A/N: Damned smut bunnies, taking an author in a completely opposite direction than they wanted to go. Oh, well, this chapter is nice, and I like it, so it stays. Warning!! Highly citrusy lemon here. Don't read it if you can't handle it.

I don't know if I've said this lately, but these characters are not mine at all.

Absence

Does Not Last Forever

Kagome sat in the silence of the meadow, just breathing in the fresh spring air. She had returned to the past; she had returned to a time that had not been hers originally, but one that had become her own. During her travels throughout ancient Japan, she had acquired a sense that this place had become her home. The three years that she had spent alone in her own time had been difficult to say the least. She had not felt the long-lost connection with those to whom she had previously been close.

Now, she had returned to a time that needed her, to people who truly needed her. She was where someone wanted her. But, what would happen now? There was no jewel to piece back together, no unimaginable foe to vanquish. Would they really be free to live their lives?

As a miko whose powers had become unknown to her, she had begun taking lessons from Kaede. It had been interesting to learn that many of her responsibilities outside of the shrine would actually consist or gathering and using herbs and plants in the medicinal capacity. It was surprising, but she actually felt relieved that her fledgling spiritual powers would not be necessary. This would give her the opportunity to hone her abilities under her own terms without the influence of the Shikon no Tama or Kikyo's reincarnated aura. She would become accustomed to her own aura, to Kagome's aura, and no one else's.

Thus, the girl with the unruly waist-length curls immersed herself in her training with the old miko, Kaede. And, in doing so, she tried to escape the tiny sense of self-deprecation that she had brought with her through the time-skip.

Her own anger did not belong in this place.

And it was this anger that had overcome her initial shock at InuYasha's behavior since her return. He had thoroughly confused her by pulling her close, kissing her with a maddening passion that she had never known him to posses, and then all-but-pushing her away.

Her confusion had faltered when he had done so again a few days later, while she had been gathering a few herbs for Kaede in the woman's little garden at the rear of her home. His eyes had been fierce and hot, but his mouth had been more gentle on hers this time. He tugged her body against his and kissed her long and deep, stealing her breath, before releasing her and stalking away. All she could do was watch the swish of his hair as he strolled away without another word, her hand making its way to her mouth to touch the lips that he had bruised with gentle force.

That was when she had decided to not be alone long enough for him to approach her like that again. Yes, InuYasha was the reason for her return, and she wanted nothing more than to hold him close to her. But, his incessant aloof behavior toward her was disconcerting. When they were in the presence of their friends or other villagers, the hanyou would stand close but not close enough to touch, nor would he meet her eyes. Then, she would find herself alone, and he would descend upon her with soft caresses and warm kisses.

When she had tried to speak to him about his behavior, he had acted like a skittish fawn. He had tensed visibly and acted like he didn't know what she was talking about. It was almost as if he didn't know how to act around her. Did her really not know how to show his affection?

Probably not.

While pondering this out, Kagome had come to the realization that InuYasha was working out his own feelings in his own way, and that he was trying to subtly gauge her own feelings for him. Why couldn't he be straight forward and tell her? That's why she had been so angry and heart-broken when the well had closed in the first place. She had originally thought that he had left her because he no longer needed her, and that had thrown her into a terrible rage.

And that's when she had felt her self-anger twinge.

InuYasha had left her with her family in her own time, and he had been living with the thought of not ever seeing her again. It was only natural for him to be unsure of how to handle their current situation.

He had left her behind because he had cared for her, and she had answered that with anger and rage.

How could she ever forgive herself?

So now, here she was, sitting in the meadow, picking medicinal plants, thinking about the recent scolding she had received from Kaede about how she needed to come to terms with her inner turmoil before she could continue with her training. She knew what she needed to do, but just couldn't bring herself to accomplish her task.

If she told him how angry she had been, would InuYasha forgive her?

She heard the rustle of his fire-rat clothing and looked up to see her hanyou loping along in her direction. He was coming from the forest, which meant that he had been thinking in the high branches of his favorite tree. It was odd that he still loved that tree, even after being pinned to it for fifty years. But, he still spent several hours in or near it each day, as if it soothed some inner ailment.

Kagome caught herself breaking into a shy smile as he came to sit by her side.

"Watcha doin', wench?" His voice was rough like usual but held a note of tenderness that was reserved only for her. The sparkle of his eyes and his relaxed posture made her want to sit like this forever.

"Nothing..You have a leaf.." She reached up and pulled the wayward foliage from his silver tresses. As her hand pulled away, her gripped her wrist and, turning her palm out, brought it to his lips for a light kiss. The sensation jolted Kagome, and for some reason she just had to get away. Her frustration with herself was too much, and she did not deserve his gentle affection right now.

The girl pulled her hand away and swiftly stood, bracing her basket of herbs against her hip. Without meeting his bewildered look, she mumbled that Kaede was waiting for her return. And, without a second glance, she fled toward the village.

InuYasha sat stunned for just a moment. He blinked a few times, trying to clear his head. Why had Kagome run like that?

Of course he had been able to sense the confusion and frustration on her after his first few attempts at being affectionate. He knew that he had been too forward, while not really explaining what he had been doing. He just wanted her close to him, but he was not the kind of person to show his devotion to the public. So, he had waited for her to be alone to show her how much cared for her. But, in his fervor to be close to the object of his desire, he had not taken her feelings into consideration. He knew that she wanted him as well, if her responses to his attentions were to be taken into account. But, she had grown hesitant and even angry.

And, now, she had fled.

No, he wasn't going to let her get away. Not now that she had come back to him. He needed her close to him, and he wanted to tell her that he loved her.

Realization dawned as brightly as the spring afternoon sun. Yes, he needed to talk to Kagome. He more than likely wouldn't say the right words, but he needed to get his intentions across to her. They had to get past this awkwardness if they were going to build a life together.

He smiled, a fang slipping over his bottom lip. And he knew exactly how to get her to listen.

By this time, Kagome had made her way into the village proper. Her attention was completely focused on the conversation that she held with a few of the village men in regards to a purification ceremony that would be held on a vacant lot on which a new hut would be built. This would be Kagome's first opportunity to preside over such a ritual in this time period, and she was rather excited. She spoke animatedly about the preparations until she cut off with a very unladylike squawk.

The villagers with whom she was speaking could not be sure, but they recalled seeing a red and silver blur just before Lady Kagome just disappeared. Kaede assured the men that all was well, and that the lady would be returned soon.

It took several minutes for the miko to realize that she was no longer standing in front of Kaede's hut with a basket of herbs propped against her hip. She was being carried through the forest, while being pressed very intimately against someone's chest. She gripped the soft red fur in a fist and let out a shout that would send the most seasoned sailor running.

"InuYasha, what the hell is going on? Put me down this instant..." She rampaged on as she tried to twist from his grasp. Yeah, it was cool and all to be carried in the hanyou's arms, but not without the slightest hint as to what he was doing.

"Just hold on, wench, we're almost there."

His tone was breathless and concentrated. Obviously, he was moving very fast, and Kagome could only wonder as to how far he was carrying her from the village. That thought brought a whole slew of other not-so-innocent thoughts to her mind, and, by the time they came to a stop, she was blushing furiously enough to match InuYasha's own clothing.

As he released her and allowed her to plant her feet on solid ground, InuYasha caught a whiff of Kagome's arousal and wondered at what had gotten her going. But, almost before he had even had the chance to scent it, the aroma was gone. Okay, time to get serious.

"You should be glad that the subjugation beads quit working while I was gone, or you would be face-deep in a fifty foot crater right now." Okay, not exactly off to a good start.

Kagome steadied herself and moved to pull loose of InuYasha's embrace, but he tightened his hold. When she finally composed herself enough to look him in the eye, her irritated gray gaze was matched with that intense deep bronze look that he had fixed her with so often over the past few weeks. She hesitantly reached up and gripped a side lock.

"What is it, InuYasha?" Her brows furrowed as he kept regarding her with that same hooded stare. "What?" She said more softly. He blinked as if coming out of a daze, then looked at their surroundings.

"Come on, I have something to show you." With that, he released his grip on her body and moved away from her. However, as he turned, he grabbed a hand and tugged her along behind him.

They walked for only a few minutes; not enough time for Kagome to even begin to form a coherent thought. Now was the time to apologize to him for hating him so, but she just did not know how to start. Just as she was about to broach her topic of interest, they came into a small clearing; one that Kagome had never seen before. What she saw there took her breath away.

It was a small hut that had been built very recently. Surely, that hadn't been there before. They hadn't traveled that far from the village, but this one little house was too far from the protection that the multiple other dwellings would offer. She gaped, turning her eyes to see a smug hanyou watching her.

He used the hand that was not holding hers to reach up and tip her chin closed. Her mouth shut with a click of teeth that jarred her from her stupor. Now, she was sputtering. What question to ask first? As if anticipating her reaction, the boy used the hand still on her chin to raise her eyes to this. Again with the molten bronze, only this time they were just a bit misty.

"I built this house for us. This is our home, Kagome." His voice was feather soft and ghosted across her heated cheeks.

InuYasha watched the emotions war within his girl's stormy eyes. He had not told her his intentions as eloquently as she probably deserved, but he had made it as clear as possible what this little house meant to him. He had expected wistfulness, but definitely not tears. And he had not expected her to hug him so hard nor clutch him so close.

Her sobs were not delicate nor were they sweet. This girl cried bitterly, and he feared that he had crossed the line as to where she had expected their relationship to go. He comforted her while she cried, all the while his heart broke. In a swift motion, InuYasha sat himself cross-legged and pulled Kagome into his lap. He stroked her hair over her shoulder and rubbed her back, all while making soothing noises. In time, Kagome stilled, only snuffling softly. She raised her head from his chest and gave his a positively dewy look.

"I-I owe you and apology, InuYasha." He 'kehed' and brushed damp hair from her brow before landing a soft kiss in the same place. "No, really, let me explain." She shifted to where she could place her hands on both shoulders while looking at him squarely. "When you left me and disappeared into the well, I thought the worst of you. I thought that you had deserted me, and I hated you for it." Confusion clouded his sunshine-colored eyes, and she knew he didn't understand. "I hated you, InuYasha. I thought you had left me, and that I was all alone, and that you didn't need..."

She was cut off by a 'shhh' and a claw-tip across her lips.

"I get it," he said softly. "Kagome, it doesn't matter..."

"But, it does, I was so mad..." She was quieted by a tug on one of the jumbled locks of her hair that had fallen over her shoulder.

"I don't care. All that matters is that you're here now. With me."

And he punctuated his sentence with a kiss.

This one was sweet, as if made of honey. He used his mouth and tongue to assuage all of her fears and anger. He held her close and raked his hands through her hair as if it was the finest thing her had ever felt. In time, InuYasha let go, and they both were breathless and panting. He rested his forehead against hers.

"Do you understand what I've been trying to tell you since you came back?" She blinked as her brows furrowed and her eyes went cross at the proximity of his. "I want you with me always, and I can barely contain how much I need you." He leaned back to look into her eyes. "Please, live with me. Be my aite forever?"

The cloudy look that had crept into Kagome's usual sunny disposition disappeared without a trace, and soon a once-lonely inu-hanyou found himself flat on his back being hugged into submission by a fledgling miko. After having his fill of being pushed bodily into the ground, Inuyasha leapt to his feet. In a dazzling display of his demonic grace, he bundled Kagome against him and was walking toward their new home without her realizing that they had left the forest floor.

Once they were safely inside, all pretence that he was at all soft and gentle fell to the wayside, as InuYasha was kissing Kagome within and inch of her life before the door-covering had even fallen back into place. The girl found herself, no longer in her protector's arms, instead she was pushed forcefully against the wall as his hands trailed across her body.

With the way he was kissing her, and the way his hands dominated her body, Kagome realized that she would have no control here. She couldn't find it in herself to really care when she felt his razor-sharp claws ghost along every inch of skin that he could find. It didn't take him long to become impatient with the fact that her priestess robes not only left little to the imagination, but also left little skin bare.

With a growl and a shiver, Kagome found herself devoid of clothing, and InuYasha's hands were on her again. His mouth was hot as he used fang and tongue to tease her body into a near-liquid state. Between his hands and his mouth, it was not long before she was unable to stand on her own as she whimpered and moaned out her pleasure.

In another display of demonic agility, InuYasha finally succumbed to her pleas to be relinquished of her standing position by laying her deftly on a pile of her old blankets and freeing himself of his own clothing in one fell swoop. As the half-demon dropped Tetsusaiga and its hilt on top of his pile of clothing, Kagome had the barest of moments to admire him before he was on her again.

He was still all sleek sinew and hard muscle; if anything had changed over the years, he had gotten more defined and lithe. His silver hair, always unbound, had grown into a mass that fell to the tops of his thighs. She was surprised to see that the thing that had changed the most about the hanyou was the way he carried himself. He was still all arrogance and pride, but now he held a bit of refinement in the fact that he had earned the right to be his father's son by the fact that he had saved the world.

This was all lost, of course, when he very nearly pounced on Kagome in his excitement. He had wanted her for nearly as long as she had wanted him. And now they were here, together forever.

The hanyou tried to pace himself by kissing his girl gently, but she would have none of it. He tried to slow her grinding against him when she began frantically bucking her hips against his for some sort of friction, but she would not be halted. He did not want to hurt her, but she acted as if she didn't fear pain.

"Yasha, please...please." She wanted so desperately to tell him to stop teasing her with his mouth on her breasts, with his claws touching her tender areas, but she couldn't get the words out. A slow grin crept across his face when he noticed how flushed her body was and the lust-induced clouds that had surfaced in her storm-colored eyes.

With no words, only sighs and soft caresses, he entered into her body with a long slow thrust. Kagome sighed a the sensation of being filled, being connected, being his. The gentleness and tenderness of their initial joining was soon forgotten as they took up a rhythm that, in no time, had their bodies clashing together like the tide against a rock wall. Each thrust of their hips was hard and unrelenting, pulling louder and harsher cries than the one before.

All-too-soon, the rhythm faltered as Kagome's body tensed and she let out a keening wail that may have been her lover's name. The sound of her crying out, the look of anguished pleasure in those gray eyes, and the tightness of her sweat-slicked body soon had InuYasha calling out his own release in an exuberant cry of triumph.

They lay together, she on her back, he still cradled between her thighs, basking in the joy of just feeling one another. They drowsed there for some time before both felt the stirrings of more passion. Neither would stop this night, they had been separated for too long.

They did not return to the village that evening, nor for several days after, and when the villagers worried, Kaede assured them that the noises they heard from the woods were not the call of a rabid beast but a tamed one.

finis

According to freedict(dot)com, the word aite translates to partner or companion. I thought it fitting since most other fics use the usual koishi, koibito, anata, aisai...whatever. I wanted something different, and I thought it fitting. If the translation is wrong, please tell me. I really don't want him calling her his 'toilet' or something. Anyways, I do believe this is the end.

Drop me a line and let me know if you enjoyed the ride.

Oh, and some great InuYasha fics to check out are: 'Bound for Tomorrow: Sesshomaru and Rin' by Ravyn Skye, 'Deserted' by Neisha, 'Oh My Gods' by locainlove (absolutely hilarious), 'Pack Law' by psycochick32, 'Someone to Watch Over Me' by WhisperingWolf. And don't forget anything by the talented Fenikkusuken: 'Exchanged', 'Phoenix Blade', and 'Snowbound' and its sequel are absolutely superb writing.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and I'll catch ya in my next one.