A/N: New story. Self explanatory.


Disclaimer: Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi. I don't own it.


Summary: The Higurashis held a masquerade to find fiancés for their daughters, Kikyou and Kagome. But when a betrothal between Kikyou and Inuyasha occurred, Kagome was sent to spend a month with the Komiyas to see if Inuyasha was a suitable husband for Kikyou. What she didn't know of course, was the man she had fallen for at the masquerade, was her sister's fiancé.





Behind the Masquerade

Attracted




She didn't particularly love the idea of dancing with a stranger---it was like talking to a stranger. And she had been taught a thousand times not to talk with a stranger, so she felt disinclined to dance with a stranger, for dancing with a stranger would be like talking to a stranger. Well, you get the general idea.


She wanted nothing more than to sit up in her room, sleeping the night away. She wasn't fond of masquerades, for she didn't like not knowing who were behind those masks. For all she knew, it could be the spawn of evil she would be dancing with.


She didn't want to dance with any spawn of evil, so she sought to just stay on the sidelines, watching all those couples dance and laugh amongst themselves in the crowd. Her parents, being the typical demanding parents most children had, were yearning for grandchildren. So they thought that a masquerade could make their two daughters find a fitting fiancé and give them those grandchildren.


But Kagome didn't like the prospect of having children.


She didn't even know the feeling of sharing her life with a boy, let alone sharing her bed with a guy. She always imagined her first love to be that knight in shining armor, atop a gorgeous white horse. He would sweep her off her feet, and make her feel like the most special person in the whole entire world.


But…


Her first love had turned out to be a fraud. A fake. He only tricked her…But that didn't change the fact that she believed her second knight in shining armor would be faithful and true to her, and only her. She believed in second chances...


That's what she told herself the last sixteen years of her life anyway. 16 was a very young age to Kagome. Her sister, Kikyou, was 17, but she acted like she had matured years ago. Kikyou was rather responsible for a 17 year old, while Kagome was very not responsible for a 16 year old. Complete opposites in other words.


Kikyou was the highlight of the family; the pride and joy of her parents. She was pretty, beautiful, mature, well-mannered, sophisticated, multi-talented, or in other words, the perfect princess. Everyone would think the only thing missing was the fact that she was a princess, but that is where everyone gets the incorrect buzzer. Kikyou was a princess, or the "Perfect Princess" whom most would call her.


Kikyou had everything a girl could ask for; she had the money, she had the clothes, she had the wealth, she had the power, and she had the perfection. She was the angelic idol in everyone's eyes and she was the image of flawlessness. Everyone loved her, everyone adored her, everyone worshipped her and everyone respected her.


She had everything.


She had everything Kagome wanted.


Kagome was the other princess to them. Simply 'the other princess.' She was not as pretty as Kikyou, she was not as mature as Kikyou, she was not as well-mannered as Kikyou, she was not as talented as Kikyou, and she was not as perfect as Kikyou.


Everyone compared them. "As Kikyou, as Kikyou." That was all she heard. Being compared to her perfect princess of a sister. Kagome hated it. She hated the fact that no one loved her for being Kagome. To them, and even her parents, Kagome would never be as good as Kikyou. Kikyou would always be better than Kagome, and Kagome would always be the one in the background while Kikyou was being praised in the open.


Kikyou got everything she wanted, while Kagome had to ask, or even beg, for the things she wanted. Whenever there were parties, Kagome's parents would bring Kikyou forth and praise, "Here is my daughter, Kikyou! She is really such a sweet and beautiful girl and we love her so very much! Don't you think she is such a nice person? Oh...and my other daughter is Kagome. She's somewhere around."


Whenever Kagome got into trouble and her mother would lecture her, it would be the same. "Why can't you be as mature as Kikyou? You should take lessons from Kikyou! Try to be like Kikyou!"


Kagome had a deep hatred for her sister. Kagome hated her sister for being…well…her perfect sister. For being everything Kagome wanted to be, but couldn't be. For being just so perfect.


Kagome tightened her grip on her glass of wine as she snapped her thoughts back to the ballroom, with all those waltzing couples and smooth music. And speaking of her satanic sister, she twitched her nose in annoyance when she eyed Kikyou, in her beautiful pale pink dress and mask, waltzing right past her with a tall, elegant man, who also had a mask on.


She frowned behind her mask, her eyes following her sister around the room, watching Kikyou dance with perfectly fluid and graceful movements, not once messing up on her steps. She sighed after seeing Kikyou disappear into the massive crowd, leaning up and resting her exhausted body against the wall.


"I see you're as bored as I am," a voice interrupted Kagome from her nap against the wall, and the princess quickly stood taut, looking to her left where the voice had come from.


Kagome blinked owlishly behind her mask as she eyed a guy [obviously a guy, since he was wearing a man's formal clothing] looking at her from his own mask. She took in his stiff, yet thoroughly bored posture, and twitched her mouth a bit, surprised at seeing another person bored besides her.


"So what if I am?" she questioned back, still holding onto her glass of wine, but forgetting it when she was observing the man next to her. "Don't ask me to dance because I will most certainly not dance with you tonight."


"I never asked you to dance with me, now did I?" the guy retorted back, and Kagome heard what suspiciously sounded like a snort from behind that mask of his. "I just thought I could talk with someone in this god forsaken room without having girls try to roam their hands over my body. Not my fault I'm hard to resist."


Kagome nearly let out a snort of her own too. "I see you certainly have a very big ego."


The guy scoffed and turned his attention to the crowd of dancing nobles, princes, princesses, queens and kings, not really focusing on any particular person. Both of them kept silent for a while, feeling uneasy around a person they didn't know. They couldn't take off their masks either, since it was a masquerade party.


Kagome found out she was out of wine, so she mumbled an excuse and walked over to the drink table, getting another glass of the sweet substance. Lifting the lower part of her mask up, she carefully took a sip and then glimpsed over to the place she had walked from, but seeing no sign of the young man there.


She felt a pang of disappointment, but it quickly quenched when she noticed it existed. It wasn't like she was sad he was gone, but it was just because she felt that the only normal person had just disappeared and she was stuck with bimbos for the rest of the time.


Speaking of bimbos, Kagome glanced at a particular man walking towards her, his head held high and his body posture practically emitting off waves of self pride. She was almost sure another guy was going to ask her to dance, and she was going to just have to let the poor boy down.


The man strode up to her and extended a hand out. "Would you like to have this dance with me?"


Kagome was sorely tempted to sarcastically answer that she didn't like men since she'd met him, but decided that would just prove to everyone that she was as childish as they said she was. "I'm sorry, I have no wish to dance with you at this particular moment," she answered, bowing a little in apology, while the guy snapped back his hand like it burned.


"And why my fair lady would you turn Hojo down?" the other human questioned, scrutinizing the girl from head to toe, and liking what he saw.


Kagome blanched as she tried to think of an excuse to not dance with this man, looking around in quiet frantic. She spotted the guy from before, standing a few feet away from her, and he suddenly stood out like a blue elephant among a pack of cows. Dancing cows.


"I already promised to dance with this man here," Kagome answered, quickly making her way over to the guy, and swiftly wrapping her arm around his.


The guy whipped his head around, his glass of wine almost slipping from his hand and crashing to the ground. The guy didn't look happy, his golden eyes narrowing almost instantly and Kagome knew that he wasn't a nice man to interrupt. "What do you think you're---"


"I promised to have this one dance with you, remember?" Kagome intercepted him in a sweet voice, although it was lined with menace.


"What the hell are you---"


"Sorry Hoko, maybe next time," she said, diverting her attention to the frowning man who didn't look too joyful behind his mask.


"It's Hojo."


"...Hojo then..."


Kagome quickly led the guy she had been holding onto off into the crowd so that she would lose sight of that human idiot. She could tell he was a human, or physically built as a human because he had the human ears and the human fingers and everything about him emitted off the normal boring human personality.


Now that her worried mind was off of that Hojo guy, Kagome turned her attention to the seething guy next to her. He practically threw her arms off of his as he growled and brushed imaginary ticks off his sleeves. "I see you can't keep your hands to yourself either," he mumbled, before folding his arms across his chest and piercing her with the golden eyes shining through the mask.


"Well who gave you that stunningly sexy body must have been a total babe magnet," Kagome answered sarcastically, an amused smile forming on her lips.


"Yea, the ladies must love me," he responded, while eyeing the crowd of people dancing all around the two of them. He felt like he wanted to just walk out of here and leave the girl, but it seemed the crowd wouldn't budge, so he sighed and looked back at the girl. "Dance with me?" he asked in a rough voice, as if he was being forced to ask her to.


Kagome was again, sorely tempted to accept his invitation and then kick him in the male genitals, but something inside her made her stop that thought and think over the possible answers. She could say no and then later meet up with that other man and have to dance with him, or she could say yes and dance with this unknown guest in her castle and have a much more pleasant time with him than the other male guests here.


"Okay then," she answered, taking his hand and getting into the waltz position, one hand on his shoulder while he gently placed a hand over her hips. Their hands were about to join together when the music suddenly stopped and a slow song began.


Kagome couldn't suppress the groan she sent off, and the guy sighed. "Well, this can't hurt, now can it?" Kagome whispered in a small voice, watching the couples around them get into the slow dance position.


"It'll hurt if I step on your feet accidentally," the guy answered, emphasizing the word 'accidentally.'


"Not if I accidentally step on it first," Kagome retorted and then lightly slipped her arms around his neck, while she felt his hands flit around her waist.


She didn't place her head on his shoulder or anything, but kept her head a good distance away from that dangerous chest the guy owned. They slowly stepped side to side, letting the music wash across the room, it's soft tones comforting to lovers' ears. Kagome could feel her face go red as she eyed the lean muscles that showed through his clothes, before she abruptly snapped her head up to concentrate on something other than those tempting muscles.


She only managed to lock gazes with his golden eyes. Big no-no.


She wanted to break that eye contact, but found it extremely difficult to, although her brain screamed curses at her to break the stupid eye contact. Her mouth seemed to work simultaneously too. "So are you enjoying yourself?" she asked, trying to hide the small squeak in her voice.


"Mm...I guess," the guy answered in a blunt voice, continuing to gaze at her with those deep, golden eyes of his. "You?"


Kagome had to force down that hard rock in her throat, feeling her cheeks burn behind the mask. "Same," was the only word she could muster from her rapidly failing nerves.


She suddenly wanted to stop dancing and scream her head off before jumping out the window in shame. She had just barely met this guy and she was already feeling flustered from just dancing with this stranger. And wasn't dancing with a stranger like talking to a stranger? And here she was! Dancing AND talking with a complete, total stranger!


Add onto the fact that she didn't know who this guy was and she was ready to commit suicide.


"So I heard the Kikyou princess was beautiful," the guy suddenly said, trying to make conversation but unknowingly saying one of the worst things in this situation.


All the fluffy and warm feelings that Kagome had went away right that moment, like they had been thrown into the ocean and washed away. Then she felt a whale eat it up.


In other words, she could flinch.


"I guess," she hissed through pursed lips, her arms stiff around his neck.


"But I haven't met her, so I don't think she's beautiful till I have. And even then, I wonder if I would find her beautiful. I heard claims that she's beautiful and the perfect princess. The perfect wife to any prince. Aren't those just in fairy tales?" the guy questioned, tapping his fingers idly behind Kagome's back.


"Well Kikyou must be the fairy tale princess then," Kagome replied, her voice lined with frost as she said her sister's name, the mentioned somewhere in the crowd, probably dancing with some well-known king from some foreign country.


"Do you know her?"


"More than I like."


"Do you like her?"


"Less than you think."


Kagome heard a small chuckle from behind the mask, and looked at the man in the eyes, blue eyes wide with confusion.


"Never heard someone dislike 'the perfect one' ."


"Well congratulations, you just met that 'someone'," Kagome said, giggling a bit as she relaxed again, knowing this man was at least not as interested in her sister as most princes were.


The music ended and Kagome and the guy let go of each other, although Kagome could feel herself doing it reluctantly. Bowing a bit, Kagome stared one last time into the golden eyes and then watched him embark on his departure from her.


Her legs didn't seem to move as her eyes did, which were watching the guy's back. She could feel a tiny flutter in her heart, but she dismissed it, blaming it on the fact that the guy had the most gorgeously built body she had yet to come across. He disappeared into the crowd and Kagome let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding in.


Putting her hands over her chest as if her heart would beat out, Kagome decided that she needed some fresh air...fast. Swiftly, yet as gracefully as she could muster, she made her way straight to the balcony, which had looked empty at that time.


Stepping out into the wide, open space, she clasped her hands onto the railing, closed her eyes lightly and took in deep breaths, enjoying the way the wind played around with her hair. Failing to look to the darkness on the left, she would have noticed a guy with golden eyes analyzing her. In fact, that same guy with golden eyes that she had just danced with. But she didn't look, so she didn't know.


Her body visibly relaxed as Kagome stared up into the star-lit sky, watching the lights play across the ceiling of earth, creating a bright blue line to streak diagonally. But a hand to her shoulder caused her to stiffen under the contact, clenching her fists to her sides. The warning jolt through her body was all too familiar and she closed her eyes tightly, taking in stabilizing hard breaths.


"What do you want…" she hissed in a low voice, opening her eyes and looking stiffly down at the garden.


"Long time, no see Kagome."


"Not long enough…"






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A/N: Next chapter ya'll.