Disclaimer: I don't own anything Inu Yasha, save for my DVD's, wall scrolls, a couple of glasses and some figures ... oh and some shirts too. I also don't own the song I Never Knew.

Song: I Never Knew by Gloria Gaynor Mike Rizzo global club mix

Symbols: "..." Talking

'...' Thoughts

/.../ Lyrics

Lady Sethia: Holy ... I think this has got to be the longest chapter/one shot I have EVER written. This kinda just popped into my head while I was jamming to the song and I thought it would make an awesome fic. Sooooo ... I started writing this thing yesterday, worked on it all night and all day today. I hope you people enjoy this; I put a lot of hard work into this fic and lost sleep over it. Be warned though, if you don't have enough time to sit down and read an extremely long chapter wait till you have the time. This thing is way long. Also, there is a lot of waff and 'mushy' stuff in here. Some of the characters are ooc from the anime, but years together often changes a person. You know now that I think about it, this is more of a short story than a one shot but oh well. Okay, after getting to the halfway point of this story I decided to make this a two part story. This was just going to be WAY too long if I didn't. I'm still working on the second half and it will be posted sometime either tonight or tomorrow.

Summary: Your true love might not always be the one you expected it to be. Kagome finds this out as she walks down her chosen path. A short story based on the trials one's heart must go through to find love.

The Path to One's Heart and the Journey There

Kagome held in her tears as she watched Inu Yasha lean in to kiss Kikyo. She felt another fracture work its way across her heart. Her gaze dropped from the happy couple that had snuck a meeting in the middle of the night to the ground. 'You told me you loved me, Inu Yasha. But now I see that I will never have your heart truly.' She thought sadly as she turned to leave. Taking a step away from them she stopped and looked over her shoulder. "As long as you're happy I'll be okay." She whispered then continued on to the springs near by.

Easing herself into the warm water she let out a sigh. Wading over to a rock that was under the water's surface just enough to keep her covered she sat down and pulled her feet up on it. Bringing her knees to her chest she laid her head on them, the tears she couldn't shed before now fell freely from her eyes. 'Why does love have to hurt so much?' Her body shook slightly from tremors caused by her silent crying. The water rippled around her distorting a reflection of someone standing on the bank,

"Why do you cry over him, human, when he has done nothing but betray your trust?"

The unexpected voice caused her to jump. Looking up slowly, her smoke gray eyes locked with cold amber ones. Instinctively, she pulled her knees closer to her chest trying to cover herself. "What are you doing here?" She questioned softly.

"The answer to my question, woman."

Breaking her gaze with his she stared off into the woods. A few more tears spilled from her eyes, rolling down her cheeks, collecting under her chin then falling into the water below. "Because I love him." Her answer barely a whisper, even the demon next to her had to strain to hear it. She heard his clothes rustle indicating that he was moving. Whether it was toward her or away from her she really didn't care. Continuing to stare off into the forest she wrapped her arms around her knees and laid her head back down.

"Why do you love someone who doesn't return your feelings?"

His voice came again, this time closer. Closing her eyes she took in a deep breath through her nose, held it for three seconds then released it through her mouth. "Someone can not choose who they love. The heart feels what it wants." A small snort came from her small frame. "I've tried to hate him. I've tried to stop loving him. Kami knows how I've tried, but the more I tried, the more I fell in love with him."

"A worthless, disgusting half-breed isn't worth such devotion, even if it is from a filthy human."

Anger quickly swallowed up her depression and hurt. Her eyes snapped open and her head jerked up then turned towards the demon standing so near to her. "He's not worthless, nor is he a disgusting half-breed. He's done so much to help people we've come across. His heart is bigger than any demon's I've met and it's in the right place." She yelled, ignoring the backhanded compliment he had just given her.

"Do not speak to me in such a manner, wench. Do not forget I can kill you before you can blink an eye."

"How dare you!" She bit out over his warning growl. "I didn't ask you to question my feelings. I didn't ask you to come here. And you have the audacity to threaten me!" Turning her head forward angrily she pointed off into the forest to her right. "Leave, I didn't want you here anyway. I want to be alone." Not hearing a reply, she slowly looked to where he had been standing. Not seeing him she let her shoulders slump forward and continued to cry as she made a final decision. 'Never more than friends, Inu Yasha.'

(Two Years Later)

Kagome's head popped up passed the rim of the well, her eyes bloodshot and puffy. Glancing around the clearing for the familiar person dressed in red she pulled herself out of the well completely. Not seeing him she called out his name, her voice weak from crying. 'That's right; they had to go to a neighboring village to follow up on a rumor about the jewel.' She thought bitterly. Sinking down into a sitting position she leaned her back against her portal home.

"Why is it you are crying every time I see you?"

The familiar voice that drifted to her ears almost sounded worried, but she knew that was just her imagination. 'He has no heart, so how could he be worried.' She thought sadly. "Because I'm just an emotional person I guess." She had gotten used to him popping up whenever she was away from Inu Yasha a long time ago and every time he did, he always had questions.

"Emotions are for the weak ..."

"Look," She cut him off. "I'm not really in the mood for your question and answer game today. And I'm definitely not in the mood for your 'holier than thou, emotions are below me' attitude. So if you can't just stand there quietly then leave, please." Seeing him walk up to her out of the corner of her eye she sighed mentally. 'He just isn't going to go away today.'

Taking a seat next to the miko he stared at her, studying her. 'She has been crying for quite some time now.' He noted then looked harder at her, 'her aura is predominately gray, not her normal electric blue.' This discovery worried him slightly. "Woman, you will tell me what is wrong."

Kagome scoffed at his demand. "Or you'll what? Skin me, oh no even better ... Continue to pester me about things you will never come to understand?" She began to stand but a hand on her wrist stopped her. Looking into his honey colored eyes she could have sworn she had seen worry stirring deep within them. Sighing she plopped back down, managing to sit Indian style. "Fine ..." Her voice reflecting the defeat she felt inside. Noticing his hand was still wrapped around her wrist she gently pulled her arm out of his grasp. "Jii-chan, he ..." Her voice caught in her throat as tears threatened to show themselves. "He had a heart attack, we couldn't get him to the hospital soon enough ..." The sentence was left unfinished as she buried her face in her hands, tears rolling down her arms. "I didn't even get to say good-bye." The words muffled by her hands.

"Humans die everyday, I do not see why this upsets you. It's a law of nature."

Bringing her hands away from her face she stared at him blankly. Not having enough energy to even get mad at him she just shook her head. "I knew you wouldn't understand something like this." Her voice was soft and without emotion. "I should be getting to Kaede's." Before she could move she felt arms go around her and pull her close to him. Too shocked to pull away she leaned her head against his chest crying. Not stopping him as he ran his clawed hand over her hair and back in a soothing gesture.

Realizing she was getting to comfortable, she slowly leaned up and away from him. "I really should be leaving now." Standing she started for the village, after getting a little ways away from him she stopped. Turning, she looked back at her secret friend. "Thank you, Sesshoumaru." Offering him a small smile she waved then continued on to the village.

/ It's really been a long time
Since I let somebody hold me
Since I felt safe in somebody's arms, emm emm /

After her grandfather's funeral, Kagome came back to the feudal era to continue searching for the remaining shards. The group had been walking all day with no breaks and was happy when the sun finally set so they could stop and set up camp. The young miko had been unusually quiet worrying every in the tight knit family. After dinner, Inu Yasha jumped up into a tree near where his best friend was to be sleeping so he could keep an eye on her.

"There was a spring near by, I'm going to go and take a dip." Kagome stated as she slung her yellow bag over her shoulder. She turned and began to make her way out of the camp when Sango's voice stopped her.

"Kagome-chan, wait I'll go with you." The demon hunter walked a brisk pace to get to the girl's side. Giving her a smile she took her hand and dragged her from camp.

They had made their way to the spring in silence and were now soaking in the water. Sango frowned at the fact that the normal chatterbox miko was being completely quiet. Even when she had tried to spark a conversation all she had gotten was one worded answers. "Eh, Kagome-chan, are you sure you should be here right now? You know, after everything that happened?" She questioned cautiously.

She looked to her companion and plastered a fake smile on her lips. "Yes, Sango."

She wasn't fooled, she saw that the smile hadn't reached her eyes but she sighed in defeat. 'This is what she wants, good or no.' Sango finished up her bathing in silence. "I'm done; you ready to head back to camp?"

"I think I'm going to sit out here for a while longer." Seeing her friend's worry she added, "I'll be fine, you guys aren't too far away. I just need to be alone right now." She watched Sango nod, get dressed then leave the small clearing around the spring. After she was sure the demon slayer was out of hearing range she looked to her right. "You can come out now, she's gone."

Sesshoumaru walked out of the cover from the forest, all the while making sure his gaze never drifted any lower than her face. Sitting down near the edge of the spring he looked to Kagome. "You shouldn't be here."

She rolled her eyes. "I've heard that from everyone already. I really don't need it from you too."

He quirked an eyebrow elegantly and smirked. "Well you should listen to them, what they say is true. And for once I will agree." Watching her face contort in anger he smiled inwardly. "At least you can still feel and some of the old Kagome is still in there."

Crossing her arms she huffed in aggravation, no matter how hard she tried to keep him from getting to her he always did. "I just don't want to dwell on it. Being here is better than moping about at home. Besides, I have a job to finish here."

"Fine, if that is what you deem is best." Looking to the sky he sighed mentally. "Hurry woman, finish your bathing."

Kagome looked at him confused. "Why, my bathing has never bothered you before."

Growling he returned his gaze to her face. "Because I have something I wish to show you, miko."

Her mouth opened as if to say 'oh' but nothing came out. She quickly finished her bathing and after having him turn around so she could get out, she quickly dressed. "Okay, so what are you wanting to show me?" She watched as he pulled out a package wrapped in paper from the folds of his haori as she sat down next to him. "What's that?"

"This is what I wanted to show you." He answered as he handed the package to her.

Giving him a quizzical look she began to unwrap the bundle in her lap. A gasp parted her lips when the blue paper was pulled away to reveal a white kimono made from the finest silk she had ever seen and with it a matching obi. Pulling it from the wrapping completely, she placed the obi back on her lap and unfolded the kimono. Small pink cherry blossoms were sewn into the fabric making it all the more beautiful. "Kami, it's gorgeous!"

"It's yours." He stated as if it was an everyday occurrence.

Her heart jumped up into her throat as tears filled her eyes. Folding the gift neatly she placed it and the sash back into the wrapping. Making sure she carefully packaged it again; she placed it on his lap. "I'm sorry, I can't ... I just can't accept this." Not waiting for him to reply she jumped up and ran from him.

/ You were a good friend I could confide in
But after all the lies he told me
I couldn't let nobody in my heart
I was torn apart /

Days turned into weeks as they traveled along the dirt roads in search of the shards. Slowly Kagome started to act more like her old self. Her cold and quiet demeanor melting away, but something was still bothering her. She hadn't seen Sesshoumaru since she had turned away his gift. The thought of him never returning caused fear to grip her heart. She had gotten used to his constant visits and questions, his comforting presence. Looking out into the forest she hoped with all her heart she would catch a glimpse of white. Seeing nothing but green she sighed. 'Sesshoumaru, where are you?'

"Kagome-sama, are you alright?"

Miroku's voice cut through her thoughts. Smiling at the monk she nodded. "Yeah, I'm just tired."

"There's a village just over the hill, we'll stop there for the night." Inu Yasha stated from his position in the front of the group.

"Why Inu Yasha, I didn't know you cared." The young miko teased.

"Keh! Just don't want my shard detector to pass out on me when I need her." He snapped as he crossed his arms.

Kagome giggled while the rest of the group rolled their eyes. 'I've missed our spats.' Kagome thought as she continued to follow the half demon in front of her.

Night had begun to fall as they reached the village. With Miroku's 'ominous dark cloud' line they had landed a room in one of the finest houses there, to no surprise to the group. They had sat around in a semicircle as they ate dinner and made small idle talk. After dinner, Kagome excused herself and slipped out into the dark. The cool air dancing against her skin felt good as she sat on the porch staring up at the stars. She wasn't outside long when she heard the door behind her slide open then close and someone sat down next to her.

"The stars are nice tonight, huh?" Inu Yasha asked as he followed her gaze to the dark sky speckled with white.

"They are." Bringing her gaze from the sky to Inu Yasha, she smiled. "You're being awfully nice lately, not that I mind or anything."

A blush spread across his cheeks. "You've had it rough, Kagome. You don't need my brazen attitude adding to your troubles."

"Thank you, Inu Yasha." Giving him a quick hug, she turned her eyes back to the night sky. Something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. Turning to look at what it was she felt the half demon stiffen next to her. Finally catching a glimpse of what it was she understood the reaction her friend had. She smiled softly as she looked to Inu Yasha. "Go to her, we will still be here when you get back."

His eyes widened at her comment. "Kagome ... are you sure?"

Simply nodding her head in reply she watched as he took off after the undead miko's demons. A sigh parted her lips after he disappeared beyond the tree line. 'Be happy.' Getting up, she made her way to her room for the night.

Kagome awoke to the sun's bright light shinning in face. With a groan she sat up and left her room to gather her bag so she could go bathe. As she slid her door open she heard what sounded like the group she had come to consider family arguing softly. Curious as to what was going on she quietly made her way to the large room where everyone was.

"You know Kagome-sama is not going to like this one bit." Miroku stated to their half demon companion.

"Yeah, you are going to make her run home and then she'll never come back." Shippo whined his agreement with the monk.

She heard Inu Yasha say something about loving someone and that he knew she would understand. Not being able to take the suspense anymore she walked into the room. Her mouth dropped open as she took in everyone in the room. Sango, Miroku, Shippo and Kirara were sitting to one side of the room while Inu Yasha and Kikyo were sitting on the other. "What's going on?" She asked after finally finding her voice.

Inu Yasha looked to Kagome, his eyes pleading with her to understand. "I've decided that Kikyo should join the group."

She stared at the undead miko who was looking at her apologetically. Suddenly the room began to spin and it was hard for her to breath. Not saying anything she darted out of the house and straight for the woods. The last thing she heard before getting out of range was Sango saying "now look what you've done" and Inu Yasha shouting her name. Finally she came to a stop when her sides' ached, cuts from low lying branches and brambles stung too bad and her vision was too far gone from crying. "Sesshoumaru! I need you, please." She cried out only to sit completely alone on the forest floor. Curling up on the ground she closed her eyes and cried, occasionally whimpering Sesshoumaru's name. Hearing a twig snap her eyes shot open revealing the sight she had longed to see.

He sat down next to her feeble form then picked her up and placed her in his lap. Rocking her gently, he pulled her in close to him and whispered words of reassurance in her ear. Knowing already what had happened, he dared not to ask her for conformation. Hearing her sobbing lessen he looked down to find her sleeping in his arms. A soft smile warmed his face as he memorized this long awaited moment even though this was not how it was supposed to happen.

/ All this time you've been right here
He's been doing nothing but wrong
And though the best thing in my life was
Here with me all along /

She woke hours later back in the house she had spent the night before in. The lord of the house had allowed them to stay an extra night after seeing the condition of her tattered body. Sitting up she groggily peered about the room. 'Did I just dream everything?' Crawling out from her sleeping bag she noticed the bright red scrapes all over her legs. Tears filled her eyes at the sight. 'So it wasn't a dream, but how did I get here? Where is ...' Sango's yelling brought her out of her thoughts. Standing up quickly she raced to the main room.

"She's not leaving, and that's final. If we have to we'll go our separate ways." Inu Yasha stated hotly.

Kikyo placed her hand on her love's arm to calm him. "Inu Yasha, I'm not going to tear you apart from your friends. If I have to, I'll leave." Her voice was low and tinted with concern.

The half demon glared at his group, "They can't be my friends if they can't accept the person I love."

Hearing enough Kagome entered the room. "That's enough!" She shouted as she looked to everyone. Shippo started to run to her, but her glare stopped him short. Sighing she gave a weary glance to Miroku, Sango and her adopted son. "I appreciate what you guys are doing, really. And I understand why but let me make the decision." Seeing them nod their heads, she turned to the other two in the room. "I've made my choice. I told you two years ago, Inu Yasha, that I would remain by your side no matter what." She paused and took in a deep breath. "And I will keep my word. She can join the group; I will stay as well and continue my duty as a miko." Smiling at Inu Yasha she added, "And as your friend."

Sango gasped, "Kagome-chan, are you sure, she tried to ..."

Quickly turning to Sango, Kagome cut her off. "I've made my decision and I'm sticking with it. Besides, it seems even my best of friends have tried to kill me at one point in time." Smiling she turned and left the room.

Everyone stared after her, shock written plainly on each of their faces. "She is the true guardian of the jewel." Kikyo stated breaking everyone from their trance.

The days had come and gone since Kikyo had joined the group. Kagome handled things well, though she had rare moments when she would look to her friend and the undead miko and feel the familiar pang in her heart. But she just shrugged them off and continued trudging along knowing her choice was the right one. He was happy and that is what mattered the most. She still hadn't run into Sesshoumaru since the whole ordeal either, but deep down she knew he was out there watching her.

"Oi, wench! What are you smiling about?" Inu Yasha yelled from his normal position up front.

Kagome's smile just got bigger as she looked to him. "Just thinking good thoughts is all."

Later that evening after they had set up camp, Kagome sat by the fire staring intently at Inu Yasha. She could hear Sango and Kikyo discussing the different ways to exterminate demons. Shippo and Miroku were playing a game of cards shouting "go fish" or muttering under their breath when they lost a card to the other. Standing she made her way over to the tree her half demon friend was in. "Hey Inu Yasha, can we talk for a moment?"

Glaring down at her from his position in the tree he called back, "What do you want?"

"In private please!" Placing her hands on her hips she glared right back at him. She heard him "keh" before jumping down from his branch. Smiling she lead the way into the trees, stopping only a short distance away from camp.

Inu Yasha stopped behind her and looked at her worried. "What did you want to talk about?"

Her eyes dropped from his to the beaded necklace he wore. "There is one thing I've been meaning to do." She giggled at his puzzled look before reaching up and grabbing the necklace then pulled it over his head. "I should have done that a long time ago." She went to toss the string of beads into the forest when a hand on her arm stopped her.

"Don't ..." He whispered as he took the necklace from her hand. Placing it back around his neck he offered her a smile. "They may not have been put on with the best intentions but I've grown quite fond of them. Besides, they're from you in some weird, twisted way and how could I throw away a gift my best friend has given me?"

Tears pooled in her eyes as she hugged him tightly. "Thank you, thank you for everything Inu Yasha."

After returning her hug and placing a kiss on top of her head he let go of her. Holding out his hand he smiled again. "Let's head back, okay?"

Kagome shook her head, "I'd like to go for a walk if that's okay."

He let his lips curve up into a smirk. "Feh, just don't wander too far from camp."

"Yes sir!" She laughed at him as he wrinkled his nose. Waiting until he reached the camp, she turned and walked deeper into the forest. She didn't have to walk too far before she felt his presence. Kagome continued walking, pretending that she hadn't sensed him.

He frowned as she paused but then kept walking. He quickened his pace to catch up with her. Walking beside her he remained silent, enjoying their walk together. Finally he placed his hand upon her shoulder, stopping her. "Kagome, I want to give you something."

Her heart almost stopped its beating before speeding up to an alarming rate. 'He called me by my name!' She looked to his eyes, getting lost in the warmth that had now made its home there. "Give me what?" She inquired sheepishly.

Leaning down he brought his lips a hairbreadth away from her ear. "Do you trust me?"

She closed her eyes as a shudder ran down her spine to her toes. "Yes, I trust you." She managed to whisper.

He smiled, "Then keep your eyes closed and hang onto me tightly."

She did as she was told; clinging tighter as she felt her body lift from the ground into the air. Kagome let a soft squeal of excitement slip passed her lips as she felt the wind rushing by her. Never in her life had she felt so free, so complete as she did now. Temptation was pulling at her, daring her to open her eyes, to look at the world from so far up. But she kept them shut and enjoyed her moments of happiness. She felt her stomach drop as they began their decent to the ground below. Finally her feet touched the ground and she heard him whisper for her to open her eyes.

Opening her eyes her breath caught in her throat. They were standing in a large meadow; all around them were flowers of every color one's imagination could think of. Tears of happiness gathered in her eyes and slowly descended from them. "It's beautiful, Sesshoumaru." Turning she wrapped her arms around him and placed a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you, thank you so very much for sharing this with me!"

"You're welcome, Kagome." Smiling down at her he slowly lowered his lips to hers as he embraced them in a short but loving kiss. He watched her close her eyes and felt her return his kiss. Pulling away he smiled at her rosy cheeks. "There's one more thing."

Kagome raised her eyebrows, "Oh?" She watched as he pulled out the same blue package as before. Trembling hands reached out and took the bundle from him. "I ... I don't know what to say."

"Say you'll take it and wear it. It's my gift to you."

/ I never knew
Right beside me there was an angel
I never knew
You'd give my heart the wings to fly
Because of you
Everything in my life is changing
Turning it to
The kind of heaven that I never knew /