Disclaimer: I do not own Shaman King

CHAPTER ONE – Death and Love

"Excited enough, Manta?" Yoh asked, laughing as the midget ran ahead of the group as they headed for the beach.

When they got there, everyone dropped their burdens and set up their corner of the beach with towels, baskets, umbrellas, and any other accessories they'd dragged along. Then they all made their way to the changing tents and got into their suits. When everyone had finished dressing, they all took a moment to stare at each other, and others took the opportunity, too.

"Alright, show's over! Nothin' to see, here, so get your filthy eyes off my girl!" Yoh yelled at the men who were drooling and gawking at Anna.

Anna placed herself in a beach chair with a book and sunglasses, hoping for a tan. Manta ran about with a pail and attempted to build a sandcastle version of the Tao family mansion. Horo Horo went off to flirt with some girls in bikinis and Ryu disappeared somewhere. Ren went to lift weights in front of some worshipful girls, Tamao sat down and allowed men to fawn over her, and everyone else took to the water.

Before hitting the waves with his new board, however, Yoh sat next to Anna and put a small box in her lap. She marked her place in the book and set it down, picking up the box and opening it. As soon as she looked inside, her face lit up and a rare smile graced her features.

"Oh, Yoh, it's beautiful!" she said happily, taking the ring and placing on her finger.

"You like it? It's an engagement ring. I know we're already engaged, but I thought you'd be happier with a ring to remember it by." Yoh smiled at her.

"It's great! I didn't expect you to do this! Now, go have fun!" Anna said, reverting back to her bossy side. Yoh smiled and ran off to surf.

A few hours later, everyone was tiredly slugging their way back to the Asakura house when Yoh, who was way ahead, stopped.

"Something's wrong." Yoh said, gazing behind the group and seeing Anna in the back, and behind her, a familiar someone Yoh had believed was gone from his life forever.

"Hao." he growled, launching himself into a run straight for Anna. As he drew nearer, he saw the sharp glint of a dagger in Hao's hand, and he was catching up with Anna. Forcing himself to run faster for his fiancé's sake, he realized he wouldn't make it in time.

"Amidamaru, if ever there was a need for speed, it's now. Give me whatever help you can offer, I must make it in time." Yoh whispered as he pumped his legs harder. A light flashed at his legs and he ran at a superhuman speed, and just as Hao was bringing the knife down to hit Anna, Yoh jumped in front of it.

Surprised, Hao tried to stop himself, but the momentum he'd had sent the dagger straight into his brother's chest. The others turned at the sound of Yoh's gasp and Anna's scream, and were met with the sight of Yoh's body in Anna's arms, on the ground, with the hilt of a dagger sticking out of his chest, blood soaking through his clothes and Anna's.

Angrily, shaking with a rage no one would believe existed; Anna pulled the dagger from Yoh and plunged it into Hao's stomach. He fell to the ground and did not move again. They all turned to Yoh as he lay dying on the ground.

"A-Anna... You're safe... I'm glad... Ren... Take care of... Anna for me... Don't be afraid to... tell people how you feel... Anna... I-I'm sorry... I have to... make you a widow... before I even made you... a wife..." Yoh choked out between labored breathes.

"No, Yoh! NO! You are not dying. You'll be fine." Anna said more to herself than him.

"Don't... lie... It's ok... I'm not scared... I'm happy... You be happy, too... I always... wanted to... to die like this... It feels good... to know... my death meant something... I guess... I'll see you... On the other side... I'm joining my brother... and... Amidamaru... I... love... you..." Yoh whispered, his voice getting quieter until they had to strain to hear him. His body convulsed a bit as he coughed up blood, and then went still in his love's arms.

"NO! YOH, YOU ARE NOT DEAD! YOU CAN'T BE DEAD! COME BACK! I ORDER YOU TO COME BACK! Don't leave me alone..." she screamed, beating on his dead body.

Then, looking up, she had a look in her eyes that not even the devil himself could conjure. She emanated a force field of mixed emotions, and everyone with half a brain stepped back. Screaming, she grabbed the dagger out of Hao and then plunged it back in, repeating the process until he was so maimed and mangled, he was unidentifiable without dental records, continuously screaming that he was a bastard.

Later, after the visit to the police station, the group found themselves back at the Asakura residence. Anna's face had remained an expressionless mask and she had refused to speak since she had finished screaming at Hao's lifeless body. She sat on the couch, holding her legs close, mumbling incoherent noises and staring into space. Ren sat beside her, making sure she didn't hurt herself.

The doctor had declared she was in a state of shock and afterwards would be in denial, so if she said something that hinted Yoh was still alive, just gently remind her he was gone, and eventually she would come to accept it. He had also given Ren a bottle of antidepressants he was to make sure she took twice a day at breakfast and dinner.

That night, Ren sat on Monument Hill, staring up at the night sky. "Yoh, I don't want to let you down, but I don't know what to do. Everyone is looking to me, as if I couldn't possibly be grieving over your death as well. I feel so useless, Anna's so helpless and I'm so weak, how can I help her? How can I do what you asked, if I can't get over your loss, myself?" Ren said aloud.

"You know talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity." a familiar voice laughed.

"Yoh!" Ren whirled around and saw Yoh standing before him, smiling his lazy smile.

"Yo. Mind if I help you get over the loss?" he asked, sitting next to his friend.

"But, you died! How is that possible?" Ren asked, astonished.

"Well, like I said before I died, see you on the other side. I'm a spirit, like Amidamaru. I hope everyone is ok? How are they taking it?" Yoh asked.

"Manta is arranging your funeral and notifying your family and acquaintances. You're going to be buried here on Monument Hill, next to Amidamaru, where the stars shine best. Ryu is putting his energy into doing the chores Anna assigns him and you and Manta. Horo Horo is snow boarding until the funeral to get his mind off; I have been giving people things to do since they all turned to me about what to do next. I suggested they put their energy into constructive things like what I just mentioned.

I also have been looking after Anna. She was pardoned from the murder of Hao because it was self defense. She is in a state of shock and she won't do anything on her own. She sits on the couch, hugging her legs, mumbling something and staring at the air. The doctor says she'll then enter a state of denial, and afterwards, accept it. She has to take antidepressants twice a day and I have to do everything for her, feed her, put her to bed. She's a wreck. She's completely devastated. I'm exhausted. It's not like anyone thinks I might not know what to do, I might want to be sad." he answered bitterly.

"Ren, you're doing great. I can take care of the Anna thing, and then the only thing left will be saying goodbye." he smiled sadly.

Ren looked up at him in disbelief. "Say goodbye?"

"Yeah. I can't stay here forever. I see what it means for it to be unnatural for ghosts on earth. I feel out of place, disoriented, like I no longer belong and I'm clinging to thin air. All I have to do is be sure everyone is alright and I won't have any more attachments to this world anymore. I also have a favor to ask of you, for later. C'mon, let's go see Anna." he stood and offered a hand to Ren, before he remembered he could no longer do such things, and grief flashed through his face briefly.

The two walked/floated off towards the house together. When they reached the door, Yoh turned to Ren. "Could you call up the others? I want to talk to Anna alone first." With a nod from his friend in compliance, he drifted into the house and hover-sat on the couch next to her. His fiancé only continued her actions and whispered his name a few times.

"Anna..." he whispered in her ear, letting out a ghostly breath. Her eyes widened and she turned slightly, before her face transformed into the picture of happiness, and she tried to throw her arms around his neck and kiss him, only to find she went through his paled body.

"Yoh, why? Why can't I touch you? What's wrong?" she asked innocently. Yoh grimaced; he would have to tell her about the accident.

"Anna, I died. I'm a ghost. Hao killed me, remember? He killed me while trying to kill you. I'm dead, and I can't come back." Somehow, he couldn't help but think that perhaps he was telling himself that, rather than her. Tears welled up in his eyes as he realized that what he said was the sad truth, nothing was left for him in this world.

"No, Yoh. You're here, we can still be together." she whispered, tears trickling down her cheeks.

"No, Anna, you're just fooling yourself. I only came here to say one final goodbye. I can tell it was my time to go. I'll be fine, but only if I know you're fine." he said gently, reaching to get rid of the tears, but his hand went right through her.

"Yoh, I won't be fine unless I'm with you. Don't leave me all alone." she begged him.

"Anna, I'm not. Ren will take care of you. If I still had one, I'd trust him with my life. Manta, too, and Horo. All the gang are there for you, you just never saw it. I can't stay much longer." he swallowed the lump in his throat.

"I... I could go with you..." she suggested, sniffling as she wiped away her tears.

"NO! No, Anna. I died so that you could live; don't throw it away like it didn't mean anything. We'll see each other again one day, but you have to promise me it's not now. Not this soon. You'll go on, you'll meet new people, and by the time we meet again in the afterlife, I'll just be the first guy you fell in love with. Now, promise me, and never let go of that promise." he demanded. (I have watched Titanic way too many times. lol.)

"I promise, Yoh. I'll never let go." she sobbed. (Yup, WAY too many times. )

"Goodbye, Anna. I love you." he said simply before drifting out. The rest of his goodbyes were fairly easy, and very fast. "Ren, there's one last thing I need you to do. Don't do it immediately, she's not ready for it, yet. Marry Anna, Ren. She needs some one to take care of her, and I feel I can trust you with it. Besides, I know you got a crush on her, and you two are so alike." he pasted on a fake smile.

"Alright, Yoh, I will." his friend answered softly. And with that, Yoh made his way to those headphones in the sky.