Dear Readers--It's your old pal, Jesse the Wolf Demon! I want to thank you if you have read my other Inuyasha fic, Surviving a City. I know I'm still in the middle of that story, but I find that if I focus on one too much, it doesn't come out as good as I want it to. So while I'm brainstorming just how to end SAC (I didn't plan that, the initials naturally came that way) I came up with the idea of a new story I have affectionately named, Tainted Blood. This is a duel meaning title, for which I will get into more later. I plan this to be a pretty long fic. The chapters will probably get shorter once I get into the meat of the plot, so don't expect them to stay this long, sorry! I'm doing it third person this time and where Surviving a City dealt with mostly Inuyasha, Tainted Blood focuses more on Kagome. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get the feedback I wanted from Chapter 10 of SAC so I just started writing this anyway. Hope you enjoy! Thanks again to my Beta for doing such a great job!

Whyndancer sez:

This was fun. Actually it was a lot more fun than my geography essay. Which I have only just finished. Inuyasha's so much more interesting than why the Amazon Basin is a formal region. Now I get to play catch-up with editing Jesse's stuff. ^_^

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or American Hi-Fi, but I can dream, can't I?

Prologue: For a Mother's Love

"Mother!" Kagome screamed, dropping the plate of food she held in her hands and letting it shatter on the kitchen floor. Heedless of the pasta now covering the tile, she ran to the woman who had just entered the front door. Her mother, Sayaka Higurashi, had climbed in from the pouring rain outside. Her clothes were soaked through, but the rainwater had not been able to rinse away the darker liquid that marred the cloth.. A crimson liquid that stained the front of her once white kimono and flowed from a large wound across her abdomen. Kagome caught her mother before she could fall to the ground, easing her down slowly. "Mother, please, what happened?" Kagome asked frantically, looking over the woman's form for more injuries.

"I was...caught unaware," her mother rasped, but then smiled. "Help me to my room Kagome." Her daughter didn't dare refuse. She helped her mother to her feet, wrapping the wounded woman's arm over her shoulders, and they (headed up the stairs to the master bedroom). At the top of the stairs, they were met by two small boys. Both pairs of eyes were wide with fear.

"Mama! Mama what happened to you?" The taller of the two boys asked, tears growing in his eyes as he clutched at the arm of the woman.

"Mama, you look so pale," cried the smaller boy, latching on to her leg. The woman smiled at both boys, but Kagome felt her leaning more heavily on her as they slowly made their way to the room at the end of the hall.

"Souta, Shippou," Kagome said in a stern but gentle voice. "Go get my medical kit from the workroom please." The boys nodded, glancing at the wounded mother, and bounded down the stairs to do as their big sister requested.

Kagome squared her shoulders, summoning her strength, and carried her mother into her bedroom down the hall. Sayaka collapsed on to the bed with a sigh and a hiss of pain. She was pale and Kagome didn't like the look of it. Her fingers brushed her mother's temples, checking for fever. Though the skin was definitely warm to the touch, the fever was obviously still quite low, and would not be difficult to control. Far more worrisome was the large stomach wound that still leaked blood. As long as her mother stayed conscious, then things would be better. While Waiting for the boy's return, Kagome propped her mother's head up with an extra pillow and grabbed more blankets from the linen closet in the hall. Souta and Shippou ran into the room as she was setting the blankets down. In Souta's arms was a large metal box with the red cross symbol of a First-Aid kit. Shippou toted a smaller black medical bag.

" Thanks guys," Kagome said with a strained smile as she took both objects from her brothers. She set them down on the ground next to her mother's bed, then ushered the boys out. "I have to take care of Mom," she said when they protested, "And I don't want you two underfoot. I promise I'll call you when I'm finished, but right now the best thing you could do is go clean up the kitchen for me. Our dinner is on the floor." Both boys looked downcast, but they trudged off to do as she requested.

Kagome went back to her mother's side, opening the First-Aid kit and the medical bag. "What happened Mama?" she asked, reverting to a child's plea. It had been years since Kagome referred to her mother in such a familiar way, but in this situation, she figured reassurance would be more appropriate then propriety.

Sayaka sucked in a harsh breath as Kagome peeled back the soaked garments covering her wounded form. The largest of the gashes ran in an oblique? line from under her left breast to her right hip. It was deep, and it was still bleeding freely. There were also two smaller, shallower cuts. One above the largest one, and one below flanking it. They looked like claw marks. As if some great beast had run razor-sharp talons across the woman's belly to open her up. Kagome had seen wounds like this before during her years of training as a healer. It was her most stressed upon method during her years of training.

"Mama...who did this to you?" she breathed, grabbing a small green jar from inside the black bag and a handful of long cotton swabs from her First-Aid kit. Sayaka didn't answer, and Kagome sighed. She opened the jar and the smell of strong herbs filled the air. The bitter smell made Sayaka cough slightly. Kagome was used to it by now. It was a smell that would clear even the most stuffed sinus. Kagome stuck the first swab into the jar and it emerged covered in a light green gel. Kagome then began to swab her mother's wound.

Sayaka whimpered as the stinging gel coated her wounds. After a few seconds of intense burning, the wound started to feel cooler and the pain lessened. Kagome continued to swab out the bloody gashes, changing swabs every so often as she applied the homemade herbal remedy. This gel would clean and seal the wound. It also was laced with herbs to lessen pain and induce a healing sleep. Kagome knew her mother was becoming drowsy now. "Tell me Mama, was it one of the Inu family that did this?" Kagome kept her voice soft, but their was fire in her eyes.

"No," Sayaka said with a sigh. "It was something older, something stronger."

"You were following them again, weren't you?" Kagome had finished swabbing now. The cuts had finished healing, but the large gash was too deep to leave open, and would definitely need stitches. She put the jar back into the black bag and then pulled out a tiny needle and medical thread from her kit. She threaded the needled as she waited for her mother's answer.

"Yes, I was. It has been three years now, and it's been too long since they last retaliated. They have to be planning something, Kagome." Sayaka stared at the ceiling blankly, hands fisting and un-fisting. "I wouldn't be surprised if they were the ones who told the demon to attack me." There was an ironic laugh and Kagome winced. "If I were still in my prime, I would have been able to kill the thing without injury. I'm getting longer as fast as I used to be. It caught me off guard and I wasn't fast enough. I escaped with my life, as did the demon."

"Do you know what kind of demon it was?" Kagome asked as she leaned over her mother's wound and began stitching. Sayaka winced and sucked in a few harsher breaths as Kagome sewed.

"No," she whimpered. "It was too dark to see it clearly. It was strange because it seemed to be many demons in one. I have never seen anything like it before." Kagome looked up for an instant, then continued with the task at hand. Sayaka slowly, wearily sighed. "It was old, and evil to the very core of its being. I felt it when we fought."

"Well, If it is in league with the Inu-demons, then I'll just have to kill it," Kagome said lightly. No one hurt her family, no one.

"Don't get cocky Kagome," her mother said with a small laugh. "Although I'm sure you probably could kill it easier then I. You are a much stronger Miko then I am, my daughter." Kagome didn't reply. She finished stitching her mother's wound, then gently wiped away the blood with a small towel. She again reached into her black bag and pulled out a blue jar. This one was taller and not as wide as the last, and sealed with a cork. When she opened it, a faint scent that was almost like soap and pine trees filled the room. Kagome dabbed two fingers in the contents of the jar, a more softer gel concoction the color of blue ice, then spread it over her mother's wounds. This would begin the healing process much faster then any hospital antibiotic would. When she was finished with that, Kagome wrapped and bandaged the wounds snuggly. "You have the same look on your face as he did when healing somone," came her mother's voice. Kagome looked up.

"Really?" She didn't need to ask who 'he' was. There was only one answer.

"He would be so proud of you now, Kagome. You were always his pride and joy." Kagome blinked back the stinging in her eyes as she cleaned up her medical supplies, keeping out a few more bottles filled with powdered substances. She mixed a little of this and a pinch of that into a glass of water and made sure her mother drank every drop. "Damn, Kagome, what are you feeding me?" her mother gagged as she drank the liquid.

"It's to keep you from getting a fever or passing out from blood loss, Mother," was the reply. Kagome knew very well what it tasted like. But like most things, what was best for you was most often the worst thing for your taste buds.

"You sound like your grandmother," her mother complained as she finished. Kagome scoffed, but enjoyed that compliment as well. Being set in the same category as her grandmother, the wisest of her family, made her feel somewhat proud.

"You should rest Mother," Kagome said, tucking the blanket's around Sayaka as if she were a small child. "You won't be on your feet for a few days with those wounds." Sayaka sighed, laying back and taking the scolding tone from her daughter.

"My dear little Kagome, you're no longer so little are you?" Kagome looked at her mother with a cocked eyebrow.

"When have I ever been little? I'm the tallest girl in my class." There was a shared smile and Sayaka shook her head.

"No, I mean that you have grown up." Something flickered in Sayaka's dark eyes. "I was never really there to see it, was I?" Kagome smiled sadly and shook her head.

"You're busy Mother, you're a Miko. I know that, and it's alright."

"No, it's really not all right. You're grown and you'll soon take my place as the High Miko of the Higurashi family." Kagome gulped, not liking the reminder. All her life she had been trained and groomed to become the High Miko of the Higurashi family, one of the strongest lines left in the world. Kagome was a direct descendant of that bloodline, as was her mother and grandmother. And when she married, her daughter would also be.

"I'm only seventeen Mama, and you're still young." Sayaka shook her head and smiled a sad, dazed smile.

"My powers are waning. Too many years have passed for me in the darkness. I can never be the Miko I was when your father was alive." Kagome flinched but kept eye-contact. "You're coming into your true power, now that your eighteenth birthday is nearing."

"I know Mother. When a Higurashi female turns eighteen, her true powers are unlocked. That is when I have to take my place as the High Miko until my daughter replaces me." Sayaka nodded against her pillow.

"When that happens, my quest will become your quest. My mission will be your mission." Kagome closed her eyes, readying herself for what her mother would say next. "I avenged your father's death, but there are still three more of the Inu line that must be killed. That was my mission, and I failed it. You will have to do this for me Kagome."

There is was. Sayaka wanted her to kill three people...well, three demons. All for the sake of revenge, in the name of justice. Kagome hated them, the Inu family, hated them so much that she surprised herself at the depth of such a feeling. But she had never killed innocents before. She had killed demons in self-defense and to protect others. As far as she knew, the Inu family were guilty only of being the family of the one who murdered her father.

"Please do this for me Kagome," her mother's voice came to her again. "Let your father's soul rest in peace. Then, maybe then, I can move on." Kagome let out a shaky breath and looked at her mother, really looked. Her short, dark hair was sticking to her sweating neck and forehead. Her beautiful face was wane and pale. She looked thin and worn, lines etched around the corners of her eyes and mouth. She looked small in the bed, no longer radiating the wonderful light that Kagome remembered from her childhood. But that had been before.

"I will do what I have to Mama. I'll do this for you and for Papa." Sayaka smiled, reaching out her hand. Kagome took it and kneeled next to her mother's pillow, clutching at her hand like a small child.

"If only he could see you now, the woman you've become, it would make him so happy." Kagome felt her eyes tear up again, but she blinked it back like before. She refused to cry, ever. She hadn't cried in many years. Not since the day her mother came home alone, broken and sobbing because she had just witness the death of her husband. It would be ten years in a month. Ten years on Kagome's eighteenth birthday. "He loved you so much Kagome."

"I loved him too," she whispered brokenly. "And I will make the Inu family pay." With that she got up quickly, dropping her mother's hand. "Get some rest Mother. I've got a few things to do." She grabbed the kit and the medical bag and went to the door.

"Kagome?" her mother called. "What are you going to do?"

Kagome didn't turn around. "You said that the Inu family moved to the city where Grandma lives, didn't you?"

"Yes, that's why I there this weekend. But what are you planning, my daughter?" Kagome turned around, her eyes bright but hard.

"I'm going to ask Grandma if I could stay with her for a while. I want to see the demons with my own two eyes." With that, Kagome walked out of the room, closing the door behind her so that her mother could rest. She marched into her workroom, the basement that she turned into her training room where she studied her Miko arts. There was a table covered in small planters where herbs grew for medicinal purposes. There was a rack of weapons on the wall and an open wooden-floored ring where she trained her fighting skills. There was also a large bookshelf covered in texts and scrolls about magic and legends and demons that she studied.

Kagome placed her kit and medical bag down in their proper places, then collapsed into a large squishy leather chair. It had been her father's favorite. After he died, Kagome spirited it away to the workroom for herself. It still smelled of him, of wood fire and soft earth. Her hand snaked over the arm of the chair and grabbed the phone that Kagome herself had installed in the basement. Not that anyone ever called her. She really didn't have any friends apart from her cousin, Rin. She just liked having it down there so that in the event of a call, she didn't need to rush from the basement to grab the phone in the kitchen upstairs in time.

She dialed her grandmother's phone number and placed the phone to her ear, waiting for the answer as she heard the ringing. Grandmother Kaede, the wisest of the Higurashis, but also the strangest. Kagome loved her grandmother very much, she was probably her favorite person in the world. Kaede was as kind as she was eccentric. Kagome had spent every summer of her life at her grandmother's dojo in the city, but she never trained with the actual students. She only trained one-on-one with her grandmother because it took quite some time to master her powers. Kagome remembered all the freak fires and accidentally broken weapons she had caused before she could master anything at all. But she had outgrown the tall, stringy girl who had little control since then. She was now a strong, well disciplined young woman who was a talented fighter and powerful Miko.

Grandmother Kaede was also strange because she never used the name Higurashi as leverage. She had taken a different name for herself and her dojo so that no one knew of her ties to the bloodline. Isharugi Dojo was renowned, as was the master, but they had made their own name in the world. (Isharugi is Higurashi spelled backwards, minus the h, just in case anyone was wondering!)

"Hello, Isharugi Dojo," came a familiar voice.

"Hi Grandma, it's Kagome," Kagome said with a smile.

"Kagome! How are you dear?" Kaede said happily, switching her tone from defensive trainer to warm old woman.

"I'm ok. Mother was hurt today in a battle with a demon and she'll be in bed for a few days."

"I keep telling Sayaka to calm down. But does she listen to her mother? Of course not, she'll only push more. Thank the Gods you were blessed with your father's sense," Kaede said grouchily. Kagome giggled.

"Listen Grandma, I was wondering..." Kagome trailed off, having second thoughts about this decision. Memories of her father flashed through her mind and her mother's voice brought renewed resolve, but didn't calm the protest in her stomach.

"What is it baby? You know whatever it is, I'll help you out as best I can." The kind tone from her grandmother renewed Kagome's floundering spirits.

"Grandma, would it be ok if I came to stay with you in the city for a while, live in the dojo?"

"Is something wrong Kagome? Did your mother do something--"

"No!" she cut off her grandmother's words. "It's not Mother. I just...I turn eighteen next month and that means I'll become High Miko and all." She paused and sighed, but then smiled when she heard her grandmother's sigh as well. "I'm getting nervous," Kagome confided. "But the real reason is because Mother asked me to complete a mission for her. I need your help."

"I would love to have you here honey," Kaede said. "But if you come out here, you'll have to go to school and all, no slacking."

"I know, that's fine with me. Thank you so much Grandma!" Kagome said and she meant it. It would be easier to fulfill her mother's wish if her grandmother was there. Kagome had always been very close with Kaede. Kaede was her confidant and pillar of strength.

"So I should expect you tomorrow?"

"Yeah. I have to pack some things and help the boys with Mother. But I'll be there tomorrow afternoon I guess. Bye, Grandma."

"Goodbye honey." Kagome hung up the phone and sighed, heaving herself up and going back upstairs to have a talk with her little brothers. They wouldn't like her leaving, but it was for the best.

She found them in the kitchen. Souta was sweeping up the broken plate and Shippou was washing the tomato sauce off the tile. "Souta, Shippou," Kagome called them as she walked in. "I need to talk to you."

"Is Mama alright?" Souta asked, dropping the broom and racing over. Shippou dropped his sponge and followed suit, both boys clung to her body until she kneeled down and hugged them both.

"Yes, Mother's going to be fine. You don't have to worry." Kagome took comfort in the warm bodies of her brothers. Souta, her eleven year old brother who was the picture of their father except that he had their mother's dark eyes. He was a talented fighter, even at such a young age, but was not very skilled in the mystical arts. He acted helpless sometimes, and was very easily frightened, but he had a strong heart and would do anything to protect the ones he loved. Then there was Shippou, who was not her brother by blood, but rather her brother by accident. Shippou was a fox demon, a harmless little humanoid creature who had been orphaned as an infant by a pair of evil demons and brought home by Sayaka eight years ago. But still, he was as dear as blood. His hair was puffy and reddish-brown, as was his tail, and bright demonic eyes. He was a small boy, but he had mastered limited demonic powers. Like Souta, courage was not his strongest suit, but loyalty was his best by far. Since her father's death, and her mother being consumed by the obsession for revenge, Kagome had been raising the boys. It would be very hard to say good bye, even for only a little while.

"What's wrong Kagome?" Shippou asked from his place hugging her left side.

"You look sad," Souta added from his place on her right. Kagome sighed, standing up and walking towards the living room. She carried Shippou in her arms and held Souta's hand as they all sat on the couch. Shippou curled into a ball on her lap, needing physical comfort to sooth his fear. Souta snuggled in next to Kagome, leaning his head on her shoulders when she wrapped and arm around him.

"I need to talk to you two about something very important," she began, thinking of the right words. "You know, my birthday is next month, right?" They both nodded, looking at her with dark and bright eyes. "Well, when I turn eighteen next month, I'm going to be like Mama is now. I'll be the High Miko." They nodded again. Both knew and understood this fact about their family. "Because Mother is hurt, she won't be able to continue on as the High Miko for a few weeks, by then I'll be taking her place anyway. You see, I'm going to begin my duty as the High Miko now instead of next month. Do you understand?"

"You're going to take Mama's place?" Souta asked for confirmation. Kagome nodded.

"Then that means you'll be out fighting demons all the time," Shippou whined. "Then we'll be alone all the time!"

"No you won't, Mother will be here," Kagome explained. "You won't be alone. But you see, because I'm taking Mother's place, she asked me to complete a task in her place. Now that she has retired, she will no longer have the power to do it herself. I told her that I would do this task for her. But to do this task, I have to leave home for a little while." Both boys shot up and stared at her.

"You're leaving?" Souta cried, looking hurt and outraged.

"Where are you going?" Shippou cried, hugging her arm.

"Can't we come with you?" Souta pleaded, hugging her again. Kagome's heart ached, but it would be dangerous if they were with her. It was best they not leave home. It was best they stay with their mother.

"No, you can't come. You have to stay here with Mother, she needs you more than I do. I'll only be at Grandma Kaede's dojo in the city, it's not that far. And I'll only be away for a few months at the most." She heard their muffled cries for her to stay. Kagome sighed, wrapping her arms around them and pulling both boys on to her lap. "You'll have to come to Grandma's for my birthday next month, so it won't be that long." She rested her head on top of theirs, closing her eyes. "I'll call you every night, as long as you want." She cuddled them to her as a mother would, wanting to comfort them and take away their pain. Souta didn't remember their father, or how their mother had once been. Shippou didn't remember his real parents either. Sayaka was often absent and distant from them, but she loved all three of them deeply, they all knew that. But still, for most of their lives, all they had was each other.

"Please don't go away Kagome," Shippou cried.

"We need you here," Souta added. Kagome pulled them closer, feeling their warmth and extending comfort in return.

"I'm so sorry guys," she whispered. "I have to do this for Mama, and I have to do this for me. I'll come home as soon as I can."

"But what if you don't come home!" Souta yelled, jumping out of her embrace. He had his back to her, shoulders shaking and head down. His small fists were clenched, trying to force himself not to cry. Kagome eased Shippou on to the couch next to her and moved closer to Souta. "Mama leaves all the time and we never know if she'll come home or not! That's going to be the same for you when you become the High Miko! What if you go to the city and don't come back?" Kagome opened her mouth to reassure him but her voice died at his final statement. "What if you don't come back like Papa?"

There was suddenly a huge gap between Kagome and her brothers. They didn't know about the Inu family, about their father's murder, about their mother's quest for vengeance. Sayaka had forbidden Kagome from telling them about it, not that she would have anyway. Kagome wanted to let them be little boys for as long as they could in this world full of dangers and demons, especially when they carrying the name Higurashi. They didn't know that Kagome was leaving them to go murder three innocents, all in some vain attempt to heal her mother's soul and put her father's ghost to rest. She didn't want them to know her shame in what she was going to do. Kagome didn't want to see their pain.

Tears burned in her eyes, screaming to be shed, but she wouldn't let them. Blinking furiously and looking to the ceiling, she held them at bay. Somewhere in her mind she knew that the day that dam that held them back was broken, she would never stop crying. But for now, she would not do that to her brothers. She would spare them her weakness.

"Souta," Kagome whispered, reaching out a shaking hand to his shoulder. He tried to shrug her off, but her grip tightened and she turned him around in front of her. She gripped his other shoulder as well, having him stand nose to nose with her, forcing him to meet her gaze. Souta could never quite hold his anger when he met his sister's eyes. Such strange eyes she had, eyes unlike anyone else he'd ever seen. Her right eye was deep brown, the same brown as his own, but her left eye was a brilliant leafy green. Two-toned eyes.

"Please don't go," he whispered, tears overflowing from his own eyes. Kagome's face was expressionless as her eyes seemed to pierce to the very soul of anyone who looked into them.

"Have I ever broken a promise to you before?" she asked him. He shook his head, still unable to tear his gaze away from her strange and beautiful eyes. "I promise you Souta, I will come back." Her voice was strong and sure, but it was whispered in the soothing tone she used to dry a child's tears. She had never lied to her brothers, and never would. Souta leaned forward, clasping his arms around her neck and crying on to her shoulder. Kagome brought her arms around him, rubbing his back and whispering words of comfort and love. She looked to her right, opening an arm to Shippou, who promptly jumped in to join the embrace.

Kagome held her brothers for what seemed like hours, until they had cried themselves sleepy. She carried Shippou and let Souta lean on her as she took them upstairs to bed. They shared a room, twin beds parallel to one another. She tucked them both in with a kiss on the forehead, closing the door as she left. It was something a mother would do. Something a mother should do. Kagome stopped to look at her mother's door. When it came to parenting, Souta and Shippou had gotten the short end of the stick. But Kagome remembered her devoted mother, from before the Inu family had stolen her father's life and her mother's soul, all on the night of her eighth birthday.

She walked into her own room, flicking on the light. Florescent light filled the small, mostly unadorned room. There was a bed, a dresser and closet for her clothing, and a desk in the corner for her school work. She'd have to remind her mother to call her school and tell them that she would be gone a few months. No one would miss her. She was a phantom in that school anyway, who would miss her?

Kagome opened her closet and grabbed the duffel bag from the hook on the back of the door. She walked over to her dresser and emptied the first drawer, then the second, and then the third into the bag. The bag was still less than half full. What she had just packed was her undergarments, her pajamas, socks, and the clothes she wore when practicing martial arts. Next would be her normal clothes in the closet. Her bag was filled about a third of the way, and she thought about using another, but was unsure if it would fit on the back of her motorcycle.

Kagome didn't own a large wardrobe. She wore was she felt comfortable in and to hell with what any one else thought. It just so happened that the majority of what she felt comfortable in was of denim and leather. She folded and stuffed her three favorite pairs of jeans in the bag, along with three short sheelved tee-shirts and three long sleeved shirts. Those were followed by the only skirt she owned, and the only dress she'd ever wear. Her black mesh duster went in as well, she'd be wearing the leather one on the ride down. The bag was just about full, with only enough room left for her boots. Sneakers were more comfortable on a long drive.

"Clothing packed," she said aloud. "Time to get the other stuff." She grabbed her shoddy backpack from off the desk. It had seen better days. It had a bunch of patched up tears and holes, and duct tape was all that held one of the slings on. The only reasons she kept it was because it was lucky. Into the luck bag went her cd player, her case of music, a few books, her hair brush and a few ties, her toothbrush, her cosmetics bag, her wallet, and finally, her favorite stuffed animal. Her father had given it to her when she was a baby. It was a small white dog with pointed ears that she called 'Kitty' because it had taken her until the age of four to discover that it was a dog. Buy then it was too late to change his name without traumatizing the poor dear, so Kitty was his name.

"I guess I'm all set," she said to herself with a sigh. The duffel bag and backpack were placed at the foot of her bed. The outfit she had chosen for tomorrow's trip was laid out on her desk. With a look at the clock, she saw that it was already past midnight. When had it gotten so late? With a few muttered curses about lack of sleep, Kagome set her alarm for six in the morning. She wanted to get an early start tomorrow. She then curled herself up into a ball beneath her covers and slipped into a black sleep.

It seemed that she had only just closed her eyes when the voice of a very irritating DJ began blaring from the clock next to her. Vowing eternal pain and torment for all annoying morning DJ's, Kagome clicked off the voice and threw off her covers. She walked into the bathroom and showered first, then went back to her room to change into her clothes. It took her a full twenty minutes before she remembered that she didn't have school today, she had to drive to the city to see her grandmother.

Kagome, now dressed in a pair of faded black jeans that were perfectly broken in and a white tee-shirt that had the name of one of her favorite bands emblazoned upon it, made her way to the kitchen to start breakfast. She was still barefoot of course, because she never cooked breakfast with shoes on. Once the eggs and toast and bacon were set on the table, Kagome trudged back upstairs to wake up the boys. It was now a little passed seven and they had school.

"Souta, Shippou, breakfast is ready," she said, knocking on their door. It only took the mention of food to launch the pair from their beds and send them bounding down the stairs like a pair of rabid giraffes. She rolled her eyes, then went to check on her mother.

Sayaka was still sound asleep, the night had restored a bit of color to her face. Kagome was heartened by it. She went back to her room, grabbing her bags, shoes, and duster, before heading back downstairs. She tossed it all on the couch en route back to the kitchen. Souta and Shippou were once again racing to see who could eat faster. Kagome rolled her eyes and waited for the winner to start choking. Today it was Shippou. She patted him on the back and he gagged on some bacon, but beamed victory. Kagome felt a pang of how much she'd miss them. They would probably choke without her. No, Sayaka was not a cook and the boys never raced with cereal. They'd be ok.

She ate her own breakfast at the table, shooting them both looks to make sure they did nothing funny. It was like a normal morning, just the three of them. The only thing different about this morning was that when the boys got home today, Kagome wouldn't be waiting.

"When are you leaving?" Shippou asked, taking his plate to the sink.

"After I see you two on the bus," she replied. They nodded solemnly. Kagome made sure that Souta washed the dishes, and Shippou dried them. She put them away. Just like every morning. They talked among themselves, and laughed when Souta became covered in suds. But then she shooed them off to dress and get ready for the bus that would be there in a few minutes to take them to school.

The bus came and honked at their front door, signaling it was time to go. Souta and Shippou walked downstairs as if it were a funeral march. Kagome waved at the bus so the driver knew they were coming. Then she walked the two boys out the door. At the curb of the driveway, they embraced their sister. "I'll call you tonight, promise," she told them as they got on the bus. They both looked depressed. Kagome watched the bus drive off and she waved. Then she went back inside.

She made a small breakfast and put in on a tray with a glass of orange juice that was laced with her herbal concoctions once again. The juice would hide the flavor. Kagome took the food up to her mother's room and set it down. "Mother," she said , shaking her shoulder. Sayaka blinked and looked up at Kagome.

"Good Morning dear," she said with a yawn.

"'Morning," she replied, placing the tray on Sayaka's lap and helping her sit up. "I made you some breakfast. I want you to stay in bed for the rest of the day," Kagome went on. "The bandages should be changed before you go to sleep tonight, just ask Souta to do it. Then change it every day for one week, after that you should be able to leave it off. Don't try to get up for at least three days Mother, or your stitches will bleed." Sayaka nodded, impressed by her daughter's motherly manor. "Souta and Shippou will be home at about three, so expect them. I'll call tonight, once I get to Grandma's dojo. There is enough food in the house to last the week. By then. you'll be able to go to the store again. The boys knew where everything is, but don't expect much more then pasta and hotdogs, it's basically all they cook." Sayaka smiled and nodded again. Kagome thought for a moment. "I think that's it."

"Kagome, go into that top drawer of my table over there," Sayaka pointed to a small nightstand across the room. Kagome did as she was told, opening the drawer. "Do you see the yellow envelop in there?" Kagome took the envelope and handed it to her mother. Sayaka opened it and took out a wad of rubber-banded money. She handed it to Kagome. "There is about a thousand in* there, give or take a bit. When you get to the dojo, go out and get anything you need." Kagome wanted to decline the money, but the look in her mother's eye told her not to argue.

"I guess I could get some new clothes," she said with a half-shrug. Sayaka smiled.

"You'll call tonight?" She nodded. "Alright then, be careful Kagome."

"I will Mama," Kagome said, giving her mother and quick hug. Then she brought her a bottle of water from the kitchen. "In case you get thirsty during the day. But you should just rest." Sayaka nodded, then Kagome closed the door and left down the hall.

Kagome went downstairs, wriggled into her shoes, and slung on her duster. She dug in the duster's pocket for her keys and locked the house door as she went to the garage with backpack and duffle bag over her shoulder. Souta and Shippou had a key to get in. It was more to protect her mother then to protect the house. Despite the on-hand cash and the rich name of Higurashi, Kagome's family wasn't very wealthy. They had money, yes, but they preferred not to use it often.

Kagome opened the garage door and walked passed her mother's car to the motorcycle that was on a kickstand next to it. She slung the duffle bag on the back, tying it down with a bungee cord. Then she shrugged the backpack over her shoulder after digging out her cd player head phones. American Hi-Fi blaring in her ears, Kagome wheeled the motorcycle outside. She pulled the helmet over her head, the visor turning her world a yellow color. She had the sunglasses that she wore for all occasions in the pocket of her duster that held the keys. Her eyes made her stand out. The shades helped her blend in. Kagome straddled the motorcycle, inserted her key and was off with a skid of her back tire and the roar of her muffler. Gravel was spit behind her as she took off down the streets of her quiet suburban neighborhood at twenty miles over the speed limit.

"She's on fire like a rocket

Spinning out of control

Try to stop her but you just don't know

How to keep it inside

Can you, keep on turning out

I'll wait for my turn

Same old story coz you never learn

How to make it in time"

Kagome made the jump to the freeway in half the time it would take a person going the normal speed limit in a car. She was a speed demon, that was for sure, and the motorcycle did nothing to encourage her to respect the rules of the road. She wove in and out of traffic, the music pumping in her head made her just grin wickedly and do it some more.

"She don't know, what she does to me

The girl got soul and rhythm in between

I crash and burn like every other time

She's my little rock-n-roll queen

I got a girl like that

My baby's built for speed

Shoot to kill, built to spill

Got a mind? Take your pills

But you're never gonna get to

What thrills, all of us inside

Can you put the pedal to the metal

This time? You gotta want it like I want it

Alright, we gotta start tonight

She's on fire like a rocket

Spinning out of control

Try to stop her but you just don't know

How to keep it inside"

Kagome was on her way to the city, but for some reason she felt like that was the one place she shouldn't be going. It was hard to explain, but a gut feeling was telling her to turn back. She ignored it, convinced that this was the right thing to do, this was the right path to take. She would complete her mother's mission. She would do whatever it took to heal her family, to make it like it was so long ago.

There you go everyone! Behold the intro to my newest glory! I want to tell everyone that American Hi-Fi is my favorite band so I'm trying to incorporate at least one of their songs into every chapter, yay! (As well as songs from a few others too, I'm versatile...just don't expect rap or RMB, sorry! I'm a rocker) I'm a sick, sick fan...*cries* but I love their music. They are the shit! Woot! At least to me, so expect to hear a lot of Hi-Fi praise and usage. Yup, so anyway...I hope you like this story. I'm really excited about it! Oh, please, everyone remember to review! I love reviews more then Ramen, and that's saying a lot. So please remember to click the little button at the bottom of the screen. Until next time!

~~Jesse the Wolf Demon~~