this is not a love story (but yes, it is) by Tsuki no Tennyo
this is not a love story (but yes, it is)
Author's Note: [originally posted 01.29.16] …I am not going to apologize for this drunken mess that was dug out of my figuratively dusty wip folder.
"It's this pretty new bakery I've wanted to go to. C'mon, Kagome, please say you'll come with me?" Eri pleaded, her eyes turning all wide and watery to guilt her friend into going. As if it would entice Kagome, she added, "The owner's really cute."
"I can't. Souta is studying for his exams and Mama's away visiting a friend. I need to take care of Grandpa and—no, I'm not lying, stop giving me that look!"
"Uh huh," Eri responded, already dragging Kagome by the wrist towards the new bakery. "I called your house earlier. Your grandfather said he still felt like he had the body of a 45-year-old."
"We-well, what about Yuka and Ayumi?"
"They're busy," Eri responded easily, "You, on the other hand, don't have a life."
Kagome had never felt so insulted.
It was a quaint little bakery, located on the corner of two streets. From her place outside the shop, the little pastry treats looked very beautiful and tempting.
They're too pretty to eat, she couldn't help but noticed, her mouth was salivating a little.
"Well, come on!" Eri dragged Kagome in. They could hear the little doorbell chimed when the door opened and the delectable scent of butter and sugar wafting in their direction.
"Welcome, ladies, please take your time looking at our pastries," the owner greeted them.
Kagome stood there, staring, mouth agape. Eri didn't notice her friend's behavior change. She did notice, however, when Kagome let out a high squeak, "Se-Sess-Sesshoumaru?"
The owner raised a brow at her.
Eri quickly apologized for her friend's behavior. She hastily chose some pastries and left with Kagome.
Kagome spent the rest of the evening trying to apologize to a fuming Eri for her earlier behavior, but only managed to appease her friend when she promised to buy her more pastries next time. In the back of her mind, Kagome still thought back to the shop owner, convinced that her eyes did not fail her.
Kagome spent the next few days keeping her distance from not only the shop but also Eri, being not quite ready to get dragged back to that place. That still didn't stop Eri from bombarding Kagome's phone with endless texts about her whereabouts and the promise she made.
Sighing, Kagome knew she couldn't hide from this forever. At least not until she fulfill her promise, and then all she had to do was stay the hell away from that bakery for the rest of her life. Or until Sesshoumaru grew bored making pastries. Now, there was a thought she never considered she would have.
"Yes," Kagome grumbled, keeping her eyes on Sesshoumaru's while Eri bounced around the bakery ooh-ing and ah-ing at the luscious treats.
He gave her a peculiar smile, not unlike the one from their first meeting when he taunted Inuyasha with images of his dead mother wrapped in chains. Kagome shuddered, wondering why that particular memory crept back into her life now. Worse, why was he the one back in her life?
She'd rather see Inuyasha. And Shippou. Hell, Kouga was a better choice than him.
She blinked in surprise upon hearing that familiar squawk.
"Lord?" Eri turned her head to look at Sesshoumaru, who Kagome noticed stiffened a little. Kagome quickly intervened, leading Eri towards some palmiers by the window. After another fifteen minutes of being indecisive, Eri finally made her choice. While Kagome paid for her pastries, she noticed towards the back a familiar small figure running around in the kitchen.
Sesshoumaru stepped over, blocking her view. "Here is your change. Enjoy your pastries and come back soon."
Kagome left frowning while Eri happily rummaged through the paper box looking for the macarons and fruit tarts she had chosen.
Kagome lied to Eri, saying she was heading in the opposite direction to run an errand for her grandfather. When she was sure her friend was out of sight, she quickly reentered the bakery. The now familiar bell chimed her reentry. She made her way towards the counter, her frown still remaining as she waited for Sesshoumaru to come out of the kitchen. When he did, the only acknowledgment he gave her was a slight raise of his eyebrow again.
"You!" She hissed at him.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Obviously, I am trying to run a business."
"Yes, and if you do not calm down, you are going to scare away all of my customers."
Kagome sputtered, not used to this Sesshoumaru who had not spout a single word regarding Tessaiga, half-breeds, and daddy issues. She shook a finger at him, unsure herself of what it was that she was trying to express, but she kept the act up anyway until Sesshoumaru sighed out of frustration and asked her to meet him in the kitchen while he checked up on his madeleines.
"We tell everyone Jaken has a noncontagious and nonthreatening skin condition." Kagome heard him say as she stared at the little imp demon standing on the stool and carefully measuring flour and sugar on a digital scale.
"Wait, are you telling me Jaken has been your only companion for over five hundred years now?"
Sesshoumaru stiffened at the implied allegation from Kagome. "Ah-Un is still with me," he supplied as if that made his relationships with these demons any less awkward.
It really did not.
"Where's Inuyasha?" Kagome demanded, finally finding her brain to be more functional now that she'd gotten out of the weird funk from seeing Sesshoumaru and Jaken running a bakery.
"He is in Canada."
"He's touring in Canada with that wolf and fox demon."
"T-touring? Kouga and…Shippou?"
"They formed a 'rock' band called Fangs. They're not that bright or creative of a group, but it keeps him off my couch."
"I-I need to sit down," Kagome managed to stammer out, not even realizing she was sitting down onto a chair provided by Jaken. It took her a few minutes before she realized what happened. She looked around and then asked desperately, "This is real, right? I-I'm not dreaming this, am I?"
"No," Sesshoumaru said slowly, frowning.
Sesshoumaru sighed. "I have told you before, Jaken, you do not have to address me like that anymore."
"My apologies, my lor—Sesshoumaru." The little demon bowed his head in apology. "There are customers out front ready to ring up their orders, sir."
Sesshoumaru sighed again, turning to Kagome. "As you can see, I am quite busy, so please excuse yourself when you're less lightheaded."
Without another word, he disappeared back to the front of the shop. Kagome sat in the chair, going over the conversation again, but instead of clarity, she found herself back in her earlier funk. Giving up, she decided to head home and get some rest. As she was nearing the door, she heard Jaken clearing his throat.
Blinking, she looked down to see the imp demon handing her a business card. Still lost in her daze, she took it without thought and thanked him softly before making her way home.
As she lay in her bed, she stared at the business card she was holding up. Even this dumb card was ridiculous with its fancy typography and die-cut. Sesshoumaru. The one who had tried to kill her a few times. The one with the superiority complex. The one with daddy issues. Was running a French-style bakery. With Jaken.
Against her better judgment, she called the number. As she waited for him to answer, her mind raced with all of the questions she wanted to ask. Around the fifth ring, Kagome realized she didn't even have a way to set up her questions without him hanging up on her.
"Why the hell are you making French pastries?"
Kagome quickly covered her mouth, realizing that one of her questions was actually voiced aloud.
Kagome glared into her phone while wondering absentmindedly whether there was any way to purify Sesshoumaru's self-righteous and condescending ass over the line. She decided to keep her voice even and behave like the civil human being she knew she was.
"I have a name you know."
"I am quite aware, Kagome, but unless you are planning on placing an order, I am hanging up."
Kagome sputtered to herself again, already losing her cool. Over five centuries have passed and he still managed to hold onto his pompous attitude, albeit with a slightly improved social skill, Kagome noted begrudgingly.
A minute in silence passed before Kagome heard Sesshoumaru telling her he was hanging up. Panicking, she stammered out the first thought that crossed her mind: "I'd like an order of 100 macarons as soon as possible." It took her a few seconds to realize what happened, but before she could manage to retract her sudden order, Sesshoumaru hung up after arranging a date for her to pick up her massive order.
She continued to stare at her phone until the only logical thing she could think to do was chuck it out her window, barely aware of it making contact with Souta's head in the yard.
"That's…an awful lot of macarons, Kagome," Eri commented upon seeing the boxes of macarons Kagome brought along to her classes.
Kagome tried to ignore the other curious stares tossed her way from students and faculty members. She fidgeted in her seat, trying in vain to come up with a plausible reason for all of the sweets in her possession. "Um, yeah. I, um, well—you see…I—that is…"
I knew it!" Eri gushed suddenly, clasping her hands together with Kagome's. "You like him!"
"The bakery owner! You like him!"
"I—do not," Kagome managed to hiss the last word out in disgust. She kept her mouth shut, but her mind listed all of the reasons for why that was such an absurd conclusion on Eri's part: For one thing, he tried to kill me the first time we met. Secondly, he's a colossal dick. Thirdly—
"I know it's been a while since you broke up with your delinquent boyfriend, but this is good! You're moving on!"
My what—oh, Inuyasha. Kagome continued to stare at Eri, who seemed to be lost in her own world now.
"Gone are the bad boys of our teenaged years, it is time we set sight on business owners and the hardworking salary men!"
"Eri—look, do you want a box of macarons, or what?" Kagome couldn't help the harshness in her tone, but that seemed to have escape Eri's notice who was now more interested in seizing half of Kagome's possession of macarons—and planning Kagome's future with Sesshoumaru.
Kagome made a mental note to slap Sesshoumaru the next time she saw him.
"How dare you strike Lord Sesshoumaru like that, you foolish wench!"
"Beat it, Jaken," Kagome growled while holding onto an arrow that was slowly getting absorbed with her spiritual power.
Jaken gulped before retreating back into the kitchen, grumbling all the while about insolent human girls. He let out another squeak when he looked back and saw her power intensifying and her bow was raised as if she was prepared to launch an arrow through the kitchen door.
"Is there a reason you're carrying that around?" Sesshoumaru asked while calmly rubbing his slapped cheek.
"Archery club," she explained simply, eliciting an "ah" from him. "The slap is for you turning my life into a living hell."
"And how on earth did I do that when we have not been in the same presence for longer than an hour?"
"I—" Kagome stopped, unsure of how to voice the frustration that had been building up over the past two weeks since she first saw Sesshoumaru again. "That is—you're just so—don't I get a 'hello' after seeing an old acquaintance again?"
He blinked in surprise, and then he smirked while leaning forward on the counter, a hand was cradling his chin, "Hello, Kagome."
She flustered at hearing the smooth voice, not quite expecting him to humor her. What a patronizing dick. Clearing her throat slightly, she continued to grumble, "That's better. Secondly, that pretentious attitude of yours—"
"Is still so irritating after five hundred years—or you know, four years for me since I last saw you."
He chuckled. "Thirdly?"
"And thirdly, how the hell do you know how to make pastries?"
"I studied and lived in Paris for a few decades, perfecting the art."
"Is there more?"
"Yes. Do I get some sort of future discount for placing a big order?"
"100 is not a big order."
Kagome started to protest, but Sesshoumaru interrupted her thought before she could have a chance. "You do get a free date with me."
"Your human friend seems to be under the impression that you are trying to attract me by becoming a frequent patron." Seeing Kagome's confused face prompted Sesshoumaru to provide further clarification for his comment, "She left a note here earlier after buying out all of my madeleines."
"I…am going to kill her!"
Sesshoumaru ignored Kagome's sudden rage and hostile threats. After she cooled down considerably, he continued, "So Friday night fine for you?"
"Yeah, yeah—wait, what?"
"What happened to that snobbish and blatantly racist attitude towards the human race?"
Sesshoumaru seemed to ignore her question, choosing instead to idle himself with tasting the red wine he had ordered. Kagome fumed in her seat, regretting that she agreed to this preposterous date. When the waiter stopped by their table with the tray of the appetizer Sesshoumaru had ordered, Kagome couldn't help but growl in annoyance, startling the poor man.
"You are frightening people," Sesshoumaru observed while placing one of the shrimp appetizers into Kagome's plate.
She gaped. "How do you expect me to wrap my head around—well, you?"
"We are not starting this again!"
He chuckled lowly, not even trying to pacify her. "You seem unable to get past the idea that people can change? The fact that it has been over five hundred years since I last saw you do not seem to matter to you?"
She glowered. "Well, it's been four years since I last saw you, and quite frankly, you were still a bit of an ass."
"Hm," Sesshoumaru murmured in thought. He took a bite of his appetizer and then continued, "You do realize my old self would probably slash your throat for such a loose tongue? It has been a while since I've seen my claws."
Kagome stiffened, relaxing for only a moment when Sesshoumaru let out another chuckle. "This is not funny!"
"It quite is, Kagome." Sesshoumaru watched as Kagome hesitantly tasted the food he placed on her plate. He smiled to himself at seeing the small smile she slipped in a brief moment of bliss. "I seem to recall saving your life during one of those last moments."
She froze with her fork halfway up to her mouth. She lowered the utensil and continued to frown. "And I am grateful for that, but—why did you protect me from those demons?"
It was Sesshoumaru's turn to freeze as he tried to remember that particular memory from so long ago. He chose to wave it aside with the "it-was-five-centuries-ago-I-don't-recall" excuse, which didn't fare well with Kagome who seemed determined to remain in her sour mood.
"You were the one who brought it up!"
Sesshoumaru shrugged, earning another gape from Kagome.
He shrugged again, resulting in Kagome groaning before chugging back her glass of wine and then stealing Sesshoumaru's, whose only reaction was mild amusement.
"Tell me, were you always this manic?"
Kagome froze with Sesshoumaru's glass of wine still at her lips. There was still a quarter of the wine left in the glass and she pondered about throwing it in Sesshoumaru's face. Deciding not to waste such good wine, she made a mental note to slap Sesshoumaru again later for his rude comment.
"Oh good, our dinner is here."
"Since when do you get excited about food? Human food no less."
"Since I became a household name in the food community. 'Foodies' love me you know."
"Why does everything you say now make me want to slap you so hard, it'd send you back to the Feudal Era?"
"You do realize I still have all of my demonic powers?"
"Good, maybe you can help me get out of this weird funk I've been in, or put me out of my misery."
"That can be arranged."
"Before you start getting any wise ideas," Kagome started, swaying slightly as a result of the absurd number of wine she chugged earlier. She pointed a shaky finger at Sesshoumaru, intending on making a point, but ended up just distracting herself instead. Once coaxed by Sesshoumaru to continue, she resumed her earlier thought, shaking her finger all the while, "This is not a love story."
"We are not going to suddenly fall in love," she hiccupped.
"My thought exactly."
"We are going to go our own separate way!" She stumbled forward slightly, needing Sesshoumaru to break her fall. She stared into his eyes, barely able to focus. "By the way, what the hell was that fluffy thing you had during the Feudal Era? Some sort of fashion faux pas?"
"Alright, you obviously cannot go home to your mother like this."
Kagome shook Sesshoumaru's hands away from her, muttering all the while about know-it-all dogs. She whirled around to face her date again, but ended up staring at a streetlamp instead while Sesshoumaru looked on, slightly amused.
"Four years," she started, still unaware that she was speaking to a streetlamp. "Four goddamned years that dumb dog made me wait and he's in Canada? I oughta 'sit' him so hard he'd be in the center of the earth."
Kagome stopped her ranting when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around, blinking nonstop. "Wait, when'd ya move? Damned demon powers."
Kagome blinked again, and then shrugged. "Fine, but stop speaking so loudly."
Sesshoumaru simply sighed.
Kagome groaned loudly to herself when she heard an unfortunately familiar squawk. She buried her face under the soft pillow, trying in vain to drown out the noises that were disturbing her sleep.
She cracked one eye open, silently pleading to the gods above that what she was thinking was wrong. Her one available eye scanned the room, and it took her a few minutes to realize that this was not her bedroom, but someone's living room.
She immediately fell off the couch, and then realized she was wearing a man's shirt instead. She pawed at the clothes, and then racked her brain trying to remember the night before. There was drinking, that she regrettably knew was true. There was something about dumb dogs, but she had been muttering that curse on-and-off for the past two weeks, so it may or may not have happened last night.
"Oh, good, you're awake," Kagome heard a familiar dry voice speaking. She searched for the owner and found her sight immediately landing on Sesshoumaru, dressed in his baker attire. She pointed an accusing finger at him.
"Are we starting this again?"
"You! What did you do to me?"
"What do you think I did?"
Kagome's face paled, not liking the sound of his voice. She fidgeted with the hem of the shirt she was wearing, trying to avert gazes with the demon in the room with her. She stammered softly to herself, "Well, I mean—my clothes—well…"
"Your purity is still intact, so you need not worry about that."
Kagome's face immediately turned tomato red. She continued to fiddle with her—his—shirt, earning a sigh from Sesshoumaru.
"You threw up all over yourself right after you asked me to hurl Jaken into a river."
"Your clothes are in the dryer. Your mother was also made aware of that you would be spending the night here. And also—"
"You talked to my mother?"
"Yes," Sesshoumaru responded, scowling and not appreciating what her screech did to his sensitive ears. "She was not pleased to hear you giggling like a drunken fool in the background."
Kagome immediately covered her face with her hands, bemoaning all the while. "I am completely mortified." She peeked through her fingers, her voice quivered slightly, "Did I mention Inuyasha?"
"More or less. Something about 'sitting' him."
Kagome buried her face into Sesshoumaru's couch, deciding that her life was now a complete train wreck that wasn't even worth salvaging. "Just leave me to die here, Sesshoumaru."
"I would, but the stench of a decaying corpse will attract people's attention," Sesshoumaru answered dryly, barely able to stir an offended scoff out of the dispirited human girl in his living room. He sighed to himself when Kagome remained motionless. "There are freshly baked croissants downstairs."
She lifted her head, her spirit still not returning despite smelling the faint scent of delicious pastries coming from Sesshoumaru's bakery downstairs. She raised an eyebrow at Sesshoumaru, unused to his attempt at kindness. "What are you doing?"
"Obviously trying to figure out how to rid myself of a human in my home."
Kagome stared at him for a minute, mulling over his retort and the tone of his voice, which oddly had a very faint hint of sweetness underneath. She looked at his face, seeing the annoyance but also a mild concern that she knew he would never admit aloud to anyone on earth—or even to himself. She then smiled to herself and caught Sesshoumaru off-guard. "There's the Sesshoumaru I'm used to."
It was Sesshoumaru's turn to raise his eyebrow. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Kagome laughed, standing up and straightening the shirt she was wearing. "It means I am finally out of that weird funk meeting you again in this time period. I think I will have a croissant before I leave."
She was about to walk towards the door when she realized she was still wearing his shirt. She turned around, a faint blush was on her face that didn't escape Sesshoumaru's eyes. Kagome stared at the floor while asking softly, "Um, where's the dryer?"
"Down the hall, the second door on the left."
"Thank you," she squeaked, shuffling past Sesshoumaru and unaware of the faint tug of a smile forming on his lips.
Kagome returned twenty minutes later to the stronger scent of buttery croissants in Sesshoumaru's home. She stopped in her track when she noticed the tray of croissants on the coffee table, surrounded by little ramekins of butter and jam. There was a pot of coffee off to the side along with cream and sugar ready to be mixed to her taste. She noticed Sesshoumaru sat on the couch, his attention focused on his cellphone.
Carefully, Kagome walked over and stood next to him, waiting for Sesshoumaru to look up. He did not acknowledge her presence, so she spoke up:
"Um, did you do this, Sesshoumaru?"
Sesshoumaru continued to stare at his phone while scrolling down the screen absentmindedly. "Saturday morning is usually our busiest time, so it's probably best for you to eat up here."
Kagome smiled, settling on the floor next to Sesshoumaru's legs. She picked up a croissant and tore into the flaky pastry. "Shouldn't you be downstairs then?"
"Jaken can handle it."
Kagome gave a short laugh, unconvinced by his thinly-veiled response. She decided not to press him on the matter. She hummed to herself as she enjoyed her breakfast, still barely used to the fact that this was something the former Great Demon made.
"Sorry about my behavior lately," Kagome spoke up suddenly, pausing in between sips of her coffee. She could sense Sesshoumaru tearing his eyes away from his phone, though she suspected he wasn't really focused on it to begin with. "This was just…unexpected. I figured I'd have better luck running into Inuyasha than you."
"There is no need for apologies," Sesshoumaru answered, pausing as well, "It was not entirely unpleasant seeing you again."
"Gee, thanks," Kagome responded with mock offense. She lowered her cup of coffee and looked up at him, "I'm still annoyed at you, though."
"And why is that?"
"Because I know I'm going to get so fat eating all of these delicious pastries and desserts you make."
Kagome was the only one who laughed, but she could have sworn she saw a smile emerging on Sesshoumaru's face.
"So this is, um, Fangs?"
"Yes. They're a bunch of morons."
"So…why do you have posters of Inuyasha and the rest of them all over your home?"
"The imbecile keeps sending me their band merchandises, and I've been too busy to throw them in the garbage."
"Right. …They're really going around with all of their demon features still visible?"
"Visual kei, or something like that was what the half-breed told me. Apparently you humans love that sort of thing."
"I'm going to ignore that last comment."
"They apparently have a big following in Canada, hence their current tour."
"Huh. Now there's an image I'd never thought I see for the three of them. Then again, I didn't think you'd be spending 500 years with Jaken making pastries, so what do I know?"
"Are you just now realizing you spent 500 years with Jaken?"
"…It's actually a couple hundred years longer."