She sighed in exasperation as soon as she walked in the dining room. It was like a dump where random crumpled foils of junk food and half-eaten cans of pork and beans scattered from the table to the walls. Every inch of that particular room was either smudged with icing or it was filled with the intoxicating scent of spoiled milk that spread throughout the floor.

The contours of the once snow-white walls were covered with wasted food, down from pie crusts to corn dogs. And the hard-polished mahogany floor was emanating a foul smell that she could hardly breathe.

But nothing was worse than this after the dinner last night.

She remembered Horo horo and Ren arguing about only-God-knows-what stuff, which eventually led the Chinese shaman knocked out after clumsily stepping on a soda bottle and hitting his head on the floor. Immediately, Anna got so so SO  furious that she almost threw the table at Asakura Hao for dumping that bottle anywhere.

She shrugged.

Remembering that intense deadly stare that Anna had displayed sent everyone's hair stand on its end. Ren Tao had to spend the night in the Asakura household, too, after getting knocked out... and that made the itako even more annoyed. Too much people in the house can give her a migrane.

Really.

On the other hand, Yoh decided to sleep early so that he could still live just one more day. Wise, yes, but he couldn't sleep until 3 in the morning when Horo horo turned on the stereo to its maximum volume capacity.

Pirika was then told to take care of Ren for the night. No, scratch that; she was FORCED. And of course, she couldn't refuse after Anna commanded her to do so. Being the God of manipulation in the Asakura household, the itako could only do so much.

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Tanabata Day: Chapter 2

A/N: Wehehe... Mendori-chan finally updated this! I'm really sorry for those who waited for quite a while now. It's just that classes has begun already and I cannot turn my head away for a second on my responsibilities as a 2nd year student. Yes, I am in 2nd year High School now. It's annoying really...

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Moving on to the present time, Tamamura Tamao tucked a strand of her rosy tresses behind her ear and slipped in a pair of rubber gloves. She took a bandana and tied it on top of her head in case something might land on her hair.

It wasn't like she had a choice; she just had to clean up this mess before the whole house would look as if it were stomped by a hungry mob.

But as always, easier said than done.

However, thinking about protesting was a waste of time anyway. So, she began by picking up the foils of wrappers and putting them into a garbage bag, not missing a single spot. She was used to these things back when she was still under Kino Asakura's wing.

Upon spotting a dark blue headband with its familiar unique designs hidden unseen under the cupboard, she immediately knew who owned it. "Horo-kun must have been looking for this all night," she wondered aloud, noticing how hidden the band was under the cabinet. She chuckled. "Ren-kun always liked to hide this and enjoy seeing Horo-kun steam in annoyance." She paused, a slight shade invading her cheeks. "M-Maybe I should return this to him…"

"Aahh! Tamao!!" there was a loud shriek that interrupted the prophet's thoughts, causing her to jolt up. Horokeu Usui was standing behind her, grinning. "ARIGATOU!!"

The girl blushed deeper in pink from the sudden surprise. After so long living under the same roof with Horo horo, she couldn't understand the complexity of still blushing whenever he was near her, particularly now that the object of her thoughts were interrupted by the Ainu himself.

"H-Horo-kun…" she stuttered. "Y…You shouldn't be here. You might slip…and…"

"You found my headband!" he spoke up, the unusual free spiky blue hair unsupported by the band bounced as he let out his hand. "May I have it back?"

Tamao gave a slight nod and, as she averted her gaze, handed what he wanted shyly. "H-Here."

The Ainu took it from her grasp, then ran his fingers through his hair. Suavely, he placed back the band well above his azure eyes gleefully. "Thanks a lot Tamao!"

"I-Iie…it's alright." She tried to distract herself from him by cleaning some more of the mess.

"By the way, thank you for the strawberry cake you baked for us last night," he continued to speak, sitting on a clean spot on the floor. Rubbing his stomach, he continued, "I really enjoyed that one! Mmmm……"

The prophet smiled, her head turned back from his view. "I'm glad you liked that one-"

"I LOVED it!"

She paused. Horo horo knew she wasn't used to his intrusions but he always liked to persist by adding better compliments. Yes, yes, he was really sweet and all. He not only had a sweet tooth but a sweet tongue as well.

"I'm glad you…loved that one." Tamao turned to him with a shy smile. "You've always told me the same thing about my cooking."

"I do?" he blinked, then chuckled. "Well it's true anyway! When I get back home, I just wish I could bring you along just so I wouln't miss your cooking too much." He scratched his cheek warily. "Yeah...I just wish."

"Horo-kun…" Her voice trailed off. Now that he mentioned about their plans with Pirika, the room was silenced instantly. Sometimes, things like these were not meant to be discussed between them.

And speaking of Horo's brutal-loving sister, Pirika barged in the room with a really really frustrated façade.

"Onii-chaaan!" she squealed. "Ren-niisan is trying to kill meeee!!!"

Citing from the blank look Tamao and Horo horo displayed, the Ainu girl continued, "He's been training with his spear-like-weapon thingy since 5 in the morning! The way he shouts, 'hyaaaah' before the break of dawn is making me SO infuriated!"

"Pirika-chan…" Tamao said uneasily. "Why don't you talk to him about that? Anna-okami informed me that Jun Tao can't take Ren home for a while because of the coming storm."

"Storm?" Horo horo questioned, peering throgh the windowpane and noticing the bleak skies. Indeed, the howls of the heavens were promising a shower…perhaps a heavy one.

The prophet nodded. "Hai, Horo-kun." She then turned to Pirika, anticipating an answer from her. By the looks of it, Pirika being silenced by Tamao's question was highly unusual.

"So? Talk to him yourself. He does know that you took care of him last night, right?" the older Ainu asked curiously.

In a moment, his sister shook her head. "No…"

"Huh?" the two chorused.

Pirika bit her lip as she clasped her hands together. "I haven't told him yet."

Horo horo stood up. "What are you waiting for then?" He went on his way to the door. "We'll tell him right away!!"

"Onii-chaaan!" Pirika grabbed a hold of her brother's jacket, pulling him back to his place. "Let him be! I don't want him to think that I even care about him anyway…" her voice began to falter.

A few seconds of silence later, the older Ainu gave a look at her. Not an angry look nor a pleased look, but a malicious and teasing expression.

Seeing this, Pirika Usui's cheeks turned crimson. "Onii-chan…stop it. You look like a deprived maniac."

He shook his head. "No! No! It's not that!" He turned to Tamao, who already understood what he was trying to point out. "She doesn't get it yet?"

The pink-haired girl chuckled. "Ask her yourself."

"Get what?" Pirika echoed, looking so out of place. It was conversations like these between her onii-chan and Tamao that made her feel so insecure as if she doesn't know what was going on.

"About Ren-kun," Tamao began, smiling. "You like him don't you?"

....

....

A click.

"NOOOO!!" the girl roared with a flushing face. "WHAT THE--? HOW COULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING??!!"

"When you deny that way, then there's no doubt about Tamao's guess being true." Horo horo rubbed his chin knowingly. "My dear little sister is in love with an arrogant idiot." He sighed. "What more can I expect from life?"

Pirika's face calmed. "H-He's not an idiot..."

"Okay, then a moron." Horo horo corrected, then, facing Tamao, he grinned. "Don't you thi—"

She was frowning at him. "Horo-kun. How could you say such a thing? And to think, you're older than he is."

"Two months, Tamao," he said, sighing. "Why do I have to be convinced that it's a big deal?"

"Because it is!" Tamao replied immedately, leaning closer to the Ainu. "That's called corrupting minors. I don't want you to be like that. You're…a big brother…you're supposed to protect…and be a good model to the younger ones," her voice trailed off as she set her eyes on the floor. "I don't want you to be like that…"

"Tamao…" Horo horo smiled slowly, then laid his head lazily on her side. "You know what, you look awfully cute when you're complaining about me."

She blushed profusely.

"Onii-chan, Tamao-nee'san is right!" Pirika agreed, nodding. "You're not practicing your modeling skills at all."

The older Ainu scratched his nape uncomfortably. "Gomen, but no one can change my impression of that Tao as an arrogant pest." He chuckled. "He landed SO good on the floor that he got knocked out in an instant. So much for 'The Tao Intimidation.'"

Speaking of which, Ren was coming in the room and heard every little pathetic insult. Really, he just couldn't depend on three minutes without hearing someone talk behind his back. His hair stood on its end, banging and banging up and down like crazy!

"Dammit, USUI!!" he exclaimed, causing the three to jump in shock. "IF YOU TALK ONE MORE TIME BEHIND MY BACK," he drew out his spear, clutching it tightly with his tough fists. "THEN BY GOD, YOU'LL BE SO SORRY THAT YOU'D WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!!!"

Pirika, however, ran in front of her brother. "Ren-niisan, stop it!!" She was so caught up with the threatening glares the Tao had displayed that she unconsciously SLAPPED him on the face…hard.

Silence…

After realizing what Pirika had done, Ren dropped his weapon and rubbed his injured cheek. Turning to her, and even without words but gestures, she could clearly see how anrgy and furious he was.

"Ara…" Pirika's mouth was wide open. "G…o…m…e…n…"

"Onna!!" Ren errupted, blood steaming through his face in fury. The point of his hair was jolting so fast that it looked as if it was going to pop off. "Y-YOU…YOU……YOU!!"

Horo horo stood up and pushed the Chinese shaman aside. "Don't you ever talk to my sister that way," he emphasized. Pausing for a while, he then unexpectedly looked down on the floor. "I'm sorry. I took the topic to you. It's my responsibility."

"Horo-kun…" Tamao uttered as she watched Ren calm down.

"I'll kill the hell out of you!" the Tao roared, but his voice was trembling. "I'll…kill and beat you so bad…that no one can recognize you anymore…"

Pirika looked guilty as she draped her hand on his shoulder. "Ren-niisan…"

"Shit!" Ren hit the wall with his bare fists, causing Pirika to back a step away. "It's not that easy to look unaffected when someone talks behind your back…"

Horo horo looked serious as he extended his hand. "Sorry."

Ren looked up and hesitated, only to see a sincere Ainu looking back at him. "I owe my sister an apology, too," he continued. "Please accept it."

No matter how brave someone is, it takes a man to admit his mistakes.

Calmly, the shaman took his hand and shook it.

Silence…

"Bwahahahahahaha!!! You were about to cry!!!!" Horo horo laughed crazily, rolling all over the messed up room like a maniac. "CRYBABY!! CRYBABY! CRYBABY!! Hekhekhekhek…!"

The Chinese shaman had veins popping out of his head. "I will never trust you EVER again…"

"Onii-chan no baka!" Pirika scolded. "Mou…you're so childish."

"Horo-kun," Tamao sweatdropped as the Ainu laughed his heart out. Sighing, she muttered, "You will always be such a joker." She truned to Ren and Pirika. "Do you mind if I asked you to help me clean up here?"

They shook their head slowly.

"Arigatou! Anna-okami and Yoh-sama will be here…with Hao-sama too."

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"Anna-chan, where are we spending our Tanabata? Huh? Huh?" Asakura Hao followed the itako as she rummaged through some Japanese papers for the festival. She tried her best to be calm or else she would be tempted to summon something…BAD.

"Didn't I tell you to stop calling me that??!" Anna snapped.

"Onii-chan, please…" You pleaded as he held the shopping basket.

"Yea…" Hao cupped his chin playfully. "Imutou-chan then!" he snickered as the girl shook her head in annoyance. Facing his brother, he continued, "Aren't we done yet?"

Yoh shook his head. "I don't think so…"

Sighing, he was thankful that Anna was much more preoccupied with the shopping aside from Hao.

Because he knew what would happen if she wasn't.

TSUZUKU

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Okay, that's it for now! Ehehehe… I wanted to write some more but I wanted more chapters so… hehe…

Please review!!