Raising The Phoenix

Summary - The flames of the bird will quench and it will die.

Rating - Uh, like I was any good at rating my other stories, they had to up and change the rating scale on me. Let's call it "Z" a special rating for Sara that means I cannot control my potty mouth, but nothing much worse than that.

Warnings - This story jump attacked me, I have no idea what it's about.

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Chapter 1 - The Flames Die

Auburn leaves twisted among the gold, caught in the tendrils of a delicate wind. The vivid sky was a crystalline blue, and the sun, despite the autumn season, shone brightly in the sky. The tops of the trees in the forest seemed to snare the cottony clouds above, and the wood glowed with peace.

All of this, however, was lost on Kagome as she trudged along the path Inuyasha defined for them. A year ago, her obligations in the past had been an adventure, a quest fraught with danger, intrigue, and romance. Everything has seemed so desperate. Save the world, defeat the evil, and win the heart of a man who'd long before locked his away with mistrust. But now - now everything had changed, and the light that had once shown so brightly in her world dimmed in the oppressive weight of dashed hopes and broken hearts.

They were losing the race for the Shikon no Tama. Their measly few shards were all that was left out of Naraku's control, and rather than hunting him down as they had so long ago, they now moved out of fear, knowing that he was zero-ing in on their whereabouts with every passing moment.

She was also losing the battle for the heart of her first love, Inuyasha. Though things had seemed so promising before, it took only the sight of a soul snatcher for Inuyasha to go running to his only love, the dead miko Kikyo. Life had lost all its luster.

But that wasn't enough. No, fate had crueler cards to deal to our heroine, a hand which Kagome kept close to her heart out of fear. She'd lost her powers. No longer could she sense the presence of the shards, and her arrows held not one ounce of purification. She was once more the helpless young girl, freshly escaped from the well. Her secret weighed heavily on her, but how could she admit that she had lost her one gift, the only thing that made her worth anything in this horrible search for the rest of the shards?

She bowed her head and sighed. What good was any of this anymore?

Sesshoumaru shfited his delicate burden as he grudingly searched for his half-brother. He'd always prided himself on being a sensible man, calculating and logical, patient and cunning. Yet the games of that miserrable beast Naraku had robbed him of his deadly even demeanor. Rage flowed through his veins like lighting in a storm, his aura crackling with demon power begging to be released.

His charge was injured.

The bastard had the gall to attack the human child, a girl with no means of defending herself, and no power to escape, all in the name of riling the Taiyoukai of the West. But Sesshoumaru was no one's fool and he was unwilling to charge blindly into battle like his volatile sibling. No - he had another plan.

Since Naraku first started causing trouble nearly a year before, only one time had Sesshoumaru ever seen the hanyou hurt. Only one being had ever brought him to his knees. And conveniently enough, she happened to travel with his obnoxious brother.

It was odd, spending time with Inuyasha, Kagome mused mildly. It was very easy to think of him as entirely human. Having come from a world where if it talks, walks, and wears clothes, there's a good chance it's human to being cast into a world filled with demons was something she still found herself adjusting to. However, there were times that Inuyasha turned pure dog... and that was happening right then.

His head was cocked to the side, his ear twitching at some sound to low for her to hear. Though she could not see it through his back, she was certain his nose was twitching in an exaggerated motion of sniffing out an aggravating smell. She'd seen it enough before. At one time she'd been sensitive to his changes in demeanor, constantly worried over a fresh demon attack, or the looming threat of an overzealous Kouga, but now she found it difficult to raise her curiosity, rather, she settled herself on the ground and waited for his assessment.

The growl that came from Inuyasha, however, caused her worry. "Sesshoumaru."

The glowing figure of the intimidating youkai materialized in the wood. Though his face was set in the same porcelain mask of disinterest, anger lit his eyes from their usual stoic gold to burning flames. In his arms lay the crumpled form of a small human girl.

His monotone voice greeted them evenly, "Inuyasha, I have need for your miko."

Fear flashed through Kagome at his callous words.

"Yeah? I'd like to see you try and take her, asshole!"

"Do not force me to end your miserable existence, Hanyou. I came with no quarrel for you."

Inuyasha's ears flattened in response, and Kagome watched in horror as his hand reached for the hilt of his father's fang. Sesshoumaru was still carrying the little girl, and if Inuyasha didn't control his temper, her life was in danger. She had to do something and fast.

She stood and moved toward the eldest of the brothers, subduing Inuyasha with a hastily cried "Sit, boy!"

She forgot her fear as she drew closer to Sesshoumaru's burden, her eyes widening at the severity of the child's injuries. Without thought, she gathered the girl from his arms and laid her out gently on the ground. "Shippou, I need some water, will you go get it for me?" She could only assume that he nodded, for his scampering feet were off without a word. "Miroku, I have herbs in my pack would you bring them to me?"

"Certainly, Kagome." An uneasy quiet settled over the clearing as Kagome immersed herself in healing the poor child - ignoring the tension settling around her.

Someone or something had sliced at the girl's side, and now it bled slugglishly, oozing puss and showing early signs of infection. She cleaned the wound carefully, while calling for Sango to bring the remains of the water to a boil. "She's going to need a poultice."

Inuyasha took in the sight in disbelief. What the hell was Kagome doing helping that rat-bastard? Many times had Kagome's soft heart distracted them from the their quest to reclaim the lost jewel shards, but this - this was helping the enemy! This wasn't foolishness, this was lunacy.

And yet, her face was set in a determination that he hadn't seen in weeks. Though many would think him oblivious to Kagome and her feelings, he had been painfully aware of the depression she'd been wrapped up in. He knew he was the cause, but his heart lay with Kikyo, not Kagome, though dear friend she was. If he'd been dishonest about it, it only would have served to hurt her more. Guilt had been eating him alive since he first noticed it, and now - now the slight change was enough to lay it to rest temporarily.

He eyes his brother warily. It was unlike Sesshoumaru to ask - well, demand for help as he had, and even stranger still, the Taiyoukai had made no play for their father's fang that lay dormant at his side. He didn't like it. What was that bastard up to?

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Sigh We're gonna try this again. See if I can get up off my lazy ass and update. I know this story blows, and I apologize, but seriously, I feel like a woman posessed. I wasn't even sure what was going on when I started writing this. Well, you know the drill, thanks for reading, and if you wouldn't mind, tell me what you think.