I do not own Inuyasha or Deana Carter's "Once Upon a December".

"It's like a memory from a dream" - Anya, from the film "Anastasia", featuring the above song.

Once Upon a December

Dancing bears

Painted wings

Things I almost remember

One-two, one-two, one-two. She took each step perfectly, knowing their dance by heart. He smiled and spun her out, holding onto her small hand with a delicate claw. Wind whirled through her hair, and she laughed, spinning back into his grasp. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her flush against him. She gasped, his molten gaze boring into her eyes with an intensity she'd never seen from anyone but him. A hand came up to cup her chin, tilting her head up.

"Stay with me," he whispered. She left her eyes drift close.

"Yes, my lord…"

- - - - - - - - - -

Beep beep beep beep beep

Catherine Ichiro groaned and rolled over in bed, slapping her hand on the alarm clock and silencing the infernal contraption. She sat up and yawned, sliding out of bed and walking to the bathroom still half asleep. She caught a glimpse of the calendar on the wall as she passed the doorframe and headed into the shower.

December Twenty-Fifth. Christmas Day. A day of celebration for love, joy, friends, family and the spirit of giving.

She had not known such a day for over two decades. Catherine's parents had been killed in a hit and run when she was six, and she spent the next ten years drifting from guardian to guardian, people who may or may not have actually been related to her and either didn't care she was their charge or were too drunk/drugged to realize it. She had fled when she turned sixteen. It was only with a willpower she didn't know she possessed that she was able to graduate high school and narrowly slip into a cooking school. She had spent almost four years saving every penny she made from her two jobs for tuition, living in homeless shelters and bus stations and eating meals bought from a convenience store shelf.

Catherine hadn't celebrated Christmas in years. There was no reason to. She had never had a boyfriend or any friends really, and what was left of her family didn't care she exists. She had no one to spend the holidays with, no one to buy for, and for that matter, no money to buy anything with, not even a Christmas tree. No money to celebrate, no one to celebrate with. In other words, nothing to celebrate.

Catherine stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around herself. She wiped the steam off the mirror and grabbed a hairbrush. Her hair was medium length, maybe just passed the shoulders. It always hung straight and had split ends, something she hated, she could never do anything with it. She brushed the hair out, letting the glistening black strands fall to her bare shoulders.

And a song someone sings

Once upon a December

She finished drying off and went back into the bedroom of the small apartment. She pulled open the closet door and reached inside. It was a modest dress, something any woman could afford. Well, any woman except her, she had been forced to ask her co-workers at the restaurant to split the costs. It dipped low on the neckline, but stopped short anything scandalous. It hugged her torso tightly and then flared into a larger skirt that ran down to her knees. The dress was a dark orange.

Catherine grabbed the dress and unzipped the back, looking at the clock. She'd be late by the time she drove there, the banquet had started more than an hour ago. Jacky would be pissed. She frowned and turned her thoughts back to that dream again.

That dream. Not the same, but it might as well have been. The same man, the same dance, the same eerily beautiful music from an unseen orchestra. Catherine had never danced in her life, nor had she seen anyone quite resembling the man in her dreams. How many men boasted long white hair passed their waist? Catherine was sure she would remember someone like that if she met them. She pulled on the dress and zipped it up, rushing about the apartment to gather her purse and keys.

Catherine pulled into the underground parking lot of the Taisho Plaza. The plaza was the headquarters for the Taisho family, one of the richest families in the country with a fortune in stocks and bonds. The Taishos had their hands in the pockets of Yahoo, Microsoft and Gucci, among countless other top companies. How they had made such smart investments, Catherine didn't know, but she'd like in on their secret. Also on that list was why the Taisho family had hired The Taste of Beauty to cater for their banquet. The restaurant wasn't exceptionally popular or high-class. All Catherine knew was that the Taishos had called just a week before December and demanded their catering services on Christmas.

Someone holds me safe and warm

Horses prance through a silver storm

"Catherine, about time!" Jacky hissed, the woman in question emerging into the banquet hall. The vast room was split into a dinner section, and a dance floor. The food tables were lined up along the side of the room with a stage and a podium at the far end where Catherine had heard there would be gifts, awards and speeches later that night.

"Sorry, I slept in," Catherine said, shrugging off her jacket into a chair behind the table for the appetizers. That dream kept tugging on her mind, but Catherine pushed it away. She had a job to do now, daydreaming was out of the question.

"Hello sir, would you like a roll?" she said sweetly. The man nodded and waited while Catherine lifted two bread rolls onto his plate. "Butter?"

"There she is," he muttered, nodding toward the banquet table. His older brother followed his gaze. "You'd better be sure that's her, you know I love The Italian Confection. If you made us switch caterers for nothing…" the younger threatened.

"Be silent, whelp," the older glared, standing. "It is her, I know it." He raised his hand and signaled the orchestra by the stage. The conductor caught his eyes and nodded, turning his booklet to the next song and tapping his music stand. The other musicians nodded and raised their instruments.

Figures dancing gracefully

Across my memory...

"We have some gravy farther down the table…if…you'd…" Catherine trailed off. The immaculately dressed woman watched with a small frown as Cathrine moved to the end of the table.

"That song…" she whispered, furrowing her brow. "It's impossible."

"Excuse me," the woman huffed. Catherine shook her head and forced a smile.

"Sorry ma'am. There's gravy farther down the table, but none here," she finished. The woman glared and moved down the line. Catherine let out a breath. That music the orchestra was playing. She didn't know the title and had never heard it before in her life. But a quick glance down revealed her index finger on the table tapping in time with the music.

"Excuse me."

Catherine looked up from her hand. A man stood in front of her table, staring at her. Cathrine swallowed heavily. Long black silk trailed down his back, a stark contrast to his pristine white business suit. His eyes were light brown, lighter than she'd ever seen before. The man was incredible handsome, a perfectly chiseled face and a tall, lean body. Catherine caught her blush before it began and smiled.

Far away, long ago

Glowing dim as an ember,

"What can I offer you sir?" she asked, picking up a plate for him.

"A dance," he replied, continuing his stare.

"Beg pardon, sir?" Catherine said, looking up at him.

"I must request your company on the dance floor," the man repeated, holding out his hand.

"I'm sorry sir, but I'm catering here and my employer…" Catherine stuttered.

"He will not cause you trouble," the man said.

"Sir, thank you for the offer but I really…"

"My name is Taisho, and I shall respond to that only from now on," the man interrupted. Catherine's eyes widened. Taisho. Taisho Plaza. Oh shit.

"T…Taisho?" she whispered. What had she done to earn this, pissing off one of the richest men in the country?

"The elder brother, to be exact," the man clarified. "And if I requested a dance of you, your employer shall not question me." The man turned and walked onto the dance floor. Catherine stepped out from behind the table.

"Si…Mr. Taisho," she said. Mr. Taisho stopped and turned around. "I'm flattered, really, but I'm working, and I don't know how to dance, and-"

"Then I shall teach you," Mr. Taisho said, grabbing her hand. Before Catherine could protest, she was pulled into a spinning mass of bodies.

Things my heart used to know,

Once upon a December

Catherine's feet, covered in, to her never-ending embarrassment, worn-out dress shoes, moved with a mind of their own. Mr. Taisho continued his piercing stare at her as he led her deeper into the music.

It was too much. The gorgeous banquet hall, the beautiful music she knew she couldn't possibly have heard before. The man dancing with her in a suit that probably cost more than her apartment and everything in it. Why did this all seem familiar to her? Catherine kept her hands riveted on Mr. Taisho's back. And since when did she know how to dance?

"You dance well," she squeaked, feeling her face turn red. Mr. Taisho smiled as he spun her across the floor.

"Dancing requires two excellent partners, not one," he replied. Catherine nodded numbly. What did he mean? How could she possibly be a good dancer, she was in a bargain basement dress and dress shoes and she had arrived in a catering van…

"Do not think such things," Mr. Taisho interrupted, narrowing his eyes. Cathrine gulped. "You look lovely," he explained, his grip on her hand tightened. How had he known?

Someone holds me safe and warm

Horses prance through a silver storm

Mr. Taisho lifted his arm into the air and spun her. Catherine's head whirled around, and she gasped. Gone was the immaculate suit and handsome man. In his place was a creature unlike anything she had seen before. Fingers with fingernails much too long to be in place on a man pulled her back into the dance. Dark golden eyes bored down at her, a small blue half-moon nestled on the brow above them. Catherine stared in disbelief. She had seen this creature before.

New-fallen snow crunched under her shoes as he led her through the steps. The sea of people had vanished, leaving them alone in a place Catherine knew she had never seen outside of historical sites and old movies. This place, this…castle…why did it look familiar? This dance, she knew its steps by heart, the music, she heard it every night and knew the words to go with it even though the orchestra never used them.

The creature spun her out to arm's length, and Catherine stared at its molten gaze as it spun her back. She collided heavily with the creature's firm chest, and a delicate claw came up to grasp her chin. Her heart pounded in her ears. How did she remember this? She closed her eyes and let out a small sound. The heat of the creature's gaze was hot enough to melt the snow under them. What had she done to provoke such a passionate stare from it?

"Look at me."

Figures dancing gracefully

Across my memory...

Catherine opened her eyes. Mr. Taisho stared back, his eyes narrow and light brown again. Mr. Taisho's other hand came up to cup the small of her back, and Catherine licked her suddenly dry lips. This position was far too intimate for a man she didn't know. So why did it feel undeniablyright?

"Do you know who I am?" Mr. Taisho whispered, the music fading in the background.

"Y, yes…you're Mr. Taisho," Catherine stuttered. What sort of question was that?

"No," he corrected. He leaned closer, and Catherine's heart pounded. He was so close, all she'd have to do was tilt her head up a little more… "Do you know who I am?" he repeated. Catherine waited a moment. What did he want her to say? Catherine let him stare for a moment before shaking her head.

"No," she whispered. Mr. Taisho's hand fell to his side as the music ended.

"I see," he replied, stepping back. Catherine put a hand over her breast. Why was he provoking such a reaction from her? Sure he was handsome, but this was more than that. It didn't make any sense.

"Forgive me for distracting you from your duties. Go back to work," Mr. Taisho said, moving back into the crowd as the next song started. Catherine stood silently on the dance floor as he left, the dancers moving to obscure her view. The man's eyes when she had answered…it looked like his soul had shattered into glass.

"So?" he asked as his brother sat down. "How'd it go?"

"She doesn't remember me," the older brother answered bitterly.

"So, tell her, date her, do what it takes," the younger brother muttered. The older brother looked up with a glare.

"You were lucky enough to find her reincarnation, Inuyasha. Not all of us are so fortunate," he growled. Inuyasha fell silent as Sesshomaru leaned back and closed his eyes. Far across the dance floor, Catherine silently moved back behind the food tables and began serving the next man in line.

Far away, long ago

Glowing dim as an ember,

Things my heart used to know,

Things it yearns to remember…

And a song someone sings…

Once upon a December…