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Just Friends by Omnicurls

Crime

It was, without contest, the dumbest thing Kagome had ever done. She kept her mug pressed to her lips and took frequent sips as Sesshomaru stared down the room of hungover barely adults. Well, ‘hungover barely adults’ plus one inexplicably chipper Ayame.

Sesshomaru crossed his arms over his chest. “Being here is not only a waste of my time, but the very definition of a nightmare.”

“You’re welcome to fuck off and go home.” Inuyasha said, drawing on all his bravado as though he had not, while drunk the night before, told Kagome – between tears – that while he appreciated all the gifts his friends had brought to his birthday getaway, his brother’s presence outstripped them all.

Kagome sipped her tea and carefully studied the omelette on her plate.

“Sesshomaru, would you like some eggs?” Ayame asked. He turned his sharp golden eyes to her, and she immediately hunched over and mumbled something that sounded like an apology. She turned away from him and cracked two eggs into a bowl for herself.

“All I asked was to be left alone, but someone has decided I must be made a part of your foolish games.” His words were ice that chilled everyone in room, even through the morning haze of last night’s alcohol. “Where is my scarf?” He said slowly.

They all looked at one another, apprehension giving way to shock. “Holy shit.” Koga said. Just like that, shock gave way to stupid, reckless amusement. He elbowed Inuyasha roughly, “someone stole from your brother. What points do you get for that?”

“Fuck,” Inuyasha rubbed his head, “we never put any points down for stealing Sesshomaru’s shit. He’s always wearing that scarf too.” Inuyasha leaned back in his chair and looked at his brother. Sesshomaru’s face was carefully blank, but Inuyasha could sense his discomfort. Inuyasha grinned and bit into his toast. “This is great, I say 100 points.”

“75?” Miroku objected, “That breaks the game. Sango’s things are worth the most, and that’s only 30.”

“No it doesn’t. I dare you to go steal something of his.”

Inuyasha had barely finished his sentence before Sesshomaru growled, “I will kill the next person who touches a single item of mine.” All the mirth fled from the room. Somehow, the extreme threat did not sound so empty. “Return my scarf. Today.” Sesshomaru turned his back to the group and left the dining room.

Kagome took a long sip of her tea; she was as good as dead. Ayame exhaled loudly and slid into the seat next to Koga, who leaned forward and looked conspiratorially at Inuyasha. “You have it, don’t you? Let’s make a deal, we pool our haul together and we decided where we go for the second part of this trip.”

Inuyasha frowned, “I wish.” He looked at Sango, who had been oddly quiet. “You have it?”

Sano raised both eyebrows, “and a death wish?”

Kagome remained quiet as the others tried to conspire among themselves. She watched her friends try to figure out who had the scarf and who was lying, she watched them try to bargain with each other and draw up deals, and yet no one bothered to ask her. She felt a faint irritation stir in her. Or maybe it was the need to throw up. Either way, she found it unfair that no one believed her capable of such a great heist. Slowly, her need to return the scarf grew fainter and fainter. Perhaps Sesshomaru’s scarf alone was not enough to win her this game of petty thievery, but just having it would teach them not to underestimate her.

She finished breakfast and returned to her room while the boys, minus Sesshomaru who was too good to ever have breakfast with them, cleaned up. She closed the door carefully behind her and locked it. She turned to her bed, pulled the sheets up and removed the scarf from between the layered mattress. It was beautiful thing of purple and yellow silk. She unfolded it, just to admire it, and out fell a pen. It was heavy and made of a vibrant blue stone with gold trimming. She lifted it carefully and saw Sesshomaru’s initials engraved on the pen clip. She pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead and sighed, “Kagome you idiot.”

He noticed by dinner time. Koga was somehow simultaneously cooking and trying to get everyone drunk. Sesshomaru slid into their midst, and immediately they all exchange glances. “Again? How?” Inuyasha said, sounding almost envious.

“I still don’t have my scarf, and now my lapis pen is gone.” He looked at every one carefully. Everyone except Kagome, who he barely graced with a glance. She felt the familiar irritation rise in her stomach and pouted into her glass; even he did not think she could do it.

“Stealing from him doesn’t seem so hard.” Koga joked. Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes at Koga, and the dark-haired man quickly turned his attention back to the stove.

“Tonight. Return my belongings tonight, or heavens help you.” Sesshomaru growled before stalking away.

Inuyasha spread his hands on the table, nearly knocking over a bottle of wine in the process. “Listen everyone, the game ends tomorrow morning. We know some bastard might have 150 points from stealing that other bastard’s shit. What are the scores now?”

“You know it will be scores minus the 150 points from Sesshomaru? No one wants to confess to it.” Miroku said.

“Yeah, yeah.” Koga said, “Scores. So we know how happy or disappointed we should be.” He wanted to go down into the city; finish of the birthday bash with clubs and bars and all the craziness that came with downtown but he had far too few points to be the one who would get to choose where they go next.

Sango raised her hand proudly, “260. Beat that.”

“What the fuck?” Inuyasha sputtered.

“How? You were at 230 this morning!” Koga threw his head back and groaned.

“It’s not my fault you guys don’t know how to keep your things safe.” Sango shrugged, pleased with herself.

“Kagome’s stuff again?” Inuyasha said.

“haha,” Kagome said dryly. “You guys have taken all my stuff. Leave me alone.”

“Don’t be a sore loser, Inuyasha.” Sango smiled. She was so pleased with herself. “We’re going camping next.”

 They soon moved outside, where the night wore on and the games and conversation grew more ridiculous as they drank and partied. Kagome went back inside, needing to use the bathroom. As she walked up the brightly lit corridor, the whole evening began to feel all too familiar. It had been just like this when she took his scarf and pen; she alone in the house, the others outside laughing loudly. In her drunken state, reason and self-preservation escaped her and she found herself walking up the stairs and towards Sesshomaru’s room. She just wanted to see if he had left it unlocked again. She knew he would not have; he was too intelligent to do so. But still, she wanted to see.  

Sesshomaru stood behind his bathroom door, waiting. He had given careful thought to who might have had the audacity to take his belongings. He had struck out the women because none of them seemed so foolish. He struck out Miroku, who was flawed but fundamentally sensible. Inuyasha would not have, and that left only Koga. Of course it would be Koga, the proud, irresponsible fool. And Sesshomaru knew that a proud, irresponsible fool could not help but push his luck and try again.

“Hello?” It was not Koga.

The door to his room opened slowly and she stepped inside. Light from the empty corridor poured inside, illuminating her against the blackness of his room. He saw he silhouette turn cautiously as she looked around the room to make sure it was empty. “Wow, unlocked again? So much for the threats.” She pushed the door closed behind her, plunging them both into darkness for a moment., before she flipped a switch on the wall and the lights came on.

Sesshomaru knew what he was seeing, but his mind refused to register that she was in his room, alone. It was rare to ever see her without one friend or another trailing along. He could make himself known, and they might have a real conversation. But he knew it would not work like that; if he stepped out of the bathroom, she’d be nervous and stutter and probably bolt out of his room like some frightened animal, which was not what he wanted, so her let her be.

She looked around his lazily, moving from desk, to window, to wardrobe. “He’s so neat it’s almost scary.” She said. She walked to his bed and sat down. Placing her hands on her knees she looked around. She leaned over to the bedside table and picked a length of braided red fabric. “I’ve never seen him wear this.” She said and slipped the bracelet over her wrist and pulled the two beaded ends until it tightened around her wrist. Red, Sesshomaru concluded, looked very good on her.

“I am so dead.” She laughed to her herself. She stood up, looked around once more, and left his room, careful to turn off the lights before she left.

Kagome was equal parts upset with and proud of her drunken self. On one hand, she now stood a more than decent chance of winning this game of thievery. On the other hand, Sesshomaru was going to kill her. She clutched her bag of spoils to her chest and tried to look very interested the top of the bag. She knew Sesshomaru was not looking at her; he never seemed to notice her existence, but she was still nervous because, soon, he would finally notice her, and it would be in the worst way possible. To him, for now and forever, she would be a thief.  

“If he’s here, he’s part of the game.” Inuyasha declared, pointing to his brother.

“I’m not part of your childish game. I’m here for my belongings.” Sesshomaru said stiffly.

Kagome drew nervous concentric circles on the top of her bag. She should have returned everything to him; he was not part of this game.

“Ok, scores.” Inuyasha said with a grin. He looked at his brother, “I take it you’re at zero.”

“I’m not a part of this nonsense.” Sesshomaru snapped his eyes to the ceiling.

“175” Ayame said, emptying her black tote onto the table. The owners scurried for their items, including Koga who took back his wallet with a glare. “Fair game.” Ayame defended herself.

“150.” Miroku said. He placed his modest pile on the table.

It was her turn. Kagome opened her bag and spoke more into the bag, than to her friend “320”. The silence was deafening. When she was taking that bracelet, she had been excited at the prospect of winning – it meant a spa resort instead of camping. But now, she felt extremely vulnerable. She became such an idiot when she drank.

“You?” Sango asked incredulously. Everyone understood the question.

“Well his room was just open.” Kagome said defensively, “At first was just a silly prank, Inuyasha was the one who assigned a lot of points. Not my fault.” She placed her friend’s belongings on the table.

“No, no.” Inuyasha said. He was as shocked as everyone else, “We are proud of you. I wanted everyone to take part, and you made sure even grumpiest of us all did. You’re a great friend Kags.”

Kagome blushed under the compliment and beamed at him. “Yeah, and none of you even guessed. This is what you get for underestimating me. We’re going to the spa.”

“Hey, it’s not over yet.” Koga pointed out.

“Anyone beat 320?” Inuyasha asked. The groans of concession were proof enough; even Sango hadn’t beaten her. “Well, Kagome really earned the spa trip.”

Kagome pulled the scarf, pen, and bracelet, but when she looked up Sesshomaru was gone. She bit her bottom lip, guilt slowly took the place of her momentary pride in her pilfering skills. “Your brother probably hates me now, doesn’t he?” She said.

“Oh, for sure.” Inuyasha nodded. He held out his hand, “I’ll return them to him.”

Kagome shook her head and stood up, “I’ll do it. I have to.”

She walked upstairs to the cheers and encouragement of her friend. She paused at the bottom of the stairs, breathed deeply, and then forced herself to climb up. She made her way to his room and knocked gently on the door. No response. She knocked again, this time a bit more forcefully, and finally he opened the door.

Kagome immediately held out the neatly folded scarf, the pen, and the bracelet. “I’m sorry.” She bit her bottom lip and waited for his reply.

He looked her over carefully, and she felt small under his gaze. “It was just a silly prank. I just never have dragged you into it.” Shame would not let her look past her own feet.

She felt him take the pilfered items from her, then he took her hand, and her eyes shot up – a pointless move, as his face was wall of stone that gave away nothing. She was not sure what she expected, but it certainly was not for him to slip the braided silk bracelet around her wrist. He pulled at the gold beaded ends until the bracelet narrowed and fit her wrist. “Keep it.”

Kagome blinked. Once. Twice. What?

“I couldn’t.” She began to loosen the bracelet, but he placed his hand on hers, stopping her. The words in her throat turned heavy and dropped down into her stomach.

“You didn’t have a problem before.” He didn’t sound upset. Was he teasing her? No, that could not be. Sesshomaru did not make jokes.

“So… you forgive me?” She asked. That was a stupid way to phrase it; she should have just apologised again or tried to make a joke in response – thought that might have gone across even more poorly.

Sesshomaru stepped back. His golden eyes were as unreadable as ever. “Hardly.” He entered his room and closed the door behind him.

Kagome removed the bracelet and ran her fingers over the intricately woven braid. It was very pretty, and she had earned it after all. He pretended to be upset, but this clearly a ‘you win’ prize. She slipped it back over her wrist and tightened it. Who said stealing would never get you anywhere.

 

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