Can't Say I Love You

By: Chibi-Suiko

Type: romance, angst

Summary: Kagome knows she loves him, but something is keeping InuYasha from saying it. What could be the problem and will it ever be resolved? Definite one-shot, though a sequel may come.

A/N: Not the typical romance between InuYasha and Kagome. I have a hard time believing that they're even going to get together so...

PS: I have to say, I don't exactly hate Kikyou. She's more of a third wheel than a nuisance so I feel that she deserves a little more of a part than a sort of villain going after Kagome to receive her vengeance. This still resolves more around Kagome and InuYasha though, so don't worry.

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The wind whistled, blowing the clouds behind the moon. The few golden stars glistened like evening snow, shining in the light. Down below this, the land lay peaceful for once, no blood, yelling, or trampling flame was anywhere what so ever. A small campfire was set between a trio of elm trees; the leaves bristling against the cold that tended to threaten their life.

There was silence, for no one would be awake at this hour. Though a silver-haired, alert looking angel sat in one of natures sturdier crescents, waiting and watching over the group of humans below him. As the wind grew more fierce, his hair was whipped around, though he didn't seem to care or even notice. The bliss filled golden hue of his eyes proved that his thoughts were with something else. Or maybe someone.

Underneath where he lay, one of his companions sighed in her sleep and turned over. He looked down at her from above, hoping that she was still asleep, still unknowingly watched over by him, from where he lay. He hadn't meant to, but as soon as he leaned over, her scent intoxicated his nose. He sat back up; letting the smell waft around him a bit before the cool, night air carried it away. Again, his thoughts drifted to something else.

It was something he couldn't explain. He felt something for the girl with ebony hair, golden-brown eyes, and that smile that made the sight around him glow brighter than the sun. He didn't understand. He had felt like this before to a person-No, duplicate-for the other that he loved was exactly like this one in every way... Though, at the same time, he couldn't help but feel that it was possible to be any more different.

She saved him, somehow. Maybe it was just his imagination but ever since he got to know this girl, it had started to get much easier to forget the other. But, still, one thought lingered on his mind and in his heart every single night. It was as if it was impossible to forget her completely. It was an inevitable part of his past, a part that was deemed a far worse curse than he seemed to be able to handle. Was it not bad enough that his chances at living a more voluntarily natural life were shattered when a human figurative apparition had ruined what he had built 50 years before?

He heard her mutter something in her sleep, so low that even his extra articulate hearing couldn't catch it. She turned over again and a small snore escaped from her mouth. He couldn't help but smile. No body else was awake, it would be easy to slip down from the tree and caress her smooth, creamy, peach skin... just for a bit. He was about to do so, but the thought of her waking up stopped him. After all, last time he had sneaked next to her, she had jumped in fright, smacking him in the face during the process. Prior to this moment, that thought had run from his mind and not until now, did he actually start to consider the consequences.

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It was a wonderful dream. Even if the rays of the sun had tried to pry her eyelids apart, she would restrain herself from the idea. Everything taking place seemed too good to be true. The roses were in their blooming stage, making the scene seem to glow a burning violet-red, though it still looked soft.

The sky was clear blue, almost like a glass bottle, dotted here and there were small bits of fluffy cloud. The birds beautiful singsong chirps were lulling her into a deadly calm while the cool wind rushed by, blowing her hair over her shoulder.

And then, there was him. He stood across from her, their eyes meeting unconditionally. She only needed to see that expression of superiority-no matter how egotistical it was- and strength to know that by standing at his side, she had the profound excuse to his safety. His eyes told her so...and she knew that those burning orbs of midday sunlight would never lie to her.

Even from there distance, she had to do no more than take a step and next second, he was right at her side. Handing her a rose, he turned to the ground, which seemed to become ever more interesting now that he had made his motives clear. She pulled his face up a bit so that they were no more than an inch apart. His eyes, they stood alert, expecting her to turn her head in misguidance. But she held no such thought.

He persisted, refusing to look her directly in her soft brown eyes, but somehow, without even speaking, she made him understand that she didn't want to hurt him. Something that made him give in and look at her, straight at her.

They were like an amber wineglass. His eyes were not forcibly strained or angry. A sense of calm seemed to flow by the wind, sweeping away all stray distractions. She only needed to nod her head and then he knew. He knew that she trusted him, found him unlike Kikyou had ever tried to. She had defined him in a sense impossible to most others. He could never thank her enough for doing so.

He had tried so desperately to make it work, help them work. No after-thoughts were present as they pulled close, knocking each other to the ground. Indescribable bliss and happiness were inaudible-they couldn't put it into words. The best part?

They didn't have to...

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The sun wasn't glowing as brightly as it usually would have been. The wind seemed to cancel out the warmth that the rays would have normally provided. Kagome shivered and tried to get more comfortable; it was useless though so she forced her eyes to open the smallest amount. Somehow, she half expected what she was going to see.

" YEEH!" She yelled, jumping from her sleeping bag. InuYasha looked at her questioningly, though she could see relief in his eyes about not being slapped or 'sat', " InuYasha, what were you doing? What do you want?" She rubbed the extra sleep from her eyes, already knowing what was coming. Or so she thought.

" I wanted to see if you were okay. You seemed troubled while laying in that sleepy-mad jig. Was it a nightmare?" He asked, almost too kindly.

She looked to him with a shocked expression, " Huh? Oh, no, no. It wasn't a nightmare. In fact, I'd actually rather still be dreaming..." She yawned again, " So, are we off?"

" Not right away. I think we should give the kitsune a rest..." He nodded to Shippou, who was snoring rather inappropriately.

She smiled softly, " How very mature of you, InuYasha." She said and turned to set up the fire for their Ramen breakfast. If she had looked in his direction for a moment longer, she would have noticed a light blush of pink rising over his cheeks from her smile.

She sighed happily. Maybe today could be spent trying to convince InuYasha to live his present life, forget the tragedies that made him hold his place in a distant field, overlooking her from afar. She couldn't help but feel a little at ease, even though he himself intended to act a little hostile at times. She could never seem to look away from him and found herself worrying over him during the slightest bit of trouble.

She could never bear to leave him, at least not forever. Something kept her from returning to her period in time and refusing to come back and she knew it wasn't the mission that she had originally been sent out to complete, at least not now. He had entrapped her in his spell, no matter how frivolous and stupid that seemed to be. Something had ensnared her long ago, as if it hadn't just started when she had lain eyes on him for the first time. Maybe something from when Kikyou had been around? They did-after all-share the same soul, maybe something had not entirely been forgotten or when that vile witch Urussue (I have not idea how that's spelled) had devised that plan and brought her souls original host back, certain moments had been transferred. She hated to admit it, but it was a possibility, one that she didn't like at all.

If she was to love this man, she wanted to love him as herself, not to live in a dispatched memory. She didn't want to lead him on in a way that she couldn't define. It made her heart beat very deeply to think how badly she could hurt him if this were the case.

She didn't want to see that expression of utter hatred in his eyes, that one of remorse, like the first time they had met. He meant too much to her for that to happen. If they couldn't exactly be lovers then the role of best friends, who carried unconditional trust and honor for each other would have to settle her minds dispute.

But even as she thought this, something in her heart told her that it was the wrong idea, that no matter how much she denied it, it was still not the case. He meant more to her than that. But did that mean--?

Her heart skipped a beat before she noticed that the ramen water was boiling fully, some of it overflowing the brim of the tin pot and scattering over the morning flames. She removed the cooking equipment from the fire and placed it gently on the ground beside it with one of her hands, pulling out three, foam cups of instant noodles with her other. She would save one for Shippou when he decided to wake up.

She turned to tell InuYasha that the water was finished and that they could start to eat, only to see him looking her way already. She thought that his eyes were on the noodles in that greedy InuYasha-like way but when she placed them in front of him half angrily, half exasperated, he continued to look at her. Something wasn't right. That look in his eyes suggested something deeper than was expected from him, especially this early in the morning. How could she wake him from his small stupor?

She took out one of her small plastic cups and filled it with the steaming liquid meant for their breakfast, she definitely hated to do this but she felt it was the only way to wake him up. Sadly-and uncertainly-she threw the diluted water at him, where it landed in his lap. His frantic shouts ran through the forest of the Warring Era.

Well, at least it worked, Kagome thought grimly, preparing for the worst. It was a good thing she had, too.

" You little wench! What was that for?! I didn't do anything to you!" He yelled advancing on her angrily. Kagome knew that he would never intentionally hurt her, but started to back away from him anyway.

" I'm-I'm sorry InuYasha! But it was the only way to snap you out of it!" She said, and her eyes were widening, thinking that for once, she may have gone too far with her antics, though they were only supposed to help him. He raised his arms threateningly, but looking into her brown orbs, he felt himself lowering them again. She really was sorry; he could see that exceptionally well for being in one of his blind, angry rages.

Sitting back down, he growled at her. His mind was telling him to act normally, to start on her and make her pay for the physical pain she had literally thrown on him, but his heart seemed to get sidetracked at the last moment, maybe for the better, as this morning was not starting out nicely and he'd probably find his face in the dirt again anyway.

Just like every other time, he thought, glowering inwardly at her. He knew that even though she had the power to control his every movement, she had kept the assault of the Miko Keade's magic to a bare minimum. He had accepted the fact that she made mistakes, saying the 'word' when he was near and not remembering what would happen when doing so. He had grown accustomed to that time of day when they were in another one of those heated arguments, the ones she usually came to be the victor of by stating that one little phrase, not that it stopped him.

To tell you the truth, the only reason he kept up those little charades was because of that devilish look in her eyes. For some unknown fact that he started to like that expression, he had begun to start small quibbles just for the heck of it.

He turned to his food and started to slurp it very inappropriately for a man-or hanyou-his age. Of course, manners were never something that he had paid much attention to, being who he was. He looked in Kagomes direction again, seeing how she carefully used her chopsticks to pluck the pieces of Teriyaki chicken, small dried vegetables, and lanky, thin noodles out of her measured amount.

He scoffed angrily, How can she possibly eat so slowly?! He thought, his mind reeling wildly to know the answer, Can't she speed up the process, she's making me nervous as Hell!

He kept acting like himself, in other words the soup was aimlessly stuffed down his throat and before anyone knew it, he was finished. Kagome was hardly half done, so he continued to stare at her, waiting for the last drop to finally be digested. His acute hearing made her small tidbits of chewing (How can you chew soup?!) and sipping noises all the more louder. After about ten minutes, it became too much to handle.

" How do you do that?!" He yelled, fixing her with his completely insane sight. His face was quite an expression to behold. His eyes seemed to dart crazily from object to object, as though he was claustrophobic, his cheeks were an infuriated red, and his upper lip was twitching every now and then. Needless to say, he looked deranged.

" Do what?" Kagome asked curiously and innocently. She obviously had no idea what was upsetting him so much. She waited for his answer, waiting for him to reply to her question. Which he did, though it took him quite a while since her eyes seemed to make him lose himself.

" How do you eat so slowly?! How can you eat a stupid cup of ramen and still sound so loud?!" He kept his eyes on her, noticing her concerned expression for his obscene behavior. In his opinion, though, she should have been starting to worry about herself.

He moved toward her, snatched the so-called breakfast from her hands and slammed it into his mouth. The water seemed to be much hotter when being forced into his stomach all at once and he contained the urge to yell in pain again. Her face held an expression of shock, disapproval, and-of course-the never forgetful anger. She jumped to her feet and shouted as loudly as possible.

" SIT!" Her command forced him into the ground, a place he never really liked to see so closely because it reminded him of that feeling, of being beaten, of his brothers trashing words, plummeting him even farther down. Or maybe that was Kagome, who was repeating her small-but powerful-incantation, " SIT! SIT! SIT! SIT!"

He could hear all of his enemies, cat-calling, jeering at how weak he seemed to become when around this mortal girl, the one who could have complete control over his actions. He hated to be called weak and he hated when this girl acted so out ragingly hateful. It was definitely hard to like her at times like this, especially when his face was thrown into the ground every time she said that word. Before she could say it again, he jumped to his feet and started to yell his usual insults in her direction, hoping against hope that this might draw her attention away from throwing his weight down into the dirt.

" You WENCH!" He called it to her so forcefully, that it halted her in the middle of her flustered moment, "Why do I even put up with you?! You can call yourself Kikyou's reincarnation but to me, you'll never be more than a jewel locator! You could never see life through the way I see it and yet, everyday it's always something! You think that I want to behave like this?! Well, I don't! This is who I am and if you don't like me for that, then you should go back to your time and never cross over again! I never should have trusted you, tried to befriend you. You could never replace Kikyou..." He finished his little reverie and for the first time since he started it, looked into her brown eyes. He didn't see that usual lighted happiness that was normally sustained there, only sadness. For a second he stood there, just letting what he said sink in-not only her mind-but his as well. He face paled as he thought of how badly he must have hurt the girl in front of him. The one who had tried so hard to befriend HIM ever since they had started this little journey, traveling all over the Futile Era.

He desperately tried to search for a little sentiment in her expressionless face. He found none. Whatever he had done, he'd better fix it quick before she heeded his idea about leaving and went on her way. He seemed too late though, as she turned around and packed up a few of the things she couldn't bare to leave behind. He could hear her breathe a little heavily, as though she were trying to hold back tears that he knew-by the scent of them-would come anyway. He reached forward and stroked his hand across her shoulder only to find it thrown off when Kagome turned around to face him for what would be, undoubtedly, the last time. Unless he acted quickly.

" InuYasha... I never knew that your life had held so much more pain since I've come..." Kagome said in a strained voice, " Though, if all you want to remember me as, when you look into my eyes, is Kikyou, then I'm afraid that I won't be able to find a rightful place in your heart, nor you in mine... I can't deny that I'm Kikyou's reincarnation, to do so would probably threaten her spirit, but to say that when you look at me, all you see is a part of your past that you can't give up on-or a jewel detector-or even an accomplice on your journey to avenge your lost love, then I fear that I can have no part of it... InuYasha, I hate to admit it, but I can't even say that I wish to see you again, in fear that it will make you think of Kikyou and the undying love that you two shared for each other. I feel that if you should wish to find the one you love, you should search for her by yourself and in doing so find who you are on the way. I can't stop you from caring so very deeply for the girl who wished to save you from your own curse, the girl who opened her heart to you... But, please..." She stopped and inhaled a shuttering breath, "Please say that you may also find a place to put me and the memories that we shared together... For I can only live my life to the fullest, knowing that you did show another emotion other than hate or disrespect to me, as me and not Kikyou..." She turned away as she finished, hoping that maybe she had broken through to him, told him without telling him to live in the present and to keep the past the best he could, as a memory, and only a memory. She had said it in a way that only the most disciplined and striving beings would understand but she hoped that he still got what she meant to say.

She turned to leave, gave one last look of hope to his silhouette, which was still standing there, taking her words in, investing them deeply. She started to move on her way back to the bridge of time and space, separating her and InuYasha from each other. Upon reaching the base of the well, she pulled a string from her neck, the string containing the legendary Shikon Jewel, or what they had collected anyway. Though, if InuYasha found Kikyou, there would be no doubt in her mind that they would finish the hunt together. She ripped the jewel binding her world and InuYasha's and threw it to the ground. If she was never to return again, than she no longer needed it. The pain from the thin material strand of thread being pulled viciously from her neck made her rub it, trying to console the burning injury she had inevitably received. The burning of her neck, though, was to pale in comparison to the pain she felt in her heart.

White-hot tears fell down her cheeks, moistening them greatly. She refused to wipe them away, feeling the urge to let the world and those who thrived on it, know of her deep-set pain.

She jumped through the time stream, feeling that-though suddenly-she had made the right choice. A tingling sensation notified her that she wouldn't be able to pass by here again. Being that InuYasha and Kikyou were still very much in love, she didn't want to have to face him again and felt a very saddening joy creep up her throat.

She could be free, free to live a normal life, obtain normal boyfriends, and finally complete her school years and get on with her life. This was going to be hard to do, but relistening to her own words helped soothe her. She could do it, if InuYasha had tried to complete such a goal, then it was worth it...

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Kagome had been at home for three days and was already miserable. She had tried to go on another date with Hojo; even as clueless as he was, but he didn't measure up to anything InuYasha had made her feel. InuYasha...

He had not come to drag her back, though something told her that he had found the Shikon Jewel by the base of the well. She couldn't help but feel betrayed, even though she was the one who had to say goodbye. Just as she had promised to herself a few days ago, she was going to get over him and get on with her life. Actually doing it, though, was much harder than repeating over and over to herself that she would. Something just seemed to be missing every time she looked around her. It was as though this average, every day capital of Japan was not her home anymore.

She opened her front door, shouting "Hello" to whom ever was inside at the moment, before rushing upstairs to avoid her families questioning about when she would head back to the Warring Era. She had never actually told them face to face, per say. She had gone over everything in her 'I'm Back For Good' speech, glancing into a family portrait for practice. One of the main differences about this and the real thing was that, by the time she was done her story, all of the faces were still smiling cheeringly, it was almost unbearable to her, though she couldn't help but think that they would take the news that she was staying here for the rest of time much better than she herself had. To tell you the truth, she still hadn't lost that immense state of shock completely, and when at school, this was not helping. She had a feeling that she would be getting better grades when she was still in InuYasha's time, rather than here every day.

She sat at her desk, taking in the smooth mahogany wood, the polished make man shift equipment. Something so modern seemed so foreign to her at the moment. Perhaps if she could see him again...

But that was impossible. She had left the Shikon Jewel in his care and he could do with it what he wished. She thought that was a little uncharacteristic of herself, for she had always kept the jewel in a safe place. But right now, she trusted her motives.

She threw open her Mathematical Algebra textbook, searching for the page that she was to study for her homework. Her eyes remained glued to the pages as her door opened slowly. A figure stepped through it, though she didn't see whom it was. She didn't want to discuss her latest adventure in the Warring Era to Souta, or about her time here, how long she had left to her mother, or even to her grandpa, who would probably ask what contraptions that Keade had made, the ones that would actually work.

" Go away..." She said in an expressionless voice. The figure stopped and the next thing she knew, her door was closed. Maybe her family-for once-had heeded her warning not to bother her.

The next thing she knew though, two arms were put around her, pulling her close and keeping her there. She glimpsed at the hands and noticed that they had claws. They were half covered by a red material, a kimono, draping from the mans body. She couldn't believe it, she wouldn't believe it. InuYasha was supposed to be in his time, locating the missing shards with Kikyou. Though her heart skipped a beat and her breath caught in her throat like it always did when he was near her. And she hadn't even looked at him yet!

She was just letting the sudden shock wear off when she just couldn't take it anymore. She whipped around and looked once again into InuYasha's golden-set eyes. They were no longer holding that anger she had last seen in them. Instead, pouring apologies were running through them. Without speaking one word, he had changed the whole situation. He was sorry; he had come to make amends with her. It was an offer that she couldn't refuse.

She jumped from her seat and with his eyes still on her, flew into his arms, sobbing hysterically. She just started to take in his lean muscles, tanned exterior, and the fact that he was holding her back, when she pulled away from him, remembering their former and last discussion. But maybe there was still hope.

" InuYasha..." She said in a strained and displeased voice, though inside she was anything but displeased, " What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be with Kikyou..?"

He seemed to start shuffling his feet, as if this question was posing an uncomfortable memory in his place, but shrugged it off, "The Kitsune woke up to see you gone and started to bawl uncontrollably. He still hasn't stopped, he said he wouldn't until you came back. It's driving me crazy..!"

Kagome thought that that wasn't all but after a while of his silence she just answered with a nod and sat back in her seat, feeling very embarrassed about her former motives of running and hugging him. She glared at the pages of her textbook again before feeling those arms drape around her. This time she shuddered a breath but only because she felt so comfortable. If only they could stay like this forever...

" And that's not all..." His voice whispered solemnly, " I missed you so badly... Kagome, come back with me, please?"

He waited for her answer, but she didn't really know what to say, " InuYasha, I gave you the Jewel, what more could you want? I can't come back to a place full of those who refuse to like me for me... You said so yourself, that I could never replace Kikyou... Well, to tell you the truth, I don't want to. InuYasha, I want to be me, in my own image. This whole Kikyou thing is just a minor set back, or at least it was. Either way, you don't want me back, so it's settled, I will never return to the Warring Era..."

She hated her own answer, she could tell that InuYasha did as well. He quivered at emotionless tone, just because of her riminiscing his words. Had he hurt her that badly?

He let go of her, much to the disappointment of Kagome, and spun her chair around, "Listen to me Kagome! Look at me!" He stated and, trying to do so softly, pulled her chin up so that they were directly across from each other, looking straight into the others eyes, " Do you really think that I want you to replace Kikyou?! You have your own mind and heart, you two are nothing alike-for the better. I love you for who you are, not for who you resemble. You are your own person and I'm proud of you for that... I like you the way you are. I-I don't want you to change..." He broke off, seeing that her eyes were regaining that light that he loved so much, " I don't want you to think that just because I still feel something for Kikyou, doesn't mean that I don't care for you at all. You understand me, and -coming from me this will sound crazy-but, Kagome, please, I'm asking you from the deepest, most profound place in my heart... Will you forgive me and come back? I-I need you, I don't think I can keep going, striving, and moving on without someone like you by my side... I don't want Kikyou, Kagome; I want you... for you..."

That was it. For some reason, that was all that she needed to hear, all she wanted to hear. She ran into his arms again, only to find that she enjoyed it that much better now that they were no longer on poor terms.

" Thank you, thank you... InuYasha..." She murmured, while crying-it was De Ja Vu, only now there was no embarrassment because this was where she wanted to be.

They broke apart and fell away from each other. Kagome sat on her bed, pulling a few things from her dresser but was interrupted when InuYasha pulled something from under his blood red kimono, " I think that this belongs to you..." He said before placing it in her hand.

She smiled. It was the Shikon jewel... and next to it was a violet blossom. It was ordinary but because it was from InuYasha, it seemed all the more magical.

" Kagome, promise me that you'll never do that again. Promise to stay by my side?" He asked her with his cheeks tinted pink. She looked at him and smiled.

" InuYasha... I promise never to leave like that again..." She stated, and by the expression on her face, she meant it. She really would stay by his side forever and to him, there was nothing wrong with that.

They left her shrine, heading to the well. He helped her in and followed behind her. They were never going to be separated. Never and the thought pleased them more than was deemed possible.

So what if he couldn't say he loved me? I can wait... We can wait... And for now, just being friends will be just fine. Until everything is complete and settled then I promise to stay by his side. He deserves as much. I know that he understands and nothing can stand in his way, our way, when we're together. Nothing... She thought to herself.

InuYasha turned and smiled calmly in her direction. Somehow he had heard every word of what she had just said. Words didn't need to be spoken to know how much they cared for each other. They didn't need to speak the words 'I love you' for it to be known.

All they needed was to stay by the others side, forever. They both continued to find Shippou.

For now, nothing was better than that.

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A/N: That was it. Hoped you like it; it took me three days to complete. Review if and when you can, I need the support right now...

All we can do is hope that Rumiko Takahashi comes up with a way to get rid of the 'Third Wheel' so that InuYasha and Kagome's pathway to each other is clear. Until then, let's just dream of our perfect endings to the series.

InuYasha and Kagome forever!!! They rule!!!