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The Continuity of Time

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Kagome sat on her bed, pulling on her socks. She smiled sadly, remembering how Shippou had once asked why she was wearing such strange outfits. Kagome shook her head when she thought about the explanation the kit had got.

"It's pretty comfy, you know. And it reminds me of home." She never told him that it also helped her in her quest to divert the strange looks people were sending Inuyasha's way. With her in modern clothes he wasn't the most bizarre member of their group.

She had never told anyone how much she loved the guy, how much she was willing to do for him.

And now, with the well sealed for past two years - and probably forever - she never would have a chance.

That thought wiped the smile off of her face and froze her expression in a indifferent mask she was showing the world most of the time. Oh, she was still laughing and having fun, spending time with her family and friends, but she always felt... Incomplete, lacking something...

No one knew (but she guessed her family suspected) what it was she longed for. The only thing the modern world lacked - the red-clad arrogant hanyou with temper shorter than concentration span of a kennel of puppies. And ears as cute as the said kennel.

Once she had been a warrior miko, having adventures in the past, having unlikely friends, finding untold wonders and doing something that felt so... So right, so meaningful.

After that sitting for eight hours in a room and listening to some boring lecture on a thing that never mattered to her and wouldn't be useful in her adult life sounded even more dull than it was to a regular teenager.

So Kagome was adding things that really interested her to her after school schedule - it was not only keeping her busy, but also helped to fend off the depression. She was a member of an archery club, she was a volunteer in an animal shelter, helping to tame caught dogs and train them.

For some reason she was pretty good with dogs, reading their body language as if they could speak. She even heard others at the shelter calling her half-teasingly a Dog Whisperer after the famous dog trainer from USA.

Her friends knew that although she enjoyed her archery club activities and the work at the shelter she had also a more bizarre hobby - she was always looking out for youkai - both urban legends passed by gossiping teens and found on the internet and old tales. Her grandfather was most pleased to finally have her attention when he was in his storyteller mode. She was training her powers to the limited extent of not having a real guide.

Her future was pretty clear for her. She was going to graduate and then inherit the shrine. Her mom had tried to encourage her to go to college, but she had told her that she'd rather not, so all mom's savings were put away for Souta, since he was already planning to attend Tokyo University.

Despite being more mature than her three school friends Kagome was still enjoying their company quite often - it had actually been Ayumi who had dragged her to work at the shelter. They were a giggly bunch, but they were loyal and they knew how to make Kagome smile and forget about her sadness and longing for a short while. They also weren't trying to hook her up with someone anymore, which was a blessing.

Because who could be better for her than that annoying, hot-tempered man who had risked his life countless time to save her from harm? Who was better than that kind, gentle-handed man who always used arrogance and insults as his shield while clawing his way through the life of a social outcast? Who could understand her better than the man who had been there for her all the way through their crazy quest? Who had called her a clumsy wench with the most tender look in his face? Who had battled for three days and nights just to be at her side? How could a kiss with a guy be even remotely as thrilling as the kisses she had shared with him, his fangs grazing her lips? What human could measure up to the man who had been her anchor for thick and thin, balancing her out so perfectly?

Kagome finished dressing and reached to her nightstand, picking up a pendant. It was a little trinket, made of copper and not impressive at first sight. No one could suspect it had been created by Totosai. With a flick of a finger Kagome opened the oval-shaped locket and smiled softly, blinking away moisture from her eyes.

She remembered finding it two years prior, that dreadful week after returning home and realizing the well was sealed. She had ran to her room after yet another attempt at going back, crying. She had jumped on her bed and threw her pillow in a helpless anger.

Just to reveal this little thing under it, clearly left by a shy hanyou some time earlier. Kagome often looked at it. Inside the locket were no photos, but Shippou's drawings of them all together, made in crayons and Kagome couldn't help but smile. One picture was of Sango and Miroku, both smiling kindly, as if encouraging her to believe in herself and be strong. On the other side were Kirara and Shippou sitting on Inuyasha's shoulders. The kit was mimicking the famous scowl of his hanyou companion while Kirara was winking. Kagome was always amazed how Shippou had managed to capture everyone's inner self in those little pictures. Sometimes she wondered what Inuyasha had promised him in exchange for his drawings.

Kagome closed the locket and put it around her neck before squaring her shoulders and walking out of her room to meet with her three friends.

Two hours and a mall raid later Kagome was walking down the street with Eri, Yuka and Ayumi, talking and looking for a small restaurant to eat. Since Eri became an anti fast food person they were much harder time to find a place to grab a bite, but it was always fun to search for a restaurant with home made meals. It wasn't so hard as one could think, there were multiple places offering fresh ramen and a variety of other foods, but it was hard to find one that was not crowded most of the time and still having decent food and prices. They had that figured out in the areas they were usually visiting, but this was quite away from their homes.

Alas, Eri found one and soon they were sitting around the table, waiting for their food and letting their feet rest. Tasty scents filled the air and Kagome couldn't help but sigh happily. The place had enough space to fit like ten tables in the main room. Most was empty, but there were some customers they could peek at and...

Kagome froze when she saw that man.

He was sitting with his back towards them by the table nearest to the counter. His long hair was gathered in a ponytail and... It was luscious silver shining in the dim light in the room. He had a scarf tied around his head in a way that looked prey cool and could hide ears sticking from his head in places where no human had ears. He was dressed in a shirt that wasn't that deep crimson red of a fire rat, but was more deep in color, with a name of some American band printed across the back,

She blinked a few times, but he didn't disappear. Kagome ignored her friends' stares, merely mumbled she was going to be back in a minute. Was it...? Could it be...? After so long? Her heart ached and she wanted to run to him and embrace him, cry in his shoulder and call him an idiot for not coming to her sooner.

But what if it was just a random guy eating his lunch and minding his business? What if it was just imagination tricking her?

Her legs felt like stones and at the same times seemed to be weak like noodles, she was walking carefully, not wanting to trip over anything when she was making her way towards the man. The room seemed to be miles long, she felt she wouldn't reach him... She felt waves of heat and cold flooding her, her emotions swirling from hope to fear, from longing to... She bit her bottom lip when she saw the man putting away his chopstick and putting a few bills in the envelope as a payment.

Suddenly she realized she was standing right behind him. She swallowed the lump in her throat and raised a hand. What was she supposed to do? Why haven't she thought about it before marching across the room? What...? Ah, screw it!

Without pausing to dwell on her choice and giving herself a chance to chicken out of it. She laid her hand on top of his head. She felt the thickly woven fabric of the bandana and silky hair and...

A hand gripped her wrist and pulled her hand away while the man turned to glare at her.

"Oi, what are you...?"

He froze with his mouth open, half-way through his sentence. His golden eyes, those sun-lit eyes were wide open, reflecting the shock, the recognition. How long haven't she seen those eyes? She felt her bottom lip shake as she tried not to burst into tears.

He was there, with her, holding her hand, looking at her. She felt her heart flooded by emotions and desperately tried not to make a scene, not to overreact.

He waited for her. He waited for five centuries. She found him and now...

Then she realized what was the emotion dominant in his face - it was panic.

He remembered her and now he was afraid... But why? What was wrong? Wasn't he happy to see her, after so long? Wasn't he...

Five centuries was a long time. What if he had found a woman to live with and now feared her reaction to finding out he had moved on? Or maybe he wasn't ready to face her yet? After all he never came to the shrine...

The tidal wave of joyful emotions turned into a tsunami of uncertainty, fear and sadness. She was trembling and unable to ask him all the questions she had swirling in her mind.

Meanwhile Inuyasha probably saw the change in her face and the panic in his eyes morphed into a look of determination she knew so well. This was the look he wore while heading into a battle or when he was about to talk about feelings.

"Inu-" she managed to push through her tightened throat the first syllable of his name.

"Shut up," he grumbled and stood up. Now he was even taller than he once had been, but still shorter than Sesshomaru. "And try to be calm."

"H-how?" she choked out. Her heart skipped a beat every time she heard his voice, even if it was also breaking at the same time, seeing how he was rather... Distant. He was still looking at her and after a moment he smiled - a real smile, one of those rare ones he had only for her. This single smile soothed her and she relaxed a bit, returning it shyly.

"Can I... Can I walk you home?" he asked. She realized that his grip on her hand was a gentle one, that he wasn't pulling away. His eyes were intense and it looked like whatever was in his mind, he wasn't going to run away. After a second she nodded.

"I... I came here with friends, let me say but before we go?" she asked and he shrugged.

Keh, whatever. Just make that quick, we don't have all day," he crossed his arms in front of himself and she realized that she missed even his brash and rude words. It was so nostalgic to hear him make his trademark noises that were his answers to practically everything.

Kagome led him by his hand to her waiting (and ogling) friends, trying to convey the message that the man she was leading was off limits. She wondered briefly if they remembered him from their brief meetings.

"Inuyasha!" Ayumi smiled brightly, the other two less excited to see him, but nodding pleasantly.

"Hey," he replied. Kagome realized she had no good excuse and knew that her friends were going to grill her for answers later.

"Where were you?" Eri asked. "Kagome was so miserable and she didn't tell us what happened to you."

"You didn't..." Yuka started. Her friends weren't as bossy as they had once been, but they were still looking out for her.

"I had to travel to the States for college," Inuyasha replied with a shrug. "I couldn't come back until I was finished. Now I want to spend some time with Kagome, so..."

"Uh, yeah," Kagome nodded as she saw her friends smile with understanding. "Sorry, guys..."

"Oh, go already!" Yuka waved a hand at them,

"Just don't do things I wouldn't!" added Eri with a giggle.

"See you soon!" Ayumi waved a hand at Kagome, who was being dragged out of the place by a smirking man.

They walked side by side in silence for a while, until they reached the less crowded part of the town. Kagome was looking at him, wanting to give him time and just happy to be beside him. Finally he glanced at her and gave her a smirk.

"Before you start asking too many questions at once," he started. "I might not be able to answer all of them. There are... things. We don't want to change... stuff. So just don't get pissed when I don't answer."

 

"I wanted to come back, but the well didn't let me," she whispered with a shaky voice and felt his hand squeeze hers. "I missed you, so much..." Her heart ached when she thought about all those failed attempts to open the time portal.

He glanced around the alley they were walking through and gave her a quick, but fierce hug. Funny, but he still smelled like a forest. Kagome held him tightly. half expecting to be woken by an alarm clock. But it wasn't a dream, he was there, the world was finally right.

"Why didn't you come earlier? It was two years since the battle with Naraku," she said when they resumed walking. He had a thoughtful expression on his face and she was now less impatient then before. Now she knew to wait for his answer instead of sitting him. Speaking of... "Where is your rosary?"

"I had to keep my distance from the shrine," he explained vaguely. "The time didn't come yet. And... Well, I don't wear it all the time now. And even if I do there's no spell on it anymore. So don't get any ideas."

She giggled at the glare he sent her way. Two years of pain and sadness were melting in her soul and she felt like she could fly. They left the alley and started to walk down a path crossing a park.

"So, what are you doing? Where do you live?" she asked after a minute of just soaking in his presence.

"I'm the Inu n- Uh, I'm not sure I should tell you," he glanced at her and gave her a small apologetic smirk. "And I live in a place on the outskirts of Tokyo," he added. She frowned up at him.

"Why are you so secretive?" she inquired and he looked away, but didn't let go of the hand he was holding.

"Sorry, Kagome, but there are things I can' tell you, not yet," he murmured. "You already met me and it's bad enough."

"Bad?" Kagome stared at him. "Are you saying you didn't want to meet me? That you didn't plan on..."

Maybe he had waited her to remain a memory from a distant past... Maybe he moved pm and there was no longer a place for her in his life... Maybe he wanted to just be friends... After all they met by accident, he was clearly not in the part of the city she was usually visiting.

She looked up to his concerned face frowning down at her and tried to fight back her tears. She wasn't a teen anymore, she was an adult and she knew assuming things was stupid. She should ask him straightforward and not dramatize about the thoughts in her head.

But she was too afraid to ask.

"Kagome..." A gentle touch of a calloused hand against her cheek brought her back from the dark, angsty musings. Kagome blinked and realized his face was much closer and his big eyes were looking at her lips.

'Is he... going to kiss me? In the middle of a park path? Does it mean he still...'

She was full of uncertainty, worries and hopes, but she knew one thin for sure - she wanted him to kiss her.

"Lord Inuyasha!" Kagome jumped when suddenly she heard a shrill feminine voice. Inuyasha straightened and looked behind her, so she looked back to see who was calling him. A girl in a middle school uniform was running towards them, long black hair tied in a ponytail, heart-shaped face shining with excitement. Kagome looked up to her hanyou, he was tense, observing the girl with narrowed eyes. "Lady Kagome!"

'Uh...?'

"Wait for me here, okay?" Inuyasha let go of her and went to greet the girl. Kagome watched them talk in hushed voices for a moment, not sure what was going on. She didn't know that girl and it looked like she was pretty familiar with Inuyasha and knew her too. What was going on? Finally the girl bowed to him and quickly walked away.

"Who was she?" Kagome asked when Inuyasha returned to her side and took her hand.

"Actually it was a he," he corrected her and when he saw her stunned expression he smirked. "He's a tanuki and it seems he's practicing for his exams. Anyway, he's a friend. Come, let's get you home before it's dark."

Kagome looked after the retreating tanuki and sighed, following Inuyasha. The moment was ruined and she could just hope to get her kiss - and answers - later. She looked at her hanyou, who looked less tense now and decided to ask him another question.

"So it looks like youkai actually live in this time," she half stated, half asked.

"Yeah, but we're hiding from humans. We're not that great in numbers, so it's better to blend in. Most of us transform, dress up as humans or hide," he looked down at her. "Sesshomaru's the head of the council ruling our society now."

"Oh, Sesshomaru's still around?" she smiled. "What about Shippou? I guess he's an adult now..."

"Five tails and four kids," Inuyasha shrugged. "Wait until you meet the vixen that ensnared his heart, she's keeping him pretty busy."

Kagome giggled.

"I'm so happy for him that he has a family now. And five tails, wow," she sighed. "He's going to end a kyubi."

"That's his goal," Inuyasha nodded and probably noticed the longing she felt written on her face, because he squeezed her hand. "You'll meet him. And Sesshomaru too."

"So..." they left the park and were walking down a street leading to her house. She finally worked up her courage to ask him a question she really wanted to get an answer to. "Sesshomaru got his wish and Shippou has a family now... What about you?" They stopped walking again, looking at each other.

She knew it was not likely he was single, that he had been alone for so long, waiting for her. She wouldn't like him to be alone, even if the selfish part of her wanted him to be only hers. He looked down at her with a look clearly showing that he had no idea how to answer. In short words it said 'it's complicated'. Still, Kagome was looking at him expectantly, waiting for him to say something.

"Dog boy!" called someone behind them. "Tracking you down is like trying to grab a. Oh, shit!"

Kagome turned around when she heard another female voice calling Inuyasha by the nickname she had gave him. Who was the person who dared to call her Inuyasha that way?

a woman stood not too far away, panting as if after running. She was dressed in red pants and a white blouse, her black wavy hair swaying on the wind. Her brown eyes were wide in realization and shock.

"Kagome..." Kagome heard Inuyasha's voice as if he was behind a thick glass wall. Her world swayed and swirled and then she fell into darkness, the last thing she saw was the alarmed expression on the face that looked just like hers. She didn't feel when Inuyasha caught her before she hit the ground, nor did she hear the pair talking as they rushed towards the shrine.

Kagome woke in her own bed, looking at the ceiling. 'What an odd dream,' she thought and sat up, closing her eyes and retelling the dream to herself in a silent voice so she wouldn't forget it. After all it was a dream about Inuyasha. It was an odd one usually she dreamed of the well letting her go to the past, not meeting him in her time. But she was going to treasure it as any other, despite it weirdness. When she thought about it she had had a few dreams about meeting him in her time, but they weren't as frequent as the ones where she was back in the past, with all her friends and Inuyasha.

She sighed sadly, remembering the elation and happiness she had felt in her dream. All she wanted was to be with Inuyasha, no matter where, no matter when. She hated to be in the world without him.

Kagome left her bed to write down her dream before the school day started. She had to focus on her studying, the end of the school year was getting close and she knew soon she would have to make decisions regarding her future.

The future without Inuyasha.

Kagome bit her lip and shook her head, willing herself not to think about that. She had to have hope she could go back one day, that the well was going to work again for her. She had to make her dreams come true.

 

Mrs. Higurashi blinked in surprise when she saw Inuyasha and her daughter in the doorway. The hanyou held an unconscious girl in his arms. The girl didn't look hurt, just unconscious.

"Again?" Mrs. Higurashi asked and let them in, Inuyasha immediately walked up the stairs to put Kagome in her bed.

"I'm sorry, mom, it was an accident," Kagome apologized.

"Third time?" her mother raised her eyebrows at the other woman as they made their way up the stairs.

"Yeah. She stumbled upon him when he was having a meal in a restaurant and he hadn't smelled her in time," Kagome explained. "I will do my thing and it'll be fine."

"Not really," Mrs. Higurashi sighed. "I wish we could tell her or at least..."

"We have to make sure that the continuum of the time isn't disrupted," Kagome said firmly, but her expression was sad. She quickly turned away and walked into her old room. "It won't take much longer, mom. Inuyasha?"

Mrs. Higurashi smirked when she entered the room after her and found the hanyou sitting on the edge of the girl's bed, kissing her forehead. He stroked the sleeping Kagome's cheek and stood up, letting the awake Kagome sit in his place.

"We will see again soon," he said to the Kagome of the past, the one five centuries younger than the one sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Just go already, I have to focus," Kagome waved a hand at the pair standing over her.

"Come, Inu-kun, I think I have some ramen in the kitchen," Mrs. Higurashi said when she saw her daughter putting her hands on her daughter's forehead and a gentle pink aura enveloping them both.

A/N: It looked better in my head, but hopefully it was still enjoyable to read.