References to chapter 392, but nothing too spoiler-worthy.


Inuyasha keh'ed as he yanked the doors of the well house open, stepping out into the yard and storming toward Kagome's room. He'd stayed on his side of the well a whole day, just like he'd promised, and he felt he had been very reasonable and self-sacrificing. But Kagome had said she would be back today. She was late.

He was prepared to jump to her window and give her a lecture on keeping your promises and observing a schedule (which probably would have come out, like most of his rehearsed speeches, completely wrong), when he paused. Kagome's mother was sweeping below her daughter's window, and Inuyasha wasn't sure if she wanted him climbing on the roof or not. Probably not. He scowled a little and slouched when she lifted her head and caught sight of him, smiling and waving him over.

Kagome's not here, dear. She missed so many classes, the school agreed to letting her come in and make up her tests.

His scowl deepened. Fine, I'll just go get her.I don't think Kagome would appreciate that, she said gently. Inuyasha hesitated, then snorted and crossed his arms.

... whatever.

Mrs. Higurashi smiled at him. Would you like to help tidy up the shrine while you wait? I'm afraid Grandpa caught my cold as soon as I recovered and I've been a bit busy since your last visit.

Inuyasha colored considerably. I could fix- she cried, a little too loudly. She chuckled. I mean, the plumbers are coming tomorrow. But you could sweep, she went on, handing him the broom. And, oh, you'll need something to cover your ears, won't you? Wait here, she said, walking back into the house. Inuyasha loitered outside until she reappeared, bandana in hand. He waited patiently while she reached up and tied it for him, leaning forward slightly.

Mrs. Higurashi finished and stepped back, smiling. Come inside when you're done and I'll make you lunch. All right, dear? I'm afraid I won't be able to cook anything, but I have plenty of fresh food.

Inuyasha winced a little and nodded. He trudged back toward the steps, broom slung over a shoulder, and wondered how Kagome's mother had managed to rope him into helping so effortlessly.

Well. At least he could finish this quickly.

Unfortunately, as he started down the steps, Kagome's friends were passing by.

they shouted, waving. He jumped a foot and looked around, scowling, though the demanding What!' died in his throat when he caught sight of them.

You're... those girls... Kagome's friends?Oh, you remember us! Eri said brightly.

Kagome-chan's not home, Inuyasha-kun. She's still taking her make-up tests, Yuka said, noticing the way he was sulking about.

Ayumi frowned, then brightened suddenly. I know! While you're waiting, we can go to WacDonalds!What is a-Great idea, Ayumi-chan! Eri said, enthusiastically, grabbing his wrists. Oooo - where do you get your nails done?Will they let him in without shoes, though? Ayumi asked, frowning a little.

You should probably get rid of the bandana, too, Eri said, reaching up and, before he could stop her, yanking it off.

There was a long pause.

... Why're you still wearing those ears?Yeah, that's kind of- Eri-chan! What do you think you're doing!

Eri had a dog ear in each hand and was tugging on them with a concentrated look. You guys... I think they're real.

Yuka stared. Just what sort of foreigner are you?I... I... Keh! Inuyasha said, breaking free from Eri and fleeing.

Ayumi, Yuka, and Eri stared openmouthed as he made his escape by leaping over rooftops.

You guys... Ayumi said slowly, sure Yuka and Eri's shock was mirrored on her own face, Do you get the feeling Kagome-chan hasn't been completely forthcoming with us?


Souta hesitated. He'd been tempted before, of course, especially when his friends had been bragging about their weekends. Still, no matter how badly he'd always wanted to tell someone the secret, he'd been able to keep his silence these past several months.

But the promise of 1000 yen, a trip to the movies, and a brand new video game proved to be too much of a bribe for even him to turn down.

His resistance crumbled.

He blurted out everything.

Ayumi, Yuka, and Eri looked among themselves. Eyebrows were raised. Skeptical looks were exchanged. But Ayumi was the one that actually said it.

Eri stuffed the money back into her wallet. No deal if you're just going to make stuff up.

Souta looked as if all his dreams had just been systematically crushed and then trampled into the dirt for good measure. But I wasn't lying!You're worse than Kagome-chan, Yuka said with a sigh and a shake of the head.

But... But!...


Well now what? Eri asked as they descended the shrine steps, frowning.

I'm all out of ideas, Yuka admitted grudgingly.

Weeelllll... we could go talk to Hojo, Ayumi suggested slowly.

Sheer brilliance! Eri shouted, thumping her on the back and nearly sending her tumbling down the steps.


Apparently, the entire Hojo family was exactly like their son.

It was scary how cheerful they were, from the enthusiastic father that took their things at the door and ushered them inside, to the adorable little sister named Hitomi that greeted them politely and warmly, to the homely mother that sat them down and shoved more food and drink of them that they could possibly eat in a life time. By the time Hojo joined them they had all agreed they never wanted to leave and Kagome was a fool for ever giving this up, no matter how cute Inuyasha-kun was.

What can I do for you? Hojo asked, brightly and eagerly, and the three girls heaved a collective, dreamy sigh.

Hojo-kun, you've gone over to Kagome-chan's house while she's sick before, haven't you? Yuka asked.

Oh yes - I wanted to drop off the salamanders.Er... right, Yuka said while Eri made a face and Ayumi tried to be polite. Did you ever see anything unusual? Anything involving that old well on her property?Well, she was climbing out of it once.And... that didn't strike you as odd?I assumed it was some sort of treatment. That poor girl, he said, pouring tea.

Yuka, Eri, and Ayumi put their heads together so they could whisper. It was rather conspicuous. Hojo didn't bat an eye.

What do you think? Ayumi whispered, chewing her lip.

You don't really believe that...I'd like proof, Yuka muttered. She's obviously hiding something.Maybe Hojo's in on it! Eri squealed suddenly. Maybe he's known all along!Oh, Hojo's too... too... um, nice to keep a secret like that.You mean too simple-minded. Eri giggled.

I... no, of course not! I just... oh, Eri-chan, don't be mean.That would explain why he never gets jealous, though, Yuka mused, rubbing her chin.


I'm ho-!It's about time you got here! Inuyasha shouted before she was able to finish her sentence. We have to leave right now!I just got in the front door! Kagome shouted back, nettled. You could let me put my stuff down, at least, she went on, shoving past him and starting up the stairs.

he said irritably, stomping after her, we have to leave now.What's your big hurry, anyway? she said crossly, dumping her book bag on the floor of her room and flopping down on her bed. Man, I'm beat. Those tests were even harder than I-Kagome. Those friends of your's saw me!They were here? she looked thoughtful over a moment before frowning. Well, so? They've met you before and they like you, so I don't see what the problem-They saw me without a hat on.

Kagome's mouth fell open in horror. Are you sure?Am I sure? Of course I'm sure!Well - uh - I'm sure I can explain it to them.Right. All you have to do is tell them about the well.

Kagome paled. Maybe you're right. Maybe we should leave. Now. Right now. I'll pack my bag.


Now they're arguing... now Kagome's packing... I wonder what's going on?

Eri was draped over one of the limbs of Goshinboku, a leg dangling over each side while her elbows were propped up in front of her, pressing a cheep pair of binoculars against her face. Yuka was straddling the same branch, and Ayumi was clinging to the trunk for dear life, sneaking terrified looks down at the ground.

Maybe they're eloping, Yuka mused. Nothing else is happening? Eri said, sounding disappointed.

You guys... Ayumi whined, hugging the bark tighter. I feel like a peeping tom.Oh, it's not like we're looking into her shower, Yuka said with a dismissive wave of the hand.

Eri cried, springing up to a sitting position. They're gone!

Unfortunately, her sudden shift in position jostled Ayumi free and she was pitched toward the ground, screeching I'M GOING TO DIE! Yuka's cry was cut short when a red blur jumped out of nowhere and snatched the screaming girl before she hit the ground.

AHHHHH- oh, Inuyasha-kun! Ayumi said, opening her eyes and sighing in relief. I'm so glad you're still here! Kagome cried, running over. Inuyasha... Yuka-chan? Eri-chan! What are you guys doing here!

Yuka and Eri quickly dropped out of the tree. Eri pitched the binoculars as far as she could throw, then whirled around, clasped her hands, and beamed.

Kagome-chan! How were your tests?What were you doing in that tree! Yuka cried. Because, uh, you sure can see a lot from that high up!

Kagome stared at her. I... guess so?... she turned her head and panicked when she saw that Ayumi, who was still in Inuyasha's arms, was tweaking his ears with a focused look on her face. Inuyasha was giving her a desperate, Please-save-me-from-your-creepy-friends look.

Kagome shouted, grabbing hold of her arm. Ayumi had the grace to look embarrassed when she got back on her feet, grinning sheepishly.

Er... about Inuyasha's ears, she began, laughing nervously. They're an - um - birth defect.

Inuyasha scowled at her. What d'ya mean,

Kagome smiled brightly and stomped down on his foot. You see, his mother worked in, um, a nuclear power plant. While she was pregnant. And he's, ah, self-conscious about it. So he wears a hat.

She held her breath while her friends looked at each other. That's the BEST you could come up with! Come on girl, you've outsmarted demons! You can do better! They may believe you've come down with every disease in the book, but there's no way they're going to buy that!

Yuka nodded slowly.

Eri bowed quickly. I'm sorry I took your bandana off, Inuyasha-kun.

Inuyasha itched at his collar uncomfortably.

Is that why he's able to jump over buildings? Ayumi asked. Kagome shot him a glare, and Inuyasha crossed his arms and Inuyasha is, um, a professional acrobat. From... Australia. Ayumi said, nodding.


Kagome waved until her friends were down the street and out of sight. Once they rounded the corner, she let out a sigh of relief and dropped her arm. I can't believe they actually bought that.

She scowled and rounded on him. Well it's the best thing I could think of! And I've told you, you can't use your demon powers around normal people!Well it wouldn't have happened if you hadn't had to take all your tests.You... ugh! she cried. You're impossible! she stormed back toward the house. Come on. Since we're not in such a hurry, I have more time to pack food.


Yuka, Eri, and Ayumi waited until they were out of sight before doubling back, sneaking in through her backyard.

You guys... spying is one thing, but do you really think breaking and entering is such a good idea?Oh, come on, Ayumi-chan! Eri said, rolling her eyes. That guy is not Australian!And I'm pretty sure there are laws against letting pregnant women work in those conditions, Yuka added.

She looks pretty healthy for someone that just got over mono, too, Eri said. Ayumi frowned and crossed her arms.

Well I'm not climbing any more trees.That's okay, Yuka said enthusiastically. We're going to break in like they do in the movies. We'll need wires, and flashlights, and black cat suits-Hey! There they are! Eri said, pointing as the two of them crossed the yard and went into the well house.

Yuka said, deflating slightly. Well. We could just follow them, I guess.

They piled one on top of the other, peaking through the door Kagome had left slightly ajar. All three of their jaws dropped when they saw Kagome grab Inuyasha by the hand, smile up at him, and prepare to jump into the well.

Ayumi gasped.

Eri's eyes widened. A lover's suicide!

Kagome whirled around when she heard the gasp, her eyes widened in shock. She had intended to say What the hell are you guys still doing here,' but she only got out before Yuka let loose a wild battle cry and dove, tackling her and sending them both slamming into the dirt while shouting No, Kagome-chan, don't do it! You have so much left to live for!What are you talking about! Get off me! Eri cried, throwing the doors open and jumping down the steps so quickly she nearly twisted her ankle. Think of the friends and family that love you!Don't throw your life away for a boy! Ayumi squeaked, and, with surprising fierceness, shoved Inuyasha with all her might, knocking him flat on his back.


Eri said, some time later, while they were all seated in the living room.

I guess this means we're going to have to take Souta to the movies after all, Yuka muttered.

Ayumi looked from Inuyasha to Kagome to back. Inuyasha-kun has a brother? Kagome said, wincing when she recalled their latest encounter.

Ayumi said. Is he available? Yuka and Eri shouted, scandalized.

You can't tell me you weren't thinking it! she snapped back, flustered.

I don't think he's your type, Ayumi-chan, Kagome said, paling at the thought of Sesshoumaru eating fast food with one of her best friends.

Want to keep all the cute guys to yourself, eh? Yuka said, winking.

Don't be so greedy, Eri teased. Kagome looked among the three of them, bemused.

Wait... you're not... mad at me? For keeping it from you?Well of course not! Eri said brightly. If I was, I wouldn't be able to ask you to bring me back a kimono!

Kagome sat, momentarily stunned to silence. Eri-chan! I'm on a mission to save the world! I don't have time to go shopping! Eri begged, clasping her hands and sticking out her bottom lip. I'll pay you for it! Yuka drawled. You see, the thing is, it's my brother's birthday soon, and he's always dropping hints about an addition to his sword collection, and it would save me a lot of money if you would just-Oh, come on! You can can just take one off a battle field!

It occurred to Kagome, as Ayumi looked dreamily out the window, Eri looked pleadingly at her, and Yuka looked calculatingly at Tessaiga, that perhaps there had been a very good reason to hide it from her friends.