InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Getting Groomed ( Chapter 31 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: I own Mia and Sage. Hahahaha-they are mine. I don’t care if your name is the same, they’re mine. If we get technical, there’s a movie with my name on it. Oh? Inuyasha? I don’t own him. Drat.

A/N: Been nominated for quite a few things in the Inuyasha Fan Guild. Can we say a very giddy Moonlight? In any case, you’ll find out who Sage is soon enough. If you read « The Mysterious Little Visitor » and read the author’s notes, you have a leg up on guessing. If not, well, you’re going to see soon.

Chapter Thirty-One: Getting Groomed

« For the love of God, » Mia sighed, exasperatedly pushing a tendril of dark brown behind her ear, « will you hold still, Inuyasha? »

« I feel ridiculous! » the half-demon snapped back, sending a molten glare at her to which she sent her own smoldering brown in return. Inuyasha tugged on his tuxedo jacket before waving his arms back and forth, then working them in irritated circles. « Look at me-I look like a fool! »

« Actually, I thought you looked quite dashing, but when you swing your arms around like that, you really do look like a complete dope, » dryly responded the seamstress.

« Keh. »

« And that attitude isn’t helping any. »

« Bite off. »

Mia dug through her bag, searching for a spool of thread to tighten one of the buttons on the jacket. « I’d rather not, Inuyasha. » She threaded the needle, saying, « I am a married woman. »

Inuyasha stared at her through the reflection of the three-way full-length mirrors, getting to see his blush from all angles as her allusion sunk in. « That’s not what I meant, you- »

« Please. Spare me. » Mia rolled her eyes. She held out her arm, and he slipped off the coat with a snort. Sitting down in one of the chairs, she started on mending the loose button. « Honestly, Inuyasha-the ball is the night after tomorrow and you’re not acting any more refined than when I first met you a month ago. »

« So? » He crossed his arms over his chest, reclining against the wall.

« So, » she continued on, dexterously moving the needle through the four holes without breaking her rhythm, « if this whole thing is an elaborate set-up on your brother’s part of nicely saying, « eat shit and die, » then wouldn’t it be an even bigger flip-off to be the absolute most charming creature possible? » Mia smiled slyly as she watched Inuyasha do the same; she was talking his language.

« You’re right. Heh-I’m gonna hate going through this shit, though. »

« Look at it this way: you’re just going to do this once, if you’re lucky, and definitely not everyday. It gives you another notch on your belt, so-to-speak. Besides, » she added, gaze flickering down as she tied off the thread, « you have Kagome behind you, right? »

Inuyasha blinked once. She’s right. I do have Kagome on my side, don’t I?

« No worries than, right? »

« Just that bottom-feeder Naraku. »

Mia nodded. « I see. I wouldn’t worry too much about him. He’s a manipulative coward. A coward is worth nothing-he’s simply sneaky, so being vigilant of his craftiness is all you need to worry about. You should focus on Kagome. Behind every great man, Inuyasha, there is a great woman who will push him towards that greatness. Do you understand? »

Inuyasha shook his head. « I taught myself to be the way I am. Sure, Kagome’s been a help, but I am self-made. »

Sighing lightly, Mia smiled. « You’ll understand once you’ve grown up some. » Ignoring the hanyou’s frown, Mia held out the coat to him. « Try this on now, and try not to fidget too much. »

With a groan, Inuyasha shrugged it back on. « No offense, Mia, » he said, having learned her name from their very first encounter when he tried to call her ‘bitch’ and she cuffed him around the dog ear as she corrected him, « but I really don’t like having this thing on. It’s just…weird. »

« Ah. » She nodded again. « My husband is the exact same way. He usually wears his suit coat for half an hour, an hour tops, before he ditches it somewhere. It’s an appearance thing. I know Sesshoumaru will have a silent fit about it, but just humor him for an hour or so, then remove it-say you’re hot or something-and go about with the red silk shirt. »

Inuyasha smirked. « You like to get on Sesshoumaru’s nerves, don’t you? »

« Well, he shouldn’t get on mine, » she responded crisply, grinning while adjusting his pant leg and seeing her work’s perfection. « Arrogant bastard… » she added beneath her breath.

He chuckled. « Aren’t you worried about him firing you or something? »

« Hell no. He wouldn’t fire me. I’m too good at what I do. » She paused, eyeing Inuyasha intently. « Hmm…. Yup, I’d have to say I definitely like the pants and the shirt together best. »

Inuyasha smirked; he and the seamstress saw eye-to-eye, which was probably why it was fun to annoy her most days because she’d pester him right back; like the day he wouldn’t hold still for her, she ‘accidentally’ poked him with the straight pins.

« Are we through? »

« Yup, you’re free from bondage. At least from me, anyway. » Mia began to gather up her supplies. She dusted the thread cuttings from her black skirt.

« What do you mean? » Inuyasha asked, going behind the screen to change.

« Tomorrow Sesshoumaru is going to have you undergo some rigorous preparation for the ball. Make you look refined. »

Inuyasha made a sound of distaste. « You mean look absolutely gay. »

« Don’t say that! » she admonished, to which he chuckled as he slid his green tee-shirt on. « It makes you look nice. My husband isn’t a push-over, and he looks very refined. »

« Ok, fine. Bisexual, then. » He sniggered a little louder as Mia clicked her tongue.

« You’re impossible, Tanaka Inuyasha. Not every guy that looks presentable is of that orientation. »

« Right, » he chuckled, zipping the fly of his jeans.

« Ass, » she mumbled. She lapsed into silence for a moment before adding softly, « Tonight’s the new moon. »

Inuyasha briefly paused from picking up his tuxedo. « So…? » he inquired charily, slowly moving around the side of the screen until he was in full view of Mia.

Mia had the messenger bag with her sewing supplies hanging across her chest, her purse over her shoulder and her sketchbook, with strips of fabric sticking out of it. She peered at him, her brown eyes penetrating. « Inuyasha, » she said softly, « from what you’ve said, it’s obvious how much you care about Kagome. Truly care about her. »

She paused, yet Inuyasha remained rooted to his spot, totally transfixed by her words. Mia stepped forward only to gently take the tuxedo from him before stepping back.

« Kagome needs you to show her how much you care about her…. How much you love her, » she murmured in a voice above a whisper. « I’m not going to tell you what to do. You do know in your heart how deeply your feelings span, and that’s something you have to discover on your own; however…I will advise it that you tell her. Don’t be afraid to admit it, as scary as it can be, Inuyasha. Don’t fall back into an old habit because it’s familiar-because it’s ‘safe’. »

His gaze met hers again in quiet understanding before he looked to the ground. Inuyasha didn’t know how to respond.

« Just please remember that Kagome is as lost as you are, and I have a feeling life is going to get a little more complicated for the two of you. Trust a little, Inuyasha. » Silence reigned for a short eternity. When Inuyasha looked up, Mia was at the door. She stopped to smile kindly at him. « Have a nice night, Inuyasha. Human emotions are a little stronger than a demon’s, huh? »

Inuyasha stared at her as, noiselessly, she padded out of the sewing room. The door swished behind her and Inuyasha was left alone. He turned towards the three-way mirror, staring at it for a moment. He lowered his head. « She’s right…but how did she know that…? » Closing his eyes, he leaned his forehead against the coolness of the mirror. « How did she figure all that out? I don’t think Kagome would snitch on me, and Sesshoumaru has no reason to…. Maybe she has a trick of knowing that my demonic energy is ebbing. »

He shook his head slightly, his mind still pondering on Mia’s words. The woman herself didn’t look like she was planning on bringing him harm. « Human emotions are stronger than demon emotions. Even half-demons can control some of their feelings better…though anger is just a given. » Inuyasha paced over to the single window on the other side of room, resting his elbow on the windowsill with his chin in his palm. « Then there are a few assholes in the demon realm that are like Sesshoumaru-they bear the facial expression of a stone wall most of the time and when it does change, it’s just sardonic somehow. »

In the distance, Inuyasha could see the short pier and just beyond that the rocky bluffs. Creeping vines wound in a web-like array down the bluff-face with peppered blooms of white and pale pink. Rooted in the terra firma was what appeared to be a large weeping willow tree. Its bedraggled vine-like branches drifted half-heartedly in the breeze and loomed ominously over the first couple planks of the dock.

The willow’s omniscient mien reminded Inuyasha of the Goshinboku back at the Higurashi shrine. A wave of what could only be described as homesickness washed over him. He hoped that Mama, Souta, the fat fur ball, and the geezer were doing all right.

Below the jut of the pier, the frothy ocean licked at the slope of taupe sand. For the first time in days, Inuyasha’s mind was called back to his perfect waltz with Kagome, right on the beach. Maybe Mia’s words had struck a chord in his heart and head, or perhaps it was such an enchanting day out, even though the sun had burned low on the horizon, but Inuyasha actually began to think about his actions from that day.

And the more he thought, the more he realized he wanted to see Kagome.

And realizing that sent more confusion into his thoughts until Inuyasha was back to square one of being unbelievably befuddled.

He sighed.

He’d never been good at the whole emotions business.

Not consciously anyway.

And he always attributed his subconscious dealings as fortuitous misfires.

Or was he a shy romantic at heart?

He sighed again.

Maybe I’ll have a better time figuring this out when I’m human, he thought before mooching away from the window as the sun surrendered to the velvety blackness of the lunar cycle’s newest birth.

———————————————————————- ———————————————————–

Kagome wandered about the vast library, smiling as her eyes wandered from book to book-from the bottom shelf all the way to the domed roof high above, the walls were lined with an endlessly whirl of books. Compare to this, Sesshoumaru’s library looked like a corner bookstore.

Padding over to the short spiral staircase, Kagome climbed to the second level. She languidly inspected each tome. Being an avid reader, Kagome could go through up to three books a day. She had finished all of her school work, Sango and Miroku had stopped the dance lessons, saying that, « You two work well together. We’re going to focus on the rest of the ball matters and give Sango’s feet a chance to heal. » There was no more real training to do (though Kagome had laughed herself to tears when Inuyasha was trying to figure out the art of sipping from a champagne flute, proper etiquette, and polite speech in public).

Sniggering again, Kagome began to climb the third tier of shelves, when she heard the one of the tall, arch doors tentatively moan open. Kagome could make out a vague silhouette through the dim bronze-tinted light of the room. « Who’s down there? » she called softly as she squinted down at the figure.

« That you, Kagome? » responded Inuyasha.

She smiled gently. « Yeah. I’m up here. »

Inuyasha came to the bottom of the first staircase and dashed all the way up to her. « Hey, » he breathed, blowing out his cheeks a little. « I wondered where you’d wandered off to. »

Kagome smiled at him as his dog ear twitched lightly when she asked, « Were you looking for me? »

« Huh? Well…yeah, so what? » he muttered, averting his gaze.

She waved a hand. « That’s ok. I was hoping to see you. »

« You were? Why? »

« I just wanted to see you, » the girl laughed at her fiancé’s incredulous tone.

« You…you did? »

« Yeah. I did. »

Inuyasha swallowed once as Kagome turned to face him. He could feel his powers fleeing faster. Upon glancing at his hands, he noticed his thumb-claw retracting.

He mentally shook his head. Why had he rushed out to see her so quickly? He could talk to Kagome any time. Why now when reining his emotions would all come rushing to the surface?

She tipped her head imploringly, as he fidgeted a little away from her. Right now, his fiancée was about to witness his transformation. No one but his mother had actually seen his hanyou-to-human change. The idea of allowing anyone see such a moment of absolute vulnerability-even further from hanyou or human-rather scared Inuyasha.

« Trust a little, Inuyasha. »

He’d blame Mia for his actions he decided as his ears began their downward trek over his skull and he had yet to turn tail and run.

« Inuyasha…? » Kagome asked softly, blinking once.

« This is what my human transformation looks like. »

« Oh… » was all she said as she watched his hair change colors, absolutely fascinated.

Inuyasha turned to the window a few strides away, and peered again to the sky. He waited for Kagome to say something more, but she kept silent. « You think I’m a freak don’t you? » he spat quietly.

« What? No. »

He leaned his hands on the windowsill. « You’re so fucking quiet. »

Kagome blinked once before approaching Inuyasha. She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. « Inuyasha, I don’t think you’re a freak. I’m just…flattered that you actually transformed in front of me. » A violet eye gave her silent, askance appraisal. « Does it hurt? »

His gaze held her for a moment until he looked away. « No. Not really. It hurt more to change from a dog to a human. Even then, it was more of a tingle. »

« That makes sense, I guess. I mean, when you’re a dog, your organs and bones are formed differently than in a human or demon body. » Kagome mused softly, « What does it feel like…? »

He chuckled slightly. « Heh. It’s kind of like water going from warm to cool on your skin. It’s just weird. Besides, I can’t stand having my senses dampened this much. »

« Would be hard to switch from what you are to something else, » his fiancée agreed.

The air hung hushed between them, Kagome’s hand lingering on Inuyasha’s shoulder; if anything, her weight rested a bit more on him.

Inuyasha stared out into the inky darkness that was only punctured by the revolving diffused taper of light from the lighthouse. The water continued to tenderly kiss the beach beneath the glistering stars. The gentle, balmy breath that tickled his human ear made the boy look to his fiancée as she asked, « So what did you come down here for? »

It was an innocent question, judging by the look in her ever-truthful eyes, but her closeness, which Inuyasha figured she didn’t realize at the moment, caused his heart to find a way to his throat. He met her crystalline blue eyes for a moment before turning his head, and muttering a gruff, « Keh! »

Kagome rolled her eyes and moved away a little.

« Don’t fall back into an old habit because it’s familiar-because it’s ‘safe’, » Mia’s voice echoed in his head.

Inuyasha shifted somewhat as Kagome’s hand and slight weight left his shoulder. Fighting against his own obdurate nature and Mia’s advice, he finally mumbled, « Hey, Kagome. »

« Yeah? »

He took a deep breath. What the hell am I doing? I’m not gonna ask her… « Do you want go take a walk on the beach? » Shit! No-wait!-fuck! Why the hell did I say that out loud?! Inuyasha mentally berated himself. Why was he suddenly being all romantic? He was a fighter, not a romantic. Damn that Mia-she’d infiltrated his thoughts. He swore he could hear her victorious cackling.

Kagome blinked once, before a tender smile passed over her lips. « That’s sounds, nice, Inuyasha. Let’s go. »

« Huh? » His internal war’s din had drowned out his previous thoughts, as well as whatever Kagome was responding to.

« Let’s go for a walk on the beach, Inuyasha. » Slipping her fingers under the heel of his palm, she slid the back of her hand over the wide windowsill until her palm was completely beneath his instead of the wood. « Come on. »

Inuyasha’s surprise showed on his face for a moment before he curled his fingers tentatively between hers.

Kagome smiled.

They noiselessly made their way out of the imperial library and trod quietly on the red velvet runners. Creeping through the halls, Inuyasha and Kagome eventually made their way to the ballroom. It was shrouded heavily in shadows; yet pale diffusions of light of unknown origin brightened a small arc of the room. The couple passed through the glow and onto the adjacent balcony where they stopped and watched the sky in silence.

They shared a furtive smile with each other before they promenaded down the marble steps. The collection of ivy and small blooms wavered in the night wind, and the beach stretched like a throng of glittering stars. The fiancés strolled languidly, their hands still clasped together while the sound of the sighing ocean did all the speaking for them. Coming to the very place Inuyasha had been watching, they instinctively turned towards each other.

Inuyasha swallowed once, feeling soft warmth touch his face. There were so many things he wanted to say to his fiancée right then. So much he needed to say, but, when he opened his mouth to speak; his mouth would close by its own anxious accord with a short exhale of frustrated breath.

Inuyasha peered down at their adjoined hands and then up to Kagome’s face; her eyes shifted to silvery blue-grey as the distant lighthouse’s beam played kindly over her irises. What am I supposed to say to you, Kagome…? I know how I feel but…. The young man half-smiled as he shook his head slightly. I don’t know how to express it. I don’t know the words to say. I lost those words long ago.

But…

His arm went around Kagome’s waist and he drew her to his chest. Inuyasha slowly released her hand in favor of wrapping his other arm around to bring her into an ardent embrace. Maybe I can show you like this, Kagome… She was prone in his arms for a moment, until hers encircled his torso and she laid her head upon his chest. He felt her relax, and he gave his fiancée a short squeeze. Inuyasha rested his head lightly atop hers, closing his eyes and allowing his mind to be at peace.

———————————————————————- ———————————————————–

As calming as the night before had been, the next day started as its polar opposite with a reign of absolute chaos.

« Your dress looks absolutely wonderful, Kagome, » commented Sango with a smile.

« Thanks. » Kagome beamed cheerfully. « Mia worked really hard on it. »

« Indeed I did, » the seamstress agreed, sliding the tape measure off from around her neck. « I was so worried about the skirt coming out flat- »

« It’s perfect! I wouldn’t change it. »

Mia smiled, quirking an eyebrow. « My, you’re in an impeccable mood today, Kagome. Any particular reason? »

Sango nodded. « She’s right. You’ve been bubbly all morning. » The rest of us are dragging, she added on mentally with a tired sigh.

« Hm? Oh, no, everything’s just great! » Kagome grinned again before suddenly breaking into quiet giggles, dancing around the room, her reflection spinning just as swiftly.

She had been up for part of last night just musing over her walk with Inuyasha. Every time it entered her mind, the giddier she would become; and rightfully so. He had held her with such warmth and honesty-so openly-for the first real time since she had known him…and while he hadn’t said it, Kagome knew that Inuyasha cared about her and that was all that really mattered.

As her gaze panned over the glass while she twirled, she could imagine the flowing rose gown transforming into a pearly white one.

« Well then, » Mia announced with a clap of her hands, « it looks like the dress is going to work out just fine. You can get changed into your other clothes, Kagome. »

With another smile, Kagome toddled behind the screen with Sango in tow to help her take the gown off. Sango appeared a few minutes later with the gown reverently spread over her arms. « Here, Mia, » said Sango, passing the garment to her.

« Thank you. » Going over to the mannequin in the room, Mia carefully slid the dress onto its metal form. « I wish I’d gotten to see you more often, Sango. I really would have liked to have gotten to know you better. Same goes for Miroku. »

Sango smiled gently.  » Me too, although I haven’t seen Miroku in a few days. »

A few moments later, Kagome emerged, clad in a blue jumper with an ivory tee-shirt beneath it. « Are you going to go home, Mia? » she asked as the young woman began to pack her supplies.

The seamstress shook her head. « No, I think I want to see how Inuyasha deals with getting his hair and nails done. I mean, I narrowly missed seeing him stomp out of that full-body massage with only a towel around his waist. » She laughed softly. « That was too priceless. »

Kagome laughed as well. « I don’t think he liked a seven-foot high Swede touching his bare skin. »

« No, probably not. » Mia sat on a short black stool while the younger girls shared the pillow-podium. She reached down and retrieved her bottle of water, taking a long sip.

« Hey, Kagome, » whispered Sango to her friend, « did you ever notice Mia takes a drink every fifteen minutes? »

The fifteen-year-old shook her head. « No, I didn’t. I wonder why… »

A rendition of « Iris » made its way into the air. Mia hastily swallowed her water, waved a hand at the pair in apology before standing up to extract a sleek silver cell phone from her slacks’ pocket. « Moshi, moshi, » she said cheerfully. « Hm? Oh, hello, Sage! » Mia switched to English; thankfully, Sango and Kagome were excellent in their foreign language and understood it perfectly-it was the speaking and conjugating part they had a problem with.

Mia returned to her spot across from the girls, beaming just as Kagome had. « I’m fine, love, I’m fine. What…? Yes, yes, I’m drinking plenty of fluids… No, I’ve been careful not to-yes, I’ve-no-yes-yes, but wait! »

The pair snickered as they heard a decidedly male voice make frenetic outbursts to everyone of their dear seamstress’ phrases.

 » …Sage! Sage, stop talking so fast! Will you stop worrying? I’m fine, I’m eating healthy things and I’m drinking lots of water, I’m doing everything the doctor said to do. Stop worrying so much. I’m a big girl now, Sage, and I’m keeping an eye on myself. Have some faith in me, please. …Oh, Sage… » Mia’s annoyed expression melted to a loving one as she reclined on the table behind her. « Thank you, love. I’m glad to know that you cared, but you should get to your class before your professor decides to beat you. » She laughed. « Oh, yes, O Mighty One, I will be the good little woman and return to the apartment in an hour or two. I love you, Sage. Later, love. »

Mia punched the ‘end call’ button. She turned to the two eager girls. « Y-yes? » She blinked, returning to her Japanese. « What is it? »

« Was that your husband? » excitedly inquired Kagome.

« Oh, yes. As a matter of fact it was. He was just checking up on me. » Mia smiled. « He’s so good to me. »

Sango moved her hands up to readjust her ponytail prior to asking, « What was he checking up on you for? Are you all right? »

Nodding, she replied, « I’m perfectly healthy. It’s just that… » Kagome leaned forward as Mia twiddled her wedding band around her finger. « W-well…Sage and I are expecting our first child. »

« That’s wonderful! » Kagome clapped her hands happily. « How far along are you? »

« Just entered my third month. Sage is so nervous about becoming a father. » Mia placed a hand fondly to her abdomen. « He’s a great man, and a wonderful husband. I don’t think it’ll be a stretch for him to be a good father. »

« Mm…it sounds wonderful… » sighed Kagome.

Mia simply bobbed her head. « Why don’t we go check on Inuyasha? »

« Sounds like a good idea, » agreed Sango, taking the lead. « He’s in the first floor bathroom. »

Together, the three trekked out of the sewing room and as they headed toward the grand staircase, they heard shouting from below them.

« What in the world–? » began Mia before Inuyasha’s voice hollered, « GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME YOU FUCKING WEIRDO! »

Curious, the girls hastened down the stairs and made their way to the first floor bathroom. As Sango pushed the door open and the other two burst in, they froze. Inuyasha sat in a chair with his wet hair dripping into the black sink while what appeared to be a very giggly woman or a very effeminate man perched on his lap wearing a neon pink polyester shirt and black slacks. Inuyasha continued to shout and he/she continued to titter.

Sango’s right eye ticked. « What is that…? »

« Now, now, Inu sweetums! » the person on Inuyasha lap cooed, tweaking one of his dog ears. « Don’t be like that! We must simply do something with your hair! You obviously aren’t taking care of it, are you? »

Mia swallowed once before nodding. « I’m pretty sure that’s a really girly guy…and I’m about to wager he’s straight like a circle. » And I was giving Inuyasha the « don’t be judgmental » lecture yesterday…. Talk about ironic… she thought.

Kagome looked somewhere between horrified and disbelieving. « U-um, e-e-excuse m-me, » she managed. « But, what are you doing to my fiancé? »

Inuyasha glanced over, and as soon as he did so his face flamed scarlet. « K-K-K-Kagome…. » he spluttered before letting out a loud expletive when the effeminate man laid his head on the hanyou’s shoulder. « Off, you freak! »

« Oh, but honeybunches, » he chirped, « you know you want me here. » The man raised his eye-shadowed lids suggestively.

Inuyasha shoved the man off. « Damn it, Jakotsu! Just do your job and trim my hair like Sesshoumaru told you to. It was bad enough when you were giving me a manicure… » The half-demon visibly shuddered, glancing down at his clean and polished claws.

Jakotsu stuck out his bottom lip. « Oh, Inu-chan… » he purred.

« Hey, maybe you can do what he asked and get his hair trimmed, » stated Sango, narrowing her eyes at him.

Jakotsu stuck his nose up, giving a harrumph, still not rising from the floor. « I don’t associate with women, » he spat.

Yup, I knew it. He’s gay, Mia thought dryly. Now if he isn’t stereotypical, than I don’t know what is.

« Well, um, we really need Inuyasha to hurry up and get to his manners lesson, » offered Kagome.

Mia nodded. « Yeah, and I want to double check his tuxedo jacket again. He looks quite nice in it. »

In the blink of an eye, Jakotsu leapt back into Inuyasha’s lap. Wrapping his arms around the hanyou’s neck, he simpered, « But he’s mine now. I’m far better than all three of you combined. »

Sango snorted, Kagome nervously smiled, and Mia rolled her eyes. « So you think you’re better than us, huh? » said the seamstress.

« Of course, I am! I take so much better care of myself than you do. » Jakotsu continued to cling happily while Inuyasha tried to yank him off.

« Obviously. Except…well, you probably don’t want to know. » Mia turned away. « Never mind. It’s nothing. »

« Whaaaat? » whined Jakotsu, leaning towards her.

« Oh-nothing, nothing. Except your make-up isn’t perfect. » Mia smirked to herself as Jakotsu dislodged himself from his unwilling clientele and went into a flurry of movement, searching for his compact. Mia turned around again.

« You’re so right! » he cried, tears splashing overly-dramatic down his cheeks. « I have smudges everywhere! »

« That’s because you’re crying…. » Sango wryly pointed out.

Jakotsu ignored her. « Waah! I can’t find my compact anywhere! You! » He sprinted lightly to Mia, terror shining in his eyes. « Do you have a tube of lipstick or something on you? »

The seamstress shook her noggin. « ‘fraid I don’t. Maybe you left your make-up in your car. Go check there. » She smiled, patting him gently on the shoulder. « There, there. Go ahead and look. »

« O-ok, » he agreed dashing out of the room. He hollered over his shoulder, « Now, don’t worry, Inu-honey, I’ll be back soon! »

Kagome watched the door swing quietly shut again before turning to Inuyasha. « Are you- » she stopped mid sentence as her fiancée repeatedly kept dunking his head beneath the water-filled sink, muttering something about « getting it off ». She approached him and tapped his shoulder. « You ok? »

He looked wildly to her. « That guy is against all laws of nature, Kagome… » he hissed.

Sango nodded. « And his clothes are a little to…bright for me. »

« We better work quickly then, » Mia said, going over to the immaculately kept hair-care kit and lifting a brush from it. »

« What do you mean ‘work quickly’? » snapped Inuyasha.

« Exactly what it means. I’m going to do your hair. »

« Oh no! Forget it! » He made to get up but was thrust back into his chair by Mia.

Her dark brown eyes glowed commandingly at him. « You’re going to stay here, or else I’ll allow Mr. Light-in-His-Loafers have his way with you. »

Inuyasha nodded. « Keh, fine. » He crossed his arms tightly over his torso, but Kagome could have sworn he was shaking slightly.

« Now then…. » Mia raised the brush and went swiftly to work. Sango stood watch at the door, saying that it would probably take Jakotsu a while to get to his car and back. Sesshoumaru didn’t allow the daytime assistants to park on his property; Mia smirked triumphantly. « Hm, yet I can. Wonder why. »

Kagome kept her fiancé company and fetched tools for Mia whenever she needed them. « Have you ever had your hair cut before, Inuyasha? » asked Kagome, smiling at him.

« No, » he muttered, wincing as the seamstress snipped away at the ragged ends of his hair. « I don’t know why I need to…. »

« You’ve got split ends, » admonished Mia. « It looks like someone hacked it with a saw, but don’t worry. It’ll look fine, Inuyasha. And stop flinching. It doesn’t hurt, you big baby. »

« I am NOT a big baby, » he pouted.

« Coulda fooled me… » Sango mumbled from the doorway.

Inuyasha snorted as Mia snagged the hair dryer and blew the half-demon’s silvery locks into a cloud about his face. She worked deftly and soon she shut off the dryer and grinned. « Much better, » she murmured, brushing Inuyasha hair to cesium shininess.

« Wow, Inuyasha, » Kagome went around behind him and ran her fingers through his tresses, « you look great. »

He blushed. « Keh. »

« She-I mean-he is coming back, » Sango warned.

« We’re outta here, » Inuyasha said, snatching Kagome’s hand as he, his fiancée and the other two hurried out of the room via the large bathroom’s side door.

Jakotsu entered again, smiling to himself. He just knew his make-up was perfect now. « O Inu-chan! » he sang. « I’m back! » His gaze went to the empty chair, the silver hair clippings littering the floor about it. Jakotsu frowned. « I’ll bet it was that older woman…. She tricked me. I’ll get her back for that, that stupid seamstress woman…. »

———————————————————————- ———————————————————–

Kagome stared out her bedroom window. She laughed quietly, remembering her fun-filled day with Inuyasha; Sango looked about ready to kill him when he refused to make polite conversation, to use the correct fork, or to not slouch while seated.

Even so, Kagome continued to think about the more serious things-not just about Naraku, or her guardianship of the Shikon no Tama, but about her relationship with Inuyasha. It had undoubtedly changed over the past couple of months. He had loved to-and still did-goad her with snide remarks, or be stubborn as mule-which he still was-, or to get defensive when another guy came within three hundred yards-which he still did; yet it was a combination of these peculiar character traits that so endeared him to her.

After all, if he didn’t care about her, he wouldn’t have been so jealous of Kouga and Houjou-neither of which she had any interest in other than friendship-nor would he have been so sweet the previous night. But, Kagome remembered that last night was not something straight out of the blue; Inuyasha had done other loving things before. Like dancing on the beach, or when they went up to watch the fireworks on New Years-up till the part where he got whacked by a car…-or when he’d keep her company when she was doing her homework or doing chores for Gramps.

There were also the subtle things she had noticed when he was a dog. He always had a remarkably curious way of looking at her, and even now, it fascinated her. She had spent three months with him, unable to understand him any other way than the way he acted, the way his eyes shined.

That embrace they had shared had meant something to him, Kagome was sure of it. Inuyasha was never good at emotional things, and he was so…shy when it came to expressing how he felt, with the exception of anger, that she knew it was a good sign that he was happy with her.

Right then, Kagome was enormously glad she didn’t have any competition. Then I’d be worried, she thought. I’d probably be really stressed out. Still, shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch. Kagome pushed that contemplation from her mind and simply smiled at the sky.

A sudden bout of dizziness caught her off guard. Kagome crossed to her bed and laid down, unexpectedly feeling fatigued. Darkness overtook her before her head ever hit the pillow.

There was darkness everywhere…. Everywhere she turned, there it was. Somewhere within it, the light lingered on.

Kagome began rushing towards it, but was thwarted by an inhuman snarl. She went flying back. Tears stung her eyes and she could smell the blood. She looked to her hands only to find them bathed in crimson. Her heart raced and her mind whirled.

Dark laughter echoed throughout the nothingness, and it danced in an indistinct familiarity on her ears. Kagome pressed her bloodied hands to her ears as she dropped to her knees. The Shikon no Tama shined on her chest, and a faint beam of magenta glowed far off in the distance.

Then the sounds overwhelmed her senses. Images of death and despair began to flicker before her eyes like an old movie reel, and before she knew it, she was screaming. Screaming for all that terrified act was worth. Screaming one word, one name-Inuyasha.

Kagome bolted upright in her bed. Her chest heaved and she pressed her palm over her heart. « It was just a dream… » She passed a hand over her eyes. « It was so real… » Quivering, she ventured to look around her darkened room. The gauzy curtains continued to flutter gently in the open air. She exhaled gradually as she saw her hands were just as clean as they had been when she’d gone to bed.

She touched a hand to her cheek. A tear drop slid beneath her fingertips. « Was it just a dream…or was it…? » Kagome chewed her bottom lip, still trying to shake the eerie feeling from her body when the door abruptly slammed open.

« Kagome?! » Inuyasha stood in the threshold, his gold eyes reflecting the faint light as he scanned the bedroom before letting them rest on the startled girl.

« I-Inuyasha… » She sighed in relief, forcing a grimace.

His gaze narrowed in mock agitation to hide the glimmerings of concern as he approached her. « What the hell happened? You woke me out of a dead sleep. Did someone attack you? Are you hurt? »

Kagome’s grimace slipped. « I… » She turned her face away, leaving her fiancé to stare at her curtain of black hair.

« Kagome? »

« N-no…no, it was nothing like that. I… I had a nightmare. »

« A nightmare? » repeated Inuyasha. « That was a really terrified scream for just a nightmare. »

« I know, » she stuttered, « but I think…I’m scared to think that it’s a vision. » Weight shifted on the place beside her, and Kagome glanced up to see Inuyasha perched there, listening attentively; Kagome grimaced again, vaguely thinking that maybe some of the etiquette lessons were actually sinking in. « It isn’t the first I’ve had, but you already know that. »

He nodded. « Yeah…with Mother. »

« It must sound so unreal to you. »

He was quiet for a moment before saying, « When I used the Kaze no Kizu to get out of the old man’s tomb, it was his voice telling me what to do. So-I guess it’s not that strange to me, or whatever. »

She bobbed her head once, drawing the ivory bed sheet into her hand as it curled into a fist. « I was just so scared. I didn’t know what was happening. There were all these voices, and I could see things, but it was all so fast, that I was totally lost. I didn’t know where to look or where to turn. »

« You…did the right thing. » Kagome looked to Inuyasha, perplexed. « You did the right thing…Kagome. You called me. I’ll always come for you when you call me. »

« Inuyasha… »

Inuyasha, who had diverted his eyes, brought them back up to Kagome, his gaze fervent yet pleading. « Do you understand, Kagome? »

She could only stare at him until the frightened tears began to prickle her eyes and before she knew it, a steady stream was snaking over her face. Without a second thought, Kagome threw herself into her fiancé’s chest and buried her face in his tee-shirt. She sniffled, clinging tremblingly to his clothing. « I was so afraid that it had something to do with you, Inuyasha, and I was so afraid. I was so weak… I’m always so weak… »

Gently, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. « Don’t be stupid, Kagome. That’s gotta be the dumbest fucking thing you’ve ever said, » he whispered, though not unkindly. « You’re very strong. It’s because of you that…that I’m not afraid anymore. For the first time in my life, I know what I want. »

« What do you want? » she choked, lifting her countenance a little towards him.

« Heh, » he chuckled, taking a thumb and wiping away some of her tears, then cupping her cheek in his rough palm, « well, for starters, for you to stop bawling, dummy. »

Kagome hiccupped a laugh. « No…no, I’m serious. What do you want? »

Inuyasha lapsed into silence, his face oddly pensive. « What I want, Kagome…? »

« Yes. » She nodded. « I want to know what you want. »

Their gazes met for a brief moment that seemed to stretch languidly to the pair. « What I want… » he whispered, his hand moving to her hair, allowing his claws the luxury of tangling in her tresses. « …is…. » Inuyasha leaned downwards and tenderly pressed his lips to hers; their eyes fluttered closed, and Kagome returned the chaste kiss. He pulled away from her, smiling softly-honestly-for the first time. « …you… »

Oh, Inuyasha… Kagome smiled in the same manner back at him. « Inuyasha, I- »

A loud crash reached their ears, startling the couple.

« What was that? » the girl asked as the sound echoed for a time before dying away.

« I don’t know, » tensely replied Inuyasha, rising and taking Kagome along with him, « but I think we should find out. It sounded like it came from the sewing room. »

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A/N: Internal squeal! I have been so busy with all these projects and such for school, and I am finally glad I had the time to sort out my thoughts and get this chapter written just as I wanted. Well, you all wanted a kiss, and a kiss you got! I told you I had my reasons. But, now-oooo…..wonder what that crash was…. So many questions, and so little time. Ah…we’ll get there…we’ll get there.

Moonlight Shadow

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