A Change of Heart

Chapter 10: The End of a Modern Fairytale

Disclaimer: How hard is it to understand that I own nothing of this series?

-Hides self from the burning gazes people are giving her- Okay. I know I haven't updated in a WHOLE year and the reason for that is I've moved to other fandoms, particularly, Yuugiou! Yes, I know you'll be killing me now… Anyway, my conscience was bothering me, demanding that I finish this…Yeah, I really feel guilty for leaving this fic…I'm not sure but I think I improved a little on my writing skills…Which might explain the vocabulary or whatsoever I'll be using below…Oh, and this chapter is just for the sake of "finishing" this almost-abandoned story…Most probably will be the last of my SK fics… I shall NEVER use curses again…I was so shocked with how I wrote this fic with swearing thrown in every now and then but I'm too lazy to revise this…

Anna clutched the creases of her dress tightly as tears cascaded gently from her cheeks until they dropped ever so quietly down her crimson gown. The gown that Yoh—no, Hao—had bought for her. She scowled at the name. He was the reason why she was crying right now—he brought out her weakness from that indestructible façade—she had no idea that it was him, of all people, who would be the one to change everything.

And she hated him for that.

He had made her do things she didn't know she could do before.

He made her smile.

He made her trust.

He made her love.

She knew how deep her loathe was for people who manipulated her—not that they had the ability to do so, though—people, who tried to change the way she did things. But somehow, he made an entrance to her life in a way that he could be a part of things she did yet she still had the choice to do things by her own free will.

How he was able to do that, however, was beyond her comprehension.

She was supposed to be cold, distant, and ruthless—but he changed those completely. He taught her the most valuable thing…

To love.

But then a question dawned on her. What if she knew it was Hao all along? Would she let him get close? Would she allow him to change her? Would her feelings have changed?

It was all a matter of identity.

If it was Yoh or vice versa, would it even make a difference?

She closed her eyes in contemplation.

And realized, she learned how to love because Hao showed her its meaning. Not because she knew he was Yoh.

"Anna! Where the hell did you go?" Hao muttered under his breath as he continued to scour the area.

Then he found a silhouette sitting still on a small bench half-hidden by the trees. Guessing it was his only hope, he slowly crept and remained behind a tree.

The full moon shone brightly as it showered its gloomy light on a graceful figure, illuminating its features. Pale, soft skin, deep, black eyes and silky blonde hair told Hao that his search was finally over.

He carefully stepped on the grass, to the path winding towards her.

She stirred slightly on her seat, and without even looking at him, asked. "Who are you?"

In that instant, he knew he had been discovered.

"Asakura Hao is my name, finding you has been my game."

Still remaining in that position, Anna remarked. "How am I sure that you really are Hao?"

Hao looked around him—at the navy blue sky, the stars that twinkled, the crowd of trees—then his eyes fell on a single flower by his foot. He picked it up and shown it to her.

"Flowers."

"So you shall guess what my favorite flower is?" Anna raised an inquiring eyebrow, but nevertheless nodded in approval. "Very well then."

"Daisies are pretty and always look so cheerful, but they can never compare even a millionth with a simple smile from you."

Anna almost chuckled at the remark but kept restraint. "So?"

Hao sighed. "They're not what you like."

A nod from the itako cued him to continue.

"Sunflowers are yet but a set of floras following the bright rays of the sun. The sun is deemed powerful so I can assume that sunflowers are hungry for power. You are powerful but do not depend on someone else to give you that power. It is innate since the day you were born. Even I am worthless against your power—or rather—beauty."

The itako blushed slightly. "And what are you implying with that?"

The pyromaniac smirked. "I'm simply implying that it's still not your favorite."

Anna waved her hand for him to resume.

"Roses, with its color as bloodily scarlet as the shade of your gown, are oftentimes considered as the most beautiful flowers even in their modest forms. Because of their superb elegance, most people are tempted to touch them—forgetting they comprise thorns—perfectly hidden by soft, delicate petals, thus, pricking their greedy fingers. I would like to say they resemble you so much, but mere roses cannot bypass you—not in a million lifetimes."

Anna could only stare at him, astonished. "If not roses, what then?"

Hao turned to face her, his hand tilting her chin up so they were face to face. And he smiled—no, it wasn't a smirk, but a smile—a real, genuine smile.

Flashback:

Hao excitedly skipped through the garden fields filled with different kinds of flowers. All were pretty in their own way. He nipped sunflowers, daisies and roses and put them in a small basket. After doing so, he quickly returned to their house and patiently arranged them into a beautifully-decorated bouquet. His hands itched with the sunflowers because he had a certain allergy to them—not a long while later, he accidentally pierced his small finger with an offending rose thorn—even though his hands were bruised and swollen, he managed to finish his masterpiece—all with a smile on his face.

He carefully wrapped the bouquet in a vibrant, red ribbon and cautiously cradled it in his arms as he made his way towards Anna's house.

It was her birthday and he had been enthusiastic for the past few weeks, while awaiting her special day. Of course, being 7-year-olds, Hao knew that simple things made Anna smile. It really wasn't the gift that matters, but the thought that counts.

After a few minutes, the brunette found himself standing in front of the itako's house. But odd enough, he was feeling quite nervous strange for his liking. He never felt such a weird sensation before—his hands shook uncontrollably, his legs wobbled like rubber that it threatened to trip him by the doorstep and his stomach growled furiously like it had never digested food in so many years.

Gathering courage, he knocked on the door three times, anticipating for Anna to open it. Sure enough, a small girl in a tiny black dress wearing a red bandanna appeared into view, with a warm smile glued to her face.

"Hao, what are you doing so early in the morning?" The blonde asked thoughtfully. Truthfully speaking, it was already 10:30 in the morning, really not as late as she claimed though she couldn't help but wonder since Hao normally didn't show up until 1:00 in the afternoon—being the late sleeper that he was.

"Well, I brought something for you—there is a special occasion, right?" Hao grinned.

"Really? That's very nice of you—so what is it?" Anna asked while swooning sideways to see what the brunette had in store for her.

"These." Hao smiled as he handed his creation—accompanied by hard work and a lot of bruises.

Anna's smile faded into a frown as she swatted the bouquet just as Hao held it to her. Hao just stood still, with shock overwhelming his face.

The itako's lips straightened to a thin line as she gazed coldly at the after-shocked Hao. "You know I hate flowers."

"B-but I thought since Yoh liked them…knowing that y-you like him, you'd like them, too…" Hao stuttered helplessly.

She faced him with a hard stare difficult to match but her face later softened, as tears began to well in her eyes. "You know they bring me bad memories…"

It was only then that Hao realized his grave mistake. How could he have forgotten? As far as he could remember, Anna's parents died in a car accident. The vehicle sped right through the cliff and dropped a hundred meters down into a field of flowers. That was how Anna found her way into the Asakura household. His grandparents decided to adopt the itako into their home—but despite the affection they showed her, their love would never be equal to that of her parents.

"I-I'm terribly sorry…"

End of Flashback

"What is my favorite flower?" Anna repeated.

Hao cupped her cheeks and leaned in nearer and whispered, in an almost inaudible voice, "You don't have any."

Ebony orbs widened.

On impulse, Anna hugged him and smiled blissfully as tears began to flow down her cheeks again.

"Hao…It really is you…" The blonde stammered in between her sobs.

The fire shaman was at first taken aback by her reaction but soon returned her embrace. He softly wiped her tears and soothingly caressed her hair. "That's not the Anna I know…The Anna I know never cries no matter what. The Anna I know is strong…"

The itako hushed him with a finger to his lips. "Well the Anna you know is different now…"

Hao shrugged and grinned. "You're probably right." And he snorted.

"Would you mind if I take this lady's last dance?"

"Not at all…" But then her expression turned skeptic. "Just don't step on my toes or I'll slap you." Anna grumbled as she held her hand next to his cheek in emphasis.

Then Hao took hold of her wrist and smirked, "That is—if you can."

"So shall we? I'm getting quite impatient—"

But the itako's sentence was cut as she felt arms slither around her waist. Black eyes were fixed on hers. She could clearly see the moon's pale light enlightening Hao's face. His eyes glimmered like that of the stars which he loved so much. They swayed slowly, with his hands on her waist, and hers on his shoulders—not minding how the time flew by—feeling that the time may have stopped for them to enjoy this moment in what seemed like eternity.

Anna felt like she was in a dream—one that she wished she wouldn't wake up from.

Words weren't really important now—all that mattered was they were in each other's arms…

Not far into the distance was a brunette quite identical to the one with Anna. He only smiled—almost sadly, "If you're happy with him, then I have no right to take away your only happiness…"

FIN.

There you have it. Quite sappy, ne? Oh, well… I think I'm quite satisfied with the ending though I know some of you aren't… Now I have to get going and finish my Ran Fujimiya fanart…

Please review and tell me what you think!