DISCLAIMER: Sadly, I don not own Inuyasha. I just like playing with them.
By: Lara Winner
It took two days before Kagome was feeling anything like her normal self again. Diving into her schoolwork and surrounding herself with friends and family seemed to settle the anxiety that had consumed her. It was impossible to forget the hand she played in her own destiny but that didn't mean she couldn't enjoy it.
However, no matter how small and trivial there was always a bump in the road of life. This was an age-old lesson learned by everyone. It was universal. It was inevitable. Her trivial bump was standing beside her nearly breathing over her shoulder.
Kagome bit back a groan and fixed a polite smile on her face. "Hello Houjo-kun."
As she rummaged though her locker he watched smiling pleasantly. "How are you feeling today?"
"Great! No… better than great. I've never felt better." She slammed the locker closed and slumped against it blowing a stray lock of bangs out of her eyes. "You wouldn't happen to have a pencil I could borrow, do you?"
"Sure." He reached in his book-bag and produced the item.
This time her smile was more genuine. "Thank you so much. You're a life saver."
"It's no problem. I'm happy to help."
Kagome set off down the crowded corridor as Houjo kept pace beside her. He was sweet, handsome, single, and very sought after by most of the girls in their grade and the grades below…
So why the hell did he have a crush on her?
His feelings were blazingly obvious and despite Kagome's lack of enthusiasm, he made no attempt to feel differently. Kagome wondered if she had more in common with Houjo than she thought.
"There is something I wanted to ask you. If I may…?"
The look on Houjo's face was serious, if not a little uncertain, and Kagome felt compelled to stop and give him her full attention. When he swallowed nervously she had the sinking feeling she knew what he was going to ask. She was not disappointed.
"Would you accompany me to Gennosuke's party next week?"
Kagome bit her lip, her mind flailing for a valid excuse though none seemed forthcoming. He looked so hopeful and cute… She hated to turn him down, she really did but she didn't return his feelings. Why couldn't he see that?
"Houjo-kun I do-"
She was saved as the bell sounded hailing one minute to the start of class. Giving him a sympathetic smile she called over her shoulder, "We'll talk about this later okay?"
Kagome saw the poor boy nod before she lost sight of him in the throng of students. No how in the world was she going to tell him no?
The library was as silent as a tomb. Except for the faint whisper of material that occasionally alerted random movement, the entire room was eerily hushed. It was actually oppressive, like a thick fog that hung amongst the tables and bookshelves. It gave the Kagome the impression of a calm lake with water so still it could be taken for glass. Much like the imagined water's surface, the silence surrounding her was flawless and she was hesitant to draw a breath and dissolve the odd effect.
Inasho, on the other hand, had no such qualms about breaking the spell of silence. As always he was too busy caught up in the need for simple activity to take a moment to appreciate the quiet. Kagome knew he was going to speak and ruin the surreal feeling even before he opened his mouth.
In this Inasho and Inuyasha were unmistakably identical.
A perfect example was fidgeting, which Inasho had yet to stop doing since they sat down. It was something silly and childish really, yet it was done to create a consistent distraction. Through the corner of her eye Kagome watched as Inasho twirled his pen between his fingers absently, all the while his eyes idly darting about the library watching anything of interest with the picture of boredom etched upon his face. He drew a breath. She fought the urge to roll her eyes.
"I'm your dream, mind astray," he began to sing under his breath, "I'm your eyes while you're away, I'm your pain while you repay, you know it's sad but true…"
The baka was just singing away and even though it was low and barely discernible it still earned a glare from the elderly librarian behind the desk checking in a stack of books. The song was in English and the words made no sense to Kagome so she tried to block out the sound but the problem only compounded when he began tapping his pen against his textbook. Fellow students sitting close by kept shooting annoyed glances in their direction and since it seemed obvious that Inasho was not going to cut his solo short anytime soon Kagome took it upon herself to nudge him in the ribs with her elbow to get his attention.
"Shhh," she hissed softly, "Stop that!"
Inasho blinked "Nani?"
"Schoolwork now," she pointed at the books spread before him for emphasis, "goof off later."
""Maybe I'm finished." He shrugged and continued gazing about the library. A quick glance at his poorly scribbled notes said differently but the far away look was back in his eyes and he was once again lost in own thoughts before she could protest.
The blissful silence only lasted for about thirty seconds before he squirmed in his seat, this time his foot tapping out a base rhythm against the leg of the chair beside him. 'Well so much for Inasho formulating a comprehensive bibliography' Once again he had her concentration shot straight to hell.
With stiff movements that gave did little to conceal her irritation, Kagome closed her books abruptly. "We just as well leave since we're not getting any more work done today."
That did the trick. In a flash Inasho's books were collected and haphazardly shoved into his book-bag. Just as quickly the bored expression he'd worn all afternoon was replaced with a cheeky grin. And to top it all off he began whistling rather loudly as they passed the librarian just to be as obnoxious as possible.
Sometimes Kagome felt like she was baby-sitting a five year old.
"Finally!" Inasho exclaimed as soon as the swinging door closed behind them, "I thought we'd never get out of there."
Of course when he pulled stupid stunts like this she wished she had a pair of prayer beads to put around his neck. And she knew just the word to use for activation too… "Baka!" she cried, imagining him going splat on the ground while in reality she turned on him, quite perturbed. "We have a project to finish and the deadline in is two weeks. The last thing we need is to get banned from the library because you have A.D.D.!"
"Chill out Kagome. I have everything under control." When she started walking across the courtyard he realized his over confident smirk did little to reassure her so he tried again. "Oh come on, we already have enough research for the report and…" his eyes suddenly narrowing as he pointed a finger at her accusingly, "and you were doing your environmental science homework. I saw you. Bet you didn't think I noticed but I did."
"So." She blushed guiltily. "That is completely besides the point."
"Face it, you're busted Kagome. You can't jump my case because you weren't working on our project either." Unfortunately for Kagome Inasho was right and they both knew it. "Thanks to you that's two hours of my life that I'll never get back."
"A bit dramatic don't you think? Class barely let out an hour ago." She stated reasonably as she approached the bike rack.
"I'm telling you, we were in there way more than an hour."
"Inasho-kun…" her eyes turned heavenward in supplication.
As Kagome crouched down beside her bike Inasho fiddled with his watch, his brow scrunching as he did the math in his head."42 minutes and twenty seven seconds. Okay so I was a little off. Sue me."
The combination lock opened with a resounding click allowing Kagome to free the chain that secured her bike. With the chain and lock tucked away, she adjusted her backpack to rest on both her shoulders and guided her bike away from the rack. "If you had any money I'd consider it."
Inasho made a show of shaking his head sadly. "Typical female only after what she can get."
"You're only saying that because you'd know I'd win." Kagome grinned.
"I disagree and I'll tell you why. Saying you really did go about this, you'd have to have a reason. On what grounds would file a suit?" he asked, watching her through the corner of his eye as he accompanied her off the school grounds as she walked her bike beside him.
Kagome posed a thoughtful expression contemplating the question. Actually she was wracking her brain trying to remember all those fancy legal terms she'd heard on tv. Even thought it was a silly conversation it still felt good to show Inasho up sometimes. She grinned, 'like right now…'
"Compensation for Emotional Damages for all the times you insulted me and Defamation of Character for labeling me as a money grubber because I am female, but that's just for starters. I'm sure if I seriously thought about this I could come up with at least a dozen more."
The poor boy wasn't expecting her a logical comeback. So to save his bruised ego Inasho waved off her reply with a snide laugh. "Those aren't even real terms. Am I supposed to be impressed because you can use big words?"
"It's not my fault if you can't keep up with the conversation."
"Maybe if there was a point to this…" Inasho trailed off abruptly falling silent which prompted Kagome to look up and follow his gaze curiously. To her left, parked against the curb was a sleek jet-black motorcycle trimmed with shining chrome. It was obviously a high quality machine, even she could tell that it screamed expensive taste.
"Now that's a beauty." He said softly not taking his eyes from the machine.
For Kagome the bike was nothing special. To her it was more amusing to watch Inasho twist himself to the point of nearly walking backwards so he could continue staring until the motorcycle was out of sight. Not only was it amusing but the look of pitiful longing on his face was sort of cute.
"Man I'd kill for one of those." He whined when he could no longer see its gleaming black hull.
Kagome reached over and patted his arm sympathetically. "You know, if you would actually do your school work you may be able to afford one someday. Call me crazy but it's just a thought."
"Whatever." He shot back snippily. "You sound just like my mother. Oh, that reminds me! My Mom said she's sorry she didn't get to meet you the other night but she'll invite you over for dinner as soon as she has time to cook."
"That's nice of her. Tell her I'll be glad to come." Through the corner of her eye caught Inasho's widening smile.
"Sweet! We'll actually have food in the house for a change." He laughed thoughtfully. "Yeah, isn't that something? She's gonna feed you but she'll let me starve."
"I'm sure you're just exaggerating the situation as usual."
"No you're just lucky that your Mom knows what a kitchen is and how to use it…"
Kagome let Inasho's grousing fade into the background. It was then that she realized they were heading toward the shrine. Inasho's house was in the opposite direction but he didn't seem to notice. She wondered if she should say something…
He was bound to realize eventually.
"How can you be surprised Kagome-chan?" Aki asked.
Kagome gripped the phone tightly as she repeated the disheartening new her friend just delivered. "Inasho asked Yuka to the party…"
"That's what Yuka said. It's a direct quote. I mean really, they eat lunch together everyday and she says they spend hours on the phone very night. It was only a matter of time."
"I guess your right." Kagome strived for a lighthearted tone. "I'm surprised he didn't tell me though."
"He's a guy. They don't feel the need to talk about things like us girls do."
At her friend's quip she managed a small laugh but it sounded hollow even to her own ears. Not really in the mood to talk anymore she lied, "My Mom want's to use the phone so I'll talk to you tomorrow okay?"
"Okay. Later Kagome" Aki chirped, then the line went dead.
Placing the phone back in its cradle, Kagome stared sightlessly at the wall. She thought they were getting closer but apparently she was wrong. Inasho was completely oblivious to her. Nothing had changed. As always she was the good friend, nothing more.
Why didn't he tell her? The baka could have mentioned it during their walk after school. He could have mentioned it this morning in class. He could have said something, anything…
Instead she had to hear it from Aki.
The knife was twisting in Kagome's heart but right along with it was a righteous spark of anger. She didn't need this. Why was she wasting her time on a boy who obviously didn't care. Twice he'd chosen another over love she offered. Well it stopped now. No way was she going to act like a lovesick little kid anymore.
Looking down at the phone in her hands, Kagome was suddenly struck with an idea. It might not be wise and it was probably wrong on more levels than one but she was too frustrated to care right then. Flipping through the little phone book in her nigh-stand, Kagome came across the number she was looking for. Not letting herself think about what she was about to do or what could come of it, she quickly dialed the number on the page.
It rang once, then twice, and on the third ring a familiar voice answered, "Hello?"
"Houjo-kun? Its Kagome."
His entire voice lit up as he greeted, "Hey! How are you?"
"Fine. I was calling about the party…" She pushed aside her misgivings and plowed on with the purpose of her call. "I'd love to go with you…"
A.N.- *dodges rotten tomatoes* I'm sorry, I know that's not a promising ending to a chapter now is it? Well, I think most of you have an idea where this is going… but you may be wrong. There are plenty more plot twists where this came from so brace yourself.
Then again I could just let her be with Houjo… he is kind of cute.
*ducks from sharp flying objects*
Hehehe… than again maybe not.
*Hugs* Thanks so much for sticking with this story. I'll try not to take so long on the next chapter. Until then take care. Luv ya guys!!! *_*