AN: This one is a bit longer than the other ones. I had a little trouble writing this one, and I still don't think it came out right. But I didn't do too much damage going into the next stage, so I should be fine. Review if you like.
Stage Six: Obvious
There's no hiding it now. We both know our feelings for each other. But how long can we hide it from the others?
"Ah, there's the fire!" Kagome exclaimed, clapping her hands together in triumph. She had finally learned to build a fire without anyone else's help. She was quite proud of herself; she felt like building a hundred more fires to surround the first one. "Did you see it, Inuyasha?"
"Mmmhmm," he replied, glancing up at her from his current task of sharpening his Tetsusaiga. "Sure."
The girl rose to her feet and pouted, folding her arms over her chest. "Fine. Don't care. But you'll be happy enough when I use that fire to cook your food!"
"Don't worry about him, Kagome," Miroku soothed, reaching out to pat her shoulder. He could feel eyes burning into the back of his head, so he let his hand drop. "I-I'm sure he's proud of you."
"Of course he is," Sango chimed in, kneeling next to Kirara to retrieve her small blades. She found them and sat next to Inuyasha. "And I'm happy for you too."
Kagome smiled wide. "Thank you Sango. At least someone appreciates me."
Inuyasha looked up at her, annoyed. He was becoming tired of the whiny girl. She always wanted attention that he wasn't willing to give. "We all appreciate you. There-- will you let it drop now?"
She giggled. "Thank you. That's all I wanted."
He rolled his eyes as the miko walked away and resumed sharpening his sword. He glanced over at Sango, who sat next to him and started to sharpen her blades too. He scanned the camp to make sure Miroku and Kagome were out of earshot before he whispered, "she is getting on my nerves. If she doesn't leave me alone, I swear --"
Sango gave him a stern look. "Don't talk about Kagome like that. She just wants you to notice when she does something. Clearly she was happy about doing something by herself. You could at least be sincere about congratulating her."
He shook his head. "Why would I congratulate her? Everyone else can make a fire and she's just now learning how to do it. She relies on the rest of us to take care of her just because she can purify demons."
"But that's important."
"We could just kill them and it'd be the same thing. Either way the demon would die. So do we really need her for anything?"
She dropped her blades and balled her fists. "Don't talk like that! We need Kagome here, and just because you don't have feelings for her anymore doesn't mean you can say whatever you want!"
Quickly, he reached out and placed a hand over a shaking fist. "Calm down. I'm not suggesting anything. I'm not saying that she should leave. All I'm saying is that she needs to learn to pull her weight, that's all. Take a breath."
Her glare lingered on his face for a second longer and then she relaxed her hands. "You should have just said that to begin with."
He laughed as he removed his hand to finish his activity. "Probably. But to change the subject, I was thinking that maybe you would like to walk up front with me from now on."
"Why? Is Miroku involved somehow?"
He shook his head and lied. "No, not at all. I just want you up front with me. Let Kagome walk with Mr. Hands."
"I knew it!" she hissed, still trying to keep her voice low. "I knew that you told him something today. So you want me to walk with you so he won't touch me. Is that it?"
He paused to look at her. He grinned. "That's not the only reason."
She immediately turned away from him, face burning. "We can't be hanging around too much together, you know. The others might start suspecting something is going on."
He sighed. "Fine. But I don't want to wait too much longer. I want to tell Kagome now and get her off my back."
"You can't tell her now! Trust me; doing it now will be too early."
"If you say so..."
"What do you think they're talking about?" Kagome whispered to Miroku from the other side of the campsite.
He shrugged. "I have no idea. But I'm sure it's about killing demons or something like that. It seems to be all they ever talk about."
She rested her chin on her drawn up knees. "I bet their conversations are more heartfelt than the ones he has with me. He acts like he doesn't ever want to talk to me."
Miroku took a seat next to his lamenting friend. "I really don't know what to tell you. Maybe Inuyasha's just going through something right now."
Kagome continued to watch the pair talking and gasped when she saw the hanyou touch her friend's hand. "What the hell is he doing?"
Miroku followed her gaze and his mouth dropped open. "What the hell is he doing? Why didn't she hit him?"
"Exactly! And why is he laughing? He never laughs when he talks to me!"
"And she's blushing... what could they possibly be talking about?"
"I don't know, but I'm going to go find out!" Kagome growled through clenched teeth. She started to stand until Miroku stopped her. "What?"
He rubbed his chin. "It all makes sense now."
"What are you talking about?"
"Earlier today," he continued, tapping his chin now. "Sango slapped me, and then Inuyasha wanted to talk to me alone. So he sent Sango to walk with you and ... we talked."
Kagome looked at him curiously. "What did he say?"
He gulped. Just thinking about it made him shiver. "He told me that if I ever touched Sango again, then he'd kick me out of the group and let Naraku find me. At first I didn't understand why he was so mad, but now it makes sense..."
"You don't think that Inuyasha and Sango are...?"
He gave her a grave nod. His usually vibrant violet eyes were tinged with grey. She could tell his realization had been developing within himself for a while, and his conclusion was one he didn't want to draw. "I do. I mean, why else would he threaten me like that? He never cared before."
The miko shook her head, her hair flying everywhere. "I won't accept this! Sango wouldn't betray me like this! She's my best friend."
Her eyes watered over and a pair of tears fell from them. She sniffed, "they are, aren't they?"
AN: Aww... Kagome's in pain. She'll find someone... eventually. Review if you like.