Narrator here. This fic is in response to the "Blanket Scenario" challenge that has been going around fanfic circles for quite a while. So I decided to get off my duff and write one of my own.
Disclaimer: Don't own Inu Yasha, though I wouldn't mind if they gave it to me…hint hint *^.^*
What Dreams May Come
Kagome was scared. As the shrieking wind tore at the winter cloak Kaede had loaned her and drove stinging ice particles into the unprotected skin of her face, hands, and legs, a choking lump began rising in her throat.
'It's so cold. If we don't get back to the village or find some shelter soon, I don't think…'
Hastily, she thrust those thoughts and her fear aside. She had to. Fear would only sap her strength, make it impossible to fight against the killing winds, step by step. And if she did not fight, if she surrendered, they would both die.
"Kagome." She could barely hear his voice. The arm draped over her shoulders tightened suddenly as Inuyasha stumbled over an unseen stone. Kagome struggled to prevent him from falling headlong into the snow drifts, which were growing higher each passing minute. Grimly, Kagome went on, practically dragging Inuyasha through the heavy snow.
"Save your breath," she ordered in a clipped voice, "We need to keep walking." She paused, squinting into the ever-changing wind. "We're almost there," she lied, "Just a little more, okay?"
She felt, rather than saw, Inuyasha nod his head. With night fast approaching and no sign of the village, Kagome began to pray.
'Kami-sama…please, don't let him die.'
The youkai had supplemented its power with five Shikon shards. Emboldened by its newfound strength, it began attacking a castle and the surrounding villages, devouring anyone it found. It seemed to have a special taste for little children.
They cornered it in a deep gully, where the small stream that had flowed freely in the warmer months had frozen solid, making the rocks extremely treacherous. It did not help that piles of scree, and not solid stone, formed most of the gully walls. One wrong move might send the entire place down on their heads.
Inuyasha had opted on taking the youkai down by himself, as usual. Miroku, Sango, Kirara, Kagome, and Shippo held back, taking shelter behind some boulders, but ready to leap into action should Inuyasha need their help. Not that he would ever ask for it…
The youkai, which looked like a cross between a giant, scale less snake and a sea anemone, was able to move with agility and speed that outmatched the hanyou's. Inuyasha spent several precious minutes attempting to pin it down to where he could use the Wound of the Wind. In addition to avoiding the poison-tipped whip-like tail, he had to be wary of the youkai's tentacles, thin as fishing line and sharp as razor wire. Finally, he wore it out; it slowed, injured and bloodied by the partial hits Inuyasha had managed. Inuyasha gathered his energy for the Wound of the Wind, but before he could strike the killing blow, the inevitable happened: the loose stones, weakened by the intense fighting, finally gave way, roaring down towards the streambed below. Kagome screamed a warning to Inuyasha, and as he turned toward them, the youkai spent its remaining energy in one last desperate attempt to kill its tormentor. The tentacles pierced Inuyasha's body, thankfully missing his vitals, but when Inuyasha ran forward to strike the dying monster, his movement widened the multiple wounds. The immediate danger from the rockslide, however, distracted everyone's attention from the amount of blood Inuyasha was losing. Even the hanyou did not notice as he dragged Kagome and Shippo up the one solid wall of the gully, Sango and Miroku on Kirara's back not far behind.
But the Fates had not finished with the companions. The blizzard that had hovered black and glooming on the western horizon since the morning had been moving eastward with frightening speed, unnoticed during the battle. It came upon them just then, surprising them with its ferocity. Kagome remembered Shippo tumbling from her arms as she was swept to the ground by the gale winds. The only thing the had existed for her in those terrifying moments when the world had been reduced to nothing but wailing and darkness was Inuyasha's hold on her shoulders. And then, that too faded as the enormity of victory's cost wrought itself on the hanyou's body…
It was a good thing that Inuyasha clung to his consciousness as stubbornly as he clung to anything else, or Kagome would not have been able to drag them both through the snow. 'I hope Shippo, Sango, Miroku, and Kirara are all right. Yes, they're all right, they have to be.' It was not selfishness that made it so easy for Kagome to turn her thoughts away from her absent comrades. Or rather, it was the selfishness that is borne from the pure will for survival, and not just her own.
'Is it my imagination or is that…?' Kagome instinctively moved forward at a faster pace, hauling Inuyasha along. She could have sworn that, in the swirling chaos of the maelstrom, she had seen a shadow of something too sharp and well-defined to be natural. 'Did I find it? The village! We made it!'
The hope that swelled up in her died the very next instant. As if motivated by amused cruelty, the winds lessened just enough so that the girl could see, not the longed-for huts and fires of the village, but the vestiges of what had once been a large building, burned out and left a shell by the ravages of war. Whether mansion, castle, or temple, it did not matter; there would be no shelter here. As the winds sprang up again, Kagome very nearly gave up. 'We're going to die out here.'
Inuyasha stirred and groaned. "Are we there yet?" he rasped. Kagome pretended she had not heard him. If she was going to answer, it would only serve to destroy all hope.
'Not yet, I can't give up just yet. Come on, you're stronger than this!' Resolutely, Kagome turned her back on the ruin and began walking in a direction somewhat to the right. 'One way is just as good as another I suppose…doesn't matter. Maybe this will go on forever. Maybe this is just a dream, a nightmare, and I'm going to wake up soon and okaa-san's going to be calling downstairs for breakfast.' As if admonishing her for her futile escape from reality, the wind suddenly shifted direction again, blowing against her backside with the force of a giant hand pushing against her. Kagome stumbled, falling to her knees with a cry. Inuyasha slipped from her grasp, hitting the ground with almost lifeless ease. Kagome gasped and began shaking him. "Inuyasha! Inuyasha?! Wake up! Please, wake up!" There was no response. Inuyasha's already fair skin had become bloodless and tinged with blue. Kagome stared about wildly, seeking for help she would not find. By chance, her eyes caught sight of a tall mound in the snow right in front of her that, given a second glance, was too unusual not to merit further investigation. Not daring to hope, Kagome crawled forward and stretched her hand out. The thin veneer of snow and ice crumbled away, revealing what could only be boards cut and planed by human hands. Kagome almost wept with relief; a door. A true, solid door. Hastily, she got to her feet and shoved it open with her body. The wood creaked and groaned under the unaccustomed treatment, but yielded. Kagome ducked her head under the low lintel and stepped inside.
The wan light did not reveal much of the interior, but Kagome did not need it. She had only taken three or for steps inside when her outstretched finger tips met the far wall. It was not wood or stone, as she had expected, but something that felt more like moist clay mixed with straw. The shed, or whatever it was, was only about as big as a coat closet, but it seemed solid enough. Taking a deep breath, Kagome ran back out into the storm, gathered Inuyasha's still body in her arms, and dragged him into the shelter. Gently, she laid him on the ground and hastily closed the door, shutting out the storm.
The darkness inside the shed was absolute, but a least it was somewhat warmer. Kagome had managed to hold onto her backpack through the entire ordeal, and her hands rooted through it, numb fingers attempting to recognize objects through touch. Here was the cold, slick aluminum of the first aid kit her mother had given her and here was the fleece blanket she had brought with her almost on a whim. She dug further, cursing the she had not thought to bring her sleeping bag. Her hand closed on the handle of her flashlight, which she managed to turn on after several tries. Inuyasha's wounds needed tending if he was going to live through the night.
Modesty, under any other circumstances, might have stayed her hands, but Kagome stripped Inuyasha of his ice-encrusted outer garments without hesitation. Her hands shook as the light revealed Inuyasha's blood-soaked gi. At least the cold had done one service; Inuyasha was no longer bleeding his life away. Before she could start trying to warm him up, she would need to bandage him or they would begin to bleed again. Working as quickly as she could, Kagome took off the gi and began chafing his cold limbs with her hands wrapped in the blanket. Inuyasha began to stir and growl softly as the warmer blood forced its way through his almost frozen veins, but he did not wake. Encouraged, Kagome cleaned the wounds and bandaged them before moving on to the wounds in his lower body.
Inuyasha was still cold to the touch by the time Kagome was done. She frowned, having difficulty remembering exactly how to treat hypothermia, not truly aware that the sluggishness of her mental faculties was due to her own danger from the cold.
'Get them out of their wet clothes and dry them off…let's see…then I wrap him up in a blanket of course…no, wait, there was something else…he needs as much warmth as possible, but I can't make a fire in here or we'll run out of oxygen. What else can I do?' She shivered, her teeth chattering beneath her blue lips. She had to get out of her own clothes and find some way to get warm, but there was only one blanket. "I'm so cold," she whimpered, drawing the dripping cloak away from her body. With trembling hands, she reached up to undo her blouse buttons, her eyes never wavering from Inuyasha. He was the only other source of warmth in the room. 'Two bodies are better than one, that's what I forgot…' For an insane moment, as she removed her skirt, her thoughts turned to her mother. 'Okaa-san would get so mad at me for sleeping with a boy! I don't know what she'd say if she came in and saw us together like this…' She crawled to Inuyasha's side and lifted the blanket, sliding next to him and molding her body to his. 'I'm glad he's asleep, or he would never let me do this, but…he is so warm…' With a sigh and a small smile on her lips, Kagome at last gave in to oblivion.
Inuyasha drifted in and out of consciousness at first, each attempt to open eyes more successful than the last. He did not really know why he wanted so much to open them; never had he felt so warm, so safe, so… 'Complete.' There was no pain, for he was floating in an ocean of light and warmth, sweet with the scent of something he could not quite name. He searched his memory, bringing to mind all the scents he had ever experienced. It was not the smell of the wind from the mountains in summer, nor the smell of the rain-washed forest. It was something all together more alive, real, and soothing, even though all this had to be nothing more than a dream.
'Since this is a dream, all I have to do is turn and she'll be there, next to me, saying she'll never leave me…' Wanting to complete his fantasy, Inuyasha turned his head and opened his eyes. And she was there, curled up next to him, her head cradled in his shoulder, one of her delicate hands resting on his chest, her beautiful sable hair flowing like an obsidian stream over his arm. Inuyasha, though he had expected to see her, found that his breath caught in his throat as he gazed at her, fascinated by her gentle, innocent face as she slept. 'And since this is a dream, I can…' Inuyasha brought his face down to Kagome's, his sensitive nose glorying in the wealth of her scent. He sniffed at her hair then trailed down her cheek and felt the warmth of her breath as she sighed contentedly. Her lips were slightly parted and Inuyasha hesitated. As convinced as he was that this was a dream, he would never take such liberties with Kagome in real life. She was not his mate, and though he had never asked her, how could he expect her to accept when she was always insisting that he follow his feelings for Kikyou? 'But Kikyou's changed so much, she's no longer the woman I fell in love with. I know that Kikyou is really dead, but I just can't…it's Kagome now. She has Kikyou's soul, the life I loved, but even more, she is…'
He was afraid she would reject him, he realized. Kagome was the person he protected, but his pride would not let him show her that his feelings had changed, had grown. As a result, he did not know her feelings toward him.
'At least dreams don't have consequences, not like reality.' He closed the scant distant that separated their lips.
'Inuyasha, don't die, please don't die!' Unlike the hanyou, Kagome suffered in the depths of a deep, unending nightmare. She out in the storm, as if she had never left it, only Inuyasha was bleeding and there was nothing she could do to stop it. 'Help, someone, help us!' The wind screamed and laughed, mocking her with the shrill echo of her pleas. Inuyasha was staring up at her, his amber eyes blank as if the soul that burned in his body had already fled. His mouth moved, as though he were trying to say something. Kagome leaned her head down to hear.
"Kikyou…I'm here…we'll go to Death together…Kikyou…"
'Kikyou? Inuyasha, it's me, it's Kagome!'
"I've waited so long…I'm so glad you're with me, Kikyou…"
'Inuyasha, don't leave me! You can't! It's me, it's me, not Kikyou! I want you to live, to stay with me! You can't leave, not when I…'
"…with me…Kikyou, I…"
'I LOVE YOU!'
"Inuyasha! Please, I love you!" Kagome whimpered. Inuyasha's eyes widened and he drew back from the sweet taste of Kagome's lips in surprise; he had not expected this element in his dream. He wanted to hear her say she loved him, but not in this pleading, despair-filled voice! "Don't leave me!" Tears, bitter-sweet, began streaming down Kagome's cheeks as the hand that had rested so lightly against his chest clenched as if she were trying to hold something, prevent its leaving. Instinctively, Inuyasha held her closer and stroked her bare back soothingly, whispering, "Sh, sh, I'm here, I won't leave you…"
It did not matter what she said, how much she pleaded, how hard she tried to keep him with her. Inuyasha vanished, leaving her alone to the merciless ravage of the winds that burned tracks of icy fire down here cheeks as she cried out her sorrow. 'I love you, Inuyasha, I love you…but you don't love me…'
Kagome's body stiffened even as tears continued to flow down her face. Panicked, Inuyasha held her face in his hand, willing for her to open her eyes. The warmth and comfort that had thus far held sway over this dream was dissipating. He knew, somehow, that unless Kagome opened her eyes that it would be lost forever. "Open you eyes, Kagome!" he called to her.
'…you don't love me…'
"You don't love me," she whispered.
"You're wrong!" Inuyasha protested hotly, his panic turning to anger, "I do love you! I love you more than anyone in this world or the next, you stupid girl! Why can't you see that?!"
"I love you, Kagome!"
Light flooded her senses, causing her to gasp in surprise. In an instant, the storm was banished and warmth flooded through her body. It was as though she had lain at the bottom of a thick, stifling fog of shadows and suddenly someone had pulled her up from the depths into the clean air. The darkness left her eyes and she could see. And staring back at her, calling her name, over and over…
"Kagome!" He blinked and gazed into her clear sapphire eyes, seeing the last vestiges of whatever horror had kept her from him vanish, leaving only joy and love. Joy and love for him.
"I was so scared!" Kagome said, reaching up to his face and tracing her fingers over his features, "I thought you had left me forever and that nothing I could do or say could bring you back. I was afraid…"
"But I'm here, neh?" Inuyasha interrupted gently. He leaned into her again and lapped away her tears with gentle caresses of his tongue. Kagome forgot to breathe; he was so close, so warm…she could feel his body move against her own, no barriers between them. It was so right.
Inuyasha felt her body's response and was amazed at the sensations a mere dream could produce. He paused, almost confused. It seemed that every sensation was more intense, more real than any dream had a right to be. But it could not be…he shook his head, growling softly. 'This is a dream, only a dream.' It was only in dreams that he could be with the girl he loved like this, have her respond to him without fear or anger.
"What is it?" Kagome asked, sensing that something was wrong. When Inuyasha did not answer, except for a soft, incoherent growl, Kagome chose not to inquire further. She had had enough of talking. He had said the words she had yearned for but never expected to hear, had comforted her and saved her from despair as he had saved her life so many times. It was her turn to comfort him. Softly, carefully, because of his wounds, she pulled him to her, letting him rest his head in the hollow of her shoulder.
Inuyasha did not resist. By shifting his head down wards ever so slightly, he could hear the lulling beat of Kagome's heart in his ear, restoring his confidence with every pulse. Kagome began stroking her fingers through his hair, entwining the silver strands in an intricate weave and releasing it. Inuyasha practically purred with pleasure and responded by running his hand over her shoulder and down her side, repaying her every caress with one of his own.
Kagome bit her lip, suddenly very aware that something was about to happen she would quickly lose control over. Inuyasha's hand trailed up slowly, almost teasingly, from her hip to where his head rested over her beating heart. Although she did not quite know what was going on, it seemed her body did. It was all Kagome could do to keep from crying out at the shock of Inuyasha's touch. It did not hurt, far from it…the pleasurable warmth that radiated from beneath his fingers caused her to clench his hair, wanting the sensation to be repeated, but not knowing how to ask.
Inuyasha smiled when he heard Kagome's smothered cry of pleasure and felt her body shift against his, pleading more eloquently than any words. He raised his head and looked into her eyes, conveying his desire without words as he again tasted her lips. Kagome opened her mouth slightly and tasted him in return. Her boldness surprised Inuyasha, but as her sweetness and soft caresses overwhelmed him, he gladly deepened the kiss, expressing all the passion and desire he had kept within for so long.
When they finally parted to take a breath, Inuyasha again rested his head against Kagome's breast, delighting in the excited pace of her heartbeat. It was perfect, the feel of her body, her scent, her passion, all of it was enough to make him lose control.
Kagome, slightly dazed by the sensations that rioted through her body, struggled to regain control. She wondered idly why she even cared, but when Inuyasha began nudging and suckling her breast, her mind suddenly came up with a good reason.
"Inuyasha, stop!" she ordered, pulling on his hair.
Inuyasha stopped short and looked at her quizzically. "What's the matter?" he asked.
"Your wounds," she explained, "If we…if we…you might reopen them again. I didn't have anything to sew them up with."
"What are you talking about?" Inuyasha demanded, now completely confused, "I want to mate with you. I've never dreamed this so clearly before and no wound is going to stop me now! Not that it could hurt me anyways. Dreams can't do that."
"Wait a minute," Kagome protested as Inuyasha lowered his head to her other breast, "You think this is a dream?"
"So let me get this straight," Miroku said, leaning forward with a grin beginning to spread across his face, "You," he pointed at Kagome, "dragged his hanyou butt through the snow, patched him up, kept him from freezing to death, ended up sharing the same blanket with not a stitch of clothes between you, and you," he pointed at Inuyasha, who snarled at him, "tried to seduce her, thinking it was all a dream?"
"Hai," Kagome said under her breath, redder than Inuyasha's haori.
"BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" Miroku howled, falling over and holding his stomach, "THAT IS THE BEST STORY I'VE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE!! HAHAHAHAHA! WHOOO-HOOO, AHAHAHAHA!!"
"Shut up!" Inuyasha roared, but the monk was too far gone. He did not even notice that Inuyasha's claws were puncturing holes in the floor of Kaede's cottage as the hanyou tried very hard not to rip his throat out. Kagome's pointed stare at the rosary around his neck helped considerably.
"Shut up, you pervert!" Sango snapped, whacking Miroku upside the head, "Can't you see Kagome-chan's embarrassed enough as it is? You promised you wouldn't laugh!"
"Itai…hahaha…erhem! All right, all right, I promised," Miroku finally managed. Every time he looked at either Kagome or Inuyasha, however, he turned almost as red as Kagome from the effort not to start laughing again.
"I'm just so glad the both of you survived," Sango said, "When the storm separated us, we found Shippo…"
"The wind blew me right into her arms!" the kitsune interpolated from his place in Kagome's lap. He folded his arms and looked flummoxed. "I hate being so small sometimes!"
"I'm sure you'll grow up soon enough," Kagome chuckled, tousling his hair affectionately. The little youkai had not relinquished hold of her since Kirara and Sango had come back with them early that morning.
Kirara had managed to safely deliver Sango, Miroku and Shippo to the village by an extreme effort that had exhausted him and precluded any searches for Inuyasha and Kagome until he was rested. As soon as Kirara was able, he and Sango had gone out to scour the area where they had battled the youkai, and came upon Inuyasha and Kagome heading in the direction of the village. Kagome insisted that Inuyasha allow himself to be carried by Kirara, for it was obvious to all of them that he was not completely healed. The flight back to the village was done in complete silence, Sango sensing that Inuyasha's and Kagome's reticence was something she should not try to violate. Shippo had jumped into Kagome's arms, almost crying in relief and Kagome could not help the tears that threatened to spill from her own eyes. Inuyasha remained extremely stiff and reserved, so naturally Miroku guessed that something had happened during the night. As he did not have the same tactfulness as Sango, he did not leave the couple alone until he learned the whole story.
"Feh!" Inuyasha snorted and got to his feet.
"Where are you going, Inuyasha?" Sango called after him as he headed toward the door.
"I'm sick and tired of sitting in this cramped little hovel watching Miroku laugh his perverted self sick," Inuyasha snapped and stomped out of the room.
Without a word, Kagome lowered Shippo to the floor and got to her feet. Shippo watched his foster older sister/mother walk quickly from the room without a backward glance. "Miroku?" he said to monk.
"What does 'seduce' mean?"
"Well, it's when…"
"Inuyasha, you can't stay up there all night, thinking you can avoid me," Kagome said, looking up at the bare-branched tree.
"You know I can make you get down if I have to."
"Dammit, I'm coming down, wench!" Two seconds later, the hanyou was on the ground beside her, growling threateningly. He could not quite meet her eyes, though. He was so tense, it seemed that he was just waiting for an excuse to jump away from her.
Kagome sighed. "Listen," she said, looking at his profile in the pallid light of the winter sunset, "What happened last night…I…"
"It shouldn't have happened," Inuyasha interrupted in a rush, "Nothing happened, okay? Leave it at that and stop bothering me!" He turned his back on her and prepared to leap back up into the tree.
"I'm not going to leave it!" Kagome yelled, "I really thought I would lose you and it hurt me more than any wound or storm ever could! I love you, baka! I love you!" There! She had said it, out in the open, when they were both reasonably sane, with all their barriers in place. If Inuyasha was going to reject her now…
Inuyasha froze. There was no chance he had misheard or that Kagome had misspoken. Her pride was not like his; while he shoved others away, guarding against pain and betrayal, Kagome took them to her heart, suffering and feeling joy right alongside them. She had saved his life, given him something and someone to fight for and protect, someone to love. Was pride worth such a price, to scorn that love?
'"Baka." You deserve it. Then do something about it! You were brave enough when you thought it was a dream!'
"Kagome, I…" Inuyasha turned, raising his eyes to meet hers. Before he could finish his sentence, Kagome closed the distance and took the rest of his words with her lips.
"I know," she whispered as he pressed her against his chest, "I know."
'~* OWARI *~'
Narrator here. This was going to be my first lemon and I actually had a good plot going, but…I choked! I just could not write it to my satisfaction! Before you flame, please try to understand that I was literally blushing during the lime scene, so it would have been a bad lemon in the end. Ack! Someday, maybe, I'll grow up enough to write a lemon, but for now, let's just leave it at this. Reviews and encouragements are welcome (looks up innocently as if she had not just made a selfish demand for her ego's sake)! Perhaps if I get enough, I can write a sequel…