A/N: Hello everyone! I'm back after a bit of a break. I've had quite a busy schedule, this being my last year of college, but I decided to pop out another one-shot story. Bear in mind that this is a long one-shot.
Thanks for all your support. Now, on with the reading!
I didn't know what would happen that day.
"Order up Kagome!"
Said girl spun around, expertly handling a tray of drinks and utensils. "Coming!" She called, sauntering over and adding the plate of chili cheese fries to her balancing act. Sparing a quick glance to the ticket number, she quickly made her way over to the far corner table, setting down the load with ease.
A baby's mess soon made itself known and without even pausing, she grabbed some towels from under the counter and began wiping up the spilled milk. The mother apologized profusely, but she assured her easily, years of experience well versed in the minds of all sorts of customers.
A few minutes later, Kagome noticed a small message and seven digits scribbled on to a napkin from one of the tables she had just finished cleaning. Rolling her eyes at the words, she stuffed it in to her pocket, intending on throwing it away later. Unfortunately, the action did not escape the sharp eyes of her supervisor and before she knew it, the note was plucked from her pocket by the wolf demon herself.
"Now what's this?" Ayame asked, scanning the words.
"Just some men being men."
Her supervisor laughed. "Not all men are like that you know."
"I'll believe that when I see him."
"As long as you're still open minded." She tossed the note aside. "But I have to give that one some credit. He even wrote a poem for you."
"He spelled 'destiny' wrong!" She laughed, heading for a customer who was raising her hand. "If there's one thing I've learned about men Ayame, it's that there are all sorts of them out there and our small town just happens to get the best of them." In all her years of working at this small diner, Kagome had encountered just about every trick in the book when it came to flirting men. Whether it was a sad attempt to write their number on her hand, or flat out following her to the kitchen, she'd seen it all.
Her eyes found the clock on the wall. 'Just another half hour and I can go home.' She chanted in her head. Picking up a couple wrapped utensils, she began setting up a few of the tables. She was just finishing up one of the booths, when Abi, another waitress, approached her.
"Hey Kagome. I need you to cover table three for me."
She glanced at the far table toward the back where a single young man sat. "Why not sit him at the bar since he's by himself?"
"I figured he'd rather have a table with a bit more space. Can you take this one for me? I'm swamped with orders."
A quick survey of the room said otherwise. "Bu—"
"Thanks Kagome! I knew you'd understand." And with that, she made her way back toward the kitchen.
The blue-eyed girl frowned at her co-worker's words. It was one thing to ask for someone to cover, but throw it on someone else and lie about it! There was barely anyone here tonight. If she didn't feel like it, she could've just said so. Kagome may have been a human, but she wasn't stupid. Anger and annoyance getting the best of her, she approached the table.
"Hello sir and welcome." The grumbling words were out before she could help herself. Plus her harsh manner of setting the table probably didn't go unnoticed by the customer. Oh well, there goes her tip.
Not the words she was expecting. Opening her eyes, she finally got a good look at him. As mentioned before, Kagome had definitely had her fair share of people come through those doors. Some old and some young; some demon and some human; some more attractive and others who were less so.
Well he was certainly more in the attractive department.
He was dressed in the most modest of attire. Dark blue jeans and a button down dark blue shirt; simple, yet casual. Unique was just one word Kagome could have used to describe him and his exotic looking silver hair and golden eyes that were like two warm pools of suns. His face was sharp and chiseled, its fineness providing a perfect complement to those dog ears on his head. 'A half demon' she immediately assessed, becoming more and more intrigued. This man before her was one of the most attractive men she had ever laid eyes on and she had totally just growled at him.
The pounding beat of her heart was so loud, even she could hear it. Just staring at his eyes was enough to make her lost. His eyes were so soft and gentle as they poured in to her very soul. They said everything genuine and true and left nothing to be imagined.
But still her mouth failed her. Thankfully though, he spoke again for her.
"Bad mood?" He guessed.
"Uh…" She replied dumbly, unsure if she should share that kind of information. "Nothing to worry about…sir."
He ran a hand through his hair. "Already off to a bad start I see."
"Actually I'm just finishing up my shift." The words leaving her mouth before she could help it.
His head snapped up so fast, she thought he would lose his head. Then he smiled, his eyes morphing in to a gleamed playfulness. "Really now?"
She had practically given him that opening on a silver platter. And yet, her heart was fluttering so fast, it felt like it wasn't even beating. What was wrong with her? He was just another traveler, probably passing by or another man on a road trip mission or something.
"That is…I mean…" She fumbled for words.
He laughed. "I didn't even need to ask."
She blushed. "Ask what?" She responded for lack of a witty comment.
He smirked and she found it absolutely dashing. "Eat with me?"
"What? I mean...well I'm working."
"Fine then." He looked annoyed as he waved her off. "Just come back when you're done with that."
His words confused her. "You don't want me to take your order?"
"Then what are you talking about?"
He finally looked up at her. "You're going to finish your shift and then eat with me." He said a-matter-of-factly with a flirty wink.
His tone was so cocky she wanted to smack him. "And what makes you think I will?"
He shrugged. "Just because."
Her eyes narrowed. "And if I said no?"
"You won't." But then he smirked as if pleased with himself. "Or at least… says that drum in your chest."
Her whole body flushed at that. "What?" She cried, covering her chest as if it would improve matters. "Keep your rude ears to yourself."
The fury must have been coming off of her in waves for he faltered, his eyes now looking regretful. "I—"
But she didn't let him start that again. "I don't know who you are or what your deal is, but the answer is no." She huffed fiercely, still a bit embarrassed and now completely annoyed. Turning heel around, she walked back toward the kitchen without another word to him. Her hand pushed open the kitchen door and to her surprise, Ayame nearly stumbled from behind it.
Kagome raised an eyebrow. "Why are you leaning so close to the door?"
"No reason." She responded a bit too quickly, before clearing her throat. "Did you get his order?"
She scoffed this time. "No."
"Because he's a nosy arrogant jerk. You take his table." And with that, she shoved the pen and paper in to her boss's arms and proceeded to help another family in the corner of the room.
I didn't think he'd come back.
It hadn't even been a day, but she recognized him instantly.
Dressed in casual attire once more, he had arrived a couple hours before her shift was to end and sat in the same booth as before. She nearly stumbled back in shock when she spotted him and he responded with a careful glance of his own. Glaring in response, she strode right past him to table number twelve.
Ayame suddenly materialized beside her as she was finishing up the order. "I need you to take table three."
She refused to look over there. "Can't you take it?"
"Just give him a chance. I mean…it's pretty obvious why he's back so soon."
Her supervisor's words caused a slight fluttering in her chest. Almost instinctively, she covered herself as if trying to subdue it. Did her heart really beating that loud? Glancing around the room, she noticed a few demons scattered around the tables, but they didn't seem to pay her any mind. Sighing quietly to herself, Kagome saw no way out of it. Sauntering over to the same table, she set down a menu for him. He didn't even glance up at her and just sat there, twiddling his fingers nervously.
"I see you're back." It wasn't the opening she had been going for, but it seemed civil enough.
"I am." He confirmed.
"And your order?"
"Coffee. With cream and honey."
So now he actually wanted to order something? Well that was a relief. Maybe he was dropping this bravo act. But nevertheless, she was off to fetch his order and soon returned. Coffee with cream and honey. That was certainly a new one. She set down the cup and sides with a soft clank and pulled out her pen and paper. "What else can I get for you?"
He ran a hand through his hair tiredly before looking up at her. "Can I ask you for the same thing as yesterday?"
"I didn't take your…oh." She realized dumbly, red dusting her cheeks. Surprisingly enough, his cheeks matched hers and she found it adorably odd with his manly features. "So you're actually asking me this time?"
"If it works out better…then yes?" He half questioned and half answered her words. He suddenly seemed so uncertain.
She crossed her arms and tapped her pen thoughtfully on her forearm. "What happened to Mr. Confident?"
"Not happening." He shook his head firmly and then muttered. "Maybe another day." His grumbling remark had her giggling slightly. He looked hopeful. "So, is that a yes?"
She took in his features once more. They were still the same as before. Still as handsome as before. And now it seemed as if his shied had dropped for her. "You…don't come here often, do you?"
"I have." He countered quickly.
She looked doubtful. "I feel like I would've remembered you. I mean…other than yesterday."
He looked back down at his menu. "It's okay if you don't. You probably see hundreds of strangers each week."
"Yeah." He wasn't looking at her, but something about his posture suggested that he was still listening; still clinging on to her every word. And that observation was enough to draw her in with the most inquisitive air. It was unexplainable really, but she did want to get to know him and he did voice that he was interested in her.
So…why not? When was the last time she did something like this?
"Can you come back later?" She mumbled quietly. Her nerves rattled her brain like a baby's play thing as she fingered the hem of her shirt shyly.
Her mind backtracked. "You sure? I don't get off for another couple hours." A long time, she internally assessed and she doubted anyone would want to wait that long. She decided she would give him about five seconds to answer.
It took him less than one. "I'll be here."
I didn't know his name.
Ayame had been all over her with a never ending supply of questions. It had been a bit surprising to see the wolf demon so excited, but then again, it had been so long since she had dated anyone and now she had a potential. She hasn't expected it to go so well, but it had. They had never stopped talking. Hell, they hadn't even ordered anything (other than his coffee).
A few things she knew. His favorite color was red. He loved the outdoors and playing sports. He hated spicy food and worked somewhere in the little town. He had an older brother and two loving parents whom he barely got to see. Loud techno music hurt his ears and he was a third degree black belt. Plus he worked on motorcycles or something like that. It was a fairly long list of things she knew about him, but she still wanted to know more.
Like his name for instance.
Usually the premier question a person asked another, it was something Kagome had failed to obtain. She had a feeling he knew hers, given her name tag, but other than his interests, she had no solid connection to who he was.
She didn't know when would be the next time she would see him, but she certainly hoped it was soon. Even though he had said very few words, he didn't seem to mind at all that she did most of the talking. In fact, he seemed to rather enjoy it. She could only hope she would get the chance to find out his name.
I didn't expect him so early.
They had only been open for a few minutes when the bell at the front door had signaled his arrival. She couldn't have missed the sound even if she tried.
His casual attire was gone and in its place was a red dress shirt and slacks. He held a briefcase in one hand and a newspaper in the other. When he walked in, his eyes immediately found hers and he strode toward her purposefully. She stopped her filling of the napkin containers and smiled. Perhaps he was here for breakfast?
"Hey." She greeted, not even trying to hide her happiness. To be here so early and less than twelve hours since his last visit, it certainly spoke a lot to her. "Here for breakfast?" He shook his head and her face fell a bit. "Coffee then?" She tried hopefully.
"Oh." Was all she could say? She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "Do you have to get to work?"
"Yeah." He grumbled out in frustration and looked at his watch.
"At least let me give you a bagel or somet—"
"Inuyasha." He cut in.
She froze. "What?"
"My name. I don't think I ever gave it to you."
So he did realize it. She smiled even more brightly, feeling heat on her cheeks. "Oh…is that why you're here?"
He nodded, rubbing the back of his neck shyly. "It uh…bothered me."
Her heart ran another half-marathon at his words. For a moment they just stood there, staring at one another. Shapes and colors shifted and harmonized around him leaving a perfectly sharp image of him standing before her. His eyes glowed with this unseen softness she had rarely seen on most men. And to be on the receiving end of it was nearly the death of her.
His clawed hand reached forward, mere inches from touching her cheek. But just as quickly as he moved for her, he pulled away.
"I have to go."
She blinked out of her fuzzy daze. "Oh yeah. Me too."
And with one final glance, he walked out the door.
I didn't mean to do it.
The diner was packed.
While her day had started off smashingly with Inuyasha's morning visit, it quickly transformed in to pure chaos. Apparently there had been a little league softball game down the street and now the tummies of hungry elementary children were busting through the doors as if the flood gates had been destroyed. Every second, an over enthusiastic father or tired mother would be calling her over for a refill or additional order their child had to have. In all honesty, she was exhausted.
Inwardly, her mind ran like a machine; almost emotionless and on its last ounce of fuel. Plus her outward appearance wasn't much better. Stains littered her apron uniform with a dozen or more foul smells and her hair was up in a messy half-done bun. The only good thing about it all was that time zoomed by. Hours ticked away so fast she didn't even realize her shift was almost over.
A loud clash was heard to her right and Kagome held back a sigh at the domino of milkshakes that were now pooled across the table. The mothers immediately began scolding their young ones but it didn't help the entire mess matter. Grabbing a tray and a towel from the kitchen, Kagome gingerly began wiping up the spill. The milkshake cups, which were now about half full, were piled on to her tray with promises that she would bring the team more drinks.
Carrying nearly a dozen milkshake cups was difficult, even for someone as experienced as Kagome. The weight teetered in her hands for a few scary seconds and she had to look down, just as to make sure the cups were balanced.
She gasped in complete shock at the form that had seemingly materialized in front of her. On her tray, the glasses rattled and shook by the ricocheting force. She felt herself falling sideways, but strong hands steadied her at the wrists. However, this did nothing to save the front half of the load from tipping over. An array of white, brown and pink substance trickled like a waterfall on to a nicely pressed shirt and Kagome was mortified.
"I am so sorry!" She cried out, the sound echoing loudly in the now silent room. Apparently the sound of clanking glass had grasped the attention of even the most hyperactive children.
Her face snapped up at his voice and the ball in the pit of her stomach dropped down to her feet. Inuyasha! What was he doing here? What had she just done to him? Glancing at his now spoiled dress shirt, she knew it would be a difficult time in the wash.
"I…I am so sorry." She whispered brokenly, the stress from the entire day breaking down her worn down body. "I…I can take it to the cleaners if you wa—"
"Let me take that for you." He insisted, cutting her off once more. Before she could even respond, the tray was plucked from her tired hands and carried toward the kitchen. All Kagome could do was quietly follow him like a little puppy through the back doors.
He maneuvered expertly through the kitchen and straight toward the back sink without missing a step. Her eyebrow rose at that. "You certainly know your way around here." He didn't answer her and emptied the cups in to the left sink. When he turned around, she got yet another glimpse of his horribly stained shirt. Immediately she reached for a towel on one of the shelves. She offered it to him and he took it, wiping up the stain rather harshly, causing her to wince in shame.
"I'm sorry." She repeated, finding nothing else to say.
"It's fine." He replied, running the towel under the faucet. "I just…this is one of my favorite shirts."
She had to admit that the burgundy red of the shirt did bring out his best features; a smart choice on his part. "Where did you get it?"
He paused. "Someone bought it for me."
"Oh. Well it's nice."
The silence stretched for a few more seconds and Kagome felt like she was drowning it the thickness of it all. Why didn't she watch where she was going? Oh God…he probably never wanted to speak to her again.
"When do you get off?"
She did a double take, her mouth nearly falling to the floor in astonishment. The question hung heavy in the air and Kagome couldn't believe it. After all that, he was asking her when she got off? Did he not smell the flavors on his chest? She must've been staring quite dumbly at him for he looked at her in confusion.
"What is it?"
"I ah…just wasn't expecting that." She shook her head to clear her thoughts. "I get off at six."
He nodded. "Alright. Sounds good."
She didn't even have a chance to respond for he was already walking out of the kitchen and toward his infamous table three. All she could do was stare at him dumbfounded through the door window. He sat down casually like nothing odd had just transpired and pulled out what looked like a calendar from his brief case. He crossed a few of the days off and did some writing in the corner.
Such a simple activity and yet Kagome couldn't take her eyes off him.
Ayame was suddenly in her face. "Don't worry Kagome. I'll take care of the rest of your orders."
Her face flamed. "You were listening?"
But Ayame merely hushed her. "That isn't important. What is important is that you've got a very cute date right now."
Well now she really couldn't escape her fate. But still, now? Her mind practically screamed with panic. She wanted at least a few minutes to get cleaned up. "But…but… I'm a mess." She gestured to the food stains on her clothes and her messy hair.
"The more time with you, the better, trust me. And he won't care about that." Ayame spoke confidently, brushing a bit of flour off her shoulder. Pulling off her apron, she spun her around, grinning with satisfaction. She reached a clawed hand in to her hair, and quickly pulled out the hair tie, letting it fall over her shoulders like a fan. "Perfect." She finished, before practically shoving her out the door.
Kagome stumbled a bit and managed to save her dignity from the few looks thrown her way. As she brought her eyes to her destination once more, she took a deep breath and made her way slowly to the table, the trip feeling a bit shorter than she remembered. When she finally reached him, he looked at her and his face lit up. Such a look gave her the strength she needed. She sat across from him.
He put the calendar away. "It's not six yet."
"My supervisor let me off early." She shrugged.
He chuckled, the sound like music in her ears. "I'll have to thank her for that."
I didn't expect to feel like this.
It was like a ritual that happened every day.
For an entire week, he had come for her. He would come in after his work and sit down at the same table and wait. She would always catch him just as he was coming in and smile in his direction; a smile which he always returned shyly. It was an unspoken communication between them. She always knew why he was here and he always knew her answer.
Despite the fact that they never actually stepped outside the diner, there always seemed to be something to talk about. They talked about everything on their minds. How their day went or anything they could think of. Sometimes, while she spoke, he would just sit there staring at her like husbands often looked at their wives. It was an affectionate look, completely unguarded and made of pure contentment.
She couldn't explain it, but every minute with him just didn't last long enough. There was a pull she felt toward him. It was one that was insistent and felt nearly physical. The feeling was strong; too strong to be ignored. He drew her in like a moth to a flame and she was happy to let the warmth surround her. And whenever he left, the warmth would be gone momentarily until he returned again.
It was bigger than a crush. What she felt was far too great to be that simple. She liked to think she was falling for him and he for her.
"How are you feeling by the way?" Ayame asked her one day during her shift.
Her face puzzled. "That's the third time you've asked me that today. I'm fine."
"You sure now? No dizziness, or fatigue?"
She shook her head, grabbing a slice of apple pie from the fridge. "Nope."
"Headaches or stomachaches?" She paused. "Bloody noses?"
"Ayame!" She cried in a desperately joking manner. "Honestly I'm fine. I would tell you otherwise. You know me better than that." She pushed open the kitchen doors to deliver the order, the wolf demon hot on her heels.
"Sorry Kagome. I just want to make sure all my staff is feeling okay. I don't want to over work anyone."
"We're in the middle of summer and it's not like there's a bug going around. Let me know if you need anything else!" She chirped to the customer as she set the dessert down. Nodding in agreement, Ayame walked over to assist another table across the room. Making her way over to the bar counter, she began cleaning up the remaining dishes left by a rather large party.
"Why hello there Kagome." A voice called from her right. She looked up and instantly laughed.
"Totosai! So good to see you! How have you been?"
The old demon grinned. "I've been fine. Just doing the usual, and hoping to get the usual."
"Turkey sandwich, white bread, extra mustard, no tomatoes, side of chips and a diet coke?" She said automatically.
He rubbed his bald head slowly. "Glad to see you haven't forgotten me."
"Never." She smiled. "You're one of the few regulars we get here."
"Ah, yes." Quick as lightning, she had his diet coke on the counter and he sipped it gingerly. "So…I hear you did something different the other night?"
She quirked an eyebrow at that. Her life had been pretty much routine for a while now. With the inclusion of Inuaysha of course. "What do you mean?"
"Totosai! Are you bothering my staff again?" Ayame called out jokingly. Talk about superb demon hearing. The wolf demon threw the old demon a meaningful glance that was easily seen even from across the room.
Totosai's eyes widened as a thought hit him. "Oh yes. Sorry about that Kagome. Would you be a dear and bring me some water too? I need to take my medication."
She brushed off his nervous glance. "Don't worry about it Totosai. I'll be right back with your drink."
I didn't plan on that.
"A real date?"
"Yeah." He said, moving to open the front door. "I figured we could try something different."
"Something different…?" She repeated with curiosity. "What did you have in mind?"
"It's a surprise." He smirked, holding out his hand.
She stared at the appendage, almost as if unsure of herself. Their…meetings had always been within the diner. It was their thing. Comfortable, predictable, and enjoyable. But with this change of scenery, it made everything seem real. It was like she was taking the next step and it had only been a little over a week.
He paused at her hesitation. "If you don't want to, we can just eat dinner here again."
She glanced around the room, her eyes focusing on the demon staff that was all pretending not to be listening. The one bad thing about being the only human in an all demon staff was…well this. It was hard to hide anything here and word always spread like wildfire with them. She supposed it would be nice to go somewhere different. Maybe she would get to explore a different side of this relationship they had.
"Let's go." She smiled, taking his hand.
He led her out toward his car and she slipped in to the passenger seat. The inside was fairly clean, with a couple candy wrappers here and there. When he started the engine and the car roared to life, she felt more excitement bubble up within her. Here she was in a car with Inuyasha going who knows where. It was thrilling to say the least.
"Where are we going again?"
"Not far." They pulled out of the parking lot and on to the open road. The car ride was pleasant enough, with no awkward silences. She continued to tease him about how much she hated surprises and how he was pretty much ruining the night for her. He laughed through it all and promised to make it up to her later on.
They finally arrived at a large building that she had never seen before. It was tall structure completely made out of dark tinted windows, too large to be a restaurant. Beside her, Inuyasha opened the door for her and she stepped out, her mind still trying to piece together as to where they were. They walked in through the automatic glass doors and Kagome's eyes widened in amazement.
A huge wall of artificial stone stood before her that almost reached the ceiling. Already, she could see about dozen or so people scaling the wall, some expertly reaching the top while others straggled at the bottom. Ropes hung like vines all along the wall and voices were shouting words of encouragement every so often to each other. Laughter could also be heard from a few of the younger climbers as they struggled to hang on. Strangely enough though, the sight didn't frighten Kagome. If anything, she grew even more excited and eager.
"Rock climbing." She stated in awe at Inuyasha.
He nodded, holding up a bag with what she could only assume had clothes inside. "Something different?"
She took the bag, seeing the T-shirt and spandex pants within. "You bought these for me?" Another nod. "How did you know my size?"
"Hopefully I guessed right." Bringing an arm around her shoulder, she shuddered at his deliberate closeness. Carefully he spun her around and pointed at a far door. "You can change over there, okay?"
She did as she was told, happy to find that the clothes fit her perfectly. After tying her hair in to a pony tail, she walked out of the bathroom to find Inuyasha waiting for her, decked out in a tank top and long sweat pants. Together they walked toward one of the registers to receive their wristbands. They were delayed slightly by a brief argument between the two of them, but eventually Inuyasha won out and paid for it all, only with the assurance that he would let her pay for something else later.
They were led in to another backroom to strap on their gear. Complicated straps and loops met Kagome's eyes, and she watched as Inuyasha slipped them all on as if they were part of his everyday attire. Setting her face in to a determined line, she carefully began working the straps herself, her mind practically working on its own. She barely had to think, her hands moving fluidly with a seasoned air. When she finally had the last strap tightly in place, she felt a sense of déjà vu overcome her. Nevertheless, she was pleased with herself and glanced at Inuyasha to see him staring at her in shock.
"Have…have you ever done this before?"
She blinked. "Nope, never. I guess I'm just a fast learner."
He nodded slowly in response. Taking her hand in his, he led her toward one of the empty sections of the wall. The employee quickly strapped them up, side by side. "Alright, you're good to go. First one to the top, ring the bell."
Cranking her neck upward, Kagome's eyes widened at the sheer height of the wall. It would take her forever to get up there! She glanced sideways at Inuyasha and frowned as he began making his way up the wall while she remained with her feet on the ground.
"No fair." She playfully whined. "You're a half demon."
He looked down at her with a smirk. "I can carry you if you want."
There was an implied challenge in his voice which set her off like a firecracker. Eyes framed with purpose, her fingers gripped the nearest wedge and she hoisted herself about a foot off the ground. Her feet quickly found the bottom wedge and she mentally congratulated herself on her first step. Now she just had about a hundred more to go.
She continued climbing, surprising herself with her strength and agility of her movements. She moved with a grace she didn't know she possessed. And while Inuyasha always remained ahead of her, she managed to never lose that distance. In a way, she was glad he was ahead of her. She didn't like when people went easy on her and she hated feeling helpless.
Plus being below him did give her a nice view.
After what felt like forever, she finally reached the top where Inuyasha had the decency to wait for her. She was a bit out of breath hanging on next to him, so he steadied her with his right hand. "You made it." He spoke, pride filling his voice.
"I did." She smiled, glancing around. They were alone at the top of the configuration and when she glanced behind, she could see the sparkling lights of their little town through the windows. It was incredible seeing it from such a high perspective especially after working so hard to get up here. To her, it was an absolutely breathtaking view and feeling.
Together they rang the bell and she turned to him, feeling utterly exhilarated. "Thank you. I've never done anything like this before."
The mood shifted immediately as he brushed a loose strand of hair out of her eyes. Her eyes shined at his actions and she smiled, willing him to continue. He complied with her silent request and leaned closer to her, his intentions clearer than water. Adjusting her grip on the pegs, she closed her eyes she leaned forward to meet him halfway. But her face fell when she felt him pull away. When she opened his eyes, she found him staring out in front of him at the rock face as if struggling with some idea or notion.
Sighing to herself, she began grappling slowly down the wall, leaving Inuyasha pondering at the top. She couldn't help the disappointed trail she left behind. It had been a perfect moment in her eyes, but apparently not for him. Maybe something was holding him back? Or maybe…there was someone else? Such a thought haltered her movements and she hung suspended in the middle of the wall. No she couldn't believe it. He wouldn't spend so much time with her for no reason. There had to be something there. She could feel it.
He suddenly jumped down in one giant leap that caused him to fall right beside her. With the ropes supporting him, he swung both toward her and away from her in great strides. He had another unwavering look in his eyes that reminded her of just seconds before.
"Inuyasha?" She called.
He was swaying toward her now. "To hell with it."
Within milliseconds, his arm wrapped around her waist and his lips found hers. All thoughts escaped from her mind and she closed her eyes, melting in to his embrace.
I didn't mean to fall like this.
Despite being surrounded by a blanket of moist darkness, the soft glow that surrounded them provided just enough light for her to see. The night was cool and crisp, but still young and fresh for the couple. And though they had just arrived, her heart was already pounding like a giddy school girl.
Holding up her own jar of light, she frowned at the lone firefly buzzing within. Almost in a teasing like manner, the man beside her held up his glowing jar proudly and she spotted six glowing lights. Six. And here she was with just one. She pouted like a puppy and he laughed at her face. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he tapped his jar lightly against hers and grinned. Although he was currently beating her, she was enjoying it just as much as him.
She had to give him points for creativity. The entire week had passed by so quickly that it felt like a distant blur away from reality. Every date had been something fun and new that she had yet to experience. Every time she saw him, he treated her like she was the most important person in the world. And every time he kissed her, she would shudder as her stomach curled with a happiness that spread down to her toes.
She thought she would get overwhelmed by the excitement and thrill of another. After loving such a simple and predictable life in her quaint little diner in her quaint little town, she didn't think she would enjoy much else. But Inuyasha seemed to be proving her wrong with every second she spent with him. He was practically contagious. The more she was with him, the more she wanted. The pull she felt toward him had only grown and strengthened over the week. It connected her to him in a way that felt other worldly and sometimes she wondered if he felt it too.
He insisted on seeing her every day and taking her out every night, but somehow she didn't mind. Although it was all happening so fast, it didn't matter. He made her feel happy and light. He made her feel complete in a way she didn't even know she was missing.
It was obvious that she was falling for him. She just didn't expect to fall that hard or this easily.
They spent another hour or so collecting the fireflies before exhaustion had finally hit her. After a long day at work, plus all of this trekking through the muggy and misty field of fireflies, it was time for a break and some food. Together, with their jars of fireflies in hand, they walked toward his car. Once settled in to their seats, he pulled out a couple hidden bags of take-out food.
"Oden?" He produced, pulling out a plastic bowl that had a delicious aroma wafting out from it.
Her mouth practically watered with hunger. Eagerly, she took the bowl from his offering fingers and unwrapped her packet of chopsticks. The first bite was absolute heaven and she closed her eyes with bliss. "How did you know I love oden so much?" She teased.
He slurped a rather large helping in to his mouth. "Who doesn't?" Came his player retort with a mouthful of food.
Another half hour passed as they enjoyed each other's presence with the glimmering of the fireflies serving as their light. They talked mainly about their future lives and what they always wanted to do. Of course she didn't want to be a diner girl forever, but for now it was enough. She was hoping to get her teaching degree in a few years.
"You'd be a great teacher." He voiced quietly, stirring up the contents in his bowl. She beamed at his words.
When it was his turn to speak, she learned that while he enjoyed his manufacturing business job (one that he had working at for quite some time), he was much more of an outdoors kind of guy. Any occupation that wouldn't limit his free spirit was what he was looking for. When she asked why he didn't venture to a more liberating city beyond their little town, he confessed that he had too much here to lose by leaving.
The atmosphere between them was much less serious as the night went on. Their conversation shifted to reminiscing about crazy moments in their lives and Kagome was frankly stunned by some of the things Inuyasha had endured.
"You actually worked in a male strip club?" She cried out in between laughs after his story.
He flushed. "Only for a couple days!" He reminded immediately. "I had no money and I was in a town that I had never been in before."
"So you were desperate." She concluded with a knowing grin.
"I was stupid. I was only 172 years old." He defended, before doing a quick mental calculation. "Well 15 years old in human years."
His words caught her attention. "How long ago was that?"
"Are you trying to figure out how old I am?" He ventured knowingly and she grinned in response. "I'm uh…28. No wait, 24."
"And in demon years?"
"About 276." He answered, before pausing and studying her face. "Does that bother you?"
She shook her head. "You're a half demon. Of course you would age slower. I already accepted that long ago, along with your other lucky traits. And besides, that technically makes you only a year older than me, in human years at least." She could practically feel his body relax at her words and was proud of her ability to assure him.
Time quickly flew away from them and before they know it, it was almost midnight. She yawned as the hours caught up to her as she tried to rub the sleepiness out of her eyes. Damn her and her human body. It seemed she could never stay up as long as she wanted to.
"We should head back soon." He spoke, reaching for the two jars of fireflies on top of the dashboard. "And we better let these guys go."
It was far too cold and wet to step outside, so he opened the sunroof of his car. Together they unscrewed their lids and released the fireflies back in to the night. For a few wonderful moments they were surrounded by the most beautiful array of luminosity. The fireflies flickered and flew wildly around them before finally finding their way out through the top opening. The pair of them were silent throughout the whole ordeal, just enjoying the show.
Even after the last few fireflies escaped, both of them leaned back in their seat to watch them climb higher and higher in to the sky. At some point in the night, Inuyasha's arm had snaked around her shoulders to pull her against him. She let out a happy sigh in return and leaned against him.
"So beautiful." She whispered in awe. "I hate to see them go like that."
"Yeah." He pulled her closer so that it was like they were lying in bed beside each other. "But we couldn't just hold on to them." She hummed in agreement, her arms stretching out as if trying to reach the last few fireflies. But of course, as she already knew, they were much too far from them now.
She took his hand in hers and smiled a sad smile. "They say if you love something enough, you'll let it go."
"I don't believe in that." He stated firmly, surprising her with his tone.
His fingers stroked against her skin in a soothing way. "I just…I think that if you love something, then it's stupid to just let it leave you."
"What if it couldn't be helped?" She questioned, his words sparking her curiosity. "What if they had no choice?"
His hands tightened around her fingers in an almost assuring way. "Then I wouldn't give up. I wouldn't let them leave me without a fight."
I didn't want this feeling to end.
"You seem nervous." Ayame remarked as she began piling a bunch of dishes on to her tray after a party of six had left.
She laughed lightly. "I know you Kagome. You're never this quiet when working. And plus, your hands are shaking."
Kagome shot her a pointed look as she finished her tower of dishes. Then, carefully balancing the load on her shoulder, she began heading toward the back kitchen with her supervisor following behind her. Thankfully, this would be her last clean-up of the night. Then it was just a few more minutes before her shift would be over. Just a few more minutes for her to gather her thoughts and get cleaned up. And just a few more minutes until Inuyasha arrived.
It seemed Ayame's interrogation wasn't quite finished. "What's on your mind Kagome?" She asked as she loaded the dirty plates in to the sink.
Kagome sighed, leaning against the sink tiredly. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
"Tonight." She gulped, her stomach in knots.
"What's so different about tonight? You and Inuyasha always go out. It's been three weeks now. A long time…" She noted with awe.
Kagome chuckled lowly. "Well three weeks really isn't that long, even though it does feel like it's been longer. I just…" She took a huge, shaky breath. "We're going to his place this time."
There. She said it. She dropped the bomb shell. The real reasoning behind her nerves and uncertain demeanor. It wasn't surprising that Ayame had noticed her off behavior. The wolf demon noticed everyone and everything that happened in this restaurant.
"I see…" Her supervisor began slowly. "Well, what exactly is it that you're worried about?"
"What does it mean?" Kagome shot back almost immediately in a frantic sort of way. In her hands, she twisted the life out of her apron almost convulsively. "I mean…I don't know what to expect, or what I'm supposed to do."
"Expect it to be like any other time you have with him, and do what you always do." Ayame suggested in a simple manner. "Being somewhere different shouldn't matter or feel pressuring."
"But I don't want to disappoint him." She reasoned with a wave of her hands. "He…he means a lot to me."
A gentle smile found its way to her face. "I think he would like to hear you say that."
Kagome made a face. "You don't think it will freak him out, do you?"
"Quite the opposite actually." Taking a deep breath, she took the poor girl's shoulders in to her hands. "Listen Kagome. I've seen the way he looks at you and I've seen the way you look at him. There's something there, I just know it. So whatever you both end up doing or talking about tonight means nothing compared to just having you there with him."
Her words had some of the worry floating away. "Yeah I guess." She finally voiced, her hands coming up to hug herself. The same warm pulling feeling in her chest returned and she welcomingly relished in it, knowing that it would only rise when Inuyasha came for her.
When she looked up, she saw Ayame staring at her with the softest look she had ever seen. "Do you feel drawn to him?"
Kagome's hands tightened at the heart of her work shirt. "It's hard to describe really."
"Do you feel it?" Ayame asked, her eyes locking right with hers. Kagome paused at her vague question. What was it that she felt? She knew the feeling was increasing each day she was with him. And it felt so tangibly real that she wondered if she could touch it.
When she didn't respond, the wolf demon repeated herself. "Do you feel…something?"
"I…I don't know what this feeling is." She admitted, her hand now coming up to rub a sudden burning on the back of her neck. "I just know that I don't want it to end."
The moment they stepped in to his place, her nerves had quickly disappeared.
He lived in an amazing open room flat painted with a dark green color with a black leather couch in the center of the room. The walls were bare for the most part and the living area was fairly clean with a couple newspapers on the coffee table. The kitchen itself was well stocked with plenty of ramen and potato chips and already she could make out a wonderful smell that was filling the entire room. All and all, she didn't expect anything less of him.
They immediately headed to the kitchen to cook; Inuyasha handling the main course while Kagome supplied dessert. It didn't take long for everything to quickly fall in to place and Kagome soon felt like she was right at home. As she mixed up the batter for her double chocolate chip cake, Inuyasha managed a small kiss on her lips, his mouth tasting a bit of the dessert she was working so hard to prepare. He smiled in approval of the sweet taste and went back to work on his stir fry looking concoction.
Dinner was served on the couch of all places. Each of them sat across from one another on the ends of the couch, and talked as they ate their meal. With her knees drawn comfortably up to her chest, Kagome settled herself in to the crevices of the leather and took her first few bites of food.
She hummed as her taste buds exploded. "Where did you learn to cook like this?"
"Just kind of taught myself I guess." He shrugged, shoveling much larger portions in to his mouth. She rolled her eyes at the sight. Three weeks in to their relationship and she couldn't recall a moment where he had actually taken his time with his meal.
"Well it's great." She complimented, not even trying to match his eating pace. They continued eating for a bit longer in a quiet but content silence. Once they finished, they washed the dishes and plopped back on to the couch and in to each other's arms. At some point during their kissing session, Kagome had suggested watching a movie or TV, but it fell on deaf ears to her half demon.
His mouth quickly worked its way from her soft lips to the base of her throat where she tilted her head so that he could please her more easily. Such a simple action on her part practically ignited the fire that he must have been holding back for quite some time. With an inhuman grace, their bodies were soon twisted on the couch, him on top of her. And yet, his lips had never left hers.
Their hands explored one another tentatively and with a passionate fascination. He seemed to know exactly where she enjoyed it most, and she herself was still learning all the amazing things to be found about him. A pleasurable heat was spreading quickly to all ends of her body and she was making no move to stop it. At one point his fingers had come up to gently touch the back of her neck, and then it happened.
Something pulsed within her causing her to gasp in shock. Frozen at the foreign, yet familiar, sensation, her eyes snapped open. What…was that? This feeling she was feeling? It felt so wonderful and frightening at the same time.
Inuyasha seemed to notice her stilled movements for he stopped as well. Taking one of her hands, he placed it over his chest and kissed her forehead. "You okay?"
His voice had her anchoring back to reality and she smiled softly as the unfamiliar feeling melted away to form a bubbling stream of pure soulful warmth. Almost like a harmonious symphony, she could practically feel his loving energy as it strummed along with every beat of her heart.
"I'm fine." She smiled radiantly at him.
He gazed at her with honey color eyes. "Maybe… we should watch that movie." He suggested, pulling away a bit, but not completely.
Given the sudden hot air that had seeped in to the room, Kagome nodded, rubbing her forehead. "Yeah." Her eyes found the rack of movies beside the flat screen TV. "What do you have?"
He listed off a dozen or so movies, none of which appealed to her. "Nothing sappy." She voiced honestly. "I could go for something thrilling right now."
There was a spark of excitement in his eyes that he set aside for later. "Thrilling huh?" He echoed, moving away from her to open the glass screen of the shelf. Carefully, he began sorting through all the titles in search of her heart's desire. "I'm not sure if I have many of those."
Kagome stood. "Well while you look, I'm going to use the bathroom." He nodded over his shoulder, still continuing his treasure hunt. The bathroom itself was in the far corner of the flat and required Kagome to walk past the bedroom portion to get to it. Once relieving herself, she did a quick look over at herself in the mirror and attempted to fix the curls that Inuyasha had so graciously ruined. After taking a couple deep breaths at her image in the mirror, she headed back toward the living room.
As she exited the bathroom door, she turned a bit too sharply, causing leg to hit his dresser drawer with a thud. A couple of his drawers opened slightly as a result, and a wooden chest tipped over causing the contents to spill out and on to his carpet.
"Nice going Kagome…" She muttered to herself. Dropping down to her knees, she began picking up all the items including a couple pieces of paper, some bracelets, chains, and an old family photo.
However, as she reached for the last few things, something caught her eye that made her stiffen in horror.
There, sitting perfectly innocently on the carpet floor, was a ring. It was a simple golden band. Nothing incredibly lavishing about it and probably not even worth that much. But the romantic etchings on the side of the band spoke absolutely terrible volumes to her. With one hand covering her mouth in speechlessness, shaky fingers picked up the band, feeling its weight like a heavy stone in her heart.
She wasn't stupid. She knew what kind of ring it was.
She remained completely still on the floor, even as Inuyasha approached her with a couple movies in his hand.
"So I didn't know whether you wanted a scary sort of thriller or an action thriller…" He trailed off as she slowly stood. And when she turned around to face him, ring in her hand, his face became as white as a sheet.
It could've been from a marriage long ago, but the guilty terrified look on his face confirmed her fears. And now the silence was absolute torture, while the tremors that shook through Inuyasha's prone form did little to ease her thoughts.
"Inuyasha." She begged slowly, tears threatening to fall.
"It's not what you think." He whispered desperately, hands coming to grasp her shoulders. His eyes tried to find hers, but she wouldn't give him that assurance. "Kagome please look at me."
"You're…married." She spoke devastatingly. "You're married. Oh God…"
His hands tightened on her form. "You have to understand Kagome. It's so much more complicated than that." He moved to pull her even closer to him, but she stepped back.
"No! Stop. Please—" Tears were falling freely now. "Don't…not anymore."
But he didn't listen to her words and gathered her in to his arms. She tried to fight against him, to put as much distance as she could between them, but he wouldn't budge. She doubted she would even be able to breach an inch between them, given the way he was holding her like a lifeline. Pressing a hand to his chest, she could feel him trembling as well.
"I should have just told you. I should have just been honest with you." He rambled on nearly breathless.
"You're married." She said once again, the effect of the words still having a staggering impact on her mind. "How could you even try this?"
"I didn't want to give up on you. They told me it was pointless, but…but I had to try." His hands were shaking now, and his face looked like he was on the verge of losing it. "I love you Kagome."
In a moment that should've been beautiful, Kagome felt no such joy. If anything, her heart shriveled up even more. Pulling completely away from him, she placed her hands on the side of her head as a thundering entered her body. "Please stop." She pleaded, just enough for him to hear.
"I want to go home." She suddenly voiced, making a move to walk to the door.
But he stepped in front of her. "No." He managed to get out. "Just stay. We can work this out. I'll tell you everything, I swear."
"What's there to tell?" She shouted, fury now overcoming her. Pointing an accusing finger at him, she felt her head beginning to spin, but she ignored it. "You lied to me! And to your wife!"
His hand shot out to grab her outstretch wrist and he held her hand over his heart.
"I haven't lied to anyone." He insisted. Pulling her toward him, he touched the back of her neck just like before. And despite the emotional agony she felt toward him, her stomached still heated itself just as before with that exciting energy. She tried to suppress it, but found that she couldn't.
"Don't you see?" He fingers continued to brush against the back of her neck.
But she just couldn't. He was acting so strange to her and with all of this happening, she couldn't handle it. She jerked away from him, his arm still dangling out to reach for her. She finally braved a look at his face, but the moment she made eyes contact with him, she lost it. Her stomach felt sick. Her head was spinning even more now and she felt something shatter within her nimble resolve. Hugging herself, she willed the pain to go away.
"I don't understand what's happening." She breathed with a completely broken tone. She suddenly felt a bead of moisture dripping down her nose. Bringing a startled hand to her lips she was shocked at the sight of blood that met her eyes.
"Fuck!" She heard Inuyasha curse. His hand reached for her frame and this time, she didn't fight him off. It wasn't that she didn't want to; she no longer could. Colors and shapes were suddenly morphing and clouding around her in an almost sickening way. Her eyes shifted in and out of the fuzzy focus and her knees suddenly lost all strength.
They were on the floor now. She was gathered in Inuyasha's arms and she realized he was screaming like a dying man. "Damn it Kagome! Stay with me!"
His voice was so beautiful even in its chaotic state. Despite all that had happened, she wanted to talk to him once more and let him know that he shouldn't be so worried about her. But her energy failed her and she could do little more than stare up at him as the pounding in her head intensified to an almost unbearable point.
She could see his face clearly for a few brief seconds. From his striking silver hair and dog ears, to the beauty of his amber eyes, she could see it all. Tears fell freely down his face and she quickly concluded that such a look was not right for someone like him.
"Please don't leave me."
He might have said that, but she didn't know for sure.
At last, she slipped away.
She came as soon as she could.
Once her plane had landed in the busy urban city, she had quickly taken a train to the small, but very familiar, little town. From there, she took a taxi to her friend's apartment and practically fell out of the cab when it came to a stop in front of the building. Taking the elevator to the sixth floor, she fumbled for the keys in her purse and opened the door.
It was completely quiet and from her spot at the door, she saw no signs of life in the little living area. Carefully, she walked inside, hesitantly glancing around. She nearly jumped back in surprise when Inuyasha appeared from around the hallway with some bags in his hands.
She'd seen the half demon at his worst, and she'd seen him when he looked fairly okay. But today was one of those rare and interesting days. The half demon standing before her didn't look like one who endured a nightmare on a daily basis. He actually looked…fine. Better than fine.
"Inuyasha." She called, and he looked up at her in surprise.
"Hey Sango." He greeted. "Back so soon?"
"I cancelled my last conference meeting. I figured those other teachers could wait." He nodded in understanding and moved toward the kitchen, setting the bags down on the counter. She followed and leaned against the marble. "How is she?"
"She's sleeping in her room now." He replied simply. Reaching in to his bag, she watched as he pulled out two familiar boxes of Chinese food. He grabbed a pair of chopsticks and immediately began eating. Sango could only watch him as a sad smile came to her face.
"How was it? This time around?" She had to ask.
Her eyebrow rose. "Longer?" She repeated, watching him smile slightly. "How long?"
Digging in to one of the bags, he produced a small travel calendar. He opened it up to the current month and Sango saw all the weeks of notes, x marks and circles written all over the page. He pointed from the Wednesday at the beginning of the month to a Friday many weeks later.
"Three weeks, fourteen hours, and eleven minutes." He confirmed. "The longest she's ever gone."
Sango watched the half demon carefully. "And then what happened?"
He sighed, placing the appropriately half eaten cartons of take-out food in to the fridge. "She found my wedding ring."
A startled hand came to cover the woman's mouth. "Oh my God." She could only imagine what happened next. It had to have been absolutely painful for the half demon to endure. "Did she…?"
"Well she freaked out." He began, scratching out the expiration date on a jug of milk from his bag. Then, after downing about a third of the carton in one gulp, he switched it out with the one already in the fridge. "Started crying and screaming. I…I didn't know what to do."
His voice was so low and quiet at the end that it broke Sango's heart. It seemed like the "fine" composure he had a few minutes ago was starting to crumble. "Inuyasha." She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, feeling his body starting to quiver. His head was bowed down low, his bangs covering his eyes.
"She lasted so long this time."
"It might be a sign." Sango reasoned. "Maybe she's coming back."
"Damn it!" He suddenly cried out, his fist connecting with the fridge. The force of his punch rattled the frame of the appliance, and Sango nearly jumped back from the sound. But as quickly as his outburst had come, it soon evaporated, leaving him slumping against the fridge. His breath came out in heavy pants as he struggled with emotion.
She hated seeing him like this. Every time she saw him like this, it reminded her of how it all started.
Kagome and Inuyasha had been married for about five years. It had been a connection that Sango had long seen coming since when they first met and it made her happy when they finally decided to cement it. Everything had been going so well. They were happy. Their friends and family had been happy. And they had even been talking about a family. Sure like any couple they had been through many ups and downs, but their lives soon took a downward spiral.
One rainy night a drunk driver hit their parked car in a shopping center and unfortunately it was Kagome's side that was hit. Inuyasha was fine, and thanks to the soul mating bond Inuyasha had with Kagome, she survived. The bond, evident by the marks on the back of their necks, was what connected her life and energy with his. She aged at his pace, and healed faster than before. But her brain had taken terrible damage that could not be healed.
She would never forget that look on his face.
"Who are you?" Kagome asked him as she lay on the hospital bed. Sango could only watch as the life drained out of his face.
"Who…are you?" She repeated slowly, confusion written all over her features. "Should I know you?"
He let out a humorless chuckle. "Come on Kagome, quit playing around." He reached for her hand, but she pulled away. The look in her eyes was soon coupled with fear and Inuyasha was left speechless and empty as acid seemed to pour in to his very soul.
They called the doctor immediately and explained the situation. Of course that did little to ease the frantic mind of Kagome who kept asking questions and kept asking to be taken to her apartment. The stress eventually became too much for Kagome and she fainted, her nose bleeding just seconds before. This situation went on for months, Kagome drifting in and out of her conscious state. And every time she awoke, she never remembered Inuyasha or any of her fellow teaching friends, herself included. Eventually, Sango had realized what was happening.
"What?" The doctor had questioned. Behind him, Inuyasha was staring at her as if she had lost her mind.
"Don't you see?" Sango explained. "Every time she leaves us, she never seems to recall her current life. She keeps asking to be taken back to her apartment. And the only time she had an apartment was when she was 24 and still working at that diner."
"So you're saying that every time she wakes up, she reverts back to that that time with just those memories?" Inuyasha repeated in disbelief. Sango nodded, easily reading between the lines of what he was saying. Yes. She was reverting back to that time; a time before she had met her husband.
"An interesting diagnosis you've made Sango." The doctor said. "And I think I know what is going on now."
"What sort of condition does she have?" Inuyasha demanded.
"Anterograde Amnesia." The doctor described once again. "A condition where one is unable to make new memories. Now for your wife's case, it seems that not only is she unable to make new memories, but she has lost a large chunk of her current memories as well. This basically leaves her stuck in a sort of limbo stage where she will continuously live out the same time frame of her life over and over again."
Sango's face dropped at the news. "Is there a cure?"
"No, but other doctors are working to find a cure. As of now, all we can do is offer her therapy."
The therapy had included keeping Kagome in the hospital 24/7 and trying to job her memory back with stimulating exercises and medication. But of course Inuyasha would have none of that. He disappeared for about a week to do some kind of research and when he returned, he had the most unheard of proposition.
He slammed a rather large textbook on to the table. "Do you see this?" He said, pointing to the middle of the page. "It's an article about a woman who had amnesia."
The doctor adjusted his glasses and began looking over the page. "You think this may help?"
"Yeah." He answered and began summarizing the article. "The woman recovered her memories after being placed in a real-life reenactment of her forgotten life. They say that being put in that familiar sort of setting and experiencing it again is the best way to recover lost memories."
His logic made sense, but his idea was far too bold and unrealistic. But it seemed the half demon was rather determined and willing to do whatever it took.
"You do know that with your wife mentally and emotionally unavailable like this, you are eligible to apply for a separation or a divorce." The nurse informed him.
Her words had him downright furious. "I would never do that to her."
The doctor cleared his throat for redirection. "So let me get this straight…You want to allow your wife to life the way she did before? You want her to experience her younger years once again in hopes that it will revive her memories?"
Inuaysha nodded. "Yeah. It's not like she needs to be in the hospital every second of the day. She can take care of herself just fine."
"And what if it doesn't work and she blacks out?"
His answer was immediate. "Then we'll start over and try again."
This time, Sango jumped in. "But that means you would have to detail every part of her life every time she blacked out. She would need her old apartment and her old job back in the same way it was before."
"I'll take care of it." He claimed without hesitation.
"She doesn't have a consistent time line though. We don't know whether she'll black out after a couple days or a couple weeks. It's all a matter of chance and luck." The doctor pointed out wisely. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
He nodded one final time. "I won't give up on her, not when I promised to protect her."
And so it began. His tireless vendetta soon sprung to life and Kagome was living her 24 year old self again and again. It was incredibly difficult at times, especially when holidays or seasonal changes came around, but still he stayed with her. He stayed with her even if it only lasted for a week, or those unlucky times that ended after only a day. Countless moments Inuyasha had spent with her and Sango knew that he was willing to spend countless more with her.
But for how long? Who could possibly endure this kind of treatment?
"I don't know how you do it Inuyasha." She whispered softly as she watched his battle hard form take another mental beating. "I just don't get it."
He rose from his hunched position and stared at her with serious eyes. "I already told you Sango. I can't just leave her like this."
"But it's killing you Inuyasha!" Sango cried, feeling as though her heart was crumbling for him. He deserved so much. He deserved to be happy. And she absolutely hated seeing her friend succumb to this kind of life just because of something fate had thrown his way.
"You're a great man Inuyasha." Sango began. "And Kagome is so lucky to have you. But you don't need to do this, especially if all your efforts end up wasted in the end. Why not…why not take her back to the hospital? She can recover there and be professionally monitored all the time. And you can still visit her whenever you want."
He frowned. "She wouldn't be happy."
"Maybe not." She mused carefully. "But at least you would be better."
Inuyasha sighed as a silence formed between them. How long had it been, she wondered? How many times had she come to this apartment seeing him beaten and broken, but still fighting to go on? It was amazing really. Often times it left her stunned at the lengths he was willing to go. For the pain he was willing to endure. Without a doubt in her mind, he was the strongest person she knew.
"Do you…do you know how lucky I am Sango?"
Her head snapped up at his words. "What?"
"Think about it." He said as he began to arrange the living room just as she had left it before. A coffee cup here, the TV remote there and a magazine flipped open to a certain page. It was all ingrained in his mind after doing this for so long.
For a moment, she recalled all the years Inuyasha had been doing this, but saw nothing except sadness in his lifestyle. He lived half a life tied to a woman who didn't even know how much he loved her. Over and over again he was subjecting himself to such misery and suffering. She just couldn't see the happiness behind that.
"I'm sorry Inuyasha, but I don't follow."
When he spoke this time, she swore he had never sounded so certain.
"Kagome isn't dead and she didn't die in that car crash. She's still here and she's happy. And I get to see her be happy every day, unlike some people who never get to see their wives again. I get to learn even more and more about her each day that goes by. And I get to relive all the reasons why she means so much to me."
Tears sprang in to Sango's eyes. "Inuyasha…"
He looked a bit uncomfortable. "Keh. Would you stop that Sango? It's not something to get that worked up over."
She nodded and hastily wiped aside her tears. Together they fixed up the apartment just the way it was supposed to be. She thought back once again to all these past few years. All the attempts Inuyasha had made with Kagome. From flirty, to nerdy, and from just flat out telling her the truth, to allowing her to live her life, oblivious to his vigil protection. In the end, Kagome somehow found her way to him almost every time. It didn't matter what Inuyasha did. She was always drawn to him. And as a result, he fell for her over and over again.
About ten minutes went by when Inuyasha's ears twitched. "She's waking up." He stated. There was a look of vulnerability in his eyes that few got to witness. But he shook his head and the look was gone to be replaced by determination.
Grabbing his bags, they both headed for the door.
I didn't know what would happen that day.
Standing outside the diner always made him nervous.
It was so unpredictable really. He didn't know how everything would turn out or even what she would say. It could be better or it could be worse than before. He supposed that was the gambling beauty behind all of this. And if he messed up today, there was always next time.
Clearing his throat, he took a moment to gather himself. With a thoughtful smile, he pulled up the sleeves of the burgundy work shirt Kagome had bought him for his birthday many years ago. Once satisfied, he opened the front door and stepped inside, the smell of warm apple pie hitting his nose. From the corner of the room, Ayame spotted his entrance and immediately walked over to him.
"I got your text just in time."
"Good." He replied, and she smiled, a look of pity coming in to her eyes. What was it with these women and giving him that face? He scowled. "Don't look at me like that."
She coughed, looking downward. "Sorry. So, table three again?"
He nodded, walking over to his signature table. Taking a seat down in the hard plastic booth, he pulled out his calendar, making sure to mark the day.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't exhausted. His last experience with Kagome had left him absolutely drained and tired. She had panicked and been scared out of her mind and he didn't even know what to do. Hopefully he would get a memory length like that again and would be able to be more careful.
His eyes soon found her form as she bounced between the tables with that unique smile of hers. Seeing her made him feel warm inside and had his heart shooting off like crazy. He sighed, feeling the burning mark on the back of his neck completely engulf him with feelings of affection. At one point, he had believed she could feel it do, but after a bit of experimentation, he realized she could only feel it if she was aware of her own feelings and when he touched her mark.
As she finished up with a few of the tables, he began to mentally prepare himself. How should he approach it this time? Should be just be bold and ask her out? Or maybe be that mysterious guy in the corner? Each persona had had its own instances of successes, which is what made the decision so difficult sometimes. But then again, he concluded that it didn't really matter.
No matter what happened or what anyone said, he would see it through to every end. As long as he got to be with her and see her, that was enough.
A rattling coffee cup interrupted his thoughts. He looked up to see his wife.
"Coffee with cream and honey." She said, placing the cup and the sides on his table. She gave him another heart pounding smile. "Is there anything else I can get you?"
But he didn't answer her. His entire body was practically numb with shock at the order that stood before him. His mind backtracked to just a few minutes prior, but nothing made sense. Was this really happening? He found that he couldn't find the words to speak.
"Sir?" Kagome ventured carefully. "Are you okay?"
"I…" He gulped, the sound resounding in his ears. "I didn't order this."
She placed a hand over her chest. "I am so sorry sir. I…I swore you ordered this." She looked dumbfounded for a second and made a move to remove it, but he stopped her.
"It's fine." He spoke, unable to say much else. He couldn't believe it. Her relapse to the place of her old memories had always been the same and predictable. Never in all their years had something like this occurred.
When he looked up at her, he noticed she was staring quite blatantly at him. There was a hint of confusion in her eyes as if she was trying to piece together an important puzzle.
She blinked out her thoughts. "Is ah…is there anything else you need?"
He simply smiled at her, the truth behind this moment finally catching up to him.
It was times like this that kept him going.
A/N: Done! And quite a long one at that. Usually it only takes me a few hours to pump out a story, but for something like this, it took me weeks, off and on. I hope you all enjoyed as much as I did writing it. It was certainly a lot of work, but all worth it. I've been playing around with this idea forever and am so glad to see it brought to fruition. Though I will admit it felt a bit like an Asian Drama at the end, I feel that it was necessary for what I wanted to portray.
If you have any questions about this story or my future stories, feel free to ask. Although I do recommend you reading this story over again just so you can now catch all the hinting tid-bits I put in to this story. Oh subtlety…
Did you know that I actually started this story the day after Christmas? Yes it has taken me that long.
Did you know that this is the longest one shot I have ever written? 40 beautiful pages of romance, and drama for all of you to sink your teeth in to!
Did you know that the setting of the story was originally supposed to start with them in the hospital? But that just didn't fly and plus I enjoy surprise elements at the end of stories. So thus, some serious rearranging was done.
Did you know that I had planned to have a date scene of them at a festival and a visit to Inuyasha's work place? Plus a sick Inuyasha or Kagome (someone just had to be sick) and a jealous Inuyasha scene? But I figured it would be too long though and I wanted to keep a certain pace. I've only been rock climbing once and I figured it would be "something different" to write about. And I've always wanted to catch fireflies.
Did you know that I was inspired by both the Notebook and the Vow, but I have never seen 50 First Dates? I bet my story is a bit more dramatic than that movie.
Did you know that when writing my stories, I always read through it multiple times looking for (in this order) for grammar checks, repeated words/phrases, characterization and flow? In regards to flow, "if I'm reading it and it feels like we're always moving and getting somewhere good, then I'm good". It's all about the pacing for me.
Did you know that there was a song I listened to constantly that pushed me to write this song? It was Adam Lambert's, "Better Than I Know Myself". It fits my story fairly well.
Thank you to all my readers and reviewers! And please leave your thoughts behind. I would love to hear your feedback on this story. Thanks again and see you all soon! Hopefully…