Disclaimer: No, I do not own Shaman King.
Summary: Love, like a failing petal, clings desperately...hoping, praying for salvation. It never dies, for death is never the end. Or at least it was the case for AsakuraHao, the infamous Buddhist monk of the famed Asakura family. Could an act of kindness from a young girl change Hao's life? And how would this affect the future? Would love and friendship be strong enough last throughout eternity. Anna x Hao x Yoh
A/N: I am going to make Hao a bit younger like around sixteen so that there could be a romance between him and Anna later on.
A flicker in time could change the universe, and destroy the bonds that have held it in place for millenniums. But is change always for the worse?
"What is he?" thought the merchant as he glazed up at the frightening form of Asakura Hao. The young man stood calmly and waited patiently for the pair of demons to attack. His long dark hair whipped about in the wind as he raised his hand and a made a few seals. The merchant shivered lightly as he saw young Asakura's slam the demons backwards without even moving an inch. Such power, the boy was too powerful. Never in all of his life had he ever see anyone wield such tremendous power. "What a frightening man," thought the merchant as he took a hesitant step back away from Hao. "Is he really human like us? No, he can't be. He's a demon wearing a man's face," concluded the merchant as he tried his best to dredge up a smile. "Don't look away, or he'll get you!"
The shikigamis emerged from the rubble and rushed towards Hao with frightening speed. All the while, Hao looked on with a peaceful smile on his face as he formed more seals and sent the demons flying. With a small sigh, Hao ducked as a red shikigamis emerged from behind him. "So weak," he muttered softly to himself, as he made a final hand seal and dispelled both of the demons.
The merchant gave Hao a polite nod and dredged up a cheerful smile. "We thank you for exterminating those two demons. Nothing less expected from the great Buddhist monk," he said with his best smile; however, he flinched slightly when Hao raised his head to meet his glaze. "Please provide us with your services in the future."
Hao raised an eyebrow, but otherwise remained silent.
The merchant exchanged nervous glances with the rest of his companions. "I...if that is all, Asakura-sama, we are already late as it is. It would be best if we continue with our journey."
"Hai...we are late..." stated one of the merchant's companions.
"Yes, very late!" squeaked another voice, "We...eh...best get going."
The rest of the merchant's crew agreed quite enthusiastically with their leader, before quickly excusing themselves away from Hao's presence. Within moments, the entire tavern was up and ready.
"Thank you for your services, Asakura-sama," said the merchant politely. "We will forever be in your debt."
Hao just nodded his head slightly in acknowledgement as he leaned casually against a large stone rock. Without a word, he turned away from the prodding eyes of the merchant and slowly began walking away. They were all the same, humans that is. They were always afraid, always fearing the unknown. And unfortunately, Hao fell under the category of being different. He felt a trickle of hate and disgust emerge from his soul, before he quickly suppressed it. He was a monk of all things, it would not do for him to dishonor his family name.
"Wait...!" cried a childish voice from behind him.
Hao turned on heel and his thick white robes whipped about. A look of confusion slid across his eyes as saw a young girl about the age of eleven running towards him. The child had long golden bangs framing her angelic face; however, her most striking feature were her eyes which were as dark as night. What he didn't understand was the reason as to why the young girl was running towards him, as opposed to escaping like the rest of her companions did.
"Yes?" he said with his usual smile, as he knelt down slightly so that he could see the child face to face. "What is wrong, little one?"
However, unlike most children, the girl only scowled in response. "I am not little," she said, as she crossed her arms over her chest, much to Hao's amusement. "I am eleven."
"Oh? Then why are you so short?" teased Hao. Had it been possible, he would have sworn that the girl's beetle black eyes grew even darker in anger. "In fact, I you only look around...say...five."
Now that was going below the belt. So the girl did the only thing that she knew how to...
Silence descended down upon the group as everyone stared in utter disbelief at the young girl. Hao too, even looked slightly incredulous that someone had dared slap him. No one, and let me repeat, no one had ever hit him before. Everyone was too scared. Hao winced slightly as he put his hand up to his slowly reddening cheek. 'Damn, that girl sure knows how to slap' he thought with a hint of amusement.
"Anna!" roared the merchant who's face was slowly purpling in rage. "How dare you strike him, a honorary member of the Asakura clan."
The girl, Anna, from what he'd been able to discern flushed slightly but tilted her chin stubbornly. "He started it," she said with a slight pout. "He called me 'short.'"
The merchant shot a nervous look at Hao, as he tried to talk sense to Anna. "Look, we can discuss this later alright?" he bargained, as he held out his hand to his niece. "We have to get going."
"No buts," the man said stubbornly.
Anna shot her uncle a dark look, before turning towards Hao who was smiling slightly. "Look mister," she said with a commanding air, "You dropped this."
Hao's eyes widened slightly in shock when he saw the thin ivory bell that the girl held in the palm of her hand. His bell. It was impossible, for no one...not even his family members, have been able to touch it. And amazingly so, the girl was able to.
"No, that is not mine," he said slowly after a few minutes of silence. As his dark eyes met Anna's curious ones.
"What are you talking about?" she demanded, "I saw you drop it."
"It is yours," he said simply.
"Yes, it is yours," he said with a bit more force. "Keep it if you like."
And with that, Hao disappeared in a gust of wind.
Anna stared blankly at the spot where Hao had last been standing. She saw a pair of footprints being erased by the whirling dust cloud, and smiled for the first time in a week. "Thank you, Asakura-sama," she whispered into the wind. And for an odd moment, she could have sworn she felt his laughter swirl about her in the breeze.
A/N: Well, that's all for now! Umm...I was originally going to make this story a prequel to my next story which is going to be about when Anna regains her memories of her past. Sadly though, I have a feeling that this fic is going to be quite long. --; oh well, who cares!