Whatever was inside of Koga's blood wasn't necessarily living, but it was controlled by something it seemed. It was almost like a fiery blazing poison. How was she to fight a fire that anticipated the movements of those around Koga and fought so hard to take his life? She couldn't just throw water on him and call it good. It was not just on top of his skin, it was all throughout. Gnawing at her lip in some indecision as she watched the demon ram himself against Kikyo's barrier, Kagome tried to think as quickly as her human mind was capable of. Sometimes that was a depressing move for her, seeing as nothing came to her when she felt like she needed it to the most.

"Koga, stop!" Ginta shouted as his body slammed against the barrier once again, his demon blood hissing as it collided with the mass of purity keeping him at bay. He roared from both pain and frustration, his sightless eyes recognizing nothing. They did not even find Kagome.

"He won't hear you." Miroku said, knowing the two very well knew that as well.

"I know, I know." Ginta said. "But I feel like I have to say something, don't I?" Just sitting around, doing nothing was not helping the young demon at all. "Kagome, please, please help him." Ginta begged.

The girl's heart was in her throat as she continued to wrack her brain about what to do. Her mind kept running back to the purity of water, her instincts screaming about it, but like she had thought before, water alone could not help Koga. So why would it keep coming back to her?

Water.

Water.

Water!

WATER!

WATER!

"Think, Kagome, think!" She begged herself. There was no way in all the Hell's she was about to let Koga die. They weren't lovers like he wished, but he was a dear and welcome friend. She just knew she'd totally loose it if she watched him die while she was standing right before him. She'd healed Sesshoumaru, given him back his arm, had helped heal Kohaku… She could do this, couldn't she?

Water.

The almost calm reminder took her back to days that were not so long ago, but seemed it. It was days of training with everyone who wished to help Kagome learn something valuable, but these memories of water came with one specific person. Akin.

Akin had taught her to wield water as a weapon, how to draw out rain in the environment, or even how to walk across water. He'd never mentioned healing with water, but Kagome wondered if she could lodge just enough of her purity through water and lift it into Koga's scorching wounds, would she be able to use the water and her energy to heal him? Looking about her quickly, Kagome found Kikyo was sitting next to a pail of water. It was not much, but perhaps it would do.

Kagome drew within herself and then pulled what she found outward, creating a barrier that overlapped Kikyo's. Everyone turned stunned eyes to Kagome, not truly having anytime to wonder what it was she was thinking. "Kikyo, I need you to let go of your barrier."

Having watched her reincarnations face for sometime and having seen the warring thoughts and emotions calm into determination, the miko gave a nod and her barrier dropped.

"Kikyo, what are you doing?" Inuyasha asked, looking between the two women uncertainly. Kagome was probably about to do something stupid and reckless if he knew her well enough. Surely they couldn't just let her?

"I am trusting, Inuyasha." Kikyo answered. "Just as you should."

Kagome's eyes softened as she looked upon Kikyo with gratefulness. "Kagome…?" Sango questioned softly, her eyes warring as she looked at her friend. "You aren't going to do anything to endanger yourself, are you?"

Kagome smiled at her. "I'm going to save our friend. Please, stay back." Kagome eyed her rounding stomach. "Just in case, I don't want you too close, Sango-chan." At the mere possibility, Miroku pulled Sango toward him and shared a meaningful look. It was one Sango decided not to argue with and so stood outside, closer to Akin and Inu no Tashio. The dragon demon seemed tense now, having heard Kagome's words, but Inu-no-Tashio's curiosity only grew. What was that human up to?

"I think that most of you should leave, actually." Kagome said as she looked about the room. "I don't know how well this is going to work."

Most faces were grave in the room, while Inuyasha looked angry. "I won't just leave you in here with him." He tried not to notice how Kikyo watched him then.

"Kagome," Hakkaku called, continuing when he had her attention. "We can't leave him here and wait outside. He's our leader…" More importantly, he was family.

Kagome sighed. "Kikyo, Keade, Miroku?" She asked, looking at their faces. It was clear, they were all going to stay. Shippo was in the doorway, half in the hut, half out, looking on worriedly. "Alright, fine. I just hope I do this right."

"Have you ever done whatever it is you plan before?" Ginta asked.

Kagome shook her head and his confidence dropped. Koga continued to careen against the barrier, his demonic power at war with Kagome's spiritual. Her brows puckered in concentration and though she continued the barriers substance, her spiritual energy called out to the water in the pail and willed it to obey her.

Now the trick was, just getting her spiritual power to mingle with said water. She could wrap her abilities around it in order to will it, as she did with any and all of her weapons. This was a step further than what she'd ever done before. This was something that she'd never heard of being attempted. Could it even work?

Though… The red lightning from the storm and the rain that had pelted down within it felt distinctly of Ocraseous. Every drop felt like he was pouring out his own sadness for her, trying to understand her, and then it had felt like her true sadness had been swept into the rain. Her essence and his had mingled in a strange, spiritual way. It almost like second nature, that it just combined with the elements on its own.

That was it though, wasn't it? The bridge that brought her spiritual powers and the rain together had been her emotions. They transcended into the drops in the same way that they could fuel or rule her powers. That would have to be the connection, her emotions, and so Kagome released them into her spiritual powers, and the fear that Koga would die and the desperation to save him flooded the pail of water. The gentle glow that had been surrounding the water turned it a bright, almost blinding blue before it rushed out of its wooden containment and through the barrier.

Koga roared as the water fought its way into his wounds and attacked the venomous flames dancing in his skin. Ginta and Hakkaku hardly knew what to do and the wolves bayed from outside the hut, but no one moved forward. Everyone watched and waited for Kagome to work her spiritual, healing powers over the youkai. It was a challenge for her to maintain the constant stream of activity, more challenging than it had been months ago, but she prevailed. The limitless place her energy normally came from was tired and worn, but the firm grip she'd been taught to have on her powers maintained a steady flow with her emotions. She would pour every ounce of her energy out of her if she had to, just to save Koga.

Kikyo saw this, however, and upon realizing the wolf would survive, stood and reached out to Kagome. When the young, living miko looked at her with surprised blue eyes, Kikyo said. "It is enough. His body will heal on its own. You must not exhaust yourself in order to save others, Kagome." As Kagome released the healing power, retracting the water that was now black with venom, Kikyo continued speaking. "It will leave you weakened and unable to defend should some great enemy arise." Kikyo, with a wave of her hand, purified the dead water into nothingness. Koga, having spent so much energy fell to the floor, his body tired and drained. There were still wounds deep enough to need looking after, but the poisonous flames no longer danced their way through him, and that was what was needed most.

"Will he live?" Ginta asked, sure he would, but needed to hear it.

"Yes," Miroku said, straightening from the wall. "He will need care and rest, but he will survive this."

"Ye should rest too, Kagome." Keade said, looking at the young girls fragile face. Something was broken inside of the young lass, concerning the elder miko. "Ye have used ye powers extensively."

"I should at least wrap his wounds." Kagome said, beginning to go to the demon.

"I am fully capable of that, Kagome." Kikyo said. "Rest. You need it."

Kagome pursed her lips, feeling completely overpowered. Everyone's vote was that she rest, but she felt fine. A little weak and a little tired, but she could at least help with the more physical part of Koga's wounds, couldn't she? Yet judging by everyone's concerned auras and concerned faces, she thought better of it and sighed. "Alright, have it your way." The relief in the room was immediate. "I'll just step outside then."

Miroku moved from her path, giving her a soft smile as she exited the hut. Sango moved closer to her husband, wanting to say something to Kagome, but stopped short, seeing how pale she was and weak. Did Kagome not even notice just how much vitality she'd lost?

Inuyasha shared a sidelong glance with Kikyo before looking back at Koga, his eyes narrowing as dark thoughts spanned across his mind. Thoughts of Naraku and the shadow forming on the horizon. He didn't know exactly what was going to happen next, but knew that it wouldn't be long in coming. He also knew that Kagome was probably their best bet as far as a weapon, even though the thought made him sick. Not just because she was somehow weak right now, but also because he had never wanted that fate for Kagome, another woman that he loved. One had died being such a tool and he worried that another would…

Kikyo and Keade were already beginning to salve and wrap Koga's wounds beneath Ginta's, Hakkaku's and countless wolves gaze. Their hands were gentle and quick with practice, even though their minds were each on the upcoming battle.

Kagome, however, was now reveling in the cool air that billowed across her skin. The air smelled so fresh and clean outside, much better than the poisonous, burning fumes that were coming from Koga's skin.

"You did well, Kagome." Inu no Tashio said to her, catching her blue eyes.

"Thank you, my Lord." She smiled at him before looking at Akin as Shippo and Rin approached her. His eyes were troubled and though she tried to smile away the worry in them, it would not abate. Turning her gaze to the children instead, she knelt down to the ground before them.

"Kagome, are you alright?" Shippo asked, his eyes darting over her with worry.

"The hut was glowing and Akin said it was you!"

"Did you heal Koga?" Shippo asked.

"Is he alive?" Rin asked.

"When-" Shippo started again.

"Slow down, slow down." Kagome giggled. "I'm fine, yes it was me, Koga's better, he is alive and everything will be alright." She held both of their faces with a gentle, loving touch. "Now, who wants to take a nap with me?" Kagome asked them cheerfully, suddenly feeling her exhaustion more than she had been.

"I WILL!" Rin and Shippo both shouted at the same time.

"Great, but we won't be going back into the hut. We don't want to bother anyone who is helping Koga-kun and Inuyasha heal." And Rin certainly did not look like she wanted to be anywhere near those wolves. "How about we go a ways off and sleep in the forest?"

"Akin will look after us!" Rin said excitedly, fondness in her young eyes.

Kagome gave him a tired smile. "If he wishes."

The dragon demon bowed. "It would be my honor."

Shippo hopped to Kagome's shoulder and yawned. "I can look after you too!" He protested.

Kagome stifled a giggle. "Of course, Shippo, you can look after us too. No one said you couldn't." He puffed out his little chest and after a moment, he yawned again.

Rin laughed then and Shippo growled a little. "I'm not tired, I was just testing you to see if you were watchin' is all!"

Rin tried to stop laughing then and Shippo turned his head away and crossed his arms, giving a "hmf" as he did. "Come on, then." Kagome said, beginning to walk away. Akin bowed to Inu no Tashio before following Kagome and the children into the forest.

The Great Dog General looked after their path, thinking on the strangeness that was the miko Kagome. It wasn't of her power, but of the quandary she represented, one she perhaps did not fully understand herself.

A human woman who had eaten the Godly fruit of Ocraseous' home, a fruit which promises immortality to the one who eats it, that so loved a demon she had given way to chasing a predator. A miko that so loved said demon that she would be more than willing to defile herself and call herself lowly unto the mighty predator. A human woman who now found the forest and the earth more home than the huts her human race so protected themselves against the elements from. A girl from a world five hundred years after the very moment Inu no Tashio was standing in gave it all away out of selflessness in order to protect that world from the monstrosities of the past.

She was a young woman, a human, a miko and would live eternal for the fruit of which she had bitten. The strength in her was not much different than his mother, though his mother's power had never slept, Kagome's was waking. It wasn't even so that her power was coming to rise, but more so the will this tiny human had to live, to evolve, to change the darkness of the world and to love a stubborn Inu youkai as Sesshoumaru. That reminded him of his mother.

One would hope the same tragedy that befell his mother would not befall her, for though the fruit of immortality would forever run within her veins and no sickness nor age could take her life, a mortal wound that drained the blood of her or stopped her heart could.

What was planned for these two, and what would the ardor of the demi-God Ocraseous cause? Could their paths be changed for the better or the worse? Looking up to the moon, Inu no Tashio wondered then if the two would simply make their own fate. Smirking, he thought that sounded a bit like them.


Akin had watched the three settle in on the ground, a fire having been lit nearby, and it was not long until both humans and the kitsune were sleeping soundly. Kagome's face, once sleeping, did not hide the worry she felt or the uncertainty that lay somewhere in her soul. Her body and spirit were weakened by the concerns resting inside of her and that tore at the dragon demon in a way that he had never thought possible before, but was increasingly accustomed to.

Kagome, even exhausted and worried, was truly one of the rare beauties of this world, and the softness in his heart for her had grown into a fondness. Though he knew it was not his place to be at her side, a part of him envied the demon lord all of the love she so readily bestowed upon him. She was a rare creature and her rarity, purity and innate beauty had clearly captured many hearts.

Sesshoumaru, Akin knew, had been approaching, but he did not look to the demon lord as he stepped from the trees. Sesshoumaru regarded him briefly with a coldness that Akin could feel without having to turn to him before Sesshoumaru looked to Kagome, Rin and Shippo. The lines of her face gave way to the same stitch in the demon Lord that had risen him from his seat in the forest. She was wounded within and though she was at fault for it, he also knew where he had been. It was damnably frustrating being subject to something so demeaning as guilt.

"You have no need here any longer." Sesshoumaru told the dragon demon.

Akin did not look him, as Sesshoumaru had not turned to Akin and replied. "The Lady asked me of my protection, it would be discourteous to leave her without first her approval."

Sesshoumaru turned his amber eyes to his father's guard and leveled him with an icy stare, to which Akin ignored. "She is not yours." Sesshoumaru told him clearly, a warning in his gaze.

Akin turned his apricot eyes to Sesshoumaru then, something flickering in them. "There is no claim on the miko, if you are not aware." Sesshoumaru's aura gave all the appropriate signs that she was his, but beyond the scent of the two being close, there was no mark truly over the miko that would classify her as taken. "What a fool you are, Sesshoumaru-sama, not to see there is not a soul to this world that could take her eyes and heart from wanting only you." When Sesshoumaru's expression darkened with thoughts and memories of a past ache briefly, Akin said. "Not even the demi-God himself could walk to her and change her heart. Two heart's may be worlds away from one another, but it does not mean they do not long for one another. They may love another, but never with the same ferocity. You are a fool to assume she has ever loved another in the manner she truly yearns for you.

"It is not only your attention she craves, your time or your hand in one of those human ceremonies, but you very soul. Anything and everything that is of you, she must have. Surely you have seen this?" Sesshoumaru said nothing, his mask in place to keep his thoughts hidden, not allowing any momentary slip as there had just been. Akin nearly shook his head, but settled for a dark chuckle. "Inu youkai are far too stubborn. There lay before your very eyes a gem that glistens, shines and exists for you. Others may see it, but that very treasure sees no other, and you worry that I may make claim upon her?" Akin dared a light laugh. "I would have long ago if I thought there was a hope, yet there is none and so I remain steadfast as a protector, therefore, I will not leave until it is her command."

Sesshoumaru stood in his place, not saying anything, only glaring at the dragon youkai. "And she will ask that I leave, Sesshoumaru-sama." Akin met his eyes again. "Upon seeing you, it is a promise. She will request time with you alone."

The two stood quietly after Akin's final word, Kagome so exhausted she had not stirred, nor had Rin. Shippo, however, listened to most of what was said, wondering if there was a way for Kagome to be happy.

If you asked him, Akin would have been the best choice…


A/N

Somebody just got schooled. What, what, what, WHAT?! Lol