Author's Note: This is an attempted one shot fic. No more, no less. I've been toying with the idea in my head for a while now and I just wanted to get it out of my mind and over with. Wanted to get it finished and onto the screen so it would stop plaguing me. And it will. Right now. This very moment. So, here it is. In all it's glory. My first and last chapter one-shot Inu/Kag fic.

Summary:

Basically, if your looking for that tragically romantic fic that will leave you with hearts in your eyes and sugar in your teeth for about a week after you've read it, then I advise you. Turn back now. Because this, my friends, isn't it. So, before you get the idea that this is something that will make you squeal and sigh heavily with content, just let me tell you that it won't. It's not supposed to. And if it does--for whatever reason--then I need to be hit in the head with a hatchet and buried, six feet underground.

Chasing Ghosts

An One-shot Inu/Kag fic

The harsh, biting wind was cruel as it blew all around her in a thunderous rage, causing goosebumps to rise and teeth to chatter as she strived to catch up. Strived to run just a little bit faster, so she wouldn't be left behind, like she knew she would be, if she didn't push herself.

But the truth of it was that he was crueler. Ten times crueler than the wind or climate could ever be, because he ran ahead of her, ran without her, ran to something or someone else besides her, and never looked back.

Not once did he ever look back.

And that made her run harder, faster, stronger than anything else, because she wanted to reach his side. Wanted him to look at her, look into her eyes, and see that she was right there, beside him, able to catch up and maintain his speed.

But the thought itself was easier said than done. No matter how hard she pushed, no matter how hard she tried, no matter how fast she went, he pushed harder, tried harder, and went faster than she knew she ever could. And he started to dissappear, stretching away from her until it was impossible for her to catch up.

And then he was gone. Out of sight. Completely lost to the fog they'd been running through, completely lost to the burning will and desire to chase after whatever it was he had been chasing.

And he had never looked back. Not once. Not even when she fell to the ground and suppressed the pain of her fall, did he look back, make eye contact, and rush to her side.

Inuyasha was lost to the haze of forever, running, searching, chasing an object or a person that Kagome could never see or catch.

Rustling of slick, insulated fabric shattered the serene silence of the summer night with a vengence as Kagome bolted upright from her restless slumber, eyes wide and watery with a heart-stopping fear shining in the depths, mouth drew open in a desperate pant for air, perspiration clinging to every part of her body in a way that made her feel lightheaded and, most of all, perceptively weak.

She'd had the dream again. No, the nightmare. The nightmare that seemed to keep her up one too many nights rocking herself back and forth, whispering comforting words to herself that no one, she hoped, could hear.

And it was still the same. It was always the same. Never more or less frightening than it had been the time before. Never changing in course or direction. Never giving her the answers to the questions she had been constantly asking. Never telling her the things she both wanted and needed to know, and never showing her the things she needed to see the most.

Throwing her sleeping bag away from her body, Kagome felt the cool air rush over her petite form as she clutched the front of her shirt protectively, willing herself to calm down, and berating herself, mentally, to do so. She waited, taking deep breaths as her eyes traveled around the vicinity of the camp, and made sure everyone else was still asleep.

Nearby, at a small, but sturdy, tree Miroku and Sango leaned on each other at the shoulder for support as their breath mingled together, telling Kagome that the two of them were quite deep in their slumber, and, apparently, happy to be so, judging by the light smiles that seemed to frame their faces. Just left of them, Shippo was, for once, camped upon the back of Kirara as he layed in the softness of her delicate fur, drool coming from his mouth while he grunted incoherent words in his sleep, kicking his foot out spastically on the most random of occasions.

Kagome let go of her shirt, wiped her face with both of her hands, and let out one big, shuttering sigh.

It was just a dream. Nothing but a silly dream. Calm down, Kagome. Breath. Remember where you are, and why you're there. Remember who you're with, and why you're with them. It's ok, he's not going to leave you. He's right there--

Her eyes traveled up to the tree branches that hung no more than ten feet over her, and she looked, searching, knowing that's where she knew he'd be. Where she hoped he'd be.

--staring at you.

And just like she had had the nightmare all over again, Kagome broke out into a cold sweat when she felt his eyes upon hers, boring holes into her with an analyzing stare that, she knew, would break her if she let it.

He was watching her, testing her, wondering what she was thinking, and what she was up to.

But she wouldn't cave.

He could badger, he could whine, he could try every trick in the book, and nothing would work in his favor. Not this time. This time it was different. This time she was going to let him know just what it was like to want to know something, and, yet, because you were so afraid of the answer, to not want to know at all.

The tree branches seemed to sway only lightly as he jumped from them--the eye contact he'd made with Kagome never breaking--and landed, with such defined poise and grace, just feet from where she sat.

And all the while their gaze held strong, his eyes burning into hers while hers burned back into his, the wind tossing their hair lightly around them as they analyzed one another.

"You were dreaming again, wench." He told her snidely, a fire dancing in his eyes that had Kagome angered, and, yet, mystified.

It's not like he knew what she had dreamed about. It's not like he knew the reason why she dreaded sleeping at night. Because if he did, he would have atleast made the effort to show he even had the slightest concern for her well being. Would have atleast tried to pretend like he cared. But she'd never told him. In fact, she'd never told anyone. And, to be quite honest, she mostly likely never would.

But what if he did know? What if by some unforseen circumstance he had come to realize just what she dreamed about practically every single time she layed her head down and drifted off to sleep. Then what? Was he going to poke fun at her now and make her tell him even if he already knew, or would he sit quietly in the shadows and pretend to be oblivious to the truth, milking the moment for what it was worth and never doing otherwise.

What if she talked in her sleep, or mumbled things out loud while she dreamt about the things she hated dreaming of. What if, everytime she tossed and turned, she screamed out things that weren't supposed to be uttered even in the smallest of whispers or loudest of yells. And what if everyone heard? Not just him, but everyone? What if they all knew?

"Well, I'm awake now, so you don't have to worry." Kagome, now paranoid at what might have happened, threw back at him in what she knew was a defensive tone, knowing he really wasn't worrying at all, and that he most likely wouldn't even if he had to. "You can go back to sleep now if I woke you up." She couldn't help the snappy, callous tone that spewed from her mouth and immediantly, she regretted it.

The emotional change that occured in his eyes the second she'd finished the words made Kagome want to bite her tongue and curse the heavens. Now, he looked concerned. Now, he had to go and look at her with those beatiful, golden eyes that seemed to be the cause of all her problems..and, sadly enough, the answer to her prayers.

But that, in and of itself, wasn't entirely true. Even if he was the answer to her prayers, she rarely seemed to pray--not so much in a religious sense--anymore, because it often times got too unbearable, knowing deep down, they'd never, ever be answered. No matter how much she wanted them to be.

Inuyasha made the first approach toward Kagome, taking light steps as he did so, and she was alarmed to find, that, while they had somehow managed to maintain eye contact this long (it was most likely a record by now), his eyes seemed to lose their fire. Seemed to burn out almost as quickly as they had lit up. And that scared her, terrified her, more than her nightmare, multiplied and duplicated a thousand times over, ever could.

"I never sleep, Kagome." The earnest tone in his voice, mixed with the fact that he had actually used her name in such a caring way, made the walls of Kagome's throat constrict so tight breathing was difficult, painful, almost unbearable, and she had to break the eye contact. If she wanted to breath, to live, to wait and die another day, she'd have to look away.

Because she knew it was true.

Even if she didn't have the actual proof to present later on, Kagome knew that he rarely slept, because it showed. Showed in the way he fought in battle, showed in the way he carried himself, showed in the way he rubbed his eyes and stretched his limbs when he thought no one was looking. Everyday he was pushing exhaustion, and everyday it pushed back, bound to one day catch up to him until there was nothing left to do but fall, face down in the dirt, and accept defeat.

By the time she'd finished mulling over what'd he said, Inuyasha was already at her side, crouched into position, eyes looking elsewhere as they felt the uncomfortable silence pass on. With a schooled expression on his face, he tried for conversation, not wanting to say anything that would backfire, and, at the same time, wanting to say alot of things that he knew would blow up in his face.

"Well?" He snapped, putting up an indifferent front just for good measure. "What did you dream about?" The sudden change in his tone from caring, to careless made all the difference in their somewhat akward conversation, and Inuyasha knew, even as the words were coming out of his mouth, that he shouldn't have said it the way he did.

And that did it. The reaction was set. Kagome's eyes went wide, her nostrils flaired, fear and embarassment rolled off of her in waves, and Inuyasha couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at her obvious display of vivid emotions. Somehow, he got the feeling that she was overreacting, or that she was drawing this moment out as long as she possibly could just because she wanted to see him squirm with curiousity. But whatever the case, he waited, staring, not realizing the pained look his eyes had taken on when she wouldn't meet his gaze.

Whether she believed it or not, it broke his heart to see her like this. Broke his heart in such a way to see her roll around in her sleeping bag, night after night, with the same determined, yet helpless expression. He couldn't take it. It was too much to see her in such anguish, even more so when he knew he couldn't do anything about it. Because he'd heard his named uttered atleast once since she'd started having the dreams, and that had crushed his very soul. To think she dreamt those dreams because of him was unbearable and every time the thought passed through his mind, he told himself it was the worst possible lie and that nothing would come of it. Nothing could come of it, because it just wasn't true.

He blinked, she huffed, and for a while the only movement was the slow shift of the fire as it burned and began to smolder, the flame losing its height every time the wind blew, until, finally, it went out.

And they sat in total darkness, the only possible lamp to their faces being the moon and the stars that shone overhead. But he could see her face perfectly, and she could see his. Her's was twisted into that of malice and unimaginable anger, his contorted into confusion, hurt, possible curiosity.

"That's none of your damn business, Inuyasha." Kagome said it, and she meant it. Meant every word. Right down to the 'damn' that wasn't really necessary, considering she never swore, and when she did she atleast had a reason compared to a few people she knew, not to mention any names.

It was then time for Inuyasha to get angry. For him to feel the low blow she had just delt hit him square in the ego. Fine. She wanted to be mean, she wanted to be nasty. Fine. He could be like that, too. He could show just how truly venemous a half-demon like him could really be, even if it was only for the sake of making her back down and apologize.

"It's my damn business, when your sleeping habits affect me, wench," He growled low in his throat, throwing back in the insulting name he sometimes called her, and not even thinking twice about whether or not he'd regret it.

Kagome supressed a bitter laugh that threatened to leave her mouth and wake the others. How did it affect him? Did it make him regret anything he'd done to her within the past two months? Did it make him wonder just why she had the nightmares? Did it make his bloid boil with such a fury that not even his demon blood could supress? Of course it didn't. That's why he was calling her wench and telling her it affected him. That's why he was shouting right back at her, even though she sort of knew she deserved it, without so much as asking what was wrong, without so much as trying to comfort her. He'd never do those things, she finally realized, he never would.

A split second passed, and he saw the obvious shock, outrage, and humiliation pass over her face at once. The shock he understood, naturally because he had been so quick to change from one emotion to another that it was common for people to get a little dazed by the transition. Outrage needed no explanation, either, because she had--though he wouldn't publically admit it--every right to be mad at him, though he himself couldn't exactly pinpoint a reason as to why. But of all the things she could have shown him, of all the emotions she could have plastered onto her face for even the shortest of seconds, humiliation was not what he exspected to see. It was not what he wanted to see, and quite frankly, he didn't understand it. What did she have to be humiliated about?

"Whatever." Kagome adopted his tone, not really having to pretend that she was angry when she all but embodied the emotion,"I don't have to tell you anything, because you don't care. You never care, and when you do it's only because you're just pretending that you do. It's not the real thing, it's never the real thing." She choked, coughed, felt the tears coming, felt them sting and prick the corners of her eyes, and she stopped, having too much pride to let him see her cry, even if he'd already seen her do it in the past.

Inuyasha finally breathed. She'd finished. She'd completed the small speech that she had been wanting to say, and now, he was sure, she wanted him to go, to leave, to come back when it was more appropriate for them to talk, but he knew he wasn't leaving, and she knew he wasn't leaving, atleast, not anytime soon, judging by his expression of total suprise.

He had no words to describe how utterly wrong she was. No words whatsoever. Everything that came to mind sounded good, but not good enough, and he certaintly, in no way shape or form, didn't want her to get the impression that he didn't care, because he did. He'd always had. Just in his own way. Because there were circumstances at hand that could not be mentioned, there were forces involved that not even he could control, and as much as he liked to say that everything she said was false, not all of it was.

Kagome sighed, tired of this conversation from the very beginning, and fixed Inuyasha with a sweet smile she knew he would not return. Things would be ok as long as he didn't try to bring this up again, and, for the most part, she knew he wouldn't unless there was a definite need for him to know and then she'd only ask why until he forgot the need again.

"The thing is, Inuyasha--"She began, trying to make things go back to normal, trying to make him forget that she even had the nightmare on a daily basis, trying to make him see that she just could not tell him why she dreamed what she dreamed. Because telling him meant telling him her biggest fear, her biggest weakness, and, she had to admit, that was not something she wanted to do. Not yet. Not until she was ready.

"--I..well, I can't tell you what I dreamt, and why I dreamt it. I don't want to. I don't want you to know what it is I go through night after night, until I know why I'm going through it. So, please, trust me, listen to me, believe me when I say I will tell you what's going on, just as soon as I figure all that out for myself." And with that--with her heart shattering all over again at the realization that she'd just told him the biggest lie--she reached out, reached over, reached for Inuyasha, and hugged him. Hugged him to her, while he sat there, limp, unaffected, with his arms hanging by his sides, until he mechanically brought them up to wrap around her in an embrace that took a moment or so to feel comfortable.

And so they sat there, in that position, holding each other in a friendly embrace, while the sun began to peek out from behind the earth in the northern horizon. Kagome smiled in spite of herself and told Inuyasha that it would be ok, that she would figure it out, that she would tell him when the time came, and he knodded, accepted it, even offered her a true, but small, smile and held her still, watching the rising of the sun with her in his arms.

They hadn't gotten anything done, they hadn't changed anything. No progress had been made, and they were still standing, stationary, with no place to go. Everything was just there, floating around them on the clouds of opportunity, and they watched them go by, thinking that if they let it slip away, the chance would never again present itself and they'd never have to talk about it. But such tactics were weak, and such ideas were not to prided upon, but that's exactly what they did. They had danced around every possible subject until the break of dawn and nothing had been settled. Nothing had been changed. Nothing.

The truth was she'd never tell him at all. Not even when he asked her, pleaded with her, and begged on his hands and knees, would she tell him that every night she dreamed about chasing him, running after him, while he chased after something else, after someone else. Even if she couldn't see it in her dream, she could see it in real life. She could clearly see not what, but who Inuyasha was chasing, and, more than anything, she didn't want to accept it. Didn't want to believe that Inuysha would always be running after the one person he had managed to fall in love with first.

Kikyo.

Author's Notes: A one-shot fic about the relationship and/or lack thereof between Kagome and Inuyasha, but at the same time, it could also be a developing story about their relationship, how it works, doesn't work, and seems to be affected by Inuyasha's inability to let go of the past. I don't know. It could go either way on this one, but I'm leaving it up to you guys to decide..