Chapter 4

Arriving at the village about an hour before sunset, they all gathered in Kaede's hut for dinner and to make plans for their next move.

Glancing out the open door at the setting sun, Kagome finished her tea, set aside the cup, and interrupted the discussion of rumors and tales of newly powerful demons and daimyos.

"I'm sorry to break in like this, but I haven't been home in almost ten days. I need at least a few days to catch up on my school assignments and any tests I may have missed," she wrinkled her nose at the thought of her tests, "and I need to stock up on food and first aid supplies."

"What!" Inuyasha said, gaping at her, "But you didn't …"

Interrupting him, Kagome added, "And I would appreciate it if you would come with me, Inuyasha, I think I'm going to need your help."

Opening and closing his mouth several times, clearly taken by surprise, he finally settled for a simple nod.

Turning to Shippo, she than asked "Would you please help Myoga until he returns, with anything that he needs?"

Although confused, the kitsune drew himself up proudly and replied, "Sure, Kagome, I'll help him no matter what."

"Thank you, Shippo. My friends, I'll see you as soon as I can."

Picking up her bow and quiver, she followed the young dog-demon outside and into the forest towards the Bone-Eater's Well.

Walking in silence, they passed between the rice paddies and vegetable plots, before they entered the forest. They passed the Go-Shim-Boku and Kagome looked up at the spot where Inuyasha had been pinned by Kikyo's arrow. 'Its been over a year since I released him from that sealing spell. I still can't believe its real sometimes. I mean, traveling back in time, fighting demons, using magic…if I told my friends what I really did, they'd think I was insane…or using drugs. Knock it off, girl. You need to focus on what's important and what's real, not what your school friends might think if they knew the truth. Kagome sighed at her thoughts, Not that they could handle the truth.'

They soon arrived at the magical well. As Kagome started to climb on to the low wall surrounding the well, Inuyasha finally spoke up.

"Why? Why do you want me to come with you? Usually, you just say 'sit' and jump without a second thought."

Sighing, she turned on the lip of the well and replied, "If you believe that I jump through the well, back to the world that I grew up in, without a second thought," pausing for a moment, she finally went on, "I always think about staying. There are times that I wish the well would – just stop working. Maybe then I wouldn't always feel so torn between two worlds." With that she leaped into the well, and fell 500 years into the future.

"But, Kagome…" But she was already gone. "Damn it wench, wait for me!" Leaping into the well, the hanyou disappeared from sight with a flash of violet light.

As she climbed out of the ancient well, Kagome could hear voices speaking outside the shrine's door. It was her mother and … a boy. "Oh, God! Not Hojo, not again," she muttered.

Leaping to the edge of the well, Inuyasha asked, "Who's Hojo?"

"Shh…!" shushing him frantically, but quietly, "He's a boy from my school. He's probably checking to see how I'm doing. Grandpa keeps telling the wildest stories about how sick I am to explain all the time I spend searching for Jewel shards."

"Grrrr," Inuyasha snarled and cracked his knuckles, before starting towards the door, "I'll take care of this!"

"Inuyasha! No! Please let my mother handle him," Kagome whispered frantically.

"Grrrr!" His growling becoming louder by the second, Kagome grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him around to face her. Desperate to distract the growling hanyou, she went up on her tip-toes, pulled his face down to hers and kissed him.

Stunned by her action, Inuyasha froze in astonishment as he felt her soft lips against his. Encouraged, Kagome pressed herself closer to Inuyasha, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck and kissed him again.

She pressed her warm body against his and drank in his scent; earth, trees, and something uniquely Inuyasha. He felt weak as her tongue traced the outline of his mouth; she tasted both sweet and salty. Just as the last of his resolve melted away, Kagome began nibbling on his lips and opened herself as his tongue slipped inside and began to gently duel hers.

As their kiss continued, Kagome's thoughts swirled until she forgot why she had kissed Inuyasha in the first place. Moaning softly, she let her head fall back as Inuyasha kissed and nibbled his way down her neck to her shoulder.

As he nuzzled Kagome, the scent rising from her threatened to drive Inuyasha wild, his demon instincts urged him to take her, to taste the sweetness of her flesh and her blood, while his human side wanted…something else, something different. Fighting to control both sets of instincts, he stopped kissing her and just held her close, inhaling the intoxicating scent that was uniquely Kagome, and just enjoyed the feel of her soft, warm body next to his.

As Inuyasha stopped kissing her, Kagome became aware of her surroundings once more. As she stood there with her arms wrapped tightly around him, she finally realized that the voices she had been hearing, her mother's and Hojo´s, had fallen silent.

Taking a deep breath, she loosened her grip, and eased slowly away so that she could see his face. "I-Inuyasha, I … I, oh, I…"

"Are you … sorry?" he asked quietly.

"No, oh no, not at all!" she replied, raising her hands to cup his face. "I've wanted to do this for so long. I could never be s…"

"Kagome! Are you down there? It's safe to come up now, Hojo finally left." Her mother's voice came from right outside the door to the well shrine.

"Eep!" she squeaked, as she jumped in surprise and fell back to sit on the steps.

"Are you okay, Kagome?" he asked, offering a hand to help her back up.

"Uh, yeah. Um, just surprised is all." Raising her voice, she called out, "Hi, Mama, we'll be up in a minute."

Taking his hand, Kagome got to her feet and brushed herself off. Looking around, she spotted her bow and quiver of arrows on the floor where she had dropped them. As she picked them up and slung them over her shoulder, Inuyasha picked up her backpack and started up the steps.

As he headed towards the door, Kagome held out her hand for him to take. Inuyasha looked at it for a moment, and then hesitantly clasped her soft hand in his own, callused hand.

Walking hand in hand, they went up the stairs and out into the twilight together.

As she watched her daughter and her friend approach, she contented herself with a raised eyebrow, before simply saying, "Welcome home, my dear. Will you be staying a while, Inuyasha?" She added as the pair came to a stop in front of her.

"Um, well …" the dog-demon began, when Kagome broke in. "Yes, that is, at least for tonight. Um, if that's okay?" She added the last a bit hesitantly.

Her mother just smiled at them, and said, "Of course, you're welcome to stay as long as you like Inuyasha."

Stunned by her offer of hospitality, the likes of which he could not ever recall being given to a despised half-breed hanyou ever before, he finally stammered, "Thank you," in response to Kagome's hand squeezing his.

Turning to lead the way into the house, Kagome's mother thought to herself, 'Something's happened between them. Something has changed if they are willing to be more open about their feelings. I'll have to see if they'll talk to me about this later.'

Opening the door to the kitchen, she called out, "Jii-chan, Sota! Kagome's home! And Inuyasha is here with her. Come and say hello." Pointing to the table, she added, "Put your things on the table. Are you hungry? I can warm up some leftovers or make some sandwiches?"

"Thanks mama, I'm fine right now. Inuyasha? Would you like something to eat? Or maybe to drink?" Kagome replied.

"I'm not hungry right now, we ate at Kaede's earlier." Inuyasha paused a moment and then added, "Thank you."

As they were putting their packs and things on the table, footsteps rapidly approached the kitchen. Bursting in to the room, Sota shouted "Kagome! Where've you been! What kept you so long? Hey! Inuyasha! Cool!" Pausing for breath, he looked back and forth between Kagome and Inuyasha before speaking again, "So, tell me what happened! Did you beat any demons? Huh?"

"Later, Sota. Let us catch our breath before you start grilling us, okay?" Kagome begged. "I'll tell you what happened, but not tonight, okay?"

Sighing melodramatically, Sota nodded and climbed on to a stool in the corner, and settled in to listen to everyone else talk.

Next to arrive was Kagome's grandfather, who frowned as he spotted Inuyasha and then began intoning a banishing spell that finished with a resounding "Demon, be gone!"

"Feh," was the only result.

"Kagome, please show Inuyasha to the guest room before you hide in the bathroom. Inuyasha, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask," her mother requested.

"Sure, mama." Kagome said, "Come on, let's go upstairs."

Grabbing his hand, Kagome led him upstairs to the guest room, stopping to pick out some sheets and blankets from the hall closet on the way.

The room she led him to was fairly small, furnished in an old fashioned style, with a futon in one corner and a freestanding armoire in the opposite corner. Along the other wall were a low desk and a short bookshelf that held mostly old magazines and newspapers. A large window was centered in one wall, facing the ancient Go-Shim-Boku tree.

Removing the blue coverlet from the futon, Kagome quickly made up the futon, while Inuyasha watched silently. After a few minutes, Inuyasha opened the window and settled comfortably on the sill.

When she finished with the futon, she walked over to the window and said, "Inuyasha, if there's anything you need, just ask my mom or me." With a dreamy look in her eyes, she continued, "I'm going to take a hot bath and wash my hair." Sighing, she added, "I'll see you in a bit, okay?"

To this he just nodded, so she turned, and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Inuyasha watched her as she left and then followed her progress by the sounds of her footsteps down the hall and the filling of the tub. Finally, he sighed and turned to watch the sun as it slowly set in the west.