Disclaimer: Shaman King does not belong to me, and will never belong to me. They didn't want to sell it to me, boo hoo. 

Note:
1) This story might offend some yaoi fans, and I can really see how, so please read with an open mind. I have no discriminations against gays and lesbians [one of my closest friends is a lesbian and she's lovely] but prejudice against them exists, particularly when they are celebrities. If I happen to offend anyone with this fic, please accept my sincerest apologies.
2) OOC warning.
3) Read with an open mind, thanks! ^_^

Together, But Not Forever
written by: da*mouse

Chapter 1: The Announcement

"He's dashing, talented, successful. Let's give a huge hand of applause for today's special guest, our Shaman King, Asakura Yoh!!"

"Ohhhhh, he is just too cute…" Tamamura Tamao sighed dreamily, her eyes fixated on the television screen. Across the room, her roommate Kyouyama Anna looked up disinterestedly from a magazine she was reading. She cast a swift gaze towards the television, and yawned widely.

"Balding and fat, not my type. I had no idea you like such guys."

"Not that one! That one." Tamao pointed to spoken person on the screen. "Come on, Anna, just take a look!"

A loud sigh went up as Anna picked herself up and plunked down beside Tamao. Tamao was still looking at the guy with a rapt expression on her face. "I'll give anything to meet him…"

Grudgingly she admitted that the 18-year-old Shaman King was definitely not sore for the eyes, he was anything but that, with an endearing and easy smile. But…

Celebrities. Shaman King or not, I can't imagine fussing over someone or something more nonsensical and impractical…to be obsessing over someone like him…it's just plain silly.

Meanwhile, Tamao practically had hearts shooting out of her eyes as Asakura Yoh on the screen laughed. A look of annoyance crossed Anna's face.

BONK! A magazine hit Tamao squarely on her head. "Ouch, what was that for?!" Tamao rubbed the spot painfully.

Anna shook her head. "Be sensible, Tamao. A person like him…" she jabbed towards the television "…is such a typical heartbreaker, love 'em leave 'em guy. All celebrities are."

"But he's the Shaman King! What wouldn't I give to be his Queen…"

Anna snorted. "He probably had a million women in mind before it comes to you and me. Anyway, I've seen him, and I don't like him, so I'm going back to my magazine. And if you're sensible, you better switch that thing off and go to bed early. I seem to recall you have an early training session with Yohmei-sensei tomorrow. And I have mine with Kino-sensei at half-past six in the morning, so I'd appreciate some peace and quiet."

Reluctantly, Tamao stood up to switch off the television. Her only consolation was that the Asakura Yoh interview segment was almost over, anyway. Besides, there was no telling what could happened if Anna was displeased. Anna was never to be displeased or disobeyed.

She had learnt that much from being roommates with the itako for the past year.

-

Asakura Yoh slumped onto the hotel bed and yawned. Taking off his orange headphones, he dropped them onto the floor, and turned over, lying flat on his stomach.

Bokutou no Ryu, his manager, tapped him on the shoulder distractingly and continuously. Impatiently, he flung the older man's hand off his shoulder.

"Leave me alone…" Huge yawn. "I…want…to…sleeeeep…"

"Yoh-danna, I should remind you that we still have to go over some interview questions with New Tokyo talk show tomorrow. You'd just have to sleep later!" Ryu dragged the unwilling young shaman to a sitting position.

"I thought Shaman Kings are supposed to live easy and fulfilling lives. If I had known earlier that it would be like this, I'd resigned." Yoh grumbled as he reluctantly took the sheets of paper Ryu was holding out to him.

Ryu looked at him, his mouth agape. "Surely you don't mean that!"

"Oh, I do." Yoh smiled at the scandalized expression on his manager's face. "But since I am stuck with it, oh well. Come what may." He shrugged indifferently.

Yoh had barely begun reading the first question when a harried-looking young man with blue hair burst into his hotel suite, along with a blue-haired young girl that bore a strong resemblance to him. "Yoh! Crisis! Crisis! Arghhhh!!" He whipped around to face the young girl. "You! Stupid idiot!"

"Onii-chan…I…"

"Arghhhh!! How could you DO this to me? And to Yoh?!?!"

"Calm down, HoroHoro." Yoh tried to calm his agitated publicist, who was hopping around like he had a thousand ants in his pants. "Stop yelling at Pilica. What's wrong?"

"SHE…" he jabbed a finger towards Pilica's direction, who immediately shrank back from her brother's warth. "…SHRUNK…your striped shirt and managed to LOSE your purple shirt in the same process!!!"

"Oh, is that all?" A look of relief crossed Yoh's face.

"YES!!! And…" HoroHoro stopped yelling. "What do you mean, is that all?"

"I thought something critical had happened…what a relief."

"Relief?!?!" HoroHoro looked like he was about to start jumping again. "You were supposed the wear that striped shirt for the photo shoot and live interview with New Tokyo tomorrow! It was supposed to portray your sensitive, yet smart image. The stripes will give you a very dignified and adult look! And…"

Yoh gave him a blank look as he rattled on about the particular fashion of the shirt. Striped shirt why who?

"I spent HOURS deciding on your outfit, and my stupid sister decided to SHRINK the EXACT shirt I picked out, and it's a RELIEF?!! And that purple shirt…it was a present from me to you when I was assigned as your publicist!!"

The horrible, god-awful purple shirt is gone? Oh, thank heavens for that…

"Gee, HoroHoro…that is a pity…" not "…but I'm sure we can get another one…" please no, please… "As for the shirt, I can always wear something else…"

"No, you can't wear something else because I've already decided, and…." HoroHoro's voice trailed off as his sister tugged at his shirtsleeve.

"Onii-chan, please don't be angry. I'll go out and buy Yoh-sama the same shirt. Please don't shout at me…" Pilica was almost in tears.

"Come on…" Yoh clapped a friendly arm around Pilica's slim shoulders. "It's her first day on the job after all…and besides, everyone makes mistakes, ne?" He smiled cheerfully.

Pilica blushed, her face almost tomato red. Like every other female in Japan, she had a crush on the young and good-looking Shaman King.  Then suddenly remembering her blunders, she cast a pleading glance at HoroHoro. The brother's anger ebbed away as he looked at his sister.

He could not stay angry with her for long. After all, Pilica was all he had in the world, and he was all she had. "Ah, forget it." He mumbled. "I'll get you another shirt for tomorrow, Yoh. I'd better do some thinking about your attire again…" Grabbing his snowboard and tugging his sister, the both of them exited Yoh's room.

"Yeah, that'll do." Yoh yawned. "And since all the tiring discussion is done, I think I can take my nap now."

"Yoh-danna!" Ryu, who had been standing quietly at one corner while the proceedings had been going on – preferring not to be caught in the line of fire - immediately sprung up as Yoh made the motion to sink on the bed. "You haven't read the interview questions or prepared the answers to them!"

"Ryu…leave it until tomorrow. I am…so…tired…" Yoh brushed aside Ryu's arm and collapsed on the bed. "It…doesn't…matter…"

And even before Ryu could protest, the young man was already snoring away.

-

Tokyo.

The Chinese young man with dark blue hair looked fairly ordinary to the eyes of the passersby, like yet another Chinese tourist, if not for his kung fu like attire and a sharp kwan-dao he held in his left hand.

His eyes narrowing, he swept his gaze over the busy streets of Tokyo, the zooming cars and tall buildings with their built-in huge screens. Hmmph. So this is the great Tokyo. Not so much of a difference with Shanghai, is it?  He scoffed.

But he had little time to dwell on the wonders of Tokyo or to compare it with Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou. He had a lot of places to go, a lot of searching to do, even though he had little doubt that the person he was looking for would be hard to find.

He clenched his fist, as a result crumpling the magazine he held in his right hand.

"Challenge him. Do the Tao family proud. You've let me down once, and I'll see to it you will never let me down…again. Don't come back until you've defeated him. Only his defeat in your hands will prove you a true Tao, a worthy Tao."

His father's words still burning into his mind, Tao Ren melted into the busy Tokyo crowds, one single person on his mind. He threw aside the crumpled magazine, its wrinkled surface revealing the smiling face of Asakura Yoh.

Asakura Yoh, your reign as the Shaman King is about to end…

-

Lyserg Diethl set aside his hot English Breakfast tea, carefully skimming the pages of the day's paper. Being a private investigator, he supposed that he must really be up-to-date about the world's events and happenings.

One headline jumped out at him, a section from the supplementary section. The Shaman King: Up Close and Personal.

Lyserg chuckled. The Shaman King had been crowned for about half a year to date, the English papers were sure a tad bit slower.

However, his laughter died off as he smoothed the page to reveal the Shaman King's face.

A face he would never forget, a face imprinted into his mind, ever since that fateful night he lost his parents…

The Shaman King was the murderer of his parents.

-

A blonde man, in his mid-thirties, tilted his face towards the sun, relishing the warmth. After days of traveling, he was finally in Tokyo. The journey from Germany was a long harsh one, and he was often lonely.

But I won't be anymore…

Faust VIII started into the city with quick steps. The sooner he found the Shaman King, the sooner he could banish the cold loneliness he had felt since the day Eliza died.

He was almost accustomed to the feeling of isolation, and it scared him. Asakura Yoh must help him.

And if he wouldn't…Faust VIII's lips tightened.

He'd regret it.

-

"Remember the do's and don'ts," HoroHoro cautioned as Yoh stepped into the offices of New Tokyo studios.

Yoh sighed. "Don't yawn at the interviewer's face, no matter how boring she or he is. Don't look disinterested, even if I am bored to the point of falling asleep. Don't comment on any sort of Japanese politics. Do smile constantly, be charming and…"

"Okay, good. You've got it." HoroHoro pat him on the back.

"Yoh-sama! You forgot…" A out of breath Pilica ran up to them and handed Yoh his haru-same. "Just in case the photo shot requires this."

"Hai. Thank you, Pilica-chan. See, HoroHoro? Your sister is a very capable assistant." Yoh grinned.

Pilica smiled shyly, her face flushed with pleasure, while HoroHoro grunted, still a tad sore over yesterday's incident.

"Amidamaru, ready for the interview?"

His samurai-spirit materialized beside him. "Yoh-dono…it is not as if they could see me…" the spirit was puzzled.

"Oh, right. I forgot." Yoh said sheepishly.

As usual…HoroHoro groaned, rubbing the back of his head. Being Yoh's publicist was really a tough job.

But…

He didn't have it as half bad as Ryu. Maybe for that he should be thankful.

-

"Cancel the Japan Wide interview and I absolutely refuse to appear, again, in Satoshi Tajeri's talk show." Yoh said, thrusting the schedule back to Ryu.

"But…but…"

"Look, all Japan Wide ever wanted was for me to take off my shirt!"

Ryu cast a sidelong glance at Yoh, who was wearing a striped shirt…unbuttoned. "You were saying?"

"You know what I mean. And Satoshi Tajeri? That guy is a nut! The last time I was on his show, he kept asking me ridiculous questions like what I thought of the Pokemon fad…it's all he wants to talk about. I don't know anything about Pokemon and I ended up looking really stupid on his show. Uh-uh, no second time around."

Ryu heaved a sigh. "All right. But I've got a new plan for you. I want to start a…" here, he paused dramatically. "…Asakura Yoh fan club!"

"What!?! Are you out of your mind?! Definitely not!" Yoh said bluntly.

"Yoh-danna…it's a great opportunity!"

"Look, Ryu, I'm the Shaman King, not some kind of pop star. A fan club? You have got to be kidding."

"No, I'm serious. It could be a potential money-maker."

"I've already had enough endorsements, advertisements to keep me busy and wealthy for the rest of my life." Yoh frowned. "Geez, is this what being Shaman King is all about?"

"But of course." Ryu said with a flourish. "The Shaman King only appears once five-hundred years. And you're the youngest, most talented and the best-looking Shaman King in history. You appeal to the people of Japan, and all over the world. Everyone loves you. Of course we must make use of that."

Yoh gave him one of his infamous "huh" looks, and sighed loudly.

"I actually wanted to set up a Shaman school, and to teach other Shamans how to adapt to life…"

"And in time, you will do that. For now, you'll listen to me." Ryu said firmly as they pushed opened the doors of the main studio. Once there, a very short young man rose to greet them, bowing politely.

"Asakura-san, Ryu-san. I am Oyamada Manta and I'm your interviewer for today's show."

"Ohhhh, this is a new technology. I have no idea they made robot-dolls so small and cute." Ryu marveled, patting the small "robot" on his head. 

The spoken person turned a hot shade of red. "I-am-not-a-robot!! I just happened to be a little short for my age, that's all!!"

Ryu did a double take. "Whoa, you can say that again."

Yoh stepped forward and stopped Ryu from saying anything else. "Hello, Oyamada-san. You can call me Yoh. I have problems with formalities. And it makes both you and me more comfortable, ne?"

"Of course, Yoh-kun. And I'm Manta. It'll just be a minute as my assistants prepare the studio and the studio audience." He said politely, gesturing them to a seat.

"How long have you been working here?"

Manta laughed. "Actually, I owned the television corporation. Technically my family does, but I am running it now. So, Yoh-kun. Are you ready to go on air?"

-

Asakura Yohmei sipped his hot o-cha, looking thoughtful.

"Have you been feeling that Yoh had been lazy lately?" he said suddenly, turning to his wife, Asakura Kino. The old woman nodded her head. "I've noticed. He attributed his lack of training to all those publicity things, but I happened to do that he could do both and still sleep if he wanted to."

Yohmei shook his head. "That boy. Yes, he is already the Shaman King, but that doesn't mean threats are far from over."

Kino turned to her husband sharply. "You mean, he…?"

The old man nodded. "I can sense his aura sometimes. Faint, very faint. But undeniably there."

"But Mikihasa had already…"

"Things don't always turn out the way we wanted them to, or the way we thought."

"Then Yoh have to be stronger."

"I know…" He sighed. "What about Yoh? What to do with him?"

Kino had a gleam in her eyes. "I know what to do about him. It's time someone is sent to keep him on his toes."

-

"Success, talent and the Shaman King title. Well, you really have all of it, Yoh-kun."

Yoh laughed sheepishly. "Yeah, well. I guess so."

"Now, the most important attribute in any man's life. And I know a lot of our audience out there would be interested, too. Is there someone in your life right now, Yoh-kun?"

"Huh?" Yoh looked confused.

Behind the stage, HoroHoro and Ryu both slapped their foreheads.

Manta smiled. "Is there someone romantic in your life right now? Someone special?"

"Urmmm…there's really been no one particular, unless you count HoroHoro and Ryu…but besides them, I don't really have anyone special…so…"

-

The next day, tabloid magazines everywhere carried one single headline.

Is our Shaman King gay?

-

"This…cannot…be…true…" Ryu looked ready to tear all the magazines apart.

Yoh just looked baffled. "I don't understand, how did it come to this?"

HoroHoro snatched up one of the many magazines lying around. He almost wanted to throttle his friend. "From this line during the interview yesterday: 'unless you count HoroHoro and Ryu…but besides them, I don't really have anyone special…so…' and they call this an indirect confession! Geez, Yoh! You heard the short guy, he was asking about your love life, why the hell you mentioned mine and Ryu's names?!?"

"But I was not confessing to anything!" Yoh protested. "Besides, I really didn't hear him say the word 'romantic'…"

"You know that, I know that. The rest of Japan doesn't." Ryu said bluntly.

HoroHoro was already punching numbers into his mobile phone. "I'll have the magazines, ALL of them, writing apologies and retractions, or else, I'm going to sue. No, scratch that. I'll have Kororo blow up their offices!"

"…your spirit doesn't blow things up…"

"Hey guys…is it really such a big deal?" Yoh piped up.

Two horrified faces turned towards him. "Of course it is! Your image is on the line!"

"But…"

"No buts! I've got to get this clear up…" Ryu muttered, pacing back and forth. "…but how?"

At that moment, the phone rang loudly. Ryu snatched it up, growling. "What?" His face paled. "…Oh. Kino-sama. Uhh…sorry about that. Uhh, you want Yoh to go back? Do what? Oh, I see. Yes, I'll pass the message."

He turned to Yoh after hanging up. "Your grandmother requests your immediate return. No doubt it should be about this…scandal."

"I really don't see what's the big deal…" Yoh muttered. "…but who am I to argue?"

-

"Well, well. My plans couldn't have come at a better time." Kino tossed the magazine into the trash, where it landed with a resounding thud. "I daresay all his city friends and managers will be pretty pleased with this move of mine." She chuckled to herself.

At that moment, a knock sounded on her door.

"Come in."

Anna entered, and shut the door. She then bowed respectfully to Kino. "Kino-sensei, you sent for me?"

"Ah yes, Anna. I have a very special mission that I want you to undertake. It might be too much to ask of you, but can you promise to do it for me even before I tell you what it is?" Kino said directly.

Anna was not surprised with her attitude. Kino-sensei had always been a straight-to-the-point, no nonsense person. "Of course, Kino-sensei. You've done so much for me, I am in no position to refuse you anything, not even my life."

"I want you to be part of a plan, involving my grandson." Kino paused. "Surely you've heard of him, Asakura Yoh."

The pompous Shaman King Tamao was so in love with is Kino-sensei's grandson? Anna was taken back. Yes, they shared the same last name, but nothing was ever mentioned. "Yes, sensei."

"What I want for you to do, Anna, is to become his fiancée, for a period of time, until he has what it takes again to call himself the rightful Shaman King."


-To be continued-

*

da*mouse ®
posted 5th August 2003

Oh-kaaay, like I said, read with an open mind, ne? ^_^ This idea had been floating in my mind for some time, and after a long day at school, and some encouragement from Kira¸ I thought, why not?

Yeah, the idea is probably a bit strange to get used to. Yoh the celebrity, heh. But that is exactly what he is in my story. And once again, sorry if the implied idea of homosexuality being unacceptable in society bothers anyone. But in reality, that's the truth, especially when it comes to celebrities. Once again, I'll like to stress that I have nothing against homosexuals.

Hao fans might wonder where's Hao. Well, I don't quite know where to put Hao as of yet, but he's going to be here.

As for those waiting for an update to If I Could Change The World, let's just say…well, you'll just have to wait a bit longer. I am kinda swamped and stuck at the moment.

As usual, review/comment/flame/suggest/whatever. Open to anything constructive.