Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. Rumiko Takahashi does.

Warning: NC-17. Minors not allowed.

Chapter 22: Caught

"Where the hell are they?" The waiting was gritting on Kouga's nerves. They were supposed to play poker an hour ago, but an hour had passed and they were still sitting in the outdoor patio, waiting for Inuyasha and Kagome. It was a good thing he sat closest to the giant outdoor fireplace, or else, he'd blow up with the combined impatience and the cold night.

He caught Ayame staring at him, and he responded with a smile. Needless to say, everyone was tense. It had not gone unnoticed when Inuyasha left the group to follow Hiten and Kagome in the beach. The fact that Hiten returned alone without the two and with a nasty bruise on his face was a bit unsettling. Sango was particularly probing. But Hiten had only shrugged off her inquiry with a smile that could only be translated as "not our business," which completely pissed Sango off.

He did not blame Sango for slightly lashing out on their friend. She was very protective of Kagome, though he thought Kagome did not need any sort of protection. He had known Kagome for a long time and he knew she was the kind of woman who stood strong despite anything. Hell, she could kick his ass in a sparring match. Moreover, she was with Inuyasha who could kick his ass big time. However, he had the feeling that Sango's worry did not stem from any physical danger coming around the two. He had not been born yesterday. There were only a few things he could think of when a man disappeared with a woman for hours – nearly two now. With the way Inuyasha's eyes had devoured Kagome earlier, only one thing came to mind. The physical tension between the two was beyond palpable. Hell, it was sizzling. It was fucking infectious. He and Ayame could attest to that. The two made him so fucking horny earlier; he almost jumped Ayame in front of everyone. That stupid no sex before marriage agreement be damned.

"Where could they be?" he heard Sango again. She kept on asking Miroku this. The latter could only rub her arm in response.

Of course, they couldn't have gone far. But the question was, was it in their place to look for them?

"Hiten, you were the last who saw them. What did they say?"


Kouga rolled his eyes in annoyance. As much as he was annoyed, he really did not mind if Inuyasha and Kagome hooked up. He had seen them together. They made each other laugh. They made googley eyes with one another. Hell, he thought people making googley eyes with each other were meant to be. That was because he only made googley eyes with Ayame, and look at them now – close to being married already. He thought Inuyasha and Kagome made sense. They looked good together. Hell, they would make cute babies together. Inuyasha was a strong personality, and he needed an equally strong woman to take him on. For sure, Kagome would give Inuyasha a run for his money. He thought the same when it came to Kagome. She needed someone man enough to take her on. And Shun was just not it. He was not hating on Shun. He was just saying it as it was.

"Damn it Hiten, just say something before Sango has a heart attack!" Miroku had stood up, no longer staying closed mouth. It was hurting him to see Sango so worried.

"There's nothing to tell. I've told you everything there is to know." Unlike the rest of them, Hiten was quite enjoying himself, whistling away as he tended his bruised cheek.

"You told us no damned thing." Sango flailed her arms in exasperation. She had been vocal to Miroku about her concerns ever since Kagome and Shun's split. She had known the two for a long time. She had been expecting for them to break-up. But she did not tell Kagome that. When she knew about their engagement, she thought Kagome was out of her mind. Because from what she saw, Kagome's relationship with Shun had never had a sure footing from the start so the engagement was purely a surprise. Moreover, she had never thought of them matched. Both only shared few things in common.

Lately, she had noticed that both had taken each other for granted because of their busy schedules; only meeting when they had free time and not making the effort to clear their day to connect with each other. Hell, Kagome hadn't even told her family she had gotten herself engaged. If that was not saying something, then someone was definitely not paying attention. She even doubted that Kagome's family knew about Shun. It was a cruel thing for a girlfriend to do to her boyfriend, but Kagome had her reasons. That was why she was greatly surprised to discover that Kagome had taken Inuyasha with her when she visited her family.

She knew that both were attracted to each other. People would be blind not to notice it. However, with the way things were going, she was deeply worried. Kagome had only recently broken up with Shun. And if her suspicions were real that Kagome was with Inuyasha – and that was most definitely – then things had progressed very quickly. She feared what that would do to Kagome. Shun and Inuyasha's families were prominent within the elite society they lived in. That society had once burned Inuyasha six years ago leading to his departure from Japan. She trusted Kagome's a strong woman but she did not want that amount of scrutiny to fall on her bestfriend. She could only imagine what people would say about her.

"Hiten, please. At least tell us where they went."

"I told you they went somewhere to talk. I don't know where. Inuyasha punched me in the face, and it hurt like hell. I wasn't paying attention to where they went."

There was a collective sigh coming from everybody.

"Wait. Inuyasha punched you in the face?" Miroku watched Hiten with suspicion. "Why?"

Hiten gave him an impish grin. "I sort of… kissed Kagome."

"Serves you right," Kouga barked a laugh causing Hiten to glare at him.

Kouga shrugged. "What? It's not your place to kiss her."

"It hadn't been established that she had a thing with Inuyasha before I kissed her. However, it was established that she was already single, since she had broken up with Shun."

"That's still inexcusable."

"That's how a man works Ayame," Hiten replied.

Ayame rolled her eyes.

"So let me get this straight. We all agreed on the obvious, right?" Miroku decided to set the record straight. But he particularly looked at Sesshomaru for affirmation. The older Takahashi kept silent as they waited. Miroku was extra anxious to hear his opinion about this matter.

But it was Kouga who answered him. "What obvious thing? That Inuyasha and Kagome had the hots for each other big time? Umm, yeah. I mean, they would have completely jumped on each other during lunch if we hadn't been there."

"I'm a bit curious what they've needed to talk about for 2 hours." Hiten snickered, but the meaning behind his words was crystal clear. "I mean, Inuyasha screamed so loud awhile ago. I think he scared away some animals in the forest."

That made everyone laugh – even Sango.

"Oh God, why am I laughing at a time like this," she said.

"I don't know why everyone's being so hard on this. I don't see anything wrong if Inuyasha and Kagome get together. I think they suit each other. I mean the two of them together makes sense." Hiten finally shared his opinion.

"I think so, too." Kouga raised his hand.

"I thought Shun and Kagome were pretty cute together." Ayame gave a light shrug.

"Shun cheated on Kagome several times. They were wrong for each other."

"Don't be so insensitive, Hiten. How would you feel if your friend says that to you and your future girlfriend?" Ayame retorted.

"I'd say 'thank you' for their honesty?"

"Ugh. You're so thoughtless." Ayame stood up and poured herself a glass of wine.

"It's called honesty, Ayame." Reclining in the chair, he added. "Tell me. And I bet I'm right about this. Most of us here think Inuyasha's the better choice for Kagome. Sango, you're Kagome's bestfriend. You know her best than most of us. Who do you think is more compatible with her? Shun or Inuyasha?"

The question caught Sango off guard. "Um…" And tongue tied.

"Exactly," Hiten continued without waiting for Sango's response. "Not that I'm being inconsiderate to Shun. I'm just pissed at him for cheating. I'm a player but I've never cheated on anyone."

"That's because you've never been in a long term relationship, Ten."

"Miroku, that's utter bullshit, and you know it. No matter how long the relationship lasts, cheating is never right. And I am not saying this just because of Shun. I am saying this because I think that's why we tiptoe around this issue because this applies to Kagome and Inuyasha, too. They will also be scrutinized on when and how their relationship has started – if they have also cheated on Shun or not. But we have no business meddling in their affairs, so all we have to do is we either support them or not."

Everyone went silent. Hiten had just dropped the bomb in front of them. Sango was tight-lipped, concern marring her face. This was what she was worried about. She didn't want Kagome to be involved in a scandal like this. Nor, did she want Shun and Inuyasha's newly repaired friendship to crumble because of this.

"That's like saying we choose sides." They could barely hear Ayame's whispered response.

The thought came to Sango's mind. But Hiten was right. It was not their place to meddle because it might cause more conflict in the future. However, she would always support Kagome.

"That's another way of putting it. Though, that's not necessarily it. But we have no choice. It's their lives. The last thing we do is meddle."

"I think we should look for them," Miroku said.

Ayame sniggered. "I'd rather not. I don't want to intrude what they are doing right now."

"I think they are done by now, honey," Kouga told her.

Hiten chuckled. "It's been awhile since Inuyasha's sceam. I think it's safe to look for them."

Ayame blushed while the others laughed.

Inuyasha scanned the length of the beach, and he almost caught his breath at the site. The scene was breathtakingly alien. The moon was up and full – and blue. It casted a silvery glow to the white sands of the beach. The seawater looked like waves of mercury. Under the shadows of the lone willow tree he shared with Kagome, he saw something that reflected his emotions. He was in unfamiliar ground. He heard the anxious beat of his heart, as to affirm his sentiment.

A slight gasp made him turn to the woman standing beside him. Kagome was also looking at the same scene. He watched her profile, drinking her in. He couldn't not look at her at the moment. Beyond the shadows that hid them, the silver pillow that surrounded the beach gave her an ethereal look. Just like the first time he saw her.

"It's beautiful." He heard her say.

"Like the first time I saw you."

A small smile curved her lips. Her hand reached for his. She squeezed lightly, affirming that she did remember. Just like that. With just her hand, something instantly swelled inside him. He would not pretend to be the dense fool and refuse to recognize this emotion. He was simply happy. He was simply and truly in love.

He pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her. He buried his face in her hair and breathed in her jasmine scent. Along with the night breeze, he smelled the trace of salt from the ocean and the refreshing scent of just being outdoors. The night brought the perfume of the few lingering sakura blossoms nearby. He relished the scents that were familiar, that made him remember and think about her. Mostly, he took pleasure at the fact that he could smell him on her. He nuzzled her neck and lightly bit her skin. She jolted a surprise squeak.

"As much I want to keep you to myself, I think we better go. Everybody must be waiting for us."

He felt her nod.

"I'm scared."

"Don't be."

"What would the others think? We've been gone for a long time, Inuyasha. Our friends are not dumb people as to not guess why we've been missing for so long."

"Let them think what they want to think. What's important is what we feel for each other." He nudged her forward. "Now, let's go."

They used the garden path to sneak inside the villa. The path hadn't been used as often ever since Sesshomaru's wife died because the garden had belonged to her. It was some sort of secret garden located at the back of the property.

Kagome was enchanted by it. For an unattended garden, it looked beautiful, and it smelled heavenly. Every corner was field with wild flowers: irises, daisies, lavenders. Earlier in the day, she had discovered from Kaede that Sarah, Sesshomaru's dead wife was a biologist, and she loved plants. So it was fitful that as a wedding present, Sesshomaru had given her a garden in their home. Inuyasha told her that there was a secret passage leading from the garden to the villa's kitchen, and that they were going to use it to sneak in. It was the perfect plan, he said because he doubted Sesshomaru and the others would bother looking for them in the kitchen.

"Come on, baby. Keep up."

She turned her attention away from her surroundings and let him tug her. Kagome giggled. "Inuyasha, this is weird. Why are we sneaking in?"

"Baby, we've been gone for so long. I'm sure everyone's looking for us."


Taking both of her hands, Inuyasha made them stop in front of the kitchen door. He stared at her with somber eyes. "I don't want to get caught."

"With me?" She felt a pang with what he said. Was he afraid to be seen with her?

Inuyasha chuckled. "No, silly, I don't wanna get caught doing this." And with that he caught the back of her neck to guide her close to him, as he kissed her deeply. Kagome immediately went soft in his arms. He loved the way she always melted against him when he kissed her. He loved how their bodies fit perfectly, and he loved kissing her. Kissing her was addicting. He could never get enough of it – could never get enough of her. With her body pressed so close to his, her hands grasping his hair as she returned his kiss excitedly, her breasts flattened against his chest, he could not but help think about getting her naked and impaled to him against the kitchen door, which was not such a good idea given their current situation. They still had to get inside without their friends knowing it, and with the way he had screamed his release when they made love in the beach, he would surely antagonize their whereabouts.

"Shit." He cussed regretfully releasing her. "Let's hurry and go inside now before I decide to drop civilities and take you against the door."

Kagome was still panting. "Great idea." Although, her eyes gleamed at the idea about Inuyasha taking her against the kitchen door. God, help her but her entire body tingled at the thought.

Inuyasha groaned. "Kagome, baby, stop looking at me like that. I'm not joking."

Kagome shook her head and smiled shyly at him. "Okay."

"Let's go inside." Inuyasha opened the door to the dark kitchen, and came to a halt. "Wait, I hear voices." He eyed the closet at the far end of the hall. "Inside the closet. Quick."

In synchronized movements, they walked briskly towards the closet.

"I can't believe I'm doing this." Kagome giggled silently. She turned to look at the man beside her. "Tell me again, why are we doing this?"

"Because I can't share you right now. I want you all to myself." The words were dark with lust and a roughly gritted sound from his lips.

Such a turn-on. It made her hot.

"You're insatiable," she couldn't help but say.

"Of course, I am when it comes to you."

They were so horny for each other that their steps faltered. It was already too late when Inuyasha heard the screech of a chair leg against the floor followed by a silent chuckle from a man. The switch clicked on and light bathed the whole kitchen.

"Are they seriously thinking they could get away from us?"

Inuyasha and Kagome came to an abrupt stop.

"I don't know Kouga. But I think they are seriously expecting they could sneak in without us knowing." Miroku was failing at keeping his amusement to himself.

So was Hiten. "What do you think, Sess?"

"I think they're both idiots."

Inuyasha closed his eyes upon hearing the conversation. Oh damn it all to hell! They got caught. To his and Kagome's utter horror, everyone except for Kaede and Rin were in the kitchen waiting for them. He heard Kagome gasp beside him clinging to his side more tightly than before. He could only see a portion of her profile but he could tell she was blushing like crazy. Hell, he was blushing, too.

"Yeah. And they were pretty noisy, too."

"I heard Inuyasha scream."

"I didn't know Inuyasha screams."

"What do you think, Sess?"

"He's a screamer, all right. The scream I heard moved mountains."

Hiten guffawed and gave a poor imitation of Inuyasha's scream. Everyone laughed, which made Kagome turn two shades darker. If they weren't in such a tight and embarrassing spot, Inuyasha would have kissed the blush out of her. Unfortunately, they were, so they had no choice but to endure their friends teasing and all he could do was glare at all of them.

It was simple enough. Kouga made the first observation followed by Miroku's affirmation. Then, Hiten would make a smart-ass comment before he would ask for Sesshomaru's opinion. Inuyasha made a mental note to take a little extra revenge on his older brother for going along with his friends' antics. He should have known better. He was a Takahashi for God's sake. Flesh and blood. He should have sided with him.

Kagome was more than embarrassed. If Inuyasha wasn't holding her in his side, she would have melted out of embarrassment a long time ago. She had hoped they wouldn't get caught and that they would be spared from facing their friends this soon. Though she and Inuyasha had intended to tell everybody about the two of them, she thought this wasn't the time. There were still things that needed to be discussed – important things that needed to be out there like their feelings for each other. They had kissed and made love with their bodies, but they hadn't really told each other what they felt. She hadn't told him the real reason why it was him she had taken home to visit her family, and why she hadn't informed her family about her engagement to Shun. She hadn't told him what she had been thinking the whole six days that she stayed away to clear her head, and that she was sorry for staying away. She wanted to tell their friends to back off for now and let them be. She still hadn't told him that she had missed him a lot. She wanted time to tell him that she had fallen for him, and that she wanted him to spend the rest of the night showing her that he felt the same for her as well. Preferably, in his bed this time. She blushed some more at the sudden change of her thoughts.

"Stop it, you guys. Kagome's already blushing."

Thank God for Sango. But her comment wasn't heeded.

"Oh, Kagome blushes cutely."

"Yes, she does."

"What do you think, Sess?"

"She's cute."

Hiten beamed widely in agreement to Sesshomaru's comment. "Super cute."

"Hey." Inuyasha exclaimed. "Watch it." He still hadn't gotten over Hiten kissing Kagome earlier.

"Oh, Inuyasha's jealous."

Inuyasha glared at the four. They were getting highly annoying.

"Yeah, he's easily jealous."

"He's that type, huh?"

"What do you think, Sess?"

"I think he's an idiot – who's easily jealous."

Ayame rolled her eyes. "Why are the men in our lives such a pain? Gosh, stop it now. All of you. Look at poor Kagome. She's so red already."

Ayame was sincere with her concern, but still, she giggled at her friend's expense.

"Thank you, Ayame," Kagome sighed. As early as now, she'd better get used to these kinds of playful jabs from their friends, because she doubted they would stop any time in the future.

She felt Inuyasha grasped her hand.

"Let's go, Kagome." He wasn't staying so that the four stooges could continue their mockery over him and Kagome. He would make them pay for it, but not now. He had more important things to attend to.

"Hey, not so fast. Kagome's coming with us." It was Sango who blocked his way this time. She took hold of Kagome's other hand and gave a firm tug.

Inuyasha frowned.

"Yeah, not so fast, Inu," Hiten said with a glint in his eyes.

"Shut up, Hiten." Inuyasha glared at him. Then, he turned his attention to Sango. "Why?" What the hell was wrong with them? Wasn't it obvious enough that he and Kagome wanted to be alone?

"Because there is something important we need to talk about. Kagome has promised. Right, Kagome?"

All the occupants in the room turned to look at Kagome. She swallowed the lump on her throat. She wasn't as conscious as before, but the way Inuyasha was looking at her with a raised brow and the rest expectantly looking at her was unnerving. She chanced a glimpse at Sango. What was her bestfriend up to? She had not promised anything to Sango. Moreover, she did not remember anything important that they needed to talk about – nothing that she knew of. As far as she was concerned, she had shared whatever she could to Sango that day she had spent time with her. Torn between not upsetting either Inuyasha or Sango, she responded with "Ummm…"

"Come on, Inu. Just give this as a favor to us girls. We haven't really gotten to spend time today and catch up on things." Ayame was really good with words. She gave a conspiratorial wink at Sango.

Inuyasha almost groaned aloud. Sango and Ayame were watching him expectantly now. How could he possibly say no to those faces?

It was a blur. Like she was with Inuyasha one minute, then the next, she was being dragged up the stairs and into her room by two frantic females. Sango and Ayame appeared calm on the outside but she knew that when they got her alone, they would jump on her.

And they did. Sango went first.

"Oh my gosh. Kagome, what the hell?"

"This is so insame. You and Inuyasha?"

Insane? Was it a good insane or a bad insane?

They did not give her any time to answer.

"I knew it. I just knew it. The day we went doing that stupid baseball thing, I just knew there was something going on with you." Sango paced the room only to turn giving her a knowing look. "That fucking talk about home runs was about him, wasn't it?"

Ayame frowned. "What home run thing?"

"Answer me, Kagome."

Kagome opened her mouth, but Sango was unstoppable. She had this glint in her eye while she pieced together the events from the past.

"You started talking about soulmates and stuff after that visit you had with your family. Inuyasha was with you then." Sango's eyes widened as a thought dawned to her. "The two of you stayed overnight at your parents house. Overnight! You'd never brought a guy home ever. You'd let Aunt Korari catch you with your first boyfriend in the café she frequented in to introduce him to her, but you had never invited him over to your house." In fact, even Shun who had been her betrothed hadn't had that chance.

Kagome watched her bestfriend, as Sango took the space opposite her in the bed. She should have glared at her for ranting on and never giving her the chance to respond. But she smiled.

"You took him home," Sango uttered with a small smile.

Kagome nodded. "I did."

"That's big for you."

She was right. It was a big gesture.

"He's the first." Sango added.

"Yes, he is."

Sango sighed.

Ayame adjusted her position in the bed. She was now lying on her side facing the other two, her head cradled against her hand. She spoke to Kagome. "Inuyasha's the first? You mean, Shun hasn't met your family yet since you've gotten engaged a couple of months ago? Not that I'm judging you Kagome. I'm just curious." Ayame became thoughtful. "I know you love your family so much and I see all the time how you try to let them be part of every important event in your life. But with Shun, you haven't."

Kagome felt hesitant to answer. She knew it looked unfair to Shun. Not that Shun had asked to meet her family. As a matter of fact, he hadn't seemed interested in knowing them, since he rarely asked about them. Come to think of it, she did not know much about his family either. She had tried asking once, but Shun had shut her out telling her that his family history wasn't something pleasant to talk about. "I don't know how to explain it but…" The truth was she had not met Shun's family, too. "I think some things aren't just meant to happen." No, that didn't sound quite right. "I take it back. It may sound cruel but introducing Shun to my family hadn't come to mind when we got back together."

Their engagement was a farce. A joke and a mistake she knew that she had paid no heed because of a hectic work schedule having had caught up with her. It seemed that Shun was of the same mind as hers, since he had also buried himself with work. They acted not as engaged couple. Hell, they acted far from a couple. How the hell had she let this happen?

Ayame sighed deeply. "I think that was obvious from the start." Then, she pointed at Sango. "Did you know that Sango had seriously thought of splitting you and Shun the moment she knew about your engagement?"

Sango groaned throwing a pillow towards her. "I had not!" Wide-eyed, she looked at Kagome who was giggling. "I swear I didn't do that. I just thought of having a heart to heart with either one of them, and to tell them to seriously think about the abrupt change in status."

On that time, Ayame had been away for an architectural dig. Sango's call in the middle of the night had surprised her. "You said they were nuts. That they had fucking lost their minds." Ayame said keeping herself from laughing at Sango who was shaking her head frantically at Kagome's direction.

Not at all surprised, Kagome chuckled lightly. Sango could be blunt to a fault. She had known that her bestfriend had been more than slightly disapproving with her sudden engagement with Shun, but she just hadn't known precisely to what extent. "Every second Saturday of the month, she had asked me if I loved Shun," she informed Ayame.

"Oh, I didn't know that."

Sango leaned against the headboard. "You knew I only did that because you were confused yourself. You told me so."

Kagome almost rolled her eyes at the mocking tone that Sango was using.

"Don't you dare roll your eyes on me," Sango scolded. "You were always giving me vague answers."

"Like what?" Adjusting her pillow, Ayame made herself comfortable.

"When I asked her if she loved Shun, she told me she was getting there."

Ayame made an "Oh" expression.

"No, I had not said that. What I said was that I was getting there… in being in love with him."

Ayame frowned. "Well that's utter bullshit! There's no difference. You either love or you don't."

But there is! Loving someone is different from being in love with him. Kagome almost grumbled the words but stopped herself from saying them when she saw Sango's expression. She knew her bestfriend was ready for her, daring for her to say those words. It was tempting to engage in a debate with Sango especially when all she wanted was to stay clear of any topic regarding what she felt about Inuyasha. Somehow, she knew this topic could lead to exactly just that. She could talk about Shun if that was what her friends wanted. She was over Shun a week ago. Shun could never touch her.

But Inuyasha… What she had with Inuyasha was still so raw. She couldn't handle a conversation, much more an interrogation about her feelings for him right now. Besides, she wanted to talk to him first about these feelings before she blurted it out to her girl friends. So she stopped herself.

It was great that Ayame was a little tipsy tonight because she was uncharacteristically talkative. A little bit crude with her words, yes, but she was Kagome's best excuse for not responding because she kept on talking.

"Shit. I knew I missed so much the couple of months I'd spent away during that dig. I should have come home sooner."

"You should have come home like a month-and-a-half-ago-kind-of-soon." Sango had directed the comment to Ayame but her gaze never left Kagome.

Kagome stiffened. A month and a half ago. That was the time Inuyasha had come back to Japan. What was Sango up to? And what did she know? Aside from the obvious that they were now together, did her bestfriend know about their history?

Ayame chuckled. "Then I was just 2-3 weeks short. Not such a long time, Sango. What could possibly happen within that period that could be so important?"

"Falling in love for one," Sango simply answered.

Ayame stopped short, and with wide eyes looked over to Kagome. "Oh… Oh you're absolutely right."

A sudden glint appeared in Sango's eyes. "And Ayame, there's more."

"There's more?"


"Like what?"

Kagome waited with bated breath. She knew Sango was going to drop some sort of bomb. The glint in her eyes was a signal that she was up to something. And that something had got to do with her and Inuyasha.

"Like losing your virginity. Like fucking outdoors."

The bomb had been dropped.

Kagome blushed. Now, Sango had done it.

Ayame squealed. "Oh yes! Oh gosh!" Suddenly, she giggled. "Now that you've mentioned it, I think I should discuss trying that one with Kouga. Judging by how loud Inuyasha was," she cleared her throat, "I'd say it was more than satisfactory. Right, Kagome?"

Kagome wasn't paying attention. She was wishing to just disappear.

"Kagome?" Sango called sweetly.

It was dread that Kagome felt the instant she heard the sweet call. She was so red she would give a tomato a run for its money.

"Yeah?" God, did that come out as a wheeze?

Her two friends laughed.

"Hiten was right. Kagome does blush rather cutely."

Groaning, she covered her flushed face with a pillow.

"Relax, you idiot." Sango was now kneeling in front of her. "Look, I'm not going to judge the two of you." She sat on her knees and smiled at Kagome. "Your relationship with Inuyasha is your business. Yours alone. Do you understand me?"

Kagome nodded.

"But I want you to know that I'm slightly concerned. It's happened so fast, Kagome, so you can't prevent me from worrying. I mean, Miroku and I have had a fast courtship but the two of you - you kick our butts big time. However, this time, I can feel that this is quite different for you. It is far different from what you've had with Shun, isn't it?"

"I took him home, Sango."

"And that assures me." Kagome introducing Inuyasha to her family was not a casual thing. She would know. Sometimes in the past, she would spend half the night in conversation with Kagome's mother, and their topic was mostly Kagome, particularly, her relationships. Why Kagome's mother would talk to her about her daughter's love life when she could always talk to Kagome about it still boggled her. It was then that Korari had told her about the ridiculous promise she had made with Kagome's father. Ridiculous because it was. And then, she added that she trusted Kagome's judgment, and that when Kagome was ready, she would make the first move. Kagome did make her move.

Now, she watched her bestfriend. She had a whimsical smile on her face. "What's with the smile?"

Kagome looked up to her. "Nothing. It's just that Grandpa was nice to him. I mean, not totally nice, but he - he likes him."

"That's a miracle. Grandpa is not nice to guys."

"Kagome, your Grandpa scared the shit out of Kouga the last time we saw your family." Ayame was chuckling. "My man was so traumatized. He told me we won't be coming back if everyone wouldn't be coming along."

"Why? What did he do?"

Ayame cleared her throat. "Well, he… ah. He caught us making out near the well. And he kind of indirectly threatened to cut off Kouga's balls and drop it into the well. He had been carrying those big scythe things. We were so terrified. We hadn't waited for him to make another comment. We just scrammed the hell out of there."

Sango laughed. "Oh God. Both of you were so screwed. The old man is one of a kind."

When the laughter died down, the three of them were lying side by side on the bed with Kagome in the middle.

"I hope they're okay." Her voice was wary.

Sango adjusted her position. She yawned. "Don't worry about them. I wouldn't. I bet all they did was tease Inuyasha all night."

Inuyasha could not believe it. His devil brother and his three spawns had kidnapped him and had held him hostage in his room. The four minions even had the nerve to sleep in. Staring at the ceiling, he thought of kicking Hiten off the bed. He still had not forgotten that Hiten had kissed Kagome earlier. He was still not over that. To make up for his transgression, Hiten had opted to sleep next to him.

He had cussed. What kind of peace offering was that?

"The one that's going to be forgiven." Hiten had told him as he settled on the left side of the bed.

Kouga, on the other hand, had volunteered to be the one to sleep on the right side of the bed because according to him Inuyasha needed a little heart to heart. Some heart to heart he had gotten. All Kouga did was tease him about that scream. How that scream must have scared away all the animals. Poor them.

Bloody hell! Poor him!

He was the butt of every possible joke all throughout the night. The sadistic morons were downright relentless. Little consolation was being spared from Sesshomaru's dry sense of humor because his brother had opted to stay quiet the whole time. But he knew that the bastard was enjoying every minute of his discomfort under the egging of his friends. At least Sesshomaru had done him some favor by kicking Kouga off the bed; much to the latter's protest. The elder Takahashi had insisted; it was his house, therefore, he shouldn't endure such a task as sleeping on the couch or floor.

It was then that Inuyasha had yelled at them to get the fuck out. They had their own rooms. Why should they suffer sleeping in a crowded bed or on the couch when they could sleep in the comfort of their own beds? Besides, sharing his room with four other men was by far a very unappealing idea. It had almost worked, but then, he just had to add that he'd rather have Kagome spend the night with him. That spoiled everything.

He sighed. It was nearly 5 in the morning, and he couldn't go back to sleep. And he was fucking tired. Three hours worth of sleep was not enough. But what could he do? He was fucking awake. He stood up and went to the bathroom. It was better to go on with the day early if you couldn't have it otherwise. He'd take a quick run in the beach. That would take away his weariness.

After quickly brushing his teeth and washing his face, he wore his dark blue track pants and went out to the beach. He took Dash and Chase with him. Now, watching his dogs play on the sand and water, he was sorely tempted to call Kagome and invite her. He had missed her during the night, and he wanted to see her. Probably do something more than that. But she must have been tired and she needed the rest, so he decided to come alone. Besides, it wasn't like he wouldn't see her later in the day. He could wait.

Inuyasha wiped the sweat off his forehead with his shirt. He had been running for 30 minutes and was at the dock taking a breather. The breeze was uncharacteristically warm and humid so taking off his shirt was a no-brainer. He could see the sun rising now. Something he had only seen a handful in his life so he sat on the wooden dock and watched it. The run had done him some good. It had allowed him to sort all the things that had happened in the midst of the chaos yesterday. First, he was determined to make Kagome his. He would tell her he was in love with her. Somehow, he could feel deep down that Kagome felt the same way about him, too. But if she would say otherwise, then he was willing to convince her. They had made love twice and she was deeply etched in his mind and heart and probably his soul. Keeping her and loving her was like a necessity. He needed her with him. He needed to know what she felt for him and that she felt the same way as him.

He would have to talk to Shun though. It would be a difficult task. Somehow, he knew that Shun would not back down easily and he would fight him, and he would try to get Kagome back. However, that would not happen because he would not let it. What was left of their friendship was in dangerous grounds, and it might not survive after all this but he was willing to gamble that. Kagome's actions yesterday had proven something to him. She and Shun were over. When she had been in his arms, she hadn't hesitated. She took and she gave. She was so hot and so soft. So very beautiful that it had taken everything in him to keep from taking her over and over again against that tree, on the beach. Getting back in the villa be damned, he had wanted to surround her with his warmth. She was so perfectly willing, so responsive that she had burned him.

And they had burned the night. Oh how, they had. He would never look at this beach and think of nothing but Kagome looking so beautiful in the throes of passion in his arms. God, he was tempted to snatch her from her room right now, take her away and do it all over again.

Inuyasha sighed. He should go back inside. Being alone like this made him think and miss Kagome more. It made him realize how deep his feelings were for her. And it was disconcerting because he hadn't felt this way for a woman before. Dusting his pants, he stood up.

After taking a last look at the rising sun, he turned.

And came to a dead stop.

Because the woman of his dreams was there in front of him.

Two dogs in tow. A bright smile on her face.

Seeing her bathe in the golden sun made something swell inside him. He couldn't stop the words. He couldn't stop the sudden surge that his heart made. Because it was bursting. Bursting at the sight of her. Bursting that he was finally given the chance to say how he felt.

"I love you."

Three whispered words that flowed between them.

A secret.

Then… a response.

"Me, too."


1. It's been so long. I've gotten a serious case of writer's block halfway making the chapter. Sorry for that.

2. During the damn writer's block, I decided to change some sequences in the story. Got two prologues now. One for Inuyasha, and another for Kagome but still in one chapter. Added some new scenes. Deleted some scenes. Moved some scenes to other chapters. Changed a few timelines.

But the story remains the same.

3. Finally, thanks to those who voted for the story and the lemon! I still can't believe I won an award for this. raise fistyowzah

Enjoy reading! And don't forget to R&R!

Oh, and I've watched the final season of Inuyasha. Fitting ending. Miroku and Sango's kiddies were so cute.