Beautiful Stranger

BY : SplendentGoddess
Category: InuYasha AU/AR > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 776
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.

Blanket Disclaimer:

Inuyasha, and the characters therein, are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I am in no way affiliated with Takahashi, or VIZ Productions.


A/N:

 

What's this? A new story that's not for either Halloween or Christmas?! It's a miracle! LOL, actually, I've had this story sitting almost finished on my hard drive for quite a while now, so I finally just made myself finish it.

 

You're welcome!

 

This is an Americanized modern-day AU in a world where youkai and humans peacefully co-exist, though they usually stick to their own circles. Humans with spiritual powers are considered the mortal equivalent to daiyoukai, the most powerful of the humans, just as youkai come in varying levels of strength, although spiritual humans and regular humans tend to get along together just fine, as do more powerful youkai with weaker species. Everyone knows their place in society and nobody questions it.

 

Humans and youkai intermixing, on the other hand, is usually still met with prejudice on both sides, even though in higher society most everyone is usually too sophisticated to resort to vulgar insults or, kami forbid, physical violence. Among the lower classes a confrontation by unsupportive family members is far from unheard of, but while well-bred individuals of either race will still look down upon an interracial relationship as scandalous, and hanyou offspring as shameful, they will do so through shallow smiles and subtle behaviors, never daring to voice such opinions out loud, at least while out in public. Lucky is the hanyou born into high society; they are at least spoken to with respect to their faces, false as it may be.

 

Hanyou are sterile in this universe, in any form, which is something that everyone takes as a sign from the kami meant to prove that the two species are not supposed to interbreed, although there are no laws against it and hanyou are fully protected under both human and youkai legal rights.

 

That's enough universe info I'd say…on with the show!

 

 

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

 

 

Chapter 1 – Rebound, here we come!

 

 

“I'm not so sure about this, Sango,” Kagome sighed for the umpteenth time as she sat in the passenger seat of her personal trainer and best friend's car, as Sango drove the two of them to one of the more…friendly…establishments in town.

 

“Oh please,” the older girl argued from the driver's seat, chuckling a little to herself at the way Kagome self-consciously tugged at the bottom hem of her dress. “What would you rather do? Cry over what an asshole Hojo turned out to be in the privacy of your own bedroom for the next ten years?”

 

“Not for that long, but basically, yes,” the twenty-three-year-old miko answered defiantly with a playful cross of her arms, causing her friend to laugh.

 

“Forget about it. You need to take your mind off of him,” Sango insisted, “and the best way to do that is by meeting somebody new!” Changing lanes she laughed again and said, “Rebound, here we come!”

 

Kagome laughed a little bit despite herself at her friend's enthusiasm.

 

Sango had always been there for her, ever since they first met when Kagome was around thirteen years old. Sango was technically employed by Kagome, but she was no servant, and she got to tell Kagome what to do. On the mat, at least. For generations Sango's family had owned and operated their own private dojo, a higher end establishment for the elite, and for generations the various members of the Higurashi family had been going there to train, as spiritual powers and physical training often went hand in hand.

 

Despite their age difference, Kagome had befriended Sango almost right away, when her father had first started bringing her to the dojo just to check things out. Not long after, Kagome had started going there regularly for her own training, and had requested Sango as her trainer. From the then sixteen-year-old's point of view, she had also hit it off right away with the young miko, and so Sango had not only been happy to train her, she'd also started going over to the Higurashi's home on her days off, so that she and Kagome could just hang out together as friends.

 

Both girls had easily been able to switch back and forth between BFF mode and teacher/student mode, even at such young ages, and it was the same relationship they still enjoyed to that day. Kagome still trained with Sango on a regular basis, but as soon as Sango was off the clock she switched over from sensei to friend, which was exactly what Kagome needed in that moment, after the rather spectacular breakup she'd just recently experienced.

 

Kagome's father had thought that Hojo would be perfect for her, the young man also possessing spiritual powers and thus ensuring that any future children the two of them had would almost definitely possess such powers as well. If her father had had his way in the beginning, it would have been an old fashioned arranged marriage, but fortunately, it was the 21st century, and Kagome was therefore allowed to speak her own mind; her mother had seen to that.

 

Personalities ran strongly in the women of their family, or so her mother had told her comfortingly when Hojo had started to show his true stripes, that of a man who would not tolerate his wife having her own say in…well, just about anything.

 

And they hadn't even been engaged yet! Not officially, anyway. Kagome knew that was what both of their fathers had wanted, but all she had actually agreed to, after the initial blind date was a success, was becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. Hojo had seemed nice enough to give him an honest chance, and she hadn't been opposed to the idea of marrying him, but she'd still wanted to get to know him better first. She'd told him so, that they could 'see where their relationship led' and in her mind, that had made it obvious she wasn't committing to anything just yet.

 

But apparently not in his.

 

At no point in time had he ever actually proposed to her. Nor had she ever specifically told him that yes, she had decided she would marry him. He'd just started talking about marriage as if it were a foregone conclusion, like they had been betrothed all along. She might not have minded so much if it weren't for the fact that, apparently after he'd decided that she was a keeper, his personality had started to change. That had been the deciding factor for her, and looking back on it, she was definitely grateful he hadn't maintained his mask until after the wedding, or she just might have actually married the guy...and immediately regretted it.

 

He'd been super sweet in the beginning, and she actually had started to fall for him. If he'd stayed the same sweet man he'd been in the beginning then all his talk about marriage would have been kind of sweet, too, and she would have probably ended up agreeing that her father knew best. But instead, thankfully, Hojo's condescending nature had started to surface early on when, as he began talking about their future together, he completely disregarded and even downright belittled anything and everything Kagome'd said that had involved her plans for the future. If her plans did not fit in with his plans then they were foolish plans that needed to be discarded, had obviously been his point of view.

 

But her plans weren't foolish in the slightest.

 

She was going to become a doctor.

 

A pediatrician to be precise, because she loved children, although she was in no particular hurry to have children of her own because she wanted to focus on her career first.

 

At first, early on in their relationship, she'd just mentioned it casually in passing, when he'd talked about her being his 'little woman' waiting for him at home. She'd initially informed him of her plans in a polite and nonchalant manner because of course he'd had no way of knowing until she told him. He wasn't a mind reader, after all. But the fact of the matter was that she was already going to medical school, and was so far doing quite well.

 

She'd thought he'd be proud of her to learn such things, and that he'd maybe even complement her in a backhanded way that only such a brilliant woman was good enough for him. Instead, Hojo's initial responses to her repeated insistence that she wanted her own career had been things like “Oh rubbish” or “Well you don't have to worry about that any longer” which had later progressed into “Enough of this foolishness” and a few other choice phrases that were all roundabout ways of him basically telling her he forbad it.

 

To say nothing of his reaction when, in response to telling her she no longer needed to worry about a career so that she could concentrate on being a mother to their children instead, her rebuttal had been that she had no intention of having children for several years yet. When she'd spelled it out for him that her goal was to complete medical school and a residency at a hospital before ultimately opening her own practice, and that she didn't plan on becoming a mother until after her own practice was established, he very condescendingly informed her that as a powerful miko it was her responsibility to mother the next generation of reiki users and that that was the only goal she should be focusing on.

 

His attitude honestly made her not want to have children at all. At least not with him.

 

Confiding in her mother once the real Hojo had started to show himself, Mrs. Higurashi hadn't hesitated to tell her baby girl to not let that boy make her shrivel up inside. She'd told her to stand up for herself and what she believed in, and that if Hojo was trying to suppress her fiery spirit then he was definitely not the right man for her.

 

Her father had tried to object to her breaking it off with Hojo for all of five minutes, until Mrs. Higurashi had put a stop to that, as well. Not that she was the one who called all the shots in their own marriage, mind you. Mr. Higurashi was certainly no wimp and he was the man of the house. But one of the things he honestly loved the most about his wife, and daughter, was their spirit, and so if Hojo really was no good for Kagome then so be it. Mr. Higurashi was a good man, and while he wanted what was best for his daughter, he also believed that what was best for her included her happiness.

 

If she was going to be miserable with Hojo then that was really all there was too it. She had her own plans for the future and her own life to live, and Mr. Higurashi knew he wouldn't have been happy, either, watching Hojo suck the life and spirit right out of her as she gave up on her dreams of becoming a doctor to conform to what he wanted. Mr. Higurashi was proud of his daughter's life goals and she deserved a man who would stand beside her, not push her behind him.

 

And so in the end, Kagome had gotten her father's blessing to end the relationship.

 

Hojo's face had been rather amusing, Kagome recalled in that moment with another little laugh, as she thought back to how she'd told him what was what over lunch on the last date they would ever have.

 

The man had been yammering on about his own career plans for the future, as always, absolutely loving to hear himself talk, and Kagome had been polite enough, nodding where appropriate, until he'd opened the door for her by once again mentioning something about how she'd never want for anything because he'd take care of her and how she wouldn't have to lift a finger, yada yada yada.

 

Then she'd once again reminded him that she was already going to medical school. It just hadn't been cutting into their date time because she had waited to go on their first date at the beginning of summer break. Her second year was actually going to be starting fairly soon and then she wouldn't be able to have lunch with him every day anymore, she warned him. Needless to say he had not been happy about the reminder, since he'd told her repeatedly to drop out and was upset to learn that she hadn't yet done so.

 

Honestly, how many times did he have to tell the girl to quit all that nonsense before it sank into that extra thick skull of hers that his wife's place was at home raising his children?

 

Kagome, of course, hadn't let him complete his first idiotic sentence, which had begun with “Look, Kagome-” before she'd pushed back from her chair and stood up at the table, letting everyone in the restaurant stare at them and the scandal that was unfolding as she'd told him in a stern yet relatively calm and quiet voice, “No, you look. I am a Higurashi, Hojo, and we don't roll over for anyone. I'm not dropping out of medical school, I'm going to become a doctor and once I have enough experience under my belt, I'm going to be opening my own private practice as a pediatrician. Not because I need the money, but because it's what I want to do with my life. The Higurashi name has been known for generations, and you know what? I think it suits me. I believe I shall be staying a Higurashi for years to come, Hojo, good day.”

 

With that, she had swirled around and marched out the door, leaving him gaping like an idiot, a few scattered applause following her out of the semi-casual diner as she exited with her head held high, her aura giving away the fact that she was better, on paper, than everyone else in the establishment, though it was clear from her attitude that the only one she felt she was better than was the man she'd just left to pay for her half-eaten lunch. He could afford it; their entire bill was less than an à la carte steak at the types of restaurants he preferred taking her to.

 

That had been another thing that had really started to bug her about Hojo. Money or not, sometimes she just liked having a regular ol' lunch in a regular ol' restaurant. It didn't always have to be three Michelin stars and executive chefs and valet parking. What was so wrong about having the occasional burger and fries?

 

Hojo usually turned his nose up to such things, insisting the lesser establishments weren't good enough for her, though he'd accommodated her on rare occasion when trying to get back on her good side. He'd been able to tell from the start of that particular date that something had been bothering her, and so he'd promised to take her wherever she wanted and she'd picked her favorite sandwich and burger place. Not that she wouldn't have made the same scene in a fancier restaurant, because she would have, so Hojo was actually really lucky he had taken her to the cheaper place. At least he could still save face among his peers since nobody he knew had witnessed the disgrace.

 

She snorted softly to herself in amusement at the memory of his shell-shocked expression when she'd stormed out. It was the last time she'd laid eyes on him and that last memory of Hojo was definitely her favorite.

She had no regrets, except that he'd turned out to be the way he was. That he'd never contacted her after the breakup, had never attempted to apologize or win her back, let her know all she needed to about how he really felt, but that didn't mean a small part of her still wished things could have turned out differently.

 

If he'd truly loved her then he should have asked for a second chance once he realized he'd screwed up, telling her he'd let her have whatever kind of career she wanted so long as she would stay with him. Of course, one could also argue that if she'd loved him above all else she would have been willing to give up her career plans for his sake, so it was clear that neither of them had honestly loved the other as much as they really should have. She and Hojo were done, forever, and honestly, she was all right with that.

 

Which was why she had let herself be talked into going out on a 'girls night out to shame all other girls night outs' as Sango had put it. Kagome felt like the martial arts instructor had decided it was her own personal mission to get her friend laid, which explained the borrowed dress the miko was currently wearing. Grumbling under her breath about its length, or lack thereof, she gave it another useless tug.

 

Pulling to a stop in the valet lane out front of one of the swankiest hotels in the human side of town, which also just happened to have one of the most happening nightclubs, an establishment that had a rather 'playful' reputation, Sango handed her keys to the attendant while Kagome took a deep breath and did Independent Girl thing #1 by opening her own car door for herself and letting herself out of the car before the lot attendant had a chance to come around the vehicle and open the door for her instead. He still gave her a professional smile and bid her welcome to the hotel, of course, to which she nodded and thanked him politely, and then she and Sango were off, officially forgetting about her car for the rest of the night as the bellman followed after them with their two pieces of overnight luggage.

 

The game plan was that Kagome would get hammered while Sango chaperoned, making sure she didn't hook up with just anybody although the ultimate goal was to hopefully hook up with somebody. That was why Sango had already made room reservations for herself and her friend in this very hotel. How much more convenient could it get than meeting a guy in a hotel nightclub and then informing him that you had a room in that very hotel?

 

As soon as she was sure that Kagome was in good hands, Sango would retire to her own room for the night – she was Kagome's drive back home, after all, so she wouldn't completely abandon her – or worst case scenario, if Kagome didn't end up meeting anybody one-night-stand worthy, then she and Kagome would crash together in the same room and stay up all night running up a huge room service tab on cake and ice cream while renting sad movies all night long. Ideally, Sango knew her friend needed to get laid, but if not that, then she needed a shoulder to cry on, and Sango would help her with either, in whatever way she could.

 

“Jeez, Sango, I can't even imagine how short this thing must be on you,” Kagome mumbled discreetly about the deep red dress she had borrowed from the older and taller woman as she tried and failed a third time to tug the skirt down lower on her legs. “It's too short for me and I'm almost a whole foot shorter than you!”

 

“Oh it's not too short for you. For me, maybe,” Sango acquiesced with a playful shrug, “but it looks absolutely perfect on you. You look smoking.”

 

“I look desperate.”

 

“You are desperate.”

 

“Not this desperate!” Laughing despite herself, Kagome gestured to herself again as she and Sango headed towards the registration desk.

 

Sango merely repeated that she looked good before approaching the desk clerk who'd called them over.

 

I look like a high end prostitute... Kagome thought to herself, although she didn't brave saying it out loud for fear of insulting her friend since it was Sango's dress.

 

The dress was a deep, crimson red, with a playful circle skirt that hit a little above the knee that moved with just the right amount of tease as she walked. The waist and sleeveless bodice were both fitted, the top of the dress featuring a wide collar that hung off her shoulders. She wasn't a fan of nylons so her smooth legs were bare, black high-heel sandals with ankle straps that matched her petite cocktail purse completing the look. It was simple yet screamed of elegance at the same time, especially since the dress, shoes and purse were all high end designer labels.

 

Her fingernails and toenails were perfectly pampered with classic white tips, and her diamond earrings, necklace and tennis bracelet all sparkled beautifully in the light while her raven hair was left more casual in a loose and wavy cascade that bounced as she walked and left parts of her neck and shoulders to the imagination.

 

Sango thought Kagome looked absolutely amazing.

 

Kagome thought she looked like a neon sign saying come have sex with me.

 

“This dress just screams 'I want you to come talk to me and then fuck me,'” the miko sighed dramatically a few minutes later, as she glanced at herself one last time in Sango's mirror, she and the martial artist taking a few minutes in each of their rooms to make sure their luggage got delivered.

 

Their rooms were not directly next to one another but were on the same floor just a bit down the hall from each other; they'd wanted that perfect balance of being close to each other without being close enough to hear each other…you know, just in case.

 

“Well, yeah,” Sango answered nonchalantly. “Why do you think I bought it?” Quirking a smile, she had a very 'And your point?' expression on her face. “It's not my fault you didn't already own an appropriate dress for this evening and asked me to 'just bring whatever' when I volunteered to let you riffle through my closet.”

 

Knowing Sango had a very good point, Kagome joined her friend in laughter when Sango giggled, the miko finally saying to hell with it. She did have to admit that she looked good, and so what if it was totally scandalous, actually trying to hook up with a one-night-stand for the night?

 

This particular club was actually somewhat well known for that type of hooking up, hence the name of the establishment: Taboo. Maybe she did need to get laid, just take her mind completely off of Hojo and get that whole 'rebound' thing out of her system like Sango had said. She should just let herself have a good time for tonight, so that she could then look towards the future and a possible new relationship at some point down the road without the ghost of her ex-boyfriend haunting her at every turn.

 

Mind made up, Kagome downed a shot from Sango's mini bar and was raring to go as she followed her friend, who was wearing a different but also equally alluring dress in dark purple, down to the club. Head held high, Kagome was bound and determined to have a good time tonight, consequences be damned.

 

“Rebound, here we come!” she said with another laugh, repeating what Sango had said during the drive.

 

 



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