Disclaimer: I'm truly sad to let this one go. I hereby relinquish any and all rights to Inuyasha I have gained through means both illegal and immoral. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? )
Hanyou Don't Get Sick
Three Days Forever
Kagome let her fingers trail lightly through Inuyasha's thick bangs, hanging limply over his closed eyes. Her sigh was soft and relieved as she murmured to his sleeping form, "I'm glad we're finally through that, Inuyasha." The gut-wrenching terror of finding him on the floor, motionless and unconscious; the hours of terror-filled anxiety, of not knowing what had gone on...
And then his violent protests at finding himself in a 20th-century hospital.
She winced, glancing at the thick white bandage on her left forearm, covering the angry red slashes she'd received as a result of her stubbornness. It was mainly her fault, she conceded, refusing to blame the sleeping hanyou beside her. She should have known better than to put her arm in the way of his claws.
The fact that he'd been so mortified by his actions, so shocked and guilt-ridden that he'd wounded her, only intensified her own embarrassment. He'd apologized profusely, but Kagome had shushed him impatiently, the pain shortening her leash on her temper. He'd shushed pretty quickly after that, and had kept his silence until he'd fallen asleep in her bed only minutes before.
"Inuyasha..." Kagome winced as she moved her arm, sending pain lancing up her shoulder. "I'm sorry." It was okay to apologize, she thought with a wry half-smile, when he was asleep. When he couldn't hear her admit that she'd been wrong. "I'm sorry for everything."
The long hours of exhaustive, intensive worry finally caught up with her, and Kagome's head drooped to rest on the bedspread, her breathing soft and even.
Inuyasha's eyes were open, focused on the ceiling, as he carefully lifted his right hand to stare bleakly at his claws. They'd washed the blood off—her blood off—but they couldn't wash away his guilt so easily. He flexed his fingers, wincing at the memory of the feel of his claws slicing easily through her human skin; the smell of her blood—hot, metallic, damning—soaked in shame.
"I'm the one who should be sorry," he murmured roughly, glancing down at her lowered head. And even after that, even after he'd attacked her, broken his promise to always keep her safe, she'd given up her bed—something he knew she didn't do easily—for him, saying only that it'd help speed up his recovery. Her wide brown eyes, focused on his, had been gentle and understanding.
It would have been easier if she'd looked at him with hate, blame, vengeance.
That he would have understood. That he could deal with. This ending understanding, this caring...it scared him. Inuyasha pressed his left hand to his shaking heart, listening to its uncertain stumbling as he carefully let his claws caress her head. "I'm so sorry," he whispered brokenly, tears springing unwanted to his fierce golden eyes. "I'm sorry, Kagome." It was okay to apologize when she could hear him only in her dreams. It was okay if she didn't know.
She's going to ruin her back doing that, he thought, unnerved by the depth of the protectiveness that swept through him at the thought of Kagome spending all night, kneeling beside the bed. He sat up, leaning over the edge to carefully lift her onto the bed, taking care not to scratch her with his claws. Kagome mumbled quietly, but didn't waken; he slid her under the covers beside him and settled back down, prepared to sleep, and to protect Kagome as he'd failed to do before.
One hand resting lightly, awkwardly, on her shoulder, Inuyasha drifted off into a restless, uncomfortable sleep filled with nightmares and curses of the past.
Kagome woke slowly, her consciousness stirred by the warmth at her side. Turning sleepily, she mumbled an incoherent protest at an imagined wake-up call, snuggling closer to the source of the heat. Confused, her eyes flickered open, and Kagome blinked at the bright red cloth before her eyes. Red?
Her gaze traveled slowly up, past the familiar rosary beads draped loosely around the familiar neck, to the face that had haunted her dreams all night. Inuyasha was facing her, his face relaxed in sleep, ears flicking back and forth in agitation.
She blushed at the realization that he had one arm draped around her waist.
How had she ended up in bed with him? Kagome frowned, unable to recall how she'd managed to be beneath the covers with him; her blush spread as she noted just what position she was in. Sharing a bed, with Inuyasha. While the thought in and of itself wasn't repelling, the idea that her mother or her brother might barge in on them and get the wrong idea certainly wasn't appealing.
Quietly, so as to not disturb him, Kagome slipped out from beneath the covers and pressed her hands firmly over her wrinkled skirt. She'd fallen asleep in her daytime clothes, and—thankfully, she noted with suppressed relief—was still wearing her entire outfit. She rubbed her palms over her heated cheeks, lifting her eyes to the sleeping hanyou. He must have been the one to tuck her into bed with him...because she surely didn't remember doing something so bold, so rash, so...so...
The word jumped into Kagome's head, and her eyes widened at the thought. True, she didn't feel uncomfortable around him, or inhibited by fear or discomfiture that was so common with other couples, but...
And since when had she started thinking about them as a 'couple'?
Scowling at her own silly thoughts, Kagome turned and reached into her closet for a change of clothes. The first thing she needed, Kagome decided, was to change into fresh clothes, and then she'd wash her face. Some cold water would do much to wake her up and put a halt to all those strange notions that sharing a bed with Inuyasha had put into her head.
But what if they've been there all along?
"That's just absurd," Kagome snapped under her breath, draping a clean skirt and a dark green blouse over her arm. "Utterly ridiculous. Besides, there's always Kikyo." She spat the name distastefully, turning to head out the door.
"What about her?"
Inuyasha's slurred question had her freezing in her tracks. Kagome glanced back at the bed to find Inuyasha half-awake, rubbing bleary eyes with the back of one hand—his left, she noted incongruously—as he propped himself up against her headboard. His gaze was disconcertingly clear as he repeated, "What about her?"
Kagome's blush flared over her cheeks, and she replied hastily, "Nothing. Nothing, Inuyasha. Nothing at all."
He frowned at her skeptically, reproachfully. "You're lying," he pointed out bluntly. "And we both know it. What about Kikyo?"
She flinched at the sound of the name, and Inuyasha blinked, surprised by the depth of her reaction. There was more there, he realized slowly, than just pity for a troubled soul who couldn't find rest; antipathy for a woman who refused to let Inuyasha himself go. More than he'd thought he'd ever find in his life.
"...You wouldn't understand," Kagome whispered, tears stinging her eyes. "Just...let it be, Inuyasha." She rubbed her hands over her face before bravely meeting his eyes. "If you're feeling up to it, we should go back through the well later today. I'm sure the others are waiting for you."
Inuyasha swallowed hard, his throat suddenly dry. "Yeah," he replied, voice rough as his heart stuttered in his chest. "Sure."
She averted her gaze, mumbling, "Well, I'll go get changed then." Kagome slipped quietly out of the room, leaving a stunned and shaken Inuyasha alone.
When had things become so complicated? He wondered, staring at the closed door. When had it become...love?
He closed his eyes, letting his head fall back against the wall. They had to go back...It had been a deceptively long, short while since he'd first arrived, delirious and alone, begging her to take care of him despite her anger towards him. Despite everything. It's been a while...The phrase seemed to be both soothing and mocking, and Inuyasha frowned. It had been so long, and yet they'd both been right there.
"...Right here," Inuyasha murmured, looking around the room. His right hand moved to press over his heart. "Right here."
"Why do we always fight when we both want the same thing?"
Kagome's question ran through his mind, and Inuyasha blinked in understanding. Gods, how could he have been so dense? They'd just made one big circle, and were right where they started.
A half-laugh passed his lips as he slid slowly out of bed, careful not to disrupt his upset stomach. He'd gotten it 'pumped', Kagome had explained the previous night, a most unpleasant process he hoped fervently to never have repeated, to rid his body of the dangerous toxins that had been circulating throughout his system. The medicine the doctor had forced on him—the chalky stuff Kagome had bullied him into taking—left an acrid aftertaste on his tongue, and Inuyasha made a face at the memory-induced reaction. "Yuck." He tugged on his gi, straightened the rosary, and glanced around for Tetsusaiga.
They had unfinished business in the Sengoku Jidai.
But they had unfinished business to deal with, first.
Kagome returned as quietly as she had left, her dirty clothes bundled in her arms. She glanced at Inuyasha, as if surprised to see him on his feet. "You feeling all right?" she asked, moving past to dump her clothes in the hamper by the wall. Inuyasha stepped to intercept her, and she looked up at him quizzically. "Inuyasha?"
He swallowed, one hand holding her elbow—to prevent her from stepping away, he thought—the other closing lightly over her injured wrist. He lifted her arm to his lips, pressing a soft kiss to the clean bandage. "I'm sorry I hurt you," he whispered, his eyes intent on hers. Kagome swallowed, her heart hammering unevenly in her chest. What was he doing? What was he thinking?
"I'm sorry for everything." He stepped closer, and Kagome felt her knees shake. Her eyes stayed on his, and she trembled, once, as his arm slipped around her waist. "Everything but this."
And his mouth closed gently over hers.
He broke the kiss long moments later, and Kagome blinked at him, stunned, blushing, and not unreceptive to a repeat performance. He smiled shyly at her. "We're right back where we started, you know," he said as she started to giggle, the clothes in her arms dropping to their feet as she wrapped her arms firmly around his shoulders. "And we haven't solved anything. "And we still have to get back and tell Miroku and Sango and the others that we're okay." She rested her head on his shoulder, tucked safely against his heart. "And I...I promise I'll try my best not to hurt you, but...There's still a lot of things ahead of us to deal with." She pretended she wasn't listening to him, but to the steady beat of his heart by her ear.
Inuyasha gave her a small, playful shake. "Are you listening to me?" Kagome smiled up at him, and he sighed. "And we haven't learned anything, either."
Kagome's lips quirked into a grin. "Oh, I don't know about that, Inuyasha." Gods, her heart felt like it wanted to sing. Wasn't this what she'd wanted—what they had wanted—all along? It was just too bad, she thought, that they had to discover it in such a fashion. But then again, she gave a mental shrug, that was Inuyasha. Never doing anything halfway.
He gave her a quizzical glance, and Kagome's grin spread into a wide and teasing smirk, knowing full well his reaction. "We learned that dogs are allergic to chocolate."
Inuyasha bared his teeth in a sneer, but held Kagome close as she lifted her face to his for another kiss.
One day, he vowed, they'd solve the rest of their problems, too.
"It's been a long three days, Kagome," he sighed into her hair as he obliged her silent request, love singing quietly in his soul. "A long three days, forever."
NOTES: THE END!! Sorry this chapter took soooo long in coming! I hope it wasn't too highly disappointing, though I must admit this is perhaps my least favorite of all the chapters. I apologize for the extreme sappiness of the ending, and the mention of Kikyo—she just complicates things. However, I was re-reading chapter one, and I realized that there were quite a few allusions that I needed to wrap up regarding their relationship...And how they haven't GONE ANYWHERE. (er, slight hint that I'm frustrated with the stagnation of their relationship in manga books, oh, 20-36). Thanks for staying with me so long!