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             It’s late afternoon when Kagome Higurashi sees Inuyasha Taisho for the first time. He and his single mother just moved to the street next to hers and there is already gossip upon gossip about them – everyone is completely shocked a woman who dirtied herself with a demon dared to move into their respectable, upright community.

 

 It’s enough to make Kagome sick.

 

 She’s in the car with her mother when the striking mane of silver hair catches her attention. Her breath gets stuck in her throat – Kagome can only see his profile, but it’s evident he has very sharp, refined features. Besides, she thinks the furry, triangular ears resting atop his head are absolutely endearing.

 

 Her reverie lasts only until he turns to her, as if drawn by the power of her stare. His eyes are golden like the midday sun, so piercing it gives her the chills, but they are hard and guarded. His scowl gives nothing but disdain away. The light turns green and the car starts moving again, her mother is still talking about maybe baking a pie when they get home, but for the rest of the trip she can’t help but think that the aggressiveness in his glare look so much like sadness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            The school is hectic with his arrival, a scarce few days later. There are whispers all around and Kagome can’t help but roll her eyes as they get more and more ridiculous each time they are repeated. I heard they had to move because he bit someone. Can you imagine, with those fangs? Someone said over their shoulder earlier. Well, I heard he can shoot laser with his eyes!

 

 C’mon, girls, this is absurd. He’s just a boy.

 

 She sees him in the corridor and, for one brief moment, he looks at her again. She’s not as far as she was the first time she saw him, but she’s by no means close to him.

 

 His eyes burn her all the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            “What d’ya want?” Inuyasha has his back turned to her.

 

 Kagome froze in her tracks, one hand fisting the soft material of her skirt forcefully.

 Ok, so maybe some of the rumors were true.

 

 “Nothing, it’s just –” Her own voice sounds estranged to her ears, raspy and shy. She comes a bit closer, but is still a bit hesitant to join him on the empty table. Kagome clears her throat discretely and tries again. “I noticed you eat alone.”

 

“Yeah, got a problem with that?”

 

 Heat rose to her cheeks.

 

“I thought maybe you could use some company.”

 

“Fuck no.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“I said fuck. No.”

 

“Well, it’s good you’re not the boss of me, then.” Kagome says a lot firmer and puts her tray down in front of him. Inuyasha finally deigned himself to look at her – only to face the most stubborn look of resolution.

 

“Do what you please, wench, but don’t expect me to talk to you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           “How are your classes going?” She asks.

 

“They’re good.”

 

 They’re sitting by the shadow of a huge tree behind their school grounds – rumored to be there for over five hundred years.

 

“Your subjects sound so much more entertaining than mine. I’m not sure how fit I am for domestic care, I’m mediocre at best in all my classes.”

 

“Don’t be stupid, Kagome.”

 

“I’m serious! I wish we could have the same classes, but I’m stuck because no one cares about a woman’s education, all they want is for us to be perfect, obedient wives.”

 

 Inuyasha snorted.

 

“I can see why you’d be mediocre, then. No one who spent ten seconds with you could assume you obedient.”

 

“Precisely.” She agrees with a smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           They’re lying in a sunlit patch of grass. The lazy, warm feeling of the sun on her skin got Kagome feeling light and easy, like she wasn’t doing something wrong by lying next to a boy – almost a man, really, Inuyasha was nearing seventeen -, and a half-demon at that.

 

 She pretended she didn’t notice the judgmental glances being thrown at her whenever they happened to talk in public. She pretended she was deaf when some colleague came to tell her how that bestiality had punched some perfectly nice young man or another in the nose for no apparent reason besides him being a savage. She pretended, most of all, she didn’t feel her heart beating faster whenever golden eyes found her.

 

 But pretending was exhausting, and she couldn’t quite force herself to at that precise moment.

 

“Flying?”

 

 He shot her a withering look.

 

“C’mon, you know better than that.”

 

“Pity. I was really excited about that one.”

 

“It would be nice, but no, I can’t fly.”

 

“Figured you should have wings. Like some bird demon, maybe.”

 

“Probably.” He shrugged and fixed his arm in a better position behind his head.

 

“What about your dog-fang sword?”

 

 Inuyasha cracked a smile at that.

 

“Actually true.”

 

“You’re kidding me.” She rose to a half-sitting position, eyes wide, pink lips slightly parted. “You do not own a dog demon fang sword.”

 

“I do.”

 

 Kagome burst out laughing and collapsed back in the grass.

 

 For a moment, self-awareness hit her square in the chest. Her skirt was rumpled and bunched probably a bit too high on her thighs and her laughter was too loud, too inappropriate.

 

 But then she looked at him and Inuyasha seemed, for once, peaceful.

 

 His eyes were like molten amber in the evening light and one pointy fang was peeking out of his bottom lip as he smirked.

 

 He was beautiful.

 

 And she told him just that.

 

“What?” His eyes snapped back at her face immediately.

 

“Nothing. Forget it.” Her blush was deep and his was deeper.

 

 He lingered a bit longer in her face before turning away.

 

“What else are they saying about me?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           He was down before she made it to his gardens.

 

“You always ruin my fantasy of throwing pebbles at your window.” Kagome said with a cheerful smile. Inuyasha merely quirked one eyebrow.

 

 This became the riskier part of their routine of somewhat secret encounters – after her family had gone to their chambers for the night, she’d sneak out to his house, careful not to be seen, and meet him behind the modest construction he shared with his mother. It also happened to be her favorite.

 

“You’re such a weird girl.” Inuyasha teased, fondly.

 

 This openness, this closeness, was something she didn’t see in him anywhere else. When it was dark and the whole world supposed them to be on their own beds, they could ignore how unideal everything was and Inuyasha could finally allow himself to be him.

 

“The pot is calling the kettle black.”

 

“Of course I am weird. Don’t you have eyes?”

 

 She looked past his playful tone and stared at him, all humor draining from her eyes.

 

“I do.” His face grows somber too. “They tell me you’re beautiful. I told you that once, remember?”

 

“Kagome –” His words are cut short by the feathery brush of her lips against his. Shy and uncertain until his hand seeped into her hair and brought her closer. Inuyasha slanted his mouth over hers slow and soft and, when she emitted a small whine, tentatively searched her tongue with his.

 

 Kagome felt like sunlit patches of grass, bright golden eyes and secret meetings under the moon all merged and exploded inside her chest.

 

“I’m sorry.” He muttered, as soon as his lips left hers. Kagome was still too dazed to understand the shift in his mood when he untangled his fingers from her tresses and took a step back. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

 

“Inuyasha –”

 

“I can’t do this.” He pressed his eyes shut and growled. “I can’t – I’m leaving.”

 

“What? But I just got here.”

 

“No, I’m leaving. The town.”

 

 Kagome just stared at him, dread sipping into her every nerve and she was never more terrified of anything than she suddenly was of losing him.

 

“Why?”

 

“My mother can’t find a place to work here. Everyone hates her – because of me. We can’t stay and… I just can’t stay. Even if we were not leaving, I wouldn’t do this to you.”

 

“This is not your choice to make.”

 

“A union between demons and humans is illegal.”

 

“You’re not even a full demon, Inuyasha. We can make this work.” She wet her lips, desperately trying to come up with something better than the “Please.” That left her lips afterwards.

 

“I just…” He cut himself short, but closed the space between them again and trapped her in a full-body hug. Kagome tried to swallow past the lump that settled in her throat and keep the stinging in her eyes from becoming tears. He let her go just as abruptly. “I want to go. There’s nothing here for me. I hate this town and everyone who’s here, so fuck this. You’re not enough for me to stay. This was never leading anywhere, we both know in a few years you’ll be a perfect, obedient wife to some guy society approves and I’ll be that one adventure you had once because your life was so fucking boring. I’m sorry you think there’s more to it than it is, but you’ll move on soon enough. Now stay the hell away from me.”

 

 He stopped talking and left her completely alone in the dark. While everyone was safely tucked inside, the only thundering sound reaching her was that of her heart shattering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Not two weeks later, the house down the next road was again open for rent.

 

 Kagome went through all the right motions; she went to school, she talked to her family pleasantly over dinner, she walked two blocks more so she could avoid the empty house and she pretended that she wasn’t crushed, that she wasn’t completely devastated.

 

 She tried her best to ignore that the memory of piercing golden eyes followed her everywhere she went and she convinced herself that, if she lied to the mirror long enough, eventually she would believe it.

 

 Once, Kagome was asked out by a very nice, handsome young man who society approved and she said yes. Her skirt was never too high on her legs and she was never lying on the grass and she was never laughing so hard it hurt.

 

 When he dropped her at her front porch – sunlight still in the sky and in front of all her neighbors – she allowed him to chastely peck her cheek and she repeated to herself that electric lips and deep, curious tongues were made of adventures that didn’t fit in her normal, normal life.