Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters from the manga/anime. They belong to Rumiko Takahashi.

A/N: This fanfic is set after the events of InuYasha's second movie, "Castle Beyond the Looking Glass". I acknowledge that the movie isn't part of Rumiko Takahashi, but I enjoyed the plot and wanted to explore some of the aspects developed in it. I hope you like it!

[Edited on January 25th]


Rest and Reflection
by Kanketsu-Hen

Once again he betrayed himself, frowning as the heat touched his cheeks, exposing his feelings towards her. He crossed his arms over his chest, gaining that stiff and emotionless look that so many times was necessary to him, whether to deal with youkai or people. For a few minutes, he faced only the pink fabric he was sitting on, and tried not to react too obviously to that place filled with her sweet scent.

It was an unusual hot evening, and after a bath, Kagome had changed from the dirty and tore school uniform to a light strapless dress, that danced freely around her body as she walked from the window to stand right in front of him. Her wounded arms, now properly bandaged, were holding a discouraged Buyo, that only reacted when InuYasha growled, jumping through the half-opened door.

"What did you do that for?" Kagome asked, not a single bit of anger in her voice. InuYasha looked at her and his ears flicked as he stated one more time that she looked beautiful in that stupid dress.

"Neko's too dumb. It'd eventually scratch your arms and I'd have to kill it," he was pleased at the short giggle she gave, and took a deep breath, anticipating her reaction to what he was going to say next. "Kagome, about what happened today, I..."

"Keep talking and I'll say that word," realizing where his speech was heading to, she said in a threatening but playful way that only made him more nervous. He stood up in front of her, their faces the closest they had been since the moment they shared that kiss earlier.

Their first kiss, under so dangerous circumstances, was the only thing that reversed his transformation into a full youkai and saved him from having his human heart eternally caged in Kaguya's mirror. He probably would have become her special slave, assuming she could control him, and end up brutally killing his companions.

"You should take off your jacket. It's too hot," her words broke his unpleasant line of thought. He raised an eyebrow and shook his head, deciding he would take off his jacket after he said what he wanted.

"Baka," he began, slipping his hands into his sleeves and leaning forward, his forehead now touching hers. He could sense the change in her as he approached, her eyes hesitant, trying not to reveal her expectations, and her heart sending more blood to her cheeks than she approved of. He hadn't realized how much he enjoyed seeing her that way: almost as stubborn as him, but so gracious he actually forgot about his own blushed face and traitor eyes. "I'm trying to apologize."

She recovered from his move faster than he expected, and, resting her hands on his arms for support, tip-toed and made a grumpy, very InuYasha-like face. That made him uncomfortable and amazed at the same time. "You've done that quite enough already. Let it go."

In a quick move, he slid his arms off his sleeves and wrapped them around Kagome's waist, holding her up.

"I can't," after losing their support, her arms were now around his neck, her hands gently playing with a silver strand. She patiently waited for him to find the words, and her heart ached at the sight of his saddened amber eyes. "Because I'm still mad at myself."

Sighing, she pulled away from his embrace and sat on the bed, tugging on his jacked for him to sit down, and take it off.

InuYasha scolded himself for his moment of honesty, and sat next to Kagome, slovenly folding his fire rat jacket and resting it by his side. "Happy?" His grumpiness didn't last long, and he watched Kagome get that concerned look he had seen so many times. She laid her hand upon his.

"I told you this on our way back. Kaguya was the one to blame, not you. She convinced Kagura and Kanna to take part in her sick plan and they accepted. We fought, you fought, and things ended up well," the hanyou looked in disbelief at her direction, it seemed like he was avoiding eye contact, and she felt the need to add: "Better than they could have. Don't you agree?"

"Keh. You still got hurt. I hurt you," he said, painfully.

"You didn't intend to hurt me. Or did you?"

"Of course not!" He snapped, visibly offended, until he realized what her goal was. Her smile was just as warm as her small, delicate hand on his.

"So, it doesn't matter. It's not your fault. I will only get hurt if you actually intend to hurt me," InuYasha wasn't really sure of how to respond, but he felt like he should say something, anything. He opened his mouth, expecting something brilliant to come out of it like a miracle, but she raised her hand indicating that he should remain in silence. No more objections.

Kagome looked down on her bandages with an exaggerated disdain. "These little wounds will heal sooner than you expect, and we'll go back to Sengoku Jidai to finish this mission together. I won't leave you, whether you're hanyou, full-human or full-youkai. That doesn't matter to me." her voice grew slightly louder and then dropped as she gained a more serious look, almost frowning, but that quickly turned into a crooked and playful smile, as she concluded: "And if you don't accept this, you're just a baka."

"Keh. You're the baka," he said, still looking at their hands. "You know it won't get any easier from now on, Kagome. That bastard Naraku is still out there. We'll meet a bunch of other crazy people who will try to kill us. And if this happens again, with or without a spell..."

"We'll fight our way through it, just like we did today. And if anyone tries to hurt me, I know you'll protect me. And I'll try my best to do the same for you," she interrupted the hanyou, and right now he could only nod, realizing he didn't have the strength to convince her to be away from him.

They spent some time in silence. InuYasha looked through the window, realizing how tired he was from that day. Maybe it was the fight against Kaguya, the even harder fight against himself, or the amount of time he spent beating himself up for being the one who had harmed Kagome. But something about her scent and soft hand now rested upon the tension spot in his shoulder made him finally start to relax.

He was beginning to accept her words, as if until now they had only been hovering over him, trying to get in, but blocked by his fear and uncertainty. And as the weight of everything that happened fell upon him, and she remained there, loving, warm and caring, he gave up on fighting.

He stared working on his muscles and breathing to relax more. He moved her hand out of his shoulder and held it in the air, and finally turned to face her. His heart skipped a beat at the look of those dazzling blue eyes, and started beating like crazy right after.

The air turned warmer and heavier as a million thoughts ran through his mind – thoughts he was used to suppress, either for confusion or in order to avoid distractions. He thought about how much he cared about her, and how brave and stupid she was for risking herself again to save him, instead of running back to this weird but much safer world, leaving this disturbed hanyou to his fate and horrible choices.

He remembered how good it felt to kiss her, even if for a brief moment, and pull her body closer to him, as if trying to protect her from the monster he himself had become minutes earlier. He gritted his teeth at that memory, and Kagome, realizing he had tensed up again, freed her hand from his and reached for his face, brushing it with her thumbs and giving the boy a reassuring smile.

Tilting his head a little, InuYasha gladly accepted her caress, frowning sometimes as he realized how much he was enjoying it. He was bravely facing her, determined to beat the flush in his own face and still fast-beating heart. But, after a little while of inner and pointless struggle, he gave up again.

Wrapping his arms around her waist, and avoiding touching her arms, he gently pulled her body against his. Kagome rested her head on his shoulder, and randomly ran her fingers through his kosode and neck, unintentionally making him shiver.

InuYasha could still feel the taste of her lips against his, and the persevering desire to claim them again, properly. That scene once again flashed through his mind. An act of bravery. A desperate kiss, holding a magic he couldn't completely figure out, but was certainly thankful for.

He silently mocked himself for becoming so emotional over that girl with such strange and tempting clothes, and a personality that strongly affected every part of him. His breath of fresh air after a fight, and the one he was willing to postpone his long-term plan for. Or, and a thought he couldn't even reveal to himself at the moment, completely give up on.

Several minutes later, they decided to go to sleep. And, after a small discussion that involved a very well-known threat, InuYasha gave in and dragged Souta's mattress through the floor, setting it next to Kagome's bed. Her little brother was at a sleepover with his friends and had offered his bed to the hanyou, in case they got back today, so that he wouldn't sleep on the floor, like a dog. Kagome's mother had tried hard not to laugh while she explained.

After InuYasha made sure Kagome's bandages weren't loose, he took off his kosode as well, divided between the embarrassment of showing himself and the joy of watching Kagome blush. He laid on the comfortable mattress, mentally thanking that little kid for thinking about him.

"Goodnight, InuYasha."

"Keh."

"Yeah, whatever." He raised both eyebrows at her witty comeback, and allowed himself to grin in the dark, enjoying the sound of her giggles.

During the night, InuYasha woke up with a plan. He gently kissed Kagome on the lips, finding it a lot harder to pull away than he expected, and tried to escape through the window, leaving her in the safety of this world. But he was still too sleepy and groggy, and ended up making a lot of noise and waking her up. She finally said that word, putting a grumpy and resigned InuYasha back on his place: right next to her.


A/N: I believe this is could be my official return to this website, after almost eight years away. I really missed this place, and I'm both excited and scared about writing again. It's been a long time, so I hope you guys forgive my flaws. Special thanks to my friends Luana, Amanda and Maria for taking time to read a previous version of this fanfic and giving me guidance and support.

A/N² (01/25): Hey there! So, there were some things bothering me about the last version of this fanfic, so I decided to edit it. I really hope it had turned out better than it was, and I would love your feedback on it, please!