You Can't Go Home Again, an Inuyasha One-shot


At the moment, Inuyasha truly did look like a stubborn and sulking puppy. He sat, or squatted really, on his haunches with his hands palm down, in front of him. His head was bowed forward and his silvery white hair cascaded over his shoulders and down his back, hiding his face from them. Kagome thought he might actually start whimpering if she gave him long enough and she had to cover her mouth to stifle a giggle at the thought.

Miroku and Sango hadn't noticed though. They were too busy scolding the poor inu hanyou. "Inuyasha, those villagers said they needed our help."

"Why must you always be so difficult when you know that it's futile? Kagome-sama will simply 'sit' you until you comply and agree to aide them." Miroku put in, leaning on his staff with an exasperated sigh.

"If you would just give us some sort of excuse besides that you don't want to help 'pathetic' humans…" Kagome was almost pleading with him at that point. The monk, the kitsune, and the taijiya had been at him for quite some time and he still simply just sat there, staring at the ground. Frankly, she was starting to worry.

"Yeah, Inuyasha. And you know Kagome said she sensed a Shikon shard coming from near the village. It must be the youkai that's attacking them!" Shippou jumped on the hanyou's back only to have himself flung quickly, albeit gently, into Kagome's waiting arms.

"Inuyasha…" Kagome started quietly but was interrupted when he launched himself off the ground, causing them all to have to take a step back as he stood at his full height.

"You three can do whatever the hell you want, but I'm not helping those people," he growled angrily. "They don't fucking deserve it."

Kagome watched him walk away and jump onto a nearby tree branch. Sulking or not he wouldn't put enough distance between them and himself to put them in danger. She sighed and turned back to Sango, cradling the now equally upset kitsune cub in her arms. "Did the villagers who spoke to you describe the youkai, Sango-chan? Do you think its one that you and Miroku could handle on your own?"

While Sango gave it a minute to think, Miroku cast a glance at Inuyasha's barely visible form and then looked to Kagome. "Are you saying that you aren't going to force him to save the village?" He asked quietly.

She sighed and then offered him a soft smile. "Something is different about this, Miroku-sama. You've seen his reactions when we ask him to help a town or village…he's usually very adamant in his objections, but you can usually tell that they're half hearted." She glanced over at the tree and the tuff of red hakama that still showed. "There was something different about today. He didn't yell or complain…his refusal was almost…"

"Dark," Sango supplied.

"Yeah, dark. He just said no and walked away…something is really bothering him. He doesn't even seem to care that the youkai has a shard and we all know that isn't like Inuyasha." Even Shippou had to nod at that one. "I think that just this once we should not force him into doing what he doesn't wish to do. If you two can handle the youkai then I'll stay with Shippou and Inuyasha to wait for you here."

"From the sounds of it, this youkai won't be easy - it has a shard to add to it's power - and this place radiates with a tainted aura," Miroku said, pondering. "I think that with Kirara and Sango-sama's expertise, we should be able to handle it, though."

"It would be a lot easier with your help, Kagome-chan. Houshi-sama isn't able to detect the shards and if we knew where it was placed we would know what area to focus our attacks." Sango was in the process of tying up her hair in a ponytail on top of her head. She'd already discarded the kimono that hid her taijiya fuku. Kirara sat in full fire neko form waiting for them to get going.

Kagome sighed again. "I know…I just hate to leave Inuyasha all alone out here when he's in such a mood."

"I need Kagome to protect me from Inuyasha!" Shippou shifted in her arms and ended up perched on her shoulder.

"You wouldn't if you didn't provoke him, Shippou." At her soft admonishment, the kit tried to give her his best 'I'm innocent' expression, but pouted when he saw it didn't work. She seldom took Inuyasha's side in the argument because Shippou was much smaller than Inuyasha and she didn't like it when the hanyou beat up on the kitsune, but the simple fact of the matter was that Shippou did provoke him.

"I'm not some weak pup who needs your protection, you know," Inuyasha's voice reached them from across the way, sounding annoyed. They'd been speaking softly, but being half inu youkai, he had been gifted with exceptional hearing and had caught their every word. "If Kagome wants to go with you, then go. I'm not gonna stop her. I just don't think they deserve your pity."

"Why not!" Kagome demanded, irritated. "What do you know about those people that makes you think that they don't deserve our help in ridding themselves of a terrorizing youkai? There are children in that village, Inuyasha. They've lost two already!"

He didn't answer, just 'keh'd' under his breath and continued to sulk. That's when the wind direction changed and brought with it the whiff of a new scent. He sat up, suddenly alert, and launched himself off the branch, landing in a crouch a few feet from where Kagome and the others stood. "Damn villagers. They've been spying on us," he muttered and cracked his knuckles, preparing to strike. "Bastard! Don't you know you can't hide form an inu hanyou! Sakon Tetsusou!" He slashed at a patch of bush and watched as the bushes and ground were sliced and destroyed and a charred piece of forest showed the retreating figure of a man.

"I guess they got a little impatient." Kagome took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart. It had startled her when Inuyasha had leapt from the tree and started yelling and then unexpectedly attacking the foliage. "The youkai usually comes out at night, right? Well, it's almost sundown. Inuyasha and I will wait here till you get back."

"Be careful, Kagome-chan. If it senses your jewel shards, it might bypass the village all together and come straight for you," Sango warned as she and the monk climbed atop Kirara and turned towards the village.

When they were gone, Inuyasha released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. His hole body had been on edge since he first caught scent of that village. He had tried to skirt around it, but Kagome had sensed that damn jewel shard and Miroku had insisted they check it out. "You should have gone with them, Kagome."

She gave him a surprised look. "Nani? Is the great Inuyasha afraid he won't be able to protect me against some lowly youkai? You aren't going soft, are you? Her tone and her eyes as well as her scent told him that she was teasing. If she had any serous doubts about him or his ability, he'd have sensed it in her scent change.

"You'd love to think so, wouldn't you , wench?" He scowled at her which only made her laugh. It's not the youkai I'm worried about…it's the villagers…they know you were with me now…

His expression of anger couldn't mask the concern in his golden eyes, however, and Kagome tilted her head, confused. He can't really believe that some shard using youkai would beat him…not after everything he's done to prove himself. Is that why he won't go to the village? She cautiously reached out and put a hand on his arm, feeling the tenseness of his muscles beneath the fire rat hair of his haori. He was so stiff, like he didn't dare relax. What's with him? "Inuyasha…" He didn't look at her, but growled slightly, deep in his throat. She had thought his muscles couldn't get any tighter, but they did, right beneath her hand. He's so strong…I never noticed before…

She was jerked from that sudden thought, however, as he grabbed her arm and yanked her behind him, snarling now. "What're you hiding from, bastards? Scared of some lowly hanyou? Come on out. I wanna see you when I kill you." His right hand went for Tetsuseiga just as an arrow whizzed by his arm.

"I wouldn't draw that, if I were you, half breed," a board, but deep, male voice suggested as he and six other men, armed with bows drawn and ready, emerged from the bushes. "Unless you want to see the girl dead, of course."

Kagome stiffened this time and she gripped the back of his haori in her fists. Forming a circle around them, more men emerged, bows and swords trained on both. One bow in particular aimed at Kagome's heart. She gasped and tried to press closer to the hanyou.

"What the fuck do you want?"

The man laughed, a sadistic and dark sound. Risking a look over Inuyasha's shoulder she could see that he was a young man - three or four years older than Sango - with dark brown hair that had grown into a long, thin ponytail and was held back with a leather thong. He was dressed in the formal robes of a young lord and held himself in a stiff and haughty manner. His eyes belied the cruelty of his innocent face. She shuddered.

"Nani? Do you really need to ask son of the taiyoukai, Inutaishou? You must be truly stupid to believe that you could come within reach of our peaceful town and not find our people more than willing to punish the creature responsible for Izyaoi-hime's death? Even after sixty years, your sentence still stands, Inuyasha."

Inuyasha's eyes now dark eyes flashed on the man. "You're one to talk about criminals, asshole, after threatening the life of a wench."

The young lord smirked. "She is in your company, Inuyasha, and you are protecting her. Therefore she must be another of your allies, a common criminal like yourself."

"Inuyasha isn't a common criminal! He wouldn't kill anyone who didn't try to kill him first! He only fights for self defense, not to kill just for the fun of it! And sixty year ago! Inuyasha was just a child!" Kagome had come out of her state of shocked confusing and was now just angry. How dare they accuse Inuyasha of such a thing! Her hanyou wouldn't purposely harm anyone. "Weren't you?" She wasn't exactly sure how half daemons aged, but he seemed to be about seventeen and granting that the fifty year spell kept him from aging, he would have been seventeen when Kikyo shot him…then ten years from that to make the sixty…that would've put him at about seven when he committed the crime they accused him of.

Her question confused him for only a second and a small "yeah" was the quiet reply.

"Monsters like your Inuyasha are capable of anything, even when they are but children." The young lord took two careful steps towards them, staying far enough back that if Inuyasha or Kagome were to become violent, he could run and hide behind his guards. "They are evil and ugly, sins against humanity, capable of killing even their own mothers. Isn't that right, Inuyasha?"

She could hear the hanyou growling in an almost vicious manner and the accusation that the young lord made only served to anger her further. He was hurting Inuyasha! "How dare you say such things about Inuyasha! He would never hurt his okaa! You don't even know him!"

"No, but my grandfather did. My father did. Perhaps he doesn't remember them. Even after this creature's birth disgraced their family name. In repayment my grandfather had to watch as this…thing slowly drained the life from his beautiful sister. It was not bad enough that that inu youkai seduced her and stole her from a family that loved her, but then he forced her to bear his disgusting offspring. My aunt was a kind and loving woman. Despite being mother to something so vile, she kept it with her and it killed her."

Kagome felt a lump in her throat at the man's harsh words, hot tears pricked her eyes and threatened to overflow. She felt the pain that Inuyasha would not show. He kept his expression filled with anger and hate a snarl curling even deeper on his lips, but she felt the tremble beneath her hands as she gripped his haori. If he could not show the hurt they were causing him, she could. "Stop it! Just stop it!"

Flashback (Shonen Sunday, Volume 02, Chapter 15)

Sesshomaru stands in front of a fallen Inuyasha holding a small stone in his clawed fingers, looking at it with an emotionless expression. "This is why I couldn't find it no matter how hard I searched for it underground…"

Kagome puts an arm around Inuyasha's back while he sits up, holding a hand over his right eye, looking at Sesshomaru as he still seems to be pondering the stone. "There is only one clue to the tomb…'A place you can see, but can't see. A place that the True Grave Keeper can't ever see.'" The stone had started to glow in his hand. "That is it. The black pearl was contained in your right eye, asshole." He threw the pearl on the ground and hit it with Jaken's staff.

Kagome jumped and then watched as a black hole seemed to open on the ground out of the pearl. That is the tomb!

Inuyasha groaned. "Bastard…for that reason you went as far as remaking a fake of my mother?" He leapt up and charged at Sesshomaru. "I won't forgive you!"

End Flashback

"You don't know how wrong you are," she argued, her voice now soft and her lashes thick with tears. "I know Inuyasha and I've seen things in him that no one else will ever see. He loves his okaa-san more than he will ever love anyone and he would never do what you say he did. If anyone is to blame for the death of the hime-sama it is you, her family and her loved ones. Perhaps seeing the hatred and contempt that you harbored for her child and husband was what killed her. But it was never Inuyasha." She lowered her hand from where she gripped his haori and wrapped it around his hand, lacing her soft fingers through his long, calloused ones. He risked a glance at her and was surprised to see the serene sadness within her cobalt depths. He had smelt her tears and sensed the anger and agitation in her scent. Now there was something else…something besides the anger and the pain and the now protectiveness…something he didn't recognize.

"Don't tell me you have feelings for this freak of nature."

Her eyes flashed with fire, the tender moment of exchanged glances between them broken as those lighted eyes landed on the young lord. "The only freak I see here is you. Inuyasha is my friend and I won't let you hurt him."

"Omaesan, who is the one hiding?" The young lord asked in a mocking tone as he indicated her half hidden form, shielded by Inuyasha. "Besides, if we seriously intended to harm the mutt, I highly doubt that you would be able to stop us."

If any of them had had the ability to sense spiritual auras, they would have noticed the immediate change in Kagome's as she gasped and then held her head higher, stepping around to stand beside the hanyou though her hand was still clasped in his. Inuyasha, however, was only noticing the change in the young lord's sent at having been given full view of Kagome's wondrously long legs and dangerously short kimono. The change was nearly over powering and he struggled not to choke on the strength of the lust that had overcome the young lord. He was mildly surprised the boy hadn't already pounced on her. "If you lay a finger on Kagome - you're blood will stain my blade."

"Still so easily angered, half-breed?" The young man shook his head and tsked. "My purpose here is not to harm such a beauty as your Kagome-sama." He looked back at Kagome, his gaze traveling from her legs to her face, pausing on the more exposed parts of her and made her blush, moving closer to Inuyasha for protection from his prying eyes. "Yes, I've heard of you. You are Kagome-sama, the strange miko who guards the Shikon no Tama, correct? Unfortunate you had to fall in with such a disgraceful being."

"Then what is your fucking purpose?"

"My father, the lord of the village, is making a contract with the houshi and the taijiya you have been traveling with. In exchange for freeing our village of this youkai problem, we will allow their companion, one hanyou Inuyasha, to go free from our village walls." He smirked. "But only if they kill the youkai. Until then, you belong to us."

Kagome closed her eyes. She could feel Shippou, who had been hiding under her hair, start to tremble. These people did not like youkai…would they hurt him too? He was just a kid!

"What you are doing is wrong!"

"Mutt, control your miko. She's becoming as volatile as you. If she cannot conduct herself in a decent manner, we will be forced to teach her."

Inuyasha's strong hand tightened around hers and he drew her closer to himself, putting her behind him once again. "It's okay, Kagome. We have to follow them," he said gently, calmer than she would have liked. "Sango and Miroku can take care of that youkai and then we'll leave." If he didn't comply they'd hurt Kagome…and probably the others too.

"What if they -"

"If they keep us there, I'll rip out their throats." He tugged at her hand and picked up the knapsack she'd dropped when they first got to the campsite. One of the lord's guards took her bow and quiver to keep her unarmed.

She walked as close to Inuyasha as she could without tripping him or herself. When she spoke, her voice barely made a sound because she did not want them to be able to hear her, but she made sure to make it loud enough that Inuyasha's heightened hearing could hear it. She was worried. Even without his super human senses she could feel the awful aura surrounding the young man. He was dangerous, there was no question. Her hand tightened around his and her free hand gripped the sleeve of his haori. "There's something not right about him…" He scares me more than any youkai.

The young man in question chose that moment send a spiteful glare at the hanyou. "A miko, a monk and a taijiya…How in seven hells did you manage to fall into company with such respected companions?" His sneer returned. "Do they keep you as a pet?"

"I'd keep your mouth shut, if I were you," Kagome warned, sounding uncharacteristically violent. "I'm not in the mood to listen to you berate my friend." Oh, let him get close enough and I'll slap him with a holy aura…her fingers itched to let loose the powers within her.

"It is not wise to threaten the only thing standing between yourself and death, young miko," another voice advised. They had reached the home of the lord and the older, balding man stood at the door waiting. He clasped his hands behind his back and surveyed them through narrowed eyes. He was tall and thin, pale from having seen very little sun these past years. His hair was soft and gray with a balding patch in the middle. Kagome instantly disliked him. "Well, Inuyasha, after your past offenses I find it hard to believe that you have returned to our home for whatever reason. I should have you shot now and be done with you."

Inuyasha stiffened. Kagome gasped. Kill him? No…

"However, the people of this village are in dire straights with this youkai constantly attacking. Considering you have a taijiya in your midst, I have decided to consider allowing the lot of you to stay the night at my home and pay you the normal fee if the young woman will agree to slay our youkai. As an added bonus, if the three of you are able to rid us of this plague, I'll allow the half bread to leave unharmed. But be warned, Inuyasha, once this is done if you come within sight of my home or my village ever again you will have met your death." His narrowed gaze fell on the hanyou. "They have agreed with my terms. Try and not do anything stupid, half breed."

Sango and Miroku stood looking melancholy at the fact that they had been forced into such a contract. What was going on? What did these people have against Inuyasha? Why had they ever wanted to help them in the first place?

Kagome was led to the guest house with Shippou on her shoulder. The four watched, unable to do anything, while Inuyasha was forcibly separated from the Tetsuseiga and then locked in an old storage building.

"Kagome-sama? Might you know what this is all about?" Miroku questioned for them.

She reached up and wiped away the tears that had finally overflowed on their walk back to the village. "This is where Inuyasha grew up…this is his okaa-san's village. She was hime here and everyone says that Inuyasha killed her, but I know that isn't true." She hiccupped and blushed, covering her mouth. "He wouldn't do that. We all know it, but they won't listen and they said if he tried anything they'd kill one of us instead." She shuddered, still feeling the way Inuyasha had trembled at the accusations made of him. "Miroku-sama, that young lord, his aura…he makes me ill…when he's nearby I feel sick. There's something not right about him."

"You're right about that, Kagome-sama," the monk told her quietly. "There most certainly is something not right about the young lord."

"I'm going to stay with him. They might try and hurt him without me and they took Tetsuseiga…we might loose him…" She decided finally.

Miroku nodded, accepting her decision, not bothering to ask questions. Sango did the same. Shippou however, was not so understanding. "What if they don't let you go to him Kagome? What if he becomes full youkai and starts attacking people? What if we can't stop that youkai? Are they really going to hurt us?"

Kagome sighed and closed her eyes. "I don't really care if they don't want me with him. I am going to stay with him and they'll just get over it. He won't transform, I promise. Inuyasha knows what will happen if he does and he doesn't want that…he'll fight it. You worry too much, Shippou. There hasn't been a youkai yet we haven't been able to beat and this one won't be any different. And no, they won't hurt us." At least I hope they won't. "Okay, Shippou, you're gonna have to stay with Sango-chan and Miroku-sama. I'll be around soon." She hugged the kit and let him jump to the ground before giving them a shaky smile and crossing the yard to the building where they were holding Inuyasha.

"Doomo sumimasen, miko-sama, but the hanyou is not allowed visitors," one of the men told her in a low voice.

Kagome's fists clenched and unclenched at her side and she raised her eyes to meet his. Her spiritual aura flared again with her anger and she took a deep breath. "Let me explain something…If you thought Inuyasha was dangerous you have never come to face to face with the Miko no Shikon. Now, let me in that building you good for nothing, low life, bottom feeding, piece of trash, scum bag!" The last part came out as a hiss.

Her friends could not hear what was said, but they could read Kagome's body language pretty well by now and they knew that Kagome was angry. Very seldom had she ever displayed anger so strong that her aura flared to such magnificent strength that Miroku whistled under his breath at its power.

"Think they'll let her in?" Sango asked, monotone.

"If not, they're dumber than they look," Miroku replied as they turned to go in, taking Kirara and the kitsune with them.

The two guards set at Inuyasha's door did, in fact, look more than a little flustered. Their eyes had gone wide and, though they couldn't sense the aura around her, they could certainly feel the heat and the honesty of her words. "Ano…perhaps…for just a few…minutes, miko-sama…" one stuttered. The other only nodded his head.

"I'll stay as long as I feel like and if I see either of your beady eyed faces again I will really loose my temper." She huffed as they opened the door for her and then closed it again as she went in. There were no windows and the only light was from the now fading sunset that filtered in underneath the door. "Inu…yasha?"

"What the hell'd you do that for, wench? Don't you know you were safer with Sango and the monk?" His admonishment was gruff, but it caused a tremendous sigh of relief to escape her lips.

"And what about you?"

"Heh, I've always taken care of myself. I don't need a babysitter."

She took a few cautious steps towards the center of the room, but didn't move too much because she couldn't see. "Good 'cause I didn't plan on babysitting." She put her hands on her hips and looked around, able to sense him, but not see him.

He smirked in the dark. She was getting frustrated at being blind - at being stuck. "Then what'd you come for?"

"I came - Inuyasha! Help me! I can't see a thing. I don't even know if I'm talking to you or a wall!" She threw her hands up in defeat and pouted, still searching for him.

He smirked again and stood up, able to see almost perfectly in the darkness and moved quietly towards her, putting a hand on each of her arms from behind, leading her to the wall he'd been leaning on and then pushed down so that she could sit before falling down next to her, stuffing his hands in the sleeves of his haori.

She smiled and shifted, getting more comfortable before her head finally came to rest on his shoulder. "I came because I was worried about you. I don't like that Lord Whatshisface -"


"Huh?" She lifted her head and turned to look up at him.

"Takeuchi. That's his name. It was ofukuro's name."

She nodded and leaned against him again. "Alright then. I don't like that Lord Takeuchi…there's something not right about him."

Inuyasha couldn't help but agree. He didn't like the way the lord's eyes had run over Kagome's body or the scent of strong lust that had come off of him. There was a wickedness to this young man that made Inuyasha's hair stand on end.

"I also came because…well…because they took the Tetsuseiga…" She took an even deeper breath and exhaled. "I was afraid…"

"You thought I'd turn youkai, didn't you?"

"I know you were angry with them. I know that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control and I know that you…have a hard time…controlling your temper…sometimes…"

"Then you'd better go back to the others."

She frowned and pinched his arm, her frustration getting the better of her for a minute. When he growled and jumped slightly, she blushed in embarrassment. "Gomen…it's just sometimes you make me so mad…" she frowned. "I'm not scared of you, baka. If you were to go full youkai and kill that brat Takeuchi, I wouldn't blame you, but you know as well as I do what Toutousai said. If you transform again, you won't be able to turn back and that's not the kind of youkai you want to be, is it?"

He sighed, defeated for the moment. "No."

"Then, stop complaining and stop trying to push me away." She settled down once more, her eyes drifting closed. "That youkai'll be here in a few hours and I'm tired, so stop arguing with me."

He felt her relax against his arm and looked down at the grass floor of the dark hut. His thoughts were drifting though his mind and he was concentrating on not loosing his temper, but without the anger there was only one other emotion to focus on. Guilt.

"Maybe…maybe they're right…maybe I did kill ofukuro…" he muttered softly, not realizing he'd spoken out loud.

There was a movement beside him and the girl he'd though to be asleep stirred, sitting up and moving to wrap her arms around him. He was stiff in her embrace, but it didn't seem to stop her. "You didn't kill your okaa-san, Inuyasha. Don't even think that," she whispered, her breath on his cheek, as she hugged him from the side.

"What makes you so sure?" He asked, his voice low, but angry. "I've killed a lot of people. People have died because of me. Kikyo died because she loved me. Maybe ofukuro did too." He wasn't naturally so open, but it was Kagome and this was an unusual situation.

The natural happiness that she felt at actually being allowed in dissipated when she realized just how much pain he was in. "Inuyasha," she started and stopped. How could she help him without saying something about Kikyo that she might later regret. "Inuyasha, you have killed before, I know that, but it was because you had to. If you didn't kill them, they'd have killed you." She sighed and moved so she was hugging him from the front, her head rested on his shoulder. "Kikyo loved you and, yes, she died, but not because she loved you. Even if she hadn't been on her way to meet you with the Shikon no Tama, Naraku would have still found a way to get to her. She would have still died at his hands. You know he would stop at absolutely nothing to get the jewel." She let go of him and sat back on her heels, looking at him though she couldn't see him. "And you didn't kill your okaa-san. I know that. She didn't die because she loved you…if anything you were what made her life worth living."

If she hadn't had her hands on his shoulders, she'd have never noticed the change in him. His arms stayed crossed and she could guess that there was still a scowl on his face even if she couldn't see it, but his muscles relaxed under her fingers. She sighed and realized that was all she was going to get out of him and started to move to sit next to him again when she felt herself being tugged and suddenly found herself sitting sideways in his lap. His arms were tucked into the sleeves of his haori once again and his head was still bowed, that much she could just make out.

Well, this is certainly more comfortable than the floor… Sighing, Kagome relaxed slightly.

"Nani? You got nothing more to say?" He asked roughly.

She looked surprised. "Well…no…I've said all that I need to say…Your okaa-san loved you and I know you didn't kill her and I think that these people are crazy to think that you did…I don't know what more to say to convince you of that…"

He snorted. "Usually I can't get you to shut up."

"Oi, Inuyasha!"

"Well, it's true."

She pouted, arms crossed in front of her. After a few minutes of quiet she started to squirm slightly and then, without really considering it, reached up, caressing the soft fur of his ears with timid and gentle fingers.

He jerked at the unexpected touch, eyes opening. "What're you doing?"

She blushed with guilt, but kept rubbing the soft appendage. "Well…I was…I mean…I am in your lap…and…well…they were easy to reach…you…I…I thought, why not? Is it uncomfortable?"

The ear beneath her fingers twitched slightly. "No," he answered finally, sounding a bit disappointed that he didn't have an excuse to keep her from 'petting' him. It actually felt kind of…good. Yeah, it felt kind of nice, even though he'd never admit that to anyone, especially not her.

"Then stop complaining." Her arm had reached around and was rubbing the ear on the other side while she rested her head against his chest. After a while her fingers began to slow their rhythm and became lighter as her breathing deepened and evened out. Finally her hand fell from his ears and into her lap as she fell asleep in his lap.

Inuyasha tensed knowing the youkai was approaching before the screams even started. He sat up straighter and searched the dark of his prison with golden eyes. Still sleeping, with her raven head resting on his chest, Kagome hadn't noticed anything.

He only tensed more when the screams began.

"It's the youkai! Find the taijiya!"



Someone burst through the shoji into the guest house where Miroku, Sango, Kirara and Shippou were waiting. A breathless woman practically collapsed on the floor. "Taijiya-sama, Houshi-sama, the youkai is attacking!" she gasped, clearly frightened. "Ima! Onegai shimashita hayaku!"

Sango grabbed Hiraikotsu and Miroku followed her out with Kirara at her heels. Once they were in the open the neko youkai transformed to her full form and the two mounted, taking to the air.

Kagome gasped and jumped at the noise coming from outside. She quickly scrambled from his lap and to her feet. "I guess that means the youkai's back." He was already on his feet next to her. She went to the door and tried to look out through a crack in the wood and see what was going on. The guards can't possibly still be here…they'd have run for their lives when the youkai started to attack…I don't think we were locked in… And even if they were, Inuyasha could've gotten them out. "There's two jewel shards out here." She turned to look over her shoulder in the direction she had left him.

She felt something brush her hair slightly and realized Inuyasha was closer than she'd thought. "Damn! That thing's got two shards?" He clenched his fist. "I'd bet that bastard's got something to do with this."

"I figured that much out." She tried to open the door and found it had been barred from the outside. "Dang it! Inuyasha, if Takeuchi does have something to do with this…Miroku and Sango can't deal with a youkai with two shards and that brat lord. Not by themselves."

She didn't have to ask. He'd already grabbed her arm and was tugging her back. "Pathetic. Did those baka ningens think that they could keep me in here if I wanted to leave? Sakon Tetsusou!" The clawed arcs flew towards the door and sliced through them, leaving a hole large enough for the two of them to go through.

Armed guards ran this way and that, trying unsuccessfully to aide in the destruction of the youkai. "Kami-sama save us! The creature has escaped!" One guard exclaimed seeing the destroyed door and the miko straddling the hanyou's back as the two jumped from the rubble.

"Shut up already!" Kagome exclaimed, anger rising again. "I need to borrow a bow and arrows. And Inuyasha needs his katana back."

"Miko-sama! Give the monster his weapon back? I'm no baka! He'll kill us!" A guard exclaimed, eyes wide.

"And I wouldn't blame him one bit! Either give us our weapons or we'll leave and let the youkai destroy you and your village!" the young miko yelled, causing Inuyasha to flatten his ears. "Ima!"

Within moments she found a bow and quiver pressed into her hands, just as the hanyou had her slide to the ground. The Tetsuseiga was also returned to his hands.

Hiraikotsu flew through the air, but couldn't seem to hit in the right spots to do much damage to the large youkai. She got the boomerang and looked over her shoulder at Miroku as Kirara made another circle, dodging as the thing attacked them with its claws.

Blue and purple shot through the air, a holy arrow piercing slashing the youkai's arm.

"Oi, Kagome! Your aim can't be that bad!" Exclaimed an all to familiar voice and the two looked down from where Kirara was rounding the village.

"Well if you weren't moving around so much and if he'd be still, it wouldn't so difficult!" was the exasperated answer.

"Inuyasha! Kagome-chan!" Sango called, bringing Kirara down to the ground beside them. "How'd you get out?"

"Long story." Kagome tugged gently at his hair and he dropped her to her feet. Pulling another arrow from her quiver, she put it to the bow and looked at Sango. "Sango, Miroku, can you distract that thing so Inuyasha and I can get that thing."

"Sure thing."

Kirara leapt back up into the air and Hiraikotsu flew through the air once more. Kagome took aim and drew back, loosing her arrow once more, this time hitting it in the right arm. It screeched in agony and turned on her, diving for where she was standing. Sango threw Hiraikotsu in her direction just as Inuyasha grabbed her and jumped out of the way. "Where's the jewel shards, Kagome?"

She ran her eyes over the youkai, scrunching her face in concentration. "There's only one! It's in the small of his back!"

"What do you mean only one shard!" Inuyasha practically dropped her back on the ground and glared at her.

Kagome regained her balance and glared right back. "Just what I said! It's only got one shard!" A paw swooped down on them and she was once again lifted and flying through the air to safety in Inuyasha's embrace.

Kirara landed near them once more and Miroku narrowed his gaze at the youkai. "Inuyasha, does that thing remind you of something?" He questioned, still studying the youkai.

"What are you talking about monk? Remind me of what?" The hanyou's irritation only seemed to grow with each passing moment.

Miroku heaved a sigh. "Remember when Naraku embedded a jewel shard in Rhyokon? He grew to enormous proportions and attacked Kaede's village looking for you. This youkai resembles Rhyokon, though his aura is different."

"You mean the fucks being controlled!" Inuyasha's angered exclamation made the houshi grimace. For being thought of as not to bright, the hanyou had certainly caught on quick.

What really bothered him - and the others when realization swept through them - was that had the signs of being Naraku's doing. Had the quasi hanyou been to the village? If he had, then he knew of Inuyasha's past.

This was not good.

"If he's being controlled, Inuyasha," Kagome said quietly.

"I know, I know." Impatience swept over him. "He isn't harming them on purpose and I can't kill him." He held Tetsuseiga in front of him and snarled. "But I'm gonna rip the head off the bastard responsible."

Kagome only nodded and notched an arrow. He was angry and had every right to be. The villagers had treated him like an animal, a disgrace to humanity - everything he thought he was. It would take weeks for her to undo that. She might be the one ripping someone's head off if she got to them first for ruining what she'd worked so hard to accomplish with their stupid accusations and ugly remarks.

The youkai swatted at Kirara with a menacing growl as the neko youkai made another pass. Neko and passengers were knocked to the ground.

"Kaze no kizu!" Inuyasha swung the sword, making sure his attack would be damaging, but not fatal.

Kagome drew the bow and focused on her mark, finally loosing the arrow. It hit just to the left of where she felt the shard to be. There was a flash of blue light to reveal a smaller less dangerous version of the youkai they had been fighting. It writhed on the ground, an arrow sticking out from its abdomen, whimpering in pain. Kagome approached it carefully with Inuyasha right on her heels.

"Careful," he warned.

She nodded and knelt down, touching the spot where the Shikon shard was. There was a light ping sound and the shard came out into Kagome's waiting hand. She then grasped the arrow she had shot and pulled it out quickly, putting her hand over the wound. A bluish light engulfed her hand and the youkai's body. When it disappeared the youkai was healed and staring at her with wide brown eyes.

"A-arigatou," he stuttered, uncertainly.

Kagome nodded. "You're welcome."

"Why were you attacking this village?" Inuyasha demanded, putting the tip of Tetsuseiga to the youkai's throat.

"I - I didn't k-know…" he stumbled over his words, shaking in fear. "I - I was…w-walking in t-the w-woods…i-it h-hurt and I-I w-wanted it t-to s-stop." He looked to the taijiya and the houshi who had come up behind them - he was even more frightened. "I…I….hurt…I…I…d-didn't know w-what I-I-I w-was d-doing…"

Kagome sighed and looked up at Miroku and Sango. "Would you take him somewhere? Far away from this village?" The two nodded and had the youkai follow them to the Neko youkai who was waiting for them.

"What! You're just going to let that thing go!" One of the guards exclaimed. "That thing killed our villagers!"

Kagome whirled on him, Inuyasha standing in front of her protecting her. "No, he didn't! That youkai was in pain because someone was controlling him with this!" She held up the Shikon shard. "That person is the one to blame."

"Demo, Miko-sama!"

"I know exactly who is responsible," she finished.

The young Takeuchi-sama stepped forward then. "And who would that be, Miko-sama?"

Kagome notched another arrow and aimed it at the young lord. "Hand over your shard."

Takeuchi quirked his brow and held up his hands in innocence. "I haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about, Miko-sama."

Inuyasha leveled the sword at him. "Give her the damn shard, bastard."

The guards standing around them raised their weapons, aiming for the hanyou and the miko who threatened their young lord. "Kill the half-breed, but leave the miko alive. I have…uses…for her."

Inuyasha growled, furiously. His grip on Tetsuseiga's hilt tightened. "Touch her and I'll kill all of you." Kagome lowered her bow and started to chant under her breath. He reached around and pulled her to him, understanding what she was doing and knowing she would need even more protection under those few moments of vulnerability before the barrier was in place around him, her and Takeuchi, leaving the guards on the outside.

"Now, give us the shard." Inuyasha growled.

Takeuchi smiled maliciously. "Take it, Inuyasha," he said evilly. "Kill me, Inuyasha. You and your friends will never leave this village alive." A chuckle escaped his lips. "Not that we would have allowed you to leave anyway."

Kagome gasped. "You…you…liar!" She screeched. "You gave your word! You swore that you would let him go if we got rid of the youkai. That youkai will never bother the village again!"

His smile was malevolent. "But you did not slay the youkai."

"That doesn't matter," Kagome argued. "It's gone."

"Did you honestly think that I would let a murderous half-breed escape a second time?" Her grip on Inuyasha's haori tightened as did his arm around her waist. "The village was too deeply mourning the loss of the hime to stop the bastard mutt's escape the first time, but now that he has returned we will not be making the same mistake."

Kagome blinked, tears burning her eyes. "If you lay one finger on him, I'll kill you myself." She glared at him. "And I won't make it easy." Inuyasha's chest rumbled beneath her ear as a low and dangerous growl was emitted from deep in his throat.

"If we kill him we'll be no better than he is, Kagome." Of course she knew that, but no one and that meant no one was going to take him away from her. He sheathed the sword and pushed her back gently. "Stay out the way." She nodded understanding and concentrated on her wards so that she could protect Inuyasha and push Takeuchi out if need be. But they had to get that shard!

"So, where'd you get the shards, bastard?"

"From someone who hates you as much as I do, Inuyasha. He was quite generous in his information and promised that were I to use the shards you would come into my village and I could dispose of you as I saw fit, but I was given explicit directions to keep the miko alive." Takeuchi's eyes flickered to Kagome, roaming up and down her body in the most unnerving way. "I can see why."

"You bastard!" Inuyasha flew forward, attacking the man with just his speed and his fists.

Takeuchi withdrew the sword he'd kept at his belt till that moment and swung expertly at the hanyou who dodged just in time and received only minor scratches on his arms. Inuyasha still refused to draw his own sword or even use his Sakon Tetsusou on the man, he simply dodged and tried to punch.

"Ugh!" Inuyasha grunted as the sword was plunged into his left arm, but used the opportunity to rip the weapon from the human's hand and throw it to the side then landed an uppercut on his chin, successfully knocking the lord out.

Kagome rushed forward to the injured hanyou, grabbing his unhurt arm. "Inuyasha?" Her voice was laced with worry.

"I'm fine, just get the shards and lets get out of here."

She complied and reached into his kimono taking the shard out and adding it to the little jar necklace with the rest just as her barrier came down and their friends returned. Inuyasha grabbed her and jumped backwards when the guards surrounded the man, several lifting him and carrying him to the mansion. The rest surrounded the small group, weapons drawn.

"Lower your weapons." The command was firm and came from the back of the group. The men parted to reveal the elder lord coming out, Shippou on his shoulder. Upon seeing his adopted mother, the kitsune leapt from the old man's shoulder to Kagome's and hugged her tightly. The old man stood directly in front of them, his expression unreadable. "Though I do not agree with the prospect of letting a murder free, a deal was made and the Takeuchi are true to their word. Inuyasha, you and your companions are free to leave. However, do not forget that should you return here, you will be killed."

Inuyasha nodded stiffly and Kagome sighed with relief and bowed to the old man. She may not have liked him, but he was keeping his word and she had to show her respect. "Hai, he understands. Arigatou gozaimazu, Takeuchi-sama." She stroked Shippou's tail lightly and took Inuyasha's hand in hers.

"You should also know that my son will be dealt with accordingly for putting our village in danger. I do not look kindly upon such acts." With that said the old man turned and walked back through the guards and into his home. The guards kept their ground and 'escorted' the group from their village and into the woods.

They'd walked for quite some time before finally coming to a stop. As soon as they had, Kagome had taken out her first aid kit and started delving out medical treatment to her friends. There was little said as the fire was built and their beds were prepared. As soon as he was bandaged, Inuyasha leapt into the nearest tree to keep watch. Kagome pulled her sleeping bag to the base of the tree and settled down with Shippou snoozing in her lap as she stroked his hair.

Miroku and Sango also settled down and fell into slumber, however Kirara stayed in full neko form, sitting with watchful eyes on the perimeters of the camp as if to say that for that night, she would keep watch so that the hanyou and humans could get some much needed and well deserved rest.

When she was sure her friends were sleeping, Kagome leaned her head back and looked up into the tree, just barely catching a glimpse of the red hakama. "Inuyasha?" She asked quietly. "I can't sleep." She'd been so afraid that they really would kill him and there would have been nothing she could have done to stop them because he wasn't going to stop them. He had believed what they said. Maybe he still did. And she couldn't escape the sinking feeling that she was back to where she'd started, trying to heal him from the pains of his past.

"What do you mean you can't sleep? You're exhausted Kagome." He could sense the weariness in her and could see from her posture that she was barely going.

"You're tired too, but you're not sleeping," she pointed out. "Kirara is keeping watch, if you haven't noticed. There's no reason for you not to rest."

He sighed. "I don't sleep, Kagome."

She sighed. That wasn't exactly true…when he was in her era he slept soundly, but she didn't feel like arguing. Instead she changed the subject. "Inuyasha? That's not your home, you know. It never was, so you haven't lost anything." She looked down at the kitsune in her lap and smiled slightly. "Your home is with the people who care about you…you're home is with me."

She head a soft 'thud' as he dropped down beside her and then came to crouch next to her. Kagome looked at him for a second, a blush covering her cheeks as he, also blushing, shifted her so that she leaned back against him. "Go to sleep, Kagome." With her back to him, she couldn't see him smile slightly. He had a did have a place where he was wanted. He had a home. And most importantly, he had her.

Kitsune - fox daemon

Taijiya - daemon slayer

Youkai - daemon

Hanyou - half daemon/half human

Hakama - wide legged pants

Houshi - lower level monk

Fuku - uniform

Neko - cat

Inu - dog

Sakon Tesusou - Iron Reaper Soul Stealer

Nani - what

Haori - formal coat

Taiyoukai - daemon lord/king

Hime - princess

Okaa - Mother, modern version

Omaesan - my dear

Miko - priestess

Shikon no Tama - Jewel of Four Souls

Doomo Sumimasen - I'm sorry (formal)

Miko no Shikon - a title I've seen given to Kagome in several fics

Ano - Excuse me, well, uh

Ofukuro - Mother, formal older version

Gomen - sorry

Baka - idiot/fool

Oi - hey

Ikinasai - be gone/go away/scram

Shi'ne - You die, rude form

Ima - now

Onegai shimashita - please

Hayaku - hurry

Ningen - human

Kami - god

Quasi - a legal term meaning something that is so close to being something that it might as well be called that. Naraku isn't a true hanyou, but he's so close that he can be called one.

Arigatou - thanks

Demo - but

Arigatou gozaimazu - thank you very much