**Disclaimer: I do not own any of Inu Yasha characters, nor do I own the song Fighter**

Song: Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Symbols: ~{...}~ Lyrics

'...' Thoughts

~ A Stronger, Wiser Kagome ~

Sango gently shook the sleeping girl from the future, her eyes scanning the area looking for the missing group member. "Kagome-chan, wake up." She felt the girl stir in her sleeping bag and mumble something about the hanyou in their group. Sango rolled her eyes, 'Why don't they confess their love for each other?' She shook her friend again, this time a bit harder.

Kagome bolted straight up in her sleeping bag, "Alright, Inu Yasha!! I am up!!" She opened her eyes to glare at the hanyou. Her cheeks turned a dark shade of red when her eyes met Sango's grey ones. "I am so sorry, Sango-chan." Glancing around she noticed that Inu Yasha was not anywhere to be found. "Sango-chan, where is Inu Yasha?"

"We don't know, Lady Kagome. He left last night and has yet to return." Miroku spoke up as he entered the clearing they had set up camp in.

Kagome's face filled with worry, "We will give him till after breakfast to get back. The smell of ramen should bring him running. If he doesn't come back by the time we are done, we will go look for him." She moved to her bag to pull out the food and that is when she notice the small bottle that she had placed just inside the bag was missing.

Kagome panicked, she grabbed her bag turned it upside down and proceeded to dump the contents of the bag on the ground. She shifted through the items on the ground still not finding it. Then something clicked in her head and she registered what was going on.

~{After all you put me through

You'd think I'd despise you

But in the end I want to thank you

Because you made me that much stronger}~

Kagome laughed out loud causing her companions to turn to her, "He isn't coming back." She continued laughing as she put her stuff back in the bag, leaving out a couple packs of ramen for breakfast. 'It doesn't even hurt anymore.'

Sango and Miroku exchanged worried glances as their companion laughed to herself. Their looks of worry quickly turn to confusion when they heard her speak. Sango walked over the her friend and started to help her with putting the things back in the bag. "What do you mean, Kagome-chan?"

She turned and looked Sango in the eyes, "I mean he isn't going to be coming back." Kagome sighed and looked to her companions, "Looks like we will not only be racing against Naraku to get the shards, but Inu Yasha as well."

"Lady Kagome, what ever do you mean? Inu Yasha is a part of this group, is he not?" Miroku asked quizzicaly.

Kagome just shook her head, "He took off last night with the jewel shards we have collected."

'How dare he use Kagome-chan like that.' Sango's eye twitched in irritation, "Well we have to go get them back." She stood and held out her hand for Kagome. After she had helped her friend up she turned to Miroku, "Stay here, Houshi, just in case he decides to come back. Kirara!"

Kagome and Sango were riding through the air on Kirara's back when they spoted Kikyo's soul skimmer demons. Kagome placed her hand on her friend's shoulder, "Please stop here, I want to walk the rest of the way."

Kirara landed and Kagome slid off her back. Grabbing her bag from Sango she turned and started for the area she assumed Kikyo was in. She felt a hand on her shoulder, turning she saw Sango give her a small smile letting her know she wasn't in this alone.

The two women came upon the clearing both Kikyo and Inu Yasha were standing in. Kagome leaned in a little closer and strained to hear what the two were talking about.

"Inu Yasha, did you get the shards like I asked you." the cold voice drifted to the ears of the eavesdroppers.

"Keh, she never even suspected it." he laughed.

Kagome watched as Inu Yasha rolled the bottle of shards between his fingers. 'So, he used me to get the shards for Kikyo.' Out of the corner of her eye she caught Sango going for her weapon. Kagome put her hand on Sango's arm and shook her head. Silently she pulled an arrow out of her quiver.

Kagome readied her arrow and quietly took a step forward into the clearing. Taking her aim she released the arrow and watched as it flew across the clearing, hitting right on target.

Inu Yasha jumped as the bottle of shards in his hand broke. He heard the arrow make impact in a tree and his head imeadiatly came up in the direction of Kagome.

~{When I, thought I knew you

Thinking, that you were true

I guess I, I couldn't trust

Called your bluff, time is up

'Cause I've had enough

You were, there by my side

Always, down for the ride

But your, joy ride just came down in flames

'Cause your greed sold me out in shame, mmhmm}~

Kagome already had another arrow readied and aimed at Kikyo by the time Inu Yasha had looked to her. She saw the dead priestess go for an arrow. She let the arrow aimed at her go, cutting some of Kikyo's hair with it as it flew past her. "I wouldn't do that again if you want to continue walking around in the living world, Kikyo. Next arrow I release won't miss."

Sango moved out from her place behind the bush, "You deal with Inu Yasha. I will keep an eye on Kikyo." She placed her hand on her weapon and glared daggers at the dead woman in front of her. Kirara transformed and walked up to her friend, growling in the direction of Kikyo.

"Kagome, what the fuck are you doing here?" Inu Yasha said as he made a move to get closer to Kagome.

Kagome moved her aimed bow from Kikyo to Inu Yasha's moving body, "Uh uh, don't get any closer. As to why I am here, come on Inu Yasha, I didn't think you were that stupid." With her head held high she took a step towards the shards scattered on the ground.

She caught his slight movement, the subtle hint that he was about to attack. His ears flicking back and forth, muscles twitching, "Go for it, Inu Yasha, and I will pin you to that tree behind you for another fifty years." She caught the puzzled look before his scowl replaced it.

Kagome let out a small laugh, "Come now, I have been fighting along side you for three years now. I know all your body's movements in a fight. Kinda pathetic really, all the times I studied your every move because I was a young girl infatuated with you."

"Kirara, come here please." Kagome called to the cat demon. The cat trotted up to her and rubbed her head on the girl's leg. "Would you get those shards over there?" She heard Kirara mew in response. After the cat demon came back with all the shards and placed them in Sango's hands, Kagome smirked. "I must thank you Inu Yasha for shedding light on how you really feel about me."

~{After all of the stealing and cheating

You probably think that

I hold resentment for you

But, uh uh, oh no, you're wrong

'Cause if it wasn't for all that you tried to do

I wouldn't know just how capable I am to pull through

So I wanna say thank you}~

Kagome turned to leave but stopped in her tracks, "Oh, and one more thing," She turned and faced Kikyo, "I do believe you have part of my soul." Something flashed in Kagome's eyes, "I will be taking that back now."

Kikyo's scream echoed through out the forest as she was engulfed in a bright white light. All the souls she had captured exploded out of her in every direction. The one Kagome was looking for floated gently to her. She closed her eyes and felt as it returned to her body. When she opened her eyes again nothing was left of Kikyo except for her original bone and ash.

Sango gasped, "Kagome-chan, are you okay?" She ran to her friend who was only smiling sweetly at her.

"Yes Sango-chan, would you go get Miroku so he can bless Kikyo's ashes?" Kagome asked.

Sango was about to protest when Kagome turned and looked at her. Something in her eyes let her know she would be fine alone. "I will be back shortly. Kirara let's go."

~{'Cause it makes me that much stronger

Makes me work a little bit harder

It makes me that much wiser

So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster

Made my skin a little bit thicker

Makes me that much smarter

So thanks for making me a fighter}~

"You fucking bitch, this is all your fault." Inu Yasha growled. "I will kill you for taking away my Kikyo." He watched as Kagome lowered her bow, "Keh, not smart to drop your weapon. And you are suposed to be Kikyo's reincarnation."

Kagome held out her hand as Inu Yasha lunged at her. A pink ligh surrounded the hanyou and he froze in mid step. She sighed and shook her head, "Inu Yasha, you still don't get it do you? I am not Kikyo's reincarnation. I never was and I never will be."

"But she had your soul and you...her...so much alike..." He looked to Kagome, "You are lying, you wouldn't be here if you weren't."

Kagome leisurely walked over to his body, still hanging prone in the air. She reached up and tweaked one of his ears, earning a growl from him. "Silly Hanyou, I can be here because I am the reincarnation of Midoriko. That is how come the jewel was inside of me." She stepped away from Inu Yasha, "Your precious Kikyo was here because I allowed it. I gave her part of my soul so she could live."

"Bitch!" Inu Yasha growled, "So you are the fucking reason she had to suffer again. You brought her back from the dead, let her roam around alone, only to kill her yourself. You hateful bitch!" Tears fell from his face as he tried his best to bore a hole through her back with his eyes.

A pink aura flared up around Kagome. "No, Inu Yasha, if you must point a finger and place blame, point it at yourself. Your love, sadness and guilt for her brought her back. Her name fell from your lips which is what brought her back. I just let her stay, my love for you couldn't let you suffer anymore."

~{Ohh, ohh, ohh, ohhhh, ohh-yeah ah uhhhuh

Never, saw it coming

All of, your backstabbing

Just so, you could cash in

On a good thing before I realized your game

I heard, you're going around

Playing the victim now

But don't, even begin

Feeling I'm the one to blame

'Cause you dug your own grave}~

Inu Yasha struggled against the invisable force holding him in place, "So what are you going to do, wench? Pin me to a tree just like Kikyo did?"

Kagome turned her back to him and walked to her bag, "No, Inu Yasha, I am not going to harm you in any way." She reached into her bag and pulled out one of the empty resealable food containers. Sitting it down on the ground she turned to Inu Yasha, "I am going to let you live the rest of your life out."

She walked over to him and placed her hand on the subduing necklace. With a quick flick of her wrist she had it off of his head. "You are free of me and the jewel. Go live, Inu Yasha." She heard Kirara land behind her with Sango and Miroku. Not releasing Inu Yasha from the spell she turned to face her friends. "Miroku, there is a container near my bag you can place the ashes in untill we can get a proper one."

Miroku nodded his head at Kagome and turned to do his job. Sango slowly walked up to her friend, "Are you okay, Kagome-chan?"

"Yes I am, thank you." She looked to Sango, giving her a smile. "I was just telling Inu Yasha good-bye."

~{After all of the fights and the lies

Yes you wanted to harm me but that won't work anymore

Uh, no more, oh no, it's over

'Cause if it wasn't for all of your torture

I wouldn't know how to be this way now, and never back down

So I wanna say thank you}~

After Miroku finished his ritual he walked back over to Kagome and signaled he was ready to go. Kagome went to her pack and slung it over her shoulder before getting on the back of Kirara. "Good-bye, Inu Yasha. Have a good life." She called back over her shoulder.

~{'Cause it makes me that much stronger

Makes me work a little bit harder

Makes me that much wiser

So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster

Made my skin a little bit thicker

It makes me that much smarter

So thanks for making me a fighter}~

Inu Yasha watched as Kagome disappeared into the sky. When she was out of view for a little while he felt the hold on him leave. 'Stupid fucking bitch! This isn't my fault. I will kill you even if it is the last thing I do.' He sniffed at the air and let out an evil laugh.

Kagome heard Inu Yasha's voice that was carried to her on the breeze, "I will kill you bitch. Where ever you go, where ever you try to hide I will hunt you down. You are no longer safe." She sighed, 'How could I ever love something like him. So hateful and unforgiving.'

Miroku heard hear sigh, placing his hand on her shoulder he gave it a squeez, "Lady Kagome, is something the matter"

'This is starting to get annoying, I know they just worry about me. But I can take care of myself. They don't have to worry about me all the time.' She placed her hand on top of his, "I am fine, Miroku, will you guys stop asking me that." She winced at the fact her voice came out a bit harsher than she had wanted it to. 'Well at least they won't ask me anymore.'

~{How could this man I thought I knew

Turn out to be unjust so cruel

Could only see the good in you

Pretended not to see the truth

You tried to hide your lies, disguise yourself

Through living in denial

But in the end you'll see

YOU-WON'T-STOP-ME}~

They had set up camp just after dark and Kagome was in a small spring not too far from the camp. She had come up out of the water after dipping her head under when she felt it. A laugh escaped her lips 'He is here, such a foolish hanyou.' She stood, a bow and arrow made up of her energy appeared in her hand. She released the arrow and watched as it disappeared into the darkness.

The ground in front of him exploded just as he touched down from his half flying, half running. 'Holy shit, that bitch is trying to kill me.' He flexed his claws, "Two can play that game, Kagome."

~{I am a fighter and I

I ain't gonna stop

There is no turning back

I've had enough}~

Kagome sighed in frustration, 'All I want to do is relax, damn it. Now I know why Sesshomaru is always annoyed with him.' Dropping down into the water, she let out a string of curses under the warm water. Her head broke through the water. She slung her head back and she felt her hair hit something soft. Titlting her head back she found herself staring into golden orbs. "Well, well speak of the devil and he shall appear."

"I Sesshomaru am not the devil." Standing up from his crouching position he walked over to Kagome's stuff. He toed at the bow thrown carelessly on the ground so far from its owner. "Not very smart, being ningen, to leave your weapon so far away from you." He turned to Kagome and narrowed his eyes.

Kagome held out her hand just as she had with Inu Yasha, "If you will excuse me Sesshomaru, I must take care of a pest. I will be right with you." She stood and made her way out of the spring.

Sesshomaru growled when he felt his body being unable to move, "Wench."

Kagome turned to him, "Kagome."

"What have you done to me?" His eyes narrowed even further when he caught sent of his brother. "So you plan to let him kill me while you hold me here?"

Kagome let out a laugh, "Dear Sesshomaru," She walked up to him, placing her hand on his face she ran her fingers along his jaw. "that is not it at all. I do not wish to have you in the way."

As if on cue, Inu Yasha came running into the clearing. His feet skidding across the dirt as he brought himself to a stop. "We will end this now wench." He lunged at her, "Die bitch!"

~{'Cause it makes me that much stronger

Makes me work a little bit harder

Makes me that much wiser

So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster

Made my skin a little bit thicker

It makes me that much smarter

So thanks for making me a fighter}~

He pulled the Tetsusaiga out of its sheath and attacked Kagome with the untransformed sword. He saw her wave her hand in dismissal and he was tossed back through the air. A grunt escaped his body as it made contact with the hard ground.

Kagome looked down to him, bending down she picked up his sword. "This will not help you harm a human. Or are you too stupid to realize this?" Turning her back to him she walked away, sword in hand. "Your father was wrong, you don't deserve this sword. Now leave before I hurt you." She heard him get up off the ground and slowly walk away from the area.

~{Thought I forget, but I, I remember

I remember, I remember

Thought I forget, but I, I remember

I remember, I remember}~

Slowly she eased herself back into the warm water, "Now you are going to allow me to take me bath in peace, aren't you?" She didn't even look to him as she spoke. When no response came she shrugged her shoulders and dropped the spell. Kagome leaned her head back against a rock and her eyes drifted shut.

She felt him get into the water, opening her eyes she found him right in front of her. "Will you protect Rin?" The expression on his face did not change but she could see the quizzical look in his eyes. "You will protect Rin, with the Tetsusaiga?"

His eyes burned into hers, "Hai." Not knowing what he was doing he brought his lips down hard on hers.

Kagome's eyes went wide in surprise, quickly she pushed them demon lord away. "I didn't say to kiss me, baka." She shifted her body out from in front his, "The sword is over there. Take it and go." She heard him exit the spring, pick up the sword and take his leave without saying a word.

~{'Cause it makes me that much stronger

Makes me work a little bit harder

Makes me that much wiser

So thanks for making me a fighter

Made me learn a little bit faster

Made my skin a little bit thicker

It makes me that much smarter

So thanks for making me a fighter}~

Inu Yasha watched from the shadows, barely suppressing a growl. 'That fucking slut. If I can't hurt her physically, I will get her emotionally.' With that he turned and walked off into the shadows, heading in the direction of Naraku's castle.