A/N: Thanks so much to Wendy for beta'ing this fic for me!

Scroll One: Experience the Loss

"Kikyo-sama!" Kagome breathed at finding the woman lying on her side on the rocks beside a stream. The miko did not move and Kagome hurried to her, dropping her bike as she jumped off, and slipping every so often on the damp rocks as she ran. Sango and Miroku were not far behind her with Inuyasha leading them. From her shoulder, Shippou whimpered seeing the still form of the once dead priestess. He was not good at dealing with death.

"Kikyo-sama, what happened?"

She rolled the woman over onto her back, for the first time noticing the shallow breathing emanating from her.

The priestess was barely able to open her eyes and Kagome's eyes roamed over her body looking for injury and finding the slash across her shoulder…she only barely registered that these were the same injuries Kaede had described as killing Kikyo fifty-two years before. Three long, jagged cuts ran from the curve of her shoulder down to her back, but they were not just any cuts - they were claw marks. Kagome knew immediately what had happened. Only one person could have that sick of a sense of humor.


"Where are your Shini-dama-chuu?" she asked, noticing that the sky was clear and that there had been no youki in the area or flying snake-type youkai to alert them to Kikyo's presence. If it had not been for Inuyasha's sense of smell or Kagome and Miroku's sense of auras, they would have never known she was nearby. "They should be bringing you souls."

"Dead," the woman muttered, "…he killed them…Naraku…the souls are gone…"

Kagome only barely felt the tingling that had started in her chest as her senses picked up on Inuyasha and Kirara quickly approaching.

"We'll help you." She glanced over to her side to see them; they were practically there. "I'm going to heal you, like I did before, 'kay?"

She placed her hands on the wounded shoulder and inhaled sharply as the poison from Naraku's miasma assaulted her senses, but she did not let up.

The others had arrived and had to take a step back as the undead priestess began to glow in a bluish light and Kagome became engulfed in a purple light of her own. The two auras mixed and became one as a ball of white light seeped out of Kikyo's chest and flowed into Kagome. When the auras had disappeared once more, Kagome was panting for breath looking with wide eyes at the miko whose breath had stopped, her semi life taken from her.

"K-Kikyo…" Inuyasha dropped to all fours, sitting back on his haunches as he looked at the priestess' lifeless body, pain clearly written on his face. His nose twitched slightly.

Sango and Miroku came to a stop and looked over the scene before them in solemn silence. They had approached slowly after Inuyasha's arrival and could tell from the looks on both their friends' faces that the miko had returned to death.

Shippou scampered from Kagome's shoulder and hid behind the taijiya, clinging to her leg and making quiet whimpering noises; Kagome's distress was distressing him. Sango knelt down and picked him up, cradling him in her arms.

"Naraku, that bastard. He did this."

His golden gaze drifted slowly from Kikyo's peaceful face to Kagome's wide cerulean eyes, another shadow taking the pain's place. When she recognized it as fear, she shut her eyes tight against the impending tears.

"I-Inuyasha…I'm sorry…I'm sorry…" she gasped, repeating the same phrase over and over again, unable to speak anything else at the moment. "I'm sorry…I'm sorry…I'm sorry…"

Something in her mind clicked, telling her that she should go. She needed to leave, run away from the look in his eyes. The first tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek as she stood and she started to take a step back. It felt as if her head was stuffed with cotton and her body felt weighted down. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion and a knot of unease settled in the pit of her stomach. When she lifted her foot to take a step back, it felt as if it were filled with lead and she only barely registered the gasped exclamations of her other companions as she turned and felt herself falling.

Miroku dashed forward and caught her as she passed out, one arm going around her shoulders and the other under her knees, lifting her off of the ground. He turned his deep violet eyes on the hanyou who had been watching, looking torn. He had a duty to both mikos and though he knew Kagome needed him, he also needed to see to Kikyo; he needed to see to his own grief.

Sango provided a solution, stepping forward next to Miroku. "Inuyasha," she started quietly, absently stroking Shippou's hair, "we'll take Kagome-chan with us back to Kaede-sama's. You take Kikyo-sama and we'll follow behind."

Miroku nodded. "Kaede-sama can give her a proper burial."

Inuyasha simply nodded and the houshi turned, shifting Kagome in his grip so that he could keep a better hold on her.

Sango followed him as he walked back towards her bike. As she knelt to pick up Kagome's bike, Shippou jumping onto her shoulder so that she could grasp the handlebars, she looked over her shoulder at Inuyasha. The hanyou had stopped watching them and dropped his eyes back down to Kikyo's lax features. He brought one hand up to her face, stroking her skin with his fingertips and then running his fingers through her hair. Blinking back her own tears, she turned away and picked up her pace to catch up with Miroku.

I've never seen him so vulnerable before. Its obvious his feelings for Kikyo were very strong. Glancing at her still unconscious friend, she sighed. I am glad that Kagome isn't awake to see this, though. She would be heartbroken.

Inuyasha looked down at Kikyo. She had been the first person to even begin to accept him as a person after his mother's death. Though he knew she had not belonged back here, in the world of the living, he had not wanted her to be hurt. He sighed and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He had promised to protect her, but she had died again and in the same manner from the looks of it.

Did she know it wasn't me this time?

He brought his hand up and cupped her cheek, letting his fingers play over the smooth, cold flesh. It was true that he had embraced her during her life and her resurrection, and she had kissed him, but he had never touched her. He had always felt unworthy, as if he were dirty and to hold her in such a way would taint her. His hand drifted up and his fingers brushed through her hair. It was smooth, silky, and so fine that it just spilled through his fingers.

After a moment he shifted and gently lifted her with his arm around her shoulders and brought his other arm beneath her knees, standing carefully. Making sure he held her securely, he bounded off, going quickly but carefully back towards Kaede's village.

A/N: I am currently going through and re-editing the chapters that I have done so far. Some mistakes have been pointed out to me in reviews and some I'm finding myself. This chapter was originally a lot shorter, ending with Kagome saying she was sorry. Re-reading it, however, I decided that I needed to elaborate a little more, extending it so that you can see a little of how each character reacts to Kikyo's death. Also, I had been told in reviews that I was using too many Japanese words. I've re-edited it.

Please read and review!