WARNING: People, I have watched the anime, but I strictly prefer the original work of Takahashi-sensei herself. This means that my stories will stick to the translations of the original tanko`bans provided every week by the fantastic site taken care of by Chris Rijk.

All the occurances that are mentioned below take place in the manga people. I haven't watched the anime as far as certain channels have aired it, but I have been told that a lot of so called 'fluff' between Inuyasha and Kagome has been removed.

Please note that there is a lot more show of outward affection between Inuyasha and Kagome in the Manga than there is in the anime. The only occurrences that are totally invented in this fanfic are the ones where Kagome and Inuyasha lose the others to talk, which sometimes they even do.

Also, the conversations referring to the chapter 176 (ie; part 8 of volume 18), are the EXACT words as translated from the original tanko`ban (I have the window open here guys, no kidding). All thanks go to that fantastic person called Chris Rijk who has the patience to help people like me (who have ordered three tanko`bans last march and has NOT received them yet, keh) read the original manga real time.

This Chapter is dedicated to Chris Rijk, in thanks for his work

Suggestion: if you have the song 'Dearest' of Ayumi Hamasaki I suggest you put it on repeat while reading this. As it fits Inuyasha, it fits this fic perfectly

Now on with the show Freddie . . . . .


By Midoriko-sama

September 03 2003

She loved it when he showed her affection. He hid it, was rough about it and then he would try to cover it with some rough words or actions. But he still showed her affection. Often.

The others didn't really know. Most of the times he had showed her affection he had tried to make it that they were alone, completely, so that he could tell her and no one else. The other did sometimes peek on them of course, and that usually created some tension and even sometimes hell to pay.

But the others really didn't know half of it. They hadn't witness half their times together. He was a hunter himself after all, and knew the ways of stalkers. It was true, he knew very well, and so when he didn't want to be found, he wouldn't be, but for her; she could sense him if he were in hell, and beyond. So when she saw him leave, and when the others would spend hours searching, she would just have to follow, and they would talk.

It was true, that he was so clumsy with his affection. And yet he wasn't. His clumsiness was not the one borne of one who fell in his own feet or dropped what he held in his hands, or else of one who was uncertain in his bodily movements and would drop her or hurt her. Never that, his only clumsiness was that of the tongue, and not even that sometimes.

He was a predator, and knew how to more every muscle of his body to his perfect command. The first time he had hugged her . . .there had been ample play for clumsiness there, with his injury, him pulling her and her own unbalance, but he had known the movements he would cause and movements he had to perform without doubt.

She closed her eyes and breathed in, then let out a sigh. He knew, knew well. He wasn't clumsy or rough when he didn't want to be.

So many times he had been openly affectionate towards her. Even the others now didn't take it as a surprise. It was normal, they knew it. He didn't like them teasing, so he avoided doing it in front of them. So they didn't know what she knew, what they knew together, what they had shared. She didn't even tell Sango, that was a secret she wanted to have only to herself, and herself alone.

So many times . . . she remembered the time when she had come from her time, tired out, and he had been trying to talk to her, how she had fallen asleep against his back, how his heart beat and his warmth against her spine, and his hair fluttering back and covering her own in a sheen of white had lulled her to sleep peacefully securely. How they had continued the conversation she had interrupted later. In the woods, on their own.

She tilted her head to the side and rested her cheek on her palm. He was so different from all the boys she knew. Because he wasn't a boy of course. Inuyasha was a man. He had his moments of boyishness, and Shippo was so good at getting them out of him, but he wasn't a boy. He was strong when he was needed to be, warm, and  . . . there really wasn't a word for it. What the others, and even she herself called butt-headedness sometimes, really are maturity. He could behave like a boy when he felt like it, like when the ramen come up, or when she had to come home, but when there was need, when there was reason and cause, he was a man, he was there when needed, always, for her or for others, ungrudging. As he had been when Sango had taken his Tetsusaiga. He had not forgiven, he had forgiven and understood. And talked accordingly. Roughly, because he wanted to be rough.

Another time, when she had been caught by the hermit, he had covered her and turned around with a deep gesture of respect and affection. How many times had he covered her like that? Given her what would have saved him so many scars and pain? The hermit, Yura, so many other times. And with Kouga in the cave. That gumi from the hells would have killed them all. All with their names ending in kotsu . . .bones . . . it was fitting. And then he had dug the earth for her, called her, and looked at her with eyes that spoke. Before all to see.

So many times . . . He was so beautiful. In whatever way she looked, under whichever lens she examined, he was beautiful. In face, in character, in soul, and in body.

So many ways . . . he had showed her affection in so many ways. When he had held her hand to his chest, and told her that he wanted her to be with him. She had confronted him with that later, she had, when that had been alone another time. She scowled.

When she had been kidnapped by Kohaku. When he had snapped his hand out, and put in on her shoulder, then pulled her to him, against his chest, and apologised for his tardiness in saving her, apologised by the fear his tardiness had caused her. He had not been rough, had not been clumsy then. He had been quiet and serious, and had held her softy, attentive to her injured arm.

All the times he had held her to him in battle, leaping away with her from mortal danger, saving her, taking blows for her. He had done it all.

That time when he had tried to explain Kikyou to her, his eyes had been so full of something she still didn't have the name for. It hadn't been love, because she had looked in the mirror many a time thinking about him, and her eyes hadn't spoken like his that time. It wasn't pain either. It was there, but it wasn't what made his eyes. The only word that went close to what his eyes had been in that instant was intensity. So much feeling packed together that each individual feeling lost its meaning. All that was left was a nothing that was everything, that vibrated and was still.

Had she not pushed him away that time she would have had his first kiss. But she had been so young. She felt she had been young then, and silly in her manners, not able to identify still what she saw in Inuyasha that made him different from other boys she knew. Now she felt so old, and tired. Tired.

The other time too, when he had spent the night at her home. He had fallen asleep on her bed, looking like a child, and yet looking like a tired out adult from the day's work. From the week's work. That had been as long as he had not slept, a whole week, to fight, and protect and watch guard. A whole week.

Or before that, when he had walked into her room, dressed only in a layer of boiling water . . ..

She had thrown stuff at him at that moment. All that came to hand, in order to hide what her real reaction had been. Vases, cushions, alarm clocks, anything to have him leave before she was struck dumb in front of her brother at his beauty . . . at him.

And again she had explained it to him later, when he had asked, when they had been alone. The other had been duly lost, and he held her hand as they talked. Sometimes his thumb would caress her skin absently. Sometimes his fingers would flutter and touch her thigh, then flutter quickly away.

And she had told him, when they were alone, the real reason for her reaction to him, her real reaction to seeing him walk into her room like that.

She would never forget his face. The way his hand suddenly let go of hers as if it boiled. How he stood abruptly, and walked away from her completely. How he had never talked to her for the rest of the day. He had avoided her completely until the next battle, when he had asked her if she was fine, if she could walk, if she was hit. But he hadn't talked to her at all after they had talked. And she would never forget the look on his face.

No, she wouldn't cry, especially because she was at school. This was history, and it was the only subject that allowed her to phase out and have a break from her heavy work load. All she heard here was old, and never new, because she heard it many times, every day. How the land was divided, which lord owned were, which domain was on which sector . . .

She wouldn't cry. She swallowed hard at the lump in her throat, and she wouldn't cry. She ignored her friend Eri, who was waving a paper at her with 'What's wrong?' written on it, and faced front.

She had never showed him any affection after that. Never spoke of affection towards him. Never put a hand on his shoulder, never voluntarily touched him in any way. She had never taken his hand after that . . .

Taken his hand . . . She had confronted him with his words, asked him what it had meant to him, why he had asked her to be with him, but she hadn't pressed his answer. That had come after though, when they had been alone. When they had been face to face, when he had found her beside the well, when it had been the first time they looked at each other after his glance in the woods- intensity, again intensity- she had just rebutted that. Said she wanted to be with him as he had said he had wanted to be with her.

Kikyou . . . the name of a woman, the name of a water flower. How could it bring so much other than simple thought with it? She would not say it was always her, always Kikyou, because it was a lie, it wasn't true. That was what made it worst. She loved when he showed her affection, but it was not only her.

Oh, there she went again

But she always went there.

Affection . . . there was no worst thing than to hear the words said to you said to another. No worst thing than being betrayed when your trust was complete, no worst thing than seeing the intensity again in his eyes when she had wanted to see an emotion, any emotion, but especially affection, any affection left for her.

He would protect her, and be with her, what he had promised Kagome. And he was a man, a man of word. No matter that he had said them to Kagome first, she had held his heart in her hands long before Kagome had even born. Affection . . . what he held for her ran deeper than that, and yet was still fundamentally that. His hand on her shoulder, his chin on her head, their times alone, to talk, to hold hands. His hand in hers.

It had been agonising, so agonisingly painful when she had taken his hand. He had not taken it back, his fingers had hung limply in hers, seeking reassurance that he would not give. She didn't remember how long it took in minutes, in the real world's time, but in her world's time, it had never stopped, he had never held her hand in his as she held his. Not now that he ran away from her when she needed to see his eyes lacking intensity most.

She looked away sharply, to the window, as the thought DID bring tears to her eyes. How many stories had she read, saying it was a bitter stinging? A tingle? No, it wasn't. It was a prickling in her nose, a clogging of her scent, a blurring of her eyes, like love was after all. How ironic. Love was like tears. The lump in the throat, the proverbial lump. It wasn't even anything special. Just some natural physical reaction. But it was the rest that made it what it really was. That made it different for crying at physical pain, for crying at an injury. It was the rest that made it so much worst. Did other people feel this pain differently from the way she felt it? To her it was more than the lump that clogged her throat. It was more than the air that entered her lungs.

She forced her tears away, she forced her lump down, she forced the pain that was aching in her lungs away. Why there? Why her chest? Why her lungs, close to her heart? Why not her foot? Why not her head? Her hand? Why pain at all, if she had nothing wrong with her body?

He had been going to the well that time. When he had found her seated there, on its lip, he had been coming, to her time, to her. What had he in mind to say, what would he have said, had he been given the chance?

She had been too scared, terrified, that had she given him that chance he would have told her what she feared most in her life to hear. She had not wanted to HEAR that he had chosen over her, she knew it, beyond doubt, but HEARING it was different. Hearing it was final, unmovable, unfixable. Facing a situation not always fixed it, and she had faced it in order NOT to fix it. She would never know what he had come to say. She knew, what he would have said, but she would never know. She would never hear it from his mouth, and even though actions hurt just as much, it was balm to think the words lay unuttered.

But she herself would never show him affection ever again. She felt she couldn't. She never wanted to see that look of disgust on his face again. His featured contorted in the firelight and then gone, after she had bared her innermost secret to him. Perhaps it had been at that moment that she had begun feeling old. Or perhaps it had been when, as she touched the missing bark on the god tree, she had realised just what she felt for the man she had thought a boy.

She still tended to his injuries, but there were no longer any playful touches on her part. She still closed her eyes and held him back when, still now, he took her away from the other so that they would be on their own. The others didn't know half of it, didn't know half the times they had been together. Or maybe they knew too. But still, they weren't in her chest. They didn't fully understand.

But still, she would never show him affection again. It had been time . . a long time. Who was she fooling? It had been nearly a year now since she had touched him on purpose. She would never show him affection, one she felt was not hers to ask. And above all, she wouldn't see that look on his face again.


Shippo gave a little squeal of delight every time her bike caught a rock and jolted. He was a little boy, nearly a baby, no matter how well he talked and how much wit he had, he was still little, and things like this delighted him.

She looked at him, him, bouncing from tree to tree, above, ahead. She wondered about him sometimes- oh, when did she not wonder about him, in one way or another?- But sometimes, she wondered about his spirit. He was so free.

She had taken to bring her bike every time. Since when he hadn't spoken to her, when he had walked away at her saying she thought him beautiful, she had always ridden her bike on their journeys. They had never ridden far anyway. The shards she had attracted those who had them, and there weren't many left in any case. She couldn't bear to be on his back, knowing he knew what she felt, and she knowing what he did in return.

She could have travelled on Kirara, but she knew Sango's secret wish of having the monk's hands on her waist. Holding on for dear life had taught him quickly not to stray when they were travelling fast and high, but still, they had promised to be man and wife. Sometimes Kagome thought his hands did stray, in gentler ways, and he didn't pay any tolls.

She paddled as fast as she could, and yelped too every time the bike jolted, but from the pain the saddle gave, while Shippo laughed in her basket. Her aching muscles gave some solace to other aches.

Still sometimes she felt guilty for slowing the party down, only for her desire to keep that disgust at her off Inuyasha's face. But she couldn't help it, and every time she felt herself waver, when he himself complained how she was always at the end of the line, when she should be in front, or at least in the middle, telling them where the occursed glow feeling of the shard came from, she remembered his face. The pain at the thought that she disgusted him came back, but so the resolve.

She looked at him now and wondered. He was such a free spirit. Jumping high and long when he had no burdens. How had he felt, being tied down? How could he be tied down to the duty of the shikon no tama? Or tied down to  . . .someone?

Oh, again, her mind played tricks on her. There she went again, thinking of her.

But it was true, how did he feel tied down to duty, when he bound ahead even now, just being without a physical burden?

She shook her head. She couldn't know. And she couldn't ponder, she couldn't. Her mind would enter once more into the circle of why, of how, or doubt and of pain and of affection.

The last village they had passed had been terrible. It had been like the village below Jinenji's hut. Shippo had gone unharmed. Harnessed protectively in her arms, his tail had seemed like his coat fur and his coat fur his tail, and his tiny ears were exactly that, tiny. But Inuyasha could not be mistaken for anything but what he was, his ears betrayed him, and his white hair was striking to anyone who looked at him.

They had pelted him with tomatoes, and other rotten fruit and vegetables. She had pleaded with them to stop, told them not to do that, but they had pelted her too, and she had barely dodged what they threw at her. Inuyasha, on the other hand . . . again he had taken some for her, even vegetables from villagers.

She wished he hadn't, because she had moved away from his protection, to the relative safety of Sango's glare and outfit that kept men away. But she hadn't said anything more. As she had in Jinenji's village, she had watched on in shock at what Inuyasha had to pass through, but she had said no more to his protection; she couldn't. The only things that passed in her mind had been that they couldn't call him a horrid creature, a horrid monster, because he was beautiful, to her he was beautiful . . .

So she had kept her silence, because she knew what those word would do to Inuyasha, what face they would produce, what disgust for her . . .

She saw Kirara stop up ahead, and paddled a bit more until he reached their station. Shippo jumped out of her bag and made a show of pouncing a now little Kirara, who enjoyed the attention and went along with it.

She leant the bike against a tree, put a stone against one of its wheels so that it wouldn't slide down on the slightly wet grass. Then she saw that they had stopped to camp. She tried not to release her little smile and managed. Even if he had given a tomato treatment, Inuyasha would be much happier to sleep here, in the open, than in any hut in any village. Even the rice paddies were better for him- even better than Kaede's hut.

Kagome looked at the little stream that trickled by, following a rout among the trees and shrubs, twisting out of sight behind a berry bush. Sango and Miroku had already set a fire. Had she been so far behind? It hadn't felt like it.

Her pack Miroku had been holding, to lighten her way on the bike, and she could only guess they had used her modern utensils they had by now learned the functions and uses of. Some of her pots were on the grill atop the fire already, boiling away for ramen use.

Inuyasha had backtracked in annoyance, grumbling about human's need to sleep. I said quietly that I couldn't paddle any more or my legs would have fallen off. Shippo jumped on my lap and started rubbing them lovingly for me, like the good puppy he was. I pet him on the head, but told him I was ok and he could play with Kirara.

Inuyasha had crouched next to me, his arms rested on his knees, impossibly balancing on the toe part of his foot as he always did. So much grace . . .

He was being a grouchy boy now because he wanted to, pouting at her and saying that she was a weakling, she knew that right? And that they would make so much more road if only she gave up that silly 'contraption' and rode on Kirara with the others. That he hadn't offered his back was not lost on her.

She watched Sango pour the hot water and bit her lip. Could he still, after a whole year? Could he still feel disgust? Could she still disgust him, with her words that implied just a little bit, in embarrassment, of what him walking into her room like that had caused her to think?

She looked up at him with a smile, her heart beating impossibly fast. This would be the first time in nearly a year, the first time in nearly a year the she would try to touch him herself.

Still with her smile on her face, she gave a little laugh, and said "Inuyasha, you're a mess!" and she raised her hand to pass it through his hair, as she used to.

When he moved away from her hand, she couldn't control her face any longer. All that pain in her chest- that had no foundation, that was not physical- came rushing up almost viciously, evilly, defining the lump in the throat in its every detail of constriction. She was stricken dumb, unable to deal with what she had feared presented to her.

He had frozen too, and was staring at her, with wide eyes. It was probably her face that made him look like that. She had to have a horrible face, nearly as horrible as the face she must have made when she had wished Kikyou had no longer been around, in front of the god tree, when she had been debating never returning to Inuyasha unless to give him the shards. All she knew was still working was her heart, because it was beating in her ears and deafening her.

She pulled her hand away, it had become stiff for some reason, as though it had been hanging there for years, poised to touch him- almost, almost- and looked away completely, closing the dry mouth that at one point had opened. She forcefully turned to Sango and Miroku, who too, she noticed, had frozen in place at his incredibly cruel gesture. She smiled at them, and her face was stiff too. She almost felt as though dry skin flakes would crack and fall off in oldness.

"Is the food ready?" she asked cheerfully, but her voice was too quiet to sound cheerful. It was the hushed voice one used after a funeral, as though fearful of rousing the dead. Thank the gods, Shippo and Kirara were still playing happily.

They ate in silence, and she was the one who ate least, but hid her face in the bowl most. She didn't want to meet their eyes; they had known after all, it seemed. She had not told Sango about it, she wanted to keep it a secret, but they had known, that she hadn't been touching him, and that now she had tried and had been confirmed. Or maybe they had just been astonished by his action, maybe they had not noticed at all and were coming to the reality now.

Kagome put all the ramen packets in the junk plastic bag she always carried around with her, and put it back into her huge bag. She felt sorry for Kirara.

Then she stood, dusted herself and smiled at them, saying she would go for a walk down the stream to wash her hands. They all knew she could do just that right in water beside her, but no one said it.

She found a spot by the stream, took of her shoes and socks and put her feet in. Let the little fishes bite, at least her feet would have some ease of the heavy day. The rock she sat on was bathed in moonlight.

So her resolve had lasted nearly a year, she told herself. Well done Kagome, now you know, now you know for sure. The pain welled up in her chest again. She was angry at it and angry at herself. She shouldn't feel pain, there was nothing physically wrong with her, she shouldn't hurt, she just shouldn't. And she had known hadn't she? She'd had time to prepare and ponder, to think and consider.

To come to terms.

It really didn't mean anything though did it? It was like death; no matter how long the illness, how terminal, or if death came in the night and reaped unexpectedly, it was always a shock. You never got used, you never came to terms. Even in time, that little aching spot still remained. You could push it down, but not come to terms. That was a lie. Time was needed to gather the strength to WANT to forget, to gather the desire to push it down, but not to come to terms. That never happened.

"Woopee" she whispered to herself, the night, the stream, the moon and the tiny fish that had already gathered nibbling at her toes. They twisted a smile out of her; they always did, even now.

She took the shikon bottle in hand, and began twirling it round. She slid off the rock and on the bank, upsetting the fishies and sinking to the knee in the water. She just hoped there weren't any leeches.

The shikon no kakera made a tinkling noise against the glass medicine bottle she used to keep them in, a string through the cork. They sounded like common pieces of glass when she did that, like any other mineral that sounded like glass. And yet they could cause so much damage, they had cause so much already. Yet if she closed her eyes she could imagine them to be glass, nothing but glass . . .

She looked up in panic when she heard movement. She had gone off on her own, away from the camp, not too far, but far enough, and she didn't have her arrows and her bow.

Then the silvery hair caught the moonlight and the pain in her chest that had eased at the distracted thoughts came again, once again with a vengeance, once again viciously cruel. She scowled down at her lap and at the pain. It hadn't been there when she hadn't thought, so why did it come back, why did she think? Was it in human nature to hurt oneself? Apparently

"Hey Kagome, why the hell did you leave like that ne?" he said. He was still choosing to be a rough boy. All the better, she couldn't bear to see the man tonight.

"I wanted some quiet time, me and the water" she smiled and gestured to her legs bobbing in the gently stream.

"There is a stream back there too" he stated. Ah, so he had thought about it

"But it isn't quiet. And there's the firelight, it doesn't let you see the stars as well". She heard him snort, and that somehow wounded her too, although she knew he was really a man and not a boy.

"Woman, the notions you come up with. Come to camp and continue your washing up in the stream there"

Instead of answering or moving she looked away, and resumed her twirling the shikon bottle in her fingers, making them tinkle. He stared at her for a few seconds, then sat beside her. She began to feel the pain being replaced by fear. She could almost feel him shifting into a man, now that he was silent.

"Come on Kagome, lets go back to camp" he said softly. There he was, again. It was nearly a taunt.

"You need to wash that hair of yours" she replied, just as quietly. He would understand what she wanted him to think about now, what her problem was. This was really it, she realised.

She hadn't wanted to hear those words coming from his mouth, but after what he had done, after he had moved away from a touch that was even innocent in nature, she couldn't bare it any longer. She had told him that she wanted to be by him, but now, she could no longer bear it. Not unless she wanted her unwounded chest to strangle her with its vindictive pain.

"Yeah well, this stream isn't quite large enough to bath in, there is no other way I know to wash my hair"

"You could lie down, and I could rinse it" she said. But you won't let me, I know you won't and you know I know that.

"No" he stated quietly. For some seconds the only noises were the stream's gurgle. Then she began twirling the shikon no kakera again. There had to be another noise, any other.

"We have so few of them left" he said softly again. She was a failure as a shikon no miko as well. The large fragment they had had she had taken from her. She had nearly taken her life with it. She found herself wishing for the first time that she had.

"We know where most of them are" Kagome replied. "They're so small, and yet . . ."

"They cause more harm than the whole thing" he snickered. Another of her failures to him, her first as a shikon no miko. She had been the one who shattered it.

"If I hadn't broken it, you'd still be trying to kill me" she said wryly. She knew he had looked at her, and she knew what she had implied with her statement, but she kept looking at the sky . . . so many stars, you couldn't see them like this back home . . .

"Naraku would have come after the whole thing and then everything would have been the same." He rasped.

"No, not the same" Kagome answered. I am not her, she wanted to say, but it was too common, too many times thought and said. It had not happened that day by the well, when she had sat on the lip and then taken his hand, waited an eternity for him to take it too. But it would happen now. She felt it coming.

"Never the same Inuyasha" she whispered "Naraku would not have bothered with schemes with me. He would have killed me, or tried to possess me. I'm not strong enough" not strong like Kikyou "And he has no competition for me" you aren't out to love me and protect me like for her. Affection . . . isn't love.

"And you think I would have let that happen?" he growled. Affection, there again. But it only brought pain now

"Yes" she said without hesitation "You would have fought for the jewel, not for me. If the jewel hadn't shattered and you were forced to work with me, I would be dead now"

It was bitter, how true that was. He had been forced into her company, and he would have never sought it out himself. He would never have come to know her, even the little he did now, and he wouldn't have cared, if only to save her skin. She wanted to think that he wouldn't have cared at least, that he wouldn't have saved her just because she resembled Kikyou, on impulse. She wanted to think that he would have respected her individuality and let her die, if only not to pit her so much as the replacement.

He gave her enough time to think all that before her comment made him growl horribly and grab her by the shoulders to turn her roughly. He wanted to convey his anger at her, so he used his body signs to do it. So much like him, so much like a wild dog.

"I wasn't 'forced'" he snarled. She flicked the collar he wore and shrugged his grasp without saying a word "Well so maybe I was in the beginning, but what about you? You didn't like me either back then ne?"

The perfect retort to hurt him with that would have been saying she didn't like him now either, but that would be so blatant a lie it didn't have half a foot to stand on

"You didn't make yourself any likable, I tried to" she said calmly. You tried to kill me

"Listen bitch" that cut through terribly "what's with you tonight ha?"

"I shouldn't have come" she said simply. That was it. The conversation would start that way now. She could have faced it in a different way, she could have led it elsewhere, but no more forestalling. She was so tired, so very tired.

"What?" he asked hollowly. She could still change it, she realised, she could still say that she shouldn't have fallen through the well . . . but no more lies

"I shouldn't have come back. I should have waited for you on my side, given you the shards when you came . . . maybe the fates would have had mercy on me and had me forget. I shouldn't have come back" she had said it now. There was no turning back. The pain in her chest heightened, and she knew more would come, more that would have her cry. She readied herself to control her reaction, but not to come to terms. You couldn't do that.

He was silent beside her. Perhaps he was hurt. He had affection for her after all.

"What did I do?" he asked, almost angrily, more in frustration "What did I do? Why do you say that?"

why do you care?

No, she wouldn't say that. He was back in his anger, in his boyish mood too perhaps. If he said now that he didn't care, no matter how rashly, she would believe it and she would leave. Her heart still had shreds of hope left. Stupid heart.

"Why shouldn't I?" she said instead. Give me a reason, one reason, any reason that involves you . . .

"Because we'll never manage without you! You are important to this quest, to this group. If you leave we'll fall apart, we'll all go our own way"

"It didn't happen when you locked the well, it won't happen now even more. I'd give you the shards" she said, letting the bottle go

"You're thinking about it aren't you?" he said in shock, his voice rasping "You're actually going to do it aren't you? Why Kagome, why leave us, what did we do? What did I do?"

"Nothing different Inuyasha" she whispered, still looking at the stars. She wouldn't be able to see so many like this back home. She'd miss this place. She'd miss it . . . "I'm just tired of all this, of the monsters," of hurting "of the constant fighting and killing" of hurting "Of the fear of being attacked, or of Naraku" of hurting. "I'm tired of it all"

"Tired of us?"

"Tired. When you are tired, you are tired of everything. I've given up" Given up on you

"But WHY!? You're always so determined, why now, why like this all of a sudden? What have I done Kagome? It's always something I do, please, fight with me, yell at me, sit me, but don't be like this . . ."

"What is this Inuyasha?" she asked. She could read all the constellations the way they were drawn on the sky charts, it was impressive

"So dead, Kagome"

"You're confused" she said wryly, "I'm the one who's alive" and that's why I can't compete, I'm alive, I can't compete with her because she died for you and she returned for you, twice over, she returned as a body of earth and she returned as me. But this part is tired, you don't need it any longer . . .

"Kagome!" now he was yelling, he was mad at her. She found herself strangely uncaring. Oh gods, was she starting to heal? Or was she started to die inside? The latter. Maybe she was going to compete with Kikyou after all, by moving away.

"What is it Inuyasha?" she sighed tiredly, and that stopped his assault, as her cold gaze had when she had been riding Kirara, and he'd tried to talk to her after he's been with Kikyou.

"Ok, go!" he said. And that hurt her again, fresh pain, a stab, but it was . . . fleeting. Oh gods, she was really dying inside now. She knew it for sure. She shouldn't have come back. Maybe their parting in her time would have been a better one. But no, all bonds had to be cut "But at least tell me why!?"

She stared at him as if he came from another world. She nearly smiled. He did.

"Inuyasha, remember when I asked you if I could stay beside you?" he nodded, and she couldn't hold his gaze any longer. His eyes held intensity, all emotions too muddled. This was it, that was the last sign of fate, that intensity. "I don't want to anymore"

"Stop beating around it!" he suddenly screamed, grabbing her with much more strength then the first time, turning her towards him with no effort on his part, pulling her out of the water and twisting her wet leg so that she faced him, him, completely "tell me WHY you don't want to stay anymore, WHY you want to leave, I already know you WANT to GO, but I want to know WHY!"

He rammed her into the ground, his hands around her arms both his thumbs in her armpits. He hovered above her, his white her falling over his shoulders. His eyes glowed dully as they reflected the dim light, just like Buyo's at night to the glow of her reading lamp. He was a predator after all.

"WHY!" he whispered hoarsely. Why was he so intense? Why did he have to be like this? Why couldn't he be a boy instead of a man, why?

"I cannot stay beside you Inuyasha . . . knowing that I disgust you" she replied

"You don't! What the fuck made you think that! What shit did you get into your head! Get it the hell out right now!" he bellowed, staring at her.

"Didn't you realise at all?" she whispered "Didn't you ever notice? I have never touched you since"

"I noticed" he spat "I noticed that you've been avoiding touch with me for a long time! Hell I've noticed Kagome, you're the one who's disgusted with me, admit it. You're the one who's disgusted at thoughts of me!"

If she could have, she could have slapped him. Lacking the possibility, she kicked him with one wet knee in his thigh.

"Idiot" she hissed furiously "What I told you never counted anything? You never heard? Oh no, you heard, you heard well, and I saw the look on your face after it. Let me go Inuyasha, I don't want to talk about this"

"Hell you're not going anywhere" he snarled in uttermost rage, and let his body sag onto hers. His sheer weight was enough to wind her. He was so heavy, she couldn't breath. How could he be so thin and so heavy?

"Get off me!" she screamed. Why hadn't he pinned her by the legs, why like this?

"I'll get off you when hell breaks lose bitch. Go on and sit me, see how long it lasts" he said, growled harshly

"Why won't you get off, what's your problem" she screamed, knowing his sensitive ears couldn't take it. But he didn't budge

"I'm the one asking the questions here bitch! Why are you talking shit?" he was mad at her badly. He usually only spoke like this to enemies or after she sat him. That didn't come often lately. "What's this about disgust? When did I ever say you were disgusting!"

"You never said it, you showed me" she said

"Bull!" he was nearly screaming himself now "You don't disgust me!"

"Then why did you do that Inuyasha, why? Twice?" she asked. She knew he was going to scream at her stop talking in code now, his patience had worn. He was a mature man, but even mature men had short fuses "Why did you walk away from me after I told you last time Inuyasha? After you stayed the night at my house and then after we talked about it? Why did you leave? And why didn't you-" why don't you want me to touch you? "Why did you move away tonight?" the last came out in a whisper.

He moved off her hurriedly, and for a moment she just felt like wailing and dying just there, she just wanted to scream her pain and let the tears come, and then be so drained by the effort that she would drop dead. She had just reminded him, perhaps, of whatever reason he had to stay away from her- Kikyou- and now he was avoiding her touch once again.

"Is that what this is all about?" he whispered

"What else should it be about Inuyasha? It's always been this in the end. Everyone knows what I think of you, no one knows what you think of me. Even Sango and Miroku noticed your moving away from my hand Inuyasha. We all know I would never hurt you . . . and if instead of disgust it's . . . I prefer thinking you disgust my touch than you don't trust me to touch you. That would be too much."

"Why? You don't seem to trust me at all?" he said bitterly

"Have you given me reason to trust you?". He flinched, I could feel that, even without looking at him, on my back, looking at the stars. He knew it was true.

"That means you don't?" that voice seemed to come from a throat that had been slit and still had the knife in it. The only image made her want to shoot her head up and look to see he was safe and alive. Just HOW stupid was she?

"I do with my life" she said quietly "Not with other things, not anymore"

He sprawled on her again. It was a relief and it was pain all over again. She wanted to scream at her insides to decide. But she felt raw under his weight. Her body responded more simply when her heart was in turmoil. She hated it

"What do I have to do?" he whispered against her neck, her shoulder "What do have to do to make you trust me again?"

"Why do you want me to?"

"I trust you, with all I have"


He pushed off her

"How can you! How can you say I'm lying ne!? You can't know me more than I know myself!"

"I know what you show me Inuyasha" she said to him "Only what you show me. I cannot know the rest you don't tell me"

He gaped down at her

"You want to know?" he asked hoarsely "You want to know why I walked away? Why I left you there when you said something like that?" he lowered his face to her neck again, talking in her ear "Because you'd be one dead human if I hadn't"

She gasped, and millions of thoughts raced each other in her head

"Stop!" he screamed, in her ear. It left it ringing.

"Stop WHAT" she retaliated

"Stop thinking the worst of me, stop thinking I would have killed you out of disgust, stop thinking I would have killed you at all!"

"But you said-"

"So you did think that. Now even with your life Kagome? You don't even trust me with your life?"

"Inuyasha stop playing with me" she snapped

"I said you'd be one dead HUMAN. You'd be a youkai" he whispered that only for her ear, in her ear hole. The hot breath tickled the ear entrance alone

"Youkai?" she echoed dumbly

"You'd be my youkai, whether you wanted it, whether you were ready or not" he replied "Maybe you're right not to trust me"

"You didn't speak to me after that"

"How could I? With those thoughts! One look at you, one thought on what you have said, and I would have shamed you, I would have sallied you, can't you understand!"

"Did you think that maybe I wouldn't have considered it shame?" she whispered "Did you think that I perhaps wanted to be closed to you, that even though . . . I am ashamed, but only of myself Inuyasha, because even though I can't have your heart, I wanted to have at least a part of you, to give you . . . anything."

"You cannot mean that" he almost pleaded. Maybe he could see how her dignity had vanished, and her with it "You can't mean that at all! Don't say that please, not now . ."

"Now is as good as any other time Inuyasha" she said defeatedly

"No it isn't" his voice was suddenly heavy, almost dangerous. His hands suddenly grabber her hips tightly and then let go as if he's been hurt. He gave a strangled yell that started in her ear and then was taken away as he wrenched himself off her. He fell on his back in front of her. He was panting.

"Do you know how much I wanted to see you? Did you have any idea who much I wanted to see you and not break up?" he growled to the sky. She stilled to listen "I decided to PROTECT Kikyou, stupid, STUPID"

"I cannot come short of my word to her! And if it is Kikyou's and my destiny to die together, then I'll follow it through! I have to!"

"What of our quest? You are indispensable to us" she said, using his previous words "Why would you leave? Why?"

"Because it is my DUTY!"

"You have no duty in this quest? In this group?" In me?

"I have MORE than duty in this quest! I have everything in it! I have dreams, I have hopes, and angers, and joys, and you damnit!"


"Do you have ANY idea how much I wanted to see you? What it felt like to me when you said you had wanted the same, and you wanted to be by me regardless of what I chose? Do you have ANY idea how happy that made me? To have the chance to stay with you, perhaps to the end? I may have a duty with Kikyou- Don't you remember anything of what I said? How I couldn't trust anyone before I met you! That included Kikyou, Kagome! That I feel at ease with you? I never felt that with anyone! Even mother! She always wept! But you wept because me . . . not for of me"

He had been screaming to the sky, his eyes screwed shut, his teeth clenching every time he closed his mouth.

"I know Inuyasha". He started as her voice came in his ears. He was afraid to open his eyes, but he still felt her lie on his side "And I answered you remember? I cannot compete with her, because she died for you. I cannot do as much without leaving you behind, and I don't want that"

"Stupid!" he exclaimed, unclenching his eyes open and rolling onto his side, and then onto her once again "Stupid! Thousand times stupid! You don't HAVE to compete! There's nothing to compete for! I owe her! You said it yourself that day! You're different! Completely! I owe her! I don't owe you!"

"Say it Inuyasha. You know what I want to hear"

"I owe her" he said thinly

"You can't say it"

"Can you?"

"I love you"

His hair was still matted in vegetable remains. Even if a breeze had stirred the silence, it wouldn't have moved. It was heavy, like she felt.

"You knew I did."

"Hearing it is different"

"I know" she said bitterly "Hearing it is final, and definite" what she had thought earlier "Not hearing it is too"

"It doesn't mean I don't!" he nearly screamed again, nearly in panic. Inuyasha?

"Do you?"

He remained silent.

How much torture could a heart take? This much, came the answer. This much and no more.

"Let me up Inuyasha"


"Let me up, onagai, I'm tired, I want to go home"

"I couldn't answer you back then either! Don't you remember? I kept looking at the grass after you said you couldn't forget me, and all I could think was 'How will I answer? How should I respond?'. Kagome, I wanted to be selfish back then, and just . . . say the truth, but I couldn't then and I can't now!"

"There is no truth to be told!" she cried out "but that now you are playing with me! Please Inuyasha, please don't be this cruel to me, I beg you, can't you see that I can't take it anymore? I'm tired, I can't take it, I WANT to leave, please let me go!"

"Do you think it will go?" he said suddenly fierce "Do you think it will go if you just don't see me, don't talk to me, don't smell me, don't hear me? No! It won't go! It will never go! I know it!"

"You're talking about Kikyou aren't you?" she said, her voice thick. How could he lecture her about love through the one she had lost to? How could he?

"No idiot!" he yelled "I'm talking about you! About the time I blocked the well! The time I closed it and spent a whole month without seeing you! I'm talking about that time!" (an; it is never stated how long Kagome was blocked away from the Sengoku Jidai, but from Inuyasha's injuries and Kagome saying he was taking long, I assumed it was not too long, but not only a day as the anime seems to suggest. Again, I follow the manga)

"A month is hardly a long time! It's hardly a life time!" she screamed defiantly

"That month WAS a lifetime! For you and for me!" he nearly begged her to agree with his eyes, although he knew. But hearing it was always different. Final.

"It was, but one month will follow another, and another, and another, and I'll make do" I'll grow the desire to push it back. Not to forget you, or to come to terms, but to push it back.

"You WANT this do you?" his eyes were wide, he couldn't believe "You WANT this completely. You've given up" on me "You've given up for good. I lost you . . and you want to lost me . ."

"I lost you the moment she came back. I lost you the moment you called her name and tore her soul from mine. I . . . I was never yours to lost" he convulsed on top of her as though he was about to be sick "You never made me yours to lose"

"You're wrong" he stated "You were mine the minute I saved you from the centipede. You were mine and more mine every time I saved you, every time you came to me and not to the wolf, every time you came back from your time, from the men in your time."

Boys, she thought. The heaviness in his voice. She wanted to believe being his. But now her heart had died. Now only her mind was left

"Where you ever mine?"

"The moment you took the arrow out of me I was yours, the moment you smashed Yura's comb, and took Tetsusaiga I was yours"

"Then I lost you every time you went to her, I lost you every time you thought of her when you were with me." She let out a sob. There was only so much her heart could take. This much and no more "Let me go, please let me go"

"There must be a way! There must be some way for you to understand this!" he pleaded, looking around and then at her abruptly as though she might vanish "There must be a way to make you understand!"

"Then choose me!" she screamed at last, and immediately she fell silent. No, she thought, no! I had promised myself not to ask that of him, not to beg, I didn't want to do that, no . . .

"I Would!" he wailed above her "This is what you're not understanding! If I didn't have a depth with Kikyou, I WOULD chose you!"

She was silent for a good long, eternal minute

"Because she is of earth and bone, and I am her substitute?" she had to ask. She had to know.

"NO! damnit Kagome, I thought I loved her, but I trusted only after I met you! You thought me that! You cannot love without trusting! I didn't love her! I don't know what I felt for her, it was strong, but we were lonely Kagome, I was lonely, so much I would have fallen for Seshoumaru telling me he would take of me if he had crafted his lie well enough! When it came to it Kagome . . . when it really came to the truth, neither I nor Kikyou proved to be able to hold onto the words we'd said. But I TRUST you"

She stared at him dumbly

"If one like you in all looks and smells were to come to me tomorrow, point an arrow at me and shoot, telling me to die, I would know it isn't you. I would still not harm your image, but I would know that it wasn't you. As I knew it wasn't you, when the witch's snake snared your mind with poison, and you DID point your bow at me"

"You told her you didn't pass a minute without thinking about her, that you still felt" she insisted

"You think about regrets Kagome! Sango thinks about her brother and her regrets to her village, it doesn't mean she loves the monk less"

"You know-"

"I'm not blind, although my eye was gauged out"

"Or you listened- and looked- in the springs" she scowled

"Perhaps" he said in a low voice "Don't talk about that when we're like this" he was above her.

"You kissed her"

"She kissed me"

"You kissed"

His lips were on hers in an instant. She was so shocked by his action she never even thought of enjoying it, or of responding, or even of pushing it away. And as it had started he moved away

"How did that feel" he panted "You didn't move, you didn't come to me. How did that feel, so sudden and out of nowhere?"

That's what he meant. To be kissed, but not kiss. But still she felt the shape of his lips seared on her skin. Some of the wetness of his mouth accenting the warmth. And now she felt the real impact of what he had done, what he had done. He had kissed her; he had pressed his lips to hers as he lay over her, as she had wished so many times. Suddenly she was raw again, his to take at will

"How did you feel after" she whispered hoarsely, grabbing the front of him haori "After, how did you feel"

"As I felt during" he stated

"I don't feel like that" she said, pulling him down "I . . . please . . ."

He needed no more to kiss her again. More than raw now she felt alight as she kissed him back. Then he pushed away and off her savagely.

"Again" he said "I was going to make you a youkai again. I will, if we don't go back. The others will be wondering"

"No, they won't" she said, pushing off the ground, smiling "We were yelling loud enough for them to hear. I don't know if they understood what we were yelling though, or why"

His face caught fire at what she implied, as he had been thinking it himself, and had pushed off, her, but only half so.

"Kagome" he said her name from the back of his mouth, air rushing out "My life is not mine to give you, but if it were, it would be yours over, and over, and over again. She may have loved me, I don't know, but I never felt this. I never felt passion for her, and it was a different kind of need. Need to stay with someone who didn't shun me, and Sango and Miroku do no either, but they are not enough when you go to your time. I yearn for you, not for your company alone. I never trusted her either. Please understand, please, I should be the first to tell you to leave, I was the one who yelled that I couldn't ask you to stay after that decision I made, I was the first to say I couldn't be that selfish, but I NEED you, I need you Kagome, and when you wanted to be with me, I couldn't push you away, even if I knew it would hurt you."

She caressed his face and he grabbed her hand fiercely, pressing it to his skin, and face, and nose.

"I'm selfish, call me that, I deserve it, but I go insane without you, I lose my mind, my will, you're my strength . . my HOME damnit. Even Jinenji wanted you as a home. I could see he didn't want you to go, and I wanted to tear him apart, because you're MY home, and he couldn't take you away"

He buried his face in her chest and she gasped at his action

"But I cannot be yours, I'm not MINE to give to you!" he pressed her to him like a despairing man. He was a man, now talking openly for the first time- perhaps in his life. This was more than affection, and not only because his face was pressed to her chest. He seemed to know of the ache there, and his face pressed there was easing it completely where his words had started.

"I'll return to you Kagome, I swear, I will, now, in another life, I'll return. I may not be the Inuyasha you know then, but I'll love you like I love you now, and I'll be yours completely for all the days I can give you"

"It's you I love"

"Soul mates never part" he whispered.

She let the feeling wash over her like a summer sea in a sandy beach, violent, yet at the same time softer than the clouds.

"You think I am your-"

"Soul mate" he whispered again, shifting again pressing the top of his head under her chin, as though seeking reassurance, like a child. They stayed like that for a minute longer, or maybe an hour longer, neither knew and neither cared. The urgency was gone, the yelling and crying was gone; the pain was gone.

He licked her neck in a way that had nothing seductive. Lethargic, like a dog, lovably- with affection. He was conveying her affection as was his nature, of inuyoukai. He pressed his nose to her neck, his head to her chin, his ears against her hair and jaw, like a child, she told herself again. He was all, this person, he was a child, he was a boy, he was a man. He was youkai, he was human, he was both. And she loved every side of him.

"Soul mate" she repeated. The word was used in her time like a sort of charm, instead of saying dream prince. Or like a dream, and ideal, an impossibility. And yet here she was, he was her soul mate, so proven time and again, she had come back for him five hundred years, only for him- to meet him first, to free him, to travel with him, to love him. Love him second perhaps, but love him.

"I don't think that it will be as you say Inuyasha" she whispered to him. She felt his head move, then his tongue on her neck, and a nudge from his nose, telling her to go on. His weight on her she was beginning to get used to.

"I still believe what I thought and said back then, remember? That there had to be a reason for me to come back here and meet you. A reason why I met you, and not your re-incarnation in my time. Maybe there won't be one, maybe you'll come home with me; maybe you're right, and we'll meet again, and you'll have a different name and maybe a different character, but it would still be you . . . there is a reason why we met, why I brought the shikon back, why I broke it even. Only the Kami know, but there is a reason"

"We'll have to see, Kagome" he whispered. Again he nuzzled her neck, and she let out a sigh. She raised a hand, and suddenly felt him seize up, and was almost hurt, but she continued, and raised her hand to his head, beginning to rub his ears.

"Why didn't you want me to touch you back there" she whispered "Even now, why not?"

"Because I enjoy your touch Kagome" he whispered in the same manner "Way too much. Don't make me explain that Kagome, you know what I mean; it's too tempting to make it lead on into something . . . else. And now you know why I can't . . ."

"It's ok. Didn't you say you didn't want to explain? Why are you doing it?" she said, mirth colouring her voice. She was tired again, but not like before. She was tired for sleep now, and not the eternal one

"Because you almost left me for not explaining, I won't let it happen twice. I won't let you think that I don't love you . . ."

"That means that you do?" she held her breath. He nodded, couldn't say it, but didn't deny it.

"Soul mate" he whispered, then sighed "That . . . has always put me . . . right off to sleep . ."

"What?" she murmered in response "The ear rubs?"

Once again he gave a heavy nod against her neck

"Then sleep soul mate, sleep. Tomorrow we'll have another rough day". He just nodded, and his last nod was only a half one and he went to another world, to wake up with her tomorrow.

He nuzzled her neck in his sleep.

She loved it when he showed her affection, but she loved it better when she was the one showing affection to him.


Hey peeps, I wrote this story on the 30th or August originally, but you all have to thank my dad who fused the fuses (real fuses) and fused my pc too (alliterations . . .. ). The first part had been written, and of course, since this is a re-write it isn't as good. Also it hadn't been originally planned to be this long, so again thank my daddy for your burning eyes.

It kept me company though. I started it yesterday night, spent all night writing it and kept writing to the last minute. This morning I had an interview for a course at University were there were 800 applicants and they want only 8 (they're crazy . .. . ), and I felt I went well. 8% chance isn't much, but hey, I'm in it and I'm trying.

I continued this fic when I came home, and it's even longer than Threads of Fate (when I wrote that I thought I reached the limit).

Ja ne (or you'll kill me)

PLEEEEEEASE review!!!!      :*   (a kissy to all!!)