Carol Of The Bells

By AriznGlori

A/N: Hark! This is a winter romance story, with a little (as in "almost not there") bit of humor. It is my Kurisumasu-purezento to you- as said in Japan. Well, even with my limited knowledge of Japan and an inter-linguistic dictionary in my face, I will attempt to weave a tale to make you happy for Christmas. This story will take priority for December over Blood Of The Heart and Special Effects.

Kankaku No Nai

It was very cold outside as Kagome hiked out of the well on the rope ladder, her huge pack strapped to her back like always. Kagome couldn't feel it, though. She was far too numb for a chilly breeze in the hut of the Bone-Eater's Well.

Stupid girl! So stupid! a voice in her head screamed. How could you do it? You knew the outcome all along, and you went through with it. If you had just kept your mouth shut, then nothing like this would have happened!

"I know," she whispered to herself, tears welling in her eyes as she threw her backpack on the ground. "I knew it would happen… I did know…"

She felt a burning in her throat and a shortness of breath. Her hot tears brimmed in her eyes, hanging by the ends of her long lashes, preparing to fall like fiery rain upon the bitter, uncaring ground, cold as ice as winter fell.

Long arms of chilly air were embracing the city at that very moment, and she couldn't feel it, didn't want to; sank into a dark, warm pit in the confines of her being, and mentally, she wept.

"Inuyasha…" she whispered softy to herself, not seeing her breath before her face through the blinding tears. "What will I do now?"

She didn't know how she did it, or when even, but somehow she had wandered, with her loaded pack, to the bright and cheery warmth of her home as the gray sky poured forth in freezing torrents a rain of ice to blanket the world.

Wandering through the house, she made her way upstairs, not bothering to remove her shoes at the front door like usual, but continuing to her room. Absently, she let her pack fall to the floor, and she habitually grabbed her warmest, softest pair of pajamas and went downstairs to the bathroom.

Opening the door and entering before Souta was able to beat her, Kagome grabbed a towel before locking herself in the white-tiled room. Bitterly she turned the faucet of the tub, not realizing it, still crying in her mental sanctuary. Why did I do it?

When the tub was full of steaming water and bubbles, she tied her hair up, slipped out of her dirty clothes, and stepped carelessly into the bath, the second one for her that day, since the hot springs with Sango... Sinking down in that blissfully burning water, she shut her eyes, her dams of sheer willpower shattering as the lachrymose reservoirs poured forth down her cheeks, unchecked, unnoticed.

The world was steam before her, and she knew nothing of what was happening, except that she held back too long, far too long. She took a deep, shuddering breath, and upon exhaling, wept loudly in the silent white sterility of the unforgiving room, the cruel walls taunting her, mimicking her cries.

"Why dammit, why?! Why?! Why did I do it?!"

--Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells,

All seem to say, "Throw cares away!"--

"Why did I let her go?" Inuyasha roared at himself, mentally kicking himself. "Dammit, I let her go away!"

He blew off some steam as he stormed through the woods, punching down random trees until he made it to the well. He stopped when he reached its wooden mouth, jutting up from the ground like a dark chimney from the depths of the world. He sighed, running a hand through his silver hair.

Inuyasha gazed hatefully at the dark depths, at the gleaming bones at the bottom, and he leaned over to stare in deeper when he was kicked in the butt by a certain little fox tyke who just learned how to mask his scent. He yelped in surprise.

"Ha ha ha! I got you, Inuyasha!" The kitsune giggled, laughing and rolling around while Inuyasha, red in the face at being caught off guard by a child, rubbed his sore butt.

"Damn you, Shippo," Inuyasha growled, "if Kagome didn't like you so much I'd rip your cotton-ball of an ass into fluffy little pieces and give them to Sesshomaru!"

"Jeez, I get the point! No need to get literal," the kitsune pouted, crossing his arms and wagging his tale in a huff. "It's not like I don't know what's going on here."

Inuyasha blinked in surprise, for the second time in five minutes. He really didn't like it. "Y-you do?"

"Well, duh! I mean, it's so obvious," Shippo said with a shrug and a cocky grin. "You somehow screwed up again, pissed Kagome off, and she went home, right about to cry. But, when I saw her, she was practically balling! She stopped for a little bit, but when she went down the well…I could smell the salt…"

"She was crying?!" Inuyasha wailed. "Oh Kami-sama! What in the seven hells have I done?!" He dug his claws into his scalp in frustration, rivers of black blood flowing down his face. "Oh… no…Dammit!" He kicked the well as hard as he could, but its magical qualities were unaffected by his strength, and his foot throbbed painfully. "DAMMIT!"

"Wow. You're really worked up over this."

"It's not like the other times, though!"

"How?"

"It's…- I can't…- Well…- It's complicated!" Inuyasha huffed, a guilty ached on his chest. I have to get her back here…The jewel shards… We need Kagome…I need…

"I'm going to go get her, Shippo."

"Like always? Don't hit me! What I mean to say is: Good. You'd better hurry, Inuyasha. It looks like snow." Shippo pointed at the iron gray sky. Inuyasha smiled, and gave the kitsune a noogie.

"Thanks Shippo." Then, in a blur of red and silver, he disappeared into the depths of the well, and vanished from Sengoku-jidai into the mists of Time.

--Christmas is here, bringing good cheer,

To young and old, meek and the bold!--

Kagome finally realized what was going on when her mother knocked on the door. "Kagome honey?"

"Yes, mom?"

"Are you okay?" her mother asked in a worried voice.

"Y-yes mom. I-I'm fine…"

"Well, can Souta use the toilet? We only have one bathroom, you know."

"O-okay…" Kagome got up, hopped over to the door, unlocked it, and then hopped back into the warm tub. She pulled shut the shower curtain, and Souta came in, did his business, washed his hands, and left. Kagome sighed again, and began to clean herself as fast as she could, for the water was losing its warmth, giving it up to the air.

As she bathed, she felt her pain wash away briefly, until this scene recalled a memory of what happened, exactly five hundred years ago.

--Ding dong ding dong! That is their song!

Ring, joyful ring! All caroling!--

"Ah, this feels so nice," Kagome said with a smile as she slid into the warm waters of the spring outside the village. "Sango, when was the last time it was so cold out? Do you remember?"

"Wasn't it last winter?" Sango said, giving Kagome one of those are you stupid looks.

"Really? Winter's coming so fast?" Kagome raised her eyebrows in surprise. "I thought it wasn't for another week!"

"No Kagome, you idiot!" Sango laughed at her, splashing water. "The solstice is today, you know." Sango peered up at the clouds. "It looks like about…two more hours left until night falls…"

"Really?" Kagome swam over to their pile of clothes, and peered at a watch she had recently been given by Hojo. "But it's only…three o'clock…"

"Well, then it's about an hour less…"

"Ah… I need to go talk to Inuyasha about…something…" Kagome replied, seeing Sango eye a gold glint from her clothes-pile. Kagome got out of the hot spring into the cold air, dried off with a towel, and pulled her clothes on as fast as she could. Grabbing a small, brightly wrapped parcel now uncovered, she hurried off towards the location she knew Inuyasha was usually at.

Unfortunately, he wasn't in the Goshimboku, so she now had to go and hunt him down. "He's never around when I want to find him…"

But, because of the high location of the woods and the well over the village, it was easy for her to spot the silver shine of his hair, disappearing into Kaede's hut. Kagome ran toward the village.

Drawing up to the hut, she saw Kaede leave, shaking her head and muttering about "thieving hanyous" quite loudly. "Honestly," she ranted in her old voice, "ye would think he could just hunt or something…"

Then Inuyasha shot from the hut's entrance, and the smell of roasting chicken filled Kagome's nostrils. He stole Kaede's dinner, the bastard!

The hanyou didn't seem to see her; he was too focused on something else. He leapt over rooftops, away towards the forest. Kagome grabbed the handle-bars of her pink bicycle, which rested against Kaede's hut, and she put the parcel in the basket, and raced along after the flying demon.

On and on he led her, up hills and over creeks, until the only way Kagome could follow was on foot. She took the parcel, not risking that bandits might come through and take it.

"Where does he think he's going?" Kagome grumbled irritably, but, knowing Inuyasha, it might just be an afternoon run. But it wasn't.

Watching the red and silver blur fly onwards overhead, Kagome trailed beneath the canopy of the forest, until she came to a clearing, by a large tunnel-like cave opening. And lo-and-behold, there stood Kikyo, dead eyes on the flying youth, and as he landed, she embraced him passionately, and him likewise, at least to Kagome's eyes. She stood there, on the edge of the field, watching as Kikyo took Inuyasha's face in her hands and kissedhim softly. "Kikyo, I brought some food…"

"I have a fire going in the cave," Kikyo said softly, with a smile Kagome knew was both beautiful and enchanting to the hanyou. But it wasn't a spell. It was just a smile, and Kagome could tell, and Inuyasha smiled back, although it was soft, and he walked with her towards the cave, an arm around the dead miko.

"Inuyasha…" Kagome whispered, a tear falling to the ground. She saw his ear turn towards her, and the golden flicker of his eyesflash to her, and she froze in that amber gaze, and she spoke what she knew, for a very long time.

"But I thought…We…I love you…." She couldn't stop herself, and she was still frozen. The parcel, red with a bright golden bow, fell from her hands, and tumbled into the clearing. Inuyasha watched, and his eyes widened.

"W-what did you say…?" But Kagome couldn't bear to repeat it. She had already given up those words.

"Do you…me too?" Kagome asked, more tears sliding soundlessly down her face. She watched him, watched his shocked face, his wide golden eyes, his mouth openly slightly, as if about to speak. But it seemed that now he was frozen; he just stood there, rigid, unmoving, unhearing, unfeeling.

She doubted he even saw her.

In a flurry of tears, she turned tail and ran, crying the whole way, back until she grabbed her bike, rode into the village, picked up her bag, and disappeared down the well, and wound up here, in the bath tub.

Kagome sighed, put her hands over her face, and massaged her temples. It was such a bad day…

--One seems to hear words of good cheer,

From everywhere, filling the air--

Inuyasha emerged in the all-too-familiar hut of the Bone-eater's Well, leaping effortlessly from the empty dark shaft to the dirt floor. It was very, very cold out; he could see his breath, misting in front of his face. He sighed, watched the mist blow, and saw Kagome's face in it.

In a frantic start, he swiped at the warm cloud, and it shredded, dissipating before his golden eyes, which he rubbed to get whatever was messing up his vision out.

"Kagome…Damn girl…making me worry…"

Inuyasha walked slowly up the stairs to the hut's door. Sliding it open, he was met with a blast of icy air. He reluctantly stepped out into the raging snow storm that was freezing the future, and into a record-breaking two feet of glistening snow.

A light on a tall post was on, illuminating the grounds of the large paved temple complex. Snow fell in thick clumps from the sky, and they fogged the light. If Inuyasha couldn't smell Kagome's sweet scent and warm house, he probably would have gotten lost.

Slowly, he trudged towards the brilliantly lit house, the lights in the windows drawing slowly nearer.

--Oh, how they pound, raising the sound,

O'er hill and dale, telling their tale!--

Kagome pulled herself out of the tub, very slowly; if she moved too fast, she felt a blood rush to her head and a vomiting sensation. Stepping out, drying with a warm, fluffy towel, she felt a little better, a little less stressed, until she had another thought: what happens if she goes back? Would Inuyasha come an get her like always? Or would he leave her in the present…?

Balling her fist, Kagome told herself in a very angry tone: "Don't worry. Stop freaking out. Things will go now as they should. Fate wouldn't do me in like this."

Breathing hard, she forced herself to move fast, pulling on her soft pajamas, and slipping into a pair of fluffy slippers. She was now prepared to go on her mission: grab the scoop, a bucket of ice cream, some hot cocoa, and the remote. Judging from the snow falling she saw out the bathroom's privacy window, there probably wouldn't be school tomorrow. Okay, now she had to go get the saddest romance movie she had and pop it in the VCR.

Going about all that, Mrs. Higurashi stared at her daughter in wonder, her motherly instincts screaming BOY TROUBLE ALERT! when Kagome grabbed both Titanic and Bram Stoker's Dracula, in which both movies the main love-interest dies.

"Kagome honey?"

"Yes mom?"

"Are there any problems with Inuyasha or Miroku I should know about?"

"N-no…Miroku has Sango, and Inuyasha has…somebody… I have my own love-interest…"

"So you're over Inuyasha?"

"Y-yes, you could say that…"

"Will you be staying home more often?"

"I don't know. Shush! The title just came on…" Sure enough, the bold white word TITANIC appeared before a watery ocean-background on the TV screen, sad solovoice in the background and all.

Mrs. Higurashi sighed, shook her head, and proceeded to drag Souta, kicking and screaming, to his room to tuck him in.

Kagome, meanwhile, dug into the vat of mint-chocolate-chip, and scowled at Rose Duindicator, who was currently complaining about feeling trapped in the high-society life of the first class.

--Gaily they ring, while people sing

Songs of good cheer; Christmas is here--

Inuyasha stood there, under the eaves which sheltered the front door. On it was a lone green wreath, with a red bow with Merry Christmas written across it in golden stitching. It reminded the hanyou of a certain pretty parcel he picked up in the forest while following Kagome back.

Absently he pulled it out of his pocket, and held it gently, so as not to cut it open, for a tag on it read, in Kagome's delicate handwriting, Inuyasha, open this when I bring you all over for a very special holiday!

His gaze lifted up to the brass door knob. He twisted it gently, but it was locked. Sighing, his raised his fist to knock, a light red stain of guilt and shame flushing his face, and his ears lowered in humiliation. It's like I'm following her home, like some mutt off the street…What will she do…?

And so, with his stomach a lead weight, he raised his hand and knocked on the door.

--Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas,

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!--

Kagome sighed when she heard a knock at the font door. She glared at the window, but it didn't show the front door; but flying in the wind were strands of morphing silver, blowing with the wind, glittering in the light of the lamp pole. She froze, pausing the movie, and stared outside. The knock continued.

Standing up cautiously, walking like her mother, Kagome came to the door, and, muffling her voice asked "Yes?"

"Mrs. Higurashi?" came Inuyasha's voice, polite, timid. "I need to speak with your daughter…"

"My daughter? Why"

"W-well…She saw…something…and I need to apologize and explain it to her."

"Oh, okay. Let me get her. Kagome!"

Regular voice: "YES?"

Fake voice: "Inuyasha is here!"

Real voice: "Okay!" Then she opened the door, and stared at Inuyasha, right into his sorrowful golden eyes. "You wanted to talk?"

"Y-yes," the hanyou said with guilt, lowering his head. "I.. Well… I'm sorry you took what I did in the wrong way. It wasn't what it looked like, honest!"

"Honest? What exactly do you think I thought, Inuyasha?" Kagome pursed her looks and put her hands on her pajama-covered hips.

"Um, something bad?" Inuyasha pointed out.

"For once, you're right," Kagome muttered. "Good guess, anyway. Now leave me alone and let me get back to my movie."

"NO!" Inuyasha growled, blocking the door from slamming. "I've gone through too much damned trouble for you. Now you can sit down and listen or I'll make you. Got it?" A little bit harsher than he thought it would be it sounded good in his head, anyways.

"SIT!" SLAM! Right on bare cement, too…

"Ouch…" Inuyasha squeaked. "My larynx…"

"How do you know what a larynx is…?" Kagome asked in shock.

"Your spell books aren't that hard to read and figure out…"

"Try getting graded for it."

"For reading? Is this what all your tests are for?" Inuyasha asked, standing up. "Why don't you just come back to my time?"

"Because your time doesn't have electricity, and it's barbaric, and dangerous, and…and… People there are ugly!"

"Boy! Sango's gonna love you!"

"Wait! Why don't you… come inside…?" Kagome beckoned.

"Will your mother mind?" Inuyasha asked with a smirk, and Kagome knew then that he wasn't fooled by her act earlier.

"Of course not. You're Inuyasha, and I have the 'S' word."

"Well…that's unfair…"

"Not …not really… What were you doing over with…Kikyo…?" Kagome asked, somewhat timidly.

"Oh, that," Inuyasha said with a casual toss of his hair. "I just brought her some dinner, and she told me that she would… die happy…"

"You realize she would probably have hypnotized you again and tried to drag you to hell?" Kagome viciously pointed out. "You're such a bastard, Inuyasha!" She turned around, giving him the cold shoulder.

"Look at me Kagome!" She reluctantly did."I know! I'm sorry I hurt your feelings! I heard what you said in the glade! I heard what you whispered! It was the same thing I said to Kikyo before I fell asleep, when she hit me with that arrow! Do you know that?!"

"N-no…"

"Well then, you obviously don't want to come back.I did what I came to do. I'm sorry.Good bye." He dropped the red parcel on the floor, turned heel, and left, shutting the door behind him.

--On now they send, On without end,

Their joyful tone, to every home!--

"He apologized…" A single tear, shining like a pure diamond, slid quickly down the side of her gently smiling face, and plummeted to the floor, shattering into a thousand glittering droplets.

"Inuyasha…"

End Of Chapter One

A/N: Will you review this and tell me how good I'm doing? I'll have the second chapter up on the 24th! Merry Christmas all! ("Kankaku No Nai"- emotionally frozen.) Read Blood of the Heart and Special Effects! Those are my two other stories! Kind criticism is promoted!