A/N: All fixed! Booyah!
Disclaimer: The only right I have to 'Inuyasha' is; The ability to watch it! Grumbles...unless my brothers beat me to the tv. Grrr... anyway... in other words. Nope, I don't own it.
Kagome's shoulders visibly sank when she released her sigh of relief. Her feet hurt, her back hurt, even her brain hurt.
Throwing herself down onto a fallen log, elbows on knees, chin on fists, her eyes randomly picked Miroku out of the group. Heaving his staff into the ground by his feet, he interlocked his fingers behind his back and stretched. She watched, almost mesmerized, as the waning sunlight cast an orange glow across his face, making his boyish features appear devilish, his grin enhancing the evil look.
Thinking that maybe a good stretch was what she needed, she threw her arms over her head and grabbing onto her right elbow; she pulled. Within seconds she could feel the knots in her shoulder give and loosen down into her shoulder blade before she alternated to stretch her left side.
Leaning back on her hands she could feel the evening sunlight warm her face and leaning her head back, she smiled as she felt some of the days tension melt away. A small breeze blew wisps of black hair across her face to curl around her neck.
After a few minutes she began to pick out sounds coming from the camp. She could make out the crunch of leaves as everyone walked around, then came the sound of cracking wood and the hollow thunk as the broken pieces hit the ground. Next she recognized the scraping of stones, and then the muffled sounds of various objects being jumbled together...'Ungh, who's going through my backpack now?' Admittedly, that last sound annoyed her, but what really bothered her were the missing sounds: voices.
Hardly a word had been said all afternoon, ever since they had spotted Kikyo's soul collectors skimming through the trees. Before he could hide it, Kagome had seen the widening of Inuyasha's eyes and the smile grace his face before growling out "Come on."
Oh, how she had wanted to sit Inuyasha!, but for once her brain had caught up with her mouth and she pretended not to have seen his slip up. Maybe, just this once, she would be the sneaky, conniving one of the group and see where it would take her. Despite her new resolve, she had had the sudden feeling of being a burden and had slid off Inuyasha's back to walk.
Wiggling her sore toes, she decided that next time she chose not to ride with Inuyasha, she would go with Sango.
Inuyasha had been able to smell Kikyo hours before the group had even spotted the soul collectors, had known that she was following them.
He had watched wide eyed as two of her soul collectors wound themselves around trees that stood side by side and put thier noses together. That was the symbol Kikyo made up to let Inuyasha know that she wanted him. That symbol was only used when Kagome was back in her own time when they knew the chances of getting caught were slim.
Having already perched himself in an upper tree branch overlooking the camp, his back leaning against the trunk while chowing down on chips from Kagome's backpack, he peered through his lashes at the others.
He was confidant no one else had recognized the innuendo of the two soul collectors, but he also knew that they were watching him. That Kagome was mad at him. Not that he really cared, she was always displeased with him whenever Kikyo came around. 'Probably that 'woman's intuition' crap'
What he hadn't wanted was her off his back.
He always enjoyed carrying her, with the body heat she gave off and the way she would squeeze her knees into his hips when he jumped, a part of him wondered if some day she would do that facing him. He never doubted that he loved Kagome and hoped that he would live long enough to tell her...and maybe be with her, but he had to put Kikyo to rest first.
He knew more than anyone that while Kikyo was sweet and dependable, she had a mean streak to her that was colder than her body.
A body that he had become very familiar with.
While anyone could figure out that she was dead, they didn't realize that she could still feel. She felt emotions, mostly hatred, but sadness and confusion as well, although she never cried. But also, she could feel the roughness of bark on trees, wetness of the dew on the grass, pain when injured, and pleasure when Inuyasha touched her.
He thought back to their last time together. He could remember laying in the grass, the cold seeping deeply in to the skin of his back, but he had been focused on her. They hadn't broken eye contact as she had impaled herself on him and began an age old rhythm. He could almost feel her nails clawing his chest as she climaxed.
Inuyasha bit the inside of this cheek to keep from growling out loud when he realized that his trail of thoughts had him hard as adamant. Looking down through the night air, he found Shippo and Kilala already tucked away, asleep, and the other three stifling yawns.
Yep, he decided then that as soon as there was an opening, Kikyo would get her time with him.
Kagome had used her time scowling in front of the fire to put finishing touches to her plan, now was her time to put it into action.
She had skipped out on eating, knowing that if she did eat, she'd be asleep before her head hit the pillow. This way her body wouldn't let her rest well, if at all, until it was fed. Realizing that faking tiredness wouldn't be a problem as she stifled a genuine yawn, she crawled into her sleeping bag and rolled her back to her friends sitting around the fire. Knowing Inuyasha would be watching her as well, she closed her eyes and gradually evened her breathing. Not too long later she could hear first Sango, then Miroku settle in for the night and she willed herself not to back out as she felt another set of inhibitions settle in.
It would be so easy to fall asleep and pretend she never saw his face light up, to go on for another little while like Kikyo didn't exist. To go on pretending that she actually came first. Mentally stiffening her backbone, she waited.
'Now or never'
Inuyasha looked down on the camp and smirked to himself. The only person he was really worried about was Kagome, and she had fallen asleep almost as soon as she had laid down. For a brief moment he had felt guilty for betraying her, then shook it off. 'She'll never know.'
Slowly, he pulled his feet beneath him in a crouch, and gave one last look around. Satisfied that no one was awake or any other demons around, he searched out Kikyo's scent and launched himself onto the nearest tree branch, and was gone.
Kagome worried her bottom lip. She just heard him leave, the rustle of leaves and the flap of his kimono in the wind were telling enough. Although she knew that he'd go to her, 'he always does', she had hoped that for once he'd stay. No suck luck.
Pulling out of her sleeping bag, she made a mental note of the direction Inuyasha had taken and hoped he'd stay in a straight line. Then as silently as she could, she plucked a few leaves off a nearby tree and rolled them between her hands. Satisfied with the green, gooey mulch, she started rubbing the mess across her face and neck and down her body, wiping the remainder in her hair and over her clothes; hopefully masking her scent.
Silently vaulting around the camp, Kagome gave one last look around and bolted through the trees in the same direction Inuyasha had taken.
The nearly-full moon cast a misty glow over the woods. She could hear tiny animals scampering away from her as she timidly wound her way through the trees.
She was acutely aware that she had every chance of becoming lost, but some feeling, 'morbid curiosity maybe?', drove her on, pulling her farther and farther away from safety and into the forest. She just had to know: was Inuyasha honestly "just talking"?, or is there more to his story?
She could hear her heart beating as she paused, fingerering the bark of the tree to her right. Closing her eyes, she took one shallow breath after another, trying to slow her breathing.
Oh, how she loved Inuyasha! His woodsy smell and the quirk in his arrogant smile. When she rode on his back she could feel his muscles flex with every movement he made, the way his hands would grip tighter on her thighs when he jumped, or slide up to get a better grip. She loved the feel of his hands on her body.
When she closed her eyes it was him that she would picture, with his silver hair flowing in the wind, his eyes sharp but sincere and very golden. His lips in a barely-there grin where a flash of white could be seen of an over-sized eye-tooth. Another thing she loved about him was the first thing that she had noticed, Inuyasha's ears! Soft and white! Her fingers almost itched to rub them again.
Her world was Inuyasha and she wanted nothing more than to be with him for the rest of her life, but...Argh!, Kikyo!, always in the way and still Kagome couldn't bring herself to hate the departed priestess.
Slamming her fist into the tree, Kagome furiously wiped at the tears that threatened to spill down her face. Fighting the sore lump in her throat, she regained her brisk pace and hoped that she'd find them, and that the truth was kind.
He would never deny the thrill of hunting, whether it was for food, demons, or simply Naraku could make his demon blood hum in his veins, but putting his hands on forbidden fruit made it boil.
He knew he could lose Kagome if she was to ever find out about him and the woman he was holding in his arms. She would probably 'sit' him a crater and then curl her hands around his throat and break the necklace; breaking the bond between him and her.
Leaning Kikyo back in his left arm he used his right hand to grip her tightly around her waist as he tasted her exposed chest with his lips. Kikyo let out a low moan as she lifted her knee against Inuyasha's thigh to balance herself.
Once more Inuyasha thought of Kagome.
He could almost taste the tears he knew she would spill for him, could almost see the group breaking apart if she was to seal herself back in her own time. Losing her would kill him.
Maybe his being here wasn'tthe smartest thing after all.
Kikyo drew her nails down his chest in a light caress upon loosening his haori, he mentally shook his head and grinned at Kikyo as he lowered her to the ground and bruised her lips with his own.
Kagome recognized that glow; 'Soul collectors!'. She couldn't be any more than fifteen feet away from them and the simple realization made her heart skip a beat. 'Now or never!'
Shrinking into the shadows of the trees, she dropped into a crouch then pushing one foot in front of the other, she closed the distance. Using her hands she skimmed the ground in front of her to check for small branches or foliage, anything that could snap or crinkle, warning the two -'or one...but probably two' - of her presence. Finally reaching the halfway point she could see how the trees seemed to break into a clearing. 'I actually made it without screwing up!' but her elation died as her heart skipped beats.
She dropped her crouch to her knees and leaned forward until her forehead laid on the ground. Her hands, pitted between her tossing stomach and knees, curled into fists so tight her knuckles whitened and her nails bit into her palm.
She closed her eyes so tight they ached but she couldn't fight the burning image of Kikyo's naked body arching into Inuyasha.
Kagome could still see his face; his teeth biting into his bottom lip, sweat damp hair falling into his eyes...gorgeous. 'But he's with her!, not me!...not me.'
Try as she might, she couldn't bring her throbbing throat to hold back her sob, so she let it go.
Inuyasha's blood iced over. Even dying animals didn't sound like that. The wail had come from the pit of a woman's agony, broken and choked.
His eyes averted from the direction of the wail to the smug smirk on Kikyo's face, and he knew that Kikyo had not only dropped the barrier against Kagome, but had led her right to them! Slamming one fist into the ground beside Kikyo's head had her laughing out loud, her voice a silky purr.
"Come now, Inuyasha. She was bound to find out eventually. After all, she can't be that mindless if she's my incarnation"
Inuyasha pushed away from her as if burned. Finding his kimono, he threw on his hakamas and jammed his arms into the sleeves of his haori.
He had heard Kikyo rise up but he wasn't prepared for her to actually wrap her arms around his waist from behind, nor was he prepared for the assault of nausea that came. His hands stilled the tying of his kimono and he snarled.
Had Kikyo been able to see his face, she would not have laughed.
Inuyasha swung around to face the woman, that, not two minutes ago he had been making love to, and watched Kikyo's eyes widen as she took in Inuyasha's features. His ears were pulled back, his lips stretched thin against his bared fangs, but his eyes told her just how dangerous he was. They had darkened to a deep amber with flecks of red, angled from the creases in the bridge of his nose. Even now she could see strips of his cheeks darkening to a lavender color.
Placing the palms of his hands on Kikyo's bare shoulders, he smirked, and shoved, barely taking notice as her body slammed into a tree and fell into a crumpled heap at the base of the trunk. Soul collectors slithered in from the skirts of the tiny clearing and wrapping around thier mistress, they carried her away.
Turning on his heel he faced the edge of the clearing where the eerie cry had been emitted. Taking a deep breath he leaned down and grabbed his Tetsusaiga, retying his father's fang around his waist. Fighting the weakness that usually came with the withdrawal of his demon blood, he made for the trees.
Not far in, the strong scent of salt, 'from tears?' stung his nose and he turned toward the source. Immediately his eyes focused in on white matter close to the forest floor, just to his left. Slowly his nose picked up the scent of crushed foliage and lavender and he knew it was Kagome.
Taking a step back, he could feel his heart fill up his throat as his eyes raked over her.
She was still on her knees, bent over with her head cradled in her hands. The moonlight reflected off her shirt giving it an iridescent glow. Her body was shaking violently with her coughing spell and Inuyasha was overwhelmed with the urge to sooth and comfort her. Dropping to his knees beside her, he grabbed her by the waist and drew her back until she was sprawled across his lap, her back to his chest, and cradled tightly in his arms. Almost immediately her coughing stopped but the tears continued, as well as the violent shudders that racked her body until she fell into unconsciousness.
With one hand he untied his Tetsusaiga and set it beside him, settling himself a little more comfortably on the ground. Still holding Kagome against his chest, he hung his head and willed himself not to shake her awake to assure himself that she would be okay.
Coming to, the terrifying sense of misdirection overwhelmed Kagome, choking her with her own breath until rational thought calmed her.
From her position she could tell that someone had her cradled in their arms, but the horrible pounding in her head made it difficult to think and her chest and throat hurt. 'Was I poisoned?'
Forcing her eyes open, she blinked a few times to focus her eyes through the dark. She recognized immediately who had her cradled in his arms, she would know that strength and kimono anywhere. Letting out her breath on a whoosh, a flash headache assailed her as her memory came back in a tide of images.
She closed her eyes and willed the images to go away while her head seemed to swell with every memory; Green goop smoothering her hands; her running through the woods; her hand slamming into a tree trunk. One image snapped her eyes open.
Kikyo and Inuyasha.
She could feel her heart ache all over again and was mildly surprised when a single tear fell from her eye to trail across her nose, down her cheek and onto Inuyasha's hand clutching her shoulder. 'He's touching me?!?!' She gulped down a wave of nausea as she thought of another body that same hand had caressed not too long ago and she began struggling against the death grip Inuyasha had on her.
Inuyasha had known the minute Kagome had awoken. He had felt her heart race and the fear was rolling off her in waves. He had been tempted to speak, to let her know it was him, but he wasn't sure if she would have taken kindly to his presence. Thinking she'd be alright when she had calmed, he hadn't been prepared for her to physically fight against him, nor the strength she fought with.
He tried to hold her in his lap until she wore herself out but her flying fists, wriggling body and her head smashing backwards into his shoulder made that difficult without hurting her. He let her go and within seconds she had scrambled to her feet and dashed out of sight.
Inuyasha stood up and could feel his muscles twitch and burn wanting him to give chase. The warmth in his thighs and arms from where Kagome had been was fading and Inuyasha struggled with the rejection. She had felt so good wrapped in his arms while she slept those few minutes and he ached with the want of having her back there again.
His ears twitched toward the sound of cloth ripping and he figured that Kagome had caught herself in the thorn bushes that grew freely in this part of the woods. Thinking that she might have been hurt, or at least slowed long enough for him to say his piece, he gave into temptation and went after her.
Lying forgotten on the ground, Tetsusaiga began to rattle.
Kagome's heart thudded painfully in her chest and her breath was coming out in gasps.
Ripping her skirt free of the thorns, she mourned the tear slashed from waistband to hem, and hissed at the throb in her right leg from the bleeding scratch stretching from hipbone to knee. Thinking that the smell of blood might attract unwelcome demons, Kagome ran her palm down the length of the scratch and raising her hand to her lips, she licked her hand clean, her face scrunching at the metallic taste.
The sound of a sharp intake of breath had kagome's head whirling around and her own breath hitching painfully in her throat.
Inuyasha had never seen anything so…erotic before in all his life.
He had caught up to her in no time and crossing his arms, he had leaned back against a tree and watched, smugly, as she disentangled herself from the brush. His breath had quickened with the extensive view of thigh the rip in her skirt had given him, but the way she had thrust her leg out to a provocative angle, run her hand down it's length and then lick her hand clean of her own blood; Breathtaking...and simply mouthwatering.
The hairs on the back of Kagome's neck sprang up when she came face to face with the half-demon she was quickly hating to love. She could almost feel the lust rolling off him and she began to tremble. Every nerve in her body was telling her to run and she would have...if Inuyasha hadn't sensed her willingness to flee and grab her wrist to jerk her against his chest and placing his hands on either side of her face, he brought his lips down upon hers.
Kagome could feel her panic rising and she wasn't sure if she should fight that or him. A small part of her brain was thrilled that Inuyasha was kissing her and she was almost willing to open up and kiss him back, but her common sense was telling her that something wasn't right and that she had to leave...now!
As soon as Inuyasha's lips touched hers he knew they were in trouble. His demon blood began pounding through his veins craving to possess this girl. She was trembling in his arms and the smell of chlorophyll, lavender, fear, tears and blood became intoxicating.
Thrusting his tongue past her lips, the sweet copper taste of her blood assailed him and his more primitive side took over. Breaking his assault on Kagome's lips, Inuyasha took a step forward pinning Kagome's body against a tree with his own, barring his prey from escape with his arms on either side of her head.
Kagome's heart was trying to explode out of her chest with it's rapid beating.
She had felt his body pulsate and her eyes shot open to watch his iris's change into a teal color as the white's of his eyes reddened. Small chips of wood and bark were falling onto her shoulders as his extending claws cut into the tree pressing into her back. His shallow breaths were hot against her face and shutting her eyes tightly, she turned her face away, unknowingly, exposing her pulsing jugular to Inuyasha's sharpened vision.