Eye of the Beholder
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Inuyasha characters or the following songs:
Sweet Sixteen – Destiny’s Child
I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
Live Like We’re Dying – Kris Allen
Tell You Something – Alicia Keys
Chapter 11: The Inspirational Challenge
“Will you stop fidgeting?” Sango snapped at the girl on the stool.
Kagome was rocking in her seat with excitement. In a few minutes Naraku will take his place on the stage and begin the battle. She had practiced this song all week. Today especially. She had sung the song in the shower, while blow drying her hair, in between bites of cereal, while walking to school, all day long. It was really a beautiful song and she was honored to be the one to perform it in front of the whole school. The worst part was that she had to perform last. It was the price of being last week’s best, but she was so full of energy and nerves that she wanted to rush out on stage and sing the song right now.
She stopped her rocking once Naraku appeared at the stairs, straightening his tie before walking out on stage. The crowd erupted in cheers as he made his way to the center. He bowed to the people and humored them with a dramatic display of gratitude. “Thank you, thank you! You’re too kind, honestly. Let’s quiet down a bit so we can get this battle started.” The students gave a final wave of cheers before hushing.
“Alright, last week the bands introduced themselves to you and I hope you enjoyed getting to know them.” There were a few claps and whistles. “This week, however, I have asked the bands to show you what is truly important to them. I want them to inspire you, maybe even bring you to tears. So, without further ado, let’s welcome the Dead Witches to the stage!”
Kagome watched as Kikyo, Kagura and Kanna rushed out on stage and took their positions. The lights dimmed then the music started. To her surprise it was Kagura who stepped up to sing.
“Couldn’t tell ol’ Jackie nothing. Sixteen thought she knew it all. She was searching for the love she missed, yeah. And so she ran away.” She fell back into the group.
“Slow down you’re moving way too fast. Sixteen, there’s so much for you ahead. Sweet sixteen, do you know where you’re running to?”
Kanna stepped forward for her part. “She fell in love with a man who was so fine. He made her promises, yeah. She didn’t stop to think if he was serious. No, no, no. Until she had his baby! Sweet sixteen!” Kagome was moved by the lyrics. They really spoke to her. There were tons of girls who fell for a guy with no idea what they were getting themselves into. These girls sounded like a friend any girl could talk to. They became a shoulder to cry on. Kagome hardly noticed when Kikyo began to sing.
“I know you’re feeling lonely. Who you gonna turn to? Feels like the world’s closing in on you! Sweet sixteen, you need cherish what you have. You can forget about the past. Now you can start all over, you can start all over and – cherish your life!”
As they finished the song, the crowd clapped and cheered enthusiastically. Naraku once again stood middle stage and hushed the excited students. “Well, wasn’t that just fantastic? The Dead Witches have really brought out the heavy artillery for this challenge! If this is how this battle started I can’t wait to see the other acts. I’m so excited I don’t think I can wait, so come out here and show us what you’ve got Speed Demons!”
The four boys ran out on stage and arranged themselves so that Hakudoshi stood closest to the audience. The other boys stood a couple feet back and then the music started. Kagome’s body swayed to the soft music. When Hakudoshi began to sing she froze. “I used to think that I could not go on, and life was nothing but an awful song. But now I know the meaning of true love. I’m leaning on the everlasting arms! If I can see it, then I can do it. If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it.”
The other boys joined in softly, humming along with the melody. “I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. I think about it every night and day. Spread my wings and fly away. I believe I can soar. I see me running through that open door. I believe I can fly. I believe I can fly. I believe I can fly.” His voice was strong and beautiful. Kagome wondered how such a voice could come out of someone so small.
“See I was on the verge of breaking down. Sometimes the silence can seem so loud. There are miracles in life I must achieve. But, first I know it starts inside of me!” The crowd had joined in at the chorus and made the performance bigger than ever.
As the group sang the last few notes the crowd’s singing died away too. But they continued to wave their cellphones in the air. At the end of the song there was a sudden wave of claps and cheers. The noised crashed on Kagome’s ears. The boys bowed in gratitude and exited stage left. Naraku walked out on the stage, clapping all the while.
“Wow! We really are having a spectacular show. That was absolutely brilliant! Do you all agree?” The cheers and claps could be heard backstage where Kagome sat. “Well, I wouldn’t want to keep you all waiting, so let’s have Perverted Dogs come out here and show us a little something!”
The cheers this time were a little louder than the cheers for the other groups. Kagome reasoned that they were cheering more for Inuyasha than anything else. The aforementioned boy and his band rushed out on stage, jumping and waving their arms in an effort to pump up the crowd. Kagome quirked a brow when Shippo took Inuyasha’s place behind the keyboard and the hanyo stood behind the microphone, center stage. Soft music began to play which seemed uncharacteristic until a rough beat began to take over.
“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment; would you capture it or just let it slip? His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti. He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting, What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud. He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out. He’s chokin. How? Everybody’s jokin now. The clock’s run out. Time’s up over, blaow! Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity! Oh, there goes Rabbit. He choked. He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy. No, he won’t have it. He knows his whole back’s to these ropes. It don’t matter, he’s dope. He knows that, but he’s broke. He’s so stacked that he knows when he goes back to this mobile home, that’s when it’s back to the lab again, yo. This whole rhapsody. He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass again.”
His words were a shock to the system. In a couple of seconds he had the ear of everyone in the room.”You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go! You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo!” The crowd had adjusted to his style and even began to love it. Kagome peeked out to see the students jumping and head banging to the beat. They were really feeling him.
“No more games, I’ma change what you call rage. Tear this motha fuckin roof off like 2 dogs caged. I was playin in the beginnin, the mood all changed. I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage. But I kept rhymin and step writin the next cypher. Best believe somebody’s payin the pied piper. All the pain inside amplified by the fact
that I can’t get by with my 9 to 5 and I can’t provide the right type of life for my family. Cuz man, these goddamn food stamps don’t buy diapers and it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer. This is my life and these times are so hard and it’s getting even harder. Tryin to feed and water my seed, plus teeter totter. Caught up bein a father and a prima donna. Baby mama drama’s screamin on and too much for me to wanna stay in one spot. Another jam or not has gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail. I’ve got to formulate a plot or end up in jail or shot. Success is my only motha fuckin option, failure’s not! Mom, I love you, but this trail has got to go.I cannot grow old in Salem’s lot. So here I go it’s my shot. Feet fail me not cuz this may be the only opportunity that I got!”
The song ended with screams from the crowd. Inuyasha ran across the edge of the stage giving high fives to the people. It took a few minutes for the crowd to quiet down enough to hear the band give their thanks. That only sent them into another round of screams and cheers. Naraku walked out on the stage and allowed the band to head back stage. Inuyasha gave Kagome a thumbs up as he passed. She could only laugh at his little display. On stage, Naraku had finally gotten the crowd to shut up. “That was invigorating, don’t you think? This show is really heating up. I know you all want me to shut up so you can get on with the show. So, let me present GODS OF TOKYO!”
Sesshomaru and his band walked calmly out on stage. Kagome’s interest was piqued when she noticed that Sesshomaru had a beautiful guitar strapped to his back.
The song started right away. “Sometimes we fall down, can’t get back up. We’re hiding behind skin that’s too tough. How come we don’t say, “I love you” enough? ‘Til it’s too late, it’s not too late. Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come and we could make a feast from these crumbs, and we’re all staring down the barrel of a gun. So if your life flashed before you, what would you wish you would’ve done?” Sesshomaru looked like he was having fun playing his guitar in front of everyone. Singing a song about something meaningful really brought out his personality. The one that’s buried underneath all the ice and popularity bullshit.
“We gotta start looking at the hands of the time we’ve been given. If this is all we got then we gotta start thinking. If every second counts on a clock that’s ticking. Gotta live like we’re dying! We’ve only got 86,400 seconds in a day to turn it all around or to throw it all away. Gotta tell them that we love them while we got the chance to say… Gotta live like we’re dying!” Kagome watched him dance with his guitar like no one else was around. He actually looked pretty lame, but the fan-girls would be blind to that minor detail. Sesshomaru could never dance like a spaz. There’s no way he could resemble a 10 year geeking it out while playing Rock Band. Nope, not Sesshomaru. He’s awesome.
“You never know a good thing till it’s gone. You never see a crash till it’s head on. Why do we think we’re right when we’re dead wrong? You never know a good thing till it’s gone. We gotta start looking at the hands of the time we’ve been given. If this is all we got then we gotta start thinking. If every second counts on a clock that’s ticking. Gotta live like we’re dying! We’ve only got 86,400 seconds in a day to turn it all around or to throw it all away. Gotta tell them that we love them while we got the chance to say… Gotta live like we’re dying! Like we’re dying, oh, like we’re dying…” Even though Sesshomaru looked less cool than usual he sure could sing a catchy tune. Kagome was swaying and singing along to the chorus before she knew it. Then it hit her. The song was ending and she was up next.
“Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!” Her freak out didn’t last long before she was promptly slapped across the face. “What the hell was that for?” She screamed, only to have her mouth covered. The show was still going on after all. She settled for glaring at Sango instead.
“You need to chill. I can’t have you getting all nervous right before we go on stage. It’s a damn good song and you’re a damn good singer. So, I suggest you suck it up and prance that pretty ass on that stage and perform this song better than how we practiced it. Got it?” Kagome could only nod since Sango was the one moving her head.
On stage, Naraku had taken up the mic. “Wow! Yet another amazing performance! I have never seen Sesshomaru that way. He really opened up for us tonight.” The crowd cheered and whistled. “We have only one more group to go then we’ll have to call it a night.” The crowd booed. “I know, I know. I don’t want it to end either, but rules are rules, yeah? So, now that I have thoroughly depressed you, let’s bring out TANK!”
Kagome took a breath as Kohaku, Masurao, and Akari passed her to get on stage. Sango stayed back to push her up the stairs and whispered in her ear, “Don’t fuck up, Higurashi.” She gulped and shakily took her position.
Once the music started it seemed like her nerves had been swept away and the words poured out of her. “Get so caught up everyday trying to keep it all together, while the time it slips away. You see I know nothing last forever. Imagine there was no tomorrow. Imagine that I couldn’t see your face. There would be no limit to my sorrow. So all I can say…” She wasn’t singing this for her, but for them. The people out there who lost someone close to them. She wanted them to know they weren’t alone. She wanted them to know it would be okay.
“I wanna tell you something, give you something show you in so many ways. ‘Cause it would all mean nothing if I don’t say something before it all goes away. Don’t wanna wait to bring you flowers, waste another hour let alone another day. I’m gonna tell you something, show you something, won’t wait ’til it’s too late.” Her world lifted with the song. She was floating on air, leaving all her fear on the ground. She put as many healing thoughts into the song as she could.
“Just lean on my shoulder. It’s not over ’til it’s over. Don’t worry ’bout it ’cause I’m gonna make sure our bond gets stronger. I don’t wanna wait until the storm and something’s wrong and now your gone and I can’t find ya!” Tears slipped down her cheeks. ‘This is for you grandpa.’ “I wanna tell you something, give you something, show you in so many ways…”
When the song finished she looked out at the crowd. Some people were crying, some were cuddled up to their honey, some were actually on the phone talking to people. She’d done it. Now she can go home, relax, and prepare for next week’s hell.
**** Author’s Note****
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