Disclaimer: I do not own Shaman King, nor any of the characters from the original manga. Hiroyuki Takei owns Shaman King. I own myself and all of my characters, that including Sofia Faust, Hana Horutari and Frankensteiny's Oversoul. I own the rights and plot to this fanfic. Don't sue. I'm almost done :D
Author's Note: Okay, this is now the LAST chapter because, as stupid as I am, I couldn't think of a much better ending than this. It finishes basically everything off and I haven't the time to get back to it. Sorry. I would like to extend another apology to M. Zhang, who pointed out mistakes I had made with the German translations. All of my translations are via altavista so I do apologize if there were mistaken words or phrases. Gah, last chapter and all I seem to be doing is saying sorry xD. I should be celebrating!
Faust rose a brow at the Tao teen, though his face remained composed as always. His daughter had gone on rampage, nearly killing a boy in the process, she had stabbed another and he had relayed the tale of her murdering a village's worth of men. Yet Ren still wanted to see her. The doctor felt more surprised at the latter more then anything.
"I'm not sure if she's willing to talk to you yet." Ren scowled.
"I wasn't exactly willing to be stabbed either, but here I am." Ren bent his legs in and eased himself onto his feet, trying to without too much upper body movement. "And here I go." He snatched up his shirt from the desk in the room and slipped it over his arm and up his shoulder.
Faust shook his head with a sigh. "You two are more alike then I'd like to admit." Ren fumbled at one of the buttons to his shirt. His fingers paused before silently going back to work. Ren didn't answer. "I realize that's the last thing you want to hear right now."
Ren slipped on his shoes. "You're wrong." Faust glanced up, narrowing his brows.
"About what?" Ren smirked.
"That's exactly what I needed to hear right now."
" Miss Jun ATTACKED her?" Amidamaru's eyes widened considerably. Yoh nodded, running a hand through his hair.
"She just ran in and slapped her. Luckily, Bailong pulled her out before she could do anything else." Bason 'hmph!'ed loudly.
"UNlucky if you ask me." HoroHoro sorted through the snacks Manta and Chocolove had brought back from one of the stores.
"What are you tryin' to say Bason?" The chieftain glared down at the ground, arms crossed and brow knitted.
"That girl... whatever she gets is too good for her! Everything she's done to Master Ren...!" He began to ramble off in Chinese, snarling gently. Amidamaru sweat dropped.
"Calm down, Bason."
"Yeah, but Faust said it's part of an illness. So it's not really her fault, is it then?" Manta reminded. Bason shook his head.
"I don't care if she was being POSSESSED! That demon of a girl has been nothing but trouble for Master Ren!"
"You think so, do you Bason?"
"I DO! I wish there had been an AIR BUBBLE in that syringe! It would save Master Ren the trouble of having to ever talk to her again!" Bason spat. The others smiled nervously, inching away.
"You MEAN that, Bason?"
"Why WOULDN'T I?" Bason whirled around to face the voice questioning him, only to meet a pair of amber eyes. The Chinese Warrior gasped, before snapping to attention. "M-master Ren!" A quick boy with a punch to the hand and then a rise back up. "I- I did not know you had woken up!"
"I bet you didn't." Ren closed his eyes and walked past the spirit. "How's Sofia?" Bason's jaw clenched. Yoh shrugged.
"I dunno, none of us were allowed in." Ren gave him a funny look.
"Why the hell not?"
"You mean besides the whole 'mass murdering' quirk?" Chocolove arched a brow. Ren ignored him.
"Faust told us she wasn't ready to talk to anyone yet." Manta explained. The Chinese boy walked to the doors and swung them open.
"He told me that too." Bason blinked.
"Master Ren! You're planning on TALKING to her?" He ashed incredulously, aghst at the idea. The purplenette glanced over his shoulder.
"Why shouldn't I? And you're not to follow me in." He added quickly before Bason could interject. The door closed and Ren disappeared.
Ren walked into the hotel room. Several futons were laid out, only one occupied. The light filtered through make shift curtains, cooling the room a bit. He wandered further into the room, finding the ground littered with medical supplies, clothes and books. Ren furrowed his brows. It looked as if Sofia had taken her anger out on the room before even leaving the hotel that day. The last time he'd been in the Fausts' room it had been perfectly tidy.
"Aah! Ren-dono." Ren glanced. Hana hovered by Sofia's futon, where she slept with a thing cover drawn up to her shoulders. "You'll have to forgive her, she's been sleeping alot."
Ren glanced over to the brunette, whom was frowning in disprovement at Sofia. Sofia herself was taking in quick breaths, sleeping very still and turned away from him. He sighed irritably.
"You're as bad a liar as she is." Hana blinked in surprise.
"E-eh?" Ren sat beside Sofia's futon, crossing his legs.
"Just leave. I want to talk with her alone." Hana paused, her eyes shifting from Ren, to Sofia, then back to Ren. "I'm not going to hurt her if that's what she's worried about. Just talk." Hana let out a deep breath, bowed her head and then floated out to the front porch.
Sofia continued to 'sleep' and Ren scratched at the back of his head. "You've been found out so you might as well sit up." No answer, however Sofia's body stared to tremble. "Too stubborn? Sofia, you're an empath. You should be able to see that I'm not here to yell or fight with you."
No answer. Ren shook his head.
"Fine. I'll talk AT you." A loud exhale of breath came from the blonde. Ren smirked. "Disappointed?" No answer. "Well, I can at least tell that you regret what you did, I don't have to be an empath to know that." He leaned forward. "Your father told me everything. About what happened when you were eleven." Sofia went stiff. Ren nodded. "I know about your illness as well. That's about it." He placed his cheek in his palm." You must've been on medication before... so this is my first question, if you choose to show signs of life. Why did you stop taking your medication?"
Another sigh, then a small turn of the body. He could see a small patch of gauze over her cheek, and bandages wrapped over her forehead. Her face was completely monotone.
"'Cause I'm an idiot." She said simply.
Ren's eyebrows rose. Her complete demeanor was calm. Yet her words... "Is that so?" He pressed. Sofia turned to lie on her back.
"I got over confident about myself, stopped taking the pills about...," she looked back, trying to figure it out in her head. "... about a month ago." Ren nodded in acknowledgment, though still confused by her mood. "That was your first question. What's your second?" He paused.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Sofia's eyebrow twitched.
"It's not exactly small talk conversation, Ren." He glared.
"I had a right to know, Sofia." She was silent for awhile, her face still smooth from expression. Finally,
"You're right. I'm sorry." Ren's eyes grew wide. He hadn't thought he would EVER hear 'You're right.' from Sofia. Ren shook his head softly, snapping back to hear Sofia.
"How's your chest?"
"You're the empath." Sofia remained silent. "Ooh. You're displaced then, are you? Is that why your face is so still? He heard her gulp down. "Why would you be displacing yourself? My chest doesn't hurt much and your injuries aren't serious." He narrowed his eyes. Sofia's hand clung to the other. "What are you keeping down?" Her jaw clenched. "Answer me!"
"I'm scared!" She cried, tears almost instantly budding. Ren's breath stopped in a gasp. The smooth expressionless face was gone. "I-I was stupid, okay! Being around you made me think I didn't need the pills and I-I-" she choked on a sob, clutching her stomach. "I couldn't... I couldn't control myself. I thought I could but... I can't. I can't even stop crying!" She sighed shakily, running her fingers through her hair. "I'm scared that if I can't control myself... it'll happen again. I'll hurt you again."
Ren simply watched as she confessed herself to him. His surprise fading and his expression slowly changing to quiet listening. Finally, she took in a deep breath, sniffling gently. She brought her hair out of her face and wiped at her cheeks.
"What are you doing?" She gulped down.
"I'm displacing my-"
"No. Stop that!" He shook his head. "Stop trying to control your emotions! They're not MEANT to be caged!" Sofia stared incredulously. Ren sighed. "Of COURSE you can't control yourself! Nobody can! If I were able to control myself than we wouldn't even be together! So stop trying!" Sofia froze, hands tugging at the front of her shirt.
"But--" Ren cut her off again.
"But what? You're scared you'll hurt someone again? Your medication can take care of that, there's no reason for you to displace your real emotions. All it does is take the part of you that people like away." Ren chewed on the inside of his cheek. "Please." He muttered. "Stop it." Sofia bowed her head. He leaned forward to watch her face. The mask slipped, her eyes crinkled with tears.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, crying softly. "I'm so sorry." Her shoulders shook gently. "I'm sorry, Ren."
The Tao boy reached over and, hesitantly, wrapped his arms over her head. He leaned his head against hers, cradling her neck.
"I..." Ren swallowed down, trying to find the right words. "I used to envy you, you know. I used to think 'She's so lucky, not having to see the gore of the world. She doesn't know what it's like to see blood ooze from a fatal wound. She doesn't know what it's like to see someone's eyes stare through you when they're dead... she doesn't know death the way I do.'
"But... after hearing about what you did... I see I was foolish- no. Stupid, to think such a thing. You know death just the same as I do. You have killed many, just as I have. Maybe more. Though you cannot see it, you feel it.
"I know that I am being honest, when I call you 'my equal'."
Sofia sat, still sniffling in his arms. She sat, staring at her hands in her lap. He forced himself to face her. No matter her answer, whether she rejected him, embraced him, or remained silent for the rest of the day, he would accept. He stood by what he said. He'd rehearsed it many times in his head on the way to the hotel. He was done with distrust. His past had rendered him with unrequited feelings.
Even if she denied him, he wasn't scared anymore. He wanted to show everything in him to the one he cared for. He wanted Sofia to be proud at the idea of being with him.
Sofia lifted her head up. Her breathing had calmed down finally. Her flushed cheeks were the only evidence that she had been crying. However, Ren's nerves tensed up with her movement. She traced her hand along the covers. He gulped down and reached his hand over to clasp hers.
She was looking down at his lap now, but she smiled and placed her other hand on top of his.
"It's hard for you to say that, isn't it?" She stated. Ren realized how thankful he was to see her smiling again. He felt welcomed be it.
It soon faded to a more calm face. She let out a deep breath. "I feel the same way. I really do, Ren." Another re-assuring smile. "And, please, know that everything I do for you from this point is not out of pity or sympathy." A sarcastic grin showed up."If anything, it's more for me. Its so I can feel you be happy. Never forget that."
"Her hands tightened over his. She was going to cry again. She bit over her bottom lip to keep it from shaking. "You know, as well as I do, that I know you. I feel proud to say that. And... I hope you can understand when I say you should a feel a little pride. Because I want you to know me. Good and bad. I want you to, maybe someday, love me." At the very WORD 'love', Ren's face went scarlet. Sofia had tears budding at the corner of her eyes. "Because I love you."
Ren's back went rigid. His eyes shot up to meet hers. She was smiling again. His hand had gone limp in hers. His voice had left him and he didn't bother trying to speak. He wasn't sure if she really was keeping her promise to stop displacement then. She didn't seem to mind him not talking. Nor did she care about the fact that she was mirroring his cold sweat.
She flinched, then pouted. "Your back is sore... you should lie down." Ren blinked a few times. Managing to get his voice back, as hoarse as it was.
"What?" Sofia brought one of her hands up to place on his chest and press him down against her futon. The entire shock and strain of their conversation had drained him enough that he let himself be pushed down. Of course, he tried to sit back up.
"Nein, nein! Stay down. You need to rest your back." He half-expected a giggle. But she wore a rather guilty look instead. Of course, why wouldn't she feel guilty? She was the reason his back hurt in the first place.
Ren sighed and lied down. The stretched-out feeling of the position did feel better. He looked up at Sofia. She was leaning her back against the wall the top of the futon was pushed up against. She smiled, what he thought was, to herself. He narrowed his eyes on her.
"You should lie down too."
Sofia blinked, before smiling again. "I'm fine Ren." The purplenette glared.
"If I have to lie down because of a weakness, so should you."
She paused, then, with an amused look over her face, lied down next to Ren. "Is this your own special way of showing concern Ren?"
"It's my own special way of showing common sense, unlike you."
Sofia smiled, turning to rest on her side and curl up closer to him. Ren's eyes widened as an arm was thrown over him and a head came to lean against his chest.
"What the hell? Get off of me!" Sofia laughed, clinging to his middle as he tried to push her off. "You're making my wound WORSE."
"Oh no I'm not, baby."
"Baby?" She giggled against him and nuzzled his chest. Ren sighed irritably. He was tired and she was still stubborn as hell. He smirked, lying his head back down on the pillow. The weight on him remained. This was his Sofia. "You're heavy, got off."
"Am I too fat?"
"Yes, you're a cow. Go eat salad and get off." She laughed again.
Unfortunately, she stayed where she was. Ren rolled his eyes, instinctively throwing an arm over her shoulders.
"Ren?" He closed his eyes.
"Goodnight." Technically, it was still mid afternoon. But he'd correct her about it later. He grunted in reply. She grinned. "Love you." Ren stiffened and he felt Sofia giggle against him.