Note – It's still doing it and I'm getting highly pissed! I previewed it both ways, uploading either regular doc and html and the html one is allowing the italics, which  is what I want and it is spacing it correctly but when I need more than one space to separate paragraphs it's grouping them together. To the point that it's making this very hard to read. Can anyone tell me what the heck is going on??

Shadows in the Path:

            Kagome stretched luxuriously, waking from a strange dream. "Ohayo!" she cried, sitting up and her cry rang throughout the forest she had not expected to find herself in. She peered about in confusion before remembering and then she plopped back down, lifting a hand to her forehead. She had fallen asleep in the forest, to the sound of a bubbling brook to her right. She had meant to have a talk with Midoriko but the Priestess had not shown herself and so she had fallen asleep waiting.

            What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

            She rose once more, a bit more slowly this time, and she hunched forward, hesitating.

            I don't want to make a choice I'm going to regret. But I know, in the end, I'm going to regret making any of them.

            She turned her head a bit and through the patches of trees and shrub she saw Inuyasha emerge from Kaede's home and she cursed under her breath. He seemed to be looking for her and she would hear it from him if she didn't have a good excuse as to why she was not there when he had woken up. Lifting her head she spotted berries clinging to their bush not too far away and instantly jumped on it, ripping the berries from their branches, stuffing them into a bunch against her stomach. It was bad enough she had not brought him his supposed "lunch" the day she was saying she was going back, she had to at least return with the berries. She pinched one in her rush and squirted her uniform top with berry juice and had half a mind to shriek angrily.

            "The things I do for that guy."

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

            Sango was already peeking at him curiously when Miroku woke up. "Anything?" she questioned him and he stared at her for a moment, confused.

            "Oh. Dream-wise, you mean? No, I can't remember anything. But I did have one dream I remember particularly well. You were in it. But you didn't have so many clothes on…"

            "I'm sure."

            "Ohayo!" Kagome called from outside and she was stained with berry juice, smiling cheerfully nonetheless. Miroku and Sango glanced over as Inuyasha immediately blocked her from getting back into the home, his arms crossed over his chest.

            "And where were you?"

            "Berries," she answered immediately and even to Miroku and Sango it sounded like a flat out lie. The monk glanced toward the exterminator and she threw back the same look before they turned their attention right back to Inuyasha and Kagome.

            "Berries," Inuyasha stated flatly.

            "Berries," she nodded and she held out her uniform top which had a bunch of berries nestled in a clump. "I was hungry when I woke up but everyone else was asleep so I went and got some berries and I even decided to bring some back for everyone-" and she went to circle around him to enter but he slid over a step and even held a hand out against the doorframe, blocking her way.

            "I hate berries," he said coldly.

            She stared at him. "You do not."

            He bristled. "Ok, I don't, but that's beside the point, damn it! What is going on with you?" And he lowered his voice so that Sango and Mirkou could no longer hear.

            Sango looked at the monk once more and crouched beside him, leaning into him. "You can't remember anything at all?" she asked him with a tone that clearly said she hoped he was kidding.

            "Not a thing," he replied, scratching his head. "Only…much darkness. And someone crying. But I can't remember anything else." And he lifted his hand then, his Kazaana masked by his robe, and he stared at it long and hard, a concentrated expression on his face. Sango stared at him and then at his hand in confusion.

            "Osuwari!"

            Miroku and Sango looked up immediately, just as quickly as it took Inuyasha to hit the floor, his necklace shimmering with the force of the spell.

            With a huff and a head turned in defiance, Kagome promptly stepped on Inuyasha's back as she entered the residence, ignoring his growl. "I brought berries," she said cheerfully to Sango and Miroku and she deposited them into Miroku's lap without another word, turning and waltzing off toward the other rooms.

            "Oy, Inuyasha…" Miroku began, lifting a finger like a professor about to teach the laws of life. "You know better than to-"

            "Shove it," the hanyou growled.

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

            Sango stretched, reaching toward the heavens and she felt the blood run through her form. Today would be a good day. They would set out in search of some shikon no kakera and perhaps they would return with one today. She glanced over her shoulder as Miroku came from the house, Kirara trailing him in a ball of beige fur. "So, which way are we headed today?" she questioned the monk and he shrugged to her.

            "Whichever way the Priestess deems," he replied.

            Kagome hopped out behind the monk, Shippo curled along her shoulder and peering about curiously. "And another thing," she called back as Inuyasha emerged, his face pinched. "If I decide to go for an early morning walk there is nothing you can do to stop me. Nothing at all. So just remember that."

            Inuyasha growled furiously, somehow managing to restrain himself. "Woman, if I think you should stay inside, then you should stay-"

            "I want to go this way today," she promptly cut him off, motioning to their right. "There's a faint aura coming from that direction, I think we should go that way-"

            "Faint aura usually means big creature," Sango remarked and she adjusted her boomerang along her back. She had changed into her exterminator gear earlier and looked ready for some battle, Miroku mused. She looked in that direction, thoughtful. "I would like to stop by my village today if that's at all possible," she said to Kagome and Inuyasha.

            The two of them looked at her. "Is everything ok?" Kagome asked her worriedly, Inuyasha crossing his arms over his chest.

            "Yes, I just need to stop in, replace some of my equipment and say a few prayers," Sango replied.

            "Then let's go already," Inuyasha growled, tossing his head of silver hair. "I don't want to spend all day-"

            Kagome kicked him over. "Be nice, Inuyasha!" she ordered him before tossing her own head and stomping off in the direction of Sango's village.

            "That was me being nice…"

            Miroku watched Sango as she followed silently, hesitating momentarily. And then, as Kirara skipped off after her master he fell into line, waving a simple goodbye to Kaede who nodded her farewell to them.

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

            She lifted her head from the floor, her eyes coming open. The room was dark, darker than she had ever seen it, and before the bamboo blinded-window she saw Naraku on his knees, seemingly meditating. Anger coursing through her, she rose onto her knees and the demon paused, turning his head a bit in her direction.

            "I didn't know I had left you quite so…exhausted…" he said in a seductively low voice.

            "Don't flatter yourself, hanyou," she hissed at him, pulling closed her robe as she glared at his back. She heard him chuckle faintly and the mere sound of it sent waves of pure vile hatred through her, forcing her hands into clenched fists. By the amount of strength she had to her she could only guess he had allowed her two of her soul stealers. But that was, at most, all of it. She straightened her legs under her and she rose to her feet, unsteady. And without another word she turned and went for the door.

            "I seem to have misplaced…something…" Naraku called to her.

            She found herself hesitating at the door, a frown crossing her face. "That is no concern of mine," she said to him, reaching to slide open the door.

            "Actually, it is," he replied, stopping her short. "Because I am sending you to find it for me."

            Kikyo turned, a look of disbelief on her face. She stared at him as he finally rose and whirled to face her, his long baboon robe floating about his frame and he gazed at her just as she glared at him. As he came closer she found herself backing away from him, wanting to avoid his touch, every part of him. He slowed as he reached her and just as she thought he would stop he suddenly reached out and took hold of her by the chin, forcing her face up, her eyes to meet his.

            "You will do as I say or you will not have your soul stealers to sustain you," he whispered against her cheek, his breath warm and yet vile. Venomous.

            Furiously, she spat at him. "Keep them," she growled, her hands clenched at her sides. "Keep them all. If this is the price I pay, I choose not to live-"

            "Do you wish Inuyasha to see you like this? Beaten? Under my rule?" he asked her and she hesitated, staring at him, suspiciously. "Do you want him to see just how much you depend on those little creatures, just how much of you I own?"

            She swallowed painfully, her chin still caught in his grasp. "He has seen me at my worst. There is nothing else for him to-"

            "There is so much more," Naraku cut her off. "And you know it. Perhaps next time you entertain me I will have Inuyasha watch. He will see how much you need me and how low you have sunk. For once such a proud priestess, you have indeed fallen low." He paused, staring at her delicately, his thumb lifting to brush against her bottom lip. "You will go. It seems the child has gone."

            Kikyo blinked, caught off guard. "The child?" she asked him.

            Naraku released her, turning away from her and facing the purple evening light that came in through his blinds. "The child with my shikon no kakera embedded in his back," he hissed as if the mere thought of something so valuable having slipped away without his knowledge was unheard of. "You will take Kagura and you will retrieve that miserable-" and he cut off halfway through his sentence, composing himself.

            Kikyo smiled mirthlessly at his back.

            "As I said," Karaku continued. "Take Kagura. And play nice. I would not want to lose either of you." And without another word he waved his hand and the door slid open silently, Kikyo nearly falling out of it.

            With a last glare Kikyo turned and encountered Kagura already there, waiting for her.

            "Don't fall behind," Kagura hissed at her and she whirled and led.

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

            Miroku looked about, Sango trudging along beside him. The sun had long since set and yet they found themselves nowhere near the village. "Did we take a wrong turn somewhere?" the monk asked the exterminator, looking up toward Kagome and Inuyasha.

            "I…don't know," Sango said in a helpless tone. "It has never taken this long to get to my village. And yet, I recognize this land and we're heading along the right way. Although I seem to remember passing this mark before…"

            "Could we be going in circles?" Kagome asked from ahead of them, pausing and tuning to look back to them. Beside her Inuyasha came to a stop as well, sniffing faintly.

            "No, we aren't," Sango shook her head firmly. And then, "We can't be…" and she looked around once more, lifting a hand to scratch her head.

            "I smell something…wrong," Inuyasha said then, his face calm but a bit angered. He glanced toward Sango as he said it and she stared back at him in confusion. But he did not elaborate, instead moving forward once more, his firerat robe trailing behind his form.

            "What is it?" Sango demanded of him, following.

            "We'll see when we get there," he replied.

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

            He stared at remains, seeing nothing but darkness. But something was here, long buried, long forgotten. He wandered about the small hut, refusing to touch anything. Not wanting to touch anything. Something was here. Something. He bent slowly, examining a piece of metal here, a piece of bone there. And then he left the hut, winding about to return to the graves. What did he not see? The small shiver raced down his spine again and he didn't understand that sensation either. But he had been made not to question. He shook himself, crouching to reach out and touch the dirt of a single grave.

            Otou-san…

            There was a sudden gust of strong wind and he turned his head as the air blew his hair from his face. Lifting his eyes he merely watched as the giant feather came down and the unlikeliest pair stepped from it. Even unquestioning as he was, he saw the wrongness in their union.

            "Someone here has been a very bad boy," Kagura purred as she came toward him. "A very bad boy. Because of you I was forced to travel with an unwanted companion." And as Kikyo glared silently, "You must be punished, Kohaku."

            He stared at her, feeling the sudden need to speak. But a moment later the need was gone and he was left merely staring at her.

            "Come along then," Kagura motioned and as she turned back to face her feather she said to Kikyo, "There was no reason for you to have come and I will let Naraku know that. You are worthless being here-"

            And in her hand Kikyo's bow suddenly flared, her hand emitting a soft light. "Or perhaps he knew…" she whispered and she whirled as the group entered the village, Inuyasha leading them. "Perhaps this is why I am here."

            Kagura cursed under her breath but quickly straightened, pulling forth her fan once more and stepping in front of Kohaku. "Do not think, for a moment, that you are one of them," she growled at the priestess as Inuyasha caught sight of them, his eyes narrowing. "Or I will reveal every little secret, every little lie that you've stored from him, before I cut you down."

            And as Inuyasha slowly advanced, his hand straying to the Tetsusaiga, Kikyo took a step forward, pulling forth a long arrow.

                                                                                                * ~             ~ *

So, yay me for having time and energy to write more. I've finally had a long enough moment to rethink everything in this story and I have a vague notion of how this story will come about and, suffice to say, no one will be happy with me. But that's how it always starts off. Vague notions of how the story will go and I fill in the blanks as I go. So I guess that's a good sign that I haven't entirely lost my touch yet, ne?

Shyeah, right.

My thanks to:

Cataluna - Yeah, I actually always thought Naraku was a sexy devil (despite the…greasy hair, LMAO!), in some cases sexier than Inuyasha. The first moment I saw Naraku I was like "Oooh, and what have we here…?" just because he didn't resemble a teenager the way every one else in Inuyasha seems. But of COURSE he would be a bad guy which made him all the sexier and there is the fact that I need that little part between Kikyo and Naraku to further my story so, yes, it is OK to think Naraku is sexy! Despite the…greasy hair, damn it! ROTFLMAO!

Cosmik – Thanks for that! Hey, as long as someone reads, I'm happy. Fallen Souls (Inu) and Ain't Afraid to Die (CB) have gotten tremendous amounts of reviews so I'm just happy this one is being read. I never asked for so many but it is nice to know that others appreciate your work. =)

Hope and Harmony – Ah, poor poor you… you and your happy endings. I can tell you right now, babe, there will be a happy ending. Just not in the way that you expect. But then, maybe you will expect it. Someone totally unexpected commented on the identity of Black Jack from Ain't Afraid to Die and she hit the guy right on the nose! I was like, "WTF???" because I know she had thrown it out there as a joke. But sometimes a person's inner voice is correct and, damn it, I HATE it when that happens, LMAO!

InsanePerson – so now I need to start uploading as doc? I used to be able to upload as html and it always came out the way I wanted it to. Ah, well, we get to find out in a second, don't we??

SimplyTurquoise – As long as I was the one to put you in that funk, I don't mind one bit! I think a lot of people don't poke much at the Naraku/Kikyo situation and to me it was just one more thing to throw into the mix of everything that's going to go wrong. Like, expect a character death shortly. Yay me.

Jill E Bean – I think, BECAUSE it was three in the morning, you weren't very awake because no WAY is this the best fic ever. Maybe next time you read one of my chapters you should drink some coffee, too, LMAO! But it's nice to have someone say that, it's not often I get such a jubilant fanreader. =)

Fateema – I plan on. I've finally gotten back into the swing of things, updating and typing out chapters. The only problem now is keeping up with both this one and Ain't Afraid to Die (in the Cowboy Bebop section). I knew I shouldn't have had two fics going. I did this before, when I first started Ain't Afraid to Die and when I was finishing Fallen Souls and I almost killed myself. Now I'm doing it again. You'd figure I'd have learned the first time…

Anyways, off I go now! Buh bye! Also, I updated the layout for TasogareBan in case y'all wanna see it but other than that nothing's really been updated. I'll add this chapter up as soon as I get a chance and I'll get to work on my next lemon chapter/story also very soon.  Anybody have any suggestions as to what kind of lemon they want to see up? I'm in a lemony mood and, for all your information, probably because I'm on my period! ARGH! Hmm…TMI?

-Cassandra