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.
Disclaimer: I don't own Shaman King or the characters.
AN: I want to say thank you to the person who reviewed--AoiroFox, Thank you! It's nice to know somebody liked the first chapter and that it didn't completely suck. I just hope this one doesn't suck too. I like it though so I think it'll be okay even if it isn't very angsty yet. But the angst will come.
Chapter #2: Funibari Onsen
Horohoro bounded up to the door of the Funibari Onsen with a wide grin, duffel bag thrown casually over one shoulder. Ever since he had received his invitation he'd been excited about this reunion. He seriously couldn't wait to see everybody again. It had been way too long. Plus coming here had gotten him away from both Pilika's training regime and his parents all in one clean, legitimate swoop. For one week, he was free!
Grounding to a halt at the door before he could run into it, Horohoro tried to be mature and forced himself to calmly knock, but couldn't quite keep himself from a small, excited bounce. It took a second, but soon Ryu was opening the door and Horohoro felt his grin growing again.
"Dude! Hey!" he greeted enthusiastically.
Ryu, now twenty and looking it even if he did still have that ridiculous hairdo, smiled back and let him in. Seemed like the years may have finally matured the guy.
"Is Yoh in?" Horohoro asked as he followed behind the older man.
"The Chief's in the living room," Ryu answered, "but the Mistress told me to show you to your room before you get distracted."
That sounded okay so Horohoro nodded and kept following Ryu past the public areas of the Onsen and towards the back rooms. "Who else is here?" he asked curiously, wondering just who else had decided to come. He'd admittedly gotten there rather late, but he'd had to hitchhike down from Hokkaido alone again so he felt he was excused.
"Mostly everyone," Ryu said casually as they continued deeper into the Onsen, "Chocolove got here two days ago and Ren arrived last night." Of course then whatever maturity Ryu may have gained in the past three years went right out the window as the older man smiled, his expression melting into something sappy and really rather stupid looking as he continued, "Lyserg's been here for almost seven hours. He's even lovelier than he used to be!"
Amused, Horohoro shook his head. He'd never understood Ryu's crush on the British boy, but apparently it had lasted for the three years since Horohoro had last seen the two. It must be True Love.
Horohoro couldn't even think that without snickering.
"Here's your room," Ryu said, seeming to snap out of his lovesick daze long enough to indicate said room.
"Thanks, man." But then Horohoro looked back at the older man with a smirk and added with a somewhat sarcastic grace, "You can go back to Lyserg now. I'll see you in a bit."
"Thank you!" Ryu said enthusiastically and hurried off. Apparently he'd wanted to do that since the start.
Horohoro laughed again and then turned to his room, taking a second to take Kororo's tablet out of his duffel bag as he did so. Tablet in hand, he threw his bag into the corner of the room, content to indulge in some healthy procrastination in order to go find the others sooner. He could unpack later.
Tapping the tablet lightly, Horohoro called for his spirit friend. "Kororo?"
Materializing before him almost immediately, Kororo looked at him with a smile. "Kororo?" the little spirit asked.
Horohoro grinned back. "Yeah. We're here. Wanna go meet the guys again?"
"Roro!" Kororo answered and began to fly off only to pause at the door to see if he was coming.
Horohoro grinned again at the little spirit's obvious excitement and obligingly followed Kororo out the door. Arriving at the living room with little difficulty, Horohoro walked casually into the room and was about to call out a cheery greeting to everyone there when he happened to notice the boy leaning casually against the wall and felt all words leave him completely. Unable to stop himself from staring, Horohoro absently noticed that he had had the presence of mind to close his open mouth as his eyes went up and down the slim form. Was that Ren? He looked . . . good. More than good even.
In the three years since Horohoro had last seen him, Ren had apparently grown up some. All lean muscle and pale skin, all of it almost on display as the Chinese boy hadn't apparently grown out of his tendency toward rather revealing clothing (thank you, thank you, thank you, Horohoro's mind gibbered), Ren had gained at least a foot in height, but had kept the rather distinctive hairstyle and deceptively delicate air. And then Ren looked up, their eyes caught, and Horohoro was left trying to remember if the other boy's features had always been so fine or his eyes always so gold.
"Oh. You," Ren said blandly and Horohoro noticed absently that his voice had actually deepened. The other half of his concentration went into forming a coherent response and kicking his brain back into higher gear.
Succeeding somewhat, Horohoro found himself inexplicably walking over to the other boy as he put on a fake pout. Distantly, he noticed that Kororo had left him, finding her way over to the corner where all of the other spirits seemed to have gathered. "Yeah," he said, not paying his spirit's disappearance any mind. "Me. Didn't you miss me?"
"Like a brain tumor," Ren responded in that same bland voice. And wow. Horohoro hadn't thought it possible, but he had actually missed being insulted by this guy. The insults just weren't the same when written down on paper and not delivered in that low voice. Maybe there was something inherently wrong with him?
But Horohoro would worry about his apparent mental issues later. "Are you sure?" he asked as he came even closer. Clasping his hands cutely in front of his chin and putting on his most lovesick expression, eyes going large and dewy, Horohoro spoke in the sappiest voice he could muster as he leaned further into Ren's personal space. "Because I missed yoooouu."
Flinching away from him, a slight blush grew across Ren's face as the Chinese boy pushed him away and stuttered out an angry, "I – idiot."
Horohoro laughed and allowed himself to be pushed back. Smiling down at the smaller boy, he let the joke pass and said, "No, but seriously. How are you? You look good."
Ren smirked, some of that old arrogance shining through. "Of course I do. I always look good. You on the other hand." Ren looked him over, clearly unimpressed.
Horohoro snorted and rolled his eyes. Yep, that was Ren. Eye-candy now or not, he was still an asshole. "Hey. I don't care what you say. I know I look good." And he did. He'd certainly been told it often enough by random admirers. He was tall and lean, in great shape with great skin and good features and that's really all that people wanted nowadays. "Besides," he continued jokingly, "I was just being polite. You really look horrible. I think I see some flab on your stomach there. Might want to watch that." Horohoro poked a teasing finger at Ren's perfectly toned midsection, expecting his hand to be knocked away before he could even touch skin. When it wasn't Horohoro looked up at Ren's face with a mild frown to find Ren staring blankly at some point on the far side of the room. Looking over to see what Ren was staring at, Horohoro found nothing at all interesting that could have captured Ren's attention.
"Ren?" he called, trying to get his friend's attention as he waved a hand in front of Ren's face. Normally this would have gotten him an angry snarl and a swift swipe at his hand, but this time nothing happened. Strange.
"Ren?" he tried again, waving a hand even closer to Ren's nose, and when that was again ignored Horohoro started to feel a bit uneasy. "Hey! Ren!" he tried louder. And, with a long, slow blink, Ren finally seemed to come out of his daze, shaking his head gently and looking around his surroundings as if he had no idea where he was. Horohoro had never seen him so unguarded.
"Ren?" he tried cautiously and Ren finally turned his attention back to him with a frown.
"What?" he asked.
"Are you okay?" Horohoro asked, still cautious of the stinging reprimand he knew was coming.
And if he was waiting for the backlash of his concern he wasn't disappointed. Obviously irritated, Ren scowled. "Of course, I'm okay, you idiot. Why wouldn't I be?"
"It's just . . ." Horohoro said as he leaned back to study Ren's face, deliberately ignoring the insult. "I've never seen you zone out like that before."
And that only seemed to irritate Ren even further. "What are you talking about? I don't "zone out". Only empty-headed morons like you zone out."
This time Horohoro did twitch at being called both empty-headed and a moron in the same breath. "Then what are you calling what you just did?" Horohoro responded somewhat irritably, his slight unease beginning to disappear in the face of Ren acting so Ren-like again.
Scowling darkly, Ren narrowed his eyes at Horohoro furiously, but there seemed to be some confusion in there as well. Interesting. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Go annoy someone else already."
"Well alright," Horohoro said easily, more than willing to just brush the bit of strangeness aside and go talk to somebody in a better mood. "I think I'll go talk to Yoh then. See ya!" And with that Horohoro gave Ren one last cheery wave and was off to hunt down the host of the party. There seemed to be a cluster of people forming in the middle of the room and Horohoro would bet his left foot that that was where Yoh was seated.
He wasn't wrong.
This whole reunion thing was turning out to be even more irritating than Ren had expected it to be. Everybody was so happy to see him and didn't seem to care that all Ren really wanted was to be left alone. Why had he come again? Jun had told him again and again that he was training too hard and needed a break, which he hadn't understood at all. How was he training too hard? But despite the fact that Ren had clearly decided, and even needed, to know what had made Jun think he needed a break, he still never seemed to ask her. And then the week had passed and he was on the plane with a heavy sense of foreboding persistently hanging over his head.
Nearly a day later, he was here, in Japan again, watching all of his old friends mingle and chat and laugh, not a single care on any of their faces for once. Normally he would be content with this, even if it did break into his training time, but now . . .
He looked at them and he saw their faces as they were in his nightmares. The pain and horror and fear and desperate pleading as they attempted to reach a sense of compassion in him that could never be found. It was somewhat . . . disturbing to say the least to have the two images—one of now/reality and the other of then/dreams—overlap.
But he could easily push that aside. What was really bugging him was the way everybody kept asking him if he was okay. They claimed he kept "zoning out" on them, staring into space for long moments at a time for no particular reason. And he wasn't! Tao Ren had never "zoned out" in his life. That was a past time better left to the vacuous and lazy, both of which Ren wasn't.
And then Ryu, the idiot, had claimed Ren had completely bitten Lyserg's head off for taking the last of the rice at dinner. And Ren hadn't! He didn't remember that at all, but the whole table had backed Ryu up, saying they had clearly seen and heard him do it. But Ren had never in his life ever cared enough about food, especially about plain white rice, the most boring foodstuff known to man, to ever snap into the rage the other's had described just because somebody had beaten him to it. It just didn't make sense. It couldn't have happened and there was no reason he should have forgotten about it even if it had.
"Hey!" came Horohoro's voice, "So this is where you've run off to."
Seated cross-legged on the grass of the local cemetery, Ren blinked up at the night sky. What had he been thinking about? Oh. Right. He was irritated because everybody kept getting into his personal space and personal business. Didn't they know to leave well enough alone? If he wanted to share his life story he would.
"Hey," Horohoro said again as the other boy dropped into the space beside Ren on the grass. Tilting his head, he looked at Ren curiously. "Well you sure got out of there fast," he commented mildly, not quite hiding his clear amusement with Ren's escape.
Ren glanced at him, taking in the Ainu's stupidly handsome features—who had let that idiot grow to be that good-looking again?—but then looked back up at the stars as if he could care less that his private time had been interrupted. "They were bugging me."
"Well of course they were," Horohoro said, some mild censure now coloring his voice. "They're concerned. You did pretty much explode in there for no reason. And then you pretended you didn't even do it! You've either changed a lot in the last three years or you've gone completely insane. I know which one I'm voting for."
Ren blinked again at the stars and mentally rewound the tape as if that would give him any idea as to what the hell Horohoro was talking about.
Horohoro didn't seem to notice Ren's blank confusion as he just continued. "They were gonna send Yoh out here for you because they figured he'd probably be the best one to get you to talk, but Anna's being Anna and refusing to let him out of the house. Apparently Yoh did something stupid before we all got here and Anna's keeping him on a tight leash." Horohoro snorted. "She probably just didn't want him to get to the graveyard and get distracted. Or something. I don't pretend to know what's going on in that girl's mind. I wouldn't want to. Geez." Horohoro visibly shook himself to get himself back on topic. "But anyways. So they sent me out here in place of Yoh. Don't really know why as you're probably not gonna talk to me, but, well, who else are they gonna send? Ryu?" Horohoro seemed to laugh at the very thought.
And Ren understood all that. He did. But he had one question. "Horo?"
Horohoro seemed to remember where he was again and turned back to Ren. "Yeah?"
"Why are you here?" Ren asked point blank.
Horohoro blinked. "I thought I said. You're acting weird so people are worried."
Ren frowned, brows lowering in confusion as he stared at the Ainu. "What are you talking about?"
Horohoro blinked again, seeming confused by the question. "Um. You know. Your zoning out. Your complete freak out at dinner over rice of all things. Remember?"
"Don't be an even bigger idiot than you usually are," Ren said scornfully. "That never happened and I don't "zone out"."
Horohoro frowned and tilted his head again, seeming to be considering Ren as if he were something strange and bizarre never before seen in nature. "You're doing it again."
"Doing what?" Ren asked with a dark glare, starting to lose his patience with this conversation.
"Pretending you don't remember," Horohoro said simply.
"And just what am I supposed to be remembering?" Ren asked furiously. When was this idiot going to get to the point?
Hororhoro frowned again, seeming to be getting a little irritated himself. "I just told you. Your little freak out. Your new zoning habit."
Ren blinked and took a mental step back, completely confused. "What are you talking about?"
Now Horohoro was starting to get really frustrated. "I just told you. Remember? It happened at dinner."
"What happened at dinner?" Ren asked blankly.
"You freaked out," Horohoro said bluntly. "You bit Lyserg's head off over rice."
Ren frowned and tried to remember that happening. He couldn't do it. "No, I didn't," he said. Because he hadn't.
"Yes," Horohoro said, obviously more than frustrated now. "Yes, you did."
"No," Ren said slowly, as if talking to an idiot. "No, I didn't. I think I would remember something like that."
"Stop lying!" Horohoro cried, obviously unable to take it anymore. "You aren't even good at it! We saw you, you idiot! You did it right in front of our faces!"
Not liking the insult, Ren's face darkened and he glared at the Ainu furiously. "I don't even know what you're talking about," he snarled.
"I'm talking about your freak out!" Horohoro yelled, now having gotten to his feet to better vent his frustrations. "The one at dinner! What the hell is wrong with you?!"
Ren followed Horohoro's example and got to his feet. He didn't want to be at a disadvantage even if he still had no idea what the hell Horohoro was blabbering on about. "Nothing happened at dinner," he stated as calmly as possible when all he wanted to do was punch the idiot square in the face for daring to speak to him like this.
"Then what the hell do you call what you did to Lyserg?" Horohoro asked angrily.
Ren scowled, his expression darkening even further in confusion. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about the way you completely bit Lyserg's head off over rice!" Horohoro exclaimed. "He did nothing to you!"
"And I didn't do anything to him," Ren growled past clenched teeth.
"Dammit, Ren! Stop lying!" Horohoro screamed, clearly unable to take this anymore. Ren had no idea what had him so frustrated, but also really didn't like being called a liar. If Tao Ren was one thing it was not a liar.
"Say that again," Ren said coldly, menacingly, as he made a threatening step closer.
And Horohoro had never had the best self-preservation instincts to begin with, but when angry what little he did have clearly went right out the window because, upon hearing this, he leaned over to get right in Ren's face and repeated very clearly. "You're. Lying."
And that was when Ren attacked.