It took her seven years to see him again.
Her mouth went dry and she couldn’t look away for the life in her.
Of course Inuyasha noticed her – despite the quite crowded bar, his nose wouldn’t lie. Her neck flushed and she tried to keep the bright pink on her cheeks under control, but it was of no use.
Kagome’s friends from the Hospital, Ayumi and Yuka, were still chatting enthusiastically, never noticing her disturbance, but, for once, she was grateful her friends were so inattentive.
All she could see was golden eyes, bright as ever, burning her skin like the seven years between them didn’t exist.
Of course, curiosity was stronger than her will to keep away.
She came back to the same club a week later. This time, her only company was Sango and azure eyes searched through the people dancing the whole night, but Inuyasha never showed.
Sango put a comforting hand on her shoulder when they were leaving, but Kagome just smiled.
“That’s just one night Sango.” She nodded once. “I’m not giving up.”
Not even a month later, Inuyasha was there again.
He was standing, grouch as ever, while his friend – a handsome man with a very charming smile – entertained the circle around them.
“I thought you were avoiding me.” She approached him from behind.
“Didn’t believe you’d like to see me.” Their gazes finally crashed close enough that Kagome could feel the air between them shift.
“Well, can’t say I thought I did.” Kagome smiled a little bit. “For some time, in fact, I thought I never wanted to see you again.”
“What changed?” Inuyash lifted one eyebrow.
“I actually saw you.”
He ducked his head to hide a grin. It was gone just as quickly as it appeared, but Kagome saw it and smiled, satisfied with herself.
Her stomach clenched pleasantly in a way it hadn’t done for a long time.
“How are you?” Inuyasha sipped on his whiskey, schooling his features to a completely blank mask. “Married yet?”
“I never knew you to make so many questions.” Her eyes twinkled as Inuyasha scoffed at her, but his frown had no real anger behind it. “I don’t know why.”
He assented slowly, mulling it over. She tucked a lose strand of hair behind her ear and said tentatively after a beat:
“I guess I’m easily bored.”
Kagome should be worried how easily Inuyasha slipped back into her life.
Not that he seemed happy about it – in actuality, he seemed bothered that he’d come to meet her every single time, but he still came nonetheless. At first, they would just walk together, sometimes go to movies.
But then it became obvious his friend, Miroku, took an instant shine to Sango, so nights out became frequent.
“You should warn her he’s a rake.” He said, gruffly.
“Don’t worry about Sango.” Kagome chirped, watching as the couple in front of her interacted. “She can take care of herself.”
Before Inuyasha could say anything further, Sango graced Miroku’s face with a loud slap.
“Yeah.” He chuckled. “I can see that.”
He turned to her, golden eyes piercing through hers.
“What about you?”
“What? Are you trying to warn me about Miroku as well?”
Inuyasha just scowled at her.
“You shouldn’t worry,” she kept going, a teasing smirk curving up her lips. “he’s handsome, but seems to be very enraptured by my friend.”
“Don’t be stupid.” Inuyasha said with a withering look. “You know what I mean.”
Kagome raised her chin, almost defying him to say anything else. Inuyasha merely glared.
“Yes. You mean you’re scared.”
“I’m not scared of anything, wench.”
Kagome smiled lightly.
“Prove it, then.”
People still stared and commented when they saw them walking down the street side by side, but a big city like Chicago was much different from the little town where they first met. There people were less conservative. In fact, there were even social movements fighting for equality of treatment to humans and demons alike.
Kagome’s favorite thing about the city, though, was that every once in a while, she would see a pair like Inuyasha and her, walking together, hand in hand, like any other couple out there.
It wasn’t common, but they existed.
One of those days happened when the two of them were having a picnic in Chicago’s Park District -- it was her day off and Kagome didn’t get many of those.
The sun was glinting in his bronze skin just the way it did when they were just teens lying side by side on the grass and it brought a contented smile to her face.
Three towels away from them, she spotted an obviously unhuman looking girl eating with her human boyfriend peacefully. Kagome quietly pointed out no one was throwing stones at them.
Inuyasha refused to answer her, so she just leaned her head on his shoulder.
When he didn’t retreat, it felt like winning.
She was lost in thought, looking out of the window, when Eri’s voice – the receptionist – broke through her daze.
“I can’t believe they actually did it.” The girl was clearly disgusted. It made Kagome curious.
“That sordid law project was approved yesterday.” She turned her head from the radio to look at Kagome. “The one about making interspecies marriage legal. As if any respectable woman would want such thing!”
Kagome stared at Eri, speechless. The girl kept talking, but it was like Kagome was suddenly deaf to everything around her. All she could hear, echoing endlessly in her mind, was Eri’s voice wrapping every syllable of interspecies marriage.
It was legal now.
“Awful, don’t you think?” Eri pressed on, unaware of her train of thought.
“Oh, yes, definitely.” She finally recovered her composure enough to plaster a smile on her face. Kagome picked the stack of paper from the counter in front of her. “I need to take these to Kaede. See you later!”
“What the hell are you doing here, wench?”
“Have you heard the news?” She was soaked to the bones and shaking, but Kagome couldn’t care less.
“I will get you a towel before you freeze over, c’mon.” He stared both ways, making sure no one was peeking out of their windows, before pulling her in. “What were you thinking? Coming to my house, alone, in a storm like this?”
Kagome just rolled her eyes.
“Inuyasha, answer me.”
He finally stopped complaining about how damn irresponsible she was and held her gaze. The goosebumps travelling through her arms had nothing to do with the chill of the night or her drenched clothes.
“Have you heard the news today?”
It took him too long to answer.
“Yes.” The muscle in his jaw twitched, but he didn’t look away.
“I did, Kagome, I know what you’re talking about, can you stop the show –”
He growled at her, a low sound coming from the back of his throat and narrowed his eyes to slits.
“Interspecies marriages are legal.”
“Yes, they are.”
“Doesn’t mean they are approved.”
“Like any of us give a damn what’s approved or not!” She snapped. Both her hands went up to his neck, bringing his lips down on hers. The thunder rumbling outside kept the tempo with the beating of her heart and, through all those years, Kagome thought the feeling of kissing him was imprinted in her memories for eternity, but actually reliving it rendered her recollections to shame.
Suddenly she was fifteen again and his lips tasted like sunny afternoons and an easy love for a difficult person.
Much like the last time they did it, he backed away as soon as their lips parted.
“I won’t do this to you.”
“Won’t do what to me, Inuyasha? Love me?” Her cheeks burned, but she didn’t stop. “Let me make my own damn choices?”
“I won’t make you go through what my mother did.”
Silence hung heavy over them, broken only by the too loud sound of her sharp breaths.
“And I won’t.” Kagome said, a lot softer. She took a step closer. “I won’t, because you’re alive, Inuyasha. You’re not your father. And I’m free to choose what I want for me.”
“Shut up and let me protect you.”
Kagome wet her lips, hand reaching to entwine their fingers.
“This is not something I need protection from.”
“You have no idea what you’re doing.”
“Yes, I have. Times are changing.” She squeezed his hand and Inuyasha squeezed back, shutting his eyes tightly. “I know what I want. I want someone who accepts me even though I’m not perfect, even though I’m stubborn and inappropriate. I want someone who can respect my opinions. I don’t want to be someone’s boring, perfect wife.”
Kagome was so close their noses were brushing.
“I want someone I love. Someone I chose.”
“Did you miss me?”
“You know I did.”
“I spent the better part of these last years wishing I could go back in time. Make it different somehow.”
“It’s ok. We're good right now.”
“Yeah, sure.” He chuckled and she snuggled further into his arms.
Kagome was almost asleep when she heard his murmur.
“I should have known you’re too stubborn to do what’s good for you.”
“No.” She raised her head to press a soft, sleepy kiss to his lips. “I just always knew you’re what’s best for me.”