Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.
Kagome glanced around cautiously. It seemed safe. Miroku, Sango, and Kaede were asleep by the fire, but they weren't the ones Kagome was worried about. However…he appeared to be asleep, too. Very carefully, Kagome removed Shippo from her shirt and laid him in the sleeping bag. He moaned softly and curled into a ball without opening his eyes. Kagome left the hut.
The warm night was pleasant. The full moon was bright, and the glistening stars twinkled in the sky like diamonds in coal. This was one of the many things Kagome loved about the past. The sky here was untouched by pollution or city lights.
Kagome broke into a light sprint once she reached the Forest of Inuyasha. She wasn't afraid – far from it. This forest had become as familiar as her home over time, but the last thing she wanted was for Inuyasha to catch her trying to return to her time.
It wasn't that Inuyasha scared her. She knew he would protect her in any situation – with his life, if need be. Despite the fact that he had tried to kill her when they first met, Kagome was sure he would never hurt her now. Hadn't he proven that often enough?
Still, Kagome hated what the trips to home brought them to. It was the same every time. He would get mad and refuse to let her go. Kagome, in turn, would also grow angry, and soon a full-blown fight would commerce. A 'sit' would then follow, and Kagome would run away to her time until Inuyasha got over his anger and went to fetch her – usually annoying her to no end first.
Finally, Kagome came to the edge of the clearing in which the well rested at the center. She was surprised that she had actually made it. Maybe she was actually going to get away with this. Wow…this was a first!
Curses. Kagome winced before turning around to meet the face of a very angry half demon. "Inuyasha, I-"
"-was trying to run away again," Inuyasha finished coldly. It was strange. Normally, he would have started shouting by now, his golden eyes blazing. This was worse. His voice was calm, but just beneath the surface, Kagome could sense anger, hurt, and betrayal. "But this time you went behind my back."
Kagome blushed in shame. "Inuyasha, it's not what you…"
"Kagome, why do you keep running away? Why do you always go back to that time? Kagome, are you…" Inuyasha dropped his stare to the ground. "Are you not happy here?"
"No, it's nothing like that! Inuyasha, it's just –"
"What is it then?" he snapped. "Why?"
"Inuyasha," Kagome began carefully. "The other time is my home. I have responsibilities there, and people I care about. My family…"
"I thought we were your family," Inuyasha growled.
"You are!" Kagome insisted quickly. "But my real family, my mama and Grandpa and Souta…"
"So we're not real to you."
"No! You misunderstand…"
"Yeah, I guess I did."
Kagome wanted to cry in frustration. How could she make Inuyasha understand the turmoil she went through every time she had to leave either time or the people they held? She stepped closer to the half demon and reached up a hand to caress his face.
Without looking, Inuyasha caught her hand before it could reach him. He took a step closer to her until she was forced backward, pressing her to a tree. Kagome's eyes widened.
"Kagome, do you not want to be around me anymore?" Inuyasha asked, his voice barely above a gentle whisper. With Kagome's hand still in his, he raised it above her head and pressed it to the bark of the tree.
Kagome's breathing became a little heavier. They were so close now, his chest almost on top of hers. Her small, thin body seemed so small compared to his taller, more muscular one. "Inuyasha, of course, I want to be around you," she choked out.
"You once said you wanted to remain by my side always, Kagome. If that's true, then why do you keep running off?"
"I'm not running away. I only go home for brief visits and…"
"This is your home, Kagome. Not that place you go to."
Kagome bit her lip nervously. She wanted to back away, but there was nowhere to go with her back to the tree.
"Kagome, am I scaring you?"
"Then look me in the eyes."
It took will power, but Kagome struggled to meet the large golden eyes staring down at her.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he promised.
"I want you here, Kagome, where I can make sure you're safe."
"But my family…"
"I'm your family. We all are."
Kagome tried to blink back the tears that were coming to her eyes. She didn't understand. Her heart was fluttering, and her stomach was tightening up in a way she had never experienced before. She couldn't handle this anymore; she needed air.
"Inuyasha, please, let me go."
For a moment, Inuyasha just stared at her with an unreadable expression. Finally, he released her hand and backed away from the small girl.
Kagome took several deep breaths and then straightened. "I need to think," she muttered, and took off running into the forest.
Inuyasha sighed as he watched the woman he cared for most run as fast as she could away from him.
Kagome ran until her lungs were burning, her muscles were cramping, and oxygen was a thing of the past. Then she ran a little more. Finally, she collapsed to the ground in exhaustion and leaned against a tree to rest.
She had told Inuyasha she was going to think, but that was the last thing she felt like doing. Kagome curled into a ball and fell asleep.
When Kagome awoke, she was not surprised to see Inuyasha leaning against a tree across from her, watching her with steady golden eyes. "Have you been up all night?" she asked.
"You didn't have to."
"There's no telling what kind of trouble you would have gotten in alone – especially at night."
Kagome sat up and self-consciously pulled a strand of hair behind her ear. "I'm sorry I cause you so much trouble."
Inuyasha shrugged. "Whatever," he muttered.
Kagome looked down awkwardly at the hands folded in her lap. "You know…I really don't like leaving here," she said softly.
"Then why do you keep doing it?"
Kagome bit her lip. "I have a family on the other side. You guys are my family, too, but I do have another one."
Inuyasha looked away. He knew it was true however much he didn't want to admit it. He simply wasn't the only one who loved Kagome. He felt sure that he loved her most, but how could he show her that? How could he convince her to stay?
"Inuyasha, I just want to go back every once in a while. I already spend more time here than there. All I'm asking for is a day or two here and there."
Inuyasha growled deep in his throat. He didn't want her to leave at all, but even he knew that he was being unreasonable.
Inuyasha looked up to see that Kagome had moved to sit beside him and was now merely inches away.
"I'm not leaving you, Inuyasha. Ever. I'll always come back."
"How do you know?" His voice came out slightly choked, but Inuyasha was too concerned with her answer to care.
Kagome smiled. "Because you'll always come for me and bring me back," she answered.
Inuyasha's face softened a little, and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Kagome leaned into his warm body.
"I promise to always come back."
"I promise to always come get you."