Kikyou had been dead for some time; however, the jewel was not complete. InuYasha's heart had mended over her and he had finally come to terms with her peaceful passing. He would always care for her, for what they had shared, but he didn't know how much time he had with Kagome. No one knew what would happen once the jewel was complete and he didn't want to waste his time with her anymore.
InuYasha sighed heavily as he came toward the group playing in the water. He knew he would have to talk to Kagome and he had no idea where to begin. He'd spent all this time trying to show her he was worthy, but the wolf had a point. Kagome needed to know he loved her and no other.
Kagome saw InuYasha approach the stream and called out to him cheerfully.
"InuYasha! I've got your swim trunks in my backpack. Hold on and I'll get them for you!" Kagome came splashing out of the water at a slight run, trying to make it to her backpack and help him find his trunks.
"The girls changed behind those trees over there," Kagome indicated to a gathering of trees to her left, "and the boys changed behind those bushes." Indicating a dense patch of shrubbery to her right. Kagome's backpack sat on the ground close to the stream between the two spots. "I have towels for everyone. Here, take yours." She said handing InuYasha his towel.
InuYasha grinned and thought to himself her backpack seemed bottomless sometimes. Even two weeks after coming out of the well it still held an amazing amount of supplies the group hadn't even needed yet. He thanked her for his trunks and headed to the brush to change and join his friends in the stream.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing water games. Kagome taught every one Marko Polo but they eventually had to quit because Shippou and InuYasha "cheated," using their sense of smell and hearing to find the others. They played with the beach ball she had brought, splashed, swam, talked, laughed and had a much needed good time. When evening started to creep in Shippou, Sango, Kirara and Miroku went to set up camp, leaving InuYasha and Kagome alone.
Spending the day in the water had washed their skin, but Kagome still wanted to wash her hair before she got out. Walking out of the spring toward her backpack, she was leaned over digging through it, grabbing her hair supplies when she called to InuYasha.
"Hey, InuYasha, I'm going to wash my hair while I'm still here. Do you want me to wash yours, too?" Kagome asked standing and turning back toward the stream. She let out a small gasp at seeing InuYasha suddenly behind her, staring at her thoughtfully. He took the bottles of shampoo and conditioner from her hands and sat them on the ground at her feet. Once he had straightened he wrapped his arms around her and caught her in a heartfelt hug, much like the one he had given her so long ago at the well before he had pushed her in, keeping the jewel.
Kagome wrapped her arms around his chest and leaned her head against his shoulder, enjoying the contact. They had become more at ease with each other and considering he carried her on his back, she wasn't put off by any physical contact from him. She smiled her own, secret smile and closed her eyes sighing contently.
"Kagome" InuYasha spoke into her ear. He didn't dare whisper what he was going to say because he wanted to be sure she heard him and understood every word. "I am at peace with Kikyou's passing. I know I have used her to hurt you in the past and I can't expect you to forgive me."
"InuYasha," Kagome said from his chest, "I don't hold anything against you. It was a difficult situation."
"Keh. I'm glad because I want to earn a place in your heart like I've earned your friendship." InuYasha stated. There, it was out. He was anxious over what she would say, but he really did feel so much better having said it.
Kagome pulled back from their hug and looked at InuYasha curiously. She wasn't going to question his motives or make him explain himself. All she had to say was, "Ok, InuYasha."
"Keh. Now, weren't you going to wash my hair?" InuYasha asked, smiling, grabbing the shampoo and conditioner bottles from the ground.
"As a matter of fact I was," Kagome answered, leading InuYasha back into the stream.