I wanted to update. So it's way past my bedtime and I am. I'll hate myself for it at school tomorrow, but right now I'm pumped. Keep an open mind, this is different for me, but I actually kinda like it!

--- Inuyasha POV

She blew into our lives at the beginning of the summer after our senior year of high school.

I don't think any of us were really prepared for her. We certainly weren't expecting her. A bunch of us had moved into Miroku's mom's boarding house. Rent was cheap, and she was pretty lenient about her payment system. We all had our usual routine. Kouga worked with his father, a free lance contractor, until late in the evening. He got Sunday's off, the day of rest firmly backed up in his family, but he worked constantly throughout the week. When his old man can't work regularly, he'll take over the business

Sango was working to be a teacher. That surprised us, because she tended to lose her temper a lot. But with a boyfriend like Miroku, who could blame her? The fact that they were together at all said wonders about her patience. And Miroku was a preacher. We were all shocked by that one, except maybe Sango. She acted surprised but I think she was proud. She thinks he's putting down roots or something.

I'm the loser of the group. I never had any plans, any direction. I just went with the flow. High school would probably always be the most successful time of my life. I was popular there, no one pushed me around, not even teachers. Everybody knew who I was and they all wanted to be me. Some of them still want to be me, especially when they see me sitting on the porch of the boarding house strumming my guitar when they're all on their way home from work or school.

I played up my part well enough; my friends will be the first to warn people about my cocky attitude and rudeness. I don't really care. If it keeps the masses away, fine. If not, well then that's fine to. There's not a lot I care about. Miroku's my best friend and I'll kill anyone who messes with him, but he can take care of himself for the most part. The only thing that could really hurt him is Sango, and I've got a soft spot for her so I don't think I'd be sticking up for him. I can't help it. She grew up with us boys, and we all know she's crazy about him. If they break up, it'll be because of something stupid he did.

Surprisingly enough, I don't want Kouga to die a miserable death. I did, I wanted him to suffer back in our sophomore year of high school, but that was because he thought he was so cool with his little gang, always challenging our group to various games and sports. It was annoying! But when that wimp Hojo finally decided to quit hanging out with us (we were too extreme for his tastes) surprisingly it was Kouga who filled the gap. And he filled it quite well, not that Hojo's place was hard to take. I still want to rub his face in the dirt sometimes, but that's just brotherly love.

That's our little group. It's not much, not when you compare it to some, but we ruled the school at Mejii high. I still can't quite figure that one out. I mean, I guess the girls all liked Miroku and Kouga and me pretty well, for the obvious reasons, and a lot of guys had the hots for Sango, but it went beyond that. People moved out of our way in the hallways. It was great.

Now I don't go anywhere. I just sit on the porch, racking up my rent tab, and watching the people I never cared about make something of themselves. And I was okay with that, I really was. My parents were rich enough that I'd never be a bum, and my pride didn't go so far as to cut me off from that large of a money supply. I thought my life was pretty good.

And then she came and screwed everything up.

--- Miroku POV

She was always my favorite cousin. I have a lot, and rivalry was always pretty fierce between them. I was the oldest, and for the first 15 years of my life, that made me the coolest. She never really cared about that though. She was more interested in hearing about the problems I caused girls then being with me to be cool.

I don't know why, but she'd never had a boyfriend, not in her entire life. She was pretty, beautiful, but it just never happened. I still don't know if it's because she turned them all down, or if every guy in her high school was gay. She was really a prize among women.

She was the one who taught me that girls could be tough, and had every right to be. When we were younger, she was so small, only two years younger then me but barely half my height. She got picked on a lot by her neighbors, and no one ever knew. Until one day my mom dropped me off as a surprise. I looked everywhere for her in the house and in the yard but I couldn't find her. It wasn't until I heard shouts from the backyard next door that I knew where to find her. Being young, and a boy, I climbed the tree and hopped the fence instead of going around, and I got there just as one of them started pulling her hair.

From what I could gather, they'd only been name calling before, but when he touched her, her eyes were on fire. She out and out punched the boy, and he was taller then I was! She gave him a bloody nose too. We never really talked about it, to her it just happened. But I think I started comparing girls to her after that, and if it hadn't been for the impression she'd made on me that day, I probably wouldn't have been smart enough to fall for a girl like Sango. So I really owe her everything.

I was shocked when she came. I hadn't seen her in a good four years, probably not since the summer before I started high school. She'd been so excited for it, I remember that. She though that high school was the place where things would happen. Her parents had met and fallen in love in high school, and I think that was her plan too. She also had big plans. She was going to be an actress someday, or a singer. She was so full of passion I believed she could do it. She could do anything.

I'm still surprised I lost touch with her. She was such a big part of my life, and then she was gone. But she'd never met Sango or Inuyasha or Kouga or any of them, and it would have been awkward to have to explain them to her when we called each other. And she never called me either, so I probably assumed she was fine.

When she came, she didn't look like she had a single problem in the world. She walked in the door, smiling breezily, with a single small suitcase and stuck out her hand, introducing herself to me cheekily. Of course we gave her a room right away; I doubt my mom would let her stay anywhere else. And she was always so friendly and relaxed that we never once thought to ask her why she'd come, and with no warning.

She didn't act suspicious. If anything, she was brighter and more lively then she had been before. And this time, I didn't stress at all about explaining my friends to her. I introduced them to her as quickly as I could and anxiously awaited her judgment, surprised by how much her opinion still meant to me.

It was her presence as much as anything else. She commanded the attention in a room, and people always felt like they could tell her anything, and that she really did know all the answers. It was just an air about her. She'd been the same way when she was nine, just a little kid pretending to be tough. Nobody could be indifferent to her.

---- Sango POV

I was nervous meeting her. I suppose I shouldn't have been, because I really had nothing to worry about. Right away I felt that we could be friends. But I was still nervous. The way Miroku announced her practically screamed how important she was to him and I was just overrun with insecurities. What if she didn't like me? What if she told Miroku I was no good? Would Miroku listen to her?

But then I stopped staring at the ground and looked up at her . . . and she smiled. It was a warm smile, nothing like the smiles girls usually give now days. There was no hesitation in her wide blue eyes and for a second I thought she was going to hug me. Instead she told me enthusiastically how wonderful it was that Miroku had found a girl to settle down with.

And we really did hit it off. There weren't many extra rooms at the boarding house, so to spare her aunt, she roomed with me. I didn't mind at all. It was great hearing Miroku's embarrassing stories from when he was a kid. And it was nice having another girl around.

I don't usually get along with girls. Growing up with boys like Inuyasha and Miroku can make you a little abnormal, and when Kouga got thrown into the mix, I was a gonner. But she didn't act like a normal girl either, and I found myself appreciating her quickly. After only a few days I could see why Miroku valued her opinion so much.

It wasn't long before I started sharing my secrets with her. My fears about Miroku finding someone better, or giving up his goal because it was too hard. She assured me on every account, telling me sincerely that he had never looked at anyone the way he looked at me, and promising me that he never gives up once he starts something. Even if she had been lying, I think I would have believed her.

I didn't get to spend as much time with her as I'd have liked to. I had classes all week long, so we only had nights together. And Sunday's, but those were our group days, when the four of us would all hang out together, five now that she was with us.

And nobody minded the extra member. Inuyasha might have acted like he cared at first, but she was just impossible not to like. Kouga was really enthusiastic about her hanging out with us and Miroku got a little protective. He didn't need to worry; she was the kind of girl who could take care of herself.

All in all, it wasn't long until she was a part of us, and it was hard to imagine what our lives were like before she came into them.

---Kouga POV

My initial reaction to her was shallow. She was gorgeous, and it isn't everyday that gorgeous women move in down the hall from you. But after only a few minutes around her, it became more then that. I wanted to know about her and talk with her. She was like that. You couldn't be near her and not want to be a part of whatever was occupying her time.

I met her before Inuyasha did, and that was probably good for me. If she'd met him first she probably wouldn't have been in the mood to make friends anymore. He could be hard to get along with, especially at first. I, of all people, should know that.

When she realized I was working six days a week she was a little impressed. It wasn't long after, that I started finding ice cold bottles of water next to my bedroom door. She never admitted to it, but I knew it was her doing. She was good like that, always worrying about other people.

She completely mothered Miroku, and Sango as an extension. I wonder if they ever noticed that. She loved to pamper them and make their lives, especially their romance, as easy as possible. Maybe she thought they were the ideal couple, and that if they didn't last, no one would. She certainly threw herself into keeping them happy.

Not that they wouldn't have survived without her, she just smoothed a few bumps along the way. She did the same for Inuyasha and me. We were friends, but we fought a lot. She eventually made it her personal goal to make us get along. It took a while, and cost a lot, but in the end, I think she really did a pretty good job. I don't think Inuyasha's too proud of that though.

She was really outgoing. I think that was the first thing everyone noticed about her. She never hesitated, always saying what was on her mind. Of course, she didn't need to worry about voicing her opinions as much as the rest of us, since she never said anything cruel, but it was still an admirable trait.

She was ready to try anything too. She would never have struck me as a thrill seeker, even with her outrageous clothing style, and long wild hair. She just seemed so pretty, almost delicate.

But she wasn't weak, she proved that fast enough. The first time we ever took her out to a public place, she was hit on almost immediately. Before any of us guys could reach her, she calmly told the two perverts exactly where they were welcome to go. The look in her eyes made them leave quietly.

I think that was the one thing I never got comfortable with. She could be all happy and exciting one minute, and then her eyes might go dark. It was a strange kind of dark, the kind that simmers and burns. Those were the eyes that had made those boys leave.

She didn't have them a lot, just every once and a while. They were probably the result of some bad memory or maybe a repressed emotion? I sound all smart now, but at the time I never gave it much thought. I just didn't like it.

---Inuyasha POV

Since I was the only one around the house all day, I got stuck showing her around. I didn't want the job. I enjoyed lazing about all day and I hated that everyone expected me to make some kind of an effort for her. But Miroku really liked her, Kouga couldn't take his eyes off her, and Sango seemed to hit it off with her. If I'd treated her like I'd wanted to I'd have been a dead man.

So I gave her the dumb tour. It started with the downstairs. I might have been a little sarcastic. She'd laughed out loud when I'd pointed out the door, followed by the doormat, next to the shoe rack, and the carpet that ensued. I gave up being that elaborate after awhile, because it made the stupid tour take twice as long.

The last place I took her to was the roof. I would have skipped it all together, but after she had dismissed the rest of the house as uninteresting I kind of wanted to know what she thought of it. It was one of my favorite places to visit at night, when there was no one in the streets to see me. I'd stare across the town or gaze up at the sky, reveling in my solitude. When I wasn't with Miroku and the rest, I really just wanted to be alone.

After the climb, I went through the doorway first. It was windier then I had thought it would be, and we both had to struggle to control our hair. She thought the sight of me, frantically grasping at my white mess was hilarious. I growled at her for it, but didn't really blame her. It probably was unusual to be sharing the same hair trouble with a guy.

Once she'd stopped laughing at me, she focused on the view. I couldn't help but watch her as she sucked in her breath, her gaze riveted on everything below and above us. I knew the feeling. It was a lot to take in.

Nobody else really likes my roof. Most of the people who board at the house are old, and don't want to bother making the climb. Kouga thinks it's stupid and unmanly, though he'd never dare tell me that to my face. Miroku wouldn't even think of it, unless it was to woo a girl and Sango wasn't the kind of girl who'd be swept away by scenery.

The fact that I'd brought Kagome there wasn't anything special. I never imagined that she'd like it as much as she did. It surprised me when she didn't want to leave right away. She asked me if she could stay, almost as if she really believed she needed my permission. I didn't say anything, but she hadn't waited for an answer.

After another full minute of watching her, I turned to leave. Miroku's cousin was weird. Sure, I liked the view too, and it was a nice place to be alone, but it shouldn't have fascinated her quite as much as it did. I reverted back to my usual place on the porch, reminding everyone just how lucky I was, and completely stopped thinking about that girl.

It didn't stay that easy.

---Miroku POV

I felt bad that her first day with us she had to be stuck with Inuyasha. He's not the world's most congenial guy. I guess things worked out okay, because when I got home she was in the kitchen rummaging around for snacks. No one was dead yet, and I knew that if the two had taken an extreme dislike of each other, one would have died.

We talked for awhile, sitting at the kitchen table. There was a lot to catch up on, and for some reason her bag of cookies seemed to be inviting us to reminisce. Our stories were so opposite, which was probably why we'd always enjoyed telling them to each other.

I told her about my many conquests in high school, the lengths I'd go to get a girl, and the embarrassment they'd endure just to get my attention. I told her how I'd finally hooked up with Sango. We'd been friends for years, but I knew she'd never go for me. So of course when she did I was shocked.

Of course, it happened by accident. Inuyasha was supposed to tell me she was never going to speak to me again, and somehow got the message mixed up. He told me she'd never talk to me again if I didn't call her up and tell her once and for all how I really felt about her. I'll never believe his memory is that screwed up.

We had been fighting over a girl I'd gone out with, and for the millionth time she had denounced me as a player. When I called her up, she was quiet, and I admitted that I was something of a player but that I'd never found what I was looking for in any of the girls I'd dated. The only one I could imagine spending the rest of my life with was her, and I knew there wasn't a chance of that happening. After that, she'd told me I was a stupid idiot and that she'd liked me for years, but didn't want to ruin what we already had. We both felt like morons.

And to think, our relationship is thanks to Inuyasha. That's just scary.

For her part, Kagome told me about her attempts to avoid relationships at all costs. She was constantly being hit on in weird, sometimes perverted ways, and she'd learned the hard way that sometimes you just had to be rude. She never hesitated about that anymore.

Like me, she'd said she'd just never found anyone she'd wanted to be with. And she didn't want to date someone if she didn't mean it. That was a point we'd argued over a lot when we were younger. Now, I admit she was right.

She hadn't been super popular in her school, but she wasn't a loser either. She had a few friends that were girls, and would probably have gotten along a lot better with the guys if they would just get over the fact that she didn't want to date. But boys are dumb like that. They just can't take a hint.

We talked for a long time, until her bag of cookies was nearly empty. By the time we stopped, Sango was home from school and Kouga would be back any minute. Kagome insisted on helping out with dinner, coming up with playful comebacks to my mock fear that she'd attempt to poison us.

--- Sango POV

It was so nice to have another girl around.

To be fair, we tended to vote on night activities, and it's not hard to guess who never won. Not ever. Even if I could convince Miroku to side with me, it was still a tie. And if they got anyone to break it, the poor bystander wouldn't dare cross Kouga and Inuyasha. So I was usually screwed.

And it was about time I was spoiled.

I didn't even have to let Kagome in on my plan. She immediately sided with me when I suggested we go to a Karaoke bar. Her eyes lit up and she entreated everyone to vote with us. She'd never been to one before, but they'd always sounded like fun. Miroku voted with us. It was hard enough for him to withstand me occasionally, but he'd never be able to take both of us.

Kouga voted for a Karaoke night too. That surprised me, but it probably shouldn't have. He'd been eyeing Kagome for awhile, and probably wanted to get on her side. I was almost giddy with excitement. It was a majority vote, no matter what Inuyasha decided. He complained a little, but not so much as to ruin the mood. He insisted he wouldn't be singing, but when the rest of us put our minds to something, we're unbeatable.

By the end of the night, we'd all embarrassed ourselves thoroughly.

As excited as Kagome had been, she hadn't wanted to go first. I didn't blame her, she was new to us, and public humiliation isn't usually recommended as a way to make friends, but then, we weren't the ordinary group of friends. Miroku went first, after prodding by both Kagome and me.

He was pretty good! At least, in my opinion! Kouga and Inuyasha started throwing bits of food at him though, and Kagome stared at the ground, embarrassed for him. Either they just don't' appreciate true talent, or I was blinded by love. I really hope it's not that last one. That would just be embarrassing. Especially since I defended him from them.

Kouga went next. He'd have been pretty good except he didn't know the words to the song very well. He'd picked a sweet, slow song, probably to see what Kagome's reaction would be, but he kept needing to guess on the tune or provide filler words when he finished a line to fast. All in all, his performance was more comical than anything else, poor guy.

Inuyasha absolutely refused to go. Kagome was still embarrassed. So they struck a deal. She'd go before him and do a song of his choosing, if he'd go after her and she could pick the song. Apparently, he didn't imagine that she could pick a song that would embarrass him. He was actually a really good singer, so he wasn't afraid of what her selection would be.

Just to be ornery, he picked a rock song. It wasn't even performed by a girl, but by a group of guys. I think they're name was Trapt? Something like that. Anyway, instead of complaining like we half expected her to, she just grinned. When she started singing, we knew why.

She knew the song. Better then knew it, she must have loved it. Her entire face lit up while she was singing, and she could sing in that low voice that not many girls can make sound good. But she sounded great! She had an edge to her voice, one that I'm still envious of. She wasn't so amazing that the whole place stopped to watch her, but the surrounding tables applauded when she was finished. Blushing, she sunk low in her seat. I think she got more carried away then she'd meant to.

Now, we all thought she'd go easy on Inuyasha because she'd liked her song. Well, to be honest, Miroku probably knew her better than that. In any case, she picked a Britney Spears song. Harsh, huh? But the sight of Inuyasha standing on his chair singing "Toxic" was enough to make our night. We could have gone home right after that and been satisfied. His face was so red when he sat back down. No one laughed harder then Kagome. It became a game to them, trying to embarrass the other, and they played it the rest of the night. I never figured out who won.

--- Kouga POV

She smiled a lot.

That was what I liked best about her. Not only was she really pretty, and really fun to be around (watching her get the better of Inuyasha was priceless!) but she was a genuine good person, and it showed when she smiled.

I'd never spent a lot of time around girls. I mean, yeah I dated, but that's different. There was none of that pressure with her, like if I was dressing good enough or acting polite enough. I went out of my way to be nice but she treated me just the same as the bad tempered Inuyasha. It didn't take long for me to just act myself around her, and I think we became better friends for that.

You couldn't be around her and be bored. If a conversation lagged or the rest of us ran out of things to do, she'd be there with an outrageous new topic or an idea of something totally crazy to waste our time doing. It was obvious how much she loved life. She reveled in it.

She always made sure everyone around her was having a good time too. I was jealous, at first, of the attention she paid Inuyasha. He was the only one who made it a point to spend a certain amount of time a day in a bad mood. He'd been like that as long as we'd known him. Kagome would have none of that. She'd made it her personal goal to make him enjoy himself.

First she'd aim for a grunt of approval. She knew his levels as well as any of us after only a few days. Then she'd go for a smile, and she wouldn't stop pestering him until she got one, no matter how small. After that, it was a chuckle. Pretty soon, he was laughing at her antics along with the rest of us. It didn't happen after a few days, more like a few weeks, but the change was unmistakable. She was changing all of us. Before she'd come, we were at a stand still, each of us doing what we needed to do to be successful later (well, except for Inuyasha) but she made us see that we could live in the moment too.

She seemed to only live for the moment.

It was in a different way then Inuyasha. He just didn't seem to care about his future at all. For her, it was as if she just didn't need to worry about it. Almost as if the now was her future. She lived her life what day at a time, enjoying it to it's fullest. She never talked to anyone of us about her future, not that I know of.

I wish she had talked to me.

--- Inuyasha POV

It wasn't too long before I started finding her on my roof.

Now, I think I handled the situation very nicely. I didn't hit her, or scream or anything. I just told her to get lost! But she got all huffy and told me exactly what she thought of my 'attitude'. After that, she didn't talk, so I let her stay. As long as she didn't ruin it for me, then what did I care? I was surprised she actually wanted to. It didn't seem like her kind of thing. Then again, it didn't seem like my kind of thing either. I guess we were both freaks.

It became a habit, running into each other one the roof. Everybody probably thought I stopped being a complete jerk to her because of her pathetic attempts to make me laugh. While amusing, I think I loosened up around her a little because she seemed to be something of a kindred spirit. Totally impossible, I knew, she had to be going places with her looks, personality, and spirit, and I was just another lazy rich kid.

But when we sat on the roof, staring at the deserted streets below us or the never ending sky towering over us, both giving off the illusion of being just out of our reach, we came to an understanding. I never quite figured out what it was, but whenever I wanted to tell her to go screw herself, I would remember seeing her in her big tee shirt, hugging her knees against her chest, as she stared silently into the unfathomable void the world became when night fell.

We never talked on those occasions, which was fine with me. If she had tried to, I really would have kicked her off. I liked my solitude, especially there. I wasn't a deep kind of guy, but something about seeing my every day world transformed into something I couldn't quite grasp made me think.

Maybe that was why no one else liked my roof. Miroku, Sango, and Kouga all had a place there, a solid place, one that would keep them steady throughout the course of their life. Education for the first two, and then Kouga would always be able to keep busy following in his father's footsteps. I couldn't look down there, at those empty streets and those darkened homes, and see a place for myself anywhere. I didn't have the drive for Kouga's line of work, and I'd never had the brains for school, less so once the goal of graduation was already achieved.

I don't know why she liked it there. I would have imagined she'd be more out of place on my roof than anyone. I could easily imagine her walking out of one of those homes, down any of the streets, maybe stopping to rest on one of those green benches with a book of some sort. But after picturing the scene in my head, I'd turn and look at her, and be struck by how well my roof actually suited her. After that, it was always hard to recall the images of her with the rest of the world.

Gradually, I became used to her presence next to me at night, and that in turn made me appear more accepting of her during the day. We still fought, all the time, but we never stayed mad at each other. Either she'd give in, or imagine she saw some sign of remorse from me. I denied it vehemently, but she never did doubt it.

It shouldn't have surprised everyone that much. We were stuck in a relatively small boarding house alone every day for hours. Obviously we'd have to talk occasionally, and manage it without killing each other. After a while, they started getting annoyed that we argued too much. It was like they expected us to get bored of fighting, but it never happened. We disagreed on a lot of things, yeah, but we even fought when we were on the same side, usually because we agreed for different reasons. We were just different enough to fuel our arguments, and alike enough to be too stubborn to ever let anything go.

I never thought I'd miss those fights.

--- Miroku POV

It was like no time had passed, having her back. I felt like I'd grown up with her. She melded in so quickly and absolutely with the rest of the group that it felt as if she'd always been a part of it. After the first few days, she was just as opinionated as Sango, focused as Kouga, sneaky as me, and stubborn as Inuyasha. It was a dangerous combination.

But she was genuinely good too, and that was something none of us could claim to be. We all had our faults, however small, but she never showed a dark side to her nature. Sure, she could be rude to guys stupid enough to hit on her, but that was self defense. And her arguments with Inuyasha were too fun for the both of them to ever count against her, though neither would have admitted it.

Our bond was still so strong. She could always tell when something was bothering me, and she always knew just what to say and how to say it. I got really stressed, once, when some sleaze at a club started hitting on Sango. Sure, I could see right through him, but he was rich, good looking, successful, and interested. Didn't girls go weak over things like that?

Of course, Kagome hit me on the head for saying that.

She reminded me to have faith in Sango, and that obviously not all girls were shallow, or did I forget who I was talking to? I had taken her aside to confide in and she dragged me back to my girlfriend and her 'admirer' just in time to watch her pour her twenty-three dollar drink (I know because I paid for it) over his head. The thick, brightly colored green fluid drenched his hair and poured down his face in thick, oozing trails.

Not even bothering to give him a second glance, she glided over to me, outwardly calm but with those mischievous eyes I'd fallen in love with. All I could do was grin stupidly as she wrapped one arm around my waist, leaned her head against my shoulder, and told him in that haughty voice I'd never seen anyone master so well, that she was already taken.

I fell in love with her all over again. Of course, I fell in love with her two, three times a week, but I was that moment sticks out in my memory. Later that night I thanked Kagome profusely for stopping me from doing anything too stupid (namely, punching the guy in the face).

I think Kagome told her I was jealous though, because Sango was too pleased with herself the rest of that week. She was overly confident, but at the same time doubly considerate of my feelings. It was as wonderful as it was aggravating, and I didn't know whether to be pleased or disappointed when it passed.

And whenever we went clubbing, she always ordered a bright green drink.

--- Sango POV

Girl talk.

I never thought I was missing out on anything. But those nights staying up late and being silly with Kagome were usually the highlights of my day. She used to tell me how crazy Miroku was about me, and even though I was dating him, I'd still blush. Then I'd tease her about Kouga and she'd groan and stuff her face in a pillow.

She knew about his interest in her, and hated that she couldn't reciprocate his feelings. It was an awkward situation, and her way of handling it was to pretend she had no idea whatsoever about how he felt. She pulled it off really well too! Some days I'd be amazed at how oblivious she could be, only to have her confide in me about how franticly she racked her brain for those stupid excuses for ignorance.

But that was Kagome. Anything she did, she did with a passion, whether it was pretending Kouga only thought of her as a friend, or making Inuyasha behave. She threw herself into everything, little or big, regardless of how anyone else felt about it. That was part of her charm. It drew people to her.

Even the mild mannered Hojo. I'll never forget the looks on the faces of all three of our guys when we ran into that particular blast from the past. He was immediately interested in 'Higurashi-san', and completely bought her oblivious act, actually playing along with it to hang out with her one on one as 'friends'. Miroku got protective. Kouga got angry. Inuyasha was pissed.

He only stuck around for a week. That was about how long it took for him to realize that dating Kagome would result in the loss of numerous well-loved body parts. As nice as she was, she couldn't help but be a little relieved when he was gone. She whispered it to me, almost guiltily, during one of our late night talks. I thanked the guys for her (without her knowledge, of course). Miroku was pleased, Kouga proud. Inuyasha just grunted. "Of course she's grateful." He'd grunted. "Who'd like that wimp?"

Still, he seemed pretty happy with himself, actually deigning to help with dinner that night. Seeing them cooking together, tossing food around with the usual insults, I had a stroke of genius. I never would have thought of this if I hadn't been in 'girl talk' mode from all of Kagome's prodding. But she'd gotten me hooked, and now she had to reap what she sowed.

I was determined to hook them up.

Of course I enlisted Miroku's help. After years of deceiving the female sex into falling for him, he was the perfect ally. For some reason he was insulted when I told him that. He still agreed to help me, partly because not even he could deny the chemistry between Inuyasha and his cousin (albeit, violent chemistry), and partly because I promised him a weeks worth of massages.

To this day I wonder if we did more to hinder than help any relationship between the two.

--- Kouga POV

I knew something was up with those two lovebirds. Sango and Miroku of course, Kagome and Inuyasha still hated each other at the time. Well, hate was probably too strong of a word, but that was how they described it.

Miroku had taken to claiming more and more of Kagome's time. He always wanted her to go with him to the store, for a walk, or just to get her advice on various issues. Wherever they went, whatever they did, they always ran into Inuyasha.

And for Sango's part, she monopolized all of my time and it drove me crazy. She was always pulling me from whatever room Kagome was in, and giving me a task that kept me busy for hours. I wasn't stupid, I knew what was up. Their plan was as obvious as it was misguided. I wasn't worried. I was sure there was no way the two would fall for each other, and when Kagome had finally had enough, she'd come running to me.

I was young and stupid. And in love. A bad combination when you're surrounding by two matchmaker's and two matchmakee's. I began to try and foil their plans, purposefully sitting between Inuyasha and Kagome at the table, or on the couch, and making up excuses to drag her to my room so we could be alone. I never thought about how she might feel about my antics. I was too concerned with stopping Miroku and his girlfriend.

She was oblivious to their hidden plans, but she saw through me right away. As nicely as possibly, and even I have to admit it was nice, she told me that just because we were friends didn't mean she couldn't be friends with other guys. She put a special emphasis on friends, and that stung.

But it was also unmistakable. She knew how I felt, and she didn't feel the same way. I was a little thick headed sometimes, but I wasn't stupid. And the way she was looking at me, with those dark eyes of hers catching me in them despite the gentle smile on her face, made me realize that if I pursued her the way I had been I'd lose what friendship we had.

And in that moment, I realized that it was enough for me. I could be just her friend as long as I didn't lose her. And seeing those eyes again, directed at me, was enough to quell the lingering hope I had. I never wanted to see those eyes again, with their impenetrable coldness.

And I never did.

Funny how now I dream about them, waking in a cold sweat, my heart sinking when reality makes their light fade from my sight.

--- Inuyasha POV

I broke the rule.

I talked on the roof.

Both of us had finally started to notice Miroku and Sango's pathetic attempts to get us together. It was funny once we caught on, though not so funny when we were getting stuck being together all the time.

That night, when she climbed onto the roof, holding her hair back so her hair wouldn't block her vision while she got settled, I couldn't resist myself. I had to say something.

"What would Miroku do if he knew about our 'midnight rendezvous'?" I smirked at her before looking away, as if I didn't expect an answer. In that one glance, I saw her surprise that I'd said anything at all, but a second later she answered me, her voice light and natural.

"He'd probably have a heart attack. He and Sango think they have their work cut out for them. They'd die of shock." She chuckled lightly, then corrected herself. "Well, they do have their work cut out for them. We just both happen to be weirdo's who like to spend our nights on a roof rather than in a bed."

There was a rail that circled the whole roof, thin, not very strong, but high enough to rest my hands on while I looked down. I assumed that pose then, not looking at her as I asked what had been on my mind for a while. I'm a blunt person, so I didn't soften the question, figuring that waiting as long as I had was more than enough tact. "Why do you like it up here so much?"

She shrugged, not at all offended. "You first."

I glared. "Fat chance."

She shrugged again, this time smiling. She didn't say anything, didn't need to. I knew what that look meant. She was going to be stubborn about it. I debated lying. I knew I was good at it, but somehow I felt she wouldn't fall for it. And to try would be an insult to her intelligence.

I think I surprised both of us when I answered her. More so, because it was the truth. "It gives me clarity. From up here, I can see just how separate from the world I really am. I don't belong there." I shrugged, trying to come across as nonchalant. Her shoulders stiffened, but I didn't notice right away.

"I think about things too. Like, how I ought to have a future there, but I just don't. There's just nothing I want to do with my life." I shrugged again, suddenly self-conscious. I think I'd have lost my temper if she hadn't started talking right away.

"What a pair we make." She said, chuckling softly. It wasn't a mocking laugh, more self-deprecating then anything else. "When I look out there, I don't fit either. There's a million things I want to do." She laughed again, quieter than before. "A million things I want to be when I grow up." She shook her head, breathing deeply. "But it's never going to happen. It's funny really. You don't have any dreams and I have too many. You have every opportunity ahead of you and I've already run out of time."

The image of her hugging her knees, toes tucked underneath her big shirt, hair loosed and flying wildly about her face as she stared at that abyss, the terrible unknown neither of us was prepared for, etched itself in my memory so forcefully I couldn't look away until she blinked. Her far seeing gaze returned to reality and released me from her lonely spell.

For a long moment, neither of us spoke, and then I broke the silence, breaking the rules again. "What do you mean?" She knew what I was referring to and she didn't insult my intelligence by asking for clarification.

She was silent so long, I wondered if she would just ignore me, but then, almost as if she was returning the favor for my earlier confession, she bent her head and said in a low, urgent whisper, "Can you keep a secret?"

It was like we were in a different world. That night on the roof was so surreal. I felt like we were both different people, leading different lives than the ones we acted out during the day, and that that night, and only that night, we could trust and confide in each other with no consequences. It was like we were finally being who we were meant to be, but with the knowledge that it wouldn't last.

I nodded; my eyes riveted on her face. She was leaning forward, her expression filled with an intensity I'd never seen before. If it weren't for that look, and the way her eyes screamed to be believed, I don't think I'd have taken her seriously. As it was, reality was pushed farther away from us when she voiced her terrible secret, a trace of fear evident in her voice.

"I'm going to die."

The next morning, it was the real world again, and we didn't talk about the night before.

--- Miroku POV

I was shocked when our plan worked. At least, that was the only explanation we could think of when Kagome and Inuyasha started hanging out on their own accord. They still fought like crazy, I don't think that could have changed without one of them becoming a completely different person.

But they started doing things together, just the two of them. Both vehemently refused to call it dating, and they turned violent if we even hinted at it. After a while though, I started to give up. Sure, they were hanging out, but there was nothing romantic whatsoever in the way they acted around each other.

Sango noticed it too, but she wasn't as willing to give up as I was. And of course, being the sniveling weakling with no back bone that I am (oh wait, that's being in love) I gave in to her and we started plan B. Namely, getting them together in romantic settings. We would leave anonymous chocolates at her door, but that was a bust when she suspected Kouga.

We delivered a love note signed with a K to Inuyasha's bedroom, but Kagome never even entered into his mind. He suspected Kouga too! Of playing a joke on him, he says, but Sango and I were more than a little disturbed.

The worst failure was the romantic dinner we had planned. There were candles everywhere. We put roses along the walls, and turned off all the lights. Some girly song Sango had heard in a movie was playing in the background. We thought our plan was fool proof.

It just wasn't Inuyasha and Kagome proof.

We barricaded them in the dining room, leaving them trapped with a delicious full course meal. Two hours later, when we came back to check on them, we didn't hear anything. Stupid idiots that we were, we actually thought they might be conversing too quietly for us too hear.

We opened the door, planning just to peek in on them, but I flung it open once I saw just a fraction of the scene. The room was in complete and utter disarray. The beautiful meal we'd spent hours creating and the romantic effect were both ruined. Food was strewn about the room, obviously the end result of a food fight, and on opposite sides of the room were our two house mates.

Kagome was on the side closest to us. She had gravy in her hair and other undistinguishable former edibles covering her. She was apparently asleep, breathing softly into a pile of mutilated pumpkin pie.

Inuyasha was on the wall opposite us, slumped on the floor. He was just as disgusting as she was, more so when he burped a second later, assuring us that at least some of the meal we'd spent hours on had been eaten.

For the millionth time since Sango had talked me into her stupid plan, I wanted to give up.

--- Sango POV

Miroku gave up too easily.

After that minor set back with the romantic dinner, he was ready to just let it go! I had worked too hard on this future relationship to just let it go. And there was no way that I was going to let him abandon me. Another week's promise of massages assured me his continued help for at least a few days.

I tried to get ideas from girl talk with Kagome. I remember that she was starting to act strange. Instead of getting into it with her expressive gestures and everything, she just kind of listened to me ramble on and laughed when it was appropriate. I mentioned it to Miroku but he just told me I was imagining things.

He knew her better than I did, so I wasn't about to argue with him, but deep down I was worried. I wanted her to talk to me, about whatever it was, but at the same time, I got the feeling that she'd already confided in someone. When she got that far away look in her eyes, I felt utterly useless. But then she'd be back to normal and I'd wonder if Miroku had been right. Maybe I was really making it up.

In the end I dropped it. I only got the weird feeling occasionally, and it wasn't worth turning paranoid over. Instead, I focused all my attention on the plan. From previous conversations, I knew that she was scared of small dark places.

For this plan, we'd need Kouga.

Getting him to help was surprisingly easy. I think he thought that if he helped, it would just hasten her flat out refusal of Inuyasha too. The idea that they'd end up together never really occurred to him. In any case, he went through with it. I was afraid he wouldn't.

We (or rather I) had him build a small cabin type building along the beach. It was specifically designed to lock once someone went inside and shut the door. Kagome was a naturally inquisitive person. Once she found it, nothing would stop her from taking just a peek, not even her fear. When it was finished we staked it out, to make sure no one innocent got stuck inside.

I was the bait. I volunteered for it since I knew that Kouga would only groan and complain and Miroku would find a way to mess it up, no matter how simple the plan. I asked her to go for a walk with me along the beach. I knew she'd want to. She always thought it was beautiful.

Then I told her I'd forgotten something and that I'd be right back. She nodded absently, and I remember that her eyes were already focusing on the small structure in the distance. Ten minutes later, Miroku came racing back, whooping that the plan was a success.

We never expected Inuyasha not to care that she was missing.

--- Kouga POV

Okay, so I felt a little guilty about building the thing. But Inuyasha was supposed to go and rescue her, and either he wouldn't care about rescuing her (crushing her emotions for him if she'd had any) or she'd tell him where he stood fast enough like she had me.

I was the one who remarked idly as we sat down to dinner twenty minutes later, "Where's Kagome?" Sango and Miroku did good jobs looking concerned. I think we were all worried, if only because she was probably terrified.

The stupid prick just shrugged.

All through dinner I wanted to rage out of my seat and go let her out, but that would blow our cover. I was ready to take that chance, but Sango kept shooting me daggers. She had more faith in Kagome's ability to handle her fear than I did. The way I was raised, we were supposed to protect the women we cared about.

Once we finally finished eating, Sango pointedly stuck me with the dishes. I finished as fast as I could and was out the door before anyone could stop me. I didn't even think to check for Inuyasha again. I didn't give him another thought.

I raced down the beach, imagining that I could hear Kagome crying. I wanted nothing more than to save her (and be her hero, I'll admit). When I got there, I was ready to go barging in, but I realized someone had beaten me to it before I ran in and made an idiot of myself.

Curious, I went up to the side of the house. There were no windows, so I knew I wouldn't be seen. At first I couldn't hear anything, and then came Kagome's voice, soft, muffled, and slightly trembling. "I was not crying. I'm not a baby."

"Idiot." His voice wasn't as cruel as it could have been given the circumstances. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he'd said it with the slightest hint of affection. But of course, I knew better. What I couldn't figure out was how Inuyasha had beaten me here when I was the one who knew exactly where it was. Did he have some kind of Kagome radar, in order to avoid her or something? "What kind of moron goes into a small dark place when she's scared of small dark places?"

"Apparently my kind of moron." She hadn't sounded offended. "I was just curious. Why would anyone build a shack in the middle of the beach? And why would they make it lock after someone goes inside. That's just weird."

"I'm sticking with you're just stupid." I ducked behind a rock just as they exited the cabin. They didn't see me and I would have started home on a different route if I hadn't seen her lob a handful of wet sand at his head. He growled, but didn't yell. Instead, he gave her a shove, knocking her to the ground. She grabbed his arm and pulled him down with her and they began to ram muddy sand and dirt into each others faces and hair.

I gave up on Kagome for good that day.

--- Inuyasha POV

We were different people at night, on our roof. We were honest people.

I talked to her for hours about how I'd thrived in high school but had no clue what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I told her about the few things I was insecure about, how I wondered if my friends would forget me in their inevitable adult lives, and my fear of being forgotten completely. That one she completely understood and I felt like a jerk for mentioning it.

In turn, she talked to me about trying to keep up appearances, acting like nothing was wrong. Her parents were divorced, and apparently neither Miroku, nor his mom, knew about it. Her medical bills were insanely expensive, and they fought constantly over who had to have custody over her and pay them. In the end, she gave up on them and left. If she was going to die, she wanted it to be with someone who she knew cared about her. Finding Miroku again had been a blessing she'd always be grateful for.

She'd been off her medication long enough that even if she'd have managed to get more, it wouldn't have done any good. She wasn't too surprised her parents hadn't looked for her, but it hurt all the same. Her illness was strange, something none of her doctors understood. Without the medication, she knew she was only counting down the days until she died. When it happened, she'd lose control of her limbs. And then she wouldn't be able to speak. And then her lungs would fail her. Finally, she'd suffocate to death.

She was always calm when she talked about her death. Sometimes her face would be so still I wondered if she was really fully conscious. She talked mechanically, but steadily, and I couldn't help but see how bad she really wanted to be able to tell someone. It surprised me that she'd chosen me but at the same time, it wasn't as if she was really telling me. What happened on the roof, stayed on the roof. Our secrets simply didn't exist during the daylight hours.

And neither of us was prepared when our roof and reality clashed with a violent intensity.

We were on the beach. It was Miroku's idea. Kouga and I were convinced he'd only wanted to see Sango in a bathing suit, but we all humored him. We were all having a good time. Sango was beating on her boyfriend again, it happened so often it was just sad. Kouga had run into some friends from high school, and was in some in depth conversation about sports. So Kagome and I were left alone.

At first we just walked together. We were in no hurry, walking a few hundred feet and then doubling back to make sure we didn't completely lose the group. We didn't talk about the things we talked about on the roof. We both knew they didn't belong in the real world. Instead we talked about music, random pranks we'd done in high school, the many girls whose hearts I'd broken and all the guys she'd turned down.

It was the stupidest stuff, really, but I remember every word she said. And time will never fade the sight of her legs collapsing from underneath her. At first I'd thought she'd tripped, but her eyes were wide and terrified. Her lips moved slightly, parting with obvious effort on her part. Her voice was strained as her will literally forced the words out of her mouth.

"Inuyasha," Her voice broke, she couldn't even control her body enough to blink back her tears. "I can't move."

--- Miroku POV

We all saw Kagome fall.

I wasn't as fast a runner as Sango, and I didn't have Kouga's endurance, but I was the first one of us to reach her. Inuyasha had fallen to his knees and his hands gripped on of hers so tightly his veins pressed out against the confinements of his skin, but I didn't notice.

Once I'd made it to her side, I froze. I couldn't move. All I could do was stare at her. For the past few weeks I'd seen so much of the Kagome I'd remembered. The smiling, laughing, mischievous girl who always had some idea up her sleeve. But looking at her stiff form, motionless on the sand, I remembered the scared little girl that used to crawl into my room on dark nights. Except she was all grown up and she was more terrified than I'd ever seen her.

Her lips were moving, but nothing came out. Inuyasha's fists tightened around her small fingers, but they did absolutely nothing to keep a hold on the life trickling out of her. Her breathing became shorter and shorter. Dimly, I realized that Sango was gripping my arm. Kouga was somewhere behind me.

Another shuddering breath. There was a rasping sound to it, as if she had to squeeze the air through a tight hole to get it into her body. Her chest wasn't moving up and down but as long as I could hear that sound I'd be okay.

Her eyes closed, but only for a second, and then they were open again. She was trying to control her fear but small tears kept slipping out and making shiny trails down her face. She was so still, her soft crying the only sign of life visible to us. Again she closed her eyes. I waited for her to open them.

The next breath never came.

I waited an hour for her to open them. Sango slapped me, tears running down her cheeks, before I finally woke up. I was stiff from standing still so long and she had to help me walk across the sand. Kouga was at the house, calling the hospital, even though we all knew it was too late.

We left Inuyasha there. He wouldn't move.

--- Sango POV

Inuyasha didn't come home that night, or if he did, he didn't sleep in his bed. We all tried to wait up for him, but none of us made it, too exhausted to keep our eyes open that late into the night.

The ambulance had come and gone. They'd taken her away even though it was too late, and did whatever it was they did with dead bodies.

That's disgusting.

Kagome wasn't a dead body. I couldn't think of her that way. Miroku was so broken. I couldn't look at him without my eyes filling up all over again. He kept staring off into the distance, so immersed in his thoughts it terrified me. I was afraid he wouldn't come back.

Kouga kept pacing. He couldn't keep still. First he'd pick up the phone as if to call someone, and then he'd put it down. A second later he'd go into the kitchen, but come out again empty handed. I tried not to look at him. It distracted me and that felt like a terribly cold and callous thing to do.

I was numb. I think they call it denial. It wasn't that I thought Kagome would be coming back. My brain told me she was dead. But I couldn't quite grasp that everything was over. I had no idea how lonely my nights would become without her, or how the friendship between the rest of us would change. I only knew that something horrible had happened. I probably couldn't have handled complete realization right then.

The day happened. And then it ended. And then the next day began. And then it ended. That's all I can really say about that time. Inuyasha never appeared. Miroku never smiled. He spent nearly all his time sitting on the couch, staring off in that horrible way. Kouga never stopped moving.

I just existed. I did the dishes. I held Miroku. I squeezed Kouga's hand. I fixed something to eat, and made sure both of them ate. Each day, I was worse. Each day I became more and more miserable, more and more lonely. I began to realize she was gone.

Four days after she died, I fell to my knees in front of Miroku and broke down and cried.

He landed next to me and we cried together.

--- Kouga POV

I had to keep busy.

I would have gone insane if I'd just sat around like the other two kept doing. I didn't want to think about it. I did whatever I could to drive Kagome from my thoughts, but she haunted them like the ghost she'd become, and I couldn't find peace.

Seeing Sango and Miroku together nearly broke my heart. I tried to return to reality, a little, for their sake, but I still had to keep busy. I threw myself into my work, sometimes staying the night at the job. Inuyasha showed up five days after. He didn't say anything. We didn't' really expect him to. He passed by us, and disappeared for another day or so.

They say you never forget your first love. I knew I'd never forget her. She'd made a huge impact on my life, in all our lives. She'd taught us the importance of living. We later learned that she'd known of her sickness. She knew she would die. But that didn't stop her from enjoying what time she had left.

We really don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. We loved her, but when she died, we realized just how much a part of us she was. We also came to see life at least slightly the way she did. We learned, by her example, that living each day one at a time was the only way to die without regrets.

They say she was crying when she died, that she was afraid. I wouldn't know. I couldn't look at her. I was scared of those eyes. The dark ones that appeared every now and then. I didn't want to see them. I let her die without once meeting her gaze.

The guilt was unbearable at first. For a while, I'd have given anything to go back and stare directly into those eyes, no matter how dark they were, no matter how terrified they made me. But desperate wishes are rarely granted.

And I only saw those eyes in my nightmares, turned cold by the false memory constructed by my mind.

Inuyasha and I were always friends, the kind of people who got together for football games. He grew up, finally, and went to college. He actually became a doctor. That shocked us more then Miroku's priesthood (which turned out successfully, by the way), though at the same time, we expected it. Inuyasha had never been the kind of guy to give up easily, and we all secretly believed that he subconsciously thought he could bring her back by saving strangers.

And on the anniversary of her death, every year, we all visited the boarding house.

---- Inuyasha POV

I still go the roof.

Even though I'm in my thirties now, and a successful professional of my field, I find solace there. I see clarity. I still feel so small when I'm up there and the rest of the world is below me and the heavens are above me, just out of my reach.

Just like Kagome.

I can still feel her sometimes. Not in the operating room, or anywhere near a hospital, like the others assume, but when I'm on that roof. Sometimes the urge to turn around and see her watching me, feet tucked under her shirt, is so great that I actually do before I realize that she's not there and I'm alone.

She helped me find my purpose in life. I still think I don't belong to the rest of the world, but she was wrong about herself. She did belong there. She made it a better place. And I'm not going to let anyone else die who only needs the chance she never got to make a difference.

I'm not going to say I loved her. I'll never say that. I only knew her a few weeks, after all. But I haven't dated since a month or two before I met her, and the idea of starting now still makes me feel sick to my stomach. I just can't imagine being with anyone. I know I'd compare them to her, not out of love, but out of necessity. Kagome had possessed something that I needed in my life, and without it, no other girl stood a chance. And no one had it. And I still needed it.

And she was still gone.

It still hurts. It hurts Miroku, every time he passes by a picture, or someone mentions family, or around the holidays. It's noticeable because he goes all quiet, and his face becomes blanker than usual.

Sango can control herself better than her significant other, but whenever a group of girls walk by, talking about boys or stupid things in general, the emotion that flashes through her eyes is hard to miss. Sometimes, I think she's going to cry. But she never does anymore.

Kouga misses her like crazy. But he's moved on too. He's dating some girl named Ayame, a client who's house he's worked on before. I don't know if he loves her. He certainly doesn't look at her the way he used to look at Kagome, but Kagome was always new and exciting and Ayame is stable and real. She'll be good for him, and I really do hope they'll be happy together.

I'm more successful than any of them, by the world's standards. I have money, property, and people everywhere know my name. I'm actually really good at what I do. But I think they've noticed that I tend to stay apart, both from society in general and from them. I don't go out for dinner or karaoke.

On nights when they go live a little, I'll go onto our roof. I bought that little boarding house near the beach, even though Miroku told me it wasn't healthy. I live there now, with nothing but my memories to keep me company. But they're so vivid and real, I'd rather surround myself with them than the people I'd met in my professional world.

I try to focus on the positive usually. I remember how she used to laugh at my hair, and I still keep it long. Sometimes I chuckle when the wind messes it up completely. I like to think about her big tee shirt, wrapped around her at night, and how she'd tuck her arms inside to keep warm. I love remembering our fights.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't forget those last words, and they surface every time I think her name.

"Inuyasha, I can't move."


THE END! WOOT! LONG oneshot. I mean, FRICKING LONG oneshot! Don't expect any of these ever again cuz it took me a few days to finish it, but I had so much I wanted to write! This is another 'experiment' of writing, so I'm desperately dying to know what you think! The first person thing with everyone but Kagome was fun to do, but did you like it? It's late and I have school, so I need to go, but please do tell me what you think!

I love ya!