A/N: Ok so this may appease my InuYasha readers, even though I didn't actually write it. This second chapter of Awkward was written by my very good friend who does have an account on here, but for the life of my I can't remember her penname. I don't think she posts very often if at all anymore though. This was a birthday presant for me that she wrote after I gave her Awkward for her bithday...over three years ago... sorry again. Its more Inu/Kag than Inu/Kouga though. Hope you like it anyway.

Happy Birthday Meg!

sequel to Awkward

Lindsey

犬夜叉 x かごめ,

"Oh, hey, kids! L-look here, look at this!" Kagome pulled on a little girl's hand and gestured for the other children to gather round. "Look at the frog!"

The little girl wrinkled her freckled nose. "I don't see a frog."

"Well, of course, the frog's green, so it blends in with the grass. You have to look hard to see it."

Kagome almost sighed in relief when the children all bent their heads to the ground. Behind them, Miroku was trying to reason with a homicidal Sango. Kagome couldn't say the gutter-minded monk didn't deserve it, but the children were still a little young to be learning such explicit lessons on domestic violence.

Kagome glanced over her shoulder in time to see Hiraikotsu pinwheel through the air towards Miroku. But Kagome never knew if it actually bludgeoned its target, because her gaze froze on the ridge, the one that overlooked the village, where two figures stood. One was unmistakable, red and white, and she thought she knew the other one, long black hair, dressed in neutral browns. Her eyes told her that they were InuYasha and Kouga, but her rational mind wouldn't agree. Because it looked like Kouga was…grabbing InuYasha's ass, and that certainly didn't make any sense whatsoever. Furthermore, InuYasha didn't seem to be resisting, which really didn't make any sense whatsoever.

Kagome stared.

"Kagome!"

She jumped, turned her head, something was spinning towards her—

"MOVE!" Miroku shouted, lunging towards her, and Sango shrieked, "Kagome!"

She couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't—

"Damn it!"

Something collided solidly with her side—no, someone grabbed her, stole her out of harm's way, tumbling to the ground with her cradled safely in a red cocoon. She gasped, drawing the precious breaths she'd forgotten to take while fearing for her life. Without looking, she knew who'd saved her; the smell of grass, trees, air, freedom, the familiar warmth…

"Stupid wench, what were you thinking?"

Kagome blinked up at InuYasha, his golden eyes molten with pretended anger, real concern.

"I swear, I leave you alone for one second and look what happens!"

"Oh…" Kagome squirmed out of InuYasha's arms and stood upright, straightening her uniform. "Calm down, InuYasha! You're completely overreacting." Besides, it was longer than 'one second'—long enough for Kouga to feel you up—

"Kagome!" Sango latched onto her side, panting heavily. Her face was contorted with such guilt and fear that Kagome instantly forgot about wolf-demons and insufferable hanyous. "Kagome, I'm so sorry, I don't know what happened, Hiraikotsu missed the…the stupid monk! He ducked and it flew right over his head, and—"

"Sango!" Kagome grasped Sango's arm in a comforting gesture. "It's okay, I'm fine—"

"But if you… if InuYasha hadn't…"

"Sango." Kagome looked her friend in the eye. "It's okay. Really. Accidents are bound to happen, you know," she shrugged, "especially when you're living with a half-demon, a wolf-demon, a demon slayer, and her perverted boyfriend."

Miroku scratched the back of his head sheepishly.

"I'm fine. So it's okay." Kagome smiled. "I know you didn't mean to."

As Kagome turned away, Sango knocked Miroku upside the head all the same.

犬夜叉 x かごめ,

InuYasha was perched in a tree, sulking by the orange light of sunset.

Stupid wolf. What the hell had he been thinking? The scene kept replaying itself in InuYasha's head, where Kouga sidled up beside him, stood there innocently enough, maybe a little suspicious, and then…he…

"Arrgh!" InuYasha clawed at his hair. "What the fuck?" The way his heart had leapt, his face heated, remained fresh in his memory, so fresh that he could feel it happening all over again. It was so weird and wrong and—and it was because of Kouga that InuYasha had just barely made it to Kagome's rescue. If he'd stalled for a second longer… he didn't even want to finish the thought.

But why had InuYasha reacted like that? Or rather, why had he so completely failed to react? Kouga had copped a feel, grabbed his ass—violated his comfort zone—and InuYasha had frozen on the spot. There'd been no explosion, no sword-swinging, no wolf-demon blood splattering across the ridge. He'd just…stood there.

Granted, a moment later Kagome had been in immediate danger of having her head boomeranged off her shoulders, but there'd been more than enough time for some wolf slaughtering.

InuYasha sighed and closed his eyes. It had just…taken him by surprise. He could handle verbal barbs, snarls and sneers, fists, swords—but sexual harassment? That was an entirely new battlefield. It hit him differently, more deeply than anything else. It stirred something inside of him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been touched like that, if ever. That's not to say that he'd liked the wolf feeling him up—fuck if he'd ever enjoy that—but it had awakened all sorts of internal demons. Like sexual repression.

InuYasha tipped his head back against the tree; inside the blackness of his lids he saw gentle, brown eyes and a sweet, cupid's-bow smile. But it wasn't only that sweetness; it was the way those eyes glared and rolled whenever he did something stupid or said something foolish, the way they twinkled and shrank to crescents when she laughed, the way they misted and sparkled with tears when she cried.

A small smile curved InuYasha's mouth.

"InuYasha!"

His eyes snapped open, but he immediately recognized Kagome's tone as one, not of emergency, but of impatience, that roughly translated to 'Where the hell are you, and what are you doing?' He groaned and swung down from the tree, pulling leaves with him so that they rained over his landing.

InuYasha started back towards the village. The sun had continued to set during his time in the tree, and now the sky was a deep, vivid amber, gilded with pinks and purples. Golden ribbons cut through the woods, offset by black shadows on the forest floor. Then, there was a glint, light reflecting off a silver breastplate. Kouga leaned against a tree, arms folded, one of his casual stances, but InuYasha could smell faint ripples of fear.

"Keh." InuYasha gestured with his chin. "What're you doin' here?"

"I…" Kouga cleared his throat and pushed off the tree. "I just…"

"Stop." InuYasha held up a hand before tucking it inside his sleeve. "I don't wanna know what was goin' through your sick mind."

Kouga cut the hanyou a fierce look. That was more like it. InuYasha couldn't stand this hesitant, stumbling pup that Kouga seemed to have become.

"Listen, you damn dog, I'm tryin' ta tell y—"

"And I'm tellin' you that I don't wanna hear it." InuYasha stalked off, ignoring the holes Kouga was assuredly glaring into the back of his head. This was better. This was a more level battlefield. He didn't know how Kouga wanted to explain himself, what he was going to say, but by the nervous racing in his chest, InuYasha had a feeling he really didn't want to hear it. If Kouga started spilling his heart, InuYasha didn't know what he'd do; he didn't want the whole thing to be more awkward than it already was.

"InuYasha, there you are!" Kagome grabbed InuYasha as soon as he was in range, pulling him into a nearby home, which smelled sweetly of stew and cooked meat. "I swear, the Y chromosome genetically codes for laziness!"

InuYasha stared. "What the hell are you talkin' about?"

"Nothing. We need you guys to help out, get dinner around. Sango and I can't do all the work! Where's Kouga?"

"I just left him in the forest."

Kagome glanced curiously at InuYasha. "You two were in the forest together?"

"Uh, well, yeah… I was there, and he was there, so I guess we were, but—"

"What were you doing?" There was an accusatory gleam in Kagome's eyes that InuYasha didn't like at all.

"Nothing!" He held up his hands in defense. "I saw him for five freakin' seconds!"

"Of course." Kagome rolled her eyes. There was something heavy about her now, something bitter. "Wash your hands and start passing the food around, will you?"

He tilted his head at her, frowning confusedly. "What's your problem?"

"Nothing," she snapped. She refused to look at him.

InuYasha grit his teeth. Everyone was acting so strangely. First Kouga, now Kagome. Was there a memo he'd missed? Was it Grope Your Mortal Enemy's Ass Day? Or Act Like a Touchy Wench Day? Maybe it was a full moon.

InuYasha glanced out the window and spied a thick silver crescent through the trees.

If only it were a full moon. Then things might make a little more sense.

犬夜叉 x かごめ

Kagome watched her brown, mottled reflection in her soup bowl. Light chatter and eating sounds drifted around her, but she paid them no mind.

Kouga and InuYasha had been in the forest together. Alone.

Hours before, Kouga had been touching InuYasha in a decidedly sexual way.

How had she never seen this coming?

It was outrageous. It didn't make sense! Kouga and InuYasha were rivals; they hated each other! Mostly. On the surface, at least.

Kagome paused. What if…what if they didn't really hate each other? What if it was all just testosterone-laced sexual tension, or other buried feelings? What if it was a cover-up for some hidden, forbidden love? What if…

No, that was ridiculous. The way they acted towards each other—until now, at least—was anything but love, sexual tension, or whatever. Some twisted sort of friendship, perhaps. A begrudging respect, maybe. Rivalry, definitely. But romance, attraction, desire? Not likely.

Besides! even if there were any evidence that they felt that way about each other, a million other signs pointed in the other direction. Kouga wanted her, didn't he? Hadn't he made that perfectly clear on more than one occasion? Third of all, didn't…didn't InuYasha want her? Well, sure, he'd never admitted it. But there was chemistry between them; there was affection and deep-seated feelings. Weren't there? Was she completely delusional?

InuYasha didn't even like guys!

…Did he?

Kagome felt a second away from face-planting into her stew.

"Kagome," Sango laid a hand on her friend's shoulder, "are you all right?"

Kagome glanced up and straight into suspicious golden eyes. InuYasha was sitting across the table, staring at her, a frown notched into his forehead. Turning to Sango, Kagome nodded and managed a reassuring smile. "I'm fine," she said. "Just a little tired."

Sango searched her friend's face for a moment, and then nodded. "If you say so."

Kagome nodded, tucking back into her dinner. InuYasha snorted and averted his gaze. He knew she wasn't telling the truth. He still didn't know what was wrong with her, but it was really starting to bug him.

As much as he hated to admit it, even to himself, he was worried.

But he wouldn't let it show.

Nighttime came and went in a wave of tense wordless silences and strained smiles. The next morning, as pale golden light rolled into the sky, Kagome's mind crawled from restless sleep into unsettled consciousness. And while she puttered around, preparing for the day, Sango watched her with worried eyes.

The third time Kagome dropped something, a wooden bowl, Sango decided enough was enough. She took her friend by the arm, ignoring her questions and protests, and dragged her outside, into the nearby woods.

"Talk."

"…What?" Kagome blinked at the demon slayer.

Sango tried to stare her down, hands on her hips, a determined wrinkle between her brows. "I know that something's bothering you. So talk."

The trees shifted around them, and even though Kagome knew it was just the wind they were making whispering noises that sounded suspiciously like laughter. Her cheeks warmed but remained pale, without a telltale pink tinge, and she shook her head. "It's nothing. I'm just…being stupid."

After all, InuYasha wasn't gay—even if he didn't know the meaning of the word. Did they have a word for that in feudal Japan? Maybe the concept didn't exist. Maybe there was no delineation between men who liked women and men who liked other men, maybe it was all just accepted, taken for a normal fact of attraction. Maybe her twentieth-century mindset was freaking out over something that, here, was no big deal.

But, no, it wasn't that she cared if InuYasha liked other men. She cared if InuYasha liked another man (or demon, as they case may have been) instead of her.

"Kagome." Sango had yet to back down. "Whatever it is, it's bothering you, so it's not stupid. If it means something to you, then it's important."

The soft touch to her will was enough to crumble it. She looked at her feet, at the twig crushed beneath her shoe, and said, "I think InuYasha and Kouga like each other."

Silence. The trees laughed.

"…Like each other? Kagome, they're enemies!" Sango paused, and then continued, "And even if they did like each other, that's all the better for us, isn't it?"

Kagome's eyes flickered up, horrified, slightly confused. "Wh…What?"

"They'd stop fighting, and we wouldn't have to put up with their bickering anymore. They'd actually make a pretty good team, if they worked together all the time—"

"No!" Kagome shook her head; Sango didn't get it. "I don't mean just like each other, I mean, like each other. As in, they're attracted to each other, physically, romantically…"

Sango blinked, stared, and then convulsed in repressed laughter. Kagome frowned, the pink color finally overtaking her face.

"See! I told you it was stupid!"

"K-Kagome… you think they're in love with each other?"

Kagome huffed, "Yes. It's not that impossible, I mean, think about it!"

"I'd rather not." Sango took a deep breath, calming herself, though an amused smile lingered on her lips. "I think you're worrying over nothing."

"But…!" Kagome looked suddenly desperate, needing Sango to understand. "Yesterday, I saw Kouga touching InuYasha!"

Sango frowned. "So? They touch each other a lot—that's what happens when you fight—"

"No, I mean, Kouga was touching…" Kagome trailed off, her face growing redder, "touching…InuYasha's butt. In a nonviolent way."

The light shifted across Sango's face as her frown deepened. "…Are you sure?"

Kagome nodded.

"Uh, well, maybe you were seeing things. It doesn't even make sense; how could they like each other like that?"

"Spare me," Kagome said tiredly. "I've already gone over every possibility."

"But…" Sango's voice shrank, dwindled into an unsure murmur, "InuYasha likes you, doesn't he…?"

The other girl shrugged, looking at her feet. In a voice just as small, she replied, "I don't know anymore."

犬夜叉 x かごめ

InuYasha was in his usual tree, staring up through the branches at the puzzle-pieces of blue sky and thinking—mostly about his dream the previous night. His dream about Kagome.

It had been innocent enough; they'd been arguing about something that, in the light of day, made no sense at all. But arguing nonetheless, and then she'd started crying and he'd felt really bad, and then he'd kissed her and she'd kissed back and—

InuYasha closed his eyes, pressing his fingertips against his lids, into his sockets until he saw stars. He squeezed the bridge of his nose. He didn't know what to do.

Hoping to clear his head, he swung out of the tree and onto the ground. With his luck, Kouga was down there somewhere, looking for him to confess his love or some such shit, but he started walking anyway. As his bare feet wandered aimlessly, so too did his mind, which landed his thoughts right back into the mire of his feelings for Kagome. He couldn't deny that he had them. But why did they seem so strong now, stronger than ever? And a little different, less vague, more concentrated, clearer. He liked her, maybe even loved her. Probably loved her.

And maybe, because of this whole thing with Kouga, he was clinging to these feelings now, looking for some normalcy in all this strangeness. Or maybe it had just taken a shock such as Kouga coming onto him for him to wake up and smell the roses.

Kagome would probably like some roses. And he found himself smiling at the idle thought.

Then, his ears picked up the sounds of voices. Female voices. Familiar, female voices. Slightly shrill and upset. He lightened his step, walking soundlessly across the grass until he was close enough to make out the words:

"No! I don't mean just like each other, I mean, like each other. As in, they're attracted to each other, physically, romantically…"

That was Kagome. He furrowed his brow, leaning against a nearby tree. Who the hell was she talking about?

"K-Kagome… you think they're in love with each other?"

And that was Sango. She sounded terribly amused.

"Yes. It's not that impossible, I mean, think about it!"

"I'd rather not. I think you're worrying over nothing."

"But…! Yesterday, I saw Kouga touching InuYasha!"

InuYasha froze and his breath hitched in his throat. What was going on? Had Kagome seen him, them, before, on the cliff…?

"So? They touch each other a lot—that's what happens when you fight—"

"No, I mean, Kouga was touching…touching…InuYasha's butt. In a nonviolent way."

Shit. Fuck, shit, fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck. InuYasha banged his head back against the tree trunk. She had seen them, she'd seen them and she'd seen what Kouga had done and I'm gonna to kill that damn wolf

And then their voices dropped, and InuYasha had to strain a little to hear:

"But… InuYasha likes you, doesn't he…?"

InuYasha's heart skipped, because it was true, it was so true, she didn't even know how true it was, he liked her—

"I don't know anymore."

And he had to tell her.

犬夜叉 x かごめ

Sango sighed, "Kagome…" She put her hand on her friend's shoulder, but it slipped down Kagome's arm and fell back to her hip. She felt sorry for the girl. However much Sango complained about Miroku and threatened him with certain bodily harm, she did love him and he loved her back and she'd forgotten what it was like to not have that. It wasn't fun.

"Well, sometimes these things work themselves out, you know?" That didn't sound like very good advice, even in Sango's own ears (and by Kagome's expression, she felt the same), but she didn't know what else to say. She had been sure that InuYasha had liked Kagome—but now, with this new development, she was beginning to doubt it…

But no, it didn't even make sense: Even if InuYasha didn't like Kagome, he couldn't like Kouga, either. Then again, she and Miroku seemed to hate each other at times, didn't they? She tried to bludgeon him with Hiraikotsu on a regular basis! But underneath it all, they did care about each other—

She gasped. Could it be the same for Kouga and InuYasha and none of them had ever realized?

Kagome blinked at her. "What?"

"N…Nothing," Sango shook her head, taking Kagome by the arm. This was ridiculous, and Sango didn't know what to think anymore. "Let's go back."

Kagome nodded and turned to go with Sango when something caught her eye. Something bright red that stuck out in the surrounding earthy colors, like wine or blood on a white shirt, rose petals on a sheet. She paused, staring, and then glanced back at Sango. "Actually…I think I'm gonna stay out here for a while."

Sango looked worried. "Kagome…?"

Kagome just smiled. "It's okay. I just need some…you know, time to think, or something. I'll be fine."

"If you say so…"

"I do. Now go!" Kagome forced out a laughed and gave Sango a harmless push, and the demon slayer went, but not without casting a concerned glance over her shoulder. Once she was out of sight, Kagome walked over to where she'd seen the red and, sure enough, there was InuYasha. Her heart thumped nervously.

When scared, resort to unnecessary displays of anger. No one will notice.

"INUYASHA!"

He blinked at her, dumbfounded (he'd known she was coming, but the conversation he'd overheard had rooted him to his spot and running hadn't even been an option), and then a scowl—such a comfortable expression—etched itself into his forehead. "What?" he snapped.

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry, I wasn't aware I wasn't allowed to walk in the woods. Have you staked a territory here or somethin'?"

Kagome flushed, and when her mind failed to produce a good comeback, she said, "…Did you hear anything?"

And just like that, the heat fizzled and died. InuYasha averted his eyes. "…Something."

"What?" Kagome stepped closer, angry now but for a different reason. Angry perhaps at herself, for being overheard, at InuYasha for overhearing, at Kouga for starting all this trouble, at InuYasha for—

"You saw Kouga…?" InuYasha couldn't even finish the thought.

And Kagome recoiled, suddenly sheepish. "Yeah, I did. Did he really…?"

"Yeah…he did."

Kagome had known it—or thought she'd known it—so it really shouldn't have come as a surprise, but…it did. The admission hurt her more than she'd expected it to. "Why?"

"I don't know! But, Kagome," he looked at her, and the earnestness in his eyes made her start, "I didn't…" he growled, frustrated, "it's not like I wanted him to!"

"You…didn't?"

"Of course not! How could you even think—" He shook his head. The trees whispered around them, and Kagome felt they were laughing again, laughing at her because she'd been so foolish, worrying for no reason, and she looked at her feet, heat rising in her face.

"Well, you never know," she said. "I mean, there are no rules to attraction…! Right? People fall in love with people and there's no rhyme or reason, it just happens, and—"

"Kagome," he clasped her shoulders, and she gasped, her head whipping up to look at him. "Kagome," he said again, loosening his grip once he had her attention, "even if I thought Kouga was the tiniest bit desirable," the words left a sour taste on his tongue, "I wouldn't be able to like him."

Kagome felt her heart race faster, and she wanted to look away because for some reason as she looked at InuYasha she couldn't breathe. But she couldn't bring herself to tear her eyes from his. "Why not…?"

"Because!" He huffed, exasperated and turning slightly pink which really surprised Kagome because he rarely blushed— "Because… I like you."

She blinked. "What?"

"Maybe even love you, how should I know! I—"

Her heart pounded.

"I don't know what to think about what I feel, but I know that it's that kinda feeling that you can't feel about more than one person at a time, so I couldn't possibly feel it for Kouga when I feel it so much for you and—"

"InuYasha!"

He stopped, breathless, and for once he looked—scared, Kagome would call it, only she wasn't sure because it didn't seem to quite fit on his face; if it wasn't scared, it was something very close. She just smiled, a small, barely there upwards turn. "Do you really?"

He exhaled a soft "Yeah."

"InuYasha…" Her voice was a thin, wavering strain of delight, and her smile fully bloomed as she took him by the collar of his bright red hakama and pulled him forward. Into a kiss. He offered nothing more than a startled sound before leaning into the kiss, returning it, reveling in it. And all the pieces just seemed to fall into place, fitting together like their mouths, and he knew then exactly how he felt.

The trees whispered around them, no longer laughing, just trees in the wind, singing a quiet song. Kagome pulled back after a moment, though the space between them barely grew. "InuYasha," she tilted her eyes up to meet his, "I like, possibly love you too."

InuYasha smiled, a fanged, white smile that gleamed in the strips of sunlight. It didn't really matter if they didn't know for sure whether it was just like or love because it was something and that was enough for the time being.

And somewhere, close enough that InuYasha could have sensed it if he hadn't been so distracted, the sunlight that gleamed on his teeth glinted off of a silver breastplate, a tiny, sad point of light that winked as the breastplate turned and Kouga took off through the trees that laughed as he fled.

OWARI DA.