SECRET SANTA 2013 by ED Staff
Past Featured StorySummary:

 photo SSanta_2013.png

Oneshot gifts written for the Eternally-Destined 2013 Secret Santa event at deviantART. Plots are based on the recipients' specific requests.
RECIPIENTS: DON'T FORGET TO REVIEW YOUR AUTHORS!
Categories: Fables Characters: InuYasha, Kagome
Genres: Challenge Response
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 13 Completed: Yes Word count: 44437 Read: 5996 Published: December 25, 2013 Updated: December 26, 2013

For Moonstar9411 by ED Staff
Author's Notes:
Recipient's name: Moonstar9411
Story title: Guard Dog
Rating: T
Please note: The word pace, pronounced pah-chay, is Romanian for "peace" or "peacefulness." I've italicized it every time it is used so you know it's not to be mistaken for the English word pace.

-X-

Guard Dog


Standing on the sidewalk in front of her new house ("A house, oh my god!"), a proud smile curling the corners of her lips, Kagome Higurashi watched silently as the movers carried her furniture and belongings into the single story ranch house, her mother standing off to the side and giving directions while her younger brother "helped" unload the heavy stuff and at times would reward himself from being such a big help by catching a ride on her couch, dresser, or some other item large enough for him to sit on. The movers didn't seem to mind all that much, so Kagome let it go, but he did get a few disapproving stares from their mother and whenever he noticed he'd immediately jump off and "help" again.

She was glad Mama had persuaded her into hiring the movers. At first Kagome had been adamant on just getting friends and family to help her move, not having the extra funds to pay any professional movers, but her mother was a sneaky woman and before she knew it, movers were scheduled to be at her little one bedroom apartment the next day to help with the furniture and other heavy objects she wasn't able to fit in her little Accord.

This is actually happening, Kagome thought excitedly and fought the urge to jump up and down and squeal girlishly. I actually own a house! For five years, she had lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment with her cat Buyo and on the third year, the young woman had decided that, while cozy, her little abode was getting too cramped with all of her bookcases, extra furniture that she really didn't need (Mama insisted), and the large entertainment system she had gotten for Christmas the year before. So after talking it over with her mother and Grandfather, they had all agreed that a house would much better suit Kagome's needs than a small apartment and the house hunting began.

It had taken two years of saving money, scanning the paper's real estate section daily and scouring the internet for the perfect place, but finally Kagome's careful planning paid off and with a single phone call, a quick tour and a signed contract, her dream home was hers.

I wonder what my neighbors are like. Soft eyes the color of cinnamon glanced to her left to eye her new neighbor's house curiously, trying to see what type of person they were by any decorations or the red truck in the driveway. Hmm. Maybe a guy; that's one of the newer models of Chevy. The yard is pretty bare of lawn ornaments and the lawn is freshly mowed. Of course, any woman can operate a lawn mower these days…

Kagome had just decided that she'd make some cookies or something and introduce herself to her new neighbors when her mother called her over and she snapped out of her thoughts. With a bounce in her step she meandered her way over to the older woman who was standing by the doorway with a faraway look in her eyes as she silently watched the men carry her baby's things into her new home.

The black-haired woman frowned slightly in concern. "What's wrong, Mama?"

Mama sighed and turned her gentle hazel gaze to her daughter, a fond smile gracing her features. "Oh, Kagome," she began and suddenly said woman was enveloped in her mother's arms and automatically she returned the embrace.

"Mama?"

Pulling back, but keeping her hands on her daughter's shoulders, Mama gazed at Kagome's face, her expression a mixture of pride and concern. "I really am happy that you've found your dream home, Kagome. I know you've been waiting for this moment for two years and now that it's finally come…" The older woman sighed again and tucked a strand of raven hair behind the younger woman's ear. "I just can't help but worry, dear. I know you've lived on your own for three years, but you've never been so far from home. Your apartment was just a few blocks away from the shrine, walking distance, and now…you're a whole town away." Mrs. Higurashi stared despondently at the moving truck parked on the street; it was almost empty and that meant her time with her oldest was almost over.

"Oh, Mama," Kagome said and hugged her again, smiling when the older woman squeezed her tight. "I'm not that far from home, only about half an hour. I'm only a phone call away and you know you can come visit me whenever you want. Souta and Gramps, too. "

Laughing softly, Mama smiled and shrugged her shoulders helplessly. "Yes, I know, dear. I suppose I'll never get over the fact that my oldest daughter is a woman now and on her own, buying a house, having a mortgage, having sex…"

"Mom!" Kagome squeaked as her face erupted into flame and Mrs. Higurashi snickered.

"Oh, stop, Kagome. We're both grown woman, and remember it was me who left you and Houjo alone that night." Mama winked and this time Kagome laughed with her, shaking her head.

But then Mrs. Higurashi grew serious and she glanced around curiously. "Is this a safe neighborhood? Is the police station nearby? I wonder if they do nightly patrols…" The elder Higurashi woman trailed off and Kagome rolled her eyes but humored her mother.

"I did some research, Mama, and you'll be pleased to know that this is a top rated neighborhood for safety and the police station is a five minute drive down the road. People are actually encouraged to move here if they have small children. I promise to be careful when I come home from work at night and make sure no weirdos are lurking about or following me."

Mama nodded and seemed to relax a little after her daughter reassured her, but she was still a mother, and as such would always worry about her daughter living by herself in an unfamiliar town with nothing but a lazy fat cat for protection.

Wait. That gave her an idea. Mama turned to Kagome and the young woman was slightly taken aback at the severe look on her face. "Okay, Kagome, I trust you when you say this district is safe, and that you'll be careful, but I think I'll only be truly satisfied and worry free if you do one small favor for me."

Kagome tilted her head to the side slightly, curious, and Mrs. Higurashi continued. "Would you consider getting a large dog for protection? I think once I know that you have a live, barking alarm system my mind will be at ease. I know you have Buyo, but he's…not much of a guard cat." The two women shared a laugh and Kagome could see where her mother was coming from and it wasn't an unreasonable request. She was a single woman living on her own in unfamiliar territory, after all, so perhaps it would be a good idea to get a guard dog of sorts. Besides, she's always wanted one; no time like the present.

"Okay, Mama, tomorrow I'll go down to the shelter and see what they have for guard dogs." She smiled and Mrs. Higurashi visibly relaxed as she returned her daughter's smile.

"Thank you, dear. That truly does help me cope a little better. Now, the movers are nearly finished. Let's track down your brother and we'll get out of your hair so you can start unpacking."

"Oh, I can hardly wait," Kagome deadpanned and her mother laughed as the two headed inside to find her no doubt slack-off brother. Indeed, they found him in the master bedroom playing with Buyo, the "ferocious" guard cat.

-X-


An hour and a half later, Kagome had bid her mother and brother goodbye, the movers had done their job and succeeded in moving all of her things inside, and now she was alone, save for Buyo who was busy discovering all the different nooks and crannies he can stuff his oversized body into, in her two bedroom, one bath single story house. Currently she was sitting on the living room floor surrounded by a plethora of miscellaneous things, from boxes filled with books and photo albums to cookware and dishes to movies and picture frames. Large plastic containers littered the entire living room floor, their contents spilling out and creating an even bigger mess than it already was. Unpacked boxes covered nearly every inch of her nearly acquired house and Kagome thought it would take about a million years to unpack everything.

"Uuggghhhh," she groaned and flopped onto her back, wincing when something dug into her spine. She reached behind her and fished out one of Buyo's chew toys. Making a face she tossed it somewhere and stared tiredly up at her ceiling, wondering what time it was. It hadn't been that long ago since she'd said goodbye to Mama and Souta and that was around maybe 4:00 pm. She couldn't see a clock anywhere in her prone position and knew she'd have to dig out her clock from one of the many boxes invading her home sometime tonight if she wanted some semblance of time. Thankfully Kagome's boss had graciously allowed the young woman paid time off for her big move so she didn't have to go into work tomorrow or the day after that. Hopefully by then she'd have at least most of the boxes all unpacked and her house actually looking like a home.

With a particularly un-ladylike grunt, Kagome heaved herself up and onto her foot, promptly deciding that she needed a break from unpacking and sorting. She ambled into the kitchen and not for the first time marveled at the brand new appliances. She couldn't wait to cook her first legit meal! Grinning to herself, Kagome rummaged around in the fridge for a snack – the perishable foods were the first things she had put away. She grabbed a bottled water and an apple from the basket on the counter then hopped onto the center island, happily crunching into her apple with a hum of appreciation. Since she was facing the window above her sink, she could see the side of her neighbor's house and caught a glimpse of the inside through slightly parted curtains from a window.

Kagome blinked. Oh yeah. I was gonna bake cookies or something and bring them over. She wrinkled her nose and eyed the boxes sitting on the bare counters. She hadn't gotten so far as to put away her kitchen appliances and dishes as of yet and she really didn't feel like digging through each one to find what she needed.

Besides, who still makes freaking cookies for their neighbors and crap like that? This was the twenty-first century and Kagome was pretty sure that custom had died a slow death.

"Oreos!" Kagome suddenly exclaimed and hopped off the counter to rummage around in her pantry. Who didn't like the yummy chocolate and cream cookies?

With a triumphant cry, Kagome withdrew the aforementioned junk food and held it aloft, victorious.

Buyo leveled her with a bored stare and proceeded to groom himself for her efforts, unimpressed.

Kagome glared at her cat. "I hope my future dog eats cats for breakfast."

Buyo ignored her.

Rolling her eyes, Kagome stepped over her fat feline and shoved her feet into her sneakers, hoping she looked half-way presentable because she didn't know where her brush was and didn't feel like looking in the mirror and scaring herself from what stared back at her.

She exited her house and crossed her lawn and theirs to get to the front door, climbing the stone steps onto an average sized porch. Kagome spotted a fairly chewed up dog bone lying on the ground off to the side and instantly perked up a little. If they had a dog, maybe they could point her in the right direction on where to get one.

Seeing as there was no doorbell, Kagome rapped on the wooden door twice and stepped back, holding the cookies behind her back and waited with a smile. Loud barking from within the depths of the house confirmed her suspicions and she wondered what the breed was. The bark was deep and loud, suggesting a larger breed such as a German Shepherd or perhaps an Akita. It grew steadily louder until the young woman figured it was just behind the door and it showed no signs of stopping until Kagome heard a distinct male voice, slightly husky but still loud enough to be heard over the dog's barking.

"Pace, Pepper, pace."

Instantly the canine ceased its barking and Kagome was impressed. Just a single word quieted the dog. Maybe she could learn some tips from him…

The door opened and Kagome found herself staring at a rather nicely toned male chest with washboard abs and a trim waist and was that a line of silver hair disappearing into those jeans…?

"So you're my new neighbor."

Kagome squeaked and shot her gaze up to his, face aflame at having caught herself checking him out and he must have caught her too because he was smirking at her as he leaned against the doorjamb, hands shoved into his pockets. Eyes the color of whiskey stared amusedly back at her and silver hair cascaded down his back in a silken waterfall, ending at his waist. But what Kagome wasn't expecting were the two furry triangles perched atop his head, twitching in every direction.

The young woman blinked, surprised. A dog demon?

"Half-demon, actually," he remarked and Kagome gaped at him. Had she said that out loud?

"No, I'm just really good at reading faces. Years of practice from my job." The silver-haired Adonis grinned at her, displaying pearly white fangs.

Pretty sure that her face most likely rivaled that of a tomato by now, Kagome finally remembered why she was here and took out the treat from her back, holding them out to him. She couldn't bring herself to look at his face. "Ah, I'm Kagome, I'm your new neighbor." Well duh, he already knew that! "Um, I brought you some cookies." Obviously. Inwardly Kagome groaned. God, she was horrible at this whole being neighborly thing. She decided she wouldn't bother with her other one and just lock herself in her house to be mortified in peace.

"Oreos. Cool." The golden-eyed half-demon took the proffered snack – Kagome took note of the claws tipping his fingers – and a curious black nose rose up to sniff suspiciously at the food. Her owner patiently held it out for her speculation. Satisfied, the dog named Pepper snorted and sat back at her owner's feet, mismatched eyes staring unblinkingly at Kagome.

"Good girl, Pepper." She was rewarded by a scratch behind her ears and she whuffed affectionately up at him.

Kagome smiled at the display as her previous embarrassment seemingly melted away and seized the opportunity to change the subject. "She's beautiful," she remarked and cautiously held out a hand for the dog to sniff. Pepper slowly inched forward, wary, and snuffled at her hand for a minute or so before deciding the woman was no threat and licked her fingers, her tail wagging a friendly welcome.

"This is Pepper," her neighbor introduced, watching with a slight smile as his dog made friends with his beautiful new neighbor. "She's half German Shepherd and half Husky."

"Wow," Kagome whispered as she knelt and promptly got her face showered with doggie kisses. She laughed and cuddled her close, already falling in love with the affectionate canine. After a few minutes of giving the mixed dog some lovins', Kagome finally stood up and faced her neighbor.

He gave her a slow smile that did funny things to her insides. "I'm Inuyasha. Sorry I didn't come out earlier and help you move in. I actually just woke up before you came over." As if to emphasize his point, a tongue-curling yawn escaped his mouth and Kagome giggled when Pepper issued one of her own.

"It's alright. I had professional movers help with the heavy stuff and I had family helping, too. But…why were you sleeping at three in the afternoon?" Kagome arched a delicate eyebrow, curious.

Inuyasha shrugged and leaned against the doorjamb again. "I worked the night shift for my job last night and didn't get home until nine this morning," he said. "I'm a police officer for the K-9 Unit, and Pepper here is my main girl." He patted the dog on the head and Pepper stared up at him with trust in her green and blue eyes, tongue lolling out the side of her mouth.

Kagome's eyes widened in pleasant surprise. Won't her mother be pleased to hear that she lived next door to a police officer. A sexy police officer. "Oh, so that's why she sniffed the Oreos before. She's trained to do that."

"Affirmative." He gave her a cheeky grin and Kagome reciprocated with one of her own.

"I'm actually thinking about getting a dog of my own," Kagome admitted as she stared contemplatively down at Pepper. "My mother would feel better knowing that I have a guard dog since I'm living alone in an unfamiliar town, and I've always wanted one so I figured why the hell not." She shrugged and gave the police dog a good scratch on the neck.

"That so?" Inuyasha mused as a slow smile spread across his features, a devious plan piecing together in his mind. His new neighbor was beautiful and the half-demon was thinking that he definitely wouldn't mind getting to know her. She adored Pepper, which was an absolute must for him, and the dog warmed right up to her so it was a match made in heaven in Inuyasha's opinion. Plus, he couldn't deny the instant attraction he had to her the moment he opened the door. Big liquid, mocha eyes that were like windows into the soul they were so expressive, mid-back midnight locks that he was dying to see if it was as soft as it looked, and a damn nice body that he wanted to rock all night long. And he hadn't missed how Miss Kagome was checking him out when he opened the door. Oh yeah, she liked what she saw and he'd be damned if he was going to let this opportunity go to waste.

"Kagome," he said, enjoying the way her name sounded on his tongue, and Kagome turned her attention back to him, her expression inquisitive. "You said you're looking for a dog," he echoed and Kagome nodded, a slight frown creasing her brow, wondering where he was going with this. She had her answer a minute later.

"Well," he began and glanced down at the mixed breed sitting calming next to him. "Why don't you take Pepper?"

Kagome blinked at him. He can't be serious. She was a police dog! "…What?"

"Think about it," he continued. "You're looking for a guard dog for extra protection, correct?" She nodded. "There's no better guard dog than one trained from the K-9 Unit. She can sniff out hazardous chemicals and drugs, protect you against muggers, and if someone tries to break in at night, she'll bark and alert you and most likely scare off the asshole. She's obedient, potty trained, and a single word can stop her from barking if someone's at the door."

"That's right." Kagome remembered the strange word she'd heard him utter before he opened the door. "Pah…chee…?"

"Pace," Inuyasha corrected and Pepper's ears perked up at the familiar word. "It means ‘peace' in Romanian. The majority of her training was in Romania, and it's just easier to use the command words she's used to hearing than retrain her on ours."

Kagome nodded as she took this in, conceding that all of his points were reasonable and valid, but not really believing that he was serious about this.

"So how about it? Do you want my girl Pepper as a guard dog?"

Oh god he was. "But…but is that okay? I mean, she's a police dog; won't you get in trouble or something if you give her to a civilian? And doesn't she have to go to work with you?"

Inuyasha waved a hand in the air, dismissing the idea. "Nah. Pepper belongs to me and just like humans, dogs need vacations too and I'm sure she'll get the best treatment while she's living with you. C'mon, Kagome. How can you say no to this face?" He knelt down next to Pepper and put his face right next to hers and proceeded to give her his best puppy dog look. The police dog licked his face then stared up at her with big mismatched eyes and Kagome wondered just which face he was talking about.

"Oh, that's so not fair," Kagome pouted and Inuyasha threw in a pitiful whine for good measure. "Oh for heaven's sake." She threw her hands up in surrender and sighed. "Fine."

Grinning broadly, Inuyasha nuzzled Pepper's nose with his own and stood up once more, feeling accomplished and pretty damn smug. "Great! So I just saved you a good couple hundred bucks, I hope you know. Large breeds don't come cheap and they're not easy to train when they're fully grown. Aren't you glad you came over and gave me Oreos?" Inuyasha chuckled and Kagome had to admit, yes, she was very glad.

Shaking her head in defeat, Kagome regarded him silently and crossed her arms over her chest. She did have one question though and she raised a brow at him, a suspicious light entering her gaze. "I do have one question, though."

"Shoot."

"Why?"

He blinked. "Why what?"

"Why did you offer for me to take Pepper? I mean what's in it for you? There's gotta be a catch somewhere and you're pretty sneaky so don't try to fool me outta this one!" Kagome narrowed her gaze at him but couldn't stop the smile from curling her lips.

"Easy," Inuyasha rumbled, his voice suddenly an octave lower and Kagome felt something warm pool in the pit of her belly. A slow, sensuous smile spread across the half-demon's handsome features and he leaned in close, causing Kagome to lean back slightly but her feet were rooted to the spot. His eyes captured hers and she was unable to look away. His amber orbs lazily scanned across her entire visage, his smile widening when her cheeks infused a dark red, and his eyes lingered on her lips. They parted under his stare and his mouth was suddenly dry.

"Because," he started and his voice sent shivers crawling up and down Kagome's spine. Finally his gaze drifted back up to hers and stayed there. "I have a reason to come see you now."

Kagome's heart skipped a beat and a small gasp escaped from her mouth. "S-see me?" she squeaked and the silver-haired police officer nodded, entranced by the way her tongue darted out to wet her dry lips. He wanted to replace her tongue with his own.

"Yeah," he rasped and cleared his throat. The effect she had on him was staggering; never before had he felt so strongly for a woman, and he'd just met her for God's sake. Wasn't there some kind of unwritten rule saying that you couldn't start lusting after a woman until after the third date? Or something?

Yeah, well, fuck the rules, he thought in that moment and had it not been for Kagome turning her face away in what was probably embarrassment, he would have dove right in and planted his mouth on hers.

Thinking that this was probably going to be the worst case of blue balls he's ever going to have, Inuyasha straightened up and reigned in his raging hormones, scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably as Kagome shuffled her feet, looking anywhere but at him and biting down on her lip. Pepper sat silently just inside the doorway, oblivious to the twosome's awkward moment.

"I'll get Pepper's things all boxed up and I'll bring them over tomorrow morning." Inuyasha broke the quiet and offered her a smile, wanting to get back that comfortable air that had surrounded them prior to the hatching of Inuyasha's devious little plan.

Relieved at the subject change, Kagome finally lifted her head, not without a blush, and graced him with a smile in return. "Sounds good. I'll…see you tomorrow, then." When Inuyasha nodded, the young woman knelt down and bid her goodbye to Pepper, promising that she'll see her tomorrow and to be a good girl in the meantime. Pepper gave her face some more kisses and Kagome accepted them with a laugh, nuzzling her nose against her soft muzzle and placing a kiss on it.

"Later, Kagome." Inuyasha smirked and gave a two figured salute. Pepper barked and wagged her tail.

She turned around and tossed him one last smile over her shoulder before cutting across their lawns again and entering her house. She stood facing the carnage with legs akimbo and hands on her hips. It was time to tackle this mess.

-X-


The next morning Kagome was up before her alarm went off so she took the extra time to have a longer than usual shower and relax on the couch with a hot cup of coffee, Buyo curled up next to her and snoozing away. She'd had the sense to find her Keurig, a mug and the coffee before going to bed last night and she decided that it was a very good idea that she did. It was going to be a long day of unpacking, rearranging and organizing and she needed all the energy she could get.

Kagome was about half way through her cup of java when her doorbell rang and she frowned. It wasn't even eight a clock yet. Who could it be this early? With a shrug, she stood up and ambled to the door, not particularly caring that she wasn't properly dressed. After her shower she'd tossed on a tank top and shorts since she wasn't going anywhere today and she'd be doing a lot of lifting and cleaning. She had thrown her still damp hair into a messy bun to keep it off her neck and deemed herself ready to take on the day.

So when she opened the door, her face got quite red to find Inuyasha standing there holding a box in his arms and Pepper sitting obediently beside him. He was dressed in his full police officer uniform complete with a gun holster, cuffs, and radio. His silver hair was pulled back into a low ponytail at the nape of his neck, and finally his honey colored eye were quite shamelessly checking her out. Kagome suddenly felt naked in her tiny shorts and tank and her flush deepened.

"In-Inuyasha!" she exclaimed with a nervous giggle.

"Kagome," he returned and lifted his appreciative gaze to hers. He grinned. "Good morning."

"Er, good morning. I completely forgot you were coming over." The young woman shrugged and offered a sheepish smile. She really had, otherwise she would have chosen less revealing clothing. Ah, well. It was too late now. Pepper barked indignantly and Kagome laughed. "Hello to you, too, Pepper."

"I have Pepper's stuff," Inuyasha said, holding up the box in his arms. "Can I come in?"

"Oh, yes, of course. Sorry." Kagome stepped aside to allow him entrance and gave his – her? – dog a good scratching behind the ears as she passed. She closed the door behind them and stood awkwardly for a moment, her mug of coffee still in her hand as he placed the box on the table. "Um, would you like a cup of coffee? Freshly brewed." Kagome held hers up in demonstration, still blushing but not without a smile.

"That'd be great." Inuyasha smiled, glad she offered; he'd get to spend a little time with her before he had to go to work. He followed her into the kitchen and watched as she went about digging around for another mug then pouring some of the delicious smelling beverage into the porcelain. She was about to ask if he wanted any cream or sugar, and before she could he stated, "Just black, thanks."

Kagome blinked then shot him a look that read "stop reading my face" and Inuyasha chuckled. The corner of her lips quirked up into a half smile and she gave a soft chortle of her own before handing over his cup o' joe.

"So," he started, leaning back against the counter. Pepper went and made herself at home by his feet, laying down and quietly observing her kitchen. "Nice place you got here. I knew the couple that lived here before, but I've never been invited inside."

Kagome crinkled her nose and took a sip of her java. "It's a complete mess right now, but thanks. I'm going to try and get a lot done today so my new housemate doesn't feel so cramped." She smiled at the German shepherd Husky mix and the canine tilted her head, her tail wagging once in a lazy swish.

"I'd stay and help out, but," he shrugged and tugged at his uniform shirt in a helpless gesture, "duty calls."

Kagome smiled, touched that he'd want to help her out. "Thanks, but I'm sure we can manage. Right, girl?"

Pepper woofed softly and her tail continued its lazy wag.

"Oh, I see how it is," Inuyasha joked and stared down at his dog with a mock hurt expression. "I'm not even gone yet, and already you're so eager to start your little vacation and get pampered by Miss Kagome here. Are you sure you don't wanna come to work with me?"

Pepper stared him at with her unique eyes of green and blue and then quietly she stood up and walked the short distance over to the Kagome before sitting down at her feet and wagging her tail, tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth. Kagome choked on her coffee and covered her mouth to hide a smile, fighting back the urge to laugh.

Inuyasha stared at his dog. "Traitor," he said and this time Kagome couldn't hold back her laughter.

Pepper barked.

Shaking his head, Inuyasha finished off his coffee and set the empty cup down on the counter. He sighed and turned to the brown-eyed woman, his eyes lingering on her legs for a second longer, and then locking gazes with her. He smiled apologetically. "I gotta head out. I wish I could stay, though. Shoulda called in sick." He added the last part in a mutter as he stared distractedly out the window. Responsibility sucked. Work sucked.

Kagome nodded and set her coffee mug down as well, wishing that he could stay as well. Too bad he hadn't called in sick or something… She walked him to the door, Pepper trotting behind, and at the door he knelt down and bid farewell to his dog, talking quietly to her and trailing his hand along her side. Pepper whined softly and licked at his face. Kagome observed this silently with a smile. It was obvious Inuyasha cared for this dog deeply, and it was endearing how Pepper so readily returned his affections with her own.

With one last kiss to her nose, Inuyasha sighed and stood up. "Her food and stuff are in the box, along with a few chew toys and treats. She'll let you know when she needs to go to the bathroom, and other than that you should be all set. Also," he said and dug around in his pocket, retrieving a piece of folded up paper. He held it out to her. "Here's my number. Call or text me if anything happens or you have a question. I'll try to reply back as fast as I can. Or, you know, you can just text me for the hell of it. If you're bored or somethin'." He smiled at her and Kagome's heart skipped a beat. "I wouldn't mind the distraction."

"O-okay," Kagome said softly and took the piece of paper, her fingers brushing his in the process. She blushed and went to retract her hand, but gasped when his hand grabbed hers and held on. Her eyes shot up to his and the look in them had butterflies erupting in her stomach.

"Try not to miss me too much," he murmured to her, brushing his thumb across her knuckles tenderly. His claws grazed her flesh and it sent goosebumps erupting on her arms. A slightly smug smile quirked his lips, satisfied at her reaction to him.

Kagome swallowed the lump in her throat and somehow managed to grace him with her own smile, this one a little shy but nonetheless genuine. "S-same to you," she whispered and the half-demon desperately wanted to swoop down and kiss her.

Instead he reluctantly released her hand and stepped out onto her porch. He kept his eyes on hers as he told Pepper to be a good girl then finally he turned and headed back toward his house, climbing into his red Chevy, revving it up then backing out into the street and driving off.

Kagome's heartbeat didn't return to normal until well after he had left and the smile remained on her face for the rest of the day.

-X-


"Aaaaaand…done. Well, for now, anyway." Kagome stepped back, placed her hands on her hips and studied her handiwork with a satisfied smile. She'd just finished putting together her entertainment center, complete with a large flat screen television and an Xbox 360. Growing up with a younger brother gave Kagome a secret love for video games so she'd bought the system shortly after moving into her first apartment. She and Souta used to stay up late into the night and play whenever he would spend the night at her place. Kagome supposed now she'd have to play alone, and she was surprised at how much that bothered her.

"Hmm…I wonder if Inuyasha plays…" she mused quietly to herself as she started breaking down boxes and piling them neatly. It was nearly eight pm and she'd gotten a lot done today. Her house was slowly but surely looking more like a home and she couldn't be more proud of herself. She still had a few more boxes to unpack, but it was mostly clothing and other odds and ends that could wait until tomorrow, plus she wanted to go from room to room and give each a thorough cleaning that her mother would say would be her kind of clean.

Flopping down on the couch with an exaggerated groan, Kagome stretched out her legs and rested her head on the back of the sofa, closing her eyes and smiling when she felt Pepper jump up next to her and lay down. It was funny how fast she had accustomed to having a dog, already used to hearing the clicking of nails against the tile and the comforting warmth when she cuddled up close. A small laugh bubbled up as she recalled Buyo's less than receptive welcome to their new housemate. To her credit, Pepper had ignored the feline all day long but Kagome had a feeling she was now on her cat's bad side. She'd been the recipient of many a death glare today, but the cat hadn't done much more. The young woman suspected Buyo was wary of the dog and always disappeared whenever Pepper made an appearance. It was quite funny, but she hoped her cat, which she'd had since she was just a little girl, would warm up to the affectionate canine.

Reaching to absently pet her ever present companion, Kagome stared out the window toward her neighbor's house and frowned slightly. Inuyasha still wasn't home yet but she supposed being a police officer required dedication and many hours of overtime. She had received a text from him earlier in the day saying that he wouldn't be able to drop by after work so it wasn't that much of a surprise, but still she worried slightly. Kagome had given into the urge to text the half-demon because that piece of paper with his number on it was burning a hole in her pocket but of course she told herself it was only so he would have her number in return. Really.

A jaw-cracking yawn suddenly interrupted her thoughts and Kagome wrinkled her nose as she glanced down at the dog beside her. She was tired, but that was to be expected after getting up so early and working hard to unpack and organize everything. Kagome never realized that she had so much stuff but that was also the reason why she bought the house in the first place, so she'd have somewhere to put all of her crap.

"I need to stop shopping online," Kagome told the lounging canine beside her and Pepper released a sigh as she laid her head on her lap. The young woman smiled fondly and stroked the top of her head, scratching lightly behind her ears. Saying that reminded her that she needed to setup her internet connection tomorrow as well. And go to the post office to change her address. And go grocery shopping. And have duplicate keys made. And clean the garage…

"Oh boy," Kagome muttered and made a face. Good thing she had tomorrow off. Another yawn caught her unawares and she looked at the clock. 8:07 PM. It wasn't too late yet. Maybe she'd stay up and wait for Inuyasha's red truck to pull into his driveway so she would know that he'd arrived home safely. "Whaddaya say, girl? Do you wanna wait up for Inuyasha?"

She received a soft woof in return and Kagome took that as an agreement. So she made herself comfortable, grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, glad she had been paying attention when her friend Miroku had showed her how to hook it up. Thinking about him, Kagome made a mental note to call Sango tomorrow. She'll probably want her new address.

She settled on Ghost Adventures and sat back to wait, Pepper dozing off in her lap. Fifteen minutes later and Kagome's eyes fluttered close as she joined her canine companion in the land of nod.

-X-


Kagome jerked awake with a startled gasp when Pepper released the first ferocious bark and she bolted upright, heart pounding. When had she fallen asleep? Through the darkness Kagome could see that the clock on her cable box read a little after ten pm and she realized her motion lamp situated in the corner of the living room must have turned off by itself when she'd failed to move for half an hour. The TV was still on, the volume on low and the glow from the screen provided little light.

Pepper was still barking insistently, vicious growls mixed in with them and Kagome turned her attention to the K-9 police dog, wincing at how loud she was. She hoped she wasn't waking up any of her neighbors. Damn, what was that word? Pay…pas…pace! "Pace, Pepper! Pace!" Why was she even barking in the first place? When the dog failed to obey, Kagome started to grow a little concerned and frowned, finally realizing that the dog was facing toward a corner of the room where the glow from the television didn't reach. Kagome froze and slowly stood up from the couch, the color draining from her face. Oh god, was someone in her house? Did she remember to lock the doors?! Kagome squinted her eyes and through the darkness could barely make out an undistinguishable shadowy lump and the longer she looked at it, the more Kagome's heart pounded because it didn't take her long to realize she was staring at a hunched over figure, clearly hesitant to get any closer to the growling and barking canine.

With a cry of alarm Kagome took a step back, momentarily forgetting that the couch was behind her and she crashed down onto the cushions. Then Kagome screamed and three things happened at once: the figure darted toward her, Pepper charged, and her front door crashed open.

-X-


Pulling into his driveway and cutting the engine, Inuyasha heaved a tired sigh and took a moment to just sit there and relish the fact that he didn't have to go in tomorrow until three pm. It had been one hell of a day and he hadn't anticipated working until fucking 10:00. But he supposed it came with the territory so really he shouldn't complain, but damn, the least his stupid sheriff of a brother could do was take some of the work load for himself! Stupid asshole, always leaving the brunt of the work to Inuyasha when he should be doing field work and training with the K-9 dogs.

Grumbling under his breath, thinking that it was too late to check in on Kagome and Pepper since she'd most likely be sleeping, the half-demon exited his truck and then immediately froze where he stood, his head snapping toward Kagome's house and his ears twitching madly atop his head. Now that he was out of his truck he could hear Pepper barking very loudly and very viciously and he barely made out Kagome's voice above the ruckus as she yelled out pace. Why would she be barking his late at night and why wasn't she stopping when she was told to?

Inuyasha's brows snapped low over his eyes and he quickly made tracks over to her house, worry gnawing at his gut as his hand went to the gun holstered at his waist. There would only be one reason why his dog would be barking so late at night and that reason had his heart beating a mile a minute, concern for the woman inside urging him forward until he could look into the bay windows. He cursed; the curtains were drawn. He stepped up to the front door and tried the door knob. Unpredictably it was locked and again Inuyasha swore vividly. "Kagome!" he yelled but he doubted she could hear him over the racket Pepper was making. "Dammit—!" Then he heard Kagome scream and Inuyasha lost all reason as he stepped back, kicked his foot up high only to bring it down hard on the doorknob and the damn thing came right off. The police officer wasted no time in crashing through, unholstering his gun in once swift movement and gripping it with both hands as he aimed at the back of the fucker hovering over a pale and terrified Kagome on the couch. "Freeze!"

The figure, male Inuyasha presumed, spun around and wielded a kitchen knife in his gloved hand and he didn't hesitate to charge the police officer even with a gun aimed at him. From years of experience, Inuyasha waited for the exact right moment then swiftly re-holstered his weapon then crouched down and turned at just the right angle so that his shoulder dug into the perp's stomach and the half-demon barely felt it when the knife cut into his arm. He easily knocked it out of the unsuspecting man's grip by violently knocking his wrist into the felon's and it fell harmlessly to the floor; the half-demon managed to kick it away before wrapping an arm around the inexperienced offender's waist and quite violently throwing him to the ground. Inuyasha heard as the air rushed out of the asshole's lungs and before he could recover the police officer turned him onto his stomach and dug his knee into the criminal's back, yanking his hands behind his back and forcing them down with a single clawed hand as he unclipped his handcuffs from his belt.

"You're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you." Effortlessly Inuyasha handcuffed the man's wrists. "Do you understand these rights as I have given them to you?"

"Fuck you," the perp gasped and Inuyasha dug his knee in a little harder.

"Do you understand these rights as I have given them to you?"

"Ungh," the criminal grunted and Inuyasha growled lowly.

"Do you understand these rights as I have given them to you?" Inuyasha shifted just enough so that his knee dug right into the base of his spine and knew from experience if he kept at it the idiot's legs would slowly lose feeling.

"Shit! Jesus Christ, yes," the man gasped out and tried to buck the half-demon off him. "Now get the fuck off me, asswipe."

Inuyasha ignored him and unclipped his radio and even as his eyes went to Kagome and locked gazes with her, he brought it up to his mouth and mumbled into the speaker for a minute or two before replacing back on his belt. "Kagome," he said softly and trailed his eyes over her form, noting with relief that she didn't seem to be harmed. He swallowed hard. "Okay?"

"Inu-Inuyasha," Kagome whispered as tears shone in her mocha eyes and she gave him a shaky nod. Then her bottom lip started to tremble as she stared at him and that was it for the silver-haired half-demon.

Without a second thought, and even though it was against protocol, Inuyasha wrapped his arm around the felon's neck, tensed his muscles, and three seconds later the man fell limp against the floor, unconscious. Instantly Inuyasha shot to his feet and made his way over to the shaking woman, sitting next to her and reaching over to flick on a lamp before taking her into his arms. Kagome broke down and sobbed into his chest, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt and holding on tightly. Closing his eyes, Inuyasha buried his nose in her hair and rocked her back and forth, a soothing rumble emitting from his chest as he whispered soft assurances.

When Kagome was relatively calmer and issuing soft little sniffles, Inuyasha lifted his head and surveyed the room for his dog, finding her lying down across the room. Her eyes were open and staring at him but she wasn't moving and that definitely gave Inuyasha cause for worry. Kagome must have sensed why he suddenly tensed up and she pulled back slightly.

"P-Pepper," she rasped and Inuyasha directed his gaze toward her. She sniffled. "She went after him and he-he kicked her across the room. She hasn't moved since." Kagome stared across the room at the police dog, her brave guard dog. She felt terrible for what happened to her, and hoped it was nothing serious.

Kagome felt more than heard as Inuyasha sucked in a breath then slowly released it. "She'll be okay. She's a tough girl." He pressed his lips to her temple and took in her scent, so glad that he got there in time. If he had been even a minute later…

"Your arm!" Kagome suddenly gasped and Inuyasha pulled back to stare down at said appendage. He'd forgotten the knife had managed to nick him as he'd tackled the guy to the floor.

"It'll heal," he stated and pulled her back to his chest, needing to hold her for a little while longer. He could hear the sirens of his backup already with his sensitive hearing which meant he didn't have much longer to be alone with her.

"But—" The raven-haired woman tried to protest and pull away, but he would have none of that and tightened his hold, leaning back into the couch.

"I'm a half-demon, Kagome," he reassured gently. "Wounds like this heal up within an hour or so. I'll be fine, I promise." He kissed her hair and felt her relax against him.

"Okay," she finally relented and wrapped her arms around his waist, absorbing his warmth and resting her head on his shoulder. "Thank you."

"For what?" Silently he sliced through the band that held up her bun then ran a hand through her midnight locks, smoothing it out, and smiled. It really was as soft as it looked.

Inuyasha felt her smile against his neck. "For saving my life."

The amber-eyed dog demon chuckled and closed his eyes, letting his head fall back onto the couch cushions. "Anytime, Kagome. Anytime."

-X-


The next morning Kagome slept late and woke up with a wicked headache. She groaned into her pillow and forced herself to get up, feeling like there was a vice around her head and with every little movement it tightened viciously. Druuuuugs, Kagome thought groggily and slowly made her way to her bathroom where the blessed drugs were located. She opened her medicine cabinet and downed three tablets of Ibuprofen with a plastic cup of water. The cold liquid helped wake her up a bit and used the toilet, brushed her teeth and ventured out into the hallway.

On her way to the kitchen, Kagome paused and smiled as she stared at her couch. Inuyasha had refused to leave her alone last night so he'd camped out on her couch, going over to his house for a quick change of clothes after the chaos of last night's events had ended and then back over to her house.

She didn't realize her feet were moving until she was staring down at his sleeping face and before she could stop herself she sat down on the space right above his head. His legs were dangling over the arm of her couch and an arm was hanging over the side. She suppressed a giggle and brushed his bangs away from his face. He mumbled in his sleep then fell silent.

Kagome's chocolate eyes strayed to his ears and she bit her lip, hesitating for only a second before she carefully captured one between her fingers and rubbed the soft appendage. She was rewarded by a soft purring sound coming from his chest and this time she couldn't stop the soft giggle from escaping. His ear twitched, but he didn't wake up and she relaxed. Kagome continued to massage his ears, alternating between each one, and she was content to just sit there as her mind went back to last night.

After the PD had arrived at her house, they'd taken the felon into custody – he'd woken up shortly before they'd arrived – and Pepper was examined before being carefully lifted and taken out to a police cruiser where she would be taken to a twenty-four seven vet clinic. They'd told Inuyasha she might have bruised a few ribs, but nothing appeared to be broken and for that Kagome was grateful. And thankfully nobody questioned why the dog was in her house in the first place, and the young woman was glad she didn't have to answer any questions. Right then, anyway. She agreed to make a statement the next day after a good night's rest and it was nearing midnight by the time she and Inuyasha were left to their own devices.

Kagome was drawn out of her thoughts when something vibrated in her pocket and she blinked, reaching in and retrieving her cell phone. So exhausted had she been last night, Kagome hadn't even bothered to change into her nightclothes before collapsing on her bed and falling asleep. She must have forgotten to take her phone out of her pocket. Oops.

Shrugging, and deciding her mother was better off not knowing what exactly had transpired during her first night in her new home, Kagome unlocked the screen with a swipe of her finger and brought it up to her ear, making sure to speak softly so as to not wake up the slumbering half-demon. "Good morning, Mama." Her other hand never stopped its ministrations on Inuyasha's ears, slowly stroking the soft appendages.

"Good morning, dear. Sorry I didn't call yesterday to see how your first day in your new house was. Souta ate something that's been in the fridge for quite some time, expired no doubt and he ended up with food poisoning." Kagome could practically see her mother rolling her eyes and she smiled. "I spent the day nurturing him back to health with a few scoldings here and there so I didn't have the time."

"It's fine, Mama. Is he okay, though?"

"Oh yes, he's fine now. Jumping around and being the teenaged boy that he is." Mrs. Higurashi sighed.

Kagome chuckled softly. "Well, I'm sure he's learned his lesson."

"Indeed he has. It's quite funny, actually. Before he eats or drinks anything from the fridge, he'll check the expiration date then come ask me if it's still good." Mama laughed softy and Kagome snickered in amusement.

"Anyway, dear, how are you fairing? Get everything unpacked yet?"

Kagome wrinkled her nose. "Not quite. I still have a few more boxes but it's mostly clothes and other kick-knacks. I got most of it done yesterday."

"Good, good," her mother murmured. "Oh, did you get a guard dog, Kagome? I won't be at peace until you tell me you did."

At her question, a slow smile worked its way to Kagome's lips and she glanced down at the still snoozing hanyou, affectionately running her fingers through his bangs. "Well," she answered softly, her eyes tracing over his features and committing them to memory. "I suppose you can say that."

"What do you mean, dear? Did you or didn't you?"

"Yes," Kagome said and her breath caught in her throat when Inuyasha's eyes suddenly flipped open and bore into hers. "I do have a guard dog." And he's the best guard dog a girl could ever ask for. She didn't move as Inuyasha lifted a clawed hand and placed it on her cheek, rubbing his thumb against the smooth flesh.

"Wonderful!" her mother exclaimed and Kagome hummed distractedly. "Alright, dear, I'll let you go now. I know you have a lot to do today so I won't keep you. I love you, sweetheart, and stay safe." Mrs. Higurashi hung up and the phone dropped from Kagome's hand, forgotten.

"Good…morning…" Kagome breathed, captivated by the smoldering honey eyes that stared at her so intensely. A deep growl emitted from his chest as his hand slid up into her hair and cupped the back of her neck. A flush stole across the young woman's cheeks and Inuyasha's lips kicked up into a half-smile.

"Am I your guard dog, Kagome?" he rumbled lowly as his half-lidded gaze dropped to her mouth.

"Are you…?" Her words were barely more than a whisper but he heard them just fine with his sensitive hearing. Her hand had stopped stroking his ears when he'd opened his eyes and now it was buried in his hair, grabbing the silky strands softly.

Inuyasha watched as her tongue darted out to lick her lips and a hunger so strong seized his body it momentarily left him breathless. It was shocking, the effect she had on him, and the half-demon knew he couldn't hold it in any longer.

"Yeah," he rasped as he tugged her face down to his. "I'm yours." Then he lifted his head and closed the scant distance between them, capturing her lips in a torrid kiss which she eagerly reciprocated, his other hand lifting to cup her cheek and keep her where he wanted. Pulling away was the last thing on Kagome's mind, though, and she sighed against his mouth, granting passage for his questing tongue and a tiny moan of pleasure escaped her.

A deep growl of pleasure resounded within his chest as he tasted Kagome for the first time and knew right then and there that he would never get enough. He was hopelessly addicted after just one kiss and he prayed that Kagome felt the same, that he wasn't alone in his quickly developing feelings.

No, he most definitely wasn't. Even though she'd only known him for a short period of time, Kagome was already attached to the handsome police officer and knew she couldn't go without his sweet kisses for a single day. She smiled against his lips and she felt him smile back. Kagome giggled and he nibbled her lip.

He wasn't exactly the guard dog that Kagome had in mind, but…she wasn't complaining.

Not one bit.
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