A young man with long white hair growled as he launched himself out of his car. Two white ears atop his head lowered as the door slammed shut and he bit back a curse. He hadn’t meant to shove it that hard, but it had been a day. Inuyasha Taisho ran his hand down his face with a sigh. He was not meant for small talk or coddling people, yet ever since his half-brother Sesshomaru had promoted him to regional manager of the family company (Inuyasha had refused the position of Vice President out of college… he wanted to earn the spot, dammit), it seemed like that was all he ever did. Talk to people, coddle and soothe nerves, explain for the fourteen millionth time that no, there was nothing to worry about, everything was fine.
Inuyasha had been in back-to-back meetings starting at 8:30 that morning, and was just getting home at 6:00. The only thing that had gotten him through the day was the thought of coming home, opening a beer, and getting to sit, alone, in the blessed, blessed quiet of his house. He dropped his briefcase as soon as he walked through the door, not really caring where it landed, his thoughts on the fridge and on the bottle that sat in there. He didn’t typically drink, but after dealing with the president of Onigumo Corp. and the handsy Marketing Director of Red Skull Enterprises… he could honestly say he needed it. No matter how many times Inuyasha complained to Sesshomaru about Yura, his damn brother insisted that she only wanted to deal with him.
That alone was enough to warrant a drink, even though it was only Monday.
He stalked into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of Kirin Ichiban from the fridge, flicking the cap off with one of his claws, and took a long swig. He gripped the bottle around the neck and began to walk back to the living room. He nodded briefly to the cat sitting on top of the counter as he passed.
On the counter…
Inuyasha spun, his eyes narrowing. There was no way there was a…
A fat calico sat on his kitchen counter, its pale green eyes watching him.
How the hell had he missed the scent of a cat in his damn house? Inuyasha’s mind was racing; he had only met a few of his neighbors, but he didn’t recall any of them having a cat. He put the beer on the island as he walked slowly towards the cat, waiting for it to react, to hiss, to do something. All it did was yawn, its pink tongue curling, before considering him again.
As Inuyasha moved closer, his nose flared as the faint scent of vanilla and roses reached him, almost buried by the scent of cat. The scent was… almost familiar; Inuyasha had caught it on the breeze one day when he had bravely ventured into his backyard. He avoided the yard, especially during the summer evenings or weekends, as the neighborhood kids tended to be out and about. It wasn’t that he didn’t like children, he liked them just fine, when he could give them back and when they weren’t noisy. Unfortunately, the kids in his neighborhood were extremely noisy, so his ventures to the backyard were usually late at night when others had gone to sleep. There had been that one day when something had drawn him outside, he couldn’t say what, and the breeze had carried the scent on it, wrapping around him like a hug, but impossible to tell the source.
And now this cat appeared, carrying the same scent.
What were the odds?
“Where the hell did you come from?” Inuyasha demanded, his golden eyes meeting the cat’s unblinking stare. Inuyasha shook his head with a wry chuckle. “And now I’m expecting a cat to answer me…” His ears perked up as he suddenly realized this could be a nekomata. “Unless you can, that is.”
The very loud, very displeased MEOW made it clear that this cat was not in any way part-demon. Inuaysha’s ears folded down on top of his head at the sound.
“Alright, alright, I get it… sheesh, not a demon.” Inuyasha stood in front of the cat, his arms folded over his chest as he glared at it. “Well, then, what the hell do you want?”
The cat meowed at him again and began to purr, stretching itself out to nudge its nose against Inuyasha’s arm. Inuyasha felt his lips begin to twitch before forcing them back into a scowl.
He wasn’t a cat person.
Hell, he was the very opposite of a cat person… he was half dog demon.
The cat meowed again, its eyes going wide in what Inuyasha could only assume was a pathetic attempt to beg for food.
“Sorry cat, I ain’t got anything for you.”
The cat’s tail began to lash, its eyes narrowing. Inuyasha took a quick step back and the cat jumped to the floor, looking at Inuyasha with a very annoyed expression before bounding away and disappearing.
“Hey wait…” Inuyasha scrambled to follow the cat, but it was gone.
“What the hell?”
Inuyasha looked around the living room; there were no open windows, no open doors—nothing to show how the cat got in or where it had gone.
“It was just one beer…” he muttered to himself as he entered the kitchen and grabbed the bottle, “not even that.” He poured the rest down the sink…
Yeah, it had been one of those days.
Pale green eyes stared at Inuyasha again from the next day, the calico sitting in the exact same spot, mewling pathetically as if it had never eaten a day in its life. The size of its stomach countered that notion, but listening to its whines and broken meows, Inuyasha couldn’t help but feel compelled to do… something.
Anything to stop the sound that was chipping at him, drawing him closer to the creature.
Maybe a bowl of milk. Cats liked milk...right?
The cat wound around his feet, it’s meows growing louder as Inuyasha grabbed the milk out of the fridge and took down a bowl. It was as if the thing knew what he was doing.
“Feh, one time thing, Cat, don’t get used to it.” He looked down at the now frantic feline, his lips twitching at its antics.
The moment the bowl was on the floor, the cat started lapping at it greedily, its purrs echoing loudly through the kitchen. Inuyasha rested his hands on the counter and leaned back, watching the cat’s rear wiggle as it drank.
He had to admit, the stupid thing was sort of cute.
It didn’t have a collar, but it was way too used to people to be feral. No , this cat belonged to someone, or at least used to belong to someone.
Inuyasha’s eyes softened and ears lowered as he wondered if it was now abandoned. Maybe its owner died and it was left to fend for itself. He knew what that was like, having to make your own way in the world, struggling to survive, with no one to look after you. Hell, it had only been in the past 50 years that Sesshomaru wanted anything to do with him; before that, Inuyasha had been on his own after his mother had died in the early 1800’s.
He watched the cat in a new light as it drank every drop of the milk.
If it was going to keep showing up, maybe he should get it some food, just in case. You know, just so he didn’t have to share his milk.
Inuyasha realized that he had maybe gone overboard for his possible part-time cat that he wasn’t really sure would come back but kinda hoped that it would. But if he was getting it food, he should get it a dish to put it in and a bowl for water. And if he bought it a bed… well he knew first-hand how cold floors could be and there was no reason it had to sleep on the floor (if it happened to want to stay).
He drew the line at a litter box, though. The cat seemed to be able to get in and out on its own… it could just go outside. He didn’t want that stinking up his house…
Well, not until he knew if this was going to be permanent or not.
He hauled the bags from the pet store out of his car and turned the key in the door, making his way to the kitchen to look for the cat.
Only it … wasn’t there.
“Feh, figures,” Inuyasha sighed, his ears drooping. He set the bags on the counter and turned, dejected. He had actually looked forward to seeing the…
The fat calico that sat on the floor behind him, its green eyes laser-focused on the bags as it let out a sad cry.
“Hey there, Cat.” Inuyasha knelt down, holding out his hand to the now named “Cat,” letting him sniff Inuyasha’s fingers. When Inuyasha felt the rough scrape of its tongue, he felt a surge of happiness course through him. He let his claws scratch Cat’s chin gently, watching as Cat’s eyes closed in bliss, loud purrs rumbling through him as he leaned into Inuyasha’s hand.
“Heh, guess cats aren’t so bad after all,” Inuyasha smiled as Cat stepped forward to butt his head against Inuyasha’s leg, purring as his tail curled around Inuyasha’s ankle.
“I bet you’re hungry, huh?”
Cat’s eyes went wide with a loud mew and he started running around the kitchen, his claws sliding on the tile. Inuyasha chuckled as he quickly washed and dried the bowls before setting down the dry food that he had bought. As the cat attacked the food, Inuyasha set out the water dish and the cat bed, smiling as he watched the cat.
He’d never had a pet, never seen the need for one.
But in three days, this part-time cat had filled a need he didn’t know he had.
By Friday, Cat owned him.
If Cat was in the house and Inuyasha heard him meow from another room, Inuyasha would quickly dash to the room so Cat would know he was there (just in case). He didn’t know where Cat was in the mornings or evenings, and while he wished he did, just so he knew that Cat was safe, as long as Cat came back, he was fine.
Saturday morning, though, was when Inuyasha’s heart melted. He stumbled into the kitchen to brew a pot of life sustaining coffee and there was Cat, curled into a little ball in his cat bed, asleep in a beam of sunlight. Inuyasha smiled at the sight. It was a sign that Cat had officially adopted him. He’d never been adopted before.
Inuyasha quietly made his way to the coffee pot, setting it to brew, watching as Cat began to wake from the noise, his ears flicking as his tail twitched; then, the four paws stretched with a pink tongue curl. Pale green eyes turned to Inuyasha and blinked lazily before Cat stood and stretched again before dashing to butt his head against Inuyasha as a way of greeting. Inuyasha set down a bowl of food and poured himself a cup of coffee, chuckling at the loud purrs emerging from Cat.
As Inuyasha was washing his mug he felt Cat rub against his leg, his tail curling around Inuyasha. Inuyasha chuckled and bent down to pick Cat up, only for Cat to dash away then stop, looking back as if waiting for Inuyasha. The moment Inuyasha got close, Cat dashed away again. Inuyasha followed as Cat continued the game towards Inuyasha’s utility room, tucked away at the back of the house. Inuyasha watched as Cat nudged a window open to jump out.
“So that’s how you got in…”
Cat meowed from the other side of the window, and Inuyasha made his way to the back door, watching Cat come running as soon as Inuyasha stepped outside, sliding to a stop a few feet away.
“You’re going to keep this game up, huh?” Inuyasha chuckled.
Inuyasha leaned against the door jamb and watched the cat flop to the ground, twisting himself around to look at Inuyasha. The moment Inuyasha took a step forward, Cat scrambled to his feet and ran, only to repeat the same action. Inuyasha was aware that Cat was drawing him to the edge of the back yard, but he didn’t know why. The fences were nearly six feet high; Inuyasha could barely see over them, so he had no idea what Cat was trying to bring him to.
Suddenly, the scent of vanilla and roses wafted under his nose and Inuyasha froze. Cat let out a loud meow, drawing Inuyasha from his daze. Inuyasha then watched the cat disappear under the fence. But why would Cat go to…
“Buyo! Oh, Buyo, thank god!” a feminine voice cried out and Inuyasha heard Cat meow. Inuyasha’s ears flicked as he heard a soft sniffle followed by Cat’s purring.
“Buyo, you silly cat! I woke up and you were gone and I was so worried…” The woman’s voice was laced with tears and Inuyasha felt his ears lower; first, at the pain in her voice, but second, that Cat… no Buyo … had a home that loved him, he belonged to someone and it… it wasn’t Inuyasha.
That night Inuyasha sat in the living room, his lights off, his house somehow… empty, without Cat.
Maybe he would look into getting a cat, it was just that…
He had kind of hoped Cat had chosen him to be his person.
He was very surprised when he slunk, bleary-eyed and dejected, into the kitchen the next day to find Cat… Buyo. .. curled up as happy as a clam in his cat bed.
“What are you doing here, Buyo?” Inuyasha crouched down, stroking Buyo’s head as the cat nuzzled against Inuyasha’s hand. “Your owner’s gonna be upset when you aren’t there again.”
Buyo nudged Inuyasha’s hand with his nose and began to purr.
“Feh, silly cat.” Inuyasha couldn’t help but smile. “You can hang out here till I get dressed, then I’m taking you home, okay?”
Twenty minutes later, Inuyasha came back to the kitchen, clad in dark gray sweats and a red t-shirt. He had drawn his hair back into a ponytail off his face; Buyo had a tendency to play with it if it was down when he was carried, and sometimes Buyo wasn't careful about where his claws went.
“Alright, Buyo, time to go. Don’t want your lady worrying about you.”
Buyo seemed strangely calm, cradled in Inuyasha’s arms as he walked around the block, counting the homes till he came to the correct one. Buyo’s head rubbed against Inuyasha’s cheek as Inuyasha shifted him to hold the cat with one arm, freeing his other to knock on the wooden door.
“Just a moment!” A frantic feminine voice called out. The scent of vanilla and rose enveloped Inuyasha a moment before the door opened, revealing the most gorgeous woman Inuyasha had ever seen. Her long black hair shone almost blue in the sunlight; her lavender sweater and purple skirt showing a trim, yet voluptuous, figure. He felt his cheeks flush as his eyes met hers and he felt himself falling into the deep blue of her eyes, which sparkled like sapphires. His mouth went dry and all thoughts fled his head as he watched her blue eyes blink with confusion before brightening when she saw the cat.
Artwork commission by Kalcia.
Kagome Higurashi had been having a terrible weekend. For the past two days, she had awoken to find her cat missing. She had worked herself into a state of panic on Saturday until Buyo had magically appeared in the backyard, and Kagome hadn’t been able to hold back her tears. Buyo had been staying out later each night that past week, often not slinking home until well after dark, and Kagome had worried that he was injured or ill. When she had woken up that morning to find him gone, she was beside herself. She had no clue how he was getting out or where he was going or if he was ok. She had just gotten dressed to go scour the neighborhood again for him when she heard a knock.
“Just a moment!” she called out, scrambling towards the door. Whoever it was, she needed to get rid of them so she could go looking for her ca…
She did not expect to see Buyo cradled carefully in the arms of what was easily the most attractive man she had ever seen. She could tell he was muscular; his arms were defined as he held her cat against his chest. Her eyes drifted over him, taking in the long white hair, the two ears twitching nervously on his head, the tip of a fang…a fang … peeking out over his bottom lip. She bit her bottom lip as she raised her eyes to meet his, the beautiful deep amber color instantly pulling her in.
“I… I… uh…” The man’s cheeks flushed as their gazes locked, but she barely noticed the pink of his cheeks. He swallowed, and her gaze lowered to follow the motion to his chest and back. His eyes closed as he shook his head with a slight laugh, “Is this your cat?”
“Yes… yes!” Kagome pulled herself out of her daze to take Buyo back, holding him against her. “Where did you find him, and how did you know to bring him here?”
“Well, it’s… it’s a funny story,” Inuyasha chuckled, a hand rubbing the back of his neck. Kagome’s eyes were drawn to how the muscles of his chest rippled with the move. “I actually live in the house behind you and he… well he kinda just showed up one day last week and just kinda kept coming back.”
“Oh no!” Kagome gasped. “Oh, I am so, so sorry if he’s caused you any trouble. He usually never leaves the house.”
“Nah, it’s fine… I kinda spoiled him when he came over, so that may be why he kept coming back. Yesterday he was doing this thing where he was trying to lead me somewhere by running away…”
“Then looking back with this look of ‘and why aren’t you following’?” Kagome chuckled, resting her cheek on Buyo’s fur as the cat rubbed his head against hers. “Yeah, that’s his favorite game.”
“Keh, he led me to the backyard, then squirmed his way under the fence and I heard you crying over him, and knew he had to belong to you.”
“Thank you, I really really appreciate it.” Kagome paused, as if deciding what to do next. “I’m Kagome,” she said at last, a faint blush blooming over her cheeks.
“Inuyasha.” Kagome smiled shyly. “Thank you for all your hot… I mean help , I mean…” Her cheeks flushed an even darker red as she buried her face against the cat. “I’m gonna… I’m gonna go now. Sorry if he was any trouble.”
Kagome turned and fled into the house, letting the door close behind her as Inuyasha stood on the front step, his ears flicking nervously.
“Did she just…”
Inuyasha shook his head as he walked back to his house, his hands in his pockets. Despite returning Buyo to his rightful owner, he couldn’t say he regretted it, not after having met Kagome. She was a breath of fresh air in an overly-crowded world.
He just hoped he would have the chance to see her again…
No, he would make it a point to see her again.
It turned out, Buyo provided the perfect excuse. As soon as Inuyasha entered the house the next day after work, he found Buyo curled up in the cat bed, fast asleep in a sunbeam. The cat had moved his bed to a living room window to catch the setting sun, and Inuyasha just had to laugh, the sound waking Buyo.
“Come on you, Kagome is probably waiting.” Inuyasha lifted the cat against him, not caring that he was still in his suit from work. Buyo purred against him as he walked, his head pressed against Inuyasha’s neck.
This time Inuyasha was ready… or so he thought… for Kagome when she opened the door. But then he saw her standing there in a pair of form-fitting leggings and a tunic top, her hair drawn off her face into a messy bun. And when she leaned against the door frame with a half smile, he was a goner.
“I had a feeling he was with you,” she laughed.
“I guess I have better windows for sunbeams,” Inuyasha smiled and Kagome felt her mouth water. When she had opened the door to find him there in his charcoal gray suit, his hair tied neatly at the base of his neck, his dark red shirt with one button open and no tie, she had to swallow down the drool.
Inuyasha shifted Buyo to his shoulder, smiling as Buyo’s purrs grew louder.
“Guess I should get my window fixed,” Inuyasha sighed, his ears drooping. “Then he won’t be able to get in anymore.”
“I don’t even think that would stop him. Let’s face it, our cat will do what he wants.” Kagome laughed as she pushed herself off the door and hesitated for a moment before motioning for Inuyasha to follow her into the house.
Inuyasha took a deep breath, the scent of vanilla and rose surrounded him, and he felt himself relax even as Buyo jumped out of his arms to dash to a cat tree in the corner of the room, climbing to the highest point and watching them.
“Our cat, huh?” Inu teased.
“Buyo is picky about who he likes, so since he keeps going to your place, it means that he’s adopted you as his. Who am I to fight it?” Kagome smiled, proud of herself for not stumbling over her words again.
“So, I get evenings and every other weekend?” Inuyasha chuckled.
“Or, knowing Buyo, whenever he shows up at your place, you can just bring him back over here when you want.”
Inuyasha paused to consider it for a moment… an excuse to see Kagome every day, get to know her better…
“Works for me.” He smiled as he spoke.
For the next week, Inuyasha found himself walking to Kagome’s house with Buyo every evening, coming in to stay for longer and longer bits of time. They exchanged phone numbers, starting off by texting each other about Buyo and which house the cat had chosen for the day or little funny things that Buyo had done.
Then it had… shifted, but not in a bad way.
Inuyasha texted Kagome one evening after work to let her know that Buyo was there, which was their new normal, except for the text that followed.
So, I happened to pick up some really great steaks for dinner, and I won’t be able to eat all of it, I was wondering if you maybe wanted to come join me? Well, me and Buyo, I mean he keeps staring into the backyard, pawing at the window and meowing for you. -I
Kagome giggled, staring at the message. It almost sounded like a date… she wasn’t sure, but there was no way she was going to say no.
And that became their new normal.
I want you to know YOUR CAT was chewing on the cord of my game console today. -K
My cat, huh? So when he’s bad, he’s my cat? -I
Yup, that’s how it works. -K
Wanna come play on my system while I order you a new cord? - I
… you game? -K
That night they spent hours combing Pandora in Borderlands II.
Inuyasha knew he was falling for her. How could he defend himself against a fellow gamer, especially one who smelled like heaven and had a laugh that sounded danced through the air like a wind chime?
She completely fascinated him.
The more he knew about her, the more he wanted to know, not just as a joint parent of a cat, but as a man. He found himself looking forward to the end of the work day to see her, to share even half an hour with her and Buyo. Kagome had slowly become his best friend, but he wanted more with her.
He heard the vibration of his phone and pulled it out, his lips curling into a smile as he saw it was a picture of Buyo sprawled on his back in the middle of a sunbeam from Kagome.
Happy cat is happy. -K
He chuckled then grew silent… He wanted to ask her out formally, but he … he had it.
So I got this great deal to go see a movie at that old theatre, and Buyo was whining at my copy of Casablanca last night. So I thought maybe you should see what the cat likes? -I
An unsupervised cat date? -K
All in the interest of understanding our cat, of course -I
When Kagome didn’t answer right away he began to worry; had he misread the signs?
I’d love too. -K
He let out the breath he had been holding. As he stared at the phone and those three words his smile grew, and he let out a bark of laughter.
I’ll pick you up at 6:00, maybe we can get some dinner before the showing. -I
It’s a date -K
A date… he had asked her on a date. Not a cat date, not a “let’s pretend it’s a cat date but it’s really a date,” but a full blown going out, spending time together without the cat DATE.
At 6:00 on the dot Kagome heard the knock at her door and took a deep breath, smoothing the skirt of her green fitted dress. She grabbed her purse from the end table by the couch, pausing to scratch Buyo’s ears
“Be good Buyo, don’t destroy the house while we are out,” Kagome whispered before opening the door and stepping out with a smile.
Buyo settled down into his couch with a loud purr as he heard their voices fade from earshot. It had taken a little longer than he expected, but soon he would have both of his chosen humans in the same house.
He had a nose for these things.