Love is Blind

BY : SplendentGoddess
Category: InuYasha > General
Dragon prints: 1006
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.

Merry Christmas! And Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Yuletide, Saturnalia...I feel like I'm forgetting something. See, this is why Happy Holidays makes sense. It's not a “war on Christmas” to acknowledge that there are other winter holidays in addition to Christmas.

 

But who cares about political mumbo jumbo when you're here to let your mind escape from all that, yeah?

 

This story universe takes place in modern Japan (or at least what's supposed to be Japan, so forgive me if a few minor details are Americanized) and youkai are like people and live in the cities, but there's segregation to a point. It's unofficial, and illegal for businesses to actually discriminate, but youkai and humans just tend to stick to their own kind.

 

Oh, and for those of you who'd expressed a desire to see this year's Christmas story be a continuation of Possession, I wanted to let you all know that after I already decided on the idea for this year's Christmas story I did think of the perfect way to make both next year's Halloween AND Christmas stories take place in the Possession universe. So I'm afraid you'll have to wait until next year, but now you've at least got something definitive to look forward to.

 

And okay okay, maybe one day I will write more in the 'Secret Santa' universe, since soooooooo many of you want me to continue that storyline, but it's going to have to wait until I get a few more standalone ideas knocked out first. In the meantime, enjoy this new universe, that I will not be expanding beyond this story, but don't worry, I made sure to wrap the whole thing up with a pretty bow at the end.

 

Oh, and PS, please forgive (and let me know about, if you want to) any typos I missed. It's twelve noon on Christmas day as I'm writing this a/n addition, and I still have to finish wrapping up the story 'cause it's not quite finished yet, so I will be posting it as soon as it's finished without the luxury of a final proofread. At least it's not two weeks late, yeah? Enjoy!

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

 

“Another bowl.”

 

“Please?”

 

Inuyasha rolled his eyes.

 

“Another bowl, please,” he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

 

Sango only grinned.

 

“There, now, was that so hard?”

 

“Just gimme the damn ramen,” he replied, but with a huge grin revealing his fangs as he tried not to laugh.

 

Sango couldn't contain her own mirth, and laughed as she handed her new boss yet another bowl of beef ramen.

 

“That'll be eight hundred yen,” she said, still giggling, earning another eye roll from the white-haired man.

 

“I'd say you could deduct it from my salary, but I don't take a salary,” he said.

 

“Oh yes you do,” Miroku chimed in as he emerged from the back kitchen with a fresh tray of barbecued pork that he put into the empty slot in the food counter just as Sango was scooping up Inuyasha's bowl of ramen. “It's just in the form of ramen. Ramen you used to pay for,” he stressed, though the sparkle in his indigo eyes revealed the line cook was only teasing.

 

“Hey, I didn't have to buy this place, you know,” Inuyasha stated in self-defense as Sango handed him his third bowl of ramen that hour. “And I think the fact that I don't pocket any profit more than makes up for my eating habits.”

 

“What profit?” Sango asked with a snort, speaking so casually because at the moment she, her husband, and their boss were the only three people in the tiny establishment.

 

“As long as you get your paychecks, what do you care if I'm losing money on this place?” Inuyasha asked in turn as he sat down in the back of the third of only three booths that lined the wall opposite the food counter and began slurping his beloved noodles.

 

“He's got a point there,” Sango, the head chef – in actuality, she and her husband were the only two employees – said to Miroku in a joking tone before disappearing back into the kitchen.

 

Mushin's Noodles used to be owned and operated by Miroku's uncle Mushin, back in the day. While the place looked a bit rundown, because Mushin had bought an older building and had never fully refurbished the place, the food was phenomenal, his own personal recipes which Sango and Miroku followed to the letter. After years of being told by friends and family that he should open a restaurant, he had, and it had been the right decision, all things considered.

 

Living the dream, Mushin had taken a chance and gotten a loan to open up the humble noodle restaurant, quitting his old job to work in his restaurant full time. It wasn't just a ramen shop, although Mushin's Noodles offered four different flavors of ramen, but there was actually a wide variety of noodle dishes to choose from, from udon and yakisoba to Chinese style lo mein. The noodles themselves weren't made from scratch on the premises, there was no time for that, but Mushin had insisted on always using fresh noodles, and his broths were all made from scratch with fresh ingredients, not seasoning packets. While some of the meats they used were frozen, he'd made sure they all came from good sources, and the vegetables were fresh from local farmers whenever possible.

 

Business had been quite well for over ten years, Mushin being so busy not long after opening that after only the first couple of months he'd had to bring in Miroku and Sango to help out because it'd already become impossible to do everything all on his own. Unfortunately, eventually, as strip malls were built and competition moved in in the form of cheaper, chain ramen shops, he'd slowly but surely watched his business dwindle away.

 

It wouldn't have been as big of a worry if he'd only risked losing his restaurant to the bank, but not having qualified for a regular business loan, he'd actually used his house as collateral in the beginning, and while he'd gotten a good chunk of it paid back while business was booming, he still owed. So it wasn't his noodle shop that had the mortgage against it, but his family home, and losing that was not an option.

 

Mushin's Noodles had originally been closed on Mondays, giving everyone a much needed day off every week, but in an effort to stave off profit losses, and with Sango and Miroku's agreement, Mushin had temporarily switched them to being open seven days a week, but the extra profit had barely covered Sango and Miroku's extra pay, not to mention the extra work had burned them all out in short order, so they'd gone back to being closed on Mondays. It had been inevitable, then, and they'd all known it. Keeping Mushin's Noodles open was a losing battle, his beloved tiny restaurant a slowly sinking ship.

 

It had eventually gotten to the point where the place barely made enough money to break even, which would've been fine if he had been running the restaurant for the hell of it and had been independently wealthy otherwise, but with the restaurant being his only source of income the past-due bills had been piling up. Paying bills for his home one month, and restaurant the next, was no way to keep things going, and he'd already cut corners at home like letting his cellphone and television go. Cutting corners at the restaurant, like purchasing cheaper ingredients, had not been an option, which had earned him even more respect from his already most loyal customer.

 

Unbeknownst to Sango and Miroku at the time, Inuyasha had loaned Mushin money more than once over the last couple of years, 'loaned' not really being the right word because the hanyou had always told Miroku's uncle not to worry about it. He'd been going to the shop from just about day one, having wanted to try it when he'd first seen it open, and besides the food turning out to be awesome he'd also appreciated how Mushin had treated him just like any other customer, despite being a hanyou in a human city, and despite Mushin himself being a reiki user.

 

Inuyasha had been able to sense it in him easily. Same with Miroku, and while Sango had no reiki she came from a family of taijiya, yet they had both accepted him without question when they'd come on board, just as Mushin had.

 

For Inuyasha, delicious noodles and a welcoming atmosphere had been more than enough to make him a regular fixture in the place year after year, and what Mushin might've lost in customer revenue from racist humans seeing a hanyou in the place and going elsewhere Inuyasha had more than made up for with his own near daily purchases. So when the time had finally come that Mushin had, regrettably, made the decision to sell – saving his home had simply been more important than saving his business and he'd needed the money to pay off his overdue bills or else – it had been a no-brainer for the wealthy hanyou to buy the place himself.

 

Inuyasha had tried to just pay off Mushin's mortgage, at first, but the aging monk wouldn't hear of it, and he'd also made a valid point when he'd pointed out how he'd still need a monthly income to pay his regular bills at home, which the restaurant was no longer providing, yet he couldn't get himself a different job while needing to help Miroku and Sango take care of the restaurant because he couldn't expect them to do it all on their own. Mushin had originally hired them to take over the front of the house and kitchen duties for him, only trusting family with his secret recipes, but Mushin had always handled the managerial duties himself and neither Sango nor Miroku had any experience with actually running the place; they just worked there.

 

Inuyasha had conceded, then, that the best thing for Mushin was to sell...to him. Especially once he'd caught wind that a few other potential buyers were interested in the spot, but were planning on firing Sango and Miroku and turning the restaurant into something else.

 

That was simply unacceptable.

 

And so he'd bought it, just a little under two months ago, paying Mushin every yen needed to keep his home plus a little something extra to keep him going while looking for a new job, while at the same time saving both Miroku and Sango's jobs...and he'd continued to be a playful thorn in their sides ever since, although the raises he'd given them both more than made up for it, they often teased.

 

Inuyasha looked up from his noodles as the door opened and a familiar, pleasing scent drifted up to his nose.

 

“Kagome!” Miroku greeted cheerfully from his place standing near the register at the end of the food counter.

 

The young woman in question smiled brightly at the sound of his voice.

 

“Hi Miroku,” she greeted cheerfully, her red and white cane lifted up as she walked with confidence towards the register.

 

She'd been coming to Mushin's Noodles for the last two years now, herself, and knew the place inside and out by that point, so she knew precisely where the few tables were and where the front counter was to place her order without accidentally bumping into anything along her way.

 

“The usual, Kagome?” Sango asked, the taijiya-turned-chef reemerging from the kitchen at the sound of her husband's greeting.

 

“You know me so well,” the younger woman answered with a giggle.

 

Inuyasha's ears flicked at the sound. He'd always loved her laugh. He sighed quietly, not intending for her to hear him, but she wasn't standing that far away, plus she had very good hearing for a human.

 

Kagome immediately turned around at the sound, and if it weren't for the fact that he knew she was blind behind those dark sunglasses she always wore Inuyasha would've sworn she was looking right at him. Her lips curved up into another brilliant smile.

 

“Is that who I think it is?” she asked with a teasing edge to her voice, confident she was right.

 

“Guilty,” Inuyasha replied, glad she couldn't see his blush. Miroku's smirk indicated that he'd noticed, and the hanyou shot him an evil glare, which had the young monk/cook stifling a laugh.

 

Receiving her bowl of udon soup from Sango, after handing Miroku the exact cash Kagome carried her bowl across the small room and towards the back corner booth, where the hanyou sat with his back against the wall so that the entire restaurant was in his line of sight, the front door across the room from him, the food counter to his right. Now, though, all he could see, hear and smell was Kagome. Even the half eaten bowl of ramen sitting directly in front of him had lost its appeal by comparison.

 

“Is this seat taken?” she asked, in regard to the other side of the booth he was occupying, and while she couldn't see his smile she could hear it in his voice when he answered with “It is now.” Smiling as well, she had a seat.

 

Sango and Miroku both grinned like idiots but tried their best to ignore the pair, especially when a few more customers entered the shop. With their chatter with the new customers becoming background noise to our couple in the third booth, it was as if they were all alone when Kagome broke the growing silence between them.

 

“So tell me the truth, you only bought this place so you could have all the free ramen you wanted,” she joked, Sango having informed her the last time she was there that the man who had always been their number one most loyal customer had just single-handedly saved the restaurant from closing, by becoming its new owner and manager.

 

Kagome and Inuyasha had chatted casually a few times over the last two years, enough for her to know him on a friendly acquaintance kind of level. It'd all started when, on her first time going to the noodle shop alone, he'd seen her coming and had opened the door for her. She'd recently started a new job nearby and her boss – whom she'd gone on a couple of dates with in junior high though now they were just friends – had recommended Mushin's Noodles as a good place for her to have lunch, Hojo having walked with her there the first few times until Kagome was confident she knew the route between there and work.

 

That first day without him, Kagome had felt both empowered and nervous as hell, but Inuyasha's kindness when he'd not only opened the door for her but had then offered to carry her food to her table for her had instantly put Kagome's mind at ease. He'd then proceeded to ask her where her 'boyfriend' was, but not in an accusatory tone; he'd sounded genuinely curious, and perhaps a bit concerned, and with crimson cheeks she'd explained that Hojo was not her boyfriend. Not any longer, at least.

 

She'd thanked Inuyasha for his kindness that day, but that had been that until, around her fifth or sixth time having lunch there, she'd recognized his voice as he came in to place his order after she was already there and she'd braved jokingly speaking up with, “Let me guess, beef ramen.”

 

At Sango's snorted laughter Kagome had instantly known it'd been the right thing to say, especially after Inuyasha's faux indignant “Hey! Sometimes I have chicken ramen,” before he'd broken down into laughter as well.

 

Snapping himself back into the present moment, in answer to her teasing yet legitimate question, Inuyasha shrugged, an automatic response despite knowing she obviously couldn't see his body language, before admitting, “I've just really become quite fond of this place over the years, plus Sango and Miroku kind of grow on you.”

 

Kagome giggled again at that.

 

“They do indeed.”

 

Scrunching up her nose in the most adorable way, she then said, “I just hope you don't end up losing too much money. As much as I and a few other people love this place, it doesn't seem like it does enough business to stay open, which is why I guess Mushin had to sell it in the first place.”

 

“Yeah,” Inuyasha agreed. “But I've got plenty of money thanks to my father being filthy rich,” he explained then, “so buying this place was literally a small price to pay, when Mushin told me he had to sell, and I really don't care of it doesn't make a year-end profit. Besides,” he added, “it actually comes pretty close to breaking even. There'd be no way to make a living running this place if I needed the monthly profit from it to pay all my home bills, too, but it made enough last month that I didn't have to dump any more of my own money into it to pay all of its bills. I think for the most part it'll literally pay for itself, and if I have to chip in every once in a while I can afford that no problem.”

 

“That's good,” Kagome replied in relief. “I would've hated for your heroic gesture to just end up hurting you too in the end. And I wanted to say thank you, for buying it. I'd have also hated to lose my favorite lunch spot and be forced to learn a new one.”

 

Thinking about it a moment, she added, “Though I'm surprised to hear you're rich and still favored a little hole in the wall place like this one. What made you start coming here in the first place?”

 

She didn't mean it in a rude way, she was just curious, and knowing that, he merely shrugged again before replying with, “What can I say? I just really love ramen. When I saw the place first open up I wanted to try it, and the food was so good I got addicted after the first bite.”

 

She giggled again at his answer, saying she couldn't agree more before digging in to her bowl of udon soup before it got cold.

 

Smiling in a bittersweet way as he watched her eat, a part of him wanted to tell her about how it had also been Mushin's kindness that had kept him coming back year after year, about how he wasn't comfortable in the more hoity-toity establishments because everyone looked down on him for being someone of youkai blood in the human side of town, but not for the first time, he hesitated. It was selfish, he knew, keeping the truth of himself from her like that, and he wasn't trying to trick her, but Sango and Miroku had been a one-off, thanks in part to Mushin talking to them both before they'd met him, he was sure. Most people gave him 'the look' even if they never said anything to his face, even if segregation wasn't technically legal and nobody had the right to refuse service to him. Everyone just stuck to their own kind, the youkai living in their cities, the humans in theirs, with hanyou stuck in the middle.

 

There was in fact an actual middle. Near the unofficial border between 'sides of town' in his large city you were much more likely to see humans and youkai interacting with one another, and mixed families raising hanyou children together were not entirely unheard of, but Inuyasha lived on the far end of the 'human' side, about as far away from other youkai as he could get, not by choice – or at least, not by his choice – but to stay close to his mother, his mother still living in the luxury apartment his father had put her up in back when she'd first discovered she was pregnant.

 

Their existence wasn't a secret in the youkai world. Everyone knew of Toga Taisho's former human mistress and illegitimate hanyou son. But out of sight, out of mind, and the wealthy daiyoukai paid Inuyasha more than enough money to stay out of sight. As a child he hadn't understood, and as an adult he had been furious to learn the truth of the matter, but for his mother's sake, to not cause any trouble for her, he had agreed to not step foot in the youkai side of town until after her eventual death, which, kami permitting, would not be for several decades yet. Inuyasha was only in his early thirties, after all, and Izayoi had had him when she was twenty. He would have centuries to confront his father later on, or even to just meet the guy, since they'd only ever spoken over the phone. He could wait.

 

In the meantime, Inuyasha found himself easily preoccupied with thoughts of Kagome. He'd really come to care for the girl over the last two years, which was a problem because the longer he went without letting her know he wasn't entirely human, the harder he was afraid it might be, for the both of them, if she ever discovered the truth. Especially if she found out some other way than him telling her.

 

At first, it just hadn't seemed like the sort of thing he'd felt he'd needed to mention, when they had just been casual acquaintances occasionally speaking politely to each other while getting their lunch at the same time, but now, while he knew she deserved to know, as it was obvious to him that she had come to care for him as well, he was terrified of losing what they had. He was terrified of seeing that beautiful face of hers scrunch up in disgust. Of hearing words of hatred spew from her delicate, cherry scented lips.

 

Long ago, when she'd first asked him his name, he'd replied with Yasha, while shooting Sango and Miroku a pointed look. He hadn't really been lying to her, since Yasha was a nickname he'd already been using for years. Especially whenever he and his mother would go out on his human nights; the only times he'd ever felt normal and accepted. He also had bad memories of school kids teasing him about being part dog, so while Sango and Miroku had learned his full name at one point they'd only ever called him Yasha in front of others. The look he had given Sango and Miroku the day he'd introduced himself to Kagome hadn't been so much about his name, a warning for them to watch what they called him in front of her, but instead, a reminder of what his full name represented, letting the cook and manager know he didn't want the blind girl aware of his youkai heritage.

 

He lived in fear of some random racist seeing him and going off about the establishment 'allowing' hanyou while she was there, although thankfully such raging human supremacists were few and far between. The worst that usually ever happened was someone would enter, see him, mutter something to themselves about taking their business elsewhere, and leave. And all the other regulars had accepted his presence long ago and were as equally glad as Kagome that he had taken over ownership when the alternative had been losing their favorite noodle shop. It'd been no secret that Mushin was selling, and everyone had been devastated. Inuyasha had tried to keep his involvement as low key as possible, but people talked.

 

What if, one day, one of those people 'talked' to or near Kagome, about how glad they were that 'the hanyou' had bought the place?

 

He had to tell her, he knew, and soon.

 

But not today.

 

Maybe...maybe if their relationship were go to go the next level, then he'd really have to tell her, and it'd feel more appropriate, instead of just an 'oh by the way' kind of moment where, even if she accepted him, she'd be mad at him over the fact that he'd kept it a secret from her. If he were to ask her out on a date – something he'd been wanting to do for several months now, anyway – then he could tell her, on their first date, and use the excuse that before, when they were just acquaintances, he hadn't felt she'd needed to know, and he could admit to being selfish, of liking the idea of having a casual friend who treated him normally because she thought he was normal, and he'd apologize for that selfishness, while also explaining that he knew she needed to know the truth if they were going to take their relationship to the next level.

 

Yes, that was a good plan, and not only would it get him off his proverbial butt when it came to finally asking her out, but if all went well then not only would he not lose a casual friend, he'd gain a girlfriend.

 

“Kagome,” he spoke up then, before he had a chance to chicken out, and hearing the hesitant, nervous quality to his voice immediately earned him her full attention.

 

“Yes…?”

 

His nervousness was making her nervous.

 

“I...that is...I was just wondering if maybe you'd like to...get something to eat sometime?”

 

Behind her dark sunglasses, her sightless eyes blinked in confusion. “Aren't we eating now?”

 

“Well, yeah, but...”

 

He paused at her own nervous intake of breath.

 

“Yasha, are you...are you asking me out on a date?”

 

He could easily scent her spike in apprehension, but there was no actual fear from her, not that he truly understood her apprehension either because he knew she liked him. Could it possibly be that she already new what he was, and while she didn't mind being friends with a hanyou, dating one was another story? But no, he wouldn't allow his mind to jump to conclusions, and assuming she really did think he was human it wasn't fair to use his advanced sense of smell against her, either. Although, with the way she was now fidgeting with her head bowed, he didn't even need his nose to know how nervous she'd become.

 

Glad they were truly alone, now, the few other people who'd come in a short while ago all ordering their food to-go while Sango and Miroku were now having their own conversation in the kitchen – although it was unfortunately about how 'cute' they thought he and Kagome were together – Inuyasha swallowed the lump in his throat and asked her, “Is that all right?” His desire to reassure her was at least helping to calm his own rattled nerves.

 

“Of course!” she blurted, her cheeks darkening as she cleared her throat. “That is...I mean...I just haven't been on a date in several years, so...”

 

“I've never been on a date,” he confessed after she let her words trail off, and he could just make out the faint image of her milky eyes bugging in surprise through the tinted glass.

 

“Really?” she asked. “I find that hard to believe. I'm sure you're quite the catch.”

 

He ignored the self-deprecating part of his psyche that wanted to make a cruel joke about dog catchers.

 

“Not really,” he answered instead, which was definitely true although he didn't tell her why. “I'm sure I could land someone if I flaunted my money, but then they'd only be interested in me for my money, and that doesn't interest me,” he added honestly.

 

“Yet you're not worried about that with me?” Kagome inquired. “You've told me you're rich, after all.”

 

“Yeah, but I can tell you're not that kind of person,” he answered then, just as honestly.

 

He also couldn't help but notice that she didn't press him about 'not really' being a catch. For all she knew, he could be hideously ugly – and some people would say he was – yet it was clear she didn't care.

 

Biting her lower lip, he could tell her hands were still fidgeting in their place sitting in her lap, though the table blocked his view of seeing exactly what they were doing. Finally, she started to ask, “And it...it doesn't bother you that I'm...”

 

“Blind?” he supplied when she hesitated again.

 

Raising her head and appearing to stare right at him, although he knew better, Inuyasha's nose told him that her nervousness had not increased, but instead, she actually smelled as if she was getting braver, probably from the casual way in which he'd finished her sentence for her, letting her know that he didn't care about her blindness any more than she cared about his appearance. Then she did something he wasn't expecting. She removed her sunglasses.

 

Most of her face was blemish-free, but the skin of her eye sockets and upper cheeks had mild scarring. It instantly became clear to him that her blindness had been caused by something getting into her eyes, like acid, which had also burned the surrounding skin. She'd never shared the details with him and he hadn't asked; for her to show him this now...she was really taking a chance, putting her faith in him.

 

“Doesn't bother me in the slightest,” he said in that moment, as she put her shades back on, and he meant it with every fiber of his being. Now he really needed to tell her the truth about himself, if she was willing to trust him with something like that.

 

“I've gotten to know you a bit over these last two years, and I've realized that...that I'd like to know more, get to know you even better. And...and I want to tell you some things you don't know about me yet, either. Things you deserve to know if...if we were going to try giving us a try.”

 

Kami, he'd never strung together so many words in one sitting before, but she was worth it.

 

“In that case...” She swallowed. “I'd love to.”

 

 



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