Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Shaman King is © Takei Hiroyuki, Shonen Jump, Viz, various Japanese companies, etc. It does not belong to me.

The Devil in Her
by Fushigi Kismet

There was something about her. Those painfully thin arms, that straight back, the mocking line of her mouth.

He'd drawn her several times without her or anyone else noticing until he realized that his furtive sketching was becoming an obsession. It was odd how drawn he felt to her. He couldn't quite discover what it was about her that intrigued him but the feeling was there and it was growing stronger.

He's spoken to her once, right before homeroom started. He'd tried to be casual about it but had ended up sounded like an idiot instead since he'd asked her if she'd done last night's math homework. She'd given him an icy glare and said with a voice like artic water iced over, "Of course." And that was that.

That was, however, enough for his friends to notice and be all over him before their first class started, because no one talked to Kyouyama if they could help it. She didn't have what one would call an approachable personality.

Wakaouji had been the most vocal, poking him from the seat over and whispering, "Hey, don't tell me you've got a thing for Kyouyama. First of all, that's crazy. She'd eat you alive. Second, she's Asakura's girl."

"Asakura?" he had said, startled.

"Yeah, you know. Him." His friend had stuck a thumb over his shoulder to point at the boy staring blearily at the blackboard, large orange headphones fixed securely over his ears.

"Him? What the hell are you talking about?"

"There's a rumor going around school that they live together," Miyamoto confided.

"That's stupid."

"So you do," Wakaouji had said with a voice dripping with pity and eyes to match. "Like her, that is."

"You're dead, man," Miyamoto had affirmed from behind him.

That had given him food for thought. Somehow it had never once occurred to him that Kyouyama had a boyfriend, or that he would be sitting four seats away spacing out every day of the year.

Asakura wasn't one to speak up in class. He did his homework and would answer questions when he was called on, but he didn't ever volunteer or do much to show off. There were rumors that the kendo team had tried to recruit him but he had turned them down, firmly but politely, and when they had refused to take "No, thank you" for an answer he had beaten them all with one move. But that was just a rumor and he didn't put much substance into it. Asakura looked like something the wind could snap in half. Certainly he didn't look like enough of a threat to make anyone a dead man.

"No, man," Wakaouji had said, rolling his eyes. "He won't do anything to you. She can kill you pretty near dead on her own."

The statement didn't exactly fill him with confidence. But still, he couldn't see why anyone would prefer Asakura over him. That gave him enough confidence to talk to Kyouyama a second time.

He asked her if she would model for a portrait he was doing for the art show.

She'd looked at him as though he'd grown two heads before finally saying, with a definite air of finality, "I only pose for professionals. Sorry," before turning away.

He didn't know whether to take that as a comment on his artistic ability or on his poor attempt to chat her up but either way it left him feeling like a bit of a douche-bag.

The next day Asakura approached him at the shoe lockers after their last class. It was the first time they'd ever spoken but Asakura was totally at ease. "Hey, can I talk to you for a bit?"

"Okay." He shut his locker. "If you want."

They sat on the hill outside the school and didn't speak for a few minutes. Students walked by on their way home.

"So what did you want from me?" he finally asked. Asakura was playing with a blade of grass and looked as though he had completely forgotten he'd asked him out here in the first place. It pissed him off.

"Not much."

"Did Kyouyama tell you to have a word with me?"

"Anna didn't say anything. Believe me, you'd know if she had."

"Then what do you want?"

"Do you like Anna?" he asked conversationally, gazing off into the distance.

No answer.

Asakura leaned his arms against his knees. "I love Anna."

He turned to look at the guy, to retort or respond or something, but then he realized he had nothing to say. It wasn't a challenge or anything. It was just a statement of fact.

I love Anna. "Yeah," he said, surprised to find himself admitting it.

"Huuhhh."

"Don't you care?"

Asakura smiled and said nothing.

"You're a strange one," he said, annoyed.

"Yoh!" Kyouyama's voice called suddenly. They both looked to see Oyamada and her standing at the path at the bottom of the hill. Her stance was impatient, and as soon as she saw Yoh look her way she began walking again, Oyamada scurrying to keep pace.

Asakura got to his feet, dusting himself off.

All of a sudden it came rushing out, all the things he had to know. "Why would she choose you over me?! What do you understand about her that I don't?!"

He finally found himself facing the gaze of calm brown eyes.

"The devil in her."

Then Asakura Yoh was gone, halfway down the hill before he could draw another breath. He caught up to Oyamada and Kyouyama quickly, and she gave him a sharp look for his trouble before turning away.

If he hadn't been looking so hard he might have missed the hands that barely touched.

Asakura said something and Oyamada laughed. Kyouyama's gaze softened almost imperceptibly. She handed her bag to Asakura to carry.

"The devil, huh? All right, you win."