More procrastination! To readers from Ties of Love and Friendship: yes, I suck. I'm sorry. To new readers: you will probably soon learn that I suck, but conceivably less so when it comes to writing. (At least that's what I've been told.) Also to readers from Ties: this is not the long, angsty Inuyasha fic I was talking about before; it's probably the exact opposite of that.

Anyway, read and enjoy. Written in Inuyasha's POV, all human, modern day AU. (And yes I describe Inuyasha's hair as silver-blonde, because saying it's just silver sounds weird in modern day AU). Also, beware: Kikyou bashing.

Disclaimer: Inuyasha is not mine.


"Oh, God, it's my ex."

Probably one of the most popular terms of doom in the history of relationships, right after "We need to talk." It alerts your current significant other/friends/parents/random passerby that the person you once shared saliva (and possibly more) with is within your vicinity, maybe even the same room. If you and this ex lover broke up on good terms, seeing them might not be horrible (although really, if you're saying "Oh God it's my ex" in the first place, you probably didn't break up on good terms). Most people that say it, however, are filled with dread, embarrassment, horror, and many other assortments of nasties the minute you lay eyes on your ex.

That would be where I was.

Looking back, I really should have known something bad was going to happen that day. It had been too long that things were happy and peaceful. But why would I think of bad things when I was awoken that morning by my lovely, gorgeous wife, who was already wide awake and kissing her way from my shoulder to my ear and back down? And why would I even consider running into an ex when I was deep in the throes of passion, making love to said lovely, gorgeous wife like we were newlyweds and not two years married? And why, even when we finally dragged ourselves out of bed to meet our friends Sango and Miroku for breakfast, would I think to imagine any awkward ex meetings, especially not at our favorite cafe?

I wouldn't. I didn't. And now I was paying.

At first, I didn't even notice her. Miroku and Sango were talking to Kagome and I about more of their wedding plans – Kagome was Sango's maid of honor and I was Miroku's best man – when I heard the hipster-looking barista working the counter call out someone's order. "Tall mocha latte for Kikyou!" he said. I don't know why I looked – maybe because at that moment it was just Kagome and Sango debating whether to use a cool or warm color scheme for the flowers and it was so mind-numbingly boring that I was searching for escape. Like I said, I don't know. But Kikyou was a fairly common name, so I was expecting to just see some random girl picking up her latte, maybe talking on her cell phone or digging through her purse. I wholly did not expect to see the distinctive long black hair of my ex-girlfriend, Kikyou.

And yet there she was. Same long hair. Same tall, thin figure. Same cold, far-away eyes. It was almost scary how little she had changed since the last time I'd seen her. I knew I looked different – my long silver-blonde hair that used to run down my back in ludicrous ways was now cut around my shoulders (after an unfortunate incident at the movies involving some teenagers and gum). I'm sure I looked a lot more relaxed, too. Kagome had that affect on me.

Stupidly, I blurted out the line. "Oh, God, it's my ex." I'm not quite sure why, because saying it never actually does any good. It just makes your friends stop their conversations with their eyes all wide, suddenly very interested in your affairs. It makes your best friend grin knowingly, probably trying to guess which ex it is so he can tease you about it. It makes your other best friend – the first best friend's fiance, actually – dart her eyes between you and your wife, like she's asking if the wife in question will kick your ex's ass. And it makes your wife become very, very jealous.

At least, that's what I thought would happen. But Kagome didn't look murderous; she looked amused. Her smirk was beautiful but calculating, which I did not quite understand. Miroku and Sango, however, played both their parts to perfection. Miroku's grin was more lecherous than knowing, though, and the way Sango raised her eyebrows to her hairline made me feel like I should be offended. Like she was surprised I even had an ex-girlfriend.

"Which one?" Miroku questioned eagerly, looking around the cafe. "Where is she? Is it Saki? Haruhi? She was hot."

Sango glared and slapped his shoulder while Kagome dropped her amused smirk and joined in glaring on Sango's behalf. I rolled my eyes my eyes at my lech of a best friend, regretting once again having him wingman for me for all those years. He knew way too much.

"Okay, don't look now," I said in as low a voice I could in this loud, crowded cafe, "but she's over by the counter."

They all whipped around and stared openly at Kikyou.

"I said don't look now!"

"Oh my God," Miroku said in shock, completely ignoring my above statement. "You didn't say it was Kikyou."

Sango, who had never seen Kikyou in more than a few old pictures, gasped. "Wait, that's Kikyou? The Kiyou?"

To my shock, Kagome still didn't appear angry or jealous. Her lips curled as she eyed Kikyou up and down, but she looked amused again. I started to feel a little insulted – shouldn't she at least be a little mad? I mean, I didn't want her to cause a scene or exert herself, especially in her condition, but come on. You want them to be kind of jealous, right?

"Are you going to say something to her?" Sango asked me, whispering now for whatever reason.

"No! Are you kidding? No. That's – no." I picked up my coffee and sipped it loudly. "We broke up for a reason. She's crazy."

"And besides which, you are married," Kagome cut in. She still wasn't jealous, though. "I think you should at least say hi," she continued, irritatingly nonchalant. "Just to be nice."

"No!" I said, probably louder than I should have. Because at that moment, nobody behind the counter was using any of the machines and a lot of the patrons had quieted down for one reason or another. So my voice was carried over to the certain ex-girlfriend that was now paying for her latte. She paused in pulling her wallet out of her purse and frowned a little, then looked right at me.

Of course, my clever, clever friends and I all immediately turned back around and pretended we weren't just staring at her (and here I'd thought that high school shit was over). But as my seat faced the counter anyway, I could just see out of the corner of my eye Kikyou straighten up and pause. I gave a tiny glance to Kagome, but I only see her looking smug. Shit, so Kikyou had seen me . . . I prayed to whatever gods were being godly today that my crazy ex-girlfriend please not recognize me.

"Inuyasha?" I heard her call over the din that has restarted in the cafe.

No luck.

I glanced again at Kagome, hoping for a little back up, but she was jerking her head in Kikyou's direction, like Don't be rude, you piece of shit. Get your ass up and say hi! So I slowly turned my head, feigning confusion at my name being called, and then pretended I was seeing Kikyou for the first time in four years. The fake surprise never did come so naturally.

"Kikyou!" I called, plastering a fake smile onto my face and hoping she had somewhere she really had to be right then. But apparently I was hated Up There (wherever that was), because I watched her smile back with a real one and throw a few bills onto the counter for her latte before making her way over to where I was sitting. I jumped up quickly, though, because I really did not want this woman interacting in any way with my wife and friends.

So we met halfway, my fake smile feeling strained and her real smile looking bigger. I felt a little guilty then, because she was clearly much happier to see me than I was to see her (which is to say, not at all). But then I remembered how much of a crazy bitch she was to me and my friends when we broke up, and my guilt mysteriously turned to annoyance.

There were some very wise words running through my head just then: When you meet an ex again, you've been apart long enough that either you've idolized everything about them or you find their every detail extremely annoying. I think it was some TV show, but it was still wholly true. I knew I wouldn't be able to handle anything more than five consecutive minutes in this woman's presence.

"Wow, Inuyasha," she said, sounding slightly amazed and breathy. "Wow. How have you been?"

Standard question, I guessed. But fakeness was required. "Great. Yeah, I've been really good," I said, not lying at all really, but I knew my tone could have been a lot friendlier. "What about you? You look great, by the way."

Another non-lie. Kikyou was, as the last time I'd seen her, beautiful. Long, thin limbs; smooth, delicate facial features; a shapely figure she displayed clearly with her tight, stylish clothing. But compared to my wife, she was nothing. She held none of the warmth Kagome radiated, none of the tenderness that made me want to embrace her every time I saw her. She wasn't soft like the love of my life. She looked cold and hard as always – more pretty sculpture than actual woman. I couldn't, in all seriousness, remember what I had found so attractive about her for so long.

"Ugh, no, I'm so fat," she insisted. I struggled not to roll my eyes at her obvious fishing for compliments. Kikyou had never been unaware of her beauty, but she was always tossing out those comments about herself, making it mandatory for everyone around her to argue and tell her how thin, how gorgeous, how perfect she was. She'd eat it up, loving the attention and the compliments she felt deserved.

Hmm. Another thing about Kikyou that always vexed me: her blatant narcissism. And yet, her neediness at being told of her greatness. She constantly needed reassurances that everybody loved her. She was so childish like that.

"Stop it," I said, putting on another false smile to show her how silly she was being. "You do."

She rolled her eyes playfully and grinned impishly, like Yeah, I know. I'm perfect. I bit my tongue to keep from calling her a fake bitch right to her face.

"So, yeah," I said, straining not to sound as hostile as I felt, "how have you been?"

"Oh, fantastic," she gushed. Of course. "Well, I mean, no. Not fantastic." Oh? "I just broke up with my boyfriend of three months." Oh.

I figured she was fishing for more compliments and sympathy. Fine – I just wanted to get this little reunion over with. "Ah, I'm sorry to hear that!" He probably wanted to escape her, just like I did. I wondered if she'd used any of the revenge tactics I'd gotten with her most recent ex. Probably not, since we'd been dating for nearly a year and not just three months. But who knew if Kikyou gave all her ex-boyfriends that kind of treatment.

I met Kikyou in college. She was roommates with Miroku's girlfriend at the time, before he got dumped. But (not surprisingly) Kikyou got invited to a lot of parties, and the invitation was more often than not extended to her roommate, who didn't want to go alone, which meant Miroku would tag along. Miroku, being the kind best friend that he was, would invite me too, not only because he was constantly saying I needed a girlfriend but because he knew his own girlfriend was the type to talk to her friends all night at parties and he wanted someone to keep him company. So all four of us would go to a party and I'd watch Kikyou – that sounds weird and stalkerish, but at the time it felt like the most natural thing in the world.

Kikyou, social butterfly she was, would make her rounds about the party, greeting friends and boys laughing and drinking and dancing. After about three parties of me not making a move, she came up to me and asked if I was going to stare at her all night or ask her to dance already. Back then, I considered her confidence sexy. Now, however, I realized she just wanted more attention.

But I did dance with her that night, for practically a whole hour straight. And that night, as Miroku and I walked the girls back to their room, I worked up all my courage and asked Kikyou out.

For a moment she just looked at me, slightly smug, but I only noticed her beauty. Then, right before I decided I'd kill myself, she smiled this slow smile (I now realize it was probably practiced). "Yeah," she said, "that'd be really cool." And she'd dug in her purse for a pen before scrawling her cell number onto my hand. "Call me, okay?"

That began our ultimately ill-fated relationship. For a while, I thought I really was happy. I was dating the hottest girl I'd ever met and she was actually as into me as I was to her. We went out a lot, we stayed in even more (if you get my drift)... Yes, the sex was great, and what would you expect? We both had . . . experience and we were both young and horny. All in all, we made a nice couple.

I started thinking I was falling in love with her, and maybe I was – at least, falling in love with who I thought she was. But then, about eight months into the relationship, she happened to come to the dorm room Miroku and I shared while I wasn't there. Miroku, however, was at the desk, studying for his midterm. Anyway, when she knocked on the door, he told her I had ran out to the library real quick to pick some stuff up; when he said that I probably wouldn't be back any sooner than fifteen minutes, Kikyou had chosen to sit down on my bed and wait. Not an odd move in and of itself, because it wasn't like Miroku would come onto her or anything (he may have been a stupid lech, but he wasn't the type of guy to hit on his best friend's girlfriend). According to Miroku, what happened next was he tried to continue studying when Kikyou started hitting on him.

I didn't want to believe him. When he told me later that night about the whole thing, I was mad at him.

"She wouldn't do that," I insisted, almost shouting and angry and upset.

"Inuyasha, do you really think I would say it if it wasn't true?" It was clear Miroku was upset too, but he seemed to level at the time, so calm. Looking back, I could remember the tired, worried lines etching his face, but when he told me I was so irritated at what I believed to be a jealous, bold-faced lie that I ignored his worries.

But I knew, even with my stupid college kid mind, that this was inarguable logic. Miroku wouldn't make something like up just to hurt me; he just wouldn't. So either his brain was fried from midterms and pot (which I doubted because he had a rule against studying while stoned) and he'd hallucinated the whole thing, or he was telling me the absolute truth and my girlfriend was a lying, cheating, skank-faced ho-bag. Now that I could clearly see, I shifted my anger to the one truly deserving it: Kikyou.

Of course, I confronted her about it the next day, and, of course, she denied it. "I was just being friendly to him!" she claimed, her heavily-lined eyes widening dramatically. "It's not my fault he took it the wrong way!"

And maybe I was being soft – maybe I still believed I was in love with her, maybe I just wanted to her to be telling the truth – but I accepted that answer. I let her get away with flirting with my best friend (although more like at him, since Miroku so did not even humor her). I was hurt, but I didn't want what we had to end.

But then I started paying real attention to our relationship. For two months, I just watched as her nastiness finally became clear to me. That's when I noticed her raging ego, her neediness, her all-over bitchiness to those she deemed unworthy of her high opinion. It was horrible to watch, but I didn't really work up the courage to break up with her until she met Tetsusaiga.

I hadn't actually meant for Kikyou to ever know about her, but it just sort of happened. Tetsusaiga wasn't a girl or anything – she's a car. A completely kick-ass vintage Camaro that my dad fixed up when I was in middle school and my brother was in high school. Dad brought the old thing back to life with the sickest paint job you've ever seen, and he was going to give it to Sesshomaru (my ass of a half-brother), but then he just changed his mind and I became the owner of Tetsusaiga when I got my license. Sesshomaru never did forgive me for taking away that beautiful car.

Anyway, Kikyou was insisting we go out for a real formal dinner date in the city, and that I drive her there in style. I guess – despite our relationship disintegrating practically before our eyes – I wanted to show off Tetsusaiga, even if it was just to Kikyou. I didn't get many opportunities to drive Tetsusaiga as it was, too, since everything I needed was within walking distance. I went and visited Sesshomaru, who I was paying monthly to look after Tetsusaiga while I couldn't use her. And, after only two screaming matches and one fistfight, I drove away with my beauty.

I really did love that car, as stupid as that sounds. Not only was it the most beautiful piece of machinery I'd ever encountered, but the fact that my father made it that way made me feel . . . I don't know. Emotional. Vulnerable. Closer to him somehow, even that sounds like something out of a crappy made-for-TV-movie where the parent dies – which, incidentally, he did. I was fifteen, and he had an aneurysm. Just didn't wake up one day.

But that wasn't my point. I was driving the car, feeling like an absolute woman, when I was struck with the crazy idea that I could decide my whole fate with Kikyou by her reaction to Tetsusaiga. If she fell in love with it the way I had, I would give her another chance and maybe we'd even work out. But if it was anything less than that, I'd dump her right then and there. Yes, it was a stupid and irrational decision, but I was stupid and irrational.

And I ended up being disappointed anyway. You'd think I would have been used to disappointment by then, what with all the shitiness of my life so far, but no. Even through my hatred at what my relationship with Kikyou had faded to, I still had a hope that she would defy my expectations and . . . be the person I wished she was. It was a selfish desire, to be sure, but was it so wrong for me to want her to appreciate the things in life that I loved most? To respect the effort my father had put into such a machine, only to keel over in his sleep one night and not get to see me drive it? That's all I wanted. And she couldn't even do that.

She stared at the shiny red paint – my favorite color – with what I could only describe as incredulity and disgust. "I thought I told you to drive me there in style!" she half-shrieked. "Those were my exact words! In. Style. Not . . . " She eyed the whole car from side to side. " . . . this."

I couldn't believe the things she was saying about my baby. I was shocked that the voice coming out of my mouth was as calm as it was. "This," I said, scarily stable, "is the car my father slaved over to make it look as beautiful as it does right now."

"Yeah, but I wanted something something sleek and black and stuff!" she whined. "A Lincoln Town Car, or something. Not some muscle car."

"It's a Camaro," I told her through clenched teeth.

"What-eeeveeeer." She released a loud, frustrated sigh that I'm sure was supposed to be cute. It only served to make me angrier.

And I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take her toxic narcissism or her flirtatious tendencies or her addiction to compliments or any of it. We had nothing in common besides sex anymore. I hated every second I had to spend with her. And now she was insulting Tetsusaiga. My father's Tetsusaiga. I wasn't going to stand for it anymore.

"I'm dumping you."

Okay, maybe I'd meant it to come out as something smoother. But I got my point across, which I could clearly see as her face drained of all color and then returned times ten. Kikyou's normally lovely features twisted and sneered in anger. Not very surprising, since I'm sure she was not normally on the receiving end of any "I'm dumping you" statements.

"What?" she hissed. "What did you just say to me?"

"I'm breaking up with you," I said, sounding much more nonchalant that I was actually feeling. "See also I'm ending our relationship, I don't want to be your boyfriend anymore, I want to see other people. Your pick."

She seemed a little speechless. Well, if no one had ever told her the first thing I said, they probably hadn't told her the other things either. I was actually sort of surprised she was letting me breathe long enough to say all of that. The anger burning clearly in her eyes seemed like enough will power, and I didn't doubt that she probably could kick my ass if she wanted to. But Kikyou was all about images, so I figured she wouldn't want the scandal of murder added to her reputation around school. That might put off future boyfriends.

"You asshole!" she snarled. "You shit head! You son of a fucking bitch! I can't believe you!" She was shrieking now, balling up her hands into fists, regardless of her manicure. "After all this time – after a fucking year – you're dumping in front of your shitty car?! I cannot fucking believe you!"

Somehow, though, her petty words didn't make me angry. They were amusing to me. The real Kikyou was coming out, and better yet, she was starting to attract the questionable stares of other students passing by. And everyone knew Kikyou – Shikon University was actually a pretty small school, so a social butterfly like Kikyou was envied and wanted by practically the whole population. Which meant that stories of the beautiful, popular, suddenly single Kikyou would be a widespread story for weeks after.

I almost laughed, seeing the girl I thought I loved, only to grow to hate, standing there seething, looking deadly in her too-short and too-low-cut black dress and fuck me pumps. Her long black hair was styled into a complicated updo and her tiny clutch (that's a bag, right?) was gripped so tightly in her fists that I though it might busrt open. Her face was too made up – she tried much too hard, so desperate for the compliments she lived on and felt she deserved – and the absolute anger shading every bit of it only brought out the ugliness she kept on the inside.

At least now everyone would be able to see the real her.

I walked around Tetsusaiga and climbed back into the driver's seat, calm as can be. I actually felt like laughing then, but I knew it would sting more for Kikyou to be ignored. So as I started the ignition and drowned out the rest of Kikyou's acidic insults, as I drove away and felt free for the first time in a year, as I called Miroku and his new girlfriend Sango (it was their second or third date, actually) to meet me at a cafe that just opened so I could tell them of my sorry (ha) situation, as I finally let it all out to them and smiled a smile that nearly broke my face in half, I felt happy.

Or so I thought.

Because it wasn't until around midnight that night, when Miroku, Sango, and I were laughing over the more creative names Kikyou had yelled after me as I left her on the side of the rode, and one of the baristas came over and tapped my shoulder to tell us they were closing that I really knew what happiness was.

That's when I met Kagome.

At first, I was slightly horrified, because the girl looked so much like Kikyou at first glance that I thought she'd followed me there and now wanted to extract her revenge. But as I looked again, I saw that this barista girl was different from Kikyou in every way. This girl didn't have the smooth, cold, perfectly symmetrical facial features Kikyou did – she looked warmer, softer, with a kind but wild look in her eyes. Her hair wasn't the stick-straight and silk-smooth black ribbons that Kikyou's was – it was halfway down her back and wavier, fuller, looking more like a real person's than some shampoo commercial perfect shit. And she was a lot shorter than Kikyou, but it was cute. Being with Kikyou felt like being with a model. Not even that, a mannequin – she was too perfect to feel comfortable around. But being with this girl . . . I could tell I'd feel so natural around her. I didn't even know her, but I could tell that being with her would make me feel happy.

The barista girl blushed slightly, and I realized I'd been staring at her. This made me feel guilty, because as horrible as Kikyou was I should've at least waited a couple days before looking for a new girlfriend. It hadn't even been twenty-four hours that I'd dumped Kikyou, and yet here I was, imagining myself being all happy and natural with some random barista. My relationship with Kikyou wasn't even in the ground yet.

"Sorry for keeping you," I heard Miroku say to the barista girl. "We'll be going now."

"Thank you for coming," the girl said, and I blushed at her voice. Like everything else about her, her voice was different from Kikyou's, which had been loud and bossy and too flirty. The girl's was soft, but I could tell that was only because we were strangers. It was vaguely friendly, something I supposed was slightly forced since she was working with people and couldn't sound as bored as I'm sure she felt most of the time. But something about its melodic sound told me that if I got to know her, she'd be loud as well – but not in the obnoxious, I-need-to-be-heard, being-louder-makes-me-more-right kind of way Kikyou was. Only in the way that she wouldn't be afraid to voice her opinions and speak her mind.

Miroku and Sango were pulling me out of the cafe before I could look at the girl's name tag. So I didn't know her name, but somehow I knew she'd be able to make right the wrong that Kikyou had caused.

In the weeks following that, I went to the cafe more and more. At first it was just so I could look at the barista girl (who's name tag read Kirara), but it soon became a secret escape from Kikyou's revenge – my God, that woman did not take rejection well. She put flyers up around the school that said DON'T DATE THIS DOUCHE in bright pink letters above a picture of me suffering a hangover (not pretty) and a list of my so-called flaws (those of which included "obsessed with his car," "takes longer than I do with his hair," and "wears too much red"). She told everyone that I had given her gonorrhea and all kinds of other nasties, apparently not realizing she was making herself look bad in that. She even tried breaking into my dorm room to do God knows what, but the dumb bitch hadn't checked to see if Miroku was inside the room at the time.

But after a while, I stopped caring what Kikyou was doing to try to humiliate me. Every day, I'd walk into that cafe and look towards the counter to see the barista girl Kirara looking towards the door, and when we'd lock eyes she'd flush a little bit and I'd smile shyly at her. I'd stroll up to the counter and pretend to observe the menu, even though I always ordered the same thing: "Tall black coffee and a ham and cheese croissant, please," not caring that I was eating breakfast food at four in the afternoon.

And she'd say the same thing every time in reply: "Your total is 650 yen."

Getting to hear her voice every day made up for the horribleness that was Kikyou. And yeah, when I finally got up the courage to say a real, non-coffee-and-croissant-related sentence to her and I found out from her laughing coworker that Kirara was in fact not her real name, I was a bit pissed. But when she sheepishly told me that her real, actual, honest-to-God birth name was Kagome Higurashi and showed me her driver's license to prove it, I felt better.

About a month after that I asked her when she had a night off. She didn't play games or look smug like Kikyou had when I'd first asked her out. Kagome told me straight up that she was off her shift in fifteen minutes if I wanted to hang out right then – no games, just naked honesty and one real look that told me she really wanted me to say yes. And I did.

Now, standing in the same cafe and looking at my ex-girlfriend Kikyou as my wife of two years – and lover of five years – and best friends watched, I suddenly felt frustrated. This cafe was a sacred place for me, and Kikyou had no right being here and acting like we were friends. When I dumped her she hated my very being, and yet here she was, smiling and asking for compliments like she hadn't been such a bitch to me during college.

Maybe it sounds petty for me to have been so angry with her for things that happened years ago. But some things just stick with you for years, and no matter how much time has passed you still get the same old bad feelings around the same old bad people. Yes, Kikyou might have changed for the better, but I could smell her fakeness practically since she'd come in – I highly doubted she was suddenly benevolent.

"Hey, so this is going to sound really crazy . . . " Kikyou said, back in the present. "But just hear me out, okay?" She giggled, brushing my shoulder with her fingertips in a way I'm sure she meant to be flirtatious. I could see how I might have fallen for it a couple years ago when I was not only single but young and stupid, but after going through all that once, there was no way I was doing it again. And besides which, I was married – Kikyou held no light next to Kagome.

"For some reason," she said, lowering her voice a bit, "I just feel like meeting you again today feels like fate, you know? Like, I just broke up with my boyfriend, and we're so close to Shikon University, which holds so many memories for me. For us. Isn't that weird?" She laughed again, this time like she'd had some brilliant idea. "It's like, I don't know, the gods or whatever telling us to get back together, right?" Her pale, slender hand reached out to touch my shoulder again, but this time another hand was already there.

Kagome's hand.

She smiled up at me from her stance on my right. Standing on her very tippiest toes, she cupped my face with one hand and kissed me right on the lips, right in front of my horrid ex-girlfriend. When we both pulled away, grinning like idiots I'm sure, Kikyou was staring at us in shock.

Well, more accurately at Kagome and her very round, very pregnant belly.

I'm not sure what Kikyou was more surprised by: that I had a wife, or that I had a wife that was knocked up. Either way, her eyes were glued to Kagome's large baby bump and she was more shocked than I'd ever seen her. Kagome, on the other hand, sported a look of smug satisfaction – she knew how much Kikyou had tortured me, since she had been the one to pick up the pieces. To her, this was the ultimate bitch slap that most women probably didn't get. Taking a little bit of revenge on the girl who hurt her husband in the past.

"Hi honey," Kagome chirped, moving her gaze from Kikyou to me. "Who's your friend?"

Like she didn't know.

Looking at the two women standing next to each other for the first time that I had ever seen, I was startled by their crazy similarities – and stark differences. Kagome was still short, but her frame was well supported now by her curves (plumped beautifully by her pregnancy). The soft pale green material of her shirt pulled across her large bump (and preggers breasts), breaking off to a white skirt that flowed gently to her knees. Her black hair was still just as wavy, although a bit longer and now braided messily down her back. Her dark eyes and light smile were wickedly playful, but otherwise as gentle as usual. She looked so soft just then, making me feel as if I was married to a beautiful cloud.

Kikyou, on the other hand, was as tall and coldly beautiful as the last time I'd seen her. I noticed she was looking too skinny, at least for my tastes, too much like those alien-looking stick girls in all the fashion magazines that make a mockery out of real women with curves like my wife. Her dark eyes – so much like Kagome's at first glance – were still dumbfounded, but past the shock I could see that there were anything but playful or gentle. Her stylish-but-too-tight red wrap dress was clinging to her skinny body, and I'm sure it would must have been attractive to some guys – most guys, probably – but there was no baby belly interrupting the hard line of her stomach, no softness to it, no . . . Kagome-ness. Looking at her, I couldn't help but think how much she paled in comparison to my beautiful wife.

Said beautiful wife was now weaving her hand through mine, still smiling, and squeezing me comfortingly. I glanced down at her quickly, and she flashed a reassuring grin my way, like Just keep holding on. The dragon lady will be gone soon.

"This is Kikyou," I told her, even though she knew exactly who the still-shocked woman was. "My old – "


We both looked at Kikyou now, slightly surprised by her interruption. She looked embarrassed but proud, holding her chin high, but her hands were gripping her latte and purse harder than before, I could tell. Her jaw looked tense, too. I guess she was trying to pass the whole thing off like she hadn't been asking out a married soon-to-be-dad. Well, whatever, if it got her out of there faster.

"Yes, we hung out in college," Kikyou said hurriedly. "Good times." Then, she pretended she had a watch on and checked it, dramatically widening her eyes like she just remembered this really important appointment. "Oh my God, I just remembered this really important appointment," she gasped. "I'm so sorry, but I have to go right now."

"Oh, too bad," Kagome simpered. "I would've like to chat for a bit. I'm sure you have all kinds of dirt on Inuyasha from college."

Kikyou blushed at this, probably remembering all the dirt I had on her. "No, no, just the regular dumb college stuff," she mumbled awkwardly. She glanced at her non-watch again. "Well, I shoudl really be going now . . . "

But as she turned to leave, her cheeks still burning pink, I actually felt a little sorry for her. Yes, she was a spiteful bitch that gave me hell in college, but I was kind of a piece shit back then too. I didn't know who she was now, and it really wasn't fair of me to be so petty. Plus, I really couldn't deal with watching people suffer; I was too squeamish with people.

"Hey, Kikyou!" I called.

She turned her head slightly to look at me, clearly still embarrassed. She didn't say anything.

"It was nice seeing you again," I told her, kind of mostly lying. But whatever.

I could tell she didn't really believe me, but she smile half-heartedly anyway. Maybe a little apologetically, too, but then she whipped her head around, her long black hair flying, and sauntered out of the cafe like she was a goddess among mortals.

Same old Kikyou.

I waited five whole seconds before letting out a huge breath that I hadn't been aware I was holding. Slouching slightly, I felt very, very tired. I felt Kagome squeeze my hand again and her other hand run up and down my back soothingly.

"It's okay, sweetie. It's over."

I sighed again. "Nothing like an ex can take that much out ya, huh?" I stretched my arms over my head and turned around, leading Kagome back to our friends. Miroku and Sango smirked at us, slightly confused but nonetheless entertained by the whole exchange.

She smiled at me and said, "I think you handled that very maturely."

"I think you didn't."

"Hey, I was trying to help you," she sniffed. "Jerk."


We approached the table and I took her face in my hands, kissing her deeply. I could tell I caught her by surprise, but she soon melted into the kiss. I could feel her smiling into it and I could hear our friends making gagging sounds; I flipped them off. When we pulled away, Kagome grinned and flushed. However, then she glanced behind us and turned as white as a sheet.

"Kagome? What is it?"


"What's wrong, Kagome-sama?"

She stared at something behind us. Miroku, Sango, and I turned around to see a very tan guy at the counter, looking bored and going over the menu. His eyes were a freakish bright blue and he had a long black ponytail.

"Oh God," Kagome groaned. "It's my ex."

End! And if you can't guess that Kagome's ponytailed ex is Kouga then I will be very disappointed in you.

Anyway, please review. This is my first Inuyasha oneshot, but I'm almost done with the manga so I'm all jumpy to put these guys to work. So, love it, hate it, just tell me something. (And another note to any Ties of Love and Friendship readers: I'm working on an update. Promise.)