DISCLAIMER: If I owned Inuyasha do you really think you would be reading this? Heck no! You'd be watching it in anime!

Paper Moon

By: Lara Winner


It's only a paper moon

Sailing over a cardboard sea

But it wouldn't be make believe

If you believed in me

- "Paper Moon"

He was a friend of a friend.

It was the same old cliché, the same scenario that millions of people could say began the best relationship of their life… but for Kagome Higurashi it was the beginning of a big mistake.

It all started in an upscale lounge called Callahan's. Here the select of Manhattan's wealthy gathered to socialize in style over cocktails and champagne. On a typical weekend it became the hot spot for rich college students with money to waste.

That Kagome would wind up in an establishment catering to the CEOs and Wall Street tycoons of tomorrow was purely by chance. As a struggling Psychology major, she did not come from old money nor did she stand to inherit a fortune from her family. For a girl from Brooklyn this place was way out of her league. But thanks to a childhood friend, who fit the standard requirements, she found herself a patron of the classy lounge on a weekly basis.

That fateful Friday night had begun just like any other. Sango Takano, Kagome's best friend and roommate, had suggested they go to Callahan's. By the time they arrived the lounge was already buzzing. Sango's on again-off again boyfriend, Miroku Yanagi, had secured their usual table on the terrace that over looked Central Park. There was nothing that had suggested to Kagome that this Friday night would be different from any other.

And then she saw him.

Miroku was in the middle of passionately stressing the pro's of pollyamorous relationships when a young man with silver hair suddenly appeared by his side and joined in. He was strikingly handsome and there was an air about him that was both commanding and subtle at the same time. Kagome was taken with him, and the rest of the conversation had faded into the background as she gazed into his mesmerizing golden eyes.

The young man was introduced to her as Inuyasha Niijima. Apparently he was a friend of Miroku's but Kagome could not recall having met him before. The hanyou was not a regular to Callahan's. To Kagome he was a new face among the crowd, and to her pleasure as the night progressed he had remained at their table drinking and chatting.

Kagome couldn't quite remember when the flirting had started. The topic of conversation was hazy at best but she could clearly remember Inuyasha's charm and the confident smirk he sported that was quite sexy. Sometime during the evening he had made the point to sit beside her. Being that close to the enigmatic hanyou was almost as intoxicating as the alcohol she had consumed.

Overall the encounter was a success. When they parted company he had kissed her on the cheek and told her he hoped to see her again.

In the days that followed the hanyou was constantly lurking in her thoughts. There was something about him that was captivating and it sparked a giddy feeling in the pit of Kagome's stomach whenever she thought of him. She knew she reacting like child with a crush and she tried to dismiss it, but the possibility of seeing him again was something she looked forward to.

If she had known what would occur on their second encounter she may have changed her mind. A small glimpse into the future could have spared her feelings and her pride. But there was no way for her to know that she was already on the path that would irrevocably change her life.

Blame it on the alcohol, the atmosphere of Callahan's, or maybe her own need for sexual gratification. Either way Kagome had allowed herself to be taken in by his charisma once again. Feeding on the confidence Inuyasha had exuded, Kagome found herself in the position of feeling wanted. It was nice feeling, one she hadn't felt in a long time.

Like their first meeting, the flirting started off mild and witty. But this time as the evening deepened into night so did the level of their banter. Suddenly the veiled innuendoes were blatant challenges and the alcohol only encouraged the situation. Kagome would have been lying if she had tried to feign innocence on what was going to happen when she left with Inuyasha that night.

In a word… Sex.

That was all it was. Kagome was well aware that she barely knew the hanyou. There was nothing emotional about their tumble in the sheets. There was no deeper meaning other than the fact that she wanted to touch and be touched in return. And through it all Inuyasha had only wanted the same thing.

There should have been no reason for things to get complicated. In all actuality she should never have seen him again. They did not circulate in the same social circles. Beyond having a mutual friend, Kagome would never have crossed Inuyasha's path. She was very aware of this. There had never been any pretenses otherwise. And yet deep down she had hoped her speculation could be proven differently.

So it was a hard slap in the face when, nearly two weeks after the incident, Kagome found herself face to face with Inuyasha… and his fiancée.

That nasty little surprised had come the night a last minute change of plans had Kagome accompanying Sango to the ballet in Miroku's stead. The performance had just come to an end. Moving amongst the crowd in the main lobby, it was quite a shock when Kagome lightly bumped into someone only to look up and find herself staring into very familiar and unmistakable amber eyes.

The polite apology had died on her lips as her heart leapt in her chest. It only took a second for Kagome to process the beautiful woman with her arm possessively looped through his. And she knew the exact moment Inuyasha had recognized her. He blanched, his eyes widening slightly. The lovely young woman attached to his side also noticed but aloofly waited for a proper introduction.

Kagome was nothing if not gracious. "Good evening Mr. Niijima."

"Good evening ladies." He said with a nod of the head to both Sango and herself. "I'd like you meet my fiancée Kikyo Hatakeda."

Inuyasha regained his composure almost instantly but it was not so easy for Kagome. Taking in the new information left her feeling as if a cold vice grip was suddenly tightened around her insides. She felt a mortified blush fighting to creep it's way onto her face. A fine trembling had taken hold of her hands and following right on the heels of her utter embarrassment was the beginnings of self-directed fury.

And yet somehow, despite her internal reaction, Kagome managed a few inane pleasantries while smiling placidly and appearing for all the world as if nothing were wrong.

The foundation of Kagome mask had been crumbling quickly so with an eloquent but very obvious dismissal, she excused herself from the situation post haste. Later that evening, once she was alone in her bedroom and safely away from Sango's observant gaze, humiliated tears had filled her eyes as she stared at the reflection in her vanity mirror.

To realize she had been used so easily was a bitter pill to swallow. Never in all her life had she been more humiliated. Never before had she felt so cheap and dirty. The bastard was engaged and had she known that important little factor she would never have slept with him. She had half a mind to find a way to contact this Kikyo woman and warn her about the scumbag she was going to marry. It seemed only fitting that he should fall flat on his face after doing something so unforgivable.

And of course Kagome saved the worst recrimination for last.

What did one expect when they behaved no better than a whore? She was not the type of girl who slept around with every good-looking guy that struck her fancy, nor was she on the market for a rich man to snag as a lover or a husband. In most circumstances Kagome could pride herself on her level head and cautious nature. But it was a painful lapse in better judgment. It was what she deserved for being so damn stupid.

It was this self-loathing that had accompanied her around for the weeks that followed. If Sango had noticed her subtle melancholy then her friend said nothing. The silence was a blessing. Her discontent was also made easier by the fact that she was not forced to be in the company of Inuyasha. If she were forced to see him on a regular basis, in all honesty, she feared she'd have committed a homicide by now.

It was like the age-old adage… Out of sight, Out of mind.

With nothing to remind Kagome in time she would forget. It was only one night. It had been a horrible mistake and, to her disgust, because of the alcohol she could only vaguely remember the act itself. So all in all it seemed best to just let it fade and forget all about Inuyasha Niijima.

But Kagome had learned long ago that the fates were cruel and like clockwork the son-of-a-bitch was once again thrust back into her life completely out of left field.

It happened while seated at a small table in the corner of her favorite coffee shop on 31st street. Pouring over two textbooks, ten pages worth of handwritten notes and a Mocha Latte, Kagome was completely unaware of her surroundings. The bustle of pedestrians passing on the street went unnoticed as did the hushed murmur of voices that filled the little cafe. She was happily engrossed in comparing case studies on compulsive behavior when a sudden shadow fell over her table.

It was long moment before she realized there was someone standing beside her and when she finally looked up she nearly gasped in surprise. There stood Inuyasha, hands in the pockets of his slacks and his head tilted slightly to the side.

He smiled. "Hi."

The murderous expression that crossed Kagome's face would have melted anyone of lesser character right then and there, but the hanyou only looked mildly guilty as he averted his gaze out of the picture window to her left. After a moment of glaring her antipathy to his presence she returned her attention to her schoolwork in attempt to ignore him completely.

He was not to be deterred. "May I join you?"

"You can but I'd prefer if you didn't." she replied smartly.

"I can see you're busy so I won't keep you," he slipped into the chair opposite her and paused, as if trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to say, then shrugged lamely, "Thanks for not saying anything."

The hanyou didn't need to specify what he was thanking her for. It would have only added salt to the already stinging insult. Slowly Kagome raised her stormy eyes to meet his gaze, only to realize to her growing confusion that he wasn't smirking at her spitefully or even remotely amused as she expected. He seemed to be genuine.

"Don't thank me." She warned, "The only reason I kept quiet is because it's none of my business."

"I see…" he looked toward the window as if there were more he wanted to say but then thought better of it and shook his head. "Well, I just wanted to say thank you."

Kagome watched him closely waiting for him to leave but he remained looking out of the window. With a disgusted sigh she tossed her pen onto the pile of books before her and leaned back in her chair. "There is obviously something more you want to say, so say it already."

"You have every right to be angry."

A bitter laugh escaped her. "I'm so glad you agree. However, 'angry' doesn't begin to describe it."

"I can tell." This time he did smirk and it was every bit as condescending as she imagined it would be. "If looks could kill I'd be dead a thousand times over."

"How very perceptive of you. Unfortunately I'm out of doggy treats so if you don't mind…" she snatched the notebook off the table and turned her attention to it, snubbing Inuyasha pointedly.

"Look lady I'm no body's lap dog!"

The venom in his words told Kagome that she'd hit a nerve. She really didn't relish causing a scene and all she wanted was for him to leave… so why wasn't he leaving? He thanked her right? So now he could go on his merry way and fall off the face of the earth for she cared. Still, the jerk was making no move to leave. She decided to spell it out for him.

"You should go. I'm sure you have more important things to do than waste my time. Your fiancée may even be waiting for you."

"The engagement was called off. I guess none of this really matters now does it?" He gave another listless shrug, not really looking for an answer just stating fact.

"Smart girl."

Kagome couldn't resist the small gibe and it earned her a nasty glare from cross the table.

"It was a mutual decision." He snapped.

Kagome arched one brow mockingly over the top of her notebook. "And this concerns me how…?"

A low snarl emanated from Inuyasha and his amber eyes narrowed dangerously. "Your right I have better things to do than trade insults with an idiot. I thought I would let you know that I appreciated the fact that you handled the situation like an adult but now I see that I've spoken too soon."

The chair scraped against the slate floor as Inuyasha rose to his feet. The noise made Kagome wince but she held her ground as she countered, "If you had acted like an adult from the beginning then we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"Shut up!" he hissed, towering over. "You don't know a damn thing about what was going on between Kikyo and me."

"I know when a man cheats on his intended wife he's nothing more than a bastard."

"Well as I remember it you had a part in that too so what does that make you?"

The notebook was slammed onto the table as Kagome shot to her feet. One by one the caf's patrons were taking notice of the young couple caught in a lovers tiff, or so they thought. But there was nothing loving about the way Kagome and Inuyasha stood nose to nose, seething.

He regarded her contemptuously. "So much for a rational discussion. Although I don't know what I expected from someone with your breeding."

"You're no better than a dog."

"Maybe so," he laughed snidely, "but I have an impeccable lineage and a lot of money. You should do yourself a favor and stick with your own kind. You not one of us so quit trying to be."

Kagome wanted to slap him. She wanted to dump her cup of hot steaming coffee over his head. She wanted to see that callous smile wiped right off his face… but instead she blinked back tears as the hanyou turned on his heals and stalked away.

Inuyasha's parting words had cut Kagome deeper than she ever thought possible. For days after their confrontation she had shied away from Sango and kept to herself. She knew she tended to forget sometimes that there was an enormous social gap between her best friend and herself. Sango was born into money. The living quarters that Kagome shared with her friend was only one of the many properties owned by Sango's father. It was a big help that Mr. Takano refused to charge her rent and it was even better that she was attending school on a full scholarship, but even so Kagome was not home free.

While Kagome bore no grudge against Sango for having had a privileged lifestyle, sometimes she got caught up in her friend's world. Between school and work Kagome had precious little free time, so it was easy to pretend she belonged when Sango dragged her along to functions, plays, ballets, parties and to places like Callahan's…

Then along came someone like Inuyasha who just had to remind her that she would never be accepted. And it was times like this that she wanted to leave east side Manhattan and go home, back to her mothers two bedroom apartment in the heart of a mundane blue-collar neighborhood in Brooklyn and forget all about the world in which she wished to belong.

Of course Sango knew these bouts all too well and was an expert at drawing Kagome out of her shell. Only this time when Sango pressed Kagome for details on why she had fallen into her slump she found that she couldn't bring herself to tell her friend about Inuyasha or any of what had transpired between them. It wasn't fair to Sango and she didn't want cause a rift between her friend and Miroku. So reluctantly she allowed Sango to cheer her up but despite it all she kept the source of her turmoil to herself.

Kagome had never felt more unbalanced and alone.

That was until tonight.


A.N. – So how is that for the basis of a relationship? Off to rocky start. So how our lovebirds will end up tying the knot? You'll have to stay tuned to find out!

Thanks for reading! hugs