Disclaimer: Shaman King is the intellectual property of Hiroyuki Takei

Author's Notes: Again, thank you to those who reviewed. Sorry to make you wait a month.


Making it Work: 3

I am not a morning person. Not that I am incapable of getting up in the morning I just … didn't want to. I have found that lying on a futon with my brother, holding his warm slumbering body against mine; that I am far more content than I have any right to be. So when that harpy's voice sounded throughout the residence; Anna no-longer-soon-to-be Asakura yelling to get out of bed and come to breakfast, I felt more than entitled to be a little pissed.

Unfortunately, Yoh felt compelled to obey her, not only waking immediately from a sound sleep, but then to further wound me; he also dragged himself to his feet and waited patiently for me to do the same. I seriously considered just turning around and going back to sleep; ignoring him out of pure defiance, but then I remembered that I had promised to attend the function for which Yoh was so patiently awaiting my participation.

I growled under my breath as I stood, brushing off my pants. Yoh grinned and turned to his clothing cabinet. I decided, since I'd already been domesticated into waking when told, I might as well turn my back too and give him his privacy. I found my wrap near the bed and pulled it on, running my fingers through my hair to give it the appearance of having been tended to. Yoh returned to roll his futon and stow it away on a shelf and then he went to the door, smiling back at me as an invitation to join him. I sighed and followed him to the door which he opened and then closed behind me. I wonder if he thought I would leave it standing open if he ignored it.

Just as we started moving away, the door across the hall opened and Horohoro trudged out, closing his door without turning to look at it. He looked like he wasn't even awake yet and he brought his hand up in an attempt to cover an enormous yawn. "Mornin' Yoh." He slurred the words a bit and I found myself staring at him. Not only did he still sport that oversized coat but he'd thrown it on with no undershirt and left the thing open. His breath reeked of fish, like he'd made a midnight snack of it and the corner of his boxers was visible just above the waistline of his shorts. What a slob. He yawned again and moved with us down the hallway, like a small flock of migrating sheep. "Mornin' Hao." he added and I raised an eyebrow with interest wondering how long it would take him to assess his own words. It didn't take long. Horo's eyes shot open and his gaze whipped in my direction with a look of shock. "H…Hao!" he screeched, tripping back into the wall.

Yoh chose then to speak up. "Mornin' Horo." he returned tiredly, waving a hand over his shoulder in greeting.

Horo looked back to Yoh and the look on his face was so comical I couldn't help but break into laughter. I stood there in the hallway of Yoh's house laughing my head off at the increasingly flustered Ainu until I could hardly stand and had to lean against the opposite wall, hugging myself to try and keep breathing. Yoh seemed amused but Horo was looking at me like I had sprouted antlers or something and when Yoh finally looked back at Horo with that look on his face, he started laughing too, hiding it behind a hand, until Horo finally screamed. "What's going on!"

"I'm sorry." Yoh was quick to apologize as I gathered myself and leveled my breathing.

"What's he doing here?" Horo went on hysterically. "What's going on?"

"Where's the bathroom?" I asked, finally calmed.

Yoh pointed the way out to me and I left the two standing in the hallway with Yoh trying to calm his friend and assure him that no, he had not just stepped into the twilight zone. I felt so stupid. I don't think I've ever laughed like that before in my life, let alone in front of someone I probably should have been trying to terrify into submission with a death glare. I had the vague impression that I should have been trying to relay some impression of myself on Yoh's friends and I had just sailed right past it. Now he'd just think I was psychotic. Terrific. I thought, sarcastically.

I slid open the door of the bathroom and stopped short as a spirit rose from the toilet, moaning in what I could only guess was an attempt to scare me. But then the old man got a good look at me and his eyes went wide in terror and he fled. I felt very put out. I mean; what the heck! It's not like I piss streams of fire or anything. This day was just not going well. I could only imagine what breakfast would be like. Oh, Anna would have a royal fit. I finished my business and left to find the dinning area so I could get this over with just as quickly as possible. If I wasn't going to fight back, I might as well just let her hang me now.

The sounds of fighting eventually led me to Yoh and the others, well, I should say, the sound of Anna having found out that I was roaming about somewhere in her house allowed me to track them from one end of the residence to the other. I stood just around the corner for a minute enjoying the havoc my presence was creating. Anna was hysterical and, if I were being honest, she made some very good points arguing against me. Yes, I had tried to wipe Yoh off the face of the planet, and yes I'd tried to kill his friends, and I suppose I had fed a few spirits to my own just to upset him. Yoh's only defense seemed to be that I was his brother, as if that, even being the only thing in my favor, could hold it's own as a valid reason for not heading off to the execution block. Even Horo whispered those words in Yoh's defense. "Well, he is his brother. Family's important." Unfortunately their defense was weak to begin with and they only lost confidence in it every time they repeated it in the face of Anna's valid case against me. Even I was beginning to doubt that my being here was a good idea. Maybe I had nothing to offer Yoh that he wouldn't be better off without. I knew it wasn't right to profess my love for him and then be selfish about it. Maybe the profession itself was selfish. But now I had no choice because I told myself I had made a commitment and I was determined not to go back on my word.

"Well isn't it nice to be the center of attention." I said, announcing my presence as I stepped into the room. Yoh and Horo fell silent but Anna was another story.

"You! Get out of my house! I know exactly what you're up to. This is some sort of plot to get to Yoh. Well I won't let it happen. You just get out right now!"

I raised an eyebrow. "That's kind of harsh, Lady Anna." I said, feigning hurt over it. "I suppose it's true." I added, with a grin. "But probably not in the way you think." I don't think she liked the look that I was giving her. I know that a lesser man would have keeled over by now under the look that she was giving me. "Besides," I added gently "I'm a guest of Yoh's. I've been invited to breakfast. Are you really going to throw me out?"

Oh, I wish I had a camera. Anna was fuming and it was so funny, but I knew she would cave. I had won. "Fine." she said, spitting the word out at me. "I won't have my meals disrupted by you. Sit." And she began to pass plates around the table, first to Horo and then Yoh and finally to me where I had chose to sit next to my brother.

"Thank you, Anna." Yoh said quietly as she took her seat.

From my brother's right, Horo spoke up, trying to ease the tension I suppose. It was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. "So hey, are we still goin' ta visit Ren's place after breakfast?"

Yoh grinned back at the Ainu. "Sure thing. Manta said he'd stop buy and then we can all go."

"You're hiding something." Anna said levelly, staring across the table at me.

I brought my attention back from my brother to address her, swallowing another slice of bacon. "Of course I am. Isn't everyone? We all have our "dirty little secrets" after all."

Anna shook her head. "Not Yoh." she stated with conviction. "Yoh is honest. You might have trouble understanding that, but Yoh and I don't hide things from eachother."

"Oh?" I questioned, smiling back at her. I was entirely wrong in the assumption that I wouldn't enjoy this.

Yoh was fiddling with his food nervously. And of course, nothing gets by Lady Anna.

"Tell him, Yoh." she ordered. "Tell him we don't keep secrets."

"Well, you see Anna," Yoh mumbled, swallowing. I looked over to him in mild shock. He wasn't actually going to tell her, was he? "the thing is… I mean, it's not like it was a secret or anything. It just…didn't come up."

"What didn't come up?" Anna prompted with a warning tone.

"You see…Hao, he spent the night. And he's been coming around lately. We've been…getting closer."

"Getting closer?"

I didn't like that tone in her voice. It sent off little warning bells in my head. But I figured it couldn't get much worse, right? I mean, that was pretty much the extent of what he'd tell her, so, there was only one more little outburst left when she said she didn't like the sound of it and left it at that. Nothing to worry about.

"Yea." Yoh confirmed. "I figure its cause we're twins, you know? I feel…whole…when he's around. And…it's nice when he kisses me. It feels good."

… My brother is an idiot.

As predicted, Anna was … not happy.

"He what!"

"You didn't have to tell her that." I pointed out, leaning over to speak with my brother.

"Well, I might not have, if you hadn't set the bait like that." he returned.

"Well, just because the bait's there doesn't mean you have to take it." I reasoned back. "You're not a fish."

Anna apparently, was too disgusted to speak to me now, as she turned her wrath on Horohoro, the only innocent one at the table. Horo, I noticed, seemed to be quite interested in the conversation, following it from person to person with rapt attention. Isn't it nice that we can be his entertainment.

"Don't you have anything to say!" she demanded and Horo looked to her with that confused look of his that he's probably had patented by now.

"Not really." he answered. And you could tell it was the honest truth and he couldn't for the life of him see why he was being called to question. "I promised Pirika that if it didn't work out for her with her current boyfriend and things don't work out for me that I'd marry her and have seven kids."

I think it's safe to say everyone was stunned.

Anna recovered first, of course, but then…she had this new look on her face. I might have said I felt a chill but I wrote it off as paranoia.

"I knew you were up to something." she said, turning to me like she'd just discovered some national secret. "That's it, isn't it? You're doing this to wipe out the Asakura line!"

Yoh's head jerked toward me, his eyes widened in a horrible look of hurt and I know my own eyes widen back at him as what she's saying finally dawns on me.

"If you're with Yoh there'll be no more Asakura descendants." Anna goes on, standing now and pointing at me. "You're doing this just to halt the blood line! So there'll be no one left to oppose you the next time you reincarnate!"

Yoh shakes his head slowly but I know he's considering the possibility; he's starting to believe it, because, yea, that would be a damn good reason, so I do the only thing I can. I take a stand to defend myself.

"That's not true!" I shout back at her before I can properly compose myself. After a deep breath I continue. "Look, Lady Anna, you overestimate me." I say, finally able to grin calmly in her face. "My reasonings are far more selfish than that. I just want to be happy. But hey," I go on (and looking back, this is the point where I should have stopped, right here, but I was getting cocky now, talking back to miss high-and-mighty) "if it's so important for you to have an Asakura descendant, then come on, let's go. Shouldn't take more than 15 minutes, right?"

Out of the corner of my eye, it seemed Yoh's face had gone white and Anna…Anna looked positively disgusted. Horo seemed to be choking on something.

"I hope that you don't honestly think that I would ever…in my life…touch you! Not if you were the last thing on the face of this planet! Not to mention that I am affianced to Yoh." she added, indicating my brother, who still looked a bit pale.

"What? It has to be Yoh? Fine!" I shouted, flailing my arms. "Just get it over with so we can all get on with our lives and be happy! He never wanted to marry you to begin with!"

"Wait…" Yoh's voice interrupted my tirade momentarily and I looked down at him to find my brother did not look pleased. "Did you just sell me out for sex?"

"What?" I could not believe this. "That's not what I meant…"

Anna looked to Horo again, turning her glare on him. "Is there some reason you look like you're enjoying this?" she demanded and it seemed Horo could no longer hold it in as he literally fell off the chair laughing. We all stared down at the Ainu, rolling on the floor in a hysterical fit of laughter.

"This is priceless!" he managed, still clutching himself as he barked with laugher. I frowned.

That was when the doorbell rang. Yoh got up hesitantly to answer it, leaving Anna and I in a rather awkward state, standing there staring at the idiot on the floor who seemed to be having a good laugh at our expense…or at least at my expense, anyway.

This was…definitely not going as I'd pictured it. I decided that it had probably been when I'd mentioned descendants that it had gotten out of hand. Really, I was only trying to solve the problem and get it out of the way. I suppose I'd thought if I didn't mind her having her descendant, she'd have nothing left to bitch about. Yes, there was definitely an error in that thought. To Anna, I'm the bad guy…no matter what. Not that I can blame her…

Yoh returned to the room with Manta a moment later. He said hi to everyone, he said hi to me. I waved back, wishing I hadn't gotten out of bed this morning. Horo picked himself up off the floor to greet him cheerily. Things seemed to move around me from there.

Yoh told Anna that quote "we should get going" and she told me she would be quote "calling the elders about you".

Manta asked if I was going too.

"Going where?" I asked.

"To visit Ren." he answered and I could remember that Horo had mentioned something about that.

I looked to Yoh. I didn't know if he even wanted me around at this point, I could very well have set myself back to square one with this incident, but he just shook his head and said "Let's just forget this ever happened and start over, ok?"

I nodded gratefully.

And then Horohoro opened his big mouth. "Yea, couldn't get that hole much deeper anyway." he said, grinning insanely and nudging me in the arm with his elbow.

I glared back, looking from my violated arm to him. "Do that again and I'll feed you to my spirit." He backed off after that.

I did not feel bad about leaving Lady Anna with less than a wonderful opinion of me. I also was not the least bit concerned with her threat of sicking the elders on me. What were they gonna do, shake their walking sticks at me? I did, however, resolve to carefully guard every single word that came out of my mouth for the remainder of the day. I think that I may have flirted with Ren a bit when I was trying to seduce him with power during the tournament and I would like for Yoh not to have that to dwell on along with all the other reasons for hating me that I've given him today. That "hole", as Horo put it, really could get a lot deeper if I wasn't careful.

And last night had been so nice, too.


Post whatevers: Well, there it is. Chapter 3. I'm assuming if you're still reading you must like it ok, so please review. I was hoping to have the next chapter finished before I updated this one, but alas, it is not. Chapter 4: Ren's appartment! Oh, and before I forget, I know that Anna is very meticulous about what they eat and bacon is not exactly something she'd go for but I assume that after a while they'd have her worn down at least a little in some areas. Maybe they eat whatever Yoh wants once a month or something. Lucky Hao, he dropped in on bacon day!