The timeline utilized in this fanfiction is used only in order to establish a context, nothing else.
Note: I Want to thank first than nothing to Mujitsu, my beta-reader. She's been excellent to me and her help has been invaluable in order to make this fic decent. She's a great writer as well, check her work at mediaminer dot org (Everyone should use beta-readers, they really improve one's writing!)
I don't own Inuyasha. This is for entertainment purposes. I'm not making money out of this.
A stroke of time
Summary: Kagome finds out something devastating that takes away her wishes to return to the Sengoku Jidai. Meanwhile, her mysterious decision brings unsuspected opportunities for Sango and Inuyasha.
Chapter one: Only for six months
The Sengoku Jidai, 1599 AC.
"It's always the same! You're only looking for an excuse to leave!"
Inuyasha stomped his foot furiously as he clenched his fists in frustration. Kagome rubbed her hand over her face, the exasperation she felt making it very difficult to keep herself from sitting him.
"I already told you! I have to go Inuyasha! I am not asking for your consent and there is no point of discussion. I-am-leaving-and-that's-it!" She said the last words with a long pause between them, as if by doing so, her decision would be clear. Unfortunately, she forgot it was Inuyasha she was talking to.
"You're not leaving, stupid wench! You'll stay!" Inuyasha ran toward the well and climbed on top of it, shelling its mouth with his body, a stubborn pout upon his face.
Kagome sighed deeply and left her big, yellow bag drop to the ground. She could see her own reflection on his deep dark eyes and the sunrays made his black hair shine with strokes of blue. Behind them Sango and Shippo were quietly watching the scene. They didn't want Kagome to leave either, especially in that moment, but they understood how important it was for her to return to her era.
"Look Inuyasha, if I don't go back, then I won't be able to go to college, I know it mustn't mean much for you but for me and my family it's very, very important," --the miko ignored the young man's keh-- "and if I don't improve my grades and make up for all my other low scores from the past years, then I won't be able to accomplish my dream, and please, don't make that face, going to college has always been my dream."
The young man didn't appear convinced in the least by Kagome's speech for he refused to move an inch from his position. Kagome reached then for his hand and held it tenderly between hers. It still amazed her to find his long claws gone, or to gaze into his eyes and not to see that piercing feral look but two obscure orbs staring back.
"Please, Inuyasha, don't you want me to be happy? I wouldn't be happy if I didn't accomplish that dream," she said with all the sincerity she could muster and hoped he could sense it.
"How long would you be gone?" he asked in a low, resigned tone.
"Six months bu—"
"Six months! That's too much Kagome-chan! I didn't think you'd be gone that long!"
This time it was Sango who expressed her inconformity and it seemingly matched Inuyasha's, for he retired his hand from Kagome's and held onto the wooden edges even stronger. Shippo jumped on Kagome's arms.
"Kagome, why so long? Don't you want to be with us anymore?"
The teenager could feel menacing tears stinging her eyes, but she refused to cry anymore, not after they had cried so much. It was hard to believe it had been already three years since the first time she came out of the well, and all the things that happened after that.
"Please, understand, it's not that, I love you all guys and I don't want to leave any of you," she caressed Shippo's head and then left him on the ground, "but I must study for the national exam, or better said, Test of the National Center for University Entrance Examination," she rolled her eyes as she repeated the name that had been torturing her for the past year. "It is really difficult and only the most prepared students will approve and… and I can't fail my mother and myself."
There was a long silence until Inuyasha spoke as he combed his hair behind his now, human ear. "Will you visit us?"
"Oh, Inuyasha, I wish I could but I will be doing extra curricular activities every single day, even weekends, and then I'll have to assist to a Juku after school and probably I will gather a study group that will keep me busy forever… but you can visit me, if you want. I… I'd like that, very much."
"Only six months?" The black haired human said and Kagome nodded, drawing a smile over her face.
Reluctantly, Inuyasha moved from the well and went to stand next to Sango who, limping slightly, had moved closer to bid farewell to her friend. Kirara brushed her tails against Kagome's legs and mewed languidly, receiving in reward, a caring scratch on her head.
"Well, I guess that's it, I'm really gonna miss you guys, please, take care of Kaede-baachan."
"Don't worry Kagome, now that Naraku's gone she will surely have a more peaceful life," answered Sango as she approached Kagome and embraced her tightly, being careful to not hurt her own, broken arm.
"Be strong, my friend," Kagome whispered, so only Sango would hear. "That's what Miroku would have wanted."
"Y—yes… I know." Sango's voice shook with emotion. "I'll miss you very much Kagome-chan, come back to us."
"I will, Sango, and please, keep Inuyasha out of trouble, alright?"
The girl nodded and stepped back. Next, Shippo was picked from the floor again and embraced as well; the kitsune started crying but Kagome cleaned his tears, promising him lots of chocolate when she returned. It seemed to cheer him up, though just a bit.
Finally, Kagome picked her bag and hung it over her shoulder, but Inuyasha just stood there in silence, not making any attempt to speak.
"Well… won't you say anything to me before I go?" said Kagome.
Sango cleared her throat. "Er… I'll… um… go back to the village and help Kaede-baachan with the meal, I really need to learn how to cook, you know, now that we won't have any more instant ramen for a while. Come with me, Shippo, Kirara."
And so they were gone, leaving Kagome and Inuyasha alone. The girl gave a silent thanks to her friend for giving them some privacy before turning her attention to Inuyasha.
"Time will fly, you'll see, I'll be back before you know it."
"You'll be alright."
"Please, Inuyasha, don't be this way, I need you to support me on this!" Kagome was losing patience again. How could he, among all people, make her lose her temper with only a couple of words?
"Ok, Kagome, want my support? Fine, go to your stupid era and do your stupid whatever it is, I hope you do real fucking great!"
"Oy! Inuyasha! Osuwari!"
Dirt was splattered around as face meet ground and it stayed there for a larger amount of time than it used to. Inuyasha finally stood up but couldn't help the groan that escaped his bloody lip. Kagome was at his side in a moment. A human couldn't take the force of an osuwari as well as a hanyou.
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry, Inuyasha, I forgot! Are you okay? Did I hurt you?"
"Let go of me!" He refused her attemps to help him up and sat with his legs folded instead, cleaning his broken lip with the sleeve of his haori. He remained quiet for some time and Kagome didn't dare say anything else; she felt awful for hurting him.
Suddenly, without thinking about it and before he could react, she reached for his neck and removed his nenjo.
"Wha--? What are you doing?"
"You won't need this anymore, and I don't want to hurt you again. I should have done it a long time ago." She tensed the nenjo and a dozen of beads broke free, spilling around them in a cascade.
She gazed at his face, expecting him to be happy to be released, even maybe a little grateful, but she certainly didn't expect what came next. Inuyasha stood up, a hurt look in his eyes.
"That's why you leave, isn't it?"
"What? What do you mean?"
"You leave because you can't stand me anymore! Because now I'm weak! Nothing but a weak human!"
"What are you talking about? Inuyasha, I don't care if you are hanyou, youkai or human! You know that!
He was going to retort, how couldn't he? Yet he was at a loss for words. All he wanted to do was to crawl under a rock and hide there forever, so no one would see the weakling, defenseless being he had become, especially Kagome, but all those thoughts left his head at once as he felt two arms wrapping him in a strong hug. He felt Kagome's small frame against him and cursed himself for not being able to smell her scent, but anyway he hugged her back, feeling his heart racing inside his chest.
"I'll miss you, Inuyasha."
"I—I'll miss you too."
Kagome felt the weight being eased from her shoulder as Inuyasha took her bag from her and hung it over his own.
"I better come with you, this thing is too heavy for you."
"Thanks," she said with a smile, deciding against commenting that now, the bag was as heavy for him as it was for her.
Seconds later they found themselves on the other side and this time Inuyasha found much more difficult the task to climb up, not being able to jump. He cursed his fate again.
Soon they were in the little shrine that surrounded the well and once again, unable to speak.
"You wanna come in?" she asked after some moments.
"No… maybe in another occasion." What if her family asked what happened to his white hair and dog ears? He wasn't ready to answer those questions.
"Well… I guess that's it," she said.
Kagome hugged him again and he responded, then out of nowhere, Inuyasha felt something soft and warm against his lips and a second too late he realized Kagome had just kissed him. She smiled timidly at him and he felt his insides melt all together with a painful throb as she separated from him.
"Be good," she said playfully and Inuyasha found himself smiling. Kagome was about to leave when she felt the urge to say something else.
"Stay in the village, alright? Please, don't go around alone, at least have Sango go with you."
For a second, Kagome saw the feral look return to his face. "I knew it! You think of me as weak, as useless! I don't want your pity Kagome! I don't need anything from any one! I never have and I never will!
How had they gotten back to this point?
"Shut up, Inuyasha! You're talking nonsense! Oy, I wish I could sit you right now!"
"But you can't, stupid wench, and now stay in your stinky world but don't think I'll be around waiting for you to return! Stay and go to your stupid college!"
And with those final words, Inuyasha turned his back to her and jumped down the well.
"Baka!" she shouted after him and then shook her head. He would cool down later and in no time he would be visiting her and playing with Buyo. No doubt about that.
With those thoughts in mind, Kagome headed home, longing for a nice, hot bath.
-Juku: A cram school Japanese students attend for extra classes in order to improve their grades.
-Nenjo: Inuyasha's beaded collar.