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Mischief and Misdirection

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Inuyasha Takahashi was many things… But patient wasn’t one of them.  He ran a hand through his short silver hair as he looked down at his watch.  He took a deep breath, trying to catch a hint of the scent he so desperately needed right then… hers.  His Kagome.

Kagome Higurashi was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever met, even though she didn’t see it for herself.  Her long black hair glistened against her tanned skin; her stormy gray eyes sparkled with mischief as she smiled.  She wasn’t just the type of girl who was a beautiful, empty package, either.  She had this way of making people feel better, no matter what had happened, just by being there, by talking to them.  She smiled, and people intuitively knew she cared, really cared, and they just… opened to her.

He remembered the first time he had met her: He had been invited to a housewarming party for his best friend Sango, who had been excited to host in order  to both show off her new condo and to have Inuyasha meet her boyfriend, Miroku.  Kagome had opened the door when he arrived, and he had felt his heart stutter before pulling on his guise of indifference.  Kagome was Miroku’s cousin and a classmate of Sango’s and had, as he found out that day at dinner, had a large part in getting Miroku and Sango together. 

She had managed to crack through his shell of anger and bitterness before he had even known it happened.  Group outings where he and Kagome wound up talking, leaving the other two to their own devices, dinner parties, and game nights, had evolved into texts, then the occasional phone call, then meeting up for lunch. Without him even realizing it, it had become natural for Kagome to be part of his day.  He started looking forward to seeing her, to hearing her voice, and to finding ways to make her laugh.  She didn’t care that he was part demon; she didn’t mind that he had two puppy ears instead of human ears. In fact she seemed to find them irresistible…

He had been crazy for her.

It had taken him months to get the courage to ask her to dinner.  Kagome had laughed, a bright smile on her face.

“Well, dinner isn’t too different from lunch, right?” she had teased, and Inuyasha remembered how his cheeks had turned pink. 

Kagome’s smile had faltered as she realized that this was different, and his heart sunk.  He had mumbled an apology and turned to leave, anxious to get away, to keep from fucking things up more… but her hand caught his sleeve, and a slight tug had stopped him.

“I… I would like that…”  Kagome gave him a shy smile as she trailed her fingers down to take his hand. 

It had been three years since that day, and she was his everything.  They had moved in together after a year of dating, yeah, they had their ups and downs, but he got to go to sleep with her in his arms and wake up with her there every morning.  Every adjustment, every compromise had been worth it, just to have her be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night.

The past week and a half, though, had been … different.

Kagome was coming home later than usual from work, and he could tell from her scent that she wasn’t being completely honest when she said she was catching up on some paperwork.   He trusted her, sure, but he couldn’t exactly deny that he was relieved she always came home smelling of vanilla and roses, without any other noticeable scent around her. 

She had been hiding things from him.  He knew she didn’t realize he had caught on to the hurriedly closed private browser windows, and the deleted text messages, but he had. 

Just because he trusted her didn’t mean he trusted any of the idiots around town: men who had eyes, who could see how gorgeous she was.  She was his to protect, and that’s what he intended to do.  Kagome taught music at a local community college and he knew the campus was secure, but she liked to walk to and from work, even though it was a good twenty-minute walk from their apartment.  He had offered to move them closer, hell he could afford to move them anywhere she chose, but she had heard none of that.  She liked their apartment, she said, with its view of the forest.

So, if he just happened to be resting in a tree near her college that just happened to overlook the music department and had a clear view of Kagome’s office… well…

That was just a coincidence, right?

He didn’t mean to follow her. He really didn’t… it had just happened. It had only taken him a few days to get worried about her—she did have to pass through some not so nice areas of town on her way back—and with her coming home later, she had to walk during twilight and early evening. But he had waited a week for her to say something before taking matters into his own hands.  

Tuesday evening, he sat in the tree watching her work.   A slight smile formed as he watched her: the way her face lit up when she was meeting with a student, helping them choose the right musical piece for their auditions.  He could always tell when she had music playing, the slight sway of her hips to the rhythm.  He could tell what song she was listening to just by the movement alone.   He watched her as she packed up to leave and heard her humming as she passed by his tree, waiting until she was out of sight before jumping down.  He rushed home, using all his speed over the rooftops to beat her to the apartment, grabbing ramen at their favorite corner store on the way to have dinner ready and waiting for her.

It was on the second night where he found himself sitting in the tree that it happened.

She had been in her office all night, grading, preparing music and lesson plans for the upcoming week and then… he saw it.

The slight frown when she looked at her phone.

Inuyasha sat up, his eyes glued to her window.  He saw her bite her lower lip which meant only two things with Kagome… she saw something she really liked (usually him) or…

She was nervous.

And that was her nervous face.

Inuyasha growled; whatever was on her screen had her upset and concerned.  That was what he had been worried about.  He knew there had to be something with the deleted messages; someone was threatening or harassing her, and she didn’t want him to know.  

If he was honest with himself, that hurt… a lot.  She knew he would always protect her, support her, be there for her.

Unless…

Unless she was trying to protect him.  The hurt faded, to be replaced by pride… Kagome was fierce when someone threatened those that she considered hers.  But that still didn’t explain what was happening, why she wasn’t talking to him.  No, there was something he was missing.

And he was determined to find out what.

So, when she left in a hurry, it was only natural for him to fall in behind her.  If he was trailing her, it was just for her own protection.  To make sure no one bothered her on the way home.  The benefit of being inu-hanyo, he could follow her while making it look like she was alone and unprotected.  If anyone tried to start shit with her… they were in for a world of hurt. 

He frowned as he looked around the town.   She wasn’t heading towards their apartment, in fact… she was moving towards the middle of town.  He silently cursed as he dropped to the sidewalk, the further they went there were fewer trees for him to move in, and he didn’t want her to know he was there, watching her. 

He smiled as he remembered the first time that she had caught him following her, just after she had moved in with him.  She had ripped him a new one, ranting about how she could take care of herself, she was a big girl who didn’t need some puffed up MAN to protect her.

God, she was gorgeous when she was riled up.  Her eyes spitting fire, her petite frame practically vibrating with anger… the bite of her teeth against her skin… the moment that passion was redirected into…

Inuyasha shook his head to clear his thoughts; he needed to focus, find out what was happening.  He let himself fall back; he wasn’t happy with losing sight of her, but he knew he could follow her scent, and he would know the moment it changed.  He was so focused on tracking her that he barely noticed his surroundings.  He turned a corner and had to pull bac;, Kagome was stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, looking around nervously.   He growled low as her scent changed, something was happening… this was it.

“Ummm… excuse me sir, are you ok?”

Inuyasha jumped, spinning to look at the man who had come up behind him.

Shit… he needed to pay better attention if he was going to protect her.

“Keh, I’m fine,”  Inuyasha grumbled, peaking around the corner again.  “Just… there’s someone I don’t want to see me over there.”

The man chuckled, drawing Inuyasha’s irritated gaze. “Ex-girlfriend, huh?  I wish you luck in avoiding her.”

Inuyasha’s ear twitched in annoyance as the man finally, finally, left him alone.  Then his ears stood straight up as he realized something.

He couldn’t smell Kagome anymore!

Inuyasha whipped his head around the corner… fuck… she was gone.  He took a deep breath, trying to determine which direction she had taken…

And sneezed.

His eyes started to water as he walked towards where he had seen Kagome and he realized what she had been looking at.

His shoulders relaxed even as his nose itched as he looked at the curry stand.  He couldn’t stand curry—it was too damn spicy—but he knew it was one of Kagome’s favorite foods.  Inuyasha smiled before another sneeze wracked through him.  It was just like Kagome to try and enjoy a favorite meal where it wouldn’t bother him.    He just wished it hadn’t been quite so… pungent.  He knew it would be a few minutes until his nose stopped itching, and he didn’t want to chance running into Kagome and having her realize he was following her.

Inuyasha’s phone dinged, and he pulled it out to see a message from his jeweler.  Inuyasha had been planning to propose to Kagome for months, and it had taken time to find the right ring. Hell, he had visited every jewelry store within 100 miles before his half-brother Sesshomaru gave him the number of a jeweler who could create the perfect ring.  It had taken Totosai two months to secure the perfect pink diamond and create the setting, but Inuyasha knew it was worth it.  He pulled up the image attachment, smiling at the design.

Yeah, it was perfect.  A round cut pink diamond, surrounded by smaller brilliant white diamonds in a platinum band.  He could already imagine it on her finger, the sign to everyone that she was off the market.  He rubbed his nose against his sleeve as he shot back a message to Totosai that it was exactly right. 

He had just reached the apartment when he heard his phone chime. Totosai would have the ring ready on Friday morning.  Inuyasha let out a deep breath… his reservations were for Friday night, so that was perfect.   He walked into the dark apartment as he shot a message to Sango to show her the ring. Sango had been helping him plan his surprise; she was his best friend (and he didn’t fully trust Miroku not to accidentally tell Kagome).  Sango had helped him with the reservations and setting up the dinner, Inuyasha had found that it was hard to plan a surprise when you lived with the person you were surprising. 

Inuyasha’s eyes lit upon a photo of him and Kagome at Sango and Miroku’s wedding; it was his favorite picture of them.  Kagome was leaning into him with his head resting atop hers.  They both had their eyes closed, but the photographer had captured the expressions of sheer happiness and love on both of their faces.  In the years he had been with Kagome she and Sango had become close friends, and Kagome had been Sango’s maid of honor when she had married Miroku, while Inuyasha had been best man. 

Sango had just texted back her thousand exclamation points when Inuyasha heard Kagome’s key in the door.  He quickly locked his phone and stuck it in his pocket as Kagome entered the door, a giant pizza box in her hands.

“Hey Inu.” Her smile always melted him. “I wasn’t sure if you had eaten so I grabbed a meat lovers pizza on the way in, sorry I am home late.”

Inuyasha crossed to wrap an arm around her waist, pulling her close as he bent down to kiss her.

Kagome laughed as they broke apart, her eyes shining as she shifted the box.  “Are you that excited for pizza?” she teased.

Inuyasha shot her a cocky grin. “You know all my secrets, wench.” 

Her laughter trailed down the hall as Kagome made her way to the kitchen.  Inuyasha watched her, letting her presence soothe him.  Then, without warning, it hit him.

She didn’t smell like curry…

He furrowed his brows.  What the hell was going on?


The next night Inuyasha perched in the tree, his eyes and ears glued to Kagome’s office window.  He watched as Kagome spoke with someone on the phone.

Something was bothering her.  Kagome normally spoke with her hands, but her hands were unusually still.  As she spoke, he watched her attention vacillate between her computer screen and a sheet of paper.  Her stillness alone was enough to get him concerned. Kagome looked down at her watch before she hurriedly hung up the phone and grabbed her purse, the paper clutched in her hand.  Inuyasha’s ears perked; maybe he would be able to get an idea from that paper later when she was asleep.  He couldn’t protect her if he didn’t know what was happening. Why didn’t she get that?

Inuyasha’s jaw dropped as Kagome fed the paper into her shredder.

Now he KNEW something was up… Kagome never used a shredder.  His eyes narrowed as his mind raced, Kagome didn’t even have a shredder…

His phone chimed as she turned off her office light.

“Shit.” He swore softly, pulling the phone out, stunned to see the message was from Kagome.

Don’t forget, we are meeting MirSan for dinner at the mall.

“Keh.” He scoffed softly, perfect cover.

Just walked up to campus to get ya.

He jumped down from his perch, his feet hitting pavement as his phone chimed again.

😊 Love You!

Inuyasha watched Kagome approach him, scanning for any indication of nerves or stress, but couldn’t find any.  She began to run as she saw him, her face brightly lit by her smile as she launched herself at him, knowing he would catch her.  It was their normal routine when he picked her up at school, and the familiarity and correctness of the action soothed him more than any of her words could.

“Hey dog-boy,” she teased, rising to place a kiss against his lips.

“Wench.” His lips quirked as he drew her up for a deeper kiss, pouring all his love for her into the simple gesture. 

Inuyasha drew back and smirked at the dazed expression in her eyes.  Kagome gave a small pout and he couldn’t help but kiss her again, giving a soft growl when she moved an arm to wrap around his neck.

“Wanna ditch them and continue this at home?” He nipped her bottom lip and heard Kagome’s breath shake as her scent grew spicy.

Inuyasha saw the regret in her eyes as she pulled away, and he felt a chill go through him. 

“We’ve had this planned for weeks, so we can’t ditch them now.”  Inuyasha grumbled at her words; intellectually, he knew she was right, but right then… he was still concerned and nervous.  His grumbles gave way to sighs as Kagome’s hand brushed his ear.  Fuck, she knew what that did to him; he was putty in her hands when she pulled that.  “But let’s pick up where we left off later?” 

Inuyasha gave her a heated smile before lifting her hand from his ear and lacing her fingers through his. 

He just had to get through dinner… then she was all his.

But of course, things never went according to plan.  And somehow, he had been convinced that they needed to “walk off” their dinner.  Keh… he had a better idea to burn off their dinner, he just needed to get Kagome home.  But Kagome had turned her version of puppy eyes on him, and he couldn’t say no.  So here he was, walking the mall with Sango and Miroku, his Kagome tucked against his side.  Inuyasha listened with half an ear while Sango and Kagome spoke about anything and everything.  He caught Miroku’s gaze and both rolled their eyes, for two girls who spoke every…single…day… they still seemed to have so much to talk about.  It was both adorable and frustrating.

Inuyasha heard Kagome’s phone chime a few moments before she stopped, and he turned to give his full attention to her.

“You okay Kagome?” Sango asked as she pulled Miroku to a stop.

“Yeah, I just need a sec, I need to use the restroom.”  Kagome bit her lip and looked sheepish as she looked back in the direction they had just come from before her eyes darted back to meet Miroku’s. 

Inuyasha frowned slightly. He knew the layout of the mall, the restroom wasn’t down that wa…

“We’ll wait for you here Kagome,” Miroku said loudly, his arm going around his friend’s shoulder.   Inuyasha’s eyes narrowed at the tone of Miroku’s voice, and he saw Sango’s features reflecting the same suspicion. 

Before Inuyasha could object Kagome took off back down the corridor, and her petite frame was soon hidden by the other shoppers.  Normally that wouldn’t have bothered Inuyasha, but that day it had his instincts kicking into high gear.  He started to follow her, but Miroku’s arm kept him in place.

“Inuyasha, let’s go look at video games, shall we?” Miroku said, a little too loudly. 

Inuyasha growled at him, trying to shake the hand from his shoulder, but found he couldn’t get free. 

“What is going on, Miroku?” Sango demanded, her eyes narrowing.

“Nothing, my dear. Why would anything be going on?” Miroku’s laugh was not convincing.

“If nothing’s going on, let go of Inuyasha.” Sango’s voice was going quiet, and Inuyasha knew from experience that was never a good sign.

With a sigh Miroku complied, and Inuyasha took off after his girlfriend.  Or rather, he tried to.  The scents of the mall, the perfume and mix of smells blocked his ability to locate her, and he couldn’t pick out any individual sounds over the din of the shoppers.  He used his height to his full advantage, towering over everyone in the throughway to look around, searching for any hint of Kagome.

Inuyasha felt panic rising and had to fight himself to push it down.  He couldn’t afford to have his demon emerge in the mall… He just needed something, anything, to help give him a direction.  He knew that nothing was going to happen to Kagome with that many people around, but for some reason that didn’t help him relax. 

What was with that look to Miroku… and then why had Miroku tried so hard to keep him in place?  Crap, the bozo knows what’s going on.

“Shit,” Inuyasha swore as he turned to head back towards Sango and Miroku.

They were gone…

What the fuck was happening?

“Inuyasha?” His ears perked as he heard her voice coming up behind him.  Without even thinking he turned and wrapped her in his arms, his body curling around her protectively as he held her against him, taking in her scent.  Her hand rose to his chest and he knew she could feel his elevated heartbeat.  “Inu? What’s wrong?”

“Keh,” he replied, pulling her closer to him.  He felt her nuzzle his cheek, and the world righted itself.  She was there; he could protect her.  A subtle sniff told him no one had touched her, and there was no fear in her scent. 

Okay… he was just overreacting.

“Where are Sango and Miroku?” he heard Kagome ask. 

“Dunno,” he mumbled with a blush.  “I was waiting for you and they left.”

Kagome looked up at him with a smile as a hand rose to his cheek.  She lowered his head to hers for a long kiss.

“Then why don’t we head home?” she purred against his lips.

That was the best idea he had heard all day.  Kagome laughed as he moved to pick her up and stopped him with a hand on his chest.  With a grumble he released her, smiling as she wove her arm through his, keeping close to his side as he made a path through the sea of people back to their car, relieved that his concerns were unwarranted.

Until Kagome pulled her phone out of her pocket to check her messages.  Inuyasha saw Miroku’s name pop onto the screen, maybe the bozo was telling Kagome where they had gone, but as soon as Kagome opened the message, she quickly closed it and dropped her phone in her purse.

“Did he tell you where they went?”  Inuyasha asked.

“Who?”

“Miroku.” Inuyasha’s nose was twitching. He had smelled relief for a moment, but now it was overwhelmed by the nervousness coming off Kagome. 

“He hasn’t messaged me, hopefully nothing happened to them.”

Yeah, now he knew something was up.

He just needed to figure out what the hell it was.


Friday morning, Inuyasha had run to meet Totosai to get the ring.  He knew she would love it, and he couldn’t wait to see her face as he asked her.  It was all planned out: first, dinner at 7 at her favorite restaurant, and after dinner, he would take her to their spot at the park, the spot where he had asked her out, and get down on one knee.  He had Sango set up to be there to record the moment, knowing Kagome would want pictures, if not video, to show her mom.

And so, he stood outside the restaurant. Kagome had insisted on meeting him rather than him meeting her at campus.  He closed his golden eyes, dropping his head back to the wall.  His hand went into the pocket of his jacket, his fingers closing around the small box he had tucked away.

She was late.

Kagome was late.

Wait…

Golden eyes widened before darkening with concern.

Kagome was never late.

Inuyasha drew his cell phone from his back pocket to check if he had any missed calls or messages.

Nothing.  Not a peep from the girl who was now ten minutes late. 

Inuyasha sighed and leaned against the wall as he stared at the screen.  He tapped a clawed finger against the side of the phone, debating in his mind whether he should text her or wait to see if she would reach out.  Concern for her was starting to replace his irritation… when Kagome said she would be somewhere at 6:30, she would be there at 6:25.  It was now 7:10, and there was no sign of her.

He tried not to let that worry him.

He pushed himself from the wall to pace along the sidewalk.  The scent of vanilla and rose reached out to him and he froze.

She was there.

He turned and saw her standing a few feet away, and his jaw dropped.  She was easily the most beautiful woman he had ever known, but right then… god she was the most gorgeous woman in the universe. 

Kagome stood before him in a fitted red dress, making her skin glow.  His eyes trailed down her appreciatively, all thoughts forced out of his head but thoughts of her. The dress had a sweetheart neckline and hugged her curves down to her hips before flaring out gently to just above her knees, stiletto heels lengthening her legs and making his mouth water.  Her lipstick matched the dress perfectly, and he couldn’t think straight.

“Hi,” Kagome said softly, a slight flush heating her cheeks under his gaze.

“You are so fucking gorgeous.” Inuyasha breathed as he watched her walk towards him. 

Kagome smiled as she raised a hand to his lapel. “Not looking bad yourself Takahashi,” she responded, her eyes sparkling.  He couldn’t help but bend to capture her lips in a tender kiss, one hand cradling the back of her neck as he held her.

“What did I do to deserve you Kagome?” he whispered, his thumb stroking her skin as he broke the kiss.

“Well, now that you mention it… nothing.  So, see ya,” Kagome teased, breaking out of his hold and turning, laughing as Inuyasha growled and drew her back against him. 

“Seriously, I am the luckiest guy in the world to have you with me, to have you choose me.” His arms held her close as he spoke before he kissed the top of her head. 

Kagome turned her head to look up at him with a smile.  “I love you.” 

Those three words, no matter how many times he heard them, always made him weak in the knees.  Inuyasha tightened his hold, hugging her for a few seconds more. If he didn’t get her inside, all his plans would be tossed out the window, and he would propose to her right then and there.  That was sounding better and better actually, even if they didn’t have any pic…

“We should head in before they give away our table. I’m sorry I was late.”   

“I would wait forever for you, you know that.”  Inuyasha saw her cheeks flush again at his words as she stepped out of his embrace.  He reached out and took her hand, placing it in the crook of his arm as he escorted her into the restaurant. 

If you asked him later, he couldn’t tell you what they had eaten or what they had talked about.  The box in his pocket had consumed his thoughts.  Doubts were plaguing him—not about asking her, oh no, he knew she was the right one, the only one for him.  But would she like the ring, was it too much, would she be comfortable wearing it, would she be comfortable with everything it meant?  To a demon, even a hanyou, finding the one was a big deal, and he wanted forever with her.  They had talked about demons finding their mates before, Kagome had wanted to know all about it when they first started dating, saying she wanted all cards on the table rather than be surprised years down the road.  That had surprised him; most people didn’t think about it, but Kagome’s brother was good friends with a fox demon named Shippo, and Kagome had grown up around Shippo’s mated parents.  But just because Kagome loved him and might  be comfortable marrying him, it didn’t mean she would be ready for forever with him.

But god, he hoped she was.

The plates were cleared and the check paid before he realized it. Inuyasha felt his nerves rising as they left the restaurant and he asked if she wanted to go to the park to watch the fountain lights.   That was their spot… It was where he first asked her out, where he had first told her he loved her, where he had asked her to move in with him.  And now, he was going to ask her to marry him and to be his mate there.

If his nerves would get out of the way.

It didn’t help that Kagome seemed to know something was going to happen; he could feel the tension in her body and smell the nervousness mixed in with her natural scent.  

Ah crap… if she was nervous it may not be the best time.

But dammit, it was perfect.  It was the third anniversary of his asking her out, and he wanted more, so much more, with her.  Kagome pulled away from him as her phone chimed, and Inuyasha took a moment to watch the fountain dance, building his courage.  His hand went into his pocket, opening and closing around the box.

He was going to do it… She was it for him, and he needed her to know that.  He took the box out of his pocket and turned back to Kagome, but what he saw caused his jaw to drop.

Kagome, his perfect Kagome, was kneeling on one knee behind him, a box held in her hand.

“Wh...Kagome?”

The lights from the fountain danced across her face, but he could see the blush in her cheeks.

“Inuyasha, I love you, so so much, and the past three years have been the happiest of my life.” The hanyou could only gape at his girlfriend as she spoke.  Kagome bit her lip at his silence but forced herself to keep going. “I know it’s not traditional, but when were we ever traditional, a miko and a hanyou dating and falling in love and moving in together and...”

“Kagome…” he breathed, interrupting her rambling.  Inuyasha watched as she took a deep breath and opened the box.

“Inuyasha Takahashi, will you marry me?”

He stared down at the box, his mind not quite processing that she knelt there with a ring for him… 

Kagome’s blush deepened the longer he stared, but it was the scent of fear that snapped him out of his daze.  He dropped to his knees in front of her, forcing Kagome to look up at him.  

“Is this what you’ve been hiding?” He asked, a hand reaching out to touch her face. 

She nodded, her eyes locked on his.  “Miroku has been helping me. It was hard to try and plan a  surprise for you.”

“The curry, the mall?”  Kagome laughed before sitting back on her knees shaking her head as he asked.

“I saw you sitting in the tree outside my window, and I figured you were starting to get worried about me coming home late.  But I didn't want you to know, so when the ring was ready I had the designer meet me downtown, across from the movie theatre we went on our first date.  The curry restaurant… I had forgotten it was there actually.  And yesterday I needed to pick up this dress and… other things… but didn’t want you to know so I had Miroku try and distract you.  I changed the restaurant so we were by the mall, but it was also where you asked me to be your girlfriend.”

“Kagome.”  

“Inu… you know you still haven’t answered me.” Her gaze dropped to the ground.

Inuyasha chuckled.  “Yes, I will marry you Kagome, but…”

Kagome’s head whipped up to look at him, her eyes narrowing “But…?”

He raised his hand, lifting the lid on his own box.

“Only if you marry me too.”

He saw the tears in Kagome’s eyes as she nodded.  With a growl he pulled her into his lap, not caring that they were in the middle of the park until he heard the applause around them and heard both Miroku and Sango’s voices in the mix.  He broke the kiss to touch his forehead to Kagome’s.

The little minx, his perfect match.  His fiancee… his Kagome.
After all, forever with her could start today.