Er-hem! Yes, tis the start of a new story (I'll finish my other one, Lil-Brit, I promise!) and I hope you readers will enjoy it! I know I adore writing it! Now, a few stats, to make it easy for you!

Title: Protection

Main Pairings: Inuyasha/Kagome, Miroku/Sango

Genre: Romance mainly, with splashes of humor, angst, drama, action, and the usual!

Rating: Ages fifteen (or so) and up; mature themes implied in early chapters.

Summary: Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sanga, and Shippo have been searching for the Jewel Shards for quite some time, and the search has been far from easy. When Kagome is endangered in her own time, the friends begin a whirling quest of an entirely different sort, one in which they face not Demons or Monsters, but rather their own weaknesses, desires, and dreams. Will they be able to pull through, as they have so many times before hand, or has the time come for them to just give in and cease the endless battle…?

And now…the story! I hope you all enjoy the ride!

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Protection

Chapter One - Uneasy

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The sun is beginning to set, only a half an hour's time from disappearing beyond the horizon, and the sky's appearance in the feudal area is astounding. The rather beautiful demon exterminator, Sango, sits on one of the many hills close to the old bone eaters' well, her gaze locked onto the glorious colors dancing in the sky. It is always so pretty at this time of the day. A soft breeze tickles her cheeks and ruffles her long ebony hair; with a happy sigh she closes her eyes briefly. She's donned her casual kimono instead of her fighting gear, as the day has been rather calming…with the exception of Inuyasha's usual rants and growling over Kagome's lack of presence. Two days before the determined teen had insisted on returning to her own time in order to study for yet another one of her tests.

Sango smiles softly at the memory. Inuyasha made a very valid point actually, for right before Kagome had leapt into the well he had yelled after her in anger, "You've always got some stupid test t' study for, wench!" Luckily for him, the young miko had disappeared before she could yell the dreaded word of submission.

Glancing over to the side, Sango cocks a brow as she catches Inuyasha's uneasiness. He is hovering close to the well, with Miroku, lying contently upon a tree branch, looking down on him with a rather bored expression on his face. Of course it's perfectly normal for Inuyasha to be cranky. Not only does he often mope and grumble when Kagome's gone, but Sango can easily see why he's got the right to be edgy on a day like this. For tonight, when the sun sets, his human blood shall overtake his demon.

The troubled hanyou always gets tense before the night on which he turns human. Sango smiles faintly as she pets Kirara, who lies curled up at her side. After a moment she turns back to watch the silver-haired teen pace uncomfortably, his arms tucked into the sleeves of his haori as usual. Although Inuyasha insists that the reason he hates the new moon is because he just doesn't enjoy being human, Sango and the others know his discomfort goes deeper then that. What really makes him uneasy comes from his lack of strength. Whenever he is human the hanyou feels as though he is too weak to be able to protect his friends should the need arise…and that makes him feel unworthy…

"Hey Sango?" The demon exterminator gives a jump, startled out of her thoughts. Looking down she sees young Shippo at her side, his large green eyes gazing pleadingly up at her. His fluffy tail sways silently side to side as he climbs up to curl up in her lap. Kirara yawns groggily, showing off her tiny fangs before joining the small kitsune in her mistress's arms. "…Would you...sing me a song?" He questions sleepily before yawning widely, his own little fangs glittering in the sun's warm glow. Sango smiles softly and wraps her arms around the tired little fox and her pet. Normally Kagome sings Shippo to sleep, and curls up with him afterwards, but whenever the miko isn't here, the young fox turns to Sango for comfort. It's as if Kagome is his surrogate mother, with Sango almost as an aunt figure.

"Of course, Shippo." With a warm smile Sango begins to rock him back and forth as she hums a lullaby that she remembers from her own childhood. The little fox yawns again before snuggling into her warmth and wrapping his tiny arms around Kirara, who purrs happily. Slipping into words, Sango continues the soft gentle song, her thoughts wondering even as she sings. If Kagome is Shippo's 'mother', then who is his 'father'? Perhaps Inuyasha? Sango almost has to stifle a laugh. That hot-tempered hanyou? A father? Ha! Not likely. Then again…he does tolerate Shippo more then he used to; and he and Kagome have grown rather…close. So then…that leaves the perverted monk, Miroku. What is he to little Shippo? An uncle perhaps? Wait! With her as Shippo's aunt? Cheeks slightly pink at the very thought Sango dismisses that idea and instead concentrates on singing, her own eyes growing slightly heavy with the lack of sleep.

Not too far away, Inuyasha continues his uneasy pacing. Something's been bugging him as of a few minutes ago, but he can't place where this strange feeling of discomfort is coming. Sure, the new moon is tonight, but that's not what is upsetting him. It is something else…

"Sango's singing is beautiful, isn't it?" The hanyou only gives a faint growl of agreement to the thoughtful monk lounging up in the tree. Miroku cocks a brow and looks down at his distressed friend before releasing a soft sigh of faked annoyance. "Inuyasha, what's bothering you now? Surely you're not upset about the new moon! One would think you'd be used to it by now."

"Shut up, monk," the hanyou snarls, his golden eyes flashing slightly. "It's not that. It's just…I dunno…somethin'…" Miroku cocks a brow and fiddles with his staff.

"Perhaps it is about Kagome-sama?" Inuyasha swirls about quickly, his long silver hair, tinted red with the sun's dying light, fluttering about his face. It gives him a slightly haunting appearance, especially when he bears his fangs in disagreement.

"Of course not!" He growls, instantly standing upright once more and crossing his arms. "Tho' she does get inta trouble a lot…" There's a faint hint of concern in his voice, and unluckily for Inuyasha, Miroku picks this up immediately.

"Oh really? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were worried."

"Keh! Not likely."

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"Kagome?" Mrs. Higurashi smiles warmly as her daughter leans into the room, her expression one of pure curiosity.

"Yes, Mom?"

"Would you mind going to the store for me, dear? I'm afraid we're out of eggs, and I had hoped to use some for dinner tonight…" Kagome's brown eyes light up with the very idea of having something to do. She has been studying all afternoon, and to get out of the house seems like a brilliant idea.

"Sure! How many?" Her mother pulls out some money and presses it into her hand.

"Two dozen. Oh! And get something for yourself while you're out." Flashing one of her trademark smiles, Mrs. Higurashi hugs her daughter quickly before handing her a coat and shooing her out of the house. "And be careful!"

"I will, Mom!" Kagome assures her before slipping on her jacket and sliding out the door. Her mother remains in the doorway even as the young miko disappears beyond the family's shrine.

"…Please be careful…" She repeats, resting her hand over her heart as she watches the sun slowly sink closer and closer to the horizon. For some reason…she suddenly regrets sending her daughter out into the night.

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"Inuyasha, please! You're making me ill with all your pacing!" Miroku complains, twirling his staff absentmindedly in his hand as he speaks.

"Keh! How can you even see me when you're so busy lookin' at Sango?" The hanyou quickly retorts before rolling his golden eyes in annoyance. The monk goes to respond, most likely with his own smart remark, but he's cut off as Inuyasha suddenly stiffens, a faint look of abrupt fear crossing his features. "Kagome!"

"What? Kagome-sama? Is she here?" Miroku spins around on the branch just in time to see a flash of red and white as Inuyasha disappears into the well.

"Houshi!" Sango joins the monk's side just as he lands at the base of the tree, staff in hand. She holds a sleeping Shippo and snoring Kirara in her arms, cradling their tiny forms protectively against her. "Why did he run off? What's wrong?" She questions, her voice tinted with concern. The monk doesn't respond at first and merely closes his eyes as if in deep thought.

"I believe Inuyasha sensed something wrong…and he fears for Kagome's safety." Sango only sighs softly and nods, her worries on their two friends. An instant later, however, her eyes widen greatly as she feels something brush just below her waist.

"HENTAI!" She shrieks, holding Shippo and Kirara in a one-armed embrace as she raises her freed hand and slaps the perverted monk across the face. He twitches slightly and sighs, placing his own hand over the throbbing red mark.

"Yes yes…I know. No groping."

"…Never learns does he?" Shippo questions sleepily as he shifts in a fuming Sango's arms. Kirara emits a soft sound much like a squeak and snuggles into the little kitsune's hold as her mistress huffs in agreement and turns heel, marching away from the wandering hands of her monk friend. The tiny fox yawns again and snuggles back into his 'aunt's arms before quickly falling back asleep.

"…What a pervert." Sango grumbles before sitting back down in her former spot with a slight sigh.

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And there we have it! The first chapter! -feels so proud- Wow! What a wonderful feeling! Now...a few added notes, just in case!

The tense – As you noticed, I write in present tense, not past, and I always have. I'm sorry if this is an inconvenience to any of you! And I hope it doesn't take away from the story! I just prefer present tense, as if gives the feel that the story is occurring as you are reading…! Well…does for me anyway… -giggles sheepishly-

The characters – In this story they'll be more 'real', if that makes any sense. Their emotions will take a toll upon them, as it does for normal beings such as ourselves, wounds won't heal right away, their characters will be looked into deeper, etc.

Anywhos! Thank you all who happened to read, and I hope to get a few reviews! I love hearing from the readers! What they liked, didn't like, what they hope for! Any thoughts at all are appreciated and welcome! Until next time, my friends! Je ne!