Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. They all belong to Rumiko Takahashi. I am just borrowing them.
Author's note: I know I should be working on “The Difference a Little Time Can Make” but I have been blocked for the last couple of months. Then I was hit with this idea and a couple of others and I went with it. I know that it has been done before but please read and review and let me know what you think. This takes place after Kagome heals Kikyou of Naraku's miasma.
Inuyasha sighed from his perch in a tree as he looked down at the group peacefully sleeping around the fire. Sango slept with Kirara curled up in her kitten form, one hand clutching the Hiraikotsu as if to warn off the monk sleeping only a few feet away. As if in response to Inuyasha's thoughts, Miroku's hand twitched in the Taijiya's direction before falling still once more. Inuyasha snorted before moving his gaze to the remaining members of the group. His eyes softened a fraction as he stared down at the miko curled up in her sleeping bag, the little Kitsune nestled against her.
'Kagome' he thought with another sigh. A slight breeze blew a lock of her hair against her face and he felt the urge to move to her side and tuck it behind her ear. He resisted the urge, knowing he didn't have the right to touch her like that, and shifted his gaze away to look up at the full moon. As he stared at the moon he wondered at the feeling of contentment at the knowledge that his companions trusted him to guard them throughout the night. He wrinkled his nose as he was pulled from his thoughts as a scent reached him. He turned his head to the side and spotted several lights moving in the distance, instantly recognizing Kikyou's Shinidamachuu.
“Kikyou” he whispered as he stared in that direction. He moved to stand before glancing down at his companions once more. He felt torn, not wanting to abandon his companions, one in particular but at the same time needing to see Kikyou and reassure himself that she was alright. One Shinidamachuu came nearer before moving away again as if beckoning him to follow and he made his decision. Stretching out his senses he detected no signs of any danger nearby, and he knew that though his friends slept soundly they would easily awaken at the first sign of danger. With one last glance at the girl sleeping below his tree he bounded away from camp to see why Kikyou had sought him out.
He leaped from tree to tree following the Shinidamachuu and soon came to a clearing. He landed just inside the clearing and spotted a lone figure resting against a tree. “Kikyou” he called as he stepped forward but froze as he took in the appearance of the undead miko. She had a haggard appearance and looked as if a gentle breeze would knock her over. He overcame his shock to rush to her side. “Are you alright?” he worriedly asked as he knelt beside her.
Kikyou opened her eyes and gave him a small, tired smile as he reached her. “Inuyasha, you came. I'm glad.” She closed her eyes again. “I wasn't sure if you would.”
“What are you talking about? I promised to protect you, didn't I?” He frowned down at her.
“You did, though you shouldn't have. I release you from that vow as well as your promise to join me in hell.” She opened her eyes and pinned him with an intense stare, halting his protest. “Please don't interrupt. I haven't much time left.” He frowned at her words as a nagging suspicion began in the back of his mind. “I called you here to say goodbye. This false body of mine is failing and will not last much longer.” She raised her hand as she spoke and Inuyasha was appalled to see that it resembled clay about to crumble away at the slightest touch. “Even the stolen souls are no longer enough to sustain me and this body can no longer contain them.” On cue one of the glowing snake-like youkai arrived with a glowing orb and released it. It sank into her chest only to rise back out and float away a moment later.
“What happened?!” he burst out, unable to remain quiet. “Isn't there anything we can do to stop it?”
“Naraku” was her response and he stiffened, emitting a low growl. “His miasma caused more harm to this false body then I was originally aware. It is too late now, and time grows short for me. Soon I will return to the rest I was torn from.”
“But Kagome healed you!” Inuyasha burst out as he pulled her into his arms, unwilling to let her go.
She gave him a sad look. “Yes, and it is because of her that this body has lasted as long as it did. If it had been flesh and blood, then her actions would have been enough. But this false body is a construct of dirt and bones. The magic that created it has been destabilized and it will soon crumble away. I simply wanted a chance to say goodbye before it does.”
“No! I won't let you die again! Can't Kagome heal you again?” He was beside himself as he contemplated the thought that he was going to lose her again.
“No Inuyasha. It is time. I never should have been brought back. Do not blame yourself for things are going back to the way they should be.” She reached a hand up to brush his cheek. “Defeat Naraku and find your own peace and happiness. Protect Kagome and be happy. I am glad that you will not be left alone when I am gone.”
Tears began to blur Inuyasha's vision as he tried to keep them from falling. “I failed you. I swore I would protect you and I couldn't. You are the first woman that I ever loved and I can't do anything to save you.” He lost his battle as several tears began to slip down his face.
Kikyou stared at him in wonder. “Inuyasha, you're crying?” She carefully brushed the tears away. “Don't cry, not for me. I finally have the one thing I have always longed for. Finally, I am an ordinary woman.” She smiled at him.
He could feel her fading in his arms. “Kikyou” he whispered before leaning down and pressing his lips to hers. They stayed that way for several moments and then Kikyou's body simply crumbled away as her soul shot away into the night. Inuyasha sat there for a moment staring at the remaining dirt before he began to angrily punch the ground as he cursed himself for being too weak to save her. Then he threw his head back and released a heart-wrenching howl into the night.
Meanwhile, not long after Inuyasha had left camp, Kagome stirred in her sleeping bag. She carefully eased the sleeping kitsune away from her and slid out of her sleeping bag. “I knew I shouldn't have drank that extra bottle of water before going to sleep” she muttered as she hurried into the nearby foliage to take care of her body's needs.
Once finished she sighed and stretched. “Much better” she said to herself as she turned to head back to camp before coming to a dead stop. Now that she wasn't distracted by her body's needs she could tell that the bright light that illuminated the forest wasn't only from the full moon as she had assumed. In the distance she could easily see the bright lights moving among the trees and recognized them as Kikyou's Shinidamachuu. “Kikyou” she murmured before shifting her gaze to the tree Inuyasha had perched in when they had settled for the night. As she had known, he was no longer there.
Her chest began to ache as she thought of what the two might be doing at the moment. “Stop it” she told herself with a shake of her head. “He loves her, of course he would go to see her.” But she couldn't help but feel that something was wrong. There was just something in the air, some melancholy feeling that something was going to happen. Before she knew what she was doing, she found herself moving off in the direction of the Shinidamachuu.
'Why am I doing this?' she wondered as she neared the area that Kikyou, and more than likely Inuyasha, were located. 'I don't want to see them together. I shouldn't intrude on this private moment.' But despite her thoughts, she kept moving forward until she was nearly at the clearing.
She halted behind a tree just before entering the clearing. Peering it around it, she felt her heart clench as she took in the sight of Inuyasha kneeling beneath a tree, Kikyou gathered in his strong arms in an intimate embrace. They were speaking but she couldn't hear them from where she stood. And while she couldn't see Inuyasha's face from the angle she stood, the look on Kikyou's face froze her where she stood. The look on her face was one filled with love and awe. As Kagome watched, Kikyou said something before reaching out to touch the hanyou's face.
Ashamed at spying on such an intimate scene and feeling her heart break, Kagome began to turn away, intending to head back to camp. However, before she could, she saw Inuyasha lean down and kiss Kikyou. Kagome held back a gasp as the pain in her chest doubled. She turned and ran, trying to put as much distance as she could between her and the scene she had just witnessed. She futilely tried to hold back her tears, but a sob wrenched itself from her as she ran. 'No, why did I have to witness that?! Does this mean that he chose her?' She paid no attention to where she ran as she tried to escape the image replaying over and over in her head.
Distantly, she heard a heart-breaking howl fill the air, and for a moment thought it had come from her own throat, as it seemed to express her feelings quite clearly. At that moment she stumbled over a tree root and collapsed on the forest floor, curling up into a ball as she allowed herself to cry out her pain and heartbreak. She remained like that for a long while, unaware of her surroundings or the passing of time. She didn't even notice when a small, glowing orb approached and sank into her back, other than to dimly note the feeling that something that had long been missing had returned, and a sense of calm began to settle over her as her tears slowed to a trickle and then finally stopped.
“No more” she told herself. “I always knew that he would choose Kikyou in the end. But I still want to be near him for as long as he'll let me.” She stood and looked around, determined to head back to camp. If she was lucky, she would get back before him and he would never know she had been gone, that she had witnessed his rendezvous with Kikyou. But she froze as she realized that she didn't recognize the area. Turning slowly, she tried to determine which way she had come from but nothing was familiar. “Oh no” she murmured as her stomach sank. She was lost.
She stood there a moment longer and considered her options. She could try to find her way back to camp on her own, though the chances were good that she would only succeed in getting herself even more lost. Or she could wait for someone to notice that she was missing and come looking for her. Isn't that what everyone always says you are supposed to do when lost- stay in one place and wait for someone to find you? But as she thought about who would be most likely to find her she made up her mind. “Okay, try to find my own way back it is” she said as she again examined her surroundings. She didn't think she could bear to hear Inuyasha's ranting and taunts about her being weak and useless. “I think this looks a little familiar” she said as she picked a direction and began to walk. She concentrated on looking for familiar sights as she hoped she made it back before anyone noticed she was gone, never noticing the figure that began to follow her through the forest.
Inuyasha didn't know how long he sat there, unable to move through the pain that gripped his heart. Head bowed over the spot Kikyou had lain in he vowed “Naraku will pay, I swear it.” He moved to stand, a determined look settling on his face. “No more. I will not lose anyone else that I care for. I won't let anyone else be taken from me!” At his words his mind flashed to his companions, one dark haired girl in particular, and he bounded off through the trees back to camp.
He arrived moments later, relieved to find the camp undisturbed. But a frown quickly formed as he realized that something was wrong. He quickly checked the camp's inhabitants. The Taijiya and the neko were still curled up together with the monk nearby though unsurprisingly his hand now rested on the Taijiya's backside. Glancing to the other side of camp his heart plummeted as he realized that while the kitsune pup still slept soundly in the sleeping bag, the young miko was nowhere to be seen.
'No! Where could she have gone?' His heart pounded as he moved to track her scent. As he followed it into the foliage near camp he told himself 'She's fine. Probably just had to go. I've warned her about drinking too much damn water before going to sleep.' He tried to convince himself that she had just stepped away and would be right back but couldn't quite make himself believe it. 'Damn foolish wench! What is she doing wandering alone at night unarmed?!' He hadn't missed that her bow and arrows were still leaning against the tree with her bag.
He felt relief wash over him when he found where she had taken care of her body's needs. But the relief didn't last as he realized that the evidence as well as her scent were too faded to be fresh. And her scent didn't lead back to camp either. 'Why the hell didn't she go back to camp?!' He began to growl as he thought up the lecture he was going to give her when he found her as he followed her scent through the woods. “Damn girl doesn't have a lick of sense about her. Doesn't she think about what could happen to her wandering the woods alone at night, unarmed?!” He ranted as he ignored the little voice in the back of his mind that said that she shouldn't have to think about that when he is supposed to be there to protect her.
But his ranting trailed off as he finally realized where her scent was leading him. Sure enough he soon came to the beginning of the clearing where Kikyou had- He cut that thought off with a wince as his ears drooped. “Kagome” he murmured dejectedly as he realized that she had caught at least part of his meeting with Kikyou. And he knew she couldn't have seen the whole thing, she wouldn't have left if she had seen the end. The pain of his loss made itself known again with the addition of guilt for having caused Kagome pain as well. “Why do I always end up hurting those I care about?”
He shook himself to clear those thoughts away as another occurred to him. “Wait, I know she couldn't have stayed through Kikyou's passing. So why isn't she back at camp?” He knew that if Kagome had seen Kikyou pass on then she would have pushed any of her feelings aside to comfort him, that's the type of person she is. So she had to have left before then. “Usually she would head home or sit me or both if she caught me with Kikyou. But we're too far from the well and Kirara is still back at camp. So where?” He trailed off as he began following her scent again, cursing as he realized that it led further into the woods and away from camp. However, the object of his curses soon changed from the foolish girl to himself as he began to detect the scent of her tears. 'Kagome, I'm sorry. But please be alright. I can't lose you too.'
Kagome felt her hope of arriving back at camp before anyone noticed she was gone die little by little. The further she walked the less she recognized. She was beginning to think she had chosen the wrong direction. And she wasn't sure if she wanted to get back before Inuyasha any longer. It looked like it was going to take her all night to make it back to camp, if she could find it that is. On the one hand she would be spared having to hear Inuyasha rant and berate her for her stupidity but on the other hand she didn't know if she could bear the knowledge that Inuyasha had stayed the whole night with Kikyou and what they might have done together. “Stop it!” she told herself suddenly. “Inuyasha's not mine, he's never been mine. He's always belonged to Kikyou. I have no right to be upset if they want to spend time together” she whispered to herself as she attempted to push away the painful thoughts. “I just want to get back to camp so I can go home for a little while. I could really use some ice cream right now.” She sighed as she tried to forget why she wanted the ice cream.
The sudden snapping of a piece of wood startled her from her thoughts and she whirled around as she realized that she was not alone. Her heart pounding in her chest she glanced around the area for the source of the noise. “Hello?” she called hesitantly, as she hoped that it was just her ears playing tricks on her. “Is someone there?”
The bushes to her left rustled and she whirled to face them but didn't see anything. “Inu-Inuyasha? Is that you?” Her earlier worries were forgotten as she prayed that it was the hanyou and not something else. Another bush rustled and she picked up a broken branch as she berated herself for leaving her arrows back at camp. “Inuyasha, if that's you, this isn't funny. Come out!”
A shadow fell over her and she whirled around with a scream as she felt hot, wet breath on the back of her neck. A serpent youkai was there, it's body curled around the nearby tree, it's forked tongue flicking out and drawing attention to it's gleaming, sharp fangs. “What do we have here? A tasssty little morsssel like you would make the perfect sssnack” it hissed at her as it slithered closer.
Kagome backed away slowly, clutching her makeshift weapon. “S-stay away” she warned it as she hefted the tree branch.
It let out a hissing laugh. “Foolisssh girl. How do you think a twig like that will be able to ssstop me?” It reared itself up and opened it's mouth before lunging forward.
Kagome let out a little shriek before instinctively swinging her makeshift weapon. The serpent youkai let out a hiss full of pain and rage as the branch connected with it's head, and Kagome stared in shock at the burn that appeared where she had connected. Somehow she had managed to channel her miko powers into the fallen branch! However, looking at the broken remains of her weapon, she knew that she would not be able to pull off the same stunt again, and as she saw the serpent begin to rear back again she belatedly began to run away.
She had not managed more than a few steps before a pain-filled scream escaped her as her right side exploded into pain followed by her back as she smacked into a nearby tree. Blinking tears out of her eyes she looked up as the serpent twisted around to face her again and realized that it had caught her with a strike from it's tail. Watching as it slithered closer, venom dripping from it's fangs to eat away at the ground, she knew that she wasn't going to make it out of this one.
“Ssstupid miko! Now you will sssuffer!” As the serpent hissed curses and promises of a painful death, Kagome tried to move but her aching body would not cooperate. She saw the serpent rear up one last time before lunging towards her, and she closed her eyes as a single tear escaped. 'Inuyasha' she thought as she waited for the fangs to strike, knowing that this time her protector would not be able to save her.
Inuyasha felt like he deserved to rot in the lowest depths of hell. He had managed to follow Kagome's scent through the woods and had come across a small area that was saturated with her tears. She had paused here to cry for a long time. His ears drooped on his head as he realized just how much pain she must have been in. “Keh. Stupid wench shouldn't have been wandering around the forest at night.” But his thoughts revealed his real feelings. 'Baka! Why didn't I think about what she would do if she woke up and realized I was gone? If she realized I was with Kikyou?'
With a heavy heart, he turned and continued to follow her scent as it led further away from camp and deeper into the forest. “Baka wench! She went and got herself lost. Doesn't that stupid girl have any sense in her?! Why the hell didn't she stay where she was and wait for me to find her?!” But inside he just berated himself further. 'This is my fault. Why would she wait for me? All I do is cause her pain. She probably doesn't want to see me ever again.'
But those thoughts were soon pushed to the far corners of his mind as he became aware of another scent mingling with Kagome's, as if it were following her. “Damn it! It's some type of snake youkai. What the hell is it following her for?!” He began to increase speed as fear for her overrode everything else. A scream filled the air and he felt his blood freeze in his veins as he recognized the voice. “Kagome!” He ran as fast as he could, cursing himself as he heard several other cries, including at least one pain-filled one. 'No, I can't lose her, I won't lose her!'
He burst through the trees to the heart-stopping sight of a large serpent youkai lunging at a trapped Kagome. Without slowing, Inuyasha drew Tessaiga and managed to plant himself in front of Kagome before the serpent could react. He swung the Tessaiga, cleaving the serpent in half by catching it in the mouth and using it's own momentum against it. The action caused one of the serpent's venomous fangs to graze his arm, but that fact went unnoticed as he hurriedly sheathed his sword and turned to check on girl laying behind him. The two halves of the serpent youkai had barely hit the ground before Inuyasha was crouching in front of Kagome, his eyes sweeping over her still form in search of injuries.
Kagome heard the thump in front of her and braced for the expected pain. She frowned after a moment. Where was the pain? Other than her already injured side and back, nothing hurt. Listening carefully she could hear ragged breathing coming from in front of her. Was it toying with her? Hesitantly, she opened her eyes only to reel back with a shocked gasp as her eyes locked on a familiar pair of worried golden eyes. “Inuyasha!” she gasped out before being shocked into silence as she found herself pulled into a rough embrace. Hands began to roam over her body and she flushed with embarrassment and anger before realizing that he was checking her over for injuries. A sharp hiss escaped her as he prodded her right side and back. She was going to be sore in the morning.
Inuyasha let out a sigh of relief as he realized that though she would be bruised and sore, nothing was broken and she wasn't seriously injured. His heart finally started to resume it's normal beat as he reassured himself that she was alright and he wouldn't lose her as well. As his fears began to fade, anger took it's place. “Baka! What the hell did you think you were doing wandering around the woods alone?! Stupid bitch, going around unarmed at night when anything could attack you! Don't you have any sense in that head of yours?! Didn't you even think about the fact that youkai would be attracted by the shards you carry?!”
Kagome flinched as he started to rant at her. Her relief that he had come to find her faded as she listened to him yell. Hurt welled up at she heard him mention the shards. 'Of course, that's why he's so upset. I could have lost the shards, and if I had died he would have lost his shard detector.' She tuned out the rest of his ranting as she tried to push down the hurt and bitterness that she felt. She pushed her feelings down as far as she could before turning to face him, hoping to derail his anger. But as she opened her mouth to say something his last statement sank in.
“Baka! What would you have done if I hadn't shown up?! You're just a weak human! You never would have survived this long if it hadn't been for me!” Inuyasha inwardly cringed as the words escaped his mouth. He hadn't meant it that way but he was so angry, at both her and himself that he wasn't thinking.
Something in Kagome snapped at his words. “I'm sorry to be such an inconvenience to you!” She lashed out at him, eyes blazing with unshed tears. “If I'm so weak and useless, why don't you go back to your precious Kikyou! I'm sorry that my being weak interrupted your meeting.” She clenched her fists at her side, refusing to look at him. “Here's an idea. Since you think I'm so weak, why don't you find Kikyou and have her find the shards for you! Then I can go home and you won't have to worry about me ever again!” She stood up and moved to walk away, body shaking with hurt and anger.
Inuyasha froze completely as her words registered in his mind. He felt like his whole world had been pulled out from underneath him, like someone had punched a hole clean through his body, only this hurt even more. 'Go home? She wants to leave me?' Unbidden, the recent memory of Kikyou's passing replayed in his mind, only this time Kagome's face was the one he saw crumbling away to nothing. A faint movement caught his attention and he looked up from where he had been staring blankly at the ground in time to see Kagome start to walk away. 'No! I can't lose Kagome too!' He lunged at her, knocking them both to the ground.
Kagome winced as the wind was knocked out of her as she hit the ground. Arms like steel bands wrapped around her, pulling her against a firm, hard body. She glared at Inuyasha's face as it appeared over her and opened her mouth to shout the subduing command only to stop as she was pulled even tighter into his embrace as he buried his head against her neck. She slowly began to understand the words that were spewing from his mouth.
“No! You can't leave me! Don't go! I can't lose you too! Don't leave me, please don't leave me too!” Inuyasha held her to him as tightly as he could, unable to stop the flow of words from escaping his mouth. It was like something inside of him had snapped when he realized that she was planning to leave him. All he knew was that he couldn't lose her as well.
Kagome felt her anger melt away. Everything else faded except the need to comfort Inuyasha. She could tell he was in pain, though she didn't know why. “Shh. I'm here. I'm not going to go away. I'll stay for as long as you want me to.” She felt him pull away slightly and gasped as she saw the unshed tears in his eyes.
“Don't go. Stay with me.” Inuyasha pleaded again. At her slow nod he felt some of the tension leave his body and he slowly eased his grip on her so that they could sit up. He felt his face begin to flush as he realized just how he had been holding her, and he turned his head to the side, though he left his arm loosely around her waist.
Kagome was still in shock from the suppressed tears she had seen in his eyes. 'Did I really hurt him that much?' she wondered. “I'm sorry Inuyasha. I shouldn't have said what I did. I promised to stay by your side for as long as you'll have me and I meant it.” She took a deep breath. “And I had no right to bring up Kikyou into the conversation the way I did. Please forgive me.” She looked away, not wanting him to see the pain she felt at the mention of the other miko.
Inuyasha snapped his head around to look at her. To be honest he hadn't registered what she had said about Kikyou at all. The only thing he had heard was that she was going to go home and not come back. But as he looked at her he could see the pain she tried to hide. “Don't be. I know you saw us earlier.” He paused as he saw her flinch at his words. But when he felt her try to pull away from him he tightened his grip on her and pulled her closer to his side. In a soft tone he asked “How much did you see?”
Kagome cringed at his question. 'Why is he asking this? Is he trying to rub it in that he chose Kikyou? No, Inuyasha's not like that. And if that was the case, why is he being so insistent on me not leaving?' She frowned as she thought about it.
Inuyasha suppressed a sigh when she didn't answer. “Kagome, it wasn't what you think. Whatever you think you saw, you're mistaken.”
Her head shot up and she glared at him when she heard that. “I saw you Inuyasha. I saw you kiss her! How am I mistaken about that?!” Kagome asked loudly as she tried to push him away. But he wouldn't let her. He wrapped both arms around her and pulled her into his lap.
“Stop, please just listen and let me explain.” When Kagome continued to struggle, Inuyasha growled and gave her a small shake. “I swear it wasn't what you thought. We were saying goodbye. Kikyou's dead, she returned to her final rest.”
At his words, Kagome ceased all struggles and turned to stare at him in shock. “What?! But how, why?” She gaped at him never expecting to hear that.
Knowing she deserved an explanation, Inuyasha relayed how he had met up with Kikyou and what she had said. About how the magic that held her body together had been destabilized. “But at least we got to say goodbye this time. And she got her wish, she managed to feel like an ordinary woman before she died.”
Kagome could see the pain on his face and hear it in his voice. “Oh, Inuyasha. I'm so sorry. I know that she was the woman that you loved. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose the one you love.” She started to turn away again but he stopped her. “Inuyasha?”
He stared at her, his golden eyes unusually intense. “You don't get it. Yes Kikyou was the first woman I loved, and her death pains me, but when I realized you were missing I panicked. I don't know what I would do if I lost you. It seems like everyone I care about leaves me, first my mother, then Kikyou. I swore that I wouldn't lose anyone else and then I couldn't find you at camp and I thought I had failed again. When I saw that serpent youkai about to strike you I was afraid I would lose you too.” He closed his eyes and drew in a shuddering breath. “More than anyone, I can't lose you. I couldn't take it if you left me too.”
Kagome stared at him, unable to move her eyes off of his face. 'What is he saying?' She reached out and grasped his hand. “It's okay Inuyasha. I'm sorry for worrying you. I promise I won't leave you if I can help it. Me, Miroku-sama, Sango-chan, Shippou-chan, all of us, we'll all be here for you. I know we can't replace Kikyou but we'll be there for you if you let us. You're not alone.”
Inuyasha opened his eyes and stared at her. “You still don't get it. Kikyou was the first woman that I ever loved” he paused to gather his courage, “but she wasn't the only one. Her last request was that I defeat Naraku and find my own happiness. She was glad that I had you, that I wouldn't be alone. While her death pains me, I can bear it. Because you are here with me. Her death causes me pain because I thought she had suffered enough and I hadn't been able to protect her. But I am glad that she is finally at peace. It hurts but I can still go on living. But if I lost you, I couldn't go on.” He briefly closed his eyes as he heard her sharp gasp before turning and pinning her with his gaze. “I love you, Ka-go-me.”
Kagome could only stare in shock. “Inuyasha!” she cried as she flung herself into his embrace. “I love you too.” They sat there for several minutes, simply holding each other as love and contentment filled them. Finally, Kagome pulled back enough to look at his face. But whatever she was going to say was forgotten as she saw how pale he was, sweat glistening on his face. “Inuyasha!” she cried. Reaching out, she felt his face. “You're burning up.”
He weakly batted her hands away. “Keh, I'm fine. Leave it” he said as he reached out to pull her back into his embrace. But his movement revealed the wound that had been hidden by the sleeve of his haori. Angry red lines spread away from the small gash on his arm.
Kagome gasped at the sight. “You're hurt! Baka! Why didn't you say you were injured? The serpent youkai must have poisoned you.” She began to examine the wound.
He looked himself. “Keh. Didn't notice.” He tried to pull his arm away but she wouldn't let him. “It's just a scratch wench. Don't worry about it. It'll be healed by morning. Like a weakling like that could really harm me. Keh! His poison is nothing compared to Sesshomaru's.”
Kagome glared at him but had to concede his point. He would probably be fine by morning. “Still, we should probably head back to camp and get it treated. No sense in leaving it to get infected or making you suffer until it does heal.”
They stood and Inuyasha turned to lead the way back to camp but paused when he heard her sigh. “Kagome? What's wrong?”
She gave him a sad smile. “I should have known. You only said those things because of the poison affecting you. You always say and do nice things to me when you've been poisoned but as soon as you're better you'll deny it ever happened.” She could remember the time he had been poisoned by the spider-heads and said he liked her scent and how he had denied it the next day. Or the time Sesshomaru had driven his poisoned claws through his gut and he had hugged her, then shoved her down the well. He always acted nice when he was poisoned only to ruin it. She hugged herself as she thought that she didn't want him to say it was the poison that made him say it.
Inuyasha felt his ears droop as he took in her dejected form. He reached out and grasped her hand. “I'm sorry Kagome. I always seem to end up hurting you when that is the last thing that I want to do. I'm sorry that it took losing Kikyou and then being poisoned to get me to admit my feelings but I swear that I really do love you and that won't ever change. I promise that I won't deny it.”
Kagome stared into his face and what she saw there convinced her that he spoke the truth. She reached out and gave him a brief hug before taking his hand and allowing him to lead her back to camp.
They walked in silence, simply enjoying the other's presence. Just before they would have entered camp Inuyasha stopped her. Kagome looked at him questioningly. “I swear that I meant every word that I said and I will still mean them tomorrow. But I can't make any promises yet.” At her confused look he continued. “I love you but I can't make you any promises until Naraku is dead. I still owe Kikyou his death, and he needs to die for all of those he has hurt. And for us to find our happiness. It just won't be safe for us until he is gone once and for all. But please, stay with me until I can make those promises.”
Kagome stared up at him. “I understand and I've already said I'll stay with you. Just knowing that you care for me, that you love me is enough for now. I can wait until Naraku is made to pay for all that he has done. This will just give us an added incentive to defeat him soon.” She smiled at him. “Now let's get that wound of yours treated.” She headed into camp and went to her bag to get her medical supplies.
Inuyasha paused and watched her move. He turned to face the moon and whispered “Thank you Kikyou, I hope you have finally found your happiness. I know where mine is now. Our goodbye was painful but it has led to a new beginning, one that will one day give me the happiness you wanted for me. Goodbye” and with that he turned and headed into camp and to the one who would give him that happiness.
Please let me know what you think. I wasn't too sure about how parts of this turned out.
And for those of you hoping for a new chapter for Difference, I hope to have one out soon. But even if I am blocked on that I do have ideas for a few other stories, so I promise to post something soon.
And on a more humorous note, I was playing with an online translator the other day. We all know that Inu means dog, and supposedly Yasha means demon, right? Well when I put Yasha in the box to be translated it came back with female demon. Was Rumiko Takahashi trying to play a trick or what? Maybe Inuyasha was always so grumpy because he was sick of being teased about his name. Maybe Inutaisho thought he was a girl? Anybody else get any funny ideas from that. I could see a funny one-shot dealing with that, though I don't think I would be the one to write it. How about any of you?