Author's Note- Time jump! I know… it's about time. This chapter takes place a whole week later. :o As always- read, review and enjoy!
The Beginning of Tomorrow
Out on the Town
By Kelly O'Connor
It had been a week since that fateful day, the evening she unsealed the invariably disgruntled yet curiously endearing hanyou boy from sengoku jidai.
Seven full days of narrowly dodging her friends inquiries by opting out of study sessions or worming her way out of the gaggle of girls to head home directly after school.
Kagome never wished more that the friends she had chosen weren't the nosy types. Then again, she supposed even she'd be suspicious if one of her companions was so obviously-clearly hiding something.
For Kagome, it was more the idea of explaining the situation than the actual situation that caused her to keep her friends in the dark regarding the new occupant of her home. In addition, she was not sure InuYasha was to a point where it wouldn't make him extremely uncomfortable or cause his often-unpleasant attitude to surface.
Walking home that afternoon, the hot pavement beneath her feet, Kagome sighed deeply and tapped her chin. "And is it just me or has InuYasha been a bit more temperamental the past few days?" She shook her head, recalling snappish comments he'd made when she left for school that morning. "It isn't as if I don't know why…"
The Higurashi family had done everything in their power to incorporate InuYasha into their lives without overwhelming him. He ate meals with them, he was invited into the living room when they watched television or played games, and he was allowed to freely traipse the shrine grounds during after-hours.
But all of that generosity didn't solve this one inevitable problem: "He's completely stir-crazy," Kagome recognized. "InuYasha has been stuck in this one small house and yard for an entire week, and most of that time- inside the house…"
Rubbing her forehead in exasperation, Kagome's averted her gaze to the edge of the sidewalk. An okonomiyaki booth, she noted to herself. It was certainly nothing unusual, as it was there every time she walked home this route. However, perhaps due to his inherent love for food, an image of InuYasha's oft-bored face flickered across her mind and she smiled lightly. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try taking InuYasha out tonight. I'll have to do it sometime, and the longer I wait… the less fair it is to him. He needs it.
Despite his tendency to vent his frustrations on Kagome (although she could scarcely deny she didn't do it to him in return at times), InuYasha was rarely, if ever rude to her mother. Standoffish at times at most. As such, Kagome merely blinked as if it were nothing surprising when her mother spoke of how the boy had assisted the older woman with dusting the foyer that afternoon.
"Mama's Boy," Kagome amusedly quipped under her breath to no one in particular.
InuYasha, who was standing across the hallway from Kagome's eyebrows creased, replacing the embarrassed expression he'd held when Mama was praising his exploits. "What'd you say Kagome?" He grumbled.
Taken aback, she struggled for words to cover up her slip. The last thing I'd want is for him to stop being good with Mama because he knows someone is onto him. "I said…" She bit her lip, "I was wondering if you wanted to leave the shrine for the first time tonight?"
"My Kagome, what a wonderful idea!" Mrs. Higurashi approved.
InuYasha's eyes widened, undeniably taken unawares by her suggestion.
"I just figured we could go out on the town, show you around and maybe get something to eat…" Her musings flittered to the okonomiyaki booth.
Crossing his arms and feigning indifference, InuYasha replied. "Oi, I guess that would be okay."
"Well!" Mama clasped her hands together, "Why don't you two go before it gets too dark?"
"Actually I thought we could go right now!" Kagome offered. All three of them are studying at Ayumi's house and won't be done for hours I'm sure…
"At least sit down and rest for a few minutes dear," Mrs. Higurashi requested. "I'll run up and grab that bandanna from your bedroom."
Heading into the living room and seating herself upon a zabuton, she nodded. "Thanks Mama."
"No problem, Kagome," Mama replied as she walked up the stairs, noting InuYasha waiting expectantly in the foyer. "I'll make sure to hurry up."
"Oh and Mama," she yelled upstairs from her place in the living room.
"If my friends call-- tell them I'm busy for the night," Kagome finished.
Sighing to herself, Mrs. Higurashi retrieved the blue bandanna from her daughter's bedroom. "Yes, of course."
The afternoon summer sun shone hotly down on the streets of Tokyo and Kagome shielded her eyes reflexively. She wondered for a brief moment if the heat of the pavement was painful on InuYasha's bare feet. However, he hadn't noted anything of the sort and she thought he appeared to be too caught up in the going-ons surrounding them to notice even if it had been.
For his part, InuYasha had barely spoken a word since they began traversing the crowded Tokyo sidewalks. His eyes were wide with wonderment as they took in the vast cityscape. However, every once in a while Kagome would notice an expression of irritation cross his features when someone stepped too close to him. She predicted he would have lost his temper instead of just looking sour had he not been so awestruck.
In an effort not to overload him with knowledge or overwhelm him, Kagome explained the modern marvels he expressed curiosity at in the simplest terms possible. "That's called a car," she pointed to one of the many automobiles driving down the street, "They carry people to where they want to go, but you have to steer it and give it direction. They come in all different sizes, for carrying different amounts of people…"
"Will I ever have to ride in one?" InuYasha inquired, seeming a bit apprehensive about the smoke spouting machines.
Kagome shrugged. "Sometime you will. We'd take the bus though," she gestured towards a large double tiered bus, "which is just a very big car."
"Oi, why don't people just walk?" He asked.
"Neh InuYasha!" Kagome placed her hands upon her hips. "Tokyo is really big and it's a lot quicker to ride in cars. It would take days to walk across Tokyo."
Glancing away as to avoid eye contact with her, the Hanyou sighed in resignation. "I guess that makes sense…"
"Of course it does," she nodded her head assuredly and proceeded to explain the basic concept behind the many stores that flanked the sidewalk.
Several minutes of explanation later, Kagome halted in her tracks as she picked up the familiar scent of okonomiyaki. Tugging on InuYasha's sleeve to garner his attention, she spoke. "Hey, you want to get something to eat?"
Never one to turn down food, the boy nodded.
"Well I figured we'd get something from this booth," she pointed it out to him. "What they have is called okonomiyaki and it's one of my favorite foods."
"Okonomiyaki?" he repeated, word foreign on his tongue.
"Mhmm, I promise you'll like it," Kagome approached the booth. "You just have to tell me what you want on it. Pork, beef, onions, mushrooms, corn or fish. You can pick two."
"Hmph," he tapped his chin, "I guess… beef and corn, whatever that is."
That's right, he wouldn't know what corn was… Kagome relayed the order to the employee at the booth and ordered her own. "I think that's a good choice InuYasha," she assured him as she paid for the meal. "I ordered us drinks as well."
"It's Coca-Cola," she handed him a lidded cup and a straw.
"What's this?" he toyed with the plastic tube, intrigued.
"It's called a straw. You use it to umm… suck the drink out of the cup. It's just a lot neater." Kagome explained, demonstrating the use of it on her own beverage. Following suit, InuYasha poked the straw through the perforation in the lid. "Good now just… suck."
She noticed him take a deep breath. "Suck… slowly," she amended.
He did so, and experienced his first taste of the ever-important carbonated beverage. He almost spit the straw out in surprise at the unfamiliar sensation of the bubbles dissolving on his tongue. However, beyond that initial bewilderment, he came to a conclusion. "This tastes good!"
"Order up!" the booth keeper interrupted Kagome and InuYasha's coke-drinking experience. He had decided it was best not to even ask about the strange boy who didn't know what straws or corn was. Turning away from her companion, Kagome snatched the two plates of okonomiyaki and thanked the man.
"I'm glad you like it," Kagome exclaimed. She noticed him eyeing the two plates. "Just wait a minute and we can eat this."
"Eh, why not now?" He stopped sipping his drink momentarily.
"Well I figured we could go to the park to eat it," she gestured to the spacious city park across the street. "I have some things I want to talk to you about…" her voice dropped in pitch, "And I thought you'd be more comfortable there since there's not much modern."
InuYasha followed her gaze to the 'park.' Indeed it appeared to be quite inviting, what with clumps of trees, grass and even the corner of what appeared to be a pond peeked out from behind some of the flora. However, he couldn't deny the awkwardness of the idea of going there to 'talk.' Keh, but if Kagome wants to talk to me she'll do it anyway, so I may as well…"Oi fine," he stepped away from the sidewalk.
"Neh InuYasha, you're gonna get run over by a car!" Kagome grabbed his arm and pulled him back from the street. "You have to cross at a stoplight."
"I thought they weren't dangerous," he grumbled, embarrassed by his blunder.
"They're not," she walked towards the nearest light, him following along. "If you follow the rules." Once Kagome reached the crosswalk, she pressed the button in clear view of InuYasha. "Now once that light across the street says so, we can cross."
The Hanyou waited a few moments before noticing that the light had changed. "We can go now?"
Kagome smiled. "Yes, just walk between the two painted lines."
The two teenagers did so, arriving at the park within minutes.
"It's nice isn't it?" the dark-haired girl took a deep breath, taking in the scent of greenery. Noticing a bench, she moved to sit down. However, InuYasha had taken up a place elsewhere. He sat on the grass near the small man-made pond, legs crossed. Well I guess we can sit there… she sat down next to him and handed him the okonomiyaki.
"It's okay," he gave a delayed reply and began picking at his meal.
Stretching her legs out, Kagome's gaze averted to the skyline. Sunset had descended upon the city, painting it in shades of smooth red and melted gold. Switching back to the boy who sat next to her, Kagome let a slightly wry smile cross her lips. If InuYasha were a modern boy, this would be a date. Dinner and a trip to the park, pretty romantic if I do say so. I wonder if InuYasha will ever get to the point where he can do things like that? Take girls on dates… Kagome attempted to picture him escorting another girl around town and promptly frowned. I guess he's not that type but... She peeked towards him again. Then again he's here with me now. A light blush made its way across her cheeks. Maybe I'm just enjoying this more than I should…
Kagome's musings were interrupted when she felt a cautious tap on her shoulder. "Eh?"
"Oi, Kagome," InuYasha pulled his hand away and took a sip from his straw. "Aren't you going to eat?"
She exhaled and smiled in spite of herself. I should have known it would be something like that. Digging into her meal, Kagome prepared to broach the topics of discussion she'd intended to.
"I was wondering… how you like this era so far," Kagome began hesitantly.
Creasing his eyebrows in thought, InuYasha put down his drink. "Keh, what am I supposed to think of it?"
"I'm just curious!" She snapped. Oh this will never work. Why do I bother trying to talk to him?
"It's… not that bad," the Hanyou surprised her with a reply, "It's not as if my time was that great either."
Pleased, Kagome gestured him to continue.
"Bah, I just wish I didn't have to stay inside so much," he grumbled.
"I know. That's why I brought you out tonight. Eventually I want you to be able to go out when and where you please…" she explained.
"So we'll leave the shrine more often from now on?" InuYasha anticipated, swallowing a piece of beef.
He seems like he's in a good mood. I'm glad…"We definitely will. That's a promise."
"Keh, you better keep it!" he countered.
Narrowing her eyebrows, Kagome frowned. "Neh, InuYasha. I'll never break a promise!" She sipped her drink. "I was wondering… I was talking to Mama about this," she paused until she'd garnered his attention, "How would you feel about eventually meeting… other people our age?"
A sudden wave of discomfiture washing over him, InuYasha blinked, "I'm… not sure."
Feeling empathy for his plight, Kagome gave him a warm smile. "Well the thing is, ever since I've unsealed you I've had to hide you from my friends."
"I thought you weren't going to hide me," InuYasha retorted, crossly.
"Hey! I'm not. I just wasn't sure if you were ready to meet other people," she explained, frustrated with being misunderstood. "And I didn't want you to do it until you felt ready."
"Why should I have to meet them?" He wondered out loud.
Kagome tapped her chin. "Because you live in my house, so you're going to have to sooner or later anyway," she paused, "and because… do you really want me to be the only person your age you know?"
He looked slightly taken aback but recovered quickly. "Bah, it's enough for me."
Kagome's eyes widened, touched by the idea that she alone was apparently 'enough.' However, the fundamental problem still existed so she brushed that aside. "You're just afraid, aren't you?"
"My friends are good people, I promise InuYasha," she emphasized.
The silver-haired boy glanced up towards the sky. "Will you tell them everything?"
"Do you mean will I tell them that you're a Hanyou?" Kagome affirmed.
Gazing upwards as well, she sighed. "I will tell them, if you let me."
"Don't be scared. I won't tell anyone I don't trust," Kagome reasoned. InuYasha made a sound of recognition in the back of his throat. "And I don't think it will hurt. At most you'll just get some unwanted attention from them," she let out a short laugh.
InuYasha went silent, not even off-handed sipping or chewing coming from his direction.
"Hey umm…" Kagome ventured after a minute or so.
Scooting into a laying position and flopping onto his side, InuYasha turned to her. "If… you say so."
"What?" She blinked.
"Hmph, I said if you think I should meet 'em I guess I can." He rolled from his side onto his back, arms crossed behind his head.
Kagome gave him a bright smile and lay down on her back as well. "I'm glad," she closed her eyes in repose, "and InuYasha… I had fun tonight with you."
Cheeks tinged pink; he let out a 'keh.' Then his eyes slid shut as he relaxed alongside her.