Oneshot. AU. InuKag. Very, very subtle MirSan in the background.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.
In the Nighttime
Kagome saw him every weekday at three in the morning. She would be heading to her job— she was a production assistant at the local news station— with her hair neatly pinned back and wearing nice slacks with a pressed blouse. In her hands, she always carried a large, navy blue thermos, its rubber grip peeling (a gift from her brother back when she was in college), and the previous day's newspaper. The man would be in worn jeans, work boots, and a flannel, button-down thrown over a t-shirt. At first, Kagome noticed him because of his hair. It was long— even longer than her own— and thick, white as fresh snow.
He always wore a baseball cap. Once, she'd seen him take it off to run a hand tiredly through his hair. Perched on top of his head were two small, white ears, drooping with exhaustion and probably sore from being hidden under a hat all day. Roughly a fourth of Tokyo's population were demons; it was nothing new to Kagome. She babysat the fox cub who lived next door to her mother, a child who had not appeared to age a day in the last five years. The weatherman where she worked was some kind of lizard demon. That said, she had never seen a demon quite like the man she shared the three A.M. train with five times a week.
Sometimes, there were other passengers, but not always. Mostly they rode the train alone— Kagome on her way to work, the man on his way home.
They never spoke.
At least, they hadn't spoken until a day in the middle of September, close to a year after Kagome had first noticed the demon.
At two-fifty-nine in the morning, Kagome boarded the train. Her eyes, a light blue-gray that she personally considered her best feature, scanned the seats, counting her fellow passengers. There were three: an old woman who was likely homeless, curled up and sleeping in the back corner; a skinny teenager with a glazed look, heavy earphones resting on his head, pressed against a window near the front; and finally, in the center of the car, a middle-aged man. His clothes were a little dirty, a little torn, but Kagome could tell they used to be expensive. His hair was unkempt. His eyes were bloodshot, darting around the car and never staying on one spot for long. With only a few seconds of hesitation— in a city the size of Tokyo, you met all kinds of people— Kagome approached her usual seat. It was near the middle, her back to the windows as she faced the center aisle. She settled down and unfolded the sports section while taking a sip of her scalding-hot coffee.
Two stops later, at the usual place, the white-haired demon boarded the train car. Kagome was distracted when he stood next to the now-closed doors for almost a full minute instead of slumping into a seat like he usually did. Curious, she looked up and nearly jumped, startled by the open hostility and suspicion in his eyes as he surveyed the middle-aged, dirty man sitting not too far from her. As she examined his expression closer, Kagome noticed that his upper lip quivered, as though he wanted to raise his hackles like a threatened dog would.
Kagome looked back to the other man, but he didn't seem to notice the demon. He was still fidgeting, his hands wringing in his lap, and his eyes shooting around the car. As though he felt Kagome's eyes on him, the man finally looked at her. Unnerved, Kagome felt like his gaze was inhuman— empty and intense. They started on her face but trailed over her body in a way that made her feel infinitely uncomfortable. Finally, they landed on the leather bag she had slung over her shoulder. In it, she had work papers and an old, beat-up laptop. Subconsciously, Kagome pulled her bag closer against her side.
Seemingly coming to a decision, the demon walked between Kagome and the other man, breaking their eye contact. With slow, deliberate movements, he sat down only a few feet away from Kagome, planting his feet wide apart and leaning his elbows on top of his thighs so that his tightly-wound body seemed ready to leap up at a moment's notice. It was the closest Kagome had ever been to him.
Now, she could see more clearly the strong line of his jaw and the barely-perceptible white stubble along the contours of his face. He had heavy eyebrows and broad shoulders and wide hands. His hair looked soft.
Realizing how intently she was staring at him, Kagome carefully forced herself to look back at her newspaper, trying desperately to ignore the angry way the demon was studying the middle-aged stranger and the disturbing way the middle-aged stranger was studying her.
One stop later, the teenager got off the train.
Three stops after that, the old, homeless woman startled awake and dragged herself off as well.
As the doors slid to a close behind her, the middle-aged man lunged at Kagome with a strangled shout.
From the moment Inuyasha had boarded the train, he hated the way the car smelled. The stranger in the middle... His odor attacked the half-demon's sensitive nose, subjecting it to a mix of disgusting smells. He had been drinking; Inuyasha could easily pinpoint the scents of bourbon, vodka, and possibly whiskey. The man had also been doing drugs, specifically what his nose and brain worked together to identify as heroine. But the smell was more than that… The man also smelled afraid, angry, and— if crazy had a smell— crazy. It set everything about Inuyasha on edge, and his hair stood on end as he fought not to snarl at the guy.
Much more subtle were the scents of the other passengers. The old woman was downright unpleasant, but not near as disgusting as the middle-aged man. The teenager could definitely do with less cologne. Softer, so much softer, was the scent of the woman he had come to memorize over the past ten months. It was sweet and familiar enough to sooth his rattled nerves, so he took a seat, subconsciously closer than he would have had the train car been empty.
Honestly, he felt unnerved at how relaxed she seemed with that crazed stare pinned on her. Also honestly, he felt satisfied with how much more relaxed she seemed after he sat near her. Everything about her was pretty and delicate. She was small and soft-looking, and her voice when she sighed— which she did often when perusing the newspaper, as though disappointed with the world— was very gentle. After an unbelievably long shift at the radio station every night, the woman had become a very welcome sight.
His shoulders tense and his mind alert, Inuyasha kept his eyes on the middle-aged man, still not liking his look or his smell or his existence. He was suddenly glad that he rode the three A.M. train, suddenly glad that he was there on a train car when if he had not been, it would have only been an old woman, a teenager, and a small, sweet, delicate woman. If there was one thing Inuyasha knew about himself as a person, it was that he was built to look after people— physically and mentally. He was strong, aggressive, and overprotective; he could be distrustful and impulsive. He also had quick reflexes.
This last fact came in handy when the middle-aged man lunged at the woman with a strangled shout.
Before he could even register what he was doing, Inuyasha's body took the lead as though it had been relentlessly trained – which, actually, it had been by the many martial arts he had practiced throughout his childhood and teenage years— and his left arm reached across the woman's shoulders to hold her back; he'd effectively placed himself between her and her attacker. His right fist, carried by the momentum of his body, connected with the man's jaw. Inuyasha felt two of his knuckles split open on the guy's teeth, but the punch had the desired effect— the mugger stumbled backward into his seat, his lip bloody and his eyes shut tightly in pain.
The entire scene was over in the length of time it took for the woman's blue thermos to drop to the swaying floor, its lid to pop off, and the contents to splash out.
"How'd you know?" she asked in a very small voice.
Satisfied that the man wasn't going to get up any time soon, Inuyasha moved his attention to the woman instead. He was surprised to notice that in the hand that had held the thermos, she now had a set of keys. One key was clenched tightly between her index and middle fingers, in the position for some real nasty eye-gouging—which explained why she had let go of the thermos. Quickly, he removed his hand, which was still stretched across her chest and gripping her shoulder.
"Just did," he muttered, tossing a heated look at the man. "He didn't smell right. And he was way too interested in your bag."
In response, the woman pulled the bag closer, her elbow clamped down tight on it. "I guess we should call the cops."
"I guess so," Inuyasha said, shoving his hands in his pockets. He realized that the likelihood of getting home soon to sleep was slim to none.
Half an hour later, the two sat side by side on a bench on a train station platform. His eyes were heavy, starting to droop shut as the last of the adrenaline drained from his body. Inuyasha's arms were crossed tightly against his chest, and his elbow kept briefly brushing against Kagome's arm. Every time there was contact, she stiffened, and her blush deepened, but he hadn't seemed to notice. As they'd been waiting for the police earlier (Inuyasha keeping a tight grip on the mugger's arms as he held his hands behind his back), Kagome had introduced herself. He'd responded. The two were pleasantly surprised that they were both in the media business— she the news, he the radio.
Now that she had heard him speak and knew he worked at a local radio station, Kagome recognized his voice as the man who worked the night shift, often playing loud songs full of guitars and drums. He was sarcastic and witty, and at least once a week, she set her alarm clock to that station to wake her up, enjoying the gruffness of his voice as she blinked the sleep from her eyes.
Currently, though, as the police led the mugger away and they waited impatiently to be questioned and let go, Kagome struggled to find something— anything— to say to him. Other than "thank you," which she had repeated at least nine times in thirty minutes. All nine times, Inuyasha had modestly shrugged off her gratitude. Once, he even pointed out how she had reacted, ready to defend herself with her house key. It meant quick thinking, he explained. She was tougher than she looked.
"My work's going to kill me," Kagome mumbled in despair. She pulled her cell phone out and brought the screen to life, checking the time.
"They'll survive. You almost got mugged— they gotta understand that," Inuyasha reassured her.
Kagome laughed lightly and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and away from her face. She was blushing deeply now, pleased with the attention from the demon— half dog demon, she corrected herself mentally— who happened to be handsome and had saved her sorry butt. Considering she worked from three in the morning until early afternoon and was in bed by six P.M., there had been very few romantic prospects in her life. Her enthusiasm was dampened somewhat when she remembered that she and Inuyasha worked literally opposite shifts. At most, there was a two hour window in the late afternoon, just before she went to sleep and he went to work, that they would ever have time together.
But that was counting her chickens before they hatched. Or putting the cart before the horse. Whichever farm metaphor one preferred.
"You don't understand my work. They're dramatic, demanding, and, well, crazy."
"I've never liked those anchors," Inuyasha admitted, rubbing the back of his head with a calloused hand. Kagome only noted the calluses because they meant he was good with his hands. Before her mind could drift off into an inappropriate place following that thought, she reeled it back in.
"Kagura and Naraku?" Kagome clarified. At his nod, she provided him with a knowing smile and leaned in close, dipping her head like she was going to share a secret. He mimicked her move until their foreheads were almost touching and his ears, now free from his baseball hat, strained to hear her soft voice. "They secretly hate each other. As soon as the cameras stop rolling, they're at each other's throats."
"No kidding?" Inuyasha responded, just as quietly. He widened his amber eyes with appropriate awe.
"No kidding," Kagome confirmed with a wink. She reluctantly drew back, feeling the cold air rush in and chill her cheek that had warmed so quickly by his closeness. "It's all I can do to keep them from killing each other."
"Sounds exhausting," Inuyasha told her. Then, as if inspired by the word, he stifled a yawn. "When are they going to get to us?" he asked impatiently, gesturing to the pair of cops loitering a few yards away. It was a young, attractive set of people. The woman was small but radiated strength, her brown hair pulled back in a harsh ponytail. The masculinity of her uniform was softened by the streak of magenta eye shadow she wore to highlight intelligent, flashing eyes. The other police officer was a tall, slim man with black hair tied back in a small ponytail and laughing, violet eyes. The two had spent conducting their business as they had arguing with one another.
Inuyasha could sense the sexual tension from all the way across the platform.
"Look," he suddenly said as the pair of cops turned toward them, starting to walk their way. As with most things Inuyasha did, what he was about to say next was a completely impulsive decision. "I don't want you to think of this as me taking advantage of our unique situation, but would you be interested at all in meeting me for dinner tomorrow?" He paused, and then corrected himself, "Well, today, I guess."
The cops almost to them, Kagome graced him with a brilliant smile. "I'd love to!" Then, she also corrected herself. "I'd love to, that is, if you can have an early dinner. Like, really, really early. Like four in the afternoon?"
"That," Inuyasha said honestly, "sounds perfect. It's a date."
"It's a date," Kagome echoed, her grin widening. And, after a lifetime of being exact and planning and— she had to face it— downright anal retentive (she more or less ran everything behind the scenes at the news station; the need to schedule everything was overwhelming), Kagome did the first impulsive thing she had done in years. She closed the gap between them and planted her lips on his own, mostly questioning and gentle, but thankfully he pushed back, unsurprisingly more aggressive and demanding than she had been. It was as though having met in the nighttime, all the rules were different; there was no need to waste days with idle flirting or empty words. In the silence they had spent in each other's company over the past ten months and in the action that had taken place not long ago, Inuyasha and Kagome had gotten to know one another in a way that a normal couple who had met in a grocery store or on the street never would have.
By the time the police reached them only seconds later, her hands were tangled in his hair— and it was softer than she'd ever imagined— and he had one hand on her hip and the other cupping her jaw.
"Hey, hey, hey," the woman cop interrupted, her hands on her hips and looking like a disapproving mother who had come across her kid with his sticky hands in the proverbial cookie jar. "I thought you two said you didn't know each other."
"Oh, that," Kagome said, her voice raspy and distracted, her eyes still on Inuyasha. "It's a little complicated."