Title: Awaken the Demon

Pairings: HoroRen, YohAnna RyuLyserg

Summary: Nobody is supposed to be able to come back from the dead, Jeanne's magic or not. And yet Ren did just that. Now something's awake and it is in no way pleased.

Warnings: Yaoi, graphic imagery, violence, implications of rape.

AN: I know I should definitely not be starting a new story with all the other stories I'm in the middle of, but I just couldn't help it. Honestly. Oh, and I'm kind of merging what happened in the manga with what happened in the anime. Just so you know.

Disclaimer: I don't own Shaman King or the characters.

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Chapter #1: Bad Dreams

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Ren felt strangely larger than himself. Almost as if he was taller, broader, not quite able to fully contain himself in a normal human body anymore. And why should he have to? Especially when human bodies were so very frail. Delicate almost.

Breakable.

Walking amongst the carnage of the streets, Ren looked around himself at the pain and suffering, corpses littering the sidewalks and screams of terror resounding through the air, and felt only a deep sense of satisfaction.

This. This was how things were supposed to be.

Pain. Death. Destruction. Terror. Every dark fantasy rolled into one and then some.

And with him at the top of the heap. As it should be.

All those years wasted. Spent asleep and contained beyond the boundaries of the mortal plane. All thanks to those fucking useless shamans.

Well he'd showed them.

A large man with a ridiculous pompadour screaming in agony as knife after knife entered his body, pinning him to the floor, blood running in rivulets from his mouth and wounds into the cracks in the concrete. Eyes begging desperately for escape, for release, as he is left in the abandoned warehouse to bleed to a slow death.

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Brown hair matted to his head by blood still oozing from the gaping wound in his skull, brain matter and bits of bone splattered against the wall behind him, the normally dazed boy stares sightlessly into the distance. Far, far, too far gone for any help to reach him now. One blow had really been too merciful for that one.

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Black eyes once filled with love now fill with horror and a deep, deep, betrayal, wrists and ankles bleeding from his useless attempts to escape the handcuffs, naked body baring both long, oozing, wounds from the knife and dark bruises from the beating. He had been shown his place and then broken. Bones snapped in one quick motion.

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Ren smiled wickedly as he remembered, the memories flashing past his eyes. Oh yes, those had been fun.

He could still feel the satisfaction he had felt as he had first broken that stupid Ainu's spine to paralyze him from the waist down, then used him until the idiot was no longer fun and snapped his neck. Only the best death for the one who loved him after all.

Loved him. Ren laughed at the very thought. Love was such a stupid emotion.

Amusement at the concept staying with him for the next city block, Ren came to a gradual stop in front of a collapsed apartment building and frowned mildly at the wreckage. He could sense a single human soul trapped in there, most likely stuck under a fallen rafter with only the dead for company. The fire burning a few blocks down wouldn't reach this far into the city and the individual would probably survive the rest of the carnage by virtue of simply being stuck. Well he couldn't have that.

Picking his way through the rubble, Ren threw aside huge blocks of concrete with a careless ease, eventually uncovering a girl, maybe 13 at most, who looked up at him as if was God in human form. Considering the small form for a moment, a slow smile grew across Ren's face and he reached down to help the girl out. And she began to scream-------

Ren snapped awake with a gasp. Golden eyes wide, he stared at the canopy of his bed for a long moment as his breathing slowly settled back into a more normal rhythm.

Sitting up slowly, Ren carefully tried to push the imagery his mind had conjured up back to the recesses of his subconscious.

Another dream. That was what number out of how many?

And, fuck, but compared to the others that had actually been a good one. He'd only tortured a stranger and felt that awful satisfaction and remembered bare snippets of the torture of his friends. Other dreams had been focused solely on the torture and death and humiliations he had barely remembered in passing in that dream. Ryu's terrified and confused eyes as Ren personally cut out his tongue then shoved knife after knife into the man's body to pin him to the floor and enjoyed every minute of it. Yoh's pleas to reconsider, to think about what he was doing, before Ren carelessly smashed a lead pipe into his closest friend's skull and laughed as the hard bone easily gave way.

Horohoro's screams as Ren . . . he couldn't even think it.

Ren had no idea what the fuck was going on with his subconscious to inspire these kinds of nightmares, but he wanted it to stop. They were making him wonder what kind of person he was that he could even envision doing those terrible things. Even when he was younger and so jaded and wanted to destroy everyone and everything he'd never even once entertained the thought of torture or . . . that other thing. And he'd definitely decided that he would never kill again. So what the hell was going on?

He'd been having these nightmares off and on ever since the Shaman Tournament had basically been forestalled, but then seemed to have increased in frequency in the past few months. Nothing seemed to have started them. He'd had no unusually traumatic occurrences happen in the three years since the tournament. In fact, his life had actually settled into a sort of boring routine. He, frankly, had absolutely no clue why the dreams continued to bother him.

There was, of course, that belief that any dream that repeated itself often was usually prophetic in some way. Ren really, seriously, did not want to even entertain that as an option. Because, if his dreams were prophetic, not only would he kill everyone he had ever cared about even slightly in passing, but he would also essentially bring about the true End of the World. Not a happy thought.

And what he did to Horohoro . . . The boy was an idiot, but even he didn't deserve that. The torture Ren put the others through in his dreams was nothing compared to what he'd done to Horohoro. It hadn't even been just that thing. It had been so much worse.

And why his dream self kept referring to Horohoro as if he were an old lover was anybody's guess. Because while Ren admittedly liked the idiot a lot more than he logically should, and while he had long since realized that he was gay, Horohoro would just never be his type. Even if there was a strange sort of draw to those happy, carefree types.

Either way, Jun didn't and would never know about these nightmares. If she knew then she'd only want to inform somebody. Get him some sort of help. And Ren didn't need help from anybody. They were just dreams. Bad dreams, but just dreams.

That was all.

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"Master, a letter has come for you," one of the many nameless servants told him later that afternoon as Ren was passing through the entranceway with Jun. Stopping briefly to acknowledge the servant, Ren nodded and held out a hand. A letter was placed there and Ren glanced at it somewhat curiously. He typically didn't get a lot of mail. Usually, if any, it was from Yoh or occasionally Horohoro, both of whom he'd kept in contact with. Yoh because Ren kind of, sort of, liked the guy. Horohoro because the stupid Ainu had not allowed him to return to China without a promise to keep in touch and Ren had found the other boy's persistence strangely endearing instead of just plain annoying.

The two were likely his two closest friends nowadays because he was home schooled and really only had Bason, Jun, and Pailong for company. He didn't talk to the rest of his family, as they were strange and rather evil. His father had talked to the family ancestors and decided that the Taos needed to change their ways, but no one so far really seemed to be listening to him beyond giving up the contract killing and torturing. And they only did that because they absolutely had to under threat of death.

Ren really hated his family.

"Who's it from?" Jun asked curiously, trying to sneak a peek at the address.

Turning the envelope over in his hands, Ren read the scrawled Japanese return address. "It's from Yoh," he replied and quickly opened up the letter itself to read the contents.

Inside was a short letter, compared to Yoh's usual at least, and it basically boiled down to: Yoh's having a Shaman Tournament reunion and he wanted Ren to come. He told this to Jun and she just nodded.

"You should go," she said.

Ren looked at her. "I'm busy," he replied.

Jun looked vaguely amused. "No you're not. You can put off training for a few days. I think this would be good for you."

Ren looked dubious, but inwardly wondered if maybe his older sister knew more about his dreams than she let on. "Good for me," he simply repeated.

"Yes. Good for you." Jun frowned here, seeming as if she was undecided about saying something. "You've been acting really strangely lately," she finally said.

Ren frowned. He had been sure he'd been acting exactly the same as usual. He'd been almost neurotically careful about it. Then again, Jun had always been rather perceptive. "Strangely?" he asked as mildly as possible.

Jun nodded, looking vaguely worried as she thought about his apparent strange behavior. "Yeah," she said, "You snap at people for the littlest things and then can't remember anything about the incident minutes later. You stare off into nothing with this blank look on your face for ages before snapping back to the present as if you hadn't even paused. You haven't been sleeping. You're training even more than usual and you should see yourself when you do your kata. It's like you're possessed." Now she looked at him, her worry clear on her face. "I've told you all this before."

Ren blinked. "You have?" He certainly never remembered that. He actually didn't remember any of her examples except the not sleeping part.

"Yes!" Jun said with some obvious frustration. "You seem to just forget our conversations completely and that's just not like you."

Ren frowned and, looking down at the floor, had to agree. That wasn't like him. And Jun had never been a liar. At least not to him and especially not when it was serious. "You think I've been training too hard?" he asked just to make clear what she really thought. Ren, personally, didn't believe it was possible to train too hard or too much, but Jun wasn't quite of the same mind.

"You must be," she replied. "What other reason could there possibly be?"

Which was true. What other reason could there possibly be?

Still frowning at the floor, Ren thought about this. He actually really wouldn't mind going to the reunion. It would be nice to see Yoh again at the very least and if he went he could find out for certain if the Ainu's constant bragging about his new tricks was in any way earned. Ren looked back up at Jun who had been watching him with her own frown. "Would Father even allow it?"

"He does encourage your ties to Yoh," Jun answered. "Being close to a shaman as powerful as him is not a bad investment." She didn't say anything about the fact that their father actually seemed to like Yoh as a person. Logically they both knew their father had changed, that he was trying to be a better person and leader, but to them he was still the cruel man who had punished them and taught them to hate. It was a little difficult to really see their father as anything but, especially after the way he had treated them.

Letting all of that go unsaid, Ren conceded the point. "True." He thought for a second more then said, "Then I suppose I should go." He shot Jun a wry glance. "It's not like you would let me say otherwise, after all."

Jun smiled. "Too true."

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One week later Ren was boarding his family's private jet alone. Settling into his seat, he looked out the small plane window and tried to ignore the deep sense of foreboding that kept trying to get his attention. Something about this trip was playing hell with his instincts and he couldn't quite help the thought that maybe going to Japan was a huge, colossal mistake in the making.

Unable to figure out what the problem could possibly be though, Ren forcibly shoved these doubts to the back of his mind and focused on watching the clouds outside the window.

That was probably mistake number 2. He wouldn't discover mistake number 1 until it was far too late.

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TBC