A/N: Konichiwa, minna-san! Kurinju-sama here once again. This time with a long oneshot songfic. OK, so it isn't REALLY a songfic, but Kagome-chan IS singing. So it's a song within a fic? I don't really know. Aw well, same rules go for this fic as do all of them, review and tell me exactly what you think, good, bad, or boring! All reviews are welcome. Tanoshii omoi o suru!

Important: If you need translations for the Japanese, just visit my author page!

Disclaimer: Seriously, if I owned InuYasha, he and Kagome would have gotten together already. So just don't even bother to ask.

In My Heart, Always

"OSUWARI! InuYasha you're insufferable!" Kagome was steaming. How could he! After all she did for him, he goes and makes fun of her again!

'Damn it! I did it again! But did she have to yell it like that!' The spell wore off and InuYasha lifted himself out of the crater he'd made. "Damn it, Kagome! Why'd you do that! It hurt!" He yelled.

"Oh, what? The mighty InuYasha can't take a little pain?" She couldn't believe him. He could take a hole in the stomach like it was a simple flesh wound, but he couldn't take a sit?

"Hey! Don't mock me like that! I can take-!" He stopped mid rant and tentatively sniffed the air. Something was very wrong.

Anger quickly forgotten, Kagome walked over to the hanyou. "What is it InuYasha? What's wrong?"

"I smell human blood. And not just a little." His voice was serious.

Sniff, sniff "I smell it too! It also smells like something's burning." Shippou wrinkled his nose.

"There is supposed to be a village around here. Perhaps they need our assistance." Miroku stepped forward. He and Sango had been watching from the sidelines, enjoying the break the yelling match gave them.

"We should go check it out. If we help out and the damage isn't too bad, maybe they'll give us lodging for the night." Sango resituated her Hiraikotsu, ready to go. "Come on, Kirara." Miroku, Sango, and Shippou hopped on the transformed neko youkai while Kagome took her place on InuYasha's back. As soon as everyone was set, they took off, following the hanyou's nose.

They hadn't traveled five minutes when they came across an almost decimated village. Most of the huts had burned, some had collapsed, and what looked like three quarters of the villagers had been slaughtered. The remaining few villagers seemed to be rallying against something, kicking it and thrusting pitchforks at it. The children did their part by throwing rocks, following their parents', lead of yelling at the creature.

"What on earth is going on?" Kagome said in an awed voice as she slid off InuYasha's back.

"Don't know. But I smell demon." InuYasha stared at the mob. 'Or is it half?' He growled to himself, unwanted memories resurfacing.

Miroku made a move towards the angered villagers. "Hello there, my good people! May I inquire what the problem is?" He shouted in a friendly voice.

Some of the people turned towards him, while others still held whatever they were rioting against at bay. "He did it! He caused all of this! That monster is to blame!" One of them angrily replied, pointing to the center of the yelling group.

That's when they saw it. They saw what, or rather who, they blamed for their misfortune. In the middle of the mob, bloody and battered, was a young inu-hanyou. He seemed confused and frightened of his situation and the humans who had not ceased in torturing him.

Kagome was horrified. And after the moment of shock was over, she raced furiously to the center of the crowd. "Stop it! Stop it all of you! He's just a child!" She shouted at them.

"He is the one who brought the demons here to attack us!" Another villager yelled.

"I-I didn't! I didn't do anything! I s-swear! I had no part in it!" The young hanyou pleaded. Hoping against all hope that the villagers would not turn this woman against him. To his relief, his prayers were answered.

"Shhhh…you're alright now. I won't let them hurt you anymore." Kagome crooned, kneeling and taking the frightened youngster into her arms.

The villagers shook with rage and disgust as they watched the exchange. "Who do you think you are? You dare tell us to stop? You sympathize with filthy demons! Not only that but you are a woman! Why should we listen to what you say!" What seemed to be the leader of the crowd yelled.

Kagome glared. "I am a miko! And the guardian of the Shikon no Tama!" She shouted, and showed them her shards. She didn't like playing that card very much. In her eyes she really wasn't really all that special. But these circumstances seemed like a prime example of when the title of 'miko who protects the Shikon' helped others, not just herself. She felt the child in her arms stiffen a little at her proclamation, but she continued to embrace him protectively.

The outburst made most of the villagers step back from the mob and return home, not wanting to invoke the ill will of someone so highly respected. Others, however, were not convinced. "You are a liar! Mikos do not commiserate with demons! If you were truly a miko, that thing would be dead by now! You shall be punished severely for your fraud you impudent wench!" The leader raised his hand to strike her.

InuYasha had been watching in a half-shock the whole time. Kagome never ceased to amaze him. Not ten minutes ago she had been yelling her head off at him, and now she was defending a hanyou child. A hanyou. I mean sure he knew she accepted him, but that was practically forced on her…wasn't it? She only accepted him because she had to travel with him and rely on him for protection, right? No. He knew the answer to that question. Never had she given the slightest hint of simply dealing with what he was. She accepted it whole heartedly and even liked the fact that he was a half-demon, she had said so herself. She was protecting a half-demon child she didn't even know. She would really make a good mother someday. A small smile came to his face. Yeah, she'd make a great mother.

"…Mikos do not commiserate with demons! If you were truly a miko that thing would be dead by now! You shall be punished severely for your fraud you impudent wench!"

InuYasha snapped out of his musing about how much he would love to be the father of the pups she mothered in a flash as he saw the man raise a hand against his Kagome. In the blink of an eye, he was between Kagome and the man, squeezing the man's wrist just hard enough so it wouldn't break. A menacing growl came from his throat as an icy stare seemed to pierce the man's very being.

"You lay one hand on her," He growled in a low voice, "and I will rip your arm from its socket." For emphasis he tightened his grip the slightest bit. The now truly terrified man flinched, but then recovered somewhat.

"Even more reason not to believe her!" the man spoke to the crowd. "She has another filthy hanyou as a companion! A miko and a half-demon? Who ever heard of such a thing?" He mocked with a sneer. Obviously trying to hide his own terror. InuYasha's growl grew louder with this and squeezed the man's wrist even closer to its breaking point. He yelled in pain and InuYasha let go. The man cowered back, cradling the throbbing appendage.

As scared as he was the man managed enough courage to say one last thing to the irate adult hanyou. "Demons," He glared, "and those who associate with them," He stole a glance at Sango and Miroku on the sidelines, "are not welcome in this village. Leave now or we will attack." His voice held much contempt as it quavered faintly.

"Feh. Like I'd waste my time staying near you swine anyway." InuYasha replied, glare still intact. He watched the man and the rest of the villagers slowly slink away before turning to Kagome, still on the ground holding the scared pup. His cold stare all but vanished as he watched her. Shushing and cooing to the whimpering child. He crouched down and put a hand on her shoulder. "Daijoubu ka?" He asked in a much gentler voice than he had been using a second before.

Kagome's eyes lifted from her charge to meet her protector's. They had grown considerably closer over the three years she had been traveling with him, but it was still very rare that he showed this much affection towards her. "Hai, I'm alright." She looked back down at the child. "I think we'd better get to a safer place and treat his wounds at the moment, though." They both rose and Kagome settled the confused boy on her hip. InuYasha gave one more glance at the girl before leading the search for their next campsite. Followed by Miroku and Sango who made no effort to hide their knowing smiles. Not that they were noticed anyway.

A not so long walk brought the group to an open grassy field scattered with a few trees. As soon as InuYasha found a tree he approved of, settling himself in a low branch, Miroku and Sango began setting up camp under it. Kagome set down the still overwhelmed child a little ways away from the tree and began rummaging through her overstuffed backpack for the first aid kit. She had decided to wait until they were somewhat settled before trying to form a discussion.

Once she had gotten the kit out Kagome took a cloth and soaked it with water from her water bottle. Gently she began wiping away the dry blood and dirt on his skin. "My name is Kagome." She said to the boy. "Would you care to tell me yours?"

The boy thought for a moment. This girl, Kagome, she had saved him from the villagers even though he was a hanyou. But could he really trust her? She was a miko after all. But, she traveled with demons, and another half demon. "It…It's Aikurushii. B-But you can just call me Aiku." He stammered.

Kagome looked up at him in the quickly waning daylight. He still didn't trust her completely. She didn't blame him. She knew what atrocities were done to hanyou from InuYasha. She had to gain Aiku's trust, they all did, before anything else could be done. "It's nice to meet you Aiku-chan." She smiled at him. His full name really did suit him. He was adorable. Almost a mini InuYasha. He looked no more than eight, with long hair the same silvery color as the older hanyou. It seemed to Kagome his bangs needed a trim, though. They were hiding his beautiful blue-green eyes. Simple village boy cloths adorned his small figure. Kagome decided to work on getting him new ones at the next village. His were torn and filthy. Two silvery, swiveling dog ears peeked out of his ruffled hair, completing his picture of cuteness.

"These," She gestured towards the members of the group still setting up camp, "are my friends. Miroku the monk, Sango the taijiya," They turned and smiled at mention of their names, "and Shippou."

"I'm a kitsune!" Shippou bounced over to sit next to Kagome.

"Hi." Aiku greeted shyly. "Ano…Kagome?"

"What is it Aiku-chan?"

"Why…why'd you do it?" Aiku half whispered.

Kagome blinked. "Why'd I do what?"

"Why'd you save me from those villagers?" Aiku lifted his eyes to the girl in front of him.

"They were hurting you, weren't they?"

"Well, yes, but…" He trailed off.

"But…" Kagome prompted.

"…I'm hanyou." Aiku said uncertainly, as if this fact would cause Kagome to turn him away as well. But, she only smiled.

"So's he." Kagome jerked her thumb up towards a branch in the tree InuYasha had picked out. Said hanyou gave a sidelong glance in their direction. "An inu-hanyou to be exact. Just like you if I'm not mistaken." Aiku nodded.

"What's his name?" The fact that the man that had protected Kagome and him from the mob's leader was a hanyou as well interested him.

"InuYasha." She stated.

"Why does he travel with you?"

Kagome chuckled a bit. His curiosity was so cute! "Because he's our friend." She said matter-of-factly. "And besides, he protects us." Aiku saw her eyes soften in a strange way. She always had a soft and gentle look in her eyes, but this was…different. He still found it odd that a group of humans, and even two full demons, could accept a hanyou so readily. He glanced up at InuYasha. Aiku found the situation to be even more interesting when the grown half-demon made no move to dispute what Kagome had said. He merely gazed back at her with, what Aiku swore was, the same strange softness she had in her eyes. It quickly vanished, though, when Kagome looked him. When that happened he swiftly turned his head with a 'keh'. Aiku quirked an eyebrow. Adults were strange.

InuYasha had been in deep thought ever since he had settled in the large tree standing guard over the campsite. It used to be when ever he did this that brat of a kit would make some stupid crack about not thinking too hard or he'd hurt himself. These days, though, his ponderings were a common occurrence, or at least more common that they used to be. So once again he was thinking about his usual topic, Kagome.

Exactly how did she manage to be so amazing? She had a temper hotter than the sun itself and a heart bigger than her body should be able to accommodate. What she had done today was only one more thing he could add to his growing list of her astonishing feats. She had forced her way into the middle of a rioting mob to protect a hanyou child. It was definitely going near the very top of his list. She hadn't even hesitated! He had been too busy revisiting bad, yet oddly not as painful, memories of when that was him in the middle of an angry crowd. Yet another of Kagome's accomplishments. She had been able to heal his heart against most of the pain of the past. Something Kikyou hadn't even come close to doing.

He heard Kagome make introductions and vaguely realized his name had been left out. This made him listen a bit closer. He heard the villagers mentioned and the issue of being a hanyou. Those thoughts plunged him into a whole new round of contemplations. The villagers had been almost abnormally disgusted by the fact that a human had helped a hanyou, even more so that a miko had one as a companion.

How many times had he heard that one before? Almost every half intelligent youkai they came across mentioned the fact of how pitiful it was that a human was 'with' a half-demon.

Yura, Hioga, Kaguya, and several other dead souls he didn't care to name. This time though…it had hurt. The mention of their differences and how despicable it was that they were 'together' had hurt him. Not that much, but enough to make his heart clench in uncertainty. He knew he cared for Kagome…a lot. Enough to slip up a few times and call her 'his,' though thankfully no out loud.

He realized Kagome had made a reference to himself and glanced sideways in her direction. She had begun to explain his part in the group to the thoroughly interested, and now clean, pup. She looked beautiful as she smiled and explained things to her charge.

But…what if all those bastards were right? What if the idea of a human and a hanyou being together is so repulsive that even Kagome detested it? If that were the case then she would never even give him a chance. Not that he even deserved a chance, much less the prize. Kagome was too good for him. But…a chance would still be nice. On the other hand, she had never given any signs of agreeing with what the idiots that said their 'relationship' was a disgrace. In fact, just the opposite. Hadn't she fought back against them? Did that mean he did have a chance? He was getting way too confused with the topic and decided to drop it for the moment. As his eyes came back into focus he noticed that he had been staring at the object of his musings and the pup was looking at him. Before any accusations could be made he hastily turned his head with a 'keh.' For once he actually welcomed what the annoying kit said next. The topic change would be a good distraction from his jumbled thoughts.

"So," Shippou piped up, "how'd you get into that mess anyway?" Aiku just looked at him for a minute before a dark look fell over his face. Kagome finished dressing his wounds hoping Aiku would trust them enough to tell them.

"Yes, we too would like to know what caused the villagers to riot like that." Miroku voiced as he and Sango joined their circle.

Kagome saw the pained look on the hanyou's face and pulled him into her lap, shifting her position to make them both more comfortable. "It's alright Aiku-chan. You can tell us. But if you don't feel comfortable enough, we won't push you."

Aiku thought for a moment, then bowed his head so his eyes were completely covered by his long bangs. "They killed my mother." He began. Kagome's eyes widened. She glanced up at InuYasha to see him watching the group with a layer of pain in his amber eyes. The two half-demons were more alike than she thought. "She was also an inu-hanyou, and although she protected the village from raids, the villagers never really trusted her.

My human father was killed by his fellow villagers soon after I was born for having a relationship with a half demon. My mother took me and fled that village and came here to try and start a new life. They only let us stay because my mother promised to protect them from the frequent attacks from both humans and youkai. No human can ever really trust kaibutsu like us." Aiku said scornfully.

"You're wrong on two points there Aiku-chan." Sango said gently. "One, you are not, nor was your mother a monster. And two, we trust InuYasha with our lives, and we also trust you." She smiled reassuringly as did the rest of the assembly on the ground.

Some of the pain left Aiku's eyes. "Well none of the villagers ever trusted or liked us anyway. Apparently over the years word got around to many demons that a hanyou was protecting a village of humans. Thinking her an ultimate disgrace to them they banded together and waited to attack. I suppose they didn't have to wait long, because my mother was seriously injured a week ago and came down with a fever because of it." Aiku's eyes saddened.

"The village healer refused to treat her because of her youkai blood, so I had to go out and find herbs I knew from experience would help her. While I was out this morning the band of youkai found me and chased me back to the village. I wouldn't tell them where my mother was so they ravaged every hut until they found her and killed her. I was able to hide in the place my mother had shown me for just such an attack. I think she knew it was just a matter of time before that happened. After the demons had gone, I came out of hiding and the remaining villagers quickly pinned the blame for the damage on me because of what I am. That's when you came into the picture." Aiku finished his story obviously trying to hold back tears.

As Kagome hugged the boy closer to her and gently rubbed his back, Shippou tried to console him as well. "Don't worry Aiku. We all know how you feel. All of us have lost someone we loved. Kagome is really the only one of us who still has any family left at all. Well, except for InuYasha's older half-brother, but that's a whole other story." Aiku looked around the group. So, they were like a band of orphans, huh? It helped a little bit to know that, but not much for the pain.

"Well, I think it's time for us to go to bed, don't you houshii-sama?" Sango said as she stood up.

Miroku was instantly up beside her, hand on her 'oh so luscious' butt. "Oh, Sango! I was beginning to think this night would never come!"

The taijiya quickly put her throwing arm to good use, leaving both an extremely red hand print and a rather large bump on the monk's head. "Don't read too much into that comment houshii-sama. I meant nothing more than going to sleep for the night." She ground out through clenched teeth, before walking away dragging the unconscious hentai behind her.

"Kagome, can I stay here with you and Aiku?" Shippou pleaded.

"Of course you can Shippou. I think we'll be up a bit longer." She said looking at Aiku who was still snuggly in her lap. He gazed at the stars with a longing look. Kagome looked up as well. You could see them so much clearer in the Feudal Era. After a few minutes she broke the silence. "You miss her a lot, don't you."

Aiku looked at the kind girl, stunned for a moment. "Hai." He mumbled, sniffling a bit.

"It's hard at first when you loose someone. But it gets easier as time goes on, though the pain never quite goes away." Aiku looked at Kagome, her head still tilted towards the heavens. Hadn't Shippou said she was the one who still had a family? As if reading his mind, she spoke again. "I lost my father when I was around your age. It was a very bad sickness that no one knew how to treat. I never got to say good-bye to him, and it was really hard for a while. I would think about him and start crying. But after a while it got easier and I learned if I thought about all the good times I had with him when he was alive rather than the fact that he was gone, it didn't hurt so much." Kagome looked down at the child.

Aiku closed his eyes tight and tried to think of how pretty his mother looked when she smiled and of all the times they had played in the field together laughing. But it was still too soon. Those thoughts were too painful. He began to sniffle and sob into Kagome's shirt, clinging to her dear life. Kagome gave a motherly smile down to the top of the small hanyou's silver head. She remembered that heart twisting pain all too well. Doing her best to console him she began rocking him in her arms as Shippou huddled close at her side.

InuYasha sighed lightly as he watched the trio. He too remembered the pain of when he had been in Aiku's place. The fear he'd felt that first night alone after the villagers had killed his mother for birthing a hanyou. That pup didn't know how lucky he really was. InuYasha hadn't been much older, if not younger than, Aiku, and he hadn't had someone like Kagome there to comfort him. He'd been all alone in the world with no one to trust until he'd come across Kikyou. And even then his trust had been misplaced. Not with Kagome, though. She'd been nothing less than a friend and supporter practically from day one. Sometimes, lately more often than not, she seemed more than a friend. To the point where it had him wishing they were more than friends. Did she want that too?

He watched her and the two small children. She had no gripes about opening that big heart of hers. From his vantage point in the tree he saw an image that startled him slightly. He had noticed before that the pup looked a lot like him. Except his eyes, his eyes were more like Kagome's. But what he saw before him now was not Kagome comforting an orphan pup. What his imagination saw before him was Kagome comforting his pup…their pup. It gave him a weird feeling…good weird…happy weird. He realized he wished it really was his pup she held so tenderly in her arms. But…would she ever want that? Ever even consider that? There he went again. His brain was confusing him again. His ears twitched and he realized the kid's sobs had decreased to whimpers and sniffles.

"K-Kagome?" Aiku hickuped.

"Yes, Aiku-chan? What is it?" Kagome asked tenderly as she stopped rocking the boy.

He sniffed. "Would…would you sing me a lullaby? My mother used to sing me to sleep whenever I was sick or upset. If…if it isn't too much trouble…could you…maybe…?" It seemed a stupid and selfish request now that he had voiced it, but he missed his mother's singing.

Kagome smiled. "I probably don't know any lullabies you do Aiku-chan, but if it would help I'll do my best." Aiku nodded and snuggled back into the warmth of her arms. Shippou also snuggled closer to her side. He'd never heard her sing before. Kagome noticed his movement and put an arm around him as well, not wanting him to feel left out.

At the mention of Kagome singing, InuYasha put his full attention back on the girl. His thoughts were along the same line as Shippou's. Maybe he would enjoy this too. So he settled on the branch so he could comfortably watch the girl from the corners of his eyes, arms up behind his head in a relaxed position. His ears were focused in her direction, waiting for the soft melody.

Kagome thought for a minute. She really didn't know any lullabies suitable to sooth the hanyou's aching heart. Then she thought of a song she had heard on the radio a lot recently. It was a Japanese cover of a song from some American movie, or something like that. They played it so much that Kagome had been able to learn the words. It was really a nice tune, she liked it. Going over the words quickly in her head, Kagome realized it was almost perfect. So she cleared her throat and got ready to sing. She began to rock the children again in time with the music.

"Come stop your cryin' it will be alright.

Just take my hand, hold it tight."

She tightened her hold on both youngsters.

"I will protect you from, all around you

I will be here, don't you cry.

For one so small, you seem so strong.

My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm.

This bond between us, can't be broken

I will be here, don't you cry

'Cuz you'll be in my heart,

Yes, you'll be in my heart.

From this day on, now and forever more.

You'll be in my heart, no matter what they say,

You'll be in my heart, always."

InuYasha half gawked. Her voice was beautiful. Soft and soothing. He relaxed on his branch even more and turned his head to get a better look at the girl. He saw Kagome lean back as her eyes glided up to look strait at him as she sang the next verse. Strangely enough, he felt no need to turn away from her. Only to listen to her words.

"Why can't they understand the way we feel?

They just don't trust what they can't explain.

I know we're different, but deep inside us,

We're not that different at all."

InuYasha's eyes widened. Had she been thinking the same things as he was? Did she really feel that way or was it just the song? No. No, he could see it in those beautiful blue eyes. The words she sang came right from her heart. They were her thoughts captured in someone else's song. Kagome's eyes never left him as she kept singing, not missing a beat.

Aiku looked up at Kagome. She and InuYasha were staring into each other's eyes with that weird softness he had noticed before. As the verse went on and couple's eyes did not part, he realized the song was no longer for him. She was singing to InuYasha now. Not that he minded. Just hearing her voice reminded him of his mother's. That helped the pain some. He heard no signs of Kagome stopping the song as his eyelids finally became too heavy for him to keep open. It was the chorus that at last made him drift into a peaceful dream world.

"And you'll be in my heart

Yes you'll be in my heart

From this day on, now and forever more.

Don't listen to them,

'Cuz what do they know?

We need each other

To have, to hold

They'll see in time, I know

When destiny calls you, you must be strong

I may not be with you, but you've got to hold on

They'll see in time, I know

We'll show them together

Believe me, you'll be in my heart

I'll be there now and forever more-

Oooo, you'll be in my heart

No matter what they say

I'll be there with you; you'll be in my heart

I'll be there always

Always, I'll be with you

And I'll be there for you always

Always and always

Just look over your shoulder

Just look over your shoulder

Just look over your shoulder

I'll be there for you, always."

A small tear slid down Kagome's face as she finished the song. It wasn't until now that she realized how perfect the song really was. Not really for Aiku, but for InuYasha. He acted tough, but she knew better, it was only a cover for how much turmoil really ran through his heart. He'd acted a bit different after the situation in the village. Hopefully he had gotten what she was trying to say to him through the song. No matter what anyone said, she would never think of him as anything less than her equal, her friend, more than that even. She really would always be there for him.

Kagome quickly realized she was still staring into InuYasha's steady gaze and hurriedly turned her full attention back to the two sleeping children in her lap. Struggling slightly from the weight, she picked both Shippou and Aiku up into her arms and carried them over to her sleeping bag, thoughtfully rolled out for her by Sango earlier. As gently as she could, so as not to wake either of them up, she lowered her two charges in to the bedding and zipped it all the way up. Placing a kiss on each forehead, she looked over to see where Sango was. Kagome smiled as she saw that Miroku had 'accidentally' scooted rather close to the slumbering taijiya and thrown an arm around her waist in his sleep…not that it seemed she minded much from the smile on her face.

It was only when she returned her gaze to the children filling her sleeping bag that she awkwardly realized, one, she had no place to sleep, and two, she and InuYasha were the only ones still awake.

InuYasha watched as she deliberately ignored him as she put the pup and the kit to bed. Had she…had she meant what she sang? He had to find out. He had to know if she could possibly have the same feelings for him as he did for her. Otherwise it would be nagging at him for the rest of the night if not longer.

As she looked discreetly about, trying to figure out what she could do about sleeping quarters, she heard the ruffle of fabric as InuYasha jumped out of the tree. She tensed slightly. What was he going to do? Did he realize what her feelings were for him? Was he going to set her straight that he loved Kikyou and would never have those feelings for her? She didn't know if she could bear that.

There was a slight tinge of fear clinging to Kagome's usual wonderful carefree scent as InuYasha approached her from behind. She hadn't risen from her spot, even though he knew she knew he was there. What was she afraid of? Surely not him. But, he didn't sense any danger, so why…

"Hey wench, what're you so nervous about?" The question had come out a bit harsher than he had intended.

Kagome stiffened at his harsh break of the silence. "Nothing!" The answer came out so quickly it gained a raised eyebrow from the hanyou. "I..uhh…mean…nothing. I'm…fine. Just tired, I guess." She spoke slower this time, even though it was a lie. She was wide awake after Aikurushii's horrible story.

"Feh. You seem pretty awake to me." This indignant answer sparked a small flame of anger in Kagome. She scowled and whipped around with all intentions of yelling at the half demon, only to see him turned and crouched down. "Get on." He commanded, looking over his shoulder.

'Oh great. He is going to set me straight on that issue. I really don't feel like crying tonight.' She turned towards her occupied sleeping bag. 'Maybe I can use Aiku-chan and Shippou-chan as an excuse not to go with him.'

"The pups'll be fine. We're not going that far away. Now come on." InuYasha seemed to read her mind. Reluctantly, Kagome got up and took her place on his back. No sooner had she gotten settled and he bounded across the field and into the surrounding forest trees. True to his word, he stopped not too far from the borderline between the field and forest.

Kagome slid off his back and he turned toward her. In respect, Kagome turned to the side and kept her head down. She couldn't look at him. She felt his eyes on her, but she couldn't do it. If she looked at him she would see just what she didn't want to. His eyes would show his love for Kikyou. He would tell her that he loved Kikyou, and always would. She wouldn't be able to stomach it and would start crying. Then she would run away from him again. After that there would either be an awkward silence between them for days, or she would take Kirara and go back home, he would follow and then yell at her for running off like an idiot when there were jewel shards to be found, then she would get mad at his comment and end up sitting him a few times while he dragged her back through the well and-

"Did you mean it?"

Kagome was startled out of her rambling thoughts by the soft-spoken question. "Wha-What?" She turned to face him, but…didn't see what she had been expecting. He looked anxious and…hopeful? No, that couldn't be right.

"The song." He tried again. "You weren't looking at Aiku when you were singing. You were looking at me. Was it just the song, or…did you mean what you said?"

"I-I…um…" How could she answer that? Should she answer that? What was with him? He never acted like this. But he was being so gentle, so kind. "I was just…i-it was…ano…I…yes." She finally relented. She must've sounded ridiculous to him.

"Yes…?"

It dawned on her that he had asked a double question and quickly clarified. "I-I meant it."

"You…meant it?" He was still uncertain. Was it too much to hope…

"Yes, InuYasha, I meant it. Why wouldn't I? It's been three years and I haven't left your side yet, not really. You've been sulking ever since we left the village. Is it what they said? 'Cause if it is, they're wrong! Hanyou are no different than anyone else! They don't know you. And they never will. 'Cause they're too stupid to try. Seriously, what do they know? They just don't understand what we've been through. And you know what? It doesn't matter. And it doesn't matter because…" She took a slow deep breath. Should she even bother finishing that thought? Yes, the answer is yes. It was now or never. "…because I-I love you, InuYasha, and that's the only thing that matters to me." There she'd said it. She turned her head away again, fists clenched. What would he answer to that?

He stood there shocked for a moment. She had been talking so fast at the beginning that he'd almost lost track of what she was saying. But, the last part was slow and controlled, so he had heard every word. 'She…she loves me. She loves me!' A large grin broke out on his face as he looked at the girl in front of him. She was still looking away from him, hands and eyes clenched. She looked like she expected him to hit her with rejection. 'Well,' He thought cockily, 'I can change that.'

With her eyes still closed, Kagome didn't notice InuYasha close the distance between them. She did notice, though, when he slipped a clawed hand under her chin and forced her to face him again. Despite this, she refused to open her eyes. 'What is he doing?' She thought frantically. Her question was answered when InuYasha's lips captured her own in a steady, but powerful kiss.

Kagome's eye's snapped open in surprise. As soon as her brain registered what was happening, however, she returned the gesture with equal fire. Everything seemed to fall into place as InuYasha's arms traveled down her body to snake around her waist, at the same time Kagome's went up and slid around the hanyou's neck.

Now that the girl was firmly pressed up against him, InuYasha decided to get a little bolder. Without missing a beat, he trailed his tongue across Kagome's bottom lip, nipping at it with a fang in between passes. Kagome parted her lips, failing to suppress a moan as she did so. Self-assurance boosted by the small sound, InuYasha slipped his tongue through the opening to deepen the kiss. Tentatively at first, but slowly rising in confidence, Kagome's tongue joined in the action, bringing the kiss to a new level.

Reluctantly, both parties running out of oxygen, they broke the kiss to breathe. Panting, InuYasha pulled back and looked down at his angel with a cocky smirk. This only grew as he focused on the heavily panting, slightly dazed girl in his arms. As Kagome's breathing slowed, the hanyou leaned down so his mouth was right next to her ear. "Incase that wasn't enough of an answer for you, I might as well spell it out for you. I love you, too, Kagome."

He felt her lean into him and smile into his chest, hugging him tightly. "Thank you." She whispered. Returning the hug, he leaned back and placed a quick kiss on the top of her head, before resting his head on top of hers. After a few more minutes of simply reveling in the feeling of each other, they broke apart.

Kagome opened her mouth to say something, but was stopped by a large yawn that passed her lips instead. InuYasha chucked at the sight of her deep blush. "I think it's about time we get back to camp and get some sleep." He said with a playful twinkle in his eye.

Still blushing slightly, Kagome just nodded. So, side by side, hand in hand, a genuine smile on both faces, they started across the firefly lit field. Both knowing they'd be in each other's hearts, always.

Owari!

A/N: Yatta! My oneshot is done! Finally. I had fun writing this one though. Wasn't Aiku just so kawaii? I was inspired to write this while, obviously, listening to the song, and the InuKag fic 'Kyo'. It's a really good story. It has over 2,000 reviews! Isn't that amazing? Now I know I probably won't get that many, but I'd still like to get as many as possible! And I can only do that if you, well…REVIEW! And don't forget to check out my other story(ies)! I want to know what you guys think! Sionara minna-san!