Would you dance with me?
Written by Adriana (hikari yuuko)
Date: May 2nd, 2003. Revised: November 29th, 2008.
Disclaimer: Shaman King doesn't belong to me. I claim only the plot and my OC.
Chapter I: Lessons
The blonde girl pushed the red triangle-marked 'play' button on the music recorder and a soft tune began playing. The boy laughed nervously, headphones wiggling around his neck as he sat on one of the three stone beds in the room. The room's small table and two chairs had been put on one corner next to the window, leaving a large space in the center; the girl stood proudly in the middle of such space, waiting impatiently.
"Now, stand up, walk next to me, and put your arm around my waist," the girl ordered, her arms cross over her chest in a sign of annoyance and complete control.
"But, Anna-chan… I don't want to go," the brunette pleaded with a weak smile, watching her take her hands to her hips, like she always did when she grew angry. That was not good news.
"Don't call me 'Anna-chan,' I'm not happy with you," she confirmed his thoughts icily before looking at him sternly. "If my memory serves right, it was you who got us into this, wasn't it?" the girl fumed madly and tapped her foot impatiently. The blue beads
"Yes…~" the boy answered softly, his head lowered a little, "but, with all those glances you gave me… Well, you see… I thought you wanted to go."
She shot him a dead glance, looking grim. "You're really stupid, aren't you, Yoh?" Anna sighed; she couldn't even be shocked by it anymore.
"You are thus invited to the ball in honor of the Great Spirits," Silva had said with his deep voice. "It shall be a relaxing moment for all remaining shamans in the tournament. It's a couple's dance, truth to be told; Goldva-sama thought it would be appropriate considering it's the spring solstice. But a large group would be fine as long as you remember to says so for the seating arrangements." He smiled warmly at the group of friends who were exchanging looks dubiously. "I will need a confirmation of assistance. Now, preferably."
"The Ren team will go!" Horo Horo was the first one to agree, arguing about all the 'great food' he would be able to eat, and committed the rest of his team to go as well. "Tamao-chan will go with me too, ne? I do need a girl for the dancing part and who would be better than you, Tamao-chan," the Ainu turned to his new-found friend and smiled cheerfully at her; the flushing girl nodded shyly. Chocolove, who looked ready to pop a new joke as he nodded in agreement, was cut short by a loud exclamation.
"What the hell?" Ren hollered, the vein in his eyebrow popping violently, "Are you an idiot? Why should I, the Great Tao Ren, assist to such humiliating event?!" The golden-eyed boy took out his oh-so-faithful kwan-do, but as he turned around to stomp away after poking the unsuspecting Ainu with his sharp-edged weapon, he met his sister's scolding glance and pleasant smile. Jun raised her eyebrows expectantly and it was enough for him to smoothly settle down and finally gave in.
"If onii-chan goes, then I go too!" an extremely cheery Pilica added, clinging onto one of her brother's arms, who immediately tried to escape her grip. And before the unsuspecting Chinese could escape or even understand what was about to happen, she curved her other arm around the fuming Tao boy's as well. "You should be happy too, Ren-san, it's going to be fun! And it looks like you haven't had fun a long, loooong while!" she added, grinning brazenly.
"Woman, leave me alone!" the golden-eyed Chinese screamed, clearly embarrassed, as he tried to get out of the girl's grip. His friends snickered as everything he tried proved to be ineffective against the smaller girl. He turned around, frowning as he unwillingly searched for help, given that Horo had efficiently escaped from his younger sister and she now had both arms around him. He panicked, obviously, upon finding his sister's smug smile... "Nee-san, don't laugh!"
Anna rolled her eyes at the sight and huffed in annoyance; only those Ainu siblings knew how to push Tao Ren's worst buttons. Just then, Yoh, still smiling sheepishly at the red beet Tao, turned to ask her something but she'd been faster herself to turn around as she avoided to meet his gaze. The rest were oblivious to this little exchange and even more so to the little frown on Yoh's face as Anna turned away; he was looking more confused by the minute.
Faust and Ryuu had accepted, the first thinking about dancing with his beautiful Eliza, while the second in all the pretty girls he could meet there. Manta had agreed as well, willing to spend more time with all of his friends other than at the shaman fights. The only ones left to confirm their assistance were, in fact…
"So, Yoh-kun," Silva looked questioningly at the scrawny, always-smiling teen, "are you and Anna-san coming?" He turned to look at the young itako, then back at her future husband.
"Umm, we…" the brunette looked nervously at his fiancée who was giving him dead glances. He looked at her trying to understand her silent gestures. He was sure that if he made the wrong choice, he would regret it… really, really regret it. On the opposite side, Silva smiled at him apologetically, but it was the way it had to be done and assistance was to be confirmed by the shamans themselves, according to Goldva-sama.
'Say no!' the girl screamed in her mind; this kind of events were always so troublesome for her. She hated hot, crowded places and lousy music and happy-go-lucky idiots swarming the place. Trying to make him understand, she lifted a brow at him and crossed her arms. 'No, Yoh, no way!'
She tried opening her mouth to say something, but as fast as she did, as fast as she closed it. The question had been directed at Yoh, and it was he who should answer… correctly. After all, she thought for a second, if they were going to get married someday he would need to start taking decisions for both of them, right? That's what Kino-sensei had said once…
But if he was going to do so, he better make the best decision, or else she would give him a piece of her mind… And, why was he taking so long? Couldn't he just say no?
Anna smiled grimly. God, she really didn't want to go to that silly dance. And he just kept staring at her so stupidly… Damn it all, she would refuse the offering herself. And why was she keeping silent, anyways? Everyone here knew who had the rein in this relationship.
"We are n…" she had started in a low voice, but the shaman next to her interrupted her sentence.
"Yeah, we'll go," he said, smiling at the elder man, then turning around to grin at her.
His face and sheepish smile were too much. The girl was so taken aback that she merely closed her mouth and stared. Had he just…?
"Then all of you have accepted to go," the Patch man received nods and he smiled at the group of shamans, "The ball shall start at eight o'clock at the Great Hall, tomorrow night. We will have a toast and then the feast will begin," Silva finished, and after bowing politely, he walked away from the table and back to his place behind the counter.
Oh, he did…
Sensing the red aura radiating from the itako, the rest of the shamans slowly made up excuses and left, leaving the strange couple alone. The boy was grinning nervously, looking around for the non-existent help, everyone around him were at least five meters away.
"The thing is… I don't know how to dance," he laughed, suddenly admitting to nobody in particular.
"DAMNIT!" Anna cursed deafeningly, surprising and frightening her fiancé. "Yoh, you fool!!!"
The girl finally exploded and she took drastic measures…
.:End of Flashback:.
Yoh rubbed his left cheek, where he could still feel the lingering sensation caused by her cold slap. Each of her thing fingers was imprinted on his poor, swollen cheek.
"I said, I thought you wanted to go," he muttered, still rubbing his sore jaw.
After some thought, the blonde seemed to lose some of her anger. But not much. At least it meant that he worried about what she wanted, even if it wasn't what he thought it was. Still… "Hmm, baka…" she muttered under clenched teeth. Then told him off sternly, "But… you don't even know how to dance!"
"I am…" he was trying to get an excuse; but in moments like this, his head didn't help him at all. It was risky trying to say something right now anyways. He tried the sheepish smile, it always seemed to work, a bit, to calm his fiancée.
"You… nothing! Listen, Yoh, if you got us into this then now you are learning how to dance! Stand up!" the girl said approaching him and pulling him up from the bed. "You won't embarass me in front of everyone any further. Got that clear?"
"Yes, Anna-ch… Anna," he finished hopelessly as she turned to glare at him. Her hazel eyes were smoldering him.
The girl returned to where the music recorder was and pushed the button once more so the tune began playing again.
"Now," she said standing closer to him, "there are many ways of dancing. Starting with positions... As I hope you know, you can dance with the other person without having to hold each other, but that is more for informal parties, and we are attending a ball after all," she grimaced, "So, you can put both of your arms around my waist, and I'll wrap mine around your neck."
She saw him gulp and nod, paying attention as best as he could. "Or, you can put only one arm around my waist, then I'll put my hand on your shoulder, and we have to hold each other's free hand."
He nodded again, stiff as a rock, as he stood in front of her. This wasn't working very well and it ticked Anna off greatly. And so, she waited for him to do something. When it seemed he wasn't about to move, she arched her brow dangerously. "So? Aren't you going to do something at all?"
"AHH! Y-yes!!" He was clumsy as he circled her body with his arms, doing just what he had heard, which had been pretty much nothing after: 'your arms around my waist'.
"Okay," she said eyeing him curiously as she felt his hands pose themselves softly and ever so hesitantly against her lower back, "so we've got that settled. The next thing is for you to hear and actually feel the music." She shut her eyes. "Listen to it closely; I know at least you can do that well. Since you are the 'man'" she emphasized mockingly and he pouted, "you have to take the lead and it is important that you understand the melody and the rhythm."
Anna opened her eyes to peer at his confused and rather pink face. She swallowed the chuckle in her throat and told him, instead. "The song you are hearing is rather simple to dance, but it is still elegant."
Yoh obliged diligently, listening to the tune's flowing notes. "It's nice…" he said closing his own eyes as well while a little smile crept up his lips.
"I chose it after all," the young woman murmured, closing her eyes again and quietly enjoying the tune. "I'm sure they'll play it, since it is a very common piece for ballroom dances."
The clock on the wall ticked furiously as seconds became minutes, and so, some time passed had passed as they stood there, him holding her tighter and she had started to unconsciously lean on him. Until, that is, she realized how her head was dangerously and slowly heading to lean on his shoulder and that was not going happen in this lifetime.
"Geez!" she exclaimed, pulling away. "Are you going to lead or not?"
The young shaman opened his eyes and looked straight into the girl's amber pools. "Yes, yes…" Yoh answered quickly, and then paused for a while before making his own question, "But… how?"
"GOD!" his blonde fiancée sighed, exasperated; then, she took started moving and pulled him along. "Look, just move your feet like this and count the steps: 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4…" she counted for him as he started moving. He turned to look at her, then at their feet, back at her, and smiled.
"1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2,…" he repeated after her.
They moved in such pace for a moment, until softer notes began as the song was about to reach an almost lulling moment. Anna was quick to explain: "The rhythm is getting slower after this; I think you've noticed, right? You need to space the steps a little more, then."
He nodded in understanding and waited until she told him to slow down. "Uh, like this? Um,.. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4."
The corner of Anna's lips curved themselves into a small, satisfied smile. He looked at their feet and then at her, happily seeing that he was finally 'getting it'. He grinned brilliantly at her, and her face went stoic again. "Don't get too excited, Yoh" she scowled, "but… you're doing well."
"Yes," he agreed happily, still smiling at her. After all, when they were coming from her, Yoh thought, those words were a great compliment. "Thank you."
Anna ignored him and continued her strict instructing. "Slower. 1… 2… 3… 4… Got it?"
"Mm hmm," he said looking at her, his feet now moving naturally. They swayed along the music.
"Now it'll go faster." She was directing him as she moved gracefully in the short space the room provided. Yoh look up and down between her face and feet, following her suit. "Count with me now:1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4."
Yoh laughed and Anna couldn't avoid the small smile still shining on her face, even when she did her best to hide it from her all-too-observing future husband. Still, without commenting on such rare occurrence, the shaman couple counted together until the song finally reached the gran finale and ended as beautifully as it began and their feet stopped moving.
"Fine, Yoh, you managed to master the basics." Anna consented as she put down her arms and looked at him squarely. The small, content smile on face had been replace with her usual grim-looking, thin-lipped smile. "You'll do fine, I hope… or rather, you better hope you do." She 'hmphed' and arched her eyebrows. "You can let me go now, you know?"
Yoh looked at her intently, as if pondering her words, but kept seizing her by her waist. "No."
"What?" she blurted, suddenly feeling her temper rising and her heart beating quickly. This was not happening and this was not her Yoh. Yoh never, ever, said no to her.
"I said no, Anna" he repeated and kept smiling reassuringly while holding onto her waist. "I don't think I want to do that."
"Oh… Wh-why?!" her cheeks heated up as his figure loomed over her. No, this wasn't normal at all. And she had started stuttering, too. Really now, how was it even possible that she'd been reduced to a stuttering mouse?
"Because," he said simply, finding himself actually enjoying the fact that she seemed so afraid of him for once. Intimidated, was the right word for it.
"But…" She was getting nervous under his gaze and she clenched her fists into tiny balls. "It's getting late and I have to dress up. Yoh, you have to let me go now or I'll…"
"What?" He released a soft chuckle at her uneasiness and she blushed, though she looked visibly angry.
To her, this was really unnerving. When Yoh didn't seem to budge, she then got ready to slap him. But even as she tried that, out of nowhere to catch him off-guard, his hand came to stop hers midway before any damage could be done.
"Asakura Yoh!" she yelled, effectively wriggling her right hand out of his grip and regaining some composure, though the pink stains in her pale cheeks were still there. "Let me go, now!!"
Yoh looked positively serious as he looked down at her and murmured: "I told you, I don't want to."
"Is that so?" she asked heatedly, the spark in her eyes was aflame. He was getting on her nerves, damn it! And she was so damn ready to show him that.
"That's right…" he said smirking at Anna, like he'd done not once in the past.
Before she really knew what was happening, Yoh was already against her a little too much; worse, he was already towering her. Mindlessly, she wondered when he'd gotten so tall… Wait, why was she thinking of something like that right now!?
Too close, too close…
'Don't do anything stupid, Asakura Yoh… or I will kill you later, I promise!' she thought as he saw the smirk in his face slowly turn into a serious expression. He was getting closer to her face, and for once in her lifetime when it came to Yoh, she felt really powerless; she couldn't move or back away.
"Yoh… what the hell… mmph…"
Yoh ended the gap between them, and then she had been silenced.
He had brushed his lips against hers eagerly but still very gently at first. As his anxiousness was lost, his lips moved over hers slowly and lovingly. Despite herself, her body loosened up to him, tiptoeing to get nearer without even realizing she was doing it on her own. She tried say something to stop him, but he only took it as a chance and deepened their kiss. She circled his neck once more, like she'd done when they were dancing, and her fingers slowly find their way and tangled themselves up in his mahogany brown hair.
Anna eyes' snapped open; she was still dazed but finally realizing what she was doing. Abruptly breaking the kiss she had been so involved in seconds before, she pushed him aside and stumbled a few steps backwards, raising her cold fingers to touch her red lips, where the tingling sensation of his warmth still lingered.
He was startled as well, almost falling when she pushed him back. His wide eyes had lost the strange glint to them from moments ago. His cheeks were burning as bright as hers.
"Why…?" her voice was below a whisper, eyes downcast, and he could barely make up something of what she had said.
He avoided her angry face, lowering his head too as he found the floor increasingly interesting. Yoh knew not what had gotten into him: the sudden surge of confidence, the sudden need to kiss her then and there, the sudden feeling that everything would turn alright. The conflicting thoughts he'd always carried had erased themselves from his head in the spur of the moment. Now he had to confront what he'd done, because Anna looked every inch livid; there was no other choice at hand.
"Say, Anna, I'm…" he tried innocently, looking up at her. He was met with the sight of Anna staring at him rather closely. But, where those tiny things… tears in her eyes? She must have been really mad.
"How dare you, stupid?!" she fumed, her fist shaking.
"I'm sorry, I-I…" he looked at the floor once more, his shoes suddenly became interesting as well, they went well with the rocky surface and the nature-themed trimming the Patch had fashioned for their hotel rooms' walls. "I couldn't help it," he muttered shyly, but she was already shouting at him before he could say anything else.
"You… you… Argh!!!" she had no words, a rare thing in her, but she felt the need to shout and scream and bite his head off.
Yoh endured it expertly, waiting as she rambled off about his stupidness and how he'd defiled her lips and… "Wait a minute," the boy raised his head after thinking hard for a moment in which his ears had denied the flow of her words to reach his brain.
"Now what?!" she yelled exasperated.
"Anna-chan," he added the suffix without noticing her corresponding wince, "but you… you kissed me back!" Yoh beamed proudly as a goofy grin spread through his features, realizing such a thing made him glow with cheeriness.
"W-what?!" the girl's eyes widened and she took a step back, a furious blush on her cheeks. She braced herself as Yoh took a step forward.
"Well… I'm sure I 'felt' you kiss back," he said coyly, the grin on his face was infectious. He tried to touch her hair, feeling brave, "You did."
"No!!! No, I didn't!!!" the girl spat back, pushing away his hand and blushing from head to toe. This was certainly not happening.
"Yes…" he said nodding adamantly. He looked as though he'd thought of it long enough to be really certain of it. "You did," the mahogany-haired young man added calmly as he laughed sheepishly.
Anna's face could have challenged a tomato in redness. "No! I did not."
"You did," he replied happily, as he began humming contentedly.
"No! No! No! No! No!"
Far from the scene, behind the window to be precise, two butterfly-like figures chatted quietly. These were two small fairies.
"I see our little meddling has been of great help," the first said happily, laughing heartily at the ongoing exchange. That girl could really blush.
"You're right, Keiji-kun… It was good they didn't notice our presence there," the female fairy looked at her partner, seeming doubtful. Her purple wings flapped once as they hunched themselves to look through the window.
"You're right, but it was tougher than I thought. Wasn't it Momo-chan?" he asked slightly concerned.
"Ah… Yes, I was only able to have power over the itako for a split second, the rest of it she did it by herself," she frowned at her own mistake. "Gee, it would have been much fun if I had controlled her a little bit more though…"
The fairy with green and blue wings adjusted his hat, grinning in mischief. "And the Asakura didn't make any protest, hmm… weird."
Momo paused to ponder a bit. "Uh, let's go play another trick to someone else, ok Keiji-kun?"
"Yes," he said looking at her, the mischief still in his grin and in his tiny, almond-shaped eyes. "Let's go! There's still more interesting people to play with!"
He flied away and Momo soon followed.