This is my first try on Anna x Yoh, and I hope that you enjoy my maiden presentation. I have seen only the first few episodes, so some characters may not be accurate. Please forgive that.
May I also stress that this is an AU, and that this may turn out to be mushy and fluffy. Don't go flaming me coz I warned you! *grin*Anna and the King
Kyouyama Anna used her right hand to shield her eyes from the sun. This particular afternoon was scorching, and if not for her scarlet bandanna, she could have fainted already. She still had some more kilometers to go before she could reach the Asakura Gates, the place where her new master in becoming an itako resides in.
As she trudged on the sandy path and endured the merciless heat of the sun, she reflected on why she was so intent on becoming an itako when everyone fears such figure, and ostracizes him from the rest of them.
She clenched her fists. But so what? She had nowhere else to go. She didn't fear anymore to be isolated. She was used to living alone anyway.
She tied her bandanna on her head again, securing it firmly. She then continued to pound on the ground, each step taking her nearer to the only place she could think of that would accept her.
After quite awhile, she found the most unbelievable sight in the world : a gurgling crystal clear brook surrounded by large ferns and bushes!
She found herself smiling for the first time since she had started her journey. Who knew that in that cruel and hostile desert lays such hidden beauty of Nature?
She immediately took her bandanna off, and stepped out of her clothes. She walked towards the water; touched the cool waters with her toe, and smiled in delight. She then came down to it and submerged herself in its heavenly coldness, kissing the sun's marks of cruelty in her skin away.
"Would you still like us to accompany you, Master?" asked the blue-haired servant to the laidback-looking boy who jumped down from his horse with ease.
He grinned. "No, I can go there alone. You can wait for me here." He stretched lazily. "Ah! I finally escaped from my family! And it's about time! All they ever make me do is train and practice and duel, then train again. Don't they know that I also need rest?"
"Your training is important because you will continue the lineage of the great Shaman Kings in your clan, Master," replied the servant politely.
He laughed. "But I don't want to be one! All I want to do is to watch the days pass by while lying down comfortably."
"Great life," said the servant, then grinned. "You know you can't defy the laws of the clan."
"Ironic," he remarked. "The kingdom's most powerful authority is powerless to defy laws made by the commoners."
He nodded, and sighed. "Ah, I better take a bath already." He sauntered into his private lagoon as his servant watched, smiling.
Anna didn't know how long was she in the brook already, because once or twice, she had nearly dozed off, due to extreme fatigue. But now, her eyes were getting too heavy…she had to sleep, whether she liked it or not.
She yawned and laid her head on the smooth surface of a nearby boulder.
Only to wake up panickedly a few minutes later when she felt something touch her back. She opened her eyes and found a boy that looked as old as her staring at her. Her eyes widened, and her body automatically reacted.
A loud slap landed on the stranger's cheek.
"Pervert!" she hissed, submerging her body into the water in a desperate attempt to cover her nakedness, but to her dismay, the water was crystal clear.
She then noticed a shirt floating beside her on the water.
The boy, who had recovered from her slap, smiled. "I was placing it on your back so you won't get sunburned while you sleep."
"Why should I believe you?" she asked coolly. "I don't even know you."
"You don't?" He looked really astounded. "So you are new in this place?"
"I do not talk with strangers," she snapped. She wanted to walk out on him, but her clothes were by the feet of the boy.
He noticed them too. He picked them up and placed them near the water. "Here. You better go change."
"With you in the vicinity?" she asked sarcastically.
"I'll turn my back then," he said. "I don't want to leave you. Someone else might walk in here, and he may not be a good person."
"I can't dress up with someone around here!" she protested.
"Just pretend that you're alone," he suggested.
She knew that she couldn't, but she was starting to get chilled. She had no choice but to trust the boy. Cautiously, she got up from the water. She anticipated him to turn around, but he didn't. He was just standing there, his back facing her, as he whistled nonchalantly. As quickly as she could, she slipped back into her outfit then looked at the boy. He still wasn't looking. She seized the chances to disappear from the place through the bushes. She didn't want to thank him even though she was slightly impressed by his gentlemanly ways.
The last thing she wanted to have in the world is debt of gratitude.
Finally, Anna reaches the Asakura Gates, and she didn't have a hard time locating it. Aside from the fact that it was the grandest house in the kingdom, people seem to know the Asakuras very much.
She went towards the guard. "Is Asakura Kino-sensei here?" she asked coolly.
"Huh?" The guard looked surprised. Girls the age of the young king flock to see him, not the Asakura matriarch. The girl must have other plans.
"Yes. What do you want from the Madam?" he asked.
"Tell him that an itako from Kanagawa wishes to have tea with her," she said.
Something about the girl was different. She sounded so sure and confident of herself. He decided to immediately contact Kino-sama.
"Thank you for granting my request," said Anna, bowing down politely.
"You are welcome, child. What is it that you want to say, that you have to travel many kilometers just to see me?" asked Kino.
"I need your help. I want to become an itako," she explained. "My former teacher died recently, but she had told me that in case that happens, I can go see Asakura Kino."
The woman remembered an old friend she had who trained with her in becoming an itako some years ago.. That must be her. "You know that being one means letting go of your relations to the outside world – the people who only believe what their eyes can see."
"I have realized that already when I had started training under my sensei."
"Very well." Kino eyed the girl who looked impossibly poker-faced. She was a perfect itako, an emotionless medium who was strong enough to stand the taunting of evil spirits. She liked her already. "You may start tomorrow."
"Thank you," said Anna, bowing again.
How I wish my grandson can be as serious as you are in his training."
"Grandson?" echoed the girl.
"You haven't taken your bath yet, Master?" asked Horo Horo, puzzled when he saw Asakura Yoh kneeling by the brook, deep in thought. He then saw the red piece of cloth that he was holding.
"Someone's been here before us," said Yoh, pocketing the bandanna.
"Really? This place is pretty hidden, and our people are forbidden to cross this territory of the Asakuras," said the servant, who was also Yoh's sparring partner. "Must be from the other kingdoms."
"The least she could have done before she disappeared is to say her name," he said softly.
"It doesn't matter, Master Yoh. You'll never see her again, the way she disappeared just like that. She must be a lost traveler or something." The blue-haired boy looked at the sun that was starting to hide behind the afternoon clouds. "You should bathe already, Master. Your grandfather would not like you to be late for your training."
"You're right," agreed Yoh, grinning.
Anna was walking in the front yard, eyes taking in the beauty of the Asakura compound. They seem to be very close to Nature, because their place was like an extension of the vast forest behind their territory.
Her attention was then caught by the arrival of carriages in the nearby gravel road heading for the main door of the house. Curious, she looked at the carriages.
From the royal stagecoach came out two elderly couples, dressed regally in ceremonial robes.
Her eyes widened. She knew those robes- they are the clothes that shamans wear during sacred rituals!
"Hey, I didn't know we'll meet up here," said a familiar voice. She turned around and saw the boy she saw by the brooks, looking down at her from his horse. He grinned at her and jumped down.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
He cringed when he felt the burning coldness of her eyes piercing every little muscle of his body. "W-Well, I should be the one asking that. Oh heck…" He reached for his pocket. "At least I can return this to you."
She looked at the red bandanna on his hand. She snatched it back. "Give me that, you thief!"
His eyes widened. "A-Ah…" He wanted to protest, but when he saw her glare at him, all he could do was to scratch his head. "It's not what you think," he said meekly.
"First, you peeped on me. Now you steal my bandanna," she said, voice carefully even, but still furious. "What would you do next?"
He was starting to look uncertain. "Ummm…"
She then noticed a spirit lurking beside him. It caught her attention for a while, because the spirit felt abnormally stronger compared to the previous spirits she had encountered.
He noticed her pause, and followed her gaze. "You can see Amidamaru?"
"What?" she asked.
"Amidamaru, my main spirit," he said casually.
She was shocked. "Y-Your main spirit?" That can only mean that he's a…
"Master Yoh!" called a blue-haired boy. "Your grandfather says it's already time for your training."
"Right!" He turned to her, grinning. "What's your name?"
"Kyouyama. Kyouyama Anna," she said absent-mindedly.
His grin widened. "Nice to meet you, Kyouyama-san. I hope we'll see each other again." He waved at her before running into the house.
"Who is he?" she found herself asking the blue-haired servant.
"He's the child of the Shamans, Asakura Yoh."
She suddenly remembered that her new sensei mentioned that she had a grandson, but she could never have imagined that it would be the same person she met in the brook!
"And I'm Horo Horo," continued the boy, holding his hand out to her. "It's a pleasure to meet such a cute girl as you!"
"Cute?" With that, a slap landed on Horo Horo's face before she retreated away.
"That hurts!" whined the boy. "What kind of girl is she? I just praised her and she slapped me?" He groaned. "Women. You criticize them, they slap you. You compliment them, they still slap you. Where else should clueless guys like me step in?"
Anna was walking back into her room when she met Kino in the hallway. The woman was looking at her, somewhat amused. "I heard from the guards that you just met my grandson."
She looked down. "I'm sorry. I didn't know he was your grandson. I apologize." She bowed.
"Don't," said the woman. "He deserves it anyway. He just met his match, and I'm glad it's you."
"Huh?" She was baffled, but the woman was through conversing with her. Kino continued to walk away, an idea forming in her still sharp as ever mind.