And still continuing.
The first ten minutes or so they walk in awkward silence, Kagome beginning to wonder if this Inuyasha fellow is such a nice person after all. The way he acts with her is completely different from how he acts with Kikyou. She remembers how her friend Yuka, who had perhaps caught the Inuyasha crush worst of all, said that Kikyou had tamed him, that she'd never seen anything like it.
Naturally, whatever power Kikyou possesses over him has skipped the younger twin.
"So, uh," Kagome says, "what TV shows do you like?"
"I don't have a TV," Inuyasha says candidly.
"No TV? Wow, and Kikyou-nee-chan said you were a luddite for not having a cell phone!" She whistles. "What are you, in the Middle Ages? Or are your parents the really stingy type?"
"My parents are dead," Inuyasha says, his tone completely even and uninflected.
"Oh. Uh," Kagome says eloquently. Kikyou would know the right thing to say, dammit. But what do you say after that? 'There, there'? "Excuse me," she mutters, "I just need to get my foot out of my mouth. It'll only take a minute."
Inuyasha snorts. Aha, Kagome thinks. So he isn't made of stone. Encouraged, she continues, "I mean, I understand if you don't want to talk about it—and I understand if you do—because of my dad, you see..."
"I don't." And just like that, the ice has frozen over again. "I don't want to talk about it."
Maybe another twenty minutes pass, Kagome wishing fervently for the ground to swallow her up, Inuyasha calm, his expression unreadable. But things on Kagome's mind have a way of getting said.
"You're kind of a jerk," she blurts out.
"Keh! That's uncalled for," Inuyasha retorts.
"You are the one who wanted to probe into my 'dark and painful past.' Considering we hardly know each other, you don't think that was a little inappropriate?"
"Hey, I tried to talk about TV and family, the usual suspects. But you had to be Mr. Glum and Serious. Not my fault every facet of your life seems to fall into the 'dark and painful' category."
"We could talk about your life," Inuyasha suggests.
"Like what?" Kagome asks, momentarily intrigued.
"I don't know. TV. Family. Your sister, maybe."
Cold anger settles on Kagome's heart. Is Kikyou all he thinks about? "Why don't you tell me about her? Seems like you know her better than I do."
"What? I'm not the one who shared a womb with her!"
"Well, she doesn't tell me about her dreams. Or anything else, apparently."
"Maybe you didn't ask."
Great. Now she feels guilty, on top of it all. Maybe the jerk is right. Maybe she's been too busy feeling worried about Kikyou, or worse, jealous of her, to actually talk to her. She folds her arms and looks away from Inuyasha.
"You sure you want to come with me tonight?" Inuyasha asks.
"We're almost there, right?"
"Yeah, I guess." For a few moments they just hear the click of their shoes on the pavement. It's already late enough for the streetlights to be on, and Kagome shivers in Kagura's denim jacket. She brought a sweater in her bag, but to put the sweater on she'll have to take the jacket off, which doesn't seem like the best course of action.
They walk in silence a little more, the awkwardness between them almost tangible, until they both hear the sound of a motorcycle revving, and Inuyasha breaks in a run towards it with a swear. Kagome has a good guess why, and takes off after him.
Just ahead, a man and a woman sit on a motorcycle. The woman seems to see them, but looks away. If the man ever saw anything but the road ahead of them, he gives no indication. Inuyasha yells to them, but they ignore him, and the motorcycle speeds off into the night. Kagome watches them pass, and for a moment time seems to slow, almost grinding to a halt in the instant Kagura is level with her, her too-red eyes gleaming behind the black reflective visor of her helmet. She reaches out to steady herself, afraid of a performance like the one behind the school earlier. She catches Inuyasha's arm, and he glares at her, not without concern. "Are you all right, Kagome?"
"Fine...I think I just ran too fast before," she says, and he shakes his head.
"Well," Inuyasha says, as the sound of the departing motorcycle fades away, "we missed them."
Kagome stands there and looks at her feet. It wasn't a short walk here, either.
"Uh," Inuyasha says, "bye." He takes a step away from her, somewhat hesitant, as though his better judgment were against it.
"Wait," Kagome says, hoping she doesn't sound pathetic or anything.
"What?" There's no real edge to his voice, only tiredness. He's rude, she realizes, but it's not aimed at her with any malice. She'd mind it less if he were only just as rude to Kikyou.
"My family probably ate already," Kagome says. "By the time I get back, they may even be getting ready for bed. I don't want to disturb them. Since there's no one at your place, and you have to eat anyway..." she lets herself trail off, hoping her meaning is clear enough.
"Whatever," Inuyasha says. "Hope you like ramen."
Inuyasha leads her up a narrow staircase to a small second-story flat. He fumbles around for the lightswitch a moment, and a single, dim, somewhat flickering light comes on. Kagome wants to remark that perhaps he needs a new lightbulb, but she can imagine why he's not overly eager to see his surroundings. What the dim light reveals is plain, cheap, and ugly. Inuyasha wasn't lying about not having a TV, that was for sure. While the room isn't noticeably dirty, there's a pervasive smell of mildew.
"It's, uh..." Kagome grasps for the words. "Really nice!"
Inuyasha just grins and winks at her. He then swings open the cabinet, which is filled from top to bottom with packages of instant ramen.
"Wow," Kagome says. "You must really like ramen."
Inuyasha wrinkles up his nose. "I hate it." He then busies himself in the kitchen preparing it.
"But why?" Kagome asks.
"Oh, just my asshole of a brother," Inuyasha grumbles. "The government requires him to take care of me, but they don't require him to take good care of me. Ramen is cheaper than actually buying real food."
Kagome settles herself at the kotatsu, and turns the heater on. The futon hanging over the kotatsu is soiled and slightly stiff, and Kagome cringes. "Maybe he's just trying his best. What does he do?"
Inuyasha glares at her. "Nothing. He's a lazy fatass who gets a check from his mother every week, and would rather spend it on his fancy new bike and high-school floozies than put food on his table."
"That's shameful," Kagome says. It's all she can say. It's honest.
"Yeah," Inuyasha grumbles. "You're telling me."
Kagome pulls her homework out of her bag and sets it on the table. "Good idea," Inuyasha says. "Do mine too, would ya?" He tosses his bag over to her.
"No!" Kagome says incredulously. "I'm not going to cheat for you!"
"It's not cheating. I'd probably get as many answers as you, this is just faster."
It's true, Kagome thinks, his grades have improved since Kikyou took an interest in him. Could it be that Kikyou... Kagome thinks in alarm. No. Her sister wouldn't cheat for some guy. Then what's with this attitude?
Kagome pointedly pushes Inuyasha's backpack aside, and starts her own homework. "Look, you want ramen or not?" Inuyasha says, waving the packet threateningly.
"You're saying, do your homework, or no food?" Kagome says. He has balls, I'll give him that, she thinks to herself.
Inuyasha smiles evilly. "Fair trade."
Kagome grumbles and pulls his homework out. She can start with the busywork. They have most of the same sheets, and she can just check the same things on both without too much effort. She'll leave the ones requiring actual thought—or telltale handwriting—to him. Since these questions are fairly easy, she tells herself he would have gotten them anyway. She smirks a little. She'll find out tomorrow if he can get the hard stuff on his own.
Fortunately for Kagome, ramen noodles are quick to cook, and before long Inuyasha is setting down three bowls at the table.
Kagome looks at the third bowl in surprise. "For Sesshoumaru?" But before Inuyasha can answer, a little girl with wild hair dashes out of one of the bedrooms and takes her place at the table.
Kagome looks at the child in shock. She's no older than eight, surely, and unlike Inuyasha and what she's glimpsed of his brother, has normal black hair. "Your sister?" Kagome asks.
"No," Inuyasha says, and is not any more forthcoming.
"Family of yours?"
Inuyasha and the kid slurp their noodles, and Kagome just sits there, this unexplained mystery in front of her. There are only two bedrooms, which means either the boys share one, or she shares with one of the boys. She feels a pang of maternal concern for the child.
"Well...who is she?" Kagome demands.
"Rin is Rin," the girl says enigmatically with her mouth full.
"That answers everything, of course," Kagome says. "But does Rin have a family?"
Rin stops momentarily, looking hurt, and Inuyasha cuts in. "Jeez, Kagome, why are you freaking out over the kid?"
"Well, you can't just take little girls and keep them as pets!" Kagome fairly shouts.
"Sesshoumaru can," Inuyasha says. "She's a foster child. Sesshoumaru keeps her for the monthly check."
Rin smiles widely. "Sesshoumaru-sama gets money from the government for taking care of me."
Kagome's jaw drops. "And then he feeds her ramen noodles and pockets the money?"
"Yup," Inuyasha says. "Told you he was a scumbag."
Kagome starts getting her things together. "I'm going home."
"But you didn't finish your soup," Inuyasha says. Rin pulls Kagome's bowl over to herself surreptitiously.
"I'll live." She scrawls out a note quickly in her notebook, puts it in the pocket of Kagura's jacket, and tosses the jacket over to Inuyasha. "Give this to her when she gets back, okay?"
Just as Kagome is storming out the door, Inuyasha says, "And about that time...I'm sorry, okay?"
"You know, when I...It was a mistake, all right?"
"Yeah. I know." She closes the door behind her, and pulls the sleeves of her sweater down over her hands.
The trip home is mostly uneventful. She gets a bit lost and doesn't recognize anything for a while, and passes a park, deserted in the dark. The night wind blows over it, bringing the sweet smell of flowers, and Kagome feels inexplicably uneasy. But soon she finds her way back to a major street, and from there it is easy to get home.