1Okay, Here is what I have so far. I know, it's not much AT ALL after how long it's been on the back burner, but I have to start somewhere. Maybe by posting this and getting some feed back, the rest will flow easier.
I had a completely different chapter half written out for months upon months, but it got to a point where I simply couldn't figure out where to take it. I'm stubborn though, so it sat for many months more, before I would admit to myself that I was trying to write a chapter that I thought I HAD to write, rather than the chapter that I really WANTED to write. I knew that I wanted to get Inuyasha back to school, so I said to hell with it, why not just jump right to it. And just like that, the damn broke. The block was gone. Mostly.
Just goes to show... The subconscious is the ultimate passive-aggressive warrior. (Sigh)
And now, On with the show!
Chapter 33: That long and crazy day, Part: I
With some last minute help from Sango's people, who arrived in an aircraft at the top of the tower, Inuyasha and friends somehow made it off the building and evaded both the authorities and Sesshoumaru's thugs alike. Sango refused to answer any of their questions on why the agency she supposedly didn't even work for any longer had decided to help them, or how they had known to arrive exactly when and where they were needed.
The point was, they were free to do as they wished. Sango left with promises to visit, while Miroku and Kikyou both left to join the missionaries that so desperately needed their aid, after also promising to visit. Kagome convinced Inuyasha to stay with her, and together the two came home. Days later, Sota and Grandpa Higurashi returned, both reacting to Inuyasha with surprising ease.
Two weeks later...
The storm had passed, and it was time to look to the next day. The day I would go to school.
I stared at the ceiling, with the house quiet and the sun still not risen outside. Listening for footfalls on the stairs, I turned over onto my side, the couch cushions proving once again too soft to allow me to feel comfortable. I mean, I've lived on the street for years. Sleeping on something soft just feels unnatural! I was determined to try to get used to it. Every night since I'd started staying at Kagome's, I would started out sleeping on the couch, only to end up on the floor come morning.
Oh, how Sota, Kagome's younger brother, loved to find me like that! I still wasn't quite sure whether he saw me as a role model or a pet. I'd pinned him with wrestler moves and made him cry uncle enough times that we both knew who was in charge, but with him you could never be sure. The little brat just kept coming back for more.
For the last few weeks, Kagome's mom, Gramps, and Sango would take turns teaching me what I needed to know to go to school. And for the last two weeks, I had managed to forget what would happen once I finished.
The thought made me shudder. How was I going to survive? The only other time I had gone there, I had been the focus of every eye, like I smelled funny. And I know for a fact that I'd smelt just fine. Sango had made sure of that. Now I would have to endure the same thing every day! It was only a matter of time before someone started something. In my experience, it usually involved someone throwing something hard at my head. At least Kagome would be there. I hadn't seen very much of her since Sota and Gramps had come back. She would be busy at school, or I would be busy being schooled, or Sota would want to play, or Gramps would want to talk, or Kagome's mom would have some errand for me to run or chore to do.
Altogether, Kagome and I had only been able to talk briefly in the hall, or at dinner. It didn't seem to bother her at all. I felt a sharp tug in my gut at the thought. She seemed happy to jump back into her life. Had this all been a mistake? Why was I even here? It was obvious she only thought of me as a friend, or maybe something to be pitied. Probably both. A memory of Hojo at the mall resurfaced, causing me to huff and turn over onto my other side in agitation.
Yeah, I had a pretty good idea of the type of guy she liked. Shit! Why couldn't I just sleep? Thoughts like these were driving me crazy! It's not like it really changed anything. I had known all of this since the first day I'd met her. Despite it all, I was glad I would be able to hang out with her more during the day. The price was steep though. I really hoped I was strong enough to take the ridicule.
Sighing, I got up off the couch, pacing in the dark. I had too much energy! It would probably be a few hours before the sun came up, and my day of agony began. The walls of the living room seemed to close in on me as I paced. Suddenly, I felt closed in. I needed air. Without further thought, I stepped to the front door and went outside, the chill blast of fresh air that met me felt like a soothing caress. Slowly, shivering slightly in my boxers, I stepped out onto the walkway that led out to the courtyard with the great tree and the stairs to the street.
Approaching the tree, I looked up, remembering how I had come to be with Kagome and her family. It had started right here, with a storm and a bolt from the sky. Maybe this was all a life lesson. Maybe I was supposed to be here to learn how the other side lived, so when I inevitably found myself back on the street, I would know exactly what I was missing. You know, so god could torture me more. The sky held no clouds. Every star seemed to be out, the dotted scape a marbled black and purple as the sun approached off of the earths rim.
"What's your problem, boxer boy? You look like a duck just pooped in your tea," a small voice chirped from the tree, jolting me from my thoughts.
"Who the-!" I yelped with a start, as I looked around wildly for the source of the voice, finally settling on a small figured huddled on a branch a distance up.
"Hey, calm down! I'm just talking. No need to get your shorts in a bunch," the voice laughed.
"Hey... you're that fox thing, right?" I exclaimed, surprised. What was his name? I hadn't seen him since the earthquake. How had he found me? I didn't believe in coincidences.
"Who the hell are you callin' a 'fox thing', dog breath! The name's Shippo!" Shippo cried indignantly, bringing a smirk to my lips.
"You know, for a little squirt, you cuss a lot. Don't you have any manners?" I countered, enjoying myself.
"Says the ass to the horse!" Shippo growled, his fury mounting. I swear, I could almost see his face turning red in the dim light.
"What did that mean? Do you even understand the words that come out of your mouth?" I laughed.
"Gaahh!!" Shippo shouted in frustration, leaping at me like a little baby fox commando.
Eyes widening, I sprang away, dodging the Kitsune as he rushed me in a berserkers fury. Okay, maybe I had pushed him. But really... I didn't think I was being that mean! The runt needed to learn how to take a little teasing! But the humor of the situation hit me just then too, and I couldn't contain a laugh as I dodged another one of Shippo's lunges. Springing up onto a branch on the tree, I turned around to smile down at the raging ball of Kitsune fury.
"Why are you so pissed, runt? I didn't do anything!" I called down at him, praying he would chase me some more. I hadn't had this much fun in weeks. To my surprise, the anger seemed to melt from Shippo, and his little face scrunched as though he were fighting back tears.
"I..." he began, before a small sob half formed, forcing him to visibly gather himself to stop himself from balling his eyes out. Well, it looked like play time was over. Hopping down onto the ground beside him, I settled down on my haunches.
"C'mon squirt, don't get all wussy on me. I was just kidding," I said, trying to hide the embarrassment I was starting to feel. I hadn't meant to make him cry!
"It's not that! It's just... I... I can't find Rin!" he cried, his voice wavering. For a moment, my brain froze. Rin? For a moment I couldn't place the name. Then it came back to me.
"That kid? She's missing?" I asked, confused.
"Yeah, and it's your fault, too!" Shippo challenged angrily, while a fire seemed to ignite in his eyes as he glared at me. "After you left, I could tell that she couldn't stop thinking about you. Always drawing pictures of you and staring off into nowhere. She hardly played with me at all. I think she ran away to find you!"
I sat staring at Shippo, my mind racing. She ran away to find me? That was just crazy! Flattering, but crazy! How old was she anyway? Running away didn't seem like a big deal to me though. After all, I had done the same thing when I had been only a little older than her. Not that I wanted to see her on the street, but she could always go back if it got to be too much for her. Having lived the life, and fully expecting to return to it, I didn't have very much sympathy when I heard someone else had turned down the same road. It wasn't as bad as it sounded. On the other hand, sometimes it was worse. Great, now I was getting a little worried, and I didn't even know her!
"Well, what do you want me to do about it? I don't know where she went. This is a big city, you know," I commented, raising an eyebrow at the Kitsune. Looking for one little girl on foot in Tokyo would be like looking for a red grain of sand on a beach. "And how did you know where to find me, anyway? I mean, it's not like we know each other," I added.
With a smirk Shippo tapped his little nose, looking positively superior. "I could smell you. Once I smell a demon once, I can track him. Doesn't work so well on humans though. The smells blend together in a city. But you're the only Hanyou I've ever met. I could find you anywhere," he explained, his love of having to explain something to me loud in his tone.
"So if you could find me anywhere, why didn't you just tell her where I was? Sounds to me like her running away was all your fault," I pointed out.
"I..." he started, his mouth dropping open as he considered that.
"Great, I have my own supernatural stalker," I fake-moaned quickly, before he started crying again.
"You idiot, I'm not stalking you!" he protested, outraged, his guilt forgotten.
"Yeah right," I snorted. "Then why were you hanging around outside the house? I'll bet you spent all day looking into the women's windows, you little pervert," I taunted. Something about him just screamed out 'torment me mercilessly'. I couldn't resist it!
Staring at me, his green eyes wide, Shippo's mouth worked soundlessly as he thought of the best retort possible. Suddenly he shook his head, probably dismissing it all for later. "This is serious; we need to find her!" Shippo raged, pointing his tiny finger at me accusingly.
"We?" I echoed incredulously. "You're kidding, right? I can't go running around the city, I've got things to do," I said dismissively
"Like what?! What could possibly be more important than finding a lost girl?!" Shippo cried, his voice rich with righteous anger.
That was an easy one.
"School," I said gravely, the name bringing with it a familiar sense of dread.
I looked to the sky, and spotted the first signs of the rising sun as the darkness of night gave way to the pale colors of morning. A sense of coming doom crept up my spine, blocking out something Shippo said. Looking down, I blinked at him.
"Huh?" I mumbled at him.
Shippo's face contorted as a range of emotions flitted across, finally settling on defeat. "Never mind. Obviously you're not as great as Rin thought you were. To bad she didn't know that, or she'd still be safe. I'm out of here," Shippo said bitterly, as he got up to leave.
A flush of something like shame arose in me, and I looked down. Damn it. "Meet me here after school; I'll help you look for her, after that. Alright?" I said wearily, stopping him in his tracks. Looking back over his shoulder at me, he grinned brightly.
"Okay-see-you-then!" he sang out in a rush, as though his fit of bitterness had never happened. Without another word he disappeared in a puff of condensed smoke, without a trace, leaving me blinking like a stupid ox at the spot he had been standing. Stupid fox kids! Damn runaways! I'd just been played! Was I so naive a little kid could con me? I thought about that for a moment.
With a sigh, I stood up, noticing that the clean morning air no longer seemed so refreshing. Trudging back to the house, I went inside and closed the door behind me, wondering what I had just gotten myself into. Why would a little girl run away just to find me? I had helped her out, but it's not like I had stuck around to become buddies with her or anything. Plopping myself down onto the over-comfortable couch, I stared at the familiar ceiling.
Why was I going to school?
Kagome, I reminded myself, a mental picture of her beautiful face forming in my mind. My eyelids became heavy, and I blinked.
Abruptly I heard small feet pounding on the stairs, sure sign that Sota was coming to play, and I realized that my blink had turned into sleep. It was fairly bright in the living room, so I guessed that a few hours had passed. Sota was almost always the first to wake up, followed by me when he decided, each and every time, that I was not allowed to have peace and quiet in his presence.
"Hey Yasha, wake up time!" Sota trilled as he appeared in his pajamas, ready to give me a flying tackle. I braced myself. This was going to be a long, crazy day. Hoping to forestall his assault, I sat up quickly.
"I'm up, I'm up," I grumbled, feeling a bad mood setting in. I wished I could blink, and have time fast forward, so my day would be over already. I tried it experimentally, on the off chance.
"Mornin' Yasha. Why are you blinking like that? You look like an owl," Sota laughed, plopping himself down on the couch next to me, his short legs swinging in time to some musical beat only he could hear.
Looking down at him, I shrugged, feeling like an idiot.
Sota looked a lot like Kagome, with the same eyes and hair color. He was really smart, when he bothered to think. Sota always hit me with questions. First came the ones about my hair and eyes, then it had progressed from there. His curiosity was endless and his imagination huge, which fueled him with all the questions he needed to drive me absolutely insane. I still felt embarrassed every time I remembered his question at the dinner table a few nights ago, when he had asked if Kagome and I were in love. I would have laughed at Kagome's expression right alongside Sota, if I hadn't been mortified myself, and hurt at how easily she had dismissed the idea soon after.
"Wanna play some games?" he asked me, an eager tone in his high pitched voice. By games he meant video games, his ultimate passion. Fighting games mostly.
Shrugging again, I nodded. "Sure, why not," I said. Anything to put off the inevitable part where I got ready.
"Okay!" he exclaimed happily, as he scooted off the couch and approached the TV and game system set up against the wall. That's one thing I liked about him; he was really easy to please.
"Oh no you don't, Inuyasha," a sweet voice said behind me, causing me to jump a little before looking over my shoulder. Kagome stood there in her pajamas at the bottom of the stairs, her black hair messy and wild around her, causing my heart to climb up into my throat. She looked good in the morning. How had I not heard her come down? Sota's noise probably masked her, I guessed.
"W-Why not? It's just a game," I said, quickly looking away after realizing that I was staring again.
"Did you forget that we had to go early? We have to get you set up at the administration office before classes start. You're getting ready for school Mister, right now," she reminded imperiously, as she headed back up the stairs.
Crap. I had forgotten. Just wonderful. With a sigh, I got up, feeling very old.
"Sorry Sota, looks like I can't," I moaned. The video game seemed like a grand thing to do at that moment.
"Aw, man!" Sota pouted, sitting down with a controller in hand, as he selected single player instead of two player. Oh yeah, he's devastated, I thought sarcastically as Sota quickly lost himself in the game.
"It'll be alright, Sota. I know playing without me is gonna be tough, but you'll just have to be strong," I said sourly, wishing I were him.
"Wha..?" he mumbled at me absently, not taking his eyes from what he was doing.
With a snort I left him to clean up and prepare, which took very little time, as it turned out. Before I knew it, I stood at the front door in a black button up school uniform, with a book bag in one hand and my pride in the other, next to a radiant looking Kagome. I could swear she was glowing. Taking a deep breath, I turned to her, and had trouble not staring. She was in her usual short skirted school uniform. Her hair was brushed and shiny, but it still managed to seem a little wild. Kind of like her, I thought with a smirk. No matter what she chose to wear, she looked good. So I was pretty much always staring. And then trying to hide the fact that I was staring. Luckily she never seemed to notice. Maybe she just thought it was a quirk of mine, like my heritage.
"Well, I guess I'm set," I said, barely able to keep my voice cool. I felt my ears give a twitch in agitation underneath the black baseball cap I had on. "But do I have to wear this stupid thing? It makes it hard to hear," I complained, hooking a thumb at the hat. We had decided to not dye my hair, since it washed out too fast; it was too expensive to maintain.
Kagome took me in, her gaze traveling my body up to the hat, before her dark eyes settled on my own. "I can't think of anything else to use, besides that or a scarf," she admitted. I sighed in response, equally at a loss. My ears would just heighten the social punishment I was already going to get, if they were found out.
Kagome stepped closer, peering up into my face as she adjusted my cap for some unknown reason. I have found that women fuss with things that don't need fussing. I'd given up trying to figure out why. Not that I was complaining. The smell of apples and that something other that was just Kagome came with her, filling my senses until it was all I could do not to crush her to me, and start kissing whatever I could reach.
"Don't worry Inuyasha, you look bea--EH!" she ended up shrilling the last part, coughing over nothing. "Ah, I m-mean fine! You look just fine," She finished, stammering, her cheeks turning a deep red. She took a few steps back, adjusting a skirt that needed no adjustment.
I gaped, at a loss. What in the hell was wrong with her? Beaeeeh? Oh well, It wasn't like I'd never stumbled over words myself. But that didn't mean I couldn't give her hell for it.
"BeaeeEH? Is that code for something bad?" I half-joked, grinning.
With a mysterious smile, she played along. "You caught me. I think I have a paper bag somewhere we can use to put over your head. Some people at school have weak stomachs," she taunted, stepping out the door.
"Feh!" I snorted, following her out in the clear morning outside. This was going to suck.
Well, I hope it was good enough to avoid a lynching. Please put down those pitchforks! AHH!!