Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. Obviously.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: I have not watched Inuyasha in years, due to it's incredible run time. I only recently realized the show had finally ended, so this story does not follow that particular plot line. In this story, it has been years since Kagome's journey first began, and she has already finished school. I just had an idea and went for it.

I do hope that this is an enjoyable read despite the inconsistency with the anime/manga.

Kagome arched her back, stretching her spine to its full extent, yawning as she did so. Sunlight streamed through some cracks in the covered cut-out window, warming her legs where they lazily stretched through the beams.

Around her, her friends continued to sleep in lumps under blankets. Kagome smiled softly, seeing her friends stretched out in sleep, almost giving off the image of no worries.

'They deserve that more often.' she happened to think in passing.

It had been three years since this journey had begun. Three years of fighting demons and fighting Naraku. Three years of searching for jewel shards. Three years of bruises, hiking, and getting kidnapped.

And of course three years of Inuyasha.

Kagome glanced around, but she already knew the white haired dog-demon would be nowhere in sight. It wasn't like him to sleep late into the morning- especially in warm weather.

She quietly stood up, glancing once more at her circle of friends. Kaede had been kind enough, like always, to let them crash at her hut when the group wasn't busy traveling for a new lead on Naraku or a jewel shard.

The air outside was already warm as spring rolled into summer. The girl walked out, already knowing where she'd find the dog-demon. Absent mindedly, she began thinking back to her time and her friends that would be starting University if they hadn't already.

It was a vain hope that Kagome herself would be able to attend college as well.

'Who am I kidding, what University would let me in anyways with my grades?' She thought, though not bitterly. She knew she wasn't dumb, it was simply the fact of the matter that she had missed to much school to, erm, 'sickness'.

She smiled softly as she thought of the many diseases she had been 'ailed' with over the years, and her grandfather's excuses for the school. She even smiled when she thought of Hojo and his constant supply of remedies for said ailments.

"Oi, what do you want woman?" A gruff voice called out. Kagome smiled at his tone, knowing he was just putting up the front like always.

"Just woke up. Thought I'd go for a walk." She chirped pleasantly, letting her hands lock behind her back as she gazed up Goshinboku's limbs. The red haori draped over his body caught her eyes immediately. Next was his snow white hair. Then his eyes like gold fire that turned to watch the woman beneath himself.

"Feh." He replied. He shifted and watched closely as Kagome began to climb a few limbs to meet him. When she was in reach, he lazily offered a hand and pulled her from her wrist up next to him on a branch.

"It's a pretty morning." She said softly, gazing at the sun that peeked through the tree's leaves.

"Looks like every other morning to me." Inuyasha stated with typical male bluntness.

Kagome shook her head. "Nope. Not like other mornings. The sun only shines like this when something important is going to happen that day." The woman pointed up at the sky. A bird chirped from a higher branch and Inuyasha's typical scowl softened a pinch.

"Whatever you say." He replied bringing his eyes back down as Kagome lowered her hand. "But I'm just gonna laugh at you when it's another dull day."

"Jerk." Kagome replied, shoving Inuyasha gently from where she was perched. The man smirked, challenging the girl with his eyes.

"Wanna do that again wench?" He stated calmly, an eyebrow raised. The girl grinned and reached her arms out once more to push the male harder. He dodged it easily, grabbing her wrists and wrenching her from her perch so that she fell against his side on his branch.

"Damned demon blood." She muttered through the fabric of his haori. Her cheeks were a healthy pink from their current position, but it was nothing new.

She lifted her face, not surprised to see how close she was to Inuyasha's. What had her thoughts been earlier about his eyes?

Oh right.

Gold fire.

An accurate description considering the flames that struck throughout her every time she found herself gazing into his eyes.

Yet still he disengaged and simply allowed the girl to sit with him on his own branch, one strong arm wrapped around her to keep her up in the tree safely.

'Heck, it's probably the whole reason he does this. Just to make sure I don't break my neck by falling out of the tree.' She thought as she gazed down at his fire rat clothed arm that encompassed her waist. He always did feel more comfortable when he was in control of everything.

Suddenly his ears swiveled, and Kagome felt the muscles tense around her.

"What is it?" She asked softly, knowing Inuyasha's senses far outweighed her own.

He sniffed the air once, his ears twitching to sounds Kagome knew she couldn't hear yet. His arm tightened fractionally around herself.

"You didn't bring your bow and arrows did you?" He asked quietly.

Kagome shook her head.

"Then stay up in the tree and outta the way. It's Sesshomaru." He murmured, before unwinding himself from the girl. He jumped down from the tree, one hand placed threateningly on Tetsusaiga.

Kagome sat and fretted as she watched Inuyasha strut a few steps away from the tree. It had been months since the last time she had seen Sesshomaru, and she couldn't help but wonder what would bring him in this direction again.

'Please tell me he's not coming just to fight.' Kagome silently prayed to herself.

It was a few minutes later before the dog demon came into view. Kagome noted Rin nor even Jaken came along with their Lord.

She squinted as the man approached Inuyasha. His lips began to move and Kagome noticed Inuyasha's hand tighten and then let go of Tetsusaiga to cross over his chest.

'Probably making a really witty comeback about now…' Kagome thought dryly.

The two spoke a few more stilted sentences before Sesshomaru lifted one pale hand to pull out a letter from underneath his robes. Even from far away, Kagome could note the fine parchment and the wax that sealed it shut.

'What is that?' Kagome thought, her brows furrowed as she tried to squint. Inuyasha fumbled with the letter, opening it up callously.

Whatever it was, it had the hanyou angry. He jerked his face forward, and Kagome could hear him throwing some colorful words to his older half-sibling.

Sesshomaru replied in simple tones, Inuyasha replying with a quick "Oh hell no!" before crushing the note in his hands. The older sibling raised a brow, but slowly began to take a few steps back- not from fear of his brother's anger, but certainly because he felt his time was being wasted to taking care of 'such trivial matters'.

He repeated one more phrase before turning his gaze straight towards Kagome. The woman froze in his stony gaze, surprised by the stare. She was stunned for a moment longer as he began to turn back towards the forest from whence he had come. Inuyasha took an angry stance, yelling more profane words at his brother's retreating form.

Kagome didn't wait till Sesshomaru completely left the clearing. She scrambled from the tree quickly, landing with a 'thump' before jogging to meet Inuyasha who had turned and was stamping his way back towards her.

"Hey what was- Hey!" Inuyasha walked straight past Kagome, his face red. His hand still held the letter in a fist.

Kagome reached out and grabbed his sleeve, yanking him back a step.

"What's going on?" She asked stubbornly, jerking his face to meet her eyes.

Inuyasha simply glared, growling in his throat before jerking his arm back from her fingers.

"It's none of yer business wench." He spoke through gritted teeth. Kagome simply raised a brow, not offended by the words but by his lack of trust.

"Does it have to do with this?" Kagome asked, reaching her hand towards the letter.

Inuyasha snatched it away, lightning fast.

"No." He said grumpily.

"You're lying." Kagome huffed, jumping to try and grab the note.

"And you're nosy. Butt out." Inuyasha said, his face growing redder again as he continued to put off the female.

She made a final leap, only for Inuyasha to raise the note above her head, his knuckles white.

Kagome pouted in defeat. Her expression brought no humour to Inuyasha though as he took a step back and stuffed the note into his haori.

"Now just let it drop. It's nothing." He mumbled, crossing his arms over his chest. He began to stalk off, Kagome following closely on his heels.

"Must be a great deal of nothing for you to react this way." Kagome shot back.

Inuyasha simply 'feh'd.

A few months passed without another visit from the older half brother, lulling Kagome into a false sense of security.

'Surely if it had been really important, he would've told me.' She constantly told herself when her curiosity was strongest, ignoring that little doubt that he wouldn't want to worry her with something serious.

And so they continued their journey, traveling across the land.

It had been a week since they had received rumour of a boar demon crossing the fields east of a particular village. The villagers there had described its immense powers, the likes of which could only be caused by that of a jewel shard. Sure enough, after following its trail, Kagome began to sense the jewel.

"It's not too far now." Kagome called out to her friends as they ran forward. Kirara flew up to her right, saddling Sango, Miroku, and Shippou.

"Feh, we'll take him down and get the jewel shard." Inuyasha growled out with a tone nearly akin to excitement.

Within moments, the boar, far greater in size than a normal animal, appeared within view.

"Can you get a lock on it, Kagome?" Inuyasha called out from beneath her. Kagome immediately let her hands go from his shoulders, used to shooting from Inuyasha's back. She strung an arrow and took aim and fired the arrow.

It soared through the air, making a square shot to the boar's leg. It cried out, though sounding more irritated than pained.

"Looks like it'll take more than one arrow to knock him down." Miroku shouted as the boar turned in their direction. It suddenly barreled forward, aiming right for Inuyasha and Kagome.

Inuyasha wasted no time in drawing Tetsusaiga.

"Hang on Kagome, this'll be rough impact!" Inuyasha yelled out, immediately feeling arms wrap around himself.

The boar ran into the blade, pushing the two back in a jarring jolt. Inuyasha leapt back after the demon paused, unlocking Kagome's hands from his body.

"I've got this." He said simply, smirking as the demon prepared to run towards him once more. "Head towards Sango and them."

Kagome nodded and hurried off, running as quick as she could.

The boar, in his demonic burst of speed, suddenly gave chase to the girl, its mouth opening to let out a screeching cry.

"Hey, you stupid pig!" Inuyasha called out, immediately jumping in between the girl and demon. He swung his blade down, knocking the boar upside his snout. It flung onto its back before rolling over, snorting once.

Inuyasha smirked, raising Tetsusaiga higher.

"Ready for more?" His grinned grew more pronounced, readying for a fight.

Yet once again, the demon turned and ran towards Kagome whom stood away. Inuyasha furrowed his brow, leaping once more after the demon who had gained speed in his momentary confusion.

'What the hell? Why won't he go after me at all?' Inuyasha thought angrily.

Kagome on the other hand had just noticed the demon once more as she continued jogging towards Sango and Mirkou. Quickly she halted, notching an arrow and sending it flying. It grazed the wild demon's back, blood flying as it continued to fly towards her.

She gulped as it neared her, its mouth opening wide. Images of her bones snapping suddenly floated in her vision, but Kagome could do nothing to stop it.

Suddenly red filled her vision as Inuyasha jumped in front of her. Something wet flung against her face, and her fingers numbly reached up to touch the blood that had spread over her skin.

She cried out when it registered that one of the boar's tusks had penetrated straight through Inuyasha's torso. With a grunt, Inuyasha held Tetsusaiga high before thrusting it straight through the boar's head. With a swift kick, the demon was a lump on the ground, blood pooling across the grass.

"Get the jewel shard, Kagome." Inuyasha grunted. Kagome immediately kicked back in, flying forward to pick up the small, pink shard in the midst of the gruesome display.

She looked over her shoulder to wave the jewel with a smile, but was shocked to notice Inuyasha leaning heavily against Tetsusaiga, blood still pouring from his wound.

"Inuyasha!" Kagome cried out, immediately running over to him. She caught his shoulders as he began to topple, leaning his weight against her own frame.

"Eh, I'll be fine wench." He managed to mumble. "Just hit a sweet spot." He winced as he shifted slightly, eyelids lowering.

"Inuyasha, don't you dare go to sleep!" Kagome gasped as she felt his blood seep through her own clothing. 'This isn't good! Stay awake Inuyasha!'

Kirara began to touch down next to her, Miroku immediately jumping down to help hoist up the half demon.

"What happened?" Sango exclaimed. "We were just circling around to pick you up, and next thing we know Inuyasha's down."

"He saved me at his own expense of course." Kagome grumbled, though still wracked with worry. Sure, it wasn't the first time he'd done something like this, or the most terminal of wounds he had received, but still.

They hoisted him up onto Kirara, his body wedged between Kagome's and Miroku's. They flew low but quickly over the valley, till they found a reasonable spot for camping for the night.

"We simply can't reach a village anytime soon." Sango admitted regretfully as they landed.

Immediately everyone set to work gathering water and wood for fire, leaving Kagome to tend to Inuyasha.

He'd already passed out, but Kagome could see that his color was already returning, and the bleeding had stopped. She opened his robe further, working to wipe the blood from his skin when a soft rumpling noise reached her ears. She opened his robe even wider to notice the letter from Sesshomaru stuffed carefully into the folds.

Curiosity overwhelmed her. She held it between her fingers, biting her bottom lip in nervous anticipation.

She shook her head, trying to rid the feeling. Quickly she shrugged off his shirts, placing them into a folded pile next to him, laying the letter gently on top.

She winced as she inspected what would've been a deathly wound for herself. As it was, Inuyasha's demon blood was already working to heal itself, the edges less harsh than they had been previously. Kagome quickly took a damp rag to his skin, cleaning it and bandaging the man. Her eyes traveled up his torso to his face, watching him as he slept.

He was always more like a boy when he slept, and Kagome couldn't resist watching him as he did so. It was rare that he slept (rarer still was when he slept of his own free will- usually it was wound induced sleep like now), and Kagome always felt a little more at peace when he woke up refreshed and ready to go.

Kagome patted down the last of the bandages, checking once to make sure everything was in order. Her eyes now traveled towards the letter, not forgotten.

Her eyes slid once more to Inuyasha, checking to any signs of his immediate awakening. Seeing none, she hesitantly reached forward and picked up the letter in her hands. Through the parchment she could see a few lines of writing, but could make none of it out.

'He would tell me if it were that important.' Kagome reasoned as she weighed the letter in her palms. 'Then again… He is a stubborn fool. And Sesshomaru brought it for crying out loud!'

Resigned, Kagome slid her finger under the seal.

"Sorry Inuyasha." She whispered, before reading.

Inuyasha was awake. His fingers began to move as his limbs stretched out. He groaned at the tightness around his stomach, reaching up a hand to feel the bandaging there.

'Damn.' He muttered in his mind. His eyes fluttered open to see his friends grouped around a fire, all sleeping except one.

"You're awake." Kagome said gently, coming over with a small steaming bowl. "That's good, I was wondering if I was going to have to eat your helping or not."

Inuyasha smirked, and took the bowl from her fingers after taking a moment to sit up.

"Thanks." He said in passing before digging in. Man, was he hungry. How long had he been out?

Kagome sat in silence, watching him as he ate. Inuyasha found it a bit disconcerting, and said just as much.

"What, d'I got something on my face?" He asked pointedly.

"No, nothing." Kagome said gently. She folded her hands in her lap and continued to stare, though not meeting his eyes. Something rolled in Inuyasha's stomach that had nothing to do with the food or the wound.

"What's up with you?" He asked, setting the bowl aside. Kagome raised her brows.

"I could ask you the same thing." She answered dryly.

"What're you talking 'bout wench?" Inuyasha grumbled out as he worked on putting his robes back on. She helped without his asking, taking the moment to choose her words carefully.

When all else failed, she simply pulled the letter from behind her back, holding it between her first two fingers.

"You should've told me." Kagome said with an unnatural calm. Inuyasha felt his jaw go slack as he saw her lay the letter down in his lap.

"Wha-Kagome that-" Inuyasha stuttered angrily. "This was none of your business." He spat out.

"Oh really? 'You are expected to carry out royal duty or pay the expense of giving up your lands and the villages within it.'" Kagome quoted verbatim. "Your 'lands' include the bone eaters well. I'm pretty sure that is my business." She crossed her arms stubbornly. "Not to mention Kaede's village, and Goshinboku."

"You think I haven't thought about that wench?" Inuyasha was suddenly aware of the rest of the group's sleeping forms. He stood up as quickly as he could, grabbing the girl's wrist as he went.

"What gives you the right to go looking through my stuff woman?" He growled out as they walked away from the fire, still dragging Kagome behind him.

"You wouldn't tell me. And it involves us all." Kagome reiterated.

Inuyasha whirled around, glaring daggers at the woman. She stared back unflinchingly, her free arms now crossed across her chest.

"Give it to me." She said at last, holding her palm out.

Inuyasha smacked it into her hand, before turning and walking away. Undeterred, Kagome followed behind reading aloud.

"Inuyasha; Son of Inutaisho,

It has recently come to light of your life and relation to the demon lord Inutaisho, and to the demon courts itself. You are expected to carry out royal duty or pay the expense of giving up your lands and the villages within it. The lands will be under court control, and subject to court law.

If in the case you choose to keep control of the lands, then the following requirements are to be met. You will first send word of your decision to Lord Sesshomaru, then take a mate of your choosing within six months upon receiving this notice. Your mate and you should be ready to birth a child within two years of mating. This process ensures the carrying on of a leader for your lands.

Inutaisho was a great leader. We hope to see you carry on his name, despite your 'situation' in life.

, Lords of the Demon's Court"

Silence hung in the air as Kagome refolded the letter. She noted that the creases were well worn where it had been opened up multiple times. Inuyasha could claim it wasn't important, but he'd worried as well. The evidence was there in her hands.

Kagome raised her face to Inuyasha's paused form. He stood in a patch of moonlight, his face held high to gaze at the sky.

"What're you going to do?" Kagome nearly spoke softly, but his ears still flattened at the question. "If you don't agree to their terms, they'll take away everything that we not only care about but need. We need the bone eaters well."

Inuyasha's face dropped as he glanced over his shoulder. The angle cut a shadow over his face, one eye piercing in the moonlight, the other hid in black. It was with a rather pained expression that Inuyasha finally admitted, "I don't know."

Author's Note: No one has any idea how long this has been saved on my computer. I tried to finish writing all the chapters before I ever published this one so there wouldn't be waiting-to-update-periods, but I'm only working on the fifth chapter currently, and there will be many many more than five chapters. (Oops ^^;)
I do promise to only post a new chapter that is already written when I have finished writing a future chapter though.

But, I did realize this was a good way to ask questions I have for this story. Currently I'm writing a chapter that includes Kouga, and I wanted to know how readers view him, and which episodes are best to watch the jealousy and competition between Kouga and Inuyasha. I want to make sure I pen personalities correctly.

Also, I don't remember there being mention of a Demon Court, but you don't just go around being a Lord's son without some notice, right? Right?

Reviews will be what makes this happen, and will give me energy in the wee hours of the morning before I go to bed to write. Please, please, please critique and review!