Disclaimer: Shaman King does not belong to me. Period.
A/N: For those who dislike Yoh getting a little sad, bare me. It first attempt of an angsty Yoh, so I'm sorry if I over-dramatized things a little. Explores Yoh's thoughts on himself and Hao as different individuals or… are they the same? Kind of an identity crisis… I guess. Added a little touch of romance (or waff or mush or whatever) with a minor YohxAnna implication. Feedback greatly appreciated!

November 3rd, 2003.


"Happy people not always have it all, they just take out the best of everything that they find on their way."

The lonely candle in the corner lights my room dimly. I don't even know what I am doing here alone, in the darkness. I never liked being alone before. But my spirit and friend is out, because he deserves time on his own, and I couldn't reach any other of my friends. I gulp down the knot in my throat as the candle's flame flickers. No, I don't like being alone.

I look at myself over the mirror. The picture is just a bit blurry, but clear enough to make out the face of the one standing in front. And I see him, I see a slightly scrawny boy… with brownish hair sticking out in every way. The trustful orange headphones are covering either ear, as they use to be, the song going over and over again. Gleaming, dark eyes, shining with life, are looking back at me. And the old, goofy smile, -a smile that now looks older, but one I can't get tired of- plastered on his face…

Yes, it is me, the good ol' lazy bum…

Yoh Asakura.

And at the same time, a dark shadow hovers over the image of the boy, of my image. A shadow mimicking my every move. I can see a figure as slim as mine, yet standing in an elegant, boyish way. Mahogany brown, long locks of hair swaying delicately. An old, tattered cloak covering his chest and gloved hands. Dark, almost lifeless eyes; eyes that reflect resentment and grief. And there is that cynical smile of his… A taunting, teasing, smile, yet mortally dangerous.

Yes, it is him, mybrother, the destroyer…

Hao Asakura.

Is he my shadow or… am I his?

No.

No, I've told them... I've told everyone. I've told myself. And I still stand strong for what I say.

Yoh will always be Yoh.

And Hao… Hao will always be Hao.

I give myself a reassuring smile, trying to cover up the frown that is quickly forming on my forehead. No, the word 'frown' isn't even supposed to be in my vocabulary… If my friends saw me like this I would just worry them. That's something I don't want to happen. And I know far too well this isn't even something I should worry about.

I try to believe it, that I will remain myself, always do. But I've seen him, with my very own eyes. He was standing there, in front of me, face to face, smiling at me. And sincerely, I had tried to smile back, but I found that I couldn't. Not when his eyes showed so much hatred against me and what I represented, against the humans.

Then, the time arrived when we had to finally confront each other. We were there, the both of us sending lethal glares to each other and covering them with confident smiles. The swords raising and crashing, the spiritual power within us roaring in anger and despair. The sounds of the wind were hovering above any other sound. And it was just like now, watching my image in the mirror. He is still there, but instead of fighting, we are merely looking at each other…

I used to know who I was, and what my goal was, but now… I ask myself who I am and the response is lost in the wind. I can feel a soft murmur in my ear, teasing me, but not letting me know the real answer. I don't remember since when I started asking myself questions, but they keep on coming, and coming, and coming. I can't handle the uncertainty anymore.

Does part of the destroyer still reside in me? Why did he have to reincarnate in two bodies, anyway? Was I even supposed to be born? He told me himself, he told me that I wasn't, that I was just a mere miscalculation in Hao's plans. No… I can't, if I wasn't supposed to be born, then why the hell was it my mission to defeat aniki! I clench my hands tightly, and I am tempted to crush the mirror right now, not worrying about the wounds I'll cause on myself or if I bleed and stain the floor. But I stop myself in mid punch. Both of my hands are still fisted, as I noticed they are, I unclench them slowly.

The reflected image seems to be chuckling… laughing at my reaction. I grit my teeth in frustration. I shake my head trying to put those thoughts away. He is dead already. In our last battle, when I gave him the final strike, he died. Even if he didn't, he did for me. He is dead, so he can't hurt me anymore, he shouldn't.

And my goal… my goal to live an easy life? Where is it? Where has it gone? It is lost as well, for I was so absorbed in the burden left to me as an Asakura heir, the burden as the 'other half' of the destroyer that… I couldn't remember it at all. The goal was forgotten and I left behind my purpose and my real reason to fight. Once, I remembered how fun a battle cloud be, but after I had confronted him… To me, I look like a boy who lost his dreams…

I hear a soft knock on the door. The shoji's wooden edge creaking.

"It's open," my voice is somewhat hoarse and shallow.

"Yoh?" it is Anna's lithe figure stepping across the shogi door, her voice is barely audible. "Dinner's ready, come downstairs right now…… before it gets cold." Her voice has softened from her usual scowl as she noticed my gloominess.

The thick atmosphere filled with tension flying around the room seems to come down on her like a cold shower. I know her head is starting to fill up itself with questions, but she doesn't ask a single one. She never asks questions.

She's about to leave, but since she heard no response from me, she hesitates a bit in doing so.

"Anna…" I call for her just as she's about to take a last step outside.

She stops at the doorframe, her back to mine, because I was still looking, or I should say, glaring at the mirror. I turn to face her back and walk to her until I am a few inches apart.

"Yoh, what's the matter?" she asks a bit too squarely, trying not to show concern at all. But I know better.

I place my arms around her waist and bring her closer to me. As I embrace Anna, I feel her whole body stiffen, but as of yet, she hasn't pulled away. She loosens up a bit, and places a hand on top of mine, which tightens the grip around her body.

"Anna…" I rest my head against her back. "Anna, who am I?" I ask uncertain, afraid.

She turns alarmed when the back of her black dress starts getting wet. My fault, I smile bitterly… I try my best to stop crying, I really do.

She looks at me with eyes filled of something I can't understand. Shock, worry, doubt… Maybe it is because she's never seen me like this in so long, since that time when we met… And she remains to be the only one to have seen me in such miserable state. Then again, last time… I still was too young, too naïve… I didn't know about him, about everything…

"Who… who am I?" I ask again, this time with a shaky voice, as she takes me to the floor, her arms already hugging me tight, one of her hands caressing my hair gently.

She understands, she says, even without opening her mouth.

We have come to a point were words aren't needed anymore. I've changed, she's changed, but we have done so together, so we don't need to speak at all to know, to understand.

We remain there, Anna bringing me closer to her to give me a little comfort, sitting in silence until she finally decides to break it.

"You are Yoh, and you will always remain to be Yoh. To me and to everyone else… Yoh will always be Yoh," she says soothingly, repeating the lines that I constantly say, that I want to believe forever.

I smile quietly, the tears still rolling down my face and staining my tan cheeks, as she continues to rock me softly.