Summary: He met a woman once. She was beautiful, she was kind, and the sex was amazing. Months turn to years and he still rejects his every prospect, searching the world desperately for The Woman, who left him with only a bracelet and a burning kiss on his forehead. A story about love and the lengths we will go to in order to find it again.

Disclaimer: The rights to Inuyasha and all affiliated media are not registered to my name, though they are indeed registered to my heart. A friendly cup of coffee is offered Rumiko Takahashi as compensation for the twisting I have done to her lovely world.

Author's Note: This story was inspired by a host of love songs and lost-love songs and it is months in the making. It is my pleasure to be able to bring it to you now.

This was meant to be multi-chapter, but given how difficult it is to write the other chapters are, I figure the prologue works nicely as a one-shot too...

I know you're leaving in the morning when you wake up,

Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream

Inuyasha was a light sleeper. But somehow he slept through the shift, the pulling of her body away from his, the tug of the blankets as she literally slid out of bed, even the faint rustle as she ruffled through their clothes and sought in vain to separate his from hers. It wasn't until she was half-dressed and she opened the door with the softest of creaks that his ears twitched and one amber eye slid open, watching the woman's every move as she pressed herself against the wall and slipped out of the room as quietly as her clumsy human feet would take her.

Trying to escape, huh…? That hadn't gone very well for her the last few times she'd tried.

He lingered a moment but pulled himself out of bed to follow her, deciding as an afterthought to pull on some boxers at the very least. He was content to leave it at that, but her scent lingering on his shirt tugged at him, and he pulled that on as well. He didn't bother trying to sneak as she had, his heavy footfalls and the creak of the wood beneath him announcing his approach.

She was wandering around the room, grabbing random items and articles of clothing that had been tossed around last night. He just watched her, entranced by how she moved and how she smelled and the little noises she made in the back of her throat when she found what she was looking for. When she began to tidy up all the things they'd disturbed, he stepped forward. He closed the small distance between them and grabbed her hand, gently sliding the lamp from her hands.

"Don't bother." She gave him the strangest look and, suddenly self-conscious, he shrugged and looked around at his untidy apartment. "This place is always a mess anyway. No use wasting your effort."

A small smile quirked her lips and she looked away. "You really do need someone to take care of you, puppy."

He huffed at the implication, but somehow his emotions didn't quite repeat the sentiment. He crossed his arms over his chest. "Same can be said for you, woman."

Her smile widened, and she turned away. He noted with a small note of alarm that she had dressed completely, and was putting everything she'd lost back into her purse. He was amazed she'd found it all…they had thrown quite a bit around last night. He would be lucky if he ever found all his stuff again.

She zipped her purse up, and the sound was far too harsh for his liking.

He felt somewhat at a loss of what to do, watching her so busy and just standing here. Finally, he ventured into unknown territory, calling on his hazy memories of what his father might do for his mother in the mornings.

"Would you…like some coffee?" he offered hesitantly. She paused, looking at him with raised eyebrows, but she graced him with another breathtaking smile and nodded.

"That would be wonderful, thank you." She straightened up. Her personal effects were spread over a corner of his small, stained table, and he felt a bit conscious of how dirty the place was compared to her clean though mussed appearance. But he couldn't deny his eagerness at having something to do for her, and almost ran past her into the kitchen, muttering encouragements to himself under his breath as he wrestled with cabinets, tins, and coffee makers to meet the needs and imagined standards of his for-one-night-only mate. He only made coffee occasionally, if Shippo or Kouga came over and asked for it, so he was far from practiced, but soon he managed to coax the "heavenly" smell from the little two-cup machine. A few minutes later, he was practically beaming with pride as he carried two mugs to the table, setting one in front of her. Remembering belatedly a small detail, he covertly took a step back, reaching behind him into a rarely-opened jar to pull out some probably old packets of sugar and cheap creamer, and he dropped a handful of them in front of her with little grace. Only after she reached for them did he remembered to form a belated prayer that they weren't bad.

"Thanks," she mumbled, sorting through them carefully, as if there was a difference between the creamer with the collapsed corner and the creamer without. He watched carefully as she made the coffee to her tastes, and later would berate himself for paying so much attention.

Three sugars, one and a half creamers. Though he couldn't fathom why, he filed that information away and continued to watch her over the rising steam of his own cup. He didn't actually want any, but he didn't want her to drink all alone. That was the scenario that had gotten them into all this, wasn't it?

They made small talk while she finished her coffee and cleaned up. His answers, of course, were short and gruff, and though he kicked himself at falling into old habits, she didn't seem to mind at all. In fact, she seemed to enjoy carrying the conversation. Once, she randomly trailed off and leaned over, ghosting her lips over his temple. He blinked, his breath catching with a pathetic rising of hope.

"You're good, puppy," she whispered and then fell so easily back into previous topics that he wondered if it had even happened at all.

He wasn't sure how it happened. But he blinked and suddenly he was watching her out the window. She looked small as she crossed the sidewalk, not looking back once as she slid into the taxi. Now that she couldn't hear him, he whispered all the words he wanted to say.

"Wait…" he murmured, his mouth barely moving as he formed the words. "Come back…stay…" His hands curled into fists at his sides and he watched the taxi pull away, taking his one-night stand with it.

After he had stared into the horizon for a suitable amount of time, Inuyasha went back to his room and buried himself in the mussed sheets that still held strong hints of her scent, mingled with his in the most intimate way possible.