Chapter 1: One Drunken Night
Closing her sapphire eyes, Kagome sighed heavily as she leaned against the frame of her open window. It had been approximately three months two weeks four days and sixteen hours, give or take, since she'd become involuntarily single. Not that she was counting or anything. It was just...well, she'd never lived in on her own before. Always with roommates or a boyfriend or her family. In retrospect, she really should have realized moving to a new city with someone was a bad idea. Especially given the human embodiment of a giant red flag she moved in with.
At first her "single life" in this unfamiliar city consisted of panic attacks and crushing loneliness. Being alone felt shameful for some reason. It felt like she was defective for not wanting to actively find her next "steady gig" if you will. For not moving back home. For not immediately launching out into the dating world once again. Even if launching before she was ready would result in her regretting her launch as much as the crew of the Titanic regretted theirs.
While the universe had given her some time to heal, one thing was certain. Whoever had said the ability to date again was a wonderful thing must have been smoking crack. She'd gone a few dates. A few guys she'd met on Bumble. One she met on Tinder. All of whom were much more articulate, promising and attractive online. There was one guy in particular who swore up and down he drove a Lamborghini but the rental agreement she'd accidentally found while looking for his insurance card after they got pulled over for speeding said otherwise. Another she should've seen coming a mile away who said he was in sales and it turned out by sales he meant cashier at McDonald's. Which would've been fine. Ish. Was it bad if she wanted someone who had ambition? Did that make her too picky? After all, she was an accountant for crying out loud and the guy made it very clear his number one goal in life was to be a trophy. He was attractive though so maybe that would work out for him one day but definitely not with her.
Overall, despite having healed and putting herself back out there, she was lonely in her little apartment. She had friends who hadn't ditched her after being unceremoniously kicked to the curb. And some of her old co-workers had just come into town for some type of work convention and wanted to catch up. And by "catch up" they meant they wanted someone familiar with the night life here in town. She'd called in backup support, of course, because hell would freeze over before she got drunk with people she knew were about as reliable as the ten-day weather forecast.
The backup she'd called were two of the only people who'd sided with her during the ugly breakup. A 'he said, she said' nuclear level breakup in which he cheated on her but lied and convinced everyone she was just a crazy bitch who liked drama. Last she heard he was still with the woman he'd be running around with so at least he was happy with his life choices. For now at least. Sango and Ayame, thankfully however, saw through the bullshit. When the line in the sand was drawn, they both instantly sided with Kagome which in turn forced their respective companion's hands – although they both were notably less emphatic about this decision. It was really Miroku who had the biggest problem with it all. Koga could honestly care less. Ayame had been friends with Kagome first so the loss of a significant other who'd always rubbed her husband the wrong way wasn't mourned. Miroku and Sango had both been friends with he-who-should-not-be-named before they'd ever heard of Kagome much less met her. In fact, Miroku had been friends with him since they were five and they were each other's reciprocal ride-or-dies. But knowing he had done their new friend wrong, Miroku and Sango gone so far as to let Kagome live with them until she found an apartment of her own. Miroku was still trying to stay neutral though. Still trying to be friends with everyone in fashionably awkward style.
Maybe it would be better to call the whole thing off before anyone went anywhere. To be honest nothing quite hit the spot like cancelling plans and staying home to do nothing. Or to go down to start pick up beef pad Thai, come home, watch Jeopardy, know nothing and go to bed. That sounded infinitely more pleasant than going to some stupid bar. Sighing heavily, Kagome was just about to reach for her phone to cancel all her plans when destiny dealt her plans a lethal blow.
"Little pig, little pig, please let me in," came a playful feminine voice from the other side of her front door followed by a rapid series of knocks. Setting her jaw and bemoaning her beautiful night where Alex Trebeck was her only companion, Kagome sighing heavily before responding.
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin Ayame," Kagome called back in an exasperated tone, "Especially when the wolf about to huff and puff my door down is literally three hours early."
"Oh please you love me," came the snickering retort before the sound of a snort gave the second 'wolf' away.
"Sango you are equally not allowed in," Kagome hummed loudly as she made her way to the door and began fiddling loudly with the lock.
"Then we'll huff and puff and...oh see was it that hard? So many pig huts could've been spared if only someone opened the door," Ayame pouted prettily as she pushed her way in followed by an apologetic looking Sango.
"Yes but I'm sure the pigs would have regretted inviting wolves into their homes," Kagome replied as she gave them both a chiding look, "Care to tell me why you're here three hours early?"
"Because we know you and you were going to cancel," Ayame opined knowingly as she set a brown paper bag filled to the brim with wine and cheese on the counter, "And I already paid for a babysitter."
"If you knew I was going to cancel, why get a babysitter?" Kagome humphed defensively and Ayame gave her a withering side eyed glare, "Same reason I'm in my yoga pants with wine and cheese instead of putting on my stilettos. Because you're predictable."
"Not that predictable," Kagome muttered as she accepted defeat and gave Sango an accusing look, "You knew she was doing this?"
"I'm the one who bought the wine," Sango admitted with a pleased grin as she began riffling through one of the kitchen drawers for a bottle opener, "So Jeopardy drinking game anyone?"
Looking between her two friends who were going through her kitchen like they lived here, Kagome chewed the inside of her cheek for a moment before sighing.
"No shots," Sango interrupted desperately as she gave Ayame an accusatory glare, "I am not doing the double jeopardy punishment again."
"Oh come on. I'm not that bad," Ayame laughed softly as she yanked the bottle opener from Sango's hand and began opening a bottle of Malbec, "I am just a connoisseur of random knowledge."
"Bite me. I'm not doing shots every time you get double jeopardy right," Sango warned and Kagome made a small noise of agreement.
"That's like three shots," Ayame mumbled prettily and this time Kagome laughed outright.
"Per. Episode. That's at least three shots per episode," she groaned as she tried to loosen up enough to enjoy this random social isolation intervention. When Ayame opened her mouth to argue, one manicured hand shot up in the air to silence her.
"Three sips instead of one. Take it or leave it," Kagome countered as she narrowed her eyes and Ayame pouted.
"Koga said he'd watch the baby tonight though. Do you know how rare that is? I want to do shots," Ayame argued and Sango snorted.
"So you 'paid a babysitter' huh?" her friend teased and Ayame blushed.
"There are many forms of payment, okay? And I paid mine," Ayame mumbled as a blush stained her cheeks and with her next move, she cleanly pulled the cork out of the bottle.
"Well, well, well..." Sango began before a series of lights and the passing scream of sirens suddenly had all three girls whipping their heads toward the window.
"What on earth?" Kagome breathed as she slowly made her way over and pulled back the curtain. Dozens of police cars and SWAT vans were racing down on the street below while onlookers seemed just as fixated as she was, "Where are they going?"
"I'm sure it's fine Kagome," Ayame huffed flippantly as she began pouring copious amounts of wine into the glasses Sango had produced from a cabinet, "Go to Netflix and turn on Jeopardy."
"You aren't even curious?" Kagome asked as she dropped the curtain and glanced at her phone, "I mean surely it's on the news right?"
"My one and only goal is to get...," Ayame huffed as she marched over and held out a very full glass. Sango meanwhile was frowning down at her phone.
"My service is out," Sango interrupted quietly before she walked over and turned on the television. The little icon on the smart TV demonstrated that there would be no streaming jeopardy either.
"Well maybe someone attacked a cell tower or a cable
company. Either way we're fine, then we'll watch something the old fashioned way and make a drinking game out of that," Ayame huffed as she marched over to the extremely sparse DVD collection in a small bookcase, "See? Goonies. Everyone knows the Goonies."
Sango gave Kagome a concerned look before sighing heavily and fetching her purse.
"I'm going home," she muttered apologetically, "Miroku's supposed to be off tonight but with this many cop cars..."
"That's fine. That's fine. Go," Kagome insisted as she gave her friend an understanding smile, "Call me tomorrow, okay? Let me know how it goes."
Sango nodded before shouldering her purse and heading towards the door. Ayame muttered her goodbyes as well while fumbling with the very dusty DVD player.
"You both are freaking out over nothing," Ayame groaned as the old school pre-movie credits began demonstrating how very outdated the format was in the modern age, "So what if some cop cars went by? No big deal."
"You're probably right," Kagome laughed unconvincingly, "Just a little scary is all. I've never seen so many at one time."
"The sky is not falling chicken little," Ayame sighed heavily as she took a deep drink and settled down on the couch, "It's fine. I'm sure whatever it is will be old news in the morning. You'll see."
Chapter 2: Hair of the Dog
"May I interest you in hair of the dog?" Miroku asked knowingly as he held out a bloody mary and grinned. It was clear his friend was suffering from the hangover from hell. Despite the general overcast nature of the day, he donned sunglasses and generally looked like complete shit.
"Inuyasha, for the life of me, I don't know how after nearly thirty years of life on this planet you still don't know when to stop," Akitoki commented with a derisive snort before casting Miroku a chiding glance, "What you needs is something more natural. I have some activated charcoal if you want it."
"Activated what now?" Inuyasha groaned as he cast his friend a withering glare and the man in question shrugged.
"Activated charcoal. Surely you've heard of it. It also does wonders for you skin," Akitoki replied dismissively and Inuyasha exchanged a skeptical glance at Miroku.
"I think I'll go with hair of the dog," he snorted as he gladly accepted the bloody mary and took a sip as he regarded the menu, "Anyway, you guys seriously didn't hear those sirens last night? Didn't notice all the police cars?"
"On my days off all I do is sleep," Miroku bemoaned as he glanced over the menu and chewed the inside of his cheek, "Sango said it was fire trucks and a few ambulances. Some fire downtown."
"I didn't see any fire trucks or ambulances. They were police cars and SWAT vans," Inuyasha argued as he lowered his menu just enough.
"Well you do live in a different part of town," Akitoki offered, "All I know is last night Kikyo and I were watching the news and there was a fire in that abandoned warehouse. You know, the one by the airport? Quite scary."
Inuyasha made a small noise of confusion as he looked between his friends.
"What abandoned warehouse? There's no warehouses by the airport. It's all suburbs" Inuyasha argued as he tried to picture what on earth they were talking about but came up short.
"I think you're confused my friend," Miroku replied slowly as he lowered his menu and gave his friend a strange look, "There's no suburbs by the airport. Only the warehouse district. Always has been."
"No, no I'm going to google it," Inuyasha huffed as he fumbled with his pocket and pulled out his phone, "I used to live over there. I know what I'm talking about. Kansai In-ter-nation-al Air-Port. Search."
Akitoki bit his lip to smother his grin. Why his friend always felt the need to sound out his texts was beyond him but everyone, he supposed, had their quirks.
"Okay, okay so I used to live on…on…" Inuyasha mumbled before his face became one of perfect confusion, "No, that's not right. I…I used to live…where's my neighborhood?"
"Well they did move the airport some time ago," Miroku threw his friend a bone, "Maybe you're thinking of where it used to be."
"I don't remember them moving it," Inuyasha replied distractedly as he began searching for the Wikipedia article on the subject. Sure enough, it had been moved some time ago but…but he should've at least remembered hearing about it.
"Search your old address. I'm sure you'll see you were mistaken," Miroku pressed as he picked up his menu and began surveying it for his lunch, "I think I'm going to get…no, no…"
Inuyasha in the meantime was busy playing on his phone – eating and hangover mostly forgotten. There were so many things he didn't remember happening or, at least, remembered very, very differently. That was the street where he lived in the pictures of the ambulances and firetrucks from last night but that didn't make sense at all. Sure, he was drunk but…okay, maybe he saw what he did because he was drunk.
"Huh. Guess I was wrong," the ebony haired man finally muttered to himself before shaking his head and setting his phone down on the table.
"You know using your phone too often can hurt your eyesight," Akitoki commented idly as he took a sip of his tea and began rudely gesturing for a waiter. That action bothered his other two friends immensely. You can always tell a lot about a person by how they treat waitstaff.
Reaching for his bloody mary Inuyasha startled slightly when his hand gripped thin air before realizing that he'd miscalculated and he'd placed the drink much further than he'd thought. Maybe he was still a little drunk from his binger the night before. He really needed to stop drinking alone but he'd just gotten a call from his brother telling him that he was being laid off. From the company owned by their family. The betrayal wasn't shocking per se but it'd fueled his desire to black out and not have to think anymore.
A disgruntled little waitress came rushing up to their table and began taking their orders. Inuyasha, freshly unemployed as he was, opted for a side of the cheapest thing before Miroku held up his hand and ordered for him.
"His check is on mine."
Muttering a slightly embarrassed word of thanks, Inuyasha bounced his knee anxiously as he took another long swig of the bloody mary. Not his favorite drink in the world and definitely not how he would have ordered it but Miroku was basically throwing him a figurative bone. Just like he had done all their lives. Akitoki, Inuyasha and Miroku had been the three musketeers since kindergarten. Despite the passing of time, they were still friends and probably always would be. Now that wasn't to say that any of them were perfect. Every other year, Akitoki defaulted to his modus operandi and get too serious too fast with yet another girl before hanging her out to dry. Up until recently, Miroku went through women like water but seemed to have settled into a serious relationship at long last. A girl who figuratively whacked him upside the head with a frying pan and dragged him off by his hair. Inuyasha went through money like water despite, up until now, having plenty of it and after being burned once, had sworn off women to such a degree that his friends suspected he might be so deep in the closest he'd never come out.
"Inuyasha you should try to take some St. John's wort," Akitoki hummed suddenly as he regarded his dejected friend, "You'll feel brand new."
"You're down because you lost your job. You should take St. John's wort," Akitoki repeated with a somewhat exasperated sigh, "Or you could just wallow in self-pity. That works too."
"I'm not eating some mans wart," Inuyasha snorted derisively as he picked out a green bean from his drink and pointed at his homeopathically inclined friend, "You know I brought one of those capsules you swore killed parasites to my doctor and he told me all that was in it was ginger. Oh and I didn't have parasites by the way."
"I never said you had parasites. I said you might and those capsules would help if that was the case," Akitoki replied defensively, "And your doctor must have been mistaken. I was told…"
"How much did you spend?" Inuyasha asked knowingly, "A hundred bucks. Two hundred bucks?"
"Fifty thank you very much."
"Fifty?!" Miroku choked as he stared at his friend like he was insane – which to be fair he probably was, "Fifty dollars on ginger pills?!"
"They were digestive aids," Akitoki mumbled as he took a sip of his drink and blushed.
"Yeah okay," Inuyasha snorted as he took a bite of the green bean in his hand, "Just admit all of it's a placebo and we'll call it a day."
"Not a doctor but continue," Inuyasha interrupted before taking another bite.
"He has a PhD! He is a doctor," Akitoki huffed. Miroku and Inuyasha exchanged an amused look.
"Alright, alright, don't need to get your panties in a twist. I'm just messing with you," Inuyasha laughed softly as he picked out a pickled okra and began to eat that garnish as well.
"I am very tired of you dismissing the benefits of natural medicine," Akitoki clipped defensively, "For thousands of…"
"Its not medicine," Inuyasha snickered as he finished off his okra, "And just because people did it doesn't mean it worked. Didn't people in medival Europe uses leeches and drill holes in peoples…"
"Anyway," Miroku interrupted exasperatedly as he glanced between his two friends, "I have a favor to ask."
The two men stopped bickering and focused their attention on the flustered third.
"Depends on the favor," Inuyasha teased as he took a bite and raised a single eyebrow in question.
"As you know, I plan on proposing to Sango," Miroku continued slowly and his two companions exchanged a knowing look. At the sight, Miroku huffed and glared, "I do plan on proposing. Its not a joke."
"So what's the favor?" Akitoki asked kindly as he kicked Inuyasha's leg under the table to stop whatever sarcastic comment was about to leave his mouth. Miroku sighed shakily before reaching into his shirt pocket and producing a small folded piece of letter paper.
"So I wrote out what I want to…"
"Gimme that," Inuyasha breathed excitedly as he yanked the paper out of Miroku's hand and began reading. His grin slowly faded into a grimace before he sighed heavily and looked up.
"This is what you came up with? Seriously?"
Inuyasha held up the paper and gave his friend a pitying look, "You can't say…"
"Let me see that," Akitoki laughed under his breath as he took the paper and began inspecting it before he too was looking at his friend with pity, "On what planet is 'will you bear my children' an actual proposal."
Miroku blushed as he took the paper roughly out of his hand.
"I'm trying to be creative. Different," he mumbled miserably, "She said she wanted her proposal to be special when we first started dating. I don't want it to be normal."
"You don't want it to be weird either though," Inuyasha snickered, "Do something different like…like propose by the river or you know make it some elaborate thing. Like a clue hunt or something."
"I think you mean scavenger hunt," Akitoki supplier and Inuyasha gave him a withering glare.
"Go stick a berry up your ass," Inuyasha muttered under his breath as he took a sip and mulled over possible suggestions. Miroku seemed to look rather defeated.
"Okay how about taking her to where you first met," Inuyasha finally suggested with a small smile, "Maybe go out to dinner first. Throw her off the trail. Get one of her friends to take her to get her nails done or something the week before. Make sure she feel pretty."
Miroku gave his friend a surprised but appreciative look.
"That…that might work," Miroku laughed once before narrowing his eyes, "I didn't know you had a romantic bone in your body."
"I can do romance. I just don't wanna," Inuyasha countered defensively, "Never met a woman worth my while."
"I'm sure you haven't," Akitoki coughed lightly and Miroku rolled his eyes. Inuyasha knew what he was implying but choose to ignore the insinuation.
"So, when do you plan on popping the question?" Inuyasha asked curiously.
"I was thinking maybe next Saturday but you're right about the nails," he groaned, "She'll want to take pictures of the ring. That I haven't bought yet."
"Afraid it'd burn a hole in your pocket?" Akitoki asked knowingly and Miroku nodded.
"You know I've considered proposing to Kikyo," Akitoki hummed. Inuyasha snorted.
"You also considered proposing to about a dozen other women including the woman you left to be with Kikyo," Inuyasha pointed out, "I don't even bother getting to know any of them anymore. They're never around for long. Not worth investing in someone who won't be here for Christmas."
"Kikyo is different," Akitoki bit back before looking between his two blatantly skeptical friends.
"I'm sure she is," Inuyasha hummed knowingly, "I'll believe it when I see it."