The first thing she noticed when she had first laid eyes on him had been his head. Or, rather, the appendages on top of his head. She must've stared at his dog ears throughout his introduction—amidst her classmates' excited whispers of his golden eyes, his visibly muscular arms (he'd been wearing tank tops at the time), and his immensely wealthy family—because after he sat down in the empty seat in front of her the first thing he did was turn around, prop his elbow on the back of his chair, and say;

"What the hell are you staring at, bitch."

She hadn't been the only one staring. In fact, she was the only girl in the class who hadn't been blushing or giggling. Yet of all the people he had to single out, it had been her. A bitch, of all things. And as instantly as the image of her knight-in-shining-armor with glittering silver mane appeared, the fantasy shattered.

"Jackass."

He had simply sneered and, looking at her name-tag, said, "What was your name again? Kagome Whore?"

"Go suck a squirrel, loser."

Their introduction was brief as it was…interesting. They didn't speak to one another until next semester, easily accomplished thanks in part to the fact that they only had one class together: Art History.

Just Watching

One Shot

When you watch and wait, you tend to lose at the game of love…

During the second semester of Sophomore Year she had morning PE for her first period class. Kagome had understandably not been pleased. That had also been around the time the transfer student began his first long-term relationship.

Sango Taijiya.

Although this had been terrible news to the female population of the school, it had made perfect sense to Kagome. Sango was an athletic girl, a leader amongst other things, rumored to be descended from a legendary clan of demon exterminators (that seemed ironic, in retrospect), and she was an all-around strong, emotionally adjusted girl.

When Kagome had walked in the gym and saw Sango and Inuyasha by the corner, obviously sharing an intimate moment, she didn't blink. Good riddance, she had thought. Maybe Sango would finally put a leash on Inuyasha's wild temper.

The romance, however, ended by the end of the school year. Apparently they saw each other more as friends, or gym partners, than a real couple.

Kagome had been drinking chocolate milk when she heard this in the cafeteria.

During the first day of Junior Year the school was rampant with summer escapades. Pranks, parties, proposals, and quick flings. Kagome eavesdropped—she did that a lot—and learned Inuyasha had hooked up with "plenty of bitches."

It seemed he had finally adjusted to his new school.

His second long-term relationship also began that school year; Yura Kamizuka.

She was nothing like Sango. Yura was dark, sadistic, loved wearing short skirts and bearing as much skin as possible. It was rumored she had a shrine for the occult and a collection of gory, adult-rated movies that often involved necrophilia.

Kagome could only wonder if Inuyasha had gone insane. She had plenty of time to do so as that year she shared a total of twelve classes with Inuyasha. Twelve classes. Twelve.

And every time Inuyasha saw her in class he had just rolled his eyes, sighed, and muttered, "Bitch."

"Jackass."

"Well that's original."

"I'm talking to a dog-man. Originality committed suicide a long time ago."

That had also been the year Kouga, the boy she'd gone to middle school with, began noticing her. In a creepy way. So much so she had to specifically tell a suspicious Ayame, the girl Kouga's parents betrothed him to, that no, she was not dating him, and no, she was not returning any of his phone calls, and yes, she'd appreciate it if Ayame gave him a good lecture on being more civil and being less forward.

Junior Year…of course. She couldn't forget…that had also been the year the entire soccer team had been locked out of the school during a thunderstorm thanks to a negligent janitor. Lo and behold, Kagome had been painting a mural in the Arts Hall ceiling for extra credit when she heard banging from the windows. The paint can nearly slid off the ladder when she turned and saw a group of very drenched soccer players and a pissed off manager standing in the rain.

Kagome quickly went to the nearest set of doors, unlocked it, and held the door open for the large group. It was a little odd being thanked by a group of very good-looking guys while she was attired in one messy, red-stained smock.

"I didn't think it was possible," one of them said, "but you look uglier than ever."

That happened to be Inuyasha, by the way.

Kagome muttered, "A wet mutt left out in the cold. How typical…and very cliché." She'd never been good at insults, and she disliked drawing attention, so she often muttered or grumbled her retorts. Which was fine for her, as Inuyasha had those sensitive dog ears to pick up on all her words.

"You know what would be real cliché?"

Kagome's eyes had widened in horror as he stepped back and bent over, as if reaching for his toes. Instead he had shaken his head like a blender, his wild tresses smacking Kagome in the cheeks and splattering rain water all over her and the walls.

When Inuyasha straightened up he received two red hand prints on his face. "HEY!"

Kagome had wiped her painted hands on her smock and skedaddled out of there with a silly grin on her face.

He was funny…when he wasn't insulting her.

For the winter formal Hojo had asked her out. Seeing as she wasn't planning on going to a dance after Junior Year she agreed to go with him. Kagome had worn a modest princess blue dress with an intricately styled hair courtesy of her mother's Japanese taste. And for the first time in her life she'd worn makeup.

Kagome had sat down with Hojo and some of his friends, the only faces she recognized being Yuka, Eri and Ayumi, and she had…a nice time talking to them. It must've been around half past ten when the sprinklers went off. Everyone rushed for the exits as soon as the waterworks started, but Kagome couldn't help but stare at the group of boys in the corner, laughing like their lives depended on it. Soon the bathrooms were flooding and the shrieks from angry chaperones got, if possible, more shrill. Inuyasha stood apart from the group, with a rather aggravated Yura in a small red dress beside him, proud but more controlled. When he caught Kagome staring at him he gave her the birdie.

Kagome stuck out her tongue and slowly walked out of the wet dance hall. She hid her wide smile with her purse.

Right before Christmas he broke up with Yura. Too much gore and porn, apparently. Kagome was inwardly relieved.

During winter break a family of dog demons visited her shrine. Kagome had been much too embarrassed to greet them so she sent Souta in her stead. Souta thanked her for the opportunity. As soon as the royal demon clan left and Kagome knew she'd made a rather poor decision. Kagome caught a glimpse of the family as they made their way down the shrine steps…

Dog ears.

During the spring Inuyasha met Kikyou. Kagome's cousin. The pretty, sophisticated and elegant Kikyou.

"She's the complete opposite of you," Inuyasha had once turned around in his seat to tell her. "The better version of you."

He had no idea how much that had hurt. "I know," Kagome muttered, pain obvious in her shaking voice. She bit her bottom lip to keep herself from crying. Inuyasha, surprisingly, left it at that and turned back to the blackboard.

The summer before Senior Year he had apparently hit on his half-brother's fiancée. But other than that she heard nothing else…mostly because she hadn't eavesdropped since…ever since Kikyou and Inuyasha.

When Senior Year began they were still together. A good couple, everyone said. This time it'll last.

Kagome got sick a lot the first semester. She waved it off.

To catch up on the required amount of credits Kagome had to take Theatre during the second quarter of the first semester. With Inuyasha.

"As You Like It, by Shakespeare," Kagome had incredulously read off the reading list.

"Bravo. The peasant can read!"

"Can it, I'm not in the mood." Kagome barely acknowledged him and kept her eyes on the paper.

"Oh, are you going to have another bout of your fake illnesses?" He sneered.

"A heart condition's no laughing matter." Especially a broken heart. Kagome looked up and saw Inuyasha with a eerily calm expression. Oops. Well, a little white lie couldn't hurt.

She'd been wrong before, though.

When Kagome got home her mother came up and told her Kikyou was on the phone, asking how Kagome was doing. Kagome quickly told her mother it was a misunderstanding and hid in her bed as her mother told Kikyou the (fake) results came up negative, so Kagome was fine and she was so sorry she made Kikyou and her parents worry about nothing.

Stupid, stupid Kagome.

For her Theatre final she had to act a scene out with a male student. Kagome was given the option of choosing a partner or drawing a name out of a hat. She picked the latter.

Inuyasha.

"I knew you wanted me," he teased. For some reason he had stopped calling her a bitch. Hmm.

"Let's just get this over with." At that moment Kagome had coughed. Inuyasha looked at her as if she was going to explode any minute.

Kagome had chosen the scene where Rosalind, disguised as a man, had just met Orlando in the forest. Kagome took the stage and faced Inuyasha. He had that same eerie calmness about him…

"Do you hear, forester?"

"Very well: what would you?"

Kagome, and surely the rest of the class, had been taken aback. Inuyasha's voice…it was melodious. His eyes were intense, too. She paused but nonetheless continued. "I pray you, what is't o'clock?" She hadn't the courage to look him in the eyes, though.

"You should ask me what time o' day: there's no clock in the forest."

OK, the teasing tone was back. Kagome couldn't decide if his tone was more reassuring or infuriating than his intensity. "Then there is no true lover in the forest; else sighing every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot of Time as well as a clock."

Suddenly the teacher had stood up. "Scene."

Kagome turned, confused. "But we're not—"

"Act Four, Scene One." His words had been blunt and his gaze unquestioning.

Kagome sighed and turned to Inuyasha, discreetly rolling her eyes. Inuyasha had smirked…not at her, but with her. Kagome's heart must've fluttered then.

"My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise." He, for some reason, had put emphasis on 'Rosalind.' This was the scene where Rosalind, still disguised as a man, met Orlando to "cure" him of his lovesickness by acting like his Rosalind. Yeah, weird.

"Break an hour's promise in love!" Kagome mock glared at him. "He that will divide a minute into a thousand parts and break but a part of the thousandth part of a minute in the affairs of love, it may be said of him that Cupid hath clapped him o' the shoulder, but I'll warrant him heart-whole."

Realization had dawned on Kagome when the next few lines followed; a playful banter, an act, a front for what Rosalind really felt. Kagome eyed the teacher warily—had it been a coincidence? Perhaps the man knew too much about his students.

"Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous." He smiled, putting on that goofy look of someone in love.

Kagome stepped up to the plate. It was theatre…she could be forward without consequences. "And I am your Rosalind."

"It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a Rosalind of a better leer than you."

The hell he does."Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humor and like enough to consent. What would you say to me now, and I were your very Rosalind?" She'd been genuinely curious. Inuyasha never seemed romantic, at least in her eyes.

"I would kiss before I spoke." His husky voice had caught her off guard, as well as how he advanced on her like a predator—

Kagome quickly held up her hands. "Nay, you were better speak first, and when you were graveled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers lacking—God warn us!—matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss."

"How if the kiss be denied?"

Definitely uncomfortable territory. Kagome looked at the teacher, giving him an expectant look. When no reaction came she knew she had to continue. "Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new matter." Oy vey.

"Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?"

"Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress, or I should think my honesty ranker than my wit." Damn right, fool.

"What, of my suit?"

"Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit. Am I not your Rosalind?" Aren't I?

"I take some joy to say you are, because I would be talking of her."

"Well in her person I say I will not have you." Ha, ha, ha.

"Then in mine own person I die."

"No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and being taken with the cramp was drowned and the foolish coroners of that age found it was 'Hero of Sestos.' But these are all lies: men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love." Kagome had been a little embarrassed to admit she'd memorized all the unnecessary dialogue of the play.

Inuyasha had given her a rather funny look after that. "I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind, for, I protest, her frown might kill me."

"By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now I will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition, and ask me what you will. I will grant it." Because it's the truth.

"Then love me, Rosalind."

"Scene."

Kagome had nearly collapsed in exhaustion. "Finally!" They'd come dangerously close to being mock-married…on stage, that is. When Kagome looked up Inuyasha had already left the stage to rejoin his clique.

Jerk.

She had no interaction with him until winter break. Oh, the Theatre Arts teacher had asked her to return for the second semester. She regretfully declined.

The royal dog clan had visited again. Apparently it'd become an annual tradition.

This time around her mother guilt-tripped her into hosting them with her grandfather, much to her brother's disappointment.

Inuyasha looked shocked when he saw her standing there in a Miko outfit.

"You're a shrine maiden?" He'd whispered when his family was gathered on the other side of the Shinto shrine.

"You wouldn't have known I was a Higurashi," she mumbled back. "You thought my last name was Whore, remember?"

He stared at her, his brain working diligently to locate that piece of memory within the mind's filing system. Kagome couldn't help but think he looked ever so smart as he struggled to remember. "Oh…you sure know how to hold a grudge."

"I like to think of it as a cautionary tale."

Inuyasha had smirked that all too familiar smirk. He left to rejoin his family.

Now…

Now it was spring. Spring semester of their Senior Year.

Kagome was going to New York to study literature…or maybe journalism. Inuyasha? No one knew if he'd even submitted his applications. It didn't matter though—he was filthy rich, after all.

Kikyou…she was naturally leaving for Harvard. Or John Hopkins to study medicine. She hadn't decided yet. This effectively ended her relationship with Inuyasha.

Now it was Saturday. Kagome had forgotten her Calculus Textbook in her locker. She managed to get inside the school with a janitor's permission. As she was searching through her locker someone knocked on the steel doors.

Dog ears.

"Again?" Kagome said as she opened the door. "Good thing it's not raining this time."

He grunted. His arm was bleeding.

"What—"

"Mind your damn business, woman."

The hell she would.

As he waited by the doors, waiting for something or someone, she went back to her locker and took out some bandages and a spare PE shirt. She set them down beside his feet. "If you need any help, I'll be in the Arts Hall." Kagome couldn't help but use that tone of finality. She'd learned a lot from her Theatre Arts teacher.

Kagome waited in the Arts Hall for what seemed like an hour. She took the liberty of reworking her ceiling mural and turned the picture of the giant tree into a larger forest. The janitors were used to seeing arts students during the weekends so they naturally ignored her. It was when she took out her new can of green paint did Inuyasha come running down the hall, nearly colliding into her. He grumbled an apology and locked himself in a nearby classroom and turned the lights off.

Two plain-clothed men came running down the hall. "Excuse me, miss." Their formality and the way they held their holsters screamed undercover police officers. "Did anybody run past you?"

"Yes." Kagome nodded. "He went down the hall. I think to the Science Labs."

One of them promptly left but the other, an older more experience cop, looked at her expectantly. "Are you with anyone?"

"Yes." Kagome nodded again. "My partner. He's getting my red paint in that room." She pointed to Inuyasha's general direction.

He nodded. "All right. Stay with him. I suggest you two leave before it gets dark outside."

"Yes sir."

As soon as he left Kagome slowly walked to the dark room and lightly knocked. She didn't know how to address him so she simply said, "What did you do with my PE shirt?"

"It's in the trash." He growled from the other side of the door.

"Oh…"

The door opened. "I'm kidding you idiot," he gruffly said and threw the shirt at her. "It was too small. Thanks for the bandages." He rubbed his already healing arm.

"No problem," Kagome looked up at the cameras. "You're lucky they never use those things on the weekends."

Inuyasha looked at the cameras for a long time. Kagome went back to painting by the time he found his voice. "Thanks…"

"No problem," she repeated. She wasn't going to ask what he'd been doing. She ignored the feeling of shame tugging at her heartstring.

"Why did you have bandages in your locker?"

Kagome paused mid-stroke. "I'm a klutz. I fall a lot. It's easier having your own bandages than going to those exasperated nurses all the time."

"Hmm," he said thoughtfully. Kagome had the idea that he was sticking around out of gratitude. Or maybe to make sure she wouldn't bolt and call the cops. Nevertheless, the pointless small talk continued, and she didn't shoo him away. "All I have in my locker are bunch of love letters."

"How many have you actually opened?" There. The mural's finally done.

"The love letters? Two or three."

"And how many are there in your locker?"

"Uh…thirty? Forty? I haven't counted since last year."

You gotta be kidding me. Kagome climbed down from the ladder. "Yikes. So many hearts to break, huh?" She thoughtlessly patted his head, and one of his dog ears, as she stepped down from the ladder. Dog ears…

She'd wanted to do that since Sophomore Year.

He went rigid as soon as she made physical contact, but didn't leave while she stored the paints, brushes and the ladder. When she took off her smock he ordered, "Let's go."

"What?"

"I'm walking you home."

He didn't trust her.

"I won't tell anyone—"

"Let's go," he repeated, glaring at her.

Kagome followed Inuyasha, wondering what would happen if she did indeed run off to the cops. As the sun began to set they exited the school. "You know I'm not a snitch," she mumbled.

Inuyasha grunted but did not say a word. In the distance she thought she heard motorcycles pass the other side of the school.

Maybe she could ask him about his future plans, his current relationships, his opinions on…nah.

Inuyasha broke the silence. "Aren't you going to ask me?" About what happened with his arm?

"No."

Kagome's curt reply did not go unnoticed. As they reached the shrine steps Inuyasha stopped and turned around. "You're going straight home."

Thanks for babysitting me. "Yes mommy." Kagome turned and began climbing the steps.

He raised a brow. "You mean daddy?"

Kagome froze mid-step. "No," she mumbled, not turning around to face him. Is he flirting?

She heard a sigh next to her. Warm breath tickled her neck. "See you at the beach party." What beach party?

When she turned around he was gone. When she got home she realized she forgot her Calculus Textbook in the Arts Hall. Her mother gave her an amused glance, having seen her talking with "that boy." Kagome refused dinner and went to sleep annoyed and hungry.

Inuyasha had meant the graduation beach party, because that was when he was returning. He was gone for the rest of the spring semester. Studying abroad in London. Kikyou was also studying abroad in Europe, but Kagome couldn't remember if it was in Paris or London.

She had a lot of time to think that semester. Think about things like college life, what to take for her minor, her nonexistent love life…

Kagome didn't like to think of herself as passive. But she had watched her crush date three women, along with countless other flings. She couldn't compete with that. She was pretty, but in a girl-next-door sort of way. She didn't stand out in a crowd, at least not with girls like Sango and Yura around her. Kikyou…she was the perfection Kagome wasn't.

…man did her life suck.

But she didn't want to regret anything for the rest of her life. Even if Inuyasha didn't show up…

That's why Kagome chose a rather risqué bikini when she went shopping with her mom. Her mother in question gave her a quizzical brow but said nothing. She said nothing all day after that. When Kagome got home and tried it on her skin turned a seven different shades of red. She was…not ugly. But…oh wow. That left nothing to the imagination. In fact it looked like it would break if she moved too much. Kagome gulped. Perhaps she should wear a hoodie over it…

Well, maybe a sundress.

Maybe it was time she talked to someone who would understand.

"Buyo, I've been having these feelings…"

"Meow…"

"It's been like this since…well, for a while now."

"Meow?"

"I think I need to stop waiting. But am I being too forward? What are the chances I'll just become one of his one-night stands (if that's even possible)?"

"Meow!"

Kagome smiled. "I should stop hesitating, you say?"

"Meow."

"Timmy fell down the well?"

"…" He looked at her indignantly.

"Sorry."

"Meow."

Kagome hadn't been planning on going to the beach party. She would've preferred staying home and cleaning the shrine, as boring as that would've been. But she had decided and hoped with all her might that things would turn out OK.

It was almost summer break. And the beach party was just around the corner.

Kagome inhaled. And exhaled. Here goes nothing.

Kagome got out of the bus in her sundress and straw hat and stared at the scene. As soon as she saw all her schoolmates frolicking about, throwing Frisbees and spiking volleyballs, and starting the grills for the barbecue, Kagome hesitated. She took a step back, ready to make a run for it.

"Hey Kagome."

Sango was waving. Of course. They'd taken Calculus together that semester. Sango turned out to be quite a friendly character, and sometimes volatile if and only if around perverts. Which made Kagome question Sango's sanity when she began dating Miroku last month, the debate captain and all-around playboy. The two had known each other since Sango started dating Inuyasha, who apparently lived on the same street as Miroku. As a matter of fact, many people had asked her about her strange decision to date Miroku. All she would say was;

"He can be surprisingly honest."

…hmm.

"Didn't know you'd be here." Oh, Ayame was with her too. Rumor had it she'd finally put Kouga on a leash. Kagome was, needless to say, impressed. But all the more disturbed at the lack of progress in her own life. She was just watching everything change around her while she stood…doing absolutely nothing.

"I had nothing better to do." Sango and Ayame looked amazing in their respective two-piece. Sango had on a black cat-skin ensemble with pink straps, while Ayame wore a white fur-like material with black linings. Kagome unconsciously tugged at her sundress, thinking about the two-piece that looked like a shrunken schoolgirl uniform. Shrunken to the extreme, that is.

"Want some drink?" Sango passed some root beers. Kagome disliked root beers but accepted the offer and sat down on the sand. She might as well enjoy herself, at least for today.

But she just didn't quite fit in. She was an outsider. She listened, like she always did. She listened as they discussed about summer plans in Hawaii, road trips around the US, and dorm life at college. This was when Kagome discovered Miroku and Sango were attending Columbia University and renting an apartment together. Apparently their relationship had progressed at a rapid pace.

"Try to keep your man tame in California," Miroku teased Ayame as she chugged her root beer. "Lots of bikini-clad beauties down there."

Kagome laughed. It's been a while since she laughed. It would've been nice to have met Miroku earlier in high school. He would've been good company.

"Kagome, we're going spelunking later. You wanna come?" Sango nudged her shoulder.

"Spelunking? Where?"

"There's a cave in the cliff next to the seaside resort. The resort manager is lending flashlights for a free tour. It'll be fun." She urged, smiling encouragingly.

Kagome slowly nodded. "Sounds fun."

The roar of motorcycles interrupted their conversation. Kagome turned and stared at the newcomers, the local bikers who called themselves the Onigumos. She wouldn't have minded their presence so much if they didn't stop by her shrine to vandalize the walls with graffiti once a month. The leader was also in cahoots with the street gangs and often visited the elementary school Souta attended to sell drugs to the kids. Due to the school's ridiculous "don't look, don't tell" policy the local authority wasn't privy to that tidbit of info.

She'd forgotten Naraku still attended her school.

"Hey beautiful," he leered at a passing trio of Ayumi, Eri and Yuka. "You want some fun tonight?" Ayumi was sensible enough to walk off with a soft, "We've got plans, sorry," but Yuka had to practically drag a swooning Eri away. Naraku chuckled and began flipping his switchblade. Kagome quickly looked away, avoiding eye contact as best she could. She stayed as still as possible.

Luckily they didn't notice the Higurashi on the sand and went over to Yura and her conspicuous group of scantily clad girls.

The switchblade…it had been crusted with blood. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together. Inuyasha and his arm, the sound of motorcycles…had Inuyasha been dealing drugs? Did the cops bust him while he was involved in a…who knew. After what happened Kagome had frozen every time she heard sirens. She normally didn't help criminals or would-be criminals.

Or maybe she was thinking too much into it.

Sango pointed to something in the waters and Kagome turned. There he was, surfing the waves like he'd done it a million times before. His silver hair was in a ponytail and trailing behind him, looking like he was born to be free and wild, born to live in the fresh air and amongst the crowd that cheered his name.

Kagome watched, like she always did. Then she got up and took a walk around the beach.

As it turned out, Kikyou had decided to skip the party to volunteer at the hospital. Kagome wondered if she ever did anything imperfect.

When the bonfire began Kagome sat back and watched the crowd dance. She'd lost her hat during her walk and was a little peeved about it. Stupid gusts always stole young maidens' handkerchiefs and hats. If she'd been lucky her hat would've led her to her prince, but naturally Lady Luck disregarded her with a cold shoulder.

"C'mon Kagome," Sango appeared out of nowhere and pulled her off the sand. "It's time for some spelunking!"

…right.

Sango took her to where Miroku and a small group of people stood, all of them equipped with flashlights. "Hi." Hojo smiled. They hadn't seen each other in almost a year.

"Here's a flashlight. You can follow me and Miroku. We'll be splitting up in small groups so it'll be spookier," Sango said as she turned on her flashlight and held it below her chin.

"I must say, you're quite sexy when you're trying to be spooky."

Miroku earned a smack on the head for that one.

"Don't get separated!" Someone yelled, probably Kouga, as they all split up and entered the cave.

Kagome held Sango's shoulder for support but she lost her grip when she stumbled on a rounded stalactite…or was it a stalagmite?

"You OK?" Miroku said from far ahead.

"Miroku, don't walk so fast, my flashlight's dying over he—oh, there it goes." Sango shook her flashlight. "Kagome, how's yours doing?"

"Mine's dimming a b—EEK!" She felt the ground disappear and fell with her hair flying in the air.

"Kagome?"

Kagome slid down the slippery slope and landed on her back with a dull thud. "I'm…ow…I'm alive. I think."

"What happened?" Miroku called out.

"I think there's a steep slope…ugh, I can't climb it." Kagome shook her flashlight. "And these batteries suck."

"Tell me about it," Sango said. "All right, the exit's just up ahead. If you're hurt I can come down and help you walk."

Kagome raised her hand, although that was a pointless gesture in the darkness. "No, no…I'm totally fine. I can make it out of here on my own." Why did I even come here?

"Alright. We'll meet you at the exit."

Kagome replied with a quiet "Alright" and cautiously trotted on. This particular path was a bit more damp and narrow, and her cheap sandals certainly didn't help the situation. She mumbled incoherently every time she felt water drip on the back of her neck. She cursed when she stubbed her big toe against a jagged rock and felt tears sting her eyes.

"What did you say?"

Kagome whirled around to see Naraku in the dim light, sneering at her with the eyes of a predator. Her light died right then and there.

For all her quietness over the years, for all the mumbles she gave as answers, for all her passivity in romantic relationships, Kagome's shy façade shattered and she did what anyone should do after watching Home Alone and its sequel (the first sequel only, because the other sequels aren't as good).

Kagome dropped her flashlight, held her cheeks, and screamed so that all of Manhattan…I mean, so that everyone in the cave and outside the cave could hear her.

"SHUT UP!" Naraku roared and grabbed her neck. Fortunately Kagome loved watching self-defense videos on YouTube at home, when everyone else was dating, so instead of concentrating on prying his fingers loose she focused on clamping her chin down on his hand, forcing him to lose his grip on her neck. Not that he didn't leave some sizable welts on her neck. She quickly got on her knees and rocketed forward, tackling him in his knees with all of her body. He quickly lost his balance and went tumbling down. Before he could even yell out Kagome had leapt over him and dashed away like a freed convict.

"HELP!" Kagome screamed and screamed, making as much noise as possible. "BLOODY BARON, MANSON FAMILY, NEO-NAZIS! GET A STAKE, GET A CROSS, FOR THE LOVE OF DUMBO GET HOLY WATER!"

She felt blood run down her shin—she must've scraped her knee after she tackled him. Kagome saw the moonlight beaming from the exit of the cave. But she also heard the approaching madman's pants, frantically trying to grab her hair. She skidded to a halt as she exited the cave and caught herself from falling over the Cliffside. As she turned around to face the oncoming demon a fist collided squarely in her pursuer's jaw and he went reeling back in the cave.

The clouds parted to reveal the full moon and Kagome saw the outline of her rescuer.

Inuyasha looked at her, a twinkle in his eyes, and massaged his hand with a look of pure satisfaction. "I did owe you one."

Kagome panted but managed to smile and say, "I'm sure you enjoyed that."

Sango jogged out of the cave and nearly stumbled on Naraku's writhing body. "Kagome, what—who the hell…" Her face displayed instantaneous realization and fury engulfed her being. "You," thud, "little," thud, "bastard!" Thud, drop, crack.

Miroku appeared behind her to calm her, though not before he gave the corpse of a man a good kick of his own.

"He didn't hurt you, did he?" Sango asked Kagome as soon as she was finished with her little anger management treatment.

"No, I screamed before he did anything, but then he grabbed my neck—" Sango went back to beating the man up. "…and then I ran. Yeah."

It didn't take a while for the cops to show. Kagome, however, was too exhausted to give a report. Hojo took the liberty of being an "eyewitness" and shooed Kagome away from the scene. She knew Hojo was a good person for a reason. A group of people surrounded the cruiser as Naraku, badly beaten and still slightly out of his mind, was led away in handcuffs. Ayumi even stuck her tongue out at him, which was all the evilness she could muster out of her pure soul.

"Here," Inuyasha handed her a mug of coco. "You wanna go for a walk?"

Kagome silently nodded and set her blanket and mug down. She took off her cheap sandals too.

They found a nice little space for themselves on the beach and slowly walked across the shallow water. The moon was bright and full above the waters.

"You," Inuyasha paused, "did good today."

"Thanks," was all she could say.

"I didn't think you could be so…loud."

"I surprised myself," Kagome smiled sadly. "I'm used to…" talk Kagome! Talk like you've never talked before! "…being more passive, I guess."

"You were never passive with me," he smirked. "What did you call me on my first day? Jackass, was it?"

"That was retaliation. Like today."

His smile dropped. "I've been meaning to tell you…when you found me bleeding," he scratched his head, trying to find the words. "He was dealing drugs with kids. Third graders. I just lost it. There must've been a wire or something, because a van came up. We all ran…I ran too, which was probably a stupid thing to do. I just made myself look guilty. Then you let me in…and told them…"

"A lie," Kagome said.

"Well, since they had surveillance on the whole undercover operation they tracked me down after I walked you home. They realized who my family was and left it at that." He shrugged. "That's what happened."

Why did he care what I thought? "Figures as much," she shrugged. "Good guy wins, bad guy loses."

He eyed her with that eerily calm look. "How many classes have we had together?"

"A lot," was her quick reply.

"And yet we talked only when one of us was in trouble."

"Or in a bad mood," she added and pointedly looked at him.

"I'm always in a bad mood."

She hid her smile. Should she? Should she? This was her only chance. Right now. Right here. "I think I'll go for a swim."

"Now? Of all the times you could've done that…"

"I feel a little dirty after that whole…thing." She ended weakly, but his curious gaze turned to one of understanding.

"Well, I'm not stopping you."

Kagome gingerly took off her sundress and tossed it away from the waters. There was a loud choking sound and Kagome saw Inuyasha's eyes bulge and his cheeks turn bright red, visible even in the darkness of the night. "What the—"

"Water's nice." Kagome walked forward until she was knee-deep in water.

He had a nice view of her…whoops. Kagome blushed. Right, the bottom piece of her bikini was a semi-thong. She had the urge to cover herself but stood still. Very still.

Then she turned around and met his eyes. He was still staring. "Look," she said, acknowledging him at last. "It was the only thing I could find." A very bad lie.

"The only thing…" he spluttered. "Are you joking? Damn." He just stared at her and she became more and more self-conscious. "You always wore baggy clothes."

"They're comfortable."

"Damn."

She looked away, embarrassed. "You don't have to be that surprised."

"A nerd with a hot body." A small grin slowly spread across his face. He looked like the cat that ate the canary. "Damn."

Maybe this was a bad idea…"Forget it." She walked over to her sundress but as quick as a flash he grabbed her sundress from the sand. "Hey!"

"Not," he held her sundress away from her reach, "until I can get a good look at you. Because…hot damn."

"You already said that!" Kagome, now blushing, reached for her clothing. "Now gimme!"

"…bouncing…"

Kagome covered her chest with both arms. "Are not!"

"What?" He'd been hypnotized. "Oh, right, clothes…how about I give this back to you if you…let me smell you."

Dog demons loved scents, but… "You can smell me from there."

"Just say yes or no."

"Fine, go ahead, smell away, just gimme the dress!" She reached up and as soon as she did he wrapped an arm around her waist. She froze and he took the opportunity to bury his nose between her neck and shoulder. "Eh…Inu…yasha?"

"It's appropriate."

"W-what is?" Kagome whispers.

"Well, with the way you're dressed, you really are a lot like a who—"

"Don't call me that!" Kagome pushed away, though he still had a hand on the small of her back. "I swear, if you do—"

"You'll call me the J-word?" He grinned. "I wasn't gonna call you the W-word. I was comparing you to one."

"Yes, there's a huge difference isn't there?" Kagome dully said.

"Well, since you dress like one…act like one—"

"I do not!"

"—maybe you'll taste like one." And he kissed her. It was a chaste kiss at first, just to test the boundaries of her reaction. When she gave none he kissed her again, this time forcing her mouth open with his tongue. When he began fumbling with the back of her bikini she squeaked and pulled back.

"Whoa, wait a minute—"

"Heart condition my ass," he hissed and crushed her lips, dropping her sundress on the sand so he could wrap both arms around her.

Ah…well, he would've figured that out by now. "Inu—" she tried to say but was muffled by his tongue.

"Shut up," he groaned. "Enjoy it while it lasts."

While it lasts…

Kagome always passively watched the dating game, just watched. A nobody. A victim of fate. Watching and waiting for something to happen to her, someone to act for her, acting like a helpless old lady.

Kagome wrapped her arms around his neck and was met with a growl of approval. He massaged her back as she traced his back muscles under his tank top. When she pulled back to catch her breath Inuyasha gave a distinctly canine smirk.

"I got a room reserved at the resort…"

She warily eyed him. "Do I really look that easy?"

"In that outfit, yeah." He gave butterfly kisses on her neck. "But I know better. That's where I ordered dinner."

"Oh. Well then full speed ahead. I'm starving."

He lifted her up bridal style and leapt away, the sundress forgotten on the sand.

Dinner was naturally delicious. Better than what she'd missed at the barbecue.

"You're going to New York?" Inuyasha said after finishing his plate of pasta.

Kagome nodded as she ate her lasagna. "Where are you headed?"

"Tokyo U."

She gave a low whistle. "Impressive."

He sat down on his bed and watched her eat. For a moment he looked like he was about to dismiss something, then abruptly said, "Give me your email address."

"Hmm?" She looked up with a bread stick protruding out of her mouth.

"Here's mine." He quickly took out a pen and jotted down his email along with his phone number on a miniature notepad.

Kagome stared at it. "Your email is malteselover?"

He glared. "My other one's got a virus."

"…you sure don't look like a Maltese lover."

"Just write down your freakin' address, dammit."

"OK, OK," she said. "There, address and number. Happy?"

"Very." He gave her the smile of a Cheshire Cat and took the paper. "No regrets?"

Kagome blinked. "Regrets?"

"Meeting me."

Kagome turned away and hid her smile. She didn't reply, she never did, but her answer was obvious. And he was just fine with that.

So, the moral of the story, ladies and gentlemen, is don't hesitate, don't watch and wait, and wear a really skimpy bikini only and only if you don't have a better idea to attract someone's attention. And make sure you look good in that said bikini before you go out in public. For the love of dumbo, please do that before you take one step out that door.

Please.

"Why do you want me to wear that?" It was autumn now.

She could practically hear his smirk on the other end. "C'mon babe, you'll look so hot in it."

"It's a Halloween party. IN JAPAN. I think they're expecting something more conservative…like Charlie Brown, or a ghost." Kagome checked her daily planner on her Mac. Curses, she forgot about that paper due next week. So much for a free weekend. "NOT a bikini. Especially not THAT bikini."

"At least wear it," he paused, "for me? I rented a place near the lake. Just the two…of…us…" He said the last bit very suggestively, knowing this would make Kagome blush.

And indeed she did.

She mumbled something.

Inuyasha laughed and lazily leaned back on his couch. "Good. I'll see you in two weeks then, babe."

"…right." Kagome was still red.

"Love ya." He hung up.

Kagome bit her bottom lip, blushing furiously.

Jerk.