Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha and make no profit from this work of fiction.
A bustling school corridor, crowded with small gaggles of gossiping teenagers dressed in bottle-green uniforms, was completely ignored by one Higurashi Kagome, who leaned her elbows on the window ledge and stuck her head from the window to bask in the gentle breeze. It was nearly Sakura season and she was waiting with rapt anticipation for the first blossoms to bud on the gnarled tree in the courtyard that stooped against the science block. Mind elsewhere, Kagome ignored the students that milled around her, much too absorbed in her own thoughts.
"Ne, ne, Kagome-chan!" a bright voice called and Kagome stumbled sideways slightly as her friend Eri crashed into her side and claimed her arm in custody.
"Eri-chan?" Kagome asked, blinking bemusedly, forgetting herself in the contemplations of changing seasons.
Eri sighed gustily, her breath puffing her fringe away from her forehead in a tempestuous gesture. "I've been calling after you for ten minutes!" she exalted, throwing her free hand into the air in a frustrated manner, "you're always daydreaming!"
Kagome giggled gently and shrugged helplessly. "Sorry, Eri-chan. What did you want?"
"There's a new guy in class 2B," Eri confided, tugging her down the corridor towards their class via their interlocked arms, "and he has silver hair!" The last was uttered in a scandalous whisper.
Kagome's eyes widened as her heart promptly forced itself into her throat.
"Kagome-chan?" Eri shook her friends arm anxiously; pulling Kagome back from whatever daydream had made her look so forlorn.
"Sorry," Kagome mumbled, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly as she placated her friend with a half-hearted smile.
"Anyway," Eri said, narrowing her eyes as if she was unconvinced at her friend's nonchalance but ploughing on anyway, "he told sensei that his hair is naturally silver!"
"Really?" Kagome asked, feigning just the right amount of intrigue. Eri was not impressed.
"He's already cutting class because of it, probably going to turn into a delinquent," Eri opined as they reached their classroom once more.
Ayumi and Yuka welcomed them back with more gossip about the new boy and his silver hair, but Kagome didn't participate in the talking, instead she committed herself to listening to see if the person they were describing was who she thought he was.
English class gave her a chance to daydream, which was something of the norm for her, but this time she had a reason for her preoccupation.
She'd been ten the first time she'd met the silver haired golden eyed boy. He's been introduced by the teacher as a transfer student and she could clearly recall the haughty boredom in his eyes as he'd asked them to take care of him.
"Sesshoumaru-kun," the teacher twittered perkily, "why don't you go and sit by Kagome-chan, Kagome-chan, stand up!"
Kagome had pushed her chair back obediently and pulled herself to her feet, blushing somewhat at being the centre of this beautiful boy's attention.
He strode towards her calmly, looking and no one but her so much that she wanted to hide.
When he eventually reached her side, he didn't lower his gaze to the free table, instead he reached out and tugged gently on one of her braids, encouraging yet another of her easy blushes.
"My dog's name is Kagome," he confided softly, voice serious and eyes composed.
Maybe he hadn't realised it as he had said it, but he'd sealed her fate.
Yanked from her daydream by the annoyed voice of her sensei, Kagome smiled guiltily up at the irate teacher.
"Please, at least try and appear as if you are concentrating," the teacher grouched, used to Kagome's antics already.
Kagome, blushing furiously at this point, buried her face in the textbook and tried to ignore the giggles of her classmates.
The bell rang at its usual time, but Kagome remonstrated that it could have rung sooner if it had only tried. Her friends gathered at her table as usual, giggling and niggling at Kagome's daydreaming habits.
"Some teachers don't even bother anymore," Aymui murmured, "you're lucky that they don't."
"I think it's 'cause her grades aren't bad," Yuka hypothesised, "except algebra of course."
Kagome blushed at that; algebra was her most abysmal subject, ever.
Eri giggled. "How do you score five, anyway, Kagome-chan?"
"Where is sensei?" Yuka wondered, idly twirling a strand of hair around her finger.
"Out there!" Eri uttered in a stage whisper, "he's arguing with the new student!"
Kagome hesitantly followed her friends as they rushed to crowd the classroom door and peer into the corridor. Peering over Yuka's shoulder, Kagome caught sight of a haughty back.
The student stood with his back to them, facing the teacher, arms folded sullenly with a long silver braid hanging down his back.
"Look," the teacher sighed, clearly at the end of his patience, "if you'd just dye it back, we can call it quits."
The student let out an exaggerated sigh. "I can't dye back what hasn't been dyed in the first place," his deep voice intoned patiently, as if he was explaining complicated math to a child.
Turning bright red, the teacher blustered, "No one has that colour hair, Sesshoumaru-san!"
With a lurch that turned into a trip, Kagome found herself next to Sesshoumaru and peering into his face in awe. Though she doubted there were many people with that particular name, she'd wanted to definitely make sure he was the right one.
Ageing had made his beauty more resplendent, his jaw was strong, his eyes smouldering, his lips pouty and just a little bit cruel in their quirk.
"Sensei," she squeaked, cursing her burning cheeks as Sesshoumaru stared into her face with awed recognition, "I've known Sesshoumaru-kun since we were little, this is his natural hair colour!"
The teacher blinked, equal parts bemused and exasperated, "Higurashi-kun?"
"Yeah," Eri heckled cheekily from the door, "Give the new kid a break and come and teach us already!"
The teacher turned a glare on Eri. "Another word and you'll be in detention, Kinomoto-kun!"
"Yes, sensei!" Eri cheered, giggling as he shooed the class, which had escaped into the corridor to watch the spectacle, back into the classroom.
Kagome, still blushing madly, turned to follow them into class, but was jerked back by a gentle grip at her wrist.
Even though she knew without a doubt that it was Sesshoumaru holding onto her, she didn't turn around, instead she wrapped her free arm around herself in a hug and stared at her shoes.
"Kagome-chan?" he inquired, voice hard and unyielding as he tugged her back a little, turning her around to face him though she kept her eyes averted.
"It's been a while," she murmured, talking to her shoes determinedly.
"You left," he accused blandly.
This shocked her enough to raise her gaze from her shoes. "I couldn't help it!" she hissed, darting a nervous glance at the classroom.
"You didn't say goodbye," he accused, this time there was an underlying sense of hurt in his tone that made Kagome frown.
"Not now!" she muttered, "I have to go to class and so do you!"
"I don't care," he replied blandly, "explain now."
"Well, you wouldn't care, would you?" she exclaimed exasperatedly, "But I do!"
Sesshoumaru scowled darkly as she retreated to the classroom, sliding the door shut behind her. She was shutting him out... leaving him... again.
Gritting his teeth, he turned sharply on his heel, braid swirling out around him in his anger as he stormed off to his own classroom.
It still hurt, though he had tried desperately to dampen his feelings, they had lurked. Now, with just her face and those painful memories, and he was an emotional wreck yet again.
Slipping on her outdoor shoes, Kagome hopped on one foot whilst she scanned the throngs of students leaving; searching Sesshoumaru out.
The telltale flicker of silver amidst the ebony gave him away and she was soon hot on his trail.
The silver haired bishounnen turned at the sound of his name and paused when Kagome's tiny hand grabbed the sleeve of his school blazer and tugged.
"What?" he demanded, voice as cold as he was attempting to be. Apparently he pulled it off rather well, as she flinched away from him.
"I just... wanted to explain," she mumbled, the hurt lilt to her voice tugged at his proverbial heartstrings, though he went to great lengths not to show such on his face.
"Too late for that now," he remonstrated coolly, flicking his braid at her before stalking off heatedly. Every step he took away made his heart pound as he yearned to return, to forgive her... but he kept his resolve and carried on stubbornly.
Blue eyes downcast, Kagome put her hand over her thrumming heart and sighed forlornly. He'd seemed so... rejected and angry at her. Pursing her lips, she gathered her resolve; she would make everything clear to him, so that maybe they could relive those light-hearted memories of their childhood.
Nodding to herself absently, unaware of the confused looks her classmates were flinging her way, she carried on towards home, happily recalling those playful memories of her joint childhood with Sesshoumaru.
Even back then, he'd often been absent from class, uncaring about what the teacher had to say he was more concerned with sitting in the Sakura tree that dominated the school playground. She could practically see the look of supreme superiority he always wore when he sat up high in the tree and ignored the plaintive calls of the teachers trying to coax him down.
After he'd told her she had the same name as his dog, she'd been labelled dog-girl by most of her classmates and being generally quiet and shy, she hadn't the guts to stand up and correct them. Luckily, perhaps feeling that the name calling was his fault, Sesshoumaru had stood up for her and looked after the perpetually clumsy daydreaming child like she was a puppy.
"Sesshoumaru-kun!" Kagome wailed, hopping from foot to foot as she peered up at the boy disguised by the abundance of Sakura blossoms.
"What?" he enquired lazily, shaking the branch he was perched on with one foot, effectively showering the young Kagome with petals.
Closing one eye at the deluge, she sighed. "Sensei told me to come and get you!"
"Don't care!" he declared bluntly.
Sesshoumaru might have been a brat when it came to attending class, but he'd been brutally protective of her when she'd been bullied.
"Dog-girl!" a child jeered, "bark, go on, do it!"
"Do you live in a dog house?"
"Yeah!" another giggled, "Where's your collar?"
Kagome hunched over her desk and attempted to drown them out, an outcast before she was currently a social reject thanks to Sesshoumaru's unwitting mistake.
"Stop talking to Kagome like that!" Sesshoumaru snarled, appearing in the doorway with a scowl on his face that promised trouble, "Or you'll be sorry."
Even back then, Sesshoumaru's glares had been formidable, and the children had backed down without question.
Reaching the shrine, Kagome sighed and wracked her brain for a solution. I want to be friends again, but Sesshoumaru is about as stubborn as they come... I need to bridge the gap. But what should I build the bridge out of?
Walking into the little home, Kagome switched her shoes to slippers and sailed into the kitchen where she could smell her momma's special udon.
Mrs Higurashi stood at the stove, reading her latest chic-lit book in that strange way only her mother could manage. She was the only person Kagome had ever met who was able to read and cook at the same time. Though a proficient enough cook herself, Kagome would burn something if she was distracted by a book.
"Tadima," Kagome murmured, mussing Souta's hair as she passed the boy sat at the kitchen table.
"Okaeri," Mrs Higurashi replied happily, putting her book to oneside to beam at her daughter, "how was school?"
"Okay, I guess," Kagome shrugged evasively.
Souta shot her a look. "That means something bad happened, you're normally much more cheerful."
Poking her tongue out at her ridiculously astute brother, Kagome her mother a frustrated glance. "I... need to bridge a gap," she replied vaguely.
Mrs Higurashi smiled placidly as she pottered about. "Well then, how about a show of good will?"
"Good will?" Kagome mused, tapping her chin thoughtfully, "maybe..."
Obstinately ignoring the whispers, the not so subtle looks, the swooning girls, Sesshoumaru threaded his way through the crowded corridors to his classroom where he could claim his seat and not be stalked by completely obvious fan-girls and gossip mongers.
But when he slid the classroom door back, his seat had already been occupied by a nervous looking Kagome.
When she sighted him, she jumped fretfully to her feet, arms behind her back as if she was obscuring something from view.
Hastily shoving his heart and his emotions, that were currently clamouring after the blushing girl, into a deep dark place where they would be ignored, Sesshoumaru stalked over to her.
He drew to a stop in front of her and offered her nothing, no greeting or change in facial expression; he simply waited for her to do whatever she wanted to. But with her track record she was probably going to unwittingly stomp all over his heart again.
"Hi," she whispered, nerves making her voice huskier than she had intended, she cleared her throat timidly before continuing, "I'd like it if you'd have lunch with me today, maybe under the Sakura tree in the courtyard," the words tumbled out in a rush, as if she were afraid that he'd instantly reject her request.
As he opened his mouth to dismiss her, she whipped a neatly packaged bentō box from behind her back and thrust it into his midriff gently. Startled hands held it without his conscious intention to do so, and he mutely blinked down at her as he waited for some kind of explanation.
"Eri told me you bought bread yesterday... so I thought maybe this would help bridge the gap," she mumbled to her shoes, rosy apples appearing on her cheeks yet again. It had always been easy to encourage one of her blushes, but each one had always been precious to him. He sighed.
Before he could even respond, she'd run from the classroom at breakneck speed, hurtling to the relative safety of her own classroom. What is she running from, he wondered staring at the bentō box clutched in his hands, me or her embarrassment?
Rolling his golden eyes, he settled into his seat, belatedly realising that his curiosity had sealed the deal. Lunchtime is sure to be interesting.
Gripping the edge of her school jumper with clammy hands, Kagome approached the Sakura tree as if it were a feral beast that might bite her if she made the wrong move or approached too fast. Aware she was being absurd, but unable to help herself, she reached the tree and glanced around. His conspicuous absence seemed to echo in her heart.
What could she do if he wouldn't even let her explain! He was being silly, she decided piously.
The casually uttered remark tore a sharp bark of a scream from her throat and she whirled in surprise to find Sesshoumaru sat in the lowest branch of the tree.
He smirked wickedly. "Didn't mean to scare you."
His smirk grew and he held his chopsticks aloft. "The bentō is good," he complimented, "did you make it?"
Pursing her lips as her traitor cheeks blushed again, she murmured, "Of course. If mama had made it you would be able to tell."
Sesshoumaru nodded; her mother was a brilliant cook, though Kagome was getting there herself.
Untying the handkerchief from around her own bentō, Kagome folded herself into a comfortable position beneath him on the grass.
Silence descended as they ate their respective meals, Kagome's silence was embarrassed as she felt like Sesshoumaru was watching her, Sesshoumaru's silence was contemplative as he admired the way her hair glistered in the dappled sunlight.
Her nervousness prompted her to begin chattering, a ridiculous habit she was known for almost as much as people knew her for daydreaming.
"So... um, I was going to explain about leaving," she murmured, "and well, you know we moved because Grandpa fell down the stairs and needed momma to move back in so she could help him with the shrine."
"Hn." He knew that much at least from the children in their class; they had been willing to give him news of her departure, but he'd always resented the disappearance of one the most important people in his life. Why hadn't she been the one to tell him?
"Well... we came to your house that day," she muttered, "just before we left actually, because I threw a huge temper tantrum in the back of the car and made momma stop," she wrinkled her nose and blushed deeply, "I really didn't want to leave you."
"So why didn't you tell me?" he demanded.
"We did!" she bit out hastily, "You weren't home, so I wrote a letter for you and gave it to your maid... Kagura wasn't it?"
Sesshoumaru blinked; he remembered that maid, she had been vindictive, condescending and uncooperative. And apparently she'd caused him to resent Kagome unjustly for ten years.
"She didn't give it to me," he mumbled abashedly. Well, he'd certainly been in the wrong, suddenly, the guilt that had been eating at him for being so cold to Kagome came back in full force.
"I left you my address, and told you to write," she explained sadly, "but you never sent me a letter, even though I sent you at least twenty, so I thought you'd forgotten about me."
Sesshoumaru ground his teeth; apparently the maid was absentminded when it came to delivering mail. He remembered the scandal that had gotten her fired; she'd taken his father's credit card bill and used it to order goods over the telephone. Appropriating mail seemed to be a hobby of hers.
"I am not a forgetful person," he declared, dropping from his branch with the grace of a panther.
Kagome beamed at the softening of his features and sprang to her feet, inconspicuously brushing her shirt for clinging blades of grass. "So... we are friends again?" she asked hopefully.
Sesshoumaru frowned, a slightly crease appearing between silver eyebrows. "For now," he replied obliquely, reaching out a large hand to tuck a stray strand of ebony hair back behind her ear.
For now... what did that mean? Had she changed so much in the time they had spent apart that he wasn't sure he wanted to be friends anymore? Or was it something else? The light in his eyes when he'd tucked her hair behind her ear had been disconcerting, but not unwelcome...
Carefully putting her homework assignment into her school satchel, she shouldered it and headed to the getabako in the main large genkan of the school.
Slipping her indoor shoes off she donned her outdoor shoes in record time before she dashed to the front of the school building; eager to see Sesshoumaru one last time before she headed home.
And promptly walked right in to someone.
Peeling her face from the chest of Bankotsu-senpai, she winced at the sneer curling his lip. This was bad.
Bankotsu was notorious around the school; if there was any kind of serious trouble he, or one of his so called 'Band of Seven', had contributed in some way. He was kind of handsome, Kagome supposed, but the hellfire in his eyes made her want to run away.
"I'm sorry," she squeaked, blushing as she always did and cursing herself for it.
The notorious senpai just stared at her unblinkingly.
A hand came down on her shoulder just as her knees started to tremble and Bankotsu finally blinked.
"Sorry about her Bankotsu-senpai," Sesshoumaru muttered, rolling his eyes, "she walks around with her head in the clouds most of the time."
Bankotsu blinked yet again and a small smirk curled the corner of his lips. "No problem, kohai."
Nodding like some kind of ultra efficient politician, Sesshoumaru looped an arm around Kagome's shoulders and tugged her out of the school breezily.
"Thanks," she muttered to her shoes, unwilling to let him see that she was blushing yet again; his proximity didn't help matters, "he looked like he was going to eat me."
Sesshoumaru scoffed. "He might have, if it weren't for me."
Casting him a sidelong look from under her curtain of hair, she mulled his words over and abruptly ground to a halt.
"You aren't his friend, are you?" she demanded querulously; this was bad! If he was friends with Bankotsu then the teachers would assume Sesshoumaru was a trouble maker too. As if he wasn't already in enough trouble over his hair.
Sesshoumaru blinked at her. "Are you worried for me?" he asked, his tone a most curious mixture of longing and happiness.
Ruffling her hair casually, he shook off her worries. "It's nothing really. I just joined the track team, which he is in by the way, and he was impressed by my times so I guess he thinks I'm okay."
Kagome heaved a sigh of relief. "I'm glad."
His golden eyes turned ponderous as his gaze lingered on her mouth. "What do I get in return for saving you?"
Kagome started in surprise. "You... you want a reward?"
"A sign of your gratitude, that sort of thing..."
Was it just her, or was he still looking at her mouth? He couldn't... he didn't want a kiss did he? A hand flew up to her mouth at the thought and his lips quirked slightly.
"Itadakimasu," he quipped jokingly as he leaned in and stole a kiss from her shocked lips.
Though chaste, it did strange things to Kagome's poor heart and her head turned foggy. When he moved away, her lips tried to follow, but she snapped from her daze to gape at him.
"You... just took my first kiss!" she exclaimed; roses had nothing on her, she was so incredibly red.
Sesshoumaru grinned lopsidedly. "I suppose you could try taking it back... but then I'd owe you a kiss instead..."
Blinking dumbly, her head idly pointed out that 'For now' probably had meant he wanted to be more than friends. But such thoughts weren't helping her right now.
About to tease her some more, Sesshoumaru was caught completely off guard when she grabbed the front of his blazer, yanked herself up onto her tiptoes and claimed his lips with her own.
Abandoning himself to the kiss, Sesshoumaru mused, I didn't take her first kiss, I merely gave her my own.
A/N: I wrote this for Kirai's 'Never Ending title' Challenge, so I hope you enjoyed everyone! Blame the fluff on my recent shoujo manga binge!
Itadakimasu, for those who are reading closely, is indeed what is traditionally said before a meal, but it literally translates as 'I humbly receive' and Sesshoumaru uses it here to tease Kagome.
Also a getabako is a shoe locker, if you read/watch shoujo manga you will probably have seen them a genkan is merely the place where the shoe lockers are; in a normal house this is the little entry way before you enter the main house.
Udon is yummy, you should try it and I'm hoping bentō is familiar to you, but for those of you who don't recognise it, it's a boxed lunch.