Fade and Flare

Chapter 17

Inuyasha (at least the anime, anyway) is copyright Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan, Yomiuri Terebi, and Sunrise 2000.


Hi, everyone. Watch out; lemon right below.


With one hand he pressed both of her wrists above her head, restraining her against the mattress. Inuyasha dipped low, joining his lips with hers; she accepted them. Language had escaped her. She was unable to murmur his name, but her eyes caught his in those moments when he paused for breath. Soft, strangled utterances came tumbling from Kagome's lips when she exhaled, and she arched into her lover- her body curved into his, beneath the curtain of his snow-colored hair.

A musk of sage and sandalwood lingered as she buried her face into his neck. Her lips pressed into his skin, nibbling gently at the edges of his jawline as he exhaled, his eyelids fluttering shut while she brushed him with her tongue. She wanted to pull at Inuyasha's broad shoulders, wanting him closer, but her wrists were still beneath his grip. Instead she wrapped a leg around his hips, dragging her calf down along his thigh, relishing his skin against hers. As they moved, her hips angled up towards his, brushing against him in a quiet plea for contact.

In response he pressed his hips into her for a brief moment, his lips on hers once more. Kagome felt his arousal straining solidly against her as they made contact, and as quickly as they touched he pulled away again, determined to tease her. He pulled her bottom lip gently between his teeth, grazing her lightly. When she tried to return his kisses he'd avert himself, opting to move to her earlobe. He watched her shiver when an exhale brushed faintly past her ear. A smirk stretched across his lips as he ran the tip of his tongue against her skin. His breath tickled Kagome, sending a surge throughout her body that resonated hotly between her thighs. With a futile buck of the hips she struggled beneath him again, tempted to beg.

Moving to her other ear Inuyasha slipped his free hand to her belly, brushing low to caress her stomach. Inuyasha moved his hands even lower, dipping briefly below the waistband of her panties, steadily closer to what she wanted him to touch. His hand slid over silk fabric, and with a smirk the devious half demon pressed his fingertips into the soaked material, rubbing roughly against her. Kagome called out a little, sliding her knees apart.

"Please..." She concentrated to form the words. Her toes flexed. "Please, Inuyasha..."

He only grinned in response, softening his touch. She couldn't stand it much longer, crying out as she ground her hips. Inuyasha conceded a little, adding more pressure, rhythmically moving his fingers. Eventually he decided to make an opening for himself; a claw poked through the fabric, sliding to sever the crotch of her panties.

He said nothing, impaling her flesh with his own, a breath twisting in his throat at her warmth. Almost losing control himself his jaw dropped open, and his gasps grew louder with each movement. Kagome called after him, moaning softly into the air.

"Inuyasha..." Her toes flexed.


Kagome writhed in place, a smile curling across her face as she dragged a hand up along her belly. "Ah..."

"Do you... need some time alone?"

Her eyes shot open, darting around the room. Kagome began to assess her surroundings. The stale scent of tobacco lingered in the air. She sat in a living room that wasn't hers, with burning white light from the windows, empty cans of anti-hangover drinks, beer cans strewn around a crooked lacquer table, partially-eaten crackers and chips, ashtrays with cigarettes mashed into every available crevice, tambourines, a couple of guitars, a few misplaced articles of clothing, random playing cards, miscellaneous garbage, and finally Hideto, frowning at her from the other end of a black leather couch she'd curled up on.

With each passing moment her face grew redder and redder, and she eventually met her friend's sleepy gaze. Annoyed, he lay his head back onto a couch cushion. "God, you need to get laid. Thought I was bad."

"No, it's not that-" She covered her face with her hands, shaking her head furiously.

"Yeah, that's why you're moaning for your boyfriend in your sleep," he grumbled, turning on one side. "Go change your panties or something, Baby."

"Hide-chan! That's terrible!"

"So sorry! I was busy sleeping until I heard someone making adult noises... Ow, my head is exploding, I'm gonna stop talking now." The grumpy man pulled a blanket around himself.

"Sorry," she mumbled, trying to figure out what her friend had heard. "Shouldn't you move to your bedroom?"

He replied with an unintelligible noise, messily waving a hand of dismissal into the air.

In silence Kagome sulked, staring at her knees. The young woman stood, wading through the debris from last night. Aluminum cans rattled softly against everything they hit as she made her way to the bathroom. When her foot got caught in a mysterious loop of fabric- a pair of women's panties (not hers), she did not even bother to locate her slippers.

Her own head hurt from the previous night, but at this point it was nothing new. After their fateful meeting in front of her family shrine she and Hideto had become inseparable again, almost in the spirit of her younger days.

Together in his apartment, and sometimes at hers, Kagome and Hideto created new arrangements for their songs. They later tested them on an unsuspecting public- playing surprise shows at their favorite clubs in Tokyo. It didn't take long for their fans to catch wind of this. By the time they'd done a third show people packed clubs all over the place, just for a chance to see one.

Even with Kagome's dip in popularity, the venues were overflowing and rowdy. A handful of impromptu shows became a game of cat and mouse, where the two singers would leave cryptic clues about the next venue on their websites before a show each night. Concerts were high-energy, and Kagome preferred thrashing around on a stage over memorizing choreography.

Her fans were mixed. Long-time fans were ecstatic to see her playing rock again, while others were skeptical. For Hideto's fans, secret shows and collaborations were nothing new; they followed him with enthusiasm. Sometimes, Hojo's fans would come to the shows to heckle Kagome, only to be quickly quieted by the other concert goers.

Despite this there had been nights where Kagome was dodging drinks thrown by some audience members. On a night when Hideto decided to catch a beer, with his face, a group of his female fans made a pact to ferociously defend their idol alongside Kagome's fans. At subsequent shows there were rumors of attacks toward anyone who looked like a Hojo fan- if a girl was seen wearing a t-shirt or other merchandise with his name they'd get pushed forcibly to the back of a club, where no damage could be done. In the case that a fan would manage to slip by and throw something, it would incite a riot in the crowd.

It had been a while since Kagome had played for audience members who hated her. Her pride stung a little, but it was manageable.

"You can't interfere," Hideto often told her. "There's a delicate hierarchy in fan communities. You just can't control them. Gotta play louder, and let security handle it. Just touch some hands in the crowd and they'll keep loving you."

Nights after a concert were all the same. Shippou, under Miroku's directive, herded the pair and their band members into a van after shows, and the night would continue at Hideto's apartment. On special nights Hideto's famous bandmates like Tetsuya, other friends from popular bands, or Kagome's former bandmates would make an appearance in the show, and Shippo transported them all. At first, the fox demon would stay to take Kagome home after the festivities, but as time passed he quickly realized that Kagome was staying until she dropped.

There were only so many drunken rock stars Shippo could handle, anyway; he was often relieved to go home for the night.

Now locating her travel toothbrush in Hideto's bathroom, Kagome stood in front of the sink, slumping as she cleaned her teeth. She couldn't drink as much as her mentor could, but wasn't surprised about that, either. When he mentioned throwing parties after concerts the young woman quickly realized how serious her friend was. Hideto ritualized parties- the rowdiness from their stage show always continued at his apartment. The amount of liquor and snacks he kept in stock was just as astonishing as the rate in which they were consumed.

People sang karaoke, played drinking games, jammed on instruments, brought women, and generally made a mess of Hideto's living room at least five times a week. When Kagome first started playing shows with the rock star, she could barely keep up.

Though her alcohol tolerance went up a little more over time, she had no desire to drink as much as others did, but enjoyed the company. Anything was better than being alone in that massive apartment of hers for too long.

After washing her face, she sighed contentedly into a towel, drying her skin. She'd have to borrow a pair of Hideto's pants to wear home; her leather from last night was sweaty and uncomfortable. It was enough to scratch at, as she headed to the kitchen to make some miso soup. Hideto became accustomed to waking up to Kagome's cooking, and got fussy without his favorite hangover cure. She was only happy to help- on that fateful night she'd gazed at the stars at her family shrine, asking Myouken for guidance, Kagome met her dear friend again underneath the Goshinboku. She would follow this path as far as she needed to.


"I thought something was strange, and I should have seen the signs. When we went on the engagement trip, Kagome spent more time alone with her manager than with Hojo. It didn't make sense!"

"The vacation footage that other networks have been showing- is this the trip you're referring to?"

Hayashi Yuka sat meekly in a chair, retrieving a white handkerchief from her gray blazer's breast pocket. She dabbed daintily at her cheeks.

"Yes. I've been his manager for so long. I spent many years doing my best to take care of him, as his manager, so I was really happy for him at the time. I think Hojo's loved Kagome ever since he met her, and sometimes... even now... well, he only wants her to be happy."

Clutching her fists, Sango resisted the urge to throw her drink at the television. When Miroku placed his hand on her shoulder, she spun around wildly, almost punching him. Luckily for her companion, Sango quickly remembered where she was and calmed down. No making messes in Miroku's living room- who knows what he might try to pull in exchange for a stained rug?

"One of the top selling artists of all time on the Oricon charts, Higurashi Kagome shocked the country when photos of her and a lover, later identified to be her manager, were published in Shunkan Shincho over three months ago. Though Hojo himself has been unavailable for comments his manager, Hayashi Yuka, has been willing to recount her experiences."

A montage of images and video flooded the screen, mostly of Inuyasha and Kagome. Sango, in an attempt to keep her anger in check, cast her gaze to one side at Miroku. Her eyes grew large in surprise when she noticed his clenched jaw. The savvy agent normally had the infallible patience of a holy man, and one of the best poker faces she'd ever seen. Seeing him affected calmed her somehow.

After a certain point, they'd both insisted that Kagome stop watching television. New news reports and television specials were ferocious. Kagome's reclusive behavior only fueled the enthusiasm of the media. Sango hoped that Kagome truly stopped paying attention, idly wondering how Inuyasha was reacting to all of this. It became increasingly difficult to get work for Kagome these days, as no company wanted to be affiliated with the controversy.

"After disappearing from the public for two weeks she later reemerged on stages of Tokyo clubs, performing secret shows alongside hyde, vocalist of L'Arc-en-Ciel. The sudden collaboration has surprised some fans, but each show is well received by audiences. Critics who have managed to see these shows give praise but wonder if the attendance is solely based on Kagome's recent absence-"

"That's enough." Miroku sighed, turning the television off. He leaned back against his suede couch, a midnight blue affair, sighing as he turned his gaze towards Sango. Between them sat a pile of file folders containing lists of contacts and previous contracts with concert venues. They'd been poring through papers in search of any phone number or email address they could use to reach someone. They needed a larger venue for Kagome and Hideto's concerts.

With each call Miroku and Sango had been met with hesitation, despite the success of the club shows. Hideto's manager and agent were also bewildered at the lack of cooperation. The combined record sales for both stars was downright historical, but no venue would book them. Each place cited a man whose directive they followed- one Hayashi Kenshiro.

Sango didn't realize they were related until the name was dropped, newly annoyed that Hayashi Yuka would have other family members butt into her grudge.

"You'd think the media would be sick of this by now." Sango lamented, finishing her tea. "The way they hunt her down is almost vindictive! As soon as they found a fault with her it's like they can't do anything but try to take her down." She stood, bringing her cup to the kitchen before returning. "Well, I'm outta here."

Miroku frowned. "What do you mean? My dear, we haven't finished our little project."

"No- No, we haven't," she replied, having walked out towards the entryway. Miroku followed her, pouting as Sango slipped on her shoes. "Which is why I think we need some help. Real professionals. You coming?"

"Wha?"

"Eloquent," Sango smirked. "Well, come with me if you're interested. Or not. Doesn't really matter."

"With an invitation like that, how could I resist?" Soon Miroku had his shoes on.


She drove him out to the suburbs, into Saitama Prefecture and its city of the same name, to the outskirts. At the speed in which Sango drove it must have taken under an hour. Miroku was intrigued at how deftly she wove through traffic, and was mildly surprised that her driving didn't appear to be reckless. His heart was pounding for other reasons, as he watched her.

The movements flowed like water, maybe just as she did when she moved or twisted to punch him if his hand wandered too far. Every so often during the drive Miroku checked in the mirror, worried his jaw hung a little too low as he looked at her. He was silently thankful that Sango was too engrossed in driving to notice his dumbfounded face. It was embarrassing how little he could do to control himself.

"We're almost there," she mumbled, and he turned towards his passenger window in Sango's black Lexus. The young man's eyes lulled along the blurring landscape of single and double-storied buildings that lined the roads. Sango's seats were so comfortable. This was a really nice car, even nicer than his own.

Miroku quirked an eyebrow at that thought—did she make more money than him? Maybe she was just more savvy about finances than he was.

They'd turned one last corner in an affluent neighborhood, before reaching an older family residence. It sat behind huge, heavy wooden gates, its entire perimeter enclosed in stone walls. A traditional roof peeked out from the upper edges of those walls, as well as some nicely manicured plants and shrubbery, uniformly cut in spherical shapes. Sango pulled up along the sidewalk, parking the car, and hopping quickly out of her seat. She blinked at Miroku, who was wrapped up in staring at the gate.

"You staying in the car? I gotta lock the door."

"Oh!" He scrambled up, out of the car and closed the door behind him sheepishly. "Sorry, I was just noticing how lovely this home looks. Do you know these people well?"

She laughed, leading him toward the gate as she pushed its doors apart. "This is my family home."

"BOSS!" There was a resounding yell, from several energetic young men in suits. If Miroku hadn't been well-practiced at keeping his cool he would have jumped out of his skin right that second.

"Welcome home, Boss!" The men lined up along the path upon which Sango walked, and Miroku could feel the weight of maybe ten or more intimidating glares as he followed behind her, trying not to shrink as he moved.

"Don't call me that," She laughed. "You know I'm not taking over the family business. The Yamaguchi name is better suited for my brother, after all. Oh! This is my co-worker, Miroku! Be nice to him, he's Kagome-chan's agent."

"Nice to meet you," Miroku replied, bowing to the men. They lost interest in him and began to circle around Sango, chattering.

Meanwhile, as he followed Sango to the house, Miroku paused, taking in his surroundings.

The home had massive walls. This usually meant a desire for privacy. That wasn't strange. They also reflected a desire for safety- still not strange. Historically, fortification meant that you were constantly at war... But this wall wasn't a holdover from the past; its materials were modern.

Who were all of these men hanging around the house? Surely not all of them were relatives.

Why were they calling Sango, "Boss?"

As Miroku entered the house with Sango, taking off his shoes as she did, and muttering a greeting before entering, they had come to meet an older man, who sat at a low table in a formal tatami room.

"Hello, Father," Sango bowed deeply to this man, dressed in a hakama and haori, with expensive embroidery. They both entered the room.

Yamaguchi? Miroku had seen his face in the news, more than once! These people were…

"Yakuza?" Miroku gasped, beneath his breath. His eyes bugged out when Sango turned to look at him inquisitively.

"Did you say something?" She blinked.

"I-it is an honor to meet you. Please be kind to me," the young man mumbled, bowing a couple of times before taking a seat.

"Hello." Sango's father smiled, bowing slightly. "Sango, to what do I owe this sudden visit?" His eyes sparkled as he warmly regarded his daughter. "Have you come to see Kouhaku? He's out working at the moment."

"No, though I'm not against seeing him," she replied, with a soft grin on her face. "I need your advice and guidance." Her expression hardened as it had earlier that day. "Normally I wouldn't come to you to help solve my problems, but I suspect the other side is playing dirty. I'm at a loss as to what to do next."

A woman in a cotton yukata entered the room, holding a tray of tea and snacks. Sango's mother? Miroku dismissed the thought as soon as he noticed that Sango had not given the woman any glance of recognition beyond thanking her as they were served. As Sango spoke, the young man found that he was unable to absorb the conversation. When people looked to him for a reply, all he could manage to do was bow quietly or nod before turning his gaze back to Sango, whose expression was tense as she spoke with her father.

"I'll have them call you when we figure out the time and place," Sango's father said with finality. Miroku stood when everyone else did, following the small procession out the door of the large home. He walked in a daze as he followed Sango and her father out the door, and as he retrieved his shoes and followed them out of the house. He barely registered the resounding roars from the thugs outside as Sango left, and as the gates of the house closed behind them.

Once they'd returned to the car and began their drive back to Tokyo, Sango finally spoke up.

"So, what do you think? Are you okay with something like this?"

"Huh?" Miroku's broke out of his distracted gaze out the window. "I, uh… I trust you?"

Sango paused, taking a second to look at Miroku. "You slack-jawed idiot."

That got his attention. Miroku quickly closed his mouth.

"You've been vacant the whole time. My God, I was embarrassed for you at some points."

His smile was sheepish, as he turned to her. There was a long pause between them as Sango continued to weave through traffic. "You… you're a Yamaguchi? You're a… a…"

"Oh, no! I'm not a... ugh." Sango rolled her eyes. "Yes, this man is my father, and yes, I suppose our family happens to be the historical one that's existed for hundreds of years in a profession I dare not name, but I decided to go my own way. I wanted a simpler life."

Still stammering in his seat, Miroku managed a reply. "...So you decided to become a stylist for one of the most famous pop stars in Japan. This is 'simpler?'"

"Touche. But I promise it is."

He grinned. For another moment they were both silent.

"...Seriously, Miroku? You didn't happen to notice all the guys Kouhaku had standing guard at Kagome's home? You didn't realize why people were leaving her alone? Black Mercedes. Tinted windows. Single number plates!"

Miroku slapped his forehead with his palm. "Wow," he managed. Sango laughed.

"I hope you don't think any less of me," she giggled. "No, honestly," she sighed, with a more sober tone. "People treat me differently when they find out who my family is. Being shunned doesn't feel good, but being on a pedestal isn't much different sometimes."

Miroku could find few words. "N-never." But, he reasoned, Not all pedestals were bad.


Nobody could take nights like this away from her. They hadn't lost their novelty, and Kagome hadn't been any less excited about performing than when she'd first started, back when these tiny venues where the biggest she could manage. Nothing roared like six hundred screaming people sardined together onto a small dance floor. In front of the stage was where the crowd was the thickest and rowdiest. There were times when she couldn't hear Hideto's guitar or her own voice over the screaming and singing along.

It was a feeling you couldn't really replicate in an arena show, and she'd avoided doing small shows for such a long time because demand for her concerts was too high. Even now she was amazed at how people's enthusiasm still managed to affect hers, and all she could do was play harder and sing louder as she shared the microphone with her dear friend.

Their harmonies were natural, and Hideto, in his element just as she was, needed no cue or rehearsal for his backup singing. It was clear to Kagome that he really knew her songs as well as she'd known his as a teenager, knew all the cues and breaks, and could adapt pop instrumentals to his guitar solos. Her heart swelled; despite all the things that happened between them it had never occurred to her that her musical idol would ever pay this much attention to her work.

The audience roared into the intermission; the cheering never let up. After the main set the chanting for an encore stayed just as loud, and after the encore set, the whole band got rowdy. Hideto dove into the crowd, rode the audience, and asked (on the microphone) to be carried back to the stage. Kagome laughed as the audience complied, and said her final goodbyes for the night before going backstage.

"That was great! That's so great, I've gotta do that again! In a bigger place, like Budokan!" Kagome's mentor called behind her, jogging to catch up.

"You're ridiculous," she laughed. "I'd be afraid to get touched in, um, unwelcome places." Kagome leaned on Hideto's shoulder as they walked to the dressing room.

"What do you mean? Like this?" Hideto grabbed at Kagome's sides where she was ticklish and watched his friend scream, squirming away from him.

"Stop! Stop it," she laughed, swatting at him. "You jerk!" Kagome giggled, finally sighing against the dressing room door.

"What are you guys doing out there?" A voice called from inside. "Hey Hideto, your phone's been whining since we got here."

"Right!" The rock star pulled open the door. "Probably Ichi," he mumbled, smiling at Kagome. "He's coming tomorrow morning!"

"That's right. I forgot!" She grinned, watching her mentor practically leap towards his cell phone. The other bandmates were sprawled out in chairs, shirts off and towels hanging off of their necks. Heading over towards her section of a shared dressing table, she dug at a pile of her street clothes, unearthing her purse.

She almost missed it- a single, sterling silver rose rolled off the top of the pile as she lifted her purse. A sharp thump sounded in her chest, and for a moment it was all she heard, staring blankly at the flower.

"Kagome! Water. Catch!"

Barely registering what Shippou had said as he burst into the room, she blinked dumbly. A plastic bottle tagged her in the arm, rolling to the floor. She absently reached for the spot it hit.

"Oh no, sorry!" Shippo ran towards her.

"You okay?" Akio, Kagome's drummer from her early days and bandmate for this week, picked up the water bottle. He set it down on the table in front of her. "Baby?"

The nickname, from her high school days, broke her out of her trance. Kagome's hand jolted towards the rose, hoisting it into the air for everyone to see. "Guys? Does this belong to someone?"

When there was no response, Akio chuckled. "Looks like it's yours." He was confused to see the shocked glance that Shippo exchanged with Kagome.

"I don't smell him," Shippo murmured.

"But that's meaningless," Kagome answered quietly. "Could be a delivery."

"Yeah..."

"Are you guys okay?" Akio asked, looking at the other clueless bandmates.

Without warning, Kagome thrust her fist into her purse, retrieving her cell phone. She grabbed a t-shirt from the pile of street clothes on her table and ran into the restroom, locking the door behind her.

She jammed her thumbnail into a button, speed-dialing Inuyasha. As Kagome cast off her black leather top and bra underneath, she turned on the phone's speaker setting, leaving it on the counter as she toweled her sweat off. Its ringing echoed in the room as she misted her skin with body spray. Sitting on the closed lid of the toilet, with forearms resting on her legs, Kagome hunched over her lap as the phone continued to ring. When the phone clicked, she shot to her feet.

"Kagome."

Her heart jumped, possibly out of her chest...

"I'm serious. Miroku's gonna be your new manager, Honey."

...And rocketed back down into her stomach. He hadn't even changed the greeting? Either way, Kagome was thankful the number was still active, even if Inuyasha didn't seem to use it. There was a pause, a beep, and finally Kagome let her eyes meet with the reflection in the mirror. For a moment her hand grabbed for the phone, intending to end the call, but stopped.

"D-did you... did you leave me something tonight?" With a wavering voice she continued. "Inuyasha... it's me. Kagome. I found something in my dressing room after the show. Um..." Her eyes scanned for her bra, and she put it back on. "No. No, this isn't fair. It's been almost three months, Inuyasha, this isn't fair! You can't just... you can't just disappear and then do this... um, if it was you." Her eye makeup ran in black streaks down her face with tears that Kagome couldn't control.

"Sorry," she finally sobbed. "It's probably nothing. I'm sorry." The phone clapped shut. Sinking back down to the toilet seat, she didn't fight her sobs, but turned on the water in the sink to rinse her face, glad it would also hide the sound.


When she exited the restroom, Kagome was met with the uncomfortable glances of her bandmates and Shippou.

"Hey, we've stayed a little too long," Shippou ventured. Too many fans outside now, and the club can't clean up until we go."

"Right. Sorry..."

"No, no, it's still cool. But go find Takarai, we haven't seen him since he answered his phone." The fox youkai held a duffel bag in his hand. "I, uh, gathered all your stuff. Gimme those clothes in your hand and I'll take care of it."

As if on cue, Hideto burst into the dressing room. "We're getting drunk tonight!"

Kagome blinked. "But... what about tomorrow?"

"I decided to have you guys over. Call over your lady friends, Akio-kun!"

Kagome frowned, eyeing the rose that Shippo now held.

"Baby!" Hideto growled.

"Yeah?" She answered, plucking the flower from the fox demon's grasp.

"I hope you didn't make plans, because you've gotta be in on this tonight. Got some beer imported from Germany, and everything!"

"Sounds great, Hide-chan!" Kagome held the rose out to him, which he took, grinning a little. "Here, someone left this. My gift to you!"

"Best pal ever, right here, guys." Throwing an arm around Kagome's shoulder, Hideto led them both out of the dressing room, followed by Shippou and the bandmates in a small procession. The young woman focused on his face. He could fool everyone else, but she could see the hurt, carved subtly into his features. Why wasn't his son coming tomorrow? She'd have to ask later.

Hide-chan's more accustomed to drowning out pain than I am, she silently realized.


Notes:

I'm always apologizing for the slow updates, but that's life, I guess. I really, really meant to post this in 2012, but I hit a wall on how to write that last scene, and art and comics are always my bigger focus. Honestly if this fic wasn't so huge in scope it would have been a comic, too!

Hmm, it's been a while. Someone mentioned how they hoped Kagome and Inuyasha would be more open with their feelings and communicate (like how Hojo failed to), IIRC. I get where you're coming from, but TBH it's not particularly Japanese to wear your thoughts or feelings on your sleeve and state them so plainly, and it really makes me uncomfortable to see it all over the place in fanfiction (feelings are understated compared to westerners, but because of that, they're very impactful when people say important things. Please know that when it happens in this fic, that's some major shit going down!).

Let me give you an example- my friend and I were on a train in Tokyo, and some guys were hitting on us. A guy said, "Let's go drinking in Ikebukuro!" and right in front of everyone in the train, I outright said, "No, we don't want to."

You don't say, "No" to invitations, to anyone; it's incredibly rude. It's so rude. Because I'm a foreigner there people think I've just casually messed up by doing that, but I knew what I was saying. The proper way to turn someone down is to literally say, "Unfortunately it's inconvenient." and then you say you have plans.

That's why there's miscommunication to raise suspense and drama in anime/manga/j-drama/etc. There're just things you DO NOT SAY unless the world is ending, and even then, you don't friggin say them unless you're willing to swallow every stupid ounce of pride and shed every thread of shame! (Which might cause the world to end.) Actions, body language, and implication are how to know what someone is feeling. It's in line with other beliefs that fuel actions in Japan (looking at the whole picture instead of just a message; it's why your place in a group is so important there, too- you demonstrate the entire picture of where you're from and where you belong when you do something as casual as wearing your school uniform to a public event. A family name precedes a given name because the group affiliation- your circumstances, your whole picture- is most important. We focus on situations surrounding an event, and use those to tell us what the event will be. So, in this chapter Kagome knows Hideto's upset that his son isn't coming because of the circumstances.) Yes, westerners do this too, but I can't emphasize enough how much more important this type of communication is than it would be in western culture. To us, what seems subtle is actually plainly said, and that's why misunderstandings (or ignoring someone's implications) are so much more irritating in TV shows there. (On a side note, it's also why foreigners can make people uncomfortable there, or anywhere, really- it's one thing to know a spoken language, but it's another to understand conduct.)

Cultural notes will be on the site (pinku dot net slash fadeflare as usual) when I get free time, and maybe I'll move this little rant there, too. But, I have to talk about the yakuza stuff a little. Ha ha ha...

Next: Hayashi Yuka, watch your back!