Disclaimer: I don't own Inu Yasha, even though I'd like to. I hug'em and love'em and lock'em away some place no one else could have'em. Hehehe. Just kidding, he's too great to hide from the world.
The rain was pouring down, but she barely noticed as she ran through the forest. She had to find him. She had to tell him. Hot tears mixed with the cold rain as her feet slashed in the puddles soaking her shoes.
He caught her scent just before the door mat was pushed aside. There she stood wide eyed and trembling. She was soaked to the bone and the near panic in her eyes was more than Inu Yasha could bear.
"Kagome? I thought…" Sango broke off as Kagome collapsed into Inu Yasha and began to sob.
He couldn't help but wrap his arms around the trembling creature. "Kagome, what's wrong?" She didn't answer him, just continued to sob uncontrollably. She was so cold. Her tiny school uniform had given little protection against the pounding rain. He released her momentarily as he pulled off his outer coat and wrapped it around her. "Crazy wench, you're gonna catch your death out there?" Normally that would have at least gotten a look from the girl, but her continued sobbing scared him. Maybe she didn't want to talk about it in front of the others. She had come to him in her pain. Come to him for comfort. He lifted her into his arms and without a word to the others left Kaede's hut. Miroku's voice followed him, but he didn't hear. His attention was focused on the still trembling form in his arms.
Not far away was an empty hut. No fire burned within, but it was warm and dry and they could be alone. He carried her inside and set her in his lap. He rocked her gently until her sobs finally slowed and her breath came in deep gulps. "Kagome, please talk to me. Tell me what's wrong." He could feel her struggling for calm or at least some sense of composure.
Between deep gulps of air she struggled to speak. "My grandfather….my mother…Sota….the car….I wasn't…" Inu Yasha couldn't really understand what she was trying to say, but he caught the gist of it. Something terrible had happened to Kagome's family. "Alone….an accident….all gone…" No, surely he was hearing wrong. Surely they weren't dead. How could something like that happen? Kagome's world had always seemed so safe. He tightened his grip on her as the sobs began a new. He rocked her gently, letting her cry. It was all he could do now. All he could do was comfort.
'This can't be happening! Her family…it was like mine.' He remembered Mrs. Higurashi smiling and offering him things to eat and being kind to him, even when Kagome was ignoring him. She had been so much like his own mother, very gentle and caring. He remembered her grandfather trying out his pathetic sutras on him. The old man had begun to grow on him. He'd even brought him gifts from the past whenever possible. The old geezer had been so happy at receiving real demon parts. And then there was Sota. The boy had a spine like a jellyfish, but he brought a smile to Inu Yasha's face each time he called him his hero. He remembered too the boy's laughter as they played video games while waiting for Kagome to come home from school. He had never been close to his own brother and having the brat around really felt like having a brother.
Kagome's voice broke through the sobs once more. "I want to….stay here…I want to…stay…with you…."
"Of course, you can stay here." He stroked her hair warmly. 'I'll take care of you.'
"I want to….be with you…." Inu Yasha's heart skipped a beat. Had she just said that? Had she meant what he thought she meant? Her arms tightened around him and she buried her face in his chest. "I love you….nothing left there…you're here…" She had meant what he thought!
Slowly her trembling stopped and the sobs died away. After a while of her steady breathing, Inu Yasha realized that she had fallen asleep, exhausted. He laid her gently beside the hearth and searched for some dry firewood. As he started the fire, he mulled over what Kagome had said. She loved him. Why hadn't he answered her? Was it because of Kikyo? Did he still love her? Staring at the frail young woman beside the fire he considered it. Kikyo and Kagome were two entirely different people. Kikyo may have been a part of Kagome's soul, but Kagome's soul was Kagome's. When he and Kikyo had been together, their relationship had been one just slightly beyond friendship. Kikyo had been quiet and reserved, and she had always kept a part of her heart out of his reach. But Kagome, she was entirely different. She was passionate and vivacious. She put every bit of her soul into everything she did, no matter how small the task. When she was angry or upset or even happy, he knew even before she told him. What he felt when he was with Kagome was so much stronger, than what he felt when he was with Kikyo.
Kagome whimpered in her sleep. He went to her side and lifted her back into his lap. She instantly relaxed. He stroked her hair for a while, he hated seeing her so sad. She lifted her head and looked up at him. Her eyes were swollen and red. "Please tell me it was all a nightmare."
He shook his head slowly. "I wish it was." Kagome leaned into him, the tears silently flowing. He sighed and softly kissed her hair. "I love you, Kagome. I want to help you through this. I'll be by your side every step of the way, if you'll let me." His response was a soft sob and her arms tightening around his waist. "Kagome, do you think you can talk about it? When did it happen?"
She spoke from her place in his chest. "It was a car accident this afternoon, while they were out shopping. I wasn't with them. I was studying. The policeman came. He said I had to go with him to identify their bodies." Her voice cracked and she chocked on a sob. "Inu Yasha, they were so badly mangled and poor Sota was burned all over. I ran away. I couldn't stop running!" Her voice was nearly a wail as she began to weep.
He rocked her gently. "You ran all the way to me?" He could barely comprehend that.
"I had to. I had to feel safe. Right here," she clutched at him with desperate strength, "is the safest place in the whole world."
He squeezed her gently. "I'll never let anything happen to you, Kagome. But we have to go back. We have to take of your family. They deserve that much."
Kagome began to tremble. "I don't think I can."
He lifted her chin gently until she was looking at him. He brushed away the tears with a gentle finger. "I'll be right there with you. We'll do it together." Kagome swallowed hard, but nodded her agreement. She could do anything as long as she was with Inu Yasha. He kissed her brow softly. "Sleep now…my love." Within moments she was again fast asleep.
Dawn came and with it the sensation of being wrapped in a cocoon of warmth. 'That's right, I fell asleep in Inu Yasha's arms. I remember blurting out that I loved him. Oh, god, did I really say that! But wait he had said he loved me too. And what was that he called me before I fell asleep…'my love.' He promised to take care of me.'
"Kagome, are you awake?" His hand stroked her cheek gently. The smell of food reached her nose. She opened her eyes to find him watching her. "Are you hungry? Kaede has brought you something to eat." Two bowls sat beside him, one was empty and the other full. He lifted the full bowl and brought it closer.
The smell was nauseating. She turned her face away burying it in his shoulder. "I can't eat. I feel sick."
He set the bowl down. "I figured you'd say that. I told her that, but she insisted I try."
"Does she know?"
"Yes, she's promised to keep the villagers away till you feel stronger."
"I do feel somewhat better, now that I'm with you." He stroked her cheek and frowned slightly. "I know, we have to go back."
"There are many things that must be done for your family, loose ends that need to be tied, things that cannot be left undone." She nodded and he helped her to her feet. He wrapped a steadying arm around her waist. "Come on. We'd better go. It's almost midday." Slowly they made their way outside and down the path toward the well. Kagome barely noticed when they came upon the two figures in the clearing.
"Kagome?" a soft feminine voice asked. "How is she?"
"As well as can be expected under the circumstances." Inu Yasha's grip on her waist tightened as her legs gave way a little.
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Miroku's voice held true concern.
"Yes, do me a favor and find me a black kimono. I'll be back for it later."
A soft hand touched Kagome's shoulder. "I'm sorry Kagome. I know how you feel." Kagome looked up into Sango's face and she knew this was true. Sango too had seen her whole family die and her younger brother turned into a puppet by Naraku. 'Thank god nothing like that could happen to Sota. I don't think my mind could handle it.' Inu Yasha's tug at her waist nudged her feet forward and then he lifted her in his arms as he jumped into the well.
On the other side of the well, Inu Yasha set Kagome on her feet. She didn't look well to him. She tried a smile that didn't convince him in the least. He put a protective arm around her, just in case she started to fall, and made their way out of the mini-shrine. The yard looked relatively normal as they made their way to the main house. He slid the door open and guided her in. Voices could be heard from the living room. Foot steps came quickly around the corner at the sound of the door. Two men in blue suits appeared.
Inu Yasha wrapped his arms protectively around Kagome and a low growl began in his throat. She placed a hand on his arm. "It's all right. They're policeman."
"Mrs. Higurashi, we searched all night for you. We were afraid you had gone off and done something terrible." The older gentleman ran a stressed hand threw his hair.
"Yes, ma'am you were in such a terrible state when you left the station." The second man was a bit younger and seemed surprised that she'd shown up with a man. He eyed Inu Yasha and his ears.
"I'm fine. I just need to be alone." She avoided their eyes, choosing to stare at the floor instead.
"Are you sure you'll be all right alone, ma'am. You're awfully young to on your own."
"She's not alone. I'm with her and I'm not gonna let anything happen to Kagome." Inu Yasha sounded gruffer than usual.
The two men nodded and bowed. As they stepped to the door, the younger man pulled out a card and tried to hand it to Kagome. "If you need anything, just give us a call." The card hung in midair for a long moment, until Inu Yasha finally took it. The policeman nodded, bowed again and left.
Outside the young policeman snorted at his partner. "I don't trust that guy. A pretty little thing like that left alone with a guy like him. He's bound to try to take advantage of her in that state."
"Relax, she's a teenager. And in this day and age, he's already probably taken advantage of her with her blessings. Besides, Chio, old boy she's a bit too young for you."
"Feh. Doesn't mean I didn't have a chance until that guy showed up."
"You'll never change, always on the prowl."
Inside the house, Inu Yasha was snarling at the door. He'd heard every despicable word. "I'll kill him." Kagome was trembling again and he turned his attention back to her. "Kagome, did that guy try anything? If he did, I'll-"
Kagome shook her head. "No, not really…"
"What do you mean 'not really'? If he laid a hand on you…Kagome, look at me." He cupped her chin and forced her gaze upwards. There were so many mixed emotions in it. But one of them was most certainly fear. "That creep! What did he do, Kagome?"
She swallowed hard. She knew his jealous streak all too well. And although she would have loved to see him pound that cretin into the ground, she couldn't let Inu Yasha get arrested for assaulting a police officer. "He tried to make a pass at me while I was still in the morgue. I couldn't believe it. He's a policeman after all. He never laid a hand on me though, I promise."
Inu Yasha's anger faded as tears again rose in her eyes. He'd forget about the guy for now, but he wouldn't forget him permanently. He made a mental note to remember the guy's face and scent.
Kagome's legs gave out under her and Inu Yasha lifted her easily into his arms again and headed towards the kitchen. "Kagome you have to eat something."
"No, I can't. Not hungry."
"You have to, if you're going to keep up your strength. I'll force it down you, if you make me. You know I will. It'll be for your own good."
Kagome grumbled something to the effect of, it'll come right back up. But Inu Yasha set her down in a kitchen chair nonetheless and began to look for a pot to cook with. He remembered Kagome's mom showing him how the stove worked that time Kagome had gotten sick. He turned the knobs until he could feel heat rising from one of the burners. He set a pot of water to boil and found one of the cups of ramen he liked so much. 'Surely she can keep this down.'
"It's so quiet." Inu Yasha looked over at the distraught girl. She was looking around the room as if seeing it for the first time.
He sat down beside her and pushed a loose hair behind her ear. "I'm here. I'm going to help you, but you have to help me too. I don't know all the traditions of this time."
Kagome slowly nodded. "It's been a very long time since my father died, but I think I remember what all has to be done."
Inu Yasha picked up a pen and paper, and set them on the table. "You tell me what all there is and I'll write it down, that way we don't forget anything." He poured the boiling water into the cup of noodle and set it in front of Kagome with a stern look that showed he wouldn't be argued with. Oddly enough she didn't argue, but she played with the noodles far more than usual. She took her time with both tasks. She gave him item after item that needed to be done. At one point she broke down and began to sob again. After a lot of comforting and a few soft kisses on her brow, she was able to resume the garish task. Her appetite did not return, but she was able to keep down the little bit of noodle she ate.
After a while of silence and Kagome staring aimlessly into her noodles, Inu Yasha took them away and helped her to her feet. "You need some more rest." He gently guided her up the stairs and to her room. Laying her on her bed, he covered her with the blanket.
"Inu Yasha, please stay with me. I don't want to be alone." He nodded and laid down beside her. She turned towards him and buried her face against him. He stroked her hair soothingly. The list Kagome had given him had been long and some things seemed to need to be taken care of soon. He would wait until she fell asleep, then he would take care of what he could.
After a while Kagome's deep steady breathing, indicated that she had fallen asleep. Gently he untangled himself from her and tucked the blanket around her. He kissed her cheek softly. 'I'll take care of you, Kagome. I promise.'
Downstairs he examined the list. Most of the thing he understood and were familiar, but with a slight modern twist. But others didn't make much sense, even though Kagome had tried her best to explain them to him. The list though had been very complete and Kagome had even provided what she called phone numbers. After some initial fumbling he was able to dial the phone and get the appropriate party on the line. Each time he explained he was calling on Kagome's behalf and that she wasn't available. Each time he received the respectful, "I'm sorry for your loss." And each time he felt his guts twist a little tighter. He made sure to write down everything he was told, as to not forget a single detail.
'Kagome never could have done this. It's tearing me apart and I wasn't even a real member of the family. Not that they ever treated me like I wasn't.' Above him, he could hear the soft sobs. His heart ached with the sound of her heartbroken tears. 'Kagome I wish I could do more. I wish I could bring them back, but I can't.' He made his way up the stairs and into her room. It was dark outside, but he could easily see Kagome's trembling form on the edge of her bed, her dark hair shimmering in the moonlight. He went to her and comforted her, showing his own tears as he gave her all the strength he could.
I'll try to update as soon as possible. Thanks to inu girl56 and Michi4 for their swell reviews. Please remember to R&R, and I don't mean recreate and relax. snicker