Disclaimer:    Inuyasha characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.  Other characters are property of Dark Star.

Summary:     Kagome and Sesshoumaru meet as talented musical competitors. Their relationship develops into a like-like relationship. One day, tragedy befalls Kagome, making her forget most of Sesshoumaru. Their relationship crashes back to zero...can he just forget her? S/K

Rating:         PG-13: for possible language and just in case

Genre:          Romance/Drama

A/N:            Wow, I haven't touched this story in ages…^^;  And for those who have been waiting ever so patiently, I apologize.  To those who care not a bit, too bad for you!  HAHA!  No, but I understand some are looking for certain updates, and I'd be happy to give them to you in due time, but for now, alphabetical order is my thing.  ^_^  And this story happens to be right after "Heavenly Affairs".  Worry not, I'll update Merged Souls right after (I think)!  I've changed the summary to suit a more…attractive…output?  ^^;  I dunno.  ^^;  Okay, well, onto the story…

L o v i n g  R i v a l r y Chapter Two

November 2002

I could already tell I was going to have a hard time with this guy.  He seemed to answer every question that came his way with a don't-ever-talk-to-me-again, an I'm-better-than-you-are, or a do-you-think-I-care look.  Either that, or it would be a curt nod or blank stare that would eventually ward to off with his amazing capability to hold a murderous glare for more than fifteen seconds.  And if you didn't run off, he would bluntly ignore you.  Jeez!  It seemed like the guy had some sort of  mind-reading capability or…or…something that would pierce through you when he looked your way.  AND THIS GUY WAS MY ACCOMPANIST?!  I really couldn't believe my bad luck.  That is, until we got to the practice room…

          "Did your mom drag you into this?" I asked conversationally, removing my jacket.

          There it was, the blank stare for at least five seconds before 'his highness' decided to grace me with his oh-so-royal answer.  "No."

          Wow, he even has a nice voice.  "No?" I arched an eyebrow.

          "I came willingly after being asked once," said he, the Great One.

          Even a limited sense of humor.  Smiling amiably, I gestured toward the sleek black grand piano in the center of the room, which was fairly large considering it was only a practice room.  "Shall we give it a try?"

Not answering, he made his way (gracefully) to the piano and tapped out a few keys before sitting down at the bench.  He looked at me blankly.  He didn't bring his music, huh?  He must be pretty damn good.

          "Let's start from the beginning, then.  Okay with you?" I suggested.  Thank God our parents were outside.

As soon as his slender fingers touched the keys, I was amazed by the sheer grace and fluency of his movements and music.  He was good…better than I had ever imagined.  I wonder if he practices a lot?  It would only seem logical for one so perfect to be a natural, therefore not needing much practice at all.  But then again, I could always be wrong, and it seemed that I always was.  Hearing the arpeggio that trickled softly as my cue, I made a silent wish to the Fates that I would not mess up and seem so utterly mal-practiced to my accompanist.  I would've been absolutely horrified had I made a mistake in my singing.  Taking a deep, quiet breath, I started in with a soft, yet projecting, voice.

Closing my eyes, I sang on, paying scant attention to anything around me.  Everything except the lilt of the piano and my own voice dissipated into nothingness as my focus wavered between the serene silence of it all and the words of the song.  Before I had realized it, the song was finished as was I, and Sesshoumaru was staring at me questioningly.

          Blushing slightly, I closed my mouth before mumbling, "How'd I do?  I wasn't really paying attention."  After all, focus on only the music or nothing at all.  If you let your mind stay, you'll screw up.

          "Well enough," he answered curtly.

          "Meaning I need improvement?" I bit back scornfully.

          Sending me an effortless glare he answered, "There is always room for improvement.  Perfection does not exist."

          Wise for someone so young…  "And what, pray tell, do you think I need improvement on?"

          "Expression."

          I hadn't thought about that…I guess that would be a problem with my eyes closed, now wouldn't it?  "Do you have any suggestions?"

          "It is a sad song, is it not?" he said monotonously, "A sad, perhaps wistful, expression would be cause for effect."

          Damn.  He says it so professionally, like I'm dumb or something.  I couldn't help but shoot a chaste, disdainful glare at him before continuing.  "The beginning again, please."

~*~*~*~*~

Sesshoumaru held the door open for me as we left the performance room.  Hell, the guy almost had to push me out the door, I was so frozen with anxiety.  Needless to say, his performance was flawless, what I heard of it anyways, but I wasn't so sure about mine.  Then again, I'm never sure about anything?  So what the hell.  I went to stand next to my mother against the wall as we awaited the judges to produce the results.  WHAT TAKES THEM SO LONG?!  Glancing over at the other wall, where Miyako was, Sesshoumaru stood calmly, coat draped over one arm as he, with his usual cool façade, stared at the doors to the room from whence we had come.  This guy is just too funny.

          "How'd you do?" Mother-dear asked.

          "Fine," I answered, like every other answer I had given going to contests.

          "Good!" she exclaimed, smiling.  "As long as you tried your best!"

          And got a perfect score!  Really, who does she think she's kidding?  I nodded silently.

The wooden door next to us opened suddenly, and one of the judges walked out.  A nameplate titled, "Hello!  My name's Yuki," was pinned onto her sweater.  Smiling warmly, she handed the rubric to me.

          "We all really enjoyed your performance.  You've got a beautiful voice and a wonderful accompanist!  You can go out to the front, there," she said, pointing to a desk down the hall, "to sign out and record your score.  Thank you!"

With that, she disappeared back into the room, and another person was called up.  Blinking, I turned the sheet so I could read it.  Fives were circled all down the columns, and at the bottom, the score read 50/50.  Wow…perfect…  Looking up to Sesshoumaru, I flashed him a rare smile.  I guess some things are more perfect than others in this world, Sesshoumaru.

A/N:                Hey all!  I understand the chapter was short, but I was unsure where to end it.  And for that matter, what to actually do at the end.  But this, for me, seemed like the perfect place to end.  In the next chapter, I might fast-forward in time a bit…I'm not quite so sure.  I think I wrote myself into a corner.  ^^;  Sorry!

Review Responses:

Moonwind-Do not fear!  ^_^  Sesshoumaru will be updated in due time, as will all my others.  ^^;  I'll probably have to copy that phrase a couple times.  ^^;

eternal_dolphin-Bored with Inu/Kag?  ^____^  That's what I like to hear!!!  Sess/Kag forever!!!  XD

chibi kawaii inu-Fast enough for you?

vernal equinox-Glad ta hear it!  ^_^

Ash-Yes, their age will (eventually) change…depending on what I want to do with this…^^;  I kinda wrote it on the spur of the moment if yano what I mean…but…Sesshoumaru…well, I'm not really sure.  I'll have to straighten out my thoughts on this one, first.  ^_^

Kitty-Thanks!  I'll try!

bReAkAh GuRl-Definitely glad you do!  ^_____^  I was worried about how much people would take to it…

Ichigo-Sess/Kag?  Yes!  You can count on me to write them!!!  *holds finger up in the air*  YES!

vee-I most definitely agree!  Sess/Kag is so hard to find!  But they're on the rise!  XD

(blank)-*rubbing smacked cheek*  ouch…

Inuyasha's Angel-I know, I know.  ^_^  But, yano, first impressions!  XD  They gotta be good!

sunflowerobi-Really?  ^_^  I'm still in piano (ACK!), and I just recently started violin.  ^_^  I've been playing for about a year.  ^^  You play flute?  O.O  *is very jealous*  I WANNA PLAY IT, TOO!

Lunakitty-And work on it, I am.  ^____^  Thanks for your support, Luna!  ^-^  Luvya for it!

The Eternal-XD  I love your pen name, by the way.  ^________^  Yes, and I hope you will find it in your gracious soul to forgive me.  *bows*  This poor story was, indeed, neglected for an extended amount of time.  Would you find it in your heart to accept this poor soul's apology?  ^.~

Nae-Is this my best, yet?  ^_^

(blank)-My, my, my.  Pushy, pushy people you reviewers are.

vee-Oi…^^;  You reviewed twice!  -.-  I guess you really must like this story then, huh?  =^_^=  Well, your question has been answered (yes, it is updated, hard as the concept is to conceive).  ^_^  Thanks for your support!

Yume-damo-shirinai-Thanks!  ^_^  I'm glad you do!  But…are you sure?  Quite a few have been added since you reviewed.  -.-;;  Or not, I'm not sure.  ^^;

Hey!  Thanks for all your reviews!  ^_^  It really keeps me going, really, what you say in the review really determines whether I go on or not.  -.-  Meaning, if you flame me, in all likelihood, this story will either A) Cease to exist B) Be formally discontinued C) Be put in my 'oh-I'm-so-shamed' category in my mind or D) I will personally cuss you out

As appealing as it may sound to some, please don't flame just to get me to cuss you out.  -_-;  There are a few on my bus whom would die for the opportunity.  'Cuss!  Cuss!'  =_=  And I can't believe what kind of sadistic idiots would do that, but obviously, they are here, in this world.  *sigh*  And I will forever resent them.  Too bad!!!

On a lighter note, anyone know any Naraku/Kagome stories?  Other than the ones by SinfulBlack?  Tell me in your review!  ^.~  I'd really love you for it!  Until next time, ne?  ^^  Sayoonara!

~*~*~Dark Star~*~*~

P.S.  If I haven't already announced in this story (too lazy to read back), I will only send e-mail updates if you include your e-mail address.  I will no longer dig through profiles to find them as I had done before!  And also, please note, if you already receive e-mail verification of my updates, please don't include your e-mail!  -_-;  It will only have to require me to look through my mailing list to try and find you!  I would very much appreciate it if you would…I dunno…follow directions I could say?  ^^;  Anyways, jaa!