Promise to Keep by Lady Noticula
Summary: What would happen if Kagome's Grandfather made a deal with InuYasha's father. Beauty and the beast with a twist
Categories: Legends Characters: InuYasha, Kagome, Kikyou, Kouga, Miroku, Sango, Shippou
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 23 Completed: Yes Word count: 24420 Read: 31845 Published: December 11, 2009 Updated: December 24, 2009
Story Notes:
I do not own Inuyasha, and this is a retelling of a classic Fairy Tale

1. Chapter 1 by Lady Noticula

2. Chapter 2 by Lady Noticula

3. Chapter 3 by Lady Noticula

4. Chapter 4 by Lady Noticula

5. Chapter 5 by Lady Noticula

6. Chapter 6 by Lady Noticula

7. Chapter 7 by Lady Noticula

8. Chapter 8 by Lady Noticula

9. Chapter 9 by Lady Noticula

10. Chapter 10 by Lady Noticula

11. Chapter 11 by Lady Noticula

12. Chapter 12 by Lady Noticula

13. Chapter 13 by Lady Noticula

14. Chapter 14 by Lady Noticula

15. Chapter 15 by Lady Noticula

16. Chapter 16 by Lady Noticula

17. Chapter 17 by Lady Noticula

18. Chapter 18 by Lady Noticula

19. Chapter 19 by Lady Noticula

20. Chapter 20 by Lady Noticula

21. Chapter 21 by Lady Noticula

22. Chapter 22 by Lady Noticula

23. Chapter 23 by Lady Noticula

Chapter 1 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 1

Once upon a time there lived a merchant family. The family had once been prosperous but catastrophe had brought them to hard times. causing them to move from their grand house to a small hut on the outskirts of the city. The merchant's son had been killed in war, and left the merchant to take care of his son's wife and their two children, Kagome and Sota.
The family was happy and tried to look out for each other. Kagome and her mother doing most of the household chores and Sota taking care of their small vegetable garden outside. The merchant would try to sell what little they could to make enough to support his family. One day some happy news came to the family, a messenger was sent from a port a few days ride away announcing that a ship thought lost had returned to port. The merchant hoping that he might turn a profit from this got ready to make the trip to port and secure his ship. Before he left he asked each of his family what they would like him to bring back if he could. His son's wife asked for cooking utensils, Sota asked for a ball, but Kagome would ask for nothing.
“Kagome, please I would like to bring you back something if I may.” Her grandfather pressed her for something that she wanted.
“Well if you could, I miss our old gardens and wish that you might bring me a rose to remind me of them?” Kagome sighed, not really expecting that her poor grandfather would be able to come across such a treasure.
The girl asked for so little the merchant resolved that if he could he would bring back his granddaughter her rose, and took his leave of his family.
When the merchant arrived to the port he was too late, the ship's merchandise had been sold to pay off his debts and the merchant was even poorer than before. He barely had enough money to travel straight home if he slept under the stars off the path.
Dejectedly the merchant travelled back toward his home and family. As he was passing through the great forest a mighty storm came up and forced the merchant off the path. The darker it got the more lost the merchant became. Out of nowhere there appeared a light in the distance. He followed it thinking he could find a small house in which he might beg shelter from the storm. As he got nearer the light he saw that it came from the gates of a great palace that seemed to rise up through the forest. Before the merchant could say a word the guards opened the gates and instructed him to proceed to the main house. Servants met him and brought him food and a change of clothing. They treated him like a visiting lord not a poor travelling merchant.
The merchant rested and relaxed while the storm continued for several days. When it let up, one afternoon he wandered the grounds and soon came across a vast garden. Following the paths he came to a large and beautiful rosebush. Thinking only of his granddaughter's request, he reached out a plucked one of the rare blooms.
The ground shook with a great roar. The merchant was no longer alone. A huge Phantom Dog appeared next to the rosebush. The merchant fell to his knees in front of the great beast.
“This is how you repay my generosity, by stealing my roses!” the Demon roared.
The merchant feared that he was to be devoured and never see Kagome or the rest of his family again.
“I am sorry Great Lord, I did not mean to offend,” the merchant could only reply trembling and looking only at the ground. “I only meant to take this small flower to my granddaughter, who has made my poor life bearable”.
At this reply the Dog demon eyed the merchant carefully. “I will let you go on one condition, “he said slowly. “That your granddaughter come here and takes your place”
“I could never ask that of my dear Kagome” the merchant trembled and cried.
“I will send you home and she is to decide, whether your life is worth hers” The demon turned and stalked away.
The next morning the merchant left with a heavy heart. A carriage carried him back to his home.
When the carriage pulled up in front of his small home, his grandchildren and daughter ran out to meet him.
“Grandfather” Kagome exclaimed “we were so worried that you had been hurt in the storm” She hugged him tightly and the old man began to cry.
“Father what is wrong” his daughter asked.
The carriage attendants were unloading packages of all sizes and placing them near the door of the small house. Sota watched the attendants and asked them “what is all this?”
“These are gifts from Inu no Taisho” the servant replied. Then turned to the merchant. “My masters bids that you remember your promise” then bowed and both attendants climbed back on the carriage and left.
“I will remember, though I wish I could forget” the merchant sighed. “Let us go in and I will tell you all that has happened” and staying in Kagome's embrace led the way back into the house.
They sat around the table as the merchant told all that had happened to him over those last few days. He told of the loss of the ship, the forest palace and the great Dog demon to which he had promised to return, or give up Kagome to. The rose that had been picked lay in the centre of the table. All but Kagome expressed their sorrow at the thought of losing either of them. But all that Kagome did was to pick up the rose and say “That which you have promised you must fulfil, I will take your place” and left the room, leaving her family in sorrow for the brave young lady.
Unseen by the family a small flea then jumped off the old merchant and left through the window, leaving the merchant's house and family behind.
“The master will be pleased” the old flea mused as he travelled, “she is quite pretty, too”
The flea entered a study at the palace and waited till a tall man in armour and a fur cloak sat down. “So Myoga, my friend” Inu no Taisho asked the flea “What do you think of this granddaughter of the old merchant's”
Myoga told the Lord all of what he had heard and seen while at the merchant's house, and the words spoken by Kagome.
“Good work Myoga” Inu no Taisho said after hearing this report “we will see how she and my son get along” a slight smile graced the lord face.

Chapter 2 by Lady Noticula
Author's Notes:
Off to the castle, or Meeting the Beast
Chapter 2

Two days passed before the carriage returned. This time Kagome and her grandfather climbed in with her few treasured things, a small necklace that had once belonged to her family in her pocket. The carriage carried them swiftly back to the forest palace.
At the entrance with the guards was an old woman in a priestess garb waiting for them.
“Child” she asked “do you come here of your own free will?'
Kagome nodded, wondering what kind of place she had come to where an old lady with an eye patch was waiting for them.
“Then you must say good bye to your grandfather here and follow me.” the woman stated.
Kagome hugged her old grandfather and bid him to take care of her mother and brother, then followed after the old woman as her grandfather travelled back to their home in the carriage.
The old woman waited at the front doors “well hurry up” the old woman chided, “we must get you settled and properly attired” Kagome was lead through a maze of corridors till they came to a set of rooms. “These are to be your rooms” announced the old woman, opening the door to a luxurious suite of rooms, with a door open to the largest garden Kagome had ever seen. “I am called Kaede, and if you have need of anything you are to call upon me” the old priestess told her.
Kagome was confused “Lady Kaede, what is to be my place here?”
“That I must leave for our Lord to tell you, but we must get you ready to meet him” Kaede replied while searching through a closet filled with kimonos of all colours. She pulled out a green kimono with white flowers and red obi. “This will do nicely for tonight.” and laid it out for her to wear later.
“Shippou should have finished getting the hot spring ready for your bath.” Kaede said. As if on cue a little child with fluffy red hair bounded in carrying a pile of soft drying cloths. A matching tuft of a tail bounced behind him as he proceeded through the room to another side door. “Your bath is waiting for you if you’re ready” he said so cheerfully, Kagome couldn't help but smile.
“Alright, please lead the way” Kagome bowed slightly to the little kit.
Puffed with pride the Kit opened a side door that let in a scented steam from the other room.
A little while later Kagome soaked in the natural hot spring that was enclosed in the palace. She tried to figure out what was happening. She just couldn't fathom why she was being treated like some fine lady instead of the daughter of a merchant solider. She climbed out and wrapped herself in one of the large cloths and went back to the main room. There waiting was yet another woman, this one closer to Kagome's age, waiting for her.
“Kaede sent me to get you ready, “the lady said before Kagome could ask, and “you can call me Sango.” She lead Kagome to a screen to get dressed and then to a chair.
“I think that we should leave your hair down, that would suit you best” Sango said mostly to herself and brushed Kagome's wavy black hair till is shone like an ebony jewel in the late afternoon light.
Sango looked out the door and seemed to realize the time “We must hurry” she said as she grabbed Kagome's hand “The lord requested to see you before the evening meal”
Sango led the way through the many passageways of the palace till they came to a set of large ornate doors. Next to them was a young monk in purple and black robes, leaning against the wall.
“So he's gotten back already, has he?” Sango addressed the monk.
“Yep, and in a fit again. Sesshermou tried to kill him again and he due to his father's orders he couldn't stop me from interfering” The monk replied rolling his eyes. His eyes stopped when he spotted Kagome, and started twinkling with merriment. “And who is this beautiful lady” He exclaimed, quickly grabbing Kagome's free hand and bowing over it. Kagome felt a hand where there should be none; yanking her other hand out of Sango's she struck the lecher as hard as she could.
Sango looked like she was going to bust her gut if she didn't laugh soon at the site of the poor monk on the floor with a blossoming red hand mark on his face.
“I guess I should have warned you.” Sango said with a smirk “Miroku here has a problem with his hands. They tend to wander where they shouldn't, though you would think that he would learn with all the lumps on his hard head” she sighed after she had said that.
Loud voices from the next room and one of the great doors slamming open interrupted Miroku's attempt to apologize to Kagome.
A young man in a red haori and Hakama came storming out of the room. Kagome was caught off guard by his long white hair and to dog ears on his head. The boy's amber eyes searched the room quickly lighting on the monk.
“Come on Miroku,” he said gruffly and continued to storm down the hall.
“I must take my leave of you lovely ladies right now” Miroku said with a bow, “but I will be seeing such beauties around” and turned to run after the young man.
A dignified voice emanated from the open door “Sango, you may bring the young lady in”
Inside the great room on a raised dais sat a dignified older man with long silver hair pulled high on his head, in a ponytail. White bangs covered his eyes as he appeared talking quietly to a tiny object in front of him.
Kagome came forward and knelt down before the lord next to Sango.
“Ah, yes” the old flea spoke from in front of the lord “this is the young lady I told you about.”
“Sango you may go,” the lord spoke again.
Sango stood bowed and left the room.
“I have been told that your name is Kagome, is that not right” the lord asked.
Kagome sat back on her heels and nodded not trusting her voice right now. Something felt like she has walked into a den of wild dogs. The lord standing and stalking around her didn't help. His fur cloak trailed behind him as he walked. Stopping in front of her she stared at her. “I gather that you had expected to see the great beast that your grandfather met here”
Kagome who had been trying to remain motionless looking right in front. Her eyes snapped up to look directly into the lords emotionless amber eyes. The lord's eyes seem to bore into her soul. Kagome couldn't help but think how unlike the lively eyes of the young man who had stormed out of this very room.
“No need to answer Lady Kagome, your look tells me enough. I am that very beast, I am Inu no Taisho, the Phantom Lord of the west.” His eyes were cold but there was no doubting his words.
Kagome could do no more that prostate herself before the lord. “Lady Kagome, you need not feel afraid of me I will not harm you, you are a guest in my home.” The lord's voice took on a gentle quality. Kagome sat up again only to find the lord seated again on the dais.
“I have determined that you will have two duties while here. The first will be to train with Lady Kaede to develop your sleeping spiritual powers, and the second is you will be a companion to my youngest son InuYasha”
Kagome was surprised by both of these duties. She thought that she was either going to be a servant or dinner here.
“Forgive me, my lord,” Kagome started “but I don't have any spiritual powers, wouldn't I know about them if I did?”
Inu no Taisho chuckled, “I said they were sleeping didn't I my dear, but don't worry they will soon awaken”
“oh” Kagome said in a small voice. Thinking back to the young man who had stormed out of this room earlier. She suddenly didn't feel so frightened as earlier.
“This kingdom is one where Demons and humans live in peace.” the lord continued, “but lately have becoming worried. Something has been destroying all those with strong spiritual powers, and I wish all my subjects to be protected. I shouldn't be burdening you with these worries but as you will be here for awhile I will entrust you to keep this quiet.”
“So,” Kagome deduced “that is why you brought me here?”
“If you wish to talk more, it will have to wait,” Inu no Taisho stopped her musing “Lady Kaede, you were going to announce dinner?” Just as the old priestess entered the room.
Chapter 3 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 3

Just after Kagome entered the throne room, Miroku caught up to his friend just outside his rooms.
“InuYasha, wait up” he called.
Slamming his door open InuYasha started to yell “What does he want me to do ?!?” pacing his room.
Miroku who had heard this rant from his friend often enough, slid open the door to the garden and sat down. Deciding that the best action was to give the practiced response “You know your father only wants you to master your own power. He gave you the Tetsuaiga for that reason.” he sighed.
InuYasha plopped down next to his friend and pulled out his sword in its sheath. “I know that the Tetsuaiga has more power, I just don't know how to tap into it yet.” InuYasha turned his head and looked at the red hand mark on the young monks face.
“So did you get that from the new girl?”he asked.
Miroku's violet eyes stared off into space, “Yes, what a vision of loveliness” he sighed rubbing his cheek.
“At least she shows some good sense” InuYasha laughed “I wonder why father brought her here?”
The sun continued to sink in the west, as the friends sat in companionable silence.
InuYasha broke their silence by suggesting that they question Shippou who always seems to know what is going on even when he isn't supposed to .
“I wonder where he is right now” Miroku said.
“Well I smell him in the next room probably cleaning up before dinner.” InuYasha replied.
They found the young fox just finishing up getting dressed, a bit finer than before.
“So what you getting all dressed up for Shippou?” Miroku asked.
“Kaede said that I could eat dinner with Lady Kagome tonight” Shippou piped.
“So is that the girl's name” InuYasha said suspiciously thinking that if the little fox seems to think that Kagome was pretty great in such a short time, something has to be wrong with her.
“Yeah and she has a great smile, so please InuYasha, please don't make her cry” Shippou's voice took on a childish whine.
“Feh” InuYasha replied, thinking that he never made anyone cry.
“Well you do have a bit of a temper, InuYasha,” Miroku said as well.
“Hey you don't have to pick on me too,” InuYasha roared at the monk.
“I am just stating the obvious,” Miroku replied trying to sound innocent.
“Geeze, you don't have to be critical about it.” InuYasha snapped back, seeming to go into a bit of a funk.
“Well you look very nice Shippou, I am sure that Lady Kaede is just about to serve dinner and you don't want to be late do you?” Miroku said to the young fox. “We will be right behind you”
“Your right Miroku, I promised that I would walk Sango to the hall as well” Shippou skipped away like only young kids can do with no cares at all.
Miroku and InuYasha followed after him at a slower pace.
“Your temper ruined my chance to find out more about that young girl, now all we know is her name” Miroku complained to InuYasha.
“It isn't my fault you can't stop commenting on my personality” InuYasha replied, “besides we already know that she is going to be at dinner, you can find out all you want to know there.”
“But there are times when you want to have topics ready to discuss with ladies over a nice meal.” Miroku's mind drifted ahead to his ideal dinner with Sango and Kagome fawning all over him.
They entered the dining hall only to find Shippou and Sango already seated, and waiting for the others to show up. InuYasha sat down in his accustomed seat, with Miroku beside him as close to Sango as he could manage.
No sooner than they had sat down then Kaede opened the door and InuYasha saw his father leading Kagome by the arm into the room.
“Wow, I didn't notice it before, but she is pretty just like Miroku said” he thought.
Inu no Taisho lead Kagome to a seat on the other side of him, and assisting her to sit down.
“Kagome, this is my son Prince InuYasha” his father seemed to stress his name and not his title to the young girl.
“I am pleased to meet you” Kagome said in a meek voice.
“InuYasha, this is Lady Kagome, she is to be staying with us for awhile as she trains with Kaede”
“Feh, whatever” InuYasha replied, if she was going to fawn over him falsely than pretty or not she wasn't worth another thought.
Kagome's eyes flashed in anger at his brushed off response, “what kind of son is he. At least he could fain courtesy when their father makes an introduction”?Inu no Taisho saw Kagome's flash of anger on his behalf. Turning away to take his seat he smiled to himself “This is a girl with a spirit of fire, just the right match for InuYasha”
Dinner seemed to be chaos, with only islands of tranquillity, primarily around the lord and Kaede at the head of the table.
InuYasha wolfed his food, and Miroku kept trying to inch closer to Sango in attempts to converse, but contentiously getting hit when his hand wandered to her bottom. Shippou kept asking for more and reaching over the others when he was ignored. Kagome kept trying to eat but her appetite seemed to disappear whenever she saw the Lord or Kaede looking her direction.
The meal proceeded faster that Kagome expected, and soon a last cup of tea was being served to all. Inu no Taisho stood up looked at his son, “InuYasha, please join me in my study when you have finished with your meal.” He calmly walked out of the room.
The good natured chaos continued for a short time, after some good natured ribbing about table manners from Miroku and Sango, InuYasha sighed “I guess that I better go see what the old dog wants to talk about” and started to stand only to be stopped by Kagome's hands slamming on the table.
“What is it with this attitude of yours toward your father” she started to rant “the first time I saw you, you were storming away after yelling at him, and now...Such Disrespect!!” Kagome's voice seemed to rise in volume with each angry word, “Don't you know how lucky you are to have him around?!?” Kagome ran out of the room with tears starting to simmer in her eyes.
InuYasha sat there shocked and a little cowed by Kagome's words. Sango got up and ran after her. Miroku and Shippou could only hold their mirth at someone putting InuYasha in his place. Kaede watched all this with her usual calm, noting more of what the Lord's intuition had done.
After a moment and the laughter of his friends sunk in, InuYasha jumped up and stared at Miroku and Shippou, nearly prostate with laughter. “What are you laughing at!” he bellowed at the two of them helpless with their laughter.
Miroku was the first to slightly calm down and wipe the tears of joy from his face “You must admit, she seems to have you pegged after such a short time”
“He's right” Shippou piped up agreeing with the young monk.
“What !! I am not that way” InuYasha yelled at them and was just about to pounce on his friends to “punish” them (which mostly involved them getting hit with just enough force to sting but not enough to leave them really hurt) when Kaede spoke up.
“InuYasha” she said sharp enough to get his attention. “Your father requested to see you, shouldn't you be going there now?”
“Fine, you two can laugh your selves silly but I have to go” InuYasha seemed to have his temper a bit more under control as he walked out the door his father had earlier exited.
The two friends started laughing again at the comical situation. Kaede just shook her head and left the room as well.
Chapter 4 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 4

Inu no Taisho was sitting in his study talking to Myoga when InuYasha came in. InuYasha could have sworn that his father had a slight smile on his face, which quickly disappeared.
“I supposed that you heard that wench yelling at me” InuYasha flopped down next to his father's desk.
“Well, I wouldn't be surprised if half the castle heard her.” Inu no Taisho replied “Surprising, I took her for a meek young lady.”
“Yeah, right.” InuYasha shot back “ I know you better than that. If you didn't observe her yourself you had that old flea find out everything about her.”
Inu no Taisho shook his head slightly at his son's observance of some things yet obliviousness of others.
“So, why did you want to talk to me anyway?” InuYasha asked.
“I wanted to let you be the first to know that I must leave soon to deal with a problem at the edge of our territories, a dragon demon has been destroying villages and I must stop it to protect our people.” his father stated calmly.
“Why don't you send me” InuYasha exclaimed, “I could handle this problem.”
“This demon is stronger than most and you know as well as I that until you master the Tetsuaiga you will not be strong enough to handle this.”
“I just need to practice more”
“It is more than practice you have not yet learned the secret of Tetsuaiga, and it is something you must learn for yourself, I cannot tell you, so don't ask again son” Inu no Taisho said cutting of InuYasha's unspoken question. InuYasha slumped his shoulders again, after hopping that he would finally get his question answered.
“As I expect to be gone for some time, I must have you protect our newest member of our household. There have been things happening outside our boarders that have me concerned. I do not expect that anything will happen, but I fear for our land. We have had a great time of peace but now I fear that we must pay for such happiness as we have experienced.”
“Also son,” Inu no Taisho continued “you know that if you are ever to leave my protection the curse that I have been able to keep at bay will consume you.”
“There must be some way to get around that Priestess's curse” InuYasha said.
“I have been working on trying to find a way, young master” Myoga replied “but it is difficult, Kikyo didn't leave many clues to the answer.”
“Yeah, I remember, 'only a tear may save the beast, a heart of love may free the soul' what the hell is that supposed to mean. Stupid priestess” InuYasha snorted.
“Don't worry master's we will find the answer” Myoga said confidently.
“We will have to otherwise thirteen moons after the curse engulfs me I won't survive.” InuYasha sighed.
InuYasha rose and left the room, leaving his father and Myoga alone. “My poor son,” Inu no Taisho shook his head again “you have so much to learn, and I hope that this young girl will be able to teach you”
“Are you sure that we want to keep him in the dark” Myoga asked the lord.
“There is no other way, if he tries to force himself it will never be true” the lord said sadly.
“Such wisdom cannot be denied” Myoga replied
Chapter 5 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 5

Moonlight filled the garden as the eye of the moon climbed over the garden wall. Kagome wandered out of her room unable to sleep and drawn by the garden in such ethereal light. She wandered the half lit paths till she came to the centre and the rosebush that had caused her to be here. In the branches of a nearby tree, hidden from view, sat InuYasha, he had been in a slight daze while thinking over his conversation with his father earlier that evening.
He watched Kagome bathed in moonlight almost looking like a spirit in the night, reach slowly relevantly out to the blossoms nearest her. Her scent drifted up to him mingled with the heavy scent of the rosebush. He studied her, there was something different about this girl. Something that seemed to draw him to her. It was more than the promise he made to his father to protect her. He watched her study the roses and when a stray breeze came up and blew a strand of hair across her face, the movement of her hand to brush the offending strand away, seemed to be the most graceful movement he had seen. A slight shiver caused him to realize that she was out here in just her sleeping Kimono. “She'll catch cold that way” he thought before jumping out of his tree. He walked up silently on her shrugging out of his haori. “Hey girl” he said softly, and smiled as she jumped letting out a startled squeak.
“What,... what are you doing here?” she asked trying to cover her bewilderment with aggravation.
“If you stay out here like that you'll catch your death of cold” InuYasha replied without really answering her question. He placed his haori on her shoulders, “This will keep you warm” his hands and voice were gentle as they settled his haori around her.
“Thank you” she said quietly looking at the base of the rosebush. Kagome build up a bit of courage to say what she felt she had to, at least he was being nice right now, and it should make it easier. “I am sorry I yelled at you earlier. I guess I am still sensitive about losing my own father and your lord father somehow reminds me of him a little” She looked up and found herself looking directly into his amber eyes, softened somehow by the night.
“Oh”
Silence hung heavy between them like a friend. Neither one of them wanted to move or break it. There seemed to be something precious and fragile hovering just out of their reach. Kagome slowly reached out and took InuYasha's hand. Their eyes could not look away.
“InuYasha” Shippou's high voice drifted over the garden, “Where are you InuYasha”
They dropped each other's hands and looked away. A blush darkened Kagome's cheeks.
InuYasha's hand went to the back of his head and his eyes stared down at the ground near Kagome's feet, “I guess I better go, if they sent Shippou out here” InuYasha shuffled his feet unwilling to move, wishing that time would just reverse and they could have stayed in the previous moment longer.
Before Kagome could acknowledge his words Shippou bounded down the path “There you are InuYasha, I should have known you would by at your mother's roses” his bright voice seemed loud in the quiet night. Kagome backed a bit into the shadows trying to go unnoticed, which only brought Shippou's attention. “Oh, and Lady Kagome, your here too”
“Yeah” she replied sheepishly “I couldn't sleep so I came out here for a bit of fresh air. I better go back in.”
She walked down the path a bit then as if remembering turned around and bowed slightly to InuYasha, “Thank you for the use of your coat lord InuYasha” she turned again and started hurrying down the path, but tripped on a root hidden by the shadows. Before she fell she felt two strong arms catch and enfold her. She looked up to see InuYasha had stopped her fall.
“You've got to be more careful” InuYasha said and he picked her up “These paths can be dangerous in the dark” his arms lifted her fully off the ground and he started carrying her back down the long path.
“I can walk on my own you know” Kagome tried to sound annoyed with him, but the strength in his arms and warmth of his torso were making it hard.
“I know” he replied distractedly “ I just don't want to see you trip again, besides you look tired enough to fall over at any time without the help of the rough path”
A yawn escaped Kagome too fast for her to stifle it.
“Lady Kagome, you should really get some rest” Shippou peaked around InuYasha's shoulder at her. The little fox leaped off in front of them, “Her rooms are this way”
As they walked the quiet of the night and the swaying step of the man carrying her rocked Kagome to sleep so that by the time they reached her room she was deeply asleep.
Shippou opened the door as InuYasha looked down at the sleeping girl. Her face softened in slumber he didn't have the heart to wake her, and carried her into her room. He laid her gently on the bed careful not to wake her. Shippou brought a blanket that they laid on top of her. Kagome already had pulled the haori closely around her.
InuYasha and Shippou quietly crept out of the room leaving the sleeping girl to her dreams.
Chapter 6 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 6

The next morning came much too quickly for Kagome. She had been having a wonderful dream about falling in love but she couldn't see his face, but his snowy white hair kept surrounding her. They were about to kiss when Kaede woke her from this lovely dream.
“Huh” she blinked her eyes till she could focus on the old priestess, she didn't at first remember where she was, and then the enormity of the past day came crashing down on her.
“We must get ready and get to the practice field quickly” Kaede had been talking for a bit but that was all that Kagome could register upon first waking up.
Kagome looked around and found that only the candles were lit and asked what time it was as she sat up. The warm haori slipping from her shoulders and pooling around her lap.
Shippou cam bounding in carrying with him red hakama and white kimono, with matching obi. He placed the new clothing at Kagome's feet and whisked away the haori and bounced back out of the room.
Kagome changed her clothes behind a waiting screen, while Kaede busied herself cleaning the room.
When Kagome came out with her hair tied back with a white ribbon tied around her hair, she saw that an assortment of weapons were laid out where her futon had been a short while ago.
“Is everyone up this early?” Kagome asked remembering that she normally wouldn't start her day till just after the sun rose.
“Aye” Kaede replied, “and some have been down at the fields for awhile Kagome, which draws you?” Kaede pointed to the weapons that were arranged on the floor.
Swords, spears, staffs and blades of all kinds lay where she had once slept.
Kagome stepped over and picked up a long bow and quiver of arrows. “I think that I can used these best” she answered holding them close and turning to Kaede.
Meanwhile InuYasha was at the edge of the practice fields, when Shippou came bounding up with his haori. He picked it up with a slight nod to the kit and then went to practice with Sango and Miroku in a mock battle.
A short time later Kagome crested the hill near to see her new friends in a fierce battle with each other. Instinctively she pulled out an arrow from her quiver and shot directly between the three of them. A bright light exploded from the arrow creating a barrier between InuYasha and the others. Both weapons and people were thrown back by the unexpected barrier. The three combatants stopped in mid-move and looked to the hill expecting to see Kaede thinking that they had gotten a bit too rough in their practice. Only it wasn't Kaede, but Kagome that was running down the hill directly toward Sango, with a longbow in her hand. They couldn't believe what had just happened. Sure she was going to train to be a priestess, but where had such raw power come from.
Kaede came over the hill at a sedate pace after the young girl.
Kagome reached Sango, but before she could question what was going on, InuYasha walked around her arrow, and started yelling, “What'd you do that for wench, practice was just getting good?!?”
“Practice” Kagome turned to him, his annoyance feeding her own, “That was practice you looked like you were going to kill each other!” their argument continued along this line for awhile, Sango having a hard time keeping a straight face, as she hadn't seen anyone, so bold as to argue with him after only the second day of knowing him. Two days and two fights it was a new record, she was sure.
During the loud exchange Miroku had gone over to where Kagome's arrow was lodged in the ground and its protective aura slowly fading. He had crouched down to get a better look at the arrow itself. “Such a powerful barrier” he mused “It is even deflected the Hiraikotsu”
“So, Monk” Kaede's voice caused him to lose his balance and fall unceremoniously. “What do you think about our new young lady's abilities?”
“She is very powerful if untrained, but the purity of the barrier is undeniable” he answered, “besides her spirit is unmatched” he glanced over at the still shouting twosome.
“You are quite right, about that. Do you think that we should rescue them from each other before they come to blows.” and walked over just as Kagome had turned away and was trying to ignore the now frustrated hanyou.
Morning weapons training proceeded better after that, although Kagome wondered why InuYasha wouldn't pull his sword from its sheath from his side.
Food was set out on the top of the hill for a repast. Kaede then took Kagome back to the castle to learn herbs and more associated with her new position.
Sango went to attend her other duties and clean the weapons that had been used this morning, other than personal weapons which were left to the owners to care for. Miroku walked to the edge of the forest for some meditation. InuYasha leaped into a tree near Miroku to take a nap, since there was little else for him to do.
Sometime later an object was hurled at his back. He reached behind him and caught it without having to turn around. After bringing the object around and finding out that the item was just an apple, he turned toward the direction that the fruit was thrown from, only to find Kagome standing nearby holding a basket, filled with food.
“What's this?” InuYasha asked suspiciously.
“Granny Kaede gave me the afternoon to relax and this basket of food” Kagome replied “she gave me way too much, want to share?”
“Feh” He replied and took a bite of the apple he had caught.
She started walking past his tree and into the forest.
“Hey, don't you know that there are wild animals in the forest, a weak human wouldn't stand a chance” he leaped down and walked beside her, “besides do you even know where you are going?”
“Well, Sango mentioned a lake nearby, and I that that would be a good place to start exploring. If I am going to live here I might as well get to know the area, shouldn't I?” she turned to him with a look of complete innocence, but InuYasha got the feeling that she was up to something.
“Well you still shouldn't be wondering around without knowing where you are going,” he grudging admitted.
“Now you’re here and I don't have to worry” she smiled “I know that you won't let any wild animal bother me now would you” it almost seemed to InuYasha that she was patronizing him and treating him like a guard dog, but he couldn't really say a thing.
“Yeah, whatever”
They kept walking with Kagome in the lead till she couldn't find the way. InuYasha had to point out the path to here.
They got to the lake after walking for about an hour, Kagome sat down on the edge of the lake after taking off her shoes and socks. The basket set next to her. She pulled out a peach and started to eat it. The juice dripping from her soft lips and running down her chin. InuYasha wondered if she would improve the taste of the peach if he licked it off her. Then shook his head to clear it of the stray thoughts that hanging around with Miroku that pervert had placed there.
She seemed not to want to talk and kept looking out across the lake. He wondered what she was thinking, but Kagome didn't seem inclined to talk at that time.
Her quiet nature was soothing to him, he didn't feel the need to rant and rave like he normally would. She seemed to him a walking contradiction, but it was nice to be around her like this. He leaned back against a tree and just let his thoughts wander. They spent the time absorbed in their own thoughts.
InuYasha wondered if he had ever been as comfortable with another person. Miroku almost always wanted to talk about girls, Sango in particularly. Sango normally would wanted to talk about strategies or weapons, or Miroku, though he smiled to himself, she would kill him if he ever told the monk that. Shippou was just never quiet and usually InuYasha had to knock the little kit about before he left him alone. But sitting here with Kagome felt different. It felt right somehow.
They walked back as quietly as they had sat by the lake, just had left when the sun touched the water.
Chapter 7 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 7

Dinner was the usual chaos, except the island of tranquillity that Inu no Taisho provided was gone.
Miroku kept trying to get InuYasha to talk about this afternoon, when neither he nor Kagome could be found.
“I guess we didn't go as unnoticed as I had thought.” Kagome could feel her cheeks warming with a blush.
InuYasha caught the slight pinking of her cheeks and wondered what she was thinking about. All they did was to sit by the lake alone, then he realized what the monk was trying to find out and couldn't talk for a moment thinking about their time this afternoon, although innocence could possibly construed differently.
Kagome seemed to smile often and would continually show kindness to everyone she would meet at the castle, but soon Shippou, Miroku and Sango seemed to become almost inseparable from the young lady. She still spent the afternoons with InuYasha exploring the grounds or going to some of their now favourite spots, sometimes Shippou, or Sango or Miroku or all three of them would accompany them. More often than not they went by themselves.
Day passed like this, InuYasha barely noticed how fast this time was passing. He seemed to start thinking of Kagome as almost a friend, but he really never had friends. He just tolerated people. But when Kagome was late coming out to the edge of the forest, he would start to worry, but then relief would flood him.
The weeks passed very quickly for everyone, and Inu no Taisho still didn't return from his travel. Only Kaede seemed the least bit worried over this problem.
Kagome was starting to enjoy her new life, but she couldn't help to miss her family. She would find her thoughts drifting more and more toward them. As she started to grow homesick InuYasha noticed that her smiles that he had started to like to see, came fewer and never seemed to reach her eyes again. Shippou seemed to notice as well. He tried to be extra cheerful and worked very hard to make her laugh. Even at InuYasha's expense. Though if it had gotten would have gotten her eyes to light up, he would have even suffered though that. After the next dinner when she didn't even smile more than once InuYasha resolved to find a way to put the sparkle back into her eyes no matter what.
Chapter 8 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 8

“AHHH!!” Kagome's scream cut through the night, propelling InuYasha into her room looking for danger.
The sight that greeted him was Kagome sitting up, eyes wide with terror. He looked quickly all around the room, but found nothing that might cause her such a fright. He didn't smell any danger around.
“Are you alright, Kagome?” InuYasha came into the room, still alert, not knowing what was going on. Her eyes were unfocused, she didn't seem aware of anything around her at all. “Kagome?” he asked again, at the sound of his voice her eyes turned toward him with sudden recognition and she launched herself off her futon and into his arms.
“InuYahsa, oh InuYasha, I was so scared, but it wasn't real was it. It was just a dream, it didn't happen did it?” she seemed to be babbling and crying at the same time. “It couldn't have been real, I am here not on a battlefield, not being chased by some red eyed monster, there are no monsters around here are there?” her brown eyes pooled with fear and hope at the same time looking into his golden ones. All he could do was to hold her and assure her that there were no monsters around to hurt her, and that he would protect her from any that may come around. He kept telling her that she had only had a bad dream and that it would be alright. She clung to him as he led her back to her futon.
With him near she could believe that she had only had a bad dream and began to calm down. He sat next to her as she laid down again.
“Please, stay InuYasha, I'm not afraid when you are near.” she pleaded. “If only till I fall asleep, at least”
“Alright” he laid down next to her. She seemed less anxious when he remained. Her face softened and soon she had fallen asleep. He sat there and watched her as her breathing slowed to the even breaths of the deep sleep. He thought to get up and leave her room she rolled toward him and threw her arm around him and rested her head on his chest, effectively pinning him down. Just for his own comfort he moved his arm to encircle her, and pulled her close. InuYasha though how strange to have Kagome sleeping in his arms. She fit so perfectly against him and felt so right, he didn't ever want to move. But the night wore on and before the dawn broke over the horizon sleep had claimed the hanyou holding his precious burden close.
When Kaede came to wake Kagome for the day that was how she found them. Kagome held gently in InuYasha's arms both fast asleep. Seeing how innocently and deeply they were sleeping and remembering hearing Kagome's scream last night she left the two just as they were closing the door gently behind her. “Today” Kaede thought “would be a good day to rest”
Kagome hovered on the edge of sleep awhile later. The light of day brining her out of her sleep, but her pillow was so comfortable she didn't want to move and pulled her comfort closer. Until her pillow chuckled.
“Wha?” she looked up and into two amused amber eyes. In no time she had jumped across the room with her cover wrapped around her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, fairly startled that he would be in her room and with her sleeping on his chest.
“Do you remember your nightmare last night? You almost woke the whole castle with your scream. But besides that you asked me to stay after that.” his eyes held a bit of amusement and concern.
It took her a few moments to remember her dream and what had happened in her half aware mind. Her embarrassment showed on her face, but with eyes lowered she thanked him for staying and making sure she was alright.
He got up, “I better go, it is later than I thought” and walked out her door and slid her door closed after him.
Kagome thought about the dream she had before she had woken up the night before. She realized that she had to tell someone. Since her training had started Kaede had told her to tell her any unusual dreams or feelings. So she quickly got dressed and went to find Kaede.
Later in the kitchen over tea Kagome told Kaede how she dreamed that she saw the end of a great battle that had seemed to go on for a long time between Inu no Taisho and a great Dragon with two faces. The lord had defeated the beast and sealed it but had left the field wounded and seemed that he would not live long. This had saddened her but not caused her to cry out. What had frightened her was what had come onto the field after Inu no Taisho left. It had seemed to come out of the rising full moon it's white hair billowed out in all directions, the red eyes held a look of death for anyone around. This was the thing that had scared her it had seemed that she was to be that monster's next meal. She had run but it remained on her heals and kept coming closer. It was her scream at that point that had roused InuYasha and his voice that brought her out of the dream.
The old priestess looked concerned for a few moments and then started to busy herself around the kitchen gathering what seemed to be a large meal and placed it in a basket. Kagome watched the old priestess busy herself and realized that what she was doing was helping her to think about what Kagome had told her earlier. “Thank you for telling me of this child. I would ask that you not worry about this. I will help you find an answer to this dream of yours, but for now I want you to relax. As you see I have packed a lunch for our young lord. Would you mind taking it to him for me, you have presented me with information that I must inquire upon as quickly as I might, so that you may rest easy. Now go, I am sure that InuYasha has worked up a mighty appetite, and will not wait much longer, before searching me out for his meal, and I have other things that need doing then dealing with that young demon.” She shook her head with a smile and practically shoved Kagome out the kitchen door. “It is a lovely day enjoy it child” and with that closed the kitchen and left Kagome alone on the path.
She decided that she would do as she was asked and felt her heart grow lighter than it had in days. InuYasha found her coming out of the kitchen garden as he was heading there to see about his meal. Her smile was bright enough to him to rival the sun. The basket she was holding looked very full, and heavy, and he could smell some of the great food that Kaede would normally make wafting from the basket.
She handed the basket and grabbed his free hand. “Kaede sent this out for you and told me to take you away from bothering her” almost dragging him back up the path and towards the forest. He smiled a bit at her bold move, and they walked together happily to their favourite spot by the lake to enjoy meal that was packed with care for them.
Close to sunset they came back to the castle. Kaede called Kagome over before they were to go into the dining hall.
During the meal with everyone, Kagome's lighter mood seemed to vanish. Her eyes didn't have the sparkle that they had lit up with that afternoon, and her smiles never reached her dull eyes. Most of her food remained untouched, and InuYasha could hear small sad sighs from her. The others didn't seem to be effected at all and the usual ending of the latest argument between Miroku and Sango had ended up with her eating calmly and him laid out cold on the floor. Shippou seemed in conversation with Kaede and didn't seem inclined to notice anything else.
Later that night he smelled salt on the air coming from the gardens, Kagome's scent also was coming from there. He followed the two scents wondering why she would cry. She seemed so cheerful this afternoon, it was only after she had talked to Kaede when they had come back that her mood changed. He found her standing in front of his mother's roses, silent tears running down her face. It was unmistakable, and he couldn't stand to see her crying. “Hey” he said quietly so as not to startle her.
She quickly wiped her eyes with her sleeve as if to try to hide the tracks of her tears, “Hey” she replied just a quietly.
He came up close to her before asking why she was crying. He looked so uncomfortable with her tears but he pressed her for answer even when she tried to avoid it.
Finally she admitted that Kaede had told her she would be leaving in the morning to help her tend a village that has sent for her help. “ I am just thinking how much I will miss the friends that I had just made. Especially you, InuYasha” His heart skipped a beat when she had said his name.
“She'll miss me” he thought, her sadness was over the thought of leaving him. “You won't be gone for long. Will you?”
He really hoped she wouldn't, he had been starting to enjoy their afternoons together.
“Kaede didn't say, but I gathered it was going to be a while” she sighed again.
“Oh”
“InuYasha” she whispered, his name sounded like a promise on her lips. “before we leave tomorrow I wanted to give you something.”
His curiosity was pricked, and he came closer. When he was about a foot from her she held out a small silk wrapped package. He opened it carefully, though he wanted to shred the delicate wrapping. Inside there was a necklace of beads mostly purple with white teeth spaced evenly about the necklace. “They were once my father's” she said, as if trying to explain why she would give such a gift.
“Their wonderful” he said as he slipped them over his head. He knew how sentimental she could be and was amazed that she would give him such a gift. He knew he had carried them around with her because her scent lingered around them. He wanted to give her something of equally precious. He could only think of one thing that he had been given when his mother had passed on. “Can you wait here for a moment?” he asked, he started sprinting down the path then turned “I will be right back” The flustered hanyou turned and ran back toward the castle.
Kagome didn't really have time to answer, but stared after him as he disappeared a moment later. She tried to ponder his irregular behaviour, but he was back just a few heartbeats. When he came bounding back caring a small wooden box. He stopped less than a foot from her, and stuck it out.
She took the box and slid the lid open. To reveal a jewel on a string of shells. It was so beautiful she couldn't believe that he would give her such a gift. Two clawed hands pulled it out and placed it around her neck.
“It's too beautiful” her hand involuntary covering the jewel on her breast. He mumbled something that sounded like he was calling her prettier than the jewel.
“Oh, thank you, InuYasha” she exclaimed and through her arms around his neck. He had no choice but to catch her. Her arms went around his neck and his arms around her waist. She felt so right in his arms and he didn't want to let go of the beautiful happy woman clinging to him. He held her close and didn't move even when he caught a whiff of Miroku nearby. The monk came near enough to see his eyes and then turned and left them alone, realizing that he wanted to be left alone at this time.
The half moon climbed high in the sky before Kagome realized the time and pulled out of their embrace. He didn't want to let her go quite yet.
“Please” was all she said and he let her go, but she held on to his hand and they walked back toward their rooms.
Just before they got to her door, he pulled her close again. “If you ever need me, just say my name three times while holding the jewel I gave you. I will get to you no matter where you are.” he whispered.
She looked up and her chocolate eyes pooled with emotions, as they looked back in his liquid gold eyes. “Promise” she whispered back.
“Yeah”
She kissed her cheek and smiled as she walked into her room.
Chapter 9 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 9

The next morning she was gone before dawn. He hadn't slept the whole night his mind in too much chaos for him to rest, and had watched from a tree as Kaede, Kagome and Sango rode out the main gates.
He heard a sigh from under his branch. “What I wouldn't give to be a horse right now.” Miroku sighed again, “ To have such beauty ride me I would bear any burden” To which he found himself on the ground sporting a new lump the size of a egg. Looking up Miroku saw the cause of this latest injury was from a very annoyed InuYasha.
“You pervert! Why don't you get your mind out of the bedroom and back to the spiritual aspects that you are supposed to be minding” He yelled before storming off to the main castle.
“This is going to be an interesting time” the monk smirked, watching his friend walk away.
He got up gingerly nursing his bruised head, and followed InuYasha back to the castle.
Word came a few days later that all though Ryukotsusei has been finally been defeated and sealed away Inu no Taisho had suffered several mortal wounds and had died that same day.
At sunset after this news had been heard Miroku and Shippou heard an inhuman roar of grief and pain that shook the foundations of the castle. The servants had fled earlier that same day in fear that the curse placed on the new young lord would effect them. Only Miroku and Shippou had the bravery to stay, knowing that the curse would only effect InuYasha.
They found him after moon rise in the garden by his mother's roses. He was crumpled in on himself.
“Stay away” InuYasha growled.
“You know we can't” Miroku seemed to have more bravery than sense to him.
He turned his head to look at his two remaining friends, Shippou was hiding behinds the monk legs and shivering. Their friend's eyes were no longer the warm amber, but red with blue slits.
“I don't want you to get hurt” InuYasha's voice was lower straining, sounding more like the growl of an animal.
Miroku shook his head “Your father before he left, your father entrusted me with the reason for this condition. He also asked me to continue the work that he was trying to do to find a way to remove this curse.”
InuYasha tried to laugh, but it came out mirthless, “He would trust a perverted monk to try to help me get out of this”
“Well I am sworn to stay till this thing is over one way or another” Miroku sighed, “Besides we still have sometime before the first full moon. That's when you will be at your worst. Your father prepared a room before he left, under the palace for those days.” Miroku smiled at him.
A weak smirk came to InuYasha's face, “So even like this I will have no freedom from the likes of you will I”
“Nope” the little fox being embolden by their conversation, spoke up, “Were stuck to your side”
A true short laugh came from the young lord and Shippou's comment.
“Come my friend let us go back and see if we can make some sense of the kitchen. The servants have fled and I need some food to think better.” Miroku lead the three of them back to the castle.
Chapter 10 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 10

During this time Kagome, Sango, and Kaede travelled for several days visiting village after village, tending to wounded, and ill villagers. After weeks of travel they came across a group of wolf demons who had been badly injured. Their leader though one of the worst wounded insisted that his pack be treated before him.
Kagome was the one who had the dubious honour of tending the leader herself. As she was tying off the last of his bandages his hand crashed down on hers.
“I could use a healer with your gentle touch. Why don't you travel with my pack” his blue eyes bored into hers “Besides with your beauty I'd make you my woman too.” His attitude was so confident that he was bestowing her a great honour.
Kagome yanked her hand back quickly in shock. She could sense the power of this arrogant demon and really didn't want to offend him, but she had no wish to be tied to this brash young man. She figured out a way to turn him down without bruising his inflated ego. “I'm flattered young lord by your generous offer, but I must decline. For my life is not my own to chose.” She spoke carefully keeping her annoyance with him out of her voice as much as she could, “I belong to the Lord of the Western Lands, and may only travel with those whom he chose to appoint to me.” Kagome hoped that he would accept this.
“There is no Lord of the Western Lands anymore” apparently from his rebuttal he wouldn't. “He died after his battle with Ryukotsusei, so you are free of him to become Koga's woman,” he grabbed her hand “My woman”
The shock of hearing of Inu no Taisho's death took her by surprise she didn't respond right away to his actions. After a few moments though his callous actions toward her sunk in. She extracted her hand from his and pulled herself up straighter “But my Lord Inu no Taisho left behind two sons, and I am sworn to remain in service to the youngest Lord InuYasha. So I am not as free as you would have me be.” She put all her pride into her response.
As if to rescue her from the difficult issue that had just arisen. “Kagome-san” Kaede called, “we must be off to reach the next village before sundown.”
She stood up “Thank you for your offer I am most flattered, but I again cannot accept it, Good-bye Koga-sama”
She walked over to where Sango was holding her horse and mounted. The three woman rode off down the road.
Koga watched them ride off “She's perfect, I will make her mine.”
The three travellers came finally to the village that had summoned the priestess Kaede to aid them, only to Kagome's surprise that it was her own family to which they were summoned.
Kagome's grandfather had taken to bed ill with worry over his handing his dear granddaughter over to a demon. She greeted her grandfather and assured him that she had taken no ill effects from staying at the castle. Her kimono was much better than the one that she had left in, and she radiated with a power that was obvious to her family. Kagome's mother and brother Sota greeted her friend and teacher with great love and invited them to stay with them while they were there. So Kaede and Sango ended up staying in Kagome's village with her.
It soon became known that a Demon Slayer and priestess were staying with the family and visitors started coming asking for their help. They asked for Kaede to perform blessings and exorcisms, and for Sango to rid their outlying areas of rouge demons.
Koga the young wolf demon leader also came often bringing gifts of some kind, normally some animal that he had recently hunted down. Every time he came he professed his need for Kagome eventually declaring that he loved her and needed for her to be with him. Kagome artfully dodged his advances through her loyalty to her lord, which Koga dismissed out of hand, and her need to be there for her convulsing grandfather. She even tried to encourage him to find someone free for him, and more suited to him.
Several months passed this way, and the only concern that plagued Kagome was her monthly nightmares. They always seemed to open the same way as her first one. Though instead of a battlefield she would be in the garden of the Inu Castle. The full moon would rise over the wall, and the monster would come. She would still wake up at that point, and clutch the necklace that InuYasha had given her and whisper his name. Her fear would subside and she would sleep easier after that.
Meanwhile back at the castle during the full moon nights when the beast he had become raged the worst, InuYasha would hear Kagome whisper his name on the wind and suddenly his inner beast would calm. Miroku and Shippou would stay by him protecting him from himself and others from his now bestial nature.
Chapter 11 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 11

Several months passed like this, when news came to Kagome's village. Nearby villages were being attacked by large packs of demons. Rumours were flying that the demons were being lead by a young boy with dark hair and blank eyes, wearing black and yellow armour of the demon slayers.
Sango's face went blank whenever she heard the news, but Kagome could tell that her friend was troubled about these rumours.
A few nights later as they were preparing for bed, Kagome asked Sango what was troubling her.
“I fear that I know their leader” Sango's voice was faint and hard to hear.
“How?”
“You never asked how I came to serve a Demon Lord, being a demon slayer” Sango's voice had taken on a flat quality.
“What has that got to do with you knowing the leader of the murdering demons?” Kagome's shock showed in her voice.
“They are connected you see. Lord InuYasha had found me on the verge of death after the destruction of my village. He brought me to his father's house. After I had recovered from most of my wounds he and Miroku took me back to find that they had buried the dead for me, But there was one grave short.” Sango's voice had taken on a quality of tears shed a long time ago, Kagome couldn't interrupt “Only my brother was missing from the dead. We heard rumours later, but we had never been able to find any trace of him. The description of the young leader matches his very closely, I fear it is him.”
Kagome threw her arms around her friend and cried the tears that Sango was unable to cry.
To give them a break from the rumours that everyone in the village couldn't stop talking about, the girls decided to explore the edge of the forest near the village. Since they were not looking where they were going they soon got lost and hadn't found their way back even as the sun started to set.
They decided to rest at the next clearing that they found. Only to find it full of demons. In the centre of the group was a young boy. Before Sango could stop herself she called out his name “Kohaku”
At the sound of Sango's voice the demons paused and the boy turned toward the two girls. His eyes were empty and no emotions crossed his face. He raised one hand and the pack of demons only paused a moment before lunging at the women to attack.
Kagome grabbed Sango's hand and they raced back through the forest. In the cover of the trees they were able to use Sango's sword and Kagome's bow to hold them back. Till Kagome ran out of arrows. They were lucky for the most part, only getting minor wounds and were able to get their backs to a large tree to protect them on one side. They fought off the demons till they could almost not stand anymore. The demons sensing their weakness gathered back before launching their final attack.
Kagome's hand rested on the jewel that InuYasha had given her before she had left. “InuYasha, Oh InuYasha I am sorry I haven't been able to get back to you, I am so sorry InuYasha” she whispered.
Her legs gave out after her apology only to see half the demons surrounding them fly into pieces. The last thing that Kagome saw before exhaustion caused her to faint was a flash of red and silver.
Chapter 12 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 12

InuYasha had been restless all day. Stalking around the castle, going from room to empty room. When he had interrupted Miroku for the fifth time his friend spoke up “I know that the full moon is tonight, but what has gotten into you?” His annoyance showed in his voice.
“It's been six months and we are still no closer than we were when we started looking for this 'key'” InuYasha continued to pace the room.
“I know, InuYasha, I am as anxious as you to remove this spell, but till we figure out what she meant we are powerless. I am searching through all the scrolls even some notes that your father left trying to find a clue as to what to do.” Miroku stood and looked to the west, “Come on, Shippou has probably put your meal in the cellar and you don't want to be outside when the moon rises”
“feh” was the only reply that was heard but he followed the monk to the room he spent three nights every month.
They ate together in silence. Each knowing what soon would happen, but neither wanting to talk. When they had finished Miroku cleaned up their meal and left the room placing a sealing spell on the door after he left.
A few minutes later a roar of rage was heard everywhere in the palace.
As Kagome and Sango were fighting demons in the physical form, he fought his own battle with the demon in himself. It was then that he heard his name, before the last syllable he had smashed through the barrier on the door and was half way out of the castle. The fear he had heard in Kagome's voice increased his speed tenfold. When he arrived he saw her and Sango trapped against a tree, surrounded by demons. His anger and rage exploded, he used his claws, to destroy demon after demon till the few left fled his wrath.
When he could find no more enemies to battle he turned toward the girls. Sango screamed when he stalked toward them. She tried to place herself between InuYasha and Kagome, to little effect. The poor girl was knocked aside and back into the tree stunning her. He picked up Kagome gently and then looked over at her companion who was then trying to get back up.
“Follow me if you can” he growled and sped off through the trees.
Sango could barely move, her battle with the demons had taken its toll. She looked off toward where the beast had carried off her friend, only to hear movement in the bushes just in front of her. Tired though she was she wasn't going to go down without a fight and raised her sword again.
Only the thing that burst out of the bushes didn't attack her, unless you would consider latching on to her neck with both hands and hugging as much of the life out of her as the small fox demon could. It was Shippou, his eyes were happy and sad at the same time. “Sango” he exclaimed “What are you doing here?”
He finally let her lower him into her lap. It was then that he saw the blood from her wounds. “You've been hurt. What happened?”
“I'm exhausted to, but I'm not entirely sure that I can trust my eyes anymore.” She replied, and couldn't help but smile at her friend.
“Let's get you home so that you can tell us what happened.” he turned back the way he had come “Miroku, Kirara, I found Sango, but not InuYasha”
“So that was InuYasha.”
“You saw him?” Miroku came out of the trees beside her, followed by a huge cream and black coloured cat with two tails.
“Miroku” Sango nearly jumped at his voice “Yes, I did see him. He carried Kagome off in that direction.” she pointed back the way that they had come.
“At least he is showing some sense” Shippou sighed.
“We had better get back to the castle, something tells me he is already headed there” Miroku helped Sango on to Kirara's back only to earn himself a slap when his hand rested lower than it should have.
The darkness around Kagome lessened and turned into an almost blinding brightness. When she blinked she found herself staring into a mirror that wasn't a mirror. The eyes she looked into were cold.
“Who are you” Kagome asked.
Instead of answering her, the reflection walked past her. Kagome turned to see where the woman went. She saw her reflection standing in front of a livid InuYasha. The lady's voice was as cold a ice but rang through the empty space.
“The beast you portray, is the beast you will be. Thirteen moons you have to find the key. Only a tear may save the beast, a heart of love may free the soul.”
At these words InuYasha collapsed in on himself and the woman faded away.
Kagome was parallelized, she couldn't move or speak to her suffering friend.
The same icy voice whispered in her ear “Watch and see” cold shivers played down Kagome's spine. She still couldn't move.
Her heart nearly stopped when InuYasha's pain caused him to throw his head back and roar.
Only then was her voice freed “InuYasha” she called.
His head turned toward her, his eyes fully red. She was looking into the eyes of the monster that had been haunting her dreams.
Chapter 13 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 13

When Sango, Shippou and Miroku returned to the castle, they found Kagome asleep on a futon in the room that had been given to her when she was first there. They also found Myoga watching over her. They searched the castle but couldn't find InuYasha inside, and no one wanted to go outside at that time. Their only clue to where their friend could be found were the sounds of trees smashing and enraged roars. No one wanted to risk what they feared out there.
Because Sango and Kagome had not been back at the village before nightfall the four decided that they needed to send someone to tell Kaede know what was going on. So Shippou and Myoga travelled with Kirara to let the old priestess know what had happened. Sango and Miroku would look after Kagome till sunrise when Miroku would go and look for the missing InuYasha.
Shippou found the old priestess in the middle of a crowd starting to organize a search party to look for the missing girls.
“Kaede-baba” Shippou yelled to be heard over all the arguing adults, weaving in and out of the moving legs blocking his path to the old priestess.
Kaede only responded when she felt the kit tugging on her hakama, “Shippou, what are you doing here. You were supposed to stay at the castle with the lord?” she lifted the kit on her shoulders.
“ I know Granny, but Sango sent me” he replied.
At hearing the demon slayers name many of the crowd quieted down and a ripple of shock went through the crowd. They all wanted to hear what was to follow.
“Kagome and Sango are safe, but Kagome can't be moved right now. She was injured in a battle with demons.” Shippou wanted to tell more but Myoga stopped him and asked if there was a place that they could go over the details in private. Kaede dismissed the crowd by announcing that the girls were safe, and that they had to returned to serve the lord they are sworn to.
She then carried the little fox and flea back to Kagome's family's house, and gathered her family to know what had happened. When they were all settled, Shippou poured out the whole story of how InuYasha broke through the barrier spells and ran off. Also how Miroku and he had followed InuYasha's trail into the forest and found Sango against a tree. What Sango had told them and how Kagome was found back at the castle unconscious. Myoga told of how the fierce looking lord had left the girl in his care before he travelled back into the night.
Kaede worried that InuYasha's strength was so much that he was able to break the barriers placed to protect others from the beast that he had become. They talked long into the night never noticing the shadow that had detached from near their window and loped into the night.
Koga after listening in on what had happened decided on his own that he needed to liberate his woman and destroy the beast that was holding her captive, in his mind. So he headed out in the general direction of the castle he had heard the fox kit describe to scout out how he could get in and where he might need to fight.
The next morning Miroku found an exhausted InuYasha in a newly made clearing near the lake. It was littered with parts of plants and trees that would make good toothpicks or firewood for the next few months. In the middle of this mess lay the hanyou. He was bruised and bloodied with self inflicted wounds. He was so weak that he had to be helped off the ground and leaned on the monk as he was lead back to the castle. Very few words were spoken between the men besides encouragements to keep moving by Miroku. When they had almost reached the castle InuYasha spoke in a strained whisper “Please, don't let her see me like this.” His friend nodded his understanding and led him back to his own rooms to tend to his injuries.
Chapter 14 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 14

Kagome finally awoke when the sun was setting a day later. She couldn't place where she was at first. The first thing that she registered was a small weight near her hip. She moved her head a little due to the start of a headache to see a tuft of red hair, tied back with a bow, and a fluffy tail. She smiled at the sleeping little kit made her smile as she remembered her surroundings as where she had called home several months before.
She must have shifted to get a better look at the sleeping child for he stirred and when he saw her chocolate brown eyes smiling at him he popped right up. “Your awake” he exclaimed with a smile that lit his small face, “everyone will be so happy” and with that he hugged her neck and bounded out of the room to get the others.
“I wonder how I got here” she mused out loud unknowing.
“You were brought here of course” an unseen voice supplied. When she turned her head she saw Myoga the flea sitting on a small table drinking tea. Before she could ask more, the door opened again to admit Sango and Miroku following the excited fox child. When they saw that what Shippou told them was true, Sango hurried over to embrace her friend. She helped Kagome sit up.
“I am so glad that you finally woke up. We were starting to get worried” Miroku said staying uncharacteristically back.
“How are you feeling?” Sango asked her concern a bit too evident.
“I feel a little weak and my head hurts, but otherwise I feel fine” Kagome replied. “But I wanted to ask you how we got back here.”
The others smiled and Sango answered “Well, Miroku and Shippou found me in the forest”
Kagome picked up on what was left out, so she pressed “That explains how you got here but how did I get here?”
Miroku and Sango looked at each other sheepishly. Shippou stayed quiet as he had been told to do but he really wanted to tell what he knew. He didn't understand why he was told not to say anything to Kagome about what happened.
“Lord InuYasha brought you here” Myoga supplied still sipping his tea, “ he felt you were in the most need and had sent the others to get Sango, who was still conscious at the time.”
“Oh” Kagome took a moment to process this information and then looked anxiously around the room for her savoir, “then where is he, was he hurt when he came to help us?”
“He has asked that you excuse him for a time he had business to attend to and is unable to see you tonight.” Myoga, ever the diplomat made a suave excuse for the missing half-demon.
“You look famished, Kagome, why don't I go get you a tray from the kitchen” Sango switched the topic quickly, “Come on Miroku, I could use your help with the tea. Shippou, you stay here and don't fall asleep this time.” she said with a wink. She dragged the monk out of the room and shut the door. Kagome and Shippou exchanged puzzled glances although for different reasons.
InuYasha met them at the door to the kitchen. “I thought that we agreed to tell her that you found her, Monk!” he snapped.
“I couldn't lie to her” Sango snapped back. “She is my friend, and besides we didn't tell her Myoga did.” She pushed past the angered beast to start getting the tray that she told Kagome she would make for her.
“Feh, that's beside the point, you should have stopped him” he followed her but his anger was quickly deflating.
“Well since you were listening then you should know she has already asked about you.” Miroku said calmly in the face of two angered friends.
“I can't see her looking like this” He rounded on the monk.
“Why not!” Sango said sharply to the pacing hanyou looking up from the food she was preparing. He muttered “I'll scare her”.
“What!!” Sango almost dropped the rice bowl she was getting. She stared InuYasha down “You scare Kagome, you have got to be joking!”
“Well even you were scare when you first saw me, and you knew about the curse”
“Sure I was scared, I had just been attacked by a legion of demons,” she slammed her hand down to emphasize her words, then her voice got quiet for a moment “besides I didn't know it was you”
“Well you know you have to see her sooner or later” Miroku said from reclining against the wall.
“He's right, InuYasha” Sango picked up the now full tray “There wasn't a day when she didn't think about you.”
“She thought about me?” he looked like he had just got hit by lightening.
“Then maybe we can figure out a way she can see you without seeing your condition” Miroku said enigmatically picking up the tray with the tea and following Sango back to Kagome's room.
When they came in with the food Kagome she was watching Shippou demonstrate a trick he had learned while they were gone. After they had set the trays down Kagome started to press for some answers, “OK, now where is InuYasha, and when will I be able to see him?”
“At least she waited till we set down the food before she started” Miroku commented to Sango.
“I know you saw him, I want some answers” she had leaned forward to emphasize her point.
“Kagome” Sango replied “you still need to rest right now. InuYasha said that he would see you tomorrow night. So eat up and get better the tea has some herbs to help your head”
“Alright” she replied deflated and started to eat.
InuYasha who had been hiding outside her door smiled to himself.
Chapter 15 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 15

It took almost the whole day with Miroku's help to set up Sango's idea. They moved one of the shoji screens into a sitting room and place lights on the outside of the screen. They had placed the screen so that there was a door right behind it. They moved one small table with a single lamp.
Kagome was directed to the room just before moon rise, to meet with InuYasha. When she got there only the lights all she saw was a room filled with light and a white screen blocking part of the room. She sat down to wait upon her appointed meeting. After a few moments the lamp on the other side of the screen was lit to reveal InuYasha's shadow.
“Okaeri nasai, (welcome home) Kagome-chan ” he said after he had lit the lamp.
“Konbanwa, (good evening) InuYasha Sama!” she replied bowing. “Domo arigato gozaimasu, (thank you very much!) for coming to my rescue the other day” she kept her tone formal not knowing what to think. He was hiding himself from her and she couldn't figure out why. “Could there be anything to my dream?” she wondered.
“Please don't call me Lord” he said sadly, he was confused by her reserve and it wasn't like the Kagome he was used to and had heard when the others were visiting her as she was recovering. He started to think that maybe she was going to ask to leave, and he really didn't want her to go away again.
“Hai, InuYasha” she paused for a few heartbeats. “I have missed you. I wish you weren't behind this stupid screen and I could really see you.”
He couldn't believe what he was hearing “You missed me?”
“Yes, didn't you miss me?” her voice was held a slight bit of panic, and he could smell the start of her tears.
“I did miss you Kagome, please don't cry. I hate it when you cry.” He started to get frantic, he hated to see women cry and especially Kagome.
“I'm not crying” she snuffled.
They both fell silent, but their silence was no longer comfortable between them.
“InuYasha” Kagome's voice was hesitant. “if it’s alright I would like to stay here with you. May I?”
“You want to stay?” he asked back.
“Hai”
“Sango will need your help in the morning so you should get some rest” he knew he didn't answer, but there was no way he was going to tell her something that he wasn't sure that she would reciprocate. He extinguished his light so she could no longer see his shadow against the screen.
Kagome sat in silence for a while waiting for a dismissal. When none came and no sound emanated from the other side of the screen she took it that InuYasha had left. There was no way for her to know that he sat there drinking in her scent and listening to her every movement.
The next day Sango and Kagome walked through the castle assessing the damage that had been done over the near abandonment of the past six months. The girls wanted to bring it back to the splendour that they remembered. With only the two of them, Miroku, Shippou and Kirara to count on they realized that it was going to take them a long time to get it back in shape. While they were looking at what needed to be done Kagome kept trying to press Sango on what happened to InuYasha and why he was hiding from her.
Sango kept repeating that she couldn't tell her what had happened. She had been sworn to keep it secret. Although it annoyed Kagome to no end, she could get no more than that InuYasha would not be able to help them with what they were planning. So they spent their day cleaning the rooms that would be used immediately.
Kagome was told by Miroku that InuYasha wanted to meet with her again after dinner. Once again at their meeting InuYasha stayed behind the screen. Kagome still not comfortable with talking to him like this but realized that he wouldn't remove it yet, chatted about what she had done that day. She told him of what she and Sango were planning to do and what she wished could be done.
When she had yawned for the fourth time that night, Inuyasha suggested that she might need to get some sleep to accomplish all that she had planned to do. In order to help her he snuffed his light and waited for her to leave.
When she woke up the next morning, she had found that some of the tasks that she thought couldn't be done had been completed for her. Kagome was very pleased and couldn't wait to talk to InuYasha for she somehow knew that he had helped her yet remained unseen.
For almost a month things went on like this. She and Sango would work around the castle, Miroku remained in the library. Shippou and Kirara spent as much time helping as trying to stay out from under foot of two very determined Cleaners. But on the night of the full moon she was stopped by Miroku before she was able to get to the sitting room.
“Lady Kagome” he called, “InuYasha sama asked that I gain your assistance on finding a certain document. That I have yet to find.”
“Miroku” she sighed “you know that I am not nobility so you shouldn't call me lady, but I guess I could help” she looked wistfully at the sitting room door knowing that she would miss talking to her friend even if she couldn't see him.
They went to the library and she found that he had to giant stacks of scrolls piled up. “What document do we have to find?” she asked.
“It is an ancient protection spell that was written by my grandfather, it was lost over the years, but I know that it is in one of these piles.” Miroku supplied.
“Well we better get to work, I will take this end if you will take that and we will meet in the middle.” Kagome stated and started looking through the scrolls piled on the floor.
When they had gotten thru the first pile, the noises started. There were roars that shook the walls. Although they bothered Kagome greatly, when she looked over at Miroku the monk didn't seem as if he heard them at all. So she tried to ignore them as well.
They had gotten through most of the piles and there were only two or three left Miroku suggested that Kagome go and get some rest she looked very tired.
She slowly walked down the hall toward her room thinking. Every time that she had heard the great roaring it felt as if her heart was being torn from her chest. She couldn't stand the pain and agony that she was hearing in those bestial cries. She didn't realize that she had walked right past her room following the animal sounds till she reached a locked door. She examined the door and found that there were written spells placed on the door. The writing was Kaede's. She stood there puzzling over what could be locked away with such strong protection, when the noises stopped.
She went closer to the door only to jump back a second latter when something started pounding on the other side. She ran back down the corridor to the relative safety of her own room, fearful that whatever was closed away would escape, and come after her.
After her visit it seemed that the sounds got louder and more pain wracked. Kagome felt that her heart was being torn in two, but didn't know what to do about it.
The Miroku, Sango and Myoga noticed the change in the noises that InuYasha was making, but didn't know the cause. No one but Shippou got a good night’s sleep. He was only able to sleep for like most children when those they love are around, slept oblivious to everything around him.
Chapter 16 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 16

The next morning Shippou couldn't understand why the 'adults’ around him were acting so cranky. He finally decided he couldn't take what was going on and wormed out of Kagome why she had such a short temper and was in a bad mood.
Sheepishly she finally told him after much wheedling and pleading that she didn't get much sleep the night before and was still tired.
“If you’re tired why don't you take a nap?” he asked innocently. Kagome was surprised at the ageless wisdom that the little kit was telling her.
“A nap?” Kagome replied “but there is so much to do”
“Can't it wait?” Shippou countered.
When Kagome yawned before she could answer, she realized that nothing they were working on, could really be done the next day. Perhaps it would be a good idea to rest and take it easy for the rest of the day.
“Perhaps you are right, Shippou. You want to see if Sango and Miroku need to rest as well?” she asked.
“Sure” the kit replied excitedly. Kagome had to follow him bounding down the hall.
They found an unconscious monk and an enraged demon slayer by the door to the weapons room. Apparently Miroku had come to a similar conclusion and had suggested it, to his detriment. Yet when presented with the same idea from Kagome and Shippou, Sango decided that it might not be so bad. She realized that her temper was a bit short and might have over reacted to Miroku's words earlier.
The girls and Shippou headed back down the castle hall to their own rooms to rest. InuYasha stepped out of the hall after they left and dragged Miroku back to his room to sleep off the beating he was given smirking all the way.
After he had the monk settled he checked in on the girls only to find both of them asleep in Kagome's room with Shippou playing quietly on the veranda. He slid the door closed quietly and then went into the garden another way and called Shippou over.
“Since everyone is asleep and won't be up for a few hours. How about you help me with preparing the evening meal?” he suggested.
Shippou was shocked. InuYasha never really thought of others that often. It was almost unheard of. “What did you say?” he just had to get clarification. This earned him a lump on the head.
“I was just thinking of making something to eat and you know the way those wenches set up the kitchen.” InuYasha grumbled and stomped off down the hall.
When the others awoke they found a simple meal laid out for them in their rooms. As the girls were finishing their meal there was a knock on the door.
“Come in” Kagome called.
The door slid open to admit Shippou and Miroku.
“So Shippou,” Kagome prodded, “you know who prepared this delicious meal for us?”
“I promised I wouldn't tell,” he said dejectedly “but I helped” his voice turned to pride at this last point.
Kagome nodded sagely, getting what he was saying without saying. “I understand, thank you for helping.”
When they had finished and cleaned up, Kagome decided that she wanted to take a walk out in the garden. She noticed how many of the flower beds had been overrun with weeds. When she reached the centre and found that the great rosebush in the centre was almost chocked off with weeds she couldn't just walk on by. She knelt down and started pulling up the offending wild plants. It took so long that she didn't notice that when the waning light of day was replaced with the bright light of a newly waning moon. She stilled when she heard a familiar voice behind her.
“You missed our meeting tonight” it said.
When she turned her head she saw two bare feet below a pair of red hakama lit up by the moon. With the rest of the figure cloaked in shadow cast by the trees. She turned back to the rosebush and whispered his name “InuYasha?”
“Who else would it be wench?” he huffed.
“I didn't realize it was so late.” she stood up and brushed the smattering of dirt from the garden off her work kimono. Since she couldn't see his face she focused on the feet knowing that they were real. “Thank you for preparing the meal tonight”
“What, how did you know, that stupid fox wasn't supposed to say anything.” he grumbled.
“He didn't I figured it out for myself.” she replied and smiled. She really couldn't see his face but could tell from his voice that although he was annoyed he was also proud about what he had accomplished.
Whether it was being near the roses where she had last seen his face, or the almost full moon, Kagome felt a bit bolder than she had the last time they had met. She finally decided to ask what she had been trying to figure out on her own “InuYasha, why have you been hiding from me?”
“I am not hiding” he snapped, “I'm out here, aren't I?”
“Yes, you are hiding. Ever since you brought me back here I have not once seen your face?” She was indignant that he could deny what he was doing to both her and himself. She placed her hands on her hips and glared at the shadowed figure waiting for him to challenge what she knew to be truth. Her expression didn't waiver till she heard a mumbled reply.
“You know that I could hear that, please repeat what you just said” her annoyance was just growing till she finally heard what he had said.
“I said that I didn't want to scare you” he said louder.
“What could have happened to you that could cause me to ever be afraid of you? I know you, InuYasha.” she said passionately, “I know the real you, nothing that could have happened would make be afraid of you.”
The shadow lowered his head.
“Come into the light, let me see what you think will make me afraid” she said softly, coaxing him to come closer to her.
“No, you'll run” the fear showed in his voice.
“I won't run from you, I promise” she replied keeping her voice soft and encouraging.
Slowly the shadow moved forward, and the moonlight crept up his silhouette. First revealing the elongated claws on his hands. His long hair was still white but wilder than before. The beads that she gave him were still around his neck, but on his face was a purple stripe on each cheek. His two triangle ears still sat gently on the top of his head, but he had kept his eyes closed and covered by his bangs.
As he was stepping out into the light both of Kagome's hands had come up to her face, pressed together in front of her mouth with the tips of her fingers touching the bottom of her nose. “Please, open your eyes,” she said slowly and quietly. Her eyes were swimming in unshed tears.
He slowly lifted his head and opened his eyes. Eyes that were as red as blood, with only pupils of blue stared into tear ridden brown. He noticed her hands had folded over each other and she had placed a few fingers in her mouth to prevent her from crying out.
She looked into the face of the demon that had haunted her dreams, and instead of the murderous light that had scare her so much, there was only pain and sadness.
He could only look at her for a second with her pain etched face, before he turned away. He was about to walk away leaving her forever when two delicate arms wrapped him in bands of soft steal. He couldn't believe that she would even touch him, a cursed half-breed. He never expected this reaction from her. He placed his hands over the gentle ones that embraced him and thanked Kami that she had come into his life.
Chapter 17 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 17

The next day instead of being absent InuYasha was helping Kagome with several of the tasks around the castle. They spent the whole day together and after the evening meal took a walk out to their favourite spot before Kagome had left with Kaede. With most of their secrets between them exposed, they once again felt comfortable enough to allow silence grow. The two walked to the edge of the lake to watch the sunset.
Unknown to them an intruder had finally found his way to the castle where they were staying. It had taken Koga longer than he had wanted to find the palace that his woman was being held at. He had been exploring the borders of the property staying at the edges, as the sun was starting to sink in the west, he came to the edge of a large lake on the property. He stayed down wind when he smelled two figures coming near him. He had to stay hidden looking for the right opportunity to pass and find his woman. It was then that he caught the elusive sent that he associated with Kagome. Taking a closer look at the two figures walking toward the lake he found that the figure was familiar. It had to be his woman. Koga watched the figures closer than ever. They sat down at the edge of the lake side by side, Koga could feel his hackles rising, but it was when the man put his arm around the girl that he exploded.
Inuyasha only had a moments warning to shove Kagome away, before a fist smashed into his face, throwing him back with the unexpected blow. Inuyasha raised one hand to rub where the blow had fallen, and looked to examine his opponent. Before him stood an angry young man with long black hair pulled up in a ponytail above a furry tan headband. His ears were pointed at the tips and his blue eyes radiated his fury. His stance was aggressive and he looked like a hunter who had cornered his prey.
The tableau was marred when Inuyasha stood from his crouched position, with his hand still on his cheek. "You are a long way from your territory Wolf" he growled.
"I am only here to recover my woman, Mutt" Koga growled back.
"Your woman?!?" Inuyasha's head whipped over to where Kagome stood with obvious confusion.
Her frustration and anger at being called such echoed as she echoed Inuyasha's words, with much more via mince, adding "when have I ever been your woman, I have told you over and over not to call me such, I don't belong to you!"
Inuyasha turned toward back toward Koga at that point after seeing the steel in her eyes as well as being projected in her voice. With a slight nod of approval he addressed the intruder, "Well that clears it up for me, fleabag, you have till the count of three to leave my sight. One..." with that Koga launched into another attack on the silver haired usurper to what he considered his rightful place. The attack didn't go as the wolf had planned, apparently Inuyasha was prepared for the underhanded dealing and countered with a dodge. Soon they were circling each other looking for an opening.
"Dumb mutt you keep your hands off my woman" Koga shouted as he launched himself at Inuyasha.
"Didn't I just hear her deny that claim, mush for brains" Inuyasha used Koga's own momentum to toss him into a tree.
"I claimed her and she has no say, dog breath" Koga rebounded from the tree scoring first blood by scratching Inuyasha on the arm.
"Your claim is denied and you have no say, stupid wolf" Inuyasha countered landing his fist in the wolf's unprotected abdomen.
Kagome could only stand back and watch the two titans battle it out worrying every time a blow was landed, she didn't want to see either man get hurt, but could find no way to stop the continuing battle.
Blows were traded between the two fierce demons, insults being flung back and forth. It was only after both combatants landed a sequential punch breaking the wolfs right arm, that then end of the battle became evident. With a final futile attack Koga was flipped and the next thing he knew was his opponent's claw was around his neck and saw was the other claw heading toward his face. "Now puny wolf time to meet your creator".
"NO! InuYasha, Please" Kagome had screamed.
Koga felt specks of dirt hit his left cheek.
"Be grateful to the girl, dumbass, she just saved your life." The snarling white haired man stood up above the flattened wolf, and turned to walk toward the frightened girl "You had better be gone by morning, and if I catch you on my lands again without my permission" a golden eye looked back exposing his purple striped cheek, "no one will be able to save your sorry hide" The princely hanyou only stopped as Kagome rushed to him and he gathered her into his arms.
She looked soulfully into his eyes, "Thank you, my lord you don't deserve blood on your hands, not for my sake" Kagome said as she held her chosen champion close.
"So this is the lord she's been holding me off for" Koga thought, "at least she is well cared for". Koga stood up and dusted off his legs. "You won this round dog-breath, but if you ever hurt my Kagome you won't live to see another sunrise" he announced and dashed off into the surrounding woods.
"Come on let's clean your wounds" and started leading him back the way they had come.
"These scratches are nothing" Inuyasha huffed.
"All the same you should let me take care of you, it will make me to feel better" she sighed back to him.
"Whatever wench" but he allowed himself to be meekly lead back to their home
Koga ran out of the area wondering what he could have done differently to win the young woman's heart that clearly belonged to the monster that she had so gently shackled to her with invisible bonds.
Other eyes than the wolf's watched in silence the situation as well.
Chapter 18 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 18

Life continued peacefully at the castle. The Only thing that plagued Kagome's mind was that one night a month Inuyasha would disappear, always on the full moon and she would occasionally hear the growling and howling of the animal kept in the sealed room. It took Kagome almost three months to build up her courage to go back to the sealed room during the daytime, only to find the seals gone. When she entered the room it was bare. There was only a straw pallet with chains above it and a bucket. It looked like a cell to Kagome. This presented even more of a mystery to Kagome. She determined that on the next full moon she would solve this puzzle.
Her opportunity came a few days later just before sunset Inuyasha and Miroku disappeared for a time. The monk resurfaced a few hour later to share an evening cup of tea with the girls after Shippou had been put to bed. They talked of what needed to be accomplished the next day. When the howling started, Sango and Miroku ignored it and pretended that there was nothing going on as they had every time they had been in Kagome's presence. Kagome had learned that there were little indicators that would show her that both her friends heard the same sounds that she did.
Miroku played with whatever was near his hand at the moment, whether it was a cup, his prayer beads or Sango's rear, which usually gave him a red mark across his face accompanying a blissful look. Sango's eyes would widen slightly and her movements seemed to get more adjusted whenever she heard the noise.
Kagome excused herself from her friends company earlier than normal claiming to be tired from their long day, and went to her room. Sango followed suit not wanting to be left alone with the lecherous monk.
After a few hours Kagome could hear the rhythmic breathing from her companions, assuring that they were asleep.
She crept from her room and silently went down the halls to find the cell like room. As she expected the room was sealed and the animalistic noises originated from. As before the sounds stilled as she got near the door. She took this opportunity to remove the seal an open the door.
Crouched on the far side of the room was Inuyasha, his red eyes narrowed as she entered the room. Violence radiated from this form, chained to the wall. A low growl emanated from his throat. Kagome could only stare for a several heartbeats. This was truly what her dreams were telling her. This was the monster that had scared her at night for several months. She clutched at the necklace that he had given her as she had done after every time after she had awoken from her nightmares. "Inuyasha" she whispered.
This barely audible word on her lips worked like a magic spell. The growling stopped, the blood red eyes grew soft and he began to whimper. Kagome's courage grew as the creature backed away trying to make itself small against the wall. She knelt down next to the crouched figure slowly reaching out her hand to stroke his head. When he didn't pull away from her when she stroked down his back she pulled him into her soft embrace.
This keyed his voice to come back to him, "Kagome" he croaked "you have to get away from me right now. I don't want to hurt you"
Kagome continued to hold his head to her chest letting her hand stroke down his back "Shh, Inuyasha, I know that you would never hurt me" she kept her voice soothing "I could never leave you, especially when you are in pain"
He couldn't respond, all he could do was wrap his arms around her waist and hold on to this treasure that the gods had sent him with all his strength.
She reached up and unbound his hands and stayed by his side the whole night. When his bestial side started to cause him to pace, and growl, she would sing calming songs, or take his head on her lap and stroke his hair to calm him. Near dawn Kagome fell asleep leaning against the wall. InuYasha moved her gently away from the wall and placed her head on his lap petting her hair as she had done to him throughout the night.
Miroku rushed through the door an hour later scare that Inuyasha had escaped only to find him peacefully sleeping against the wall with Kagome's head on his lap. The shocked monk leaned for a moment against the wall, to still his racing heart, then left, coming back only moments later to lay a blanket on the sleeping girl, before leaving them alone again.
Chapter 19 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 19

Kagome sat combing her ebony hair thinking over the past few days. She had finally found out what those noises were and why Inuyasha disappeared. She felt a little betrayed by her friends when it was revealed that they had known all along, though she had been told that they had been asked to keep his secret, till Inuyasha revealed it himself.
She had been told the bare facts of the story about the curse on Inuyasha, but she couldn't figure out the why. She asked Sango and Miroku, but both admitted that they had told her all that they had known, including that the curse had been held back for over fifty years by the former lord, Inuyasha father, only to strike Inuyasha after his father had passed away. It was suggested by the monk that she seek out Myoga who was the only one left around that had been in service to the lord when the original curse had been cast. Also Inuyasha had been predictably closed mouth about his past. Over the months she had known him all she had found out was his mother's name and that he and his half brother were constantly fighting.
Kagome determined to track the tiny demon down and get some answers as to what had happened. It took her weeks to find the flea demon after searching the whole castle, she finally came across him in Inu no Tashio's old study, going over documents of state. When she asked he required that this was a long tale and is better told over a pot of tea.
So Kagome got the tea and the two sat down at the old oak desk with the old flea reminiscing over the past.
"It was over fifty years ago" Myoga began "and Inuyasha had been betrothed to a young woman of a neighbouring land. She had been trained as a priestess and was considered very beautiful by all around. To assist in the courtship the two had often spent time with each other as young adults. Master Inuyasha had a great affection for her and was often seen following her around on her duties and the Miko of her land. But as you know the master has a fierce temper and can be extremely jealous. This would cause the couple to argue often as part of her duties was to show compassion, which the young master often thought was excessive, to the sick and injured.
It was one morning after a ball that Master Inuyasha had accused her of trying to arrange a meeting with a nobleman who had only approached her to thank her for caring for a dying relative.
The day had been long and trying for the priestess, for she had been tending the sick before the ball and had been obliged due the ball being a state function. She had enough of the jealousy and accusations that he had constantly thrown at her. So a blast of power was sent from her to Lord Inuyasha flinging him back and she spoke these words to him
'The Beast you portray
is the Beast you shall be
Thirteen moons do you have to find the key
Less death overtake thee' "
Kagome joined in with Myoga speaking the final lines
" 'Only a tear may save the beast
A heart of love may free the soul' "
The old flea's eyes widened in surprise as she joined in repeating the words of the spell placed on his lord.
"H-how did you know?" He stuttered.
She lowered her head "Please continue your story and I will tell you how I knew"
"Well" Myoga continued "Inuyasha's father found out that same night. He spoke with the priestess trying to get her to lift the curse she had placed. She admitted that it was not within her power to lift the curse, as she had felt taken over by some other power when it had been cast, but there was one that would come along who could realise him. She also told Lord Inu no Tashio that he could hold off the start of the curse through use of his own power, but should he die, the curse would then take effect. She then left and was soon killed in battle with an evil force that had threatened her village." Myoga finished his tale and took a sip of tea, " Now Lady how did you know of the curse placed upon our young master?"
Kagome looked the flea in the eye, "I can't really explain it myself, but part of what you described to me I have seen in my dreams. I find those words echoed through it and I see his face twisted in pain" She hung her head again, covering the now glistening eyes "I have heard it so often and only now understand what it means" a lone tear splashed on the floor by her feet, before she turned and fled the room leaving a trail of tears out to the garden.
Chapter 20 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 20

When the group gathered for the evening meal there was one person missing. Inuyasha waited till they had started on the main course before excusing himself to search for their missing companion.
He found her under the tree he had been sitting in the first night they had met in the garden. The scent of her tears still mingling with the delicate sent of his mother's roses. She was sitting with her knees pressed tightly against her chest. The top of her dark hair was only visible resting on her folded arms. She looked like a lost child against the foot of the tree. A momentary softness crept into his face seeing her so week, but his normal defensives rose back quickly.
"Hey, wench, what do you think you are doing. You'll make yourself sick." he spat out.
Her head barely raised for a second. He only saw a flash of nose before her hair cascaded even farther forward around her crossed arms, and a renewed sent of tears assaulted his nose.
The frustrated cursed hanyou growled slightly at the confusing woman in front of him. At the sound she looked up fully her brown eyes still filled with tears met his red ones.
"How long?" she asked quietly
He tears were setting him on edge, he didn't know what to do. He did the only thing that his confusion would let him "What?!?"
"How long have your been effected by the curse" she clarified.
"Oh," he plopped down in front of her "Almost since Kaede took you away for training" he sighed"
Her head remained up locking the hanyou in a firm gaze, "I was gone for six months and for another month you stubbornly refused to let me see you. Koga came two months after that." She seemed to be rambling but her eyes had turned clear.
"So" he asked his confusion growing.
She continued "It took me three months after that to get the courage to discover what you were hiding from me. You know how long that is?"
The question took him off guard "Huh, so, it's been a year, so what?" cam the gruff reply.
"Do you even remember the original curse at all!" She stood up getting frustrated over his seeming lack of understanding.
"Not really" his mind started reeling 'how could she know' he thought. 'I remember every line but I don't want to' "I know that Myoga has been harping on time being short, but I never took him seriously" his voice dropped to just below a whisper "not for awhile now" 'I haven't wanted to think about it since you came back' He thought to himself.
"Myoga was right about time being short. If I figured it out right the next time you transform will be the last" Kagome began.
"That's good right, I won't transform again" He cut in.
"No, it's not!" she sighed, "The last time you go wild will be the last time you won't be able to come back you will be....you will...." Her voice faltered as the tears she thought had dried renewed themselves.
"Kagome, don't cry" Inuyasha gulped, "I can't stand it when you cry" he instinctively gathered the again sobbing girl in his arms.
"I don't want to lose you" she barely managed to say between sobs clinging to him like a lifeline.
"You won't lose me, Kagome. I will always come back to you"
"Promise?" her eyes still brimming with tears. Chocolate met with blood red. Her eyes held hope that he had long forgotten and wanted to always hold on to.
"I promise" He pulled her in closer embrace. He continued to hold her as tears lessened and eventually stopped. When she had been quiet for awhile he looked down to find her in a deep sleep. He held her close knowing the time she feared was closer than even she knew.
A blood read sun crept slowly over the eastern horizon echoed in the two blood red eyes watching it. When it had fully shedding golden light across the land the red eyes turned to the sleeping girl he held in his arms, and looked away. Dreading that this would be their last sunrise together. He took her back into the castle and lay her gently on her futon and stroked the dark curtain of hair away from her face.
"I never want to hurt you Kagome" he whispered, "you deserve better than me"
With that he left the room leaving the girl to rest.
Chapter 21 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 21

The whole place woke late and solemn mode. A depression had settled in on the group. The bright light of the group seemed dim as the overcast day. The sun like smiles that graced Kagome's face never reached her eyes. As if in reflection of her mood the sky stayed overcast and grey, darkening as the day progressed. The castle was almost back to the condition it was in a year ago, before the curse took effect.
Lunch was a solemn affair. Every ignoring the obvious fact that tonight was the possibly the last sane night Inuyasha may have. Before the sunset a funeral like procession lead by InuYasha went down to the locked room. Miroku secured the wall shackles while Sango and Shippou looked on. Kagome remained outside the room refusing even to come in to see how he restrained himself. It wasn't until after the others had left that Kagome entered the doorway. In her hand were a stack of ofudas that Miroku had asked her to place when she had left. Her eyes shone with unshed tears. He could tell she was trying not to cry for him.
"Why" came her choked question "Don't you trust me?"
He hung his head down. His white hair covering the red of his eyes. "I do trust you, Kagome" He sighed knowing that to win this argument was going to be painful.
"Then why?" she became insistent "If you trust me then why is this necessary"
"I don't want you to be hurt"
"You could never hurt me" she dropped the ofudas and threw her arms around his neck.
His arms involuntarily came as far around her as he could. "I can't take that chance," he was able to lightly stroking her hair trying to comfort her. "You’re too good for that" He said softly. After a few moments he felt his body began to pulse. His hand stilled. His body pulsed again. He released Kagome, dropping his arms.
"You have to leave me"
"No" and she held on tighter.
"Get out of here" he shouted, and tried to push her gently away.
"I won't leave you" grabbing his haori with both hands.
He shoved her again "I don't want you here, Go Home Now!"
It was the anger in his eyes that finally convinced the girl. With tears flowing freely down from her eyes. She paused in the door way and whispered something so softly that he had to strain to hear. Then she was gone.
When the sun finally set and the full effect of the curse took effect. The scent of Kagome's tears still lingered in the air. When his bestial mind took control it didn't remember anything, and the scent of pain lingering in the tears was too much. With a scream of rage he pulled his chains out to the wall and burst thought the unwarded door.
Following the salty cent of tears he ran through the palace shredding anything in the way. He crashed through a shoji screen blocking where the scent was stronger. In the empty sleeping he found the soft soothing scent underlying the tears was strongest here. He paused and sniffed around the room. Closing his eyes to capture the elusive scent better. He followed the soft scent around the room crawling up onto a soft surface. He followed up the soft surface trailing the scent. It was only when he reached the head of the futon and the scent was overwhelmed by another scent. It was the tears and pain he had scented that had driven him through the palace. He opened his eyes and realizing that he was in an empty room roared with rage. In his furry he lashed out shredding the mattress causing feathers to fly about the room, the night stand that had been next to the futon splintered. The only thing in the room that was spared was the shoji leading to the garden, as it had been open. His roar of rage and frustration echoed through the castle. He burst from the now destroyed room out through the garden.
Miroku and Sango had the misfortune to meet the enraged beast at the edge of the garden. Miroku sensing danger shoved Sango aside a moment before it hit. Claws raked his shoulder and arm. Clutching his injuries he realized that they were inflicted more as a way to get him out of the way not truly to hurt him. Sango caught the falling and bloody monk.
"Is that?" she asked in a whisper, her eyes following the red and white form receding from their sight.
Miroku's eyes opened filled with pain, "Our nightmare has come true."
Chapter 22 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 22

She had left her room and watched the full moon rise over the lake, causing a ribbon of white to ripple across the water's surface. This caused her mind to drift back to the one who caused her to lose sleep. When she had left his self imposed prison, she had went directly to her room. She had tried burring her head in her futon and crying out her frustration. As that hadn't worked or helped, she sought solace out at her favourite spot. But everything she did made her think of him. The quiet night, the white moonlight, even the cry in the distance.
Her revere shook by the distant sound. Kagome looked over her shoulder a few minutes later after her reflective melancholy mood almost fully returned, the cry came again.
With that Kagome stood up and started to head back to the castle. Back to ease the pain of the one who caused it for her.

At the edge of the forest a silver haired beast paused. Suddenly the scent he had been tracking was in two places. 'No' he decided the scents were slightly different. Both were very familiar to him. He turned from the new scent to follow the original trail.
"InuYasha!" a female voice called out. The silver haired beast turned slightly in his ground eating leap. Only to be impaled by an arrow and pinned to the tree he was passing. His eyes closed momentarily. When they opened his eyes had transformed. Golden eyes filled with pain looked out "Kikiyo, Why?!?"
The shimmering image of a woman dressed in the garb of a Shinto shrine priestess. Her red Hakama seemed not to move as she came closer. Her shirt sleeves hiding the bowstring that had launched the offending missile. Her straight black hair was pulled back and wrapped with a sutra and white ribbon.

Inuyasha's eyes have already drifted closed again when Kikiyo reached him. Her free hand reached up and stroked his cheek "I'm sorry, but this is how it has to be." As her hand passed over them, the stripes on his cheek faded his wild hair stilled and a look of peace settled over the sleeping hanyou. With sad eyes Kikiyo turned to look the direction Inuyasha had been travelling. There at the edge of the forest was her reflection, though an imperfect one. She knew that her reflection was better in some ways then herself. With a sad smile Kikiyo dropped her hand and dissolved into points of light that joined the stars.

Kagome had watched as her unknown refection approached the tree. It was only after she had disappeared did Kagome notice the arrow pinning Inuyasha to the tree. With a small gasp as the horror in front of her, she ran stumbling over the uneven ground. Finally tripping over the base root of the tree her hanyou was pinned to. She pitched forward to collide the tree. Only his lower legs blocked there from injuring her head. She stepped back once she regained her balance. Then she jumped slightly trying to reach the offending projectile. "Damn," she thought, "If only there was a way I could climb up to him"
She gently placed her had on his bare foot. "I'm sorry. I wasn't brave enough to stay with you, despite your protests. I'm even sorrier I can't reach the arrow." She leaned against his lower legs and let her tears flow freely, with all her frustration and sorrow.
When her tears collided with the tree a faint glow began where they landed and started to spread. The more tears she cried the brighter the glow became, surrounding the tree.

"I wish there was a way to reach that arrow" Kagome whispered her eyes still closed and her voice raw from crying, " I know I could pull it out"
The words were a catalyst. The glow increased exponentially and became tangible. Kagome was pushed away from the tree by a force she didn't recognize and blinded from the light she had unknowingly caused. The light shaped itself into roots and branches embracing the unconscious hanyou but putting them at just the right height for her to climb up and reach her goal. Kagome thought that she had to be dreaming. Otherwise, this is just too weird for her. The light dimmed and solidified into the forms that it had taken on.
Kagome shook her head, to try to clear it for a moment. Realizing that she wasn't dreaming, she stood up, dusted herself off the walked to the lowest part of the newly formed roots.
It was going to be a little difficult but hiking her yukata up she proceeded to climb up the new parts of the tree. When she got up right next to him she let her skirt drop and did the only thing that came into her mind at the moment. Both hands came up and...................started to play with his ears. She was stroking and rubbing and gently tweaking them. After a few moments of her secret enjoyment she heard leaves rustling behind her. Quickly she dropped her hands not wanting to be caught, and carefully turned around.
"Kagome," came Shippou's cry.
"Where are you?" Sango's voice carried after the kit's.
She sighed, "I guess I better let them know where we are" she told the unconscious hanyou. 'I wish I had more time alone with you' she thought, 'but I better get this over with.'
Kagome turned away and called back to her searching friends, "Over here, We're over here by the God Tree."
Immediately the red headed fox kit burst through the bushes. "Kagome" he called out cheerfully, "where have you been?"
Not looking too much where he was going, he had launched at the normal height where Kagome catches him only to collided with the new roots of the God tree.
Behind him Sango pushed her way through the bushes following the hole made by the kitsune.
"Kagome?" Sango looked around confused by the new background that was presented in that should have been familiar. Plus she couldn't see where her friend's voice was coming from. All she could see is Shippou on the ground near a root holding his head.
"Up here" came the reply.
Just above here her head stood Kagome on the roots of the tree.
'What is going on?' she thought, then she looked past her friend to see Inuyasha. "Did you seal him?" she asked.
"Seal him?" Kagome was confused "Sango, why would I want to seal him?" Kagome didn't know why her friend thought that this travesty was prevaricated by her, and that her friend seemed relieved that it had happened. Kagome then noticed that Sango was dressed for full battle with her Hiraikotsu and a katana at her side.
"Kagome, can you get down from there?" Shippou asked.
"Of course I can. I climbed up didn't I?" Her confusion over what was going on caused her to snap out her reply.
"Kagome are you okay?" Sango asked trying to figure out why her friend was getting angry.
"No....I mean yes, .....I mean, I don't know" Kagome dropped herself on the root she had been standing on. " just want to figure out what is going on?"
Shippou had in the meantime found the lowest point on the tree and had started climbing. He reached Kagome just after she had sat down.
"It's the Curse" he said simply "Inuyasha knew something like this would happen"
"What?!?" both girls looked in shock at the little kit.
"Well he did" Shippou murmured.
"Shippou" Kagome spoke calmly pulling the child onto her lap "I need to know, what you know about what happened."
His young green eyes half closed as if he was trying to figure out his chances between the girls and an unconscious hanyou. With a sigh he made his choice. "Before you came back the closer it got to the full moon the more Inuyasha became afraid" Shippou said "He didn't let on, but I could smell it on him. One day when Miroku was out getting supplies I asked him. You know InuYasha when I had asked he blew up and chased me around till I pinned him with a Jizu stone." He started to giggle at the memory. "I stayed out of his reach for a while as he cursed up a storm"
"That wasn't nice Shippou," Kagome barely hid her smile as she half heartily scolded the kit about his behaviour.
"But he was trying to hit me" Shippou whined.
"I know, Shippou, I understand" She hugged the boy to let him know that she wasn't mad Sango had just sat down to listen and giggled lightly at the picture the kit had painted in her mind. When Kagome looked her way, she just replied "What? Couldn't you just imagine him trying to stand with one of Shippou's statues on his hands?"
At this point Kagome had given up on her battle against smiling and a she giggled along with her friends "yeah, I can. But you never let him know it" she said with a smile.
"Right" Shippou and Sango said together.
Causing another giggle fit for all three.
Once they had calmed down Kagome asked, "You didn't leave him there for Miroku to find did you?"
"I almost wish I had sometimes after the lumps he gave me, but no." Shippou said "I can back awhile later after his yelling had stopped"
"And that was what, an hour or two" Sango commented. They all knew Inuyasha's temper and ability to yell constantly at anybody but Kagome for some reason.
"More like three" the kit laughed, "By the time I came back he was till muttering. Well when I came close enough I told him that he either had to tell me what was going on, or I would leave him like that for Miroku to find the next day."
"You didn't" Sango gasped, about to burst into laughter again.
"Yep" Shippou declared proudly "and that set off a whole new string from him. I left him for another few hours before I could even come back the volume is just too much for a while."
All three started laughing again. When they had calmed down, Shippou continued his tale. " Well I did come back with some ramen and started eating in front of him. And that was what finally stopped the cursing and mumbling making him finally tell me anything I wanted to know."
"Oh, Shippou, you didn't " Kagome sighed and shook her head "Poor Inuyasha, you had to hit him where it would hurt most."
"Nah, he deserved it" Shippou said proudly "but I did bring a bowl for him, though he couldn't see it" Shippou was enjoying telling about how he pulled one over on the hanyou that would bully him like a big brother. "Well it did take him till I was halfway through to finally tell me that he was afraid that one time he was going to change during the full moon and the only thing that could stop him would be death."
Kagome sighed "Now I understand. Shippou, Sango could I get a little bit of time alone, to say goodbye. I will meet you back at the castle." She gently moved the kitsune off her lap and stood up.
"Kagome, it is not completely safe out here," Sango said.
"I'll be all right, there isn't anything out here I can't handle." Kagome replied.
"Ok, I understand, but if you aren't back before dawn, I'm coming back for you"
Her friend's concern made Kagome smile, "Sure"
"Come on Shippou" Sango held out her arms for the kit to jump into.
"You sure Kagome?" Shippou asked.
"Yeah, I'll come in later, Ok?"
"Ok" he said sadly holding on to Sango as they walked back toward where the castle lay.
Kagome gazed softly after them for awhile, before turning back to the pinned hanyou. She watched the breeze riffle through the silver strands. 'He can't be dead' she thought, 'he just can't be' the laughter that Shippou had brought with him disappeared with the whispering wind.
Chapter 23 by Lady Noticula
Chapter 23

"Inuyasha" she cried "you stubborn hard headed Baka!!" She beat her hands against his chest. Thoughts of grief were all consuming for Kagome. "Don't you know I want to help you! Don't you know I love you!!" she cried. With these words a pulse shot through the arrow pinning Inuyasha to the tree. "I need you with me you idiot" The pulse then transferred to the hanyou, and Kagome felt a slight change. Her anger had worked out and her head rested on his chest. Under her ear a heartbeat returned. She pulled her head back wondering about what had happened, only to see his eyes flutter. "Inuyasha?" she queried softly.
His eyes slowly drifted open at the sound of his name" ka.... ka...Kagome?"
A fresh wave of tears filled her chocolate eyes. "You're Alive! Oh, Inuyasha" she hugged his neck tightly.
"Kagome, No, get away" Inuyasha yelled his eyes popping open "I don't want to hurt you, get away from me!" He shook his head back and forth as if to try and shake her off and get away from the girl holding him.
Kagome stepped back "Inuyasha, Stop!" she said sternly and placed her hands on her hip. The moving appendage stopped and turned towered her.
The inset gold opened wide "Kagome, Please, I can't hurt you, you have to get away love" sorrow flooded his sun like eyes.
Her eyes became like saucers, the shock of his words written on her face. It took Kagome a moment to gather her thought sand to step over the revelation her hanyou had inadvertently made to her.
She straightened her back a steel came into her eyes the confused the pinned hanyou, so desperate to keep her safe. Kagome then stepped close to Inuyasha. She placed her left hand on his chest and her right hand gripped the arrow protruding from his chest.
"You...Won't...Hurt.... Me...."each word accompanying a pull on the arrow and pulsing shot through the hanyou. A pink light built with each pulse. When the final word was spoken with a strong tug the arrow came out and dissolved in a shower of pink lights. He was freed from the tree. A light surrounded him and burst forth with an explosive force knocking Kagome off the roots she was standing on, before ultimately destroying said roots as well.
Kagome looked up from the dusty ground she had been thrown turning back toward the tree.
Inuyasha stood there looking at his hands. His claws are back to normal. He didn't feel the boiling in his blood that usually stayed as an undercurrent the last year. Something had changed in him for the better.
Kagome rolled over and sat up watching her hanyou assess his changes. The golden eyes she had seen when he was pinned to the tree remained. The strips on his checks had disappeared. The Inuyasha she had known before his father's death was back.
He stilled in his inspection of himself when he caught of a whiff of something in the air he didn't like. He turned toward Kagome. She sat there calmly a few feet away her hands demurely in her lap. Her kimono was dirty from her climb and from being thrown from the tree, but the smile she gave him could illuminate the forest. He realized that the blood he smelled from her had to have come from skinning her hands when she fell.
He ran over to him and grabbed her and spun her laughing. His happiness mirroring her own.
"You’re back," she whispered when he had stopped spinning and stood holding his treasure close.
His face fractions of an inch away from hers. He understood her words and closed the distance, shattering both their thoughts with his kiss. When their lips parted only due the need for air, she rested her head against his shoulder. "I'm so glad your back" she whispered, "I'm not sure that I could have gone on without you."
"Kagome, " her words were far more precious to him than he had ever known, he had to tell her the truth, and "you’re the only reason I’m here I won't ever leave you, ever again." With those tender sentiments Kagome drifted to sleep against her protector's loving arms only to be scooped up and carried back to the castle.

Sango, Miroku and Shippou waited on the garden terrace for Kagome to return. The wait had begun to get to the three and it had been a long time for her to come back. It was starting to get dark and none of them were very sure of how safe the woods around the castle were with Inuyasha no longer with them. They had all been saddened by Inuyasha's loss. They each had to cope with it in their own way. Shippou was pensive from the loss of his friend who was more like a big brother to him. Miroku steeped deeper into his lecherous ways, and kept triggering Sango's aggressive responses to his advances. Earning the injured monk a sounder beating than should have been warranted given the offence. Miroku's poor arm was still in a sling and he could only see out of one eye thanks to Sango's reactions, but it was him who was the first to see the sight they weren't expecting to ever see again.
"Sango, Shippou, there at the tree line are my eye's playing tricks on me?" Miroku asked.
"What tricks," Shippou asked sullenly, not bothering to turn around. Sango had turned to look where the monk had indicated, hoping that she hadn't damaged his brain too much.
Through the line of trees a red form emerged. Half way up the form it seemed to be carrying something green, with black crowing it. The red form was topped by silver. Shippou jumped up, then down off the porch and ran toward the unknown form. This caused Sango to scan look closer toward the approaching forms. There she and Miroku saw a sight that they never expected to see again. Here came Inuyasha carrying an unconscious Kagome.
Shippou jumped around them, as they kept moving forward. It seemed as if Inuyasha was keeping the kit from jumping up and disturbing his precious cargo.
When they reached the terrace Sango and Miroku were agape. Not only was their friend alive, but also he was no longer in a blood lust. He had fully transformed back to his hanyou self.
"She did it," a small voice piped up from Sango's shoulder.
"WHAT!!" both friends yelled surprised.
"SHH!" Inuyasha hissed back. All eyes turned back instead of looking for Myoga. "She's sleeping" he replied looking at the girl curled in his arms with tenderness that they didn't know he had. "We'll talk later." With that he walked past them and into Kagome's room.
"its true love" Myoga sighed, from his perch of Sango's shoulder.
"What's that" Sango exclaimed.
Miroku's hand came up to rub his chin. "The key was so simple. That is why we couldn't find it."
"Dad knew" a voice behind them spoke.
"Inuyasha, how did you know your father knew?" Miroku asked.
Inuyasha sat with his friends on the porch. "He told me once the key was one of the simplest yet complex things on this planet."
"He was a very wise man indeed," Myoga stated.
They passed a few hours together before Sango and Miroku grew tired and retired for the rest of the night. Only Inuyasha was left to watch for the dawn. As the sun peaked over the horizon he whispered, "Thank you Dad, Kikyo. It was a hard lesson, but without it I would have never gotten Kagome. Thank you"
Warm arms wrapped around him from behind. "I love you too Inuyasha." Kagome whispered to him.
The lived in relative harmony the rest of their days.
End Notes:
I hope you enjoyed my story and all have a happy holidays.
This story archived at http://ik-eternal.net/viewstory.php?sid=1315