Disclaimer: I no own anything. Well, I do own things just not the Inuyasha characters.
Chapter Four: The Stage Master and Miroku’s Gift
“So, we’ve come to our decision?” Kagome questioned as she stood up and headed out of the gym.
“I take it that we weren’t supposed to answer that question.” Stated Sango as she and Kohaku followed the fast walking teenager.
“Who do you think they chose?” Hojo’s soft voice broke the tense silence of the lecture hall. All who auditioned glanced quickly at each other and shrugged. Just then the doors opened to reveal the current members of TANK. Kagome took the lead as they all made a beeline for the small group eagerly awaiting their decision.
“When I call your name please step forward”, said Kagome as she took the piece of notebook paper, “Akari Koto, Masurao Koi, and Hojo Chiisai.” The three mentioned stepped forward with curious looks on their faces. “Those of you that I have not called may leave. TANK will not be needing you.” Looking at the three left over Kagome said, “I only have two acceptance forms in my hand, so one of you will be leaving us today. Akari, you are safe, come and get your form.” Akari excitedly ran up to get her form. Masurao, Hojo you both played wonderfully today, but only one of you can be in the band. And it will be-“
“Hey Miroku, watch this three-pointer.” Inuyasha jumped up into the air to shoot the bright orange ball into the basket. Following the ball with bated breath as the ball flew through the air. “Yes! Nothing, but net!” Looking over at the constantly studying Miroku he asked, “Who’s the man? Yep, I’m the man!”
“I don’t see any point to your gloating, Inuyasha, it’s not like you had any form of competition.” Miroku stated bluntly while his pencil moved smoothly over his paper.
“It’s about improving my already perfect skills, not about competition.” Inuyasha huffed as he sat next to his friend.
“If your skills are so perfect then why do you always react as if you’ve just made some huge accomplishment?”
“Why the hell do you ask so many questions?”
“No need to get defensive, Inuyasha, as you said I am only asking questions.” Inuyasha was about to get up when he decided that his friend was too engrossed in his work for it to be homework. Reason one: He had yet to mention a single girl. Reason two: Miroku usually finishes his work before they leave school and reason three would be that two hot chicks just walked by and he didn’t even look up! Sneaking a peek over the teenager’s shoulder Inuyasha saw that his friend was busy drawing in his sketchbook. Not an unusual thing for him to do, but the picture he was drawing was of a girl who was out of this world HOT! She was in the shower with the soap and water running down her beautiful curves. He could see why Miroku was so engrossed in this masterpiece. Taking a good look at the face Inuyasha almost lost his lunch. The picture was of SANGO! That frigid bitch couldn’t be hot if she got plastic surgery to make her look like Pamela Anderson. Looking at his friend in horror he decided to leave quickly and pretend that he never saw the very detailed picture of Sango.
“Yo man, I gotta get home. I’ll see you at school tomorrow.” With that Inuyasha left before Miroku could reply.
“- Masurao Koi. You are Tank’s bassist.” Kagome announced as she smiled brightly at the shocked musician. Akari and Masurao exchanged handshakes and Hojo left the lecture hall sullenly. Sango stepped up and began handing everyone green slips of paper and received Akari and Masurao’s yellow papers as well. As she passed out the papers she explained, “The blue papers are just simple biography information forms. Fill them out honestly and only answer the questions provided, do not give more information than requested.” After everyone filled out their forms TANK became an official Nobunaga High School band.
Kagome had just sat down with her lunch when the public announcement system crackled to life. // All participating bands must meet in the lecture hall after school today to be introduced to this year’s Stage Master. // Everyone looked over to Sango to ask, “What does the Stage Master do?” Akari, Kagome, and Masurao looked at each other in shock. It was apparent that Kagome is not the only new student at Nobunaga High. Sango just rolled her eyes and began her explanation, “The Stage Master meets with the bands once a week to tell us our challenge for the week. On the day that all the bands perform the song that they’ve prepared for the challenge the Stage Master is the one to introduce the bands.” A round of ‘oh’s’ followed her explanation. The rest of lunch was spent in comfortable silence.
Sesshomaru was sitting in his usual seat during study hall, busily flipping through papers and growling softly in frustration. At that moment Kagome came around the bushes and sat directly across from him.
“Back again?” His cool tone had no effect on the girl as she began to take out her homework. Sesshomaru went back to his papers and growled again. “Damn psychology.”
At this Kagome looked up at him in surprise. She reached over and took the papers he was presently glaring at. Glancing at the neatly written work, she noticed the reason for his frustration.
“A neutral stimulus becomes the conditioned stimulus after training, not the unconditioned stimulus.” He gave her a very confused look so she sighed and began to explain. “In classical conditioning you have a neutral stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, and a conditioned stimulus. The neutral stimulus causes no reaction from the patient. For example, someone standing next to you would not cause you to react. The unconditioned stimulus causes an unconditioned response, which is a predictable reaction or a natural reflex. An example of this would be that a person standing next to you decides to scream, that scream will cause you to jump and become scared or cause your ears to hurt. When you pair the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus it causes the conditioned response. After repetition the neutral stimulus becomes the conditioned because the patient will associate the neutral stimulus with the unconditioned response and therefore you have performed classical conditioning. In other words every time that person stands next to you you’ll try to avoid hurting your ears when that person screams.” Kagome handed Sesshomaru his papers back, feeling very proud of herself.
She watched as he blinked a couple times in surprise and said, “Thank you for the clarification. It was rather helpful.” Silence fell between them as they both went back to their work. Slowly that odd feeling came back to Sesshomaru. He wanted to actually talk to the girl across from him.
“Are you going to be at the meeting after school?” What the hell was wrong with him? He shouldn’t want to talk to this slip of a girl, but he couldn’t help it for some reason.
Kagome sat her pencil down and answered, “Yeah, I’ll be there. I couldn’t possibly miss that, I’m the lead singer!”
“I knew that you were in Sango’s band, but I didn’t know that you were the lead.” He seemed surprised by the information, which made Kagome uncomfortable.
“Why wouldn’t I be the lead? It’s not like I can’t sing.”
“I never thought that you couldn’t sing. I’m surprised that Sango gave away the position that she’s wanted for years.”
“What do you mean?” Kagome asked, confused.
“Sango has always wanted to be the lead singer, ever since we started our band, but since I could not play the drums, she could not become the lead. Now, when she has a band of her own she decides to take the backseat. It’s just interesting to think about, that’s all.”
“Yeah, very interesting.”
Sango slammed her locker door after shoving all her stuff in it. Turning around she was met with the sight of a grinning Miroku. She immediately began to walk to her next class. “What the hell do you want?” Miroku followed behind her with a small smile on his face and his hands were suspiciously behind his back. “I said: What the hell do you want?”
“I have a simple request.”
“Do not make me ask again.”
“Okay, okay. I was wondering if you would go out to dinner with me on Friday night?”
“Hell no. Now go away.” She kept walking to class, but was surprised when Miroku continued to follow.
“I wish that you would reconsider, dear Sango. Lately I have realized that you are the woman of my dreams-“
“I hope you don’t mean that literally.”
“- and I believe that there is no other woman more qualified to bare my children.”
“How lucky these other women must be. I personally find you to be a perverted son of a bitch, who will bang anything with a pussy. I would rather drop dead than be in your presence long enough to have dinner.”
“Then how about coffee? I know this great spot.” His voice was hopeful, but Sango was not the type to be merciful.
“Do you not realize that you are annoying?”
In one last attempt to sway her Miroku cut in front of her. Ignoring her dangerous glare he offered her a silk-wrapped package. “At least take this gift. I do not ask anything other than that you consider my earlier offer?” Sango scoffed and turned away.
“I’d rather not.” Miroku’s jaw dropped.
“Why won’t you take the gift? It’s not like I have cooties!”
“What are we? Children? I just don’t like you. Is that blunt enough for you? A straight forward answer, that’s what you wanted, right?”
“Actually, I was hoping that you would accompany me to dinner or at least take this gift.”
Sango glared back at him, contemplating. “Fine, I’ll take the package, but if I don’t like it you’ll find it returned to you in the most brutal of ways.”
She reached out her hands and gently lifted the rectangular package from strong hands. Miroku straightened himself and said, “Just don’t open it until you get home tonight.” Then he left without another word. Sango looked down at the package curiously. Then glanced back in the direction of which Miroku had gone. Realizing that she was standing just outside of her class she walked in and sat next to Kohaku.
“What is that, Sango?” Kohaku’s soft voice broke through her muddled thoughts.
She looked down at the package again and said, “I don’t know.”
Kagome made her way to the lecture hall once the last bell rang. The bands were meeting the Stage Master after school today. Kagome didn’t know what to expect. Hurrying along the hallways against the flow of students exiting the building she was bumped and jostled by random body parts and objects. She finally made it to the double doors of the lecture hall as the students trickled out of the main hallway. When she opened the door she received the shock of a lifetime. There were over twenty people waiting to also meet the Stage Master. Looking around she spotted Sango and the rest of the band sitting down by the front. While making her way over to her group she heard a gruff voice rise above the noise of the hall.
“Hey, Kagome! What are you doing here?” Turning around to see that the voice belonged to none other than Inuyasha, Kagome smiled brightly and walked over to talk to him.
“Hey Inuyasha, I forgot that you would be here.” He looked confused for a moment.
“How did you know that I would be here?”
“You’re in the band ‘Perverted Dogs’, right?”
“Yeah, but how did you know?”
“I’m in TANK. I’m the lead singer.”
“Oh, so you’re in Sango’s band?”
“Yep, I am.”
“So, you’re now my competition.”
“That would be an obvious ‘yes’.”
“Are you prepared?”
“Prepared for what?”
“For your defeat. There’s no way in hell I’m going to lose to a girl.” At that Kagome blew up.
“You ass! I can’t believe you would say something like that to me! I’ll have you know that my band would beat your band even if the audience was deaf, dumb, and blind!”
“See how smart you are. If the audience was deaf, dumb, and blind then they wouldn’t be at the concert to begin with.” Inuyasha watched in amusement as Kagome’s face flushed red from embarrassment.
Kagome was so embarrassed about what she had said and how Inuyasha pointed out the sheer stupidity of her statement that she had to get away before she embarrassed herself further. As she walked away Inuyasha let go of his laughter. It took all she had not to turn around and slap that goofy grin off of Inuyasha’s face. At that moment she caught a glimpse of white from the corner of her eye. She turned her head to take a better look and was suddenly making eye contact with Sesshomaru Nishizawa. Giving him a small smile she waved at him and headed towards Sango and the rest of the band. As she sat down next to Sango the door on the side of the raised platform opened.
In walked Principle Totosai with a pleasant smile on his face and a spring in his step. He stood behind the podium and took a good look around the room. Once he had made eye contact with every person in the room he nodded.
“Welcome students! As you may already know, I am your Principle, Totosai, and you all are here to meet your Stage Master so that this competition can finally begin. But, before you meet your Stage Master I have to explain the rules to all the new faces in the crowd.”
He made eye contact with all the new people and gave a warm smile.
“This is a friendly competition there will be absolutely no sabotage or else that band, not individual, but the whole band will be disqualified.” With this statement Kagome could have sworn that his eyes landed meaningfully on the group of girls near the back.
“You all are competing for the number one spot and this will be determined by the audience. At the end of each concert the audience will enter a rating of all the bands. The bands will be put in order of best to worse. The band with the best performance will have a rating of 5 and the band with the worst performance will have a rating of 1. Any questions?” No one raised his or her hand so he continued.
“This is not American Idol so you don’t have to worry about elimination. All bands will be able to compete all year just as long as they have not been disqualified. I have already mentioned one way to get disqualified, but there are other ways. Since this competition is an extracurricular activity I expect for all participating students to maintain a ‘C’ average in all classes.” Totosai made a few pointed glances at a few people in the crowd and a few whispers began to circulate then died down as Totosai continued his speech.
“If anyone of you are suspended or if you manage to get a detention on the day of the concert then your band cannot participate in the concert. Why? Because you would not be able to make it in time to do your performance and suspension won’t allow you to be at school anyway. So stay out of trouble. As for the Stage Master’s job…well let’s just say that what he says goes. He has control over this competition. If your band does not meet his expectations of the challenge then you lose any amount of points that he chooses. After today you all won’t see me again until the winner is announced.” Totosai’s eyes lit up as he clapped his hands together once. The mass of students before him all jumped in their seats from the unexpected noise.
“Well, I think that I’ve talked quite enough. So, I think it is time that you all meet this year’s stage Master!”
A round of applause resounded through the lecture hall. “Here he is, your Stage Master, Naraku Fujisaki!”
The door that Totosai had entered through earlier opened once again to reveal a tall young man with long black, wavy hair and red eyes. He walked with an air of superiority. It reminded Kagome of the way Sesshomaru walks only Sesshomaru had ice to his walk where Naraku had a look of a predator about his person. Totosai stepped away from the podium and let Naraku take his place. He seemed a bit nervous standing next to Naraku and after a few moments he gave the crowd another smile, waved and exited the lecture hall.
“Well, ‘ello my duckies. I must admit that it is a pleasure to be back in Japan after twelve years of living in London. As you can tell I ‘ave picked up the accent. Before I issue this week’s challenge I would like to know the names of all the contestants. I will start with the most popular group and end with the newest group. If you would…”
At that Sesshomaru stood up and gave a short bow. “Nishizawa, Sesshomaru. The lead singer of the band ‘Gods of Tokyo’.” He continued to stand as the man to his left stood and bowed. He had silver bangs that hung over his eyes and the rest of his hair was a very shiny black that was about a foot shorter than Sesshomaru’s hair.
“Harada, Mitsukai. Bassist.” When he looked up Kagome was struck dumb by his ice blue eyes. They just seemed to scream “SEXY”! Kagome was so busy staring at Mitsukai that she almost missed the next introduction.
“Otsuka, Hiten. Drummer.” To Kagome Hiten didn’t even hold a candle to the two band members standing to his right. He was also a lot shorter than Mitsukai and Sesshomaru.
The next guy that stood up seemed a little cocky. He didn’t bow and instead looked Naraku straight in the eyes and said, “Miura, Koga and I play the keyboard in this band.” Okay so he didn’t say anything special, but he just seemed so full of himself. It just makes you wonder why Sesshomaru would let someone like that in his band.
Kagome’s thoughts were completely swept away when the last member of ‘Gods of Tokyo’ stood up. At first glance you would say that it was a girl, but upon closer inspection Kagome realized that she was actually a he and his name is, “Ishihara, Jakotsu. I’m the guitarist.” He gave Naraku a flirty wink before all the band members gave one final bow as a group and sat back down. To everyone’s surprise Naraku clapped and gave the group a rather warm smile.
“That was a very good introduction. Brief and to the point I like that. Next band please?”
Inuyasha wasted no time standing up and giving his introduction. “Nishizawa, Inuyasha and I play the keyboard for the band ‘Perverted Dogs’.” Instead of standing like Sesshomaru, Inuyasha sat down quickly and grumpily. The boy to his right didn’t seem to share Inuyasha’s dislike of the introductions.
“Kawai, Miroku and I play guitar. For all you lovely ladies here I am single and-“ His little speech was cut short by Inuyasha who had pulled him down to his seat. Once Miroku was quiet Inuyasha nudged the guy to his left who stood immediately. Kagome noticed that he had a long braid just like Hiten only he had bangs.
“Ishihara, Bankotsu. Bassist.” He too sat down and the next to go was a rather petite girl about one head shorter than Inuyasha. She had light blue hair that went down to the middle of her back that she kept in a low ponytail. She also had big, beautiful lilac colored eyes. She was the first member to bow like Sesshomaru’s band.
“Tanaka, Shiori. I’m the drummer and it is an honor to be apart of this competition.” Before she could say anything else Inuyasha yelled, “Sit your ass down already!” The girl looked a bit upset at Inuyasha’s words, but with a pat on the back from the red-haired boy next to her she sat down quietly.
“My name is Teiron, Shippo and I am the lead singer.” He bowed just before sitting down.
With the second band introduced Naraku clapped just as he did for the first and went on to TANK. TANK introduced themselves just as ‘Gods of Tokyo’ had done and also received applause. Now there were only the two singing groups left one boy group and one girl trio. Naraku requested that the boy band go first.
The whole band stood up and bowed. “I am Sekimoto, Ginta and this is the boy band ‘Speed Demons’.” Kagome thought that the name was a little lame, but there wasn’t anything that she could do about it.
“Sekimoto, Hakkaku. Cousin to Ginta.” The cousin part seemed a bit unnecessary, but Kagome supposed that Hakkaku needed to say more than just his name.
“Fujisaki, Hakudoshi, I do believe that you already knew that ani.” That was a shocker. One of Naraku’s siblings was in the competition! This is getting interesting.
The last member of the group was rather chubby and wasn’t anywhere near as cute as the other members. “Otsuka, Manten and I’m the brother to Otsuka, Hiten.” Kagome was in complete shock. Hiten was related to someone who looks like he’s not even in the same species as him. Naraku didn’t even bat an eye to that news. Maybe he already knew.
The girl group didn’t even wait for Naraku to clap for the Speed Demons. The obvious leader of the group just stood and began her introduction. ‘Impatient much’ Kagome thought.
“Hi! My name is Kikyo. Shirakawa, Kikyo and I’m the lead singer of the group ‘Dead Witches’.” Before sitting down she yanked up the girl sitting next to her. She had short hair and red eyes like Naraku.
“Fu… Fujisaki Kagura.” Was all she managed to stutter out before sitting back down only to have the last girl of the trio stand up. She was about the same height as Shiori and had white hair and pitch black eyes. Those eyes made Kagome’s skin crawl. Her voice was so soft that Kagome had to strain to hear her.
“Fujisaki, Kanna. It is a pleasure to have you back ani.” So all three Fujisaki contestants were related to Naraku. Now this was interesting.
“Great. Now that we have all been introduced I shall now issue your challenge. This week I would like for you to introduce your band to the audience. Good luck.” With that said Naraku promptly walked out the door and left the mass of students to themselves. Inuyasha’s band was the first to walk out the door followed by everyone else.
As Kagome was exiting the lecture hall she spotted Sesshomaru standing off to the side. With a smile she made a beeline for him.
“Kagome!” she turned around to find Sango waving her over. With a frown she met up with Sango.
“Yes, Sango?” She asked in a bored tone.
“I won’t be able to work on the song tonight, but after school tomorrow we really need to get to work. We need to have the song composed and ready to perform by next Friday. We have 9 days including today. We won’t have this much time again.”
“Okay so I’ll be at your house tomorrow after school. It’s not like I have anything better to do on a Friday night.”
“Alright, I’ll see you then. Bye.” Kagome watched as Sango walked in the direction of the parking lot. Turning around she saw Kikyo flirting it up with Sesshomaru. She couldn’t help, but laugh. Watching Kikyo try her best to get a reaction out of a bored Sesshomaru was a little funny. Since Sesshomaru was currently indisposed Kagome just decided to go home.
The front door to the Higurashi house swung open and in walked a rather content Kagome. Hearing her mom already preparing dinner in the kitchen she readjusted her book-bag and followed the delicious aroma. Upon entering the kitchen her eyes were met with a horrific sight. There were chopped bits of produce all over the island and all kinds of cooking tools and containers piled in the sink. Not to mention the garbage that was overflowing with mistakes. Kagome looked around for her mom, but only spotted a very grimy Souta.
“What the hell is going on in here?” She yelled.
“Mom said that she was going to be super late tonight and said that we had to find something for dinner ourselves.”
Kagome had to take deep breaths and slowly count to ten before speaking. “So you decided to cook everything in the kitchen except for the appliances?” she watched as Souta took a good look around the room. Turning back to her he said, “I guess I got a little carried away.”
She just rolled her eyes and said, “You know what? Whatever you’ve concocted in here you eat it. I’m ordering a pizza.” And with that statement she angrily made her way upstairs to her room and as an afterthought she yelled down, “And you had better have that mess cleaned up before mom gets home!” Then she slammed her door for emphasis.
Left. Right. Left. Turn. Right no back to the left. Kohaku sat calmly on a cheap black computer chair watching his sister pace the floor. He didn’t bother to pay any attention to what she was saying because the only words he could make out was the occasional “no”, “what if” and “damn that lecher”. None of which were very informative. Finally, she plopped down on the bed next to a silk wrapped package.
“Oh Kohaku! What do I do?” She moaned into her hands. Had she been looking she would have seen the confusion on his face.
“Do with what?” he questioned. Sango sighed and pointed to the package next to her.
“The package, Kohaku. What do I do with the package?” She still had one hand covering her face, but no longer had her mouth covered.
He thought the answer was simple and softly gave his obvious advice. “I would suppose that you open it.” All that got him was a withering glare.
“Of course I’m suppose to open it! The problem is that I don’t know if I’ll like it or hate it.” She said as she lay back on her bed and looked up at the ceiling. After a few moments of silence she continued her thoughts. “If I like it then I’ll want to keep it and that’ll send the wrong message to that damn lecher. But if I hate it then I’ll have the pleasure of shoving my steel-toed boots up his ass. I might even shine them for the occasion.”
Kohaku had had enough of the girl issues and started to leave the room, but before he’d reached the hallway he tossed over his shoulder, “Just open it.”
As soon as Kohaku had disappeared into his room Sango sat up and gently picked up the package. With a nod of her head she walked across her room and slowly closed the door. Sitting back down on the bed she unwrapped the package to find a rather wide book that was bound in black leather. On the cover blazoned in silver were her name, Sango Tomioka, and his name, Miroku Kawai. With a bit of confusion Sango opened the cover of the book and was met with pictures of her childhood. Pictures of when she and Miroku were friends and practically inseparable. There was one particular picture that was strategically placed in the middle of the page. It was a picture of her and Miroku sharing a rather innocent kiss between five-year-olds.
As she flipped through the pages she took a trip through time and finally came upon the pages containing sketches of her various situations. There were portraits with her many expressions. The most beautiful one was of her smiling though. There was one of her at the grocery store and walking down the street, and one of her glaring in his direction out in the school courtyard. On the last page he had put a DVD. Sango hesitated before slipping the DVD from its sleeve and putting it in the DVD player. Soon she was looking at herself during freshmen year.
“Hey Sango! Smile for the camera!” Came a much higher pitched version of Miroku’s voice. Instead of a smile he got a finger. “Just name the time and place.” He replied wittily.
Sango watched as a blush made itself present on the cheeks of her younger self as she smiled and said, “Miroku, you’re such a lecher!” the camera zoomed in on her smiling face and faded into another sequence. It was the same year, but during one of the band practices. The picture was out of focus for a moment then she heard Inuyasha’s voice.
“Where the hell is that button? Fuck!………Hey monk get your ass over here and tell me how to use this damn thing.” There were a few minutes of scuffling and then the picture was focused. There on the screen was a 16-year-old Sesshomaru sitting in one of the living room chairs with a new song in the making held in his hand. Inuyasha said a few choice words to the concentrating teen before a blur flashed across the screen. The camera focused on Sango being chased around the room by Miroku who was yelling, “Sango you promised!”
Which was immediately followed by her screaming, “Stay away from me, you lecher!”
Then Mitsukai jumped into the scene, almost knocking over the keyboard, and grabbed Sango.
“No! Let me go, Kai! Please?” Mitsukai just shook his head and said, “You promised.”
The next thing to happen was Miroku gently holding her chin and kissing her softly on the lips. Then he smiled broadly and stated, “Be glad that you didn’t promise to bare my child!” That earned him a very painful right hook. This time the scene faded on a fuming Sango and faded in on a picture of a present day Miroku in his room.
“Hey, Sango I’m glad that you are watching this. I know that you enjoyed watching this video as much as I enjoyed putting all this together. I hope this video reminded you of all the good times we had together as friends and hopefully you’ll think of all the good times we could have if we became more than friends. So um…I would be greatly honored if uh…you would consider…at least consider being my girlfriend?” the screen went blank and Sango turned off the TV. As she opened the door to her room she saw Kohaku just coming out of his room.
“Hey bro, want some pizza?” She asked with a smile and received a small smile in return.