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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.

 

 

Chapter Text

             It took her seven years to see him again.

 

 Her mouth went dry and she couldn’t look away for the life in her.

 

 Of course Inuyasha noticed her – despite the quite crowded bar, his nose wouldn’t lie. Her neck flushed and she tried to keep the bright pink on her cheeks under control, but it was of no use.

 

 Kagome’s friends from the Hospital, Ayumi and Yuka, were still chatting enthusiastically, never noticing her disturbance, but, for once, she was grateful her friends were so inattentive.

 

 All she could see was golden eyes, bright as ever, burning her skin like the seven years between them didn’t exist.

 

  Of course, curiosity was stronger than her will to keep away.

 

 She came back to the same club a week later. This time, her only company was Sango and azure eyes searched through the people dancing the whole night, but Inuyasha never showed.

 

 Sango put a comforting hand on her shoulder when they were leaving, but Kagome just smiled.

 

“That’s just one night Sango.” She nodded once. “I’m not giving up.”

 

 

 

 

             Not even a month later, Inuyasha was there again.

 

  He was standing, grouch as ever, while his friend – a handsome man with a very charming smile – entertained the circle around them.

 

“I thought you were avoiding me.” She approached him from behind.


“Didn’t believe you’d like to see me.” Their gazes finally crashed close enough that Kagome could feel the air between them shift.

 

“Well, can’t say I thought I did.” Kagome smiled a little bit. “For some time, in fact, I thought I never wanted to see you again.”

 

“What changed?” Inuyash lifted one eyebrow.

 

“I actually saw you.”

 

 He ducked his head to hide a grin. It was gone just as quickly as it appeared, but Kagome saw it and smiled, satisfied with herself.

 

 Her stomach clenched pleasantly in a way it hadn’t done for a long time.

 

“How are you?” Inuyasha sipped on his whiskey, schooling his features to a completely blank mask. “Married yet?”

 

“Not quite.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“I never knew you to make so many questions.” Her eyes twinkled as Inuyasha scoffed at her, but his frown had no real anger behind it. “I don’t know why.”

 

 He assented slowly, mulling it over. She tucked a lose strand of hair behind her ear and said tentatively after a beat:

 

“I guess I’m easily bored.”

 

 

 

 

           Kagome should be worried how easily Inuyasha slipped back into her life.

 

 Not that he seemed happy about it – in actuality, he seemed bothered that he’d come to meet her every single time, but he still came nonetheless. At first, they would just walk together, sometimes go to movies.

 

 But then it became obvious his friend, Miroku, took an instant shine to Sango, so nights out became frequent.

 

“You should warn her he’s a rake.” He said, gruffly.

 

“Don’t worry about Sango.” Kagome chirped, watching as the couple in front of her interacted. “She can take care of herself.”

 

 Before Inuyasha could say anything further, Sango graced Miroku’s face with a loud slap.

 

“Yeah.” He chuckled. “I can see that.”

 

 He turned to her, golden eyes piercing through hers.

 

“What about you?”

 

“What? Are you trying to warn me about Miroku as well?”

 

 Inuyasha just scowled at her.

 

“You shouldn’t worry,” she kept going, a teasing smirk curving up her lips. “he’s handsome, but seems to be very enraptured by my friend.”

 

“Don’t be stupid.” Inuyasha said with a withering look. “You know what I mean.”

 

 Kagome raised her chin, almost defying him to say anything else. Inuyasha merely glared.

 

“Yes. You mean you’re scared.”

 

“I’m not scared of anything, wench.”

 

 Kagome smiled lightly.

 

“Prove it, then.”

 

 

 

 

           People still stared and commented when they saw them walking down the street side by side, but a big city like Chicago was much different from the little town where they first met. There people were less conservative. In fact, there were even social movements fighting for equality of treatment to humans and demons alike.

 

 Kagome’s favorite thing about the city, though, was that every once in a while, she would see a pair like Inuyasha and her, walking together, hand in hand, like any other couple out there.

 

 It wasn’t common, but they existed.

 

 One of those days happened when the two of them were having a picnic in Chicago’s Park District -- it was her day off and Kagome didn’t get many of those.

 

 The sun was glinting in his bronze skin just the way it did when they were just teens lying side by side on the grass and it brought a contented smile to her face.

 

 Three towels away from them, she spotted an obviously unhuman looking girl eating with her human boyfriend peacefully. Kagome quietly pointed out no one was throwing stones at them.

 

 Inuyasha refused to answer her, so she just leaned her head on his shoulder.

 

 When he didn’t retreat, it felt like winning.

 

 

 

 

 She was lost in thought, looking out of the window, when Eri’s voice – the receptionist – broke through her daze.

 

“I can’t believe they actually did it.” The girl was clearly disgusted. It made Kagome curious.

 

“What?”

 

“That sordid law project was approved yesterday.” She turned her head from the radio to look at Kagome. “The one about making interspecies marriage legal. As if any respectable woman would want such thing!”

 

 Kagome stared at Eri, speechless. The girl kept talking, but it was like Kagome was suddenly deaf to everything around her. All she could hear, echoing endlessly in her mind, was Eri’s voice wrapping every syllable of interspecies marriage.

 

 Legal.

 

 It was legal now.

 

“Awful, don’t you think?” Eri pressed on, unaware of her train of thought.

 

“Oh, yes, definitely.” She finally recovered her composure enough to plaster a smile on her face. Kagome picked the stack of paper from the counter in front of her. “I need to take these to Kaede. See you later!”

 

 

 

 

             “What the hell are you doing here, wench?”

 

“Have you heard the news?” She was soaked to the bones and shaking, but Kagome couldn’t care less.

 

“I will get you a towel before you freeze over, c’mon.” He stared both ways, making sure no one was peeking out of their windows, before pulling her in. “What were you thinking? Coming to my house, alone, in a storm like this?”

 

 Kagome just rolled her eyes.

 

“Inuyasha, answer me.”

 

 He finally stopped complaining about how damn irresponsible she was and held her gaze. The goosebumps travelling through her arms had nothing to do with the chill of the night or her drenched clothes.

 

“What?”

 

“Have you heard the news today?”

 

 It took him too long to answer.

 

“Yes.” The muscle in his jaw twitched, but he didn’t look away.

 

“Say it.”

 

“I did, Kagome, I know what you’re talking about, can you stop the show –”

 

Say it!

 

 He growled at her, a low sound coming from the back of his throat and narrowed his eyes to slits.

 

“Interspecies marriages are legal.”

 

“Yes, they are.”

 

“Doesn’t mean they are approved.”

 

“Like any of us give a damn what’s approved or not!” She snapped. Both her hands went up to his neck, bringing his lips down on hers. The thunder rumbling outside kept the tempo with the beating of her heart and, through all those years, Kagome thought the feeling of kissing him was imprinted in her memories for eternity, but actually reliving it rendered her recollections to shame.

 

 Suddenly she was fifteen again and his lips tasted like sunny afternoons and an easy love for a difficult person.

 

 Much like the last time they did it, he backed away as soon as their lips parted.

 

“I won’t do this to you.”

 

“Won’t do what to me, Inuyasha? Love me?” Her cheeks burned, but she didn’t stop. “Let me make my own damn choices?”

 

“I won’t make you go through what my mother did.”

 

 Silence hung heavy over them, broken only by the too loud sound of her sharp breaths.

 

“And I won’t.” Kagome said, a lot softer. She took a step closer. “I won’t, because you’re alive, Inuyasha. You’re not your father.  And I’m free to choose what I want for me.”

 

“Shut up and let me protect you.”

 

 Kagome wet her lips, hand reaching to entwine their fingers.

 

“This is not something I need protection from.”

 

“You have no idea what you’re doing.”

 

“Yes, I have. Times are changing.” She squeezed his hand and Inuyasha squeezed back, shutting his eyes tightly. “I know what I want. I want someone who accepts me even though I’m not perfect, even though I’m stubborn and inappropriate. I want someone who can respect my opinions. I don’t want to be someone’s boring, perfect wife.”

 

 Kagome was so close their noses were brushing.

 

“I want someone I love. Someone I chose.”

 

 

 

 

          “Did you miss me?”

 

“You know I did.”

 

“I spent the better part of these last years wishing I could go back in time. Make it different somehow.”

 

“It’s ok. We're good right now.”

 

“Yeah, sure.” He chuckled and she snuggled further into his arms.

 

 Kagome was almost asleep when she heard his murmur.

 

“I should have known you’re too stubborn to do what’s good for you.”

 

“No.” She raised her head to press a soft, sleepy kiss to his lips. “I just always knew you’re what’s best for me.”