M.I.A

BY : Maddiesan
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Kouga/Kagome
Dragon prints: 3368
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A/N: I should not be doing this. I really shouldn't. I know. I'm sorry. But it's been sitting there for a like a month and I have to post it or it will drive me absolutely insane. So again, I'm sorry.

Also, Merry Christmas :)

M.I.A

1. Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Oh great, now I'm lost.

A sigh flowed from her red lips and then she popped them in annoyance. Pale, sticky fingers ran through her wet, sweaty bangs and she pushed the dark locks back, trying to cool off her warm skin. Nobody told her Canada was going to be warm. Wasn't it supposed to be polar bears, meese and igloos? What a load of crap. She took another step forward, the sole of her white sneakers splashing around the brown mud. Why, why did she decide this was a good idea? Technically she was a forest girl. She spent years roaming around the feudal era. This should be an easy task - and yet she felt like a city girl stuck in her worst nightmare.

To be fair, canadian forests were much different from the ones she was used to and - well, she was never that good with directions. Plus her english skills were not quite on point yet. It was enough to travel and get around but apparently not enough to stay on track. The way the wet tip of her ponytail kept swinging across the back of her neck was hard to ignore but she kept focus. This was not the adventure she had in mind. Actually, this was never the life she saw for herself. It all began when the well spat her back in her own time and locked her there. She supposed it was the right way to fix all the loose ends and the screwy timeline but -

It did not mean it was a painless way to end it all.

It hurt, for a long time.

She recovered bit by bit and ended up trying to find ways to move on with her life. The changes happened at a slow pace. She hung out with her friends again but despite her best efforts, it was not the same. They were older, diverging into their own paths and frankly, she was nothing more than a distant memory. In a desperate attempt to regain some normalcy, she dated Hojo. It was a terrible mistake - one she realized a bit too late. She did not have enough to give him and it hardly mattered how hard she tried; she could not love him. Unfortunately it took her six months of dating and a few awkward sexual sessions to realize that.

Kagome also tried returning to school, getting the education she never succeeded in obtaining, but it did not work. After a while she settled on getting some low pay job. She did it full time for a couple of years, never spending a single penny. Then - then the solution flashed through her mind. She took everything and left. Nothing permanent, nothing forever. A few travels, exploring the world. She saw so much and yet nothing. She thought the answer was out there somewhere. Canada was the last one on the list and still she did not find what she was looking for - maybe she asked for too much.

Regardless, she was here. She would make the best out of it - if she ever made it out of those wretched woods. How else was she going to find that drive back? That need that gave her a reason to get up each day?

She extended her arm and pushed some branches out of her face. What she missed was the large brown root sticking from the ground. Her foot hooked around it and before she could stop the fall, she landed on the ground. Her chin was the first to hit, a loud cracking sound echoing through the quietness. She winced, teeth digging in her top lip, drawing blood. The warm liquid spread in her mouth while she zoned out, her brain shaking in her skull. Palms brushed the cold ground while she tried to push herself up. Stars danced in her eyes and all she managed to do was get on her knees. She wiped the blood leaking down her chin before cleaning her hand on her kaki shorts. Fuck. The scent of blood was never a good thing.

She gazed at her surroundings, waiting for everything to stop moving. She was lucky she did not break her jaw. At least one positive thing happened throughout the whole day. Once she felt steady enough, she grabbed on to the evil root that caused her fall and lifted herself up. Her legs were a bit shaky but it she knew she could not stay here. Blood, lost… and it was not getting any earlier? She had to find her way out before they fished her dead body out of a wolf's den. That was crazy. There were no wolves up here… right?

The idea of digging through her backpack for something - anything that might guide her crossed her mind but before she could go through with it, a sound tore her away from her thoughts. Her blue eyes snapped ahead and what she saw took her breathe away; a wolf. That was the fucking worst joke fate could play on her. Her lungs stayed crushed while her eyes met his sad, brown ones. Its fur was an ashy grey, his legs unsteady. Nope. Now that she thought about it, wolves were definitively not in the pamphlet. Running was the option to avoid; it would chase her. It would be a thrill to hunt her down and tear her apart. But she had no desire to run, she was locked in place. It did not feel threatening.

It felt as though all this was familiar.

There was a race of a heart, a heartbeat out of place and then silence.

The wolf was staring at her, never making a move. Its fangs were hidden and it was not growling; only staring. Her left foot dragged across the ground while she quietly, step by step, approached the beast. She expected it to lunge forward - or run away scared, though she never thought a wolf would run away from her. It did neither. It remained where it stood, observing her every movement, her every breathe. The air in her lungs was burning, her skin was prickling with cold sweats of fear. She was insane, she had to be. Her time in the feudal era screwed up her instincts and she was not as afraid as she should be.

None of those thoughts stopped her.

She exhaled, her lips trembling. Come on, you already got this far. She kneeled forward, ready to stretch out her hand to close the distance between them. And then bang. Her palm smacked something hard, the shock of it sending her backward. Her back hit the ground, though it did not hurt as much as she expected. She winced, rubbing the lower part of her back. She slid back up to sit on her rear and then glanced up at whatever she hit. What she saw was not what she expected. In front of her was a man. He was tall with a sturdy built, towering over her which made her feel small and insignificant. A shiver jolted through her spine while her eyes traveled up. Dirty brown boots covered in mud, dark blue jeans and a red and black plaid shirt with a dark t-shirt beneath it.

Kagome tried to steal a peek at his face but it was hidden. Long brown bangs covered his face all the way to his nose. The rest of his long strand of hair were tied up in a pony tail. From her angle she could notice some grey hair peppered through his mane. She could see his mouth though; nice pink lips with a hint of teeth showing. Wait. Teeth showing?

"Get out."

When he spoke his voice was hoarse and deep.

The hair on her arm stood but she tried to keep her composure. "Excuse me?"

"I said get out," he repeated, his voice whispering a warning.

Her glance hardened as she pressed a hand to the ground. A wobble of her body shook to her core while she got herself back on her feet and then put her hands on her hips. "I'm sorry but I wasn't aware anyone owned these woods."

She heard him scoff. "Actually, this is my land."

Wait. What? Nobody owned a forest did they? He was making this up. "You can't own a forest."

"I don't own the forest. I own this part of the land."

"Oh well." She brushed the dust off of her pants. "I - I didn't know that."

"Yeah well now you know." He leaned back. "So now you can get the hell out."

A perfect dark eyebrow arched. "Are you always this nice or am I getting special treatment?"

"I'm not playing games, get out."

For the first time since their conversation began, the wolf made an appearance. It snuck up behind the rude man's leg, using the legs as hiding spot. All Kagome could see was the tip of its nose, clouds of white air forming around it every time the beast exhaled.

"Watch out!"

He scoffed. "I'll be fine."

She should leave. He made it very clear that she was not welcome and he was everything but nice to her. Also, if he was telling the truth, she was trespassing upon his lands. He had every right to kick her out - although he did not have to be so awfully rude about it. She sighed, her shoulders sagging before she admitted defeat. It was probably best to put as much distance as possible between him and her. After all, he was a stranger and he did have a wolf as a pet. He had to be slightly insane. Of course, she was in no position to judge people about their sanity. She was a time traveling miko after all.

"I'll be on my way then."

"You do that."

Kagome turned around, feeling his eyes on her the entire time. There was something off about this man; it was probably all the anger radiating from his body. No wonder he lived alone in the woods. He had no social skills. Again, it felt like the pot calling the kettle.

She took a few steps, kicking leaves with the stained tips of her shoes, until finally she was forced to stop in her tracks. Right this little encounter did not fix her situation at all. One fact remained; she was lost. He might not be the nicest person she ever met but he was probably the only person she would find in this forest. If she did not ask for direction now she might end up wandering around for hours. The darkness was lurking and now that she knew there were wolves around… oh my god he was going to swear at her. Oh well. Kagome turned around only to find what she expected; he was still staring at her.

He was not happy. "What now?"

She sighed. "I'm lost okay?" There was no time to be prideful. "Can you at least tell me which way to go? And then I promise I'll get out of your way forever."

"Somehow I highly doubt that," he sneered. "Keep a straight line. You'll find a big rock. Go left, and then just follow the little path all the way out."

She offered him a sarcastic bow. "Thank you."

For the first time since their abrupt meeting, he tilted his head backwards. Brown bangs swiped to the side, his eyes finally came into view. Bright blue eyes stared at her, their color contrasting with his tan skin. During a few seconds, she did not breathe. A feeling of familiarity washed over her but it quickly faded and she inhaled. The second thing she noticed were the marks on his face. She could not see them before but now they appeared so clear; scars. They covered his cheeks, his forehead…one of them even went across his left eye. What happened to him? She cringed, though she knew she should not. It probably happened from living with all those wolves.

His eyes hardened when the pity shone in her eyes and it forced him to look away from her gaze as though she had burned him. "Well. You said you'd get out of my way."

"Yeah. Don't worry, I keep my promises," she said as she turned around.

She never looked back. Instead, she kept walking straight ahead. What a jackass.

Time turned to minutes which in turn turned to half an hour. Kagome followed the instructions to the dot, she even turned at the rock like he said. Still, his path felt as if it was never ending. At this point, everything looked the same to her; all the trees, all the rocks, all the dirt. The night settled in, the white shiny moon more visible than ever. The sky was battling colors of blackness with hints of blue. Shouldn't she have found her way out by now? She wrapped her frail arms around her body, rubbing the fabric of her shirt in a futile attempt to warm herself up. What options did she have left? Die in the dark? At least her bleeding stopped somewhere along the way.

She sighed, wincing as she thought about her stupidity. She was an idiot. It was not because nothing bad happened so far that nothing was ever going to go wrong. This was proof of it. This whole trip was pointless. It did not give her an answer, it did not make her life better. Despite everything she did nothing changed and everything was the same. Except now she might die, by herself in this wretched forest. She survived demons and Naraku but she was going to die in a cold forest - alone. Then again, was this not the way she was since her return? Alone.

"You have got to be fucking kidding me."

Her head snapped up at the words and her eyes widened at the sight in front of her. It was that jerk!

He standing in front of her, a black plastic bag in his left hand. It was sagging, probably very heavy, although it did not look like it. He let it hit the ground before taking a few steps in her direction. "What are you still doing here?"

Her eyes fluttered while she resisted the urge to roll them. "I DON'T KNOW!" she screamed out of exasperation. She ran her fingers through her hair ready to pull at the black strands. "I followed your directions and - and apparently… I ended up right back where I started."

"My directions were fine. You're the idiot."

She scoffed. "What is your problem? You've never met me. Why do you hate me so much?"

"I don't hate you, I just want you away from here."

"WHY!"

She was not destroying anything, she was not going through his stuff or anything like that! Why was he so bent on being rude to her?

His blue eyes narrowed and he closed the distance between them in the blink of an eye. Suddenly she could feel the warmth of his body close to hers, but they never made contact. He stared down at her, hands fisted at his sides. "Look, I just want you to go."

"I tried to leave!"

"Then follow the way out again."

"Clearly your directions were wrong!"

"Or you're an idiot!"

"ARGH!" she screamed in rage before putting her hand on his arm and then she pushed him out of her way.

That was the one mistake, the one that shifted everything.

The moment her hands made contact with him, he felt it. It was a bright light that traveled through him, pulsing like the blood in his veins and taking over his aura. He should have remained still but instead, the air was knocked out of his chest and he groaned. He wheezed, bending in two. Only one person felt like this, only one person had this kind of power. But that person was long gone. That person was dead, never to be seen again. For the first time, his features softened and there was a deep pain soaring through his heart. He longed for that touch, he prayed for that beautiful face but he never saw it again.

"Kagome," the name was like a lost whisper on his lips. He said it without even meaning to do it - the feeling was overwhelming.

But it was enough for her to stop.

"What did you say?"

A shiver of fear trailed down her skin and she could no longer move. Her feet were like anchors, keeping her locked in her current position. She might be forgetful, she might speak a lot, but there was one thing she was convinced of; she never told him her name. Her body was trembling, her clothes shaking along with her skin. She barely managed to control her neck enough to turn it but when she did she saw a sight she missed before. It was no longer an angry, bitter man she had in front of her; it was someone else. Kind, blue eyes that burned with a passion. Past the scars there was that well-known tan skin along with the expression of confusion that was oh so familiar. Although, the one thing that truly gave it away was the hint of fangs glimmering beneath his lips.

It was unreal, it was a dream. She was lost in the forest, dying of hunger and thirst and she simply did not know it. This time, it was her turn to whisper. "Kouga?"

Her body wavered with a tingle of familiarity and her breathe remained caught in her throat. Her eyes were locked on him, waiting for him to speak and shatter her illusion but he never did. Instead, he stared back at her, those piercing blue eyes staring straight into her soul. He was about as shocked as she was, his mouth hanging low and his eyes widened. She could not move, she could not close the distance between their bodies. Instead, she felt the tears coming. This was a sick twist of fate. She lost everything. She was forced to move on and forget about all the beautiful years she spent in the Feudal Era. None of it belonged to her anymore.

But there he was - like all of it was real. Forcing her to reel back in memories she buried deep inside. It was not fair, why was life this cruel?

Her heart snapped and she could no longer hold back the tears burning at her eyes. They spilled upon her cheeks, a welcomed warmth upon her cold skin. This time, he was forced to react. She watched him, immobile, while he took long strides in her direction. She never realized how close he was until he wrapped strong, muscular arms around her tiny frame. Her chest collided against his and the air was forced out of her lungs. His large hands shook while he rested them against the small of her back. His nose was tickling the flesh of her skin, warm puff of airs blowing on free strands of her hair. He was real.

She might not want to believe it but she could not ignore the truth spoken by her heart. Her aura, it recognized him. The feel of him, the musky pine scent of his hair - a scent she never knew he had until now, until the memories of it invaded her mind. Kouga was here, in the modern time…and…and he was holding her. In one second, her heart began to swell while a surge of feelings traveled through her. Everything she ignored, everything she pushed deep inside came back to the surface and during a single moment, it felt too much to handle. There was a quiver of her bottom lip but she managed to keep the rest under control.

Then, she let herself feel.

After what appeared to be an eternity, she wrapped her frail arms around his muscular chest, fingers trembling around his shoulder blades. Her nails dug in his skin, right through his shirt but he did not move. Tears stained his clothes but she buried her face deeper in his chest regardless. As she lost herself into the embrace, she suddenly felt him stiffen. She opened an eye, trying to catch a glimpse of his expression but she was too late. His hands moved to her shoulders and he gently pushed her away from his body. His eyes looked the same as before but he was rigid. She chose to ignore it as she smiled at him.

"I - I can't believe this."

"You can't?" he said with a smirk. "You're a five hundred years old human."

She scrunched her face. "Yeah, that's a rather long story."

"I've got time and a house. A warm house."

"Then you have yourself a deal," she replied with a smile.

He grinned at her before leading her deeper into the forest. Her heart fluttered, a good feeling settling in her chest for the first time in a long while.

-M-

"You have gotta be kiddin' me."

His laughter was loud, forcing him to bend in two as his entire body shook. His elbow kept hitting the table, shaking his half full glass of rum.

"Trust me, there is way worse," she said bringing her own glass to her lips. She took a sip, the warm liquid burning her throat as it went down.

She had not drank as much as he had. She was on her fourth glass and it was enough to make her head a little woozy; she was not a frequent drinker. If she took anymore, she might end up drunk on her ass and it was not exactly how she wanted to do this little reunion. Kouga on the other hand had the highest tolerance she had ever seen. He was up to six? seven? Maybe more. And he looked as sober as when he began. Hopefully she would be able to keep a straight face on.

A last laughter died on his lips as he reached out for his drink. He brought it to his lip, downing to whole thing in one shot. He lifted the Jack Daniel's bottle and filled it back up to the brim. He lifted his glance and raised an eyebrow, silently asking her if she wanted more.

She should not but she nodded and he poured her another.

"So," she asked before clearing her throat. "What about you?" She glanced around, taking in the rather rustic appearance of his house. "You clearly made your own house - out of wood. You live in the woods and … what else am I missing?"

He smirked at her but this time, there was something hidden beneath it, a flash of darkness. It was brief but she saw it. "I live by myself." He took a sip. "Just me, a few wolves."

"Real wolves or Ginta and Hakkaku?" she said with a grin. It was impossible for those two to have left Kouga alone. They followed him to the end of the world and she did not see that changing. Even if they got a family of their own. There was not a single thing they would not do for Kouga.

"Wolves."

She swallowed hard as cold atmosphere set around them. There was no funny reunion, no deep laugh and no joy; it was all dead. Instead, there was the shiver of death surrounding them and she was afraid to ask. His voice was bitter and deep; he did not want to talk about it. One thing was clear; Ginta and Hakkaku were no longer around. A rolling feeling turned her stomach around while emptiness settled in. She wondered if the heart palpitations and the nausea was due to the alcohol or her current nervousness. She let her fingers glide across the rim of her glass, her digits shaking. Maybe she did need another drink.

One gulp and it was gone.

"Pretty tame for wolves," she stuttered.

He scoffed. "Yeah, well, that's cause you're nice. You're lucky he didn't eat you alive." He forced a smile. "You're the only one who would approach a wild wolf."

"Yeah, I was never really good at noticing the danger around me."

He saved her a few times and was there in the first row watching her clumsily fight her way through the feudal era.

This time, he did not ask. He picked up the rum and filled her glass back up along with his. She could not help but wonder how he was able to handle this much alcohol. Youkai or not, he was about to finish the bottle - that had to impact him somehow.

"So you got anything else more comfortable than this wooden chair? My back is killing me." It was mostly due to the hiking she did recently but a change of atmosphere would be welcomed. Maybe it would lessen the tension surrounding them.

"You better watch it," he teased. "I built that myself."

"Impressive," she said glancing at it. "But I don't think it's made for weak humans."

He chuckled while wrapping his fingers around his glass. "Well, I didn't build my couch. So we could try that."

"Couch it is," she said with a smile.

She got up from the chair, her glass in her hand and she waited for him. They had yet to do the tour of the house and she had no idea where she was headed. He picked up the bottle from the table and began to lead the way. The house was compact but it did not mean it was small. He kept the wood as it was, never painting over anything and the decoration was rustic. It had its charm and it was large enough especially for him alone. Though she did not want to think about him being all alone because she did not want to think about the story behind it and the pain he was hiding in his heart.

When she saw him, in the woods, he looked angry and bitter then he became the good old Kouga again. They laughed, they drank, she told him the story of her time traveling ways - and then the Kouga she knew was gone again.

Was the happy Kouga a facade?

He led her to a brown leather couch and he sunk in the middle seat. She sat beside him, only a little bit of space between their bodies. He put the bottle of rum down on the pine table and kept his glass in his hand. "Better?"

"Much better," she said as she leaned into the couch.

Yes, it was better here than over there. His smile was back on his face and he appeared more relaxed; perhaps earlier was nothing more than a flux. Maybe there was still the happy Kouga somewhere in there. There was a happy Kagome left inside of her. Why would it not be the same for him? It might be her lack of social skills that was showing. She was not used to talking to people anymore.

"So, what do you do?"

"What do you mean?" Another sip.

"You live in the woods. What do you do? Do you work? Do you farm?"

He laughed. "Farm?"

"I don't know," she said while leaning her head into the couch. Her head was beginning to feel quite heavy. At first it was fun, it was bubbly but now, she felt her own hopeless sneak in. She was not comfortable anymore. She feared she might say the wrong thing, she feared she might over share. There were things she was not going to tell him - or anyone. There were parts of herself that were for her own privacy and nothing else. He looked like he had some of those secrets as well.

"I do some wood work. I don't have a phone. I built the house. The land is mine."

"I'm sorry?" she said, laughter escaping her. "You don't have a phone?"

"I don't have anyone I need to call."

There it was, the stabbing pain in her chest that told her she went too far. He was not expanding upon the subject but he was letting out those littles calls. Was she being a bad friend because she did not ask? Technically they were not friends…they had not seen each other in a long time. The more time she spent beside him, the more she realized he was not the Kouga she used to know. He was someone else. He was almost a stranger and she did not know if it was scary or thrilling.

She approached her glass to her lips with a shaky hands. Once she downed half of it, she made a sour face. God that was disgusting. She took a deep breathe and turned her head, letting it slump against the couch because fuck it was too heavy for her to lift it. "What happened?"

"What?"

"What happened to Ginta and Hakkaku?"

She held her breathe and watched him as he focused on his drink. Old Kouga would have answered her but this Kouga - she did not know what to expect from him. She needed this, she needed to find her friend. After all the shit that happened, after everything that went down, she needed some comfort and solace. He was supposed to be the answer to that. Why would life do this to her? She found him and now he was not who she thought? No, it was not fair. She went through hell and back. She broke herself into tiny pieces and now she was - still broken. She went here to find herself and she found nothing.

Not even him.

"They died." He scoffed. Died was the wrong word. "They were killed."

His voice was deep laced with a gloom she did not know he had. She swallowed hard while her fingers gripped at the couch. She should not have asked; she was as clumsy as ever.

Kouga knew he should not say anything - he should not even have begin this conversation. He should have lied, should have said there were somewhere in the world but - she took him by surprise. She was not supposed to be here, she was not supposed to be alive. Nobody talked about his past because nobody knew the truth about him. She knew him then and she knew - she knew his relationship with Ginta and Hakkaku. When was the last time he heard their names? He felt his grasp around his glass tightened, the feeble glass ready to give up under his tight grip. Their names. It reminded him of their gruesome deaths.

Of all that happened.

He did not say another word. He finished his glass again. She let her sigh out and then, let her head drop completely until it touched his shoulder. Again, he stiffened but this time, he let his body relax after a moment. She felt him shift his head until he was probably looking at her. His warm breathe puffed against his hair and she shivered for a second.

He was glad. She got out at the right time. She managed to have a happy life - she sounded happy. He remembered some of her words through the haze of alcohol. She mentioned school, work, travels and a boyfriend? Maybe. He was not sure. Five hundred years ago he was sure he was the perfect one for her. Now he was glad she found someone that was not him.

"Do you have a bathroom?"

"Nah I pee outside."

She blinked. She could not tell; was he serious? She should not have closed her eyes; it made it all worse. Her head was heavy, her mind was a bit fuzzy and tiredness was creeping over. The injury from earlier along with her extreme tiredness was not helping either. Sleep. Sleep would be good. No, bathroom first. Wait, did he pee outside for real?

"I'm kidding," he said as he bumped into her, shaking her head. "It's to your left."

She nodded before forcing her eyes opened. Kagome dragged her ass across the leather before putting her feet down to the ground. She lifted herself in one swift motion, thinking she would stand on stable feet; she was wrong. Instead, she found herself leaning to the left and her eyes opened wide in panic. She braced herself for the impact, knowing more pain was coming her way. Fortunately for her, she never met the ground. Instead, a strong body was pressed against hers while sturdy arms held her up.

"And I think someone had too much to drink."

"Not my fault you're a drunk."

She meant it as a joke, he knew that; the teasing was obvious in her voice. But - he did not take it that way. Drunk. He was a drunk. He had no phone, no friends, no family. What else should he spend his money on? It did make him a drunk. Honestly what else was he supposed to do all day long? Reminisce about the good old days? The days where everyone died, where he lost his friends and they died in his arms? Maybe he should think about the wars, the time he was captive, the torture? Perhaps that would make his days better. No, alcohol was the answer. It never let him forget but it numbed him out.

It let him live until the end.

Because he could not take his own life. Not after what his people sacrificed. He would never forgive himself. His punishment was living.

"Come on," he said as he pushed her back on her feet. "You're gonna lay down."

"I don't sleep here. I have a hotel," she pointed out. She already extended her stay and she was not about to impose on his life.

"And whatcha gonna do? Walk back there? Drunk?"

He had a point. "Sorry."

"Kagome," he reprimanded. "It might have been five hundred years but you're still pack." Honor; it kept him going. He was not about to go back on his promises. Also, he was not able to save anyone. He watched them all die. Her current situation might not be as serious but she needed help and he was not about to turn her around.

"Immana take the couch," she said as he tried to move her to another room.

"You're not taking the couch."

"Yes I am."

He touched her when he first saw her. He forgot all about it and he wrapped his arms around her because in that moment he had seen a ghost. It allowed him to forget about the rest. Not anymore. Now he was aware of her body and his. He did remember how stubborn she was and he feared she was not leaving him with many options. He took a deep breathe and snuck his arms around her knees, lifting her from the ground. Panic ran through her drunken mind and she latched on to him as though she was about to crash upon the floor.

"I ain't gonna drop you," he said, almost insulted.

But her head remained buried in his chest and she refused to let go of his shirt. It was not until he stopped moving that she dared to move her head. She glanced around, noticing that they were in a completely different room. His bedroom. It was simple; a double bed covered in a dark green comforter, two pillows, a dresser and a bedside table. That was it. Nothing else, nothing warm, nothing to personalize it. Gently, he laid her down on the bed and she let him. As a matter of fact she took advantage of that opportunity to stare at him. The Kouga she knew was a wild, young boy with a puppy crush on her. This Kouga was a man. He was tall, strong, no longer lean but muscular and large instead. His face was covered in scars, scars she did not dare to ask about, while his eyes spoke darkness and history. And the hair. There was grey in his hair. He was a real man, a dangerous one.

One she should be scared of but she was not. Instead, the sight of him send her insides coiling. Hojo, the only man she knew, was a boy, sweet and pure and joyful. He touched her lightly, he was slow, he was kind. And none of that did it for her. It did nothing to feed the void in her, it did nothing to take away the pain. It only made her heart soar in pain. But Kouga. Kouga was - he was like her.

That was the look in his eyes. He was broken.

"You can sleep here," she mumbled against the blanket.

She was sending signals she did not know she was emitting. He knew the smell of his house and that spicy, vanilla scent? It was coming from her, it was coming from her warm core; she was aroused. And asking him to sleep in the same bed as her.

"I'm taking the couch."

He did not even glance at her again. He left the room and headed straight to the living room. He walked like a robot, his movement stiff and his eyes empty. He dropped his body on the couch and stared at the ceiling. He was not going to fuck her. He was not going to touch her. He did not want her to touch him. When he left her in the bedroom he saw it; the sadness in her eyes. But despite how she might feel, she was not broken. She was good, she was Kagome. She got everything. Or at least he thought she did. The conversation was fuzzy. Why was she aroused by him?

It did not matter.

He did not want her hands on him. He did not want to feel another being touch him and he certainly did not want her to see the mess that was his body. She was good, too good. And he was nothing.

The couch was fine. Nobody should sleep on it but it was not a problem.

It was not as though he slept. Awake was better.

The night and the slumber brought forth nightmares.

He could not handle the nightmares.

-M-



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