A/N: a quick update as promised! thank you to everyone who is sticking with me on this story, I love you guys!


Confrontation; part 2

Sesshoumaru was sitting behind a massive wooden desk staring coolly at her; his fingers laced over a stack of paperwork in front of him as she slipped in the door. His office alone was bigger than her entire apartment and two whole walls were floor-to-ceiling windows - affording a breathtaking view of the urban jungle of Tokyo spreading away into the distance.

Instead of the usual sanseveria and crotons there were well-maintained dwarfed pines and maples tucked into corners. Knowing how much scents mattered to inuyoukai it made sense to have pines instead of standard office plants, and with the dark wood paneling and dark wood desk and the sound-muffling plush carpet it likely felt as 'familiar' as a corporate office could, she supposed.

She jumped when the door clicked shut behind her, and then flushed in embarrassment at her own skittishness. An inauspicious beginning to a meeting she would prefer to go into with strength and confidence.

"Kagome." His smooth tone revealed nothing, and neither did the brown eyes and dark hair of his human facade.

This time she didn't ignore how much she disliked looking at him when he was wearing the concealment charm. She hated not being able to see his true face. It just felt…wrong.

Kagome shifted, feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, "Um…hi."

Well, this was off to a stellar start. Where was the anger and the exasperation which had propelled her this far? His emotionless gaze and cool demeanor, along with the human face and corporate-bigwig surroundings made her want to shrink in on herself, turn tail, and run more than his terrifying warrior past self ever had.

Just do it Kagome.

"I came to talk." She explained needlessly.

He hummed in the back of his throat, and if possible his face went even blanker.

"I mean, to talk about what happened during golden week."

Something flickered in his gaze and he shifted a file on his desk distractedly, "Hnn."

"Um..." this sure would be a lot easier if he was acting receptive at all, though she supposed that getting any sort of vocalization from him was a step in the right direction. Kagome forced herself to take a couple of steps towards the desk, "...um, because, I'm a little confused, honestly. And I thought..." thought what genius? spit it out! "I thought we should...talk about everything that's been going on."

Apparently rampant redundancy was going to be the order of the day. Talk about awkward.

Steeling herself and clasping her hands in front of her to try and disguise the fact that they were shaking badly, she propelled herself forward on a burst of daring until she stood directly across the desk from him. She wanted to collapse in the chair that was positioned there, but she determinedly kept herself standing.

She licked her lips, self conscious of his unwavering gaze, and chose to start from solid ground – something she was sure of, just to get the conversation in motion, "So first of all, it was really rude to just…disappear. Rin and Inuyasha had to see me home."

His gaze flicked away and a long tense silence followed. Kagome forced herself to wait it out. Finally he shifted the tiniest amount, "Yes," his voice was a gruff rumble but he shifted his gaze back to her, "I apologize."

"You should apologize to Rin and your brother too."

His eyebrows flicked up at her command, but he inclined his head in acknowledgement.

Kagome untangled her fingers before lacing them back together again, "And Rin and I were talking before I came home and she seemed to think, that is, there are all of these indications that, well, I kept thinking that it must just be youkai stuff that I didn't understand, and, I mean, apparently it is but not in the way I initially thought, so now everything's turned upside down again… and…this isn't coming out how I want it to," she took a deep breath and unclasped her hands long enough to tuck her hair behind her ears, and released the breath slowly centering and calming herself in an exercise she hadn't used in years.

Kagome fixed Sesshoumaru with a steady look, "I want to understand what happened, in the kitchen."

Sesshoumaru's lips thinned, "I'm afraid I'm too busy at present to indulge your latent curiosity."

"I really think we need to talk about it." Kagome pressed with quiet insistence.

"As I said – I have many demands on my time. While I'm sure it would be amusing to parse differences between human and youkai expectations, my schedule doesn't allow for it." His chin tilted slightly so he was literally looking down his nose at her, "Perhaps you should make an appointment with my secretary."

Her temper boiled and she had to bite back an instinctive 'Osuwari!' It was too bad he wasn't wearing some sort of holy subjugation charm – she would love to 'sit' him into next week.

She leaned forward and slammed her hands on his desk, "Listen you arrogant, condescending, son of a bitch – I did NOT come all the way down here so you could foist off more of your emotional constipation on me and make me feel like I'm the one in the wrong again. We can talk now, or not ever."

He appeared unperturbed by her outburst, "Son of a bitch?" he drawled.

"Aaargh!" she threw her hands up and barely refrained from stomping her foot in frustration, "You are such a JERK. I mean it figuratively and you know it. Asshole."

He regarded her placidly and she flushed under his regard.

"And what, in particular, do you wish to speak of."

Infuriating man, he was still pretending ignorance? "You know what."

"Do I?"

No wonder Inuyasha was always calling him names, bastard was galling, "Yeah, you kissed me, dropped me, and then you ran off like a big. Fat. COWARD."

The human illusion before her wavered and she could suddenly feel his youki pushing against the restraint of the charm as he rose to his feet and leaned forward to grit out a threatening, "Watch yourself miko."

"Or what? You'll glare at me youkai? It isn't the feudal era anymore you colossal jerkface –threats are only effective when I think you might act on them."

"You are dangerously mistaken if you believe this modern world has tamed me, miko. This Sesshoumaru does not make idle threats."

She barked a laugh, "So go ahead and threaten me! What's it going to be? Good ol' death and dismemberment? Gonna flay the skin from my bones? Find my friends and pick them off one by one while you make me watch?" she made an expansive gesture, "Believe me I've heard 'em all!"

"Blades and claws are not the only ways to destroy something." He hissed.

"Oh that's charming, thanks.

Both of them were breathing heavily, glaring at each other across the wide expanse of Sesshoumaru's desk. Distractedly Kagome noticed gouges in the dark walnut stain beneath fingers that appeared human.

As the hot rush of anger waned tears pricked behind her eyes, "Kami, I –" she shook her head with a rueful huff, " - I don't even know why I'm here. It seemed like a good idea on the way over, but now I'm not sure if should be yelling at you or apologizing, or what." She laughed unhappily, "I don't even know what I should yell about, or apologize for." She glanced around herself at his office with resignation, "But now I think I realize the problem: this would never work anyway."

His head snapped up and an odd intensity replaced his expression of simmering anger, "What?" his voice came out harsher than she'd ever heard it.

"Look at us; we come from completely different worlds. I mean, even if you weren't youkai this wouldn't work!" She gestured around her, at the dark wood paneling and priceless corporate gifts from companies and countries from all over the world. She felt utterly out of place, a sore thumb, an eyesore, "It's not just the youkai and human thing. It's personality, preference, inclination. Everything. You and I are too different and…and I don't know what I was even thinking. We can't even talk to one another."

The phone on his desk started ringing, rang through, and fell silent again as they stared at one another without moving.

A strange sense of calm had stolen over Kagome, but she could feel hurt and unhappiness coiling into a knot in her gut.

The phone rang again, cutting the silence, and Sesshoumaru's eyes flicked to it with a frown.

"You should answer that…" she jerked her chin at the phone, "…it's probably someone you actually consider important enough to talk to." Okay, so maybe she wasn't completely calm.

His jaw worked for a moment before he grabbed the receiver, "Taisho." He snarled.

Kagome afforded him one last level look, turned with all the dignity she could muster, and walked out of his office.


So maybe... 3-4 chapters left, and all of them have at least a rough outline down, so the end is in sight! I really really mean it!

*peace y'all*