How College can Drive you Crazy

Sonnie

-

"Excuse me," Sesshoumaru began, not quite sure how he was going to even breach the subject with a complete stranger. She didn't owe him anything; in fact, she was pretty upset with his brother, not that Sesshoumaru could blame her.

"Yeah?" the girl asked, not looking up. Her tiny hand poised over the mouse, she scrolled down the page, which was apparently about Vincent van Gogh.

Sesshoumaru was uncomfortable. Used to having peoples' undivided attention, he didn't know how to handle this girl. While she wasn't intentionally treating him impolitely, she wasn't giving him the attention he was accustomed to.

"Your name is Rin, right?" Sesshoumaru asked.

"Yep," she said, hitting the print button. She leaned over and grabbed the sheets from the printer, never taking her eyes of the screen.

"Are you also friends with Inuyasha?" Sesshoumaru asked.

A muscle twitched in the girl's cheek. "Yeah, but he's being quite the douche bag right now," she muttered, yanking another sheet from the printer only to find it jammed. Growling, she stood up and pried the plastic sheet from the side, freeing the paper inside. Crumbling the wrecked paper into a ball, she expertly threw it behind her shoulder to have it land in the recycling bin.

"Really?" Sesshoumaru asked, mildly interested in why she was angry at his idiot half brother.

"Yeah, I mean honestly, how hard is it to ask a girl out?" Rin asked, eyes narrowed as she read the message that popped up on her screen, warning her about low black ink. Grumbling, she closed it and reprinted the pages that had been ruined. "But I guess you're not here to talk about that. What's up?"

Sesshoumaru paused, still perplexed by the girl sitting in front of him. If he were to base any judgments on her appearance, she looked to be a typical "weird" art student. Though she didn't have any of those strange God-awful piercing or ugly tattoos or even dyed hair, her clothes were enough for him to derive that stereotype.

Rin wore a pair of tight jeans, rolled up past her calves, exposing a pair of knee-high argyle socks in a strange combination of white, black, gray, and hot pink. She wore a violet fitted tee that read "The Unicorns" and about a mile's worth of brightly-colored rubber bracelets around her wrists, which were very slender. The beat-up messenger bag on the floor next to her looked about ready to split apart, held together by safety pins, patches, and duct tape.

"My brother Inuyasha told me you could write an essay worthy of a scholarship," Sesshoumaru said.

Rin tilted her head back and laughed, a move that Sesshoumaru found quite disconcerting given the circumstances.

"Haha…could and would are completely different," Rin told him. "You see, I have a huge paper due on Friday, and thanks to Mr. I'll-Volunteer-My-Best-Friend-Without-Taking-Into-Consideration-Her-Schedule, I'm way behind. I bet him that I'd do all his laundry if he won a poker game, and I know that jerk cheated but I can't prove it. The man has more clothes than Paris Hilton!"

"If Inuyasha outwitted you, you have no reason to complain," Sesshoumaru said simply.

"Hey!" Rin yelled, turning to face him. Sesshoumaru watched in amusement as all the anger evaporated from her expression, leaving her looking quite dazed. Her dark brown eyes were framed by a pair of emo glasses that were only a shade darker than her currently wide irises. To her credit, she kept her mouth from hanging agape for more than a second.

Rin sighed. "I guess you're right. I'll just have to get him back some other time." Surprisingly, she had quite a sweet smile, even when it was twisted with hints of mischief. Intelligence was definitely there, and he also expected he would find a decent amount of thoughtfulness and patience.

How on earth does she get along with my brother? Sesshoumaru wondered. They're total opposites.

"Do you think you could write an essay for me by Friday on one of these topics?" Sesshoumaru asked, handing her a paper. She took it, studying it for a moment.

"Yeah, sure," Rin muttered, eyes still scanning the page. "But why bother if I might not win?"

"You will win," Sesshoumaru told her.

"But then it's a sham," Rin said, clearly growing irritated.

"Look, there's a long, complicated story involved," Sesshoumaru said tiredly. "The scholarship contest was one of the many things pushed to the side when Father passed away. By the time I had regained control from some of the greedier members of the board, the deadline was almost past. Now it's bad for publicity if we neglect to award a scholarship, so those are the circumstances in which I have to work. I would not be asking if there were another way."

Rin looked pensive. "Sure, I'll do it," she said after a moment. "But keep your money. Deal?"

Sesshoumaru nodded, eyeing the hand she had extended. Such a naïve gesture; his pride would not allow him to remain in her debt in such a way, and paying her what she was due would relieve him of that obligation. He would just send her the check after everything was all said and done. He took her hand, trying not to wince at how cold and clammy it was.

Rin blushed as she drew her hand back, noticing his discomfort. "Sorry, it's really cold in here, but I can't type to well with gloves on."

Not knowing what else to say, Sesshoumaru turned to leave.

"Wait!" Rin called, running after him. She had to tilt her head back to look at him, for he was well over a foot taller than she was. "If you're going back to Inuyasha, can you tell him something for me?"

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. He wasn't a messenger boy! He was about to refuse but noticed the pleading look in Rin's eyes and acquiesced.

"Please tell Inuyasha…" Rin began solemnly, "that Kagome looks really hot tonight and that it's his own fault that she looks so smokin' while she's on a date with another man! Can you do that for me?"

Sesshoumaru smiled coolly. "I think I can manage that."

-

"Keh, woman, if you do that one more time I'm gonna give you a matching bruise on your other cheek!" Inuyasha yelled, wiping paint off the side of his face. It was getting in his hair, turning the fine silver strands a disgusting shade of gray. The light blue paint was a color he had agreed on because it was so innocuous that he wouldn't notice it.

"I wanna see you try!" Ayame challenged, brandishing her paint roller. It was this scene that Miroku and Sango walked in on. Far from being embarrassed, Sango smiled at her friend Ayame. She could only imagine what she had been putting the poor man through.

"Um, Inuyasha?" Miroku said warily, "this is Sango."

"Nice to meet you," Inuyasha grunted, growing more and more pissed off at Ayame's antics. She was currently beckoning him with a finger, daring him to move forward and attack.

"Let's go, wench!" Inuyasha yelled, swinging his paintbrush at her face. Sidestepping, she dodged the blow and landed the roller on his back as he passed her. It left a nice, satisfying line of paint from his shoulder blades to his butt.

"Look what you just did!" Inuyasha cried out indignantly. Supremely glad he had forced her to wait to open the paint cans until he had removed the furniture from his rooms and covered the floor and windows, Inuyasha relished the amount of space they were left with. It left him with enough room to charge her.

"Yeah, I see what I just did and I'm liking it!" Ayame crowed.

"You wench!" Inuyasha yelled again, running at her, this time with a paintbrush in each hand.

Miroku sighed. "I guess I'd better put a stop to this," he muttered, grabbing Inuyasha's arm to prevent him from advancing further.

"Stay out of this!" Inuyasha yelled. "That paint whore is going to die!"

"So violent," Miroku said tiredly.

Ayame was gloating over Miroku's shoulder, sticking out her tongue at him childishly.

"Uh, Ayame, you probably shouldn't be doing that," Sango said warily, eyeing Inuyasha's snarling face.

"I'll be fine," Ayame reassured her confidently. "Here, grab a brush." She tossed a brush at Sango who ducked in time to avoid being hit in the face. "Whoops!"

Sango retrieved the brush, walking timidly over to the paint can. She'd never painted a room before.

"It's not gonna bite you," Inuyasha snapped, having been released by Miroku.

Sango grinned and plunged the bristles into the can, pulling it out and flinging it at Inuyasha. A small portion hit Miroku, but the majority slapped the face of her intended target. She laughed at his angry expression.

"Sango, I could kiss you!" Ayame cheered.

"You'd better not, or Miroku's gonna lose his mind," Inuyasha said.

Miroku straightened up, having the decency to appear offended. "That was uncalled for, Inuyasha."

"Just grab a brush and quit yakking," Inuyasha told him darkly.

-

Kagome was content with her date; it was better than she had expected. Kouga had been a perfect gentleman. He looked very handsome in his black polo shirt and khakis. As he drove them back to his apartment complex only a block from campus, she gazed out the window.

I had such a good time, Kagome thought. But why does everyone want me to go out with Inuyasha? He's so boorish…rude, even…and that stunt he pulls in drawing!

"Kagome, are you alright?" Kouga asked her concernedly.

"Uh, yeah, sorry," Kagome said, embarrassed.

"Well, we're almost back," Kouga reassured her. "I can get you some Tylenol from my apartment, alright?"

"Sure," Kagome said absently. She got of his car when he pulled into his space. He took her hand and she did not resist.

"Hey, isn't that Inuyasha?" Kagome asked, pointing at where he and a redhead were sprinting to a pickup truck.

"Yeah, he lives in my building," Kouga muttered darkly. "But the only person more insufferable than him is his half brother, who drops by on occasion to bail Inuyasha out of trouble. Sesshoumaru's pretty much a heartless bastard…always cold to everyone."

Huh, so that's why he reminded me of Inuyasha earlier when I saw him in the library, Kagome thought. But if what Kouga says is true, their personalities are completely different. I can't imagine an unfeeling, stoic Inuyasha…

Despite the cold weather, the man was only in jeans and a tee shirt and his companion in a pair of overalls and a tank top. Kagome watched curiously as he grabbed what appeared to be cans of paint from the bed of the truck. The redhead snuck up behind him and painted a huge line across his bottom.

"Damn you!" Inuyasha yelled. "You're DEAD!"

"Gotta catch me first, slowpoke!" the woman taunted, running back towards the building. She brushed past Kagome and Kouga at breakneck speed. She slowed down at the entrance, obviously waiting for Inuyasha to catch up so they could resume their chase. Inuyasha ran towards her, but his eyes were looking up at the scaffolding surrounding the front of the building. The workers were yelling, trying to get her attention so she could avoid the large pile of cinderblocks that were plummeting towards the sidewalk.

"Ayame, look out!" Inuyasha yelled, sprinting towards her as fast as he could. Kagome caught the look of desperation on his face; he wanted to save her so bad but she knew he couldn't reach her in time. The blocks rained down from the sky; they were everywhere and she didn't know where to run.

"NO!" Inuyasha roared as the first block exploded on impact. Ayame's scream filled the air, chilling Kagome's blood. The rest of the blocks came crashing down, enveloping the entire area with a thick cloud of dust.

Kagome looked over at Kouga, who for the first time she'd ever seen him looked as if his confidence had been shattered. His blue eyes were wide in horror and disbelief as he ran over to the accident.

Inuyasha ran over too, pushing the other man aside, not realizing who it was. He held an arm in front of his face to block the particles that lingered in the air, stinging his eyes and choking him. When the dust finally cleared, he almost fell over in disbelief.

Ayame was unharmed, having been pushed flat against the wall by Sesshoumaru. He was also unhurt, but both of their clothes were covered in chalk-colored debris. Ayame's eyes were still wide and she was shaking in Sesshoumaru's arms.

"Are you alright Ayame?" Inuyasha asked, rushing to her side.

Ayame didn't answer, chest still heaving with desperate breaths. She looked around frantically, as if in shocked disbelief.

"Ayame, are you hurt?" Sesshoumaru asked her firmly, catching her chin and forcing her to steady her gaze.

Ayame nodded, causing some of the dust in her hair to fall. Sesshoumaru tilted her head to the side, obviously studying something he saw.

"What happened to your face?" Sesshoumaru demanded. "This mark is too old for what happened."

"Oh, um…" Ayame dropped her chin from his grasp, glancing around nervously. Spotting Kouga, she quickly straightened up and looked away. "Nothing."

Sesshoumaru stepped back, looking at Kouga carefully for a brief moment. "Very well," he said finally. "Now come, let's go."

"Where are you taking her?" Kouga demanded.

"To the hospital," Sesshoumaru replied. He looked at Ayame pointedly. "And on the way there she can tell me how she got that bruise."

"Sesshoumaru, I can't go in your car," Ayame said. "You won't even let me eat inside it. I'll ruin it!"

"Don't be foolish," Sesshoumaru said simply.

Ayame went quietly, clasping her hands in front of her submissively. She glanced at Kagome briefly but ignored Kouga as she walked by. She had a slight limp but didn't appear to be critically injured. But when Ayame dropped her hands at her sides, Kagome saw rivulets of blood running freely down her right arm. When she reached the car, Sesshoumaru unlocked it and opened it for her, then closed it once she was inside.

Inuyasha watched them go, eyes following Sesshoumaru's Bentley until it had left the parking lot. He breathed an audible sigh of relief.

"That was really brave of you, Inuyasha," Kagome told him, smiling at him. "You could have gotten hurt or even killed. You really care about your friends, don't you?"

Inuyasha gaped at her. The girl he'd been harboring a crush on was giving him just about the highest praise anyone could. A humiliating blush was working its way across his face, and he turned it abruptly.

"Thanks," he said curtly.

"I'm sorry, did I embarrass you?" Kagome asked him.

"Keh, I'm fine, it's Ayame I'm worried about," Inuyasha said. He looked at Kouga. "My brother's going to slit your throat when he finds out what you did."

"I don't feel particularly great about it, alright?" Kouga growled. "She makes me angrier than anyone I've ever met! She kept provoking me; I even warned her to stop."

"She doesn't know how to stop," Inuyasha muttered. "And she loves pushing peoples' buttons. She also loves pissing them off."

"Why does she go around doing stuff like that?" Kouga demanded angrily. Kagome had seen him irritated, yes, but Ayame truly seemed to affect him like nothing else.

"Because, she refuses to follow the status quo," Inuyasha said firmly. "She will not accept being ignored nor being ignorant herself. She challenges people to think outside whatever box they've built around themselves, and you either respect that or you don't. And since you're the reason my apartment is a mess, I think I'm going to ruin your day."

Inuyasha turned to Kagome. "Do you mind giving me your number? I thought maybe we could hang out sometime."

Kagome blushed. She wasn't used to all the male attention, but she honestly liked them both. Since the silver-haired boy wasn't necessarily asking her on a date, she didn't think it was rude to decline. She nodded to Inuyasha, who smirked arrogantly at Kouga. She wrote her number on a slip of paper from her purse and handed it to him. He accepted it with a flourish.

"If you two will excuse me, I have one hell of an apartment to return to," Inuyasha said, waving an arm as he walked through the door, leaving a very perplexed couple behind.

-

Miroku grinned sheepishly at Sango, whose paint-covered right hand was raised for another slap. A blue handprint adorned the left side of Miroku's face, much smaller than the pair that adorned the back of Sango's jeans.

"I can't leave you two alone, can I?" Inuyasha asked, shaking his head.

"Where's Ayame?" Sango asked.

"She's at the hospital," Inuyasha said hurriedly. "But she'll be okay. My brother's taking care of her."

Miroku sighed. "I've never understood that relationship, but whatever," he muttered.

"Yeah, it freaks me out too," Inuyasha said, shuddering. "Sesshoumaru is actually polite to her, respectful even. It's…creepy."

Easy conversation resumed as they painted the walls. Though Sango didn't know Sesshoumaru, she accepted that her roommate was in capable hands. Even though the two boys repeadedly teased each other, she recognized an easy rapport between them and a great deal of loyalty. She'd hung out with guys like this at her old high school with Kagome, and felt truly comfortable when they'd direct the occasional rib in her direction.

With the three of them diligently working, they were done relatively quickly. As they were moving the furniture back in (Sango was surprisingly strong) Miroku paused, holding the couch still before a grunt from Inuyasha got him moving today.

"Why was your brother here anyway?" Miroku asked. "It's not you like two are buddy-buddy."

"Keh, he was going to pick of some of Dad's old papers," Inuyasha said. "And he didn't want them sitting in his car while he went to talk to Rin."

'Whoa, whoa, whoa…why did he want to talk to Rin?" Miroku asked.

"He needed to ask her something," Inuyasha said offhandedly. Miroku knew his friend didn't want to say more about why, so he asked another question.

"How do you think that went? I mean, they've actually never met before. I guess circumstances weren't quite right, but I mean…those two talking? I wish I could've taped it. They're polar opposites."

"Yeah," Inuyasha sighed. "But that's his problem. Anyway, I'm going to call him and check on Ayame."

-

Sesshoumaru hated hospitals; they reminded him of his mother's death when he was only a small child. And it was in one that his father met Inuyasha's mother, a nurse on the nightshift. Sesshoumaru wanted to find a valid reason to hate her but could never find something objective, which made his dislike even stronger. Izayoi had helped his father immensely but to Sesshoumaru she was only a reminder of what he had so recently lost.

Izayoi was buried next to his father, where his mother belonged. Her family had entombed her in a private crypt over a thousand miles away, far from her son and husband. It just wasn't fair to bury her in a place he couldn't get to when he had so desperately needed to see her.

Sesshoumaru looked down at Ayame. She had a concussion and a few bruises, but was otherwise okay. She was resting comfortably, a serene expression on her pale face. Sesshoumaru wondered for the hundredth time why he and Ayame got along, but knew that several factors were involved.

She got under his skin, intentionally, but he welcomed the kind of personal challenge that only she could issue. She took him off guard but it was never threatening. He knew he was in a position of great power but she never wanted anything from him…and she was much like his mother in some respects, even though her outgoing personality was much different.

He liked how if he wanted to tell Ayame something, there were always things that she just automatically knew, which spared him a rather painful explanation. She understood him, something that he wasn't quite sure he did himself, not that he would ever admit that to anyone. But every time he had been in a difficult situation she would always do just the right thing to make him feel more in control of the situation without bruising his ego or embarrassing him. His father had left him to work things out all on his own and Izayoi had been unintentionally patronizing, but Ayame was just what he needed.

Too bad she reminds me too much of my mother for me to marry her, Sesshoumaru thought drolly. She's just about the only woman I can tolerate that isn't boring.

Sesshoumaru recalled the girl from the library. Rin. How puzzling she was…not irritating, oddly enough. Just something completely different than what he'd ever been expecting. She'd been mentioned a lot by Inuyasha and his friends whenever he'd been unfortunate enough to be in their vicinity, but he'd never talked to her before today.

She's the only person that can beat Inuyasha in Egyptian ratscrew! She's got the scars to prove it, too!

Did you hear what she said in class today? I thought she was going to get suspended!

That painting was amazing…did you hear how much she sold it for? Three hundred bucks!

Yeah…Rin can wear anything and not look like a whore.

Sesshoumaru mulled over that last comment, made tactlessly by Inuyasha that resulted in a blow from Ayame. The girl definitely possessed some interesting physical qualities that he found appealing, and they were a lot different than the redhead's quite blatant sexuality. She knew what she had and knew when and how to flaunt it…and though Sesshoumaru suspected the same of Rin, he knew said qualities and methods would differ greatly.

Riiiiiing Riiiiiing.

Sesshoumaru picked up his phone, rolling his eyes when he saw Inuyasha's number appear. Preparing himself for a thousand stupid, repetitive questions, he flipped open the cover.

"Yes, Inuyasha?" he drawled.

"How's Ayame?"

"Good."

"She gonna be alright?"

"Is she hurt?"

"Not seriously."

"Is she doing well?"

"Yes."

"Is she gonna be okay?"

Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes. "I just answered that question."

"No, the last one you just answered was 'is she doing well' and I asked 'is she going to be okay,' " Inuyasha griped.

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes. "I'm hanging up now."

"Wait!" Inuyasha cried. "How'd it go with Rin?"

"I don't know how you two are friends," Sesshoumaru answered.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sesshoumaru was amused by the obviously irritated tone in his brother's voice.

"Take it as you will," Sesshoumaru replied ambiguously, deliberately so to further annoy his brother. "But she asked me to give you a message."

"She did?" Inuyasha was puzzled.

"Yes, she wanted to make sure that you were painfully aware that the girl you have feelings for was on a date with another man and that she looked absolutely ravishing," Sesshoumaru said dryly. "But if she was the one I saw with Kouga, then I'd have to say that the last one was prettier."

"WHY YOU!" Inuyasha was yelling now. Sesshoumaru winced, delicately holding the phone away from his face and fixing it with a pointed expression.

"I'll have you know that I got her Kagome's number today, thank you very much!" Inuyasha declared. The surprised voices in the background revealed he hadn't yet revealed that to his companions, quite possibly because that was only as far as he had gotten; practically nowhere.

"That still doesn't change the fact she looks like a simpleton," Sesshoumaru muttered.

"I think she's beautiful!" Inuyasha said loudly, his voice cracking when he realized that he'd admitted that out loud. Sesshoumaru smiled at the imagined face of his blushing, idiotic brother. He heard lots of laughter in the background.

"Shut up!" Inuyasha yelled to them, only causing them to laugh louder.

Sesshoumaru allowed himself a rare chuckle before returning the phone to his ear. "Goodnight, Inuyasha. Have fun with your friends."

-

Click.

Aarrrgh, damn it! Inuyasha screamed inwardly. He looked at his friends grumpily. Sango was giggling demurely, having at least the decency to cover her mouth and appear as if she was trying to fight. Miroku was laughing so hard he was close to tears. He considered telling them to stop but didn't, knowing it was useless, he sighed.

Well, she is beautiful, his treacherous mind thought once again, causing him to scowl.

-

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Author's Notes: Please read and review this and my other fics! I hope you enjoyed this chapter—it took me ages!