S-S: So this is the first chapter, finally (re)finished. Since the plot and details are more developed than the first fail-tasitc version I wrote, and also since I just have a better sense of what I want to do with the characters and the plot, chapters will come out on chunks. I will be re-writing a bunch of chapters all at once, and probably will post five or so at once (most likely on the weekends). So don't expect daily updates, but do expect updates. Again, since I am still unsure about whether to redo this story, I would appreciate it if some of my pre-revival readers warn me if I begin to stray too far from what I did before or where they think I should be going.
With that said, I hope everyone enjoys the first chapter of The Wonderful Takahashi of Oz.
I also don't own InuYasha.
Shiko Higure had heard a lot of nonsense in her time. In fact, sometimes that nonsense even came from her own mouth. But this… this took the cake. She looked up at her dear, dear friend Lana, and struggled to stop herself from strangling the idiot. Painfully, she repeated in a run-away-while-you-still-can voice, "So you dropped your phone… in the bay."
"Yup!" Lana said happily, seeming oblivious to the evil intent that Shiko was radiating.
With a sad and tired sigh, Shiko glanced up at Lana, removing her head from the sanctuary that was her arms, "How, dare I ask?" she inquired in a pained voice, rubbing her temples soothingly.
Lana pondered over this question while poking her sushi of questionable origins with a toothpick – the kind that had pretty colored plastic wrap on top to try and make the toothpick look fancy. After a long pause, she decided upon, "I'm not sure myself."
Saiyu, a normally shy and quiet girl of a mysterious Asian origin who just happened to be sitting across the table crossed her arms in a huff, "That is the most stupid-" Maiyu, her identical twin sister who was even shyer and more quiet finished with, "-thing that we have ever heard."
They had twin moments. Often. The rest of the group had only gotten used to the two after a hastily prevented incident with watermelon and three-year-old mayo. Saiyu glanced at Shiko, "You were the one to originally confront her about this, so how did you know her phone was gone anyways?" she reasoned, using her horrible powers of logic against Shiko.
Deciding that the best way to solve this particular problem was a demonstration, Shiko reached for her phone in her back pocket, "You mean despite the fact that this is the third time this month that Lana has mysteriously lost her phone? And you mean despite the fact that last time we found it, we had to recover it from a strange old man in Brazil, of all places?" the twins nodded, and so Shiko held up her phone and dialed Lana's number, "You can hear the water when you dial." she said with forced nonchalant-ness.
And indeed, after the customary two rings, the phone automatically answered and you could hear the sounds of water moving past. Riza, a girl with dark skin and a mane of curly hair that never stayed in place, erupted into a bout of giggles. The rest would have looked at her strangely, if it were not such Riza thing to do. She giggled, laughed, and made dirty jokes, including a very memorable one about two old men and a stack of dishes, and everyone was completely used to it.
Lana grinned and snatched the phone out of Shiko's hand, "Awesome!" she yelled, holding the phone up to the dingy cafeteria ceiling like it was sent by god, "Now I can prank call fishes!" she held up the cell phone to her ear and said in a fake posh voice, "Hello dear sir, do you know why you dislike Fridays so much?"
Riza giggled – again – and glanced at Shiko, adopting the same fake posh accent that Lana had used, she asked, "Shiko, is your refrigerator running?"
"It was, then I broke both its legs." Shiko said in a horrible deadpan.
"Brrrrrr…." Riza said, with an exaggerated shiver, "So icy Shiko, what happened? Did you take a bath in ice cubes during a blizzard while drinking iced tea, or what?"
Shiko simply chose to munch on her nuttela and banana sandwich and say nothing, simply smiling contentedly. Unfortunately her silence had the wrong effect on Riza entirely. She grinned and leaned over the table to get closer to Shiko than was physically possible without actually moving her butt. "Tell me," she asked with a grin, "is your icy exterior today – and we can all agree that you are rarely this cold – a bi-product of being overly emotional yesterday?"
Shiko chocked on her sandwich, and stuttered to reply in the negative. Maiyu grinned, "Oh yes," she said, while Saiyu finished with, "It most certainly is."
"Ooooohhh! Did you cry!?" Lana asked, like it was the most shocking thing in the world. "NO." Shiko said loudly and firmly, trying to put her foot down even though it was under the table and on the floor already.
"Yes." Saiyu said, "She was at our house, and we were watching a," she glanced over at Shiko evilly, "certain anime series, and, well… there was a certain character death and she actually started to cry."
Shiko shot Saiyu a look and replied quickly with, "And your eyes were soaking wet as well. Don't deny it. Maiyu was sobbing quietly in a corner, using up… what was it? Fifty tissue boxes, I believe?" Maiyu's eyes grew teary, like even the thought reduced her to tears.
"Oooohhh!" Lana asked, "Who died? Who! Tell me! I must know!"
Saiyu opened her mouth to reply with a smug smirk. Cutting her off however, Shiko glared her in the eye and muttered maliciously, "Ninth grade. Tuxedo mask. I have records of that phone call."
"Don't make me go back to calling you Carlota," Saiyu countered with a grin. Yes, Shiko Higure had not always been Shiko Higure. Her name had once been Carlota Collier. Ever since she had been exposed to anime, she had been dying to change her name to something that suited her. And so she did. It took a lot of convincing, mind you, and her mother hadn't been too keen on it, but they had set the court date in the end, and that was all that mattered.
Maiyu held up her hands in an attempt at peacekeeping, "If you two are quite finished discharging sexual tension-" but she was cut off by Riza, who suddenly began giggling so loudly that half of the cafeteria paused in what they were doing and stared.
"You two- AHAHAHAHA! – were just so- AHAHAHAHAHA! – HAHA SEX!" Riza spouted, clutching her stomach so hard, and laughing with such seriousness that she fell off the table and started rolling around on the floor, giggling like an idiot. After a few minutes, with her showing no sign of stopping, Shiko grabbed Lana's sushi toothpick and poked Riza in the cheek.
With a sigh, she leaned back and ran her hands through her dark bangs, "Yeah, she'll be like that for a while. Have to wait till she starts choking and turning blue first," she said matter-of-factly.
Lana 'ooohhh'ed and 'aaaaahhhh'ed at the collapsed and pained Riza, who was at that stage of laughter where she was laughing so hard that no sound came out and was currently collapsed into a ball. Shiko took this moment of distraction to snatch her phone back from Lana and delete the calls made to the fish under the bay. If any octopuses wanted revenge, Shiko would be damned if they were going to take it out on her.
The bell that marked the end of lunch rang, resulting in many joyous cheers from the students crammed into the cafeteria that was far too small to have passed any fire safety inspections.
"Well bye~!" Shiko said happily, bolting up from her seat and giving a quick wave to her three friends. She tossed her book back over her shoulder and hurried out of the cafeteria. Fortunately for her, because today was a block schedule – she had classes 1, 3, and 5 – lunch was her last class. And home was only ten minutes and a city bus ride away.
There was Shiko, walking to the bus stop. Let's start at her feet. She was wearing heavy black sneakers, the kind that was practical, but could still pass as very worn converse if pushed to it. Dark boot-cut jeans, nothing special, but she can't stand skinny jeans because they restricted her movement too much. At her waist, she had a long silver chain that connects to her Full Metal Alchemist pocket watch that she got years ago at her very first convention. Maiyu and Saiyu both got the same one as well, but Shiko was the only one who still wore hers, and she always made sure that it had a fresh battery and was on time. Her plain black t-shirt was nothing extraordinary, no slogans or logos, but was pretty loose on her form because she got it on discount at Goodwill. Her book bag was slung over her shoulder. It's a plain canvas brown, but she ironed on a large sticker of the Vampire Knight logo that she found in Japantown. The strap of the bag was decorated with a few pins of anime related matter, all gotten at conventions, and generally done by unprofessional artists. Her bag was bursting a bit at the seams, and she does really need to repair it, but in all likelihood, she will wait until it actually falls apart before she does anything.
Then there are her hands. A person can tell a lot about Shiko from just looking at her hands. Her fingers aren't particularly long or elegant or dainty or any of those romanticized versions that all fairy tale princesses seem to have. Her hands are pretty average, and even a bit scarred up, a few long cuts that healed badly and left a faint marking behind to show that she had been careless with a knife before. Her nails aren't long and manicured, or anything like that. She keeps them cut rather short, if they weren't, she wouldn't be able to form tight fists during her martial art classes. Long nails are impractical as well. But she does paint her nails, and always has a fresh coat of black polish on them. A few years ago, she got her nails painted black for a convention, didn't bother to remove the polish right away, and so the habit stuck. She likes to think that the nail polish makes her nails look longer and daintier. She might be deluding herself there, but she doesn't really care either way.
The rest of her body is thin, not fashion model thin unfortunately, she will always have too much muscle for that, but still thin. Her curves are nothing to brag about, and her figure isn't extraordinary. But as if to make up for the average look that she gives off with the rest of her, all her artsy-ness and creativity seems to have been pushed into her face. She's got an angular face and delicate cheek-bones, but her jaw is always set in a firm line, and her eyes are large, staring people in the eye and not backing down. Her hair is long, tied in a ponytail at the top of her head. Her bangs frame her face and have been purposely cut to resemble something out of a manga book. Her hair used to be a sun-darkened blond, but it's dyed now. Her hair is dark black, shiny and smooth, with one long streak of cobalt blue running from her scalp to the tips of her hair. Her pale blue eyes that are more grey than blue were accented with smoky kohl. Three shiny silver studs travel up her right ear like metallic ants.
She goes to art school, public and free, but with an audition to get in. Her parents didn't want her to pierce or dye anything, but she reasoned that all the art kids were a bit crazy, and a few piercings and some hair dye wasn't anything major. Besides, it was her body and she would have it looked how she wanted.
The city bus arrived, lurching to a stop in front of the school. Shiko waited for the doors to chunk open and hopped on, sliding her clipper-card against the scanner by the door. Like all high-schoolers, and especially like all seniors, Shiko had been dying to get a car. In fact, she really just wanted to learn how to drive so that she could get a motorcycle. She didn't want a Harley Davidson, one of those loud and obnoxious clunky old things. She wanted a sleek Japanese bike, like a Katana, or something along those lines. The kind that lets her gently tap the handle and voom- 200 mph.
She's taken the same bus for the last four years, but she still has no idea who the driver is, even though the balding Indian man has been driving for at least twice her own life span and has gone through five large and dirty turbans during the time Shiko has known him. She walked to the back of the bus, not sitting down on the dingy plastic seats that are reserved for the elderly and the disabled that frequently occupy the bus. All the seats are filled, whether with a businessman or a nanny with kids. So she remained standing, holding on to the strap that dangled from the bar on the ceiling.
As the bus lurched away from the school, and static-filled Arabian music began to quietly blare through the speakers ahead, Shiko dug through her bag and pulled out her mp3 player. She stuck the earbuds in her ears and turned up the volume on Len Kagamine's Servant of Evil as high as the volume would go, attempting to drown out the roar of the bus and the chatter of the people with good music.
Shiko is, was, and always will be, an otaku. During the summer in between the sixth and seventh grades, Maiyu and Saiyu had invited her over for a sleepover. After a few weird action-adventure movies were tossed into the discarded pile along with a dozen corny romances, Maiyu had retrieved the first few episodes of InuYasha. Having never before been exposed to anime, Shiko was hooked before five minutes had gone by. Once she got home the next day, she was on her computer, typing and then watching. She finished the series as fast as she could, and then read the manga because the anime wasn't complete yet and she couldn't wait to find out what happened. Then she got started on other series, reading and watching and becoming more and more obsessed.
It was like she awoke one day as someone completely different, someone stronger and braver and more like the person she was supposed to be. But no matter how many anime she watched, or how many conventions she went to, her life felt… lacking, somehow, like part of her, a crucially important part, was missing. She hoped that whatever she was missing, she would grow into as time went on.
As the bus approached her stop, she tugged her earpods out of her ears and stuffed her mp3 back into her bag. Her body titled forward as the bus lurched to a clunky and uneven stop. The doors opened and she hurried out, desperately escaping the stuffy and sweltering confinement of the bus and breathing in a large amount of the welcomingly fresh air.
Shiko sighed. There was only one person who called her that, and she hadn't known that he would be here today. She turned and smiled at the man, "Hey dad!"
Her father. He dressed like a military man, camo cargo pants and black muscle shirts. He even had the buzz cut thing going. But he was like a marshmallow. Shiko just had to poke him and he would become all dad and smiles and love and other such memorably squishy items. Her father's truck was parked by their favorite tiny secluded park that was about half a block away from Shiko's mother's house. It was where they got together to either meet up or do other father-daughter activities. Like self-defense, martial arts, and swordsmanship. Very fun.
Her dad gave her an overly affectionate hug, "Shi, it's so good to see you! I was hoping that we could go to the range to try out your new nine millimeter today!"
"Uh dad…" Shiko tried.
"And since I haven't seen you in so long I was hoping we could do some sparring! I brought your katana!" her dad continued, holding out the weapons in question.
"And then maybe we could go out to dinner…! We need more father-daughter bonding time!"
His face fell, "Oh you don't want to? I mean, you probably have friends – well of course you have friends, but I meant –" he sniffled, "My little girl is all grown up, and-"
"Dad," Shiko sighed and ran a hand through her bangs, "I'll need to get another bag."
Her dad smiled, relieved, "Well all right!"
Shiko hesitantly smiled back and yanked her heavy books out of her bag, dropping them with a thump into her father's hands. Then she snagged her gun and her sword, "I'll just be back in less than a minute to grab another bag from Mom's! See ya in a sec!"
She tucked the items away and took a few steps off the grass of the park to the concrete sidewalk, turning and waving to her dad. It was nice to spend time with him, even if it was partly because he would probably burst into tears if his 'little girl' ever stopped wanting to be with him.
"Shi! Be safe, kay?" her dad said in that typical dad-worried tone that no teenager had ever paid attention to.
Shiko stepped out onto the street and smiled at her dad, "I'll be fine! What could happen?"
She was still smiling when the car smashed into her.