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Class was over.

Time to go home.

Kagome shoved her English text book and writing manual into her book bag she kept close to her feet, along with her mechanical pencil and folder specifically used for this class, and lurched to her feet. She felt exhausted. Not enough sleep. As usual. Either it was insomnia kicking her in the ass—and hell yeah it existed, so if anyone dared say otherwise to her face, she’d knock ‘em out—or she’d been stupid and stayed up way too late even if she was tired. Why would she dare sacrifice precious sleep when it finally came knocking on her door?

One would think it was for a very damn good reason. In reality, it was anything but. Like the moron she was, Kagome had the horrible habit of being on her laptop—not to watch porn like any normal twenty-year-old—and signing on some chat site. Always a free membership, of course. Hardly ever that group chat nonsense—the topic was nonexistent in one of those and confusing as hell as everyone said whatever the hell was on their mind without actually making a decent conversation. Instead, she used a private—snorts—PM site called Chatango.

It was lame to the extreme, but she’d become aware of the site when she was still in high school. Add a lonely girl with hardly any friends and the internet and bingo! Chatango. Or some other lame assed site where people sign-up (again, for free!), make some lame attempt at a profile and start messaging whoever’s profile catches your attention.

Back when she’d first found Chatango, it had been an alright site. Now, however, it had become more like a porno chat site than anything else. A shame, really. It used to be a lot easier to find someone of some intellect to talk with. Not anymore. She constantly received PMs wanting to cyber, which was a lot like dirty talk but more novel styled in writing.

Truthfully, though she was embarrassed to admit it, she used to be heavily into it. As her English writing skills advanced, so did her need for better partners. She’d always hope to God Almighty that he’d, whoever he was, came to par with her need for better and more descriptive players.

Too many used text lingo, failed to use any form of grammar and sentence structure, but what had really annoyed her was the lack of substance her partner’s responses would be. She’d wanted more than one sentence replies, craved something detailed and that would really catch her attention and make her think carnal thoughts. Such cyber players were rare, sadly.

Her thoughts on cybering nowadays, however? Hella boring. How the hell had she ever gotten into something so…ridiculous? She’d been young and stupid, impressionable. That was her story and she was sticking to it.

Other college students filed past her, and as soon as she saw an opening, she stepped forward and followed everyone out of the classroom. The hum of chatting students filled the air, teasing shoves and slaps, even outright flirting, made Kagome long to be with Sango. Her best friend, the same friend who’d gone to high school with her and joined the same university as her, but no. Sango was away for the week, playing hooky with her new boyfriend—the womanizer—Miroku.

Kagome shook her head. She had no idea what Sango saw in the letch, but one thing was for sure. Miroku was a bad influence on her best friend. How else would you explain Sango being agreeable to miss an entire week of classes to be on some kind of extended date? It was foolish to the extreme.

Lucky bitch, Kagome thought, sighing, wishing she could find a man to go off on some romantic trip with, too. 

Oh, there was still Eri, Ayumi, and Yuka, but they had turned into real party girls since attending college, always partying, drinking—even though they were underage like herself, except for Yuka, of course—and flirting with the boys. Oh, sure, wasn’t partying to be expected of girls, even the boys, when attending college? It was considered normal, but so not her thing. Wasn’t her scene. So her old gang kind of drifted away, in a big way, because of her ‘strict’ and ‘old maid’s’ attitude.

They still hung out, sometimes. Rarely. But Sango was the real friend around here, and what was the other girl doing? Skipping class and probably having wild, kinky sex with her new boy toy. Cough. She meant boyfriend, not boy toy. Had she thought that? Nah. Must’ve imagined it.

As she walked through the hall and into the main social area everyone congregated in, there were sofas and chairs, coffee tables and two, huge flat screen TVs, and along one wall, a smoothie bar, and in another room just off the far hallway, a snack room filled with snack and drink machines and more tables to sit at. Like usual around this time, late afternoon, students were hanging around, socializing.

Kagome eyed them briefly before tightening her hand around her shoulder strap to her pack and made her away around the mob and towards the portals leading outside. Freedom. To where? The parking lot where she’d parked her car. Yes, her car. She’d paid for the old rust bucket right out of high school. She’d been waitressing part-time since starting high school and saved like a motherfucker. She not only bought her own wheels but shared a two bedroom apartment with Sango, who also waitressed with her at the same diner as she.

They’d mutually agreed that they didn’t want to pay the outrageous price to get a dorm room on campus and instead of continuing to live with their folks, they sought independence and rented an apartment. At first, that idea had been spectacular. Until Sango up and went and got herself a boyfriend. Whenever Miroku spent the night, Kagome would put in her earphones and listen to music instead of listening to her friend’s moans of pleasure—amongst other, nauseating things. Ew!

Luckily, tonight would be a silent one. No moans and groans or slapping and banging sounds. Just peaceful silence.

Depressing. The silence, that was, not the lack of sex going on in the other room. Again, ewww!

She sighed. She should make new friends, put herself out there and find a boyfriend, too. However, she was horribly shy, more bookish than anything, so her social skills were much to be desired. And yet it was so easy to be with Sango. She wasn’t shy, did crazy, humorous crap with her best friend without feeling self-conscious at all. It was natural. But talking to strangers and trying to understand the majority of the people her age was not simple or easy, let alone natural. 

Everyone was so…superficial and shallow. Selfish, self-centered, not knowing the first thing about responsibility. There was a time and place for everything, such as when to have fun and when to be serious. Her peers needed a crash course in the latter. It was much easier talking to someone her mother’s age or even her grandfather’s age. They were more real, more down to earth, and not two-faced like many her own age. Was it any wonder she was finding it difficult to make new friends even though she’d been attending college for the last two years, working on her English major?

She had dreams of teaching the subject, to find like minds to share her passions of reading, writing, and literature, but many her age didn’t appreciate words like she did. She pitied them. They were obviously missing out! Books were key to her happiness, such pretty words strung together so masterfully as to be spellbinding, captivating. She shrugged mentally. Their loss. Poor saps. The follies of youth.

Speaking of youth. She was itching to get back to her place, jump on her laptop, and log-in to Chatango. Lame it might be, but she’d made a handful of friends there, even shared her Facebook page with a couple if they were worth the privilege and chat with them there—a forward progression in friendship. However, she wanted to ‘meet’ more people, and the best way was to browse Chatango.

Perhaps you could say it was her ‘hunting grounds’. Hey, friendships didn’t just have to be with people you meet face to face. There were some really awesome people she’d met online, and she valued them in her life, even if it was only an online type of interaction. She was still making an effort for them, to talk to them, to comfort them when they had problems, and they did the same for her. It meant something, and to hell with anyone who dared say her online friends were meaningless and ‘not real’.  

They were real. They lived and breathed. Just because she couldn’t see them in person and hang out at some coffee shop or whatever didn’t mean they didn’t exist.

She hoped Kaguya was online… The slightly older woman was her dear friend, and secretly, Kagome even cared for her more than Sango. Why? She didn’t understand it herself. It was not like Sango had ever done anything wrong or that she thought less of her best friend, but Kaguya was just…different. So mature and understanding, never took advantage of her kindness and appreciated everything Kagome did for her. Of course, she did not say this to Sango, because even in her own mind, she sounded horrid.

Who even had a ‘love meter’, anyway? She loved her family and friends, and yet some people meant more to her than others, even though she loved them all in similar or different ways. They were all special, but still… Kaguya was different. Kagome loved her. Platonically, of course. As she made it to her car, unlocked the door and threw her bag inside before getting behind the wheel, she grimaced. The thought of having romantic feelings for Kaguya, that anyone would dare suggest such a thing… No. Just…no.

Kaguya meant a shit ton to her, and she’d seen the older woman’s picture before, knew what a bombshell Kaguya was, but it was all platonic. It rankled should anyone misjudge her feelings and insist that she wanted anything romantic with her friend. It seemed like to her that they’d belittle their friendship by thinking sex was the contributing factor or her endgame in their relationship. And though she didn’t currently have a boyfriend herself, Kagome new she was definitely straight. 

Starting her car with the key in the ignition, she backed out of her space, then drove slowly through campus, stopping at the numerous stop signs, letting pedestrians—mostly fellow college students—walk along the crosswalk before continuing on her way. As she waited at another crosswalk, she reached into her glove department, took out the pack of smokes stashed within—Fortuna menthol, long—and lit up with a lighter she kept in another small storage cubby underneath the radio. Just a push of the button, and a small hideaway compartment slid open.

Cigarette lit, students off the street, and she was on her way, and exiting through the main gates. A puff of smoke, a hit of mint and nicotine filled her lungs. She hadn’t been smoking long, not even a year, and she usually bought small cigars—usually a vanilla flavored—‘cause they were hella cheaper, but curse her neighbor, though she loved the middle aged woman dearly, Kaede smoked Fortuna’s, too, but the shorts, and got her hooked on the expensive stuff.

A bad habit, for sure, but who the hell cared? She lived in the freakin’ city. Tokyo wasn’t exactly the cleanest air to be breathing, that was for sure. She hadn’t always lived in Tokyo. Nope. She actually grew up in Okinawa, on a shrine with her mother and grandfather. Oh, and she couldn’t forget her younger brother, Souta. He was in high school right now, a jr. It was there that she’d bought her ‘new’ car from an elderly couple who’d given up driving due to medical issues.

She’d thought, naively, that having her own wheels would be the best option. A show of independence, a way to get around whenever she wanted, not having to wait for the train or bus. Instead, every time she drove, she was worried out of her mind because of traffic. Driving on those packed and fast moving streets was hell on her nerves, and don’t get her started on gas prices. She probably should have used that money from buying her ‘baby’ for more practical things.

She should really stop smoking… Or at least invest in an e-cig. The rechargeable kind, the kind you put whatever kind of flavored nicotine you want in it. Maybe. A worry for another day.

Fuuuuuck… Rush hour. As she drove to her place, her thoughts ran wild.

Ooh gawd! I’mma get hit!

What are you doing, motherfucker? She eyed a parked vehicle obviously wanting to enter traffic on her left side. Don’t even think about it. She passed him. Oh, good.

A group of people crossed the street on a red light, and a straggler just had to run in front of traffic even though the light had turned green. Of all the stupid—! Argh! People these days. Complete idiots!

Watch where you’re going! she almost screamed as a car whizzed past her in the other lane a little—a lot—too close for comfort.

Road rage? Her? Pfft. The phrase didn’t apply to her, as she was justifiably miffed when people wanted to be stupid.  

More driving, more scares of having an accident, of life and death scenarios. More inner screams and childish whimpers.  

Is he going to hit me?

Oh, God, please don’t hit my car! Not my baby!

She groaned. Please, God. If You exist, please, just please get me safely home. That’s all I ask, okay?


And then finally… I’m home… I can’t believe I made it out alive! Again! Kagome could have cried in thankfulness. Who the man, ah, woman? Me. That’s who. Add a little shimmy, shimmy to her stride as she walked towards her apartment complex and ignored the odd look a man gave her as he walked out of the building she was walking into. Yeah, keep walking, baldy. Nothing to see here except, I’m alive! I’m the wo-man!

Still on a happy-go-lucky buzz after surviving the streets of Tokyo again, Kagome pressed the button going up for the elevator, and stepped inside after waiting for its passengers to get off. She stepped into the small box with three other people right behind her.

Even as she pressed the button to floor number four, she graciously asked which floor the others were headed and pressed those buttons, too. Getting off on her floor a minute later, she made her way to her door, unlocked it, and went inside. She locked the door right after her. One could never be too careful, you know. Book bag tossed onto the couch, she instantly made her way to her coffee machine. Caffeine was her drug of choice next to her need for nicotine, and in a couple minutes, her cup was brewing. Gotta love the single cup machines. Invaluable.

As the scent of coffee filled the small kitchen, the sound of gurgling water ringing in her ear, Kagome went to the fridge and hunted for something to eat. She was starving. Grabbing some leftover turkey salad and wheat bread, she made herself a sandwich. When her coffee was finished brewing after her sandwich was put together, she grabbed her creamer from the fridge, coconut flavor, her favorite, and poured some of the sweet liquid into her cup. Perfect.

Food and coffee in hand, she migrated into her bedroom, set everything on her desk next to her laptop, before planting her ass in her rolling chair. Laptop on, food in hand, she was on cloud nine. Until she realized that Kaguya wasn’t online. Total buzzkill.

She sighed.

Without missing a beat, she brought up another webpage and logged into Chatango, her username: bookworm101. Lame. Yeah. So what? One name worked as well as any other. Her profile had a cute neko anime picture, as if she’d use one of her own, and a brief welcoming message in the info box greeted her.

Viewing her friend’s list, she saw two out of the five saved there were already online. Usernames ‘hurtmebaby’ and ‘zeekthegeek0o’. Again, lame as fuck. Still, don’t care.

Hurtmebaby was actually a guy named Mark, age twenty-four, and she’d been talking to him for about two weeks now. Totally possible he’d given her false info. For all she knew, he could actually be a thirteen-year-old boy or an old woman. Same went to zeekthegeek0o, supposedly a nineteen-year-old male, whose name was Larry. Now that name she might believe was actually his own. Who would actually have such a ridiculous name as Larry as a fake alias?


Both males lived in the United States, or so they claimed. It was whatever to her. She was just there so she wasn’t ‘alone’.

Before she could click on either of their names, Mark (a.k.a. hurtmebaby) messaged her.

‘Hey Kagome. Wazup?’

Text lingo. She hated text lingo. She knew English pretty damn well, loved it just as much as she loved her own language, Japanese, and to see it so butchered caused her some degree of annoyance. It had taken her years of studying and dedication in high school, then more in college, to become proficient in English, so to see it so mangled justifiably annoyed her. Especially considering she was majoring in English. Still, it was all too normal.


‘Hey, Mark. Nothing much. Just got back from class. How are you?’

She refused to message back using texting abbreviations or sacrifice proper grammar. Maybe one day—soon—he would get the memo and type correctly. Not perfectly. Mistakes happen, but at least try!

Nope. His next PM proved he’d yet to learn. Cue another sigh.

‘Just chillaxin’ babe.’

Babe? Had he seriously just called her babe? Obviously, he hadn’t learned to stop calling her that when she’d asked him not to previously. Ah well. She was bored. She’d let it slide. For now, anyway.  

‘Cool,’ she typed back simply.

Larry messaged her then. Again with the hellos and how are yous. Same ole, same ole. Booooring.

Clicking the ‘search’ tab next to her ‘friend’ tab, she browsed the list of people online, looking at profile pictures, more interested in their personal info box, trying to find someone interesting to message.

As she messaged Mark and Larry for the next twenty or so minutes without finding someone remotely interesting—goddamn cyber and rp accounts!—when finally one caught her attention.

Male, thirty-two, profile picture of a crescent moon, username ‘TheWesternLord’, and location not disclosed. Looking at his info box, it stated:


My name is not important right now, but you may call me your liege or whatever the hell you want. Just looking for an intellectual chat, nothing more, so all you sex freaks, make yourself scarce and do us both a favor and don’t message me. I do not rp or cyber, so don’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours.

And that was it. Pretty cheeky. And bossy. Arrogant, too and straight to the point. She liked it. With a grin, she clicked on TheWesternLord’s name, and another message box appeared next to the other two. Ignoring her ‘friends’ for the moment, she typed a quick reply to TheWesternLord, and wondered if he’d even reply back. With a profile like that, he might not.

‘Hello, stranger. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but perhaps we can change that?’

Still with proper grammar and sentence structure. That was her. Little Miss Perfect. Maybe she should have had that as her username instead. She chuckled and heard the bing of a new message.

He replied.

‘Hello to you, too, stranger. Cute opening line.’

‘Cute as a button,’ she typed. ‘That’s me. I’m Kagome. Nice to meet you.

She wondered if he’d offer up his name, give her an alias, or insist she call him my liege as his profile dictated. Yeah, right. Not even in his dreams.

‘Again with the cute replies. I like it. I notice you’re from Japan and have a Japanese name. A strange name, for sure. Bird in a cage, I believe the song goes.’

‘I do and that is my name. Blame my mother. She’s the one who named me. And I happen to like my name.’

‘Charming,’ he replied.

That was it? Just one word? Was it meant as a compliment, or was he making fun of her? It was hard to tell without seeing his face or hearing the inflection to his voice. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and not jump his butt like a mad woman.

‘It is indeed.’ Growing bold, she asked, ‘What’s your name? It can’t be weirder than mine.’

‘Wanna bet?’

“It can’t be that bad…’


The killing perfection, she thought.

‘No way! You’re lying.’

‘Yes, way.’

No way, she thought but didn’t type again, disbelieving Sesshomaru. But if he wanted to use that name, who was she to judge or complain? Another small smile graced her lips, fingers tapping away.

‘Alright, Sesshomaru it is. How are you?’

‘You think I don’t know what you’re thinking?’ he typed. ‘Don’t believe me. Makes no difference to me. I am well. Just got off work not a half-hour ago, actually.’

Being the polite girl she was, she first welcomed him home even though it really wasn’t her place and she wasn’t actually there to welcome him. Just being polite, nothing more. Then she wrote, ‘You’re right. We all tend to believe what we wish, regardless of facts or not. Where do you work?’

As she waited for Sesshomaru’s reply, she was about to message Mark… before she realized something. Sesshomaru was a Japanese name. Did that mean he was from Japan, too? She quickly asked Sesshomaru, ‘Are you from Japan, too?’

Ignoring Mark and Larry, she waited for Sesshomaru’s reply even though she knew the other two men had already messaged her. Several times. Obviously, they were unhappy with her slow replies. Too bad. Let them wait.

‘Curious little thing, aren’t you?’

‘Always. Gonna tell me or what?’

‘Since you asked so nicely,’ she recognized sarcasm when she saw it, ‘yes, I am from Japan, as well, but as to where I work? That’s a need to know basis.’

She rolled her eyes at that last part.

‘Meaning, “mind my own business”.’


‘What are you, a spy?’


She snorted. TheWesternLord or Sesshomaru or whoever the hell he was had a real chip on his shoulder. No doubt about it. Why was she even talking to him again? Oh, right. She was bored, and what was more, he posed as a challenge. That icy exterior he portrayed made her want to try her best to melt it, to get past his guard and see what really made him tick, to see if he was as cold as he made himself seem to be. 

‘Ok, I’ll be “nice” again and believe you concerning your name, but that you’re a spy? Puh-lease.’

She meant it as a joke, but his reply was kinda…aggravating, like he hadn’t gotten the joke.

‘Believe what you wish.’

‘…That was a joke.’

And…nothing. No reply. She waited and waited and while she waited, she messaged the other two guys, trying not to feel impatient or irritated over the delay. Was he ignoring her or was he busy? She could readily forgive him for being busy, but blatantly ignoring her? When she was unwillingly intrigued by him? Maddening.

‘Forgive me. I have some business to attend to. Until next time.’

She blinked, confused. He was leaving? Already?

‘Will there be a next time?’ she typed, but he had already logged off right before she’d sent the message, missing him by a fraction of a second.


Until next time, he’d said… Kagome strangely hoped there would be a next time.


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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