Kagome sighed. Studying for midterms was going to be harder than she thought. Especially with her 15th birthday around the corner, she shifted anxiously in her seat. Her eyes darted to the window as she bit her lip. She must’ve zoned out at one point because she heard her teacher clear his throat.
“Miss Higurashi,” he stated, “stay after class for 10 minutes.”
A few kids snickered, and Kagome nearly slapped herself. She always managed to get distracted in class. Sighing again, she fixed her gaze intently on the board. For the rest of the class she jotted down notes and answered questions. The bell rang.
“See everybody tomorrow,” he dismissed.
The students collected their stuff, got up, and bowed. “Thank you.” Kagome was about to get up as well, when her teacher coughed. She blushed when she realized she had already forgotten her punishment. “Sorry, Yasaka-sensei.”
He nodded and sat down to organize his papers and belongings.
Kagome looked out the window again. Her fifteenth birthday… She shivered with excitement. Every year her mother managed to surprise her with an outstanding gift. Kagome began to doodle in her notebook and surprised herself when she noticed she drew dog ears. She smiled. She liked dogs. Maybe she should get a cute little puppy for her birthday. Now that made her almost jump with glee. She began listing the different types of dogs in her mind. Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Munchkin… Oh wait that’s a cat.
“Miss Higurashi, the 10 minutes are now over,” Yasaka-sensei dismissed her without glancing up.
Kagome hastily got up and with a bow she darted out the door yelling, “Thank you!”
She ran down the long hallway, hoping to meet up with her friends. She knew they never ditched her even that one time Kagome had had to stay after school for a whole hour, cleaning the classroom against her will. Kagome slid around the corner and was going to resume her trek when she bumped into a hard sturdy chest. Books flew everywhere and Kagome landed flat on her butt.
“Ow,” she complained, rubbing her bottom. “Next time watch where you’re going—“ She stopped talking.
There they were. Those wide eyes staring back at her. Lips curved into a frown and his shirt ruffled where Kagome’s head smashed into it. Kagome grimaced. “Oh, it’s just you, Hojo.”
Hojo instantly perked up as it dawned on him that he had bumped into Kagome—his crush and friend. He always relished the feel of her chest pressed against his, even if it was only for a mere second or two. He felt hot when he glanced at Kagome’s splayed out legs and her shirt a bit higher than usual. He squinted. If only her legs were a little further apart…
“Hojo? Hojo!” Kagome waved her hands in his face.
“You zoned out. I didn’t hit ya that hard, did I?” she joked.
“No, not at all,” he flashed a goofy smile and started gathering her books together. “Allow me.”
Turning his back to Kagome, he got her science textbook which had strayed from the others. He turned to hand it to her, but gulped as his eyes widened. Kagome was stretching. Her small uniform shirt lifted and revealed her silky cream skin. Higher, Hojo pleaded, just a little more… Kagome’s face flushed. She quickly lowered her arms. “Sorry,” she apologized. “It’s been a long day.”
Hojo inwardly sighed with frustration. He smiled again, motioning for her to take the textbook. “Nothing to apologize for. I understand your 15th birthday’s arriving soon so you must be getting distracted more easily. Any other normal person would stretch.”
Kagome grinned and accepted the gesture. Hojo collected the rest of her books and at the end she hugged him with gratitude. Hojo inhaled deeply, enjoying the scent of his lovely Kagome. He wished the hug would last forever.
But it didn’t. With a wave, Kagome set off in pursue to find her friends, who were most likely already at their destination. WacDonald’s. Kagome sighed. If she wanted to gossip with her friends, she had to get there quickly. She slowed down. Since when was she looking forward to gossiping with her friends? She decided to skip out this day. She trotted back to the shrine.
Climbing the large amount of ridiculously small stairs, she breathed in the earthy smell of her home. Reaching the top, she walked past the Sacred Tree before pausing with sudden chill. Kagome turned toward the tree that had been standing in that same spot for generations. It always managed to spook her, but it always had a comforting aura around it; which made it impossible not to stare. Kagome froze.
There on the tree was a young man pinned. His long silver hair flowed out and his red haori had a small arrow wedged in it. His hakama was bind by gnarly vines. Kagome glanced around frightened yet intrigued by the sight. But what really caught her attention were those dog ears perched on his head. As she moved forward to touch them, she blinked. And when she opened her eyes, the mysterious man wasn’t pinned to the tree anymore.
It was like he never existed.
“I’m home,” Kagome mumbled, tossing her book bag on the couch and settling down on the floor at the dinner table. “Mmm,” she licked her lips, “Udon noodles. Yum!”
Mrs. Higurashi ducked her head in the kitchen at the sound of Kagome’s voice. “Kagome! You’re back. Souta’s not back yet because he decided to practice some soccer with his buds after school today.” She smiled. “How was school?”
“It was great,” Kagome lied. “What have you been doing?” Kagome asked, noticing the soap on her mother’s shoulders.
“Doing the laundry,” Mrs. Higurashi replied. She laughed at Kagome’s confused expression. “Buyo can get a little rowdy sometimes.”
Kagome nodded with understanding. She dove into her noodles and hoped the food would get her mind off that awkward experience which just took place. When she was done, she lightly tapped her chopsticks against her chin thoughtfully. Now that she thought about it, that guy did look pretty cute…
She shook her head vigorously. Snap out of it, Kagome! He’s not real! She sighed as her mind battled with common sense. Come to think of it, she had been thinking a lot about dogs lately. That’s why the guy showed up with cute dog ears. She must really want a dog. Convincing herself that’s what caused the vision, she got up and hopped upstairs to her bedroom. Flopping onto the bed, she pulled out her cell phone. Eri, Yuka, or Ayumi… She chose Ayumi, who was the most intelligent of the group. The phone rang twice before Ayumi’s soft voice answered, “Hello?”
“Hey, Ayumi,” Kagome greeted.
“What’s up, Kagome? You didn’t come to WacDonald’s today. We were waiting for 15 minutes!”
“Sorry,” Kagome apologized. “I thought you guys left already so I didn’t bother going.”
“That’s okay. Is that all you wanted to talk to me about?” Ayumi asked. “No. I wanted to know if you knew any guys with silver hair.” And dog ears, she added silently.
“Silver hair?” Ayumi echoed, puzzled. “I know a kid in our school that got silver highlights.”
“No, that’s not what I mean. Thanks anyway.”
“No problem. Should I ask Eri and Yuka?”
“That’s okay. I’d prefer only you know,” Kagome answered.
“Wow, really? I’m honored. See you tomorrow, Kag.”
“See you tomorrow.” Kagome hung up her phone and stared blankly at the ceiling. Silver hair… It hadn’t looked dyed to her. Kagome focused her attention on what he was wearing. He had been wearing feudal clothes. Did that mean he liked to cosplay? So a silver-haired cosplayer randomly pinned himself to the Sacred Tree, fell asleep, and when he noticed me, he ran away in a second, Kagome thought. Yep, I’m right. Kagome knew she was wrong, but her conscience refused to allow her to spend more time contemplating on a silly thing like that. She glanced at her alarm clock. It’s only 4:00… I’ll take a nap. With that, Kagome snoozed to her heart’s content. Sleep first, study later.
InuYasha woke up to feel a stinging sensation on the left side of his chest. “What the…?” he muttered, looking around. Then everything came back to him. “Dammit!” he growled. That bitch Kikyo! She had sealed him and that damned arrow could’ve ended his life!
But why did I wake up?
That question floated around in InuYasha’s mind. Wasn’t he supposed to be unconscious? Wasn’t he supposed to be in a coma of some sort? He shook his head. He had to get off the tree. But how? The arrow’s energy was terrifyingly strong, and it restricted his movements. He tried moving his arms. He tried to bend his head so he could pull out the arrow with his fang. He already knew none of those would work. InuYasha glanced around. No one was nearby. Even if they were, they wouldn’t have helped him. Suddenly he saw a girl appear in front of him.
No, it wasn’t Kikyo. This girl looked more… Loose. Kikyo was more proper and cold. This girl was bright with energy. She stared at him and started to move forward. But then he blinked and she was gone. His eyes darted wildly, hoping to glimpse the girl again. But she was no longer in the forest. She just… Vanished.
It was like she never existed.
Kagome yawned. She glanced at her alarm clock. Oh… It’s only 6:00 am… She did a double take. 6:00 am? Oh no, I slept the whole day! She slipped on a bathing yukata and ran to the bathroom. She took a quick bath and brushed her teeth. She slipped on her school uniform and made sure all of school materials were in her bag. Skipping every other one, Kagome ran down the stairs and sat on her spot at the dinner table. She gulped down some cereal and shouted, “Okaa-san, I’m leaving!”
Mrs. Higurashi bustled into the kitchen. “Looking like that?” she scoffed in disbelief. “At least fix your hair!”
Glancing at her tangled strands of hair, Kagome groaned and stomped back upstairs. She glanced at the clock in the hallway. 6:45… Well, I guess I’ll still have some time to study. She brushed her hair and rubbed some lipgloss on her lips and filed her nails. She stomped back downstairs. “Mama, can I go now?”
“Why? You don’t wanna study here? What makes you think studying at school will be easier?” her mother replied, cleaning the table.
“Because, if I don’t understand something my teacher can help me,” Kagome explained impatiently.
Suddenly her mother seemed very excited. “Kagome, study here. I have something to show you.”
Kagome sighed and sank into the couch. She dragged out her textbooks and started studying. Every so often she glanced at the clock. Let’s see… If x squared plus 3 to the fifth power divided by the area of the triangle equals 104… She glanced at the clock again. It’s been 20 minutes, Mom! Hurry up!
As if on cue, Mrs. Higurashi made her appearance. She held something behind her back. “Kagome, you know how your 15th birthday is tomorrow?”
“And you know how you’ve always wanted to go to a hot spring with all your friends?”
Kagome’s brow furrowed with confusion. “Yes…”
“And you know how you’ve always wanted to—“
“Mama, please just get to the point!” Kagome whined.
“Okay, okay,” her mother giggled. She walked over and sat down in front of Kagome. “I arranged for you to have your own private hot spring party this Saturday.”
Kagome gaped. “Seriously?! I know just who I’ll invite! Ayumi, Eri, Yuka, Taichi, Hojo, Yoshi-kun, Saki-chan, Mizuki-chan…”
Mrs. Higurashi beamed. “And that’s not all. I also made my very own scavenger hunt you and your friends can play!”
Kagome scratched her head. “Are you sure they’ll be interested?”
“Of course! The prize is a surprise though. But it’ll be good, trust me.”
Kagome grinned. “I’ll take your word for it.”
Mrs. Higurashi continued, “And your last gift is also a surprise. You’ll love it.”
Kagome reached out and hugged her mom. “Thanks, Okaa-san.”
Mrs. Higurashi planted a kiss on her cheek. “No problem, sweetheart. Now finish your studying and be out by 7:30.”
Kagome studied for the next 15 minutes and shouted goodbye to her mother and Souta. She headed out and as she passed her grandfather she kissed him and said goodbye. Kagome skipped down the stairs. Now she was excited. She hoped this birthday would be perfect.
At 8:00, she reached her destination. She walked to her classroom and invited people to her hot spring party. All of them accepted, especially the boys who wanted to peak at the girls.
“Hey, Kagome-chan,” Yoshi fidgeted, a dark red staining his cheeks. “Could you invite Haruko-chan?”
Kagome blinked in surprise. “Emi-chan? Sure, I guess. You have feelings for her?”
Yoshi scratched his head, embarrassed. “For about 2 years now.”
Kagome grabbed his hand, giddy with excitement. “Of course I’ll help! Text me later!”
With that, Kagome skipped down the hallway and went inside her classroom. Yoshi stared after her with exasperation.
“What did I get myself into?”