AN: A note on the Japanese words. I watch the Japanese fansubs of IY, so I am more familiar with the characters referring to each other with honorific titles and whatnot. However, I am a firm believer that if the fanfiction is in English, it's in English. I won't throw in random 'hai's or 'Honto ne?' ect. In other words, no Japanese dialogue. However, there were some Japanese terms I didn't know how to express in English. For instance, Sango never refers to Miroku by his name, but "Houshi-sama" an honorific term for a monk. It's significant to her character and their relationship, so naturally I didn't want to just have her call him "Miroku." So, I left that title in there. Things like "hanyou" "youkai" "kistune" "miko" also are in this fic, simply because they were different words for "half-demon" "demon" "fox demon" and "priestess" and, I felt, common enough for readers to be familiar with them. Alrighty, that being said, carry on, carry on!
PS: I SOOOO don't own Inuyasha.
Innocent would have been the word to use when describing the day ahead of Kagome Higurashi. A picnic in a sunny field may not have seemed very out of the ordinary, but when you're a sixteen year old time traveling Shikon shard hunter, that opportunity was more precious than any gem or relic in the world. No burying unfortunate villagers, no violent struggles for survival, no jealous undead ex-girlfriends, and most importantly- NO Sengoku Jidai food. Kagome had made a trip through the well for provisions especially for this day.
Yes, the day ahead seemed innocent. But then again, appearances can be deceiving…
"Oi! Give me back that ramen ya little runt!"
"No way! I called the last one!"
"You called shit! Now hand it over!"
Kagome rubbed her temples, attempting to relax despite the shouting match going on between her companions. "I can't believe I forgot to bring more instant ramen. I knew I was forgetting something." She watched Inuyasha chase the kit, exasperation marring her features.
"It's not your fault, Kagome." Sango reassured her.
"Sango is right. The problem could be solved easily if two certain demons would LEARN TO SHAAARE." Miroku said, purposefully raising his voice on the last phrase, knowing it would carry over to the squabbling pair.
"You've got a lot of nerve to be lecturing on manners, lech." Inuyasha snapped, barley dodging the ball of foxfire that flew by his head. He spun around, allowing a menacing growl to build as he took off in Shippo's direction.
The little demon squeaked, searching his mind frantically for an escape route. His foxfire hadn't worked, his toys just stalled the rampaging half-breed, and with Inuyasha's superior strength and speed he had no hope of winning in hand to hand combat. He clutched the styrofoam cup to his chest, eyes narrowing grimly. He would be forced to use his secret weapon, one so effective and powerful that Inuyasha had yet to beat it.
"Kagoooomeeee!" Shippo wailed, bouncing over to the young miko.
"Heeere we go, again." Kagome sighed as Shippo jumped on her shoulder.
"You can't hide behind her, Shippo! That may have worked before but this isn't some stupid fight. This is *ramen*. I won't be going that easy on you!" Inuyasha shouted as he changed course to barrel towards Kagome, his demon speed blurring his form to a thin streak of red flying across the meadow.
"Eek!" Shippo squealed before he launched off of Kagome's shoulder, self- preservation causing him to put more "oomph" than necessary into the leap.
"Whoa!" Kagome wobbled as the baby fox demon took off, not expecting the sudden unbalancing force. Her eyes widened as she saw Inuyasha approaching, his path set straight for her. Realizing he was going far too fast to be able to avoid crashing into her, the hanyou dug his heels into the ground; a hopeless attempt to counteract the inertia that was about to cause him to flatten the poor schoolgirl. He let out a panicked yelp as he careened into her full on, the final insult to her delicate stability.
Kagome's arms flailed wildly as she desperately tried to stop herself from being slammed into hard, unforgiving dirt. Reaching fingers slid over warm, smooth beads, grabbing tightly on instinct as she pitched backwards. There was a quiet "snap" as Kagome lost her fight to stay upright and hit the ground with a jarring "thump". She gasped on impact, pain flaring up from her rear end and lower back, along with the certain knowledge that riding her bike would be out of the question for the next few days.
Tentatively, she opened eyes she hadn't even realized she had squeezed shut. Immediately they popped wide open, her jaw dropping a good few inches. There in front of her, stood a gaping Inuyasha, one clawed hand pressed to his throat, naked of the necklace that was normally strung around it. With a growing sense of doom, Kagome cast her eyes downward, her vision registering the tiny wooden spheres scattered around her. As they winked merrily in the sunlight she felt their power fade, the sudden disunity causing whatever ancient force they held to escape and gently ripple away in the warmth of the day.
Weakly she brought up her right fist, cringing when she found the woven string the holy beads were once strung on clutched in it. Of course- with her miko talents, the spell would bend to her will. And if she had wanted to tear the rosary off, well by golly, it'd *let* her tear the rosary off.
Miroku looked on with an intense gaze, surveying the scene with a vague concern. Sango frowned at the change in the monk, her eyes widening as her glance lilted over the beads strewn around her fallen friend. From behind her Shippo trembled, the ramen all but forgotten.
Inuyasha was free.
But, the silver haired boy had changed considerably since the subduing spell had first been placed on him.
It should be okay. Right?
How she could have been so wrong about something that obvious, Kagome would never know. She had had *far* too much faith in her red-clad companion. In the weeks following the breaking of the spell, he had become nothing short of a menace. His offenses had ranged far and wide.
She should have seen it coming the very day she had accidentally released him. A bop to Shippo's head and minutes later the dog-eared boy had the instant ramen, and Kagome had a fussy kitsune. As much as it had annoyed her, Kagome had been relieved that Inuyasha's reaction to his sudden freedom had been beyond predictable. It might have been that very relief that kept her semi-oblivious to the changes in the hanyou's behavior.
It started with the small things- intimidating the villagers, picking on Shippo more often than usual, insulting everyone excessively, including their allies.
It didn't get really bad until Kouga had showed up.
To say that Kagome was the mediator between the rivals was an understatement- she had been the only thing keeping each other from fighting to the death on occasion. The meeting went as they often did- insults flew and before she could remember that "sit!" didn't have the same impact as before, Inuyasha had raised his Tessaiga for the finishing blow. Without the rosary, Kagome did the only thing she could think to do- she leapt in front of the wolf demon, effectively using herself as a shield.
Inuyasha was beyond pissed. Kagome was beyond caring.
One hour later she was at the well, bag in hand.
Just as she leapt off the lip of the wooden structure she felt a tug on her school blouse. Looking up, she gasped as she saw Inuyasha's clawed hand curled into the fabric, effectively suspending the girl over her ticket home.
He rotated her slowly to face him, pushing his nose right against hers. "If you think I'm gonna let you leave, bitch, you've got another thing coming."
It wasn't the first time Inuyasha had tried to keep her from going home, but it *was* the first time he had succeeded. Apparently Inuyasha had come to the same realization, because the whole time he carried her back, the smirk never left his face.
Kagome didn't make it to her time that day, nor any of the following days. No matter how sneaky she was, how carefully she plotted her escape, Inuyasha would always catch her less than halfway to the well, throw her over his shoulder and bound off to the village, cackling the whole way.
Inuyasha was convinced that the breaking of the rosary was the best thing since (or is it before?) instant ramen.
He was the only one of that opinion.
The young miko sighed, and stood, smoothing her skirt pleats. She had been hoping the group would be able to weather an unrestrained Inuyasha but she was beginning to see that that was something even *she* couldn't handle. She would have to go to Kaede and see if there was any way she could reinstate the subduing spell…Inuyasha might hate her for it for a little while, but at least everyone would have a little peace of mind.
"Oi, Kagome!" Inuyasha called out, picking the pondering girl up suddenly and placing her none too gently on his back. "Let's get going! We've picked up some rumors, but we gotta hurry it up."
Kagome sighed irritably. "Inuyasha, I've been here for *two weeks straight*. I have to go home *some* time. My family is going to get worried!
"No way in hell, bitch!" Inuyasha grinned, taking off at a breakneck pace.
Kagome clung to his neck for dear life. Screw everyone else's peace of mind, she needed some for herself.
"So you need to reinstate the subduing spell, huh?" Kaede gave Kagome a sympathetic look over the rim of her earthenware mug. The hut was cool and dark in the heat of summer.
Kagome nodded miserably, clasping her hands in front of her in a pleading motion. "Please, Kaede, I'm begging you. He's driving everyone *crazy*."
"Kagome, you know I only placed that spell on Inuyasha in the first place because your life was in danger. That is not the case anymore. I know, now, Inuyasha would die protecting you...there is no reason for me to be concerned about his character. To subdue him again without good reason would be enslavement." Kaede sighed deeply, but her voice was strong with conviction.
Kagome deflated, her last ray of hope fading rapidly. It was in that last desperate moment that Inuyasha barreled into the hut, golden eyes sweeping its' interior frantically. His urgency disappeared as soon as his gaze rested on the pouting teenager.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Nothing." Inuyasha responded, turning around to leave. "Just making sure you didn't try to run off to your own time again."
Kagome was instantly struck by inspiration. "Speaking of returning to my time, won't you please let me go back? Just for a day, Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha stiffened and shot her an uncertain look. She was asking politely- Kagome hadn't been nice to him all week, or at least since he foiled her last attempt to return home for her 'tests'. It he let her go now...after all he'd done...well, the chances of her returning would be slim.
He snorted arrogantly. "The day you go back home is the day I kiss Naraku. Don't ask stupid questions."
With that, he left the hut, satisfied that he had put her in her place.
Kagome turned back to Kaede, who was now wearing a slight frown.
"Kaede, I understand that you don't want to enslave Inuyasha by placing an unnecessary restriction on him. A very powerful restriction, at that. But, by refusing to give me another necklace, you are effectively enslaving *me*. Please, I have another life I haven't been able to go back to for weeks. I have a family that doesn't know where I am." Kagome's warm eyes bore into the older holy woman, pleading for her assistance.
Kaede sighed again, but this one was shorter, more resigned. "Very well, Kagome. I see your point. Although the situation isn't fair to either of you, I feel that you need the upper hand more so than Inuyasha."
Reaching inside her robes, she pulled out a rosary, identical to the one that she had used on Inuyasha, all those months ago.
Kagome squealed and clapped her hands together. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I promise, I won't sit him unless I absolutely need- huh?"
Kaede had placed the string of beads in Kagome's hands, leaving her to stare blankly at it.
"Why are you giving this to me, Kaede?" Kagome inquired, more than a little confused. The first time they had subdued Inuyasha, Kaede had chanted some ancient prayer and the beads rocketed away to reform around Inuyasha's throat. The only thing Kagome had had to do was say the magic word.
"The same spell won't work on Inuyasha again. He'll recognize the unique signature of the magic and prevent us from finishing it." Kaede explained.
Kagome let out a distressed cry. "WHAT!?"
"You'll need to physically place the beads over Inuyasha's head."
She watched the young girl collapsed onto the wooden floor, moaning in misery.
"No way. Getting these beads over his head is going to be next to impossible!" Kagome wailed, spreading her arms out helplessly.
"It's your only option." Kaede informed her gently.
Kagome let out a tired sigh before hopping to her feet. "Right. Well, if that's what it's going to take to get me back home, then so be it!"
Stepping out of the hut she glared up at Inuyasha, who was obliviously gazing at the horizon from his treetop perch. 'I'll get you Inuyasha…and your little *ears* too.'
'Now or never…' Kagome grinned, an expression laced with dangerous menace, as she reviewed her cleverly skillful strategy. It was one that had been carefully and secretly spun in the dead of night, when she was positive no one would hear the genius of her effective planning, her devious cunning…
Okay, the plan sucked, and she had come up with it while she had been stressing over her math formulas before bed yesterday. In fact, it was so stupid that had anyone else thought of it, Kagome would have burst into laughter right on the spot. However, considering the situation was dire, and no other options had presented themselves, it was all she had. She would have to go through with it.
Heaving a great sigh, she trudged over to the tree Inuyasha was lounging in while Sango and Miroku poked and prodded at the unusually pathetic fire. They briefly noted her progress, but left her alone. Even Kirara and Shippo were keeping their distance. The group was more than aware of Kagome's intention to subdue Inuyasha again- and though they said not a word for or against it, they couldn't help but feel a profound sense of relief with her decision.
"Inuyasha." She called softly, waiting for his head to turn lazily so he could regard her. "Could you come down here for a second?"
Letting out an impatient sigh, the hanyou scooted off the branch to land gracefully in front of Kagome. She smiled up at him for a minute and brought a hand up to tuck her hair behind her ear. Suddenly, her eyes widened in mock surprise, a sharp gasp immediately alerting Inuyasha that something was amiss.
"Kagome? What is it?" His intense eyes narrowed seriously.
"Inuyasha! You have to help me! I just realized that I've lost one of my grandmother's earrings! I'm sure it must be around the camp site somewhere!" Kagome was impressed with her performance. It was totally believable- or *would've* been if…
"Kagome, you told me you had never met your grandmother." Inuyasha shot her a confused frown.
"Er…well…that is to say, my adopted grandmother. Yes. We were very close. I mean, we still are. I know she'd just be so upset if she knew I lost her precious gift." Kagome winced at her halting explanation.
Inuyasha's ears twitched. "Adopted grandmother?" He repeated the unfamiliar phrase slowly, turning the concept around in his head. "Is that something from your time?"
'Oh, thank god…'
"Yes!" Kagome exclaimed brightly, relief descending on her in a heady rush. "Yes, it's something I have in my time."
"Oh, okay. But, Kagome, your ears aren't even pier-"
"Inuyasha, shut up and help me find the stupid earring!" Kagome snapped, blowing her bangs out of her eyes in frustration.
Inuyasha closed his mouth and glared, but reluctantly began to half-heartedly cast his demon eyes around the campsite. Kagome winced at her lapse in patience and logic- definitely something that would alert Inuyasha's suspicion.
"Oh! Look over there! I think I see it!" She pointed wildly to a spot nearby, her hand going into her skirt pocket to pull the necklace out.
Inuyasha bent slightly, examining the ground carefully. "Kagome, I don't see anything."
The rosary was hopelessly tangled. Kagome nearly gasped as she attacked the chaotic mess of beads. "Uh, I'm sure I saw it there! Look closer, Inuyasha!"
"I am, but there's nothing here except dirt."
Nimble fingers made fast work of the knots. "Try a little to the left."
"Listen bitch, I'm *telling* you- OOF!"
The exact second Kagome had bent down to shove the necklace over the unsuspecting hanyou's head he chose to jerk upward, intending to give the modern-day miko a piece of his hassled mind. Their heads collided with a dull "thunk" as Kagome went flying into the bush behind her.
Choked laughter in the direction of the campfire roared in her ears as bright stars frolicked in her sight. In her one second of lucid thought she shoved the rosary back into her pocket.
"Kagome! Are you okay?" Inuyasha grabbed her hand, hauling her up from her leafy throne.
She dragged her dancing vision to focus on the half demon. "Absolutely fine, Inuyasha." She smiled before her eyes rolled back in her head, numbing darkness seizing her senses.
Consciousness came back in bits and pieces of sensation. First it was the warmth that drove away the chill of the inky black. Second was the strength in the arms that supported her limp frame. A familiar scent drifted over her as she shook her head, clearing away the fuzziness that still clogged bits of her brain. The warmth and strength withdrew, lowering her with almost ridiculous care to the cushioning of her sleeping bag.
She opened her heavy eyelids to meet Inuyasha's apprehensive gaze.
"Fuck Kagome, don't ever pass out on me like that again."
Kagome winced as pain sparked across her nerve endings and merged to form a throbbing heat at the top of her scalp. "Ouch. I couldn't help it Inuyasha, you've got a hard head. How long was I out for?"
The silver-haired boy snorted. "Long enough." Noticing her wince, he sifted clawed fingers through her hair gently, searching the contours of her skull for the source of her suffering. Other than the fact that she was in a great amount of discomfort this was…rather nice. His fingertips skimmed an abnormal bump, and the niceness faded away to be replaced by a pathetic whimper she couldn't help but emit.
"Is that where it hurts?"
Kagome nodded miserably.
Inuyasha withdrew his fingers, tucking his hands back into his sleeves. "You've got a huge bump."
"I've also got a huge headache." Kagome grimaced at the pulsing discomfort against her eyelids. "If this is a concussion, I can't go to sleep."
Kagome heaved a long-suffering sigh. "Don't worry about it. It just means I bumped my head too hard, so I shouldn't sleep. If I do, I could damage my brain."
Inuyasha smirked. "That thing was damaged long before you hit your head."
Kagome glared at him, shooting into sitting position. "Listen you- oooooowww." She clutched her head as she felt a stabbing ache protest against her sudden movement.
Inuyasha snorted lightly as he helped her lay down again. "Just stay put. Obviously you're not feeling too bad if you have enough energy to get up to pound me."
"Inuyasha, even if I were on my deathbed, I would still have enough energy to pound you." Kagome mumbled, pressing her head back against her pillow. She was sleepy- but her head felt better than it had a few minutes ago. She probably didn't have anything more than that nasty bump. Sighing in relief, she snuggled into her bedding.
"I'm glad, wench." Inuyasha replied softly.
So softly, that Kagome didn't hear him as she drifted off to sleep.
'Okay! Second chance!'
Kagome swallowed as she regarded the alarming drop to the ground. Hugging the tree branch tightly, she gritted her teeth and hardened her resolve. This may be a shot in the dark, but the first plan hadn't worked, and she was desperate.
'Heh. Like I wasn't before.'
The miko grinned humorlessly at her own jibe. Buckling down and swinging herself into a ready position, she ran through her mental checklist one last time.
Climb tall tree and conceal presence there.
Wait for target to walk past and drop rosary directly over head.
Sighing, Kagome ran her fingers over the smooth wooden beads of the sacred adornment, unconsciously seeking their reassuring power. She felt their magic give a sharp pulse at her touch before calming to their usual thrum. A quiet sigh escaped her. At least she knew that once she got these damn things over his head they would work.
Suddenly, there was a snap of broken twigs, and Inuyasha walked past, his sweeping gaze searching the area for any threats, or signs of the schoolgirl currently perched above him.
'I just have to drop them right over his head!' Kagome's heart leapt.
The only thing was- Inuyasha wasn't standing directly under her. In fact, he was a bit higher up, and a little to the right. Straddling the branch, Kagome scooted forward, suppressing the grunt that threatened to surface with the grating of bark against inner thigh.
Inuyasha turned around to regard the other half of the woods.
Shoot! Now she'd have to shift again! Leaning more to the right, she extending her reach as much as possible, every limb stretching to its' limit. She sighed in relief as she finally had the beads positioned perfectly over his head- only to realize that she had absolutely no purchase on the branch whatsoever. Her legs trembled once before losing their grip completely, sending Kagome plummeting towards the ground.
She gasped as she felt her sudden weightlessness, wind rushing past her ears in a dizzying flurry. Inuyasha looked up sharply, and reacting on lightening-fast reflexes, held out his arms. Kagome landed in them neatly, her slight weight barely jarring his frame as she impacted.
Taking several deep breaths, Kagome attempted to force the manic rush of adrenaline making her heart pound and her legs shake to calm. She was alive. She was uninjured. She was…in Inuyasha's arms. Blinking her smoky eyes she turned her head slowly, coming eye to eye with a very annoyed hanyou. As casually as she could manage, she slid the beads back in her pocket. This might get messy.
"Kagome," Inuyasha's voice was deliberately clipped, his little white ears working madly on top of his mane of white hair "please tell me you didn't just jump from that tree."
"I didn't just jump from that tree."
She felt an irritated growl rumble low in his throat. Hoping the cute tactic would work she blinked innocently and donned her best smile.
"Oh hell no. That look isn't getting you anywhere. You get into too much trouble as it is- I don't need you dropping out of the fucking sky on top of that. And *no* look you could possibly give me is gonna make me forget that you almost broke your fool neck."
Kagome's face fell as she was unceremoniously flung over the half-demon's shoulder, his strong arm hooked in the crook of her knees to keep her from tumbling. Sighing, she crossed her arms, and slumped against Inuyasha's unyielding back. From this point it could go two ways- she would either get embarrassed or angry.
"Stick close the camp, and for gods' sake, try to repress your tree climbing urges from now on. With your clumsiness it's almost a given you'll fall again, and I won't always be there to catch you."
He took the embarrassment route. Smart boy.
"Your wish is my command, oh great master." Kagome's tone was even and dry…maybe a *little* sulky, not that she would admit it.
Inuyasha paused for a moment.
"I could get used to hearing that from you."
Kagome could hear the smug grin in his tone. She immediately bristled. "The only words you're going to be hearing out of me are -"
Inuyasha's hold on Kagome's legs suddenly went slack and the young girl shrieked as she felt gravity's alarming pull. Acting on self-preservation instincts alone she immediately clamped her arms around Inuyasha's back. She managed to suspend herself that way, upside down, for a full five seconds before she lost her hopeless battle and found herself kissing dirt.
Inuyasha's infuriating laughter drifted over her.
"Nice young ladies don't even consider saying things like that. You really are a wench, Kagome." With that final snicker he sauntered away, chuckling to himself the whole time.
Kagome fumed from her undignified position on the forest floor. 'Just you wait, Inuyasha. You have more sits coming your way than Miroku has pick-up lines.'
Now that Kagome had sworn her vengeance, the real question was- how to wreak it? Inuyasha was still maddeningly rosary-less. It was obvious the subtle approach hadn't worked, nor had the sneak attack approach come through. The young miko needed something simpler, something less sneaky…something more…direct.
That's right. Kagome was planning to tackle Inuyasha to the ground and force the string of beads over his miserable little neck. A seemingly hopeless accomplishment considering the hanyou's disgustingly superior strength, but she did have one advantage- Inuyasha would die before hurting her. If she exploited this one weakness she just might be able to pull it off.
She had been mentally reviewing every wrestling match she had ever watched with her brother in preparation, doing her best to re-create the take-down moves of the professionals in private. Going through possible outcomes she developed several techniques and holds she could pull if she was forced into certain positions. She had been preparing a full week, more fanatical energy fueling her than any cram session of the past could hope to rival.
She was about as ready as any school girl about to rumble with a half demon could be.
Her chance presented itself not long after her "training" was through. Inuyasha was alone, in a small clearing, doing a check of the surrounding wood as he was wont to do now and then. Kagome's heart pounded an erratic rhythm as she crouched low to the ground, hoping to hide her telltale scent from the half-breed's keen nose. Doubts surfaced as she began realizing just *how* many physical advantages the fuzzy eared boy had over her. Oh god, she couldn't do this. What was she *thinking*?
Inuyasha turned to face her direction as her scent carried over to him on a slight breeze.
"Kagome? Is that you?"
'Come on, Hirgurashi. You're no coward. Don't start acting like one now.'
Drawing a deep breath, she shot to her feet and bellowed a hearty battle cry at the top of her little miko lungs. Charging head on, she rammed her slight frame into Inuyasha's taller one. Both went down in a tangle of limbs, clothes, and hair.
Kagome shuddered as the air was knocked from her lungs in a thought scattering 'whoosh'. Coughing, she was forced to wait for a few precious moments to regain her breath.
Those few moments proved to be her undoing.
"Kagome, what in the hell are you-…oh. I get it." Inuyasha's annoyance suddenly evaporated into the most mischievous grin she had seen the boy sport in a long time. His fangs and claws glistened dangerously in the fading sunlight.
Kagome's eyes widened. He couldn't have possibly learned about the rosary- what was he talking about? And why was he looking at her like that? "Inuyasha?" She queried in a choked whisper, a thrill of fear seemingly stilling her heart.
"So you finally decided to take me on. I'll have you know I'm a *master* at grappling. Bring it on, little girl!" Inuyasha let out a shout of laughter as he tackled her, twisting her arm uncomfortably around her back.
Kagome made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a grunt. True, Inuyasha would never seriously hurt her- but Kagome had failed to take into account that her hanyou companion was also half puppy- and therefore, no stranger to the non-lethal but submissive tactics of play-fighting. A very unfortunate miscalculation indeed.
Kagome regained her footing, struggling helplessly against his hold. "I-Inuyasha! Let me go!" She felt frustration well up in her, at the thought of failing again. She couldn't reach the rosary in this position, her arms were effectively restrained behind her back. Forget the necklace, she couldn't even fight back.
She heard him snort from behind her. "Only if you promise to tell everyone at the camp I kicked your sorry human ass."
Maybe it was because Kagome's patience was strung so thin. Maybe the mentality of all those pro wrestlers she had been visualizing finally got to her. Maybe it was a combination of both. But whatever it was, Kagome's pride blazed in indignant rage at the thought of being dominated so effortlessly. Everything in her clamored for one simple thing- victory. "No way in hell, dog-boy."
Suddenly, years of rough housing with Souta came back to her, and ruthlessly taking advantage of Inuyasha's hold, she suddenly bent at the waist and heaved forward, straining every last muscle she had managed to build in her year long quest.
Inuyasha had no way to prevent the fall- both his arms had been restraining Kagome, and his guard had long since dropped. He was powerless as he rolled over the curve of her spine, landing heavily in the grass in front of her. Confused, displaced, he blinked up at her, hardly believing she had managed to throw him.
Kagome wasted not an instant- she was on Inuyasha in the barest fraction of a second, her one hand mercilessly attacking his ribs and neck, her other working his knees and thighs. A cruel gleam shimmered in her eyes as her strategy took effect.
Inuyasha gasped and shouted, his laughter nearly incapacitating him.
"No fair! No fair!" He wheezed, desperately trying to regain control of his rebellious muscles. It was a useless resistance, however, and he found himself giving in on a new spasm of guffaws. No matter how much he wiggled, how much he squirmed, Kagome was in perfect control. Even blocking her arms was hopeless- there were too many vulnerable spots to be protected, and she knew them all. Her fingers were finely honed weapons, swooping in to exploit any weakness in his scattered defense. It was all he could do to avoid dying of asphyxiation.
Kagome's giggles soon joined Inuyasha's roaring (and helpless) laughter, the rosary all but forgotten in the rush of her triumph. Giddiness welled up in her as she tortured the dog hanyou without pity or remorse.
"Mercy! Mercy!" He gasped, finally managing to capture her wrists, though his stomach still trembled from mirth.
"Do you surrender, Inuyasha?" Kagome asked, an indifferent brow arched high in the air. She reveled in the arrogant smile curving her lips.
"You win!" He managed to choke out, releasing her hands.
She sat back on his stomach, a leg on either side of his waist. "You suck." She grinned, as the boy underneath her continued to struggle for air. "Even Souta can withstand the "Tickle Monster Torture" better than you."
"You've done that to Souta!?" he panted.
"The boy must be scarred for life."
She slapped his shoulder playfully. "I didn't even know demons were ticklish."
"Neither did I." Inuyasha admitted, his respiration evening out.
"Hmph. Well, I went easy on you this time." Kagome mock-boasted, sticking her nose in the air. "Don't expect me to be so generous next time."
Inuyasha grinned up at her lightly. "Ooo, Kagome, you are heartless."
It was the way he said it that drew her attention. His tone was velvety smooth- the words more a caress than a jibe. Her startled cocoa-colored gaze met his- and held. His eyes…his eyes had gone soft with the calming of his breath, their amber depths radiating a seductive gentleness she rarely saw. The more they stayed like that, silent and comfortable, the warmer his gaze became.
It stole Kagome's breath, and she found herself transfixed. An intoxicating dizziness seeped into her veins, making her heart beat erratically in her chest. She could feel Inuyasha's heard pounding a similar rhythm through the haori beneath her fingertips. The mood shifted subtly, a thrill of raw electricity charging the atmosphere between the two.
The clawed fist that had been resting on her knee slowly flattened, gliding upwards on her bare leg. It tingled in the wake of his touch. She felt a low rumbling begin in his chest as his eyes regarded her almost dreamily, his lazy smile making her want to melt against him.
"Inuyasha," She breathed as his hand skimmed higher on her thigh. A drugging warmth assailed her body, and she felt his other hand on the small of her back, exerting a light pressure- tempting her to close the gap between them. She found herself obeying the oddly irresistible force, leaning in closer and closer.
"Hmmm?" He answered vaguely, his voice sounding far away.
She wanted to give in…wanted to give in…to what?
"What are you doing?" She whispered.
He froze instantly, as if realizing for the first time that he had moved. His gaze snapped to the hand that was mere centimeters from being tucked under her green uniform skirt, and immediately snatched it back, a heavy blush staining his cheeks.
"I-I…" His mouth worked soundlessly for an instant, eyes wide and a little…scared? "Sorry! I just-sorry!" Inuyasha was almost frantic as he pushed her off his waist.
Kagome plopped down in the cool grass, beyond puzzled. Inuyasha stood and began to hurriedly walk away. He paused once to steal a glance back at her, and Kagome beheld that scarlet blush a second time. But the sight was lost in the next moment when he jerked his head back around again and continued walking, his back stiff and tense.
Her hand came to rest gently against her still-pounding heart. "What was that all about?" She wondered aloud, pondering a moment before heading off in the direction of the camp. All was still in the clearing.
"Che." The bushes clucked. "Another opportunity wasted because of Inuyasha's inconceivably low self-confidence. He'll never get anywhere if he doesn't extend his offense."
"Well, Houshi," a nearby cluster of dried branches commented, "I can't argue with that one. But I do wish Kagome would've been a little more aggressive in the exchange. If they're ever going to get together, it's going have to involve a lot of teamwork."
"Well," The bush countered, "Kagome did appear to be a touch disoriented. After all, women need a certain gentle coaxing before they are comfortable enough to reciprocate a man's more powerful passions and affections. Inuyasha's strategy is lacking. He should consider re-working his game-plan."
"I don't think," The branches replied dryly, "that groping her backside would count as 'gentle coaxing' or even as 'strategy'.
"Sango!" The bushes cried out in indignation, "You wound me!"
"If only I could, Houshi. Unfortunately, I left Hiraikotsu back at the camp."
Shippo grumbled, glaring alternately at the talking bits of vegetation and the spot where Kagome and Inuyasha had just been. "As far as I'm concerned, all of you are *insane*."
Kirara mewed her agreement.
It was with a defeated sigh that Kagome sifted the embers of the dying fire. Inuyasha still hadn't returned. Miroku and Sango kept shooting her looks that she didn't understand, and probably didn't want to. It was only little Shippo that kept her company now, clinging to her leg and purring as she stroked his fiery hair.
"Hey, Kagome." He asked, opening his vibrant eyes.
"Mm?" She asked, still stirring the fire a bit in hopes of reviving its' blaze.
"How're you gonna get that rosary over Inuyasha's head? You already tried a lot of things."
Kagome visibly drooped. "I'm not. I give up."
Sango and Miroku were on her in an instant, both arguing vehemently from either side.
"Kagome! You can't! Remember your family! How are you going to get home to your little brother and mother and grandfa..."
"Kagome, you simply cannot stand by while Inuyasha continues to run loose like this! He's more detrimental to the quest than beneficial if he doesn't have a restrai…"
Kagome's weary sigh silenced them both. "I'm sorry…I really am. But I've tried everything I can think of. There's just no way a stupid girl like me can get this rosary on Inuyasha." She let her head fall to her knees.
There was a long silence, heavy with the expectation of words, reassurances. But none came. Tears pricked the eyes of the girl from the future. But then…
"Maybe you just need to change your tactics." Miroku said cryptically.
Sango whacked him on the back of his head. "This is no time for your commentary!"
"Commentary?" Kagome echoed, lifting her head, something akin to suspicion forming. "I've never heard Miroku say anything that would remotely sound like commentary…"
Both Sango and Miroku averted their eyes guiltily, the dark scenery of the forest suddenly holding their undivided attention.
Realization widened Kagome's eyes. "You've been spying on Inuyasha and me."
They both shared a wince before hesitantly meeting Kagome's disbelieving stare. "Only a little bit." Miroku offered reluctantly.
The young miko heaved another sigh. "That's great. Well, I guess that explains how weird you've been acting tonight. You saw that little scene in the woods today."
Two heads nodded in affirmation. Shippo yawned and abandoned Kagome's lap for the soothing comfort of Kirara's silence- sometimes, he just didn't get humans- or hanyou's for that matter.
"It's *because* of that scene I suggest a change in your approach." Miroku pressed on, grabbing one of Kagome's hands in his earnest. He earned a smack on the head from Sango for his troubles.
"What?" Kagome seemed dumbfounded. "I don't even understand what happened back there!"
Sango shot her a suspicious look. "You honestly have no idea what got into Inuyasha?"
Kagome shook her head. "How could I? One minute he's laughing and joking around, the next he's trying to get his hand up my skirt! He's either been taking tips from Miroku, or …I don't even know what!"
Miroku feigned surprise. "Kagome, I am shocked. Do you think so little of me, that you would believe I'd instruct dear Inuyasha to defile you in such a manner?"
Sango and Kagome shot him unimpressed looks. "YES." They chimed in unison.
"Kagome." Sango said, turning back to the raven haired girl, "You can't give up. You need to get home."
Kagome turned her eyes to the fire. "I want to but…I'm all out of ideas."
Miroku grinned slyly, lightly bopping Kagome on the head with his staff. "In that case, I have a few you might want to consider."
Kagome looked unsure. "Keep going."
Sango graced the monk with a skeptical glance. "I'm dying to hear this one, Houshi."
"Kagome, the one flaw in your plans is that they were too complex."
"Miroku, not to be disrespectful, but my last plan was to tackle him and *force* the rosary over his head. I don't see how that's complicated."
Miroku shook his head. "No no, that's too much force. You're not looking at the advantages you have right in front of you."
"Because I don't have any. Are you suggesting I shoot him with one of my purifying arrows? Because there's no way I'd *ever*-"
"Don't be ridiculous, I'm suggesting nothing of the sort." Miroku protested.
"Well, what *are* you suggesting, because the only advantage I could ever have over Inuyasha are my miko powers." Kagome argued.
Miroku sighed and brought a hand up to silence the unorthodox priestess. "That's because you're just looking at him as a half demon. Inuyasha *is* a hanyou. But first and foremost, he is a man. And men are very, very, vulnerable against women."
Kagome's eyes widened. "So you're saying…"
Miroku grinned. "The opportunity for you to wield your most powerful weapon has presented itself. It is time to unleash… YOUR FEMININE WILES!"
There was a dead silence and for the moment, Miroku was sure that he would be feeling the sting of not one, but two hands tonight.
Kagome stood abruptly. "You're right, Miroku! If I want to win this, I have to fight dirty! All the cool anime girls do it- why can't I!?"
Sango fell over in shock. "You're actually considering it?"
Kagome grinned. "Not considering, Sango- I'm going to do it. I finally have something I can use against Inuyasha! Don't you see? I'm not powerless against him! *I have a chance!*" She turned her eyes to the dark woods, enthusiasm rolling off of her in almost visible waves.
Sango raised an eyebrow before surreptitiously leaning over to the monk's ear. "Clever move, Houshi. A full out 'cunning manipulation' with a perfectly executed set-up of 'likely story' and at the last possible second, a well-concealed fall back to the 'ulterior motives' play. Good combination." She whispered appreciatively.
"I haven't been in the business this long without picking up a few good techniques here and there." Miroku shot back. He looked up at Kagome, and noticed a spark of hope shining once more in her enchanting eyes.
'Kagome's out to seduce Inuyasha…the poor sucker doesn't stand a chance...bwa ha ha ha ha ha…'
It was a tense week following Kagome's resolution. Between seduction lessons from Miroku and trying to keep the new plan from the groups' unofficial leader, there was also the added discomfort of Inuyasha's lingering and varying emotions, ranging from sulking to awkward embarrassment. Sango often found it difficult to draw in air effortlessly when everyone was together for dinner or on the road. But one thing that did help relieve some stress- everyone was positive Inuyasha had yet to discover Kagome's intentions. His self-absorbed brooding was proof enough that he was oblivious to the time Miroku and Kagome spent away from the group after their evening meal.
"One week," Miroku had said, "And Inuyasha won't be able to resist you."
That week was up tonight. Sango bit her lip, her eyes dancing from Kagome to Miroku. So far, Kagome hadn't done anything. Maybe they had decided to abandon the idea? Or maybe Kagome still needed more time to prepare?
Sango wasn't sure. Kagome certainly wasn't dressed in her usual manner. She was clad in an outfit Miroku had chosen before they had gone to bathe. A light flowing skirt that opened in a sweeping vee exposing Kagome's long and shapely legs. The top he had chosen had much the same effect as the skirt- though the outfit in actuality covered more than her standard school uniform, the teasing glances of flesh it showed were tempting- provoking. It made her seem more naked than when Sango sat in the hot springs with her.
She had also taken special preparation with her bath tonight. She took great care to avoid overly scented bath products, instead choosing to rub some fragrant dried flowers over her damp skin and work a paste she had concocted from them into her scalp while they soaked.
Kagome looked ready to go through with the plan. But it had been three hours since they had come back from the hot springs, and she had yet to approach the dog demon. Sango thought it quite likely that mayhap this was another stage of the plan.
She was so deep in thought, she almost missed the knowing glance the two holy people exchanged. Almost.
As soon as their gazes broke away, Kagome stood. Sango unconsciously held her breath.
"Hm?" He grunted, clearly in one of his "like a rock" moods.
"Can I speak with you for a moment?"
He jerked his head up first to look at her, and then at the others. Sets of eyes were quickly averted, lest he become spooked by the attention and refuse. Looking edgy, but relatively confident, Inuyasha turned back to Kagome and nodded curtly. "Go ahead."
"Ah...I meant, you know, privately."
His gaze *immediately* jerked to the rest of them. Sango grabbed Miroku by the arm and suddenly started chatting with him animatedly, perching Shippo on her lap as she spoke. Shippo and Miroku both caught on immediately, and nodded along with her voice.
Out of the corner of their eyes, they saw the hanyou turn back to Kagome. Another curt nod was Kagome's response, and she silently lead the way into the woods, until they were out of sight. Sango bit her lip.
"Don't worry." Miroku's tranquil voice crested over her like a wash of soothing water. "I instructed her well. And Inuyasha wouldn't try anything she wasn't comfortable with."
"I know." Sango sighed, trying to tamp down her big-sister instincts. "I just can't help but worry."
Miroku smiled knowingly before he turned to tend the evening's fire. "Sango, it's just me and you together, alone now, you know."
Shippo gawked. "I'm here *too* you know. And so is Kirara!"
The fire cat mewled her agreement.
But Sango smiled, broadly, before she glared full force. "Don't get any perverted idea, houshi-sama."
"Sango! I would never dare dream of such things! My hands though…they're another story..."
"A story that's going to have a tragic ending if you don't keep them away from my bottom."
"But my dearest, sweetest Sango!-"
"I still don't get them." Shippo whispered to Kirara, who favored him with a purr when he stratched her head."
Sango hid a grin at Shippo's comment. Of course he didn't understood. Very few did when it came to her. But Miroku- he always knew.
'Houshi-sama. Thank you for the distraction. And thank you, for knowing me all too well.'
Kagome was getting nervous. Inuyasha stalked dutifully behind her, but the sour expression never left his face. She pulled Miroku's lessons in her head, mentally reviewing the steps he had instructed her to take.
"First, you must find a moonlit clearing. Something preferably with pleasing foliage, but small enough to be intimate."
"That's...rather romantic, Miroku. Especially hearing it coming from a guy." Kagome exclaimed, feeling a bit surprised that Miroku was so idealistic.
"Exactly! You see, Kagome, men could care less about location. But one thing they *do* care about- what's going on in that woman's head? Men never know Kagome. They're utterly clueless. But if the *girl* leads them deliberately to a romantic setting such as that, it puts them on the alert- maybe she took them to this place on purpose. Maybe she wants to do something a little more than talking."
Kagome rolled her eyes. "I should have known. Never expect too much from a male."
"What'd I say?"
There! Kagome found the perfect spot. Summer blooms littered the area, and the full moon's strong light filtered through the leaves gently, dappling the area in ethereal light. It was a romance novel come to life. Kagome grinned. Step 1 was accomplished.
"Secondly, you must stand close to Inuyasha. Allow him to take in such things as your presence, your features, your scent."
"Inuyasha knows my scent *and* he knows what I look like. Plus, I ride on his back all the time." Kagome argued.
"Nono, my dear Kagome. This will be a departure from the norm Inuyasha is used to. For not only will you be looking different, you will be smelling delicious as well. And as for your presence- think *womanly*, think *sensual*, think... well…*sexy*."
"Just leave it to me, my little miko…"
She took a deep breath before she consciously turned on the charm. Turning around she caught Inuyasha's eyes with her own, letting her face relax into what she hoped was a lazy sensuality. Rolling her hips like Miroku had instructed her, she sauntered closer, noting the way his eyes seemed glued upon her.
"I think here's a good place to talk."
Inuyasha glanced around and she took the opportunity to stand closer. She knew she was close enough when her 'personal space' radar started going off. Ignoring it, she took a step closer.
He jerked his head to look at her once again, and everything hit her at once. The warmth radiating off of his body, the height of his build next to her own, the way his silver hair framed his face, his bangs hanging slightly in his eyes. She was remarkably aware of him, of his essence, and her own racing heart.
Inuyasha appeared similarly affect. His ears were trained solely on her, his nostrils flaring slightly.
He was noticing the potpourri Miroku had given her, she realized.
"You've seemed bothered lately." It was hard to speak, for some reason, and her voice came out sounding low, sultry. It surprised her, but she found it pleasing. She leaned in closer.
Her eyes traced the movement of Inuyasha's adams apple as he swallowed hard. "I have?" His voice was husky as well, low and quiet, making her want to shiver.
"Yeah." Kagome met his eyes and held them. "Ever since that day in the woods."
Inuyasha immediately protested. "That's not-"
"Yes it is." Kagome cut him off. "I know you. I know what you were going to do."
"You do?" he breathed, sounding a little scared.
Almost time for step three…
"Yes." She whispered, raising her arms slightly.
"Once you've intoxicated him with your irresistible female magnetism-"
"Whatever." Kagome muttered.
"You must further coax him. This may require some touching."
"Touching?" Kagome's voice was uncertain.
Miroku nodded. "Yes, yes, most definitely. Men are creatures ruled by their passions. Therefore, you must arouse them!"
"The passions, not the men. Though if I were Inuyasha, I know I'd already have an intimate knowledge of the former condition. Oh, stop blushing like a school girl, Kagome."
"I can't help it! I *AM* a schoolgirl!"
"Listen, Kagome..." Inuyasha protested, but she cut him off with a finger to his lips. His eyes widened in response.
"I'm not finished Inuyasha. I want you to know I'm very angry with you."
She saw the panic hit him and knew that her opportunity had presented itself.
"There are many parts of a human being that are sensitized to sensual touch."
"For instance, the back, the throat, the fingers."
"Well, that doesn't sound so bad."
"A normal human beings' ears are very *very* sensitive." Miroku looked her intently and knowingly in the eye. "I'd hate to think how sensitive a half-demons would be."
"You didn't even get to the good part." She practically exhaled the words against his lips before she traced the hand silencing his words up his face to the one trait completely inhuman. The movement brought her close, so close that she was pressed entirely against him. Her fingers traced lightly- ever so lightly- over the fine fur covering one of those adorable triangles.
The experience was definitely different for Kagome. There was a tingling sensation wherever she and Inuyasha touched. Her breasts molded to the harder planes of his chest, her hips cradled his groin, a delicious heat sparking between the two, a twin thudding of heavy heartbeats roaring in the stillness of the forest.
And more than that- she felt powerful. Inuyasha's breathing was sharper than normal, fluttering against her hair, and the knowledge that she had this effect on him excited her. She nuzzled her lips against his throat.
His eyes bugged and he inhaled sharply at her action. And then the look was back- the intense, melting look he had turned on her in the forest. The look that reminded her of a starving man and a god all at once. It was shades of amber tinted need, glowing and trained on her. Only on her. Inuyasha never looked at Kikyo that way.
"Kagome." His whisper was hoarse against her shoulder.
"I'm going to finish what you started, Inuyasha. Lean down."
His brilliant honey colored eyes drifted closed as he obeyed, his head dipping down towards hers.
It was time.
Kagome stepped back and reached back into the waistband of the skirt, tugging out the rosary. She didn't hesitate when she slammed the ancient beads over the Inuyasha's outstretched neck, didn't stop when she heard his startled yelp. They pulsed and buzzed, and Kagome could feel the expectation of their magic- waiting for her word.
His eyes jerked open in shock. "What the fuck!?"
"The next command out of my mouth binds you to me again, Inuyasha."
He froze and looked at her, too startled to really comprehend.
"I'm sorry we had to do this. But you were getting out of control. I haven't been home in a month, now. I couldn't think of any other way to get through to you."
Inuyasha's dawning understanding was painful to watch. He growled. "This is fucked up, Kagome."
She didn't argue with that. "I had no other choice. Inuyasha, I'm so-"
"Just shut up and say it! Get this over with." He snarled, and then softer, grumbling to himself, "God...I'm so stupid...so stupid..."
"Inuyasha?" Kagome asked, not understanding.
He looked at her sullenly from beneath his bangs. "I thought you meant it, Kagome."
She felt a pang of regret. "I-I did." She stuttered, realizing for the first time that she wasn't just seducing him out of necessity- she was seducing him out of *want*.
He keh'd and turned his nose up. "You expect me to believe that? This was all to get that stupid rosary back on me again. So go ahead. You've got me where you want me. Say your little command or whatever. It doesn't matter to me."
But it did, Kagome knew. And he was never going to trust her again. She bit her lip, suddenly wanting to take it back. But she couldn't... unless...
"Inuyasha." She drew close, and tentatively rested her hands on his waist.
"What?!" He snapped, glaring down at her.
She smiled shyly up at him. She didn't know if this would be for better or for worse, but her heart was telling her it was right.
The rosary reacted instantly to the command, and Inuyasha lips slammed on top of hers. Kagome wasted no time. Miroku had also instructed (verbally!) in the proper way to kiss someone, should it come to that. She put his lessons to use, and judging by the primal noises that escaped Inuyasha's throat, she was putting them to *good* use.
She broke away, leaving the dog demon panting and stunned.
A sly grin curved her lips. "There. You should like that subduing word a little better than 'sit'."
He stared at her mutely, still completely confused.
"I'm heading back to camp. Come back when you're ready, okay? I'll make you some ramen."
She walked off, smiling secretly to herself, pleased with how things had turned out. And besides, this subduing spell was *far* more effective than the last one- he had actually shut up for more than a minute. Yes, this might be a good thing after all.
Inuyasha's mind was slow to process thoughts. He registered Kagome's retreating footsteps. That had been…rather good...really good...great...amazing. He turned around and ran after the flowing hair and skirt of the modern-day miko.
"Kagome! Wait! Can you subdue me again!?"
AN: THANK GOD. THIS WAS THE ONE SHOT FROM HELL! HEEEEEELL I TELL YOU!
11/20/12 : Just updated this briefly to remove some HTML tags and fix some linebreaks that I've been meaning to do for FORRREVERRRR. Other than those minor changes, everything is still the same :)