Pretending to Pretend

BY : SplendentGoddess
Category: InuYasha AU/AR > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 2639
Disclaimer: Inuyasha, and the characters therein, are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I am in no way affiliated with Takahashi or VIZ Productions, and I do not gain financially from my fanfic in any way.

 

So sorry this is so late!!! *bows in apology* Yes this is my Christmas story, and all I can say is I'm glad there wasn't a more strongly enforced deadline like on Project Runway or Chopped, because I would've either been sending a half naked model down the runway or serving the judges undercooked food! Real life has been Ahhhh! and this story was Grrrr! but finally, after a major overhaul, I was able to get it to cooperate and turn into a story you will hopefully all love just as much as I do. With that said, I now present my regularly scheduled author's note followed by the story in question. Enjoy!

 

 

Welcome, and Merry Christmas!

 

Having probably exhausted all plausible scenarios for a canon Christmas story, I'm sticking with modern AU, although unlike last year's story this universe has even more prejudice towards hanyou, as humans and youkai do not generally coexist. For the purpose of needing a lot of human extras and faced with the choice of either converting youkai characters into humans or creating completely original characters I have chosen the former, so whenever you see human-looking youkai like Yura or Kagura mentioned as fellow college students, they are all human in this universe. I'm also not using suffixes or too many Japanese terms this time around because meh, I didn't feel like it, LOL. It is supposed to take place in Japan, but it's obviously a fake Japan since youkai are real in this world, so I figured I could bend the rules a little bit.

 

The rules of this universe are fairly simple. As if two countries with their own separate governments both occupy the Japanese islands simultaneously, everything negotiated by treaty and trade agreements, there are designated youkai districts and designated human districts but no true neutral zone where the two species can more freely intermingle. Some aspects of society are universal, such as both sides agreeing to a single currency, and all hospitals are safe havens, staffed with and designed to treat members of either species, but it is rare to find a youkai living in the human part of town, or vice versa, and even after inter-species marriage was made legal fifty years ago such unions are rarer still, those unions producing hanyou offspring even more so. While humans as a whole no longer care about purity among their own kind, and likewise it's not uncommon to see two different species of youkai together, that last great barrier, between human and youkai, gives the bigots of the world something to cling to. The fact that hanyou are sterile, at least in their hanyou form, is evidence, they claim, that the two species aren't meant to interbreed. Fortunately, since hanyou are protected by law and hate crimes are quite illegal, those few hanyou that are born don't usually, actually have to fear for their lives, but it's still a difficult, ofttimes lonely existence.

 

Especially for the currently nineteen-year-old Inuyasha who just found out the hard way that his longtime girlfriend Kikyou wasn't who he thought she was. If he's ever going to believe that somebody out there could truly love him for him it's going to take a Christmas miracle.

 

 

 

 

~ Pretending to Pretend ~

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

“But...but Kikyou, I love you!” Inuyasha declared, a few tears starting to shimmer in his eyes.

 

“I don't care!” Kikyou shot back, pulling on her skirt. “If you think I'm gonna let that...that...thing...anywhere near me, you've got another think coming!” She shuddered once more in revulsion just thinking about it. She was going to have to wash her hands at least ten times. “It's bad enough you've got those ears, but I thought you were human where it counted,” she stressed.

 

A few rogue tears fell, but the naked – and now flaccid – nineteen-year-old did nothing to hinder their travel down his cheeks. It was as if Kikyou were the one with claws and she had just ripped his heart from his chest, before then also stomping on it with her high heeled shoes.

 

“But you always said my youkai differences didn't matter, that you didn't mind my hair or eye color, or my ears, or my claws, or my-”

 

“That was before I realized how much of a freak you truly were,” she interrupted as she threw on her blouse and hastily buttoned it before slipping into aforementioned high heels, which were in the bedroom because earlier that evening he had actually picked her up in his doorway after opening the door and carried her into the bedroom in a romantic gesture. That she'd actually put them on in his bedroom instead of just picking them up to carry out into the entryway further went to show how little respect she had for him.

 

“Put some clothes on, for crying out loud!” she snapped then.

 

He was crying out loud at that point, and he didn't even care. If she had laughed at him, that would have been humiliating enough, but if she had laughed but then apologized, cleared her throat and told him it didn't matter, while the humiliation would still have burned he would have probably still tried to go through with their love making. It was their first time, after all. Or it was supposed to be.

 

She was his high school sweetheart. They'd met their first year, when he'd been all alone and even shunned by most of the student body. Gradually, they had become friends, Kikyou saying she understood how it felt to be an outsider because there weren't too many reiki users at their school, either, and she'd often wished she were a normal human without such powers. That he was half youkai hadn't bothered her, she'd claimed, saying she'd felt like they were two halves of the same coin, both of them human and yet not truly human. It had actually surprised him when she'd gone against tradition, bravely asking him out on a date, but he'd eagerly accepted and they had continued dating after that, which had turned into a steady relationship by their second year of high school. They hadn't really done anything, dedicated to their studies and getting into a good college as any good career-minded high school student should be, but it had seemed to be a foregone conclusion that they would continue their relationship into college and adulthood.

 

Even when he'd ended up making good close friends in Miroku, his girlfriend Sango and their mutual friend Kagome by the end of his second year, and they'd made their dislike of Kikyou known throughout their growing friendship, Inuyasha hadn't let himself see what they had been trying to warn him about.

 

Kikyou was only with him for his money, Miroku had warned him. He in turn had argued that Kikyou had told him on several occasions that she would've loved him even if he were poor. It wasn't like it was the woman's fault his family was rich, after all, and so what if he wanted to dote on his girlfriend? She deserved it, not as a reward for being willing to be with him, but simply because he wanted to show her how much he loved her and how much her love for him truly meant to him.

 

Kikyou thought she'd landed herself the perfect catch because nobody else would want a hanyou like him and so she'd never have to worry about him stepping out on her, Sango had claimed to overhear Kikyou say to her girlfriends once.

 

While he'd disputed the intended meaning behind what he'd figured Sango might have been somewhat misquoting, how could he truly be upset with Kikyou for saying she was glad to know he would never cheat on her? He never would, he'd confirmed for Sango, so Kikyou had been right in her assessment. Indeed she had found the perfect catch, in finding a loyal man whom she knew loved her with all his heart.

 

It wasn't really a sacrifice that hanyou were sterile in their hanyou form because she didn't want children anyway, and she definitely wouldn't want his children, Kagome had told him she'd overheard Kikyou say once.

 

It was a moot point, Inuyasha had argued, since he was indeed sterile except for his human nights and during a full-youkai transformation. It would've been possible for he and Kikyou to have human children one day should she have wished it, but if she'd truly never wanted children that had also been all right with him. And after growing up facing the prejudices hanyou had to face in their world, he definitely had no intention of attempting the rather dangerous procedure of siring a child during a transformation. He would've told her no even if she'd wanted to, for her own sake as well as the child's.

 

After a while, his friends had stopped trying to get him to see how Kikyou hadn't been right for him. Their warnings hadn't ended his friendship with them, thankfully, and for that he'd been grateful. They truly had only had his best interests at heart, after all, because they truly were his friends, and once he'd told them to let it go, they had, respecting his wishes. He'd never gotten truly upset over it, never called them liars or accused them of trying to tear he and Kikyou apart for any ulterior motive. Instead, he'd merely defended that there was nothing wrong with Kikyou being happy over the fact that he could afford to buy her anything she wanted. That he knew he was a freak of nature, as was the general consensus among most people when it came to the rarity that were hanyou, and he was lucky to have found someone like Kikyou who was willing to overlook his differences. Miroku had even made him admit, once, that if, just if, Kikyou didn't really love him and was only using him for his money, he would still rather be with her than be alone. He'd stupidly said that he loved Kikyou enough for the both of them.

 

He saw the looks he got from most people. He saw the looks he and Kikyou got whenever the two of them were out together in public. She'd always assured him that she didn't care what other people thought, that she loved him and his unique differences were just a part of who he was.

 

“If you love someone then you accept all of them, for who they are, Kikyou. You told me that! On more than one occasion!” he snapped then, finally pulling on his red boxer briefs to hide the 'malformed' appendage that had apparently been the final straw that broke her charade.

 

“I only said that when I thought those stupid ears of yours were the worst of it,” she replied, grabbing her purse.

 

Turning and looking at him, standing there still in nothing but his underwear, a few tears running down his cheeks although he wasn't truly blubbering like an idiot, Kikyou's disgusted expression didn't soften even in the slightest, no hint of guilt for breaking his heart present in her scent.

 

“Look, I'm sorry, but the truth hurts,” she said then, not one speck of genuine remorse in her tone. “You're kinda cute and all, and you're quite the catch on your human nights, so had you been...” She waved her hand up and down, vaguely gesturing to his entire physique. “...more normal, I would've been willing to stick with you. Believe me, I'm sacrificing a lot by walking away. I'll miss the flow of money, but a girl's gotta have her pride, you know? I have to decide what I'm willing or not willing to do just to live the good life.”

 

She made it sound like he was some disgusting old man, like the twenty-year-olds who married eighty-year-olds and made them happy to get themselves put into the will. From the way she was talking now, it was clear that Miroku had been right. She'd never truly loved him, ever. Not at all. Was she even capable of the emotion?

 

“All this time...” he murmured slowly, his heart shattering into smaller and smaller pieces at the realization. “All this time you were just using me. You saw me as a mark. It might be hard to catch a rich human because you'd have competition, but the rich hanyou was an easy target. You thought you'd scored.”

 

“Try not to take it personally,” she said, basically admitting he was right.

 

“Don't take it personally?!” he shouted. “You're breaking up with me over my penis! It doesn't get much more gods damned personal than that!”

 

“Lower your voice!” she hissed at him.

 

The walls in his apartment building weren't soundproof.

 

“No!” he argued, not giving a fuck who heard him at the moment, although he did lower his voice a little bit. “You owe me an explanation, and an apology, and...and...just what the fuck, Kikyou?”

 

“I don't owe you anything,” she shot back. “No self-respecting woman would be willing to be with a creature like you. Maybe you can buy yourself a prostitute, if she's desperate enough, but that'd be about it.”

 

“If you were only with me for my money then what do you think that makes you, Kikyou?” His voice was low, his words steady.

 

As if she truly had the right to be angry with him in any twisted interpretation of that night's events, her eyes lit up with true fury at his insinuation.

 

Heh, apparently the gold digger doesn't like being told she's just a private whore, he thought with a smirk.

 

Of course, his amused expression only made her that much angrier. It was as if she blamed him for wasting the last three and a half years of her life, when she could've spent that time building up a relationship with a human, as if he should've warned her when they were sixteen that he had a 'dog dick' as she'd so eloquently described up upon discovery, even though in his opinion that wasn't really true. He turned human once a month, after all, so he knew damn well what a human man's penis was supposed to look like. Okay, so his skin turned the same color as a canine's phallus, but his shape and design remained fully human. Well...save for his pubic hairs actually being short white fur, just a little longer than what coated the back of his ears. But he didn't really look like a dog down there, sheesh. And had he known his physical differences were going to freak her out then he would have warned her in advance at some point, but after she'd already assured him on more than one occasion that she loved him for him and didn't mind his claws, fangs or ears, why should it have occurred to him? She'd never asked him, either! Her reaction had definitely revealed that the possibility of him being different down there in any way had never even crossed her mind. How could he be blamed for never thinking to tell her when she'd also never thought to ask? It had come as a complete shock to her when she'd pulled back the blanket in his dimly lit bedroom to reveal what she'd already been touching, for the very first time.

 

She'd reacted like a girl in a dark room turning on a light to suddenly discover she was surrounded by spiders, or dead bodies, or dead bodies covered in spiders. It had been quite impossible for her to hide her shock and disgust as she'd frantically released him and leapt from the bed, repeatedly rubbing the palm of her right hand over the side of the panties she'd still worn as if trying to remove some imaginary layer of filth.

 

“Go ahead and mock me,” she said then, in a tone of voice that almost suggested he'd just pissed off the witch in a fairy tale.

 

Oh crap, is she going to try to purify me human? briefly flashed through his mind although he tried not to let his sudden worry show.

 

“At least I will be able to find myself a new companion, even if I do have to start over from scratch,” she continued then. “Summer break has only just begun, and I was hit on plenty of times last semester by real men who didn't know why I was with you. I'm sure I can find myself somebody. You?” She shook her head. “I might even find a man I can truly love one day, but no woman will ever love you. You're disgusting. The only chance you might possibly have is with an unattractive woman who can't land herself a normal man, and even then she would still only be with you for your money.”

 

What cut the deepest about her words was the fact that he believed her. She was saying it on purpose to be cruel, and he knew that, but that didn't mean she was wrong. Like she'd said already, the truth hurt.

 

“Just get out,” he said at last, both his tone and posture defeated, although that didn't mean he didn't have a little bite left. “Leave now, and I won't shout after you from the doorway that I'm sorry I wasn't attractive enough for you to be willing to fuck me for my money.”

 

Her nostrils flared, but Kikyou knew better than to call his bluff. She knew she'd been vicious, perhaps more so than had been necessary, so she wouldn't put it past him to make good on his threat if she continued to fight with him.

 

“Freak,” she said, just to get the last word in, as she whirled fast enough to fan out her long black hair before storming out into his living room and towards the front door.

 

Just before she left he called out, “Good luck with next month's rent!”

 

She paused, for only a second, but didn't say anything else, slamming the front door behind her when she left.

 

Inuyasha remained standing in his bedroom, in his underwear, staring out into the small combination living and kitchen area of his small one bedroom apartment for he didn't know how long before the pent up emotions finally boiled over and he picked up the first object he could get his claws on, which just happened to be a framed photograph of he and Kikyou, and threw it so hard it traveled all the way to the other end of his apartment and crashed against the kitchen wall, the corner of the frame making a small hole in the wall before the picture fell and shattered glass spread everywhere.

 

He'd clean it up later.

 

Maybe.

 

What did he care? His freakish bare feet weren't susceptible to being cut on broken glass, after all.

 

Humorlessly, he snorted a half laugh, relieved they hadn't decided to share their first intimate night together during the new moon. He had actually offered, for her sake, not that he'd been concerned about his appearance, but he was actually a little...less impressive...on his human nights, and he'd been thinking of Kikyou's comfort. But she had told him that she wanted to be with the real him, that she loved him, all of him. He snorted again at the tainted memory, as more tears fell unchecked.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Concentrating on the pencil she held in her hand, Kagome narrowed her eyes and directed her focus on the lead tip, which was pointed upward. Slowly, the tip of the pencil began to glow a light blue, and she grinned in triumph, but her concentration was short-lived when a knock on the door shattered her focus, her powers receding back into her body.

 

Sighing, Kagome got up and answered the door.

 

“Oh, hey guys,” she greeted with a genuine smile, stepping out of the way to let Sango and Miroku enter her small living space.

 

They kicked off their shoes in what passed for the entryway and then made their way over to the couch, Kagome having a seat in the side chair.

 

“Practicing your reiki?” Miroku asked conversationally. “I could feel it all the way out in the hall.”

 

Kagome grinned sheepishly.

 

“It's surprisingly hard to keep it restrained to a fine point,” she explained. “If war ever broke out and I was called on to fight along with all the other registered spiritualists, I'd hate to accidentally harm a youkai ally fighting on our side against the rebels because I couldn't keep my powers from expanding in the heat of the moment.”

 

Miroku laughed, waving off her concerns.

 

“You listen to your grandfather too much,” he teased her good-naturedly. “First of all, there's not gonna be another war. The unrest ended centuries ago and these days, the youkai government does a fine job of keeping their few would-be rebels in check.”

 

“You mean they execute them,” Sango pointed out. Miroku merely shrugged.

 

“And if you were needed to fight,” he continued, not disputing Sango's claim because it was true, not that it was any of his business how the youkai government dealt with their own people, “then I know you, and I know your heart would never allow you to accidentally harm an ally standing beside you. Reiki is controlled by the heart, which is why it comes so naturally when you're not concentrating.”

 

“It's definitely a paradox,” Kagome agreed. “The harder you try, the more difficult it becomes.” She sighed. “I was just...trying to keep my mind occupied.”

 

Sango and Miroku both nodded their understanding to that.

 

“That's why we came over,” Sango said.

 

“How's he doing?” Kagome asked.

 

“Not good,” Miroku answered, sighing himself that time. “She really destroyed him.”

 

That bitch, Kagome thought, getting angry for a moment before closing her eyes and breathing deeply, trying to calm her raging emotions.

 

“I feel the same way,” Sango said, easily reading Kagome's thoughts in her eyes and body language.

 

The miko nodded.

 

“I wish there was something we could do for him, but he has to let us in before we can help him,” Miroku said then. He and Sango had just come from his place, trying yet again to take him out for ramen, or something, but to no avail.

 

Kagome nodded to that as well, knowing it was true. She'd tried to talk to Inuyasha herself on more than one occasion, and he'd always just asked her to leave him alone.

 

Of course, seeing him so completely broken, the hanyou staying holed up in his apartment for two weeks straight without even taking their phone calls or replying to their texts, all their plans for enjoying summer break together gone out the proverbial window as they spent their time knocking on his door, just trying to get him to eat something, watching him go through the motions like a zombie as he finally started buying himself a few groceries from time to time, Kagome hadn't been able to sit back and do nothing. But telling Kikyou off to her face had been much less satisfying than Kagome had hoped, and it'd done her no good. Not only had Kikyou unabashedly shared the intimate reason why she'd broken up with Inuyasha, she'd actually had the audacity to brush off Kagome's ire and accuse the three of them of only using Inuyasha for his money, too, since the five of them had often hung out together and Inuyasha had always paid for whatever they did.

 

But that was just Inuyasha's way. His father was insanely rich, the family company being incredibly successful, and Inuyasha would never have to want for anything, except companionship, so he enjoyed treating his friends to dinner, or Disneyland, or whatever they happened to be doing that day. So what? Had he actually been trying to buy their friendship? Of course not. They hadn't even known Inuyasha had money when they'd first befriended him. He'd surprised them one day, telling them that their friendship meant so much to him that he wanted to do something spectacular to show them his gratitude.

 

Their first of many trips to Disneyland had certainly been a surprise, but it hadn't made Kagome like Inuyasha any more than she already had. She'd already considered him a great friend by that point, and it wasn't like she was poor and had never gone to Disneyland before in her life. She'd even tried to argue at first, agreeing to the trip but insisting she could pay her own way, and it had only been after he'd insisted in turn that he would feel insulted if she rejected his offer to pay for her that she'd relented.

 

“I still can't believe Kikyou said that,” Kagome said then, the good miko having immediately told Sango and Miroku what Kikyou had accused them of doing.

 

Miroku had in turn made sure Inuyasha knew that that wasn't true. He'd gone over to the hanyou's apartment and personally told him that he, Sango and Kagome were his friends and were there for him no matter what, and that if there was even an ounce of fear in his heart that they truly were only friends with him for his money that he never had to spend a single yen on any of them ever again and they would prove to him that it had never been about the money.

 

Distraught as he was over Kikyou, Inuyasha knew the others truly were his friends. They had tried to warn him about Kikyou, after all, and he knew they hadn't known he was rich in the beginning. He'd told Miroku that while he wasn't in the mood to try and do anything fun, and he probably wouldn't be for the rest of his life, he did believe the holy man that he, Sango and Kagome were really his friends, and for that, he was grateful, Inuyasha had assured him, before then asking him to leave because he wanted to be left alone.

 

“They say money can't buy happiness, and for Inuyasha that was true, growing up,” Kagome murmured, more talking to herself, feeling truly sorry for her friend as she realized that Kikyou's rejection had undoubtedly brought all of his old pain back to the surface.

 

He actually had tried to buy friends as a small child, she had learned eventually, when he'd confessed to her during one of their one-on-one moments how lonely he'd been as a boy. Afraid for their child's safety should they have put Inuyasha in a youkai school, Toga Taisho lived with his wife in their local human district, so Inuyasha had always attended human schools and had thankfully never been on the receiving end of a gang of youkai bullies, but he'd still been lonely as a boy, none of the human kids willing to be his friend until he'd started bribing them. It might have worked except the children's parents had never wanted to let their kids play with a hanyou, so even the rare few human children who would have otherwise been willing to be his friend had told him they weren't allowed to talk to him before leaving him alone.

 

Of course, Kagome had assured him right then and there that she didn't care that he was rich or a hanyou, that she liked him for him and if she had known him back when they were younger then she would've been his friend back then, too, without the need for being bribed first. That had really meant a lot to him, he'd told her.

 

When Kagome and the others had first met Inuyasha he'd been happily with Kikyou, so she hadn't even realized, at first, how lonely and sad his life had been prior to meeting his girlfriend the year before. Kagome had been happy for him, of course, even more so after hearing about how Kikyou had been his first true friend, and how it had been because of her that he'd learned how to open up a little more and make more friends. When Miroku had said hi to him that one day at school, instead of Inuyasha being closed off and withdrawing into himself, not knowing what to do with himself in the face of someone actually trying to talk to him, he'd braved saying hi back and over time their friendship had just naturally developed.

 

“Kikyou was so nice in the beginning,” Kagome said, reflecting back on their last year of high school.

 

They had spent their second year of high school getting to know Inuyasha and Kikyou, but by the end of the school year they had all been the best of friends, or so it'd seemed. At first, starting their third year, all five of them had always hung out together, and while Kagome had kind of felt like the fifth wheel around the two couples she'd never truly felt excluded. Sango and surprisingly also Inuyasha had both made sure of that. Then Kikyou had started excusing herself from their outings, but not necessarily in a rude way. She would just apologize to Inuyasha and tell him that she had plans with her own group of girlfriends and so then Inuyasha would go hang out with them, just the four of them, while Kikyou did her own thing. Not always, just sometimes. And Kikyou had never tried to get him to not hang out with them, telling him that she was glad he'd made new friends so that she didn't have to feel guilty that he was all alone while she went off to do girlie things. She had seemed like an understanding girlfriend, and of course other times the five of them had still all hung out together. But Kagome, Sango and Miroku had also all started to notice little things about the miko that over time had become little warning signs. Signs that had really been there all along but they just hadn't been able to see them until after getting to know Inuyasha and Kikyou so well and really coming to consider Inuyasha a close friend. Then Sango and Kagome had started to overhear Kikyou when she'd say certain things to her other girlfriends at school, and that had been the deciding factor to say something to Inuyasha about it.

 

When he'd told them that he didn't want to hear about it, that he truly cherished their friendship and didn't want to taint it with thinking that they didn't like his girlfriend, they had all agreed to let it go, but with trepidation in their hearts. Kagome, especially, had started to hate seeing Inuyasha so happy with Kikyou when she knew how Kikyou really felt, but after having already told Inuyasha what she'd overheard what more could she do? Confront Kikyou? At that time, that hadn't been her style, but now looking back on it, Kagome really wished that she had.

 

“It was all an act,” Sango said, in regard to Kagome's comment about Kikyou having been nice at first. “He wasn't the only one she fooled. At first, she tricked all of us.” Her tone indicated that she wished she'd said something to Kikyou, too.

 

Sango remembered well how Kagome had tried to be nice to Kikyou in the beginning. They were both miko, after all, and her boyfriend Miroku was also a houshi, so if Kikyou had also felt somewhat isolated, having originally not known any other spiritualists, well then now she'd had two she could call her friends. But Kikyou had already had her own growing clique of girlfriends by that point, fellow gold diggers they realized now, looking back on it, and Kagome and Sango had definitely been the outsiders in that group, not that Kikyou had ever extended an invitation to begin with. But neither had she been jealous of Inuyasha hanging out with three people without her, two of them girls, and one of those girls single and available. Inuyasha was nothing if not loyal and he would have never stepped out on Kikyou, and she knew it.

 

Plus Kagome wasn't that type of a girl.

 

Sango had her suspicions, of course, but she'd never come right out and asked her best friend if her feelings for Inuyasha went beyond mere friendship, and likewise she'd never discussed it with Miroku. Until now it wouldn't have been appropriate for Kagome to admit, even in private, that she liked liked Inuyasha, although personally Sango thought the two of them would make a fabulous couple and she'd often privately found herself wishing Inuyasha would fall for Kagome and dump Kikyou, but that had just been a passing fancy, a daydream she'd never shared with anyone. She and Miroku had discussed, once, that it was too bad Inuyasha had a girlfriend because then, should he have been single, they had both thought that he would've been perfect for Kagome, but that was as far as the conversation had ever gone, and that had been over a year ago.

 

But Sango had eyes, and she'd seen the way Kagome and Inuyasha would interact during the times it had been just the four of them, how Kagome would look at Inuyasha when she didn't realize anyone was watching. Sango was convinced that while her miko friend had been fully prepared to suffer in silence for the rest of her life, she was in love with Inuyasha.

 

“I just wish there was something we could do for him,” the miko said then. It was tearing Kagome up inside seeing Inuyasha so torn up inside.

 

Indeed, Kagome was in love with Inuyasha. There was no denying it, at least to herself, although she was grateful neither Sango nor Miroku had ever asked her about it. She suspected Sango knew. More so, she suspected she was just not quite so good at hiding it, but at least Inuyasha seemed to have no clue and she planned on keeping it that way. Just because he was single now didn't mean he was suddenly available. A rebound was the last thing he needed, she knew, and heaven forbid he think she was just using him, taking advantage of his anguish for her own gain.

 

Never... she vowed to herself.

 

Maybe, down the road, once he was truly over Kikyou, if he expressed an interest in her...

 

But Kagome wouldn't let herself truly entertain such slim possibilities right now. Right now, all she cared about was easing his heartache, as a friend. She just wished she could cheer him up, or at least take his mind off of his pain in some non-romantic way, like playing video games down at the arcade.

 

One of their first and still favorite pastimes prior to Kikyou ripping his heart out had been the local arcade. Before they'd known he was rich and before he'd started insisting on paying for everyone's game use, that had been where all five of them, and then just the four of them, had hung out more often than not. Even after he'd revealed his finances and started treating them to other, more expensive outings, Shikon Arcade had still been their fallback favorite destination. And once Kikyou had started doing her own thing half the time, that had enabled the times it was just the four of them to then make way for it being just the two of them, Inuyasha and Kagome, the hanyou and miko often visiting and getting to know each other better while waiting for their turn at whatever two-player game Sango and Miroku were currently trying to kill each other on.

 

It had been times like those, eating junk food and watching Sango kick Miroku's ass, that Inuyasha had told Kagome about his difficult childhood, among other things, and she'd also taken the time to share with him the details of her own life, growing up on a shrine, and how horrible it had been when her father had died. Then it would be their turn to play the game together, and Kagome had gotten the distinct impression on more than one occasion that Inuyasha had let her win.

 

Yes, she had fallen for him, hard, but even after becoming convinced that Kikyou was only using him, Inuyasha's love for Kikyou had been undeniable, and so if she truly made him happy, Kagome just hadn't had the heart to try and break that up. Miroku had even revealed what Inuyasha had told him, once, that even if it were true, he still wanted to be with her, regardless, although in Miroku's opinion Inuyasha hadn't really believed, at the time, that Kikyou was using him. But even Kagome had fully believed, back then, that Kikyou planned on staying with Inuyasha for the long haul. That she was just with him for his money, yes, but that because of his money, she would never leave him. So if she made him happy, and he was so in love with her, then who was she to get in the way?

 

And now that Kikyou had revealed her true colors? The last thing Inuyasha needed was to know of her own feelings for him. She would be there for him as a friend; that was all it could ever be.

 

“Oh kami,” she said then, as she just realized something very important. “Tonight's the new moon.”

 

“Crap,” Sango cursed under her breath, the taijiya not having remembered that when she'd talked Miroku into trying to get Inuyasha to join them for dinner again. “No wonder he turned down going out for his favorite food.”

 

Kagome nodded.

 

“He hates his human emotions on a good night. It's no wonder he doesn't want to be seen in public when he'll probably be an emotional wreck.”

 

Not that he should really be left all alone while he was an emotional wreck, either.

 

“Maybe we should all just show back up at his place after sunset with ramen and bento boxes,” the miko suggested then. “If we gang up on him, but from a place of love, he probably won't turn us away once his emotions have risen to the surface.”

 

“Good idea,” Sango agreed.

 

 



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