Disclaimer:

Turtlequeen2: Poor Kagura…

Kagura: -glares- Yeah, only because you torture me…

Turtlequeen2: Aw, but it's all in good fan service.

Kagura: Now, I feel exposed for some reason…

Disclaimer!Inuyasha: Keh! You think you have it bad?!

Kagura: Ha! She put me in a torture story before.

Disclaimer!Inuyasha: And you think this isn't one? Look at my story self!

Kagura: Nah, not as bad…

Turtlequeen2: -gives nervous laugh- Well… while they argue, I shall thank the following reviewers: kagome past and present, angel-kamui, xCharlie-Groupiex, medusa85, saphira404, junyortrakr, katana sohma-demon girl, DtecnoKira, Aristocratic Assassin, Inu-midoriko, xXxDarkFairyxXx, Hatsuya, and Goldenstargirl!

Kagura: This insane person does not own me or anyone else. Although, I can't say the same about Rumiko Takahashi…

I give thanks to Kouryuu524 for helping me with the Naraku scene in this chapter.

WARNING: This chapter contains situations of physical abuse. If you are sensitive about that type of issue, I advise you not to read the chapter below.

Please note that until Inuyasha learns more vocabulary, I will use simple Japanese phrases with translations to further emphasize how limited his knowledge of words are.


Chapter 10

Beaten

It started out as a normal day for Inuyasha and Kagome. New words to learn and the struggles it took to reach that point. The frustration and irritation both experienced with each other was evident.

Kagome let out a frustrated huff. "I suppose we can take a five minute break…" she sighed, patting his arm and rising from her seat.

By this time, Inuyasha had fully recovered from the incident that happened to him the couple of days before. The two were even back in his normal room.

Inuyasha could feel the vibrations on the floor from her feet scuffling around the vicinity and grew annoyed by them. "Keh!" he scoffed, trying to maintain his grumpy façade.

"Inuyasha… we're making good progress… You're by far, the most impressive student I've taught so far…" Kagome murmured aloud. "If only you could hear me say that." A small smile crept to her face until she heard his snarl. Casting a look in his direction, she could tell that he was growing angry. Glancing down at her feet, she found that she was pacing. "Oh… you could feel me pacing, huh? Sorry…" She let out a frail laugh and returned to her seat.

When he noticed that the vibrations ceased, he calmed himself. Taking a hold of her hand, knowing that she was within an arm's reach of her, he signed something for her to understand.

"Kagome. Gomen." Why was he apologizing? She knew that he understood what the word meant.

She raised her eyebrow out of confusion. "Nan desu ka?" she signed back on his palm. "What?" was the only question that came to mind. "What are you sorry about…?" she muttered out loud. And why did he wait until now to tell her this?

"Kutsuu," came the only word that he felt would describe it.

"Pain?" she asked. "Why would you feel pain? Is something wrong…?"

Keeping a hold of her palm, he added, "Shinpaisho."

"You think I worry too much?" she mused. "I wonder if you're talking about the entire week when you were hurt…?" She was silently pleased that he retained such simple statements and knew what they meant in his own strange way. However, teaching him about words relating to basic emotions could have potentially been done at an indecent time… "Daijoubu," she returned, saying that she was fine.

This time, he let go of her hand and growled, showing her that he did not believe her.

His teacher felt herself grow confused again. Why this all of a sudden? How long had he kept this to himself when he was unable to communicate these things to her? Ever since he knew that she shed tears for him? The thought made her blush. "No, don't be silly, Kagome!" she laughed nervously, talking to herself. His concern was genuine. However, if he knew those words beforehand, would he have used them during that time? That question began to bother her.

She did not feel like arguing with him over her emotions and so touched him on his shoulder to tell him that she wanted to move on.

He would not have it. Crossing his arms, he turned from her in a stubborn fashion.

Kagome's eye twitched in annoyance. "Inuyasha…" she stated in an irritated tone.

The awkward silence would have continued if the sudden rap of the door did not occur.

Upon hearing the knock, the teacher walked to the door and opened it.

"Kagome!" came the excited chant. "I managed to sneak out of my room again!"

The woman shook her head, knowing exactly who it was. Glancing down, she smiled. "Shippou-chan! It's nice to see you again, but you shouldn't be sneaking out like that. The doctors worry about you," she admonished as if she were his mother.

The child snorted and wheeled his way into the room. After he heard Kagome shut the door behind them, he saw Inuyasha's current irritated condition. "What's with him? Every time I see him he looks like he's about to snap and kill someone."

Kagome did not want to answer his question at the moment. "How did you even find this room?" Last time she saw him, they were in Inuyasha's recovery room.

Shippou snickered in his mischievous manner. "I managed to do a few favors for Miroku and he let me get here."

"Dr. Miroku? And what were those favors?" she questioned while tapping one of Inuyasha's arms in a gesture to make sure that he knew that she was not trying to ignore him. "…and when do you call doctors by just their names?"

The child shrugged his shoulders indifferently. "I just helped him bring joy into the children's wards. They like my magic tricks."

Kagome's eyes lit up. "You can do magic tricks?"

"Yep!" he hummed, puffing his chest out in a proud fashion. "Wanna see?"

"Well, I don't know if I can right now… I'm still in the middle of my lessons with Inuyasha…" the instructor sighed, not wanting to make the man anymore ticked than he already was.

"C'mon! I can incorporate it into the lesson somehow!" the child argued with a grin. "Teach him the word magic or something!"

"I don't know…" she repeated, not truly sure if it was the best of ideas.

"Please!" he pleaded, his green eyes twinkling with childlike innocence.

She heaved a sigh, caving in to his whims. "All right… but I'm not sure about his sense of humor yet." It was a warning.

Shippou nodded, knowing what she meant and tried his best to prepare himself.

Kagome tapped Inuyasha on his arm again, trying to get his attention.

The young man threw a sightless glare in her direction, still not willing to participate.

The girl sighed and tugged on his arm enough for him to reveal his palm to her. "Gomen," she finger spelled.

Inuyasha relented with a snort of some kind and uncrossed his arms.

Kagome grinned. "Great! Now…" she trailed off, taking a hold of his palm. "Mahou." The katakana for the word "magic" were fairly simple.

He tilted his head sideways to show that he was confused with what the word meant.

"Shippou-chan, if you could please demonstrate…?" Kagome requested, giving him her signal.

"Right!" he shouted, wheeling up to where Inuyasha sat and laying a single red ribbon in his hand.

Based on the scent of the one who was closest to him, the man knew that it was not Kagome who was touching him. He raised his eyebrow, knowing the scent was familiar, but did not trust it quite yet. Nevertheless, he prevented himself from doing anything and waited.

The young boy waved his hands over the cloth and muttered foreign words under his breath.

The air stirred above Inuyasha, silently telling him that something was moving above his own hand. What was going on?

Suddenly, a small cloud of smoke erupted from the ribbon, emerging into a medium-sized stone golem. "See?" Shippou cried. "I can perform magic!"

Kagome would have clapped if not for the next thing that happened.

For some odd reason, the student suddenly fell forward, unable to sustain the weight of the stone statue in his hand. He lost his balance and landed on the marble floor with a light thud.

The woman was about to reach out for him when she heard him growl out of irritation. "Uh… I don't think he's amused."

Shippou's eyes widened. "That wasn't supposed to happen, I swear!" he protested. "I think that golem has steel weights inside of it. Somehow, that got switched out of my bag for the hollow one I had!" He would have plotted more ways to say excuses if not for the ticked off patient that was moving towards him.

Somehow, Inuyasha instinctively knew that the boy was young based on the small hands he felt. Rising up swiftly, he managed to bring his fist down upon Shippou's head instead of attempting to beat down the person who supposedly made a "fool" out of him. The teen assumed that the so-called "magic" was a prank played on him by the child.

The teacher's eyes widened out of shock. Did he know that Shippou was a child? Either way, he should not have harmed him. "Inuyasha…" she murmured.

Inuyasha turned his head away and let out a typical "Keh!" sound as if he had heard her say his name.

Shippou, on the other hand, held his hands to his head, feeling a knot beginning to form. Tears filled his eyes from the agony as well as from rising anger. "H-he hit me! That idiot hit me!" he declared.

Kagome sighed. "I'm so sorry, Shippou-chan. I'll go get Miroku-sama if you need any medical help. Inuyasha just didn't understand…"

The child shook his head, not wanting to listen to her reasoning. "Fine then! I'll get you back!" He rolled himself forward and intentionally ran over Inuyasha's foot, initiating a good five minute chase scene around the room.

The young teacher's eyes twitched repeatedly from mounting rage and annoyance. Finally having enough, she stomped her foot harshly onto the floor. "STOP!" she yelled furiously, snapping both boys to attention.

Seeing that Inuyasha was in front of his chair somehow, Kagome stomped her foot again, knowing that he could feel the vibrations skidding across the floor. "Inuyasha, sit!"

For some reason, the student knew that Kagome was angry and managed to do as she told him, knowing more so based on feeling the chair's leg against his own limb.

Turning herself to face Shippou, she sighed once more. "Shippou-chan, that was very immature of you to do. I know that he hit you, but you shouldn't have retaliated like that," she scolded.

The boy felt as if he had been smacked. His head hung low with shame. "I'm sorry…" he breathed out. "I'll go now." He sent a light glare to his opponent. "But don't think I won't return!"

Kagome shook her head, feeling a headache coming on as she let the child out of the room. After shutting the door, she faced the abnormally silent man. "Inuyasha…" she whispered. She was still upset at his behavior. "You haven't been able to interact with children, have you…?" That was her thought at his violent reaction. Her eyes narrowed despite her calming stature. "How am I supposed to keep my promise to you if you don't cooperate with me better?" she asked more in a rhetorical sense.

Inuyasha experienced a slight pang of guilt for his actions. He knew that they were irrational and that they had made her upset. However, he could not stop himself. He kicked the golem that he dropped during the middle of the feud, feeling the light vibrations it made as it bounced across the floor.

Kagome decided to end the day early, but did not want to make him worry about her feelings for the rest of the night. She poked him lightly on the arm and took his hand out again. "Ja ne" she signed, telling him that she would see him the next day.

Her calming gestures seemed to ease his distress, but he still felt bad for what had happened. He wished that he would make her happy one day. Upon feeling the heavy door shut and knowing that her scent faded away, he vowed to continue learning so that one day he would be able to make her proud of him.


Upon arriving to her home, Kagome had the sinking feeling that the day was not going to get any better. Heaving a sigh, she entered the small area to find her best friend crying.

Kagome's eyes widened and she hurried to the girl's side. "Sango-chan…! What's wrong?" she asked in a hushed and soothing voice, putting a comforting arm around her shoulder.

Sango looked up at her friend and sniffled. She took a tissue from the table she was sitting at and dabbed at her eyes. "Remember when I told you about hospitals closing down?" She mumbled the question, acting as if she did not want to discuss the topic.

The younger woman nodded her head. "Yes…"

"Well, the branch where most of my students stayed got their funding cut. It was an ultimatum; either cut the program or go bankrupt and eventually close down the entire hospital…"

Kagome was in shock. "What?!" she declared, losing composure once again. "How could they do that? Why that program of all things?"

Her best friend shook her head with disgust flashing through her eyes. "They think that the handicapped who are unable to live on their own are like cattle. 'Those people' are the 'easiest' to move without direct threats of death. Especially for those of the blind and deaf department."

"That's horrible…" The tone was sympathetic for her friend and for her students. After a few more minutes of consoling Sango, the woman pondered, "What are you going to do now?"

The older woman shook her head again. "The hospital is supposed to tell me where their patients moved so that I will move to those places."

Kagome nodded, taking in the information. "When are they supposed to call?"

"They said within a few days…"

The girl sighed. "Sango-chan, you should be glad that at least the other patients within that hospital won't have to take risks by moving into a cramped space. Also, you only have to move. You can still see your students."

Sango dabbed at her eyes once more. "I know, but that isn't the point…" she growled.

"I understand…"

The other woman rose from her seat. "I'm going to go clear my head for a while…" she breathed out, walking towards where her shoes were.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

Sango forced a smile. "I'll be fine. Don't let my mood get you down." After putting her shoes on, she added, "I just want to be alone for a bit. I'll be back in a few hours."

Kagome's expression was forlorn, but, nevertheless, she waved at her friend before sitting down on the same tatami mat that Sango had used just moments before. She understood her friend perfectly. They both shared an incredible connection to their students. When their students suffered, they felt their pain.

Upon thinking about that, she was brought back to her most challenging student. Inuyasha.

"I want him to make new friends… to make his own relationships…" she thought aloud. "But, how can I help him do that when he seems so against that experience? How can he gain happiness when he feels so isolated…?"

The thought made her heart ache. To think that the man had not even interacted with children ever since he was taken to that handicapped center!

"Inuyasha… I will not give up on you," was the continued pledge she would never forget.


Rin.

The girl's name was Noto Rin.

Sesshoumaru rolled over the name in his mind along with the many facts that he had learned of her over the past few hours while sitting in his study. He momentarily stared down at the bandage wrappings that covered the deep, but recovering arm wounds from the fight he was caught in, feeling thankful that the gashes did not cause him much pain. Looking straight ahead towards the door, his thoughts returned to Rin.

Black hair. Brown eyes. Her age was ten.

She had no other living relatives. No siblings. No parents. No one.

The girl's family had made a modest living ever since she had been conceived. Her mother was a store clerk while her father worked at a fishing warehouse. The child was home schooled for most of her life. From what he could tell, the family was humble and had no enemies. As he thought, the gang members attacked them as a random target.

The child lost her entire family just because some men wanted to loot for goods. It was sickening.

Now that he thought about it, Rin's information was actually a challenge to find. No one in her family left much of a mark in society. It served to provide little information from internet and other media sources. He even went as far as to ask around for information on the Noto family, but not a lot came from it.

Sesshoumaru let out a slow breath, thinking back to what brought him to this point.


Flashback


A few days ago, after arriving home from working, he found Jaken in a distraught mood.

His worker seemed frazzled as if he had gone through trauma.

"What is it, Jaken?" he could not help but ask.

"I'm glad that you asked, Sesshoumaru-sama!" he replied, appearing as if Sesshoumaru's tone of wonderment managed to pick him back up. "It's about that girl…"

"What of her?" the businessman demanded, his calm voice gone. It was replaced with a cold, calculated tone. He wanted to know information and it was obvious that he had thought of her situation since he was away.

Jaken shrunk back slightly, but recovered himself quickly. "Please allow me to explain. I wasn't able to get her name…"

"And why not?" The young man's eyes narrowed.

"The girl began to scream as if she was losing her mind!" he shouted as he lead him to the sleeping child. "When I asked her about her name after she woke up, she acted as if she couldn't speak and then started to scream for no reason! After that, she tired herself out and remained asleep for all of this time."

Sesshoumaru's eyebrow arched as his interest rose. "It would be a normal type of reaction for a girl in her situation. Her family members were most likely murdered in front of her. She woke up for the first time, not in a dangerous situation and so reality began to set in," he theorized.

His servant nodded, taking in the news. "I suppose so… but what if she has gone mute?"

"I do not believe that has happened to her at this point in time," Sesshoumaru replied, shaking his head. "We will wait and see." Looking back at the coat rack within the room, he removed his suit jacket and placed it on the storage space. "If she was able to scream, she may be able to speak, given the right amount of time."

Before either was able to speak another word, they both witnessed the girl's eyes blinking open.

She sat up slowly, looking over the pair. She was apprehensive towards Jaken, but grinned when she saw his master. "Daddy…?" she whispered, her eyes glazed over.

Jaken's eyes widened and he could not help but sputter. "H-how dare she…! Such disrespect!" he snarled.

"Jaken," Sesshoumaru interjected harshly, making his servant silence himself immediately. He moved closer to the couch and shook his head. "I am not your father," he answered in a tone that was more cold than he meant it.

She blinked a few times before realizing that he was right. She remembered feeling someone holding her that tragic night before passing out. In her fit of stress, she had hoped that it was her own father despite seeing him die before her eyes. She felt tears beginning to spill over her cheeks.

So it was true. She had no family members left.

Sesshoumaru was at a loss. What could he do for this girl? There was nothing but misery about her. What had tempted him to save her? "Girl…" he murmured, trying his best to get her attention but failing at the task.

Why did horrible men choose to slaughter her family members? Why did she have to be the only one living? Despite being a child, she thought about these things. It was surprising how one tragedy could make someone face reality in the worst of ways. She did not pay attention to the two men beside her. She only wanted to see her parents.

"Child!" Jaken shouted, not bothering with sounding nice. He had had enough of dealing with her difficulties and he was battling with an ongoing headache because of her screaming. "Answer Sesshoumaru-sama when he addresses you! If not for him, you would be dead!"

"'D-dead…'?" she echoed, beginning to tremble. "I'm not dead! I want to be dead!"

Sesshoumaru shook his head. He made a mental note to cut back on Jaken's paycheck for making matters worse. "Jaken, go do something else. I'll deal with her for now."

His master's voice was fierce, making him know that he was not pleased with his actions. "R-right away!" he said, running off.

"Why am I alive?" she sobbed. "My parents are dead!"

The man beside her gripped her shoulders, hard enough to get her attention, but not enough to harm her. "Look at me," he commanded.

The girl's eyes darted up to him, looking wild. She silenced herself, feeling scared.

"You are safe from those men. I would not imagine that your parents would want you dead. They wanted you to live," he told her, hating to sound so unlike himself.

"Don't hurt our child! I beg of you!"

"Don't harm our darling! You can kill me and take our things, but please don't harm my family!"

Her mother and father's last words were swimming through her mind when Sesshoumaru mentioned that they did not want her to die. It was true. They wanted her to live.

"Why?" she repeated, her yelling dropping into a defeated whisper.

"Because they clearly cared about you. No normal parent wants to see their child die before them," he replied, trying not to think back to his own family in the process of doing so. He was one to talk, considering all of the grief he had to suffer through with his brother.

It was beginning to dawn on him. He felt a connection to her because, like her, he had lost his parents at a young age. However, unlike her, he was never completely alone. He had his brother to take care of, but all of that was in vain.

He inwardly cursed once he realized that he thought back to his family as he told himself not to do. He shook his head to rid himself of the thoughts. "It would most likely make them happy if you stop thinking about dying at your age."

The young girl noticed his faraway expression, but did not say anything on it. "…Sesshoumaru-sama…?" she whispered, trying to recall his name.

The man nodded, confirming that she was right. "Could you tell me your name?" he then requested, his thoughtful tone beginning to fade away into the usual monotonic sound.

She froze when he let go of her shaking shoulders. She was trying to think back to her name and drew up a blank. "My name?" She was growing fearful again.

He rose from his sitting position and resisted the urge to sigh. "I will return later and hopefully you will remember."

He turned to walk away from her when he became aware of a small hand tugging at the back of his shirt.

"R-Rin… Noto Rin…" Her voice was frail, but in the least, she had stopped crying.

Sesshoumaru rotated himself to face her again. "Thank you," he responded, his grateful feelings flashing through his eyes for a brief moment before he walked away. "If you need anything, yell for either me or Jaken," he called back, knowing that her nightmares were only beginning.


End Flashback


Right after Rin told him her name, he immediately began to research her. The process took a few days, but he finally managed to get enough information to tell him what he wanted to know.

What was he going to do now? It was becoming a daily ritual to return home to see a panicked Jaken squawking about how she woke up either crying or yelling. He did not even know how to go about telling the government about the girl. He knew that as soon as they knew that he had her, they would demand for her to be placed within a foster home.

From what he could tell, the Japanese police did not even go to that area to do any investigation. The crime was not reported on the news. It was as if she did not exist any longer.

For some reason, a word flashed through his mind. Adoption.

Sesshoumaru lost his composure for a moment. "Ridiculous. Why would I take interest in adopting a girl whom I've just met a few days ago?" he scoffed.

'Because you want a second chance,' his mind answered for him.

A second chance to redeem himself worthy of being a caretaker. That possible chance to break out of his mental prison of thinking about his brother and everything that went wrong within their family.


One Week Later


Kagura awoke from her rest, feeling normal for the first time in a while since the car accident. After two days, she was allowed to leave the hospital on orders to rest at home and take prescribed pills for any headaches that would occur.

What doctors did not tell her was about the other symptoms that would occur while having a concussion. Over the past week, she had difficulty concentrating on anything coherent, had the hardest time walking straight since she was always dizzy, and went through random bouts of nausea.

She attempted to sit up, but already felt her head begin to pound. "B-Byakuya?" she pondered aloud, seeing her brother by her side as he had been the entire week.

"You shouldn't try doing that so fast," he chided in a gentle manner. "And you wonder why you get so many headaches."

She rolled her eyes. "I don't plan on laying down forever."

"No one is expecting you to," he responded, laying down a tray beside her.

Kagura sighed. "I don't get why you feel so bad about it. The accident wasn't your fault. You shouldn't baby me like this."

He shrugged. "Even if I wasn't the one who was at fault in the accident, I was the one who took the car without Father's permission and drove it out there with you in it. I feel responsible." Pushing the tray in front of her, he instructed, "Now eat something." On the platter was a bowl of rice with a small plate of fish.

She picked up the chopsticks that rested across the bowl and moved the tray to rest on her lap. She held the bowl within her scarred hand, picked up rice with her chopsticks, and brought the bite up to her mouth for consumption. "Thank you," she replied after eating a few more bites.

"Kagura… I want to talk to you about something," he said, breaking the silence that settled over them. His expression was serious and very unlike his usual sarcastic self. "About our father."

Her eyes narrowed of their own will at the mention of Naraku. "What of him?" she snapped, moving the tray back over to the side of the futon she was resting in.

"I'm worried about your relationship with him."

The woman raised her eyebrow, calming slightly. "What do you mean?" She sounded cautious.

"Well, this has been going on for the past week, but I didn't want to bring it up until you were a bit better…"

Kagura did not like where the conversation was going, but grew annoyed at how indirect he was being. "Just spit it out already!" she commanded, ignoring her ongoing headache.

He began to speak, but was caught off by Hakudoushi knocking on the door entrance.

The older siblings turned to the shadow that was clearly their youngest brother.

"What is it?" Kagura barked, not in the mood to deal with the brat.

The smirk could practically be heard in the boy's voice. "Our father wishes to speak to you alone," he purred before beginning to walk away. "He's waiting in his office," he called back.

The woman's eye twitched, knowing that this would be a meeting she would dislike. She took her time standing and resisted the every instinct in her body that told her to run away.

"You want me to go with you, Kagura?" Byakuya asked, seeing how pale her face appeared.

She shook her head stubbornly. "No, just go do something else. I don't want you to interfere…" Her speech turned cold.

Her older brother was concerned about her health, but relented, knowing how headstrong she was. "All right then. I'll just go into town to buy you more medicine," he said while helping her through the door. After he was sure that she was able to walk on her own, he turned the opposite way and left her on her own.

As soon as she knew that she was alone, she immediately began to wonder if that was the wisest choice she could have made. She shook her head, determination sinking into her eyes. "Get a hold of yourself, Kagura," she whispered to herself. It had been a week. Usually Naraku would harm her directly after something had gone wrong. Maybe she was going to be lucky for once? Perhaps he really just wanted to speak to her about civil issues?

She mentally rolled her eyes. 'Yeah, I'd sooner see Hakudoushi find a girlfriend before that happens,' she bitterly thought while insulting her brother at the same time. When she approached the shoji door of her father's office, she raised one of her hands and hesitated. Forming a fist, she felt it shake. Letting out another breath, she summoned up all of her courage and rapped on the door.

"Kagura? I'm assuming that it's you," came the rather pleasant sounding voice that made chills run up her spine. "Please come in."

She listened to his words, placing up a courageous and strong front while she was really rattling with fear on the inside.

"Please slide the door shut behind you," he added, his calm voice instructed.

That was never a good thing. The doors were thin, but whenever they were closed, you were never to enter his office for whatever reason. She learned that once the hard way. However, outwardly, she took no notice to the warning sign and did as she was told.

"Sit down," he told her and she listened. "Please don't look so frightened," he added, taunting the fact that a bit of her scared self shown through her defiant glare set on him.

Kagura already felt sick by just facing him.

The main source of light within the entire room was made by an antique, western-styled kerosene lamp. It sat atop a high desk at which Naraku sat behind. The man did not believe in excessive lighting and so only used the lamp for paper work and cared little about what went on around him in the darkness.

Several cabinets lined the old-fashioned walls and a rather large book shelf rested behind his desk, giving the room a conflicted appearance. It was a place where the ancient met the future in the most grotesque of ways, making the entire office unsettling to most people.

The man feigned a sigh, lacing his hands together and leaning forward to rest his arms upon the desk. "Kagura, I am sure that you know why I called you here, right?"

"Yeah, I have a faint idea of why I was brought here," she growled, her glower directed towards him and filled with hatred.

"Good, then. That spares me time," he responded, a smirk crossing his face. Reaching behind him, he pulled out a rather thick book that had the word "insurance" lining the front in Japanese lettering. "As you would have imagined, I wanted to discuss the damage that was done to the car that you and your brother had taken out without my permission."

The woman rolled her eyes. Of course he had to add in that they technically "stole" it. "Okay then. How much is it worth?" she asked, playing along with his game.

"Well, that is where this whole process gets a bit too complicated for you to understand," he muttered, a smirk plastered on his face as he opened the book up, feigning to read the passages inside. "But I shall try and take this down to your level of comprehension. The car was worth about six million yen, but the insurance company only paid me two million, one hundred fifty-five thousand, and three hundred ninety-nine yen. You see the big difference here, correct?"

Kagura's eyes narrowed. Despite not having regular schooling, she was quite intelligent. So it was not a surprise that she disliked it when someone insulted her intelligence and he knew that very well. "Yes," she grumbled, honestly not paying that much attention to the specific numbers. It was not as if he expected her to pay for it. "Why the hell didn't you insure it for six million?" she then demanded.

Naraku let out an amused chuckle as he snapped the book shut, sending dust particles into the dimly lit air. "That is where it gets too complicated for your feeble mind my, darling daughter," he taunted, the last two words of his sentence laced with sarcasm. "But I shall do my best, once again, to educate you. You see, I bought the car and am still paying it off for six million yen. But when I drove it off the car lot, depreciation took away about one million yen. The fact that it is a year old took off another one and a half million yen; along with several other factors that only leave me with the two million, one hundred fifty-five thousand, and three hundred ninety-nine yen from the insurance company."

His words were spoken in such a tone that to any foreign listener, it would merely sound like a father teaching his child about how insurance works, but anyone from the household knew that laced under his innocent impression were the feelings of anger and resentment.

Soon, her rising irritation began to replace her fears. "Father," she drawled, the name dripping like acid from her tongue. "Are simple minded do you think I am?"

"Well, daughter, seeing how much trauma you have taken lately, I just didn't feel like putting added stress on your damaged mind," he jeered as he rapped his fingers on the hard cover of the book.

"Now Kagura, just how do you plan on paying me back?" he questioned calmly, a fake smile plastered on his face as he glowered into her hazel depths with his piercing black gaze.

"…Well, before I answer that question," she began. "I'd like to know if you have already discussed this with Byakuya?" Knowing how he usually was, the chances that he did talk to him were slim.

"Why would it concern him?" Naraku sneered as he gripped the book tightly. "You were the one who caused the wreck and thus, you must be the one to pay." Having said that, the taller man quickly smacked Kagura using the book in a backhand like motion, knocking her off of her chair and to the ground.

Horror and hatred built up within her as she sat on the ground, wiping the blood from her chin and cheek. Glaring up at him defiantly, she hissed, "I wasn't the other idiot who ran the red light! You can get that damn car replaced within an hour and you know it! The only reason I'm here now is because you're pissed that I defied your authority!" She rose up on shaky feet and gave him a bitter laugh to further taunt him.

Naraku's glare intensified at her defiance and he struck her with the book one more time, across the opposite cheek, causing the woman to stagger away in pain. "So you wish to defy me even more, do you? I was angered because I know it was your idea. Byakuya would do anything you said to do and that's why he stole my car." After taking a few breaths, the older man recomposed himself and smirked at his offspring. "But if you wish to be defiant I will just have to teach you a lesson."

"It doesn't matter what I say to you," she spat, her voice still strong despite still feeling liquid crimson trail down her face. "There's no such thing as fucking 'innocent until proven guilty' in this house!" She continued to stand a few meters from him. She smirked at him despite herself, deciding to add onto her argument. "Oh, Let me guess. You wanted to wait to do this until I was better in order to prolong the agony or to enjoy making me fall to my knees by your own hands…" She snorted. "You're so predictable."

"If I am so predictable as you claim I am, why did I call you down here while you were still injured?" he taunted, quickly closing the gap between them. "I brought you in here in your current condition so I could take full advantage of this," he snarled as he lunged out, wrapping his hand around her throat. Before the woman knew what was happening, she was free from the man's grip, only to have her head smack off of the hard wall behind her.

The headache that had begun to dull due to distractions returned with full force along with added pain. For some reason she knew that her concussion had returned or had worsened because of this sudden action. She dropped to her knees from the ache in her head, losing balance. "Dammit… Y-you bastard…" she snarled but had little strength to strike back. She did not bother to wipe the blood that came out of her mouth as she spoke, but continued to rise up on shaky legs.

"My darling Kagura, I'm sure that you were raised to respect those who are your superiors," Naraku said in a soft tone as he whipped the back of his hand across the right side of the young woman's face, causing her to drop to the ground. His "innocent" front had long since been replaced with sadistic amusement, causing her insides to churn with disgust when he murmured her name. "Now you must learn that you are nothing compared to me," he snarled out, emphasizing the word "nothing" as he kicked the woman in the gut with ferocious strength.

She fell forward again, this time coughing up blood and finally letting out the contents of her stomach. The pressure against her stomach was too much to bear, especially after his latest assault. However, one thing she made sure that he would never see was her tears no matter how much agony he put her through. She learned how to keep her tears of anguish locked up within her when Naraku was around.

Naraku let out a laugh that sounded as if he were possessed by a demon as he grabbed Kagura by her hair, looking at her swollen and bloodstained face, "Looks like you've finally leaned to keep that mouth shut. And here I was thinking that I'd have to break your jaw to teach you that lesson," he jeered, dragging his daughter to her feet. "Though there is still the little matter of my car…"

She continued to glare at him and finally managed to spit blood into his face. "Fuck you," she hissed, still panting from the aftermath of her heaving. "...Don't give a shit about that car or you," she added in a weak murmur.

"You just don't learn your lesson, do you?" he growled, tugging her across the room, picking up speed as they went. When they were almost at his desk, Naraku pushed Kagura forward, slamming her face first into a cabinet that sat next to the desk.

Kagura idly wondered if this was the end for her. Over some stupid matter like a wrecked car, her father was prepared to kill her. She knew that there was a large possibility that she would not survive past this day. She was beginning to lose too much blood as she hacked up more. She was prepared to defy him until she did die if the time ever came. She wanted to say something, but found that she was too weakened to even speak. She wanted more than anything to escape from the Hell she was enduring but knew all too well that Naraku would just as easily pull her back.

In a desperate effort to get him to stop attacking her, she reached for the kerosene lamp with an outstretched and bloody hand. She wanted to smash it over his head, but as she lifted it up, the lamp slipped from her grip and shattered on the ground right beside her. She felt small shards of glass go into her back and felt the hot flames that began to spread from the fire that she started. It took her only moments to realize that she was on fire as well and let out a strangled yell as the flames burned through her shirt and began to sear her flesh.

Naraku stepped back from his daughter and watched her burn, the smell of her flesh cooking filled the air. He was not about to let her die; that would be too much paper work and too much of an annoyance to deal with. No, he would put her out, after he decided that she was not going to disobey him again.

Kagura stopped moving, wanting to just let herself die and get the agony over with. She could hardly breathe by this point.

Suddenly, the door slammed open, revealing a horrified Byakuya. "What the hell happened here?" he demanded, easily disobeying the unwritten rule of knocking before entering. "Kagura!" he shouted, seeing his sister on fire. He quickly went out of the room to grab one of his father's leather coats and returned to put it over her back. He mentally noted how his father merely stood there and watched. "I knew it…" he muttered under his breath bitterly. "I should have taken her words seriously…"

Glowering up at his father, he knew that he was the cause of all of it. He saw the blood that ran down his fists and the splattered crimson on his face. Naraku's current cold facial expression spoke volumes. "You did this to her!" the young man declared in a snarl after pulling her body away from the spreading fire that burned through the desk and the nearby cabinet.

By the time that Byakuya had put the fire out, Kagura had already been rendered unconscious. He knew that if he did not get her help soon, she would risk dying.

Naraku, despite the commotion, managed to quickly recover collected composure and merely smirked at his eldest son. "Your sister and I were just having a word when she decided she needed a refresher course in manners," he remarked coolly. "She'll be fine and after a few days, be healed up and ready to start working off the expenses of that car."

"So this is your true self," Byakuya growled. "All these years... I never knew." He felt disgusted with himself and with his father. "It'll take more than a few fucking days to heal her!" Anyone who knew him well enough knew that he was truly enraged when he started to use curse words.

The younger man carefully picked her up, keeping the leather wrapped around her thin body. Upon closer inspection, he saw that she was already knocked out and had various marks lining her face that could not have been made by just a fist. Looking at Naraku's hands, he saw rings on them and knew what the markings were.

"You never knew because you obeyed, you followed the rules, and if you didn't, you learned from your mistakes. Besides that, you were off in schooling for so long," Naraku growled back, trying to intimidate his son. "Now take her to her room and put something on that back of hers or else it may prove to cause complications."

Unfortunately for Naraku, Byakuya did not fear him. He shook his head. "I'm not leaving her in your care." He cast a quick look to the fire that was beginning to die down. Only ash from destroyed papers and scorched furniture remained behind the calming embers and thick smoke. Placing her down momentarily, he added in an irritated fashion, "I'm going to get something."

Naraku did not give him any words but was caught by surprise when a hard fist hit his face as his son walked beside him and out of the room, retrieving a set of car keys.

Upon returning with the keys in his pocket, Byakuya saw Naraku begin to rise from the ground with blood flowing from his visibly broken nose. "You are nothing but a coward," he spat coldly. "To strike down your own daughter! How despicable!" he admonished, picking up Kagura and heading towards the exit.

"You'll regret betraying me, boy," Naraku vowed as he held his nose, trying to stop the blood that was gushing out. "What happened to your sister here will seem like nothing when I get my hands on you two next."

The young man's glare intensified as he turned to face his father, reminding Naraku that it was indeed his own son. "If you dare try to follow us, I will take her to the police and tell them what you have done to her. These ring marks are enough to count as evidence against you."

Naraku knew that he was beat, for now, at the very least. The burn on the young woman's back would probably scar on top of the other injuries she sustained. That would be enough to remind her he could get her any time he wanted. "If I ever see you two around here again, you will wish that you both burned to death tonight."

Byakuya scoffed. "I have no intentions to come back here," he replied, walking out of the room and leaving the house, getting in the car that was nearest the end of the driveway. He had already driven the car when he attempted to drive to the store and so knew how to operate it. Placing Kagura into the back seat, Byakuya turned the ignition on and sped out of the driveway. He pressed one of the buttons resting on the dash, activating the GPS navigation system.

He spoke a name out loud, knowing fully well that it was in Naraku's address book in every place due to the business meetings he used to constantly have with the members of the family. He sped off in the direction of the home and was pleased to find that the lights were on in the rather large house once he parked in the front of it. Writing a quick note with a piece of paper and a pen he took from the car's storage compartment, he placed the note within Kagura's fisted hand that she made in her state of unconsciousness.

Getting her body out of the car, he carried her to the front porch and rang the doorbell before rushing back to the vehicle and pulling around the corner to watch the door open from a safe distance.

Kagura's body slumped over, making her lay on her stomach with her outstretched hand reaching forward while instinctively clutching the note.

Once Byakuya saw the person's shadow in the doorway, his expression read that of relief and he drove off into the night. He wished that he could have stayed with Kagura, but he had more things that he had to do at the moment. He figured that it also would be safer if the two separated after Naraku's threat. "I know you and her haven't gotten along in the past, but I'm counting on you, Sesshoumaru…" he murmured.


As the hospital promised, Sango had gotten the call within a few days after her position was moved. She sat in her room with one of her "prized" students, waiting for the chance to take a break.

"We're going to take a small field trip," she announced, signing to the man sitting across from her.

"Why?" he spoke, a pronounced deterioration sounding on his one-worded question.

Of all of the places she was assigned to, she had never imagined to be placed within this center. She flashed him a smirk, pulling him up to stand beside her.

His clear blue eyes reflected confusion, but nevertheless, he followed after her.

"We are visiting one of my good friends who work here," she explained as they made their way to the elevator.

"Who?" Again, another simple question.

"A fellow teacher of mine named Kagome," she announced, making the motions in the air when they got off onto the top floor of the building. Remembering her way around the floor, she finally found Inuyasha's room. She snickered, rotating herself to face her student. "She'll enjoy your company plenty," she informed him with her hands. Accentuating on the last word that came out of her mouth, she said his name.

"Kouga."


A/N: Two cliffies in one chapter?! Yes! -shrinks back- Please don't kill me! I would have left you with that depressing piece of writing for one cliffy, but knew that you wouldn't like that news either. So… I wrote a little bit extra to make you all expect more things in the next chapter!

A small note regarding the conversation between Kouga and Sango. The reason that I made Sango sign in English was to let you all know how much more advanced he is in his sign language.

Yes, I have read some of your comments on how much coverage Kagura has been getting lately. I understand that she and Sesshoumaru aren't the main focus. However, I will state this once. There is purpose for this within the plotline of an Inuyasha/Kagome story! And yes, Inuyasha and Kagome are still the main couple. I have no intentions of changing that.

I tried to make the amount of Kagura in this chapter less than Kagome and Inuyasha parts, but it only managed to become equal… That is another reason why I added the other cliffy onto it. -shakes head-

Anyways, please have patience. I know what I'm doing! Please don't be afraid!

And to make you Inuyasha/Kagome fans feel a bit better, I decided to write my first To Be Found one-shot! It will be all about them and the lessons that involved how Inuyasha learned about "emotions" from her as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. Be sure to look out for that in the future! And there will be no Kagura/Sesshoumaru in sight (sorry to those fans).

Did anyone notice the small "canon" joke I slipped in there?

-Ahem- That was my longest author's note in a while… Before I forget. Please do NOT flame me for the physical abuse that was presented in this chapter. It was necessary to the plotline to include it and I did place a warning in the disclaimer.

With all of that said, thank you for reading!

Please review!

Ja ne!