Chapter 24 Big Hit

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Months passed. Kagome's novel was finally published, Sango got a part in Kagome's movie as the leading lady, and everyone was happy. . . except for one person. . .

~ ~ ~

InuYasha was surprised he still wasn't over Kagome. What was wrong with him? Every night, he came home from work, and did nothing. He hadn't eaten in three days, and loneliness was keeping him awake at night.

Kagome and Sango had quit their jobs at the basket shop long ago. He saw Miroku around every now and then, and he would ask about Kagome; from what he was told, she was getting married. Nice.

He wasn't as fast as he used to be with his deliveries. Kaede had to talk to him at least two times already; people were beginning to complain. He knew she was already looking for someone to replace him. But he didn't really care. Everyday he got up, he moved automatically, as if someone were controlling him with a remote.

All he really wanted was to sleep. He just felt so tired. . . he needed a remedy. . . he needed to figure out what he needed to do to be happy again. . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Is there anyone special you would like me to sign this to? Kelly? Is that with an 'y' or a 'i'? A 'y'? Okay. . . There you go! Bye!" Kagome waved to her fan as the woman walked away, and smiled as the next one stepped up.

Book signing's were fun, but Kagome was starting to get worn out. Her right hand was also starting to numb.

Sesshoumaru stood beside her, and Rin was off chattering away to some teenage boy in the line. The look on his face was priceless; he seemed to be a little appalled and confused as to why this little girl was talking to him as if she knew him.

"Rin," Kagome heard Sesshoumaru say, and she glanced up for a moment to see him pull her away from the teen and plainly tell her, "don't talk to strangers."

Kagome smiled to herself as she signed the next book and waved her fan off.

When 6:00 finally came, Kagome unconsciously wasn't even hardly looking at the people who approached her. She just glanced up and signed the book, then smiled and said goodbye. Sesshoumaru had left with Rin long ago; Rin had grown quickly bored and hungry.

When the last person was finally at the table, she took the book from him and glanced up to mutter "Hi," but she had to do a double-take. It was. . . InuYasha.

Or at least, it looked like InuYasha. He looked terrible, as if he hadn't slept in weeks, and he was thinner, and much paler.

Kagome gaped at him for a moment, and then said, quietly, "InuYasha."

He looked down at her nervously, his hands shoved deep into his front pockets. "Hi," he said, giving her a faltering smile.

Kagome stood up without a second thought and hugged him.

He stood unmoving, and did not hug her back. Awkwardly, she stepped back, and asked, "How are you?"

He shrugged. "I'm. . . okay."

"You. . . How are things?"

"Alright."

Kagome nodded. "That's good."

"You wanna go for a walk?"

Kagome smiled and started to gather up her things. "Yeah, I could use one. I've been sitting here for four hours," she answered lightly.

They left the bookstore and walked down the block in the evening air; it was summer now, and it was humid. The air felt heavy and thick, and they walked beside one another in silence for a moment, until they reached the park.

"You look really good," InuYasha said finally. "I hear you and Sesshoumaru are engaged, now. Congratulations."

"Thanks. . . " Kagome answered awkwardly. He was congratulating them? It was unexpected, and odd. . . but afer all, it had been *months* since. . .

But still, she wanted to be sure. Kagome stopped walking, and turned to face InuYasha. "Why did you come to me?"

A small smile faded from his lips, and he stared at her. "I. . . wanted to see how you were. . ."

It was a partial lie; Kagome could tell. "What's the other reason, InuYasha?" she asked him kindly.

He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at the ground. "I'm. . . not over you yet, Kagome." he answered slowly, honestly.

She stared at him. He was still in love with her? After all this time? It hadn't even taken Kouga this long to get over her. "InuYasha. . . there's no way I can help you. . . "

"I don't need your help. I thought, maybe if I saw you again, I'd feel a little better. . . "

"Do you?" Quietly.

"No. I feel worse. . . Everything's been. . . awful. . . I can't sleep at night, I haven't eaten in three days - "

"InuYasha!"

"I know, I know. . . You're just. . . always on my mind. I actually worry about you, Kagome, even thought I know you're fine. . . and I wish all the time that you were with me. . . I don't know what to do about it. I can't help it."

Kagome was torn. She wanted to hug him so badly, and tell him he would be all right. . . but she was the cause of all this, unbelievably. She couldn't touch him; she didn't trust herself to. That physical attraction was still there, slowly fading. . . but nevertheless, it was still there, and she wouldn't be unfaithful.

"You never loved me, did you?" he asked suddenly.

Kagome stared at him with surprise. "I. . . did, in a way. . . but not the way you loved me. I couldn't say I loved you because I wasn't exactly sure I would be telling you the truth. And I couldn't lie to you."

InuYasha looked to the sky, and rubbed his tired eyes with his hands. "I shouldn't feel like this. . . It was just a three-day thing. . . but for some reason, that time I spent with you was important, special to me."

She stood and watched him as he stepped closer to her, his eyes darkening with longing. "It was the only time I was ever really happy. . ." he whispered, his face only a breath away. "It was the only time anyone was every really happy to be with only me. . . Didn't you feel anything?"

He touched her cheek, and Kagome closed her eyes, swaying a little. "I. . . " she said weakly. Then, shaking herself out of it, she grabbed InuYasha's wrist softly, pulling his hand away form her face. "I did. . . but things changed, InuYasha. I love Sesshoumaru."

At her last words, InuYasha's eyes flashed with hurt, and she could tell her words had stabbed him. But she couldn't do anything about it. It was the truth. And she had said so herself; she could not lie to InuYasha.

InuYasha squeezed his eyes shut, a frustrated gesture, and put a hand on her upper arm. "Can't we. . . ?"

She felt helpless. "*No*, InuYasha. I'm sorry." She pulled away from his touch. "I'm sorry."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Normally, he wouldn't do this. He wouldn't push Kagome. But InuYasha was desperate for her, now. Now that she was right in front of him, and they were alone, and he could kiss her, and no one would ever have to know. . .

But she apologized, then she pulled away from him. It was so clear she did not want him; why couldn't he just stop himself?

He was starting to get angry with himself, angry with the whole situation.

"Just. . . just go then," he said softly, angrily.

"I'm so sor - "

"Stop apologizing! Just go home, back to *him*!"

His heart twisted up when he saw her eyes fill with tears, and she shook her head in protest. When he finally didn't say anything, and she couldn't think of anything to say, she turned on her heel abruptly and left.

He did the same then, only he went in the other direction, back toward his truck. He climbed in, and when he cranked it up, music from a forgotten CD blasted out of his speakers. The words of the song seemed to speak volumes for the way he felt, in their own way, so he did not bother to turn it down.

So InuYasha just drove. Past his apartment, past work, not knowing where he was headed; just anywhere. . .

"'I am, A little bit of loneliness, A little bit of disregard, A handful of complaints but I can't help the fact, That everyone can see these scars. I am, What I want you to want, What I want you to feel, But It's like, No matter what I do, I can't convince you, To just believe this is real. So I, Let go, Watching you, Turn your back like you always do, Face away and pretend that I'm not, But I'll be here 'cause you're all that I got. . .

I can't feel, The way I did before, Don't turn your back on me, I won't be ignored! Time won't heal, This damage anymore, Don't turn your back on me, I won't be ignored!

I am, A little bit insecure, A little unconfident, 'Cause you don't understand, I do what I can, But sometimes I don't make sense. I am, What you never want to say, But I've never had a doubt, It's like, No matter what I do, I can't convince you, For once just to hear me out. So I, Let go, Watching you, Turn your back like you always do, Face away and pretend that I'm not, But I'll be here 'cause you're all that I got. . .

No! Hear me out now! You're gonna listen to me like it or not! Right now! Hear me out now! You're gonna listen to me like it or not! Right now!

I can't feel, The way I did before, Don't turn your back on me, I won't be ignored!

I can't feel! Don't turn your back on me, I won't be ignored! Time won't heal! Don't turn your back on me, I won't be ignored!'"

Faint - Linkin Park

InuYasha stopped when the song ended, and leaned back the car seat, his hands over his eyes. "'I won't be ignored. . . '" he repeated to himself. "Too late. . . she's already turned away. It's too damn late."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kagome caught a cab back home, and ran into the house. She was frantic for some reason; she had to see Sesshoumaru, she needed him to tell her that InuYasha would be okay, that everything would return to normal. . .

"Sesshoumaru? Sesshoumaru?"

She found him alone in the kitchen. When he saw her he smiled, but his expression turned worried when he saw her face. She wrapped her arms around him, and hugged him tightly.

"Are you okay? Has something happened?" he asked calmly, smoothing the raven hair on the back of her head.

"It's InuYasha. . ."

He pulled back. "What's happened?" he asked, now very alarmed.

"No, no, it's okay," she told him, "It's just, he came to the book signing, and we went for a walk. . . " she told him the whole story, including how awful he had looked. "I'm so worried about him. He was acting so angry. . . with himself, mostly. . . he hasn't been eating. . . I don't know what to do, I feel like it's all my fault. . . "

Sesshouamru hugged her to him then. "It's not your fault, don't say that. I understand how he feels. . . It's how I felt about Kikyou, after the divorce. It's very hard to get over someone you love so strongly. He'll be okay. Just give him time. I would suggest leaving him alone for a while."

Kagome nodded against Sesshoumaru's shoulder, feeling better already. She knew he would say all the right things. . .

"Look," he said then, pulling away, "try not to worry about it tonight. Rin wanted to go out for ice cream. You up to it?"

She smiled then, and nodded. "Thanks. . . I know I overreacted. . . "

"No, it's okay. You reacted fine." He kissed her on the forehead. "He'll be okay. Now, come on." he took her hand and turned to the hallway. "Rin! Ice cream!"

Rin came bounding out of her room, holding a doll. "Yay! Can Sheila-chan come?" she asked happily, referring to the doll.

Sesshoumaru nodded, and she ran ahead to wait for them at the door.

"Sheila? Where did she come up with that name?" Kagome asked, amused.

Sesshoumaru raised his eyebrows and shrugged. "No idea."

"She's an odd girl."

"She's a *lovable*, odd girl."

"You're right."

Smirk. "I'm always right."

~ ~ ~ The End ~ ~ ~

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OMG. . . It's the end. . . wow. I can't believe it. It's so weird, I've been writing this fic since August, and now it's over. . . done. . .

I hope everyone was satisfied with the ending. If you're really, really not, and you just can't stand it, and you're so unsettled you can't sleep at night, I'll write and alternate ending for you, okay? But that's only if you didn't get any closure, and it's disturbing you. Otherwise, live with it. But either way, let me know. ^_^

Look forward to the sequal!

Haven't thought of a name yet, but Sesshoumarusqueen had a wonderful suggestion ^_~ ! Here's a seek-peek of what it's about:

InuYasha is trying to adjust to life after Kagome, and is doing it very badly. So, he does what seems to be the right thing to do; he goes away to college in America to become a writer, as his mother suggested. A year later, he returns to Tokyo, okay, but still lonely, and always in the darkest of moods. When he meets April, a free-spirited waitress, is it possible that she could teach him how to be happy again? And will he ever get over Kagome? Or is Kagome really the thing that's been bothering him? And why is his mother suddenly taking all these pills? Should he worry? Find out. I Triple Dog Dare ya.

So. . . are you excited about it? I can't wait to get started. . . In the meantime, I will start posting my Naraku/Sango fic, entitled "Shinjite." If I'm on your author alert list, FFN should let you know when it's posted. It will also be posted on Animespiral.com, a new and rapidly growing fic archive.

Curious as to what "Shinjite" is about?

The jewel is finaly complete, and InuYasha and Co. have triumphed over Naraku. Sango is moving on, finally getting a chance to mourn her dead family. Things are moving slowly these days, so one day, everyone decides to play a game of tag, and when Sango is cornered by Miroku, she recieves her first kiss. But someone is watching them. . . Naraku was supposed to be destroyed, gone, vanquished. But he is still alive, and he wants something from Sango. Something very important. And it ain't no jewel. A darkfic, will be an R rating due to LEMON. Pairings: Sango/Naraku, Miroku/Sango, InuYasha/Kagome, implied Sesshoumaru/Kagome.

Hee hee. . . intriguing. ^_^

So. . . I guess this is goodbye. For now, anyway. You guys have been so absolutely amazing with reviews; you're all so very special, and sweet, and Thank You So Much for hangin' in there with me! I love you all!

C Ya Soon! Honey Bee