Love thy Neighbor
Poster Boy of Chivalry
"Here we are little missy. That'll be $38.50 darling." The cab driver twisted his upper body and extended his hand.
Kagome's back stiffened slightly, peering through the fogged up window. Her fists clenched together tightly on her lap as she subtly drew in the coldness of the air through her nostrils. Her face contorted into a mixture of emotions that was indefinable to the eyes of the waiting driver and gradually, she let her back sag into a defeated demeanor. As if testing her luck, she held onto what little hope she had left and asked what she knew would inevitably lead her to this fate.. this cruel, cruel fate.
"Already?" she chuckled nervously, "My, I guess time flies when you're in the company of such a charming man."
The balding cab driver could only blush whilst rubbing his neck as a sign of modesty.
Laughing uneasily, either for an added effect or a way to calm her nerves, she asked, "Hm, are you positive this is the right place? I mean, Tokyo is such a big city, I would completely understand if you've taken the wrong route and ended up here. Really, I don't mind if we go for another round, just to make sure that this is really the correct place, whaddya say huh?" She smiled a little too happily for comfort.
"Uhh.." The stubby little man scratched the top of his head as he looked at the nineteen year old with confusion, "I wouldn't normally pass up the chance to earn a few more bucks, but this is it kiddo, this is the place in all its glory."
Sighing in defeat, Kagome mumbled a thank-you and offered him a smile – or one that was assumed to be a smile – and stuffed a few notes into his hand before saying something along the lines of 'keeping the change.' The driver did not seem fazed by her sudden depressed appearance and whole-heartedly wished her all the best as she effortlessly pulled her suitcase out of the cab.
She blew out a breath of air and watched as it evaporated into the harsh wind. Somehow, this had to be a sick joke. A joke that had gone way too far and that at any moment, her mom and brother would jump out of nowhere and tell her that 'independence was NOT a necessity to growing up and that even the IDEA of her living on her own was ludicrous.
She waited. And stared. And prayed.
Someone up there hated her. She understood that the moment she realized that no one was going to miraculously appear in front of her and save her from this situation. Fine. Whatever. If she was going to be dragged into this, she might as well be dragged in with as much dignity as she could muster. Tilting her chin higher in the air and pushing her shoulders back, she trudged her way through the thickening snow and marched into the lobby of the building she would soon call "home".
The apartment building wasn't anything glamorous or even impressive. In fact, it looked a little worn out, only sturdy enough to stand against the cold winds of Japan. However, what it lacked in appearance, it made up for in size. This was perhaps the largest building within the district, standing high and mighty against the smaller buildings surrounding it. With a sigh and a slumping of her shoulders, she concluded that this new arrangement would have to suffice.. for the time being. There was no way in hell she was going to stay here for any longer than needed. Once Kikyou was back from her monthly business trips, she was outta here. Yes, her cousin would back her up on this – unlike her traitor "family".
Reaching the lobby, a small smile graced her features as she relished in the warmth that surrounded her petite frame. At least they had a working heating system.
At least she still had her luxuries.
"Souta Higurashi, if you do not put mom on the phone right now, so help me God, I will dip that little head of yours into every toilet of the house and flush that good-for nothing brain of yours into the sewer!" Kagome managed through clenched teeth.
"Oh yeah, I'd like to see you try that sis – Oh wait! You can't, 'cause you're all the way in your new and well furnished apartment. Dammit. Maybe I'll schedule you in.. in let's say two years? If mom and I are lucky, three?" Her eighteen-year old brother laughed in the phone.
The vein pulsating against her temple popped that very moment as the blood rushed to her already red face.
Souta was almost certain that if he had strained his hearing a little more, he would've been able to decipher the 'teeth grinding' noise emitting through the phone. "You little wank-,"
"Kagome! How are you coping with your new living arrangements dear?" The warm and gentle voice of her mother's replaced the taunting sarcasm of her brother's. So maybe the dumbass of a little brother DID have a brain after all.
"Momm," Whining was Kagome's middle name. "You lied!"
"Kagome." Mrs Higurashi gasped, "What are you talking about?"
"What am I talking about?! I'm talking about the Plasma TV, the spa, the hair appliances, the laptop, or should I say, lack thereof!" Her brown eyes scanned the identical boxes littered all over the lounge room.
A soft chuckle could be heard on the other line, the other woman in the conversation that was still sane replied, "Sweetheart, if you had all those with you, what difference would it make from you living at home? It would completely defeat the purpose."
Her hand gripped the receiver even harder if that was possible, "The purpose?! The purpose?! Mom, newsflash here, there is no point to all of this! The bargain was loud and clear, you said so long as I agreed, you'd keep the end of your bargain, which - let me briefly fill you in - was that I GET YO KEEP EVERYTHING I CHERISHED AT HOME! I cherish my plasma, I cherish my spa, my laptop, my bed, my room, and not to mention my lifestyle!"
"Look dear, I have a meeting in a few minutes, we're going to have to cut this-,"
"What did I ever do to deserve this fate? The world is conspiring against me."
"Sweetheart, don't you think you're over-reacti-,"
"Death would've been a more lenient punishment." Kagome had just gone into melodramatic mode.
"Look darling, I'd love to stay and chat but really, the client is getting impa-,"
"Why? Why? I'm a good person aren't I? I've never stolen from a granny. I've never kicked an animal. I've never killed anyone." And then Souta entered her awareness. "Not yet anyways."
Rolling her eyes, Mrs Higurashi spoke, "Kagome, this is exactly why you're living on your own now. You've become so reliant on material things that-," but Kagome was no longer listening. She was much too busy drowning in self-pity.
"Just let me die." She droned, noticing that the other line had just hung up on her.
"Traitor." She mumbled, placing the cordless phone down on the closest table.
In all truthfulness, the apartment wasn't actually too bad. Although small in size, it certainly provided a warm, if not cozy, atmosphere. The walls were painted a soft beige whilst the curtains leading towards her miniature balcony complemented the warm environment with a golden brown color. It was a very simple apartment really, one kitchen, two bedrooms, one bathroom and a small lounge. It neither brought a classical or modern feel to it – but it did manage to make Kagome feel slightly at ease.
Sighing for the umpteenth time that evening, Kagome bent down and decided to accept her fate as maturely as possible given the circumstances, and once again started to unpack boxes upon boxes of her things that were brought in before her arrival. This caused another onslaught of curses to run rampantly through her tired mind.
This was all a set up. All of it. Offering to have her things pre-delivered to her new home just to have her brutally discover at the last minute that only the necessities were brought to her – a scam! Shame on all the Higurashi's and all that had deceived her! Not even a hair-dryer! Now that's just cold man.
Just as she lifted a box that was clearly labeled with an orange highlighter 'Kitchen utensils', a thought coursed through her entire frame and shook her petite form. She froze as fear gripped at her consciousness.
Who the hell was going to prepare dinner for her?
After the fear had finally subsided, and her body was once again able to register to the orders of her brain, she grudgingly continued to make her apartment as homely as possible.
That was a good four hours ago.
The sun had set just after a loud slamming of her apartment door echoed through the hallway of her floor as Kagome roughly pulled off her scarf and rain jacket while simultaneously dropping all her "groceries" on the carpeted floor.
At first she was only joking about the world conspiring against her, but now, she was almost convinced that the Gods hated her. Within the three hours of intense labor of packing everything into her new makeshift home, she had managed to come across two hairy spiders – which obviously resulted in a loud screech, a slight jump and half a can of killer insect spray - three inches of dust – causing her eyes to go all puffy and red along with a dozen consecutive sneezes – and a rat. Well to say that she had dropped everything and dashed out the door was a complete understatement.
At least she took the opportunity to gather some groceries whilst she was out in public. So having briefly scanned the area, she had briskly walked against the cold air and hurriedly bought anything she guessed would be required in a nutritional diet, or at least something good from the five food groups. Chocolate, chips, cookies, candy and coke. Yep the five C's every household should have to feed a proper family.
So just as she allowed herself to believe that perhaps things weren't as bad as she had originally perceived them to be, it started to rain. Not just rained, it poured.
Having sprinted two blocks with four bags of groceries was enough to put her in a foul mood, that is to say, a really foul mood.
So here she was, back in the confines of her tiny apartment. It was 8.30 and still half the boxes were unpacked, still no dinner, still wet and a rat was still running freely around this hellhole. Excellent. At this point, with her luck, the rat was probably starting a family or something like that.
What was a damsel in distress to do?
After removing layers of wet clothes off her body, she was left with a pair of jeans and a T-shirt that hugged her body nicely. Quickly, she rummaged through a box and grabbed a rubber band and messily pulled her wavy black hair into a high pony tail, letting some stubborn locks fall freely around the sides of her face. Next she snatched a box of cookies from one of the paper bags and put on her best smile as she reached for her door knob
It was time to call in the favors.
It was time to meet her first neighbor.
It only took her three long strides to land her directly outside a dark green door with a golden 13B in the centre. Softly, she cleared her throat, raised her right hand as her left grasped onto the box of cookies, and firmly knocked on the door.
A minute or two passed and still there was no answer at the door. With the soft murmurs of the TV from within the apartment, Kagome was sure someone was home, so she knocked again, this time, a little commanding. She didn't need to strain her ears to hear the aggravated voice of a male as a string of curses were heard even through the thick hard wood door.
A small victory smile made its way upon her delicate facial features before the door was violently thrown open.
There standing before her was a topless six-foot tall hanyou with a bored, if not a tad agitated, expression on his face. A pair of faded grey sweatpants hung loosely around his pelvis as droplets of water from his apparently recently washed hair made its way down his washboard six-pack. His golden eyes stared directly into the dark brown orbs of Kagome's as he kept one hand on the side of the door and the other hand on the doorframe.
Kagome's heart leapt at the godly sight in front of her but managed to keep her unfazed façade up. She was use to this anyways. With all the social events she had come across throughout her teenage years, she had met countless men who looked just has handsome as the man before her right now.
"Hi." Although there wasn't a specific tone behind the word, the way it was said clearly asked her what the hell she wanted. And boy was his voice sexy.
"Hi." Great. So much for keeping an unfazed façade.
All of a sudden, his bored face took on a more confused, albeit curious, expression, ".. Dana?"
"No. It's Michelle isn't it? How's it going sweetheart?" With that, he crossed his arms across his bare chest and casually leaned against the doorframe, this time, with a small seductive smile.
By the simple smooth movement, Kagome was able to see his muscles tense and relax into his new position at the door.
"Sorry for not calling you babe, I've just been so busy with stuff ya know." He gave her a little wink and smirked a little more confidently. "So what brings such a beautiful lady to my humble abode?"
Clearing her throat and once against regaining her senses, Kagome found her voice, "I'm not Michelle." For some reason, she didn't feel the need to continue immediately after that. Perhaps she wanted to see his reaction after this, for whatever reason it was, she did not know.
Raising a naturally shaped eyebrow he asked, "Claudia?"
Mentally rolling her eyes, Kagome came to the conclusion that she was standing before the master of all playboys.
"I'm not Claudia, nor am I Dana. I'm actually-,"
Finally seeing the box of cookies in her left hand he pushed himself off the doorframe and said, "Well it was nice having that little chat then, but I'm afraid a person with my physique is not interested in buying any cookies." Smiling an obviously fake smile, he spoke, "Have a goodnight." And slammed the door in Kagome's face.
She stood there for a second, stunned out of her shoes. What the hell? Slightly embarrassed, and having never been turned down like that before, she was about to retreat back into the safety of her apartment when she realized the matter at hand.
Curse that rat!
Drawing in a deep breath, she squared her shoulders a bit and once again knocked on his door. She became somewhat nervous when she heard him growl in annoyance before the door was flung open again.
"I said I'm not interested okay? Or is it simply because you can't get enough of me?"
Oh.. my.. God..
He did not just say that! She could already feel the heat rising to her porcelain cheeks.
He took her stunned silence as confirmation, "Great. Excellent. I'm flattered." His voice was monotonous, like he had said this many times before, "But as much as I enjoy your company, my overcooked ramen is desperately calling for my attention, not to mention the game is about to start in three minutes, so if you're done looking, excuse me as I have a life to attend to." And just like that, the door once again slammed in her face.
She was so sure her face was about to explode with all the blood that was now rushing upwards. She even contemplated sharing her home with the rat and making it her new pet, but the idea of the evil creature giving her some kind of disease was enough to throw away her dignity as she gulped down her saliva and knocked for the third time that evening.
She winced when she heard him outright swear.
"Oh Jesus Chr-,"
"My name is Kagome Higurashi. I just moved in today. I live across from you. I thought I'd come by and say 'hello'," with her head down and her speaking faster than the speed of light, she failed to see the stunned look on her neighbor's face as she slammed the cookies into his chest, "I hope you like these cookies because they're my favourite. I'm sorry that the game starts in three minutes but I have a giant killer rat in my apartment and I was hoping if it isn't too much trouble that you could please get rid of it for me!" Hallelujah, she breathed again.
She kept her eyes fixated on the interesting floorboards below her as her fingers nervously played with the hem of her shirt. She cringed as she was sure that he'd just give her a weird look before closing the door on her once again.
And she was right.
The sound of the door gently closing resonated through the hallway. Well that was the last of her dignity. Sighing in defeat, her shoulders slumped as she mentally lectured herself that maybe sleeping with a rat running around wasn't that bad after all. However, as she slowly looked up, she was beyond surprised to see the Hanyou standing patiently before her, topless and all, sporting a smirk.
"As much as I love the idea of you mentally undressing me, I'd like to get back to the game a.s.a.p sweet pea."
It was like there was some kind of light shining down on him with a choir singing some holy song the moment he spoke. He was so handsome; he might as well be wearing a halo.
"R-right." Quickly she whipped around and entered her own apartment, cautiously leading him to where she had last seen the rat.
"U-um, there. That was where I last saw the rat."
Perhaps the Gods didn't hate her as much since she was lucky enough to come across a stupid rat. In the process of running around, the rat had gotten itself stuck in between two heavy boxes. Either the rat was dull, or it was just fat.
"Alright, go grab me a spare box will ya?" he asked, casually throwing the box of cookies to the side and peering down at the round killer rat.
Quickly returning with a box in hand, he reached for it whilst keeping his eyes indifferently focused on the "giant killer rat". In a swift motion, he forcefully kicked one of the heavy boxes away and instantly slammed the open end of the box down onto the rat, trapping it within the confines of the paper walls. Kagome gave a small cry and quickly moved as far away as possible while he lazily kicked the box outside of her apartment and into the hallway.
"Go give Miroku a call. He'll handle it." Without even glancing back at her, he started making his way back to his apartment.
"Wait! Whose Miroku?" she cried, cautiously looking at the box that was shaking violently on the floor. She knew that if given the chance, the rat would leap at her jugular – she just knew it, she saw it in his beady eyes.
"Just give him a call. He's on speed dial on every phone in this building. Wait for him until he gets here to get rid of that fat boy." His head nudged towards the direction of the rat at the far end of the hallway, and as an after thought he paused and said, "You might want to wear an extra jacket or something when Miroku gets here…um, maybe even dump on another pair of pants," before he returned to his apartment and back to the game that had already started.
With a sigh, she did exactly what she was told, although she had no idea why she needed extra clothing, and slid down the wall next to her door in the hallway as she waited for Miroku, whoever that was, to show up. Maybe this Miroku guy had some kind of skin disease or something, and any direct bodily contact with him could result in rashes. Ew. She was not looking forward to meeting this guy.
She sat with her knees pulled up to her chest as her hand grabbed her third cookie. She had waited a good half an hour and still, no sign of this Miroku. Her eyes were starting to get droopy even though it was only 9 o'clock, but the day's events had certainly taken a toll on her. Suddenly, a slight creak made her jump before placing a hand against her chest.
She looked up to see the silver-haired hanyou peeking at her through the slit of his opened door before fully opening the door and walking out, this time with a red shirt on, and silently sitting down next to her. "Aren't these my cookies?" he questioned, his voice neither playful or curious, just indifferent.
She flushed a crimson red and offered him a bashful smile.
"Um, I didn't get a chance to thank you for saving my life." Her eyes widened immediately. She did NOT just say that aloud. Great, she had gone from an idiot to a dramatic pansy – all in a day. At the rate she was going at, it was simply a matter of hours before he realized that she didn't even know how to make scrambled eggs.
A low chuckle came from the Hanyou. "Anything for some cookies right?" And to enforce his point, he shoved two into his mouth. He wasn't sure whether it was her melodramatic appreciation that he found amusement in, or the fact that she had actually heeded his word without question and as a result, actually dressed herself up like a snowball. Hell she even put on a scarf. Smart girl.
Too tired to laugh, she merely smiled. Then all of a sudden, it hit her. She didn't even ask.
"I don't even know your name." She tiredly said.
Smiling to himself, he replied, "That's coz you never asked."
There was a brief pause. "Oh." Was all her mind able to manage.
"It's Inuyasha." He lazily stole a glance at the girl beside him, wondering what kind of hole he had dug himself into.
"Inuyasha?" She questioned. Maybe it was because she had sounded so innocent or maybe it was because she sounded so tired, whatever it was, he silently found her rather… cute.
"Takahashi. Inuyasha Takahashi."
"Inuyasha Takahashi.." She slurred, slowly closing her eyes and succumbing to her fatigue, "It suits you." Softly, her head landed against his broad shoulder as she fell into a blackness of oblivion.
He shook his head and grudgingly acted as her makeshift pillow. He wasn't sure what propelled him to check up on her. The game wasn't even finished, not to mention, she was the very cause of his soggy ramen, but for some reason, he was relieved that this time, his neighbor wasn't some sexually active old lady flirting with him or worse, some old priest trying to purify him by randomly throwing ash at him at every opportunity.
Miroku better be here quick. His legs were started to numb with the added weight.
Sighing and leaning his head against the wall, he just knew that with this new arrival, his days of peace had finally come to its end.
She was going to be the death of him.
That, she had already proved herself worthy of today.
An: Too tired to think coherently, but thank-you for reading. This is the result of a 'spur of the moment' thing, so I'm not entirely sure where this is going to head, although I do have a vague idea. Thanks everyone for reading, you're the best! –Thumbs up!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha etc.