Disclaimer: I do not own nor make any profit from Inuyasha, in any media.

Story details: Alternate plotline, time setting is before the jewel is whole. It's rated for bad language, risque language, more bad language (Inuyasha's in a bad mood), and citrus. For those interested, a version with more citrus in it is at AFF net and MediaMiner, under the same author name: szaugglaughs. You have to remember to bump up the maturity rating to the highest, however, to search by title.

A/N WOW! How exciting! I have just been informed that this sucker won some awards! Currently, as it stands now, the story got...

IYFanguild 3rd Quarter Best Comedy, Fedual Association Jan 2007 Best Humorous Fiction, and Best Inuyasha/Kagome Romance, and Best in-character Inuyasha.

Um, wow! I honestly am having a hard time believing that that many people liked it that much, but I wanted to say...thanks everyone! Those who voted and those who have reviewed and just...everyone! Kinda overwhelmed and doing a little neato dance here. Gimme a sec. Okay, I'm back now. Ahem...onto the regularly scheduled story, for all of you who were just trying to read this thing in the first place!!!

For those who haven't read this, here's the usual spiel. This is intended solely as a humorous, romantic (sexy), fluff piece…with swearing. There will be lemons, oh yes indeed, but, well, just view the chapter numbers as indicative of the hentai level…it increases as it goes, heh.

Reviews are welcome.

Chapter One: Which Way Did She Go?

Sango and Kirara flew quickly over the quiet battlefield towards Kagome. Standing on a small knoll overlooking the valley, the schoolgirl was already starting to relax, and Sango could see her chatting with Shippou as she waited for them.

Don't relax yet, Kagome, she thought anxiously. I don't think we're done with battles for the day.

Constantly glancing back over her shoulder to gauge Miroku and Inuyasha's progress, Sango bit her lip and prayed under her breath for Kirara to go faster. There was so little time! How long could Miroku postpone Inuyasha's return, after all, without tipping him off? Three minutes? Five? Ten was the most she could reasonably expect, she was sure. The hanyou wasn't exactly the sharpest rock in the field, but he wasn't the dullest, either. He'd figure out something was going on if Miroku overplayed his hand.

If only they could have foreseen what was going to happen, but there'd been no warning. No omens, no foreboding aura surrounding their hearts, not even grim weather to give them some foreshadowing of events to come. Actually, the entire thing had started off rather…boring. One could almost call it dull and routine, for their group, at least.

A nearby youkai had acquired a shard, becoming a minor nuisance that simply needed to be put out of its misery before it did too much damage. So they'd battled the ridiculous thing, defeated it in less time than it took to bathe, and retrieved the shard. The aftermath, however, was turning out to be a lot more than they'd bargained for. Such an enormous loss from such a small battle; sometimes she wondered if the fates had something against them.

She could still see it in her head. Inuyasha charging in wildly at the same moment Kagome sent her arrow flying. He'd had to dodge out of the way to avoid being purified himself, much to his loudly expressed disgust. Normally, they would have expected a pissed off half-demon to start exchanging insults with Kagome on her archery skill, her intelligence, and possibly her parentage before the tirade ended with a spectacular bang when Inuyasha's face hit the ground.

But not today.

As Inuyasha had flung himself out of the way, Miroku and Sango had both noticed Kagome's arrow pause as it almost grazed Inuyasha's face, a small shower of bright sparks spitting out from him immediately after it passed. It wasn't until after the demon was already dead and Inuyasha was flashing his post ass-kicking grin that Miroku realized the beads of subjugation were nowhere to be seen. Suggesting in a hurried whisper that Sango might want to go warn Kagome, Miroku volunteered to stay behind and see what he could do to delay Inuyasha. So far, the one piece of luck they'd had was that the hanyou hadn't noticed his necklace's absence. She hoped ferverently that he would remain ignorant long enough to give Kagome a good head start. If Kagome could put some distance between them, give Inuyasha some time to come to terms with his new freedom before he and his mouth went off half-cocked, they might be able to get through this without complete estrangement, or worse, between the couple. She hoped.

xxxxxxx

Inuyasha growled as Miroku called for him to wait...again. He spun around and pointed a clawed finger at the Monk's face.

"What the hell is your problem, Houshi? That's the fourth time you've wanted to stop for some dumb reason that doesn't even make any sense. What is it this time, a freakin' cloud the shape of Sesshoumaru's head? Crap, why don't you just shut the hell up already? We need to get back to Kagome." He turned and continued stomping back up the slope to Kagome's scent. Idiot monk. What the hell was wrong with him today? He growled low in irritation and shook his head to get his hair out of his face. Stupid wind. Hair swirled into his eyes again and he growled louder, getting it tangled in his claws as he tried to shove it out of the way.

"Goddammit! Fucking long hair...shut the hell up, Miroku!" He yelled as he heard a snicker from behind, right before he tripped ignominiously and fell on his face. He growled and swore, trying to free his claws, his hair, and his face from the tangled mess they made together on the ground. When he finally managed to flump his hair out the way and lifted his face up from the dirt, he noticed something bright and small lying inches from his nose. He stared at it. There was something familiar about the color...

"Where have I seen that..."

"Well, we'd better be going before the women give up on us," An overly-bright Miroku chirped, grabbing Inuyasha's arm and forcefully helping him up. "Let's join the ladies, shall we?"

He tried ineffectively to pull Inuyasha along, in the wrong direction no less, until Inuyasha yanked his arm free and crouched low to stare down at what looked like a tiny bead. Miroku continued nattering on in the background, getting on his nerves, so he reached over and gave him a good shove to knock him on his ass. He couldn't resist looking over briefly to see the Houshi laying flat on his back. He smirked once and looked back to the bead. It looked so familiar. He studied it for a bit, picking it up. Hmmmm. Rubbing it between his fingers, he brought it close to his nose and inhaled. Slick and smooth, and it smelled…like him? His eyes widened and he suddenly patted his chest. The beads! He looked down, and for the first time in over a year, he didn't see that tooth and bead pain-in-the-ass hanging around his neck. He pulled the neckline of his suikan out and checked inside, just to be sure. Then he sat back on his heels and stared blankly into the air.

"It's gone." He said softly. He smiled so widely that his fangs gleamed. "That goddamn necklace is finally gone! Hah!" Miroku, who had managed to regain his feet, saw Inuyasha's eyes begin to gleam eerily. He backed up a few steps from the hanyou.

"Eh, Inuyasha? Are you well? Inuyasha?" Inuyasha looked at him with that large, fang filled grin and Miroku gripped his staff tightly. Had they all been mistaken about Inuyasha's maturing conscience? Would he go after the jewel shards now that he had nothing to constrain him?

Inuyasha looked up the hill, then stood and started to walk quickly toward it, chuckling low and deep.

"Heh, try and 'osuwari' me now, Kagome." He gloated. He reared back as Miroku passed him and stood in his path, holding his staff cross-bodied and ready.

"I will not let you take Kagome's shards, Inuyasha."

Inuysasha's eyebrows rose in surprise, " Feh, what are you prattling on about now, Monk? Why the hell would I want the jewel when it ain't even finished yet? Now get out of my way, I've got somethin' I need to do..." Miroku lowered the staff slightly but didn't move.

"If you aren't going after the shards, what are you up to, Inuyasha?" Inuyasha looked at him.

"Are you an idiot or somethin'? The stupid prayer beads broke and now Kagome can't SIT me anymore. What do you think I'm gonna do?" Miroku's cheeks turned red and he cleared his throat nervously, lowering the staff and looking up at the sky as he scratched at the back of his neck with one hand.

"Ahem, well, yes. I can see how you might want to...now that she won't... eh, hmmmm. Why don't you just, um, go on ahead then..." Inuyasha glanced at him a moment and then snorted. Weird. As he passed him, however, he could hear Miroku muttering.

"Sango is going to kill me. But how can a man stand in the way in a situation like this? Sango is going to disembowel me and then kill me. But he's never had the woman he…he's likely never had any woman. Sango is going to-"

Inuyasha shook his head and kept walking, Miroku's words echoing in his brain. Situation like this? Had a woman? What the hell did that idiot monk think he was gonna...

His cheeks flamed and he growled, "Why that Stupid Hentai Monk, as if I'd pull that sort of shit with Kagome." He grumbled and kicked a rock in front of him irritably. "She'd kick my ass, anyway, with that stupid...Osuwari..." He stopped. Honestly, he'd been thinking of just teasing the shit out of her for the next few days: taking all her food, tossing her stupid bike up a tree, dumping her in a cold pond, giving her a good scare, maybe even pounding on Shippou a bit. But now, that stupid lecherous monk has his thoughts going in another direction.

Was there another kind of fun he could have with her now? Not that he would, really. It's not like he thought about that when he thought of her. Not much, anyway.

Oh, you are such a liar, said his conscience.

Shut up.

What if he did decide to, well, do something? She couldn't do anything about it, not now. He could touch her hair, or her face, or her lips or… What would happen if he touched her? What if she liked it? What would it be like now that she couldn't pound him face first into the ground when she didn't like it? He continued walking, wondering. It had been so long since he'd thought about what he'd do without the beads. Originally, he'd just been so pissed that violence and pain played a large role in his fantasies of freedom. But looking back, he had a hard time remembering what it had been like to feel that way about Kagome. Wanting to hurt her, to really hurt her? It made him cringe just to think about it. And now, now that he was actually free from that necklace…what should he do? Miroku's voice popped into his head again, had a woman.

"Fucking pervert." He mumbled, as his mind slowly worked on something he hadn't thought about in over a year, his cheeks flushing red periodically as he went.

When he crested the hill where Kagome's scent had been, he saw Sango. Shippou, and Kirara standing with their backs to him, looking at the far woods. He could smell Kagome nearby, but a quick glance around didn't spot her. "Oi, Sango. Where's Kagome?"

She gave a startled jump and turned quickly to face him. He heard her mutter sarcastically "Thanks a lot for the stall, Houshi." She raised her voice. "Oh, she's just going ahead. We can meet her back at Kaede-sama's."

"You let her go on alone, by herself, with all the jewel shards? " He asked incredulously. "What were you thinking, you idiot?!" He started sniffing the air for her, but Sango continued talking, breaking his concentration.

"Really, she's fine, Inuyasha." She laughed nervously. "She just wanted to be alone. Kagome left her backpack here with some ramen for you, though! She knows all that fighting usually makes you hungry." His ears perked up. Ramen?

Except, Kagome was alone. His eyes narrowed as he looked at Sango. Something didn't smell right here. He tried to think of what could be going on. Nothing made sense about this, and frankly it was starting to make his head hurt.

"I don't know what the hell is up with you two, Sango, but you and Miroku really need to stop acting so weird. Feh, I'm going to go get Kagome. And don't eat my ramen!" He turned to go only to hear Shippou pipe up from behind Sango.

"They sent Kagome ahead so you wouldn't go after her without your subjugation necklace, Inuyasha. So, you better leave her alone or I'll come after you!"

Inuyasha looked at the little kitsune before switching his gaze to Sango, seeing her flush and smile guiltily. They all thought he was going to hurt Kagome? They thought they had to protect her from him? And Kagome went along with it?!

Doesn't she trust me?

He dealt with the momentary feeling of hurt like he usually did: he got pissed off. Why the hell would she say she trusts me if she doesn't trust me! If you trust someone then you should keep doing it until, well, until they did something that made you stop! And he hadn't done anything! Not fucking yet, anyway! He glared at Shippou.

"I'd like to see you try to come after me, you stupid little runt. And as for you, Sango-" He huffed angrily, trying to think of something, "You can tell Miroku that when I find Kagome, I'll- I'll do whatever the hell I want to and there's not a damn thing you can do about it! We'll see you back at Kaede's when we're done. Hmmph." He turned away and sprinted off after her scent, into the woods. In the silence left behind, Sango's voice could be heard calling angrily for Miroku.

xxxxxxx

Kagome walked quickly through the woods, panting slightly and holding her side. She'd panicked in the first few minutes after Sango had told her about the prayer beads, but soon after she'd sprinted into the shadows of the trees, she'd had to slow down and walk. Jeesh, I'm getting out of shape, she thought. Walking down the path through the forest was giving her time to think, however. Should she have run away? She shook her head at herself. It was just...he could be so rough. She could just imagine him messing with her like a child plays with a toy. And what could she do about it? She'd almost never had to be around him when she couldn't control him.

She stopped as that thought really penetrated. Did she trust him so little that she needed that control? "You're such a coward, Kagome." she muttered out loud.

She DID trust him. She knew he wouldn't really hurt her. But, it was just… She really didn't want to deal with a pissed off Inuyasha right now. If she could avoid him for a little bit, just until he'd gotten to the point where he wasn't irritated with all the osuwari's he'd had. She winced slightly, thinking about the week before. She'd been so furious she'd had him in a 5 foot hole before she'd finished with him. Maybe, she admitted to herself, just maybe she abused that ring of beads sometimes. So, maybe it would be best if she went through the well when she got to Kaede's and stayed home for a week or so until he'd had a chance to calm down and she could apologize. He usually didn't go through the well if he was too irritated with her, so hopefully…

Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud rustling in the woods behind her and she whirled around. The sound was approaching rapidly, and it had to be something large to make that much noise. She bit her lip nervously, realizing just how far she'd managed to get from the others in a relatively short time. She was all alone.

Fool, she thought. Now look what your stupidity has gotten you into. Better to be with an irate Inuyasha than in this dim forest with a bear or wildcat or even an evil youkai drawing nearer.

"Oh Inuyasha, I hope that's you and not something else."