Disclaimer: I don't own Shaman King

To Keep the Snow

Another hour had passed since they have been reunited.

Truly, he was surprised with the unexpected turn of events. But then again, he thought he mustn't for he knew her quite well.

This American desert, huge as it is, cannot be compared to the wide range of her heightened senses.

Still, he cannot restrain himself from being worried over a certain incident he heard from his midget friend.

Yoh Asakura gazed at his fiancée who had her back turned to him. He then shifted his coal eyes to the fire crackling merrily and giving them sufficient warmth.

His usual laid-back features were laced with worry and, surprisingly, guilt.

"Are you alright, Yoh?" Oyamada Manta asked his bestfriend in concern. The midget can't understand but it seems his lazy friend had in him some conflicting things that needed to be sorted out.

"Ah… hai…" the young shaman half-lied as his eyes once more rested on her lithe form. "I just can't help but worry about… what you've told me." he continued before giving his friend a lazy smile.

"I'm sorry I have to trouble you with that. But I have just thought you should know… since I'm quite sure she won't tell you about it."

"Yes, yes. But you don't have to apologize. It was good that I am somehow aware of what he does. And… especially if it involves her…" the lad trailed off as he saw her slowly rise from the piece of log she was a while ago sitting at and walk farther from them.

Nobody seems to take notice, however. Either that or they are just pretending to ignore her for fear of being butchered alive by the infamous itako.

The sounds of her footsteps were drowned by the loud bantering of her fiancé's so-called friends. Not that she would most likely object about him having his own share of close acquaintances. She just dislikes the noise a group of people makes.

Somewhere quiet. That was where she needed to be. She was someone who was used to companionable silence and would never trade it for anything else. Almond eyes surveyed the vicinity with much scrutiny. At last, she found it.

For a girl of her age, the spot she chose is considered as dangerous, being a steep and narrow cliff that would take anyone to death with just a single mistake. But of course, Anna Kyouyama is no ordinary girl. In fact, she can might as well be seen as the most exceptional thirteen-year-old girl ever to be born.

"I knew you'd be here."

Surprise could never be seen on her pretty, impassive face for she had already sensed the intruder even before he spoke.

She chose not to speak.

Fierce desert winds tossed the silky, red cloth that bound her sun-bathed hair in place. The hem of her usual short black dress lightly wavered that exposed a bit of her long, slender thighs.

Not that she would actually mind.

"Anna, about Hao―"

"Yes, what is there about him?" she rudely interrupted, irritation and restrained anger oh so evident in her voice.

"Manta told me about what happened…" Yoh could not really see the logic behind his words, nor the sense of what it really was that he wanted to talk with her about.

She kept her silence. Not that she was disinterested. Waiting. That was what she was doing.

Totally ironic for the blonde girl never liked to be kept waiting.

"Hao is interested with the throne of the shaman king…" he continued as his unruly brunette tresses fanned his tanned face. The trademark orange headphones kept some locks at bay. He stared at his own arms, protected by his dark green trench coat.

"And he said…"

"You don't have to repeat it. He addressed that to me." her tone was filled with edge; too sharp that it sliced through his own ego.

He cringed inwardly.

Not so far from them, their group's nonsense ramblings could be heard, breaking the cold silence that surrounded them.

His eyes were downcast after stealing another glance at her. He then took off his coat and hung it on her shoulders, having her in an indirect embrace in the process.

"You shouldn't stay long enough here with me." she told him.

He could barely understand her utterance. But a pang of pain bit him what with her harsh and ambiguous words.

"If the stone beneath us crumbles, we'll both fall down." she continued saying without looking at him, almond eyes fixed forward to the unclear, sandy horizon that stretched for as far as she can see.

He had to smile at that. He had misinterpreted her all along.

"You can't die. You still have to be the shaman king regardless."

He froze with the last word.

Regardless… he thought.

Coal black eyes widened when he thought he deciphered the obscurity in her words.

He slowly backed away from her, wood shuffling against rough sand.

Yoh tried hard to swallow the lump that formed in his throat. It wasn't only mainly with the words she had dropped. The way she looked contributed to the discomfiture he felt. She was still the same as he can remember: red bandanna tied at the rear of her head, her shoulder-length blonde hair, short black dress that he wasn't even sure if it gives her body the warmth that it was supposed to supply for her, wooden sandals that were the same as his, the blue itako rosary hanging about his neck…

Her face that lacked the trace of most emotions that a human being is known for.

And presently, she looked more alluring than he had ever seen her countless of times before. And it was all with a little illumination from the silvery beams of the moon solely and quietly lighting the darkened skies.

She slowly turned her head to look back at him.

"What are you so worried about?" she took small steps towards him and stopped facing him, almost blank eyes never leaving his that he had to look away from the intense stare she was giving.

"I'm sorry, Anna."

She raised a brow.

"I am still not strong enough to protect you from him."

Anna turned her back on him again. She closed her eyes for a while and slowly opened them again as she spoke,

"I am not asking you to protect me…"

Almond eyes met dark coal ones.

"What I am asking you is to give me an easy life."

-fin-

Author's notes: I know this isn't really good… Yoh was out of character and they seem to be way too serious but… TT anyway, I would like to hear from you. Please read and review… onegaishimasu!