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Loft-sided by Eleven

Loft-sided

Disclaimer: I do not own any rights whatsoever to Inuyasha or Ghost, in any and all forms. 

-- 1. Loft-sided --

“On the count of three, we’re going to topple that wall over there and show ‘em who's boss!” 

Bandana over her nose and sledgehammer in hand, Kagome adjusted her goggles once more as she surveyed the obstacle before her. Determination blazed in her sapphire blue eyes. 

A tall figure with handsome features quickly glanced sideways at her, a perfectly shaped brow arched behind construction-grade eyewear. He divested the bandana covering his head and removed the respirator that blocked high cheekbones and pliant lips. Silken white-silver hair, tied up in a high ponytail, blended in with the cloud of white dust that swirled upward, giving him an ethereal look. 

“Come on, Sesshōmaru! Show some enthusiasm! We’re almost there!” Kagome pulled the bandana off her nose and removed her goggles as she rallied, swinging her sledgehammer over her shoulder. The momentum of the swing almost caused her to tumble over. Instinctively, her hand lurched out to grab onto his strong bicep, anchoring herself upright. She felt sinewy muscles contract under her fingertips reflexively. 

The hammer momentarily forgotten, the thunderous clanking of the tool echoed loudly as it collided with debris on its descent, causing her to flinch.

"Woah! Hehehe..." she muttered awkwardly. Using her charm to override her carelessness, Kagome grinned sheepishly at him before pulling the bandana back up to cover her rosy cheeks.

'Silly girl. Always so careless. Sesshōmaru quickly mused, though with far less ice than his usual. 

However, his amusement at her antics was short-lived as his swift assessment of their surroundings suggested their work was anything but close to completion. 

Hard amber eyes scanned the level of destruction in their vicinity. Broken timbers dangled dangerously low, while scattered rubble littered the aged hardwood floor. Besides the cleanup, the thought of accumulating more sawdust from sanding the floor to restore it to its former glory, plus all the additional mixing of toxic reagents to bring out its true hues did not sit well with Sesshōmaru. Restoration work was never just as easy as one-two-three, or whatever catchy slogan these television personalities used to reel audiences in; hook, line and sinker. Renovations were even worse. 

A guttural sound escaped thinned lips before turning downward. “What a mess.”

“Hey, don’t give me that attitude! Be optimistic, be open-minded!” Kagome chided. “This space is going to be beautiful once everything is said and done. Just wait and see!” She stuck her tongue out at him, forgetting that an oversized bandana covered her petite face. 

“Yes, after we spend a thousand lifetimes cleaning up this dust.” 

“If anything, at least your hair will match the rest of you.” she quipped, hoping to lighten his souring mood. Smirking, Kagome gave his very well-built physique an appreciative once-over, covered in white powder and all. 

“Don’t worry, you’re still hot, even if you look like a ghost.” She reassured him, sending a wink in his direction.

Sesshōmaru narrowed his eyes at his raven-haired companion before redirecting his attention toward the misplaced wall ahead; unaffected by her compliment, and clearly unamused. 

He removed the clear plastic glasses, tucking it above his bangs, while he leaned his weight against the handle of his sledgehammer with one hand. “I fail to understand why we did not sign with the other agent. Her place was practically spotless and ready to go. We could have had all our belongings put away within the week.”

Kagome rolled her eyes, ignoring his comment at first. She knew that of all the things they could be doing on their days off, immersing themselves in DIY warehouse-to-loft apartment renovations was not on that list. She did not anticipate getting knee deep in making a mess either, but of all the places they scoured during their apartment hunt, this one in particular just drew her in, like a moth to a flame. The amount of transformative work needed to rejuvenate the space would take a herculean effort, creativity, and fairly deep pockets, hence why many buyers shied away. The real estate agent explained to them in great detail the potential of such an open canvas, in hopes of closing a sale. Kagome, on the other hand, took the advice to heart as the wheels in her head started turning. 

Sesshōmaru fought with her tooth-and-nail, as he tried to sway her opinion toward the more cookie-cutter modern apartment, which in her opinion, was so...pedestrian.

However, she had a steely resolve, and she wanted to showcase how their newly acquired, 3,800-square-foot riverside hidden gem on a tree-lined, cobbled street trumped all the others. Not only was the price right, but the location was prime— it afforded them some privacy away from the busy, coffee and specialty shop-lined streets a couple of blocks down. They were close to almost everything, and their location near the water helped them escape the claustrophobic feel of the concrete jungle in the city. Her perseverance had won in the end, and she would put in every effort to make sure her vision came to fruition.

Kagome knew he was getting just as exhausted as she was from hours of hammering and dismantling endless partitions and accumulating rubble by the metric ton. Maybe DIY-ing this project without additional help wasn’t the brightest of ideas. It was great on paper, but she supposed there was a reason why many construction and home renovation companies existed. She was not without faults, and she knew she got carried away by the illusion of an easy reno. 

“Should’ve just left it to the experts...but...aren’t you having fun? At least you’re here with me, not running off to your next client, or stuck in another boring litigation, or whatever it is you lawyers do.”

“Hn. Fun, indeed.” came the gravelly reply, with a hint of sarcasm. 

Whining aside, she enjoyed spending quality time with her beau. It was a much needed reprieve outside the glass shrine that was his office downtown, and away from the constant buzz, the thousand and one call bell lights and aseptic walls of the hospital where she spent grueling 12-hour shifts. Their days together were cathartic, in a way, for it allowed them to break off from the monotony of their schedules, hectic as it was.  Lastly, it gave them time to catch up with each other aside from the quick 'going here, doing this. talk to you later' texts. It also allowed them to engage in repartee of varying topics and lengths, which they seem to enjoy despite their protests and complaints. The main reason why they decided to take this next step of their relationship and move in together was so they could be more in-tuned with each other. Their adult sleepovers, the weekly coordination of ‘who-was-staying-over-at-who’s-place’, as well as the shuffling of toiletries and extra clothes were getting out of hand, as their demanding schedules stretched their ability to be flexible. 

“And to answer your question, that other place that you loved sooo much was too...sterile. Boxy with white walls everywhere. It makes hospitals look and feel like a Four Seasons hotel. And I would know. I work in one.”

She chose her next words carefully, taking care to appeal to his artistic side. She wanted him to love this place as much as she did, and she knew deep down he would, eventually. It would just take some time, and a lot of persuasion. 

Her voice brimmed with excitement as a lightbulb turned on in her mind.

 “Besides, this place has character.” Kagome walked over to lightly pat one of the gargantuan wooden columns, before pointing a finger at the window-lined corner of the skeletal space. “We can even set up your pottery wheel station over on that corner, right by those large windows. Imagine all that natural light, and that killer waterfront view! Soon you’ll be making pieces that every museum curator wants in their collection!” She exclaimed, waving her hands around for emphasis. “We’d be overrun by vases and pots!”

She wiggled her dust-covered brows as she turned back to him. “That nice outdoor space can also fit your brand-new kiln, with room to spare. Maybe even a small garden? I do have a green thumb…” Bells of laughter soon followed. “I can grow enough flowers to make you flower crowns, since you’re so pretty and all.”

Sesshōmaru scoffed at her statement. “You flatter me too much. While I have no plans to retire from my currently lucrative occupation, switching careers to become a full-time ceramics artist wouldn’t be such a travesty. I am quite skilled.” 

Leaning his hammer against a protruding piece of  sheet rock, Sesshōmaru sauntered over and stood behind Kagome, startling her. His head lowered dangerously close to her ear. 

“But...” Velvety lips grazed over the shell of her ear sensually, making Kagome gasp. A tightening sensation in her lower abdomen made her fingers twitch in anticipation.  “If you need proof of my...capabilities...then I can certainly demonstrate how skilled I am. With my hands.” He intoned seductively, his already baritone voice dropped an octave lower. “...And other parts.” His tickling breath by a particularly sensitive spot behind her ear sent electrifying shivers up and down Kagome’s spine. Goosebumps made her skin crawl with unexplainable pleasure.

At his beck and call, Kagome imagined a statuesque and shirtless Sesshōmaru, clad only in form-fitting pants, a veil of sweat glistened over his porcelain skin. His delectable arms, crossed over his equally delicious and well defined pectorals, were covered in clay. His decadent lips twisted into an award-winning smile, bilateral dimples in full display. The gleam in his citrine eyes, hooded by thick, curling lashes, burned with passion as she envisioned him staring intently at her. Unspoken promises of skillful ‘activities’ would soon follow, usually for days to come.

She nearly hyperventilated at the thought. 

Sesshōmaru was the epitome of maleness; her own personal David, created to perfection just for her. From time to time, she still wondered how a fine specimen like him ended up with someone like her. No, Kagome didn’t think she was ugly or unattractive, nor was she undeserving. Despite being a beacon of assertiveness, confidence, and optimism, sometimes a momentary lapse in self-esteem would hit her like a flash flood. She felt like she was reaching for him, while he merely settled for her. 

In the end it didn’t matter, for he chose to be with her, despite the many females he attracted like a strong magnet. She was in that coveted role. Her. Not some celebrity, or model, or successful corporate CEO, or whatever kind of woman decided to throw themselves at him. Kagome, the girl next door, had somehow snagged the most eligible and sought-after bachelor in town. She didn’t even have to try that hard. 

Shifting to face his dazed lover, and unaware of her inner turmoil, Sesshōmaru observed Kagome’s metamorphosis and chuckled at her creeping blush. He had an idea of the current imagery that her mind’s eye supplied to trigger such a reaction. It would not be the first time, nor would it be the last. He suggested it after all, albeit subtly. 

Satisfied with his work, Sesshōmaru admired her silently. He took his pleasure in seeing her flustered by mere words. It was his way of getting even with her, and to teach her a lesson: Never play with fire. And no flower crowns

“Uh...um…”

"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?"

He ruffled her unruly bangs, smearing more white dust from his coated hands as he combed his fingers through her hair.  Her naturally raven locks took on specks of gray-white with his new addition. "There. Much better."

“Sesshōmaru! Now I have rubble in my hair!”

“Indeed. Now we match.”

Snapping out of her reverie to reorganize her frazzled mind, Kagome shook her head from side to side, like a wet dog shaking off excess moisture. “Uh...yeah. Anyway… you can do what you want, as long as it pays the bills.” She said as nonchalantly as possible, while willing her heart to calm from that little seduction play he just pulled.  “I mean...I  don’t know if you’ve looked around, but this place is massive.”

He countered back automatically, expecting her choice of words. “If my memory serves me well, this was your grand idea, little bird. I would have been content in that...what is it you called it? Ah, a sterile box.”

Kagome inwardly sighed as she readied herself for yet another round of teasing. In addition to being her model man literally and figuratively, she posited that he was also her sparring partner in wits, though their styles differed greatly. She was intelligent, and she was vociferous— she wore her heart on her sleeve and sputtered out words like a sprinkler on full blast. She spoke what was on her mind, sometimes before she even had time to fully process her thoughts. She rambled when she was nervous, and she had a terrible habit of spewing out word vomit to fill awkward, uncomfortable pauses. 

Sesshōmaru, on the other hand, was the silent observer, the calculating strategist. He too spoke his mind, but his approach was more...succinct yet deadly. He delivered his punches in as few syllables as possible, nor did he mince his words. Indecisiveness was a major pet peeve. There was no point in dillydallying, for such tactics just took away precious time that could be used somewhere else. He enjoyed the quietude as much as he enjoyed the finer things in life. The din of silence also allowed him to process his thoughts and commit things into working memory. His intuition was almost always spot on with precise accuracy, while his faculties were as sharp as a razor, for he did not miss a beat. 

Despite their differences, their union created a symbiotic relationship that worked for them somehow; one could not fully exist without the other. 

“You know, for someone with an artistic streak, your choice in living space seems rather… dull.

“Hn.”

Their friendly tit-for-tats were both fun and exasperating. Their teasing knew no bounds in terms of occurrence, and sometimes in the most unusual settings— family dinners, unbelievably soul-sucking work functions, extravagant galas, weddings. Heck, even in funerals, of all situations.

Or like now, as both were covered in sweat, dirt, and grime in the middle of ground zero; a dilapidated space. 

But she wouldn’t have it any other way. It kept their spark alive, kept things interesting long enough, and she only hoped that it would continue to color their days for the rest of their lives. 

She turned to him, unadulterated affection etched on her face. “But regardless, this will be good for us, Sesshōmaru. We can make this place our own, make it our home.”

A small smile graced his features as Sesshōmaru appraised her fondly, his earlier ire casted away. Pictures of their shared future flashed before his eyes. Sharing a home with Kagome stirred something deep and instinctive within him. He looked forward to having a place to shelter them from the storm. A place to provide safety. A place to start a family, if they are fortuitous enough, or if the gods willed it so. A place to learn and grow together, in more ways than one. 

His eyes sparkled with mirth at the future of having mini copies of themselves running around the grand space, surrounded by all the nurturing and warmth that he knew for certain Kagome could provide. If their time together was any indication of what was about to come, then he was all the more eager for it, mess and all. He knew deep down he could not walk away from her behemoth aura and charisma, jam-packed in her five-foot-one frame. Kagome was like the sun— she radiated with positivity and light, while everyone else revolved around her, like the planets that felt her pull. She made friends everywhere, and sometimes all it took was a quick flash of her brilliant smile. 

That smile. It was the first thing he noticed about her during their first chance encounter. Her smile made him feel lucky and happy to be alive. 

In his case, she had him at ‘hello’, followed by a ‘boy, aren’t you ice. Don’t worry, I will melt you!’ Her conviction was infectious, and as much as he tried to shy away, he found himself centripetally drawn to her, quirks and all.

This moment encapsulated so many of the things he admired most about Kagome— Her courage, kindness, resolve to see the good in all things, and the quiet strength that she displays that go beyond the physical. To Sesshōmaru, he had already found his home within her. He would be content living in a shoebox, as long as she was with him. He would follow wherever she went. Location was arbitrary and inconsequential. 

To love her and to be on the receiving end of her love, was incomparable. It was better than winning the lottery. There was really nothing in the world quite like it. 

Flashing her his most tender and genuine smile, he regarded her once more. Golden eyes gleamed with all the love and adoration, just for her. 

Before she could utter a squeak, he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her flush against him. Like a swift assassin, dexterous fingers loosened the knot of her bandana easily, exposing her cute nose and lips— a shade of pale pink, like the color of rosebud. He gave her a short but sweet eskimo kiss, the tips of their noses touching as he nuzzled her with care. 

“I can’t wait to have a home with you.” She giggled, as she basked in his tenderness and his quick bursts of affection. She fought the urge to squeal.

“Likewise” he replied, before his lips descended down on hers as he captured her in a searing kiss. One hand cradled her head, tangling his fingers through her voluminous locks, while the other drifted down to her slender waist, pulling her even closer.  Sesshōmaru felt Kagome buckle against him, before her small hands swept their way up from his chest to the base of his neck and settled there. Her arms twined around him like vines.

Kagome felt herself falling— falling into the abyss that was Sesshōmaru’s hungered kiss. She was powerless when he held her. The feel of soft, pliant lips against hers sent a heady wave of shock, fire, and electricity that ravaged her. She was turning into a puddle in his embrace, and yet she didn’t mind. The residual dust and fragmented debris surrounding them faded in the distance, while their current tasks were thrown to the winds.

Seconds turned into minutes as they exchanged wordless passions with their lips and tongues. The need for air became secondary, until Kagome whimpered from the dizzying effects of his kiss, or her lack of oxygen. Either way, he pulled away, agonizingly slow, to savor the last bits of her sweetness, and to allow themselves to take a breath. 

Picking up his sledgehammer, he glanced at her flushed face and slightly swollen mouth once more, before marching toward the remaining white wall, the source of his eyesore, and the last hindrance toward their shared dream. 

“Come, little bird. Let us turn this warehouse into our humble abode.”

-- x --

A/N: This is part 1 of 3 of a series of one-shots called “Do You Believe in Ghosts?” (originally on AO3). I had written this a while back, but I actually completed part 3 first (hence why it was posted first). The works in this series were inspired by the movie Ghost (1990). The one-shots are kind of related, but can be read as standalone stories/vignettes. No great plots of epic proportions happening here. Just sneak peeks of everyday life...and an exercise in writing pour moi :) This particular one-shot was my attempt at fluff. and crackfic. Fluffy crack. It also came about during one of my many walks around my neighborhood. The warehouse lofts here are both beautiful and astronomically expensive. I still wouldn't be able to afford one even if I sold all my organs in the black market for profit. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little slice ;) Thank you for reading.

 

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