DISCLAIMER: I don't own Inuyasha… but you already knew that.

People Involved

Ch. 6

By Lara Winner

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I never did get the ice cream but I was released from the hospital on Sunday as scheduled. While my physical endurance was shot to hell, my mental state brightened considerably once I was back home. Returning to familiar surroundings lifted my spirits like nothing else could.

Well there was one thing I could think of… but that was kind of out of the question due to beating my poor body had taken. As it was I'd spend all of my energy and then some just to make it down the stairs without help. It made me appreciate being well.

I was supposed to be confined to the bed for another week after coming home. But it was the last week of school for the senior class and graduation was taking place the upcoming Saturday. If I wanted my diploma then I needed to hurry and take my final exams. I attended school Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday but only long enough the take the tests. After I was done it was back home and into bed.

Inuyasha was all too happy to bring me to and from school those three days. He made a big show of helping me but I know the real reason he didn't mind was that he got to ditch class that much earlier. Being the last week of school there wasn't much going on, mostly preparations for the graduation ceremony.

I was bummed that I was going to miss graduation. I had hoped to be well enough to participate but there was no way I'd make it. My body just couldn't keep with everything I was demanding of it and three and half hours in a auditorium where I would have to walk up on stage was just not going to happen.

I kept a cheerful front about it. Inuyasha dropped by before the ceremony to show off his new suit and check up on me. I congratulated him and we goofed off for a bit but after he left I made my way outside to the porch swing and that's when I broke down. It wasn't fair that I had to miss something I worked so damn hard for.

I tried to remind myself that as long as I had the diploma it didn't matter but I still couldn't help feeling cheated. After all, I had looked forward to this. I was supposed to be with my friends celebrating the fact that we were finally out of high school, taking pictures and tormenting the teachers one final time. I shouldn't have been stuck at home, all by myself.

I cried myself out and then went upstairs with the plan of spending the rest of the evening lying in bed staring at the ceiling. I ended up doing cross-word puzzles instead. It was little after ten and I was just starting to nod off, nose first in the puzzle book, when my cell phone beeped alerting me that I had a text message. It was from Sango but all it said was 'get ready you've got company'.

I sat up, trying to figure out just what the heck that meant when the doorbell chimed. A few minutes later my Mom knocked on my door and told me that I was wanted downstairs.

Sango, Miroku and Inuyasha were waiting for me in the den and all three were looking quite satisfied with themselves. They had changed out of their formal wear which made me feel better about wearing boxers and t-shirt. Inuyasha had claimed the couch, naturally, while Sango and Miroku were practically entwined on the love seat. On the coffee table was a stack of DVDs. I took that to mean we were having a movie night.

I decided to claim the couch opposite Inuyasha so I could lie down. I asked him sweetly to move over so I could have a little more room but he shook his head saying he was comfortable. It started a minor argument but even I know when Inuyasha won't budge so I was forced to compromise. I made myself comfortable anyway by resting my legs across his lap.

Sango and I designated Miroku to be in control of the DVD remote and Inuyasha in charge of making trips to the kitchen. He started to complain so I had to point out that he knew what was in the fridge better than I did and I lived here. That shut him up.

I'm not quite sure that anyone of us could tell exactly how much of the movie we saw because when you put the four of us together we do nothing but cut up . After replaying the same scene three times because of a certain hanyou doing commentary on the crappy acting, I told Miroku to give it up as a lost cause. That earned me a pillow in the face from Inuyasha. Miroku, claiming the need to defend my honor, then nailed Inuyasha with a throw pillow from the love seat.

For Inuyasha that was a declaration of war and it wasn't long till he actually leapt over the back of the couch in pursuit of Miroku who had the good sense to try and escape. Sango put the movie on pause and it's stayed that way for close to ten minutes until the boys finally came back, winded and rumpled.

Having plenty of space, I had stretched out leaving Inuyasha just enough room at the far end of the sofa. But when he returned he surprised me by lifting my legs and sliding under them to reclaim he previous seat. I gave him a curious look but he just smiled, casually resting a hand on my knee.

Through idle conversation I got the entire run down of the graduation ceremony. Both Sango and Miroku started to taunt Inuyasha saying that he looked like a lost puppy with out me there. He denied it more heatedly than necessary, which made me believe it was true.

Seeing that he was getting a rise out of Inuyasha, Miroku started telling me about his behavior while I was in the hospital. I didn't know that while I was in recovery Inuyasha refused to go home until he was allowed to see me. He never told me that he spent an hour in the hospital's shrine praying for me. But what got me the most was when Miroku said that Inuyasha almost cried when news had reached them that I was going to be okay.

I've only seen Inuyasha cry once and that was the day his mother died when he was eight years old.

As expected Inuyasha swore that he did no such thing but the guilty blush tinting he cheeks gave him away. Watching him try to keep his cool I felt something inside of me give and I realized that it really doesn't matter what name we put to the feelings we have, as long as we hold on to them.

By the end of the second movie Sango was falling asleep on Miroku's shoulder. It was almost four and he still needed to bring her home so they decided to call it a night. Inuyasha made no move to follow them out and as soon as the front door closed behind our friends I felt him relax.

Sometimes it's better to be alone and we'd both been waiting patiently for this all evening. With nothing in the way the sexual tension building between us exploded. He parted my legs and slid between them, bracing himself on his forearms as he settled against me. I stroked his ears, sighing as he dipped his head to trail hot, wet kisses along my neck that made my skin tingle deliciously. My back arched off the couch as his hips rocked into mine and when I managed to catch his lips in a bruising kiss I thought he would devour me.

There were no words spoken, just low growls and soft moans as our bodies communicated instinctively. I clung to him as his hands moved under my shirt and it took everything inside of me just to remember to breathe. As his caresses grew bolder he muffled my gasps with searing kisses that set me adrift in an ocean of desire that I was helpless to state.

The sky was just starting to turn a pale shade of gray when he finally tucked his face against my throat, trying to catch his breath. He whispered that we had to stop before he did something to hurt me. I was tried to protest by telling him that I didn't care, that I wanted him anyway, but he was adamant in his concern for my health. As much as I wanted to finish what we'd started, I knew he was right.

I didn't protest when he carried me to my room. I just snuggled into him and enjoyed his warmth for a little bit longer. I let him tuck me in and he took extra care fixing my pillows and pulling the sheets up to my chin. Then he kissed me one more time and left.

By the time sleep claimed me, missing graduation wasn't so bad.

.................................

With the first breath of summer came the long awaited reality check that it was time for me to join the working world. Since deciding to sit out a year before starting college I was well aware that I needed to find a job. My mother said it wasn't necessary and that I could always help Gramps out with the shrine just as I have the last few summers but that's almost like staying home. I want to get out into the world and do something. I'm supposed to be an adult now so I should darn well act like one.

Sango offered to see about getting me on at the department store were she works, Miroku suggested I try working at a strip club and Inuyasha said it would be nice if I applied at the youth center. Now that my health is up to par I can take the initiative to job hunt.

Today I was given a clear bill of health by my doctor. I was told that I am permitted to do any activity I want as long as I don't over do myself. Since my release from the hospital my stamina has been slowly coming back and each day I've been able to stay on my feet considerably longer. I've been feeling better than ever.

I couldn't wait to tell Inuyasha the news. I wanted to call him as soon as I returned home but since school let out two weeks ago he's been pulling extra shifts at the youth center. Today being a Thursday I knew he was going to be stuck there till at least seven. I was prepared to spend my first official afternoon of wellness piddling around the shrine but I was saved by a call from Miroku. The dear boy was begging for my assistance in helping him pick out the perfect two-year anniversary gift for Sango.

I was happily rescued from my boredom and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out what to buy for one of the most pickiest females I know. It's not that Sango is hard to please, it's just that she has unique tastes. She doesn't wear much jewelry. She's not really into bouquets of flowers or sentimental cards. Scratch chocolate because she's allergic. So what do you get the girl who is not so typical?

A not so typical gift apparently.

The only way to describe the gift is that it's a really big boomerang. To some people it might seem strange but it is the perfect gift because Sango had collected boomerangs since her family went on vacation to Australia when she was nine. I know she doesn't have one remotely this big. She'll love it.

Miroku was in the middle of- what I call flirting- what he calls haggling, with the young and niave cashier when my cell phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Where the hell are you?" growls my favorite hanyou.

"Hi Inuyasha." I stress the 'hi' part.

"Hi. Where the hell are you?"

That's about as good as its going to get until I give him an answer and I can't help but smile to myself. "I'm with Miroku. I'm helping him find Sango a present for tomorrow."

"Oh." He sounds almost relieved. "What's tomorrow?"

"Their anniversary. It's been two years. Don't you remember?"

"Sorry, don't do anniversaries." He laughs. "Half the time I don't remember my own birthday."

My tone turns sly. "You always remember my birthday."

"That's different." I can hear the blush in his voice.

"Riiight." I tease, but let it go by changing the subject. "So when are you getting off?"

"I'm at your house right now." He says, growling again.

"But it's…" I glance at my watch, "only five thirty. What are you doing there?"

"They let me leave early. I was going to see if you wanted company but your not here…" he pouts.

I hate when he does the whole pouting thing. I always fall for it. "I'm sorry."

Right on cue comes the over-dramatized sigh. "That's okay. You have more important things to do. I understand."

I try my best not to laugh. "How about I make it up to you later?"

"That depends. How long is later?"

I love it when his voice drops an octave and takes on that husky quality. I've never told him but his bedroom voice makes me weak-kneed.

"Tonight?" I whisper softly so my end of the conversation doesn't carry.

Inuyasha hesitates and I hear Souta say something in the back ground. He clears his throat uncomfortably, growling, "We'll talk about this when I see you. I am going to see you right?"

"Of course. We're almost done," I grasp a hold of Miroku's elbow, "if I can just get Don Juan here to quit flirting with the cashier!" I make my sure my voice carries for that one and it earns me a innocent look from Miroku, but he follows as I tug him out of the store. "When we leave here we're supposed to meet Sango at that new sushi restaurant that just opened. Are you going to join us?

"Yeah I guess." It's an agreement but it doesn't sound very enthusiastic.

It's my turn to pout. "You don't have to if you don't want to."

"I never turn down food."

"Yeah I know." I grin. "Go ahead and leave now because we'll be there in a few minutes."

"All right."

I snapped my phone closed just as Miroku and I reached his car. We arrived at the sushi restaurant just in time to see Inuyasha pulling in a few parking spaces down. The place was nice and we were seated immediately in a booth right across from a wall aquarium. Sitting next to Inuyasha, I contented myself with watching the tropical fish swim about as the boys started talking about sports. It seemed like forever before Sango finally showed.

The sushi was good but once again it only proved that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. Inuyasha ended up eating what I couldn't. I swear he's a bottomless pit. There is no one else I know that can eat as much food as this boy consumes. I'm still trying to figure out where he puts it because there is not an ounce of fat on his body. It's gotta be the youkai metabolism he has.

But my musings over Inuyasha's eating habits suddenly dissipated when under the table, discretely so our friends wouldn't notice, he placed his hand on my thigh. He stroked lightly with his claws and my breath came out in a rush when his fingers slipped under my skirt, teasing.

I knew he wouldn't go as far as he could but it was still far enough to distract me from my surroundings and center my attention on exactly how much I wanted him. Since the night of graduation we haven't had any real alone time. With sex out of the question and making out requiring privacy, we haven't had the chance to do anything. And even if we had I got the impression that Inuyasha wouldn't have gone through with it anyway. He's been treating me as if I'm made of glass ever since the accident.

Tonight, however, is going to be different. We are going to have sex, even if I have to tie him to his bed.

It was a little after eight when we finally parted company with Miroku and Sango. Inuyasha made a show of offering to give me a ride home but once we were safe in his car he turned to me, his amber eyes glowing.

"So do I take you home or to my house?"

I know what he's hoping I'll say but I also sense his uncertainty. I smile reassuringly. "Your house."

"You sure you feel up to this?" his brow wrinkles in a worried frown.

"Yes. I feel perfectly fine. I even went to the doctor today for my final check up and he said I'm all healed. I'm very sure about this."

It seemed to be all the verification Inuyasha needed because with a smirk, he peeled out of the parking lot and drove like a bat out of hell to his house. As he pulled his car in the driveway I motioned to a white car parked out front on the street.

"Who's car is that?" I ask curiously.

Inuyasha makes a face as he opens his door and gets out. "My brothers newest pet. I think her name is Katuro or Kagura… something like that."

"I thought you said he was still with Yura?"

"Oh he is. And there's another one he's messing around with too. I've never met her though, she just calls all the time." He explains as he takes my hand to lead me inside the house.

"Gods Sessh such a player!" I shoot Inuyasha a mock glare. "You're not going to take after your brother are you?"

He pulls me into his dark bedroom and closes the door, pressing me up against the flat surface as he growls, "What the hell kind of question is that?"

"An important one."

"A fucking stupid one." He snaps. "I have enough trouble keeping up with you. The last thing I need is somebody else."

I can't tell if it's a complement or an insult and before I can ask Inuyasha takes hold of my chin and captures my mouth in a hungry kiss.

Reason takes flight to a far away place as he licks along the seam of my lips entreating them to open for him. With a soft gasp they part and a wave pure longing floods through my body settling in my abdomen. His tongue sweeps though my mouth snaking along my own as our lips are crushed together, moving heatedly.

He guides me the short distance to his bed and lays me down before he pulls away leaving me panting to catch my breath. I watch him, punch drunk and dazed, as he moves to undo the buttons on my shirt. One by one he slips them through the loop of fabric but as he nears the last he stops, tilting his head thoughtfully.

"I didn't fuck Itsuki, you know. I wanted to. She wanted to. But I kept thinking about you…" the last button is undone and my shirt falls open as he leans down pressing a kiss between my breasts, mumbling against my skin, "Why? Why can't I get you out of my head?"

I have no answer.

His gaze raises to mine and the honey color of his eyes reflects the soft glow of the street light that spills through his window. I can't look away. I'm spellbound by his raging emotions. The most I can offer is a breathless whimper as he begins to explore my exposed skin with his lips…

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Something about tonight is different.

Maybe it's that for once we went slow and didn't get caught up in a frenzy. Maybe it's that he was extra gentle and determined to make me orgasm. Or maybe it's the way we can't seem to let go of each other, even after the sex.

I'm lying with my back pressed to his chest and my head resting on his shoulder. He's holding me tightly against him, one hand drawing lazy circles with his claws just below my navel. Every so often he drops a light kiss on my shoulder.

There is no sense of time as we lay like this and I can think of no place I'd rather be right now than here, safe in his arms. I think I know what this means. I can almost admit the words to myself. I think I love him.

But time stops for no one and reality will always intrude. I'm afraid this will end, so I'm afraid to let it continue. I glance at my watch and comment, "It's getting late."

Inuyasha stills, taking a moment to contemplate before he asks tensely, "Can't you stay?"

"The night?"

"Yeah. I'll bring you home tomorrow."

His voice is raw and as close to pleading as I've ever heard it. I don't know what to think. I don't know what to feel or what to do. And I won't know until he does. I can't say yes without knowing.

I turn over to face him but he can't seem to look me in the eye. He's no longer relaxed and as always, he's already answered the question for me. "Forget it. I shouldn't have asked."

"Inuyasha…" I stop him from pulling away and press my palm to his cheek, gently forcing him to look at me. "Why are you doing this?"

He's uncertain but not confused. That much I can tell. And there's something else creeping into his expression, something that goes much deeper. He looks down again, whispering, "I'm not sure."

I have an idea why. But I can only hope he feels the same way I do so it takes everything in me to ask, "Is it because you want us to be together, ya know, more than we are now?"

He blushes, "Maybe. I don't know."

"Lair." I chide. "Either you know or you don't. Which is it?"

"When has anything involving us ever been that easy?" he scoffs. "You're already my best friend. If we get any closer then you'll become everything to me. I don't know if I can deal with that."

I wasn't expecting a loaded explanation or the way my heart leaps at his choice of words. I want this. I know I do. I want him to need me that much.

His lips are curved in a vulnerable pout, one that matches the look on his face. I run my thumb over his lips before closing the distance between us and claiming them with my own. His hesitation only lasts a moment, then he's kissing me back, his arm tightening around my waist to pull me closer as he threads his fingers trough my hair.

I smirk against his lips. "I could get used to the idea of us. Could you?"

"I think I already am." He growls, pushing me back into mattress and kissing me again with even more vehemence than before. I gasp as his assault changes and his mouth moves down the side of my throat. My breath catches when he sucks my skin between his teeth and bites down just hard enough to leave a mark.

"Kagome?" he drags his tongue over my stinging flesh.

"Hmmm?"

"What if this isn't the real thing?"

He's forcing me to think about what he's saying making it hard to loose myself in the sensations he creating with each lick of his tongue. But he's right. How do we know?

"Would you do this with anyone else?"

"No. It wouldn't be the same." he says, moving to nip at my ear.

My eyes sap open. "What do you mean?"

He sighs, leaning back to look at me. "It's like what we talked about at the hospital. You see a side of me that I never show to anyone. Most of the time I don't even realize it. It just comes naturally and I'm only like this when I'm with you."

I smile softly at the conviction in his tone. If he really believes that about me, and I believe that about him… "Maybe that's what love is, knowing someone inside out and being okay with it because they know you just as well."

"You think?"

I reach up and scratch his ears. "Yeah."

His eyes narrow in pleasure and his head leans into my touch. But when I giggle at his reaction he grasps my wrists and pins them down to the bed, entwining his fingers with mine.

"So…" his mouth curves into a lopsided grin, "Are you up for finding out if this is love?"

"Only if you make it interesting." I challenge.

Instantly that unholy sparkle is back in his eyes and I shiver. Feeling my body tremble, his smile turns utterly sinful. "But that might take all night…"

"Good. I'm not going anywhere."

................................

There was nothing better than waking up next to Inuyasha.

My mother wasn't too happy when I came stumbling in the house the next afternoon. I told her I stayed by Sango's and that I forgot to call. I think she bought it. She never did question my alibi. But she is beginning to wonder why I spend more nights at "Sango's" than I do at home.

I did find a job. I now work for a travel agency. In October I turn eighteen and come the end of the year I'm going to look into getting my own apartment.

Sango adored her aniversary gift. Miroku is now saving his money to buy her and engagement ring and he plans to propose in December. I still talk to Kouga regularly. He's got a sholarship at the university and is now dating a very nice girl named Ayame. I couldn't be happier for him.

As for Inuyasha and I…

That's something we're still working on.

We are officially "together" now and everyone knows it. We told our freinds first and then broke the news to my family. The funny thing is that no one was surprised. I'm not sure when it became so obvious that Inuyasha and I were meant for each other but somehow we were the last ones to figure it out.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm happy with the way things are.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's not easy being in love with your best friend. I would be lying if I said we have the perfect relationship. He's still gets jealous and looses his temper. We still have communication problems. I'm still too stubborn and proud. But somehow we manage.

Its tricky when you make one person the center of your life and sometimes when you hurt them the pain can hit so much deeper because of the bond you share. Then again, it makes loving them so amazing it can't be described with words. There's a constant need for balance and it takes effort but we're learning that part and I'm confident that eventually we'll get the hang of it.

But no matter what, at the end of the day when I curl up in his arms I know that he loves me and I love him. It doesn't matter how or why. We just take one day at a time.

For us, it's enough.

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A.N. – That's it. Yup, this really is the end. I could go further with this but I feel that this is a good place to stop considering the focus if this fic was emotional development. In every relationship feelings continue to grow and change over time and in this fic I was trying to focus on recognizing the subtle changes that happen naturally.

I know some readers didn't like the fact that the sexual aspect of their relationship started so abruptly but that was a key part of the plot. It was meant to show that on a certain level they were already in love with each other and yet at the same time embracing the idea for its true meaning was a bit duanting. And for those of you who feel they should have said "I love you", take into consideration that actions speak just as loud as words and in their case they've been porving it since they were children. Hence why everyone else could see their connection.

I' leaving this as a semi-open ending but I gave it lots of happiness so hopefuly that covers everything. I hope you enjoyed!