Chapter One

Leaves fell lightly outside the window, their delicate structure floating in the light autumn breeze that blew outside. Inside the apartment on the top floor of the old building, lights glowed brightly from above and the TV blared on in the background.

Kagome stirred the pasta in the pot, preventing the starch from building at the top of the water. Moriko watched her from her position at the kitchen table, various crayons and pieces of paper straying the flat surface. Her daughter's bright blue eyes were narrowed in concentration as she used the pink crayon to draw a large flower at the foot of three blobs Kagome assumed were people.

Outside the kitchen, Inuyasha studied the reality TV show with a small frown. His arms were folded behind his head and his feet were propped up on the coffee table before him. His lavender eyes watched the contestants on the screen complete various tasks and yell at each other, as was customary of reality.

As the program came to a close, the man grinned and stood up. He walked leisurely towards the kitchen and his grin widened when Kagome looked up. "Before I was a genius. But now I'm a rich genius," he declared proudly.

Kagome raised an eyebrow and watched Inuyasha as he leaned down and kissed her cheek before flopping down into a chair next to Moriko. The girl looked up at him and smiled brightly at him. He returned the smile to the little girl.

"And how is it that we've become so rich?" Kagome asked calmly as she checked on the red sauce for the pasta. Moriko glanced between the two adults for a brief moment before continuing in her drawing of Inuyasha wearing a hula skirt.

"Because I just won us fifty dollars," Inuyasha said proudly.

"How did you manage to do that?" Kagome asked suspiciously as she turned away from her food preparation in order to give the longhaired man a questioning look.

Inuyasha, who continued to look proud of himself, folded his arms across his chest and smirked at her. "From the Apprentice."

"The reality show?" Kagome blinked in surprise before shaking her head. "Didn't you work on the Apprentice?"

"Yes," he said proudly.

"And you won money from...?"

"I bet one of Miroku's friends fifty dollars that Jennifer would be fired this week, and she was," Inuyasha said proudly.

"But Inuyasha." Kagome glanced at Moriko before grabbing Inuyasha's arm and dragging him away from the kitchen. "You worked on the apprentice!"

"That's how I knew that Jennifer was going to be fired," Inuyasha said proudly.

"But that's illegal! You knew what was going to happen," Kagome hissed. "You will not collect those fifty dollars from whoever it was you betted with."

Inuyasha's proud smile dissolved into a look of confusion. "But..."

"No buts; you cannot do this. This is illegal and morally wrong," Kagome said with a frown.

"But we're getting money!"

"We're doing just fine without illegal ways of gaining money," Kagome said angrily.

Inuyasha's eyes narrowed. "But I'm currently unemployed and you work in that crappy car dealership. I think we could use this extra money, and it's a fast and easy way to do it. If I bet four people fifty dollars and win, that means I'll get two hundred dollars every Thursday."

"I don't care, it's wrong. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't insult my line of work," Kagome said crossly as she glared at him. "At least I have a job. If you're so keen on making money, you can go and get yourself a real job where you can work for your pay."

Inuyasha growled lightly and his lavender eyes flashed angrily. "I'm just trying to help us get some money around here. Jesus woman, why are you getting so pissed off about it?"

"I've already told you! It's illegal! Get that through your head!" Kagome screeched.

"At least it's a way to bring in money," he repeated his earlier argument. "God! I thought you'd be happy that I was making an effort!"

"It's not an effort when you sit on your ass and rip people off because you know what's going to happen! I'd be a hell of a lot happier if you actually went out and got a job!"

Sobs broke the couple away from their screaming fit and turned to see Moriko staring at them with tears in her eyes. "Stop fighting," she whimpered.

"Look, now you've made Moriko cry!" Kagome turned blazing eyes towards Inuyasha.

"I did not! You're the one who's carrying on about this betting thing. It's fifty fucking dollars, Kagome!"

"Yeah, but for how long?" Kagome snapped as she tried to shoo Moriko from the room. "What about when it becomes one hundred dollars? Or one fifty? Huh? What then, Inuyasha?"

"Would you stop freaking out about it, you stupid woman? It's not a big deal," his anger was evident in his blazing eyes and his voice growing darker and darker.

"Yes it is!"

"Fuck this, I can't deal with this right now!" Inuyasha declared as he grabbed his coat, shoved it on and slipped into his shoes.

"You'd better leave," Kagome yelled after him.

"I'm happy to, I can't stand another minute listening to your nagging," Inuyasha declared angrily as he slammed open the door.

"And don't you come back, either," Kagome screamed after him.

"I don't plan to," Inuyasha screamed back and slammed the door behind him.

Inuyasha stomped down the staircase, his anger radiating off him. He reached the bottom steps and opened the door to the dark night outside.

He shoved his hands into his pockets and stomped down the almost empty streets. Only when he was a block away did he stop walking and his anger drained from his body.

"Sorry..." he murmured to no one.

Kagome was angry. She was angry when Inuyasha left, when they ate dinner, and when she was washing the dishes. Her blue eyes stared outside the window above the sink, a frown etched on her face and her blue eyes flashing with her anger.

After the dishes were cleaned and put away, Kagome found herself feeling a little better; also feeling silly at the fact that she'd escalated the fight. Her blue eyes surveyed the kitchen, spotless as usual. She sighed and stepped out, finding Moriko in her corner, trying desperately not to look at her mother.

After Inuyasha had left, Moriko had refused to look at her. She was upset and angry with her mother and Inuyasha, obviously.

She was about to reach out for her daughter when a knock came at the door. Kagome glanced up at the door and blinked. "Inuyasha," Kagome said crossly, "I'm not going to let you in unless you're sorry."

She reached for the doorknob and opened it. "I mean it, Inu—"

She stopped dead in her tracks and stared in shock at the man before her.


"Hi," Kouga said softly, a small smile on his face.