Disclaimer: I don't own Inu-Yasha
All Too Soon:
"Huh!? Kagome!? You're taking summer math too!?"
"The teacher 'suggested' it..." Kagome sighed, examining her ice cream as she walked aimlessly through the park with Yuka and Eri.
"Hey, Kagome! Are you applying to the same high school as Hojo?" Yuka asked. Eri joined in with a question of her own.
"Whoa! You mean you guys are official!?"
"Give me a break!" Kagome huffed, turning to face them. "Me and Hojo!?"
"You don't have to get so defensive about it..."
I'm more worried... Kagome thought, absently, about just being able to get into high school! And after what he said... She remembered she had only stared at him blankly until she was able to regain her voice and ask him if he really meant that. Predictably enough, he had only snorted and told her to go home. Nearly a week passed since then, but even with all the hot baths and modern conveniences...I can't stop thinking about Inu-Yasha...
Initially Kagome had been shocked, too stunned to really do anything. And by the look on his face, so had Inu-Yasha. She was shocked still, wondering if the event had even happened, if it was only a scenario created by her overtaxed mind. But Inu-Yasha still hadn't come for her and she wasn't about to go back... not until she was absolutely sure what she should say. And what she should do. How was she supposed to react when someone who barely called her by name said something like that? Even if he hadn't really meant it... which was just another thing to consider. If he did mean it, then how did she feel? And if he didn't... Kagome shook her head. Now I really can't concentrate on school! Is everybody plotting against my education!? I wouldn't put it past Inu-Yasha...
"Hey, look! Look!" Eri cried, pointing. Kagome glanced in the indicated direction. "Sparklers...!"
Just beside a children's jungle gym shaped like a perforated dome or a concrete turtle's shell a small group of children and their mothers had lit sparklers. They stood in a loose circle, the miniature flames licking at the hard, cool pavement, reflecting in the delighted eyes of the young. Their mothers watched with reminiscent smiles, charmed with their children's happiness rather than the flying sparks. Kagome surveyed the kids as their mothers did, too old to join in, and too experienced to truly enjoy such a simple show of lights. I wish things were still that simple for me... Kagome thought wistfully. But she knew, as much as she complained, that there was nothing she would change. Absolutely nothing.
A hand slithered from the shadows beneath the jungle gym and a lit fire-cracker flew into the ring of children. They backed away, shrieking and shielding their eyes as their mothers ran for water. Kagome's eyes followed the figure of a young girl leaping from the playground and cackling as she fled the scene. A determination welled up in Kagome as she chased after the little imp who was dressed in a winter coat despite the summer heat. She would find out what was going on. Maybe it was a petty distraction, but like many things in her life, it would eventually lead her back to Inu-Yasha.
That stupid girl.
The humming of a thousand bees droned in Inu-Yasha's ears in the deadly quiet of the night. Around him the foliage was pushed by a breeze to whisper in quiet contemplation of the stranger in their midst as the eery sound of darkness ate at his senses. He was dwarfed by the trees of the forest, with their great height, and it magnified his brooding as the night magnifies the cries of a creature near its death.
That stupid, stupid girl!
Just what had he been thinking, to say such a thing? Those words... those words he had never imagined would fly from his mouth. In the span of a moment he had lost all sense of himself, and given life to a thought long dormant. Never before had he spoken those words, and never before had he felt the need to. Not to his mother, and certainly not to Kikyo - though he had loved them both. And where had that gotten him? Stuck to that stinking tree! What made this girl so different? Not a damn thing!
If anything she was more annoying, more needy, more headstrong than anyone he had ever had the displeasure of meeting. With the exception of Shippo, perhaps. Kagome was different than anyone he'd ever known; she didn't understand the boundaries of blood, she childishly believed there was good in everyone. But maybe that's why...
"Isn't it done yet ,old man?" he asked, frowning. Patience had never been his strong point.
"Not yet, Lord Inu-Yasha," Myoga replied from his shoulder. "Try now and youll be stung to death."
Inu-Yasha glared at the beehive, strung from the treetops by a substance of the insects' own creation and almost as large as himself with his scabbard partly sheathed inside it, as if willing them to work faster... well, okay, he was attempting to threaten them, but you can't expect anyone to get their point across to a group of insects.
"There is no way to seal the crack your scabbard suffered against the thunder beasts," the old flea continued wisely, "except with the wax made by these forger bees." Behind them Shippo flew through the air, having transformed into... something... "But I'm sure it will be finished before you have to search for more Shikon shards." As Myoga finished speaking the giant Shippo-balloon opened its smiling mouth to reveal a row of pointed teeth and proceeded to latch onto Inu-Yasha's head. The hanyou twitched for just a moment before he socked the kitsune to the ground.
"That's enough, Fox!" he growled.
With a puff of smoke Shippo assumed his true form... "I'm bored!"... in more ways than one. "I only came because I thought Kagome would be here too! But you had to scare her off," he pouted. "What did I do to get stuck with you!?"
"That's what I'm wondering!"
"Say now... don't I count for something...!?" Myoga began, before becoming distracted by something over his shoulder. "Eh...? That's..."
Over a bed of lily pads a creature as round as Shippo had been bare seconds ago, its eyes mere slits, flew with the floating ghosts of children. Its stubby arms held a flute to its nearly-non-existant mouth and a tail like an angel's wing curved around and under it.
"It's a demon!" Shippo cried, clinging to Inu-Yasha's shoulder as if they had never fought before. Inu-Yasha glanced at the young kitsune.
"Shippo... what are you?"
"Th-that's... a Tatari-mokke!" Myoga stuttered. "A demon given life by the souls of young children. It plays with the shades of children newly dead... until they have settled... and can move beyond... Never fear. It is only an apparition."
Inu-Yasha settled back down to wait for his scabbard to mend. When Myoga said there was nothing to fear, then he was perfectly safe. He glanced at the Tetsusaiga and wondered if it would work now that Kagome wouldn't be around for him to protect. There was little doubt in his mind that she wouldn't come back. It didn't matter if he loved her or not - which I don't! - she would probably be too disgusted to ever return. Not that it mattered he would just go get her when she was needed, and then he would tell her exactly how he felt...
Kagome slipped into the well-house, shutting the door behind her and moving deeper into the musty building. She didn't have her pack, this was only going to be a quick visit for information but chances were she would run into Inu-Yasha, and knowing him he would be even more rude than usual, to hide anything he might be feeling. But she had to know what that thing was... and how to help Mayu. And the best person she could think of to go to was Myoga.
She stared at the old well with trepidation. I still don't know what to do... she thought, frowning slightly. This was where Hojo had witnessed her climbing out when she was just returning. Naturally, he didn't notice anything amiss, but his presence had made her strangely edgy. What would I do... if it was Hojo who said he loved me...?
All of his advances so far had been flattering... but nothing more. She liked him, in a strictly platonic way. And if he said that, she knew she would be trying to find a nice way to let him down. Inu-Yasha, on the other hand her feelings for the half-demon were... impossible to describe. It was something and nothing at the same time, as if she were both empty and full. The feeling was completely indefinable... and completely different from what she associated with Hojo.
Kagome stared at the well, and suddenly, she knew just what to say.
A/N: just so you all know I'm following the manga version, so those of you who only watch the anime can't tell, but I'm copying most of the lines directly.