How Long? By: Crystal_V_Princess

Disclaimer: I do not own Inu-Yasha, but it would certainly be nice!!! All rights belong to that genius Rumiko Takahashi (God bless her!).

Dedications: To ~*! Fireblaze ~*!, for always encouraging me!! I don't know if you'll even read this one!! LOL! And Tim, for, well, just EVERYTHING!!!! Thank you!!! And Furaidochikin, for just being you, you silly Neko!!! And writing me absurd and fun messages as a sort of wild support!! I love you guys!! XXXOOO!!!!!!!!! Mwah!!!!

Note: If you are one of the people that I dedicated my Ranma fics to, well, don't be mad at me, please!!!! I simply don't see how it would make sense to dedicate an entirely different series fic to you, when I don't even know if you'll like it!!! Hope you do though!

Here I am again, sitting around a campfire in the middle of the night, waiting for another Shikon shard to show itself. And there she sits, a short two feet away, her heart-shaped face glowing in the dwindling firelight, an art in herself. And I want to move closer; I want to move beside her, take her hand. I want to be the shoulder she lays her head on in the next few minutes.

Her cadet blue eyes are blinking rapidly; she's trying to stay awake. I know she won't last long. She never does. Not after a day of fighting off daemons and power-crazed humans struggling viciously to gain access to the scattered shards. She's tired out of her mortal mind. As well she should be.

I'm looking at her cautiously now; making sure that she doesn't see me. I study her. She's so much stronger then I'd ever predicted, in ways I'd never predicted. And it takes my breath away. She's full of fire and a sort of animal nature that attracts me like a moth to a flame.

The way she flits about fearlessly, speaking her mind, being blissfully, frequently incautiously and dangerously, unaware of the consequences of her blatant nature. It's a sight to see, to watch this girl. This woman. Kagome. My Kagome.

And I find myself wondering how long I will make myself wait, how long the self-torture will last before I confess it to her. Before she looks at me in that way that can make me wish for permanently human body, and I fall at her feet, screaming my love in a voice of wretched and angry emotion. If she were a simple reincarnation I would be fine. I wouldn't feel anything like this, stronger than what I felt for Kikyo.

If she weren't Kagome, the girl I've come to understand, and accept as she is, as she did me, and through it all, to love. But she is, and despite my frequent and agitating denials, she'll force it out of me sooner or later.

The really funny thing is, she doesn't even know what she's doing. It's all subconscious, and it makes me think, what will it be like when she actually realises the power she has over me, the powers that exceed the prayer beads Kaede threw around my neck for her to subdue me the first time we met. Will she flaunt it, or play with me, teasing and making me wish for death and her touch? Will she run her hands over my face, my arms, my chest, string her fingers into my hair, then pull back to make the agony last until I cannot resist her any longer? These are thoughts I cannot bear; yet I seem to explore them more often as the days go by. As I ponder how long it will take for me to break down.

I yearn, I pine, I nearly perish, just seeing her sparks something in me that is almost intolerable. And I want it. For her to walk before me, to sway her hips, move her shoulders gracefully, her soft black hair lifting slightly with every small gust of wind. I long for it. Those short skirts, body-hugging materials woven into sweaters and blouses, nearly sheer cotton. It kills and I desire it more. Oh how I desire this pain. And I think about those many times that I have bitten my lip so hard as I stare at her, trying to hold back the shouts of adoration I have welled up inside, that I bleed. And the worst part is, she notices. She always notices.

Every scratch, every scrape, every misplaced droplet of blood on my skin, she notices. How, I don't have a clue. She doesn't ever seem to really be looking at me, usually somewhere at the side of my face, never in my eyes. And when she does look, she makes it perfectly obvious. I think it's purposeful; possibly she's developed some sort of technique to look at me from the corner of her eye and turn away quickly before I spot her. I think she's been around me for too long, she's starting to pick up my habits.

And the more intricate ones she does so well that it's unnerving. I should be able to read this human girl like an open book, but I can't. Damned if I don't try though.

Looking across the diminishing flames right now, I can see why she seems so distant at times, and she really does remind me of Kikyo then. I don't like it. She's not Kikyo, not a murdered shamaness, my old lover, she's Kagome, and only Kagome. "Kagome." I say aloud to convince myself, gritting my teeth and clamping my jaw tightly, my head bobs up and down slightly in a nod.

"Huh?" She's looking at me, actually staring into my face; her eyes search my eyes. "What'd you say, Inu-Yasha?" She asks, her chin rises, and the sleep that I saw in her demeanor earlier fades softly with interest. Her full pink lips beckon to me, and I lean forward only faintly, my nose held high above the small flames dancing across the charred wood and grass surrounded by a circle of unevenly shaped stones.

"Kagome." I say honestly, petrified, a deer in the headlights that her eyes suddenly have a striking resemblance to. I lick my lips, my gullet is dry and I gulp to wet it, loosening up the tightened muscles in my esophagus.

She smiles, and I think maybe I hear her purr, coo, at my simple answer. "Really-" She says, not asking a question. Her eyes wander; am I losing her interest? An abrupt sense of loss surges through me and I feel the need to bring her attention back to me.

"I like that name." I say, it's completely truthful, but unexpected for both of us. Those weary blue orbs float slowly back to my astonished face, settling somewhere around my mouth. A shadow of a smile flickers across her lips and I clear my throat, bringing her gaze back up to my eyes. Am I mistaken, or does she look wistful as her stare remains at eye-level.

"I'm glad." She says, her voice is husky, nearly a whisper, as if she hadn't used it for a long time. "I guess my mom did too." She jokes, the mood is lightened, but is doesn't disappear completely. "I like Inu-Yasha too." Kagome replies, sounding sincere but nervous. "I like the way it feels when I say it. Ee-noo-yah-shah." Her voice enunciates the syllables in a way that reminds me greatly of a sigh.

I know I'm smiling. "I'm glad." I mimic her. "Kah-goh-may." I tease, perfectly impersonating her pronunciation. She giggles softly and my heart jumps. I want to make her laugh again, but I don't know how. So I move beside her, there's at least half a foot between us, but I can smell her. Not the shampoo she uses, not the lotion that keeps her pale skin smooth and soft; I smell the very essence of her. The scent she had since she was born, the one that identifies her to me from miles away. I love that scent, love breathing it.

I suck in a long gasp of air, savouring the lingering quintessence of Kagome, the taste of her on the wind. I want to know the flavour of her firsthand. My face moves closer without consent from my brain. I know where this is headed.

I know she'll draw back her hand any moment now and slap my cheek, the stinging blow bringing me back into a sober, cruel reality. Yet, as I inch even nearer, her hand remains at her side, clutching the blanket draped over her slender shoulders to her gently. My own hand reaches out and seizes the edge of the mantle, tearing it quickly and violently from her body.

This catches her attention if she hadn't already noticed my nearness, and she turns her head to look at me. She doesn't look angry, not even confused. It's as if she's waiting. Waiting for me.

I dip my face to her cheek, rubbing my nose against the soft skin there and forcing her to look away again. The tip of my tongue flicks out and touches a spot near her chin. She jumps a bit at the abrupt action, and I begin to feel intoxicated by this direct contact between us.

The taste of Kagome's warm flesh bursts in my head like a wave of sudden, suffocating heat and my face falls down to her shoulder, exposed by the fallen coverlet. She's wearing one of my favourite shirts, a white, sleeveless cotton blouse, speckled with small pink hearts woven in by hand. My forehead caresses her neck and my teeth bite down on the edge of her shirt. I release it as quickly as I grabbed it. My senses whirl around and I feel complete. "Inu-Yasha?" She questions quietly after a moment.

"Mmm?" I respond, not removing my face from where it's pressed into her shoulder. I wonder how long she'll let me stay in this position. She rarely lets me this close. There has to be a reason for her acceptance of the liberties I've taken. I try not to think about it, and enjoy the feel of her so close to me.

"How long will it take you?" The words seem like a bomb going off in my brain and I lift my head suddenly, staring at her through truly frightened, slightly annoyed eyes.

"What?" I say, my face in a terribly close proximity to hers. I want to take more liberties. The liberty of a kiss. But I think better of it and continue to gape warily at her.

She turns to look back at me, blinking innocently. "Well? How long is it going to take?" I know what she means, but my pride refuses to let her have the obvious upper-hand in this and I back away from her carefully. Wanting more than anything to move right back and do as I please. In the sense that I even know what I want in this moment of disorientation.

She looks surprised, which pleases me to no end. I'm gaining ground here, maybe I'll be safe after all. I move across to where I was sitting before and slump backwards against a tree trunk. I cross my arms and gaze at the confused girl, hoping beyond all hope that she cannot decipher the longing in my eyes.

She's too bewildered to see much of anything and her smooth brow crinkles up in agitation. I know Kagome, and I know she doesn't like not understanding things. I don't either. Knowledge is a sort of power, and to be without it is to be without a foothold. "Inu-Yasha?!" Her voice is getting angry and I squint my eyes so they look closed to her, watching through near-slits.

"When I'm ready." I grumble gruffly, making a coarse noise in my throat. Things are back to normal and I wish they weren't.

She turns away from me, as is her common practise when she's annoyed, and I gaze at her silently in the dark. Hiding my face from her view in the firelight. And I think. How long?

Author's Note: This is my first "Inu-Yasha" fic, but I've been reading the series for a while, just as I have Ranma ½. I usually write Ranma fics, so this is a bit of a change, I don't know if anyone'll like it, but I hope you will! Truly! As I've tried my best to keep to the basic character personalities. I wanted to keep the level of distance that Kagome and Inu- Yasha always seem to have between them, but still convey the love they feel from that distance. I wanted Inu-Yasha to be feeling bold. Because though he has a gruff, no-nonsense personality, he is shy and easily effected by Kagome's innocent charms (sometimes not-so-innocent. Heh, heh!). If you liked it, please review!!!!!!!!!!! And if you would like to read any more of my fics, just click on my name and it will give you a listing, then you can click on the one(s) you would like to read! Go on then! Read away! And once again, thanks for reading!!!


Your Lady,

Crystal_V_Princess ;P

P.S. For those of you who are waiting for "Day Three" of my "Three Days" CS, don't worry! I'm working on it!!! Really! Thanks for all your e-mails and reviews! You guys rule it all!