I do not own Inuyasha and Company, no matter how happy it would make me. Rumiko Takahashi does. I make no money from these fics.

Chapter 56 – Overly Ambitious

The Syndrome

* Guide to Pleasing Women * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Sesshoumaru rushed up the steps and into the kitchen while Kagome finished getting dressed. Spotting her friends sitting around the table, he leaned down, his palms on the smooth surface. "Kagome will not be making you dinner this evening, so you should make other arrangements," he said quietly.

"Oh?" Inuyasha asked with a smirk. "And why not?"

"Because she will be otherwise occupied."

"You're finally gonna go for it? Pops will be thrilled," the hanyou said flatly.

"You haven't forgotten my advice, have you?" Miroku asked.

Shippo immediately burst into a fit of rather childish giggles, but he had the decency to try to smother them behind his hand. Everyone looked at him questioningly, but he merely shook his head. He couldn't have explained what Miroku was referring to without his laughter turning hysterical, and it was clear Sesshoumaru did not want it clarified for the others anyway.

"Perhaps one of you could keep her occupied for me for a while after her class?"

Bankotsu nodded, happy to help, and Sesshoumaru stood just in time as Kagome walked into the kitchen, humming to herself. Sesshoumaru's head between her thighs had been a very nice wake up call, and she couldn't deny the extra pep in her step that multiple early morning orgasms gave her.

"I was thinking waffles," the miko said with a smile while she began pulling ingredients out of the cupboards.

"How you gonna do that, babe?" Bankotsu asked curiously.

"With the waffle iron I found. Really, how do you guys not know what you have in your own kitchen?"

"How often do you think we cook in here, wench?" Inuyasha inquired teasingly.

"Point taken. Someone else is going to have to pick up some groceries. We're about on empty here, and I'm out of spending money."

"Damn it, Kagome! What the fuck were you thinking, wasting your money on food?" the hanyou demanded, his frustration obvious.

"I wouldn't call buying food that everyone ate a waste!"

"But why use your own money? Come on, wench, you know better than that!"

While the hanyou and miko argued, Sesshoumaru opened his wallet and retrieved his debit card. He quickly scribbled his pin number on a sticky note and stuck it to the card before pressing it into her hand. "Perhaps Bankotsu can drive you after your class so you can stock up."

"I can't take your money, Sesshoumaru," Kagome whined.

"Of course you can. I have been eating your cooking just as everyone else has. I have no problem chipping in. Fill the freezer and the cupboards. Buy whatever we need."

"You know I hate taking money from you guys."

"Kaggie, you spent all your money on us. It is only fair that we pay for food and other household supplies as well. We always did before you moved in, even if it was mostly takeout and emergency gas station toilet paper. I'll take you to the store, and we'll get everything we need. This time Sesshoumaru pays. Next time, one of us will. You, however, aren't spending another penny on us," Bankotsu told her.

Kagome sighed heavily but nodded and put the small plastic card in her back pocket. "Fine, I'll go this time, but we're talking about it again next time."

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. "Dude, you're going to be his mate! His money's yours. Stop fighting it and enjoy it for once. And don't forget the ramen."

The miko scowled at her hanyou friend. "Why bother? I'm never making you ramen again."

"Oh, come on, wench. I said I was sorry!"

Kagome merely huffed and rifled through the kitchen junk drawer, finally coming out with a notepad, which she tossed onto the table. "Everyone write down what you want or need. Apparently, it's on Sesshoumaru." With that said, the miko turned back to her task of making waffles. She was starving, and she had a late morning class to get to.

The Syndrome

* Share an Umbrella * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

When Kagome went down to their apartment for her backpack, Sesshoumaru pulled Bankotsu aside. "Please, keep her at the store for as long as possible. I have errands to run and preparations to make, and I do not want my absence to make her suspicious. I want this evening to be a surprise." Bank nodded. "Can you call or text me and let me know when you are coming home? I want to decorate, but I will need to keep her away to do so."

"Sure, I'll let you know. I have a class late this afternoon, or I'd be happy to keep her occupied longer. Maybe Inuyasha can do it. He should be home."

"Do what?" Inuyasha asked, his furry ears twitching at the sound of his name.

"Keep Kagome busy and out of the basement so Sesshoumaru can set up without her seeing."

The hanyou's eyes narrowed for a moment before he shrugged his shoulders. "Sure, why the hell not? Maybe you can get the wench to forgive me."

Sesshoumaru frowned. "You are undeserving of forgiveness. I know what you said, and you deserve every bit of hell Kagome puts you through. And perhaps not calling her 'wench' would be a good place to start."

"Really? You want my help, but you can't even put in a good word for me?" the hanyou snapped.

"Fine. If my evening goes as planned, I will tell Kagome that you assisted me. She should be pleased considering she desires for us to behave as brothers once more. That is the best I can do."

Inuyasha nodded and walked away without another word. Bankotsu looked around for a moment before leaning in close to the taiyoukai. "I hope your errands include getting condoms," he whispered. "No way is Kaggie ready to get pregnant."

Sesshoumaru instantly began to mentally berate himself. He had forgotten all about protection! He had no concerns over sexually transmitted diseases, as they were both virgins, but Bankotsu was right. There was no way either of them were ready for pups. They both had school to finish, and he wanted to be fully established in the position awaiting him at his father's company before they started a family. They would need a home of their own as well, and for a moment, Sesshoumaru considered his mother's apartment. It was large and in a very prominent neighborhood. He would have to discuss it with Kagome when the time came, but at the moment, the taiyoukai merely added condoms to his mental checklist. He nodded his thanks to Bankotsu, and just in time as his miko came around the corner.

"You really don't have to walk me," she said with a bright smile.

"But I wish to."

"Alright then, let's get going. I don't want to be late."

The Syndrome

* Let the Games Begin * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Less than an hour later, Sesshoumaru found himself at the mall. He mentally cringed as he entered the noisy and obnoxious place. He had always detested the mall, but ever since his stalking expedition before prom, he couldn't set foot inside without remembering the sight of Jakotsu putting his hands on his sweet miko's breasts. Yes, it had been explained well enough, but that didn't take the ache away. Of course, now that he was allowed to touch those perfect breasts of hers himself, it didn't seem nearly as terrible.

The taiyoukai checked the large map display in search of the first store he needed to visit. When planning out this evening, he had done a little checking around and was quite surprised to learn that Kagome didn't have many candles. He had always gotten the impression that women loved candles and had them everywhere, but he only found three in their entire apartment. Upon further inspection, he discovered that they were all the same scent, and thankfully one that wasn't too overpowering. They had also all been purchased from the same store. Logic told him that this was her favorite candle scent and he would go directly to the source to stock up. Candlelight was a staple of any romantic dinner, after all.

When he was approaching the candle store, Sesshoumaru crinkled his nose. He was still fifty feet away from the place, and he could already smell the overwhelming combination of scents. He instantly felt the stirrings of a headache and decided he needed to do this as fast as possible. Taking a deep breath, he headed inside. Immediately he realized that fast wasn't going to be an option. The place was huge and filled with every shape, size and scent of candle imaginable. At least it was organized by scent. Too bad he didn't know the name of the scent Kagome preferred, as the label had rubbed off all three candles. He was going to have to narrow his choices down by color and then smell them one by one until he found the right one.

Sesshoumaru waved away the employee who attempted to offer assistance and walked slowly, studying the colors and reading the names until he found one that appeared to be the right shade. He picked up a candle and sniffed lightly, cursing as he got a nose full of not only the item he was attempting to scent, but also the oppressive stink that filled the store. He gently pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to force away the growing pounding in his head, and tried again, this time putting his nose a great deal nearer to the wax. He quickly pulled the vile thing away from his face and set it back on the shelf. Not even close.

The process was repeated several times until finally Sesshoumaru located the right scent. When he first entered the store he skipped over them completely, as the color didn't seem quite right, but after he checked every other option, he returned. If only he'd tried it on the first go around and saved himself the agony. Now he had to choose individual candles and once again the taiyoukai found himself overwhelmed. He'd had no idea they came in so many different shapes! There were tapers, pillars, and tea lights, ones in glass jars, and ones shaped like little flowers. There were round ones with three wicks and others with five. There were long rectangular ones, squares, and even ones shaped like skinny pyramids! It was insane!

Sesshoumaru shook his head and decided that a few different shapes would be the way to go. He already had a rough idea of how many he would need, so he began to select candles at random. He knew he had to look ridiculous, weighing himself down with huge amounts of scented wax, but he figured it was better to have too many than not enough. When he was satisfied, the taiyoukai headed to the register, hoping to check out quickly and finally get the hell out of there. He wasn't that lucky though.

Of course, the cashier, trained to upsell everything, asked if he had holders to go with his purchases. He cursed again as he turned and headed to the center of the store where the fancy candleholders were displayed. Going over his choices in his head, Sesshoumaru chose the style that best fit Kagome's taste and picked up a holder for each candle. He actually quite liked the candlesticks and immediately knew where he would place them. Satisfied that he definitely had everything this time, he headed back to the checkout, trying to ignore the bright smile of the cashier who had just earned herself a huge commission. She hadn't expected him to actually go back and pick up so many more items! She rang him up quickly, carefully wrapping his purchases while he glared at the growing total. He paid and left the store as quickly as possible. He would be smelling that place for hours.

The Syndrome

* A Song For Chivalrous Youth * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Kagome hummed softly to herself as she pushed a grocery cart through the store. Skimming over her list, the miko stopped here and there to collect what she needed. She grunted slightly as she tried to get the wheels rolling again, and Bankotsu laughed.

"Here, babe, let me push that one. It's getting too heavy for you."

She scowled at her friend's amusement but gave in, switching her overloaded cart for his empty one. "I can't figure out how you guys survived on your own so long. I know you like takeout, but what were you eating for breakfast? Most of the boxes of cereal on top of the fridge were empty, and the rest were left open so the stuff was like Styrofoam! No eggs, no fruit. Hell, not even frozen waffles!"

"We ate leftover takeout. Duh," Bank teased. "We're guys. We don't do grocery shopping."

"But gas station toilet paper? You know you're paying like three times as much for the cheapest, crappiest toilet paper on the planet, right?"

Bankotsu shot Kagome a grin. "Like I said... guys."

"Well, no more! I had enough running out of toilet paper with my roommates from hell. We're stocking up!" With that, Kagome picked up an enormous multipack of her preferred brand and crammed it under her cart. Bank merely laughed and followed along behind his best friend as she shopped. It was going to take her forever to get everything put away when they finally made it home. He could only hope that would be a good enough distraction to keep her from discovering Sesshoumaru's preparations.

The Syndrome

* Gold Leaf * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Sesshoumaru quickly made his way to his next destination, picking up the dessert he ordered. After that came the florist, who made him wait nearly twenty minutes. Really, how hard was it to have something ready at the specified time? The taiyoukai used the delay to run his plans through in his head, searching for anything he might have missed. Suddenly, it struck him. If he was going to have beautiful flowers and fancy candlesticks, then he couldn't very well have them drinking out of cheap plastic tumblers. It would ruin the mood completely!

With a frown, the taiyoukai paid for the floral arrangement and shifted his purchases so that he could carry it all without damaging a single petal. He skimmed over the mall map once more and found what he was looking for. A quick glance at his watch had Sesshoumaru rushing to the other end of the immense shopping center to finish shopping and beat Kagome home. Her class had finished a while ago, and she was likely at the grocery store with Bankotsu. If he hurried, he could manage to get his purchases inside without her finding out.

When he reached his destination, the taiyoukai took in all the different options in glassware. Not wanting to waste time, he chose a style that he found acceptable, ones decorated with little golden flowers, and quickly purchased two. He decided what dishes and silverware they had were fine for what he was planning and was on his way out of the store when he noticed a display of a formal dining setting. Again, he mentally cursed. Cloth napkins! He needed cloth napkins because there was no way in hell he was serving her dinner with a folded up paper towel under her flatware. Sesshoumaru spun on his heels and headed back into the store, searching for the right color so that everything matched perfectly. Finally he found one that matched the candles, and once again he was on his way.

The taiyoukai was relieved to finally be finished in the mall. If he thought he hated the place before, it was ten times worse now. His head was still pounding from the overpowering scents of the candle shop, and when he made it outside, he breathed in deeply, thankful for the somewhat fresh air. The air reeked of car exhaust and asphalt, but it was better than inside that wretched place.

He only had one last stop. The purchase of stemware had prompted him to get something elegant for them to drink. He knew he could get his hands on alcohol if he wanted to because looked old enough that he was never carded, but he decided against it. He wanted tonight to be a night they would both remember for the rest of their lives, not a partial, alcohol-clouded memory. Still, he had the fancy glasses. After some mental debate, trying to decide if it was silly or not, Sesshoumaru headed into a grocery store he was certain his sweet miko wasn't in and chose two bottles of sparkling apple juice. He could only pray she would find it endearing and not childish. On his way to the front of the store and the checkout, the taiyoukai passed through the healthcare supplies section and it dawned on him that he nearly forgot the condoms. After all the work gathering everything he needed, he had nearly gone home without one of the most important things!

Sesshoumaru studied the family planning section carefully, mentally debating whether it would be considered presumptuous to purchase the large box instead of the small. Really, twelve condoms had to be better than only three, right? Not only was it more cost efficient, but the last thing that he wanted to happen was for him to run out when Kagome was in the mood! With a smirk on his face, the taiyoukai collected four of the twelve pack boxes. He would tuck them away in his dresser so the miko never saw just how many he purchased. She would only know that he was well prepared to please her whenever she desired it.

The cashier gave him a strange look, as if she was trying to determine if he was running a brothel, but Sesshoumaru ignored it. He didn't care what some little old lady thought of his purchases. He had a romantic dinner to set up and a woman to mate. Nothing else mattered.

The Syndrome

* Ship of Fools * (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Kagome laughed as Inuyasha grumbled while carrying in armload after armload of groceries. "You know you're going to eat it so stop complaining," she teased.

"Why'd you have to buy so much, wench?"

"I wouldn't have had to if you guys had any food in the house whatsoever!" the miko exclaimed. She pulled the garbage can and a chair to plop down in up to the open refrigerator and started pulling things from the depths. "Oh, Gods, I should have done this before I went shopping. It's filthy! Will you see if you can find the spray cleaner and the sponges I bought?"

"In all these bags, you want me to find two things?" the hanyou asked while looking over the mostly covered kitchen floor. "I haven't even brought it all in yet!"

Kagome sighed and continued her task of throwing out old, expired food, all the while mumbling to herself about the grossness of guys. She simply didn't understand how they could live like this! She was finding things that went out of code more than six months ago! How does someone not notice that their eggs are slowly being fossilized in the back of the fridge? The miko removed them very carefully. The last thing she wanted was to break any. The smell would never come out!

Once the refrigerator was completely empty she moved on to the freezer. "Well, at least this part is easy," Kagome said to herself as she chucked some ancient popsicles. "Still gross though."

When the freezer was emptied, the miko began digging through the bags in search of her cleaning supplies. Once she located them, she set to work scrubbing the shelves of their sticky residue. When Inuyasha came in and announced that he had successfully emptied Bankotsu's car, he was ordered to take out the garbage, which he did, but not without further complaining. She damn well better forgive him by the time this day was over. Sesshoumaru should have been the one doing chores with Kagome, not him!

The Syndrome

* Disinheritance* (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

While he was outside stuffing the heavy, stinky bag into the garbage can, the hanyou heard a car door close. Spotting Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha glanced through the kitchen window. Seeing Kagome's head inside the refrigerator, he made his way to his older half-brother.

The taiyoukai had been worrying from the moment he received Bankotsu's text message telling him that he and Kagome had returned from the store. He hoped to beat them home and wasn't sure what to do now. When he spotted Inuyasha, however, he relaxed slightly.

"She's in the kitchen. I'll have to make sure she doesn't hear you come in. She'll be busy for a while though, so you lucked out there. The wench did some serious damage on your card."

Sesshoumaru smirked. "She is not the only one. Father will not be amused when he sees my credit card statement. Perhaps she would like to listen to music? That would keep her from hearing me sneak through the house."

"Gotcha," Inuyasha said with a nod.

"Will you text me when she is almost finished? I need to know when to order dinner. It should take no more than twenty minutes to arrive. Then I'll have to sneak that past her as well."

The hanyou nodded again. "Sure. Give me a minute, and don't you forget to tell her I helped you!" he said before heading back into the backyard and into the house. He waded his way through the sea of groceries to the counter and clicked on the radio, switching it to Kagome's favorite station.

She leaned back so she could see him and smiled. "Thanks. Now I don't have to listen to the fridge humming. So, you think you can start sorting through all of that?" When her friend groaned, she laughed. "Just slide the fridge and freezer stuff over to me, and put the dry goods on one side. Put the cleaners and the paper stuff on the table so it's separate from the food. I'm going to have to look through what little you've got in the cupboards and clear out the expired stuff before I can put anything away. I really should have done this part first."

"Oh, well. Shit happens. You're gonna owe me for this, wench."

Kagome frowned at the hanyou. "No, I won't. We both know you're trying to work your way off my shit list. If you don't want to help, that's fine. You don't have to eat my cooking either."

Inuyasha waved his hands in surrender. "Okay, fine! I'll shut up."

The miko smiled and watched her friend begin to sort through the bags for a moment before returning to her task of sanitizing the refrigerator. "This had better never get this gross again or heads will roll," she mumbled to herself, completely oblivious to Sesshoumaru's presence as he hurried through the living room and down the stairs into their basement apartment. Once he and all his purchases were safely inside, the taiyoukai let out a sigh of relief. Now all he had to do was set up. He peeked into the kitchen on his way by and saw that she would definitely be occupied for at least an hour. By the time she was finished, he would be ready. He just had to time ordering their dinner right. For that, he would get a heads up from the hanyou and pray the delivery wasn't delayed.

The Syndrome

* I Will Not Yield Yet* (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Kagome sighed and leaned back on the counter. "Finally! Gods, don't ever let me buy that much at once again."

"Not a problem," Inuyasha replied with a smirk. "No one wants to have to help you carry it in and put it away anyway."

The miko frowned. "Stop being so damned lazy! So long as I don't put off going to the store, it shouldn't be so bad next time. I feel guilty. I had to have put a huge dent in Sesshoumaru's bank account."

The hanyou rolled his eyes. "I think you forgot who you're talking about. Money isn't an issue."

"Whatever. I think I'm going to head downstairs and relax for a while. I wonder where Sesshoumaru is."

Inuyasha mentally panicked. Kagome couldn't step foot into the basement apartment until his brother was ready. He hadn't even ordered their dinner yet! He had gone through too much, put in too much effort, to allow it to all fall apart when they were so close to succeeding. "Wait!" he called out, stopping his best friend in her tracks. "I'm having a hell of a time in Psychology. You took it last semester, right? Think maybe you could help me out? The book makes my head spin, and I need someone to simplify for me."

Kagome sighed but nodded. She enjoyed her Psychology course and wouldn't mind assisting Inuyasha. The textbook was rather wordy, and the professor never seemed to get to the point. She wasn't surprised the hanyou was confused. If the subject matter hadn't interested her so much, she would have been lost, too.

"Yeah, alright. But can we go up to your room? I want to put my feet up and rest my ass on something soft."

Inuyasha smirked, gloating to himself about his success. "Sure thing, babe."

The Syndrome

* Tightrope* (Stella's Soundtrack Challenge)

Inuyasha was regretting his choice of distraction. Kagome was really into Psychology and it showed. She had been talking at high speed for the last twenty minutes, and he was getting a headache. Sure, he was learning, but he wasn't a big fan of doing so, and he was ready for it to end. The sound of the miko's stomach rumbling gave him the out he was silently begging the gods for.

"Hungry?" he interrupted.

"Yeah, but after all that shopping, there's no way I'm cooking. Order me something?" the miko asked sweetly while batting her eyelashes.

"You forgive me?"

Kagome sighed dramatically. "Fine, but if you ever say anything like you did again, I'm going to skip the shoe throwing and go straight to cutting out your tongue."

"It'd grow back," Inuyasha shot back playfully.

"Maybe, but it'd be painful, and you wouldn't be able to taste food for a good long time. Not even ramen."

"Fine, I promise I'll never mention your vibrator collection again. What're you gonna do with them now anyway? I doubt you'll be needing them, unless Sesshoumaru really sucks in bed."

The miko's cheeks flushed a brilliant red. "Inuyasha! What did I just say?!"

"Fine, fine. No more V-word. Man, you have no sense of humor sometimes." The hanyou pulled his phone from his pocket and quickly began hitting keys. "So, whatcha want?"

"Hmmm," Kagome hummed while trying to forget her embarrassment and fight down the urge to cause Inuyasha serious physical injury. "Chinese?"

"Deal." He hurriedly texted Sesshoumaru that not only was she hungry, but what she was craving as well, and then stepped out of the room to fake a call to their usual Chinese restaurant while his brother placed a real order. How he was going to keep her from dashing down the stairs to answer the door and claim her food, he had no idea, but he would think of something. He stepped back into his bedroom a few minutes later with a plan. "It'll be like forty-five minutes. Guess they're really busy."

"Awww," Kagome groaned. "But that'll be forever! I might starve by then!"

Inuyasha smirked and sent one more text to Sesshoumaru, telling him to wait outside for the delivery guy. If she heard the doorbell, there would be no keeping Kagome away.

The hanyou still wasn't sure how he felt about the whole thing. There he was, helping his once worst enemy, and still not his favorite person, romance his best friend, knowing the goal was to get her into bed. If everything went according to plan, by morning, Kagome's life would be changed permanently.

Sesshoumaru was going to make her his mate, something that was irreversible, but it would make her happy. That little fact was the only thing keeping him from throwing a wrench into the works and bringing the taiyoukai's plans to a screeching halt. Kagome deserved to be happy, and even if he didn't like her choice, he would support her because he knew she would do the same for him.