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Sweet Things by Clio

Chapter 1

A/N: This was written for Dokuga_Contest's Oneshot Prompt  'Merchandise'. I might continue this story, but for the moment, I'm marking it as a oneshot and complete. Please enjoy!

Disclaimer: All canon characters found within belong to one, Rumiko Takahashi. I make no money from this fanfic.

Originally Published: April 18, 2012

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Kagome stood at the long counter of the coffee shop, watching as Yuki helped a couple with their order. After working in the store for six years, Higurashi-san, as her staff called her, could put the people who came to buy their drinks and pastries into one of several distinct categories. This particular pair, she decided, were newlyweds. They were both still living in that special time between the wedding and reality. The other person hadn’t become quite human yet. As the man turned and handed his wife her drink, his face lit up in a smile which made Kagome just a little jealous. But, she had only herself to blame for her single state...After all, Kouga had been most persistent, back when they’d been friends in high school. He’d been sure she was the one for him. She’d felt a twinge as she’d turned him down for the final time at graduation, but it was all for the best. He and Ayame were perfect for one another...even if they hadn’t been able to see it at the time.

Her friends refused to talk to her about who they were dating, for fear that she might jinx the relationship. They wanted to find out what was going to happen in their own time, in their own way. She’d complied, no longer asking who was together with whom. However, that also put her in something of a fix, herself. While so many others were out getting to know one another, she’d backed away so as not to interfere with their future hopes. And it wasn’t fun to go out all by herself...

But the coffee shop allowed her a bit of the social interaction she’d always enjoyed. The newlyweds were followed by a teenager, her eyes a little too knowing for her apparent age. Too many young women like that were walking through her door now...they had seen more than their tender years deserved. She didn’t know their stories, but she knew that they weren’t pretty ones.

The clock ticked farther into the afternoon, people coming and going as the sun passed its zenith and began its slow descent towards the horizon. Kagome had just finished checking over the merchandise which had come in that morning when she heard the front bell chime. Just that sound could tell her things. When it rang like that, someone with great energy and much happiness had just skipped their way into the shop. A smile on her face, she nudged the door open and looked out into the front of the store. Sure enough, her favorite customer stood before the counter, large brown eyes studying the cookies they’d baked at lunchtime.

Leaving the storeroom, Kagome nodded at Yuki, letting her know that she’d take care of the little girl. Yuki grinned and took herself off for a break. Walking around the counter so that she could see the girl, she asked, “What would you like today, Rin-chan? A chocolate cookie? Or maybe a few gingersnaps?”

The wide, excited eyes of the girl looked up at her as she pointed her finger to the top rack. “You made more sugar cookie flowers? Those are Rin’s favorite! May Rin please have the one with the orange icing?”

“Of course you may,” Kagome answered, returning to her side of the counter to get the specified item. “However could I forget?” Noticing that the small, round man who usually accompanied the child was absent, she asked as she was putting the cookie in its bag, “Where’s Jaken-san today?”

“He had to go run errands for Sesshomaru-sama, so he couldn’t bring Rin to get her snack,” she said, her eyes glittering as she pulled herself up a bit on the counter. Obviously excited, she added, “Sesshomaru-sama brought Rin!” Bouncing on the balls of her toes, she glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the door.

Kagome glanced up and found herself looking into a face which spoke of only the best breeding. His eyes were such a light brown they might have been mistaken for golden amber, and his long, silver hair was pulled back into a low tail. A tailored suit marked him as quite a bit more upscale than most of her regular clientele.

So this is the man who found Rin and gave her home, Kagome thought to herself as she met the man’s eyes. Leaning over, she asked the girl in a stage whisper, “Do you think he’d like something, as well?”

Rin sadly shook her head, saying with a sigh, “Sesshomaru-sama doesn’t like sweet things...”

Pushing herself straight in feigned shock, Kagome declared, “Not like sweet things?” Flopping back down dramatically, she stage whispered again, “Well, I suppose that leaves more for the rest of us, doesn’t it? And now you don’t have to share your cookie.”

The girl smiled up at her, but said quickly, “I always offer to share with Sesshomaru-sama! Even if he doesn’t want any, it’s still polite to ask.”

Grinning down warmly at the child, Kagome agreed. “You’re very right, Rin-chan. We must always offer to share with our friends.”

A shadow fell over them as they were finishing their conversation, leading them both to look up. Golden eyes stared into Kagome’s own blue ones for a moment before they switched to the child at his side. “Have you paid for your snack, Rin?”

Eyes widening as she realized she’d forgotten, she quickly handed him the sack which held her cookie. Digging into her pocket, she carefully drew out the correct amount and handed it up to Kagome. “Did Rin give you the right amount, Kagome-san?”

“Exactly the right amount! Great job!” This was a routine which they had established the child’s very first day in the store. As soon as the bells had chimed, Kagome knew that this particular little girl needed a some extra attention. Back then, she had barely spoken anything, almost as though she were relearning how words worked. The sight of her attempting to say what she wanted, when it was obvious coffee shops were a new and somewhat frightening experience, had touched a place in the older woman’s heart which was now labeled “Rin-chan.” During the year which had passed, Kagome had been presented with pictures and flowers and small, handmade gifts. They were tokens of a child’s affection, which made them more precious than almost anything else she’d ever received.

As the two turned to leave, the girl once again holding her bagged cookie, Kagome was struck by how lovely the picture they made was. As they reached the door, the tall man held it open for his little ward, who skipped through and then waited as he joined her on the sidewalk. Slipping her small hand into his large one, they moved out of sight.

Kagome was left leaning against the counter, a wistful expression on her face. The two of them had looked so much like a family...She couldn’t help but wonder if he was married. Did Rin-chan have someone to cuddle her close when she was afraid? Someone who would play dress up with her? Someone to tell all her troubles to?

When Yuki came back from her break a few moments later, Kagome walked to the door and pulled it open. She knew the little girl would be back the next day for her afternoon snack, but that didn’t stop the longing of wanting to see them together one more time. Her hand itched to reach out to them, to ask if she might be allowed inside their happy bubble.

Turning sharply, she re-entered the shop and hurried into the back storeroom. Foolish foolish foolish foolish, she shouted silently at herself. Picking up a box of coffee cups, she set about reorganizing the already organized space. Anything to keep her from thinking about what she’d just witnessed. What she had just yearned for...Her heart had cried out, but Kagome was intent on ignoring it. How silly could she be? He was not interested in her, and she knew next to nothing about him! Giving herself a sharp shake, she dove even deeper into the boxes of assorted coffee and pastry making supplies.

Her attention was so focused on the task, she didn’t hear the bell chime smartly as someone entered. A few seconds later, however, Yuki was at her elbow, telling her that a customer was asking to speak to her.

Giving her employee a look of both surprise and concern, she dusted her hands off as best she could and pushed the storeroom door open. Her mouth nearly dropped open in shock as she saw who was waiting for her at the counter.

His golden eyes watched her closely as she slowly walked toward him. He spoke first, saying, “I hear that you make ‘the best sugar cookies ever’. I’ll take that one.” His finger pointed imperiously at one of the flower cookies, this one decorated in red and white.

Not sure what to say, Kagome reached down, drew it out and bagged it for him. Taking the money he handed her, she watched him turn away and head for the door. Again. Realizing that fate was offering her the chance to act, she blurted out, “Sesshomaru-sama!”

He froze a few feet from the door. Slowly, he moved around to face her.

Before he could say anything, she bowed her head and said, “Thank you.” Not raising her head, she added, “For taking care of Rin-chan. She was so sad when she first came here...”

His voice spoke from directly in front of her, startling her into looking up. He said, “I have heard much about you, Higurashi Kagome. Rin speaks of you often. I believe that it is I who must thank you...”

Kagome stood speechless as the obviously powerful man before her bowed his head. When he raised it again, she smiled softly. “I hope you enjoy the cookie, Sesshomaru-sama....Even if you aren’t a fan of sweet things.”

“Perhaps I’ll learn to like them,” he said with a barely there smirk, that same silver eyebrow arching again. Then he turned and was gone.

Maybe, she thought to herself as Yuki poked her head out of the storeroom, I’m not so foolish after all.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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