computer since she is good at it… To leave blading to the real bladers and that your mom always held her back."

The blond man took what Alistair said into his mind, flipping the tall blader off his feet and put his teammate in a headlock. "Emily's a lot stronger than you, physically and mentally!" He yelled in a comical angry way, squeezing his grip. An idea popped into his head, remembering how Rei was pissed off at Max and the way he held him. "You want to mend some things? Go after that cat, he had no right to hold Max that way… Also, Emily's a great beyblader. You should try facing her without your psychic powers… Now that I think about it, I think you should apologize to her."

Alistair gasped, feeling Slade let go of him and breathed for some air. "But Slade, your mom's team is gonna wring our necks," he reminded.

Slade sighed, knowing his mother and brother were watching, and he needed to make amends. However, he had watched some of those battles the Bladebreakers did in the past. Call it jealousy, but he had wished he had battled Max. Or at least been his tag-team partner. When he saw Rick on television, he became worried for the younger sibling and the All Stars' reputation. Rick had no right to cal himself a beyblader, using raw power and intimidation. He was like a beyblading bully, and the pun lived up to it with the giant teen's Rock Bison. "I'll take my chances," he said firmly. "Also, Emily is off limits," this was added as well as a restriction.

In the All Stars' room, Emily was doing some analysis on the Renegades battles. The young genius was paying more attention to Rick's battle with Slade, watching the blond man use his years of experience in blading in the performance. 'Slade... I know it's only once in awhile we see you but… What have you been doing for the last five years?' She wondered, jumping slightly when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"You're worried about Slade, aren't you?" Judy asked, seeing her assistant play the last battle over and over again. If there was one thing the blond director was, it was observant.

Her elder son had been born first, being a teenage mother of thirteen back then, and married the handsome and wealthy wielder of Xaviax, Jason Archfield. She loved Kikyo back then, but Jason had a mysterious air to him. They got married after Jason took responsibility for his father's company, right after a tearful and depressing graduation from middle school. Nothing was the same after that incident, but she and her remaining friends did everything they could to stay happy.

Reality kicked in when there was a knock at the door, everyone's eyes on it. "I'll get it." Eddie jumped from the bed, the basketball player walking over to the door and opened it to see the Renegades. "Slade…" He blinked a few times.

This caused Rick to jump in response, his hard eyes on the pretty boy and growled. "Let me at him! I'm not going to let him gloat about his victory!" He yelled, steaming mad at the humiliation he suffered.

Steve practically had to hold down the teen of New York, the other having gotten stronger and sharper in beyblading and fighting. "And I thought my Tryhorn was hard to tame," he muttered sarcastically. Rick's and his bitbeasts were the same in animal spirit, but the dark skinned blader's was made from raw power, like the master itself.

Michael glared at Slade, wondering what he wanted. "Let him speak Rick… After all, I'm sure he doesn't mind humiliating us a second time," he said bitterly.

Slade lowered his head, but first he needed to get Alistair to apologize. He pushed the British man forward, his silver eyes on the teammate. "Go ahead and tell them what you said to me."

Alistair groaned, sighing and turned his gaze to Emily. As their eyes met, he ran a hand through his chestnut brown hair. "I'm sorry for getting into your head. Your boyfriend didn't take too kindly to my choice of words…. You actually had me, so I sincerely apologize for taunting you," he said.

Emily lowered her head quickly, not wanting anyone to see her blush. As much as she liked the blond man, she needed to maintain a tough image. Bringing her head up, her expression was serious. "Thanks I guess… Slade, don't you want to say something?"

Ryu turned to gaze at his captain, giving him 'the look'. If there was anything he was good at, it was making sure Slade was honorable with the All Stars. He didn't approve of his captain's actions with Rick, even if Eddie, Steve, and Emily found it amusing.

Slade rubbed the back of his head, his silver eyes on all of his childhood friends and mother. "I… I'm sorry Rick. I'm sorry for grasping your ass and using Alistair to steal your kiss. However, I don't approve of what you did last year," he began to say, driving in his point. "The All Stars are a team of honorable bladers. I don't know why my mother chose you of all people, but I didn't appreciate the way you treated my brother. And another thing, I really don't like how you get under Michael's skin. Sure, he's a little… flashy at best, but he's also my best friend and I'd rather it had been him on that tag-team last year."

Rick crossed his arms over his chest, snorting in response. In his opinion Slade could kiss his ass. His team didn't complain so why the hell should Slade?

Michael blinked, taking this all in and burst out laughing. "Is that what it's all about? Oh Slade, I'm sorry… I thought you changed, but damn it all… You're still the same!" He held his middle, remembering how Slade was always protective of him, Emily, and the others.

"Yeah dude, Rick's cool… Sure, he was rough on the team, but he's really earned our respect," Eddie assured, knowing he was reluctant about the replacement for Steve. He remembered the football player broke his leg during practice, and he would be in the hospital for awhile. That was why Judy contacted Kikyo.

Slade was surprised by all of this, wondering what was true and false in what Zero had shown him. He was reluctant to work for the mad scientist, but he needed to protect those that he loved from his demented wrath. "Listen… I'm willing to forget about this if you are," Slade offered, giving Rick a chance.

Rick saw the hand, hesitant at first but he took and gripped it hard. "Alright, I'm willing to… Put it in the past," he said, not wanting to say any butt-related jokes. It was bad enough that the young blond, who he saw in his mind to be a frail and innocent baby, turned out to be so mischievous and sneaky. "Just don't touch my ass. It's bad enough I've got your baby brother abusing it!"

Slade narrowed his eyes, boring into the hard ones. "Are you bad mouthing my little brother?" He asked, bringing Rick close. If anyone said anything bad about Max, that person would be in a load of trouble. It was the big brother in him that made him protective of his 'innocent baby brother'.

Michael saw this coming, placing both hands on two bladers' shoulders calmly. "Anyway, thanks for your concerns Slade… I'm glad we got the bad blood resolved," he said, his blue eyes on the light-haired blond.

The older male gazed at Michael, letting go of Rick's hand. "Michael… You're my childhood friend. The Renegades would never do anything to harm you… But I can't let what Kai did three years ago go unnoticed," he said firmly.

Judy knew what Slade was talking about, remembering when the dual-haired Russian used Black Dranzer to steal the All Stars' bitbeasts. She knew Kai had gotten stronger, but wondered if Slade was powerful enough. Although, something did cross her mind and it was the same question that Emily was thinking about when she watched Slade battle Rick. "Slade, before you go I want to ask you something," she said.

Slade glanced at his mother, motioning for her and Kikyo to follow him. He didn't want his childhood friends to know what he and the Renegades had been doing for the past five years. "Ryu, you and the guys head up to the room to rest up," he said, watching his teammates leave. "There's one more thing I need to do." The blond man walked over to Emily.

The ginger-haired genius gazed at Slade, seeing his hands on her shoulders. When she glanced up he leaned in and felt his lips fully pressed against hers. Her eyes widened in shock.

Emily watched Slade pull back, feeling her cheeks heat up. "W-what was… That for?" She stuttered.

"That… That's for me not confessing my feelings for you many years ago," Slade answered, smiling gently at Emily. He gazed at the rest of the All Stars, his silver eyes on each of them. "And if you guys plan on giving Emily a hard time, I've got my eyes on all three of you mischievous sneaks."

All three of them simply smiled, knowing Slade's crush on Emily was obvious. "Don't sweat it; I'll make sure nobody hits on her," Michael assured.

Emily smirked, her own eyes on the baseball player and captain. "Oh really? You can't fight your way out of a paper bag," she teased lightly, seeing the dirty blond captain easily frustrated from being outwitted by his teammate.

Slade, Kikyo, and Judy were outside of the hallway, using the arena to talk about what the older man had been doing for the past five years. The blond scientist turned to gaze at her oldest son, her blue eyes on him. "Slade, I know running your father's company is time consuming and your visits are short, but… What have you been doing for the past five years?" she asked.

Closing those silver eyes, he sighed heavily. How could he tell his mother that he was a bounty hunter? He knew the truth had to come out, so it was best that she knew the truth. "After the tournament five years ago… Dr. Zero blackmailed us to carry Hitoshi to his lab. That was when Hitoshi was gravely injured, a… secondary personality took over, and called himself Shippu no Jin."

"I've heard of that name before. It was an anime that started back in the late nineties, but got cancelled due to being too violent." Kikyo interjected, having seen the elder Kinomiya watch it on Saturdays. She was glad Adam didn't watch it, but thought it was kind of cute to see him tease the older boy lightly about his taste in anime. "But go ahead, continue your story."

"Now that part of the mystery is solved, where was I? Ah yes, anyway, after that incident it reminded me of… my father's death, so I convinced my team that we should be bounty hunters for hire. However we only lend our services to those who are just and noble. We take in the corrupt alive and we make sure that no innocents are harmed," Slade explained to his mother and Kikyo, his silver eyes on them. "However, Zero found out about our 'business' in 2001 and he blackmailed us into doing some of his work. We were reluctant, but then he threatened to kill you, Max, and those I held close to me if I didn't do what he said."

Judy tensed at this, remembering that time she was cold and indifferent towards Max and his teammates. Sure, he was family but she did whatever it took to win. She heard a familiar sinister chuckle, turning around to see a familiar raven haired scientist. "Now Slade, we shouldn't be trading secrets. That would spoil the game," Zero grinned evilly, but shrugged his shoulders.

"But then again, it's always nice to see the reactions," he laughed like a maniac. His own eyes landed on Kikyo and his grin widened. "Hello sis, long time no see."

Kikyo glanced at Zero, covered her mouth and her eyes widened in horror. "Cameron Akatsuki…" her voice trailed off.

Zero growled at Kikyo, leapt over the seats and brought a hand up. "Cameron Akatsuki is dead!" he exclaimed, snapping his fingers. His appearance shifted and twisted, revealing chalk white skin, messy spiked jungle green hair with black streaks, a Glasgow smile with gray make-up to cover them, red markings on his eyes, and his eyes were pure black with red slits, sharp black claws, and stood 5'11". He wore a purple and black high-collared trench coat that stopped at his knees, dark green vest zipper styled, a blue and purple dress shirt, a maroon tie, purple and black pants, black fingerless gloves, and black leather boots with straps to match. "I prefer Dr. Zero these days, the local mad scientist if you will."

"My God… is that your real appearance?" Slade whispered, never having seen the demented man's appearance when he was younger.

Zero made a 'ding' noise like in the game shows, and smiled evilly. "Give the boy a prize! Yup, this is my real appearance. I feel…" he hopped onto his seat, lounging back in an easy-going manner. "… comfortable in it, unlike that dead waste of human flesh. Besides, the genetic and cyborg 'fetish' is more my thing." His dark sinister eyes fell on the three. "After all, your mother is the only one to have seen my true form," he said.

Judy turned away at that, her arms wrapping around herself and bit her lower lip. "But there's just one thing that's been bugging everyone…" He stroked his chin, pretending to think of the right question, and grinned evilly. "Why have you been so cold and bitter towards your sons? After all, they are your family. He told you his dirty little secrets; it's only fair that you repay the favor. Isn't that right… Barbie?"

This caught Judy off guard, feeling vulnerable from Zero's words. She knew why she did it, and in response it caused her to bring up that cold mask again. However, he reappeared in front of her out of the blue, and looked prepared to strike.

"Mom!" Slade yelled, pushing her out of harm's way and yelled in pain, feeling Zero's sharp nails dig into his shoulders.

"Oh quit yelling. The cybernetic enhancements I gave you should make you unstoppable… that is if they don't go out of date." Zero let out one last sinister laugh. "And don't bother getting off the island or calling for help. I destroyed the ship, rigged this island with explosives, and created a jamming device to block out all forms of communication, including cell phones," he said before disappearing into thin air.

The icy cold and indifferent emotions inside Judy shattered, her blue eyes on her injured son. It caused the mother inside her to kick in. "Slade!" She cried out, rushing over to her eldest son. She watched the nanobots inside Slade take care of the wound, feeling terrible for what that horrendous monster did to her son.

"Slade… I'm so sorry," she said, pulling her son into a tight hug. "… When you lost your title when you were twelve Zero and I had a private conversation… he explained to me that he was responsible for everyone's deaths. He closed all forms of electronics and rigged the stadium with explosives… If I didn't hand you over, he threatened to kill everyone in the stadium," she explained, and her blue eyes welled up with tears.

"When you were in Russia he… offered to let me save you if I could beat Russia's top team. I resigned from my job as the science professor of the university you and your father always came by to see me at. I had no idea what to do, but I remembered your father had tons of books in his office on beyblading. The same ones I always read to you when you were little. As for the way I've been acting, it was hard to deal with the pain of seeing you with that madman. I cut off my emotions, thinking it would help make the pain go away… But I was a fool!" Judy cried, letting all she had kept inside her out after nine years. "All I cared about was saving you, but I slowly became something I wasn't," she sobbed, but felt her chin cupped by Slade.

Slade bit his lower lip, his silver eyes filled with tears. "You… you only did what you thought was right at the time. You're not a cold and uncaring mother. I've always admired your intelligence, and dad would be amazed at what you've become. Although it's hard to keep Alistair off of you, trying to plan out 'how to ask you out'," he rolled his eyes playfully, wiping away her tears.

Judy smiled at that, hugging her son tightly and pressed her body against his. She wanted to show her son that she was still the same and rubbed his back gently. "Slade… I know you must be angered by your father's death, but don't do something you shouldn't be doing," She said softly. "And let Kikyo get your shoulder."

The blond man groaned in humiliation. He was embarrassed that his mother was in 'protective mother mode' now. He wondered if Max went through the same thing after that battle with Neo Borg against Boris.

'I wonder if my body will hold out…Blast, I almost forgot about the plan. I really hate to do this to Max…But I have to do it,' he thought.

Rei could barely sleep; his golden eyes wide open even late into the night while the others slept. All he could think about was Kouji, and how he missed holding the young baby. He slipped out of his lover's arms, getting into his clothes and quietly took his beyblade. Maybe it was time to practice, see if he had what it took to be in one of these matches.

He walked down the hallway, leaving the section of their rooms and headed towards the beach. What better way to settle down than be in a calm and soothing surrounding. It was a breath of fresh air, adapting to the area like it was his own. He took out his launcher, loading up Driger into it and launched it. The silver beyblade landed smoothly, a light smile touching his lips. 'I may have stopped blading, but that doesn't mean I'm out of shape and have forgotten how to do it,' he thought.

Well, you shouldn't leave your mind wide open mate. After all, somebody can just come on in and invite themselves.

The young neko-jin's felt a moment of shock, seeing a turquoise and red marked beyblade attack his own. Seeing it wobble a bit he growled lowly. "Show yourself!" he yelled, not in the mood to play games.

Alistair came out of the trees, landing on the sand and his red eyes met with the gold ones. A smirk crossed his lips, slowly standing up and it didn't flicker even when the neko-jin gave him a nasty glare. "Hey… Hello Kitty called, she told me to tell you she's suing you for copyright infringement," he quipped.

Rei narrowed his eyes, his silver beyblade striking back against the other blade. "Driger, attack!" he yelled, the blade gaining speed and bashed against the other one. "You have a lot of nerve, striking me out in the open like a spineless coward."

"Oooo, I'm quakin' in my boots," Alistair mocked, pretending to be hurt and laughed lightly. Sharkborg continued to counter Rei's attacks, not giving in to the other's speed. "Let me ask you this… do you trust your lover? I mean he acts like a kid… a teenage kid who enjoys nothing but beyblading."

Rei clenched his jaw at that, not about to give into the other's words. However, he did realize that the bluenette had been paying more attention to those spinning tops… No, he couldn't give up on his lover. He knew Takao was loyal to him, but would that loyalty last forever?

You can't escape what I say, whether it be a physical or mental confrontation. Come on, don't you want someone that's responsible? A real man who would support you and your child? How will the 'world champion' of beyblading pay for Kouji's education? After all, the boy does need intelligence and not end up a deadbeat like his dear ol' dad.

Rei thought about Kouji for a minute, wondering what he'd be like when he grew up. Now that he thought about it, he started to feel like Takao wouldn't keep his word, and would end up doing the same immature things he always did.

Alistair smirked, seeing Driger start to wobble a bit and took this opportunity to bash against the neko-jin's beyblade. "Better not daydream too much," he said, pushing Driger near the water. With one final push, he watched the beyblade skid into the ocean. "Welcome to my turf," he said.

"I don't think so! Driger, Thunder Slash!" The young blader yelled and the white tiger with green stripes was summoned his own beyblade pounding at the turquoise beyblade.

A mischievous grin was plastered onto his lips. The bitchip glowed blue as his beyblade jumped, and a giant Great White Shark bitbeast was summoned, opening its mouth and a ball of energy charged in its mouth. "Sharkborg! Aquatic Terror!" The blue beam caught Driger in the center of its chest, the white tiger roaring as it took the hit.

Rei's eyes widened in horror, seeing his beyblade wash up on shore. He walked over to it, kneeling down and looked at the deep marks, cracks, and edges that were missing. "Driger…" He whispered, never thinking that the MS beyblade could be damaged so easily. Sure, he lost to Moses at that battle, but to see it this badly damaged or shattered was beyond anything. He switched his gaze to find Alistair, seeing that he was gone. "Damn it!" He yelled, pounding his fist into the sand and tears were welling, feeling like he had been shattered.

Kai was by himself in the jungle area of the island, needing to clear his mind. Even if he had mended his argument with Jonouchi, he needed to be alone for the moment. Taking out Dranzer, he loaded up the blue beyblade into his launcher and released it. He needed to work off his own frustrations, one of a certain blond.

A purple beyblade was launched, pushing Dranzer into a tree and sparks flew. It made sure the blue one was stuck there, showing no mercy. The stoic Russian watched as the electricity from the random beyblade spark, caused the tree to fall. "Dranzer!" He yelled, his body tense as he worried for his bitbeast.

"So you do show emotion?" A voice out of nowhere asked. The covered man felt the pair of crimson eyes on him, narrowing his own eyes back.

"You'd understand the connection with one's bitbeast if you bothered to try," Kai said dryly, turning his body to get a better focus on Drake. His ears picked up a familiar sound, and saw his own beyblade return to his side.

Lizardborg returned to his master's side, spinning as it crackled with electricity. Drake's own pair of crimson eyes met with Kai's, the two staring at each other. "I do have a connection with my bitbeast, and with my teammates," he said, wondering in his mind why someone like Kai would not move on. Sure, he was once like Kai, but not to the extent of being anti-social and uncaring.

"Why don't you show me your 'bond' with your bitbeast," Kai challenged, wanting to teach his character a lesson.

"Alright, but you asked for it." The black and purple-clad man said, getting into a boxer stance. He threw a straight punch, Lizardborg moving fast and hit Dranzer dead on. His movements were quick, his beyblade mimicking those moves like they were one.

Kai winced, his own eyes trying to catch up with the other's blade, but he had never met anyone else that could move this quick besides Rei and Brooklyn. He then remembered the Renegades were six time champions, right? Did the once world champions practice religiously when they dropped off the radar? And if so, where had they been for the last five years? "Dranzer, don't give up!" The blue beyblade responded, holding its ground against Lizardborg and pushed back.

Drake was impressed; Kai did have the skills and experience to back it up. If what Slade said was true, the young Russian blader held a strong bond with his lover and his bitbeast. However, he questioned if Kai truly cared about his teammates deep down. "Okay, so you have strong connection to Dranzer… however, your life tends to be full of danger. Not only that, but have you ever dated someone outside of Jonouchi?" He asked.

Kai didn't respond to that, but his beyblade continued to push. 'What does he mean my life is full of danger?' He thought with anger, a small part of it starting to cause doubt, causing Dranzer to be covered in negative area, similar to his fight with Brooklyn.

"Your obsession with wanting to beat Takao Kinomiya… it sickens me." Drake spat out the last part with anger, his beyblade charging up. "Isn't he your friend? Your comrade in arms? The one person who has considered you a friend, no matter how much you two don't get along?" He continued to question Kai, Lizardborg charging back at Dranzer and hit her back. "Unlike you, I've always been there for my teammates when they need me the most," he said, dashing at Kai and threw a punch across the other's face.

Kai actually felt the punch to his cheek, seeing that Drake was a fighter by instinct. He stumbled a bit, his red eyes on the older blader. "What I do is none-" He was cut off again, hit fast and sent flying against a tree. His gaze was slowly on Dranzer, feeling her slow down, but put his energy into helping regain the balance. "Enough of this, Dranzer!" The bitchip glowed, a brilliant and elegant phoenix was summoned.

"Lizardborg!" The humanoid black and purple lizard leapt from the beyblade, his tongue dripped with green slime, and snarled at the red phoenix. Lizardborg leapt at Dranzer, sinking his sharp teeth into the red one's neck, and electricity attacked the sacred bitbeast.

Kai yelled in pain, feeling the electricity as well. He could actually feel Dranzer's pain, and his eyes watched the battle to see Drake gain the advantage. "Why do you care so much about what I do?" He demanded, panting heavily.

"Because there was a time and place I was once like you… you never learn your lesson, and I might as well do it the hard way," Drake said, his black gloves mechanically pealing back and electrical steams of lavender electricity moving erratically across his hands. "You call yourself Jonouchi's lover? Show that you're human, that you care! Don't hold everything in!" He yelled, rushing at Kai with electric charged punches. "However, I hate it how one person is only open to a certain individual, it makes me sick! There's no such thing as an 'instant love' with one person!"

The dual-haired teen now started to take in Drake's words, feeling in his mind that they were true. He continued to take in the punches, feeling his battered body weaken by being attacked not only physically but emotionally as well. His gaze shifted over, seeing Lizardborg actually in synch with his own master's movements. "Dran… zer…" he whispered.

"Rolling Thunder!" The black and purple lizard's spikes on the forearms charged with electricity, pulling hook punches left and right against Dranzer. When the combo was over, the finishing blow was a powerful uppercut and that caused Kai to land on the ground flat on his back. Drake's gloves mechanically pulled back, and his gaze fell on the fallen blue beyblade.

"You and everything else around you will fall… it's what you deserve, not able to see what you have in front of you," he finished, catching his purple beyblade and walked away. "And to think you would have changed in the Virtual Reality machine… Guess I was wrong," he walked away from the young blader.

Kai turned his gaze, not bothering to look at Drake. He looked at his blue beyblade, seeing that Dranzer was still intact. Inside him he felt the other's blind anger, something that he was familiar with. Although Drake's statements had gotten to him. What was he doing, being with Jonouchi? The blond inu-jin shouldn't be with him. He caused nothing but pain and brought the other blader down with him. Maybe both Slade and Drake were right; he didn't deserve to live this life and he didn't deserve to be a beyblader.

"Dranzer… Katsuya… I'm sorry," he muttered, starting to make his final decisions.

"Someone call the pound. There's a stray puppy loose without a collar." Jonouchi knew that voice and he caught his beyblade, having been training by himself in a back alley behind the arena. Cans were stacked in a pattern before him as brown eyes focused.

"Slade… do I have to kick your ass again?"

At that the elder blond shook his head, dropping from above and landing on one of the cans. It rolled to the side, dumping Slade on his back as Jonouchi rolled his eyes. "Smooth… real smooth. And you're the one I'm supposed to be scared of?"

"Still a wise ass I see, even after everything."

"What do you want Slade!" As he pushed himself up Slade motioned to the inu-jin and Jonouchi just shook his head.

"Sorry buddy, you want a lay go find a slut. I've got a boyfriend to find," he waved his hand as he turned around but was stopped as a can hit the wall in front of him. Whirling around he glared at Slade who held a beyblade in his hand.

"I think you'll suit just fine," he said and motioned to Ryu who seemed to appear suddenly. "I lost the last round but I won't lose against you ever again. We will be taking this tournament," stepping forward he leaned to whisper against Jonouchi's ear. To anyone watching it may have seemed an intimate movement but Ryu knew the truth as he stood in silence. Slade was just playing with Jonouchi's head. He was there to watch to make sure no one ratted to Emily. His captain had finally admitted and he wasn't about to let anyone get in the way of that, especially not a random passerby who might see Slade with the enticing blond. "I'm going to destroy you piece by piece, Katsuya."

There was a growl as Jonouchi narrowed his eyes towards Slade, shoving him back. "Don't you dare call me that!" There was only one person still alive that was allowed to call him that and Slade wasn't him.

"Is there something going on here?" Adam peeked around the corner, having heard his tag team partner's distinctive voice.

"I was just challenging your partner here to a friendly match," Slade told his former rival, motioning to Jonouchi. At first he had thought Adam would be his great opponent but as he had watched he had realized there was someone far more worthy of his attention. The inu-jin still hadn't tapped into the full potential of his bitbeast even after all these years. He had one goal in mind, to push Jonouchi past his limits and past every one of his teammates. He had watched the battle between the Silver Wolves and Bladebreakers. The wrong team had won and he would make sure the rightful champion took his position above Kinomiya.

"Jonouchi, you aren't seriously going to…" Adam began but Jonouchi cut him off with a look. He swallowed hard, remembering back to their first tag team battle. Jonouchi had bailed him out with his superior skill and it was all the more obvious that he was out of his league. He was just glad that everyone seemed out of their league against the Bladebreakers but sooner or later that wouldn't be enough. He would fail Jonouchi and they would lose.

"I am," he said as he nodded his head. Taking a step back Ryu counted down and both the blonds launched their beyblades. Kuroiryu had instantly taken control of the battle, bashing against Xaviax until a second beyblade hit it from the side. Growling Jonouchi recovered his footing, having slid back as he glanced up to see Ryu had joined the fray.

"When I battle you it will be a tag team," Slade told the other, eyes on him. "You're a world class beyblader but your tag team skills are sloppy. You'll lose if you don't have a partner that can keep up with you. I can be that partner," he offered his hand.

"And join you? I'd rather die!" Jonouchi snarled as he was knocked back, his legs buckling underneath him.

"Jonouchi! Just surrender!" Adam called out to his partner.

"Never!" Reaching down he pushed himself up, panting hard. He had been knocked back enough that his face and arms were scratched. He was knocked back repeatedly, groaning as his back hit the wall.

"Have you had enough puppy?" Slade taunted him. "You can end this all right now."


"Be useful or get out!" He snapped at Adam as he reached down with a shaky hand, pushing himself up again. He stumbled slightly but then caught himself. Expecting another hit from Slade he shut his eyes only for it to be stopped by another beyblade. Instead Ryu appeared in front of him, his hand striking Jonouchi's stomach as he doubled over.

On his knees he panted hard, eyes focusing on them each. He barely glanced over, noticing that Adam was struggling as well against Slade. Adam was breathing hard as Slade continued to send Xaviax after him. His eyes focused on his once rival. "You're all washed up," he said, his eyes locking on Adam as he glanced at his beyblade. "Xaviax!" The huge hawk emerged, eyes focusing on Adam and his beyblade.

It caused the Japanese-American to swallow hard, knowing what was coming next. He could call out Aster but would that save him? Probably not.

He had been given his chance and he had failed again. Deep down he knew Slade was right. He didn't have what it took to be on this team.

"Tornado Arrow!"

Adam braced himself for the impact but it never came. Slowly opening his eyes he noticed that Jonouchi and Kuroiryu had intercepted the blow. Pressed against the other bitbeast it pushed back, both bitbeasts flying from the explosion as Jonouchi and Slade landed on the ground, slowly picking themselves up.

"Jonouchi! Don't be an idiot!" Adam urged his tag team partner, as Jonouchi turned on him.

"I wouldn't have to if you bothered to help!" He snarled as his beyblade smashed back, holding both the beyblades back for a moment before he was knocked back by Ryu. However the other couldn't pull back as quickly as he thought, a strong grip having formed around his wrist. Using the hold Jonouchi drove a knee up to Ryu's crotch and the others winced as the ninjitsu blader stumbled back.

"Oh thanks a lot," Adam grumbled and suddenly his beyblade changed course, smashing against Kuroiryu. There was a growl as Jonouchi turned towards him.

"What the hell are you doing?" Jonouchi felt his muscles bunch, preparing for the next hit. Not only did he have to deal with Slade and Ryu, but now Adam as well.

"I… I don't know. It's like it won't respond to me." Adam shook his head as his beyblade slammed back and Jonouchi hit the ground, his beyblade struggling against the other three. In Slade's mind this couldn't have worked any better and though he thought the battle would be over at any moment Jonouchi struggled back to his feet. A look of shock crossed Ryu's face as he glanced back at Slade.

"We need to stop this before he gets too badly injured," but he stopped as Slade shook his head.

"Jonouchi! Just give up!" Adam pleaded and his beyblade seemed to respond as Aster emerged, or at least he thought it was Aster. The huge black and red bitbeast didn't even resemble its former self. Sinking to his knees he visibly shook and received a hit from Ryu, knocked back against the ground, his beyblade landing beside him on its top. Eyes widened as he stared in horror. What had happened to Aster? Was it even his bitbeast anymore and why couldn't he control his beyblade?

"Slade, we've already won this. Just let him go," Ryu began but his captain just shook his head.

"This is what real teamwork will do," Slade said as he watched the other struggling to keep up however he kept pushing himself up. Jonouchi was panting hard, his hands resting on his knees. He wouldn't let them outdo him. He wouldn't let himself lose.

"Jonouchi… please," Adam pleaded as he saw the inu-jin wipe a streak of blood from his face. He had to stop him somehow before he got hurt worse than he already was.

"Kuroiryu!" Jonouchi felt the fames surround him as his beyblade slammed harder, consumed in flames. It tore through the concrete as the huge black dragon emerged, giving a loud roar. It moved towards the hawk. Slamming back Xaviax tried to control the battle. Jonouchi was knocked back, his back hitting the concrete. Reaching down with one shaky hand his gaze locked on Slade. "Meteor Strike!"

The balls of fire rained down, striking at the ground. Ryu didn't have time to recover as his beyblade was knocked back. Xaviax was still spinning but Kuroiryu had stopped. Jonouchi was on the ground, a pool of blood from a gash opened up on the side of his head.

"Jonouchi? Jonouchi!" Adam hurried over, kneeling down to his tag team partner. "Dammit, why didn't you stop when I told you to." He stared as Slade stepped over, picking the inu-jin's limp body up, patches of blood on his clothing and deep cuts along his body, shirt and pants torn. "Put him down…"

"I'm going to deliver my message to your student one way or another. You have to know Adam; I thought he would give up. I didn't mean to knock him out."

"I know… that's not you," he clenched his hands tightly. "He was just so stubborn…"

"Our next battle for the fourth round is the Predatorials vs. Novas!"

Rai took a deep breath, his eyes focused on the arena before him. It was a mountain-styled arena, one that looked similar to his home in the village. This type of arena was new to him and the lion blader wondered if he could use this to his advantage. Of course he could, he lived in the mountains for seventeen years, and knew the ins and outs of it.

Matoko's gold eyes were on his lover, seeing that he was thinking deeply. It wasn't hard to read Rai, being his lover for a year helped connect the two like glue. Placing a giant hand on the other's shoulder gently, he watched the other pair of eyes on him. He nodded his head, assuring his lover would that he would do great. He watched his neko-jin partner go up to the steps, seeing Rai now walk up with confidence. The Novas were about to be proven that they were not unbeatable.

Ralf's eyes landed on Rai, not saying a word as he brought out his launcher. In the past, he would have worn the armor of the Jurgen family, but he had put that behind him. He was a beyblader, not a warrior. Although he did battle with honor in the noble game, and would continue to do so. As he took out his beyblade, he loaded up Griffolyon into his launcher and took a stance. He remembered saving Seto's little brother became his mission, no the Novas' mission, and they couldn't fail him. Seto was their captain and they all pledged loyalty to him.

There was the click of the gears, the arena being lowered in a similar fashion to the other three battles. Once the arena was below, the two bladers gazed into each other's eyes. Both of them were very serious about this coming battle.

"3… 2… 1… Go Shoot!"

Rai pulled the rip cord of his launcher, launching his Galeon smoothly onto the ground. "Go Galeon!" He yelled, watching his beyblade gain in speed. He had practiced religiously with his lover, wanting to be back on his A-game like in the past, and not like the tag-team tournament where in his mind he had performed at a half-level, having let Rei down.

"Griffolyon, dodge!" Ralf called out, his light blue beyblade dodging the other blade. It barely dodged, seeing the raven haired Chinese blader focused on his performance.

Galeon continued to move at a great speed, turning around and hit hard against Griffolyon. Rai continued to perform new counters and techniques, all based on his years of martial arts training. He would use that to his advantage, having learned to be at one with his skills.

Ralf wondered in the back of his mind if he should continue this battle. No, as much as he wanted to, he needed to win a score for the Novas, so that they could rescue Mokuba and win this fake tournament. "Griffolyon! Dagger Storm!" A giant griffin bitbeast was summoned, flapping its wings a rain of sharp dagger-like feathers came raining down at the black beyblade, striking it rapidly.

Rai watched as Galeon was it multiple times, losing the first round. Although he smiled slightly, going over to pick up his beyblade. He knew he could make some room for improvement, but he had a gut feeling their team would win. "That was a good match," His eyes focused on Ralf, seeing the other with his hand out. The strong blader took the purple-haired man's hand, shaking it and nodded his head. He went to the roped-ladder, climbing up and met with his teammates.

"Those were some sweet moves!" Kiki grinned, giving a thumbs up to his captain and childhood friend.

"Yeah Rai, you were determined out there," Mao assured, placing a hand on her big brother's shoulder. She had noticed a very big improvement in her brother's style, despite the fact that he had lost. It was him trying out his new style that mattered.

Rai's hand touched Mao's gloved one, nodding his head and turned his gaze to his lover. "I think we should send in our tag team next," he said, turning his eyes back to Mao and then to Rumiko. They would send in their best bladers, the speed demons to be exact, and they were not to be messed with.

"Finish them," Kaiba said as he glanced towards his teammates, Tori glanced up and nodded towards her captain before nodding her head. She wasn't about to fail her captain, her gaze locking on the Predatorial team.

"Let's go Olivier," she said as she stood up, watching as her opponents stood up. Climbing down into the arena the green haired boy sighed, climbing after her into the forest arena. "We can't fail Seto, Olivier," she said, her voice soft as she brushed the strands out of her face.

"I understand," at that he loaded his pink beyblade into his launcher as he glanced towards Rumiko and Mao. A part of him was wishing Seto and Ralf had chosen one of the more powerful original Novas.

"3… 2… 1… Go shoot!"

Rumiko and Mao both launched their beyblades, slamming hard against the other two as the four stared at each other, each tag team determined to win for their own reasons. The Predatorials wanted to prove themselves while the Novas had much more at stake.

Tori held her position, both beyblades striking at her own as she focused intently, giving a nod towards Olivier as he returned the look. He knew what he was expected to do in order to win this and he motioned towards his own beyblade.

"Unicolyon!" With his call the huge unicorn emerged from the beyblade. It reared back before slamming down its hooves, shaking the ground. "Earth Shaker!"

The entire arena shook, knocking both Predatorial bladers over as Tori glanced towards her beyblade. "Loperin! Lunar Light!" The white rabbit emerged, gazing towards the sky as the moonlight covered the arena, the bright light blinding the other two.

"Kyot! Thief attack!" The beyblade gained in speed, smashing unpredictably at Unicolyon as Galux took the other side, grinding Oliver's pink beyblade to a stop. As the light pink beyblade stopped spinning Oliver gave Tori an apologetic look as the other shrugged her shoulders. There wasn't anything they could do about it now. She had to give them credit for lasting this long but she was about to show them real power.

Both beyblades struck relentlessly at Loperin as Tori crossed her arms, her beyblade taking the attacks like they were nothing. "You're both going to have to do better than that if you want to defeat me. My partner was overconfident but you won't find that flaw in me," Tori said, her arms crossed under her breasts.

"Galux!" Mao called out to her bitbeast, he gaze focusing intently as the two beyblades swerved between each other, each slamming against Tori's. Grinding against it Loperin slowed and then stopped.

Kneeling down Tori picked up her beyblade and then nodded towards them. "You did well, but I'm afraid in the end we'll win," with that said she climbed out of the arena, eyes locked on her captain. He would be going next and he would not go easy on this team.

Adam was trying to understand why his bitbeast had changed. Maybe because of the way it was feeling on the inside? Was it the genetic experiments Zero performed on Aster, further mutating his black and red dragon? He kept his eyes on Slade and Ryu was keeping his eyes on him.

Slade smirked inwardly; he would make sure Kai and Jonouchi's worlds crumbled. He would bring out Jonouchi's full potential, and make the blond inu-jin realize the error of his ways in dating Kai. It sickened him, wondering why Jonouchi remained loyal to Kai and simply chose the silent Russian blader over his own family. Well, his teammates that were like his only family; and the blond had tricked them into a trap. Plus to top it off, Kai had stolen his childhood friends' bitbeasts during the World Champion tournament in Russia three years ago.

When walking into the Bladebreakers' room, Rei and Takao were arguing about Takao's behavior as a father and how he should behave. His own brother and the small genius Kyouju were holding the bickering couple back, trying to calm them and contain the situation. Hiromi was helping Kai with his injuries. She had been taking a walk around the forest and come across Kai, battered and unconscious.

Adam was shocked, wondering what was wrong with his teammates. It suddenly made sense, his midnight blue eyes focused on Slade, wondering what his once rival was getting at.

"What did you do to Katsuya?" Kai demanded. The concern for his lover was there, but there was a calm and almost threatening tone directed to Slade.

The older blond's silver eyes were on Kai, his arms crossed over his chest. "I challenged Jonouchi to a friendly tag-team match… But he continued to be stubborn when things got too intense. I offered him a chance to back down, and he wouldn't listen," he explained to Kai. "Of course, Adam wanted him to withdraw as well," he added.

Jonouchi squinted his eyes a bit, slowly opening them up. He felt himself laid down on the couch by Ryu. During the walk back to the Bladebreakers' room, Adam had been uneasy with Slade carrying the young blader, so the silver haired man volunteered to carry Jonouchi. "What am I doing here?" He muttered, and remembered his match with Slade. He turned his gaze, his brown eyes on Slade in anger. "Slade!" He yelled, about to stand up, but winced.

Kai was already on his feet and hurrying towards his lover's side, but Adam quickly beat him to the punch. He watched his teacher help the tall blond and his jaw tightened. "Katsuya… you should rest."

Kaiba stepped forward, his gaze falling on the team. The loss in the tag team had been a disappointment to say the least, however he wouldn't let that slow him down. He had his own reason for being there and he would not allow any team to stop him.

His gaze locked forward, not saying a word to his team. He would have preferred to handle this on his own but it was a team tournament. His opponent was the giant inu-jin of the Predatorial team and cold blue met vibrant gold. Kaiba knew about the inu-jins of the team, having training their former captain.

However one quick glance around told him that his student was missing from the crowd. That was a shock in itself, knowing Jonouchi to be the type to want to watch his once team. In his mind however that just meant that his former student had pressing business elsewhere.

"Alright, we are down to the final battle! Will the Predatorials join the Bladebreakers, Avalanche, and the Renegades in our next round, or will the Novas show the European strength? This battle will decide it all!"

He had to win. There was no choice in that and it was the only thing on his mind as Kaiba loaded his beyblade into the launcher. There was a snort in response as Matoko loaded his own beyblade into his launcher. Made out of a heavier material than most beyblades he operated on attack first and foremost but he had never before faced an opponent like Seto Kaiba.

The cold blue focused intently, his gaze never once flickering from Matoko. Reaching for his beyblade he glanced around the forested arena. It wasn't his choice of environment but that didn't mean anything. He could battle to his fullest in any circumstance. If he won this battle the two teams would enter a tie breaker. This was still anyone's game and the infamous 'blue eyes' had never lost a battle.

"3… 2… 1… go shoot!"

Instantly the two beyblades were launched, golden eyes focused intently on Kaiba as the heavy black beyblade headed straight towards the white one which dodged out of the way. On the bench Ralf focused intently, concern creasing his face. Dodging like that was not Seto's usual technique, instead usually striking with an overwhelming attack.

He didn't understand why his fellow captain would change his entire strategy like that. Yes, his opponent was strong, but changing up one's style could only lead to problems. Ralf did not like this at all. His battling wasn't cautious like he usually was, leaving too many holes.

Matoko focused intently, his beyblade slamming against the other, pushing it back. Despite the huge arena they were only battling in the few feet between them. He was slightly annoyed, Kaiba dodging most of his attacks. The style was familiar, very familiar; waiting for the right moment to strike, but Matoko had long trained against the one that had mastered that style of blading.

The black beyblade was gaining in power the longer this battle continued but as Matoko glanced up he realized that Kaiba didn't seem to be strained at all by this constant dodging. It was rare for the blader to not make any mistake with this sort of attack. He would have to watch him carefully if he wanted to win.

It was a rarity for Kaiba to beyblade so there was no telling just how strong he was but if the rumors were anything to go by Matoko knew that this would be the battle of his life. Deep down he knew he would be hard pressed to win this battle but he focused, each beyblade battling against each other. With a shower of sparks the two came together before bouncing back.

"You're a gifted competitor. I can see why my student chose you as his partner in the last tournament, but everyone must fall someday," Kaiba said in a deadly calm as Matoko's eyes flashed in irritation.

"Funny, I was about to say the same about you," he snapped back, ears flattening to his scalp. The man before him was still as cold as anything, not even showing sign of breaking a sweat. Matoko growled as his beyblade tried to ram the white one, the other dodging out of the way before turning, slamming back.

The black beyblade slammed back, spinning faster as it gained speed, the blackness growing from its tip, sucking in the dirt. "I didn't think I'd be using this in the first round, but some things are unavoidable," Matoko's gaze locked forward as the white beyblade tried to dodge out of the way, swerving through the trees before hitting a rock. The white beyblade attacked from the air, knocking the black one from its position.

"You need to try harder if you're going to beat me," Kaiba said sharply, arms crossed over his chest, blue eyes piercing. He wasn't about to lose this battle to the inu-jin and deep down he knew he could win this battle. He was the stronger beyblader and he had to win. If he lost he would fail Mokuba and that was not something he would allow.

"Shiroiryu! Attack!" The white beyblade hit hard, the huge dragon emerging, giving a roar of anger as it attacked at full strength, knocking the other back. Hit hard Matoko growled, skidding across the ground as he felt the tender bruises form on his body.

Matoko had not been expecting such a fierce reaction, fangs flashing in a grin. This was the type of battle he wanted, one that would push him to his limits. It had been too long since he had last faced a battle so hard. If he lost they still had a chance to win but if he won they would go straight into the next round where they would face one of three teams, and it could be the Bladebreakers. His heart pounded at the idea that he may be facing off against the Captain in the next round. He concentrated intently, Sirius picking up speed and trading attacks. Each pushed against each other as the giant inu-jin flashed a grin.

He wasn't going to roll over and accept a defeat. "Sirius!" The black wolf emerged, attacking with a howl. Fangs flashed as the wolf attacked the dragon. Both beyblades clashed, knocking against each other. "Black Hole!" The darkness circled again, sucking in everything. Focusing intently on the beyblade he couldn't let his concentration fail. As the clouds of dust died down there was barely anything left.

Stepping over Kaiba picked up his bitchip, his gaze locking on Matoko. He had made a mistake in not finishing this battle quickly. As shoulders fell he walked slowly back to his team. He had failed his brother.

Jonouchi shook his head, his eyes still focused on Slade. "No, I want to make Slade pay for what he did."

Slade closed his eyes, smirking slightly and chuckled in amusement. The blond puppy still wanted more. Even after the beating he had given him in their battle, he wouldn't rest and listen to his lover or tag-team partner. "You're a piece of work Katsuya," he commented, his gaze still on him. However, Max was here so he needed to be careful of what he said.

"Don't you dare call me by my first name!" Jonouchi yelled, angered by the other blader having the nerve to call him by his first name the second time.

"Slade please!" Max spoke up, not wanting anymore fights to break out. He didn't know why Slade hated Kai and Jonouchi, but he was going to demand some answers. He didn't like his teammates being verbally abused, and he wanted his old brother back. "Why do you hate my teammates so much?"

Slade glanced at Max, seeing those innocent blue eyes look so serious. It made the older man realize he had missed out on Max's growth. from his innocent baby brother, to a mature and devoted blader. After watching Max's battles, it was official that the other had surpassed him. He encouraged Max that defense was the best offense back when Slade was younger. He wouldn't deny the truth from him. Being the big brother he was, Slade never wanted to hurt Max or his team. Kai and Jonouchi made it hard for him to see how devoted they were, and he couldn't let the tournament from Russia three years ago go unpunished.

"Slade," Ryu gazed at his captain. The cowl-covered blader wanted his friend to do the right thing. He was there and was going to watch every word Slade said.

Slade took a deep breathe, his eyes on Max and wondered if he could at least convince Max. "I hate them for what they did three years ago. A team is supposed to work as one single unit, and I see my teammates as a family. Instead, Kai and… his lover sided with Neo Borg. Since Kai back then wanted power he was easily drawn to Black Dranzer. Don't you think he should've seen the consequences, being associated with Borcloff."

Kai tensed at Slade's words, his crimson eyes turning away from the truth. Maybe Slade was right; Kai was tough on the outside but lately he had started to become vulnerable on the inside. He didn't show it outwardly, though now it was starting to show. "Being used as a weapon for Biovolt is something I refused to become. The Renegades and I stayed because we knew Borcloff was suspicious, and we never followed his orders. Though yes, I did accept his deal for power, but I didn't submit to being a puppet."

"Kai's changed! Sure, he doesn't talk a lot, but he's a loyal member of the Bladebreakers!" Takao stood up for Kai's defense.

Slade made a 'hmph' sound, chuckling slightly. "Oh Takao, you're so much like your brother… always standing up for your friends. How long will it be until you lose your own sanity?" He sighed, shaking his head. "But not the point. Kai doesn't realize the history of his own grandfather, his activities going well back in the mid-decades. Though I'll save that for another time. The wealth he had never belonged to him… it belonged to the Ivanov family. A man by the name of Anton Ivanov made a fortune, selling beyblade parts in Russia. Sure, he came from a wealthy family, but he wanted to make it his own way."

Adam had never heard Demitri or Yuriy bring up their past, so this was completely new to him. So all this time the man he knew as Voltaire Hiwatari wasn't a wealthy man at all?

"The company he made was Ivanov Corporation, a company that made beyblade parts and a center to help train or teach kids how to beyblade. All he ever wanted was to make kids happy… Until there was a corporate raid on it; killing the Ivanov family. So Voltaire took whatever Anton had, with Borcloff and Zero's help, and twisted it into his own image. What Kai doesn't know that these days, Biovolt is secretly holding bids behind his back. I pulled a few strings, and have the Ivanovs reclaiming what was rightfully theirs."

There was deadly silence in the room. The words that came from the captain of the Renegades mouth were the solid and blunt truth. Everyone was thinking something differently, wondering how these things could have happened.

Kai's mind was trying to wrap around these words. So all of his grandfather's wealth was a forgery, a lie to cover the truth and nothing more. However, his mind was on his lover, wondering about the next time he had a heart attack. And the bills he needed to pay for as well, since Mr. Daijenti said the BBA couldn't afford to pay for Jonouchi's medical bills. The stoic Russian had taken it upon himself to make sure the other slowly made it back to full health. 'Katsuya… I can't afford to lose you,' Kai thought.

"Now why do you despise Jonouchi?" Rei asked, changing the subject to ease everyone's feelings. However, he wanted to know why Max's older brother held an extreme dislike towards his once rival.

Slade smirked slightly, closing his eyes and glanced at Jonouchi. "Your friend… he has everything that makes him a good person. Watching out for his once teammates, making sure his sister is alive and well, noble, putting others before himself, everything. All except for one," he stopped, his smirk fading away. "Siding with Kai."

Jonouchi stood up again, growling at the blond cyborg. He was really getting under his skin, always making that excuse about siding with Kai. "Hey, I told you it was my choice!" He yelled, about to land in a punch.

Slade grabbed Jonouchi's wrist, punching the young inu-jin in the gut. Things were heating up, and the other was finally showing his repressed side towards Jonouchi "It was a dumb choice! If you were Kai's lover, you'd convince to come back to the other side, the side of good. Instead you were too wrapped up in loving him. Look what happened; you sided with a traitor who had a lust for power, and used your teammates and lured them into a trap so Kai could use Black Dranzer to take away their bitbeasts!" He yelled, slamming Jonouchi hard against the wall.

"And Shizuka, she's your sister God's sake, you're her world… all of the Silver Wolves believed in you, and you sided with a cold-hearted bastard who doesn't show any emotion towards anyone else!" He grabbed Jonouchi's shirt, his grip turning firmer. "You're supposed to be a hero, someone to look up to! Not a backstabber who chooses love for someone else! Family comes first, and you should know it after so many years!" He finished his sentence, pulling his fist back. "And it's time I started to make sure that it gets through to that thick skull of yours!"

Max's blue eyes widened in shock, and everyone else's as well. They had never seen so much anger in Slade towards Jonouchi's actions. Though he needed to be stopped, before he committed a murder he would regret.

"Stop!" Kai's shouted, gaining everyone's attention. "Don't hurt Katsuya because of my actions! If you want what's best, I'll… I'll break up with Katsuya!" He said, red eyes filled with tears.

Jonouchi looked at Kai, his own eyes open in total shock. Did he hear it right, that Kai was breaking up with him? That Kai and him were over?

"No Kai, you can't be serious," he whispered, seeing his once lover not respond to him. His brown eyes were on Slade, anger inside of them. "You, this is your fault!" He yelled, pushing Slade off of him, having an urge to punch him.

Adam was the first to react, holding Jonouchi back and used all of his strength as a government agent to hold the blond inu-jin. "Jonouchi, I know you're angry, but taking it out on Slade isn't worth it," he said, trying to reason with his tag-team partner. "Listen, I want to clean his clock as well, but doing something you're going to regret isn't something you want on your conscious."

Calming down, Jonouchi slowly got out of Adam's grip when the raven haired seventeen year old softened up his hold. "No, I won't hurt him… But I will battle him to prove that he's wrong." He said, his voice dropped to a cold, deathly calm. His fists were shaking, bangs covering his eyes as he turned and ran out of the room.

Kai just stood there, falling to his knees and tears started streaming down his cheeks. "Katsuya… I'm sorry… I didn't mean to, I didn't want this… Katsuya!" He cried loudly, breaking down for the first time and sobbed.

Adam turned his gaze to his once childhood friend, midnight blue eyes narrowing dangerously at Slade. "You better leave now, and we'll talk about this when I get to you," he said, running out of the room to find Jonouchi.

Slade just stood there, shocked at what had happened in front of him. The human part of him had thought he'd be satisfied with seeing the great Kai Hiwatari fall. Now all he felt was shame, guilt, and no satisfaction from his victory. He wanted to get even with the couple, but to see them hurt emotionally was something he regretted now.

As they left the room, Ryu closed the door and pulled down his mask. "Slade that was a bad move." he said, thinking his captain should know something he had done research on.

Slade felt his second-in-command's words bring him back to reality, gazing at him. "Ryu, I never wanted this to happen… I feel stupid now, hurting my brother's teammates." He wished the ground would swallow him up.

"They may not be squeaky clean like some of us, but I felt the connection they had," Ryu lectured his captain. "I've always been loyal to you, supporting whatever idea you had… this one went too far, and now you've left your little brother in a war zone with those other bladers," He scolded the young man. "However, I'll go back in there and try to cool things down, but I learned something important. You know how you shared your childhood with only me?"

Slade nodded his head, wondering what Ryu was getting at. Well, he always did share everything with the silver haired Ninjitsu blader, being his personal confidant and psychological support.

"Remember how we all shared a common goal to avenge the blader we looked up to. Turns out Jonouchi is actually related to Tobias. Slade, Katsuya is the son of Tobias Jonouchi and Diana Kawai. As for your hatred for Kai, he's Susumu and the late Kasumi Hiwatari's son, the guy that once wielded Dranzer," Ryu explained to his teammate.

The words came fast alright, the flashbacks coming to him fast. Back when his father and mother were married and Slade was only six years old. He was there in the days Jonouchi and Kai were born on their respective days. "Oh God, I'm the world's biggest idiot… Ryu, makes sure no one finds out what I said and that none of this gets out.

Jonouchi continued to run, not wanting his teammates to see him like this. He needed to be in top shape for them, at least that's what was going through his mind. All he could think about was all the times Kai had been there for him, and how he been there for his lover. Now it was over, they were through, and the man he loved believed all the lies Slade told him.

"Jonouchi!" He heard a familiar voice yell down the hallway, and his brown eyes were on the midnight-blue eyed teen.

Adam breathed heavily, looking all around the hallways and spotted his tag-team partner. He wanted to help his teammate, and reassure him Kai didn't mean to say those things. "Jonouchi, you really need to slow down," he panted, looking at the tall, young blader. "Kai didn't mean to say those things."

In response Jonouchi whipped around, wiping away his tears and used that wet fist to slam against the wall. "Well it sure as hell sounded like we were through!" He snapped, not caring if he was being a bitch towards Adam. His mind was still replaying the words, like an old broken record. "Besides, he doesn't want me! And I'm glad because I've been nothing but a burden to him!" He yelled, trying to regain his control but to no prevail.

Adam frowned, a serious look in his eyes. "That's not true; he cares about more than life itself. You're his world Jonouchi, and without you in it his life is meaningless," he voiced his opinion, thinking the blond inu-jin was the only person to get through to Kai.

Growling at those words, his gaze turned towards Adam. He was tired of the older, washed-up blader lecturing him or trying to reassure him. "If that's true, then how come Kai isn't here asking me? You're a burnt out has-been who can't hold a candle! Where was my back-up in our battle with Yuriy and that overprotective brother of his?" He yelled, feeling his emotions batter him, ready to let everything loose.

Adam tensed at the words that were spat at him, scowling at the blond tag-team partner and stepped closer to him. He was fed up with Jonouchi's attitude. "Hey, I've been traveling the world for five years looking for Hitoshi! Back then I stopped beyblading because all I could think about was my friend, and I wanted to help him!"

"Well guess what, Hitoshi isn't exactly himself and right now he's a big fat jerk from hell that has a God-complex! And if you hadn't notice, he's hosting this tournament and taking a shot at our best friend! But not the point, I'm tired of you not holding your own and me having to babysit you!" Jonouchi continued to shoot at him. "And back away from me," he added, feeling like he was on the edge and pressed himself near the wall

Adam stepped closer, not about to give Jonouchi his way. If the other did try to fight him, he would fight back since he was the experienced fighter. "No, I want to know a few things. Why didn't you walk away from Slade? I don't care if it's about proving who's better, swallow your pride damn it! You lost that fight because you couldn't walk away! Why did you do something so dangerous? Also, why do you have to be so stubborn and stupid about winning a fight!"

Jonouchi shook his fists in anger, he wanted to answer but something inside him broke down. He cracked up, his eyes welling up and cried softly. Then those cries turned into sobs, slowly sliding down against the wall. "Because he needed to be stopped! Instead, he won and I lost Kai! Kai, why did you break up with me? Why… why… why?" He said hysterically, continuing to sob. Out of impulse, the canine side of him howled very loudly and echoed in the hallway.

Adam's vibrated in a comical fashion, not expecting the sad howl and rubbed his ears. When he was done doing that, he looked at the position Jonouchi was in. Feeling guilty for what he said and for not stepping in and stopping Slade himself in a physical fight. He wanted to prove his once rival wrong, that Kai and Jonouchi were different. He bent down, and in a quick motion he hugged Jonouchi tightly.

Jonouchi's eyes shot open, widening in shock and surprise. He never let anyone hold him, unless they meant the whole world to him. The only person allowed to do that was Kai, and he liked the scent his lover gave off. However, Adam had something special about him, like he only cared about how others felt and put their needs first. It was hesitant at first, wrapping his arms around the raven haired teen. He pulled back slightly, still in Adam's arms. "Adam… Do you care about me?" He asked.

Adam felt guilty for doing this, but he didn't want to see his friend in pain. All he cared about was making him happy and his red-black gloved hand ran through the blond's hair. "Jonouchi, I don't like to see my friends suffer. While I have suffered before, I'd rather see those I care about happy and not sad," he explained, wiping away the inu-jin's tears.

The young blond felt Adam's thumb wipe away the salty liquid from his eyes gently. All his mind could think about was this older teen putting others before him, and he regretted what he said. "Thanks, I didn't think you'd have those kinds of feelings for me," he said softly, but managed to show a small smile.

"Well… I actually enjoy your company, and to be honest I… I sometimes feel that Kai should at least appreciate the things he has outwardly. Like how Takao and Rei have a healthy relationship," Adam tried to explain.

Jonouchi shook his head, pulling Adam close to him. "It's no big deal… I have someone that'll care about me for life," he said, kissing the other's lips.

Adam's eyes widened in shock and horror, feeling something was very off and wrong. He always thought about being with Jonouchi, subconsciously wanting to hold and kiss the blond inu-jin. However, the kiss he received felt hollow and there was no passion in it. Jonouchi was on the rebound and suffering. 'What have I gotten myself into?' he wondered in his mind, thinking about the consequences if anyone found out about this.