Author's Notes: I know. I shouldn't be starting *yet another* story. But I kinda wanted to try and get a longer story to submit to the livejournal "inuyasha_fanfic" community contest, so this is what my muse came up with.

Now the setting on this is Australia, so I've made a few notes on slang words used here at the beginning so you'll know what they mean when you come to them in the story. The towns and areas I use are places I visited back in 1997 on my trip to Australia, during which, I did get to stay on a cattle farm- so I'm using that bit of my knowledge for this story ^^

As for bit of geography: the hospital Kikyou works for I'm setting in an area called Townsville, which is 135 km (about 80 some miles) from Charters Towers. Now Charters Towers is the larger of the cities near the edge of the outback in that area, and once you drive west, you hit pure outback where there's nothing but cattle farms and untainted land for miles on end.

Okay, as for other things to note about this story: the pairings that will be in this, both here at the start of the story and throughout will be Suikotsu/Kikyou, Bankotsu/Jakotsu, & Hiten/Kaguya (as in the Movie 2 villainess). Now, I don't plan on changing these at anytime, so if for some reason you perhaps prefer another pairing this is your chance to turn back and find something you'd rather read.

Also, in the series itself, only two of the seven children were given names: The middle-sized girl who first greets Kikyou was named Chiyo, and the young boy who was out helping Suikotsu gather herbs was named Yuuta. Given that I am using all seven, I had to come up with names for all of them, so here they are with a brief description of which child it is:

--Inori (means: Prayer): Eldest girl, dark-brown hair, wore a teal kimono and is seen assisting Suikotsu when he attends to the man's leg.

--Ichiru (means: Hope): Youngest girl, dark brown hair, wore a pink kimono and is seen climbing into Suikotsu's lap in 107 when Kikyou first approaches.

--Tadashi (means: Honesty): Medium sized boy with dark-brown hair and his eyes are just dots

--Kiyoshi (means: Peaceful): smallest boy with dark brown hair. Has a bit of a bowl-type cut hairstyle with a small ponytail on top.

--Makoto (means: Faith): The baby boy that Chiyo carries on her back during the episodes.

Okay, one last thing—here's the Australian slang used in this chapter:

"Sheila"- A way to address a woman

"Conch"- a conscientious person. Somebody who would rather work or study than go out and enjoy themselves.

"Bastard"- In Australia, this is sometimes used endearingly.

"Mustering"- Rounding up cattle

The first part before the Chapter title is written from Kikyou's POV in regards to the situation.

If you made it this far: yay for you! You survived my longest Author's Note ever.

Enjoy the story and please review ^^

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It was a normal day, patients coming and going, hospital staff moving about. Just like every other day of my life, it followed in the same routine as it always had. Now some might say this would embitter them, but I take it in stride. It's my duty as a doctor in this city to care for its people, and so that is what I do.

My life has not been all that easy; having lost my parents at a young age only drove me into the field of medicine, wanting to prevent any other loss of life. Kaede, my Grandmother, has always been a wonderful caretaker even in her older years. I was not alien to the concept of romance either… but that is an issue I'd rather forget, being as it ended in a large mess. I realize now though, that a relationship is built on trust for one another and without that, it crumbles like the dry earth after weeks without rainfall.

I know people entrust me with a lot; my patients trusting me with their life, my fellow co-workers and staff entrusting that I'll handle the severe situations; everyone was always trusting me with so much, but I…I had no one to trust, or should I say, no one I felt like I could truly trust. I suppose that is the folly of my attentiveness to human nature; it keeps me at a distance from those that might have been my friends or perhaps, someone I could love. It's silly to think how much my world was changed when I was rushed via helicopter out to the remote regions for an emergency call.

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The Doctor is Out

~Chapter 1: The Things I Do For My Job~

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"Kikyou! Miss Kikyou!" The voice echoed down the hallway as the young reddish-brown haired girl yelled out.

Turning slowly, the black-haired woman looked back at the girl, "Yes, Momiji? What is it?"

Pausing to catch her breath, the young nurse began to sort through the papers in her hands as she spoke, "Call from the outback station outside of Charters Towers. Apparently one of the cattle ranchers got caught in a stampede."

"Is a helicopter ready?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"My supplies?"

"Well, that's the thing Miss Kikyou…"

"What?" She said; her entire demeanor calm despite the situation.

"The call was from the house of the registered doctor out there."

Kikyou frowned a bit, recalling what little she knew of the man. "The Outback doctor, eh? I remember hearing about him before. Just a young man right out of med-school deciding to set up a clinic in his home between Charters Towers and the cattle ranches of the outback area. But why…why would he be calling here for emergency help?"

"Momiji."

"Yes?"

"Who was it that called?"

Looking down at the notes, the girl replied, "A little girl called saying that they needed help or someone might die. It seems to be a dire situation, Miss Kikyou."

"I'll take my supplies as a back up, call in Botan and Tsubaki; I need to speak with them as well."

"Yes Ma'am!" She replied, running back down the hallways.

Kikyou stood in thought, "A little girl? A child of one of the ranchers maybe? But why was she the one that made the call? Is the situation so serious that the doctor couldn't leave the patient for a moment?"

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Having gathered the other nurse and doctor, Kikyou frowned on seeing the smug face of Tsubaki smirking back at her.

"First of all, this might take some time depending on the situation. Tsubaki- no weird experiments, no changing any of my prescriptions for the patients, and no making any big decisions about any patient without contacting me first. Botan, Momiji- you are to make sure she follows these instructions."

The woman shrugged, "Now Kikyou, why would you think that I would do something of that sort?"

Leveling a glare, Kikyou replied, "Because ever since we graduated med-school together you keep getting those strange ideas about finding a way to maintain permanent beauty through age. This is not a hospital for cosmetic surgery, please keep that in mind."

Rubbing at the cross-hatched mark about her right eye, Tsubaki retorted, "Well it's not like I wanted you to cause me to fall into that chicken wire and scar my beautiful face like this."

"Tsubaki. This isn't the time for your petty arguments. I need to be going"

Turning sharply, she picked up her two bags and headed out back to the helicopter that waited for her.

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Walking up to the waiting helicopter, she sighed on seeing the pilot of it.

"Heya Sheila," The brown haired man said with a wave.

Kikyou rolled her eyes, "That rudimentary slang word really isn't needed."

"But Kiya, it's just because…."

"The name is Kikyou, Musou. Please try to at least get it correct if you're going to attempt to stalk me." She said, lifting her two bags in and securing them down.

He rubbed his head, "Sorry 'bout that Shelia, I just forgot again."

"That's because you have short-term memory damage."

"I do?" He asked.

"The crash you had two years ago? Don't you remember that even?"

"Oh that…yeah- now I remember. Anyway, so where are we going?"

Kikyou sighed, knowing that someone had probably already told Musou, but due to his memory issues he'd already forgotten.

"The remote clinic between Charters Towers and the ranches." She replied sharply, hoping her pilot wouldn't get her lost when a patient out there was in trouble. "I have coordinates if you need them."

"All right, no worries then."

Having finished loading her things, Kikyou climbed into the helicopter and buckled herself in, knowing all to well how Musou tended to pilot.

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After somehow keeping Musou headed in the correct direction, despite his somewhat irritating insistence that the location was South near Sydney, Kikyou spotted the lone house out in the bush country.

"Okay, just land over that way." She instructed, hoping and praying that he absent minded pilot could remember how to land.

As the helicopter descended to the ground, Kikyou spotted a few young children and a man with long black hair step out of the house and head towards their landing place.

One of the young girls spoke up first, as Kikyou gathered up her things, "Oooh, it's a pretty lady doctor!"

Smiling back as she stepped down to the dusty ground, she replied, "Why thank you," Looking up to the young man, she spoke up, "So what seems to be the problem here?"

"Well Missy, that conch of a doctor is out cold. Fainted in the middle of helping my bastard of a brother out," He said, his long black braid swishing behind him.

"So…he isn't the doctor?" She paused, "Well then, I'd best see what I can do."

"The doctor fainted? That's awfully strange…"

Feeling a tug at her sleeve she looked down to the young girl, "Mr. Suikotsu sometimes gets sick feeling when he sees too much blood. It makes him feel awful because he tries to be a good doctor."

"A doctor that's afraid of blood? That's very strange indeed."

Walking into the house, Kikyou noted a few more children gathered about a brown-haired man that was laid out on the floor. On the nearby bed laid the injured farmer and a young black-haired girl sat at his bedside.

"How long has the doctor been out for?" She questioned.

The man spoke up, "Since we called you. He hit his head when he fell."

Sighing Kikyou looked over to the other 'patient' "And this is your brother?" She blinked, not seeing anything but a black braid as family resemblance.

"Yeah, Manten got caught when we were mustering up the cattle. The doctor was resetting his leg bone when he fainted."

Surveying the situation, Kikyou quickly sorted out a plan of action. "Okay, so he's still under a sleeping medication, I should finish this up before he awakens. As for the doctor, the head wound- did it bleed or leave a large knot?" She asked, walking over to Manten and lifting up the waylaid tools Suikotsu had left on the table.

"He just hit the back of it on the end table.  Just a small amount of blood and a small knot," One of the older girls spoke up, "We gave him a compress, bandaged it and elevated his head to keep him from getting anymore lightheaded. His pulse has remained normal."

"I see you know what you are talking about," Kikyou replied, beginning to work on sliding the bones of Manten's knee back into place.

"Yes Miss. I've been helping Mr. Suikotsu since I was seven," The dark-brown haired girl replied.

"So these children…all stay with the doctor?"

"I can help you if you need anything, Miss." The young brown-haired girl that had greeted her earlier spoke up.

"I suppose you have been helping Mr. Suikotsu as well then?"

"I try," She said with a smile, "Um…can I ask a question?"

"Yes?"

"What's your name?"

"Kikyou," She said simply.

"Oooh, that's pretty. My name's Chiyo."

"A pretty name as well," Kikyou replied, "Might I ask who it was that called in to our hospital?"

"That was me," The black-haired girl from the bedside spoke up, "Brother Hiten told me to call for help since Manten was still hurt and the doctor got hurt."

"So you're their sister?"

"Yup, Hiten and Manten are my older brothers," She replied proudly.

"And the rest of the children?"

"We all stay here with Mr. Suikotsu," Chiyo answered.

A young boy with black hair came over and stood beside her, "Yeah, Mr. Suikotsu takes care of all of us."

Nodding in acknowledgement, the female doctor returned to the patient's leg.

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Several minutes later, having successfully reset Manten's leg, Kikyou was beginning the task of stitching up the man's other severe cuts, some of which, she assumed were the cause of the blood that had taken out the doctor.

That's when the sound of a baby crying reached Kikyou's ears.

"Oh no, Makoto…" Chiyo said, rushing from the room.

"Tadashi, Yuuta- go with her," The elder girl said from where she knelt beside Suikotsu.

"There's a baby…."

Before Kikyou could finish her sentence, the brown-haired doctor began to stir.

"Makoto, he must be hungry…" He muttered, starting to move slightly.

"Mr. Suikotsu! Don't try to move yet!" The girl reprimanded him.

Quickly glancing to make sure that Manten was properly taken care of, Kikyou turned and went to kneel beside the other doctor.

Lifting his head into her lap, Kikyou gently felt the back of his head to assess the wound there.

"Just a minor injury. Only enough to knock him out for sometime… shouldn't be any severe damage…"

Blinking his eyes open, Suikotsu looked up- his eyes meeting with a set of dark brown ones.

Squinting, he tried to bring the blurry figure into focus, "A woman? But there's no… Am I dead?"

Kikyou couldn't help but laugh a bit at that, "No, Mr. Suikotsu. I'm a female doctor from the city. They called me in on an emergency."

"Ah! Manten!" He said, starting to sit up, but she held him down.

"No worries. I've already fixed his leg and sewn up his wounds. He's just resting now until the medicine wears off."

"Thank goodness…" Running a hand up and pushing his bangs from his eyes, he sighed, "I'm such a terrible doctor. A doctor afraid of blood… it's pathetic."

"It's quite noble that you continue this profession given such a fear," She replied.

Smiling back he was about to say something in return when the children returned.

"Don't worry Makoto; Chiyo will take care of you…" The girl said, carrying the small boy in her arms.

"Is he okay, Chiyo?" He asked.

"Mr. Suikotsu!"

"I'll be all right soon. But is Makoto okay? I heard him crying."

"Putting the children before himself; I never knew a man could be so…" Kikyou's thoughts were cut off when she felt a grip on her hand.

"I am so sorry about this all Miss. If there's anything at all I can do to thank you…"

Unsure why, she squeezed back in reassurance, "I was just doing my job as a doctor."

"I know. It's a thankless job, so I want you to know, I am indeed grateful."

"Mr. Suikotsu…"

Right as he began to sit up, holding onto Kikyou's shoulder for support as she braced him, the front door was kicked open.

"Hey! Suikotsu! I brought the sake!" A young man's voice said.

A giggle came from the taller man beside him, "Looks like our friend is already having some fun."

Suikotsu looked from his two friends to his position with the lady doctor and blushed, "It's…it's not what it looks like!"

Hiten stood and walked over to the two other ranchers, "Sake? Why can't you ever get any good alcohol, Bankotsu?"

The taller man moved protectively in front of the other braided man, "Because he likes it, so back off."

"You just like it because then he gets drunk, right Jakotsu?"

Raising his fist, but being held back he yelled at Hiten, "I don't need him drunk when he's willing!"

"Hey now! There are children present!" Suikotsu spoke up, shakily standing with the assistance of Kikyou.

"Don't know why you need my sake when you can get all the beer you want from the pub in town…" Bankotsu muttered.

"He gets more than beer from her…" Jakotsu added.

"Well pardon me for being popular with the ladies," Hiten shot back.

"Who said I wanted to be popular with that?" Jakotsu said with a laugh.

"I assume these are your…friends?" Kikyou asked, amidst the racket.

Sighing, Suikotsu replied, "Yeah. That's what I call them."

"Neh Suikotsu, you need us to watch the kids so you can have fun with your lady friend tonight?" Jakotsu asked with a smirk.

The brown-haired doctor spluttered, "She's just another doctor from the city that came in to help me out."

The three men exchanged a knowing look.

Shaking his head, Suikotsu muttered, "This just hasn't been my day."

"Mr. Suikotsu!" Chiyo said coming in from the kitchen, "Makoto just spit up his food on the floor again!"

"Trust me, Miss…it's not always…" He paused, "Oh I'm sorry, I never caught your name."

"It's Kikyou." She replied.

"Kikyou…" Suikotsu said thoughtfully, "It's a very lovely name."

"What is it about him…that's different than the rest?" Kikyou thought to herself, and quietly replied, "Thank you, Mr. Suikotsu."

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Preview for Chapter 2:

Kikyou decides until Suikotsu's current patient has healed she'd best stay and assure that no more trouble befalls the brown-haired doctor. What she didn't plan on was her growing curiosity about this doctor and his kindhearted ways.