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The Hanyō and the Cheerleader

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InuKag Neighbors

Artwork commission by kalcia

“That’s what you said yesterday!  Bankotsu, I just… no yeah, it’s fine.” Kagome Higurashi shoved her phone into her pocket with an annoyed sigh, her brown eyes snapping with irritation.  “Why the hell do I even bother…” she muttered to herself.  

“He ditch you again?”  A smooth baritone voice startled her out of her thoughts as she turned to meet the golden eyes of her friend and next door neighbor, Inuyasha Taisho.  

“Yeah,” she grumbled.

“What reason did he give this time?”

“None… just he had ‘stuff’ he needed to work on.” She rolled her eyes as she flipped her raven hair back off her shoulder. 

 “Say Kagome…” Inuyasha started, then froze.


“I… uh… I gotta go.”  

Kagome watched him run down the hall away from her, his long silver hair streaming behind him as he ran, his adorable puppy ears flicking at sounds that only he could hear, and sighed, wishing she knew why he left so suddenly like that.  

A moment later, her question was answered as two girls turned the corner and walked towards her, giggling loudly.  Kagome had to hold back another sigh; technically, they were friends of hers, but lately… lately, they had been getting on her nerves. Somewhere between their junior and senior years, Kikyo Takashi had gone from being one of her closest friends to being a rival of sorts, ever since Kagome had been named the new captain of their cheerleading squad. It didn’t help that people kept comparing the two, claiming they looked alike, mistaking one for the other, due to their long black hair and brown eyes. However, as far as Kagome knew, those were the only similarities.  At Kikyo’s side was her loyal sidekick and groupie, Sara Asano, her long brown hair pulled up into a high ponytail. 

“Hey Kagome, don’t forget that practice starts in 10 minutes!” Kikyo called out, raising an eyebrow at Kagome.

“Yeah… I’ll be right there.”

Kikyo whispered to Sara and both girls broke out into laughter again as they moved towards the gym.  Kagome’s gaze was drawn back down the hall where Inuyasha had disappeared, her shoulders dropping.  They had been friends for years, since they were kids, but only in private, and it… it really bothered her.

Why doesn’t he want to be seen with me?’ she wondered, but she had to get to practice and couldn’t dwell on it.. 

Inuyasha slid out of sight just in time, letting out a sigh of relief.  That had been close: too close.   He had been so caught up in Kagome—her scent, her smile, her eyes—that he had almost missed the footsteps coming closer.  If Kikyo hadn’t giggled, he would have ruined everything for Kagome.    

He leaned back against the wall, letting his backpack drop to the floor as he waited, listening for the moment Kagome left to go to cheerleading practice.  His ears lowered as he heard her defeated sigh, wondering what it was that had made her sound like that.  It took longer than he had expected for her footsteps to fade, as if she was reluctant to leave, waiting for…

She couldn’t have been waiting for him, could she?

He peeked his head around the corner, making sure she was gone, before heading back down the hallway. He paused, breathing deeply to take in the vanilla and cherry blossoms that were uniquely her: a breath of fresh air among the perfume and cologne the other students seemed to douse themselves in.

He hated running like that, but he knew it was better—safer—that he did.  Kagome was at the top of the Musashi High social order, and he, like the other hanyō in the school, was down at the bottom.  

It had been that way since elementary school. He had seen what happened to popular kids who decided to try and be friends with the “freaks;” they were shunned, ridiculed, belittled, and there was no way in hell he wanted that for Kagome.   She was perfect: even with her flaws, her stubbornness, she was perfect.  Her raven black hair shone like obsidian waves down her back, her ivory skin and wide chocolate eyes in a heart-shaped face: she was every guy's dream.  But more than that, she had the biggest heart of anyone he knew, not that he knew that many people.  But it also made her vulnerable, she didn’t, couldn’t, see the dark side in people that he knew was there, and so he protected her the best way he knew how.

By staying away.

He had been 6 when Kagome had moved in next door with her mother, infant brother, and their fat cat.  Inuyasha had stood at his bedroom window, watching the excitement as the truck was unloaded.  A loud squeal from the infant had made his ears drop, but then he saw Kagome, her raven hair tied in two pigtails, dancing in the street for her brother.  The squeals had turned into laughter, and Inuyasha had found himself unable to tear himself away from the window.  Someone that free, that happy… he had never seen anyone like that before.  

His mother had called him down to go meet the neighbors with her, and he had hidden behind her legs the entire time, only daring to peek out when the faint scent of cherry blossoms hit his nose.  Chocolate eyes blinked back at him, and then a smile had blossomed over her face.  When she opened her mouth to speak, he had run home and hidden in the living room, terrified.  The only kids he had known had been mean to him, calling him names, tugging on his ears, and he had been so scared that she would do the same.  

That night, he had glanced out his bedroom window to see her standing there, in the window across from his, no more than 10 feet away, waving frantically to get his attention.  His ears had twitched and he watched her shoulders shake like she had giggled, laughing at him.  It had never occurred to him that she had found it cute. 

She was just like everyone else.
Except she wasn’t.

The next night she had stood in the window with a big piece of paper with the word HI on it, a giant smile on her face. Inuyasha had stepped back out of the light and as he watched her face drop, he realized it. Kagome wanted to see him! He scrambled to find the biggest sheet of paper he could to write her back. She had remained in the window, watching his room, waiting and hoping to see him—him!—again.   

When he slid into the light and held up his own sign saying Hi her face had lit up.  She grabbed a marker and he could see her scribbling furiously before standing proudly with her new sign.  

My Name is Kagome.

He had swallowed, half afraid to respond. What if this was a trap? Meaner than all the rest? To get him to let his guard down?

But he couldn’t walk away. He wanted to keep talking, so slowly, he wrote his response.


Their messages quickly became their nightly routine.  Kagome went to a different school than he did, his mother had explained that she went to a private girls elementary school, and in a small way, Inuyasha had been glad.  It meant she wouldn’t see what the other kids did every day, she wouldn’t feel pressured by the other human students who thought hanyō had no place in their school to walk away.  Most yōkai went to their own separate school, but hanyō weren’t allowed to attend. It meant that if someone had yōkai features but went to a human school, they were different, and different wasn’t accepted.

Kagome was Inuyasha’s friend: his best friend. She had become his escape; he could pretend that he was normal with her.  The day she had asked him to play in the snow with her, his ears had shot up, quivering with excitement as he had nodded.

It was the first time they had actually spoken with each other, but it had just clicked.  Inuyasha’s mother had laughed and told Kagome’s that Inuyasha didn’t even speak that much with her, but it was just so easy to talk to Kagome.  

It had always been easy to talk to her.
...until middle school.

Kagome and her friends had transferred to the public school with the transition to middle school, and Inuyasha at first had been excited at the idea of walking to school with Kagome every day and studying together.  It was a fresh start: a new school, a new social order.

Or so he thought.

The moment they had stepped on campus, Kagome left his side to say hi to her friends from elementary, and then the jeering had started.


Words he had heard before, but Kagome never had.  He watched one of the few other hanyō in the school, the gentle giant Jinenji, walk up with a human boy at his side with black hair and purple eyes.  The boy was quickly met with the insults that had previously been reserved for hanyō alone.  Inuyasha had watched him throughout the day; each time the boy had approached anyone that wasn’t a hanyō, they had turned their back.  And by the end of the day, he too was an outcast. (That was also the day that Inuyasha made one of his first school friends: Miroku.)

There had been no way that Inuyasha was going to let that happen to Kagome.  He marched into the principal’s office to change his schedule to make sure he didn’t have any of the same classes with her.  He hadn’t been able to move his locker, even though it was near hers, but he carried all his books with him, which limited when he needed to go to it to try, and limited any chances of seeing her during the day.

That left the mornings and after school.  He had gotten lucky; Kagome had quickly signed up for clubs and organizations, including the dance team, so Inuyasha had been able to get home before her.  Mornings… well… he ‘liked to sleep in’, and he didn’t want to ‘hold her up.’  Never mind the fact that he was always up at dawn.  She didn’t need to know that.   The evenings, though—the evenings had been theirs, spent at their windows.  They had upgraded to dry erase boards to make it easier (and cheaper).  It became their routine. Through middle school, and beyond.

At some point, Inuyasha had fallen head over heels for Kagome, and that was it for him.  

But he couldn’t tell her.

He remembered thinking that attending high school with her—a new school, a new opportunity—would be his chance to ask Kagome to stay by his side.

Then they actually got there.

And all of her friends (a.k.a. his tormentors) were there.  Thankfully for Inuyasha, Jinenji and his friend Miroku were also attending Musashi High, along with Miroku’s girlfriend Sango, so he wasn’t alone during the day anymore.

When the fliers had gone up for sports tryouts, Inuyasha had actually considered it; he was strong, fast, and football sort of interested him, but there had been a big statement at the bottom of the sign up sheet…

Hanyōs are not allowed.

Kagome had thrown a fit that night when he had told her over their message boards.  When he had gotten to school the next day, she had been in the office, demanding to speak with the principal and the head of the sports program to berate them for their discriminatory practices.  They had calmly reasoned with her that hanyōs had an unfair advantage due to their genetics, and it was a national policy.  Inuyasha had picked her up (god she felt amazing in his arms) and pulled her out of the office, out of the building, before other students could hear and ruin her chances at having a normal social life.

Thankfully, it hadn’t.

It didn’t surprise him one bit when Kagome became one of the most popular girls in their class, and when she had joined the cheerleading squad, he had vowed to attend every game where she was cheering, just to be there for her.  And she’d sought him out. Every game she had scanned the bleachers until she saw his silver hair, usually in one of the back corners, and smiled at him.

At school, he still tried to avoid her, at least until she didn’t let him get away with it anymore.  She started looking for him, offering a smile, a wave.  He would only respond if there was no one around, and he ran the moment anyone got close. And they now studied together for classes and exams, but cheerleading and other… activities… had reduced the frequency of that. The only constant was their evening conversations with the white board.

The day she had started going out with Bankotsu, he had felt his world shatter.  But… he couldn’t say it didn’t make sense.  She was captain of the cheerleading squad; he was captain of the basketball team.  They were top of the social pyramid, the king and the queen of the school, ‘adored’ by everyone.  Kagome had seemed so excited as she told Inuyasha about how romantic Bankotsu had been when he asked her on their first date.

If only Bankotsu deserved her.

There were silver linings, though; Kagome had come to him for help with her college applications.  She wanted to go to the University of Michigan, the same school as Inuyasha.  Bankotsu was planning on a basketball scholarship and had only applied out of state. He had sent out inquiries to the University of North Carolina, University of California Los Angeles, Stanford University, University of Florida—anywhere that wasn’t Michigan (he claimed the Big Ten was a second tier conference for basketball).

And Bankotsu had actually laughed at her when he heard she was applying to Michigan. Kagome had let that one slip during one of her and Inuyasha’s study sessions: that Bankotsu expected her to just follow him wherever he went, like a good girlfriend would.  

Kagome had dreams of her own.
Wanted things of her own!
Bankotsu didn’t know her at all.

Inuyasha understood her, had been by her side for thirteen years: getting to know her, to laugh with her.  She smiled her real smile with him, not the half smile she gave Bankotsu or her friends.

He just… he couldn’t tell her how he felt about her.  Not until they graduated, and by then, if they didn’t both get into the University of Michigan together, it really wouldn’t matter.

The sound of feet pounding through the halls pulled Inuyasha from his memories just in time to step out of the way of the basketball team, heading from the locker room to the gymnasium.

“Out of the way, you stupid Mutt.”

Of course it was Bankotsu who pointed him out as he tried to hide in the shadows.  At least if they were on their way to practice, they wouldn’t stop to harass him.  Once, just once, he wanted to defend himself, show his tormentors what he was capable of, but the school rules were clear.  If a hanyō hit a human, it would be grounds for immediate expulsion, because a hanyō could kill a human with one strike.

Inuyasha waited until he could no longer hear them in the halls before he slunk out of the school.  He couldn’t wait for high school to be over.

By the time he got home he was stuck in the foul mood that always followed when he had to deal with Bankotsu.  

“I’m home, mom.”

“Inuyasha…”  His head snapped up. Izayoi stood in the entry to the kitchen, an envelope in her hand, which had Inuyasha’s pulse racing.


“You got a letter from the University of Michigan.”

“What…” Inuyasha swallowed, fear closing his throat, “what did it say?”

“I left it for you to open, sweetie.”

His hand shook as he took it, his claws accidentally piercing the paper.  

“Sh...uh… shoot.” He caught his mother’s glare and corrected himself quickly.  He slowly cut the envelope open, slightly panicked by how thin it was. That was a bad sign, wasn’t it?  A thin letter was bad news, it was a thicker package if you got in… right?

Mr. Taisho,

I am pleased to advise you that you have been accepted as a member of the University of Michigan College of Engineering…

“Oh fuck…” he whispered, his head snapping up to his mother, ignoring her glare at his language.  “I… I got in.”  

Izayoi let out a whoop of joy and grabbed her son around the waist in a bear hug.

“I knew you could do it, baby!”  

His hands were shaking as he read the letter again, just to make sure he had read it correctly.

Pleased to advise… accepted...

He… he had done it.  He had gotten in! He was going to be a University of Michigan student in the fall, something he’d wanted nearly as long as he wanted… well… to be with Kagome.

“This calls for a ramen night!” Izayoi declared, tweaking Inuyasha’s ear the same way she’d been doing since he was a kid.  “Let’s go out and celebrate!”

Inuyasha’s smile didn’t dim the entire evening; he had been accepted to his dream school… the only way the day could have been better was if Kagome was there with him.  He couldn’t wait to get home and tell her, to see if she had gotten her letter too!  The moment they got in, he ran upstairs and wrote out his message, dashing to the window to show her.

Only to find her room dark…  She wasn’t home.

His ears drooped as he looked at the clock; it was already 9:30.  There hadn’t been a game, so that wasn’t why she was out, and he’d thought Bankotsu had bailed on her.  He drew back with a sigh, moving to his desk, then pulled out a pair of glasses as he opened his math textbook.  Kagome was the only person besides his mother who knew he had them for reading; he wasn’t about to bring them to school and get teased even more for being a four-eyed freak. 

Then he heard her, shouting at someone, and when the person responded he knew it was Bankotsu.

“I told you Kagome, you are not allowed to wear red when we are out together. It’s a simple rule; why the fuck can’t you follow it?” Inuyasha growled at that.  What the fuck… the prick was trying to tell her what she could and couldn’t wear?

“What do you care what the hell I wore?  You told me you had other things to do, then suddenly showed up at my door to take me to dinner.” 

“Because our rival wears red,” Inuyasha heard Bankotsu snarl. ”The minute I showed up you should have changed. I only ask two simple things of you: don’t wear red, and don’t wear pants when we go out.  And you wore red pants to our date. Were you trying to piss me off? Because it fucking worked.”

“It’s—it’s what I already had on, Bankotsu. You told me we had reservations and had to go, so how the hell could I have changed?”

“You’ve been getting mouthy lately, Kagome; what is with you? Am I not doing it for you anymore?”

Inuyasha heard Kagome sigh.

“There’s just a lot going on, Bank, a lot on my mind.”

“Yeah, well don’t take it out on me. I got my own shit to deal with, I don’t need yours on top of it.  I haven’t heard back from UNC, UCLA, or Stanford after the scouts came. Do you have any idea how stressful that is?”

“You’re right; I’m sorry.  It’s been a long night.” Inuyasha could hear the irritation in Kagome’s voice; why the hell was she apologizing to that jerk?  “I’ll... I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“You sure you don’t wanna invite me up? I could sure use some relaxation.”

“I—I have homework to do,” Kagome murmured. “Maybe… maybe tomorrow.”

Inuyasha knew his claws had punctured his skin upon hearing how defeated Kagome sounded.

Inuyasha dashed to his white board to bring it back to his desk.  He grabbed his eraser to replace the message he had on it.

Kagome stalked into her room, and turned on the light as she slumped into bed. Inuyasha didn’t know what Bankotsu was bitching about, she looked stunning in her red fitted pants and a light blue tank top.  

She really was heartbreakingly beautiful.  

He watched her storm around her room as she grabbed her pencils off her desk and threw them to the ground, something he rarely saw her do and only when she was at her most frustrated.  He moved to sit at the edge of his bed. When she turned and saw him she stilled, a small smile finally forming on her face.  He held up his white board with two words.

You okay?

Kagome started to nod then bit her lip and shook her head no.  She reached down for her board, settling down on her bed as she erased what she had written previously to write him a new message.

Tired of HS :(

He made a theatrical sad face for her, and saw her close her eyes as she brought her hand to her head in an exaggerated fashion, making him chuckle.

Kagome’s eyes opened with a sad smile as she gave him a small wave and drew the curtain, the sign she was going to head to sleep.

He could tell her about Michigan tomorrow. 

Kagome couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of her headache: the tossing and turning instead of sleeping, the surprise math test in 4th period, her boyfriend being an ass, Inuyasha continuing to avoid her, or some unholy combination of all of the above, but she was in misery.  Add to that people had started receiving their admission letters for college and she had gotten… nothing.  

She knew that University of Michigan had been a stretch, but Inuyasha had been so encouraging, and it was the school she wanted more than anything. So she had taken the plunge and applied. They had her dream education program, and Inuyasha wanted to go there too, which… she really liked the idea of attending college with him. So when she had heard classmates talking about the admission letters they had received, while she hadn’t heard about her own application, her spirits had plummeted. 

She sighed, barely paying attention to what Bankotsu, Kikyo, and Sara were saying, her eyes scanning the halls for a pair of silver puppy ears.  She hadn’t gotten in, but maybe he had.  He would have told her, though, right?

“Don’t you agree, Kagome?” Bankotsu ran his hand down her arm, trying to draw her focus back to him as she gave a half-hearted nod.

She wasn’t sure what she was doing with him, to be honest. It had just… seemed like the right thing to do when he asked.  They made sense—everyone told her that—the perfect couple, yet they… weren’t.

Because he didn’t have silver hair and puppy ears with golden eyes that could melt her heart.

She knew it had been a bad idea to go out with Bankotsu, but she had gotten tired of trying to get Inuyasha to even talk to her in public.  If he didn’t want to be seen with her, what would ever make her think he would want to go out with her?

She just… she’d had a crush on Inuyasha for so long, turned down so many guys because they weren’t him, and she just… She had wanted a change, to see if he would even notice.  

It wasn’t that Bankotsu was a bad guy; well, he hadn’t started out as a bad guy. He was charming. She had actually enjoyed spending time with him; he really really seemed like he was listening to her. At first.  But there was always something missing. There was no spark there, not like the one she felt whenever she was with Inuyasha.

And maybe that’s why she didn’t notice the ways Bankotsu changed, or maybe, the ways that Bankotsu stopped pretending. He started going through her phone to see who she was messaging, dictating to her what she could and couldn’t wear on dates or at school. How he demanded nearly all of her attention all the time, all the while disappearing without a trace and saying ‘it is just the way it is.’ She remembered the time she had put her foot down on that one. It had led to a massive fight that she just… hadn’t wanted to deal with so she had compromised: she would wear what she wanted at school but he got a say in what she wore on dates. Now it was just easier to give him what he wanted. It lessened the fights, and half the time he just took what he wanted anyway. It was so different from… from...

And then she saw what she had been searching for: two silver ears trained her way.  Her heart stopped as she looked at Inuyasha, taking in his fitted red t-shirt that showed every muscle on his torso (ok, maybe that’s why Bankotsu had searched her phone, starting with “I”), his black jeans, and his hair tied back from his face.

“I mean, who even cares about Michigan anyway?  Who would be stupid enough to want to go to a state school?”  Kikyo’s voice grated at her nerves… Kagome knew Kikyo had a thing for Bankotsu; at first it had bothered her, but now she just sort of accepted it.

“You said it, Kiks.” Kagome barely registered Bankotsu’s words. “The Wolverines… lame-ass team if you ask me. The Big Ten has always been an overrated conference, especially for basketball.”

“And you know they accept an absurdly high number of those students just so they can say they are diverse.  Honestly, if you have to put hanyōs on your sports teams, how good can your program or school really be?”  Sara was an idiot… Kagome was convinced of that.  Michigan recruited the best students and the best players, but she knew from experience they wouldn’t listen or care if she corrected them, so she did what she always did when they started in like this.

She stayed silent.

“I mean, it’s bad enough to have hanyō in our school,” Bankotsu sneered, “but I hear they actually have them teaching at Michigan; who the hell wants to learn from some stupid half breed?”

As Inuyasha’s ears lowered, Kagome realized something.

Staying silent was not okay. Because her friend, her best friend, her unrequited crush, could hear every word her friends were saying. Every word she was not fighting back against. Their eyes met for a moment before his dropped to the floor, and Kagome realized that Inuyasha had been approaching her… with other people around.  It was only then she saw the letter now crushed in his fist.

Kagome jumped up, stamping away from her group and towards him.

“Inuyasha?” she said cautiously, stopping a few steps away from him.  His right ear twitched, so she knew he heard her, but he didn’t move.  “You had something to tell me, didn’t you?”

“Keh, it was nothing. It doesn’t matter,”  he mumbled, and when he turned his back to her she felt it like a physical blow.

“Hey, mutt, Kagome was talking to you.”

“So what?” Inuyasha snarled over his shoulder as he walked away.

“Seriously, he is so weird,” Kikyo shuddered as she joined them.  “What on earth would you want with a loser like him?”

“He’s not a loser,” Kagome stated, her heart in her throat as she watched him retreat. Did he think she thought of him because she never fought her friends when they went after hanyō?  

Bankotsu just laughed.  “Yeah, right.”

“He’s not a loser,” Kagome insisted, her voice growing in volume as she turned to glare at Bankotsu and Kikyo.  “If you ever took the chance to get to know him, you would know that, too.”  

“Oh come on Kags, we were just kidding.”

“No, you weren’t,” Kagome challenged, her eyes spitting fire.  “You weren’t joking; you’re just assholes.” She could feel the burn to her blood that had ignited at seeing the Hanyō’s not allowed sign on the try-out fliers. “You know what… I’m done with you guys.” And just in case they did not understand her declaration to be permanent: “For good.” 

She spun on her heel and walked away, leaving her now ex-boyfriend and former friend sputtering behind her.

She needed to find him and make it right.

She checked all of Inuyasha’s usual hiding spots: the library, under the bleachers, the science lab, but he was nowhere to be found. She ran towards home as quickly as she could, determined to find him. 

She should have said something; she should have shut them up, and she hadn’t.  She had just stayed silent, and she refused to be silent anymore.

She didn’t even stop at her house to drop off her bag before knocking on Inuyasha’s door.  She panted, trying to get her breath back as she heard footsteps drawing closer and straightened as the door opened, only to deflate when it was Izayoi.

“Kagome, what a surprise, dear.”

“Hi Ms. Taisho, is Inuyasha available?”

“Inuyasha’s not home yet.”  Kagome’s eyes went wide.  He wasn’t at school, and he wasn’t at home… that wasn’t good.

“Ok, when he does get home could you ask him to come over?  It’s… it’s important.”

Izayoi smiled as she nodded.  “I will.  Do you want me to tell him what it’s about?”

“No… no… just that… it’s important. Thanks Ms. Taisho.”  Kagome’s voice dropped as she stepped off the porch, slowly making her way to her house.

“Kagome is that you?” her mother called from the kitchen  as she opened the door.

“Yeah mom, it’s me.”

“There’s a letter on the table for you.”

“Who’s it from?”

“You’ll see.”

And there it was: an envelope from the University of Michigan, in all its terrifying glory.  

“Here goes nothing,” she muttered, quickly ripping the letter open.

Ms. Higurashi,

I am pleased to advise you that you have been accepted as a member of the University of Michigan College of Education...

Kagome stared at the letter, her mouth hung open in shock.  

“Mom…” she whispered, then cleared her throat when she heard how weak it sounded.  “Mom…” she tried again, looking up when her mother entered the dining room, wiping her hands with a dishtowel. “I… I got in!”

Kagome’s mother laughed as her daughter rushed her for a hug.  “I knew you would! I am so proud of you.”

“I GOT IN!” Kagome cried again, dancing around the room.

“You should go tell Inuyasha.” Her mother smiled knowingly at her, the expression giving way to confusion when Kagome’s face fell for a moment.

“That… that’s a great idea mom, I’ll—I’ll go see if he’s home.”  Kagome’s voice nearly broke before she turned and fled up the stairs to her room.

She grabbed her white board to write a furious message and rushed to the window… Then she waited. She ignored the more and more frantic text messages and phone calls from her former friends. She ignored her mother calling her down for dinner. She even ignored her brother coming in and delivering dinner to her. Because she needed to wait for Inuyasha.

When his light came on, Kagome gasped. She could tell him! She could find out if he’d gotten into Michigan too! So, she waved, like she always did, to catch his eye...

Only to see his curtain being drawn closed, shutting her out.

“Inu… Inuyasha,” she whimpered, her heart breaking with that one simple movement.

He had shut her out.
He had never done that before.  

Kagome collapsed onto the bed, her eyes beginning to fill as she stared at the blue curtains across the chasm that separated them.  She barely felt it when her cat Buyo jumped onto the bed, until his head butt against her chin.  She wrapped an arm around him, drawing him close as she curled up and gave in to her tears.

As she sobbed, nebulous ideas and thoughts began to coalesce in her mind. Things she hadn’t let herself think about or feel. Things like how good her popularity felt, and how easy it was to just go along. Somewhere between hanyōs not allowed and that moment, she’d lost her heart, and maybe even her soul

“I know what I am going to do,” she whispered, finally succumbing to sleep.

Kagome marched into school the next day, a girl on a mission. It was the most important mission she had undertaken in her 18 years of life.

First though, she had to find him.

She searched for him all day, trying to get a glimpse of him in the hallway or in a classroom.  For someone who was six feet tall with long silver hair, he was apparently extremely good at hiding.  In her last period, Bankotsu and Kikyo tried to get her attention, but she completely ignored them. Yesterday’s for good still echoing in her mind. After the bell rang, she ran to the library and tore through the stacks looking for him.

And there he was.  His head buried in a text book, his ears flopping forward in a way that made her want to cry.

“Inuyasha…” she whispered and his head snapped up, his ears suddenly pinning back.

“What do you want Kagome?”

“I… I’m sorry.” Her voice was soft, but he was able to hear the words clearly.

“Don’t worry about it.”  He turned back to his book, trying to block her out.

“I… I got in.”

The whispered words made him tense. 

“Congrats,” he sighed as he grabbed his book and rose from the table.  “Now, If you’ll excuse me...” He started to move past her, only to find Kagome blocking his way.  He raised an eyebrow at her and turned to step around her, only to find her blocking his way again.

“Did you get in too?” Her voice was hesitant.

“Does it matter?”

“It does to me.”  Kagome reached out to touch his arm, and felt him tense under her fingers.  “It matters a lot to me.”

“Why?  Why would you care, since it would only be because I’m hanyō, right?”

“No, oh no, Inuyasha.” Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at the proud, beautiful man before her.  “You know how I know? Because you helped me study and apply, and I squeaked in too, because of you... and because we could go together.  So please, did you get in?”

Inuyasha slowly nodded as Kagome smiled and stepped closer.

“What the hell is this?”  Bankotsu’s voice echoed through the library, and was met with a chorus of SHHHHHHHH as he and Kikyo stormed up to the pair.  “The hell are you doing with the mutt Kagome?”

“I am talking to my best friend.” Kagome kept her eyes on Inuyasha’s, mesmerized by the swirling emotions in his amber gaze. “Telling him I got into my dream school, and hoping he is going with me.”

“Why would you want to go there, and with him of all people? You know why they let a freak like him—

At that Kagome spun, her eyes spitting.

“If anyone is the freak, it’s you, Bankotsu.  You judge him for no other reason than because he’s different. You don’t know him; you never bothered to even learn his name.  Inuyasha is a hell of a lot better man than you are, than you will ever be, and he is my friend, and has been my friend for most of my life.”

“I will not have my girlfriend talking to a mutt like him.”

“Then I feel sorry for your girlfriend, because as far as I know you don’t have one.” Kagome shot back and Inuyasha’s eyes went wide.  “I told you yesterday, I’m done with you.”

“You… you don’t get to break up with me, you worthless frigid bitch!” Bankotsu roared, taking a step towards Kagome. 

Inuyasha suddenly stood between them, his growl low and dangerous.   Kagome placed her hand on his back. She smiled at him, thanking him, trying to project through her eyes that Inuyasha meant everything to her. And that Bankotsu meant nothing, that calling her a bitch just confirmed that he was the trash she was so happy she threw out the day before.

“Whatever.  It’s not like you were the only girl I was dating anyway,”  Bankotsu sneered, waiting for a reaction from Kagome.

Kagome’s response, “You think I didn’t know that?” was not what he was expecting.  

“You think I didn’t know you were seeing Kikyo?  The broken dates on the nights she just happens to be unavailable for practice?”  Kagome continued.  “Kikyo? He’s all yours.”  

“You are through at this school,” Kikyo hissed, her eyes narrowing at Kagome, and Inuyasha’s growl grew louder.


“You will regret this, Kagome.” Bankotsu’s voice was hard with anger as he glared at Inuyasha.

“No, no I don’t think I will.”

Inuyasha jumped when Kagome laced her hand through his and turned him to face her.

“Thank you,” she whispered, squeezing his hand.  “For… for never giving up on me.”

She rose onto her toes to gently kiss his cheek. As she pulled away, their eyes met and they both went still.  

“Inuyasha…” she whispered.

“Ka… Kagome…”

Maybe it was the longing that Inuyasha could no longer hide, or how he didn’t seem to be able to look away from her lips. But, Kagome couldn’t hold it back anymore. So she lifted herself up again, closing the distance slowly, waiting to see if he would pull away, if it wasn’t what he wanted. Did he want to be with her as desperately as she wanted to be with him?

Then Inuyasha answered the unasked question. He closed the distance between them to claim her lips with his.

It was glorious.  Everything a kiss should be.  Her backpack fell to the floor, forgotten, as she wrapped her arms around his neck to hold him close.  His arm banded around her waist to lift her against him as he sighed and her tongue found entrance to trace his fangs. 

“Kagome,” Inuyasha purred against her as he shifted her in his hold.

“You cannot be serious…” Kikyo cried out, turning to Bankotsu with a look of disgust.

“If you cannot be quiet, you will need to leave.” Kaede, head librarian for the school, had finally had enough, stepping in front of Kikyo and Bankotsu and pointing towards the door, glaring at them until they turned and left. She shook her head as she turned to the oblivious couple.  “As for you two…” She waited for them to acknowledge her before chuckling and tapping Inuyasha’s shoulder.  “As much as I appreciate young love, please take this outside; this is a library, after all.”

“Sorry, Ms. Kaede.” Inuyasha’s cheeks were as pink as Kagome’s as he scooped up her backpack and threw it over his shoulder.  Kagome laced her hand through his again with a shy smile as she followed him out of the library and into the hall.  He leaned against the wall and dropped the backpacks to the floor, drawing Kagome close to him again and buried his face in her hair.

“So…” she whispered.

“So…” he responded with a chuckle.  “Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to do that?”

“Hopefully as long as I’ve wanted you to,” she confessed, her face hidden against his arm.

“Where do we go from here?” 

“Dinner might be nice?”  she whispered.

“Dinner sounds great.” He placed a kiss on the top of her head as he straightened and grabbed the bags off the floor before offering her his hand.

The next day the rumor mill was in full swing; everyone had heard about Kagome Higurashi breaking up with Bankotsu to go out with a hanyō of all people, but for once the whispers and comments didn’t bother Inuyasha.  

He was at Kagome’s side, her hand gently cradled in his.   

“You don’t mind the whispers?” he asked her as some of her former friends turned their backs as they walked down the hall.

“Nope, let them talk; in a month they won’t matter, anyway.”

“When did you get so wise?” he teased, nudging her with his elbow.

“When I realized that every moment I kept my mouth shut, you were listening. Every mean and nasty comment, you heard. How much my silence must have hurt you. And then finally, finally, that moment you shut your curtain…” Her voice dropped as she pulled him to a stop. “I finally realized where I’d gone so wrong, and how close I came to losing the only thing that was really important.”

“Which was?”

You, Inuyasha. I thought I had lost you.”

“Kagome?” His voice grew deeper as he held her against her, his head dipping down towards her.

“I should have told you so long ago, Inuyasha, the first time I knew,” she whispered.

“What is that, Kagome?” But Inuyasha’s eyes were bright, almost as if he knew what she was about to say.

“That I belong with you,” Kagome smiled, just moments before he’d leaned in to recapture her lips, “and that you belong with me.”