Chapter One: This Weakened Heart of Mine

"Inuyasha." Kagome whispered as she weakly lifted her head upwards, her beautiful brown eyes were dulling and unseeing. She wasn't even looking at him. She couldn't seem to see him.

"Kagome!" Inuyasha called. He could hear the worry in his own voice, and the relief of finally finding her. It had been three days of searching. Three days without sleep or rest or food, of worrying that she was dead. And he had finally found her. She was alive, and soon she would be safe.

"Inuyasha…" Her voice sounded so weak and sickly that it made the anger seethe beneath his skin. How dare Naraku do this to her? How dare he? His anger grew as he raced towards her hanging body, limp and chained to some sort of weird mirror. He was almost there, a few more steps and he would be able to break the chain and free her. The silver haired half-breed's body smashed into a barrier erected around Kagome that he hadn't seen. The barrier's wall crackled with electric power that stung his skin and burned through his fire-rat kimono. He cried out in surprise and pain, before he was thrown to the ground on a heap of smoking limbs.

"Inuyasha…" Kagome said again, staring at him, her eyes milky and unfocused. "Where are you?"

"I'm right here, Kagome." Inuyasha grunted as he pushed himself up. "What's wrong with you?" He asked, coming as close to the barrier as he dared. He could already feel the tingling of his skin, warning him that he shouldn't get any closer. The burnt cloth of his kimono stung his sensitive nose, but he did his best to ignore it. Now he had to save Kagome. That was all that mattered.

Kagome's eyes seemed to focus, and she noticed him for the first time. "Inuyasha… please… help me."

"I'm trying!" Inuyasha resisted the urge to press his hands against the barrier. Suddenly, a thought struck him: He would use Tetsuigia to break through. "Hold on, Kagome!"

He drew the Tetsuigia from its sheath, cringing a little as the cold metal scraped against the rust on the hilt. He raised the massive fang over his head, feeling its power surge through him as the blade began to turn a blood red color. "TETSUI-"

"NO, INUYASHA!" Miroku's voice interrupted him.

Inuyasha froze in mid-stroke, turning with aggravation to Miroku, who was busy holding off a demon with his staff a few yards away.

"WHAT?" Inuyasha demanded, anxious to free Kagome.

"If you use the Tetsuigia, you'll kill her!" Miroku said, "The red blade is too long, you'll slice Kagome in two!"

Inuyasha turned to quickly study the length of the blade. 'Damn.' He threw the Tetsuigia back in its sheath. "Miroku's right." Inuyasha said angrily to Kagome. "I can't free you this way!"

"Inuyasha," Kagome's voice was so faint that even he had to strain to hear it.

"Kagome? What's wrong? What are you saying to me?"

"Give me strength." She whispered, tears streaming down her dirty face. "Please… I need help."

"How!" he demanded, in frustration. "What do I have to do?"

"Do you love me?" She asked.

"Wh-what?" The question stunned him. His stomach was immediately pierced with fear.

"Please, Inuyasha." Kagome whispered, her eyes closing. "Do you? Just tell me."

'Yes.' Inuyasha opened his mouth to say that to her, but the words didn't come out. He couldn't. He just couldn't.

"Inuyasha… please." Kagome begged.

"I-" he started, but then stopped.

Kagome's eyes flitted open for a moment. "I'll be gone in only three seconds."

"Kagome…" Inuyasha started, torn.

Three

"I-"

Two

"What is this!" He shouted in frustration.

One

"Kagome, wait!"

Kagome screamed as huge cords of blue electricity began to slither tightly around her body, "INUYASHA!"

"KAGOME!"

Inuyasha pressed his hands against the barrier, not even noticing the way it fried the flesh on his hands. "NO!"

Kagome could only scream, her body thrashing violently as the rusted chains shuddered beneath her weight. Finally, she hung limp, the electric snakes vanishing. Then, slowly her lifeless body began to sink into glass and into the shadows that swirled inside it.

"No!" Inuyasha drew the Tetsuigia desperately, the blade immediately turned red in his grip. "I will not let him take you away from me again!"

His sword sliced through the barrier easily, like cutting through butter, as Kagome disappeared in the thick shadows inside the glass. "Kagome!" He cried desperately, thrusting his hand into the dark, suspended liquid inside the mirror, and immediately he was paralyzed. His body was thick as concrete, his legs and arms were like boards attached to him, unmovable. His vision went black.

'Where am I?' He could hear his own voice echoing through his brain.

'Inuyasha… what mightier a fool could possibly exist?' Naraku's amused voice rippled through him with a deafening echo.

'N-Naraku? What the hell are you talking about? Where's Kagome!'

'Kagome…' Naraku replied with a cold pleasure 'you will never see 'Kagome' again…say farewell to her, Inuyasha, farewell to this foolish maiden. Foolish just as Kikyo was foolish, for she was so sure that you would save her…'

Inuyasha felt his body explode with rage. He wanted to gut Naraku so badly. He wanted to save Kagome. He wanted Naraku's blood.

' You couldn't even bring yourself to say three words? Could you?' Naraku asked, taunting him from somewhere in the shadows. He was just in his reach. If only he could see him.

'Shut up and give her back to me!'

'You don't deserve her…' Naraku replied.

'Give her back!' Inuyasha demanded. 'I swear… if you lay one filthy finger on her I'll kill you!'

'Empty threats don't suit you, Inuyasha.'

'Where is she, Naraku!'

'She will never come back to you…' Naraku said slowly. 'But I will let you hear her voice one last time… in hopes that it will drive your pitiful mind insane.'

'Naraku! Bastard!'

'Inuyasha?' Kagome's voice sounded so far away.

'Kagome! Where are you!'

'Inuyasha… I'm so cold…'

'Tell me where you are Kagome!'

'Inuyasha…' She was drifting farther away from him, while he remained powerless and somewhere paralyzed in the unfathomable darkness. 'Inuyasha, I love you.'

At the word "love", Inuyasha's soul was set on fire. 'Kagome, I-'

'Goodbye.'

His heart jerked inside his chest. 'W-wait! Kagome don't! I-' he faltered on the words. 'Kagome… Kagome I love you!'

Silence was the only thing that replied. He waited forever, waited for her voice to come back to him. Instead, Naraku replied. 'You're too late, half-breed. The next time you see Kagome, she will be dead.'

'No! Give her back dammit!' Inuyasha could hear his thoughts echoing. 'Kagome! KAGOOOOME!' Suddenly, he was back in a world of light. Flying backwards through the air. His right hand was still stretched outwards, and he watched in horror as the black pool began to disappear. "Kagome!" He cried as he hit the ground, instantly pushing himself back up and racing towards the fading black mist. He reached his hand through again, but found nothingness. He was reaching through air. "NO! DAMNIT!" He swung the Tetsuigia into a nearby tree in his frustration. "NO!"

He suddenly became aware of how weak the blackness had made him. His vision began to blur, and his word began to rock and sway, the trees were circling around him. He could hear Miroku's staff clanking as purple and black blurs, which must have been Miroku and Sango, run towards him. "Kagome…" he said dumbly as he lost his balance, and blacked out.

Mrs. Higurashi hummed a song that she had known since she was seven, yet she couldn't remember where she had learned it. The frying onions hissed angrily as she dumped them into the pot, and she continued to hum as she stirred them around.

"I'm going off to school, Mom!" Souta said as he headed out the door.

"Huh?" Mrs. Higurashi turned to see her son's bulging backpack disappearing through the front door. "Wait, Souta!" She called over the hissing of the onions. "You haven't had any breakfast yet!"

"I'll be alright!" Souta's voice came from out the door.

Mrs. Higurashi sighed and turned back to her onions. It looked like only she and her father would be eating breakfast this morning. It was often that way, now that Kagome spent most of her time in the Feudal Era. Souta seemed to lose his interest in home, always running around with his friends at soccer, or making sure that Kagome would be ready to study for everything she missed the few times she ever came home. It was almost as if she had gone to college and moved out already, Mrs. Higurashi noticed sadly, she almost never got to see her daughter anymore.

Quickly she dumped the onions into the pan beside it, into the thick yellow liquid of battered eggs. The omelets would be ready in five minutes. It was a waste that two of them would be uneaten. She realized with a slight twinge of embarrassment and sadness that she still cooked for four, even thought Kagome and Souta were rarely ever around to eat theirs. It had been three years and four months since Kagome had first disappeared into the well in their mini-shrine. That first day, the whole family had been so frantic. She was gone for three days, and no one had known where she was. When she had mysteriously reappeared, in traditional Japanese priestess's clothes, sobbing frantically into Gramps's arms… well, no one knew quite what to think of that either.

At first, Mrs. Higurashi hadn't believed it. Who would? Kagome's story of being pulled into the Feudal Ages by a giant, centipede demon was a little less than believable. And then there was the fact that she had met more demons, and made friends with the villagers. 'Well, technically' She could remember Kagome saying a year ago. 'Inuyasha's a half demon. His mother was human.' Mrs. Higurashi smiled and shook her head. In the beginning, it was obvious that Kagome and Inuyasha weren't the best of friends. The few times she saw Inuyasha would be when he appeared, grabbing Kagome's arm and dragging the usually protesting girl down the well, screaming that she was late and dawdling when they had important things to do.

Mrs. Higurashi remembered still, how she had pulled on the boy's dog-ears the first time she had ever seen him. Back then, whenever Kagome had mentioned Inuyasha, it had been with tones of fear, or annoyance or disgust. And then slowly, month after month, it became obvious that she thought of him fondly, even lovingly. Mrs. Higurashi could always read her children. And she knew almost exactly when Kagome had fallen in love with Inuyasha, the half-demon boy from another era. As Kagome fell more and more in love with him in the past, the less time she would spend in the present. Four months ago, she hadn't even come home for her eighteenth birthday, and the family had been forced to give Kagome her presents a month and a half late.

It was amazing, the way that Kaogme coped with everything. Mrs. Higurashi thought for the thousandth time, as she flipped the first omelet over to cook the other side. She had adjusted to her frantic lifestyle quickly, bringing things over from her time, to accustom herself in their time. Flashlights, food, matches, portable stoves, sodas, books, tents, sleeping bags, even school books. As Mrs. Higurashi stacked the omelets on the plate, she marveled at her daughter's bravery and strength. She was proud of Kagome that was for sure, she only wished that she had been able to spend more time at home…

Mrs. Higurashi stopped in mid-turn when she saw Souta walk slowly back into the kitchen.

"Souta?" She asked. "Did you get hungry and change your mind? She asked, hopeful. "Or did you forget something?"

"Mom…" The thirteen-year-old boy had tears in his eyes, the energetic life in him seemed to have been sapped out. He was pale and shocked-looking. "It's…"

"Souta…" Mrs. Higurashi said, concerned. "What's wrong, don't you feel well?"

Suddenly, from behind Souta, a red figure appeared. His unmistakable mane of wild silver hair, fierce amber eyes, and perched dog-ears identified him at once to be Inuyasha. "Inuyasha?" Mrs. Higurashi looked puzzled at the young man who stood in her doorframe. Why had he come? Kagome should have already been with him. "Are you looking for Kagome?" Mrs. Higurashi asked, suddenly getting and uneasy feeling in her stomach.

"Mrs. Higurashi…" Inuyasha said slowly, staring directly at her.

"What's wrong? Is Kagome sick? Has she got a fever?" Mrs. Higurashi began to ask, nervously, in her gut she had a horrible, cold feeling. In all the three years that she had known him, Inuyasha never once called her, 'Mrs. Higurashi'.

"Mrs. Higurashi…" he said again, blinking fiercely. "Kagome is," he appeared to choke on his words. "Kagome… she's been killed."

There were a few moments of silence, and then the iron pan clattered to the floor, the remains of a perfect omelet strewn on the white and blue tiles, red peppers littering the floor.