A Wish the Heart Makes
By Starian Princess

{ Anna can't concentrate and Ren definitely can't read minds. But somehow, nevertheless, she comes to an understanding - even if she isn't pleased one bit about it. }

A warm sense of content was supposed to envelope her right about now, she mused, as she slowly took another sip of her afternoon tea. After all, that was the reason why she normally had these meditating sessions of hers; this… ritual one might've called some alone time. There would be no Yoh and Manta bickering about, no Ryu or Horo Horo making a fuss around the house, no Pirika bossing her brother around in a booming voice hardly imaginable for such a girl, no spirits coming to her with problems… She would be without anything and everything that could pose as a means to break her concentration.

Today though, such solace was something she could not seem to find. Anna closed her eyes, desperately trying to block out everything - the light from the outside, the sounds the crickets were making, the heat. Unfortunately, she could not accomplish any of these wishes.

She felt a bead of sweat trickle down her neck, and her brow furrowed. No, this wasn't her fault, she reasoned out. How could it ever be if she was trying so hard not to think about it? That dreaded place, those frightening feelings building up, that immense longing for something… for someone - no, she had to stop herself there. How could she ever long for another when she had-

"Yoh…" She called out in a bleak whisper, knowing that he would neither hear nor answer. He wasn't even there to begin with. She had sent him out sometime ago saying that he could do with some rest from her training, and he had been all too happy to comply.

It hurt her inside that he didn't want to stay. To him, she was probably just a trainer of some sort, bestowing upon him the hardest of all tortures, cruelties even. He did not seem to understand. No one did, she bet.

'I wanted to make you strong… All for you.' Her lips trembled as she fought hard to hold back tears. Anna Kyouyama never cried. Not like this. Never like this. She believed that if she had the will then it could be and would be done.

So why couldn't she seem to block out the images fighting so hard to remain in her mind at that moment? The blinding sunlight casting its magnificent rays upon a beautiful meadow, the wisteria flowers dancing in graceful billows, the wind playing gaily with her hair, and of course, the figure that had prompted her to stay.

Coldly, she had answered that she would not. Why would she? How could she? Although such paradise was very promising, she needn't remind herself that someone was waiting for her back in… the real world. Yes, back in a world that would make things harder than they already were; back in a world where no one could truly understand her; back in a world where things were never easy - never quite close to perfect, or if it were to happen then it wouldn't last.

And that figure, so very domineering, how could it have ever asked her to stay? It was impossible in a sense.

"Never in a million years would he ever…" She muttered but could not finish for in the darkest pit of her being… perhaps she wished-

"What are you doing?" She whirled around, stunned beyond compare as she faced the individual standing behind her, a voice all too familiar that it haunted her at night.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude on your meditation." His immediate apology met her ears, and she flushed as those intense golden orbs met her dark brown ones.

"Are you feeling hot?" She almost sputtered, almost. But instead she breathlessly stood up, regaining her composure as the person he knew only as the ice queen.

"A bit. What do you want, Tao?" She answered, trying not to betray any sort of emotion.

"I was looking for Yoh. Do you know where he is?" And of course, he did not take notice. She expected this. He had a one-track mind. It was obvious with the way he shrugged off her cold response.

"I sent him out. He will be back after dinner, if he had decided to visit Manta." She nodded and he seemed to accept this. She then turned back, fixing the tray and her forgotten cup of tea.

"Would you mind if I stayed then, and waited for his return?" That had caught her off guard. She regarded him with a look, almost curious, but as quick as it came it had gone and with that, she nodded her approval.

"I'll go get you a cup then."

She walked through the kitchen, placing the tray on the counter and reaching for the cupboards above her. And after carefully setting down another cup, she moved the tray back into the living room where her guest was waiting.

He stood up in proper etiquette and sat back down beside her. And she tried to quell the intense beating of her heart as she watched him take the teapot in his hands, and pour more tea for the both of them.

"Is something the matter, Kyouyama?" She turned to him, her eyes widened. What did he know? And why was he looking at her like that?

His golden eyes were sparkling in a manner she had never noticed before. But then, perhaps the reason was because she had never sat so close to him before either.

"Kyouyama?" Although his voice sounded harsh, it held the distinct feel of concern. Now she knew that something was wrong with the world today. One, Tao Ren never apologized. Two, Tao Ren never asked out of concern if one was feeling under the weather. And three, Tao Ren never - and she repeated never - asked out of concern if anything was wrong. She didn't even know him; much less did he know her. Something had gone wrong with the cosmic powers of all shamanic humanity today. (And she didn't know where that term had come from either.)

"I'm… fine." She could barely manage her response as she averted her eyes away from his face. Some things were just too tempting, even for her.

"Hmm… well, alright then." Was it just her or did he just give her a ghost of a smile?

'I'm definitely seeing things…' She rolled her eyes in annoyance. Okay, so not only was there something wrong with the cosmic powers of all shamanic humanity but there was also something wrong with the cosmic powers of time and space. Tao Ren never smiled, period. Well, at the very least it was only possible for him to smile in her-


"What?" She stared at him, now her mouth agape. Tao Ren was not capable of reading minds, was he?

"Here. This book." He merely looked unfazed as he pushed a small thick book towards her. The cover was seemingly a drawing of a child floating on top of a silvery mist with a dark shade of blue nearing black as its background. She had never seen the book before.

"A Guide to Dreams. I didn't think you read things like this, Kyouyama." Now, he was smirking at her in a way that greatly reminded her of Hao. Perhaps it would be easier to believe though, that Hao could have taken over Ren's body. That would have to explain why he was acting odd. Then again, maybe it was all just her imagination.

"It isn't mine." She stood up, intending to get away before she did anything else unlike herself.

"A dream is a wish the heart makes. One does not have to look far to realize what his true desires are. A dream usually reflects what is truly inside a person's heart."

She stopped then and watched as he flipped the book's pages dismissively.

"If it isn't yours then perhaps it belongs to Yoh. I shall have to ask whether I could borrow it. It is quite interesting; the perspective of the author on dreams and the like."

But she wasn't listening anymore. The words had begun to sink in and she could do nothing else but reflect on what they had meant. A dream reflects what is truly inside a person's heart. So could it be possible? No, of course not.

"Do you actually believe that stuff?" She snapped, earning his full attention once more.

"It's possible actually. People dream and think that it is a prediction of the future in some cases. But what they don't realize is that they work hard to achieve what they had dreamt about because they want to make it a reality."

Well, he had a point. But... did she want to? She was even supposed to be listening to it, whatever sort of inner call that was?

"I don't believe in that. How could that author ever understand what's inside a person's heart?"

"And you think you know better? Kyouyama, you're awfully jumpy today, if not a bit too brash."

"I didn't ask for your opinion, Tao."

"And I didn't ask that you accept my opinion either."

There was no way; just no way her heart wanted something like this. Perhaps though, only time could tell.