InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Metamorphosis. ❯ Harsh Realities ( Chapter 9 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter 9~~
~Harsh Realities~

Kagome sat in the doctor's office trying not to fidget as Mrs. Higurashi offered her a compassionate smile.  Clutching her notebook in her hand, she forced a slight grin for her mother's benefit before shifting her gaze to the questions she had written down.  Struggling not to think about the reason for the visit, she sighed and reached for a semblance of inner peace.  It wasn't working.

Dr. Hisaka had been highly recommended in the field of artificial insemination as well as surrogate counseling.  Kagome figured it was probably for the best, and that, if anyone could answer her questions, it would be this woman.

She sighed.  Trying to explain this to InuYasha was nearly impossible.  Never one to listen for long, it hadn't truly surprised her that he had kept interrupting every time she did, and now she couldn't help but feel like she was being a little underhanded even though her conscience assured her that she really had tried to tell him, many times.  The last time . . . She made a face.  The last time she'd tried had been two days ago just after the sakura blossom celebration.

It hadn't surprised her that he'd disappeared shortly after dropping off the last of the village children.  It had pleased her to see the children so happy, so unafraid of InuYasha.  Clamoring around his feet like he was the greatest being on earth, Kagome stood back and watched with a proud smile as InuYasha's embarrassed flush had deepened when the children asked him to play with them.  Grumbling and complaining, he had declined their offers.  Still Kagome hadn't missed the glint in his eyes, the sparkle that told her that he was pleased, even if he didn't show it.

Tracking him down hadn't been too difficult.  The first place she looked for him was exactly the place she figured he'd be.  High in the branches of Goshinboku, she stared for a few moments, watching his slivery hair blow in the breeze, his back straight and arrogant, one foot tucked under him as the other dangled off the branch where he sat, arms folded together, eyes wide and bright.  'He really is something, isn't he?' she mused, leaning against a nearby tree trunk.  It registered in her bemused mind that she had been taught that it was rude to stare.  Apparently that didn't apply because Kagome couldn't drag her eyes off the hanyou at all.  'If I had a camera,' she thought idly, 'would something as beautiful as he is even show up on film?'

"I've been tempted to kill people for staring at me less time than you have," InuYasha remarked in an offhanded way.  Without so much as glancing down at her, he continued to stare off over the forest.  "What do you think I am?  A sideshow freak?"

She blushed, forcing her eyes away, and sighed.  "You know I don't," she answered, unable to keep the hint of hurt out of her tone.  "I just wondered why you left the village so suddenly."

"Keh!" he snorted.  "My job of being the day's entertainment was finished, wasn't it?  By the way, you still owe me, wench."

"So you didn't enjoy yourself at all today?" she countered softly.

"Packing human pups around all day isn't really my idea of fun," he scoffed though his cheeks reddened slightly.

"Oh?" she challenged, pushing away from the tree trunk and slowly stepping closer to Goshinboku.  "Suppose you tell me, then, dog-boy, what your idea of fun is?"

"Keh.  I don't have fucking time for fun."

Kagome shook her head.  "You're impossible, you know that?"

He hopped down from his branch and glowered down at her, hands on hips, scowl in place and somehow unable to hide the faint trace of amusement in the depths of his gaze.  "Well, at least I don't have to resort to batting my eyelashes and begging, 'please, InuYasha, just for me!'" he mocked in a high falsetto as he deliberately gave a demonstration of said eye-batting.

Her eyebrows shot up, disappearing under the thick fringe of her bangs.  "I never said or did that, and you know it!" she countered despite the flush that heated her skin.

"Keh!  Close enough!  You think that you can do that and get away with it?  You can't."

She sighed and shook her head.  "You're really pushing it, pal," she remarked, narrowing her gaze on him.

He wrinkled his nose and rolled his eyes.  "The day I'm scared of a tiny, weak human like you is the day I die, wench."

"Is that so?"

"Keh!"

"Baka," she said with a snort of her own as she whirled around to stomp away.  He caught her and hopped back into the tree again.  "Put me down," she demanded.

"Keh.  Shut up, will you?  I'm trying to think."

"Don't hurt yourself."

"Funny, bitch."

"Glad you thought so, baka."

She gasped as he snaked his arm around her, dragging her against his side as his other hand rose to cover her mouth.  "Finally," he gloated.  "Maybe now you'll be quiet."

"Nnyha?"

"Oi!  That's not quiet."

Kagome tried to pull his hand away.  He didn't budge.  In retaliation, she leaned over and clamped her hands over his eyes.

"You're going to throw off my balance," he warned.  To emphasize his point, he tottered back and forth just enough to make her stomach lurch.  Her hold on his face strengthened.

"Eht oh," she demanded.  The sternness of her order was undermined when she giggled.

"You first."

"Aka."

"Itch."

"I'll ay 'it'."

"You'll be sorry," he warned, meaning clear.  If she said 'it', she'd go down, too.

She heaved a frustrated sigh.  He blinked quickly, his eyelashes tickling her palm.  Her hand twitched as she fought against letting go.  The blinking escalated.

"At's na air," she accused as she jerked her hand away, itching her palm with her free hand.

"Keh!  Will you shut up now?"

Kagome didn't answer as she narrowed her eyes menacingly.  Looking far too pleased with his unfair advantage, InuYasha was positively gloating.  Kagome did the unthinkable: forcing her lips open, she stuck out her tongue and laughed as his expression changed from pleased gloating to shocked incredulity, and he jerked his hand away, wiping his palm on his thigh.  "Kami!  You licked me?"

"Did you think I'd promise to shut up?"

Retreating to lean against the tree trunk, he snorted and kept wiping his hand in an exaggerated show of mock disgust.  "I was hoping.  Should have known you couldn't."

"So what were you up here thinking about?" she asked after her laughter dissipated.

"If it concerned you, I'd tell you," he remarked.

"Is it important?"

"Keh.  You think I'd waste my time thinking about something that wasn't?"

She shrugged.  "I'd tell you if I was thinking about something important . . . like what I'm considering doing for Sango and Miroku."  Stealing a sidelong glance at him, Kagome sighed.  His expression was preoccupied at best, and she had to wonder if he was even hearing her, at all.  "InuYasha . . . I want to tell you about this."

His gaze shifted to meet hers.  "Does it involve me carrying around the villagers' pups again?"

She shook her head.

"Does it involve me at all?"

She shrugged again.  "Not really, but—"

He made a face.  "Then just do it, will you?  Stop dragging your heels if you're going to do something.  What does it matter what I think?  Ain't that what you've told me before?  That it don't matter what anyone else thinks if you think it's right?"

"Sure, but this is different."

He shook his head.   "Nothing's different.  Either it's right or it ain't.  There's never a middle ground."

'Never a middle ground . . .' Kagome thought with a sigh as the intrusion of reality shook her out of her memory.  Was he right?  Were there no such things as the shades of gray that existed in her mind between the sides of the decision she was trying to make?

The door opened to admit a short woman in a white lab coat.  Her long hair was twisted up into a severe knot at the nape of her neck, and she pushed her glasses up her nose as she lifted her friendly brown eyes off the file she carried to smile at both Kagome and her mother.  "Hello.  I'm Dr. Hisaka."

Mrs. Higurashi rose to her feet to shake the doctor's hand.  "I'm so glad you could see us. This is my daughter, Kagome.  She had some questions about becoming a surrogate mother."  Kagome stood and shook the doctor's hand, too, before sitting back down with her notebook clutched to her chest.

The doctor sat down in the empty chair by the lab table and opened the file.  "All right . . . let's see . . ." Studying the file, Dr. Hisaka frowned as she leafed through the papers.  "You're not yet nineteen, Kagome?  Does that mean you're still in school?

Kagome nodded, swallowing hard.  "Yes . . . I'll be done in a few weeks, though.  Does that matter?"

"We'll get to that," Dr. Hisaka assured her with a gentle smile as she looked up from the file and openly assessed Kagome with her friendly gaze.  "Suppose you tell me why you're interested in becoming a surrogate."

"I've got a friend . . . she's had seven miscarriages in the last few years, and . . . I wanted to maybe offer to do this for her and her husband."

"But your friend has been to a specialist, hasn't she?"

Mrs. Higurashi intercepted Kagome's nervous glance and leaned forward to look at the doctor.  "There are special circumstances," she explained.

"I see . . . Well, standard procedure does require that, even if we did make an exception for you age-wise, Kagome, that you'd still be required to undergo quite extensive psychological testing, just to make sure that you do appreciate the entire process, and that you are capable of understanding what it means, both to you as well as to your significant other . . . I'll assume, given your age, that you are not married."

Kagome shook her head.  "Uh, no . . ."

Dr. Hisaka nodded slowly and glanced back at Kagome's medical file.  "Is this correct?  It says that you're not sexually active as yet."

She felt the burning flush before she could stop it and forced herself to nod.  "That's right."

"I see . . . that does present a problem."

"How so?"

Dr. Hisaka arched her eyebrows for a moment and sighed as she leaned back in her chair.  "There's a whole realm of psychological impact that this could have on you.  You'd be, in effect, losing your virginity via fully artificial means.  Can you appreciate what I'm saying?  If your hymen is still intact, it would have to be surgically removed, which isn't difficult, but can be fairly traumatic to the patient.  It would have to be done before any sort of artificial insemination could be attempted.  There have been cases where women were able to conceive without having the hymen removed, but those cases are rare.  I must say, I've never been approached by an inexperienced young woman like you who wanted to do this."

Kagome jerked her head in acknowledgement and managed a weak smile.  "I never thought I'd be asking about it," she confessed.

The doctor stared at her thoughtfully, a slight frown drawing her eyebrows together.  "Forgive me for asking, Kagome, Mrs. Higurashi . . . This isn't about the surrogate fee is it?"

Struggling not to be offended by Dr. Hisaka's frank question, Kagome fought down another surge of heat that flooded her face in indignant color.  "No.  Anyway, my friend wouldn't be able to pay me for this, and I wouldn't take someone's money for a baby."

"I understand.  Was there anything in particular that you wanted to know?"

Drawing a deep breath, Kagome stared at her notebook.  "How, exactly, is it done?"

"We would have you start at home with a cycle predictor kit for a few months, so we could see how regular your ovulation is.  When you're ready then we'd have you come in around your projected ovulation time so we can test you for peak implantation times.  There are two kinds of surrogates.  The first kind we term gestational, which means you simply carry the natural parents' fetus to term.  The other is the traditional surrogate, where your egg and the donor sperm are combined.  In that case, we'd simply perform a procedure called intrauterine insemination, which simply means we inject washed sperm into your uterus directly and let nature take its course.  After two weeks, you should be able to take a regular pregnancy test to see if it worked."

"All right," Kagome murmured as she glanced at her mother.

Mrs. Higurashi cleared her throat.  "Other than the means, the rest of the pregnancy should be like any other?  The same risks involved?"

Dr. Hisaka nodded.  "Yes, but I'll be honest, if I may?  Kagome, because of your age and your status, I doubt we can allow you to do this.  Perhaps in a few years, if you're still interested we could consider you, but going on what information we have here . . . I'm sorry."

Kagome nodded and stood, quickly shaking the doctor's hand before she stumbled into the hallway to wait for her mother.

The ride home on the bus was quiet and somber.  Kagome didn't speak as they walked from the bus stop and up the shrine steps.  Closing out the sounds of the city behind the sanctuary of the shrine doors, Kagome breathed a sigh of relief as she kicked off her shoes and shot her mother a wan smile.  "I guess there really isn't anything I can do, is there?"

Mrs. Higurashi's gentle smile was reassuring to Kagome.  "Does that mean you've given up?"

Kagome shook her head.  "What other choice do I have?  Dr. Hisaka said that I was too young, and I'm not about to go be with someone just to make this easier."

Her mother chuckled as Kagome's cheeks pinked.  "I would hope that wouldn't be your reason for doing that.  In any case, I've never known my daughter to give up just because the simplest route was closed.  That's one of the beautiful things about you, Kagome.  You fight for the things you believe in."

"Thanks, Mama."

"Why don't you go lie down awhile?  I'll wake you when it's time to go."

Kagome nodded as she climbed the stairs to her room.  Since she had to miss school today anyway, her mother had made an appointment for Kagome to see her regular doctor, anyway, since it was time for her physical and annual pelvic examination, anyway.  Making a face as she closed her door behind her, Kagome padded across the floor and flopped down on her bed with a sigh.  She hated having those types of exams, but her mother always insisted.

Rolling over onto her back, Kagome stared at the ceiling with a frown.  'Am I crazy to even consider this?  The doctor had been nice enough but still . . .  I must seem crazy to them, to want to have a baby for someone else.'

'Your friends are your pack.  In a pack, you do whatever you have to so that everyone is taken care of, right?'

Her thoughts became a jumble of memories, of tears and of laughter, of quiet talks about dreams and hopes . . . Sango had told her just before she married Miroku that her one true wish was to start a family, to fill the rest of her life with the joy and laughter that came with rebuilding the family she'd lost before.  The image of Sango's haunted gaze, of the sorrow in her eyes as she held Hideaki's body in her arms . . . the stubborn tears that refused to fall as she stared at the burning funeral bier . . . The memory of Miroku as he struggled not to show his emotions . . . How hard was it, for him to have to be the strong one, the silent one, the one who had to bury his loss so that he could offer Sango the support she so desperately needed?

He had said to Kagome once, after he and Sango had lost the fourth child, that he was suffering the lingering punishment for wishing so often that he would outlive his kazaana.  The mind could do horrible things to a person.  Why was it easier to believe all the terrible things than it was to dare to hope for the good?

Still the nagging voice that whispered to her, the smallest lingering doubt in her mind spoke the last truth, the last obstacle in her desire to do this.  'But to give up your own child, Kagome . . . Could you do it?  Even for them?'

She sighed, draping her forearm over her eyes as she tried in vain to ignore that whisper of reason.  She still couldn't answer that question.  When she could, she'd have her answer.


::0::0::000::0::0::


InuYash a heaved a sigh as he stared into the empty well.  Arms folded atop the ledge with chin in hands, he stared into the blackness below with a scowl, willing it to light up, open, and to see Kagome reemerge on this side of it.  Ears smashed down against his skull, he tried to push aside the feeling of emptiness that always came with her forced absences.  'Don't she know she belongs here?' he thought as he wrinkled his nose.  'Stupid Kagome . . . she ain't allowed to go back unless she asks me, which she didn't or I'd have told her that she couldn't go.  Hell, she was just there for days . . .'

"InuYasha?  Sango wanted me to ask where Kagome is . . ."

Shifting his eyes to the side to glance at the monkey youkai, InuYasha snorted.  "Keh.  She ain't here."

Ichisaru hopped up on the side of the well and peeked over the side.  "Shippou says she always goes home after you make her mad.  Did you make her mad?"

"Fuck!  No!  I didn't do a damn thing, brat, so go away."

Ichisaru ran along the ledge out of reach of the volatile hanyou.  "Miroku says you have a horrible temper . . ."

"Yeah?  So?  What of it?"

Sitting down with his feet dangling into the well opposite InuYasha, Ichisaru shrugged.  "Nothing . . . just that Shippou says Kagome's a saint to put up with your moods."

"Oh, does he?" InuYasha asked as he cracked his knuckles.

"Is Kagome going to be your mate?"

The knuckle cracking stopped instantly as InuYasha's face reddened.  "Wh-What?  No!"

Ichisaru frowned.  "You don't like her?"

"Keh!  Didn't say that," he grumbled as his face darkened a shade.

"She's pretty . . . and she smells nice."

"Drop it, brat, or—"

"Okay, okay!" Ichisaru hurried to say when InuYasha started to rise.  Breathing a sigh of relief when the hanyou sank back down, the monkey youkai turned his head to stare around the clearing.  "InuYasha?"

InuYasha growled slightly and glowered at the talkative youkai.  "What?"

Ichisaru shifted uncomfortably as he stared at his hands.  "Are you sure Master won't come after me again?"

"If he does, I'll sharpen my claws on him," InuYasha replied.

Kagome had told him some of the stories that Shippou had told her about Ichisaru's past.  Apparently after his mother died, the youkai had been taken in by the human, and the human had been kind, at least in the beginning.  After the first month or so, he'd started forcing the youkai child to do his dirty work, stealing, begging, basically using Ichisaru to do whatever it was he could do to make the human's life easier, and if Ichisaru didn't want to do it or if he complained, the human beat on him.  Youkai were strong, sure, but Ichisaru . . . InuYasha snorted.  Ichisaru was smaller than Shippou was when they'd first picked him up.  Monkey youkai weren't known for their physical strength anyway, and that was enough to infuriate InuYasha on the youth's behalf.

"Really?"

"Yeah," InuYasha agreed.  "Don't worry, all right?"

Ichisaru grinned, turning his little head from side to side as his cheeks flushed.  "All right," he agreed.

InuYasha's chin hit the edge of the well as the monkey leaped and landed on his head.  "Ow!  What the hell!  Get off my head!" he snarled as he swiped at the monkey.

Ichisaru giggled and started pushing aside strands of InuYasha's hair.   InuYasha rolled his eyes but gave up trying to catch the youkai.  The monkey tugged on his ears as he continued his examination.

"What do you think you're doing?" InuYasha finally asked as the monkey kept prodding and exploring.

"Why are you so clean?" Ichisaru complained as his tail drooped over InuYasha's face.  InuYasha reached up and flicked the dangling appendage.  Ichisaru screeched and dug his fingers into InuYasha's hair.   "Not one—wait!"

"InuYasha-sama!"

Straightening up, InuYasha grabbed the monkey off his head and held him by the scruff of his neck only to see the youkai had Myouga held fast in his nimble fingers.  "Oi!  Don't eat him!" InuYasha hollered.

Ichisaru frowned but dropped the flea onto the ledge as InuYasha set the child aside.  Ichisaru, mumbling about 'just trying to help,' scampered off toward the forest trail.

"Find anything?"

Myouga straightened his shirt and hopped onto InuYasha's shoulder.  "Yes, yes, I found the cave."

"Good . . . you're not completely useless then, are you?"

"It's seven days due south of here near the sea by the Misty Forest," Myouga answered as he edged closer to InuYasha's neck.

"Suck me, and I feed you to the monkey," InuYasha assured him.

Myouga sighed.  "After all I do for you," he complained.  "Surely just one meal wouldn't hurt you."

"Go suck the kitsune if you're so hungry," InuYasha scoffed.  "Did you find out anything else?"

"There's a barrier over the cave's entrance," Myouga supplied.  "I couldn't get inside."

InuYasha snorted.  "You mean you didn't even try."

"Of course I tried!" Myouga complained.  "What do you think I am?  A coward?"

"You said it, not me."

"InuYasha-sama!  I'm hurt!"

"Anything else?"

Myouga sighed.  "There've been rumors of mysterious deaths . . . men left without souls . . ."

InuYasha nodded as he stood up.  Men without souls . . . mysterious deaths . . . 'Kagome . . .'

"Where are you going?"

"To find this cave.  Wanna come?"

"Oh, look at the time!  I promised a friend I'd meet him . . . Bye!"

InuYasha shook his head as the flea youkai sprang off the side of the well and disappeared.

'I'll go find this cave,' he thought with a scowl, 'but first . . .'

Hopping up on the side of the well, InuYasha dropped inside.

'Keh!  It's not like I want to see Kagome . . . I just need to let her know I'll be gone awhile,' he thought as he was engulfed in the soothing light of the time slip.  Two weeks to get there and back, and if there had been other deaths like the sage's around there . . . InuYasha sighed.  He could be gone for a month . . .

A month.  He made a face.  He hated the idea of leaving her alone that long.  'She'll be safe.  She's smart . . . and she did mention that she's got all those damn exams of hers coming up . . .'  Still, the idea of leaving her alone for so long was one he didn't like at all.

He could smell Kagome the moment his feet hit the ground on her side of the well.  She was close.  Deliberately ignoring the sudden surge of anticipation, he leapt out of the hole and lifted his head to look around.  Climbing the stairs out of the well-house, InuYasha located Kagome right away.  Sitting under Goshinboku with a few books beside her and one open in her lap, she stiffened suddenly and lifted her chin as she turned her head.  She'd known he was there.

Her smile was immediate, genuine, and the way her head tilted to the side was endearing.   Hard pressed not to return the gesture, InuYasha slowly walked toward her, hunkered down beside her.  "I came to tell you I'm leaving for awhile."

Her smile faltered but didn't disappear.  "I see . . . How long will you be gone?

He shrugged.  "Dunno . . . a few weeks . . . a month . . ."

She nodded slowly.  "And you won't tell me why, will you?"

"I have to check into a few things.  Anyway, I figured you have those exams of yours, right?  So you'd be here most of the time . . ."

Again she nodded.  "Probably."

He flinched when he saw the moment of doubt in her gaze as she stared everywhere but at him.  He could almost hear her question, the one she stubbornly refused to ask him out loud: 'InuYasha . . . are you going after Kikyou again?'

"I should go," he said as he quickly shot to his feet.

"InuYasha . . ." He stopped and stared at her, her eyes locking with his as she managed a small smile for him.  "Will you stay for dinner?  I'm sure Mama won't mind."

Against his better judgment, he nodded.  "All right," he agreed, "as long as she ain't making curry."


::0::0::000::0::0::


InuYash a growled in complete frustration as he wondered how severely Kagome would osuwari him if he mangled the bit of plastic in his hands.  "I thought you said this was supposed to be fun," he muttered.

Kagome giggled as she leaned toward him to nudge him with her elbow.  "Stop pausing and let me kick your butt."

"Keh!  In what world, wench?" he shot back.

She giggled as she made her video game character toss his over her shoulder and into a wall.  "In this one, dog-boy."

"This don't count!" he remarked with a wince as he smashed the game control buttons.  Her weak girl character somehow managed to heft his character over her head and smash him down on the ground.  "Damn it."

"I win!" Kagome announced as his character was declared knocked out.  She dropped her controller and rose on her knees, fists high in the air as she celebrated her victory.

InuYasha dropped his controller and scooted away from the television.  "Keh!"

"Don't be a spoiled sport, InuYasha," she told him as he pouted.  "How about a rematch?"

InuYasha snorted.  "I'll pass."

"I'll let you win," she offered, a wicked glint in her eyes.  

He knew she was deliberately goading him.  It didn't do any good.  "Let me?" he echoed incredulously.  "Let me?"

"Yeah, I'll let you since you can't seem to do it on your own."

"Oi!  You'll pay for that, wench," he warned as he scooted back and swiped up his abandoned controller.

"In what world, dog-boy?" she shot back.

"You can't use my words against me," he remarked.

Kagome giggled.

"Oh, good, you're between games, I see."  Both heads turned to stare at Mrs. Higurashi.  She handed each of them bowls of ice cream.  "I thought you could use a snack."

"Thanks, Mama," Kagome said as she dug into hers.

"Thank you," InuYasha mumbled as he inspected the ice cream before he lifted his spoon.  "Why's it blue?" he asked Kagome as he sniffed the cold treat.

"It's blueberry."

Sticking out his tongue dubiously, InuYasha considered the taste of the stuff.  'Not bad,' he allowed grudgingly as he took a bite.  He'd had ice cream before, just not this kind.

He finished off his long before Kagome did.  She giggled as she offered him a bite of hers.  He reached for the spoon.  She pulled it back.  "No way.  You'll never give it back," she remarked as she offered him the bite again.  He made a face but let her feed him.  "So where are you going, anyway?" she asked as she carefully scooped up a small bite for herself.

"Told you.  I need to check something out.  That's all."

"And you really can't tell me?"

He shrugged.  "It's not that important."

"If that were true, you'd tell me what it was," she said, handing him the rest of her ice cream.  

"You're too nosey for your own good," he said with a snort he finished it off.

"And you're avoiding the question," she said as she stood to take the bowls to the kitchen.  

He waited until she was gone before he turned off the video game, hoping that she'd forget about it by the time she came back.   That stupid plastic beast was enough to make him gnash his teeth in frustration.  The last thing he wanted to do was play that thing again.

When she came back to the living room and knelt beside him, her demeanor had changed.  Serious and thoughtful, Kagome sighed as she twisted her fingers together in her lap.  Teeth gnawing on her bottom lip, the sudden idea of what it would be like to kiss those lips passed through InuYasha's head and wouldn't leave him alone.

"I was researching possible reasons that Sango keeps miscarrying," she said as she stared at her hands.  "There's really nothing to explain it without her being able to see a doctor, and since she can't get through the well . . ."

Still preoccupied with staring at her mouth, InuYasha barely registered exactly what she had said.  "But you'll do what you can to help."

"Well, that's the thing  . . . there is something I can do," she admitted as her cheeks pinked in a pretty blush.

Raising his hand to touch her face, he jerked back when Souta breezed into the living room. "InuYasha-no-nii-chan!  Are you staying tonight?"

Kagome sighed.  At least she hadn't appeared to have noticed his slip.

InuYasha growled, unsure if he was more irritated that they'd been interrupted or that he nearly given in to his urges.  He had a feeling that it was the first of those reasons, and that was enough to make him cringe inwardly.   "Nah, I can't."  He as he stood up and headed for the door.  Something about the sadness in her gaze, the wistfulness in her expression . . . He had to get out of there before he did something really stupid, like kiss her.  "I'll see you when I get back."

Kagome scrambled to her feet, too, chasing him out of the house and toward the well-house.  "InuYasha, wait—"

"Keh.  I gotta get going," he remarked as he strode toward the well.  He hated telling her goodbye.  It always made him feel like he was abandoning her, and it never helped that she always seemed so sad about it.  At the moment, though, he desperately needed to put some space between the two of them because she was entirely too hard to ignore.

Kagome ran to catch up with him, laying a hand on his arm to stop him.  The contact shot through him with a vengeance that tore at his soul.  "Please, just listen!  I—"

"I'll be back," he promised as he gently brushed her hand off and squatted on the side of the well.  Just for a moment, he gave in to her, reaching for her, smoothing back her hair off her face.  "I'll try to hurry.  Be safe, Kagome."

She looked like she was going to cry as she leaned against his hand.  InuYasha winced and pulled his hand away before it got even more difficult to leave her.  "InuYasha—"

Before he could give in to the battling emotions, before he could be swayed by her tears, InuYasha pushed himself off the side of the well and dropped into the opening time slip.  Kagome's voice came to him as he slipped into the passage between the two times.  "I could offer to carry . . ." her voice faded out as the time slip closed behind him.


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A/N
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Final Thought from InuYasha
:
I hate video games . . .
==========
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Metamorphosis):  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.

~Sue~
Chapter 8
Chapter 10
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