Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or his ears, which is just darn depressing.

This fiction is dedicated to Purple Rose. She gave me a home when kicked me out, and created a beautiful website all my own. She's been a wonderful friend, and I can't thank her enough.

Pink Cotton Candy Wishes.

Prologue

Kagome knelt alone in the cold muck, sinking deeper with every passing moment. She ignored the icy rain that slipped under her collar, soaking her to the bone.

It would be the last autumn rain, eventually turning to sleet, then to snow, freezing the ground solid. Winter was fast approaching, and all around Kagome, signs of life were wilting and dying.

She had never been so cold in all of her life. At first, the sting of the rain pricked her skin, but now she was blessedly numb, unable to feel even the hardest slap of the whistling wind. How she wished that her insides could be as numb as her outsides, freezing solid until her blood didn't flow and her heart stopped beating.

Kagome stared into her cupped hands, a pink glow, the only light in the unrelenting darkness, illuminating her pale features. A trickle of blood trailed down from her damp scalp, and over one eye to mingle with her silent tears. Her soaked hair straggled down her back like a tattered cloak, doing nothing to shield her from the raging downpour.

At seventeen, Kagome had finally come to realize that with age, came certain responsibilities. Responsibilities that she wished weren't hers.

For the last two years, she had raged, bullied and cried. She constantly fought with herself and those around her, struggling to find herself and her place in the world. Or as it would seem in her case, worlds.

She had been so confused, living her double life. In the past she was a respected priestess, old enough to make her own decisions, and even bear children if she wanted. She was quite old by most standards, half way to death. While back at home she was still considered a child, only at the beginning of her long life. So many opportunities awaited for her there. Whether or not she would attend a university. If she would become a doctor or a mother. There was no set path for her there, like there was in the past.

Her adventures in the Warring States Era forced her to come to terms with herself. She had no choice, but to be what was decided of her. A miko, a shard detector, a woman. She could no longer be the little girl that she was in the present day. With every return to her world she grew more and more distant from her family, her friends, and her life. She tried desperately to hold on, gripping her old life with the tenacity of a pit bull, but it eventually slipped away, like water through her fingers.

Her friends, unable to relate to her more mature attitude, made an effort to see her less frequently, and Kagome's headlong plunge into womanhood had almost destroyed her family. Too late she had realized that seventeen was too young for the realities of life, but still too old to run away and hide from them.

Kagome gazed at the completed jewel that lay nestled in her palms, sheltered from the driving rain. Mists from within the jewel swirled, and a mystic light glowed from the center. The soft pink color reminded Kagome of cotton candy, and the desperate ache in her heart spread through her chest.

When Kagome was nine, her father had taken her and Souta to a wandering carnival that had come to town. Looking back, she was sure that he knew then that he was dying, and wanted only to spend his remaining time with his children. He spoiled them terribly, buying them whatever they wanted. Kagome had gorged herself on cotton candy until she was sick, but she never forgot its sweet taste. The sugary cloud melted on her tongue, making her think of heaven.

From that moment on, whenever she thought of her father in heaven, she saw him reclining on a pink, cotton candy cloud, a contented, sugar-smeared smile on his face.

Kagome blinked as tears, blood and rain dripped from her face onto the soggy ground. The torrent was becoming icier, and she could no longer feel her legs that were half submerged in the cold mud. She absently wondered that if she was still sitting there when the snows came, if the ground would freeze around her, trapping her in an unfinished grave until the spring thaw.

She exhaled, and her breath hung in front of her for a moment before dissipating. How long would it take to die?

Slowly, she lifted her eyes, tearing her gaze away from the entrancing light. The ground around her was scratched with the furrows of battle, deep trenches in the mud that would freeze into permanent scars.

Her eyes skimmed over the mounds sprawled on the ground, never lingering to long. She closed her fingers over the jewel, abandoning herself to the darkness. She let herself float on a sea of memories, searching for the warmth that they usually brought her, and only finding coldness.

Sango, her best friend. Like her she was caught in a duel world. In her village she was accepted for the warrior woman that she was, honored as a demon exterminator, and a brilliant fighter, but once her village was destroyed so was her place in the world. She was a woman who wore armor and wielded a sword. The Hiraikotsu she slung on her back was too heavy for most men to lift, and it shamed them that they were so weak next to her, a mere woman.

Her past was inundated with pain, but she still managed to be bright and cheery, supporting Kagome unfailingly. She stored her unhappiness away, in a hollow place in her heart where she thought no one could see it. She suffered every day, and sometimes Kagome believed that the only reason that she continued to live was so she might someday free her brother Kohaku from his slavery. If he should die, Kagome feared that Sango would follow close behind, succumbing the allure of being with her family once again. She stood guard over her friend, but someone else watched far more vigilantly.

Miroku was the most perverted man she had ever met. How anyone could go through life with so many dirty thoughts was a constant amazement to her. As the years wore on, Kagome began to suspect that the rowdy monk was all talk and no action. He used his behavior as a way to shield himself from others, to keep his distance. In the lonely moment before dawn, she was sure that he thought of his future and only saw the darkness beyond their campfire.

Everyone is born with the knowledge that they are going to die. With every breath you take you are one moment closer to death, but no one ever thinks about it. They don't have the reminder of their mortality consuming their flesh with every passing second, a gaping wound that would not heal. All Miroku had to do was look at his hand and know that he would never reach full maturity. He would not see his children grow or bounce his grandkids on his knee.

He had flitted through life, flirting and drinking, half-heartedly seeking his greatest enemy, while already given up. Then he had met Sango. Kagome would like to think that she herself had some impact on the monk's life, but she wasn't so foolish as to think that she held as much sway as the exterminator. With every passing day spent in her company, Miroku's need to survive grew to an all consuming drive. In her, he finally saw his future and he fought intensely to obtain it. He accepted the fact that he may die in the course of his quest, but he would do so with the knowledge that he did not give up. He would not lay down, curl around a sake bottle and pull the grave dirt down on top of himself. And if he wasn't going to give up than neither was Sango as far as he was concerned. He wasn't going to reclaim his life without her by his side.

Together they fought, both struggling for their survival. Their goals were separate, but the same. Defeat Naraku and remove the curses that had been placed on their families.

Kagome's sad eyes flitted over a small mound that lay alone, coldly abandoned to the darkness.

Kohaku was the most tortured soul she had ever seen. How such a small boy could bear so much pain was beyond her. She could see the red mist of his aura that surrounded him, and the blackness that seeped into his heart. Every day that he walked the earth, the more his soul died. He refused to see the past, and the future was a path not of his choosing. Worse was his present. It was nothing more than a slow, torturous decline into madness that could not be stopped.

Perhaps some day he would have found redemption, but only after he had forgiven himself. Something, for all of his strength, he may have never been able to do.

Two mounds lay huddled against each other protectively and Kagome's heart broke. She had never felt the caress of maternal instinct until she had met the small kitsune that had literally fallen into her lap. Shippo was a constant source of pleasure for her as he romped across the flowered meadows, his laughter ringing out, followed by course shouts of anger. He proved to her that youth was resilient, bouncing back after the harshest of blows. All it needed was love and that was something that Kagome was more than willing to give.

Kagome had so much love inside of her. She loved Kirara, the bravest, smartest cat she ever met. She loved her friends Sango and Miroku. She loved her dear little Shippo even when he whined. She even dared loved the arrogant Lord Shessomaru in her own way. The pride that he fought with on the battlefield took her breath away, whether it was against them or their enemies.

Her sad eyes hardened as she glared at the largest mound at the center of the field. It was nothing more than a pile of black tentacles and burned flesh. The acid from its blood seeped into the earth beneath it, scarring it for generations to come. A pale green miasma floated in the air around it, steaming under the cold rain.

Death comes in so many forms. It could be by the unintentional betrayal of a family member, a whole in your hand, a slice across the back.

Kagome's eyes briefly flitted to a mound of white and red, a shattered bow only inches away.

It could be a beautiful pink jewel that shimmered brightly with twisted desires.

One hand drifted down to the mound beside her, the heat of its presence long since faded. Her stiff fingers raked though the matted skeins of silver hair, her eyes roving continuously from one body to the next.

She loved them all, but none so much as her Inuyasha. Her beautiful, brave hanyou who had nothing but protection and promises to give. Like her he was trapped between two worlds, but unlike her, he was accepted by neither. He constantly fought his duel heritage, seeking his place in the world. Although they were drawn together, Inuyasha could never seem to accept that his place was with her. In his eyes she could see his need, his wanting, but he always looked away, gazing towards a past that couldn't be recaptured while shunning a future he didn't think he deserved.

Even when he turned away from her, she loved him with every beat of her aching heart. Without him, there was nothing. Only darkness.

They're gone, all gone.

Being an adult meant making decisions that she didn't want to make. It meant being responsible for herself and those around her. It meant sacrificing childish wants for the good of others.

Kagome's hand untangled from the wet, silvery mass to flutter over her stomach that lurched sickeningly.

Even if it meant breaking her own heart.

Kagome uncurled her fist, glaring deeply into the seductive mists of the jewel. Her pale face glowed ethereally, her blue lips parting, only the barest whisper of breath escaping them.

"I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish, I wish tonight."