Near the end of this chapter, things turn a bit 'citrusy'! If you're easily offended, or if you're going to flame me, please skip this chapter, I'll leave a short summary at the beginning of the next. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
The next morning dawned cold across the grounds of the Higurashi Shrine. Everything was silent; the air was still, just the harsh chill of winter setting in lingered. There was a thin layer of snow, as well, which shined in the dull light of the sun, barely peering through the cloudy sky.
Kagome had slept well the night before, remembering what Houjo had told her. Remembering how good it felt to hear those words, but more importantly, how good it had been to say them back to him.
Still half asleep, Kagome began to tiredly stretch her limbs. She stared at the ceiling for a short time, tracing the patters in the plaster with her eyes, before sitting up and throwing her feet over the side of the bed.
"Brr," she shivered, wrapping her arms around her shoulders for warmth. "I think it's time I start wearing my winter pajamas."
Then her mind registered that there was something in her hand. It was a small note written on lined school paper. Near the center of the page was a jumble of hopeless scrawl that Kagome knew belonged to him.
She'd set to giving him 'writing lessons' as she called them not long after arriving there. Kagome had also trained Inuyasha in simple mathematics and reading. She'd known that he would never use these skills but it was an easy excuse to steal a few extra minutes alone with him.
Opening the small page of paper in her hands she read the note to herself. She had to decipher some of what it was trying to say, but she managed just fine. And the words she read shocked her.
'I saw the two of you together last night and it made me realize just how selfish it is for me to expect you to give up everything that you have in your time to come to mine. I don't expect you to come back but the offer is still yours to either accept of decline.'
Kagome stopped reading and blushed a little as she realized that Inuyasha had also witnessed her first kiss. Instead of dwelling on that fact for much longer, however, Kagome continued to read.
'If you do return there are two conditions. The first is that you will not return to your time until the jewel is completed. And the second condition. You'll have to come back before we talk about that."
Kagome felt her breath catch in her throat as she read the line. What was so important that he couldn't tell her now? But Kagome knew even before she'd put her feet on the silky carpet.
If she returned to the Feudal Era Inuyasha would want her to be his woman. She knew, quite honestly, that had been what she'd wanted all along; but now her feelings had changed. She was in love with Houjo and he loved her back, which was a feeling quite greater than any feeling she'd ever shared with Inuyasha.
So why not just stay in her time? What ties did she have to the Feudal Era? But Kagome knew the answers to those questions, as well. It was her fault, partially if not fully, that the jewel had been broken.
She could never live with herself until the jewel was completed. The second condition she could work out with Inuyasha on her own; after the completion of the jewel. He couldn't make her stay in the Feudal Era, not against her will.
Kagome had nearly made up her mind when, once again, her thoughts drifted to Houjo. She couldn't just leave him again; not for however long it would take to complete the jewel. There had to be some excuse; some simple way to let him down easily. But most importantly, Kagome wanted to continue loving him and knowing that he would be loving her, as well.
But there was nothing that came to mind. How could she ever explain being gone for a year or, what's worse, even longer? Kagome sighed and walked into her bathroom, picking up the brush on the counter and preparing herself for school.
She could worry about Houjo later. The first person to tell would have to be her mother. She would certainly know what to do in this situation.
"Foreign Exchange," her mother said calmly, matter-of-factly.
"What?" Kagome's shock was evident in her voice.
"The answer is quite simple, Kagome," Mrs. Higurashi smiled down at her daughter, placing a bowl of rice on the table and preparing some fruit for breakfast. "You tell Houjo that you have become a foreign exchange student and that you'll be going to the United States."
Kagome thought about it for a while before agreeing. It did seem to be a simple solution. She would still get to see him one last time, tell him what was wrong, and give him hope for a quick return.
But the thought of lying to Houjo plagued Kagome. He was so good to her, and here she was, repaying his kindness with lies and petty excuses. She finally rationalized her decision by realizing that, for the entire time she'd known of Houjo's interest in her, she had always lied to him about illnesses.
Now would be no different; well, maybe only a little different. And after all of this had finished; she would never need to come back to the Feudal Era. This would be the last lie she ever told him. Thanking her mother for the advice, Kagome set out to find Houjo.
It was her last day in her time. It was the last chance Kagome had to show him how she really felt. And it was a chance she was going to capitalize on.
She met him on the usual corner on her way to school. And the day was going just as any other might have gone until Kagome squeezed his hand in hers and pulled him to the side of the walkway. It startled him, but, as Kagome continued to pull him, he realized that they were heading towards the park.
"Kagome?" he questioned. "Where are we going?"
"I've gotta talk to you," there was pain in her voice, tears in her eyes. "And I wanna be alone when we do."
"What's the matter?" his voice was concerned now, full of alarm.
Finally stopping in front of the small pond in the center of the park, Kagome looked into his eyes and took a deep breath. There was a cool breeze that caught her hair and gently ruffled it about her head. The two were tense, Houjo worried and Kagome scared about what she had to tell him.
"I should have told you sooner," her eyes were on the ground now. "But I was just so scared of what you would say."
"Kagome," his voice was soft and he pulled her into his arms. "You can tell me anything, you know that, right?"
She nodded and continued. "I'm leaving, Houjo."
"What? Where?" he pulled back from their embrace and looked into her eyes.
"The United States," she whispered. "To make up for all of the school that I've missed."
She was barely holding her tears back now, not because of the news she would be lying to him about but because of the other lies she knew she had to tell him. It broke her heart to know that this was the last chance they would have to be together for quite a while. It was like telling him goodbye when she'd only said hello not so long ago.
"A Foreign Exchange Program," she could barely say the words for the tears that erupted from her eyes not moments later.
"Oh? Is that all, Kagome?" he held her closer now, a small smile on his face. Kagome could feel that his heartbeat had controlled itself again and that he wasn't worrying about school today.
She just held him back, crying because of how horrible she had just made him feel. And all for her own selfish reasons.
"I leave for the United States tomorrow," she whispered.
"For how long?"
"Until I'm caught up again," she whispered so softly.
They stood in silence for a long time. School wasn't important on that day. Time wasn't important that day.
As far as Houjo was concerned, someone was taking away his Kagome and, for what little time he could, all that mattered was keeping her by his side. For Kagome; she'd just told him the biggest lie in her life. And the aftermath of that realization tore her apart even more than leaving him did.
"Come with me," he finally whispered, taking her hand in his and leading her in the direction of his house.
It was a place that she had never been but had seen from the distance. It was large; a luxurious mansion nearer the school than Kagome's home. But it was a place that she had always wanted to see.
"Where are we going?" she asked, even though she already knew the answer.
"My father is away on business," he whispered. "And my mother is visiting an aunt for the week. So the house will be all ours."
Kagome blushed despite herself. Sure, she'd been thinking what it would be like to spend the day with Houjo but she'd never imagined he would be so forward. "Are you sure about this?"
"Positive," he stopped, looking into her beautiful eyes and smiling. "If this is the last time I'll see you for a while, I've gotta make sure you know how much I love you. And how much I'm going to miss you."
His house was large, just as she'd always known it would be. But the inside put new meaning to the word immaculate. Everything was placed so strategically and organized. It was clean, neat, and a little unnerving.
He led her through the entrance way and up a large staircase with marble steps. If he'd noticed how Kagome's eyes had widened, he had chosen not to comment. Instead he stated, simply, "Its western-style."
Houjo was leading the way and Kagome was following. She couldn't say for sure where they were going; but she had a pretty good guess. They were on the second floor, heading towards the last doorway on the left hand side of the hallway.
"This is my room," he opened the door and stood aside to let her inside. "Wanna watch a movie?"
"Sure," she nervously answered him. "Which one?"
"You can pick," he led her to a shelf where there were several videos to choose from. She grabbed one randomly and handed it to him.
He didn't comment but popped it into the player and watched Kagome standing nervously to the side of his bed. Smiling, he wrapped his arms around her waist and tackled her to the bed, laughing a little.
relax," he smiled. "It's ok that you're here."
"Yes?" his voice was soft as he rested his head on his hand, propped up on the bed by his elbow. He was lying alongside of her.
"Thank you," she kissed his cheek softly, catching him off guard at her boldness. But instead of blushing as he might have, Houjo kissed her back.
The movie was now playing, forgotten in the background. Kagome's arms found their way around Houjo's neck as he gently placed kiss after kiss across her face and down her neck. His arms found their way around her waist where he gently pulled the fabric of her shirt out from her skirt.
His hand slid across the smooth plane of her abdomen and he smiled to himself as her breath caught in her throat. Her skin was incredibly warm and soft. It was like nothing he had ever felt before.
"Houjo," she barely whispered.
He said nothing but his lips found their way to the crook of her neck. Houjo softly began working his tongue along the spot and massaging Kagome's hips with his hands. Everything was happening fast but neither wanted to stop.
Kagome felt his well muscled chest through the soft fabric of his school uniform. As if in a daze she fumbled with the buttons, slowly feeling her way down to the last one. She smiled up at him as she inspected his chest.
Houjo buried his face in her neck as he felt Kagome's nails trace a path across his chest. She pushed the unbuttoned uniform off of his shoulders, smiling as the shivers ran up his spine.
"Kagome," his passion-glazed eyes met hers in a mix of desire and restraint. "I love you and I'll understand if you don't want to go any further. You have to know you're all that matters to me; and I'll respect you for any decision you make."
She only smiled and pulled his lips down to meet hers. When the kiss broke she whispered to herself, "This might be the only time we have left."
Houjo wordlessly laid her back down on his bed and lowered himself on top of her. He traced her forehead with gentle kisses. Kagome stroked his soft brown hair away from his eyes.
His hands found their way under her shirt to the stiff white bra that she wore underneath. He felt the silk beneath his fingertips as he lightly stroked the soft material. He smiled to himself as her body stiffened and her breathing became increasingly quickened.
Before she had really realized it, her shirt was over her head and Houjo was working to unclasp her bra. His room was cold but it warmed her to feel his body pressed against hers.
Tiring of the slow pace Houjo had chosen, Kagome positioned herself on top of him and made short work of removing his pants and undergarments. Blushing as she realized that she had been staring, Kagome's moment of boldness quickly left her and it was up to Houjo to take over, once again.
Swinging her body back under his, his hands made their way to the back of her skirt. He unbuttoned it from the back and pulled it down her legs with her panties. They joined the rest of their clothes in a growing pile on the floor.
Deciding to first explore with his fingers, Houjo's hands grazed along the smooth skin of her thighs, causing her body to shake. As he finally inserted one finger, then two, in and out, Kagome's back arched towards him as her breathing became labored and shaky.
"Houjo," she moaned. "Please."
"Please, now," she begged through gasping breaths.
"This might hurt," he whispered.
Kagome looked into his eyes and gave a small smile before nodding.
And slowly, Houjo pushed his way through her barrier, breaking his virginity with hers. Her arms held his body close to hers; his face found its way to her neck. He waited for their bodies to adjust to one another before finally speaking.
"I'm sorry, Kagome."
"No," she blinked away the tears clinging to her eyes. "It's ok now."
Methodically, he thrust in himself in and out of her, delighting at the sigh she gave him each time. Her hands tangled through his hair as she matched his pace with each increasing thrust.
"Oh Houjo!" she called out.
"Kami-sama," he moaned into her neck as he felt his release.
Rolling off of one another they laid on his bed, panting and gasping for breath. For their first time, it had been good. It was just the extra motivation that Kagome needed to hurry her journey to collect the shards along so she could return to Houjo sooner; to practice.
Smiling down at her, with one arm still wrapped protectively around her waist, Houjo finally spoke, "You know what we would be doing at school about this time, right?"
Kagome cocked her head to the side in wonder as she brushed a slightly sweaty strand of hair out of his eyes. Smiling, she responded, "What?"
"Reproduction in biology," he smirked.
Author's Note: Well, I hope that you're satisfied with this, especially if you're interested in the KagomeXHoujo pairing. I don't think that's an all too common one, ya know? Anyway, please keep reading in the next chapter because now you all want to know where it is that Kagome is going to end up! ;)