Wake Me Up Inside
Author's note - Before we start, I want to apologize up front for taking so long to get this latest chapter completed. Just after I finished the last installment, I became extremely busy with life. I have moved from Wisconsin to North Carolina and have spent the past six months settling. At the same time, fate tossed me plenty of other bones to gnaw on. I've had family issues to fix. I've made a BIG.. HUGE… Monumentous change in religious lifestyle. Half of me still can't believe I'm including myself and religion in the same sentence being that I'm so very scientific-minded. I've devoted quite a bit of time to an original story that I hope to someday be able to publish as a novel. Then, my doggy companion of at least 12 years, Chewbacca the gentle giant, passed away last month. Very sad, but I know he is still with me wherever I go.
So on that note, I dedicate this latest chapter to NEW BEGINNINGS!
Beta-read by: Many Voices In My Head and Silver-on-the-rose.
Glossery / Translations
Minna - Everyone
Boku wa kitsune da yo! - I'm a fox demon!
Zakena - In this context, he's basically saying 'Bullshit!'
Haz-Mat - This is English slang for Hazardous Materials, for those of you that might miss it.
Gomen nasai - Formal version of 'I'm sorry.'
Obi - The obi described in this chapter is referring to the wide sash belt that is tied around a kimono.
Suzumi - beautiful chime
Kaa-san - Mother
Musuko - humble form of son
Daijoubu - In the context used here, it means, 'I'm all right.'
Okaa-san - More honorable form of mother.
Oyaji - pop, old man as in father
Anata - This word literally means 'you', but here it is used as an endearment a wife calls her husband.
Konnichiwa - Hello or good afternoon
Sherri-chan - I'm only noting this one because I purposely changed the 'ry' in her name to the Japanese syllable 'ri.'
Arigatou - Thank you. On a side note, the added u is a technicality I sometimes use habitually as it is written this way in Japanese Hiragana characters. Same goes for Sesshoumaru. The u after the o simply means the o is a longer sound.
Baka - If you're an anime fan and you don't know this word, ya haven't watched enough. -lol- All purpose idiot insult.
Yasui Ookami - Wimpy Wolf
Ookami - wolf
Tou-san - father
Shikon no Tama - Jewel of Four Souls
"Oh! Hey, I got a good one!" Keito blurted amidst a conversation on witty responses to telemarketer calls. Everyone turned his way eager to hear of another tale of hell given to a salesperson dumb enough to get Keito on the phone.
"I forget what company it was, but when I answered the dude said to me, 'Hello, this is -- insert name of the doomed here. How are you?'" the Comic Stooge began. "So I took a melodramatic deep breath and sighed. Then I said to him in a super downer voice, 'I'm doing all right I guess. Though, it's kinda been difficult lately with my step-dad going through a sex change operation.'
"The dude replied in a shocked tone, 'Oh! I.. I'm sure that must make it hard on the family.' I grunted and said, 'Yeah. It really does. It's affected my little sister the most. She's three and obsessed with the idea of having a weenie.' The guy got quiet a moment then responded, 'Well, I won't bother you anymore. You've got plenty of other things to worry about. I hope things get better for your family.' Click."
The moment Keito ended the tale with a pretend hang up, the room burst into laughter. Shockingly enough, it was Dave who was laughing the hardest. Beth was half mortified at such a tale getting told in front of Sherry, but one look at the girl told her that Sherry was hardly even paying attention. Snuggled up to Inuyasha's left side, she was more wrapped up in watching Shippo while enjoying Inuyasha's arm weakly wrapped around her. Honestly, despite the noise, the child seemed to also be half-asleep.
The sound in the room died as the door burst open. Through it darted none other than Margaret Prentice. Dressed in a cloud blue baby doll shirt that showed way too much cleavage and the shortest pair of shorts Beth had ever seen, the woman burst in looking like she'd won the lottery.
"Kuso!" was the first thing that popped out of Inuyasha's mouth. The Stooges all groaned in unison. Meanwhile Margaret was getting instantly teary-eyed, just seeing Yue with his eyes open. Though his voice was near gone, it was still icing on her cake.
Kagome glared at him as she got to her feet, "Mind your mouth and your manners." She looked to the Stooges, "Same for the three of you. I invited her."
"I'm lost," Shippo admitted. Kirara mewed from Beth's lap.
"Margaret, this is Sherry, Mark, Shippo, and the smuggled feline in Beth's lap is Kirara," Kagome introduced as she walked over to stand beside Shippo. "Minna, those who haven't already met her, this is Margaret. She's a friend of Yue's from school," Kagome continued politely.
Margaret blinked at the new people like they'd grown antlers, then looked at Kagome like she wasn't quite sure what to make of her either.
"Hello, Margaret. Nice to meet you," Shippo said warmly with a smile and a nod.
"Umm, hi. Back at you," Margaret responded in a momentarily charmed daze.
"Go ahead, Shippo. Flirt with her all you want," Yue rasped.
"Bite me, Doggy. Didn't Kagome tell you to mind your manners? You're really itching to be crammed back into that dog house, aren't you?" Shippo shot back with a smirk.
"If I have to get up and-" Yue started only to stall as Sherry picked up his defense.
"Stop picking on Yash, meanie!" the girl returned with a glare as she got up and sent a shoe careening through the air to pop Shippo in the head with an audible smack.
"Nice throw, Dudette," Keito blinked.
"Hey, it's my job to irritate him. It always has been. Boku wa kitsune da yo! That's what I do," Shippo argued, his eyes sparkling with glee at the crossing of swords with the young girl.
"Yeah, well I'm his agent while he's here, so it's my job to get you back!" she retorted, sticking her tongue out at him. Winking and pulling down the eyelid of his open eye, he gave her the Japanese version in return.
Snapping out of her brief daze, Margaret seized the moment to return her attention to the reason why she was here in the first place. While everyone was distracted by the drama erupting between Sherry and Shippo -- except for Mark who was copping a feel of Beth's rear and Beth who was smacking him for it -- Margaret swiftly made her way to Yue's bedside. Yue was rendered unable to utter a sound as he was enveloped in the woman's smothering hug.
"Thank God, you're all right. I was so worried you'd never wake up! You have no idea how much I've missed you!" she whispered into his ear as tears spilled from her glossy turquoise eyes to soak into his raven locks. Unable to fight back in his current condition, Yue went into sugar shock.
"Hey Margie! Let the man breathe, dammit!" Keito growled as he moved to pull Margaret back.
Dave stepped in to lend assistance in the move, "Don't wear out your welcome, Margaret."
"Oh brother. Not the two-timing mess again. Yash, you seriously need to sort out your female priorities," Shippo groaned.
"Zakena!" Yue bellowed back. Immediately afterward, he regretted the outburst as it threw him into a massive coughing fit. Sherry frowned, returning to give him a comforting hug.
"Shippo!" Kagome chided. "That one was taking it a bit far, don't you think?"
"Foot in mouth. Apologies," Shippo responded.
"Okay folks, can we try to tone down the teasing? Don't forget Yue has only just woken and his body is still very weak. He can't keep up with all of this. And Yue, please try to refrain from using up too much energy. You don't want to make your situation any worse do you," Beth said sternly. Yue grunted while the rest uttered agreements and apologies to the nurse.
"Excuse me!" Margaret barked as she shoved off Keito and Dave's hold on her. Her face red with anger and streaked with tears, she turned to yell at the two Stooges, "Is it so wrong for me to greet a best friend whom I've only just gotten back?"
"Best friend my-" Dave started to retort, only to stop when Kagome laid a hand on his shoulder.
"She has a point, Dave. Like it or not, she is his friend. I invited her here because as a friend that showed concern for him, she has just as much right to welcome him back as the rest of us," Kagome told him.
Yue panted for breath while giving Sherry's hand a squeeze. When he could finally get a word out, he found the best he could do was whisper. Taking Sherry up on her roll as his official spokesperson, he whispered his words to her. Sherry blinked and nodded before turning to the others, "Margaret, he says you can stay, but be nice to Kagome and no kissing him. Keito, you're in deep doo-doo for that shirt."
"Yue, dude, when you manage to get yourself put back together, I will let you kick my wise-crack all you want to," Keito responded with a cheesy grin.
"Here, I can help him out on that one, funny man," Dave said as he kicked his friend in the butt to the amusement of the others. He then looked to Yue, "Okay, settle one thing for us, once and for all. Which girl are you officially dating?"
"Ouch," Mark said with a wince at the question. He found himself being pinned by a flaming glare of death only Beth could execute so well.
Rolling his eyes, Yue gave a duh-glare as he pointed to Kagome who blushed. Meanwhile, Margaret gained a look of pained shock. Yue pinned his eyes on Kagome and crooked his pointing finger into a come-hither gesture. As he did so, a thought dawned on Kagome.
"Hold on, Yue. I'll be right back!" she blurted before turning to dash out the door.
"Any clue whatsoever what she's doing?" Dave asked with a baffled look.
"Zilch," Zach replied.
"Oooh, Blondie's stumped. How rare!" Keito snickered before 'Blondie' smacked him upside the head.
"So how long have you known.. Yue, Margaret?" Shippo asked conversationally.
"Oh, since Junior High," Margaret told him, flattered that he would speak to her so kindly. Grabbing a tissue from the box on the end table, she wiped the tears from her face and blew her nose in a dainty manner.
Dave grinned at Mark, "You like pain, don't ya bub?"
"Sometimes, it's just worth it," Mark replied shamelessly as he rubbed at the latest hand print on his face. Beth fumed.
"You have a weird bunch of friends, Yash," Sherry told him softly. He smiled and simply nodded. His smile broadened when the girl laid her head on his shoulder to relax with him. Slowly he managed to wrap his arm around the child. Inside he wondered how her uncle could care so little for her when all she ever did was bring him joy.
"Comfy over there?" Keito asked them a few minutes later as he bopped over to sit cross-legged on the end of the bed.
"Yup," Sherry said with a giggle.
"Yue, you tell us when you want us to scram so you can recharge, all right? I'm serious, dude," Keito told his friend sternly. Yue chuckled and nodded.
"That's a good point, Keito," Beth spoke up. "I think we should make it a thirty minute limit at most, then clear out for a little while and let him gets some rest."
"Good idea," Dave nodded. "Heck, it takes half the day's worth of energy to keep up with Keito, let alone the rest of us."
Sherry giggled as Yue whispered something to her. She grinned and repeated it louder, "He says 'You're just as bad, Davy.' He says, 'All three of you are exasperating!'"
Dave snorted in contempt while the others laughed. Yue whispered again to Sherry who turned again to repeat, "How many Stooges does it take to change a light bulb?"
"Oh god," Dave groaned.
"Well apparently more than one. I found that out first hand," Zach said wryly.
As people laughed, Sherry giggled and recited Yue's answer, "One to make a wise-crack about the lights going out. One to crack the wise-cracker for making the wise-cracker. One to call them morons and crack both their heads for fighting over a stupid light bulb. And another to actually change the light bulb."
Laughter rang out again, and then Margaret spoke, "That is, unless a storm put the lights out, in which case the one who normally cracked the wise-cracker was busy in the corner tutoring me on what a proper kiss was."
Keito, Zach, and Yue all three made looks of shock as Dave make a look of indignation.
"Oh my god, you said you went back there to chew her out, not kiss her silly!" Keito blurted, pointing an accusative finger.
"Scandalous!" Zach hissed. Keito gave him a weird look, to which he shrugged and replied, "Well someone had to say your line. Since you stole mine, I thought it only fair that I steal yours."
"Awwww, aren't you just so thoughtful," Keito cooed before puckering up and taking a step toward him. Both Zach and Dave screamed and fled the room while Sherry, Shippo, Margaret and Mark laughed hysterically at their expense.
"I'm so glad I didn't go to school with you boys," Beth groaned.
"Yue? Are you okay?" Margaret asked the bed-ridden man who had his eyes squeezed shut while he shook.
Sherry blinked and looked at him as he opened his eyes and nodded. She giggled and announced, "He's fine. Keito's got him laughing so hard he's in tears."
"All hail the Master of the Whizzbang!" Keito declared before crowing like a rooster, then making the loudest fake fart noise he possibility could.
After shaking some more with laughter, Yue whispered again to Sherry who then told Keito, "You might want to fix that troublesome valve before they have to call in a Haz-Mat team."
"Amen," Beth concurred as the others laughed.
"I hear Beano and Duct Tape work wonders," Shippo grinned.
"Oooh! I like that idea! I'm sure we have some of both in this place somewhere," Beth said with a wicked grin.
"Oh crap!" Keito cried with a look of horror.
"Not here please. The place stinks enough with that last expulsion of yours," Beth complained with a faux disgusted face.
"Hey, with duct tape, you can give him a bikini wax for the Mr. Pansy competition! He can compete with Fabio!" Margaret supplied. This time it was Keito who screamed and ran out the door.
"Stop! You'll kill us both if you make us laugh any harder!" Sherry whined whilst holding her aching stomach and wiping tears of laughter from her eyes.
A few minutes later, Kagome returned, her sapphire eyes filled with mirth. Zack and Dave flanked her, pretending to protect her while actually hiding behind her incase Keito came at them again. In Kagome's arms was a photo album. She grinned at the group as she entered the room, "You people are having entirely too much fun."
"Aren't you suppose to goof off and have fun at a party?" Mark asked incredulously.
"Yes, but that does not mean you can frisk the nurse, pervert!" Beth snapped as she slapped at his roaming hand.
"Hey, the only thing missing from this scene is Kagome and Yue fighting. And Yue eating dirt for running his mouth," Shippo teased with a chuckle.
"Yue's being a good boy! It's everyone else that's being rowdy," Sherry shot back, sticking her tongue out at the fox again.
Kagome laughed then asked, "Where did Keito go?"
"He bolted from the room screaming when Margaret suggested using Shippo's suggestion of duct tape to give Keito a wax job in interesting areas for a Mr. Pansy contest," Beth smirked. Dave and Zach cringed while Kagome burst out laughing.
Dave then spoke up, "Okay lets leave this disgusting topic and look at pictures. What kind of dirt do you have for us O-Miko-sama?"
Kagome blushed then opened the book in her arms. She flipped it to the page she was looking for and passed it to Dave, "That's from one of my brother Souta's birthday parties."
Yue grinned in obvious memory of the event.
"Holy shit!" Dave blurted as he stared at the pictures of a young boy happily hugging Kagome and Inuyasha, and multiple shots of Inuyasha and Souta playing with wooden swords. What stunned him was Inuyasha, who looked exactly as Yue had this morning when he was wearing the red clothes. His hair was the same raven black, and his eyes were the same deep indigo. The only difference was that he appeared just slightly younger.
"Amazing," Zach gawked before taking the book and passing it to Margaret who'd run over to try and get a glimpse.
"I didn't know you could sword fight," she told Yue contemplatively.
"You better believe he can. Though it was funny when he was first learning how," Shippo commented with a chuckle. Yue glared at him.
Kagome laughed, "That's true. I suppose you could kind of say Sesshoumaru taught him how with as many times as he forced Inuyasha to use it in the beginning." She paused in contemplation, "He kind of seemed to back off a bit once Inuyasha got the hang of Tessaiga."
"Inuyasha?" Margaret inquired with a confused look.
Kagome blanched, "Umm, it's a.. another name I know Yue by. The name slips out by habit."
"Oh," Margaret replied as she passed the book to Shippo with a sweet smile. He smiled back as he took the book.
"I remember those swords. I found them and beat Inuyasha up with one of them, if I remember right," Shippo said with a laugh as he used the introduction of Yue's other name as an excuse to resume using it. Kirara mewed. "Oh, that's right. I'm sorry, Kirara found them. Gomen nasai, Kirara."
"Yash says you woke him up, beating the crap out of him with one," Sherry declared, glaring narrow-eyed at Shippo. "Cheater."
"All's fair in love and war," Shippo quoted, sticking his tongue out at her as he passed the book to Beth and Mark.
"Shippo, I think you picked up way too much watching Inuyasha and I fight all the time," Kagome grinned.
"Yeah. Though, you do realize it'll be harder to run from him when he makes you mad anymore," Shippo pointed out.
"As if! If she can do all you say she can, then all she has to do is seal him in the dog house," Dave laughed. Yue snorted.
"No good. You weren't there the last time someone had the bright idea to lock him in a shed. He went insane and beat the bloody crap out of me," Shippo said wryly.
Yue whispered to Sherry who then said, "Yash says he beat you up because you tried to make him think you were Kagome."
"That's because he wouldn't shut up and be still so that his wounds from Sesshoumaru would heal, which is why he was locked in the shed in the first place! Kaede and Miroku sealed him there so that he wouldn't do something stupid like go off and fight!" Shippo returned.
Sherry blinked and turned to tap Yue's nose, "Bad Doggie."
The room filled with laughter as Yue made a face at the reprimand. Mark to the moment to pass the picture book to Sherry who held it up so Yue could see. He began whispering to her as they flipped further through the book, and he told her who people were in the pictures.
"I think I've missed something. What's with all the dog jokes?" Margaret asked, once again confused.
"Oh, they're jokes at his Inuyasha name. It means 'Dog Demon'," Kagome informed her with a sheepish blush.
"Strange nickname," Margaret replied.
"Blame his father for it," Shippo told her.
"And this Sesshoumaru guy?" she inquired further.
"Would be an older brother that you don't want to meet," Dave told her.
"Oh, are you jealous?" Margaret challenged with a wicked grin.
Dave turned red, "Why the hell wou-"
"Maybe he kisses better than you," she winked.
"I'm not sure you want to get close enough to find out, Margaretta. He's a total narcissist with a serious pedigree complex," Shippo said.
"I'll take your word for it, then," Margaret conceded with a pout. "Are there any more in this phantom pack of friends that I should know about?" she asked, raising a brow.
"There are others, yes. There's Kouga who use to be Inuyasha's rival in chasing Kagome. Those two fought every chance they got. Kouga's now happily married to Ayame, but I wouldn't put it past him to start crap just to irritate Inuyasha," Shippo explained. He then looked to Kagome, "Didn't you talk about there being a relative of that Houjou guy in your pack of schoolmates?"
"Oh, yes. He's still in Japan, going to culinary school. I talk to him every once in a while on the phone when he's over visiting with the three girls that I went to school with, Ayumi, Eri, and Yuka," Kagome replied. She looked to Shippo, "What about Ginta and Hikkaku?"
"Both married with litters of their own," Shippo told her.
"I'm glad to hear that. Poor guys had it so rough following Kouga all over Japan," she said, laughing at the memories of the two wolf demons endlessly chasing after Kouga who'd always ran way too fast for them to keep up.
Shippo laughed, "Kouga still runs those two ragged. Of course now, their task is to keep up with jobs and things their kids are involved in."
"Oh no!" Kagome cried in an amused tone then cracked up laughing imagining the three grown men trying to keep up with family life in modern times.
"Man, it amazes me that Yue found time to keep up all of this and keep up with school," Margaret commented.
"Reality check. I kept all three of the idiots up with school," Zack informed her.
"Who are you calling an idiot, schmuck?" Dave growled.
"You. Get over it," Zack replied nonchalantly. "Speaking of idiots, Keito's been gone an awful long time."
"You've got a point. No doubt he's found more trouble to get into. We should send out a search party," Dave scowled.
"Actually, I'm suggesting we all head out for a while. Our host has crashed on us," Mark said, pointing to Yue who had fallen asleep. Sherry was equally dead to the world snuggled up beside him with his arm still wrapped protectively around her.
"I find that just positively amazing how wrapped around her finger she's got him," Shippo mused.
"That's Sherry for you. She's hard not to like," Beth smiled. "On top of that, she sticks to him like glue. That's gotta be a good ego booster."
"He told me early this morning that he plans to fight the uncle for custody," Kagome said with a wry expression.
"I'm honestly worried for her. Something in my gut tells me that it could easily get worse yet," Beth said, biting her lip with worry. "We need to keep a real good eye on her."
"Is it possible for you to get her special permission to get in here at odd hours should she need a place to get to in an emergency?" Kagome asked.
"Oh God, I hope it doesn't come to that. I saw enough of it from Keito's ex-step-dad," Zack grimaced.
"I didn't know things had gotten that bad for her," Dave commented, looking to the sleeping child with a rare look of worry on his own face.
"It hasn't yet, but I just get bad vibes whenever I go over to that place. She doesn't talk about it, but I just know she's not a happy camper," Beth told him, then she looked to Kagome. "I'm sure I can work something out with the rest of the staff about letting her in when she needs it. She's like family to all of us here anyway, so I'm sure it won't be a problem."
Margaret frowned, "I'm sorry, I'm a little lost on all of this."
"Let's head outside and figure out where we're going to hang for a few hours. Then I'll explain it to you, Margaret," Beth said as she opened the door to usher people out. Shippo took Kirara, and hid her in his coat as he headed out. Margaret trotted right behind him, happily oogling his rear in a discreet manner. Dave and Zach immediately set out to track down the missing Keito.
"You're going to let her stay, right?" Kagome asked.
"We can always bring food back with us for her," Mark input.
"Sure. On top of that, I don't want to risk waking him while rousing her," Beth nodded.
"Good deal," Mark said as Beth closed the door upon following him and Kagome out.
A few minutes later, after Keito had been found flirting with a new intern, the group gathered out in the parking lot. After a brief discussion, it was decided that they would head out to a local park for a cookout. Shopping lists and passengers were divided up. Once they'd accomplished planning, they set out to run the errands needed to execute the plans. Dave, Zack, Keito, and Mark rode in Mark's car (after Keito insisted in getting a ride in the awesome 70s Beetle). Then Shippo, Margaret (who spent most of her time flirting with Shippo), and Beth carpooled with Kagome.
It was a little past one in the afternoon when a middle-aged Japanese couple entered the hospice. The man had mid-back length salt-and-pepper hair tamed by a simple black band, amber eyes, and a smoothly sculpted face. Upon his tall, muscular, commanding frame, he wore a dark navy shirt, light khaki pants, and casual yet classy brown loafers. Even at his age, he was a fine specimen, and his wife held obvious pride in her eyes whenever she looked at him. The woman was a great deal shorter than her husband, with long hair kept youthful black with the help of modern hair dyes. She kept it swept up into a beautiful oriental comb to cascade down her back to her waist. Her eyes were a deep blue, almost black. Her face bore only light lipstick and eye-liner, her natural beauty turning anything else into over kill. Upon her body was a simple blue dress with a chrome-buckled wide belt at the waist giving a bit of a Japanese obi look and adding length and emphasis to her legs. She too was an exquisite porcelain doll whom her husband was also quite obviously smitten with.
They each smiled and greeted the desk attendants warmly as they strode through the lobby hand in hand. The nurses, in turn, greeted them just as warmly. If anything new had happened, the nurses either weren't aware of it, or were good at hiding it. The couple continued on past, going about their way through the hallways to stop at a closed door.
The man passed a look to the woman who stood taller as she held her purse and hands to her heart in a gesture of great hope. He waited a moment then quietly opened the door to let her in. The woman entered, and the man followed, shutting the door just as quietly behind him. The woman glanced to the bed to see her son sleeping, seemingly as he always was, with the ever present Sherry sound asleep beside him. Yet, she noted Yue was dressed in a new Japanese outfit that really looked good on him, and his left arm was draped around Sherry. She also noted a photo album laying in his lap.
Mrs. Taisho spun to look at her husband, gauging his reaction. Mr. Taisho noted the same things. But what caught his attention was the sheathed antique katana lying on the dresser. He strode over to stare at it wide-eyed. A smile then slowly curled his lips as he whispered, "It has been an awful long time… Tessaiga."
Mrs. Taisho's eyes widened at his words, tears forming in her eyes as she realized what that sword's presence meant. Turning back again towards her son, she crossed the floor to his bedside where she sank onto the mattress at his right hip. Mr. Taisho turned and walked over to stand beside her, his eyes lingering on the sleeping Sherry with a fondness before moving back to his son's peacefully relaxed face. He watched as his wife's hands descended with a tremble to pick up Yue's right hand, fingers enveloping the hand in a mother's loving manner.
Without saying a word, Suzumi let her fingers and thumbs begin to slowly and gently massage the hand she held. Instead of the usual stillness that came from him, after a minute, Yue rewarded her by finally fluttering his indigo eyes open. He blinked twice to clear them of sleepy haze, then looked at her in shock.
"Kaa-san," he whispered in a still quite hoarse voice as he shook with emotion. Though Yue had grown up with his mother, he could now remember growing up as Inuyasha without her. Thus, seeing her once again was nothing short of a miraculous gift to him.
"Musuko," she replied softly before leaning down to hug him and kiss his cheek. His right hand moved slightly to grip the fabric of her dress in his best way of returning the gesture in his condition.
"Daijoubu, Okaa-san," he whispered as his heart clenched at her tears. Then a slight turn of the head allowed him to notice his father standing there. His heart skipped a beat, "Oyaji!"
"Welcome back, Brat," he said in his deep voice with a gentle smile.
Suzumi sat up and sent him a motherly glare, "Anata!"
"Well if he's going to insist on calling me an old man, then I have absolutely no qualms about calling him Brat," Hiroshi defended.
"He's a chip off the old block, is what he is," she scolded with a scowl. Both father and son grinned and chuckled which made mother just shake her head slowly with a loving smile. Then, to Yue's left, Sherry stirred.
"Hey Sleepy Head," he whispered to her with a soft smile as she opened her eyes and blinkingly looked around in a brief state of confusion. Her eyes grew wide as she noticed Yue's parents flanking his opposite site.
"Konnichiwa, Sherri-chan," Hiroshi said with a smile.
Suzumi reached out to fuss with a messy strand of the girl's hair back into place, "Hello Sherry, Dear. You're well, I hope."
Carefully sitting up, Sherry shifted to give the woman a hug, "I'm hanging on. Yue's been a great help."
Yue frowned as he recalled all that Sherry was going through with the loss of her own mother and problems with her uncle. With all the excitement lately, it was easy to forget how much weight she carried additional to her worries for Yue. Yet her words of his help despite his own troubles filled him with an unexpected sense of pride. He smiled at the feeling.
Meanwhile, Suzumi returned the girl's hug warmly, "You've been a great help to Yue, and I'm more grateful than words can express to you for your generosity. I'm certain your mother is smiling at you from heaven for all you've done for him."
"I second that. I'm sure your father is one proud man to see his little princess gracing the world with such kindness," Hiroshi told her as he sat on the arm of the arm chair. "If there's anything we can do for you, Sherry, please let us know."
Sherry smiled but couldn't do much more than nod as her eyes filled with tears.
Yue took a deep breath, then spoke up in his hoarse whisper, "I know what you can do for her."
Sherry, Suzumi, and Hiroshi all turned to look at him.
Yue continued, "Have your attorney see if he can find a way to allow us to adopt Sherry. I may have been stuck in this bed for five years, but I still know enough to not like how her uncle is treating her."
Sherry's eyes grew wide as she stared at him in shock, "Yash, you don't have to-"
"Yes, I do Sherry. Your uncle is suppose to care for you, not the other way around. I won't let him keep treating you like that," he told her sternly. His mother and father exchanged appalled glances.
"I will see what can be done about it," Hiroshi said firmly.
Suzumi hugged Sherry to her as she spoke, "Hiroshi must return to Chicago on Tuesday, but I will be staying to house hunt. Dear, could you please hand me that pad and pencil over there?"
"Hai," he responded as he grabbed the little notepad and pencil off the nightstand. He blinked at Keito's doodling before passing it to his wife.
"Thank you, Dear," she smiled as she took the pad. She laughed at Keito's chibi drawing of himself in old Japanese clothes swinging a giant mackerel that posed as his sword. Flipping to a separate page, she wrote down her cell phone number as well as the hotel she was at and the room number. She then tore off the sheet and handed it to Sherry, "Here's my cell number and the hotel information. If you need anything at all, please give me a call. I'd be more than happy to help."
"Arigatou," Sherry said with a blush as she took the piece of paper and tucked it into a pocket in her jeans.
"Tired of the big city already?" Yue asked.
"You could say that," Hiroshi answered with a twinkle in his eye that said there was something that he wasn't saying.
"What gives Oyaji?" Yue prodded with eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"That's for me to know and you to wonder about, Brat," his father smirked smugly.
"I swear, you act more grown up than they do, Sherry," Suzumi said with mock irritation. Sherry giggled as father and son both scoffed.
"So where did you get this charming attire of yours, Musuko?" Hiroshi asked as he reached out to finger the purple material of the haori.
"Kagome found it in a cool import store when Beth took her and me shopping last Saturday. The lady gave her a really good deal on it so she couldn't pass it up," Sherry answered with a grin. "Looks good, huh?" she giggled.
"Kagome has a very good eye," Suzumi nodded.
"I'm used to the red one, but it's about due to be hung in a cabinet. So this'll do," Yue said smugly.
"Pah! You just don't want to admit you like it too, baka," Sherry said, poking her tongue out at him.
"You still have the Fire Rat haori?" Hiroshi blinked at his son in awe.
"Of course I do. I got it back along with Tessaiga. Though it's been patched I don't know how many times, but yeah," Yue replied. "It's in the dresser over there, wherever Keito put it."
"Inuyasha wouldn't be Inuyasha without that stuff, huh?" Sherry grinned.
"Nope!" he confirmed. The next moment, he found himself being glomped by the girl.
"We wouldn't want you any other way but the way you are, Yash," she told him happily.
"Well, that's good. 'Cause you're stuck with me," he replied, sticking his tongue out at her, which made her giggle.
Hiroshi stood up, "I shall return in a moment."
As he left the room, Suzumi picked up the photo album, "So who are we looking at here?"
Sherry had just finished showing her the pictures that Kagome had passed around when someone else entered the room. It was not Hiroshi. The man was tall, dressed in a leather jacket, faded orange shirt depicting the logo for a Japanese band, and well-worn blue jeans. He had Japanese features with cerulean eyes, black hair styled in spikes on top, and a long braided dragon's tail down the back. Even with the change in clothes and hair style, Inuyasha would know him anywhere.
"Long time no see, Yasui Ookami," Yue rasped to his guest.
"Yue," his mother scolded, though in a gentle tone.
"Ookami?" Sherry repeated as she took a second look at the man. "Kouga-san?"
"That would be me. And you two lovely ladies are?"
"I am Yue's mother, Suzumi, and this is Yue's charming young friend, Sherry. She's been visiting my son for several years now while he's been ill," Suzumi said with a smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Suzumi-san, Sherry-chan," Kouga said with a polite bow of his head. "Have either of you seen Kagome lately?"
Yue sputtered, "You're married, baka!"
"Calm down, Yash. Save your energy for handling the Stooges," Sherry chided, patting his shoulder.
Yue instantly deflated, "You will honestly make an excellent miko." He then looked to Kouga, "Kagome left with the rest of the crew."
"Yash and I fell asleep. They were planning to go off somewhere else for a while, but I don't know where they went. Shippo's with them, I'm sure," Sherry finished for him.
A clinking sound came down the hallway and stopped at the door, drawing everyone's attention. Hiroshi sputtered as the white German Sheppard he had brought yanked the leash out of his hand. The dog barked twice then zoomed past Kouga. Suzumi stood and moved out of the way as it bound up onto the bed to greet Yue, giving his face slobbery dog kisses while its tail wagged ecstatically.
"Jack!" Yue beamed, laughing at the dog's enthusiastic affections. Sherry blinked at the animal, having never seen him before.
"Jack, calm down now. Yue's not entirely well yet," Suzumi told the dog as she pulled him back by the collar. She then looked to her husband, "Hiroshi, this is Kouga-san, one of Inuyasha's old friends. Kouga-san, this is my husband and Yue's father, Hiroshi."
Kouga bowed politely, "Hello, pleasure to meet you, Hiroshi-san."
"Likewise," Hiroshi said with a smile and a bow of his own.
Meanwhile, Jack turned his attention to Sherry who shyly put out a hand for the large dog to sniff. He gave it a once over then gave her cheek a big slurp. She turned away laughing.
"Jack likes you," Yue told her. Jack turned to lick his face some more. "Hai, hai, I missed you too. Gee, you went and grew up on me, Jack," he laughed.
"He's yours?" Sherry asked.
"Yep. He was a birthday present from Dad," Yue confirmed.
"He's pretty," she said as she reached out to pet the dog. Jack decided her ears needed a thorough licking. Laughing, she laid down to hide her face in Yue's hair. So Jack gave her a bit of doggie talk and started licking both of them.
"I think you two have a friend," Suzumi laughed, watching the dog.
I don't think Jack missed him a bit," Hiroshi said with a smirk.
Suzumi turned to give him a knowing look, "Now you're just silly, Tou-san."
"His had to come from somewhere, you know," Hiroshi defended.
Kouga walked over to sit on the arm of the arm chair, "Okay, so what happened?"
"He got hit by a drunk driver, which put him into a coma for five years. Though he said he's been aware of everything here for the past two," Sherry answered as Jack laid down beside Yue and plopped his head on Yue's chest. Content with letting Sherry do the talking he listened while letting his fingers play in Jack's fur.
Kouga winced, "I didn't exactly mean that, but okay."
"You mean five hundred years ago?" she asked.
He tilted his head as though puzzling, but then nodded, "Hai."
"He used the Shikon no Tama and became reincarnated as Yue," she replied. "Though, his wish affected everyone who was involved in the fight over the shards, not just him."
Kouga's eyes widened a moment before he bowed his head, "I knew something big had happened back then to take him out. I figured it was something like that. But I didn't realize it had went that far until a couple of years ago when I began finding modern incarnations of my old comrades. Most have no memory of their past lives, though they've still found ways to re-establish ties. When Shippo said he'd found him, I had to come and find out if it had something to do with my running into the other wolves."
"Him this, him that, him, him, him… I'm right here, baka!" Yue snapped irritably.
"So I see," Kouga responded dryly before returning his attention to Sherry. "How did you get mixed up in all of this?"
"His nurse Beth, who's Sango's reincarnation, introduced him to me several years ago when my mom was first brought here. I think she did it to give me something to do while my uncle visited my mom, but I felt bad for Yue. All his friends from school quit coming except for the Stooges, and his parents were busy with their jobs. So I started coming to visit him too whenever I came to see my mom," Sherry explained slowly.
Kouga regarded her with a bit of awe, "Wow. That's very nice of you. There's not many kids your age that would do something like that."
"Sherry isn't like most kids. She's smarter, stronger, and wiser," Yue said admirably.
"When the rosary appeared around his neck, I noticed then that there was something different. As time went, I could feel his spirit return. So I visited him more. Well, until Momma passed away. It was hard to come back here, but I did it for Yue. I miss Mom, but I missed him too. When I came back though, I met Kagome. I can see why everyone likes her. She's always so nice to people. Even when people aren't nice to her, she still finds a way to be nice," Sherry explained further.
"Yes she is. Hell, I kidnapped her in order to gain her ability to see shards. Even as rough as my pack was to her, she turned right around and helped us defeat our foes. Whenever I ran across her, she was always friendly and helpful. How could anyone but someone as polluted as people like Naraku not like her?" Kouga mused.
"Once she arrived, it was like everything started falling into place. She brought Mark, who use to be Miroku. She's made friends with Yue's three nutty friends: Dave, Zack, and Keito. Believe me, you haven't seen a real party until you've invited those three," she said.
Yue laughed, "You got that right. Though it's usually better if the room is bigger than this one."
"They do get pretty crazy," Suzumi laughed with a smile.
"No joke. Sometimes I wonder how they manage to stay friends," Hiroshi said wryly.
"That would be my doing," Yue ventured with a proud smirk. "Though, it looks like I can take their training wheels off now."
"I think their training wheels came off years ago, Yash," Sherry laughed. "Dave can handle himself pretty well around Keito for the most part."
"That's what Zach's there for. To smack both of them in the head for being idiots. He does it rather well too," Yue said before his throat once again forced him to cough in order to soothe it.
"Stop talking, baka," she told him while thwapping his nose. Once he stopped coughing, Yue stuck his tongue out at her. Jack turned and gave his face a lick causing Yue to cringe. Sherry laughed, "Thank you Jack."
At that moment, three familiar male voices echoed down the hall.
Hiroshi grinned, "Speak of the devils…"
Penguine's Piece - This chapter was extremely difficult to write. So many crazy characters all in one room. That just blew my circuits. It took me three whole days to write the first third of this chapter because it took so much brainpower to keep up with what each character was doing. I finally got past it though, thankfully.
One reviewer happened to ask me a very good question here recently. What about Kagome's job? Well, that little technicality had completely slipped my mind. In the next chapter or somewhere in the story's near future, I'll try to inject a formal answer to that. But for now, let's say she's in between jobs and waiting for the next one to start. It's only been something like two weeks in the story right? (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that. I have horrible sense of time when I start getting deep into the story. -sheepish grin-)
I'm starting to get a good idea of the plot twists I plan to pull between now and the end. The little secret Margaret let out was just as big a surprise to me, honestly. It just plunked in there at the spur of the moment. But, like every good unexpected twist, it ain't going away. The cat's been let out of the bag. -giggle- Yes, Yash will get Dave back for that too. -cackles-
I've been thinking on the Sherry and Shippo spin-off that so many of you have shown support for. Due to overwhelming AyE!s, I must conclude that I will most definitely begin that tale after the conclusion of Wake. Though, for obvious reasons, the story will start out when Sherry is well into her teens, probably even older than Kagome was when she met Inuyasha. I might write a small Keito spin-off too revolving around the lady that steals his heart. But for now, I'm going to let those ideas simmer.
On the note of the Order of Whizzbang… Even though the Yahoo Group idea bombed quite quickly, I've continued to entertain the notion of a community. For now, I've set up a special little nook in the forum on my website (www(DOT)mindsjourney(DOT)net).
For those of you curious about my original story, it's (what few chapters I have written) posted in the library on my website. Though, it's still quite a rough draft, so if you do get into reading it, be aware that things in the already posted chapters WILL be changing as I fix areas that I'm not happy with. I'm getting super anal retentive with that one, though it's not exactly cooperating. But then again, Rorrim Nightshade is a demon that is comparable to Sesshoumaru is some aspects. He does what HE wants WHEN he wants to do it. I'm just his slave. -grumps-
Okay, I need to quit before this end note becomes a rambling book in of itself. Though, I think I'll end it with a survey. Those of you who watch a lot of anime, what's the latest series you're into? I'm looking for something new to watch after finally exhausting my own list of must-watch.