Okay, here's my first ever Inu Yasha fanfic. I started writing this before CN put on the new episodes ("The Man Who Fell In Love With Kagome", etc.), so Kagura and all those people don't exist. Sorry for the inconvenience, Kagura & Kanna fans.

Don't flame me about the timeline. If you ever get confused about anything, ask, but please don't flame. That said, anything else is much appreciated. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Inu Yasha. There, happy? I need some Gummy Bears now.

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She was crying again. Inuyasha could smell the salt on the breeze as it passed under his sensitive nose. Looking down from his comfortable perch high up in the tree, his golden eyes narrowed in curiosity and discomfort, the white-haired hanyou could see the small miko shiver in her strange bedding.

*Why does she cry in her sleep?* he wondered as he jumped down gracefully and landed next to the sleeping girl. Strands of long black hair had fallen across her face, and he reached down gently with a clawed finger to sweep them clear. It came away damp from the tears that stained her otherwise peaceful countenance.

He hated it. He hated seeing her cry, but it was worse when she did it in her sleep. At least when she was awake, she would yell at him, and he would know why she cried, even if he didn't always understand. And he could eventually make her stop. But now, when she wasn't even aware that he was next to her, there was nothing he could do to stop the sobs that occasionally escaped her small lips. He wanted to comfort her, but he didn't know what it was that had haunted her dreams for the past few months. He wasn't even sure he should ask her.

*She might get the wrong idea*, he huffed as he stood up abruptly. *Probably start thinkin' I have feelings for her or somethin'.* Besides, she probably wouldn't even tell him. He could never guess how Kagome would react to anything he said. Unless he said something really stupid, of course. Even he knew when he had a "SIT" coming.

Gradually, the hanyou had slipped into his own thoughts, and was leaning against the foot of the tree, next to the sleeping form of the delicate miko. He looked at her suddenly, and blinked. His hand had found its way somehow to her face again, and her lips brushed it lightly as she turned.

He blushed furiously, and pulled back his wandering appendage. *Well, she seems okay now,* he thought as he got up again and made a fuss out of brushing off his clothes. He glanced at her before uttering a "Feh" and jumping back up into his nest. He was still blushing.

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"Inuyasha, I want you with me." The emotionless voice of the undead miko sounded eerie in the glade. Kagome shivered from her place, bound to the thick tree by the soul-gatherers, forced to watch the whole heart-breaking scene. Scanning Inuyasha's face, she saw only longing and compassion. When he opened his mouth, she braced herself.

"And I want to be with you," he said to the form in his arms. Though it was a whisper, to Kagome it felt like the blow of a hammer, resonating through the dark forest after it struck the left over pieces of her heart. The tears fell unheeded, since she couldn't move to wipe them off her face.

Kikyo gave her a smug look from her place in Inuyasha's strong arms, and then turned up to face him. He nodded, and leaned in to kiss her. Kagome wanted to die, right then and there. She didn't care about the Jewel anymore, about Sango or the others. She wished Kikyo would just kill her. It would hurt a lot less than this.

Just then, Inuyasha looked up and faced her. She felt a glimmer of hope. *Maybe he sensed me,* she thought feebly. *He'll realize I'm here and leave her.*

Then, he smiled at her, reached for Kikyo, and kissed her again.

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Kagome's eyes shot open. For a moment, she panicked when she couldn't see. Then, she realized there were tears in her eyes, and she blinked to clear them.

As the forest came into focus, she stifled a hiccup and sat up. Hugging her knees tightly and still trembling slightly, she sighed as the contents of her nightmare trickled back to her. *Why do I keep having these nightmares?* she silently asked her sleeping bag. They had started a few months ago, right after their last encounter with the powerful undead priestess, Kikyo.

Each time, she woke up with tears on her face. It made her feel so weak, and she was glad Inuyasha had never noticed. *Not that he'd care, anyway.* She frowned, but her expression quickly returned to one of sorrow. *He'd just hate feeling guilty.*

Kagome willed away the ache in her chest when she noticed the first rays of light reaching over the forest canopy. As the warm sunlight trickled over her face, she took a deep breath and stretched. She supposed she should get something in the way of breakfast ready before Inuyasha awoke and hurried them on. He was eager to get back to the village, after having gained another shard of the Shikon no Tama.

Pulling out a package of Instant Ramen, some small plastic bottles of orange juice, and her kettle, she frowned. *I'm running low on supplies,* she noted, counting the packages of food and medical supplies that remained in her backpack. *I'd better let Inuyasha know I'll have to go back home soon.*

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He had been somewhat worried about leaving his tribe without the protection of the Jewel shards he carried, but he also knew that they would make an easy target of his pack for Naraku. So now here he was, using his enhanced speed to rip through the daylight in the direction he had last caught a whiff of Kagome's strangely unique scent. Deep in the vortex of wind he created in his sprints, he was grinning in anticipation.

Kouga had been tracking her scent for a couple of days, which had been difficult because it had been partly masked by the scent of demon blood. He guessed that another demon possessing a shard of the Shikon Jewel had been slain recently by that hanyou that was with her. A growl rose in his throat as he thought of Inuyasha.

*Well, that's something I'll have to take care of,* he thought to himself as he came to a sudden halt. With a quick grab, he snared a rabbit by the hind leg and broke its neck. It wasn't much, but he supposed he'd have to get used to it. He had vowed not to eat human flesh again after the day the strange human girl had come into his life.

She'd been so brave, and she was beautiful. "Inukkuro doesn't know what's under his own nose," the wolf demon muttered as he wiped the blood off his mouth. He got up off the ground, where he had seated himself for his meal.

The grin found its way back to his face. "So I guess it won't be so difficult to slip her out from there."

He sped off, leaving a whirlwind of dust in his wake.

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Inuyasha had started to drift out of his sleep when he heard Kagome stir beneath him on the ground. When he heard her hiccup, he quickly decided not to say anything yet. She was probably still crying, and he wouldn't know what to do.

But when he caught the aroma of Ramen noodles cooking, he all but bolted himself out of the tree. Kagome gave a little shriek when he landed next to her, and frowned at him. "Don't scare me like that, Inuyasha! You're going to give me a heart attack one of these days!"

He ignored her, leaning in over the cups of steaming soup sitting on the ground in front of her. "Is it ready?" he asked, pointing. She sighed, then looked at her watch. "No, it still needs a couple of minutes. Really, Inuyasha, I've never seen someone so completely obsessed with this stuff before."

She watched him eye the cups hungrily, then rolled her eyes. "I give up," she huffed as she got up. There was a towel in her hand. "I'm going to take a bath, okay? There's a river a little way back there. I saw it when we were running from the youkai last night."

Inuyasha's ears twitched. "I wasn't running," he growled. "The stupid thing smelled nastier than seven hells; it ain't my fault I got such a strong sense of smell. I was just getting in a better position to kill it, is all."

He flinched when Kagome laughed. "Okay, Inuyasha, whatever you say." She waved over her shoulder as she walked into the trees. "I won't be long, okay? You eat meanwhile." *He's so adorable.*

"Hurry up! We still got a long way to go today!" he yelled at her back, certain that she'd completely ignore his order. He didn't understand why the girl wouldn't just wait until they got back to the village to bathe, but he knew better than to object. Besides, he liked the way she smelled right after a bath. Not that he'd ever tell her, of course.

"It's got to be ready by now," he said suddenly, as his attention turned back to the steaming cups of noodles sitting before him. He supposed he should save one for Kagome. He lifted one and eagerly slurped up a mouthful of the delicious noodles.

Two seconds too late, he remembered how hot they could get, just as his tongue evaporated and the inside of his mouth was set on fire.

Kagome sighed when she heard Inuyasha scream, then utter a string of obscenities that made her wince. *I guess I should've reminded him to be careful,* she thought as she eased herself into the river.

"Ugh, it's freezing!" she sputtered as goosebumps rose on her arms. Still, she supposed it was better than smelling like youkai remains all the way back. Especially if she was riding on Inuyasha's back. She blushed, then drew her eyebrows together. "It's not like he notices, anyway," she muttered as she dove underwater.

She came up gracefully, the surface of the calm river almost parting on its own, small splashes dancing about her as if celebrating her presence in their midst. *She is beautiful,* Kouga thought from his place on the bank. He'd finally found her, and was feeling childishly triumphant.

Kagome felt the tingle before she opened her eyes. *Jewel shards!* She turned quickly, only to find herself looking up into the rather devilish face of a certain wolf youkai.

Kouga smiled, his eyes sparkling uncharacteristically for a demon. "O-hayo, Kagome-chan."

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There, one chapter down. I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and please review. Arigato!