AU. Oneshot. Be prepared for a lot of sappiness. Also, this is mostly dialogue.

Relax; it's for fun! ;]

Reminder: In Japan, there's only three years of high school, not four, so the last year of middle school would be the equivalent of freshman year in high school in America.

Happy 11/11/11!

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.

Never Too Late

"Hey, Kagome…" A pause, and then, "Kagome?" Finally, the most irritated yet, "Ka-go-me!"

"What?" I demand, looking up from my textbook. I don't mean to be so short-tempered (really, I swear!), but midterms are in two freaking days, and Sango—who never has to study but still manages to get perfect grades every time—refuses to be quiet.

Even worse, the librarian (a crotchety old woman with an eye-patch) shushes me and not her.

"This is a library, Kagome, please be respectful of the other students," Kaede warns as she shuffles past us, a giant stack of books piled high in her arms.

"Hey, Kagome," Sango continues as if nothing happened, her voice at its normal volume level. No one tells her to keep it down.

Alright, I realize I'm being unfair to Sango. I haven't been sleeping well all week because tests make me nervous. To say I'm stressed is a total understatement. I'm a little frustrated and desperate because calculus still doesn't make any sense, even though I've been studying the review packet since last weekend. I've been overreacting to everything for days. Really, I appreciate that Sango is taking the time the time to help me out. I just wish someone would shush her for once.

"Don't you think that guy over there—"

"Sango! I don't have time for boy talk—which is something I never thought I'd say to you, since you're not boy-crazy like Eri or Ayame. I need you to explain derivatives again."

My best friend (because even when I'm mad at her, she's still my best friend) huffs in this irritated kind of way and tosses her long ponytail over one shoulder. "Give math a rest for a second. Seriously, look behind you; that guy seems really familiar."

Two days! Midterms are in two days, and she's boy watching. Which is ridiculous because, like I said, Sango is not boy-crazy. In fact, she's been dating Miroku for about a year now, ever since he grabbed her butt our first day, and she slapped him so hard his face was bruised for a week. And for every good grade Sango gets, Miroku gets an even better one, yet he studies even less. I swear, if they weren't my best friends, I'd hate them.

"There are twenty thousand students that go here," I remind her in a growly voice that I'm not exactly proud of. I may not be the girliest of girls, but I try. Most of the time, anyway. "Everyone looks a little familiar. You probably had a lecture with him last year or something."

"Will you just check him out for one second?" she insists, her eyebrows furrowed low over her eyes. She played soccer on the boys' team in high school, and I'm pretty sure I've never seen her voluntarily in a skirt, yet every day she carefully does her eyes. Eyeliner, mascara, and pink eye-shadow. "This is really going to bother me if I don't figure it out. Where do I know him from?"

So, with an (admittedly) over-dramatic roll of my eyes, I turn around in my seat and look out the library window, which is how I saw Inuyasha for the first time in four years.

Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it!

"Oh, my god," I say.

"Kagome!" Kaede warns from the front desk, leveling me with the most intimidating one-eyed glare I've ever seen.

"What is it?" Sango demands in a stage whisper. "Who is that? I knew he looked familiar!"

"What is he doing here?" I ask instead, gaping out the window. I can see my own reflection gaping back at me—I look like a fish. "He doesn't take classes here, does he?"

"Who. Is. It?"

"Inuyasha," I hiss, finally, having some kind of weird reaction to seeing him. My heart does this weird fluttering thing that it hasn't done since middle school, but my stomach is squeezed painfully tight, too. I am, I realize, both excited and horrified to see him again. Even from this far away, I can recognize the way he's standing (confident) and how he threw back his head while laughing (never could restrain himself). I know he'd have caught my attention whether I recognized him or not; he stood out from the other people he was talking with. I get angry at my betraying heart; it couldn't have calmed down after four years?

"Inuya—ohh," Sango says, clapping her hand over her mouth as it finally hits her.

"Yeah," I mumble, "Inuyasha."

Look, if you have something to say…

You should just say it.

"Oh, god," I groan, pressing my face into my hands, hoping the voice will stop repeating over and over again in my mind. "Why is he here?" When I pull my hands away, I find Kaede standing next to our table with her arms crossed over her chest.

"That's it. If you can't keep quiet, I'm afraid I have to ask you to leave," she tells us, sounding kind of disappointed.

I'll admit it; I flip out just a bit at the idea of having to leave the library. "What? I can't go out there! He's out there!"

Kaede—poor, sweet, old Kaede—just stares at me in bewilderment.

Sango gathers up our things—the traitor. She stuffs our books, papers, and notebooks in our backpacks, not even bothering to make sure she sorted them out right. If I didn't know any better, I'd think she was embarrassed of me. (Well, okay, by now at least two dozen other college students are staring at us thanks to my outburst.)

"Sorry, Kaede," she whispers politely to the librarian before grabbing me by the elbow and steering us both toward the front door. "Just keep your head down, don't look at him, and for the love of god, stop shouting," she orders me in a low voice.

It's a good plan. We make it out the door and down the steps. We even walk right past Inuyasha while he's talking to a group of our classmates; I'm close enough that if I were to reach out, I could touch his sleeve. This thought bowls me over. Why would I even want to do something like that? But it's true, I want to reach out to him, touch him even. It's crazy that he's here... Sango keeps one hand on my arm, pushing me forward when my body decides spontaneously that it wants to slow down and gape at him. We are more than a meter away before it happens.

And by 'it,' I mean the Frisbee.

If you've never been on a college campus, then you couldn't understand how crowded it can be. When it's nice out, like today, students are everywhere. In front of the library, girls were sunning themselves, boys were napping on benches, and several people were tossing around Frisbees.

One of those came flying straight for me.

"Oh, crap—Kagome, look out!" the thrower shouts. I recognize the voice; it's Kouga.

I tear my eyes away from my shoes long enough to realize that, yes, the Frisbee is coming right for me. Sango reaches up instinctively to grab it, but before she can, someone grabs us both by the shoulders and yanks us back a couple of steps to safety. The disk hits the ground right about where I had been standing, bounces once, and then skids across the grass.

Since I already know how bad my luck is (it's awful; really, I attract trouble like a human magnet), I don't even have to look up to see who 'saved' us. You know, from a bruise or maybe a small concussion. His voice is already there, repeating endlessly in my head.


"Hey, you guys alright?" he asks, the voice deep and gruff and not entirely unfamiliar.

If you have something to say…

"Thanks," Sango responds, brushing her palms against her jeans like she's brushing off dirt. It looked casual, but I know that she's nervous—for my sake. With the deepest, most fortifying breath I can muster, I finally turn to the guy.

You should just say it!

"Inuyasha," I greet curtly. He's grown so tall that I have to tilt my head up to meet his eyes; they are still the same liquid gold, but maybe a little darker, more grown-up and more serious than I remember. I take a quick step back, feeling like we're way too close to one another. Already, I can feel my cheeks warmed by a blush; he looks good. He looks more than good. He's got broad shoulders and…

It's happening again! I see him for more than a minute, and I'm already thinking crazy thoughts.

"Ah, Kagome," he says. What does that even mean?

Before I can say anything else, we're interrupted. Thank god, since I have absolutely no idea how to follow that comment. Ah, Kagome. Seriously? What are you supposed to say to that?

"Kagome! Shit, I'm sorry," Kouga apologizes, jogging over to us. He's panting, looking a little guilty.

"It was just a Frisbee," I remind him teasingly, glad I have an excuse to turn away from Inuyasha and his stupid gold eyes. "Seriously, I'm okay." Then, with a fortifying breath, I turn back to my old classmate, force a smile, and say stiffly, "Goodbye, Inuyasha. It was nice seeing you again."

I grab my best friend by the wrist and book it back to the dorms, too embarrassed to look over my shoulder to see what his expression is.

"Well, that all sounds very dramatic," Miroku jokes, leaning back on our couch. He props his feet up on the coffee table and wiggles his toes through his socks. Sango promptly swats his feet back to the floor.

"I know," I moan into my hands. No matter how hard I try, I can't get rid of the blush still staining my cheeks. I know it's there because my skin feels warm on my palms. "I acted like such a little kid."

"I think you stayed pretty calm," Sango says encouragingly. She hesitates before adding, "Well, calm for you anyway."

"Gee, thanks," I mutter. My calculus textbook is on the coffee table, calling out to me. If I don't distract myself soon, I know I'll stew on this for days—if not weeks or months. I've got that kind of personality where I beat myself up over things that aren't always in my control. Knowing it and fixing it are two very different things, by the way.

Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it!

Horrified, I screw my eyes shut tight, but I can still hear his voice echoing around in my skull. Now, though, it's even worse because it's no longer the thin voice of fifteen-year-old Inuyasha from my youth, but his grown-up voice that I heard for the first time today. Low, deep, rough. Thinking about it sends chills down my spine.

"Alright, you two really have to fill me in," Miroku demands suddenly. He leans forward, rests his chin in his hands and his elbows on his knees. He may be a lot of things—liar, lecher, mooch—but I know he honestly cares about Sango and, to some extent, me. Now, he looks like he's honestly listening to us. "Who exactly is Inuyasha?"

Sango glances at me, a vague smile playing around her mouth. She thinks this is funny! "He's Kagome's crush from middle school," she clarifies, finally, with her usual bluntness.

I hold up my hand, composing my face into the most serious expression I can. My cheeks still feel warm, but at least I can meet their eyes now. "Nuh-uh, if we're going to tell this story, we're going to tell it right," I say. "Inuyasha wasn't just my crush. I was totally in love with him. For years, from middle school into high school."

"Aw, Kagome's first love!" Miroku teases, grinning. "I wish I could have seen it. I bet you were adorable, all shy and bashful about it."

Naturally, Sango elbows him in the side, hard. "One, stop picturing fifteen-year-old Kagome; it's creepy. Two, Kagome was not shy at all. She was the same outspoken, stubborn, yet annoyingly cheerful girl that she is today."

"We were in the same class three years in a row," I continue as if the couple hadn't interrupted me. "Every year, the teacher always counted on me to help out. I passed out papers, ran errands, was in charge of organizing things… I even helped out with detention sometimes. Inuyasha was awful. He was always late, his hair was never combed, he was a smartass to the teacher, he never remembered his book, he'd fall asleep during lessons…"

"I can see how you'd like him," Miroku comments dryly. "He sounds like a real winner."

Sango shoots her boyfriend a dirty look, and he snaps his mouth shut. Still, he's grinning. (Miroku loves stories, I've come to realize. He likes telling them even better that hearing them, though.)

"We spent all this time together in detention—"

"She was always nagging him," Sango adds… unhelpfully might I point out. "'Bring your book,' 'Tuck in your shirt,' 'Brush your hair,' 'Don't be such an asshole.'"

I gasp. "Sango! I never called anyone an asshole in middle school."

She slides me a disbelieving look.

"He wasn't always so bad," I defend to Miroku. "If he ever caught anyone bullying anyone, he'd step in. There was this one kid, Jinenji, who was always picked on. He was the sweetest boy, but he was taller than everyone else by at least a foot. Everyone was always so mean to him, and whenever I tried to say anything about it, no one listened. One kid even shoved me when I tried to break up a fight."

"I remember that…" Sango says slowly, her voice a little hushed as she thinks back to four years ago. "Inuyasha saw. He went ballistic. Broke the nose of the boy who pushed you."

"And that's the day you realized you were in love with him," Miroku guesses.

Ah, he caught me. I nod. "Oh, I probably had a thing for him since we met, but watching him hit someone for me and protect Jinenji? I was officially a goner. There was no way I couldn't ignore how much I thought about him— had been thinking about him. He'd always been important to me, but I was so slow to figure it out."

"So, you realized you liked him. Then what?" Before I can answer him, Miroku adds, "Something bad, since you were avoiding him today. Did you confess your feelings and get turned down?"

"Even worse," Sango pipes up, her grin gone. She shoots me a sympathetic look, and I wilt, feeling bad for myself. Then I straighten back up, remembering that I'm not a little kid anymore who is unsure of how to confront her feelings. For lack of a better way to say it, I 'buck up.'

"I was fifteen," I remind them both. "I was just so embarrassed to have these feelings, and I had no idea what to do with them. But there he was, every single day. I was so nervous around him that I couldn't even look him in the eye or greet him anymore…" I trail off, trying not to relive those confusing months. Sango takes over.

"Inuyasha's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he definitely noticed that Kagome was avoiding him. I think it actually made him kind of mad—he went out of his way to see her, but she still found excuses to get away fast. Eventually, it was the last month of school."

"He was always cute, but he just seemed to get cuter," I interject with another embarrassed groan. "Girls started to notice, and since we were getting older, his bad attitude wasn't enough to fight off their attention anymore."

There was a pause, and Miroku looked back and forth between me and Sango. Finally, he burst out excitedly, "Well? What happened?"

"Kikyou," Sango says.

"Kikyou," I grumble.

"Kikyou?" Miroku echoes, his intrigued grin growing.

"She was from a different middle school, but she started hanging around ours all the time. I think they brought her in to tutor other kids," Sango explains.

I shake my head. "No, that wasn't it. She helped out in the nurse's office on days when her classes let out early. That was how Inuyasha met her; he got into another fight and was sent to the nurse. Kikyou helped patch him up."

"Then Kikyou stole Inuyasha from you," Miroku guesses.

"He was never mine to steal," I say fairly, even though it still kills me to think about it like that. "I mean, I knew for months how I felt about him, but I didn't do anything about it. Plus, it didn't even happen that fast. They didn't talk that much, so I didn't even notice what was happening until…"

"Until?" he prods.

"Until Kikyou called her out on it," Sango replies, remembering. "We were in class, and she came and asked to talk to you in the hallway."

"She asked me if I was dating Inuyasha," I explain to Miroku. "Which, of course I wasn't, so I had to say no. When she heard that, Kikyou looked so resolute, like she knew exactly what she had to do to have him. A week later," and it's here where I stop, the scene from four years ago playing behind my eyes like it had only happened yesterday. The thing is, I know it was a long time ago, and it really wasn't as traumatic as I'd like to think it was, but it still hurt way back then. It hurt now to think about that old heartache. "A week later," I force myself to continue, "I ran into them by the gate outside school. I mean, literally ran right into Inuyasha. I wasn't paying any attention to where I was going, and… Well, it's too late now to think about how things could have been different."

Miroku leans toward me from across the coffee table, his dark eyes intense. "So…?"

"I could tell Inuyasha was about to yell at whoever had the nerve to run into him, but then he sucked it all back in as soon as he turned around and saw that it was me. I just kept looking between him and Kikyou, trying to figure out what was happening, what I'd stumbled across. Kikyou, who I'm pretty sure was the serious and honest type, told me straight out that she'd just confessed her feelings, but Inuyasha hadn't replied yet. I'd interrupted them right as he was about to answer."

"What did you say?" Miroku asks in a hushed voice, the perfect listener to a dramatic story.

Ashamed, I lower my eyes to my lap where my hands are twisted together. "Nothing," I admit. "I didn't say a word."

"And Inuyasha?"

"He asked me… He said, 'Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it.' I still don't get what he meant by that. He actually sounded mad at me. I knew I was about to cry, and I didn't want them to see it, so I just turned around and walked away."

"She was gone from school the next day, and by the time she came back after the weekend, it was the last week of middle school," Sango tells Miroku. "I didn't find out until way later what had happened. Kagome hadn't even told me about her feelings."

"He didn't look at me at all the last few days," I conclude, wiping away a stubborn tear with an embarrassed laugh. Don't worry, I completely know how stupid it is that I'm getting this worked up over something that happened four years ago. I mean, it wasn't even a real heartbreak. We hadn't even gone out. "We ended up at different high schools, and I haven't seen him since then. Until this morning, that is."

"It was pretty surreal," Sango comments, leaning back against the sofa next to her boyfriend. "I mean, we're all practically adults now. It was weird seeing him all grown up; I almost didn't recognize him."

"He looks exactly the same," I protest. "It's hard to forget a boy with white hair and gold eyes."

"Eh," Sango mutters noncommittally. "Personally, I like dark hair and dark eyes."

"Aww," Miroku murmurs, leaning over and pressing a kiss to her jaw line.

"Oh, jeeze," I whine. "You guys!"

"Sorry, Kagome," Sango says around a giggle.

I open my mouth to say something back, but I cut myself off when there's a loud knocking on the door. Both Sango and I look immediately at Miroku, wondering if one of our neighbors sent the resident adviser to make sure we didn't have a boy in our dorm. (A rule almost everyone disregards.)

"Help him hide," I whisper. "I'll get the door."

Worrying that if I waited any longer it would look suspicious, I approach the door. At times like this, I wish there was a peephole I could peer through. Then again, whether it was a resident advisor or not, I'd still have to open the door—we'd just been talking, so it was obvious we were home.

"Yes?" I ask as I swing the door open.

And there's Inuyasha.

Of course. Of course! Didn't I tell you I have rotten luck?

Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it!

"Hey," he says, looking completely at ease—in fact, he looks a little bored. Meanwhile, my heart is hammering so hard in my chest, I have to hope I'm not having a heart attack. Stupidly, all I can think about is how cute he looks. No, not cute. He's ridiculously handsome, and I'd have been nervous to talk to such an attractive guy anyway. Add in the shock of seeing my first love after four years and all the emotions swirling around me after telling Miroku about it, I'm lucky I'm still standing.

"Hi," I choke out, going for 'cool' but sounding more like I have a severe cold. "What are you doing here?"

He frowns. His heavy black eyebrows furrow over his eyes, and he crosses his arms over his (now so, so broad) chest. Immediately, he looks just like that boy four years ago. Stubborn and insistent and not afraid to be in someone's face. "What do you mean, what am I doing here?" he demands. "I run into a friend I haven't seen in years, and she just takes off. What the hell's wrong with you?"

Me? Me? It takes a lot of control, but I manage to bite back my anger at this completely ludicrous question. Has he completely forgotten that he didn't even look at or speak to me the last week we were together? "I'd invite you in, but—"

Behind me, Miroku bursts out of our tiny closet, falling to the floor with several things tumbling out with him. "Oops," he mumbles, rubbing his head and looking over at me and Inuyasha in the doorway.

"You're hiding a boy in your room," Inuyasha says, his voice oddly accusing.

"Oh, he's not mine," I mutter.

"Sorry, sorry!" Sango apologizes, stooping down to help her boyfriend to his feet. "I told you you wouldn't fit in there!"

Miroku rubs his head again, looking embarrassed. "Yes, Sango dear."

"Wait, Sango?" Inuyasha blinks at her, recognition dawning on his face. "Hey, it is you!"

And my best friend, bless her, gives him the dirtiest look ever. "Inuyasha, I was standing with Kagome in the courtyard when we almost got hit by the Frisbee earlier. Remember?"

"Oh," he mumbles. "I… I didn't notice you."

"Implying," Miroku pipes up, a broad grin stretching his face. I mentally groan, knowing that he's about to cause trouble. "That you only had eyes for Kagome."

"Oh, my god," I wail under my breath and shoot Sango a furtive look.

She takes the hint. "Miroku and I are going to go pick up some dinner. What do you want, Kagome?"

"Just get me what you get," I mumble dismissively, officially too horrified to look at Inuyasha. What could he even be thinking after that?

"Hey," he says, and I can hear his clothes rustle. When I get the courage to look at him, I see that he's pulled out his wallet. He fishes out a couple of bills and holds them out to Sango. "Get me something while you're out? I'm starving."

Sango and I share a look, our eyebrows quirked in surprise. "You sure you're still going to be here by the time we get back?" she asks in my place.

Inuyasha's confused; I can see it on his face. "Why wouldn't I be?" he answers gruffly.

Sango doesn't answer, instead looking at me again. I nod at her slowly, giving her permission to take off and get the food. If Inuyasha's gone when she gets back, it's his loss, I guess. I don't really know what to expect from this conversation after all, and if… Well, if we manage to patch things up, maybe we can be friends again. Inviting himself in (the kind of arrogant thing he would have done back in middle school) may just be the first step back to friendship.

The minutes after they leave are silent and obviously a little awkward.

Running his hand through his hair, Inuyasha pushes past me and drops onto the couch. Our dorm is ridiculously small, and he just seems so big now, taking up so much space. I look between the other half of the couch and the chair I had been sitting in before. I make a beeline for the chair.

Big mistake. Now we're sitting across from each other, and I have to face him head on.

"So," he says.

"So," I repeat. Brilliant, Kagome, I scold myself.

"It's been awhile."

Well, it would have been one week shorter than 'awhile' if you'd spoken to me, I want to say. Instead, I tell him, "Yeah. It has been. What are you doing on campus? Are you enrolled here?"

He shakes his head and leans back into the couch, looking completely comfortable in this place where I've lived for almost a year with Sango. "Nah," he grumbles. "I'm working with Sesshoumaru, and he likes to send me on errands. I guess he donates a bunch of money to this school or something."

"Sesshoumaru?" I repeat in confusion before remembering. "Oh, your brother, right?"

"Half-brother," he corrects, but he's smirking. There's a moment of silence, and now he's leaning toward me, his face serious. "How've you been, Kagome?"

Oh, god, I think, like an idiot. I love the way he says my name. It's like it's different from the way absolutely everyone else in the world says it. "Fine," I answer shortly. "You?"

"Fucking awful," he admits. Still, he's smirking.

"Why's that?" I ask. I know it's what he's aiming for.

"Because I ran into my old friend, and she treated me like a stranger," he complains.

Oh. Right. "Sorry," I apologize, feeling my cheeks flare with a blush. "I was in a hurry," I lie.

"No, you weren't. You were avoiding me, just like you used to avoid me back in school. What was with that, anyway?"

"Were you always this direct?" I ask right back, my embarrassment starting to be overtaken by irritation. "I never avoided you."

"You did," he insists, leaning forward even further. The room is so cramped, and he's so tall, that he's quickly close to me. I imagine I can feel his breath on my face. No, wait, I definitely can. "I've been waiting four years to see you again. You really going to make me beg for an answer?"

Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it.

I open my mouth to lie again, but then I snap it shut. It hits me. Am I really going to let some schoolgirl crush four freaking years ago make me act like an idiot all over again? I'm a college student! I have friends and a loving family. I dated some cute guys since I last saw Inuyasha—Kouga from earlier, for example. Okay, so we didn't really date-date, we just hung out a few times. (It turns out we're better as friends, and my other friend Ayame was obsessed with him.) I dated Hojo! Hojo was this really sweet pre-law guy who graduated early. (In the end, we realized that what we had just wasn't special enough to try to maintain long-distance.)

No; no way. I am not going to let Inuyasha win again. He's caused me enough embarrassment over the years.

Look, if you have something to say, you should just say it.

"Yes," I find myself telling him, leaning forward, too. Now, not only can I feel his breath on my face—on my cheeks and my lips—but I know he can feel mine. "I avoided you in middle school."

His smirk widens into a grin. "You admit it!" He momentarily drops his eyes before bringing them back up to meet mine again. "Was it because I hit that kid in front of you? You know, that time where that big kid—Jinji or whatever—was getting bullied."

I shake my head, remembering that scene for the second time in one day. Feeling that boy push me, and then seeing Inuyasha standing right there, furious. He'd helped me up from the floor, his hands lingering longer than I thought was necessary, feeling so warm even through the sleeves of my sweater. And then he'd reeled on the boys…

"I never really thanked you for that," I realize. I can feel it, a kind of nostalgic smile on my face. "Thank you for rescuing me that day. And, you know, beating the crap out of that asshole."

He laughs. Inuyasha laughed. There is no way that sound could affect me like this if I wasn't already developing another crush.

"Seriously, Kagome, what the hell happened? I thought we were friends."

"We were," I agree honestly. Even though I wouldn't admit it all throughout middle school, I loved seeing him every day. Helping him with his homework, scolding him when he tried to bail on detention. "The problem," I begin, screwing up my courage, "the problem was that I wanted more than that."

It's as though I'd dropped a bomb. Maybe in a way, I had. Inuyasha stares at me, the grin sliding off his face.

"What?" he asks.

"I had the biggest crush on you," I confess, feeling the weight on my shoulders—one that I hadn't even realized was there—starting to lift. It's actually so relieving that I laugh. "I was just so embarrassed; I couldn't figure out how to tell you."

"You've gotta be kidding me," he mumbles under his breath.

"Excuse me?"

"Idiot!" he whispers, and I can't tell if he's talking to himself or to me. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" he says a little louder, his eyes intent.

"I just couldn't find the right way or the right time," I admit.

"You could have told me when I asked!" he says, sounding angry now.



"What?" I ask out loud. "You never asked me anything!"

"Yes, I did," he snaps. "Outside the school gates, when that one girl was confessing to me."

Look, if you have something to say… You should just say it.

"Wait a minute," I say, holding my hand up as if that action alone could pause the conversation. "That was you asking me about my feelings?"

"I thought you hated me," Inuyasha tells me, his eyebrows furrowed again. All traces of that earlier grin are gone. "You'd been acting weird for months, and then that Kikyou girl started to hang around, and you acted even weirder. I finally just had to know."

Baffled, I shake my head at him, trying to clear it. "I never hated you," I say. He opens his mouth, but I cut him off quickly. "What ever happened with Kikyou?"

He frowns. "Nothing happened with her. I turned her down."

"Oh, man, you've gotta be regretting that," I joke weakly. "She was pretty."

"I guess you could say I was emotionally unavailable. And she was okay… but, I've seen prettier."

I can't help myself. "Like who?"

A beat passes, and then Inuyasha actually laughs weakly. "For the love of god, just shut up," he says before closing the last few inches between us, the space I hadn't even realized had been steadily getting smaller, and then he's kissing me. His hands are in my hair, his lips pressing, moving roughly, hungrily, insistently. I moan and melt into him, my arms circling his neck.

Then the door opens.

"Hey, guys, we're back! Did you kill each—?"


"Miroku! Close your eyes. Get back in the hall!"

"Sango, dearest, they're just kissing. It's not like they're naked."

I yank away from Inuyasha, but he doesn't let go, his fingers tightening against my neck to hold me in place. "Hey," he says, moving closer. I can feel him smiling against my lips. "Ignore them. I waited four years for this. I'm not letting anything ruin it again."