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Relationships are never simple things (m this chapter)


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I'm never sure if what I write are really sneezefics or not, but anyway. This one came out of a picture of a group of 15th century adventurers enjoying ice-cream. For some reason that made me think of what someone who has never been exposed to one of the favorite sweets of my childhood, sherbert, would think of it. The story kind of grew from there (the sherbert is actually pretty incidental, but it's wierd how a huge idea can grow from such a small image isn't it?

Chapter 1

The rose-coloured tendrils that heralded the dawn snaked their way through a cold, slightly clammy early morning mist. Kagome gave a contented sigh as she rolled over, enjoying the comfort of her own bed. That was the thing she missed most whenever she travelled through the well to the 15th Century, the incomparable feeling only found when lying within one’s soft, warm covers. While the knowledge that Inuyasha was there and standing guard over them all helped her to sleep soundly, inconveniently placed tree roots and the sleep-chattering of the young fox spirit Shippo – whom she regarded very much as she did her little brother and often allowed to wrap himself in her sleeping bag when his favourite spot next to Kirara, Sango’s feline companion was unavailable – meant that she rarely got an undisturbed night’s rest. All of a sudden she was rudely yanked in the direction of the realm of full consciousness by a blast of music.

“Mnnnefratchit…go away” she groaned and waved an arm in the vague direction of the snooze button. She wished that she still had her old alarm clock, the one she had learned to ignore so effectively, but Inuyasha had accidentally broken that some time ago during one of the most serious of their fights. Instead of the button however, her wafting hand encountered soft fur. “Mmmm…kitty” she mumbled, making the logical assumption from the sensation and the purring that she could hear that it was the family cat Buyo – who found her furniture a particularly suitable resting place.

The last thing she was expecting was the affronted sounding, half-growled “I beg your pardon” that dispelled the last vestiges of sleep. She blinked several times and Inuyasha’s silver-white hair/fur framed face filled her focus. Heart pounding, Kagome sat bolt upright and barked – as quietly as she could - the word of power that she had over him “Inuyasha…SIT”. With a soft thump Inuyasha dropped, prone, to the floor, his face a mask of surprised annoyance. Buyo – who had been sitting peacefully on Inuyasha’s lap being fussed, leapt off and scarpered.

”What was that for?” he muttered, drumming his sharp nails on the ground.

“THAT, Inuyasha, was so that you sit still and listen to me when I tell you that sneaking into a girl’s bedroom in the middle of the night is NOT right, you scared the life out of me.” Kagome hissed, desperately struggling to keep her anger quiet. Even though all of her family knew about Inuyasha’s…unusual…nature, she didn’t really want to have to explain away why he was in her room.

Inuyasha shrugged, “I don’t see what you’re so angry about, I’ve sat guard while you’ve slept many times.”

Kagome sighed, the thing is that she knew Inuyasha would never hurt her, and that his intentions were entirely honourable. With what she considered admirable patience she said “Yes but you can’t do that here because…oh nevermind, I’m not awake enough to discuss this now, just don’t do it again okay? Here if you want to pay a late night visit in secret, the tradition is to throw…” Kagome stopped herself, she was about to say “throw pebbles at the window”, but knowing Inuyasha he’d probably just hurl a rock and she’d be trying to explain away broken glass, “…to knock.”

Inuyasha, who had by this time recovered from his mystically imposed indignity and was now seated cross legged simply shrugged again. “I really don’t understand this place. Far too many silly rules.”

And I don’t understand the fifteenth century, far too few comfortable beds.” Kagome shot back at him, but playfully, not with rancour. “So, I take it that there is a reason that I find you in my bedroom?” What Kagome actually secretly wanted him to say was “no, I just wanted to see you”, but of course he never would. Inuyasha was notoriously dense when it came to women, verging on obtuse even. Sure enough, he didn’t.

“Well we’re pretty sure we know where…”

”…One of the Shikon shards is and you need my services as a magic jewel detector?” Kagome queried with a barely perceptible sigh and raised eyebrow. “Inuyasha listen, Gramps is running out of strange diseases he can claim that I have contracted…”

”Smallpox” Inuyasha muttered, “infectious, dangerous”

“And eradicated over 20 years ago, you suggested that last time…and it was just my luck that my History teacher happened to see Gramps’ note. Yuka, Eri and Ayume told me that he’s trying to prove I’ve been faking these illnesses all this time. Detestable man.”

A strange expression passed across Inuyasha’s face for a brief second, it was akin to regret, though as if captured in an imperfect mirror, or seen on the face of someone who didn’t feel such an emotion often and wasn’t really sure how best to display it. “Sorry Kagome, I didn’t mean to get you into trouble, this world is as strange to me sometimes as mine is to you.”

Kagome felt her heart race slightly. She always did whenever he allowed any vulnerability to show through that gruff, sometimes infuriatingly snide manner. She was tempted to reach out and scratch his Akita dog ears, even though they felt strange to her, but as her hand started to move, the expression was gone.

“Anyway, it looks like you’ve been expecting me.” His head jerked in the direction of Kagome’s brightly coloured rucksack, in which was neatly folded several changes of clothes, including a Kimono much more suited to 15th Century feudal Japan than her modern clothing, a brightly coloured spinning top – Kagome almost always brought some little toy through from the future for Shippo and a bottle of something called “Jasmine fresh bubble bath” – that was for Sango, Kagome remembered how much she had loved her first experience of a proper long hot bath when they had stayed in a luxurious inn after Miroku performed a particularly successful fortune telling scam; the memory was fixed in her head by the image of Miroku desperately trying to appear dignified after being forcibly ejected from the bathhouse by a particularly powerful martial arts throw from Sango. Finally there was a yellow and red box covered with strange writing. “What’s this?” Inuyasha whispered, sniffing the box suspiciously.

“Oh, well given how much you all liked ice-cream, I thought I’d bring another treat. Mother took me to England…that’s far to the West… when I was younger and they had these things there, they’re called sherbert fountains…I’ve been looking for them for years, and finally found somewhere I could order them they’re…”

Kagome broke off her explanation as she noticed that Inuyasha had already torn his way into the box and pulled out one of the red and yellow paper tubes with the shiny black liquorice stick poking from the top.

“Hey, don’t be so greedy.” She reprimanded, still as sotto voice as possible.

“Can’t help it, this stuff smells good” Inuyasha said, the words muffled by the mouthful of liquorice.

“Inuyasha, you’re supposed to use that to get the sherbert out.”

“Wha…oh this?” He regarded the white powder suspiciously, then ripped the cardboard tubing to smell it. “Hey, that tingles...”

Inuyasha’s hypersensitive nose started to twitch and his eyes widened.

“Oh no, oh you silly, silly thing.” Kagome whispered as she thought furiously. Inuyasha sneezed loudly, and that was bound to wake someone up, most likely her younger brother Sota. She loved him dearly and knew he’d love to see Inuyasha, but his questions really weren’t what she needed at this moment. Only one idea came to mind, she hated to do it but sometimes desperate times called for desperate measures. “Inuyasha…SIT” she hissed for the second time.

“Yeii..heh…”*thump* TSSCHHFFF…TSSCHHFFF…TSSSSSCHHHFF.CCHHFFF, Inuyasha sneezed violently into the carpet, his entire body having been dragged down to the ground again by the enchanted necklace that had been bound to him in order to enforce his co-operation with Kagome when they first met. Kagome stared down at him with a mixture of amusement at the comic image and sympathy – and something more. It wasn’t the physical action of Inuyasha’s sneezing, but more the fact that he – for all his bluster, rough edges and bravado - was for those few seconds so utterly vulnerable, so adorable.

“Well I’m glad someone found that funny” growled Inuyasha as he pulled himself up, turning away from Kagome.

“Oh Inuyasha I’m so sorry, there was nothing else I could think of doing, and really, we must be quiet. Now let me write a note to explain that I’ve had to go with you suddenly and we can be off. I can’t wait to see the others again, I’ve missed you all.” Kagome whispered with an apologetic smile. She quickly scrawled the note, making sure to add a set of instructions to Sota about giving the History essay that was sitting on her desk to Ayume to hand in, she didn’t want to be in more trouble. She was always grateful that she didn’t have to lie to her family about where…when, she corrected herself mentally…she was going, though she’d never understood why not. Inuyasha was experimentally licking some of the sherbert off the end of his nose in a very doglike manner. “That’s very strange.” He concluded, “I can’t decide if I like that or not.” Forgiveness came easier to him now than it had in the beginning, even if he’d never admit it. “Right, come on.” He said forcefully, all but grabbing her arm and flipping her onto his back.

“You’re so rude, give me a second.” Kagome grabbed her rucksack and then shifted to make the piggy back position comfortable. Inuyasha moved fast and without really thinking about the needs of passengers. Once she had settled, he leapt from the window, landed on the balls of his feet and sprinted for the shrine with the enchanted well that linked their two worlds.

“Inuyasha, you haven’t told me where you think this shard is.” She called into his ear.

She felt him tense, his muscles bunching as if ready for combat. “We think Sesshomaru has it,” he practically spat.

Kagome rested her hands on Inuyasha’s shoulders. She knew exactly how he felt about his full-demon half brother, although in some ways that wasn’t the worst news Sesshomaru – despite his demonic heritage would never use the power of the stone. He considered it beneath him.

“And we think that Kagura, Naraku’s pet wind witch will get her grubby little hands on it from him.”

That did make her blood run cold. Naraku, the immensely powerful shapeshifter demon had left scars on the lives of all of her friends, and essentially defined the words “wrong hands” when used in the context of not letting the shards of the sacred jewel fall into the wrong hands. That couldn’t be allowed to happen.

At that moment Inyasha tensed and leapt, throwing himself into the well. Kagome took a deep breath and prepared for the strange falling sensation that always accompanied the transition between times. No matter how many times she made the trip, she didn’t think she would ever get used to that. Sure enough it hit her hard, but passed quickly and she found herself sitting at the base of the well with Inuyasha. From above Shippo’s high, excitable, piping voice shouted “Hello Inuyasha, Hello Kagome, hey everyone, Kagome’s here, Kagome’s here!”

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Ahh...that was wonderful. Of course I expected nothing less from such a wonderful writer! You have such a way of writing the interaction between characters and a fantastic way of setting the scene. And introducing some funny bits too (I liked the line about "knowing Inuyasha, he'd probably just hurl a rock...) I was curious as to how the "sherbet" (sp?) was going to end up into a story too! :D

And I have to say this is getting printed right out so I can read it again and again. And good heavens, Inuyasha's little sneezing "moment" had me melted...I do have a bit of a soft spot for the half dog-demon boy... :unsure:

I don't think you need to worry too much about whether or not it counts as a "sneezefic". For my tastes, I think what you write is perfect and I know other people think so too.

Hmm...the fact that this says "Chapter 1" and the cliffhanger-y sort of ending implies that there may be more to follow. I know I for one, can't wait to see where this is headed because I sense some interesting moments coming up! :cry:

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This was wonderful! I love your style! Thank you so much for posting it! I'm hoping that there's more somewhere!! :cry:

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Hurrah for sherbert fountains! I remember them fondly too; and at least one occasion when they made a friend of mine sneeze.

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