Title: A Foolish Offering
Author: lunchy (Jezebel Parks)
Pairing: Tao Ren / Xu Pin-Mei (oc)
Fandom: Shaman King
Theme: #3 jolt!
Disclaimer: Shaman King is copyright Hiroyuki Takei and Viz media. Pin-Mei was created by the author, lunchy/Jezebel Parks.
Canon: Between chaptrs 286 and 287 of the Kang Zeng Bang edition of the manga
Other Notes: This is one of those "what if" oneshots concerning if Pin-Mei had been with Ren during events of the manga/anime.

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Pin-Mei stirred as she heard some movement by the window. Slowly, she opened her eyes and pushed away the long pieces of her black hair that had gotten in her face. She looked up, the sight of Ren sitting on the windowsill coming into focus. He was gazing at the sky, searching the stars for answers to guide him. She watched him for a few moments, a small blush on her face, before slowly getting up and walking over to him. He didn't even turn to her.

"I know you're there, so you can stop sneaking around," he said sharply.

She froze, then laughed nervously. "Haha...I should have known better than to try such a thing on you."

"Do it again and I'll mistake you for an enemy. You won't be laughing then." He still hadn't looked at her.

She smiled weakly to herself, resisting the urge to drape herself over him, knowing that it would most likely mean her death. "Lord Ren...Shouldn't you get some sleep for tomorrow's fight? It's important, isn't it? I mean...you and Yoh and everyone else are going to try to defeat Hao, aren't you?"

"No. We WILL defeat Hao. There's no 'try' about it," he replied coldly. She still hadn't seen his eyes.

"I-I see...Sorry if you thought I was doubting you."

"Whether or not you doubt me doesn't matter. I have enough confidence in myself to make up for any doubts anyone has about me."

She hesitated. "Does it still bother you that you're...you're not the strongest?"

"No, because I've changed that. I have no more doubts in my mind, especially when it comes to killing Hao. I won't regret taking his life." She mumbled something, and he finally turned his head. "What?"

"I...I asked if there was anything I could do to help." She looked up at him, her face red. "I know that compared to you, I'm almost as weak as a regular human, but if there's anything I can do to be of use to you, please tell me and I'll do it."

He studied her for a moment, then smirked. Not being able contain himself, he threw his head back and laughed. She shifted uncomfortably as the noise echoed throughout the room. A call from HoroHoro telling him to shut up could be heard before the laughter subsided. He looked at her again, the smirk still on his face.

"Help me?" he repeated. She nodded slowly. "You don't even have one tenth of my strength and you want to help me? You're even more pathetic than I thought."

"That's true...but still...I'll do anything you ask me to. I know that you think I'm just some stupid girl your mother brought over, but still, I want to help."

"And what could you possibly do?"

"I...I..." She stared at her feet, clutching her navy blue nightgown. She inhaled and looked up at him. "My furyoku. I'll give every last drop of furyoku I have to you so that you can use it in the battle any way you choose."

He stared at her, seemingly surprised that she would suggest such a thing, then his smirk returned and he scoffed at her. "And how would you give it to me, exactly?"

She bit her lip and looked at her feet again. "...Through our mouths?"

He laughed again. "You're a scheming brat, aren't you?"

"No, that's honestly the only way I know how to transfer furyoku," she whispered. She fell to her knees. "I'm not strong like you are. I'm scared. I don't want to die. I don't want you to die. I couldn't fight with a mind this clouded even if I were strong enough. That's why I want you to take what little power I have and use it for yourself."

Ren sighed and rolled his eyes. "You are without a doubt one of the most foolish people I've ever known." She looked up at him with pleading eyes. "Fine, if it means you'll leave me alone, then fine."

He got off the windowsill and grabbed her chin, holding it in place in case she suddenly changed her mind and flailed. He had told Yoh that he would take any power offered to him, and this girl, whatever she was to him, was no different. As he slowly lowered his lips to hers, he stopped.

"How do you know I won't take more than just your furyoku?" he taunted with flashing yellow eyes.

He could see horror fill her eyes for a moment, then it faded and she smiled. "I told you, I'll help you any way I can...If taking my life helps you, then I'm honored."

He stared at her. That hadn't been what he meant. What a naïve girl. He sneered, then slowly leaned down until their lips connected, allowing the transfer to begin.

She closed her eyes, and Ren could feel the warmth of her energy beginning to enter his body. He could also feel how warm her cheeks were. Unfortunately for her, there was hardly any emotional attachment that came with this kiss, and he wasn't going to be shy about reminding her when this was over and done with. She had offered herself to him and he had accepted. It was that simple. A small part of him dreaded seeing her after the battle, knowing that she would probably believe that he had accepted any feelings she seemed to have for him.

His thoughts were interrupted after he noticed her body becoming limp. When the warmth stopped coming, he laid her on the ground. She had passed out; the fate of one too inexperienced at using furyoku. His gaze fell on her modest body, one that, at thirteen, screamed that she was still just a child. If he had contemplated taking her, the pleasures would have been fleeting at most.

He made his way to his bed, but then looked back and pitied the foolish girl. He picked her up and set her back on her futon, throwing the covers over her carelessly. As he went to stand, he was tugged down by her hand on his pajamas. Her closed eyes told him that she was still asleep, but the rest of her body didn't seem to notice.

"...Love you..." she murmured before letting go of the silk top.

He blinked at her, his face getting slightly hot, then went to the futon on the other side of the room. His muscles were aching minimally at the sudden intake of furyoku, and he rubbed them a few times before getting under the covers. He looked at her one last time before closing his eyes.

Foolish girl.