Title: No Such Thing as Fate
Genres: Adventure, Action, Drama
Pairings Represented: Sesshomaru/Kagome, Sango/Miroku, Inuyasha/undecided
Summary She'd left intending to settle somewhere and heal. But she'd taken Shippou out into this frightening world with her. Thankfully, their first fumble brought them some help they sorely needed, and turned them in the right direction to finish up this chaotic journey call the Shikon Jewel hunt.
EDIT/UPDATE 2022: Hi Everyone. It's been over 10 years. I'm ashamed, I admit it. My life went loopy and several medical condition hats and two surgeries later, I have emerged from the den of forgotten and unfinished stories, and decided I can at least try working on them again.
I tried to do a quick self-beta over my old chapters. I still have hair so that means my old work wasn't a complete hot mess, but I have pulled a few strands out trying to work on how to do this.
I have decided that I will keep writing. When I can't write, I will stop and when I'm well enough, I will write some more. In some strange and distant future, I expect to finish this but I have to do it at a snails pace. Thank you to all of those who encouraged me, emailed me, fussed at me, threw a shoe or two at me and told me to get back on board the boat. You are all such beautiful people.
Disclaimer: Inuyasha…me! Own this! I wish!
Thank you and enjoy
If he had taken the time to sit and watch, he would know Kagome was a light sleeper…
Kagome stood at the tree line, staring numbly into the clearing before her.
There stood an oblivious Kikyou and Inuyasha, entangled in each other's embrace, locked in a passionate kiss. It was the same thing every other night. Inuyasha would wait until everyone was supposedly asleep. Trying to be oh so sneaky, he would escape to be with his beloved Kikyou.
If he had taken the time…
He would also know that she woke every night to watch him scamper off. She would follow, hoping that he would feel some remorse for what he'd put Kagome through. Every time, she would be sorely disappointed when he would wrap his arms around Kikyou and whisper sweet nothings in her ear; begging her forgiveness, promising her eternity once the jewel was complete.
Sometimes they would make plans other than simply committing some strange sort of lover's suicide. They would talk about other things they could do with the jewel: wish Kikyou back to life, start a family, have a life, wish Naraku away. They spoke of these things more when Inuyasha didn't want to think about killing himself or about Kikyou's eternal suffering. Kagome would always sit and observe, never noticed and slowly she grew content to let it be that way.
She'd had plenty of time to think about what she would do should Inuyasha catch her one day; or more likely, she snapped and ran into the clearing to confront them. It never turned out well in her mind, and so she was sure it wouldn't turn out well in practice.
What would she do? Rush in and pull them apart, smack Kikyou for touching what was hers, scream at Inuyasha until she collapsed in tears. Wake up in his arms the next morning with him apologizing and swearing to be hers from then on?
She snorted and stared at the two of them with loathing. If only Inuyasha had just told her, she wouldn't be so…so–she didn't even know! She just knew she felt numb and that was never a good thing, especially when she had been this way for months.
With a grunt she wiggled in her seat, silently debating if it would be a good idea to waste precious sleep watching them. Then she reminded herself, childishly, that she was making sure Kikyou didn't suddenly convince Inuyasha hell was a heaven for hanyou. She was making sure Kikyou didn't convince Inuyasha it was a good idea to turn on his teammates before he was dragged to said hell.
Somewhere in her mind, she was hoping beyond hope that Inuyasha couldn't be convinced to do such things, just yet at least. Even deeper down, she knew he wouldn't do such a thing, even for kikyou. But then again she was feeling rather dejected and depressed. She needed Inuyasha to be the bad guy and now, in her mind, it was so. Any foul play from his end seemed very likely to her. He had done it once. Attacking his friends was the next logical step after trampling Kagome's heart.
At least this time they hadn't jumped right into a rutting session.
Then, Kagome wondered if she'd imagined that too in her bitterness. She thought about it and shook her head. "No, that would be too vivid of a dream I think."
So like always, Kagome stared off into space, every once in a while looking over at the couple. All the while, she sat tucked comfortably into a rather large tree root stuffed with moss, just listening.
Her current spot gave her glimpses of Inuyasha and Kikyou when they moved around the clearing, but of course, this time she was caught spying on the couple.
Kagome sighed for the thousandth time and Inuyasha paused. He looked around confused, his ears twitching rapidly on his head. Kagome pushed herself up and peeked around the tree confused by the sudden silence.
She blinked when Inuyasha spotted her immediately.
"Kagome I-I can explain," He sputtered trying to pull away from Kikyou.
Angered by his dismissal of her, Kikyou turned to glare hatefully at Kagome. She pointedly held on a bit tighter to the frantic hanyou.
Kagome looked at them strangely. She had been following them around for a while, at least when they weren't having sex. It didn't make sense for him to suddenly notice her when nothing had changed.
She hadn't flared her power, nor had she gotten closer than normal, if anything she was further away than usual.
Wary and confused she eyed them, Kikyou more than Inuyasha. She didn't have a clue what spells and magic Kikyou knew, but a veil of silence might be part of that mysterious repertoire. This also meant Kikyou had become confident enough to see how Inuyasha would react to finding Kagome had been watching them.
Honestly, she didn't want to know what the hell had happened. All she knew was that it had happened and she was caught in a rather awkward situation.
Slowly, Kagome got up and began to walk away.
Kagome could imagine the nastiest glare from Kikyou being aimed at her back. It made her itch as if maggots were crawling over her skin. It in no way helped that she currently felt like shoe scum for stalking the couple.
Kagome didn't bother to even humor Inuyasha by turning around to acknowledge his cry. She had seen this scene one too many times to be fooled anymore. He loved Kikyou, not her. She understood her chances of getting with Inuyasha were nil. She didn't need excuses and apologies now.
Just because she understood, didn't mean it made her feel any better. It was just such a shock that she wasn't even competition for a dead woman.
She moved through the forest with robotic determination. She couldn't help but wonder why she wasn't screaming and crying in a rage, running to the well, to the comfort of her mother's arms. A thought bounced around in her head, leaving her baffled, 'why didn't I do this sooner?'
Well, she did understand the numbness and the lack of response.
It was shock of the highest order.
She had always imagined what it would be like to go and burst in on their little meetings and demand answers. Never had she thought to figure out what would happen if she were caught spying on them.
Did this even count as being 'caught'. Inuyasha certainly thought he was the one being caught, so she would let him think that as long as possible before someone pointed out the truth.
Still, maybe the numb feeling was denial. Yeah it had to be, or Inuyasha would be halfway to hell dragging Kikyou with him instead of the opposite.
What if it wasn't denial?
Then what was it? Shock just didn't sit right with her.
Was this what it felt like to have your heart broken?
If so, it wasn't too bad actually…the pain and violent reactions would probably come later when she actually sat down and thought about what had just happened.
Wait, that didn't make sense either; she'd had her heart broken plenty of times by Inuyasha. Her heart had been broken for months but the sensation of distant numbness was relatively new.
Then she wondered if she was truly numb and-
'Stop it Kagome.'
She groaned rolling her eyes.
Kagome paused now standing on a hill that overlooked Kaede's village. She frowned down at the village where her journey began more than two years ago.
She remained there a long while trying to sort through her feelings, or lack thereof.
Inuyasha had been pinned to the tree, and like an idiot she had set him free. A deep sigh interrupted her thoughts.
'Okay it wasn't too dumb. It was either be eaten by mistress centipede or let Inuyasha kill me. I would rather die in one attack than get eaten,' her gaze shifted in thought.
'Still pretty stupid though,' She silently admitted. 'What was I thinking? Kaede made it there to help. If I had just told him to shut his trap a few minutes – wait, I didn't have a few minutes.'
She pressed her lips together in a thoughtful scowl. 'He said he would protect me, I was just this random human girl who looked like…who am I kidding. It sure didn't help that Kaede was running around calling me 'reincarnation of Kikyou'.' She snorted at the thought, 'I did set myself up for failure, now didn't I. The first thing he did was scream for Kikyou and demand that I die.' She chuckled dryly seeing where it had all gone wrong.
Her thoughts drifted back the source of her current irritation. She was fed up with Inuyasha. Honestly, she had given him her life, and somewhere along the way she had given him her heart. It was sad to think about, but she had subconsciously begun to prepare herself for the day when she would have had enough.
While she had retrieved her heart before the damage was irreparable, he had left a scar. He was her first love, no, her first serious crush -yes, that fit much better-, after all. Thankfully that was all it was, a crush, and it would never be anything more if she had a say in it.
She had been rather indifferent to him as of late. Likely why she hadn't flipped on him a few moments ago. Despite her somewhat emotionally twisted thoughts, she was surprised when some part of her mind found the thought of pinning Inuyasha back to the tree from whence he came, horrifying and yet very amusing.
Suddenly she realized she could care less if Kikyou dragged him to hell, if she hurt him, if he became full demon or human, if he died…
Okay so it did hurt, but not enough to send her running home just yet. Strange.
'Get over it Kagome, this is called life you can't be oblivious all the time, your 16 almost 17, an adult… a GROWN UP,' she smacked her cheeks a few times until she could feel the tears and the throb of her cheeks from the abuse.
Kagome suddenly realized she didn't know what to do with herself. She was an emotional wreck. Never had it crossed her mind to vengefully hurt people. She was willing to bet she would hurt herself worse than she could hurt anyone else, if she didn't find some stability.
"I can't stay here," came a sudden sense of panic.
She wasn't going to stay with the group, she didn't trust herself not to attack Inuyasha for- for following his heart. If she left, then Inuyasha wouldn't have a choice but to bring Kikyou into the group to find the jewel shards and he could be with her, the one he loved.
The fate of the jewel was a no-brainier. It was her duty, not Kikyou's, to collect the jewel shards and so she would keep them with her. When she left, it would give her time to sort through her thoughts before they came to find her again. She did not doubt they would come to her if they wanted the shards.
Then she could talk to Inuyasha and Kikyou like the civilized creatures they were supposed to be.
Kagome started toward Kaede's hut, flames a determination dancing in her eyes. She didn't want to go home yet, so traveling was her next option. She needed to find something useful to do with herself. Maybe find a teacher, another Miko? Yeah that sounded good.
Actually, any teacher would be good. She couldn't be picky when it was so hard for a woman to come across any willing teacher in this era. If she couldn't find someone to teach her, she'd teach herself. However, she wasn't stupid enough to believe she would be learning to defend herself just by sheer determination, and so she was praying with all her might that she would find someone to help.
Kagome had noticed from afar that Kaede's hut was dark, everyone asleep. She stepped in quietly and glanced around, observing the dark forms laying on the floor.
Stepping over the elderly old woman who owned the hut, she made her way to her bag and began to pack up her supplies. Kagome paused and shook her head silently, deciding against taking the gigantic yellow eye sore with her. No longer having protection, meant no longer carrying around the big target she called a book bag.
Besides that, she wanted to start fresh and it would slow her down. Her friends needed these things more than a selfish little girl like herself. She reached into the bag and with practiced ease unearthed a small sac bag to carry with her.
Turning her head slightly, she spotted Shippou's glowing green eyes in the darkness. She focused intently on him, waiting patiently until she could make out the features of his face. He moved toward her, stepping into moonlight streaming from the doorway.
"Kagome-chan what's going on?" He whispered, trying not to disturb the other occupants of the hut. Kagome shrugged, continuing to search for the precious few things she would need on her trip.
"I'm leaving," she said simply.
Shippou sat down beside her bag and rubbed his eyes sleepily. His wide yawn made her smile.
Her smile quickly became a downward turn of her lips.
"No, I'm just leaving, I don't know where to yet."
Shippou gave a hiss in the dark.
"Are you crazy, you'll be killed!"
She didn't respond, refusing to meet his gaze.
After a long thoughtful silence, she retorted, "Well, I'm feeling a bit crazy right now."
"Is it something Inuyasha did?" came the dry toned question.
Her silence was his answer.
The kit's breathing was frantic in the silence and she glanced around, surprised nobody had woken up.
He wanted to tell her to stay and that Inuyasha was just being an idiot, but she could only take so much and she'd obviously hit her ceiling.
"I'm going with you right?"
Kagome dropped her hairbrush into the bag. "Shippou, it's not a good idea, I can barely protect myself, how am I supposed to protect you too. You're safer here."
Shippou looked as if he would cry.
Sango's groan in the dark made them quiet instantly to see if they had woken her. She merely rolled over, and after a moment the lull of her soft breathing returned.
Kagome looked back to Shippou. He was pale and trembling, staring at her with a frightened and heart-wrenching expression.
The kit prided himself on being brave and she had to admit a lot of the things he did, while stupidly childish, were indeed brave. She had never imagined he would look at her with the same expression of fear he had time and again directed at attacking youkai.
"I'm supposed to be with you always. If you leave I'll just follow you," he threatened his voice trembling.
Kagome licked her lips nervously. She didn't want to leave Shippou but he would be killed if he followed her.
Her own death she could accept because she had most likely done something stupid to be killed. Shippou's death, on the other hand, was a strong possibility that made her stomach churn. She knew she would go insane if her stupidity brought the kit suffering.
…which is why she strongly considered taking him if only not to hurt him. She would defend him with everything she had. He was a quick little boy too, she was sure he could flee. Still, he would be better off with the Shikon hunters, safe.
As if reading her thoughts he spoke in a calm and suddenly steady voice.
"I'm an orphan. I was supposed to be dead a while ago Kagome-chan. You saved me, you're responsible for me." While cold, he got his point across.
Decision made, she leaned toward him and pulled him close with her free hand.
His body shook in surprise, having not expected her to give in so readily. He grabbed hold of her neck in a hug. She released him and went back to packing, her expression blank. Shippou pulled himself up onto her shoulder to watch her work. All the while, he held tightly on to her neck, refusing to let go as if fearing she would bolt and leave him.
Satisfied with her packed supplies, she wrote a quick note. Smacking it onto the flap of the yellow eyesore, she finally stood and walked for the door.
Kagome turned and looked at the group who lay asleep and oblivious to the world. Glowing red eyes appeared in the darkness, staring at her over near Sango's form. Kirara made no move to stop Kagome or wake her mistress.
Instead, Kirara gave a curt nod. Kagome returned the gesture then looked around to make sure no one else was awake. Satisfied, she murmured a good bye, slung her dirt brown bag, bow, and arrows onto her back, and walked away.
She needed to put some distance between Kaede's place and herself before Inuyasha decided to chase her down.
Kagome moved on autopilot as she weaved through the forest toward the well.
When her target came into sight, she paused a moment to examine the very simple wooden structure that was a portal to her time.
With a deep breath, she continued forward. This time she stopped much closer and peered down into its depths. She had said her goodbyes to her family 3 days ago; it was becoming too difficult to keep returning. It was hard for her family to wait up hoping she would come home, at the same time, she was starting to realize one day she might not return home. Naraku was a very real threat to her life and it was cruel to keep them waiting.
The youkai they were fighting for the jewel shards were slowly but surely getting stronger and she knew that final battle was getting closer each day, so for everyone's benefit she had made the decision. She would see them again if she could afford too, and that set her at peace for the time being. She had promised Souta to come back again, and she did not intend to break that promise as long as there was breath in her body.
She placed a hand on the wells rim, feeling the cracks under her hands. Shippou breathed slowly in her ear, watching her.
"Kagome?" Shippou's voice was weak as if he were exhausted and wary. She glanced at the fox kit sitting on her shoulder. He looked terribly stressed and frightened, but he wasn't focused on her. He was looking back at the forest in the direction of the village.
She turned and looked too.
Kirara stood at the tree line staring at them silently.
Kagome hummed in thought. They did need to get far away in a short amount of time and Kirara had just provided the means to make it happen. She motioned for the fire demoness to come closer and she obeyed immediately.
Kagome smiled at Kirara who stared up at her attentively.
"Will you take us a few miles away? If we're too close Inuyasha will catch us."
Kirara tilted her head to the side in thought then nodded transforming into her bigger form. Kagome climbed onto Kirara's back with practiced ease and tugged Shippou off her shoulder. He whimpered but she sat him in front of her to keep him calm.
Kirara took to the skies and Kagome wrapped her arms around Shippou to protect him from the biting wind. They rode in silence about 2 hours before Kirara began to descend.
Kagome jumped off once Kirara had touched down and stood stable. She moved to sit Shippou on the ground but he gave a hiss, digging his claws into the sleeves of her top. He glared up at her struggling to swing his foot up onto her arm. Kagome sighed, it was painfully obvious he didn't like the thought of being put down right then, and so she let him have his way.
Without a word, she hoisted him back onto her shoulder and he seemed to calm a bit. Kagome walked to Kirara and ran a hand though her fur. Leaning forward Kagome pressed a kiss to the Kirara's forehead.
"Take care of Sango and Miroku."
Kagome buried her face in Kirara's fur, taking in the deep heady smell of firewood.
"It hurts to leave them but I can't change my mind. I can't force myself to go back and deal with Inuyasha, not yet."
Kirara ran her tongue over the young Miko's face and Kagome blinked finding the behavior strange but much needed at that moment.
"I just need some time Kirara, maybe things will get better."
Kirara's knowing nod was strangely reminiscent of Kaede.
"Bye Kirara-chan," Shippou waved timidly as she stepped away and took to the skies. Shippou and Kagome watched her go until her form vanished into the distance.
Kagome finally took a moment examine her surroundings.
"She brought us all the way to the border," Shippou pointed out somewhere between amused and thankful. Kagome nodded absently and sat down with a yawn.
"I'm kind of tired, we'll move on tomorrow. We managed to get a few hours of travel done with Kirara-chan's help."
Shippou nodded uncertainly and this time did let Kagome set him on the ground. She tugged out a blanket, pulled it around their bodies to fight the cold, and settled against a tree for the night.
She woke a few hours later to a loud crash nearby. With a groan, she swore to herself she would never sleep leaned against a tree again. Shippou glanced at her with hazy eyes. A glance at the sky told him the sun was rising. There was another crash and the sound of horses and frightened yelling.
"Sounds like somebody is in trouble," Kagome announced worriedly as she stood, setting Shippou on his feet.
"Yeah we should go the other way," Shippou advised a bit too eagerly.
Kagome eyed the kit. For all the brave and stupid things the kit pulled, she knew he had his cowardly moments to balance him out.
"But somebody could die, we might be able to help them," Kagome huffed, slinging her things into her supply bag and taking off toward the racket.
With a suffering sigh, Shippou raced after her. She stumbled out onto a road and an overturned carriage greeted her. She found a man trying to get away from a giant mantis youkai.
The mantis stabbed at the human man. It was quite funny to watch him dive and leap like an acrobat. At least it was funny until Kagome remembered this man's life was about to be snuffed out. She readied her weapon and fired. The arrow flew swirling blue and pink. The creatures arm was severed with a nasty wet sound. It screamed in pain flailing its remaining limb wildly. Kagome winced in sympathy but readied another arrow to launch. The mantis turned on her, eyes flashing violently.
The poor man raced toward her hoping, to find protection from his attacker. The mantis charged her, knocking it's previous prey aside in the rush.
"Come on ugly!"
She let her arrow fly and it veered off from her intended target, its head, and hit the angry bug in the chest.
"Kagome-chan," Shippou began, wincing at her aim. The youkai was still rushing toward them. The shell of its chest melted away and crumbled to the ground. Kagome snarled something under her breath, but Shippou didn't need to understand. He simply dived into the bushes and waited for all hell to break loose.
Kagome cursed and readied another arrow a moment too late.
She ground her teeth and dodged as the mantis swung its blade like arms. Quickly she scrambled up to face her enemy, side aching from the fall.
The mantis paused, the damage from the first arrow causing it to wheeze in pain. Panting even as the armor-like shell of its body melted away painfully, it turned beady red eyes on her and gave an inhuman screech. It charged, she fired again, and this time her arrow hit its target. She watched as the giant praying mantis went up in blue flames.
With a sigh, she let herself slump to the ground in relief as the youkai turned to dust.
"You did it Kagome-chan," Shippou cried, still refusing to leave his hiding place.
"Thank you for hiding Shippou, I don't want you hurt"
Shippou smiled kindly and poked his head from a bush.
The unfortunate human emerged from the forest. He stumbled toward Kagome looking ragged and dazed.
"Are you okay?" Kagome asked uncertainly as she quickly stood. The man looked at her a moment before suddenly realizing he was staring. He swallowed the urge to comment on any aches and pains and nodded his thanks to her.
"Hai Miko-sama you saved my life, I am eternally grateful."
Kagome found herself frowning at the title. It reminded her that she wasn't a true Miko like Kikyou.
She saw the blood run from his sleeve and quickly rushed to him.
"Oh it's just a scratch," He assured her.
As he'd promised, it was only a bad scratch and the bleeding had already stopped.
"Are you hurt anywhere else?"
She found herself completely ignored by the man who was staring at Shippou frozen in fear. Quickly noticing the man's pale face, she stepped in to calm him.
"Shippou-kun is nice he won't attack you," She promised with a weak smile. Maybe it was her reassurance, the fact Shippou appeared to be a child, or it could have been the fact she was a Miko, but the man instantly calmed.
He smiled shakily and suddenly as if noticing her state of dress he frowned, "Miko-sama who forced you to wear such revealing clothes, are you not cold?"
Shifting nervously and fighting back a blush, she rubbed her arms unconsciously.
"I am a bit cold," She admitted with a sheepish smile.
Shippou hopped up onto her shoulder and rubbed her cheek as if to help warm her. Kagome smiled at him and he grinned in return. The man watched this exchange silently before clapping his hands together decisively.
"I have just the thing to repay ye lady Miko."
He rushed over to his overturned wagon.
Circling, he was satisfied when he found the wagon was still in working condition. A few well placed steps on bales of hay and he climbed up on top. He knelt carefully and dug down under the hay. Kagome and Shippou shared a glance when the man pulled out a wad of clothes. He eyed his wares, sniffed them, then grunted continuing his search. Kagome winced, not particularly wanting to have clothes that needed the smell test.
Shippou eyed the horse that was miraculously still alive. It stood nearby watching them appearing thoroughly spooked.
"Ah!" the man climbed from his overturned wagon. He grinned and came to stand near her, but not too close. He eyed Shippou warily then looked to Kagome.
"They are not miko's garbs, but it's better than such revealing clothes." Kagome took the faded red yukata and smiled as she eyed the gift. She bowed in thanks to the man, clutching the cloth to her chest.
He smiled and quickly rushed over to turn his wagon upright. Kagome set the yukata aside and quickly ran to help. Shippou hopped off her shoulder and went to sit by her new clothes knowing he would only get in the way. After a bit of struggling and making the horse help, they had the wagon upright.
She watched as the man circled the wagon again to make sure everything was working before he nodded approvingly.
"Sir?" he glanced at her absently as he tied the horse up to pull his cart.
"Can you point us in the direction of the nearest village?" he smiled brightly with an eager nod.
"I can do ye one better, I'll take you there."
Kagome and Shippou grinned at each other excitedly.
The man smiled charmingly, "If you help load the wagon, you'll have a nice comfortable ride."
Kagome laughed, reminded of Miroku.
"It's a deal."
Miroku stared at Inuyasha in disbelief. Every few minutes, he would have to grab Sango by her obi and drag her back into a seated position. If Sango got her way, there would be alot of blood left to cleanup, and he personally didn't feel like it. Said hanyou and his undead lover stood in the doorway to Kaede's hut, staring at them indifferently. Even Kaede had stopped preparing breakfast to stare at Inuyasha in disbelief, mouth agape.
"What did you just say?" Sango hissed, trembling with barely suppressed rage.
Either he didn't catch the rage filled undercurrent in the room, or he just didn't care.
"I said Kikyou is going to be joining us. We'll find shards much faster if we don't have to wait for the wench every time she wants to go home."
There was a tense silence in the room.
Everyone stared at him, obviously working to take in the announcement.
Sango gave a sudden scream of anger.
"You bastard, that 'thing' is why Kagome left, how could you hurt her like that!"
Kikyou visibly bristled at Sango's name-calling.
"What the hell is your problem? Kikyou can sense the jewel shards and fight. The wench is useless in a battle and then all she does is whine."
Sango jumped to her feet and this time Miroku couldn't yank her back down.
"Do I look like I give a damn how bad you want the jewel shards. I'm not with this group for the shards, I want Naraku dead, my brother back, and I want Kagome-chan with us. Kagome put up with your bullshit too long and now this!" She waved wildly at Kikyou.
"She probably saw you too screwing in the forest or something. That would explain why she ran away!" Inuyasha's eyes narrowed when Sango's guess almost hit home. Miroku looked between Kikyou and Inuyasha suspiciously but Sango voiced aloud what was running through everyone's mind.
"She saw you kissing didn't she…"
Inuyasha tensed, "That's none of your-"
Sango stomped her foot so hard everyone flinched.
"It is my business! Kagome is in love with you, do you know how many times she's seen you and kept her mouth shut? Sometimes immediately after you run off she'd tell you straight to your face she loved you!" Inuyasha's ears turned toward the door in an attempt stop the ringing. "You're a pig! You just had to have both of them, huh?"
Kikyou glanced away, knowing exactly what Inuyasha had done. He looked to her for help but she offered the cold shoulder and silence for this battle.
Sango continued, "You chose a clay pot over Kagome, that's on you, but you didn't just tell her you didn't like her, you kept her hoping. How dare you hurt Kagome like this, how dare you do this to my little sister!"
Silence fell over the group with only Sango's ragged breathing interrupting the quiet.
"Sango look," the hanyou tried to reason. "We're at the final stretch. The shards are showing up far and few between. We can't afford to have Kagome running home every five seconds and not have someone who can find the shards in her place. This is so she can do what she wants and it's gotten dangerous."
"It was dangerous from the start! It's even more dangerous with Kikyou here!" Sango's roar echoed around them, "Have you thought about what would happen to Kagome with that dead bitch here? None of that pisses me off more than the fact you hurt and continue to hurt my sister!"
Now Inuyasha was angry.
"She's not even your real sister what's your damn problem. This is so we can get all those shards. I'll go and get her from her house later. She's always bitching about how she can't take her tests. Isn't this what everyone usually wants," Inuyasha growled angrily.
Sango had wondered why Kagome hadn't told Inuyasha about her decision to stay with them more permanently. Now she understood. It wouldn't have made a difference. This had been coming and Inuyasha had figured out an excuse to bring Kikyou in. Kagome, in turn, had jumped ship the instant she'd realized there would be no reasoning with the Inu-hanyou. All but Inuyasha knew, and the expression on everyone's faces said they understood Kagome's reasoning as well as Sango's at that second.
She turned red in her anger "She is my sister in everything but blood and she doesn't deserve the shit you put her through. How dare you complain about her wanting to spend time with her family! Every day here is a life and death situation for our group! Why shouldn't she try and spend time with them when she could be killed at any moment."
Sango took a deep calming breath that did her little good, "Bringing Kikyou into this group is a death sentence for Kagome. You might as well be holding a sword to her throat." She glared at Kikyou.
"What do you mean, she has MY soul and it is my right to reclaim it," Kikyou finally snapped.
"You are dead! There is nothing in this realm for you and her soul is right where it belongs, with her," Miroku corrected, his anger finally getting the better of him.
Sango turned, her eyes suddenly wide with horror. "Miroku we have to go find Kagome before she gets herself killed, and Shippou is with her."
"What?" Inuyasha repeated this new finding to himself, obviously in disbelief.
"She ran away with Shippou and it's your fault. She didn't go home or she would have taken her bag and Shippou would be here with us." Sango popped Inuyasha in the head with the crumbled sticky note she had found on Kagome's travel bag.
Growling, he caught the paper ball and unrolled it to scan over the neat calligraphy. He gave a snarl nearly ripping the little note in two. "That stupid bitch is going to get herself killed," he snapped in frustration.
"Come on lets go get that idiot back. She has my jewel shards."
Sango clenched her fist but Miroku put a hand on her shoulder to calm her.
He shook his head. Sango growled to herself before following Inuyasha and Kikyou from the hut.
Kaede stared after them, horrified by what she'd just heard.
Kagome watched the carriage move slowly into the village. Despite her want to go into town she wasn't dressed appropriately. She could get away with her school uniform when with the group and they would protect her from harassment. She didn't have that luxury anymore. Besides, she wasn't smelling so fresh, it was time for a bath and a change of clothes.
She could care less what other people in this era thought, she was not going to change her hygienic habits just to fit in more.
"Kagome?" she glanced at the kit by her side.
"Why did you want to leave the wagon before we got into the village," Shippou asked wearily, watching the little cart go on its merry way.
She only sighed, "Well, I don't have any money to rent a room."
Shippou tilted his head to the side in thought, "Why don't you just lie like Miroku?"
She couldn't help but chuckle at such an innocent question.
"It's not a good thing to lie to people Shippou, so we won't be doing any of that." He looked a bit confused but he shrugged it off. If Kagome didn't want to lie to get a place to sleep, who was he to judge.
"I'll find a job later. Right now, I need to find a place for us to bathe. We're starting to smell," Shippou sniffed his shirt and wrinkled his nose in distaste. Kagome laughed and she started to walk off in a random direction.
"Shippou do you smell a lake or river nearby?"
He tilted his head slightly and sniffed the air. A few moments of waiting and Shippou pointed uncertainly to the left. Kagome turned in that direction without a second thought. Shippou followed her looking about the forest cautiously. "What's wrong Shippou?"
He wiggled uncomfortably and fiddled with his little paws.
"I don't know." Kagome glanced at him, "It doesn't smell bad, but I think there's a youkai this way."
Kagome bit at her lip thoughtfully. Now that she paid attention, she could sense a youkai nearby. Strangely it didn't have the usual violent aura associated with demons.
She tried to get a better feel, prodding curiously at it with her own power. The aura immediately withdrew and she was startled when it completely vanished. Hesitantly, she continued forward when the glow of flames appeared through the trees.
Stepping out of the forest Kagome and Shippou found themselves in a small camp area. A fire was burning pleasantly. Buckets and what not littered the clearing. A clothesline hung between a tree and a random pole, freshly washed clothes drying in a light breeze. All of this was just outside a 10 foot entrance to a cave in the side of a cliff.
Shippou glanced at the skewered fish cooking by the fireside and licked his lips, suddenly remembering he hadn't had a meal that morning. Kagome froze and Shippou looked up, confused by her reaction.
Following her gaze, he too found himself frozen. Standing in the entrance leading into the cave was a man.
'No,' Kagome squinted taking in his form, this was a youkai.
He looked completely human from her viewpoint. Mid-back length black hair pulled into a low horsetail at the nape of his neck, tanned skin...she couldn't see the color of his eyes because he appeared to be squinting at them from where she stood. The only youkai features she could make out were his abnormally long claws and his slightly pointed ears.
"What do you want here little Miko?"
(Revised: 6/5/2012) 7/20/2022...wow