Disclaimer: They're not mine. Although I think the fluffy thing Sesshoumaru carries around is the boa I lost when I was five.

Suffering does not ennoble, it degrades. —Unknown

Time heals all wounds. She found something bitterly ironic in that statement as she traced the pale scars that ran down her chest. They ran from her left shoulder to almost the curve of her right breast, a grisly reminder of her fallacy. He had sworn to protect her always. 'Always' does not last forever, nor do promises keep. The scars she bore were the all the proof one needed.

Her world was turned upside down with the utterance of a single wish. The wish she knew in her heart he would make and though apprehensive she supported his decision. She had been stupid, Kikyou herself told her as much. How was she to know that Naraku's corruption of the Shikon no Tama would take decades to purify? There was no denying her guilt in the matter

She was after all just a silly little girl, a downgraded 'copy' of the great miko that was Kikyou. In the greatest irony of all history in a way repeated itself. In the end as Kikyou before her it would be she arrow that felled Inuyasha. The image was permanently imprinted on the backs of her eyelids and her waking nightmares. She had but to close her eyes for a moment and she could see those glowing red orbs filled with outrage and betrayal.

Kagome sniffed as she brushed away the tears that threaten to fall from her gray eyes. Even after seventeen years the pain had not lessened nor did it show any signs of fading. She traced the deepest of the fading scars one last time before slipping on her blouse. Kagome smiled slightly at herself in the mirror. The years had been kind to her, yet her eyes told the story of her age. They spoke of sadness, pain and betrayal, but most of all; they spoke of guilt.

Guilt that she survived when the other's died. Shame in knowing that if she had thought with her head instead of her heart all this pain, this suffering could have been avoided. Feathery lashes brushed her cheek as she closed her eyes. In the weeks following her friends' demise she contemplated following them in death. She had finally understood why Kikyou had been so determined to drag Inuyasha to hell. When you loved someone, truly and emphatically loved someone, life without them is unbearable.

She could not take her own life, not after she found out she was-

"Kagome-chan?" her mother called from outside the door, pulling her from her thoughts.

Kagome did not answer but instead looked at herself in the mirror once more. She schooled her face into the practiced lines of happiness. Her smile was almost manic her eyes pained.

"Yes Mama?" she answered in fake cheerfulness.

There was silence on the other side. Kagome often wondered if her mother knew the truth behind her carefree demeanor. It did not truly matter if she did; her mother respected her enough not to pry. Yet there was no denying the worry, no pity she glimpsed when her mother looked at her.

It was the guilt that she often saw in her mother's eyes that cut Kagome to the quick. Her mother blamed herself for what happened just as much as she did. Her mother thought perhaps if she had forbidden Kagome from returning to the Sengoku Jidai, none of this would have happened.

Kagome too entertained similar notions. If she would have never gone to the Sengoku Jidai, Miroku, Sango, Shippou and… Inuyasha would all still be alive. Guilt and pain formed a viscous cutting circle amongst the Higurashi household. Kagome's façade crumpled momentarily as she reached for the door with trembling hands.

"Mama, I'm sorry," she whispered knowing full well that her mother could not hear her.

"Kagome?" Her mother called once again, this time with a hint of urgency.

Taking a deep breath Kagome opened her bedroom door. It was time she quit brooding in her bedroom, if anything she was expected to be at work within the hour.

"What is it Mama?" Kagome asked flashing her mother a small reassuring smile.

Her gave her a worried glance as she wrung her hands fretfully. "Mitsukai, is missing." Kagome gasped as she pushed her way past her mother. "I've already checked the entire shrine," her mother called from behind her.

Kagome ran outside to the shrine's tiny courtyard. "Misty-chan! Mitsukai!" she yelled knowing that if her daughter was in the area her sensitive ears could easily pick up her voice.

She yelled several more times; her daughter normally attentive and obedient did not come when called. "She's not here, Kagome. I've already looked," her mother reminded as she placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder.

Kagome's breath came is shallow pants, 'Misty-chan where could you be?' She did not hear the rest of what her mother said as she sprinted from the courtyard down the dimly lit streets. Mitsukai could take care of herself and that frightened her most of all.

Mitsukai was the brightness in her life, the only beautiful thing that sprung from tragedy. She was conceived in the midst of her pain, a gift given to her by an unlikely source. He had comforted her; the only way he knew how, for compassion was opposed to his nature; at least that is what he claimed.

She would never know his reasons just as he would never know the consequences of the night they took comfort in each other. Afterwards they had acted as if nothing had happened between them. He took her to the well and wished her the best. 'Put this behind you, Kagome,' he had said.

Although she knew she could not do as he asked, she nodded and smiled bitterly before leaping into the depths of Bone Eater's well. The well collapsed in on itself after she arrived in her rightful time effectively sealing her from the memory of her pain forever. At the time she was grateful. A month later she discovered she was carrying his child.

Her pregnancy had been difficult, partially due to her miko powers attempt to purify her unborn child. In the end, the youkai blood Mitsukai inherited from her father proved stronger. Kagome could not help but think he would be more than a little proud. The infant was born with her father's silver-white hair and her own gray eyes. Eyes that would eventually change to match her father's molten gold.

Kagome continued to run for blocks that seemed like miles. She called for her daughter once more as tears sprang in her eyes. Panic and dread began to settle within the pit of her belly. She hugged herself as she dropped to her knees weeping. What if she could not find her? Or what if she was hurt? Mitsukai could only pass for human if viewed from a distance. What if….? She did not allow herself to finish the thought but instead rose to her feet intent on finding her daughter. She would find her daughter.

No sooner than she made her promise, Kagome saw a familiar form standing across the street. The girl's head was bowed, pale bangs covering her eyes so that it was impossible to tell her expression. Kagome noted that her daughter's blouse was ripped and her perfect mane was mussed. Kagome bolted across the street to her daughter's side fearing the worst.

Mitsukai made no reaction other than clenching her clawed hands at her sides. Kagome ran her hands over her daughter's head then began raking her fingers through her silken hair. She stood on tiptoe and placed a light kiss on her daughter's crescent moon marked forehead.

Kagome was relieved to note that her daughter was seemingly unharmed though her disheveled appearance and lack of response was still reason for concern. They would talk at home, Kagome decided as she pulled her daughter by one hand. Mitsukai did not budge and it was not within Kagome's power to make her.

"Mitsukai we have to go. Someone might see you," Kagome said sternly as she pulled at her daughter's elbow.

"That would be a terrible tragedy, I'm sure," Mitsukai whispered coldly as she wrenched her arm from her mother's grasp.

Kagome flinched, even though Mitsukai had never met her father she still managed to use his inflections. She also had his arrogance as well as his pride. There were times in which she thought that perhaps Mitsukai was her own father's reincarnation.

"Sweetheart, what's wrong?" Kagome asked as her finger traced one of the dark magenta stripes on her daughter's cheek.

Mitsukai swallowed hard before bringing her hands to view. Kagome took them in hers finding them strangely tacky, as if they were coated with a drying substance. Some of the stickiness evaporated at her touch, leading Kagome to believe it was the poison her daughter was capable of producing * There were also dark reddish brown stains on her hands. Kagome instantly recognized those stains for they where.

"Whose blood is this, Mitsukai," Kagome asked in a forced whisper.

Mitsukai looked stricken for a moment before she wrenched her hands from her mother's grasped. She folded her arms over her chest and turned placing her back to her mother. Kagome opened her mouth to demand an answer when Mitsukai began speaking, her voice impassive.

"I left home this morning. I know I'm not supposed to but there wasn't anyone around so I thought it would be-."

"We've been over this at least a dozen times Mitsukai," Kagome interrupted intent on giving her daughter a stern lecture. It was imperative to Mitsukai's safety that she remained hidden at the shrine. There were no youkai in this time, with the exception of her daughter.

Humans would harm her, because they did not understand and others would exploit her power. Locking her away was for her own good. Kagome stopped herself, when she heard her daughter's strangled sob.

"Did someone hurt you?" Kagome asked her voice tightening as tears sprung into her eyes. Kagome walked around to face her daughter.

Mitsukai's lips trembled as tears ran down her porcelain cheeks. "I killed him," she gasped between sobs. The teen trembled as she babbled incoherently. Kagome could make out precious few of the girl's words due to her hysteria.

Only that she had gotten lost, a man had grabbed her and tried to do 'things' to her. She caught her daughter's face in both her hands and wiped away her tears with her thumbs. She then murmured soft words of comfort to the girl as she stroked her hair. As Kagome held her child she found her own tears mingling with her daughters.

After all she had done to keep her daughter safe it had not been enough. Someone had hurt her, and Mitsukai had followed her instincts and retaliated with deadly force. Somehow mother and daughter found themselves kneeling on the ground clinging to one another in a desperate embrace.

"I'm sorry I made you cry," Mitsukai said finally as she dried the rest of her tears.

Kagome tightened her arms around her daughter. "You have nothing to by sorry for my precious little angel."

"But I," Mitsukai began as she pulled away from her mother's embrace. 'What I am?' she thought to herself. 'Why did I feel the way I did when killed that man? He was terrified and it excited me.'

Kagome hushed the girl by placing a single finger on her lips. "You defended yourself, there is no shame in that." Kagome frowned inwardly that was not something she would have uttered two decades prior. Although she liked to think of herself as having grownup, in reality she merely became jaded.

Mitsukai nodded, although her consciences would not allow her to be completely satisfied. "There is something wrong with me isn't there," she said mournfully.

"No, Misty no," Kagome protested. "You're just differ-"

"I never understood why I had to stay hidden at the shrine…but now… Now I do. It's because I am a monster," Mitsukai interrupted with a pain filled shriek.

That was the truth was it not? There could be no other explanation. Her mother gasped and shook her head 'no' but she pressed on, determined to make her point.

"That man I killed," she nearly screamed her breath coming in short pants.

"Mitsukai, keep your voice down," Kagome implored with a hiss. Her daughter would heed her not.

"I killed him and I enjoyed it," her scream sounding more like a grief filled moan. Mitsukai lips moved and she made a small choking sound before vomiting on the pavement. She collapsed on her side, curling herself into a ball of grief and pain. She was dimly aware of her mother stroking her hair while murmuring 'I'm sorry'. The words became a litany as blackness took her.

"I'm so sorry Misty-chan," Kagome murmured as she held her daughter's head in her lap

*Kagome as a miko has the ability to purify poisons. She's done so in the manga as well as in the first movie.

A/N.

Hmm. Where did this come from? Honestly I have no idea. I'm actually not sure I really like this story. I've proofread this piece but did not send it to my beta for the simple reason that I did not want to waste her time with something I may scrap. Hopefully I did a good enough job that you've all figured out who little Mitsukai's father is. If you didn't it will be made clear in the next chapter. Like I stated before I'm not sure I like this story so updates are likely to be slow, but you never know I may get inspired.