AN: Thanks sooo much for the reviews …and the reviewers! Awww… They really made me smile this big! ('------') lol And for that, I decided to write a real summary of the story… I'm just happy! And I kind of feel sorry for updating after a month… Oh yeah, I changed plans on what to have on this chap… I thought that it was going to get too long if I were to place the "event" here so ended up with this.
Disclaimer: I do not own Shaman king. And I won't ever! Neither is the song Tourniquet by Evanescence. (I first heard this song from my previous English teacher. Nice huh?)
Chapter 4: Goodnight Anna
Midnight was about to loom at the onsen grounds in a few seconds. It was a dark, quiet evening. The only thing present was the silence that draped within the house, slightly ripped by the frequent whistling of the wind. And then there was the darkness which overwhelmed the emptiness of the room, appearing resilient to the only person inside – a blonde-haired teen curled inside her blanket and futon.
She had always been alone in her room not letting anyone enter it, not even if they dare ask her permission. But at that moment, she seemed vulnerable to the darkness around her as if her being alone wasn't the normal sight at the place.
The clock struck twelve.
Keeping herself calm, she turned the lights on and she was finally at ease. "Now, I could sleep," she said to herself, just about to close her eyes when she heard footsteps. It seemed to be walking towards her room, getting louder and louder by the second.
Step. Step. And another step.
Then she started hearing a voice which echoed rather abnormally.
"It's not a song," she thought confidently. She was certain that the voice cannot be compared to music. It sounded more like… like… like a poem. "A poem. But who would think of uttering a poem at a time like this?"
It was getting nearer and nearer.
Fear dominated the poor blonde. Whatever that was, her only defense was the sliding door and her blanket which she covered her eyes with expecting that not seeing anything would make her feel better. But the voice became louder, tension growing more intense while her ears could make out something out of the poem-like echo.
wounds cry for the grave…
my soul cries for deliverance."
Grave? Soul? What else does this poem point to?
"I'm dying, I'm praying,
I'm bleeding, I'm screaming…"
"No! It can't be!" She frantically mumbled to herself as she fought her fear.
Once the voice and footsteps were gone, she didn't have second thoughts and instantaneously settled with a decision before her own imagination got worse.
Anna treaded across the room, quickly shutting the door behind her, intending to stop by the first room of the corridor.
Run. She focused her mind only in running, after all, it was her only hope left and there was nothing else she could do but run.
Then she tripped. "Ouch."
"Baka itako," she whispered under her breath.
It seemed that mercy had descended upon her for, at least, she tripped exactly in front of her destination.
"Yoh?" Anna whispered very softly by his door.
"You're a minute and 12 seconds late, Yoh. Go make dinner right away, I'm hungry."
Yoh had just been asked, or more precisely, ordered by Anna to buy groceries for the week… just for the week? As though there was a time that Anna bought groceries herself! Oh yes there was, when he received the most dreadful slap from Anna which literally knocked him out for a good half day; therefore, she was forced to do it on her own. Only this time, he was given a time limit like his regular training.
Yoh ran as fast as he could with every stride hoping that he would make it in time to the onsen. But as the news came to him, he was late… by a minute and 12 seconds. No food ready for him then.
"Hai, Anna!" Yoh managed to send her a goofy smile, waiting for his fiancée to show any hint of pity or mere sympathy for such cute face.
It didn't work though.
"No delays." Anna turned her heels once more to face him, uttering every word clearly to make that sure the young shaman understood her command before completely leaving him with a scowl.
' She's back to her old self again.' He sighed panting heavily from his recent training. 'Well at least I know she is normal. I guess that's fine enough.'
After placing the bags of goods in the kitchen, he went straight to the bathroom and freshened up with a light shower. He couldn't help thinking about the sudden change in her, from her coldness to unexplainable sweetness and then back to her usual cold nature. While a swirl a thoughts wandered in his head, he hadn't taken notice of time it took him in there and had somewhat idiotically failed to remember that he was to make Anna her dinner. And to think that she even reminded… err… warned him, 'no delays.' So when he finally arrived to his senses, "ANNA!" he had managed to dress up quite negligently and paced towards the kitchen.
"What's taking him so long?" There she was sitting beside the dining table waiting for her dinner. And Yoh should know that Anna wasn't the type of person who's willing to wait. "He's going to regret this… I swear."
Just as Anna was on her way to go to her fiancé and finish him off, Yoh arrived at the dining room.
Anna stood to face him in an attempt to throw him an ominous glare but was surprised by the sight of a… uh…a bare-chested Yoh in his boxers.
"Anna, I'm sorry. I-I… f-forrg-got. I'm going to cook dinner now," Yoh said nervously.
Instead of scolding him and sending him out the window, Anna felt a different emotion inside her. Was it laughter?
"How stupid is this fiancé that I have?" She felt herself fight a light chuckle within. Disregarding Anna's orders should be everyone's top ranker in his list of DON'T'S and certainly, ignorance of this rule puts anyone, even her beloved fiancé, in grave danger. In addition, Yoh had just arrived at the dining room to cook her dinner …in boxers? Oh come on, this is too much! Too much that Anna had let out a minute smile escape from her, and that by chance was caught by Yoh, causing him to stare at her.
Realizing what she had just done, Anna regained her composure at once especially with that look that Yoh had on her. She noticed that it was a tad too odd.
She tried to break the awkward feeling between them. "Because you were late with the groceries today, you'll have to do 2,000 crunches, 1,000 push-ups and 250-mile run with weights all done before noon and if you fail to complete this course, you have to repeat them, twice the load. Did you understand that?"
But Yoh didn't answer, not even a nod. He seemed excessively busy with his current business at the moment, stare at the blonde in front of him.
A second later, Anna felt her cheeks heat up and blush.
"Are you listening to ME?"
No response still.
She looked at Yoh, ignoring his idiotic boxers and concentrating on his eyes and analyzing his stare, it seemed that Yoh didn't return the gaze she gave him, instead he watched her… lips? ONLY at her lips. With his full attention, mind you.
"What are you staring at?" She asked him, irritated, pretending to be innocent though she knew quite well what the answer was.
"Uh… nothing." At long last, he answered her but still his eyes had not left its target.
Yoh was able to give her a nod despite his stare that was possessively fixed on her lips. Minutes were running and he has NOT batted an eyelash at all since he saw Anna's rare smile. Wonder how he does that? If this was part of Anna's training… he was more than good at it.
"WHAT do YOU think you're DOING ASAKURA?" Anna was unquestionably annoyed. Her brows were awfully raised now.
Not a good sign I tell you.
"I love you." Yoh decisively replied.
Straight in front of the itako. He didn't even stutter. (A/N: Woah.) How he managed to have the guts to personally confess to her in his boxers after making her wait for her dinner… will remain a mystery forever.
And that look was definitely way damn freaky.
Anna felt a chill run down her spine. "EXCUSE ME, WERE YOU SAYING SOMETHING?" Her slightly red face altered to a deeper red, a mix of discomfort and anger in it. 'He confessed?" she thought inside and Yoh seemed to have read her mind through her shocked expression.
"Where are your clothes by the way? GO GET DRESSED!"
I have no idea what has gotten into him but I assure you, he's not getting any luck with what he did.
"Whaaat? Where's my kiss?"
"I said I'll get changed."
"Asakura Yoh?" Anna called once more.
Yoh was sleeping when he recognized Anna's voice calling him. But it was different from the angry yell that was crying out his name just a second ago… in his dream. Yes, it was all a dream. A rather unusual one I suggest. He didn't know whether to be thankful or worried that it was not part of reality now.
He opened his door right away to see Anna whose face looked both pale and terrified.
"Anna, what's wrong?" He asked her with utmost concern. Taking into account the fact that she never let others see her with a frightened look, he thought to himself, "She's even cuter when she's scared." He gestured for Anna to enter his room.
"…" Anna followed him but couldn't make a reply in anxiety. Lowering her head, she took in a lungful of air, glad that she was with her fiancée at last.
"It's not morning yet." He said goofily in his useless effort to calm her down.
"What's bothering you, Anna? I didn't forget to say goodnight, did I?"
Anna cocked her head to face Yoh.
"No, of course, you didn't."
He propped his hand on her chin and caressed it with his fingers. "Please tell me what's wrong."
Anna fixed her gaze upon him while she carefully muttered each word.
For a moment he paused then he realized what she meant as every single word she said sank into his previously naïve, concerned mind. Suddenly, he had noticed her entire presence just now, after hearing her simple unlikely request.
"Y-You w-w-want to s-sleep with m-m-..m-me?" He nervously stuttered.
Her face was covered partly by her untidy hair and partly by the darkness that seated between them but he was still able to see and penetrate through it enough to have a glimpse of her petrified expression.
"Yes, dear Yoh." She simply answered, the anxiety still present in her voice.
Yoh gulped once more. "I thought I was just hearing things."
But he wasn't.
He was confused with which really was only a dream for that moment was likely to become something more unusual than the one he actually had that night before Anna woke him up.
Yoh delicately examined the itako in front of him, not taking his eyes off her for even a second. Anna was wearing a very thin silky evening gown which by little showed her curved figure yet barely dressed her entire body. The somewhat lucent gown clung onto her shoulders only by a lean strap of cotton and draped from her frame running only several inches from her waist high above from her knees.
What was she doing? Out of the blue, she'd budge out of her room and knock outside his door wearing a cute terrified look in her face making him worry so much. Then she's going to pelt him with a statement saying she wants to sleep with him? And she even matched the scene by togging up in an evening dress that barely covered her body. WHAT THE…! "Is she trying to tempt me or what?" Yoh managed to shut his eyes before bad thoughts started crossing his mind.
"Are you sure, Anna-chan?"
Now he started calling her Anna-chan.
Yoh tried to procure a logical reason behind her actions, despite the inexplicable state of his shattered brain. However, he realized thinking wasn't a smart thing to do. It only made his thoughts more complicated for him to handle… And he wasn't supposed to think that way. Just because they were already engaged doesn't mean he could… I guess Yoh doesn't want me to elaborate on that. Fortunately, he was able to shove these badthoughts off with the use of his all-out endeavor.
"But… but w-why?"
"Uh… Ehe…" Anna grinned at him rubbing the back of her head while a sweat bead edged beside her face. A not so Anna-ish motion.
"You see… it's… uh… I'm…" she paused. "Promise me you won't laugh."
Laugh? How could she think that he'd laugh at her when she's scared and when she's so darn tempting? "Bad thoughts, Yoh."
"Of course I won't." Yoh smiled back at her thinking, "not at MY Anna."
"Well… It's really simple. I was just… you know, how should say this? …Scared. Afraid."
Yoh waved his hands in front of her eyes. "Afraid of what, Anna?"
His eyes widened. Anna afraid of a ghost? Would that be possible considering the fact that she has a shaman who gets in touch with ghosts, for a fiancé? And did she not know that she is an itako herself? It isn't just right. Or has she really changed already? Maybe possessed?
"Ne Anna-chan, have you been drinking coffee lately?"
"No. I'm okay but I won't be if I'd sleep alone. So is it okay? If it's not, I guess I can sleep with Man-"
He had predicted her words and would really prefer having her by his side than seeing her sleep with his best friend -who happens to be a guy.-
Another strike of jealousy.
"It's fine Anna! I'd love to! Oh… that didn't come out. I mean, you can sleep here in my room. It's okay. Don't be scared, I'm going to protect you from that err… ghost."
"Thanks Yoh-kun!" With that she hugged him.
They arranged their futons next to each other and decided to drift off to their goodnight sleep.
It had been 30 long minutes since the couple laid their heads on their pillows and lied down next to each other while constantly spinning and swaying in their futons.
At last Anna stopped. Yoh was about to wrap his arm on her waist assuming that she was already napping when Anna turned around then sat up. "I couldn't sleep."
'That was close!' He also sat upright."Yah, me too. Ne Anna, since when did you get scared of spirits?"
"I don't remember actually. But it sounded really creepy when I was in my room. He seemed like he was grumbling a weird poem of some sort."
"You heard Amidamaru?"
"No, I'm sure it isn't Amidamaru. His voice seemed to be coming from a little ghost."
He was glad that Anna still remembered him being a shaman and that Amimadamaru is their friend. "A small spirit?" He never knew any small spirit staying at the onsen. "It must be a visitor. Don't worry Anna, I'll take care of you so don't be scared anymore. Okay?"
"Ssshhh… listen, there goes that weird voice again!" Anna whispered, fear dominating her body for the second time.
Yoh held her hand to comfort her trying to listen carefully as Anna had told him to. The voice was definitely getting close. It was kind of weird like Anna's description but it sounded somewhat familiar to him. No, very familiar. "It was just like-"
Yoh's deep thinking was cut when Manta opened the door of the first room at the corridor.
"Yoh!" Manta greeted him.
Yoh looked at his best friend from head to toe. Yes, he was short… or in other terms, small. He asked, "Were you singing?"
"Yup. Why? What happened to Anna anyway? She looks so… scared? Am I seeing right?"
"His voice seemed to be coming from a little ghost." Yoh recalled Anna's statement. And Manta is small and was singing. "I knew it," he mumbled. Who ever thought that Manta sung so badly that someone could have mistaken it from a ghost and wouldn't recognize it as a song but a non-tune poem? Poor Manta… Tsk… tsk…
"It's nothing serious. Let me fix this for a minute." He smiled at his best friend then got back on Anna who was afraid and confused at the same time.
"See? You don't have to be afraid. Amidamaru and the spirits don't do that. It was just Manta all along." Yoh muttered in his softest voice so the other guy wouldn't hear.
"Oh… He-he" Anna put up an innocent smile for the shaman, a bit embarrassed by the scene she made 40 minutes ago. Her smile grew into a light warm chuckle. Yoh laughed too. And Manta watched the couple share their sweet laughing moment with a look of curiosity and sweat bead beside his face.
Yoh turned to Manta. "She's okay now."
"Glad that was over," Manta gasped as he was getting more and more confused.
"By the way, Manta, Anna's going to-sleep here- tonight." He uttered crystal clear with emphasis on the two words and a you-know-what-to-do wink at his friend.
Manta, having understood his message, answered with a sheepish grin. "Right. I guess I'll sleep in the …uh… living room instead since Yoh doesn't want me interfering if ever the two of you are planning to do something."
"Something what?" Yoh asked gesturing him to go.
"Nothing!" Manta said in escape. "Goodnight guys!" Then he left them and headed for his new sleeping location.
"Would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow? I mean, if it's okay. But if you're going to say no I'll still ask you-"
With his abrupt question, Anna placed a finger on his lips. She was really making his heart pound harder.
"You're asking me out…tomorrow?" Anna's eyes gleamed through the darkness, her bliss obvious enough for Yoh to notice.
He nodded for affirmation.
Anna nearly leaped in joviality. She looked really ecstatic with what he had just said that didn't forget to kiss him on his cheek.
"Is that a yes?"
"Maybe…" Anna gaped at his eyes as they sat next to each other leaning on the wall. She was certainly happy, no questions asked; however Yoh did ask.
"You seem so excited. It's not like this is the first time that I asked you out."
Anna's expression changed when she raised her brows.
"Ehehe… I guess this is the first time. I wonder why I never thought of doing that before."
"Maybe because you're stupid," she replied in a child-like tone, contrary to how she used to say this when she scolded him for being late in training.
"I'm getting sleepy." As she said that, her head landed on Yoh's shoulder and she fell fast asleep.
Yoh watched her fiancée drift off to dreamland like a baby before leaving a tender kiss on her forehead. "Goodnight, Anna."
End of chap. Thanks for your patience in reading! I'd to love to hear your reviews – comments, suggestions…constructive criticisms… They're all gratefully welcomed! Smile. Gb!
(0h, I wasn't able to send replies last time… )
:KariUsui: Glad you think it was cute and funny.. hehe.. thanks! Yeah, he was too shy in the last chap, but know what? Deep inside him he's really thinking of… -cough- harhar.. you'll find out when you read this chap. Trust me, he's not innocent! xP
:bittersweetness: it really touched me when you said that it was excellent. I can't wait too! Hey, you changed your pen name, right?
:hannami08: thanks! I wish I could make the next update soon.
:Holy Girl: I'll try finishing the nxt chap soon. Hehe..
:AzNAngel07: I'm really happy you love it… Very touching…
:The girl: Haha… I could hardly imagine Anna having tantrums! I bet she'd look cute! Haha…
:Rumia: I'm happy to hear that. Thanks!
:Jacksmith-notreally: thanks for the compliment. When? Hmm… I don't really know. But I don't have any plans as of now. Have no idea, believe me… But it was fun playing with Anna, ne? –evil self-
:Hannah-asakura: he-he… I guess he was. Thank you! Hope you'll like this chap… Yoh's not-so-naïve anymore.
:hachidori: thanks! Uh.. I don't think I'm really that good in English… he-he… Here's the 4th chap.
:Little-Anna-chan: glad you liked it. Thank you!