Silver hair glowed in the moonlight, occasionally lifting as the wind blew. Twin puppy-like ears were trained in the direction of the forest; his golden eyes sharp as he waited for movement of any kind. His eyebrows were set in a furrow as his jaw was locked and set. No one wanted to interfere with the irate hanyou this night. The worried glances of his comrades did not go unnoticed by the male; Inuyasha was attuned to everything and everyone at this particular moment, and had been for the past hour. A growl escaped his throat, causing everyone to flinch before the feral male jumped down from his twisted perch and headed into the forest.
"Sango-chan?" A tiny voice was heard at two of the group's feet. The woman in question looked down at the tiny redheaded kitsune. His emerald eyes were alight with worry as a tiny hand clutched Sango's kimono. "Is Kagome-chan going to be okay? Inuyasha seems pretty angry this time…"
Sango sighed and picked up the tiny fox-child, hugging him to her chest. "I'm sure she will be just fine Shippou-chan. Inuyasha is just worried about her." As much as the young woman tried to convince the tiny child that everything was going to be okay, she herself could not help but worry. Kagome had left the group an hour ago, saying that she was going for a walk, and she had yet to return. She had promised the hanyou that she would bring her bow and arrows and call for help if need be. She never took this long for a walk though, and after Inuyasha realized this, he began to grow agitated. The entire group watched on as he grew more and more frustrated. He could neither smell her nor hear her, and he was almost certain she had left his ranges on purpose. The thought she had willingly left to be unprotected most certainly wounded him, but the monk had told him to wait for her return, that she merely needed time to think. Obviously, Inuyasha could wait no longer.
He stalked through the underbrush, following her dying scent in a straight path to the other side of the forest. With each passing step he grew more and more enraged. She was much more out of range than he originally thought! The wench had gone at least twice the distance. Twigs and branches hit his cloth of the firerat hakama and haori, some hard enough to inflict minor damage to his skin had he not been wearing any sort of protection from the attacks. A frown marred his face as he picked up the faint scent of blood off some of the thorny branches. Immediately recognizing the scent, Inuyasha began to subconsciously pick up his pace. Kagome was now hurt and left unprotected; any youkai could easily make her a worry-free target.
"Dammit Kagome…" He growled under his breath. If anything happened to that miko of his…
By the time he reached the clearing his stress levels were as high as they could get. Quickly, he scanned the area for any traces of youkai, and was pleased to find none. Although as soon as he realized the young girl was in no immediate danger, his stress turned into rage. He saw that she sat on top of the hill, her black tresses shone wherever the moonlight had hit the raven locks. She was hugging her long, creamy legs to her chest, looking up towards the night sky, the angle causing her skirt to ride up a little more than usual. Her face though was what startled him. Instead of the normally happy and carefree girl he travelled with, this woman held the eyes of someone who had suffered, pained, and lost many. Eyebrows were left upturned; her lips slightly parted as he saw a shimmering trail run down her cheek. Her skin was aglow in the late night, and despite himself, Inuyasha could not help but think of her as absolutely stunning at this moment, despite her saddened features.
"You took longer than I thought you would. I half expected you to be there the moment I left your range." The boy huffed and fixed a glare on the woman, stomping his way over to her.
"You shouldn't have left them in the first place wench! What the hell were you thinking?! If you needed time to think you could have just gone to the glade by the campsite!" Kagome then turned to him and sighed, not bothering to hide the whirlwind of emotions that lay beneath her mocha eyes.
"Baka, if I had gone to the glade you wouldn't have followed me, and we most certainly wouldn't have been alone. Face it, Miroku-sama and Sango-chan love to spy on us." He had to give the girl credit; she was both tactful and resourceful, albeit stupid. Sighing as he let all of his frustration seep out of him, the brash hanyou sat down next to the young miko. Rather than stay on a dead subject, he turned it onto a new angle, the quiet night more peaceful to his senses than normal. Before he could even get his irate statement out however, Kagome decided to add onto her defense. "And by the way baka, there's a barrier up. No youkai could get to me even if they tried. Kaede-baa-chan taught me how in case you weren't there to protect me."
Inuyasha scoffed, when the hell did she have time to learn how to build a barrier?
"Keh. Wasn't gonna…" He turned his attention to the sky, thinking back to when he had still been a pup. His mother had loved to take him out stargazing, saying somewhere; his father was up among the stars. He hadn't even bothered to look up at the blasted things after his mother had died; he spent too much time worrying about his own hide to enjoy the pleasantries of life. But Kagome on the other hand… "So, what made you want to bring me all the way out here? I know for a fact it ain't to confess your undying love for me…" Kagome immediately turned bright red and turned her gaze from him. He had said it in a joking manner, but he had hit a little too close to her actual feelings for him than she'd like.
"No, Inuyasha." Kagome sighed, attempting to calm her reddened cheeks before following Inuyasha's gaze. "Have you ever felt like you don't belong anywhere?" The hanyou blanched, completely thrown off guard by her question.
"It's not like people open me with welcome arms!" he turned his gaze to the ground, his face full of disgust; towards whom, not even he was sure. "I don't belong in either world. The youkai shun me; try to kill me because of my ningen blood. Ningen are disgusted, even frightened, by the youkai in my veins. Until Kikyou, no one had shown me an inch of kindness besides my mother." The wind chose the moment Kagome turned to look at him to pick up, her lonely features only heightened by her hair flying around her elegantly. She looked so lost, so fragile in that one moment, that it took all of the hanyou's willpower not to pull her into his lap and shelter her from anything and everything that would ever cause her pain.
"You and I aren't so different Inuyasha…" That statement confused him. How were they not complete opposites? She had a home, friends, and happy memories. She belonged everywhere she went, bringing joy to those around her. People never shunned her - in fact, they respected her for her miko abilities… how could she not belong?
"We aren't the same in the retrospect of lifestyle, Inuyasha, cause I know that's what's running through your thick skull." She gave his skull a quick poke to drive the message home for good measure. Kagome had watched while he tried to decipher her hidden meanings and understand where she was going with this. She sighed once more, her eyes downcast, not willing herself to hold Inuyasha's gaze, and chose instead to fiddle with the grass at her side.
"I don't belong in either world, either. I mean let's face it. I may have been born in the future, but I've seen so much more excitement and adventure here than any other there has ever even dreamed of. And I've missed so much school… there's no way I would be able to get a good career and live comfortably. Life on that side of the well would be…well… boring. But on the other hand-" She stopped fiddling at this point, her arms coming back to cross over her shins. "I don't belong here, either. I haven't grown up to know how to tend to the rice fields, or become a trained miko. I can sew by machine, not machine, and cook over a stove better than over a fire. I can complain better than I can fight. Inuyasha, I don't belong anywhere…"
It took a while for the hanyou to take everything in. He had never thought of it that way before. In a way, both of them were misfits in worlds that wouldn't accept them. If Kagome went back and tried to explain why she was absent from school so much, in a time where youkai didn't exist, people would most definitely see her as crazy. She was too modernized though, being used to her strange clothing and magic objects of the future.
Finally, after thinking in silence while Kagome fidgeted, he came up with a solution. "You're right wench; you don't belong in either world." Brown orbs widened in shock as a gasp escaped the young girl's lips. "If I don't belong, what makes you think you do, stupid?" He watched the gears turn in her head, heat coming to her cheeks. "You belong with me, wench." He quietly wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer to him, resting a cheek on top of her raven tresses. "You'll always have a place by my side." In such a rare moment where Inuyasha allowed her to peer into his heart, Kagome could do nothing more than smile and cuddle up closer. His words never rang false; they always did better when they were together. He gathered his strength from her, and she, courage from him. They understood each other better than anyone else ever could, almost to the point of reading each other's minds. They were perfect, and they belonged. Sure, it wasn't the heartfelt confession she had been dreaming of, but when was Inuyasha ever mushy?
"Always. It kind of has a ring to it, doesn't it?" She could feel the smile on his face as he nodded against her hair.
"Yeah, it sure does."
A/N - I never liked how stiff this one felt - Kagome sounded too much like Kikyou in moments. Anyways, enjoy the re-write!