Well, here it is. Chapter 15...I will not delay...I hope you enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Inuyasha or any of the characters, except for Seika and Sorahiko. The rest belong to Rumiko Takahashi!!!

"My lady? Are you alright?" Sorahiko asked Kagome, his heart pounding.

"No...I...everything hurts..."

Kagome winced at the sound of her own voice, so strained and weak, and the burning sensation in her side.

'The jewel...must have gone back inside of me. That's the only reason it's hurting this badly.'

She had no idea that her injuries had also been the cause of her discomfort. With the focus on the pain the jewel had caused, Kagome had not had time to notice that she had been wounded horribly.

With Sesshomaru in her sight again, the only thing running through her mind was the thought that she would never get to twirl her fingers in his long silver hair... and that he would never get to see Rin or Shippo grow older. He had died right next to her, and she hadn't even gotten to say goodbye.

"My lady, he could not withstand his injuries, and..."

Sorahiko was cut off when he noticed that a large pool of blood had begun to spread underneath the young woman's body. She didn't have long, after all. He had hoped against hope that Kagome would survive. But it seemed that it would not be so.

Kagome shivered involuntarily.

"It's so cold, Sorahiko. Is the wind blowing?"

"No, my lady. The air lies still."

"Then why...am I so cold...?"

Sorahiko could not hold the tears back any longer. The poor girl...after all that she had been through, her life was now over. Was what he had forseen just a dream?

"What's wrong?" Kagome asked weakly. "Why are you crying?"

"You did not deserve this, my lady. I would not wish this on my worst enemy."

"Deserve what...?"

Before he had a chance to reply, Kagome suddenly convulsed, her body coming off of the ground; blood was spurting everywhere from the gaping gashes torn in her chest and stomach.

She didn't know what was happening.

Was this what it felt like to die?

The burning in her side grew until she felt as if she were made of fire.

Only seconds later, a new sensation overcame her. The burning subsided for a moment as a cool peace washed over her like a wave from the ocean. But then the convulsing grew, and she did not know what the sensation had been. It was as if she was somehow more whole...though she was slowly fading. The only explanation...could be...her soul. But...was it truly possible that Kikyo had died?

Before she could take the time to process the thought, her body betrayed her once more by seizing. The thought was lost as a new one took its place.

'Sesshomaru...' her mind echoed, as she felt herself slipping further into nothingness.

Sorahiko was overcome with horror and sadness as he watched, unable to help Kagome while she writhed like a creature possessed by some unseen entity.

"Come back to me, Sesshomaru! I want to be with you...!"

Kagome let out a mournful wail as her mind spun into a dizzying abyss of darkness.

And then...

All was quiet.

Sorahiko sobbed over Kagome's still body, taking her bloodstained hand into his own pale, cool one. It was over. It was actually over. The kind and beautiful Kagome had taken her leave. The girl with so much spirit, and yet so much pain...who had suffered so much at the hands of one she once loved...and who had found a new love to treasure and cherish...was gone. And her children...though they were not hers by blood...would suffer the loss of their mother...and their father.

Sesshomaru had fought so hard to keep Kagome safe, and it had gotten them both killed.

Seika knew something was wrong. The air smelled of blood and death. She decided that she could no longer sit at the castle and wait for Sorahiko to return. He had taken Kagome to go search for Lord Sesshomaru. She had heard some servants gossiping, and that much she knew for sure.

"I will not return until I find them." Seika had told Sesshomaru's servant, Jaken.

"You don't need to bring back that stupid onna...just Lord Sesshomaru and our Sorahiko!"

"Whatever, you stinking toad. I'm not coming back without all of them."

Before the little green pest could reply, Seika had bounded out of the castle and gardens, and was on her way to find the missing trio.

She didn't have to go far to scent the blood on the wind. Death followed. It made her nauseous. From the smell, it was at least four to five hours away, give or take...

Seika knew she wasn't the only one at the castle who could smell it, but the other servants were not permitted to leave the grounds. Whether Sesshomaru was dead or not, they didn't know. For now, they still had to obey his rules.

'I just hope I'm not too late.'

Just the thought of losing all of them...especially Sorahiko...made her heart ache with a pain she had not felt in years.

She loved Sorahiko. Nothing about that had changed. He had broken her heart, but it still yearned for him. Every look he gave her. The sound of his voice. Every flash of teeth or the scent of him as he walked by...it still made her shiver with want as something low inside of her trembled, begging for her to reach out to him. Pleading with her to throw her arms around him and not let him walk out of her sight. But she had not allowed herself to be weak and give in.

Hating herself was becoming easier...

Since that day she had slaughtered the ningens, her blood beast had lay in check, reminding her every now and then that it still hungered for the exacting of revenge on the torture it had to endure while she ached inside. Now, it roared.

'If he is gone, we must kill. You know this.'

'I remember what you did last time. That will not happen again.'

'Then who will pay? Someone must pay for all the pain we have been caused. Someone must die.'

'There will be time for retribution later. This is not it. Now we must search...for him. For our love.'

With that last internal conversation, she told her blood beast to keep quiet. It grudgingly obeyed, and her head was blissfully clear for the time being.

Her feet ached with growing intensity, and she knew she had been running for quite some time. But the drive to find him...to hold him in her arms and tell him that she still loved him after all these years...it would not let her stop. If he was dead when she found him, then all was truly lost. She would willingly lose herself to her blood beast. Life without Sorahiko, though it had been tough through the years, and they had argued constantly whenever they were in each others' presence...would not be worth living.

She would find him. And she prayed to Kami that he would be alive.

"Miroku, look!"

Sango pointed to a clearing in the forest below them.

It had been an entire day since they had begun their journey, searching for Inuyasha.

He was right beneath them, kneeling on the soft grass below.

"Kirara, be very careful...I want you to land us near him. But be ready...if he tries to attack...kill him."

Her words were harsh, but Sango knew that she would rather Inuyasha be dead than either her, Miroku, or Kirara...or all three of them.

The fire cat growled in understanding as she dove to the ground at an alarming speed.

Miroku gripped the fur tightly, the wind whipping him in the face.

Sango buried her face in the monk's back, inhaling his scent. He smelled like sandalwood and grass. Her thought process was interrupted when she felt the thud of the earth beneath them, and she knew they had landed. Not hesitating, she swung herself from her beloved fire cat and slowly inched toward Inuyasha.

"Inuyasha!" Sango called out. The hanyou did not acknowledge her call. She tried again, steadying her hand on the Hiraikotsu.

"INUYASHA?!" This time, her voice was impatient, and filled with fear. He was kneeling; his head was positioned so that his silver bangs covered anyone's view of his eyes.

Were they crimson?

Was he just waiting for her to get far enough away from her entourage...so that he could shred her to pieces?

She made the decision not to move any closer until he answered.

"Either answer me, or I will take your silence as a statement...that you are still in demonic form. Then, I will have no choice but to defend myself. Do you understand me?"

Still no answer. Sango waited another minute before she became even more unnerved. Finally, she'd had enough. She readied her Hiraikotsu, and just as she was about to swing it...

"What. Are. You. Doing."

It was low and barely audible, but he had spoken.

"I was wondering if you would decide to answer me," Sango snapped. Now that she knew Inuyasha was at least able to understand her, she was not about to let him get away with what he had done.

"What the hell do you want?"

She didn't waste a second.

"I know what you did. There's no question about it. You slept with that horrible excuse for a human being. Now...the question is, what kind of bargain did you make with her? Did you tell her you'd kill Kagome so you could be with her again? You know she's just going to drag you down to hell with her. She doesn't want you, Inuyasha! She wants her revenge, and that's all! What is it that you can't grasp? Are you that stupid...I mean..."

What Inuyasha did next not only surprised Sango, but made Miroku gasp in both amazement and pity.

He looked up at the trio and roared in anguish as he banged the ground with his fists repeatedly. Tetsusaiga had been thrown to the side, carelessly.

"What on earth..."

"I killed her! Do you fucking understand that?! I killed the one person I have ever really loved...and she's not coming back! I did it for Kagome!"

Miroku was the next to speak, his voice full of pity...even though he had never liked the woman.

"Then you truly do love Kagome."

"Hai." Sorrow laced Inuyasha's tired voice.

"Then why are you still here, mourning Kikyo? You know she wasn't meant for this world! Urasue brought back a shell of what Kikyo used to be. There was never supposed to be a second chance. It would never have worked out. You know this, Inuyasha. Maybe you've been denying it for the longest time, but deep down, you have always known that Kagome was the one for you. That she was more than just Kikyo's reincarnation. You have been clinging for so long to a memory that you have forgotten about what was right underneath your nose. Who has been there for you, whenever you needed consoling? Who has stood by your side, and never left, even when you were wrong? Up until now, it was Kagome. Until she found you and Kikyo in the forest. That was her breaking point. And even from a man's point of view, I do not blame her for giving up on you. Her heart just could not take the abuse any longer. For all she has been through, Kagome is much stronger than I think any of us gave her credit for. And now she is with your brother. Whether or not that is a mistake...I am not certain. All I know is...if you still love her...even a little...then you must go and tell her. At least heal that part of her heart that is so raw with pain. The last time you saw her...horrible things were said. And done. You owe her at least an apology, if not a statement of how you have truly felt about her all this time."

Inuyasha could do nothing but stare at Miroku for the next few moments and try to absorb what he had just heard. He had said horrible things...and done horrible things...one of them being Kikyo. How could he have been so stupid and blind? Kagome had been there for every moment in his life for the past two years that'd been heartwrenching. Or happy. Or confusing. She had stuck with him through all of it. All of it...but the last thing. She had been hurt so badly, she couldn't stand to be around the cause of her pain any longer. And he'd done nothing to comfort her. No apology. Just indifference. And anger when he discovered that Kagome was with Sesshomaru instead of him.

The only thing he could think to say were the words that came spilling out of his mouth like water from an overflowing cup.

"We have to go and find her. I have to tell her how much I still care. Sesshomaru can't have her...!"

Miroku sighed and looked at Sango, worry in his eyes.

They both somehow knew that his attempts would be in vain.

The way Sesshomaru treated Kagome...it wasn't likely that she would leave his love and protection.

But they indulged Inuyasha anyhow.

Kagome was engulfed in darkness. She put her hand out in front of her--knew it was there--but could not see it nonetheless.

"Where am I?" Her voice echoed for what seemed like eternity before someone's voice reached her ears, soft and feminine.

"You are in between life and death, Kagome."


"You are in the plane of existence where each spirit that touches the Shikon Jewel goes when they die. When they have a choice to make."

"A choice? What are you talking about?"

"You could not withstand your injuries from the battle with Naraku. You gave yourself up and purified him so that you could save Sesshomaru. And those you love."

"I'm dead." It came out of her mouth and it sounded bitter, even to her own ears.

"I take it this was not the outcome you expected," The voice, soothing and calm, caressed her skin and made her feel warm and at ease.

"No...I was supposed to live. And be with Sesshomaru, Shippo, and Rin."

"What makes you think this is not what fate had in store for you? What makes you think you will not still be with your family?"

"I'm dead. I'm here...wherever this is."

"You have not been told of the wish that comes with the Jewel?" The voice sounded so surprised.

"Yes. I know about it."

"You do not know that the wish applies to you as well?"


"You are the one who truly possesses the Jewel, Kagome. And your heart is pure. Those who would wish on the Jewel whose hearts are tainted would recieve something other than what they desired. Your wish has yet to be spoken...but you can be sure that what you want will be granted to you--do not be afraid to ask for what your heart desires."

"How do you know this?"

"Because I am the one who guarded it long before Kikyo's existence, my dear."


Out of the darkness came a beautiful woman, with long, flowing black hair that reached at least to her knees, dressed in a white silken kimono with blood red sakura blossoms adorning the sleeves.

"I am Midoriko. The Jewel of Four Souls originally belonged to me."

Kagome was struck with awe.

"How are you here?"

"Because I was meant to be. I was meant to guide you through this moment. Ever since the Jewel was destined to be yours, Kagome, I have been destined to be your guide. I have been watching you all along, through the discovery of your powers to your development of them."

"But...if I get a wish...why didn't you?"

"Because I didn't choose to. I was told that I could, but there would be a woman down through time that would need help, even if I were to live. That I might not be able to reach in the life after. This is not the life after, Kagome. You could choose to go, if that is what you wish. But I can sense that it is not. I chose neither to live or to go to the place beyond this plane of existence. This is where I have been for centuries--though I have seen all that you have done. Kagome, you must look inside yourself and make a decision--if you should choose to die, then you will go where I go. If you should choose to live, you must know that while what you wish will be granted...sacrifices will have to be made. You can't have everything you desire. Unfortunately, that is the catch with the Jewel. Your family, who lives on the other side of the well will go on without you. And the well, in Inuyasha's forest, will no longer function. Your family will not see you again for a very long time, if ever."

"Ji-chan...Sota...Okaasan...Buyo. None of them will know what happened to me?"

"No. They won't. And they will wonder...I cannot tell you what your future has in store for you, Kagome...I can only tell you of the things that could happen. Please do not let this discourage you from what you truly want. I can see inside your heart, my dear, and I know it is Sesshomaru you wish to spend your life with. And your children--though they may not be from your womb, they are yours, and you love them with all of your soul. You do not wish to leave them motherless."

Tears spilled down Kagome's cheeks as she thought of the ones she left behind. And then of Sesshomaru. They hadn't even had time to be together...

"Sesshomaru..." She whispered, longingly.

"Kagome?" A voice called out of the darkness once more.

His voice.

He stepped from the shadows and into her line of view, to stand beside Midoriko.


"I called his soul to me, Kagome. For you. So that you could see him once more, no matter what your decision should be."

"Come to me, Kagome." He called out to her.

She stood, hesitating, as Midoriko stepped away from Sesshomaru, as if to let them have some semblance of privacy.


"Come to me...koishii." He held his arms open for her, and she couldn't stop herself. She ran into his embrace, crying so hard she couldn't catch a breath, if breathing was indeed what she was doing.

He tilted her face up from his chest with one of his hands, the other one crushing her against him.

"Your tears make me smile, somehow. I have never had someone cry for me. Until you..."

He kissed her right cheek, her warm tears coating his lips.

"Why do you love me, Sesshomaru?"

"Because you complete me, Kagome. And in such a short time...that I have begun to understand my feelings for you...means that your bond to me is more than just love or lust. You are my soulmate, and you belong with me. Inuyasha could have never imagined anything like this, not in a millenia. You were not meant to be with anyone but me. For all eternity. If we are to be dead, then you will be with me wherever our destination should be. If we should live...then you will remain with me. We will mate, have children of our own, besides Rin and Shippo, and we will live for centuries. I can not live without you--to live without you by my side would certainly be a fate worse than death itself. Our hearts beat as one, Kagome. To be separated from that...while you might survive...I would not. The bond for a demon is much stronger than it is for a human."

"It would kill you?"



She paused. She only got once chance at the wish. One time to get it right, and then she would never be able to take it back. She would have to live with her decision for the rest of her life. But she also knew that if she did not take the chance, she might not be able to get past the regret of never acting on the choice she had.

"Then I wish Sesshomaru and I could go back. To the Feudal Era...to...be together and raise Shippo and Rin. I don't want to die yet. I'm not ready, Midoriko."

"And I hoped that you would see that. I'm so very glad...you will get what you have wished."

"Thank you...I...I owe you everything."

"You owe me nothing but to live your life and be the miko you are destined to. You will do many more great things in your long life, Kagome. That I can tell you. You must never look back to the past and regret any decisions you have made, for you cannot change them no matter how much you want to. That includes this moment. Your family is with Sesshomaru, Rin, and Shippo now. Though you will always belong to your mother and grandfather. Do you understand what I am telling you?" Midoriko spoke softly.


"Do not let what grief you have consume you. Remember that your soulmate can feel your pain, and Sesshomaru will be there to comfort you. You will always have him to turn to. Never forget it."

Kagome nodded her head while still looking into Sesshomaru's golden orbs, which shone with love and adoration. For her. It was then that she could not hold herself back any longer. She wrapped her arms around his neck and drew him to her for a kiss. Before their lips touched, a light overcame the darkness, and Kagome could begin to feel herself falling.

"What's going on?" She yelled, frightened.

"You are being returned to your rightful place, Kagome. Back to the living. Do not forget what I have told you, for it is important to your well-being. I will see you once more some day. Goodbye, my child."

Kagome screamed as she lost her grip on Sesshomaru.

It was the last thing she remembered as she felt the darkness swallow her once more.

Sorahiko cried over Kagome, wondering what he would do next, when to his surprise, Sesshomaru's body shuddered. His eyes widened in both horror and fascination. Could he have survived? Was he lying there the entire time, not able to speak...? It could not be so. He had seen the young lord take his last breath...hadn't he?

With his lungs burning, Sesshomaru gasped for air, as he opened his eyes to the harsh sunlight. His body ached, but not as it had before.

"Kagome..." He managed to spit out, slowly sitting up from the ground.

She was lying still, beside him.

Had it all been just a dream? He could have sworn he had just held her in his arms--that they had both been dead. He noticed Sorahiko, kneeling over Kagome's body, and something flashed in the other youkai's eyes. It was one of fright and surprise. So it hadn't all been a dream.

He had really died. They both had, and she had saved him. Loved him enough to bring him back, and sacrifice being with her family in the future for being his mate. Something in his heart twinged for that, and made him feel full of regret.

"My lord? Is...could that really be you?"

"It is, Sorahiko."

"How is this possible? I felt you die." Sorahiko looked truly baffled.

"Kagome did this. She brought me...us...back."

"I do not understand."

"She was allowed to make a wish on the completed Shikon Jewel. This wish...she did not want to let me go. Didn't want to leave this place. She had a choice, and she chose...all of this."

"My lord, I still do not understand...if she has made this wish to be with you, why isn't she alive as you are now? Why is she not breathing?"

Sesshomaru paled.

"She is still..." He paused, not wanting to say the offending word out loud, for fear that she might never wake if he did.

"Hai, my lord."

"..." He was at a loss for words. What had happened to her? Why was she not opening her eyes...gracing him with her smile?

Worry laced the gold in his eyes, and as weak as he still was, Sesshomaru crawled to her limp form, as Sorahiko backed up to give the inuyoukai some space.

Sesshomaru sat down, legs crossed, drew Kagome into his arms and cradled her head against his chest. She was so cold. So deathly cold...

"Kagome," he whispered, need in his voice. "Kagome, wake up. This is not supposed to happen. You were supposed to come back with me. Do you remember? Midoriko granted your wish. My heart aches for you. Please, come back to me..."

Sorahiko looked at Sesshomaru, holding the young woman in his arms and instantly longed for Seika.

She was still falling. Fear grabbed at her as she wondered if she would ever land. Where was Sesshomaru? He had just been holding her, about to kiss her with his soft lips, when she began to fall.

"Sesshomaru?!" She called out, her voice shaky with panic.

No answer. Where had he gone? Would she fall forever? Had what Midoriko said all just been a trick? Had the Jewel really been purified? Or was it all just a dream...was she about to land...in the afterlife, where the dead belonged?

"I'm so scared..." She whispered, to no one in particular.

Suddenly, the darkness turned to light, and she felt as if something were dragging her down, not as if she were falling anymore. It was as if something had tied itself to her and was reeling her in. What was it? Whatever or whoever it was...it...or they...had a very strong hold on her. Clouds blocked her vision as she moved faster through the atmosphere and towards her destination.

With a metaphysical punch, Kagome felt herself slam into something solid, and she began to gasp, struggling to breathe. It had knocked her silly, and her vision faltered. She could no longer see, and her body was in such pain. Had she hit the ground? Frantic, Kagome tried to reach out for anyone...anything...but found that she could not move. Something was holding her tight. Someone. They were not allowing her to move, and she couldn't breathe very well.

All thoughts but one stopped. She could hear birds in the wind.

Wind. Birds.

Then the smell of sandalwood hit her nose.

A voice reached out to her, and she could almost recognize it. It was but a whisper, and when it hit her ears, it sounded like a sweet melody.

"My heart aches for you. Please, come back to me..."

It was Sesshomaru. He had been holding her...waiting for her return.

Kagome tried to speak, but no words would form from her mouth. All she could do was take the biggest breath her lungs allowed, and let it out in a whoosh of air.

The air hit Sesshomaru in the neck, causing him to jump. He looked down at the seemingly frail woman in his arms...that held so much inner strength, and a sigh escaped his lips, parting them ever so slightly. She had taken a breath. She was alive. Kagome was alive. He rocked her slowly in his arms, like one would a small child, and whispered words in her hair that he wasn't even sure she could hear. Words of relief and of love.

She still couldn't speak or open her eyes, and her entire body ached with a pain that made it difficult to think. All she could do was let Sesshomaru hold her and comfort her.

"Can you hear me, Kagome?"

Another whoosh of breath, and he had his answer.

"Are you in pain?"

With all of her might, Kagome forced a groan from her lips.

"You're going to be alright, koishii. I will take care of you."

"My lord...it is a...a...miracle..." Sorahiko stammered.

"That it is...that it is."

Kagome made another cry of pain, and Sesshomaru cringed. How badly hurt was she? He knew he still ached from his injuries, but they were healing. He was youkai, and whatever power had brought him back had the ability to heal him somewhat. He hadn't noticed what kind of shape Kagome's body was in when he picked her up. Looking beneath him, he saw just what he had missed. Blood. Everywhere. The ground had been soaked in it, and he almost gasped. She had lost so much. It must not have taken her very long to die at all.

"Sorahiko, is she still bleeding?" Sesshomaru couldn't tell because of the angle he held Kagome at.

"No, my lord, but bruises are forming all over her body...she is black and blue."

"Ah. That would be the reason then."

His soft, deep voice resonated in his chest, almost like a growl, and it soothed Kagome. She listened to his heart beat and knew she had made the right decision...because hers began to beat in rhythm with his, and she felt safe. Home.

"Koishii...you are not bleeding any longer. But you are bruised badly, and I'm sure you have a broken bone...or two. I suppose Midoriko never meant for things to be perfect. Life is hard. Perhaps she knew we would understand that. No matter...you are with me now, and I will care for you. Sorahiko...let's return home."

Sesshomaru, his body still pained and throbbing, managed to lift both himself and Kagome, who remained in his arms, up from the ground.

"Yes, my lord. Is there anything you wish me to assist you with?"

Sesshomaru shook his head slowly.

Sorahiko grinned. Sesshomaru was always stubborn. Apparently a brush with death hadn't changed that.

Feeling herself grow tired, Seika pushed even harder to reach the scent that had been attacking her nostrils for hours. It was death...but now she smelled new life, and...Sorahiko.

Her feet were on fire; limbs swollen and achy, she ran still.

When she got to where she was going, she could stop. She could rest. Until then, she pressed on.

'I must tell him I still wish to be with him...'

She knew she was close--his scent was getting stronger, and almost overwhelming.

Sesshomaru's cloud formed beneath him, and as he stepped on, he paused. Something in the wind had changed, and he knew Sorahiko scented it as well. It was feminine, and laced with exhaustion. The cloud dissapated, and Kagome moaned once more in his arms as he shifted her slightly.

"My lord...what is it?"

"You smell it too...you must. It is neko. Female. And there is only one owner that belongs to that scent. Orange blossom and earth."


Out of nowhere, the aforementioned neko youkai came bounding into the clearing, out of breath, collapsing onto the ground in front of the trio. Her feet were red and swollen; her eyes were full of pain.

"What are you doing?" Sorahiko demanded.

When he received no answer, he bellowed.

"You smell of exhaustion! Why would you come all the way out here and risk your life? You did not even know if we would be returning!"

Seika looked stunned and hurt. She hadn't expected this reaction out of Sorahiko.

Noticing the frown that graced Seika's delicate face, he immediately kneeled in front of her. He hadn't meant to sound angry with her--he was frustrated that she overexerted herself, and he knew exactly why. He could sense the desire coming off of her in waves. She hadn't come for anyone else but him. It touched his heart in a place that had not been reached in years.

"I'm sorry. I should go back now." She snapped.

"Don't take that tone with me, Seika. I know why you came."

"All the more reason for me to leave! I should have known better!" Seika tried to push herself up from the ground, but lack of water and constant movement had made her weak and dizzy. She fell back to the ground in a heap, reduced to tears of frustration and sadness.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sorahiko's voice took on a softer tone.

"I should have known you wouldn't...wouldn't..." Seika tried, but could not find the courage to say what she truly wanted. If she uttered it, it might become truth. That he didn't want anything to do with her, ever again, and the days of longing for him had been wasted--perhaps he hadn't wanted her since that moment he was called from her in the garden. Perhaps he changed his mind and thought better of being with a servant. A worthless peasant. Sorahiko deserved better, she decided.

"Should have known I wouldn't...what..."

"Nevermind. Just...leave me alone. I will stay here and recover on my own!"

Her words bit at his skin, and he became irritated.

"You do not need to snap at me--when I'm the reason you came all this way. If you are angry with me, fine. But we can resolve that later. Right now, I want to understand what has driven you to this point. Why you are here--I know it is because of me--but why have you come to me?"

"No. I won't tell you! Just leave me alone!" She growled, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Standing not too far back, Sesshomaru had heard the entire conversation and was becoming quite irritated himself. Kagome needed tending to, and Seika was being stubborn. Sorahiko would never get to the bottom of the reason why she searched for him if things kept going the way they were.

"If you do not tell him why you are here, Seika, then I will have no choice but to tell him myself. You are being selfish, keeping all of these things inside, and not telling the one who deserves to hear it most. You both have wasted so much time avoiding each other, and arguing when you are around each other...all of this could have been resolved long ago if you weren't so damn stubborn. Both of you." Sesshomaru sighed. Sorahiko had no idea about what Seika's blood beast had done...all of the damage it had caused. Or why.

"Sesshomaru is right, Seika. Please...just talk to me. I know you still feel for me..I can see it when I look into your eyes...when I inhale your scent. Your desire for me is unmistakeable, and I do not know why I didn't sense it before. Perhaps because I was trying so hard not to."

She remained silent, crying still.

"I should never have done what I did to you. I should have told you how I felt from the very beginning, but I became scared and...wasn't certain of how others would treat my feelings for you."

"So...you...still loved me?"

"Loved. Still love, Seika. I cared too much about what others thought of me and how they would treat me courting you."

"I thought you hated me."


"All of those times we argued. We passed each other...giving dirty glares. Why?"

"I was trying to make myself not love you any longer. I thought it might be easier if I just didn't say what I had meant to. Maybe you'd find someone else who could treat you better. Love you better. Who was better."

"But I needed you! You left me alone and in the cold...with no one to hold on to! I...I killed because of you!" A pitiful scream wrenched its way from Seika's mouth, nearly causing Sorahiko to fall to the ground beside her.


It was Sesshomaru who spoke next.

"One afternoon, Seika lost control of her blood beast. Her grief and anguish had to find an outlet, and she could no longer hold it in. She slaughtered a village, and I pardoned her for it."

Sorahiko whirled his head around to look into the inuyoukai's golden orbs, which were dim with sadness.

"You make it sound so simple...like she did nothing."

"Grief is a powerful thing, Sorahiko."

"I caused this...and yet, you did not confront me about it?"

"Would you have truly listened and understood it then, while you were still trying to fight your feelings for her?"

Sorahiko frowned more, if that was possible. Lines creased his forehead. What Sesshomaru had said was right. He probably wouldn't have listened. Hearing another sob, he turned back to Seika, who had covered her face with her hands. Instead of being disgusted by what she had told him, he was saddened greatly. To be the cause of such pain and destruction was never his intention. Reaching down, he grabbed her hands, pulling her from the ground to him.

"Get away from me...I'm a monster!" She wailed. Having lived with it for decades and never talking about it or letting any emotions about the situation out had taken its toll. Her body shook while she cried, and all Sorahiko could do was draw her closer. They fell to the ground. He clutched her to him, her nose at his collarbone. The saltiness of her tears washed over him like waves from the ocean, and he began to cry with her. He had not cried in front of Seika before...not about anything. But what he had done to her...and what she had done because of him was all too overwhelming to keep his emotionless mask in place any longer.

They cried for what seemed like an hour before Sorahiko could finally find his voice.

"You are not a monster. You are youkai, and when we do not have control of ourselves, our blood beasts have a way of taking back the control. It was my fault. All of it. Stop blaming yourself for losing control over something such as this. Yes, you killed. But it is our nature to kill. You did not do it again and again...one time...and you learned. Sesshomaru has done the same. I have done the same. All youkai at some point will lose control of their beast. It is not something to beat yourself up over."

Seika buried her nose further into Sorahiko's collarbone, inhaling the scent that was truly him. Rain...he smelled most of a fresh rain, and it made her heart flutter with excitement. This was what she had missed and had been wishing for--to be in his arms, finally, and have him love her the way she loved him.

"I will not deny it anymore...I have never uttered these words to another living soul. You are the first and the only to hear...aishiteru."

She couldn't believe her ears. He had told her, after all these years, that he loved her. Really loved her, and wasn't afraid to admit it. He didn't think her a monster, as she had feared.

Looking him in the eyes, Seika uttered "aishiteru" and in one fluid moment, he had grasped her chin and drew her in for a kiss. His lips attacked hers with a ferverent need...a hunger...that felt like it would consume her. She let it take over her body, and she responded heatedly. Their tongues met and all was lost to the outside world.

Sesshomaru stood by and watched for a moment, before clearing his throat. Both youkai stopped dead in their tracks, turning to look at the irritated inuyoukai lord.

"If this could wait...until I get Kagome back to the castle..." He growled.

"I'm sorry, my lord." They both replied, blushing feverishly.

Sesshomaru fought the urge to roll his eyes. He won.

"Do not apologize...I just wish to get Kagome home."

Sorahiko grinned as he stood from the ground, pulling Seika with him.

She was the first to speak after a few moments of awkward silence.

"How badly hurt is she?"

"A few bruises...that is all I know."

Sesshomaru and Sorahiko exchanged glances--no one would be discussing the events that had just happened with the Jewel--with anyone.

"Is she awake?"

"Hai. But she can't speak...she is in much pain."

Kagome found the strength to rub her head against the silk of Sesshomaru's haori.

"She can hear...she knows we are talking about her, at least. That's a good sign. But I haven't seen her open her eyes..." Sorahiko's grin faded slightly.

Sesshomaru realized that Sorahiko was right--she hadn't opened her eyes since...she had returned to him.

Kagome moaned. Why couldn't they just leave her alone? A headache she hadn't know was there began to throb painfully, and against everything she felt, her eyelids fluttered open, revealing chocolate orbs beneath. They gazed, squinted, at Sesshomaru's face, which showed relief plainly.

"She can see."

Annoyance flashed in Kagome's eyes, and it made the corners of Sesshomaru's mouth twitch. Against her ear, she felt the vibrations coming from Sesshomaru's chest. Was he starting to growl at her? For a moment, fear coursed through her. What had she done to anger him so? But then...then came a sound that she had not heard before.

It was not a growl that escaped Sesshomaru's mouth...it...it was laughter...?

He was laughing at her?

"Koishii, only you could look at me with such defiance and annoyance...and cause me to laugh. You truly are something...!" It caused him to laugh harder.

His cloud formed beneath him, and Seika and Sorahiko stepped on. Before Kagome knew what was happening, they were in the air. Her eyes squeezed shut. She hated heights.

Sensing her discomfort, a growl rumbled low in his chest--not meant to frighten her, but comfort. Almost like a purr--if inuyoukai had that ability. He remembered that she did not like heights. This from the first time he had taken her.

"I remember that you do not like heights. But you are safe with me, and I will allow nothing to happen to you. You are tired and in pain...sleep now, and I will wake you when we are home."

Slowly, she nodded in agreement. But it was the word home...that made her snuggle against him as much as she could. Midoriko's words echoed in her mind, and she realized that the wise miko had been correct. He, Shippo, and Rin were her family now. And home...held a new meaning. With those thoughts, she let herself become lulled to sleep by Sesshomaru's breathing and the wind that whistled by them.

Home. They were going home.

A/N: WOW! That chapter took so long to finish...and the story isn't even done yet! Damn! Lol I am sorry it's been a little while...lots of things have happened since I wrote Chapter 14. Anyways...I hope you guys loved this chapter as much as I did, and I hope you aren't disappointed! Chapter 16 will be interesting...but that's all I can tell you. I don't want to give anything away! Thank you so much for being patient, and I appreciate all of your comments. You all make this worthwhile. Though I'm certain I would keep writing if I didn't get feedback, the passion wouldn't be the same.