InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Dead Famous ❯ Jury Duty ( Chapter 16 )
Author's Notes: I've had a wonderful day so far ^_^ Finally selected the puppy that will be joining our family in the future. We won't be getting him till the 27th of December since he's only five weeks old now and the breeder won't release him before Christmas (due to that whole 'get a puppy for Christmas' routine). It's a black Labrador… which is kinda creepy because of what I said last chapter (I swear I didn't know what type of dog we were getting until today). A sign? (I hope not because I just killed off the black lab puppy in this fic…)
"I can't believe she got invited back…" Yuka groaned slightly. Eri and Ayumi nodded silently beside her.
All three girls sat slumped in a little heap on the steps of Kagome's Shrine, watching with baffled expressions as Kagome handed her luggage over to a man in a black suit and dark shades to be stashed away in the back of a long silver stretch limo.
"She must have really gotten on his good side." Ayumi reasoned thoughtfully. "Maybe he fancies her?"
"Hah!" Yuka scoffed loudly. "Inuyasha owns ten estates; two down south, a couple more in Europe, one in Africa and the rest in America. He's had a girlfriend in each continent - he dated Miss World's daughter who was twice as beautiful as her mother. He had a fling with Angelique Spagni! Kagome just can't compete with all that."
Eri stared at her friend. "So… you're saying that maybe he doesn't fancy her?"
Yuka folded her arms with a hooded look. "All I'm saying is that I don't think Kagome has a snowball's chance in hell."
"Then why would he be inviting her back for another week?" Ayumi pointed out blandly.
Yuka didn't say much after that. She just smouldered quietly on her step, apparently cursing the day she'd put Kagome's name down instead of her own.
It wasn't long before Kagome came toddling back up the steps to see her friends with a cheerful smile. "All set and ready to go." She hugged Ayumi who jumped up to embrace her. "I'll be back in a week."
"Don't forget to get his autograph." Eri told her as she hugged Kagome after Ayumi. "No - bring back something better - his underwear - but make that two pairs because I want to flog one on ebay!"
"Make that four pairs!" Yuka said quickly. "I want a pair as well - and another pair to sell to the rich girl at school."
"Can you bring me back some of his hair?" Ayumi asked.
The girls stared at her blankly.
"Well… you see I'm making this voodoo doll and I need a little bit of someone's hair in order to make him fall in love with me-"
"Enough said." Kagome said with an agreeable nod. "Don't worry, I'll get it for you. How much do you want? The whole lot or maybe just his fringe? Oh - and make sure you stick some of those pins in his butt."
Ayumi saluted with a grin.
Yuka finally got her turn to hug Kagome. "No hard feelings about this, right?" Kagome asked her, knowing that a small grudge still remained.
"They're getting softer." Yuka smiled at her, regardless. "Just make sure you bring back something worth while - or get him to come visit us and then I'll forgive you."
"Deal." Kagome squeezed her arm affectionately before continuing up the steps to where her family were gathered, waiting to say their goodbyes.
"I can't believe she gets the last two weeks off school term to go bunk with Inuyasha." Yuka groused, causing her two friends to elbow her. "What?!"
"Don't be so jealous." Eri scolded her. "Inuyasha was way out of your league and anyway… haven't you noticed that all the guys seem to insist on talking to you because you're Kagome's best friend. And some of them are nearly as good looking as Inuyasha…"
"True." Yuka nodded thoughtfully, before realising Kagome was coming back their way. "Oh, she's going! Bye Kagome!"
"Bye bye!" Kagome waved back at them as she passed the three girls on her way to the limo waiting in the roadside curb below. She continued waving as she got into the vehicle and even then she wound down the tinted window to wave some more and holler farewells as the limo slid away down the road.
"I'm leaving now." Kikyo announced as she clicked down the steps from the villa to the pool-side. She approached the sun-bed where Inuyasha lay basking in the afternoon sun and made a point to stand directly in the light, casting a shadow over him to get his attention. It worked, because a sluggish moment later he raised his hand and tipped his shades up.
"What?" he said.
"I said I'm going now. I'll be back by Wednesday at the earliest." She turned to leave.
"Whoa!" Inuyasha bolted upright. "Where the hell are you going?"
"Jury duty." She said simply with a mild shrug. "I got my letter yesterday."
"And you're just going?" he took his sunglasses off to give her an incredulous look.
Kikyo sighed patiently. "It is my civic responsibility and my duty to go."
"No, I won't have it." He said abruptly. "Tell them you're racist, or that… that you hate men and torture hamsters at the weekend, or-"
"I'm going now." Kikyo deadpanned and tried to leave again.
"How do I know you're not going to be agent for someone else?" he pointed out and jabbed an accusing finger at her. "Are you two-timing me behind my back? Agenting someone else?"
"Would you relax?" she rolled her eyes briefly. "I'm going to jury duty and that's the end of it. See you on Wednesday." Also, by Wednesday there was a good chance that he would have calmed down since discovering Kagome's return…
Of course, no one had bothered to tell Inuyasha about this yet, and Kikyo was happy that she wouldn't be there to witness the event… seeing as how Inuyasha liked to do good impressions of active volcanoes when things didn't always go his way. And normally Kikyo, in an effort to keep things moving smoothly and orderly, would have gone out of her way to keep things Inuyasha's way.
But this time she was going to have to agree with Miroku. Inuyasha needed a good kick in the backside - and from someone he couldn't fire. And while Kagome obliged to that role… Kikyo would go to court and have a nice relaxing break from her normal day-job. Judging criminals was so much easier on the conscience than catering to a prima donna's needs.
Kagome was torn, and getting more divided by the minute.
Was Inuyasha worth this much of her time? Did she really have to spend another week with a blockhead willingly? But was it right to just walk away and ignore it all?
Kagome resolved herself, after all, that coming back was the right thing to do. If she just walked away she'd never be able to stop thinking about it, and the big question mark that hung over the 1992 incident would hang over her head for the rest of her sane life. So she was determined to weasel the truth out of him this week, even if it would kill the curious cat, she was sure that satisfaction would bring it back.
So pulling up outside the villa wasn't as painful as she had originally thought it would be.
Sango came down the steps to greet her all over again. "Hi, welcome back."
This usually called for a response like 'Oh, it's good to be back!'. Pity, but that wasn't quite how Kagome felt. "Does he know that I'm here yet?" she said instead as she helped herself out of the limo.
"Um… he doesn't even know that you're supposed to be here." Sango replied with a nervous laugh. "But remember - if anyone asks - he invited you back because we all enjoyed your company so much."
"I see…" Kagome smiled wryly. "So you didn't enjoy my-"
"Of course we did." Sango interrupted as she gestured to the men to take Kagome's bags up to her designated room. "Inuyasha just might need a little more convincing of that - and take them quietly so his highness won't here you!"
"So where is he?" Kagome asked as she watched her luggage disappear with the men into the villa.
"Probably in the game room. First floor, towards the west wing, you can't miss it." Sango pointed towards the west end of the villa. "You should go see him. Give him a heart attack for me, ok?"
Kagome grinned and hefted her shoulder bag slightly before waving a short goodbye to Sango and heading inside to go face the music. Undoubtedly the giant big-head wouldn't be all that pleased to see her, but maybe his surprise at seeing her would spare her…?
Or maybe he would go and declare his undying love for leg warmers for all the likeliness of her being spared his temper.
Kagome already knew where the games room was, so she had no trouble finding it. She'd already used it a few times to practise her pool… which had never been very good and it wasn't about to improve. But she knew that the door was usually open to this particular room, and when she found it shut, she knew that it was in use.
Without an ounce of hesitation, she drew her hand up and wrapped lightly on the solid wooden panel with her knuckles. She wasn't scared of Inuyasha, not like most of the people in the villa, and she wasn't going to act like a timid mouse for his satisfaction. She was going to say 'hi, I'm staying for the next week' and he would have to deal with it like an adult.
"Come in." Unmistakably Inuyasha.
Kagome pushed the door open and looked around for the guy in question. She spotted him at the end of the room, leaning against a pool table with his back to her. The cue was braced in the crook of his arm and he was fiddling with something on his arm, something that had a plastic wrapper…
"Leave it on the table, Eria." He said absently.
His afternoon tea, perhaps? Not this time. Kagome narrowed her eyes slightly in curiosity as she approached his end of the room, trying to see around him to what he was doing. Eventually she just came right out and said it. "What are you doing?"
His ears snapped towards her the instant she'd started the question, and he spun around suddenly to face her with an expression close to horror. Both his arms held behind his back. "You!"
Kagome ignored his accusatory tone. She tried to peer around him instead. "What are you got on your arm-?"
"Nothing!" Obviously his shock had overridden his acting skills. He had guilty written all over his face.
Oh dear, she thought. She hadn't even left him alone for three days and he was already back on track with his usual habits. "Are you doing drugs?" she folded her arms and gave him a stony glare.
His grip on the cue behind his back shifted and he narrowed one eye. "Define what you mean by 'drugs'…"
Kagome scowled as she ran her gaze towards the visible parts of his arms. He'd pushed the sleeve up of his left arm all the way to the elbow and clenched something in his right fist. She sighed loudly. "Why do you do this to yourself?"
"It's not what you… hey…" He began to lose that guilty look as he began to realise something important. "You're not supposed to be here."
"And you're not supposed to be doing drugs." She countered.
"This is different - this is legal!"
"So is suicide, but you don't see me doing those kind of things." Kagome pointed out heatedly.
Inuyasha seemed to debate something, glaring hard at her as the cogs in his head almost visibly turned. Kagome waited for the self-righteous speech that he was bound to make in some sort of effort to defend himself.
To her surprise, he stuck his arms out towards her and upturned his right hand, showing her what he held.
Kagome blinked and switched her gaze from his glare to his hand. She analysed the crumpled little packet before pursing her lips, beginning to feel that perhaps she'd been a little hasty. "Ah…" Was all she could manage to say. She felt pretty stupid now…
"Satisfied you little harpy?" he reprimanded her as he rolled his sleeve back down over the nicotine patch on his arm. He dropped the empty packet on the pool table between them. "I hope you didn't come all the way back down here to tell me off. What are you, my human incarnate of conscience?"
Kagome rolled her eyes, clutching her arms tightly across her chest. "Well seeing as how you seem to lack one…" Does this mean he's quitting…?
"And what are you doing here anyway?" he frowned at her suspiciously. "I thought I'd got rid of you for good."
"Well…" Kagome bobbed on the balls of her feet. "Kikyo thought it would be good publicity if I stayed another week… you know, because you guys like me so much-"
"I don't like you."
"No one cares." Kagome said flippantly. "But I'm here, and we'll be spending another wonderful week in each other's presence again."
"And by Wednesday I'll be tying another damn rock to my feet…" he grumbled, taking up his cue again and leaning over the table to resume his half-complete game.
Well… that had gone better than expected. Kagome had been waiting for something short of a volcanic eruption. A threat of suicide was pretty tame… "So… we're cool right?"
"I'm always cool," he said simply, closing one eye as he lined the cue up with the cue ball.
"Of course you are…" Kagome said loftily and turned to leave.
She got half way to the door before she couldn't help herself… she turned back to him with a wide smile and started forward again. "Can I just say that I'm really proud of you? For quitting the smokes, I mean. And…" she winced slightly. "You're not doing it because of that stupid comment I made about the ashtray… are you?"
His hand jerked as he made the shot, but even still he managed to get two balls in. He straightened and regarded her with the blankest, most uninspiring expression ever. "This is the tenth time I've tried to quit." He stated simply. "How's that?"
"Well it'll be different this time, because you have me!" Kagome pointed to herself, beaming.
"Oh god don't I know." He gave her a pained, sarcastic look before moving off around the pool table to angle for a new shot.
"So, anytime you begin to feel the cravings creeping up on you and you want to scream with frustration - I'll be here." She told him confidently.
He flicked her an annoyed look. "When I want to scream with frustration you always seem to be here already."
Sarcasm duly noted and respected. "Ok then… I'll just go and unpack my stuff in my room then." She turned and made to leave again when she heard an odd noise behind her. She turned back around suspiciously. "What was that?"
"That was me shuddering in revulsion."
"Oh." Kagome blinked at him for a moment before turning around, intending to make it out of the room seriously this time. "I'm sure you'll get used to me eventually. I'm in for a long stay." She shut the door on her way out, blocking out the string of grumbled curses that followed her.
"So what excuse are you pulling to get out of here?" The woman next to Kikyo whispered hoarsely to her. She had bad breath and Kikyo was certain that the hair hadn't been washed for at least a month.
Was this what the modern jury, the people who decided your fate, were compromised of these days?
"I'm not using any excuse." Kikyo told her seriously. "It is my civic responsibility and my duty to society to come here and partake in jury duty. As is everyone's here." She gestured to the rest of the people in the waiting room.
"Insanity." The woman nodded with respect. "Good one."
"I am not insane." Kikyo replied evenly. "It is just my duty."
"What is that doing back here?" Inuyasha ground out dangerously, jabbing a finger at the security monitor in the little security room that showed a picture of Kagome talking with Sango in the styling salon on the third floor.
Miroku glanced at the pair of girls getting a manicure and shrugged mildly. "That would happen to be the monitor that we nearly chucked out last week, but the engineer fixed it so it's back."
"The girl, Miroku! The girl!" Inuyasha repeatedly tapped Kagome's smiley face on the screen. "What is she doing here?!"
"Oh…" Miroku shifted uncomfortably. "Well… it's Kikyo's fault." Yep, it was easy to blame the one who wasn't around to defend herself. "She thought it would be a good publicity move if we brought Kagome back to the villa."
"How?!" Inuyasha demanded loudly. "HOW?!"
"Well…" Miroku dearly wanted to slither out of the room, but he'd promised Sango he'd keep his backbone straight. "The public like her. The more mature members of the population think that it's good that you're finally interested in a girl younger than yourself - and even if they don't think that, they're touched by the fact that you're picking a girl from humble origins."
Inuyasha simply bristled with rage. "That's not-"
"And," Miroku interrupted. "It's given every teenager hope, thinking that if someone as simple and randomly chosen as Kagome can win your heart then surely they stand a chance for you too? Face it, you're endearing yourself to the public by pairing your image with that of a nobody teenage girl."
Inuyasha spoke through clenched teeth. "But I don't want to pair myself with a nobody teenage girl."
"It's only another week Inuyasha." Miroku shrugged lightly. "You'll never have to see her again after that."
"That's what you all said last time!" Inuyasha ran his hands over his face. "God! I was so happy to get rid of her the first time… and then you go behind my back in invite her back to give me another week of hell!"
"For the record, Kikyo went behind your back, not me." Miroku quickly informed him. "And then she ran away to jury duty."
"Typical." Inuyasha threw up his hands and turned to storm out of the room, his voice rising in volume. "TYPICAL!"
Miroku pursed his lips and tried not to wince as the door slammed shut in the superstars wake, shuddering in the frame and cracking a bit of the plaster of the wall. On the screen, both Sango and Kagome were looking around… obviously they'd heard the bellow even from their position on the third floor.
With a sigh, Miroku pulled his mobile out of his pocket and tapped in a number.
Time to call Kikyo.
"So are we all agreed that he's guilty?" the leader asked. He received various nods of agreement from the rest of the jury… from everyone except for a certain stoic agent at the end of the table. The leader looked to her. "Miss Kikyo?"
"Yes?" she replied evenly.
"What is your decision?"
"Uh…" Kikyo tapped her cheek thoughtfully. "I don't know. You'll have to go over the evidence again for me."
There was a collective groan of exasperation around the table. The leader had a muscle beginning to tick in his jaw. "Fine." He ground out and started going over the evidence. Of course, Kikyo knew it all already, she was just playing hard to get… at least until-
Ahah! Her mobile began vibrating in her handbag.
She discreetly extracted it and read the message from her lap.
'Inu mad. Sty awy 4 as long as pos.'
Kikyo sighed ever so lightly and put the phone away just in time for the leader to turn back to her. "So does that clarify it for you Miss Kikyo? Which way do you vote? Guilty or not guilty?"
"Innocent." She nodded with great certainty.
Everyone stared at her.
The leader frowned at her. "Please state your reasons for your… vote…"
Kikyo primly straightened and clasped her fingers together. "How can you be so sure he's guilty of killing his own mother? I mean, sure he was the only one home with her that evening when her throat was slit, but what if someone broke into the house and killed her instead? And so what he was covered in her blood from head to toe? And maybe it was just a coincidence that his fingerprints happened to be all over the murder weapon in question. What does all that prove anyway?"
"That he killed his mother?" a small voice piped up from the table.
Kikyo scoffed. "It proves nothing. Hasn't anyone considered the possibility that maybe someone did break in and killed the mother and took the murder weapon away. The son in the kitchen may have been making a sandwich with the knife and so when he came in, he saw his mother dead and ran to aid her, coating himself and his knife with her blood in the process."
An intense air of silence followed her story.
"At least consider it." Kikyo shrugged and elegantly swept her hair behind her ear.
"Ok… revote." The leader sighed loudly. "All those who vote guilty raise your hands."
Everyone rose their hand, save for Kikyo.
"Fools…" she muttered.
"Looks like we'll be staying at the hotel tonight then." The leader resigned amidst everyone's groan of frustration.
Excellent, Kikyo thought, mentally tapping the tips of her fingers together.
There was at least one benefit to staying in the villa for another week, and that was the access she received to the grand piano in the classic room.
At home they had an old, upright piano that sat against the wall. It was inherited from her grandmother, despite the fact that her grandmother had never learnt to play the big instrument. Kagome had remember the day it had arrived when she'd only been about five years old. It was one of the earliest memories she still retained.
Her mother had caught her attempting to play it not long after it had arrived… hence began the new series of piano lessons. But within two weeks the pianist gave up on Kagome, telling her mother that the child was simply too wistful and wouldn't obey the basic elemental rules to playing the piano. Kagome had played whatever she had damn well liked, even if it sounded atrocious.
It had taken years for Kagome to develop a sense of musical taste, and she'd discovered that playing certain notes together had sounded nice and pleasing to the ear… so she used that as a basis for her self-tutoring.
She still had no idea which key was C, and which was A. She had no idea which notes were flat and which were sharp. She couldn't read music and she never tried to attempt reading it. But she knew where every note on the piano was, and how it sounded when she pressed it and when it could be played to fit a pleasant melody. She didn't even have to press a key to know what it sounded like, since she could already hear it in her head. And least of all, she didn't need to read music to be able to play it. She could easily listen to the tune a few times and be able to pick out exactly which keys had been pressed to make that particular chord.
She remembered a film she'd watched a while ago, the film had had a beautiful piano soundtrack with one particular tune that had struck her as soulful to the fullest. But as per usual she'd not made a note of the title of the film and had never come across it since, nor it's piano piece. The day after she'd watched the film she'd forgotten how the tune went.
But she'd spent many a night lying in bed trying to remember it, humming bars in an attempt to recover it…
Until one day at the piano she cracked it. She was sure that it wasn't exactly the same as the tune on the film, but she'd fleshed it out enough from the basic melody to satisfy herself.
It was now one of her favourite pieces to play, because for some reason it sounded different every time she played it. When she was happy, it sounded cheerful and uplifting. When she was sad it sounded bitter. When she wasn't sure how she felt, she wasn't sure how it sounded, and that seemed to make it even more soulful.
It was a tune that she didn't even have to concentrate on, as she sat down on the piano stool in the classic room and gently brushed her fingers across the keys, clearing the dust and checking that the pedals worked ok.
She began playing and smiled slightly, realising the tone of the tune was uplifting, meaning she was in a good mood (not that she needed a piano to tell her that). But even so, just playing and listening to it uplifted her spirits even more, and as a result, her playing became smoother and even more spirited.
A floorboard creaked behind her.
Kagome snatched her hands away from the piano at once and spun on her seat to look towards the door as the last notes she'd played died away slowly as her foot stayed stiffly glued to the pedal beneath her.
There was no one to be seen. Kagome swept the room anxiously, her heart thudding hard in her chest as she prayed that no one had heard.
The door was open…
Kagome knew she'd shut that door firmly to stop the sound of her playing from filtering out. She eased off the stool and padded towards the heavy set doors. The gap was just wide enough to fit her body through and she peered around the empty corridor outside looking for the culprit. But the only person she saw was the snoozing guard in his chair. The lights were off and the halls were quiet…everyone else appeared to be in bed.
Maybe the door had just opened by itself and that was what she'd heard?
Kagome dismissed it as just that… but still… she was slightly shaken and so decided to call it a night. There was one thing she disliked more than anything, and that was other people hearing her music? Why? Because, to Kagome, it was like taking off all of her clothes and letting someone scrutinise her body, only while she played the piano it was her soul and her emotions that were under scrutiny.
Thus the reason she only ever played the upright piano when everyone was out of the shrine doing shopping or visiting friends.
Probably just the wind, she reassured herself as she found her way back to her guest room and headed for the bed.
As she curled up under the covers she set her mind on more current matters… such as how she was supposed to go about devising the many schemes she would use over the next week to uncover the truth of what happened in 1992…
He was almost certain that she'd played the same tune as before… but he knew that it hadn't sounded so upbeat the last time he'd heard her play.
He'd been passing on his way to the kitchens, hoping for cook to have left out some food for his midnight snack, when he'd heard her playing again. Unable to stop himself, he'd approached the classic room all over again and had pushed open the door far enough to listen to the melody.
Some of that smouldering temper and bad mood had evaporated as Inuyasha had listened. How could someone not feel the vibes of that music? It was like… like… watching a feel-good movie at the end of a bad day. The emotion in that song was contagious and he couldn't help but react and smile a little.
Maybe another week around the brat wouldn't be so bad?
The song had been drawing to a close and he knew that it was probably best to leave… but he'd been careless. Even though he knew exactly which floorboard to step over, for some reason he forgot at that vital moment. He'd stepped on it.
It was a good thing he was a Hanyou, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to slip out in time to avoid being seen. But it had surprised him how suddenly she had stopped playing and spun around. Very self-conscious…
He'd waited behind a corner until she had left the room and gone back to bed before he set off to get his midnight snack. But alas, when she arrived in the kitchen he found that cook had cleaned everything away and padlocked the fridge. Actually… it was probably Miroku who had padlocked the fridge in an effort to keep him away from the booze hidden in there…
He settled for picking an orange out of the fruit bowl on the island counter and headed back to his own room, peeling the fruit as he went, dropping bits of zest up the stairs. His room had been moved again of course. It was now on the second floor, only a few doors away from Kagome's room, but he held suspicion that it wouldn't be long before he was forced to move out of that room and closer to the guest. He'd noticed that Sango had been edging him closer to her over the last week… he wondered why.
Inuyasha kicked the door shut behind him with his foot as he entered the new room and popped the last few slices of orange into his mouth as he headed over to the balcony to sit on the rail outside for some fresh air.
Now was a good time for a cigarette, and instinctively his hand reached for his pocket, ready to draw one out of the packet.
Oh wait… he's quit again, hadn't he?
A tingle of need ran through him, but he quashed it the moment he felt it. There was no point getting needy - he had to be strong! But… maybe he needed a little nicotine top up.
Inuyasha glanced down at the patches that now covered the length of his left upper arm with a frown. Hmm… definitely needed to send Miroku out to buy some more tomorrow. But for now, he had to somehow make it through the night with his depleting patches.
"Better make the most of it," he muttered aloud as he drew his arm up and began licking earnestly at the patches.
A movement to his right caused him to pause in his actions and he turned his head slightly to look across the next few balconies to see none other than Kagome. She was staring rather openly at him, arms crossed over her chest and moonlight highlighting her hair and face in the darkness.
He waved to her with his updrawn arm. "Yo!" he called.
Kagome in turn cupped her hands around her mouth to call back. "Remember - I'll be right here for you!"
"Leave me alone!" he hollered and withdrew back into his room sharply, snapping the balcony door shut after him. "Bleeding… witch…" he grumbled as he made his way back to his bed to settle down for the night.
He didn't drift off as soon as he normally did… mostly because his mind was still stuck on that tune.
He was trying to remember how it went… but once again, it eluded him.
AN: A slightly longer chapter this time ^_^ That makes up for the shortness of the last one (not that anyone was too bothered).