Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, I enjoy the escapism that it allows me.
Spoiler Warning: references to various events in manga/anime up to whichever episode in which Naraku's heart/baby tries to mind-control Kagome.

Alone

The wind whistles past, its chill a pleasant change from the warm, stuffy air of the castle she just escaped from. Kagura gives another huff and looks down at the little bundle of evil in her arms. He shifts in his wrappings and the wind sorceress smirks. "You seem listless."

It takes a little longer than the usual for him to respond tersely, "Quiet. I need to rest."

The corner of Kagura's mouth twitches. Hmm. So this kid isn't all powerful.

Rocky hills jut up from the gentle forest, the cave that makes their hiding place quickly rushing towards them. Kagura frowns. One might think she'd be used to hiding in dark caves, especially as long as she was sitting around in Mount Hakurei recently, but she still feels a bitter twinge. Especially how doing so protects a vital piece of Naraku.

She slows her feather and sighs. What I wouldn't give to be able to take this creature to Sesshomaru.

"Kagura, why are you slowing? Set down so I can rest."

She shoots a glare of venom at the baby, but he's already turned and closed his eyes again. The wind witch sighs. Heck, at this point, I'd hand him off to that measly brother, Inuyasha.

The destination reached, Kagura stops and hops off the feather, catching the shrinking white object as a matter of habit. After walking a little ways into the cave, she sets down the baby.

With her mind now on Inuyasha, she sits down on a rock and mulls. How can he continue to harass Naraku? After all of his failures and setbacks, how can he so resolutely stand up to the evil hanyou?

"Damn that resistant girl. My plans will take much longer now. Who knows which priest will be able to see the gate to the other world."

Even Kagura's lips turn into a silent snarl at the reminder of that event in the castle.

The baby's words are soft and seductive, creeping into her very soul. "Don't you hate him? Don't you hate Inuyasha?"

Kagome pauses, her shallow breathing sucking in one longer gasp. "I . . . I guess I have every reason to. But . . . but I can't. I guess that means that I . . ." She pauses to breathe in again, this breath almost desperate. ". . . that I'm in love with Inuyasha!"

Kagura swings her closed fan in anger and a stalactite crashes to the ground. "Damn her! It's not fair!" The youkai pauses, realizing how unlike her that outburst must have seemed.

"Kagura, I need silence to rest."

"Pfft." Already wanting to slice him in two with her fans, Kagura steps out of the rocky cave and jumps onto her feather. The ground races by, but instead of the rush of adrenaline from speed, her anger builds.

She lands and shatters a boulder with a blast of wind blades, and rather suddenly her energy leaves her. She falls to her knees and clutches fistfuls of grass. Why? Why does that damn human brat have everything, and I have nothing?

A number of flashbacks pass through her mind's eye. Once where she hides on her feather, watching Inuyasha try to claw through poison moth cocoons, crying Kagome's name. When he is fighting against himself as Kagome calls to him after he destroyed Goshinki. Kagome declaring her intentions to stay with Inuyasha despite her perception of Kikyo being a romantic obstacle. Inuyasha standing there, hardly breathing, as Kagome under Tsubaki's curse aims an arrow at his heart.

Kagura's frown deepens. He's so stuck on that girl. A flicker of Sesshomaru passes through her mind's eye and she violently shakes her head, desperate to avoid that pain, though it doesn't quite work. She sighs and admits to herself, and she's so stuck on him.

The youkai breathes out and sits back, a tree's trunk catching her. "Alone, Naraku could kill any of them so easily. It's easy to see why some survive. Sesshomaru is so powerful, so graceful, so . . ."

Kagura shakes her head again. Then there's the flea-ridden wolf. Kouga is fast, even for a youkai. The jewel shards in his legs make him even more unnaturally fast. What is so special about Inuyasha? Exactly what Naraku's forces will never have: unity.

They have a power even Sesshomaru doesn't have . . . love and friendship. They've fought together, they've bled together. It's really no wonder how they have such a strong bond, how they can fight against such seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They're not alone. Each of them knows they're in it together.

Sesshomaru appears again in Kagura's closed eyelids, and she sighs whistfully.

So . . . alone. If I could . . . just one more time . . .