The feudal age was quite an interesting thing. Despite the gross differences in population, clothes, food, mannerisms, basically the ENTIRE way of life, hours and seconds still flowed the same in both eras. Time didn't slow down in this land of magic, nor was it always one season. That was one thing to take comfort in when she went through the well; things always kept changing.

But in her journeys through time, Kagome never dealt with snow much. Tokyo was in a warmer part of the planet for it to snow regularly. She figured that, having always traveled in either warm or cool temperatures, things would be no different. What ELSE was she supposed to expect? Which was the main reason a confused cry sounded as soon as feet were buried up to her knees in snow. After that, she jumped to the top of her traveling bag with a small sweatdrop, rubbing her legs to dry them off. If she'd known this was going to happen, she would've made sure to pack pants! Heaving a sigh at her predicament, glad she had a pair of emergency, tall winter boots packed, Kagome grabbed hold of the vines and started to climb out.

Getting a hand and foothold wasn't easy due to the snow making everything wet and slippery. But, finally clambering out and not sitting on the edge for a breather, she heaved a sigh of relief and shook the snow from herself. The lip was covered with four or five inches of undisturbed snow and she knew it hadn't snowed before she left a few days ago. With a small shrug, she went in search of her bike. She would just have to push her trusty ride a little harder back to Kaede's hut was all.

She stopped with a confused blink as she reached the hiding spot. Before leaving her own time, she chained the bike to a tree and covered it with branches to make it easily accessible whenever she returned. She also didn't have to carry her bag - a plus, since she brought more stuff. As realization set in, Kagome ran over with a despairing cry. "Shimatta!" Her only bike...stolen!? What would she tell mama?? After searching a relatively wide radius, heart growing heavier the more she searched, Kagome went back to the well with a long face. Part of her seethed and fists clenched. Why would anyone steal her bike?? They didn't even know what it was! By the time she reached the well, Kagome's trudge became an enraged stomp. "When I find out who stole my bike I'm gonna -"

"It's about time you got back!" She whipped around and looked up to find Inuyasha sitting high in a snow-covered tree. Their eyes met and he gave a bored, put-out look. Kagome couldn't help but lose a little of her anger. "Are you looking for that riding contraption of yours?" With an easy leap, he landed in the snow and jerked a thumb behind him. "It's back at the village, most likely being pawed over by those brats." With a snort, a claw absently flexed between them. "If it's that precious to you, you shouldn't leave it so carelessly guarded. That wimpy chain broke too easily."

She glared at the demon for moving her bike without telling, but was relieved someone she knew had possession of it. Forcing herself to bypass his idiocy, Kagome sighed. A new thought hit and she worriedly looked to the well. How was she going to bring such a loaded bag now? "Ano..." She uneasily mumbled, turning to it.

A raven brow rose. "What is it now?" When she didn't answer and looked inside the well, curiosity got the better of him. A shocked face appeared as he spied her traveling bag nearly covering the bottom! He pushed away from the lip with a quick sputter and glared at her. "Why do you always bring so much stuff with you whenever you return?! That thing is bigger than my sleeves! How are you going to carry that?!"

Kagome whipped fiery eyes to yellow and glared back. "I intended on using my bike like I always do! But YOU had to go bring it back to the village - baka!" A finger jabbed the fire rat robe. "I put that chain on my bike for a reason - it was FINE there! Now how am I supposed to haul all this?" She stepped back with a huff and crossed her arms.

He scowled, partially at Kagome and himself. If she planned it like that, why didn't she tell him? Well unless he did something, she wasn't going to forgive or let him forget it. Heaving a sigh, he jumped and balanced on the ledge. "I'll go down and get it, just stop whining." Without looking at her, he leapt into the well and landed on her bag to keep from going to the other time.

"Careful Inuyasha!" She called down. "I don't want anything getting broken."

"Then you shouldn't have brought it!" He stepped off the pack and hoisted it. It felt heavy, probably too heavy for Kagome to handle, but he held both pack and girl before. "Out of the way Kagome." Knowing she'd do as he said, he tossed the pack up.

She scooted back as the bag flew in the air and landed a few feet from the well. Mere seconds later, Inuyasha landed next to her. She only locked eyes for a split second before he walked to the bag and picked it up. She looked to the snow in minute embarrassment. "Thanks for -"

"See if you can put this on." He didn't want her thanks on something so simple, even if his tone softened its harshness a little. "Then, when we get back, you're repacking."

"What -" When her arms were thrust through the straps, Kagome almost fell back against the weight. After flailing arms for balance, she leaned forward a little to offset everything. "Maybe I COULD go through everything..." She muttered, feeling her face flame.

He grunted in triumph and kneeled. "Well, let's head back." With a nod, she zipped her jacket and got on his back. "Why are you wearing something so ridiculous in the middle of winter anyway?"

She looked to Inuyasha's profile before the hanyou leapt into the air. "The coat? It was cold back in Tokyo -"

"I mean those stupid clothes!" He butted in again in irritation. "Winter baka! How do you expect to stay warm?"

She frowned and fisted part of the fire rat as the village was spotted in the distance. "There wasn't snow in Tokyo when I left." She retorted. "It snowed here while I was gone! How was Big Buttockssupposed to know?" She sighed and looked at the village in annoyance. "THIS from someone who doesn't wear shoes! Or socks."

"Feh! I don't need that pathetic stuff."

They landed in front of Kaede's hut and Inuyasha let go of his grip around Kagome's knees. She fell in the snow with a startled cry and quickly sat up to keep from exposing herself. She glared at his back as he took a few steps to the hut. "Inuyasha!"

"Oi babaa!" He called, going to the flap covering the door. "Miroku!"

Miroku's head peeked out and smiled upon seeing Kagome. His eyes landed on Inuyasha's form at her harsh glare. He quickly stepped outside as Inuyasha went in and extended a hand. "Konnichi wa Kagome-sama."

A form blurred outside and past the snow and jumped. "Kagome!"

With a smile, Kagome hugged Shippou, having missed the kitsune. "Konnichi wa Shippou-chan." After another tight hug, Shippou was let go cling to her arm and with Miroku's help, dragged the pack into Kaede's hut.

-----

The small band started back out a few measly hours later, despite her protests to stay and visit. She was given enough time to take everything out and examine it, with enough badgering from Inuyasha to warrant an 'osuwari' to get him to shut up, before putting it back. She made sure to change into winter boots and leave her loafers at the hut. She also donned the packed mittens and earmuffs; getting looks for the 'thing' on her ears. Still, she managed to pack the food she brought, homework, sleeping bag, the small things women needed, and the warmest clothes she had. She wanted to bring more, but got into a big scuffle with Inuyasha over clothes. He kept ordering her to bring some of the village's kimono, but she adamantly refused. Only when Miroku and Shippou agreed that it would be a good idea in case of emergency, did she regrettably agree and took a set from Kaede. Her agreement to Shippou and Miroku got an annoyed scowl before he muttered that she could freeze if she wanted. That got a glare to the clothes, though she knew the last time she wore one of their feudal outfits, she was mistaken for someone else.

Kikyou. She gave the snow-covered ground a dull look. She didn't know what to do anymore. After losing their shared soul to Kikyou that brief time, then finding she needed souls to stay alive. Shefelt a little guilty having a soul that was someone else's; especially one with such deep hatred and regret for her past life. But this soul was hers! She was born into it; it wasn't stolen in any way. Kikyou had to let go of her hatred toward Inuyasha and pass on.

Her eyes jerked to the back of his head. He always had to walk ahead, never bothering to walk beside her. She fought a sigh, since Shippou was in her arms. Witnessing that last scene when she was tied to the tree was mysteriously heart wrenching. There were tears in her eyes, but she was also furious. She couldn't look at the baka, yet she didn't know why. Inuyasha was a selfish, rude jerk! Half the time, she fought with him and they NEVER got along.

But they did from time to time. It was always nice when those times rolled around, even when they were rare. He always tried to play aloof whenever she was friendly toward him, but she liked to think he was friendly back.

Thinking of playfulness brought on a mischievous idea. A smile tipped her lips as eyes left Inuyasha's hair. "Shippou-chan..." Kagome whispered, looking to the kitsune. Shippou innocently looked up and blinked. After a second, he perched on her shoulder as Kagome silently kneeled.

Something soft hit him on the back of the head, breaking on impact. He whirled around with a wary look, hand ready to unsheathe Tetssaiga when something smacked him in the face. "NANI?" He sputtered, wiping snow from his face.

"Your aim is improving Kagome-sama." Miroku complimented, smiling. He looked to Kagome and ignored the irritated, growling Inuyasha.

She smiled back as if nothing was wrong. "Arigatou Miroku-sama." Her gaze hardened as she locked eyes and glared. "Oi, why don't you keep pace with the rest of us?"

Giving a weird look, he nearly sweatdropped. He gave an indignant snort and shook his head free of snow. "If you'd walk faster, you'd keep up." He retorted, putting arms back in either haori sleeve for warmth. His pace didn't slow any.

Miroku nodded. "You're being very rude."

Inuyasha looked back with a bored face and raised brow, meeting Miroku's eyes. They held as if in silent communication before he gave an inaudible snort, but walked half a foot closer to the rest of them.

II

Most of the walk was silent, with three sets of feet crunching snow against earth. It was a beautiful winter day - the sun was out with no clouds and there was no wind to feel the cold. The group passed a few miles without coming to any town and Kagome was successful in getting a snack break by a few trees for shelter.

Sitting on a rock out of the snow, arms and legs tucked inside red folds to warm up, he stared at the blue sky and waited out the break. His mood lifted the farther they got into the wilderness and away from civilization. The weather was perfect for traveling.

An ear twitched. Still, instincts always told him when something was this peaceful, it didn't stay that way for long. He'd better be on guard - his face turned to the trio as they ate provisions from Kagome's bag - they sure weren't! He scowled.

A little after the small band packed up and set off again, a light, soft snow began to fall. Nothing too heavy, the kind that covered the ground now. Kagome made a few cheerful comments about their newest condition and stuck her tongue out, getting a few flakes. He subtly watched from his place mere inches in front and next to Kagome. She acted so carefree and untroubled, even though she carried probably the heaviest burden of them all, yet it didn't seem to faze her. Her inner light was as impressive as it was longing to be near. Somehow, he didn't feel as angry when he was with Kagome. He internally liked the fact to a degree, for being bitter about the world and hating so much got Kikyou where she was now. Dead and yet not.

He solemnly looked to the sky, gathering clouds in the high wind. Kikyou... His lips tingled from the kiss they shared mere days ago when she disappeared. There was so much he wanted to explain, so many words left unsaid he wanted her to hear. But Kikyou would never truly hear what he had to say. All she had left was a body from the burned original full of hate and love. Both toward him. He bit back a sigh. Holding her again as they were before Naraku's games struck was so right. She wanted him to hate her, but he couldn't. He could never hate the first person he ever loved, not including his mother.

His nose twitched as a snowflake landed. He blinked and noticed the snow picked up in size. Visibility, for the others anyway, was getting worse. This wasn't good. Snowstorms lasted for a day or two when they struck. They would have to get to shelter soon. His ears twitched, nose sniffing. The wind was faster; definitely not good.

The storm continued to pick up to unnatural proportions as they kept traveling. There had to be a town in the near vicinity, they hadn't traveled that far from the village. The possibility of turning back sounded appealing, if not the coward's way out. He looked to his companions behind the safety of a sleeve, blocking some of the wind he was sure was blowing at them. His eyes softened a small degree at the brave way Kagome was shuffling forward, clutching Shippou and trying to shield him from the wind by burying him in her coat. The wind was whipping her hair nearly straight back and reddening her nose. With a torn, frustrated sigh at wanting to stop and also press on, he tried to look ahead. Snow quickly got in his eyes and nearly blinded him, making seeing straight impossible.

"Inuyasha." Miroku yelled, trying to be heard. It took a second to gain his breath back from the wind, though his arm was doing the same as Inuyasha's. "Let's head back." Though they traveled on either side of Kagome, maybe five or six feet, Miroku couldn't hear a word Inuyasha was trying to say, but the look in those eyes clearly said he didn't want to stop.

A sudden movement from Kagome got both their attention. Her head quickly ducked, a hand covering both nose and mouth while trying to support Shippou in her jacket. Her eyes squeezed shut in an almost painful way against the snow. She was having a hard time breathing with the wind facing her. Miroku's heart went out to his friend. 'Kagome-sama can't take much more of this. It's amazing she's still going.'

Dark eyes met Inuyasha's, finding gold also watching Kagome's predicament. Miroku wanted to smack the butt of his staff against Inuyasha's head, but moved over and chivalrously used a sleeve to cover Kagome's face as well as his own and wrapped the other arm over her shoulder to hope it would warm her a little. "Let's at least wait this cursed storm out!" He shouted, glaring at the hanyou's stubbornness.

Inuyasha opened his mouth to protest when his attention drifted to Kagome. Her gaze was on his; eyes teary from the winds. She looked miserable and cold, but hadn't said anything about it. Once serious eyes turned a little pleading as she nodded, having heard Miroku. She wanted to stop as well. He held her eyes in their position in knee-high snow, feeling a little guilty. He was pushing them all and none had complained until now. Shippou hadn't said anything, since his face was buried in Kagome's coat. Fighting a sigh, he nodded and turned to look around. There was little shelter. They were going downhill, though none could tell with such strong wind blowing directly in their faces. The area was little more than a blur. Even he, a hanyou with more powerful senses than the others, could barely see a thing! This was bad; they were in trouble.

As he turned with the wind to get a better look, something suddenly ate at him. This weather, although somwhat normal for its nonstop snowing, was coming at such a pace and size he had never seen before. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. Now away from the onslaught, his nose sniffed the wind. His blood boiled in anger, some of it at himself. In a split second, surprising the others, tessaiga was unsheathed and its behemoth size as he whipped to the wind. "Coward!" He yelled, pointing the sword ahead. "Youkai!"

The two, previously wondering if everything had gotten to Inuyasha, looked ahead. That explained it! The wind suddenly died down, allowing falling naturally. "Do you think I'd let you defeat me that easily?" Asked an invisible voice. "You've barely been surviving as it is."

The grip on his sword tightened as he growled. "Show yourself! Stop hiding!" He sniffed the air for the youkai and moved ears to pinpoint its location. It was useless against snow and the youkai wasn't moving. His senses were worthless here. A growl at his own helplessness rang out.

Hidden safely by snow with white markings and outfit, the youkai floated in the air above the group and looked down. Power from the broken shikon no tama emanated from the girl below. An evil grin appeared. She was only human, but protected by her companions. Once she was separated from them, it would be a matter of freezing her and getting the kakera.

"You won't defeat me - you won't escape me." Winds picked up faster than before, bearing straight for the group. Throwing out its attack, larger snowflakes fell at twice the speed. Sight was near zero. The snow was already at their waists and what was coming down was quickly burying them further.

"Miroku! Kagome!" Trepidation laced his heart with icy fingers. Ningen...that's all they were to a hanyou. No way would they survive this attack. Everyone would get buried alive unless he did something! As it was, it was hard to move. "You..." He venomously muttered, trying to find his enemy's location. "Sankon Tessou!" Unable to use tessaiga, claws lashed out, hoping to hit something. Beams of yellow light only managed to pull snow off the ground and bring it in their faces. "Kuso!" He swore, mostly at his stupidity. Instinctively, his arm went around Kagome, trying to use his sleeve to keep her face safe from the wind and snow. "Miroku! Can't you do something?" He bit out, glaring in hidden worry and concern.

Miroku's right hand fisted. He nodded and didn't bother to brace himself due to snow past his waist. It would be even higher soon if he didn't use kazaana and stop this.

The youkai's eyes narrowed. Many knew the rumors of this band; especially the monk. If they were true, the youkai wouldn't live long enough to taste true power. "No you don't." A whirlwind brought many feet of snow from the top of the hill loose. The group was unfortunate to be halfway down and give the rumbling mass time to pick up speed. "Those kakera will be mine!"

Miroku gave a startled cry and twirled behind them. Eyes widened in fright at the thunder being pushed toward them by the wind. "Inuyasha!"

He ignored Miroku's cry, already looking the same way. The snow was still coming down as hard as when the youkai showed up and it was covering his body. Movement was labored. His arms tried to pull Kagome from the snow onto his back to leap out. Just as she wrapped arms around his neck and he reached for Miroku, the band was struck down. A cry was cut short by snow in his mouth and eyes. He was forced to close them as he tumbled down the hill to the valley.

After rolling a few times, the pressure on his neck was suddenly released. His heart nearly stopped in panic. 'Kagome!' But there was nothing he could do. The snow was heavy and he couldn't tell what was up or down anymore. Arms and legs were separated with no way to help. With the lack of oxygen, he fought a losing battle with consciousness.

High in the air, the youkai smiled and watched the covered band go with the snow downhill. Now all that was left to do was freeze them in with a coating. This place would be their tomb. After finding the shikon no kakera, no longer would the youkai be called a lowly snow youkai. Soon it's title would be the youkai who killed the hanyou Inuyasha.

I am a BEGINNER Japanese learner...so if these are not 100 correct...please let me know if you care to do so. I only have a web page to learn from, a dictionary, and a few months experience to work with.

Translations: Shimatta!-Damn (it)! Hanyou-Half demon Baka-idiot/moron/dork/etc Oi-Hey babaa-old lady (disrespectful term)

Konnichi wa-Hello/Good afternoon (depends on context) Youkai-Demon Kitsune-Fox Oswuari-Kagome's 'sit' Tessaiga-Inuyasha's sword Nani-What

Haori-Inuyasha's fire rat 'coat' Ningen-Human Shikon no tama-Jewel of four souls Shikon no kakera-Shikon shards Sankon Tessou-Inuyasha's attack Chikushou!-Damn (it)!

Kazaana-Air Void (Miroku's attack) Kuso!-Shit!/Damn!/Darn! (depending on severity)