Chapter Six: All I want for Christmas is for Christmas to go away
The killings had stopped for the Holidays. Maybe the killer(s) had remembered that Santa Clause is always watching. Maybe. Since Kagome had joined Kouga and his team, she chose to ignore the fact that Inuyasha was a part of any of it unless she bumped into him, there had been four more deaths. There had actually been breathing room between them, but the investigators were not getting far with the evidence. After purifying the evil auras around the weapons all Kagome had to do was go home and pray that she wouldn’t dream about the bodies. While pour Kouga had to look at the scene, collect witness statements, talk to the police, and other such thing that civilians like her really played no part in for hours and hours on end. Then he would go home and work. Work for days on end, barley sleeping (is he even remembered to sleep), eating, hell the man barely took care of himself. Well, actually he lifted weights and sparred, but he was a demon so it didn’t really count.
Kagome sighed and gratefully sat down on a near by bench, letting all the sights and sounds of the mall wash over her is a symphony of… evil. Usually she would be rushing around shopping until she dropped, humming out of tune Christmas carols under her breath the whole time. Something was off this year… the murders maybe? Yep, that seemed like a fairly good guess.
“Kagome?” she jumped at the sound of a man saying her name. At her actions the voice chuckled. She felt a blush coming on as she turned around to face the mystery man. She let a sigh of relief she didn’t even know she was holding when she saw Kouga, standing there, dressed in his usuall Armani suit and looking simply perfect, with a hip cocked and a grin on his face. She was relived it was him instead of some acquaintance whom she didn’t remember their name, even if she did feel under dressed in her jeans and dark blue sweater around him.
“Tired already?” he asked indicating her small assortment of shopping bags strewn around her feat. Kagome groaned in response, electing another chuckle out of Kouga.
“Usually, but I don’t know, this year Christmas shopping has lost some of its glitter. I just might have to resort to giving people gift cards! Which, I would like to tell you, I never, ever do! That is just the most horrible thing ever to give a person! I usually give nice, thoughtful gifts. But this year, gift cards are looking really good.” Kouga raised an eyebrow sardonically at her and flopped down gracefully on the bench next to her. Kagome looked on enviously; most of the demons she had met recently all seemed to have this aura of natural grace around them. Only demons could flop gracefully she supposed. Kouga coughed and she glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He was grinning, he looked embarrassed. She turned her head fully so she could get a better look at him. At her movement Kouga looked over at her and grinned hugely. Something on her face must have been funny, because as they looked at each other Kouga started to chuckle.
“Oops, I guess I have to give your card to some one else then, huh?” Kagome’s eyes widened before she too started to laugh. She eyed the two small bags at Kouga’s feet with interest. “ That is it? Those two measly little bags contain all the gifts for all the people you’re shopping for? Kouga-“At her lecturing tone Kouga raised up his hands in surrender.
“Before you make my ears bleed with your lecturing, I’m just going to say that the people I shop for have gotten just about the same gifts for the least fifty or so years. And If I change now, some of the older more stuffy ones will die of shock, and who wants to accidentally kill someone off on Christmas?” He flashed Kagome an appeasing grin. As if to say: “please just accept my gift so I don’t have to stay in this hell hole any longer than I have to?” Kagome laughed at him and shook her head.
“You don’t have to get me something else, but really Kouga, after fifty years you haven’t thought of anything else to give people?” Kouga shrugged and waggled his eyebrows at her. “Kouga I mean it. Go buy them all something that you haven’t given them yet” Kouga opened his mouth, apparently shocked. Kagome laughed, picked up her bags, stood up and walked towards the exit.
“Bye Kouga! Go shopping!”
Kagome smiled brightly as she threw her bags into her trunk, her little Christmas present argument with Kouga had really cheered her up.
Kagome let out a shocked gasped as she watched her computer screen. ‘Oh, so that’s what the note meant…” she thought faintly as the computer finished turning on. Her eyes darted to the cheeky note her friends had left on the corner of her monitor:
Here is an early Christmas present! We thought that your background of cute little kittens in a basket (seriously Kagome, grow up) was a little boring… so we signed you up for something a little more mature! Have fun!
The sexy duo (you know who we are)
P.S. (We swear that this is for your own good!)
There on her background was a picture of a very naked man. In the corner were the words “Studs of the month club”. ‘ Well, at least he is good looking… and er, well endowed.’ Kagome thought wryly. At least they hadn’t done this on her work computer…this year. Her ponderings on the male body were cut off by her door bell ringing. Kagome’s head swiveled around to stare intently at the wall, as if hoping she could see through it to her porch. It didn’t ring a second time so she shrugged and decided to ignore whoever was out there. She got up from her computer chair and padded down the hallway to her kitchen, her overly long jeans making hissing noises on the floor.
She sniffed appreciatively as the scent of her cookies, chocolate chip of course, floated about the room. As she was bending down to retrieve her oven mitts the doorbell rang again. Annoyed, Kagome straightened up and glared at the door, the oven mitts dangling uselessly from her hands. She waited for the next ring, stubbornly refusing to go over to the door. When the next ring didn’t come she “hmmphed” self-righteously and walked over to the oven. As she was half way through with the process of taking the baking sheet out of the oven, the doorbell rang, again. Kagome took the tray out and carefully placed it on the counter, before slamming the door to the over shut.
‘ What is with this person? Take a hint!’ she thought angrily to herself as she placed the cookies delicately on a plate decorated with Santa hanging of the top of a house by his own bag, which was tied around his neck ( a present from Souta). As she was placing the last cookie on the plate… the doorbell rang. Kagome turned stiffly around, rolled up the sleeves of her dark blue sweater and walked slowly to the door. She grabbed the knob and was turning it as the doorbell gave out another annoying shriek. Kagome threw open the door so hard it bounced back from hitting the wall.
“What do you want?” She growled from between gritted teeth. Inuyasha simply stared at her. She plowed on, not giving him a chance to speak.
“Couldn’t you have just called?” He again didn’t answer and his eyes roamed her face, as if searching for something. Kagome calmed down and let herself actually look at him. He had changed out of his designer suit (for once) and into a pair of mouthwateringly skin tight jeans and a black leather jacket.
As always, when she had gotten random glimpses of him over the past months her mouth went dry and her lower parts did the most delicious tingling thing. But besides that, her chest tightened to the point it was almost pain. And memories of the two of them flooded her mind. Those countless times she had secretly dreamed and hoped that things would somehow work out and they would end up together. All those times his mask had slipped and he let some of his true feelings for her shine through, and her heart had soured in response. Then after she won her fight against her body and emotions, and calmed herself down, she would look at him looking at her. She hadn’t seen anything in his face that was anything close to affection she was hoping for. He might appreciate her looks, but she didn’t care if he wanted to fuck her, she only cared if he cared for anything besides her body and miko powers.
“ No, I couldn’t have just called, this is… important.” Kagome jumped, startled by the sound of his voice. She had been so wrapped up her own thoughts that she had kind of slipped off. Her eyes widened and she took an involuntary breath.
“Oh god Inuyasha, has there been another killing?” Kagome’s voice was quiet, like she was preparing for the worst. Inuyasha’s face went blank for a few moments, before a flurry of emotions flashed across its beautiful surface: Shock, anger, shame, curiosity, anger again, before finally settling on polite a mask.
“You think I’m here because a murder?” In spite of his polite persona he had assumed, Inuyasha’s voice was tinted with anger. Kagome felt her own calm face begin to slip and her mouth start to hang open in shock. Inuyasha stared at her incredulously… before glaring at her.
“You really though I was here because of a murder?” He didn’t give her time to respond. “Are you going to invite me in? Or will I stand here all night out in the cold?” He asked rudely. Kagome took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and let out the breath in a shuddering sigh.
“Why should I? I had the notion that you were going to leave me alone.” Kagome felt her heart literally stutter. That was not what she wanted to have said. She wanted to scream “yes!”. “Yes, come in! I never actually wanted to been separated from you permanently, again. But she shoved her torrent of emotions callously back and kept her face straight.
She would not let herself be hurt by him. She would not let him know what she felt for him. It just wouldn’t end well for her. Looking at him now, she almost felt the physical weight of her emotions. Inuyasha standing there, looking so damm good, was not helping her peace of mind. Inuyasha made a frustrated gesture and ran his hands through his hair. Her breath caught. She would never have a future with this man. Until now, Kagome didn’t know that some where inside her, she still held out hope for the two of them. Staring at him, she could feel the tears building in the back of her throat. Staring at him, images flashed through her head of the life they could have made. Realizing that she still held that dream of the two of them, never mind that it was impossible back then, and it still was now hurt. It hurt more than it should have. Her chest was so tight she could barley breathe.
Inuyasha stared at her, apparently impatient for an answer, with the first hint of anger gracing his face.
“KAGOME!” Inuyasha’s anger broke through, but he calmed himself down, with visible effort, and started again.
“Kagome, please… Just let me in.” He stopped, as if bracing himself. “ If you want me to leave… I will. Just please…” He almost chocked on the word “please” this time around. Kagome leaned back, considering. She sighed.
“Okay Inuyasha.” He flashed her a grateful smile. It made her damm traitorous heart clench. As she stepped back to let him in she backed up as far as she could, her back hitting the wall as he walked in. Kagome knew that she was being rude, but that just wasn’t a ranking factor right now. She watched his back cautiously and closed the door behind him, shutting out the frigid night air. Inuyasha stopped in the middle of the room, his head turning to take it all in, she supposed. Kagome cleared her throat.
“So?...” She was proud that her voice didn’t betray her inner feelings. In response Inuyasha ran his hands through his hair again. The silence stretched out between them. He didn’t give the impression of speaking any time soon. “I’ll-“ Kagome cleared her throat before continuing. “ I’ll be right back” She didn’t wait for him to respond before she skidded around him.
She returned with a box wrapped in plain brown paper. She stopped, unsure, staring at him for a few seconds before continuing. Kagome stopped in front of him, out of arms reach. They both simply stood there for what seemed like hours, before Kagome leaned forward and held the box out to him.
“I was going to have Kouga give it to you but… but you’re here now and…” Kagome coughed and trailed off. The silence again stretched uncomfortably through the room. Inuyasha finally broke it by retrieving the box.
Both of them made sure that their hands didn’t touch. There was a tense moment when neither knew what to do, but Kagome broke through it by turning and walking to the couch.
“Have a seat Inuyasha.” Kagome’s voice was sounded tired. She averted her eyes from him as he walked, and then finally, settled himself opposite her.
“Open it, go ahead” Kagome looked up and smiled tiredly. She again averted her eyes as he opened it. She didn’t look up until he spoke.
That was the only word that came to his lips after opening the box and reading the letter. Inuyasha impatiently waited for Kagome to look at him, holding the scrap of cloth in his hands so tightly that he felt his claws break the skin. She slowly dragged her head up to meet his eyes. He jumped. Her eyes were sad, no sorrowful, and empty at the same time. He didn’t know the exact reason, but he would bet just about anything that it had something to do with him. He fought to keep his face clear of any emotions, and wasn’t sure if he succeeded. He looked down at the letter again.
This piece of cloth is the only thing that I hold of you. It’s the only physical thing tying you to me, and I thought… well that you deserved to not be tied up by me.
He unfurled his hand and looked upon a piece of his old Fire rat Haori.
“Inuyasha, the way that meeting in your office went… I’m sorry about that. I don’t want us to… well I don’t want us avoiding each other like the plague. We have history, god knows we do, and that counts for something. Dammit! I know we aren’t going to go out and get married. But things don’t have to keep going the way they are.” At the sound of Kagome’s voice, Inuyasha raised his head to look at her. As she spoke his chest tightened. Her face had started out impassive, but as she finished she saw glimmers of fear. Fear that he would completely reject and abandon her.
He was about to blurt something out, but he stopped himself just in time.
“Kagome, that is what I’m here about.” He said carefully. “This” he held out his hand with the cloth in it, it had blood on it from his hand. ‘After what it, me and Kagome have been through together, it’s kind of fitting.’ He mused. He leaned over and dropped it beside her.
“This” he continued “You can keep this… because you’re right. We have a shit load of history between us, and both of us acted… off that day” He mentally patted himself on the back for not choking on admitting that he was in the wrong to. “I have no idea what the hell we are going to do now… but we shouldn’t be acting like the other doesn’t exist.” While he spoke Inuyasha had carefully watched her face. He had to stop himself from grinning when the profound look of relief flashed across her face. It was start. Then something darker broke through the relief on her face. Her eyes narrowed and he felt a sense of panic rising inside him.
“Inuyasha… are you doing this simply because of our history? Because you feel bound to?” Kagome’s eyes bored into his. Inuyasha took a deep, steadying breath before answering.
“I don’t think so. Yes, I think we need to at least… work through our past, but-“ He trailed off. Kagome pulled her head back to look at the ceiling for a few moments before looking down at him. Inuyasha felt that damm chest-tightening sensation again as she flashed him that same face laced with twinges of fear. He continued before she walked off or something.
“But no. I’m also here because, I… Because, dammit Kagome, I’m here because of our past and I’m here because every time I see you I-“ He cut himself off before he said too much. The silence was oppressive; he could almost feel it laying on his skin lie a slimy blanket. Kagome graced him with a sad half smile.
“Well… merry Christmas.”
‘Ya… merry fucking Christmas’ Inuyasha thought darkly.