*Chapter 2*

A/N – No Lemon – It just wasn't feeling right for this story somehow

The kiss was horrible.

It had nothing to do with Hojo's technique, his breath actually smelled pretty good, he wasn't sloppy and to give him credit, his hand stayed under her chin the entire time.

But he wasn't Inuyasha. He didn't make her heart race or her knees weak. He didn't take her spirit soaring until she felt as if she would never come back to reality.

Kagome tried, she really did. Upon realizing that Hojo would only go as far as she lead, she slowly wrapped her arms around his neck and drew him in closer, deepening the kiss. With a murmur of surprise, he did as she silently commanded, his arms sliding around her waist. Kagome tilted her head to allow him better access and as she did so, she thought she heard a feral growl coming from behind her.

With a gasp, she broke the kiss and ran to the window, pushing open the glass and peering out into the darkness outside.

'Inuyasha?' she called out, straining both her eyes and ears for a sign of a red robe or silver hair. She scanned the surrounding area almost feverishly; completely unaware that Hojo had drawn near until she felt his hands on her shoulders. She stiffened and explained, 'I heard a growl….I-I thought it might have been a stray d-dog…..'

'Like that one?' Hojo asked gently, pointing to a dark figure that slipped briefly into the pool of light that the open window threw into the garden. The animal in question paused briefly to look at the couple and growled at them before running off into the night.

Kagome's shoulders slumped and tears threatened her vision. 'Y-yea….I guess so.' Her voice cracked on the last word.

Ever so gently, Hojo turned her around to face him. Kagome averted her eyes but he placed a hand on her cheek and made her look directly at him. Brown eyes met brown eyes and he smiled sadly as a tear escaped, running down her cheek.

Drawing her away from the window, he pulled it closed and guided her to the sofa. There they sat in silence for a few minutes, each lost in their own world. Hojo broke the quiet first.

'I never really stood a chance, did I Kagome?'

Startled, her eyes once more flew up to meet his. He took her hands in his and continued, his voice barely above a whisper, 'You're in love with him, aren't you? This Inuyasha?'

Kagome wanted to deny it….she wanted to scream out that no, she didn't love him, that her heart was free to make a future with Hojo, that she wanted HOJO not Inuyasha but when she opened her mouth, the words couldn't get past the lump in her throat. She bowed her head, her long, glossy hair falling like a curtain of silk to obscure her features.

'Yes, I do,' she replied in a small voice, 'but he doesn't love me in return. I'm sorry Hojo….it was wrong of me to lead you on like that. You're such a wonderful person and you've been nothing short of incredible to me but…'

'Shhhhhh…..' Hojo placed a finger on her lips cutting off her apologies. 'It's okay, Kagome. We can't force others to love us. I can't force you to love me and I know that if you were to be with me, I'd want it to be wholly and without the shadow of another man in your eyes and heart.' He leaned in one last time and gave her a lingering kiss, one that said goodbye more clearly than words ever could have. 'I can see myself out,' he smiled after pulling away from her. 'See you soon Kagome.'

'Goodbye, Hojo,' Kagome replied softly.

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After locking the doors and turning off the lights in the house, Kagome wearily trudged up the stairs to the bathroom. There, she listlessly stripped off the clothes that she had on for the entire day and ran a hot shower. She stayed under the pounding spray until her skin started to prune, then she quickly washed her hair and rinsed the soap off her body. Stepping out of the shower, she toweled her skin dry and rubbed the excess water off her hair, before slipping on her favourite robe – an incredibly feminine pink garment that shimmered whenever she moved and molded to her body like a second skin.

She paused on the way out of the door and wiped the steam off the bathroom mirror to gaze at her reflection. Wide, haunted chocolate brown eyes framed with thick, long lashes, stared back at her from a heart shaped face that was too pale by far. Even the flush put on her cheeks by the heat of the water in the shower couldn't detract from that. Her lips were pink and swollen slightly from Hojo's kisses and tears once more blurred her vision as the traitorous thought that it should have been Inuyasha's kisses flitted through her mind.

Angrily, she dashed the tears away and stormed into her bedroom declaring to the house at large, 'I do NOT want Inuyasha! He's rude and uncivilized and doesn't give a damn about me and I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT HIM EITH-'

Her stunned gaze took in the sight of flashing golden eyes and silver hair blowing in the breeze caused by her open bedroom window. That's when she panicked.

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'Inuyasha! OUSW-Mmmpphhh!' Kagome's voice was abruptly cut off by a clawed hand being placed over her mouth.

'Don't even fucking THINK about it bitch,' a low voice hissed in her ear. The silver haired hanyou narrowed his eyes at her and continued, 'If you don't want me to gag you for the rest of the night, I want you to give me your solemn promise that when I remove my hand, you will not use that fucking command and that we can fucking talk about why it is that you've gone fucking crazy on me without you fucking 'ouswari-ing' me into the fucking ninth circle of fucking hell.'

'Eeeep!' Kagome thought. Normally Inuyasha would yell at her and rant and rave, but this reaction from him, quiet and yes, deadly, had goosebumps rising on the back of her neck. 'Maybe things have gone a little too far this time….'

She nodded in compliance and he slowly removed his hand. She sighed and rubbed her temple, feeling the start of a headache. 'Why are you here, Inuyasha?'

'You left,' he snarled. 'You left without a word to myself or anyone else. Do you know the hell that you put us through Kagome? Or were you so much in a hurry to run back to your lover boy here that you couldn't wait another minute?'

'I left a note,' she protested. 'I stuck it up on the tree.'

'Ah yes,' he sneered, 'your note. The note that blew away in the wind. The note that IF we had found would have saved us four hours of frantically searching for you in the pouring rain that began not long after your departure. The note that would have saved Shippo from having what I think you would call a complete breakdown. The note that was so drenched by the time I found it caught in a shrub, that it was a miracle that I was able to even read the words 'home' and 'Kagome'' Inuyasha's eyes were flashing with rage at this point, all hints of the brown flecks swallowed up by the intense gold but his voice never raised above that low, throaty growl. 'I could fucking kill you for this Kagome,'

It was as if that last sentence broke the dam that had been containing her flood of emotions.

'Then why don't you?' she cried. 'Why don't you kill me and move on with your life, Inuyasha?' Her trembling fingers undid the belt of her robe and she let the garment gape open, uncaring of the stunned expression in the half-demon's eyes. 'Here's my heart…one slash from your claws should rip it out….go ahead…I dare you.'

'Kagome, what the hell is wrong with you?' Inuyasha shot back, more shocked than he'd ever been in life. He grabbed her shoulders and gave her a shake. 'What are you trying to do to us?'

'US?' she scoffed, 'US? There is no 'us'. No Inuyasha and Kagome….there never has and never will be….it's always been Inuyasha and Kikyou….and so it will remain.'

'Kikyou?' Inuyasha cocked his head to the side and gave her a long, considering stare. 'Is this because of Kikyou?'

'Who else?' she replied bitterly. She chose that moment to look down at her feet and as a result, missed the slight smile that curled the corners of his lips and the softening of his gaze.

'You stupid wench,' he murmured. Her body stiffened in outrage as she heard his comment and she threw back her head, ready to deliver a blistering retort.

It never came.

Inuyasha captured her lips in a heated kiss that instantly caused her knees to buckle. Desperately, she grabbed at the front of his robe and heard him chuckle as his strong arms encircled her back, only to be buried in the still damp waves of hair falling down to her waist. Still kissing her, he took two steps forward until her back was against the bedroom wall and he was pressed flush against her. Over and over, his lips claimed hers, tongues tangling, until she was breathless. Ever so slowly, and far too soon, he broke the kiss, nipping at her bottom lip and then placing his hands on either side of the wall, framing her face, so that she was effectively trapped.

Kagome's eyes fluttered open, the rich depths hazy with desire. She had no idea how she looked to the man staring down at her, with her flushed skin, dreamy eyes, tousled curls and kiss swollen lips. And her SCENT….he felt his own knees weaken a bit as the scent of her shampoo and clean skin mixed with her arousal, surrounded him. With a groan, he leaned his forehead against hers.

'Gods, Kagome,' he breathed. 'What are you doing to me?'

She looked up at him, desire fading as she recalled that he was still in love with someone else. Futilely, she pushed at his chest. 'Let me go Inuyasha. Just please, let me go,' she pleaded.

'Never.' He raised his forehead, his eyes glittering with a feverish emotion that she could not identify. 'You are mine. You will always be mine. Haven't you figured that out by now, you little twit? I live for you, I breathe for you. You are the person that I've sworn to protect, even if it costs me my life. What more must I do, Kagome? What more do you want from me?'

'But Kikyou,' she began hesitantly.

'Is part of my life…..part of my PAST. I have an obligation to her and I promised to fulfill it. I owe her that much at least. But YOU,' he kissed her forehead, before once more placing his own upon hers. 'YOU, Kagome, are my FUTURE. You are the one I want to wake up to every morning, it's you who I see when I picture myself ten, twenty, a hundred years from now. You are the person who accepted me for who I am, who put total faith and trust in me, who brought friendship, laughter and love into my life…a life that was so dark and lonely. How could I not love you, Kagome?'

Kagome felt as if a burden had been lifted from her soul. She looked into his beloved face and gave him a dazzling smile as she tiptoed to give him a long, lingering kiss that had them both breathing hard. 'I love you so much, it scares me sometimes,' she whispered.

Inuyasha held her close, his heart pounding as he thought about just how easy it could have been to lose her. Then in the distance, a dog barked and he remembered something he had witnessed earlier on.

'WENCH!' He roared.

Kagome jumped, startled. 'What now?' she asked bewildered.

'You KISSED that-that…..spineless weakling from your school!' he yelled, his face turning a fine shade of red in fury.

'It didn't mean anything, Inuyasha. I was trying to see if I could forget you and move on,' she explained. Seeing that his ire increased even more with that statement, she hurried on, 'but he left me cold. One touch of your lips, a simple caress from your hands, set me afire more than he could ever do in a million years. I was missing you the entire time.'

Inuyasha managed to clamp down on his temper as she spoke and when she finished, he swallowed his pride and anger that demanded he hunt down the male who had the audacity to lay hands on his mate and tear him into shreds. Instead, he allowed her to lead him to her bed, where he pulled her into a tight embrace and listened to the soothing sound of her heartbeat. Soon, the events of the day began to take a toll on the couple and exhaustion set in, causing Kagome to yawn widely and Inuyasha to grin as he pulled the comforter over them both.

Before sleep claimed him however, he remembered one final thing he had to say to her. 'Kagome?' he drawled, his mouth brushing her ear and making her shiver.

'Mmmmmmmm?' she replied, barely awake enough to form a coherent reply.

'If I ever see or smell that Homo classmate around you again, I'll rip his face off and feed it to him k?'

'It's HOJO, you jackass…..!'

THE END