Disclaimer: I don't own Inu Yasha. I don't even own a dog. Just a gorgeous cat that likes to hunt cybernetic mice. You're not allowed to steal him.
A/N: You need to read this before you read the story or you might not understand some key points! I know you guys are waiting (patiently I hope) for my next update, but I've had this story stuck in my head for some time now. I needed to write it down. I think it's because I just realize I won't be able to go to Spain until the winter, which means, I'll go to the city and not this gorgeous town the story is set in.
Before you begin, I need to give you guys some quick background to Spanish culture. Though the major cultural export of Spain is the gypsy culture it does not mean there are no racial tensions between gypsies and payos (what they call us, the non-gypsies). The gypsy culture that is shown on television is primarily from the south, where most gypsies settled down and opened respectable businesses. Those in the north are primarily nomadic tribes, which has given them a very bad reputation. A famous desert from our area, which is very delicious, is called brazo de Gitano (gypsy arm) because it looks like a forearm. This comes from the days that the punishment for stealing was cutting off someone's hand. If you want to scare a child, you tell them you are going to sell them to the gypsies, or that the gypsies will come still him/her. They don't like payos, either. Both races distrust each other highly. Interracial marriages are almost non-existent. Gypsies are forbidden to marry outside their clan/people, and marriages tend to be arranged by the fathers of the family. For a payo to be called a gypsy, it is a great insult. The reverse is also true.
I would like to take this moment to remind you all this is a social situation, and it does not reflect my personal views. Any mentioned of gypsies in a negative light in the story is done solely to represent the current and past social tension between the two racial groups.
I also took some liberties with the names to make them work. I moved the story from Tokyo, Japan to a little town in Galicia, Spain. It was a complete cultural change, so bare with me. Full explanations of the names and expressions can be found at the bottom; I'm sure you all want to get past this to the actual story.
The air was electrified, saturated with the invigorating energy of the town's people eagerly awaited the fireworks display. It was Saturday night, the Feast of la Virgen del Carmen, the biggest celebration of the year. Muros was flooded with tourists and locals, all enjoying the festivities. The live band was performing in the town Plaza, which was inundated with dancers of all ages. The normally blocked off area by the pier reserved for the emergency helicopter response unit, was open to the public. There, a traveling group of gypsies had set up una feria, with rides like the merry-go-round, a living pony carousel, and the haunted tunnel. The older teens were rushing to the bumper cars and grasshopper rides, while trying their luck at the games.
The restaurants faced the boardwalk in a long row running parallel to the old fashion street lamps, like brave soldiers daring the sea. Each had their own particular sign above the stone entrances, and most had placed tables outside to try and accommodate the overwhelming number of patrons. One in particular, El Faro, The Lighthouse, was particularly full, probably because their slightly more affordable prices had attracted most of the town's youths.
On its outdoor terrace, enjoying the cool breeze rolling off the ocean, a group of teenage girls laughed and drank enjoying their first summer out of high school. Eri, short for Erica, had gotten up a few minutes before to run after a few of the Americans. The Americans were tourists, but not in the truest sense of the word. They were the children of those who had left Muros seeking a better life in America. Now, their sent tem back to the small town, hoping to recapture some of their lost culture. Therefore, every summer, the town was invaded by a group of teenagers with a generous dollar to peseta exchange rate and an allowance that equated with more money than they knew what to do with. To the local business owners, they were a gift from God. The local economy depended on their frivolous expenses to raise enough money to survive the harsh winter months.
Kagome, the youngest of the group, sighed at her friends antics. She hoped that Eri was talking up one of the groups they generally socialized with. Those guys knew her, and didn't bother to try and pull a fast one…well, not since she broke one of their noses for moving his hand improperly southward on her back. The guys weren't mad. In fact, the offender apologized, explaining he had been too drunk at the time, but he respected her space. Besides, the Americanas had a reputation for hitting harder than most of the boys. When they were out together, they defended each other like sisters. A night like tonight, the town was swamped with drunken strangers trying to get lucky. They would have to watch each other like hawks.
Inu Yasha, their waiter, stopped by to drop their change and finish clearing their table. His restaurant was definitely a hit, and she knew the little pub he had opened at the end of the strip was probably already packed. It wasn't surprising. The Americans seemed to like his infamous reputation, especially the girls. In a small town like Muros, Inu Yasha was the closest thing they had to a misunderstood outcast rebel. It didn't hurt that the Muros native was also a delicious piece of eye candy. With jet black hair and deep violate eyes, he could steal any girl's heart.
Kagome smiled him a thank you before arguing with her friends about the tip. Kagome had always been taught to be generous, while her friends were more concern with having enough money left over for the party.
It wasn't long after that a car swerved to a stop before them. They looked at the red Ford Fiesta in confusion, until Eri rushed out. She had been sitting on someone's lap. None of the local kids had money for a new car, which meant, Eri was riding with the Americans. "Come on!" She urged the three girls still at the table. "They said they'll take us to Louro!"
"Why?" Kagome asked, her blue eyes sparkling in confused. Louro was the next town over, known for the strip of summer apartments in front of a gorgeous beach with a few bars spread throughout. They usually walked to the beach there, it only took about ten or fifteen minutes, but, at night, too many cars speeded along the poorly lit road. Walking that distance was suicidal.
"That's where the party is!" Eri complained. The other girls had already rushed into the car. It was going to be a tight fit. They would all probably have to sit on someone's lap.
"There's a party here, too. The band is good, the pubs are open, and if we leave, we'll miss the fireworks!" Kagome protested.
"We can see them from over there! Come on Kagome! They're buying."
"They're drunk, Eri. They can't even drive straight."
"They didn't have that much to drink!" Eri protested. This was the one thing that always caused Eri and Kagome to fight. Eri was all about adventure and fun. Kagome was more of a "play it safe" kind of girl.
"Eri, there are too many people in the car. The Guardia Civil will stop them. We will all get grounded."
"¡Dios mió! Everyone is out partying. No one is going to stop us; besides, we're eighteen. We finished school. Our parents can't say anything to us anymore!"
"They have Barcelona plates!" Kagome protested. "Everyone knows that the rental cars with automatic transmissions have Barcelona plates! They'll be targeted automatically! And I don't know about you, but eighteen doesn't excuse me from my mother's belt."
Kagome's stomach began to tighten. Eri was being more unreasonable than usual, and one of the boys from the car was coming towards them. She had a bad feeling about this.
"Yo, you coming?" The guy asked with a thick Yankee accent.
"Si!" Eri answered while grabbing Kagome's arm. She was paralyzed as she saw herself being dragged to the car.
"She's not!" A strong masculine voice declared as someone else grabbed her other arm. Suddenly, Kagome understood the pain an accordion must feel.
"You're not her father, Inu Yasha. ¡No te metas!" Eri declared. She gave the young man a distasteful look, reminding him that she was above his kind. He was used to that, having received that same look from the locals for as long as he could remember. It didn't stop him. It never did.
"No, but I'm her bartender, and she has a drink to finish at the bar." With that he pulled her back towards his restaurant, yanking her hard enough so that Eri would have to let go. Kagome watched in silent confusion as her best friend rolled her eyes and got into the car.
Skillfully, he led her through the maze of crowded tables to the noisy bar. The patrons were shouting, singing and enjoying life. It was a good night…for most.
"I didn't order anything." Kagome protested when Inu Yasha pushed a client over so she could have a seat at the bar. The client, a local fisherman, recognized Kagome, and gladly gave up his seat. She was the priest's granddaughter, after all. That should make up for not going to confession.
"On the house." He replied opening a bottle of Trina for her. She looked at the apple juice in surprise. "You always order it when you're here with your mother." He explained. "And it better be the last time I see you even thinking of getting into a car with a drunken driver. Have you forgotten what happened last year?" He had caught her by surprise with the accusation; she made the sign of the cross automatically. No one talked about that accident in vain. The car had driven off the road, taking the railing with it. It was two weeks before they were able to pull the wreckage from the ocean. She had been told that none of the five victims could have an open coffin funeral.
"I can't believe you would be that stupid."
This time, she was ready with a remark.
"What nerve! Where do you get off judging me like that?"
"If I hadn't stopped you, you would've gotten into that car!" He shouted back.
"No! I said I wasn't going, and I stick to my word, but I couldn't let my friends go without trying to stop them!"
"Keh, four against one: You would've crumbled."
"Inu Yasha," Miroku, the dark haired bartender, quickly interrupted before his only waiter wasted any more time, "Sango has another order ready for you. And it looks like the group by the left corner might be ready for refills."
Ignoring both his partner and the young girl at the bar, Inu Yasha went back to work. Kagome followed him with angry eyes as she took a long hard sip of her apple juice. She had to bite her reply for now. As she scrutinized him, she couldn't help but take in his well developed physique through the dark purple uniform shirt. If she remembered correctly, Inu Yasha had been on the rowing team when they won second in the nation three consecutive years. But, that had been long ago, when he was her age. She froze. How old was he? He couldn't be more than five or six years her senior. It was just enough to ensure that, living in a town with about five hundred inhabitants, they never crossed more than two words with each other until tonight.
Well, that wasn't the only reason.
Inu Yasha was an undesirable. Or, at least, that was what the beatas, the pious women of the town, called him.
Why was he an undesirable? It wasn't because he was a drug addict or dealer. No, he was never known for moving in those circles. He had never been accused of any crime, besides that of being born. He may have had a violent temper, but he wasn't known for picking fights or harassing the innocent frail town's people. No, Inu Yasha was an undesirable for a worst reason. He was a gypsy…
Well, he was an illegitimate half-gypsy. That was Inu Yasha's second crime: He was born out of wedlock. Today, this may not seem like a strange or horrible thing, but twenty-five years ago, when Spain was still facing the post-Franco depression, and the harsh imposed morals of the dictatorship rule were still being felt, being born out of wedlock was one of the worst things a child could do. He or she was guaranteed a life of misery and loneliness, for who would marry a man with no name, and an illegitimate daughter could be no better than her mother.
Kagome took another long sip of her Trina as she tried to calm herself. Looking around, she noticed Inu Yasha was the only waiter working inside, but he had served her outside. Come to think of it, she had noticed that the service had slowed down progressively as the night went along.
"Can I get you another?" Kagome looked at Miroku in surprise. This was the closest she had ever been to the full blooded gypsy. His dark features were uncommon in the area. His skin was tanned all year long, and his eyes always held a twinkle of mischief. To be truthful, Kagome had had a crush on him when she was younger. Known for his dealings with Inu Yasha and his successful carpentry shop, he was the only gypsy that had ever settled down in their town. He was the proverbial forbidden fruit. Now, looking at the smiling bartender, she remembered why her mouth used to go dry when she would pass him in the market.
She shook her head softly before asking, "Is Inu Yasha the only waiter?"
Miroku shrugged. "It's a big celebration. We started with six waiters, three bartenders and two assistant cooks. We're down to the three of us. I guess the call of music is stronger than a night's paycheck."
"Do you want help?"
"Now, señorita," what was it about that smirk that made Kagome remind herself he was a married man? "A lady such as yourself shouldn't have to do hard labor."
Kagome smiled. "You need the help."
"Have you ever waited tables?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
"At the Catering Hall…"
"Which is much different, you had to carry less, and dealt with nicer customers."
"Yes, but it doesn't mean I can't clear tables and take drink orders."
"I don't know." Miroku looked at her thoughtfully. They weren't going to make it at this rate.
"I'll work for tips." Kagome insisted.
"Fine, but you need to change. You'll find a uniform t-shirt by the kitchen." He explained, as he let her cut through the bar so she could get to the back faster. "Ask Sango for tennis shoes."
The older woman had looked at her in a mixture of surprise and gratitude when Kagome entered the kitchen. She gladly instructed Kagome on where to find a spare set of shoes and a uniform shirt. The sneakers had been a bit too big, along with the purple uniform shirt, but it didn't matter. Tying her black hair back, she grabbed a bin and went back into the restaurant. She started clearing a few of the tables. It was hard to keep up with the traffic; most of the time, she cleaned the tables after the new customers had sat down. Thankfully, they understood. It was hard to be angry on such a happy occasion. She would smile, apologize for the mess and take their drink orders.
"What are you doing?" Inu Yasha asked when they bumped into each other at the bar.
"You're good at jumping to conclusions, why don't you figure it out!" With that, she took her order and left.
"Why is she working?" Inu Yasha demanded.
"She offered." Miroku shrugged as he served a regular another beer.
"That's supposed to excuse it?"
"We needed the help."
"Stop whining, and be grateful. As soon as you have this under control, I'll be out of your hair." Kagome promised as she walked up behind him. Turning to Miroku, she continued, "Give me an American Coca."
Miroku packed a glass with ice before opening a Coke bottle. Only the Americans ordered something cold with ice. To the town's people, it was a strange habit that was only slightly stranger than the American male obsession with pants three sizes too big for them.
Inu Yasha grumbled, but went back to work. They didn't meet up again until much later. The crowd was beginning to die down, as she had gone to the kitchen to drop off another bin of dirty dishes.
"Come on!" Before Kagome could reply, Inu Yasha walked up behind her, grabbed her arm and dragged her outside. She complained all the way, but it fell on deaf ears. He was beginning to develop an annoying habit.
At the sound of a large explosion, Kagome became quiet. She looked up to see the bright pink ashes fall softly towards the ocean. The street lights had been dimmed as the entire town stood in awe along the main street and on the pier. The lucky families were able to stand on their balconies and watch the display. The band had stopped playing, and like every year, no one was making a sound.
The sky lit up with gold, green and blue before switching to purple, red and pink. There was a ballet of silver designs followed by a colorful grand finale. Every year she was amazed at the final set of firecrackers. They always exploded in the shape of a rose. She remembered the procession earlier in the afternoon. They had taken the statue of the Virgin to sea, set it afloat, and from a helicopter, thrown a crown of roses on her head.
The Virgin had been return to her place in the chapel, with her new crown in place. It was time to dance.
As the last of the red fireworks detonated in the sky, she felt a pair of eyes on her. Slowly, she turned towards them. The air was thick with excitement and explosions, while the night was lit in flashing red lights. His eyes seemed godly as a mixture of shadows and lights fell upon his dark features. She smiled, unsure of what else to do. Kissing him seemed wrong, though, that was what she wanted to do as she stood under his intense gaze. It would be sacrilege to contaminate him with her unworthy lips. The thought scared her. This was Inu Yasha. He lived less than a block from her house, in a town that, like the trees, died in the winter and was reborn in the summer. Why would she feel anything other than a neighborly attraction to him?
The street lamps came back on, along with the band and the shouts of the crowed. People returned to the restaurants and the town square. Those on the pier, returned to the amusement rides and games the gypsies had brought. Kagome's trance was interrupted as she blushed and looked away. She would have to go to confession now, and she prayed it would be on a day her grandfather was not on duty.
"Most of the crowd has left." He broke the silence. "You can leave if you want. Ask Miroku for your money." Kagome looked back, her composure regained.
"I told Miroku I didn't want any money. I helped out because I wanted to, not because I wanted something." She snapped.
"Keh," Inu Yasha looked away as he quickly scanned what tables were left to serve, "either way, you can go now."
"It's still early, I can wait until closing."
"That won't be for another hour."
Kagome shrugged. "I'm having fun." With that, she left a confused waiter with an always hungry cliental.
It was four thirty in the morning when Kagome climbed the steep path to her house. Living next to the chapel had its advantages. She could go pray to the Virgin when ever she wanted. She could go anywhere in town in less than five minutes, considering that all roads converged at the chapel. She had a gorgeous view of the ocean and the green mountain from her corner bedroom window. Unfortunately, when you're coming home after being on your feet all night, wearing heals, living on the highest point of the town, was a pain. It took longer to climb the final half block to her house than the rest of the trip home. She smiled as her house came into view. She quickly opened the kitchen window and searched for the house key. She was glad it was there. She had been afraid her mother had forgotten to leave it out. Looking back down the path, she was surprise to still see Inu Yasha there. She waved; he nodded, but waited for her to go inside before leaving.
Immediately, she noticed the light in the upstairs living room. She left her shoes by the door before locking the kitchen window. She made her quietly up the stairs. "Mama, are you still awake?" She asked confused when she saw her mother drinking a cup of coffee while resting on the sofa.
"I was waiting up for you. You're early." Somehow, Kagome felt the last part had been an accusation.
"I was exhausted." She explained. "Is there something wrong?" Though her mother usually made Kagome knock on her door when she got in, she never actually waited for the girl. The older woman ran a hand through her short black hair.
"Did you have fun?"
"Yes…" Kagome smiled thinking of her evening, "I had a lot of fun."
"Where did you and the girls go?" Kagome paled. She hated being a chibata, but she couldn't lie to her mother.
"We ended up splitting up."
"Oh?" Her mother looked at her in surprise.
"Yeah, we wanted to do different things."
"Kagome," her mother gave her a stern look, "Eri's mother called."
"Did they crash?" Kagome hadn't meant to blurt it out like that, but the sinking feeling she had had earlier came to haunt her. She knew something bad had happened.
"No, thankfully, they were stop at the new checkpoint."
"Checkpoint?" Kagome asked confused.
"After last year's incident, the Guardia Civil has decided to implement unannounced checkpoints on the way out of town."
"Is Eri alright?"
"She won't be after her father gets through with her." Her mother replied sternly before fixing her sea-blue eyes on her daughter, "If you weren't with Eri, who did you spend the night with?"
Kagome blushed. "With Inu Yasha, Miroku and Sango..." She waited for her mother's reaction.
"¿Los gitanos?" The older woman asked surprised.
"You see, Inu Yasha sort of helped me get out of going with Eri…They were short handed…" As Kagome spoke, she emptied her pockets and dropped the money they had given her at the end of the night. She had been changing in the back while Inu Yasha and Miroku figured out a few numbers. She hadn't actually gotten any tips because she hadn't collected anyone's bill. She left money matters to Inu Yasha for several reasons, primarily because they hadn't given her permission. They had decided to award her five thousand pesetas for her trouble, saying that was half the tip jar. She protested, claiming that was too much: she hadn't worked the entire night. They insisted. Well, actually, Inu Yash rolled his eyes and ignored her.
Looking at the money, her mother asked, "You spent the entire night working?"
"They closed around two. Besides, they needed the help. The rest of the staff abandoned them before the fireworks. It wasn't fair."
Her mother looked at her and smiled, "You're growing up." Motioning to a spot on the couch, she signaled her daughter to sit. "What did you do afterwards?"
"Well, they invited me over to their pub to celebrate. I figured that I would run into someone I knew there, so I went."
"Yeah, but I was so tired, I ended up just staying there. I found a seat at the bar with Sango, while the guys either worked or dance…" Kagome broke into a fit of laughter. "You should have seen Miroku. If he had sung that badly, we would have thundershowers until Christmas."
Kagome's mother joined in the laughter. She had seen Miroku dance at the plaza in previous years. It was mainly a joke; she knew that the boy was a good dancer, but, he seemed to get more attention from the girls when he did one of his silly dance moves.
"Mama, are you mad I was with them?" Kagome asked quietly.
"No, I'm just surprised. They are a bit older than you. Isn't Sango in her mid-twenties…Let's see, she was married the year Juan el Gordo moved to Canarias…that was two and a have years go. She had just finished school, I know because she served as my notary when I had to fix your grandfather's will, so she would be around twenty-two then. So, that would make her around twenty-four."
"But she's really nice, and it was nice to hang out with people that just want to have fun for a change. The last two years, there has been so much drama. It's either guy troubles…or guy troubles. They just wanted to have fun and dance. I missed that."
"I didn't say you couldn't hang out with them every once in a while, and in a few years, the age difference won't matter, but right now, they're at a different stage of their lives. Sango is a married woman, and all three are running their own businesses. They don't have your carefree life."
"I thought you wouldn't want me to hang out with them because of their reputation." Kagome spoke softly again. She had never associated herself with troublemakers, so she wasn't sure how her mother would react.
The older woman smiled. "They have a reputation that they didn't earn. Did you walk home by yourself?" She asked in after thought.
"No, Inu Yasha walked me most of the way. He just opted out of climbing the hill."
"He's a good boy… he was dealt an unjust hand." Kagome gave her mother a strange look before the older woman smiled. "I think you're old enough to know the story. I trust you will be discrete with the information, though it's no secrete." Kagome nodded. Her mother took another sip of her coffee before beginning the tale.
"As you know, his mother was the daughter of a prominent family. Her brother is our current mayor, not that he's any good at his job. Anyhow, his mother met his father, ironically enough, at fiesta de La Virgen del Carmen. She believed deeply in the patroness of mariners, so when the much older and knowledgeable man showed interests in her, she thought it was a sign from God. She completely forgot about her long time boyfriend, and instead of insisting on proper Christian traditions, she gave herself completely to the gypsy, who left town with his clan two weeks later.
"It was said, that Inu Yasha's father had married her in their custom and demanded she leave with him, but, at the last minute, fear of her father's retaliation, she refuse to go. It wasn't long before it was obvious that the girl was pregnant and that the child's father was not coming back. I remember that your grandmother gave such a lecture, warning me that if I followed in her footsteps, she would disown me." She took another sip of her coffee before continuing.
"Her lifetime boyfriend had offered to marry her, in order to hide her indiscretion. But, she refused, saying her husband would come back for her. He didn't. She found out two or three years later, when his older son returned with the fair that Inu Yasha's father had been killed by a rival clan member only a few months after leaving town. Since, by their clan law, she had disgraced her husband, they refused to recognize the child among them, saying he was payo.
"By this time, the child already had a name, Inu Yasha. His grandfather picked it. The old man traveled the world in his younger years as a sailor. He had made his fortune in the black market, which is why I always tell you not to let any member of that family put you down. They didn't earn their money legally. We could be rich as well if your father had done the same, but he chose to keep his conscious clear. But, that's beside the point. When Don Manuel first saw his grandson with the dark hair and violate eyes that are common among the gypsies, he decided on a name he had heard in Asia. Inu Yasha, as far as he knew, meant dog demon. Of course, your grandfather refused to baptize the child with that name. It was not Christian. Finally, a compromise was reached. He was baptized Inu Yasha Jose, with no last name, since he had no father, though I'm sure that legally he has his mother's. I know there was a big controversy, since his grandfather opposed it.
"If things weren't bad enough for him, his mother died when he was still very young. His grandfather raised him, reminding him every day how much he was hated in that house.
"So, since before he was born, Inu Yasha was rejected by both his people for the sins of his parents."
"I thought the bible says that the sins of the father are not to be paid by the son." Kagome protested.
"Yes, but the bible was not written in Muros." Her mother explained. "I was happy to hear that he had finally made a friend with Sango. There's another person who got treated unfairly. Do you know what her crime was?"
Kagome shook her head in response. "Her father married a woman in Argentina, and when they died, Sango was sent to her grandmother not speaking a word of Galician. It didn't matter that she spoke perfect Castilian Spanish. She was classified as a foreigner. I still remember how she would walk down that road after school all bloody from fighting with those who called her names. I used to give her candy and wash her scrapped knees. I remember well because I was pregnant with you at the time. Then, she started to play with Inu Yasha, and the children gradually stopped picking on her. I guess it was only logical that at five, the two would drift towards each other."
Looking at the clock, her mother gasped. "It's late, and tomorrow the stores will only be open for a couple of hours."
"I'll get the milk and bread." Kagome promised as she made a mental note to set the alarm.
"I already gave your brother the money; we just need to make sure he wakes up."
The day after the giant celebration only a select few wake up before evening. It usually was the ones stuck either making or buying the day's bread. Kagome had woken up around two, when Eri had called to cry on her shoulder. Kagome had tried to be sympathetic, but her feet still hurt from the night before. She tried to go back to sleep, but her brother had already started kicking the soccer ball against the back wall of the house. She prayed he wouldn't dirty the laundry she had hung to dry the day before.
Sighing, she got up, dressed, ate and met up with the boys. Her house was on the corner, so though the front faced the steep path she had climbed the night before, the side of the house faced the chapel. Her father had built a long cement step along the side of the house, so that they could sit there and watch the people passing by. It was the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon. She looked down at the road, which, like the houses was paved in stone. She let her eyes travel the along the road until they reached the entrance to the chapel's courtyard. It was made from the same dark grey rocks used to build the adjacent rectory, which had been vacant for years. The priests stopped using it when a newer, more spacious one had been built.
Her eyes walked across the courtyard, and threw the arched doorway. The chapel was more narrow and small inside than the outside structure implied. The stone blocks used to build it were at least a foot wide, giving the chapel the Old World Charm that filled the picturesque town: Stone houses with black iron balconies next to stone streets on the side of the mountain that was slowly growing into the sea. The boardwalk, which was the most modern part of town, made of cement and old fashion light posts, was actually built above the sea.
Though she couldn't see the Virgin, Kagome knew she was there. It was reassuring.
Smiling, she sat down on the cement step as she watched the boys kick the soccer ball against the old rectory. She figured her mother had warned them about the clean laundry. She smiled at the sight of the small redheaded boy running around the bigger boys. She was sure his name was Bernard or something like that, since his father was an Irishman that had married one of the town's women. To the boy's great discontent, no one called him by that name. In a town that still observed the tradition of naming children after their godparents, nicknames reigned supreme. After seeing how the hyper child had so many similarities with an animated fox from the afternoon cartoons, the children nicked named him Shippo. The young boy hated it, mainly because the fox was known for his whining, talking big, and hiding behind everyone when it came time to fight. But, nicknames were sacred. It was a rite of passage, so the boy took it with all the grace he could gather: He cried for three hours begging the boys to change it, before finally giving up.
Her brother, the star goalie had lucked out with his name: Sota, like the playing card, for his trickery on the field. Kagome was what her father had nicknamed her the day she was born. He explained that it had been the name of the ship that had gotten him to port in time. The only ones without nicknames in town had to be Inu Yasha and his friends, though they were generally referred to as the gitanos.
Speaking of which, Kagome caught sight of them walking up the chapel road. They took the long way around town to avoid the steep path by her house. "Well," Kagome thought nervously, "they did, if they came to see me. They might be just passing through."
She smiled politely expecting the same in return. The guys were in swim trunks and t-shirts. Sango was wearing a black bathing suit and a pair of jean shorts. Her long black hair was tied in a low ponytail. They each had beach towels hanging from one shoulder and a pack on the other. Kagome speculated they were just walking by to take the mountain road to Louro, which longer but cooler than the main road. She was surprised when they stopped in front of her.
The boys hadn't stopped kicking the ball until they noticed who Kagome was talking to. That was the moment they all felt the need to sit next to her on the wall. Her brother gave Shippo a sign, which he quickly understood. Before Kagome could ever consider standing up, the five year old sat on her lap, and began his very distracting list of questions.
"Kagome, right that I'm your favorite?"
"Kagome, why is Sota so mean to me?"
"Kagome, could you make them stop calling me Shippo?"
"Shippo?" Inu Yasha asked eying the boy, "Yeah, that's a great name for you."
"It is not!" Shippo protested while turning to the new comer. Inu Yasha had a pair of dark sunglasses on, and his waist-long hair was tied back into a low braid. Kagome couldn't help but compare him to the men of Baywatch that invaded her television every Thursday night.
"Kagome," Sango interrupted before the children were fully engaged in a nonsense fight. She was sure, if it did occur, Shippo would show more maturity than Inu Yasha. "We stopped by to ask you if you wanted to join us. We're walking to Louro."
Kagome smiled, a bit surprised. She never imagined they would take a detour to invite her.
"¡Si, vamos! I like Louro better than the beach down here!" Souta begged. His two other friends joined in the clamor.
"¡Chicos!" Kagome shouted. They silenced immediately. She turned to Inu Yasha and regretfully excused herself. "I can't go anywhere. These guys have me tagged. I wouldn't make it around the corner.
"Keh, bring them along. They're old enough to walk, aren't they?" Inu Yasha suggested. Both Sango and Miroku looked at him in surprise. The boys cheered and raced home to change, promising not to invite anyone else. Sota rushed to his room without a word, knowing not to test his luck.
Kagome stood up and looked Inu Yasha in the eye. "You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into!"
"Keh, hurry up and change, already." She sighed; all her friends were stuck inside.
"¡Mamá! ¡Sota, Shippo, Teresa's kids and I are going to the beach with some friends!" She shouted into her kitchen window. The older woman looked out and smiled at the group gathered outside her house. The older three looked at her a bit uneasy, not used to receiving smiles from the town's people.
"Are you sure you can handle them?"
"I always do." Kagome shrugged.
"¿Besides you and Sota, who else needs a merienda?"
"No one." She replied as her mother tossed her a set of keys.
"Are you three set?" She asked her daughter's companions. "Did you get bread today? I have plenty."
"No, thank you, señora." Sango spoke up in an unsure voice as she watched Kagome open a door next to her house. "We're trying to finish whatever we didn't sell last night."
"I'll put extra just in case."
"Mamá, this door is acting up again." Kagome complained as she forced the door open.
"What do you expect? It's older than your grandfather. Miroku, do you think you can build me one just like it with the carvings and all?" The young man looked at the door on the stone wall. It had been painted green, but it still contained a carving of a tall ship, full sails, conquering the Atlantic waves. The wood was old and battered, but the workmanship was superb.
"It'd be an honor." He replied thinking of how much he would enjoy practicing the strange curve of the waves.
"¡Magnifico! We'll talk the details later."
Kagome jumped through the door a few seconds later with a basket of dry laundry. "I'll be ready in five." She promised as she rushed into the house.
The boys had kept their promise, and they were able to quickly get underway. Unfortunately for Kagome, Shippo had issues keeping up. So, she ended up carrying him, along with the heavy giant yellow book bag. It was too much to ask her brother to pack or carry anything himself. It didn't take long before Inu Yasha took Shippo from her. The boy was delighted to be given a piggy back ride from the older male. It made him feel important.
The boys had teased and taunted each other in good humor the entire walk. It was something Inu Yasha and Miroku seemed to encourage. Kagome let things be as she and Sango talked of the weather and other pleasant topics.
The walk had been shorter than she expected. Between the giant rocks that marked the south end of the beach, Inu Yasha had a secret place that usually saw little traffic. The high rocks acted like walls, and the soft almost white sand was a great place to tan. There were places where one could dive into the ocean, and plenty of room for the boys to play safely. Kagome sighed: maybe they'd behave.
Sota and his friends wasted no time in throwing their t-shirts on the sand and running head first into the cold Atlantic water. She sighed again. That was asking for a miracle. Shippo tapped her leg. Looking down, he signaled to her to lean towards him. He whispered something in her ear before she smiled and took his bag. Quickly, she inflated his life vest. "Now Shippo, I don't want you anywhere near the water without this on!" She instructed very loudly.
"But Kagome!" He whined as he mouthed her a thank you.
"What's with the mocoso?" Inu Yasha asked as he set down his towel. He knew from previous experiences with Sango, not to leave his towel thrown around.
"Don't call him that!" Kagome protested, before she explained, "He doesn't know how to swim yet but doesn't want the boys to tease him."
Inu Yasha shrugged as he dropped his folded t-shirt by his shoes, next to his perfectly straighten towel. Kagome bit her lip and looked away. She didn't know someone could have a body like that. Well, it's not like she had never seen chiseled chests and washboard abs before. It's just that she had only seen them in magazines. Inu Yasha was a local, a regular guy, who happened to have a body a Hollywood star would kill for. Noticing Miroku, she could see he was also well built, with the exception that his frame was slightly smaller. Kagome suddenly felt flushed as her hormones began rush through her veins. Was this what happened to Eri when she saw a cute guy? Kagome didn't like it.
"Oh, cariño, you're red already. Here use my sunscreen; you don't want to burn." Sango exclaimed as she examined Kagome with a sly smile. "It's water proof." As if to emphasize Sango's point, Miroku and Inu Yasha chose that moment to splash into the ocean.
Once in the water, Kagome regain her composer. The initial cold splash had straightened her head. Afterwards, chasing the boys kept her busy. She quickly regretted not taking the extra five minutes to find her bathing suit. After seeing Inu Yasha's great body, somehow, she felt inadequate in the blue bikini. She wasn't fat, or chubby, and her mother didn't tire of telling her that she had a great figure. But, today, Kagome felt naked. She was thankful she could duck underneath the water for cover, even if the ocean water was crystal clear. She sighed, unsure of where these feelings were coming from. She would ignore them… somehow.
Though she was usually the target of her brother's pranks, today, his attention was on the older males. He was going to gloat about hanging out with the gitanos for months, if not years. Kagome spent most of the time helping Shippo swim. She grabbed his arms and had him kick his legs with all his might. From time to time, she would pick him up and throw him in the water, hard enough for him to enjoy it, but softly enough so that he didn't go under.
It was during one of these games, that she noticed something strange. Shippo suddenly stopped laughing. The mischievous smile that followed sent chills down her spine. She quickly turned around, but it was too late. In one swift move, she had been lifted off her feet, and thrown, head first, into the deeper part of the water. She came up for air coughing, recognizing her brother's laughter, but it wasn't he who was smiling triumphantly at her. She used her hands to brush back her hair, and glared at the older man. "I'll get you, yet, Inu Yasha!" She threatened with a smile. He shrugged before reminding her,
"You would have to catch me first." His smiled brightened before diving into the ocean. After many years of doing laps while he had been on the rowing team, he had developed great speed in the water, though he underestimated Kagome's determination. She too had swimming experience. You couldn't live in an ocean-side town and avoid learning how to swim. Though, for the last three years, Kagome had been swimming competitively for her school team. Realistically, saying Kagome was the best swimmer competing, didn't necessarily mean she was a good swimmer. After all, the two groups were divided by age, not skill. As Kagome kept her body tightly aligned in good form, quickly gaining ground, she was reminded of what her coach had said. She was a fish with unnatural skill. Finally, she had one advantage.
It wasn't long before Inu Yasha thought he was far enough to venture to look back. He was surprised not to see her. Having pegged her for a fiery one, he was sure she would at least try and get him back. He yelped as he felt his foot being pulled down. Swallowing water, he came face to face with the girl, before she used his shoulders to push herself to the surface, subsequently pushing him deeper into the water. Had he not swam so far, he would have been able to jump off the bottom and catch her. Instead, he had to take a few seconds to sort out the confusion, before swimming up for air.
Her arms were around his neck immediately after he resurfaced, as she screamed, "Gotcha!" He took a second or two to catch his breath as she clung tightly to him. Her face was buried in his neck, while her long legs wrapped around his waist. Instinctively, he placed an arm around her, and waited for her breathing to even out. He was expecting her to be more out of breath, but then again, he was expecting her not to catch him.
After a prolonged minute of having her clinging so tightly to him, he said, "You can let go now." She shook her head. Inu Yasha frowned as he looked at the crystalline water. Why couldn't she let go? "Are you hurt?" She shook her head. His fingers brushed against a strap. "Is there a problem with your top?" She shook her head again. "Demonios, why can't you let go?"
"Because, if I do, I know you'll sink me again." She replied with a smirk. Her blue eyes sparkled as the sun glittered off her skin. "There is no way I'm going down alone." He raised an eyebrow before shrugging. Within a second, he had them both underneath water. True to her word, she didn't let go.
They came in a much later. They were both exhausted. Kagome collapsed on her towel seconds before four hungry boys were demanding their meriendas. She had learned after the boys lost their food to the sea on several occasions, to keep the snacks in her bag. Two seconds after she had given the boys their sandwiches, Inu Yasha and Miroku were demanding Sango relinquished theirs.
Though Kagome made the boys eat their merienda on their towels, they wasted no time in rushing back to shore to build a sand castle, knowing very well that they would not get away with trying to go into the water for another half-hour. The sun hung low in the evening sky, and she was surprise to find that it was already eight o'clock. Kagome warned the boys not to go back into the water at all. They needed to dry before going home.
The four adults remained quiet, on the sand, as the boys played and laugh. Sango was eating an apple as Inu Yasha raided Kagome's bag for spare sandwiches. Her mother had made enough for half the town. Miroku was staring into the clear blue water longingly, his face full of nostalgia. Kagome was surprise to hear his soft voice. "What are you going to now?"
"You mean after I get the sand of their feet?" Kagome asked, pointing to the sand castle's poor excuse for a moat.
"I meant now that you're done with school. You did Co; that means you must be thinking of going to the University, or are you like your friends, trying to avoid getting a job?"
Kagome smiled. "I was accepted into several different programs…I'm not sure yet which one I'll pick."
"What are your choices?" Sango asked, remembering when she had gone through the same.
"Well, I got into the technical nurses program. That will be only a year and a half. I was told that there would be a lot jobs available in Santiago afterwards, since the hospital is expanding."
"You're leaving for good?" Inu Yasha asked with his mouth full. She didn't miss the accusation in his voice.
"There's nothing for me here." She defended, not appreciating the look he was giving her. "Every day this town dies a bit more. The winter economy is horrible, and the majority of the people are moving to find work in other areas. In five years, the majority of the kids I went to school with will have moved to Canarias, where tourism is good all year long."
"That's why this town is dying. Everybody leaves instead of trying to build it up."
"You left." Kagome retorted, as she remembered the whispered rumors that had infected the town of he being taken by his father's people.
"But I came back!" Inu Yasha retorted defensively. "I took three years to see the world and make some money. I've been to America, Mexico, Russia, even Japan, where people thought my name was amusing. I made my money like my grandfather did…at least he was good for something, but even with all the money and the strange new places, I didn't find a town more beautiful than this. So, I came back. This town is my home whether it likes it or not."
"This is my home too, but I can't force it to give me a future." Kagome complained. The sun seemed to sparkle on his tan skin as his angry eyes kept her in check.
"What are your other options?" Sango interrupted. She knew better than to argue with Inu Yasha. One day he would learn that hardheadedness did not equate intelligence.
"I was accepted into the medical program." There was a brief pause as the three digested her words.
"You got into medical school, and you're contemplating doing a technical career as a nurse? You wouldn't even be a real nurse…more like a nurse's aid!" Inu Yasha shouted."
"It's quicker, easier, and costs a hell of a lot less money! Besides, it'd be easier to get a job as a nurse in Santiago, than a doctor. They already have too many of those." Kagome was not appreciating having to explain herself to him. He didn't know her.
"I know the feeling." Sango spoke up. "When it was my turn to go to college, I had to choose between being a lawyer or a notary public. Considering that in this country, you need a notary public to take care of most of the common legal procedures, like writing a will or buying a house, I realized that if I wanted to come back here, I would be more useful as a notary."
"But a notary and a lawyer are both big careers. We're not talking about her deciding between being a real nurse and a doctor."
"What would you have me do, Inu Yasha? Spend a ton of money, become a doctor, and then work in a department store because I can't find a job anywhere?" Kagome demanded. Her cheeks were flushed, and Inu Yasha found himself wondering if it were from the sun or the argument.
"No. I'd have you become a doctor, come back here, and finally give this town some decent medical attention."
"It isn't so bad." She protested.
"No?" He pushed back his bangs to reveal a scar over his left eye. "If the damn Medical Center hadn't run out of thread, this wouldn't have scarred so badly."
"Now, Inu Yasha, you can't use that as an excuse." Miroku interrupted. "I'm sure Kagome will tell you that it was a punishment from God for stealing the priest's pears."
"You stole pears? From a priest?"
"Not only from a priest, but from your abuelo… You don't know?" Miroku asked surprised. She shook her head. "Then allow me to tell it. I do a much better job than Inu Yasha."
"You mean you spin a hell of a lot more bull." The other male corrected.
"No, it means I'm eloquent." Miroku corrected with a smile before clearing his throat. "I guess I should start at the beginning."
"But the middle is so much better." Inu Yasha protested.
Miroku gave him an annoyed look as Kagome forgot her previous anger. The two were quite amusing. "When I first came to this town with my clan, I took one look at the beautiful women, another at the sea, one at the mountain, and about twenty more at the beautiful women. I said good bye to my people, and soon after, I befriended Inu Yasha."
"Keh, he followed me around begging to be my friend." Inu Yasha snorted.
"Actually, I was trying to get him to let me introduce myself to the beautiful Sango." He corrected. "Anyway, the first few months were the worst. I had no where to go, so I would sleep on the benches or in the little tree house in the park. Finally, Inu Yasha agreed to let me hide in his room. One morning, after the three of us decided to have a sleep over without permission, we were all caught by his charming grandfather. He escorted out of the house without the courtesy of breakfast, before threatening to tell Sango's grandmother. We couldn't go to her house, and we had no money, so we couldn't buy anything to eat at the market. We were starving when we ended up behind the rectory, where your grandfather still keeps a garden. The pears looked so juicy and delicious, and thinking that your grandfather, a firm believer in Christian charity, would approve of saving us from sure starvation, we climbed the stone wall.
"We had barely finished picking the pears when your grandfather came running into the garden with a broom. Before he could get us, we made a run for it. As you know, the garden isn't that big, so the only way we were going to get away was if we climbed the wall before he hit us with the broom. So, we helped Sango first. That was our undoing. As I stopped a moment to admire the gorgeous legs of the woman that would one day be my wife…"
"Pervert!" Inu Yasha accused. Miroku ignored him, and continued without hitch.
"I failed to notice she stepped on a loose stone. It went flying at Inu Yasha, breaking in half as it hit his forehead, before one of the pieces fell on my foot."
"You would have been able to save yourself if you hadn't been so busy looking at my ass!" Sango complained as Kagome held back some giggles.
"Were you hurt badly?"
"Your grandfather thought so. He let Sango get away as he dragged Inu Yasha and me to the Medical Center. Nothing has ever been as excruciating, and I'm sure nothing else will be, than walking that half-mile uphill on a broken foot."
"At least you weren't seeing double." Inu Yasha protested. "I was dizzy, in pain, and the only thing the old man could seem to do is drag me by my ear as he yelled at me." Inu Yasha smirked, remembering the old days. "You know, your abuelo isn't so bad. When we got to the hospital, screaming, he demanded we were given immediate medical attention. When the doctor asked how we got hurt, he told them we were avoiding confession by weeding his garden. We got hit by a loose rock when we were trying to clear the wall."
"It spared us from being the talk of the town." Sango added. "Though, he did make the three of us go to confession afterwards. He made me join the choir, and turned Inu Yasha and Miroku into alter boys for a year or two. "
Kagome couldn't help but burst out laughing at the last part. "When did this happen?"
"It was the summer after your grandfather was ordained. I remembered because they still called him el nuevo cura." Sango explained.
"I don't remember any of this!" Kagome replied.
"That would be because your abuelo, in his infinite wisdom, decided we should work the early bird mass. The one only the beatas attend…at eight in the morning! Then, when he found out that I had no where to stay, he sent me to the convent, with the nuns and monks…I think he was hoping I would redeem myself by living a holly life." Miroku added with a sly smile.
"But, the whole damn point was, we need a decent doctor in this town. They didn't have thread for my cut, or the ability to x-ray Miroku's foot. The doctor didn't care that I was seeing double, and frankly, if it wasn't because your grandfather made him examine us, he would have told us to take a couple of aspirin and call him in the morning."
"But if the town's dying, who would I treat?"
"This town wasn't always like this. I remember when the wives of the fishermen wore the latest fashions, even before they reached the city. My mother used to go and show them off before she died. Times were rough, but while the fish packing plant was working, this town was thriving. Now, we can't even keep the movie theater open. Everyone's content to just let this be a summer spot for foreigners. Can they appreciate the authentic Roman trails that surround this mountain, or the prehistoric carvings in some of the mountain rock? This is our home, and only we can appreciate it." Inu Yasha's voice trailed off as his voice was filled with sadness. Though she never told him, that night, she mailed out the retainer for medical school. It was everything she had saved from her father's pension, but she knew it would be worth it.
The sun fell lower in the sky, causing the ocean to sparkle in hues of blue and white. The boys ran around playing tag, letting Shippo think he was winning. Kagome shiver as the cool air rolled in from the ocean, caressing the soft sand. She turned to Inu Yasha, when she felt his dark violate eyes upon her. "So you're leaving?"
"Si, but don't ask for how long."
The days that followed were calm and filled with joy. Kagome started to work part time for Inu Yasha, partially because she was over his bar for most of the day, and partially because most of her friends were forced to work. Eri had cried for an hour at the injustice. The only job she had found was selling tickets for the water tours, which wasn't too bad. Unfortunately, that came with the price of having to wear a giant foam hat in the shape of a sail boat during the hot summer days. She tried throwing it into the ocean, and claiming some tourist had stolen it. They bought her a bigger one, and took it out of her paycheck.
Her nights were spent at the bar. After she helped them clean up, the four would sit around and chat for a while. She couldn't fathom how she had grown up in a town with such interesting people and never noticed. She began to hate their reputation, and the people who gave it to them. They were nothing like the gitanos in the stories that mothers' told their children late at night to get them to go to bed. They were hard working people with dreams, loves and passions, and each day that passed, Kagome realized how many of her own dreams, loves and passions began to revolve around a certain half-blood native.
At first she thought it was his sinfully delicious body. She remembered how Eri had commented once that he was built like a train: strong, powerful and fast. She had had a taste of it in the ocean during their first swim together. She had felt the warmth and protection of his soft embrace. Even during the weekends, when she went out dancing with her friends, she would go to his pub on the strip, just to watch him work. It didn't hurt that he always gave her free drinks and threaten to break the skull of anybody who dared disrespect her. He was raw, and she loved it.
But, as she got to know him better, she started to think it was his convictions. This was his town; if you didn't like it, there was nothing you could do. He was constantly talking of ways to improve it. Working with the horse ranchers, he had gotten them to clear some of the more beautiful Roman paths. He had dragged her along the first time they went to survey the path. An hour after walking through weeds and overgrown roots, she had cuts and bruises on her legs and ankles that reminded her of an abstract painting. He had stopped, made fun of her, and gave her a piggy back ride for the rest of the trip. His calloused hands were surprisingly soft as he linked them behind her legs. He had brought her back after the path had been cleared. The horse ranchers had lent them a horse, so that they could experience the ride fully. She was amazed by the beauty of the mountain-side ocean and by the strong beat of his heart. The new brochures had been ordered.
Even his dual endower was aimed at showing the town that businesses could survive during the winter. Though he would close the pub, the restaurant would remain open, selling soccer lottery during the week. He was sure he would make it to the next summer. Though rude and tactless, he was a hard worker unafraid of a challenge. She admired this of him.
It was during the last weeks of the summer, that she realized it was love. She had been sitting at the end of the bar, reading a newspaper, when she looked up and saw him picking his nose. She smiled thinking how handsome he was… It was shocking, but she concluded that if you thought a man handsome while he was picking his nose, it must be love.
Sango had begun to worry about her because the days that followed Kagome's grand revelation, the young girl had fallen into a light depression. Sango, having seen the faraway look in the girl's eyes, didn't believe there was anything light about it. Kagome was just very good at smiling reassuringly to those who worried about her.
"You've been locked away in this room for two whole days, Kagome! Tell me; ¿que pasa?"
"Nothing." She replied, sinking deeper into her bed covers. She had heavy bags under her puffy eyes. "I'm just tired, that's all."
"¡No me mientas!" Sango warned. "Inu Yasha is threatening to drag you out himself, if necessary!"
Kagome rolled over and hid her face in the pillow. "Did Inu Yasha do something to hurt you?" Sango asked quietly. "If he did, I promise I'll break his face for you. Though, I do ask you to take into consideration that men, especially him, are stupid, and do stupid things without realizing it. It's their nature."
"He didn't do anything. This isn't about him." Kagome's voice cracked. She was never a good liar.
"Then, why are you crying?" Sango demanded.
"Because…because I love someone that doesn't love me back." Kagome blurted out.
"What?" Sango almost laughed. If this was going where she thought it was going…oh, life was good sometimes.
"I realized that I love someone, who doesn't think of me like that!"
"Chica, don't cry over that. Are you sure that he doesn't love you? Did you talk to him?"
"I didn't have to…I know."
"Things change…Any man would be lucky to have you be interested in him. I can't think of one idiot living in this town that wouldn't want to be romantically involved with you." Sango finished as she sat on the bed next to her young friend.
"And how are you going to change that in here?"
Kagome rolled over to look at her in confusion.
"If there is one thing I hope you learned from hanging out with us is not to take things lying down." Sango grabbed Kagome's legs and dragged her out of bed. She laughed as the girl hit the floor screaming. "We were told all our lives we had no future, but we made one anyhow. Men are idiots. If this one thinks he doesn't want you, you just got to teach him differently."
"And how do you suppose I do that?" Kagome demanded as she rubbed a sore spot on her behind.
"By getting out of bed, taking a shower, and being your wonderful self around him."
"That hasn't work so far."
"Then, you know what they say, 'un clavo saca otro.' We'll just have to find you a new man." Sango smiled. "But, with only a week before you move to Santiago, this should be the least of your problems."
Kagome sighed. "I don't want another man. I just want him."
"Sango," the young girl turned towards her, "can't you see that I'll never have him. I'll leave soon, and he'll forget about me. I'll be gone for 5 years, and even if I come home for the summer, I won't be able to compete with the girl that had all winter to win his affection. Can't you see? Lo perdí."
"Kagome," Sango spoke softly, "in five years, your heart can fall in and out of love a million times, and so can his. For all you know, it might be the time el destino needs to bring the two of you together. He might need some time to realize you're the one, and you might need the time grow. Honestly, do you want to deal with a long distance relationship during your first year of medical school?"
"I would if it was with him."
"Whatever you do, it is your decision, but, if you have any brains, you'll get your little butt out of bed, shower and get dressed. You won't accomplish anything here besides scare your friends. Enjoy what time you have here with us, and with him. Trust me; the world won't end over a man."
Kagome tried to smile reassuringly, but there was no fooling Sango. "If I don't see you outside in a day, I'll send Inu Yasha and Miroku to drag you out. Believe me; they will drag you to the pier, and throw you into the Atlantic."
BANG! Kagome fell out of bed in shock. It had been over an hour since Sango left, and Kagome had fallen asleep. She wasn't expecting to be awakened with loud noises from outside. She rushed out to her bedroom balcony, not caring that she was dressed in shorts and a tank top, or that her hair was now a giant knot sitting on top of her head.
"¿Qué pasa?" Kagome didn't have to wonder for long, as the two men smiled up at her.
"Feeling better, preciosa?" Miroku asked as he knocked the old green door to the ground. Inu Yasha looked up at her with a critical eye and replied,
"She still looks sick." Anger and accusation tinged his words.
"What are you doing?" She asked, sill confused and suddenly overwhelmed.
"I finished your new door." Miroku answered proudly as he and Inu Yasha heaved the heavy wooden slab into place. Miroku turned the side with the carvings towards Kagome so that she could admire his work. The rich red wood had been carved to perfection, imitating the original design nicely, though, even at a distance, Kagome could see Miroku's distinct style had melded into the piece.
"It's beautiful." She replied as Miroku and Inu Yasha moved to place it in its new hinges.
"Gracias; I'm glad your mother agreed not to paint it green. It looks so nicely against the grey stone. It shouldn't give you anymore trouble.
"Will you be coming down tonight? We've missed you." He quickly asked, not knowing when he would be able to talk to her again.
"I guess…" She suddenly felt unbalanced. Her eyes weren't on the new door, but on the young man that kept his back to her. She felt his anger and rejection as her stomach tightened. She was nauseated, and had she actually eaten, she would have thrown up.
"Good, then you can see the truck we bought. Well, that is, if Inu Yasha goes to pick it up."
"Don't worry," he replied more than slightly annoyed. He turned towards her and met her eyes. "I'm going around seven. I'll pick you up here."
"What?" Kagome felt her cheeks flushed. He had the annoying tendency of forgetting to say please, or even ask.
"Seven, tonight, be ready to go, or I'll go up and drag you out myself." The self-righteous anger in his voice surprised her, but as she felt the thick salt air blow in from the sea, she found the strength to retort,
"And who is going to let you?"
"Your mother! She says I have her blessing." With that he turned to leave, followed Miroku.
As soon as were a few houses away, Miroku asked, "What's gotten into you?"
"Nada." He grumbled.
"Is this about what Sango said? Are you worried over something so trifle?" Inu Yasha spun around so fast that Miroku could not avoid bumping into him.
"Trifle? You think that's trifle?"
"It's puppy love, Inu Yasha! She'll get over it?"
"I'm going to find out who that bastard is, and kill him!" Inu Yasha threaten. A few older women walking down the road gave him strange looks.
"Hurting her!" Inu Yasha growled. Miroku couldn't help but smile.
"Sometimes, you can be such an idiot."
"Don't start with me, Miroku. I'm not in the mood."
"Word of advice, don't yell at her. At least, not without taking a breath mint first."
Seven o'clock came and went. Inu Yasha had called and let her know that he would be late. By the time he arrived, it was way past dusk. The cool late August air was blowing in from the sea as she waved good-bye to her mother. Inu Yasha was quiet as they walked towards the mountain road. She wasn't keen on walking towards Louro at night, but at least this road had a makeshift sidewalk. He hadn't said a word, and the silence was stifling
"You know, my mother warned me about coming up here at night with guys. She says it isn't something good girls do." She mentioned as they left the cover of the town's street lights to enter the cement road in the woods.
"Oh? What are you doing here with me, then?" She couldn't read his voice, but she was sure she heard anger in there.
"I trust you." She whispered back as she wished she had never opened. The silence was better than his accusations. She was surprised when he took her hand in his. It was warm and protective. "Are you mad at me?" She finally ventured to ask.
Inu Yasha stopped walking before he sighed and shook his head. "Not with you." It had gotten very dark, as the trees prevented the moonlight from illuminating their way. He was a murky shadow walking before her, his features well hidden.
"Then, with whom?"
"Don't worry about it." He ended the conversation as he started to lead her away from the road and into the woods.
"Inu Yasha, where are we going?"
"I thought you trusted me." He retorted.
"I do…I'm just curious to where the truck is."
"Oh, that's back in town. The guy dropped it off a few hours ago."
Kagome stopped before taking another step into the rocky terrain.
"Then what are we doing here?" She demanded. She suddenly realized how alone she was. Not far up the road ahead, it split in two, one leading to Louro, de other to the convent. Since the main road had been built, no one used the mountain road. With how far they had walked, no one would hear them scream. The birds and crickets were unusually silent, as she felt her heart tightened. She squeezed his had harder and wished she could see his face. Seeing his violate eyes was the only encouragement she needed. "Inu Yasha?" She asked, slightly shaky.
"I need to show you something. We're almost there." His voice was soft, warm and rough around the edges. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could smell his unique salty scent mixed with the Eucalyptus trees, and all she wanted to do was throw herself into his arms and have him kiss her crazy.
But, he wouldn't. She was just a kid, and since the feast of the Virgin, he had watched over her like a big brother. She would just embarrass him.
"I can't see where I'm going." She excused herself. She felt the tear building up; she needed to get away from him. But, his hand held her in place firmly.
"Don't worry. I know where I'm going." He pulled her closer and led her deeper towards the woods.
"Isn't there a cliff around here? I know the main road runs below this." Kagome complained as she placed her free hand on his arm for balance.
"I told you not to worry, woman!" He growled half-annoyed.
"You don't have to yell." She retorted as the anger pushed away her insecurities.
"Keh, close your eyes." He ordered as he stopped once again. They had moved far from the road, and he knew she wouldn't be able to find her way back in the dark. This made him smirk. She couldn't get away.
"Huh? Why?" She demanded as he placed a hand over her eyes and the other one around her waist. She gasped when his strong hand pressed against her tummy sending flutters of butterflies lose in her stomach.
"We're just going to take a couple of more steps…" He whispered as he led her forward. She was nervous, but her steps were firm and secure. Being wrapped in his arms made her feel safe among… other things. "Vale." He smiled as he uncovered her eyes.
She gasped at the sight before her. The black sea looked like an obsidian rock, as it reflected the light of the full moon. The dark sky was filled with the sparkling dust of stars. It was like standing on the edge of the world while watching the sea and the sky merge into one. She could hear the roaring of the sea and the smell the salt in the air as she looked down at the inky darkness below her.
"Precioso…It's so beautiful." She whispered in wonder.
"It's my favorite place. My mother would bring me up here when I was younger to tell me about my father. She told me this is where I was conceived." Kagome's blush reached her toes as she turned to him in surprise. She could see his face under the light of the moon. His smile was soft and honest. He only smiled like that in private with his friends, and now, he was smiling like that for her.
"Así me gusta. You should always be smiling." He continued as he brushed some lose strands of hair from her face.
They stood there, quietly, watching each other for a long moment, neither willing to break the silence: It was too comfortable. His eyes bore deeply into her unknowing soul as she imagined how it must have been for his mother all those years ago on this mountain cliff with a handsome gypsy whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Hell, Kagome would forget her grandfather's lectures and set aside her Christian morals as well in that situation, especially if the gypsy was the one standing before her.
"I have something for you." Inu Yasha finally spoke. "Something to make sure you come back to us."
Kagome moved her mouth, but was unable to reply at first. Finally, she managed to say, "You didn't have to…I don't intend to be gone longer than I have to."
He looked at her in a happy surprise, but then, his eyes darkened. She could feel his anger rise, but was unsure how to address the situation. His hands fumbled in his pockets for a few minutes before he pulled out a milk-pink ball hanging on a thin silver chain. "My father gave this to my mother on their wedding night." He explained as he placed the chain around her neck.
"Inu Yasha, I can't accept this…It's a priceless heirloom. It means too much." Kagome protested.
"Don't argue with me." He growled. "I want you to have it."
"Thank you." She replied in awe. Her hand immediately went to caress the smooth ball, wondering what it was made of. His hand quickly followed hers, and showed her how to open it.
"It's a compass." He explained. "Santiago is in that direction." He pointed deeper into the sea, where the mountain stretched out again. "This way, you have no excuse. You'll find your way home, and that means, if you take to damn long, I'm going to go up there, find you, and drag you back by your hair." He finished gruffly.
"Thank you." She whispered softly as she delicately traced the needles on the compass. "Es tan bonito…No one has ever given me something this nice or valuable. Gracias."
"Keh…" Kagome didn't miss the nervousness in his voice. There was something else…whatever had been on his mind all day. She was sure of it.
"Inu Yasha, what's wrong?" Her worried eyes made him sigh. How was he supposed to do this without yelling? He could feel the anger boiling in his stomach.
"Who is he?" She didn't miss the accusation in his voice.
"¿Perdón?" She asked confused.
"Sango told me everything!" He voice was on edge. "Who is he?"
"Joder, Kagome, who is the damn bastardo?"
Her eyes widened in surprise as she stumbled over her word. "What does it matter? He doesn't want me." She demanded unable to hold the anger and pain from her voice.
"Are you blind? There isn't a properly functioning male in this town that doesn't want you!"
"If you're worried about protecting me…"
"Just tell me who he is!" He demanded.
"So I can kill him!"
"Muy, bien. And, what does that fix? It doesn't change anything, Inu Yasha. I'm still going to hurt; I can't just stop loving him. All I can do is try to move on. What are you going to do? Kill every man I'm interested in?"
She never saw him move, but she yelped when she felt the vice grip of his hands on her forearms. "No man…escúchame bien…no man, ninguno, will ever love you like I do." His voice was raw with passion as she felt his demanding lips on her own.
She was in a trance, swept away by the passion and force of his kiss. If any other man had tried to pull something like that, she wouldn't have hesitated to connect her knee with his crotch as hard and fast as physics would permit. But, this was Inu Yasha, and heaven knew when this glorious dream would end. It had to be a dream; right?
As she melted into the kiss, his grip softened. His hands moved towards her waist, and her arms reached up and locked around his neck as they both responded passionately.
They stopped only to breath and remained in each others arms in perfect silence as they both tried to analyze the other. "Who is he?" Inu Yasha finally asked. Kagome blushed and looked away. Did he really think she could kiss him like that while she was in love with another man? She wasn't in the mood to argue.
"You are he…He is you." She replied slightly annoyed.
"You made me go through all that worrying for nothing?" He growled. "Why the hell didn't you tell me?"
"Why didn't you tell me how you felt?" She retorted as the anger began to stir in her stomach.
"That's different!" He defended.
"Because I didn't want to scare you away. It took long enough to finally get a conversation with you that the last thing I was going to do is overwhelm you."
"What are you rambling about?"
"I've been waiting a fucking long time to tell you how I feel!" He exploded. His anger throwing words into his mouth he wouldn't normally say. Before her shocked and surprised eyes, he kept rambling. "Damn it; I remember working as a waiter on the boardwalk and seeing you come in with your family Sunday afternoons. You were always smiling; you were always nice. You were probably the first person from this town to treat me like a real human being."
"No, you want to know the truth; then listen. I knew I wanted you then, but you were the priest's granddaughter. Your kind doesn't mix with mine. So, I left…made something of myself. I came back, and you were all grown up." His anger gradually faded as he remembered her standing on the pier the day he returned to port. She was buying fish with her mother standing in the middle of the warm June sun. Her skin was tanned and her dark long black hair danced in the wind as she turned towards the ship he was on and smiled. He imaged the smile was for him as he noticed how well the light blue sundress fitted her curves. He was sure then he loved her. He also realized that with a smile like hers, she would most likely have a crowed of suitors chasing after her. How was he going to compete? He looked into her shocked blue eyes and knew he still couldn't. He should stop. He had already said too much, but he couldn't. Confession was good for the soul. She needed to know, and if he was going to ever tell her this, what better place than this, where no one could overhear. "But you still smiled!" He justified, unsure how he found the words. "When, I saw you going into that car…"
"I wasn't going in; I was trying to stop my friend."
"The damn point is that it suddenly hit me that if I let you go, you wouldn't come back. And, everything changed. Suddenly, I had a chance. Yeah it involved letting you go away, but that was part of the plan."
"I needed to give you a reason to stay. Then, you tell Sango that you fell in love with some stupid idiot. Joder, what were you expecting me to do? Stand by and let some good-for-nothing-pimpled-face brat take you away? Hells no!"
"Excuse me from trying to save you the embarrassment of telling a little girl you like her, but not in that way!"
"¿Cómo?" He didn't let the argument continue. Their lips had other matters to take care of. His mouth crashed against hers as she pulled him closer. With only the moon and the stars as their witnesses, he would show her his love, and she would show him hers.
A/N: Long story, 25 single spaced pages (without the author's notes). That's a new one. I hope you enjoy.
Vocabulary: merienda – In Spain, the big meal of the day is eaten around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Afterwards we take our siesta and we have a late supper. Between the afternoon meal and dinner, we have a snack, similar to an American lunch called merienda.
Joder – Damn it, Fuck it, basic every day curse word.
Vale – in this story, it's uses as ok. It's more popular meaning is this works or this fits. It is also uses as alright/ok.
Ok- ok…the part of American tourism wasn't made up…actually most of it wasn't made up. Ok has infiltrated the local vocabulary.
Magnifico – magnificent.
Sota – a card in the Spanish playing deck usually referred to la puta or the bitch. I was going for the bitch part of the reference.
Destino - Destiny
I took so long with this story because at first I wanted to include so much more of the scenery and bring you there, but it wasn't working. I had to re-write it with the focus on the main characters. I know Inu is more eloquent than normal, but I needed to get him to say the right things, or this would have to be turned into a serial. Any how, if you would like to see pictures of my beautiful (click on the little cameras for more The Roman trails were never re-opened, but my cousins did get hit by the rock when they decided that the priest could spare a few pears. No, I wasn't the one to get away; I was still learning to walk at the time. They did have to go to confession, my grandmother threw her slippers at them (when she hit, she hit hard), and to this day, the priest gives them dirty looks. As you can tell, I have many happy memories of this place.
I recently wrote a poem, two of you reviewed. Thank you very much. For those of you that haven't read it, the A/N there explained that I would go back to writing BM as soon as I got this story out of my head, and that I'm also contemplating opening a yahoo group or live journal for those of you that want a mailing list of updates. I'm open to suggestions since I've received enough emails on the subject to realize you guys really want it. My issue against mailing lists is that, in the past, my mailbox was over crowded with emails that bounced back. I know yahoo groups emails the posts. So if you registered, and I emailed to let you know there was an update, you can get it. I'm open for suggestions