Title: He Likes Red
Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: September 23, 2003
Completed September 25, 2003
E-mail: skgirl@hotmail.com
Rating: G
Warnings: None.
Summary: You know the drill - the final battle has come and gone and, with the jewel's completion, Kagome has vanished back to her own time. Now, Inuyasha has found his way to her again. But, there has to be a twist… Oneshot.
Disclaimer: Inuyasha, the character and the series, belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Inc., and Sunrise.
Author's Note: Not my first attempt at an Inuyasha fanfic, but the first I've completed. The others should come along eventually. Any comments and criticisms would be welcomed.
Thanks to "Kit" for the title. And, thanks to Sage and Mom for being my ever-faithful proofreaders.

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With easy grace, Inuyasha leapt to the lip of the well. It took only a few second's glance to confirm he'd made it. Kaede and that perverted monk had done it. He was back in Kagome's world. He wasted only an instant in sniffing the air and confirming Kagome's scent. Then, he was bounding toward it. Toward her.

As the distance between them vanished beneath his racing, leaping feet, he let all that had happened play through his mind. Naraku's defeat, Kikyou's second death… and that moment when the last pieces of the shattered Shikon no Tama had fused back into a whole in Kagome's hands. The moment before the girl from another time disappeared in a flash of rose-colored light.

Once the shock of it all had faded and his numbed mind allowed rational thought, he'd guessed she'd been pulled back to that strange world of hers. And, he'd tried to follow as soon as his battered body could be forced from the battlefield. But, the old well that had once been a gateway between worlds had sealed. There was no more magic in it. He'd been left amid the bones that littered the well's earthen floor, cursing until he had no more words and no voice with which to scream them.

That had been six months ago. Six months of waiting. Six months of searching.

But, that was all in the past now. He was going to see Kagome again. And, this time, he wasn't going to lose her. This time….

Conscious thought came to a halt when he saw her. He slid to a stop, his long, silver hair whipping around him.

The girl stood in the middle of the thoroughfare, her brown eyes wide with shock.

Kagome. It could be no other. There she was in those weird-looking clothes of hers, the strange outfit he remembered so well.

For a moment, she stood frozen, staring at him openmouthed.

A thousand fears washed over him in that moment. Had she forgotten him? Had whatever magic brought her out of her world to his erased her memory once her duty in restoring the jewel was done? Or worse, was she still angry with him? Had she been hoping to never see him again?

But, he needn't have worried. Before he could even finish his frantic thoughts, the raven-haired girl had rasped his name and flung herself onto him. And, Inuyasha wasted no time in wrapping her in a tight embrace.

"I thought I'd never see you again," Kagome whispered into his chest. Only his inhuman hearing allowed him to catch the muffled words.

"Keh, stupid!" he snapped, unsure what to say now that he had found her. His plans really hadn't gone beyond the "find Kagome" stage. "I wouldn't let you just disappear like that! I…" He fumbled. "You never took this stupid rosary off!" he finished, freeing a hand to tug at the enchanted beads that encircled his neck.

The girl in his arms laughed, bringing the subtlest of smiles to his face. She knew not to take his words to heart. And, he was glad of it. Then, with a gentle nudge, Kagome pulled away a bit, looking up into his amber eyes. Her mouth worked soundlessly as she collected her thoughts.

"How?" she managed at last.

"Kaede and Miroku. They got the well open again." He looked away from her. "But, it won't stay open. Not like before. It'll only allow one more trip."

She knew what he was asking.

"Inuyasha… I… I belong here you know."

Briefly, he wondered if hauling her back to the well with him as fast as possible was an option. No, if he went through with that, she'd hate him. She'd be trapped in his world forever, and she'd hate him for it.

"I know that," he muttered.

And, he did. She had a family here, a life.

Inuyasha looked down into Kagome's face, knowing he would find the tears he'd already smelled in the makings running down her cheeks. Dangit, did she have to cry at every little thing? Even when she was happy?! She was happy, wasn't she?

"Then, I'll stay here."

"What?!" The watery eyes were now wide with disbelief.

Inuyasha snorted. "You heard me."

Kagome could only stare at him. He couldn't be serious! He was going to stay here? In her time? Stay in a place he knew so little about? Stay where he'd have to hide his true form or be looked at as a monster?

Already, people were starting to stare at them as the pair stood, focused solely on one another, in the middle of the busy thoroughfare. Not a few cast odd glances at Inuyasha's rather unusual looks, their eyes taking in the long, long hair, such an odd color for a young man.

Apparently, Inuyasha sensed the questions behind the girl's incredulous stare.

"I said I'll stay, woman!" the silver-haired hanyou growled. He pulled himself out of her grasp and to his full height, glowering down at her. "Do you have a problem with that?!"

"But, Inuyasha….," she started, struggling for words.

"I'm staying!" he roared.

No way was she talking him out of it now, short of telling him flatly that she wanted nothing more to do with him. Anything less - any worries about his life in his own time, his fitting in - any of that he was fully prepared to ignore.

To express the finality of his decision, Inuyasha ripped off first one tennis shoe and then the other, chucking them aside and, unfortunately, into the crowd of luckless bystanders. Then, he yanked the baseball cap from his head, revealing the two triangular dog-like ears perched on his crown.

The villagers that had drifted over at the odd sight of a young man in strange clothing screaming at their priestess in the middle of the village gasped in surprise. Murmuring among themselves, they backed away from the newly revealed demon.

Inuyasha ignored them.

"I'm staying," he declared, crossing his arms over his chest. "Fork over some medieval rags, and I'll fit right in." He stuck his nose in the air and waited, as though expecting her to rush to do his bidding. After some seconds of silence, he tossed out an afterthought. "I like red."

Kagome finally found her voice. "I… Red does suit you. But… Inuyasha?"

He glanced down at her. As though inviting her to question him, one brow arched up into a perfect check mark.

The young priestess took him by the arm gently. "We don't have to decide this moment, do we? Either of us?"

At first, Inuyasha could only shake his head. "I… No… It's the number of trips, not the time between them…."

"Good." Kagome began to steer him toward her family's modest home. "Then, we can think this thing out and neither of us has to rush into anything."

At a loss for a comeback, Inuyasha let her pull him along. He was still reeling with the weight of his own words. His decision had been completely spur of the moment, but he wasn't going to take it back.

Suddenly, Kagome flashed him a smile.

"I really missed you, Inuyasha."

"I… I missed you too."

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Er, is anyone confused? I hope not. Boy, I hope not. To try to clear things up here, yes, this fanfic is set in an alternate universe where Inuyasha is the one who lives in modern-day Tokyo (though he's still a hanyou) and Kagome is from feudal Japan and traveled through the well to his time. I know, I know – alternate universes should be clearly labeled as such at the start of the story. But, if I'd done that, there'd have been no surprise in it.

Now, if anyone is still confused or thinks the story was too vague or anyone was out of character… or has any other concern, please let me know. Direct all comments and questions to either the review box or my e-mail and I'll try my hardest to answer and then, if need, re-write and make things clearer. This story was a bit experimental after all.