Miroku and Shippou both dumbly blinked, too stunned to move. They watched the whole thing and a thought entered their minds. The youkai was gone. Kagome, even in her half frozen condition, defeated it.

She was in the same release pose, eyes locked on where the youkai had been. It was shocking to say the least. In her short bout of archery, she had never felt such power. Not only did she manage to hit it, even at closing distance, but she managed to steady her hand and shoot. She finally blinked, as if coming from a dream. The bow slowly lowered in her numbing hand. Cold and exhaustion seeped back as adrenaline receded. Her lids lowered, shoulders slowly drooped, and the bow clacked against the ice as she fell to her knees.

Inuyasha blinked from his stupor at marveling about her Kikyou-like qualities and dropped next to her. "Yatta..." He breathed, staring at her.

Kagome stared with a mildly pained expression at the throbbing from her hands. She huddled even further into the kimono, thankful the wind wasn't blowing. Everything could go back to normal with the elemental not controlling it. "Inuyasha..." She shakily whispered, shivering.

"Kagome-sama!"

"Kagome!" The mood broke as the two looked to the others running over. Ecstatic looks turned concerned as they gazed at the fake, reassuring smile on her face. Shippou jumped into her lap when she pulled arms from legs and hugged her. "What's wrong?" His query went ignored as her arms tightly encircled him and Shippou found Kagome's clothes to be freezing. He pressed against hers to give some of his body heat.

Kagome relished in what little bit she felt from the kitsune. "Arigatou Shippou-chan." She gave him a quick squeeze and looked to the others. "Can I go home now?" Her gaze looked to the area. "We're done here aren't we?"

He didn't need for her to say anything else. He could hear her erratic breathing and see her shivering. With a nod, he stood and gripped her arms to help her stand. He let go and turned to Miroku. "If we run back, we'll return quicker." The houshi nodded and Shippou immediately jumped on his shoulder. The two started back the way they came, letting the others take their time.

Kagome was shivering and it was hard to keep contained. The kimono was greatly frozen from being trapped in ice. What snow and ice clung to the stitching, her skin melted and now it was half frozen again. Hands clutched the sleeves...head dropping to her shoulders as if it would help. She looked up with a small gasp to see the fire rat being draped over her shoulders. "Inu...yasha?" She whispered, facing him.

He missed her glance, already kneeling with his back to her to let her climb on. "Come on." He announced. After a brief moment as she put arms through the sleeve and shouldered her bag, his teeth clenched at feeling her cold body against his. Warming her up as he planned before seemed to have no effect after being held in that pillar. "Hold on." He muttered, getting a good grip on her knees. He waited for hands to clutch the cloth on his shoulders as normal, but her arms wrapped around his neck. He was momentarily frozen, but her head giving a single nod against his back snapped him out of it. Steadying his feet on the ice, he jumped high in the air and landed a little ahead of the monk. Without turning around in the slide for the slope, ears twitched to listen for Miroku's pace. "Come ON bouzu!" He snapped, jumping again.

"Houshi desu." Miroku defended, carefully jogging after. He used momentum to propel him and catch up a little until the duo made it to the incline. The pair had an easy run back, since barely any snow had been left in its original spot from the avalanche.

The morning was just beginning when they reached the edge of the village. Inuyasha passed through in silence and stopped when they reached Kaede's hut. He locked eyes with Miroku. Miroku finally nodded in quiet understanding and gave a parting wave before heading inside. Just as Kaede's surprised voice sounded, he leapt into the air, leaving the things Kagome took from her pack in the hut. She could always get them later.

It didn't take long to crest the hill and head to where the well stood. Their footprints still remained from the incident - what seemed like a lifetime ago. His grip tightened as he lifted her feet from dragging in the snow. He stopped at the lip and threw his gaze behind when she stirred and breathed his name. Gold involuntarily softened as they looked back to the well. "Hold tight Kagome." Feeling her arms shift, he jostled her weight a little further upward and jumped inside.

She didn't need to open her eyes to know they were in her time. The ride and announcement were enough, but she could feel more secure and not just because she was next to Inuyasha. The wind rushed her hair and face as they were airborne again. Eyes peeked open and blankly watched parts of the shrine pass as he jogged to her house. He stopped around the side and entered through her bedroom window, which she only momentarily wondered about. In her condition, it would raise questions and brows. Attention she didn't want to deal with until AFTER some much needed sleep. She gave a small, grateful smile to his mane and snuggled against the heat he produced from the long run.

After hopping inside and managing to close the window to keep cold out, he walked next to the bed and slowly let her down. She stood on noticeably shaky legs, but didn't protest, only stare at her bed like it was gold. With a hand on her arm to steady her, his other pulled the blankets aside. "Here." He murmured. The hand remained rooted as she took a few steps and flopped on her rear over the mattress. He surprised her and kneeled, pulling her boots off. They were left in the middle of the room as she scooted back and flopped to one side, disregarding the fact they'd melt and make a complete mess of the tatami floor. His hand situated covers over her body and silently stared down. She seemed to be asleep already.

Just as he took a step to leave, brown eyes opened. "Inuyasha." She muttered. Her face softened and looked up to meet his eyes. "Thank you for doing all this - I know you didn't have to." She gave him a weary smile.

Despite the want to leave now that she was okay and could be tended to further, he grabbed his sword and sat in front of her bed, cradling it like he always did. "You're so clueless." He muttered, pointedly staring at the far wall in her room. "You're too weak to do anything by yourself. If I didn't help you, you wouldn't have made it to your house." His gaze mildly glared back, but vanished with the soft look she was giving.

Eyes crinkled as she fought to stay awake. The internal and external cold was slowly going away and her bed felt good. By the look in his eyes and the way he brushed off her thanks, she knew he accepted it. A thought came as she stared at him. She blinked and slowly sat up. "Ah...your haori..." She mumbled, slowly unwrapping it from her body.

He grabbed it and stared at Kagome's clothes and her bed. The two were centuries apart, but she could still blend traditions. He gave full, almost grim attention to putting on his top. Even with her hair a little shorter and unbound, that outfit still made her look like Kikyou.

She snuggled back into the covers and gave a wistful smile. "I remember the first time you draped your fire rat robe over my head. Back when...you wouldn't even say my name..." She trailed off, eyes slowly closing.

Brows and eyes shot up from the ties on his top. They looked down as he tied them the rest of the way and scooted a little closer to the bed. His nose quietly took in the room as gold stared at Kagome's face. She looked so peaceful.

Fighting with unconsciousness, since she felt herself being watched, eyes fluttered open and fixed on gold. She gave a small smile and pulled her hand from the covers. "Do you remember those days Inuyasha? When it was just us searching for the shikon no kakera?"

A small, rueful smile lit his face. "I definitely remember how you BROKE the tama."

She gave a whisper of a chuckle that ended in a sigh. Her eyes closed again as she let sleep finally claim her, but not before she let her hand rest to the edge of the bed.

Gold darted from Kagome's face to her up-turned palm. After waiting for what seemed forever with baited breath, his hand slowly raised and gave it a brief, light squeeze. Knowing she was finally asleep, he stood and stared down at her before heading to the window. "Get well and hurry back Kagome. We have shards to find." Farewell said, he opened the window and stepped back into the cold.

Through the half-dozing haze, she listened as the window almost silently slid shut. A small smile popped up as she turned and faced the wall. "Got it...Inuyasha..." After a quick rustling to find the dip in her mattress, Kagome's squeezed hand twitched. She doubted if he would do that and was happy to be proven wrong.

One of her family would probably come up before tonight or tomorrow came, asking all sorts of questions about her condition and she was going to need all the time she could get. Her head flopped to the mattress as her hand dragged the pillow over her head to block out all light.

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: Houshi desu!-I'm a monk!