InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Total Knockout ❯ Not Kidding ( Chapter 4 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Long may Rumiko Takahashi's pen be sharp!
This chapter brought to you by Chaos Baked Goods. Do not look directly at the mint swirl.
But first, because I feel like it, Pride and Prejudice unravelled!
~ ~ ~
ELIZABETH: No, really. I don't want to marry you.
COLLINS: So you're going to say yes next week?
ELIZABETH: No, I would say no next week.
COLLINS: What about the week after that?
COLLINS: What, you don't like pizza?
Kagome 's shirt was almost dry now, she realized as she looked down into the gymnasium floor. The cavernous room had been roped off into eight separate rings for the first stretch of matches. It wasn't fight night in Vegas, but there was a real hum of excitement in the air as men and women with whistles and referee caps were beginning to filter through the crowd of spectators milling around on the floor.
It was so exciting! So thrilling! So normal!
"So how was the ride over?" asked Ayumi as they inched sideways into the stands.
"Oh..." Kagome's brain re-congealed.
It would have been nice to have had other girls in the car on the ride here. When Hojo'd come to pick her up at home, Kagome had expected a walk to the bus stop, or a hop onto the jostling subway, but instead, she'd gotten the air-conditioned nirvana of a late-model car. Hojo's mother had volunteered to chauffeur her not-quite-driving-age son and his friend to the tournament.
"Was she impressed, Kagome?" asked Eri.
"Impressed?" Kagome asked. "I guess so." Kagome now knew beyond any doubt where Hojo got his sunny demeanor. His mother was so friendly that it was a full five minutes before Kagome noticed what she was really talking about. Where had she grown up? My, she was even prettier than Hojo had said! Was it true that she'd been at the top of her history class before unfortunate string of illnesses? "She did everything but ask to see my teeth," she answered dully.
"Well ...that's good!"
"It means she likes you!"
"Likes me for what?" Kagome demanded.
The others gave her a withering stare.
"What?" she insisted again.
"Kagome," scolded Ayumi. "Do you really think Hojo's the type to date a girl his parents think is bad news?"
"Yeah," said Yuka, "You've so got to convince them that you'll be good for him."
"I guess..." she looked away. "But does it really matter? I mean, he just started high school. Any girlfriend he has right now is mostly for fun, right?"
"You have got to start taking Hojo more seriously!"
"Come on, how much time do any of us have for anything but studying, anyway?"
"Good point," Eri said archly. "You wouldn't want a no-good fella' distracting you from your schoolwork."
"And hurting your future," added Yuka.
"On top of everything else," finished Ayumi.
Kagome felt her shoulders pull in toward her neck. "Uh..." she managed. "I don't know who you're talking about!"
"What's this for?" Inuyasha dangled the white chunk of plastic from one claw.
"That's a mouth guard. To keep your teeth from getting knocked out," said the kid with the freckles.
"Keh. They grow back in a day and a half." Inuyasha chucked it over his shoulder.
The boy with the freckles and the boy with the wide face exchanged a glance. "That's the spirit," he said at last.
"All right..." Inuyasha dug the next conundrum out of the very deservedly bruised mister horse-dung's back. "So what are the puffy mittens for again?"
"You put them on your hands."
"But then I can barely use my hands."
"Whatever man; this isn't wrestling," the other boy turned away, slapping his duffel down on the bech and fishing through it. "Dammit, where's my brain bucket?"
Inuyasha sniffed hard. Nope. This sweat-saturated tile dungeon still reeked like a den full of wolf demons who hadn't been rained on in three weeks, but there wasn't any scent of real carnage. He tried to cover his nose, but this suck-ass sleeve was too short. He'd whiffed far worse, but these stench-seeping runtlings could give Kouga a run for his money. ...and his fleas.
"You mean you've got to pick up the brains when you're done?"
"Sometimes," another boy behind him laughed. He was strapping something puffy around his head, fastening it under his chin with velcro. Hm. "Better get your gear on before your coach gets here," he went on. "You don't want to be the only kid stupid enough to try to lace on his own gloves."
"Uh..." Inuyasha didn't get this. He didn't get it and he didn't like it. It stank in here, he was surrounded by strangers and it was all Kagome's fault. At least some of these stinking mortals didn't mind explaining where they were going or why they were leaving or what the hell all this stuff in the bragging "fighter's" bag was. He fished through some more creased leather and squeaky plasitc. "How about this one?"
"That's your helmet," the freckled boy.
Inuyasha shrugged. Souta'd said he'd have to keep his ears covered. This squishy thing would probably do. At least he wouldn't look like much more of an idiot than he already did in these stupid clothes. "How about this?" He hooked a claw on a piece of cloth and flipped it over. "Hey, is this a skirt?"
"No," said the freckled boy. "Those are your trunks."
"It's made out of tree?" asked Inuyasha.
"Whatever. Just put 'em on."
Inuyasha held up the trunks for a closer look. They looked like a cross between real trousers and Kagome's garment of choice. He eyed the other boys, who were all slipping into some version or other.
Okay, so maybe he would look a little dumber than usual.
"Fine," he snapped. "And what's this?" He lifted the last chunk of elastic and fiber out of the bag. He frowned. It didn't seem to be shaped like anything. There were elastic looks like in a waistband, all right, but except for a weird cup-shaped piece in the front. It was almost shaped like his—
"You're kidding, right?"
But the freckled boy didn't answer, turning his head as the heavy wooden door swung open.
"Hey," snapped Inuyasha. "I'm talking to—" Inuyasha cut off as his ears twitched underneat his cap, his nose recoiling at the scent that reached his brain. A thin growl grew at the back of his throat as he twisted his neck so that he could see.
"Don't look!" hissed the freckled boy. "I do not want him coming over here!"
"Good afternoon, everyone!" a chipper voice rang out. There was a noncommital chorus of reponses.
"Aw fuck," said the round-faced boy. "Muster the squires; it's Sir Lancelot."
Inuyasha frowned. So the boy had started training with weapons? It didn't look like he had a lance...
"Hey, is there something wrong with the pipes?" he asked.
Inuyasha stopped growling. "Where's Kagome, you—"
It was a truly fabulous insult, even for him, but it balled up in his throat as the freckled and round-face boys quietly tackled him against the locker. It smelled like dead rats having a bachelor party.
"Hey, has anyone seen number thirty-two?" Hojo asked one of the boys next to him.
Hojo's hearing must have been as bad as his doofy haircut, because he simply shrugged and began putting on his equipment.
"Well," his voice deepened, "I'll see him in the ring, then." Someone must have looked at him funny, because he added in a deeper voice, "The matter concerns a lady."
Freckle boy and the round faced kid snorted in unison as Hojo slipped into his gear and disapeared around a row of lockers.
"Oh God, where does he get this?"
"It's like he's from the fifteenth century or something."
"I don't think so," added Inuyasha. "And believe me, I've checked."
"Thirty-two!" the freckled boy pointed at the paper pinned Inuyasha's shirt. "That's you, dude!"
"Yeah. Why does his Honorable Stickuphisass want to tangle with you?"
"And what's this about a lady?" asked the round-faced boy. "Not that girl I saw wishing him luck outside?"
The floor connected to Inuyasha's feet gave a load rattle and both humans stepped back. "Did she have hair that puffs out like this?" Inuyasha held his hands half a foot from his head.
"Kind of," said the round-faced kid. One of his eyebrows sidled up. "I was a little busier looking at that skirt of hers, tell the truth..."
"That's her!" Inuyasha held in a snarl. Oooooh, Kagome was going to pay for making him come all the way to this reeking, confusing room!
The reckled boy shook his head, "Man, I wouldn't want to be with you in the ring."
"Yeah, what's this ring I keep hearing about?"
The round face boy shook his head, "Your coach sucks, man."
"Yeah," added the round-faced kid. "I mean, I thought my guy was bad when he told me to go running in the snow, but turns out that was just to build up my pain tolerance."
"Actually, that doesn't help that much." Inuyasha simmered. "If anything's happened to Kagome, I'm going to pound that runtling into worm bait!"
The freckled boy brightened. "Really?"
The round faced boy seemed confused. "You mean that girl he was with? I don't know. She didn't look like anything was wr—"
The freckled boy jabbed the round-faced boy in the ribs. Then he nodded over his shoulder toward the door where Hojo had gone.
"I mean... She did look a bit flushed," he finished.
Inuyasha's ears twitched - or they tried to - under the helmet. Some quiet part of his being was telling him that these young men weren't being entirely truthful with him and that he should be careful.
Fortunately, the rest of his being had better sense.
"All right, then," said the freckled human. "Just let us fill you in on a few things before you go out there for your first bout."
DARCY: Hey, you know how you have no money, no political clout, your family has worse manners than a pack of hyenas with roid rage and if you don't find a husband you're basically going to be destitute, which is pretty much what'll happen to your sister because I convinced my pal Bingley that she's not good enough for him?
DARCY: Well I want to marry you anyway.
ELIZABETH: (beats him with embroidery hoop)
DARCY: (swirly-eyed) But I overlooked your many flaws!
COLONEL FITZWILLIAM: Stop digging, pal.
ELIZABETH: (clubs him)