Kagome wandered alone through the forest. She was rather alone these days. After they had killed Naraku, the well had ceased to work anymore. InuYasha had rejoined Kikyo and Kagome hadn't seen them since that night they left together. Kagome had gotten her heart broken and been abandoned by everyone. Oh she put on a good face, Miroku and Sango thought she was perfectly content in her own time, and Shippo had gone off on his own to search for any of his family left. So here Kagome had stayed for almost five years.

"Oh Kagome," she whispered to herself. "How pathetic you are." She stubbed her toe suddenly, falling to her knees with a gasp. "What did I trip over…?" She looked back behind her and cringed. It was a snake demon, head now raised, and glowing red eyes glaring back at her for disturbing him. His mouth stretched open in a hiss, fangs lowering. Kagome reached slowly behind her for an arrow, concentrating her energy into it to kill the demon. But he was quicker, Kagome screamed as pain pierced her calf. The demon simply slithered away, his damage was done.

"Help…" she rasped. "Someone help me." But she knew no one would come. She was alone now. Kagome started to cry as her vision started blacking out. She thought she heard someone call her name but wrote it off as a pathetic attempt of her subconscious to make her feel better in her dying moments. "What a way to end it all," she whimpered, and then blacked out.

Kagome groaned as she came to. There was a throbbing in her leg but she wasn't dead and she was very confused. She could tell there was fur underneath her, her fingers stretched and clenched in the soft blanket. It felt nice, almost pleasurable; her own bed at Kaede's wasn't nearly as soft. She didn't open her eyes yet for fear it was a dream or she really was dead.

"Kagome?" a voice asked. They sounded worried, this voice from her subconscious.

"I need to stop being so pathetic," she muttered.

"What are you talking about? Please open your eyes." Kagome blinked a few times, trying to get the sleep out of her eyes. Crystal blues were looking back at her, dark brown bangs hanging limply across his forehead.

"Kouga?" she whimpered. "How? What?" She couldn't get the right words to come out and tears clouded her vision. She hadn't seen anyone from her past in so long it was like a dream. Kouga only looked confused and was stuck between wanting to hold her or leave her be. He finally reached down, cradling her gently into his arms as she sobbed into his chest. His usual sleeked back hairstyle was let loose and his hair hung around the both of them. Kagome finally cried herself to sleep against him, fingers twined in his hair, eyes and nose red. Kouga stroked her cheek gently.

"What happened to you," he whispered softly, and lay her back down in the blankets. He didn't move far from her, he had a feeling she'd be having bad dreams tonight.

When Kagome woke again she felt a little more put together. The pain in her leg she could hardly feel anymore and a warm presence was at her back. She remembered that Kouga had found her and felt okay with the idea for now. Kouga was asleep she could tell that much. His slow calm breathing was warm against her neck and made her shiver. She readjusted herself slightly, her leg having tightened up from lying too long. She heard Kouga's breathing increase, and his arms tightened around her gently.

"You okay?" he asked sleepily. Kagome only nodded, tightening herself into a ball. Kouga got up carefully and went to a door nearby, pulling back a mat and speaking to someone right outside the door. Kagome took the opportunity to look around her. Kouga's bedroom was fairly plain. There were a few chests against one wall and fur lined the large dais she was laying on. A large net appeared to be hanging from the ceiling above her, probably as some sort of privacy curtain or maybe just to keep the bugs out during the summer she wasn't certain.

Some small trinkets lined a sort of rock shelf behind the bed. Some wooden figures and pretty stones. One of the figures she thought looked like her but maybe she was just delusional from the snake bite still. Kouga took that moment to rejoin her in the bed, helping her sit up.

"I have food for you. You should eat," he urged gently. Kagome was surprised to see that he had even remembered to cook it first.

"Thank you," she said softly, accepting the plate from him. He watched her intently as she picked at the food. Making sure she ate at least some of it. "Are there hot springs near here?" she asked after a while. Kouga smiled to see some life in her and nodded fervently.

"Do you want to go right now?" he asked, almost a bounce in his step as he got to his feet. Kagome smiled back at him, something she hadn't done in a while and nodded, letting him help her to her feet. "I'll grab some things for you on the way. I can get you one of the furred robes like the women wear too. Your clothes are kind of dirty. She smiled at his enthusiasm, letting him drag her by the hand to the hot springs.

Kagome giggled to herself. Kouga had missed nothing when it came to her bath. He'd sent a few other wolf demon girls to keep her company, bearing soaps and shampoos for her hair. There were even towels of the softest fabric she'd ever felt. The wolf girls were chatty and fun to be in the presence of though Kagome didn't chat so much herself. They didn't seem to mind her silence and only filled it with more laughter. Kagome found herself laughing with them. They were all young, pretty, and had much to talk about when it came to boys. They were all at the age where they were starting to seek out mates. Kagome briefly wondered if part of that was Kouga's doing as well. Kagome sighed to herself, thinking all this joy would surely end soon. Kouga would toss her aside soon too. One of the girls, Kurugi, noticed Kagome's sadness and started brushing her hair gently.

"Don't be sad Kagome-chan," she said softly. "Kouga-sama wants you to be happy. We want you to be happy." Another of the girls came over and helped Kurugi pin Kagome's hair up. Kagome smiled up at Kurugi in thanks and received a smile in return.

"You three make it awfully hard to be depressed," Kagome giggled. Kurugi, Oki, and Tomo all helped her get dressed and presentable again then left her at the door to Kouga's room. She stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, not sure if she should enter or not.

"Will you just come in?" a teasing voice called from the other side of the door. "You're making me anxious just standing there." Kagome smiled to herself and pulled the mat aside. Kouga was lying on his stomach on the dais, legs swaying slowly back and forth and tail twitching. He seemed to be playing with the trinkets on the shelf but he looked back at Kagome when she stepped in.

"Don't you look better," he teased, poking his tongue out at her. Kagome's cheeks flushed slightly and she stood there awkwardly, not sure what to do. "Come over here," he said gently, hand held out toward her. He'd rolled onto his back and looked like a big puppy. His tail swished rhythmically back and forth and his hair was loose again, lying out beside him. Kagome approached him hesitantly, sitting down on the ground beside him. He curled onto his side, nuzzling his face against her knee. "You look good in the fur," he chuckled. "The girls did your hair I'm assuming?" Kagome nodded, not quite sure how to take this big puppy curling around her. She flinched when his hands were suddenly cupping her face and pulled her down near his own. "What happened to my beautiful Kagome? Why is she so sad?" Kagome closed her eyes for a moment, trying to keep the tears back.

"After we beat Naraku…" she started. "Everyone was so happy. Sango and Miroku went back to the Demon Slayer village. Sango had Kohaku and Miroku had Sango. They were all happy together. Kikyo was also free when Naraku was killed. InuYasha went back to her. Shippo went on a journey to look for any of his family that may have survived. Everyone left me heartbroken and alone. Unable to go back to my own family. I've been alone for five years Kouga," she started to cry and let him wrap his arms around her. "I don't know if I know how to be happy anymore."

"Shh…" he whispered, rubbing her back and running his fingers through her hair.

"Kouga-sama?" a soft voice whispered from the doorway. Kagome rubbed her face as dry as she could and looked up at Kurugi who looked concerned and frightened.

"Yes Kurugi?" Kouga asked, a bit of a snap to his voice.

"Beg your pardon sir, but there is a man who wants to see you. A fox demon sir," she answered quickly. Kagome pulled away from Kouga and got to her feet.

"Thanks Kurugi, he'll be out in a minute," she answered for Kouga. Kurugi ran off quickly and Kagome turned to Kouga. "You'd best go take care of your princely duties." Kouga got to his feet slowly, and took a step towards her. He reached out and pulled her closer, placing a firm kiss on her forehead before stepping around her and out to the main cavern. Kagome was stunned a moment, fingers grazing her forehead where he'd kissed her. She was interrupted from her musings when Kurugi stuck her head back in the door.

"Kouga-sama says you should come out here Kagome-chan," Kurugi said hurriedly, grabbing Kagome's arm and pulling her out. She was hurried to the bonfire where a tall skinny man stood in the shadows.

"Kagome?" the man squeaked in disbelief. Kagome squinted in confusion when she was suddenly tackled in a hug. She was sure she heard Kouga growl but ignored it for now. "Kagome it's me! It's Shippo! I've missed you so much I thought you went back home!"

"Shippo?" she whimpered in disbelief. He looked up at her then and Kagome took in the changes in the boy. He was a young man now. Demons aged quickly through their childhood and teenage years she knew but she still couldn't believe it. His sparkling green eyes were still the same, his sandy hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. A long poufy tail swished happily behind him, the tip dirty from where it dragged the ground. Kouga took that moment to pull Shippo off of her so she could breathe at least. "How did you find me here?" she whimpered.

"I stopped by to see Grandma Kaede and she said you had been living there all this time but you had disappeared a couple days ago. I scouted the woods and found the very faint trail of your blood and Kouga. Eri and I followed it here," Shippo said proudly.

"Who's Eri?" Kagome asked confusedly.

Shippo looked embarrassed now and gestured behind him. A pretty young fox girl came forward shyly and offered a paw to Kagome.

"I'm Eri," she introduced. "I've heard lots about you. I'm Shippo's mate. Kagome balked, looking back and forth between Shippo and Eri.

"Mate?" she questioned. Shippo was blushing but nodded.

"It's not that strange Kagome," Kouga said suddenly. He'd snuck up behind her, a hand resting at her lower back. "Most demons have mates by Shippo's age." Kagome looked back at Kouga to find him flushed slightly and looking at the ground. She heard some soft giggling from nearby and glared at Kurugi in the shadows. She turned back to Eri and Shippo, putting a smile on her face.

"She's so pretty Shippo," she managed finally. "I'm happy for you." Shippo grinned back at her, happy for the compliment. Eri smiled too, taking Shippo's hand.

"So what are you doing here anyways?" Shippo asked, unconsciously pulling Eri into his side. Kagome tried to hold back the grimace of pain and forced the smile back on her face.

"A snake demon bit me in the woods, that's why you smelled my blood," she started to explain. "I gave up all hope and blacked out, and that's where Kouga found me. When I woke up I was here and he had treated my wound. I'm not for sure what I plan to do after this. I will probably end up back at Kaede's." Kagome was confused when she felt tension at her back as Kouga twisted his hand into her top.

"Of course Kagome can stay as long as she needs to," he growled, releasing her and scuffing away. Kagome looked after him, worried; she didn't know why he was so upset. Of course he would want to get rid of her as soon as was possible. He leapt through the waterfall, Ginta and Hakkaku running after him dutifully.

"Kagome…" Shippo sighed, shaking his head at her like she was the child.

"I think Shippo means you should go talk to him," Eri offered with a gentle smile. "He's upset that you plan on leaving so soon. Go see him. We can wait here; we've been offered a bed for the night. Besides these wolves intrigue me I'd like to talk to them more."

Kagome smiled slightly at Eri's inquisitive nature as she dragged Shippo off, and then headed toward the entrance to the cave. She jumped through the waterfall as quickly as she could, still managing to get soaked in the process. Ginta and Hakkaku were nearby on a large rock, sitting with their heads together. She could hear crashing sounds in the trees and headed in that direction with a determined step.

"Uh sister…" Ginta called hesitantly. "You may want to give him a few."

"He's letting off some steam," Hakkaku added. "You may get hurt if you go too close." Kagome sighed but went over to the two brothers, making herself comfortable in the space they offered between them. It was chilly out tonight and her wet furs didn't help.

"Why is he so angry?" she asked the two after a while sitting in silence listening to the crashing of Kouga's frustration.

"He doesn't like seeing you sad sister," Hakkaku explained.

"And when you said you were going back to that village to be alone and miserable again it hurt his feelings," Ginta continued. "Kouga-sama wants you to be happy here. He's been trying so hard to make you smile sister." Hakkaku nuzzled against her shoulder in agreement with his brother.

"I figured he'd want to get rid of me like everyone else does as soon as I was able to walk all the way," Kagome muttered, finding herself enjoying the family feeling of these two wolves. She realized the crashing sounds had slowed and eased her body off the rock carefully. Her leg had fallen asleep from sitting so long. "I'm going to go check on him," she told the two softly and trotted off towards the trees.

She picked her way carefully through the woods. There were smashed trunks and branches littering the ground and she followed the trail of destruction in hopes of finding Kouga. A hand snaked out and grabbed her arm suddenly, making her yelp until she saw the sad blue eyes glowing gently in the dark. He stepped out from his hiding place so she could see him in the moonlight filtering down and she gasped. His arms were bloody and scratches scathed his chest and one cheek.

"Kouga what did you do?" she eeped, looking around frantically like some bandages would appear.

"It's nothing," he muttered, letting her go and dropping to the ground to lean against a nearby tree. Kagome crouched down next to him, brushing his bangs back from his face. Strands were getting stuck there in his cuts and he winced as they were pulled out.

"Kouga I'm so sorry," she said hurriedly. "Ginta and Hakkaku said you were mad at me." Kouga snarled, one fang falling over his lip.

"I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at myself," he growled. "Mad that I can't make you happy enough that you'd rather stay here then go back to being alone. I want to take care of you and make you happy Kagome. Happy like Eri makes Shippo." Kagome realized tears were gathering in her eyes and she wiped furiously at them, but Kouga caught her hand and pulled her down closer. "What can I do to make you happy Kagome?"

Her face was dangerously close to his and she could smell his musky scent. Not bad, it was a mixture of the woods and sweat and the scent only Kouga could produce. She let herself drown in it a moment, enjoying it, eyes closed as she breathed him in. She could feel the heat from his body as he drew closer, nose nuzzling against hers. "Please Kagome," he whimpered. "Tell me what I can do." She shuddered at his closeness, bad memories sprouting into her mind and pulled away from him with a whimper. "Kagome," he whispered, reaching a hand out to stroke her cheek. "I won't hurt you like he did. I promise you that. You can trust me."

"We should go back," she finally choked. "I need to bandage your wounds." Kouga sighed but got to his feet, pulling her with him. He didn't release her hand as they walked back towards the cave, his thumb rubbing circles on the back of hers.

"Kouga," she whispered before they reached the tree line, pulling on his hand to stop him. He looked back at her curiously, blue eyes sparkling in the dark. "I can't do this quickly. I've been hurt bad. It will take time and patience."

"I have all the time in the world Kagome-chan," he whispered back, pulling her closer and kissing her forehead gently. She shivered but let him. Kouga said he wouldn't hurt her.

When they got back to the cave the wolves had started some dancing ceremony of sorts and Kagome smiled to see Eri streaked with the wolves face paint and dancing as happily as the other young wolves in the circle. Shippo stood outside of the dancing circle but seemed just as happy watching the girl dance. Kouga quickly got dragged into the dancing and Kagome went to join Shippo. She smiled watching him dance next to the others. He was agile and smooth as big as he was, and Kagome momentarily entertained the idea of how InuYasha would have danced. Certainly awkward and jerky she thought. The thought burned a bit though so she turned her attention back to Kouga. He caught her eye, a huge smile on his face and laughed as Eri caught one of his arms in a spin. She gestured from the rest of the wolves dancing that this was some sort of dance to impress the opposite sex. Kouga and Eri appeared to just be dancing for the thrill of dancing. She smiled to see Kurugi and Oki dancing in the circle too. Many males were watching in interest she was happy to see.

Slowly people wandered off, many hand in hand with others. Eri came to gather Shippo toward the bonfire and they sat close together, arms wrapped around the other. The pained feeling in her stomach came back and her legs got weak. She crouched down, arms wrapping around her shins, tucking her face between her knees. "Alone again," she whispered to herself. She eeped when arms wrapped around her, one behind her back and another under her legs, lifting her from the ground.

"Kagome," he simply whispered, nuzzling his face against hers. Kagome wrapped her arms around Kouga's broad neck, letting him comfort her as he carried her towards the fire where people had gathered. He sat with her cradled in his lap, face nestled into her neck. "Listen," he mumbled against her neck. "The elders are going to tell stories of our tribe."

Kagome looked to an older man being helped to his feet on the other side of the fire. He was straightening his pelt and leaned heavily on a gnarled old walking stick. As he started his story Kouga rested his chin comfortably on Kagome's shoulder, cheek to cheek. She didn't mind, she could smell his scent really well this way. Something that seemed to relax her. The old youkai had started with the birth of the wolf demons and how they'd come to be. Interesting but obviously one every person in the tribe knew by heart because he quickly moved on to another story. The story of Kouga taking over the tribe. Kagome listened intently; she'd never heard how Kouga had come to be the leader. Kouga bristled behind her, he obviously wasn't fond of stories about him but Kagome found it fascinating. The elder told one more story after Kouga's and a chorus of howls seemed to end the story telling. Kagome could hear Eri adding her own chorus of yip to the sound that echoed through the cavern and giggled to herself.

"Are you ready for bed?" Kouga whispered in her ear, making Kagome jump. She'd been so comfortable she'd totally forgotten she was cradled in Kouga's lap. She nodded shyly, trying to mask her yawn but he chuckled and got to his feet. He carried her towards his room, exchanging good nights with many people that walked by as they went.

"Kouga?" Kagome whispered. "Do you like being the leader of the tribe?" Kouga chuckled to himself, nodding to another man that went by.

"It has its offs and ons," he explained slowly. "I like protecting my people, but there are things that are required of me too."

"Like what?"

"The elders have been after me for a long time about finding a mate," he grumbled. "It's not right that I have gone so long without one they say."

"Oh," Kagome said softly.

"I do what I want and take my own time though," Kouga snapped to himself. "No one tells me what to do or how to live my life." He had reached his room by the time he was done with his rant and quickly lay Kagome down on the dais, pulling some fur blankets over towards her for warmth. He started to leave and Kagome let a whimper escape her throat.

"Where are you going?" she asked confusedly, looking around like someone was waiting to jump out at her.

"If you want me to stay I will," Kouga answered with a gentle smile. "I didn't know if you'd want me to or not." Kagome lifted her hand out, reaching for him and pulled it back quickly like she was embarrassed. Kouga chuckled and made his way over to the dais, settling himself down beside her. "Come," he whispered huskily, pulling her back against him. She stiffened at first, and then let herself relax in his hold even when his lips grazed her neck gingerly. She enjoyed his gentle touches and let herself drown in his scent again. He smelled glorious and she found her own hands tracing the contours of his arms. The sinewy muscle there was tight and felt protective around her. She wondered for a moment what his other muscles felt like. She'd never seen him with his leathery armor off and found herself blushing at the pictures in her mind. She heard Kouga chuckle softly, probably at her flushing cheeks. His lips grazed her neck more now, and she could feel the flick of his tongue every now and then. She tried to suppress the moan building in her throat, but his affections were becoming more fervent, moving down to kiss her collar bone too. One hand was splayed across her stomach, caressing the soft skin. He turned her over with one quick tug so he could have better access to her neck, working his way up the other side now. Kagome found herself tugging at his armor, wanting to see for herself the muscle there. Kouga laughed softly, pulling the armor over his head. Her hands grazed his abdomen, the muscle tightening at her touch.

"Kouga," she whimpered, when the ground shook suddenly underneath them. Rocks fell from the ceiling and she screeched as Kouga yanked her up and against the wall where he could shelter her from the debris. "What was that?" she yelped, hanging onto Kouga tightly. Once the rocks had stopped falling he pulled her towards the door where they could hear yelling from the main cavern. Men were crowded around the entrance with spears and other weapons, yelling at whoever had made the disturbance. A snarl ripped through Kouga's throat suddenly, scaring Kagome. She had never heard Kouga like this.

"Kurugi!" he snapped. Kurugi came running towards them, taking Kagome into her more gentle arms. "Watch over her while I take care of this." Kurugi nodded and that's when Kagome heard the voice.

"Get back or I'll wind scar you again you mangy flea bags!" Kagome felt her knees collapsing and Kurugi kept her from crashing into the ground.

"InuYasha," she whimpered.

"Kouga!" she heard him snarl. "Where is she?"

"You don't need to worry about it. You made your choice and now she's in more capable hands," Kouga growled.

"She's not staying with a mangy flea bag," InuYasha snapped back. "She doesn't belong to you."

"And she doesn't belong to you either!" Kouga roared. Kagome was getting scared. She'd never heard such anger from the wolf. She realized she was crying and Kurugi was whispering comforting words to her.

"Don't worry Kagome-chan," she was whispering hurriedly. "Kouga-sama will take care of him. He'll take care of you, you don't have to worry." She heard the clanging of weapons and looked up to see a group of wolves go flying as InuYasha swung Tetsuiga around.

"InuYasha!" she found herself crying out in horror and saw the flick of gold as he saw where she was. He went leaping towards her and Kagome cringed back into Kurugi's arms in fear. She heard a crash and looked up to see Kouga in front of them, holding InuYasha back.

"Don't you go near her," he snarled, his eyes flashing red, fangs dripping. InuYasha even looked surprised. He'd never seen Kouga to this point and he faltered back a moment, giving Kouga the chance to shove him away. InuYasha pulled Tetsuiga up in front of him and Kagome found herself pushing out of Kurugi's arms and throwing herself around Kouga's waist. Kouga looked down at her in confusion, eyes still red in anger.

"Please no Kouga," she cried. "Please don't fight with him. I don't want you to get hurt." She started sobbing and Kouga's eyes flickered back to their normal blue.

"Kagome?" InuYasha whimpered.

"Don't even talk to her," Kouga snapped. "You've hurt her enough already."

"InuYasha…" Shippo whispered, a few feet behind the dog demon. "I think you should go." InuYasha glared back at the fox, obviously confused why he was there as well. "I don't know what you're trying to accomplish here but she's terrified. You're doing more damage than good."

"Being here will do her damage," InuYasha snapped, but he dropped Tetsuiga to the ground with a thud. "I… I had no idea…." He said softly. "I thought she'd gone back…"

"You made your choice InuYasha," Shippo said sternly. "Before she even left." InuYasha's face dropped, his bangs obscuring his eyes but he put Tetsuiga in its sheath.

"Please Kagome," he whispered. "I can explain."

"Just go," Kagome cried. "Please just go. I can't. Nothing will ever fix what you did to me." Kouga pulled her up off the ground, wrapping his arms around her so she could bury her face in his bare chest. InuYasha sighed heavily but turned, the crowd parting as he made his way back to the entrance. Kouga took Kagome to Shippo, transferring her to his arms before following InuYasha's path.

"Kouga?" Shippo questioned softly. Kagome was looking at him too with scared eyes.

"I won't fight with him," Kouga reassured. "I only want to talk." Kagome still looked doubtful but Shippo nodded.

Kouga found InuYasha right outside the waterfall, staring down into the river. "I figured you would follow me," he said softly.

"You have no idea what you did to her," Kouga said simply. "Do you know how long it took me just to make her smile and mean it?" InuYasha's eyes closed painfully. "She's recovering. Very, very slowly but she is. Don't ruin this for her."

"I know," he whispered. Kouga saw a flash of light from the tree line and saw Kikyo standing there watching.

"I don't even know why you came here," Kouga muttered. "You have your woman. Are you so greedy you want both?" InuYasha's lips drew back in a grimace and he turned toward Kikyo.

"We're going," InuYasha grumbled and set off towards the trees. Kikyo took his hand when he reached her, whispering hurriedly as she looked back before they disappeared into the woods. Kouga sighed but stepped back into the cave and was almost instantly tackled by a quivering small body.

"I was so scared," she cried. Kouga wrapped his arms around her, pressing his face into her hair.

"It's okay kitten," he whispered. "I'm sorry I lost control. That never happens. Don't you ever come near me again if it does happen though. I could hurt you on accident."

"You'd never hurt me," Kagome said fervently. "I know it." Kouga pulled her face up to his and kissed her forehead gently. "Let's go to bed," he suggested, pulling her after him. Around them others were settling back down. They hadn't been the only ones interrupted. Kagome sighed, wishing she could go back to that moment so easily. She was still shaken from the ordeal and only wanted sleep.

Kagome woke alone and tried not to panic. Surely Kouga was just out taking care of things with his tribe. He was the leader after all. She decided to look through his trinkets to keep herself occupied. There were lots of glittery rocks, a few quartz and genomes mixed in sitting next to the wooden sculptures. Some were very simple animals, probably made by children, and then others were very realistic carvings of people. She found the one that she thought had looked like her and picked it up gingerly.

"I made that one," a voice said behind her. Kagome almost dropped the figure in surprise and looked back at Kouga standing in the doorway. "It's my favorite." Kagome nodded thoughtfully and put the figure back. "Do you want to go spend time with the girls today?" he asked. "You could go to the hot springs again." Kagome nodded with a smile. She would enjoy spending time with Kurugi today.

Kagome laughed and splashed Oki back. The girls had started a water fight in the springs and had sent many elders away grumbling. Once the area was relatively clear the girls settled comfortably on some rock benches in the more shallow area and started talking.

"How are you and Kouga-sama doing Kagome-chan," Oki asked innocently, smacking the water's surface gently with the palms of her hands. Kagome flushed, looking down at her reflection in the water.

"Fine I suppose," she mumbled, running her fingers through her hair. "Kouga is good to me."

"How good?" Tomo snickered. Kagome's whole face turned red and the girls laughed.

"Are you letting him in yet Kagome?" Kurugi asked gently, floating on her back nearby. "Kouga-sama just wants in that mind of yours. He wants to know what he can do to help."

"I'm trying," Kagome whispered. "I'm opening up slowly. It's just hard, it hurts."

"What about you Kurugi-chan?" Oki asked suddenly, giving Kagome a chance to calm herself. "I saw you with Hakkaku-san last night," she giggled.

"Hakkaku?" Kagome squealed. "You were with Hakkaku?"

"Shush Kagome-chan," Kurugi pleaded. "And yes I was. I like Hakkaku-san. He's nice and protective and treats me well." Kagome giggled with the others. She knew Kouga would be happy to see one of his closest friends happy with a mate.

"He'd be happier with a mate of his own," she thought to herself and felt the sadness creeping in. "Maybe I should leave and give him a chance to find a mate of his some broken human girl. I'm useless to him." Kagome put her fake face on until they had finished the bath, resigned to what she had to do. She bid farewell to the girls and made her way to Kouga's room hoping he was out. She quickly found her old clothes and changed into them, gathering a few food items on her way to the cave entrance. She got confirmation on the way out that Kouga had gone out on the hunt with the males and sighed in relief. At least she could slip out unnoticed.

Kagome ran through the trees, not sure why she was running but the pain didn't hurt so much when she ran like this. She was starting to lose her stamina, the air came in harsher and burned her throat but she kept running. That is until she ran into something quite solid and fell to the ground with a yelp. She looked up and gasped.

"Sesshomaru?" she yelped in surprise. Everyone from her past seemed to want to jump into her life this week.

"Are you all right Kagome-chan?" a young girl asked from behind Sesshomaru. Her purple eyes were familiar but a long black tail was wound in her arms.

"Rin?" Kagome asked slowly. Rin nodded happily.

"Rin has changed since Kagome-chan saw her last," she explained, smiling happily up at Sesshomaru. "Sesshomaru-sama changed Rin into a demon like him." Sesshomaru grunted but reached down and pulled Kagome to her feet.

"I thought you went back home," he questioned. "I never expected to find you here near the wolves' lair."

"The well to my home doesn't work anymore. Not since Naraku was defeated," she explained sadly. "I've been living in Kaede's village until very recently."

"And now you are running away from Kouga's clan?" Sesshomaru said simply.

"He deserves a chance at happiness without me hanging around," Kagome whispered, fighting back the tears. "He deserves a wolf girl, someone like him, someone not broken." Sesshomaru snorted and Rin giggled.

"Kagome-chan is silly," Rin laughed. "Kouga-sama wants Kagome, broken or not."

"But I'm human," Kagome argued. "I'll die and then I've just hurt him more."

"Sesshomaru-sama changed me," Rin said slowly. "Maybe he can help you too." Sesshomaru shook his head though.

"That's for Kouga to take care of. I can only change the one I love," Sesshomaru explained, looking down at Rin with an affection Kagome had never seen on the dog demon's face. "Perhaps I could talk to Kouga though. Explain how it works." Kagome shook her head slowly. Her plan was falling to pieces, Kouga deserved better why was she letting these two try and talk her out of it?

"Rin!" Sesshomaru yelled suddenly, and Kagome looked up as a tree came falling down towards her. She was jerked aside by a clawed hand and went tumbling into Sesshomaru. He'd pulled both of the girls aside as a giant bear demon came charging into the clearing. The bear stopped, rising onto his hind legs and sniffing at the air. He roared and came shuffling towards them, jaws dripping, eyes glowing. Kagome whimpered, holding onto Rin as Sesshomaru stepped in front of them. His claws started glowing green and a snarl ripped from his throat. He started moving around the clearing, steering the bear away from the girls. Kagome watched Sesshomaru attacking when a large glob of drool fell onto her shoulder.

"Rin?" Kagome questioned slowly. They turned around slowly to see the bear demon's mate standing right behind them. Kagome screamed as Rin shoved her back and suddenly everything was a blur. Rin landed on the ground next to her with a yelp and the bear demon in front of them howled in pain. "What?" she whimpered in confusion. She was jerked from the ground suddenly and pressed her face into the chest of whoever had her. She was deposited just as quickly at the base of a tree a ways away and realized Rin was with her too. "What was that?" she squealed in panic and Rin grinned at her.

"Kouga-sama has come to your rescue," Rin explained and pointed back to the place where the two bears were. She saw Sesshomaru on one side and sure enough Kouga on the other, moving almost too quickly to tell. Rin helped Kagome to her feet slowly as they watched the two demons corner the bears. Sesshomaru pulled out Tokijin and then the bears were gone. Rin grabbed Kagome by the hand and pulled her towards the males, practically dancing to get back to her Sesshomaru. The dog demon met Rin happily, pulling her into his arms and nuzzling her face, making sure she was all right.

"Kagome?" Kouga questioned from nearby. Kagome looked up at him. He looked hurt, emotionally, that she was out here, worried that she was hurt, and confused. "What are you doing out here?" he questioned, moving closer.

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I thought you could be happier without me around. I wanted to give you a chance to find a mate of your own and live your own life, without a broken human girl hanging around." Kouga snarled and moved forward so quickly Kagome flinched, eyes closing in fear. She was surprised when he pushed her back against a tree, hand knotted in her hair. She opened her eyes just a second before his lips were on hers, gentle but firm, trying to explain without words how silly her idea had been. His tongue traced her lower lip wanting entrance and she allowed him without hesitation. His hands had moved down to her hips, pulling her up against him, he wanted no space left between. He pulled away finally, keeping his hands at her hips and pressing his forehead against hers.

"You're so stupid sometimes," he mumbled. Kagome whimpered, holding onto his forearms for balance. "Let's go home." Kagome tried to get herself under control as they turned towards the cave. Sesshomaru and Rin followed silently, not bothered by the slow pace as they made their way back.

Kurugi and Oki were waiting outside the cave when they got back, both looking worried and holding pelts over their heads against the rain that had started. They quickly gathered Kagome and Rin into the cave and towards the hot springs where they could warm themselves again. Sesshomaru shrugged off offers of warm furs and went to stand with Kouga by the fire.

"You can make things a lot easier," Sesshomaru said softly. "You know that. She'll feel better about it."

"I'm not a moron," Kouga snapped. "She's not ready. She's still hurt."

"You're scared," Sesshomaru grunted and snarled when a fist connected solidly with his stomach.

"I'm not scared," Kouga growled, eyes flickering red.

"I can tell now you're more scared than I thought," Sesshomaru laughed, clawed hands wrapping around Kouga's wrists.

"Sesshomaru!" Rin squealed, running at the two to pull them apart.

"You get back!" Sesshomaru snapped. "He's out of control!"

"Kouga!" Kagome screamed, struggling to get out of Kurugi's arms. Several male wolf demons moved to restrain the wolf prince so Sesshomaru could step away, but Kouga threw them off, sprinting for the waterfall and out of sight. Kagome broke away from Kurugi then and went running after him, dodging the hands that tried to stop her. She blinked as the sunlight blinded her, looking around for where Kouga had run to. She heard a crash in the woods to her left and went running blindly that way. Tears were clouding her vision when she once again crashed into something solid and fell to her butt with a yelp. She heard a growl then was yanked to her feet.

"Why are you following me?" Kouga snapped, trapping her against a nearby tree. His eyes were still red, fangs still long and hanging over his lower lip. Kagome swallowed back a scream and reached her hands up to his face slowly.

"Please," she whimpered. "Please snap out of this. What happened? What made you so mad?" Kouga flinched at her hands on his face but didn't pull away; her hands were cool against his fevered skin. He shook his head slowly, bending down and nuzzling his face against her cool neck. He could feel her blood pumping here, so warm and tempting. He wanted this girl so badly. His lips grazed her neck and she shivered, whether in fear or pleasure he didn't know. He found the spot right below her ear, the skin there tender and soft and bit. Kagome jerked, pushing at his chest but he pulled her closer, forcing his poison into her. Her beating fists felt like feathers against his chest, her screams a whisper. He pulled away finally; her body almost completely limp in his arms.

"Shh," he whispered gently, gathering her up so he could carry her. His eyes were blue again, fangs shrinking.

"Wha...what?" she questioned sluggishly, eyes rolling back in her head.

"Sleep," he said simply. "You'll be better soon."

Kouga watched her flail in her sleep, skin hot and sweaty. Her back arched up off the dais in pain and her mouth opened in a silent scream.

"She's almost through it," a comforting voice said from behind him. Rin came up to sit beside him, patting his knee gently. "She will probably wake up in the morning." Kouga didn't respond only watching his Kagome in pain.

"I said I'd never hurt her," he whispered finally. "And I did."

"This is different," Rin urged. "She can handle a little physical pain. She'll be happy when she realizes what has happened."

"How do you know?" Kouga questioned, looking over at Rin finally. The girl had matured a lot from the child that use to chase Sesshomaru around. Kouga imagined Sesshomaru often had to chase her around these days. Purple eyes closed for a moment then caught Kouga's.

"I can feel it."

Kagome moaned as she came to, her body was sore like she'd been running a marathon. The blanket beneath her felt amazing. She felt like she could feel every individual strand of hair touching her skin. Then there were the smells, not necessarily bad, just interesting and strong. She sorted through the smells, identifying each one then found a familiar one. Woodsy and husky, definitely male, she felt aroused, wanting to get closer to this scent. She blinked open heavy eyes, looking at the ceiling and picking out every crack. She turned her head, following the heavenly scent. He was sitting there, watching her worriedly, blue eyes beautiful in the darkness of the cave.

"Kouga," she whispered. He moved then, reaching a hand out to take hers, only to be yanked down to his hands and knees. He chuckled, trying to pull himself away from her, scattering kisses up her arm and across her palm.

"Are you all right?" he asked between kisses, grinning at the pleasured look on her face. She nodded and pulled her hand away, he was very distracting.

"What happened?" she whispered, looking at her arms. They looked more muscular but lean, her skin a shade darker then it had been. Blue stripes wrapped around her wrists and two more around her biceps. Rin came bounding in at that moment, flopping to the ground beside them. She held up a small mirrored glass excitedly. Kagome gasped in surprise. Her face had changed; all traces of baby fat left were gone, leaving a lean matured face in its place. Her lips were a little fuller, giving her a gentle pout and her eyes had changed to a beautiful shade of blue. They were darker than Kouga's but they sparkled in the dark.

"You're beautiful," Rin exclaimed happily.

"How?" she whispered, still examining her face.

"Do you remember me biting you?" Kouga said slowly, looking ashamed of himself. Kagome looked up at him slowly, the memory catching up with her. The corner of her lip lifted in a growl, and she got to her feet quickly. She almost fell over and realized she must've grown a few more inches with this change too.

"Calm down Kagome-chan," Rin said gently. "Kouga-sama changed you, like Sesshomaru changed me." Kagome looked as if she was going to relax finally when she noticed the tail swishing slowly behind her and passed out.

"Kagome-chan?" a voice was urging softly. Kagome opened her eyes slowly for the second time that day, and was surprised to see Kurugi leaning over her. "Oh good you're awake. You have to go talk to Kouga. He's distraught over what's happened to you." Kagome took a deep breath, easing her new body into a sitting position. She felt a little better about the situation after her short nap, even taking a moment to pull her tail around and stroke the fur gently.

"Where is he?" she finally asked, getting to her feet and following Kurugi out of the room. Kouga was sulking by the fire with Rin but quickly got to his feet when he saw Kagome. He looked miserable, his tail hung limp behind him and his eyes were sad. Kagome stepped into his arms without saying anything, hugging him gently until he returned the hug. "It's okay," she said simply, pulling back so she could see his face. "I'm perfectly fine." She stood on tip toe to catch his lips, disappointed that she still had to get on her toes to reach his face even with her new height. Kouga seemed to know what she was thinking and chuckled softly, pulling her up by the waist and deepening the kiss. Rin giggled behind them and Kagome pulled away to glare teasingly at the girl. Sesshomaru had joined them, one arm wrapped around Rin affectionately.

"Your new body suits you," Sesshomaru complimented. "I told you it would work out Kouga." Kagome looked to Kouga who was smiling down at her then grabbed her hand suddenly.

"Let's run Kagome," he yipped and took off. Kagome yelped thinking she would surely be dragged on the ground at the rate he ran and was surprised to see her body kept up fairly easily with Kouga's. Realizing this she laughed and kicked it up a notch, releasing Kouga's hand and passing him. She could hear him laughing behind her and speeding up to match her pace. He soon was running beside her, smiling and laughing, just happy to be running.

They were running through the woods, the sun quickly disappearing behind the horizon but still they kept running. Kagome was leaping over a fallen tree when she stopped suddenly and Kouga blew past her. He quickly doubled back, and found her crouched over, growling loudly.

"Kagome?" he questioned slowly then he caught the smell. "Son of a bitch," he cursed under his breath. She took off before he could stop her and he went running after her. He caught up to her right when she leapt and he heard a loud curse and a crash as she slammed her prey to the ground.

"What the hell!" the dog demon snapped, pulling a sword from his side.

"Kagome get off him," Kouga grunted, pulling her back before InuYasha could get Tetsuiga up and hurt her.

"Kagome?" InuYasha gasped in disbelief. "What the fuck did you do to her?" he yelled, turning Tetsuiga on Kouga then cursing again when Kagome leapt on him, clawing at his face. Kouga dragged her off again, pushing her behind him. Tetsuiga was in his face now, the point inches from his nose. Kagome was snarling behind him, wanting to rip the dog to shreds.

"Get that fucking sword away from him," she snarled, fighting to get around Kouga. InuYasha jumped back as a blue light came blasting through the clearing, barely missing the hanyou. Kouga looked thankfully to Sesshomaru as he dragged Kagome, still snarling, away from the clearing. Kouga threw her over his shoulder, making his way to the river nearby. She was still struggling when he reached the water's edge so he dropped her in unceremoniously.

"Kouga!" she screamed before her head went under. She came up sopping wet, gasping for air and struggling for the edge. Kouga pulled her out, smoothing her hair gently and letting her plop down at the base of a tree.

"Now listen here," he started, crouching down in front of her. "You never let me hurt him; I'm not going to let you get away with it either. You clawed his face up real good feel proud of yourself for that." Kagome grinned evilly and Kouga put a finger to her nose. "But it won't happen again." Kagome pouted, fighting the urge to bite that finger off her nose. "Now will you stay here while I go find Sesshomaru?" Kagome nodded with a pout, wrapping her arms around her body for warmth. Kouga gave her one last stare to make sure she'd obey then took off into the woods.

Kagome sat there for a few minutes before she figured she may as well bathe since she was already wet. She made her way down to the water's edge again, stripping her fur and hanging it over a nearby branch to dry. She made her way more carefully into the water this time and found a large boulder nearby she could lean against. The water was chilly but acceptable and she scrubbed the grime from her skin and hair quickly. Kouga was still nowhere near so she decided to relax against the large boulder, leaning her head back and closing her eyes. She was so relaxed she didn't smell the hanyou until he had a hold of her hair and she snarled. He got an iron grip on her arm, hauling her out of the river and throwing her against a nearby tree. She yelped in pain, grabbing her shoulder. He'd put all his strength into her and she was fairly certain her shoulder blade was broken. She whimpered when she looked up at him, she was naked and wet on the ground at his feet.

"Kouga thinks he can just take you," InuYasha snarled down at her, his face still bleeding from her scratches. "No filthy fleabag can have you." Kagome tried to cover herself as he looked her over, obviously enjoying what he saw. Kagome felt the pain that had been at bay surfacing again and eating at her heart.

"InuYasha," she pleaded softly. He growled and yanked her to her feet, pushing her back against the tree. Kagome squealed as her broken shoulder blade was slammed against the tree again giving InuYasha the chance to force his tongue into her mouth. She bit down as hard as she could and was satisfied when he jerked away from her bleeding and cursing. Her moment didn't last long before a hand connected solidly with her cheek. She hit the ground, trying to catch herself and hurt her shoulder even more. "Kouga," she whispered painfully.

"I'll teach you a lesson for that," InuYasha snarled above her. He was untying his hakama and she started crying.

"Kouga!" she screamed, putting all her energy into it. InuYasha's foot connected solidly with her rib cage and she cried out again.

"You don't deserve to be a demon," InuYasha laughed. "You're pathetic." Kagome felt the blast of wind before she saw it, the tornado of dust that came flying into the clearing and connected with InuYasha, sending him flying back. Kouga was crouched over her, claws raised, eyes flashing red. InuYasha got to his feet a good twenty feet away, holding onto his arm. It was hanging awkwardly and Kagome knew Kouga had broken it.

"The arm is for touching her," Kouga snarled. "Perhaps I'll take your eyes next for looking at her." Kagome shivered but she knew she was safe now. "Get away from here before I kill you," Kouga added with a growl, clawed fingers flexing in anticipation. InuYasha for once did the smart thing and took off into the woods.

Kouga sighed, relaxing his fists and shaking his whole body like he was trying to shake off water from his pelt. He turned to Kagome, crouching down beside her and easing her into a sitting position. "What did he do to you?" he tried to ask as calmly as possible but Kagome could see his hands shaking.

"I decided to take a quick bath since I was wet anyways," Kagome said quickly, and gritted her teeth against the pain in her shoulder. "I was relaxing against the boulder and didn't smell him coming. I'm sorry."

"What did he do after that," Kouga coaxed, smoothing her hair down and kissing the top of her head gently.

"When he pulled me out of the river…he threw me against a nearby tree. I think it broke my shoulder blade. I fell to the ground and he pulled me up against the tree again. I cried out and then…" she paused, not wanting to tell Kouga in case he'd decide to go after the hanyou.

"Go on," he urged gently. "I need to know."

"He kissed me. He tried to stick his tongue in my mouth and I bit him and made him bleed. He slapped me for it and I fell down again. He said he'd teach me a lesson and started to untie his hakama. That's when I screamed for you and he kicked me in the ribs. You got here seconds after that," she finished, reaching for him with her good arm. He kissed her hand then bent to kiss her lips, giving her comfort. "Thank you for saving me," she whispered, kissing him again. Kouga only laughed, pulling away from her.

"Let me get your clothes," he chuckled, leaving her a moment to gather her fur from the branch nearby. He helped her into the furs as best as he could with her broken shoulder blade then gathered her gingerly into his arms. "If that mutt knows what's good for him he'll stay far away from my lands," Kouga muttered, heading towards the caves. The sun was long gone from the sky and Kagome found herself sleepy in the arms of the wolf prince. He was warm and she drifted off quickly with his gentle gait.

Kagome woke as they came in the cave's entrance, mumbling words of comfort to the wolves that came running to see what had happened to their sister. Kouga brushed them off, taking her to a cave she hadn't been to before. An elderly wolf was there, grinding herbs with a pestle, but she quickly got to her feet when Kouga walked in.

"Kouga what happened to her?" she questioned, leading Kouga to a cot he could put Kagome on.

"I think her shoulder blade is broken," he said simply, crouching down beside Kagome opposite the old woman.

"Well I can set and wrap it. She'll have to take it easy for a week while she heals," the old woman explained. "Now please leave so I can work. Send Oki in to help me." Kagome balked a little, she'd never heard anyone talk to Kouga like that, but the wolf prince got to his feet and did as he was told. Once he was gone the woman eased Kagome out of her fur top and gathered bandages.

"What's your name?" Kagome asked while the woman gathered her supplies.

"Everyone here just calls me Nana," she told Kagome, smiling at the girl. "You may call me the same."

"I'm here Nana," Oki said as she came stumbling through the door. "Kouga-sama said you needed assistance." She quickly set to work helping Nana wrap Kagome's shoulder, and holding Kagome's hand when Nana had to snap the shoulder blade back together. Kagome's eyes were teary as they finished wrapping her and helped her back into her furs.

"Now take it easy," Nana chided gently as Oki helped Kagome to her feet. "No rough activities." Kagome flushed at what Nana was probably implying and let Oki help her out of the makeshift clinic. Kouga was outside the door and met them quickly, transferring Kagome from Oki to his own arms.

"Thank you," he told Oki softly. "I appreciate it.

"Where's Rin?" Kagome asked curiously. She was a little surprised Rin hadn't forced herself into the clinic to help.

"Nursing her Sesshomaru," Kouga grumbled in displeasure. "The mutt got a good swipe on Sesshomaru when he was making sure we'd gotten away."

"Is he okay?" Kagome asked, terrified. She'd feel horrible if Rin lost her mate.

"Oh he's going to be fine," Kouga chuckled. "Rin is overprotective and playing doctor and of course Sesshomaru bends to her will and lets her baby him."

"I don't suppose you'll ever be so submissive," Kagome teased. She was surprised when he looked down at her very seriously.

"I would do anything to keep my mate happy," he whispered huskily. "She will mean the world to me. I'd tear down a mountain if that's what she wished." Kagome couldn't respond and looked at her surroundings.

"Where are we going?" she choked out. They were in a part of the caves she hadn't been to before.

"Sesshomaru and Rin have a cave back here I gave them to use while they stayed with us," Kouga explained. "These caves are where the wolves live once they find a mate. Children and those without mates all sleep together out in the main cavern. Kurugi and Hakkaku for instance are about to be assigned one," he added, smiling down at her.

"Really?" she asked excitedly. "I'm so happy for them." Kouga smiled almost sadly but Kagome didn't get to question him before he was stepping into one of the smaller caves and Kagome saw Rin and Sesshomaru. Rin was sprawled across Sesshomaru's naked chest, half asleep it looked like but she smiled up at Kagome when they came in.

"I heard about you getting injured your first day out," Rin teased, poking her tongue out. Sesshomaru's eyes were closed but Kagome figured he was just faking sleep. Kagome nodded to Rin as Kouga sat her down on the ground nearby. The girl finally sat up, scooting closer to Kagome and taking her hand.

"I'm glad you were smart and yelled for Kouga-sama. InuYasha could have done horrible things to you," Rin said softly, leaning over and nuzzling her head against Kagome's. Kagome cringed at the memories of InuYasha standing over her and squeezed Rin's hand. "Don't go so far from Kouga-sama again," Rin chastised. "You should go sleep some of that pain off." Rin moved back to her Sesshomaru, sprawling across his chest again. "I think I will take a nap myself," she mumbled and her eyes fluttered closed. Kagome smiled and let Kouga pick her up again, nuzzling her face into his chest.

"Is it time for sleep now?" she asked once they were in the hall again, yawning widely.

"One more stop then bed, I promise," Kouga told her gently, kissing the top of her head. Kagome nestled herself more comfortably in his arms for the walk but jumped when they passed through another doorway.

"Kagome!" a voice yelped. Shippo came bounding towards them, nose sniffling her. "We leave for a few days and come back to this. You're a demon, InuYasha attacked you…"

"You're letting Kouga-sama hold you," Eri added more calmly as she came up behind Shippo. Shippo seemed to realize this and smiled brightly at her.

"I just wanted you to know she was okay," Kouga said softly, readjusting his hold on Kagome. "But she really needs sleep. She's about to drop." Shippo nodded hurriedly.

"Of course, put that girl to bed," he insisted, taking Eri's hand beside him. "We'll talk more tomorrow." Kagome waved goodbye to the foxes and finally relaxed in Kouga's hold. It didn't take long to get back to Kouga's cave and he quickly laid her down in the furs. He pulled his armor off and set it aside before settling down beside her, gathering her into his arms gently. Kagome wrapped her arm across his broad chest, thinking the way Rin had been laying looked awfully comfortable. She laid her face against his warm chest, nuzzling her nose against him. Kouga ran his fingers through her hair gently until she fell into a deep sleep.

Kagome woke completely sprawled across Kouga, face against his collar bone. She took the opportunity to graze her lips across his neck, kissing and nipping at his skin.

"Kagome," he moaned. "Please don't tempt me. You are injured."

"I don't care," she whispered, sucking on the skin at the base of his neck. He pulled away from her, leaving her in the blankets by herself.

"Well I do," he growled at her. "What you're doing is unfair. You're trying to get me to hurt you."

"I want you to comfort me," Kagome whimpered, feeling rejected. Kouga shook his head sadly.

"Not like this," he whispered, and left the room. Kagome felt tears prick her vision as she sat up.

"I'm not good enough as a demon either," she thought sadly. "He doesn't want me." She moved her arm a bit and was surprised at how much it didn't hurt anymore then remembered that she would heal a lot faster now. Kagome got to her feet and decided she'd go find Eri. The fox seemed like the best person to talk to now.

Kagome found Eri outside the cave gathering chestnuts and went to help as best she could with her one arm and Eri finally made her sit down on some nearby rocks.

"What's wrong Kagome-chan?" Eri asked as she bit into a chestnut from her basket.

"I don't think Kouga wants me anymore," Kagome whimpered, accepting a chestnut from the fox.

"That's stupid," Eri said bluntly. "Of course he wants you. You were being unfair to him this morning." Kagome balked.

"How do you…" she stuttered.

"Kagome everyone could smell his arousal when he left your room," Eri said, shaking her head. "You could get hurt more if you try doing that right now. I'm surprised Kouga could walk away from you."

"But my shoulder feels better," Kagome tried to argue, already knowing she'd lost. Eri snorted and pushed against Kagome's shoulder making her cringe.

"That's one gentle thrust," Eri teased, poking her tongue out. "Besides you don't need pups on your plate either."

"Pups?" Kagome questioned slowly. Eri's hands went to hold her own stomach and Kagome noticed the small bump there. "Are you…"

"I'm expecting a kit yes," Eri said smiling. "I'm not far along. But I'm in a better state of mind then you are." Kagome flushed, she hadn't even thought of kits or pups. The feudal era didn't have birth control like her own time.

"How long does it take?" Kagome asked curiously, pointing at Eri's belly.

"Demons usually develop and are ready to be born within a full moon's cycle," Eri explained. "I just found out yesterday when I started showing. We develop so much faster than humans. I don't think I could handle that whole nine months ordeal." Kagome nodded, taking that information in. She jumped when a hand landed on her shoulder.

"Eri shared her news?" Kouga asked gently. Kagome nodded up at him, feeling embarrassed and ashamed of herself for what she'd done to him that morning. "Eri will be staying with us for the duration and letting Nana deliver the kit."

"How exciting," Kagome exclaimed, catching Eri's hands. "I'm so happy for you." Eri smiled and handed Kagome's hands to Kouga who pulled her to her feet, catching her when she stumbled.

"You two go have a relaxing day," Eri told them cheerfully. "I'd best get back to Shippo. He worries about me." Kouga nodded and they watched Eri go back to the caves. Kagome swore the fox was waddling already with the extra weight.

"Come on," Kouga urged, pulling her towards a path that went around the back of the cave. Kagome followed him slowly, up the stony steps that wound up behind the caves. The steps lead to a small grassy area, the sun beating down on the grass making it comfortably warm. "Lay with me," he gestured, plopping down on the grass and pulling her down more gently. He pulled her on top of him, wrapping one arm around her waist. "It's so nice here," he whispered, eyes closing. "The sun makes it so warm." Kagome laid her head on his chest, relaxing in the sun. It was nice. She was near falling asleep when Kouga turned suddenly so she was on the ground and he was crouched over her.

"What…" Kagome started but Kouga put a finger to his lips.

"Kagome…" he started. "I'll understand if you don't want to say it back but I just need you to know…"

"What?" Kagome whispered when he paused for such a long time.

"Kagome I love you. I want to be with you. I want you to be my mate," he spit out, cheeks flush. He looked away, nervous to her reaction.

"Oh Kouga," she whispered, reaching up to cup his cheek then pulled him down to kiss him firmly. "I think I love you too," she whispered when they broke apart. Kouga caught her lips again, ecstatic. His hands grazed her sides gently, and then moved up to cup her face.

"You've made me insanely happy," he chuckled. He bent down and kissed her forehead and nose and then her lips once more until she was breathless beneath him. Kagome was absolutely blissful when she heard a yell from above them.

"Hirakotsu!"

Kagome squealed as Kouga dragged her from the ground and a good 20 feet away from the giant boomerang that came flying through where they'd just been.

"Kagome!" a familiar voice yelled and Kagome saw the familiar flaming cat come bounding down from the sky. Sango was settled right in front of the great cat's front legs and a Miroku clung to Sango's waist right behind her. "You get away from her!" Sango yelled as Kilala landed and she bounded down to the ground, Miroku being dragged behind her. Kouga was growling at the demon slayer, holding onto Kagome protectively.

"Sango no!" Kagome yelled, trying to get out of Kouga's hold. "It's okay, he's fine."

"It looked like he was trying to rip your throat out," she snapped, glaring at Kouga.

"Perhaps they were just making out like I suggested before," Miroku grumbled from his place on the ground. "If you'd stop being aggressive for a moment you may notice yourself that Kagome is different." Sango stopped glaring at Kouga to really look at Kagome. Her eyes widened at the changes in her face then she saw the tail waving slowly behind the girl.

"Kagome what…" she stuttered, dropping Hirakotsu to the ground. Kouga let go of Kagome and let the girls embrace as Kagome explained quickly what had happened from the beginning. By the end of her story Sango was ready to go hunt InuYasha down.

"I can't believe that idiot dog did this to you," Sango hissed.

"How did you know I was here?" Kagome asked to distract Sango from her manhunt.

"Shippo sent a letter," Sango explained. "But he didn't mention any of this."