Disclaimer: I don't own Shaman King.

Wrote this originally for a Bleach paring during my ICT mock exam, but it works so much better for Horo and Ren.

Warning: Contains naked people running about and, to be honest, borderline crack.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It was the words Ren dreaded hearing. Every day, he'd spend hours trying to stay out of his friends' way, just so he wouldn't run straight into it.

He always did, in the end.

Eventually he'd come up against something tall and blue, and even as he tried to excuse himself Horo would do The Movement.

He'd stand up straighter, and stand so close that Ren was painfully reminded that yes, he did still only come up to Horo's shoulder. If that.

Then, Horo would ask The Question.

'Ren, how come you're so short?'

This never failed to ruin his day. He'd tried swearing, cursing, outright assault, even asking nicely, but Horo would only grin and do exactly the same thing the next day. And the next. And the next.

This time, though, he actually had an answer.

It had only taken him three weeks to come up with it.

So he waited patiently while Horo performed The Movement, and smiled through gritted teeth as The Question was asked.

Then, with all the wit and sarcasm he was able to muster with steam shooting out of his ears, Ren answered,

'I shrank in my last hot bath,'

Horo blinked once, slowly. Then again.

'Oh,'

It seemed so anticlimactically boring Ren nearly had to do a double-take. He would have done, if he wasn't above such petty things.

'Oh? Can that thick brain of yours only process one thought at a time?' Ren snapped. Unfortunately, in the time it took Ren to think up this remark, Horo had wandered off, and perhaps made and consumed a hot beverage.

Ren really, really needed to work on his one-liners.

He was lying on his bed trying to think up something suitably cutting to say the next morning when there was a pounding on his door. He thought at the building was on fire, or at the very least Manta had become lodged behind the fridge again and couldn't get out.

Instead, a dripping wet and conspicuously naked Horo burst in, upsetting the furniture and ruining what little good reputation Ren still clung to. Horo's expression was a mixture of amusement and good-natured dismay.

'Ren? Hey, Ren, you lied, it DOESN'T REALLY WORK!'