Notes: I do not know what Kagome's father really does for a living, so I made a job up for him. And whether or not Kagome and Kikyo would become friends in the series only exists in my mind. Winner of 3rd placed of the "Resolution" theme at iyficchallenge at Live journal.

----

The Friendship Necklace

Kagome sighed. She looked over into the forest only to see darkness. Her friends were quiet as usual, saying nothing by making the situation even more uncomfortable for her.

Kagome had quit counting how many times Inuyasha snuck away to see Kikyo privately. The motion was old and tiresome to be exact, and she felt that she had either grown out of losing her temper or she just didn't have the strength left to admonish him anymore.

The night passed on and there was still no sign of him. The fire embers began to glow softly, signaling their imminent end. Kagome laid in her sleeping bag, listening to the motions her friends made as they slipped into their own bedding. Her eyes became heavy, and she didn't have the energy to stay up to see when Inuyasha would return.

----

In the bright morning, Inuyasha roused them awake, pushing them to hurry so they could continue their journey. Looking at his face, Kagome couldn't tell if he had gotten any sleep or not. Being part demon, she wondered if he would even show the wear of not getting any sleep.

She decided to not think of it further, and she put on a cheerful face and kept moving.
After many fruitless attempts to worry about Inuyasha in Kikyo's company, she had finally come to a decision. She would seek Kikyo out alone and learn more about her.

Was she her competition? She didn't know for sure. Though, she was curious, and after saving her from being trapped in a mountain and giving her some of her spiritual energy, Kagome felt even more intrigued by her rival.

She didn't know how she was going to do it, but she would visit Kikyo and not let Inuyasha know about it.

----

"I'm going home," she declared. Inuyasha glared at her.

"You were just AT home, Kagome. Why do you have to go back again?" His voice was less irritated than the times before. Maybe he was finally sick of struggling with her on the subject.

"Um, well, I have history final," she said. She looked around her surroundings and grinned, "Should be a breeze."

Inuyasha sighed and looked away as the others wished her luck on her exam.

There truthfully was an exam, but this was the perfect time to find Kikyo before she went home. Kikyo was not so far away. She would get to her first beyond Inuyasha's knowledge.

She passed the well, and threw her yellow bag to the bottom. She hoped that she could talk to Kikyo for at least a couple hours for her first visit.

Using her soul as a guide, Kagome concentrated and sought out the miko's presence. She was lounging in a tree, much like Kagome had always pictured. The two children who now accompanied her stood motionless under the tree as she slept.

Kagome walked through the woods, attempting to make some erratic noises.

"I know you are there, Kagome." Kagome stiffened when she heard Kikyo's stern voice. Kagome gulped, yet she trusted in her own courage. It was her chance to confront Kikyo, and she couldn't turn back now.

"Hello," Kagome said in a small voice, coming into the light of Kikyo's aura. She peeked out from the trees and came into the small clearing. The children only mildly regarded her presence. Kikyo, on the other hand, was most interested in her.

"What are you doing here? Why aren't you with Inuyasha?" And after Kikyo asked that, she turned away from Kagome's gaze. Kagome found it interesting that when Kikyo said Inuyasha's name, she hid her face from her.

"Um, I just wanted to see if you were okay," Kagome said, shifting nervously under Kikyo's presence. Kikyo turned to look at her again. "You know, after I healed you."

Kikyo's eyes narrowed suspiciously at that. Kagome inwardly shivered. It seemed as though Kikyo wasn't completely satisfied with that event.

"Do not concern yourself with me," she said finally after an agonizing bit of silence. Her voice rang with bitterness. "I am dead anyway."

"That doesn't matter!" Kagome shouted, but then she covered her mouth at her outburst. Kikyo appeared mildly taken aback by Kagome's boldness. "Sorry. It's just that we all think you're important in destroying Naraku. I'd hate to see anything hurt you."

"YOU would hate?" Kikyo seemed flabbergasted by this and didn't entirely trust the weight of Kagome's words. Kagome became slightly angry by this.

"Yes, I would hate to see something bad happen to you, Kikyo. Even if you don't believe me," Kagome said with sharper words. She had always felt dumb and powerless around Kikyo, but now, she had sought her out herself. She wasn't leaving until she loosened some tension between them.

Kikyo didn't say anything, and she just stopped looking at Kagome and found a patch of darkness in the forest more interesting. "Hrmm...Well as you can see, I am fine."

Kagome knew it was her way of telling her to 'go away,' but she wouldn't. Kagome crossed her arms and gave Kikyo a defiant look, even if she wasn't looking at her. She sat down, Indian-style in the grass. Kikyo turned her head, seeing that her company would still not leave.

"Is there something else you needed?" Kikyo asked, and Kagome began to see her irritation. She inwardly smiled.

'You're not getting off that easily, Kikyo,' she thought. She gave Kikyo a confident smile. "Actually, I wanted to stay. And talk."

"Talk? About what?" Kikyo asked, mystified by Kagome's actions.

"Yeah, just us girls, you know, talking about stuff," Kagome said. Kikyo looked at her with fascination.

'Does this girl actually wish to spend time with me?' Kagome's smile was proof enough that she wasn't leaving anytime soon. Was this gesture a challenge or a simple invitation of friendship?

Kikyo came down from her tree and glided over to Kagome's position. Kagome made a motion to the ground with her hand, politely indicating that Kikyo should sit with her.

Hesitantly, Kikyo bent down and settled on her knees properly. Kagome felt her nerves grate at this. Even at an informal time as this, Kikyo could still be so traditional.

"So… First of all, I would like to get to know you, Kikyo," Kagome said bluntly. Kikyo nodded. She was going to take Kagome's challenge.

"Tell me about yourself. Like some of your favorite things, about your mother, and happy memories."

Kikyo crossed her arms, mimicking Kagome. "You want to know about my mother and my happy memories?" She didn't know what this would accomplish. Had Kagome lost her mind? Or was she really up to something?

Kagome thought she saw a glimmer of a smile. Or was that a smirk?

"One of my most treasured memories was my first kiss," Kikyo said. Kagome inwardly gulped, and she struggled to maintain an unaffected expression. She knew exactly WHOM Kikyo was inferring to in her first kiss.

Kagome giggled, ebbing on mockery. "Wow, really! Mine too!"

'Touché, Kagome,' Kikyo thought, and she began to enjoy this game. Kagome still wasn't budging from her spot.

"My mother was a village girl, and my father was a head priest at the village shrine. He was the one who taught me to strengthen and improve my abilities. When my sister was born, she grew up wanting to be a priestess like me," Kikyo said, seeing that Kagome's attention was locked onto her.

"Wow, I guess I never knew that about Kaede. I can see that though; she admires you so much," Kagome said. Kikyo could no longer detect cattiness in Kagome's voice. Suddenly, Kikyo felt slightly more comfortable.

"And your parents?" Kikyo asked in return.

Kagome sighed, "Well my mom works part time in an office. She mainly works there for money to support the family. Grandpa is the head priest at our shrine, but I will admit, he has little to no spiritual abilities. His sutras don't work at all, and it's quite embarrassing when he tries." Kagome saw Kikyo's eyes glimmer with amusement and it made her smile even more.

"And what of your father?" Kikyo asked.

Kagome's face softened and then fell into a somber expression. "He died shortly after Souta was born. He was killed in a work related accident."

"Work accident?"

Kagome nodded. "Yep, Dad was a policeman. He was shot trying to reprimand some criminals. They were just kids with weapons who shouldn't have had them."

Kikyo surmised that this "policeman" her father was called was some sort of enforcer of the law, and he had died protecting the peace. Kikyo stared at the girl, spotting sorrow for her father's death within the expression on her face.

"So you follow in your father's footsteps to protect peace?" Kikyo asked suddenly. Kagome looked at her, surprised and not expecting that question.

"I suppose so," Kagome said. She looked away from Kikyo's face for a moment. "But I think I follow more in your footsteps than anyone else's."

Kikyo said nothing at first, trying to discern what Kagome was really thinking. She saw a faint blush on Kagome's cheeks.

"Are you disappointed that you have to follow in my footsteps?" Kikyo asked, almost in a whisper.

When Kagome spoke, Kikyo noticed that she had a far away look in her eyes. "Of course not. It's just that, sometimes, it's hard living up to the real thing. Being a priestess is a huge responsibility, and I feel I can never measure up to you," Kagome paused and then sighed. "Where I come from, we don't exactly have priestesses in the job market anymore."

Finally, she looked at Kikyo. "What I'm trying to say is, since I got here, I've been trying to learn the things that you do, but sometimes I feel that I'm never going to be good enough."

Kikyo was amazed at Kagome's honesty, but more importantly, she had never thought about Kagome's feelings at all. She was obviously not used to having miko abilities, and since they had never really gotten a chance to get to know each other, it was enlightening to find out more about her.

Kagome waited for Kikyo to say something, and she started to feel awkward about the constant silence. She glanced at her watch, only to see that since she had come here about two hours had past.

"Oh, wow!" she exclaimed, slicing through the thick silence. "Look at the time! I have to get home. I have to at least make it believable that I went there." Kagome sprang up from her seat and met Kikyo's eyes. She smiled warmly and said, "I promise the next time we'll talk about more interesting things. See you later, Kikyo!"

And Kagome took off, waving goodbye and then heading for the well. Kikyo watched her and felt even more stunned.

'The next time…?'

----

During one of Kagome's frequent visits, Kikyo found herself engaging in the strangest activity with her. Feeling Kagome's hands weave through her hair, she had never imagined that the two of them would ever be sitting upon the forest floor braiding each other's hair.

Kikyo tried to stay alert, but Kagome's soft fingers entangling through her hair was surprisingly soothing, and she couldn't help but feel warmth form within her body as Kagome treated her. Kagome hummed into her ear, and she felt herself falling into a daze.

"There!" Kagome said proudly, tying the last ribbon in her hair. She had separated three masses of tendrils, braided each one and then proceeded to braid all three of them together. Her hair felt slightly tighter weaved together by Kagome's touch.

Kikyo hesitantly reached in back to feel the braid, and Kagome dutifully handed her a mirror.

"So, what do you think?" Kagome chirped. Kikyo could see Kagome's beaming face within the reflection of the mirror behind her.

She had let out a smile much like grimace and nodded. "Interesting," she said, and then returned the mirror.

"Great! Now it's my turn!" Kagome said, getting up and moving in front of Kikyo's position. Kagome whisked her hair behind her shoulders and over her back. Kikyo saw the smile that was permanently etched on Kagome's face and she paused.

The girl was so trusting and inviting. Only months ago Kikyo had tried to get rid of her. She lifted up her hands and hesitated, staring at the dark hair that spilled over the young girl's neck and back. Kikyo had an errant thought that it would be so easy to put her hands around her neck now and …

"Whatcha waiting for? Do you worst!" she giggled, and Kikyo was jarred from her thoughts. "Although, nothing too outrageous or Miroku will just tease me."

Kikyo let out a weak smile and laced her fingers through Kagome's hair. She let her previous thoughts fade out of sight, hopefully never to resurface.

----

One of the last times Kagome had time to see Kikyo, Inuyasha had stopped her before she went.

"Hey, I need to talk to you," he said gruffly, and the look in his eyes indicated that he was not happy about something.

He pulled her aside from earshot of the others and stared at her intensely.

"What is it?" she asked, curious to what she had done wrong now.

"I know where you've been going before you go home. You don't have to keep it a secret any longer," he said.

Kagome bristled, and the look he was giving her seemed to accuse her of doing something bad. She straightened up her back and said, "What? Am I doing something wrong? Did I have to get YOUR approval first?"

"What?" he growled, meeting her defiance. "No, that's not what I meant. I just want to know…why you are doing this. That's all."

Kagome sighed heavily. "Why? I just want to get to know her, is that a problem? If you think I'm up to something like trying to hurt her, that's not the case at all."

"Of course I wouldn't think that, Kagome! It's just that…" he paused, searching for the right words and trying not to offend her. "I just find it odd that you would want to spend time with her. I mean, I know how you feel about her."

Kagome cocked her head and then smiled. "Oh, Inuyasha. I don't hate her. I just want to see what's so great about her and why she's so special to you."

Inuyasha looked away, trying not to show the conflicting emotions on his face. He was silent for a moment, and then he said in a small voice. "Well, did you find out, you know, anything great about her?"

Kagome beamed, "Yes, Inuyasha. I'm learning a lot about her. I'm learning that she IS an amazing person."

Inuyasha smiled and nodded. Then Kagome felt she needed to break such a serious moment.

"Say, you're not jealous that I'm spending more time alone with her than I am with you, are you?" Kagome gave him a sly look. Inuyasha gaped, his face slightly flushing to the implication.

"N—No!" He said, huffing and turning away. She laughed as he hid his face from her. "Well, get going will you. The others might start thinking that I'm being a jerk and preventing you from going home again."

Kagome made a noise of affirmation and then turned away chuckling.

As she walked away, Inuyasha looked back in her direction, watching her form leave. He smiled slightly and then thought to himself, 'But Kagome, has Kikyo seen what an amazing person you are too?'

----

As they continued their pursuit of Naraku, Kikyo was slowly veering off into her own path and getting farther away from Inuyasha's group. Kagome had realized that the miko meant to go off on her own, becoming inevitable that it would be less possible to meet up with her any longer.

On their final meeting, Kagome looked sadly at Kikyo as she said goodbye. The two women had spent the night playing a card game that Kagome had introduced, and like most times of relaxation, the time to depart had come sooner than either had anticipated.

"So, you're going more North than?" Kagome asked, her voice blending in with the somber mood. She could even see a slight disappointment on Kikyo's face to the situation.

"Yes, I believe there are some worthy clues there that pertain to Naraku, so I will head out tomorrow morning," she said neutrally, watching Kagome idly shuffle the deck of cards.

"Oh, really? Maybe we should come –"

"No," Kikyo said quickly. "You should remain on the path that Inuyasha has set out. Remember Kagome, there is more than just one route to finding Naraku. We need more allies to investigate all paths."

Kagome nodded, "Hrmm…you're right. I know that Kouga and his tribe are looking their separate ways as well. So is Inuyasha's brother. Everyone must have their own information and theories about Naraku."

Kikyo nodded, inwardly pleased at Kagome's wisdom.

"So, this probably means I won't get to meet with you any more, huh?" Kagome said, flipping over the cards to play a game of Solitaire. Kikyo watched her movements intensely, studying as Kagome was becoming upset at not being able to meet again.

"Yes," Kikyo replied. Kagome sighed heavily. "For now anyway."

Kagome looked up at her, shocked that there was hope in Kikyo's voice. Did Kikyo truly enjoy her company? Kagome still wasn't sure. For many weeks she had thought Kikyo was just humoring her, mainly because she had no one else to talk to.
Still, Kagome thought she could finally detect regard for her within Kikyo's voice.

Kagome smiled. "Okay." Kikyo was inwardly amazed at how fast this girl's moods changed. She saw Kagome gather her cards and make a motion to get up from the ground. Kikyo stood up as well, realizing that Kagome was going to be on her way.

"Listen," Kagome said, struggling with her words. Kikyo saw Kagome dig into the pockets of her bag. "I know you probably think I'm a pest by bothering you all the time, but I really did want to get to know you."

Kikyo saw her pause and then pull something shiny out of her pocket. She encased it in her hand and continued speaking. "I don't have a lot of close friends, mainly the ones here in the feudal era and a couple back home. I just wanted you to know …"

She handed Kikyo the object in her hand. "I just wanted you to know that I consider you one of them."

While Kikyo was rendered speechless, Kagome placed the necklace into Kikyo's hand, squeezing it. Kikyo looked at the necklace, holding up in front of her eyes to study it. Kikyo saw that on the end of the golden chain, a small metal shape dangled from it.

Kagome held up another chain and said, "I have one too." She reached for Kikyo's and interlocked the two jagged shapes together, forming a heart.

"You probably think this is really cheesy, but it's sort of a fad back in my time. They're called friendship necklaces. One friend has half of the heart and the other keeps the remaining half." Kagome shifted her feet awkwardly when Kikyo said nothing. "Look, if you think I'm being weird, you don't have to keep it and I can just ---"

"No, it is alright," Kikyo said, managing a faint smile. "I appreciate it."

"Really?" Kagome asked with excitement. Kikyo nodded clutching the chain in her hand tightly.

"It's lovely," Kikyo said, and then she was silent again, not knowing what to say. Kagome's words fell to the silence too, and the two women gazed at one another as if they had finally seen each other in a different light.

"Well…" Kagome said. "I better get going before you-know-who loses his temper." Kikyo nodded, knowing exactly the person Kagome implied.

Kagome was relieved that Kikyo no longer looked away when she mentioned Inuyasha. Kagome waved and then said, "Good luck, Kikyo!" She held up her portion of the necklace, "I'll be thinking of you!"

Kikyo nodded as Kagome departed, leaving her without company again. She looked again at the necklace that Kagome bestowed upon her. Somehow, she didn't feel as lonely anymore.

FIN