M.I.A

BY : Maddiesan
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Kouga/Kagome
Dragon prints: 4138
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: Sorry guys! I was away for the weekend :)

M.I.A

Chapter 9: Ramblin' Man

"Mommy! My duck!"

Kagome giggled as she exaggerated a very shocked expression. Her eyes widened, showing the white, and she clapped her cheeks with her hands. "Oh no, the duck!"

Haru had a routine when it came to his bath time and it included his duck. Her laughter echoed through as she stretched across the tiles of the bathroom to retrieve it. She threw it in the water, splashing water on him as it landed near his chest. A grin immediately formed on his features and he beamed with happiness as he ducked it into the water.

She was making an effort. She was trying to be more home and she was putting aside the habits that she desperately needed. Ever since she had seen him, she wanted to go on a rampage. The problem was, she did not want to leave her son without any surveillance. If Kouga got too close, he might know and she could not let that happen. It meant there could not be any escape in the nights or after work and she had to stay away from alcohol. The later was harder than the former. The last few fucks she had were not great, but - drinking was always great. Especially when she was this nervous and this much of a wreck.

Regardless, she had to hold it together for her son and she would.

She leaned forward, tangling a hand in his brown locks before tousling it. As she did so, she made a horrifying discovery; pointy ears. Panic took hold of her and this time she did not have to fake her panic; it was real.

"Haru?"

"Mommy?"

She inhaled deeply, hoping to appear as normal as possible. She had tried to normalize his more youkai attributes. He did not know much about it, mostly because he was still too young to ask questions. She was hoping to keep it that way for as long as possible. She knew about youkais - a bit - and she could probably do enough to ask the few questions he might have. Of course, she did not have anybody to help her and guide her through what raising a youkai was like. Unfortunately, it was a task she had to do on her own. Although, considering how much she was concealing that part of him, she might never have to deal with it.

"How long have your teeth been showing?"

He dropped the duck he had been holding and then, quickly covered his mouth with his hands as though he was ashamed of them. All he could do was offer her a shrug as an answer. He did not notice his fangs. He never noticed when they came back. It did not bring him pain, it did not do anything.

Kagome reached into the water and retrieved his foot. She slightly elevated it above the water level and checked under his foot; the writing was nearly wiped away. It was erasing itself quicker and quicker each time now. In one of her grandfather's old books, she had found a sealing spell. She had nobody to explain it to her, so she went through a lot of trials and errors. In the end, she doubted it did the sealing she required it to do, but it did conceal the most obvious attributes; the claws and the fangs. Alas, she had absolutely no control over the spell. She would write it, infusing it with her own light powers, and hope it would last as long as possible.

Actually, she was simply hoping that it did not go away while they were in the middle of a big crowd. So far it had yet to happen. Also, it was luckily a gradual process. They slowly grew back into what they were and it was never that obvious. Nothing came back all at once either, it was one at a time which made it easier. Although, at the moment she was more concerned by the fact that it was disappearing so quickly. What if it stopped working completely? What else could she do? Kouga could conceal himself, meaning there had to be a magical answer to all of this. Unluckily, she could not ask him any of those questions.

Because then he would found out about Haru.

She sighed as she reached out for her son's tiny wrists. "You don't have to hide them," she said as she brought his hands back down.

Kagome did feel a ping of guilt in her chest. Her constant worries about his youkai attributes made him ashamed of them - as though he had done something wrong. But the only one who had done anything wrong was her. Unfortunately, him needing to hide them, and feeling the pressure to do so was the only thing that worked for the time being. She needed him to make sure he was covering them and not showing them to anybody. It was cruel and it made her a terrible mother but she was out of resources. She was doing the best she could with what she had. If she could do it differently, she would do it in a heartbeat.

At least he did not have the ears.

She supposed he had her human side to thank for that. Although - Inuyasha had ended up with dog ears. Clearly dogs and wolves worked very differently. But in this case, it was quite a relief.

"Sowy."

Her heart broke. "You don't have anything to be sorry about," she said before leaning in and pressing a kiss to his cheek. He was sorry for being who he was. She was going to slowly destroy him was she not? She was good at tearing up everything she touched. She had a kid who needed her and she could not get her fucking life together. She had a kid who needed help, and all she could do was tear down the self-esteem he had. Karma was going to get her for this.

"How about this?" she began, forcing a smile on her lips, "we'll finish here, and then we'll go have a hot chocolate with grandma."

"Hot chocolate?"

"Yes!"

He celebrated by splashing water around, some of it landing on her.

There.

When he smiled, when he looked happy, she hated herself a little less. She could give him good moments, she could give him a bit more than she thought she could. But out of all the things he was missing, she knew he was not missing love. She loved him more than she loved herself. She loved him more than she loved life.

He was her reason for living.

-M-

"You knew him."

"Yes."

"Is he?"

Her mother never asked questions, her mother never got involved in things that did not concern her and she had left her alone about most things - even her bad behaviours. She had helped her raise Haru and she had let her live with her secrets. She could not answer the question. She did not have to - but… maybe it would be a little easier to protect Haru if someone else was in on it. Kagome had to work, she could not be there at all times. If her mother could keep an eye out for Kouga, it might be better. But that meant telling a story she did not want to tell. For his sake.

"Yes."

Miyu knew this was a topic she had to bring forth carefully. She had vaguely asked before and she had obtained answers that were just as vague. But she had never seen this kind of fear in Kagome's eyes before. She had taken Haru like death was about to claim him - that was not good. If there was a reason for fear for her grandson's safety, she had to know about it. Something happened to her daughter when she went overseas. She did not know what it was but it broke her down to a shell of her former self. The whole point of her travels was to get better after her life had been shattered by the closing of the well. It had done the exact opposite.

Instead, she had returned pregnant, and shattered.

And the pieces had never been put back together.

On most days she held it together as good as she could but she was no longer the same Kagome as she had been before. She was - different. She was darker than she was. Miyu wished she knew the magical answer to fixing it all but she did not, so she did her best. She tried to keep her on the right path and she supported her as much as she allowed it. She hoped that one day, it would healed, that one day, the pain would be forgotten. Maybe knowing the full story would actually help.

"Why is he here? Does he know about Haru?"

Kagome shook her head; it was her only relief. "He thinks I had a kid with someone else."

"He can't tell that he's not human?"

Kagome shook her head. "I'm guessing the concealing spell hides that as well." If it hid the features, it would make sense that it masked the aura as well. She had not understood all the writing that came with the scrolls. If only her grandfather was still around. She had been upset more than once at the way he kept pushing her about the miko powers and the scrolls but if she had listened, she would be in a better position at the moment. It was too late for more regrets.

"Good." Kagome had her flaws but she was not irrational, if she thought there was a good reason the father should not know, she trusted her. She would not simply keep Haru away from his father because she felt like it. "And do you think he'll come back?"

She wanted to say no but there was a part of her that did not believe fate was this kind to her. Already she thought she was safe because he was continents away and it did not work. She was beginning to believe that there was simply no way for her to escape him. He would always come back in her life in one way or another. Their meeting was unexpected and him coming back was unexpected. They were bound to run into each other. "I'm not sure."

"Why is he here?"

"One of his friends dead." Or - well, she was a bit iffy about that but she knew better than to start up a whole conversation with him and so she did not.

"So he'll be leaving again?"

"I think so." Oh dear god she hoped that he would.

"Okay, until then, we will simply keep a closer eye on Haru." She loved her grandson and now that her father in law was gone and her son was off the school, Kagome and him were all she had left around her. She had helped Kagome raised him and she felt very protective of him. She would not let any harm come to him. She might not have been able to help her daughter as much as she would have liked but she was not letting the same mistake repeat itself twice. That man would not hurt Haru.

Kagome nodded. "Do you remember what he looked like?"

"Tall, brown hair, blue eyes." He looked like Haru but she did not want to say it. At first she had not noticed but now that she thought back about it, the resemblance was there and it was hard to ignore it. She should have known.

"Yes." The same blue eyes as her son. She could not give Kouga a chance to get too many looks at him. He might notice it despite the lack of evidences. She did not know what he would do but she refused to put her son in that situation. She had to protect him.

"And the… spell?"

"I did it again before he went to bed."

She had done her best to not making him feel too ashamed but she was not quite sure it had worked. At least he had been distracted by the hot chocolate. She was not a fan of packing him with sugar but the guilt had gotten the best of her.

"Is he sleeping now?"

She nodded. "I'm a terrible mother."

"Kagome, you're doing the best you can."

Miyu had also made mistakes. She had not expected to be a single mother after the birth of Souta. She had not enough time, not enough help and she had been nursing a heartbreak. She had done the best that she could as well. She could not hold Kagome's mistakes against her - and she would never do that. Maybe if Kagome believed in herself more and perhaps if she did not put herself down constantly, she might actually get better. She was letting all of the bad drag her down and it was taking an important toll on her. She needed to climb back up the hill and see that there was more good to come for her.

"Am I though?"

On some days, she wondered if her son would not be better off without her. Did she truly bring him enough to take care of him and make him happy?

Miyu covered her daughter's hand with her own, trying to re-assure her. "You are." She knew a few words could not cut it but unfortunately there was nothing she could say to change her mind. Kagome would have to see by herself that she was a good mother. "Now, what do I need to know about him?"

Was she about to go there? She could not possibly tell her mother the whole story between her and Kouga. She did not want to think about it and most of all, she did not want to remember it. She was asking her mother to protect Haru against him. Perhaps she could warn her a little. She could tell her what there was to know about him, about the person he had become and the many problems he had. Maybe it would help her understand why he was nuisance for Haru and what kind of bad influence he would be.

She was not crazy.

Kouga could not be a father. She could not be a mother either but at least she did not run.

She stayed and she was doing all that she could for her son, devoting herself to him. Kouga did not have it in him to care for something else. He might for a moment want to stay, want to meet him but he would run. And when he would run, he would hurt their son and she could not let him do that. Kouga wrecked everything that he touched and Haru would be no different. She would never give him the opportunity to do it.

"He's a wolf."

And thus began the long tale of Kouga.

-M-

Smoke surrounded her as she drew out another moment of peace with her cigarettes. She could not remember the last time she had been this on edge and honestly, it was slowly driving her into madness. She was sitting in the stairs by the library and she was slowly tapping her foot on the marble step. She meant to calm down, she meant to stop staring at every passing person like she was a complete lunatic but it was harder than anticipated. He would not follow her to work; she had answered all of his questions and she had clearly warned him to stay away. He would be a fool to come to her again.

Plus why in the world would he be so interested in her? He had chased her away as rapidly as possible. He should not want anything to do with her.

"Kagome?"

For fuck's sake. Her break was not even over yet; why were they already dragging her back in? "Yes?" she answered as politely as she could muster. She needed those fifteen minutes away from civilization. Especially right now.

"Someone needs you inside."

Great, she would have to deal with another moron who did not know how a library worked. Or worst case, someone who lost a book and now was going to fight about it and say they are not responsible for it. As if she had the patience to deal with idiots today. She had enough going on. She let a sigh pass her lips as she tossed her cigarette on the ground. She crushed it with her foot before following her colleague back inside.

"This is Kagome, she'll be able to help you."

Except, it was not a moron and it was not someone who needed help learning how to search in a library. It was Kouga.

Her eyes widened, her breath was cut short and she held his gaze, unable to move or to speak. He had chased her away, he had rendered her life completely miserable and now he could not leave her the fuck alone? And she could not even yell at him or purify him to pieces because she could not do that at her work place.

"Found what you were looking for?" she mumbled with tight lips.

He could tell she was not happy to see him and to be absolutely honest he was not happy he was here either. He had spent the last two days stalking her. He watched her from the windows of the shrine, and he followed her to work. He did not want to do any of this; it was an instinct deep inside of him that was stronger than anything else. He wanted to know what she did, where she went and who she was. Despite the fact that she had reeked of sex and another male, he had yet to see her with that other male. She was alone at the shrine and she was alone at work. Could it be that she was no longer with the father of the boy?

Or was he… a mistake?

If she was doing what he thought she was, she could have easily been reckless. Although he had to admit, he was quite surprise that she would keep it. He always thought of her as a mother but he never pictured her being this kind of mother. She had taken in that little orphan fox and she had been a mother to it. He had let her go because he thought she should heal and she should have proper family life and a proper husband. She was his and he let her go because she deserved better but she had not gone and gotten herself something better. Instead, she had ruined her life further and she had brought a kid into it.

He was not the same Kouga and she was not the same Kagome.

He needed to stay away and yet, the bond inside of him kept calling him back to her. It was much easier when there were continents and oceans between them. Now - now that he knew where she was his primal instincts refused to let her go. But he had to let her go because she was not his to have. He was a mess, he was a no good piece of shit. It did not matter how screwed up her life seemed to be at the moment. It did not change the fact that she deserved so much better than him. She deserved more than all of this.

"No."

Because he did not know what he was looking for - he did not know what he wanted.

Actually he did. He wanted for his life to not be this. He wanted to be the one laying in a coffin but he was always too chicken to end it. He wanted to be done with this shit but everything he did dragged him further into the darkness and she was no exception.

"Leave," she whispered, hoping nobody would hear her speak. "I told you to get the fuck out of my life." Much like he had told her.

"Yea."

But it was not an answer - he was just confirming that she had warned him. "You told me to leave, I did. You leave."

He should do as she said. He should turn around walk away and fuck everything. Fuck Ginta's funeral, fuck confirming that his brother had indeed been alive. He should walk away from her before he no longer could pull away. But he was not. He was angry; there was a rage seeping inside of his chest and he wanted to take it out on her. Why had she shown up after so many years? Why did she have to be a familiar face he wanted to hold on to? And why - why did he not have memories of her that were stained. It would have made it so much easier to turn her around.

But he always had a weakness for her.

And she was going to destroy him.

"Go." She did not want to shout but she could already feel her powers tingling at her fingertips. She was not one to use her powers but he had shown her how to use it and he had shown her he wanted the pain. She could do it and not feel guilty and it was wise for him to not push her.

"I'll see you," he said as he turned from her.

Not here. He could not do everything he wanted to do here.

He'd find her again.

-M-

A family.

A fucking family.

He wrapped his fingers around the flimsy glass and down whatever alcohol was in it. He did not think the biggest shock was seeing that Ginta had been alive - although who the fuck knew how he made it out. No. It was not even the fact that his brother never tried to find him. Not that either. It was the fact that he went on and had his own fucking family. He had suffered just as much as Kouga had. Heck, he had been left for dead. He remembered his head - his head - he had been dead. And somehow, somehow he pulled through all that.

Then again, his memories from that time were hazy at best. Nightmares that would haunt him for the rest of his life. There was always a filter of blur over them. But he was sure of one thing; Ginta's time had been as hellish as his. And yet - he had a family. He had fucking cubs and a mate - and… how the fuck did he get all that. Kouga had always valued his pack and his brothers but he had also always been convinced that out of all of them, he had been the strong one, the one to make it. He had been the alpha after all. And yet, Ginta - Ginta had shut it all away. He had left it all behind, Kouga included and he had made a new life for himself.

One that did not hold the past.

Bullshit.

That was not possible.

"Another," he slurred. Fuck it. If he had to, he would spent all the fucking money he had left and he would drink until this made sense.

He had tried. He had thought - he had thought he could be normal but he soon learned that he could not. Even Kagome's light had not been bright enough to tame the wildness inside of him. He was a broken piece of shit and nothing else could be done with him. How had Ginta shredded who he was and how did he become something new? It was not fucking fair. Before he knew it, he had punched a hole through the counter. Fuck. He could feel splints of wood stuck in his hand and he knew this would not be a fun conversation.

"Hey buddy, I think you've had more than enough. And that shit ain't free."

He exhaled loudly out of his nose, his nostrils flaring. Considering how on edge he was, he wanted nothing more than to smash his head against the counter until blood spilled out of it. But if he wanted to stay here, he could not. Even if he wanted to leave - he could not bring attention upon himself. He had to be discreet if he wanted to one day return to his life off of the grid. He crisped his hands into fists, letting the rage flow through him. Hold yourself back, he reminded himself. Finally, as the barmaid was waving his hand in front of his face - clearly provoking him - Kouga reached out for his wallet. He tossed more than enough money on the broken counter and got up.

He could hear the man speaking but he chose to tune him out. If he listened to his blabbering, he might not be able to walk away. He had to keep himself in control. He simply had to re-direct his rage towards something else.

A fucking family.

People like them were not supposed to have a family.

-M-

Her heels clicked against the sidewalk with each step she took. She had to stay at work a bit later and she did refused. She was the only one working and they truly needed the money, especially with Haru. He was growing, he needed more food, more clothes - school was about to start. She could not afford to be low on funds. However, that did mean that she left her mother in charge all day and she did feel bad. It was her way of saving on daycare and honestly - it was the best solution. Still, she was not one to simply pawn off her kid on her mother. She had rely on her help but she had still raised him herself.

She hurried her pace and nearly hopped all the way to the shrine. Her head was low as she focused on the steps in front of her. She hopped them one by one, looking at them to make sure she would not miss one. It was not until she reached the top that she noticed him. He was there, pressed against the marble walls that surrounded the stairs, sitting on the ground. His hair was a mess, his head was tilted forward and there was a bottle in his hands. That was a familiar sight - except it was no longer her problem. And here - well here she could fight him a lot more than when he showed up at her work.

"I told you to leave me alone," she said as she came to a halt.

"He had a family."

"What?"

"Ginta had a family."

She opened her mouth and then closed it. She dared to take a step closer to him. He was not even looking at her; he was staring dead ahead.

"He had a fucking mate, and he had fucking kids."

At the mention of kids, she found her stress levels rising. Why, why did he have to come to her with this information? He had come here to say goodbye to his friend and clearly he had. Why did he have to tangle her in his life even more? She was not his shoulder to cry on, she was not his friend. They might have been something at some point but that was long gone. She could not let herself feel anything for him. And yet, despite all those thoughts, she felt guilt. Because she did not know what happened to him but she knew it was hell and she knew he thought he was alone. And now he was finding out that he had a friend somewhere.

A friend who made it out better than he did, and a friend who never came looking for him.

She could not imagine how that felt.

Although she knew what it was like to be chased away and left alone when she truly needed someone. But then again, as she had often told herself, it was better that he was not in Haru's life. He would simply screw it up.

But she could have used the re-assurance and the love and the presence of someone's else. They had not been in love but - maybe in another timeline, in a world that was not this screwed up, she could have fallen for him. He was her friend once and then, he was - something else. But she was never given a chance to feel anything more for him. It was better this way. Love would have only made it even more complicated.

"Sorry to hear?" she finally said.

He scoffed. "Yeah. Poor kids. They had a fucked up dad."

"Maybe he wasn't fucked up."

"Trust me, he was."

"Why? Because you are? Maybe he did better for himself."

And then it happened. He tossed the bottle against the ground and it shattered; glass and liquid splattered everywhere.

"Because it's impossible to do better."

"Maybe he was tired of living in the past."

"You're one to talk."

Of course she would have to always live in the past - he fucked her over. He ruined her life and he left her with a reminder of what happened. She would never be able to look past their meeting. She would never be able to forget that he existed because her son's face was a constant reminder that he existed.

"Maybe I have you to blame."

"Probably."

She would never forget him because he had left a mark on her neck. Fucking other men would never feel as good as fucking him because they were not him. He had screwed up her life. But he had hoped that their bond was not strong, that it would not interfere much. Perhaps he had been wrong. It did not matter. A life without a mate was better than a life with him. She was still winning in the end and it was all he could focus on.

"Can you leave now?" This time her voice was softer. She hated him for what he did to her but she was not - a monster. He was even more heartbroken than before and honestly, she almost felt bad if she kicked him while he was down. All she wanted was to have him out of her life. She was not strong, she could not always put on a facade. She needed him to go before she began to break down. It was close; she was too stressed.

"No." He really did not have it in him to leave. He wanted to bring her close, he wanted her to feel the emptiness he had been feeling this whole time. He expected her to fight back but she did not say anything. He took advantage of the silence to get back up on his feet. He used to wall to lean on it and then, closed the distance between them. "Why do you want me gone?"

"Are you fucking kidding me?" He was unbelievable. "Don't you remember?"

He did. He always remembered. She filled his empty house with memories and feelings and he hated it. Every day he spent in it, he was suffocating. He chased her away because it was the best thing for her and yet, she could not even be grateful. He sacrificed a lot by letting her walk away. It did not matter that she was not youkai. If they had let the bond consumed them, she would have been just as bad off as him. He did it for her. And she did not know.

And he had nowhere to go. He gave all of his money to the bar owner. All he could do was go back home and he was not even sure how to arrange his trip back home. Maybe he could just sit here until he died. Maybe now he had it in him to die.

"Kouga, I want you to leave."

It made him angry.

Next thing he knew, he was pressing her against the wall, his entire body applying pressure against hers. "Why?"

She pushed his chest, kicking it. "Get off me." There was a buzzing in her blood, a need that was spreading through her. She had to get him away from her.

"Are you scared you might ask me to fuck you?"

"I wouldn't."

"It's not as good with the others."

He said others and she did not like it - it sounded like he knew more than he should. Had he seen her? No he could not have, he would have mentioned it. She needed to focus on getting him off of her. She kept beating at his chest but it did nothing to lessen the fire inside of her. He let his mouth trail along the length of her jaw, dying to nibble at the skin. Being this close to her was intoxicating. He needed her. She could soothe some of the pain. Not the deep one, not the one that left him fucked up but she could heal what had been created by her absence.

But he could not have her.

And then he was gone, like a blur.

She was left there, against the wall, panting. Her legs were quivering and her skin was dying to be touched by the false promises he had made.

She was so fucked.

-M-



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