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*falls over* I can't believe I didn't update for so long...*winces* Ne, gomen for the long delay. I was kinda busy. Busy with my stupid life, my stupid classmates, the insults, college hunting and the works...goment nasai. I want to thank everybody who reviewed and for the tinsy bit of Japanese lesson you guys gave me...^_^ I'll keep those things in mind. ^_^;

Thank you for all the support you guys gave me. I do try update more frequently once my 4th finals are over. (Which would be probably in late Febuary or early march). Ne, I hope you guys will like this chapter. Took me long enough to do this...*sweat drops*

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Disclaimer: I do not own Shaman King. I just own the plot. And Touya. *grins*

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			Chapter 4 "Sheer Confusion"


"It was nice to see him in pain and lost. To see him hurt and fallen. And now that his light has returned, the real fun can begin," murmured a dark figure while staring into the dancing flames before him. The face of Asakura Yoh materialized. "Now is the time little brother for you to feel the real pain,"

"Hao-sama," came a new voice from behind him. "I brought you new spirits,"

A bright smile appeared on his lips, as he watched his servant present a purple urn. "Thank you Kamichi, I see you finally succeeded,"

Pulling down the white cloth from around his face, Kamichi bowed in respect. "Last night was not my night Hao-sama. My deepest apologies for my failure,"

Hao smiled brightly and nodded his head, "I know my little brother can be quite pesky," His smile faltered however at the thought of the other Shaman who saved his brother and friends. "Though, I find Anna-san's brother quite a nuisance,"

Kamichi bowed his head slightly, allowing his blue hair to cover partially his face. "He was quite powerful," he muttered, his white gloved hand tightened around the urn.

"I think it's time for you to feed the spirits to the Great Spirit of Fire, I think he's getting a little restless now after 3 years of no use," said Hao, gesturing to his flaming power spirit behind him.

Hao's lips once again curled into a smile while he watched Kamichi remove the lid of the urn, releasing the imprisoned spirits and allowing the Fire spirit to ruthlessly devour them. "I am quite sure that Yoh will be quite a suitable opponent now, now that his precious Itako has returned. After three long years of waiting, he will finally return to the level of my fighting,"

Turning back to the dancing flames, "But first, my first move shall be...to take what's most precious to him."

The face of Kyouyama Anna appeared in the flames.

"Let the games...begin,"

~

"Make it 550 push ups,"

A loud wail, semi-groan, came from Touya as he staggered on the ground in his sit up position. Inclining his head ever so painfully, he stared at his sister with a distraught look. "200 more?"

"Hai," came the simple reply of his sister as she intentionally made herself heavier on his back. Grabbing a rice cake, she 'unintentionally' kicked him in the sides. "Hurry,"

"But..."

Touya's pleas were cut short as another perfectly angled kick hit his side.

"Quit complaining!"

Mentally crying in pain, Touya continued his daily exercise.

"Anna? Touya?"

Hosho's head popped out of the temple's backdoor. Gazing out the backyard, he eyed the two teens with a annoyed look. "Which of you did I assign to buy groceries?"

"Him"

"Her"

Imediately fingers were pointing everywhere. Touya being in the backbreaking position that he was in, now stood on all three while staggering to point a finger at his sister. Whilst Anna, icily glaring at her brother sharply pointed an accusing finger back at him. It didn't take a minute before Touya completely collapsed from Anna's weight or the accumulated rice cakes she purposely ate.

Wondering why the gods blessed him with such 'unexplainable' grandchildren, Hosho sighed audibly. Pressing an aged hand on his forehead, "I don't care which of you I assigned to buy groceries," he said. "But at least it must have come to your attention that we are nearing a month of our stay here in Funbari, and none of you have bothered to buy groceries. Now unless either of you want to eat stale bread and fishguts, be my guest but, I think it's time to buy groceries. Now."

And with that the discussion ended, his old bald head disappeared into the depths of the old buddhist temple.

There was a moment of silence before Touya shuddered under Anna, "Fishguts...ewww!"

Anna once again kicked him hard that sent him skidding across the backyard grounds for several feet. "Fool, go buy the groceries,"

"I'm tired," whined Touya, sulking over and rubbing his aching sides. Plopping down on the ground next to his sister, he cracked his bones. "Soooo tired,"

"Are you telling me to buy the groceries?!" A vein popped on Anna's forehead.

"Please tou-chan?"

"Are you telling me to buy the groceries?!" her voice rose several octaves, and an icy glare was sent to the brother.

The oblivious brother sighed loudly and leaned against the Sakura tree. "Well, yeah. Since it was you who Ojiisan told to buy the groceries."

It wasn't minutes later before a hard bonk on the head resounded throughout the backyard.

"Tou-chan!" wailed Touya, as another painful injury was added to his inpained body. With all the training he went through, he still wondered how Yoh ever survived his sister's killer training regimen.

"You go!"

"No, you go!"

The sibling arguement lasted approximately 5 minutes before Kagetsu finally materialized with two straws in his hand. "I got an idea Anna-san, Touya-san,"

Anna was in mid-throttle pose when the spirit materialized. A deathly glare was sent to the spirit as she realized her plan to throttle her brother was foiled. "This better be good,"

Kagetsu sweatdropped and floated several inches away from the itako. "Well...it goes like this..."

~

"Price check on 'Paw-paw, all for nothing Tuna special'. I repeat, price check on 'Paw-paw, all for nothing Tuna special',"

A vein popped up on Anna's forehead as the clerk boomed his message across the PA for the 4th time that day. Scowling darkly at the shelf of refrigerated produce, she grabbed several heads of cabbage.

Apparently she had lost Kagetsu's 'brilliant' plan to settle the feud between her and Touya. Apparently one had to pick the short straw inorder to win and not the long one. That was something he conveniently failed to mention.

'I swear, that stupid spirit must have planned it with Oni-san,' Anna thought darkly, while pushing the cart down the aisle of fish. 'When I get home...'

With an angry huff, the itako sharply turned her now full cart and wheeled towards the cashier. Swiftly wheeling towards an empty cashier recepticle, she emptied her groceries and waited for the clerk to add up everything. Growing impatient, she turned to look out the window and frowned. It looked as it was about to rain. Just her luck.

Glaring at the clerk to hurry up, she fished through her pockets to find the money her ojiisan had given her. Handing it to the cashier when he was finally done tagging all items.

"I think Ryu wanted Miracle Fishballs not Tender Fishballs, Tamao-chan,"

Anna grew stiff as she heard an all too familiar voice drift through the convenience store.

A soft giggle followed Yoh's comment, "Yoh-kun, fishballs are all made the same!"

"But Ryu insisted!"

Anna saw the two pass her unnoticed. She saw them out of the corner of her eyes. She saw them together again, for numerous times already. Yoh and Tamao. With an all pained sigh, she grabbed her groceries and turned to leave. With one last look behind her, she saw Tamao's pink cotton candy hair behind an aisle and heard her faintly giggle at Yoh's muffled voice.

Feeling slightly irritated somehow, she slipped out of the store with a heavy heart.



The can of tuna was returned to the shelf as the glidding doors of the store slid closed with a soft thud. Yoh looked up as a hint of blonde hair passed his view. Frowning, he looked up from the tuna and popped his head out of the aisle. His brows furrowed in confusion.

"Something wrong?" asked Tamao, looking up at Yoh in slight worry.

'Anna?' His mind asked himself trying to register of what he saw. Shaking his head sadly, he turned back to Tamao. 'It must have been my imagination,' Smiling slightly at the pink haired girl, he shook his head once more. "Nothing,"

Taking it as a good enough excuse, Tamao nodded and wheeled their cart out of the aisle and up to the next not bothering to wait for Yoh.

~

"You forgot the eggs,"

"What?!" a look that looked oddly of a cross of disbelief and irritation flashed across Anna's face. "I what?!"

"You forgot the eggs," repeated Hosho,staring across the sleek kitchen counter. "Go get them,"

Anna could faintly see her brother snickering behind their grandfather's back. A vein popped on her forehead but she remained quiet. One thing she had learned was to pay respect to her elders...her brother would always be an exception to that however. Sighing almost audibly, she nodded her head. "Hai,"

Hosho smiled in satisfaction, "Hurry back,"

Nodding her head, she slipped out of the kitchen without much of an arguement.

Wheeling around, Hosho glared at the snickering shaman. "You..." he said. Touya immediately stopped snickering. "Start dinner,"

~

Cursing under her breath, the blonde itako hurried down the streets. She suddenly had a great distaste in reentering the store. She scowled when a harsh gust of wind came her way. Out of her hurry, she forgot to bring along her coat or an umbrella. Looking up, she could sense the impending rain. Her scowl only deepened.

Looking down on the receipt from earlier she clearly had bought eggs, the clerk must've forgotten to place them in her bag. 'Good help these days is so hard to find...' she mused.

Her thoughts quickly ended up of remembering Yoh. With a soft frown, she couldn't help but not ignore the different feeling she felt whenever she remembered the boy. But she promised herself not to...there must be something wrong with her. Shaking her head, she sighed loudly. Aside from the usual 'Hellos' and dark glares she sent him, she really never acknowledged his exsistence. Scowling softly at her own light-headedness, she opened the door and rushed in the shop. She suddenly was torn in between having her heart a skip a beat or scowl like there was no tomorrow...

"Are you sure this thing wont expire until next week?" asked Tamao, her voice ringing in Anna's ears like harsh bells. The pink haired girl held up a packet of wheat, looking at it quizzically before turning to the clerk. Behind her Yoh looked rather sheepish, at the long line she was holding up.

"Ano Tamao---"

"Don't you know how important it is to know these things?!" snapped Tamao, whirling around to face Yoh while letting the clerk fuss around the packet of wheat. "I don't want to get food poisoning, nor want I you to get it!"

Yoh laughed and held up his hands in defence, "Hai, hai!"

Anna scowled lightly, sensing the subtle display of affection the couple was displaying. 'That could've been you...' came a soft voice in her head. 'Shut up, that is not me...' she snapped, glaring holes at the queue that had been formed. "For the love of kami..." muttered the blonde, peeved beyond her wits as the line did not even budge.

There was only one thing to do, get up there. So she had to face Yoh again, what's the big deal anyway? Pretty much big...

"Do these lettuce look anywhere near rotten?" inquired Tamao, holding up a bulb of lettuce into the clerk's face.

"Well, I----"

"Would you mind hurrying it up there?!" came a rather snappish voice from behind Yoh and Tamao. The faint sound of a foot tapping against the sleek tile floor could be heard.

"Mind your own----" Tamao was ready to give her piece of mind to the 5th person that tried to butt in her shopping and stuff the lettuce into the persons mouth. She had every right to be food conscious and be aware of rotten food. However, she never really got a chance to even share her piece of mind. And the lettuce wasn't anywhere near her hand anymore. It had been long gone rolling around the floor.

"----Anna-san," it sounded more of a surprised exclaimation than an acknowledgement. Tamao looked literarly like a fish out of water, mouth gaping at the scowling Itako.

"Anna," breathed Yoh, taking in a rather sharp in take of air. He stared at the blonde with mixed emotions. First of all he felt suddenlly uberly happy to see her. It was a rare sight to even see the blonde aside from school, yet alone get into a close proximity with her at this rate. Second, she was scowling which just meant all hell was going to break lose if they didn't hurry up....and that made him feel really scared. He learned that, the hard way. And lastly he felt the pain he had long gone forgotten. She wasn't his fiancé anymore, and it only painfully reminded him more when he saw her.

"I want my eggs," snapped Anna, after a defening minute of silence that feel on the trio. Her ebony eyes fell on the clerk, eyes set in an intensive glare. "Now" She slammed the receipt of earlier on the counter as emphasis.

Tamao was on the verge of protests. How dare the Ice Queen to even butt in her shopping, yet alone act 'all, high and mighty' in front of them. Anger bubbled inside of her, as she watched the Itako wait for her eggs. She knew that Yoh-kun only was pained at the sight of the blonde and she had promised herself to stop the pain. Yet somehow she couldn't...

"Here you are," the clerk quivered slightly at the scowl he reveived from the blonde. If not the tray had been securely closed, 12 pearly white eggs would have fallen out of the tray due to his shaking hand. "Gomen nasai for the inconvenience,"

Anna only scowled in response, snatching the tray out of his hands and hugging it to her chest. With a flourish of her hair, she whirled around and started to march away.


"Anna", he sounded so needing. His voice hung heavy in the air like a blanket of sorrow. She could feel him...

The blonde stopped, hugging the gray tray of eggs tighter to her chest. She didn't want to break now, not now. She had worked so hard to even build up that high wall around her. Not in the damn grocery store. She inclined her head slightly and caught his eyes. They connected.

He looked lost, she knew it. She could mentally see her wall slowly crumbling from the top. His eyes looked lost and questions loomed in their black depths. She mentally found herself falling into them.

'Iie'

Yoh never knew what happened next. First he was keeping steedy eye contact with the distant Itako and then he just saw the back of her head. He watched her march out the store with a heavy heart. He saw something in her eyes. Something he wasn't sure of himself. Denial...

~

Thunder boomed across the sky as Anna ran down the street. She couldn't believe she had done that. She couldn't believe she had actually felt something for Yoh again. After all the days of practicing of hating him. She fell for him, just for a second. A moment. Clutching the tray of eggs to her chest tighter, her eyes shone with confusion.

People started to slowly thin out as angry clouds rolled over the city. A brightflash of light painted the sky before clashing with thunder. The itako did not even wince when the thunder sounded so close.

Anna stopped, her heart beating furiously against her chest. Confusion, denial and pain evident in her eyes as she tried to calm her breathing. She never realized she had ran so fast. She desperately wanted to evaporate at the moment. For no given reason at all, it seemed as the most logical thing to do right now. Evaporate, to escape everything.

Leaning against the brick wall, her eyes glimmered in pain. For some given reason, she felt so alone. Why, she never knew. But the mere sight of Tamao and Yoh at the store made her insides churn. Lowering her gaze, she couldn't believe she was thinking this way. 'Why...' her eyes glimmered in confussion.

Before she could even react, a thick blanket of rain fell upon her. Thunder and lightning boomed across her as the rain pounded harshly against her small frame. She didn't flinch.

Her black dress clung to her small form and her drenched blonde hair was pressed harshly against her face. She loved the rain. She loved this weather. Nothing, name nothing, of this gloomy weather could be compared to Yoh. Nothing.

'Why are you doing this to me Asakura Yoh? What have you done to me?' Her hands tightened around the tray. 'Why can't I ignore you.'

With an aching heart and confused soul, the Itako slowly peeled herself off the wall and made her way down the cold road. Her vision slightly blurry due to the pounding rain. Nobody was left on the road...which seemde quite odd.

Walking down the road slowly, she savored the rain. Enjoying its steady beatings on her body. She knew she would get sick after this, at least this way she would stay at home and away from school. And even further away from Yoh. She felt something inside of her drop at that thought, but she ignored it. Like nearly everything else she did.

Everything was eerie quiet. Aside from the loud thundering and beating of rain, everything seemed unusually quiet. Something was off, she knew it, even if she was lost in her own thoughts.

Forgetting Yoh and everything else, she stopped. She narrowed her eyes and tried to look around. Which was sorta difficult to do with the thick blanket of rain around her. Her senses picked something up...something very familiar.

She saw it. The silhouette perched on top of the wall. Her vision just became obscured as she tried harder to make out something. All she saw was white...

Her right hand instictively went to her neck, grabbing her Itako beads...

...they were not there...

Anna mentally cursed at her luck, she had forgotten them at home. Narrowing her eyes, she picked up the shamanic aura around the silhouette. The very familiar aura...

"Who goes there?!"

A low chuckle rang throughout the area, as thunder boomed loudly and lightning flashed across the sky. "Hello Kyouyama-san,"

'The Shaman...' Her eyes widdened as lightning illuminated the area as it sruck a nearby tree. She dropped her eggs as she starred disbelievingly at the Shaman that her brother fought weeks ago.

~

Hosho stood safely under the porch, starring gloomily out the gates. Hoping his granddaughter would soon materialize through the rain. A strong sense of foreboding hung in the air. No spirits were around, no sound could be heard and the rain was deafening.

"Something is wrong," whispered the old man, as Touya appeared beside him with Kagetsu. "Go find her,"

Touya nodded his head in determination, slight worry written across his face for his Imotou. Jumping off the porch, he ran into the rain, following his intincts. Kagetsu quickly disappeared, surely following his master.

"Be careful,"

~

"Perhaps we should just wait the rain out," muttered Tamao, looking out the store window. She visibly winced as thunder boomed across the sky.

Yoh smiled down at the pink haired girl, "Hai we should. It looks rough out there,"

Tamao turned to Yoh and stared at him, confusion written across her face. He looked hurt, sort of pleased as well. She really didn't understand him. Her eyes clouded over with sadness, 'Why can Anna do that to him. Make him feel hurt and happy the same time? What does he see in her? Hasn't he learned?' she mused, worry written all over her face. Lightning flashed outside followed by thunderous booms. 'He can't have her, yet he tries. Why can't you let go Yoh-kun?'

Yoh looked up sharply as another thunderous boom rang throughout Funbari. Something was not right. He narrowed his eyes sharply as he watched lightning crash down on earth and hit a tree. His eyes widened, foreboding looming in his eyes.

He only uttered one word, as he starred out into the dark depths of the rain.

"Anna"

And he was gone.

~

*Sigh* I can't believe I stopped it there...*sweat drop* It was about to get exciting. *grins*

Again I would like to apologize for the entire lateness of this thing...gomen. Ne, at least you guys now know who *cough* is. Lol. I'll try to update soon...how I will do that is weird...I got 8 (I think...I don't know actually) other stories to update...weee...

Thank you for reading. Please leave a review to make a happy little author. ^_^

Ja Ne!

Elisabeth