Disclaimer: In my wildest dreams, I would own Inuyasha. Unfortunately, as I'm stuck in this miserable excuse of 'reality', he's exclusive property of Takahashi-san and many, many screaming fangirls.
Since I can't get a plotline off the ground for "Am Not", I'll just write this to satisfy my creative urges…
Hanyou Don't Get Sick
The familiar exasperated bellow came as no surprise to the other occupants in the room; they wisely plugged their ears, sat back, and prepared, as all veterans would, to weather the storm.
"Have you no manners?!" Kagome yelled, incensed, at the gluttonous hanyou who had, just by being who he was, instigated the current situation. On her feet, hands planted on her hips, Kagome glared furiously at the seated Inuyasha, who watched her with cake crumbs on his cheeks. "Why do you always shove food into your big, gaping piehole without even attempting to enjoy how it tastes?! Does all my work, my hours of cooking, really mean so little to you?! How can…This is...YOU ARE SO INSENSITIVE!!"
Inuyasha's ears pressed against his head to protect his hearing from permanent damage. "Oi," he protested, glancing at the others for support or help, but they guiltily averted their eyes. They weren't willing to risk their lives to her wrath, even if she was acting uncharacteristically touchy. "Would you tone it down already?"
Subtlety wasn't Inuyasha's forte.
"Tone this down!" Furious, Kagome threw the pot of water that had been heating over the fire at Inuyasha, ignoring his yelp as hot water splashed onto him, soaking into his haori and splattering into his eyes. Heedless of any serious harm she could have caused him, Kagome stormed out of the hut and stalked alone into the night.
"Chikusho." Cursing, Inuyasha watched the woven mat that covered the doorway settle slowly from Kagome's vicious exit. He swiped a hand across his face and tucked his hands in his lap, blinking a trickle of warm water out of his eye.
And he was silent.
Sango glanced at Miroku; both shared a worried look with Shippo. Even Kirara added a soft "meow" of concern. Clearing her throat, Sango asked carefully, "Um, Inuyasha? Aren't you going to…say anything?" It wasn't like the moody hanyou to be so quiet after a fight with Kagome.
He shifted an inscrutable glance across the fire at his friends and traveling companions. "Why bother? It's all my fault, anyway." He mocked them, using the words they had so often tossed at him after one of his many quarrels with Kagome.
Wincing slightly at his words, at the bitterness behind them, Sango sent the monk another look. This did not bode well. Not only was their young friend from the future suffering from an extreme case of oversensitivity—even for her—but Inuyasha was in one of his inexplicable emotional swings.
Unnoticed, Shippo made a mark on a folded sheet of paper he kept tucked in the pouch where he stored his most prized possessions. This was the sixth time in three weeks, he noted, that Inuyasha's and Kagome's bad moods had overlapped, and it couldn't have been mere coincidence. It wasn't nearing the night of the new moon, nor was it Kagome's "that time of the month"—neither could be assigned blame for their bad tempers. Shippo frowned as he hid his paper. What happened between them that aligned his two friends' frequent spats so regularly?
Sighing softly, Sango said, "Well, that may be true, Inuyasha…But I don't think that's the answer here. Kagome-chan seemed especially…tense…today." Her reaction to Inuyasha's normal eating habits—atrocious as they were—had been a little over-the-edge.
Miroku agreed, urging Inuyasha to go find Kagome. "Inuyasha. You hadn't done anything to trigger Kagome-sama's anger this time, so it's obvious that there must be something else bothering her. Besides. I'm worried about her wandering outside of the village alone at night. It's not safe, not for anyone, and especially for unarmed young girls…"
"Well, she knows that!" Inuyasha's unpredictable temper flared, and he lurched to his feet, glaring at his companions. "As if it isn't obvious where she went—back to her time to sulk and curse my existence." He stuttered to a halt, as if he were going to add something else. Instead, he swore again and stomped out of the hut.
There was a tense silence, and then Miroku shrugged and philosophically reached for another slice of Kagome's homemade double-chocolate cake. "They'll get over it. They always do," were his only words of wisdom, and, in reluctant agreement, Sango allowed him to feed her a bite of the delicious foreign dessert.
Inuyasha couldn't sit still, so he prowled the nighttime forest and brooded over his thoughts. What Sango had said—that Kagome had been unusually uptight—had been true. To a point. They didn't know that Kagome had spent a total of three hours, thirty-two minutes on the cake—not including shopping time—and had agonized over decorating it perfectly for another half hour. He knew.
Since he'd followed her through the well, mostly to keep her company while her family was away on vacation, partly to keep himself happy by having her in view, he knew exactly what it had taken to make that one dumb cake. And, in her eyes, the fact that he knew made him three times the insensitive beast for not taking the time to eat it slowly.
He also had the answer to Shippo's question—not that Inuyasha knew it was Shippo's question, or even that the little kitsune was keeping notes on him. His bad moods coincided with Kagome's on the days that they had private time together. Oh, neither one tried to antagonize the other. It just sort of…happened. In a roundabout fashion.
Usually, Inuyasha thought sourly, by one or the other just being themselves.
Today had been rough. He'd tried, he'd tried so very hard, to be good, to not do anything to annoy her. And he'd succeeded all the way up to the point when they were walking back to Kaede's village from Kagome's little cooking expedition.
She'd left her hand in his after he'd taken it to help her out of the well. That had made her smile and skip a little down the path.
It had made him nervous, uncomfortable, and edgy.
When he'd finally lost his patience with the kind-and-loving routine, Kagome had turned those wide, soft eyes on him. He'd winced at the hurt, searching expression on her face, in her gaze, her voice a quiet stab to his aching heart.
"Why do we always fight when we both want the same thing?"
His throat had tightened; he'd released her hand to tuck his into the hidden safety of his long sleeves. Looking away, he'd stared into the surrounding foliage and muttered, "Maybe…maybe neither of us has what the other needs."
But she had him nailed. It was both disconcerting and poignantly touching to know she understood him so well. Something…something indescribable, close to relief, comfort, joy that someone cared about him that much.
"You want someone to stay," she'd murmured, turning to face him. "You want someone who won't leave you, or hurt you. Who'll accept you as you are, not ask you to change. Who will just stay with you no matter what happens between you two. Someone who can make you laugh and make you smile. Someone who has the power to make you cry…but won't." Understanding reached her, and she'd blinked. "You're afraid."
Afraid of love. He'd scowled, stalked away. "Shut the hell up." And then remembered, only belatedly, to deny her statement. "Am not."
Terrified. Inuyasha heaved a sigh and launched himself easily into the branches of a tree far enough removed from the path that the others wouldn't be able to find him easily. But close enough for him to know if Kagome came back.
Inuyasha's mouth went dry as his heart stopped beating for one petrifying minute.
And if she doesn't?
He scrubbed a hand over his face, forcing himself to take a deep breath. Nobody had the answer to that question.
Nobody wanted to hear the answer if it existed.
Closing his eyes, Inuyasha dragged another breath into fear-tight lungs, and fought the loneliness of abandonment that lurked just beyond his defenses.
And he fought alone.
NOTES: Another fic that was finished and uploaded on the same day! This is part one of an idea that's been floating around in my head for a while, and only last night got it to have a decent beginning. I promise, I'll get to the InuyashaKagome romance bit in the next chapter…and I'll explain the title. It's not much of a secret if you know what to look for, but I hope I'll keep the surprise a little longer. =)