A Cousin's Twisted Visit

Chapter 1: Down the Well

Kagome climbed out of the well and set her feet on the floor.

"He's so stupid!" she exclaimed. Fuming she walked out of the shrine and headed toward her house, "Inuyasha! What a jerk! That loser doesn't get anything!"

Kagome stomped into her house, "I'm home!" she yelled.

She began to walk upstairs, but before she could her mother dashed into the kitchen, "Kagome you're home! I thought you weren't coming back until Sunday?" said her mother, hugging her.

"Yes, well, Inuyasha was being a jerk. Again," said Kagome, "And besides, it's the last week of school before summer. Final exams are finally here so I might as well study a little extra."

Mrs. Higurashi smiled. She knew that Kagome would want to go back to feudal Japan before the week was up, fight or no fight.

"Oh, I just remembered!" cried Kagome's mother, "You Aunt Kuki called."

"Oh," said Kagome. Her Aunt Kuki had moved to the U.S. about 17 years ago. Kuki had married an American and had a daughter who was about Kagome's age. Kagome had only seen her Aunt Kuki and cousin a few times, but when she had seen them she had liked them a lot. Especially Shanko, her cousin. Shanko was very athletic and last time Kagome had seen her she had started Martial Arts classes, "That's great," Kagome finally blurted out, "How is everyone?"

"They're all good," replied Mrs. Higurashi, "And guess what?"

"What," Kagome was suddenly worried by her mother's jubilant tone.

"Shanko is coming to stay with us over the summer!" said Kagome's mother, excitedly.

"Shanko? Staying here?" asked Kagome, "Mom! She can't! How will I be able to go to feudal Japan and look for Jewel shards with out her noticing?"

"Oh, don't worry about it. I'll come up with something to tell her." Kagome doubted it, but maybe she was wrong. Maybe Shanko really wouldn't notice.

"Why is she coming anyway?" asked Kagome, suddenly curios, "We usually only get to see each other at holidays or special occasions."

The last time Kagome had gotten to see her cousin had been about a year ago for Aunt Kuki's 40th birthday.

"Well at her school they get some kind of extra credit if they visit a foreign country over the summer and keep a journal about their visit.

Kagome nodded, "Gotcha. I'm gonna go upstairs and take a shower OK?" but before her mother could answer Kagome took off to her room and slammed the door.

0o0o0o0o

The next day after school Kagome told her friends about her cousin's visit.

"She's from America? Wow, Kagome. You better watch out," said one of Kagome's friends.

"Huh? What do you mean?" asked Kagome, confused.

"She means," said another friend, "That she could one you up."

"Yeah," said Kagome's third friend, "I've seen those American movies. There are lots of pretty girls over there that are so mean, it's crazy."

Kagome groaned, "Guys, she's not like that! I have met her before. I'd know if she were some kind of be-otch."

"When was the last time you saw her?" asked the first friend.

"Last year," said Kagome, uneasily.

"Well, she could have changed," replied the second friend smoothly, "When is she getting here anyway?"

Kagome sighed, "Saturday. She's staying all summer ya know."

Kagome's friends continued to question and pester her as they walked home. They offered advice and told her about movies to watch for reference. They even made up plans on how to get rid of Shanko before the summer was ended.

Finally Kagome had had enough, "She is not a be-otch OK! She is nice and athletic and I like her and I plan to spend a lot of the summer with her! So just leave her alone!"

With that she stomped off, fists clenched, leaving her friends in shock.

'First Inuyasha, now my friends! God, why is everybody acting so... so... idiotic?'

0o0o0o0o

On Saturday Kagome woke up to a knocking on her door.

"Kagome," a slightly muffled voice called, "Are you up?"

"I am now," mumbled Kagome, rubbing her eyes.

"It's 10:30! We have to pick Shanko up at the airport in a hour, so get ready."

"10:30! Oh man, I slept in," as Kagome tried to get out of bed her foot caught on a sheet and she tumbled to the floor wrapped in blankets and pillows, "I hope that's not a sign of things to come."

Kagome walked over to her closet and opened it. She shoved aside her school uniform. She was so sick of it. She pulled out a white T-shirt and a dark blue sheath skirt. After she had put those on she pulled out a matching blue button up shirt and put it over her T-shirt. She buttoned one button in the middle so that she could see the white underneath. She brushed her hair and pulled on white sneakers. Then Kagome walked over to the bombsite that was her bed and she began to set it.

Forty-five minutes later Kagome was at the airport waiting with her brother and mom for Shanko to arrive.

"What's taking her so long?" asked Sota, Kagome's little brother.

"Oh, stop whining," said Kagome, even though she was getting a little impatient herself.

"Have patience Sota. Shanko has to show her passport and go through customs and-"but before she could finish Sota cried out, "There she is!"

Kagome looked up to see a girl about her age. She had light brown hair and natural blonde highlights and 2 blond strands of hair hanging down the sides of her face. The rest of her hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Her skin was creamy and her nose and cheeks were splashed with light freckles. Her eyes were brown and she had thick lashes. She was about as tall as Kagome. She wore white capri pants and a lime green short sleeved sweater. On her feet were white and blue tennis shoes and she had a small dark blue sports bag hanging off one shoulder.

Just then Shanko caught sight of them, "Kagome! Sota!" and she ran up to them. She gave Sota a quick hug first. Then she turned to Kagome, "It's so good to see you!" and they hugged.

"It's great to see you too," said Kagome, 'Wow, she's grown a bit since the last time I saw her.'

Suddenly she felt a strange energy coming from Shanko. It was similar to what she felt when she sensed a piece of the Sacred Jewel. She ignored it. It's not like Shanko was going with Kagome to feudal Japan or something. (That's what she thinks mu ha ha ha.)

The two girls stopped hugging and Shanko turned to Mrs. Higurashi, "Thank you for letting me stay with you this summer," said Shanko.

"It's not trouble at all. I'm glad you could come Shanko," said Mrs. Higurashi.

"Oh, please, call me Shawn. Shanko sounds a little too formal for me," said Shawn.

"All right. So how was your flight?"

"It was OK. I brought CD's and books and stuff so it wasn't boring or anything," said Shawn, turning to Kagome, "We have so much to catch up on."

"Well let's catch up with the rest of your luggage first," said Kagome. The girls giggled and stared walking towards the luggage trolley.

0o0o0o0o

Later that night Kagome and Shawn were in Kagome's room talking about school and activities they were involved in. Shawn had decided to sleep on the floor of Kagome's room in a sleeping bag on an air mattress. Shawn had also set up a couple of pictures of friends and one of her parents on Kagome's desk where they wouldn't be in the way.

While they had been talking Kagome had learned that Shawn had joined the swim team and was excelling in her Martial Arts classes. She was a red belt now.

During their conversation Kagome had picked up more than just facts about Shawn. She kept feeling that strange energy. She tried to push the thoughts from her mind, but was having trouble.

'God Kagome stop thinking about it,' told herself, 'Nothing will happen and then you're going to feel really stupid.'

After a while the two girls stopped talking and were about to fall asleep.

Suddenly Kagome's window opened (it just so happened to be right above Shawn's head) and in climbed Inuyasha. He didn't notice anyone lying on the floor and as he stepped into the room he accidentally stepped on Shawn's hair. (And we girls know that that actually does hurt)

"Ow!" cried Shawn now wide awake, "What the-"

"Ahhhh!" cried Inuyasha and he fell on top of Shawn, "What the hell?"

"Get off me!" yelled Shawn

"Inuyasha!" shouted Kagome, finally realizing what was happening, "What are you doing here?" she asked reaching over to her bedside table to turn on her lamp.

"You know this guy?" asked Shawn, who had managed to shove Inuyasha off.

"Yeah," said Kagome, "He's a friend form, ugh, school."

"What?" said Inuyasha, "Hold it. What's going on?"

There was a knock on the door, "Kagome. Shawn. Are you two all right? I heard a lot of shouting," called Kagome's mother through the door.

"Yeah. We're fine. Shawn was having a nightmare and I fell out of bed on top of her. No biggy," called Kagome.

"OK. Goodnight girls."

"Night mom."

As soon as Kagome was sure that her mother had left she made introductions, "Inuyasha, Shawn. She's my cousin and she's staying over the summer. Shawn, Inuyasha."

"Hey," said Shawn. She was still freaked out that a guy she didn't know had climbed in through a window and stepped on her hair.

"Yeah, hi, whatever," said Inuyasha. He had other things on his mind. He needed to be alone with Kagome so he could give her a piece of his mind.

"Uh, Inuyasha, can I talk to you privately?" asked Kagome.

"I thought you'd never ask," said Inuyasha.

"We'll be right back."

"Don't' worry about me," said Shawn, "Take your time."

"Thanks," said Kagome and she dragged Inuyasha out of her room, down the hall and into her bathroom. She locked the door and turned around, "What are you doing here?"

"Coming to get you stupid," said Inuyasha frustrated, "You've been gone for a week. What is the hold up?"

"I had final exams this week and you," said Kagome.

"Me? What about me? What did I do?"

"What did you do? You acted like a jerk. I'm tired of you getting in my face all the time! And you'll have to get used to me being gone, because Shawn is staying for the summer and I can't spend all of my time in feudal Japan with her here!"

"What? You have to come back! We can't find shards without you and you know it!"

"Look, I'll try to get back tomorrow. Monday at the latest, but I can't make any promises."

"Feh. Fine. But if you aren't back on Monday I'll come here and drag you back."

"Fine," Kagome turned to unlock the door, but turned back, "And leave through the door this time," and with that she opened the door and walked back to her room, leaving Inuyasha to let himself out.

"What was that all about?" asked Shawn when Kagome came back into her room.

"We are, ugh, working on a summer history project together and, ugh, he didn't like our topic so he came to talk about changing it," Kagome lied.

"He came at 11:00 at night and in clothes they wore, like 300 years ago?" asked Shawn. There was something fishy about all of this.

"Those were his pajamas. And, ugh, his family is very old fashioned and they make him talk as soon as something occurs."

"And he couldn't use the phone?"

"He doesn't have one. Again, old fashioned and I mean old," Kagome smiled, hoping that Shawn would believe her.

"And he came through your window?"

"He said he didn't want to wake anyone up."

"He sure woke me up," said Shawn, "I think he's a little weird."

"Yeah, well, you know guys these days," Kagome gave a little laugh.

Shawn sensed something in Kagome's voice, "Are you guys going out?" she asked suspiciously.

"What? Oh, God no," said Kagome, "I don't even have a crush on him. He is so not my type."

"Just asking. Even though he is weird," she paused, "Really weird actually, he is kinda cute," she smiled slyly.

"You can have him," said Kagome and she yawned, "Well, good-night."

"Night," Shawn yawned and lay down and was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

'Boy,' thought Kagome, 'This is going to be a long summer.'

0o0o0o0o

On Sunday Kagome gave Shawn a tour of the house during the afternoon. That day, Shawn was wearing jeans, a blue and white jersey styled T-shirt with the number 18 on it, and her tennis shoes. She had her hair tied up in a ponytail again. Kagome was wearing a black skirt that poofed out a little when she twirled and hung down slightly past her knees. Her T-shirt was white and it had a black stripe going across the chest. She had on her white sneakers again.

They were just about done when Shawn pointed to the old shrine, "What's that?" she asked.

"Oh it's just an old shrine thing," said Kagome hoping Shawn wouldn't care about it anymore.

"What's inside?" asked Shawn, as she started walking toward it.

"Nothing really. Just an old well. How about we go have a snack or something?" Kagome tried to pull her toward the house, but Shawn shrugged off her grip and walked into the shrine.

'Oh, man,' thought Kagome, 'Wait. Why am I so worried? It's not like she can get through to feudal Japan or anything," Kagome followed Shawn inside.

"Hey!" cried Kagome when she looked in, "What are you doing?"

"Just sitting," answered Shawn. She was on the edge of the well and leaning backwards, "Holding yourself like this can actually strengthen certain muscles."

"Get down before you fall!"

"Oh don't be such a worry wart," said Shawn as Kagome stared walking towards the well, "I-," but before she could say anything she lost her balance and fell, "Ahhhhhh!" she screamed.

"Shawn!" called Kagome, running towards the well, "Shawn," she looked down into the black depths. She could just make out the bottom and Shawn wasn't there, "Oh no."

Kagome ran into her house as fast as she could and grabbed her overstuffed backpack, "I'm going to the feudal era," she called to her mom.

"What about Shawn? I thought-" Kagome's mother started to say.

"She's coming with me," said Kagome and before her mother could say anything else Kagome had run out the door.

'This explains that strange energy,' thought Kagome as she jumped down the well, 'Shawn I hope you're OK.'

0o0o0o0o

"Ahhhhh!" screamed Shawn as she fell down the well. Suddenly it felt like she was falling through water and she stopped screaming.

'Huh?' she thought as she gently landed on the bottom, 'But this well is dry.'

"Weird," she muttered, "Hey Kagome! You up there? I'm all right," no answer, "Kagome?" silence, "Hmm. I guess she must have run to get her mom or something," and she began to climb up.

When she got out of the well she looked around, "What the heck? Where am I? What's going on?" Shawn asked the air in a worried voice, "I'm not in the shrine anymore!"

"Hey! What the hell are you doing here?" said a familiar voice from behind her.

Shawn turned around, "You! Your Kagome's friend right?" then she thought, 'He is really cute.'

"Yeah. Now answer my question," said Inuyasha

Shawn, who normally would have been very irritated with someone who was being so rude, was just glad to see someone she recognized. Even if she only knew their name, "I was at Kagome's and I fell down a well and I climbed out and I was here," now she grew testy, "I didn't come here of my own free will, if that's what is upsetting you so much," she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Feh. Well, Kagome had better show up soon, 'cause I'm not playing baby-sitter all afternoon. Or what's left of it," said Inuyasha walking closer to the well to peer down, looking for signs of Kagome.

"Someone's got an attitude problem," said Shawn. If they were gonna play this attitude game she was bringing out her worst as well, "And for your information, I don't' need a baby-sitter. Haven't needed one for 5 years. So if it bugs you so much then you can just leave me alone, because I can take care of myself."

'Well, she certainly has a mind of her own. She doesn't seem to want, and by the smell of her, need any protection. I think I may get to like her,' thought Inuyasha.

Just then Shawn noticed Inuyasha's dog-ears (finally), "What are those?" she reached out and stroked one.

"Hey, cut that out!" Inuyasha knocked her arm out of the way, 'Why does everyone have to do that?' he thought.

Finally, Kagome showed up, "Shawn? Are you here?" she called, climbing out of the well.

"Yeah. And so is your friend Inuyasha," said Shawn, "By the way, what is he doing here? And you? And where are we?"

"Uh, well, about that," said Kagome uneasily, "Sit down. This is going to take a while, "and with that Kagome started telling the long story about, well everything really. Inuyasha was surprisingly patient.

"Please pinch me hard, so that I know I am not dreaming, delirious, or crazy," said Shawn, holding out her arm.

"OK. If you want," and Kagome pinched her.

"Ow! OK I know I fine now, because that really hurt," said Shawn rubbed her arm.

"I know it's hard to believe," said Kagome, "But you get used to it."

"Get used to it? Am I staying?" asked Shawn.

"Well, you're here and Inuyasha won't let me go back-"

"Got that right," interrupted Inuyasha.

"Point is," continued Kagome, pretending she hadn't been interrupted, "You can stay if you want, but you need to be very, very, very careful. There is kind of a constant death threat. But I guess you get used to that, too."

"OK now that we have just heard the history of everything can we go to the village? I'm starving and I can smell something cooking at Kaede's," Inuyasha suddenly put in.

They started towards the village.

"Is he always so cranky?" asked Shawn. The 2 girls were slightly behind Inuyasha.

"Yeah, pretty much," said Kagome.

"I heard that," Inuyasha called over his shoulder.

When they reached the village they walked to Kaede's house.

Kagome knocked on the door, "Kaede it's us. May we come in?"

"Just a moment," called Kaede. They heard padding feet cross over to the door and it slid open, "Good evening Kagome. I was hoping ye-" she stopped and looked at Shawn, "Kagome! Get away from that girl!"

"What?" asked Kagome, confused.

Kaede shoved past Kagome and knocked Shawn to the ground, "How did you come back? I killed ye long ago."

"Come back? What?" Shawn was confused and frightened.

"No matter. I can kill ye again!" Kaede began speaking in a foreign tongue.

"The old bat's finally lost," said Inuyasha.

"Kaede, NO!" Kagome finally reacted and stepped in front of Shawn, "Kaede, there must be some mistake. This is not who ever you think it is. This is my cousin Shawn. She came down the well with me."

"The well? How can that be so? Only ye and Inuyasha can pass through the bone-eaters well," Kaede had finally stopped whatever spell she was about to do. Inuyasha was helping Shawn up.

"She goes a little nuts sometimes," Inuyasha whispered to Shawn. She smiled a little. She was still somewhat shaken from the old woman's sudden outburst.

"Forgive me child," said Kaede. She suddenly seemed older and frailer, "I thought ye were someone else. Come inside."

The three followed Kaede into her small house. Miroku, Sango, and Shippou were sitting around a short dining table.

"Kagome you're back!" called Shippou as he jumped into Kagome's arms.

"Kaede, is everything all right outside? We heard a lot of shouting," inquired Sango.

"Everything's fine. There was just a bit of a-" Kagome answered for Kaede, "Misunderstanding."

"Who's that?" asked Shippou seeing Shawn stand near the door. Everyone stood and came over and waited for introductions to be made.

"Everybody, this is Shawn. She's my cousin and she is visiting me this summer. Somehow she got through the well," said Kagome, "Shawn, this is Sango, Miroku, and Shippou," she pointed to each one in turn, "And the little cat demon in the coroner is Kilala," she pointed to sleeping Kilala.

"Hi," said Shawn walking into the room a little more.

"Hello," said Miroku, "It's quite a pleasure to meet you," he shook her hand and his eyes moved up and down Shawn's slender figure.

"Same," said Shawn, slightly embarrassed by the attention the monk was giving her.

"Hi," said Sango, butting in to save Shawn from further embarrassment, "I agree that it is nice to meet you," she paused, "Ok that sounded weird." The girls laughed. (I couldn't think of anything better to say. Sorry.) Then Sango leaned over and whispered, "By the way, watch out for his hands," meaning Miroku, of course.

Shawn laughed a little more. Then everyone sat around the table. Shawn was seated between Kagome and Inuyasha.

Kaede set down small plates of rice and fish, " I am sorry that I do not have more."

"That's all right Kaede. If I had known everyone would be here I would have brought something," said Kagome, as Kaede took her place at the head of the table and everyone began to eat.

Halfway through the meal Shawn asked a question that had been bugging her, "Kaede, who did you think I was out there?"

Sango, Shippou, and Miroku looked confused.

"I'll tell you about it later," said Kagome.

Kaede sighed and pushed away her meal, "I thought ye were Harashi."

"Who?" asked Kagome.

"Harashi," repeated Kaede, "About 10 years after Kikyou's death a girl came to me. She was young, beautiful, athletic. She wanted to be a priestess. I wasn't sure about it at first, but I took her in and taught her anyway. I taught her about the sacred jewel and how to heal and how to protect the village. She was very skilled with the staff. At first she was very diligent, not straying form healing, but slowly after a while she began to look towards black magics. She looked through scrolls that I had purposefully hidden away. One day Harashi accused me of holding her back, not teaching her everything I could for fear of her becoming more powerful than myself. She threw a forceful spell at me that I was not prepared for. She fled when I had fallen, burning homes and crops as she went. I didn't see her again for another 2 years.

"One day, she came back. She was darker and more powerful than before. Though I did not know it then, I am sure now that Naraku helped her gain that power. Trained her, perhaps, in the ways of evil. We fought for 2 days strait. I thought the battle would never end. Finally when I was almost at the end of my strength, Harashi had a moment where she was not paying attention and was not careful. She let her protection drop for a moment, but that was all I needed. I shot her with one of my arrows. It pierced her heart and broke her magic. If the arrow did not kill her, the force of the dark magic leaving her body did. When she died a powerful Miasma erupted from her body. It almost killed me, but somehow I survived," Kaede had finished her tale, "And that is who I thought ye were. You are identical to her. Ye must be a reincarnation of her as Kagome is of Kikyou."

"Hold on," said Shawn, "How could I be a evil sorceresses or whatever's reincarnation. I'm not evil. At least, I don't think I am."

"Maybe ye are not a reincarnation in spirit, but ye are in soul and body," answered Kaede, "Ye posses her beauty, her power, probably her talents. Be warned, because ye posses her looks, the villagers may be uneasy around ye. Some were children when she was alive."

"You gonna eat that?" Inuyasha asked Shawn, pointing to her unfinished rice. She rolled her eyes and shoved it toward him.

"Will Shawn become evil or something?" asked Kagome, worriedly.

"Nay. Unless she wishes to. Ye are a reincarnation of Kikyou, yet ye are 2 very different people. Shawn posses, as all humans do, the ability to choose one's path," explained Kaede. Kagome nodded in response, "However, I would like to test ye, Shawn."

"Test me?" asked Shawn confused.

"Aye. If ye are indeed the reincarnation of Harashi, ye maybe able to wield a staff as Kagome can wield bow and arrows like Kikyou,' said Kaede, "Will ye accept the test?"

Shawn thought for a minute, 'I hope this test doesn't have anything to do with possible death threats,' finally she answered, "I will. I accept your test."

"Then let us go outside. I have no room in here," they walked outside, "Inuyasha," said Kaede.

"Yeah what?" he asked.

"I need ye to perform the test. I cannot move as I used to," said Kaede.

"But why me?" asked Inuyasha

"Because you're the strongest," said Shippou, "Even I could figure that on out."

"Fine," grumbled Inuyasha in response.

When everyone was positioned outside Kaede handed Shawn and Inuyasha staffs.

"What is the test anyway?" inquired Shawn.

"Ye must beat Inuyasha in a staff fight."

"What?" cried Shawn. Kagome had told her about Inuyasha's demon speed. Then she saw the content look on his face, 'I can't let him think he's better than me,' she thought, 'Even if he is cute,' her pride would never allow such a thing, "All right then. Bring it on," her hands moved so one was facing upward as it held the staff and the other was facing downward.

Inuyasha walked in front of Shawn and stood about five feet away, "Ready," he asked, trying to scare her.

"I was born ready," she said, matching the hanyou's tone.

'Boy,' thought Inuyasha, 'doesn't shake easy, does she?'

"Go!" cried Kaede.

Chapter 2: Two fights

Inuyasha lunged at Shawn, swinging his staff above his head. As he brought it down to strike Shawn through her staff over her head in a block. There was a clash of wood on wood. Then Shawn brought her staff down on one side and hit Inuyasha lightly on his side. Inuyasha spun around with his staff aimed for Shawn's side, but she dodged and hit it away. Inuyasha spun again. He went with the direction that Shawn had hit his staff in and tried to strike her again. She jumped back and Inuyasha's staff grazed her stomach. Then she lunged and poked Inuyasha in the ribs. She tried to bring the back end of the staff down to hit Inuyasha's shin, but he blocked.

Suddenly, as fast as a gunshot, Shawn swung her the opposite end of her staff at his feet and tripped him. Inuyasha rolled so that his legs collided with Shawn's feet and she fell to the ground. Her staff flew from her hands. As Inuyasha started to get up, she kicked his staff out of his hands. Then she got up and darted to where her staff lay on the ground. She picked it up and turned around and just barely managed to block a swing to her side. Then Inuyasha tried to shove the middle of his staff into Shawn's gut, but she reacted with lightening speed and she blocked. The two shoved their strength into their staffs and tried to force the other down.

"Tired yet?" panted Inuyasha.

"I'm just getting warmed up," gasped Shawn in reply. With that Shawn flipped her staff forward and the tip dove down between Inuyasha and his staff. She wrenched her staff back toward her and Inuyasha's went flying from his hands. Shawn struck his shin, causing him to fall to one knee and she pushed the tip of her staff to his throat. The fight was over.

"Tired yet?" asked Shawn as the others walked over to them. Shawn took her staff away from Inuyasha's throat and he stood up, looking rather annoyed I might add.

"Wow, Shawn, that was amazing," said Kagome.

"I must agree. It was quite a display of skill," said Miroku.

"Have you ever used a staff before?" asked Sango.

"A few times, back home, in my Martial Arts classes," said Shawn.

"Skill? You call that skill?" said Inuyasha, tired of everyone praising the girl, "That was luck."

"I wasn't the one with a staff at my throat," Shawn shot back.

"Feh!" was the only response Inuyasha could come up with, "Whatever," he walked away and jumped into a tree.

"Oh don't mind him," said Kagome, pulling Shawn back towards Kaede's house, "He's kinda moody. Don't worry he'll get over it."

"If you say so," replies Shawn, looking over her shoulder at the frustrated hanyou.

"Ye did well Shawn," said Kaede, once everyone was back in the house.

"Thanks," she replied, "I'm not sure how I did so well though. I've never been in a staff fight before and we only worked with them in Martial Arts for about a month. And we never fought each other. We just practiced certain moves.

"It is a talent," said Kaede, wisely, "A gift that is contained within Harashi's soul. A gift contained in yourself."

"So you mean I'm just naturally good?"

"Try naturally excellent," said Kagome. Shawn blushed.

0o0o0o0o

As the night slowly grew darker and colder, Inuyasha sat in the tree.

"Humph. She isn't that good. I just got cocky. That's all, I just slipped up. She doesn't have that much skill," whined Inuyasha to himself.

'But if she's not that good how come you could barely hit her?' asked a voice in the back of Inuyasha's mind.

"Luck. It was all luck," Inuyasha tried to convince himself and the voice.

For a while he just sat there, brooding. Finally he said, "Oh man. Who am I fooling? She has skill and I know it. Oh well, its not like anyone else will ever know. It's not like I use a staff everyday. If I could have used Tetsuaiga (I don't know if that's spelled right or not) she wouldn't have had a chance," he said. Then he unsheathed his sword as if to comfort himself.

Inuyasha looked up, back at Kaede's house just to see the light inside go off.

"I guess I could train for few minutes," he said. Training and fighting with Tetsuaiga was something Inuyasha enjoyed very much. He jumped down form the tree and began stabbing, slicing, and killing invisible enemies. Slowly his few minutes dragged into a half-hour. Then a whole hour.

That's when he heard a noise. It was the sound of padding feet and slow easy breathing. Inuyasha sniffed the air, then relaxed.

"What do you want?" he asked.

"Nothing," said Shawn, "I just couldn't sleep and I knew you were still out here."

"I'm not in a chatting mood," said Inuyasha indignantly, still wielding Tetsuaiga.

"I didn't say I wanted to chat did I?"

"Then what do you want?"

"I just wanted to watch you train. Is that so wrong? I fight too ya know. And fighters learn from watching other fighters," said Shawn, irritably.

"Fine. Watch all you want."

"God, can anyone talk to you without you getting all huffy?"

"If it upsets you so much than leave me alone!"

"Fine!" with that she turned and back into Kaede's house.

'Great,' thought Shawn, 'You can't even talk to him without getting into an argument.'

Chapter 3: A Race and a Wound

On Monday, the group, not including Kaede of course, set out to look for more Jewel Shards. They were almost out of the village when an old man shouted at them.

"It's Harashi! She's come back!" he cried. He picked a pitchfork and brandished it at them, "Leave, ye murdering sorceress!"

"No, no. I'm not Harashi! I-" Shawn tried to say, but Inuyasha took over.

"Shut up old man! She ain't no sorceress and we're leaving anyway, so go back to your farming and stay out of our way!" he yelled at the man. The man recognized Inuyasha and he retreated with out a word.

"Thanks," said Shawn.

"Yeah, whatever," replied Inuyasha and he started walking again. Shawn hurried to catch up with him, leaving the other members of the group a few feet behind.

"Um listen. I'm sorry about last night," she said.

"It's fine. Forget about it," Inuyasha said in return. He wanted to be alone. Shawn took the hint and slowed a little so she could walk with Kagome and Sango.

"So what was that all about?" asked Sango, nodding her head at Inuyasha.

"Ugh, we had an argument last night. It was nothing really," answered Shawn, hoping it really was nothing. For a while they walked in silence. Kagome watched Shawn's face. Her eyes kept flitting to Inuyasha.

"You have a crush on him don't you?" Kagome said slyly to Shawn.

Shawn was startled, "A crush? Me? On Inuyasha? Ugh well, um-" she never really got to answer.

"She does," said Sango with a smile on her face.

"I don't see how I can hide it anymore," said Shawn, looking at the ground. The other girls giggled.

"What's so funny?" asked Miroku, coming up behind the girls.

"You know they won't tell you," said Shippou he was sitting on Miroku's shoulder.

Miroku sighed, "Oh the mysteries of women."

"Well it's none of your business," said Shawn.

"Really?" inquired Miroku. His hand started moving down the small of her back.

Shawn whipped out the staff that had been strapped to her back (like a quiver full of arrows might be), turned, struck Miroku's hand with it and then pointed the tip at his chest, "Don't touch me, unless you want many, many bruises. Clear?"

Miroku just nodded.

"Good," said Shawn, taking the staff point away from his chest, but she didn't put it away.

0o0o0o0o

That evening when the sun started to set, the group stopped and set up camp by a small lake. There was a group of willow trees next to the lake and they put out their blankets under its curtain of leaves. The small lake also had a small waterfall that was about 20 feet up. The water was somewhat warm so Kagome pulled a bathing suit out of her backpack. The girls took turns putting it on and bathing in the waterfall. Shawn went last. When she had finished scrubbing the dirt off of her body she swam a few laps around the pool of water.

Inuyasha watched Shawn make slow strokes and small kicks, 'She's kinda pretty,' he thought, 'Maybe a little more than kinda,' he frowned at his own thoughts, 'What the hell am I thinking? I hardly know her. Maybe I've been hanging around with Miroku too much.'

Just then Shawn noticed Inuyasha watching her slow progress, "What?" she asked.

"Goin' kinda slow ain't ya?" he called sarcastically.

"I could go faster if I wanted to. I am on a swim team you know," she replied hotly as she treaded water.

"Yeah right," Inuyasha was purposefully trying to provoke her now.

"Fine. If I'm so slow then race me," she challenged.

Inuyasha grinned, "All right. But don't cry too much when I beat ya," he stood up and took off his shirt.

'Whoa,' thought Shawn. Then, 'What am I thinking? I may have a crush on him but-. Bad Shawn! Bad Shawn!' she swam to the edge of the lake. Inuyasha gracefully dove in. The others watched the 2 get ready to start.

"Kagome! Tell us when to go," called Shawn.

"All right," Kagome answered, "On your mark. Get set. GO!" and they took off. At first Inuyasha seamed to be in the lead, but when they reached the other side of the lake and turned around Shawn started to catch up.

"Go Shawn!"

"You can do it!" the two girls on the shore cheered.

"Come on Inuyasha!" called Miroku.

"Don't let that girl beat you!" shouted Shippou. The two raced with all of their strength. They were neck and neck. They were almost at the end!

Suddenly, there was a great cry and a giant bird swooped at the swimmers, throwing them across the small lake. Then it turned to come back. It dove at Shawn and she screamed as it picked her up out of the water with its sharp talons.

"Shawn!" cried Kagome.

"Help!" screamed Shawn.

Inuyasha leapt out of the water, "Oh no you don't," he bellowed as he jumped at the great bird, "Iron rebar soul stealer!" he clawed at the bird and killed it. As it fell Shawn fell out of it's clutch and she screamed. But Inuyasha leapt again and caught her bridal style. He landed more gently than Shawn would have expected and he walked over to the others, still holding her.

'Wow,' thought Shawn, looking into his eyes, 'He's really strong.'

When they reached the group, he slowly set her down. He almost didn't want to.

"Shawn are you all right?" asked Kagome, very worried.

"Are you hurt?" asked Sango.

"That was one big bird," said Shippou.

"Yes, but where'd it come from?" said Miroku.

"I can guess," said Inuyasha in a steely tone.

"You think it was Naraku?" asked Miroku.

"Who else?"

Just then Shawn cried out, "My back," she gasped, as her knees started to give out.

Kagome looked and there in the center of Shawn's back was a long gash, "Oh no," she said, "We have to get that cleaned up. Sango get the first aid kit out of my backpack."

"Right," and Sango ran to their things.

"Ok, let's get her under the willow trees, where we can't be seen. Miroku, Shippou, help Sango get our stuff under there. Inuyasha, help me get her to her sleeping pad," Kagome gave out orders as if she were a captain on a ship.

"Right," said Inuyasha, as he wrapped his arm under Shawn's shoulder and supported her as they walked under the curtain of leaves, "How come she didn't point it out before?"

"She was in shock. You would be too, if a giant bird just swooped out of no where and tried to carry you off," said Kagome. Then re-thinking what she had just said, "Well, maybe not you," she said as they lay Shawn on a mat, "Be careful! And for God's sake put a shirt on."

Inuyasha just nodded and ran back to where his shirt lay.

"How come you - had to - spoil every – thing?" Shawn joked in between gasps. She was trying very hard to hold back tears of pain. She tried to smile.

Finally Sango, Miroku, and Shippou came back carrying all of their things. Kilala was dragging Shawn's clothes. Sango handed Kagome the first aid kit.

"Shawn, I'm gonna clean this up now, OK?" said Kagome.

"Kagome, I'm not a kid. Stop talking to me like one. Just do what you need to do," gasped Shawn, "But hurry up, 'cause this hurts like hell."

Kagome let the faintest smile crawl onto her lips as she helped Shawn sit up.

"Inuyasha, Miroku, Shippou, leave," ordered Kagome. They did.

Kagome pulled out bandages, cotton, and disinfectants and helped Shawn take off her bathing suit. Shawn pulled a blanket up to cover her bare body as Kagome cleaned the wound. Luckily it was a shallow cut. When it was clean Kagome wrapped it with bandages. When she had finished Sango helped Shawn put on her shirt as Kagome went outside to wash her hands.

"Is she gonna be all right?" asked Inuyasha with concern in his voice.

"Yeah I think so. I did the best I could," said Kagome and as she walked down to the small lake Inuyasha followed her.

When she bent down to wash her hands Inuyasha asked, "What does she think of me?"

"Huh?" asked Kagome.

"What does Shawn think of me?" he repeated.

"Uh, well. She likes you and thinks you're nice and a good fighter," said Kagome, not sure if she should say more, "Why do you want to know," she stood up, wiping her hands on her skirt.

Inuyasha looked startled, "None of your business! I was just wondering!"

"Right," Kagome mumbled as Inuyasha turned to walk back to the trees, 'He has a crush on her. Or thinks she's attractive anyway,' thought Kagome and she smiled.

Chapter 4: Miroku Spoils It

That night Shawn tossed and turned in an uneasy sleep. A white baboon faded in and out of her dreams.

"Harashi," it whispered and Shawn felt her body go toward the creature unwillingly.

"No," heard Inuyasha between whimpers and groans. He was the only one awake and he could hear Shawn having nightmares. He could feel her twisting and turning beside him. He stared at her.

'What is she dreaming about?' he thought, 'Must be having some kind of nightmare. I wonder if I should wake her up.'

For a while longer he watched her. Finally she stopped tossing and turning and mumbling, but her brows were knitted together.

'Guess, she's OK now,' Inuyasha thought. He slowly reached out his hand and stroked her hair, 'It's so soft,' he thought.

"Inuyasha?" he heard his name and he snatched his hand back, "What are you doing?" asked Kagome.

"Nothing!" he said.

"Right. No really, what were you doing?"

"None of your business!" and he stood up and walked out of the leafy shelter.

Kagome shook her head, 'Oh yeah, he really has a crush on her.'

0o0o0o0o

Outside Inuyasha took out Tetsuiga and trained. HE tried to get Shawn off of his mind.

'Why do I feel this way?' he thought, 'What's wrong with me? Why can't I stop thinking about her? I can't be falling in love with her! I just met her like 2 days ago.'

'Then why is she on you mind all the time?' asked the annoying voice in the back of his head, 'Why did you stroke her hair?' it taunted.

0o0o0o0o

Suddenly under the trees Shawn sat up, fully awake, and cried out, "Inuyasha!" she was covered in a cold sweat and was breathing heavily.

'What was I dreaming about?' she tried to remember. There was a white baboon. Naraku. The baboon was Naraku. And Inuyasha; he was there. They were fighting, right? And something about Harashi. Her memory was fuzzy and clouded, 'Hey where is Inuyasha anyway?' and then she heard the swish of Tetsuiga.

Shawn got up and tied her hair back up and out of her face. She peeked out between the hanging branches of the willow tree. There he was. Slashing, swinging, twirling, stabbing. He looked so strong, so unafraid. Shawn sighed watching him.

Inuyasha heard her sigh. Demon, even half demon, ears don't miss much, "Come to watch the show or are we talking this time?"

"That depends on the topic of conversation," Shawn said as she walked out into the open.

"How about your nightmare?" Inuyasha said, sheathing Tetsuiga, "What were you dreaming about you were tossing and moaning in your sleep."

Oh no. Had she really been keeping him up? Is that why he was out here, 'Should I tell him about my dream?' she wondered, "Uh yeah, a nightmare," she scratched the back of her neck so in wouldn't look unatural when she looked away, "Don't laugh, but it was you and Naraku and you were fighting. I can't remember much, but I think Naraku said something about the power of Harashi."