Summary: AU fic. Kagome is moving away from home for college for the first time in her life. Inuyasha is a half-demon slave on the verge of giving up hope. This is their story - a story about love, sacrifice, and growing up.

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own Inuyasha. Nor do I own, Kagome, Sesshoumaru, Rin, Kagome's family, or any of the other copyrighted characters that may or may not appear in this fic. So please don't sue me, and enjoy the story!

Credits: Okay. I'm going to try not to write a book here, but this is my first fic so I think I'm allowed a little drama. First, of course, I would like to thank the creators of Inuyasha for such a fantastic anime. I watched the first episode a few months ago, and since then I've been completely hooked. Secondly, I'd like to thank two other fanfiction writers whose work I read right here on - Imoen (author of Slave to Love) and Elora (author of Ai no Koinu). I got a lot of my ideas and all of the inspiration for this story through reading theirs. I've been reading for almost a year now and this is my first story, so inspiring me to actually write a fic I felt was worth posting here is a big deal for me. A lot of the plot came from Imoen's fic, and much of the background for the world I've set the characters in is from Elora's. I really recommend you read their stories if you haven't already - they're awesome! ^_^

And now... (drum roll) On to the fic!

Learning to Let Go

Chapter 1: On my own.

Kagome looked around her bedroom, trying to take in every detail of the room in which she had spent the first 18 years of her life. Her pale blue bedspread, the mahogany night table next to the canopy bed where she'd slept. Her dresser, her closet. The awards she'd won in academics and archery over the years.

It was all hers, and yet today, for the first time in her life, it looked strange. Almost as if she were looking at it's reflection rather than the reality. Today Kagome was moving out.

She sighed, hoisting her last bag of clothes over her shoulder. She hadn't even seen the place her parents had bought for her; she only knew that it was in the suburbs of Boston and very close to the college that she would be attending for the year.

With a final glance back at her haven, she closed the door gently, almost reverently, and turned away. As she started down the stairs, carrying her bag, she squared her shoulders. This was the beginning of a new chapter in her life, and no matter how frightened she was she was going to make it work.

Her mother greeted her with a bright smile at the bottom of the stairs. "Are you all set darling?" she asked as Kagome stepped into the foyer. "The limousine is waiting outside, and your grandfather and Sota and I are all coming with you to help you unpack and settle in.

Kagome smiled gratefully at her mother, but suddenly paused as something occurred to her. "But mom, what about your meetings for the afternoon? Don't you have important stuff to do?"

Her mother was one of the most important members of the inner senatorial council in the government, and consequently the Higurashi family was one of the most affluent, wealthy, and influential in the world. Her mother was always traveling, and always working on essential paperwork, and always meeting with the most important figureheads all around the world, and yet somehow she always made time for her two children and her aging father.

Her mother smiled and put her hand on Kagome's shoulder. "Darling, you should know by now that no meeting is more important than making sure my baby is comfortable and happy in her new home - especially since this is the first time you'll be living so far away."

Kagome dropped her bag to the floor and flung her arms around her mother. "Mom, I'm scared," she whispered, clinging tightly to her mothers warmth and relishing in the security she offered.

Ms. Higurashi rubbed her back comfortingly. "Of course you are. But you're your mother's daughter. You're a survivor, Kagome. Soon you won't even be able to imagine living with your family anymore you'll be so happy on your own." She took Kagome by the shoulders and looked into her face. "And besides," she said brightly. "You can always come home and visit whenever you get homesick."

Reassured, and even starting to feel excited, Kagome reached down and grabbed her bag again. "You're right mom Let's go."

Arm in arm, mother and daughter walked out toward the waiting limousine.


"Wooooow!" Sota exclaimed as they pulled up into the long, circular driveway. "You're going to be living here all by yourself, Kagome?"

Kagome looked, speechless, at the beautiful house in front of her. It was smaller than the mansion she'd lived in with her family, but just as elegant and beautiful. Forest extended behind it for as far as Kagome could see, and the grounds were well-kept. Bushes and flowers lined the slate-paved walkways and the side of the house, and the house itself was classy, made of dark red brick and with a colonial style tilt to the roof.

"It's beautiful!" Kagome gasped finally, looking at her mother in amazement.

Ms. Higurashi smiled. "I thought you'd like it. It was just built last year, and we wanted something brick so you wouldn't have to worry about leaks, decay, or the sturdiness of the house. Come on, I'll give you the grand tour!"

The family exited the car, leaving the chauffeur to unload all the bags into the foyer of the house, and Kagome's mother and grandfather showed off the house and all the things they'd liked about it. The kitchen was furnished with all the latest technology, and there was an entertainment room with a big-screen TV and stereo system. The basement was divided into a storage section with lots of shelves and cabinets, and an exercise room. Upstairs there was a huge bedroom, a king-size bathroom with a Jacuzzi big enough for several people, and a large study that adjoined the bedroom where she could do homework and store all her books.

"Oh, mom," Kagome breathed in awe. "It's amazing. I don't know what to say."

"I helped pick it out too, you know," her grandfather grouched. "Even set you up some demon wards to keep you safe from evil spirits."

Kagome smiled and gave him a hug. "Thank you, grandpa."

"I want a house just like this when I get older," Sota was telling his mother as she helped Kagome fold her clothes and put them into the dresser and the closet. "Okay mom?"

Their mother smiled and patted his head, promising that when he turned eighteen he too would get a house near whatever school he chose to attend.

A few hours later everything was unpacked. The kitchen had been stocked with food prior to her arrival, and her car had been driven over by one of the servants. Kagome looked around her new home, brimming with enthusiasm.

"Well," her mother said gently. "Looks like it's time for us to be going."

"Yes," Kagome said, her smile slipping just slightly. "I guess it is. I'll call you tomorrow to let you know how my first day of classes goes."

"All right dear. I'll talk to you then." Kagome and her mother shared a long hug, and when they drew away from each other Kagome had to wipe the tears from her eyes surreptitiously.

Sota hugged his sister next, looking up at her with huge eyes when she let him go. "Are you sure you don't want any of the servants to come help you out? I know you can cook and clean for yourself, but it's going to be so lonely to be by yourself in this big house."

Kagome smiled at him. She had been over this with her mother already. She wanted to try out living by herself, and if it didn't work she would ask her mother to hire a servant or two to help her out with the chores. Her family was unique in the high-class world as it was the only family who employed it's help rather than simply purchasing slaves who worked for no pay at all. Kagome had always been vaguely proud that her family looked down on what she considered to be a cruel, ignorant, and inhumane practice.

"No, Sota," she told him gently. "I'm going to try living on my own for a while. But you'll come visit me often, won't you?"

Sota smiled happily. "Of course!"

Finally she hugged her grandfather, who told her some quick rites of exorcism, and never to sleep with her shoes beside her bed, before joining Kagome's mother and little brother in the limo. Kagome watched with mixed feelings as the car pulled out of sight, leaving her alone in her new house.

She closed the door and leaned back against it, somewhat overwhelmed. She was on her own, in her own house. She could do anything she wanted any time she wanted the freedom was almost too much to bear.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to go out and buy her schoolbooks for tomorrow. Yes, keeping her mind off things would take the edge off her anxiety. Grabbing her keys, Kagome headed out to her car.

Well, that's it for chapter 1. This will be a pretty long fic, and I know that there hasn't been a lot of action yet, but I still have to work some more on the setting and the character development before I bring in everyone's favorite dog demon. So sit tight, cuz the next installment should be here soon, and if you get a chance let me know what you think!