The air was still with trepidation

AN: Well…nothing to say here. Except thanks for all the reviews! I love you guys mucho!

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha.

The Experiment

Chapter Twelve: Jitterbugs of the Heart

The air was still with trepidation. Kagome fought to keep her knees steady, but she could feel them knocking together. Inuyasha looked at the ground, watching the blood run in tiny streams before pooling together in puddles. A round of bullets had been shot, each one precisely hitting the mark.

Kagome couldn't bear to look at the glassy, crimson depths of Naraku's eyes.

Kikyou stood before them, an impassive look on her face. A small bruise blemished her cheek, one Kagome was not too proud to see. However, the woman paid her no mind, walking briskly towards the pair, easily avoiding the corpse. To be honest, Kagome wasn't surprised to see she had recovered so quickly. She hadn't exactly given Kikyou the beat down of her life; if anything, the words she said probably fueled her will to get into action.

And now she'd shoot them dead.

Inuyasha wouldn't be able to kill her. Kagome knew it. He'd go down without a fight. Regardless of how much he hated her, it was obvious that a part of him, however small it may be, treasured her. She was his first love, and that was something Kagome could never compete with. I'm so stupid to be thinking thoughts like these at a time like this…

"Kikyou…" Inuyasha whispered, body stiffening on instinct.

"I see you've managed to live," she replied coolly, ignoring the look on Inuyasha's face. Kagome kept a steady eye on the gun at Kikyou's side.

When no response came, Kikyou sighed looking off to the side. "I suppose you're bitter. Fine. I wouldn't expect you to want to talk. But I'll let you know that I'm not here for talking. You've been dead to me for a long time," she added.

"Why did you kill him?" Inuyasha asked, gritting his teeth to avoid saying things he never wanted her to hear.

"It's a funny thing when you realize you're just being used. I'm sure you know the feeling quite well, huh puppy dog?" She asked, a mocking lilt to her voice. "Anyways, I realized now was as good a time as ever to kill Naraku before he got off with all the credit. I always did have the feeling he was cheating me anyways."

Nothing was said, and the air became still once more. The smell of blood permeated the air, inducing a sort of nausea within Kagome. But Inuyasha seemed to have a harder time controlling the urge to just faint. Of course. His dog nose probably smells this a lot worse than I do.

"Well, since we're done chatting here," Kikyou announced dryly, "allow me to finish this." She lifted her gun, brown eyes locking on Inuyasha's golden ones.

She fired the gun, Inuyasha quickly snapping to his senses and dodging the gun. Kikyou's aim wasn't too bad. Nearly all the bullets she had fired into Naraku had hit his heart. Kagome pressed herself against the wall, watching in horror is Kikyou fired the round of bullets she had with every intent to kill the hanyou. Meanwhile, Inuyasha could feel his rage building up again. He would've rather been shot dead by Naraku.

I can't kill her, damn it! I can't…Inuyasha clenched his teeth in frustration as a bullet grazed his upper arm. He could see Kagome across from him, pressed against the wall. Her face was paler than a fresh sheet of snow. Kikyou took her chance to shoot him, and he howled in pain as a bullet lodged itself close to his heart.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome screamed. She turned to Kikyou who didn't look perturbed at all. "I can't believe you'd sink so low!" She charged against the woman who raised a brow.

"Do you forget who has the gun here?" She asked before firing. Kagome yelped and ducked, hearing the sound of the wall being smashed behind her. Glancing at the floor, she saw a few wisps of black hair. That was close…

"God, you're not even worth the kill…look at you, just standing there," Kikyou spat. She turned her gaze to Inuyasha who was lying on the floor, blood seeping through his hand that tried to cover the wound. She smirked and began to walk towards him, gun position straight for his heart. "Let me just do you a favor and finish you off, here and now."

Inuyasha stared at the woman above him, the edges beginning to blur. He had lost so much blood and energy…

Kikyou rested a slender finger on the trigger, getting ready to pull it, when she was roughly pushed to the side. Her body bumped against the wall, the gun falling out of her grasp.

"You little bitch!" She shrieked; Kagome had retrieved the gun and was pointing it straight for her. "Oh come on," Kikyou laughed slightly, a hysterical edge on it, "you can't kill me! Look at you! Your hands are shaking. I can tell you've never held a gun before. Figures, I knew you were just a weak –"

"Shut up!" Kagome snapped. "If you don't shut up, I'll shoot!"

Kikyou rolled her eyes, though a tremor of fear shot up her spine. "Big words, no action…isn't that always the case? I'm surprised you even managed a bruise."

Kagome knew Kikyou was just trying to taunt her, get in her say. But I've had it. I will not let her act all smug and win. I've got the control now.

Hours seemed to pass by while Kagome stood their trembling, in awe of how much power she truly held in her hands. She had the power to either let someone live or take away their life. All this time I wished there was some sort of action in my life, but I never thought this was the action I'd get.

"Well?" Kikyou hissed, her heart having nearly failed. The gun had been shaking and foreboding her of ill consequences for nearly three minutes. "Shoot me, you little coward!"

"I…" Kagome felt her knees buckling from pressure. What was she doing? Kagome, you're so stupid! To think that you of all people could actually kill someone! Just stop trying to play the hero and get Inuyasha out of here!

"Kagome!" A voice shouted, and Kagome whirled around, glad to have been taken away from that period of fear.

"Kouga! Kagura! You guys are okay!"

"Yes," Kagura nodded once catching up. "And we've called the police." She eyed Naraku's dead body on the floor and snorted. "Good riddance."

Kouga glanced at the gun and then at Kikyou who stood still against the wall. An angry glare was on her face. "So Kagome," he said, tearing his eyes away from Kikyou, "did you seriously shoot Naraku?" He gave a pointed look at the gun.

"No! No way!" She shook her head.

Kagura walked over towards Kikyou, grasping the woman's wrists and pulling them behind her back. "No offense to you, human, but I highly doubt you even know how to shoot one," a friendly challenge was written on her face, and Kagome huffed.

"Well Kikyou, you had your fun," Kouga commented. "The police should be here some time soon."

"And you're getting away with it, wolf?" She hissed. "You were just as much a part of this as I was! Both of you."

"That's none of your business," he sniffed, turning away to find Kagome by Inuyasha's side. "How's the mutt?"

Kagome didn't bother to reprimand him on the comment. "He got shot in the chest…not his heart, but close enough. I'm worried," she said, looking up. "What if…"

Kagura shook her head. "He's a hanyou. That still gives him a great deal of healing abilities. But it'd be better if wound was cleaned and taken care of. Which won't be an issue, since the ambulance is coming too."

"Good," Kagome breathed a sigh of relief. She stroked his snow-colored hair, somewhat alarmed at how hot his skin felt. "You'll be okay, Inuyasha. I promise."

--

Kagome watched in somewhat of a daze as paramedics lifted Inuyasha onto a stretcher. Looking away, she saw the police interrogating a few scientists along with Kouga and Kagura who had apathetic masks. A cop had already questioned her, but she didn't have much information to give in the first place. All she could do now was hope for the best.

Soon enough, Kouga and Kagura appeared by her side, both of them looking tired.

"What happened?" Kagome asked, pulling her jacket tighter around her waist.

"We," Kouga gestured to himself and Kagura, "don't get any jail time." A cocky grin made its way to his face, while Kagura rolled her eyes.

"Only because we gave up all the information we knew." She snorted. "It's not like we even have any loyalties to this place." Kagome nodded quietly, staring off at Inuyasha who was being put into the ambulance. "How is he doing?" Kagura asked softly.

"They said he'll be okay…recovery could take a while, and it'll scar for sure, but otherwise…" she smiled sadly. "Everything's okay then I guess. He'll be free like every one else."

Kagura smiled softly before looking over to the ambulance. "You should go with him."

Kagome looked up, a watery film over her eyes. She shook her head as if to rid away the unshed tears and smiled. "Yeah, you're right. I'll do just that." She turned to head over towards the ambulance before throwing a look over her shoulder. "Why don't you guys come too?"

Kouga glanced at Kagura before nodding slightly. "We will." Kagome accepted that as an answer and disappeared into the back of the ambulance with Inuyasha. The paramedics shut the doors before driving off.

Kagome sat watching Inuyasha, though she wasn't actually seeing him. Her mind was far away from where her body currently was. She was lost – her mind had shifted forwards towards the future. After weeks of living with Inuyasha, she wondered what would happen. Did he have life before Kikyou and the lab? He must've…it just seemed like a fanciful idea for her to imagine him without one…for her to be the one that would help him start anew.

She suddenly stilled, her hands had stopped fidgeting in her lap. When did I become so selfish? She forced herself to forget about those thoughts and for now, focus on Inuyasha's well-being. There was no point in running circles for answers she'd never be able to find.

It wasn't long before Inuyasha had been taken out of the ambulance and sent up to the hospital. Kagome had been shoved aside as doctors began to shout orders and get set to work. She waited outside in the waiting room, suddenly thinking of Sango and Miroku. She felt like she needed to at least tell them all that had been going on…plus, she was sure Inuyasha saw them as friends to a degree and vice-versa.

Using a phone hooked to the wall nearby, Kagome dialed for Sango.

"What?! You're at the hospital?!" Sango yelped, causing Kagome to pull the phone away a few inches before bringing it back to her ear with a smile on her face.

"Yeah, well…it's a long story. I'd appreciate it if you and Miroku came."

"Right, right," Sango quickly complied before hanging up. Kagome sighed and put the phone back on the hook; she sat down in the chair, idly waiting for something to happen.

Kouga and Kagura soon burst through the door, recognition flitting by on their faces when they spotted Kagome sitting alone.

"Is he okay?" Kagura asked, sitting down in a chair across from her.

"Yeah, doctors are working on him right now. What happened to Kikyou and the lab?"

Kouga smirked and leaned back in his chair. "Prison for god knows how long…they'll have to work on the details. The lab itself is being torn down."

"That's good," Kagome grinned. "By the way, two of my friends are coming…" she saw the sudden sharp looks on their faces. "They already know Inuyasha, and he knows them."

They relaxed somewhat, Kouga yawning obnoxiously.

Kagome shared idle chatter with Kagura when she saw Sango and Miroku step through the door, looking slightly flustered.

Sango plopped into the chair beside Kagome, giving the girl a hug. "I got so worried, Kagome! I tried calling you earlier, but you wouldn't pick up, and when I heard you say you were at the hospital, well I…why is Kouga here? And who is she?" She asked, suspicion in her voice.

"Kouga is here because he helped me and Inuyasha get out. And she's Kagura. She also helped. Without them, we'd probably be dead," Kagome added in all seriousness.

"Dead?" Miroku questioned, raising a brow. "What exactly happened?"

Kagome, Kouga, and Kagura all shared knowing glances, though Kouga and Kagura were also curious to know what happened in the final moments that led up to Naraku's death.

"I'll start from the beginning…"

--

Inuyasha slowly opened his eyes, wincing at the bright lights that illuminate his vision. His thoughts were muddled and confusing, and he constantly found himself with holes in parts of his memory. He could just remember flashes of swimming, Naraku, Kikyou, Kagome…a gun.

He felt a searing pain in his chest as he struggled to sit up when gentle hands pushed him back down.

Looking up, he spotted Kagome. She had a small smile on her face as she sat down in the chair next to his bed.

"I see you're awake," she greeted cheerfully. But Inuyasha could tell she was tired…and something else it seemed.

"Yeah," he murmured. He looked up at the ceiling, sighing (and wincing from the pain it caused his chest) before turning his head to look at the girl once more. "What happened?"

She suddenly pursed her lips, not wanting to tell him…she didn't have too much trouble relaying the story to Sango and Miroku, but somehow…telling Inuyasha just seemed like she was telling a sad story. One that could've potentially ended much worse.

"Well…Kagura and Kouga called the police, so…" she trailed off, looking out the window to see the dark sky. It was two in the morning, and Kagome stifled a yawn. Turning back to Inuyasha's anxious face, she sighed, regretting the things she'd have to say. "Kikyou is going to jail, she was the one who shot Naraku too…and well, the lab is being torn down."

Inuyasha stared at her for a few moments before cursing softly and turning his head back up to the ceiling.

A few minutes of silence passed, and Kagome could tell she was ready to nod off when Inuyasha suddenly spoke.

"I wanted so bad…so badly to get my revenge on Naraku…I wanted to be the one to kill him and let him suffer, but…in a way, I guess I'm glad…it wasn't me who had the burden to bear." Kagome smiled softly, secretly grateful that he had never been given the chance to get his revenge against Naraku. She somehow knew that it would forever rest on his conscious, and the guilt would just eat away at him. She just knew.

Kagome wrung her hands nervous, biting her lip. She wasn't sure she could ask this, but…

"Inuyasha…this might be sort of personal, but…do you still love Kikyou? I mean, be honest! I know you're mad at what she did to you, but…"

Inuyasha turned his head away, staring at the wall. Kagome took a sharp intake of breath before plastering a smile on her face. "That's okay then. I should just let you rest a little. Everyone's back in the waiting room, so I'll just be there and…" she trailed off, getting up to her feet. She bit her lip unsurely before shaking her head and walking over to the door, turning the light switch off as she did so.

"Wait."

The voice was so husky and quiet, that Kagome had to do a double take.

"What?" She asked, tucking an errant strand behind her ear.

"About Kikyou." Kagome was suddenly hooked on his every word, anxiety showing in her blue eyes.

"Yeah?"

"Well…you asked if I still loved her, and you asked me to be honest. The truth? Yeah…I still love her. Some crazy, stupid, tiny part of me…"

Kagome cringed, feeling her hopes crashing down. She should've known better than to let herself loose in her fantasy world where Inuyasha felt the same way about her that she did him.

"But…I don't love her like I did. And that's a huge difference. I hate her, but I do love her, because I guess there's some shitty saying like "you can never forget your first love" or something…" he muttered. Kagome nearly giggled had she not been feeling so choked up. "Anyways, she's in the past, and that's where she's going to stay."

"Alright," Kagome nodded, feeling sick with how feeble her voice sounded. She was sure that although Inuyasha wasn't so good at subtlety, he'd be able to detect her sadness. Steeling herself, she turned to leave. "Get some rest, Inuyasha."

"I'm not finished," he stated firmly, struggling to get into a sitting position. Kagome glided over to his side and quickly propped him up against the pillows. The room was dark, but Kagome could still see his amber eyes glowing so fiercely.

"What is it then?" Kagome asked, fidgeting with the zipper on her jacket.

"You didn't even bother to ask me about now."

"Now…?" She echoed.

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. "Me and you. Now."

Kagome quickly put on a mask of indifference. "What's there to discuss?"

"Oh for fuck's sake, don't act like you haven't even been thinking about it!" He snapped.

Kagome looked alarmed for a moment before schooling her own expression of annoyance. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Bullshit you don't."

Kagome could feel her anger rising and was alarmed at how quickly her mood could shift when she was with Inuyasha. It was possibly part of the reason why she loved him so much; he always kept her on her toes in some way.

They spent a few moments glaring at each other before Inuyasha let out a loud sigh. "Forget it! Just leave me alone."

Kagome's temper flared before she stomped towards the door. "Fine by me!" She yelled before slamming the door shut behind her. Her chest was rising up and down as she exhaled her anger from her system. Stupid jerk…

Inuyasha slumped against his pillows, giving a sour look to the wall. Dumb bitch…

But…Kagome stood against the wall, moving her heel this way and that as she stared at the floor. This might be my only chance to tell him…maybe I should just…oh, to hell with it, Kagome!

The door slammed open, and Kagome stomped in, marching to a stop right beside Inuyasha's bed.

"Listen, you! You've put me through a lot of hell, and I'm tired, and I just wanna sleep! So when I say this, don't you dare try to put up a fight with me! After all this crap, and everything we've been through, I think I've fallen in love with you! Now, I don't care if you don't feel the same way, but I just thought you should know and all, so that's no big shocker –"

Kagome gasped as she felt herself being pulled down by the shoulders. She just about died when she felt Inuyasha's lips on her own. They were soft and gentle, something she hadn't expected but definitely enjoyed. She sighed contentedly, enjoying the feeling of just kissing and not caring about the rest of the world…just being with Inuyasha.

He pulled away after a bit, staring intensely into her eyes. "God, you talk too damn much."

She blushed with embarrassment.

"But yeah," he grinned. "I love you."

Kagome looked flustered, eyes shining with giddiness and a smile that could rival a superstar's. Her thoughts were so frazzled and fried that she just blurted out the first thing that came to her.

"Me too!"


AN: Aww, so they kissed. Hah! So no one can say I didn't have them kiss! Oh, and I have to give credit where credit is due. The last line was from What I Like About You where (you might know this, you might not…depends on if you watch it…personally I love the show!) Vic says "I love you" and Val just looks all giddy and then blurts out "Me too!" It was cute and funny – well, to me at least.

So I may or may not put up an epilogue to this…I sort of liked the ending like this, something I wasn't planning on. I had been making it so that I could leave room for an epilogue, but it doesn't seem like it needs it…well, tell me what you think. Though I won't promise I'll go with what you guys say, but hey, who knows!