Obligatory Disclaimer: The "Inu Yasha" series and its characters are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Sunrise, Shounen Sunday, Viz, and other corporate types. I am none of those entities. I'm just a silly fan writing silly stories because it's fun. Suing me would only be a waste of time and funds, so please don't.


By A Nose
By Misarae

Chapter 5
To the Victor Goes the Spoils

"That was amazing, Kagome!"

"You said it," Eri said, wholly agreeing with Ayumi.

"Didn't know you had it in you, girl!" Yuka said with a grin, giving Kagome a congratulatory slap on the back.

Kagome stumbled a bit under Yuka's exuberance. "Thanks guys," she said. "I'm just glad I could help."

"I'm glad you could, too, even though it meant my team lost," Eri teased.

"Your fault for being on a suckier team!" Yuka replied.

"Why you..!"

All four girls laughed, though Kagome's was a bit softer. If only they knew how she'd come to be so fast. She bit back a sigh, knowing they would never understand her sudden melancholy. Kagome had hoped that a day like today would make her feel like she was back home again. However, all Sports Day had done was prove to her that she wasn't just a normal junior high school girl anymore. She wondered how many more lies she would have to tell before they found all the pieces of the shikon no tama and she could get back to the life she was meant to lead.

The very thought sent a pang of loss shooting through her heart. Oh, she could tell herself she wouldn't miss her new friends in the Feudal Era, and especially not a certain rude, stubborn hanyou, but that would make one more person she was lying to. What was she going to do?

The girls passed the front gate of the school and spilled onto the sidewalk, making their way toward home. They hadn't gone very far before a familiar voice cut through the air.

"Higurashi!"

"Uh-oh," Eri said, "here comes your boyfriend!"

Kagome blushed bright red. "He's not my boyfriend!" she protested.

"Sure he isn't," Yuka prodded. "Probably just a glutton for punishment, seeing how often you stand him up!"

"That's you guys' fault!"

"Hey, Hojo-kun," Ayumi said.

But the young man had eyes only for Kagome.

"See ya later, Kagome!"

"Yeah, see ya! C'mon, Ayumi!"

Ayumi spluttered as Eri dragged her away, shooting looks of apology back at Kagome.

Kagome bit back a groan. Great, just what she needed. Time alone with Hojo-kun.

"You were really something today, Higurashi!"

"Yeah, well, had to do what I could for my class, you know?"

"I'll definitely keep bringing you things to help with your conditions," Hojo-kun said. "I'm sure they must be part of the reason you did so well today, with your fragile health and all."

Kagome couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't incriminate her, so she just laughed lightly, even if the sound was a bit strained. She fiddled with the strap of her backpack, grateful that the girls had given her time to change out of her gym clothes before heading out.

"Why don't we go to WacDonlad's and grab a bite to eat? My treat!"

Kagome blushed. "Thanks, but I'm waiting for Mama to come pick me up. She'd worry if I just disappeared on her."

"That's true." Hojo's sunny demeanor dampened a moment. "I hadn't thought about that. You're so considerate, Higurashi."

"I try," she replied.

"Another time, then?"

"Sure."

"It's a date!" Hojo said, his smile stretching from ear to ear. "Take care!"

Kagome kept her social smile on as she waved good-bye, only letting it drop when he was far out of sight. She hitched her backpack further up on her shoulder and sighed. Yet another lie to add to the pile. It wasn't that she didn't like Hojo-kun. He was nice enough. He was just lacking something that she couldn't quite put her finger on. Which didn't make sense at all, given that he was everything she'd always wanted in a guy. He was thoughtful, polite, dependable, rather good looking...

What was wrong with her?

Kagome began the long walk home, trudging along slowly, as she was in no hurry to return to the shrine where, despite their argument the day before, she was pretty sure Inu Yasha would be waiting for her by now, fully prepared to drag her back to the other side of the well.

Kagome let out a scream, or tried to, as someone or something reached out of a bush and grabbed her by the arm, clapping a hand over her mouth as she was practically yanked off the sidewalk. She struggled, trying to bite the hand over her mouth, until she realized that hand had claws.

She froze, letting him drag her further out of sight. As soon as he let go, she whirled around.

"What the heck do you think you're doing?!" she demanded. "You can't just grab people like that in this day and age!" Kagome stopped in her tirade as she noticed something different about Inu Yasha's attire. "Why are you wearing a baseball cap?"

Inu Yasha tucked his hands into his sleeves as he crossed his arms over his chest, preparing to change the subject to the one he thought was most important in that moment. "Who was that boy?"

Kagome blinked, caught off guard. "A friend from school."

"He was looking pretty friendly, all right." Inu Yasha's eyes narrowed. "I may not know what a 'dei-to' is, but I do know that when a male offers to find food and share it with a female, he's courting her."

"And if you heard that much, you would have also heard me turn him down flat."

"No you didn't."

"Okay, so I put him off. I just didn't want to hurt his feelings."

"You like him," Inu Yasha said accusingly.

"He's a nice guy, so yes I like him, but NOT that way! Idiot."

"Who're you callin' an idiot?"

"You, idiot! What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you were going back to the Feudal Era," she couldn't resist taunting him. Although she'd known deep down that he would be back, there was a tiny part of her that was relieved at his return. That he was here, arguing with her, rather than running after Kikyou.

Inu Yasha dipped his head, refusing to meet her eyes. "Your mother invited me to come see your 'Sports Day' thing." He snorted. "You're the only one who'd last five minutes in the Feudal Era."

"That's what I've been trying to tell you," Kagome said. "Things are much different here."

"Though some things are definitely the same."

Kagome sighed. "Will you stop harping on that? Besides, you have no room to say anything, Mr. 'can't I have them both?'."

"Says the girl who'll jump on the back of any available male!"

"That was part of the event!" Kagome protested. "In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I'm used to riding on yours, we probably would have lost the Mock Battle!" She took a deep breath. "I tried practicing with my female friends, but their backs were too narrow. I'm just glad I could ride Hiroshi-kun rather than one of them."

"So you're saying you won because of me?"

"Don't let it go to your head," Kagome said, but she knew it was too late, Inu Yasha's chest puffing out a bit with pride. She felt a prickle of electricity run across her skin as Inu Yasha finally, truly looked at her with something in his eyes that was both breathtaking and terrifying all at once.

Before Kagome could realize his intent, Inu Yasha suddenly darted forward, swiping the flat of his tongue over the tip of her nose.

Kagome jumped back, clapping her hands over where he had licked her. "Inu Yasha! What was that for?"

Inu Yasha stood, perfectly composed, except to those who knew him best, his arms back in their usual defensive position, crossed over his chest. "Now you're two up on Kikyou."

"Huh?"

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "Kikyou kissed me. I didn't kiss her. And you got a kiss that Kikyou would never accept in a million years."

Kagome watched a blush spread over Inu Yasha's cheeks, and she started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. She couldn't deny that the real reason for her skittishness was exactly how good his tongue had felt caressing her skin, and it left her with the absurd thought that she never wanted to wash that spot again. Combined with the fact that she knew he was half inu youkai...

It didn't take long for her blush to match his own.

"Thank you," Kagome mumbled.

"Don't mention it. Seriously," Inu Yasha said, refusing to look at her directly again in the wake of what he had just done.

Several moments passed as Kagome cast around for something more to say when she realized the predicament she was in. "Hey, since Hojo-kun made my friends scatter, would you mind giving me a ride back home?"

"Sure you don't want me to track down that Hiroshi guy?" Inu Yasha said, only to find himself fighting back a shiver of delight as Kagome walked past him, only to turn and embrace him from behind.

"Nope, you're my favorite mode of transportation, hands down."

Inu Yasha knelt, letting Kagome clamber onto his back before rising, his hands in their now customary position high on her thighs. Inu Yasha could feel the power gathering in his legs as he ran, then jumped high into the air, using first the trees, then rooftops to get Kagome safely home.

As they raced through the darkening sky, Kagome noted the position of the sun and chuckled.

"What is it?" Inu Yasha asked.

"Nothing. Just a silly modern cliché."

"Keh."

And so Kagome rode Inu Yasha into the sunset.

~Fin~


Author's Note: And there we have it, then end of my silly little fic. The first of many, I'm hoping. *looks at all the partially-finished manuscripts in her writing folder* Thank you so much for joining me on this little adventure, and if you liked it, please leave a donation in the review box (or the faves box, or the guilty pleasures box).

I'd like to give an extra special thanks to princessbinas for being my very first reviewer! *squee* You're the best!

See you all next time!