Disclaimer: What is it with everyone saying they want to own? I don't, I'm glad Takahashi-san owns and can write the story for me. God knows if left to me, it would be crap. XD Now, if I could make Sessy or Inu real…

Pairing: Sesshoumaru/Kagome, references to several others.

Warnings: Language, ORIGINAL PLOT (omg, what a miracle!), citrus (way later), improbable situations, plot twists, OOCness…there's more. I dunno.

UPDATE: All chapters revamped as of May 5th 2007. Please review about all spelling errors so these can be better. I appreciate it!

7/25/10 - Re-adding my scene breaks since the last update removed them. Removing nearly all fangirl Japanese (probably leaving youkai and hanyou, as 'demon' holds entirely different connotations from youkai). Seriously fixing POV issues. Rewriting as much as I can stomach, though this is still only a beginner's first fanfiction that's been toyed with in the intervening years.

I promise this isn't too bad after the first couple of chapters. ;P Just cheesy. The plot is actually something I am rather fond of.

His Past, Her Present, Their Future

Chapter 1 - Beginning

She lay silent on her pallet, letting the sounds of the world pass her by without notice. Her muscles screamed to be used after several weeks of inactivity, but her mind would not comply. Her eyes stayed closed despite her consciousness. Blackness consumed her, stole her breath and drowned her thoughts, leaving nothing but a blank shell floating in the nothingness. She refused all thoughts that would even dare to cross into her mind... she could not think, could not; something deep within her feared her own end if she allowed herself to waken once more.

But that same place deep within her wept in a way she would never be able to, grieving where she could not.

And it had to be enough.

"Why isn't she waking up?" he asked in a small voice, the question weighing heavily in the silence.

"I don't know, Shippou," the only other person in the room replied, violet-blue eyes looking down with sorrow at the young fox youkai. "She has to overcome herself before she can awaken. Sometimes..." he sighed, petting Shippou's head to soothe his tears. "Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. The demons within us can be so much more terrifying than any we slay in reality."

"She will wake up though, won't she?" Shippou's breathing hitched, small hands clenching.

"I can't say for sure."

Tears tracked silently down Shippou's face as she watched the deathly-still form of the woman he had secretly come to view as something like a parent. It had been almost four weeks since she had been found comatose on the ground of the woods, but she still had yet to even move. Her heart beat strong and her breathing was even, but even Kaede could do little but slip strained foods into her mouth and massage her throat to make her swallow. It was all that kept her alive. The worst part, though, was the aura of despair that clung to her like a shroud, cloyingly thick and nearly moving the young fox to tears just to be near her. But he couldn't stay away. She had never let him down, and he'd never turn his back on her.

He bounded from the hut and ran to Goshinboku, the God tree, the one place that had given him solace since the day Kagome had been found. It was hard to believe that the woman who had protected him for the last four years could possibly never wake up again. Shippou had hope, so much hope, but it was getting harder to keep it strong when nothing changed at all. They still didn't even have any idea how she had ended up that way in the first place… at least, they didn't have any proof. There were suspicions, frightening and gut-clenching ones, but nothing he wanted to believe. Shippou leaned his small head against the bark of the tree, willing her to come back. They hadn't been able to find InuYasha either, not since that night. For a few days they just thought he had once again run off, as he had been prone to doing since Naraku's defeat. But after the first week, they had all silently decided that something was terribly, horribly wrong to have kept the hanyou away for so long.

After all that had happened, he had promised to never stay away again, after all. And for all his flaws, InuYasha never broke his word.

It had been silent in the little grove of trees for too long. The silence had come and they had cheered, Jaken included, but it had been too long since then. Shippou ached to know why everything at the battlefield was so quiet and yet no one had come to retrieve them. The battle had raged for several hours, and he, Rin, and Jaken had been forced to sit far within the forest under a carefully laid holy barrier. Jaken berated them constantly, his own worry betrayed by the way his slightly-webbed fingers clenched his staff, snapping at Rin and threatening them.

"Stop sniveling you, foolish human! Lord Sesshoumaru would never be defeated by a half-breed scum like Naraku!" he shrilled. It had been like this for over an hour now. With an exchanged glance as the toad youkai turned away, Shippou and Rin clasped hands and began to run, the barrier not effecting the ones it was left to protect.

"Idiots! Come back here, you stupid children!" Jaken fumbled, falling flat on his face as his two young charges ran on ahead. "Why, Lord Sesshoumaru, would you leave me to be a mere babysitter?"

When they reached the edge of the forest, it was easy to see why all was silent. And with a sick sinking in his stomach, Shippou badly wished he hadn't brought Rin along. He'd been in battle and experienced death, but she was an innocent. The battleground was littered with bodies: youkai and human, male and female, friend and foe. There was no movement that he could see. He gripped Rin's hand tighter and made to tug her back through the trees to the comforting blindness. He didn't want to know. He was afraid, and he didn't want to know the truth anymore. He especially didn't want Rin to-

"LORD SESSHOUMARU!" Rin screamed, ripping her hand from his and dashing away before he could stop her. Her bare feet skittered across the mud and through things that made Shippou sick to think about as she raced to the starkly obvious white amongst the blackened blood and gore of the battlefield. Shippou nearly followed her until he spotted Kagome. She was shaking as she pulled herself to her hands and knees, the bright white of the Shikon Jewel glistening between her clenched fingers.

"Kagome!" He nearly sobbed as he ran at her, mindless of what he stepped in. She laughed weakly, brokenly, curling the little fox to her chest as she surveyed the field of broken bodies and youkai bits. It was a slaughter, and Shippou could do little more than cling to her as her posture stiffened and her arms tightened painfully around him.

He could tell the moment she found them, only moments after he had. Her body froze and the tightened arms around him became choking, unforgiving bars, not that it really registered. Shippou, too, could do little but stare at the three familiar bodies, breath stalling in his throat. Even as Kagome shot off the ground, arms still locked around him, he couldn't understand. Why were they so still? This was InuYasha, Miroku, and Sango. They were too strong to be so still. Distantly he became of Rin's wailing in the distance, but it was soon forgotten as he was dropped to the ground. He watched in horror as Kagome's fingers ran across Inyasha's haori, hesitant and disbeleiving, before she began to pound at his chest with choked sounds of denial. And then she screamed and Shippou could no longer hold onto his shock, head shaking in denial as she keened in a high, broken tone.

Shippou shook where he stood, tears falling from blank eyes as he stared. InuYasha's eyes remained open, his throat a mess of three jagged punctures lined in blackened flesh. The smell spoke of poison, so much and so concentrated that Shippou's eyes watered and he knew, knew with fear and pain, that InuYasha could only have lived for moments after that, hanyou or no. Less than a foot away were Sango and Miroku, a tableau of serenity. Sango was curled atop Miroku's chest, her fingers limp on his cheek, his arm curled around her. Breaking the picture was the sword that skewered them both and the shock of purple staining the skin of Miroku's once-cursed hand, but Shippou could only close his eyes and pretend they were sleeping... that everything would be okay. Because he couldn't bear to think otherwise.

Shippou heard a call for dinner from afar, and he slowly dragged himself away from Goshinboku to make his way back to Edo. All he could do was hope that Kagome would awaken soon, because he had suffered enough pain and loss in the last several years. He had watched his father die, he had seen his closest people injured and torn apart. He couldn't stand any more.

A/N: This looks cliché. I know. And it will be until chapter 15. But I promise, at least at the time this was written, that this a totally original plotline.

Hope you read it through. ;)