Disclaimer:  I don't own Inuyasha, so no sue me!

"Run Kagome.  Run and don't stop."  He had told her.  Then he laughed.  Laughed like he was the king of the world . . . and of her.  Her foot tripped over the last step and she went sprawling face-first into the dirt.  She stumbled to her feet and spit the dirt out that had collected in her mouth from the fall.  She started running again, for fear of what would happen if she actually did stop.

Her shoulder ached.  Her ankle ached.  But if she were caught, those would most definitely be the least of her concerns.  Panting, she reached the back door of her home.  Flinging the door open she rushed inside and closed it behind her.  Her fingers moved mechanically as she twisted the dead bolt and locked the door behind her. 

All the lights were out and the moonlight was all that lit up the kitchen.  She slid along the cabinets, staying out of eyesight from the window above the sink.  Kagome slunk into the corner and felt for the phone on top of the counter blindly.  Her fingers touched its smooth surface and bumped into the receiver.  She yanked it to her and shaky hands attempted to dial the police, but as she waited for the familiar, reassuring rings, a shadow slid across the far wall.  A single ring sounded and she pressed the phone to her ear to drown out the beating of her own heart pounding in her ears. Then a click sounded and the rings no longer came to her.  Kagome pounded the tab of the phone mercilessly.  No dial tone ever sounded.  Dropping the phone she crawled into the living room. 

She had to reach the Shikon Shards.

Only they were upstairs in her room, safe . . . for the moment.

And she was downstairs and definitely not safe.

And he was outside, armed and waiting for her to appear.

"Kagome . . ." He called.  She crouched next to the sofa, almost in tears.  "Where are you my little chickadee?"  He sang to her.  She sprinted for the stairs, which came into her view, as she ran through the doorway.  She hit the stairs at a full blown out run and proceeded to skip some steps as her momentum allowed her.  Falling into her room she slammed the door closed and panicked when she couldn't locate the shards. 

"No, not now.  Not when he's this close to getting me.  Please not now."  She prayed.  Adrenaline coursed through her blood.  She fell to all fours sweeping the floor with her eyes.  Peering under her desk, she just barely caught the glimpse of glass glinting in the moonlight.  Snatching it from near the baseboards there was a brief moment of relief as she slid the small bottle between her hands to make sure that it was indeed the real thing.

But that moment passed immediately and she stood and reached for the doorknob.  Then it turned itself in her palm.  Panic set in and she fearfully searched the room for an escape or a place to hide herself.  Her body flung itself into the bowels of her closet without so much as a sound.  She gaped in horror at his black form walking in her room.  He inhaled deeply and sighed loudly. 

"Kagome," He said tentatively.  "I know that you're in here somewhere.  Let's stop playing this foolish game.  You're hurt and I only want to help you."

Yeah, to my grave.  Her thoughts echoed.  He turned, smiling and looked right at her.  His eyes held a thirst for an evil deed.  One she assumed would involve her personal harm. 

A few months earlier . . .

"Inuyasha, if you don't let me go back, I'm gonna have to 's-word' you till your back breaks."  She warned him.

"Like you could wench.  We need to find those shards, remember?"

"Yes, and I've got to go home! . . . To my time!"  She added quickly, knowing his response to her real 'home.'

"Stupid wench!  You can't g—"

"Sit!  Sit!  Sit!  Sit!"  She yelled as she jumped over the rim of the bone-eater's well, knowing Inuyasha would be immobilized long enough for her to get away.

*     *     *     *     *

Miroku and Shippo walked up behind a fallen Inuyasha.

"You got off easy that time."  Shippo said leaning over Miroku's shoulders.

"Lady Kagome was feeling generous today I suppose."  Miroku concurred.

"Shut up!"  Inuyasha grumbled waiting for the enchantment to wear off.

*     *    *    *    *

Kagome climbed out of the bone-eaters well feeling a sense of relief wash over her.  Closing the doors she walked across the sunlit path towards her home in her own time where she truly belonged.

The air surely wasn't as clean as the Feudal Era's nor as fresh.  Kagome shrugged the thought away and looked forward to her well-earned shower.  Which she felt she was in desperate need of. 

Setting her yellow pack inside the back hallway she walked into the kitchen kicking off her shoes in the process.

"Hello, I'm home!"  She called out to anyone.  No one responded.  "They must all be gone then."  She rationalized.  Probably gone to the market or something.  They should be back in a few hours or less.  She waltzed up the stairway and turned on the shower. 

The small area began to encompass itself with steam, making it a mini-sauna.  She stripped off all articles of clothing and stepped inside to the welcoming hot water.  Her tensed muscles relaxed and eagerly began washing her hair that had collected every speck of dust in the Feudal Era. 

After about an hour of furious scrubbing down she turned the water off and reached for the towels that had been stacked nearby.  She grabbed two and tossed one over the shower rod.  Bending over and tossing her hair into her face she wrapped it into a semi-turban.  Standing erect once more she wrapped the other snuggly around her figure.  She enjoyed the fluffiness of the towel and stepped outside the warm shower. 

Glancing down out of the doorway and down the hallway to be sure that no unwanted visitors could sneak up on her.  Like a certain perverted monk.  Or hanyou.  She added after a moment.  Inuyasha isn't as bad as Miroku, but still he somehow manages to come at the worst possible time.  Like when I'm stark naked.  Momentarily frowning she gathered her dirty clothes and went into her room.

Searching her closet she discovered a light sundress that she hadn't worn this whole season and decided to wear it before she would have to set it aside due to the upcoming fall. 

Dressing quickly, mostly out of habit, she threw her dirty clothes into the hamper and flopped down onto her bed.  Her glorious, welcoming bed.  Kagome rather enjoyed the unbelievable comfort it gave. 

Unlike the sleeping bag and hard earthen ground she usually slept on, this gently molded into her frame.  She sighed and relished the moment.  A few minutes passed and she sat up, unable to rest when there was stuff that had to be done.

Descending the stairs, she walked over to her pack and brought it into the kitchen.  She grabbed the bottom and tossed all of its contents onto the table. 

She picked out all the wrappers and trash that had accumulated during her travels.  Since when did I bring this much stuff?  Half of it's garbage.  She stared momentarily at the pile of trash on the table and then swept it into the trash without a moments thought.  The Feudal Era makes more trash for me than this time does.  Kagome stuffed the first aid kit and a few other items back into the pack and went in search of a refill of ramen.  Climbing onto the cabinet she found where her mom had stashed an entire box of the packets.  There was a small handwritten note on top.

'For Inuyasha Kagome. 

          Love Mom'

Was all it read.  Kagome grinned to herself and picked up a few packets and tossed them onto the table.  She watched them slide towards the edge.  Agh!  Stopstopstop!  Nooo!  She watched them fall off the side of the table with such grace and form and then shrugged her shoulders and hopped off to pick them back up.  I need to work on my tossing skills.  Setting the packets back onto the table a gurgling sound was emitted from her stomach. 

I didn't realize I was so hungry.  I guess I'll make lunch then.  Scuffing over to the fridge she discovered some leftover pizza.  Mmmm, pizza.  Her mind drooled, along with her stomach.   Grabbing the half-empty box she put the pizza onto a microwavable plate and nuked it until the cheese was beginning to melt.  Kagome grabbed the plate and immediately felt the heat transfer to her fingertips.

"Owowwowowowwowow!" She grimaced as she ran to the table, plopping the plate down and rubbing her hands together.  She grabbed a glass of coke and sat down at the table, eating around the remnants of her pack. 

Her mouth watered as she took the first bite and inhaled air.  Gulping it down with the help of cold coke, she felt the scalding effect of the pizza against the roof of her mouth.  Ignoring the heat radiating from the pizza she wolfed down the entire plate in a matter of moments.

Pizza never tasted this good before.  She recollected.  Resting for a few minutes before cleaning up her mess, she wallowed in the silence. 

For some odd reason, she couldn't get up the energy (or courage) to confront her schoolwork with an empty bed and a full stomach.  Yawning she started up the steps and, once again, flopped onto her bed, her feet hanging off the side.  She closed her eyes with all intentions of dreaming the day away, without a certain half-demon yelling at her to find the jewel shards.  Sleep came easily to her then, and it would be a long time before it would come as easy for a long, long time.

The phone was ringing.

She laid there for a moment, deciding if she really wanted to get up and answer it.  It rang again and she groaned and rolled off.  She picked up the phone with a sigh.

"Hello Higurashi residence."

"Hey baby girl."  A man's voice echoed.  Suddenly, the air became very cold.  And very thick.  Her chest tightened, restricting movement and her air supply.  "Are you going to say 'hi' to your old man or what?"  He chuckled.  He was laughing!  He called her and was laughing at her!

More calmly than she expected she set the receiver down and tried to remember how to breathe without hyperventilating. 

He's in prison.  He's in prison.  There's no way he can escape without it being all over the news.  No, not without it being all over the—but I've been gone.  Remembering all the things her mother had constantly reminded her to do when something like this would happen.  Kagome sprinted through the house dead-bolting doors, closing and locking windows, drawing the blinds everywhere she could.  Hesitantly, she sat down in front of the TV and watched every news channel.  What if mom and grandpa left because he called?  What if that's why they aren't here?  What if mom left because they heard that he had escaped from prison?  No, mom would wait for me to return from the Feudal Era.  She wouldn't abandon me.  Kagome's thoughts went on and she turned the volume down to a minimum and watched the news intently. 

No news on an escaped convict.  Not yet anyway.

The more she watched the more paranoid she became.  She knew that she couldn't stay here no matter what.  She had to return to the Feudal Era, where she could be protected.

With shaky fingers she turned off the TV and walked into the kitchen.  She held her pack at the edge of the table and raked everything that was left into the bag.  Kagome held onto it in a deathgrip as it rested on her shoulders.

She was not going to allow him to trap her inside her own home again.

This time he would have to cross time itself to find her this time. 

Her hands were shaking so badly that it took both her hands to unlock the door.  She peered outside and then sprinted to the well house. With grim determination, she jumped off the steps and straight into the well. 

The familiar gentle purple light encased her in its soft glow.  She landed at the bottom and immediately began her ascent.

*     *     *     *     *

Inuyasha was sulking by the God Tree as usual.  Miroku was standing underneath his branch.

"Inuyasha, are you going to spend the next week up here sulking until Kagome returns?"  Miroku asked him.

"I am not sulking!"  He yelled down.

"It looks like your sulking from down here."  Shippo yelled from his perch on Miroku's shoulder.

"What was that kitsune?!!"  Inuyasha yelled.

"Aagh!"  Shippo yelled and leapt off Miroku's shoulder as Inuyasha landed in front of them. 

"Say that again, you little brat!"  He yelled catching Shippo in mid-air. 

"I'll tell Kagome on you!"  Shippo threatened.  At that precise moment an all too familiar scent waffed towards Inuyasha's nose. 

Kagome's scent . . . but why is she back here.  I thought she wasn't going to be back for a week.  But what's that mixed with her scent?  Inuyasha thought as he dropped Shippo on his head and sped off towards Kagome. 

*     *     *     *     *

Kagome threw herself over the ledge and tried to catch her breath.  A pathetic attempt to calm her nerves failed more than miserably. 

*     *     *     *     *

Unknown to her a certain hanyou was walking up behind her silently.  His concern seeping into his face.  Something wasn't right with her, she was frightened.  Badly.

"Kagome."  He said behind her.  She didn't turn to look at him or anything to acknowledge his presence behind her.  He raised a hand to tap her shoulder and then changed his mind.  "Hey Kagome."  He said with urgency to be recognized apparent in his voice to the attentive listener.

*     *     *     *     *

"Hey Kagome."  A voice said directly behind her.  She screamed and spun around on her heels and backed away.  "What's gotten you so jumpy?!"  Inuyasha yelled rubbing his throbbing ears.

"You shouldn't sneak up on people like that!" 

"Who said I was sneaking?!  I called your name twice before you even reacted and then you screamed at me!!"

"You're exaggerating!"  She grabbed her pack and began to walk off.

"I am n—!"  Inuyasha sniffed the air again.  The smell of fear was even stronger now.  "You're scared."  He said quietly. Kagome tensed.  He could tell that?!  He was staring into her eyes, searching them for something.  "What's wrong Kagome?"  He asked her.

"Nothing's wrong.  I'm fine."  She insisted, feeling slightly guilty over the fact that she was lying to her . . . friend?  He stared at her, his face only a few inches from hers.  She leaned back to give them a few more inches of space.  There were a few long moments of torturing silence.

Kagome slowly broke his gaze and continued towards Kaede's village. 

*     *     *     *     *

She walked away from him and he sighed quietly in defeat.  He wasn't going to be able to pester it out of her now.  At this time she was trying her hardest not to show anything to him and it bothered him.  Why?  Why won't you tell me anything?  I can't protect you if you don't tell me.  He looked her over from behind.  The outfit she was wearing definitely wasn't made to go shard hunting, which meant that she didn't have any intentions of returning until the week had passed.  She was missing her shoes.  This fact alone cleared up any other theory he had. 

She had run from something in her time and returned here. 

Kagome was brave almost to the point of being foolish, but this time it looked as though she had grabbed her pack and just ran.

In this time, she had done nothing of the sort.  In fact, sometimes she refused to run, especially when someone had been hurt during the battle.

No, something was indeed wrong with Kagome and he had all intentions of finding out what it was.

*     *     *     *     *

Kagome could barely hear Inuyasha's footsteps behind her.  Her backpack was suddenly lifted off her shoulder.  She turned to face Inuyasha with this expression she couldn't quite place being covered by his mask. 

"What are you doing?"  Kagome asked.

"What does it look like?"  He snapped.  For a brief moment it looked like she had been hurt by his statement.  "You're not wearing any shoes."  He stated plainly as he walked off.  Kagome looked down at her feet.  I hadn't even noticed.  "It's almost dark out, I suggest you hurry unless you want some demon to find you."

With that bolt of enthusiasm she hurried to his side.  The sun was nearing the end of it's evening ritual and lit the sky up with colors no artist could reproduce.  But Kagome failed to notice its beauty.

Kagome walked into the small hut and was immediately tackled by Shippo. 

"Kagome!"  He shouted latching onto her mid-section. 

"Hey Shippo."  She smiled.

"Kagome, you're back.  I thought you were staying for a week to catch up on those 'tests' you had."  Sango questioned.

"Indeed."  Miroku added.

"Well, they had to shut my school down for two days and I couldn't pick up any of my school work so I came back here."  She lied.  Two days.  I should be able to go back in two days.  He would have come and gone when he realized that no one was at home and when no one comes home he'll leave.  2 days should be long enough.  I'll be able to go back home then . . . If I'll be able to go back at all. 

Kaede handed her a bowl of soup and she took it with her fake smile.  Each bite tasted like lead going down her throat and landed like rocks in the pit of her stomach.

Her nerves were rattled up enough as it was, the last thing she needed to do was get sick and then everyone would really start to question her. 

Normally, Kaede's cooking was really good, but her stomach was twisted into so many knots she didn't think anything would actually taste good. 

"Pervert!"  Sango screamed as she slapped Miroku across the face and moved as far away from him as possible.

Kagome smiled.  Even if she couldn't go back home, at least here, she could be happy. 

Kagome sat between Shippo and Sango.  Inuyasha sat directly across the fire from her and he was staring at her again.  His eyes bore into her while she could barely hold the look for a few moments.  He's probably wondering the real reason I came back.  He knows I'm lying.  He knows it.  He can probably smell it on me.  But what should I tell him?  I can't tell him about what happened to my da—no he's not my father anymore.  He's dead.  He died a long, long time ago.  But I can't tell Inuyasha about him as it is.  He'd probably run off and try to kill something in my time and leave me the mess to clean up.  ARG!  Think Kagome.  However, all Kagome was thinking up was blanks. 

Night had long since fallen and she along with everyone else was preparing for bed. 

Inuyasha sat in the corner and watched her roll out her sleeping bag.  She tried to brush off his stare and in turn gave herself goose bumps. 

Giving him a slight glance, she nestled down into its depths.  Shippo huddled next to her and was soon asleep.  Kaede left the hut to the group and found sleep elsewhere. 

Inuyasha stood and Kagome opened her eyes to watch him.  He shoved the curtain aside and walked out.  She sighed to herself.  Inuyasha, I'm sorry.  I really am.  I wish you wouldn't leave. 

The moonlight created foreign shadows along the walls and she clamped her eyes shut to drown them out in the darkness of sleep.

There was presence standing over her.  She could feel him.  His breath rolled over her neck in hot waves.  She clamped her eyes shut trying to tell him that she didn't want to talk. 

"Kaa-goo-mmeee."  He called in a sing-song voice.  A voice that belonged to only one person.  The one person she absolutely abhorred. There was a pause as she cracked her eyes open to peer at this invader.   She saw him and he started laughing. 

Her eyes snapped open.  She couldn't bring herself to move.  Her body was paralyzed by the fear.  It was overwhelming.  She wanted to cry and she couldn't.  Shippo had rolled away from her and she was glad.  Her stomach was pole vaulting inside of her. 

Pushing herself to her feet she made her way to the door.  She slid it open and peeked outside.  She glanced around, and seeing nothing of Inuyasha she ran for the woods.  She managed a few more moments before slipping and falling onto the ground.  Hastily, she dug a small hole and purged.  Her stomach clenched and all remnants of food left her body.  She remained on her knees, leaning on her balled fists and near tears. 

After a while passed she raked the dirt back over the mess and went towards the nearby stream. 

She waded into the stream and splashed water on her face.  She drank healthy gulps of water and tried to remove the awful bile taste that resided in her mouth.

Once the taste was as gone as it was going to get she waded out of the stream and began the excruciating trip back to the hut. 

She reached it just as the very hint of dawn was beginning to creep across the sky.  She sat against the side of the hut and waited for the sun to rise. 

She fought the urge to sleep and forced herself to remain awake. 

But she couldn't stop herself from just letting her eyes fall closed.

*     *     *     *     *

Inuyasha heard Kagome coming back from the forest.  He didn't know how long she had been in there nor what she had been doing.

He watched her from his perch on the tree branch and followed her movements with his eyes.

She stood outside the hut, glancing at the sky and then shifting her gaze back to the horizon.  She moved to the side of the hut and sat against the side.  He watched her fight sleep, but eventually she fell into it.

Inuyasha looked at her sleeping form and couldn't help but notice that her face revealed more than her words did.

She looks like she's been sick.  She doesn't smell like it though.  Wait, the wind is blowing away from her.  I'll have to get closer, but what if she wakes?  She'll sit me into next week. 

But nonetheless, he leapt onto the roof of the small hut.  Leaning over carefully and sniffed the air.  It was heavy with her scent.  But that was the problem.

She was sick.

He could smell it all over her.  They wouldn't be able to go shard hunting with Kagome ill.  She should have stayed at home.

But wasn't that why she came here?  She didn't want to be at home.  Kagome, you idiot, what is wrong with you?

She shivered and Inuyasha jumped down beside her. 

"Kagome?"  He whispered.  Nothing.  He edged closer to her until he thought for sure she would wake up and sit him until his back were going to snap into four separate pieces. 

He felt somehow responsible for her suffering.  Believe it or not, Inuyasha was aware of how hard she pushed herself to help them gather the shards and defeat Naraku.  He actually admired her for her determination and loyalty to the quest.

He eased himself down beside her and wrapped a covered arm around her, to ease her suffering.  It's odd.  I never would have thought about doing this for Kikyo.  Wait!  What am I thinking?!  Kikyo's just a dead corpse . . . that I owe my life to.  But Kagome is alive and she definitely doesn't want to drag me to hell.  And what is this feeling I get everytime she gets this close to me?  Or I get this close to her?  What the hell has this wench done to me?  I'm turning into a ball of mush over a pathetic human girl. 

But I also like the feeling.  As though if I didn't feel it, I would be lost.  Empty.  Without a cause.  Like Kikyo.  ARG! Why do I keep thinking about her?!  And when I'm with Kagome!  Inuyasha shook his head to clear his thoughts.  Kagome stirred and moved closer to his chest.  Inuyasha sighed to himself. Kagome, why must you make me suffer so?  He smiled as he smoothed some of her hair.  And why do I enjoy moments like this?  When I can spend a moment so close that I can feel your breath on me and stare in awe at your beauty in the morning light.  And be absolutely amazed at your utter devotion to me.  A worthless hanyou.  Kagome, whatever is bothering you, I hope you tell me soon.  I don't know how much longer I can endure this suffering over you.

AN:  Elkonigin here.  Just thought I'd pop in and say hi to all those souls out there.  Let me know what you think, if you have any suggestions.  Flames are okay, I won't mind too terribly, just let me know what you think.  Until my next uploading, 10-4!