A/N: Here's a one-shot I've had on the back burner for a while that I'm hoping will jumpstart my creative juices enough to write for my other stories. I've neglected them for so long, it's about time I complete them. This will be my project for the year. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Truly and sincerely, I do not own Inuyasha, but I certainly enjoy borrowing the characters for my twisted plots!

*Note: Kouga doesn't have his Jewel shards.*

Common Misconception

The scent of rosemary carried by the wind, struck his senses like the resonating hum of a harp string. It stirred a longing in him that had nothing to do with bloodlust. It was love that moved him to follow the scent of the woman he had set his sights on since the day he kidnapped her.

"Kagome . . ."

He whispered her name into the moonlit night, savoring the each syllable that rolled from his throat, across his tongue and out his mouth to join the open air. His heart throbbed in want. Though only a human, she had captured his heart. No other female—demon or otherwise—had ever been able to effectively snare him, so it came as a surprise when he realized how quickly he'd fallen for the miko. And though he had made his intentions clear, she had yet to return his feelings. Perhaps it was her devotion for that mutt-faced half demon that prevented her from confessing her true feelings. Whatever the reason, he was certain that in time, his devotion to her would eventually tear her away from Inuyasha.

It was an eventual outcome he could no longer stand to wait for. His need to have her by his side bypassed all reasonable thoughts of understanding and patience. He yearned for nothing more than her concession to what he had been plainly expressing to her ever since their first encounter—an expression of love and devotion that the half-breed was so reluctant to admit to, though his actions spoke more than his words of denial. Kouga, leader of the wolf demon tribe, knew that Inuyasha's reluctance to express his true feelings for Kagome was the only reason why there was still a chance for him to be with Kagome.

The eventual occurrence of Kagome growing tired of the half-breed's lack of commitment was something he longed for. It was his chance to sweep her away from heartbreak and into the arms of everlasting love. Tonight more than ever, he itched to go to her. To hold her tightly against him and whisper the words she had longed to hear from another. His heart leapt in his chest; the wind carried another delightful whiff of her scent and before long he was weaving through the silky darkness that shrouded the nearby forest.

The stinging smack of a strong wind, blinded him, and yet her scent compelled him still. He followed the weightless trail until he pinpointed the spot where it appeared to be the strongest. Another coarse wind swept across his face, bringing with it the scent of Inuyasha and from it alone Kouga could tell that the half-breed had turned human. He knew Inuyasha to be less of a threat to him in this weakened state and boldly ventured closer to an opening in the forest where Inuyasha and Kagome sat alone, snuggled against the warmth of a campfire. He crept closer still, avoiding leaves and twigs that might alert either of them to his presence.

Both Kagome and Inuyasha sat in silence beside each other. Kagome held Inuyasha's precious sword the Tetsusaiga in both hands, as if to ward off any evil surrounding them. It was long time before the silence was breached and Kouga nearly leapt up at the sound of Kagome's voice.

Without turning to watch his face, she asked, "What do you see when you look at me, Inuyasha?"

The hesitance in her voice reflected her apprehension over asking such a question, but she just had to have an answer. She needed to know that Inuyasha at least saw her as an individual and not as a reflection of his long lost love, Kikyo.

A silence swelled between them and filled the clearing, only broken by the occasional cries of demons, the whisper of wind through the treetops and the crackle of the fire before them. Inuyasha turned away a moment, not sure how to answer her question. What did he see when he saw her? Was he ready to admit what he had tried to keep secret for so long? How would she react to his response?

"I see Kikyo," he said.

Kagome's shoulders tensed up as tears began to form. She regretted asking, but she had to know the truth. She didn't want to hear anymore. She didn't want to hope anymore. And she certainly didn't want to feel her heart break in her chest anymore. Anger broke over her, raising gooseflesh along her arms, but receded just as quickly as it came. She felt weary, wounded and longed for some time away from the pain, but it wasn't something she could easily escape. At the moment, the least she could do was get away from the immediate cause of it.

Kouga wanted nothing more than to tear Inuyasha apart for hurting Kagome, but he held himself still to avoid giving away his presence. He would watch until Kagome left and then he would kill the mutt himself. But for now he could only stand by, watching the scene unfold, despite his longing to jump in and interfere.

Kagome stood fully prepared to leave; tears were already trailing down her pale cheeks and dotting the ground with moisture. Inuyasha reached out and caught her arm before she could make her escape, his grip firm enough to bruise.

"You didn't let me explain," he said.

His gaze found hers when she turned, arm still held by his hand clamped against her flesh.

He waited a heartbeat before continuing. "It's true that I see Kikyo when I look at you, but that is less than half of what I see." Inuyasha averted his gaze to gather his resolve before locking gazes with her again with an intensity that nearly dropped her to her knees.

"Physically you are her, but personality-wise, you are more lively, expressive and passionate than Kikyo ever was, dead or alive. Even though I longed for Kikyo's memory, you stood by my side no matter how much it hurt you. Your expression of concern and you're devotion are something that the reanimate Kikyo could never replicate."

"What are you trying to say?" It was simple question, but it held a weight to it, a meaningful substance that could change the dynamic of their relationship.

This time, though the urge was stronger than ever, Inuyasha did not look away, but instead, drew Kagome down by his side so she was eye level with him. "I'm saying, Kagome, that I choose you. It's been you from the beginning. I was just too blind to see it and was too afraid to share what lay within my heart for the longest time."

Kagome's heart leapt in her chest with joy; Kouga's trembled with the beginnings of a painful heartbreak. And yet, Kouga felt compelled to watch to the bitter end, to find out if Kagome would return his feelings. If she did, any hope of an eventuality yielding itself into an actuality would diminish rapidly. The pain of an indirect rejection would drive him over the edge, to the very brink of madness.

The final blow pierced him through, tearing at his raw flesh like the jagged edges of a rusted blade.

Kagome's lips met Inuyasha's, tears still glittering at the corners of her eyes. "I've been waiting a long time to hear you say that," she said when they parted.

"And I've been waiting a long time for the right moment to do this." Inuyasha took possession of Kagome's mouth with an aggressive assault of lips and tongue, making known to her all that he had neglected to say to her all this time. Kagome returned his aggressiveness with a ferocity of her own that drew a groan from him.

Kouga's stomach heaved in revulsion, bile building high in his chest and inching a burning path up his esophagus and into his mouth. His vision danced with dark spots and his legs were unable to hold him. His heart cried out against the betrayal he'd just witnessed and urged him to flee from the source of his pain, just as Kagome had attempted to do just moments before. He stumbled away, not caring that his careless movements had alerted Kagome and Inuyasha.

Tears were in his eyes, obscuring his vision as he ran. Nothing mattered in that moment except isolating himself from the world. A thick root caught his ankle and he was down in a pile of wet leaves. He laid there for countless seconds, hours, minutes, allowing his tears to flow onto to the moist bed of vegetation clinging wetly to his face. Exhaustion hit drawing him into the forceful embrace of a heartbroken slumber.

A/N: Okay, so this isn't going to be a one-shot. I'm breaking this up into two parts. I'm not feeling all too confident about the writing in this. Please tell what you think. Rake me over the coals for all I care. Reviews, constructive criticism and flames are graciously accepted.

Silver Moon Vampiress