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.


"I'm scared, Yoh…"

Such a vulnerable confession from the normally serene Ren - it sent a shiver up Yoh's own back. Still with his knees furled protectively up towards his skinny chest, the brunette turned large eyes more firmly on Ren, who seemed to be hanging in the doorway by a mere thread of force. Slim frame ravaged with a restless energy, the Chinese teen looked back, gaze matching Yoh's in emotional intensity. A quivering step brought him into the darkened room where moonlight painted everything in wide bands of black, silver and grey.

Crossing the threshold.

"I'm scared of my father." A confession in the dark as Ren took another hesitant step inwards, sealing his decision to enter in a way. "I'm scared of what he wanted…still wants me to be." Yoh watched mutely, not speaking, not moving as he let those revealing words wash over him – the trust Ren was showing by admitting to these…un-Ren like feelings.

"I'm afraid of being weak…" Ren's voice fell, hushed in the weighty silence which seemed to fill the world at night. "But I am – I can feel it, Yoh, it hurts so much." The keen in his tone was quiet, but no less anguished than a full blown cry as he cut himself up. Biting his lip in an effort to regain control, he once more found himself pinioned in the steady dark gaze that was fixed on him.

Caught in headlights.

"I'm scared of dying." There was no need to elaborate as both minds jolted back to a fateful day when blood stained the earth a dull crimson and a voice had cried out in horror. Walking on the thin knife edge of death and lord knows he had been cut – barely fourteen and he had already been to hell and back by then. Not your average life experience before you were old enough to drink.

"And Lord knows I'm scared of you." There. It was said, out in the open.

I'm scared of what you do to me.

Since when did silence sound so loud? With no words to distract him, Ren could hear the thudding beat of his own heart pressing against his ribs, the ragged sound of his breath. But from the bed, more particularly the shadowy figure on the bed, he could hear nothing.

Was that good or bad?

In silence, he could no more be rejected than he could be accepted and there was a certain trepidation that filled his confused mind. Weight had lifted from him as those words had spilled out, but once they were said…what was to be done now? All these thoughts, they were so out of character for him – once they had spilled out, they left him empty, unsure of what to do next.

I'm scared of what I might say now…

Not that Yoh wasn't afraid either. Was this some twisted joke? Was it one of those cruel pranks? But the fears quickly evaporated as he really looked at Ren. The frailer boy was trembling, actually trembling….Yoh suddenly smiled – not out of any malice, but out of a sort of simple satisfaction. This was no act on Ren's half, no false front – there was no way the proud young man could fake the quivering limbs which seemed to afflict him so badly.

Ren meant it, he meant it with all his soul – whatever tattered remains he had left.

Soft footsteps finally hailed movement and Ren started. His gaze had slowly fallen to the polished wooden floor as his confidence had waned. Yoh had been so quiet, the silence so great that his resolve had waned and he had almost wished that he hadn't come.


But when those soft steps reached his ears, lemon eyes looked up, almost disbelievingly into vivid brown ones.

The breath caught uncomfortably in his throat as he suddenly felt the warmth radiating out from Yoh's body, feeling that same heat press against his own trembling form.

He's too close, far too close…part of him said.

He could never be too close….another, darker part of him wheedled in reply.

That theory was put to the test as he felt gentle hands slide along the line of his forearms, almost teasing against his bare skin. That breath still hitching up around his own lungs, Ren could only watch, entranced as those slim fingers moved their own meandering path upwards.

Leaving Ren's arms, Yoh allowed his hands to slip under the barrier the other's limbs had formed. Reaching around until his hands found their way to the small of the Chinese Shaman's back and slowly, surely, Yoh reeled him in. It was satisfying – to feel that lithe body being pulled unresistingly towards him, each dip and curve of his body fitting into the opposite context of his own. Still unresisting, Ren did not pull away as he felt himself being drawn ever closer to his taller companion. Uttering a small sigh, Yoh allowed his chin to dip, lips brushing against strands of indigo as they found their way to a place beside Ren's ear.

"I'm scared of Anna." The first confession brought a minute smile to the frailer boy's lips – it was so predictable, so common place.

So Yoh.

Sensing a growing relaxation in Ren, the brunette gave his own gentle smile, moving a deep hued lock away from a perfect shell of an ear.

"I'm afraid of not being what the world needs." Now more serious, he rested his chin down on the comforting plane of Ren's shoulder. "I just don't see myself as revolutionary or extraordinary or a saviour…I don't see myself as Shaman King."

That's because you're just Yoh…

"I'm scared of getting lost, I'm scared of losing myself in all this power." Brown eyes closed briefly, a world weary expression fleeting across his face when he thought that Ren couldn't see it. He may not have seen it, but he could feel it.

"As for being scared of me…well…" Ren was glad to hear that Yoh's voice cracked as well – he had been thinking that he was the only one who was way out of his depth in this situation. "I guess we can be scared together…"

That caught breath finally escaped from his chest as Ren heard those words, his knees sagging slightly as he leaned into the embrace Yoh had pulled him into. Wiry arms slid up to lock at the back of the brunette's neck, timid fingers twining around soft strands of sienna as if securing themselves to this pliant body.

It's never been 'we' before…

With contact finally being initiated on Ren's behalf, Yoh decided that this was indeed what was wanted and needed on both parts. The residual worry that he had been pressuring the clearly less experienced youth had been badgering him relentlessly, but he brushed it aside. What had started off as a dark and fear filled mood had lightened considerably to something stranger definitely, but no less intense. Indeed, the release of pressure had brought forth the more enthusiastic side of Yoh and that side had just realised it had an extremely sensuous and slender teen wrapped in its arms.

Exhaling contentedly in a sound which was surprisingly akin to a good-natured horse 'whuffling', Yoh let his face drift closer to the pale shaft of Ren's neck. The Chinese youth would have found such an odd sound amusing at one time, but all thoughts of humour were driven away as he felt the bridge of Yoh's nose brush against the side of his neck.

Still nuzzling curiously at Ren's smooth skin, the Shaman King let his mind spread to what he could feel beneath his calloused fingertips.

Far too much material…

In any other circumstances, Yoh would have admired those tight little shirts that Ren normally chose to wear, but for now they were just another obstacle between the body contact he craved and himself. Muttering some incoherent word or endearment into the brunette's ear, he slipped his hands under the back of Ren's shirt – in his state, he could barely tell what colour the garment was since the moonlight had leeched all the brightness away to leave it close to black.


Ren shivered when he felt those hands slide so deftly under the cloth over his back, palms resting exactly where they had before…just under the shirt. Against his over-heated skin, Yoh's hands were cool, the skin on his fingers and palms was considerably cooler than his own back and the contact sent shivers up towards his neck.

Cold hands, warm heart…

Gently sweeping his thumb across that dimple which hovered just over the waistband of Ren's trousers, Yoh hid a smile when he felt the smaller man tremble in his arms.

"Still afraid?" he mumbled, inhaling the clean scent of Ren's hair – it wasn't anything exotic or deliberately alluring, but the down to earth, blunt smell of soap and shampoo was a refreshing change to those around him.

Ren didn't even dignify that with an answer, merely pressing closer to Yoh and giving a weary little sigh. As wrought as he had been earlier, added to the stresses his overworked body had been under…energy was a problem these days.

Not that Yoh was deterred by his companion's reticence – it was part of the frailer boy's charms. With Ren, it was always you who needed to make the first move. But then again…he hadn't exactly had the best sleep himself and as much as he wished to pursue…other activities, his own body was beginning to betray him.

"Ren…" he murmured, slipping his hands out from under his shirt regretfully, lingering on the pale skin for a moment or two before withdrawing. The purple haired Shaman turned fitfully as the contact was taken away, uttering what could have been called a whimper in a lesser man than Ren.

It was quite cute really – not that Ren would ever allow anyone to label him as such.

"Ren!" Yoh chortled quietly to himself as once again the youth in his arms responded with a sleepy grumble. At least if he was this close to falling asleep, it meant that any tension had disappeared. Giving an exasperated, yet fond sigh, Yoh held Ren at arms length, looking down into half hooded saffron irises. "Ren, you need to go to bed."

Blinking, Ren merely stood there, exhausted mind trying to process the words which were currently entering his ears. It was obvious when that happened for those lemon hued eyes widened somewhat as he woke up.

"Oh…right…" This new, vulnerable Ren certainly was adorable – just the slight pink tinge across his cheeks made Yoh want to draw him right back into an embrace. "Bed…" Head dipping slightly, he turned, tired feet carrying him back towards the door, but an amused chuckle halted him.

"Where do you think you're going?" was the dry question from the youth behind him.

"Going to bed, isn't that obvious?" A trace of the old Ren showed in the tart answer he gave, one eyebrow predictably raising to accompany the answer.

"No you're not."

"Excuse me?" This was definitely Ren now as the smaller man turned to face Yoh with a glower, hands fisting dangerously by his side. "I'm really not in the mood for one of your odd jokes right now – don't play with me, Asakura."

To give him due credit, Yoh didn't flinch under that feline gaze. Not one bit. "No. I meant you're not going to bed because this is your bed now." He gestured to the rather untidy bed that lay in the other half of his wall.

Once again, dark lashes brushed against pale cheek tops as Ren blinked, taking a small step backwards. "You mean…?

"Stay with me Ren." Another blink was required on Ren's part – now it was Yoh's turn to put himself on the line. To risk being rejected.


An awkward smile quirking his lips, Ren raised another of those perfect eyebrows. "On that mess?"

Yoh's lips curved into a pout as he looked towards the sleeping place in question. "It's not that bad…" was his petulant answer. Yoh and tidy, the words were incompatible. "Besides," and here was his secret weapon, "It has me in it."

Ren shifted uneasily, dark gaze switching alternately between Yoh and the bed, his palette suddenly dry for some reason. All this, all what transpired here was new territory, uncharted land on the map.

Map? We're so far off we left the map about ten squares ago…

"Ren, come to bed."

Even whilst the indigo haired one had been stuck in his awkward loop, Yoh had slipped under the rumpled covers, back turned pointedly towards him. The sight of tousled brown hair hovering over the dusky cream of the sheets greeted saffron eyes and again, lids shuttered up and down in indecision. To go over there, to crawl into bed with the warm body that was currently there…

To crave company is to give in to weakness…

"Ren. Bed. Now." Some part of Ren which was still trained to obey direct orders complied, feet leading him blindly as he slipped into the side of the bed opposite Yoh.

There, I did it.

But what now? What was expected of him now that he had taken another of those big leaps? Shivering, he fisted his hands loosely in the sheets around him as his eyes looked blankly up at the shady ceiling. He was all too aware of the foetal curled figure on his left, soft breathing emanating from the slow rise and fall of its chest. Yoh seemed relaxed, as if this were a natural step. But then again, Yoh was a tactile person. He touched everyone, be they friend, foe or long dead ghost. Yoh learned through contact and it came to him easily.

The baka probably doesn't even think about it…

But for once, the almighty Tao Ren was wrong. Yoh, at present, couldn't think about anything other than touching the purple haired one across from him, but some inner sense restrained him for the moment, suggesting that perhaps he needed to ask permission.

"Ren…can I…hug you?"

The question was so innocently put, so gentle in its phrasing that it wasn't threatening. Yoh wasn't trying to change him, to influence him. Yoh only wanted to hold him.

Not really trusting himself to speak, Ren only nodded, unsure even if his bed mate saw it.

He did.

Moving slowly, carefully – as if the Tao was a spooked horse – Yoh slid over, coming to face the smaller built youth who still looked resolutely towards the ceiling. Snaking a skinny arm around his shoulders, Yoh pulled gently until Ren turned obediently in his grip, rolling over so their faces were on the same level and turned towards each other.

Instinctively, Ren slowed his breathing and felt Yoh do the same as they gradually relaxed to fix the new position they were both in.

"G'night Ren…" Yoh murmured, a sleepy smile one his face as he yawned.

Wrinkling his nose slightly, Ren made no reply as he shifted downwards, resting the side of his head on Yoh's shoulder and closing his eyes. Comfortably pillowed and lulled by the soft feel of skin underneath his cheek, sleep was all too alluring right now.

If Yoh was waiting for a reply, he was in for a long wait so the brunette sighed, absently stroking the back of his hand along the angle of Ren's jawbone. It was disturbing how light the Chinese boy seemed in his arms – he barely made an indent on the mattress at all.

But it was late and they were both tired. Satisfying himself with a final stroke of Ren's indigo hair, he settled down, dark eyes blinking several times before iron weights pulled the lids down. Once both their breathing rhythms had fallen into an easy pattern, the atmosphere in the room lightened.

There would be no passion tonight, no confessions of undying love. No love at all actually.

Just two souls trying to help each other out when times were dark.

Silence except for gentle breathing as the moonlight illuminated the conjoined figures. Gentle silver light showed a skinny boy with violet hair wrapped in the arms of a taller, less sharp looking youth with dark brown bangs. The smaller of the pair by no means looked peaceful, not to outside eyes…but to those who knew the Shaman, there was something different in his face.

It's amazing what physical contact can do to one starved of it for so long.

A longer silence and then…

"Goodnight Asakura…"

Yoh smiled sleepily and pulled Ren closer into the circle of his arms as a cloud crossed the face of the three quarter moon plunging the room into the true darkness of night.

And outside, one pair of world weary eyes looked up at what had been a glowing silver shape, now only a vague outline visible. The air was chill, but the Itako kept on rocking on the swing.

Still sad, still silent, still alone.

Six thoughts at once I can't focus on one

Seven days a week but my life has just begun

So caught in emotion and I'm overcome

As I'm falling down I come undone

Sometimes I feel like I'm alone

Sometimes I feel like I'm not that strong

Sometimes I feel so frail so small

Sometimes I feel vulnerable

Sometimes I feel a little fragile

A little fragile

In six thousand years what will this mean

Words from the heart or a melody

So caught in emotion and I'm overcome

As I'm falling down I come undone

Sometimes I feel like I'm alone

Sometimes I feel like I'm not that strong

Sometimes I feel nothing at all

Sometimes I feel vulnerable

Sometimes I feel a little fragile

A little fragile

If people can see right through my eyes

Like an open door that I can't disguise

I won't be afraid from the tears I cry

I'll not run I'll not hide this is how I feel inside

A little fragile

A little fragile

Sometimes I feel like I'm alone

Sometimes I feel like I'm not that strong

Sometimes I feel so frail so small

Sometimes I feel vulnerable

Sometimes I feel a little fragile


Hey, don't shoot me-Throws arms up in the air- I just finished my teaching course and I was so wiped out I literally didn't have the brains too write. Again, I'm sorry – but look, I'll try and update more regularly now. Say…every week?...probably not since I have quite a bit of school work, mainly projects coming up so wish me up.

I'll try and do the review replies later on this week, but for now my e-mail's screwing up and I can't find all the reviews and my Internet keeps logging up. But don't worry, I appreciate all your comments and will reply to them as soon as possible!