Blanket Disclaimer:

Inuyasha, and the characters therein, are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I am in no way affiliated with Takahashi, or VIZ Productions.


.

.

Chapter 3 – Getting to know you

.

.

The following evening Kagome was a nervous wreck, but in a good way.

She'd called the shrine early that morning to apologize to her mother that she wouldn't be able to make it over for Christmas dinner, but when Mrs. Higurashi had learned that the reason was because she had a date, and with the silver-haired photographer she knew her daughter had been crushing on for over three years now, Kagome had immediately been excused from dinner and told to have a wonderful time. She'd then had her squealing-in-delight girl talk with Sango earlier that afternoon, the slayer super happy for her and demanding details come tomorrow morning, but Sango was now out for the evening herself, staying the night with Miroku, which meant that Kagome was now by herself, staring at herself in the mirror in her fifth outfit of the night, desperately wishing for her mirror to talk back to her though it remained stubbornly silent.

Like he's really going to care what you wear… she tried to tell herself. But while it was true that most guys probably didn't care all that much about their date's wardrobe, so long as they did look presentable, Inuyasha wrote tabloid articles for a living, which included the occasional garment-trashing. She couldn't help but feel under the microscope under such circumstances, even though the 'Best Dressed' and 'Worst Dressed' lists were really Eri's job. Eri! Why hadn't she thought of that sooner?

Because Yuka, Eri and Ayumi all knew of and discouraged my interest in Inuyasha

Still, though, she knew that was only because the trio had locked onto how the hanyou had used to act towards her and they refused to acknowledge that he'd changed, still calling him a jerk and such and attempting to assure her that she could do much better. Not a single one of them had ever said anything negative about him being a hanyou, and Kagome was sure they would be supportive of her if a serious relationship did in fact blossom from this date. Office relationships certainly weren't against company policy; if they were then Miroku would be the biggest hypocrite on the planet, and while the perverted holy man might be a lot of things, a hypocrite wasn't one of them. No, Kagome knew that so long as both she and Inuyasha could maintain a professional working relationship around each other while on the clock that there wouldn't be any problem even if they up and got married.

Getting a little ahead of yourself, girl, don'tcha think? the miko scolded herself at such wild thoughts, her mirror still unforthcoming with regard to whether the blue dress or red dress would be the better choice for tonight. The blue one matched her eyes, and she felt it better suited her complexion and shape, but the red one was festive, ideal for the holiday season, and red was also Inuyasha's favorite color.

Somehow, though, I don't think I really need to play on his favorite color to gain his attention… she thought then with a snicker, shedding the white dress she currently wore. Blue it is.

She was just finishing up the final touches on her makeup when a soft knock on the door immediately triggered rapid pounding in her chest. It was time.

oooOooo

Inuyasha stood outside the door to Kagome's apartment mentally trying to fight back a sensation he hadn't felt since his mother died, fear. The only slight consolation he could think of to help him get through his anxiety was the fact that Kagome was clearly just as shaken up as he was, if the thundering heartbeat inside the apartment that was slowly making its way towards the door was any indication. He finally understood. This was a normal fear, a healthy fear: a fear of the unknown. He certainly wasn't afraid of Kagome, just as Kagome had never actually been afraid of him.Why should he fear Kagome? Miko powers notwithstanding the girl posed absolutely no threat to him, and the fact that she was a miko he actually liked, believe it or not. It meant they were closer to being equal, although he wasn't delusional enough to honestly believe that a hanyou could ever be considered equal to anyone.

Don't go thinking crap like that now, baka… he scolded himself two seconds before he heard the door unlock, and then there she was, pulling it open to reveal herself standing shyly in the doorway in the most gorgeous midnight blue dress he'd ever seen. The knee-length skirt was loose and flowy, pulled tight at the waist to show off her curves, the bodice accentuating her breasts with just a hint of cleavage before each side climbed up her collarbone to wrap around her neck for support, the back of the dress swooped low and open down to her waist. Her hair was pulled up into a neat bun with only a few loose curls hanging down to dance across her cheeks, leaving her shoulders bare. She looked perfect, fancy but not too fancy. They weren't going to an exclusive 'black tie' only restaurant, but the place had required reservations – two weeks in advance. Fortunately for Inuyasha, hanyou or no, being one of the writers for the Shikon Weekly afforded him certain celebrity privileges of his own from time to time, plus he might have 'implied'that he was good friends with the head food critic over at Tama Cuisine magazine.

"You look…wow."

"Thanks," Kagome answered with a grin, tension melting off of her in waves. "You too."

And it was true, Inuyasha looked absolutely wow in his dark gray suit, the ensemble toned down away from strictly formal just enough by the absence of a tie and the first two buttons on his ivory shirt undone, as well as the jacket. There was an 'I'm-not-even-trying' sexiness to the hanyou that she wondered if he even knew about. If Kagome didn't know better, she'd swear he moonlighted as a male model on the side.

"Shall we?" the would-be male model asked in that moment, pulling Kagome from her mildly naughty thoughts. Little did she know her thoughts had only been mirroring his own.

"Definitely." she replied, exiting her apartment. After locking up, she graciously accepted the arm that was offered, and trying not to too obviously feel up his muscles, she walked with him out of her building and towards his car.

The drive was peaceful, silent, but not in an awkward way. Arriving at the restaurant, Kagome flashed Inuyasha a questioning look, knowing the place always got booked in advance around the holidays, but he merely smirked at her in answer and so smiling back, she decided not to pry into his secrets. At least not those kinds of secrets.

You might not be able to really love somebody you don't know anything about, but my days of not knowing anything about Inuyasha are officially over… she told herself in that moment, bound and determined to find a happy balance of dining and conversation so that she could find out everything she wanted to know without the pour guy feeling like she was giving him the third degree.

Inuyasha understood where she was coming from, though, and surprised Kagome by actually broaching the subject first after they placed their orders.

"Tell me about yourself." he requested simply, and only marginally taken aback, simply because that had been her line, Kagome grinned and conceded. What girl didn't like talking about herself? And he certainly had a right to know everything about her since she would then ask him to return the favor, which she teasingly warned him in advance. He merely nodded, and repeated, "You first."

So she told him about herself, her life growing up in a shrine, her training as a miko, and her growing desire as she got older to be anything but a shrine miko, although she didn't take her spiritual powers for granted. In fact she still studied with the regional spiritual leaders at least once a month, to keep herself sharp, and since she hadn't lost all sense of honor with regard to having come from a shrine family she was also registered as a reservist with the Spiritual Sect. She would only be called to 'duty' if the shit hit the fan, so to speak, and they needed every last human with spiritual powers to join the fight, otherwise she never had anything to do with the occasional 'youkai control' assignments that some spiritualists assisted the taijiya with. While they couldn't legally make a spiritual-born fight against their will, she had felt it was only right that she sign up for the reserves, like her father before her. Her mother, she explained, didn't have any spiritual powers of her own, the reiki coming from her father's side of the family. Perhaps that was why it had been easier for the woman to accept Kagome's desire to lead a normal life. She also told him about her little brother Souta, and how, unlike her, he was dedicated to staying at home and working at the shrine fulltime, which had eased the sting for her grandfather when she'd moved out, seeking a normal job and a normal lifestyle. She told him about her father next, and how he had died in a car accident when she was only ten and Souta three; her little brother hardly remembered him.

When it was his turn to speak, Inuyasha told Kagome about growing up with his mother, just the two of them. He only knew the story from the way she'd told it, but according to her she had met and fallen for his father one day while out in the woods on a camping trip. She ended up going back to see him several times, and one thing led to another, as the saying went. Where his demonic relatives were now, he couldn't say for sure, although according to his mother he had a full-blooded half-brother named Sesshoumaru that his father had told her about once, and apparently they all lived up in the clouds, in a castle in the air. A magical place that, as a hanyou, he could never go…or at least not without an invitation.

His father had apparently disappeared after Izayoi had become pregnant, so the general consensus between he and his mother growing up had been that she had been the 'other woman', Izayoi having felt that Inuyasha deserved to know the truth once he was old enough to understand. Whether the inu-youkai had actually abandoned his human lover or somebody had 'eliminated' him for his betrayal they would never know. She had stopped trying to look for him before giving birth, staying out of the woods. She had known that the youkai of the forest would be able to smell what she carried, and unlike humans, youkai had no laws of 'protection' in place for hanyou. Most youkai viewed humans as beneath them, and breeding with them was vile and traitorous. Despite the risk of retaliation from such lesser beings who were also numerous and dangerous, which was the real reason most youkai usually left humans alone, most species wouldn't have hesitated to eradicate the abomination in Izayoi's womb, consequences be damned, and so for the safety of her baby she'd let the fantasy of her canine champion returning for her one day die in favor of raising the cherished gift he'd left her with. Her family had been incredibly disappointed in her for having an affair, if you could call it that, with a 'wild animal', but nonetheless she had raised Inuyasha to the best of her ability, no thanks to anyone.

He'd had a relatively happy childhood, all things considered, but it had quickly been discovered that his mother had a life threatening heart condition, something hereditary and nobody's fault. He told Kagome of how his mother had passed while he had been a junior in high school, and how her older sister had begrudgingly taken him in until his eighteenth birthday, when she'd promptly kicked him out. Fortunately he'd already been working a few part-time jobs by then, having known he'd be needing the money, and so he'd had enough in savings to rent a room in a cheap motel. He knew he wanted a better life for himself, though; he knew he was worth more than that. He refused to let all of his mother's hopes and dreams die along with her and so when he'd seen the announcement for the new upcoming positions available at Shikon Weekly he'd jumped at the chance to actually make something of himself. He was positive his mother's family had to know what had become of him, especially after the stunt he'd pulled on the news last summer, but nobody had ever tried to contact him and so they could all rot in hell for all he cared.

"I'm sure your mother is very proud of you." Kagome stated softly, and Inuyasha appreciated how she spoke of his mother in the present tense. He too liked to think at times that she was still aware of him in the next life, whatever that may be, and that she looked down on him from time to time with a smile on her face.

With their life stories out of the way, Kagome finally felt comfortable enough to ask Inuyasha the single most nagging question that she'd wanted to ask him ever since she first started working with the guy.

"So…what the hell was your problem with me in the beginning?"

He laughed heartily at that, and Kagome smirked, having known by that point that she could be so candid. Inuyasha was nothing if not blunt and to the point.

"To be perfectly honest, I thought you were the one who had a problem with me." he admitted once his chuckling died down. "I mean, you were so…or at least you seemed so afraid of me when we first met, and being a miko, I'd figured you'd grown up hearing bedtime stories about the big-bad-youkai or something."

She gaped at him, and then… "I wasn't afraid of you. I was freakin' attracted to you!"

He only laughed again, having figured that much out for himself by that point.

"Well how the hell was I supposed to have known that, though?" he tried to get her to understand. "All I could tell was that your heart was beating faster, your breathing was shallow, and nobody else has ever been attracted to me before, so-"

"Nobody?" she interrupted, shock and disbelief flashing in her eyes, along with something else he couldn't quite identify.

"Well…" he sighed, unwilling to lie to the girl. "There was this one hussy who threw herself at me at a nightclub once, but I was working so I told her to get lost." Realizing how that sounded, he quickly amended and explained, "N-not that I w-would have be cool with it even if I'd been off the clock. She was way too into me, ya know? She clearly had a youkai fetish thing going on, and I've got no interest in women who are only interested in banging the freak 'cause it gets 'em off."

Kagome smiled at that, but a playful smile, amusement sparkling in her eyes.

Leaning over the table seductively, she teased, "And how do you know that's not what I'm after?"

"Do you want a playful joke or do you want the real answer?"

Blinking in mild surprise, she sat back up straight and said, "Okay, what's the real answer?"

"Because while your crush confused me, because nervousness is nervousness and I'm not a freakin' mind reader, if you'd been hot for me, well…let's just say there's no mistaking that smell."

She blushed crimson at that but had to admit he made a valid point. Sure, she'd had a few…risqué fantasies from time to time in the privacy of her bathtub, but her attraction to Inuyasha was not purely physical and so clearly her body language had reflected that. She knew how she'd felt around him in the beginning, the butterflies, the giddiness, and she understood now how he'd misinterpreted those signs.

"And here I'd thought all this time that you surely had to know how I felt, and that that was why you were always such a bastard to me. Either that or it simply bothered you that I was a miko."

His eyes grew apologetic at her words, even though she'd spoken them casually enough, and reaching across the table for her hands he murmured tenderly, "I have tried to be nicer lately; I hope you've noticed. It's just that at first, sensing what I thought was your apprehension about being around me, and then you would always seem so nice, I'd thought you were-"

"Being nice for the sake of being nice." she answered for him, and he nodded.

Continuing, Kagome confessed, "There were a few times, because of the way I can sense a person's soul, that I wondered if you knew how I felt or not. A few times I got the distinct impression that you actually thought I pitied you or something, like I was being nice 'cause I thought of you as a charity case or something. But by the gods that wasn't it, and so then I tried to be even nicer to get you to see that I was genuine. Unfortunately, empathic as I am at times, it comes and goes, and I'm not a mind reader, either. I was…"

"Confused and apprehensive?" he supplied, and she nodded in agreement, before her eyes suddenly widened in recognition.

"That was you?" she all but whispered, as if it was some kind of secret.

He merely shrugged, not all that embarrassed about it since he'd deliberately let it slip, wanting her to know.

"What can I say? I was getting desperate."

"You could have just talked to me, you know."

"So could you."

Sighing, Kagome smiled ruefully. "We're quite the pair, aren't we?"

He shrugged again. "There's no point in mulling over missed opportunities."

"You know…you're right." Kagome agreed with a nod of conviction.

The rest of their evening went by smoothly and playfully, light conversation intermixed with a few jokes and jabs here and there carrying them over into dessert, until it was – regrettably – time to leave.

The car ride back to her apartment was peaceful enough, if not also a bit on the somber side. Pulling into the parking garage, Kagome murmured half to herself, but consciously aware that he'd hear her, "I wish our night didn't have to end."

Glancing her way with wide eyes he gulped nervously, but somehow managed to swallow the giant lump in his throat as he mumbled nervously, "Me too."

Kagome smiled at that, but then before she could say anything else he was out of the car and dashing around to her side to open her door for her. Thanking him graciously, she wordlessly accepted his arm next, when he extended it out for her, as he silently escorted her back up to her apartment. Walking her to her door was the gentlemanly thing to do anyway, right? He wouldn't be so presumptuous; not unless she specifically said-

"Would you…like to come in?" she asked as they reached her door and she released his arm to reach for the keys in her clutch.

The almost panicked look in his eyes made Kagome want to laugh. In fact she did snicker, just a little bit, when he remained silent for what she deemed two seconds too long.

"Good grief Inuyasha, it's not like I asked you to marry me. I really like you and I'm enjoying your company, and just thought if you were game that we could hang out for a while longer, talking and visiting some more?" she finished questioningly, the look in her own eyes a little shy though also still amused despite herself.

He loosened up at her teasing, though, and with a fangy grin he muttered a quiet "Keh." before following her indoors, which earned louder laughter from the girl that in turn made him smile. He loved the sound of her laughter.

Offering Inuyasha the official 'tour', the hanyou easily complied, actually appreciating Kagome's apartment. It was only one bedroom, one bath, as was to be expected, but square-footage wise it was actually rather decent, comparable to his own apartment. He hadn't missed the little wooden music box sitting on her vanity, and he grinned a little to himself to know she'd actually liked it. He loved her painting of him, which was hanging on the wall right in his living room.

Pulling him out of his mild thoughts with the question of if he'd like a cup of coffee, he replied "Sure." and in no time the heavenly aroma of dark French roast was filling the air.

Having a seat on the couch while waiting for his coffee, Kagome told Inuyasha to relax and make himself at home. Hesitantly, per her insistence since she could tell how uncomfortable he was, he removed his shoes and jacket, remaining clad in dress shirt, slacks and socks. She'd really captured his truest essence in that painting of hers, and one particular thing about him, subtle though it might be, was that he actually hated wearing shoes. He supposed it stemmed from his inu half, some kind of animalistic revulsion to having anything cover his feet. Aside from horses, and they didn't really count, if you tried putting more standard shoes on any animal's paws they'd most likely freak out trying to remove them, unless you happened to own a pampered pet who'd been conditioned for clothing since day one. He could handle clothing without any issue – he was half human too, after all – but his mom had always let him run around barefoot whenever possible and so shoes were one of the inconveniences of living in human society that he'd honestly rather do without. Whenever he was on the job stalking he wore a small backpack that housed not only his extra camera lenses, but also a simple pair of sandals. As he'd follow celebrities around town or simply scour the city in search of his next victim he always did so barefooted, having the sandals with him for when he might need to enter an establishment of some kind.

"This might sound cheesy and cliché, but I'm going to go slip into something more comfortable." Kagome joked, pulling Inuyasha from his thoughts.

"And here I am without my camera." was his retort, which earned a snorted laugh from the miko before she disappeared down the hall and into her bedroom.

She emerged only a few minutes later wearing a simple short-sleeve white cotton blouse and skirt, barefoot, her hair let down from its bun to spill messily around her shoulders. She looked…cute.

"I prefer your hair down." he told her shyly, and she smiled, heading past him and into the kitchen to fetch their coffee.

"Cream and sugar?"

"Keh."

"Okay, now you're doing it on purpose." Kagome laughed as she returned to the couch with their drinks, handing him his cup before taking a seat on the sofa to his left. His eyes sparkled as he took a sip of his coffee, truly delighting in her company.

"So what other miko tricks do ya got up your sleeves?" he asked casually, taking another sip.

She was mildly surprised by the question but answered him easily enough, telling him about her powers. How she could make wards and barriers like Miroku, as well as charge up projectiles – traditionally an arrow though she could really use anything – with purifying energy. She did know how to shoot a bow, of course, archery lessons part of her monthly training to stay sharp.

He whistled, impressed. "Remind me never to get on your bad side." he joked.

"It doesn't bother you?" she asked timidly. "I'd thought, at times, that maybe it was just sensing my miko aura that turned you off to me, even maybe just on a more instinctive level, if like our energies just clashed or something, like the feel of my reiki put your youkai side on edge."

Tilting his head to the side in consideration, he sat his coffee down on the side table to his right before shaking his head and answering, "Nah, that was never it. Believe it or not, I actually like the fact that you're a miko. Your reiki doesn't agitate my youki, and knowing that you know that you could kick my ass if need be takes away any apprehension on my part that you might actually fear me."

"I thought you did think I feared you." she stated, confused.

Blushing a little, he amended, "I thought at first, that first day meeting me, that you were afraid yeah, but mainly because you'd been caught off guard and had been raised up to fear youkai. After that I thought more that you were just wary of me, because you thought hanyou couldn't be trusted. I thought you were more disgusted with me, really, than actually, genuinely afraid, and that maybe you were also in a way disgusted with yourself because of it, for being racist, and so that's why you were always trying to be so nice despite your obvious discomfort, like you were arguing with yourself over how I should be treated. Still though, I thought that deep down inside you were repulsed by me, and nervous despite yourself because you truly believed that hanyou couldn't be trusted."

"Well nothing could be further from the truth." she admitted, a light blush dusting her own cheeks.

"Is that so?" he teased, laughing as her blush only darkened.

"Enough about me!" she stated abruptly. "Tell me about your youkai powers."

"So you do have a youkai fetish!" he exclaimed, laughing heartily as she shrank into herself.

"Guess we'll never find out." she muttered under her breath as a dig, loud enough for him to hear.

Gasping as if she'd struck him, he adopted a horror-filled expression worthy of a reprimanded Miroku that had her laughing in turn. Sobering a little then, he sent her a playful yet sincere smile, and then shaking his head in amusement he decided to answer her question, telling her about his various natural abilities from being half youkai. Everyone already knew he was stronger and faster than a human, and that his hearing, eyesight and sense of smell were so much more superior to theirs, but he confided in Kagome in that moment that he also knew of and how to use two distinctly different youki-based 'attacks' for lack of a better word, that he could conjure up within himself from his inherited youkai magic.

When she asked him how he'd learned of his powers he confessed that, as a young adolescent, he would sometimes spend his free time in the neighboring forests, not really looking for his roots but more just because he felt drawn to the woods, to being up in the trees. Kagome blushed at the intensity of the look he gave her as he stated that last part, but it was true, that was one of his favorite pastimes. Especially after his mother died. He spent nearly every second he could in the woods just to stay away from his aunt. Unfortunately, not all of the forest youkai were willing to share, and so a few times when he was sixteen he'd suddenly found himself fighting for his life. He never reported it because killing a youkai wasn't a crime, at least so long as it was self-defense and not some radical mass-extinction campaign, plus he hadn't wanted to worry his mother. Knowing his own strength and instinctively moving to fight with his claws, he'd discovered his soul-shattering iron claw technique relatively quickly, and grinning in triumph he'd presumptuously thought himself untouchable, as most sixteen-year-old boys did. After he was seventeen and living with his aunt he'd even spent a few nights outdoors when she was in one of her 'moods' and so it had really only been a matter of time before something bigger and stronger than him was able to get a few blows in. Wounded one predawn morning, he'd discovered his blades of blood technique purely by accident.

"It's not like I go looking for trouble, but if I get deep enough into youkai territory then trouble comes looking for me." he stated with an exasperated sigh. "So instead I'm stuck in the human world, where I'm still not wanted."

Suddenly setting her cup down on the coffee table in front of them, Kagome scooted herself closer to Inuyasha's position, and reaching up she placed both of her hands on the sides of his face, making sure she had his complete attention.

"That's not true." she stated with conviction. "I can't speak for anyone else, and I do know that racism against your kind exists, but I do not feel that way. I want you in my world."

He could do nothing but blink at her in utter amazement. This woman, this wholly wonderful, kind, caring, loving woman was telling him he was wanted. Honesty was pouring from her in a steady stream, and her wonderful, delicate scent, mixed with the tender sensation of her soft hands gently cupping his cheeks, was more than he could take. Suddenly, an almost overwhelming feeling bubbled up from deep within his very core, and before Inuyasha even knew what he was doing he was leaning forward, his eyes drifting shut.

Kagome was surprised when she saw Inuyasha starting to lean his face in towards hers, but not in a bad way. Having almost loved this man for so long now, she readily accepted the sensation of his lips pressing hesitantly against her own, kissing him back with added force to make sure he knew the move was not unwanted. It was over just as quickly as it'd begun, as he pulled back just enough to look into her eyes, desperately searching for the truth behind her reaction. Letting her hands drop from his face, she sat there motionlessly, gazing back into his eyes just as intensely. She didn't know for sure what he was seeing, hearing or smelling as he studied her, but she knew what she could feel in his aura, his desire for her almost pulsing in waves that crashed against her very soul. She had never been the type to allow anything more than a chaste kiss on the first date, but in that moment, as she gazed into his searching, molten pools of honey, Kagome didn't feel as if they were rushing anything in the slightest. She felt like she was finally being gifted the opportunity to have her every dream come true.

Mind made up, she decided to make the next move, smirking a little before leaning forward to recapture his lips with her own. She could feel his surprise, but much like how she had responded to his initial kiss Inuyasha immediately complied, hesitantly reaching his right hand up to cup the back of her head as he followed her example by deepening the kiss himself that time, lightly nipping on her bottom lip in a silent request for entry that she immediately granted. Something began stirring from deep within his being as their tongues languidly dueled for dominance, his left hand climbing up to cup the right side of her face while her arms wrapped up and around his neck, and a large part of him didn't want to fight it. A smaller part of him was in denial that this was even happening, insisting that it couldn't be real, but she certainly felt real in his arms, and the scent of her growing excitement certainly smelled real as it invaded his nose and sent signals directly to his brain that then made a B-line straight for his groin.

Holy shit… he nearly panicked as 'that' scent reached his nose and affected 'that' part of his body. Just how far was Kagome willing to go?

Finally pulling back from the kiss, his lips immediately mourned the loss of contact as he gazed into her hooded eyes, smirking a little despite himself at how heavily she was panting for air. Still, though, raw male pride notwithstanding, they needed to cool it before things got out of hand.

"Kagome…" he spoke up softly, unsure of what he wanted to say.

"Inuyasha…" she moaned in reply, leaning forward to gently nip his chin and neck.

"Damn, woman, you're not making this easy." he chuckled, one part of his anatomy feeling perfectly content to let her continue. Still, though, he had to think with his big head. "Kagome…" he spoke up again in that moment, gently pushing her back until she was once again sitting up straight before him, this time gazing up at him with questioning, almost hurt eyes.

"Kagome I…ah hell don't look at me like that." he laughed gently, hooking his right index finger under her chin. "You don't know how hard this is for me." he murmured soothingly, hoping she'd understand.

"What is?" she asked, her eyes searching his. "Being with me, or resisting me?"

"Resisting you." he clarified without shame. "I just think…" He cleared his throat nervously. "…that it would be better if we…" What was he trying to say again?

"I understand." she answered softly. "I…I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to pressure you into anything you weren't ready for."

Kagome moved to stand up but was suddenly yanked back down onto the couch by the hand that lunged for her arm at demonic speed. She blinked at him in surprise, but her expression immediately softened at the almost desperate look in his eyes.

"Fuck woman, that's supposed to be my line." he laughed nervously. Clearing his throat again, Inuyasha managed to explain, "I just…I just don't want you to regret…anything. I would hate to ruin whatever this might be that's developing between us."

Kagome smiled at that, and then raising her left hand to cup his right cheek, she asked him, "What about you? Will you regret anything?"

"Only if you ended up hating me for it."

"I could never hate you." she emphasized, moments before leaning in for another kiss.

"So long…as…you're…sure…" he answered in between kisses, the only scents coming off of Kagome all unanimously screaming how badly she wanted him, with varying degrees of erotic intensity.

He had been worried she would later accuse him of seducing her, since he had been the one to kiss her first and she'd seemed to melt into him so quickly as a result, but now he understood…that one first kiss…that hadn't been enough to erase her higher brain functions, it had actually triggered a few higher brain functions, as she'd quickly taken a moment to truly think about it, deciding what she wanted. So if she had reached the conclusion that she was ready and willing to take things further with him, and not place any of the guilt for this night on his shoulders should things ultimately end up not working out, then who was he to complain if she wanted to give him this additional Christmas gift?

No more words were spoken as he kissed her hungrily in that moment, pouring every ounce of loneliness he'd ever felt from his entire life into that one kiss, almost desperately needing her to take it away. He got the feeling that she could feel it, what he wanted, what he needed, as it felt almost as if she were siphoning his loneliness out of him through their kisses, replacing that sensation with completion, oneness, and the feeling of being loved.

Kagome's hands, which were once again wrapped around his neck, slowly began climbing higher as their kissing grew more intense. He braved vacating the immediate vicinity of her mouth to nip and nibble on her chin before trailing his tongue along her throat, and she moaned encouragingly, tilting her head back to grant him better access. Fisting his hair, he rumbled approvingly as she tugged, using her grip on him to almost steer him where she wanted him to go. He trailed his tongue down one side of her throat and up the other before returning to her mouth, plundering her easily as she surrendered to the invasion of his exploring tongue. Who knew the grumpy, leave-me-alone hanyou was such a passionate lover?

Inuyasha certainly hadn't known, not that he was complaining, since Kagome wasn't. He was functioning almost purely on instinct, plus borrowing a few moves he'd seen in the occasional 'adult' film he'd rent on his cable. Just because he'd never actually been with a woman before didn't mean he was a prude; he enjoyed a good porno just the same as most any other single guy.

Continuing to kiss her senseless, Inuyasha tried to pay attention to how strongly she was pulling his hair, wanting to make sure she wasn't actually trying to pull him away from her, which she definitely wasn't. He was just so much stronger than her, she would never have any chance of shoving him away if he resisted. But he would stop in less than a heartbeat if she so much as mouthed the word 'stop' and so far, with the way her head was tilted back, baring her throat, none of the sounds that were pouring out of her sounded anything even remotely close to a request for him to cease what he was doing.

Without warning her right hand suddenly climbed higher in that moment, cupping his left ear, and he jerked back in surprise. Nobody had ever touched his ears before except for his mother, and she had only ever done so when he'd been a small child, rubbing them tenderly while brushing his hair.

Kagome was immediately plunged back into full cognizant awareness, apprehension quickly rising in her stomach, terrified she had overstepped her bounds and offended him.

"I'm sorry, I-" she immediately tried to apologize, though he quickly interrupted her with a finger to her lips, shushing her gently.

"It's okay…" he stated softly, reaching up with his left hand to rub his own ear a few times, the appendage still tingling. "I just wasn't expecting that."

"I won't do it again."

He grinned crookedly at that, hating the nervousness that was flooding her scent though he resisted crinkling his nose in disgust of the smell for fear she would misunderstand the expression. Besides, he knew how to get that dreadful, smelly nervousness to leave her.

"No…it's okay." he murmured tenderly, reaching for her right hand and placing it back upon his left ear. "You're not some get-your-freak-on girl with my youkai features, I know that. You…you actually like me, for me, but who I am is an inu-hanyou and so there's nothing wrong with you wanting to touch my ears."

Kagome gazed up at Inuyasha in awe at his words, her eyes slowly drifting up toward the appendages in question as she slowly, tenderly rubbed the soft and fuzzy flap of skin between her thumb and fingers. A naughtier part of herself buried deep down in the back of her mind had to admit, at least to herself, that she could understand where the 'youkai freaks' got their attraction. Most people were actually rather repulsed by a hanyou's inhuman attributes, but she most definitely was not. She thought his looks overall were intriguing, exotic even, and to be perfectly honest she thought his ears themselves were cute. But she most certainly wasn't only drawn to Inuyasha through physical attraction, she…she loved him. She knew just about everything there was to know about the man now, and her feelings for him had only intensified all throughout the evening as she listened to his tales. Perhaps it was too premature to say she was in love with him, but she definitely loved him on some level.

s

Of course, part of loving someone was being physically attracted to them and desiring intimate contact with their body. With that last thought in mind, Kagome smirked wickedly, her grin only widening as Inuyasha raised a questioning eyebrow at her expression.

"There's nothing wrong with you wanting to touch me, either." she stated huskily, before quickly reaching for his right hand with her left and bringing it up to cup her left breast through her shirt. "Or had you only wanted to kiss all night?"

His eyes widened at her brazenness, though he couldn't help the playful chuckle that escaped his lips as he deliberately palmed her breast, molding and squeezing the supple flesh through the layers of cloth blocking his view of her. Her only response was to arch her back, pressing herself even more firmly into his grasp, her right hand still continuing to mess with his ear. Laughing outright after a moment, he released her chest, reaching for her left hand with his right. His eyes sparkling merrily, he wrenched a shocked gasp from the girl's throat as he showed her just how brazen he could be, bringing her hand to the crotch of his pants so that she could feel exactly what she did to him.

"Does this feel like I only want to kiss all night?" he asked her, waggling his eyebrows up and down.

He couldn't say if he'd been expecting Kagome to jerk her hand away in embarrassment or leave it be in shock, but he definitely hadn't expected her to merely close her fingers around the bulge in his pants, offering his erection a firm but gentle squeeze. He closed his eyes, hissing in pleasure while his hips rocked a little against his will.

"I think it feels…like we should move this to my bedroom."

"Good idea." he rasped, bolting to his feet and sweeping her up into his arms bridal style all before she could blink.

She squealed in surprise at the move, but with a definite chuckle of amusement, as he quickly rushed the two of them down the hall and practically threw her onto her bed before climbing up to join her.

"I…I should warn you, I've never…" he admitted shyly as he gazed down into her eyes. He couldn't spit the rest of it out, but he didn't have to.

"I know." she murmured tenderly, and his eyes widened in surprise.

"You…you know?"

She nodded. "You already told me."

"No I didn't…" His eyes were unsure, searching his memory.

"Remember at dinner when we were discussing how you'd misread my attraction to you?" He nodded slowly, not yet catching on. "You said you hadn't known how to read the signs because nobody had ever been attracted to you before, not including the slut at the club that hadn't interested you. So if you're not 'into' the kind of girls who are 'into' youkai, and nobody else besides me has ever really liked you…"

"Yeah…guess I did kinda out myself with that one. Whoops." he joked lightly as she made her point. "You don't mind?" he asked, self-conscious.

Shaking her head in the negative, Kagome offered him a warm smile, raising her right hand back up to cup his left cheek. "I feel privileged."

Her smirked down at her cockily at that, and jokingly said, "As well you should." before lowering his body over hers, his tongue reclaiming her chin and neck while her light giggling had his lips quirking up into a more serious smile against her skin.

It didn't take long at all for things between them to progress beyond mere kissing, the feel of Inuyasha's excitement resting snugly against her center causing the fire in Kagome's veins to burn all the hotter. Before he knew it, her hands were in between their bodies, fingers frantically tugging his shirt out from where it was tucked into his pants before diligently working to unfasten all of the buttons. He offered her no resistance, and once he felt the last button come undone he paused in his attacks on her throat to back away enough to remove his dress shirt, revealing the white tank top he wore underneath. Chuckling at the almost disappointed look in Kagome's eyes when she realized he wasn't yet topless above her he decided to oblige her silent request by immediately pulling his tank off over his head as well, and then his upper body was bare to her greedy eyes. He felt no embarrassment or self-consciousness as she gazed up at him both hungrily and appreciatively; he didn't need to worry about what she might think of his physique when she was looking at him that way. He quickly found that so long as it was Kagome who was staring at him like a piece of meat then he didn't mind it all that much, knowing that she had other feelings for him that went hand in hand with her current lust.

Quickly deciding that fair was fair, it was then Inuyasha's turn to wrestle with the buttons on Kagome's blouse; his claws made the task a little more daunting but he refused to slice through her clothing in his haste. Closing his eyes and slowing his breathing for a moment as he tried to calm himself down, he then got back to work on her buttons at a more normal pace, and quickly completed his task by opening her blouse to reveal her white, lacy bra.

"Now I know you weren't wearing this thing at dinner."

Blushing a little, Kagome explained briefly, "That dress…it fits me well enough that I don't need pasties, but I wasn't about to come back out in a white blouse with no bra on."

He smirked down at her. "Oh? Why not? Would've made your devious little plan that much easier."

She chuckled a little before sobering slightly, gazing up at him with sincere eyes.

"You know I didn't explicitly plan this, right?"

"Yeah yeah yeah…" he waved off, before mumbling, "Seductress." under his breath but loud enough for her to hear. She giggled when she saw the way his eyes were sparkling in amusement, clearly teasing her.

"Okay, your turn to help," he stated then, gesturing to her brazier, "'cause I've got no idea how to unfasten that thing."

Chuckling a little though not laughing at him, Kagome merely smirked before sitting up a little, letting her opened shirt slide down her arms before then twisting said arms behind herself to unhook the clasp at her back. Inuyasha could immediately tell the moment her bra was unhooked because of the way it slackened, and he made Kagome squeal in surprise and laughter as he suddenly shoved her down to again lie flat on her back before swiftly diving down and pulling her bra away with his teeth.

"Shhhh…quiet will you? Doesn't Sango live next door?" he teased, adding, "That's all I need, for her to tell the pervert and then for the pervert to harass me day and night for details."

Kagome only laughed again at that, before assuring him playfully, "No worries, Sango's actually staying the night with the pervert, so we can be as loud as we want. Sure, other people might hear us, but we don't work with them so I don't care."

He chuckled at that. Hey, she was the one who was going to have to face them in the halls, so if she didn't mind them hearing her scream like a banshee that was her decision.

"Besides, I already promised to give Sango all the details tomorrow morning, so Miroku's gonna find out anyway."

"What?"

She laughed again at the almost panicked look on his face. It was clear to her in that moment that it wasn't the 'her telling Sango' part that he had a problem with, although the truth was she wouldn't tell Sango the more intimate details, but what really had Inuyasha frazzled was the idea of Miroku hounding him for the more juicy tidbits.

"Relax, Inuyasha…" Kagome soothed behind a giggle. "Why are we thinking of those two right now, anyway? I can think of a lot better things we should be concentrating on. I mean, if Miroku's gonna be a pest come Monday no matter what, then…how does that line in the song go? Let's give 'em somethin' to talk about?"

He smirked down at her at that, finally realizing that for the last minute or so she'd been lying below him completely topless, and here he'd been too distracted to even enjoy it properly.

"You're absolutely right." he answered her then, before leaning down to capture her right nipple in his mouth.

She moaned in pleasure, arching her back to press herself more fully into his mouth, and he immediately complied at her silent request, laving her entire breast with his tongue before switching off to the other one, giving it identical treatment. Several times his tongue made its way back up to her mouth, absolutely loving the sensation of kissing her, all the while their lower bodies, which were still fully clothed, began rocking and grinding in perfect timing with each other, causing both of them to moan in pleasure.

"Pants…off…" she managed to rasp between kisses, reaching her hands between them again in an attempt to unfasten his belt.

Reaching for his slacks himself, he grabbed her hands to still their movements before raising himself up onto his knees to more properly unfasten his trousers. He quickly pulled them off, along with his socks, while Kagome simultaneously shimmied out of her skirt, leaving both of them clad only in their underwear. Inuyasha then lowered himself back down to the bed off to the side of her, so that they were now lying next to one another rather than him pressing down on top of her with all of his weight. The truth was he had been getting a little too excited, the way they'd been rocking together, and he didn't want to risk doing anything that would humiliate himself on this first of what he hoped would be many nights alone with Kagome.

The miko in question didn't stay idle for long, quickly propping herself up onto her left side so that she was facing Inuyasha who was laying on his right. Reaching forward, she began exploring the rest of his body with her right hand, and wordlessly he let her, staring into her eyes with a sensual smile as she trailed her fingers down his chest towards the hard plains of his abs. Coming upon the erect bulge in his black boxer briefs, Kagome tentatively began palming him, slowly at first, examining his size. He closed his eyes then, a quiet moan escaping his lips as he let her have her way with him.

"I can't believe this is really happening." she whispered to herself in awe, a human man might not have heard her.

"You can't?" he joked, reopening his eyes to gaze at her in both amusement and wonder.

She blushed a little for getting busted thinking aloud, but she stood by what she'd said.

"This whole night has been like a dream come true…" she told him sincerely, before morphing her grin into an almost wicked smirk, sitting up to tower over him as she gently pressed on his left hip until he got the hint and rolled over to lie flat on his back. "And now…I'm going to make one of my naughtier fantasies come true."

Before he could brave asking her what she might specifically mean by that, he suddenly found his briefs yanked down to his ankles, his freed erection springing to life before quickly being encased once again, this time in the searing heat of Kagome's wet mouth.

"Oh fuck!" he cried out in shock, unprepared for the sheer intensity of pleasure that was suddenly and savagely wrecking havoc on his mind and body.

Jamming his claws into the comforter at his sides in a desperate attempt to remain grounded, Inuyasha could do nothing but hold on for the ride as she took his body to heights never before imagined. Sure, he'd masturbated before, repeatedly, but that was nothing compared to the sensation of her tongue swirling around his sensitive tip while she pumped the base with her hand, or the feel of her throat muscles contracting around his entire length as she swallowed him whole.

Talented bitch! he cursed in his mind, knowing enough from the various movies he'd rented over the years to know that he was well above average.

"Fucking…gah! Stop!" he panted, yanking her away from him by her hair he hoped not so hard that it'd hurt her. But the last thing he wanted was to accidentally finish in her mouth. Maybe…one day…but definitely not right now, not for their first night together. Not for his first time being with another person.

Kagome did not look offended from his rough handling as she regained herself and glanced up to meet his eyes, the look in her own promising so much more to come. Laughing almost hysterically, just because he was so fucking happy, Inuyasha frantically kicked his briefs the rest of the way off his ankles and feet to land somewhere on the floor, his haste causing Kagome to giggle as well.

"I'll let you do the honors." she stated seductively as she lied back on her side of the bed, and immediately understanding her meaning he didn't hesitate to reach for and gently tug down her white cotton panties. Her damp white cotton panties.

Immediately upon freeing her womanhood to his hungry gaze his nose was simultaneously accosted by the unhindered fragrance of her desire, and like a male dog getting turned on hormonally by the scent of a bitch in heat his inu half roared with lust at the thought of this woman being so ready to receive him. He supposed it was his human half that had prevented him from being interested in the slut at the club that one time, but he knew Kagome, and he liked Kagome, and knowing that she wanted him was almost enough to do him in right then and there. The bitch's teasing certainly hadn't helped. He wanted this to last, damn it.

He also wanted to give her as much pleasure as she'd given him, though despite her own actions he felt he'd better ask first, just in case.

"Kagome…I can't…that is, my claws…" he murmured apologetically, holding up his hand for emphasis. He noticed a tiny bit of stuffing from her comforter stuck under his nails and quickly lowered his hand, blushing.

Oops

"But…" he spoke back up, clearing his throat nervously. Why was this so hard to say? "Ah hell…just tell me no 'n' I'll stop." he finally settled for, shimmying himself down the length of her body to get into position.

It was obvious to Kagome what he'd been trying to ask her once his position became clear, and she had no intention of stopping him, which she illustrated for him by opening her legs to grant him better access.

Feeling reassured at her silent response, he tentatively gave her most private place an experimental lick, and immediately feeling a swell of pride at her very positive reaction, he didn't hesitate to start lapping at her like the dog he was, intent on making her release at least once before accepting any more pleasure for himself.

Kagome was quickly reduced to a sweaty pile of shaking muscles, fisting the blankets at her sides tightly as her body jerked and jumped as he touched her in all the right places. She didn't know how he'd mastered the perfect technique when he'd never even done this before, though she supposed she could guess how he might have learned through observation, but that still made him one hell of a fast learner, not that she was complaining.

"Oh kami!"

No, not complaining at all.

It had been forever since she'd been with a man, and her ex-boyfriend, Hojo, had never been all that enthusiastic when it came to what Inuyasha was presently doing. Maybe it was because he was half canine that he seemed to be enjoying himself so much, and if so then she could really understand where the supposed 'youkai freaks' were coming from, but either way she knew where she would be 'coming' from in only a few short minutes if he didn't stop his delicious torture, and she didn't want him to stop!

"Oh kami…oh fuck…don't stop! Don't stop!" she panted frantically, her head shaking from side to side as if she were possessed.

Smirking against her flesh, Inuyasha had no intention of stopping. He absolutely loved the taste of Kagome and he would be content to do this all night if it weren't for the almost painful throbbing between his legs that provided a constant reminder that the best part was yet to come…no pun intended. But he knew that the 'best' part was really a matter of perspective, and so Kagome's pleasure definitely came before his own…okay pun intended that time.

As she began squirming more violently below him he reached up with both hands to hold her thighs in place, and it didn't take too much longer before the miko was squealing her release, her entire body locking stiff for half a second before she was suddenly almost frantically trying to crawl out from under him, her feet kicking in a desperate attempt to get away. He didn't let her go at first, remembering something he'd read once, and in no time he was rewarded as she cried out a second time, pleasure so intense it almost bordered on pain causing tears to slip sideways down her temples. All she had to say was-

"Gah! No more, okay stop! Please!" she panted, a hysterical chuckle escaping her lungs between heaving gulps of air.

Gazing up into his eyes almost deliriously as he crawled over her body to gaze down at her sated face with a lopsided grin on his glistening lips, Kagome smirked after regaining herself and commented, "I can see why that woman was interested in you, but I'm glad you turned her away. I want you all to myself, though with me, it won't all be about me." Her smile turned more sincere as she raised her arms up to cup his shoulders as he held himself above her on outstretched arms. "Come to me, lover. It's your turn now."

His grin only grew wider at her words, and silently complying, he lowered himself until his body was lying flush against her own, her legs still spread wide with his own lying in between them. Leaning over slightly onto his left, he reached for himself with his right hand and aligned himself at her entrance.

"Kagome…" he murmured, more speaking to himself in a moment of awe than anything else. How the hell had he once thought this woman was racist against him? The opposite was true, it seemed; their 'sweet, innocent' Kagome had a bit of a youkai fetish after all, not that he minded.

"I'm here…" she soothed at the sound of his voice, her hands trailing up to capture both of his ears, rubbing tenderly in delicate circles that sent shivers down his spine.

No, he didn't mind it at all.

Slowly, wary of causing her discomfort even though he knew she wasn't a virgin, Inuyasha gradually pressed himself forward, hissing in pleasure through clinched teeth as the sensation of her inner muscles fully encasing him compared to absolutely nothing he'd ever felt before in his entire life. Her earlier oral teasing came the closest, but even so, nothing was like the real thing. With no resistance stopping his descent halfway he continued pressing forward at a slow and steady pace until he was fully engulfed in her wet heat, sheathed to the hilt, and he took a moment to just lie there, breathing through his nose with eyes closed while she continued to fondle his ears.

Kagome was mesmerized by the expression of pure pleasure on Inuyasha's face as he rested above her, and she was humbled by the knowledge that it was within her that he had found such fulfillment. But he wasn't the only one feeling that way in that moment because the feel of him filling her up made Kagome realize how much she'd been lacking until that very moment. She'd been missing such an important piece of herself, and a part of her must have known it because that had to be why she'd been so continually drawn to him regardless of his harsh attitude towards her. That was why she'd been so persistent, hurt but not detoured every time he avoided her attempts at friendship, and why she'd felt so giddy like a schoolgirl every time he offered her even the remotest hint of kindness. Feeling his naked body lying flush atop her own, feeling him inside of her in the most intimate way possible, Kagome finally felt whole, complete, and stretching her senses to scan him with her aura revealed to the empathic miko that he felt the exact same way.

Inuyasha sensed it as Kagome wrapped her aura around him, but he didn't mind it. His youkai side felt unthreatened by the woman below him despite her miko powers as he both felt and scented that she meant him no harm. In fact, it was rather obvious that she meant him just about the opposite of harm, and he charged up his youki in that moment with equal, nonhostile emotions, letting her know that he felt the same way.

Kagome could feel it as his youki started to stir, easily realizing what he was doing as she felt waves of acceptance and partnership wash over her. A normal human would not be able to read the intent behind his increase in power, feeling only discomfort from his energy assuming they could sense his demonic aura at all, but she knew that he knew that she could read him, and now that they'd both gotten their heads out of their asses it made for excellent, wordless communication, now that they were no longer misinterpreting each other.

She lowered her hands from his ears, then, wrapping her arms around his back in an embrace that easily articulated just what he meant to her. His eyes fluttered open to meet her gaze with his own at the sensation, and they smiled at each other; no words were needed.

Not that he could have spoken even if he'd wanted to.

Oh my fucking gods… he thought in wonder as it slowly dawned on him that as of that moment he was on longer a virgin. If there were gods of fucking then he owed them his thanks, he thought with a silly chuckle as he slowly began retracting his hips before pressing forward once more.

Over and over again he moved his hips, gradually increasing his tempo with every pass. He wanted to grab Kagome's waist in his hands and slam himself forward at lightening speed, he wanted to take her legs and fling them over his shoulders, raise himself up onto his knees and hammer into her like there was no tomorrow, but it was all he could do to keep his casual pace in the missionary position without losing it. He'd never felt more like a man and more like a loser at the same time before, and it was a mildly disconcerting mix of emotions, but ultimately he knew that Kagome liked him just the way he was, and so as he felt that telltale tingle start climbing its way up his groin he wasn't worried about disappointing her. Not that he hadn't disappointed himself a little bit, but he'd get over it.

"Damn it…I…I wanted the first time to last." he grumbled, increasing the speed of his thrusts as his instincts took over in an almost animalistic search for gratification.

"Gah!" he cried as his climax quickly took him over, his hips locking still as his body shook, burying his face in the crook of her neck.

He remained motionless as Kagome's hands began rubbing his back up and down in a reassuring pattern. "That's okay." she soothed, figuring he was feeling self-conscious about it. "It's perfectly natural to finish quickly when it's your first time, there's nothing to feel ashamed of."

Raising his face back up to meet her eyes, he gave her an almost predatory grin.

"Who said I was finished?" he asked with a sultry edge to his voice, retracting his hips before pushing back in again. He chuckled as Kagome's eyes widened in realization; he was still hard.

"I had wanted that first time to last longer, but you know, you're right. It was my first time, and so I won't feel embarrassed for peaking so soon, but I'm far from finished." he promised her with a devilish waggle of his eyebrows.

Oh my…youkai stamina… she thought giddily.

"I've created a monster." she joked aloud before a gasp of pleasure was suddenly wrenched from her throat as he demonstrated the fact that he was now able to alter their positions, raising himself up onto his knees while taking her lower half with him.

"Oh like you're complaining." he teased as he started thrusting at a much faster pace.

"Not…at…all." she answered between gasps, locking her legs behind his waist while her hands gripped the bars of her headboard to keep from sliding back and hitting her head.

Inuyasha grinned at the sight of her breasts bouncing in time with his thrusts, no hint of a second orgasm getting ready to race up on him any time soon, though even when it did he would still be able to keep going; it was going to be a long night.

oooOoooOoooOooo

The following morning Kagome awoke to the gentle stirring of somebody beside her in the bed shifting their position. Immediately remembering all that had taken place the night before, the two of them finally getting to sleep around three in the morning after hours of bringing each other to heights never before imagined, Kagome cracked her eyes open to smile up at Inuyasha, catching the hanyou in the act as he gazed down at her with a warm smile from his place sitting up beside her.

"Morning…" she murmured sleepily, yawning before moving to sit up as well.

The blanket fell down around her waist as she sat up, exposing her bare chest, but she made no move to conceal her breasts from his gaze and, amazingly enough, he felt more content than playful at the sight, able to let it go without teasing or groping her.

"Merry Christmas." he stated after a moment, to which she replied, "Mmm…yes it is." as she stretched some of the kinks out of her back.

"So…" he spoke up hesitantly after a couple of minutes sitting together in silence. "I hate to ruin the moment, but I'm new to all this, so…where do we go from here?"

Unoffended, though nervous, Kagome thought she'd better choose her words very carefully.

"Where do you want to go from here?"

"Uh-uh…" he argued playfully, "I want to know how you feel."

Sighing, Kagome gulped, fiddling with her hands in her lap for a moment before hesitantly glancing back up to meet his eyes, the look in her own almost desperate, beseeching.

"I think…I think I love you, and I would really like for us to be together, in a relationship. Like I joked last night, I'm not asking you to marryme, not yet anyway, but I would love for you to be my boyfriend, which could potentially lead to something more permanent sometime down the road, assuming our relationship is successful."

He sighed in relief at her words, having started to fear, at least for a moment, that she might want to keep whatever this was between them a secret, that she wouldn't want it getting around the office that she'd fucked the half-breed.

While Kagome couldn't read his exact thoughts, she could easily feel his relief, and she sighed in relief herself as a result, glad to know that she'd apparently said what he wanted to hear.

"Kagome, I…" he spoke up then, reaching for her hand and cupping it in his own. "I wish I could tell you that I love you too, but I just want to be absolutely certain that what I'm beginning to feel for you is genuine before making you any false promises. That being said, the only way to know for sure, I think, is for us to be together, so yes, I will gladly be in an official relationship with you."

She smiled at his words, humbled by his honesty.

"I understand." she assured him. "After all, I'm the one who's been crushing on you for the last three years, not the other way around."

He chuckled softly at that.

"Yeah…and up until this last summer I hadn't even suspected you could possibly like me like that. I'd thought you were either grossed out by me or pitied me, or both. I mean, even when I thought you didn't like me I still kind of liked you, as a person I mean. I never hated you, Kagome…" he assured her. "Hell, I always thought you were pretty, and to be perfectly honest your natural scent is pleasing to my nose, which for me is very important, but despite that I just hadn't wanted to be nice to you, figuring you didn't deserve it for being racist towards me, when I thought you were. Still though, I liked you as a person. I think you're a good writer, you do good for the magazine and you take your job seriously, you're a hard worker, and I also respected the fact that you're a miko, because despite that being what I thought was the main reason why you didn't like me, I guess it's the youkai side of me that just recognizes and appreciates strength. You certainly ain't weak, to have so boldly made that painting of me to show in front of everyone without even knowing what my reaction was going to be. That took balls."

She laughed a little at that, supposing he was right.

"We're definitely compatible physically, so that's not a problem." he continued then, chuckling as she blushed at his words. "But I want to spend more time finishing getting to know you, to make sure my developing feelings are real and not just my formally neglected hormones making decisions for me."

'Lust at first sight' can lead to true love… she reminded herself, proud beyond words that Inuyasha's basic point of view on the subject seemed to mirror her own. She too couldn't say yet with 100% certainty how she felt, thought she was definitely looking forward to finding out. Something told her that no matter what, she and Inuyasha would definitely remain good friends from here on out, though hopefully they would stay 'more' than friends.

"I agree." she stated then, smiling up at him sincerely.

"Well, now that that's settled…" Inuyasha spoke back up after a moment of peaceful silence, "Where do we go from here as in right now right now?"

Laughing, Kagome said, "That depends on if you wanted to skip out before Sango gets home or stay for some yummy homemade breakfast."

He appeared to think it over for a brief moment before shrugging and stating, "Eh, she's gonna find out anyway, right? So why leave on an empty stomach? I didn't have any plans for the day."

Kagome beamed happily at that; Sango was in for one hell of a surprise, though hopefully if the slayer had a ring on her finger then Kagome could shift most of the conversation away from herself and Inuyasha to pry into the details of Sango's evening, instead. Ultimately, she knew it would end up spreading throughout the entire office that she and Inuyasha had spent Christmas Eve together, but the fact of the matter was she just didn't care. Perhaps if it had been a foolish, drunken one-night-stand then she would feel differently, but as it was she was looking forward to her and her…boyfriend…getting to know each other.

Climbing out of bed at that last thought, Kagome squealed in laughter as the hanyou beside her suddenly lunged forward and yanked her naked body back down onto the bed.

"On second thought, what's the hurry?" he purred as he crawled over her.

"I've created a monster." she repeated through a round of giggles that quickly turned into moans of pleasure.

~ Fin ~