Disclaimer: Inuyasha and all related characters and settings are the intellectual property of Rumiko Takahashi. Just borrowing them for playtime!
Memoires of Rain
"Just two more months, Hojo-chan. You can wait two more months, right?"
Higurashi Kagome rolled her eyes in mock irritation at the cell phone clasped in her wet right hand. Her boyfriend's voice continued to whine out of the speaker in the same old pleading song-and-dance they'd endured for the last several weeks now.
"Honey, I have to go," she cut him off during third stanza of 'please come home early, Ka-chan.' He'd been at it for the last twenty minutes as she strode down the dark, rainy Boston street towards her apartment, outright begging her to ask her boss for an early leave.
"But, Kagome, it's been eight months already!"
"And two more months won't hurt you. Besides," she jumped a bit at a particularly bright flash of lightning, "you could always hop a plane and come VISIT me for once."
Silence reigned on the line, broken now and then by the pitter-patter of raindrops upon her tiny umbrella.
At last Hojo spoke again, "You're right, I can take some time off. Will you find me a plane ticket tonight?"
"For a flight next week?"
Kagome nodded as though he could see her, making a mental note on her to-do list. "All right, I'll email you the intinerary."
"I love you, Ka-chan."
"Love you too, Hojo."
"And hugs," she replied, blushing a bit at the strange looks she was receiving from the few people passing her on the rain-soaked street. With a quick kiss sound bestowed upon her caller, she bid him good-bye and clapped the phone closed, pushing it deep into the pocket of her leather coat.
Four more blocks and she'd be home, Kagome sighed with relief. It had been an unbelievably long day at the office, filled with report after report plopped onto her desk for her perusal. If she never saw another sales projection spreadsheet it would be too soon. Never mind the annoyance of having to look up every other flowery word used by the newer staff members. Her English was amazingly good for a foreigner but who the hell used the word 'ubiquitous' in every day speech?
Scanning the week's schedule on her PDA, Kagome failed to notice the approach of a rather questionable-looking man on the otherwise empty and darkened sidewalk. The white noise of continually pouring rain and the shadows of fading streetlights combined with dire consequences when she felt the blunt end of an object poked into her back and a gravelly voice demanding she hand over her purse.
Now Higurashi Kagome was a very intelligent woman, known for making exceedingly rational decisions even in the most extreme situations. She also, however, possessed an inordinate amount of pride and five years of training in self-defense.
Twisting around swiftly, she knocked the object away and elbowed her attacker in the groin. He grunted, bending over in pain. "You fucking bitch!"
Kagome backpeddled, sparing a quick glance to the object lying a few feet away from her would-be mugger. A gun. She felt her blood run cold but forced herself back into action. She kicked the gun further away, watching as it slid into a curb-side drain before turning back to the man who was by now glaring daggers at her. His eyes shot from side to side, assessing the situation until he finally decided on retreat. Still clutching his midsection, he broke out into a hobbling run through a nearby alleyway.
A huge breath of relief passed through her lips as Kagome allowed her heartbeat to calm. After another moment, she stepped back toward the sidewalk...
"Dammit all to hell!" Now crumpled on the ground clutching her ankle, Kagome felt the tears welling up in her eyes. "Of all the fucking luck..."
Nearby a door squeaked open, revealing nothing but the shadow of its owner backlit by flickering orange light. The shadow-figure stood still, eyes watching the defeated woman crouching before his front stoop. Kagome didn't know whether to cry from relief or to run.
The silence became horribly uncomfortable. "Um, excuse me," she began cautiously, "but do you think you could call an ambulance?"
Without a word in response the figure -- which Kagome could definitely identify as a man now -- swept to her side and knelt before her. He picked up her aching ankle, inspecting it despite her shocked protests. At last he let go of the injured leg, leaning forward to gather her in his arms and carry her off towards his home.
"Excuse me, but I think I'd prefer to wait outside if you don't mind."
The man continued to walk in silence, holding just tight enough to keep her from squirming out of his grasp. Eventually he made it to a rather old but well-kept drawing room and deposited his burden on the settee closest to the fireplace. Still silent, he strode toward a cherry wood armoire and retrieved a cardboard box before returning to her side once again and seating himself on the ottoman in front of her.
He worked quickly and quietly, pulling Kagome's leg onto his lap and wrapping it up carefully in a long swatch of elastic bandage. The shell-shocked young woman watched his work, satisfied for the moment that he meant her no harm and relieved to be out of the rain. When at last he finished his task, he pushed the box aside and sat back on the ottoman, giving Kagome her first real look at his features.
A wealth of contradictions, Kagome struggled to make sense of his appearance. He was dark, as though he'd spent numerous hours out in the sun, but the skin she could see on his bare forearms and his face lacked the leathery, worn appearance she would have expected from such exposure. In fact, from her vantage point it appeared smooth and soft as it stretched over hard, muscular limbs.
His violet eyes bespoke wisdom far beyond his years, as they peered back at her stoically from beneath his long, ebony locks of hair. She squelched the sudden desire to reach out and touch him; to see if this figure robed in simple but expensive clothing was real.
Still he hadn't spoken. This fact unnerved her far more than anything else that had happened over the last ten minutes. Hesitantly, she opened her mouth to speak.
He nodded brusquely, the enigmatic spell between them broken when he pushed away from her to return his first aid kit to its hiding place.
"My name is Kagome," she ventured further, beginning to wonder if her rescuer was mute. Or deaf.
"Yasha," he replied in a low, rumbling voice.
"Yasha? That's an unusual name."
He shot her an indecipherable look before settling himself down on the arm chair nearest the fireplace and taking up a nearby journal and pen.
Irritated at his sudden dismissal, Kagome glared at the stranger for a moment. When he began to write she huffed and attempted to stand, only to come crashing back down to the ground.
"Going to walk on a sprained ankle?" Yasha questioned abrasively without looking up from his work.
Kagome directed an indignant stare back at the man. "Well I don't see any other option."
"You'll be fine in the morning," he almost sighed. "Until then you can stay here." Yasha glanced at her over his journal for a brief moment, then added, "but I wouldn't stay on the floor."
With another irritated glare, Kagome pulled herself up off the floor and scooted along the leather settee until she was halfway reclining along it. For a good ten minutes she sat in silence, staring around the drawing room surrounding her with not another word spoken between herself and Yasha.
All four walls were lined with bookshelves which were themselves lined with volume upon volume of aged tomes. If she squinted she could decipher the titles of a few closer books, many of which were written in older Japanese kanji.
"Are you an antiques dealer or something?"
Kagome could have sworn the man growled at her, but stifled the ridiculous notion. A few more tense and silent moments later, she cleared her throat.
"So, what do you do?"
Yasha stopped writing, but refused to lift his eyes from the journal in which he'd been steadily scrawling away. "You're a talker, aren't you?" Without waiting for a response, he dropped the pen into the fold of the journal and closed it, finally regarding his guest with barely concealed annoyance. "I was a writer," he answered her question.
"Any of these books yours?"
"All of them."
Kagome raised her eyebrow. "There has to be over four hundred of them."
"And your point is?"
Yasha began to hope she was done questioning him when she opened her mouth to speak again. "So what are you writing now?"
"A book." He hid a smirk at her irritated stare.
"What KIND of book?"
The woman was implacable. With another growling sound of frustration, he sat further back in his chair and studied her. "A history book."
"With no reference materials?"
"I have all the reference materials I need right here," he pointed to his head.
Kagome narrowed her eyes again. Either this man was a crackpot, or he went far deeper than she could even begin to imagine. The look in his eyes suggested the latter, and she found herself compelled to probe further.
"Would you share some of it with me?"
"Why should I?" he shot back heatedly.
Kagome pouted while inwardly berating herself for her childish behavior. She was a respected business woman for Kami's sake! "Because I'm bored," she finally answered him.
"You don't want to hear this story," Yasha retorted.
"How do you know?"
Rolling his eyes in ever-increasing ire, "because this isn't the kind of history book meant for people like you."
"And just what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Yasha didn't respond, but lifted the pen and began to write once again.
Scrawl, scritch, swipe...
"Must be a really pathetic author if you're afraid to share your stories."
He paused for a second, only to smirk and continue.
"Oh for the love of--" Kagome sat up again, resolving to make her way out of this frustrating man's home and back to her own apartment. She didn't know why she'd been so easily convinced to stay in the first place!
"Sit back down," Yasha ordered evenly.
"Why should I? I have food and a television at home."
Yasha sighed, pushing his book aside once again. "Hungry?"
"A little," she admitted. Her stomach rumbled and she blushed. "Okay, maybe a lot."
Standing up with a fluid grace Kagome found herself in awe of, Yasha crossed in front of her and disappeared into the darknened hallways beyond. She listened to the sound of cabinet doors opening and closing, followed by the tell-tale clink of flatware on china and the crunch of a refrigerator door closing. Seconds later he reappeared, setting a plate of cheese, fresh bread, and grapes on the coffee table in front of her.
"Thanks." She reached out slowly for a small clump of the fruit while Yasha sat back down in his arm chair.
"I don't want to hear a single complaint," he announced.
"The story. I warned that you wouldn't care for it, but I don't feel like listening to you whine about boredom all night." He closed his eyes in silent contemplation as Kagome settled herself more comfortably on the settee.
"It all started six hundred years ago."
I have good news, and I have bad news.
The good news is, this story is not replacing Makai to Jigoku no Aida. I started this one a while back on a whim when I didn't have access to my Makai...Aida files. Figured I'd dust it (and the second chapter, to come shortly) off and go ahead and post.
The bad news is, I'm making you wait until I finish Makai...Aida to get the rest of the story. Why? Because it isn't written, yet!
Oh, and if you're curious about "For the First Time"... that one is on hiatus, and probably will be written either AFTER this one, or in conjunction with it. Depends on my workload, so we'll see.