Craigslist

Summary: Looking for a fun night and fantastic tumble in the sheets? Look no further. Name: Kagome Higurashi. 28; Female; Tokyo; highly experienced. Happy to dress as your sexy doctor. Cost: $600 per hour. Serious replies from ALL types welcome. Can a fake Craigslist post create real love for a lonely hanyou?

WARNINGS: Language, OOC, Violence, Very mild gore, Sexual tension, explicit sexual content, and an AN with many apologies

Please heed these warnings!

Part Three

Quick note: Part Three starts before the ending of Part One

June 7

4:20 PM

'Flowers?' He shook his head. 'No…maybe chocolates? Do women even like chocolates?' Inuyasha lay his head down in frustration, absent-mindedly scrolling through the "Romantic Blessings" section of the online store he'd been browsing for the better part of an hour. At this point, he was ready to bang his head on the table if only to knock himself out and end this torture. 'What the hell is a 'Romantic Blessing' anyway?' "Blessing" made it sound like looking for a gift for women was something more than a means to torment and agonize men.

He sighed heavily against the desk, looking up at the computer screen tiredly once more. Maybe he shouldn't even go for a boring, gender-normative gift. Plus, it wasn't like he was apologizing or anything like that, and according to his brief research of all the recent romantic comedies of the year, flowers and chocolates were for two occasions: Valentine's Day and oops-I-fucked-up days.

Kagome seemed like she would like…

…aaand that's about as far as he'd gotten in that line of thought.

'Okay, let's be logical, Inuyasha.' He nodded to himself, trying to convince himself that he could do this. What did he know about her? She was a doctor. She was not a prostitute. Her younger brother was a fan of Dragonball Z and was dumb enough to share her address, email, photo and phone number with a complete stranger. She did not seem as stupid as her brother. She was highly suspicious of his strange features, but amazingly enough, didn't seem disgusted by them. A clawed hand carefully reached up to trace one of his own ears under his hoodie, as if remembering the brief moment she'd touched them. Shutting his eyes tiredly, he pictured her in his head again, recalling the way her eyes had twinkled when she smiled at him. His attempt to visualize the beautiful woman also brought about the fact that she apparently didn't wear a bra – a fact of which he was highly appreciative.

Christ, she had been so hot.

Groaning pitifully into his arm, Inuyasha shook his head to clear his thoughts. A lot of help that brainstorming session had been. Why did every train of thought relating to Kagome lead to that? Well…actually, Inuyasha knew why. As much as he tried to convince himself that he just wanted to be her friend, the less cowardly part of himself knew that was a blatant lie. Sure, she seemed like a fantastic – and occasionally annoying – person to be hang out with, but he wanted more than that. He wanted to be with her. That much hadn't changed since the day before, though finding out that she was in fact not a prostitute had been a bit of an obstacle.

As he thought over the last night's events, Inuyasha wasn't sure whether he was disappointed or relieved at the news that she wasn't who he thought she was. Sure, he would have liked the opportunity to have sex with her – he wasn't going to lie to himself about that – but the fact that she wasn't in the business of selling her body gave him hope. It made the possibility that he could find more than just sex seem so much more…attainable…and that was both exhilarating and dangerous.

'Fuck…this is hopeless,' Inuyasha decided, resisting the urge to bang his head against the desk. He was never going to figure out what she would want. The old hag of a librarian was giving him the stink eye from her desk, whether because he looked like a "one of those young hoodlums" as she liked to say or because he was overusing the internet access time he had been allotted. The former probably kept her from approaching him about the latter. Just how long had he been at this hopeless task? A few hours at the least.

It was his day off, and he'd figured take the time to come up with the most unobtrusive way to contact her again and ask whether she'd be willing to see him again. He'd decided on email because, in his head, it was much less creepy than "casually strolling by her apartment" just as she walked out, but he was starting to feel nauseated at the thought of going through with this.

He'd also been ignoring a very important part of this whole "Get Kagome to Like Him" operation: actually initiating contact. He had the email drafted in another window, with her email address in the address bar and the most embarrassingly awkward email ever written since the invention of the internet (and given his age, Inuyasha could very well be right about that) in the message box, but he hadn't yet mustered the courage to actually press send.

His vibrating cell phone snapped him out of his self-pity party, and Inuyasha reached down to pull out the offending device.

From: N1Bro

Message: Fluffy Pup! Code 304 at HQ. Everyone required PRONTO!

With an annoyed groan, he snapped the phone shut. Someone must have gotten ahold of his phone and changed the names of his contacts, because last time he checked, N1Bro, or Number 1 Bro, was under the name of his increasingly annoying partner Miroku. Plus, he'd never bothered to memorize each of those stupid "codes." He'd joined the underground vigilante group to get away from ridiculous rules and regulations – and, of course, to take down the criminals the government couldn't handle.

Besides, even if he understood the code, Inuyasha wasn't really in the mood to deal with work at the moment. He had a very important mission to accomplish, and despite the librarian's apparent hesitance to approach him, she looked just about ready to kick him off the computer anyway.

The cursor of his mouse seemed to move on its own. His index finger hovered over the button as he built up the courage to let it descend.

'I'll count to three, and if I don't change my mind by then, I'll click.' He decided.

One…

Two…

Three…

BZZT!

The life-saving sound of his phone nearly startled him. Thanking the heavens for the distraction, he picked up his phone and mentally debated which was worse: sending the email to Kagome or talking to "N1Bro." In the end, emailing Kagome won out as more terrifying, and he flipped open his phone as quietly as possible.

"What do you want?"

"Did you get my message or what?"

"Yeah." He sighed in annoyance and continued before Miroku could begin ranting about his poor response record. "I'm busy right now."

"Well, un-busy yourself and get over here!"

"Why? What's going on?" Inuyasha peaked a look over at the librarian and hurriedly looked away. The fact that murder was against the law was incredibly reassuring , making a quick note to get out of the library and check whether the librarian had access to his address. His life might just depend on it.

"I told you! It's a 304."

"I don't know what the fuck that means…"

"Christ, how long have you been working here again?" The annoyance evident in his voice, Miroku explained, "304 means a breakout, moron."

Inuyasha raised an eyebrow. And…what exactly did that have to do with him? Sure it was "protocol" to get everyone gathered at headquarters, but everyone knew by then that he really didn't care. People left him alone, and he did the same in return. That's how it was and how it always had been – and no one was going to change that.

Taking Inuyasha's silence for what it was – a lack of interest – Miroku hurriedly explained, "I don't know the details yet, but I got the feeling that whoever broke out had to do with one of your old cases from before we partnered. It's some big fucking deal and they're asking for you specifically. And I think somehow yesterday's case is involved, so you gotta get your ass over here now."

A breakout that involved Onigumo? He wanted to roll his eyes and ask why they would need his help tracking down the overgrown, tantrum-prone child of a drug dealer, but refrained. Perhaps this was a sign that now wasn't the time to contact Kagome – after all, it hadn't even been a full day – and he ought to listen.

"Fine. Give me ten minutes to get my stuff together and get over there." Snapping his phone shut, he exited the "Romantic Blessings" window and the window with his email and quickly began to gather his belongings. Within moments he was out of the library and safely out of the librarian's view, and after a few minutes of leisurely roof hopping, he slid down the familiar vent into his apartment.

As if some cosmic force was acting through him, Inuyasha knew something was wrong before even taking a step inside. Mind on alert, he took a long cautious sniff and tried to place the off-putting scent. Damnit – he knew that he recognized it from somewhere, perhaps someone he hadn't seen in a long time or some strange mix of chemicals that he'd once encountered, but what alerted him was the fact that it smelled like the prisons.

Suddenly, his conversation with Miroku was at the forefront of his mind. '…304…a breakout…one of my old cases.' A nauseating first thought appeared in his head, but he drove it out with a vengeance. 'I had hundreds of old cases before Miroku,' he reminded himself with an unsteady breath. 'It's probably nothing.' After all, every few years some idiotic wife beater or child molester got out by sheer dumb luck – underground vigilante groups didn't get a lot of government funding – so some old friend of Onigumo's must have somehow broken out or something. Even still, some wisp of a memory taunted him, and Inuyasha couldn't shake the image of gnarled, twisted hands and long, wavy black hair from his head. He could still see the blood, the bodies mutilated beyond recognition, and that sickening smile. No…no it couldn't be that, Inuyasha reassured himself. He'd asked never to handle a case like that ever again. It'd changed him, and not in a good way.

Hurriedly tossing down his bag and hoodie, he pushed the eerie feeling out of mind. Whatever was wrong, he had a feeling it had to do with Miroku's call.

4:35 PM

"…No, Jakotsu, the new uniform does not make you look fat." He sighed and rolled his eyes in annoyance. "There, happy?" The flamboyant man to his right pouted, but Inuyasha merely rolled his eyes and stared forward, his gaze fixed on the two gates they were approaching. He wasn't exactly in the best of moods to begin with, and now, with his luck, he'd been paired with Jakotsu as his escort into the prison cells. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn the higher ups were setting him with Jakotsu just to fuck with him. It wasn't that he had much of a problem with Jakotsu himself…just the man's unhealthy obsession with his hair and the constant, incessant hitting on he endured. Frankly, he might have preferred the disdain he got from the other workers over Jakotsu's fawning.

Upon reaching the gates with his pouting escort, Inuyasha watched as Jakotsu swiped his ID card and the large metal doors slid open. In the distance, he could see Miroku waving at him and he signaled goodbye to Jakotsu nonchalantly.

Next to his partner stood a suited man with lean shoulders, lanky arms and a crooked mustache. The unfamiliar man turned his gaze stiffly at him and shifted to face Miroku again. "Your partner, yes?"

Miroku nodded and began to say something, but the man interrupted, "Good." He turned to face Inuyasha briefly. "Gourashi Takeo. I manage affairs between the government and your…organization." As if disinterested in Inuyasha, his cool eyes swung back to Miroku and continued, slowly, picking his words with the care of a practiced politician. "I am only involved because this prisoner is…of concern to the government and the general people. My superiors and I hope to…contain this issue and to have it back in custody within a day."

Inuyasha felt half-offended at the way the pretentious man seemed to disregard him completely after his introduction, but the uncomfortable churning in his stomach had yet to settle so he wasn't in the mood to dwell on whether some government rat liked him. "Stop beating around the bush. What exactly do you people want?" He demanded. The government knew about them, sure, but the state rarely – if ever – intruded on their business. The way Inuyasha saw it, he and the other hunters did law enforcement a quiet favor. They had all the skills, but none of the restricting laws and procedures of state officers, to get the job done.

Casting Inuyasha a brief glare, for breaching the tacit contract binding all people to tip-toe around an issue that Gourashi evidently believed in, he explained, "This particular case drew quite a lot of publicity before it was…dealt with. It would be most optimal for news of this…minor blip in security here to not reach the ears of the public."

"Exactly which prisoner are we talking about?" Miroku asked.

Gourashi paused for a moment. "I recall he went by quite a few names. The Spider. The Bladed Rapist." He stopped at the sudden tenseness on both Miroku and Inuyasha's faces. "Ah…you remember him."

Blinking and half taken aback, Miroku managed to respond through the shock. "I'd only heard of him when I was younger…I didn't know we had him in our custody," Miroku explained, his tone far more serious than Inuyasha was accustomed to. "I thought he just…fell off the face of the planet ten years ago? I only read about it in the papers."

"No, I'm afraid not," Gourashi replied. "He's been kept here the whole time, and now…due to some lapse in security" – he sent a disdainful look to the guards at the entrance gates – "…he has managed to escape."

"So…you want us to track him down and bring him back quietly?" Miroku asked.

"Yes," Gourashi answered. Blinking almost thoughtfully, he added, "And I assure you, you will be handsomely rewarded for your time and efforts."

"Well, but why us?" Miroku's brow furrowed in confusion. He, at least, was relatively new to all this, and certainly not the one to send on a hunt for one of the most dangerous and gruesome murderers of their time.

Gourashi cleared his throat but didn't bother with an answer, instead diverting his gaze to the silver-haired hanyou. The silence of his partner at his side finally drew Miroku's attention and he turned to face Inuyasha. 'Wait…Inuyasha…No…he must be the one that caught him all those years ago!' he thought to himself. 'Wow…I never knew.'

When Inuyasha gave no sign of intending to explain or speak up, Gourashi tentatively continued. "We believe that your partner's particular...experience and expertise will be invaluable in this fugitive recovery."

Sending a harsh glare at the government representative that neither Miroku nor Gourashi fully understood, Inuyasha finally showed a sign of life and began to move down the hallway. Gourashi took that as his sign to hastily move forward to keep up with the silver-haired man's brisk movements and asked rather uncomfortably, "So, can we count on you as our man in retrieving this prisoner?"

"Feh."

Gourashi raised a brow at Inuyasha, and when the demon made no sign of acknowledging the question, Gourashi turned to Miroku.

"I would take that as a yes," Miroku suggested.

"W-well, as an official representative of the government, I need a vocal confirmation!" Gourashi insisted, sounding indignant and, for the first time, just the slightest bit flustered at the Inuyasha's blatant disregard for his question.

Stopping so abruptly that the two men behind almost dominoed into him, Inuyasha swung sharply to face the government official. His eyes glowed an angry amber as the hanyou finally clarified, "I told everyone – yes, even 'your people' – ten years ago that I wanted to be done with that case and every damn case like it, but considering how effective you were at retrieving him last time, I don't think I really have a choice here, huh?"

"U-uh, well…" Gourashi cleared his throat, "…well, I'm glad you see it our way." Turning his beaded blue eyes back to Miroku, he concluded. "So, I guess…I'll leave it to you two?"

"Whatever," Inuyasha mumbled out, grabbing Miroku's sleeve and yanking him forward. When Gourashi was out of earshot, Inuyasha got down to business. "How do we know he got out?"

"Well, according to the guard, he decided to take his one hour today during the meal distributions and the last time the guard saw him, he was in the cafeteria," Miroku explained the information that had been previously relayed to him, unaffected by the hurried and rather rough way Inuyasha dragged him to the cafeteria.

They pushed the double doors open. It took only seconds for the stench of blood to register in Inuyasha's nose, and he made his way to the scene of the crime that had been blocked off from the rest of the prisoners.

The surrounding officers backed away when they saw him, save for one.

"You're late."

"We don't really have time to be discussing my punctuality, Kikyo." His growled response might have intimidated anyone else, but the boss lady didn't even twitch.

"There would have been time if you're weren't late."

"Look, you can lecture my ass later, after I figure out how this fucker got out, where he went, and how to get him back, alright?"

Her lips curled downward, clearly unpleased at his response, but instead of retorting, she pointed to the mangled body of 0203, more commonly known as Onigumo, or O.G.

"The guard on duty saw what happened, but all he knew was that one second Naraku and Onigumo were facing each other, the next Naraku had an arm through Onigumo's chest and he was gone," Kikyo quickly brought him up to date. She led them over to the body and pointed down at a small wooden doll.

"The fuck is that?"

"Wait, I recognize this," Miroku interjected. "When I was studying to become a monk – "

Inuyasha conspicuously refrained from snorting, an action which both his companions ignored " – they taught us that this is a sort of hami doll*"

Kikyo asked the question on both of their minds. "And what is that?"

"Uh…Well, there are a bunch of different types, and I can't really tell exactly what kind this is, but I can tell you that it's supposed to be some really dark stuff. The only reason we ever learned about them in the first place was to teach us how to protect ourselves from them." Miroku explained, using a latex glove to pick up the doll and examine it from different angles. "It looks like there's a string…or hair of some sort wrapped around it."

The glinting silver finally caught Inuyasha's eyes and he reached out to finger the hair wrapped around the hami doll. The thought occurred to the three of them at the same time. That was Inuyasha's hair.

"What do you think that means, Miroku?" Kikyo asked, sensing that they had all come to the same conclusion, leaned in to get a closer look.

"I…I'm not really sure," Miroku hesitated. "Hami dolls can do a lot of things…but the only way I've ever heard of them used was to create a sort of physical puppet. I don't know what this one is supposed to do," Miroku sent a perplexed look to his partner, "Or why Inuyasha's hair is tied around it."

Inuyasha gave the silver hair a gentle tug, carefully untangling it from the wooden doll. How the hell did a criminal he put away years ago manage to get one of his hairs? It occurred to him that Onigumo might have been the means by which Naraku got the hair, but that only led to the bigger question of why in the world his hair ended up wrapped around some creepy voodoo doll. He quickly scanned the area with his eyes, noting how enclosed this section of the cafeteria was. Whatever Naraku had done, he'd wanted privacy to accomplish. And despite the contamination of the area with other officers, he only needed one sniff to tell him that Naraku hadn't moved back to some other area of the prison after killing Onigumo. Somehow, he had managed to seemingly vanish into thin air…

"Maybe Naraku created a puppet of himself outside of the prison," Kikyo suggested, still eyeing the strand he had in his hands. "He might have needed 0203 to actually create the puppet. It's not unheard of for live sacrifices to be used for this kind of dark magic."

"Maybe he just needed a physical form or something. Maybe a location for the puppet to form?" Miroku proposed.

"Hold on," Inuyasha finally interrupted. "What the hell does that mean? So you mean he's running around right now doing whatever the fuck he wants looking like me?!" The thought of that twisted bastard taking his appearance and using it to commit whatever sick crime he had in mind made his stomach churn uncomfortably. He tried not to think about the idea that some innocent man or woman could be suffering at the hands of…well at what would look like his own hands.

"Damnit, all of this is total guess work too," Inuyasha pointed out in frustration. "Yeah, that might be a homi – hami – whatever – doll but we don't actually know what this one does."

"Well it's as good as we can do for now," Miroku explained. "And it's not exactly like we can just google the thing. The modern world is pretty much clueless about this kind of stuff."

"Look, the modern world might not know about this, but I think I can find a person or two who does. In the mean time, I want you two to go about tracking him down just like in a normal case." She turned to address Inuyasha. "I don't know what you did all those years ago, but do it again if you have to because we want him back in our custody before the bodies start piling up." Pausing contemplatively, Kikyo caught the thin strand between two fingers and inspected it under the light. "And I'm not sure how your hair is involved in all this, but I'll take a guess that he wants something to do with you," she added with a glance upward at Inuyasha. "There's your starting point." Rising brusquely, Kikyo moved by the two partners and left them to their work.

"Whe –"

Inuyasha interrupted with the answer to Miroku's question before he could even ask it. "I think I know where to start."

5:30 PM

He still couldn't put his finger on it, but his gut and nose told him something was definitely off about his apartment. And considering recent events, Inuyasha was willing to trust those instincts.

"So…uhh, what exactly are we looking for?" Miroku piped up while inspecting a random book or two on his shelf and nonchalantly pulling open his drawers. "Got anything naughty hidden in one of these?" He asked with a waggle in his brow.

Deciding that he would deal with his nosy partner later, Inuyasha took a long whiff. "Shh…I need to smell."

"Shh…I need to smell?" Miroku snickered lightly. "Your super power ears have the ability to detect scent now?"

"No, but they haven't yet developed the ability to filter out the sound of moron, so shush," he countered. Ignoring the indignant humph from his human partner, Inuyasha focused on trying to place every scent he could pick up. His trash, cleaning detergent, the chemicals in his shampoo, his soap, various miscellaneous odors tracked in from the outside world, and of course…his own scent. That was what smelled wrong, Inuyasha realized.

If what Miroku had thought were true, that would make sense, he reasoned. 'But that would mean…Naraku had ended up at my apartment…' Inuyasha concluded, an unsettling feeling back in his stomach. The pointed ears on his head instantly perked up, listening for the possibility of the intruder being in the room at the very moment. It didn't smell like that, but considering Naraku was almost definitely disguised as himself, he wasn't taking any chances. He tuned out the sound of Miroku flipping through whatever he had gotten his hands on and listened for any other sound of movement, even a mistimed breath.

"He was here." Miroku suddenly spoke up, shaking him from his concentration. "He folded his prison clothes underneath all of yours." Lo and behold, Miroku pulled out a neatly folded orange jumpsuit. "It's probably what smells off to you, huh. Looks like he took some clothes out too, so he's probably already gone."

"Yeah. I figured that. I don't know what he's planning though. More victims?" If that was the case, he needed to catch the guy now. He refused to let the sick bastard hurt anyone using his form.

"Maybe it's a personal attack against you, Inuyasha," Miroku carefully suggested. "I mean, it does kind of seem like he's coming after you specifically. Your hair…your apartment, your clothes…" Sensing no imminent response from his partner, Miroku continued. "It's not like he hadn't had any other opportunities in all those years, but he was waiting for your hair."

"Great. So the psycho has a personal vendetta against me."

"You were the one that caught him in the first place," the dark-haired man pointed out. "Do you think you could pick up this trail from here?"

"That's what's weird. There's no other trail other than the one I took yesterday."

"So…"

"So…"

The two men trailed off simultaneously.

"We're good at detective work," Miroku concluded with a grin that would have amused him any other day.

Sighing in annoyance – both with their inability to figure out what had happened here and Naraku's apparent habit of disappearing into thin air, Inuyasha picked his phone out of his pocket and flipped it open.

"Who're you calling?"

"Kikyo. Maybe she's got new information that can help." He explained.

Three rings later, he heard the much welcomed 'What do you want?' from the boss lady.

Turning the phone onto speakerphone, Inuyasha began. "Do you have anything new on the doll, or on any part of the case for that matter?"

"Yeah. It's what we thought. This doll in particular was meant to provide both the physical form and a location of the person whom the hair belongs to for the killer," Kikyo summarized. "He would have appeared wherever Onigumo first came in contact with that hair, I would think. What's going on with your search? Where are you?"

"We're at my apartment. He was here, but we can't figure out where he went because the only trail leaving is the one I took last night." He quickly briefed. "There isn't another hami-whatever or anything so he didn't pull any more Barbie doll shit."

There was a pregnant pause on the other side of the line. "Maybe it's Occam's Razor."

"I can't grow a beard," Miroku chimed in.

"Not surprising," Kikyo shot back. "Occam's Razor…the answer that makes the least assumptions is probably the right one," Kikyo explained simply. "Maybe he left on the same path Inuyasha did."

"What? But what would be the point of that?" Miroku asked.

"He's made every effort to target Inuyasha so far. His goal might not have been killing and raping prostitutes anymore, but getting to Inuyasha." She explained.

Feeling taken aback, Inuyasha considered the possibility. If Naraku had been following his trail from last night…that would have led him to…

"Shit."

6:10 PM

Everything was a mess. Clothes. Paper. Tables overturned. Blood.

Inuyasha tried to keep himself collected as he stumbled into the chaos that was Kagome Higurashi's apartment. It felt like walking into a nightmare. He could see two distinct streaks of blood running across the floor, and one sniff told him that they didn't belong to the person he hoped they did. By the looks of it, Kagome had put up a hell of a fight…and truthfully, he wasn't sure if that knowledge made him feel better or worse. On the one hand, he was glad she hadn't gone down without a fight; on the other, she had gotten hurt in the struggle and that meant now she was injured and at the mercy of a psychopath that got off on rape and torture.

'Goddamnit!' Inuyasha cursed at himself. If anything happened to her, it would be entirely his fault. Naraku wouldn't have gone after her to begin with if it weren't for the twisted desire for vengeance he had against Inuyasha. And if she died because of him, he would never forgive himself…

Quickly shaking that line of thought from his head, Inuyasha rid himself of the images of Kagome ending up like Naraku's other victims. He wouldn't let that happen.

Carefully stepping over the various items that had fallen on the floor, he knelt by the two streaks of blood to investigate them more carefully. They were fresh, maybe an hour old at the most, which meant Naraku couldn't have gotten too far with Kagome. He focused on the smell of her blood and tried to isolate her most recent trail. She had first been injured in the living room, and then she'd run into the kitchen, back out…and Naraku must have grabbed her and jumped out of the balcony.

Having fixed on the new path, Inuyasha leapt out of the balcony and took off, letting his nose take over.

The trail dragged on for what felt like forever, taking him through the bustling city blocks, a suburban neighborhood, and finally into a district of what appeared to be abandoned stores. The scent was growing stronger and more convoluted, and Inuyasha frantically looked through the glass walls of each store for any sign of Kagome. With night having already fallen, he could barely make out what was inside the abandoned rooms. She could have been in any of them, and he was starting to grow panicked at seeing nothing but his own shiny reflection in the glass, when suddenly, as he raced past one of the stores, he realized that this time, the reflection he saw was opaque and…grinning at him.

His mind seemed to process it in slow motion. The Inuyasha he was looking at raised a clawed hand, as if beckoning him inside, never dropping his toothy smirk. Then, before he could react, he turned slowly and disappeared into the shadows.

That got a reaction. Inuyasha – the real one outside – sprung into action, angrily tearing open the door. He didn't care if the ease it had taken to find Naraku probably meant this was a trap. He wouldn't dare allow Naraku to be free a second longer than he had to. Before he could take more than two steps in, he heard a bucket drop onto the floor and a liquid slosh out. The smell of bleach and cleaning supplies suddenly flooded his senses, the caustic chemicals nearly bringing him to his knees.

The floor beneath him slipped away, and he fell onto all fours, coughing violently and unable to see even a few feet around him. Every breath seemed to coat his throat and nose with the bitter chemicals. Bringing an elbow up to his nose in an effort to regain his senses, Inuyasha desperately blinked away the sting in his eyes and scanned the area around him.

'Fuck!' Even if his eyes weren't blurred by the watering, he wouldn't have been able to see much. Night had fallen and the darkness in the shop had an opaque quality to it now. "Naraku!" He growled out angrily. "Come out here, you fucking coward!"

He had managed to get back on his feet, crouching in preparation for whatever Naraku was planning to throw his way, and tried to make out anyone in the shadows.

Before he could take another step, a voice he had been trying so hard to forget rang out. "She was so disbelieving, you know? It took her a while to believe that you would actually hurt her. How has a disgusting half-breed like you convinced such a beautiful, young lady that she could trust you?" At the voice's taunting, Inuyasha swallowed back a furious growl. That wouldn't get him anywhere with someone like Naraku. Naraku liked having all the control, and he wouldn't allow that to happen.

"She has nothing to do with us," he insisted angrily. "Let her go now, and I'll give you whatever you want, you sick fuck," he demanded, unable to resist adding that last term of endearment.

"Well that's no way to address old friends," the same voice drawled out, amusement clear in the tone.

Ignoring Naraku's obvious attempts to rile him, Inuyasha demanded again, "Where is she? Let her go!"

"Ah-ah-ah," the voice teased. "She's…sleeping, I suppose you could say. We should keep her voices down or she'll wake, and she'll only be in for more fun if that happens." A chuckle that sent shivers down Inuyasha's back seemed to echo and reverberate across the room. The implications of Naraku's warning tightened his stomach in knots.

He didn't want to think about what Naraku had done to her; he couldn't afford to. Not if he wanted to keep him cool and get them both out of it alive. After that he could do all the apologizing and groveling – and whatever else it took to help her forgive him – he wanted.

"Why don't you come out here and face me? You wanted to lure me out, so here I am," he tried, still unable to smell out anything that could help him locate Kagome or Naraku.

"That is true, isn't it?" Naraku asked, mostly to himself. "I spent ten years, you know? Rotting in that jail cell underground," he said, the first hint of anger and bitterness seeping through.

"Yeah, well I wanted you dead, so that wasn't my fault," He retorted. Every fiber of his stubborn being wanted to remind the "Bladed Rapist" that he earned every ounce of misery he got and more, but he restrained himself. As soon as Kagome was back safely, he could provoke the spider demon to his heart's desire, but until then he would play along with the spider demon's games.

"Ah," Naraku sighed, as if wistful. "That's all in the past now, right? You took my whores from me. Now I'm taking yours."

Inuyasha so wanted the cowardly spider hanyou to show his face, so he could pummel it and rip off the slimy smirk he knew was plastered on his face. A surge of protectiveness at the sweet woman he'd met only the day before rode through him. "I swear if you hurt a single god-damned hair on her…"

"Oh I played with more than her hair."

At that declaration, Inuyasha leapt and furiously swiped at the shadows. His recovering eyesight told him nothing but empty cardboard boxes were there, but he didn't care. The stupid game of cat and mouse needed to end now. "She's not a whore," he growled out. "And she has nothing to do with you or me, so just let her go and I'll do whatever the fuck you want."

"That's a tempting offer," the voice mused. "But I did a little detective work of my own." In the shadows, Inuyasha finally made out an approaching figure moving towards him, and once again, he had the eerie experience of being face to face with his own image. Some ounce of control he didn't know he possessed kept him from just snapping the demon's neck as soon as he got a clear image. And before he could attack Naraku, the fugitive pulled something out of his pocket. He watched as the other Inuyasha threw a crumpled piece of paper at him and unfolded it, refusing to take his eyes off of the twin image in front of him.

"Well," Naraku continued impatiently. "Read it."

Every instinct in him shouted at him not to look away from the youkai that was known for his tricks and illusions even ten years ago, but part of him couldn't resist looking down.

Even with all the blood dripped on the page, he immediately knew what he had in his hands.

L-ok-ng for a fun n-ght -nd fant-stic t-mb-e -n the s-eets? Lo-k no –ur-her. Name: K-gome Higur-s-i. 28; -e-ale; Toky-; hig-ly expe-ie-ced. H-p-y to -ress -s you- sexy d-ctor. -ost: $600 pe- hour. Ser-ous repl-es -rom A-L t-pes welco-e.

Below the text was an image he had hoped to erase from his memory forever. A thin spider, colored in blood, drawn over a detailed web made with what he knew was human hair. It had been the Bladed Rapist's M.O. so many years ago. Each time he'd seen one, Inuyasha knew; the victim was now dead and lying somewhere rotting away, waiting to be found. This time…

It meant Kagome was lying around somewhere, mutilated by his own hands and forever out of his reach.

And in a second, everything went red. He wanted blood, blood on his hands, blood beneath his feet, blood of everyone that stood in his path. And he got what he wanted. The roars of pain, his own and Naraku's, blended noiselessly into the red in his mind. Finally, the scent of death and decay, the smell of victory, flooded his nose and everything went black.

June 9

12:00 PM

"Hey. Wake up, dumbass." He felt a sharp ache in his shoulder.

Slowly the world came back into focus. First, the clock came into view – a plain, old digital clock that read 12:00. He felt numb all over, to the point where he wasn't sure he could even move his limbs. Then, the face above his began to register. Groaning to himself, he mentally complained, 'Why do I gotta see Miroku's ugly face first when I wake up?'

"What the hell are you doing here?" He asked, blinking rapidly to help his eyes adjust to the light. "Wait. Nevermind. Where is here?" Three white walls surrounded him to the side, and an opaque mirror was the fourth.

"Headquarter hospital," Miroku explained promptly.

Wha…? He didn't even know they had a hospital unit. He had always been much more of a "Suck-It-Up-It'll-Heal-In-A-Few-Days" kind of person, which worked because as it happened, most injuries only took a few days to heal for him.

As if sensing his confusion, Miroku elaborated. "You transformed, idiot. They had to subdue you to bring you back here and fix you with their doctorly ways."

Subdue him?…he transformed? Shutting his eyes, Inuyasha recalled everything he could remember, when it all came back to him – at least up until he apparently transformed.

Before he could ask the question, Miroku answered, "Naraku's dead, so no more need to worry about him." His partner gave the bed-ridden hanyou a crooked smile. "Though it was kind of hard to identify his remains. You didn't leave much." Then as if he could read Inuyasha's mind, Miroku continued, "And no one else died," assuaging Inuyasha's greatest fear about transforming.

The news should have given him pride, but the fact that he couldn't even remember how he'd killed Naraku just made him feel numb – though that might have just been the drugs. 'Is it actually over?' He asked himself. How was it possible that one moment he'd been hunting down a serial killer, the next he woke up and everything was fine?

The door to the room suddenly swung open, and Inuyasha refrained from groaning aloud in misery. He really did not want to deal with this right now.

"You have a lot of paperwork to fill out."

"Christ on fucking Buddha," he cursed tiredly. "I hunt down one of the worst serial killers and rapists of the decade and kill him single-handedly, and that's all you have to say?"

"Oh. Right." She nodded as if just remembering. "You also broke protocol. And you transformed so we had to bring someone else in to tranquilize you. Doesn't count as single-handedly."

Yeah. He really did not want to deal with Kikyo right now. She could take her paperwork, her protocol, and the stick up her ass elsewhere, and he was about to promptly declare his thoughts to his boss when his hazy memory remembered something – or someone – very important.

"Kagome! Shit!" His sudden launch from the bed landed him face first on the tiled floors. Undeterred, he pushed himself up on arms he could barely feel and yanked Miroku down to face level. "Where's Kagome? Did you find her? Was she hurt? Did Naraku…" The words caught in his throat, stemming the endless flow of questions he wanted to ask. Did Naraku…rape….torture…kill her? Each word that could fill in that blank brought worse and worse images to mind, and he filled with dread at the news Miroku would tell him.

…Which is why he almost punched his partner at the stupid grin that suddenly appeared on his face.

"Ah, so that is the beautiful name of your lovely friend," Miroku exclaimed to himself. "Why didn't you tell me she was so beautiful? Ah, well not to worry, you lucky dog," Miroku took advantage of the fact that Inuyasha was not at normal strength and squeezed him tighter. "She has been taken care of."

"What the hell does that mean?" Damn Miroku and his vagueness.

"Well, we found her after you were subdued, and she's being treated for her injuries right as we speak. I think you found them much earlier than Naraku expected, so most of the damage is just from his miasma. He didn't touch her," Miroku reassured him, knowing the question that Inuyasha would be too scared to ask. "She needed some surgery, but the prognosis is looking good. Unfortunately, she hasn't woken up just yet, though that's not surprising considering we barely got to her in time. We didn't know her name or her medical history, so the medicine we had to use isn't the most effective. But now we can get her file and everything we need," Miroku explained.

"Oh…" was his only response. He wanted to feel relief, but the question still burned in his mind: what had Naraku done to Kagome? If they'd barely gotten to her in time…that must have meant -

Before the thought could form, Kikyo cleared her throat behind him. "Well now that that's figured out, the paperwork?" She reminded.

Inuyasha pushed himself up, slightly embarrassed by the way his arms strained under the weight. "Look. I'll fill out whatever crap you want me to later, but I want to see Kagome first." He needed to see first hand how she was. Plus, he had a number of things he needed to say to her, the first of which was a big fat apology for what had happened to her because of him. "Sorry" was really not in his vocabulary, but he didn't know any other way to express how awful he felt knowing that he put her in the hands of a serial rapist and murderer.

Kikyo looked down at him, eyes searching his as if to confirm that he didn't plan backing out later. Satisfied, she agreed, "Fine."

She called a wheelchair over, silencing any of Inuyasha's protests with a stony glare that said she wasn't beyond taking advantage of his temporary physical disability. He was half-tempted to push himself out of the chair as soon as she left but didn't fancy another close encounter with the floor. And so he was rolled down the hallway to Kagome's room, pouting all the while.

He should have known that something was terribly wrong the moment he and Miroku began to near her room. 'I know that stench…' he thought as the smell got stronger and stronger.

They swung around the corner and Inuyasha came face to face with the last person he wanted to see.

Hi eyes narrowed. Kouga. "What the hell are you doing here, wolf shit?" He blurted out at the offending man.

The blue-eyed wolf demon eyed him up and down. "Nice wheels." The wolf then had the audacity to snicker at him. "And to answer your question, I'm here checking on my woman."

What did he just say? "Your woman?!" Temporarily forgetting about where he was, Inuyasha practically exploded out of his chair. However, before he could wrestle Kouga to the ground for even suggesting such a thing, a soft groan came from the white-sheeted bed at the side of the room and slowly, two brown eyes saw the world again.

Despite the circumstances, it was a comical sight, Miroku decided, watching the two demons clamor over to be the first person at Kagome's bedside

"Kagome!" Using strength that he didn't know he possessed, Inuyasha forced his legs to move him closer to her bedside, shoving Kouga aside. He was so relieved just to see her awake that he grabbed her hands without thinking. They felt far too cold and fragile in his own, and as he finally took in the sight of her, bandaged and connected to god knew how many machines, he felt that awful guilt begin to settle once again. Her skin looked pallid and stretched thin, the tiny veins on the back of her hands visible beneath his fingers. He couldn't even see the rest of her body minus the obvious cast on her foot. "I…uh…" He'd never been a man of many words, and once again, he found himself unable to come up with the right thing to say to her. What in the world was a person supposed to say?

"My sweet!" Kouga suddenly jumped up behind him, pulling his wheelchair – curse that heinous contraption – back so he could see Kagome. "You're awake," Kouga picked up the hands that he had so eagerly yanked Inuyasha away from and cradled them to himself. "I've been watching over you all night."

If Inuyasha's sudden appearance immediately after she'd woken up hadn't frazzled her awake, then this strange, new man certainly did. Kagome's stunned eyes stared up at Kouga, speechless at the way he addressed her and the tight hold he now had on her. Something seemed to click as she examined him, and she realized exactly who the stranger was. "You…" She trailed off, voice still raspy from exhaustion. Clearing her throat, she tried again, "You're…the man who found me…"

There was a little too much admiration in her voice, Inuyasha decided, a frown souring his expression. He didn't like that.

"You remember me!" Kouga exclaimed proudly, squeezing her hands tightly. "Of course you do! It's hard to forget someone like me," he went on confidently, oblivious to the disbelieving stare Inuyasha had directed at the back of his head.

'Does he even hear himself?' Inuyasha wondered, feeling a justified sense of satisfaction at Kagome's reluctant "…sure…" She looked around in confusion, eyes blinking tiredly. "Where am I?" It looked like a hospital of sorts, but how in the world had she ended up in a hospital? What the heck happened?

"That's…a bit difficult to explain," Miroku jumped in from behind. "Why don't you catch Kagome up on everything, Inuyasha?" He winked at his partner suggestively, unaware of the terror that his suggestion struck in Inuyasha.

"Psh! Why should dog-breath explain?!" Kouga demanded, stubbornly refusing to move. "He doesn't know shit about what happened."

'Why that stupid flea brain!' Pushing himself to his feet again, Inuyasha raised an arm to smack Kouga out of the way when a way of dizziness rushed through him. Vision blurring, he fell to the ground again, taking deep breaths as he felt his lungs expand and contract erratically. 'What the hell is wrong with me?' Even with the meds running through him, he shouldn't have felt so sick.

Miroku's hand was suddenly at his shoulder, and he could feel his partner pull him off the ground and back into the wheelchair. "Stop moving around, idiot. Naraku got a shit-ton of venom into your system before he went down, and you're gonna feel like crap for a little while." Inuyasha was half-tempted to tell Miroku to shut up – he hated the idea of looking weak in front of Kagome – but Kagome interjected with a sharp breath.

"That…" The words caught in her throat, but she forced them out regardless. "That was h-him…?" She asked, her question ringing in the air despite her soft voice. In the moment, the sound of the name triggered all the memories her mind had temporarily suppressed. The red eyes watching her in the darkness of her room, the struggle, his gut-churning laughter, and then there was blackness and pain.

He couldn't tell what it was about her voice – perhaps that slight tremor and waver at the end – but it twisted his stomach into knots. She sounded so…so unlike the woman he met the day before.

"Yes. His name was Naraku." Everyone swung their gazes over to Kikyo, who had appeared out of thin air and now stood at the doorway without the customary glare that Inuyasha had thought was permanently etched on her skin. "You may have known him as the Bladed Rapist?" Kikyo suggested.

Her complexion paled even more so, indicating to the rest of the room that she did recognize the name.

"What?" She whispered. "No. B-but…I thought he was…dead…"

"No." Kikyo refuted bluntly in her usual, straightforward manner. "We had him in our custody. We lost him. Inuyasha tracked him down and killed him."

The sound of his name jolted Inuyasha out of his thoughts and he found himself looking into Kagome's exhausted eyes again.

The connection didn't last long because it seemed Kouga had found his cue to re-enter the conversation. "And I had to take him down and clean up after Inuyasha because he never does anything right."

"W-wait. He looked like Inuyasha!" At the memory, Kagome jolted up, unintentionally jostling her wounds because a moment later she was holding her stomach in obvious pain. Nonetheless, she worked through the throbbing ache in her core and carefully lifted her eyes to Inuyasha's. "Why…" She paused, shaking her head as if to clear the cobwebs. "What…I don't understand what happened. Why did he look like Inuyasha?" Unable to hold Inuyasha's intense stare much longer, she looked down, then turned to face the woman at the doorway. "And why did he want me?"

No one answered, but it was clear from the way everyone's eyes shifted to Inuyasha exactly whom that question should be directed at. Before she could say anything else, Inuyasha interrupted.

"I can explain everything." Inuyasha sent a look at Kikyo and Miroku, evidently to signal them that he wanted to talk with Kagome alone because the next thing she knew, a protesting Kouga was being dragged by the ear out of the room. With a grunt, Inuyasha hauled himself to her bedside again. If he ever wanted her forgiveness, he needed to be willing to take the full brunt of her anger now.

They sat in a drawn out silence as Inuyasha tried to come up with the best way to begin.

"I think…" He trailed off and started again. "It was…I…" Letting out a frustrated growl, he decided that he would just come out and say it, clenched his eyes shut and mentally braced himself. "It was my fault, Kagome." When he heard nothing but silence, he assumed the worst and panicked. "I'm so, so sorry. Shit, you don't know how sorry I am about what happened, and I swear if there's anything I can do to make this up to you…" As the words spilled out of his mouth, he prayed that they wouldn't sound as inadequate as he felt they did. How does a person make up for something like this?

Out of habit, Kagome tried to interject but Inuyasha waved his hand and looked up at her, clearly motioning that he wasn't done. He was already nervous just being around her, but the fact that he was about to explain to her why he was the cause of what was most likely the most traumatizing event of her life only exacerbated that anxiety. He wasn't sure he'd be able to continue if she interrupted him. "Just, before I tell you how all of this happened, I need you to know that."

"I…-uh….fuck," he cursed, running a hand through his still bloody and matted hair. "Naraku was one of the people that I put behind bars – " so to speak – he figured he could explain the whole 'underground' part later – "years ago. And somehow he managed to get out yesterday and track you down. I didn't find out until that night so I did what I had to do to track you guys down and…" He started to trail off, but Kagome finished his sentence.

"…kill him." She looked at his face, her brain trying to process what she'd learned while still taking in everything that she had woken up to. She should feel horrified, frightened, traumatized…something…anything…over all of this, but all she really felt was numbness and relief; numbness because she literally couldn't feel any part of her body and relief because, unless this was all a dream, she and Inuyasha had made it out everything that happened yesterday alive. Maybe everything would hit her later, but now, she just wanted answers: facts to piece it all together.

"I don't understand why he wanted me. I've never…I don't know…done anything that would make someone like him come after me," she explained her confusion.

"He's – he was – " Inuyasha corrected himself, "…a sick fucker that just liked to hurt people. You didn't do anything," he reassured her before pausing. "He went after you because of me."

Kagome's brows furrowed in confusion. "How…but we just met…yesterday?*" Admittedly, it felt like weeks ago, but that was irrelevant.

"I guess he wanted to get back at me and after he escaped he must have seen the, uhm…well, the ad that your brother put up." Rubbing his neck awkwardly, Inuyasha continued. "I think he thought you and I were, uhh, you know, and he lured me out with you. It worked, but I was too late…" He trailed off.

"Oh…" That explained why he felt so guilty, Kagome thought. But that still left the strangest question burning in her mind: why in the world had he looked like Inuyasha? Minus the red eyes, she had been positive that the man in her apartment that night had been the same awkward Inuyasha she'd met the day before. Of course, it didn't take more than a few seconds for her to realize that it really wasn't Inuyasha. And by then, the imposter had attacked and she wasn't left with much time to think about it. Was the Bladed Rapist Inuyasha's twin…because that really gave the idea of an evil twin a run for its money.

She looked up again, about to ask exactly what she was thinking, when she saw Inuyasha's distraught appearance. Like a dog ready to be kicked out by its master, his snowy ears had drooped, his eyes falling to the blankets covering her.

Having taken her silence and short response as her realization that he really was the one at fault, Inuyasha mentally prepared himself for his impending doom. He'd never screwed up so badly in his life, endangering someone he cared about so recklessly, and he wasn't sure what to expect.

What he definitely didn't expect, though, were the two arms that wrapped around him.

"Wh – "

"Thank you, Inuyasha." Her whispered gratitude rang in his ears as her arms lay frailly on his shoulders.

What did she mean, thank you? Had she not understood what had happened? As soon as he broke out of his stupor, he placed his hands around her waist – unable to keep from blushing at the close contact – and gently set her back against her pillows.

"No, I don't think you understand," he objected.

"Yes, I do," she corrected him. "Look, I'm still confused about a million other things, but I do know I don't blame you, Inuyasha. It's okay," Kagome comforted him. "Unless it really was you that I fought with in my kitchen then it wasn't your fault. And I'm not stupid. It…It looked like you, but I could tell it wasn't."

"But it was my fault," he insisted with a shake of his head. "Naraku wouldn't have come after you…wouldn't have done any of this to you if it hadn't been for me."

"And I'd also be dead if it weren't for you," she countered. "I don't know. Maybe I should feel angry or something, but I don't – and if I were angry, it wouldn't be at you," she explained. Taking his hand into hers, she squeezed lightly to reassure him and couldn't hold back a smile at the way he flushed. Had he always been so cute?

Unfortunately for the poor hanyou, her gesture of affection only exacerbated his word vomit. "No! That doesn't matter," He insisted emphatically, as if refusing to accept that she wasn't furious with him. "You don't understand. It is my fault! Hell, I practically led him right to you, and Naraku wouldn't have come after you at all if he hadn't found out I like you!" At that sudden declaration, the two froze.

"Shit, did I just say that?" When he realized that he had, in fact, just asked that question aloud and not in his head like he'd planned, he panicked again, floundering awkwardly for an explanation for the taken aback Kagome.

"Uh. I mean that I wanted you. Wait." That hadn't come out right. "Not in that way." Crap, that was a lie. "Well, I mean yes, except…he…uh, he found that paper and then he knew – well I tried to explain, you know, that you – I…uh…it was just me, I mean. Not the other way around. Me…wanting…" Letting out a growl at his failed attempts to explain this in a non-creepy manner, he sighed in frustration. "Ugh…fuck." If he had the motor control to punch himself in the face he would, but he didn't have faith in his muscles' recovery yet. Kagome deserved a proper apology – she shouldn't have to put up with this mess that he was.

Slouching miserably against the side of the bed, he took a deep breath and gave it one more go. What did he have to lose, right? She probably already hated him, at best. "I was the one who put Naraku behind bars ten years ago. Somehow he got out using a hami doll –" When she gave him a questioning look, he shook his head. "It's – don't worry about it. Doesn't matter. He took my form, sniffed out where I went yesterday, found that paper, the one I brought to your apartment. I guess he thought he could bait me by taking you, and he was right."

That was…a lot to process, Kagome thought to herself. She couldn't deny the warm glow she felt at Inuyasha's flustered declaration that he liked her, even if he had only admitted it under duress. Nevertheless, she figured now wasn't the time to dwell on it. He looked even more beaten down than he had just moments ago, as if his admission weighed him down, and she couldn't stand the guilty look he had on his face. First, she had to fix that. "But that's what mattered, Inuyasha."

With a furrowed brow, Inuyasha asked, "What do you mean?"

"That he was right. That you did come for me, and that we both came out of this alive," she said firmly, determined to get through to him. "That's what matters to me. I'm not mad at you, Inuyasha. Honestly, I'm just grateful that you risked your life to save me when you'd only met me for what…an hour?"

No matter how much her words made sense, something inside him refused to accept it. She'll come to her senses soon enough, he figured.

When her words didn't seem to rectify the situation, she decided on a different approach. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be the one comforting me?" She teased lightly.

Taking her question seriously, Inuyasha immediately apologized, "Shit, sorry, you're right." Pushing himself to his feet as steadily as he could, he asked, "Do you need me to get anything for you?"

"No, no," she immediately responded. It took another moment for her to speak again. "I just want you to stay."

Inuyasha would have been flattered at the glowing blush that tinted her cheeks had he not been so stunned at the statement. She wanted him to stay here, with her? Thankfully, before he could stutter out whatever jumble his thoughts had found themselves, Kagome explained.

"I just don't want to be left alone with my thoughts, you know? It just feels like it hasn't really hit me yet and I don't think I want it to, not yet."

So far, she seemed to be taking all of this incredibly well, and while he knew she would have to come to terms with everything eventually, he was in no rush to see it. If his presence was what kept her from the living nightmare that was her past few days, he didn't need to be told twice.

He pulled the shaky chair back to the bedside and sat down. What did she want him to do with her? Talk? She clearly needed something to occupy her thoughts, but he had no idea what to say. What little interaction he had, had always been more physical than conversational. Aside from trading verbal retorts with Miroku, he really never talked to anyone.

"Umm…what do you want to talk about?"

'Great, was there any cooler way you could have asked that?' He mentally smacked himself.

As if sensing his self-deprecating thoughts, Kagome gave a tiny snicker and obliged his question. "I don't know, mmm…" She hummed thoughtfully. "I guess first I want to know where I am exactly. I wasn't told which hospital this was or if my family had been notified."

"Er…" He wasn't quite sure how to explain. Deciding that the best course of action would simply be to blurt it all out, Inuyasha took a deep breath and began. "I'm part of this – I guess you could call it underground – vigilante group, and after we killed Naraku and brought you back to safety, I think they decided to keep you in our treatment center because he managed to get this you – uhh…" He paused momentarily, unsure whether this was the right time to explain what youkai were or if he even wanted her to know about it at all. "…uhm, he injected you with this poison that regular hospitals don't really have the medicine to treat. Miroku – he's my partner, the one you saw earlier – hadn't known what your name was until I told him earlier, so I doubt they've alerted your family."

"Oh." She felt like she was saying that a lot. But honestly, she didn't know where to begin. Underground vigilante group? Those existed outside of movies? And given that they had successfully hunted down a serial killer, she assumed it wasn't just some ragtag team. And a poison that only their hospital had a treatment for? Since when did vigilante groups have better medicine than the country's hospitals? And finally, there was the matter of her family. She usually called them once a day and rarely failed to answer her phone after work. Were they worried? Did they notice that she'd gone missing?

"Do you know how long I have to stay here?"

"I don't know," he shrugged apologetically. "With Naraku's poison, it really depends on how quickly your body can get rid of it with the medicine's help." Chances were Naraku had infected all of her wounds with some of his poison, enough to kill her had they not found her in time, but he wasn't sure that was something she would want to hear.

"Your partner, he said that you had the same chemicals in your system, right? How come you're up already?"

"Uh…I just have a really good…poison-fighting system…thing…"

It was getting clearer that there was something Inuyasha was not telling her about this whole thing. And while she felt like she was owed an explanation for everything, something in her – perhaps it was just the exhaustion – held her back, so she merely gave him a quizzical look and accepted his vague explanation.

"Mm…okay."

Thankfully, the light conversation from there was easy enough for the both of them to handle, and soon, Kagome found herself nodding off, Inuyasha's voice lulling her into a tired sleep.

June 12

4:00 PM

'Kikyo is going to string me up by my balls,' Inuyasha thought with a cringe as he slid into Kagome's apartment, the lovely owner of said apartment curled up in his arms. 'Sneaking Kagome out of HQ and I haven't even finished that stupid paperwork…yeah, I'm in for it later.' Really, he was only doing this because he owed Kagome big time. But seriously, how the hell was he supposed to say no when Kagome had practically begged him to get her out of the headquarter hospital? Especially when she looked up at him with those soft, brown eyes and her pink lips in a pout... 'When the hell did I become such a pansy?' He asked himself, shaking her puppy-dog face from thought.

He had, of course, given in, and stolen her from right under everyone's noses. As he took a quick scan of her small apartment, he took note of the small rearrangements that some clean-up crew had clearly done in Kagome's absence. Gone was the evidence of any struggle from the days before. He noted with some satisfaction that they had also replaced her monitor with the new one he had bought. Good. Kagome had been whining about that monitor and while he couldn't understand her reliance on something so stupid – it must be a silly human thing, he thought – he had replaced it so now when he realized how much she apparently needed the thing. He took another glance around and his eyes landed on the brown couch at the center of the room.

'I guess I should just set her down and leave,' he thought with no small amount of disappointment. She had fallen asleep on their way back from the hospital, and he'd be lying if he said he didn't enjoy the feeling of her soft, feminine form pressed against him. It had taken him twice as long to get back to her apartment just because of how careful he had tried to be with her. Most of her injuries hadn't even properly healed, but she'd insisted that if she stayed even one more day, she would go crazy out of sheer boredom.

Just as he began to set her down on the couch that had started it all, he felt a soft tugging on his shirt. She had balled a fist and latched onto his chest in her sleep as if she didn't want to be put down. He had to concur with her there. It was tempting to simply sit down and curled around her small form, but he couldn't imagine how she would feel about that. He'd promised to get her home safely – and that included not taking advantage of her in her sleep.

Sighing in resignation, he began to gently unfurl her fist from his shirt, but she took that opportunity to grab onto his thumb instead. 'Man, she's grabby when she's asleep,' he thought, half-amused. Not that he was really complaining. This was more physical contact than he usually got in a year, since no, wrestling down criminals was not his idea of happy, mutual physical contact.

"Grphh…floughhmm," she mumbled out incoherently against his shirt. He almost smiled down in affection at the cute display before he caught himself.

'Damn it, stop acting so…girly!' It was not cute that she was drooling all over his shirt, he insisted even as the goofy smile crept onto his face despite his best efforts. It felt so good to have someone trust him enough to get comfortable, and he couldn't help the adoring butterflies that fluttered in his stomach at the thought.

In the times when he sat by her bedside and talked with her, she hadn't really said anything to indicate she remembered that he had inadvertently blurted out that he liked her. For that, Inuyasha wasn't sure if he was grateful or disappointed. If anything, the few hours he talked with her had only strengthened the little crush he had developed, but he had no clue if it was returned. They had talked about anything and everything for hours, and he could admit easily enough that he enjoyed it far more than he thought he would. And she seemed to enjoy his company, but that could easily be just because he was the only person that visited her since they couldn't give away the location to her family.

'Well I was the only one, minus the one time the wolf-shit had tried to see her,' Inuyasha thought with a grumble. Thankfully, he'd been called away for some assignment or other before a fight between the two could escalate. Nonetheless, this was the one time he wished he had Kouga's thickheadedness when it came to dealing with women. 'If only I could blurt out to every fucking pretty girl that I loved her and then take her rejection with a grain of salt,' he thought sardonically. Then, at least, maybe he'd have some clue of how Kagome saw him.

Shaking his head before his thoughts got too melodramatic, he refocused on the task at hand.

"Come on, Kagome, let go," he whispered as he delicately wiggled his thumb out of her grip. After a light struggle, he was free. 'I guess I should just set her down and leave,' he thought as a sense of déjà vu struck him. As if the fates were conspiring to make the déjà vu last, Kagome began to wake up, just like last time, when he set her down on the couch.

However, this time, there was no screaming in terror or desperate struggle for her life. This time, she looked up at him with a sleepy smile that had his heart palpitating a little too fast for his liking.

"Good morning," she greeted, her voice still in a half-asleep whisper.

"Well, actually it's late afternoon," he corrected, snickering at her half-hearted attempt to hit him at his silly correction.

However, the short moment ended when Kagome let out a hiss of pain at the movement.

"Ow…" She cradled her arm tenderly to her chest, lightly massaging the ache. At the stern look he sent her, she shrugged sheepishly. "Heh, sorry. I guess I thought it still kind of hurts." So she'd told him that she wasn't in much pain anymore. She had to! There was no way Inuyasha was going to sneak her out of that dreadful, mind-meltingly boring place if she hadn't. There hadn't been any nurses or anything to keep her occupied, just a bed, a toilet and a blank white wall for her to ponder for three days. Hell, she was grateful there was no window as the temptation might have been too great…

"You said you felt fine," he grumbled out unhappily, his thoughts in the general directions as hers.

"I know, sorry. I thought I did," she apologized. "It doesn't hurt much, though. I'll just keep off it for a little while, and I should be okay."

"Shit, but if your wrists still hurt, then that means everything else will kick in soon, which means you're gonna be in a lot of pain once the meds wear off. Two hours, three maybe." He realized, cursing himself for not thinking of this ahead of time. With great care, he started set her down on the couch.

She turned to face him in confusion, the fact that she was half-straddling him lost on her as she tried to figure out what he was so worried about. She hadn't had a chance to see her own wounds – and she didn't really want to – but it certainly didn't feel like she had any serious injuries left. "What about some Tylenol or something? It can get me through the night and I'll get whatever I need from the hospital tomorrow. And nothing really hurts right now," she tried. Besides, she had to go back to work at some point, and she was pretty sure that she had used up whatever vacation time she had for the next few years, she thought with a disappointed sigh. 'And what a vacation it's been…'

Shaking his head negatively, Inuyasha explained, "But if there's still pain that means the poison is still in your system and none of your human medicine is going to be any help." It took a solid second for him to realize the slight slip-up he'd made, but that was all Kagome needed to latch on.

"What do you mean my human medicine…?" She asked, brow arched suspiciously up at him. In the times he visited her, she had come to realize that he had a singular talent for avoiding questions he didn't like to answer with a number of tactics. Some of that was her fault, she admitted. All it took was for him to off-handedly call her a wench, bitch, or another name from his evidently vast vocabulary of insulting female names and whatever they were talking about was lost.

"Oh. Uhh…you know, the typical people medicine – like the regular type of…chemical that people use," he stammered out, as he tried to think of an explanation that sounded less obviously made up on the spot. "Err…the stuff we used comes from this dog medicine…thing…" he trailed off. That wasn't exactly a lie, he thought. After all, it was a chemical compound derived from inuyoukai saliva's healing ability, but he couldn't exactly tell her that without giving everything away.

Had it been any other time, she would have pushed a little harder, but at the moment, she was pre-occupied with more important matters. "Fine, keep your little secrets," she conceded, taking a small amount of satisfaction at the way he shrunk under the force of her stern look. "Does this mean I have to go back?" She asked, unable to keep the exasperated groan from escaping. The world was cruel for giving her the briefest taste of freedom and snatching it up from under her before she could even enjoy it.

Withholding a growl of his own, Inuyasha nodded. "Yeah, I think that's our best option. " There was no way he could leave her to suffer the night, but he dreaded returning to headquarters even more than she did. It wasn't like they were a standard hospital where he and Kagome would just be chastised and whoop-de-doo everything would be fine. They were both going to get their asses handed to them for pulling something so impulsive and stupid, but Kikyo would ride his ass especially hard. Then, of course, they were never going to allow him to visit her for the remainder of her stay. 'Fuck me…I really got to start thinking things through.' He berated himself.

Shutting her eyes tiredly in disappointment, Kagome shook her head. "Isn't there any other way I can get this medicine? Or something similar?" She really didn't want to go back.

Well, there was another way, but he wasn't about to suggest that. 'Hey, Kagome, want to let me bite and lick you all over? Oh no, I can't tell you why, but it'll make you feel better,' He internally mimicked the ridiculous scenario. 'Yeah, that would go over well,' he scoffed, unintentionally letting the accompanying expressions show on his face.

"…is there another away?" Kagome asked, taking from his long silence and the odd faces he was making that he was mulling over an alternative.

"Uh…"

And that was all Kagome needed.

She grabbed onto his hands lightly enough to keep from straining her wrists, and threw him the big, puppy-dog eyes and quivering pout combo. "Please! I know you don't want to go back either!" She scooted forward bringing herself mere inches from his face, until she could feel the heat radiating off his body. Yes, she was taking full advantage of the fact that she knew he liked her, and judging by his newly tomato-red cheeks, it was working.

"Uhm…u-uh…" he stammered out, heart thudding loudly in his chest, his mouth suddenly too dry to properly form words and his mind a jumble of panicked thoughts. How the hell she managed to look so alluring despite not having taken a proper shower in days were questions for another day. Right now, all he could focus on were the feel of her legs practically wrapped around him, her big, brown eyes peering up at him through dark lashes, and the soft curves that he was inches away from. What were they talking about again?

Seeing his will crumble before her eyes, Kagome threw in another "please" for good measure.

His eyes fell to her lips, so close he could taste her breath.

"Yeah, there is…" It was barely a whisper. For a solid second, he didn't even register that he said it.

But then that second passed.

"Wait! Uh, fuck, no! We have to get you back," he insisted, back-tracking and reeling away from her.

Kagome was having none of that. She grabbed onto his shoulders and pulled him back before he could escape. "No! There is! You just said there was!"

"I-I u-uh…was lying 'cause you were doing that t-thing!"

"What thing?" She demanded.

"You know! With your face…and your…ugh, nevermind." He shook his head, as if trying to clear away her spell. "Look, there isn't another way. We have to get you back now, and that's final," he said, hoping it was filled with conviction.

"Please, Inuyasha," she begged. She felt awfully childish at the way she was acting, but that was only because she felt like a child. From the start, she felt like everyone was keeping information from her: the nurses who refused to say a word to her, that Kikyo woman who wouldn't even let her speak to her family, and even Inuyasha on occasion. And honest to god, she was beyond caring if she was being unreasonable. She was disgusting, exhausted, aching all over, and just wanted to get whatever meds she needed, take a shower and go to bed. "If it's because you aren't allowed to tell me or something, I promise I won't ever say anything." Honestly, what could be so bad about it? Maybe whatever they were using for her had been illegal, she thought suspiciously, unsure how she felt about that.

"No, no," he refuted. "It's not that."

"So there is some way! You just won't tell me then!" Kagome deduced with a triumphant exclamation.

"Hey! That's not fair!" Why did it feel like he was never on even playing ground with this woman?! He was pretty sure she could get him to spill his darkest secrets if she just looked at him the right way, and he hated feeling so weak against her feminine powers. "Look, neither of us wants to go back, but it's for your own good. The other option…it…isn't really an option," he said with a sigh, hoping that she would miraculously accept what he said. "You wouldn't go for it anyway."

"Shouldn't you let me decide?" She reasoned.

"Damn it, wench! Can you not be stubborn for one fucking minute?" He rubbed the back of his neck in frustration.

Her fists clenched in anger at the little term of endearment he was so fond of calling her. 'Don't get angry, Kagome. We've got bigger fish to fry tonight.' She chanted to herself, counting to ten in her head to keep herself from exploding at the infuriating man in front of her.

"I'm not being stubborn, you ass!"

"Yeah, you fucking are!"

"No, I'm not!"

"Yes, you are!"

"No, I am not, you jerk!"

"Agh! You're impossible!" He threw his hands in the air and stood up to pace in what little room she had.

At their separation, Kagome took a deep breath. "Look, is it really that bad? Like you've got to amputate my arm and mix heroin and cocaine with a pinch of ugly?"

He gave a rapid shake of his head.

"Then why won't you just tell me?"

"It's not that easy. It's – It's just the way we have to get it in you," he mumbled.

"What do you mean?"

He was going to hate himself for doing this. He just knew it. And damn it all, what was this…the third time she'd managed to get her way because he was too weak to say no when she batted her eyelashes at him?

He let out a deep exhale. "You have to promise not to do that – uh – do that freak out thing that girls do."

"It's not like it'll be anything I've never heard of! I work at a hospital for christ's sake! And what does that even mean?" She asked, eyebrow ticking in annoyance at his sexist statement.

"You know, that whole 'What?! Oh my god! Are you nuts!?' thing." He imitated, raising his voice five pitches and gesturing extravagantly to get his point across.

"What?!" She practically shrieked. "We don't do that!"

"That's the one!" He pointed out, crossing his arms defensively. "See?! You just did it!"

"T-That's not the same! I just have a naturally high voice," she insisted meekly, but had the good grace to blush. "Fine. I won't do that. Seriously, you're probably making it worse by drawing it out."

"I know!" She couldn't understand how difficult it was for him to even tell her what the other option was. Until now, they had gotten closer – albeit mostly through force of circumstances – but this? This was decidedly intimate, and there was no way she would go for it. 'Hell she'll probably ask for a cab back or something 'cause she won't want me anywhere near her.' He wasn't sure he could face her disgust, not after everything that had happened. He hated all this! It made him feel vulnerable…weak, and he had spent his whole life making sure everyone who thought that, paid for it.

'Well, fuck me. What do I do?'

Kagome waited patiently, watching the thoughts race through his mind. It was hard to tell exactly what he was thinking, but she hoped with all her might that he was just going to give in. She certainly wasn't going to give up without a fight. Truthfully, part of her just wanted to know. What could possibly be so abhorrent to both him and her that he couldn't even tell her?

She heard him take a breath, and her eyes shot up to his eagerly.

"It's…" He paused, looking up at the ceiling, before deciding abruptly. "Actually, I change my mind."

"…What?"

"There's no point. We're just wasting time," he decided firmly. "Come on." He stepped forward again, moving to pick her up, when she snatched her arm away from him.

"Hey! Stop that!" With a rough push, she pulled herself away from his grip, ready to yell at him for trying to manhandle her into leaving, when a searing pain ran up her side to her collarbone. She must have fallen over in as the sharp fire singed its way down her body because the next thing she knew, she was looking at the ground, two thick arms wrapped around her torso.

A groan escaped her before she even knew one was coming. "Ow…that…" She tried to think of a word to describe the throbbing that felt like fiery needles stabbing her from chest to hip. "…that…didn't feel good."

He would have burst out laughing had it not been for the worry that currently consumed his thoughts. "Christ! Kagome, are you okay?!"

With a weak nod, she tried to steady herself, placing one careful foot in front of the other in an attempt to lift herself up. "You weren't lying. This really does hurt," she complained, now able to shift her weight back down to the couch as the lancing pain dulled.

"Of course I wasn't lying, bitch! I know what I'm talking about!" He set her back onto the couch, taking a quick look across her body to see if there was any apparent injury. "What kind of pain was it? Where does it hurt?" Without giving it much thought, he gently set a hand on her hip, assuming that was where most of the pain was located since that had been where her hand grabbed on.

She felt an awful lot like a child being inspected by a doctor, and this time, she was one blushing as he moved his hand over her hip and up to her belly. "U-uh it was all up my side from my hip. I think it was one of the larger lacerations," she explained. "I've still got some stitches there." When a finger reached a particularly tender area, she flinched and let out a hiss.

"Shit, sorry," he whispered in apology. "We might have to take a look at this before we go. I don't want to risk anything opening up before I get you back."

She immediately frowned. "I'm not going back!" Maybe he had a point about the stubbornness thing, a voice whispered in the back of her mind, but she squashed it down furiously.

"Yes, you are! Look at yourself! If you'd just done like I told you earlier, you wouldn't have hurt yourself again!"

"And if you had just told me sooner how to get those stupid meds I wouldn't have hurt myself!" She countered angrily.

"We are not starting this shit again," he said, sternly putting an end to another pointless fight.

Softening her own voice, Kagome asked in a whisper, "What is so bad about this that you won't even tell me?"

"It's…it's not that it's bad," he replied. "You'll – you'll think it's disgusting. You wouldn't go for it"

"I'm a grown woman," she countered. At his skeptical look, she quickly tagged on "…though you might not think I always act like it. Just let me decide what I find disgusting."

He wasn't going to talk himself out of this one, he realized.

'Took you this long to figure it out?' A treacherous voice in side his head asked.

'Shut your trap.'

'I'm a figment of your imagination. I don't have a trap.'

'Yeah? Well shut it anyway.'

'Inuyasha! Focus! It's not healthy to hear voices in your head,' another voice piped up.

'Uh, yeah it is. It's called thinking, idiot.'

'Would you all just shut up?!'

"…Inuyasha?" She called him back to the present quietly, hesitant to interrupt what was obviously an intense internal debate. It was strangely cute, the way he would mouth his mental conversation with himself, but she doubted he would take too kindly to being told that.

"Yeah," he responded instinctively to his name. When he remembered what they had been talking about, he surrendered, "…fine…" He took a deep breath. "I have to…uh…put…um…I have to…lick your wounds." Yes, he could finally confirm that sounded as crazy aloud as it did in his head. "Well, I'll have to bite the ones that were infected but mostly closed up too." That was just the icing on the crazy cake.

He looked away, so there was no way for him to see her reaction to his words. Nonetheless, it felt like an eternity passing before she spoke.

"Huh?"

His suggestion…made no sense at all. Saliva was filled with all sorts of bacteria that would only make her wounds worse. Figuring that she must have heard wrong, she asked, "Can you say that again?"

"I – um – I said that I had to lick the wounds."

Okay. So she wasn't deaf.

"How could – " She cut herself off, too perplexed to even figure out what she should be trying to ask. "I don't – but – uhh…"

Taking her speechlessness as her trying to delicately let him down, Inuyasha shut his eyes and pulled himself away. It was a stupid idea anyway. "Just…Fuck it." Without another word, he turned around and knelt down, clearly indicating for her to climb onto his back.

"Wait! Inuyasha…" She had no idea what was going through his mind, but given how much trouble it had taken for him to talk and the poorly concealed vulnerability in his voice, she could guess how he felt. As confusing as the idea that someone's saliva was what she needed, it wasn't difficult to figure out that he'd been so reluctant because he thought she would be disgusted. She didn't know what had happened to this man to make him think he repelled her, but her first order of business would be to rectify that.

Before she could talk herself out of it, she pulled the hospital gown over her head, leaving only her flimsy hospital undergarments on. With a shaky breath, she pushed herself off the couch, grabbed onto his shoulder and turned him around.

When he realized that he was looking at her bare skin, his jaw dropped. It would have been comical in any other situation, but at that point, he was just bewildered. 'Is she – what – holy shit!'

If she let him flounder any longer, she was going to lose her nerve. "I don't get it and it seems a little nutty…but I'm trusting you on this one."

His eyes met hers, the wonderment obvious in the golden amber. He spent so long staring that she started to get nervous. "So…uhm, should I sit down?" She asked, ducking her head meekly. It occurred to her that maybe he was the one that didn't want to do this, and she flushed bright red at the idea that she had just stripped for him without even considering that possibility. "You're okay with doing this for me, right? I can take a quick bath or something if you need…" She finished timidly.

"No! No, you're fine," he replied immediately. He rubbed the back of his neck anxiously. "Are you sure?" Part of him still couldn't believe it. She seemed far too calm about everything, and he couldn't help but marvel at the fact that she didn't seem remotely scared, repulsed or resistant to the idea of him doing…well that.

"No, I just like to take my clothes off for the thrill of it," she responded sarcastically with a playful grin.

Letting out a nervous laugh, he moved towards her and bent down slowly as if she might bolt if he moved too suddenly. He dared a glance up at her face, but quickly looked back down at her searching stare. Shit, this was already hard enough without her watching him. "H-ha. U-uh, okay. I guess I'll…um…here – uh I-I'll start here," he stammered out, lifting her wrist that had been aching earlier. He could see the more serious wound, a long cut that ran down from her left collarbone to her right hip that still had stitches in, but figured neither he nor she was ready for his mouth to be anywhere near her chest just yet. "I-I mean, if that's okay w-with you. I-I have to bite it just a bit because there's no open wound."

With her consenting nod, Inuyasha brought her arm to her mouth and began.

Despite the very unusual circumstances, Kagome couldn't help feeling like she was back in her teenage years, with her high school sweetheart Hojo the first time she invited him in her room. They had the same endearing shyness about them, but with Inuyasha, she would have never guessed he was anything but a typical 'tough guy' through and through just by looking at him. But really, who would have guessed that behind those calloused hands, muscles, and the odd scar, there was an awkward, occasionally infuriating puppy beneath. Puppy was actually a pretty accurate description considering his more otherworldly features, which she still had to demand an explanation about, Kagome reminded herself.

At that moment, Kagome felt his tongue move across her wrist and half of her forearm and she realized that she hadn't even felt the bite. His tongue felt soothing and rough at the same time, just like a dog's. 'Well, he's was a consistent if nothing else.' Slowly, a light, tingling heat spread across her arm, traveling upwards until her shoulder. "Woah," she breathed out.

Inuyasha's eyes immediately shot up to make sure that he hadn't hurt her, and spoke with half his tongue still on her arm. "Whahrt?"

Smiling apologetically, she reassured him, "Sorry, it just kind of feels…good. I wasn't really expecting that." Nor was she sure how saliva on her wounds could possibly feel good, but given that he really wasn't in a position to talk, she decided to bring that up another time.

"Oh…" He had no idea it felt good, having only done this to himself on the rarest occasions a demon managed to gets its venom or poison in him.

Of course, he might have noticed her reaction a little sooner had he not been so distracted by her smell and taste, he thought with a blush that he desperately hoped went unnoticed. Did he feel bad that he was aroused? Yeah. Did that change anything? Unfortunately not.

'But shit, this is really not the time,' he scolded himself. Even a small drop of blood had sent a warm, familiar heat through his body, and he could only pray his body's treacherous reaction was inconspicuous. The last thing he needed was to give her an actual reason to be frightened of him when he had evidently managed to gain her trust. In a noteworthy attempt to refocus on the task at hand, he closed his eyes in concentration, but that only heightened the taste.

Her blood was having a nearly drug-like effect on him, to the point where he could feel his own blood thicken in response, his mind growing hazier as if he had just downed two dozen shots at once. When he was finished with her arm and her more minor injuries, he chose the large wound running down her torso next. This time, her injury hadn't fully closed, and that meant even the bitter salve they had put over the wound couldn't cover the potent taste of her blood.

He paused, clenching his teeth to restrain an instinctual groan at the first taste. How many different ways could he be fucked up in the head if licking her wounds turned him on so badly? Of course, it wasn't just the blood, but her natural scent, which was unfortunately stronger than usual because she hadn't properly showered in a few days. Had he known he would react this way, he would have…well, now that he thought about it, he wasn't sure what he would have done. On the one hand, the fact that he appeared to be getting off on her injuries was so wrong, and if she found out and hated him for it, he wasn't sure he could blame her. On the other, this was one of the most dangerously pleasurable experiences he'd ever had.

'Fucking hell,' he mentally groaned, dipping his head momentarily as the very unwelcome throbbing below intensified. At the moment, he was kneeling and bent over her so the bulge in his pants wasn't prominent, but he had no doubt that a waistband tuck would be needed before he left or he would be a running tripod on the way home.

Until that point, Kagome had merely let herself relax and enjoy the comforting warmth that was spreading through her, but to her alarm, when she looked down to watch his progress, she could swear Inuyasha almost looked pained.

"Hey, you okay?" Kagome asked worriedly.

No, he most definitely was not.

"Uh, yeah. I'm fine." He reassured. "I – uh – sorry, the taste of the meds – it – uh – tastes…funny." Given that he could hardly focus on not drooling all over her cuts, he could only hope that he sounded believable. "It – um – it's nothing, b-but everything is…healing good," he stumbled over his words, feeling all sorts of tongue-tied, though his words were completely true. Distracted as he was, he had barely noticed that even the largest of her wounds had tightened, closing up just the slightest bit.

Still, there was more to do, and as desperately as he wanted to simply lay her down on the couch and spend the rest of the night licking every inch of her body, injured or not, he redoubled his efforts, determined to finish and leave so he could alleviate the aching problem she had left him with. It didn't take long to realize that was easier said than done. As much as he tried to keep from giving in to the bliss, every trace of blood turned his mind further into mush. He never wanted so badly to simply give in, he thought angrily.

It took some amount of willpower that he didn't know he possessed, but he managed to finish healing and cleaning the minor wounds on her arms, making sure to let enough of his saliva in that her system would be cleansed of Naraku's miasma.

Before long, he reached the seams of her bra, a flimsy piece of cloth that barely hid anything. "I – uh…" he started off, trying to ask if it was okay for him to proceed.

Realizing what he was trying to ask, Kagome nodded nervously. It was hard for her not to feel like the act was incredibly intimate, though she knew it wasn't meant to be, especially when the pain began to fade to pleasure and he hit a particularly sensitive spot that made her toes curl. Plus, she could have sworn that his strokes were growing more languid and sensual, and while she couldn't deny it felt good – better than good – she also didn't like the butterflies fluttering anxiously in her stomach at his attentions.

She ventured a look down, reddening at the sight of his face practically buried between her breasts. He was making a valiant effort to remain professional, but even still, as she watched him lick his lips and slowly drag his tongue across her skin, she could not help the heavy warmth that pooled at her core. 'Bad Kagome! Stop it!' She subtly clenched her thighs to relieve the ache, making sure that Inuyasha's eyes were nowhere near her legs.

As she watched him work, she resisted the urge to press herself against his face, biting her lip as she lightly squirmed beneath him. Was his saliva some sort of aphrodisiac or something? She could feel as it entered her system, dulling any pain and travelling downwards to tighten the pleasurable knot below her belly. 'Maybe it's just been too long since the last time,' she thought to herself, hoping that he wouldn't notice her heated fidgeting. That had to be the only explanation for her wanton thoughts.

He took a deep breath and expelled a violent "Fuck!"

His sudden curse threw her into a brief panic. "What?! What's wrong?!"

He lifted his head up from her chest and she took gulped at the darkened amber irises that stared at her, red tingeing the usually golden color.

For the slightest moment, she was frightened at the intense stare, her own eyes unable to look away, but that fear disappeared when she recognized that look. It wasn't anger or rage she saw, but pure, unadulterated desire, clear enough in his eyes that even she knew it. Instinctively, the pulsating emptiness between her legs worsened, and there was no hiding her trembling that time.

She might have thought her little maneuver had been discreet, but his nose had caught on to the enticing spike before she could even attempt to hide it. His own youki had risen in response, among other things, and all it wanted was to feel her wrapped around him. He had been determined to ignore it, assuming it was just a natural reaction to the healing properties of inuyoukai saliva and had she kept her own arousal in check, he might have been able to keep his control, but no…she had to entice him, let her scent grow to the point that he could practically imagine the wetness between her legs.

"Bitch, stop doing that." He growled out through clenched teeth.

"D-doing wh-what?" She couldn't tell if her voice was shaky because of her far too obvious reaction or because of the way his hands tightened their grip on her hips, nudging them in line with his arms.

He stood up from his kneeling position and in one swift move, pulled her legs apart and settled himself between them, simultaneously allowing Kagome to see the bulge he had hidden earlier and drowning himself in her intoxicating scent.

"I-Inuyasha?" Gone was the shy, timid man who had been tending her wounds, and in its place was someone much darker, more domineering. Given her own physical reaction, she wasn't sure she minded.

"You know what" His lips curled almost threateningly from the amount of restraint it took not to simply jump her. He couldn't resist, however, reaching a hand up to turn her face towards him.

Without breaking eye contact, he dipped his head back down to her chest, where he had stopped, and gave a surprisingly gentle nick. "You smell like a bitch in heat," he murmured against her chest, emboldened by her needy moan. "And it's making this really. Fucking. Hard." he punctuated his last statement by grinding the evidence of his own arousal into her barely clothed womanhood, smiling almost deviously against her skin when she immediately arched upward to meet him.

It occurred to him that he was acting daringly bold, but she had driven him beyond the point of giving a fuck. And until she said no – something he prayed would not happen – he was going to take whatever she would give him.

"Uh…hum…" She tried to form words. She wanted to ask what in the heck he was doing…what kind of woman he thought she was. She might have been progressive, but she was still a proper, young woman.

She tried to find something, anything to say, but all she seemed capable of was grabbing onto his shoulder as he pressed himself against her. She felt his muscles rippling underneath his shirt and wanted it off now.

His pants and the flimsy cotton of her own underwear separated the two of them, and in any other state of mind, she might have felt embarrassed at her nearly desperate need for him to remove those barriers and fill the painfully empty ache below.

As if on autopilot, Inuyasha's mouth finished up at her collarbone, making sure that his saliva had seeped in properly, before letting himself fully indulge in her taste. He gently bit and sucked at the juncture of her neck, conveniently placing his ears right by her mouth so they could take in every tiny whimper and moan. He wanted to make sure he took in each and every second of this, and god's hand itself couldn't have torn him away from her at that moment.

Without pausing his rhythmic rocking against her, he trailed one hand down her body, memorizing the texture and every curve it encountered, until it reached its destination. He pressed his knuckles against her covered slit, groaning aloud as he felt the liquid seep onto his fingers, indicating just how ready she was for him.

A startled gasp drew his face back up, and he removed his hand immediately, searching her eyes for consent. A long moment passed between the two as Kagome tried to catch her breath, not having expected to feel his fingers pressed up against her folds nor her own reaction to it. She saw the question in his eyes, and did what little thinking her brain was capable of. While she had not expected this turn of events, it would be a lie to say she wasn't fully enjoying it. Inuyasha had made it abundantly obvious – whether he meant to or not – that he wanted her, and the pressure from that desire pressing up against her pelvis was fueling her own need.

But did she want to do this? Sure, she wanted him. He was handsome, and in the short time she'd known him she had seen the tough guy vigilante group fighter as well as the soft, puppy personality underneath, and she could admit that she liked him. But sex? Within a week of knowing someone? It wasn't like her, a tiny voice in her head, maybe it was her inner prude, piped up.

"Kagome?" His voice sounded normal again, the anxiety returning the longer she stayed silent.

She looked back up at him, noting the cool golden color returning to his eyes. She remembered the first time she had seen his eyes, glowing in the dark of her apartment, and how she had known there was nothing in him that would hurt her just by looking into those eyes.

She liked him. She wanted him, and as charming as he was with his shier idiosyncrasies, she didn't want that right now. She wanted to bring that dangerously passionate look back into his eyes, Kagome decided with conviction. Letting a mischievous smile dance across her face, she took the plunge and lifted her hips up the slightest bit, relishing the look of wonderment on his face.

'If anyone fucking pinches me, I'll kill him,' Inuyasha swore.

His hands trembling just the slightest, Inuyasha took his cue and slid her underwear off, trying not to let his nervousness show. He knew what she meant, and while he could hardly believe this was happening, that she would have him, a part of him was terrified. He didn't know what the fuck he was doing. When his youkai had started to take over, it all felt instinctual. But he knew it wasn't like in the videos he watched, where the man could please the woman if he just stuck it in and moved back and forth.

Well, that was the gist of it, he thought, but he wanted to make sure that Kagome enjoyed this. If the kami were good, she would want to do it again…and again…and again. 'Gah!' He couldn't believe he was thinking about having sex with her in the future before he could even manage to do it the first time. Hoping that he wasn't breaking every rule in the book by doing this, Inuyasha took a breath and asked the only thing he could think of that would make sure he knew what she liked.

"S-show me?"

Of the many things, Kagome thought he might say, that hadn't been one of them. "Ohh…" She couldn't fight back a blush of her own at the thought of showing Inuyasha how to please her, but she felt a simultaneous, powerful rush at the idea of teaching him. It hadn't escaped her mind that he was a virgin and while she marveled at the fact that no one had taken him before now, she wasn't about to complain.

At that moment, he was more the fish out of water, so Kagome sucked up her own bashfulness and gave him a tiny smirk. "Like this…" She closed her eyes, pretending she was alone in her bedroom and slowly began moving her hand over the hooded nub between her legs, acutely aware of Inuyasha's piercing stare. Her hand moved in familiar circles, pressing down just so, and spreading the ample liquid coming from her dripping sex.

It was, without a doubt, the hottest and most erotic thing Inuyasha had ever seen. If he weren't completely set on making sure he pleased her, he would have simply ripped his pants off and justrelieved himself to the sight alone. Deciding that she had done enough of the work herself, Inuyasha slid his own hand down to join hers, having memorized the way she was moving it.

"Mmm…faster…" she sighed out, taking her hand back up to grab onto the couch as she rode out the waves of pleasure.

Inuyasha flushed with pride. He couldn't rip his eyes away from the junction between her thighs, entranced by the sight of his hand on her swollen bundle of nerves, and for the first time, he wished he had another set eyes to take the rest of her in. He'd be damned if he missed a single moment of this.

His confidence swelled at her responsiveness, he repositioned himself over her and slid her white bra-lette down her shoulders to reveal the pale mounds he had wanted to see since the day they met. He could feel his youkai fighting to take over again, and for once he didn't feel a need to stop it. With his unoccupied hand, he squeezed her breast and dipped his mouth down to devote equal attention to its twin.

At the sharp spike in her scent and her choked gasp, Inuyasha couldn't resist a successful smirk. He might not have known what he was doing, but clearly he was doing something right. There was no faking it with his nose, and his erection throbbed painfully as it felt the heat from her arousal through his pants.

His own groans accompanied hers as he ground himself into her leg unashamedly. Taking care to avoid hurting her with his claw, he positioned a finger at her entrance and slowly pressed in. The feel of her walls clenching his finger nearly finished him off then and there, and he let out a whimper as he imagined his aching staff – the part of him that really needed to be inside her – cushioned in her wet warmth. Pulling his hand away from her womanhood lest he come before his pants came off, he welcomed the surge in his youki, as if sensing that the more primal part of himself would handle this better.

"Turn around," he demanded, hardly recognizing the gravelly voice that left his mouth.

The authority in his voice had her obeying before she even thought to question it, and she trembled in anticipation at the familiar reddened gaze that watched her every move. She made a mental note to add the whole eye color changing thing to the list of things she planned to ask about when he trailed his claws down her back.

"Doesn't hurt?" He made sure, noting that his saliva had done its job.

When a quick shake of her head gave him his answer, he readily continued.

With her back towards him, she never noticed the devilish smirk on his face at the way she shook like a leaf in the wind. Like that, did she? He did it again, moving his other hand between her legs so he could catch the liquid literally dripping down her thighs and move them apart at the same time.

'Jesus fucking H. Christ.' She was going to kill him. Part of him – most notably the lower half – demanded that he bury his length inside of her now and put an end to both their suffering. The head on his shoulders, however, was slightly more patient and wanted to draw out her torture, wanted to hear her plead and moan. Nonetheless, both heads were in agreement on one thing: it wanted to watch as he slid himself into her, to see his length disappear as she welcomed him into her body. It was only a matter of when.

She let out a desperate cry and braced her arms against the armrest, arching her back and bucking backwards against him eagerly, but he merely nipped at her neck in warning. "Nuh-uh, Kagome. We're doing this my way." He declared with no room for objection.

Moving his arms forward, he grabbed onto her hands and brought both of her arms behind her back. He gently guided her head forward until it rested against the couch cushion, bringing her ass high and her legs spread so she was open for his viewing pleasure. And view he did. He took perverse pleasure at the wet gleaming of her dark pink folds, letting every sexual fantasy he had pent up in his system run freely in his head. He used his knees to nudge her legs forward, indicating that he wanted her knees tucked and spread to the side of her breasts and he smiled in satisfaction when he met no resistance.

Truthfully, Kagome couldn't understand her own intense reaction to Inuyasha's dominating attitude. In some ways, she felt guilty over it. She couldn't have guessed that the stuttering, nervous man that Inuyasha had been with her for the past few days could turn into this, and part of her felt shame at the fact that she was loving every second with someone that almost seemed like an entirely different person. Even his eyes had a darker, more dangerous gleam. Was that cheating? Could she even cheat on Inuyasha? It wasn't like they were going out. Hell, she was having sex with the guy without even knowing his last name, and she was doing it because it felt so right. No. Maybe right wasn't the best word. Bloody fucking good might have been more accurate.

Her musings were cut short when, in one swift movement, Inuyasha draped himself over her, angling his manhood so that it slid between her legs but not her dripping, wet entrance, and thrust. She felt his thick length rub against her clitoris, the large, mushroom head applying the sweetest pressure onto the bundle of nerves.

"Oh my god!" She cried out, the sudden yell muffled by the couch. There was no way Inuyasha was a virgin, she decided using the little brain power she had left. No one just knew how to do this.

"Just Inuyasha is fine," he answered arrogantly.

She would have smacked him for using such a cheesy line and for the astounding levels of cockiness in his voice had she been left the mind to. As it was, all she could manage were feverish whines as he slid in and out, using the ample moisture that slickened her thighs to glide the bulbous head of cock over the mass of nerves that threw her into a frenzy. She was acting all sorts of wanton and improper, she knew, but as he pumped his cock in between her thighs, she knew the Prime Minister of Japan could have walked in and that wouldn't have stopped them.

He could tell she was close by the way her breathing grew choppier and choppier. Kagome didn't do a very good job of hiding it either; she had never learned how to keep quiet as she felt her walls begin to clench onto themselves, and thanks to that, she was Inuyasha's perfect timer.

"P-please!" She begged in a breathy whisper, as the familiar throbbing inside of her grew stronger. She recognized the feeling that always came before she reached completion, the delicious tightening in his stomach and along with the incredible emptiness as her womanhood clamped down on itself as if desperately wanting something inside.

At her plea, Inuyasha knew she was ready. A lengthened fang slipped out, as he bit his lip to regain enough control to stop his thrusting. Focusing on her had been the only thing keeping him from giving in to his own pleasure, but now he needed every ounce of discipline he had.

"You want this?" He rubbed the tip of his erection against her pink slit, tightening his hold on her arms when she tried to push backwards. There would be none of that. He would allow her more control next time – and there would be a next time human, hanyou and youkai thought in unison – but this was his first time, and he was going to take her his way.

She nodded frantically, rubbing her cheek against the cloth of the couch.

"Then tell me." He demanded.

"Wha-?!" She spun her head to look up at him as much as she could in her position. What did he mean 'tell him?!' She was naked, dripping wet, and he had his erection pressed against her, so close to giving them both what they needed. What more did he want?

When he gave no response, she redoubled her struggle, but he firmly held her down, leaning forward to bring his mouth closer to her ears and slithering a hand to her clit at the same time. He moved his hand in a circular motion, taking turns lightly squeezing the hooded flesh and tracing his slick folds until she was back at the peak, offering her the chance to fall over it before removing his hand and pressing his erection against her as a reminder that he could relieve that empty ache.

"Inuyasha!" She whined, pressing back to try and take him in.

"Bitch," he snarled, refusing to give in no matter how she tried to entice him. But fuck he needed her to tell him what he wanted to hear soon or he wasn't sure how much longer he could take. "Tell me what you want, and I'll give it to you," he promised, softening his voice.

"Mmfgh!" She growled unimpressively against the cushions in frustration, though her growl melted into a breathy moan as he began to move his hand again. He brought her to the edge once again, watching with a pained growl of his own as she threw her head back and her toes curled in anticipation before he stopped, letting her fall back to earth. She let out a high-pitched whine from the back of her throat, trying to kick at him from beneath, but an inhuman strength had every part of her locked down.

When she ceased fighting him, Inuyasha brought up the hand that had been torturing her and gently brushed a few straggling hairs out of her face. "Smells good," he commented nonchalantly, the words somehow sending another wave of fire down to her belly. She tried to clench her thighs together to relieve the ache, but was promptly reminded of the iron locked grip he had on her, his own legs firmly spreading hers far apart. "Is it so hard, Kagome?" He asked almost comfortingly, stroking her cheek with his hand that still glistened with her fluids. "You got me to do whatever you wanted just by batting your eyelashes and asking – don't deny it," he spoke sternly, almost like a parent chastising his child before she could counter his claim. "Why can't you do this for me?"

Strangely, he had never been more in control of his youkai, and as he tried to coax her into giving in, Inuyasha pushed back the grip his youkai had on him, wanting to experience this for himself. He was so close to getting what he wanted, he could barely restrain himself, but part of him demanded this. He needed her to tell him that she wanted him to do this.

Kagome gave another futile tug at her arms and closed her eyes in defeat when she made no progress. "I…" She took a deep breath, flushing at the words that were about to come out of her mouth. "I need it…" She whispered.

"Sorry, I think you'll have to speak a little more clearly and be a bit more specific."

Kagome expelled an angry breath. "Stop teasing!" She demanded, though it really held no authority given her position.

"Trust me. I'm not the one being a tease," he spoke unrelentingly, wrapping another arm across her midsection so he could press her against his solid back. "I want to fuck you, but we're not going anywhere until you tell me what you want." He was the very image of a man in control, but on the inside, he was pleading for her to just give in. The ache below was almost too much to bear, and he had no idea how he had managed to keep from finishing at the feel of her wet lips rubbing the head of his erection.

"I already did!" She insisted, unable to keep the urgent whine from her voice. Why was he being so damn difficult!?

"No. You need to be more specific." He carefully moved the tip of his length back and forth, spreading the clear liquid around her lips, savoring his power over her at that moment with an arrogant grin.

"Fine," she ground out, practically sensing the smirk on his face. "I…want you inside me." If that wasn't specific enough for him, she…! Well, she didn't know what she would do, but it wouldn't be pleasant!

Okay, Inuyasha thought, she definitely sounded like she had been coerced into saying that, but he would do his damned best to make it up to her.

With a kiss to the back of her neck, he began to nudge inward, shutting his eyes as the bliss threatened to kill him.

Kagome had expected another one of his stupid replies, but found herself nearly melting when she heard the softest, most genuine "Thank you" whispered against her back. Leave it to Inuyasha to go from zero to sixty in three point five.

He said nothing more, and she soon found the reason he hadn't spoken when she felt him ever so slowly stretch her. As he pressed into her, inch by inch, they both found themselves at a loss for words.

Inuyasha had wanted to sit back up to take in the sight of his length disappearing into her, but he found himself collapsing onto her, unable to hold himself up and embarrassingly, unable to withhold a high-pitched whimper.

It felt like a sweet death, the most heavenly, delicious, unbelievable death. The kind that welcomed with open arms and called his name. He could feel her velvety warmth beckoning him, squeezing him so tightly he didn't think he could leave, not that he wanted to.

He held her still, both arms enveloping her, afraid that if she moved an inch, this would be over before it started. 'Breathe…fuck…breathe…' her repeated like a mantra in his head.

Kagome, for her part, wasn't sure she could move. She took deep breaths, her body shifting minutely to accommodate him. It might not have been her first time, but she was positive she had never taken anything so big. Thanking the heavens that he had given her time to adjust, she gently squeezed him and pressed back slightly when she felt the heady pleasure of being filled up returning.

"S-shit!" She heard a strangled curse from behind, and suddenly what felt like a thousand pounds of solid man fell on her back. Daring a look back, she came face to face with Inuyasha. Droplets of sweat covered his face, his normally silver hair falling limply against his forehead and cheeks, and she could feel his breathy pants against her neck. His eyes were closed or he might have seen the Cheshire grin that quickly spread across her face in realization.

Now was the time for some payback. Clearly, she had not been the only one adjusting. She clamped down on him, fighting her own moans as heat spread through her system from the action, but it was worth it to hear the Inuyasha's frenzied pleas.

"Shi…" He trailed off, eyes clenched tightly, unable to even curse properly. "K-Kagome, y-you gotta st-top that."

'Fuck, she doesn't know what she's doing to me.' He might have tried to play the one in control, but nothing could have prepared him for this feeling.

Kagome proved him wrong by clenching again, quietly giving thanks for kegels, and innocently asking, "What? You mean this?" Sure she knew that this might end things a bit early, but hearing him whimper in her ears was worth it.

He didn't even have the energy to respond, using every bit of focus he had on not blowing his load like a teenage boy as he felt her walls ripple and hug his manhood. "F-fuck," he stuttered out, heart thrumming violently in his chest from the effort. "K-kami, g-give me a sec."

'Think about…uh baseball, naked Kouga playing baseball!' He thought frantically, trying to calm himself. It might have worked had that image not turned into one of Kagome playing baseball, and then one of Kagome kneeling down, playing with his balls, a mischievous look in her eyes. 'Shiiiit…' His mind was a treacherous place to be.

Taking advantage of his slackened hold on her, she began to rock against him, shutting her own eyes when pleasurable shivers shot up and down her spine. "Why should I?" She asked, the slight tremor in her voice the only indication that she was half as lost as Inuyasha.

"I-I c-can't-t…" A torrid groan cut him off. "Sh-shit, bitch!" Mustering the strength and determination he had left, he grabbed onto her hips, effectively immobilizing her. However, he had been driven to the brink by her torture and couldn't prevent his hips from thrusting forward, his own body threatening to ruin him in seconds.

At his unexpected action, Kagome arched her back, letting out an overwhelmed cry. How was he supposed to deny that?

Using his superhuman strength, he pounded into her, pushing her chest to the couch again to bury himself in her as deeply as physically possible. He was determined to bring her to completion before he allowed it to himself, and watched with a sort of agonizing relief as her moans grew louder and louder.

He sped up with an almost angry determination. Finally, he heard her give a shout to the cushions and felt her body convulse around his, his eyes rolling into the back of his head at the nearly irresistible temptation to release. With control he didn't know he possessed, he staved off the urge.

He collapsed against Kagome, who was taking much needed breaths to fill her asphyxiated lungs, sensuously rolling his pelvis against hers as she came down to earth. Now that he had satisfied her once, he could finally allow himself to release, he thought with relief. At least that's what he thought until the most unwelcome sound in the world interrupted.

His eyes shot up to the source of the sound disbelievingly. "God-fucking-damn-it!" The enraged curse startled Kagome out of her satisfied haze and she reared back – well, as much as she could with Inuyasha behind her – to look where his eyes landed.

She saw the familiar flashing green light before the sound of the ringing registered.

The word "Home" glowed in the shadow on her digital phone. It was her mother! 'Oh my god! I haven't spoken to her in four days!' She remembered, the panic kicking in once the haze of her orgasm began to clear.

"NO," Inuyasha growled out, answering her question before she even thought it. He gave a short, powerful thrust as if to remind her of the more urgent problem at hand, and Kagome felt every bit of force behind that reminder, throwing her head back as another wave of pleasure rushed through her.

"I-Inuyasha! I have to…" She groaned out, not wanting to stop either, but the incessant ringing brought her back to reality. "I-it's my mom."

He couldn't have cared less if it were the Holy Buddha himself. "No. Not until we finish," he ground out firmly. Sure, he knew it was selfish, but he refused to give her up. This had been the most perfect night of his entire life, so far (okay, minus the whole Kagome was injured and coming back from the hospital thing) and he would be damned if it ended with having to finish himself off in the shower.

"P-please! She's probably worried sick about me," she begged, though she couldn't stop her hips from meeting his. "I'll come back after I tell her I'm okay," she promised. "It'll just be a second."

Inuyasha knew better. No doubt her mother would demand to know what had happened in the past few days, and who knew how long that would take? And if Kagome wasn't in the mood anymore…No, he couldn't take that chance.

Kagome had begun to push herself up, assuming he had agreed to let her go, when he pushed her chest back down against her folded knees, dug an arm under her shins and lifted her up without disconnecting them for a moment. He sat back and raised her from the couch as he stood.

She let out a startled squeak at the movement, feeling like she was being packed away for a suitcase with the way his one arm clamped tightly around her legs. Using her arms to pivot and look at him, she demanded, "What the hell are you doing?!"

"Letting you pick up the phone," he explained simply. Stunned speechless, Kagome looked down at his arm, blushing fiercely when she saw where they were joined. It was mortifying, and yet she couldn't look away from the visual of his thickness sunk into her, another rush of arousal flooding through her. What was wrong with her?! Shaking her head to clear those thoughts, Kagome looked back up, ready to spin around and give Inuyasha a piece of her mind, when she came face to face with her phone.

"Well?" Inuyasha asked impatiently.

"What do you mean, 'Well'?!" She demanded, trying to squirm out of his grip enough to kick his arm off, but somehow he managed to hold her down with the force of what felt like three tons of arm muscle. "Inuyasha, let me go!"

"The phone's gonna stop ringing soon," he reminded, ignoring her struggle entirely. That horrid phone call might not have been the worst thing to happen that night as it at least gave him the distraction and time to pull himself back to earth.

"Y-You ca-n't mean…!" She exclaimed in shock. She used her arms in a wasted effort to push herself out of his arms, but all he did was lock his other arm over her flailing limbs and bite her neck in warning.

"It's this or I take us straight back," he said unyieldingly. All it took was one look in his eyes for Kagome to realize that she would have an easier time breaking Newton's laws of motion than getting Inuyasha to let her go, and…he was right…the phone had been ringing a while.

With a shaky breath, she reached for the phone, half of her hoping her caller had already hung up so she wouldn't have to do this.

A stern nip at her neck had her hand stilling.

"Just don't take too long or…" Using his leverage, Inuyasha let himself slip out and drove his erection back into her, snickering amusedly at her gasp.

Nodding obediently, she finally lifted the phone out of its receiver and brought it to her ear.

"Hello?"

"Kagome?!" Her mother's voice blasted out of the phone. "It's actually you! Oh my heavens, you're okay! Do you know how worried I've been?!"

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Mama." She apologized hastily, recognizing the panic in her mother's voice and feeling the worst sense of guilt over causing it. "I promise I'm fine. I'm actually…busy right now, and I'll explain everything later tonight."

"What do you mean later tonight?! Kagome, I haven't heard from you in four days. And then I get a call from some woman that says you're fine! She said you were at the hospital!" Kagome lifted the earpiece a few inches away from her ears, the sound threatening to blow out her eardrums.

"I'm sorry, Mama, I can expl – "

Without missing a beat, her mother continued ranting as if Kagome had never spoken. "I looked up the hospital she told me, you know! Well, fine. I had Souta look it up, and there is no such place! So I called that receptionist from the clinic and she said you hadn't been in to work and that you hadn't even called! I went to your apartment to find you and you didn't show up all day. Kagome, I thought you were dead! I am not waiting for you to explain this – this…craziness! Young lady, you explain NOW!" Kagome could hear the angry panting through the phone and shied away, feeling like a child again as her mother lectured her. She hadn't been called "young lady" since she was a teenager, she thought with a cringe.

She shot Inuyasha a pleading look and covered the mouth piece. "Inuyasha, please, I have to talk to her."

Giving her a stern look with his piercing eyes, he shook his head no. She clenched her teeth angrily and put the phone back to her ears.

"Mama, it's a really long story, and I promise I'm fine now, so – "

"What do you mean you're fine now?! What happened?!"

'Crap!'

"Uh…I-I mean that it's all okay and it's been a rough few days but I'll call you back later and explain," she pleaded with her mom, knowing that Inuyasha would be growing impatient.

"You were always the responsible one growing up, Kagome. I don't know what's gotten into you now…"

Kagome sent Inuyasha a glare at his stifled snicker. How dare he find this funny?!

"…I just want to know what happened to my daughter these past few days. I've been worried sick," her mother begged. Kagome felt a new rush of guilt at the concern in her mother's voice. It wasn't fair to do this to her. She'd already worried enough the past few days, and to force her mother to wait even longer?

Giving Inuyasha an apologetic look that she prayed with all her might he would accept, she started to explain the highly condensed version of the past few days. "I – just – I got into an…accident and I've been at the hospital for the past few days."

Her impossibly stubborn lover was having none of that. With his free arm, he began to knead one of her breasts, and started to thrust into her, cautioning her about what was to come.

Kagome slammed her hand against the mouth of the phone, his rocking rekindle the fire in her belly. "I-Inuyasha, no!" She nearly yelled, though her words had less heat considering she had practically moaned them out. The position he held her him let him hit something deliciously carnal, and she collapsed against the wall when he moved the hand that had been at her breast to rub the highly sensitive nub between her legs. How he managed to do this while holding her up was a mystery; she couldn't think of anything beyond the sound of blood rushing in her ears and the intense desire to curl up and just let him have his way with her.

"…Kagome? Are you there? You better not have hung up on me, missus."

Her mother's voice reached her ears and Kagome realized that in bracing her hands against the wall, she had taken her hand off the speaker of the handset. 'Oh my god, I hope she didn't hear anything.' Lifting the handset back to her ears, she apologized shakily, desperately trying to ignore the jolts of pleasure from Inuyasha's ministrations.

"U-uh…s-sorry, Mamaaa!" Her apology ended with an extended exclamation when Inuyasha gave a particularly hard thrust. She bit her lip harshly in an attempt to choke down a moan.

Inuyasha mouthed something to her that she couldn't understand, though she was sure her inability to focus had nothing to do with the way his hand and thrusts quickened.

This time, there was silence on the other end of the phone.

"Kagome, is something going on over there?"

"I-it's…ahhh…it's n-nothing," she stuttered out, eyes closing under the pressure building up inside her.

As if punishing Kagome for daring to call what they were doing 'nothing,' Inuyasha growled and began to rapidly quicken his pace, clamping down even harder on her legs so he had better control as she drove into her body at an inhuman pace. He could feel her reaching her second release, and he knew his was fast approaching, and began to rapidly massage her clitoris to hasten her climax.

In a rather un-Kagome display, Kagome decided 'to hell with it all' and slammed the phone against the wall, uncaring of what her mother might hear on the other end. She bent forward, though Inuyasha's arm didn't allow for much movement, and looked down at where they were joined, the perverted part of her brain deriving a sick joy at seeing his thick girth slide in and out of her spread legs, her breasts bouncing against his forearm.

"Ahhh…" She moaned uncontrollably as her first orgasm hit her out of nowhere, rolling through her in wave after wave after wave as Inuyasha kept up the ferocity of his pounding. "Kami!" She thought she had gone blind until colors began to bounce under her lids from the sheer sinful exhaustion of coming repeatedly, when she finally heard Inuyasha let out a shout behind her and felt his hot liquid spurting into her for what felt like minutes. He curled himself around her, keeping her from moving even an inch as he came into her, his own body shaking as his release did its damage.

For what felt like an eternity, there was no sound on either end.

"…Just…call me back later, Kagome."

Then the dial tone. Then quiet.

Kagome heard a wild laugh break the silence. It took a second to realize that it had come from her. Had she really just done that? Her? Kagome Higurashi of the Higurashi Shrine? Had sex with a man with her mother on the phone? She let out another delighted laugh for a reason she couldn't describe.

All it took was the sound of heavy panting on her back to answer that question. Inuyasha hadn't seemed to have noticed her temporary lapse in sanity, still letting tiny, helpless whimpers out.

She realized that he had loosened his arms wrap around her legs and slowly pushed her legs to stand when her legs gave out before they even reached the ground.

"Woah!" She cried out dizzily as the sudden rush of blood to her legs left her head deeply deprived of oxygen, using the wall as her support.

That seemed to be the cue Inuyasha needed to wake up to the living again as he hurriedly leaned forward to catch her, though his own legs proved equally unreliable and he ended up clumsily crushing them both against the wall as they bent under the weight.

"Mmff," he grunted out, struggling to push them up. However, with his strength gone, Kagome slid off him quite easily, watching with some displeasure as his seed dripped down to her carpet floor.

'Craaaap,' she whined. 'I hope that doesn't stain.'

Suddenly, it hit her why it was dripping from her legs to begin with.

"Inuyasha!" She yelled in panic, shaking him from his euphoric haze. "We didn't use a condom!"

To her confusion and disbelief, Inuyasha visibly relaxed. "Oh, um…I know."

Before he could explain, she shrieked, "What do you mean!? What about STDs! Or…" She paled a ghostly white. "Oh my god…I could get pregnant…" She combed a shaky hand through her hair at the thought. Oddly, it wasn't the thought of being pregnant itself so much as the unexpectedness that terrified her, but she would dwell on that later.

"W-wait! Let me explain," Inuyasha said as soothingly as he could. He rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, realizing that maybe he should have covered some of this with her before he literally just dove right in. "I…uh…I've never, you know…done…this before…so…you know…I don't have anything…And I wouldn't contract anything from you because…err…your illnesses don't really affect me." At the skeptical and perplexed look in her eyes, he sighed. "I'll explain later, alright?" He figured he owed her that much, considering what she had just let him share with her. "And you're not in heat," he stated bluntly. "Not in…estrus…not fertile?" He tried, realizing that maybe his terminology wasn't quite the same as hers. "Whatever that word is for when human women can get pupped."

He wasn't even bothering to hide the strange way he talked anymore, Kagome noticed. 'Human women? Pupped?' She opened her mouth to ask all the questions that had accumulated when he raised a hand to stop her.

"I promise I'll answer whatever you want later, but can we just…" He paused, trying to convey that he just wanted to hold her and lie down, acutely aware of the fact that he was nowhere near good enough for her now that he wasn't under the very powerful spell called horniness. For all he knew, this could be a one time thing, and while he would spend the rest of his life grateful for it, a sharp pang ran through his chest at the thought. If that was the case, did that mean this was it? He felt like a prisoner in his own mind, trying to come up with a way to say he wanted to cuddle her for his last supper. …Damn, it sounded pathetic even in his head. He sighed exhaustedly, not wanting to deal with the depressing thoughts at the moment.

"…just lie down?" Kagome guessed, sensing that something unpleasant was happening in his head, though his intentions were clear by the way he looked longingly at the bed. When his eyes shot up to hers in surprise and an unmistakable happiness, she gave him a small smile. "Sure."

Now wasn't the time to look a gift horse in the mouth. He wrapped his arms around her and placed her gently on the bed – he wouldn't let her walk to her bed even if she could – when she raised a hand to stop him before he could join her.

"Wait. On three conditions."

"Uh…okay!" He tried not to sound so eager, but…he failed.

"One, you have to take your shirt off." It was off before she could even finish the sentence, and Kagome had to refrain from giggling at his earnest willingness. He might not have taken it well if he took off his shirt and she laughed. Clearing her throat to clear out the stifled giggle, she gave her second condition. "Two, you have to meet my mother…eventually."

He froze at that condition. "What?" He asked meekly.

"There's no way I am explaining what just happened on my own," she stated matter-of-factly.

This time, it was Inuyasha's turn to turn ghostly. Her mother's first impression of him would be…that she heard him have sex with her daughter over the phone. That had to be the worst start with her mother that he could possibly have given himself. Hadn't he just berated himself earlier to think things through? Though, he conceded, he would have never gotten his far with Kagome if he had.

With a hesitant breath, he nodded. "S-sure…" He gulped nervously at what he had just agreed to, not trusting his own vocal chords, and prayed the final condition wouldn't be as daunting.

"Third, next time…I get to be on top," she presented, a devious smirk on her face.

He didn't understand what that meant for a moment. 'Huh?' It clicked. "Holy shit…Does that mean…?' He had to fight a whoop of joy at her last condition, yelling out a yes and practically leaping onto the bed to join her. He wrapped an arm around her to pull her close and drew the blanket up to cover them, feeling as if his chest was going to explode from all the emotion building up.

Perhaps this was all a dream. In that case, he hoped he never woke.

Kagome giggled at his reaction, allowing herself to snuggle into his chest. For once, she couldn't care at all that by most measures, she barely knew Inuyasha. They were doing nothing wrong, and this felt like the most right thing she had done in a long time.

She closed her eyes, the sleepiness starting to kick in, when Inuyasha roused her.

"Hey…Kagome?"

"Mmmm…?" She mumbled out lazily.

With her head against his chest, she felt the nervous gulp and look up at him questioningly.

"I…uh…was thinking." He started off, unable to make eye contact, as he tried to find the best way to ask. "Do you…I don't know…want to…do something with me…sometime? Like…umm maybe a…date? You don't have to, of course!" He stammered out, wishing with all his life that he had the self-assurance and cockiness from a few minutes ago.

Thankfully, Kagome seemed to find it endearing, and gave him a smile that threw his heart into a frenzy – which, of course, she probably heard. "Of course. We'll come up with something. And don't forget, I do intend of making you answer every last question I have," she warned, though it sounded more sleepy than threatening. When she heard his affirmative, she dropped her head down to his chest again, letting the rhythm of his breathing lull her to sleep.

Inuyasha, however, couldn't have fallen asleep even if he wanted. The post-orgasmic exhaustion was all but gone after everything that had just happened.

If someone had told him in the morning that he would get to have sex with Kagome Higurashi that evening, he would have punched him for raising his hopes and then asked him where to make the next turn.

Turned out, however, he didn't need a fortuneteller, Inuyasha thought with a genuinely happy grin as he held the naked, satisfied woman tighter.

And given what she was saying about meeting her mother 'and being on top' he thought gleefully, things were looking up for him. With a shit-eating grin, he thought, 'Fuck yeah! I can't wait to do this again!'

His grin disappeared when he remembered something dreadful. 'Damn it! I still have to do that paper work!'

Meanwhile, Higurashi Household

With a shake of her head, Kagome's mother set the phone back on its receiver as if in a daze. She wasn't sure if she wanted to smile or frown at what had just happened. She hadn't heard from Kagome for days, minus some cranky woman contacting her to let her know that Kagome was fine – which naturally only made her worry more – and after getting the truth out of Souta yesterday about his stunt with Craigslist (grounding Souta for life was now added to her agenda), she had been sick with worry. Clearly, given the sound of Kagome's…activities…of which she had been on the unfortunate receiving end, her concern was misplaced.

Letting out a resignation, she picked up her grocery bags and began to put away the various items.

'Really, I'm glad Kagome's loosening up, but couldn't they have waited until after she had hung up?' She thought with a huff. Hearing her daughter have sex over the phone had not been on her bucket list.

'Well, at least we'll have something interesting to talk about this weekend.'


Author's Note:

* Technically, according to the timeline of the story they met two days before, but since they were both knocked out the entire time, both Kagome and Inuyasha don't realize that it's been an additional day since then.

** I am no doctor, and so I have no idea when doctors are actually supposed to do this. For the record, I did try to do some research about this, but figured 1) that most of you wouldn't care enough to notice and 2) that it didn't detract much from my story if I were wrong about this.

Whew! This was a monster of a chapter to write, and I can't believe it's been a whole year :O (Losiento!)! School and my studies have consumed my life, and I just haven't had the time to write L. As you might have noticed, however, this chapter is significantly longer the other two combined , so perhaps that makes up for the long wait just a bit!

That being said, I apologize if some parts feel forced. I wasn't always in a writing mood when I had time but I did the best I could :/ (then, of course, I have my most prolific writing session in nearly a year, and it doesn't get saved. I have the best luck ever!). I tried to make sure I covered most things, but sorry if I missed something as I ended up losing 3-4 thousand words and I was too lazy to try and recreate it perfectly. As a result, there are bound to be parts that just don't seem to flow entirely logically (e.g. Kagome probably should have done _ but she didn't). Again, losiento.

I really didn't want to go back and proofread (carefully, at least), so there may be some grammatical and spelling mistakes. Feel free to point them out in a review if you catch one that particularly bothers you, and I will try to fix it and re-upload if I can. And at the risk of sounding awkward, please leave some feedback on what you all thought of the lemon if you feel so inclined. It's the longest one I've written so far (as it's the first consensual one), and I feel like I'm a terrible judge of my own writing when it comes to this stuff. Regardless of all this, I hope that you are well and that you enjoyed this chapter!

The next and last chapter would largely be a "tie-the-loose-ends" chapter. I had originally intended to put their date and the lemon in this final chapter, but I figured I had kept you all waiting for so long that (especially if it takes me for-fucking-ever to get the next chapter up) that would be unnecessary. Anyway, since I hit on the major plot points I wanted to this chapter, let me know if there's any interest in a final chapter (more like an epilogue really) at all, because if not, I'll spend that time working on other things (since I don't feel a huge need for an epilogue). You people that actually read dreadfully long author's notes will be the deciding votes! For now, though, I'm marking this story complete.

On a quick sidenote: I will be putting up a poll on my account with a few story summaries I've been wanting to write/post for a while (some of which I have already started). I'm not going to do any work on these stories until I get the next chapter of one of my existing stories up, but I like having a few projects to work on at a time as my muse is fickle and restless. Anyway, check out my profile in the next few days if you're interested in voting and read the note to get more info!