A/N: EDIT/PREVIEW! HOW I MISSED YOU SO.
Disclaimer: Does not own Inuyasha. Maybe I would if I tried harder.
Now, this is what not to do if you want to write in-character:
4: Portrait of a Girl
"This morning we have a few winds, cloudiness, and a temperature of thirty degrees, right? Right!" Sango shouted.
"This morning we have a few winds, cloudiness --"
"Ah damn it!"
The clock flew across the room and hit the door.
A loud "ouch," then a whiny sounding "ane-ueeee" echoed from the other side.
"Go to your party!" she yelled. "When you get back, make sure you wake me up tomorrow and say, 'ane-ue, it's tomorrow!' Then you may slap me and spray me with a hose if you wish."
Basically, he ignored everything she'd just said. "Are you all right, ane-ue?" He sounded a little nervous. "Did something happen?"
Her gaze seemed to say many things at once.
"Tell Kagome I'll see her later," she interrupted, before pressing a pillow over her ears. "Let's just try and have a good day." Then silence. For the moment, beautiful, wonderful silence.
When she heard the door open and shut, she took advantage of the calm moment and had a miniature brainstorm session where she contemplated a few possibilities of her situation.
How about testing the conditions of her situation by trying to kill herself? Seeing as if she happened to come back to life . . . she'd technically be immortal.
It sounded good in my head, she pouted inwardly to her rational side, which was about ninety percent of her. And at times like these, it attempted to be comforting like a warm fuzzy blanket, but usually it was more like being offered a wet towel to dry off with. One that poured brown water when you wrung it. This, like all things, would come to pass. She was human, with a brain, and she'd figure this out, without accidentally dying in the process. Since these kind of things happen to everyone. Obviously.
In a futile attempt to pacify the upset woman, her little house cat jumped quaintly onto the bed and started walking over her master's body and resting upon the other pillow, staring at the distraught girl quizzically with wide, orange eyes.
"I wonder if time shifts happen with animals," Sango muttered, looking back at the feline. "Hey Kirara, what do you think about time shifts?"
The dainty little kitten swiftly began to groom itself, in a 'I can't believe you just tried to ask your pet about time shifts' sort of way.
Sango discarded the pillow she was holding and started to get dressed. Upon completing, she scooped up the cat in her arms with the intent to bring it outside. Descending the stairs, she exited her house.
This can't just be me -- I mean, it's been two days of the same thing. That can't just be a coincidence . . . I'm not crazy. I'm rational, I'm practical. In fact, I never act the way I have been recently.
Everything is wonderfully fine and routine. Well in a way it still is. Fine and routine. Fine and --
She heard a sudden whistling, before she felt Kirara flatten into a furry piece of toast against her chest and she tripped backwards onto the sidewalk.
"I'm really sorry," a man's voice echoed in her ear, but she didn't really hear as her mind was still on 'routine'.
"Get off my cat."
He lifted partway off her, and the animal screeched and ran far, far away. She looked up to see him watching it with a bemused expression.
"Shall I go after it?"
She sighed. "She's got tags on."
He sighed too. "And I thought you were just wearing furry lingerie, Miss Sango."
Her lips formed such a thin line they almost disappeared. Oh, she'd know that voice talking about lingerie anywhere.
"Get off me."
He looked down, smirked, and shook his head. "No."
Her lip reappeared and she bared her teeth. "Yes," she hissed, and squirmed underneath him.
He dropped his full weight on top of her.
"There are no more living creatures between us for sacrificial purposes," she snapped, pushing him to the side where he rolled partway onto the street. "Where are the eighteen wheelers when you really need them."
Amazingly, he was still smiling at her. "It's a neighbourhood street, my dear."
"And what will the neighbours think!"
"They'll think, 'look at those two beautiful people out there consummating their love on our front lawn.'"
"Get off my street."
"Just the parts that you walk on," she told him, dusting herself off. Perhaps she should start looking for her cat.
He looked thoughtful. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
Sango put her hands on her hips and drew in a small, exasperated breath. "There's a car coming," she said casually.
He was back on the street and standing next to her.
"I didn't say to move!" she protested when he approached her amiably once again.
"You don't really want me dead, do you?"
She closed her eyes and sighed. "Don't try it. That's a cop out. Be a man."
"So you don't." He suddenly looked extremely happy. "Admit it, you love having me around. Although, if I were to die, I'd have unfinished business and be able to hang around as a ghost and --"
"I think that's enough." Shaking her head, she walked away, smiling to herself. At a reasonable distance, she spun on her heel and made a teasing face at him. "And to what do I owe our initial contact?"
"Well that's easy," he shot back, smoothing back his hair. "That woman across the street that was jogging. Without support."
"And traumatizing my cat fits in where?" she inquired, rolling her eyes.
"Hey," he said defensively. "I whistled, and turned around to perhaps run behind her, and what did I behold? What I thought to be furry lingerie! And I, as an avid cat-lover, wanted to make sure it was artificial."
"By running into me when I am standing stationary in one spot?" she asked incredulously.
He looked so serious, standing there in a simple casual shirt and slacks with a few bits of road dust on his clothes that her lips had to break out into a smile.
She waited for him to catch up to her on the sidewalk.
"So you live around here?" he asked, looking around at the quiet street.
"Yes, but don't get any bright ideas." She stretched her arms back and shoved them in her pockets.
"I won't be serenading you under your window anytime soon."
She glanced over at him, looking ahead and half-serious. "The one thing that is remotely romantic and non-sexual, you won't do."
He stared at her apologetic expression sceptically. "So shall I ..."
"I know." Surprisingly, he grinned at her. "You hardly ever joke. Not like this, at least."
Automatically, her eyes moved to her feet. "What are you talking about?" she mumbled.
"I don't know," he said before a thoughtful pause. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you always seem -- uptight."
"You're always worried about everything, sometimes things that you shouldn't even worry about."
"You think I worry too much?" she said in dismay. What if everyone thought of her like that?
"See, now you're worrying about your image. It's a good quality. You care. You should care about yourself too."
"Hey, I do care about myself!" Sango retorted, stopping mid-step.
"So if I, you know, come on to you," he said evenly, continuing to walk. "It's because you get annoyed, and red, and angry --"
"Why, thank you."
" -- and you forget about being this 'public' Sango." His walking slowed. "You don't have to. And you aren't around me. Well, you tried at first, but I got through to you." He smiled wryly at this accomplishment.
She didn't feel like making a smart comment back at the moment, no matter how ironic it was that her apparent true nature was her pissed-off one. Sure it didn't justify everything he did, but either that was a true motive or he was just good at coming up with things like this on the spot.
Unfortunately, it was times like these that she wished she was gifted in that particular area.
"I beg your pardon?" he said in response to the unintelligible noise she made. It was somewhere between almost throwing up and saying hello.
"I should probably get going," he spoke up, looking at his wristwatch. The uncomfortable tension between them was beginning to get awkward.
"To the train station, right?" she said before thinking. "You have to get on the train to get home . . ."
He looked startled, and then winked at her. "Maybe you know more about me than you think you do. Although -- that is kind of creepy."
Embarrassed, she stared at her hands again.
"See you tonight."
"Yeah," she said uncomfortably, remembering what was to come that evening. "Hey," she called to his retreating back. "Keep an eye out for me, okay?"
He nodded, regarding her oddly. "Will do."
"Hey," he called back to her. "Can I take you up on the serenade? Because I can make my singing lead to very sexual things."
Annoyed, she smiled. "No thank you."
"You're right," he said as an afterthought. "We'll skip right to it."
She laughed with her eyes closed as the sunlight bathed her face, only a tiny bit aware that today might never end.
A person finds that in the oddest situations, they might do the oddest things; such as saying what they wanted to say when they felt like saying it, if only just to have it spoken and heard.
Sango had barely put the key in the lock before it was enthusiastically swung open.
"Sango-chan!" a hauntingly familiar dark haired girl squealed, embracing her in a tight, hauntingly familiar hug.
Sango stiffly patted her on the back.
Kagome pulled away and stepped aside to let her friend into the house. "Where'd you go? When I called Kohaku was here. Where'd you go?"
"For a walk," Sango replied casually as she took off her shoes. "Is the cat here?"
"Yeah, but something's up with her; she won't come out from under my bed."
Sango sighed audibly. "Maybe this will prevent her from coming home pregnant one day. Men will only squish you and leave you. No, Kagome," she said sharply, as she noticed the strange look her friend was giving her.
"Ooh men Sango-chan? Men is a word that denotes the plural of man."
Sango feigned a gasp. "Really?"
"Geez Sango-chan, why do you always have to be so sarcastic about every little thing?"
Sango ignored her.
"I mean, if you would just consider stepping up your game in the playing field, I wouldn't be so insistent that you do! Not to mention that the last time you ever had a boyfriend was for about a week in the summer after high school was over and --"
"And the poor guy was head over heels for you and probably cried, Sango, cried!"
"He was too -- egh."
"He wasn't that bad! There was that issue with his mouth but that was all!" Kagome insisted.
Sango sighed. "It was overbite."
"But we are supposed to love for the feeling! "
Sango walked up the stairs and into Kagome's room.
"Why aren't you listening to me? I hate when you do this, Sango-chan. I'm just trying to give you advice, but no, you have to ignore me when you don't want to hear it!"
Sango looked under the bed. Poor cat had wedged itself firmly between the bed and the baseboards.
"Furthermore, you're always so blah. Never want to get dressed up, and go places. It's always business. I bet the whole time I'm away for the holiday, you won't do anything but sit at home and play Monopoly, but since I'm not here for you to force to play, you'll play by yourself."
"At least it'd be a closer game. I might just beat myself," Sango replied dully.
"See? That's what I'm saying. Now, if only you'd do something more exciting with yourself and stop being so -- egh."
"I am not egh!"
Kagome smiled triumphantly. She had gotten what she wanted -- a reaction.
"You are so egh!"
Sango let a tiny -- tiny -- minuscule grumble escape.
"Sango-chan? Would you like to borrow some of my clothes tonight? So you don't look so egh?" Kagome sang. "Sango-chan, you should fix your hair for more than two minutes, it'd be decidedly less egh. Sango- chan --"
Sango-chan glared at her. "Don't you have to go home this weekend?"
Kagome attempted to glare back. "Yes. That doesn't mean I can't help you!"
The one in need of help sighed. "I don't want to go."
Kagome looked as though that idea was utterly out of the question. "You can't!" she exclaimed.
"Yes. I can't go."
"Why not! It's a party! On New Year's. New Year's!"
"That echo is quite unnecessary."
"Come on," Kagome whined, pulling on her arm. "I'll set you up with something nice to wear. Then you can take me to the train station."
Sango still didn't want to go to the party, in fear of 'the next day's' results. Well, she had asked Miroku for some assistance. She couldn't help laughing inwardly. Assistance. Ha.
"This one will look nice," Kagome cooed as she thrust a dress on a hanger at Sango, who looked down at it warily.
"It seems kind of . . . light."
"Of course it's light! It's a rayon and nylon hybrid."
"Well, do you like it?" Kagome inquired impatiently.
Sango hesitated. "It seems kind of --"
"Yes?" Kagome prompted.
"Short? How is that short! It only goes up to about -- here -- on me." She indicated an area between her knee and mid-thigh.
"You're forgetting that I'm taller than you. I'd rather not smile at people with my ass."
Kagome's eye twitched. "Not that much taller! You didn't even try it on yet. You just had to be all stingy and sarcastic about it."
Kagome pointed at her in horror. "Yes! Just like that!"
Sango could only sigh and lay the dress on her bed. "Come on, let's get you to the station."
"See, you're doing it again! I'm not that much younger than you! Which doesn't make you that old, and therefore waives your right to act like a cranky eighty two year old woman."
A stiff Sango fought the urge to fire back with, 'sure, an old woman. That's me. Let's get in the car now. Come on. Easy does it.' However, being as wise as an adult as she was, decided not to further the argument.
"I'm not old."
Kagome snickered. "You're not fooling me. Trying to be all cunning like -- like you haven't grown up too fast, not to mention --"
Sango whipped around from where she was standing outside the door, waiting for Kagome to put her shoes on. 'You wouldn't,' her expression seemed to dare the younger girl.
'Oh yeah. I will.'
Driving was certainly lovely. It was a truly lovely thing to do on a crisp, cool mid-afternoon. Alone. See, that one little detail, that one extra body that might happen to be in the car with you, really decided if the drive would be lovely or not.
"You're only harping on me about Inuyasha because you just stand at bat but can't make a hit! And forget about walking the bases, you just get right back to your bench."
"How was I harping on him?" Sango sniped at her passenger. "All I said is that you should quit it with the petty insults thing."
"What petty insults?"
"I mean things along the line of, 'you're old and way too mature, and because of that you can't get a guy to jump into bed with you.'"
Kagome shrugged. "It's true."
"No. I can and I will."
Kagome smiled. "You will?"
Sango shook her head. "No. What I meant was, 'I can.' And, someone with a job, thank you very much."
"He has a job!"
"Right." Sango smirked. "Hey," she said warningly as Kagome reached for the rear-view mirror, "it's just my old and dusty opinion. You know, since being old is usually associated with wisdom."
"Nothing you have wisdom of," Kagome countered.
"I win," the passenger declared as she exited the stopped vehicle. She paused to preen herself for a moment before taking her bag out of the back-seat.
"Yeah, you are a winner for sure," Sango commented as the pair strode towards the platform. "I'll miss having your winning ways in the house with me."
Her friend pushed her gently. "I know you'll miss me," she assured her, looking down at her watch. "Well, someone was sure driving aggressively," she said, rolling her eyes. "It's not even that crowded yet."
Sure enough, ten minutes later, it was safe to say that it was crowded. One thing that annoyed Sango was being early for something that was "first come, first served," only to be overtaken by overexcited people that were agitated, and key word, late.
As the train pulled in, there was that familiar surge of people who wanted to get the window seats for themselves. Not to mention the aisle seat for their bags. Or the single seats to avoid the tired, sleeping people that leaned on you and always had to have a funny odour to them.
"Stop pushing me," Kagome complained as Sango tried to force her through to the doors.
"I'm helping you."
"So am I!"
Kagome let out a shrill, split-second yell, then tried to look apologetic afterwards to those who were around her. "Sango!" she hissed. "Did you --"
"No, I didn't!"
"What? You're lying Miroku. Miroku?"
"Miss Sango, what a surprise seeing you here," he greeted, grinning. "Moreover, I hope you know this young woman here whom you were just grabbing the posterior of."
Sango looked in the other direction and feigned stretching with one hand while she slapped him upside the head with the other. She looked back ahead of her to see Kagome nodding and winking at her. She responded with a face of her own, which included the crossing of her eyes.
"Hopeless," Kagome laughed as Sango rushed them both forward, pushing them to the doors.
She saw him and Kagome safely fall into the train, quickly grabbing onto the overhead bars as they were throttled around. Miroku craned his neck to look out the window, giving Sango a thumbs up as the doors shut and the train accelerated away.
The room seemed humid to Sango as she walked inconspicuously into the hall. Strangely, it even seemed a bit more lively. She shook her head. That thought was completely the work of her imagination. She sauntered over towards the refreshments and gave the table a long, hard look.
"Sango, you showed," Miroku's voice intoned from over her shoulder. He nudged her side. "Oh no, a hungry woman. What traumatic event occurred today?"
She turned around to scowl at him. "It wasn't traumatic," she clarified, turning back to the table and nonchalantly pouring herself a cup of the inviting red drink. It looked so innocent, with the little melon balls floating around in it and all. "I just had a minor disagreement with my house mate over something."
"Oh, the girl that was with you at the station?" Miroku said, leaning his back against the table's edge. "Women."
"I know," Sango nodded in agreement, rolling a grape along her tongue. "Naturally, it was over a guy."
He raised an eyebrow. "A guy?"
"Her guy," she told him, ladling more punch into her cup. "Right now she's seeing this guy who is kind of -- odd.."
"Odd? In what way?" he prompted, seeming genuinely interested.
"Honestly," Sango began in a quieter tone, "it's probably bad to be talking about this, but this really irritated me."
Miroku strained to hear her over the music. "No worries, I'm here for you remember, even in the girly way, I guess," he said unsurely.
He looked at her to find her scrutinizing him carefully. "I'm...going to go make some rounds, greet some people," he said, hoping to steer the conversation in another direction. "You should too; you just got here and you should try and have some fun."
Sango pursed her lips, looking around at the people shuffling around on the dance floor and sitting at their tables looking bored. "I will too, in a sec," she assured him. "You go on, I'll be over here most likely."
He glanced at her sceptically, to which she responded with a thumbs up, and off he went. Sango refilled her cup and walked off to find someone she recognized.
"Have you even left this spot?" was the first thing he said when she saw him walking towards her again.
"Yes, in fact I have," Sango said curtly, crossing her arms. "Most of the people I said hi to were pretty much in agreement with the statement 'this really sucks.'"
"You're not going to let that go, are you?"
"Let what go?"
"That you don't want to be here?"
"That's not true."
He had to fight back a chuckle. "Then why are you here?"
As he said that, she began flushing, and a few seconds later, had progressed beyond that. If the coloured lights flashing around the room happened to be blue, her face shone purple.
"Well?" he prodded, feeling a little light-headed himself.
"Well what," she snapped.
"Why did you come?"
She mumbled something in a small voice, nearly impossible to catch.
"Pardon me?" he asked.
"I said, she made fun of me," she grumbled impatiently.
"She made fun of you," he repeated, then promptly shook his head. "Because you didn't want to come?"
"No, because I'm old and boring and don't want to do anything with myself."
He tried to keep a straight face. "Sango, I don't --"
"Which is not true at all! I just said that she should be thinking about that boyfriend of hers who goes from job to job and seems to be angry all the time. I make a few suggestions and she takes it the wrong way!" She whirled around and refilled her cup. "You know, she thinks it's funny too, but it's annoying. I just try to take care of her..."
"Well, I --"
"Hey, Miroku," she exclaimed suddenly, rounding on him. "Is it true? Do you think I'm old?"
He started to smirk, again holding back the urge to laugh, although a sputter escaped with every second word, should she let him get that far. "Miss Sango, you're only in your twenties --"
"I mean the way I act," she interrupted. "You said something about it before, awhile ago. Do you?"
"Maybe you two girls just misunderstand each other," he said as his offering of sage advice. "Maybe you should really talk to this man of hers before --"
"You're right," Sango said, backing away and turning her attention to her cup. "I should. But after we talk about our own little issues."
"Oh yes, yes definitely," Miroku agreed instantly.
She stood there for awhile, looking smug and thoughtful, and occasionally hiccuping.
"You know what Sango?"
"Miroku! You didn't answer the question!" she nearly shrieked upon realization. "Am I --" she lowered her voice again. "Am I old?"
Even though it was obvious that his answer wouldn't really be remembered later on, he decided to be honest. Well, not really -- he decided to try his best. Something like that.
"You're a very pretty woman Miss Sango."
He vaguely thought that it was quite a coincidence the countdown decided to start right at the end of his sentence. Five, when her lips pursed. Four, when she started looking him up and down. Three, she put down the cup (a move in her favour, he wasn't all too sure about his). Two, she opened her mouth --
"I AM N--"
Sango's eyebrows furrowed deeply as she found a hand clamped over her mouth. She really, really wanted to scream something about not being silenced, or that she didn't know where those hands have been, or something about that implication that she could be categorized as old and boring.
"Ow!" Miroku drew his hand back, shaking it and rubbing at the brand new teeth marks. "Oh, real mature."
"There's just no convincing you. Men," she hissed, giving him another one of her scrutinizing stares. "I'm going to go talk to that girl."
"Hey, that might not be such a good idea," Miroku interrupted, taking her arm firmly. "You told me earlier, and you did, so believe me," he said, making sure to stare at her long and hard. "To watch out for you. So, I am going to take you home, and that will be the end of it. Okay?"
He started pulling her towards the double doors, muttering hurried apologies to the partygoers who happened -- just happened -- to be enjoying themselves.
"You -- you!" Sango was sputtering as he tried to push her into the passenger seat of his car -- gently as possible. "Yes, me," he sighed, strapping the seat belt in. She went on as he shut the door on her side, muffling the sound for awhile.
"You make me so mad!" she yelled, as he opened the door on the other side.
"Tomorrow morning, I'll call," he told the now riled woman. "You are definitely not a happy drunk."
"Oh no. Stop, please?"
Sango felt nice and warm and wrapped up in bedcovers, and would have felt even nicer if she wasn't bouncing around on top of the mattress. Whoever else was in her room better stop shaking the bed or kicking the mattress or whatever it was.
"Hey," she called out, poking her head from under the covers. "Kohaku, stop shaking the --"
"I thought you'd just lie around all day, woman."
A horrified expression formed on Sango's face, nicely complimenting her wide, round eyes.
"So I bet you just dropped by to see Kagome; she went home for the holiday as I'm sure you know," she said in a surprisingly matter-of-fact way.
The tall, built Inuyasha just crossed his arms and grunted. "Not even close."
She remembered that she should be used to this by now. So as calmly as she could, she sat up, adjusted what little clothing she had on, and coolly regarded her temporary roommate. She had never got to have a good look at him anyway. At least he was wearing pants.
"So what brings you here?"
He stared at her incredulously. "You don't remember?"
She shrugged. "I didn't say I don't."
He rolled his eyes, muttering, 'women,' under his breath. "Kagome called me last night." He paused to glare at Sango. "And she was really mad, for some reason." He paced the length of the room about twice before stopping to repeatedly punch a rather delicate spot on the wall.
"I came here to see her, I came all the way out here, to see just what the hell was going on. You answered the door, and when I told you who I was, you just started going on and on about the same stuff that she was! And we fought, I guess, since it's a mess downstairs, plus there's some kid down there."
By this time, Sango had started to massage her temples, partially due to Inuyasha yelling every other word, occasionally punctuating his sentences with a nice jab to the dented wall.
"So you ah -- you weren't here in my uh, my bed, right?"
"Of course I was!"
"What's that supposed to mean!"
"That I woke up here!"
"So you don't know what happened?" Sango asked in dismay.
"Can't remember," he confessed. He glared at her again. "Kagome is going to be pissed."
"At you," Sango said lazily, leaning back and relaxing. "I think it's obvious what happened here."
"It is not!" he growled, "how can you be so calm! I think it's obvious you were partly responsible."
"You weren't exactly screaming, 'no, no' were you? But you did call me quite a lot of names."
A tense silence thickened between them and settled; then was promptly shattered with a sudden fit of giggling escaping from between Sango's lips.
"You're laughing?" Inuyasha gaped at her.
"But isn't it funny? Like, a little bit? I mean, Kagome and I get into a little fight and then I take it all the wrong way, start badmouthing you because even Kagome must recognize a problem such as, say -- anger management and having no source of income. Then I go to this lame party and I think Miroku was there -- well somehow I got home. And now I end up here with you, beating the crap out of my bed and my wall." She tucked her head under the covers, mock whining and moaning. "The worst thing is," she said to him, muffled behind the bed sheet. "Is that I can't agree with Kagome when she says you are good at some things."
Inuyasha stared dumbly at the mass beneath the covers, then shook his head and punched the wall again.