Summary: Yoh's version o need and the end of the one shots. I might write them again, but for the time being I'm retiering from it. Hope you enjoy it
Disclaimer: I don't own the shaman king, plot or characters.
"Here comes the sun hmmm…here comes the sun and I say…it's alright"
I hummed softly, slicing the green onions before grabbing the carrot. As the music started in my head I flicked the carrot in the air, catching it upside down and grinning widely. It was just a week ago Manta introduced me to this new group. Beatles…Manta said they were some sort of insects. The way he said it I had thought they made insects sing. Sadly Manta corrected himself and said those people called themselves Beatles, which was an insect. Maybe it was a trend in their time to have an insect name. I thought it was cool. Maybe I could name my band Oranges. Or Funga Fufu; Orange yum yum. Why not? Wasn't there a group who called themselves red hot chilly peppers? I remember Ren singing their song once. So this must be the decade the bands named themselves after food.
Besides I can practically imagine the crowd going wild, yelling my name and Funga fufu loudly as me and my band finish one of our songs…maybe a Bob love remix! I should ask Ren, Horo Horo, Chocolove and Lyserg to be in my band. I'm sure Manta would love to be our manager. I mean who wouldn't love to be part of a band with such a cool name?
Instantly I felt my smile flatter as I let out an almost audible sigh.
Of course, Anna might pressure me to name it Funbury Onsen…or Apple Inn. Anna, to put it simply, has no tastes. But even if I swallow the heart of a dragon I'll never be able to say that to her face. She just doesn't listens to reasons. Like she didn't when she made me that battle outfit.
Making it was cute. I'm not denying that. Its one of the things that makes Anna so cute. Doing stuff or someone and never owning up to it. True the outfit did match my headphones, but then they were my headphones.
And that had proved Anna just didn't have any originality. She'd want to name it apples because that girl likes apple too much. Maybe because of Awaya Ringo.
Speaking of which, I better do something about that CD. Anna has been acting weird lately and I think that has something to do with it. I've been there. Listening to Bob Love too much made me feel weird too. It was like I was looking at the world through his eyes. I even started thinking about making a shrine for him in my room! Thankfully Manta caught me thinking about it (Apparently I was thinking aloud) and introduced me to Beatles. Fortunately Anna never noticed. Surprising isn't it? Anna not noticing something. But that's why she was acting so weird. And I blame Awaya Ringo. Anna has been singing the apple song way too much.
Before when she did I didn't mind much. I found it scary but…then who wouldn't when your fiancée kept roaming around the house singing, "Its not leaving…I hate…it's you. I never want to see your face. I never want to talk to you. But that can never be because I have a grudge on you". That practically promised more torture in the future! I wouldn't even have time to think about an easy life least of all my cool band!
This brings us to another problem.
I have no idea if she'd even allow me to have a band. It might interfere with her plan to own a hot spring inn. But we could always leave someone else in charge while on tours! Maybe I should talk to her about it…
"Little darling, mmhmmmhmmm"
I winced a bit, lowering my voice again. Why you ask? Simple. Anna was sitting right behind me, waiting for dinner to get ready. I frowned a bit. It wasn't like I had super powers. If I did, then she could expect me to snap my finger and have the food ready.
"Huh?" I blinked taking off my headphones for a bit and looking over my shoulder, "What did you say Anna?" Was I thinking aloud again? Or did she over heard my singing?
Anna looked back impassive as ever, sitting on a chair with arms propped on the table supporting her chin, "Nothing. Just stop fooling around and hurry up."
'Guess not…' I thought with a sigh, looking at Anna unimpressed. That girl was…unbelievable. That's the only word I can think of describing my fiancée. It was the exact typical reply you can expect from her. But still she could TRY to be nice. Can't a guy even listen to a song while doing chores SHE should have been doing in the first place?
I'm not a sexist. But at home mom and Tamao always cooked. They always told me, well mom and grandpa always told me to stay out of the kitchen and go train. Being in the kitchen was a woman's job. I never gave much thought to such a thing when they said it. But apparently Anna doesn't think so. Apparently? Who am I kidding…
I turned back to chopping the carrots before depositing it and the spring onions in the pot. As I was adding salt my eyes caught a small white apparatus leaning behind the corn flour pack. I smiled. I had caught Anna once making dinner by herself, tasting it with that. In spite of her glares, she looked really cute when handling the cooking.
So maybe sometimes Anna does think she also has a place in the kitchen. This is fine with me. Knowing how much you have to do in the kitchen I started feeling sorry for Tamao and Mum having to cook all the time. Getting a break sometimes is fun. And a relief. I don't think I'd feel fine having Anna near the stove 24/7 anyway. (A/N: Aww…)
God knows hearing the apple song again and again she might think of slow poisoning me. (A/N: Yeah, you guys can take your awws back too).
I stirred the soup once more before putting the lid on and wiping my hands with the apron turning about to Anna. I blinked. She was glaring and reaching out at something. Suddenly my eyes widened as I realized what it was.
"Hey what's this," I commented oh so innocently, snatching the paper before her fingers could reach it. Anna snatched her hand back and I pretended to not notice. I know for a fact that Anna has been trying to give me privacy lately. She knows Tamao hands out these notes to me every now and then. I don't know what she thinks they are. I don't even think she cares enough. But I'm glad she doesn't ask. If she ever found out I was asking TAMAO to help me find quick recipe packs and hide it where Anna would never even think of looking for it, I don't know what she'd do to me. How Tamao knew, I don't know. Maybe after being with Anna for a while she learned a thing or something about her. Or maybe she learned a lot of secret hiding spots after confiscating objects from Ponchi and Conchi without Anna knowing. You can expect anything and everything from those two.
In return, I was helping her be a bit more outspoken. Recently I caught Ponchi and Conchi trying to sabotage Horo Horo. A bit more investigation led me to finding out Tamao liked Horo Horo. I found it cute, so I decided to help out. It made me less guilty of asking Tamao to keep telling me places I could hide the packs, risking her life along with mine.
Suddenly a loud scraping noise startled me from my thoughts. I looked up as without a word Anna made her way to the porch.
I watched her silently for a while as she stood out wrapping her arms around herself. The least she could do was take her coat…
I frowned. Normally I was the one to forget these things…and Anna would just remind me by asking me to bring her HER coat.
To sum up her behavior, something was wrong.
I pocketed Tamao's note and walked idly towards her. Why not? It was the perfect time to give her a chance to tell me what was wrong. She wouldn't kill me. Seeing how that would just burn the soup without me to take care of it. Anna could do it herself. But why bother when you have a fiancé who could do it at one flick of a wrist? Or in her case, palm.
She crossed her arms and stared forward blankly as I came up to her. I stuffed my hands in my jeans pocket, staring out as well. It was one of the nights I would love to be with Amidamaru at the graveyard. Cool, dark and silent. The type when all my ghost friends would come and have a picnic. Not with actual foods, but with them you didn't really need food. They're used to not eating, so they know how to fill the awkward moments.
Unfortunately tonight I probably shouldn't even think about that. It might make me want to go, and Anna needed me.
It wasn't everyday she did. She doesn't say when she does either. It's just something you would know. I guess. At least Amidamaru must be having fun. He had gone off to walk Manta home. I wonder what was taking them so long (Read "what you don't know" to find out)…still…maybe it was better this way. Anna might feel it safe enough to tell me what was wrong.
Living with Anna for three years made me realize it's not always a good thing to ask her what was wrong. Sure she would tell me in her no nonsense way what was wrong if I did. Anna wasn't dramatic. One of the things I loved-I mean appreciated, about her. And then she was which made me lo-APPRECIATE her more. She of course doesn't need to know that.
"What do you want?" she asked, making me blink back to reality, "Aren't you supposed to make the soup?"
I smiled, still staring at the sky. It would rain soon.
"I have a few minutes till it's cooked,"
To anyone else, it would seem like Anna wanted to be alone. I guess she did. I'm not a mind reader. But I just didn't felt like going. It was a beautiful night, and gray clouds were covering it quickly. Hiding the few stars that manage to glint brightly while being so far away. Stars were truly magnificent. Burning anyone to the touch, yet filling a person gazing at them in bliss. No one could ever tire it. No wonder Hao loves them so much. Speaking of which, I wonder what he must be doing right now…
A cool breeze passed us just then, ruffling our hair gently. I smiled glancing at the trees. Their canopies swung lightly against the wind, almost like waving it goodbye. I bit back a chuckle. Who knows, maybe it was? Nature was alive, I always felt like it was more mysterious than what we gave it credit for.
I exhaled softly, my grin fading to a small smile as I continued to watch the trees waving at each other and the wind, and the stars gleaming atop them. Watching this sometimes I couldn't help but wonder if humans would really destroy all of this.
Once upon a time long ago, men might not even have imagined so few trees would be left in the areas where they'd make their homes. Many shamans were terrified of this. Not only because like Horo Horo their spirit friends were linked to nature and its source, but also it was something bound to us. Like a part of us.
A shaman is a link between the world of the living and the dead. Even when people die, they don't really part for us. We always see them, or know we would see them one day. Just like I knew I would see Matamune one day again. And I knew I would save Hao one day as well.
Sometimes I'd wonder if time was everlasting for shamans. I guess not. We do lose our loved ones. But mostly by our own choice. We can always bring them back. Anna could bring them back from heaven or hell or anywhere in the world. Yet it's wrong. Not when it's done for important reasons, but for our own pleasure.
None of us knew what the shaman tournament had held for us. Whether our opponent would be ruthless or merciful, stronger or weaker. I had already promised Anna I would make her Shaman Queen. Would she, if I ended up dying, bring me back from death and make me her guardian spirit?
I felt a shudder run up my spine at that. There was no telling with Anna. The way she made me train everyday showed how much she worked and loved to get her way. If you count lying all day bossing us around frightening us to hell and beating us to a pulp work. I thought I'd get a break as soon as I earned the title. Guess I would when I marry her, giving her the title of the Shaman Queen. I'm still not crossing fingers.
Suddenly I felt a pair of onyx eyes zoning over me. I felt my body tensing as I tried to relax. But when Anna looks at you silently, you know something bad is about to happen. Was it just me or is she acting like she can read my thoughts…? Oh my god is she starting to read other people's heart again?!
Just then, while I was panicking away and thinking of an escape comment or sincere apology for my thoughts, my ears picked up a small sigh, and instantly my focus narrowed in on her. What did that sigh meant? That wasn't Anna type sigh. The only time I heard it was the last night at En, before we spent the night together.
I blinked as images of that night started flashing though my senses. Just as heat started crawling across my cheeks, I turned my attention back to the sky. The clouds were approaching fast. I could almost smell the sweet sent of rain from the breeze. I smiled slightly, feeling my body relax as I remembered creeping into the house late at night, hoping Anna was asleep.
I bit back a laugh. I knew I was late. The inn seemed creepier knowing Anna could be behind any corner ready to murder me. At that time of course, it was no laughing matter. Not that I didn't felt guilty. It just took so long to cheer Manta up. And I didn't want to leave him to himself. I had been there, and the feeling isn't something you'd eagerly look to. Besides, Tamao and Anna had each other at home to keep them company. I had spent some time earlier with Anna, I didn't thought she'd need my company much. And Tamao barely talked. Always blushing and stuttering, I felt and still do, keeping away from her was kinder than staying near. I never know what to say to her anyway. And I've known her longer than I've known Anna. Supposedly. If you can call knowing a certain pink haired little girl gawking at you, blushing and stuttering at every odd end knowing.
I know I'm making Anna sound like Hitler. Who no doubt would scream bloody murder if he had ever met my fiancée, but still. Anna isn't really that cruel. She does things for the best. And is able to do things for the best not everyone feels up to. Like the night I had crept into En inn, hoping she was asleep.
The truth was, despite keeping Manta company; I didn't want to face Anna. The night before when she had seemed upset and been…weird for me. I had felt strange. I had tried not to show it, but for once I felt like Anna wasn't sure of what she was doing, and that thought was unsettling. As much as it was calming…because I wasn't sure either.
Our grandparents had arranged our marriage. It was their wish to see me Shaman King. And their wish to have Anna see me through. With her you'd know she would make you break your own bones if it meant it would get you exactly where you had intended to be. But that time while we stood at the lake, listening to her remind me of my duty to her, it had felt like she was asking me to convince her.
I hadn't mind. Anna had always been stronger, forced herself to seem stronger than she really was. But I knew something between us would change that night. Just like it had the day I left Aomori and she had sneaked into the train to talk to me. I wonder if Grandmother Kino ever found out. Knowing her she might have. But then I doubt she said anything of it. I had been afraid of that change. It made me feel like I would be subjected to more expectations. And not pleasing Anna is the last thing anyone would want to do. Now though, it isn't so bad. At least not as bad as I thought it would be anyway.
I smiled, remembering the first time I laid my eyes on the blond Itako. I had felt my whole body freeze stiff. And somehow I knew it wasn't due to the cold.
Suddenly I felt someone move beside me, pulling me out to reality again. I turned a bit, watching her walk back to the inn silently. I had hoped she would tell me what was wrong…Grandmother Kino had said it would take time for her to open up. I can give her all the time she needs, but-
Anna stopped on the entrance, turning about and smiling at me. I lowered my eye lids as she spoke, forcing her voice to sound softer and more cheerful I suppose. Instead it seemed more hollow and empty.
"You should come inside, it's getting cold."
I didn't bother saying anything. I didn't even bother thinking of a comment. I didn't pay much attention to what she had said; her manner had captivated my conscious self. Anna was never one for pretenses. Not when it came to forcing herself to build a thicker wall. She never let herself break, not when she could compose herself so well. With her it wasn't I had tried. She always gave it her all.
And at that moment she expected me to buy her smile? I didn't mind Anna not showing any display of emotion. Maybe sometimes I did wish she wouldn't get so angry and violent, but I never really minded that side either. Not until I saw this. She didn't seem like my fiancée. It seemed like she was guarding herself…from me…?
I watched her smile falter down, her eyes brightening slightly as she switched to glaring at me.
"What are you waiting for?" she snapped, "I don't have all day."
I smiled, relaxing a bit as I watched her emerging back to her self again. Or at least the self I had known and gotten used to. Which reminds me, I should get my weights in before they rust. It was definitely going to rain. And Anna might make me buy new ones with my allowance if I didn't get to them in time.
"You go on ahead. I think it's about to rain and I need to collect my weights before they rust." I said, clasping my hands behind my head. She went in without another word, and after watching her disappear in the kitchen, I set off to find my weights.
I had only reached the shed when rain suddenly decided to pour down on me. I sighed, leaning down to find my weights. I was already wet and I didn't want to turn on the switch with soaked fingers. If I got electrocuted Anna would kill me.
It took me five minutes to find the weights. Thankfully they were under a box, so they weren't going to rust anytime soon. Still I didn't want to leave them there. Picking them up, I grimaced at the torture instruments. Good thing Anna hadn't thought of making me run carrying all of them AND a new set of weights yet. I don't think my arms could handle that. Yet anyway.
By the time I entered the inn, placing the weights carefully in the coat closet, I felt like I just came out of the bath, with my clothes on.
Anna was glaring at me. Probably because of the puddle I was creating on the floor. I smiled back, greeting her sheepishly.
"Sorry Anna, I-"
"Sit down." She said shortly, turning back to the stove. I blinked but did as I was told. Making her mad was the last thing I wanted at the moment. Or any moment. But mostly this moment.
Why? Because I was a little bit too preoccupied, trying to warm myself. The cold was catching up to me. And if Anna saw me shivering like an idiot she'd kill me. Or yell at me to go change anyway. Which I wanted to. Badly. A hot shower and change of clothes did a guy good. Unfortunately since it was raining, I couldn't expect any hot shower. And my legs and arms felt too numb to do anything but tremble for chill.
I snapped back to attention when Anna placed a mug before me, making me momentarily forget about my bones slowly turning into icicles.
"Drink." she ordered before grabbing a blanket. I couldn't help but blink again, carefully staring at the cup and trying not to freak out. Why? Because I think I was imagining Anna wrapping a very invitingly warm blanket around me. Visions like these are never a good sign.
Asakura Yoh the rain has done SEVERE damage to your brain.
…or maybe Awaya Ringo had finally convinced Anna to kill you…
I gulped, looking at the coffee mug. It SEEMED ok…for now. Anna wouldn't REALLY kill me…she needed me to become the shaman king didn't she? Heheh…yeah…she wouldn't kill me now…
…except I was already the Shaman King…but she still needed to marry me to become the shaman queen!
Maybe this was some sort of potion for me to do all her bidding without complaining? Well that wouldn't be so bad…it was better than poison.
…speaking of which, if she didn't intend to kill me now, she might, seeing I wasn't moving to drink…whatever she had placed before me. It SMELT like chocolate…but I would contemplate on that later.
"Ah...Anna..?" I began nervously, trying to steady my voice a bit, "I can't exactly...move..."
I don't know what I expected her to do. All I knew was that I was trying VERY hard to not sound like I was complaining. That was always bad. Really bad…But really, there was only so much you could do when you were wrapped too tightly.
"Shut up." Anna snapped, "Unless you want the drink all over yourself."
Shutting up was good.
I pressed my lips tightly, trying not to scream bloody murder as Anna quickly wrapped a towel around my head. It wasn't like I minded Anna fussing around me. Ok so maybe fussing around is not a right word. With Anna in the same sentence it sounds down right wrong. Let me rephrase myself.
It wasn't like I minded WHAT she was doing, but still this was ANNA. My fiancée Anna. The girl whose first words to me were "You're blocking my way, go and die."
You can't find a girl like that wrapping a towel around your head without having a certain eerie feeling she was up to something!
Like I said, Anna was in fact, a very caring person. But not the type who enjoyed showing it. Despite my belief, everything will turn out for the better, when it comes to Anna, everyone had to be alert. She was evil. Plain, horror evil.
I felt her moving away from me (to my relief) and sitting across me. Her eyes were a bit clouded as she grabbed the mug in front of me. Probably deep in thought. I fidgeted a bit, wandering what to do, when I realized the mug was inching towards me.
I looked at her in surprise as she inched the mug close to my lips, as though she did this everyday. It was then I realized how fast my heart was beating.
Instantly all doubts and suspicions of what she might be up to slipped out of my mind, and I smiled. Anna was so cute.
Immediately I regretted thinking that. It was like deija vu. Like the time she had heard me thinking she was cute at the train. Those were the hardest slaps I had ever received, besides the first one of course. That had seriously hurt.
I watched her turn red, (did I mention deija vu? The train was the only time I saw her actually blushing like this), before giving me a ferocious glare. I gulped sinking back against the chair. Kami have mercy! I didn't mean it! I won't do it again!
"What are you staring at? Drink it already!"
I jumped before quickly gulping down a few mouthfuls as quickly as possible. Inside, I couldn't help but grin. Anna didn't kill me! This meant she didn't read my thoughts. I stole a glance at her and relaxed. Anna was lost in thought again. Something was definitely up, but for once maybe it wasn't bad…
I slowed down watching her without trying to make it obvious. She had a smug smile on her lips. Not apparent but enough for someone to take note. I stifled a chuckle. If Anna knew I'd noticed her expression she would have my head for dinner. Still…something in me couldn't help but pur in delight and melt at the same time. I never had this kind of attention from her before. It felt…nice…
My eyes widened all of a sudden as I realized I had stopped gulping down the liquid. It really was just hot chocolate. Who would have thought…but that was beside the point…
"AN-ANNA!!" I managed to yelp as the steaming hot liquid trailed down my chin.
Anna stiffened before quickly setting the mug aside, glaring at me as though it was my fault, "You would get that again the next time you stay in the storm that long."
I winced, "Yes Anna…" I murmured faintly, feeling a bit sour. At least I wasn't cold anymore…
To my surprise, Anna pulled her bandanna and suddenly leant VERY close, dabbing my chin with the cool cloth.
I tried not to stare, suddenly finding it very hard to think let alone breath. It wasn't like I hadn't been close to Anna like this before…but the last time that was she was glaring at me for even suggesting I could handle my own training. And at that time I was too preoccupied with her glare to notice the distance.
Ok, so maybe there was that...night. But it wasn't too bright then. And I don't want Anna to think…well…
I tried looking away, ANYWHERE but at her. I don't know what her reaction would be to see my reaction of having her so close. And I wasn't eager to find out.
"Now hold still." She ordered. I sighed inaudible, doing as was told. As you can guess, I can never say no to her…but then tell me the name of someone who can. Even Hao couldn't!
She got up and stepped behind me again, un-wrapping the towel from my head and rubbing it against my hair.
I felt myself relaxing again. The familiar warm feeling spreading across my chest was trying to make me smile again. I bit my lips, biting back a sigh. If I get this treatment every time I come home soaking wet, I'd want it to rain everyday! Being the Shaman King, that was no hard task. But Anna might get suspicious. For her age, she has always been unusually sharp.
Subconsciously, I moved my shoulders into a more comfortable position. Something started sliding of my arm and I froze. The blanket was coming undone. And Anna's vigorous massage was not helping.
As though reading my thoughts Anna stopped and sighed. Her hand reached out from behind me for the blanket and I stilled. Not daring myself to even breathe. Time seemed to have slowed down as her cool skin rested up against my neck. I wanted to close my eyes and forget about anything else. You remember the days when you lie down on a hot summer's day with a refreshing cool drink against your cheek?
Having Anna's hand rest lightly against my neck felt like that. The delicious and refreshing feeling was slowly starting to make me dizzy. Before I could stop myself, I had a sudden urge to pull her closer. Imagining her chin coming to rest on my shoulder as her arms wrapped around me, sucking in all the heat and soreness from my skin…Woah hold on a second! I felt my heart skip several beats as a sharp sensation ripped through my nerves. I shook my head slightly to get back to reality. These kind of thoughts were not gonna land me an easy life. At that moment, Anna took her hand away. I almost groaned out loud. Stupid stupid Yoh!
As I was cursing myself for my idiocy, Anna had taken hold of the cup, walking over to the sink.
I watched her pouring the contents down, her other hand lying limply by her side. I blinked and watched my fiance quietly. It wasn't like Anna didn't think. But she never did any thinking that made her so…lost. If something was bothering her that much, she would at least let me know…right?
For once, I couldn't really answer myself. If something was wrong, a minor thing, Anna would let me know about it. But then Anna never was troubled. About anything. Not so often anyway. The times I remembered she was I was able to coax her into telling me. Or not even having to do anything much for her to tell me. The only time I did was when I asked her out for a walk in the park, giving her a chance to let it out.
Then she had done the same when we were ten on new years eve, watching Bob Love and Awaya Ringo. And then there was that night. But I hadn't given that much thought to it. Now that I was, I realized that I always felt, she would come around to tell me.
It had been a few days now and she still hadn't told me anything. Now, it seemed like she was letting it swallow her up. I didn't like that. We had gone through too much for her to start closing herself up again.
At that moment, Anna blinked, looking down at the sink. I lowered my eyelids, studying her reaction.
There was no need to say anything. There was usually no need to say anything. Especially not when it concerned Anna. Everything was always either completely hidden, or badly out in the open. To me at least. Both of us never had to ask the other what was wrong without partially knowing it.
This time as well, I didn't need to ask. I didn't ask when she placed a bowl of soup in front of me, muttering something I for once didn't bother paying attention to. My focus was onthe fact that she didn't look at me. Anna always looked at me.
"I don't want you to catch a cold before your fifty mile lap"
I blinked, but kept my mouth shut. Something in me was frustrated. And by her reaction, I figured she could tell at least that much.
Anna was avoiding me.
Anna never avoided me.
Not since we first met after I had killed her Oh-Oni.
"I'm going to bed." She said, her voice seemed strange, but it was too soft for me to be sure.
Without even waiting for me to reply, she went off to her bedroom.
It was Amidamaru who got me up. He wouldn't really tell me what was wrong, but then I guess he didn't need to. Whenever there was something wrong and Amidamaru was lost for words, the problem included Anna.
It had been only a couple of minutes since I came to my room. I had only just gotten into bed, and something told me I won't be getting any sleep that night.
Brushing away that thought, I gave him a reassuring smile, thanking him for waking me up.
Amidamaru just nodded, before disappearing back to his tablet.
After Anna had left for bed, I stayed in the kitchen, not feeling up to eating much. Maybe it was the hot chocolate. Probably it was hot chocolate.
I hadn't felt sleepy either, so I took my time dumping the soup back in the pot, cleaning the dishes and getting ready for bed. En seemed strangely eerie then. But somehow it was different than my last night.
I found her in the kitchen.
"I want to make a reservation for one to Hong Kong under the name Kyouyama Anna."
And my feet automatically froze.
"When's the next flight?"
She wanted to leave?
There wasn't much to think about. It felt like a natural…instinctive thing to do. Like when you blink when someone suddenly starts to crash their fist to your face only to stop inches from touching you. Or like when you answer something after they asked a question without thinking much about it. There was no room for regrets. No room for second thoughts. There didn't need to be.
She stiffened when I moved closer, my finger slipping down the phone.
"Sorry to cut off your line like that." I said blankly, breaking the silence.
She didn't reply for a while. She didn't even turn to look at me. I didn't care about that. I should have, but all I could think about was how if she was unhappy here, the least I deserved was a through talk about it. To know if I could fix anything and know what was wrong. Maybe cutting off the line like that was uncalled for. But so was making such call in the middle of the night, without letting me know anything about it. I don't know what's wrong.
But Anna was trying to run away from me.
Anna never ran away from anything.
"Get me a carton of milk."
I bit back a sigh, and complied.
Ok, so maybe I am feeling a bit guilty for what I just did. Even If I didn't exactly regret it.
I moved to the fridge to get the carton of milk, completely aware of her every action behind me. How? To be honest I'm not completely sure. I guess it started when I entered Yohmei's cave. Sometime in those seven days I got used to feeling everything moving or not with my furyoku. It was already partially used to it with Amidamaru acting like the eyes behind my back, but I managed to train it without giving it much thought.
I wasn't really surprised when she tried to swing that pan at me. For a second I even thought it was some sort of surprised training. But when I grabbed it and saw her reaction, something in me sank a bit. I wasn't used to seeing Anna like that. I didn't want to get used to it.
"I'll warm the milk for both of us." I spoke softly; keeping my eyes leveled with her's before gently tugging the pan from her grasp. It wasn't hard to figure out she didn't know what was going on herself. I know that doesn't make sense. How can a person not know why they were doing what they were? But somehow, when it comes to her, one would believe anything. Everything she does has a reason. Sometimes crude, sometimes hidden, but it always catches you off guard. Anna hates being vulnerable. And that was exactly what she was being then. I don't know what was going on in her head. But that was not the time to ask or talk about it. I had to give her time to tell me herself.
I had turned back to the stove when I felt her shift towards the phone again. I couldn't see her face.
I turned to her. I had never acted like this. I have never treated Anna like this. And I doubt anyone has. But then she hasn't ever done something so recklessly either.
I watched something spark in her eyes as she stared at the cord. I knew what was coming.
I didn't blink as she turned to me, her eyes instantly widened for a second as she stumbled back. Despite all the anger I felt, I couldn't help but smile a bit. Who would have thought I'd actually catch Anna off guard.
I guess it was the tension in the room that had my consciousness in full grasp though. My muscles weren't tense in anger. But I couldn't make myself smile for more than a second. My mind didn't thought it was much of a big deal. Not enough to not say anything anyway. But what was there to say?
I could get angry. Demand what was wrong, what she had been doing, why she had made that call. And no doubt if this had happened before the shaman tournament, I would have. But the tournament had taught me a hard lesson. Losing your cool never helped anyone. And at the moment, I didn't want Anna more upset than she already was.
"Why don't you sit down Anna? I'll be done in just a minute." I said calmly.
I guess that was the wrong thing to say.
I felt a pang in my chest as her eyebrows knitted incredulously. Her hot breath fell on my face, making me suddenly realize how close we were standing. I looked at her, unable to move. I didn't have time to react to the sudden realization. Now that I think about it, I don't think I could have. Just as the fact we were standing too close hit me, so did the expression on Anna's face. I remember that face. It had been like that the first time I realized she could read people's minds. The first time I had actually grabbed her shoulders, demanding how she knew what I was thinking.
The first time I got slapped.
I closed my eyes as a sharp burning sensation ripped across my cheek. We both stood still, not knowing how much time had passed. We just, couldn't move.
Then, a small whisper struck me cold.
I felt myself turning to face her, but she was already making her way out of the kitchen. I didn't follow her, choosing to just stare like an idiot at nothing. I didn't know what to do. I was not used to this Anna. It's not like I hadn't seen this side of her before. But that was when the Oh-Oni had broken her spirit. I don't know how long I stayed standing there, or when I started to move.
I went over to the sink and turned the tap on full force. Splashing some cold water on my face seemed to help slightly. I had been right. I wasn't going to get any sleep that night.
Time seemed to pass achingly slow that night. I would either go to move to the living room, not daring to turn the TV on for the silence was somehow comforting. Or I would go back to the kitchen.
It was no surprise I was afraid to go back to sleep. Sometime after Anna had left, Amidamaru came and told me she had fallen asleep. But for some reason that didn't set me at ease. I assured him I'd go to my room in a while and he didn't argue much. Maybe because he could sense what I was-
What was I sensing? I couldn't really explain it. I still can't explain it. It could be stress. But at that time I wasn't in the state of mind to figure it out. It made me feel uncomfortable. Like when you sit in silence, your jaw aching and a soft throbbing in your head keeps you from thinking positive. That feeling kept me away from my room. And when I saw her at the stairs again, on my way back to the living room, clutching her duffle bag. I'm glad I didn't force myself.
I could taste something bitter in my mouth. Her eyes were swollen and red as if she had spent the night crying. I'd be lying if I say I haven't seen her cry before. But she does make you forget quickly that she is capable of doing it.
I could only watch as she came downstairs, unable to say a word. She didn't wait for it.
I felt heat rush back to my veins as she made her way past me, and suddenly, I found the strength to speak up.
"Where are you going?"
"None of your business!" she snapped.
I narrowed my eyes.
"Actually, it kind of is."
My hand reached out and snatched her bag before I could control my temper. My other automatically grabbing her wrist as she tried to swing it at me.
Her eyes widened, and I swung the bag over my shoulder. By then I had managed to gain control over my temper again.
There was silence once more as my heart started quickening its pace slightly. But I didn't move, choosing to just watch in silence for her next move.
She didn't do anything for a while, staring at her hand in quiet disbelief. There were a lot of things I expected her to do at that moment. I almost expected her to burst into tears. I expected her to get angry again, I guess by that time there hadn't been anything I didn't expected her to do.
…Except what she actually did.
"Break the engagement."
I blinked, "What?"
She looked up at me slowly, her eyes for the first time seemed almost blank and exhausted.
"I'm breaking the engagement. I'm an idiot to do it…"
I could only stand and stare as she went on to saying God knew what. I felt like it wasn't registering well in my brain. And somehow it felt like she knew it too, because she kept repeating herself, as though she was reciting a mantra. She was wasting her time. A strange buzz was drowning everything from my hearing. I don't know when it started. I can't even recall when it stopped. At that moment, it felt like it had always been there.
I stood stiffly, almost helplessly as her lips moved. She was looking at me blankly as though she was staring at a book, reading out loud from it.
I stood stock still as her eyes started to moist, and something she said finally registered with the lone tear trailing down her cheek, "I need to go away. I need to stop thinking about you."
I took a step closer as she continued to ramble on, placing the bag by our feet. She didn't seem to be too conscious of what was happening as I pulled her close, burying my face against her hair and closing my eyes.
I blocked out everything she was saying. Almost everything. It was just the few words she kept repeating that seemed to attach themselves on my brain.
"I need to get away."
It was near dawn when I tucked Anna back in her futon. That night must have been the longest I ever had. I couldn't make myself fall asleep, so I waited by her side, content on watching her sleep.
It wasn't the first time I was watching her sleep. There was that time when she had collapsed losing all her energy to Oh-oni, and of course when we spent the night together. This time though, it felt different. Maybe because this time she wasn't resting her head on my shoulder or I wasn't lying next to her. I still can't think of any other reason, no matter how ridiculous this one sounds.
Amidamaru came a few times, but since I didn't had the strength to talk, he'd float in place before disappearing to wherever he wanted.
Finally, the sun rose. And I left Anna in her room, returning to the kitchen to take care of things.
"I thought you'd be up by now," I smiled, walking in the room while carrying the tray cautiously. I saw her gaze landing on the tray as I set it down. Maybe I over did it, but seeing as we both hadn't eaten anything the other night, I was sure she must have felt as hungry as I was.
"I thought we could have breakfast together since I felt weird eating alone." I said casually, grabbing a sandwich and biting into it hungrily. She didn't move. Unfortunately due to my hunger, (Hey, a guy gotta eat!) I noticed that after I wolfed down a couple more.
I swallowed and grinned at her. She was back to glaring again. That was good.
"I love you too."
Her eyes widened a bit as she stared.
"I said I got milk too," I said casually, smiling once again as innocently as I could. Before she could catch on I hurried quickly, "I figured you couldn't be that hungry, so if you drink this I can whip something up for you later."
I tried not to let my smile stretch wider as she lowered her eyelids at me, before turning to slit.
I gulped, feeling it suddenly starting to get very hot. Maybe her glaring was…not so good.
"And I placed all your clothes back in your closet"
That seemed to be the wrong thing to say. Instantly I felt her glare intensify at my words, so I said the next stupid thing that came to my mind.
"I made vegetable soup!"
To my surprise and relief, she instantly blanked. Her eyes lightening up like a curious child's after throwing a rampage.
"Vegetable soup?" She inquired. I smiled at her tune but decided not to comment.
"Yeah! It should be still hot now, want me to go get it for you?" I went on eagerly.
"I can get it myself." She said stiffly, starting to get up.
"Okay." I said, trying not to sound too pleased with her decision, "I can't let you leave."
It was a good thing I expected her reaction to be somewhat like that, or the tray would have gone crashing down to the floor.
"What?" she asked, stopping dead on her track, turning to face me.
I blinked, hoping she wouldn't catch my lips curling slightly at the corner, "I said I'll get us some tea"
I forced a grin trying to not let my eye twitch in nervousness, "Sure it would be a new thing"
That had been lame. Fortunately, though still in some sense unfortunately, Anna seemed to have expected me to say something that lame. Yes I know, Ouch.
I followed her down, starting to hum that beatle's song again, signaling them that Anna was out of her room.
Now I know you're wondering who, what is this story suddenly turning to. This wasn't in Anna version of need.
(Yoh, stick to the story.)
And ignoring the bossyness of that tone I shall explain. Last night after umm…the incident, Anna fell asleep leaning against me. Now I'm the kind of guy who takes things lightly. But even Horo Horo would note the Itako drifting off to sleep like that isn't normal, no matter how tired she was, so after taking Anna to her room, I came back downstairs and had a talk with Amidamaru. He told me he saw Anna taking some pills, but nothing too serious.
I crept back into the room and found the box where Amidamaru had told me would be. Bringing them back to the kitchen, I found out they looked a lot like pills for headaches, except they didn't had the company logo on it. The black letters in the dark would be invisible to anyone. They were grandpa's sleeping pills.
It wasn't hard to figure out who could be behind this.
And a phone call cleared that.
Ponchi and Konchi had switched the pills in the first aid box so that Anna might sleep through their antics. They knew Anna had taken up the pills after the headache they caused her daily.
Needless to say, I hadn't felt that guilty telling grandpa about the switch. He would make sure to have them keep in mind how dangerous this could be.
Right about now Manta and Amidamaru were putting back Anna's pills in its place. I'd just had to make sure Anna wouldn't need to use them much again.
"Well?" I asked, trying not to lean forward.
Anna was sitting across me, having taken her first spoonful, "Its edible." She said shortly, taking another spoonful.
I grinned. Needless to say, Anna was adorable when she tried to hide she was pleased about something.
"He went to visit some friends," I replied smoothly, starting on my soup as well.
A while later, Anna was done eating, and I got up to clear the table.
"I'm going to my room."
I froze and turned about, "Anna wait."
She stopped on the steps, looking at me expectantly as I quickly rinsed off the bowl and set it on the counter.
"You don't want to go to your room."
That was all I could think of really. I know it was stupid. And I know it would get her suspicious. But what else could I do? I hadn't seen Manta or Amidamaru sneaking back down yet.
Good question. Think Asakura THINK!
I knew I didn't had much time, but panicing was not something I liked, so I said the next stupid thing that came to my mind.
"Because your favorite soap is on!"
"It doesn't start for another five hours"
"Its dinner time?"
"We just ate"
No actually THAT was brilliant. How did you managed to become the shaman king anyway?!
"Amidamaru is sick"
"Ghosts can't get sick."
That day just wasn't my lucky day.
"I haven't trained yet"
Oh yeah, after making your fiancée think you're a complete retard giving her an opening to legally murder you is genius!
"Then go train!"
There you go. Happy?
"But I need you to be here" Yoh exclaimed at last in frustration.
By the time she had asked that question, I felt whatever I could say next couldn't get any worse.
"Because," I began stepping closer, kneeling down and taking her hand.
…ok, now what?
She blinked, and I sighed…not out loud but still.
Since it couldn't get any more awkward, why not?
Catching her by surprise I gave her hand a sudden jerk, causing her to come crashing down to her feet.
Vaguely I realized that must have hurt, and I WOULD get punished for it. But staying awake the whole night does weird thing to a guy who loves to relax and sleep. The series of stupid answers should be proof of just that.
What did I do next?
"You kissed her." Keiko Asakura finished, hiding her smile behind her tea-cup.
Yoh cleared his throat, "Yeah…" he muttered, feeling heat starting to rise up his neck, "And then I…"
"Then he told me he needed me."
Yoh jerked stiff, afraid to look back.
Keiko placed her tea cup back to the table and smiled at her future daughter in law.
"Hello." Anna greeted, no trace of smile apparent on her lips, as usual.
"Ah…Anna…I was just-"
"Telling your mom what had happened that made us end up here." Anna finished for him as she took her own cup from Keiko, "Arigato. Why don't you inish telling her what happened next Yoh? I'm sure she would love to know how that episode ended."
"Heheh…" Yoh chuckled sheepishly, "Well…ah…that didn't really seemed important"
"Not important?" Anna murmured darkly, shooting Yoh a murderous look.
Keiko cleared her throat, pouring Yoh another cup which he quickly grabbed, gulping it down as slowly as possible.
"Now I doubt it wasn't important," Keiko began sweetly, smiling at Anna, "What did happen."
Anna gave her a blank look, "He fell asleep."
Yoh pulled back, smiling sheepishly at Anna, "I need you…"
Anna could only stare as within the next few seconds, Yoh's grin dropped into a peaceful smile before he fell on the floor with a loud thump.
There was silence in the room as Anna felt a familiar vain throbbing on her temple. Yoh decided it was best to look anywhere but at his fiancée.
Suddenly, before either could say anything more, Keiko started laughing.
Both watched silently as her fingers left her cup, and her arm coiled around her mid, trying not to fall down. Tears started prickling down her eyes and she continued to laugh.
Yoh and Anna looked at each other before turning back to look at Keiko. A small, bearly noticeable smiled placed on the itako's lips as a wider more grateful one lither fiancée's.
It had been a while since Keiko had laughed. Ever since the shaman tournament, the two bearly had a glimpse of her smile. The sound was welcoming to both.
Yoh: well you can't blame me for falling asleep. I was up the whole ni-
Anna: But you had to choose that moment, THAT moment to fall asleep!
Yoh: Bu-But I couldn't help that!
Anna: It was your fault!
Anna: And I didn't light up like a child when you mentioned vegetable soup.
Yoh: ...whatever you say Anna.
Nightglider: ANYWAY! Thankyou everyone for your wonderful reviews! I enjoyed writing these fics and I enjoyed reading your comments even more. I might start another series of one shots but that only depends on my mood. Until next time if ever. Bye!