( D i s c l a i m e r ) nope

( A u t h o r' s N o t e ) Hojo x Kagome. One-shot. Requested by lynnxlady. She's amazing, read her stuff. Thanks to Sabriel41 for beta-ing, this seriously wouldn't have gotten finished without you. You're a darling. Anyway, I really love this fic, enjoy.

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Andante

I.

She couldn't believe it.

Sealed. The well was sealed.

Inuyasha had sealed the well. With an angry huff she kicked the dirt at her feet, the thin layer between worlds. Frustrated, she climbed up and out of the well, muttering under her breath as she went.

She couldn't believe he'd sealed the well. How'd he done it anyway? Maybe he had Miroku do it, or Kikyou… or maybe he just did it the old-fashioned way and stuck a massive object in the well again. He already knew trees didn't work; maybe he'd used a boulder this time, or packed dirt, or a bigger tree. She was certainly going to give that audacious, stubborn, beautiful, obnoxious half-demon a piece of her mind.

…Just as soon as she was done crying. In the dirt outside the well house. Wearing stockings that were torn at the knees.

"Higurashi!" she heard from the street, "Higurashi, is that you?"

Hojo. She cringed. Another boy. She was quite sick of boys. A boy was not what she needed right now. What she needed was her mom… and maybe some hot chocolate.

"Higurashi, you look awful! What are you doing out here?"

Well, it was too late to run. He was there. Next to her. Concerned. Worried. Upset.

"I… dropped something. And I was crying because it was my grandfather's…. Had it since I was little," she lied. Unsuccessfully.

"Can I help you find it?" he asked. He knew there was nothing to look for.

"No, I… need to go… inside now," she replied, standing and slapping at the dirt on her skirt defiantly, though it seemed quite happy where it was – to her dismay.

"Okay," he answered with a smile, "If you're not busy, wanna hang out somewhere? You look like you could use a distraction. My treat."

She sighed and shook her head, "No thank you, Hojo. I don't think I could handle a date right now."

Laughter. He was laughing. She blushed deep and fixed her gaze on her feet, feeling inexplicably embarrassed.

"Higurashi, you're awesome and all, but I didn't ask for a date. I asked you if you wanted to hang out. With me. Your friend."

She chewed her lip. Hang out with Hojo? That didn't sound so bad. Why didn't it sound so bad? It's not like Hojo wasn't her friend. And it's not like he wasn't nice, albeit annoyingly persistent. But Inuyasha would be so mad if he found out.

She smiled.

"Sure, Hojo. That sounds nice."

--

II.

Two days later Kagome was in the dirt again.

The well was still sealed.

She didn't cry this time. She wouldn't cry this time. But it still hurt.

"Hey, Higurashi. You lose something again?"

"No," she sighed, picking at the lint on her clean wool skirt.

Silent. He was silent. As far as she'd learned, boys were not silent. Never. It was odd, but kind of nice.

"If you'll excuse me, Hojo-," she started, standing and turning to leave.

He caught her by the wrist, "Kagome."

…Silent! He was silent, again. Stupid boy.

"It's Saturday," he said, "And it's not healthy to stay inside, especially when it's this nice out… come with me Kagome. We'll get ice cream and you can tell me what's bothering you."

"I can't!" she said, even though she didn't want to, "You're… you're a boy!"

Laughing. He was laughing again.

"Kagome, I'm sick of you moping around here and at school. You're coming with me. Just pretend like I'm Eri or Yuka, like I'm just one of your girl friends."

"Just… one of my… girl friends?" she asked, feeling warm.

"Yeah," he said with a smile, "You can talk to me about anything you want to."

"You promise?"

"Pinky swear," he answered. She laughed.

--

III.

A week later the well was still sealed but Kagome didn't know.

"T-This m-movie is so s-sad!" she cried, sobbing into his shoulder.

"It's certainly… something," he stated, shifting on the couch.

"I'm sorry, Hojo," she said, sitting back on her knees and wiping at her eyes, "This kind of stuff must be so boring for a guy."

"I'm not a guy, remember," he corrected, smiling in a way that warmed her like none of her girl friends could even if they wanted to.

"I brought you something," he said with shining eyes. Pretty shining eyes.

"Chocolate!" she squealed, accepting his gift with hungry hands.

He laughed at her eagerness and she scowled unconvincingly, nibbling on her candy.

"You're evil," she accused.

"Probably. But you like it."

"Too much I think," she confessed, and he thought she was kidding.

--

IV.

Two weeks and the seal was still in place.

It was hot and humid. Too much so to be outside.

Kagome was in her room with sweat-sticky skin and windows wide open to let in the breeze. Hojo was over again because being there was what he did best.

With glazed eyes she stared at the wall, calm and content. She yawned and playfully kicked at Hojo's sock-covered feet with her own bare ones, clinging a bit closer to his side like he'd disappear if she didn't. He smiled that nice smile that warmed her insides and tightened his hold on her.

Averting her gaze with a blush, she sucked messily on a stick of pocky. Now, instead of therapeutic sandals and rheumatism ointment, he brought her pocky and a volume of her favorite girly romance manga.

And she was horribly dressed too, wearing that one pair of 'too short' shorts that every girl has and that old flash-dance sweatshirt that never gets thrown away. But she was completely comfortable anyway, although she wouldn't even think of dressing similarly in anyone else's company.

It was a completely new feeling and she loved every second of it, but it was odd at the same time. She felt like she'd been ripped out of her own body and shoved into a different one. But whoever this new person was, Kagome wanted to be her.

She wasn't five hundred years in the past, working to save the future. She wasn't running for her life from an irritated sixty-foot millipede. She wasn't doing anything crucial to the world's survival or making an enormous difference. She wasn't trying to eliminate evil.

And it was nice.

"Hojo?" she whispered meekly.

"Yeah?"

"I think I'm… happy."

He smiled.

--

V.

Two and a half weeks and the weather was chilly again.

Kagome stood in the breeze, shivering under her sweater, waiting for Hojo to arrive. He wasn't late, he never was. Instead, she was early.

"Kagome," she heard from behind her, and knew the voice instantly.

And then in a second she fell into herself again, reincarnated priestess from five hundred years past, born with the Jewel of Four Souls buried in her body. It hurt, a sharp pain deep in her stomach, a nagging reminder of everything she couldn't have.

"Inuyasha," she acknowledged in a small voice, fearing that if she moved the pain would rip her apart from the inside.

"We need you," he admitted flat out and she could smell his blood on the breeze.

"I know," she answered, because she did. She had a duty – Kagome Higurashi had a duty.

"Look," he said after a while, "I'm sorry I sealed the well, but –"

"It's ok," she turned to him with a smile and watery eyes that hid nothing, "Let's go."

He was confused and it showed, but he wasn't going to fight when he'd got what he wanted.

"Higurashi!"

And her insides flopped inside out again, "Hojo…" she whispered under her breath.

He bounded up to them, eyebrows furrowed, "Higurashi, who is this? …Where are you going?"

"To save the world," she said with underlying sadness, meeting his eyes with confidence.

"Okay," he said softly. He understood. She didn't know how but he understood.

She walked over to Hojo, ignoring Inuyasha's overbearing presence. Laying a hand on his cheek, she smiled, "I'll come back, you know."

"Promise?" he asked, with a half-smirk.

"Pinky swear," she answered with a laugh, and kissed him.

And then she was gone like a note on the breeze. But still, he smiled. She was coming back.

He couldn't believe it.

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The End.