Candide

Rewrite time. Chapters one and two have been combined with quite a bit of editing; and a new chapter three won't take long in coming.


Nobody liked it when Kagome left. Inuyasha got grumpy and bored without her, and a grumpy and bored Inuyasha liked to inflict his grumpy-and-bored-ness on the people around him. Shippo was vocal about not liking not having Kagome there, and even more vocal on the subject of how Inuyasha acted without Kagome around to keep him in check.

Sango could handle Inuyasha just fine, but waiting around with nothing to do but an occasional errand for Kaede and a lecherous monk to avoid was getting tedious. Especially when there were still shards to be collected and Naraku still at large. However, Sango was too polite and cared about Kagome too much to point out how much this delayed them.

Obscene language and childish taunts that could be heard clearly from across one particularly scenic field, followed by the clashing of metal and grunts of effort.

As for Miroku...well, Miroku had a Wind Tunnel in his right hand that got just a little bit bigger every day. He never said anything, but once in a while he'd glance at his cursed hand as Kagome started to leave, and there would just be this look in his eyes, and what could anyone expect him to feel about Kagome's back-and-forth trips anyway? Inuyasha was just the only one who actively objected, that was all.

Sesshoumaru blocked Tetsusaiga's incoming blade with Tokijinn, and dramatic bits of electricity dispersed as the two swords clashed.

Nonetheless, the shard-detecting reincarnated miko traveled back to her time for a few days every three or so weeks, and it was routine. So that morning, everyone had half-heartedly said their goodbyes as Kagome smiled, waved, and jumped down the Bone-Eater's Well. Everyone save for Inuyasha, whose preferred farewell was to shout obscenities from the safety of his tree.

Sesshoumaru pulled back and spun, catching Inuyasha across the shoulder as his balance was disrupted, then jumped back and with a derisive snort re-sheathed Tokijinn. Inuyasha looked livid.

Another somewhat less predictable but roughly monthly event was Sesshoumaru appearing to pick a fight with Inuyasha. The exact reasons varied, but the end result was pretty uniform. For as long as this had gone on neither brother had ever managed to actually kill the other, despite the pre-fight threats.

In fact, Sango began to suspect that the battles were never intended to be to the death. It seemed, at least to her, to be nothing more than a slightly odd type of sibling rivalry, a well-worn one where those involved could confidently beat the crap out of each other with every expectation that they would both live to do it again another day.

She suggested as much to Miroku and Shippo as they watched the two dog demons duke it out. Miroku raised an eyebrow quizzically.

"Well, it does kind of seem to go in circles with those two, doesn't it?"

Sesshoumaru's neon-green whip nicked Inuyasha across one ear, eliciting a curse from the hanyou. This seemed to amuse Sesshoumaru, in his controlled, muted way. Thus far, Sesshoumaru was winning.

"I suppose so," Miroku said skeptically "But they certainly don't seem to be holding anything back."

"I don't think they have to. They know each other's limits by now. As it is, they're almost perfectly matched, and they're very aware of it."

"You're not worthy of Chichiue's sword, hanyou." Sesshoumaru said in his typical slow, confident voice. He seemed to be relaxing into his victory, taking time to actually answer Inuyasha's taunts and insults.

"I don't know," Shippo said, watching, "I mean, Inuyasha chopped Sesshoumaru's arm off with Tetsusaiga. Inuyasha's a jerk, but he wouldn't do something like that to someone unless he really hated them."

Inuyasha smirked and swung the fang over his head to send it crashing down upon Tokijin once more. Sparks flew and the ground became to cave beneath their feet.

"Well," Miroku cut in, "I can't claim to understand the ways siblings relate, but Sesshoumaru seems to have adapted pretty well to his condition, and he's used it to his advantage several times. The first time I saw him, he'd taken a human arm so he could wield Tetsusaiga," Miroku paused for a moment, then shrugged, "It didn't actually work, but the injury doesn't slow him down, even when he fights without a replacement arm. He is a youkai, after all."

"You just keep spewing the same old bullshit." Inuyasha snarled.

"I dunno," Shippo contended, using one of Kagome's odd expressions, "I'm a youkai and I think that's pretty bad. Besides, they can't get along for anything. Even when they have a common enemy, they fight over who gets to kill him!"

"Give up, before you humiliate us both." Sesshoumaru forced Tetsusaiga off with only a small degree of effort, sheathed Tokijin and proceeded to attack with his Poison Claw.

"He does the same thing when Kouga's around," Sango argued.

"That's just Inuyasha being an overbearing idiot because he's afraid of looking wimpy," Shippo said dismissively, "Besides, even when you compare how Kouga and Inuyasha act around each other and how Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha act around each other, Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha fight worse. And Kouga'snot his brother."

"The only one who's going to be embarrassed is you!" Inuyasha laughed, his eyes flashing with excitement. "All the demons in hell are going to point and laugh when I send you there!"

"Well, I know how Inuyasha is," Sango said, "but what kind of person could really want their own little brother dead?"

A shadow of a smile flitted over the pale youkai's face as he dodged Inuyasha's wild onslaught. "In hell, there is no place for a hanyou. Just as it is in the living world."

Inuyasha rammed Tetsusaiga through the space where Sesshoumaru had been a second ago, right into the base of a very large and very old tree. A quick tug confirmed that it was firmly lodged in place. "Shit," Inuyasha muttered, as he let go of it for the moment to stay out of the way of Sesshoumaru's incoming attack.

A gust of demonic wind threw Inuyasha across the clearing, away from the tree Tetsusaiga was impaled in and toward his human friends. "What the hell?!"

Kagura floated above the battle on her enlarged feather as she silently observed the fighters. Her fingers closed tightly around a small object, which she raised high in the air and hurled at Inuyasha. The hanyou, too surprised to move, brought an arm up to block, and Sango caught a glint of pinkish purple as whatever she had been holding flew through the air and embedded itself in Inuyasha's left forearm.

"Inuyasha! Are you okay?" Shippo called out. Inuyasha picked himself up and turned, and the sight of him stopped them cold. The whites of his eyes had turned red, a pair of ragged scar-like stripes traced his cheekbones, and his claws had elongated far beyond usefulness in anything but killing. Inuyasha, with his youkai blood and Naraku's tainted shikon shards now firmly in control, growled.

And as quickly and mysteriously as she had appeared, Kagura vanished.

"Easy, Inuyasha," Miroku said carefully, holding both hands up in the universally recognized 'I'm not trying to hurt you' gesture, "It's just us, Inuyasha. Are you alright?"

With a bloodthirsty snarl, Inuyasha leapt at Miroku, and came within an inch of ripping his throat out before Sango swung Hiraikotsu right into the youkai's solar plexus. Inuyasha was knocked back, and Miroku forgotten in favor of more interesting prey.

In a set of movements too fast for the monk to even consider interfering, Inuyasha channeled his youki through his claws and lashed out at Sango. Sango managed to shield herself with Hiraikotsu, but the force of the blow knocked her onto her back and propelled her across the ground, leaving a long groove about the width of her back in the dirt. Her right arm gave out on her as she tried to raise her body.

Inuyasha stalked toward Sango, the bright red and cornflower blue of his eyes and pale purple youkai stripes not nearly as terrifying as the small, sadistic smirk that showed off his newly-enhanced fangs. Miroku yelled her name and threw half a dozen ofuda at Inuyasha, but they were brushed off with barely a glance. Sango watched, and time seemed to slow down as Inuyasha stopped just in front of her and cracked his knuckles, then half-crouched in a position she recognized as that of an animal about to pounce. She braced herself for the worst.

Tokijinn hissed through the space Inuyasha had occupied a moment before. Sango gaped for half a second, but she had not survived as long as she had by being weak or slow to act. Inuyasha's attention had been diverted again, and whatever was going to happen now would not be paused for a broken arm. She levered herself up with some assistance from Miroku and surveyed the fight.

This time Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru's positions were reversed, and Sesshoumaru wielded a heavy sword to fend off a more agile attacker. At a glance, Sesshoumaru seemed to be struggling, constantly being pushed back by his younger brother, but nothing came too close, and an experienced eye could see that Sesshoumaru was using much less energy in his blocks than Inuyasha did in his attacks. Still, the idea of tiring Inuyasha out with his youkai blood in control of his body and a handful of shikon shards to fuel him was laughable. Sesshoumaru was delaying Inuyasha, and nothing more.

Sango grimaced. She could feel her adrenaline rush fade without a murderous Inuyasha to spur her on, and the mess Inuyasha had made of her ribs and arm was felt explicitly. Miroku hooked an arm under her elbow for support. Fighting down a blush, Sango brushed him away with a muttered "thanks" and choose to lean on Kirara instead.

"If we can get Tetsusaiga," Miroku said, "maybe we can get him back to himself."

"I-it's still in that tree over there," Sango said. She glanced again at the two brothers. Sesshoumaru was still out-maneuvering him. Putting Sesshoumaru on the defensive would take a lot of power. Just how many shikon fragments had Naraku used? "We need the sword now. I don't think it's a good idea for this to go on."

Shippo, who had been silent and hidden behind Kirara's mane since Inuyasha transformed, squealed in horror and Sango spun around. Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha stood apart, relatively motionless. Inuyasha was stock-still; crouched in a cocky stance and prepared to attack again. Sesshoumaru wavered, holding a hand to the large gash on his face. Blood began to slowly ooze out from between his fingers.

Sango and the rest watched with horror as Inuyasha calmly walked over to Sesshoumaru and with sudden violence picked him up by the shoulder with one hand and stabbed him through the heart with the other. There was a very brief impression of a barrier breaking, but nobody noticed. At any moment Inuyasha was going to realize there were still people he hadn't killed, and Tetsusaiga was now their last chance to stop the berserker.

Inuyasha kicked the corpse a few times, and seemed to decide that Sesshoumaru was dead enough. He turned his attention to the humans.

"Inuyasha!" Miroku yelled as Inuyasha started to make his way over, "Don't move," He raised his cursed hand and held the other ready to release the binding, "I don't want to do this."

Inuyasha sneered, and broke into a sprint. He realized his mistake as soon as the monk's hand was uncovered. Hurricane-force winds sucked him towards the hole in Miroku's hand, and stopped suddenly when Inuyasha tried to turn and run.

Once a safe distance away, Inuyasha growled his annoyance. He tried again, darting towards Miroku, but the sucking winds attacked before he could begin to get close.

"Please," Miroku said, "I don't want to kill you."

Inuyasha glared at Miroku, his eyes promising a slow and painful death. Then he smiled in demonic satisfaction and turned toward Sango instead. The winds weren't fast or close enough to grab him this time. Sango brandished the chipped and rusted katana at the raging youkai. Inuyasha moved to disarm her, but froze when his hand touched the blade. The Seal on the blade flared to life, lighting up the empty eyes. Tetsusaiga quieted, and Inuyasha was himself once more.

Horrified comprehension masked his face as he pulled the sword out of Sango's shaking hands.

Inuyasha looked as if he was about to vomit as his entire body trembled. Slowly, he tore his right hand from the hilt of Tessaiga. Each finger pulled painfully from the mangled katana as he forced the arm away. His left hand still gripped the fang with white-knuckled strength.

Sango hesitantly put a supportive hand on his shoulder, though she looked nearly as shaken as the hanyou.

Inuyasha carefully sliced his left forearm open, and coaxed a handful of bloody purple shards out of his flesh and let them fall to the ground at their feet. After wiping his now hanyou hands on a pant leg, Inuyasha fell to his knees and retched.


Kagome found herself staring at the clock, counting the minutes until the end of classes and the freedom that came with it. She was not alone in this, since the transition back to school after a long break left many students too accustomed to vacation idyll.

"Five minutes," she muttered to herself, pen drumming a frantic-sounding rhythm on her desk, "then one more period to lunch, then just two periods left, and we're out."

"Kagome!" the boy just behind her hissed, "could you stop that?"

"Hm? Oh, sorry." The tapping stopped. Kagome tried to wrap her mind around the algebra problem on the blackboard, but an unconscious sideways glance told her she still had two minutes left. When did she get this impatient?

Finally, the bell rang. Ten seconds late, she noted with an inward grimace. She couldn't help feeling like they were doing this on purpose.

History wouldn't start for a few minutes, since the teacher had to come from the other side of the building, so she spent the extra time standing by the doorway, catching up on some of the school gossip she'd missed while she was away. Hojo, she'd learned, had turned down one of the school's more popular girls in a semi-public setting, and incidentally rumor had it he was gay. Poor guy.

The bell, alternately blessed and cursed by those forced to live by it, rang again, and everyone hurried into his or her seat just as the slightly harried history teacher arrived. Most of the period consisted of a long lecture about influential books and speeches throughout Japanese history, and once that was finished the teacher passed out a pile of stapled packets.

"These are the guidelines for your research project on eighteenth century Japanese literature and how it influencedor reflected on the political situation at the time. It is due exactly a month from now. You will work in pairs, and may use the remainder of the period to meet with your partner and divide up your workload," she announced.

Chairs scraped against the tiled floor as the students rushed to claim a favored friend or unusually good student for a partner and halted at the sounds of the teacher loudly clearing her throat.

"Partners are posted on the bulletin board by the door. They may not be switched or changed in any way except with my express permission." A disappointed moan arose from the class, which was promptly ignored.

On the way to the bulletin board, Kagome was interrupted by a girl with startling di-colored eyes.

"We're partners," she said, and the shock of the odd coloration gave way to familiarity. Kagome had been friends with her in sixth grade, though they had gradually lost contact over the course of time. Kagome hadn't even been aware they were in the same class.

"Risa-" there was a second of indecision; -chan might be too familiar an address after not talking for so long, "-san. How've you been?"

Evidently, this was not the response Risa had been hoping for. "I'm fine," she said, a little put out, "And you?"

"Pretty good," Kagome said, and to cover up her awkwardness, she added, "I like those contacts, by the way. I've never seen anyone wear either of those colors."

"Thanks," Risa said with a small smile, and opened her eyes a little wider, to show them off to their best advantage. Risa was a slight girl with thick close-cropped hair, and Kagome remembered her as being a little shy, a little clingy and not very talkative. She seemed to enjoy the compliment. "They do itch a little, though."

"Well, let's see what we have," Kagome said, rifling through the packet as she did. She let out an involuntary moan. This was going to require a lot of research, and she certainly couldn't use the internet or spend an afternoon in the library while she had to spend most of her time gathering up the pieces of the Shikon no Tama. And the mere thought of carrying around even more books on her trips back to the Sengoku made her back ache. Kagome shook her head. This was not her day.

Risa tilted her head quizzically at Kagome. "It's not that bad. I bet we could get most of the research done this weekend, and the report itself is only seven pages. I could write the whole thing, to keep it simple, and then all that leaves is the oral report and the poster."

Only seven pages? Kagome winced inwardly. Risa was probably used to doing all the work in partner projects, seeing as she offered to so easily, and it wasn't like Kagome really had time to do all that work while she was away fighting youkai. But that was rationalizing. It wasn't fair to take advantage of Risa like that. Even if it would help her out tremendously.

"We could meet at the school library on Saturday," Risa continued, "And then I'll..."

Kagome gave her an embarrassed smile. "I'm not sure I'll be around as long as Saturday. I might have to go somewhere, and... well..." she shrugged, "Stuff happens. I should be around next Saturday." And I will, she thought.

Risa gave Kagome an odd look, and her mismatched eyes didn't make it any less odd. "I hope you don't mind me asking, but it's kind of been bothering me..."

"What?"

"How come, even though you're always out with all those diseases for so long, you never seem frail or anything?"

"Ah... Well..." Kagome stuttered, "It's complicated."

Risa cocked her head in consideration. "It just seems weird. I mean, how could you possibly get Ebola and not have the entire city quarantined for months? And I've never heard of a fifteen year old having arthritis, either."

"Uhh... you see it's..." Kagome searched frantically for an explanation, "My Grandpa gets a little confused. He says it's stuff like Ebola but it's really just my... uh..."

Risa shook her head. "You don't have to tell me. It's none of my business, anyway. People just say funny things."

"Funny things? What do you mean, 'funny things'?"

Risa flinched a little at Kagome's outburst. "Ah..." she started, "It's hardly anything, really. Forget I mentioned it."

Kagome gave her a look, the kind of 'don't even try that' look she'd perfected after spending so much time around a hyperactive kitsune and a domineering hanyou. Risa relented.

"They say you have an older boyfriend who's really possessive and maybe abusive, so much that he doesn't even like you going to school. Supposedly, this guy is the reason you're never in school except for tests, and," Risa scanned the room nervously, as though she thought she was being spied on, and in a low conspiratorial whisper added, "once someone said you were pregnant with his kid, and your family was making excuses because they were ashamed."

Kagome was torn between wanting to scream Inuyasha-esque obscenities out loud and complete shock. "Why... they..." she stammered, then collected herself. "Who said?"

"No one really believes that kind of junk," Risa said in her placating way, "People just like to say it, that's all. It's probably nothing to worry about."

"Who said that I was pregnant?"

Risa looked away, then mumbled, "Ruri Hino. And Megumi Mizuno. And Yahiko Aino. And... well, a lot of people have been saying stuff." She blushed, as though this was somehow her fault.

Kagome groaned. "Oh crap," was all she could say.

"They're just being dumb, Kagome-san. If it helps, I don't believe there is any 'Inuyasha' at all."

Kagome stared. There were only three people she'd ever said that name to, and she thought she could trust them not to blab to everyone in the school. "Thanks, Risa-chan," she said, clenching her fists so hard her knuckles turned white, "I'm sure you're right. It's just stupid shallow stuff anyway. If you could excuse me for just a minute..."

Kagome stood up, walked over to where the unlucky Eri, being the closest, was sitting, and pulled up a chair next to her and her partner.

"Eri-chan, could I talk to you for a second?"

Eri looked up. "Can it wait for after class? I'm kind of in the middle of this, you know."

The bell, as singularly dominating as it always was, rang just then.

"Oh look. It's time for lunch," Kagome said icily, "Let's go find Ayumi-chan and Yuka-chan, and we can go discuss how you didn't tell me that everyone in the school thought I was pregnant."

"I... wh..." Eri composed herself, "I don't know what you mean. Nobody said anything like that to me, at least."

"Bullshit! You're one of the biggest gossips in the school. There's no way you could not know about a rumor like that!" Inuyasha, she would reflect later, was starting to rub off on her.

By this time the other two had stopped waiting outside the doorway and were exchanging nervous glances just inside the threshold. Kagome shot them both dirty looks. "And you had better get over here too, or else I really won't be held responsible for my actions."

"Okay, okay," Eri said, shrinking a little under Kagome's glare, "I just didn't want to worry you, since you were so sick and all. I didn't think you'd find out about it at all, and it would be better to just let somethingstupid like that blow over. That's all Kagome-chan, really."

"Yeah," Ayumi added, "And we're missing lunch. We should probably head down to the courtyard before all the good seats get taken."

Kagome ignored her. "Oh. Okay," she said, still giving Eri the death-glare, but spreading it around a little, "Then why were they also talking about Inuyasha? I know I didn't tell anyone who isn't standing here right now about him, so how, exactly, did the rest of the school learn?"

All three of them suddenly found the floor, the ceiling or the "inspirational" wall posters very intriguing.

"Well?"

None of them said anything. "I can't believe you. I really can't. I'm so... so disgusted I can't even look at you any more. I'll just..." she sighed in irritation and collapsed onto one of the chairs, and slumped over the adjacent desk. Ayumi, Eri and Yuka stood there awkwardly for a little while, half expecting her to start crying or something. Kagome sat there. They left.

Kagome sat up, then stood up. She gathered her things together and walked out the door, only to be greeted by Risa, looking a little embarrassed for watching and asking her if she was okay.

At that moment, Kagome heard another all-too-familiar voice calling her name. Inuyasha could be heard dashing up the hallway, and Kagome was all set to give him a long and thorough reaming for bursting in on her during school when she saw him. Inuyasha's haori was torn and bloody, and the hair on left side of his head was soaked with blood, which was probably related to how he was missing a chunk of his ear. He looked desperate, scared and horrified.

He stopped in front of her. "We have to go. Now."

"Inuyasha what... where did you..."

"Please Kagome," he said, "You have to come. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't important."

"I... ah... okay. I'll go, but I..." Inuyasha's eyes pled. "Okay, I'm coming. Risa, I'm sorry but..." Inuyasha grabbed her by the forearm and pulled her away before she could finish, and looking back Kagome could see Risa's mouth hanging open.

Oh my god, her eyes said, He's real.


"Inuyasha! What's wrong? We're here already. You can let me go now," Kagome said as Inuyasha pulled her through the village, narrowly missing a red and white blur that was probably Kaede.

"What's the big..." Kagome stopped when she felt a strong shikon no tama presence from one of the nearby fields, "There's a shikon shard? Inuyasha. Is this what the big..." Inuyasha tugged her forward a little harder before she could finish.

"If you don't slow down," Kagome admonished as they got closer to the source, "You're going to dislocate my shoulder."

"Sorry," Inuyasha said and get go of her arm. Kagome did a double-take. There must really be something wrong, she thought, if Inuyasha's acting like this.

"It's okay, just tell me what is going on here," Kagome said, walking toward where the shikon shards, because now that she was closer she could tell there were several, lay on the ground. Inuyasha looked at the ground.

Miroku walked over from where he had been putting a white sheet over something on the ground. She crouched down and picked up the shards, dispelling the dark sheen automatically.

"What happened here?" Kagome asked the monk, a little frustration bleeding into her voice. Miroku sighed and started to talk.

"Sesshoumaru came here about half an hour ago. He fought with Inuyasha, and at one point Inuyasha got Tetsusaiga stuck in a tree. I guess Kagura was waiting for something like that, because when he let go of it, she separated him from Tetsusaiga and drove those," he motioned to the shards in her hand, "Into him. Inuyasha lost it, and attacked us, and nearly killed Sango. She's okay," Miroku added quickly, "Just back with Kaede getting treated. Sesshoumaru intervened, but..."

Kagome looked towards where Miroku gestured. A large white sheet covered a human-shaped figure. Blood soaked through the sheet at the head and around the heart. "Oh my god... Inuyasha..."

The one so named finally looked up at her, and she couldn't begin to describe the expression on his face. If it were possible, it seemed like he wanted to crawl beneath the sheet and join the taiyoukai. A heartbeat later, he was almost gone, running towards the forest and away from the scene.

"We got him to hold Tetsusaiga after that," Miroku continued after a pause, "and he's been like that ever since.

Kagome stood there for a moment, looking pensive. "Is it possible," She said slowly, "That Inuyasha could use Tenseiga to bring him back? Sesshoumaru managed to transform Tetsusaiga once, so it could work the other way around."

Miroku shook his head. "Look at this."

He walked over to the body. Gently lifting one side of the sheet away to expose Sesshoumaru's hip and the two swords he wore there, Miroku grasped Tenseiga and carefully pulled it out of its sheath. There was one long, precise lengthwise crack down the center of the sword.


Reviewer responses to the original postings of chapters one and two (by Alma):

Izayoi-hime: As for your point on Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha's relative power levels, did you notice the parts where it said that Inuyasha had several fragments of the Shikon no Tama in his arm? While I realize we never used those exact words, what did you think the "glint of pink-purple" Kagura threw at Inuyasha or "bloody purple shards" he tore open his arm to remove were? I hope I don't have to explain to you that having pieces of the Shikon in their body makes a human or demon much stronger, because that's the driving force behing a heck of a lot of what happens in Inuyasha. I'd like you to go back and read it again, and if it still doesn't make sense, let us know.

As for the Tenseiga one: we're choosing to believe that the way Tenseiga protects Sesshoumaru is by transporting him well away from whatever it was that was going to kill him, and that feature was mostly intended to protect him from Tetsusaiga, since as you yourself pointed out Sesshoumaru is pretty dang strong on his own. Thus, Inuyasha grabbing him by the shoulder and stabbing him through the heart prevented Tenseiga from transporting Sesshoumaru out of danger and saving his life. This is all judging by the episode where Inuyasha figures out how to use the Wind Scar, since neither of us have seen any other episode where Tenseiga does that.

In regards to Shippo's comment, I'll admit that wasn't quite right, and most of that conversation was going to be revised anyway, so that comment is going to be rephrased.

Spelling of Toukijin/Tokijin: "Tokijin" is how it's spelled in the dub, which Misty and myself watch because neither one of us has money to burn on subtitled DVDs or scores of manga. Besides, it's all translated from Japanese characters anyway, so how it's romanized is pretty much random. (Misty says you've obviously never taken any Japanese in your life, (she's taking it now) so shut up and stop your bitching.)

By the way, are you aware that you referred to Inuyasha as "her"? Seeing as you are so picky about canon, I was wondering if maybe you knew something we didn't.

Transcendent: Yes, I promised, and I will when I have time, okay? Not that I really expect to have time to participate much, seeing as the huge evil monstrosity of college admissions is looming like... well, like a big thing that looms. Thanks for pointing out the grammar junk, I don't know how that passed by both of the spell/grammar check and the two of us, but it's gone now. You were only confused about Kagome because you don't watch the show: she goes back and forth from her time and Inuyasha's all the time ("It was routine...", ect.) and usually brings back things like ramen and potato chips and so on. Inuyasha definitely fights better when she's around (he first made Tetsusaiga transform after saying he'd protect her) so it was kind of important.

You should become a hardcore fangirl. It's fun. And it's not our baby in the sense that we're both neurotically hyper-protective of it, but it is a thing that takes a lot of work to bring to its full potential that came into being because we were fooling around a while back.

rachael: It did say corpse, meaning dead body, so he's definitely dead. Sorry 'bout that. Not to say too much, but you might want to stick with it anyway, since Inuyasha characters are funny about death.

Niamh really DID rant : Tell you what: You can call me "Alma" forever if the next chapter of Misery comes out by Friday.

It's too bad you're not familiar with the characters, because in my opinion Inuyasha is one of the most kickass anime series in existence. Not much I can do about it, though, unless you want to find a site with spoilers, but those are kind of dumb. The thing about Kagome going away I explained in Vee's response, so I won't repeat myself.

The way we do this is, in theory, that we alternate writing the rough draft of it and the other one acts as a hyper-beta-reader, but I did the roughs for most of this, so my voice is more dominant here, and I'm the one doing reviewer responses. Don't worry, Misty contributes a little more in the next one.

FairDrea: Thanks for the encouragement! But I have to point out: Misty co-wrote it, so she reserves some credit too, even if she is being lazy on the rough drafts. Maybe you can help me harass her when chapter three is being written. And I don't actually mind it that much if someone points out what they think is a problem with one of my stories. It either means I did something wrong, I didn't make something clear, or I got a review from a moron I can make fun of.

Kakuri: Thanks for the complements.

Insert obligatory request for reviews/attention here.