Konnichiwa, minna! It's been a bit of time, I know, but I think I've been pretty good this summer about updating. I mean, I'm working on three other stories at the same time plus everything else I do in the real world. Aaaaaanyways, here's the next chapter.
Disclaimer: And there you've gone and reminded me again that I don't own Inuyasha. Thanks, guys. –sticks tongue out-
Kagome and Kouga spent almost entirely the next two days together. Inuyasha holed himself in his study, refusing to let anyone else enter.
He leaned back in his chair, growling. A stack of papers sat on the desk in front of him and he held two papers in his hand. The shades of his window were drawn, and the light was dark and sinister. It was a wonder he could read the papers at all, and it was a rare occasion that Inuyasha was thankful for his demon abilities. "Why does she look like her?" he wondered aloud. He crumpled up the pages in his hand as he made a fist. "They look identical!" His thoughts of Kagome and Kikuyo drifted over to focus solely on Kagome. Kagome… What with the recent events, it was inevitable that the image of her face would be accompanied by that of a certain young lord. Kagome and that damned guy…whatshisface…she's ALWAYS with him… He crumpled the papers further in his frustration. And why do I care if she's with whatshisname, anyway? Inuyasha just could not figure his emotions out. She's nothing to me! Nothing! Except that she looks exactly like Kikuyo… Something in his heart knew, however, that Kagome was not Kikuyo at all. But it was a tempting proposition, with Kagome in such easy reach. Inuyasha frowned and placed the crumpled ball of paper onto the desk and relaxed his hand, letting his arm fall loosely to his side. I'm missing something here… But he lost his train of thought to an irritating image of Kagome in Kouga's arms.
In the bright sunshine of the garden, Kagome walked hand in hand with Kouga. "I'm glad you came, Kouga. I've missed you."
Kouga smiled at Kagome. "I've missed you more."
"So, what happened to university?" Kagome asked casually.
Kouga's eyes opened wide and he gasped. "University! I completely forgot!"
Kagome gave him a strange look. "Forgot?"
Kouga smiled sheepishly, "I was so caught up in trying to find you that I completely forgot about University. I should be back by now."
"How long will it take you to get back?"
Kouga shrugged, "Four days, if I ride nonstop. I'm already a little late. What's one more day going to do? I'll leave tomorrow morning."
Kagome nodded. "Ok. I hope you do not get into too much trouble on my account…" She looked down somewhat apologetically.
Kouga pulled her into an embrace and kissed her hair. "I would never care if I got into trouble because I was with you, Kagome, know that." He bent her head back and caught her lips in a gentle kiss. "I love you."
Kagome smiled, "I love you, too."
Kouga did not pull away, but stroked Kagome's hair as he asked, "Tell me about this…Lord Inuyasha."
Kagome frowned. "He has not made any move on me if that is what you are implying, Kouga."
"That's not what I was asking. How does he treat you?"
It was Kagome's turn to shrug. "Well enough. I have a nice bedroom, a warm bath, servants to tend to me, and very good food everyday. Other than that, I either read in the library or go into town and try to find clues about either his Kikuyo or my Kikyou."
"You do not spend time with him, then?"
Kagome shook her head. "Breakfast and dinner I spend with him everyday, and most days lunch, but not always. He is in his study all day long, and he prefers that I do not disturb him, so I stay clear."
"Ah, I assume that is where he has been the last few days?"
Kagome nodded, "Most likely. He sits in there all day at his desk with the blinds drawn. He's an interesting character. A good person, though."
"Except when he's constantly insulting you," Kouga muttered.
"He doesn't insult me all that much," Kagome insisted. "Honestly, I don't even mind that much anymore. He does not mean most of what he says, I have learned."
Kouga frowned slightly. "What does he do in that study all day?"
Kagome shrugged again delicately. "Who knows? All I saw were piles and piles of papers. I have no idea what else is in there, I have never been in there."
"Why did he kidnap you here in the first place?"
Kagome looked up at Kouga. "I told you already. He is after that sorceress, Kikuyo, remember? Apparently I look exactly like her, and he wanted to investigate, so he kidnapped me. He offered to let me go after he confirmed I was not Kikuyo."
"And you never stopped to think that maybe it's a little strange he is looking for someone that looks exactly like you? What if he is actually holding you here without you knowing because he thinks you are Kikuyo?"
Kagome chuckled. "I am free to go whenever, so he cannot be holding me here."
"What did he say when you went home?"
Kagome looked towards the manor. "He…" She looked back at Kouga in slight surprise. "He made a bit of a fuss. He said he didn't trust me to come back, and did not want me to leave at all."
"Why do you think?" Kouga challenged.
Kagome replied at once, "Because he does not trust me to return."
"And why would he want you to return? Because he thinks you are Kikuyo, or at least connected somehow," Kouga finished triumphantly.
Kagome thought over his argument for a moment silently. "That…makes some sense…I suppose," she said, not fully convinced.
Kouga loosened his hold on her and held her at arm's length. "I think you should investigate his study. Just poke around to make sure he definitely does not think you are Kikuyo. If he does, you may never be able to come home, Kagome!"
The look in Kouga's eyes surprised Kagome and she nodded at last. "Alright, I'll look, just to confirm. Do not fear; I will come home eventually. I would never leave you behind. I love you." She stood on her tiptoes, wrapping her arms around his neck for balance, and kissed him.
Kouga returned the gesture with more fervor, tangling his fingers into her long ebony hair.
After a few minutes, they pulled apart gasping for air. Kouga took Kagome's hand and they walked off.
The next day, Kagome awoke to find Kouga preparing to leave. "You were not going to wake me?" she demanded playfully.
Kouga chuckled, "Oops, you caught me."
Kagome frowned in jest. "Leaving right now?"
Kouga nodded solemnly. He opened her arms wide and took a step forward. Kagome nearly ran forward and met him in an embrace in the hallway. Kouga swept Kagome off her feet and pulled her as close to his body as he could. Setting her down, but not letting go, he buried his face in her hair. "I'll miss you so much, Kagome."
Kagome hid her face in his shoulder, "Not half as much as I'll miss you."
Kouga moved his lips from Kagome's hair to her lips. "I love you," he whispered against her lips.
Kagome smiled. "I love you, too," she mouthed. She deepened the kiss somewhat unexpectedly, but Kouga returned the gesture eagerly at once. His fingers once again became tangled in her hair and her arms grasped his neck tightly.
Inuyasha started down the steps, but froze near the top as he spotted the lovers kissing in the hallway below. "Feh," he muttered, making no effort to conceal his presence, but preferring not to watch the show before him.
Kagome and Kouga pulled apart, and Kouga held Kagome close again. They stood like this until Inuyasha had reached the bottom of the stairs. "Ahem," Inuyasha cleared his throat loudly.
Kagome and Kouga leapt apart, blushing. "Uh…G-good morning, Inuyasha."
Inuyasha smirked and walked into the dining hall, feeling proud that he had broken up their lovefest.
Kouga looked out the open door. "I should get going, Kagome. I'll see you again soon?"
Kagome smiled, "Whatever Inuyasha says, come whenever you want. I'll try to visit you soon. Have a safe trip. I love you." She kissed Kouga chastely on the lips.
Kouga smiled. "I will visit then. Goodbye for now. I love you, Kagome, my love. Give Lord Inuyasha my gratitude for his hospitality."
"I will. Oh, and remember, we all live in secret down here."
Kouga winked, "Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. Goodbye, my love."
"Goodbye, Kouga! I'll miss you! I love you!" Kagome waved as Kouga walked out to mount his horse.
Kouga finally seated himself comfortably in his saddle and turned his horse around to wave back at Kagome. "Goodbye! Love you too!" He galloped off towards the north.
Kagome watched with a sense of loneliness, waving until she could no longer see her lover.
Kagome joined Inuyasha in the dining room and sat down to eat breakfast. "He's gone," Inuyasha sighed in relief.
Kagome frowned. "Why do you hate Kouga so much?"
Inuyasha looked up. "Because…" He searched desperately for an answer that made sense. "As soon as he comes, you spend all your time with him and I get no work done."
"So the only reason you want me here is to help you?"
"Why else?" Inuyasha asked somewhat innocently.
Kagome scowled. "Never mind." She ate in bitter silence and then coldly left the room for her chambers.
Inuyasha stared after her in confusion. What did I say? He shook his head. "Feh. Whatever," he muttered to himself.
Kagome sat on her bed, replaying Kouga's words in her mind. I think you should investigate his study. Just poke around to make sure he definitely does not think you are Kikuyo. She sighed audibly. But…should I? She let herself fall back on the bed and swung her legs absently. Inuyasha's life is his own business, and I am allowed to leave. I am no prisoner. I am here of my own will, what right do I have to ask what Inuyasha does with himself? She sat up, her mind made up. "That was easy," she whispered aloud, pleased with her decision. It was surely the right thing to do. Kouga will not be happy, she thought, amused. Kagome pushed her suspicions about Inuyasha to the far corner of her mind.
She settled back into her daily routine, quite content with the delicate balance of a relationship she and Inuyasha had finally managed to construct. With the occasional spat, of course.
"Pass the salt," Inuyasha demanded moodily.
Kagome frowned and held it out to him. "What's the matter, Inuyasha?"
"Nothing," he muttered.
Kagome sighed. "Something is clearly bothering you. You are not attempting to hide it very well. I ask you again, what's the matter?"
Inuyasha snarled, "I said nothing! Stop badgering me, woman!"
Kagome looked taken aback, though Inuyasha's unpredictable temperament should no longer have been a surprise to her. "Inuyasha," she said sternly, "do not speak to me in that tone of voice. I don't have to be here helping you, but here I am all the same. The least you could do is treat me decently!"
Inuyasha slammed his fist down on the table and the sound of Kagome's small gasp could be heard amongst the loud clinking of the dishes jumping. "Helping me? Some help you're being! We're getting nowhere! No damn where! I'm not damn closer to finding Kikuyo than I was when I fucking started!" He clenched his fist harder and his demon claws began to cut into his skin.
Kagome opened her mouth, about to make a furious retort when her eyes caught Inuyasha's fist slowly turning red. She closed her eyes, counted to ten under her breath, and let out a long breath. "Inuyasha," she began softly. She stood up and walked over to the other side of the table and sat next to the demon lord. Kagome pulled out a white handkerchief with a blue 'KH' sewn in cursive in the corner. She placed her petite hand over his and gently eased his fist open. His palm had been raked by his claws and the shallowly cuts were beginning to bleed. Kagome dipped the corner of her handkerchief into her goblet of water and then laid the cool cloth down on his palm. The blood was soaked up, staining the handkerchief forever pink. "We're making progress, Inuyasha. Don't worry. We'll find her soon. You just need to be patient. Remember, she is a sorceress. She will not be discovered quite so easily."
Inuyasha looked at the woman in wonder. He had never seen her treat him so…lovingly. There was no other word for it, though he adamantly denied the implications of the word. He could not move, could not speak. Her hand caressing his was enough to drain away all of his anger and frustration. He felt at peace. He felt hopeful. When she finally took her hand away, leaving his bare palm clean of blood, he had to hold back a moan. What is this? he wondered, confused and bewildered. He was too at ease to work himself up over the mystery. What is she doing to me?
Kagome folded the cloth daintily and set it down on the table to be washed later. She chanced a look into Inuyasha's golden eyes and found them, to her surprise, wide and vulnerable. Their depths revealed to her his confusion, and pleasure, and she could not hold back her slight smile. She was sure her eyes mirrored his own. She was not sure what had come over her. Never had she felt such a strong urge to comfort the man before him. Maybe because he hadn't really ever broken down before me. She folded her hands in her laps to prevent herself from reaching for his hand again. Silence engulfed them as they found themselves trapped in each other's eyes. At last, Kagome coughed delicately, and Inuyasha snapped out of his reverie. He looked at his fist and closed it quickly.
"Th-thank you," he muttered, cheeks turning pink as he looked away.
Kagome smiled in happy surprise. "You're welcome." She stood up. "I-I'll be returning to my chambers now," she informed him unnecessarily. The only place she went after dinner was her chambers. She tried to offer him an encouraging smile, but the awkward atmosphere made it very difficult.
Inuyasha nodded. "Sleep well," he muttered, almost under his breath, but Kagome caught it anyway.
"You too." She paused in the doorway and whispered almost inaudibly. "Sweet dreams, Inuyasha." She knew his demon ears had picked her words; she did not need to see the confused look on his face.
What is going on? they thought at the same time.
The next morning, Inuyasha ate his breakfast silently, not once looking up at his partner.
Kagome frowned. "Inuyasha?" she ventured at last.
Inuyasha did not respond and did not look up, but his ears swiveled toward her to indicate he was listening.
"Inuyasha, what's the matter this time?" she sighed after a moment, slightly annoyed.
Inuyasha continued to stare at anything but her. "Nothing," he replied shortly.
Kagome shook her head with another sigh and did not speak again.
Lunch was the same way. Inuyasha said nothing and refused to look at her even once. Kagome decided not to even try conversation. She politely finished her meal and excused herself. What's the matter with him? The afternoon wore on and Kagome noticed she had only seen Inuyasha twice that day: at breakfast and at lunch. He's avoiding me! she realized in shock. But why? She shook her head. He was too much of a mystery for her. She continued to sort through papers and posters and flyers, searching for any evidence of Kikuyo. Setting aside a small stack of papers that indicated Kikuyo's presence, but finding nothing that suggested any sign of her sister, Kikyou, Kagome stood up and stretched her arms over her head. Once her joints were a little less stiff, Kagome made her way to the dining hall and sat down. Just as her plate had been set down before her, Inuyasha arrived, looking everywhere in the room except her. Kagome's brow twitched. This was becoming irritating. The servants left for the kitchen and as Inuyasha focused on his dinner, Kagome spoke up. "Inuyasha, what is your problem? You've been avoiding me and ignoring me all day."
Inuyasha did nothing to show he had even heard her.
Kagome scowled. "Inuyasha!"
"What?" he scowled back, finally looking up.
"Stop being immature!" Their moment the night before replayed in her mind and she pursed her lips. "You're being ridiculous. I don't understand what your problem is, but it clearly relates to…last night." She could not find a name for the event, as she was not entirely sure herself what had transpired.
Inuyasha's scowled deepened. "I don't know what you are talking about," he retorted.
Kagome took a deep breath to calm herself down. "You know exactly what I am talking about, Inuyasha. I don't see what's got you so worked up. Nothing happened last night."
Inuyasha glared at her. "Feh."
Kagome lost it. She stood up and pushed her chair in somewhat forcefully. "You are such a child." She turned on her heel and angrily stormed out of the dining room.
Inuyasha watched her leave, once again confused. What did happen last night? He took a sip of his wine. Nothing. What she said. She's right, nothing happened.
But neither Kagome or Inuyasha could deny something had changed between them. Kagome had never felt before such a desire to comfort someone, and Inuyasha had never been so paralyzed in bliss by a single touch.
Kagome lay down on her bed with a sigh and stared up at the ceiling. Maybe Kouga's right. She looked over at her dresser and could see her head in the mirror. Maybe I should look in his study. She sat up and shook her head. Sneaking around was not right. Ladies brought up in high society just did not do things like that. She bit her lip and frowned. Still… She scooted further back so her legs were on the bed, too, and lay back down. I'll wait a little longer. Maybe I'm right after all. She closed her eyes and her breathing evened out. I miss Kouga. I'll go visit him. Her mind made up, Kagome let herself drift off.
The next day, Kagome looked up from her breakfast and took a deep breath. Another argument, she thought wryly. "Inuyasha," she began.
He actually had the courtesy to look at her when she spoke this time. "Yes?"
Kagome let the words tumble out before she could take the time to change her mind. "I want to go visit Kouga for a few days."
Inuyasha frowned, "But he was just here."
Kagome nodded slowly. "I know, but I want to visit him again. I miss him."
Inuyasha scowled. "Who's going to help me then?"
"I won't be gone too long, Inuyasha."
"How do I know that? For all I know, you won't come back and spend the rest of your life with your precious Kouga."
Kagome counted to ten in her head to calm herself down. "I came back when I visited my parents, didn't I? And I'll come back again this time." She thought for a moment. "I'll leave my things here as an assurance. Fair enough?"
"You can just buy new things there," Inuyasha pointed out sulkily.
"Then I might as well bring everything I have now. Be reasonable, Inuyasha. I promise to come back. What more do you want from me? Besides, I am not bound to you or this manor. I can leave if I want to, and if you keep up this attitude, I just might go home." Her threat was empty, but it scared Inuyasha all the same.
"Feh," he muttered. "Fine, go visit Kouga. He's obviously more important to you than your sister is."
Even Inuyasha was surprised by the words that spilled from his mouth. He watched in dismay as shock and then anger played across Kagome's face. "I…I can't believe you would say that, Inuyasha. They are equally important to me. I spend all my time searching for my sister. Once in a while, I deserve the chance to see the man I love." Tears gathered at the corners of her eyes. She stood up angrily.
Inuyasha's eyes widened and he stretched his arm out, trying to clasp her wrist. "W-Wait, Kagome!"
Kagome glared at him with watery eyes. "No, Inuyasha. I am leaving tomorrow. You will just have to be content with my promise to return." With that, she spun around and slipped out, trying hard not to let Inuyasha see her cry.
Inuyasha's outstretched hand fell to the table limply. What if she doesn't come back? You will just have to be content with my promise to return. He sighed and returned his hand to his side. She would come back. She promised! His fists clenched. She would not break a promise. Never. Not his Kagome. Inuyasha froze. My Kagome? He shook his head. He was just tired from all the work he had done that day. He was not thinking straight. It was time to lie down. Yes, slip of my mind due to fatigue. With a nod to himself, he headed to his chambers.
The sun peeked its head over the horizon and sent rays of bright sunshine shooting out across the sky. Slowly it rose, looking down on the still sleeping world and found a young girl watching two servants pack two bags into a carriage. It watched as the girl stared back at the manor hopefully and then in huffy disappointment, climbed into the carriage. The vehicle rumbled away as the sunrise fought back the dark of night.
Kagome crossed her arms and leaned leisurely against the back of the seat. She had hoped that maybe he would come out and see her off. Too much to ask for, she grumbled.
The ride up to the Northern University took five long days. Kagome fidgeted, stared out the window, and slept. It seemed to take an eternity to reach the campus. She pulled a book she had borrowed from Inuyasha's library and settled into the cushions before opening the cover. She delved into the story eagerly. Distracted by the swirling dragons, princesses, knights, and jealous mages, Kagome did not even notice the time fly by until the carriage stopped and she looked up. It was mid-afternoon. Why are we stopping now? The footman opened the door and she closed her book and set it on the seat before stepping out. She recognized the university campus and a grin spread across her face. She was here at last. Kagome nodded at the footman and walked through the gates and onto the university grounds. It was quiet for a bit, but as she went further inside, more and more people appeared. They were all men and they stopped to stare at her curiously. It was rare that a beautiful young woman was in the university alone. Kagome held her head high and her eyes searched only for Kouga, but she was starting to feel uncomfortable. Finally, she walked over to a student sitting by himself. "Excuse me," she greeted politely. "Do you know where I can find Lord Kouga?"
The man shook his head. "No, I'm sorry."
"I do!" a voice exclaimed from behind her.
Kagome spun around in surprise. "You do?"
The brunette smiled. "Sure do. I'm one of Kouga's friends. You are his woman, I presume?"
Kagome flushed pink. "Yes, I am."
The man bowed like a true gentleman. "Then allow me to escort you."
Kagome took his arm with a grateful smile. "Thank you, sir."
He grinned and winked. "Please, call me Manabe."
Kagome bowed her head, "Manabe. I am Kagome."
"I know. Kouga never stops talking about you." He smiled. "He's a lucky man."
Kagome flushed even more pink. "Thank you."
Manabe stopped in front of a small building. "I have to be at a lecture right now and I fear I am already late. Forgive me, but I must go. Kouga is inside. Go inside, turn right, then he is the sixth door on the left down that hallway." He bowed and turned to leave.
"Thank you very much, Lord Manabe."
Manabe smiled over his shoulder. "Manabe is fine. Any friend, or love interest, of Kouga's is a friend of mine."
"But not a love interest," Kagome reminded humourously.
Manabe laughed, "Of course." He hurried off and Kagome turned toward the building. She opened the doors and stepped inside. Immediately, everything seemed to go dark. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the light, but when they did Kagome saw a large entrance hall. Tall windows let in enough light to brighten the room. A soft carpet covered the floor and there were large comfy chairs gathered around a fireplace. A stood in the middle of the circle of chairs, where men were gathered. Kagome timidly made her way to the right hallway when a shout stopped her in her tracks. All eyes turned to her and she could feel her face turning hot.
"Who are you looking for?" a young man with cropped black hair asked flirtatiously.
Kagome swallowed and answered strongly. "Lord Kouga. I know where he is, thank you." She turned to leave, but the men started toward her.
"We could lead you there, miss."
"Yeah," another agreed.
"I get to lead her," a third called out.
The black-haired man leaned close and Kagome could smell the alcohol on his hot breath. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. "My room's right next to his. We could make a quick stop on the way."
Kagome made a sound of exasperation and stepped into the hallway. "No thank you."
Four of the men followed her while the rest watched in amusement. The same man grasped her wrist. "It'll be quick, my dear."
Kagome tried to wrench her arm free, but he was much stronger. "No thank you," she hissed.
The man chuckled and continued to follow her. Kagome tried harder to pull free, but his grip was tight. She counted the doors in her head. The men was murmuring amongst themselves about her. Their words brought a blush to her cheeks and she gritted her teeth. Men can be so disgusting and unrefined. She passed the fifth door and the man stopped. "We're here," he sang.
Kagome sighed and stepped toward the next door down. "Please let go," she requested stiffly.
The man gave her an impish grin and he pulled her into his arms, whispering in her ear, "Come inside." His breath sent shivers down her spine and she fought to free herself. In a last desperate attempt, Kagome stamped her foot down on his and he released her in surprise. He yowled in pain while the other men laughed at him. Kagome took the opportunity to walk to Kouga's door. She felt the hand on her wrist again and, without turning around, said scathingly. "Get your filthy hands off me, you sorry excuse for a lord." She wriggled her arm free and knocked on the door in front of her. Even Inuyasha is better than this! she fumed. As she was rubbing her wrist, the door swung open and Kagome exclaimed with as much cheer as she could muster, "Surprise!"
The man in the doorway paused and blinked. It took a moment for her presence to register in his mind. "Ka-Kagome?" he said sleepily in amazement.
Kagome smiled. "I've come to visit!"
Kouga's eyes widened. "Inuyasha let you come?"
Kagome pursed her lips. "Of course not. But I'm not about to let a possessive, ungrateful hermit lord stop me seeing you."
Kouga grinned. "How could I have doubted you?" he said sarcastically. He swept her up into his arms and pulled her close, smelling her hair. "I missed you, Kagome."
She smiled into his neck. "Me too."
"She's yours?" the black-haired fool asked.
Kagome turned into Kouga's embrace and smirked. "Yes." She looked up at her boyfriend. "Kouga, this man was assaulting me on my way to your room. He kept grabbing my wrist and trying to pull me into his room."
Kouga let go of Kagome and stepped forward. "Is this true?"
The man shrugged. "I didn't know she was yours. She never said anything."
"That isn't true!" Kagome exclaimed angrily.
Kouga's eyes narrowed. "I know my Kagome, and I'm willing to believe her over you." He grabbed the front of the man's silk shirt and lifted him to face-level. "If you ever even look at my woman again, I swear you will live to regret you had ever seen her," he growled threateningly.
The man nodded, eyes wide in fear.
Kouga let his drop and scowled down at him. "Pathetic," he spat. He turned to Kagome and took her arm gently. "Let's go outside." They stepped over the man's kneeling form and the other men made space for them to walk through. He led Kagome out to the gardens where they had spent the last visit.
Kouga stopped at a large pear tree. The golden fruits hung heavily from the slender branches. It leaned over, almost protectively, a small bench made of quality mahogany wood. The tree cast a shadow across the two-person seat, shielding it from the blinding rays of the afternoon sun. Kouga waited for Kagome to sit down before seating himself beside her. He took her hand, enclosing it inside his significantly larger one and smiled softly. "Kagome. I miss you so much."
"I miss you, too, Kouga." She scooted inches closer. She was content just to be next to him.
Kouga looked up into the tree's tangled arms. Specks of sunlight poked through and threw themselves languidly across skin and wood alike. "I wish…" he murmured and looked back into Kagome's eyes. "I wish I didn't have to be at university and you didn't have to help that Southern lord Inuyasha."
Kagome sighed, "I wish that a lot, too. But, I like helping Inuyasha. He's a good man and he treats me well…when we aren't arguing," she chuckled. "And it keeps me busy. Otherwise, I'd spend my whole life waiting at home for you to occasionally come visit."
Kouga laughed at that. "Were you really that pathetic, Kagome dear?"
Kagome grinned, "Unfortunately. It's all your fault."
Kouga leaned in and kissed her softly. "I'm glad it's mine and not anyone else's."
"Don't be silly. Who else's would it be?"
Kouga's smile dropped. "Inuyasha. The man you live with." Kagome opened her mouth to protest, but he cut her off quickly. "I'm sorry, Kagome. It's just so unorthodox to live with a man while both of you are unmarried and still be courting me at the same time."
Kagome rubbed Kouga's palm with her thumb. "Kouga, please. I love you; you know that. I know it's strange, but a demon lord is not exactly normal, either," she reminded him with a wry smile. "What else do you want me to do? We cannot be together much more than this anyway. Both you and I know this much, at least."
Kouga pulled her into a searing kiss. "I try not to worry, I really do. It's difficult sometimes."
Kagome kissed him back before pulling away. "It is an awkward situation, I know, but I assure you I think of no one but you."
Kouga smiled. "It is not you I doubt, Kagome." He looked away.
Kagome put her hand on his cheek and turned his face to meet her eyes. "Inuyasha can be trusted. I promise you that. If there is one thing I know, he can be trusted. I…I have not looked through his study yet, but I will when I get back. Ok? Will that put your mind at rest? If he does intend to keep me as a prisoner, then I will leave at once and return to you. Not my parents, but to you. Fair enough?"
Kouga nodded solemnly. "That does make me feel a bit better." He kissed her cheek platonically. "Kagome," he spoke up suddenly, "how long are you staying?"
Kagome shrugged delicately. "As long as you want. Though, I shouldn't stay longer than a week."
Kouga smiled. "Perfect. A week it is. Where should we have you stay?"
Kagome shook her head. "I have no idea. This your campus, is it not?"
"We have guest chambers for situations such as this. I'm sure I can convince the school to allow you to stay."
"Let's go ask now, shall we? Then I can settle down for a bit. It has been a long ride here."
"How long did it take you?" Kouga asked as they walked toward the office of the headmaster. He stopped at a spotless white door and knocked sharply.
"Five days," Kagome answered, somewhat tiredly.
Kouga smiled and took her hand as a voice ordered them to enter. He opened the door, held it open for Kagome, and followed her inside. "Sir," he began formally, "I have a visitor and I request that she be permitted to stay in the guest chambers for a week, please."
The administrator stared at Kagome for a moment. "You found her, Lord Kouga," he noticed. "Good for you." He nodded his head politely at Kagome. "How are you, my dear?"
Kagome curtsied slightly. "Well, thank you." She straightened and smiled gently. "And unharmed," she added happily.
"That is good to hear. I am happy for you, Lord Kouga. I believe the guest chambers are currently unoccupied. You are in luck. She will be here for a week, correct?"
Kouga nodded, "Yes, sir. One week."
The administrator smiled. "The chambers are yours, then. Be sure your guest does not interfere with your studies, Lord Kouga."
Kouga nodded emphatically. "Of course not! Thank you, sir!" He bowed.
Kagome looked at him and quickly curtsied as well. "I hope I will not prove to be too much of a burden."
The administrator chuckled. "Any…interest," at this word he winked, "of one of my students is certainly welcome at my university. Please enjoy your stay."
"Thank you, sir," Kagome replied sincerely.
"It is my pleasure, Lady…?"
"Kagome," she answered hastily. "Lady Kagome Higurashi, sir."
The administrator smiled, "Ah, yes. I know of your father. You are always welcome here, Lady Kagome."
"Thank you very much." Finally, Kouga and Kagome left the office and headed toward the guest chamber. The carriage had already pulled up outside and servants were hauling Kagome's bags to her room. Kouga and Kagome stepped inside and watched as the final bag was set down on the floor. The servants left the couple alone, shutting the door. The chambers were beautiful, with a small sitting room. There was a grey stone fireplace and two pine green velvet comfy chairs facing the fireplace. They each had soft cushions stuffed with goose down. A large doorway with a mahogany door led to the bedroom. There was a king-size canopy bed and a bedside table on either side. There was also an oil lamp on each table and one on the bureau. A large mirror hung over the low bureau. The windows were long and let in lots of soft light. The thin translucent white curtains were drawn so a white light flooded the room uniformly. They matched the clean white blankets of the bed. The white sheets were of silk and the wall of incredibly soft pillows hiding the backboard of the bed were embroidered with lace. A door next to the bureau led to the bathing room, where there was a porcelain chamber pot and a sparkling white bath tub. At least fifteen different bath salts sat along the rim of the bath, waiting to be used.
"What now?" Kouga asked his woman.
She turned to Kouga with a suggestive smile and a blush. "A nap sounds lovely."
Kouga caught on. "I am quite fatigued myself, dear. I shall return to my room and sleep for a bit as well."
Kagome frowned, "But if you are that tired, surely it would be too much to make you walk all the way back to your chambers." She stressed the word 'all' and moved toward the bed. "Come, just this once, you may stay here due to the unusual circumstances. I could not, in good conscience, allow my host to travel so far while he is so exhausted."
Kouga grinned and swept her into his arms. He looked over his should to make sure the door was closed properly and carried his girlfriend to the bed. Kagome squealed in delight. He lay her down gently and climbed up next to her, pulling her into his arms again so her back was spooned against his front. He buried his nose into her hair and sighed contentedly. Kagome grasped his strong arms and they fell asleep peacefully.
Well, wadja think? Took me foreeeeever to finally finish this, but when I did, I was on a roll! Whoo!
Cold Kikyo – Thanks for reviewing! Aww thanks, you're so sweet! I hope it's still getting better with this chapter!
Lord of the Blades – heheh It's half 'My bad!' and half, 'Be patient!' Haha. I'll fix/put in the rivalry, I promise. For now, propriety is holding them back, but when they get to know each other, they'll go for each other's throats. I just had (as in while I'm writing this review) an idea! Haha the next chapter will be more different that I imagined it to be. –rubs hands together- I'll get stuff in there, just wait. Mwahahahaha!
Ryo-chan wolfgirl – I've already broken one heart already. I can't bear to do it again. Unfortunately, this is an InuKag story. I love KouKag, but I'm a diehard InuKag fan (which is why I wrote this story – to include both pairings). Thanks for reviewing!
TaintedDarkShemeeko – Don't worry about it. I'm glad I haven't messed up bigtime yet haha. Hope your life gets a bit less hectic soon ;) Thanks for reviewing!