InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Out of Time ❯ Making the Grade ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
~Making the Grade~
“I can't believe it,” Kagome said for the hundredth time, or so it seemed. Staring at the paper in her hands, mouth agape, eyes wide, she glanced up at InuYasha, who sat back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest and an embarrassed look on his face. “You scored perfectly in math?”
Miroku sighed. “I passed, too,” he pointed out.
Sango took his paper and looked it over. “Barely,” she scoffed. Kagome passed InuYasha's paper across to Sango and took up Miroku's results. “InuYasha tested out better than Miroku?”
“And what's that supposed to mean?” InuYasha growled, snatching his results back from Sango.
“Well, it's not really surprising,” Kagome commented as she handed Miroku his results. “InuYasha's been studying with me all along.”
`Comical, really.' InuYasha might have thought it was funnier if he hadn't been a little insulted as well as embarrassed by the amazed expressions on both Miroku and Sango's faces. “What the hell did you two think Kagome and I were doing every night up in the trees?” he growled as heat stole up his face. Sango and Miroku exchanged telling glances. InuYasha snorted. “Feh!”
“Ahh, so that's how it happened,” Miroku stated, as though it all made sense to him. “And here Sango and I simply though you were enjoying each other's company.”
“Miroku? Are you all right?” Kagome asked when he gasped softly. InuYasha frowned. The monk had paled to an ashen gray color, and he was holding his kazaana hand to his chest as though he was protecting it. Sango gently pulled his hand across the table, inspecting it thoroughly. InuYasha leaned over her shoulder to stare at the monk's hand, too.
Miroku pulled his hand away, flexing it a few times as his color started to return to normal. “It's fine . . . just a twinge.”
Sango looked skeptical. “A twinge? It seemed as though you were in a lot of pain.”
He grinned at her. “Ah, Sango, my sweet! So you do care!”
“You're dreaming, Monk,” Sango grumbled. InuYasha rolled his eyes as she blushed.
Miroku dragged out a college course guide and started leafing through the pages. “Why don't you help me select some classes, Sango?” He pushed his chair back and patted his lap. Sango reddened even more and narrowed her eyes at Miroku.
She came around the table and sat down in the chair beside him. Miroku sighed melodramatically, but shoved the book toward her. Sango pointed out a few prerequisite classes that Miroku needed for just about any other classes he would take later. He leaned in closer, his hand on the back of her chair.
A sudden, strangled sound escaped from Sango as her back straightened and her face grew red. Seconds later, Miroku had a nice red spot on his face to match her blush though his color was caused by the lightning fast hand of the youkai exterminator. Sango scooted her chair away from Miroku a bit more and turned so that Miroku couldn't reach her rear again.
“I think a special dinner is in order!” Mrs. Higurashi proclaimed. “It isn't every day we have something this big to celebrate!”
Souta, Shippou, and Kirara raced through the kitchen. Obviously playing tag, InuYasha shot his hand out and caught the kitsune youngster with a hand on the top of his head. “Outside,” he growled.
Shippou started to argue. Souta grabbed his arm and dragged him toward the door. “InuYasha,” Mrs. Higurashi interrupted. “Why don't you and Kagome run to the store for me? I need some garlic and a few onions to make dinner.”
InuYasha got up and took the money that Mrs. Higurashi held out to him. He handed it to Kagome. She shook her head. “I don't have any pockets, and you might as well learn how to use money.” He looked like he wanted to argue. In the end, though, he stuffed the bills into his pocket with a snort.
Kagome sighed as she tugged the front door closed behind them. InuYasha stuffed his hands into his pockets and fell in step beside her. She stopped suddenly and leaned up on her toes, kissing his cheek quickly. Embarrassed heat exploded under his skin. “What was that for?”
“I'm proud of you,” she remarked.
InuYasha shrugged off her praise though his face warmed a little more. “It wasn't so much,” he argued.
“It was,” she contradicted. “Don't kid yourself. That was a hard test.”
With a shy smile, InuYasha recalled the kiss he'd given her. Back when she had almost left them, and he'd chased her down, he'd caught up with her as she stumbled along the path to the well. She'd been crying . . .
Without stopping, he swooped her up and leapt into the nearest tree. She protested but he ignored her. He couldn't let her leave.
They hadn't spoken for a long time. Kagome let him hold her until she stopped sobbing. Her stuttered breathing had come in short gasps. In the moonlight, the tears on her face had shown like diamonds. “I'm sorry,” he mumbled. “Why didn't you tell me where you were going?”
She hiccupped and shook her head as she pulled away from him enough to sit up. “Because you would have wanted to come with me, and it was something I had to do alone.”
“How did you do it?”
The look on her face as she shifted her gaze to meet his almost frightened him. She was solemn, and for a long while, he didn't think she would answer him. She finally spoke, though her voice was vague, almost far away. “I can't tell you.”
“Can't or won't?”
“Both. Either . . .”
He didn't press her further. Maybe it was enough to know that the jewel couldn't hurt anyone again. In that moment, though, something about the young miko, something about Kagome, seemed so far away from him. “Kagome?”
He swallowed hard, digging his claws against the tree branch that held them. “Will you stay?”
She stared at him in the moonlight, a gentle smile breaking over her features, as though it were the simplest thing in the world for her to answer. Maybe it was. “All right.”
Quickly, before he lost his nerve, he leaned forward, brushing his lips across her cheek. Her smile widened. She held his hand as the moon rose into the sky . . .
He frowned as the memory faded. They were walking down the sidewalk toward the small grocery store, and he sighed. “What do you think is up with Miroku's hand?”
She sighed. “Has it been bothering him a lot?”
“He says it twinges.”
“In other words, more often than he's saying.”
“I could tell Mama. She could set up an appointment for him to see a doctor, but I don't think any modern doctor is going to be able to explain residual pain from the kazaana.”
InuYasha made a face. “I thought so, too.”
“You don't think . . . I mean, we defeated him . . . right?”
Waving off her concern, InuYasha made a show out of adjusting the baseball cap he wore to cover his ears. “Of course we did. Maybe it's just an ache or something that comes and goes. Maybe we're just reading too much into it.”
“Maybe,” she agreed slowly.
InuYasha didn't miss the doubt in her tone. He had to admit that it didn't seem right, either. He pulled open the grocery store door and held it for Kagome. She didn't step through right away. Staring at him as though she expected him to deny the truth of her next question, Kagome bit her bottom lip as she considered the situation. “This isn't good, is it?”
InuYasha hated to admit it. “I don't think so.”
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Out of Time): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.