Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

1,000 words, originally posted 3-5-12.

"Met a girl in the parking lot and all I did was say hello

Her pepper spray made it rather hard for me to walk her home

But I guess the way it goes."

First Meeting

Matsumoto Kouga grumbled under his breath as he locked the door to his tiny bicycle shop on the lower east side. It had not been a record week in terms of sales. Lately, it seemed no week was a record week in terms of sales.

Didn't anyone ride bikes anymore? Didn't anyone value the outdoors and the feel of the wind in their face anymore?

Sure, he reminded himself, and those that do ride fancy new motorcycles or mopeds. Hell, most people'd probably rather stick their heads out a car window than actually do something that was good for them once in a while.

He wound the chain to his own bicycle—a well-worn contraption that he had built and designed himself from a collection of parts guaranteed to get him a smooth ride up to 50 miles per hour—around a well-muscled arm and strapped on his helmet, brushing his shoulder-length brown hair behind his ears.

The air was brisk for September in New York, but the cool air soothed Kouga's frazzled nerves as he rode back to his apartment. It was dark and late, so he was free to let his mind wander without the distraction of pedestrians or taxi drivers.

Just as he was approaching Central Park at 79th and 5th and contemplating the benefits of cereal over cold cuts for dinner, a shrill scream pierced the air and Kouga skidded to a halt. Propping his bike haphazardly against the park's retaining wall, he sprinted in the direction of the shriek. His eyes widened at the sight of a petite woman struggling against two burly demons, who were trying to snatch her purse as she flailed it at their heads.

"Hold her down, dammit," one growled, and his partner roughly grasped her shoulders and pulled her tight to his body, leaning to whisper something in her ear.

She stiffened and her face drained of all color, but before she could either retaliate or pass out, Kouga had spun the first mugger and nailed him with a spectacular right hook to the nose. He went down like a sack of sand.

One look at Kouga's face and the other demon let the girl go, hauling his friend onto unsteady feet and half-dragging him out of the park as fast as he could.

Kouga smirked and turned to ask the woman whether she was alright when he was hit in the face with a snootful of pepper spray. His sensitive canine nose screamed in protest and he slumped to his knees, coughing and gagging.

"Take that," she said smugly. Through watering eyes, he could just make out her blurry figure retreating in the same direction the muggers had gone.

"Wait," he spluttered, sneezing twice before taking a large breath and barking out, "it's not safe! Let me walk you home!"

"Not a chance, you cretin," she yelled back at him. "I can take care of myself!"

"I'm-I'm not—" Kouga paused as he was overtaken by another coughing fit—"I'm not coming on to you! I was trying to help!"

"You and every other jerk in this city," she retorted hotly. "Goodnight, sir."

"Shit, shit, shit," Kouga swore, jerking to his feet and wiping his streaming eyes on his t-shirt. He blew his nose and tried to blink away the tears, lurching in the direction the woman had gone. He would never forgive himself if she was attacked, again, because of a little sensitivity to pepper spray and a grudge.

He stumbled toward the park's entrance, cursing the fact that his nose was now totally out of commission and he would have to rely on other, weaker senses to locate her. When he reached the wall where he had propped his bike, the streetlamp made several things abundantly clear.

One, the muggers were gone, evidenced by a faint trail of blood leading down a side street. He must have done enough damage that they weren't going to wait around.

Two, the woman was gone. He could only assume she was safely ensconced in a cab and on her way home.

And three, his bike, his beloved ten-speed, built-from-scratch bicycle, was gone. Stolen.

Kouga heaved a tired sigh and sat down against the wall where his poor bike had once rested. He contemplated the parts he would need to build a new one. He contemplated again whether he felt more like cereal or a sandwich now that his throat felt like someone had scraped it with sandpaper. He contemplated the woman he had saved.

It really was too bad she was so hasty to judge, because what he had made out of her in the dark had been very pretty. He wouldn't have minded getting a thank you from her.

Kouga pushed off the cement to stand and make the long trek home when his hand rested on a slip of paper. He made to ball it up and throw in a nearby trashcan when it poked him. Punched through paper were two earring studs that sparkled in the streetlamp. Kouga supposed they might be diamonds, though he was by no means an expert on the subject. A note was written on the other side.

Thanks for the bike! And, I suppose, for your help with those purse-snatchers. As a token of my eternal gratitude, please accept this small gift. Here's to never seeing each other again.

Girl Who Almost Got Mugged In Central Park

His jaw dropped a bit at the audacity of the woman.

She had stolen his bike. His beloved custom bicycle. And then she just assumed he would be happy with her crappy expensive earrings as a replacement? No chance. Kouga pocketed the jewelry, note and all, and began walking home.

As he walked, he contemplated, among other things, how to find the woman again and get back what was rightfully his. This night was by no means the end of his confrontation with her.

Never seeing each other again, huh? We'll just see about that.