I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi

Chapter 3

InuYasha gave the flames one final stir, then put down the fire stick, returning to his place next to Kagome. She leaned back against his shoulder.

"We really do have something to celebrate," she said. "I still I don't know why it was today and not any of the other days I walked into the well house, searching for the magic there but not finding it. I guess the well must have known I was finally ready. I finished my schooling last week. That world now considers me an adult. Everything I had to do as a child of my family was done. Maybe the magic read my heart and knew now was the time."

She pulled his hand into her lap, resting her much smaller hand on his. "It wasn't the first time I'd walk to the well house and just stare down into the darkness there. I'd talk to you, tell you about how I missed you and all the little things that were happening in my life. But today was different. I could feel it when I walked into the building. There was something in the air. As I looked at the well, it seemed to me that the reason I could never get back to you was my fault - I was too afraid. I was afraid of the darkness, of all the danger we had gone through, afraid maybe of growing up and leaving my family. Maybe I was afraid you wouldn't want to be with me any more."

InuYasha gave her hand a little squeeze. "Feh. No chance of that ever happening."

Kagome looked up at him, at the honest sincerity in his amber eyes, and smiled, giving his hand a squeeze back. "That's a good thing, because next I found myself wishing, wishing as hard as I could, to be with you again. I could feel the magic, faint at first, but then it grew, reaching up to touch me. When I finally looked into the well, I could see the sky here, and I knew I was being given a chance. Mama followed me into the well house. She saw the sky too, and knew what I wanted to do. She gave me her blessing, and then I jumped. When I landed, I looked up, and the first thing I saw was you. I knew I was home. This world, not that one, is where I belong."

InuYasha's amber eyes glistened with emotion as his listened to her. He struggled to say something. "I can't say what that means to me," he said at last, lifting her chin up with one finger. "I just don't have enough words. I've missed you so much. Life was so hard without you."

He bent over slightly, pulling her to him as his lips found hers. The kiss began, gently and tentatively, and a bit unsure, but built up heat as he pulled her closer, cupping the back of her head. Their mouths opened to the taste of each other.

Her arms had wrapped around his neck, under the satin of his hair, pressing herself lightly against him, and he was loathe to let go once the kiss had ended. Instead, he rested his forehead against hers.

"I wanted to do that when I pulled you out of the well, but the others showed up too soon," he said, giving her a crooked, sheepish grin.

Kagome brushed her fingers over his lips. "Better now," she said. "Nobody will interrupt us."

"No little brother," he said, gently kissing her forehead. "No kitsune. No teasing monk."

"Nobody else." Her hand went to his cheek, brushing the skin with the back of her knuckles, then slid softly to return through his silver hair to its place around his neck. "Just you and me."

Their mouths found each other again. Her lips parted as his kiss deepened, and their tongues slid over and around each other in a gentle, delicious dance, exploring and tasting.

Breaking the kiss, InuYasha tucked Kagome's head back under his chin and wrapped an arm around her. She could hear his heartbeat racing as he worked to even out his breath. After a moment, he spoke.

"When I finally broke out of the jewel and saw you there, floating in that blackness, I knew what really mattered to me." His voice was soft, but rough, as if it were hard for him to talk. "Power didn't matter. Strength didn't matter. Just you. Only you."

He picked up her hand, still holding her closely. "I just wanted you to be safe and happy. When I saw you fall into your mother's arms, surrounded by the people who loved you, I knew you needed them, and they needed you, and I didn't even fight it when the well took me back. All that mattered to me was that you were safe and had a chance to be happy."

"I'm happy now," Kagome said, lacing her fingers into his. "The first time I've really been happy in a long time."

"Me too," he said. "But even though I let you go, I always hoped - no, I knew that we weren't done. Kaede thought we were, that you'd never be able to make it back. But I knew differently. After I followed you into the Meidou, I found myself trapped in the jewel, fighting the youkai in it. They tried to tell me that you were born to stay there forever in it, to fight through all time with Naraku, just like Midoriko was fighting against the youkai there. I told them that there was no way in hell that was true. We had been born to meet each other, to be with each other." He gave her hand a small squeeze. "While you were on the other side of the well, that was what kept me going, knowing we were meant to be together. I would have waited forever." He moved so he could smile at her. "But I'm glad we didn't have to wait any longer than we did."

"InuYasha," she whispered. Their lips met again, tender, lingering.

Kagome snuggled back against InuYasha's shoulder. They sat there, wrapped up together for several minutes, watching the fire, not speaking, just pleased to be with each other. InuYasha's free hand made long, gentle strokes over Kagome's arm and back, almost as if were reassuring himself she was really there.

"I'm afraid," he said, breaking the silence. "I'm afraid that all this is going to turn out to be a dream and when I wake up in the morning, you'll still be on the other side of the well."

"I'm here," she said. She turned to face him. His right ear twitched, like it always did when he was tense. His eyes, though, glimmered in the firelight, dark burnished amber, filled with longing. "I'll only leave if you send me away."

"Never. Never again, even if I think it's for your own good. It's going to be hard enough just to take you back to Kaede's for the night." He smiled a rueful, wistful smile.

"Then don't," Kagome said. She ran a fingertip gently over his lips. He caught her hand, and kissed the fingertips. "I didn't come back to stay with Kaede." She lifted her other hand and slid it around his neck. "I want to be with you. Tonight. Always."

"With me," he repeated. It sounded like a question. His eyes grew wide as it dawned on him what she meant.

She nodded.

"Kagome," he breathed, and his mouth reclaimed hers, this time hungry and unrestrained in his want of her. As the kiss deepened, and turned into more than one, they ended up laying down, InuYasha half on top of her. Suddenly, he stilled as if he had realized something, then lifted himself up on his elbows.

Amber eyes searched her face, his look intense and serious. "You do know if you stay, everyone in the village will call you InuYasha's wife. The hanyou's wife. Some people aren't going to like it. It's never easy when a human chooses a youkai as their partner. There won't be any going back. Be sure you're ready for this, Koibito. If you're not, let me take you back to Kaede's. As much as I want to be with you, I'll understand."

Kagome smiled at him and shook her head. "I traveled nearly five hundred years in time to be here with you," Kagome said. She reached up and brushed a finger across his lips, then slipped her hand across the side of his face where a human's ears would be, slipping her fingers into his hair. Her eyes were warm and dark and wanting. "I don't know if I could even go back if I wanted to. But that doesn't matter. Let them say whatever they want to say. Call me the hanyou's wife? That's exactly what I want to be. What I came here to be. InuYasha's wife."