Embrace

Disclaimer: Mankin = Takei's property...=_=...if it were mine...Yoh-kun and Hao-sama would be happy brothers all day long...^^;; then again,

Mankin wouldn't be half as exciting without the twin rivalry, ne? ^^

Warnings: small bits of shounen-ai, OOCness, randomness, BAD writing skills (can't help that =_=;;;)

He paced, a little impatiently, by the shores of the beach, heedless of the moonlight-laden waves' eerie beauty. His mind was quite clearly elsewhere as he

raked his milky fingers through soft spikes of minty green hair in sheer frustration. In truth, he didn't really know why he was even here. To be here was a crime altogether;

and to be waiting for someone who was also conveniently the enemy - well, he could imagine that Marco wouldn't be terribly pleased with his little midnight rendezvous.

He bit his lip nervously, contemplating the situation. He had invited the other here for a reason...but what that reason was, he had yet to discover. But then, to say that

he had merely done it out of sheer impulse would be an outright lie, as he himself knew better than anyone else how damned logical he always was, save in matters

concerning the all-powerful Hao (A/N: lol...sorry, my worship of Hao-sama dictated that I give him a nice powerful adjective ^^;; i suppose Lyserg wouldn't really be

thinking of him as all-powerful huh? ^_^;;).

His mind drifted even further as the salty wind caressed his cheek, fluttering his white coat mockingly. He gazed down, his eyes once more cloaked in that strange

yet fitting sense of mourning. One finger mindlessly fondled the fabric while he tried to decipher what it was he wanted from this little meeting.

What do you want, Lyserg?

He sighed, the undercurrents of frustration getting the better of him. What did he want, really?

Friendship?

He shook his head dismissively. That he already possessed, though he hadn't really wanted it at first. But then, what else was there? He wasn't lonely;

the members of the X-Laws were amiable companions, and quite a few of them he admired greatly. So if it wasn't loneliness or a need for friendship that had propelled

him to do this, then what had?

As Lyserg continued to delve into his own puddle of frustrated confusion, his 'guest' finally arrived. Raising a cocky eyebrow at his obvious distress, the future head of

the Tao family calmly spoke, " Konbanwa, Lyserg."

Lyserg started violently, flushing at being caught off-guard. The boy in front of him was after all, one of his official rivals in the Shaman Tournament and it was highly

embarassing and unbecoming of a member of the elite X-Laws. Bowing a little, he returned the greeting. Making an attempt at smiling, he startled himself further.

Why am I trying to smile at him?

Ren noted Lyserg's obvious discomfort and after another 15 minutes of embarassing silence, he finally made the decision to start some conversation, if just to save

Lyserg from turning into a pile of frustrated goo. " Why did you invite me here?" The question had been turned over in his head, a few conclusions reached, but none of

them had seemed particular to the green-head shifting in front of him.

Lyserg started again, firmly berated himself and finally succeeded in pulling his usual mask of indifferent coolness over his face. " Nothing really...just wanted to say

happy birthday." There, he'd said it. Now all he had to do was figure out why he needed to tell this to Ren, his supposed friend at midnight on a deserted beach.

Ren stared, a little uncharacteristic of him, but he recovered soon enough. " Um...thanks." Of all the things in the world, this was what he'd least anticipated. In fact,

he'd quite frankly forgotten about his own birthday, seeing as he wasn't in the habit of celebrating said occasion. Come to that, how did Lyserg even know? It wasn't as

though he publicised it or anything, unlike a certain blue-headed Ainu.

His question must've showed in his face, for Lyserg quickly supplied, " I heard someone say it a long time ago and just memorized it since it was New Year."

Ren nodded mutely, it seemed logical enough, but there was something in Lyserg's tone that wasn't quite right, something that just told him that it wasn't true at all.

He shuffled a little on his feet, unsure of whether to just leave or stay in this strangely embarassing atmosphere.

Wait.

Embarassing?

Ren snorted mentally at the word. It was highly inappropriate as an adjective for a meeting with a friend...or wasn't it? He frowned, and clamped a firm will over the

strange and nonsensical thoughts that had begun running wildly through his brain.

He decided it was time to leave.

But as he opened his mouth, Lyserg quickly spoke, " I also wanted to thank you for the time you rescued me." He looked away, not willing to show how much the

emotions running through Ren's eyes had troubled him. This time, it was Ren's turn to blush heatedly as he was reminded of the aforementioned incident. He hadn't

felt anything, but his friends, in particular Horohoro, had relentlessly teased him about the way he had carried Lyserg until he had been sorely tempted to simply

smash the Ice shaman's face into the ground. Not that it would shut him up. he thought grimly.

Lyserg peered curiously at Ren's blush. This was most strange...the "almighty Tao Ren" blushing? He reached out a tentative hand "Ano...?"

Ren shook himself out of the reverie and smiled a little, " Aa, daijoubu." Lyserg frowned marginally, Ren was certainly acting rather odd tonight...or was it just him?

He pondered the matter for a minute and finally concluded that Ren was indeed very strange. He voiced this opinion out loud, to see what the chinese shaman would say.

It seemed the wrong choice, if the widened eyes and the dangerous look passing through its ebony depths were any clue. Lyserg swallowed nervously. It really wouldn't

do to start a fight right now, especially on Ren's birthday. However, his worries seemed irrevelevant as, a moment later, Ren promptly returned to his cool, disregarding

phase and sighed, a little irritated by the time they'd wasted simply by standing in near-silence. " What is it you've really invited me here for? Don't tell me it was just to

say happy birthday and thank you because you could've said that any other time. So Lyserg, what is the real reason for us being here?"

Lyserg didn't answer, but simply turned aside as he absorbed the question, and surprisingly, finally found an answer for it. " It's a full moon tonight." He replied quietly.

Ren raised an eyebrow, " And?"

" It's been 8 years since Hao killed my parents."

The whisper was soft, the barest of breaths, but the sorrow laced within each syllable was like a hammer, pounding each individual sound into his ears and engraving

themselves into his brain. He blinked, bowled over by the sudden display of emotions, and more than a little perplexed. Where was this all leading?

Lyserg's mournful green globes darkened a little, as he stared into a space only he could see. " 8 years...and still, I've done nothing...I was too weak to take on Hao

alone, so I joined the X-Laws, hoping to make some kind of difference. But Meene and the other's deaths told me...told me how powerful Hao is, and for once,

i feel...uncertain." He turned his eyes on Ren once more, silently asking for reassurance. At the lack of response from his companion, the sad globes slid away again,

faintly disappointed. Nonetheless, he carried on," Despite the fact that they're my companions, one day, they'll go away, and I'll be alone again. I'm...tired. Of everything.

Do you know what it feels like? To have only one purpose in life, and knowing that I can't accomplish it. And suddenly, I just...can't take it anymore...I can't try and forget

anymore, how much it hurts to want something, to desire something other than revenge so badly that I'm falling to pieces inside just thinking about it. Ren...for once,

I don't want to try so hard anymore, and just let go, and feel something...anything other than hate and pain. Do you understand?" Those eyes again, those evergreen

spheres that normally tried so hard to shut out the world, were now fully open, and displaying so much despair and mourning that it hurt to even look at them.

Ren blinked, and his amber eyes widened imperceptibly as it finally hit him.

all this time...

how could he have been so oblivious?

of course.

of course.

Wordlessly, he pulled Lyserg into his arms, inhaling deeply his scent. It was...different. Like pure mountain water...he couldn't explain how someone could smell of

water, but Lyserg just did. He sat down on the soft sand, pulling Lyserg gently with him. Lyserg stiffened at first, then softened as he placed his arms coyly around Ren's

shoulders and placed his head next to his neck, feeling the steady strumming of the main artery beneath the pliant flesh. A tear slid down his cheek as he whispered,

" Arigatou"

Ren said nothing, simply encircled his arms around the body, silently promising comfort. Lyserg closed his eyes partially. It felt...right. A little like the way his own

mother had held him, except this one had something a little more subtle lying underneath. It filled him, Ren's warmness seeming to chase away the cold that had

been biting inside for so long, and somehow, he felt truly happy, something he hadn't felt for a very long time indeed.

His eyes slid shut, and he sank into blissful sleep.

Ren stared out towards the ebbing tide for a long while, reminiscing, before he smiled.

Don't worry, Lyserg. I won't let go of you...Not yet.

For now...just sleep, and know that I'll stay by your side...regardless of who we are and what we stand for...

"...at least, until dawn comes."

Birthdays were pretty good after all.

*Owari*

Author's notes:

Gah! Don't kill me...this is sorta a bday fic for both Ren and my friend. Sorry if Ren & Lyserg're like, majorly OOC, but you see...they're not really my favourite ppl or

anything...this is really just to make my friend happy since she absolutely LOVES RenLyserg...=_= *trying to find excuses for her poor writing skills* But anyway,

seeing as you actually made it this far onto the bottom *gasp* , i'd like it if you reviewed~ ^_^ and happy birthday to Ren and Dorisu-chan! XD~~~

oh and happy new year to everyone else ^_~

By the time I finished this, it sorta finally occurred to me that Ren & Lyserg have somehow turned into certain 2 ppl whom I've been reading too many fanfics of...+_+

gomen nasai minna-san...but urgh...it can't really be helped...-_- but I guess this sorta explains the major OOCness a bit more...

++MnT+++ -^o^-~~