Hello, my lovelies. I had a wild urge to write a bitter-sweet one-shot, so here 'ya go. I want to dedicate this to two of my bestest readers/reviewers/friends here on fanfiction. Mari605i and alikmionejean. I love you both and I just wanted to write you a thank you in a longer format XD Well, enjoy! Ja ne~
A blanket covered Japan, one of complete darkness. It was night, a warm one in the month of June. Stars speckled the sky like millions of fireflies, resembling the ones that were most currently filling the meadow outside of Kaede's village. The meadow was a ways away, surrounded by a thick amount of trees. The group had stopped at the village to rest, deciding that a night of comfort was deserved after hours of walking and running.
Kagome couldn't stand sitting in the hut, the warm night calling to her from outside. Assuring her group of friends that she would be back in a while, the girl set out, bare feet flying across the silken grass that covered the ground. The miko's ebony hair whipped around her face, and for a few minutes she just ran, enjoying the exhilarating feeling.
The village was peaceful, a rare thing since the demons in the nearby forest usually paid a common visit. Kagome couldn't remember the last time she had went outside during the summer, just to enjoy the warm air and night sky alone.
Spending days on end traveling with her friends was eventful, that was for sure. Sometimes a girl would forget easily how to take pleasure in time by herself. Having an irritating hanyou around also effected things, but Kagome didn't complain much about that. It was a truthful fact that Inuyasha drove her crazy most of the time, but she still didn't regret spending every waking moment in his presence, even when they fought.
The girl mused on this while sitting down in the field, running her fingers through the plush grass she was resting on. Flowers dotted through the meadow, and she found her thoughts wandering to the little girl that traveled with Inuyasha's brother. She remembered seeing the child picking flowers on many occasions, exclaiming that they were for her lord. The small girl was a complete human, a fact that most wouldn't care about. The oddity of it all was that she traveled with someone like Sesshoumaru. The demon hated humans, so it was definitely a confusing matter as to why he was fond of the child.
Even in the face of danger, the girl held her trust in the most unlikely of lords. Kagome couldn't help but think of her own situations when thinking about the girl, Rin. There had been several occasions when she had been in danger, and just when things seemed hopeless, Inuyasha would arrive with Tetsusaiga.
He was always so closed to her, emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes she wished he would open up to her more, and at other times she felt guilty for not being more patient. Inuyasha had been through a lot of pain growing up, and that tended to take a sad effect on a child. Even through the last few days, he'd been oddly quiet and tense.
If he would show me more, I might be able to help mend the wounds on his heart.
Kagome sighed, spotting a firefly as it flashed yellow in front of her. Reaching out tenderly, the girl captured the small insect between her cupped hands. A bright glow streamed through the creases between her hands, causing a smile to spread on the priestess' face. She was so entranced with her small prisoner, that Kagome didn't even hear the soft approach of the hanyou she traveled with.
"What are you doing, Kagome?"
She girl jumped slightly, startled enough that the small firefly managed to crawl through the open space that her skin offered, taking wing into the night once more.
"Inuyasha! I didn't hear you coming."
"Feh, of course you didn't! You don't have ears like I do."
The girl giggled, her brown eyes lit with enchantment, "And what cute ears they are!"
The half-demon scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest. They were silent for a few moments, Inuyasha watching as she hopped across the field, catching and releasing fireflies. There was a faint light about her, one that didn't have anything to do with the little bugs she was smiling at. Snowy ears perked in her direction, listening to the sound of her soft laughs as she tripped over her feet and landed on the ground.
"Why are you laughing at your own pain?" The hanyou muttered, watching with a passive expression as she pulled herself back up.
"I don't really know. I guess…growing up, I learned that it was better to laugh when I was in pain than to cry. It was especially necessary when I got hurt in front of others, because if I laughed, they wouldn't be laughing at me, but instead with me."
Golden eyes followed her movements as she sat down, eyeing the blood that trickled from the cut on her knee. Inuyasha sighed, strolling over to where she was to crouch in front of her.
"Kagome, embarrassment is better than hiding your feelings, don't you think? If you hide how you are really feeling, then no one would be able to help you."
The girl stared at him thoughtfully for a moment, an emotion swirling in the chocolate depths of her eyes that the boy didn't recognize.
"I agree, Inuyasha. Sometimes, though, a child learns to guard themselves from being hurt by putting a wall around their heart. It shuts away their emotions from the world, the good, and the bad."
Confusion filled the half-demon's eyes, and it took a moment before recognition lit his face. Within seconds the usual passive expression returned.
"Kagome, I didn't lock away my heart from the world. You just don't understand everything that happened."
His fingers worked as he cleaned her knee with the sleeve of his kimono. After that was finished, he stood.
"I want to understand," Kagome followed, wincing when she bent her knee to jerk to her feet, "Inuyasha, I want to understand what happened to make you…to make you so…"
The words died on her lips, due to the pain that contorted on the hanyou's face. Kagome swallowed, feeling guilt sting her heart. She knew that Inuyasha's past had always been a touchy subject for him, and the fact that she had brought it up wasn't exactly understanding of her.
For a girl who talks so much about wanting to understand people, I'm failing miserably.
Kagome softly touched his shoulder, feeling her chest tighten, "I'm so sorry, Inuyasha."
Inuyasha shook his head, the amber in his eyes hardened in thought.
"You don't have to apologize."
Midnight hair spilled over Kagome's shoulders, soft and beautiful. Inuyasha drew in a deep breath, trying to think clearly. Being around her here, the moonlight flooding down over them, it felt like something out of a dream. Fifty years ago, he'd been planning to be in a situation like this.
The memory of Kikyo, walking across this same meadow, was so clear it felt as if had happened the day before. She'd agreed to meet him there, a bright smile on her beautiful features.
"I'll meet you tomorrow night after you have turned human! Tomorrow will mark the first day of the rest of our lives together."
Inuyasha sighed, clenching his hands into fists. Kagome was able to stand in the meadow that Kikyo never got the chance to reach.
Kagome is…not her, though. She is a completely different person, her own self. Wait, is that tears in her eyes? Shit.
"Wait, w-why are you crying?"
Kagome swallowed, pursing her lips, "I'm not crying."
"Yes, you are."
"Oh, shut up! At least I don't mind showing how I feel! I mean…"
Tears rolled down her cheeks, and it was obvious that she was fighting different emotions. The miko balled her hands at her sides, trying to hold back the tears that burned wet trails down her skin. She dug her heel into the ground, turning sharply to walk away.
I'm such a baka! Not only do I bring up painful memories for him, but then I go and start blubbering! Ugh!
"Kagome! Wait! Where are you going, you idiot?"
The priestess inhaled sharply, heading toward the village. A warm hand gripped her arm, pulling her back. Her back bumped against something firm and familiar, causing her to bite her lip to hold back the tears.
"Kagome, why the hell are you crying? Did I do something? Does your knee hurt?"
She shook her head slowly, avoiding his eyes. The boy cupped his hand under her chin, lifting her face up to look at him.
Kagome's chest felt so tight, along with her throat. She felt like such an idiot.
"I'm sorry for bringing up your past. I guess I just…I'm…"
"You're just Kagome. You're just you. If you acted like anyone else, you wouldn't be the annoying nosey female that I'm used to protecting."
As simple as the words were, they truly touched her. Ever since she had met Inuyasha,
Kagome had been compared to Kikyo countless times. It had always felt like a burden, like she could never be good enough. She was a replica, and nothing more. His words released something inside of her.
Inuyasha thought of her as a person, not as Kikyo. The feeling was unexplainable.
"Besides that, why are you apologizing again? I'm not some wimpy idiot like your wolf-boy!"
Kagome couldn't help but giggle at that. It was true; he would never be like Koga in any possible way.
"Thank you, Inuyasha. Thank you for…everything."
The girl rose on her tip-toes, lightly pressing her lips to the hanyou's cheek. She could barely remember why she had gotten worked-up to begin with.
Inuyasha froze, his muscles tensing. Kagome's warm breath tickled his cheek, and he instantly inhaled. She smelled like strawberries, such a calming and familiar scent. She pulled back, and the spot on his cheek tingled underneath the surface.
They stood in place, neither one able to move for some unexplainable reason. It felt as if time had stopped, and something was holding each of them to the ground they stood on. An electric current sparked the air between them, and much to Kagome's surprise, when she finally met his gaze she found the gold smoldering. Inuyasha's eyes seemed to glaze over, the demon part of him urging him to make a move his human side would never allow.
In seconds, and yet not fast enough, he gently tugged on her waist, pulling her closer to him. Kagome hadn't realized she had been holding her breath until her lungs started to protest. The air rushed from her lips sharply, and the sound was just enough to break the intensity.
He leaned down, hesitant, warm breath coming out in puffs. Kagome's eyes slid shut, her heart hammering so hard she was sure he could hear it. Very softly, his lips brushed along hers. The feeling was like a spark, burning its way through her until it reached her very heart. Kagome lifted a hand to touch his cheek gently, granting him the permission he'd been waiting for.
That was all he needed. Inuyasha pulled her tightly to his chest, covering her lips with his own. It was a feeling she never knew existed, a mixture so delicious and unfamiliar that it resembled fire. It burned her core, his lips moving against hers. Kagome had never kissed a boy before, not counting the time when she had saved Inuyasha from his demon blood. It felt foreign, and very warm. He tasted like cinnamon, and the smell of pine lingered on his skin. It was an earthy smell, one that made her think of him no matter where she was.
Kagome was jerked from her thoughts as his lips left hers, his breath ragged. Kagome's pulse was racing, and she was glad it was so dark else he would see that her cheeks were flushed as well.
His name was a whisper, and for an unknown reason, it felt as if it was the only thing that was right to say at that moment. He swallowed, turning to walk away silently. Kagome lifted a hand up, touching a tree to steady herself. He was leaving. Had she done something wrong? Did she not know how to kiss correctly?
Questions etched through her mind as she made her way back to the hut. The trip to her sleeping-bag was blurry, and she was barely able to remember it.
Inuyasha slept leaning against the wall as he always did, golden eyes staring endlessly into the flames in the middle of the hut. He didn't regret kissing Kagome, but he regretted acting so rashly. What he did could change how they looked at each other forever. He had to fix things, and never make such a mistake again. There was no time for romance when Naraku was still out there.
The morning light came through the pines, streaming in the windows of the hut. Kagome awoke quietly, a smile tugging on her lips. The memory from the night before hit her, and she took a moment to steady herself once more. Had it been a dream?
Inuyasha didn't react to her in any particular way as they prepared to leave again. Instead, he acted normal. And as she climbed on top of his back, it suddenly dawned on her just how broad her imagination really was.
If I dreamed it, then it must be even more wonderful in real life.
The rest of the morning passed quietly, the group bidding their farewells to Kaede. Inuyasha sighed as they took off, his hands holding Kagome's soft skin against his sides as he ran.
It is better this way…
Even as much as he wished to be with Kagome, it was better that she not know that what had happened was real. They needed to defeat Naraku, and sometimes hiding one's true feelings wasn't just to cover embarrassment. Sometimes, it was to protect loved ones. To protect the only one he ever had watched over. To protect her.
Heartbreak is damaging,
So sometimes it is better to prevent the break by building walls,
I have to protect her, even if it is from myself.