Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, I only use him to suit my own means.

A Fighter's Story

Chapter 1

The torrential rain pounded the windshield of Kagome's black Honda Civic. The headlights of her car cut through the rain and fell upon the freshly paved road. The pitch blackness of the night was only broken by the temporary flash of a lightning bolt. The highway leading her back to the city was deserted apart from herself. Kagome held the steering wheel firmly with one hand and rubbed her left temple with the other. The councils' words still rang in her mind and drifted in the air around, like they were still being said.

"Miss Higurashi, you are an exceptional fighter, and we regretfully inform you, that although you possess great skill and talent, this tournament does not accept females under any circumstances. Women simply can not enter. Do you understand that Miss Higurashi?" Kagome's hand flexed under the grip she had on the steering wheel.

"We also want to express our frustration at your continuing requests. From this day forth, you are forbade from participating in any further martial arts competitions." That was the blow that crushed Kagome's world and sent it spiraling into a blackness that she had never known in all of her twenty five years. It was the fifth attempt of hers to qualify as an entry in the Kiyomatsu Tournament, and again, she had been turned down...again. This time, however, she had been banished from the world of organized fighting. A world she had lived in all the years of her life.

Finally, she spotted the lights of the city on the horizon. Kagome sighed heavily as she drove slowly down the quiet, water-logged streets. When she was still several blocks from her apartment, Kagome spotted the flashing neon sign of a bar.

She pulled into the dark parking lot that was mostly empty, save for a few trucks and motorcycles at the far end. The Black Mist Tavern blinked at her in neon violet lettering. Kagome stepped out of the car and into the rain. She was clad in her black trench coat that reached down passed her knees, refracting the rain as it hit her. She wore black jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt that fit to her body. Her black boots sprayed water in all directions as she walked through the puddle infested parking lot. She wore no hood or hat, her slightly curling black hair hanging a few inches past her shoulders was exposed to the water. Before she walked into the bar, she checked her pockets for some money, and rubbed away any trace that she had been crying from her sapphire eyes.

When the door creaked open, the eyes of the few sober customers watched the five foot, ten woman enter. Kagome saw that three men were sitting at the table closest to the door, truckers, most likely. Off in the corner there was another table inhabited by a pair of men and a pair of women. They looked like bikers, wearing leather. There was a lone figure at the bar, behind the counter. The bartender. He was wiping off a few glasses with a cloth, but didn't look up.

"What can I get for you?" The bartender's voice carried a disinterested tone. He still didn't look up at her as she sat down on a stool at the counter. Kagome looked up at him, taking a quick assessment of him before focusing all her attention on the booze. He was taller then she was, broad and leanly built. His hair was a shocking silver color that she thought for sure couldn't be natural. It was held back at the nape of his neck. His eyes were a golden amber color, the same warm color as the bottles of alcohol that lined the shelves behind him. Kagome sized him up as a good-looking loser.

"A shot of scotch," she said, slapping a wad of bills down in the tile. Scotch would be her only friend tonight. The warm amber liquid that soothed any pain and warmed every part of the body.

"Gimme a second wench." He grabbed a small glass and filled it with an amber liquid and placed it down in front of her. Kagome was too far down the self-pity trail to retort the statement as she downed the shot the moment it was placed before her, then asked for another. After the second shot, Kagome considered that they were gone to quickly for her liking.

"Hey..." she said to the bartender, trying to get his attention from where he had wandered to the other end of the bar. "Can I get a glass of beer?" He sighed and grabbed a mug, filling it to the top with foamy liquid.

The bartender watched as Kagome drank her beer. When it was gone, she stared at the empty mug with her hand on her forehead. "Ugg," she muttered. How are you gonna get through this one Kagome? Fighting has been your whole life, since you were five years old, but what are you going to do now, now that it's over? I'll have to get a job now. Maybe Sango and Miroku could help me out there. Maybe. Before she could finish this train of thought, she felt a rush. Her head swam as the dizziness claimed her for a moment, she swayed on her stool.

"Are you alright?" The bartender asked, coming out from behind the counter and assessing her with a raised eyebrow.

"Fine, just fine." She sighed and steadied herself on the counter. She gripped the tile hard until her knuckles turned white. Alcohol and Kagome Higurashi never mixed well, always went for her equilibrium instead of her speech or motor skills.

"You certainly don't look fine, are you gonna be alright?"

"I can handle myself, thanks." She leaned back a little from the counter as the dizziness left her and the numbness slowly began to receded. Desperate for a few more minutes of painlessness, Kagome grabbed her empty glass. "Do you think I could get another?"

"Don't you think you've had enough?" he asked her with a slightly alarmed and surprised expression. She smiled grimly.

"There's not enough alcohol in the state of Nevada for me to have enough." He warily took the glass from her hand and refilled it with the foamy beer, and put it back in her hand. He still watched her with a skeptical expression.

"You don't have to worry about me, my judgment isn't clouded. My balance is shot for the evening, but hell, the night is young." She took another long drink from her glass and winced as another wave of drunken dizziness washed over her. She suddenly felt herself falling over from her stool and her reaction was too slow to stop the inevitable collision with the floor. Suddenly, they were a pair of hands gripping her upright.

The bartender had seen her falling over and was able to grab her before she fell over completely. He righted her and sat back down, his hands still on her shoulders. "Are you sure you're alright?" She looked at him for a second, sapphire eyes showing no signs of all the drinks she had consumed, and then started laughing. For no reason other then disgust at her own self pity, Kagome laughed.

"Truly, I've never been farther from alright in my life, but that's what bars are for isn't it? To drink away your troubles." He inwardly recoiled, she was too close to something he'd rather not begin thinking of.

"Come on, let me help you to your car." Kagome gave a weak protest and got to her feet on her own, but almost collapsed the next second later.

Once out in the parking lot, Kagome went through her pockets and extracted her keys. "Here you are, little buggers. Keys are hard to keep tract of." She held them in her palm for a second, feeling the cool metal on her skin as the rain misted across her face. The torrential rain had lightened to a misty fuzz where it doesn't really rain, only coat the air with grayness.

"Is there anyone you can call to pick you up?" The bartender was talking to her again. She seemed to digest his question, but she was really contemplating calling Sango or not. What was it she had said when Kagome left? Ah yes, "alcohol is not the way to solve problems" and "If you get your sorry ass drunk, don't call me for a ride". For a second, Miroku streaked across her mind like lightning, but he had been working overtime lately and needed his rest. Not to mention Rin and Shippou. Those two children really didn't need to be woken up in the middle of the night but their drunken godmother trying to grub a ride.

"No." She had been silent so long he didn't think she'd answer. It appeared as though she was thinking of possibilities, but then she dismissed them all. The bartender sighed to himself. He knew who she was, he could tell right off from the moment she sat down in the bar. Kagome Higurashi. She was a promising young athlete in the field of martial arts. She had raw talent and a unique style, the makings of a real champion. Why in hell would she be getting drunk at a bar in the middle of the night? How many problems could she possibly have? She was still fighting, still on top of the world, having it all. He bit back the rising anguish and focused on helping her.

"Which car is yours?" She pointed to her car in the back part of the parking lot. He helped her towards it, his arm around her waist and her arm around his shoulders.

When they got to the car, he took the keys from her hand and unlocked the door. He looked from the front seat to her. She was sitting on the hood of the car, her head in her hands, face blocked by a curtain of black hair. She was rubbing her eyes, trying to hold back that feeling of utter drunkenness. "Do you want me to drive you home?" She looked up at him in surprise.

"Sure you could manage it Mr. Dai?" His eyes shot to her. She knew who he was. How in the hell did she know that? He had left organized fighting before she reached his level. Yet, she knew his name and there was a sober expression in her vivid blue eyes. "You are him right, Inuyasha Dai?"

"Yeah," he grumbled, almost inaudibly. "That's me."

"Ah, see? I'm not so drunk that I can't tell a fighter when I see one."

"Neither am I, Miss Higurashi." Kagome looked at him with a crooked smile.

"I'm flattered that you'd know my same, seeing as how we've never fought at the same time."

Inuyasha shrugged. "I still watch the fights." Kagome nodded, smile faded. Now she was dark again. "Do you want me to take you home or not?"

Kagome shrugged. "Sure, if it'll make you feel better. I don't think I can wrap myself around a pole when I only live five blocks away."

"Good, then I don't need to taunt directions out of you."

"Do you know Garden Terrace Apartments?"

"Yes I do," Inuyasha replied, helping Kagome to the passenger side door before head back around to the driver's side.

"That's where I live, 7A."

"Then I will get you there in one piece."

"Yay," Kagome said none too happily. She curled up on her seat and let Inuyasha drive her home with a sigh and a lot of regrets. "I didn't know you were still living in this city," she commented idly. "I thought you left when you retired from the tournament circuit."

"I did leave, for a while," Inuyasha replied mysteriously. "But I couldn't stay away forever."

"Everyone's got to be somewhere," Kagome quipped, thinking of what her father always said. But her father was all the way in Grand Lake, looking after the shrine. Back home, where Kagome would like to be right now. She was not at home, and her father was not here to offer any coco-advice. This she'd have to do on her own, and hope to God she didn't fuck it up like she always did. Far in her thoughts, Kagome didn't notice that they had pulled into the parking lot of Kagome's apartment. "How will you get home?" she asked him suddenly.

"I live in the apartment above the bar," Inuyasha commented off-handedly. "I can walk home. But will you be okay?"

"But of course," Kagome said with a smile, getting out of the car and walking toward her apartment. Inuyasha handed her the keys to the car. "Have a good night."

"Sleep it off. Whatever made you come to the bar tonight can't be that bad. Things have a way of working themselves out, for better or worse." Kagome flinched. She waved a hand over her shoulder and disappeared inside her building. Inuyasha watched, making sure she was safe--albeit drunk. With a sigh and heavy thoughts of his own, he left the parking lot, hands in his pockets, and returned to his place.

A/N: This is my baby. I actually wrote this story as an original work which I submitted in my creative writing class. But I decided to lengthen it and use it as a fanfiction. I really love this idea, it gets VERY romantic further into it. I hope you like it!