Ahhhh… the very first fan fiction I ever wrote… I found the infamous Blanket Challenge site and was intrigued.  After much deliberation I decided to post it here.  So forgive the triteness of the subject matter (gah, especially the ending), if you will, and, ah, enjoy… ::prepares bags for the inevitable nausea that comes from too much sugary fluff::

Oooh, and two notes.  One!  I don't pretend to own Inuyasha.  Two!  This takes place somewhere after volume 18 of the manga and eps 48 & 49 of the anime.  Sooo… obviously the possibility of spoilers, but also realize that I might be taking certain developments of character for granted ^_^

Every Girl's Dream

            The world was completely white.  The snow and winds were fighting so that even the most sensitive eyes couldn't see farther than they could reach.  Even a half-youkai's eyes were powerless to the storm. 

            "Inuyasha, we need to get out of this," Kagome's voice strained over the noise of the blizzard.  She stumbled against him, grabbing his arm to keep from falling.  Inuyasha growled and scooped her up onto his back.  It was the third times she'd done that in as many minutes, and he'd be damned before he let her get a face full of snow.  It was his fault that they were in this mess anyway.

            "Thanks," she mumbled against his back, hugging him tightly to gain what little warmth she could from their proximity.

            "Keh," Inuyasha muttered back darkly and continued to keep his eyes peeled for some sort of shelter.  He tried to ignore the violent shivering he felt against his back, tried to keep his mind from thinking about what he would do if that shivering stopped.

            I shouldn't have followed those damn bugs, he berated himself, Naraku probably knew there would be a blizzard tonight. 

            Earlier that day it had been snowing pleasantly, with no hint of the violent blizzard that was to come.  Shippo and Kagome played in the drifts with the village children while Miroku and Sango, for once not fighting, gathered firewood for the long night.  It had been awhile since they'd had the luxury of staying in the village, and they'd been intent on enjoying it.  That's when Inuyasha had spied some of Naraku's bugs.  He'd immediately dashed off after them.  Kagome, of course, had followed with her bow after telling Shippo to find Miroku and Sango. 

            Now this.  Inuyasha growled and jostled Kagome a bit.

            "What is it?" she mumbled sleepily.

            "Wake up," He snapped, his concern making his voice rough.  Her breathing was slowing and she'd begun to shiver less. 

            This isn't good, he gritted his teeth against the cold and sped up his pace from a crawl to a trudge, If I don't find something fast, she could-- and with that thought ringing ominously in his mind, he walked face first into a wall.

            "GAH!!!" he yelped, clutching at his nose tearfully.  Kagome roused enough to keep herself from falling from his back.

            "Inuyasha?" she queried in concern.

            "I tink I bound a pwace."     

            Kagome went through the cabinets of the little house for the third time.  Meanwhile, Inuyasha grunted in satisfaction as he finally managed to coax a little fire out of the old wood they'd found. 

            "There's nothing here," Kagome lamented.

            "Quit whining," he growled, poking at the pathetic little fire with a stick and glaring at it balefully lest it consider dying out.  A slightly moth-eaten horse blanket thumped into his lap.  Inuyasha blinked at it roundly.

            "That's all I could find," Kagome sighed and squatted next to him, propping her head up with one hand.

            "Ok, so go sleep," Inuyasha thrust it at her. 

            Kagome stared at him levelly for a moment without blinking.  He felt a bead of sweat run down his neck.

            "What?" he asked nervously.

            "Inuyasha," Kagome began pleasantly with the same blank expression.  Inuyasha balked and skittered away from her in alarm.

            "What did I do?!" he shrieked, his escape halted only because there was a wall in his way.  It was the Sit face.  He hated the Sit face.

            Kagome stood and pointed a stern finger at him, "Inuyasha!  STRIP!"

            They stared at each other for a minute, frozen. 

            "W-what?!" Inuyasha finally managed, half relieved that he'd avoided a face full of splinters, and half terribly, terribly confused. 

            Kagome folded her arms across her chest and looked everywhere but at his face, "You heard me," she huffed, "take off your clothes."

            Inuyasha continued to stare at her, his face frozen in a comical mask of disbelief.  Kagome finally lost her patience and advanced on him.

            "I said, take off your clothes!" she yelled, grabbing at him.

            "S-stop!" Inuyasha sputtered back into life and grabbed her hands, holding them at arms length.

            "What the hell is wrong with you, you crazy bitch?!" he demanded, his face a cheerful shade of pink.

            Kagome leaned back from him and again couldn't seem to meet his gaze.

            "We'll freeze to death like this," she explained, plucking at her snow dampened sweater.  Her face blushed almost crimson then, "And the best way to keep that from happening is for two people to bundle up together…"

            "Naked?" Inuyasha guessed dourly.

            "Naked," Kagome sighed in agreement, "I'm sorry," she added.

            Inuyasha folded his arms and glared at her, "How do I know you won't do anything weird?" he demanded.

            Kagome twitched, "WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THAT?!" she exploded to her feet and glowered down at him.  Inuyasha gave her a cool expression.

            Kagome steamed for a few seconds before walking back to the fire and grabbing the blanket.  She threw it at him and turned her back.

            "Just undress and get under that, ok?" she fumed and tried to ignore the sound of rustling cloth behind her. 

            I'm about to spend the night bundled up with Inuyasha… naked, she thought to herself in dismay, her face coloring.  She was just glad no one else was around to know about it.  She was embarrassed enough as it was.

            "Alright," Inuyasha called from behind her.  She stiffly turned and grabbed his damp clothes to lay by the fire.  Inuyasha sat with his back still to the wall, the blanket wrapped around him tightly, glowering at her. 

            "Now, close your eyes," she demanded and turned her back to him again to begin undressing.

            "Keh," Inuyasha barked and screwed his eyes shut.  She was about to come sit with him, right?  Why was she worrying about modesty now?

            Footsteps padded closer, "Don't open your eyes yet," Kagome warned.  Inuyasha growled at her half heartedly but did as she asked.  The last thing he wanted heaped on all this was a Sit. 

            Kagome settled in his lap, taking the edges of the blanket from him and wrapping them around her shoulders.  She leaned back stiffly against his chest and tried to pretend he was a chair… an incredibly warm, attractive, and naked chair that she happened to be in love with.

            "There, we should be fine now," she stated, keeping her voice as steady as possible. 

            "Feh," Inuyasha muttered and started to cross his arms across his chest.

            "Kyah!  What are you doing?!" Kagome shrieked in alarm.

            "Ah!" Inuyasha froze and carefully lowered his arms back to the ground, blushing furiously.  He'd almost done something Sit-worthy.

            "Sorry," he muttered.

            Kagome sat frozen, trying to calm down her racing heart.  She knew Inuyasha would never do something like that to her, but her brain was still gibbering nonsense.  He sighed heavily and she rose and fell with his chest.  Strangely, it helped her calm down.  His breathing was deep and even, and she could feel his heart beating against her back soothingly.  She relaxed against him and sighed herself. 

            Feeling brave, she grabbed his wrists and folded his arms around her waist.  Inuyasha tensed, and she gave his hand a reassuring pat.

            "There, that's more comfortable, right?" she asked calmly. 

            "Y-yeah," he replied after a moment and relaxed again, "goodnight, Kagome," he mumbled quietly.

            "Goodnight, Inuyasha," she replied.

            Kagome woke with a small shiver.  She opened her eyes and peered around her in confusion.  It was still night, and she was incredibly comfortable except for the small draft, but she couldn't remember where she was.

            "Mmf," a voice rumbled against her back and something nuzzled her neck with a small wuff like a dog.

            "Eep!" Kagome was wide awake now, and remembered exactly where she was. 

            "Inuyasha?" she whispered with a squeak.  When she got no response she realized he was still asleep, and that she'd woken not from any sort of advances but because he was mumbling in his sleep.  That, and the blanket had fallen open because at some point they'd slumped over onto the floor.  Kagome gulped and readjusted the blanket. 

            "Mm, Kagome?" Inuyasha asked groggily. 

            "Sorry, I was fixing the blanket," she explained. 

            "Mm," he replied, clearly still half asleep, and snuggled her closer.  Kagome stifled another squeak.

            He's asleep, he's asleep! She chanted in her head, fighting the blush rising over her face, How did I get into a situation like this?! She wailed internally, cursing whatever gods came to mind.  She was sleeping spoons with the guy she loved in a forest cabin in the middle of a snowstorm…naked.

            She sighed, "Every girl's dream, right?" she muttered sourly and burrowed her chin further into the blanket.  After a moment's thought, she gingerly pulled some of Inuyasha's abundant fur over his shoulder and tucked it around her face. 

            "What are you doing, baka?" Inuyasha grumbled. 

            Kagome stiffened in surprise, "You're awake!"

            "Yes, I'm awake, fur thief," he replied testily, but didn't make any moves to retrieve his stolen property, "What did you say just a second ago," he asked, "I couldn't hear."

            That's because you weren't supposed to, she blushed slightly, "Nothing, just talking to myself."

            Inuyasha opened an eye and lifted his head slightly to stare at the back of hers, "What's every girl's dream?"

            Kagome froze in shock and then twisted her head around to look back at him, "You liar, you said you didn't hear!"

            Inuyasha regarded her with a blank expression, "Well?" he prodded when all she did was continue to glare at him.

            Kagome turned her face away from him again and blushed, "Nothing," she muttered, "I'm going back to sleep."

            Inuyasha poked her waist with a claw.  Kagome squeaked and jumped, whipping her head around again to glare at him balefully.

            "Don't even think about saying it," he warned, tightening his hold around her middle, "I'll take you with me,"

            "Baka!" Kagome growled and they scowled at each other for another couple of minutes.  Kagome broke first when her neck started to hurt. 

            "What's every girl's dream?" Inuyasha demanded again, taking her gaze avoidance as defeat.

            "You idiot!" Kagome finally snapped, "This!  Everything!" she nodded her head at the cabin and themselves.

            "What?" Inuyasha scoffed, "Being trapped in a blizzard in a falling-apart shack with a whiney girl and sleeping in an uncomfortable position?  Naked?!" he snorted, "What's so great about that?"

            Kagome stilled in his arms and her breath went shallow. 

            "Eh?" Inuyasha leaned back to peer at her face and panicked, "Ah!  Why are you crying?!" Kagome only glared at him and turned her face away again. 

            Inuyasha sat up suddenly and leaned over her, "What is your problem?!" he demanded, disturbed by how good he seemed to be at making her cry.

            Kagome averted her eyes away from his face, "I guess you wouldn't enjoy this situation unless Kikyo was here," she said bitterly and then bit her lip and began to cry harder, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."

            "Nonono!  Stop crying!" Inuyasha frantically wiped the tears from her cheeks.  His hand stilled on her face, though, as what she'd said sunk in.

            He looked down at her sadly, "Kagome… I'm sorry," he sighed and turned to face the far wall, balancing his arms on his knees.  Kagome sat up, too, dragging the blanket with her to cover herself.

            "I shouldn't have said that, either," he mumbled and shot a glance at her out of the corner of his eye.  He blushed slightly.  Her pale skin was brushed with gold by the dying fire and her hair fell over her bare shoulders in such a way that he could sort of appreciate what she'd been saying earlier. 

            Kagome sighed, "It's alright, Inuyasha," she leaned against his shoulder and he automatically put his arm around hers, "It was a silly thing for me to think."             

            Inuyasha looked at her sharply at the unhappiness in her voice.  She stared dully ahead, eyes dark with emotion.  He frowned to himself.  It hadn't been that long ago when she'd returned from the well after he'd finally let her know that he was tied irrevocably to Kikyo.  She'd looked sad then, too, and it pained him to know that he was the cause of that sadness.

            Damn it, I can't change what is, he said to himself in frustration, sobering when he glanced at her face again, I can't change the fact that Kikyo died because of me.  My life belongs to her by right.  But…his mind played the scene out again.

            Kagome looked up at him with those sad eyes, her face still and calm, "Yes…" she said sadly, "I can't compete with Kikyo.  After all, because…I" she looked away then, "am alive."

            Inuyasha turned and looked at his companion sadly.  Through everything, even his rejection that wasn't a rejection, she remained with him, protecting him.  She put herself in dangerous and, like now, embarrassing situations for him time and again.  She trusted him, cried for him, brought out what was good in him.  What did he owe to her as repayment for all that?  Certainly he owed Kikyo his life, but Kagome…?

            "I hope the others are alright," Kagome said suddenly, slipping out of his embrace and laying back down, her back to him. 

            "Yeah," Inuyasha agreed absently, staring at her back where it curved away beneath the blanket.  The others.  His friends.  People who also trusted him and cared for him.  Who did he have to thank for them? 

            "Kagome," he leaned toward her and touched her shoulder briefly.  Maybe it was the firelight on her skin making him sentimental, or the absolute peace she radiated.  Maybe it was because he couldn't deny the feeling that she belonged right where she was, in his arms.  Whatever the reason, he couldn't seem to muster up the energy to keep his tough-guy, indifferent mask on.  She was tired of the runaround game they'd been playing for so long, and, frankly, he was losing his patience with it, too.

            "Mm?" she murmured, looking back up at him.  Even now, when she was so sad, he could see how much she cared for him in her eyes.  She gave him everything she had.  And he was the bastard taking advantage of that.

            "I'm sorry," he said again.

            She smiled a little, looking puzzled, "I know, you just said that."

            "No," he insisted, "I mean," he glanced away, unable to face her, "for everything.  I owe you a lot," he struggled to explain.  He'd never been too great with words.

            Kagome smiled at him understandingly, "Inuyasha, it's alright.  I'm here because I want to be.  You don't owe me anything."

            Inuyasha rolled his eyes and scowled at her, "Damn it, woman, now I owe you for that, too!"

            Kagome laughed, her spirit lifting a bit.  She reached up and gently tugged on his fur, "I know what you're trying to say," she assured him, "now go back to sleep, I'm getting cold." She grumped and burrowed down again.  Inuyasha shook his head slightly. 

            You don't know what I'm trying to say at all, baka. 

            He tugged at her arm until she sat up again and faced him.

            "What?" she asked irritably, shivering slightly.  Inuyasha stared into her eyes long enough that she started to blush, "What is it?" she asked again.  He grinned at her suddenly, looking pleased with himself.  Kagome frowned then, wondering what he was up to.  Suddenly he lay back, tugging on her arm so that she fell onto his chest. 

            "I-Inuyasha," she sputtered, bright red, "what do you think you're doing?"

            He gave her a bland stare, settling her more comfortably against his chest and then tucking the covers around them both.

            "That's more comfortable, isn't it?" he growled slightly, wrapping one arm around her and tucking the other beneath his head.  Kagome stared at him for a moment before smiling shyly and nodding.  She slipped her own arm around his waist and snuggled her cheek a bit against his chest before falling back to sleep.

            Inuyasha sighed slightly and rode out the blush her nuzzling had caused, staring at the ceiling.  He staunchly ignored how nice it felt to have the length of her cuddled against her.  That was a complication they flat out didn't need right now.  One step at a time, he scolded himself silently, and, amazingly, it wasn't as hard to do as he thought.  He let the silent wash of security that rolled from her lull his senses into a sleepy contentment.  Sometimes the most intimate moments were the most chaste someone had told him once.    

            After a while he, too, began to drift off.  At the very edge of sleep, though, he smirked.  He'd figured out what he owed to the two women in his life.  The one who haunted him, and the one that warmed him.  He owed Kikyo his life, maybe.  But Kagome…

            He owed Kagome his heart.


Pardon me for a moment, ::is calmly sick:: Good lord, this borders on sickening for the excessive amount of fluff.  Still… I wanted to sort of explore Inuyasha's thoughts on his, ah, relationship (or lack of one) with Kagome.  There's no doubt in my mind that he's head over heels for her, but the Kikyo problem… Well, let's say I don't agree with the whole "he really still loves Kikyo" thing.  Maybe he thinks he's still in love with her, but his actions speak otherwise.  If he does think that, he's fooling himself.  Also, understand that I've read up through volume 30 of the manga, so I'm probably taking things for granted that some people can't.  I think the guilt and loyalty he feels for her is being mistaken for actual "love." ::produces a hammer:: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what my Doggy Mallet is for!  Knock some sense into the chump!  ::eyes glint dangerously and somewhere a certain hanyou shudders involuntarily::