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How to be a Possessive Jerk

Chapter 18

Chapter 18:  How to be a Possessive Jerk

 

     Hojo smiled when Kagome said his name. He held a blue knitted hat in his hands, the weak sunshine highlighting his dark hair.

 

     "It's been a long time, Higurashi." He paused, scuffing the dirty snow with one foot while twisting the hat in his hands. Kagome gaped at him, caught totally by surprise. Last she had heard -- from friends who still thought they were the perfect couple -- he was going to Europe for the Christmas holidays.

 

     "Yeah," she said faintly, "long time." There was an awkward silence. What could she say to him? They broke up months ago, and she hadn't seen him since, except at a distance, because they had different classes. Looking at him now, she couldn't believe she had ever agreed to go out with him. Her friends had been pushy, and he was good-looking, but he was also the most boring person on the face of the earth.

 

     "You look good," he said when it became obvious that she wasn't going to say anything else. "Did you do something different with your hair?"

 

     "Um… no." Fishing for something, anything, to say she came up blank. Abruptly, she indicated Sango standing next to her. "You remember Sango, don't you?"

 

     "Sure." Hojo turned his courteous attention on Sango. "It's nice to see you again." Sango nodded in reply, thankful that he didn’t seem to expect a response. Almost immediately, he looked again at Kagome and smiled charmingly.

 

     "We've got a lot to catch up on. Did you want to go to the movies with me sometime? We could hang out and talk."

 

     Kagome remained silent, thinking of the best way to tell Hojo that she just wasn't interested. It had taken three conversations and four outright refusals to convince him that they should see other people. Maybe he thought that he still had a chance.

 

     Inuyasha appeared beside her, holding Shiro. "Who's this, Kagome?" he asked. Shiro peered with interest at the stranger, while Sango took the opportunity to retreat to where Miroku stood; shaking out the bushel of snow Inuyasha had shoved down his shirt. She didn't want to get caught in the middle of the fireworks she could sense would happen soon.

 

     Kagome smiled with relief at Inuyasha. He didn't see it, being too busy studying Hojo. "This is Hojo, Inuyasha." Hojo stuck out his hand, which Inuyasha ignored.

 

     "Are you a friend of Higurashi's," Hojo asked. With the utmost care, Inuyasha set Shiro down and looped an arm around Kagome's waist. He pulled her close.

 

     "You could say that." Inuyasha's eyes dared Hojo to challenge him.

 

     "That's nice. I'm glad she’s making new friends." Kagome almost choked. Was Hojo really that dense? Shiro stepped forward to pull on Hojo's pant leg.

 

     "My name is Shiro," he chirped when Hojo looked down. "That's my daddy," he pointed to Inuyasha, "and 'Gome is my babysitter."

 

     Hojo stepped away from the little boy. "I didn't know you liked kids, Higurashi." He smiled at Shiro in that way big people have when they aren't comfortable around small people.  Shiro grinned brightly, but Hojo ignored him and turned back to Kagome. "So," he continued, "how about we go to a movie on Saturday? I'll pick you up around seven." Shiro frowned in confusion, not used to being totally overlooked.

 

     How dense was this guy?  Inuyasha grabbed Kagome by the arm and pushed her behind him.  "Listen, Jojo," he growled with his face just inches away from the startled young man, "get it through that thick skull of yours. She ain't interested."

 

     .Hojo blinked and involuntary backed up a pace when Inuyasha crowded his personal space.  “I’m glad that Higurashi has friends looking out for her,” he said, “but shouldn’t you let her make her own decisions?  She’s a perfectly capable young woman.”

 

     “We are not friends!”  With all of his anger focused on the misguided young man, he missed the rising irritation in Kagome’s eyes.  “She’s my girlfriend!  And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll leave her alone!”

 

     “Inuyasha!”  Inuyasha turned bewildered eyes on Kagome.  Why was she so mad?  “Don’t yell at Hojo!  He’s still my friend and I don’t want you being mean to him.”

 

     "Why are you defending him?" Frustration with Hojo’s denseness made his voice come out harsher than he intended. "You're not thinking about going to the movies with him, are you?"

 

     "And what if I am?" Kagome snapped back, annoyed with Inuyasha's possessive attitude.

 

     "Don't be more of an idiot than you already are!" Shiro watched the argument with wide eyes. Daddy and 'Gome hadn't yelled at each other in a long time. And he didn't like it at all.

 

     Hojo made an effort to assert himself. "You shouldn't talk to Higurashi like that," he scolded. "Come on, Higurashi." He reached forward to take her arm. "Your friend needs some time to cool down." Already stressed by the public arguing with his girlfriend, in front of an old boyfriend no less, Inuyasha overreacted in his usual manner

 

     Hojo sprawled in the snow at their feet, raising a hand to his throbbing cheek, which was already starting to bruise. Kagome gave a shocked cry and rushed to the fallen boy's side.

 

     "Are you all right, Hojo?" She examined the side of his face, running gentle fingers over the swollen flesh.

 

     "I think so." He winced as her touch aggravated the ache. "Why did he hit me?"

 

     "The wimp's fine, Kagome." Inuyasha crossed his arms over his chest and scowled to hide his shock at his own actions. He didn’t want to admit that he might have, just possibly, overreacted a bit. Kagome's defense of the jerk had irritated him at the same time it scared him. "Stop fussing over him."

 

     Kagome looked up at him, fury snapping in her eyes. Inuyasha took an involuntary step back. "Apologize." The one word was hard with barely suppressed anger. He had been on the verge of just that, but being told to do so rubbed him the wrong way.

 

     "No," he said firmly, prepared to have her drop the matter. The little wimp deserved it, getting between him and Kagome. Shiro swiveled his head from side to side, the tension in the air making him uneasy. Wanting to go to one of them, but not sure who, tears filled his eyes as his world began to crumble.

 

     "Apologize right now!" Kagome stood up, hands tightly fisted at her sides. "Or I'll never speak to you again!"

 

     Threaten him, would she? Inuyasha stepped forward, picking up his son. "I'm not apologizing, so I guess we have nothing more to say to each other." Turning, he started to walk away.

 

     She would choose him. That Jojo wimp would be left lying in the snow. Kagome would come after him and say that she was sorry for even considering a date with someone else. He slowed his steps slightly, listening for the crunching of Kagome's boots following him.

 

     "You're a jerk, Inuyasha Takashi," Kagome yelled after him, "and I never want to see you again!"

 

     She wasn't coming. She was going to let him walk away. Inuyasha tightened his arms around Shiro and refused to look back -- no matter how much he wanted to.

 

     Shiro struggled in his daddy's grasp. Why were Daddy and 'Gome yelling at each other? And why didn't 'Gome come with them? He looked back, reaching out his small arms to the already distant figure. "'Gome! 'Gome!"

 

^**^

 

     Inuyasha stomped through the snow. A small part of him wanted to go back and apologize. The much larger part, which included his bruised ego, selfishly wanted to make Kagome suffer. She would come crawling back. She would be sorry she even talked to that wimpy high school boy. At the edge of his preoccupation, he registered that Miroku was following.

 

     "Inuyasha!" Miroku shouted. "Hold up a minute!" Inuyasha ignored him, the same way he ignored the wriggling boy clasped in his arms. He didn't know why he overreacted like that, but the thought of Kagome spending any time with another guy gave him a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach. Hitting that Jojo character made him feel a lot better, but then Kagome had to get all mad and yell at him. Why was she so upset? She didn't want to go to the movies with that wimp, did she?

 

     Unconsciously, his steps slowed, allowing Miroku to catch up with him. For once Miroku didn't say anything -- probably because he was panting too hard.

 

     "Let's go inside," Miroku said between gasps. Inuyasha looked up, surprised to see that they had already reached the house. He trudged inside with Miroku following. Putting Shiro down, he began to mechanically remove the child's snow gear.

 

     Shiro sniffled, pulling away when Inuyasha reached out to ruffle his hair.

 

     "What's wrong with you, Shiro?" he demanded.

 

     "You yelled at 'Gome and made her go away," Shiro accused. He clenched his small fists, fresh tears welling in his eyes. "You yelled and made 'Gome mad and she won't come over no more and she was going to take me caroling and decorate the Christmas tree and - and," Shiro paused for breath, "and mommies and daddies shouldn't fight." He put his hands over his eyes and wailed.

 

     Inuyasha grabbed Shiro's hands, pulling them down. "'Gome isn't your mommy!"

 

     "She won't be because you're always yelling at her!" Shiro jerked free and ran up the stairs. Shock held Inuyasha immobile for a moment. What had gotten into his sweet little boy?  Anger rising again, he stormed up the stairs to bang on Shiro's door.

 

     "Come out here and apologize!"

 

     "No! You're a mean daddy and I'm not sorry!"

 

     "Come out, you little brat!" Inuyasha paused with his fist raised to bang on the door again. The words from his mouth finally made a connection with his brain. With a low groan he stepped back and pressed his back against the wall opposite Shiro's door, sliding down to sit with his arms wrapped around his bent knees. He rested his forehead on his knees and said nothing for a long time.  He didn’t even hear Miroku come puffing up the stairs, still winded from his hurried march through the snow.

 

     Miroku approached cautiously and placed one hand on his friend's shoulder. There was no response. Sighing, he made himself comfortable to wait for as long as necessary until Inuyasha was ready to talk.

 

     "What have I become?"

 

     The words were so low that Miroku almost missed them. He glanced at the figure next to him. Inuyasha had his chin resting on his knees, staring blankly at the door in front of him.

 

     "Shiro's right. I overreacted and yelled at Kagome. I'll be lucky if she ever speaks to me again." He straightened, stretching his legs across the hall. He snorted softly. "I'll be lucky if Shiro ever speaks to me again. I can't believe that I called him a brat.  I swore that I would never yell at him or treat him the same way Kikyo does."

 

     "It wasn't your fault," Miroku said calmly, but inside he was shaking. Kagome must be really special for Inuyasha to actually admit that he was wrong. Sango had told him that Kagome and Hojo broke up months before she met Inuyasha. And that she had never mentioned him since. The way Inuyasha had bristled possessively also told him volumes about Inuyasha's feelings for the girl.

 

     Inuyasha gave him a scornful look. "Don't give me that. I was a first-class jerk and everyone knows it -- even Shiro."

 

     The door cracked open. Miroku watched but said nothing. Inuyasha was too lost in guilt and misery to notice. The door swung open a little farther.

 

     "Daddy?"

 

     Inuyasha focused on his son, standing uncertainly in his own doorway. His cheeks were red, his eyes puffy, and he needed a tissue. He sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve. Inuyasha smiled and held out his arms. Shiro scrambled into his lap, burying his face in his daddy's stomach. He said something, but his voice was muffled by Inuyasha's shirt. Inuyasha gently tilted his chin up. With gentle care, he wiped away the tearstains.

 

     "Are you mad at me, Daddy?" Shiro asked, sniffing loudly. Inuyasha shifted and dug in his pocket for his handkerchief.

 

     "Blow," he said, holding the white scrap to Shiro's nose. Shiro blew.

 

     "Why would I be mad at you?" He wadded up the handkerchief and shoved it back in his pocket. Pulling Shiro close, he tucked the child's head under his chin.

 

     "Because I yelled and said you were mean." Shiro played with the collar of Inuyasha's shirt, feeling comforted by the steady beat of his daddy's heart.

 

     Inuyasha tightened his arms, pressing Shiro close. "Daddy was mean. I shouldn't have yelled at you and I shouldn't have yelled at Kagome."

 

     "I don't like that jerk who was talking to my 'Gome." Shiro yawned and snuggled against the warmth of his daddy's chest.

 

     "Don't call people jerks, Shiro," Inuyasha scolded lightly.

 

     "Why not?" Shiro yawned. "You do it all the time. Can I hit him next time?"

 

     Inuyasha chuckled and smoothed Shiro's hair out of his eyes with one hand. "It's not nice to hit people," he pressed a kiss to the top of Shiro's head, "no matter how much they deserve it."

 

     Shiro didn't answer, having fallen asleep. Miroku picked him up without being asked. Inuyasha climbed to his feet before taking Shiro back. They were silent while they prepared the child for bed. Shiro didn't wake as his daddy changed him into his pajamas and tucked him into bed. Miroku found Shiro's white doggy and placed it in his arms.

 

     "What are you going to do now?" Miroku asked, following Inuyasha down the stairs.

 

     "I'll have to go talk to Kagome," Inuyasha replied. His lips twitched into a slight smile. "And I think I know how to go about it."

 

     "I don't like the look in your eye." Miroku picked up his coat from the floor where he had dropped it. "You're not going to do something stupid, are you?"

 

     Inuyasha flashed a grin at his friend. "Nope. I'm going to do something smart."

 

^**^

 

Food for thought: (courtesy of Kristy-Chan and also LovelyStarry)

 

Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes, that way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes

copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004