Chapter 7: When Nightmares Come Alive

A gentle breeze carries the smell of nicotine into the air. Kaede exhales and lets a puff of smoke escape her lips. She takes another drag before flicking the ashes away and running cold fingers through her hair.

The bright LED screen of her phone lets her know it's almost three am. She wanted to at least get a few hours of sleep before her alarm when off for school, but the thought of sleeping, of closing her eyes and feeling like the devil was watching her, kept her awake. It was those eyes, cold and red as blood, that had her sitting on her fire escape in the early morning hours, chain smoking her pack of marlboros like they were going out of style.

"Late night?" A deep voice calls from below. Shifting her weight to lean over the metal railing, Kaede was met with light brown eyes and a freckled face.

"Something like that, you coming up?"

"Only if you got another cig to share." She tosses her half empty pack to her companion and sits patiently as he makes his way up the metal staircase. He takes a seat next to her, reaching across her lap to make a grab for her lighter.

The two sit in a comfortable silence for awhile. Only the sounds of their breathing and the crickets filling the air. The sudden feel of a hand on her forehead takes Kaede's attention away from the stars, and shifts her gaze to the boy beside her.

She gives him a strange look before slapping his away and snapping, "what?"

"You're not talking. I know what that means." Rolling her eyes, Kaede flicked the butt of her cigarette away and turned her body so she was facing her friend.

"Give me something better to smoke than tobacco and I might be inclined to tell you." She raised her eyebrow, waiting for the goods she knew he had. Soon a nicely rolled joint was lit between the two.

"Hey spill the dirt, I kept up my end of the deal." The dark haired girl giggled as she exhaled and handed the paper back to her friend.

"How many times do I have to tell you to mind your business Koko? For your information, nothing happened tonight. I never went to sleep." Silence stretched between them and Kaede rolled her eyes once more at the pitiful look he was sending her way.

"Stop looking at me like I just told you some soul shattering secret. I'm not tired, I couldn't sleep, it's not a big deal."

"Firstly, how many times do I have to tell you to stop with the stupid nickname? My name is Kohaku, say it with me slowly Ko-ha-ku. On a serious note maybe you should consider seeing someone, get some meds or something to help you sleep. It's been almost thirty hours since you had decent rest, and yes I'm keeping track."

"You're one to talk mr. daddy issues. I'll go get some help the moment you do."

"Shake on it." Looking down in surprise at Kohaku's outstretched hand, Kaede laughed at the serious expression etched on his face.

"Fuck off Koko." She says gently, playfully slapping his hand away.

"I'm serious. I promise if you go see someone, and take it seriously, then I'll go too. Work out my daddy issues as you like to call it."

After an extended pause the sleep deprived arched her delicate brow, "I've got one more condition, stopping running with Hakudoshi and his uncle. You're a good person Koko, and they're...well they're as bad as bad can get."

"Kaede I can't...I need the-"

"Please Koko? You say you do it for the money, but you've got your big sis looking out for you. You don't need to be in with them to get by."

"She's trying to get married, start a family, start a life. I still need to finish high school and then go to college. I can't keep holding her back."

"Fine, then the deal's off." Brushing off her shorts the petite girl stood with the intention of climbing back into her bedroom, only stopping when Kohaku opened his mouth in a flurry of anger.

"Hakudoshi's your damn boyfriend! If he's such a bad guy why do you keep fucking around with him?"

"Because unlike me you deserve better." Climbing into her room and locking the window behind her, Kaede left Kohaku to stew by himself. Her alarm would be going off soon. Rather than trying to sleep and missing her alarm, Kaede headed for the bathroom.

She let the warm water flow over her scalp and skin, taking the time to relax and let the steam soothe her. She leaned her head on the cold tile, willing herself to stay awake, before she turned the nozzle and let a blast of cold water jolt the fatigue from her bones.

It was going to be a long day.

The sound of grunting and shaking chains guided Kagome silently down the stairs leading into the basement. It'd been days since she'd broken down in Inuyasha's arms and begged him to stay, and sadly the tense air surrounding them hadn't lifted in the slightest. True to his word Inuyasha unpacked his bag stayed that night and the night after that, but when Kagome invited him to watch a movie with her he turned her down. The next morning when Kagome had informed him she'd made breakfast for the two of them, he threw her an excuse and let his plate go cold.

Kagome watched the sweat fly off his back as Inuyasha threw punch after punch. His tightly wrapped hands sending the heavy bag swinging. He grabbed the bag to halt its motion and suddenly their eyes met as he turned around to face her. She tossed him a small smile and he returned it with a barely noticeable upturn in the corner of his mouth.

"Thirsty?" Kagome said to break the everlasting silence. Nodding in affirmation she tossed a bottle of water at him and Inuyasha caught with ease, fluidly twisting off the cap and taking a few gulps.

"What's with the scrubs?" He said still panting as he toweled the sweat off his face.

"I'm starting my job at the clinic today, I just came down to tell you I was heading out."

"I didn't know you were looking for a job." Walking towards her he sat down on the weight bench next to the stairs and slowly began to unwrap his hands.

"I wasn't, but I had to find something to occupy my time since a certain someone won't hang out with me." She added a smile to her statement to let him know she was only joking, but he couldn't look away fast enough before she caught the look of guilt that flashed across his face.


"I gotta go Inuyasha, I don't wanna be late. Maybe I'll see you when I get back."

Inuyasha sits in the basement for awhile longer, waiting until he hears the front door slam before he lets out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. When Kagome was around he couldn't relax. A huge weight settled on his chest whenever she walked into the room. He knew the crippling anxiety that he felt when Kagome came around was irrational, but the fear of losing control, of having her touch him and undoing the progress he had made was too much.

Knowing that he was pushing her away, and that it was hurting her, made his heart constrict. Kagome was his best friend. For as long as he could remember Kagome had always been his rock, his anchor, the weight that kept him from floating away and sinking into the darkness always threatening to consume him. Now she was someone else's rock, someone else's anchor.

He could feel himself sinking, drowning, and he didn't know how to save himself.

"Okay, now I know something's up." Sango looked at her best friend with worried eyes. Everything seemed like peaches and creme until Inuyasha had showed up on her doorstep and begging to sleep on her couch. He hadn't spilled the beans to her or Miroku, but the fact that he flinched at any mention of Kagome, for the three days he stayed with her was indication enough that something was going down with the two of them.

"I don't know what you mean." Kagome said, swirling her noodles without making a move to eat them.

"Udon is favorite and you've barely touched your bowl." Kagome flinched at being caught, and cursed her friend for being so damn perceptive. She knew she'd have to spill the beans eventually. She ran into Miroku the other day at the grocery store, while picking up ramen for Inuyasha, and he'd let it slip that Inuyasha had been staying at their house.

Kagome sighed and Sango took that as a win. "I'm assuming that sound means you're gonna stop holding out and tell me why Inuyasha almost became my roommate?"

"We...almost hooked up." The sound of a glass toppling and shattering on the floor quickly had Kagome looking up from her lukewarm meal.

"Shut the fuck up, no way."

"Way." Kagome said, after apologizing to their waitress for the mess.

"Did you break up with Hojo then? Are you an Inuyasha getting back together?" Kagome suddenly shared a resemblence to a kicked puppy, and Sango feared the answer to both of her previously asked questioned.

"No and No. Which is part of the reason Inuyasha was so pissed at me, still kind of is I think. He feels like I'm playing with his feelings and that's not my intention, but...god I'm such a bitch. What kind of person am I? I haven't even told Hojo, not really sure if I even should. I mean to be fair we stopped before anything serious happened, but...I told Inuyasha I loved him Sango, that I never stopped." Kagome rubs her face in frustration and Sango whistles at her friend's messy love triangle.

"Well do you? Love Inuyasha I mean? Are you willing to let Hojo go to have him? I love you Kags, but I love Inu too. I'd hate to see you string him along."

"Don't you think I know that already? I'd jump at the chance to be with Inuyasha again, but there's something in our way. I don't know how to tell him and part of me never wants to, yet I know can never be with him again if I don't. I'd rather have Inuyasha as a friend than not in my life at all." Kagome looks up when Sango's hand finds hers from across the table.

"You two have been through a lot Kagome, I'm not sure there's anything you could tell him that would make him leave your side." Kagome smiles ruefully because she knows that if Sango knew the skeleton sitting in her closet, she wouldn't be looking so confident right now. The pager on her hip rings noisily and Kagome lets go of Sango's hand to look at it.

"I gotta go, patient waiting for me at the clinic."

"Give Inuyasha a little more credit, huh Kags? It's hard to believe, but he's matured a lot since high school." The two girls pay for their meal and quickly make their way to the door, sharing a hug before going their separate ways.

Kagome sighs for the umpteenth time, as she sits at her desk filling out charts. She rests her head on her folded arms, taking a rest from looking at the LED screen in front of her. They haven't had a patient in hours and the most exciting thing she's treated all day was a diaper rash. A vibration on her butt jolts her from her light snooze and she quickly reaches for the phone in her back pocket. She lets her pulse race, hoping it's Inuyasha, even if he doesn't want anything important. Her mood sours a bit when she realizes that it's Kouga.

Hey, got a couple questions for ya. Meet me for drinks at Totosai's?

Kagome has half a mind to refuse. The last time she had drinks with Kouga he dropped a massive bomb on her, and the resulting bender she went on almost cost her her relationship with Inuyasha. Her phone buzzes again reminding her that it's been two minutes and she still hasn't responded to the notification on her screen. "Yes apple I realized I haven't replied to the text, give me some fucking time to think." Great now she's talking to herself.

Sure, get off work at 6. Does 8 work for you?

Perfect! See you then.

Kagome locks her screen and runs an exasperated hand through her hair. She can only pray that whatever Kouga has planned for their evening tonight, it's mild compared to the last time they spoke. There's only so many times her world can implode before she'll no longer have the energy to keep rebuilding it.

The night is cold and her breath is visible in front of her face. She's panting and the sound of her heart pumping is ringing loudly in her ears. She doesn't feel the twigs snapping against her bare feet, or the cuts forming on her bare legs as she continues to run through the trees.

She hears a chuckle and swears she felt cold fingers graze her neck, hoping to grab a hold of her collar and yank her back into the darkness. It's pitch black and she can barely see, but she doesn't have time to stop, or catch her breath, or pay attention to her surroundings. All she knows is that she needs to run, because death is nipping at her heels and she's not ready.

The ghostly chuckles escalate and soon they've turned into full on guffaws. "You can run but you can't hide. The big bad wolf is coming for you little red."

The laughter is down right maniacal and as the young girl comes bursting through the clearing, she suddenly skids to a stop. The path she was running on ends into a 250 ft drop to the city below. She sees lights, hears people laughing and screaming, and cars honking and braking. There's life sitting at her feet and she doesn't know how to attain it without killing herself for it.

"Caught ya." She doesn't have time scream before there's a shove to her back and she's falling head first into the lights. The last thing she sees are crimson eyes and the world goes black.

An ear piercing scream rings out in the small classroom and all the students are suddenly brought to attention. Kaede sits up in her seat, her chest is heaving. Her bangs are sticking to her forehead and she's acutely aware that there's forty pairs of eyes all staring at her. She dares to look around and some students are staring at her with fear, others are snickering and calling her names, and the minority of students are showing mild concern.

Before the teacher can even think to question her about the disruptive display she's out the door, books and other belongings long forgotten. The room is suffocating and she needs to get out. She needs air. The hallways feel a mile long, like they'll close in on her if she doesn't get out. Soon enough she's bursting through the double doors that lead to the track and the football field. She climbs into the stands and finally takes a moment to catch her breath. She runs a shaky hand through her matted hair and brings her knees to her chest. She laughs to herself about the fact that she'll be all anyone can talk for the rest of today, and probably tomorrow. She hates herself for falling asleep in class. Fuck ancient Japanese history for being a goddamn snooze fest. Kaede feels a burning in the back of throat and she curses herself for even thinking about crying.

An unknown amount of time passes before she hears the bell ring. She filters out the sound of students milling about before next period beings. Too far in her own head, she jumps when she hears someone's foot connect with the metal bleachers. Souta's standing a couple rows below her and she hastily wipes her face as he closes the distance between them.

"You forgot your backpack." It feels heavy like someone put all her books back in and she wants to vomit from how nice Souta is being to her. She wants to tell him thanks, but the words 'fuck off' are sitting on the tip of her tongue. Thankfully Souta takes a seat next to her before she has the chance to do either. Five minutes go by without a word from either of them. She turns to look at him and there he goes again, watching her with that goddamn look on his face and it infuriates her.

"Stop fucking looking at me like that!" She yells. The bell rings again, their next class just started.

"Like what?" Souta tilts his head in an adorable way, and it makes Kaede want to punch him.

"Like I'm some precious thing that needs to be saved! I already told you, I'm damaged goods Higurashi; a freak. You saw that for yourself." She says quietly, more to herself than to him, but because he's Souta he hears her anyway.

"You're not a freak Kaede. Damaged? Maybe, but who isn't? Sometimes it's okay to admit that you can't do everything on your own." He takes her hand in his and she has half a mind to snatch the appendage away, but the other half...the stronger half, is enjoying the comfort of having his thumb rub calming circles on her palm. "There's nothing wrong with being tired, or needing a friend."

"You don't want to be my friend."

"How 'bout you give me the courtesy of deciding that for myself?" He smiles at her and it's so gentle it makes her heart lurch. Her eyes mist and before the treacherous drops can fall she rests her head on his shoulder. After a few minutes he stretches his legs in front of him and positions her head on his lap. Kaede brings her legs onto the bleachers and she can't remember the last time she ever felt so comfortable.

Souta is looking at her as she beings to doze off, watches as she tries to fight the pull of sleep. He brings his hand to her scalp and beings to comb his fingers through her knotted hair. He's gentle whenever he hits a snarl and gives her scalp a massage before letting his fingers flow down the rest of her silky strands.

"I dream too much," she says suddenly. Souta makes a noise to let her know he's listening. He doesn't stop his soothing ministrations. "That's why I don't sleep. Those eyes...they haunt me every night. If I let my guard down, I know he'll be there."

"Who'll be there?" He says calmly.

"The devil." Kaede half expects him to push her away. She sounds crazy even to her own ears. She doesn't know why she opened up like that, doesn't understand how he made her feel like she could, but she doesn't regret it.

"Go to sleep Kaede, no one's going to get you while you're with me." There's a weight lifted off her shoulders. The knowledge of knowing there was someone looking out for her, finally making her feel safe, it puts her at ease. She closes her eyes and allows the feeling of Souta playing in her hair to lull her to sleep.

And for the first time in years, Kaede doesn't dream.

Inuyasha is lounging on the couch when Kagome walks into the house. He hears her before he sees her. He hears her sigh, hears her shuffle out of her shoes and stuff her jacket into the closet next to the front door. She walks past him with barely a glance, not even bothering to poke her head in and say anything to him.

He's half peeved, because it's nearly midnight and he knows she was out with Kouga. He saw her curling her hair and doing her makeup earlier. He hadn't had the balls to ask her where she thought she was going. What right did he have to question her when he'd been dutifully ignoring her for the last week and a half? When she caught him eyeing her, she'd clued him in on her plans. He played his usual role, giving her a slight shrug of his shoulders and a non committal grunt because he wasn't supposed care about what she was doing or who she was doing it with.

He shakes his head to clear his thoughts of Kagome. He flips through the channels and nothing peaks his interest. Three hundred plus channels and not one thing worth watching is on. He pauses in his channel surfing when he hears motion on the stairs. Kagome comes down to the living room, wrapped in a fluffy blanket. She's changed out of her constricting clothes and is wearing one of his hoodies and a pair of pink pajama bottoms that Inuyasha remembers her wearing all the time in high school. He expects her to go for the recliner in the corner, but instead she pops a squat next to him on the couch. He doesn't have time to wonder if she'll keep her distance before she curls up next to him, nudging him arm so that he'll wrap it around her shoulders and allow her to bury herself into his side.

Kagome feels him tense, but she doesn't care. She's had a long draining day, especially after going out with Kouga and she needs this. She needs Inuyasha and the comfort of just having him next to her. She thinks Inuyasha can sense this because he relaxes after a few minutes and begins to absentmindedly rub his hand up and down the side of her arm.

"Can we watch the bachelor? I have it saved on the DVR." She says quietly. He smacks his teeth and complains about her forcing him to watch her girlie bullshit, but he does it anyway. He grumbles the whole episode about how unrealistic it is to weed through thirty women and expect one of them to be the love of your life. By the end of the episode the two are debating about which girls they think are right for the bachelor and which ones they think he'll surely send home. They get through three episodes before Kagome starts to nod off and Inuyasha thinks it's time to call it a night. They both head upstairs with Kagome at the lead and Inuyasha trailing close behind. They part at the top of the stairs, each of them exchanging goodnights and heading into their separate bedrooms.

Inuyasha crawls into bed, feeling lighter than he has in awhile. There's a nagging feeling in the back of his mind to ask her about Kouga and how their drinks went, but even he recognizes that tonight was a step forward for them. So he squashes the green eyed monster trying to rear its ugly head and accepts tonight for what it is.

Kagome is feeling the same way. It's the simplicity Inuyasha brings to her life that she's missed in the last week. Tonight was the foothold they needed to start getting back to the place where they used to be. The place they were in before the drama, before the miscarriage and before Inuyasha dropped out of school and out of her life. Because before the mess, before the heartache, before Kikyou and Hojo, it was always just them. She leaves the warmth of her bed and makes her way silently down the hall to Inuyasha's room. When she opens the door he's on side facing away from her and he doesn't roll over until the door is closed and Kagome is comfortably in the bed. Neither of them say anything at first. They're both just content to lie there are stare at each other's silhouettes in the dark.

"You okay?" Kagome's a bit startled when she hears his voice. She'd thought he'd fallen back to sleep.

"For now." She's got Kouga in the back of her mind and the decision she'd made on her friends' behalf weighing heavily on her heart.

"Looking beautiful as always Kagome." Kouga flashes that smile that her made her melt when they were teenagers, and even years later Kagome feels her face heat from the compliment. She's not as dressed up as she was the first time they met. Just a black t-shirt and jeans adorning her figure.

"Always the charmer aren't you?" She sits down and orders a vodka cranberry. Her nerves are a bit frazzled and Kouga can tell when she downs her drink and then orders another.

"Relax Kags, it's just me." He says calmly.

She smiles and moves a lock of hair out of her face and behind her ear, "it's not you that makes me nervous, just whatever it is that you need to ask me. The last time we met up like this you dropped an atomic bomb on me."

"Fair enough, but in honor of full disclosure this does involve Kikyou and her investigation. I can't get into specifics with you, but the person who made the anonymous call about Kikyou's murder came forward. From what they told me Kikyou was working for Naraku, dealing and trafficking drugs for him."

Not even five minutes into the conversation and already Kagome's head was spinning. She was gonna need something stronger than vodka cranberries to get through this.

"Naraku? The creepy old dude who had no qualms about selling drugs to us in high school?"

"The one and only. Do you know anything about their relationship? Did you notice anything strange in the days leading up to Kikyou's death? Did he ever come around?"

"No not at all. I didn't even know Kikyou was dealing drugs, I don't think any of us did."

"Not even Inuyasha? Do you think he knows anything about Naraku or what Kikyou was doing for him?"

"Of course not! He would have said something! He would have helped her. No way Inuyasha would let Kikyou work for a sleaze like him!"

"I wasn't trying to imply anything Kags. I'm just asking questions, trying to get to the bottom of this. Naraku is our primary suspect right now, but I have nothing to go on. I can't arrest him because someone called me and told me to. I need motive, I need probable cause. The anonymous caller isn't willing to testify against Naraku, they're too afraid of retaliation. I need somewhere to start."

Kagome sighs and runs an anxious hand through her hair. This is all too much. When did her life become a fucking episode of law and order?

"I didn't mean to snap at you, it's all just a lot to digest you know? Not only was one of my closest friends murdered, but apparently she was working with one of the biggest drug lords in our state. It's like every time we talk Kikyou gets farther and farther from the person I thought I knew."

Kagome feels Kouga's hand come to rest on her shoulder, and the simple gesture was all it took to break her thinly veiled sense of bravery. She probably looks like an idiot crying in the middle of a busy bar, but she can't help herself. How was she supposed to tell her friends all this? How was she supposed to tell Inuyasha? She didn't want him to lash out, she didn't want him to push her away. More than anything she didn't want him to feel guilty, because she knew exactly where his train of thought would take him the moment she broke the news. He'd blame himself for not taking care of Kikyou, for somehow not saving her from the burden of working under Naraku.

"I'm sorry for placing this burden on you Kagome. I can talk to someone else, maybe go to Inuyasha or Miroku for information?"

"No!" she said suddenly, her head snapping up at his words. "You can't tell anyone yet, especially not Inuyasha. None of them know."

"Kagome..." Kouga's tone said it all and she already knew she was a shit person for keeping this Kikyou business to herself. For now it was the right thing to do, nothing was set in stone, Kouga even said himself there was nothing for him to go on. Why burden her friends and cause them pain for no reason? This case could drag on forever, there were no statue of limitations for murder. In reality she was protecting them.

"You don't have to give me that look Kouga. I should've told them a long time ago about this, but what good would come of that right now? We don't know anything and we could never know anything. Ignorance is bliss isn't it?"

"Sometimes. And sometimes it lets murders walk free. Your friends could know something Kagome, I need to talk to them."

"Fine, but I need some time. This isn't something you just drop in people's laps." They both knew it was a bit of a low blow, but it was the truth. Kouga would have to respect that. "I'll help you in anyway that I can, alright?"

"Yeah, alright."

Kagome is still facing Inuyasha and while she was caught up in her thoughts he'd gotten closer to her. He reaches out and takes her hand, the gesture is simple and comforting. She doesn't want to cry, but she feels the tears soak her pillow before she can think to stop them.

"You wanna talk about it?" Inuyasha isn't good with emotional shit, but he'd try for Kagome if that's what she needed from him. She squeezes his hand and closes the distance between them. Burying her face in his chest and bringing her arms around his middle.

"Not tonight. I just need this, you and me, nothing else." Inuyasha doesn't completely understand, but he doesn't need to. If his presence is enough to soothe her then that's what he'd give. They stayed wrapped around each other, finding peace in the fact that they were together and each taking something they hadn't realized they needed.

There's a slight snore from Kagome and Inuyasha realizes she's fallen asleep. "Goodnight Kagome."

A knock at her window sends Kaede shooting up in bed. Ripping out her headphones she finds Hakudoshi waving impatiently at her. She goes to the window and he climbs inside, rubbing his hands together for warmth once his feet are safely planted on the ground.

"Jesus, any longer out there and I was gonna have to roast my nuts for warmth." Kaede smiles at him and gives him a weak punch in the arm.

"What are you doing here? It's past midnight." She's sitting on her bed with Hakudoshi towering over her and he looks every bit the bad boy every parent warns their daughter to stay away from. His hair is long, down to his shoulders, and dyed silver with lilac undertones. The color makes his pale skin all the more so, and she can't see anyone else rocking the color the way he does. He's dressed in black from head to toe and Kaede can't help but compare him to Souta.

The two boys are on the opposite ends of the moral spectrum. She knows Higurashi is the kind of boy you bring home to your mom, the kind of boy every girl dreams of but never goes for. Because boys like Hakudoshi are wild and dangerous and fun. Hakudoshi is fire, ripping through you with little regard for what he leaves in wake. He's overwhelming, burning so bright he's blinding and so hot he's scorching. Souta is water. Powerful in an understated way that you never see coming until it's too late. He's calming and soothing and heals you from the scars that life sometimes leaves behind.

"Heard you had a rough day at school. My uncle's throwing a sick rager and he's got some fresh party favors, if you know what I mean." She has half a mind to say no and when Hakudoshi sees the hesitation on her face he pulls her to her feet.

"You got other plans or something?" He says as he pushes a lock of hair behind her ear. "Too busy fucking around with that Higurashi kid?" His arm comes around her waist and he brings them flush.

Her blood runs cold at the mention of Souta and he feels her go tense in his arms. "Got anything you wanna tell me? I'm giving you the chance to be honest babe." His hands are in her hair, gripping, baring her neck to his gaze. "If I find out some shit went down behind my back Mrs. Higurashi is gonna be livin' in that big ol' house all by herself."

"Nothing happened, I promise." Her voice is shaking from the feel of Hakudoshi's lips on her neck. She shivers the heat of his lips leaves her skin. His lips find her own and they meet in a bruising kiss. It's dominating, possessive, and steals the air from Kaede's lungs.

"Good. Change and let's go."

When Kaede walks into the party she's immediately assaulted by the scent of sweat and blinded by strobe lights. There's people everywhere, stuck together, moving in rhythm with the pounding bass. Hakudoshi takes her hand and they maneuver their way through the crowd and into the kitchen. It's much quieter in here and Kaede's ears are already ringing. Their crew of usual friends are waiting for them and the pair make a beeline for the counter.

While Hakudoshi makes rounds with his boys, Kaede is pulled in by Tsubaki. "I'm glad you made it! I had to beg Hakudoshi to bring you here. I'm drowning in testosterone." They both continue with light conversation for awhile. Joking with each other and catching up as girls do.

"You guys done gossiping yet? I've gotten something better for your mouth to be doing." An arm comes around Kaede's face and in front of her is a dangling zip lock bag of little white pills. Ecstasy. Tsubaki snatches the bag first, taking her share and then passing the rest along. Within twenty minutes the room starts swimming and Kaede's on cloud nine.

"Let's dance!" Kaede leads the way, Hakudoshi and Tsubaki trailing close behind. The trio make their way to the middle and Kaede throws her hands up and swings her hips to the beat. Her body is ablaze with feeling, every touch is excruciating. Hakudoshi's hands are everywhere and it's all too much, while simultaneously not being enough.

"Gotta handle some business love, you down for the ride?" It's hard to hear over the roar of the music, but Kaede let's Hakudoshi drag her upstairs and away from the party. They walk into a bedroom that's been converted into an office. There's tall bookshelfs from wall to wall, a wide oak desk, and a plush coach tucked into the corner.

"Oh my god, it's like a cloud!" Kaede says as she dives into the cushions. She's relishing in the feel of the suede beneath her skin when the door opens once more. Kohaku walks inside and shakes his head at her antics.

"Koko!" The boy's quick reflexes allow him to catch her when she launches herself at him. "Look Haku, Koko's here!"

"I see that." Hakudoshi too busy on his phone to pretend he gives a fuck about Kaede's excitement. When he looks up Kaede is forcing Kohaku to dance with her. He's smiling and laughing along, because Kaede looks ridiculous twirling in circles with no music playing.

Kaede's still laughing and twirling when the door opens once more. A sudden chill flows into the room and the air suddenly feels heavy. She goes still in Kohaku's arms, a little afraid of what she'll be met with when she turns around. Against her better judgment she pears over her shoulder.

Her eyes start at the man's shoes and slowly move upwards. She taken in his black slacks and crisp shirt. Hair as black as ink is trailing over his shoulders in thick waves. She's screaming to herself not to look at his face, but she looses her internal battle and her eyes settle on his. They connect and Kaede can hear her blood pounding in her ears.

'Crimson eyes.'

Her knees buckle and Kaede feels strong arms come around her. The room goes black only the vision of the devil's eyes playing behind her lids.

Horrible ending, but I really want to be done looking at this thing. Excuse any errors or typos. Can't be bothered to proofread at the moment.

Review if you'd like, thank you for reading.