Disclaimer: Shaman King belongs to everyone except for me. I am making nothing out of writing this fic.
written by: da*mouse ®
You're strong enough...
It is a beautiful day. Warm, with the bright sunlight, cool, with the lightest breeze, vibrant, with colors of nature. The river twinkles under the sunbeam, sending sparkles shimmering wherever the light reflects.
She walks along the river, barely glancing at the wonder of nature, barely appreciating the beauty of the day, only intent on her own thoughts. The cool breeze tugs at her hair, blowing away the blonde tresses to reveal a serious face with its usual icy expression.
He walks beside her, humming the tune to the music emitting from the orange headphones over his ears. Hands in his pockets, he looks up, admiring the blue skies. High up in a tree, he sees a mother bird feeding her chirping brood, bringing a smile to his face. Stopping for a moment, he bends down to pick a wildflower. He doesn't know its name, but the bright purple color attracts him.
A few feet in front of him, she stops as well. She turns to look at him, who is still crouching down, clutching the flower in his hand. Seeing her, he immediately straightens up, and catches up to her in a few long strides. Pushing his long hair out of eyes, he smiles down at her.
He has grown taller, more muscular, and more mature, she notes. But one thing about him never changes, that smile. That laidback, carefree and cheerful smile.
She has never learned to smile like him. Maybe she never bothers to learn.
There is a question in his voice. She remains silent for a moment.
She doesn't how to begin to tell him.
I might as well go straight into it, she decides. After all, he wouldn't care, anyhow...strange how that thought brings a stabbing sensation to her chest.
She pushes the emotion out of her heart. Pain, sadness, love...all of the feelings that she never allows herself to feel. Feelings that she had kept so long under her icy mask...she isn't about to unleash them, not now. They should never be unleashed.
I'm letting you go...
"I'm ending our engagement." She announces coolly.
She hears his sharp intake of breath. He hasn't been anticipating that, it is clear enough. "Ending...? I...I...don't...understand?" Confusion is written all over his face.
"Are you deaf?" she says sharply. "Or are you stupid? I mean what I said. I'm ending the engagement."
"I've already announced my decision to the Asakura family. They decided that my decision is to be respected. And I expect nothing less from you. I expect you to comply, as did your family."
She gazes at him steadily, her hidden hand behind her back clenches into a fist. She has given him everything she is able to. Training, advice, strength. He is now one of the most powerful shamans she has ever come across. Her job is done.
She can give no more.
What she is able to give, she knows, he cannot return. And for that, or even without that, she could not give.
The time has come for her to release him. He is strong enough.
To face the world...to face everything...
He has yet to have any great reaction to her announcement. He just continues looking at her with that confused, shocked face. Slowly, he reaches up to remove his headphones from his ears, letting them rest on his neck. He takes a step toward her, his hand stretching out.
She steps back.
His hand drops.
She laughs, the sound sounding hollow and bitter even to her own ears. "This is the first time you ever question me, Yoh." And the last time...
"Anna. Why?" still he persists, in spite of her bitter tone.
"Of..." She stops, and swallows hard, deciding to discontinue her last sentence. "You're strong enough."
"What has that got to do with you breaking our engagement?" He asks.
"My...our...engagement. It is nothing more than a contract. I am here, as your fiancée, only to make you stronger. To make you stronger, so that you can become the Shaman King."
"I have yet to become..."
"I know, I can see that. I am, after all, not stupid." She cuts him off sarcastically. "But..."
"But?" His gaze pierces in to hers.
She looks away, avoiding his eyes. She wishes that he would stop interrupting. Stop looking at her. Stop asking for explanations. Just accept it, and leave.
"You're strong enough." She repeats.
"I still don't understand. That is not a valid reason."
At that moment, she could not hold back her temper anymore. "Why are you questioning?" She flares up, her eyes fiery with anger. "Shouldn't you be celebrating? There shall be no more harsh training. You can sleep all you like and you no longer have to cook, clean or listen to me! Isn't that something to be happy about?"
"I..." Hurt clouds his dark eyes, but she is too infuriated to notice it.
"Dare you question my reasons, Asakura Yoh?"
Why can't you just leave?
He shakes his head. "I..."
"Shut up, Yoh." She says icily. With an air of finality, she utters, "This is it."
The first time he says no...to me...
"No?" her tone is dangerous. Her hand clenches itself into a tighter fist. He defies me. Yoh...you've never had the guts to ever say that word to my face.
I am right. You have grown stronger. A strange mixture of feelings envelops her. She doesn't know whether is it sadness, or happiness.
He bits his bottom lip, looking down at his feet. A moment later, he looks up again, with a small smile on his face. "No."
He can still smile. At any situation, during anytime. "No, what, Yoh?"
"No, I can't, and I won't accept your reason for breaking our engagement. No, I disagree to breaking off our engagement. No, I won't comply with your wishes. Not this time, Anna."
She falters. Not breaking the engagement? But...I...
Doesn't he want to go? To be free of me?
He surprises her. She thought he would be glad. Happy. After all, doesn't he want to be rid of her? Of all the harsh training? Why? Why is he hanging on? To what?
Now she is the one that doesn't understand. Now she is the one who will question him.
He looks a bit astounded, as if the thought has never occurred to him. "Because...because...you're my fiancée. And I...well, I'm your fiancé."
She feels like slapping him. "That is not a reason!"
"If you can't give me a real reason, a valid reason, then let me give you one, solid reason why we should end it. The best reason." She took a deep breath.
"Because we don't love each other."
Love. I don't need it. I only need my strength...
He is taken back, very much so. "Anna...I..."
"Don't tell me that you love me." She retorts, her voice bitter. No one could love me. No one will love me. Not now, not ever.
"But I do. I do love you."
Nothing prepares her for this reply, this kind of answer from him. She freezes. Everything seems to freeze after he says those words. The world stops moving. Time stops.
Only him. And her.
He loves me...?
"How could I not? You've been by my side, for the better or the worse, for so many years. I never imagine life without you. I thought I didn't have to."
She could feel the solid walls, walls she had so painstakingly built, breaking down. Why is he saying all these things? Why are his words affecting her? You never told me...
"You never told me..." she echoes her own thoughts in a whisper.
He scratches the back of his head, seemingly in thought. Then he smiles. "I thought you knew. Besides, you never asked."
I didn't know...
"Anna, I..." He closes the distance between them with a stride.
Only the weak love. Only the weak will subject their hearts, and themselves to such vulnerability. She steels herself, sealing off the emotions once again. I, Kyouyama Anna, am not weak. And never will be.
And neither are you, Asakura Yoh.
She steps back, yet again.
"Love." she scoffs.
"Yes, love. I love you." he insists.
"Then tell me why you love me."
"Because you are Anna." he answers without hesitation.
Once again, she is struck speechless. He loves her, just because she is her. Just because…she is Anna.
She shakes her head, fighting back the tears. She never cries. Not in front of him, she never will. I cannot give, Yoh. Perhaps it is my strength that overwhelms me. But I cannot give.
I cannot give...for I must be strong...
She pushes her blond bangs out her eyes, and meets his dark eyes squarely. His dark eyes, full of emotions and feelings, full of hurt. Beneath his easy smiles and demeanor, she can sense it…he is hurting, too.So am I…
She summons her steely courage, her icy coldness. "Stop all this nonsense and foolishness. I am leaving. Goodbye, Yoh." She turns away from him, and begins walking.
She ignores him, pacing her steps faster, forcing back tears. You're strong enough, Yoh. Go on. Go on without me. You don't need me anymore.
"Anna! You said that I am strong enough! What about you? Are you strong enough?
"Are you strong enough to love, Anna?"
Only the weak love...or is it?
Am I strong enough...?
He catches up to her, and grabs her hand, whirling her around, forcing her to face him. "Are you?"
Without warning, he embraces her tightly, holding her close to his warm body. "I have gained the courage, Anna, to hug you, to hold you, even though you might just kill me for touching you. I don't care, because I want to hold you. You can kill me afterwards, and I don't care. Yes, I am strong enough. But that doesn't mean I don't need you anymore."
Almost unknowingly, her own arms snake around his neck, to hold him tighter. Her resistance is breaking down yet again, but she does nothing to stop it. It feels wonderful, to be held. To be loved...
He releases her, and pushes her back gently, so that he can look into her eyes. "Are you strong enough to take the jump, Anna? To let yourself love, and be loved?"
A tear slides down from the corner of her eye. She couldn't keep it in, no matter how hard she tries. "Yoh...I..."
I do love him. I don't want to admit it, not even to myself, because I thought it was weak to love. But...perhaps...he is right. Perhaps...that doesn't mean...I am weak. Perhaps...it does mean the opposite...
Underneath it all…I am still…I…
He brushes away the teardrop with his finger. Bending down, he kisses her, lightly, softly, but sweetly. Just a brief touch of lips, but it means so much. To her, to him, to them.
Looking into those dark eyes, that gentle face, and the ever light-hearted smile, she feels something in her lifts.
She puts a hand on his face. He holds her hand tightly. "Jump, Anna. I promise I won't let you fall."
She closes her eyes. Feeling his love, his warmth.
You are strong enough. And so am I.
This is quite OOC, I presume. *winces* Sorry for that, but I guess I am not good at keeping them in character. *disappointed* But I will simple love any kind of feedback regarding this fic, good or bad. I know I said I won't be posting anything Yoh/Anna, as much as I love them because I can't keep them in character, but it's 12.41 a.m. and I can't sleep, so what the heck? Worse comes to worse, if people hate it so much, I'll just take it down.
Anyway, this is my first, and probably my last Yoh/Anna fic.
A note and acknowledgement to meemee: whose wonderful fic, Fleeting, kind of inspired this late-night writing session. For those who haven't read Fleeting, I tell you you're missing something great. Just click on favorite stories from my profile to access meemee's fic.
Comment, review, flame, whatever. I could sure use some constructive advice. ;)
posted September 26th May, 2003
p.s. shameless advertising: for Yoh/Anna fans: please visit my site at //eternally.faith.at and sign the guest book! Thanks! :)