A/N: Konichiwa, minna-san! The next chapter of TFYP up! This is the chapter I know some of you have been waiting for and I hope it doesn't dissapoint. The actual Can You Feel the Love scene is shorter than I originally thought it would be, but I think it goes perfectly with the story. This is a rather appropriate day to post this, don't you think?^^
She glared down at him, her eyes sparking with anger.
Her eyes snapped wide in surprise and confusion and she slowly stepped back, removing her foot from his chest. Who was this boy? He looked not two ears older than herself. Her eyes darted to his friends as he stood and brushed himself off. Such unusual features, you'd think she'd remember meeting him. There were only three people she knew to have features like his, but… One she knew to be back in Tokyo, looking after his own business, and the other two were dead…right? Could it possibly be? She didn't dare let herself believe…
"Who…who are you?"
The brightening of the boy's amber eyes and the smile that broke out on his face made Kagome's heart leap in her chest, and she just dared to hope… "Really, Kagome, how many hanyou do you know with dog ears on top of their head?" He twitched said ears for emphasis. When she still looked at him with suspicion he took a step closer and said in a gentler, more serious voice, "It's me. It's InuYasha."
Her blue eyes opened wide once more with disbelief. She looked intently at his face. The same boyish enthusiasm, the same amber eyes, though they seemed darker with hardship. Tears welled in her deep blue orbs and she, too, stepped closer, raising a hand to his cheek without actually touching it. "InuYasha?" she whispered. His smile grew all the wider at her recognition and he nodded. Then, without warning, she threw herself at him, her arms winding around his neck, hugging him for all she was worth. He, too, wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her, though not quite as fiercely, he didn't want to hurt the girl after all. He nuzzled her ear slightly. For the first time in a long while, he was happy, really happy. They were in their own little world on that Kyoto sidewalk. "B-But…how?" she sobbed. How could it possibly be? "He told us…that you were d-dead."
InuYasha pulled back from the embrace to look her in the eye. "Who?" he asked, confused. 'Dead…?'
She swallowed back her tears. "Naraku. He told us all about what happened with your father-"
"My father?" he fidgeted, "How much did he tell you?"
"Ah-hem. Uh, guys? Can we not do this in the middle of a busy sidewalk?" Sango asked in an annoyed tone. She and Miroku had watched from the side as this reunion went on. The hentai had calmed down and came out of hiding as soon as it seemed the new girl was thoroughly distracted and now was now rather interested that InuYasha knew her. Sango, however, seemed to not like the situation much.
InuYasha seemed to snap out of a trance at his friend's interruption. "Oh! Yeah, our apartment is just down this way a little, we can go there."
Kagome looked as if she would agree before she remembered something. "Wait. I should probably find my hotel first and check in. If I wait to long-"
"Why not just stay with us?" InuYasha cut her off, "You can save some money and we can…you know, catch up?" Off to the side, Sango scowled at the fact that he hadn't even consulted them.
Kagome gave a shy smile. "I'd like that." Amber eyes lit back up at her answer.
Fifteen minutes later and all four were standing together in the living room of their small apartment. Kagome was once again just staring at InuYasha with the same happy disbelief as before. "Ten years. We've all…We all thought you were dead. And now you're standing right in front of me, all grown up and…" The raven haired girl choked back the tears welling in her eyes.
Without thinking, InuYasha closed the distance between them and took her into his arms, holding her close. "Don't cry, Kagome. You know how I hate it when you cry."
She laughed through her tears and leaned back from his embrace. "You just don't know how happy I am right now, how happy everyone will be. That day…You don't know what it was like for us. Your mother had thought she'd lost both of you. Oh, Kami, what will your mother say when she finds out-"
"She's not going to find out. None of them are." His eyes narrowed in determination, his voice set.
Kagome looked confused. "What do you mean? You're coming back with me aren't you?" He looked away stubbornly. "Takahashi InuYasha, you look at me!"
It was at this point that the two bystanders' eyes flew open. They looked at each other. "Takahashi?" Sango asked, stunned.
Miroku stepped forward. "Not Takahashi of Takahashi-Higurashi Incorporated?"
Kagome huffed and InuYasha glared, trying to get her to shut up. It didn't work. "Of course! I'm the Higurashi, he's the Takahashi, well our fathers were anyway. Who did you think he was?"
Miroku spoke up again, much to InuYasha's ire. "Takeda InuYasha."
"Takeda?" Kagome turned to her hanyou friend. "Your mother's maiden name." She ignored his growing glare. "But why? You're a Takahashi, InuYasha. You're the heir of – Dear Kami." She stared at him and he began to fidget. "Your father's will. You're supposed to inherit the company. InuYasha, it's yours by right!" Inexplicably to everyone else, this made the girl very happy.
Miroku's eyes widened with glee. "InuYasha, buddy! You have money! You have power! You can be famous and have any girl you want-!" Ow." Sango slapped him over his head and scowled.
"Now look here, missy. You have the wrong guy. Yash isn't some stuck up rich snob and couldn't have been raised in that world. I mean, sure, he does fine as manager of Keade's gaijin restaurant, but running an entire empire of a company? No offence, Yash." He grunted at Sango's speech.
Kagome stomped her foot at the older girl. "InuYasha was not raised as a rich snob, and how dare you insinuate that his parents were such!"
"Calm down, Kagome, she didn't mean it like that."
"Listen," he walked past her to look out the window and sighed, frustrated. "I can't go back to that world. I'm sure Sesshomaru's got everything under control anyway." The room fell silent, one in disappointment, one in satisfaction, and once in confusion.
"Sesshomaru?" Kagome asked, "InuYasha, I haven't seen Sesshomaru since your – I mean your father's funeral."
Now the hanyou was the one confused. He half turned to her. "What do you mean? He's the next blood-kin, the company should have gone to him."
Kagome looked away, realizing that he had no idea what was happening back home. "He refused, InuYasha. He didn't want the 'burden' of your father's company on top of the responsibility of his own. Naraku bought out the company." Her voice was sad.
"Naraku-san?" he saw her flinch at the honorific, "Why is that a problem? Tou-san trusted him."
Kagome's face contorted in anger. "It was a hostile takeover in the midst of the tragedy. A lot of people lost their jobs and were replaced with his full-demon cronies."
"Oka-san?" This was too much. If his mother had been forced out because he ran away…
Kagome scoffed. "Oh, he kept some important people, your mom, me, my mom, for appearances' sake, but only with the threat of black-listing if we left."
InuYasha was confused. "You? You're, what? Almost twenty? Shouldn't you be in college?"
She snorted. "I was certainly planning on it. Thought I'd go to Osaka and get away from Naraku for good. But when I graduated high school, he announced that he'd hire me right away and if I refused, he'd black-list me so thoroughly I wouldn't even be able to get a job as a bag-lady." She sighed at his disbelieving look. "Do you know why I'm here, in Kyoto, InuYasha? You're father's company is going under. I'm here to try and get one of our biggest investors not to pull out. Naraku ruined it. He ruined everything."
InuYasha turned to the window and closed his eyes. "Naraku-san wouldn't do that. He was a friend to my family. It can't be as bad as you say it is." He didn't want to believe it. He didn't want it to be his fault. Just like it was his fault that his father died…just by being alive. He jumped at Kagome's next words.
"Are you calling me a liar?!" She was pissed, her hands clenched at her sides.
InuYasha turned. "No! That's not what I meant!"
"You haven't been there, InuYasha! You don't know what the hell it's like!" She took an angry step forward; he could tell she wanted to hit him.
"Kagome, it's not my problem anymore!"
She slapped him.
"Like hell." She gave him the most vicious glare she could. "It will always be your problem, InuYasha, because you are the only one who can fix it. You're just choosing to run away again." She turned away from him and took a step towards the door. InuYasha panicked. He didn't want it to end like this…not after they had just found each other again.
As quickly as he could, he blocked her path, barring her from leaving the apartment. He grabbed her shoulders and when she refused to look at him, he shook her slightly. "Kagome, I-" What could he say? Suddenly, he smelled the salt from her tears and knew he had to suck up his pride. He pulled her to him in a tight embrace. "I'm sorry." He said quietly.
After a moment, she relented. Even when he was younger, he rarely apologized outright. She didn't really want to leave anyway. He was back from the dead, and she wanted to keep it that way. She gave a small watery laugh. "Listen to us. Together not a half an hour and we're fighting like an old married couple."
InuYasha loosened his grip and smiled somewhat sadly. "Well, we are technically engaged. You remember what Miyoga-jiji said."
Kagome leaned back and lifted a hand to his cheek, her smile was bitter. "We've both changed so much. Maybe too much." He wasn't coming back with her, so why even hint at a relationship? InuYasha released her and tried to shrug off the feeling of rejection. He didn't really have a claim on her after all.
Sango's eyebrow began to tick. What did this girl think she was doing? He was their friend too. He must have run away for a reason, so why was she trying to drag him back? "Let him just forget his past already, will ya?"
This seemed to snap the two old friends back to reality. Kagome blinked, stepped back from the hanyou, and cleared her throat as she straitened her blouse. Once Sango's words sunk in, however, her eyes narrowed.
InuYasha, though embarrassed, recognized the sign and cut in before anything could happen. "Oi," he put his arm in front of Kagome, "Calm down Sango. I'd like to avoid another fight so soon, if you don't mind." There was a slight growl in his voice. Sango deferred, but obviously wasn't happy about it. The hanyou looked over a Miroku, who still looked enraptured by the beautiful new comer. It was then that he realized that he never actually introduced any of them. "Oh, um, Kagome this is Sango and Miroku, they took me in when I first got here and are now really good friends of mine. Guys, this is Kagome, she's…well, she's…"
"We grew up together." The blue-eyed girl finished for him. She put out a hand in a very business like way to Sango, who looked down at it before giving it a strong, curt shake. Miroku nearly pushed his friend out of the way in his efforts to formally meet Kagome. He stuck out his hand with a smile.
"A pleasure to meet you m'lady."
Kagome's eyes narrowed slightly at him and she crossed her arms. "I'm not touching that. No telling where it's been." Miroku fidgeted and slowly drew back his hand as his two friends' gazes landed on him.
"What did you do?"InuYasha demanded.
"N-Nothing…" he tried to look innocent.
"He grabbed me in a very inappropriate place." Kagome shifted her weight on to her other foot.
"Miroku…" the hanyou growled low.
"InuYasha you know he does this all the time! Let it go," Sango stepped in front of a cowering Miroku, surprising InuYasha just long enough for Kagome to throw in her two bits.
"InuYasha," she said gently, laying a hand on his tense arm, "I only meant it as a joke. I'm sure any friend of yours can't be that bad, ne?" He looked at her for a moment before releasing his stance, but still gave Miroku a withering glair. There was a small awkward silence before Kagome drew InuYasha's attention once more. "Hey, maybe we should get out of here. You and confined spaces never really mixed well. We could go out for dinner or something…" She looked at him shyly through her bangs, not really sure if this was appropriate for two friends who hadn't seen each other in almost a decade.
He relaxed almost completely and gave a small nod, also slightly unsure. "Um, the Sakura Festival is on not too far away. We could…we could go check that out."
"Wonderful!" Miroku exclaimed, "We could all get to know each other a little bit better." He grinned at the beautiful nineteen year old.
"Oh, um…" Kagome fidgeted awkwardly and glanced back up at InuYasha before looking down at her feet.
InuYasha understood the problem. "Um, I think you guys should stay here or something." He looked at Sango and Miroku, one shocked, the other disappointed. "Me and Kagome want to catch up and stuff. And from how it sounded earlier, we have a lot of ground to cover." Kagome smiled up at him. It was obvious he wasn't used to doing things like this without them. "We'll go as soon as you're ready." he said to Kagome.
"Ok. You're mom told me to enjoy the festival while I'm here, so I made sure to bring a yukata. I'll just go change into that." She turned before remembering she didn't know the layout of the apartment. "Um, where should I go?" she asked sheepishly.
InuYasha shook his head and smirked. "My room, second door on the right." She smiled at him and scurried down the hall with her small duffle bag. He looked back at his two other friends and fidgeted under their stares. "What?" he asked defensively.
"What do you think you're doing?" Sango raised an eyebrow.
"Keh. What does it look like?" He wouldn't meet their eyes.
"What have we told you about putting your past behind you? We know whatever happened still bothers you. You can't get over it if you indulge in things that are part of your past!" Sango folded her arms, "Besides, I don't trust her. All rich people are the same. Annoying, greedy, bitchy, snobbish little prats…"
"I can't just push her away like that. It wasn't her fault I left. And Kagome's not like that. You don't know her." They stared at each other for a tense minute before InuYasha noticed some movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see Miroku trying to open the window out to the fire escape without making a sound. "Miroku!" the dark haired man stopped with a guilty look on his face. "Grabbing her was one thing, you didn't know she was mine, but I will gauge out your eyes if you go peeping-tom on her." he growled. The other two stared at him. "What now?!"
The hanyou had the decency to blush, and looked away. "Um, if…if we're going to the festival, I should probably change too…" He ignored the question and walked toward his room. He knocked on the door. "It's me. Can I come in?"
"Yeah! I'm decent!?" Kagome called back. He opened the door and slid in, making sure to lock it behind him. When he turned towards his beat-up old dresser and mirror he was stunned into speechlessness. She was beautiful. She had donned a simple, soft green summer yukata struned with medium sized white flowers, with a light blue juban peaking out at the neckline, all held together with a bright red obi which she was just finishing tying in a simple butterfly knot. In the rush of everything happening he hadn't had time to really look at her before, but now… He could see she was no longer the young girl he once knew. She was slim, but not overly so, with curves in all the right places. Her skin was pale, but not pasty, a testament that she probably spent most of her day in an office building. He watched her begin playing with her long, dark locks, using one hand to hold them up close to her head. He took a few steps closer to stand behind her and used one of his own hands to gently push away hers, letting her hair fall free.
He looked at her reflection in the mirror and she met his gaze. "Leave it down. I like it when it's down."
She smiled at him in the mirror. "I know. I remember." They stood like that for a moment, just enjoying the other's company. "You should get ready."
"Keh. How do you know I'm not just going like this?" His eyes narrowed playfully.
She giggled. "You wouldn't have come in here if you were." She'd got him there.
"Keh." He turned and went to his closet, fishing around in the back for his traditional robes. He found them without too much trouble and, without thinking, freed himself of his T-shirt and slipped his arms into the white juban. Meanwhile Kagome had backed up to sit on the end of the full-sized bed to slip into her white tabi socks. She was just in the middle of pulling one on when she glanced up at the mirror and stopped dead. In the reflection she could see InuYasha changing, pulling off his shirt to reveal a lean but strong figure with toned, pale skin. It was quickly covered with the white fabric of his juban, but she couldn't tear away her gaze as his nimble gingers secured the ties. Since the juban reached almost to his knees he seemed not to hesitate to start unfastening his belt. His fingers were on the fly before he glanced up and met her stare. Both looked away with a blush. "Do you…do you mind?" He fidgeted.
"No…" she answered quietly. She had expected him to change cloths, but she hadn't expected to enjoy it so much. He had muscle, but it would be easy to misjudge his strength. The combination of those muscles flexing and his amber eyes and his long beautiful hair skimming the skin just above his low-slung jeans…Kami, she'd never felt like this before. She tried to shake it out of her mind and distract herself by quickly pulling her other tabi on and slipping on her zori sandals. She felt the mattress sink behind her and glanced up to see InuYasha sitting on the side of the bed so he could tighten the ankle ties of his red hakama and slip into barely noticeable reed sandals. They got up together and looked at each other.
"I guess we should go…" InuYasha said after an awkward moment. Kagome smiled and nodded, taking his arm as they walked down the hall. They barely noticed Sango and Miroku staring at them as they walked through the living room and out the front door.
"Look at them!" Sango raged once they had gone out of the apartment.
"Sango, love, I don't know why you're all worked up about this. They haven't seen each other in years." He tried to placate her.
"Trust me, there's a lot more there than old friendship. Did you see the way they were looking at each other?" She crossed her arms with a huff.
Miroku's face dropped in almost comical fear. "You…you aren't jealous are you?"
Sango deadpanned. "Jealous? Are you stupid?" She threw up her hands, her ponytail wagging with the shaking of her head. "No, I'm not jealous! But, but…Oh, come on, we're fallowing them." She grabbed his wrist and dragged him out the door.
The streets housing the festival were crowded with couples and groups of friends in traditional attire. It was noisy, but not to the point where it was annoying. The happy shouts and giggles, and easy talking of friends created a warm atmosphere as the sun dipped lower in the sky. The smell of noodles and steamed vegetables and roasting meat of the food stands blended with the soft fragrance of the sakura blossoms to create am aroma that couldn't fail to put a smile on anyone's face.
Sango and Miroku followed the hanyou and his childhood friend at a relative distance, trying to be discrete. They watched their friend walk arm-in-arm with the girl, sometimes talking, sometimes lapsing into what looked like a comfortable silence. Every once in a while Kagome would pull InuYasha towards a carnival booth. Sango's eyes narrowed at the raven haired girl's incessant giggling when each of the hanyou's paddles ripped through as he tried to catch a goldfish at a particular booth. She even growled a little when the girl promptly scooped a shimmering orange fish into a water-filled bag on her first try, dangling it teasingly in front of her dog-eared companion.
"Look at her!" Sango gestured wildly at the grinning girl, "She just thinks she's all that. I swear, she thinks she's better than us. Stupid little rich girl." She folded her arms and turned away in a huff.
Miroku sighed as he watched Kagome bend down and hand over her fish to a sniffling young boy who couldn't seem to get the hang of the paper paddles himself. She even smiled encouragingly at him when he hesitated to take it from her. "I really don't see what the problem is, Sango. She seems alright to me."
Sango turned to him, glair still set. "Can't you see what's happening? I can."
Miroku looked intently at the couple now standing in front of a food stall, deciding what to have for dinner and then back at his friend. "What's happening?"
Sango huffed again. "Geez, none of you have a clue!" She gestured to the hanyou and the girl, both grinning at each other presumably because of something one of them had said. "They'll fall in love and he'll just follow her back to where they grew up, abandoning us just like everyone else in our lives."
"Oh," Now he understood why Sango disliked the new girl so much. He thought for a moment. "Well, that's the worst case scenario. Come on, we'll just see what happens." Grudgingly, she followed him to spy on their friend some more.
Kagome couldn't help but laugh hysterically at InuYasha's choice of beef ramen for dinner. It seemed as if his mother had been wrong that his ramen-for-every-meal phase would end quickly. But, of course, this gave him license to tease her about her never-ending oden obsession; her choice of dinner. They found a vacated bench that looked back on the game booths. They ate in contented silence, watching people enjoying the festivities.
Out of the corner of his eye, InuYasha watched the beautiful woman beside him. It seemed there was some understanding between them not to bring up what had been breached back at the apartment. There was so much he wanted to tell her. He wanted to make her understand why he left and why he couldn't go back. He wanted to tell her everything, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't want to change her view of him. Sure she didn't mind him being hanyou now, but what would she think if she knew he had been the cause of his father's death? She had been so innocent back then, and she still seemed relatively content now, and with what he knew about the hardships she'd faced, it seemed quite a feat. If she knew…she'd be disgusted. Disgusted with him. He never wanted to see that expression on her gentle face.
Kagome watched a group of young children chase each other around, darting in and out of the throngs of people. It reminded her of when she and InuYasha had been in school, when they would play just like that. It saddened her a little bit because she knew the schoolyard at TH Inc. was empty and in just as much disrepair as everything else. Just another thing Naraku had screwed up. She had never been able to watch her little brother, Souta, play on the same equipment she had. Everything would be different if she could get InuYasha to come back with her. She knew he do an amazing job as CEO. Anyone would be better than Naraku, but she could see something in InuYasha. It screamed authority and determination. Why couldn't he see himself the way she saw him? There was something about how he acted… He was hiding something from her. But what could it possibly be? What could be so horrible he couldn't even tell her? She glanced at him from the corner of her eye and promptly dissolved into a fit of giggles. Her hanyou friend was stuffing his face with ramen so fast there was absolutely no way he could breathe between bites.
InuYasha stopped mid-slurp and turned his head slightly. "Whaa'?" This response served only to make the girl laugh even harder.
"Y-You're…you're eating like you don't know when you're next meal will be." Her dark blue eyes twinkled with mirth.
InuYasha, however, got defensive. "Well, for a while, when I first came here…I didn't. It's just habit now."
Kagome's face fell instantly. "InuYasha…"
He shook his head. "Don't."
"InuYasha, I want to talk about this."
"…We will. Just not tonight, ok?" He gave her a small smile of assurance. She nodded as he went back to quickly devouring his beef-flavored noodles. When he was finished, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve and, deciding Kagome was taking far too long finishing her food, InuYasha quickly swiped one of the last pieces of oden from her bento box. While eliciting a harsh glair that was hard to distinguish as real or playful, the action did seem to lighten the mood quite a bit. When he grabbed for another with his chopsticks she was ready and pulled the box from his reach. His continued attempts pulled a giggle from her now upturned lips. Deciding she could evade him for only so long while still sitting on the bench, she sprang from her seat, still laughing, and ran, gobbling down the last piece of delicious oden and throwing out her trash when she streaked past the first bin she found.
InuYasha ran after her, weaving in and out of the other people in the streets, laughing himself at the fun of the chase. Every time he would get close, it seemed, she would dart through another group of festival-goers and he would have to look hard to catch a glimpse of her green and white yukata, or for her bright red obi to catch his eye. There was an instant when he saw her in the open, with no people hiding her from his view. She was looking back at him, teasing him to come and catch her, still laughing in their game. A breeze had chosen that moment to pick up and shower her with sakura petals, as if it were a gentle pink snow. It was the single most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and, as luck would have it, his awe gave Kagome just enough time to dart away again before he could catch up.
She ran into a park and he continued to follow her until they came to a rise of a small hill, which slowed her considerably with the help of her shortened breath. Putting on an extra burst of speed, the hanyou was easily able to close the gap between them and, instead of simply stopping her at the top of the rise, he seized her around her waist as his momentum combined with gravity pulled them both to the ground. With a surprised yelp from Kagome, they rolled the short way to the bottom of the hill, still intertwined, with InuYasha taking as much of the impact as he could, thus ending up on his back with his best friend sprawled half across his chest.
Both now breathing hard, InuYasha chuckled a bit. "Why is it that we always end up like this? With me on my back and you holding me there?"
The girl lifted her head from his shoulder, using her arms to prop herself up on his chest, and looked down at his face. "I don't know." she grinned, "Maybe you're just the submissive one in our relationship." She laughed outright when InuYasha narrowed his eyes and growled, obviously unhappy with that explanation. But that quickly dissolved into laughter when he fully realized she had been kidding. As their laughter died down, Kagome looked down at her friend and blue clashed with gold. Panting, they both stilled as everything else around them melted away. They couldn't tear their eyes from each other, even if they wanted to.
"I missed you…" Kagome whispered, as if speaking any louder would break whatever wonderful magic had swathed itself around them.
"I missed you, too…" InuYasha reciprocated just as quietly. Without further invitation, Kagome slowly leaned in, not breaking eye-contact until the very moment her lips met his. It was sweet and sorrowful and passionate and joyful all at the same time and neither wanted to stop. In that moment, none of their problems plagued them and they were just two people, a man and a woman, falling in love.
Back at the top of the hill, Sango and Miroku watched the two new lovebirds. Sango gave a furious snort and Miroku just sighed. "His life just got a whole lot more complicated."
Sango turned away from the scene. "He's doomed."
"Well, there's no use crying about it. We might as well just go back home. But, I think I'm sleeping on the roof tonight." Miroku began walking back the way they'd come.
Sango glanced back at the kissing duo. "Ick. Me too." She followed her friend.
A/N: Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! Tell me what you think, ne? Happy Valentine's Day minna! Can you feel the love? =P