WASSUP! I'm back! After a MAJOR long break, for which I am profusely sorry! I mean it! I really am! And you guys were so sweet with your reviews! A lot of you actually said not to hurry with the update and take care of myself, which is just so nice! I honestly didn't expect that, I was just venting. My life is still insanely busy, but at least my midterms are all done (My last one was Saturday, but I was too busy over the weekend to start typing. Blame Tabby, she made me want to hang out with her ) Anyways though! Here's the update! And I'm losing out on sleep and study time to do it just because I love you all (and I love this fic, it's like my baby!)


Maybe he was being a little bit sensitive. Maybe he was overreacting. Or maybe the sight of his best friends face lighting up was just some random nightmarish hallucination, one of those once in a lifetime experiences. Whatever the case, he was becoming irritated. "You don't have to be so happy about it." Inuyasha muttered darkly, crossing his arms. "It's just my sister and her dumb friend. I don't even know Sango, except by reputation. It's nothing to get excited about."

Miroku just shook his head sadly, as if lamenting a lost cause. "My friend, two girls are always something to get excited about." His eyes got that faraway look in them that they did every time he started thinking the kinds of thoughts Inuyasha avoided. Catching the disgusted look Inuyasha shot him, he switched gears. "Besides, what are you so worked up about? You can't hate your sister that much." Miroku's logic was simple. If he talked about Kikyo, Inuyasha would never know how excited he was to see Sango.

"She's my sister. Of course I hate her." His eyes narrowed like they always did when he was thinking hard. "Why did you want her to come anyway? It's not like you guys are friends." It was on the tip of his tongue to come out and ask him exactly what kind of interest he had in Kagome, but not even Inuyasha was that blunt. And the whole situation was bothering him.

Miroku racked his brain. "Because," He replied smoothly, letting his face meld into its common lovelorn expression. "I just thought she'd be fun to get to know, since she's so different and all." Inuyasha would never have fallen for that kind of line, he knew his best friend better than that, but the sudden unguarded, almost goofy look that stole over his face wasn't normal. Inuyasha continued down the hall more confused, and more disturbed than ever.

Miroku straightened out his features and walked next to him, still trying to banish the thoughts of Sango that had suddenly intruded. She was fun to mess with, and as clever as she could be, she really wasn't into mind games. Knowing her, she probably thought it was just bad luck they were going on the trip together. Meaning she'd be even angrier if she ever found out he'd planned it.

And, he reflected, it probably wasn't a good sign if the idea of making her mad was something he looked forward to.


She clenched her fist, gripping her fork as tightly as she could as if to stop herself from plunging it into his heart. Her hand was shaking, ever so slightly, but he didn't notice. Her face commanded attention, lips parted in absolute shock, eyes wide in disbelief. A small breathe escaped her before she was able to form a coherent sentence.

"You don't like Ruthless?" She dropped the fork, almost as if she didn't trust herself to hold it any longer. "Why not?" She demanded, hair flying as she crossed her arms in a huff. "Are you crazy?" She asked, through lidded eyes.

Kouga chuckled. He couldn't help it; she was definitely different than any of the other girls at their school. She probably didn't even realize that half the cafeteria was staring at them. Suddenly her eyes widened even more, and she slouched lower in her seat. Taking a deep breath, she schooled her features to calmness and met his gaze. "You're weird." She informed him, picking up her fork to resume her meal.

She'd almost blown it. It was a lot harder to act nice to a guy nonstop than she'd thought it would be! And Kouga was actually pretty nice. But honestly, he didn't like Ruthless at all? It would have taken a miracle for her not to react, so Inuyasha should just be happy that she fixed it and calmed down at the end. She could see him, a couple tables behind Kouga, watching her like a hawk out of the corner of his eye to make sure his little plan was a success.

Idiot.

She turned her attention back to Kouga. "What is it you don't like about them?" She asked stiffly, stretching her lips wide in what she hoped looked like a smile. He didn't look at her oddly so she assumed she looked normal enough.

He shrugged. "I just don't really think their sound is that great. And there's too many people singing. A band should only have the lead singer, I think."

She scrunched her nose at him. "Are you crazy?" She waved him off before he could answer that. "I know, I know, I already asked you that. But they have the coolest sound! They mix like three different genres into one! It's like musical genius!"

He was starting to look bored with her. Great, she was losing him. And Inuyasha was still keeping an eye on her. She cleared her throat, mentally cursing herself for what she was about to do and internally begging forgiveness from her idols. "Well, maybe I'm just biased." She gave him what she hoped was a rueful grin. "My brother listens to them all the time and I probably just got used to it. I haven't really heard anything else." Underneath the table her hands were clenched into fists, her nails leaving crescent marks on her skin.

But then he smiled back at her. "Probably. I've got some great CD's at my house. You should come over sometime to hear them. I'm sure you'll ditch your brother's lame music fast enough."

She let out her breath and forced herself to unclench her fists. This was what she wanted. He was happy with her. Inuyasha would be happy with her. Her secret was still safe. Her fingers clenched again. But she didn't want him to invite her to his house! How awkward would that be? And if Inuyasha found out he'd make her go! Steeling herself, she smiled brightly. "You're probably right!" She stretched that smile as wide as it would go and began to devour her food. Lunch couldn't be over fast enough.


Honestly. She was really obvious. And amazingly she didn't seem to realize it. Her arms were crossed, her chin jutted out, forcing her small nose to stick into the air. She was purposefully facing any direction other than his.

He coughed lightly. "Kagome?" He made his voice light, as if he hadn't already figured her out completely. "Are you ignoring me?" His voice was innocent, but not so much as to inspire suspicion. He focused on the road, but watched her out of the corner of his eye.

She sniffed. "Now why would I do something like that." She made her voice unconcerned and cold. "I have absolutely no reason to utterly hate you, now do I?" She looked at him now, through lidded eyes, waiting expectantly for his answer.

Trick question. "No?" He ventured, eyeing her warily. She was Kagome. She got pissed. That was what she did. Especially with him it seemed. But she was rarely this overly overdramatic about it. Her eyes narrowed. Wrong answer. He grimaced, figuring that now he'd be completely (but not as exaggeratingly) ignored the rest of the afternoon, without even being given an explanation. Kikyo was a brat like that.

But Kagome was the one sitting next to him. She kept her arms crossed, and twisted in her seat to face him. "You want to know what I had to go through because of your stupid little plan!" It was technically a question, but she didn't wait for an answer before accosting him with her recounting. "Kouga just happens to hate Ruthless! He doesn't like them at all!"

Inuyasha was still kicking himself for comparing Kagome to Kikyo, even briefly. He should have known Kagome would use any excuse to yell at him. Actually not talking to someone when she 'wasn't speaking to them' was a completely foreign idea to her. "Well, he's an idiot." He shrugged.

Her eyes blazed. "Yeah, and guess who was forced to 'make nice' to that idiot and play along with his bizarre taste in music because of her Godfather wannabe, blackmailing, stupid, fake brother!"

It finally clicked. He took his eyes of the road and stared at her. "You were actually able to pull it off?" She nodded angrily and he started laughing. "So when you had your fork aimed at him . . ."

"I was mentally forcing myself not to murder him, yes." She answered, still nodding. He stopped laughing but couldn't keep the grin off his face. She smacked him in the side. "Stop looking so cocky. What are you so happy about anyway?"

"A: The plan's working, B: Someone else wanted to kill Kouga, and C:" He smirked in her direction. "I keep imagining you trying to stab him to death with your fork."

"It was the only available weapon!" She huffed, sticking out her tongue. "I could have done it, y'know." She muttered darkly. "I'm dangerous." He couldn't help it. He tried to, he really did, but a small, incriminating chuckle escaped him. "Oh, shut up." She glared at him, but there was no sting to it. And smacking him in the head seemed to make her feel better.

They made it to Inuyasha's home, and climbed up the porch steps. "After you." He said, opening the door. "I don't trust you to be behind me." He explained. "You're too dangerous."

Her only reply was to slam the door shut in his face.


Solitude.

Solitude was something she'd come to appreciate the past few weeks. Living alone in an empty house, even one as beautiful as the place she now called home, was said to cause madness. But she didn't feel mad. She felt content. There were no parents trying to subtly urge her to be more outgoing, no brother to be rude and insulting, and no classmates to bother with. She was free to sit all day and think. And she never got bored.

She thought about her regular life, a little. She thought about the differences between being tutored like Kagome normally was and attending a public school. She preferred the first . . . she'd never been one for crowds. She thought about her family, and how out of touch they were. They weren't like normally parents, always hounding their kids, but they didn't treat their children like adults either.

Their balance bothered her. She liked the way Mr. Higurashi managed things. He recognized her as an adult and treated her accordingly. He didn't mince words, and he didn't quote platitudes. He almost treated her like a business associate. It was a pleasant feeling.

She knew the bodyguards had annoyed Kagome, but she hadn't found anything wrong with them yet. They carried her bags when she went shopping, and they waited outside the door when she was at home, rather than following her into every room. Akira was interesting to talk to. He never insulted her, and always let her finish her sentences politely.

At first he'd treated her warily, as if expecting her to blow up at him, but he'd grown to enjoy their conversations. At least, now he started them as often as she did. They shared a lot of the same views on the social politics she was learning. He'd been surprised at her interest, but had encouraged it, and he was a good teacher.

She was in her room now. Akira was outside the door, with two of the other men. They weren't talking. She was glad of that; it let her enjoy her solitude more. She was stretched out atop her wide bedspread, hair tucked neatly under her back. She was utterly content staring at the ceiling and thinking about everything and nothing.

The door opened. Surprised, she sat up. The guards always knocked, it was only common courtesy. But she laid back down when she recognized the tall man in the doorway. He stepped inside and Akira closed the door softly behind him.

She let Kagome's dad talk first.

He didn't clear his throat before speaking. That would have implied nervousness. "I've been invited to the Matsura's for dinner tonight. They specially requested that you attend, to provide company for their son and daughter." She sat up and smiled at him, but he continued without interruption. "I know you normally don't like those sorts of things, but since you've shown a new interest in our society, I thought I'd extend the invitation."

Her smile was genuine, but reserved. She knew he approved of it. "Thank you." She told him, moving to sit on the edge of the bed and face him. "I would like to go."

He gave her a smile of his own, and she couldn't help but think he must have been an incredibly handsome man in his younger years. Now his face was lined with age, but he still gave off a kind of dignified aura that commanded respect at the very least.

"You've changed." He told her, abruptly. "And I just want you to know," He looked her in the eye as he spoke. "I'm proud of you Kagome." He nodded once, whether in approval or as a gesture of finality, she wasn't sure. But his words warmed her.

And for a second she forgot she was Kikyo.


2 minutes.

2 minutes Kagome.

That's what he'd told her.

Twice.

Five minutes apart.

Ten minutes ago.

"I mean it K-Kikyo!" He corrected himself mid yell as he banged against her door. "We really have to leave or we're going to be late!" He raised his fist to hit the unyielding wood again, but managed to stop just in time when she opened the door.

Yeah. She was definitely Kagome. The jeans were normal enough, hanging low, but nothing obscene. They weren't too tight, and even sagged a little around the upper leg, giving them a comfy looking affect. The shirt she'd chosen was one that had been a gift from him to Kikyo.

It was a black tank top with silver lightening cutting across it. He'd bought it cause he'd known she would hate it. Pity. If she'd have ever worn it, she'd probably look as good in it as Kagome did now. Or maybe not. Kagome had a way of carrying herself that let her pull of things other people couldn't get away with.

"It's your own fault you know," She huffed, not bothering to shut the door behind her as she raced him down the stairs. He shot her an incredulous look. They made it out the front door and into his car in record time. "You told me we didn't have to wear our uniforms." She explained, watching him start the car.

He pulled out of the driveway before shooting her an exasperated look. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"So, I got to experiment with Kikyo's clothes!" She grinned happily. "Do you have any idea how exciting that was? Everything was so wonderfully normal. I didn't feel like some wannabe princess, I felt like a teenage girl!" She sighed happily. "It was great." He was still staring at her funny. She rolled her eyes. "I don't expect you to understand. You're a guy! I was just telling you anyway."

"Next time don't." He ordered. Then he eyed her warily. "You're a total freak, do you know that?" She just stuck her tongue out at him, as if the action totally defended her from being anything but normal. He hid a smile as they drove to the school.

When they arrived, the two teachers supervising were already calling role for their classes. Inuyasha dragged Kagome towards his last period classmates, ignoring her protests. When he finally let go of her wrist, she put her hands on her hips and glared at him.

"What's he doing here?" She hissed, pointing towards the other class. She was definitely not thrilled.

"Who? Oh." He shrugged, knowing his nonchalance would annoy her. "Hojo's the teacher for the other class." He ignored her glare and scanned the rest of the group. His eyes settled on one student in particular from the other class. "What's that idiot doing here?" He growled.

Kagome followed his gaze. "Who?" Her voice was sickly sweet. "Oh. Kouga's in Hojo's last period class." He gave her a look which she promptly ignored.

And both of them had a bad feeling about the field trip.


Okay! Sorry! I know it's shorter then normal but I really wanted it up tonight! I know I told Tabby was going to bed, but I wanted to finish. I'm like going to die though. I'm SO out of it. And I'm getting up an hour early to do schoolwork tomorrow morning since something ELSE preoccupied my time tonight coughcough In any case! YAY! The field trip is finally coming up! See I thought the last chapter and this chapter would all be one chapter, but uh . . . no. It didn't work out that way. Too much stuff went on in my head. So yeah.

I hope you like it though! Please PLEASE let me know! I'm a sucker for reviews (so what else is new) And I'm just so durn proud of myself for finally getting this out that I want other ppl to be proud too, lol.

Vonna