The Train Ride by Pseudomonas

The Train Ride.


- nee-san: elder sister

- jii-chan: grandfather

- Shinkansen: Japan bullet train

- Fukuoka: a city in Kyuushu

- yakuza: japanese mafia

- sumanai: sorry (masculine)

- daijoubu: Im alright

- hidoi: u are so bad!

- mochiron: of course

- itai: painful

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Mama!" Kagome frowned a little as the elder Higurashi pushed a bag of fresh peaches into her hands. Souta yawned loudly and folded his arms crossly, "Mou, just let 'nee-san get on the train! I'm so sleepy...."

"Enjoy your trip! Take more photos ne?" Both Kagome's mother and grandfather smiled happily while she flicked her middle finger hard against Souta's forehead, earning a baleful glare from the young man.

"I shall not buy any souvenirs for you then!" Kagome stuck out her tongue and smirked.

"'Nee-san!" Souta pouted a little and put up his best charming smile, "You won't do it, right?"

"Hmm... I'll see how. Bye bye Mama, 'jii-chan!" The miko turned around and started to walk into the station; she could hear her younger brother's squawky complaints, her mother's nonchalant assurance and her grandfather's goodbyes which only ended when she passed through the automated gates.

I have such a noisy family, Kagome smiled to herself as she adjusted her grip over the heavy bag of peaches and let out a long breath when she saw the beautiful, white Shinkansen. It was not the first time she had boarded bullet trains, but somehow this was different.

She was going to travel alone, all by herself to Fukuoka.

Kagome peeped up from her wide-brimmed straw hat; the sky was still a little dark and the smog-laden air felt deliciously cool. She sat at the nearest bench and took out her train tickets from her well-worn khaki pants.

"E-25," She repeated to herself her seat number and smiled again. It was not her first time to Fukuoka either; she had went there on holidays with her high-school classmates and her family numerous times. But Kagome loved the city and the mixed culture there, although she suspected that she would like any places that were not Tokyo.

Or Edo, Her eyes smiled sadly as she recalled Inuyasha's frown and voice when they argued over the position of the Bone Eater's Well. One of her wishes was to travel to as many countries as possible, since she thought that perhaps Inuyasha and her friends might possibly go under the Wheel of Reincarnation.

"To all passengers, the train leaving for Kyoto will be starting in about ten minutes. Please kindly..."

Kagome instantly got up from her seat, with her yellow backpack still on her back and made her way to the door of the train with one hand holding the bag of peaches and the other steadying her straw-hat which was entirely too big for her head. But her mother had insisted on 'lending' her favourite hat (which was actually a gift from her father) to her and Kagome thought she would look like a typical forty-year old Japanese woman going for her virgin traveling trip if she donned on a red scarf and hold a paper fan.

She rolled her eyes and boarded the train.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Kagome looked up at the label; it was indeed E-25. But someone else had already occupied her seat.

She squinted her eyes at the hunched figure; his head was leaning against the glass window and his arms were folded, as if he had fell asleep for a long, long time. His not-so-clean cream jacket, which seemed two sizes bigger for his slender built was crumpled and his mussed hair gave her the impression that he was another one of those jobless men who did not know what to do with their lives. Kagome let out a soft sigh; she was not sure whether he was truly sleeping since he was wearing big, ugly sunglasses and she did not really want to disturb her 'neighbour', in case he turned out to be a ruffian or yakuza. But then yakuza probably don't take Shinkansen...

She heaved her yellow backpack up into the storage space above her seat as noiselessly as possible, sat down at E-24 quietly and laid her straw hat on her lap. She turned her head slowly to the man beside her; no reaction. She looked out of the window wistfully; she had wanted the window seat, to enjoy the scenery that the train would pass by but she did not have the guts to wake up the male.

Kagome wondered where did all the courage and bravery she had demonstrated in Sengoku Jidai went to.

Maa, it's only two and a half hours to Kyoto. I don't think this will happen again when I change trains, she comforted herself and let out a soft yawn.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Kagome opened her sleepy eyes slowly; she could hear a child bawling at his or her best and the mother trying very hard to pacify the kid. Her eyebrows creased when she realized that she could not get back to sleep and glanced at her wrist-watch; only one hour had passed. Kagome silently sighed to herself and was wondering why she did not bring ear-plugs when a voice jolted her out from her sleepy trance.

"Sumanai, I believe I have taken your seat."

Kagome bolted upright and discreetly used the back of her fingers to swipe off the drool collecting at one corner of her mouth.

"Ah... iie, daijoubu desu," She shook her head and gave a courteous smile, even though she was rather shocked that the strange man had actually talked to her. His sunglasses that covered almost half of his face were still propped on his high nose and he was sitting awkwardly, as if he was trying to look manly and graceful in the cramped space. She inwardly giggled at his appearance; he looked so modern yet so... antique at the same time although she could not figure out why. If he was her friend, she would definitely ask him where he had gotten those shades from.

For Souta, her heart warmed a little at the thought of her younger brother. He would always be cuter than Shippou.

The man tilted his head a bit to one side for a while and smiled a little to indicate his appreciation.

Kagome did not how to respond and thought that it was a little impolite not to say anything, nor to not continue the conversation even though she was not very keen, but it seemed to her that he wanted to talk. She sighted the plastic bag of peaches sitting on the ground between her stretched-out legs and swiftly fished out one, hoping that the fruits were already washed and passed one to the strange man.

He was a little surprised at her action, but said nothing and bowed his head a little as he took over the ripe peach and bit into the sweet, firm flesh. She thanked Kami that she did not embarrass herself and took out another peach for herself. When she saw that he had finished his peach, she gave him another one and ate a second one herself.

And so, in this manner, both strangers finished ten peaches in peaceful silence.

"Ara, no more peaches," Kagome said out loud, in case he wanted more.

He wanted to laugh at her, but decided against it and cleared his throat of the sweet, refreshing juice, "Arigatou, the peaches are very sweet."

His voice was deep and smooth, which reminded her of someone but the memory was too vague. "My mother got them for me."

He leaned back against the comfortable seat and looked out of the window for a long while before he responded, "Where are you going?"

Kagome's eyes widened for an instant before she frowned; they did not know each other and he was already asking her such a personal question? Besides, did he not know which place this train was heading to? Or was he trying to dig for more information? She had never met such a bad conversationalist before, if he was attempting to be one that is.

"Kyoto, this train is heading to Kyoto isn't it?"

He closed his eyes and licked the remnants of her peaches off his lips; she was answering him and being sarcastic at the same time. She had changed, and he supposed he should feel a little sad, or perhaps nostalgic was a better description.

"Are you stopping at Kyoto then?"

Her right eyebrow quirked up in irritation, "No."

His next question was almost instantaneous, "Where then?"

She folded her arms and willed herself to keep her temper down; she felt as if he was intruding into her private space and that she was also expected to answer his rude questions. Again she wondered to herself why she was getting such strange vibes from this stranger and at the weird thoughts that were infiltrating her mind.

"What about you?" She decided to turn the tables on him; it was probably safer and less rude this way.

"Fukuoka," he answered.

Her heart instantly plummeted at his answer. Kagome could only hope that he would not be sitting beside her when they changed trains.

"Where are you going?"

His voice sounded so calm and toneless that it frustrated her further.

"Same as you," she replied curtly.

He snorted silently; she was as easily irritated as before and he wanted to laugh out loud. He had not felt that for a very long time and he rather missed the amusement that she had offered him last time.

"Hmm, then we are boarding the same train I suppose. What is your purpose?"

She wanted to slap her forehead and refrained from rolling her eyes, "Holiday."

He nodded his head knowingly as if her answer was not informative enough, "Alone I presume?"

She felt like strangling his neck and resorted to giving a gentle rub to her nose, "Yes, and you sir?"

He opened his eyes and took a side glance at her; she was sitting rigidly and her eyes never left her thighs. Perhaps he could get a reaction from the meek woman, "Me too. I haven't been to Kyuushu for a long time, that is my hometown actually."

Kagome kept quiet, praying that the conversation would end but her hopes were shattered when he bombarded her with the next question.

"Why are you going on a holiday alone? Escaping away from Edo?"

Her head swiveled around, almost forcefully and she stared at the strange man; all her defenses on full alert yet her curiousity was aroused by his question and assumption.

"'Edo', you said?"

He feigned ignorance and shook his head, "I said 'Tokyo'. Why would I say 'Edo'?"

Her eyes fell to the armrest that separated her from him and she thought his arm was really beautiful; long, slender and firm. It looked strong enough to lift her up, and his skin was not so fair that he looked emaciated or feminine. In fact, his skin did not even look pale or pasty from the bright sunlight that filtered in from the window, unlike her own.

What am I doing? Kagome asked herself as she moved her gaze back to her covered-thighs, am I really running away? The soft sound of the train moving chimed in her ears and for a long while, she was lost in her own memories of her feudal friends and adventures in Sengoku Jidai until his voice broke her train of thoughts again.

"Why are you going on a holiday alone?"

She felt a bit dazed; her now dusty mind seemed to be strung through a thin, taut thread of painful and happy memories that she was not so sure that she wanted to think about now. She knew that she would never forget them, yet she had been trying hard to bury and evade them everytime she saw the full moon or cups of instant ramen. She avoided Pocky, canned drinks and magazines, whatever that would remind her of her feudal friends.

And now, all these images of them seem to have sprung back to life with his question; vivid, colourful and vibrant in her mental canvas like a motion picture. She could see herself with them; laughing, running, fighting and quarreling.

She felt very disturbed, and upset. They were so alive in her mind, so very alive that she could almost feel their breathing.

"I don't know, maybe I am really escaping away from Edo."

His lips straightened into a thin line; he wanted to scold her for being so weak, but he knew that she was a human and could not expect more from her. Although if she was Rin, he would not have hesitated, he told himself and remained silent.

"But it doesn't help I suppose, I am so silly," Kagome tried to laugh and stopped when she realized that it sounded fake and horrible.

"Everyone has their limits, and going on a holiday alone is good, if one needs to clear his or her mind up," he replied carefully after another long pause.

She nodded her head blankly as she tried to sort through her confused feelings, "Yes, I think I want a clean break from my past."

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

"We are sitting next to each other," he looked at her through his sunglasses but there was no expression on her face.

He gave her his window seat and thought that perhaps she should not bring the same bag that she had used back then.

"You are tall," she remarked listlessly and looked out of the window; the train was moving too fast for her to enjoy any scenery and she wanted to scold herself for her stupidity since window seats cost more. Inuyasha would have done that.

"Hmm," he was not sure how he should reply her when she started again.

"I miss them," Kagome leaned her head against the cool glass pane and wished that she could poke her head out.

He knew she was sad, but there was nothing he could do. "Sometimes, I miss my old friends too. Although I am not sure whether they are my friends or not."

She tried to nod her head, but it was hard to do so and she did not really want to wipe the window with her hair that she had meticulously kept it short to her chin. Long hair was associated with the old her and Inuyasha.

"It is hard, isn't it? Sometimes I wonder where they are now, and whether they will remember me at all."

He closed his eyes, "I'm sure they do."

But she did not seem comforted and closed her eyes before she felt too dizzy from the images that flashed past her eyes, "They are all dead."

"You think so?"

"Hn, I'm quite sure, although sometimes I hope that they are still alive."

He knew that a part of her was with Inuyasha and her friends, and that that part was lost forever. "Do you still love him?"

She closed her eyes for a long while, "To be honest, I don't know."

He adjusted his seat a little so that he was facing her, because he wanted to see her reaction. She was sort of a mystery to him last time, with her indecent short skirt, slightly different language and her loyalty to his hanyou brother and he was determined to know her better; perhaps to retrieve the lost part of him that had gone with the centuries that flew by like a gentle breeze.

"It is not good to indulge in the past," he replied firmly.

She was a little irritated at his reply, "I know."

He knew that she was too pre-occupied with her thoughts to analyse his questions further, and continued slowly, "Sometimes, I face this problem myself."

She felt a little better, and opened her eyes again, "I miss him, I miss him so much. I've tried so hard to forget about him, but it doesn't work."

"Why do you try so hard? They are memories, nothing but memories."

"But these memories make me upset, I can't walk out from my past. Every day, every sunrise and every sunset, somehow I'll be reminded of him and my friends."

"You are weak," he came to the conclusion a second time.

She laughed a little and he thought it sounded a little like Rin's, "He said that to me too. He was always complaining that I'm weaker than Ki-, my predecessor."

"Then he doesn't really love you."

She turned around and glared at him, "Why do you say that? You don't know anything about us at all!"

He folded his arms and crossed his legs lazily, "It is just my deduction. Why don't you think about it carefully?"

Kagome felt a little childish and defeated at his composure, and turned to stare out of the window again. Perhaps the stranger was right, perhaps she loved him too much to see clearly, perhaps he loved her because she was Kikyou's reincarnation, perhaps what they shared was not true love since she was so young and he could never sort out his feelings for the two mikos.

But if Inuyasha did not love her, then what would she do? She had braved her life, sacrificed her grades and changed her future plans to be with him. If only the completed Shikon no Tama did not bring her back forcefully to her time, if only the well in her shrine would open up again, then maybe, perhaps she could ask him. She knew that she wanted an answer, but yet she knew that it would never come to her.

"But it doesn't matter anymore since he is in the past."

She suddenly felt very weary; perhaps these memories were not needed at all. Perhaps she was the one who was dragging herself down, not him, and not her friends. The stranger was right, Inuyasha belonged to the past, she thought.

"You are clinging to your past so much, because you are afraid."

He was right again; she was afraid. Would she be whole if she let go of them? Her past with them was the only anchor in her life even though ten years had gone by. She did not even dare to confide in her mother or brother, nor ask her good friends for advice. She had chosen the path herself, and felt that she should bear the consequences alone, no matter what.

"Tell me about him," he ran his fingers through his now short hair.

Kagome smiled to herself, "He was very irritating, like you."

His lips twitched a little; how dared she compare Inuyasha to him!

"He was adorable too, in a funny way. He was courageous, brave, loyal, and stupid."

He agreed with her for once, at Inuyasha's stupidity that was.

"But even though he was stupid, I still love him. We shared so much together, that I thought I would die if I ever lose him."

"You have already lost him, and you are sitting beside me," he reminded her.

She nodded her head, her eyes dry and wide as she walked further down her memory lane.

"Yes, he's already gone from my life..." He's in my past...

"And you are fine and alive," he felt a little irked at repeating himself.

She smiled bitterly and wished that she could cry, "I am not fine."

He pursed his lips a little, "Maybe you are not."

"But he would always assure me," she thought of the times that Inuyasha had protected her and the group.

"I will definitely not do that."

Kagome laughed softly, "Hidoi! You sound like someone I know."

His eyebrows went up, "Who?"

"His brother, who was always trying to kill us."

He kept quiet, not knowing what to say.

"But I don't think he is evil, near the later part of our journey that is. He had a little girl with him, and I don't think a cruel person would keep her by his side since she was always healthy and well-fed."

His eyelids drooped a little at the mention of Rin; he wished he could preserve all those wild flowers that she had collected.

"I wonder where he is now, and how he'll feel when his little girl died," the ghost-like smile remained on her face.

"I would think, he is fine," he replied carefully.

"He'll miss her, the way I miss him," she continued.

He squeezed his eyes shut; he wanted to probe into her memories, not the other way round. He was right, Kagome was truly an irritating woman.

"They are gone, in the past," he bit through each word almost angrily.

"Yes you are right," she sounded like those automated dolls showcased in beautiful, expensive shops.

"You talk like an old woman," he said dryly.

Kagome laughed louder this time round, "Ha ha! Yes you are so right, I think I am very old inside, here," she pressed her hand to her chest.

He snorted, "Then my heart must be reduced to dust now."

She giggled and felt that her heart was immensely lighter while he wondered why all females like to giggle. He had even attributed giggling as one of Rin's hobbies, apart from plucking wild flowers, trying to stuff them into his pelt and chasing after Jaken.

"You should get yourself a man," he said thoughtfully.

"You think so?" her smile grew wider.

"I do not say things for nothing," he let out a breath through his nostrils.

"You should get yourself a woman," she looked at him and wondered how old he was.

He grunted at the insinuation that he needed a female, or anyone.

"You are funny," she laughed a little at that.

"If you think so," he felt a bit insulted.

Kagome turned around and waved her hands in front of his face, "Can you see me?"

"Mochiron, I am not blind," he felt very insulted by now.

"I am very young you know, only twenty-five this year! So don't say that I am an old woman, it's rude," her eyes sparkled.

He bit his tongue in order not to laugh out loud, "Then don't talk like one. And that straw hat of yours."

"I thought you were getting some amusement from me," she smiled.

"Sort of."

Her hand was instantly up; she did not expect the stranger to use her for his amusement and she wanted to smack his arm. But when his fingers went around her wrist, firm and tight, she gasped.

The action was very familiar, as if someone had once done that to her but before she could say anything, he released his grip and warned in a low voice, "Don't do that again."

Her lips parted; she tried hard to remember who it was but the memory just would not surface.

"Alright," she leaned into her seat and stole a glance at him; she was not sure whether she had met him before and pouted, "You are mean."

"Like Inuyasha?"

Her eyes rounded and she got to her feet in an instant, wanting to stay away from the stranger who was now a potential danger to her. But her head met the ceiling hard and with a loud 'ow', she fell back to her seat and wondered whether her skull had split into half.

"Fool!" He scolded and his angry voice brought her vision back to focus as his hand rubbed the sore part on her head.

"Itai! Too hard!" Kagome winced.

"Stay still."

And she did, because she could almost feel his threat oozing out from his silk-like voice. She peered through her lashes at him, who was currently bent over her as he massaged her head. She had never been so close to a guy ever since Inuyasha and she swallowed.

"Ano... I'm.. I'm fine now..." she stuttered a little, all thoughts of danger fleeing from her mind.

He returned to his seat with a furious silence while she wondered whether she had heard wrongly.

"Sumimasen," she apologized, even though there was no need to.

"Are you so lost in your past that you can't even look towards the future?"

She thought he sounded sarcastic, and he wondered why he was so angry.

The tension and awkward silence hung between the both of them until the train reached Fukuoka station.

As everyone rustled about, getting ready to get off the train, she suddenly felt so lost and helpess that she asked, "Where are you going?"

He remained motionless for a while as other passengers shuffled past their seats down to the opened door before he replied slowly, "Do you want to come with me?"

Her eyes widened and her lower jaw hung loose. Was he hinting...?

"I am not Inuyasha," he turned around and she then realized that he brought nothing with him. No luggage, no bag, no umbrella.

"Who are you?!" Kagome frowned as she tried to squirm back into her seat, her heart thumping loudly at the stranger in front of her while shivers ran down her spine.

He took off his sunglasses and looked at her calmly, "Miko."

Kagome stared at him as if he was some alien from Mars and he blinked, "I am real. Now do you want to come with me?"

There was no doubt about it. Even though his hair was no longer silver and long, his irises were no longer golden, his markings had disappeared; Kagome still could recognize him. The intense stare, the thin lips, the sharp nose, the beautiful face and the grace and power he exuded even when he was clad in a dirty jacket and pants.

She wanted to cry, part of her past was now sitting in front of her and she did not know what to say nor understood how she felt. Was Sesshoumaru trying to help her with her past? Or was he bored? Perhaps he wanted to break free from his past too? Thoughts ran through her mind like shooting stars and he endured her stare until someone yelled.

Sesshoumaru got up, slung her idiotic-looking yellow backpack over his shoulder, jammed her ridiculous-looking straw-hat onto her head and wrapped his hand over hers gently.

"What do you want to eat?"

Kagome teared and closed her fingers over his very warm hand as she got up, "Are you going to hunt? No more fish."

Sesshoumaru smiled a little, "You look better in short hair."


This idea came to me one afternoon and because I love trains, I've decided to write it down. I know it doesn't make much sense... The ending is up to you to interpret, since this is a one-shot. :)


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