Standard disclaimer applies.

Here's the epilogue folks! It's set after the defeat of Naraku, since everyone knows (or at least those that have read my old stories) that I suck at battle scenes. Severely. Horribly. Words cannot describe how badly I suck at them. So it's set after, and those who are upset can deal. Okay, now I was just going to post it all in one fell swoop, but after the fifteenth page and my patience ending and me being on the verge of doing something horrible to my story (rushing the ending like I usually do when my patience is thin) I decided to do a two-part epilogue instead.

Now, This isnt exactly humerous, like I tried to do the entire story. This story is going to be more realistic (or as reaslistic as Inuyasha can get) and deal with "real-world" problems. Like Sesshoumaru being Sesshoumaru, and what happens when all the glam is removed and she finally gets the opportunity to know what it's really like living with Sesshoumaru. I'll try to add some funny, but it won't be like all the other chapters. If this disappoints you sorry, but I've wracked my brains on how to continue this chapter like all my other chapters and I just couldnt think of anything other than what I wrote below. SO... review and tell me what you think. I want to know if its good or not.


The Snowball Effect

Epilogue, Part One

Happily Ever After?

By: Luna

This, Kagome thought glumly, sucked. Badly.

Since the defeat of Naraku, Kagome had decided to finish the last bit of her school before returning to the Sengoku Era. The well, thankfully, had remained open, allowing her and Inuyasha free access to her time. But she had decided to travel with Sesshoumaru, like she knew she would. And Inuyasha… well, Inuyasha stayed home, at the village with Kaede and Shippo. Kagome had once thought that Kikyo would stay with him, be with him like she had seemed to want so badly for the last few years. Yet she hadn't. She had been in a kind of numbed state when she realized she was a live human again, and then just wandered off after the battle.

Inuyasha had been devastated. They had all thought she had died in the final battle against Naraku, yet once the jewel had been wished upon and everyone had gone back to Kaede's village to rest and recoup, Kikyo had come stumbling out of the trees disoriented. She hadn't seemed able to get out of that state since, and Kagome knows she's out wandering around, going from village to village and helping out like she had when she was the Shikon Jewel's protector. She might come back, Kagome thought sadly, when or if she ever found herself again. Until then, she was sure Inuyasha would wait.

Shippo would be there for him, but for how long was anyone's guess. Kagome had hoped he would come with her when she went with Sesshoumaru, yet the kit had refused -- it seemed his fear and distrust of Sesshoumaru ran deeper than anything he and Kagome shared. It had hurt, deeply, but Kagome would stand by her decision. She knew Shippo was scared of the demon lord. She knew that in some ways he would always hate and fear him. Yet she thought the idea of both her and Rin would sway the little demon, but it hadn't. In the end it might have been better, at least for Inuyasha, but Kagome was a little lonely. Sesshoumaru was not the best of company, and he was starkly different from what she was used to when she traveled with her friends.

Like Sango and Miroku. After years of pussy-footing around, Miroku had finally flat out told her he loved her, and she would marry him and have as many children as possible -- and have a good time making them, too. Sango agreed, of course. It figured the slayer -- the most athletic and tough girl out of the two of them, would get moved by a caveman proposal like that. Little Kohaku had stayed with Shippo and Inuyasha after the ceremony, but it was temporary.

The newly weds had taken off for a short honeymoon at a hot spring, determined to spend as much time alone as possible until they had to come back for Kohaku. Then, they would go back the Slayers' village and tear down the remaining structures, then build a memorial. They told Kagome they planned on coming back and living in the village with Kaede and Inuyasha, but Kagome didn't know if they really would. Sango might change her mind and stay in her village instead. Who knew?

And as for Kagome… Well, she was starting to feel just the teensiest bit of doubt.

Sesshoumaru, for all his declarations about her having to kiss him before the month was up, seemed to be steadfastly refusing to even look at her even after the deadline came and went, her bet won and Sango's lost.

But Sesshoumaru was still steadfastly refusing to look at her.

Why, she didn't know. She had even tried various attempts at catching his attention. Once, she had ran up to him to hold his newly acquired hand and tried to start up a conversation -- only to be quickly shaken off and left in the dust. Then she had tried talking to him while she ate dinner (which he had thankfully provided her) and he had made a point of looking away and showing a good display of disinterest. Finally, she had just thrown a rock at his head. That had got a reaction out of him, but the result had been a very nasty snarl and complete eye avoidance as well as no words exchanged.

Kagome was hurt, confounded, and seriously starting to get pissed off.

Who did he think he was? She had left everything for him. Inuyasha, Shippo, her family back home, and even old Kaede who would need help around the village as she grew even older. She had stopped herself from asking to go back and visit home because she feared angering him even more after the rock incident. So finally, against Kagome's very nature, she had just resorted to staying quiet. Well, not completely. She played with Rin and amused herself by playing pranks on Jaken, but besides the occasional glances at Sesshoumaru, she said not one word to him.

In fact, if he didn't break this self imposed silence, Kagome had already determined that she would just leave him. No man was worth this much trouble and heartbreak, Kagome thought to herself with a sniff. In fact, she shouldn't have even given all of herself when there had been so little in return from the get-go. He didn't laugh with her, didn't talk to her, didn't even look in her direction anymore. Hell, the man didn't even breath in her direction anymore, Kagome was sure of it. Why? It both hurt and confounded her. She didn't understand him, and he wasn't giving her any room to find out, either.

So, she would leave him.

All this stress, all this worry, was not worth loss of self. She didn't even remember the last time she laughed, really laughed, and it both worried and infuriated her. She couldn't believe how much she had given of herself, and how little she had allowed in return. Not even with Inuyasha had the giving been so absolute.

But with Sesshoumaru, well, leaving him would be tricky. She wasn't sure if he'd reject her leaving and try to stop her, or even deign to glance over his shoulder if she simply stopped walking one day and watched the group disappear over the horizon. She knew the landscape like the back of her hand after so many years traversing over it, and she could find her way back home quickly. Might even bump into friends along the way.

But she found that in this way she was a coward, and she just couldn't bear the thought that Sesshoumaru would just let her walk away. So she would wait until a night where he would disappear wherever he disappeared to and tell Rin (which she assumed included herself as well) to stay exactly where she was, and to tell Jaken to watch out for them. Then she would disappear, too. In the opposite direction.

It wouldn't be unusual for her to keep her belongings packed, her jacket and boots on. They wouldn't think anything if she just said she wanted to take a bath, since that was one luxury she wouldn't allow even him to dismiss. She wanted baths, and often, and had always left to take them whether or not he planned on camping. She would be joining Inuyasha and Shippo soon, she thought with relief, and started whistling a song from back in her time, happy for the first time that day.

That earned a glance over the shoulder from Sesshoumaru, but she only noted it and dismissed it. She stopped caring what his glances meant after an entire month of being ignored. And yet…

The whistling slowed, as did her steps. And yet. She still loved him. She didn't know why, and she hated it. Those small glances did matter, no matter how much she told herself they didn't. She sped up the whistling again, determined to cheer herself up. After a while, she even started singing. She had always liked to sing, and wasn't half bad at it, either. But she still kept the tune quiet and just above a whisper, a little shy since she never really sang in front of Sesshoumaru before. His steps might have slowed a bit, but he still didn't say anything, so Kagome kept on singing until that turned into a hum, and she contented herself with thoughts of seeing Inuyasha and her friends again.

"Kagome-chan?" Came Rin's bashful whisper.

"Hmm?" Kagome hummed, still walking with a little skip in her step.

"Has… has anything happened recently?" The girl asked, and Kagome blinked down at her in confusion. Rin elaborated, "Kagome-chan seems happy today." Another bashful smile. "Rin hasn't seen it in a long time."

Kagome stopped, and vaguely noticed that Sesshoumaru did too. He even turned around to stare at them, but Kagome's eyes were focused on Rin's. She thought of seeing Inuyasha again, of little Shippo that wouldn't be so little in the future, and of the aging Kaede. And her smile brightened, because she wanted so bad to be around what she knew that the thought of being there soon cheered her all over again. "Because I am happy, Rin-chan. At least today."

She hadn't realized how hollow that sounded until she said it, but she forced her smile not to dim as she kept on walking, and continued even after she passed Sesshoumaru, his eyes hot and suspicious on her back. That night, she figured she'd try and cross the bridge between her and Sesshoumaru one more time before giving up. They sat around their campfire and Rin, Jaken, and herself munched on the venison Sesshoumaru brought back for them.

Kagome took a deep breath and stood, walking casually to Sesshoumaru's side. She sat down next to him and drew her knees to her chest before wrapping her arms around them, kicking her heels a little so she rocked. Then she said, "Hey, Sesshoumaru."

If she expected a response, she didn't get one. So she tried again. "Do you know that back home, my mom would probably be serving my favorite dish of oden right about now. My birthday is coming up, after all. The big one-nine. Almost legal in other countries, you know."

She didn't even look this time to see if he was paying attention, but she wanted so badly to share herself, to have him know her and love her in the same way she loved him, that she kept on going, her eyes glued resolutely to the ground. "Souta is probably practicing for the big game -- soccer, you know, and is trying really hard to be the best. There's this girl he's trying to impress, you see. Grandpa will still be hitting on girls my age and trying to exorcise ghosts that are no longer there, and the shrine will look absolutely beautiful with spring bursting all around it."

"You live on a shrine, Kagome-chan?" Rin asked after a quick glance at Sesshoumaru.

Kagome smiled, warming to the memory of her home. "Yes. I am a miko, you know." Funny how only now that made sense. "It's beautiful. Most would think that the bold red and traditional lines of the shrine would get old after a while, but I never tire of it. Love changes everything." In more ways than one. "I love the shrine, and I love my family. That keeps it from never getting old."

She leaned forward a little, and grinned when Rin scooted in closer as if they were exchanging secrets. "The God Tree is so very lush and full, so filled with memories of the past and the future that can't wait to happen. Cars go by, so loud and noisy, yet when I'm home I find I can't sleep without them. They sky's not so blue as it is here, but the flowers still smell so sweet." She sighed, nostalgic, and wondered at the burn of Sesshoumaru's eyes on hers.

Then she stopped, opened her eyes, and realized she never told Sesshoumaru that she was from the future. She turned to him them, studied the eyes that studied her, and knew she never would. Not as long as he didn't give a little, and not as long as she still planned to disappear back into her time. Away from this place to give her a little time to think while ensconced in her family's love, but most importantly time away from him. She needed to decide whether or not staying with him was the right thing to do. She loved him, yes, but she needed more than what he was giving her.

She wasn't worried that he'd follow after her immediately, if he chose to. When Sesshoumaru disappeared on his little missions, he was often gone for days, and poor little Rin would still stay in the exact spot she was in when he left, just because he told her to and she was so firm in her belief that he'd come back for her. For them. And of course, he always would. It would just take him a couple of days to remember.

And give her a couple of days to disappear.

She brought her eyes back to the fire, so the suspicion in Sesshoumaru's eyes wouldn't sharpen anymore. She continued, her voice light. "I think you would like it there, Rin-chan."

Rin's eyes brightened. "Really? Can Rin visit there sometime?"

"I'm afraid that would be impossible, Rin-chan." Kagome said sadly, and hurried to explain when Rin's eyes drooped, disappointed. "I live on an island, and it would take a long, long time to get there." Ain't that the truth. "Even Inuyasha rarely lets me go home."

"The half-breed refuses to let you go home?" Sesshoumaru asked very quietly, and Kagome's heart skipped a beat the voice that she hadn't heard in so long. So low, so sexy. It was dark and whispered across her skin like silk. She hoped he didn't sense her reaction to him just by his voice.

"Yes," Kagome said, a little breathless, and turned her wide blue eyes to his golden ones. Then she corrected herself. "Well, only sometimes. He used to say it took too long for me to get back, and he hated that I took my time whenever I went there."

Sesshoumaru sniffed. "The half breed does not know what it takes to keep his pack happy."

"Yes, well, neither do you." Kagome hadn't meant to say that, and resolutely kept her eyes to the ground as Rin gasped and gaped at her, and Sesshoumaru stiffened beside her. He stood abruptly and Kagome felt his glare, but he only turned and left the camp. Kagome's eyes filled with tears, because she had ruined the perfect opportunity to keep him talking. Now he was angry at her, and she would have rather left him indifferent than angry.

Rin scooted close to her side and snuggled into the arm Kagome wrapped around her small shoulders. "It's okay, Kagome-chan, Rin let's things slip too sometimes."

"Like what?" Kagome doubted the child was ever unhappy with her plot in life, and wondered what she could have possibly been upset about.

"Like when Lord Sesshoumaru wouldn't let Kohaku-chan travel with us anymore. Rin thought that most unfair, and told Lord Sesshoumaru so." Rin still sounded annoyed with it, and Kagome looked down in surprise to see a slight frown on the child's face.

"Rin," Kagome said with a smile, feeling amused by the child's petulance, and ruffled her hair. "Kohaku wanted to stay behind. He had been separated from his sister too long to want to be away from her now. You shouldn't be upset with Sesshoumaru because of that."

Rin frowned up at Kagome in confusion. "But you are unhappy with Lord Sesshoumaru, aren't you? That's why you voiced your complaint?"

Kagome looked away and stared into the fire grimly, but pasted on a smile for Rin's sake. No reason to cause mutiny, Kagome thought with a sigh. She didn't want to tack on another reason for Sesshoumaru to be angry at her. "The only reason I said that is because I wanted him to know how I was feeling. I miss my friends, and this is a very hard adjustment for me. It's not as if he's making it any easier for me."

Rin looked surprised. "But he is! You just haven't been listening."

Turning to stare down at the child dryly, Kagome raised a brow. "Come again?"

Understanding shone in Rin's eyes, and Kagome realized for the first time that maybe Rin had grown up more than her age had allowed. "You mean Kagome-chan doesn't know?" She asked surprised. "Lord Sesshoumaru asks for Kagome-chan's attention all the time! But you always ignore him."

When Kagome only stared at her, Rin just nodded. "It's true. Rin sees it all the time." She cocked her head to the side and added. "I think you just need to read more demon."

"Or Sesshoumaru read more human." Kagome grumbled, and was rewarded when Rin burst into giggles.

"It's Lord Sesshoumaru," Rin gasped, and started giggling again.

Grudgingly, Kagome smiled, but her mind was racing. She remembered the book she had loaned from the library, the one about dog behaviors, and wondered if she should check it out one more time. Well, if she ever was able to get back to her time, anyways. Had Sesshoumaru truly been trying to communicate with her this entire time? If that were true and it had been Kagome who ignored the demon lord, than it was Kagome's fault for his current mood and withdrawal.

Which made her feel totally like a heel.

Sesshoumaru was probably very upset with her. But hadn't he tried talking with her tonight? Could that have been his attempt (as Rin would call it) to 'read' more human? And Kagome had blown it once again, by telling him he made her unhappy. Despairingly, Kagome dropped her forehead to her knees to hide the prick of tears. She had caused her own unhappiness. She thought it very ironic.

But Rin whispered to her the secret of reading demon, and explained as best she could how to read Sesshoumaru. It was then that Kagome realized how smart little Rin was, and wondered just how it was that she knew Sesshoumaru so well. She didn't know exactly when Rin met up with the demon lord, for it wasn't as if Inuyasha ever kept track of him, so it was hard to tell. But in the four years that Kagome knew Rin had been with him, she had learned to read him very well. Knew enough to gauge his expressions (Kagome didn't know had had anything other than the Glare of Death) to what was happening when he held really still to when he yelled (which Kagome couldn't imagine either). She still wanted that book from the future, however, and was determined to get it no matter what.

She waited as long as she could that night, but Sesshoumaru never reappeared. And they waited the next day too, and the next, and then Kagome decided that this was the perfect opportunity to go home and get that book. Sesshoumaru would probably never try reading human again after her rebuke, so she would just try to read more dog. Hopefully he wouldn't come back to camp while she was away, because then he'd really be upset with her.

That night she snuck out of camp quickly, with only Ah Un her witness. The beast chirped in confusion and tried to follow her, but Kagome hushed him and motioned for him to wait. The beast did, confused, and she quickly ran into the forest. She wondered if it had been the greatest idea to leave in the cover of darkness, but she knew Rin would be likely to tattle, and then Jaken would leave to find Sesshoumaru to tattle to him, and then she'd be in really big trouble. It was best to disappear and be back before Sesshoumaru, that a way she could pretend to be ignorant when Jaken tried to get her in trouble.

They were closer to the well than she had thought -- only about ten miles -- and she made it just as the sun was starting to peak over the mountains. She wanted to go and visit Inuyasha, but didn't know how much time she had before Sesshoumaru got back, so she jumped into the well without hesitation. She felt the soothing rush of magic engulf her, and was so relieved when her feet touched soft soil, and her nose breathed in the smells of the city.

She grinned broadly and climbed up the ladder, breezing into her home as fast as she could. She spent more time than she should have -- the whole day -- with her family, eating all her favorite foods and catching up her family on everything that had happened -- including her now traveling with Inuyasha's brother, Sesshoumaru. She told herself that Sesshoumaru wouldn't be coming back to camp for a while anyways, so it was okay to stay here for the day, and even visited her friends and walked with them to the library, laughing with them and ignoring Yuki's rolled eyes when she checked out the same book as last time, including a few others.

Finally, as the sun started setting and she was practically dead on her feet after being awake for twenty-four hours, Kagome stepped towards the well house, dreading the ten miles she would have to hike.


Groaning, thinking this was the worst thing that could happen, Kagome turned towards Hojo and waved at him half-heartedly. "Evening Hojo."

"Whew, I'm so glad to see you!" Hojo exclaimed, his face, still boyishly handsome, smiling in genuine happiness. "Every time I came over you have been sick, and then just last week I was told you went away for college."

Kagome blinked, thinking that for once they gave her a good excuse other than a life threatening disease. But Hojo was shaking his head, still smiling. "But then I knew that you wouldn't have left without saying goodbye, so I was coming to see you again. I'm glad I was able to see you."

Thinking that this was the most forward he's ever been, Kagome started hedging back towards the well house, laughing a little nervously. "Yes, well, here I am!"

Hojo took a step forward, and Kagome blinked when she had to crane her neck up to look at him. "Goodness, Hojo, when did you get so tall?"

His smiled deepened, showing a dimple, and Kagome was gaping now. This was no high school boy before her, she thought. This was a man. Had all her friends grew up without her noticing? Sadly, she knew they all had. Just like she had without them. Hojo caught one of her hands and squeezed, staring adoringly down at her. Kagome's unease intensified, turning her stomach. "Kagome," He started. "There was a reason I came to find you." He started speaking again, but Kagome was too busy looking for an escape to pay any attention.

Kagome looked around, desperate for an escape, when his last words caught her by surprise, and she looked at him dumfounded. "What?"

"I said I'm getting married." He laughed at her expression, then added. "And I'm going away for college, too. You probably won't see me for a long, long time."

Foolishly, Kagome's eyes filled up with tears. Not because he was getting married, or even that he was moving away. But because once again a friend of hers had grown up without her, and everything happened while she was away. She wondered why they even bothered staying friends with her, but was still thankful. "Thank you for telling me, Hojo. I am so, so happy for you."

He sighed happily. "She's so much like you, you know." Then he frowned, as if just now noticing her tears. Gently, he brought a hand up and touched her cheek. His eyes were a little sad. "You haven't been happy lately, have you? I know your diseases have kept you away, but you should be happy you're finally in good health to be able to go to college."

Kagome resisted the urge to laugh hysterically, wondering why she was feeling so much out of sorts all of a sudden. It was exhaustion, she thought. She really was tired. Hojo said so too, as he swept his thumb gently under one eye. "You should get some rest, Kagome."

She realized that he probably lied about getting married, because he still held her hand and his eyes were so intent on her face. Slowly, so slowly, he leaned down until he kissed her, and Kagome held still, waiting.

She waited for that burst of feeling, that explosion of desire that had flooded her body the moment Sesshoumaru's lips touched hers, but all she felt was relief that it could, after all, be only Sesshoumaru. Hojo leaned back with a wry expression on his face, and his eyes were relieved too. "Well, I'm glad that's out of the way. I was afraid I'd never be able to move on if I didn't know how that felt. We'd never have been more than friends, huh Kagome?"

Weakly, Kagome shook her head. "I don't think so. And I don't think your fiancé would have liked you to do that, either."

He laughed, shook his head. "No, probably not. But I think Suzuki would have been even more upset if she thought that I still dreamed about you. Do you have someone?"

Looking away, Kagome frowned. "Sort of. I think I might have bungled things up though."

Hojo stepped away, still smiling, and cocked his head to the side. "How so?"

"He thinks I'm not communicative enough." Which was as close to the truth as she was getting. It was still Hojo she was talking to, after all. She stepped away, too. "In fact, I think I need to get back to him."

She paused, looking back at Hojo, his suddenly manly body highlighted by the setting sun. "You don't think that constitutes as cheating, does it?"

Hojo raised his brow. "No. I've kissed Ayumi once or twice when our families had dinner together, and it was always in friendship. I think it's only cheating if there's sexual tension involved." He grinned, handsome. "In our case, it felt as though I were kissing my sister."

Relieved, Kagome nodded, then hurried back to the well house, not even thinking if Hojo thought that was weird. "Keep in touch!" She called over her shoulder. "I want to know all about college!"

Then she shut the door before Hojo could respond, and practically swan dived into the well in her haste to get back. When she came out the other end, she quickly climbed out, wanting to get back at camp and collapse before exhaustion took its toll more than it already had. But she abruptly stopped, looking uneasily around the clearing. It was quiet.

Too quiet.

She ran to the village, not stopping even as her body tingled as if she went through a barrier -- or a demon's youki. Gasping, she ran even faster, until she skidded to a halt outside the village, where Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru stared each other down. The air crackled with electricity -- Sesshoumaru's, no doubt -- as the two brothers glared.

"Sesshoumaru!" Kagome cried, relieved. In her haste to get away from him, she hadn't counted on how much seeing him would make her happy. Sesshoumaru's gaze snapped to hers, as did Inuyasha's. Had they not sensed her?

"Kagome," Inuyasha said, startled. "You smell like a…"

"Man." Sesshoumaru snarled, and took a threatening step towards her. Inuyasha was there in a flash, and then the two men were snarling at each other and grasping at their swords.

Confused, Kagome looked down at herself and sniffed at her clothes. She still smelt oden on her. Could it have been Hojo? But he didn't touch anything on her except her hand and her… Blushing, Kagome suddenly dropped her bag and stomped between the two demons, glaring at Sesshoumaru since Inuyasha was just trying to protect her.

"Will you stop?" She demanded. "All I did was go back home!"

"Without my permission." Sesshoumaru snarled again, making Inuyasha shift uneasily on his feet, indecision on his face.

"Yeah without your permission!" Kagome cried, facing him fully and glaring at him. "You who disappeared without a by-your-leave for who knew how long! I needed to go home."

"And come back smelling like a human." Sesshoumaru growled again.

That stopped her. Confused, Kagome drew back. "Of course like a human. Have you forgotten what I am?"

Inuyasha groaned beside her, and she looked at him, confused when she saw he was blushing. Inuyasha ran a hand wearily down his face. "Kagome, Sesshoumaru probably put his scent all over you. Marking you," Inuyasha added at Kagome's confused stare. "As his. Just as I used to do whenever you rode on my back."

Dawning of realization made her face turn pink, but she only sighed as she remembered how tired she was. Like Inuyasha, she ran a hand over her face tiredly. "Can we go now?" She asked Sesshoumaru softly. "I really am tired." She looked over at Inuyasha, noticing with concern that he was too. Too tired; as if he hadn't slept in days. "We all need to get some rest."

She'd come back later, she vowed, when things were sorted with her and Sesshoumaru, so she could check up on Inuyasha. It was unusual to see any dark circles under his eyes, after all. She assumed that Sesshoumaru accepted her sudden concession, for he snarled before turning on his heel and walking out of the village and disappearing into the forest. Kagome looked at Inuyasha, her eyes softening in concern. "Are you all right? You don't look so good."

Inuyasha stared at her, indecision warring in his eyes, before he sighed and gently grasped her shoulders, steering her in the direction Sesshoumaru went. "You need to go to him. He wont be so easy to placate."

She reached up and touched his hand before he could remove it, and stared at him from over her shoulder. "Rest, Inuyasha. Everything happens for a reason."

He pointedly looked where Sesshoumaru disappeared and raised a wry brow. "Everything?"

"It'll just make us stronger." Kagome said with conviction, making her believe it. Like Rin, she was feeling too much older than her almost-nineteen years.

"Get some rest." She said again, then scooped up her bag and jogged after Sesshoumaru.

When she finally caught sight of him, she put in an extra effort and ran faster until she reached his side. Her eyes felt too heavy, but she didn't stop walking with him, even though her feet dragged. "Sesshoumaru…"

He growled low, and Kagome knew it was a warning so she kept quiet. When they reached camp, Kagome spread out her sleeping bag and went to settle into it, when suddenly Sesshoumaru clamped a hand around her arm and hauled her out of it, giving her a shake that made her jaw snap.

"You will not ignore me." He snarled, his face so close to hers.

Kagome didn't know what he was talking about, and he seemed to see her confusion, for he growled again. But this time he slammed her against him, his arms holding her so hard she squeaked. She didn't question it, merely wrapped her arms around him and held on for all she was worth, because she hadn't been held by him for so long. Even when she was back home, she realized, she wouldn't let anyone really touch her other than hold her hand. As if all this time of Sesshoumaru not touching her somehow made her… not uneasy, but not used to contact. She wouldn't let it happen again.

She buried her face into his chest, and felt it vibrating underneath her chin and realized Sesshoumaru was humming something -- or just growling really low. Whatever it was, it instantly soothed her, and she relaxed in his hold. He pulled back, and whatever he had done seemed to please him, for his face looked almost smug.

"So you are able to learn." He said, and reached up a hand to tip her chin back, exposing her neck, before he bent down to give the exposed skin a little nip. Kagome jumped and went to move away, but Sesshoumaru held fast and gave her another one, as if in punishment. She stilled, slowly starting to understand. He did it again as if just to prove a point, before his voice murmured in her ear. "That was for daring to think you can leave me." Another nip, and Kagome jumped again with a little cry. "And that was for coming back smelling different." Another, much harder. "And that was for not even telling me where it was you came back from."

But then his tongue laved at the spot, making Kagome jump for a different reason, and his voice once again whispered in her ear. "That was for staying with me for as long as you have, even though I knew you wouldn't understand." He did it again, ending with a soft kiss, before trailing his lips up her neck to lay them against her own. "That was for not staying with Inuyasha like I thought you would have."

Kagome opened her mouth to argue, but he quickly bent down to bite her neck again, this time staying there until she whimpered. He let go slowly, enjoying himself, before he once again kissed the spot. He pulled back and Kagome felt his hand delving into her hair, cupping the back of her head, before he directed her face to rest against his neck under his chin, and commanded in a very gentle voice. "Now apologize to me."

Not knowing what she was doing, she hesitantly nuzzled her nose against his chin, and was rewarded by his pleased growl. She did it again, experimenting, and then gave his skin a soft kiss. He relaxed, his arms softening, and pulled her face away just enough to whisper in her ear. "Forgiven."

"Kiss me," Kagome asked, hating that her voice came out so pleading, but still couldn't help but ask again. "Kiss me…"

He did, and there it was. That explosion of color, that burst of feeling so deep that it left her shaken, and wanting more. She reached up on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his neck, putting everything she had into the kiss, and was rewarded when she felt herself being laid down, still intertwined with Sesshoumaru, on her sleeping bag. He broke the kiss to nuzzle at her temple before leaning down to whisper in her ear. "Go to sleep, Kagome."

She blinked hazy eyes up at him. "Huh?"

Her only answer was to feel his chest start to rumble again, and she was relieved when he didn't move away from her except to lay by her side and pull her up against him, that soft purring rumbling away that quickly melted her bones and made her fall quickly, quietly, into slumber.


I'm not going to do a lemon, just in case you guys are wondering.

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