I have never read a single Bleach manga even though I am currently up to date with the series, so expect no Bleach manga spoilers on this fic as well as no Inuyasha manga spoilers because I haven't read a single one of them either. I don't like spoilers when I don't want to be spoiled or spoilers given without warning, so rest assured that the only spoilers on this fic will only be up to the October 2005 animes of both series, like I said in the first chapter.
- Bleanuyasha 5 -
Ichigo assured her that despite the newcomers having a few loose screws in the head, they were friendly allies, which put Kagome's mind at ease. She was informed by the Captain that they were all Death Gods, sent by the authorities in Soul Society to act as a 'precaution' against anything that would wish to harm her.
It irritated her that people she didn't even know would just go and assume that she was a weak damsel in distress, in need of protection, but the little guy claiming to be their leader for this 'mission' was so darn cute, she couldn't find it in her heart to send them away. He was just so adorable that Kagome had to restrain herself from patting him on the head each time he opened his mouth and pretended to talk like a grown up. She couldn't really tell what his exact age was, looking at his face, but based on his height, she presumed that he was probably younger than or the same age as her brother Souta.
If it had been anyone else, Kagome would have definitely put him or her in his or her place after making such a statement about making sure that nothing bad befell her. She managed to take care of herself just fine all these years, so she could not see why everybody seemed to want to 'take care' of her all of a sudden. However, they were only following orders. They did not really have a choice in the matter if their superiors told them that this was what they should do.
Sighing in acceptance for now (at least until she found out more about them), she invited them into the house, offering them something to drink. Her polite inquiry if their trip to the shrine tired them out was met with amused smiles and heads shaking no. What was so amusing with her question, she didn't know. Maybe Soul Society wasn't far from where she lived? Where could she find this society anyway?
Her mom was delighted to have company. When she heard the door open and Kagome shout out "Tadaima!" she rushed to greet her daughter at the door, but was pleasantly surprised to find that her daughter had brought friends along with her. The last friend her daughter brought to the house had been Inuyasha. Her normal high school friends visited now and then, but nobody had been as interesting as Inuyasha was, in Mama Higurashi's opinion.
She felt a small feeling of disappointment when a quick check produced no dog-ears amongst the guests. Decorated eyebrows and red eyeshadow were interesting, but it did not warrant a petting. The shortest one was cute though. She was probably no older than her own Souta. She immediately asked if they were going to stay for dinner and the young men shuffled their feet until the green-eyed one with the white hair said yes, they were. Such a cute little fellow he is. Delighted that her eldest had once again began to make friends, she instructed Kagome to entertain their guests while she went to the store to get more ingredients for some Oden tonight.
Kagome perked up at the promise of Oden, which didn't go unnoticed. The Shinigamis from Soul Society wondered what this oden was. The miko's mother said 'ingredients', so it was safe to assume that it was some type of food. Perhaps it was special like the "juice pack", a delicious drink only found in the living world and one that was rumored to be hard to figure at first. A rumor about the juice pack circulated among the members of the Fourth Shinigami Squad Division years ago, which slowly spread to the other Divisions. Today, the juice pack had a legendary reputation in all of Soul Society.
Ichigo decided to stay for a while, eager to hear any news from Soul Society. They took their shoes off at the entrance and were ushered to the kitchen, where the dining table was, and they caught up as the girl prepared to cook something. Only a few minutes later, Kagome balanced two bowls in her arms with ease, setting them down expertly in front of her guests. She went back for two more and one for her then sat down, saying "Itadakimasu!" before she snapped her chopstick in half and proceeded to eat.
The orange-haired Shinigami did the same, but the three from Soul Society paused. They were looking at their bowls curiously.
"What is this food called?" Ikakku inquired, picking his bowl up. Steam was rising from the inside, but the yellow container was cool to the touch.
"Instant ramen," replied Kagome. She didn't feel like cooking anything filling that would leave less room for her oden later on. She watched as they examined their bowls carefully. Have they never seen or heard of three-minute ramen before?
When the little one dug in, so did the other two. They introduced themselves as Madarame Ikakku, Ayasegawa Yumichika (they were from the Eleventh Division, which according to them was the strongest) and Hitsugaya Toushiro from the Tenth Division.
"Why are you together, considering that you're from different Divisions?" Kagome asked curiously in between bites.
"Because these two are idiots and someone needs to babysit them," was Toushiro's reply.
"Why couldn't their own Division Leader have accompanied them?" She was informed enough to know that there were supposed to be thirteen Shinigami squads and each squad had their own Captain. She still couldn't believe that the little boy sitting in her kitchen was a captain (they must have an easy time selecting one or perhaps they were taken by his boyish cuteness), but she humored him by believing what he said.
"Zaraki-taichou," he said, referring to Zaraki Kenpachi, Ikakku and Yumichika's squad leader, "is… indisposed." The person was a hazard to society and he might cause more damage than good in the living world. He cared mostly about fighting and had a tendency to seek out those who he thought to be strong and liked to fight them.
"What about the other captains?"
Hitsugaya's brows wrinkled. "They are otherwise engaged." Which translated to he was the one left to bully after the choices were narrowed down.
It was almost like a rule that Yamamoto-Genryusai Shigekuni, the General and First Squad Captain, was never deployed to go anywhere. Generals had men to do the dirty work and besides, he was old. His bones probably needed lots of rest.
Soi Fong, Captain of the Second Squad, was also the Commander of Soul Society's Covert Operations and Executive Militia. She had far too many responsibilities to go traipsing into the living world. Short of the God of Flash Yoruichi herself, no one could fill in for her.
The Captain of the Third Squad, Ichimaru Gin, was still under close supervision, despite proving his allegiance to the good side. Sending him out to important missions out of Soul Society (and out of Genryusai's close watch) was out of the question.
The Fourth Shinigami Division was the only medic squad they had. Unohana Retsu-taichou wasn't the type of person to leave her patients behind either.
Hinamori Momo was still new to being the Fifth Squad's new Captain, but she was considered for the mission.
Sixth Squad Kuchiki Byakuya-taichou had Living World-experience before, but he was too busy preparing for his younger sister's wedding to be bothered right now. So was his fukutaichou, Abarai Renji, who was to be the groom. Noble House weddings were so complicated.
When the Seventh Squad's Leader, Komamura Sajin, was considered for the mission, he merely stood there with his huge bamboo bucket helmet impassively. Since he had a strong sense of doing the right thing, if he was ordered to do it, he would probably haven't even batted an eye and obeyed the order without question. But it was obvious from his height and helmet he insisted on wearing, that he was going to gather unwanted attention in the Living World. Was there even a gigai (false body) that would be able to accommodate him? It was also safe to conclude that humans weren't used to having a talking animal bigger than most of them talk.
It would probably have done Kyouraku Shunsui good to get off of his daily routine of lazily chewing a piece of grass while staring at the clouds if he was sent. Despite his flowery kimono, he was a very skilled warrior. And even if you can repeatedly see him passed out over bottles of sake while his Vice-Captain dragged him to bed, he was a very reliable man. If only they trusted him well enough to be alone with a miko who liked to wear short skirts…
Hisagi Shuhei, Ninth Squad Captain, like Hinamori Momo, was also a fresh recruit to the Squad Leader ranks. It wasn't as if they discriminated against new Captains, because no one became a Captain unless they were skilled enough (they had to go through several tests before their Captainship was approved, not to mention that they had to have good recommendations and backing from the current Captains), but it was rumored to be that ever since "That Incident", the Soul Society higher ups were more protective and watchful of any new Captains in the Thirteen Squads.
The Twelfth Squad Leader, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, wasn't even considered as an option to go on this mission. If asked, the official statement would probably be along the lines of "He needs to concentrate on his research and development projects, thus having no time to go dallying in the real world," but everyone in Soul Society knew that they feared that he would probably experiment on the miko that they were supposed to protect rather than to care for her well-being.
Jyuushiro Ukitake-taichou is a strong Squad Leader, and very well-respected among his peers. Ever since his rookie days, he was popular and had no trouble gaining friends. He would have been the perfect taichou to accompany the Third and Fifth Seat of the Eleventh Division, if not for his illness.
This left Hitsugaya Toushiro, Captain of the Tenth Squad. Did they consider that he might also have other priorities that he had to take care of? No, because according to them, his well-endowed fukutaichou Matsumoto Rangiku could do the paperwork. Did they not know how much Matsumoto loved to avoid doing paperwork? Apparently not and maybe it was because they were too busy ogling her chest.
Wasn't he supposed to be a powerful guardian of heaven that appeared rarely? What did he have to do to earn full respect in Soul Society… grow several inches? Actually, he did, but no one seemed to notice it. He was even taller than Hinamori now, and he was on even grounds with the miko, but why did he still feel like people looked at him as some kind of kid?
Because he was a Captain, and as a Captain, it was his job to keep the order in Soul Society, he accepted the mission. Even if it meant babysitting subordinates from the Eleventh Division.
Blowing carefully at the piping hot noodles, he felt like he tasted heaven when it hit his pallet. Maybe he had to reevaluate his opinion about this mission. This ramen was like food sent by the Kami themselves. The miko might even offer to feed them some more of this if they stayed long enough, he could only hope.
"What are you eating?" Pink hair was visible from below the table. It hopped on to Ikakku's shoulder, peered closely at his bowl and sniffed. "It smells delicious!"
"Where have you been, fukutaichou?" Ikakku asked as he kept his instant ramen cup out of her reach. His mouth was watering to take another bite. Fukutaichou or not, this was his food, his ramen. Not hers.
Kusajiki Yachiru, the pink-haired Vice-Captain of the Eleventh Squad, wrinkled her nose and snatched the cup out of Pachinko Head's hands to inspect it closer. His efforts to keep it away from her were no match for her speed. "There was an odd feeling around a building on the grounds so I had to check it out." While waiting for the miko to arrive, she got bored and announced that she was going to go ahead and take a look around. She found a fat kitty cat which she engaged in a staring contest for more than half an hour, before it looked like it decided she was not a threat and flounced away. Later on, she was drawn to what felt like old magic from a small building and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a house built around a dry well. Why anyone would build a house around a well that didn't even have water baffled her. She didn't know how long she stayed there peering into the dark depths, but a delicious aroma filled her nose, snapping her out of her stupor. Following the smell led her to her teammates gathered around a table in the kitchen. Ichi was there too, with a girl with pretty hair.
"Hi Ichi!" Ikakku wasn't fast enough to get his cup back, ending up shaking the table as he made a grab for her and ended up with air.
"Hi Yachiru, I didn't expect to see you here."
"Is that the miko?" She ducked again as the Third Seat of the Eleventh Division tried to grab her.
"Yeah, that's her."
"Kawaii!" Kagome exclaimed. She wanted to touch the chibi's hair. Was that real? It was pink! Her fingers itched to pet the cute little girl who was now running circles around them, keeping the stolen cup out of poor Ikakku's reach. "I can make you a new cup, Ikakku-san."
"Just Ikakku would do, miko-sama." Yachiru stuck her tongue out at him and sat beside Toushiro, reaching for a pair of chopsticks.
"Then you should call me Kagome," she smiled. No one has called her "miko-sama" for a long time now and it was unnerving. Exactly three minutes later, a new cup was set in front of the bald Shinigami. It seemed like no matter who you were, where you came from or what you were; no one was immune to the power of the ramen.
Several minutes and empty ramen cups later, the sated bunch retreated to the living room, where the Soul Society guests were then introduced to the television. It didn't take any time explaining what the remote was for, and the Vice-Captain quickly gained control of it, wisely seeking refuge on top of the Captain's shoulders while she flipped through the channels in fascination.
Kagome decided now was a good time to discuss their business and cleared her throat. "Shiro-kun," Hitsugaya bit his tongue from automatically correcting her and telling her that he should be called Taichou instead of the familiar nickname, "I was wondering why a four-person team is required to watch over me. I've lived all this time without any… round the clock bodyguards…" Hanyous not counting, "and I think I can take care of myself just fine." She wasn't some damsel in distress that needed a Prince Charming to rescue her anymore. "I appreciate the concern but you don't have to stay here and keep an eye on me. This Soul Society business is overwhelming, but if I need any help or more information, Urahara-san told me I could go to him."
Hitsugaya turned to the miko, mindful of the fukutaichou on his shoulder. "Urahara Kisuke already contacted you?" He was impressed. How come that man always seemed to be a step ahead of everything else that Soul Society was up to? "I don't think you are aware of this miko-sama," he pointed out.
"Just Kagome is fine," she repeated.
"—Kagome-san," Hitsugaya corrected, "but the fact that he thought it best to get involved with you means that we aren't wasting our time here."
All eyes, ears and attention except for the girl perched on the boy's shoulder were focused on her. The pink-haired cutie was too busy paying attention to the Powerpuff Girls.
"Why exactly are you here anyway?" Ichigo asked. "And why does it seem like nobody's assigned in the area where I live anymore?" His voice raised a pitch, recalling all the extra hours he and Ishida had to put into Hollow-extermination. "Don't think you guys can slack off just because I'm there," he growled and crossed his arms across his chest in intimidation.
"That's part of the reason why we're here." Yumichika answered and Ikakku nodded.
"Has there been a spike in Hollow activity lately?"
"Yes," Ichigo grumbled. Duh.
Hitsugaya sat forward, his face looking serious. If it wasn't for the chibi perched on his shoulder, Kagome would have been nervous. Somehow, having a cute girl with pink hair riding between your neck and upper arm ruined the effect. "Soul Society has been assigning Shinigamis in your area, Ichigo. The miko's as well. But someone has been getting rid of them." His face darkened.
"Do you know why?"
"Our sources speculate that whoever is behind this has been trying to smoke out the miko. If there aren't any Shinigamis in the area, when the Hollows they send are cleaned out, the miko might be there. The pull of the Shikon no tama is strong, but they can't pinpoint her exact location until they know exactly where she is." The chibi shifted on his shoulder. "When a soul is reborn in the real world, even if it has a strong spirit force, like yours and Ichigo has, it doesn't necessarily mean that its location can be pinpointed in an instant. Even the most skilled of trackers cannot do this."
Maybe if they had a strong sense of smell, like an inu youkai or an inu hanyou they could, the miko thought as she listened with half an ear to their conversation. The Shinigamis continued discussing, Ichigo plying Hitsugaya with questions, but mostly complaints, as to why all this is happening.
Kagome was trying not to get annoyed with the whole thing but she found it hard to do so. It wasn't like she was trying to avoid responsibility for being the guardian of the jewel, because she wasn't. Taking responsibility lightly had taught her a huge lesson when she was fifteen.
Why she was getting annoyed was because she thought she was done with this. Sure, she could talk to Midoriko, who is kind of technically inside her since the jewel is as well, but that was beside the point. By leaving everything behind and closing the well, she thought that her adventures were over and the days of risking her life were gone. She wasn't even sure what they were up against right now.
Battling Hollows was a concept she couldn't get used to yet. She always thought youkai and had to correct herself in mid-thought. Maybe if she distracted them with pocky, they would leave her alone. It always worked for Shippou…
"We probably shouldn't tell Inoue about this."
"What would Orihime-chan have anything to do with this?" A colorful brow rose in question.
"They're cousins," Ichigo supplied.
"You mean the miko is related to the big booby lady?"
"Heh, who knew?" This came from Ikakku as he plopped backwards at the couch. Another incentive as to why they should be doing this. Orihime-chan was one of Soul Society's heroes.
"Beauty clearly runs in their family," Yumichika said, which earned an eye roll from Hitsugaya.
"And not only that." Ikakku chuckled.
Kagome was snapped out of her reverie. Were they looking at her boobs? "Huh?"
"You have big boobs, too." Yachiru enthusiastically chirped. The miko's face reddened, the heat rose to her face in an alarming rate. The others tried not to laugh, so Ikakku discreetly coughed behind his hand and Yumichika's decorated brow twitched madly.
Changing the subject, Ichigo asked "Does that mean you won't be attending the wedding?" This shifted the attention away from the miko's personal parts.
Hitsugaya nodded. He didn't plan on telling the miko right away, but since the subject was already brought up… "Yes we are." He paused, as Ichigo lifted his brow at Kagome's direction in silent question. "And our instructions were to take the miko with us when we do."
Wait. "What?" Kagome thought she didn't understand it right. Something about a wedding and taking them with her, right? Seemed odd, since she didn't even know the couple who was going to get married, but it wasn't unheard of before, so why did the little Taichou look like he didn't want to impart that piece of info with them? And why was Ichigo making those weird faces?
"Abarai Renji, the sixth squad fukutaichou, is marrying the little sister of his taichou, Kuchiki Rukia. The wedding will be in a couple of weeks and we're going back to Soul Society to attend." Yumichika happily rephrased for her.
"And you're coming with us!" Chirped Ikakku.
"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!" Kagome shrieked, startling a flock of birds nesting on the God Tree. "Isn't Soul Society a place for dead souls? Why do I have to come with you guys?" Why were they bringing her with them?
"It's an order." Hitsugaya stated.
"And I'm just supposed to roll over and follow it because you were ordered to do it? I'm not bound by your society's laws so why do I have to obey them?" Her nose rose into the air in defiance, chin jutting forward in protest. They should be thankful she didn't kick them out of the house the first time they met and slap some wards to keep them out.
"How will we be able to protect you if you don't go with us?" He looked really puzzled, bless his heart.
"But I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself!" Did she hear an echo somewhere?
The miko's protests fell on deaf ears as the Shinigami insisted that they do their mission with or without her cooperation. If that meant that they had to hog tie her and drag her to Soul Society when the time came, she had no choice but to put up with it. Even if she didn't need their assistance at all (she doubted if any of them truly believed her to be perfectly capable of taking care of herself, except maybe for Yachiru, since she was a girl like her), they insisted on providing it. In her opinion, they were overreacting. They were blowing the situation out of proportion. This new threat they keep talking about couldn't be more menacing than Naraku, could it?
Everyone was always after the Shikon no tama. Why her? Why it? Wasn't there some other artifact or jewel out there capable of granting power? Why don't they search for a magic lamp instead of insisting on coming after her – er, the jewel? Which was technically her, if she were to believe Urahara-san… and her dreams and or slash delusions.
Any so-called 'evil' would be small fry compared to Naraku. And anything would be better than this. Already she was feeling like someone on parole, with several parole officers intent on trailing her every move.
The issue of lodging was also discussed. Her family had no objections to Inuyasha coming, going and even spending nights in her room before. Her mother trusted her and gave her free reign of what to do. She doubted if her mother would even bat an eye if she brought an army of Shinigami to stay in her room, if they could all fit. But that had only been one guest. She now had three guys and a chibi.
They had an extra room in the house, but Hitsugaya adamantly refused and strongly insisted that at least one of them be with her at all times. She wasn't the least bit amused when Ichigo suggested that she clean out her closet so they can sleep in it. She didn't know why but the guy managed to stir emotions in her she wasn't even aware she had.
"Remind me not to have a sleepover at your house," she gritted out cheerfully, putting on a fake smile.
"I'll do that… oh wait, but you already did. Without my permission even!"
"Well if I had known that an ogre like you owned that bed, or wait – lived – with Ishida-kun, I would have preferred to freeze outside last night anyway!"
The Shinigami blinked owlishly at the two, surprised at their sudden show of tempers.
"Oh yeah?" Ichigo taunted, "Well maybe you should have instead of invading my private space and calling me names!"
She balled her fists in an attempt to reign in her temper. Why was she letting herself get reeled in by the slightest provocation with this guy? What was it with him? She had to tell herself that he wasn't cute at all over and over again. He was always frowning, even when he looked like he was brooding, and from the moment they met, he hasn't been friendly to her at all!
Yachiru giggled. She already liked the miko (not just because she gave her ramen) and it looked like she was having fun with Ichi, too.
Hitsugaya said, "You know, you two are acting like little kids."
"I dunno about that… They remind me of an old married couple." Ikakku earned a dual glare for that remark.
"Married to him! I'd rather die an old maid than marry someone like him!"
"Oh yeah?" He leered. "With your looks and those huge eyes, you probably will!"
They scoffed, glared and then snubbed each other childishly, both panting from repressed emotions.
"—or I can go with the two little kids part," Ikakku coughed and then decided to keep his mouth shut, not wanting them to turn their outbursts at him. Humans were weird.
Of all the things that… why would he even… she didn't even know him for more than a day and yet… what the heck was his problem! She growled low in her throat, wishing she had some subduing beads to put around his neck – that'll teach him to mess with her! Ack… and what was wrong with her? Why did she allow herself to always lose her temper like this? Perhaps she needed to meditate and gather her thoughts. She shot one more glare his way and he glared back at her.
"Keh. Why are you still here anyway? What, are you going to play bodyguard, too?"
Ichigo snorted. "Not likely, woman."
Gr. Infuriating… irritating… annoying… antagonistic… contrary… unfriendly… cute… wait no, scratch that… unattractive… grumpy little… She turned away from the aggravating man. "One of you can stay and sleep with me in my bedroom and it will be Yachiru-chan. One of you could share a room with my brother, share the spare room together, or sleep outside." A hand stopped any protests they were going to make. "That is my final offer. Either we go with that or I throw you out and show you how I take care of youk – I mean, Hollows."
In the end, the Shinigamis unanimously agreed that they would be taking shifts to keep an eye on her. Good choice.
It seemed like they were not only acquainted with Ichigo, but they had some kind of history with him as well. She suggested that they go with him and check out where he lived, catch up and all that, but the little Taichou insisted that they had a mission to complete.
Ikakku and Yumichika looked like they were in favor of her suggestion, but quickly sobered up when their captain reminded them of their jobs. An innocent question as to if a captain and a vice-captain couldn't handle guard duty for several hours proved beneficial to the Eleventh Squad duo, as Hitsugaya-taichou grudgingly told them to do as they please because he and the fukutaichou could handle an unseen threat all by themselves while the duo gallivanted out in the modern living world.
There was a moment of concern with the two, centering on the oden that they were curious about. Ikakku voiced that he didn't want to miss out on any potential food and or thing that would surpass the juice pack. He said this in a revered voice, and Kagome could swear he had unshed tears in his eyes as well.
"If you don't return by then, I'll be sure to set aside some leftovers for just the two of you," the miko promised.
A still pajama-clad Souta came downstairs rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Nee-chan? You're home." He perked up, his worry for his sister from last night going away. He was so worried that he stayed up most of the night, staring at his ceiling and listening to the rain. With Inu no niichan gone, he had to step up and be the man of the family and that meant taking care of his sister, even if she was older than him. He finally succumbed to sleep at the wee hours of the morning and he just woke up. Souta looked at the people gathered in their living room curiously.
The guests stood and Kagome introduced them. "Everyone, this is my brother Souta. They'll be staying with us for a bit." She explained and individually introduced them. She told him why they were here and what they were, she didn't keep any secrets from her family after all.
Souta's eyes widened. Ever since his sister stopped her time-travel, they haven't had any extraordinary guests in years. "Cool!" He looked at the guy who seemed right around his age. "You wanna go play some video games?"
Hitsugaya blinked in response. "Video games?"
Souta grinned and grabbed his arm. "Come on, I'll show you. I'm sure you'll like it." The two boys dragged themselves to the den where Souta had his Playstation 2 and proceeded to show his new friend how to operate it.
Yachiru decided that the television was her new friend, so she plopped back on the sofa and searched for something to watch.
Ikakku and Yumichika were going with Ichigo, and Kagome saw them to the door. She and Ichigo still kept shooting glares at each other, keeping the other two amused.
There was no reason for any type of animosity between them at all, especially since she seemed like a really kind person, but Ichigo couldn't help himself. He wondered why.
When Kagome opened the door, in came Buyo who stopped in her tracks, as if she was sizing up their guests. When she turned her attention to Ichigo, the hairs on her back raised as she hissed and swiped a paw at him. Ichigo merely raised a questioning brow at it, wondering if the cat was as mental as the owner.
Buyo suddenly launched herself at Ichigo's leg, startling him, and dug her claws, making him wince in pain. "What the—" He flailed his leg wildly, trying to shake the cat off of him.
"Oh my gosh, Buyo! Stop that!" Kagome tried to pry Buyo off of Ichigo's leg but the cat had a firm grip and really sharp claws. "Buyo what's wrong with you?" Said sharp claws dug into the leg and she could hear Ichigo hiss in pain. When she finally managed to pry her off of Ichigo's leg, Buyo wriggled out of her grasp and launched herself at his face.
Ichigo caught her in mid leap and quickly tossed her out the open door and into the yard. "Your cat is insane!"
Ikakku had his hand up against the wall to support him, he was laughing too hard to stand up on his own. Yumichika was sharing his mirth as well. He didn't know that cats could fly.
"Buyo doesn't usually act like that," Kagome wrung her hands and bit her lip, trying not to get infected with the Shinigamis' laughter. "She's a very docile, very kind cat."
Ichigo sputtered. "KIND? She ATTACKED me! Your docile cat attacked me without any provocation and what the –"his eyes widened as he watched the fat cat morph right before their eyes. Its eyes turned red and its white fur was lined with various black markings accentuated with a diamond shape on its forehead. He blinked at its two tails.
It growled at him again, then transformed into a larger beast, with large saber-fangs and fire now adorning its body. His protective instincts kicked in, his stinging leg forgotten. He pushed Kagome behind him just as Yumichika and Ikakku recovered from their earlier amusement and flanked him on both sides. This wasn't funny anymore, her cat turning out to be a nekomata. He fished out his Shinigami Badge from his pockets but got shoved aside, out of the way.
"Kirara!" Kagome gasped, walking forward.
Ichigo grabbed her arm, earning another growl from the feline as she stepped towards them. "Kagome stay back, we'll take care of this."
"No! Kirara – I mean Buyo – or Kirara who was pretending to be Buyo - is my cat! Or was a cat of my friend or is… errr… Don't harm her!" She finished, wrenching away from his grip and crossing the yard towards the vicious-looking cat. Kagome ignored the protests behind her as she reached to pet her long-lost friend. "Kirara," Kagome whispered, her eyes misting.
Kirara purred contentedly as Kagome rubbed her ear. "I didn't know you were with me all the time," Kagome hugged her as the Shinigamis watched cautiously, confused.
"So the nekomata is the miko's pet? Should er… shouldn't we be worried?"
Kagome turned to them reassuringly. "No, Kirara was my friend Sango's companion and I guess she stayed even when they passed on and eventually came to live with us." Kirara shifted back to her kitten form and Kagome picked her up. "And she's not a nekomata! Kirara doesn't eat dead animal carcasses, nor can she shape shift into a human or perform necromancy," she corrected. At least not that she knew of.
Ichigo stepped back as she approached them, not willing to risk having the demon cat maul him again. "Did you know that she could shape shift into that fat cat?"
"No, but I'm sure you learn a lot in the span of five hundred years."
"Did you know that she was your house pet before this?" Ikakku asked, narrowing his eyes at the cat, who was too busy staring at Ichigo to pay attention to him.
"Well um, no." Kagome replied. If Kirara could talk, she would ask her why. She didn't doubt Kirara's intention's one bit, because she knew how loyal and trust-worthy the cat was, but she couldn't blame the others for doubting her, especially at how she acted right now.
"Did you know she was crazy?" Ichigo rubbed his stinging leg. Thank Kami he was wearing jeans!
Kagome decided not to glare at him as heatedly since he technically had a reason to be mad. "I don't know why she's acting like this." Kirara growled at Ichigo again. "She's usually really very friendly." To prove her point, she stood next to Yumichika and Kirara allowed him to pet her.
"Well she's not friendly to me! She attacked me!"
"Yeah, we saw." Ikakku chuckled.
"Let's go back inside and let me treat your leg. If you pet her while I hold her, maybe she'll get used to you." She smiled sheepishly at him as she approached with Kirara in hand. She was really happy to see a familiar face in Kirara again, but she was also concerned about why the cat attacked Ichigo without any provocation. "I don't know what would make her do that. I'm really very so-"
"Kagome, get away from him!" Her grandpa shrieked, suddenly appearing out of nowhere. "Demon be gone!" He slapped several charms on Ichigo's forehead and stepped back, waiting for him to disintegrate. No demon was going to harm his precious granddaughter!
The silence in the yard was palpable; the steam going out of Ichigo's head visible, his red face only half-distinguishable from the ofudas stuck on his forehead.
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"Are you sure that's all?"
Hojo resisted the urge to flinch back from the tone of voice. It wasn't raised, but it had an underlying bite to it, and if he didn't know any better, he would say that his friend was getting impatient. "Yes, Higurashi only had one orange-haired boy with her when I saw her this morning." He wondered why his new friend seemed like he had taken a sudden interest in his highschool crush. The guy hasn't even met Kagome, he was sure of that.
They met in college and didn't even know about the object of Hojo's affections until they were talking about girls to date one day. The question of girls was brought up and, of course, Hojo just had to mention his Kagome.
This perked his friend's interest for some reason, and he found himself sharing more and more of what he thought, observed and knew of his highschool crush. Maybe he could ask Kagome for a double date next time. His friend sure looked like he needed it…
"That is very interesting, perhaps they are dating?"
Hojo furrowed his brow. "No." Even if the man had acted a bit too territorial, scaring him away like that, they weren't holding hands when he happened upon them, so that was a good sign, right?
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Uryuu laughed. He laughed as if he has never laughed before, big bellowing sounds that rocked his shoulders. "And then what happened?" His sides were hurting, but he wanted to know what happened next.
Ikakku was relishing the spotlight, telling the tale of Ichigo's adventure at the Higurashi shrine. "So the old man mistakes him for a demon and slaps some charms on his head and starts chanting to drive the "bad spirit" away. Ichigo looked mad enough to kill someone and then –"
"—and then I go home because I don't want to risk getting mauled by the crazy cat and the loony grandfather again." Ichigo came out of his room, hair wet, wearing fresh clothes with a towel around his neck.
He really did consider letting Kagome treat the scratches, even at the expense of taking his pants off, but the old man got so scandalized by the mere thought that he started chasing him around the shrine grounds yelling "Bad spirit, bad spirit, o demon be gone!" at the top of his lungs.
The old man clearly meant well, to protect his granddaughter, so Ichigo decided not to let it get to him, and went home instead. His leg was still stinging from the scratches, but at least he didn't risk being infected with some kind of cat disease now. He guessed that the laughter outside of his room was probably courtesy of him, he heard. He rolled his eyes. "Ishida, where's Kon?"
Uryuu adjusted his glasses and tried to remember when he saw the plushie last. "In your room?" He ventured a guess.
Ichigo held up his hand, containing a piece of paper. He crossed the room and handed it to Ishida. It read:
I have decided to run away from here and I am never coming back.
Please do not bother looking for me because I am never coming back.
I really do mean it this time, and I am never coming back.
The piece of paper was passed on from one hand to another as they read the contents. If it was possible, Ichigo's face turned sourer. "I bet I know where he ran away to."
Ikakku and Yumichika's inquiries merely resulted in making Uryuu crack up in another bout of hysterics.
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DISCLAIMER for every chapter: Kubo Tite owns everything Bleach and Rumiko Takahashi owns everything Inuyasha - including Kagome - who is in no way a Mary Sue at all, (unless the writer is actually Rumiko Takahashi herself) because aside from the fact that she was created by the mind of Rumiko-san, Mary Sues are original self-inserts by the authors of the fanfics. I do not own the rights to Inuyasha or Bleach. This is just a whacked out fanfic I wrote to amuse myself with… and my Jye-sama who seems to not detest reading it as well.
All review responses for Chapter 4 can be found here: http / www . livejournal. com/users/kagometaisho/53703. html#cutid1
I DON'T know what happens to them in the manga, and I did give you a warning in the first chapter that this will only cover up to October 2005 of Bleach and Inuyasha at most, so I thought to bring back Gin because I love him. I also would have finished this chapter earlier if SOMEONE didn't poke my eye out! (manjuu glare of doom!) lol no, I was walking at the path called life and had to rescue this grandma out of a tree… /kakashi
Oh Jye-sama of mine… you just KNEW that one was coming, didn't you? 8P With the ramen and the pink chibi? XD Agh… I feel like I want to incorporate lots into the story and almost all the chapters so far are like stupid fillers. (is frustrated) Blah, and I had to type this up before I could watch Bleach 63! (wah!) But I couldn't resist and watched it and woah! Shinigami badge! Damn! (kicks fic) Well… I DID say I only know up to October 2005 of the Bleach series… 8P