Hello all! I am so very sorry that I have not updated in forever, but my computer got messed up and I couldn't open my writing program that my fic was written in, and I couldn't go on the internet at all. So I wasn't able to write, and I couldn't post anything. But now my computer is somewhat fixed and I can at least get onto the internet. And I can finish writing my story. It's so nice to have a working computer again. satisfied smile
Anyway, my story is winding down, so there's going to be some kinda cute fluffy scenes and stuff is going to resolve. Unless I have some sort of stroke of genius for more plot, there isn't too much of the story left. But please, read until the end! I hope you have all enjoyed it so far. It actually makes me kind of sad that it's ending... But everything must come to an end some time, doesn't it? Maybe I'll think of another story to write... Who knows?
Minakane - I'm really glad you liked it! It's always nice to see new reviwers. And I'm glad that you like the way I'm handling their relationship... as I've said before, I try not to be cheesy fluffy, so I hope this next chapter isn't too out of character for them... please tell me what you think!
Heather - Well, I guess I'm glad that it's not confusing! It wouldn't be very good writing if it was, I suppose.
Jo-chan-ANIME - Of course Miroku's pranks were lame! It's Miroku, come on! He so would be stomped by Kagome and Sango in a practical joke war. But please don't kill yourself laughing! I'll settle for rolling on the floor...Though I suppose if you're gonna go, it wouldn't be so bad to die laughing...
chrisy12 - I'm glad you like it! And I'm sorry I didn't write more sooner, but computer problems as mentioned above kept me back. Sowwy.. :( But it's all better now.
Heather - Of course it was great! I wrote it! Just kidding... I'm glad you liked it and I hope you like this one too... cute fluffy scene ahead...
stoictimer - Well.... quick! Uncover your eyes long enough to read my next chapter that I finally updated... I hope you like it!
disclaimer: Yeah yeah, you all should know by now that I'm not making money off this fic...
what happened last time in Between Love and Hate
"Inuyasha! Inuyasha can you hear me?! Inuyasha!!" Kagome called and called, but still the hanyou didn't appear.
She whipped around and saw red robes part through the mist.
"Inuyasha! I was so worried, what happened? Why couldn't you hear me?"
"Kagome! There you are..."
She ran up and linked her arm through his. "Let's just get back to the campsite, okay? It's really creepy out here."
"Wait, I want to figure out where all this fog is coming from," Inuyasha said.
"I'm sure it's nothing. Let's just go back..." Kagome tugged on his sleeve.
"No, something's wrong, I can feel it."
"Really?" Kagome grabbed onto his arm even tighter.
"Yeah. Come on." He lowered himself so she could hop onto his back.
Kagome got on. "Be careful, Inuyasha."
"Don't worry, I will."
"Kikyo... it's really you?"
"Of course Inuyasha." She stood. "I figured you'd find me here sooner or later."
"Why are you here?" Inuyasha asked, moving closer to her.
"I needed to talk to you."
"Needed... to talk to me?"
"Yes. There have been issues pressing at the back of my mind as of late, and I feel that I must deal with them now."
Kikyo looked solemn. "About us, Inuyasha."
His heart was pounding. He hoped she couldn't hear it. He didn't know how to answer, and didn't know if he wanted to hear what she had to say.
"What about us?" He finally managed to speak.
"I know how you still feel. And I wanted to tell you that I have no more affection for you."
Inuyasha felt like he'd been socked in the stomach.
"What.. what do you mean?"
"Come here, Inuyasha. Come sit with me." She sat back on the ground and patted the spot next to her. Inuyasha hesitated before walking over and sitting down.
They sat in silence for awhile. Inuyasha fidgeted, and Kikyo gazed straight ahead. He saw a slight smile play across her lips.
Finally he could stand the silence no longer.
"Well?! What is it? What did you have to tell me?"
"You wish to go to hell with me, don't you, Inuyasha?"
He looked over at her. She didn't look at him, just kept staring off into the forest.
"Of course. I told you I would. That's where... we can be together."
"Things have changed, Inuyasha."
"What do you mean..."
"Do you remember... those summer nights when we used to sit together like this? When we first began to trust one another?"
Inuyasha felt his heart pain. He remembered.
"It's very hard to let go of a first love, isn't it?"
"I came to tell you, Inuyasha, that I have let go."
"You heard me. Things have changed Inuyasha. I am not the woman I used to be, and you certainly are not the man you once were."
"There is... nothing left for us here. I have tasted my freedom for the first time, and it is a feeling that I never wish to let go. You, unfortunately, do not fit in anymore."
"I don't... fit in?"
"With me, Inuyasha."
"I don't love you anymore, Inuyasha."
He clenched his fist and bit his lip.
"I thought that was clear the moment the eyes of this cold dead body rested on your still living form."
"But Kikyo... it was all a misunderstanding... Naraku-"
"I don't care about Naraku. Let him enjoy the lie of his own life in whatever way he pleases. You may destroy him if you wish. What I want is to live peacefully on my own."
"Kikyo, I promised that I would protect you."
"I can protect myself, Inuyasha. I have no need of your services. Protect that silly reincarnation of mine instead. I can tell, Inuyasha, that you have feelings for her. Is it because she reminds you of me?"
Inuyasha squirmed in silence. Finally he answered, "No. She doesn't remind me of you anymore. She's completely different."
Kikyo nodded her head. "I see."
"And I don't have feelings for her," Inuyasha added shortly.
Kikyo eyed the blush rising to his cheeks. She knew that he was lying for her sake.
"Inuyasha. This is the last time that I will see you." Kikyo stood again.
"What do you mean?!" Inuyasha jumped to his feet.
Kikyo faced him. "I will not be seeking you out again. Perhaps we shall meet by accident, but I do not need to talk with you any more. And please, do not search for me."
"Kikyo-" Inuyasha began. But she pressed her fingers to his lips. They were cold.
She hugged him. He hugged her tightly back.
"This is the last time," she whispered. Then she broke the embrace. "Good bye, Inuyasha." Kikyo's soul collectors came and gathered her up. She began to float away.
"Kikyo... Kikyo wait!" He called as she began to disappear. "Kikyo..."
"Inuyasha, where are you going? It seems like you're taking us farther and farther away from the camp," Kagome said as he bounded through the trees.
"I'm looking, be quiet," he said.
Kagome lapsed into silence. What was his problem?
The fog was beginning to clear, and it didn't seem like there was any threat anywhere. Kagome was starting to get suspicious.
"Now that's it! You put me down this instant!!" Kagome pounded on his head and tugged on his ears. Inuyasha came flying to a halt and tossed her off his back. He massaged his hurt ears.
"What the hell was that for?!" he exclaimed angrily.
"You're acting strange! Why are you taking us so far away from the camp? There's nothing here!"
"Yes there is. Something strange is going on and I'm going to figure out what it is." He picked her up by the waist and started off again.
Inuyasha stood in the clearing. He had mixed feelings. Kikyo was gone. She was... gone. Just like that. And he could do nothing about it. And, she... didn't love him anymore. He didn't realize how much it hurt to hear her say that. His heart wrenched in his chest. He felt tears sting his eyes and he wiped his sleeve across his face, trying to swallow the lump in his throat. Then he felt his anger rise. Why should he care if she was gone? She was just like all the rest after all. He was a half demon. Humans hate half demons; they weren't loved by anyone. What did any human ever do for him? But still... Her face wouldn't go away. He couldn't deny it. He was more hurt than angry that she'd gone. And what was most embarrassing was that she asked whether he had feelings for Kagome...
Inuyasha looked up. That's right... Kagome. He forgot his heartache for a moment.
"Where is she?" He looked around. He couldn't smell her anywhere, even though the fog had lifted.
"Kagome? Kagome!" He called a few times, but the girl did not answer. "Maybe she went back to the campsite," he shrugged. He took off to look for her there.
When he reached it, Miroku and Sango were talking quietly and a sleepy Shippo was starting to nod off beside the crackling fire. Inuyasha felt his panic rise again.
"Kagome.. has she been here?" he asked quickly.
"No," Miroku said looking up at the breathless hanyou. "She's lost?"
"We've got to find her. Something bad's happened, I know it."
"How did you get separated?" Sango asked worriedly as she stood up.
"A fog rolled in. I couldn't see or smell a thing. And I couldn't hear her. We had been right next to each other..." He purposely didn't mention Kikyo.
"Kirara," Sango called to the little cat. "Come on, we've got to find Kagome."
Kirara transformed with a growl and Sango and Miroku hopped on. Shippo, now wide awake, jumped up onto Inuyasha's shoulder. Inuyasha stood still and sniffed the air, trying to find Kagome's scent. The others waited patiently. Finally he said, "There. Over there." He pointed. "She's moving fast."
"Let's go Kirara," Sango said as they flew up into the air and Inuyasha leapt after them through the tree tops.
"Inuyasha, where are we going? This is ridiculously far away from our camp! There is nothing out here!" Kagome shouted into his ear.
"Would you knock it off, you stupid girl? Quit screaming into my ear!" Inuyasha growled.
Kagome pursed her lips and would have crossed her arms had she not been hanging on for dear life as Inuyasha traveled at full speed. 'Why is he going so fast?'
Kagome was about to suggest again that they turn around when Inuyasha suddenly did a complete 180. Kagome was tossed off his back and fell to the ground with a thud.
"Ow! Hey what was tha-" Kagome gasped as she looked up to find Miroku and Sango on Kirara and Inuyasha with Shippo approaching fast. "Inu... yasha?"
The Inuyasha she had been traveling with growled and cracked his knuckles. "Stay back, Kagome," he warned.
Inuyasha nearly fell over when he saw himself standing there with Kagome on the ground behind him.
"What the... hell?" He was too confused to attack. "Kagome?"
"Listen! Who are you?!" the other Inuyasha asked menacingly.
"Who am I?! Who are you?! Why the hell do you look like me?!" Inuyasha asked, raising his guard.
"Why do you look like me?" the first Inuyasha asked.
"Gah! This is getting us nowhere! What are you doing with Kagome?!" Inuyasha pointed to her.
"You can't have her, you fake!" The other Inuyasha yelled.
"Fake?! You're the fake one!" Inuyasha began to charge him. Then, he stopped mid attack. He sniffed. He growled low in his throat. "Naraku."
Kagome gasped. "Naraku? He was taking me away!"
Inuyasha charged. An all out brawl began between the two Inuyashas. Miroku and Sango landed and watched the scene.
"How can we help now? I can't tell which is which!" Sango exclaimed.
"We'll have to let them settle it for themselves, and pray the real Inuyasha wins..." Miroku said.
Kagome got up. What should she do now? She couldn't tell which one was the real Inuyasha and which one was Naraku. They were fighting so hard, and seemed to match each other punch for punch. She winced as one of the Inuyashas got a gash across his cheek. 'How can I figure out which one is real?' She thought hard, biting her lip as she watched them fight. 'I've got it!'
They separated for a minute, each wiping blood from their mouths.
"Kagome! Can you tell which one is real?" Sango called from across the battle.
"I'm the real one!" said Inuyasha.
"No you're not! I am!" said the other.
"Dammit! Quit saying that! You reek with the stench of Naraku!"
"No, you do!"
"STOP IT!!!!!" Kagome shouted. The yelling ceased and the two Inuyashas looked at her with mouths hanging open.
"I know how I can tell which one is the real Inuyasha," Kagome said. She walked a little closer, looked at both the Inuyashas, then calmly said, "Sit."
Inuyasha fell to the forest floor with a smack. The pseudo Inuyasha looked down with amazement, then back at Kagome. He began to chuckle.
"So, you've figured it out, have you? Well... You're not going to get off that easy!" He began to transform, and treelike limbs began to sprout from his hands and legs.
"It's Naraku's puppet!" Miroku shouted. He and Sango rushed over to begin the fight. Inuyasha got up and began hacking away at the vines. Sango threw hiraikotsu through the middle of the puppet, but missed the vital spot. Inuyasha drew tetsusaiga and slashed through the middle. He hit the golem and the entire puppet vanished. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried and ran up to him, throwing her arms around him.
"Kagome," he said, and hugged her back.
"I knew something was wrong, you, or the other Inuyasha, was acting so strange, and I just wanted to go back to the camp but he wouldn't take us there and..."
"It's okay now, Kagome, I've got you."
Kagome felt herself melt into him. The stress of everything was finally catching up to her, and she felt safe again in his arms. He grabbed under her legs and picked her up.
"Let's go back now, okay? We've all had enough for one night."
She nodded her head in agreement. The others hopped onto Kirara and they flew back to the campsite.
After they had started off, Kanna stepped out from behind the trees, watching them go.
The group sat around the fire in silence. Kagome was trying to wash the gash on Inuyasha's cheek, but he kept pulling away in stubbornness. Finally she huffed and sat back. All of them were tired, but none could sleep. Inuyasha was the most silent of them all. He stared into the flames of the fire. He kept hearing Kikyo's words, that last quiet whisper, and seeing her float away from him forever.
Kagome watched Inuyasha intently. He was acting strange. She saw many emotions flicker through his eyes, and she couldn't help but wonder what had happened to him while she was taken away. He was being very contemplative, and he only acted like this when... he had seen Kikyo.
Finally, Kagome got up the courage to ask. "Inuyasha, what happened to you after we got separated?"
Inuyasha looked up from the fire and into Kagome's eyes. With that one look she knew. 'He has seen her,' Kagome thought, 'But why? Why does he look so sad?'
"I couldn't find you," he said shortly and looked back into the fire.
"You saw her, didn't you?" Kagome asked gently, trying not to sound accusing.
The others exchanged glances.
Inuyasha didn't look up. He wanted to hide it away. He didn't want to show the others, especially Kagome, how much this was hurting him. But this time, he was finding it too hard to cover up. He felt a small tinge of anger flare, thinking how much he had learned to trust in them. He didn't want to be weak, yet in his mind showing feelings like this was. He didn't want them to know. He felt... embarrassed. All he had done for her, all the rages and the bloody battles with Naraku for revenge for her sake, all the promises of protecting her forever, the promise to live in hell with her forever, was gone. She was gone. He felt as though he'd let himself down, and he'd let her down. And telling the others all this would get him nowhere. It would only show how foolish he had been, how foolish he felt. He wanted desperately to punch something at the moment, but didn't know what.
Instead, he posed a question.
"Why the hell do you think Naraku's after me so much? What the hell did I ever do to him? What the hell did any of us ever do to him?"
Kagome folded her hands together around her legs. He spoke so softly. She could almost feel the pain radiating off him.
"Don't you know?" she answered him quietly.
"You do?" he countered.
"Naraku is jealous."
"Jealous?!" Inuyasha said incredulously. "Of what? My strength?"
"Get real," Kagome said sarcastically, momentarily forgetting the melancholy mood that had been permeating the campsite moments before. But the feeling quickly returned with what she said next.
"He's jealous, Inuyasha... of you and Kikyo."
The others raised their eyebrows at Kagome's revelation, and Inuyasha looked confused.
"Me and... Kikyo?"
"Of course. Don't you remember, Inuyasha, that Naraku was once the bandit Onigumo? Onigumo fell in love with Kikyo. He wanted her in a way that was much more lust than love, but wanted her all the same. He let the demons eat him, went through all the trouble to get a body for her, to win her over. But... he was not to have Kikyo for himself. Do you know why, Inuyasha?"
"Because," she continued, "Kikyo was already in love with you."
"Yes, you. And so, when he found out who had stolen his girl away, he wanted revenge."
"But why Kikyo? Why kill the girl he supposedly loved?" Miroku put in.
"Because, he wanted Inuyasha and Kikyo to die with the same emotion he felt-- betrayal. He felt betrayed by Kikyo. She was in love with another man after all he went through to get a body for her. And because he's evil and twisted, he decided to break them up by cleverly designing a plan to make them betray each other. He knew there were fragile bonds that tied the two together, and they were easy to break. Kikyo and Inuyasha fell right into his trap."
"This is why? This is why we all suffered? Because he was jealous over a girl?" Inuyasha clenched his fists.
"That's about what it comes down to," Kagome said.
There was no more conversation for a long time. Each sat thinking, and soon one by one they drifted off to sleep.
The next morning dawned and the group was feeling quite refreshed. All except Inuyasha. He was still curiously quiet for him. Kagome really started to worry when he refused to eat breakfast. Miroku and Sango raised their eyebrows, but said nothing. Miroku stared at Inuyasha, and then realized what had happened. That dejected look could only mean one thing: Inuyasha had been dumped. Miroku repressed a sigh. He knew his buddy was going through complete inner turmoil at the moment. But looking on the bright side, he had a babe like Kagome waiting to pick him up.
"What is going on with you?!" Kagome was speaking fiercely and grabbing Inuyasha's lock of hair. When Inuyasha just let her pull and said nothing, Kagome let go and stared intently at him. Normally when she pulled on his sensitive hair she got quite a big reaction, no matter what mood he was in. Her brusque manner disappeared and she grabbed his hand and began to pull.
"Kagome... what are you doing..." Inuyasha mumbled. They were the first words he'd spoken all morning.
"We're going to have a little talk. Sango, Miroku, we'll be back later."
She led him into the forest where they could have a little privacy. Finally she found a comfortable spot and plopped down, bringing Inuyasha down with her. He pulled his hand out of hers and folded them into his robes. He kept his head down, so his bangs covered his eyes.
"Inuyasha, please... Tell me what's wrong," Kagome pleaded.
He said nothing.
"I know you saw Kikyo... What happened? You can tell me... I promise I won't get mad..."
She saw Inuyasha wince when she mentioned Kikyo's name.
'That expression... Could she have...' Kagome stared at his forlorn face. 'She did...'
"She's gone, isn't she?" Kagome said softly.
Inuyasha sighed and rested his elbows on his knees, placed his palms on his forehead and dug his claws into his hair.
Kagome turned away. She had never seen Inuyasha this depressed. It made her own heart hurt to see him this way.
"Kagome... could you... leave?" Inuyasha was barely audible.
Kagome looked over at him, feeling a little hurt, but understanding. Still, she didn't want to go. She felt there had to be something that she could do...
She grabbed his arm and moved it. Then, feeling bolder than she ever had, crawled into his lap and hugged him as tight as she could.
"Inuyasha, please... It hurts me to see you this way," she said, looking up. She was trying her hardest not to cry, but the pain in his eyes was too much. She felt a few tears roll down her cheek. "Why are you crying?"
"Because!" she exclaimed. "You look so sad, and I know that you are hurting so much. It makes me feel sad..."
He wiped her cheek. "Don't cry for me."
"Why do you let her hurt you like that?" Kagome said, burying her head in the curve of his shoulder and neck.
Inuyasha didn't know what to say.
Kagome heaved a big sigh. She was trying her hardest not to feel rejected again. Inuyasha was not responding to her consolation at all. He was wallowing in self pity, while here she was, yearning to ease his pain. She sat up and looked him in the eyes one more time, then climbed out of his lap. Inuyasha looked up, a little confused. Kagome abruptly turned and began to walk away, her arms swinging in a determined manner and her fists clenched.
"Kagome..." Inuyasha called softly.
She stopped for a split second, then kept on walking.
Inuyasha pushed away the urge to get up and follow her.
Once Kagome was sure she was far enough away from him she let the tears she'd been stifling run free. 'Why should I hold on like this? All he does is make me cry...'
She plopped down under a tree. "If he wants to think about her, fine. Let him. Why should I care? Why should I waste my time waiting for him to come around? It's not like I mean anything to him at all. I'm just a jewel shard detector," Kagome cried as she punched the ground. "Maybe I'm completely wasting my time here. I felt I had to stay and find all the jewel shards because it was my fault. But right now, I don't care if it's my fault or not. Let the others find the rest of the jewels shards. Let them beat Naraku. Let Inuyasha follow Kikyo wherever she goes, even if she doesn't want him. I don't care anymore."
Kagome sucked in a breath and raised her hands to her forehead. "I'm being just as selfish as he is... I can't do that..."
She looked up and saw Inuyasha standing there.
Kagome stared for a moment, then tightened her lips. "What do you want?" she said coldly.
"I... I screwed up..."
Kagome's eyes widened. "You.. what?"
"I just wanted to say thank you for trying to.. make me feel better..."
Kagome looked down.
"I shouldn't have pushed you away like that. I was being pretty dumb, wasn't I?"
"Yeah," Kagome mumbled. Inuyasha sighed. Then he walked over and sat beside her.
"I never meant to hurt you like that, I want you to know."
"I know, Inuyasha. You can't help the way you feel... I just got in the way," Kagome said a little bitterly.
"No," Inuyasha said vehemently. He grabbed Kagome's hand. "You never got in the way. You aren't a burden at all Kagome... In fact the opposite..." he said softly.
"Inuyasha... You do want me with you?" Kagome asked.
"Of course. I can't imagine doing anything without you here with me. I... need you."
Kagome's heart beat wildly in her chest. Was he actually saying these things? And saying them to her?!
"Inu-" But Kagome was cut off. Inuyasha pulled her into a hug.
"I'm sorry... for not telling you this sooner. And I'm sorry for making you cry."
Kagome smiled into his shirt. 'Maybe Kikyo should break up with him more often...'
Finally Inuyasha sat back and heaved himself up. Then he reached down a hand and helped Kagome stand.
"Wanna head back now?"
Kagome nodded. She noticed Inuyasha hadn't let go of her hand. She looked up and smiled at him, and then the two started off for their camp.
That's it for now... I'll try my best to get the next chapter posted as soon as I can. Might be awhile though, work and family have been keeping me busy. Thank you all for taking the time to review!