-Minor reedit- Standard disclaimer applies. If I own Shaman King, Ren would most definitely be with Horo!
Chapter 1: The Beginning

In Yoh's eyes, the only word to summarize today would be… weird. It all started when their teacher walked into the room with beaded eyes and was silent, looking at the door. Everyone tried to look at her direction, but she shushed them back to their seats and adjusted her skirt, trying to look as prim as possible. Yoh raised an eyebrow. Their history teacher was well known as a hater of procrastination, and when she came into class today for first period without saying anything connected to academics (or History for that matter), you know it definitely will be weirder than usual.

"Class, I am sorry I had to take some few minutes of my time, but, um, this is our new student from China, Tao Ren. Ren, please introduce yourself." A teen with purplish hair with a long spike at the end of his head slowly walked in and stood by the teacher, who was anxious looking. This boy was impeccably dressed; sling bag hanging from his shoulder, looking dazed a little.

Was he sleeping?

Yoh shrug that thought off. Instead, he looked at the Chinese and smiled a little as a friendly gesture to welcome the new student (and as gratitude of sorts because this indeed will be taking her time), but his eyes widened when the new student smirked. Yes, the new student smirked back instead of saying hello or anything. It was… in a word to describe it… weird?

It was certainly not an expected treatment from a new student. The teacher cringed a little, probably sensing the same expression emitting from her students, some looking bewildered while some just blinking of surprise (Yoh was one of them) but then she smiled again, and spoke in English (and wasting some more precious moments, he inwardly grinned). After all, English was the universal language…

"Ren, perhaps you are not familiar with the Japanese language, it's all right. You will have time to adapt. Well, pick a seat…"

Yoh looked at him warmly, although he had trouble understanding what the teacher was saying. Yeah, it had to be it. After all, which exchange student would not introduce themselves unless they do not know the language…right?

"I can speak very well, thank you." The new student replied calmly in Japanese, much to Yoh's chagrin, and surprise, that a Chinese student can speak a language not used in China at all, especially when it was Japanese and recalling how China and Japan were warring in the past, their History lesson yesterday. Before the teacher could find another excuse for him being unfriendly and all, the new student had begun to walk to the back of the class, rolling his eyes at each pair of eyes as he do.

He had chosen to sit beside Usui Horokeu.

Yoh turned behind him and gaped, rather unconsciously.

Today was not only weird; it was more than that; it was…

Strangely eerie.


Ren hated attention, and it was apparent when he first entered the new foreign room in the unfamiliar edifice called the office (for registration purposes), and then the other one which he has to call classroom from now on, as he followed some grumbling teacher who was commenting on her usage of time and whatever, he do not care. He knew the teacher probably felt threatened by him; after all, the Tao family was famous, and he bet she was probably biting her nails thinking about of her job if she mistreated him. When the teacher asked him to introduce himself, Ren was silently loathing it (accompanied with few sweat beads and few heart beats with speed of few thousand miles). He hated introductions, and what it will bring. After this, he will probably have to endure tons of students saying, "Hi, how are you?" and annoying stuff like that. He does not need sympathy.

Respect is the only thing he ever wanted…

Therefore, he picked the next best thing, which is to smirk.

Ren remembered someone saying before; 'Pretending to be someone you're not is a mask to protect the vulnerable insides.' Biting his lip for a moment on remembrance of that peculiar memory, he remained silent and focused on the wall at the back of the class as not to look at the strangers in school uniforms.

"Ren, perhaps you are not familiar with the Japanese language, it's all right. You will have time to adapt. Well, pick a seat…"

Another thing Ren hated about being foreign places was the underestimation, which was seemingly always happening all the time.

Jun was always better…

If he was not good in Japanese, he might as well go to remedial class instead of entering high school. Adults are just so… dense. This teacher is just like the headmaster. They are all underestimating and no common sense.

"I can speak very well, thank you." Ren spat back in Japanese, slightly clenching his teeth. He is not going to let anyone call him 'new and adapting student' or 'unfamiliar and lost kid'. The recurring gasps from the students were proof they got his point (or are they still dim witted, Ren could not care less). Not allowing the teacher to say another word, he scanned around for a place. The one person whom did not look back at him all this while during the loathsome introduction was sitting at the last place, a blue haired teen that was gazing at the window dreamily; not noticing what was happening in class at all.

Ren sat down, feeling rather calm. At least he will not feel like fish out of water here. A teen in front of him turned and gaped almost uncontrollably. Ren blinked.

"Did I do anything to infuriate you in any way? If not, please look back at front and leave me alone."

Great.

Somehow, it made something lightened up in the other teen's eyes, and he became more enthusiastic.

"I'm Asakura Yoh, nice to meet you!"

Darn.


Soon, the clock struck twelve, signaling it was interval. As everyone is leaving, Ren began organizing his stuff in his satchel. The teen beside him was still in a daze, and they had made obviously no communication at all throughout the first few periods. Ren felt pleased at himself as he decided that sitting at this place was the best choice.

No one cares about you… No one ever will…

Or so he thought.

"Horohoro-sempai!" A young girl ran in and stood in front of him, clutching something he deem is a bunch of flowers; except they look like weeds.

"You found the wrong person." Ren calmly replied, only for the teen beside him to turn back and look at him.

"She's calling me." Horohoro mumbled, slowly standing up. The girl shivered for a moment, confirming that it was Horohoro who the young girl was looking for and not Ren. She looked starry eyed at him while offering the weeds to him.

Ren looked at them and flushed. Of course, how could anybody give him anything?

You are nothing.

"Yes, Kitsu?"

"You… you say the ixoras I grew was pretty… and… and… this is the first buds; I'm giving them to you." Kitsu said slowly; face blushing. "I really… really… like you, Horohoro-sempai."

"I am sorry, but as you can see, I already have a boyfriend." Swooping up the still flushed Ren, Horohoro laid a hand around his waist and kissed him gently.

Before Ren could push him away, (it made him dizzy for a moment), Kitsu lowered her head, out of shock or sadness, no one was sure which one was king for the moment.

"I'm… I am so sorry, Horohoro-sempai. I will not disturb you again. Good bye!" After her last words, the girl ran out of the classroom, the ixoras strewn over the floor, making a pattern. At this time, Ren managed to regain composure and pushed his 'attacker' away roughly, staring at him with anger and fury (and embarrassment, his mind commented).

"Who the hell gives you the right?"

"It was only a favour." Horohoro replied, as if it was the most common thing in the world.


To those who do not know Tao Ren, their first impression would be that he is an arrogant brat, a cold icy prince of some sort, untouchable and somewhat regal and majestic, as proved earlier to the students of Class 3-A of Daidouji High School that day when he had oh-so-snobbishly smirked at them. He was impervious and cool, and mixes only to people deemed of the same rank as he was.

Unfortunately, Ren is also a very bad tempered person, not exactly someone to be messed around with when his solitary spike of hair begin to dangerously rise; and this blue haired teen, whatever his name is, not only had not noticed that physical difference; he had also made him furious to the max.

A fist landing to Horohoro's cheek was proof of his rage.


"Tao Ren, Usui Horokeu, I will not permit this kind of fighting in class! Tao Ren, it is only your first day here! I heard from your uncle that you were an excellent student back in China, how did this even happen?" Yes, the fight had gone rather wild, with them breaking some chairs in the process, due to Ren's volatile nature and Horohoro's spirit of not wanting to give up. A few teachers had to break them part to bring them individually to the headmaster's room, after which they sat down again, making sure both sides had cooled down before the headmaster proceed to even begin speaking.

Ren took a deep breath and tried his best to look as respectful as possible. "Headmaster, he was the one that infuriated me first."

"I only asked for a favour." Horohoro replied, in the same tone of serenity that Ren had just used moments before. Ren stared back at him in total disbelief. The headmaster, Mr. Ryu, grunted a little and sighed.

"Usui Horokeu, what can I say of you? Why can you not be a good student when you are in the good class? It is only two months into the new school term and you have made such a racket! Of course, considering your crime last year, I thought you will turn into a new leaf, but…"

"Are you done? If you want us to study, please excuse us." Before Mr. Ryu can say anything more (not that he can, since he was rudely interrupted few minutes before anyway), Horohoro had taken hold of Ren and dragged him out.

Tao Ren regretted sitting next to this guy who did not seem to care about anything; because it seems to be the start of his nightmare.

Or… is it not?

"Shut up."

"Who are you talking to?"