FAULTY MIRROR by The Summer Stars aka Lell.

Rating: PG13 (For now….)

Warnings: Yaoi – for those not versed in such terminology, this means boysluff, slash, man on man, nectar of the god's…/blushes/ I'm a trifle biased.

As such, I've been trying to be open minded, I've decided to write /looks around and whispers/ a het fic! /Giggles nervously/ My friends thought I was crazy when I started this, but I've been intrigued by this for a long time. Anyway, it was this or an incest fic….and I wasn't quite ready for real close family love yet. /Sweatdrops/

I got the idea for this fic just sitting at the dressing table and I happened to look up into the mirror. My boyfriend at that time was standing behind me, as was a close male friend, one for whom I had no interest. Anyway, I looked up and I realised that due to the angle and the lighting and all that, I could only see myself with the close male friend. It just made me think, how if we look at anything from a different angle, can we truly be sure of what we see. The reflection was garbled, the mirror faulty.

However, for any who are interested, I'm presently going out with the friend who I had no interest for. Strange.

Anyway, on with the story. XD

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

"Aww, come on Tam, you know you wanna tell me!"

The pink haired girl flushed the same colour as her layered tresses, ducking down beneath the puckered neck of her sweater.

"HoroHoro-kun, please!" she protested, voice tremulous as her dark eyed gaze flitted nervously around the kitchen.

The bluenette just smirked inanely, his booted feet propped nonchalantly on the middle of Anna's clean table.

HoroHoro clearly had a death wish.

However, at present, his mind was more pleasantly occupied than with thoughts of a furious Itako wielding a broom or another long poled object. His typically male could only concentrate on one thing at a time.

But then again, guys were like dogs; once they bit into something, they wouldn't let go. Tenacious little brutes.

"But Tamao….." he complained, looking at her with big eyes.

Even in spite of her embarrassment, the girl found herself smiling fondly at her friend, poking her nose out from the roll of black wool. Outside the Asakura household, a blizzard was raging and as such she had been forced to dress warmly. Pale jeans hung around her skinny legs, swamping them in the battered fabric, making the already petite girl seem more diminutive by the second, while the black roll neck sweater made her pale skin seem even lighter, bordering on a porcelain translucency. Of course, her hair was anything, but pale.

Odd, that such a timid girl would have such shocking hair of a bubblegum pink hue.

"Now, HoroHoro-Kun, I appreciate the concern, but I'm fine, really." She tried to keep her voice level and airy, waving a wooden spoon for emphasis as she leaned against the countertop, clothes covered in the protective covering of her linen apron. The picture of domesticity.

HoroHoro just quirked a disbelieving brow with an amazing amount of restraint in that he didn't voice some tactless comment. His appearance was the same as always – a true Northerner; the cold didn't bother him unduly. The only change was that his shorts had been switched for black jeans, clinging to his long limbs in a way that made many females swoon, as did the way his hair curled deliciously at the nape of his neck.

The whole snow boarder attire didn't detract from his appeal of course.

For now, his only comment was a muffled "humph." He would drag it out of her later, relentless and continuous attack was always a sound tactical plan when dealing with Tamao Tamamura.

The prophetess shivered, her sixth sense kicking in as she looked at the bluenette with wide eyes. She knew that look, distraction, quick!

"Um…I hear Jun-Sama has bought herself a new dress, one with a slit up both sides," she said hurriedly, nodding up towards the ceiling, to the floor where the guest rooms were located. Due to the Yuletide season, the Asakuras were playing host to their friends and this loosely included the Tao's. As a result of Jun's cajoling, or ordering as Tamao suspected, a radiant Jun, a solid Pyron and a glowering Ren had all appeared on Yoh's doorstep the night before last.

HoroHoro waved a dismissive hand.

"My interest in girls is more than just a dress which shows off a lot of leg. I'm looking for personality, charisma…." Seeing the arch look that Tamao sent him, he sighed. "All right, Ren waved that pig sticker of his in my face and told me I'd lose my nose if I made a move on his sister. I like my nose!"

A small smile flitted across the girl's gentle features. Yoh-Sama had looked particularly laid back that evening, when the Taos had arrived, the soft light of the lamp bouncing off the virginal snow and giving his face an ethereal luminescence. Even in the face of an angry Ren, or to be more precise, the point of a burning Kwan Dao, Yoh-Sama had remained serene.

At some point during these musings, a small sigh must have escaped her rosebud lips, the sound alerting the blue haired Ainu who was lounging by the table.

"Tam?"

Receiving no answer, he squinted his eyes at his friend. Her hands were still, one holding the wooden spoon loosely by her side, the other crossed awkwardly across her body to hold onto the opposite side of her waist. Her eyes were misted over, face still buried up to her nose in her roll neck sweater.

Damn…

"Tam!" he repeated, louder this time, actually making the effort to get up, bare feet carrying him across the chilly tiles to stand in front of her, peering down into the girl's face. HoroHoro had grown since he was thirteen, considerably. Now, at the oh so mature age of nineteen, he topped six foot, several inches taller than the seventeen year old Tamao.

Waving a deliberate hand in front of her trance like face, the Shaman was rewarded by the mist clearing from his friend's dark eyes, a rather startled look replacing it as she looked confusedly up at him.

Double damn…

"I'm…I'm sorry HoroHoro-Kun, I was just thinking…" Tamao said, her cheeks flushing again as he gaze lowered. She had never been one for keeping eye contact.

"About Yoh?" HoroHoro said dryly, heading back to his seat, straddling it backwards and resting his chin on folding arms.

The pink haired girl was speechless, lips parted as she stared at the bluenette with shocked eyes.

"Yoh-Sama? Why would I be thinking about Yoh-Sama?" she said finally, but a few moments too late to be believable.

"Ah, still Tam?" HoroHoro replied, pity apparent in his face. "So long and you haven't done anything about it?" His normally raucous voice was unusually hushed in the quiet kitchen.

"But I wasn't…I mean I wouldn't…" Tamao's stutter had returned with a vengeance, as had the panicked look in her eyes. Placing the spoon on the counter with trembling fingers, she clasped her hands, attempting to still their quivering. The Ainu just watched all this, eyes unreadable under the rim of his bandanna.

Tamao's verbal fumblings came to an end, the pinknette looking down towards her clasped hands as she fell silent.

Tamao had never been good at lying.

HoroHoro shifted slightly, folding his arms over his chest loosely, dark gaze level as he looked towards his friend, expression sad.

"Tamao…come on. Just tell me before I have to say it." He rubbed the bridge of his nose uncomfortably, his eyes pleading. The pinknette looked just as uncomfortable, teeth worrying the bottom shell of her lip, a slight red tinge indicating that she had broken through the skin.

A slight shake of the head still indicated her last traces of stubbornness, her chin sinking further down into the relative safety of her sweater. She couldn't say it. Saying it would make it real and as a reality it was unfeasible.

She preferred it this way.

"Tam, don't give me this sort of crap." Even HoroHoro was surprised at the harsh tone in his voice, a raw sound that grated on the ears. He winced at himself. If that sounded bad to me, how the heck will Tam have taken it? he asked himself.

Tamao had frozen; her typical deer in headlights look amplified beyond her normal boundaries. She was used to cowering when Anna-Sama bellowed at her, she was used to jumping to attention when called.

She was not used to HoroHoro yelling at her. It stung. It made her want to run and hide, curl up with that one scrap of blanket she had left that made her feel young again. She didn't want to cry, not in front of her friend.

Too bad that none of those were available to her. Letting her lids slide shut, dark lashes brushed against her cheek tops, a quivering sigh, so different from the earlier one, escaping her lips. One crystal bead slipped out, lingering on the tip of a lash before trailing down the pale skin of her skin.

"Oh, Tam…"

The pinknette was suddenly aware of strong arms wrapped around her, her face pressed against a broad chest as a hand rubbed soothing circles at the small of her back. That one tooth piercing her lower lip further, she let her slim hands slip out of the swamping sleeves of her sweater, knotting in the back of HoroHoro's shirt, clutching desperately at the man who was the solid root in her life, the one who cheered her up when she was down, the one who had worked so hard to draw her out of her disabling shy shell, the one who made her laugh when no-one else could.

The one who was making her cry now.

"Geez…Tam, you should have known, love hurts."

Tamao's only response was a sort of hiccup, half muffled chuckle, half sob, fingers holding tighter onto the material in her hands. Solid, keep solid, so solid, he's solid. The words ran through her mind, almost mantra like as she struggled to hold on. Lean arms tightened around her and she felt warm air by her ear as lips were rested against the side of her brow, smooth except for the strands of her own hair that got caught up.

"He's a good guy honey, he won't screw you around." The words were halting, spoken in a soft voice as if in compensation for his earlier gruffness.

"Don't Horo," Tamao managed to mumble, unconsciously lapsing into the shortened name that the other Shamans in the house had given to the Ainu. As Yoh had commented mildly, the name was slightly cumbersome to call out in everyday life. As Ren had commented, not so mildly, he wasn't going to waste his breath on four syllables when half of it was exactly the same as the first bit. "Don't…I accepted it long ago." She took a shuddering breath, more tears leaking out from her tightly closed eyes, falling to be soaked up by the absorbent material of HoroHoro's shirt. "Yoh-Sama, he has a fiancée. Anna-Sama, why, if I got in the way…." There were no words to describe how the Itako would react. Both of them knew this, an unspoken fact.

The bluenette searched desperately for some words of comfort, anything that would stop the small body in his arms from quivering like that.

"Oh Tam…" he said again, voice unsteady.

"Oh Horo…" she mumbled dryly, a comment which caused them both to giggle, albeit weakly, though it faded back into silence again as if it had never existed. Slim fingers still laced themselves into the back of HoroHoro's shirt, Tamao's face still not having emerged from her sanctuary of the front of the same shirt. Invisible as her visage was, the bluenette could feel more tears staining her face, wetness seeping through to brush against his own callused skin.

In his own private opinion and he hated himself for thinking this, he agreed with Tamao's suggestion that it was an impossibility, a dream.

Yoh's too henpecked to even think about her, he thought morosely, moving his head so that his chin rested on the top of her soft, pink head. Poor Tam, there's not much that she can do.

The two were unaware of how long they stood there, a steady stream of tears flowing languidly, disappearing into the white material. Hidden by a combination of her hair and HoroHoro's shirt, a small, sad smile lingered on the trembling petals that were her lips. Yet the briny liquid still flowed, bittersweet, a symbol of the constant pain she lived with.

The slowly spreading dampness on his chest announced to HoroHoro the presence of tears still and he tightened the circle of protective arms around the diminutive girl in his arms.

"I can't stop Horo," she whispered; voice a tiny echo of even her normally quiet voice. "I can't stop…loving him." If possible her voice faded even more on the last two words, the first time she had actually spoken that phrase.

The first time she had admitted it to herself.

"Don't stop Tam." His own words were quiet, spoken into the pink strands under his chin. "The worst thing you can do is give up – it may never happen, but love is what drives us. Without love," He shrugged gently, a movement that shifted them both, close as they were. "Without love, there's nothing. If you gave up on Yoh, however impossible it is, there'd be an empty hole. You'd miss the wishfulness, you'd miss that warm feeling. You'd even miss the pain."

He loosened his grip slightly, taking a step back as he rested palms on the smaller girl's shoulders, an action which startled her into looking into his dark gaze. "Don't stop loving Tam, if you stop now, you might not again." Something flickered in his eyes, something which made Tamao's breath catch in her throat. "Love is too precious to lose forever Tam, remember that."

Tamao nodded hesitantly, a smile growing on her face, sad, but serene. "Thanks HoroHoro-Kun…I'm…I'm sorry."

HoroHoro shook his head, releasing her as he walked towards the door. One callused hand resting against the doorframe, he stopped, back to her, head bowed.

"Don't be sorry for loving the wrong person Tam, we all make mistakes," he said simply before disappearing from sight.

The Prophetess stood for a few minutes looking at the place the bluenette had occupied. Had she missed something? He was always there…he wasn't Yoh, but he was her friend. Perhaps, perhaps she could heal.

She wouldn't give up on love, not until love gave up on her.

"Horo?" she called, trotting out of the kitchen and heading up the stairs towards the Ainu's room. "Horo?" she repeated softly, peering around the half open door of his room.

A feminine laugh. A masculine chuckle.

Hidden behind the frame of the door, Tamao's gaze was drawn to the bed of the room. Her best friend was lounging nonchalantly on it, long limbs sprawled carelessly over the ethnic bedspread he had brought from his homeland, the angular designs mystic. Mystic and rumpled from use. His head was propped up on the headboard, eyes half hooded as he looked towards the person who was seated at the end of the bed.

Green hair glinted in the soft light of the lamp, silky tresses immaculate, pinned up to expose the back of a smooth neck and the exotic features of the Chinese woman. Tao Jun was the source of the feminine laughter, face tilted towards the Shaman at the head of the bed. The flaps of her full length dress, a black garment embossed with golden bamboo, the shoots growing gracefully upwards towards her shapely hips, were arranged so that they revealed an expanse of creamy thigh and a tantalising glance of ruffled lace, the garter that held the source of her power.

Tamao's eyes slipped despondently away. Another mistake on her behalf. Ears assaulted with sounds of murmured conversation, interspersed with sultry laughter, the young girl walked away, intent on returning to her domestic duties. Don't think, don't crave, don't act. Just work.

One thought did flit through her mournful mind.

Ren-San will not be pleased.

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

And no, Ren-San was not at present pleased.

"Asakura, get out of my room, I'm attempting to meditate," he snapped from his position on the floor of his room. His black trousered legs were crossed, forming the half lotus position as his hands rested on his knees. Bare-chested, Yoh had a clear view of the stark tattoo on the Chinese shaman's back from his position at the door. Ren had his back to the entrance, facing the broad window that opened onto the room, the winter air filling the room with its biting chill. Mid December was not a season for sitting, half naked in a room with the windows flung open, but Ren was tough.

He had to be.

His tone as icy as the air in the room, but the lazy smile still lingered on the brunette's face.

"You've been meditating all morning, I think you've got as much inner peace as you can," Yoh drawled, flicking mahogany bangs out of his eyes with practiced ease. "You work too hard Ren."

"And you work too little Asakura," the purplenette retorted, tiger eyes flashing a derogatory glance towards the figure in the doorway. "I am content to meditate for the moment."

Even with his gaze facing forwards, the Chinese teen felt the smile that Yoh produced, a lopsided one which seemed to hang languidly from his lips.

"Are you content to meditate knowing that your sister is at present in Horo's room, unchaperoned if I saw it right," he said mildly, one fine brow arched wryly, waiting for the explosion.

"What?"

The words exploded from Ren's lips, his wiry body uncurling as he bounded to his feet, an oddly frantic look in his face as he shoved past Yoh, racing down the hallway.

"The Ainu baka, I told him to keep his slimy paws of my sister…" The words echoed down the hallway, only pausing as a loud crash indicated the demise of a door, immediately followed by startled yells, sinking into incoherency.

All the while, Yoh was still lounging against the doorway of Ren's room, that lazy smirk still attached to his face. Ren may have prided himself on being strong, but the Shaman was oh so predictable. And Yoh Asakura was more devious than the simple, trusting Shaman they believed him to be.

Moments were spent examining his nails idly, waiting for the moment when the yelling died down and retreating feet echoed across the hallway with the sound of a slamming door completing the incident.

Silence.

Blessed silence. Unhurriedly, Yoh strolled down the passage way towards the room he knew to be Horo's. Another room, another doorway he lounged in, taking in the carnage inside. Several chairs were tipped and a bedspread was strewn haphazardly across the surprisingly neat floor. Well, neat until Hurricane Ren had hit the small confines of the room.

In the centre of this, a rather bemused HoroHoro was sitting cross legged on the floor, absently rubbing a growing welt that was reddening one cheek.

"Did Jun slap you?" Yoh asked dryly, quirking an eyebrow again towards the Ainu.

HoroHoro looked up, vaguely surprised to see Yoh standing there, but didn't question it. Smiling sheepishly, an awkward hand rising to rub the back of his neck, he shrugged.

"Um, actually Ren did." A low flush spread over his cheeks and a few muttered words were spoken under his breath, a fact that did not bode well for the Chinese Shaman. "Then Jun got mad and kinda dragged him off." He grinned raggedly. The memory of the infamous Tao Ren being dragged off by his big sister was priceless, a point that the bluenette would use to jab Ren with later on.

He was distracted from his musings by cool fingers lacing around his chin, tilting upwards so he looked into a pair of chocolate eyes. HoroHoro may have been looking at the eyes anyway, but the eyes were focused on the offended cheek.

"Nasty. Ren must be used to bitch fights." Yoh said mildly, fingers nudging HoroHoro's face until it was tipped slightly at an angle, the injured cheek facing Yoh's scrutiny. The ice shaman was slightly bemused by all this, but then again, he had been bemused by a lot today. "You should get some ice for that, you know?"

HoroHoro allowed himself to grin, gesturing towards the bottom of his bed. Kororo emerged, looking haunted and shell shocked, but determinedly hovered over to her partner, uttering a petulant coo at the state of the room. Settling herself on the Ainu's knee, she looked up at him, face peeping shyly out from under her lily pad.

HoroHoro jus smiled fondly, tapping his red cheek.

"Give us a kiss honey."

Kororo squeaked happily and proceeded to hover upwards, until her face was on a level with the bluenette's. Leaning forwards, she nuzzled against his cheek affectionately, blowing a small kiss towards the skin. A slight cloud appeared in the air, similar to the one that emerged from your lips on a cold winter's day. The skin twitched and relaxed, the redness fading as his Spirit's kiss of ice cooled the skin considerably.

HoroHoro gave a sigh of relief and patted the Korokuppur gently on the head. "Thanks, now run and play – I think Morphine's waiting."

The diminutive spirit gave another ridiculously happy squeak before drifting out of the doorway, turning in the direction of the room Lyzerg had taken over. Yoh had just watched the whole proceedings, another lazy smile on his face as he gripped HoroHoro's cheek and inspected the cheek again.

"Alright then, no ice needed," he stated calmly. "Pretty nifty trick you got there Horo."

"Yep….um, Yoh?"

"Uhum…"

"You can let go of my face now." Horohoro looked pointedly down at the slim fingers tilting his face to one side, attempting to shrug them off, but finding surprising strength in the slender digits. "Um, Yoh?"

All he received was one of those smiles and a shushing noise as the brunette continued to look intently at the cheek, one finger idly sweeping a path across the smooth skin on the Ainu's chin. Yoh's lips were lopsided as he cast his gaze over the Shaman he held in his hands.

Smooth skin. It must have been hard to keep it like that in the cold weather up north. The same went for his hair. The few times Yoh had had a chance to touch it, the tresses had felt like silk in his hands. His own mahogany bangs were soft, but HoroHoro's…

"Yoh?" HoroHoro was certainly confused as he firmly pulled his face away, turning and surveying the mess his room was in. Anna would kill him….With a sigh the bluenette stood, trying to sort his room into some semblance of order.

The brunette smiled again. He could wait. He had been patient before.

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

How long was it acceptable to just sit and watch someone before it became uncomfortable? Because Yoh had just sat solidly still for an hour, simply watching HoroHoro tidy his room. The Ainu was now uneasy and he had been avoiding looking at his friend, but now, when he had run out of things to do. Turning slowly, he finally faced the brunette who was sitting on his bed now.

"What do you want Yoh?" he asked bluntly, legs akimbo as he glared at the Shaman on his bed.

Yoh just smiled evasively, leaning back on his hands and looking levelly at the irate HoroHoro.

"Hey, am I not allowed to hang out with a friend anymore?" he asked mildly, lips quirking again.

The bluenette shook his head vehemently, raising his eyebrows as he strode over to where Yoh was sitting. "Hang out? Do you call watching me tidy my room hanging out?" He let out a snort, looking down at the seated teen. "Don't fuck me around Yoh."

"What if I want to?"

That succeeded in making HoroHoro speechless.

"Come again?" he managed to say finally, voice croaking slightly, a fact he was less than happy about.

Yoh simply smiled, standing slowly, skinny frame unfolding from his seated position. Lazy, rolling steps carried him towards the warily watching Ainu, an exploring finger tracing its way up the outside curve of his white shirted arm.

Still unsure of what was going on exactly, HoroHoro just stood there, eyes as wide as Tamao's, while that one finger climbed higher, dipping briefly into the crook of his elbow.

"Yoh?" he questioned again, voice definitely carrying a quiver now. Shifting his weight backwards, he found he was unable to when one finger turned to a hand gripping his elbow, holding him fast.

"Horo, don't be so hasty," a low voice said, a very close, low voice as Yoh's lips had suddenly found their way towards the bluenette's ears, warm air causing HoroHoro to shiver.

This was wrong.

His mind was screaming this as Yoh's other hand rose up to grip the Ainu's chin again, head tilted to one side as feather soft lips trailed a meandering path down from his ear, along the smooth shaft of his neck.

"Me? Hasty?" he managed to say, squirming futilely in the brunette's surprisingly strong grip. "What about you?"

"Trust me," Yoh murmured between kisses, soft brown layers dipping to tickle against HoroHoro's skin. "This has taken far too long."

No it hasn't, this shouldn't be happening.

"Dammit Yoh, just get off me." HoroHoro snapped finally, jerking his head away, twitching his arm out of his friend's grip. A friend who was now looking at him from confused lust filled eyes. Not able to meet that hurt brown gaze, HoroHoro looked away. "Yoh…I just don't swing that way," he said at last, gaze downcast. "I'm sorry."

Rejection stung the brunette's heart and he let out an inaudible gasp as he felt the inner pain.

"Horo…" he whispered, eyes imploring as he looked towards the uncomfortable bluenette.

HoroHoro sighed, reaching out to grab Yoh's arm and led him over to the bed, seating him at the foot while he himself lowered down onto the head, keeping a distance between them.

"Yoh, think clearly," he said calmly, managing to control his own confusion so he could aid his friend. Odd, he seemed to be giving love advice to everyone these days.

"I am." A hand twitched, as if it were going to reach out towards the teen at the end of the bed, but Yoh obviously battled to control it. His words were serious though and spoken so.

That made it all the worse, HoroHoro thought as he rubbed the back of his neck, feeling a headache coming on. Yoh was serious. This wasn't a joke. It was all too much today, so many problems, so many people close to him affected.

Oh crap, Tam….

Yoh clearly liked guys. So it wasn't just Anna the timid girl had to contend with, but any cute guy which caught the brunette's eye.

HoroHoro froze, eyes glazing over with shock. He was the guy that had caught the brunette's eye. He was the one who was effectively competing with Tamao.

What the hell? I don't want Yoh!, a confused part of his mind yelled at him.

"Horo…I…I think I love you."

Ah, but Yoh wants you, a mocking voice said, wheedling its way into his confused consciousness, frozen by the revelation of Yoh's words. Yoh loves you, he just told you.

"No." HoroHoro's words were whispered to himself, but they still carried across to the watching Yoh. The bluenette took a few moments to realise that he had actually spoken.

Oh crap…

The brunette's head had dropped, chin almost touching his lean chest, though, drawing on some inner strength drummed into him by Anna, his posture remained steady.

"Sorry Horo…" he murmured flatly, fingers which had previously caressed the skin of the Ainu before him, toying with the fringed edge of the bedspread.

"Don't be sorry for loving the wrong person, Tam, we all make mistakes."

HoroHoro gave a grim smile; so many people with the same problem. And he only had one answer to give.

"Don't be sorry for loving the young person Yoh…" he let out a sigh, perplexed by the number of times he had said in one day. From anyone else's point of view, it would have been an ironic situation.

Not for him. HoroHoro was tearing apart inside with guilt. Guilt for hurting his friend through rejection and guilt for drawing attention from the friend who Tamao's heart clearly belonged to. It was all so complicated, he wanted to scream his frustration.

Love isn't fair.

The thought came crystal clear through the murkiness of his current state of mind.

Love isn't fair yet we cannot go on without it.

HoroHoro gave a sad smile, leaning back against the headboard of his bed, hands fisting in his lap as he looked steadily towards his friend.

"We can't control who we love Yoh," he said, that same underlying tinge of sadness in his voice, images of a certain girl running through his mind. Disjointed images. A sweep of hair, a flash of a smile, a soft female laugh.

Concentrate baka, the voice chastised, Agony Aunt time, remember?

"The point is, love drives us and all we can do is follow it blindly." HoroHoro continued hurriedly, attempting to cover up his rather long pause. "We don't choose its path…"

Yoh looked long and hard at the sadly serene HoroHoro, his eyes searching, longing, pleading…then resigned.

His gaze fell away from the bluenette's eyes, resting on his own feet as he stood, dignified to the last.

"You're right Horo," he murmured, voice listless. "How harsh for me to have to love an impossibility." Small steps carried him towards the door and he paused, looking back towards the ice shaman, a tiny part of him hoping, yearning that there would be a cry to stop.

None came. HoroHoro made no move to stop him, expression unreadable as he watched the brunette levelly. He couldn't feel now, if he let himself feel, guilt would tear him apart. Be the ice, you are the ice…So he just watched. He watched as Yoh's frame slumped, he watched as Yoh turned away, he watched Yoh leave. He just watched.

Silence reined again in the room, a still statue on the bed, eyes dark in his pale face.

"Nothing is impossible Yoh," he whispered, voice tiny in the compressing silence. "It just isn't very likely."

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

That night, the Asakura residence was silent, as always. People slept and spirits watched. Darkness twined around the rooms, even the light of the moon obscured by clouds.

Yet three remained awake, three did not succumb to the beckonings of all peaceful sleep. Three pairs of eyes looked towards the stars as three bodies were resting at the window. Three minds were in turmoil, all over one word.

Love.

One was resigned to the perpetual heartache she had grown unaccustomed to, yet unaware as yet of the way her desire's true feelings lay. Curled up in a blanket, her thin frame leaned on the window frame, eyes turned towards the clouds that fogged the sky. Silent pain, gnawing pain, but a controlled pain. Pain so deeply etched inside herself that it was her, it had become her. The one whose essence was based on a longing for something she could not have. A one to be pitied.

One was coming to terms with a new hurt, with rejection. The pang and burn of being turned away. His body was propped on the windowsill, profile etched by the light of the streetlamps outside, eyes downcast. A slow simmer of anger bubbled inside. He hated that he loved what he couldn't have. He hated the pain. He hated the fact that he had acted. He hated the fact that his actions had been refused. He hated himself for hating, for being stuck in this perpetual downwards spiral. He hated love, but in a way he was love. It was simple. He hated himself.

And one was remorseful, expression tormented as he shivered in the chill air, bare torso leaning out on the balcony. Burdened soul and burdened mind. Three sets of problems, all interconnected. His friend's which he had rejected, his other friend's which he had inadvertently furthered and his own which were unresolved.

Three sets of eyes and three sets of unshed tears. Three sets of lips, yet none of them kissed. Three hearts all pained to breaking point.

Three people, all in pain, yet worlds apart.

Three people, so close in person, separated only by thin walls.

Three people, lost and alone.

One thing that joins them.

Love.

Love isn't fair, but love is life.

Life is made bearable by love.

Love is the mirror in which we see ourselves.

But is the reflection true?

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

Lell: /Shivers/ I actually wrote the beginnings of a het fic….I feel weird…

Yoh: o.0 What the hell did you do to me? /Sniffles/ I thought you loved me, but here you are ruining my life.

Lell: /Soothingly/ Don't worry, I'm mucking up HoroHoro's and Tamao's lives as well.

HoroHoro: /Icily/ We noticed.

Tamao: /From behind couch/ We do seem to be having a bit of a hard time, don't we?

Yoh: /Eye twitch/ No, you don't say?

Lell: Ahem. /Has own eye twitch/

Yoh and HoroHoro: Meep…/Joins Tamao behind couch/

Lell: /Pouts/ Fine. Well, you may have noticed that I haven't actually specified which pairings I will be focusing. /Grins/ I like to keep it interesting, I hope you'll all have fun trying to figure them out – I'm toying with two very different storylines right now, so, I guess it could swing either way….

Oh and I forgot the disclaimer earlier…..No, I won't say it! /Looks noble and defiant/

/Is surrounded by dark suited lawyers/

No, I won't say it!

/Watches lawyers move towards manga/

Wait! Okay, I give in! /Clutches manga to chest and sniffles/ Fine, I don't own Shaman King.

/Watches lawyers leave/

But if I did…..