Day 6 (I'm GOING TO DO IT, EVEN THOUGH I AM BEHIND, OH MY GOD) of the 12 Days of Witchyness!
Huge, huge, HUGE thanks goes to Captain Applesauce, because seriously she is amazing. This chapter was crap before she fixed it, so *HUGS EVERYWHERE*
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. I do not profit from this story.
Fallen Among Thieves
"Behind every great fortune, there is a crime." – Honore de Balzac
"Are you going to call her?"
"She called you, and you won't respond?"
"That's how I'm playing it."
"So you are still an asshole, what a surprise."
Inuyasha growled low, fingers stilling on the combination safe lock. "Kikyo, I swear to fucking god if you don't shut up right now, I'm going to throw you out a window."
His ex-girlfriend smiled at him politely, far too bland to be her true emotion. "Isn't it fortunate then that we're on the ground."
"Oh, don't tempt me," Inuyasha muttered under his breath, getting more and more agitated as time went on. It had taken hours of driving around to the various warehouses and storage lockers he owned to try and find the Shikon no Tama. The plan wouldn't work without it because Kikyo needed to provide it to Totosai Yanami in order to get in. Of course, Sango was the one who dealt with the whereabouts of the artifacts and paintings. So far in their search, they had been unsuccessful. This was storage locker number three of the day, and the thief was hoping that the jewel would be hidden in the safe.
Kikyo sighed, bored. "You know, I would've thought you had more things than this in here. How long have you been thieving?"
He rolled his eyes. "Well, according to Shiori, who hacked into all of the accounts that she could get a hold of, Sango had been giving the shit I was stealing away to this boss of mine."
"How often did you steal solely for you?" Kikyo asked. She picked up something that was intensely wrapped in blankets before putting it back down. "Better yet, how did you sell it?"
"About fifty-fifty," Inuyasha responded, taking a breath before getting back to the combination lock. Sango would've had this information, but for now he just had to crack it. "I stole a painting not too long ago for myself. It was even kind of fun. Sango did all of the selling though. I never worried about it."
"And what about now?"
Inuyasha shrugged, not having an answer. What could he even answer with? Find a new profession? Move on? Save her or die trying? Instead, the thief went back to work on the lock, letting the quiet of the storage locker provide some ease. A few minutes later and he had finally gotten it, the lock opening in his hands.
There was nothing inside.
Kikyo laughed, that light tinkle of a voice that made him want to strangle her. Of course, it didn't help that he wanted to laugh, too – mostly out of hysterics than anything else. The entire plan revolved around the damn Shikon no Tama. Why had he given it to Sango, for fuck's sake? "Well, this has been fun, but I'm starving. Can we find something to eat? Italian, maybe. I'm craving carbs like you wouldn't believe."
Inuyasha turned his dark brown eyes at the woman, glaring. "Can you stay silent for three minutes? Three minutes, that's all I ask for." Kikyo raised a brow but firmly kept her lips shut, daring him to say something else that would insult her. "I just need to check it out. A lot of these have compartments." The thief started to push gently along the inside of the miniature safe, smoothing the pads of his fingers along the cool surface as if to slide it away. Eventually, something gave, a bar sliding across to reveal a tiny compartment. The pink jewel shined with what little light the bulb above provided.
"Oh look, you aren't entirely useless."
"I've never been useless. When we were dating you thought I was the best damn thing."
"I also wanted to kill you about as often as I wanted to jump you." Kikyo paused and narrowed her eyes, hands on her hips as she faced him. She waited until Inuyasha had stood up and turned around before she continued, her train of thought not something to really discuss casually. "Is it normal to talk about this so easily?"
Inuyasha froze, hands still carefully curled around the Shikon no Tama. "We're having this discussion now?"
"I didn't mean to make it a discussion, it was just a question," Kikyo replied, making a face that was almost too inelegant for the rest of her. "We talk about us very…casually."
"Yeah, so what? It happened. I don't entirely hate you. I still see you. I'm seeing you right now and only want to partially kill you. Why, is this an attempt to have sex again?"
Kikyo hummed a little, turning on her heel and out of the storage unit. "We could, but you'd have to leave before I woke up. Regrets and all, you know how it is."
Trying not to throw something at her head – it was getting harder and harder by the second to control himself – Inuyasha growled. "Well, it's not going to happen." Tucking the jewel away in his pocket, the thief followed her out, locking the unit back up before heading to the car. Kikyo was already inside with the chair reclined and her eyes closed. Of course. "Did you hear me?" he asked, opening the car door for the driver's side and getting in. "It's not happening."
Kikyo hummed again in that same, annoying tone that suggested she was deeply contemplating something. It really, really pissed him off. "You don't want to sleep with me? Okay. Why?"
"Because…" Inuyasha narrowed his eyes at her, even though she couldn't see. "You damn well know why."
Ever so slowly, Kikyo's lips turned up into the smallest of smiles. "Because you love her. That's also why you're not answering the phone when she calls – because it distracts you. Kagome Higurashi is Inuyasha Taisho's kryptonite."
Inuyasha started the car up, clenching his jaw. "You need to get it through your head that it's Takahashi. For fuck's sake Kikyo, these entire past few minutes was all a con to see if I would cheat on her or not?"
The woman shrugged again and hummed. Inuyasha decided it was because she truly was an evil, conniving bitch. "You deserve to be happy, moron. The fact that you found it now with a private investigator is pretty hilarious, but I don't judge. I don't want you to mess this up, and when you weren't answering her, I thought you were."
Inuyasha sighed. "And now?"
"You're still a moron, but more of an idiotic, romantic sap. You're not going to call her back, are you?" Kikyo asked, finally opening her eyes to look at him.
"No," the thief responded. He pulled out of the parking spot and started to drive away. "No, I'm not."
"You're going to visit her later."
"I'm hardly ever that lucky."
Kikyo laughed again, and this time it was louder, deeper. She was actually pleased. Inuyasha should've known talking about his romantic life would be enough to cause that. Goddamn bitch.
FBI Agent Tsubaki Mizuka burst into the office, having absolutely no common sense to knock first. It was the first among many reasons why Kouga hated her. He had despised Agent Sesshomaru Takatsuki, so at least this was a level of hate that he could deal with. She really didn't help her case, however, when she waved a brown folder at him. "Have you seen this?"
"Depends on what it is," Kouga returned, holding out his hand. Tsubaki handed it to him, sitting in the chair across from him as he read it. "You got this back already?"
"Your men work fast, but mine are faster," Tsubaki said, grinning. "Ginkotsu Egawa, demon. He has quite the rap sheet, as you can see."
"But all of this is pretty petty and…" Kouga frowned, counting the years in his head. "He was pretty young when it all happened."
"That's only because when he got older we couldn't catch him or tie him to anything directly," Tsubaki replied. "Ginkotsu was a weapons freak. It was his trademark as part of the group called Seven. Men for hire, basically, only it's a pretty select clientele they work with."
"Yeah, that much I know."
Tsubaki rolled her eyes. "The thing is that they were big a few years ago. They had a few hits that were pretty damn public, which wasn't usually their style. The people they targeted to kill were normally the ones that wanted things kept under wraps." The FBI agent made a grab for the folder, and Kouga let her, leaning back in his chair. "They've been quiet for a while."
"And all of a sudden this whole Takahashi case starts up, an adjoining case comes along under the name of Houko, and a party starts to form." Kouga rubbed between his eyes. "Do we know the whereabouts of any of the other group members?"
"Working on it, but that could take some time," Tsubaki replied. "Our best bet is Bankotsu Takeshi. He's actually from here, born and raised. There's a better chance he stayed here than the rest of them."
"And that's if they're actually disbanded," Kouga added. "They may have gotten together for the hit and run on Houko and your little FBI drone. I've got a couple sources myself that I could talk to that might get me a lead."
"Use it. Pull whatever strings you can," the FBI agent stated. "I'll let you know if I hear anything."
When at first the woman with black hair didn't move, Kouga gave her a pointed look from her face to the door. Her dark eyes danced with mischief as she gracefully stood up and waved with the folder in hand. It only figured that when she exited, she left his door wide open.
Kouga planned when the whole mess was over, she was going to be the first person he kicked out of his jurisdiction; FBI badge or not.
By now, Sango had adapted to the slow and boring routine that had become her life. She was tied and bound, trapped in a little basement somewhere. She was fed intermittently but the times were never constant. The only constant was Kohaku, and after the stunt he pulled when she told him the truth, she hadn't seen much of him. Usually when she did, her younger brother was far too drugged up to really understand anything.
It terrified her.
What made it worse was that no one came. No one approached her or talked to her. There weren't any threats or any discussions. There was no bargaining power used because no one was there to bargain with. Sango couldn't offer anything in trade for Kohaku's freedom because no one was there. It was infuriating and horrifying and Sango wasn't sure what to do with it all.
It cleared up a few things however. The fact that no one was talking to her meant that overall, Sango wasn't the important one in the picture. She was bait, and there was only one person in the entire world that she could be used as bait for.
Inuyasha was the target. They wanted something precious, and he had to get it for them. What would happen if he succeeded? Failed? Would anyone ever come to get her, or was she to rot in this basement forever?
Listening to the footsteps up top, Sango decided that screaming her head off for as long as she could wasn't a bad idea. Eventually, someone would have to come down.
Kagome hadn't meant to be late. It was almost noon out, the sun high in the sky but not doing much to warm the outside. Winter was starting to settle in, the brisk winds becoming colder, harsher than before.
She hated it.
Right now, however, the temperature was the last thing on her mind. She had made plans to meet with Totosai because she had to. Internally, she was conflicted, torn between the knowledge that Inuyasha had to steal the only things her family member held dear in his life to save Sango's. She didn't want Inuyasha to steal it because she could convince Totosai, surely, to give them up temporarily, to be used as a bargaining chip. No insurance company would risk it though, and the company would pull out, effectively destroying the insurance for various other art gallery pieces and ending the gala Totosai had been working so hard to put together.
The situation was complicated, Kagome would give it that much.
Totosai was sitting in the same corner table that he always sat in when they met occasionally for coffee and tea. The lines on his face were deeper, but his eyes were bright, focused on the counter as the baristas worked efficiently behind it. It wasn't until the private investigator was only a few feet away that he noticed her, his smile lighting up his entire face.
"Kagome," he announced, standing up and holding out his arms.
Despite the knot tightening in her chest, Kagome smiled back and hugged him dearly. She had missed him, not having seen him for so long. "Hi, Totosai," she replied, stepping back to take the seat opposite of him. "How have you been?"
"Oh, like you: busy, busy and more busy. Frankly, I was surprised you even called. Why are you all the way in Rexene for?"
"An investigation of mine had the majority of fieldwork over here," Kagome said, tugging absentmindedly on her trench coat. "I've been here for several weeks actually. I didn't know you were hosting a gala."
"Well, that's because you don't talk to your mother enough." Totosai smiled, despite his words, but his big eyes were large and imploring. "She misses you, you know. It wouldn't kill you to go back and visit her once in a while."
Kagome nodded her head, feeling shame curl in with everything else that was threatening to ruin her today. "It's…tough."
"It's been years," the old man stressed.
"That doesn't change anything." It was colder all of a sudden, and Kagome tried to bury herself deeper into the coat, hefting the collar so that it covered more of her neck. Totosai watched her actions blankly, taking them in, but not outwardly processing the results. "So tell me about this gala you're hosting. Actually, do you want another coffee?"
For an hour Kagome sat in the tiny, hard chair, listening to Totosai speak forever about the amazing event that he was hosting. She was really proud of him, and their conversation went right back into the flow of what they used to have when Kagome was younger, when Kagome still lived back at home with her mother and brother. She could tell, right from the get-go that approaching the subject of not displaying the two swords he loved so much – the Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga – wouldn't be possible. He had too much invested in them. They literally set up the entire theme for the rest of the evening.
Kagome's plans went out the window, not that they were ever good in the first place. Still, she had to try. "How's security?"
Raising a brow, Totosai looked at her with relative suspicion. "The best. Why would you bring that up?"
"There have been a significant amount of thefts in the area," Kagome stated, telling a white lie for what it was. She couldn't come right out and say it. Kagome doubted that "I know a thief, who also appears to be my on- off- again lover, who's going to steal the two most precious things of your collection" would go well. The biggest issue came to the insurance. Once those were stolen, shit would hit the fan for him. Depending on whether or not he used them as leverage, he could be in a lot of financial trouble.
"I haven't heard of anything," Totosai replied, shrugging and draining the last of his coffee. "But I assure you, my dear, that every precaution is being taken to ensure the safety of the collection. I have other collectors putting their pieces in, which wouldn't happen if they didn't believe I had a foolproof system."
"Inuyasha Takahashi might be in town," she pressed, trying to send at least some jolt of concern. "He's infamous for theft of this calibre. Nothing can stop him."
Totosai let out a long, exaggerated sigh, reaching out to take Kagome's hands. Looking at her intently with his big, round eyes, the old man paused for the barest of seconds before speaking. "It will be fine. This isn't the first time I've hosted an event such as this."
"Something could go wrong," Kagome tried.
"Of course something could go wrong," Totosai pointed out. "That's life with virtually everything. Besides, my dear, I can't pull out now. It's two days before opening. The money that's been invested, the marketing and PR and the invites… I can't call it back now. If you think I need tighter security, then I will make the necessary precautions. Other than that, I'm powerless."
That was not what Kagome wanted to hear.
"Now, I've got to head out. There are some final tune-ups with the new lighting system we've installed that I have to check in on. Can we set up something for later in the week? I'd love to see you before you disappear again." Totosai still had her hands, still wouldn't let her go.
"I'll be around, don't worry," Kagome assured. "You've got my number, right?"
"I do," the older man confirmed. "Have a lovely day, Kagome." Standing up and stretching for the barest of seconds, Totosai bent down to kiss her on the top of her head before exiting out of the coffee shop, leaving her alone to her thoughts.
Of course, when you were tied to a thief, moments alone tended to never last.
"That was cute."
Kagome sighed, rubbing a hand down her face and praying to god it wasn't what she thought it was. "How long have you been here?" she asked bluntly, watching as the familiar face of the thief slid into view. Inuyasha sat down in the same seat Totosai had once been, a smirk now replacing what used to be a warm smile.
"You probably don't want to know that," the thief responded, looking rather pleased with himself. "Although, I'm surprised at you Kagome. The entire time, I thought you'd tell your old man exactly what was going on, and you did no such thing."
"It's complicated." It was completely unsurprising to her that Inuyasha had made the connection between herself and Totosai Yanami. It wasn't a hard one to make, especially since he would be looking into the Holloway Museum for any kind of leverage possible. It was only a matter of time before she was discovered.
"It's not, actually." Inuyasha stared at her for a long moment and Kagome tried hard not to fidget under his gaze. She ran a hand through her hair and looked around, wondering why she hadn't thought to check the place out thoroughly while talking to Totosai. She had to be more careful, especially when going back and forth between the law and the underground so easily. Inuyasha reached out and touched her face, startling her enough that their eyes met and held. "You protected me."
"He can't back out, and there are so many insurance issues, I knew the likelihood of it happening anyways was slim to none. He's stubborn," Kagome added, crossing her arms and sitting back so that she was out of the thief's reach. "He wouldn't have done it anyways."
"My only option is to steal it, you have to know," Inuyasha stated quietly, leaning forward as if to tell a secret.
"We can find another way. You're going to bury Totosai in debt and claims and a bunch of legal shit he doesn't deserve. We can figure this out," Kagome urged, trying to get her point across. "I'm going to talk to my source and see what was pulled up."
"Pulled up?" Inuyasha frowned at her. "You've got your CI in on this?"
"As much as I can," she confirmed. "We're going to get Sango back, no matter what."
Inuyasha snorted, leaning back as well to match her posture. It looked far more ignorant on him, Kagome was sure of it. "Yeah but your way will end up with her dead. If I can, I'll have the Tetsusaiga and Tenseiga returned as soon as possible but… I can't let her rot wherever the hell she is."
"Have they even spoken to you again?" Kagome asked in a hush. "Have they confirmed a drop-off time? Have they even given you proof of life?"
The thief glared at her, clearly getting angry if the way his dark eyes lit up was any indication. "No. They haven't."
Kagome shut her mouth, knowing the next words that she wanted to say would sound bad. They were meant to sound bad but at this particular moment, Inuyasha was clearly only an inch away from hitting something. He was tired, with bags under his eyes and his skin a paler colour. It was apparent he wasn't sleeping that well. How late did he stay up to determine exactly how to get in? Exactly how to make it out?
It didn't matter, in the end. The facts were the facts.
"I won't let you steal them from Totosai. They mean absolutely everything to him, and it would kill him, if the insurance assholes don't do it first. I'll find another way by tomorrow. We can do this but I need you to focus on helping me."
"No can do," Inuyasha replied, shaking his head.
Kagome didn't know how else to spell it out for him. "Then I'll stop you."
The thief chuckled lowly, standing up slightly so that he could lean across the table. His face was inches from hers but his expression was almost as threatening as it was condescending. "Oh love, I'd like you to try." Inuyasha bent down the final few inches to seal his lips over hers, dragging his tongue over the flesh of her lower lip before pulling away and disappearing out of sight.
Kagome tried to follow him but had lost him immediately. She knew, deep down, that no matter how hard she tried to find him, it simply wouldn't work. Inuyasha wouldn't be found unless he wanted to be found. He was a master criminal and a thief. There was only one place and time that she could confirm his presence and that would be at the gala.
Swearing softly, Kagome wished that she had never taken on Naraku's case and therefore, had never gotten involved with the thief that had appeared to steal something vital to her. Because even though she was bound and determined to stop him, she knew that deep down, she'd let him walk right over her the second the situation got tough. In the end, Inuyasha had power over her.
It made the knot in her stomach a thousand times worse.
Comments to Acknowledge
Chihiroinlove101: I'm not sure how to respond, mostly because I'm not sure what you meant by that.
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Feedback is greatly appreciated during my time of doom (joking) (not really) (NINE STORIES IN FOUR DAYS, JFC).