Ok folks, finally got this chapter ready for posting...This one took a bit more to get out than the first two, so please let me know what you think, if there was anything that you liked, disliked about the story so far...I'm one of those authors that thrives on reviews so plz leave one and I promise to reply when the next chapter is posted if not earlier ...they really do inspire and encourage me to write more, and if there is something I can fix (grammatically, phrasing and such..sorry the story is pretty well lined out already) just give me a heads up!! Now enjoy the story!!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or concepts of the manga/anime Inuyasha, but this story and all OC's belong to me.
Kagome glanced at the man next to her out of the corner of her eye. His body was completely relaxed as he deftly manuevered Kagome's sleek little sports car through traffic. She took a few moments to ponder the young man's physique.
Inuyasha's profile revealed a strong jaw line- stubborn, most likely -and high cheek bones. The features could almost be considered feminine, at least until you took in the rest of his blatently masculine frame. His hair and eyes were obviously the most exotic of his facial features. Silvery white hair that hung in thick waves reached down his back to brush playfully against his waist, while the bangs were fluffed and windswept from the breeze coming through the open window. The molten gold of his expressive eyes remained intent on the road before him. Occasionally they would dart to one of the mirrors to observe the traffic around him. Kagome shivered slightly as she remembered the searing heat that had poured from those orbs just hours before as he had lashed out at her selfish refusal to share her gift.
Brushing the memory aside, Kagome continued her perusal by moving her sights down the smooth column of his throat. Inuyasha possessed deeply tanned skin, as though he spent as many hours in the sun as possible. Her gaze traveled down the sinewy appendages of his bare arm and watched in fascination as two fingers tapped out a rhythm against the steering wheel. It was a beat only he could hear, because the stereo centered on the console was silent. Those hands contained the strength to play at least two difficult instruments with a nearly flawless grace, yet were gentle enough to ease the fear and anxiety from her face. The woman's pulse jumped when the memory of his touch surfaced and caused her cheeks to tingle with warmth.
Kagome jerked her focus back to his shoulder. The black cloth of his tank top clung to the corded muscles as he shifted in his seat. While he sat up a little straighter and switched hands on the steering wheel, Kagome became fascinated by the rippling effect of his pectorals underneath the ribbed cotton garment. Her mouth parted slightly as her gaze followed the line of his chest to the six-pack abs and slender waist.
"I could pull over and pose for you, if you'd like," Inuyasha winked when her eyes flew to his face. He gave her a devilishly charming smile that made her blush deeply and turn away from him. "So..." The amber-eyed man chuckled softly when the girl jumped. "What's with the get up?"
Kagome realeased a heavy sigh. How is it possible that he doesn't know who I really am? She gave a nonchalant shrug and explained in a soft murmur, "I prefer the freedom of anonymity." The singer could feel his assessing eyes skim over her form as it took in her black jean clad legs, the blood red tee that hugged her curves like a second skin and the cropped black denim jacket that did little to cover anything. A ball cap of the same deep crimson as her shirt neatly contained all of her luxurious raven hair beneath it.
The item she wore that intrigued Inuyasha most was the pair of black rimmed, mirrored sunglasses that concealed her chesnut hued eyes. Those glasses sent a very clear message: Nothing allowed out. Nobody allowed in.
Inuyasha turned his attention back to the road before he replied with a lecherous smirk, "I hate to tell you this, hun, but with a body like that, everyone's gonna stop and take notice!"
Kagome rolled her eyes and snorted. Without turning to look at him, she said, "Did anyone ever tell you that you seriously need to work on your pickup lines?"
A sharp burst of laughter erupted from his lips. "You got spunk, baby! I like that, it keeps me on my toes!"
The girl didn't respond to his comment, but an amused grin slowly graced her features. "Tell me about your band, Inuyasha. What kind of sound do you have?"
Inuyasha didn't reply at first. Why is she acting like she didn't hear us last night?He maneuvered the vehicle off the busy expressway, then merged effortlessly into the steady flow of city traffic. Finally he said, "We call ourselves 'Hell's Redemption', and we mostly play metal. You know, hard riffs, pounding drum rhythms, dark lyrics. Not too many ballads, though. Just never found anything that seemed to work for us. But each of our songs carries a message."
Kagome swung to face him, astonishment clear in her tone as she asked, "You use original work?"
Pride radiated from his eyes when he responded, "Yeah. We write all our own music and lyrics. I don't want to play the club scene forever and, well, no label's gonna give you a second glance if all you play is cover stuff!"
The girl looked at Inuyasha in a whole new light. This man wasn't one of the wanna-be musicians that pretended to play the game. He was a true artist who took every aspect of his passion for music seriously. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized that she, too, once had that dream.
"You don't agree?" he asked hesitantly when the silence stretched awkwardly between them.
Kagome shook her head. "It's not that-" she began in a hushed tone. "Never mind..." The girl delicately cleared her throat, then continued. "I do agree it's better to use your own work to get ahead. You just don't hear of too many bands that start out only using their own music."
Inuyasha smirked wryly. "Yeah, I know. But that's what makes us different, I think. When Miroku, Sango, Kikyo and I started out we decided we didn't want to be 'just another cover band', so we worked our asses off to prove ourselves." He smiled at the memory of them begging bar owner's to just hearthem. "Tiko's an old friend, and he gave us our first real gig. After a few gigs, we acquired a small fan base and word spread. So here we are-- three long, hard years later --on the brink of breaking into the big leagues."
The young woman frowned in confusion. "If you're so close to going pro, why did you fire your lead vocalist? That's practically suicide!"
Inuyasha pulled up to a stop light. While the car idled softly, he turned to lock his gaze with hers through the reflective surface of her glasses. "Do you believe in fate?" he asked softly.
"What?" she squeaked. Kagome was incredulous at his simple question. Inuyasha's gaze seemed to penetrate the barrier of the mirrored shades as though trying to search her very soul for an answer. Tension filled the silence until a staccato honk from behind the car interrupted the exchange. She released a small breath of relief when Inuyasha broke eye contact and swiveled the car into a right turn.
Inuyasha gave a quiet laugh as he answered his own query. "I do. I don't know what brought you to Tiko's little slice of hell last night, but when I saw you standing by the door, all these little alarms went off in my head. I couldn't tear my eyes away from you."
"You knew I was there..." she whispered, frightened by his confession. At his nod, she found herself on the verge of telling the silver-haired singer that it had been his voice that drew her to the little bar.
The continuation of his story didn't give her the chance to utter another sound. "Kikyo and I were an...item. Had been since the beginning. More importantly, she had this amazing stage presence when we preformed." The awe that entered his tone seemed to border on worship. "I never could figure out what it was about her; it wasn't just her voice, or the way she moved under the lights. There was just somethingabout that woman that could hypnotize an audience." His voice then suddenly turned bitter. "About a year and a half ago, however, we started to fall apart. Kikyo became more and more hungry for fame. Suddenly our performances became less about our music, and more about her image. All I ever wanted was to get my music out there for people to hear."
Kagome wondered if he even remembered that she was sitting in the car as the story turned more personal. "I knew she was cheating on me, but I thought..." Inuyasha gave a derisive laugh, "hell, I don't know what I was thinking!" he ground out between clenched teeth. After making a smooth left turn, he continued, poisonous hatred dripping from each word. "Last night was the breaking point for me. When she turned away from me I was livid. That song was our 'signature' number. Each time we performed it, it told the story of a lost soul searching for redemption- a reason to live. My voice was what would lead her back from the edge--"
"Edge of darkness." Kagome's words merged in perfect time to his as they completed the statement. A feeling of connection with this man rippled through her. When Inuyasha looked at her in amazement, she blushed. "That's the message I heard. It reached into my heart and took hold." The young woman gave a nervous laugh before she explained, "It's not often that another's music speaks to me on that level."
Inuyasha shook off the eerie sense that her simple words hid a much deeper-and darker- meaning. "Anyway, I'd had it with Kikyo's little games. We got into this huge fight that ended with Miroku prying my fingers from her throat."
"Oh my God!" she cried. "You aren't...I mean, you don't seem..."
Inuyasha chuckled at her shocked exclamation. "Yeah, I know. It takes a lot to get me that pissed. It was like some inner demon took hold and I couldn't stop my self. Thank heavens Miroku stepped in, because I was going to kill the little bitch!" He paused as he deftly steered the car through the narrow streets and into a nearly empty lot. The only sign of life was a beat up old Toyota and shiny black van at the other end of the lot. "Anyway, we left Tiko's after that, and you know the rest."
Kagome stared at him slack jawed. The scene he described clashed with the personality she had seen thus far. So which one is the real Inuyasha?
The man in question parked the car beside what appeared to be an abandoned car repair shop. Inuyasha silenced the engine, then turned toward her with his charming smile firmly in place. "Well, here we are!" He unfolded his body from the driver's seat with practised ease, slammed the door closed and rounded the front of the car to assist her
Kagome accepted his prooffered hand and gracefully pulled herself to stand before him. "May I ask where 'here' is, exactly?"
"Hell's Redemption's secret lair," he stated with waggling brows. Inuyasha laughed at her skeptical look. "Miroku's old man let's us use the place. He's a big league real estate tycoon, and bought the place dirt cheap. Some developer wanted to buy it, but Miroku begged him to let us use it," he explained as he closed the car door and pocketed her keys. When they stopped before the dock like entrance at the side of the building, he kept a firm hold on her hand and heaved up on large metal door. "Of course the old man agreed, because the alternative was for us to keep rehearsing in his garage!"
"Where the hell is he, Miroku?" Sango questioned impatiently as she helped set up the massive drum equipment.
"For the last time, my dear Sango," the drummer sighed, "all he said was that he'd be here shortly and to get everything ready to go."
"Did he really fire Kikyo?" She asked again, not sure if she should believe the news she had waited so long to hear. The bassist had never gotten along well with the ego-inflated singer, and did nothing to hid the fact she was glad Inuyasha had finally tossed the girl on her ass.
Miroku shot her an amused smile as he hefted one of the large cymbals from her hands. "Well, if choking the shit out of the Ice Princess doesn't mean 'you're fired..."
Sango gasped, then giggled at this newest tidbit of gossip. "He didn't!"
"Oh, yeah, he did. I honestly believe if I hadn't broken it up, Inuyahsa would have killed Kikyo." Miroku settled the brass disc onto it's stand. "I've never seen him like that, Sango. To be totally honest, it scared the hell out of me!"
At that moment there was a loud clattering of chains and metal scraping together as the large bay door was rolled open. The couple turned to welcome their friend. "...keep rehearsing in his garage!" Inuyahsa's voice carried over to them, and they stared in confusion at the cozy pair entering the building.
Sango's head whipped back to face a stunned Miroku and hissed, "What the fuck? Did they make up already?" When the drummer merely shrugged, she turned to glare at the woman who stood holding hands with the guitarist in the wide aperture.
Kagome removed her dark glasses to get a better look at the dim interior. Her gazed wandered over the worn furnishings: two overstuffed and badly worn couches, mismatched coffee and end tables, and a large entertainment center stuffed with various game systems and a large screen television. Just beyond that stood a towering stereo system piled high with cd's and papers. In the far left corner was what appeared to be a kitchen area that was comprised of a badly abused refridgerator, an old microwave oven and a large utility sink. There was an office door that stood closed in the center of the rear wall, and next to that was another door that read Shitters!in big red letters with a huge "Toxic Waste" sign beneath them. In each corner of the building, four-foot speakers stood like silent sentinels.
Finally the woman's eye's landed on the large round platform that served a a stage in the center of the expansive interior. The two occupants that stood upon the wooden structure glared at Kagome. The dark haired man bounded off the platform and strode angrily toward her. The suddenly nervous girl shrank away from the stranger's hostility and stepped behind Inuyasha.
Miroku halted in mid stride, the color drained from his face as he recognized the girl. He shot a perplexed look at his friend. "Is that...?"
"Yeah," Inuyasha said casually, although his expression clearly warned the other man not to continue that line of questioning. "What the fuck's wrong with you two? You both look like you want to shoot me dead!"
The drummer flushed slightly as he answered. "From back there, she looked like Kikyo."
"Keh-" Inuyahsa scoffed as he brushed past Miroku. "Then you both need to get your eye's checked!" He felt Kagome's step falter as she was tugged along behind him. Inuyasha whirled around to apologize and make formal introductions. The motion took the woman off guard and she couldn't avoid the sudden impact with the solid wall of his chest.
Kagome hastily lept away from from Inuyasha before his arms enfolded her. The cap she wore slid off the back of her head, freeing the long tresses to tumble down and spill over her shoulders.
As Inuyasha lifted a silken tendril between his fingers, he said huskily, "I'd apologize, but I'm not the least bit sorry."
Kagome's blush deepened as she bent to pick up the fallen hat. Inuyasha chuckled softly, then turned to address the still glowering girl on the stage. "Oi! Sango! Get your ass over here and meet our new lead singer!"
"New lead?" the bassist shouted, indignation ringing in her tone. "Since when do you make that kind of decision without us?"
"Trust me, Sango," he retorted. "Just wait till you hear her sing!"
At that moment, the girl under discussion stepped from behind Inuyasha. Kagome's fingers plucked the brim of the hat nervously as she sent Sango an apprehensive look.
The brass cymbal slipped from the leggy brunette's fingers and crashed to the floor. Miroku let out a shout of protest at the careless abuse of his epuipment. Sango swayed slightly at the sight of the woman she had mistaken for Kikyo.
Inuyasha shot the disgruntled drummer a hard look and asked, "What's her trip?" Miroku didn't respond, only braced himself for the outburst he knew was coming.
"HOLY SHIT!" Sango shrieked in excitement. "Higurashi Kagome!!"
Inuyasha's gaze swivled back to a downcast Kagome in bewilderment. "You know each other?"
The woman heaved a tired sigh. "Never met her, I'm afraid," was the simple reply as she watched Sango jump to the floor and race toward her.
"I don't believe this! I am a huge fan! You're seriously gonna audition for us?" The words tumbled from the beauty's mouth almost faster than her lips could form them.
Inuyasha stared at the women, dumbstruck. When his mind wrapped around what Sango was saying, he shouted, "Hold up! Fan? Did I miss something?!"
Sango dramatically rolled her eye's as she looked at him. "This is the Higurashi Kagome!" When the stupid man continued to stare blankly at her, the star-struck girl released an exhasperated breath. "I swear, Inuyasha! Where the hell were you two years ago?"
"Umm..."he responded, pretending to ponder the question. "I believe I was here, with you, Miroku and Kikyo, working to get this band out of the gutter!"
"Gah! You're hopeless! I can't believe you don't know who she is!" Sango cried. Out of sheer frustration at his blatant ignorance, she slapped Inuyasha upside the head. "Higurashi was suppose to be the next Hamasaki Ayumi of the pop scene! But two weeks before her debut album release was to be announced, she suddenly disappeared!"
Kagome stood silently throughout the exchange. She was fervently hoping a hole would appear beneath her and drag her away from this embarrassing scene. The hope was short lived when Inuyasha pierced her with a glare filled with accusation. "It's true," she whispered apologetically.
"You lied to me!" Fire burned in the amber depths of his eyes. "You went pro!"
Kagome's own temper flared at his unjust statement. "I did not!" she snapped. "You asked if I ever thought about it! I said, 'Yes, once upon a time I dreamed of being a pop star.' That was not a lie!"
"You had an album-" he shouted in her face.
"I never finished recording it!" she fired back.
"Why not?" Sango interjected quietly. "The debut single was a huge hit."
Kagome's heart sank and the light quickly faded from her eyes. "I don't want to talk about it."
Sango opened her mouth to protest, but Miroku's quick question cut her off. "So have you done anything besides pop music?"
The woman gave the handsome young man a small smile of thanks before she responded, "Not publicly, no."
"Then why do you want to audition for us?" the drummer inquired.
"Your friend here," she waved a hand toward Inuyasha, "wouldn't take no for an answer."
"Damn straight!" he cried triumphantly. "You heard her Miroku! I'm not about to let talent like that go to waste!"
"That was her?" Miroku gazed in wonder at the mysterious woman that stood before him. "I can't believe your the same voice-"
Kagome shot a murderous look at Inuyasha. "What do you mean he heard me?"
"I...um..." Inuyasha flushed and cast his eyes to the floor. "This morning...I called him...I needed him to hear it too!"
"How could you..." she whispered, tears of shame and horror sprang to Kagome's eyes. "That was a private moment! It's bad enough that you were there! Now your telling me you broadcast it to your band mates!" Kagome abruptly spun on her heel and strode toward the door. "I'm so out of here!"
"Wait!" Inuyasha cried as he rushed after her. "Please, let me explain!" When she paused in her angry departure, he moved to stand in front of her. "When I heard your voice--all the emotion and power it contained -- I knew it was madefor Redemption's music. But I also knew Miroku had to hear it before he'd believe me! I'm sorry."
Kagome saw the sincerity of his words shimmer in his eyes. Before this bizarre arrangement went any further, she had to settle another doubt that had been tickling her insecurities. "Just tell me one thing, Inuyahsa. Did you know who I was when you asked me to audition?"
"No," he answered truthfully. "I thought you were an undiscovered talent with a stone set of pipes, nothing more." Inuyasha bore the weight of Kagome's intense scrutiny without flinching.
When Kagome was satisfied with the honesty of his answer she asked, "So how do we do this?"
Thank you all again for reading my humble little fic...so drop me a review and lemme know how much you like it!!...j/k u can let me know if you didn't like it, too...
Many thanks to my two betas, for all the friendship and guidance you give to me! You two are the bestest beta/friends I could ask for!! Oh, and madma...the results came in for Inu's steroids test...lol!
To KirsSweetAngel: here ya go! another evil cliffie to torture you further!! lol seriously, thank you so much for the wonderful review! It's a great feeling to know that my writing touches ppl like this. It's why I live for reviews, tho I never get very many. It's a tad discouraging that I get so many hits on these stories, but so few tell me what they think about them...but it makes me treasure the few like yours even more!! The Song used in the last chapter is not mine, in fact all these songs are copyrighted by the original artists. The one in ch 2 was "Hello" from Evanescene's Fallen album. While some of these are from popular artists, I'm using mostly the songs that aren't well known by them, unless you have the albums. I'm glad that you are enjoying Partings as well, and hopefully someday I can return to it. I was so flattered when you said that I have inspired you to write! that is the greatest compliment I have ever recieved! I hope you continue to enjoy my work...now I'm off to work on ch 4!
To whitetiger-Isabella: I'm glad that you are loving this story...as to your questions, I hope this chapter answered the first, and as for Kikyo...well, you'll just have to wait and see!! hope you enjoyed this installment!
To wbaker5286: Well, I'm not sure about the 'slow down' chapters...this one may be as close as it gets to that...I know the ideas and such haven't slowed since I started writing this, in fact for every plot idea I get out, three more pop in there...needless to say it's getting a bit crowded...finding the balance in not just the music but everything else has been quite a challenge with this fic. I don't want it to be so dark that I get dragged into a depression, and so I'm using Inuyasha to lighten the intensity a bit...he's such a strong character, and he has scars of his own...I really want this to be more about healing than destroying the human soul. As for the music, I love music that speaks to me...that's why I keep using the implications of messages and such throughout this story...and at times the music I have found to use seems to be written just for this story!! I love the idea of using "kindred spirits" over love at first sight...the connection is so much deeper and meaningful to me...love is easy to write, but that soul deep connection is a challenge! Thanks so much for your continued support, not just with this fic, but everything else we've been discussing. Although that "rumor" email you sent almost had me in tears!! lol...