Distraction: Hello again, and welcome to another exciting chapter in "Truth or Dare or Blush til it Hurts"! I've been working really hard for the past few weeks on it (and my other fanfiction, soon to be posted!), and that's not to mention the piles of end-of-the-quarter studying and tests I had to do. Yes, that's an excuse. :sigh: I guess I'm a real fanfiction writer now, huh? Making excuses to why I didn't update sooner...jabbering on about things that are utterly pointless in the little space before the chapter, most likely just to raise your word count. :another sigh: I feel an odd expression that seems to be a cross between joy and depression. ... Oh well, I'll ponder that phenomenon later.
Distraction: Seriously, please don't flame me for lack of updates. You try juggling French, Japanese, Honors Geometry, Advanced Biology, 12th grade Creative Writing (in 9th grade), and a cranky art teacher, and see how much you get done on a fanfiction that your paranoid mother won't let you write because "teenage girls need to broaden their horizons and participate in activities around town" or some other such nonsense!
Distraction: Oh, I suppose you want the chapter now. Fine. :poof: There you go.
Truth or Dare or Blush til it Hurts
They had been walking for seven hours straight. One stop, ten minutes. Needless to say, they were tired. They trekked through the woods near Hokanei bridge, Shippo hitching a ride on a slouching Kagome's shoulder, Miroku and Sango showing signs of physical fatigue, Inu-Yasha scowling even more than usual, though his bad mood may have also been a result of the miserable weather as well as the enormously long walk.
Dark grey clouds had hung gloomily over-head for most of the day, dampening the air and the moods of the travelers. It had started raining about the time the sun went down, though one could only tell the sun's disappearance by the sudden, though subtle, change of the shade of grey in the clouds. It was just about this time that the group came into the forest. Thanks to a strategically placed sign, they knew the bridge was just up ahead if they followed the narrow dirt path. They were looking forward to getting a well-earned night's rest at the bridge manager's house when they came to the bridge itself. When they saw it, they stopped dead in their tracks.
One end of the bridge was in the swollen river; the other was just the support beams, its mangled planks ripped off and lying on the bank. Railing was missing and there were large holes all along the length of the arch. An old boat made of decayed wood was turned upside-down with a sign announcing that "This boat is not fit for water. It will sink! Do not try to use!". The only things around that didn't seem to be in a state of total disrepair were the two small shacks sitting side by side about twenty feet from the newly made shore; the bridge-maintainer's house and a guest house, if they had to guess.
Sango broke from the group and walked over to the door of the closest hut. She pulled a note off the door, scanned it quickly, then said, "The manager said that he's twenty miles downstream getting materials for repairs from the nearest town. He says we can stay the night here if we want." She flipped the note over and read. "He also says that if we can spare time and manpower, he would be grateful for some help bringing the supplies back here."
Kagome, with Shippo on her shoulder, walked over to her, read the note and said, "We should go and help him."
Inu-Yasha, who was in an especially disputatious mood, snapped, "Are you crazy, girl? It's twenty miles out of the way! Besides, it's already night and it's raining; what the hell are we supposed to do now?"
Kagome took a moment to calm herself, repeating her usual mantra, 'Don't let him get to you; he's a mean, cranky jerk. Don't let him get to you; he's a mean, cranky jerk.' Opening her eyes and unclenching her fists, she said, "I didn't mean tonight. We're all too tired–" "–and moody," Sango murmured. "– to do anything but go inside and relax for the night. Which we were invited to do, so..." She broke off and pushed her way into the shack. Sango murmured something to Kirara, who promptly transformed and flew off, then followed Miroku into the hut. Inu-Yasha harumphed, but sulked after them anyway.
The inside of the hut wasn't exactly decorative. It had everything a solitary man living in the woods would need, and not much more. A firepit was in the middle, slightly damp from where rainwater had come in through the smoke hole above it. A variety of pots and pans and other cooking utensils hung from strategically placed pegs on the wall. Fishing rods and nets lay in a neat pile in the corner, next to two futons, one stacked on top of the other, with various animal pelts and blankets on top of them. Other than this, the room was bare.
"Must not be into entertaining,"Sango muttered as their eyes swept the place. Miroku disappeared out the door and returned a few seconds later.
"The other hut is identical to this,"he said. "I suggest we sleep in separate huts; perhaps Sango would like to join me in this one while Inu-Yasha and Kagome take the other?" His famous half grin was on his face.
Kagome hid her face in her hands and shook her head while Sango hit him soundly over the head with her Hiraikotsu screaming, "Lecher!"
They set to work making fire from the small pile of wood they found in each of the huts. Sometime while Kagome was boiling water for ramen, Shippo snuck off, his absence unnoticed by the others until a while later when the bowls of noodles were passed out. Miroku went to look for him, and found him in the second shack, fast asleep by the fire.
"Poor thing, he must be so tired from today," Kagome said, clicking her tongue. Inu-Yasha snorted into his ramen, but said nothing. She ignored it.
They sat in silence for a while, finishing their meal and waiting for the others to be done. Kagome silently bit her lip, looking from Miroku to Sango and back again. How was she going to suggest playing 'Truth or Dare'? Would it seem too obvious to just come out with it and say 'Let's play a game!' like she was some overly-peppy kid? She contemplated what she could do, and whether she should even do it, until Sango broke the silence, "You know, despite a little soreness in my legs, I'm not tired at all, even though we walked all day."
Glad for a distraction from her thoughts, Kagome nodded in agreement. "I know what you mean. It can only be about, what? Like, eight? I don't think I could fall asleep now, even if I tried."
"What should we do, though? I think we deserve some fun. With all the work we've been doing lately, and walking all day, I think we should play a game." She rambled on about a game she used to play with Kohaku, Kagome not taking in a word of it as she stared wide-eyed at her friend. She had been looking for some way to bring in Truth or Dare, and here was an opportunity, staring her down, daring her not to take it.
She noticed vaguely Miroku nodding at something Sango had said as she sheepishly raised her hand and said, "I–I know a game we can play."
Her friends turned to her. Inu-Yasha, rude as ever, snorted, "What's with your arm, wench?"
She dropped it, continuing. "It–it's called 'Truth or Dare'. People in my time play it all the time at parties. It's really fun."
Miroku asked, "Lady Kagome. Excuse me, but what is a 'par-tease'?"
Kagome looked at him, "A party is a group gathering people go to to have fun." She turned back to the group. "Anyway. The main rules are simple. The person who starts picks someone and gives them the choice 'Truth or Dare'. That person picks one. If they pick truth, the original person gets to ask them a question, and they have to answer it truthfully. If they pick dare, the original person makes a request, which they have to do. Those are the basic rules. Now, we can lay down other rules that we can change each time we play. For example, we can say that if you don't want to do a dare or answer a question, you have to do a predetermined consequence. Or we can ban certain questions or requests," she glanced at Miroku, who was smirking. "like telling someone to bare their child."
Inu-Yasha butted in before Miroku could object. "I think we should have that 'pre-martyred consequence' thing. That'll keep you wimpy humans from getting craven and backing out."
"Okay, Inu-Yasha. What do you think the consequence should be?"
He thought for a moment. "How about whoever doesn't do something has to go swimming naked in the river? That'll keep you guys in line."
Miroku repositioned himself, his staff jangling. "Inu-Yasha, I doubt that we can't think of something that you may want to back out of. And swimming in the river nude is too astringent. If someone does that and catches a cold, then it will slow down our journey. We can't have that."
"Feh!" Inu-Yasha scowled. "I suppose you're right, bouzu. You humans are so weak, you can't even defend yourself from the cold."
Sango spoke up. "What if you had to take one night's full watch by yourself? Is that a good idea?"
"Yeah! I like that idea!" Kagome said. "What about you guys? You think you'd be able to handle that punishment?" she teased.
Miroku nodded politely and Inu-Yasha snorted. It was agreed.
Kagome clapped her hands together. "All right! Now, are there any other rules?" She looked at Miroku again. "Umm, how about nothing to do with sex? And no stripping either."
Miroku sighed and nodded. Sango looked at Kagome, saying "Arigato, Kagome-chan."
She smiled and said, "Anything else?"
"No sitting me during the game." Inu-Yasha said quickly. "You shouldn't be allowed to sit me."
Kagome nodded. "Okay and you're not allowed to make me not s-word you in the future, for any amount of time."
The hanyou grumbled something inaudible. Miroku added, "Besides that, we shouldn't be able to restrict behavior from someone that they are normally accustomed to."
Sango growled, "You just don't want us to say you can't grope people."
Miroku put on a façade of innocence. "I would never—" Kagome cut him off. "How about no restricting behavior for periods longer than a week. That'll give everybody a chance to do what they want."
Sango glared at Miroku; Miroku smiled back. They both said, "That seems fair."
"Anything else?" Kagome looked around at her companions. They shook their heads. "No? Okay, I'll start."
Kagome looked into each of her friends' faces. Inu-Yasha, sitting across from her, prayed to Kami that she wouldn't pick him. He didn't yet know how to play the game and was, though he would never admit it, getting a few butterflies in his stomach about some of the things she could ask him or make him do. 'Why did I even agree to play this dumb game?' he asked himself roughly. Thankfully, she turned to Sango. "Sango!" she shouted. The taijiya jumped
"M-me?" she stammered. "O-okay."
"Sango," she repeated. "Truth or dare?"
Kagome looked up thoughtfully. "Hmmm..." She snapped her head back down to look at the demon-slayer. "All right. What's your favorite part about searching for jewel shards?"
Inu-Yasha narrowed his eyes. She could have asked anything she wanted, about something personal that she only would have found out by asking now. Wasn't that what most people would do? What was she thinking?
Sango, too, was surprised at the question, if the look on her face was anything to judge by. "Wha...?" She blinked. "Oh..okay. Umm, I guess it's that I get to be with you, Kagome-chan, and all my new friends." Sango smiled at Miroku, then turned away, blushing. Kagome giggled in her throat, unnoticed by those with human hearing. Inu-Yasha narrowed his eyes some more.
Kagome said giddily, "Okay, Sango! It's your turn!"
Sango looked around, her eyes settling on Miroku. The monk quirked a grin, and she said, "Houshi-sama, truth or dare?"
Miroku's fingers twitched ominously as he replied, "I choose truth, my dear Sango, for I fear what you could make me do if I choose the other."
A solitary tic showed above the girl's closed eye's before she looked back up, her expression instantly softening. With a sad and utterly serious face, she asked solemnly, "Does it hurt when I hit you with the Hiraikotsu?"
He gave a small, curt nod. "Lady Sango, with the strength you possess as a result of your calling as a demon slayer, and your proficiency with the weapon, how could it not hurt?"
"Then why do you keep touching me?" she yelled exasperatedly.
The monk folded his hands together and replied, "I'm sorry, Lady Sango, but you've already asked me a question. Now, I believe, it is my turn."
Inu-Yasha thought the monk would pick him. He expected him to pick him. Not only was he the only one who hadn't yet participated, but that crooked houshi would jump at the chance to ask him about how he felt about Kikyo, or worse, Kagome.
Miroku's words echoed in the hanyou's head, 'Inu-Yasha, I doubt that we can't think of something that you may want to back out of.' The hanyou blanched. Great, he was going to be the first one to have to use the 'proventriculus consequence'.
Inu-Yasha broke from his train of thought as Miroku rattled his staff, looking around the circle. His eyes paused on Inu-Yasha. The monk opened his mouth. 'This is it,' Inu-Yasha grimaced to himself.
"Kagome!" the monk said, turning to her. "Truth or dare?"
"What!" Inu-Yasha was on his feet in an instant. All eyes turned to him.
'Whoops,' he thought. 'That was stupid.' Now he was in trouble. He wasn't supposed to give a crap about this stupid game, or a lot of other things, for that matter. He was going to have to do some quick thinking to get out of this one.
"Feh," he said, planting himself down before anyone could say anything.
Kagome was still looking at him. "Ummm…"
"Feh!" he said again, louder this time.
Kagome dropped it and turned back to Miroku, ushering him and Sango to follow her example by saying, "Dare, Miroku-sama."
This distracted everybody. Eyebrows shot up, and Inu-Yasha wondered at Kagome's sanity. Saying 'dare' to Miroku? Even with the minimal restraints on what could and could not be done, there was no was the monk's imagination couldn't weasel his way into dangerous (for Kagome, at least) territory; even those who had never played this retched game before knew of the precipice she had just stepped onto.
Miroku chortled amusedly. His thoughts seemed to be on the same track as Inu-Yasha's. The hanyou growled low. Sango muttered, 'Houshi-sama…"
Kagome chuckled. "Really, guys. He wouldn't do anything that bad." Inu-Yasha stared dumb-founded. Was she really that naive… or stupid?
Miroku smiled, "Lady Kagome! You have decided to put some faith into this humble monk! I am so grateful that you have finally come to your senses and noticed that I mean you know harm and have done no wrong. You have broken free from the hold these two—" he motioned to Sango and Inu-Yasha, both scowling deeply "–have had on you, conning you into thinking that I was anything but a modest servant of Buddha."
Kagome waved a hand in the air. 'Yeah, yeah. The only thing more modest than you is Inu-Yasha before he attacks Kouga," she said, sticking out her tongue. Completely missing the insult, Inu-Yasha thought, 'The wench is acting really weird tonight…'
"All right, I dare you to…" he looked thoughtful. Suddenly, he grinned. "I dare you to teach Sango how to dance like they do in your time."
Kagome stared at him. Inu-Yasha stared at him. Sango looked confused.
"How…how do you know about that?" Kagome asked quietly. Knowing the inevitable fate that was about to befall him, Inu-Yasha fearfully inched away. Just as he predicted, she turned on him, her eyes glinting red. "You!" she sputtered. "You told him, didn't you?"
Inu-Yasha whimpered in the face of the livid schoolgirl. Before Kagome could leap in for the kill, Sango-the-archangel put a steadying hand on her shoulder. "It's okay, Kagome. I've always wanted to learn how to dance." Inu-Yasha kept inching towards the door.
Kagome's eyes turned back to their normal color and to the taijiya. "Sango, what you think of as dance is not how people in my time dance."
A meaningful—'and frightening,' thought Inu-Yasha—look from Kagome, and on Sango's face dawned confusion, then comprehension, then shock, as she turned to the smirking monk. Inu-Yasha reached to open the door.
"Miroku, what have you done?" Sango asked forcefully, unaware of the hanyou trying to sneak away. Unfortunately, Kagome noticed.
"Inu-Yasha! Where do you think you're going!" she screamed. 'Damn!' he thought. "Sit!"
He hit the ground with a thud. Muttering a string of curse words into the hard wood floor, he pulled himself up as soon as the curse would let him, yelling, "What the hell was that for?"
"Oh you know what it was for!" She stamped foot. "Fine! Inu-Yasha, truth or dare?"
"Dare!" he shouted, trying to avoid her making him tell her he had told the monk about the future's strange cultural habits.
"Okay, you get to learn how to dance like that, too!" she screamed. The deaf hanyou blinked. "No wait..."
The two teenagers stared unblushingly at each other. Miroku chuckled. "Can't take it back!" he sing-songed. "I think I like this game."
By magic, his face bore two red hand-prints and his head a large lump.
Distraction: All right, so what did you think? I originally wrote more for this chapter, but it would have taken another couple days to finish and over-edit it, so your stuck with this for now. Hopefully, though, I'll get the next chapter finished in a week, maybe two.
Distraction: I'm not going to demand reviews so that I'll update faster; I think that is just annoying to read and more annoying to comply with, so I'll not do that. But, I do like reading reviews...
Distraction: I really don't like how a lot of this chapter turned out. I wasn't able to edit as much as I normally would like to, but I needed to update to get a :ahem: certain person from emailing me all the time about updating. Not naming any names...YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! So stop that, kay?
Next time on Blush til it Hurts: It's Inu-Yasha's turn to ask, and you now what that means! Ramen? Kagome not going back to her time? Kagome not sitting him for a week? Kagome admitting to him how he feels? More ramen? Find out next time in ... Truth or Dare or Blush til it Hurts!