Sugar0o – I know what you mean. I was half tempted to write about them having a history together, I still am. I'm not sure. Thanks, I actually didn't care too much for the last chapter, it was just something that had to be written to move it along.
M'Lady91 – I kind of like the bratty Shippo. I think it brings more to the usual momma's boy character people usually write.
Dark Inu Fan – You're getting close, but not quite what I have planned. I think you'll be surprised. I hate it when things are predictable.
Reader238 – I still haven't decided on the whole powers thing for Souta. Still a possibility.
To A cErTaIn KiTsUnE – I'm glad you like my portrayal of Shippo. I'm tired of seeing the same things from each of the characters. And Sango I'm still trying to decide on. The original plot I had for this story, just kept growing and changing.
Akary Yami, Kira Kyuuketsuki, Ichigo Mirai, Shiori Mayonaka no Yume, Zoey Tamagachi, Suki Yasutori, Sinistera of the Akatsuki, Grimmich, and Little Firework, thanks for the reviews. They help keep me going.
Also I'm looking for someone who'll help beta my story, and throw around some ideas with me if you're interested. Just e-mail me. Thanks.
Disclaimer: I don't own InuYasha, Bleach, or the song Firework by Katy Perry (that just happened to be the song I was listening to at the moment)
"Chasing all those stars"
Friday came must faster than either Ichigo or Kagome had expected. Both soul reaper and priestess were nervous, but each for different reasons. This was going to be Ichigo's first real date, ever. He had never had too much time for girls in high school for obvious reasons. All his friends had always thought he had something for Orihime, Rukia, or even Tatsuki. But the truth was, they had always been just friends, and it was almost like he had three other sisters.
A few girls had even been brave enough to ask him out over the years, but he always declined. Having a relationship or even casually going out with a girl was something he never really thought too much about. But there something about Kagome, something that made him change his mind about the whole dating thing. He was nervous for the first time in a long time.
The same could be said for Kagome about the nerves. This would be the first date she herself had accepted without the help of meddling friends.
And Ichigo did seem like a nice guy. Whether he was the "one" or not, she was glad she had agreed to the date. Miroku had warned her about Ichigo being a Soul Reaper, one who's interested in finding out about the Shikon no Tama, when he found out about her date with him. That tidbit of information had caused her to hesitate, and she nearly called the whole thing off. But as she was about to call him, Ichigo had called her. He had wanted to know what part of the town she had seen so far, and since she had only seen the shrine and the middle school, he had turned their date to a sort of tour of Karakura. There had been something in his voice, something that convinced her of his sincerity. So she'd take a chance on him, she was after all a pretty good judge of character.
Smiling bravely at the reflection in her mirror, she took a deep breath before exiting the bathroom. She didn't know where they were going exactly, but on Yuzu's advice, she had opted to go casual, but not overly so.
This whole week had been a crazy one, and with each day she found herself looking more, and more forward to this date. Miroku had made it a point to visit the shrine everyday this week. It really was great seeing him again, almost surreal, but at the same time it was tearing her apart in the inside. Seeing him made her think of the others, and even though he hadn't found even a hint of them in the last five hundred years, she still hoped that maybe, just maybe that they shared a similar fate to Miroku's. She had to squash that thought though. It would only lead to more hurt.
Yuzu's father had agreed to the priestess training, or rather the part time job at the shrine. She had only officially started yesterday, and Kagome had only explained to her what she would be doing once the shrine was officially opened. She still didn't quite know how she was going to train her without revealing too much, but she had faith she'd figure things out soon enough.
"Hey Kagome, Ichigo's here!"
Souta's voice echoed throughout the house. She grabbed her purse before heading to the foyer. Ichigo was already there, dressed sharply in faded jeans, and black dress shirt, with a brown jacket. He looked nervous as he fiddled with the cuffs of his jacket.
"Don't you clean up nice," she commented, walking up to him.
He smiled back, his feelings of unease lifting. "You look great."
"Thanks," she mumbled back, her face flushed. She still wasn't used to receiving compliments.
"So, you ready to go?"
"Yea," she replied, grabbing his hand and leading him out the front doors, but not before yelling over her shoulders, "I'll be back in a few hours Souta. Don't burn down the shrine."
Karin glared at the pair's retreating forms from her spot on the couch. Today was the first time this week since she and Yuzu had spent the night that she had a chance to visit Souta. Her father had deemed it time that she stopped ignoring the spirits she saw, and learn to hone her powers before Hollows started to come after her. She really didn't want to be a soul reaper, substitute or not, and she wanted to hate her father for it. But it seemed she had no choice in the matter.
Sighing, she turned her attention to her boyfriend, who was mindlessly addicted to the game he was playing.
"Idiot," she called out, getting his attention.
"Don't you think it's weird that your sister is going out with my brother?" Souta shrugged.
"A little," he admitted. Truthfully, he didn't really care but he wasn't a total idiot. He had seen and heard the stories of InuYasha getting much pummeled countless times after giving Kagome the wrong answer, even if it had been the truth in some cases.
"But what can we do about it. They're both technically adults, and I'm sure they know what they're doing."
Karin let it drop after that. She'd have to work on Ichigo and Yuzu more later; mainly Yuzu. She didn't want her sister to get hurt. She didn't want any of her siblings getting hurt, but she could see Ichigo dealing with it, not Yuzu.
"Hey where's Kohaku at. I haven't seen him since I got here," Karin asked. She had been there all day too.
"Probably still out back, practicing," Souta answered with another shrug of his shoulders not really caring. He was used to Kohaku devoting entire days of training, even if he rarely used it.
"Practicing? Practicing what?"
Damn, he shouldn't have said that.
"Uhh, he's doing a small performance for the festival Kagome is planning. He's really into traditional stuff," Souta replied. At least it wasn't a total lie.
"Cool can I see," she asked, expecting some sort of ancient dance or something.
"Sure," he nervously answered.
Saving his game, and turning off his system, Souta led Karin to the backyard; or rather what they considered the backyard, a small forest would probably be a better definition for it. Cherry blossoms were scattered everywhere, along with regular foliage. In the center of the grounds stood an archaic shrine that had been dedicated hundreds of years ago to the warriors who had fallen here, Kagome's friends and Kohaku's sister. The back wasn't where Kagome wanted to host the festival though, but in the front courtyard.
Kokaku was in the center of the yard with a pile of wood next to him. He was expertly swinging his sickle scythe around, chopping more wood for his room. He still wasn't used to many of the conveniences of the future. The state of his room made this apparent. Kagome let him remodel the room the way he wanted, and so he was able to have a live fire in the center of it. He even cooked with it sometimes. There was a mattress, a blanket, a chest for his clothes (Kagome wouldn't budge on that), and a small shrine with a picture of his sister and that was it.
"Wow, he's pretty good with that thing," Karin commented.
"Who taught him?"
"His sister," he absentmindedly replied before wincing at his slip up. Hopefully she wouldn't notice.
Karin gave him a weird look and said, "You mean Kagome, right?"
"Funny, she doesn't look like she can handle a weapon."
"She's actually quite handy with a few of them." Karin snorted, not quite believing him.
"You'd be surprised. During the festival, you can see for yourself some of the things she can do," Souta defended his sister.
Karin didn't reply. She still didn't think much of Kagome, but she was Souta's hero or at least that's what she got from his letters. Instead her attention turned to her foot where she felt something rub against it.
"Cute," she squealed, picking up the cream colored cat at her foot. Strange, it had two tails.
"Oh, that's Kirira," Souta spoke, turning his attention back to his girlfriend. Weird. She was with Shippo the last time he had seen the demonic cat.
"Shit," Souta suddenly cursed, startling Karin. Souta looked back up at Kohaku, and saw that he had stopped chopping wood. He was staring intently up at the roof of the shrine.
"You might wanna go home Karin." Before she could ask why, Shippo had struck at Kohaku with his short sword, but Kohaku had blocked with the blade of his scythe.
Kagome smiled shyly at Ichigo as they made their way down the street. They were walking side by side, so close that they were almost touching. They had taken the bus downtown, something Ichigo had seemed embarrassed about, but Kagome merely waved off his concerns. It really was no big deal. So far they really hadn't done much, just a lot of walking around and him pointing out things about the smaller town. She was enjoying herself though, especially since it was just her and him.
She remembered one of the earlier dates her friends had forced her to go on in high school. The guy (she couldn't even remember his name now) had taken her to some flashy new club hoping to impress her. She had been miserable the whole night. There was nothing intimate about being surrounded by hordes of people, and she doubted he had heard a word she said that night.
"So, you really don't care that I'm older than you," Kagome asked. She didn't really care, especially since she knew how much older InuYasha had been than her.
Ichigo shook his head, "Not really. Age is just a number. What about you, do you care?"
"Nope," Kagome happily replied. "So do you attend the university here?"
"Yea, I'm in my second year already. Still not really sure what I want to do though."
"I know what you mean. I kept changing my major until I finally settled on education."
"Oh, so you wanna be a teacher?"
"Yea, I got a job at the middle school here for a teacher's aide," she replied.
"How are you liking things here so far," He asked, changing the subject.
Kagome shrugged her shoulders before answering, "Alright I guess. Been really busy with the repairs for the shrine and the boys to really notice much lately."
"How is that coming along anyway? From what I saw, it looks pretty good so far."
"Thanks. Kohaku and I do most of the work."
Ichigo was surprised at that. He remembered how that old shrine used to look, and he was impressed, "Really, you and Kohaku did the repairs. That's really impressive."
"It's nothing. A couple of old friends taught us…" She trailed off, a far off look starting to etch itself into her features.
"Oh and over there is the dojo I used to train at," he pointed out, drawing her attention ahead of them.
"And get your butt kicked by Tatsuki," a voice added, coming from behind the pair. Turning around, Ichigo refrained from letting a few choice words slip as Renji and Rukia slowly approached them. Kagome sent him a look, before raising a hand to her mouth to try and stifle the giggles that wanted to leak out.
Scowling, he reluctantly introduced the two soul reapers to his date, "Kagome, these are a few friends of mine, Rukia, and Renji. Guys this is Kagome."
"Nice to meet y'all," Kagome politely greeted, giving them a small wave.
"So this is the girl Yuzu told us about," Rukia remarked.
"What's a pretty girl like you going out with an idiot like him," Renji asked, practically gleaming with mirth when he saw Ichigo's face begin to match his hair.
"Shut it dumbass," Ichigo retorted, glaring at the red head, trying to restrain himself for doing anything more.
"C'mon, Renji let's go. We're supposed to head to Urahara's," Rukia said before a fight could start. She grabbed Renji's elbow, attempting to lead him away.
"We'll see you around Kagome-san," she called over her shoulder.
Ichigo waited until they were out of site before, he continued on with his tour.
"So those were some of your friends," Kagome spoke, feeling a little stupid for repeating the obvious.
"Yea, you could call them that. In all honestly I'm surprised we haven't run into more of them," Ichigo replied, burying his hands deep into his pant pockets. He was still feeling a bit embarrassed because of the two.
Laughing, Kagome boldly hooked her arm with his. "Let's go get something to eat. I'm starving."
"What are you doing here," Kohaku demanded, surprising Karin with the rage in his voice. She hadn't even thought the quiet boy was capable of showing such raw emotion.
"This is my new home also Haku-kun," Shippo snidely replied back, jumping back away from the former demon slayer.
Kohaku's glared hardened, and he swung his scythe at the fox demon, aiming straight for his head. Shippo effortlessly dodged.
"Funny, I thought you made it clear you had no home, no family."
Shippo merely gave a shrug of his shoulders, as if he didn't care, but there was something in his teal eyes that said otherwise. "You know me Kohaku. I always had a flair for the dramatics."
"Oh really, did this flair for the dramatics of yours care that you made Kagome-sama cry," Kohaku yelled back, rushing the demon. He dropped his blade, and punched the older boy. Shippo took it, too ashamed to block.
"You are such an asshole, you know that."
He swung again, but this time Shippo dodged.
"I know that Haku-kun, but it's not like you're any better. You just disappeared when she needed you. She died because of you," Shippo harshly stated, pushing Kohaku away from him. He raised his sword, and Kohaku brought out the one hidden in his sleeve in response.
"Bastard! I had no control over that," Kohaku protested. He slashed forward, only for Shippo to dodge again. This time though, he kept swinging, pounding on the outstretched blade. He kept at it, until Shippo lost his grip and it fell out of his hand.
He raised his arm again, pausing in midair slightly above Shippo's head. Souta quickly grabbed Karin from interfering and pushed her behind him, ready to stop them himself.
"Go ahead and do it slayer. Do what you were bred to do," Shippo taunted.
Kohaku hesitated, before lowering his blade instead and taking a few steps back. He had let the demon get to him enough already.
"Hmph, fucking coward," Shippo spoke, pulling out his own knife that he had hidden under the sleeve of his jeans.
"Go to hell fox," He yelled, running at him again.
Shippo smirked, eagerly awaiting the last demon slayer. Souta ran towards them though, tired of all this fighting. Besides, Kagome would kill them if anyone got hurt, even if Shippo had left them on a bad note.
"Damn it, you idiot," Karin yelled, her gut wrenching in anticipation.
Souta got to them before they collided, but he felt something tear open into the palm of his hand and he let out a cry in agony. He found himself falling to his knees, clutching his left palm. Shippo's knife was sticking through it.
"Souta, Souta," Karin frantically yelled, running to his side.
Kohaku acted fast and tore a piece of his shirt off, before kneeling besides the younger boy. Shippo, kneeled also, taking Souta's wounded hand in his. He briefly met Kohaku's eyes, before nodding his head, signaling that he knew what to do.
"Karin, grab Souta's other hand, and let him squeeze it," Kohaku ordered.
Karin obeyed without protest. She took his hand, in hers and said, "Focus on me Souta. As soon as they get it out, we'll head to my dad's. He'll know what to do."
He managed a weak smile. Shippo pulled his blade out, and Kohaku quickly wrapped his shirt around the hand, and tied it tight to stop the blood flow.
"C'mon, my car is parked in the front, I'll take you to a hospital," Shippo spoke, ignoring the guilt he felt settling in his gut. He just couldn't do anything right.
"No," Karin spoke up. "We'll go to my dad's. He owns a small clinic, and it's a lot closer."
Nodding his head, the four made their way to his car.
"And so then he looks startled for a moment, before he turns around to her and grabs her hands. She looks really embarrassed for a moment, and that's when he asksher. You should've seen the look on her face, she was so made. She slugged him good across the face," Kagome recanted, laughing along with Ichigo.
They had decided on a small diner, not too far from where the shrine was for dinner. So far things were going pleasantly well. Though the pessimistic side of Kagome, kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, nothing ever went smoothly as it should for her.
"I can't believe you were friends with such a guy," Ichigo commented, before taking a bite out of the burger he had ordered.
"He wasn't all that bad," Kagome defended him. "Certainly a lot better friend that that Toshiro guy you told me about."
"Hey, Toshiro may be an arrogant prick, but he's better than some pervert," Ichigo argued, glaring. Kagome returned the glare, and for a moment the two just sat there, glaring at one another, before they both started laughing.
"Okay, so maybe we both have weird friends," Kagome said, in between laughs.
Ichigo snorted, but otherwise agreed. Weird, was an understatement when it came to his friends, but it's not like he could tell her that.
"Hey, I thought you wanted to hear more of the old legend anyway," Kagome brought up, silently anticipating his answer. She didn't want to admit it, but a small part of her still doubted his intentions, afraid that he had figured her out.
Ichigo blushed before replying, "Thought that was obvious, I just wanted an excuse to hang out with you some more."
Kagome's face soon matched Ichigo's hair.
"You just gotta ignite the light
and let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July"
Kagome smiled sheepishly before silencing her cell phone.
"I really like American pop" She said, before getting up and answering the small pink contraption.
Ichigo nodded his head in understanding. He himself was more of a fan of the rock music. So far he really liked how things were going. Kagome was a lot of fun, and he really liked hanging out with her so far.
Ichigo felt his stomach drop when he saw Kagome's expressions, as she practically ran back to their table.
"We have to go to your father's clinic. Idiots, got in a fight, and Souta's hurt," Kagome anxiously replied.
Ichigo barely had time to throw a few bills on the table before he was dragged out by Kagome.
Souta tried not to wince while Karin's father cleaned, and stitched the wound. The blade had gone straight through the palm of his right hand. Luckily it didn't hit anything major, but it would be a while before he could really do anything with his hand.
"I'm going to give you some pills to help with the pain, but I don't want you using this hand too much until the wound closes," Isshin ordered, as he finished wrapping some gauze over the stitches he had applied.
"So, are you going to tell me what happened?"
"Dad," Karin yelled, from her spot by the door, glaring at her father. She herself didn't understand what exactly had happened at the shrine, but it was their business. Besides, she'd get what she could out of Souta later.
She was the only one in the small room besides him and her father. Shippo and Kohaku were around front, waiting with Yuzu. He could tell that they both felt guilty about what happened, and he didn't blame either of them. He just wished they'd get over their petty feud. There was nothing they could do about it now.
"Quite Karin," Isshin snapped, acting strangely serious. "I don't feel comfortable about my daughter going to your house son, if this is the sort of thing that goes on."
Souta bowed his head. He had expected as much.
"I'm sorry, that you feel that way, but the shrine is a safe place. Kohaku and Shippo were just practicing for a show they're going to put on together for the festival at the shrine. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," He lied, laughing nervously.
Isshin eyed him curiously but didn't question him further about the incident. Karin bit her lip nervously. She knew he was lying, and she was really curious now.
"I'll take your word for it this time, but if something else happens both of my daughters are no longer stepping foot there again," He warned, ignoring the look his daughter was sending him.
"Who is this Shippo punk anyway," He asked.
Souta snorted at the description before replying, "A brat who Kagome used to babysit. His parents died when he was young, and she was always there for him. She lets him stay at the shrine from time to time. I guess he's finally changed his mind about sticking around for good."
"Did you really have to call her anyway," Souta asked, changing the subject. He really hadn't wanted to interrupt her date. Ever since she stopped hanging out with Yuka, Eri, and Ayumi she had stopped going out.
"Yes," Karin quickly answered. At least one good thing had come out of this whole fiasco.
It wasn't long before that, that the door opened and in stepped a worried looking Kagome, and an ever scowling Ichigo.
"What happened? Are you okay," She frantically asked, going to her younger brother's side. Carefully, she took his bandaged hand in hers and inspected it.
"Don't worry he'll be fine," Isshin answered for him. "The blade went straight through his hand. I've given him some medicine, and he should come see me in about two weeks to have the stitches taken out."
"Thank you Kurosaki-san," Kagome spoke, bowing at the doctor.
"It was nothing Higurashi, but please I tone done the acts. I don't any more accidents to happen, especially since my daughters are hanging there so much."
Kagome was slightly confused by this, but she didn't let it show. She hadn't seen him when she rushed in, but by Shippo and Kohaku's guilty auras, she could pretty much sum of what had happened on her own.
"Of course Kurosaki-san. Come on, Souta it's late and you start class Monday," Kagome beckoned, before turning back to Ichigo.
"Call me, tonight wasn't that bad."
Before he could reply, Kagome had rushed them out, headed towards where Kohaku and Shippo were waiting. They were standing opposite one another, looking at anything but the other. Sighing, Kagome grabbed them by both of their arms, and led then outside to Shippo's car. She didn't speak a word to either one, just took the keys from the fox demon and started the car.