AN: I know I took so long with this chapter but school is really a b**** right now. I swear I will try to update all my stories during winter break when I finally have a chance to relax. Hope you all enjoy the new chapter. Sorry it took so long.

CH 4: Which Side?

It was warm. 'Too warm.' Kagome decided as she rolled over and began to open her eyes. She found herself in her sleeping bag. The sun seemed to have already risen shining its warmth over the small clearing she was in. 'No wonder I was so warm.' Kagome thought as she sat up in her sleeping bag.

She looked around the clearing and saw there was already a fire going with water boiling. She saw Sango and Miroku asleep on the other side of the clearing. Shippou was curled up with Kirara. 'If Sango didn't boil the water then who did?' Kagome wondered. 'Miroku doesn't know how and as if Inuyasha ever would make a friendly gesture like that. He's more likely to wake me up and demand food.'

"So you're finally awake." Kagome turned to see Hiten behind her. His arms were crossed over his chest as he stalked closer towards her.

"Did you...?" Kagome asked gesturing to the fire. Hiten sat next to her avoiding her gaze. He didn't deny it so she took it as an affirmative.

"What is this material?" Hiten asked as her ran the cloth of her sleeping bag between his fingers.

"Cotton. It's commonly used where I'm from." Kagome said.

"And where is that?" Hiten asked the next obvious question.

Kagome paused thinking how best to answer. She could tell him she was from the future, could she? What if he didn't believe her and thought she was crazy. "My home is very far from here. I don't think you'll ever get to see it." Kagome answered.

"Then how did you end up here if your home is so far?" Hiten questioned looking at her suspiciously. He wondered where she could be from if she a mere ningen were able to travel here and yet he would never be able to see her home. He did believe, however, that wherever she was from it must have been distant. No one he had ever seen dressed as provocatively as she did, not even the geisha. She also spoke with a strange dialect and used some words and phrases he had never heard before.

"I was brought here when a centipede youkai kidnapped me." Kagome answered. She heard some stirring from the trees above and looked up to see Inuyasha mumbling and rolling around in his sleep. "If he's not careful, he'll fall out." Kagome said with a small laugh.

"You still care for his well being after all he's done to you." Hiten scoffed. "You are very strange."

"Perhaps." Kagome said. Her soulful eyes looked at the dirt ground. "I know it sounds pathetic, but even through all this I still care about him. No less than I did before, just differently."

"Differently?" Hiten questioned.

Kagome nodded. "I once cared about him as a potential boyfriend, but now I care for him just as a friend."

Hiten had never heard the term boyfriend before, but figured it was something like a suitor or a mate. 'So she actually considered the hanyou as a suitable mate. Doesn't she know that he will only betray her in the end? Like I will...' "Even if he betrays your friendship?" Hiten asked more in reference to himself than Inuyasha.

"Yeah. I hope one day he comes around. Hopefully, before Kikyou is capable of taking him to hell." Kagome's eyes went back to the sleeping hanyou. "I'll always care about him as a friend. Probably even through betrayal."

"You're too trusting." Hiten observed.

"I have to be. If you never go out on a limb for anyone then you're forever stuck in this little box. I'd rather be betrayed than be alone and never giving anyone a chance." Her words hit something deep within Hiten. He lived in that little box that she was talking about. The only people he had ever cared for were his family. Seeing Manten die had been painful and he was not about to let anyone affect him in such a way again. Unfortunately, he didn't realize he was already too late to stop a certain miko from already getting through his defenses.

Kagome and Hiten fell into a moment of silence which was disrupted by Shippou yawning as he woke. "Is breakfast ready?" The sleepy kitsune asked.

Kagome gasped when she noticed that they had both forgot about the water boiling in the pot. Luckily, the water hadn't boiled over and there was still enough to make ramen for everyone in the group. Kagome poured ramen into the cups of ramen. The smell awaked the rest of the group.

"You've been waking much earlier than usual, Kagome-chan." Sango said. Usually Kagome never woke until Inuyasha practically forced her out of her sleeping bag.

"I sort of rested while we were traveling yesterday." Kagome replied. She blushed as she remembered how Hiten had picked her up and allowed her to fall asleep in her arms. Sango noticed the blush and smiled. She was sure Hiten was helping Kagome to slowly get over a certain hanyou.

After breakfast the group decided to begin traveling again. "Hey Inuyasha can we return to Kaede's soon?" Kagome asked. "I want to go home for a moment."

"You aren't going home. We have too many shards to find. The more time you spend at home the less time we're hunting for shards. Do you want Naraku to beat us to all of them?" Inuyasha gave his typical response.

"But I'm running out of ramen and I should go home to get more." Kagome said. She knew that Inuyasha would give in when his precious ramen was on the line.

"Fine, but no longer than a few hours." Inuyasha said and began to lead the group on a roundabout way back to the village near Inuyasha's forest. This way they wouldn't cover the same ground they had just been traveling.

Hiten listened to the conversation with interest. Just earlier Kagome had been telling him that she came from someplace incredibly far away. Now it seemed that she was able to get there easily and it was near Inuyasha's forest which was only a few days travel. 'There's something she's not telling me.' Hiten thought as his crimson gaze raked over the form of the raven haired miko.


Naraku gazed into Kanna's mirror which portrayed the shard hunting group. "So the little miko is going home for a moment, which means no one to sense my shards and no one to shoot those damned purifying arrows. This could work right into my hands." Naraku smirked. He had not witnessed the earlier conversation between Kagome and Hiten and believed the miko lived in Kikyou's old village. "Kanna bring your younger sister. I have orders to be carried out."

Kanna silently turned and exited the room. Her face was stoic as ever as she stalked down the hall to retrieve Kagura. She found her little sister outside enjoying the fact that Naraku had not taken away her outdoors privileges.

Kagura felt a soft breeze brush against her skin. 'When? When will I be as free as the wind?' Kagura wondered. It was the one thing she wanted and the one thing she could probably never have. If Naraku won then she would be forever his slave. If he failed she would most likely be killed as well. 'There's no way to win.' Kagura concluded before she sensed Kanna behind her.

Kagura could not help but wonder why her elder sister could not make more noise. Her feet barely touched the ground and made no noise as she walked. Kanna may have well been floating. Kagura followed Kanna when the girl turned around and walked back the way she had come. Kanna said nothing, but Kagura understood she was to follow.

"Kagura, still contemplating a way to gain freedom?" Naraku said when the wind youkai entered the room. The smirk on Naraku's face told Kagura that he knew what she had been thinking and why shouldn't he have. She had wanted nothing, but her freedom since he had set her against Inuyasha without telling her of the Tessaiga's kaze no kizu.

"When the hanyou and his group reach Inuyasha's forest the miko will be leaving them. We will attack once she is gone." Naraku informed her before ordering her and Kanna to leave.

Naraku looked out of his window at the area surrounding his mansion. The earth was barren and dead for nothing could grow and flourish in the miasma laden area. 'This miko has continually caused problems. With her and her purifying powers away there will be nothing to stop me. After the hanyou is destroyed, I will have to take care of Hiten as well. His loyalty is far too untrustworthy and although I hold his heart he does not seem intelligent enough to stay submissive.


The shard hunting group traveled on unknowing of the danger that they would soon encounter. They had been attacked again and gained another shard. Inuyasha was cursing under his breath at how he had gotten injured because of Kagome. She had attempted to help by firing her arrows, but she only attracted the attention of the youkai and had to be rescued.

Kagome wasn't feeling much better than Inuyasha. She felt completely useless. 'Perhaps Inuyasha is right. All I can do is sense Shikon shards.' Kagome thought to herself. Sango and Shippou had tried earlier to cheer her up. She had smiled and said she was fine, but once their attention left her she let her joyful mask fall.

"It wasn't your fault." Kagome turned to see Hiten looking back at her.

"No, it was my fault. If I was a better fighter I could have protected myself." Kagome berated herself.

"Then train and get stronger instead of just complaining and moping." Hiten had not wanted his words to come out as harsh as they seemed. He was about to apologize, but stopped himself. 'Apologizing to a ningen? I must be crazy.'

Kagome winced slightly at Hiten's words, but knew that deep down he was trying to help. She did need to get stronger if she expected to be any help on this journey and the upcoming battle with Naraku. "Hiten?" Kagome said getting the youkai's attention. "Will you train me?"

Hiten was taken aback by her request. She wanted him to train her. He didn't know if he could, but he couldn't say no to the pleading look in her eyes. 'Naraku will definitely punish me for this.' Hiten thought as he nodded in agreement.

A smile appeared on Kagome's face and she hugged Hiten tightly. All thoughts of Naraku flew from Hiten's mind when Kagome's warm body was pressed against his. He hesitantly raised his arms to encircle Kagome's waist. Kagome's soft pleasing scent surrounded Hiten in a comforting feeling. The gentle moment was broken, however, when the two heard someone clearing their throat.

"If you two are done with your sickening display, maybe we can continue!" Inuyasha spat and then turned around continuing his lead.

Hiten reluctantly released his hold on a blushing Kagome. "Arigatou Hiten." Kagome whispered as they continued walking. "Can we start tonight?" Kagome asked. Hiten nodded and was rewarded with another of Kagome's radiant smiles.

The group traveled the rest of the day without any troubles other than the normal drama that went through the group. When the finally set camp, Sango went about fixing dinner since Kagome had told her Hiten was going to train her. Sango insisted she could boil some water while Kagome trained. Kagome reluctantly agreed and allowed the taijiya to start dinner.

Inuyasha had gone off to survey the area. He found no scent of anything out the ordinary. 'Not even the scent of Kikyou.' Inuyasha though dismally. Lately she had been like a drug to him. He felt a longing when he was not with her. He sighed. 'I can spend lots of time with her when Kagome is at home.' Inuyasha reminded himself. He decided to wander around for a while more before he went back to the group.

Kagome hit the ground with a light thud. She sighed and pulled herself back up to her feet without complaint which surprised her instructor. With the way she usually screamed at Inuyasha, Hiten had expected her to be yelling at him constantly as he repeatedly knocked her down. He had taught her how to punch and kick and was now sparring lightly with her. He had to admit at least to himself that she was doing a lot better than he would have expected.

"That's enough for tonight. You did okay." Hiten said and helped Kagome, who was panting on the ground, to her feet.

"Arigatou Hiten." Kagome said with a smile as he helped her back to camp.

'Well, one training session down and one more to go.' Hiten thought as he walked back to camp with Kagome. He decided he would take a little break to eat first, however.


The sound of laughter was the only thing in the small field. Rin ran circles around Jaken and finally tripped him with her foot. "You stupid ningen!" Jaken squawked.

Sesshoumaru stepped on his servant as he walked by. He secretly enjoyed the torture Rin put the little toad like youkai through. Suddenly a new and unwelcome scent assaulted his senses. "Rin stop."

Rin froze where she was and waited for Sesshoumaru to give her the okay to move again. "What do you want, Kagura?" Sesshoumaru questioned.

The wind youkai appeared from the surrounding area. "I'm here to give you some information."

"Speak what you wish and leave." Sesshoumaru stated not trusting the youkai. She had already stolen his Rin once and he was not about to let her succeed a second time.

Kagura looked at the small girl trying to stay in place. She remembered taking her and feeling nothing but guilt. To deliver such an innocent to the vilest creature she knew. The small girl reminded her of a certain miko and she was sure the demon lord saw the resemblance.

"Naraku is going to attack Inuyasha and his group in Inuyasha's forest in a couple days." Kagura said.

"Why would I want this knowledge? A useless hanyou killing another is none of my concern." Sesshoumaru responded.

"I'm sure you want your revenge against Naraku. And the miko travels with Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru did not respond so Kagura continued. "I know you respect the miko as do many. I once came to you asking for help, for my freedom, but you refused. I'm not innocent, so I know I probably don't deserve the freedom I'm after. But will you allow the miko to be killed or imprisoned by Naraku."

Sesshoumaru remained silent in thought. He did respect Kagome. That was why he had brought Rin back to life. The girl reminded him of the miko. He respected her strength and loyalty, even if that loyalty was to the stupid hanyou. They had met before, when they had both wandered from their groups. They spoke and seemed to reach a strange agreement of sort. Though he did not want to admit it the miko had probably been his first friend.

Kagura sighed at the lack of response she was receiving. She pulled the feather from her hair. She hoped that the youkai lord would help. She did not wish to hurt the miko. Just as she was about to fly off, Sesshoumaru spoke.

"I will consider your word, but should this be a trap you will pay with your life. Come Rin." Sesshoumaru continued walking and passed the wind youkai. "And her name is Kagome." He added and smirked as he remembered how angry she had gotten with him when he had continually called her miko.

Kagura gave a confused look as he walked away from her followed by Jaken and Rin. She then smiled knowing that the youkai lord was going to help. She flew off safe in the knowledge that perhaps the small shard hunting would win. All they needed was a little more help.


Kagome lay in her sleeping bag looking up at the millions of twinkling lights above. No matter how many times she had seen them here in the past, the stars seemed to greatly outshine the ones in the future. 'The past seems so much more beautiful than home. But then again home has some advantages also. Indoor plumbing being a big one.' Kagome sighed. She loved the past, truly she did, but deep down she knew she couldn't stay. No matter how much she wanted to stick with her friends and little kit, she knew it wasn't possible. She felt the shards hanging from her chain pulse in a comforting fashion. 'Everything will work out for the best...I hope.'

Hiten stood leaning against a tree watching the oblivious miko. He didn't understand the emotions running through him. He had already fought a few youkai for her and no matter what he told Naraku about him needing to gain the group's trust he knew it was all for her. Sure, he had been willing to give his life in battle for Manten, but this did not feel like any sibling feelings. He did not feel the same way about her as he did his little sister. 'Souten...' Hiten thought wistfully. 'How long has it been since I last saw you?' He wondered.

Hiten and Manten had left their beloved imouto at home when they had heard that the Shikon had returned. 'She's probably fine. Koryu had better be taking good care of her. Anyway she probably thinks I'm dead.' His focus returned to Kagome when he saw a light pinkish glow coming from the shards she wore around her neck.

Kagome touched the shards and the pulsing stopped. A strange sensation came over her. It felt as if the shards themselves were nervous. She knew they were comforting her but she could sense they knew something she didn't. 'There is more to these shards than everyone else understands. It's almost like they're alive.' Kagome thought with awe. She looked around to see if anyone else had felt what she had. Sango was already asleep with Kirara curled by her side and her hiraikotsu withing arms reach should there be an attack or should a certain hentai houshi try anything. Miroku was asleep as well at the base of a tree. Inuyasha was sleeping on a low branch. Kagome looked around in search of Shippou, but didn't see him. She was about to panic, but her eyes met the crimson eyes of a certain youkai that had been watching her. Hiten caught her gaze and glanced over to a bush she hadn't noticed before. Kagome looked back at Hiten in confusion. She looked back over at the bush and got further confused.

'Is that bush sweating?'

Sure enough beads of perspiration were dripping down its leaves. It shook a bit and then *poof* the bush reverted back to Shippou. "A little over an hour. Not bad kit, but you need to get better." Hiten stated.

"Yeah right. With your training I'll either be ready to kill Naraku in a month or I'll have died of exhaustion." Shippou said as he lay panting on the forest floor. That had been by far the longest he had ever been able to hold one of his illusions. Hiten just smirked. He had to admit he liked the kit's spirit.

'Hiten is training Shippou also?!' Kagome thought. 'This has to be some weird cosmic joke.' "So when did you two get all friendly?" She asked.

Shippou bolted up right as if just realizing Kagome was there. "We're not friends." Shippou pouted still feeling a bit unsettled about even wanting to be friends with his father's killer. But he had to admit Hiten seemed different, less power hungry than before. "I guess he's okay though." Shippou grudgingly admitted as he stumbled sleepily over to Kagome.

"I think it's time to get you to bed little kit." Kagome said and pulled him into her warm sleeping bag. As soon as he was encircled in her arms, Shippou was out like a light.

"Why do you claim the kit?" Hiten asked. He had watched their interactions and compared them to those of a mother and child. What he couldn't understand, however, was why a ningen would claim a youkai as her child, and a miko at that. Mikos and youkai were supposed to be mortal enemies and yet this miko, this Kagome, was traveling with a hanyou, a creature despised by both youkai and ningen, and she had practically adopted a youkai kit.

"Because I love him and he doesn't have anyone else." Kagome answered the unexpected question.

Hiten felt a strange tightening in his chest. 'Was this guilt?' He wondered. If it was he didn't like it one bit. He was getting along with the kit lately. He even admitted he enjoyed the kit's fiery personality, so much like that of the girl he was speaking to. But he had been the one to cause his pain. He and his brother had been the one to kill his father. 'I do not like this feeling. You would think with Naraku stealing my heart it would make me more devoid of emotions, not open more up. I do not feel guilty. Youkai do not feel guilt.'

He watched as Kagome held Shippou tight in her embrace as she began to doze off as well. He wondered if he had caused her pain as well. He knew he had kept her from harm by Manten's hand when they had kidnapped her, but as he spent time with this group he understood there were many different types of pain. He had only experienced the physical kind until his brother had been taken from him. 'Is this emptiness what the kit felt when his father died? This great void, like there is something missing in your life.' Hiten wondered as he watched the two slumber peacefully.

Emotions were far too much trouble. He didn't understand them at all. He knew fear, he loved its smell of it, but before now that was the only emotion he had known, but he had never felt it himself. He only knew how to evoke it. 'Emotions are highly over rated.' Hiten decided and then sat down his eyes still trained on the miko.

He felt a tug on his senses and knew exactly what it was. Looking around the clearing to make sure the entire shard hunting group was sleeping, he then left the clearing. "What do you want?"

The wind youkai landed right before him. "Naraku sent me." Kagura stated. "He wants me to make sure you are not overstepping the sensitive bounds he's given you."

"So now you'll go back and tell him that I've been talking to the miko and he's going to punish me." Hiten assumed.

"Talking? I think not. You've been training the miko. He'll kill you." Kagura said.

Hiten tensed. He hadn't known she had been around when he had been training Kagome. Could his senses have missed her, but how? He could always tell when she was near.

"You look surprised. I assume you were far too immersed in watching the miko to notice I was around."

Once again Hiten cursed the emotions flowing through him that had made him lose his focus and now perhaps his life. "What do you want Kagura?" Hiten asked. His crimson gaze met her own in a fiery blaze as each tried to intimidate the other. Kagura had the upper hand with her new found knowledge though and they both knew it.

"I'm not here to get you killed." Kagura finally told him with a sigh. "But I have to tell you that Naraku knows about this little trip back home the miko has planned and is planning to attack the minute she's gone from the group. I'd be wary if I were you. If he attacks her group I doubt he'll spare you."

Hiten knew she was right. If Naraku did attack he would be killed along with that fool Inuyasha. He knew Naraku didn't trust him as he very well shouldn't, but he did not want to die by the hands of that filthy hanyou. "He won't kill." Hiten said with conviction.

"You forget he holds your heart as he does mine. Is the miko really worth dying over?" Kagura asked.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You stare at her constantly. You help her when she's in trouble and you've handed her more jewel shards than I think I've handed Naraku. Don't forget with Kanna's mirror you must be careful. He can see what's happening whenever he wishes." Kagura was about to go, but than remembered he had yet to answer her question.

"If she doesn't leave before he attacks, would you fight for her? Would you die for her?" Kagura had to know. If Hiten went against Naraku it would only be for a cause worth dying for and she believed the miko could be that.

"No." Hiten answered automatically, a little too quick for Kagura's tastes. 'No ningen is worth dying for.' Hiten kept trying to remind himself.

Kagura just gave a solemn nod and turned to leave. 'I hope for their sake you're wrong.' She pulled the feather from her hair and took off into the night. She had gotten too tired of being Naraku's minion. She was ready to fight even though she knew she would probably not last very long. 'That miko...Kagome...she has the power to destroy Naraku.' Kagura was sure of this. But they would need help and she would rather have Hiten on her side than trying to save his life by sticking with Naraku.

'I hope you were lying to me Hiten, because I have the feeling that if you don't help, we won't win.'


Hope you all enjoyed. I really wanted to thank you all for the great reviews I've received. I really love them ^_^ My fans are the greatest!