Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho or Inuyasha.
Author's Notes: Err... hehe.... It wasn't that long, right?


Chapter 4

The Toushin was struggling against the orb's power futilely. It was slowly drawing him and the others in, going through his memories, sending them about. Those were his memories, damn it! He could feel the others caught by interesting memories, allowing themselves to sink into them and their own memories be shown around as they avidly watched someone else's memories. Eventually only he and Kagome were left fighting. He could feel her mind struggling.

A few memories were torn from her, and he found himself starting to let go as multiple flashes of a dog-eared boy went through his brain, tantalizing his curiosity. As another one appeared he let go, practically jumping into it.

--- A boy who looked to be the rough age of fifteen or sixteen sat up in a tree. The boy was staring up at the full moon, the silver color of the long strands of his hair matching the moonlight perfectly. Golden eyes were watching him. No, that wasn't right. They were watching something beside him. ---

Yusuke frowned as he watched the memory through the eyes of another. Now he could see Kagome's sleeping face, so it wasn't her memory. It had to be the kitsune's, but it felt like the person he inhabited was so... small.

--- "Inuyasha?" A sleepy Kagome asked softly. The dog-boy started, surprised she was awake, and then shook his head.

"Nothing Kagome. I just couldn't sleep." Kagome smiled sleepily and Inuyasha smiled in return, his ears tilting forward. It was a rare smile, true and full of affection. The kitsune had rarely ever seen such a smile. Kagome was soon sleeping again and before Shippo drifted off to sleep he saw the dog-eared boy guarding the camp while watching Kagome sleep. ---

Yusuke felt the memory slipping away and searched carefully among the streams of memories for another with the dog-eared demon. It was obviously a demon; no one else had coloring like that, or ears like that. He frowned as one memory drifted by. It was dark and foreboding and even he felt a small shiver. The majin could already tell this was Kagome's by the pink miko glow surrounding it.

Even as he reached for it inwardly, his senses still on the outside were screeching, trying to alert him to the danger. The fourth butterfly was screeching again as it screamed at the unconscious Kagome. "My children! How dare you!"

--- "My puppets! You have proven to be much more difficult opponents than I thought possible. But the only one who can hurt me is in my grasp! It is time for all of you to die!" A man in a baboon suit stood over her as she opened her blue-gray eyes. Laughter seemed to be coming from his mouth. She could hear Inuyasha's desperate cries, but they seemed faded and faraway.

Her senses were struggling to take in the sounds around her and the sight above her but upon seeing her captors red eyes her mind snapped into focus and one slim glowing hand wrapped around his left wrist. She slowly processed what he had said to the others and her anger grew.

"You have hurt my friends. Two of them are lying dead or dying and you stand here taunting and laughing at us. You have caused too much pain and destruction. It is your time to die Naraku!" ---

Yusuke wrenched himself from the orbs grasp as the memory ended, head jerking up to stare at the butterfly demon staring at a confused and only half awake Kagome. She was still caught in a memory. The butterfly reared back, flapping its multicolored wings.

"We needed them for protection! You killed them! The Shikon no Tama is back you fools! I will kill you all for your interference! Starting with the miko who started it all!" Despite the strange things the demon was saying, Yusuke understood the word "kill" and immediately he brought himself up to a standing position, wavering only slightly as it began to launch itself at a helpless Kagome. He gathered his energy and did what he usually did in this situation.

"Spirit Gun!" The burst of energy served its purpose as well as bringing the others wake suddenly. They woke up just in time to see the butterfly's wings fade into gray and it drop dead beside Kagome.

"Unglak?" Shippo asked in astonishment. He cleared his throat, about to try for a more coherent sentence when Kagome spoke up.

"That was his spirit gun. It's one of the weapons he uses with his spirit energy." She smiled a bit, trying not to smirk when Yusuke looked at her through narrowed eyes.

"How many memories did you get?" He asked demandingly.

"Only three," She answered sweetly, grinning at his grimace.

Yusuke looked towards Shippo and decided it was sharing time. "I got one of yours... I think... and one of hers. You?"

"I received one of Kurama's and one of Kuwabara's. When he was fighting for Yukina." A touch of a smirk lit Shippo's face as he looked at the human from the corner of one forest green eye.

"I saw one of the kitsune's and a memory from when Yusuke was fighting a demon wolf pack before he could come back from Makai," Kuwabara said.

"I received one from Kagome and the same memory from Yusuke as Kuwabara did." After Kurama stopped speaking all four looked to Kagome who shrugged nonchalantly.

"Two of yours, Yusuke, and one of Kurama's. It seemed to be showing things we had little to no knowledge of." She was a bit anxious to know what they had learned from her memories. Hopefully not what she was dreading.

Yusuke had turned his attention to the now dead demon, remembering something it had said. "What's the Shikon no Tama?"

Kagome felt a flood of relief. They didn't know. She was safe, it was the safe, and the one thing she had been granted from Inuyasha was still safe with her. She may have had some of their secrets, but it was nothing compared to what hers was.

She had seen both of Yusuke's deaths. The first one, where he became a Spirit Detective, and the second one, which she put to the back of her mind as a question to ask about later. She needed to know how and why exactly he had turned into a demon. It was a bit strange to see that when the Shikon Jewel wasn't involved.

She had still partly been in the memory of Kurama turning into his fox demon form when the demon began to say things. She heard some of them, but could not respond, or seem to move at all. She had been helpless. Just like she always had been before. She had cursed herself for not being able to use her powers on it even as Yusuke killed it. She wasn't weak, and she never wanted to be weak again.

What the demon had said had shaken her. It knew who she was. So even as she felt a flood of relief, she also flinched, remembering the horrible words, the blame, and the memories they brought with them. Fortunately, Shippo winced at the same time and Kurama answered the question, apparently thinking they were both responding to the very name. They were, but they had personal memories with the Shikon no Tama.

"I'm not surprised they have heard of it. It was guarded by a miko, and I imagine it would be passed down as a legend among some shrines. Any demon over a hundred years would know the legend some way or another. It was a jewel, to be vague, a very powerful object made from the crystallized soul of the legendary miko Midoriko as she fought a legion of demons out to kill her. It can be used for great evil or theoretically, for great good." Kurama didn't notice the flash in Kagome's eyes, the disbelief and anger as he said that last statement. That jewel could never be used for good.

Shippo hid his anger by gingerly going and picking up the three dropped orbs, glaring at the one of Memory as he wanted to glare at Kurama for uttering such a statement. "It's never been used for such though, has it?"

"No, it hasn't." All of them glanced up to see an unusually subdued Botan floating. When she held out her hands, Shippo handed over the three orbs gingerly, but with no hesitation. His eyes didn't flicker as they met hers, but the slight surprise in her eyes made him turn away. He was not how she thought he was.

Botan vaguely heard Yusuke asked what Reikai knew about the Shikon no Tama, but she was frowning at Shippo. He seemed angry... about a lot of things, including but not specifically that she had been surprised he'd given away the powerful objectives so easily. She sighed to herself. Obviously she had to do some rethinking on him. The few times she'd met him when he had gone between the barriers he had always seemed so carefree and foolish, on a power trip perhaps. They'd always assumed that he had sought out mikos for power.

Now he seemed overly serious about this new topic and as Yusuke snapped out the question again, she turned from regarding the kitsune, reminding herself to talk this over with Koenma later. Some things about the new kitsune in the group needed to be reevaluated.

"Not much more than what was said. We have some records on Midoriko, Kikyou, and the unknown reincarnation, but most records on the last one were lost, as were our ability to follow that soul. We were... sabotaged in a way. We actually still don't know how, but if the Shikon no Tama is back... I'd kill the new Guardian myself to keep the world safe from it. That's how it originally disappeared; it was burnt with Kikyou, the first Guardian's body, and is now deeply connected with that soul. It's just..."

Botan trailed off, unable to explain how Reikai could have failed in such a simple task as keeping tabs on one soul. Five hundred years ago, there had been a few records on the oddity of the reincarnation, and some confusing reports that it wasn't possible yet... and then nothing. The reports and records had disappeared. And no traces of the soul were left anywhere.

"Is there anyway to find it? Many lesser demons will either be scared out of their wits like these, or scrabbling like mad to find it. We don't even know about the Guardian. For all we know, it could be a child," Kurama said quietly. Kagome kept a suitably serious and worried face on and inwardly used every bit of restraint she had to keep her mouth shut, some of Botan's words creeping down her spine to settle a block of ice in her stomach, cold and making her shiver, pushing everything she could inward to stop. She wouldn't simply retract into herself just because a few butterflies sensed her.

Shippo didn't even have to struggle. He had five hundred years of perfecting a gaze every bit as cold and calculating as Sesshoumaru's. He was using it now and could see Botan shifting uneasily. Good. For both judging him and for saying such a thing in front of the Guardian. Kill their own miko would they? If only they knew. But it simply wasn't his story to tell.

"I'll report to Koenma, with these. We'll work on it. Keep on your toes, if it really is back... this may just not be a small disturbance. All of Makai will be in upheaval, perhaps even a worse one than if a war had happened." Everyone except the out-of-the-loop kitsune and miko who had never been in Makai understood the reference.

"I hope I do get to know you before the next mission, Kagome, but it doesn't seem likely. This is an emergency of the worst kind." Then she disappeared, leaving the five standing alone to contemplate her words. Kagome felt guilty, and a bit cornered. Not from the detectives. The whole situation was suffocating her. A few more straws and she would be the proverbial camel breaking.

"So... You have a nice house," Yusuke tried to be casual. She blinked and shook her head; staring at him a moment as if processing what he said and then gave a very unladylike snort.

"No parties." Kagome stated shortly, and did begin to walk off, Shippo letting his bad humor go - for now - and following her, watching in amusement as the other three took places around him and her. "We don't want a party."

"Just a small celebration."

"Wouldn't mind a drink," Yusuke muttered the last and Kuwabara and Kurama turned to glare at him. Kagome smiled slightly and shook her head. "In other words, you want to start sharing stories. Mainly, mine to you. Or you do, fox boy. Don't try being clever. You couldn't care less about a celebration."

"You have me pegged so quickly and clearly?" The questioning tone had a dark edge, telling her that was a bad idea. Kagome curled her upper lip up and glanced at him sideways. "No. But you do. None of you trust me yet, and you want to make sure I'm not a danger. Your eyes give you away. You're analyzing a possible threat, not looking at Kagome Higurashi, an actual person. I've seen that look enough to know what it is... and hate it."

Most of the hating came from the dismissing. He wasn't doing that. He took her seriously. Great. The few people who she was starting to reach out and almost eagerly grab on to couldn't - possibly wouldn't - trust her. Kuwabara seemed simply to be uneasy with her fighting.

Yusuke was harder to read sometimes. He knew she was every bit a possible danger as his friend did, but she hadn't caught him trying to read her, find out her secrets, dig them up, not yet. She had a feeling he wouldn't yet. Not until he caught the first whiff of danger herself Kurama on the other hand... He believed in preemptive strikes it seemed.

Time to pull out every bit of lying experience and observations of Miroku she could. "My past is my own. It's also a very dead past, in the most literal sense. About the only thing left of it is Shippo here."

The best way to tell lies was to mix in the truth. She knew that, but she hoped the kitsune wouldn't pick up on the fact that she knew that. She knew he could probably hear her heartbeat, but keeping her heart calm and smooth under pressure was something anyone could learn. He appeared to at least believe what she'd said, and it was all she was going to give any of them for as long as she could go without having to give more.

If worst came to worse, there must be some place to run. She simply couldn't let them have the jewel. It would never be safe, even locked up. Especially locked up. Away from her and her barrier, it would call out seductively to every passing soul, radiating power that was easily corrupted.

She glanced around and smiled slightly at them as she saw them trooping in her footsteps, obviously meaning to follow her home even though she had already given them what Kurama wanted. She faced the path again; they were close to her home now.

Kagome reviewed what she'd done in the battle and frowned. Something seemed wrong. When she'd been shooting her arrows, there had been something wrong. Not with the battle, with her powers. Like a part of her was keeping itself from her consciously accessing it. She frowned and settled into the thought, only to be jarred from it as a slim, clawed hand landed on her shoulder. A quick jerk of her head told her they were back at her home. "Just one big circle."

"Portals cut down on travel time," Yusuke said in a half grumble, staring at the tree. All three of them were. "That plant's freaky."

"Leave it alone. It won't hurt you. It doesn't know how to harm you." Just like even now it didn't know how to harm her. Almost everyone on the property it didn't know how to harm, only to help. But there were some it would never extend its calming influence over.

"I can't manipulate it. Or hear it." Kurama was annoyed. No plant should be able to resist him. All of their spirits were supposed to answer him and do what he wanted. He was a silver kitsune. It was the bond between him and nature.

"It doesn't like you. Your aura still has too much taint on it, despite that it is clearing up." Kagome didn't know what half of the stuff she thought or said while near the God Tree meant later. But the tree was there, endless and eternal in her eyes. It was always standing, a small scar that had never healed in its bark, branches she remembered sleeping in a couple of times still as welcoming as ever. Its roots were perfect to nestle between and just sit and think. She hadn't been one for deep thinking lately.

"So, oden or ramen?" Yusuke noted the flinch Kagome made when Shippo said ramen before she quickly recovered and flashed a nostalgic smile at the golden kitsune. "Ramen. Unfortunately, they don't seem like oden people."

"I like oden," Yusuke mumbled under his breath, half in complaint at her assumption. What made someone an oden person anyway? Shippo heard it and grinned.

"I think you should change your opinion. Besides, your mother's home now and I can smell the oden now. I couldn't before, but I think she knew you'd need some when you got home." Shippo glanced at Kagome as he spoke. She glanced back. They shrugged and looked towards the detectives.

"So? Coming?" There were three affirmatives and Kagome led them to her house, opening the door to let them in. All three went in, followed by Shippo. Kagome hesitated at the edge of the door, looking back to the God Tree and then to the edge of the shrine. Her skin crawled and she bit her lip, one hand climbing up to grip the jewel as she stared. There was something... it was a faint feeling, but something dark licked at the edge of her senses. A warning.

She gave a bitter smile. Now she was given warnings. She'd never been given warnings to save her friends. But that was unfair. She knew it was. But whatever was out there, she could handle it, her and Shippo. A threat to the Shikon no Tama could be taken care of when she wasn't on one of these new missions. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to do them both.

How hard could being a Spirit Detective be?


Reviewer responses:

Thank you to silverkitsunekagome, Night-Owl123, watergoddesskasey, inuficcrzy, inu.-sess.fan, anime-lavuh, Fire Kitsune Goddess, uspoken, Sora the Taske, Cheeza-13, C4n4di4nG1r1535, Emerald-Eyed-Faye, Lady Akina, Kanna Fan, Sukera, and Dark Inu Fan for reviewing. Do so again!

Foxylilraven: Actually your idea for Rin and Kohaku is something close to already planned, but there's no reason the youkai had to be in one of them, there are generations before Yusuke would have born. You'll see though.

Winged Knight: Close but obviously, no cigar. They got to experience each other's memories... had it gone on longer, they would have seen everyone elses secrets. But, alas, then the plot would be much shorter.

gurlhushere13: Yup, but Botan and Shippo have a few things to sort out. And no, hiei isn't in it... yet. He will be eventually. When he has a personal interest in it.

MysteryLady-Tx: Thank you for you nice review! I have a feeling you'll be one of my favorite reviewers. Though, actually, I don't know what S.O.L means. I'm sure once I figure it out I'll be kicking myself. I think this chapter answered all questions about the orbs.

Iraine: Nope, I haven't given up on it, this chapter just gave me some problems! Thanks for the support and the review. Hopefully it won't take me nearly as long to get up the next chapter.