omigod!  I wrote something resembling waff!  Golly, I hope it doesn't become some kind of habit...*shudders*

Disclaimer:  Inuyasha and co. do not belong to me.  And I'm not even sorry!  ^.~  If they did, I'd have Sesshoumaru and Naraku on a---

*breaks out into song*

"I would like you on a long black leash

I would parade you down the high street..."

Um, okay.  How unlike me, to just randomly break out into song.   Well, out loud at least!  ;-)  And, if anybody can guess where those lyrics came from, I'll write a fic just for them!  ^.~ Within reason.

So anyway, thanks to all those that reviewed!  Please let me know what you think of this part, even if it's only a word or two.  Every review counts!

Stolen Kisses

Part Two

Inuyasha peeked around the tree skirting the edge of the small pond.  He was so thankful that Kagome was human and could not smell or hear him as he shifted from foot to foot in nervous excitement.  The sun, starting to tilt the far side of the sky, beat down on her bowed head and cast her shadow out behind her.  She knelt waterside, at the shallows, and scrubbed dutifully at some piece of cloth he didn't have enough leverage to fully see.

He grinned, stepping out from behind the tree and compacting his body down into a sneaky crouch.  This was too easy.  He slinked towards the happily oblivious girl, biting down on the tip of his tongue to keep from snickering.

A lock of ebony hair swept over her shoulder as she leaned forward, and Inuyasha saw his one perfect moment.  Lifting his hands, he quickly thrust them forward and sent the girl tumbling into the water.  She shrieked, an abrupt sound that quickly twisted into a gurgle.

He stood on the edge, pleased with himself, waiting for her to rise out of the water in her indignant fury---See him, know, and send him falling to the ground.  As far as he was concerned, it was a perfect, fool-proof plan.

And rise she did, sputtering and gasping as the water streamed down her body.  Her heavy, dark hair hung heavier and darker around her face and shoulders.  She wiped a shaking hand over her eyes and glared up at him.

"Inuyasha..."

He felt giddy in wait, knowing this time she wouldn't be able to help herself.  It was like a reflex for her.  Piss her off, and the word just came spilling out.  His heart beat faster as her mouth opened.

...And revealed perfect white teeth.  She grinned, then threw her head back and laughed, flinging droplets of water all around her.  "Inuyasha!" she cried, "You scamp!  You scared me!"  She swept her cupped hands over the surface of the pond and slapped him in the face with a cold splash of water.  "HA!"

The next thing he knew she was up and out of the water, and he was the one thrashing around in it.  He looked down at himself in complete surprise.

Kagome stood on the bank, in the exact spot he had just unwilling vacated.  Her long white sleeves were plastered to her arms, and her skirt dripped water, turning the dirt at her feet into small patches of mud.  Her hair clung to her moist cheeks and her brow as her eyes glittered happily.  She should have looked like a drowned rat, but instead had the manner of a water nymph.

She pointed a finger at him and laughed.

Not immune to her charms, but not willing to be drawn in by them either, Inuyasha sat in the pond and glared at the insanely laughing girl.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was clear by evening that the Fates absolutely despised him.  Three more times he had said exactly the right words, and three more times she had refrained from saying 'the word'.  On any other occasion the hanyou would have been ecstatic, but somehow he had got it into his head that he had to kiss the girl---to show up Miroku, to keep his pride as any self-respecting male.  He had to.  Of course, he had also come to the conclusion that she had to hurt him first.  It wasn't a logical conclusion, not anymore, but his mind still clung to it as if it made utter sense.

Slowly darkness filled the sky, bringing glowing stars to life.  Inuyasha, from his perch on Kaede's roof, heard the whoosh of the door flap, and then dainty footsteps.  Kagome appeared.  And she looked up at the sky with such an expression that Inuyasha instantly wanted to ask her what was wrong.  She had a wistful light to her dark eyes.  But Inuyasha, being Inuyasha, didn't understand the look at all.  Only that it wasn't happy.

He jumped down and Kagome instantly startled, her face mimicking the expression Sango had made when Miroku kissed her.  She even pressed her hand against her heart.  But Inuyasha's thoughts were nowhere near stolen kisses.  He was thinking only that Kagome was upset, and he had to fix it.

"Inuyasha!  You scared me!"

He stared at her.  "What's wrong?"

Kagome blinked, then smiled.  "Nothing.  Why do you ask?"  She was fiddling with the edge of her skirt again.

His gold eyes narrowed, and it was all it took for her to sigh, drop her hands to the side.  "I was just thinking about Naraku and the Shikon no Tama.  That as many stars as there are visible here in the Sengoku Jidai...there's probably that many shards out there.  How can we possibly get them all?"

Inuyasha's face softened, he wasn't even aware of it.  "We'll find them," he said definitely, believing his own words.

Kagome smiled at him gratefully, but it was clear in her blue-grey eyes that she didn't really believe him.  Wanting to reassure her---No, Needing to reassure her, Inuyasha stretched out his hand and wrapped his fingers around hers.  Her fingers tensed, then settled into his grasp.  He repeated, "We'll find them." And squeezed her hand.

Kagome stared at him, then nodded, belief finally shining in her eyes.  She laid her head against his shoulder.  With their hands held down between them, both stared up at the inconceivable number of stars.  They were silent for a long time, leaning on each other and gaining strength from the other.

"The stars are never this bright at home," she whispered.

Inuyasha frowned slightly, "They're the same stars though.  Isn't that what you told me?"

She was silent, and then she nodded, her hair brushing across his shoulder.  It smelled nice, like some exotic flower he had never come across in all his travels.  But as exotic as it was, it was familiar too.  Because it was her.

"The same stars," she whispered, then looked up at him.  Her eyes were very soft; he didn't think he'd ever seen them so soft.  And she gazed up at him in a way completely new, causing his heart to pound loudly in his ears.

"Inuyasha..."

He started to panic, not understanding why it was suddenly so hard to breathe.  "What," he gasped, pushing away from her, "What's wrong?!"

There was a distant crash, but it was a sound outside of their awareness.  Kagome's eyes widened, and seemed to glitter with tears.  But just when he thought one might actually roll down her cheek, her eyes slitted.

He immediately stepped back, forgetting about his confusion.  He knew that look.

"Inuyasha, you are such a baka sometimes!"  Placing her hands on her hips she closed her eyes and added, "osuwari."

*SLAM*

The sound of Inuyasha's body impacting with the dirt was soon followed by a jubilant, if not quite intelligible cry of "YES!"  Inuyasha jumped up, and in his haste completely forgot the second step of his plan and lunged right into the third.  Grabbing a freaked Kagome by her shoulders, he jerked her to him and pressed his mouth into hers.

Then realized what he was doing.

They both stared at each other with wide, wide eyes.

Kagome's surprise quickly shattered into disgust, and she shoved herself free, spitting out grass.  "Eww!  You taste like dirt!"

The miko promptly ran off to find her toothbrush.

Inuyasha stared after her, puzzled, then raised a hand to his still throbbing face.  It was covered with dirt and blades of grass.  The ground at his feet displayed a nearly perfect imprint of his body.

Feeling more embarrassed then he had ever thought possible in one lifetime, he shook his head furiously, not unlike a dog trying to shake out its coat.  He didn't know if he should be indignant or just hide.

He, however, completely forgot about his embarrassment when he heard a coughing...no, a smothered chortling emanating from inside the hut behind him.  His eyes narrowed.

The monk was gonna pay.