Chapter 1: 12:13am.

This night was a moonless night, the one time of the month where one peculiar person's vulnerability was shown to the world. He doesn't like being a full mortal; he doesn't care for his lack of strength, either. However, he does like one thing about the new moon – it was on these nights that he feels somewhat… closer to someone; someone that he has grown to care for unconditionally.

He is sitting down, waiting for someone to enter. He strokes his long, newly-blackened hair, contemplating over his present state of being. He thinks to himself,

'How can I protect her when I can't even protect myself?'

"What are you doing down there, Inuyasha?"

He looks up; there is a girl in her pajamas, a sleeveless thin-strapped shirt and shorts, kneeling down to catch his eye line.

He responds, "I'm just… thinking, is all. It's nothing for you to be worried about, Kagome."

She reaches her hand out to his blackened hair, softly stroking it. "You don't have to worry about this, Inuyasha," she says, implying his mortal state, "nothing will happen. Tonight, we're just two regular people; a normal boy and a normal girl, together and all alone."

She is right; with her powers sealed, she is a normal girl, and with him being a mortal, he is a normal boy.

"Are we really going to be safe here in your time, Kagome?"

"For the last time, Inuyasha, yes, we are. Look, even though we have my whole house to ourselves, we have nothing to worry about; let's just enjoy the time we have right now."

Perfectly, her family was out of town for the weekend, which meant total isolation and privacy; she had longed for this night, the night where she could tell him how she felt about him. Somehow, though, she felt like she had already told him how she felt long ago, without saying a single word, and she felt that he had done the same, again, without saying a word. They have had their share of intimate moments together, but none more so than on this night. She knew their quest was coming to an end, and that she would have to make her permanent residence in her own world, with her family, friends, and studies.

But she doesn't want to leave the boy she had grown to love. All she ever wants is to stay with him for the rest of her life. The harsh reality, though, is that none of this could ever be. She knows this, and yet, she longs to remain close to him.

Kneeling, she puts her arms around his neck, continuing,

"We can enjoy each other's company, right? I mean, we are… all alone… in my bedroom…"

She looks deep into his eyes; he does the same into hers. He takes his right hand and softly clasps her right hand, gently giving soft strokes that cause her to quietly shudder in delight.

She slowly closes her eyes and leans forward; he does the same. Soon after, they embraced in a kiss, which would forever mend their previously unsuccessful attempt that had occurred only a short while before. This time, there are no interruptions, as it went off without a hitch.

Although they had shared a kiss only once before, this one felt more like a first kiss for both of them than the previous one, which she gave to him out of desperation, so that he could regress to his normal state of being. This time, it was out of love, for both of them.

As she reclines back, so that she could catch a breath of air, she looks at his smiling face, and leans in for another kiss, which he joyously accepts.

After a moment or two, she leans back, and says to him, "Do you know how long I've waited for the opportunity to be with you like this?"

He responds, "Probably as long as I have, Kagome."

She knows how he felt – his heart, long ago, once belonged to another, but now she knew that his heart belonged to her, much like her heart belonged to him. The love that she has for him was all-accepting; she would love him no matter what the circumstance.

He slowly leans downward to the floor, bringing her down with him. She puts an arm around him, leaning toward him for another kiss. By now, his hand is slowly and softly stroking her hair, taking in the feel of the girl he had grown to love. He knows a life apart from her was to be extremely implausible, yet it is the only logical scenario to occur for when the time came that their quest was to end. He doen't want to be apart from her, but he knows that she needs to be with her family, and if that means that he has to be away from her, then so be it.

That isn't his top concern at this time, though; he wants to spend as much time as possible with her, before they reached the point of their quest's conclusion. He wants to take it all in; her embrace, her feel, her warmth, even her taste, and, of course, her beauty.

She brought her head up, saying to him, "Do you want to take your robe off?"

He nods. She kneels, giving him room to sit up and remove his bright-red haori. He removes the article of clothing, but he wasn't done. He also removes the article of clothing that he wore directly underneath his robe, leaving him completely shirtless.

He says to her, with a coy smile on her face, "This is what you meant, right?"

She nods, as she leans toward him for another kiss. She had waited for an opportunity just like the one she has received for so long, but she had never thought of how to handle the situation if given to her. All she could do now is improvise.

Obviously, they knew where their limitation was – coitus. She was only fifteen, so she can't even imagine doing something like that. He, of course, loved her, but he didn't want to force her to do anything that she didn't want. The reason why this is being brought up is the fact that they had both thought of the act, but that was it. They were just thoughts. The reality was that she was too young, and he doesn't want to be demanding.

In simplified terms, they could do everything but.

That is perfectly alright with them, though; they can go about their night without that.

Throughout the next few hours that followed, in-between each other's kisses, soft, tender, one might say even loving, words were passed to one another.

2:36am

"Have you ever thought of doing this with me?" she says to him.

"I've thought of it, but I never thought it would actually happen. When are we ever alone like this, anyway?" he responds.

She seems surprised. "What do you mean, "alone like this"? We're in here alone all the time!"

"Yeah, but I mean, in terms of the level of intimacy that we have? When have we ever done, well, this?"

She then forms a smile before he leans in to her to give her another kiss.

After a moment, he then says to her, "You are so beautiful, Kagome."

She immediately blushes. "You don't have to be embarrassed," he continues. "It's the truth. I don't just think of you as "cute", or "attractive", or even just "pretty." Kagome, you are truly beautiful."

Tears start to form in her eyes as she smiles. "Inuyasha," she started, "you're the first boy to ever call me that. Nobody has ever said that to me before…" She drifts her speech, failing to complete her sentence, as she leans to him in for another kiss.

Given that many boys in her time had thought of her as "attractive", and have given her complements about her looks, nobody has ever actually called her "beautiful". This boy was different. He isn't romanticized with the ideals of expectations that one would desire; he is a realist. He sees and tells things like they were, he doesn't hold back a single comment, and he has a completely unfiltered, unexpurgated, and uncensored thought process.

He is also highly misunderstood. Throughout his life, he has been ostracized and shunned from everyone and everything, all because he was a half-demon, which lead to the self-reliance of his actions and of his decisions, and, ultimately, his fifty-year long state of suspended animation.

That is, until, she came into his life. She was unceremoniously sent back into the antiquated world that is his, and, out of a cry for help, awakened him. At first, they downright hated each other, but as time progressed, they started, albeit it was slow, to develop a certain rapport between one another. The days passed, and they started to care for each other more and more, until the realization came that she had fallen in love with him, and he realized, although he never thought of it verbatim, that he was in love with her.

He never thought of going through with his feelings, as he thought that would be an act of betrayal to his former love, but, gradually, he began to realize that his former feelings of affection were not as strong as they once were, and that his once-regressed feelings were the result of nothing more of an infatuation, most likely brought about due to his subliminal need for acceptance. She, however, accepts him completely, regardless of anything one might have said.

Maybe it was because of the fact that he was more realistic than other boys, but she wasn't able to get him out of her mind. He doesn't treat her like a faceless object, but as a person; a living, breathing person. He doesn't persistently try to win her affection, yet he was always looking out for her and protecting her, risking his live to save hers.

Maybe that was what caused her to fall in love with him; he saw her as a normal girl, and she saw him as a normal boy. It wasn't just on this night that they thought of each other this way, it was every day. They didn't see each other as opposites with supernatural abilities, but as a normal boy and a normal girl, nothing more and nothing less.

Releasing the kiss, she whispers into his ear, "Do you want to lie with me in my bed?"

He nods. They rise to their feet; she pulls the covers from her bed as they enter. He holds her hand as he enters first; she decides to lie atop him.

He doesn't protest; he actually encourages her decision by wrapping one arm around her while holding her hand. With a smile, he brings her closer to him and kisses her. She doesn't fight it, as she graciously responds with a kiss of her own for him. While tangled in the kiss, she guides her hand across the length of his hair; he does the same with hers.

2:55am

They enjoy each other's feel and embrace; they were so comfortable with one another, they feel that nothing could ever come between them. And nothing would. Although it had only been several months since they met, they feel like they had known each other all their lives. That was the level of intimacy that they had between them; they are not only best friends, they are much more than that. They have a genuine romantic attachment between them, a testament to the amount of true love that they shared.

After a moment's rest, something is said that had been contemplated for quite a while.

"Kagome," he begins, after momentarily hesitating, "do you… prefer me this way?"

She looks confused, not knowing what he means. "What do you mean, Inuyasha?"

"I mean, do you like me better as a mortal?"

"Inuyasha… how could even think that?" She seems upset. "I've told you over and over and over again that all I see when I look at you is you, and just you. It doesn't matter to me whether or not you're human, half-demon, or even full demon; if you're there with me, in any form, that's all that matters."

He suddenly seems like an idiot for what he said to her; he doesn't say a word.

"When you look at me, you see me, right?" He nods. "Then that's all that counts, Inuyasha, that we see each other without any labels, without any classifications."

He smiles at her. "That's also why I'm with you, Inuyasha, because you see me as me, not as an object, but as me; just like I see you as you, through all-accepting eyes." She slowly strokes the top of his head, clearing the black hair from his face.

"And I know that at the end of the day, I can rest easy, knowing…" This was it. She would say those ever-so-famous words to him. She had said it before, but he did not hear her say it. No more; this is be the moment, in her bedroom, lying in her bed, with the one she loves lying next to her.

3:05am

"…knowing that when I'm with you, you're all I can think about. You're the reason I wake up in the morning, knowing that you'll be there with me. You're the reason I keep coming back to your world, knowing that you're the one that I can't live without. And you're the one – the only one – whom I'll ever say this to; you're the only one that I will unconditionally love, no matter what."

His eyes widen.

"Inuyasha, I love you no matter what you are, and I always will love you, no matter where our lives take us."

He is in disbelief over what he had just heard. He had dreamt of hearing those words from her, but he never thought of actually hearing her say that. He is absolutely speechless.

"What's wrong?" she says. "What is it?"

"Kagome," he begins, "I never… I never thought that I would ever hear you say that. All this time I've dreamt of hearing you say that, I just… Kagome, ever since… well, ever since she died, I've spent all this time reviewing my priorities in life, and I've found out that everything that I once believed in, like becoming a full demon, I don't anymore. I don't want that, Kagome. All I want now is to just be with you, nothing else."

His voice sounds so soft, so calm, so… intimate. "What I'm trying to say, Kagome, is that… I have to say this, first. Do you remember when we first met, how I didn't care for you at all?"

She nods. "Whenever I look back on those first few weeks, it makes me… it brings tears to my eyes. Even the thought of you being hurt because of my ignorance, or of my own fault, it saddens me to the point that I would wish death upon myself. I don't like it when you're not there with me, Kagome; whenever I see that you're not there, I become depressingly lonely. I can't possibly live without you, Kagome; the smallest thought of you not being there alongside me is absolutely unfathomable."

He pauses, clasping at the golden locket that he wore. "I remember when you gave this to me, Kagome. At that moment, I felt rejoice. Not just happiness, but rejoice. I just didn't want you to know that, but deep down inside, I felt cared. I felt befriended. I even felt loved."

"That's why I gave it to you," she adds, "because I wanted to give you something out of the love that I had, and still have, for you."

"That's what I'm going to, Kagome. Ever since the day we met, I couldn't keep you out of my mind. No matter how much I wanted you out, you never left my thoughts. This brings me to the day when you asked me if you could stay in my world. Even before I saw you at the well, I knew that I couldn't have you away from my life. It was on that day when I truly realized how I felt about you."

"Inuyasha… are you trying to say…?"

3:12am

"Yes. Kagome, you are the one person that I feel closest to. You are the one that I would sacrifice my life for. Kagome, and this is the truth… I love you, from the bottom of my heart."

He said it. After months of internal struggle, he finally confesses to her.

This time, though, she is the one left speechless. She can not believe what she had just heard. The boy that she knew as stubborn, overprotective, and even egomaniacal… had just said that he loves her.

In a span of seven minutes, they had confessed their love for one another, a love that had been building for several months. This was extremely surreal. She can't believe what was happening throughout this night.

As she looks deep into his eyes, she begins to smile, all with tears of joy falling down her face.

"Inuyasha," she began, "I've waited so long to hear that from you."

"It's the truth, Kagome. I swear to you, it's the truth."

"I just can't believe this is happening. In one night, we've become a normal boy and a normal girl, and we've confessed how we feel about each other. And now…"

She looks at his smiling face as she leans in and kisses him; he joyously returns the kiss back to her.

Reasoning be damned, even if they would soon separate, they knew they would find a way back to one another, no matter how long it would take, no matter how it would happen. Nothing can ever keep them apart for good; no matter what the circumstance was, they always find a way back in each other's lives.

When he sent her back home for the first time, she found a way back. When she left after being heartbroken by him, she came back. When she was bedridden with an illness, he was there to help her heal. When she lost her backpack on the day of her high-school entrance exam, he was there with it in hand. This is proof enough that they can not stay apart from each other.

All that matters to them was that they loved each other and that they would do anything possible to keep that love strong.

As they end their kiss, he says to her, "I really am glad that I'm with you, Kagome. I can't even imagine being with anyone else."

"Neither could I," she responds. "You're the only one that I want to be with, Inuyasha. You're the only one that I could be with."

He holds her close, feeling something never felt before – the feeling of love for the girl that is in his arms. This was absolute, all-accepting, unconditional love. And he likes the feeling. It made him feel protected, centered, and at peace.

4:28am

As the night continues on, more kisses and loving words were given, all with the simple fact that they truly loved one another. Over the span of a few hours, they had found out how the other felt, although they felt like they knew how the other felt without having anything be said to them. Her heart belongs to him and no one else, and his heart belongs to her and no one else.

What a change for someone to go through, though. When they first met, they couldn't stand one another, but now, they can't even imagine being apart. It's an amazing progression for someone to experience, yet it's not that uncommon an experience for someone to go through. It's a simple pattern:

Indifference, acquaintanceship, friendship, and then, love. It's an archetype that has served people since the beginning of time, and it has never failed.

This was something special, though; they weren't a half-demon and a mortal in love with each other, but just a boy and a girl in love with each other, nothing more. They knew and understood that, not caring what other people thought or what other people said, but only about what and how they felt toward each other. Whether it was a held hand, an embrace, or even a kiss, the signs of affection given to one another were signs of an acceptance that could never be contradicted, a bond that could never be broken, and a love that could never be duplicated.

5:57am

Sunrise was near. They know of this; realizing that they had just spent the whole night awake with one another, and all they could do is laugh.

"Have we ever done this before, Inuyasha?" she asks, indicating the longevity of their time spent over the evening.

"Well, yeah, just not here, Kagome," he says. "Usually, whenever we stay up all night, we're always fighting demons, or you're all worried about me in my human form, which means none of us can go to sleep."

"So, I guess we can cross this off the list, then, huh?" she adds, chuckling. She then feels him take her hand and pull her in for another kiss, as if they hadn't done that enough for one night.

Much like during the rest of the night, she accepts and responds appropriately, kissing him back. This one was long and intimate, lasting for just the right amount of time so that both of them could "get their fill," so to speak.

6:02am

This time, though, when the kiss was released, she looked at his face and noticed something different. There is no more black hair. Instead, there is silver hair. And long, claw-like fingernails. And even dog ears. He had reverted to his half-demon state of being.

"Did you miss me?" he says.

"How could I miss you? You were right here, with me all night." she responds.

"I know that, Kagome. I'm just screwing with you; lighten up, it's a joke–"

He was cut off by her lips commingling with his.

As she breaks the hold, she says to him, "You meant what you said, right?"

He knows what she means. "You mean when I told you that I…"

She nods. He says to her in a half-whisper, "Of course I did, Kagome. Why else would I have stayed with you tonight?" He brings her in for another kiss. "And why else would I have done that?"

Immediately, she brings him in for yet another kiss as they lay down on her bed; and, of course, he graciously accepted it.

Breaking the hold after a few moments, he says to her, "I think we should get some sleep, Kagome."

She responds, in a playfully sarcastic tone, "Gee, you should've thought of that idea six hours ago!" She then says that she was only kidding, but he knows that she was, obviously. He then pulls her into an embrace before locking lips, which they would continue to do for a short while before finally succumbing to their need for sleep.

7:24am

They slept easily, knowing that they were in the arms of the one they love. Before they shut their eyes, they leave each other one parting message:

"I love you, Inuyasha."

"And I love you, Kagome."

A/N: Goodness... this was a monster to write. And in present-tense, too. Thank God for revisions...
Unrelated note: 1,200 hits since March 2011 - you guys rule! Thanks for the great support!