Can't Stop Running
Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha, don't own Bleach, so I don't own anything. So I admit it's another Bleach Inuyasha crossover done beauty and the beast style, I can't help it. I love the idea, and beauty and the beast is just so much fun to write. By the way Ichigo's form is that of his hollow in his last fight with Ulquiorra.
To Himawari-no-Ichizoku thanks for reviewing on all five chapter hope you won't kill me now that this one is up! ;) Thanks to everyone else who reviewed because now I have sixty reviews for a short story!
August 4th 11:25 a.m.
Kagome stumbled down the stairs wishing she could have just stayed in bed. But once she had gotten up to go to the bathroom, going downstairs for lunch seemed practical, her aching would subside faster with increased blood flow to her muscles. At least in theory.
The moment she reached the kitchen; she collapsed in the closest chair to catch her breath and try to rid herself of the stars moving caused. It took a minute but sitting down helped, opening her eyes she found her mother smiling at her. "Good morning honey. Lunch will be another fifteen minutes."
Kagome nodded. "It's fine mom. Did Ichigo wake up yet?"
"I got him to eat something for breakfast but the poor dear still seemed half asleep. But at least he woke up this morning unlike you. Both of you skipped dinner. But I did get a close up of his bare chest."
Her mother sent a smirk her way and Kagome steadfastly ignored the teasing.
"He seemed to have an odd almost butterfly like scar on his chest. Was that from you?"
Kagome shrugged and then flinched, just that hurt. So she answered out loud. "I think so, the outline matches where the last of my hands and fingers left his chest. I took it out slowly so he would keep healing. I didn't want to kill him while saving him."
Her mother nodded and went back to cooking, a few minutes later her brother came in from outside, his clothes had drying brown spots on them.
"Get all the blood off Souta?"
Her brother stopped and stared at her, "Err. Yeah. The courtyard is clean again. You know you're purple right?"
Kagome was sitting in front of the TV up until a half an hour ago she had been watching it with her grandfather, but a large group had showed up to visit the shrine so he had slipped out while her mother ran the small gift shop. Souta had gone to a friend's for the afternoon, so in theory it was just her and Ichigo in the house. But she hadn't seen him yesterday and despite her plans to stay up for dinner she found she was getting sleepy. She had really pushed her powers and her body the day before so she was thinking about giving in. Not to mention Ichigo's friends were coming the next day at some time so she'd need to be rested.
Then to her surprise she heard movement upstairs. Ichigo was up.
She was debating on getting up to greet him when he came running down the stairs; his face was flushed and he had a big smile on his face. He was stunning. It was a strange thought, girls didn't normally think of guys that way, but he was. She had never seen him so thrilled about anything. He seemed so detached all the time. He skidded to a stop a foot from her spot on the couch, he bent down and in one quick motion kissed her full on the lips.
She was shocked and stared at him, what was he so happy about?
He stared at her and suddenly seemed to realize his lips were still touching hers. He jerked away turning beet red. "Sorry Kagome. I just woke up and realized I'm human again. Sorry."
"It's fine. You were excited. I'm glad we got you free."
Ichigo looked at her seeming shocked she wasn't reacting more before deciding to take his que from her. His blush still in full force he tried to calm down. "Yeah thanks a lot. Sorry you got so beat up though. I think I didn't realize just how badly off you were yesterday."
He was inspecting her, his eyes lingering on her hands and that arm that was still scrapped up, but the way his eyes trailed over her face she knew he felt bad that she was a walking bruise. "Yep I am now the human grape and will probably be some other strange color tomorrow."
Ichigo snorted. "No really Kagome, I'm sorry you got so hurt."
"You're one to talk mister-every-time-I-turn-around-he's-got-a-new-wound."
Ichigo shrugged, "I'm use to it, I could take it. You however faced three captains and still managed to help me. I saw all that shooting. Hitsugaya. Renji. Yamamoto."
Kagome made a face. "You seem to be naming people but aside from Renji I have no clue who your talking about."
Ichigo frowned. "Right I never got around to telling you who was who did I. Can I sit down?"
He sat on the after end of the couch still feeling self conscious she was guessing. "Renji; guy with red hair, ranked Lieutenant but captain level. The old guy with the beard, Yamamoto; leader of the group and scary powerful. The older guy with white hair, Ukitake; Good guy and sick with something. Guy with silver hair, Gin; not sure how he's around last I knew he was dead on the ground. Though I suppose Orihime could have healed him. Guy with long black hair and a stiff expression Byakuya Kuchiki; good guy over all I suppose but stiff. The woman was Unohana; the healer and dead scary. The guy with the pink kimono is Kyoraku. The young kid with white hair is Hitsugaya, tough and at times a bit of hot head."
Kagome nodded along mentally noting down the names, but as he talked a more pressing question occurred to her. "Ichigo you can go home now, what are you going to do?"
From his surprised look he had no clue either.
August 5th 1:02 p.m.
Ichigo had just finished putting dishes away- he had taken over Kagome chores because her hands were still too badly burned. He felt really bad about that. She had told him his new scars came from what she had to do to get it out, but he couldn't care less. So what he had another scar, it hadn't hurt him. But the scars she was going to have, those were from a lot of pain. Last night Kagome hadn't finished her dinner because she didn't want him to know she couldn't hold her chopsticks any longer, he had figured it out when he saw her mother feeding her after everyone else was done and had left the kitchen.
Not to mention he had been a totally idiot yesterday afternoon when he had woken, gone to the bathroom only to have his human face staring back at him. He had rushed to Kagome's room, finding she wasn't there he had rushed downstairs to see her on the couch. The first thing that had popped into his head had been to kiss her. He done it without thinking. He'd just gone with his instincts. First impulse.
At least Kagome hadn't made a big deal out of it, not more then a surprised look later they were back to talking like normal. Of course that gave him a chance to look her over and see the full price she had paid to help him. Bruises marred every inch of skin he could see and he was betting all the skin he couldn't see. The scrape from the first fight was still bandaged, he was betting the pressure that bruised her skin broke the scabs open. Not to mention the second degree burns covering her entire hands.
It brought mixed feelings to the surface; anger with his friends, himself and even her. His friends for falling for it, himself for being too weak to protect her. At her because she didn't have the sense to run it and that she cared to even try to protect him. He didn't want to be protected. Relief; she had kept her promise. To the word with every deed she did. Guilt; she had gotten so hurt, she had helped him and all he'd done was be weak. Admiration; he'd met some pretty tough girls but she took the cake in his mind. She wasn't just a strong body, she had heart. It was in everything she did. She meant it.
And the last feeling wasn't something he was sure he could say out loud. He had known he'd liked Kagome, had from almost day one. That had grown with every day he'd spent at the shrine. How could you not love someone for taking you in, protecting you, feeding you? But he was starting feel like he had fallen in love with her. He wasn't stupid. He loved all his friends in one way or other. Chad was his brother in spirit. Tatsuki was like a big sister or a cousin not someone you always liked but someone you listened to. Renji was someone he mostly respected. Rukia was the same. For a time he had harbored hopes but he figured they were dead by the time they were getting to ready to leave Soul Society after rescuing her, and he buried them when despite everything she didn't go back with them. Orihime was a lot like his sisters to him. She was pretty but not his type. He liked a girl that was direct. Up front. Someone not afraid to say it like it was.
Kagome was kinda everything he'd liked in girls before but different. She could fight like Tatsuki, Rukia and even Orihime. But she didn't like to fight. She could cook. She had a temper but didn't always use it. She was thoughtful. Kind. Nosy without being rude or mean about it. She had dark hair. He liked that, light hair was exotic but he knew how horrible it could be to stand out. Her soft chocolate eyes were warm but the dark color always reminded him she knew how to keep a secret.
Because of her he could go home. See his sisters, his father, mock Ishida, listen to Chad play again.
He owed her everything.
This was more, what she had done was more then anything anyone else... save Chad had ever done for him.
Something that had been bugging him clicked, he could feel Shinigami coming. No blood lust he could sense. They were coming to talk. He needed to find Kagome. He left the hall where he'd been standing for the last few minutes, he found Kagome in the living room again. He hadn't even opened his mouth when Kagome told him she knew. So he went to the front door. Mrs. Higurashi was working the shop, Grandpa was who knows where... Actually he was at the doctor's by now. Souta had gone with him. That's why the house was so quiet.
Feeling the power get closer to the door he opened it, stepping out he saw Kisuke, Renji, Yamamoto, Ukitake, Shunshui, Unohana, Byakuya, Gin, Hitsugaya. Ichigo noted Renji, Hitsugaya and Gin were moving a bit stiffly, not just slightly mad but like in pain, stiffly. Ichigo found himself wondering if beyond hurting Zanpakuto Kagome's powers were immune to Kido too. Those were the people he remembered her beating up the most. She shot Renji and Hitsugaya. Since they were still a few feet from the door he just waved at them. "Come on in. Kagome's inside, make sure to shut the door."
He turned and lead the way to living room, he heard the door shut behind him, so he didn't bother looking back. Reaching the living room he noted Kagome was tensely holding something by her leg, upon seeing him her grip loosened and her hands moved to her lap. Sitting in the chair closest to her he saw it was an arrow. She was still protecting him.
Watching the others arrange themselves about the room he notice Gin had a limp and Byakuya was moving slowly. Kagome had kicked ass. He felt bad that he was so proud of her for hurting good people, but she had done such a good job and they were captains. He might just be proud of her for that. For humbling them just a little.
That was when in a blur of motion Ichigo found half a dozen swords to his throat. Seeing Kagome moving to take a hold of her arrow he motioned with his hand, she saw and stopped but didn't relax. "I assume Urahara you have some questions for me so I can prove I'm myself and not Aizen?"
His first teacher smirked and tilted that stupid hat at him, the gleam in his eyes a familiar one. This was going to be embarrassing.
"What was the first thing you saw when you woke in my shop after Rukia was taken back to soul society?"
Ichigo wasn't sure why that was the first question but answered all the same. "Tessai, it was really creepy the way he was leaning over me."
Urahara nodded and Ichigo assumed he was nodding to the Shinigami with swords to his throat so they wouldn't kill him. "Next question; What did I make you say in the first step to getting your powers back?"
Ichigo scowled, seething at the memory. Of course the bastard would ask that. He had always tried to forget it happened, it was one of the reasons he often found himself thinking about a world without Kisuke Urahara in it. "I should kill you just for mentioning that in public you bastard." he sighed. "What you told me to say was' The amazing head band of justice in place. The amazing armor of justice protect me now."
The room was silent but Ichigo saw Urahara's smirk growing. "You really are a cruel and unusual man. With a cat fetish."
Throwing that out there made him feel little better, he knew Urahara was in love with Yoruichi even if she herself was a free spirit. Kagome looked amused and so did most everyone else in the room, Urahara seemed pleased but the swords still hadn't been lowered. "What's the next one?"
"How long did you have in the second part?"
Ichigo frowned the true second tasks was finding Zangetsu's name by knocking the dumb hat off his head but before that he needed his powers back properly. That had been the time his hollow was born. "I had seventy-two hours but I was done in seventy."
Urahara's amusement died away. "Correct. What did you say to me in the third task?"
Ichigo felt a full fledged smirk break out across his face. "Like I would forget that. I told you that I had sworn to myself if I survived I was going to kill you. You told me the next part of my training and said it had no time limit. I told you I would be done in five minutes."
"How did I tell you to come to the shop for the invasion of Soul Society?"
Ichigo sighed, it made sense his dad was a soul reaper, him and Kisuke were a lot alike. "You had me open my window and something splattered on my wall and it looked like some cliched murder scene."
Urahara smirked, "It's probably him, let go."
The swords disappeared and Hitsugaya stepped out from where he had been flanking Kagome with Ukitake. "Great you believe it's me. What'd you wanna know?"
Urahara spoke from where he had sat down on the rug. "Well for one how did Aizen do that? Trick us into thinking you were him?"
Ichigo sighed, this would take a while. And two hours later the Shinigami were satisfied with his answers. That was when Urahara told him his family were in the city waiting to hear from Kisuke. They were staying in hotel. Ichigo had learned like he thought the moment he entered the real world his body vanished. So the story (for everyone without powers to see) was that some gang members had probably killed him since no one had heard from him. It was a bit ironic the truth was so close to fiction. But it meant the captains and Renji left and Ichigo was ready to start pacing he hadn't seen his sisters since last October. Karin was going to be furious and Yuzu was going to cry.
Kagome calmed him; "Ichigo it's okay. They might be mad but mostly they'll just be happy you're okay. All we have to tell your sisters is you were on the run and imply you stayed here the whole time. That's all they need to know. Your dad will probably know other wise but... nothing you can do about that. Now I'm gonna go tell mom we'll be having three more people over for dinner. If you're still so nervous go shower and pull on something else."
He nodded and went to do just that, but it stayed on his mind how well she knew him. How easily she calmed him. No one else besides his mother had done that.
Kagome walked outside as fast as her sore legs could take her. She wasn't mad at him per say as mad at everything. His stupid 'friends' or 'allies' had put swords to his throat and he hadn't even cared. She had been ready for some ass kicking; even if in the close quarters and no bow and the general state of her body it was likely to be her ass as long as they didn't kill him. It would be the last time he died. But he had just shaken his head before she had even done anything, his eyes flicked to the two flanking her. She knew he didn't care about his own life but in her living room realizing she was pretty much helpless infuriated her. She had to sit and listen as Ichigo spoke to Urahara about things that clearly annoyed him.
He could have miss remembered something or the idiot in the hat could have asked a question Ichigo didn't know the answer to, or they could have just decided to kill him and be done with doubts. Kagome found her mother working the small shop they sold charms from. "Mom Ichigo's friends believe him now and his two sisters and his dad are coming for dinner."
Her mother turned towards her and saw how upset she was. "Kagome that's not what you really want to tell me, now is it?"
Kagome sighed and felt tears start welling, if she couldn't beat someone up she needed to cry. "Mom I need a hug."
Her mother reached out and Kagome fell willingly into her arms. Crying she let her anger and fear out, soon she calmed and her mother asked her again. "Now what's really got you so upset?"
"Ichigo's friends came but they wanted to test his identity, they put swords to his throat from every side and Ichigo told me not to help him, I had to sit there useless while they questioned him!"
"Is that all?" Her mother favored her with a knowing look.
Kagome felt something crumble and tears started down her face again. "He's gonna leave."
Her mother pulled her close again. "Kagome you knew he probably would have to from the beginning. At least this time he lives in the right time, he can call you and you him. He's not the sort of boy to forget what you did for him. I wouldn't be surprised if for winter break he asked you to come and meet his normal friends."
Kagome pulled away and wiped at her tears. "I know.. I know mom... but... we just clicked. I hadn't realized how much I missed..." Kagome wasn't sure how to phase it but her mother picked up the slack.
"A friend who would have your back? Someone you could fight with not just for?"
Kagome nodded, all applied. But knew she needed to say it out loud. "Not to mention polite and appreciative, and unconventionally handsome."
Her mother smirked, but said nothing letting her go on.
"Protective, kind but tough. Strong, and..." Kagome sighed, she was in love with him. "I'm gonna go get changed."
Her mother chuckled but called after her as she left the small shop. "He cares about you too you know."
Kagome did know, but that didn't mean she could ask him to stay. He had family and like her mother said, they would be able to talk to each other.
It took another hour before Ichigo's family showed up, Souta and Grandpa had made Ichigo do most of the work but they were eating in the living room where there was room for everyone rather then the kitchen. But to make the living room look nice had taken some rearranging.
Kagome had to admit her first impression of Ichigo's family was how-the-hell-is-that-Ichigo's-father? The man tried to greet Ichigo by punching him in the nose. But Ichigo seemed to have been expecting it because he dodged and tripped his father before greeting his sisters. Twins likeable, but totally different in looks and personality. One was trying to play it cool; the slight wet gleam to her eyes gave it away, but considering her twin was hugging their brother and bawling her eyes out it wasn't too bad a reaction.
Ichigo introduced his family to hers and Kagome tried to lock the twin's names down, dark hair Karin, the one with hair two shades lighter then Ichigo's was Yuzu. Yuzu was the sensitive one and Karin so far had butted heads with her brother over soccer teams. So she was the one most like Ichigo.
Kagome watched and lightly chatted with Ichigo's family over the next half an hour and by the end of it she wanted to throw Isshin out the door. He was really annoying. Not once did he seem to care or show any sign caring about what his son had been doing for the last nine months. Kagome and her family had agreed to be mum on how long he'd stayed with them so his sisters didn't know he'd been homeless for most of the time he was gone. But his father? She was figuring Ichigo took after his mom.
Isshin had waxed poetically about how pretty she was and how Ichigo took after his father, never mind she was blotchy purple-blue with touches of green. And had bandages half way up her arms. Karin had asked on the sly if she got the bruises and the bandages helping her dumb brother. Kagome had answered with a positive and Karin hadn't asked more just nodded and went back to arguing with Souta.
Finally fed up with the annoying man twirling around her and messing with her mother's concentration while cooking she stuck her foot out and didn't reacted at all when he tripped over her foot and knocked himself out on the TV table. Tucking her foot back under her she blinked innocently when all eyes turned to her after checking on the unconscious man laying on the floor. Kagome wasn't worried Ichigo had already hit him hard enough to knock him out twice without effecting him and seemed to have broken his nose once.
Karin smirked at her and Ichigo gave her a quick smirk before going back to talking to Yuzu, who was looking between Ichigo and her with questioning eyes. The relative silence was pleasant to her ears.
Then her mother announced dinner was done and just like that Isshin Kurosaki was up and moving to help her bring everything out to the living room. After the blessing everyone was digging in and soon all the Kurosaki's save Ichigo were exclaiming over her mother's cooking, Yuzu wanted lessons, Karin was asking if she could move in and teasing Ichigo about having stayed just for the food, Isshin was clearly teasing her mother about moving back home to his home. Ichigo just looked content to know his family was safe and sound.
Then the dinner was over Ichigo's family was leaving for the hotel promising to be back in the morning to pick Ichigo up. Watching Ichigo pick up Kagome knew this probably her best moment to say good bye.
"Yes?" he turned to her.
"I'm gonna miss you."
His face turned serious. "I'm going to miss you too Kagome. I can't believe I've only lived here for a few days more then two weeks."
Kagome tried to grin. "Neither can I."
Ichigo looked at his feet and then back to her determination coloring his eyes dark. "Kagome I might be loosing my powers, I doubt I'll be able to see anything in a few more days but if you ever need help I'll come. I'll help. I owe you everything. Tonight, tomorrow, yesterday."
Kagome nodded, he was the type to remember a debt, the odds were good however she wouldn't ever have a reason to call it due. Time traveling then this, yep that was enough adventures for a life time. "Same, if you ever need help call me. Speaking of which what's your number, that way we can talk."
Ichigo nodded and gave her the number and she knew both of them were thinking it wouldn't be the same.
August 6th 9:17 a.m. Ichigo
Kagome had hugged him goodbye. He looked about the train for the fifth or sixth time. He couldn't believe he was going home. Karakura town. He didn't have to wear his hood up and avoid the bright light and windows. He could sit out in the open like everyone else. He could talk to his friends and they would hear his words and not Aizen.
This was surreal.
Even when he'd dared to dream about being free this wasn't what it felt like. It had been a dream come true, he'd been happy and smiling and thrilled, his life could go on again. But instead he felt a sense of loss. He wasn't going to get to see Kagome, or the god tree, or work in the shrine. It was going to be school, answering questions, studying.
He almost didn't want to leave.
"So Ichigo, what are your feelings for this girl Kagome?" Karin was watching him closely as was Yuzu and his father.
He flushed trying to find words but they knew from his flush alone.
August 7th 8:46 p.m. Kagome
Kagome was sitting in her room, she had just gotten off the phone with Eri planning a movie day at her house in three days. Kagome was hoping the bruising would have faded but wasn't holding her breath, she still was sore and she'd still have the burns. She had already thought up a cover story. One of the shelves in one of the storage sheds fell bruising her and one jar burned her hands.
But she had been almost sick with worry today, Souta had teased her and her mother had told her to call, but she hadn't and now she wished she had. She was worried about Ichigo, his friends could have changed their minds. Of course, he could have been hit by a car or run over my a train. Her worries were ridiculous but she worried anyway. After spending everyday with Ichigo for weeks this sudden change felt like a new wound. It hurt. She missed him. And it hadn't even been two days.
Flopping back on the bed she regretted the action because her shoulders and back were still sore. She needed to adjust, she could still talk to him and he wasn't in trouble or on the run, he'd just gone home.
August 8th 12:43 p.m. Ichigo
Ichigo had spent the morning and most of the day before doing catch up school work. So far it seemed like Kagome lending him her books had really paid off, but his head was starting to hurt, and he had more to do after lunch. Chad, Tatsuki, Orihime and Ishida had come to visit. To his surprise Orihime and Ishida were dating, which was great; maybe Orihime wouldn't moon after him so much now. But it meant things weren't as comfortable between them as before, not to mention with his being on the run he'd never caught Tatsuki up himself so she had some words with him about that. He'd missed his friends while on the run, missed school, missed home, missed his sisters, and in his crazier moments missed his dad. But now that he had all that back, save his powers he could only hear hollows now, not even see them.
He missed Kagome, he missed the food her and her mom would feed him, he missed Souta, he really missed Kagome, he even missed Grandfather. And slaving away for him.
Standing between his friends as they chatted about their part time jobs, not that he had one at the moment - not a month before his only way of making money was to pick a pocket. He found himself torn, this was his old life, powers had been a big part of it. His friends that he'd made because of the powers were an equal part of it, the gangs, every familiar corner. He knew it was his past, and oddly he wanted to keep it there. He'd had a chance to say good bye put his foot in the door and take one last look. But he found what he wanted now was shorter then him, feisty, brown-eyed with black hair.
"So Ichigo you told us it was the Hogyoku in your chest that made you seem to be Aizen and you said it was destroyed freeing you. But the rest was surprisingly free of details." Ichigo glanced at Ishida and figured the other boy had asked not because he was curious but because he had been distant.
Tilting his head back, he let his mind wander as he answered: "I met a girl, Kagome. A shrine keeper's granddaughter and a powerful priestess of her own right. She saw the Hogyoku and thought it was something she had beaten once. She chased me half a city over before cornering me and offering to remove it. As it was in my chest and it kept attacking her you can see the problem. In the end someone, I don't remember who had cut my chest wide open and she realized that was her chance to remove it. In doing so she killed it. We recovered, convinced the captains and Renji not to kill us and I came back here. Not to much else to the story."
His friends were all giving him strange looks.
Orihime was fiddling with the wrapper from her lunch. Ishida was watching her. Tatsuki was staring at him, and Chad looked a little sad. "No really, what?"
Tatsuki spoke, "You've really changed."
Ichigo shrugged. "I was on the run for months here, and I was alone and every time someone who knew me saw me they tried to kill me and the normal person ran away screaming. You would change too."
Chad added his part here, "No Ichigo, it's not that. You're more at peace now. You seem... less driven? Less angry, something has calmed you."
Ichigo felt his lips twitch, Kagome a calming influence on him? It sounded silly because it seemed like she was always trying to comfortable him or calm him down, or smack him for something wasn't his fault. She really did things that reminded him of Tatsuki and Rukia but was much softer than them. Not that she couldn't fight but... Nodding he glanced at his watch, he needed to be getting back for his tests. "I might be, but it's hard to be angry after avoiding fights for so long. Maybe I've learned when to backdown."
Walking away he knew he'd lied. He wasn't any less angry in the dark corners of his soul, if anything the dark shadows had grown, but he had seen the light.
August 9th 6:23 p.m. Ichigo
Ichigo had been hoping Kagome would call today, they had exchanged phone numbers but so far she hadn't. He wondered if she was trying to give him time to settle back in, or if it was more along the lines of she had been recovering, or even if was because she didn't miss him like he missed her. He had to admit to himself that seemed most likely, he was the one who'd had to depend on her, he'd been the weakling. Not the sort of guy girls' go for. But he could hope. He knew normal boring guys weren't to her taste nor was persistence. Her avoidance of Hojo drove that home. He'd seen him at the festival and despite hearing the boy looking for her it always seemed Kagome was where he wasn't... strangely enough.
He set his book down and stared at the phone sitting innocently on the base. He could call her. He really could, he had her number and everything.
But he wouldn't, if she had any reason not to call him he didn't want to... to face the fact he was bothering her. It stood to reason that from her record with saving people she had something of a history for attracting men who would chase her without their interest being returned and he didn't want to join the line. Yuzu shouted that dinner was done and he moved his feet from the coffee table, there was always tomorrow to hear from her.
August 10th 8:02 p.m. Kagome
Kagome stared at the phone; she was sitting in the living room with her brother, pretending to watch the newest Naruto movie while really waiting for the phone to ring. She had never missed Inuyasha like this, she had worried for him, like when she had been trapped on this side of the well, but half the problem was she knew he was injured and facing dangerous odds. This time she had every reason to believe Ichigo was fine, more then even. He was home, with his friends and family. Friends and family he was willing to die for. But she found she selfishly wanted him with her.
If she thought her mother could stand it she would have asked to switch schools so she could go to him. But after her adventures through the well she felt she didn't have the right to ask. She had missed a year of school and many family moments. Asking to miss more because she was in love with a boy was cruel, for college maybe but she had most of a school year and another full year of school before that. One year and if she felt the same she could chase him down. Ichigo had said something about visiting and she was going to call him tomorrow for sure. She would. The fight on screen caught her attention.
August 11th 6:10 p.m. Ichigo
Ichigo looked up from his books at the first ring of the phone. He didn't deny he hoped it was Kagome. It had been five days and each one was surprisingly painful, she had been in his life for over three weeks by now, and only two and half of that with him. By all rights he shouldn't miss her this much.
Yuzu shouted it was Kagome.
He was up in a flash and out of his room, down the hall, crashing down the stairs. Then he reached Yuzu, who was holding the phone for him, amusement written on her face. Taking it he tried to steady his breathing. "Hi Kagome."
"Hi Ichigo." He suddenly noticed his sister was still standing next to him listening, waving a hand he tried to shoo her away but her smile only grew wider. Realizing she wanted to listen, he knew; if she was curious his dad would be a pain so he headed back to his room. She pouted at him but he knew she wouldn't follow. "So how have things at the shrine been?"
"Good, Hojo came and pestered me again, I swear that brat is so annoying! Why can't he take a hint or a dozen of them!"
Chuckling he shook his head, it was funny if only because the boy in question was older than them but it was even funnier that it fit. He was a brat.
"So how about you?"
He told her about his tests, about how his friends had changed, how he was happy Orihime was dating Ishida, mildly comparing her to Hojo. Talking about how they had told him he'd changed, how he hadn't told them or his family anything about being on the run. How he'd been amused by the punks that normally bothered him just running away after he glared them into submission. They had fallen into old habits of words, feelings and thoughts just being shared.
It was a shock to have Yuzu yell for him again, telling him it was dinner and finding out they had talked for more then an hour. "So dinner's done, I need to go. Talk to you again?"
"Yeah that'd be good. The thirteenth?"
He grinned into the phone he wasn't the only one who had missed talking. "Yeah talk to about the same time alright?"
"Goodnight." He heard the click as she hung up and he pulled the phone away from his ear, the warm glow talking to her had given him fading away. Pressing the end button he headed down stairs and put the phone back on the hook, sidestepping his father. Ignoring the bang as his father smashed into the wall he noticed Yuzu was spoiling him. Looking to her he noted the eager look.
"Looks really good Yuzu, thanks." He patted her on the head while going to his seat. That was something his sisters had commented on, he was more willing to be friendly and touch them. He had told them it was kinda hard not to get use to being touchy with the Higurashis, Kagome and her mother always patting your hand or head. Hugs were normal, Souta wanted to wrestle even if he didn't win, grandpa slapping sutras on you.
By contrast his family had his dad. If he was being touched by his dad it was: A bring attacked, or B being really-really disturbing or even more rarely taking care him when he was sick. So touching before the Higurashis was not something he had enjoyed. It had been different when his mother was alive, she had always ruffed his hair, or given him hugs or cleaned his face, but his dad had only really hugged his sisters. He hadn't minded because his mother had once told him his father wanted him to be a man, but she wanted him to be her boy.
Eating he found himself thinking about Kagome and how just hearing her voice made him happy.
August 12th 12:03 p.m. Ichigo
Today was Ichigo's last day of catch up testing, and he found himself in good spirits after talking to Kagome the night before, even if not talking to her made him miss her that much more. Chad had joined him for lunch and his friend could see the difference in his mood. Telling Chad more about Kagome he found his friend eyeing him in a considering manner.
Finally his friend asked what was on his mind. "Ichigo if she's that great, if you care for her that much why are you here?"
Ichigo opened his mouth to answer but paused to think about it, everyone now knew he was alive and well, his powers were almost gone. He wasn't sure if he could still hear hollows or not, there wasn't anything he could do to protect everyone from hollows. He had said this was his past. Powers, adventures... put it that way and why was he still here? "I'm not sure Chad. I think I still feel like I owe everyone here something."
His friend and almost brother looked up considering the clouds. "Ichigo I think what you feel is you want the missing time back. You want something to confirm that's over. But I think what you're really searching for is back in Tokyo."
He looked at his friend sharply, but stopped the reflexive denial. His friend hadn't said he was looking for Kagome, or a fight or anything. Just that maybe he would feel better going back rather then staying. "If I do that Chad, I won't have your back."
His friend turned back to him and smiled and flexed his arms. "Ichigo you've given me something else. My will to protect, the power to do so. You may not be here, but you'd still have my back."
"Maybe you're right."
August 13th 8:01 p.m. Kagome
Kagome though about the conversation she'd had with Ichigo. They had talked like they had before he left, and she was as always, struck by easy it was. Her friends had to drag stuff out of her, even Sango who had been closer to her then her own mother had to hint at things before she'd speak freely. With Ichigo she just talked. Silly stories about her time through the well, the not so silly ones, the times at school, how Hojo drove her up the wall. Just things in her head that she had always wanted to tell someone but stuff so minor she never could bring up to others.
All of it. The warm feeling in her chest just hearing his voice gave her, the butterflies his body gave her and the easy trust they had made her know she was in love with him. But she wasn't sure he felt the same. He trusted her, that much was clear but he trusted his friends too.
August 14th 10:49 a.m. Ichigo
Ichigo scowled at his bedroom wall, blankly. What Chad had said the day before was bothering him. He had felt Karakura was his past, but could he really just leave? Could he just go back to Tokyo with every intent of staying and asking Kagome to go out with him? Was it right to leave his sisters alone? Sure they had survived the last several months, but did he want to willingly leave them?
He let the book he'd been trying to read drop on his chest while he ran a hand over his eyes.
Kagome or his sisters was how it was starting to feel, but he was pretty sure that wasn't how it really was. Karin was the one with powers now and Yuzu was her twin. Tokyo was only a few hours by train away and he could come back for the winter and spring breaks and his family could come out for the summer break.
It could work, but was it worth it to him?
August 15th 5:51 p.m.
Ichigo dialed the phone, for the first time he was the one calling Kagome, he was a little worried it was too early and she'd be out with the friends she'd avoided for his sake, but he didn't want to wait any longer to hear her voice. The phone was picked up and he recognized grandfather speaking. "Grandpa I'd like to talk to Kagome."
He heard the old man shout for Kagome and the some background noise later her voice came to him over the phone. Unconsciously he exhaled, hearing her voice was good. Talking to her was great but he still missed her. He wanted to watch her hands narrate her stories and watch her dark eyes flash with humor or anger as she told him more of her adventures or even just her day. He didn't want to wait till college to go back to Tokyo.
August 16th 7:15 p.m.
Ichigo glanced around the table, his sisters were eating quietly and his dad was busy reading something from work, he thought it was some new medical study but wasn't sure. But he had decided he wanted to leave Karakura and go back to Tokyo yesterday, if that was going to happen it would take time to switch schools. He needed to talk about it now. "Yuzu, Karin, Goat-face. We need to talk."
Everyone looked at him, his dad set the papers down and with a serious look said; "You want to go back to Tokyo."
Ichigo was partially surprised but knew it made sense they could guess what he wanted to talk about. "Yes."
His father's serious look disappeared and the goofy crazy persona he knew better was back. Isshin leaped from his chair and tried to grab him in a head lock while shouting about how he took after his father with the ladies and how he just wanted to go to Tokyo to get out from under his father's watchful eyes to have sex with his girl. It was brief struggle but he pinned his father, twisting his arms brutally behind his back Ichigo ground out that he didn't want to hear his father say anything like that about Kagome ever again. That was when his sisters' more reasonable comments could be heard.
"Ichigo-nii what about us?" Yuzu asked tearfully.
He sighed but tightened his grip on his father. "Yuzu I love you and Karin but I want to go back to Tokyo. I'd visit for winter break and spring break and you come out for summer break. But I don't belong here. Not any more."
Karin spoke up, "It's about this Kagome isn't it?"
Ichigo held in a groan, and kicked his struggling father in side, even as he sat on him. "Karin the answer is yes. It's about Kagome. I don't know if you realize it, but if not for her I wouldn't be here. You would still think I had died and Aizen was on the loose. She faced Shinigami captains for me, and her powers while totally different from yours are about as strong as yours. She almost died for me. I owe her a lot. And I miss her. I can call and we'd see each other, but I don't fit here anymore."
Karin nodded slowly, while Yuzu wiped at her tears.
Ichigo refocused on his dad, lifting his face off the floor enough so he could talk he asked carefully. "So, are you going to bring up sex and Kagome in the same sentence again?"
"No my son, it speaks well of you that you would defend your lady's honor so violently! Why it reminds me of the time..."
Ichigo shoved his face back into the floor, to stop him from going off about his mother and their courtship. Lifting him back up again he asked calmly. "Now, are you going to help me surprise her?"
"Of course, my son, and I'll try to convince Kagome's mother to allow you a betrothal!"
He slammed his father's head into the floor. "Idiot! Who wants to be betrothed?! Goat-face don't you dare!"
August 19th 9:00 p.m.
It had been a busy three days getting ready to move to Tokyo but Ichigo was pleased, he had a few tests to take in Tokyo to make it into Kagome's class but his teachers here had been planning to let him stay in his old class. Because his grades had been good enough - not his normal standard but good enough to stay in the same class. Kagome's school was willing to let him transfer because of his decent grades, it was just which class he'd be in.
He was also pleased because despite having talked to Kagome twice she still had no clue he was coming back. His father had talked to both Mrs. Higurashi and Grandfather in secret about him moving back, his dad would pay for any schooling stuff and a small fee for his food and other living expenses but other wise he was back in the office at the Shrine.
He looked about his room, everything was packed up save the furniture. His clothes, his books, his pictures and posters werein boxes. Tomorrow's clothes were laid out and his family had plans to spend the next two days in Tokyo with him. His friends had already said their good byes. Bittersweet though it was Ichigo couldn't help but feel like it was a healing wound. He was almost free of the pain even if he was left with a mark afterwards.
August 20th 1:09 p.m. Kagome
Kagome walked up the last few steps of the shrine, her hands were full of groceries but in spite of that she didn't rush on into the house. She hadn't really realized before Ichigo just how lonely she was. But the last two weeks had driven the point home. She had been longing for someone who knew what violence was. After finding him, she let him leave without one word; not about how she felt, not one thing. It would be stupid if she didn't know she was in love with him, but she wasn't sure about his feelings. He was loyal and giving, and forgiving. But knowing this about him meant she couldn't be sure there was anything other then gratitude and friendship.
Turning back she looked over the city feeling old, would her feelings last till she could join him at his chosen college? She had thought she was in love with Inuyasha. She had thought her feelings for him would last a life time, but things between her and Ichigo were so different. Ichigo was everything she loved about Inuyasha and more. He had never looked down on her and never said any of the horrible things Inuyasha had. Ichigo looked at her, and all he saw was her. She closed her eyes. She missed him, talking on the phone wasn't the same. Her eyes fluttered up and she took a deep breath, just because she was feeling melancholy didn't mean she had to upset her family. Pasting a soft smile on her lips she focused on trying to find the words to make her trip to the store sound funny, Hojo's 'chance' encounter with her had been a bit worrisome, but it could easily sound funny.
Turning back to the shrine her breath caught seeing the boy standing a few feet behind her. "Ichigo?"
The boy smirked at her, "Hey, surprise!"
Kagome grinned, the false smile falling away. "I am surprised. What are you doing here?"
His face became serious, and a bit nervous. "Well it's a funny story really, but the ending is I'm switching schools and moving here to the shrine. If you want me to?"
Kagome knew she was scaring him but the pounding of her heart, the feeling of hope welling up held her still. "You mean you're moving here away from all your friends and family?"
Ichigo looked her in the eye, his normal scowl gone; replaced by a certain hopeful stillness, his mouth was just a line across his face. A sure sign he was afraid. "Not all of them."
The hope turned with a surge towards wild happiness, he had called them at best family and at worst friends good enough he wanted to leave everything behind for the chance to come back to them. The plastic bags slid from her numb fingers and she barely noticed taking a few steps closer. Until she was just out of arms reach of him, she had to ask which it was. "So what is the part of the story you skipped that was the biggest reason you came back?"
Ichigo's lips quirked, but the adams apple in his throat bobbed as he swallowed nervously. "Well I suppose the real answer is you. I missed you, talking on the phone wasn't good enough, I didn't want to wait for vacation time. I wasn't willing to wait until college."
Kagome felt a beamingly bright smile break out across her face, but she wasn't done with him yet. This time she wanted words, a confirmed set of guidelines. "Does that mean you're saying you like me?"
Kagome half cursed the last second cowardice, she could live with like even if she felt more strongly, he was moving; if he liked her enough to move it wasn't a minor like.
Ichigo slowly shook his head as he took a hesitant step forward bringing her within arms reach. "No, I think like isn't the word, I know I more than like you."
For a second it felt like she was going to explode with happiness, he said it was more then like! She leaped forward mashing her chest to his; while wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him down enough to kiss him. When he'd kissed her before she had been so surprised she hadn't noticed how soft his lips were or how his breath tasted so much sweeter then Inuyasha's, he was sweeter then Inuyasha. His arms crept around her back, pulling her closer and lifting her higher.
She began to feel light headed but knew she wasn't ready to pull away just yet, running a hand through the vibrant hair she liked so much she opened her eyes unaware she had closed them. His eyes were open and on her. He'd been watching her as they kissed. Air became more than a pleasant need, she pulled away. Kagome gasped for air pleased by the happy look in his eyes even if he looked surprised she'd pounced on him. "I more then like you too. I'm glad you're staying. I didn't think I had the right to ask mom to let me go again."
Ichigo grinned a slightly silly smile. "You were thinking about moving to Karakura?"
Kagome knew her blush probably matched his. "I thought about moving a lot. I missed seeing you. Talking over the phone wasn't good enough."
Ichigo turned a brighter red and for a second silence hung in between them but Kagome wanted to confirm what had just happened. "You are going to ask me out, right?"
Ichigo snorted, then with an over done flourish he bowed. "So brave priestess... be my girlfriend?"
Kagome giggled, he'd never been so silly before. She wasn't the only one high on happiness. "Of course brave... ex-shinigami."
Now he was laughing at her.
"Shut up. You started it." With a huff she remembered the groceries she had been carrying. Her mom had known Ichigo was coming that was what the extra food was for. "Help me carry this in."
He walked over and while picking up the food add one thing. "This is where I tell you the mad-man that fathered me is here until tomorrow afternoon."
Kagome groaned. A happy smile crept across her lips, because even if she didn't think much of Ichigo's father at least if he was around to annoy her Ichigo would be too. Carrying her two bags, Ichigo handled the other two. Kagome knew if Ichigo was going to hang around she was going to keep him.
Now for some boring general information. I don't plan on writing a sequel but if it happens you guys will be the first to know. Now I have been asked who the Shinigami in Kagome's family tree was but I figured it was some fourth or fifth seat who got sent to the real world and stayed then died fighting a hollow. What you really should have asked is who was the half Shinigami half human. But I'm sure those up to date can guess. But thanks all of you who had read and reviewed and thanks to those who had just read it. I'm glad so many of you liked this story.