Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha!
The wench certainly was taking her time! What in the world could she have in her time that was so important?
Stealing across the window ledge, he landed softly on the carpet.
"Ka..." he stopped seeing she was asleep.
"Wench..." he shook his head. She was sprawled on her desk, hair spilling over her books, snoring softly into the pages of her notes.
Gently he unglued her from the uncomfortable position, careful not to wake her, and laid her on the bed carefully.
He threw a passing glance at her desk. The page she was on was blank save for a few lines. Curiously he approached and picked it up.
Read a book and write a report on it. Make sure to include themes and personal thoughts on the piece.
Inuyasha wasn't sure what a theme was, or a report for that matter of fact, but this was obviously important to Kagome.
Looking up he noticed another note- the due date for the report thing was the next day. He sighed. Kagome was working herself too hard.
He looked over to her. She must have been exhausted to sleep so soundly while he moved her.
"Keh...shikata nee..." he picked up the other book on the desk. It was thick, and didn't look too inviting, but he needed to do what needed to be done, so he started reading.
Word after word, he took in the information as best he could...ah...so arashi had become simplified over the years. The kanji wasn't like the one he remembered, but he did recognise it. On he went, zealously reading and taking mental notes...ah, yes kira-kira...he had always liked that word (though he wouldn't have admitted it to anyone.) In his mind, it was the essence of Kagome...a glow, a sparkle he could not define. He blushed. It was quite embarrassing, but something in the way it reminded him of Kagome, and just the sheer sound of it, were somehow things he found enjoyable.
He looked at the clock- one hour since he had started...and he wasn't even through half of it. He had so much left to go. With a small grumble he resumed the task. It was important to Kagome, so he would finish it simple as that.
Three-quarters down. Another glance at the watch told him nearly five hours had passed. At this rate he wouldn't have the time to finish and write the report. But if he didn't get it done Kagome would get in trouble, which would mean she would have to spend even more time in her world...which would mean...er...would mean...Well, he just didn't like it-that was all- and it wasn't going to happen. With renewed motivation he skimmed the last hundred or so pages picking up words he thought would be important.
Setting the book down proudly he looked at the watch again. Two hours to go. He took his haori off not wanting the sleeves to get in the way, however the nagajuban was hardly better. He didn't want Kagome to wake up to him not wearing anything but his hakama, but he didn't think he could write with his sleeves getting in the way. Finally he managed to compromise by rolling them up-the only draw back being that every half hour or so he would have to rearrange them, as they tended to slip.
Finally he sat down at the desk. Now...where was that weird quill Kagome used to write? Tentatively he reached out for something that looked like he remembered it should, and was most relieved to find he had not been mistaken. Now, a bit of practice to make sure he could use it...picking one of the scrunched paper balls from her trash bin, he began his exercise on the back of it.
No good! Kagome's writing was more rounded, her mu was more feminine-as expected- and his chicken-scratch scrawl didn't quite match. He wrote and rewrote the same characters until he became pleased with the result. He wouldn't be able to completely copy her writing, but at least there were less discrepancies between their styles, and if he went really slow it would look even better.
He started writing, careful to round his hiragana, and mindful of where to place the kanji. That's right, suru was now written in hiragana only. Fighting the instinct to inscribe the kanji he instead settled for the two kana. The teacher might be able to recognise the kanji, but in case he didn't, he didn't want to get Kagome in trouble.
Now...themes...? Well, perhaps it had something to do with...a subject? So, he was supposed to write about the subjects in the book? He frowned. The book had had a lot of subjects, but he didn't think Kagome's teacher would want to hear about all of them, so he decided to choose.
Now, personal impressions. Well, the book was useless! It certainly wouldn't serve any good in a battle with youkai, but it did teach some things. Hmmm...putting pen to paper again, he wrote with -what he hoped to be- inspiration.
Beads of perspiration were popping up on his face-this was almost as bad as learning to wield the Tessaiga again- and his arm was getting sore, but he would do this for Kagome. The pen continued dancing on the paper, at Inuyasha's command, until he was satisfied with the result.
He put the pen down and grinned. He was finished. Two and a half pages- and still with ten minutes or so before her weird alarm-thingy was due to ring. Just as well. He didn't like hearing that shrill sound. He got up, closing the book and putting it in her bag, then with one look and a small smile towards Kagome, he exited through the window. He was so tired. A nap in the Goshinboku would be just the ticket, and when he woke up Kagome would be just back from school, and without an excuse not to return to his time. He smirked.
Kagome woke up roughly dragged out from her peaceful slumber by the unforgiving scream of her alarm clock. Groggily she smacked it into silence, and got up slowly. Her eyes popped open seeing the actual time, and she became a hurricane, swirling around the room madly in an attempt to be ready on time. She didn't recall getting into bed...but she didn't have time for such details. She was just glad Inuyasha wasn't there to try and drag her to the Sengoku Jidai.
"I'm off mamma. I'll be home at the usual time! Bye!"
An amused Mrs Higurashi smiled and waved from the doorway
"Alright class. You will now hand in your book reports. I will mark them now, and to keep you entertained, you will be having a test." Baisho-sensei announced cheerfully while the class groaned.
"Come now, you're young. Where is the excitement? You will merely be asked to summarise the second chapter from Genji Monogatari. It is about Yugao. This is your hint, you may begin after you have handed me your reports."
Kagome groaned internally. The test wasn't the hard part, but she hadn't finished her book report. Cringing, she reached into her bag and brought out her notebook. "Higurashi." the teacher had already reached her desk and was awaiting her report. She felt trapped. Opening the notebook with trembling hands, her eyes landed on a finished report. Her heart jumped. Had she finished it the previous night? She didn't remember it...she didn't even remember reading a book. Not content with the gap in her memory nevertheless she handed the pages to her expectant teacher.
"You may all begin now." Baisho-sensei's smooth voice announced.
With a small sigh she began writing.
It was unnerving to hear the rustle of pages as the teacher went through them. She stared at the clock. A quarter of an hour to go. Baisho-sensei, while not apparently displeased did not look terribly enthused either. Kagome hoped that her report would at least grant her a pass-the smallest step forward was ten times better than the smallest step backwards, especially with an impatient hanyou awaiting to drag her away to as soon she got home.
"Higurashi-san!" she hadn't realised Baisho-sensei had been talking to her, and with a small blush she stood up.
"Take a good look at Higurashi-san, class. She shows that one can be in the throes of great misfortune, and come triumphant." Kagome's blush intensified. "She could have decided she felt too sick to do this report, and yet she handed it in on time- unlike some-" her eyes flashed for an instant before looking kindly upon Kagome once again. "and her effort has been repaid. A very good report, albeit, not exactly what I was looking for." Pausing for a moment she added: "I had not known you were such a fan of dictionaries, and strictly speaking a dictionary is a book so I will allow it, in this case. Next time, however, I would like you to choose a book with a bit more...literary plot, so to speak." her eyes twinkled merrily. "You may sit down now."
Kagome could only stare in bewilderment. She had written her book report...on a dictionary?!!
On her way home Kagome was still mulling over the odd events. She didn't recall into bed the previous night, she didn't recall writing the report, and she certainly didn't recall reading the dictionary. She knew Inuyasha had a habit of sneaking into her room at night but surely he wouldn't have...
"Oi wench!" Inuyasha's rambunctious voice dispelled her thoughts. "Ya ready to go?"
She smiled. Inuyasha would always be Inuyasha. "Can we stay for dinner first? Please?"
"Welcome home. How was your day dear?" her mother's voice rang sweetly from the house.
"It was good momma. My teacher praised my book report." Even if it was about the dictionary, her mind added silently.
"That's great dear. Oh, hi Inuyasha." she smiled trying to quench the urge to play with his ears. "Are you staying for dinner?"
He nodded briefly.
"That's good. Inuyasha, will you give me a hand while Kagome gets changed?" she steered him toward the kitchen.
Kagome was relieved at having a few moments to herself just to sort out through things. Putting her bag on the bed she took out the report and looked at it curiously. Her writing...well, it wasn't hers exactly. It seemed a bit like hers, but she knew for sure it wasn't.
This book was laden with important themes. The nature of it seems to be informant, and as such it contains various words. Informant? Various? Laden? That didn't sound like her. She continued reading trying to make sense of it.
Because of the superabundance of themes present in this book I shall only discuss a few, of my choice. "Superabundance?" she mused out loudly then resumed her task.
Ai- love-a pivotal and intricate part of human existence. Its definition ranges from profoundly tender and affectionate emotion on one side, to sexual passion and desire on the other end of the spectrum. In reality, it is something that cannot easily be contained in words and is, therefore, that much more significant. Love can refer to a range of things, and in some cases it is misused to convey emotions that one may consider to be 'love' but are merely akin to it. In truth, love is the feeling when you wake up in the morning and your heart skips a beat hearing the person breathing gently next to you. It is expressed in looks, not necessarily in touches. It is what makes you tremble and come undone at the slightest contact with the other person. When you are in love, your life becomes your lover's. You would die for them, but you try your hardest to live for them. When your soul no longer belong just to you, and you feel you are one entity split into two physical slices-that is love. You live, breathe, and feel-and all you can feel, is that one person.
Another important concept illustrated in this book is that of kawaru- change. Change is imminent, regardless of futile attempts to stop it. It can be good or bad, but regardless, it more often than not, is unpleasant and inconvenient. Even bad things turning into good things can be an unpleasant change, because people are seldom willing to let go of what they have had-or what they believe they have had.
One day you wake up realising that change has taken place, and contrary to all belief it is better than any expectation.
One other similarly important concept is that of saying goodbye-sayoonara- because it is something that is unavoidable, in any person's existence. To have said goodbye-truly- can be as much a painful occurrence as it can be healing. Often the two are twined. I have said goodbye to a person dear to me-it was one of the most painful emotions I have ever experienced, but it taught me strength, as well as given me closure and I am a better person for it.
Without a doubt, one of the most prized parts of human existence is time- toki- for it is hardly ever enough. It flows on, regardless, sometimes even seemingly disregarding our fervent wishes that it would stop. It is all the better, however, for it allows one to grow and, whilst this is a slow and often painful process, one can find comfort in knowing that the sun will continue to rise the following day, and time will pass on. The passage of time is oftentimes kind, allowing us to forget things-even when we are stubborn and try to hold on to hurtful things. Time knows better, and it is truly an important part of our lives.
Lastly, yureru-touch- is a theme depicted in this book. Touch is the word, though the actions themselves often can have other names. A hit is, in fact, a touch- it is neither comforting nor pleasing, but it is a touch. Similarly, a kiss is a touch as well, often times used to express emotions one may not dare name. A touch will let you know that you are not alone; it can pull at your heart, give you strength, make you weak, make you yearn for another, or simply make you understand what the other person is trying to convey. A kiss, is a touch expressing love; a slap can have the same meaning depending on the situation. Oftentimes they way we touch people is a signal of many internal emotions. When one is crying, the other person may either touch them gently on the shoulder, or envelop them in their arms depending on the nature of their relationship, social factors, propriety, personal sentiments towards the other person, and even the nature of the other person. Some people prefer not to be touched, while others relish it. It is, however, an expression of the purest kind, and one of the most prominent part of being human. As such, it is important that we keep reminding ourselves of our frailty, and the impact the smallest touch can have on us.
This book was interesting because it ponders important points about human existence-points we should all remember and respect. Every single theme was in someway related, and relevant to the others, as is the nature of humans. Humans are like kimonos- depending on how the strings are weaved together, our patterns all vary, but in essentials we are all very much the same.
Kagome gaped at the piece. She hadn't – most definitely had not – written the piece. It was beautiful, eloquent, and incredibly heart-felt, but it wasn't hers. Could her mother had written it? But that wasn't her mother's writing, and Souta would not have been able to use such words.
She began preparing her yellow bag for the trip, all the while trying to understand what had happened.
"Oi, Kagome." Inuyasha's loud entrance once again scattered her thoughts.
"Dinner's ready in a few minutes or so. You mom is making steak. You don't wanna be late." he grinned, then instantly sobered up.
"What's wrong Kagome?"
She looked at him like she was trying to figure something out, then just shook her head.
"Nandemo nai. It's nothing."
He sniffed delicately around her.
"Something is bothering you."
"Well, I'm just confused..." she looked down, and he urged her on.
"This report..." she felt stupid for even mentioning it. Inuyasha regarded her quietly.
"It was...it was..."she couldn't string the words together and he frowned.
"I thought your teacher liked it. You said she praised it."
"It really is...good...but...she kinda told me off about trying to write a book report on the dictionary."
Inuyasha looked away suddenly.
"So you got into trouble...? Do you..." he couldn't face her. "Do you...want to stay here longer?"
She shook her head. "I promised I'd come back tonight."
She was suddenly crushed to his chest.
"I...I...Kagome...you can stay as long as you want."
"I-Inuyasha." she fought for air. "You're: one-crushing me; and two: scaring me."
"I got...I was...I..."
She stepped away from embrace and peered at him. His eyes were downcast, and there was a blush staining his cheeks heavily.
"I...I got you in trouble...and...it wouldn't be fair to make you come back...if...if..."
He closed his eyes expecting to be sat all the way over into the following month. Silence spread uncomfortably for minutes on end, and finally he dared peak through his bangs.
Kagome was looking at him, gaping more like. He could hear her heart hammer, and sensed her confusion.
"I...I wrote it..." he offered. "You were asleep, and you said it was important...and...I tried...I thought...if I wrote it...you'd come back faster...and...and..." he looked away unable to finish.
"You..." Kagome continued to look at him incredulously.
His ears flattened against his head.
Of course she would get in trouble! You really think a half-breed could ever be so smart so as to even be able to help with anything? His mind viciously attacked.
"Kagome...I'm...I'm s-" he was cut short by Kagome's gently pressing lips on his.
It was his turn to stare completely floored.
"Thank you. Thank you Inuyasha. Thank you. You really saved me!" he flinched and she laughed.
"Well, in a way that didn't involve gutting demons that is..." she added smiling brightly and hugging him.
"So...you're not mad?" he ventured timidly.
She shook her head. "It was great! Amazing even. I could never have written about the dictionary of all things. The teacher though I was being original." she giggled. "But seriously...I didn't know you wrote so beautifully...and you took care to fit my writing style as well..." she spoke honestly.
"Inuyasha...that was amazing. Thank you!"
"Keh...I only did it so you wouldn't try and get out from hunting shards." she pouted.
"Just play nice. I'm giving you a compliment okay?"
"That's not all you gave me." he grinned boyishly and it was her turn to blush.
"Like I said. I'm very thankful." She began moving again, packing things into her yellow bag and the room was once more plunged into silence.
"Inuyasha..." something had been bothering Kagome since finishing reading the report. "did you...were..." he looked at her trying to understand what she was asking. "Did you...were you being honest...I mean...when you chose those words?"
"Keh. I was trying to sound like you. I didn't think the teacher would like it if 'you' wrote about demons,swords and fighting." his blush suggested there was more to his answer, but she wouldn't push it.
"Thank you again. It was beautiful. You know...you could make a living out of writing" he looked away.
"Keh. It's not my thing. And don't you get used to this. I ain't writing no more of this fluffy crap for you in the future, so don't make a habit of it. Keh!"
"After this, you're never fooling me again Mr Eloquence."
"I ain't no such thing. Half -breeds are half-breeds. We ain't-" a brusque slap clamped his jaw shut.
Kagome's eyes were sparking fire at him. The hand, so brutal only moments before, caressed his face gently.
"A slap, may be considered a touch denoting love, depending on the circumstances" she said thoughtfully, holding his gaze all the while. "And you are not a half-breed! And not dumb! Never! I understand you need to keep up your screen, but around me..." her eyes pleaded with him. "with me...please, just be yourself...eloquent, or simple, just you Inuyasha." Raising herself up she kissed the cheek she had hit.
"Humans are like kimonos. The patterns may be different, but in essentials we are very much the same."
"I ain't human."
"You're half-human. You're that kimono that stands out when on display. The one everyone wants but no-one can get. And it's a lonely place, but I want you...even knowing I won't get you. I still want you."
"Don't feel bad. You can't change it. Like I said. Sometimes I will get angry, and then sit you, but I'll still be here, and that won't ever change."
"Kagome..."his arms wrapped around her securely. "I'm not that kimono..."he confessed softly "I'm the one that the store owner is embarrassed about and tries to hide...and you...you for some reason which is beyond me...you want this ragged, poor kimono."
"And I always will..."
Hope you all liked it. :) Actually I have to thank metalcherry for this. In one of her reviews she mentioned that I could write about the phone book and make it sound good- a really lovely compliment which had me grinning for days-and this made me think. I know a dictionary isn't quite a phone book, but I do hope you will still enjoy the story. :) Secondly, thank you to Neisha, who is patiently putting up with my slow editing. Thank you. Thirdly, the epilogue to Words that Comfort is almost done...I'm just on the translation notes, so you should see it up sometime soon.
Fourthly, thank you, all of you who read my stories, and especially those of you who leave me some feedback. I'm so thankful for all of you :)
One small translation note: shikata nee is the dialect which Inuyasha uses (in case you haven't seen the series, Inuyasha doesn't speak proper, non-accented Japanese, he speaks in a 'rougher' manner suggestive of his harsh childhood, mainly through the lack of softeners, and proper endings). The proper expression is shikata (ga) nai meaning literally "there is no other way of doing this" ie, one has no other choice but to do a certain action. I do hope this makes sense.
In case you were wondering, the words he chose to write about were in alphabetical order- I was going by the Japanese order of their syllabary system. It should be in order, however if you find one that isn't, I do apologise.
Oh, and one more thing, when he says "ragged, poor kimono" 'poor' is meant to be interpreted as 'impecunious', not 'pitiable'.