Disclaimer: Rumiko is the sole master of Inuyasha. As for me. I'm just his slave driver. XD

Winter Rose


By Shinsei Kokoro

It was a cold November night once again, and sleep right then was the hardest thing to come by. The shrill howling of the wind wasn't quite helping and beneath the shelter of a convulsing willow tree, Kagome's sleeping bag didn't stand a chance of shielding her against the frosty wafts.

Through the corner of her eyes, she could make out the slightest outlines of Sango beside her and Miroku a few good metres away. And in between their distance laid their campfire, its flames dead but the embers still glowing with the faintest of radiance. Shifting onto her right, she pulled the synthetic fabric tighter against her chin, and gave up on the mere attempt of snuggling deeper. Oh yes, she was definitely outgrowing the sleeping bag. For a girl who hated camping, she certainly had put it to good use.

Maybe it was about time she took a shopping spree to a mall and got a few necessary camping equipments. A bug repellent would be good, and dear god a demon-repellent would be even brilliant. But then again, her chances of coming by anything close to a decent shop in this demon-infested land was nil to nil. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

However with Shippo firmly tucked under her arm, she wouldn't give this warmth away for anything. Except maybe if it was actually her tucked underneath a particular notorious hanyou. The said half-demon had perched himself onto the tree hovering right over her. If she craned her neck a little to the left, she could just about catch sight of his red hakama through the rustling. That was just about satisfying for her.

But come to think of it, what would it honestly do, if for just once he slept on the same ground level as her? Hell, he was by far the only dog she'd come across who slept in trees.

Sniggering quietly to herself, she praised herself on making the world's most worst dog jokes. Maybe if she wrote them all out in a book and let a publisher stroke it, she could probably make a small fortune out of it. And the ray of inspiration? Oh, only a half-demon whose manners were the size of a peanut.

With the smile never leaving her face, she let herself close her eyes. But just before she could relax herself, they snapped open again.

Soul stealers.

There were two of them. Right above her.

Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she strained her vision back on the glimmering creatures gliding ever so gracefully over their camp.

This was exactly what she just needed. Kagome didn't dare hold back her frown as she darted her gaze back at the rousing figure in the tree.

It was obvious Inuyasha had seen them too. And it was obvious he wasn't too sorry. If a soul stealer was nearby, then somewhere closer was Kikyo too. It was all he always needed.

The agitation didn't fail to rise up and clog her throat, but as she saw the flash of red jump off the branch, she turned right over. Eyes closed shut. Teeth clawed against the lower lip. And her heart beating wildly.

It was the same thing every time. Whatever lies he told her to cover himself up, she knew the truth with a pinch in her chest. The truth was never too hard to see. In fact, it was the only one thing she hated the most.

One sight of the soul stealers and off he went after the woman he loved.

God. How blind did he think she was?

She hated mornings. Feudal or modern, the mornings were always a disaster for her. Not only were the stupid birds chirping a notch too loud, but Kagome could suddenly feel the painful muscles on her shoulders clenched from the position she had slept in yesterday. Not that sleeping on rugged plantains were any better.

Accordingly, as each of her senses hit in, the bickering of her friends instantly shook her non-existent dream into tiny fragments. Her wonderful reverie drifted away in the blink of an eye, and as she rolled over to hold onto the warmth of her little kitsune, she found herself grappling at an empty space next to her.

"Ugh." Her breath rolled out with an exasperated sigh, albeit the voices in her mind willing her to find that beautiful fantasy she had just been living in. However of course to no avail, the voices outside her mind were just too demanding.

"Look! You just woke her up!"

"Feh, we can't be letting her sleep the entire day."

"What difference does it make if you never let her sleep day or night?"

"Hey! I'm not the brat who sleeps with her like a little baby! You probably keep her awake by crying all night."

"And you're just jealous because you'll never be getting that close to her in a thousand lifetimes!"

"Runt! You wish!"

"Sango. Don—,"

"Pervert!" The scream was soon resounded by a firm slap, and that was all Kagome needed to bolt up straight, before toppling over to her right, face falling straight into a thriving carpet of green grass.

"I'm up!" she groaned with a face full of caked mud. Picking herself up from the grasped hold of her sleeping bag, Kagome scanned a quick look over Miroku's bruised cheek and stumbled away from the man and his predator. Shippo had himself perched on a tree branch, with Inuyasha not too far off.

It was the same thing every time indeed. Everyday she had her own personal alarm going off without a warning. And everyday, it was the same old arguments.

"Feh." The half demon behind her valiantly folded his arms into the sleeves of his haori, the scowl sporting his face never slipping off, "About time we got a move on."

Kagome didn't bother turning around to confront him with last night's memories suddenly slotting back into her mind, "Could have just left without me then." She mumbled under her breath. She couldn't stomach seeing him right then. Even though this sort of stuff happened nearly all the time, last night she hadn't let herself catch a single wink. It had seemed impossible with the thoughts of a certain hanyou and a clay-made miko doing god knows what. She hadn't been able to shake the disgust off until she caught sight of the first rays of sun come seeping down through the leaves of the willow. God knew how long the hanyou had been with her. Shuddering lightly, she let her eyes scan for her belongings. She had thought for too long last night. Too long to let a few things settle into her mind.

Inuyasha frowned at the girl who had suddenly fallen to her knees to fumble through her massive yellow bag, "We've probably already missed a couple of shards around here because of this pointless sleeping."

Dragging out a towel, Kagome threw him a glare through a curtain of dark hair "Oh yeah? And how would you know? It's not like you can sense the shards or anything, can you?"

"There have been rumors." He folded his arms defiantly. What was up her ass this morning anyways?

Slipping into her shoes she glanced everywhere but at him, "Of which only a few have been true."

"That doesn't—,"

"It doesn't matter anymore Inuyasha." Miroku hastily interrupted, stepping in between the two before the hanyou could snap back, "Because by the time you finish this conversation, Naraku is sure to be one shard richer." The houshi cracked a humorless grin, hoping to avoid any unnecessary squabble the first thing after getting a slap from the woman he had barely just felt up.

"Miroku's right." The woman, Sango herself agreed, "Let's just clean up and get a move on."

"Sounds good to me," Casting Inuyasha one last morbid look, the school girl headed off in a direction she remembered as familiar, ignoring the yells of the hanyou that followed in her departure.

"Bitch! Where the hell are you going!" but before he could take his leap, Sango had already grabbed the back of his haori, "See! This is how you keep wasting our time!"

"The hot springs Inuyasha. She needs to clean up."

"Yes." Miroku stooped down to roll up the sleeping bag just the way Kagome had taught him, "And most probably clear away that anger."

Inuyasha pulled himself back roughly from the exterminator's grasp, "What anger?"

Miroku threw him a weary smile as he shoved the sleeping bag into its cover. There was no use to keep things like these behind veiled words, "The anger she feels every time she watches you follow the soul-stealers Inuyasha. You're familiar to that anger aren't you?"

Shippo jumped down from his branch, his little fingers fixing the bow keeping his orange tendrils together, emerald eyes glaring at the stoic half demon in front of him "You out of all people must know that."

Sango stepped over the logs surrounding them to pick up her boomerang, "And you out of all people must also know that you mustn't provoke her at a time like this." The hanyou didn't look at his three companions, instead he looked into the forest, where he could still smell Kagome. Or rather her flaring scent.

They were right. And he knew it. Looking back at the branches she had pushed through, Inuyasha let his fists beside him clench. He had known it the moment he had come back to camp last night. She had been lying face down on the grass, her hands clamped onto blades of grass with hair tousled around her head. Her body had been still, and when he had neared her he could smell the remainder of salty tears hanging so thickly above her scent. She had been faking sleep. He knew that as well. She was wide awake, and yet he had been a coward to confront her right then.

Shippo looked over at Miroku, "Shouldn't someone go check up on her? Y'know, she always keeps getting into trouble when she's by herself."

Inuyasha looked up the second Sango voiced her actions, "I'll go." But before the taijia could let herself through the branches, he shot his hand out to her.


"No what?" she looked down curiously at the hand that had collided against her arm. He had never refrained her from accompanying Kagome to the places he couldn't come to before. What was his problem now?

The half-demon didn't dare look at her, instead he took a spring over the bushes, "I'll go myself." It was his mistake once again, and knowing Kagome, she would definitely get caught into something stupid with a mood like this over her head.

"She has gone to bathe Inuyasha!" Sango screamed into the wind as the hanyou took another leap over trees, but he was gone before she could blink again, "If she sees you, you won't be seeing another tomorrow!" However, the only reply she got was the hiss of the leaves she was standing under.

"Sango." Miroku spoke into a whisper as he beckoned to her and let the little kitsune hop onto his shoulders, "Let him be."

A little hesitant, the demon exterminator broke out a small sigh. After all, it wasn't as if the young miko quite minded that the eyes of a particular hanyou would always be on her no matter the state of her dressing.

She was going to forget about it like she always did. Yes. That was exactly what she was going to do. Forget about it like it never happened.

Kicking off her clothes in a swift cry, Kagome stomped into the river drifting past her. The coldness of the water hit her like a ton of bricks before starting to prickle into her bones. But she stopped only till the water ran around her shoulders. Shivering uncontrollably, she pulled herself below the surface, her tendrils coming in after her.

This always happened. Always. So what was wrong with her this time? Why was that anger still there? Why didn't it go away like it always did?

Sango must have been coming after her by now, and at not seeing her at the hot springs, she must have rushed back into camp. Giving herself another minute, Kagome sidled herself up by the bank, the water still by her shoulders.

Sighing lightly into the gentle wind, she attempted at wringing the water out of her hair and tying it into a bun.

She was going to forget about it.

Forget about yesterday like every other day.

Forget that the boy she loved would never love her back. Because he would always belong to that miko. To that woman who had always held his heart through time and time.

Bringing her hands to her face, Kagome cried into them.

It hurt. It hurt so much. But even though, there was nothing she would ever be able to do about it. She couldn't change the fact. She couldn't come in between two fated lovers.

Because someone like Inuyasha. A free spirit like him would never be able to fall in love with a girl whose own soul didn't belong to her.

He had turned his back when she had been about to undress, but the second the trace of her tears had hit his nostrils, Inuyasha wished he had never come after her.

Fangs bared, he kept himself against the tree. With eyes shut tight, he gave himself a few seconds before he bounded back towards camp.

He couldn't stand it.

And knowing it, knowing that it was his fault and that he could do anything to change that, that felt worse. So much worse.

"Inuyasha?" his face sprang up to see Sango and Miroku glancing strangely at him, but Miroku's voice strangled him even more, "Are you alright?"

No. No he wasn't alright.

"Hey," Shippou had crept behind Sango, already on his defensive, "Where's Kagome?"

There was silence around the camp as Inuyasha couldn't bring himself to meet anyone's eyes. He felt guilty. So fucking…ashamed.

"Inuyasha?" This time Sango crept up to him, "Where is Kagome?" Suspicion laced her words and with all he could muster, he looked up at the taijia.

"Still having her bath at the river. I think…I think you should go to her." His words sounded hoarse, and Sango couldn't help but raise a brow.

"Did she finally tell you off?"

But with not another word out of the hanyou, the demon slayer took off with her own belongings.

Miroku who had closely been watching Inuyasha, gave Shippou a small pat on his hair, "It's been a while since you've washed your own hair. Why don't you go to Kagome, and she might wash your hair for you with that bubbly liquid."

"Yeah!" The little kitsune jumped from his log, his eyes dancing with delight, "The orange flavored one right? I bet Kagome would do that for me!" And with another ungraceful jump, he waddled off after Sango.

Another stretch of silence appeared, but Miroku didn't advance.

"If you wanna say some thing, just spit it out." Inuyasha's words were rough and harsh, but the monk could see through them plainly. Obviously something had happened.

Smiling lightly, he turned his back around, "Why don't we have a seat, and converse this out…properly…Inuyasha."

"Feh. I prefer to stand."

"Alright then," Miroku sat himself on one of the logs, setting his staff down securely, "Let's begin."

"Look," Inuyasha started, "If this one of your wacky talks about finding a village with better looking women, then I'm gonna leave right—,"

"Actually," Miroku interrupted defiantly, "This isn't about me at all." He smiled widely as he watched confusion froth the hanyou's expression, "This is about you and Kagome."

"I'm leaving—,"

"I think you should give up on her."

He had been about to jump back into his tree, but that statement just hitched his breath back, "What!" he snarled.

Inwardly smirking at his achievement, Miroku fingered the rings around his staff absently, attempting to look nonchalant, "It's something I've been thinking about."

His heart skipping beats, Inuyasha hung back from grabbing the monk, "Then maybe you should stop fucking think about it!" But it had startled him. Why would Miroku say something like that. Giving up on her…

"I care about our Lady Kagome, Inuyasha. As do Sango and Shippou, and I'm sure more than any of us, you too."

"That doesn't fucking give you the right to say—,"

"And I'm tired of seeing her hurt."

"What the hell are you—,"

"Don't avoid this conversation Inuyasha. We—you need to make a decision."

"There is nothing to talk about! And stop speaking shit! What's gotten into you anyway!"

"I want to see her happy!" Miroku's voice blared out loud, and the hanyou visibly flinched, "I went to sleep last night listening to her cry! Knowing that she was feeling miserable and angry and sad! While you weren't there, Sango, myself and Shippo had to act like nothing had happened!"

"Fuck up!" Inuyasha roared, "You act as if I don't know anything about this! You think I don't give a damn? You think I can't smell her crying every time? Guess what she was doing at the river right now? Crying! But what the fuck do you want me to do about it!"

"Inuyasha," Miroku who had calmed down considerably, didn't loose any eye contact, "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Give up on her."


"Here me out!" the monk stabbed his staff into the dust with exasperation and continued without waiting for a response, "You care about her. I know that. A lot. You might even love her. Everyone knows that. But as strong as our Kagome is, she is weak in the heart too. And her heart cannot stand you waging between her and Lady Kikyo!"

"Miroku, you don't have any bloody right to talk about it like—,"

"Listen!" The ground was stabbed once again, and the hanyou was forced into silence, his stomach suddenly feeling uneasy.

"Inuyasha, you've been lost between two women for too long." The voice was soft, and Miroku stood up from his seat, eyes looking into the distance of the forest, "Because in the end of it all, it is Kagome who suffers for your confusion. It is she who cries every night, hoping that no one pities her. She was once strong, saying that she would remain by your side. But one can't remain strong forever. She becomes weak every time she sees you go off. But there is no fault of yours here either. You are bound to Kikyo. You might love her. You might not. But no matter what, you take it as your duty to remain by her and see to it that she's happy."

Turning around to look back at the hanyou, Miroku stood back to appreciate the upheaval of emotions raging on his face. Nearing him, he noticed two fists trembling. He was aware of what he meant. For that, the monk was extremely grateful to Buddha. The half-demon was listening, and with that to his advantage, Miroku continued on with a softer voice.

"But don't you think that Kagome deserves better." Inuyasha lost all his thoughts at those words. "Don't you think that other than crying and waiting for you helplessly, hoping that one day you might come to your senses and become hers forever, don't you think that she deserves a better reality. She has been dreaming for too long. She has given up her life in the future to be with us and hunt down the shards, but mostly to be with you. Kagome's a wonderful and beautiful person, and I'm sure that even in the future there are plenty of men lined up for her. But she's blind to them. She ignores them for you. But she can't go on waiting for ever. Maybe you aren't fated to be her lover, but maybe in her own future, there is maybe someone who will be able to keep her happy and make her laugh. Don't you think?"

However Inuyasha was invisible to the world. His ears were listening, and that was all Miroku knew. Who knew what the hanyou might be thinking. Maybe he had already known that. Already known that in Kagome's eyes he would be the only hero. The only man. But Inuyasha needed to know this. He needed to know another way to make Kagome happy. Another way to balance out the important things in life.

"But you keeping her by you, you're stopping any of her chances of being happy." Miroku stopped himself in front of Inuyasha, "You're stopping her from becoming a real woman, because right now she is just a girl with a broken heart. You're stopping her from moving on. It's just my advice Inuyasha, give up on her. Because you know it, when Lady Kagome's happy, nothing else in the world can bring us down. Her happiness is what we thrive on. And we need to live right now…because only by us living can we truly destroy Naraku."

There was more he wanted to say. More he wanted Inuyasha to see. But Miroku was afraid that another word would just destroy the trembling hanyou in front of him.

The monk remembered him with just one weakness. One delicate weakness since the moment he had met him. And that was Kagome. His weakness. He knew Inuyasha would die any day for her, cry for her expense, and destroy anything if only it was to keep her happy. But would he do this? Would he give away the one thing that kept him happy?

"And is…is that the only way to make her happy?" he heard the croak loud and clear.

"Yes." Miroku sighed closing his eyes, "I'm afraid it is."

And when he opened them again, Inuyasha was gone.

The soak in the river had turned into a full bath the second Sango and Shippo had joined her, and it had almost taken her mind of Inuyasha for a while. When they had reached back to camp in a tumble of slippery feet and wet towels around their shoulders, Miroku had seemed to be the only one waiting for them on the logs.

"Where's Inuyasha?" Shippo had asked the same question she had been aching to ask, but Miroku had only shrugged his shoulders, muttering something about the hanyou smelling a strange scent nearby and wanting to check it out.

But for Kagome it had been strange. No matter where she would be, he would have come to tell her about it or at least sneak up on her bath to see if she had been swallowed by any demon yet.

However, the miko knew better. It had to be Kikyo. Offcourse, because they were on their way back to Kaede's village, maybe…maybe Inuyasha had gone to bid her farewell…for now.

With the depressing thought clouding her thoughts darkly, she didn't even realize most of the journey as they started on towards the North without Inuyasha.

"He'll catch up to us." Miroku had said, helping Kagome with her bag.

"Yeah." I'm sure he will. After he's finished with his…business that is.

Kagome couldn't help it. The stupid angry thoughts that were swinging in her head. She knew she would be better off enjoying the mountain side, but she couldn't help it.

The afternoon air was somewhat still chilly, and as she brought her sweater tighter around herself, she suddenly felt that familiar presence around her. And that small blur of red flashing from the corner of her eyes.

But Inuyasha didn't make his presence known like he always would. He didn't whine at how slow they were moving. He didn't make any unpleasant comments. He didn't say a word.

But as the group made their way down through the valley, all Kagome was aware of was his presence behind her rather than by her side.

As they neared human civilization, she suddenly became aware of the fields they were entering. Vast plantations with healthy green crops.

"I think this should be Mitsukake." Miroku said as they wandered through a group of children playing games in the mud. "I've heard the soil here is very fertile. And they grow wonderful fruits…" he paused for a second before looking over a couple of village women who had passed by with bundles on their hips, "…and lovely women if I must say."

"But unfortunately…" Sango cleared her throat after clocking the monk across the head, "We won't be able to stop here unless we want to reach Kaede's village after nightfall."

"No." Kagome found herself mumbling, "I suppose not."

And very unusually, Inuyasha didn't give any of his comments. As she turned around, hoping to make it look like she was looking at Miroku when she wasn't, she noticed the hanyou quite a few feet behind them on the pebbled road.

He looked a little strange. Like he was deep in thought. Like…as if he was missing Kikyo already.

Huffing, Kagome picked up her feet quickly, and continued to march strongly beside Sango.

"Wow! Look at that!" a gasping kitsune jumped off Miroku's shoulders, as his little fingers pointed off into the distance.

The ground followed his direction and Kagome couldn't help but squeal a little. By the next valley, where the field went on with thriving grass of emerald green, were growing and blooming buds of crimson roses. They were lined by the fences, and from the distance they looked dark rubies studding each plant.

"They're beautiful." Kagome's awed voice sang as she quickly followed after Shippo who had taken off.

For sure, she knew they had to be the most delicate and stunning roses she had ever seen.

Panting a little by the time she reached the fences, Kagome found herself aching to pluck one of the flowers. But she couldn't bear to think of destroying their short lives. They looked so magical being adorned so innocently, that she just couldn't bring herself to take one.

"They're called the winter rose." Miroku's voice said from beside her, "Many villages around here use it for their winter festive decorations. And it's said that the last petal to fall brings snow. Offcourse that's just village folklore, but it's a sign of renewal."

Kagome couldn't help but smile. In the future, a rose would always be a sign of love and acceptance.

On the other side of her, she found Sango rolling her eyes, "And what about those thorns. They look at least twice the normal size."

"A characteristic to ward of predators that's all." Miroku jingled his staff, "Why my dearest Sango, would you like one to adorn your lovely hair?"

"Uhh no." Sango quickly cleared her throat, picking her boomerang back up, "It's a kind offer, but I shall decline it. Could we just be on our way?"

Kagome found herself opted to be dragged off again, but one look at the roses told her, that she would never see such a rich beauty ever again. Whether it bought renewal or love, its beauty was still exquisite.

"What about you Kagome?" the miko heard her kitsune's meek voice from behind, "Would you like one? I-I could get one for you."

Smiling at the foxfire child, she picked him up and let him scramble onto her shoulders, "But wouldn't you agree that beauty remains innocent while it remains untouched?"

Shippo furrowed his brows for a few seconds, deciding on what Kagome's words meant, and so in the end, he just nodded, although still remaining confused.

Although the fields stretched on, the center village turned out to be very small. But by the time, the group was back to walking through dense forest, Kagome felt like her feet couldn't move any longer.

"A break Inuyasha?" Sango asked from where she had collapsed, but the hanyou just shrugged, thus putting Kagome into deeper thoughts.

It had been hours, and yet, Inuyasha had been acting in an awfully dispensable mood. She still couldn't bring herself to face him, but his quietness was almost worrying her. It kept making her wonder on what was actually going through his head.

"There's a hot spring not too far off if I'm right. I think I might go and soak my feet in for a while." Sango got to her feet slowly, and it took Kagome several seconds to realize that she was actually speaking to her.

"Oh. Yeah. Yes…um…I'll come with you." Shrugging off her bag, Kagome picked up pace after the taijia, not once looking up at the hanyou as she passed him.

Contrary to what Sango had predicted, the hot spring turned out to be quite a long way in fact. But it was worth it, when both girl's slipped their numb feet into the untouched water.

"Ahhh. That feels so good." Helplessly. Kagome laughed at herself.

"Hmm." Sango only hummed, then looked up at the girl after a few quiet seconds, "Do you suppose there's a particular reason for Inuyasha's strange behavior?"

Kagome couldn't say she was startled, but she chose not to return the gaze, "I don't know." For a question like that, she would usually have so many answers. But giving one right then was impossible.

Noticing her discomfort, Sango kicked up some water and fell back flat on the ground, "Say Kagome, tell me of that occasion when roses are given from lovers."

Tittering a little, Kagome smiled widely at the young woman, "You mean Valentine's Day?"

"Yes. That one."

"What do you want to know about it?"

"Well, Miroku said that roses specified renewal, but in your tradition it means love?"

"No. Not really. I mean, it's a silly thing, but the colour red usually stands for love. Passion. The sorts. Roses probably stand for lots of things, but it's the most attractive flower. And flowers are generally what you give to someone you love. It's…it's just a theory."

"Oh." Sango smiled slowly, "I think I understand that." Then after another small pause, she looked back up, "But does it only apply on Valentine's Day? Or can it be any day of the year?"

At that, Kagome couldn't stop herself from a short laugh, "Sango, is this about this afternoon? About Miroku wanting to offer you one of the roses?"

"No!" the taijia's words were quick and sharp, but while Kagome continued laughing, Sango didn't fail to flush slightly.

Valentine's might only be once a year, but for a lover, it was every single day of the year. Kagome sighed as she closed her eyes. Roses were truly the epitome of love.

When they took off in the early night, they left without Inuyasha once again.

"He asked us to go on." Miroku had reported once again, and Kagome couldn't help but let her eyes sting again. Kikyo…

How many times would he go back to her? Was it that bad now? Couldn't he live without her just for a few hours?

She was agitated. So…frustrated. Was that the reason why he had been quiet the entire day? Because…because he had been missing the woman he loved?

The thought itself sent an acrid taste at the back of her throat, and Kagome thought of nothing else throughout their walk back to Kaede's village.

Couldn't he at least pretend to enjoy his time with his friends anymore? Couldn't he pretend to enjoy her company at least?

Kagome's mood was noticed by everyone, but no one chose to comment on it. Shippo could smell her tears at times, but he kept close to Miroku as he had been told to. The night got colder by each hour, and by the time they group reached the village, each of them had drooping eyes and tired, and cold feet.

Even after their short dinner with Kaede and one hour later of rolling around in her sleeping bag, Inuyasha still hadn't come back. So just like the night before, the young miko fell asleep crying to herself with disturbing thoughts of the man she loved and the woman who she envied to lull her to sleep.

Things were changing.

If he could never give away a few moments to be with her, then what was the point of staying here at all? What was the point of living here in this world, when the person she was truly here for couldn't bear to be by her side?

The sun had risen a few hours ago, but the November breeze stayed up right through the misty morning. Inuyasha was still nowhere to be seen. Shippo was asleep back in the hut. Sango had gone to clean up. And Miroku? Heck, he must have gone hunting after her, wandering hands in tow.

Suddenly feeling insecure all by her lonesome, Kagome sought out to nestle by the Goshinboku with a sigh. Yup, when all alone, she turned to the tree. Great. If only the Goshinboku could talk back. That would be some fine company.

Grabbing a water bottle from the depths of her bag, the girl crept a little peck over the young kitsune's forehead before walking into the forest. The trees of the woodland loomed over her, casting great shadows as she trampled over weed and foliage. Maybe when she would go back home today, she could call her girls over and have a little girls night out or something. Or maybe she could watch a movie with Souta while taking out the tangles from Buyo's fur. Or even better, she would call up Hojo and ask him if he'd take her somewhere. Kagome let out a strangled laugh as she prepared herself for the surprise she would be seeing in the boy's eyes. Poor Hojo. She wouldn't be surprised if even he had a girlfriend by now, what with the number of times Kagome had ended up rejecting him.

She had most probably scarred him for life.

Finally engulfing the sight of the clearing, she padded up towards the sacred tree, with footsteps soft and slow. She stopped before the upturned roots all the while reaching out a hand to pat the thick scaling bark. Inuyasha. Even thinking of that name, was enough to send tingles up her spine.

Why was it that she couldn't get over him? It had been a silly crush before and now…

Now she didn't even know what she felt for that stupid hanyou anymore. All she knew was that it was some sort of a love. But could it be a love that was stronger than Kikyo's?

Groaning, she pulled herself down beside the tree, Hell no. She doubted there was anyone else who could love and cherish Inuyasha more than Kikyo. After all, she had defied orders from hell and earth to be walking a corpse just to get him back. What greater achievement can there be than that? How could she beat something as big as that?

Snorting under her nose, Kagome nimbly began gathering the stalk of nearby flowers embedding the grass. There wasn't anything else to think about other than that. It was almost sickening to feel tears prick her eyes for nearly the millionth time that day.

Kikyo could have Inuyasha for all she cared. She had just had enough of all this. Fighting for him wasn't going to take her anywhere. She was alive, Kikyo was dead. She was a reflection, Kikyo was the object. She was immature, Kikyo was full-fledged. How the hell could she compete with that? Instead, she would just end up breaking more hearts along the way. Kikyo's for taking him away from her. Inuyasha's because he was obviously in love with the clay model. And her own heart too because no matter what she did, she knew she would never be able to make him truly happy. It would never work out that way. He belonged here with whatever path he chose, and she belonged…somewhere really far away. She belonged to another eternity. To another extract of history.

The thought itself made her throat raw with pain. This wasn't reality. This was just too good of a dream. Too idyllic. Reality existed in that world beyond the well. Not here. In the world of mechanics, homework, chores, evil school teachers and college applications. The real future.

So from this moment on, the fighting was over. Griping the stalks tight in her fingers, Kagome swore herself an oath. This is it. No more of this bull from now on. From today, I will start dating! Dating normal guys that is…human guys who don't live in an era of excess youkais. Boys like…Hojo!

Closing her eyes from the lull of the forest, Kagome clapped herself heftily on the back. This was good. With a plan already formulated, all she had to do was go home now, ring Hojo up and ask him out. Straight up.

And so caught up in the preparations she was making, Kagome never noticed the hanyou crawled up on the tree, hidden in the depth of dark leaves. She never noticed his watchful eyes on her. The way his ears would perk every time a particular emotion ran over her features. And when his nose sniffed out the saltiness that wafted from her, he tore out scraps of bark one by one. It was killing him. Watching her cry ever so quietly was tearing apart his very insides. He wanted to be down there with her. He wanted to hold her and tuck her in under his chin, crush her within his arms and smells into that supple scent lingering on her skin.

But he could only dream of that. Right then, his senses were numb. His legs wouldn't move an inch and his claws remained dug into the bark.

He had most probably wrecked whatever chances he had ever had with her. Just to be with her. He felt heartless knowing that the girl cried more tears because of him rather than after a battle where she would really get hurt. He was cruel. So pathetic. He was a monster. No matter how many times she would confess wanting to be with him, he would always break her heart like an idiot and meet up with Kikyo at the first chance he got. He hated himself right then. His eyes shut close the moment he saw the girl against the tree fling away the flowers in her grasp. He made her miserable. Miroku was right about that.

The little yellow bunch of petals bellowed away into the wind falling in a scatter around Kagome. They fell onto the grass without a whisper, just like the remaining tears fell. And the silence suddenly seemed too unbearable. She broke into soft cries.

The agitation came to him at once, the sudden desire to erase away her tears. Fuck this.

So without a moment's thoughts, he leapt into the mass of autumn leaves.

Kagome never sensed him like she should have. One second she was letting out tears of frustration and the next out of nowhere, there stood her reason of heart-break right in front of her. Her chest heaved tight in an alarmed surprise, fingers suddenly rushing up to hastily wipe away the visible tears.

"Inuyasha…?" her voice spluttered out in a squeak as she wallowed under his hawk-like glaring eyes. "W-what…what are you doing here?" But the hanyou didn't move an inch to answer her.

Kagome swallowed down a few more gulps, dusting away the petals that had landed into her lap, all the while making sure her eyes were anywhere but on him. She didn't hear his growl at the lack of attention he was provided, nor did she watch his feet travel towards her. She was just desperately hoping that he hadn't been watching her cry this entire time. Oh God. Anything but that. I bet Kikyo has never cried in her entire life, alive or dead as much as I have.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Those were his first words. Kagome looked back up at him, a frown suddenly adorning her face. She was a little shocked he would be sounding so callous. If anything, she thought he would have been a little sorry. A little compassionate. Picking up a scowl, she grabbed a fistful of grass next to her, scanning his face over, desperately hoping it would give away any concern. But all she could see was the expression of a brick wall. Guess some things never change.

Willing herself not to look bothered, she relaxed her fists, "What does it look like I'm doing?" That's right Kag. Just don't let him get to you. He's a scum. A toad. A cheating scoundrel. A dog-breath freak. He's a man-who— oh shit…what the hell is he doing now?

Unaware of her inner thoughts, Inuyasha hadn't missed the smell of hostility and unawareness from her. She was bristling with nerves, and he didn't know why, but he couldn't come up with anything to say. Anything polite. Anything appropriate. His head was a void of words. So he ambled forward, until he was leaning tall over her and her eyes were looking up at him with a distinct sense of alertness. The tears in her eyes were still there. Then he crouched down, until he was at eye-level with her.

Taken back abruptly, the young girl attempted to scoot back a little, her recent oath resounding furiously in her head. Date normal guys. Date normal guys. Date normal guys. Date—

"Kagome." There. He had said it. He had said her name. Not wench. Or girl. Or bitch. But her name…Kagome.

Looking up from the spot on her lap, the young girl searched up for the soft voice that had whispered out her name. He had just used his apologizing tone, and as Kagome looked at him with renewed faith crossing her eyes, the hanyou felt his heart squeeze itself under her scrutinizing gaze. Her eyes were blotchy and red, with tears stains tainted on the front of her blouse. He wanted to reach out to her. Touch her. Hold her. He wanted her to laugh. He wanted her to shriek with laughter.

Anything but hold onto that remorse face.

"Inuyasha…" hearing his own name from that sweet mouth urged him to wedge closer, but he stayed where he was. Anymore closer and he just might loose it. "What do you want?"

What did he want? He wanted her to stop crying. As simple as that. He wanted her to get rid of her salty tears. He wanted her to know how sorry he was.

Loosing her bag of patience as easily as it came, Kagome looked away warily. Maybe he hadn't come to apologize. Maybe he had just been caught in his guilt trap once again. In that confusion he always seemed to be in. Unable to decide if he was supposed to support his girlfriend or his useless shard detector. "I'm not expecting you to say anything." The miko mindlessly spoke her thoughts, suddenly not caring about getting any comments from him, "I'm tired and I rather you leave me alone."

When getting nothing but the hollow stare of flaming eyes, Kagome let her throbbing eyes close and brought up her knees against her chest, "Please…" her voice came out hoarsely this time, "I want to be alone." Alone. Without your face in front of mine. Without you looking at me with that bloody pity. I want to be alone without you.

"I've told you before…" Kagome clenched her eyes shut at the sound of his voice, "If you're gonna leave the village, let someone know where you're going."

"Inuyasha." She felt the tears stab the back of her eyes once again, "Please leave." Suddenly it seemed too hard to just not let her voice crack.

"And you should know better than anyone not to wander around by yourself."

"Please! Leave." She looked away this time, unable to keep the irritation out.

"Sango has been looking all over the village for you."

"Go away!" she cried out with fists grabbing onto the grass for support again.

"Coming here out of all places. The forest is nothing but filled with demons. You know the things they've done to you every time you've come here by yourself."

Snapping her head up, Kagome screamed before she caught herself, "For God's sake! Leave me the hell alone! If I see a demon, I'll kill it! Altight!"

But there was no stopping him, "And every time you have the Shikon no Tama around with you, there's no tell—,"

"Is that what you're bloody worried about?" The fury had finally been unleashed and she never realized when her tolerance level had finally snapped, "Your goddamned jewel?" Then without another labored thought, the girl grabbed off the thread snaked around her neck before hurling it at the hanyou in fornt of her and hitting it smack against his face, "Then take it! Take all of it! Eat it if you have to! Change into a bloody demon or human, or whatever you want! See if I care! See if I give a damn if you kill or go to hell with your girlfriend!" This time Kagome didn't bother holding back the tears, and the boy in front of her didn't make his move in grabbing the jewel that had rolled onto the grass. His face was just a void.

"Go on! Take it!" With heart and mind thundering like a rainstorm, she kicked the jewel away, "What the hell are you waiting for! Take the fucking jewel!"

His eyes narrowed a little. His claws itching to hold that little face of hers. And fangs wanting to nip onto the smooth skin he had felt many times before. She was burning with rage, her scent flaring and those fiery eyes glaring at him with absolute loathing. It was not often that she swore, and as the Shikon no Tama tumbled by his feet, he had no choice but to grab it and slip it into his sleeves.

She wasn't blubbering childishly, but Kagome dug her face into her knees, eager to stop the crying. Bastard. Bloody conniving little bastard!


"Please!" she broke down before she hold herself again, "Do you have to always rub it my face? Can't you just leave me alone?"

"No." his reply was quick and gruff.

"Why!" she pleaded still not looking up, "You already got what you wanted…"

Inuyasha brought out a hand to touch the top of her head before recoiling it back as he watched her shudder, "You have no idea what I want." Then thinking better of it, he sat in the clearing next to her.

Feeling the fabric of his haori flutter by her arms, the girl hugged her legs tighter, "Just go away please. I'm really tired of this." Why is he doing this to me?

"But I know what you want."

Hitching in a quick breath, the girl dug her knees into the two hollow of her eyes, "Look, I don't care anymore! I just want to be alone ok? I-I've had enough."

Nervous like the whirl in his chest, Inuyasha gazed at her tense shoulders. He was lost for words. What could he do? What would he have to do to get her back? What! He didn't know how this was done. He didn't know how to make her believe that it was her he…wanted. It was her he needed. Her voice to calm him. Her touch to soothe him. Her presence to let him feel less lonely. How the fuck…

"You know what?" her brusque voice cut away his thoughts, head rising up to look him straight in the eye. Tears and all. She didn't even give him the chance to acknowledge her question, "This has been coming along for quite a long time. I-I should have known it. I should have been more prepared." Her voice didn't wobble once.

"What?" No, that's not what he had meant to say. What the fuck? That was more like it.

Sighing away ruefully, "Stop. Alright, just stop." A hand came to wipe away more tear stains, "Don't play me like a fool."

"What the fuck are you—,"

"Let me finish!" she abruptly roared, changing her position to face him ever so slightly, "Just hear me out ok." She was struggling, he could tell. Madly, plus making no shit of a sense. The quiver of her bottom lip gave away her anxiety, and he was dreading to hear her next words, "I want you to be straight with me from now on. No more bloody lies and…and no more leading me on."

Growling no matter how hard he tried not to, he couldn't help but snap, "And when haven't I been straight with you?"

"Every time!" she glared, "Every single stupid time!" her outburst didn't shock him as much as her accusation. He had always been straight with her. If not a little too straight. "You tell me something nice or maybe even compliment me, and the next thing I see, is you running off after Kikyo! It always happens!"

"What does that have to do with anything? I have always been straight to you! Lied a few times yeah, but only to save your ass!"

"That's not what I meant!" Kagome pounded the grass heatedly.

"Then what!"

At that moment, the harshness of his voice made her loose it, "Don't act like you like me and then turn your back on me!"

"But I do like you! And I have never turned my back on you! You know it's the last thing I'd ever do!"

"Augh!" she was almost at the verge at pulling out her hair, "Love me!" she shrieked even though he was just a breath away, "Don't pretend like you bloody love me! Don't pretend like you don't know that I do! Just …just don't pretend anymore. You have no idea how bad it hurts." The last of her words broke off into a whisper. "You have no…idea."

It was shocking to hear herself say that. Finally after all these years of desperate pinning after an imbecile of a dog, Kagome had finally let it pour out of her. It was impossible to say anything anymore. It was impossible to even look at his face. Impossible to move. Impossible to stop crying. And impossible to stop her heart from beating wildly.

She wanted to run away somewhere, but her legs had given up. She wanted to hide her face away, but who the hell cared anymore. She wanted someone to hold her and tell her how much they loved her, but did a person like that even exist? No.

She was destined to live her life entering and disappearing through a well that stunk of carnage. Spend her adolescence shooting aimless arrows at gruesome demons that lusted after a stupid jewel out of all things. Spend her adult life still studying and attempting algebraic equations. She would die alone, husbandless in a neighborhood where nobody would give a stinking shit about old ladies with arthritis problems from climbing down sewage man-holes that had long ago replaced the ever so infamous well. Her life would be a pathetic excuse of existence. And that would be the end of her. Finito.

"I don't pretend." The words let her eyes fly open once again, but Kagome heftily leaned back against the bark of the Goshinboku before she could cast her eyes over him. She was so tired, her eyes felt like dropping off and sliding onto the grassy forest floor. "I may pretend to hate you, but I have never pretended to like you." Never pretended to love every bit of you.

When all he got was the clench of her fist on the grass, the hanyou lost any hope there ever was. He was turning desperate, and without thinking twice he grabbed the hand that lay beside him. I need you. I need you with me. Why can't you fucking see that?

He got a reaction from her, but only an abrupt one. Tangling her fingers into his, he didn't miss the change in her scent, the fright in her eyes. He could hear her heart. Hear her incoherent mumbles. Her breath. And then finally she looked at him. Her eyes misty and red. Flashing with anger as she attempting in yanking back her hand. But he held on tight. Hold on.

"I don't pretend." He repeated himself. His hawk eyes were brought down in slits to search hers, frantic to know if she was believing him or not. Still holding onto his courage, he brought the tiny hand on his knees, where they clenched the cloth of his hakama. "I…I know what you want."

Kagome didn't move an inch. Her heart was caught frozen once again like always. The warmth of his fingers didn't graze her. But when he reached into his sleeves, she clenched her eyes shut. The Shikon no Tama? No…I don't want it. I don't want it back. You will never know what I want.

When she felt him leaning onto her, she felt like starting a fresh new fall of tears again. He was going to tie it back on her. The damn jewel. She was going to become the prisoner of its innocence and malice once again. A prisoner to its existence.

But instead, she felt something soft on her cheek. Carefully opening her eyes, she couldn't help but catch her breath. He wasn't holding out the sacred jewel. He was holding a rose. A dark crimson rose, naked of tiny thorns. A winter rose.

For a second, she stared at the bunched up petals confused, then at the hanyou whose eyes had never left hers, "Why…" she felt her chest heave, "Why are you doing this?"

"I saw you looking at them yesterday." He answered quietly, "I heard you talk to Sango about them. And I know you wanted one." And then he gently tucked in the stem behind her ear. "I took out the thorns."

She had stopped breathing anymore. She had long forgotten how to move her limbs. And now. Now she was going to be stuck here. Wedged between a tree and the source of her senseless addiction. Even though she had given up on him. Even though her oath rang out like a scream. Date Hojo. Date Hojo. Date Hojo. Date Hojo. And even though today was nowhere near Valentine's Day.

"I know what you want." His voice was a whisper again.

What I want? Tell me then. If you know, then tell me. Because right now, I have no idea what I want. I want to kiss you, I want to slap you. I want you to hold me. I want you throw me down that well and cut off any connection between us. I want you to love me. But…but…I want to forget you as well. Give you up. Oh god, tell me what I should do?

Sensing her racing emotions, Inuyasha released the hand he was holding and instead, pulled her towards him by her wrist. Her face was tearful, but she didn't restrain as her head dipped over his shoulder. It was as if she had lost all control of her body. But he isn't mine. He doesn't belong to me. He doesn't need me. He…he…he was never mine to ever begin with. Then why was he doing this? What was making her crazy?

He grabbed her before she could protest, slipping his arms around her in an awkward hold. How long had he waited just to have her against him. To feel her warmth against him.

"This…" he heard her mumble, "This is exactly what I mean by pretending."

"I'm not pretending."

Holding onto a bit of energy she attempted to lift up her head, but he held on tighter, "Then why do you love her?" Why do you love that woman who wants you dead? Why do you love that woman I feel so little compared to?

This was the question he had been waiting to hear. The reason why she hated him so much. Breathing into the back of her neck, he found his fingers entangling themselves into hers again, "I care about Kikyo. But I don't love her."

There was just the rustling of leaves for a few seconds, and the hanyou proudly patting himself mentally for his answer, knowing that he had won her over again. Then without another movement from her, she murmured, "Bullshit."

He knew what that word meant. And it wasn't cow dung. Clenching his grasp around her waist, he pulled her over between his legs while she let out a grunt in surprise, "Yes. A long time ago, I loved her. I loved her like crazy. But it's been more than fifty years. And I can't help stop loving her."

"Really?" he could hear the spark of anger in the young miko's words, then she twisted her neck around to glare at him "If that's the way it is, then please tell me why I've seen you two kiss like a countless times. Why is that I always find you two confessing eternal life to each other? Why!"

"Because I owe her my life."

"Please!" Kagome held out her arms against his chest, unable to loosen his hold on her, "I've heard that like a million times. If you love her, then just tell me! I'll give up on you, because I can't wait any longer! Just admit that you love her!"

"I don't love her!"

"Yes you do!"

"I don't—,"

"Just admit it!"

"Fuck! I don't love her dammit! I should know!" There. She had gone and fucking done it again. Made him loose his control just when he had been doing so good. She always did this. Always made him loose control. Every fucking time.

Turning her head away, Kagome pulled herself up again, "Screw this. I don't think I even care anymore. And could you please let go of me?"

"About what? The fact that you love me?" he asked scathingly.

Her head whipped around at that, body tensing, and eyes seething in rage. He could practically hear the cogs in her brain turning, so he clamped her mouth shut before she could open it, "If you're gonna say the damn 'sit' word, you're gonna be coming down with me as well."

Turning her head away, she threw daggers at him, "Don't you ever say that again!"

"You love me."

"No! Not anymore!" she knew she was yelling a bit louder than she needed to.

For a second he adjusted the rose in her hair, before dipping his mouth next to her ears, "You will always love me."

"N-never! I…I'm gonna date Hojo!" she blurted out before her heart spindled nervously. No. She hadn't been meaning to say that.

Knowing what the word 'date' meant from a visit to her future a while ago, the hanyou snarled viciously as he remembered the frail human boy as well, "No you're not."

Forgetting all about her desperate dreams and the conversation she'd just her, Kagome pulled up harder, digging her nails into his arms "Inuyasha! Let me go!"

"I know what you want Kagome."

"Yeah? What do I want then? Tell me!" she turned her neck around to continue her attempt in freeing herself.

Inuyasha leaned in by her ear again. His reply was as silent as a leaf dropping, "You want me." She almost never heard him. Almost. And when his words registered themselves in her mind, her efforts stopped all at once.


"You want me." His lips grazed below her earlobe, sending shivers down her spine, "You need me." He brushed his lips against her jaw, "You love me."

No. No. No.

This wasn't supposed to happen. This egotistic, conceited, malicious half-breed was never supposed to say those things. He was never supposed to hold her that way. He wasn't…hadn't ever been this close to making her heart explode. Her adrenaline was rushing and all she wanted to do right then was faint. Then maybe this would all be a dream and her arms wouldn't be shaking as badly as they were. "Don't do this Inuyasha." That's all she heard herself saying, even though it was exactly what she wanted all along. But Hojo…

And it felt as if Inuyasha knew that too. Because not before too long, he brought a clawed hand to her chin, pushing it up towards him. He didn't know what he was doing. But he knew what he wanted. He knew what he wanted in this world where only a few loved and admired him. Where only a few cared about his fate. Where only a few accepted him for who he was. And she was one of the few. She was the only one.

The only one who scared him to death.

The only one who made his heart elate.

The only one he loved. Only fucking damn one.

Her hands clutched at his hakama, heart racing and her stomach doing its own trapeze act. She didn't close her eyes when his lips brushed past hers. She didn't stopping looking into his golden orbs. The perfect envisioned colour of sunrise. The windows she could spend hours looking into. God I love him. I love this hanyou. This asshole. This moronic cretin.

"You're right." She croaked in a painful whisper, unable to stop her eyes from stinging. "That's exactly what I want. But…but I don't know what you want."

This wasn't happening. That's what Kagome was telling herself. The hanyou no way, in no damn century would ever be holding her like this and speaking sweetly in her ears. There was no way he was turning her around, so that she wasn't craning her neck to look at him anymore. There was no way he could ever have that soft look in his eyes. Maybe when she was bleeding on the ground somewhere. Yeah, that was okay. But this wasn't happening.

"I know." His voice came, "I know now."

Her heart was racing a thousand miles before she felt him near her again. And then before she knew it, he had grabbed her chin and pressed his mouth against hers tight. In that moment of sudden exhilaration that's all happened. They just sat there holding onto each other, lips locked. Kagome was too surprised to do anything. Her eyes were closed for all she knew, but that didn't seem the end to it. His fangs pried against her lip, and before she knew what she was doing, Kagome had already opened her mouth.

It felt like heaven.

His heart was roaring. He almost couldn't hear himself think. No. He wasn't even thinking. Letting go of her arms, he found himself pulling her closer by the waist. It felt like the sweetest thing he had ever tasted. The warmest thing he had ever touched. The softest skin he had ever hungered over.

With her skin shooting prickles, Kagome didn't stop short to think. There were no words in her mind. It felt like a dream. A very bad dream.

He pulled away sensing her frown. She wasn't scowling, but her eyes were. She was crying once again.

"W-what is it?" With the close proximity, he could smell those tears as clear as her wondrous scent. He pulled back a little more, nervousness hitting him like a tonne of bricks. Maybe that hadn't been the way boys kissed during her time? Had he been too forward? Had his fangs come in the way? What was it!

"Why…" her soft whisper broke, her breath warming his lips, "Why are you doing this…" she asked again.

"What do you mean why?" he hadn't meant to snap, but what the hell was this! Here he was having the time of his life, and she was fucking crying?

"Why did you do that?"

Suddenly he couldn't take anymore of her whining. Her damn accusations. Her heart-wrenching tears. And the way her face glowed. "Because I wanted to dammit!" he felt weak under her gaze, "How hard is that to understand?" he shook her a little, desperate eyes aching to be accepted, "I fucking wanted to kiss you."

His confession sent tingles down her spine, but Kagome couldn't look away yet. Her face flushed lightly, and she attempted on slowing down her galloping heart.

"But you…you can't just do that whenever you feel like it." She was babbling. She just knew it. This is what she had wanted all along. For her Inuyasha to kiss her and hold her and look into her eyes, and knowing that it was her he was thinking about and not Kikyo.

"Yes I can!" Inuyasha held on tighter, brushing his fangs against her lips again and letting a hand glide itself into her mane of ebony tendrils. He gulped as her warm eyes continued to tear into his, a sudden strange feeling overwhelming him. And then he said, what he had wanted to say for a very long time. "Because you're mine. No matter what part of time you're from, you'll always be mine. I-I won't fucking let you be with anyone else. I'll kill them if I have to. But you can't be anyone else's. I won't let you. I don't-I don't care what Miroku says, but…I won't let you belong to somebody else."

There was silence in the forest as those words departed his lips.

Inuyasha sat tight, his ears expectant and his eyes searching for a reaction on the face of his beloved. He wanted her to say something.

But Kagome hadn't moved an inch. Wide eyes were trained on his, and her fingers crept up to grasp the front of his haori.

Staying his ground the hanyou watched as she sidled to face him. Tensed, his heart stopped as a whimper escaped her lips.

"Say that again." She whispered.

"Say what?"

Kagome held the fabric of his front tighter, and Inuyasha could just about smell the wake of her tears, "What you just said."

He could almost feel his heart soaring. His lips widened, but he said it again. Slowly and making sure that he mumbled it against her soft lips, "You're mine."

"Again." She pleaded, fingers creeping to touch his face.

"You're mine."


"You're mine." This time she kissed him softly, and he could feel her shudder. She held onto the prayer beads, and let the tip of her fingers touch his smooth neck.

"Just…once more." Kagome murmured, and so the hanyou pulled her as close as she could get.

"You're mine." His last words shattered the dam to her tears, and scrambling to her knees, she threw her arms around him.

"Thank you." He heard her mumble through sobs and shaking shoulders.

"For what?" he breathed into her neck, savoring her soft hair and the feel of her hot tears on his skin.

"For letting me love you."

Pausing for a while, he pulled her back and held her flushed face, "You can love me forever. As long as you never leave me."

Half laughing through falling tears; she grabbed his forelocks and kissed him once more, the exhilaration bringing out the butterflies in her stomach, "Wouldn't dream of it."

"Swear on it."

"I promise." Kagome whispered, "I swear on it…Inuyasha. Because you're mine as well."

And without another word, he swept her down onto his lips swiftly. For so long he had spent dreaming of kissing her and holding her this way, and finally…finally here she was with him. She was his, and no one could take her away. It was fated, and he didn't anybody's opinion on knowing that for himself.

The last few petals of the winter rose fell on the seventh morning. And much to Kagome's delight, it snowed.

Author's Note:

Hmmmm…pretty long for a oneshot. I think I might have a fetish for writing winding oneshots. I've had this fic half written since ages, but completing it was bothering me. It wasn't supposed to go on for so long, but I couldn't help it. Although a stereotypical storyline like many, I wanted to put in my share of it. Except the concept was of my own. As far as I'm aware of, there's no existing flower called as a winter rose and was just made up by my adolescent mind. Yes, I love making facts up. XD

This was just one of those experimental fics (Thriller was totally on a different level, so I can't really compare it to that.) Except this is a oneshot and I'm leaving it at this. It's hard for me to write fluffy happy scenes, so this was as far as I could go. Hope you guys enjoyed it!