Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, in first person POV or not.

A/N: This is a sequel, of sorts, to the conversation between Inuyasha and Miroku started in the 'Pink' Challenge series. Spoilers for the manga chapters #516 – 520. The action is set in the canon (manga) universe, between the 'Bakusaiga' arc and the Final Battle.

A very respectful bow must be made to Nokomarie the Snake's inspirational ficlet 'Steam'.

Bouquets to Forthright, Ranuel and SilverOnTheRose for putting the boots to the authorial behind and demanding a higher standard.

Warnings: Coarse language, high lime and lemon content.

Most Japanese homes do not have central heating, so are generally much cooler than North American homes (no lounging around half-dressed; too cold except in the height of summer), and the traditional-style bathroom depicted in the manga/anime would normally be located on the first (or ground) floor of the house as part of the laundry facilities. The toilet is in another room on the ground floor altogether.

There's a floor drain so that you sit on low plastic stools to soap up and wash your hair, then rinse off under the open shower stall before climbing into the tub, which is often tiled and usually large enough to accommodate more than one adult. In really traditional houses, the tubs are wooden.



As soon as my feet hit the bottom of the well on Kagome's side, I switched into 'hunt' mode. Actually, I already knew my target was in the vicinity; I was on the lookout for complications to my intent. Breathing deeply, I fine-tuned my senses for any sign of her family, straining my ears for the sound of the old man's twig broom. Only the afternoon breeze ruffled the leaves on the Goshinboku as I slid open the well house door; the courtyard was empty except for lengthening shadows, so I headed for the house.

Slipping into the foyer, I sniffed hard and listened again. The whelp's scent was old, as were her mother and grandfather's distinctive aromas. Their absence perfectly fit my plans, but I did briefly wonder when they might come back because I'd be royally screwed in more ways than one if they walked in on us. Shrugging, I locked the exterior door, figuring that would slow them down a little and sloped off in pursuit of my prey.

Ramen? Fuck off. I'm not hunting for food. Can have that any time… eh? You wanna know what's going on? You're worse than that fucking houshi, I swear.

Here's the deal; ever since I nailed Kagome the first time, on the forest floor that afternoon a couple of weeks ago and then again the same day at the inn, I'll admit I've turned into a bit of an animal. After so long wanting her… from the night she unsealed me, it seems… now that I've had her, I can't keep my hands off her. The problem is, she's never stopped me or protested and always lets me do whatever I need, but sometimes…

Sometimes she keeps her beautiful eyes closed the entire time, and that bothers the hell out of me. Anyways, that's part of the reason why I followed her through the well not fifteen minutes after she'd returned home; I needed to talk to her without any interruptions and find out what was going on inside her head. I also wanted to prove to her that she's much more to me than just a roll in the grass.

Listening hard, I detected the sound of running water from the direction of the laundry room off the kitchen; since I could also hear splashing, she must have hit the shower in the attached bathroom almost the minute she came through the door. Kagome'll jump into a cold river if she has to, and with our recent activities she's had to do just that more often than not; she'd be totally enjoying the hot water. I stepped into the kitchen to confirm that she was indeed in the bathroom and happened across the note her mother left. Since Kagome's yellow backpack was leaning against the cupboards below it, I figured she'd seen it too.

Dear Kagome & Inuyasha:

I've taken Ojii-chan out of town to visit his cousin in Chiba, and Sota is staying overnight with a friend. We'll all be back tomorrow evening; hope to see you then, if you've returned while we were gone.


Grabbing an apple out of the fruit bowl, I crunched through it while I considered what to do next. I know where Kagome's mother stores the spare futon and bedding for company, even though I've never used it because I'd rather sit up against the wall in my girl's room than try to sleep in the same room as her kid brother. Why? The whelp snores worse than Kaede-baba with a head cold. I kid you not.

The plan I came up with to talk with Kagome in a non-threatening manner definitely wasn't one of my better ones, but I was in a hurry to get to the kiss-and-make-up part. Yeah, I know; pretty stupid to focus on the end instead of on how to get there, but I just did what I usually do when I'm not sure of myself… act first and avoid questions later.

Me? Scared? Fuck off! I ain't scared of nothin'! Bring it on, asshole… er, okay… maybe I'm afraid of losing Kagome. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me, but I have a talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time; the number of small duck-ponds dotting Mushashi's domain is proof of how often I've been 'sat' for picking stupid fights. That's why I figured I might have better luck showing her instead of trying to tell her.

Leaving the apple core in the sink, I headed towards the stairs. Pausing to listen, I could just make out Kagome singing; sounded like that tune she and her allies sang at her school festival. Bounding up the steps, I propped Tetsusaiga behind her door and went to work on her room, hoping that the sounds of moving furniture above would be covered by the running water below. A couple of trips to the storage closet later and I was extremely pleased with myself. Her bed was shoved up against one wall, with her desk upside down on top…

Yes, her schoolwork was neatly stacked on her bookshelf; I'm not suicidal.

Anyways, the guest futon now took up most of the cleared space on the floor and I quickly loaded it with the sheets and blankets from the closet as well as the pillows from her bed. Since the room was chilly, I turned the space heater on really low; it might not have the looks of a charcoal brazier, but it does the job.

Why the guest futon? Kagome's bed isn't very comfortable for two people to share. Keh. Wipe that damn smirk off your face, or I'll do it for you. We haven't been back to her time since we started fooling around, but awhile ago I fell asleep on her bed while she was studying, so she ended up squeezing under the covers beside me. She was really grumpy the next day; I'll never forget the looks on the monk's and the kit's faces when I asked her why she was so cranky and she groused that I'd hogged the bed all night.

Yeah, that just about made the houshi's over-active imagination fall right off a cliff.

Giving my preparations a last glance, I headed down the stairs to corner my girl. I really hoped that it would go well, but I'm not good with all that mushy shit, y'know? I'd give my life for her, literally, but I'm too damn chicken to say what she needs to hear. Eh? You know, thatfour-letter word… not pink, you idiot. Love.


Yeah, yeah. Practice makes perfect an' all that crap; pull that again and I'll practice my 'Wind Scar' in your direction.

Listen, every woman I've loved… keep laughing, smart-ass… has been taken away from me. My mother passed away and then Kikyo died because of Naraku's jealousy. I don't want to take that risk with Kagome, but I can't help myself. I tried keeping her at arm's length by being an asshole, figuring that if she hated me it'd be easier, but she refused to play by my rules. I claimed she was annoying me when I plugged the well that one time to protect her, but when Kagome fought her way back, I was stunned by how much she cared about me. Not for that fucking wolf or anyone else… but me, the worthless hanyou.

She was so pissed at me that day, too, her eyes snapping sparks and her cheeks flushed bright pink; once I got over being surprised that she was back, all I could think about was how much I wanted to kiss her even though my mouth was running off its usual insults. Then she threw her arms around me and held on tight, sobbing into my chest that she was afraid I'd died and how much she wanted to see me; I really wanted to… gods, how I wanted… to hold her just as close, but there were people watching and at the time I was sure I knew what they were thinking even if they didn't show it. Pure miko being sullied by a dirty hanyou. Since then, I've learned that I was wrong to judge Kaede-baba, the houshi and the kit so harshly, while Kagome's made it clear over and over again that I'm her choice. Yeah, I know… I really fucked up over Kikyo and all that crap, but the only thing that matters now is that I've loved Kagome ever since the beginning.


Quit smirking, or else. I've lusted after her too, so the mushy shit is balanced.

While rearranging her room was thoughtless, what I did next was really stupid. I still wasn't thinking things through, all right? At least not with the head that contains my brain. Despite my previous claims to care less, I have a healthy interest in Kagome and hot springs. Since she and the slayer usually talk over stuff while they soak, I figured that sharing a bath with Kagome might help with what could be a tricky conversation.

Outside the laundry room, I took a deep breath before sliding open the door as quietly as possible. Stealthily closing the panel, I turned and nearly tripped over her uniform skirt; it was crumpled up on the floor. Snooping in the one machine, I found the matching blouse and a bunch of her other light-coloured clothes… which included the panties that I hadn't managed to ruin… waiting to be washed. I quickly stripped and tossed my kosode into the machine, dropped my fire-rat into the pile with her skirt, and grabbed a towel and facecloth. Taking a deep breath, I slid open the inner door and stepped inside the bathroom.

Lucky I was holding the towels over my crotch or she definitely would have thought the worst of me. I've seen her naked, most recently at that inn, but mostly only from the front; can't complain about that view, not in the least… but holy gods, she has the most perfect ass! Slender legs a mile long and these firm, luscious… damn.

She was busy pinning up her hair before climbing into the bathtub, and her entire body was so wet and sleek that I had to forcibly stop myself from finding out exactly how her skin tasted. When she spun around, my budding hard-on wilted, because she looked downright appalled at my appearance just before she pasted on a fake smile.

"Um… hi?" she said in a distinctly nervous tone, and there was a frightened look in her eyes that I didn't like. "What are you doing here?"

"I needed to see you," I answered, backing up a step and raising one hand in a peaceful gesture at roughly the same moment I realized exactly how much of an idiot I'd been to invade her privacy like this. However, I'm also really stubborn, so I lifted my chin and plunged on. "Since you were having a bath, I figured I'd join you and we could, um, talk."

"Talk? About what?" she asked warily, crossing her arms over her breasts and shifting nervously from foot to foot.

I waved my hand, trying to sound and look non-threatening. "You know… stuff."

She tilted her head on the side, frowning. "Oh," she finally said in a really small voice, not sounding at all enthused, so I gave her a wide berth as I walked over to drop my towel on top of hers next to the tub. I saw her eyes dart towards the now-closed door and knew she was considering making a break for it, but I didn't react. Might as well let her run; there's no sense trying to talk to someone who feels trapped. However, my girl is no coward; she straightened her shoulders and headed for the tub. Gave me a chance to admire her pert rear end again, so I wasn't complaining. When she was settled in the steaming water, I couldn't help but grin. "What?" she asked, frowning again when she noticed my smirk.

"Your hair," I chuckled, gesturing. "It looks so damn cute." She reached up to touch the two fluffy twists clipped to her head while giving me a funny look. "You have puppy ears," I elaborated, and was rewarded with a small smile before she dropped her eyes. Dipping a bucket of water out of the tub, I cautiously tested it with my finger; I was relieved to find out that Kagome doesn't like to scald herself as much as Sota.

She noticed. "Too hot?"

"Nope. Just right." I flattened my ears and dumped the water over my head, then scooped another bucketful before squatting on one of the little stools and reaching for the soap.

"Aren't you going to wash your hair first?" Kagome asked curiously.

"I suppose… got any shampoo that doesn't smell too girly?"

She snorted and pointed. "That one's supposed to smell 'sporty'"

"Sporty? Like your brother's stinky kendo bag?" I snagged the bottle and popped the top to carefully sniff, then pulled a face. "Maybe he should wash his gear in this; it'd be an improvement." Pouring a generous handful, I went to work. If you had long hair like mine, you'd quickly figure out why I usually just do the dunk-swish-shake in the nearest stream; takes too much effort… unless you have help.

Kagome watched me for a few minutes before heaving herself out of the tub. I peeked at her long, glistening legs out of the corner of my eye while pretending not to notice, until a slender hand lightly touched my shoulder. "I'll take over from here," she offered. Her fingertips started massaging my scalp, being really careful around my ears, and then she worked her way down the length until she was kneeling behind me, which couldn't have been comfortable on the cold floor. I kept my hands to myself the entire time and made sure the washcloth was covering my eager crotch, but fuck it was hard not to grab this beautiful woman and kiss her senseless.

"Okay… you can rinse now," she announced and began to rise, but her foot skidded on the soapy flooring. I managed to catch her by the hips, my face only inches from some very delectable flesh, but I kept my eyes on hers and my impulses under control. She looked surprised when I simply steadied her until she straightened up, then released her without groping anything, and her expression became thoughtful.

I offered her my hand. "Here, don't want you to fall again." After a brief hesitation, Kagome laid her slim fingers across my palm and held on just enough for balance as she carefully stepped back into the tub and scooted to the far side.

"Thanks," she murmured as she wrapped her arms around her drawn-up legs, and I realized how badly I'd fucked myself by taking advantage of her generous heart. She coulda 'sat' me into the first hell every time, but she never did, not even complaining when I was in a little too much of a hurry to be inside her. I'm damnlucky that she didn't react even more negatively when I barged in on her bath; she was probably looking forward to a horny hanyou-free day.

I didn't bang my head against the side of the tub, but I sure felt like it. Yes, I'm an idiot; no need to rub it in.

Soaping myself up, I decided I'd give her some space. Hell, I didn't want to, but since I'd done such a lousy fucking job of considering what she wanted, it'd be good practice at being slightly less of an asshole. I noticed that she was watching me from under her bangs, but she looked away when she caught my glance. That sealed the deal; I stood up and ducked under the shower head.

As soon as I was rinsed off, I wrung the water out of my hair. "See you later, Kagome," I said as I stepped off the safety grating. "I'll come back for you tomorrow night, okay?"

Yeah, you can guess what happened next, what with all the soap on the tiles. A fucking classic wipe-out, flat on my back and balls to the breeze. Shit.

"Inuyasha! Are you all right?" Kagome yelped, rushing to hang over the side of the tub.

"Yeah," I grimaced, biting back a pained groan. Keh. Trust me, an injured ego hurts way more than poison claws driven through your guts.

"You didn't break anything?"

"Just my pride," I answered honestly, and she burst into giggles. "Oi, how about some sympathy here?" She laughed even harder at my fierce glare.

"I'm sorry, Inuyasha… but you… it was… oh, gods, the look on your face…!" she hiccupped weakly, her eyes sparkling merrily. Grumbling, I slowly pushed myself up to sitting, wincing as various muscles and ligaments complained. "Are you sure you're all right?" she asked, concern taking over.

"Mostly," I replied.

"Didn't you want… to talk?"

Caught by her solemn expression, I slid across the floor to the side of the tub; brushing her bangs out of the way, I pressed a light kiss to her forehead before withdrawing. "It can wait."

Her fingers tugged gently on my sidelock. "Can it?" she queried, biting her lip.

Sighing, I captured her hand and turned it over to kiss her palm. "I'm really sorry," I muttered, giving her fingers a squeeze before letting go and trying to stand up, but she quickly latched onto my arm.

"Please, Inuyasha," she said quietly. "Please, stay… I don't think this can wait, especially if you're apologizing already." I snorted and looked down at her pale hand gripping my forearm. While I tried to make all my thoughts line up for once, I rubbed my thumb across her knuckles.

Did I mention that I'm no good at this mushy shit? Keh.

Luckily for me Kagome is a wonderful, forgiving woman, because otherwise I'd be so far up shit creek without a paddle I'd never be seen again. "Don't sit out there and freeze, Inuyasha," she murmured, tugging. "Come on in…"

Instead, I shifted to face her, lightly stroking her cheek with my other hand. I'll admit to admiring her soft breasts, half-submerged in the bath water, but just for a moment. However, that was long enough to derail anything I planned to say, so I stuck with being blunt; I do that fairly well, I'm told. "I'm really sorry that I've been such an asshole the past couple of weeks."

"More than usual, you mean?" she asked, plainly puzzled.


"I mean… with how I've been… just kinda grabbing you and, uh… you know."

"Oh… that…" she mumbled, finding the tub grout highly interesting, but she didn't pull away from my touch.

I leaned over the rim and pressed my forehead against hers. "You know I love you, right?"

Well, shit.

A bathroom wasn't the place I'd planned on telling her how much she meant to me; it just kinda slipped out. Keh. Turned out to be the totally right thing to say, though. Kagome's gaze flew up to mine, and she just stared at me for a moment or two, her mouth hanging open in a perfect 'o'. Then she kissed me; holy gods, it was the best kiss ever.

Her arms slipped up around my neck, mine wrapped around her waist, and we both sorta climbed up onto our knees, but the cold tiles of the tub chilled my crotch something awful… and I started to slip again because my toes couldn't find any grip on the soapy floor, not to mention my bruised ass muscles refused to work properly.

We were both breathing hard when we finally came up for air; unfortunately, we loosened our grips on each other at exactly the same time and it was too much for my balance, dammit. My knees went out from under me and I cracked my chin on the tub's rim; I didn't even have time to swear. Fortunately I only gave her three long scratches over each hip when I didn't let go fast enough; it could've been much worse. She squeaked sharply, but then she saw the mess my fangs made of my lip and, true to her nature, was more worried about my injuries.

"Just a minute, Inuyasha… let me rinse away this soap before you really get hurt!" Reaching for a bucket, she began dumping water onto the floor until she'd cleared a patch while I rolled up onto my aching ass and cursed my luck. Gingerly climbing out of the tub, she continued to slosh water across the tiles until we could probably reach the door without killing ourselves. I dabbed at the blood running down my chin and watched the play of muscles under her silky skin as she bent and stretched; at least with my injured mouth, I had an excuse for drooling. Once she was satisfied, she knelt at my side and carefully took my face in her hands.

Frowning as she ran her fingertips along my lip, she snagged a washcloth to clean the bite marks. I closed my eyes, enjoying the attention… until I remembered what my claws had done to her. My eyes had already snapped back open when Kagome pressed three delicate kisses, one over each rapidly healing fang-hole in my upper lip and one to my bruised chin, before sitting back on her heels and smiling.

I managed to croak, "Let me see those scratches." She held perfectly still as I stroked my thumbs over the reddened skin; I was really glad that I didn't draw blood.

She ducked her head for a moment, then peered up through her damp bangs. "Inuyasha…?" Her voice sounded uncertain again, but hopeful at the same time. "Did you mean what you said?"

"About being an asshole? Yeah." Her face fell a little, and I clued in fast. Nuzzling her cheek, I whispered around the sudden lump in my throat, "I meant it when I said 'I love you', too."

Keh. It does get easier to say with practice, and it makes her so happy to hear it that I'll let you off without a thrashing, smart-ass.

Kagome held onto my shoulders and kissed me; funny, but it was kinda sorta like we'd never kissed before. It was tender and sweet… what our first kiss shoulda been, I guess, if I hadn't been so fucking anxious to dodge the 'sit' instead. I was working really hard to go slow and just savour the moment, when my stomach growled. Loudly. After a startled pause, Kagome giggled against my lips and pulled back.

"Oi… you laughing at me again?" I grumbled, already missing the contact, but another, even louder, rumble interrupted.

Her eyes very bright, she playfully tapped my nose. "We can do something about that because I found the ingredients for chicken yakisoba in the refrigerator."

I'd rather eat her, but since her wary look was gone, I really didn't want to bring it back with a stupid comment. Keh. Guess I'm learning when to keep my mouth shut, huh? "Sure," I replied, and couldn't figure out why she chuckled again as she stood up and offered her hand.

"You poor thing; you look like you went a few extra rounds with Bankotsu," she commented, lightly touching my chin as I heaved myself upright.

I muttered, "Who knew hair-washing could be dangerous?" That made her giggle again as she handed me a towel before wrapping herself in one. After she pulled the plug in the tub, we tiptoed towards the door separating the bathroom from the laundry room like a couple of kids wading barefoot through a flooded rice paddy.

Damn! It was fucking freezing in the laundry room after the warm bathroom and I didn't argue when she tossed me a dark blue yukata. It barely covered my knees when I shrugged into it, so I guessed it belonged to her grandfather. Meanwhile, Kagome wrapped herself in a green yukata printed with pink flowers around the hem. "Do you want a pair of hakama?" she asked when she caught me gazing longingly at my fire-rat.

"No. Wearing your gramp's yukata is as close as I ever want to get to him," I retorted. She just grinned cheekily and loaded the towels into the washing machine with the rest of our clothing and set it to do its thing. I jabbed my thumb over my shoulder into the bathroom. "Shouldn't we clean up in there?"

"Tomorrow's good enough," she shrugged, pushing her dainty feet into a pair of house slippers. "I'll probably want a shower in the morning anyways." Rather than think about a warm, wet, dripping, naked Kagome, I looked down at my bare feet and curled my toes. She noted the motion and suggested, "Grab another pair out of the rack in the foyer; it'll be a lot warmer while we make dinner." When she slid open the door into the kitchen, even colder air from the rest of the house rushed in.

Shivering, I shot through the kitchen and into the foyer. Yeah, I can handle snow in bare feet… so long as the rest of me is covered in fire-rat. When I arrived back in the kitchen a few minutes later, Kagome had already tied back her sleeves, donned an apron and was busying herself with pots and pans. "What's yakisoba?" I asked, my attention locked on the nape of her slender neck; her hair was still clipped up, and for some reason I found the exposed skin incredibly alluring.

"Noodles," she cheerfully supplied. "Not ramen, of course, but it's really good and so easy, even I can make it!" Her eyes twinkled mischievously, as if daring me to insult her cooking, but I didn't rise to the bait. Instead, I offered to help. She blinked. "Really?"

"Keh. If it really is easy enough that even you can do it…" Chuckling, I dodged the swat, then allowed her to tie back my sleeves before we set to work chopping and slicing. Our hands occasionally brushed when we reached for things at the same time; the first couple of times, she tensed up and quickly moved away, but after a while, she relaxed and the accidental contact didn't seem to bother her as much. While pushing carrots through a contraption that reduced them to long orange shreds, I wondered why the change in her behaviour was so noticeable.

I just managed to not cut myself on the sharp blades of the thing when the fucking magnitude of my stupidity struck like a dose of Sesshomaru's poison. Before I started pouncing on her, Kagome would always make a point of sitting beside me, leaning into me a little, touching my hand or arm to catch my attention… just little things, y'know? It was like she needed that contact for comfort and I accepted it without a thought.

For the second time in less than an hour, I felt like banging my thick skull against the nearest hard surface.

Now, if she even looked at me, I was all over her like some kind of animal; no wonder she'd stopped coming anywhere near me unless it was absolutely necessary. I wasn't her source of comfort anymore because instead of protecting her, I was practically attacking her.

Fuck me anyways for being a royally fucking idiot.

"Inuyasha? You look really pale… what's wrong?" she softly asked as her slim hand rested on mine.

I slid one arm around her shoulders, cupping her head with those adorable perky twists of dark hair and tugged her to me. She stiffened, but didn't resist. "Why did you let me?" I whispered, my lips catching on the little damp curls at her temple.

Kagome made a small, sharp noise of surprise. "Because I love you," she immediately answered.

I shook my head miserably. "You shoulda 'sat' me into the fifth hell, Kagome! I'm so sorry!"

Her fingertips stroked along my jaw; her other hand came up to rest on my chest. "Stop apologizing, okay? What we're doing is my choice, too… even if, um, sometimes I wish you weren't in so much of a hurry," she whispered, her breath warm on my throat. "I know that you would stop if I asked you to."

Gently taking hold of her arms, I pulled back to look at her; she smiled shyly, her cheeks tinted pink. Slowly wrapping my arms around her, I held her to my heart. "I'll make it up to you, I swear," I mumbled into her hair.

If it isn't a runt interrupting, it's something else. This time, it was one of the fucking pots boiling over.

Kagome grinned, stretching up to kiss my cheek. "You can start by putting on the kettle," she suggested. I kissed her back before letting her go, then looked through the cupboards while she dropped handfuls of skinny noodles into the pot and began sizzling the chopped chicken. In a few minutes, the kitchen was full of great smells even if the onions continued to make my eyes water until they were cooked into submission.

I found the teapot and the tea; those baggie-things make it easy. Kagome put the finishing touches on the food and filled two bowls, one much larger than the other. My stomach growled appreciatively as she led the way into the main room; I followed on her heels with the teapot, cups and chopsticks. We tucked ourselves underneath the low table with its winter skirt; I blessed the heater hidden beneath because sitting cross-legged in a yukata in the winter, without hakama to provide modesty or insulation, is practically inviting a case of blue balls… and not the arousing kind.

It felt sorta weird to be alone with each other, without the runt nattering around or the monk teasing the slayer… just us. Kagome knows I'm not much of a talker, so she led the conversation. I did my best to not inhale the food like it was my last meal and surprised myself by how much I had to say when she brought up Magatsuhi, the fucking freak.

That led to her wondering exactly where Bakusaiga had been stored inside Sesshomaru, like the portal to Tetsusaiga was in my eye, and we both got kinda silly coming up with likely places, but it felt really good to laugh. When we were finished eating, Kagome said, "I have to study for a little while; do you want to watch television down here?"

She waved at the moving-picture box in its cabinet, and I was briefly tempted, but remembered that she hadn't seen her room yet. "If you're gonna study down here, sure," I said quickly as I started to quietly sweat.

"No, I can concentrate better at my desk."

Shit. While I tried to look nonchalant, my drooping ears were a dead giveaway. I figured I should take my expected punishment like a man once she saw what I'd done; maybe she'd give me a chance to explain before breaking my back? "Keh. I'll hang out with you; I promise I won't bug you this time."

That made her giggle and we tidied up the kitchen. Once the dishes were washed, Kagome set up the rice cooker for our breakfast before leading the way towards the stairs. My heart sank with every step until I was braced for the worst when she opened her bedroom door. "Er, Inuyasha…?" she asked, after a moment of dumbfounded silence.

At least she didn't start with a 'sit'. "I, uh, set this up before we, er, talked… um, I'll fix things if you just wait a minute…" I stammered, nervously backing up.

Kagome made me instantly feel like less of an idiot when she commented, "This makes a lot more sense, actually; will you grab a couple of the floor cushions from downstairs for me? Um… where are my books…?"

"On the shelf," I replied, pointing, and went in search of the cushions, feeling almost giddy with relief. When I returned, she had set herself up under the window with her desk lamp balanced on the sill above, a blanket and her books. I tossed her the cushions but didn't join her right away. "I'm gonna check out the grounds," I said, snagging Tetsusaiga from behind the door.

"All right," she replied, smiling brightly. "Could you turn off the heater, please? I'll fall asleep instead of studying because it's so nice and warm in here." I poked the 'off' button with my claw and grinned at her before thumping down the stairs to the foyer. Kicking off the slippers, I unlocked the entry door and stepped outside. The night breeze was already swirling, bringing the distinctive scents of her mechanical city and reminding me that I wasn't wearing enough clothes when it blew up my yukata. Clamping my teeth closed to stop them from chattering, I headed towards the top of the long staircase that leads down to the street. Standing under the red torii gate, I contemplated the bright streetlights stretching away like a twinkling sea. Kagome's time is so different from mine that sometimes I wonder if I can exist here, but then I also suspect that it's those differences which allowed a very unorthodox shrine maiden to love a hanyou.

Keh. You still here? 'Course I think about stuff like this once in a while; I just try to not make it a habit. Usually gives me a headache.

I checked the shrine, the well house and her gramp's little shop, then hung out under the Goshinboku for a few minutes, looking up at the old scar on the bark. Y'know, I really could have killed her that first night, before the old hag managed to collar me, but truthfully, I wasn't trying very hard. It wasn't completely because I owed her a debt of freedom, but mainly because she was bright-eyed, fearless and beautiful… and I totally wanted to jump her.

C'mon… you've seen her legs, right? Keh.

Envisioning her gorgeous body wasn't doing anything for my state of mind despite the fact I was freezing, so I took myself back into the house. After re-locking the door, I did a quick tour of the downstairs before turning off the lights. It felt kinda odd to be doing this, but I guess it's no different from when I do a round of the village each night or make sure the old hag's fire is banked properly when everyone's asleep. It's just looking after what's mine, okay?

Yeah, Kagome is mine, and I'm hers. I assume you're smarter than that stupid wolf… right?

I barrelled through her bedroom door; she startled when I tossed the Tetsusaiga into the corner. "What's up?" she asked curiously, looking very cozy swathed in the blanket.

"It's fucking freezing out there," I declared, reaching for the space heater.

"Oh, forget that… come here," she offered, holding open one flap while sacrificing the cushion she'd been using as a backrest. I burrowed under the thick material in a flash and Kagome good-naturedly put up with her notes being rumpled while I settled myself.

"I dunno how you survive, wearing these skimpy clothes," I complained, tugging on the blanket.

"Fire-rats aren't easy to come by," she retorted, "but cotton plants are." She returned to her book and I amused myself by looking over her shoulder. There was a 'world map' covering both pages, and she was taking notes.

After a little while, Kagome was leaning heavily against my shoulder, so I decided to make it more comfortable for both of us. I scooped her and her work into my lap, raising my knee as a backrest. "Keh. Now your elbow isn't digging into me," I said gruffly, draping the blanket and my arm around her shoulders. "That map has to be wrong; Japan can't be that tiny little island!"

While my girl snorted, whether from my transparent desire to hold her close or the equally lame attempt to cover up that desire, she took advantage of the situation and made me hold the textbook. She pointed out quite a few things that I didn't know; I was damn pleased to find out that those smug bastards on the mainland really weren't the centre of the fucking universe.

Kagome explained about the other 'continents' and showed me pictures of the types of humans who lived on them, which led to a discussion about the possibility of other types of youkai. After that, she was halfway through an explanation about imaginary lines… or youkai, I'm not exactly sure… called 'Cancer' and 'Capricorn' when I glazed over. The blanket not only trapped our body heat, but also concentrated her wonderful scent that I absolutely adore.

With a yawn and a heavy sigh, Kagome took the textbook out of my claws and tucked her notes into it. Rubbing her eyes, she smiled sleepily and muttered, "Time for bed, I think, or I'll be drooling quietly on your clothing…"

"It's your gramp's yukata, not mine, so drool away."

She chuckled as she straightened and stretched; I rubbed my hand up and down her back until she arched like a contented cat. "That feels really good," she sighed appreciatively before gathering her school work and squirming out of my lap. "Do you want to go first?"

"Naw… go ahead," I said, handing her to standing. Kagome put her books away and left the room, her hips swinging provocatively.

Hell, she winds me up so tight, she even breathes provocatively.

I folded the blanket and stacked it with the cushions under the window, but left the lamp in place. I don't need much light to see by, but my girl does, and I really didn't want her tripping in the dark. She was back after a few minutes and off I went, making sure to brush against her as I passed just to gauge her reaction. She didn't flinch away, so things were looking up.

When I returned, Kagome had moved the lamp to the head of the bed and angled the shade; as she knelt on the futon, her dark hair ribboned over one shoulder. I was beside her in a heartbeat, reaching for the other clip, but not until I'd kissed the nape of her neck and breathed in a mouthful of her warm skin-scent. Once all her hair was free, I combed through the gleaming length; she leaned into my touch. The boner I'd managed to control for most of the night came roaring to full size so fast it was as if all the blood had been sucked out of my brain, to the point that I felt light-headed.

Kagome turned slightly towards me, the loosened neckline of her yukata revealing as much as it concealed in deep velvety shadows. Her hands pressed flat against my chest as she tilted her face up to search mine, as if looking for something. I usually would've had her flat on her back with her legs in the air by now, but I remembered that I first had to accomplish some repairs to our relationship.

Instead of pouncing, I lightly stroked her cheek while I attempted to parse her scent for clues. Catching hold of my hand, she gave it a squeeze before turning away to reach for the pillows. Arranging them at the head of the futon, she slid under the blankets, still wearing the green yukata. I sat back and contemplated this development for a moment, then decided to stay as neutral as possible… well, as much as a rock-hard erection poking out of my clothing can be considered 'neutral'. Untying the sash, I muttered, "I ain't sleeping with your gramps," before stripping out of the garment and tossing it aside.

Kagome wasn't exactly throwing herself at my rampant manliness, so I reeled in my protesting libido and tucked myself next to her, but left a little distance. We regarded each other solemnly, before Kagome smiled hesitantly. "We've never really… slept together." She was right; we'd never shared a bed and woken up in each other's arms. I couldn't wait to try it.

"I wanna hold you… please? I promise that I won't grab you or anything." I was proud of how sincere I sounded and it paid off. Like a skittish fawn, Kagome slowly inched towards me until she was resting against my side… sort of. D'you know how awkward it is with all those elbows and shoulders and knees to find a comfortable sleeping position?

Of course you do. I forgot that you're the fucking expert.

We figured it out after only a couple of accidental jabs; Kagome ended up with her head pillowed on my shoulder and both arms crossed in a defensive manner over her chest. After I'd behaved myself for a while, she cautiously draped one arm across my ribs. In return, I nuzzled her bangs, rather happy to be relaxing in bed with my favourite girl; she made a contented little noise and nestled closer. We laid quietly together, our bodies accustoming themselves to a gentle intimacy that I'd thoughtlessly skipped every time previous to this one.

I might be an idiot, but I'm her idiot. Reaching up, I turned off the light; Kagome pressed a soft kiss to my chest and murmured, "Sleep well, Inuyasha."

Kissing her forehead, I whispered, "See you in the morning, koishii," but she was already asleep. I stayed awake a little longer, stroking her hair and staring up at the ceiling. Until Naraku's dead and I know Kagome's mine to keep, I really have to savour these moments just in case something goes horribly wrong. Sleeping beside her like this every night, waking up with her every morning, hearing her call me 'husband'… if the gods will grant this wish, then Naraku can have the fucking Jewel and be welcome to it.

I sound like a total fucking wuss. Tell anyone and you're dead.

Carefully turning onto my side so as to not dislodge her, I decided that this was my new favourite position for both sleeping and thinking; Kagome in my arms, my cheek resting against her forehead, her sweet body pliant against mine.


I woke up sometime in the darkest hours, my entire body tensed. As soon as I remembered where I was, I exhaled. Kagome had rolled away from me in her sleep; in the pale moonlight filtering through the bedroom window, her hair gleamed like fine black silk. The neckline of her yukata had loosened even more, enough to bare her shoulder and I noticed that she was shivering. Pulling up the blankets, I tucked my knees in behind hers as I spooned against her back. Brushing her hair out of the way, I kissed her shoulder; although it was awfully tempting to cup a soft breast, I kept my hands out of trouble and went back to sleep… only to be awakened by Kagome's frantic efforts to wriggle out of my grasp.

"Where ya goin'?" I queried muzzily.

"Sorry," she whispered, "but my back teeth are floating!"


"Toilet!" she hissed, so I let go. Struggling out of the warm bedding, she hastily shoved her feet into a pair of house slippers and fled the room, her teeth loudly chattering. As I stole her warm spot, I considered turning on the space heater for her return. I tracked her progress down the stairs and into the toilet, but then I must have dozed off because when a human icicle dove under the covers I nearly hit the ceiling.

"What the hell were you doing down there?" I demanded sharply, more to cover my shock at the rude awakening than anything else. She was shivering so badly that she was incoherent; I sat up and poked the button on the space heater, then lay back down and wrapped my arms around her after snugly tucking in the blankets, hoping that she'd warm up before my balls froze off. "What took so long?" I asked, more than a little concerned because she was trembling so violently.

"L-l-laundry," she stuttered, burrowing into my chest, her icy hands and feet raising goose-bumps all over my skin.

"Silly girl," I muttered fondly, rubbing my cheek against her temple. Between my body heat and the space heater, Kagome finally stopped shaking and I think we both became aware at the same moment of how intimately our bodies were entwined. Her bare legs were curled around and between mine, the soft hair of her sex pressed against my thigh. Parts of my body began reacting, but I kept the rest of me under control… and Kagome didn't pull away.

Instead, she squirmed upwards until she reached the switch on the lamp and tilted the shade away to protect my vision. For a long moment, she simply examined my face while I kept my mouth shut and just admired her. Slender fingers stroked my hair away, then tenderly traced my features. I closed my eyes and floated on her touch; when her mouth lightly pressed against mine, for once I didn't try to shove my tongue down her throat and let her take the lead.

Keh. If you give Kagome half a chance to demonstrate, she's an awesome kisser. Her lips are so soft and then she did this thing where she kinda sucked on my lower lip and the sensation went straight to my crotch. As we kissed, getting deeper and more into it all the time, her warm hands began moving all over my chest, my shoulders, my arms and it felt so good to be touched.

Her yukata was still knotted at her waist, but I figured that she'd take it off when she was comfortable; besides, I kinda liked the contrast between the fabric and her skin as her body moved against mine. I nearly blew it, though, when she began kissing my throat and I hastily swallowed an instinctive growl. Letting your partner take control is a huge deal for youkai in general; for a hanyou like me, always at the bottom, it's an even bigger issue.

Never mind the fact that the last time I'd allowed someone inside my defences, I'd ended up pinned to a fucking tree for fifty fucking years… but that was then and Kagome is now, and I had no intention of dwelling on the past.

When her hands ventured lower, stroking tentatively over my abdomen, it occurred to me that I'd never given her a decent look at my body. The only time we'd been completely naked together, at that inn, I was all over her right from the minute that I locked the runt out of the room. Every time after that, we were fully clothed since speed was of the essence; her short skirt was handy for quickies even though her panties usually didn't survive my eagerness. In the bathroom earlier, she definitely wasn't interested in ogling.

I pulled away from her warm hands and her warmer lips as I pushed the blanket past my hips, then lay back and just let her look… feeling oddly vulnerable… but she certainly seemed to like what she saw, if the charged scent emanating from her meant anything. Swallowing audibly, she pushed herself up to kneeling, the green yukata parting over her thighs. The neckline was now loose enough to slip off her shoulders, almost completely exposing her breasts.

"You're so beautiful," she breathed, her hands resting lightly on my chest and belly; all the hair on my body stood up as she began caressing my skin. When she rubbed her thumbs over my instantly-beaded nipples, I let out a ragged moan followed by a needy whine when one of her hands slipped lower and brushed against my erection. My hips jerked and she did it again; I buried one hand in the pillow under my head and fisted a handful of bedding with the other to stop myself from grabbing her, but let my body react however the hell it wanted.

Like groaning out loud and bucking hard when she cupped my hard-on.

I forced my eyes open to watch Kagome's intent expression as she examined my shaft; she really hadn't seen what was inside her on a more or less daily basis for the past couple of weeks and she seemed fascinated by my foreskin. Slowly pumping the supple skin up and down my length, she tried a couple of different holds until a drop of moisture hit my belly. Tilting her head on the side, she examined this new development while her hand remained busy; finally she ran her thumb over the tip. I could barely breathe when she completely blew me away by licking her finger clean.

The sight of her slick pink tongue sweeping over her thumb was almost too much, and when she then rubbed that wet digit down my length, my hips came right off the futon. That was nothing next to my reaction when she quickly bent over and took my tip into her mouth.

I shot upright to sitting, and she did, too… so fast that I clunked my cracked-once-already chin on her head. Kagome immediately blushed furiously, averting her eyes and twisting her fingers into her yukata while stammering, "I-I'm s-sorry! I-I j-just wanted… you m-made me f-feel so good when you t-touched me… s-sorry!"

Catching her face between my palms, I silenced her with a long, deep kiss. "It's fine," I said softly, "just kinda caught me off guard… it's fine." I slowly lay back down while holding her nervous gaze, pressing her hand against my erection. She seemed undecided for a moment, biting her lip in that distracting way that makes me want to nip the moist flesh myself, until she reached a decision. Curling her fingers around my shaft, she continued gently pumping while her other hand stroked my chest.

I wrapped my hand around hers and showed her how to squeeze, rocking my hips in time with our strokes. Her soft hair fell across my thighs again and this time I was ready when she swirled her tongue over the sensitive head. My hips slammed upwards, but this time she kept sucking and licking until I was growling, moaning and thrashing helplessly. I held on to the base of my shaft so that I wouldn't choke her, because I sure as hell didn't want to discourage her from ever trying this again! The sensations of her hot little mouth surrounding my erection were too fucking intense; Kagome gamely held on as I rode out one incredible orgasm.

Hell, yeah, I screamed when I came, but it wasn't her name. I barely remembered mine, never mind hers.

My brain had barely started functioning again when Kagome swallowed and that movement of her mouth and tongue on my flesh made my hips jerk violently again until I was trembling all over. She finally let go with a soft kiss on my over-sensitive head and sat up, pinching her nostrils shut. I managed to make my mouth work enough to wheeze out, "S-something wrong?"

"Went up my nose," she winced, and I weakly chuckled.

"Uh… sorry? Come 'ere and I'll kiss it better…" I tugged at the fabric covering her, wanting to feel her warm skin against mine, but she lay down next to me still wearing the disarrayed yukata. I felt a little cold, too, so fumbled clumsily for the blankets and drew them up over us. I gave her nose a little nip before tucking her under my chin while I tried to catch my breath. "Thanks," I whispered into her hair, and her hand came to rest over my heart, under the rosary, as her lips brushed my chest.

"You're welcome," she murmured with a pleased lilt in her voice.

While I waited for my blood flow to return from its southern visit and I could speak coherently, I ran my hands over her curves even though the yukata was kinda frustrating. Tilting up her chin, I kissed her lightly several times, flicking my tongue against her lips until she opened up. It was a total thrill to taste myself in her mouth and I hardened again at the memory of her moving over me. From the arousing scent trapped between us, it seemed like she was turned on by what she'd done, too. We kept kissing until Kagome was making these sexy little noises that drove me wild with a desire to hear more… and louder, hopefully.

Leaving that tantalizing mouth, I moved lower, kissing and licking down her throat to her collarbone; Kagome sighed and curved her neck while I marvelled at how trustingly she gave herself to me. Rumbling in approval, I began nudging aside the neckline of the yukata, pressing lingering, open-mouthed kisses to her warm flesh. Her hands left off caressing my back and shoulders to fumble at her waist; I lifted slightly to let her untie the sash. When the thin piece of green fabric came loose, I reverently parted the yukata to reveal her beautiful form.

Yeah, I went down on her at the inn, but this time I was determined to take my time, to make her come apart at the seams as thoroughly as she'd done to me. Kissing her slowly and deeply, I gently palmed her breasts until she moaned into my mouth. Sliding back down her body, I kissed my way towards one of her taut peaks, rubbing my thumb over the other one; when I flicked her nipple with my tongue, Kagome gasped and arched her back. I teased her with teeth and tongue, switching back and forth between her breasts until she was writhing beneath me; when her legs parted, I had to pause because her aroused scent was so heady. My senses are more acute than an average human's; let me assure you that Kagome tastes as delicious as she smells.

No smart-ass requests out of you, asshole. Keep your damn mouth shut.

She tensed a little when my mouth began tracking lower, towards her softest flesh, but it was clearly from anticipation because she was incredibly wet when my tongue delved between her thighs. I tried to go slow, but it was a lost cause when she cried out and spread herself wider to give me better access. While she bucked and whimpered and breathily urged me on, I licked and nibbled, paying attention to the spots she seemed to like best. Letting go of her hips, I slid my hands up her trembling body until I cupped her breasts; as soon as I began flicking her hardened nipples with my thumbs in time with my tongue on her bundle of nerves, Kagome screamed. The rush of heat against my mouth as she came was an incredible turn-on and I closed my ears to her half-hearted pleas for mercy as I thoroughly licked her slick folds. I'd been in too much of a damn hurry the last time at the inn; this time I wanted to prolong her enjoyment.

Dipping my tongue-tip into her navel on the way up to the warm valley between her breasts, I resisted the nearly overwhelming urge to wrap her legs around my waist and plunge repeatedly into her velvet heat when I saw how incredibly relaxed she was. When Kagome opened her heavy-lidded eyes, I was captured by her lazy smile. "Thanks," she murmured, stretching like a satisfied cat before rolling onto her side and snuggling into my arms.

When she tasted herself in my mouth, she made a humming sound that expressed pure contentment as she settled into my embrace. Breaking apart only long enough to turn off the space heater as well as the light, we curled our bodies closely together and fell sound asleep between one heartbeat and the next.


When I woke up in the pearl-grey light of early dawn, it was my turn to leave our cozy nest and make the trip downstairs in the freezing cold. Took me a while to work up enough courage; Kagome was so warm and soft and sweetly affectionate even in slumber that I ignored the call of nature until I absolutely had to listen… or else. I managed not to wake her, not even when I cussed creatively after stubbing my toe on my way out because her gramp's yukata caught on the doorframe.

Grumbling ferociously at the discomfort as well as the fact that I could see my breath in the chilly air inside the house, I made my way to the toilet. Once that was accomplished, I decided to see if my fire-rat was dry because this cotton shit is for the fucking birds. Checking in the laundry room, I discovered that while my kosode was dry, my wet suikan and hakama were still in the other machine. Studying the characters next to the dials while wondering what the hell a 'perma-press' looked like, I pulled all the dry clothing out and dumped it into a large basket, then loaded the wet stuff. Turning the 'timer' and then cautiously poking the 'on' button, I jumped a little when the machine started up. Since it seemed to be working, I pulled the blue yukata tightly around me and headed back upstairs.

My koishii was still asleep, her dark hair tumbling over the pillow in a messy halo; I noticed that she was smiling. Shucking the yukata, I scrambled back under the blankets and debated whether I dared pay Kagome back in kind for using me as her personal space heater in the middle of the night. The results of that had been rather enjoyable, so I was mildly encouraged to take the chance.

As I slid my arms around her, Kagome woke up enough to sleepily protest, but then obligingly wound her warm body around mine, her curves pressing against me in all the right places. I admired her thick black lashes as they fanned across her cheeks, her lips pouting slightly, but when she slowly opened her eyes, I caught my breath. Normally a clear grey, they were now a smoky shade of mist, her glance so soft and melting that it made my knees weak and I absolutely had to kiss her.

Those kisses became more intense as arousal began to stir; Kagome sighed deeply against my lips as she caressed my chest and hooked one slim leg over my hip. When I returned the favour by teasing her nipples into hard buds, she began rhythmically pressing her sex against my shaft in time with my motions until her breathing was ragged. Her reaction to my touch was so eager that I had a sobering revelation.

Out of the more than a dozen encounters, this was the first time that she wanted me as badly as I wanted her.

I felt like slapping myself as I compared her body language from then to now, because there was absolutely no comparison. Kagome lay open, flushed and welcoming beneath me; there was no tension, no gritted teeth, no tightly-closed eyes as if preparing herself to withstand my too-hasty entries. This time, her beautiful eyes were open and avid with need as she continued to rub herself against my erection with increasingly jerky movements. When she shifted her hips to align our bodies and then thrust upward, I held back out of guilt… until she pulled at me with urgent hands, whispering, "Please…"

As I sank into her incredibly hot body, Kagome wrapped her legs up around my waist and her arms around my shoulders, hugging me tightly. I gathered her close, so nearly overwhelmed by the intense sensations of being so deeply joined with and deeply loved by another person that I had to hide my prickling eyes in her hair until I knew the tears wouldn't leak out.

I might be a total wuss where she's concerned, but I'm not gonna admit to it.

Kagome undulated her hips in a sensuous demand, and I let her set the pace, settling into a short, hard rhythm; she quickly worked herself right up to the verge, her heartbeat thundering in my ears while I barely held onto my sanity by my claw-tips. She frantically rocked against me until her movements briefly stalled, just before her blunt nails dug into my shoulders as she let out a long, keening cry that I swear rattled the window in its frame. I held on as her body clenched hard and then rippled powerfully around mine, shattering my control until I was pounding wildly into her. While white-hot light exploded behind my eyelids, I yanked her hips hard against mine as I howled my climax and probably scared the neighbours a couple of blocks away.

I collapsed on top of her while panting roughly into her hair; Kagome was completely relaxed, her legs sliding over my ass to land on the futon on either side of my thighs while her hands rubbed slow circles on my back. Nuzzling her ear, I managed to gasp, "You… all right?"

"Mmmhmm," she replied, kissing my shoulder, her eyes still closed.

Carefully and reluctantly withdrawing from her liquid heat, I cradled her in my arms as I tried to calm my racing heart. She snuggled close, sighing contentedly, and promptly fell asleep again. Kissing her forehead, I swore a silent vow to always remember that making love to Kagome was far more enjoyable if she was a full participant. I also decided to stop squandering our intimacy on quickies… unless, of course, she pounced on me. The idea of my shy little koishii dragging me off into the bushes was extremely arousing, but I was too exhausted to do much more than smile at that thought before I passed out.


We both woke up to bright sunshine streaming in the window; it was mid-morning and we had to get ourselves organized before her family returned. It'd be just my luck that Sota would arrive home and catch us in bed. Before we started, though, we spent quite a while kissing and quietly talking about little things of concern to us and no one else; that was very nice, and then we shared a shower. Kagome really enjoyed rubbing soap all over me, but lathering her up was way more fun from my perspective. We cleaned up the bathroom, then I retrieved my fire-rat and kosode. After we dressed between more caresses, we put her room back to rights; while she put the linens in the wash, I replaced the furniture and hauled the futon outside for an airing.

Kagome made breakfast, and it felt great… again… to be in her company without all the noise and distraction; a crooked grin tugged at my lips when she passed me a bowl of steamed rice with one hand and stole one of my pickles with the other… just as if we were husband and wife, and this was the start to an ordinary day.

Naraku can't die fast enough, the fucking bastard.

By the time her family showed up, they walked in on a perfectly normal scene; Kagome sitting at her desk doing homework and me propping up the wall on the other side of the room with Tetsusaiga against my shoulder. Her mother cheerfully fluttered and her gramps asked me to help move some crates in the storage shed while Sota wanted me to come try out his new video game… it was all so normal that I really, really hated to have our time together end.

Not exactly 'end', since we managed to find a position where we could actually sleep together in her bed, so I was able to enjoy another night with her cradled in my arms. Eh? Did I keep my promise once we returned to the other side? Are you calling my honour into question, asshole?

Keh. All I'll say is that my new-found restraint allowed Kagome to develop an aggressive streak, and leave it at that. Wipe that look off your face, idiot, or I'll show you how my 'Black Tetsusaiga' works… just once.