Title: Hao O Wasurenai Kara; Because Hao Is Unforgettable (4/?)

Author: Kagaya Chou

Archive: Ask me.

Rating: PG-13

Pairing(s): Yoh(Hao) x Anna, (maybe more, maybe not)

Warnings: Spoilers.

Disclaimer: Shaman King was created by Hiroyuki Takei and now licensed by Viz. Obviously not mine; this fic wouldn't be in fanfiction.net if this was.

Comments: May 21, 2004 - When a ship reaches a pier it naturally straightens. Yoh seems to think so, even if Anna has her doubts.

- - -

Yoh knew Anna loved him, and he supposed he loved her back as well, but it hadn't always been the case. Initially, his family arranged their engagement for the sake of convenience. Until his recent and short-lived reunion with Hao, Yoh thought he was an only child in the Asakura family. Everyone treated him as though Hao did not exist, so marriage and the continuation of their bloodline were Yoh's obligations.

It may have been his wish to live an easy life, but it was also his duty to marry and provide for his future wife.

As an Asakura, Yoh had the potential to become a great shaman, but absolutely no ambition for power, or for anything else for that matter. The only thing that ever seemed to spur him into action was fear for his own safety or that of a loved one's. He was a very good boy; his family just figured he needed a lot of discipline--preferably from someone he was afraid of, instead of someone scared of spirits and shamans. That was a rare thing.

Enter Anna, who was abandoned by her parents because she could interact with souls of the dead. Anna was a shaman, but not in the sense that Yoh was. She was a spirit medium like Yoh's grandmother. Whereas Yoh sometimes fused his spirit with Amidamaru in order to strengthen their collective soul, their Oversoul, Anna couldn't do the same. However, she could summon and exorcise spirits, which was not something a shaman with an Oversoul could do. The Asakura family took the girl in and offered her an apprenticeship, which turned out to be a fortunate thing.

If anyone could push Yoh towards becoming Shaman King, or just getting off his lazy ass, they found out it was Anna.

She was so antisocial Yoh figured she was too much trouble to befriend in the beginning. He simply thought of her as a bossy sister while Anna saw him as a spoilt little brat to be tamed. Growing up together, like siblings, it was hard to tell when more tender feelings developed. Anna was always there, watching and training Yoh. They simply found comfort in each other's company, in day-to-day familiarity. Yoh could not imagine life without Anna, and--if that was love--the feeling was mutual.

Like every other morning since they started living alone together, they ate quietly at the round table in the living room. There was an hour before school started and if Anna wasn't satisfied with Yoh's cooking at breakfast, he could expect a suitable punishment later in the evening.

Regardless, he didn't seem too concerned any more. He had taken to openly staring for the past week or so. Today, he watched her with an indolent smile on his face and Anna was sure he deliberately let his hair down. Yoh and Hao were identical twins; surely, he knew how much it annoyed her.

"Go put your hair up," she stared back impassively.

Yoh expression did not change as he asked, "For training?"

"No," Anna responded "For school."

"Oh, we still have time," he shrugged.

Anna put down her bowl and chopsticks. Yoh never teased her, she thought. He wouldn't dare. She really didn't like this new attitude of his. It felt like it was her fault, being picky for no reason, but she couldn't think of anything she did to lose his... was respect the right word? Before she could think of anything to say, to put Yoh in his proper place, the boy stood up.

"All right. I'll be right back." He excused himself from the table and left the room.

After a moment's silence, Anna cleared the table and went into the kitchen feeling like she was being played. Yoh usually did the dishes, but she'd be damned if she was going to just sit and wait for his return like she was some desperate damsel.

There was an odd grin on Yoh's face as he padded into his room. Running a hand through his hair, he wondered what was going on. He knew Anna didn't like being reminded of Hao, that she would have something to say about it, and yet... "I am Hao," he mouthed. "And Yoh." His hand lingered over the set of headphones he often wore behind his ears. Decisively, he took the headphones off and reached for his comb.

Yoh knew some adjustments had to be made when Hao came back to him. He wanted to tell Anna sometimes, but at other times, he honestly didn't. Then again, there were a lot of things he wanted to tell Anna, do with Anna, which he hadn't previously thought of before.

For example, it'd be nice if she cooked more often simply because her cooking was fantastic and he knew his was crap. He was actually grateful for the training though, because he knew she made him do it for his own good. Practice did make him do better, but it wasn't really her responsibility to train him. She didn't even have to sew his clothes. Her taste bordered on eccentric too, although he'd wear whatever she wanted him to, and she looked cute in skirts. It was nice that Anna showed a lot of leg. That last thought wasn't something Yoh usually thought about, but he wasn't a teenage boy for nothing.

Later, when Anna heard Yoh call her name from the living room, she tensed. The way he said it grated on her nerves and dredged up foul memories of Hao. She always lost her temper when the older twin insisted saying her name oh so intimately, because she only wanted to hear Yoh to say it that way, like he was glad to see her and be with her. Coming from Hao, it was a cruel mockery.

"There you are. Anna..." As identical twins, Hao and Yoh had similar voices, but she knew it could only be the younger brother. By the sound of his footsteps she surmised that he was now standing directly behind her. The boldness surprised her. He was putting her on edge.

Turning off the tap and picking up a sponge, she simply asked, "What?" Anna continued washing the dishes without a backwards glance. If she turned around, she knew she would only show him doubt.

It always felt as thought she was in unknown territory whenever Yoh tried to take the initiative. So far, he had never done more than hold her hand, a feeling she loved but also hated because it made her weak in the knees.

Unfazed by her apparent indifference, Yoh slipped his arms around her, taking the dish and sponge from her hands. "Let me do that for you," he looked at what he was doing over her shoulder.

Anna froze.

"If my fiancé's hands got all rough and wrinkly," he offered, "they wouldn't be nice to hold." Anna steeled herself and spun around, soapy fist aimed at his cheek, but Yoh saw it coming. He could drop the dish and risk it breaking while he grabbed Anna's hand, drop the sponge and get Anna soaked, or he could save energy by doing nothing. In any case, Yoh knew he was going to get hurt. He figured Anna would get used to his attempts at affection eventually, but oh well, not today. Shoulders drooping, Yoh ducked his chin down.

Their resulting kiss was purely accidental. There was nothing spectacular about it except that it was their first. It was close-lipped, lasted for about half a second, and no bells were sounding, except for the ringing echoes in Yoh's head when one side of his skull got in touch with Anna's fist and the other side met the floor tiles directly after.

The dish clanked without breaking at the bottom of the sink. The sponge did not touch Anna, nor did the water. Yoh thanked the Great Spirits for small blessings. By the time the stars stopped spinning before his eyes, his fiancé was already out in the corridor.

"Finish the dishes or you're not sleeping tonight," she said.

He twitched in response.

"Yoh?" The boy heard concern in Anna's voice, but the aching pain he felt cried for more attention. He groaned and slowly picked himself up. After a pause, Anna walked back into the kitchen, trying not to sound troubled. "Yoh?"

She was half expecting a silly grin on his face and his regular cheerful reassurance when Yoh turned, glaring at her before wincing and quickly squeezing his eyes shut.

Anna was in the habit of pushing people away from her. Now, she wanted something different, but the look in Yoh's eyes was paralyzing. He reached up behind him, adjusting his ponytail as he opened his eyes. When he saw her expression, he gave her a fragile smile.

"I'm all right, Anna."

She stared at him searchingly, and then spoke, "Breakfast was horrible, but there was slight improvement. I'll see to tonight." She tried not to look like she was hurrying when she moved back out the door. Yoh hoped Anna was talking about making dinner herself in the evening, instead of punishing him for making her worry for him more.

Ten minutes later, they stood in front of the supermarket waiting for Manta to show up, so they could walk to school together. Anna was reading the posters on the display window until she noticed Hao watching her from the reflection on the glass. She quickly looked over her shoulder.

It was just Yoh, who didn't mind he has been caught staring. He blinked at her, questioningly. There was nothing wrong with staring at his fiancé, was there? Anna had not outward response, but the relief in her eyes gave Yoh a curious thrill.

Anna showing she was glad to see him was an encouraging sign for their relationship, Yoh thought. His eyes darted down to her mouth. Remembering the kiss they shared, he looked back to her eyes as he subconsciously licked his lips.

When she realized what was on his mind, Anna blushed faintly, frowned and looked away. She had issues that she hoped would remain unaddressed.

Yoh wondered if they could possibly have a second go without resulting in massive head tremors. Anna was worth the effort, or he wouldn't let her do him bodily harm on a regular basis, but if she didn't want to, he decided he wouldn't push... too hard. Fair warning seemed necessary.

"I'm sorry our first kiss was an accident, Anna..." She didn't answer but Yoh saw her face in the glass. She was listening. "But next time," he slowly continued. "It won't be an accident. Next time, it'll be all right. I'll make it all right."