**Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever own any of the Inu Yasha characters. Nor do I own the song Even Angels Fall.**

(AN: Bah, I hate putting these into the chapters. But...I wanted to apologize for taking so long to update my stories. My fiance came into town to visit and I wanted to spend some time with him. Thanks guys for your patience, I hope this chapter and the chapter for 'The Masquerade' will make up for it.)

Song: Even Angels Fall by Jessica Riddle

Symbols: '...' Thoughts

~...~ Song (Sango sings it)

~ A Stronger, Wiser Kagome: Chapter 2 ~

Sango entered the clearing and found Kagome still soaking her body in the spring. Cautiously she walked up to the spring's bank. When her friend made no move to acknowledge her presence she removed her clothes and stepped into the warm water. Wading through the water she made her way to Kagome and placed a hand gently on her shoulder. "Everything will be okay, Kagome-chan. After all you still have the Houshi, myself and Shippo."

Kagome shrugged off the loving hand, "I don't need anyone." Opening her eyes she glared at Sango as she moved away from her.

Tears stung Sango's eyes as she watched the young miko back away from her. Her head dropped and her shoulders slumped forward as tears slipped down her cheeks. "I am sorry I bothered you, Kagome-sama. I will take my leave now." Holding in her sobs, Sango turned and started for the bank.

The sight of Sango crying tore at her heart. 'Why am I acting like this to my friends? They have done nothing to me.' Tears of shame fell from Kagome's eyes as she reached out and stopped her friend.

Feeling a hand grab her arm she stopped. Sango heard a whispered apology come from behind her. Slowly she turned, what she saw caused her heart to break into tiny little pieces. "Oh Kagome-chan" Sango threw her arms around her friend, pulling her into a tight embrace. She gently drew her fingers through the girl's ebony tresses, "Shhh, Kagome-chan. Don't cry please."

Kagome burried her face into the crook of Sango's neck, "I'm so sorry, Sango-chan. I don't know why I am acting like this." Going to pull back, she found Sango tightening her grip on her.

Taking in a deep breath, Sango took in Kagome's smell of lavender and jasmine. She felt Kagome go to pull away and she pulled her closer. "You are just hurt, Kagome-chan. Even if it doesn't feel like it, what Inu Yasha and Kikyo did to you broke your heart." Sango closed her eyes, she softly began humming.

Kagome didn't move as she listened, entranced as the humming slowly melted away into words.

~ You've found hope, you've found faith,

Found how fast she could take it away.

Found true love, lost your heart.

Now you don't know who you are. ~

Sango hugged Kagome tighter before loosening her grip. Pulling the girl away from her, she removed her hand from Kagome's arm then placed it under her jaw. She tilted the miko's head so she could look her in the eyes. "Everything will be okay, you will see. The pain will fade in time and like I said you still have us."

Kagome shook her head, "I accepted that he didn't love me, Sango-chan. But no matter how much I told myself that he didn't I couldn't stop loving him. Then to find out that he doesn't even care for me as a friend...." She turned her head, letting her words trail off. "My heart feels cold and full of malice. Not just towards Inu Yasha, but towards everyone."

Sango sighed, "Close your eyes and just listen to my words."

~ She made it easy, made it free,

Made you hurt till you couldn't see.

Sometimes it stops, sometimes it flows,

But baby that is how love goes. ~

Sango watched as a tear slipped down Kagome's cheek. Gently she wiped it away with her thumb. "Kagome-chan, you are an angel sent here to put the wrongs of the past right. You will stumble along the way, and I will be there to help you back up."

~ You will fly and you will crawl;

God knows even angels fall.

No such thing as you lost it all.

God knows even angels fall. ~

Kagome looked up at Sango, "I don't want to be anyone's responsibility. You have your own life to live."

Sango shook her head and let go of her friend, "My life's path follows yours. You and I are going in the same direction, seeking the same people and purpose." A smile graced her lips as she brought her hand to Kagome's face. Slowly she gently caressed her cheek with the back of her hand.

Astonished Kagome's eyes went wide, "What about your love and life with Miroku? When this is all over I will be alone. We will go our separate ways." Grabbing Sango's hand she removed it from her face. "It would be best if I go my own way, separate from the group, to find the shards."

Sango sighed, "Kagome-chan, you have it all wrong. The Houshi does not have my love." Taking in a deep breath she directed her attention to the ground. "My heart belongs to another, and that person's heart belongs to another. You see, you and I are the same. Love hurts, Kagome-chan, but you pick up the pieces and keep going."

~ It's a secret no one tells;

One day it's heaven, one day it's hell.

It's no fairy tale; take it from me,

That's the way it's supposed to be. ~

Kagome saw tears pooling in Sango's eyes. She moved closer to the demon exterminator and threw her arms around her waist. "I'm so sorry, I know how that hurts."

A small laugh came from Sango, "Don't be, we all hurt at some point in our lives. Everyone stumbles occasionally."

~ You will fly and you will crawl;

God knows even angels fall.

No such thing as you lost it all.

God knows even angels fall. ~

Kagome pulled away from Sango, her shoulders drooping slightly. "I guess you are right. I just wish life wasn't so complicated." She moved backwards till she found the boulder she had previously been leaning on. Resuming the comfortable postion, she closed her eyes.

Sango watched admiringly as Kagome leaned back against the boulder and closed her eyes. "Life is a journey. The good times and even the bad times are meant to be enjoyed. It is all part of the ride we call life. Don't turn you back on it, Kagome-chan, you will miss out on so much."

~ You laugh, you cry, no one knows why

But OH the thrill of it all...

You're on the ride, you might as well

Open your eyes ~

Sango moved closer to Kagome stopping a mere inch away from her face. Kagome's eyes shot open and a smile spread across Sango's lips. "Just remember, when you fall, I will be there to help pick you back up. I will never leave your side and never hurt you." Sango brought her left hand up to cup her cheek. Before Kagome could protest her lips brushed lightly against the cheek that was not covered by her hand.

~ You will fly and you will crawl;

God knows even angels fall.

No such thing as you lost it all.

God knows even angels fall. ~

Her lips still tingling from the contact, she looked deep into Kagome's eyes. Sango watched as the girl's lips open to say something and she quickly placed a finger over them the silence her. "I will leave you to mull over what I have told you." She waded over to the shore, getting out she quickly dressed. Turning back towards Kagome she smiled her bigest smile, "I will see you back at the camp."

Sango stopped just passed the tree line and turned her attention back in the direction of the spring. She saw the look of bewilderment on Kagome's face and a small chuckle escaped her lips. "I love you, Kagome." Her whisper died on the breeze, not making it to the person it was directed at. Sango sighed then turned to make her way back to the camp. Whispering the last lines of her song as she did so.

~ Even angels fall

Even angels fall ~

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Miroku felt his heart shatter into tiny pieces as Sango's words repeated in his head. A tear slipped down his cheek. 'She doesn't love me.' A voice startled him out of his thoughts causing him to fall flat on his ass.

"Is it custom for a Monk to watch ladies bathe?" The voice was smooth but the tone was one that demanded an answer.

Miroku stood, turning to the person who had startled him. "Sesshomaru-sama, what are you doing here?" He asked while rubbing the sore spot that he had gotten from the fall.

Sesshomaru smirked, "I believe, Monk, we both have some competition."