Inuyasha walked out of his small kitchen, carrying a large mug of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and a plate of chocolate chip cookies on a tray. He put it down on the coffee table in front of his girlfriend, stooping to drop a kiss on the top of her head, then snorted as she tried to nudge him aside so she could see the show she was currently watching. He didn’t know which one it was – they all seemed to blend into one another, and he did his best to block out the singing. Why was there always singing?
“Another one?” he teased, blocking her view even more. “You mean you haven’t watched every single musical on Netflix already? What’s this one called?”
“Singing in the Rain”, Kagome said testily. “And it doesn’t matter how many times I watch them, they make me feel better”, she said, trying to lean sideways. “C’mon, Inuyasha, move!”
Finally relenting at the pouting face looking up at him, he moved out of the way.
“Alright little storm cloud, you win.”
Kagome huffed at him, and he chuckled at her as he walked over to his desk, and picked up his headphones, grateful that the swelling crescendo of violins would soon be drowned out by the much more soothing sounds of screaming and gunfire from his paused game. He glanced back over to the TV as he sat down in front of his monitor.
“That guy looks constipated”, he commented. “How do you even watch this tripe?”
Kagome turned to glare at him over the back of the sofa, a cushion hugged to her stomach to help keep the hot water bottle in place.
“This is not tripe, and Don isn’t constipated!” she hissed. “He’s feeling! He’s in love with Kathy, but he has to act like he’s in love with Lina on screen”.
“That doesn’t mean he needs to torture me by singing and dancing about it”, Inuyasha muttered. “How are you meant to take any of this seriously, when they suddenly just burst into song about their innermost feelings? It’s utterly ridiculous. I don’t get how you can love musicals so much.”
“Is that what you really think?” she said quietly, the tone of her voice sounding brittle in comparison to the cheerful music playing in the background.
Inuyasha lowered his headphones, ears suddenly twitching with trepidation. He wasn’t always the best at reading a room, but he could definitely feel the tension in this one.
Their relationship was only new, but already Kagome seemed like a permanent fixture in his life. She was bubbly and kind, her tiny frame usually draped in the brightest coloured clothing she could find, and she always seemed to be singing or laughing. She reminded him sometimes of a sweet little canary, his own bright eyed and inquisitive songbird, with her happy go lucky mentality and readiness to try new things. She was everything he wasn’t.
They’d only met by chance, both of them stuck waiting in the Emergency Room at the local hospital, him waiting for his friend Miroku to get patched up after coming off his bike, and her waiting to get her wrist x-rayed after an accident with a set at the theatre where she worked. They’d chatted, or rather Kagome had, and he’d watched her, somehow mesmerised by this tiny human that was unruffled by his obviously hanyou features.
When Sango had appeared to pick up her bruised and scraped boyfriend, he’d decided to stay with Kagome, not liking the idea of leaving her there to wait all alone. Eventually she’d been x-rayed, poked and prodded, with Inuyasha tagging along at her request, finally triumphantly emerging from the hospital with her wrist strapped for a sprain. By then, the idea of her travelling home alone on public transport in the dark was abhorrent to him, so he’d driven her home. Somehow, she’d managed to get his number from him, and added herself into the paltry number of contacts on his phone.
When she’d texted a few days later to invite him out for a drink to say thank you, to his own surprise he’d eagerly accepted, and before he’d known it, they were inseparable. Early morning texts and late night phone conversations progressed to in person talks and late night kisses, until one night instead of accepting his reluctant good night, she’d launched herself at him and asked him to stay and take her to bed.
He’d hardly been able to look Kagome’s flatmate Shiori in the eye the next morning at breakfast, because they hadn’t exactly been discreet with the noise levels, with Kagome delighted to discover that youkai stamina extended to the bedroom. Shiori had teasingly remarked that his second task as Kagome’s boyfriend should be to buy her flatmate some decent earplugs. Kagome had found it hilarious, him, not so much.
Kagome now had two drawers in his dresser for clothes, a makeup bag and toothbrush in his bathroom, and an extra hook on the back of his door for her jacket. She hardly ever slept at her apartment now, only going back to do washing and visit Shiori.
It still shook him that Kagome actually cared for him, showed an interest in what he did. And the sex. They were starting to ease off a little now, but for the first few weeks, they were at it like rabbits, christening every room in his apartment, nearly every flat surface, and even some of the vertical ones. The sex was fucking amazing; she was so passionate, so eager, so utterly beautiful. It was like going from starvation rations to an all you could eat buffet, and he took full advantage of their mutual eagerness to explore each other’s bodies. He didn’t think he’d ever get enough of her.
But their relationship wasn’t just built just on that. They laughed with each other, teased each other, helped each other. He hardly knew the person he was becoming since he’d met Kagome, but the change was…good.
Even though it was early in the relationship, she’d already told him she loved him. At three months, this was the longest time he’d ever been with anyone and even though he was pretty sure he loved her too, he wasn’t quite comfortable saying that to her out loud yet. She understood. At least he’d done his best to try and show her how he felt, and she seemed happy with that. Miroku and Sango loved her too, and she’d slotted into their lives like she’d always been there. It was like she'd stepped out of a dream he'd never knew he had. He’d never felt so happy.
But right now, the look she was giving him was not a happy one. She seemed almost on the verge of tears. Kagome had warned him early on that she did get emotional just before her period and that some months were worse than others. He’d felt a little embarrassed by her candid remark, never having been in a relationship long enough for that kind of information to be shared. But so far everything had been okay.
Today hadn’t been great though. She had been out of sorts ever since she’d woken up this morning, feeling exhausted, achy and irritable, and he’d done his best to not take anything she said to heart and try and do little things to comfort her, knowing it wasn’t really her talking but her hormones. She’d smelt a little different, even though she wasn’t bleeding yet, but nothing concerning.
But right now, she was beginning to worry him – her heart rate was speeding up and her scent hinted at extreme agitation, similar to a fight or flight response. This was new. Should he remind her that she’d told him she got emotional just before her period and that she needed to calm down? Some deep seated sense of self-preservation made him realise that wasn’t a good idea.
“Kagome”, he said uncertainly, trying to work out what the safest approach was, not wanting to upset her even more. “Are you okay?”
“What if we’ve been fooling ourselves Inuyasha.”
“I mean, look at us,” she said, gesturing from Inuyasha’s faded Soundgarden t-shirt and ripped black jeans to her heart patterned leggings and hot pink t-shirt which proudly proclaimed she was Fuelled by Theatre and Coffee. “We couldn’t be more different.”
“But”, spluttered Inuyasha, his heart suddenly beating faster at the dangerous direction the conversation was taking. “Different is good! Yes, we like different things, but that shouldn’t matter!” Kagome’s bottom lip quivered.
“It might not matter tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that, but sooner or later, it would. That’s what you said last night.” Her breathing was picking up now, ragged gasps with a scent of tears.
“You said it’s important to find someone who shares your goals and your interests and fits into your life.”
“Kagome, I was talking about my asshole brother, and how he and Kagura aren’t on the same page about having kids! I wasn’t talking about us!”
“You just said musicals are utterly ridiculous”, she burst out, standing suddenly and letting the cushion and hot water bottle fall to the floor with a sad flop. “And just in case you’ve forgotten Inuyasha, I am a stage manager for a theatre company. Which means by default that you think I’m ridiculous.” A fat tear rolled down her cheek, quickly followed by another, and her distress was the only thing stopping him from snarling that the only thing ridiculous was this conversation. This wasn’t like her at all, and he needed to keep calm.
“Hey, hey, c’mon, I never meant that”, said Inuyasha softly as he stood, trying his best to de-escalate the situation. “I know your job is important to you, and just how much you love it.” Kagome continued on as if she hadn’t heard him, her voice breaking as tears streamed down her cheeks.
“You’ve never once shown an interest in anything that I’ve done at work. Never come to any of the shows I’ve been involved in”, she sniffed, and Inuyasha’s heart sank, made heavy with sudden guilt.
That was true. Kagome had listened to him rant about his work as a software test analyst, had shown interest in the games he played when he relaxed, had even made a WOW character and tried going on a raid with him when it was clearly not her thing. But she’d thrown herself into it, just like everything else she did, laughing at herself when she made mistakes, just happy to spend time with him sharing something he loved. He hadn’t done anything like that for her, hadn’t even noticed. That needed to change.
Kagome began gathering her things in a haphazard fashion, stuffing them in her backpack.
“Baby, don’t”, he said, trying to reach out to hug her. “Don’t leave when you’re upset. I promise we’re going to be better – I’m going to get better. I’m still learning how to be good at this. Please?”
She dodged his outstretched arms. “Don’t baby me”, she hissed, her tone venomous. “Sometimes I wonder if you’re even trying to get to know me. Do you even care at all? Or are you just in this for the sex?”
Inuyasha looked stricken. “Kagome…” His arms dropped to his sides.
Her eyes widened at his broken expression, her hands shaking as she reached tentatively towards him, then pulled herself back.
“I… I can’t do this right now”, she sobbed, pushing herself away. “I’m going home!”
And then the door slammed, and Inuyasha was left standing in the middle of his apartment, the untouched plate of cookies, cooling hot chocolate and water bottle the only evidence that Kagome had been there.
A man danced happily on his TV in the background, splashing around in rain puddles like it was the best thing ever. He plonked himself down on his sofa and picked up the cushion that Kagome had been hugging only moments before, burying his nose in it.
“What the fuck?” he whispered into the pillow. “What the actual fuck?!”
He didn’t know how serious this was, but it felt bad. She’d only been gone for seconds and already his life felt emptier. He felt sick, like he was going to vomit. He needed to fix it and fast. Because there was no way that he was going to lose Kagome over something like this.