First is Not the Worst

Through the slightly muddy passenger side window glass of his gray Silverado truck was the first time she saw him.

It didn't last very long, though; he braked in front of the apartment house for no more than a minute, scowled, flipped open a cell phone then drove off again.

Five minutes later Kagome's phone rang and she dashed off to go answer it.

It was the first time she heard his voice.

-X-

A week passed before she saw him next in that same gray muddy Silverado.

Her new landlord pulled into the narrow driveway alongside the old apartment house, the stones crunching under the tremendous tiers before braking and cutting the engine. Dressed in boots caked in dried mud and ripped baggy blue jeans, he emerged from the vehicle and slammed the door shut, revealing to her the rest of his attire. A thin, red and white sleeveless plaid shirt hung open over a white wife beater and long silver hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail. A backwards Coors Light cap that looked rather worse for wear sitting atop his head completed the look.

He didn't look one bit the professional landlord she was expecting, but instead a rough looking, don't-take-no-shit tough guy who prefers worn and cheap clothes from Wal-Mart to expensive Armani suits.

But none of that mattered once Kagome Higurashi got a look at his deep amber eyes.

Her own cinnamon orbs widened at the intensity behind those golden depths once they found hers through her front apartment window for no more than an instant.

She could have sworn something flashed in his eyes before abruptly he turned, stomped up the rickety wooden steps, and then promptly began to rip her neighbor's door of its hinges.

Vaguely Kagome realized that was why he had called last week asking if anybody lived in the apartment next to hers before she got a glance at the deadly talons tipping his fingers on each hand.

It was then that she first realized just what exactly he was.

-X-

The third time she saw him, Kagome was on the front porch this time, getting her mail from the crooked mailbox when he rolled up in his monster of a truck once more. Resisting the urge to flee, Kagome took a deep breath and turned around, watching silently as he cut the engine and exited the vehicle.

He glanced at her, she smiled; and then he turned back around to the bed of his truck and rummaged around in his toolbox.

Kagome's smile faded and she sighed. Trying to hide the disappointment, she turned to head back into her apartment—

But the heavy thudding of someone coming up the stairs stopped her and she turned back around, hoping.

Holding a screw gun in one hand and a single nail in the other, he bypassed her and studied her mailbox for a seconded. Without a word, he placed the nail adjacent to the one holding up the mailbox, preceded to drive it in with his gun, and hooked the other side upon the nail so that it was level again.

Throughout this Kagome watched silently, gratitude welling up inside her and it showed in her smile when he finally turned to her.

"Thank you."

He studied her for a minute, and then nodded. "Need anything else fixed, gimme a buzz. I'll see what I can do."

It was his equivalent to a "you're welcome," and Kagome was just fine with that.

It was the second time she heard the deep timbre of his voice, and the first time she felt his touch when he gave her a card, a number scrawled across it.

-X-

When next she saw him, he wasn't alone. A dark haired man was with him with violet eyes and a charming smile. Somehow Kagome wasn't surprised when he spied her neighbor Sango exiting the building for her morning jog and moseyed his way over to her.

Kagome giggled at the wary look etched across her friend's face then glanced over at her landlord.

He was staring at her and her heart jumped in her chest, a slight flush creeping up her neck to her cheeks. She could have sworn she saw the corner of his mouth twitch, before he barked for the man – Miroku was his name – to get his ass over here and help him with the door.

Miroku sighed, threw another charming smile at Sango, and then reluctantly headed back. "Must you always ruin my fun, Inuyasha?"

Kagome's landlord – Inuyasha – rolled his eyes, skipped a glance over at her again, then spun on his heel and lowered the tailgate to the familiar Silverado. "Keh. Just gimme a hand, will ya, lech?"

It was the first time she heard his name…

And the first time she fell.

-X-

The familiar crunching of gravel amidst the pounding of the rain hitting the building alerted Kagome to her visitor and she smiled, unfurling herself from her cozy nest of blankets on the couch and heading toward the door. The clap of thunder that followed shortly after nearly shook the building and she shuddered, huddling into her oversized sweatshirt.

Something banged at the door and she hurried to open it, letting him inside and away from the raging storm outside.

Inuyasha was soaked as she closed the door behind him and she frowned in concern. "Do you want something warm to drink before you start?"

Shrugging off his drenched jacket in which Kagome hung up on a stand to dry, Inuyasha ignored her question and headed for the kitchen, wondering why it was so damn cold in here. "Where is it?"

Sighing, she followed after him and pointed to the rusty brown spot on her ceiling near the fridge where it was currently dripping water onto her floor. A soft plip, plip sounded every few seconds when drops of water landed in the pot she put on the floor under the leak.

Kagome glanced at him and tried again. "Are you sure you don't want—"

"Got anything I can stand on?"

Giving up, Kagome shook her head and grabbed a kitchen chair before dragging it over and placing it near the leak. Without preamble, Inuyasha heaved himself onto the wooden chair with practiced ease and removed the plaster tile to get a good look at what lies underneath.

Kagome leaned against the counter as he tinkered around and she couldn't contain the soft giggle every time a softly muttered curse echoed in the kitchen. No doubt his face was getting an impromptu shower from the leakage.

After about ten minutes, give or take a few, Inuyasha released a grunt, gave one final twist to the wrench, and then reached in and tugged the tile back into place. He hopped down from the chair and Kagome wordlessly handed him a dry towel for his face. Nodding his thanks, he wiped himself dry and heaved a sigh, wincing as something in his neck cracked.

The two stood in silence, Kagome biting her lip and looking anywhere at him while Inuyasha studied his handiwork. At least the damn thing wasn't leaking anymore.

"Thank you," his hostess said softly and he glanced back at her, thinking she looked rather adorable standing there, eyes averted with a blush on her cheeks and wearing an oversized sweatshirt that dwarfed her frame and huge plaid pajama bottoms. He cocked a brow; if he didn't know any better, he had the same pair back at his place.

A few seconds passed and still no answer, Kagome dared a peek up at him and her flush deepened. He was staring at her again.

"So," he finally said crossed his arms. "Got anything to drink?"

Kagome blinked, a smile gracing her features and she looked beautiful to him. With a nod, she filled the kettle up with water and set it on the stove to boil before going to her cupboards for tea and mugs.

Throughout their light conversation, Kagome discovered he'd bought the apartment building last month and his goal was to fix it up to look more presentable. She'd told him their last landlord, Naraku Morikawa, hadn't given two shits about the place and let it go to shambles.

Then he'd asked her why the hell she was living in a shitty place like this.

She'd responded that she had nowhere else to go.

He'd frowned and grunted, but didn't say anything else.

After the tea was finished, Kagome didn't want him to leave as he stood up, stretched, and headed back to the living room. Kagome trailed behind, thinking of an excuse, but she was surprised when he walked toward her furnace instead, the look he sent her full of reprimand and clearly telling her what he thought.

She bit her lip and offered a sheepish smile with a one-shouldered shrug.

Inuyasha sighed and shook his head before fishing a screwdriver out of his pocket and kneeling before her furnace to get it working again.

Kagome watched from the couch with a smile.

It was the first time she was grateful that her furnace was broken again.

-X-

Two weeks later, she found his truck backed up into the driveway, but he was nowhere in sight. Frowning, Kagome put her groceries in her apartment and then ventured out to find him, going into the backyard and peering into the open doorway to the building's basement where a red hose disappeared. The sound of water hitting something hard drew a curious frown from her and being careful, Kagome slowly made her way down the steep, stone steps and found him mixing up what looked to be cement into a large, rusty metal basin.

He looked up then and Kagome saw he had one of those paper masks over his nose and mouth, probably to help keep the dust and other debris away from his sensitive nose. His Coors Light hat was pulled snuggly over his head and Kagome had an inkling as to why he was wearing it down here where it was hot and humid.

Tipping him a smile, Kagome tilted her head and looked around, mentally wincing at cobwebs covering every inch of the wooden supports of the ceiling. Inwardly she wondered how long it had been like this; nothing but dirt, stones, and dust with the walls cemented. Spiders lived in places like this…

A scraping sound caught her attention and she focused back on her landlord to find that he was mixing up the water and dry cement mixture with a hoe, the sound filling up the otherwise silent room.

Since he didn't seem to mind her standing here, Kagome walked in further to stand next to him, content to just watch him and be near him. She wondered why she felt so safe from the spiders and creepy crawlies with him next to her.

Inuyasha set the hoe aside, dragged the basin over to the doorway and proceeded to dip his gloved hands into the gray stuff and fill up the holes in the doorway's frame with the freshly mixed cement.

Is there anything this man couldn't do?

After a few minutes of just standing there, Kagome was beginning to feel useless. "Um, can I do anything?" she blurted before she could stop herself.

Inuyasha glanced at her, frowned, and then took off his gloves to pick up a broom with the head covered in cobwebs and walked over to her, holding out the broom. He gestured to the ceiling. "Knock off the cobwebs for me?"

Even though the task sent shivers down her spine, she took the offered broom with a smile and a nod. "Sure thing, chief!" With that, she turned around, wielded her broom like one would a sword and swept the ceiling clean of webs with battle cries.

She failed to notice the smile curling Inuyasha's lips from her antics. But before she could, he turned and went back to cementing the doorway's frame.

Fear of spiders momentarily forgotten, Kagome swept across a large pipe, knocking down the cobwebs above it – and then promptly got a dust shower. She gasped then coughed and sputtered, her eyes watering as she waved a hand in front of her face.

Oops.

She nearly jumped out of her skin when Inuyasha suddenly appeared behind her, reaching around her to place a mask over her nose and mouth before tying it in place behind her head.

Touched by the gesture, Kagome sucked in a cautious breath and turned around, ready to thank him, but stopped when she looked into his face.

His own mask was no longer there; his nose and mouth were both visible through the settling dust.

Her eyes watered for a completely different reason and before she could stop herself, Kagome lifted a hand and placed it on his cheek.

"Thank you," she whispered and he could hear the smile in her voice.

He released a breath and ducked his head, staring into her eyes, his lids at half-mast. "Just…be more careful, yeah?" His voice was low, with a hint of huskiness to it.

Her heart thundered in her chest as their gazes locked and held.

Then, as if realizing how close they were, Inuyasha sucked in a breath, turned away and headed back to finish his previous job.

Kagome stared after him, heart thundering in her chest.

It was the first time where she wanted him to kiss her.

-X-

She didn't see him pull into the driveway this time; she was too busy fending off her neighbor, another tenant that lived in the apartment house.

Usually Kagome had no problem dealing with him and his advances, but this time he was drunk and a lot more persistent.

"Kouga, please, you need to lie down," she pleaded, pushing at his chest and trying to wriggle her way out of the firm hold he had on her waist. He merely grinned and leaned in close, the scent of alcohol heavy on his breath and she grimaced, leaning away.

"C'mon, baby," the wolf youkai husked, trying to capture her mouth with his but she kept ducking out of the way. He growled in frustration and dug his claws into the small of her back, eliciting a gasp of pain form the woman in his arms as she reflexively arched her back to get away from his claws. Which brought her up closer to him and he lifted a hand to roughly grab her breast and squeeze none too gently; the fabric tore beneath his eager claws. "Quit fighting me, bitch!"

Kagome gasped again, flushing darkly. "K-Kouga, stop! You're hurting me!"

The wolf demon growled again, uncaring, and made an attempt to kiss her again.

But then she was suddenly gone from his arms and he blinked in confusion. Looking up with a frown, the next thing he saw was a fist flying toward his face and excruciating pain exploded throughout his nose and skull, sending him stumbling backwards and onto his ass.

With a groan, Kouga's eyes rolled backwards and he collapsed onto the porch, unconscious.

Inuyasha glared down at the piece of shit, lips pulled back in a snarl, and his hand, now bloody still fisted from where he'd socked the fucker. Satisfied that he wasn't coming to any time soon, Inuyasha spun on his heel and stalked back to Kagome who was sitting back against the railing, holding herself and no doubt the torn pieces of her shirt together with her head bowed.

Keeling before her, Inuyasha gently took her chin in his hand and lifted her gaze back to his, not liking the wet trails from her tears staining her flushed cheeks. "You okay?" he rumbled, wiping away the wetness with a tender thumb.

Sniffing, Kagome nodded and bit her lip, glancing over at the knocked out wolf. "Is he—?"

"Don't worry about him," he cut her off, shrugging out of the plaid shirt she first saw him in and then draping it around her so she had something to cover herself with. "Did he hurt you anywhere?" At her timid nod, a growl thundered within him and he hauled her up with him, keeping an arm locked around her waist. "Where?"

"My back," she whispered and instantly he loosened his hold on her, but didn't let go.

Wordlessly he led her into her apartment and Kagome sighed, allowing her head to fall onto his shoulder.

It was then that she first began to trust him.

-X-

About a month had past since the Kouga incident and Inuyasha had been reappearing at the house more frequently – much to Kagome's pleasure. Sometimes it was to do little odd jobs around the building: fix a pipe, hack away weeds, mow the lawn. Most of the time, however, the landlord spent the majority of his visits on a ladder leaning against the house and applying a fresh coat of paint over the chipping-away mossy green color it had been.

Kagome agreed with his choice of color for the house; a pretty, powder blue. Actually, she would have agreed to any color except for green. That particular hue reminded her of mildew on swamps, whereas this shade of blue gave her a glance at the sky when gray rain clouds were masking it.

It was just past eight o'clock in the morning when Kagome awoke to the smell of fresh paint and the distant sound of someone belting out lyrics to Linkin Park's "New Divide."

Brown eyes blinked blearily and then Kagome grinned, a soft chuckle escaping her mouth. Inuyasha had the radio on again.

Releasing a tongue-curling yawn, Kagome stretched, hopped out of bed, took a quick shower then dressed for the hot day ahead. One glance at her thermometer said 78 degrees in her apartment; shorts and a cami would do just fine today.

Snatching two water bottles out of the fridge, Kagome headed toward the front door, but paused then laughed at the sight that greeted her out her front window; Inuyasha's paint-stained blue jeans and muddy boots. He must be working on the front of the house today.

Still giggling, she exited her apartment and craned her head up, shielding her eyes with a hand. He already had half of the front side finished. How long had be been here? Kagome didn't fail to notice that he was also half dressed; his shirt had been discarded in regards to the hot weather, the muscles of his back revealed for Kagome's viewing pleasure.

Kagome quietly walked down the steps and stood next to the ladder, vaguely wondering why he hadn't noticed her yet. He always had this uncanny sense as to where she was, especially if Kouga was sniffing around nearby.

Kagome watched him paint silently for a few minutes, the radio to his truck switching to "Numb." He must have a burned CD of LP in. Stepping closer, she reached out and with a grin, grabbed his jeans and tugged them down, revealing the hem of his red boxers.

Unpredictably, Inuyasha paused and looked down with a frown at the disturbance, but once he saw whom it was, a smirk lifted the corners of his mouth and a softly muttered "keh" reached her ears.

Her grin widened and she stepped back, waiting.

As she suspected, he balanced the paintbrush on the top of the ladder, got a few kinks out of his back and neck, then gracefully jumped form his perch to land on the ground with a soft thud. Looking her square in the eye, Inuyasha then stuck his thumbs in his jeans and jacked them back up into place, a black brow lifting in silent inquiry.

Kagome giggled and shrugged, then held out a bottled water as a peace offering.

With a roll of his amber eyes, Inuyasha took her offering and swiftly uncapped the bottle before lifting it to his lips and downing half of its contents.

Shaking her head, Kagome sighed and took a small sip of her own before recapping it and setting it aside. "You're welcome," she chirped teasingly because this was the game they played. She was always the one who said it first; he usually followed up with his own version of welcome.

Head tipped back, still taking in gulps of water, Inuyasha shifted his gaze to her, found her eyes, and then seemed to finally have his fill of the liquid. Lowering the bottle, he breathed a sigh of relief and slowly, almost casually, recapped it before turning and placing the plastic bottle on the open tailgate of his backed up truck.

Facing her once more, the landlord promptly invaded her personal space, snaked an arm around her waist to pull her flush, then lowered his mouth to hers in a kiss that stole away her breath and all coherent thought.

Startled, Kagome gasped and he took that opportunity to delve in further for a sweeter taste and she melted into him as her muscles relaxed, accepting his kiss and embrace.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and he pulled back, breathing hard and nuzzling his nose with hers. Chocolate eyes fluttered open to gaze into heady golden ones.

"Thank you," he husked and Kagome suspected it wasn't just for the refreshing bottle of water.

It was their first kiss – and the second time Kagome fell.

-X-

It was the Tanabata Festival, and Inuyasha had taken that day off to enjoy an afternoon full of absolutely nothing.

Until Kagome dragged him out of her air conditioned apartment to go enjoy the festivities inside, and he was a fool if he thought he could for even a moment resist his tenant's smile and pleading eyes.

So reluctantly, he allowed himself to be dragged all over the park grounds, stuff himself with fair foods, waste his money on games and winning his female companion a giant panda bear that she absolutely adored and would not let go of. The loudness hurt his ears, and he was getting a headache from the different smells.

He must have given himself away, because sometime after six, Kagome suddenly piped up that her feet were tired and to head back to her place for some cold water and ramen.

Now how can a man – half or not – resist an offer like that? Especially when it was Kagome offering?

So now there were sitting on the tailgate of Inuyasha's familiar Silverado, a thick blanket beneath them, a basket of fried chicken between them and – surprise, surprise – empty Coors Light bottles littering the ground beneath their dangling feet, among Pepsi cans and water bottles.

The fireworks would start in about five minutes, so neither felt the need to pick up the trash.

Swinging her bare feet to and fro, Kagome munched on a chicken leg happily, her summer dress rusting against her thighs from the soft wind and her black hair brushing against her cheek. She was tired, but not too tired to stay up and watch the fireworks. She never missed them; ever since she could remember, she and her family watched them together.

Tonight was no different; her family was still mingling somewhere on the fair grounds, no doubt seeking a good place to view the fireworks. Kagome had opted to get away from the hubbub and stay at her own apartment. It had a good view anyway. At least that's what she told herself. It had nothing to do with her sexy landlord not even a foot away from her.

Nope.

Said landlord suddenly heaved a sigh and leant back on his hands, the plush blanket providing sufficient cushioning against the ribbed bedding of his truck. "Don't think I've ever watched the fireworks before," he admitted offhandedly, his face bored as he stared out into the darkness before them. The only light provided was the moon's silver brilliance above them and the interior light of his truck he purposely left on.

Kagome stared at him, aghast. "What? You mean this is your first time watching fireworks? My heart, it can't handle it!" Kagome seized her chest, her eyes wide as she flopped backwards onto the blanket, feigning a seizure.

Inuyasha barked out a laugh and reached over to tug at her hair, grinning. "Smartass. I'm just not one for loud, huge ass booms and the smoke from 'em."

Giggling, Kagome sat back up and crossed a knee over the other, leaning back on her hands. "I guess I can understand. Must be hell on your ears and nose, hm?"

"Damn straight." His eyes trailed down her trim figure and stopped at the pale flesh of her legs, the hem of her sundress failing to adequately cover her up.

Not that he was complaining.

Taking the basket of homemade KFC and placing it on the ground, Inuyasha closed the scant distance between them and wrapped both arms around her waist, pulling her up against him and burying his nose in her hair, inhaling her scent. Mmm…coconut and banana today. He smirked.

He loved her shampoos.

Blushing, although she should be quite used to his affections by now, Kagome leaned into him with a soft smile, a whistling noise followed by a trail of smoke shooting off into the sky.

The singular spark alerted that the fireworks were about to begin.

"Inuyasha…" she said breathlessly because he had begun to kiss and lick at her neck. "The…fireworks…"

"Let's make our own."

Capturing her lips in a heated kiss, Inuyasha lowered her onto the plush blanket and covered her with his body, peppering kisses on her face now as his hands, situated at her thighs, slowly started to drift upwards and succeeding in taking her dress with them, baring her to his hungry gaze.

Kagome sighed and closed her eyes, delving her hands into his thick silver mane and arching her body into his in a silent plea. The next moment the night's warm air caressed her bear body and she was suddenly pressed flush against him, his shirt gone and his jeans riding dangerously low on his hips, the button and fly undone.

With a breathy moan, she surrendered herself to him, gave him her soul, her body, her heart. Two hearts became one as their bodies merged and rode the waves to ecstasy, their cries of the other's name lost in the booming of the fireworks exploding colorfully above them.

It was the first time they made love.

And he fell.

-X-

Hot damn, sex in the back of a truck. I want in. XD Haw.

And I know, I know; another one-shot. e_e; Sorry! I couldn't help myself! It just thought it was so cute, and I just had to get it down before I lost it! Damn plunnies…invading my mind without permission… -grumble grumble-

And hey! I actually like this title! XD If anyone doesn't get it, refer to the old saying below. You'll understand.

First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the treasure chest!

Soooo, hope you enjoyed and feedback is always appreciated. :]

Until next time,
Keiz