Author Notes: I'm deeply sorry that this took a while… but hey it's done! I finally have some free time to write... so hopefully I can finish what I've started. Thanks for being patient and for reading this fic right now! Just advance notice, I did this write this based from the manga and subbed anime, so I'm sorry if you've watched the dub and may get confused with the original names, honorifics, etc.

Fic Notes: Yoh and Anna are 17 in this fic. They're not married yet. Finally, beware of FLUFF, cheesy and mature events. OOC is also a possibility-- No, scratch that… OOC is definite.. So if you don't like mature fluffy cheese with a side of OOC-ness, that probably has no plot whatsoever.. then err… maybe this fic isn't your type. Call it PWP, WAFF, whatever.. then that's what is fic is. –grins- Percentage of choking on fluff? Err… 90-100. Depending on your personality, you may find parts of this fic very sick, or very funny, or both (which was intended). "Reader discretion is advised."

Summary: Yoh is shy around Anna. Anna is stubborn around Yoh. How many ways can they become closer through being handcuffed together for 24 hours? One by one, the two are taking actions and slipping out embarrassing words that they would never even think about saying to each other. Are the shackles the cause of their sudden courage? (Yoh/Anna)

Start/Finish: Pre 08.01.04 / 06.30.07 (Oops..)


Shackles and Chains, Ch. 2
..

"Yoh-dono! Anna-dono. You're back," Amidamaru greeted at the front door, "How was the trip to Kino-san's?"

Yoh raised his right hand, "We were chained."

"Eh?" his eyes trailed to the translucent handcuffs that bonded the two, "But… why?"

"A test. Or so she said," Yoh mumbled as he slid off his sandals, "Though I highly doubt it. I think she's just finding new ways to amuse herself."

He tossed the box of condoms into the garbage. '…I'll never say this out loud… But wouldn't we need these … eventually? I mean.. if we're really.. err… together then…' He blushed at his own thought.

"Yoh-dono… Those are…" the spirit began, his eyes filled with awe, "Could it be that… you two…"

"Ahh! Amidamaru… it's not what it looks like!" Yoh shook his head vigorously. He could feel his cheeks burn for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.

"Don't think anything strange!" Anna growled, reaching for her beaded necklace.

Amidamaru slowly hovered backwards, "Well, why else would you have such.. things? I mean if you both aren't----"

Finding himself suddenly bounded by Anna's rosary, the samurai immediately stopped talking and left his final thoughts to himself. Satisfied, the blond released the spirit and tugged her chained wrist, signaling Yoh to follow her.

"We'll put these groceries in the fridge and then we'll cook dinner," she planned aloud, grabbing one of the bags.

Yoh raised an eyebrow, "We?"

The girl stopped in her tracks, narrowing her dark-colored eyes, "Well.. do you think I'm just going to sit on a stool and have my arm flailing around involuntarily? And besides that.. aren't you implying I can't cook, Asakura Yoh?" Anna's glare boring into his thoughts.

"O-of course not…" the boy stammered. Now that he thought about it, she did cook once, a few years ago when the Shaman Fight ended, and on his birthdays after the tournament. But what was the special occasion today? Hearing the stepladder crack open, Yoh didn't further ponder at what the answer would be. Anna climbed up, placing the cans on the high cupboards above the fridge.

"Be careful," Yoh warned uneasily as he opened his arms to catch her in case.

The girl shoved the cans inside and closed the cupboard. She turned her head and snapped, "I'm not that clumsy." She took a step down on the ladder and was about to take the next step when the ladder squeaked shrilly. She secretly gulped anxiously as she felt the metal framework underneath wobble and sway. She mentally swore as the step she landed on became loose and unstable, hurling her backwards into Yoh's arms.

Anna growled as she sprung back up and whizzed around. 'Yet another strange occurrence... Sturdy ladders don't suddenly become unstable the next day.'

Yoh still had his arms around her, securing her tightly. The blond-haired girl's expression changed from annoyed to slight shock. She wasn't used to Yoh being this close… close enough to see his kind expression… close enough to see his deep brown eyes filled with worry and a hint of… what was it… desire…? Her eyes lowered to his parted lips. She could hear him say something… But it was muted by the pounding of her heart. She felt herself being pulled towards to him… closer…

Yoh swallowed hard, his eyes wavering across the kitchen trying to turn his focus towards it. He could feel Anna's warm breath on his cheeks that seemed to be getting hotter as her lips drew near.

"Are you okay?" he asked meekly, his voice becoming raspy. She didn't reply. Yoh wasn't sure she even heard him… He wasn't even sure he heard himself… He dropped his gaze on her lips… her soft… pink… luscious… lips.

He couldn't remember what happened next… It seemed like he died and was living happily in Heaven's arms. Their lips met and for all he knew… time itself, could have stopped… Not that he cared. He could feel her free arm crawling upwards from his waist, drawing him closer while deepening the kiss. Whatever the coming punishment may be… running, pushups, sit-ups… No deterrence was worth sacrificing this close embrace. His fingers slid down his side, intertwining with hers.

Her moans were muffled against his mouth as she let her hand roam freely through his dark hair. Everything was a blur… she remember slipping off the damned faulty ladder… then… then what? She didn't bother dwelling on how they managed to end up kissing through such a strange chain of events. All she wanted now was to prolong this moment as long as she could to forever imprint in her min---

"Yoh-don---" Amidamaru hovered in with a slightly bored look on his face. His words were cut off as his mouth dropped open in shock. By this time, Yoh and Anna broke away quickly glancing at the spirit who seemed to drifting backwards at a fast pace.

"I-I'm sorry! Really really sorry! Please forgive me! I didn't wish to intrude on your… err.. s-session." He bowed three times before rushing out of the room.

Yoh raised a hand to stop him but Amidamaru fled before he could see it. He sighed as he turned towards the blond. She had already begun preparing the fish as if nothing significant happened between them in the last two minutes.

"What are you doing?" she demanded, "Help prepare the soup. Unless you don't plan on having dinner tonight." She hoped he didn't come near her and make her look at him. She definitely couldn't… Not with her face heating up like she just ran a marathon… And definitely not with her lips longing for a second kiss.

Yoh blinked in confusion. Had it all been a dream? Stuttering, he managed, "E-Eh…? R-right… soup..." Reaching for the ingredients, he quickly readied them and threw them together into a pot of boiling water. The rim of his mouth was still tingling lustfully. He shook his head. 'It can't be a dream… Not if I can still feel it…' He absentmindedly reached for a ladle to stir the soup when he grabbed something else instead… Something oddly warm. And smooth. And familiarly soft. He pulled the 'object' in front of him for a better look.

'Fingers. Wha--- FINGERS?!'

He dropped the hand that belonged to none other then Anna's and backed away slowly. "Sorry! I err… wasn't paying attention." He shut his eyes and crossed his arms as he waited for a smack… that never came.

Sighing, Anna took the ladle that he was intending to grab and tapped it on his head. "Looking for this?"

Lifting one eyelid open to make sure there wasn't going to be a delayed attack, he then relaxed and took the utensil. "Thank… you." He kept Anna within the corner of his eye as he stirred and swirled the ingredients.

Maybe today wasn't such a bad day after all…


..

"Itadakimasu!" Yoh cried cheerfully as he reached for the entrée of fish to his left. He stopped when he felt a familiar strain, holding his movement back. He cocked his head, facing a famous glower from his fiancée and re-noted not to use his right hand ever again.

Hastily placing his chopsticks in his left hand, Yoh dug into his rice, hoping to satisfy his insatiable need for food. His fingers slipped off one of the wooden sticks and soon enough the grains of rice he worked hard in picking up fell back down to the bowl. He tried again but failed. He just wasn't accustomed to using his left hand. Yoh frowned as he readjusted the positioning of his chopsticks.

This was going to take some time.

Trying his luck with a beef dish to his far right, he hesitantly extended his arm. He dug the utensil deep into the dish hoping that he would be able to pull out whatever was in between. The blond gazed amusingly at his futile attempt before effortlessly picking up a small strip of meat and waving it in front of him. "There's no point in dinner if you're not going to eat."

Yoh's eyes lit up as he leaned forward to bite off the meat.

"You can eat your rice using your right hand… I'll… feed you whatever else you want."

The shaman fidgeted in his spot before a slow grin formed on his face, mixed with embarrassment and gratitude. He re-switched hands and slowly ate his rice, careful not to move Anna's left too much. He tentatively pointed at the fish towards his left.

After a strenuous reach over Yoh's lap, (the awkward positioning causing yet another blush forming on their faces) Anna managed to nab a small piece of the seafood. The boy took it in eagerly, though his eyes were happily settled… slowly tracing the curves of his fiancée's face.

They never have been in close contact for such a long period of time due to a certain number of things. Whether it was the combination of Yoh's sudden frightfulness under the gaze of his bride-to-be or Anna's distance-widening smacking capabilities… both factors have never been positively contributing to their close time with each other. Now without the fear of the latter, Yoh was able to freely stare and observe how the effect of time had changed her… no… How time had change the both of them – Physically… and of course mentally.

By the third time Anna caught him staring at her, she mumbled something indistinct and threw him a strange look. "Do I have something on my face?"

Yoh scratched his chin and sheepishly grinned, "No…"

"Well, if you keep staring at me, I can't be held responsible if food drops on your shirt." '...Not to mention the fact that I could probably melt under his intense gaze..'

"How can I not help but look at how beautiful you've becom----?" Yoh froze. 'Crap. I did it again…' He swallowed the rest of his food and cleared his throat while focusing on the view towards the kitchen. He really has to shut up.

Anna remained silent as she quietly cleared her throat. "We both… have been acting weird since this--," she waved her encircled wrist, "was put on us. We're not ourselves and we've been doing a lot of things… that we… wouldn't usually do." She put the bowl of rice down and, attempting not to meet his eyes, settled her attention on the blank television screen. She had no idea where she was going in saying these words...

"Then…" Yoh started, his voice slightly shaky, "Are you saying you regret the kiss we had?"

Anna instantly faced him, replying quickly, to both her surprise and his, "No!" She stopped, trying to recompose herself and started calmly, not allowing some supernatural… thing to manipulate her words, "It's just that… I don't like the fact that something influenced us into doing it… Instead of… something that would have happened naturally… on its own." It was true. None of this would have happened if it weren't for the shackles. Although a part of her was secretly enjoying these sudden displays of affections.. It just didn't seem real.

"Could you have waited… even if it meant another few years? Or… until we got married?" His voice was stern now matching the firm gaze in his eyes.

Finding the lines of her palm suddenly fascinating, the girl lowered her head. This was certainly an awkward question. A question where her heart had already known the answer… long long ago. But a question her mind simply brushed off every time the thought popped up.

Reaching for her hand, Yoh squeezed it tightly, bringing Anna's eyes back towards him. He knelt forward, closing the distance between them.

"I know.. This all seems too sudden. But.. Those random things that I've said and done .. Those were the thoughts I had at the time... They were what I wanted to say to you and what I wanted to do.. but was always too afraid to act.. These cuffs didn't evoke those emotions. The feeling behind it... These emotions I have.. it was always there. Besides…" his voice turning into a soft whisper, as their lips were mere centimeters from touching, "I don't think I could have waited."

He brushed his lips against hers, waiting to see if she would pull back or attack him. When she was rendered speechless and immobile, he smiled and kissed her once more prolonging their moment together.


..

"Turn around. If I see you looking this way even for a half a second -- I will kill you," Anna threatened as she directed a glare at the boy for emphasis.

Yoh swallowed, "H-hai…" He sighed as he sat down on a makeshift chair made of a stacked pile of books next to the shower. Who could believe they were actually together a few moments ago?

A grin crept upon his face as he remembered the way Anna acted afterwards. Her face was completely red -- not that his wasn't either – but the crimson tinge on her face made her absolutely… alluring. When he was caught staring at her, she quickly averted her eyes and he could have sworn her cheeks have faded into a deeper shade of red. Too cute.

The dark haired boy was involuntarily pulled out of his fantasy when Anna pushed the shower curtain aside to place her clothes on the rack close by. Gulping, he attempted to preoccupy himself with the night sky through the window above. As the showerhead turned on, Yoh could feel the temptation to turn his head skyrocket as he felt his wrist being dragged into the curtain.

Beads of sweat slid down Yoh's face resulting from the steam, emitting its heated warmth. This was proving to be a bit difficult…

He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on something that would somehow entertain him enough to not look into the shower where his fiancée would be…

'Hmm.. Oranges. Oranges are nice. Ooh. An orange costume. Manta in the orange costume... Ren in the orange costume...'

He held back a chuckle as he thought of his dark-haired friend in the bright round costume. However, as soon as his temporarily relief was formed, his right hand came into contact with something soft… and wet. Immediately, his head turned seeking verification that the thing he touched ACCIDENTLY… was…

"Itai!!" Yoh hollered as Anna's nails dug sharply into the base of Yoh's fingernails. (1)

"What did I just tell you?" the blond spoke harshly as she applied more pressure.

"Sorry! I'm sorry!" cried out the boy as he could feel the tip of his fingers close to the point of falling off. When Anna released his hand he immediately brushed his injured finger with his thumb.

"No more funny business," she warns.

"Hai…"

After what seemed to be a few hours for Yoh, the knobs slowly turned decreasing the water that was coming out of the shower. The dark-haired boy swallowed as he could hear the shower curtain being pushed slightly towards him.

Anna grabbed the towel beside her and quickly dried herself. There was no way she could dry and dress out of the shower with him sitting out there.

She held back a sigh as she pulled her clothes into the shower and slipped them on. Stepping out of the shower, she turned to find Yoh with his back turned. Even without looking at his face, she could tell that he was covered in sweat.

"Your turn," she said in a normal non-demanding voice.

The boy froze as he tried to tell himself to calm down. Slowly, Yoh stood up and exchanged places with Anna. She sat down, with a disinterested look on her face that seemed to read 'if you don't finish soon… I'll kill you.'

He gulped once more as he entered the shower, undressing as soon as he half-calmed his nerves, and placed his clothes on another rack near his fresh clean yukata. (2)

Welcoming the cool sprays of water coming out of the showerhead, Yoh couldn't resist but sigh aloud in relief.

"Ahh….! This feels great!"

He reached for the shampoo on a corner rack within the shower and opened the cap. Squeezing the contents out of the tube, he rubbed the viscous liquid between his palms.

"Ara?"

Instead of feeling the liquid in both hands like he normally did, he felt something odd instead. Very odd. Yet familiar. He could have sworn something like this happened earlier… What déjà vu. He brought his hands together once more and instantly gulped when he realized he had just rubbed most the shampoo all over … Anna's hand.

"…Yoh." She said his name as if it were a statement. "Why is my hand all clammy and cold?"

"..Eto… I'm sorry! I was trying to put shampoo in my hair and… I… accidentally… kinda… sorta… possibly put in on your hand…. Mistakenly?"

He almost shrieked when he felt Anna's hand pull on his hair. Yanking on it as if she were hanging on to him for dear life.

"I'm sorry!" he cried again as tried to tug his hair away from her hold.

"I'm just putting the shampoo where it rightfully belongs. That's all. Since someone can't seem to tell hand from hair apart."

"Gah!" Yoh winced as he received a final, but hard, tug from Anna.

"Now hurry up. My hand is getting tired."

Yoh made a noise that resembled compliance before furiously scrubbing his hair. He tried to steal a glance at her from the corner of his eyes and almost slipped and fell when he thought he saw Anna's gaze staring right back at him. The steam became dense and blurred his vision of her. Deciding that it was better if he convinced himself that it wasn't Anna's eyes that he saw glancing at his direction, the dark haired boy hastily continue to cleanse the rest of his body.

Outside, Anna's head was lowered. She would never admit the fact that she was staring at her fiancée's outlined figure. He was muscular. But not overly muscled. His arms were well-toned and his body was extremely well ----

Anna shook her head vigorously, covering her face in her free hand. What in the world was she doing?

Was this the result of never having a hormone attack ever? Having it all build up and attack her all at once?

'No. I will not blame it on something like hormones… It's THIS!' she growled at the bangle that connected her to the source of her short-lived fantasy. She denied the fact that her blush resulted from such thoughts. If one were to ask, she would simply lay the blame on the steam that seemed to now seep through the shower curtain.

'I will not allow myself to be controlled by some strange… thing!'

Releasing a pent up sigh, she prayed that Yoh would finish soon... To save her from these thoughts and to save his own life that seemed to be nearing death as each second passed. Luckily for her, Yoh soon slipped on his own yukata and stepped out of the shower.

The echoes of their footsteps pounding on the wooden floor was the only sounds that could be heard on their way to the bedroom. Neither of them dared to break the silence that surrounded them.

"Which room should we sleep in? Yours or mine?" Yoh asked, nervously rubbing the back of his head, when they arrived in front of his room. Anna's room was just a little further and a part of Yoh was extremely curious as to how the itako's room looked like. She had always suggested that it would be a good idea to stay away from her room. And of course.. as a result, he never dared going into her room. He always wondered if she was hiding something. Or maybe it was something un-Anna-like... like maybe she secretly slept with stuffed animals at night. Pfft. Yeah, right. The boy turned to face the blond-haired girl in the midst of contemplating her choices.

Yoh started suggestively, "You ... might be more comfortable sleeping in your roo--"

"Your room," Anna replied, cutting him off, and slid open the door to his room and walked inside.

'It was worth a shot..'

Yoh opened his closet door to pull out an extra pillow. "Sorry, Anna... I don't have any extra blankets. Should I get them from the storage room?"

The boy could have sworn a crimson flush appeared on her face before she quickly turned away from his eyes. "...It's okay. ... But touch me once and tomorrow you'll be doing training with the weights 10 times heavier. Understood?"

"...H-hai." Yoh grimaced imagining his face flat on the floor with the heavy weights. He was barely getting the hang of his recent mass addition to his weights... Courtesy of Anna.

The pair slowly slipped under the covers with their backs on the tatami mats and stared at the blank ceiling above them. Their chained hands resting at their sides, careful not to touch the other. Staring at the itako beside him, Yoh wondered how he could ever fall asleep. He was not used to sleeping on his back. But if he slept on his side, he'd either be facing Anna directly (which wasn't so bad if it weren't for the fact that he would be pounded if he was caught staring at her..) or he wouldn't be facing Anna but due to the short chains that bound them, she would have her hand draped over his waist. (Which, again... Wouldn't be a terrible thing. But that would break the rule of not touching her and he would have a nice time with his face kissing the floor tomorrow.)

Bah. There was no choice. He would just have to close his eyes and nonchalantly roll over, without touching her, and ... fall asleep. Without wondering what she might look like under the glow of the moonlight that shone from his window. Without daringly wish that he could stare deeply in her dark eyes one more time. He could do all that, right?

His eyes slid closed while his heart pounded inside his rib cage. '..Can't get cold feet now..' He used his free arm to guide him inwardly... yes slowly... slowly.. still not touching! Swiftly, so she won't notice! There! That's---

He sharply inhaled when his waist encountered a soft form under him. '...Damn. I misjudged the distance.' He hesitantly opened an eyelid expecting to find her boring glare at him. "I'm sor--"

The dark haired boy tried not to gape when his gaze took in the scene in front of him. Anna's face was bright red... Even the darkness of the room could not hide it. Strands of her hair scattered over her face as her lips parted.. in shock or anticipation. He didn't know which.. but a growing desire was burning inside him. God, she looked.. stunning.

"Anna.." he softly whispered. Her gaze immediately averted his. And he couldn't resist. He slowly traced her face with his fingers, bringing her gaze towards him. His bound hand took in her soft one at his waist. Lowering himself over her, he hovered for a brief moment to see if she would resist. When her eyes held nothing but desire, he kissed her with the same intensity that surged inside him.

When they broke apart breathlessly, Yoh regained some of his fearful senses. "..I-I'm sorry!"

And for another time that day, he was shocked when he heard her. A rare smile formed on her lips and her voice soft but steady, "...Don't be."

Returning her smile, he laid down facing her with his hand still around her's. Anna's eyes drifted and her last thought before sleep claimed her was the warmth of his hands and his body beside her.


..

Morning arrived and the sun soon greeted the city with its morning rays. The streets of Tokyo were awakening as well with business people driving to their workplace. Far from the center of modernization, the Funbari Inn stood tall, embracing the sun's warm glow. Anna rubbed her eyes as they opened, slowly adjusting to the sudden brightness. She held her breath when she realized the strange position she was in. For one, she did not remember having Yoh's arms around her. And she certainly did not remember sleeping on his bare chest.

She gently moved Yoh's arm, escaping from his grasp. She was about to stand up when she realized she had forgotten the fact that she… well, couldn't. Anna sighed as she stared at the chain binding them. She knew she couldn't sleep anymore… but she didn't really want to wake Yoh up either. She laid back down on the tatami, onto her own pillow and stared at the dark-haired boy sleeping in front of her.

His mouth was partly open, murmuring a few words now and then. He looked completely innocent and carefree as he did so many years ago. Anna reached over and brushed his chocolate lochs away from his tanned face. Asakura Yoh. He was a handsome boy… that's for sure.

"Anna…" he mumbled, "I… you…"

The girl's eyes widened slightly as she heard her name. 'What are you dreaming about…?'

"Do you love my grandson?" Kino's words suddenly entered her mind. It was a few weeks ago. She was visiting Kino-sensei when the elder lady popped the question. Anna could remember the shock she felt and how her heart raced under Kino-sensei's eyes. Though the woman was blind, her sunglasses portrayed a seemingly omniscient and inescapable gaze.

"…The answer… is obvious…"

"How are things going with him?"

"They're fine. But… I…I… " She stammered, unsure if she was willing to admit the truth.

The older woman sighed, "Sometimes… Stubbornness and shyness are alike."

"…"

"Very well… I shall help the two of you…" She let out a deep chuckle from her lips.

"Kino-sensei! What do you mean by that?"

Anna blinked. "So that's what this is about…" she whispered quietly.

Yoh muttered several more words before he rolled on to his back. His right hand scratched his stomach, bringing Anna's along as well. He then unconsciously reached for his nether regions, trying to scratch a certain area. Before he could reach it, Anna pulled his hand away, debating whether she would wake him up by smacking him or slapping him.

Interrupting her decision-making process, Yoh rolled towards his right side, unaware that he was pulling the itako along as well. Struggling for something to hold on to, Anna felt herself being pulled towards the sleeping boy. Somehow, she landed back into her original position -- on top of Yoh and trapped in his hug.

Anna grew slightly impatient as she tried to break free once again. 'Maybe I shouldn't have trained him to be THIS strong…'

Yoh groaned as he held the girl even tighter. "…Uhh.. Lower… Yeah.. Anna…You do it just right…"

The blonde's face immediately turned into a lovely tint of crimson as she sharply elbowed her fiancée in the stomach. To her dismay, the boy moaned as he continued to snore softly, not noticing his very life was in danger. Anna growled as she took her pillow and covered his childlike face. It wasn't long before Yoh woke up, gasping for breath.

"A-Anna…?"

"Had a pleasant sleep?" she asked irritatingly, her fist tightening more with each second.

"Yeah!" Yoh grinned, "It was great… I was dreaming about..." His words tapered off as he recalled the images from his dream. Also turning red, and complementing the blond's shade, he looked at his feet and scratched the back of his head in embarrassment.

"I was talking in my sleep, wasn't I?"

"Just… a little… Hentai!" she exclaimed before hastily bringing her right palm down hard on his cheek. The slapping sound could be heard from distances away.

Yoh winced, rubbing his cheek in pain. 'Okay.. I guess I deserved that..'

"Go cook me breakfast."

"Yes Ma'am!"


..

"He kissed her! I couldn't believe my eyes!" Amidamaru grinned as he recalled yesterday's memorable event. He had made sure to stay out of sight for the rest of the evening.

"Ohoho. Is that so? It's about time!" Kino smiled, "Those two are too stubborn to do anything by themselves."

"Yes.. and it's all thanks to you, Kino-dono."

"Fufu. It was nothing. Thank you kindly for the details, Amidamaru.. I'm sure neither of them would ever admit it."

"You're most welcome," the samurai bowed, "I'll tell Yoh-dono and Anna-dono that you're here." He quickly drifted inside the walls of the inn.

Kino smiled knowingly at the door. She quickly worked her features into her usual stern look before the door opened.

"Obaa-chan!" Yoh greeted. Beside him was Anna, who merely nodded in acknowledgement. Lord, how she was waiting for this moment. This morning she was completely preoccupied. Her thoughts of last night had consumed her and Yoh asked her if anything was wrong several times. She tried not to flush in response.. but it occurred like a reflex. Damn. She could at least control it before.

"Did anything interesting happen while you both were bound together?" Kino asked, trying to hide her smirk as she noticed her grandson blush immediately.

Yoh stammered, attempting to form a coherent sentence without breaking eye contact, "Ah—well—err… n-no-nothing! Absolutely nothing… happened… err.. right, Anna?" He turned towards the blond for reassurance, knowing that he could not remain calm under the watchful eye of his grandmother.

"Yoh's right. There wasn't anything at all that could have been interesting to you, Kino-sensei."

"Oh really now?" Kino shook her head slightly. If only they knew she knew... "Well then, I'll keep my word and remove those shackles around your wrists now."

Raising their cuffed wrists, the young couple both sighed inwardly in relief.

It's finally coming off..!

Kino placed her hand over the shackles, careful not to make contact with the transparent chain and mumbled a chant under her breath. The bangles glowed intensely in a radiant hue and continued until translucent particles suddenly dispersed between their wrists, falling invisibly to the floor.

Yoh pulled his right hand close to him, still somewhat expecting to pull Anna's hand along – but relieved that it didn't happen, and gently massaged his free wrist.

"Thanks, obaa-chan!"

"Anytime," the older women replied and began to head towards the door.

Anna stopped her, "Kino-sensei, are you leaving already?"

"There is nothing keeping me here… besides there are some things I must take care of right after."

'That's grandma for you. Always busy.' Yoh smiled and began to trail behind his grandmother. "I'll walk you to the door then."

"No need. I will let myself out. You two carry on without me."

"I—If you're sure then…" the dark-haired shaman replied, "Obaa-chan, have a safe trip back!"

"Be careful on your way home," Anna bowed slightly in respect.

The older woman nodded and walked around into the corner of the inn where her grandchildren could not be seen or heard.

"Wheew," Yoh exhaled in relief, "We're free." Without the bangles, he thought he would lose all his confidence and courage he had before. He watched Anna with her usual stoic character as she slowly headed towards the stairs. But.. there was something different this time around as her back was turned towards him.

The blond froze as she heard her name. She was free now... so why did her heart feel crestfallen? Everything would go back to normal.. She would lash out in reflex and he would shy away from her again. Just like before...

He raised his hand and took her arm at her side. Anna bit back the shocked gasped that almost came out.

"What?" she quickly demanded, her icy tone forming involuntary. 'Damn.. I did it again.. that probably scared him.'

Yoh lightly pulled on her arm, forcing her to turn around. Was she running away? As her eyes turned around to face him, he could see her cold demeanor concealing her natural expression again. Anna resisted from shifting under his stare.. it was a weakness she would never show that easily.. Yet each time she was on the receiving end of his deep brooding eyes.. scrutinizing her every action .. she felt herself crumble. She felt weak.. but in a bittersweet sense, she enjoyed the attention at the same time. She enjoyed her eyes on him, making her feel as if she were the only one in the world.. in his world... But she was never one to be good with emotions and expressing them was completely out of the idea. The strange shackles that were conjured shattered all of her facades.. everything she worked for.. and she was more vulnerable than ever. Without her masks to hide under... Yoh saw through her completely.. and what more.. he even wanted her to the point where he couldn't control himself. She was sure now.. with her normal self .. he wouldn't dream of losing control again.

Yoh let his eyes wandered, trailing across the smooth curves of her face that his fingers touched yesterday. He was delighted that Anna had not slapped him .. yet. Even more so when he found a small glint of longing deep in her eyes. Like Anna's retaliative actions intuitively, he also cowered by reflex. Since always.. he was lazy person.. only wanting to live life without pain or laborious work. He knew the consequences of being too close to her and always obeyed her orders to maintain his relatively simple life. But yesterday.. he realized there was something inside of him that ignited when he saw her uncertain gaze and flushed face.. he still couldn't properly label it.. but all he knew was that he had to experience that feeling again, no matter what those consequences may be. That feeling that made him whole yet powerless.. that left him with a loss for words... that feeling that he only felt when he was with Anna..

He quickly closed the distance between them and allowed his hands to cup her face, bringing them physically closer if it were possible. Her eyes shot open.. and he could feel shock radiate from her body before slowing easing. Instinctively, Anna placed her hands on Yoh's waist... pulling him closer before finally wrapping her arms around him. She was never happier to have been wrong.

As she slipped her feet into her sandals, Kino's eyes traveled to the waste bucket close by. Her eyes widened and she could feel her bottom lip drop in shock.

She stared at the box that seemed to scream its small fine print words: Lubricated Extra Pleasure Stimulating Condoms.

Quickly, she recomposed herself as a smirk replaced her features. "Oh? Those shackles have brought them much closer together than I had expected! Wait till Yohmei and the others hear about this! Kekeke!"


Ending Notes: Waii, it's done! I'm sorry it took so long! AND sorry if it seems choppy at times.. I did leave this fic untouched for a few years.. (runs away)

If this fic has ever made you laugh or maybe caused you to even smile at any point, then I've done my job. Forgive my dry and… strangely sick humour. Yeah, that was some overdose on cheesiness..

(1) I don't know if you've ever tried this.. but it hurts! I remember a while ago, my friend mentioned that it was a weakness everyone has… if you dig in at the right part without enough force that is..

(2) Yukatas are a type of kimono that's more casual. They're usually worn in the summertime, unsurprisingly.

As always and forever until I stop writing, reviews/comments/criticism/questions/everything else I didn't mention can be done by reviewing, private messages or e-mailing me.