[HI. Before you start reading please note again that this story is rated M.
It's a story starring adults. Sometimes adults have sex. The sex isn't explicit here, but I got a complaint about M-rated content (?) in this story, and... guys, it's not like I rated the story M for fun. Come on, now.
All the explicit content's on MediaMiner (link is in my profile).]
Inuyasha is copyrighted by Rumiko Takahashi.
Fade & Flare
The sweat on Kagome's skin cooled her underneath the bright, hot, stage lights. Her enigmatic voice echoed across a dark and rowdy stadium as she shook to the beat of the music. Her moves suddenly tightened and well-rehearsed steps were executed to the bridge of the song. Making sure to take a deep breath first, Kagome sang the last verse.
She did a final spin to punctuate the last notes of the song. Cheers and applause rained hard, as Kagome's shoulders sank and rose smoothly with heavy breathing. Blowing a kiss to her audience, Kagome heaved a breathless "Thank you! Good night everyone!" into her microphone and headed backstage. Screams for encore and residual cheering followed her and faded as she made her way to her dressing room.
Strands of inky hair clung to her face and exposed skin. Under calls of "Bravo!" and claps from the stage crew Kagome reached her dressing room, thanking people along the way. Closing the door behind her, her eyes moved to her mirror where an elaborate arrangement of sterling silver roses sat at the makeup table. Her lips spread in a thin smile, and suddenly a towel was clapped across her face. After some temporary disorientation she pulled the towel from the hands that held it, drying herself off. Exhaling heavily and sinking onto a chair to look at her flowers, she ran her fingertips across the petals. Kagome grinned and sighed, glancing up at her platinum-haired manager.
"You didn't go flat in the last verse of 'Monochrome Android' this time. Spectacular." He folded his arms, nodding in approval.
"Wow, almost nothing impresses YOU, Inuyasha." Kagome removed a rose from her bouquet, touching it to her nose. "God these smell so good," she whispered under her breath. "Who gave you the notion that it was a good idea to get these for me after every show? I've got five nights in just Osaka coming up and if I know you like I think I do it means that I'm going to be swimming in these."
Inuyasha smirked, tossing his hair back.
Kagome sighed and rolled her eyes. "Look, it's sweet, but reckless! These sterling silver ones cost ten times as much. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between these or regular white roses without smelling them."
Her manager snorted, giving her a heavy-lidded stare with topaz eyes. "You're practically royalty here. I'll be damned if you're not treated as such after all your hard work."
"I'm whatever my fans have made me, this conversation is getting old-"
"You're at the top of your game and soon we'll break through in America." Inuyasha picked up a hairbrush and started combing Kagome's hair. "You were fluent in English when we met. One of the things that's totally ruined anyone else who's tried to cross over is that they never learn to speak it well, you know."
Kagome began to play with the ribbons in her flower arrangement. "It doesn't matter what statistics say, Inuyasha, it's either I'm good enough to please the most discriminating market of all, or I'm not. Either way-"
Inuyasha's fingers closed around Kagome's hair as he brushed at the tips. "You write, compose, -and arrange- all of your own songs and can play five instruments."
"It's all about timing, too. 'Asian' is America's flavor of the month, what happens when that dies out again? By the way, stop cutting me off-"
"You choreographed all of your music videos and parts of this tour! Who the hell else does that?" Inuyasha's hands rested lightly on Kagome's shoulders as he finished her hair. Extending his claws, he pulled Kagome's collar down and scratched lightly across the back of her neck. "Face it, Kagome, you are a rarity: a real musician, and a real entertainer in every sense of the word. You deserve to be royalty."
"She's already a princess to me."
"Hojo!" Kagome sat up as her boyfriend entered the room.
"Hey there, Inuyasha. Hi Kagome." The man with bright eyes and short brown hair bent to kiss Kagome softly on the cheek. She laughed and wrapped her arms around his waist.
"Don't mind me, I'll leave you kids alone," chuckled Inuyasha. He started for the door but Hojo stopped him.
"No, don't worry about it." Hojo bent to drop another kiss, this time on Kagome's lips. "I have to go, we're not done shooting."
"What? Hojo, we were supposed to go out tonight." Kagome grabbed his pant leg, pulling him closer. She knew she was being a little selfish and unreasonable, but for the moment she just wanted to spend time with her boyfriend.
"Too bad," said Inuyasha as he shrugged. "TV star or not though, you shouldn't disappoint your woman. Besides, Japan's beloved 'Platinum Pair' wouldn't be much of a couple if they didn't, gasp, date once in a while."
Hojo tensed a little, a sad look flashing across his face. "I'm sorry Kagome. Please forgive me." Hojo brought his hands to Kagome's shoulders. "Inuyasha, I think you and Kagome of all people understand how important it is to be on top of your career in this industry." He turned to Kagome and kissed her hands. "I promise you, I'm going to make this up to you, okay? I always have, haven't I?" Kagome nodded.
Inuyasha chuckled a little bit. "Sorry, maybe I'm just a little overprotective of my number one act. The last thing I need to worry about is whether or not she's got a broken heart, she's stressed out enough."
"Inuyasha I know you're worried, but knock it off. I'll be okay." Kagome threw a ribbon at Inuyasha and Hojo turned towards the door.
"I'll call you, okay Kagome? After shooting."
"Just go home and go to sleep tonight, I don't want you tiring yourself out over me." Kagome stood up to hug him goodbye.
"Are you sure? Whatever you say. Love you." Hojo kissed Kagome once more on the cheek before turning to leave.
"See you later," Kagome yawned. She slumped hard, back onto her chair. Inuyasha walked towards the door.
"I'm gonna go join the festivities out there. Come out and play if you feel like it."
"Give me a little bit, I want to shower." Kagome waved goodbye as Inuyasha left her dressing room. Before she had the chance to think about it, she rested her head on her dressing table and fell asleep almost immediately.
She woke to darkness, her favorite wool coat draped over her, and the hum of an engine. Blinking a few times to get oriented with her surroundings, Kagome realized that she was in the passenger seat of Inuyasha's Porsche. Kagome shifted, turning to face Inuyasha as he drove before burying her head back into the seat.
"Where are we going?" Kagome sighed and yawned softly.
"My place near Shibuya. Early tomorrow is the sound check and rehearsal before the concert, so my place is closer-"
"I need to go home, I want a change of clothes, Inuyasha."
He smirked, moving his hand off of the stick shift briefly to rub Kagome's head. "—and like I was saying, after the concert we leave for Osaka that night. And I'm one step ahead of you, I sent Shippo and Sango over to your place for a few things."
Kagome shifted in her seat again, turning to look out the window. Her eyes fixated on the power lines overhead as the stars ran past them, blurring across the sky in a calm stream of light. Kagome twirled a strand of her hair around her finger. She hummed to herself quietly as Inuyasha changed lanes in the empty streets.
"I'll need some pajamas, too..."
Inuyasha smirked again. "I had them bring your gray ones." Kagome rolled her eyes; Inuyasha always did this. "...and you're probably going to want to go out with Hojo too, right? I had them bring your white sundress, the Chanel one."
"How'd you know?" Kagome glanced at Inuyasha. The moonlight illuminated his hair and softened his features, almost giving the illusion that Inuyasha was as gentle as the light that blurred the contours of his face. Kagome grinned, losing herself in staring at him. Though annoying at times, it was rare to have a manager as protective and attentive and Inuyasha.
"You always have a new white dress for when you haven't seen him in a long time. He's hot for it, you know; his heart beats faster when you're in white. If you didn't have a new one I would have had Sango pick up a few for you."
Oh, yes. Had it been mentioned that Inuyasha was protective, attentive, and most definitely annoying?
"Christ, Inuyasha, invade people's privacy much? Just because you're a youkai you have to go around listening to his heartbeat?"
"Bite me, Kagome, you think I like the boy's little palpitations echoing through my fucking head?"
"And what if I didn't feel like wearing white this time? Don't I have a say in what I wear on my own dates?" She bounced a crumpled gum wrapper off of her manager's face, and he scowled a little.
"Watch it, I'm driving."
Kagome stuck her tongue out, taking a fresh piece of gum. Once more she tossed its wrapper, and Inuyasha's eyes gleamed sadistically. Before anything could be said Inuyasha swerved suddenly to the side of the road, startling Kagome. Putting the car in park Inuyasha removed his seat belt and looked over to her. She gulped, laughing nervously. Inuyasha's grin stretched sharply across his face, and he moved, restraining and tickling Kagome.
"Inuyasha! Stop, augh, NO! NOOOO!" Kagome erupted into a fit of screeching, trying pathetically to wriggle from Inuyasha's grasp. She kicked wildly, laughing and screaming as Inuyasha showed no mercy.
"Freeze! What are you doing to that girl?!" A light was shined into the passenger's window over Kagome and Inuyasha. Outside of the window stood a pair of police officers who were coming from the neighborhood kouban. "Oh my God! It's Higurashi Kagome! Get out of the car, young man, you're going to jail!"
Inuyasha blinked. Kagome pushed him off of her, sitting up to speak to the police officer. "I think this is a misunderstanding, Sir," she laughed.
"Do you think it's okay, Inuyasha?"
"Keh, I'm telling you, the dress is hot." Inuyasha looked annoyed as he raised his gaze from his book. "If you're gonna whine about it just so I can tell you how hot you look five more times, don't even bother."
"Don't worry, Kagome-chan, you look stunning!" Kagome's raven-haired stylist and overall assistant folded her arms and stuck one hip out as she scrutinized, finally moving to center Kagome's diamond necklace on her neck. A white strapless dress complimented the cluster of diamonds hanging from its delicate platinum chain. The pendant hung a couple of inches over the hint of cleavage that the dress created. Inuyasha stole a glance at the cascading hem of Kagome's dress that started a little above her knees in the front and continued a few inches lower in the back. Layers of white chiffon and silk swished around Kagome's legs when she walked, flattering her calves. Her slightly tanned skin looked richer against the white fabric.
"You think so, Sango-chan? Inuyasha? Really?" Inuyasha knocked himself violently out of his thoughts, slightly frustrated for reasons he wasn't sure of.
"Yes-" started Sango, but Inuyasha growled and stood, tossing his book to the floor.
"Damn it, stay here." Inuyasha stormed out of the room and returned with a small, black velvet box in his hands. He tossed it at Kagome and returned to his chair. Retrieving his book he said, "That's for you, keep it. I was gonna give it to my last girlfriend, but she kinda... broke up with me before I had the chance to give it to her."
Sango paused her current train of thought, raising a questioning eyebrow. "Wait, is that what you begged me to pick up for you a couple of months ago?"
Kagome blinked, opening the box. Her breath caught in her throat as she fingered a diamond tennis bracelet. "Keep this? It's mine? Inuyasha, I can't, I don't know what to say..."
Sango took the bracelet, fastening it around Kagome's wrist. At that moment, Kagome realized who the bracelet was supposed to belong to. She had to find out by asking the staff at the record company, as well as Inuyasha's assistants. What was recalled from fragments of overheard phone conversations and what could be drawn from his assistants' various assignments was that whoever Inuyasha's girlfriend was, she was quite serious about their relationship. Kagome had no doubt that Inuyasha was a caring man in a relationship, but too wrapped up in his work for most women to handle. She wouldn't have even asked around about it, had it not been for the random August night when Inuyasha showed up on her doorstep claiming to be "in the neighborhood." That night, Inuyasha looked as if he had been crying for hours.
"Heh, don't worry about it Kagome, I figured it looks better on you than me."
Kagome laughed. "Well, thank you. I feel like I look perfect now." Draping a long, snow-colored silk scarf over her neck, she snatched her purse up in her hands and headed for the limousine outside.
Inuyasha waved goodbye to Sango as she drove away taking Inuyasha's and some of Kagome's dry cleaning with her. He retreated back to his study where he had spent most of the day. The floor was lined with thick, gray plush carpeting, and the walls were lined with maple bookcases. Two matching leather couches (the exact color of the carpet), and a recliner took up most of the space, which was also littered with a glass and steel computer desk and matching end tables. Just as the half-demon slumped down into his recliner the phone rang. With an exasperated grunt Inuyasha stood, spiking his book into his chair before picking up the phone.
"Inuyasha, how are you this fine afternoon? I've got something sweet..."
"Oh, hey Miroku." Inuyasha walked to his desk, booting his computer. "Give me a minute, the Mac's not on." Long before Miroku ever started working with Inuyasha as Kagome's agent, he and the half demon worked as interns together at the same agency. Because of their work experience together, Inuyasha didn't have to ask what Miroku was talking about. He knew that Miroku's natural ability to bargain brought in yet another excellent opportunity for Kagome, and he trusted Miroku's choice in deals.
Miroku's calm laugh whispered through the receiver. "Inuyasha, when are you going to get a machine with an operating system that you actually like? While I'm quite happy with mine, I can't help but laugh at you..."
"Lay off," Inuyasha growled as he tapped a claw on his desk impatiently. "I haven't said anything today, I'm getting used to it. The program they've got for this thing does a lot better with organizing Kagome's schedule than my handwritten day planner ever could."
"...right. You and your ridiculous penchant for home décor. You're the only guy I know who uses a G5 just because it matches your office furniture." Inuyasha could clearly picture Miroku's eyes rolling as he spoke. "Well, I suppose with all of the hard work you've done with Kagome you've earned the ability to fuss over color swatches."
Inuyasha growled in response as he opened his scheduling program. He would take it to his grave that the real reason why his house was so color-coordinated was because Kagome decorated it herself. Inuyasha also hoped to never mention the fact that even his desktop wallpaper and screensaver matched the room's color scheme. "Just shut up and give me the details..."
"As you wish," Miroku laughed.
"I'm very sorry to bother you, but... my daughter is a big fan, after all..."
Kagome smiled warmly. Even though popularity was hindering and intrusive at times, she repeated the same mantra in her head: without the fans, there would be no career. "It's all right; I'm flattered you have my CD handy!" She took the album booklet and pen from the short, middle-aged man in front of her and tested the ink on her hand. "What is her name?"
"Eriko. Actually, I just bought this CD today, she begged me to buy it for her birthday."
"Even better," Kagome replied. She murmured the words as she wrote. "To Eriko: Happy birthday! Love, Higurashi Kagome." Kagome slipped the CD booklet back in its case and bowed slightly as she handed it back. "Thank her for me, please?"
"No, thank -you-!" The man bowed profusely as he continued down the street, and Kagome gave another short bow before she entered her limousine. She sighed as the door closed behind her.
Kagome's driver for the night was actually one of Inuyasha's assistants, Shippo. Though Kagome was very fond of the young fox youkai, she knew that sending him to be her chauffeur was just another way for Inuyasha to keep his fingers in her business. While Shippo cared deeply for Kagome he had a tendency to take Inuyasha's side in most matters. It was Kagome's suspicion that since Shippo was Inuyasha's only youkai employee, things were like this. Shippo's intrusiveness and strong opinions of Kagome's personal life was only second to Inuyasha's. Kagome and Shippo were often known to argue like siblings, but also cared for each other as such.
"If I were you, I would have at least eaten dinner." Shippo put on his turn signal, waiting for traffic to clear before he pulled away from the curb. "The food here rocks so much!"
"Sorry Shippo. If I would have stopped to think about it I would have boxed it up for you. I don't like to waste food, either." Kagome reached for a pillow from the seat facing hers, and curled up across the back of the car. She burrowed her arms and back into the seat, cuddling the pillow. "I guess I was a little distracted after Hojo left so suddenly."
"I don't believe they had to reshoot. How can ALL of the footage they shot be totally worthless? Someone's messing up big time there."
"Yeah," Kagome muttered. "But that's our life, isn't it?" A couple of tears escaped the corner of her eye. Kagome exhaled, laughing quietly to herself. "Even then..."
"...you miss him. This is really bad for you." Shippo honked in thanks to the driver who let him change lanes. "I have half a mind to go down to that studio and kick some ass."
Kagome sniffled. "I love you, Shippo," she laughed. "Just drop me off at Inuyasha's house, by the way. Looks like he sent me a couple of text messages about work."
"I was going to anyway. We're leaving for Osaka late tonight, remember?"
"I remember all too much," Kagome groaned. Today's brief break was over and tomorrow was back to the rhythm of morning rehearsals, sound checks, stage cues, and screaming fans. The thrill of the experience hadn't yet dulled for Kagome. After all, she loved her job. What she missed at times was the stability of someone to come home to after long days and nights. Normally a phone call to Hojo each night was enough for her to get to sleep but as Kagome's career progressed and the hours of work grew, the pair became increasingly distanced.
I just want to see him... Absentmindedly Kagome reached into her purse, running her fingertips across the smooth plastic of her cell phone.
Inuyasha had managed to make a nice indentation in his leather recliner once he finished his phone conversation with Miroku. He had long since given up on finishing his book and laid back, taking in the view of the clouds through the room's skylight. It was a rare moment: he had nothing pressing to do. Wanton, cottony strands of white strayed lazily across deep azure in a silent lullaby. I don't fucking believe this, Inuyasha mused. The sky's rich shade of blue reflected off of the chrome and glass in the room, complimenting the décor. Through the skylight the sky looked brilliant against the light grays from the walls and ceiling. The combination of blue and sunlight illuminated the room so that it glowed. Dynamic shapes of the reflections from various objects: spots and sharp, angled, sinewy shapes glowed against everything in the room. The effect almost made the room look like as if it were underwater.
Only She would think of that. Inuyasha smiled, stretching a little. He filed this moment deeply into his mind. In this atmosphere crafted by the most talented girl he had ever met, it was calming and comfortable. It was home. He didn't want to move from that spot, ever. He didn't want the sun to move any further across the sky and spoil this serene moment.
The clouds mesmerized him once more. Inuyasha's eyelids drooped as he reveled in the warmth of the chair. There was nothing but the hum of a CPU fan and the whisper of a slight breeze outside as Inuyasha let himself be slowly lulled to sleep.
He exhaled. The wind whirred, no, was that the whir of an engine? His ears perked up; there was something familiar about that engine. The sound steadily grew louder before stopping outside of the house. The youkai sighed, rising out of his recliner, though reluctant to do so. Before he could make it to the entryway, the front door opened.
Kagome entered, clutching her purse and scarf together with both hands. Shippo followed, closing the door behind her, and bending to unfasten the clasps in Kagome's shoes. She smiled in thanks, while Inuyasha walked to the edge of the entryway, folding his arms. Kagome was avoiding his gaze; it was obvious what happened.
"On a good day it takes forty minutes to get to Chez Mario's, and you haven't even been gone two hours. Don't tell me..."
"Bastard had to go back and reshoot. Left Kagome before they even got their food," Shippo started, but Kagome responded by a swift elbow to Shippo' ribs.
"He can't HELP that, Shippo, it's fine." Kagome located her house slippers, and Shippo turned for the exit.
Inuyasha's nose twitched.
"Sorry, I know. I'll see you guys later, okay?" Shippo waved as he exited Inuyasha's house.
As Kagome started to slip her feet into her slippers, Inuyasha grabbed her shoulders abruptly. Kagome gasped, barely shuffling her feet into them as she stumbled forward. "Inuyasha! What are you doing?"
"Ssh." Inuyasha's hands slid up to cup Kagome's cheeks as he ran his eyes over her face. Kagome reflexively averted her eyes to the side, absentmindedly dropping her purse and scarf. She slowly flushed as Inuyasha's thumb brushed across her cheeks. She was suddenly aware of her heaving chest, and the slight tremble in her hands. Kagome steeled herself, raising her gaze once more.
Her eyes met Inuyasha's... nostrils. Which were at eye-level, flaring as he sniffed. Kagome sighed. "Hey. What are you doing?"
"You've been crying, haven't you?" Inuyasha finished his investigation with a loud sniff and then backed away to glare at Kagome. "He did this to you again?!"
"It's not like-"
"This is getting fucking ridiculous. I know he's got a job too, but he shouldn't even try to make plans with you if he expects this to happen! How come you have to jump through a damned hoop on a concert day to see him?" Inuyasha raised his hands, exasperated, and spun until his back was towards Kagome. She watched his long hair float back down around his shoulders as he walked away.
"If you've ever been in love with someone, maybe you'd understand the concept of wanting to see them! Even for a minute-" Kagome glanced at the bracelet Inuyasha had given her earlier and realized that she needed to stop talking, immediately.
Without any surprise to Kagome Inuyasha stopped walking and turned. Kagome didn't want to look him in the eyes, fearful of his reaction. She panicked, her eyes searched wildly around the room for an excuse to get away. They fell on her purse and scarf laying discarded onto the floor. Before Kagome could bend to pick them up, Inuyasha's feet came into view, stopping inches short of her own. She straightened, but still held her gaze at their feet. "I'm sorry, Inuyasha, I didn't mean anything by that. I was just -I don't know, I'm sorry- just know that I didn't say that to be malicious..." Kagome already felt miserable enough and didn't want to spread her bad mood. The week was an excellent week in Tokyo with flawless concerts and great reviews, yet she couldn't help but feel horrible. You idiot girl, quit acting like a spoiled brat when your life is so good!
The tears came immediately after Kagome's mental protests and she tried hard not to acknowledge them. She balled her fists rubbing at her eyes as if they itched. One clawed hand gently pushed her hands away from her face while another brought a handkerchief up to dab at her cheeks.
"Just shut up already," Inuyasha soothed Kagome with his smooth voice. He handed her his handkerchief and pulled her into his arms. "Come on and let everything out now." His cheeks burned as he felt her small form stiffen at first but finally relax against his chest. Her heartbeats pounded in his ears until a sob finally escaped her lips. It took a few slight trembles after to make Inuyasha realize that Kagome was still trying to hold her tears back.
"What are you doing, Girl? Let it go."
He was answered with deep inhaling and slow exhaling. She was trying to let it out slowly.
"Stop that, dammit!" The grip on Kagome loosened and strong hands slid back, clamping around her arms for a moment. They ran gently up and down them reassuringly. Encouragingly. His eyes never left Kagome as her head lowered, pressing against his body once more as she finally sobbed freely, one hand sliding up to cling to his shirt. Her bare shoulders shook with every breath. Her grip on Inuyasha's shirt tightened. With a small shake of his head, Inuyasha's hair moved out of the way so that his gaze fixated on the bracelet hanging from Kagome's wrist. A familiar knot twisted in his stomach. He did his best to ignore it.
"I'm... sorry... I don't deserve to complain." Kagome whimpered. "This is just the price we pay, isn't it?"
Inuyasha brought his hands up to her back, leaning his head down towards hers. "You still deserve to have feelings, Kagome. Now let's wait for Sango to come back before we head out to the concert hall."
"Right," Kagome sniffled, smiling up at him.
"Wanna eat something?" Inuyasha said a little louder. "I can't promise you I cook as well as they do over at Chez Mario but I'm sure it'll be good anyway." Releasing her, he turned towards the kitchen and looked back at her over his shoulder.
"Thanks, Inuyasha. Sounds great."
A kouban is a police box- a mini (usually one/two person, I think) police station in residential areas. The officers there know the everyone living in its surrounding area, and pretty much patrol the area. They're good to go to if you're lost, and if you're staying with someone in Japan it doesn't hurt to introduce yourself to the officer if the situation ever allows.
Thank you for reading! I'm kinda working on chapter two, so until then...