Yeah, I'm really sorry for not updating in the last...two months... . I wanted to squeeze in a lot of stuff in this chapter so then in the next one I can start on the festival. But then I figured that this chapter was getting to the lengths that my chapters usually are and you guys have been waiting long enough. So yeah. The chapter after the next will be when the festival starts. Hopefully. --
I was kind of freaking out these last two months though. I've gotten little to no feedback or anything on my stories during my no-update period. I was seriously expecting flames or something. So I came to three conclusions: 1) Everyone abandoned me and my stories. TT 2) Someone in the administration really likes me and removed all of the flames and whatnots before I could read them. 3) Everyone's being really nice and patient.
(looks up at conclusion 2, blinks, and laughs)
Right. So let's get this chapter started.
"Rise and shine!"
Kagome groaned groggily as the curtains of her bunk were swung open. Sunlight spilled over her body and bed sheets. Kagome immediately started groping for her curtains so that she could pull them closed. She heard Inuyasha's curtains slide open beneath her and he greeted the sunlight the same way as she did.
"Up, up, up!" said a distorted voice that sounded like Daisuke.
"Go away," said Inuyasha, his voice muffled.
"Come on! Get up! It's 8 o'clock! We have a ton of things to do today! We need to - that means get your ass out of bed, Inuya - Oof!"
Kagome had misjudged the distance between herself and the edge of her bunk as she was reaching for her curtains, resulting in her rolling off and on top of Daisuke.
"Sorry," she grumbled as she awkwardly disentangled herself from him and yawned. She groggily scooted back and sat against Inuyasha's bottom bunk.
"It's quite alright," Daisuke said, his voice still bright and cheerful; it was starting to irritate her. "Although, I think you cracked one of my ribs...Oh, come on," he chided Inuyasha, whose back was now facing them. He took a hold of Inuyasha's arm and started to pull.
Inuyasha groaned in protest. "Didn't we do everything yesterday? I feel so shitty..."
"We still have to make some final preparations. Now, get. Up." Daisuke pulled Inuyasha's arm with one final yank.
"Wait, no -" Kagome piped, realizing her position a second too late. But before she could do anything, Inuyasha tumbled off the bed and onto her.
"Sorry," he mumbled and pushed himself off of her.
Kagome grumbled in response. She stretched her limbs and blinked groggily at their annoyingly cheerful dorm head. "How did you get into our dorm room?" she inquired.
Suddenly awake, Inuyasha shot Daisuke a suspicious look. "I thought you didn't know how to pick locks."
"I didn't have to know. I just asked Kento for the keys to all the rooms." Daisuke took out a ring of keys and jingled them in front of the pair.
"Who's Kento?" Kagome asked.
He chuckled. "Our caretaker."
Daisuke clapped his hands. "Alrighty then. Wash up and change, and come out to the hall. I'm going to go wake up the others." He sauntered out, whirling the keys around his fingers.
"I'm sure they'll be thrilled to see you," Inuyasha said. Once Daisuke was out of hearing-range, he muttered. "If he was a bug, I'd stomp. More than once." He turned around and saw Kagome nod off. "Dude, wake up." He pulled her up and pushed her towards the bathroom.
Kagome staggered a bit but regained her balance. She wanted to glare at him but lacked the energy to do so. She grabbed some clean clothes and went into the bathroom.
Last night, Daisuke had sent everyone to bed at 11 P.M., but he made sure that they all had worked their butts off before going. Yet he did more work than anyone so it was surprising to see him so energetic this morning. People had been telling her that the Festival of Seasons was one of the biggest events of the school year, so it was probably just the excitement of being in charge of some of it that kept Daisuke hyped up.
After rinsing her mouth and washing her face, Kagome quickly changed into her clothes and went out of the bathroom feeling very awake and refreshed. Surprisingly, she found Inuyasha all dressed and groomed, and waiting for her.
He gave her an annoyed look. "You take too long in the bathroom."
"I was in there for like, ten minutes."
"You shouldn't be taking ten minutes. You only need like, five minutes tops." Inuyasha said as he opened the door and walked out to the hall.
Kagome followed him out. "To wash up and everything?"
He closed the door behind her. "I went over to Miroku's while you were in the bathroom and that's how long I took. I waited five minutes, Kagome. Five minutes. Five minutes can be a long time, you know."
"Uh, well, I'm sorry, but I like to stay clean." Kagome quickly glanced around and saw droopy-eyed students filing out of their dorm rooms with slow, heavy steps. Many were yawning and stretching, rubbing their eyes and mumbling incoherent greetings to one another. Some didn't even bother to change.
"That's because you're a wuss." Inuyasha said.
Kagome looked at him with disbelief. "What, so now just simply wanting to stay clean makes me a w -"
Kagome jumped and turned just to see a door with the numbers, '210' on them slam violently closed, centimeters from hitting Daisuke's face. Strangely, Daisuke's lips were still upturned in a smile. He took a couple steps back and with his hands clasped behind his back, he waited patiently, ignoring all the curious stares that were now directing themselves toward him.
A couple minutes had passed and nothing had happened. Then, a door opened to reveal Aki with random hair strands sticking out and her menacing glare conspicuous.
"You woke me up and now I can't go back to sleep," she snarled. "You happy now, you damn bastard?"
Daisuke smiled. "Good." He turned around to face the speculating students. "Now will all of you go to the Common Room where we can talk about final preparations?" He walked away and down the hall as the students of the 2nd Dorm Building slowly followed suit.
Aki's eyes, which were brimming with murderous intent, followed him for a few moments. Aki then disappeared in her dorm for a couple of seconds and reappeared with a pillow and blanket in her arms.
"What are you doing?" Kagome asked when Aki reached them.
"Daisuke's gonna be talking, right?," Aki said with a gleeful grin as they all followed the other students down the crowded hall. "I'm bound to fall asleep some time."
Soon, people were entering the Common Room and spreading out. Kagome didn't go in the Common Room as much as she liked. It was just a little way from the entrance of the dorm building and was rather large. Couches, armchairs, and tables were scattered about. There were several large abstract and landscape paintings along the wall. In the wall in front of her was a large majestic fireplace with a marble mantelpiece and stony hearth, and two long tapestries framing it.
Each of the three dorm buildings had their own Common Room, each with similar setups. But each was differentiated by color scheme. The 2nd Dorm Common Room was a monochromatic blue, as the 1st was red and 3rd, green. So the couches, armchairs, tapestries, etcetera in the 2nd Dorm Common Room (aka, Blue Room) were in shades of blue as the 1st (Red Room) and 3rd (Green Room) Dorm Common Room are in their own respective colors.
The Common Rooms were mainly living rooms for the students. Students could do their homework in here (aside from doing it in their dorm rooms), congregate, and mingle. It was basically a hangout for the students and the best looking room in the building.
Although Yusako High School was a public school and was located in a small district, families and wealthy people who had graduated from Yusako largely supported it. Because of its strong academic, athletic, and scholarship program, the school was allowed to have a Parental Education Board that provided many of the school's funds. This, of course, allowed larger school grounds, many sport fields, dormitories, and Common Rooms.
"Besides," Aki added when they filed into the room. "These aren't mine. They're Daisuke's" She said, referring to the pillow and blanket in her arms.
"What a wonderful way of taking revenge," said Miroku who was stifling a yawn as he appeared behind them.
They soon joined Chiaki, Shun, and Toji (each with their own unique set of bed hair) on the navy carpet near the lit fireplace outside the hearth. As they sat down, Kagome noticed Jirou sleeping on one of the couches. A boy seemed like he wanted to sit there but was too timid to try to push the dog off.
Inuyasha noticed too and clicked his tongue. Jirou's furry head snapped up and looked around. Once he spotted Inuyasha, he jumped off the couch and trotted towards his caller. Jirou collapsed beside Inuyasha and rest his head on his thigh.
"How did you get in here boy?" Inuyasha asked as he scratched the dog's head.
Jirou didn't respond and instead, shifted his head, curled up his body, and fell asleep.
Aki looked at the fur ball with envy. "I wish I could fall asleep that easily," she muttered before giving a death glare at their dorm head.
"Hey! Everyone! Attention up here please!" Daisuke said as he climbed on top of a short-legged long table, attempting to get everyone's attention. Soon, the chattering toned down and everyone looked up at him. Well, everyone who hadn't fallen asleep already.
"Right," he said when the room was in complete silence. "So as most of you know, I called all of you out this morning to talk over the final preparations that need to be made before the Senbaku students arrive. There're some last minute jobs that I need to have done and I've already assigned you people to them -" Loud groans erupted across the room. "But," Daisuke continued loudly over the groans. "They are very small and easy jobs but need to be done before noon. Now, first off, Miroku."
Miroku, whose head was nodding off to the side, jumped at the sound of his name. "Huh?"
"I need you to escort the clergy from Akoroshi Temple to the West Courtyard. There, you'll meet with Mr. Sato; he's head of the Religion and Traditional Arts Department. He'll help position them and do their business, and stuff."
Kagome nudged Inuyasha. "Why are the clergy coming here?" she asked in a low voice.
"Hm? Oh. Well, a lot of the Senbaku students are youkai. The clergy come and set up spell scrolls and stuff to control the youkai's strength so it's somewhat equivalent to a human's, otherwise the competitions wouldn't be fair because demons are naturally stronger than humans," he answered.
"Does our school have youkai students?"
Inuyasha nodded. "Sure we do. We don't have a lot though because there aren't a lot of youkai families in this area. Most of them settle up north near schools like Senbaku High. I think we have about...30 or 35 youkai students."
"That's not a lot..."
He shrugged. "No, but I don't think anybody's really bothered by that. Actually, I think we have five of them here...?"
"Seven," Miroku corrected, who was listening to Inuyasha and Kagome's conversation. "The others live in the 1st and 3rd Dorm Building."
"Why?" Kagome asked.
"Well, there isn't really a reason. It's just random placing so..."
Kagome looked around the Common Room, trying to locate the seven youkai and wondering to herself why she never noticed them before. She had been doing some intense studying lately and there had been a lot of distractions too. Maybe that was why she never really noticed the youaki students. Or perhaps, she was just really ignorant?
She spotted three of them sleeping soundlessly on one of the couches. They were dark-haired, pointy-eared, and very pretty. She saw another two sitting on the ground against another couch. One was blond and had green cat-like eyes, and was zoning out. The other was a red head and his ears were longer, like an elf; he looked like he was paying attention to Daisuke but was really looking past him and at the abstract painting behind him. The sixth one was sitting at the end of a couch, braiding his long black hair, unbraiding it, and then braiding it again; his pale gray eyes were half closed and fluttered open every couple of minutes as his long fluffy tail swung lazily back and forth.
Kagome peered around again, searching for the last one. She frowned. It was strange how she couldn't locate this one. The only difference she found between a youkai and a human was the youkai's eyes, ears, and some other distinguishing feature that a human could not possibly have. Finally, Kagome spotted the last youkai student.
He was sitting in an armchair across the room from her. He was resting his model-like face on his long slender fingers. He had short white hair and pointed ears, along with what Kagome could only describe as two stubby horns on top of his head. His eyes were a vibrant violet and...they were staring right at her.
Kagome glanced around her, searching for the possibility that he was staring at someone else. But those purple orbs were without a doubt directly focusing themselves on her. Kagome looked away and shifted uncomfortably in her seat. His stare felt penetrating, like he knew exactly what she was thinking, what she was feeling. He must have sense her discomfort because she felt his heavy gaze lift away. Kagome looked up and saw him casually conversing with a spiky-haired blond.
She twiddled her fingers nervously. She could feel her anxiety eating away her stomach. She didn't know why this didn't occur to her before. Demons had at least one or two inhuman physical attributes, right? Like a stronger sense of hearing, sight, or smell. Kagome's eyes scanned over the seven demons in the room. Did they suspect anything of her and Aki? With their demon senses, they must have detected something different in them. But if they did sense anything, why hadn't any of them said anything? It had been over two months since she attended this school and she hadn't had any sort of confrontation with them.
Maybe they didn't care. Maybe they were just blasé about the whole thing and had no intention of intervening in her business; she shouldn't have to worry. But even with that thought in her head, she didn't feel reassured.
"Alright then!" Daisuke clapped his hands, causing Kagome to jump since she wasn't paying attention to him. "I assigned all of you jobs now so go eat breakfast and get to them right away. Or better yet, do the jobs first and then eat breakfast."
Oblivious to everyone's resentful glares, he hopped off the table and cheerfully strolled out of the room. As he did, Kento, the caretaker, entered, looking a little breathless. He looked around the room and stopped once he spotted Jirou, who was still asleep.
"There you are!" he exclaimed. He walked over and whistled.
One of Jirou's ears shot up as he caught the sound. He lifted his head to locate the source of the whistle. Once he saw Kento, he nipped Inuyasha's hand affectionately and headed over to the waiting caretaker.
"Sorry about that, kids," Kento apologized as he greeted the dog by ruffling his soft head. "This little guy ran off this morning when I wasn't looking. Oh, and Aki," he called as he turned to her. She blinked groggily at him. "You have a phone call," he said.
Aki stared at him through half-closed eyes, trying to comprehend what he was saying.
"Oh," she said, finally realizing. "Right, okay. Is it alright if I use your phone?" After Kento nodded, she stood up and yawned. "I'll see you guys in the cafeteria," she said to the others.
She muttered a "Thanks" to Kento and trudged toward the caretaker office, dragging the blanket she was holding against the floor. She was careful to tread on it more than once.
As Kagome began to stand up with the others, she suddenly realized. "Crap. I wasn't paying attention to Daisuke so I don't know what my job is," she said.
Inuyasha looked at her. "I guess you could go ask him again, but..."
"Well, he'll tell you, but then he'll give you this really weird look and it makes you feel really bad. You feel like a scolded dog even though he doesn't do much scolding." Inuyasha shuddered. "I hate it when he does that."
Miroku cut in, "Or you could just not do anything at all and just hang around -" He stopped himself and looked thoughtful for a moment. "Actually, if you do that, he'll give you another weird look and then you'll feel really really bad."
"Then he'll get mad," Inuyasha added.
"Yeah, go." Miroku said immediately as he shuddered, shoving her lightly in the direction Daisuke had gone. "We'll be in the cafeteria."
After giving them a puzzled look, Kagome turned and jogged after Daisuke, who was walking down the hall yelling, "Rise and shine! Wake up! Get your ass out of bed!" in a singsong voice to the people who were trying to return to their beds to sleep.
The trees were shedding the last of their leaves, a sign of the end of fall and the beginning of winter.
Well, Kagome didn't really care about that. It just really annoyed her because it meant more leaves for her to sweep.
She sighed and leaned on her rake. It wasn't a difficult job. In fact, it was extremely easy since all she had to do was sweep the leaves. It was just very, VERY tedious. She had a whole courtyard to sweep. No fun at all.
Reluctantly, Kagome resumed raking the numerous leaves into her growing pile. Suddenly, an uneasy feeling rose in her stomach and she stilled. Someone was watching her.
She wheeled around, her eyes sweeping the courtyard. And there, in the shadows of the building closest to her, lurked a pair of glowing violet orbs. Realizing that he had been spotted, the owner of those orbs walked out, revealing a cocky smile planted on his model face.
Kagome immediately recognized him as one of the demon students from her dorm building; she distinguished him by his white hair and stubby horns.
After what felt like hours of silence, Kagome spoke up. "How long have you been watching me?"
The demon-boy shrugged. "About fifteen minutes."
"May I ask why?"
He moved to sit on the brick wall that surrounded the perimeter of the courtyard. Kagome watched him with unease as she left her rake against a nearby tree.
"It's Higurashi Kagome, right?" he asked. He didn't seem to be expecting an answer since he didn't give her a chance to speak. "You probably know that I'm a youkai and that I have a keen sense of smell."
The muscles in Kagome's gut tightened but she didn't let her hard stare falter.
"And I have to say, there's something funny about your scent." He plucked a twig from a nearby shrubbery and started to play with it, gradually picking out its leaves. He started to talk again, in a tone so casual that it made Kagome feel more uncomfortable than she already was. "I didn't do anything the past couple of months because the scent of females here on this campus isn't anything new. It isn't unusual to see Otsaku students here because of their many athletic programs and the guys here have their girlfriends. These last few months, I've caught some lingering feminine scents in our dorm building but I just figured that it were our female teachers or just some Otsaku students here fooling around. I hardly cared so I didn't look into it." He turned his hard gaze on her.
He looked like he was expecting some sort of response from her but Kagome said nothing.
When he realized that she wasn't going to say anything, he continued. "Well, yesterday, I caught two unusual scents. Two young feminine scents. Which was strange because no other students aside from Yusako's are allowed on this campus during the preparations for the Festival of Seasons. I started to become curious. What could two girls possibly be doing on our campus at this time?" he said in a mock thoughtful voice. "And then this morning in the Common Room, I caught those same two scents again, but I didn't see any girls in the room. So I sniffed and you were the first one I found."
Kagome schooled her features to stay expressionless. She didn't want to show him how nervous and scared he was making her feel.
"Why just me? You didn't try looking for the other?" she asked.
"I only needed to talk to one of you to still my curiosity. There was no point in looking for the other." He smiled. "But now I know for certain that there are two of you. The scents were a bit muddled so I wasn't exactly sure if it was one or two persons."
"You -" Kagome started, indignant, but she stopped and gave a smile of admiration. This demon-boy was clever. He knew how nervous she was getting and was using it to his advantage by bluffing and catching her off guard.
She folded her arms across her chest. "What do you want?" she asked.
"I just want some questions answered. Will you answer them?"
"It depends on what you're asking."
The demon-boy grinned and flicked his bare twig away. "I think you will be able to answer them." He stared blankly at her for a moment. "You are, in fact, a human girl?"
Kagome met his stare. "Yes."
"Your friend, also?"
"....Hm. Okay." He hopped off the wall and rubbed his hands to brush off the dirt.
Kagome frowned, nonplussed. "Wait...what? That's it?"
He looked at her as if it was the most obvious thing. "Yes. You answered my questions so I'm done with you now."
"B-but," she stammered. "You didn't ask me why I'm here, or - well, er, I thought -"
He cut her off. "I don't need to because I don't need to know. It's none of my business nor do I plan to make it mine. I could really care less why you're here or what you plan to do here as long as it doesn't affect me. I only talked to you because I was curious. Now, I am no longer curious and no longer need to socialize with you, so -"
"Do the others know?" she asked, unwilling to let him leave so easily.
"The other youkai; the ones like you. Do they also know?"
He shrugged. "Yeah, but they're as indifferent as I am."
Kagome bit her lip. "You won't report me?"
The demon-boy cocked an eyebrow. "Why should I? What good will it do me? What will I get out of it? I won't gain anything. I'll just be wasting my time for doing something that I won't get anything useful from." He slipped his hands into his pockets. "Look, as long as you don't do anything stupid that will get me involved, you can stay here as long as you want and do anything you want. I don't care."
He turned to leave but she stopped him again.
"Wait," she called.
"What?" He turned to look at her, annoyed. "Do you want me to stay here? If I were you, I would be happy to see me leaving."
"No, it's not that. I just -" She paused. "I don't know your name."
He stared blankly at her. He looked like he was just going to leave and not tell her, but then, "Tanaka," he said.
"Thanks, Tanaka," Kagome said sincerely.
Tanaka's face remained emotionless as he turned away and left.
Kagome sighed wearily as she picked up her rake again. Now another one knew. No, seven other people knew now, and she wouldn't be surprised if the other demons from the other dorms knew too. Hopefully, they were probably apathetic about it too?
Kagome raked the leaves absentmindedly. Aki probably should know about it. Kagome knew she wouldn't be happy about this, but she probably would be even unhappier if she was confronted by a youkai. Kagome poked the pile of leaves with her rake with a frown.
Tanaka wasn't going to report her and he implied that the other youkai wouldn't either. Yet, as reassuring as he had been, it would be all the better if none of them knew. But Kagome didn't really have anyone to blame but herself since she was the one who didn't come here prepared enough.
Upset, Kagome poked the pile of leaves again.
Disgruntled, Kagome walked down the sunlit hall. The hall on this side of the building had large window panels for exterior walls. The sun illuminated the hall with its soft, late morning beams, making the hallway glow delicately. But Kagome was disgruntled. When you're disgruntled, you don't care.
When she turned the corner, she spotted Aki sitting outside the Health Room, flipping through a magazine.
When she reached her, she asked. "What are you doing out here? Didn't Daisuke tell you to talk to Izumi about him doing the opening speech for the festival?"
Aki looked up, flipped a page, and then looked back down. "Mm-hm."
Kagome frowned, slightly irritated. "Did you?"
Kagome folded her arms across her chest. "And why is that?"
Aki flipped another page, not even sparing Kagome a glance. "Because I have no intention of dying this young."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well." Flip. "There still might be a teensy-weensy chance that Izumi's still mad at me." Flip. "And I do not plan on risking my head to find out." Flip. "So I'm planning to just sit out here and wait for him to cool down, and -"
"- Wait for someone to come by to do the job for you."
Aki grinned at Kagome, unabashed. "You know me so well."
Kagome snatched the magazine out of Aki's hand. "You're so incompetent," she chided.
She grabbed Aki's wrist with her other hand and kicked the door open, marching in and sang loudly, "Izumi! Guess what? Daisuke has a job for you -"
Kagome stopped short, shocked, dropping Aki's wrist and magazine in the process. Izumi was lolling next to one of the windows with casual ease, looking very placid and relaxed. And smoking.
Izumi blinked at Kagome, surprised. He took the cigarette from his mouth and said, "Oh, Kagome. Good timing. I was just going to -"
"What in the world are you doing?!" Kagome hissed, trying very hard to suppress her outrage.
Izumi gave her a puzzled look before realizing she was referring to the cigarette in his hand. "Um...relaxing?" he said, in an obvious tone.
"You're a doctor for heaven's sake!" she snapped, marching up to him and snatching the cursed object out of his hands. "You're not supposed to be doing this kind of stuff!" She spotted an ashtray sitting on his desk and smothered the cigarette's end in it, putting it out.
Izumi frowned, perturbed. "I don't know any rule that says I can't. Therefore, I fail to see why I can't relax myself."
"You fail to see a lot of things."
"Besides the point."
"You're a doctor! You're part of the faculty! You-You're an adult, my God!" Kagome threw up her arms in exasperation. "You're supposed to be a role model for the students here!"
"A lot of adults are stupid."
She crossed her arms, more irritated than ever. "Right, so now that means you can be stupid too?"
Izumi shrugged and smirked; he knew he was pushing her buttons. "I don't see why not."
Kagome scrunched her face up in anger. She whirled around to Aki who was silent throughout the whole ordeal. "Aki, say something!"
Aki did not seem to notice Kagome's rage nor did she seem to be paying attention at all. She was beside Izumi's desk, looking out the opened window with a troubled look on her face.
"They're here," she said in a low voice.
Kagome frowned. "What?"
Aki's face darkened considerably before pointing out the window. Kagome followed Aki's finger and saw large groups of people filing out of buses and entering their school campus.
"They're here," Aki repeated.
Daisuke ran out to the school entrance with Miroku at his heels. An annoyed frown marred his handsome face.
"Why wasn't I informed that Senbaku would be arriving early?" Daisuke snapped. He did not want any surprises to happen during this preparation period, especially not these kinds of surprises.
"It was totally last minute," Miroku answered. "The idiots didn't call us until ten minutes ago to tell us that they were coming early."
Daisuke started to curse under his breath before slowing down to a walk. More of the Senbaku students were entering through the gate with a familiar tall figure leading them. Daisuke and Miroku stopped as the demon-boy approached them with his arrogant stride.
He grinned, flashing his fangs. "Well, it seems like Yusako hasn't changed much, huh? You guys are never prepared for anything."
Miroku greeted the speaker grimly. "Hello, Kouga..."
AN: Just in case I end up not updating for a really really long time again (probably didn't need to need to put in that 'just in case'), I just wanted tell you guys that in mid-June I will be taking a vacation with my family (yay!). We're going to Japan for 8 days and Vietnam for 11 days (the last time I went to Vietnam was when I was in kindergarten, wow.). So I'll be gone for about three weeks. I'm very excited and I'll tell you guys all about it when I come back. I promise! But let's pray (I know I will) that I'll be able to squeeze in the next chapter before I leave. But never fear! I plan to write craploads on the plane so hopefully I'll come back with massive updates. That is, if I'm not eating. Or sleeping. (sigh) Oh dear.
Well, if you liked this chapter, please review and tell me!