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Darkness Within

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Team Dairedo's only member/leader Nyorai bit her lower lip as the people of Team Ren, Team Funbari Onsen and their friends laughed and talked around her. She tried to keep a smile on her face and she giggled when needed, but something was distracting her. Ever since she was little she had the power to sense people's 'darkness' in their hearts. The weaker the 'darkness' the easier she could tune it out, but the stronger it is the harder it is for her to ignore it. For all the team's she had faced before their 'darkness' was weak but the one that was surrounding her was the strongest she had ever felt. She glanced up to the source who was laughing at Ren trying to strangle Horohoro.

Asakura Yoh.

From the way he interacted with his friends and the easy going smile on his face, Nyorai could see why no one noticed the 'darkness' curling around his heart, but she could sense it. She could see clearly what was eating at him and her stomach hurt at the pain that accompanied it. She needed to talk to him, but she barely knew him, but she needed to.

"Nyorai, want to take a walk?" The subject of her thoughts questioned her and she looked up startled at the smiling face of Yoh, but his eyes had a knowing look in them.

"Sure." Nyorai nodded and slipped out of the restaurant unnoticed by almost everyone. She felt Ren's golden eyes follow them out, but Ren made no move to follow them.

"They can get a little crazy when they are all together." Yoh laughed as the two walked down the silent street, taking a seat by one of the fountains.

"Yoh, I need to talk to you…" Nyorai started in a whisper in case Ren had changed his mind.

"Ren won't follow us, he has an idea of what you have on your mind." Yoh said like he knew what she was thinking.

"It's your darkness!" Nyorai blurted out, before she sat back her cheeks red.

"Go on." Yoh said breezily.

"Ever since I was little I could tell what someone's 'darkness' surrounding their hearts are… I've learned to tune out most of them, but with yours it was too strong…" Nyorai admitted slowly, not wanting to overstep any lines.

"That isn't your fault, I'm sorry for anything you may have had to experience." Yoh said sincerely.

"No, from what I gathered, none of what you are harboring is your fault!" Nyorai exclaimed, not wanting Yoh to feel about guiltily this.

"Tell me what you see." Yoh requested.

Nyorai swallowed hard but nodded her head. "You are angry at your family… You hate them for keeping the secret of your relationship between you and your twin brother from you. You hate them for expecting you to not question them on their orders to… Kill your own twin! You don't want to kill him; you know others can't so they are placing that burden on you just because of your last name… You hate yourself for agreeing with some of the views your twin has. You're terrified of what your friends might think if they knew, you're terrified that you will be left alone again…" Nyorai stopped as tears dripped down her cheeks and she was pulled into a hug.

"It's okay Nyorai, just let it out." Yoh stroked her hair and Nyorai let all her tears flow, tears for all the pain she had ever felt thanks to her gift/curse, tears for all those she had hurt and for all those who have strong 'darkness's' and most of all she cried for this kind boy holding her as he has the worse 'darkness' she had ever felt.

"I'm sorry Yoh!" Nyorai sniffed as her tears dried up and she wiped her face on the hem of her dress and didn't meet Yoh's eyes.

"You have nothing to be sorry for Nyorai, it's my fault for not hiding my 'darkness' better. I need you to forgot about all my pain, you need to forget about everyone's pain and you need to focus on yourself. You have your own life to live and you can't if you let yourself get affected by the 'darkness'. You have a gift that could be helpful to many people, you just need to learn how to use it." Yoh consoled her and she nodded.

"Since I'm out of the tournament, I think I may go to be a therapist or a social worker… With my gift I could do some real good there." Nyorai said slowly, a smile coming to her face of being able to help others.

"There you go! I know you will make a difference Nyorai, now why don't you go back to the others? Tell Ren I'll be back soon, I just want some time alone." Yoh gently nudged Nyorai who sniffed but nodded as she stood up.

"Why Ren?" Nyorai asked confused.

"You know from your fight, he knows about darkness and he's the only one other than you who can see through my mask. He doesn't pry but I know he worries about me." Yoh answered closing his eyes. "If you wouldn't tell anyone about this, I would be grateful."

"I won't speak a word, I promise!" Nyorai bowed before she waved slightly as she headed back towards the café, feeling lighter than she had in a while.

"Maybe Yoh has a gift as well." Nyorai mused as she entered the café with a smile on her face.

"My, my, who knew my otouto had such dark feelings?" A voice came from above Yoh's head. Yoh slowly opened his eyes and saw Hao sitting on the giant arm of the Spirit of Fire that was standing in front of him.

"What do you want?" Yoh asked, his voice flat.

"Do I need an excuse to visit my otouto?" Hao asked innocently.

"Cut the crap Hao, I'm not in the mood." Yoh stood up, brushing off his pants.

"Come with me Yoh." Hao said suddenly serious.

"Nope." Yoh said easily. "I don't want people getting the wrong idea's, it would give the X-laws more of a reason to destroy me."

"I heard what happened with Boris, you tried to save him." Hao said as he dropped down onto the ground next to his twin, the Spirit of Fire disappearing.

"In the end he saved me." Yoh said bitterly, still sore about the X-laws killing him.

"I'm glad he did, if those idiots banished you to the netherworld, I would have had to go in after you." Hao said, his eyes flashing at the mere idea.

"You would have?" Yoh turned to his twin surprised as the two started to walk down the street towards the forest absently.

"Of course, you're my twin brother." Hao said surprised that Yoh would think otherwise.

"If I was banished to the netherworld you won't be able to use me in your master plan is that it?" Yoh asked bitterly.

"No, I would have gone because you are my otouto." Hao assured him. "From what I heard Nyorai say about your 'darkness' it sounds like there are many things on your mind, all of which surround me in some way."

"Your point?" Yoh asked as the two stopped by a lake with a clear view of the King of Spirits.

"If I can relieve some of them from you, I will do so." Hao offered and Yoh glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.

"…You said we are the two halves of the same whole… What did you mean by that?" Yoh asked slowly as he sat down on the grass with his legs stretched out in front of him.

"That is a story that started 1,000 years ago… You should have seen everything if you read my Tome that is one of the reasons I let Anna take it to you." Hao said, his eyebrows furrowing together confused.

"I didn't see anything that would explain our connection…" Yoh said slowly and blinked taken back when Hao growled angrily.

"Damn Yohmei. Our beloved grandfather seems to have tampered with what you should have viewed when you read my Tome." Hao hissed, hands clenching.

"What did he hide?" Yoh asked intrigued.

"Our connection." Hao breathed out and snapped his fingers at a pile of twigs nearby and they burst into flames.

"Watch otouto." The flames formed an image and Yoh leaned closer.

The flames showed an image of Hao, a beautiful woman who Yoh assumed was Hao's mother and a little boy who had same appearance as Yoh himself.

"My mother and my twin brother." Hao answered the intake of air Yoh took while looking at the image with fondness.

Yoh watched the mini Hao and mini Yoh laughing and playing happily with their mother. Suddenly the image twisted and Yoh watched as humans came in the night and attacked the small house the three were living in, the image showed the mother being murdered and the mini Yoh jumping in the way of a sword, getting a gash across his chest in saving his brother. Mini Hao grabbed mini Yoh and ran having no choice but leaving his dead mother behind in the burning house.

Voices filtered out of the flames and Yoh blinked at his own voice speaking along side Hao's.

"Otouto! Hang on, you will be fine!" Mini Hao pressed his small shaking hands against the bleeding gash on mini Yoh's chest, his face full of panic.

"Nii-San, I want to stay with you forever. I don't want to leave you alone, I don't want to be alone!" Mini Yoh cried, tears trailing down his soot stained face. "I want to stay with you forever, please."

"You will, we'll be together forever Otouto. No matter the lifetime we will be together!" Mini Hao swore and a bright light emitted from mini Yoh's chest just as it stopped moving as mini Yoh died. Mini Hao cried shamelessly and watched as a transparent outline of his little brother float up out of mini Yoh's body, the ghost held out his hand and mini Hao took it and the ghost of his twin was absorbed into his body.

"We will never be alone again otouto, I promise." Mini Hao swore, fire glinting in his eyes.

The flames died out, leaving ashen twigs and Yoh sat back in shock.

"We were brothers even back then…" Yoh whispered, dropping his head to his chest.

"When I was born 500 years ago, I was not in the Asakura blood line so I was born alone, but I could feel my otouto's soul within me and we were never alone… This time we were born together and your soul went to its rightful body… I've felt alone and only half of what I should have been since that day…" Hao explained, silently moving closer to Yoh until their shoulders and thighs were touching as they sat.

"It only ever goes away when I am around you…" Hao admitted shyly.

"I think… Deep down I knew all of this… When I was young I used to have these dreams and I used to hear a voice talk to me whenever I felt alone… I told grandfather this when we started Shaman training… I'm not sure what happened next but the dreams and voice stopped and I've felt alone ever since… Except when I am around you." Yoh swallowed hard, eyes darting to the side to look at Hao.

"That old bastard." Hao hissed, eyes flashing.

"What?" Yoh asked confused before he yelped as Hao pushed him onto his back and yanked up his white shirt. "HAO!"

"Damn, that old man did it!" Hao hissed like an angered cat.

"Did what and will you put my shirt back?" Yoh asked, eyebrow twitching. Hao pulled the white shirt back down and helped Yoh back up to his sitting position.

"He put a seal on you otouto, it's slowly fading now. It was made for high-powered demons to seal their true natural powers within. Your true power and abilities are locked within you, the reason you had trouble with your training when you were younger was because of that damn seal. It's also the reason you have felt alone because it blocked out any and all connection with me and our shared past." Hao explained, hands clenching.

"…I can see him doing that." Yoh said quietly. "Training with him was torture and I hated every moment of it… How did you know about that?"

"You honestly think I didn't keep an eye on you?" Hao raised an eyebrow amused. "I was very close a couple of times of just coming and snatching you away."

"That would have been interesting." Yoh snickered as he gazed at the white pillar off in the distance. "Can you remove the seal?"

"Yes, it's not a complicated seal, not for me at least." Hao smirked while Yoh rolled his eyes.

"I will remove it under the condition that you tell me what is on your mind, we need to bring down that 'darkness' after all."

"I never wanted to fight in the tournament." Yoh started and Hao looked at his twin surprised.

"I never wanted to a be a shaman, it only brought me pain. I guess it faded when I met Anna and something inside of me just screamed at me to help her… Then I moved to Tokyo for the tournament and I met Manta and the others slowly and I didn't think being a shaman and fighting is so bad. I had friends, people who knew me and are willing to stand by me… Just when dad confirmed that you were my twin and then told me how I had to kill you in the end because all the Asakura's before me had too… I don't like fighting and I don't think I could ever kill someone and my family knows that. Yet they expect me to kill, out of everyone in the world, my own twin brother? They don't care about me at all." Yoh gave a hollow laugh as Hao took in his twin's words and feelings that went with those words.

"I don't know what to do, I understand and sometimes I share your sentiments about humans but I can't agree to the complete destruction you keep talking about…" Yoh shook his head and gasped as Hao wrapped his arms around his shoulders, the white cloak covering the two in a sort of double embrace. Hao rested his chin on Yoh's shoulder and pressed his cheek against Yoh who didn't move in fact the younger Asakura sighed in content.

"Have you been holding all this inside?" Hao asked concerned.

"Ren has an idea of what I'm holding back but he doesn't want to press." Yoh said softly, leaning into his brother's embrace. "If anyone knows what I really think, well…"

"I know otouto… I'm sorry it had to be this way." Hao sighed and the two brothers just sat there in silence, basking in the feeling of not being alone anymore.

"I should remove that seal now." Hao commented and Yoh nodded his consent, Hao placed his right hand on Yoh's right hip and the younger Asakura hissed out as a small burning sensation covered that area but it disappeared and it was like a dam broke inside his mind. His body was filled with mana and it was all his, memories from 1,000 years ago flew into his mind. Yoh curled up in a ball, head located on Hao's lap as Yoh's body shook as everything changed. Hao stroked his brother's hair gently as he waited the changes out.

"Nii-San?" Yoh's hoarse voice questioned, Hao looked down and smiled at Yoh's wide eyes.

"I'm glad you remember everything now otouto." Hao smiled happily.

"I do, but it doesn't change how I feel…" Yoh swallowed.

"I understand otouto, I'm just glad that seal is not harming you anymore." Hao said honestly.

"I should go back before they mount a search party…" Yoh commented.

"I suppose… I'll see you around otouto. We will work this out, I promise. Neither of us will have to be alone anymore." Hao promised as the two stood up and Yoh gave his brother a tentative hug before he jogged off back towards the café.

"One day soon otouto, we will be together again." Hao swore as he disappeared in a whirl of flames.