Chapter 1- Kagome's Fears

It had been a mere 2 weeks ago. There wasn't a feeling of despair that didn't shroud the group of comrades in that silent, still night. Everyone had felt the grief wash over them like a violent thunderstorm, especially one young miko by the name of Kagome. She could do nothing but watch as her beloved hanyou had cradeled the dying priestess's clay body in his arms, only to have her say her goodbyes and fade to a sparkling dust as she left the world of the living forever. Kikyou's shinidamachuu had gathered around them as the woman's soul filled the air. It had been so warm. It was a feeling that Kagome would never forget. It was as if Kikyou had been touching them all, letting them know that she was finally free and not to mourn her death.

They then knew that Kikyou's suffering had finally been put to rest and she was saved, free from the pain she had known for too long. So much had happened, too much had happened, and Kagome couldn't even begin to fathom what this would do to Inuyasha. She knew it after the moment she shot Kikyou with the purifying arrow. It had been the look the injured miko had given her...At first, Kikyou had made it seem to Kagome as though the arrow would save her, that Kagome's spiritual powers from the arrow would heal her. However, the corrupted jewel had already entered the fatally wounded miko's flesh, and Naraku's control was overwhelming to say the least. The corruption of his spider webs, the tainted jewel underneath her chest, the terrible wounds that had been inflicted upon her...this was all Kikyou's fate.

"In order to save me, the only way is to shoot this wound with the bow and purify Naraku's corruption," Kikyou had told Kagome. Kagome wasn't so sure if she had the power or if she were strong enough, especially with one arrow left. The younger miko didn't realize then that Kikyou had faith in her. She believed in Kagome and her powers. The older miko was much too weak though once the tainted jewel had entered her body. There was no way she would be strong enough to purify the whole thing on her own. It was up to Kagome to do it.

"KIKYOU!" came Kagome's voice as she peered over the cliff, realizing that the jewel was inside of the woman's body. There was no choice. In order to purify the corruption, Kagome would have to shoot the jewel hidden underneath Kikyou's flesh. She would have to shoot the jewel, praying and hoping against hope that both Kikoyou and the jewel would be purified, and the undead priestess would be saved.

"I should do it now? You want me to shoot right now!?" the miko called down to broken looking woman below. Kikyou gave the other woman a fierce look, making her realize that this was the only way.

Naraku had spotted Kagome, pulling back an arrow, ready to purify the priestess when his tentacles shot out to the cliff the miko had been standing on, breaking it from underneath Kagome's feet. Kagome cried out helplessly as gravity took affect and she began to plunge downward. Kagome heard Inuyasha's voice ring through the air as he called her name in desperation. He had been trying to help a trapped Kouga get out of Naraku's grasp. There was no way the hanyou would make it in time to save Kagome, but just in time did Kikyou's shinidamachuu catch the falling girl. The glowing snake-like creatures wrapped their bodies gently around Kagome's holding her up. They had saved her from instant death. Kagome saw in an instant what Naraku's plan was.

'He's trying to get the jewel back!' she thought furiously to herself and there was no way in hell Kagome was about to let that happen. "NOW!" the miko yelled as she released the purifying arrow from the bow's hold. It shot Kikyou square in the chest as it power merged with the wounded miko's. Kagome and Kikyou began purifying the Shikon no Tama, combining their miko powers. Their powers managed to break Naraku apart, putting the trecherous half-demon in pain which both miko's relished. However, Kouga's shards had been ripped from his legs as Naraku attempted to absorb the wolf-youkai into his body. The mikos' spiritual powers and Naraku's jyaki were fightning visibly inside of the jewel. Now only one shard remained and that was the one in, Sango's younger brother, Kohaku's back.

"Kikyou, can you see it?" Kagome stated as she knelt near the other woman's side, placing a comforting hand on Kikyou's shoulder. "Naraku is in pain."

"Kagome..." came Kikyou's soft tone. "The rest is up to you..."

"Kikyou...," Kagome replied tensely, not sure what the injured priestess had been implying.

"The final shard...protect Kohaku's light," Kikyou remarked as though she were struggling to speak. "Kagome...it's only something you can do."

' What...what is Kikyou trying to say?' Kagome thought to herself, trying not to think the worst. "Kikyou, hang in there! You shouldn't say such things!" The younger miko waited for the undead miko to respond, but there was nothing. She just stared sadly at Kagome. "What's the matter, Kikyou! Shooting you with the bow should have purified your wounds!" she cried out desperately. 'Shouldn't it have saved her!?' Kagome thought as terror tore into her heart.

Kikyou gazed at Kagome with a look almost as if to say she was sorry. It was mixed with a sadness and gentleness. Kagome could feel that Kikyou had all the faith in the younger miko to do this job and much to Kagome's disbelief, a look that told her it was Kikyou's time...

"Kikyou...you lose," came Naraku's cold voice from above the two mikos. He lowered his tentacles, preparing to attack Kikyou even further when Kagome threw her body protectively over the broken miko, crying out. She clutched onto the older woman's head, doing everything she could to protect Kikyou for Naraku's touch. She was not about to allow him to put more damage onto the woman who lay before her. The little miko was determined to save Kikyou. She was not about to let her die in the hands of Naraku once more.

'Whether I have lost or not...Naraku, we will find out when you die,' Kikyou thought to herself as she glared up at the man before her, despising him with every inch of her being.

"DAMMIT!" screamed Inuyasha as he withdrew the dragon-scaled Tetsusaiga. "NARAKU YOU BASTARD!"

"Hmph, there is one shard left," the half youkai stated, glaring down at the group of comrades. "So you had better find out...how you're going to fight without Kikyou," Naraku added tauntingly.

Inuyasha whirled around to face where Kikyou lay on the rocky ground below, Kagome still at her side. His golden orbs widened in disbelief. "KIKYOU!?"

"Inuyasha...Kikyou is..." Kagome struggled to say as she placed a hand on the woman's chest. She didn't want to come to terms with the fact that they were probably going to lose Kikyou. She tried to say "injured", but the words couldn't come out right, so she said nothing at all.

"Kikyou has lost to my jyaki," Naraku stated sinisterly. "It is all over," his voice echoed through the air as he disappeared into his cloud of purple, tainting miasma.

"INUYASHA HURRY!" cried out Kagome. She then let out a gasp as she felt Kikyou's hand lay over hers gently. The wounded priestess's hand squeezed Kagome's gently..

"Kikyou!? What is it?" Kagome asked in ernest, turning back to the dying woman laying in front of her.

"The bow...the bow from Mt. Azusa...is yours," Kikyou struggled to say. Kagome could tell that the woman was fighting for her life now and she before long, she wouldn't make it.

"KIKYOU WHY!" Kagome cried out, grasping her hand tight. The miko knew the reason why, but she just didn't want to believe it. She didn't want to believe that after all they had been through, Kikyou was really going to meet her end now.

Afterward Naraku had made yet another escape, leaving the comrades alone with the fatally wounded miko. The sun was beginning to set in the sky as Inuyasha had lifted the broken form that was Kikyou and carried her back out to the hills, the rest of his comrades following close behind. Nobody spoke a word and Kagome struggled to fight back tears and stay strong for Inuyasha's sake.

"I...wasn't able to save Kikyou?" Kagome questioned herself. She held fist to her chest as crystalline tears filled her eyes and she bit her bottom lip. The miko could no longer control her emotions as they overwhlemed her like a floodgate. All the fighting, the powers that she and Kikyou had used together, everything that they had done...was it all in vain? Was it all futile?

"I'm sorry," came Inuyasha's voice silently and rather calm as the group followed him. "Could you leave the two of us alone?" The hanyou never once turned his face back towards them, and his friends understood. Inuyasha wanted to be alone with Kikyou in her final moments. That was when Kagome broke down.

"I'm so sorry, Kikyou! I'm so sorry," the little miko sobbed into her hands, falling to her knees. Sango and Kouga approached Kagome's sobbing form, bringing her back to sit with them, placing comforting arms around her.

Kikyou inclined her head back over Inuyasha's arm and gave Kagome a warm smile. "Do not cry, Kagome. It is my soul that has been saved..." she told her softly, before turning to rest her tired head once more on the warmth of Inuyasha's arm. He slowly sat down at the edge of the grassy hill, still cradeling Kikyou gently. The sunset that had been the color of blood slowly turned to darkness of the night.

"Ah, I see a village not too far ahead," Miroku pointed out, breathing a sigh of relief. The wound had spread in his right hand from sucking in the deadly poisonous gasses that had been Naraku's and every since then, the comrades could tell how deeply it affected the houshi. He always tried to keep his head up and stay strong, but for the past 2 weeks, Sango had become almost overly protective of him, now allowing the monk to over-exert himself.

"C'mon. Let's see if they'll allow us to stay for the night, Houshi-sama," Sango replied softly, placing a hand gently on Miroku's arm and leading him towards the hut.

Inuyasha stayed quite a few feet behind the group, his head lowered as he walked. The first week of Kikyou's death had left the hanyou in other a stunned silence or losing his temper completely. Now in the 2nd week since Kikyou's passing, all he seemed to do was stare at the ground or stare off into the sky, lost and absorbed in his own thoughts. Inuyasha had become strangely silent and hardly spoken to any of his friends unless it were absolutely necessary. It had been a fortnight since Kikyou's passing and though it had affected the entire group to a great extent, it had struck Inuyasha harder than anyone. He had been with the miko in her final moments, cradeled her dying body as the two shared words that nobody in the group could hear.

"Inuyasha?" Kagome's voice came softly as she turned around. The girl had been walking next to Sango with Shippou on her shoulder. The hanyou had barely spoken a few sentences to Kagome since Kikyou's death and only looked at her if he necessarily had to. "Miroku-sama is getting tired. Sango-chan and I feel we should probably stop and rest. Wouldn't you like to try and get some sleep?"

"Keh," came the hanyou's response. He still didn't gaze up at Kagome like he had normally always done when she spoke to him.

Every since Kikyou's death, Inuyasha had not once looked Kagome in the eyes. He just turned his head and averted those amber eyes of his. They didn't hold that normal, fierce, arrogant look as they always had. His eyes were filled with despair and sadness. Kagome couldn't ever recall a time the hanyou had looked that way. This wasn't her stubborn, brave, loyal, arrogant Inuyasha. He had turned into someone else and the miko couldn't help but question if he'd ever recover from it? More than anything, he needed her right now and she needed him, but all he did was push her away anytime she tried. Kagome sighed sadly and turned back towards her friends, brushing back a stray strand of ebony hair from her cheek. Twilight was nearing as the group made their way down the rocky path toward the village, hoping they would reach it by nightfall.

"I really wish Inuyasha would stop making Kagome so sad," came Shippou's voice softly. The little kitsune had taken the liberty to move to Sango's shoulder when the miko had tried to approach the hanyou.

"Tch Shippou, he's not making me sad," Kagome shooshed the kit. "It's hard for him right now. Inuyasha can't help but feel the way he's feeling and I don't blame him. It's probably just difficult for him to talk about it."

"Yeah but, Kagome...Inuyasha's barely spoken a word to you since, well...," Shippou started to say and caught himself before he said anything further. The last thing the little fox youkai wanted to do was upset Inuyasha, especially in the state he was in.

The group finally reached the light of the torches in the village, but they had encountered one small problem. They were on the edge of a cliff and the village was quite a ways down. Shippou, Sango and Miroku had Kirara to fly on to get down there and Inuyasha had his powerful, hanyou body to leap down the jagged edges without getting in harm's way and make it safely to the ground below, but Kagome on the other hand...she wouldn't be able to get down all by herself.

"Oh man, a cliff," complained Shippou, peeking down at the village below them. "I'm too tired to tranform," he whined, laying over Sango's shoulder.

"That's alright Shippou, you can ride Kirara with us," the demon slayer told him, peering at the little kit on his shoulder. "I'm sure Kirara wouldn't mind you riding on her head, would you?"

Kirara looked up at Sango, releasing a small squeaking mew in response. The little youkai cat's body was once more engulfed with flames as she grew to an enormous size. Sango and Miroku climbed up on the cat's back. The houshi placed his staff protectively in front of Sango as he always had and leaned against the demon slayer's back gratefully. He closed his eyes, feeling the exhaustion overwhelming him as the cat began to hover in the air, flames flickering like a campfire around her feet and the ends of her twin tails.

"Are you sure it's a good idea to leave Inuyasha and Kagome-chan alone together? What if he yells at her again?" Sango asked softly as the cat stayed hovered just past the cliff.

"I think it'll be a good opportunity for them to talk about things, and if he yells Kagome can take care of herself. I don't know how much more she'll be able to take before she decides to sit him again. She's been really strong up until now. I'm sure she can hold out just a bit longer," Miroku replied tiredly, still leaning up against the slayer.

"Well alright, but if Kagome-chan ends up hurting again because of that stubborn Inukkoro, I'm blaming you, Houshi-sama," Sango replied somewhat playfully earning a rare smile from Miroku.

It was true, since Kikyou had died, nobody had smiled much at all. They hadn't talked as often as they normally did, didn't plot their next move on Naraku, plan, strategize or anything like they had in the past. Kagome had taken time to herself most recently, more concentrating on her studies. She wasn't her normal, bubbly self either. None of the group seemed to be particularly happy. Each and every one of them had become most melancholy since the passing of the dear priestess.

The young miko couldn't even remember the last time she had laughed. More than one night she found herself waking up from the nightmare of Naraku corrupting Kikyou's body in the manner that he had. More than once had Kagome also awoken to the sounds of soft sniffling coming from the hanyou. Kikyou's death was clearly torturing him, but Kagome never allowed him to know she had heard him the first few days after Kikyou's passing, sobbing quietly in private for her. Kagome stood, staring down at the bottom of the cliff. The rocks were sharp and jagged, but she had to get down there with the rest of her friends.

"Well, I suppose we should get going," the miko began as she lowered her body at the base of the cliff, crouching with her back facing the village.

"What the hell are you doing, baka?" came Inuyasha's harsh tone.

"I'm going to climb down," Kagome replied matter-of-factly, ignoring the hanyou's insult. "It's the only way I can get down there. I need to hurry and help Sango get the bedding set up and such for us to get some sleep. Miroku-sama really needs to rest as well. He looked really tired. We have a long journey back to the village and..." Kagome's babbling was broke off by Inuyasha's acrid tones once more.

"Keh, don't be stupid and just get on already," the hanyou snapped at Kagome. "You know you can't climb down that cliff by yourself, you'll get hurt. I'll carry you down there. It's no big deal."

He's worried about me getting hurt...but still, I don't want to be a nuisance... "Inuyasha, it's okay. I can climb down the cliff by myself...I don't want to burden you," Kagome began quite softly but was cut off yet again the half-dog demon pratically barking at her once more.

"Dammit, Kagome, you're not going to burden me now just get over here so I can take you down there!" he replied, sticking his nose in the air and turning his back to her.

"Well...okay," Kagome replied uncertainly, though she was grateful for him doing this. He knelt down and Kagome climbed up onto his back, placing her hands over the familiar touch of his muscular shoulders flexing underneath the palms of her hands.

The moment the miko made it up there, she wished she hadn't. The young priestess could feel Inuyasha's muscles tense and stiffen heavily underneath her form. Why did he tense up everytime she had no choice but to ride on his back? The moment she felt that sensation, just from her being up there, it nearly brought tears to Kagome's eyes. She used all of her emotional strength to force back the lump that had began to rise in her throat. Not now! She scolded herself. Now is not the time to get all weak like this! You have to stay strong for Inuyasha! It's just really hard for him now is all...that's the only reason he's being this way. It was like when they had first met all over again, only this time it felt worse because of how close the two became and because of how much Kagome loved him.

The hanyou hurriedly lept from the top of the pillar and down onto the jagged edges of the cliff, moving effortlessly. If Kagome had even attempted to climb down this rocky boulder and had fallen, she would have been ripped to shreds...The hanyou thought as his long red sleeves of the fire rat haori flew out from behind them. His silvery-white mane of hair streaked outward gently tapping Kagome in the face as they moved downward, and her heart lept into her throat. How she wished that things could be different. More than anything did the miko wish that Inuyasha would open up to her instead of continuing to push her away and be so cold towards her. Last week He had used such harsh tones with her when he spoke to her. That week he had even called her a bitch without meaning to.

Kagome had never heard Inuyasha call her anything so asperous and she tried to come to terms that this was just his way of grieving. However hearing him say something like that to her, it had been almost too much. When they had first met he had called her stupid, idiot and even sometimes he called her a wench. That was way back when the two didn't get along and before Kagome had fallen in love with him and Inuyasha had developed obvious feelings for the little miko. However that day, Kagome had just stared at him in shock. The whole group retierated, wondering why Inuyasha would call Kagome such a terrible thing. Sango had tried to approach Kagome, but the miko just shook her head and slowly moved backward, not wanting to upset him anymore than what he already was. Inuyasha felt immediately guilty, and try as he might, he couldn't push that look in her eyes out of his mind. The hanyou couldn't erase the smell of her tears either as they ventured onward in silence. She stayed quite a few feet behind the group, crying silently to herself, wondering if it was because she couldn't save Kikyou that Inuyasha had been treating her more cacophonously than usual.

Sango and Miroku would peer over their shoulders every now and then to make sure Kagome was okay. They had never seen the young miko look so alone and so dejected and felt slightly affronted by the hanyou's actions. Eventually, Kirara had approached the girl on her own will, lept up onto her shoulder and tried to comfort her. Inuyasha had known he'd hurt her. He'd never meant to call her such a thing. He was just angry because she couldn't start the fire properly and took it all out on Kagome, even though the girl had been a shaking wreck. She had nearly been devoured by a youkai which Sango managed to save her from before it swallowed her whole. The hanyou never meant to blow up like he did, but he felt that sometimes just totally losing control of his temper was the best way to release the pain he felt in his heart. Inuyasha had crossed the line that time.

No matter how much pain he was in, no matter how much he suffered, there was no type of release for it. The hanyou had screamed, he had lost his temper, he had cried to himself when he was certain nobody was around or awake to hear him, but no matter what bout of emotions Inuyasha used, nothing helped. So instead, he just bottled himself up. The hanyou had grown sick and tired of losing his temper and feeling sadness, so instead Inuyasha showed no emotion, he showed no pain and barely spoke with his friends. The few times his friends had tried to bring up Kikyou with Inuyasha, hoping they could get him to talk about it and it make him feel better, he just grew furious and blew them off. How would anybody ever understand anyway? This was something he was dealing with, not them. Inuyasha had to face this pain alone and learn to get past it on his own. Besides, there was nothing to talk about anyway. Kikyou was dead and talking about it wasn't going to bring her back.

Inuyasha landed swiftly in front of the village, Kirara landing gracefully next to the hanyou. Kagome wasted no time in climbing off of his back. Inuyasha didn't even seem to acknowledge that she'd gotten off and began walking towards were a few villagers were working outside. Twilight had fallen and the moon was beginning to show in the sky. Stars slowly made their appearance one by one as they approached the village. Sango and Miroku followed suit, climbing off of the exhausted youkai cat's back. Kagome stood behind, allowing the hanyou to make some headway, before sighing softly and following after Kirara's twin tails. The run-down group approached the people who at once stopped what they were doing. They weren't sure what to think as their eyes met Inuyasha's dog ears to the monstrous demon cat who had burst into flames, reverting back to her normal size once more and Kagome's strange clothing.

"You all travelers?" called one of the men, holding a long, metal shovel in his hand. He rested his scathed-looking hands on top of the shovel. He leaned on the handle of it and stared suspiciously at the group of comrades, studying each of their faces as though trying to rule out any evil.

"We are. We've been traveling a long ways, and we were hoping you could allow us lodgings for the night?" spoke up Miroku, as he climbed off of the demon cat, advancing towards the working men. "We haven't had a decent night's sleep and a good, warm meal in a fortnight."

The man eyed the houshi's robes and staff, taking in his appearance. Almost at once he realized what Miroku was. "Ah, a monk are you? Well then, you and your friends are welcome to stay for the night. There have been no youkai attacks on the village so I'm certain you'll all be safe. You can rest in that hut over there," the man with the shovel pointed a knarled finger to the right. Across the way was a small, hut made of a material that looked a lot like bamboo. All around the village were similar huts and a few larger ones in size. "A few of our ladies in the village will bring you a warm meal later on. If you would like, you can go over there," the man retierated and pointed towards a bigger hut, "and have a nice, warm bath. You look like you've been around the bend and back."

"We have had a rough couple of weeks," Miroku admitted. "So I must thank you for your generosity and kindness," the monk added, offering him a bow of his head in gratitude. Miroku didn't even bother to act lecherous or lift his eyebrows in interest as the man made the offer about the ladies bringing them food. This was a sure sign that the monk was tired and not feeling like himself at all. It left Sango and Kagome both exchanging shocked glances at Miroku's lack of wanting to feel up the women of this village.

The man nodded in response as Inuyasha-tachi crossed the pathway of the village to the hut the man with the shovel had shown them. Miroku kindly opened the door for his friends, who ducked inside of the small, warm cabin. It smelled strongly of fresh bamboo and a small fire flickered cheerfully in the center of the wooden floor. Upon entering, Kagome and Sango immediately set up the sleeping bad bedding, around the fire, for the group to sleep in. Hardly any of them had slept very well in the past two weeks, and this had been the first village they had come upon since they had continued on with their travels.

Kouga had left the morning after Kikyou's passing minus the shards in his legs, leaving Kagome to be with Inuyasha, but what good did that do when all the half-demon did was treat her the way he had been? However, since they were being taken care of by the villagers and had an actual chance to settle down, maybe tonight they'd actually get some rest. Maybe with any luck, after Sango and Miroku went to sleep, Kagome could take a chance and try to speak with Inuyasha alone. The moment Kagome had laid her sleeping bag down on the wooden floor of the hut, Shippou crawled over to it and had shortly fallen into slumberland. Exhaustion had hit him harder than the adults, considering he was still a child and it only took moments for the young kitsune to fall asleep. Kirara curled up next to him, closing her big, expressive eyes and soon joined the little fox youkai in sleep, the two snoring softly.

The demon slayer held the houshi's arm as she helped him into a sleeping bag so he could get some rest. Kagome moved across the cabin and sat down in a corner on the other side of the hut, well away from the others. The miko removed her bag from her shoulders and sat it down in front of her. She figured she might was well do some homework, considering she wasn't ready to go to bed just yet. Kagome flipped the top of her bag and pulled out her math book and her english book along with some paper and writing utensils. The miko flipped open to the page she had last left off on and tried hard to concentrate, but found the numbers just blurring before her eyes and her mind taking her elsewhere.

Inuyasha had sat on the other side of the cabin, holding Tetsusaiga up to him like he had always done and rested his head on the hilt. The hanyou's amber eyes were closed, but Kagome knew that he wasn't asleep. He wasn't even breathing deeply to suggest that he was asleep. Kagome sighed resting her chin in her hand, trying to peek at the hanyou without him noticing her watching him. Most likely, he was lost in thought once more. She couldn't help but wonder what Inuyasha was thinking about these days. This past week he had become very quiet as opposed to how he was the previous week, losing his temper at the drop of the hat and yelling at them. The miko set her opened math book on the floor of the hut and leaned back againt the wall, staring up at the strange shadows the fire cast across the ceiling, becoming lost in her own thoughts.

Why won't Inuyasha talk to me? He's barely spoken to me since Kikyou passed away. Does he hate me because I couldn't save her? Does he resent me not being strong enough to protect Kikyou? Does he even realize that he's not the only one who's hurting here? Why won't he let me in? I'm honestly scared...I'm truly scared that once we get back to the village and I go home, Inuyasha won't want me with him anymore. He won't want me to come back and stay with him and continue to fight Naraku...even though I made a promise to Kikyou. I won't break that promise to Kikyou...she believes in me, even if Inuyasha doesn't...

These thoughts nearly choked Kagome and the girl clenched her fists tightly against the rugged wood of the floor, lowering her head allowing her bangs to curtain her eyes. The miko was interrupted her thoughts by a slight scuffle from Inuyasha. He stood up, amber eyes averted down towards the floor. "I'm sleeping outside tonight," the hanyou told them in a flat, gruff tone. Before any of his friends had a chance to say anything, Inuyasha turned and dispersed from the cabin.

Kagome's math book lay forgotten by her feet. Inuyasha still didn't bother to even look at her. Were the miko's worst fears becoming a reality? She wasn't sure, but Kagome had almost had enough of this. Now he couldn't even stay in the same room with her? The miko knew it was hard for him and Kagome had been trying so hard not to be a nuisance to Inuyasha, especially after the fire incident. The worn down girl sighed, hugging her knees up to her chest and resting her chin on top of them. Why of all times did she have to feel as weak as she did now? The door to the hut swung gently from Inuyasha's abrupt leave and Kagome almost had half a mind to follow after him. She buried her face into arms that wrapped around her knees, cursing herself for feeling this way when she felt a gentle squeeze on her shoulder.

"Kagome-chan?" came Sango's voice softly. The miko lifted her face to gaze up at the warm smile the demon slayer was giving her and it made Kagome feel slightly relaxed. She was lucky to have a friend such as Sango. "Are you alright?" Sango carried that worried look in her eyes whenever something had happened to one of her friends.

"I'll be okay, Sango-chan," Kagome replied with a fake smile.

"It's Inuyasha, isn't it? You can't hide that look in your eyes, Kagome-chan," the demon slayer told her, gently rubbing the girl's shoulder. "Houshi-sama is asleep, so why don't you talk to me about it?" Sango offered.

Kagome sighed and leaned up against the alleviation of her friend's shoulder. Sango put a comforting arm around the woman she had grown to consider a sister. "I just don't know what to do anymore, Sango-chan. Inuyasha won't speak to me, he won't look at me and when...when he carries me, I get this feeling like he doesn't want to even touch me. I can feel his body tense up when I'm on his back. That's why I haven't been going with him and just running on my own to keep up with you guys," Kagome explained, a blush creeping up on her cheeks.

"I wish I knew why Inuyasha was being the way he is towards you. I understand that he's suffering from Kikyou's passing, but that's no excuse to treat you the way he has been," the demon slayer pointed out. "Maybe you should just try going out there and talking to him?"

Kagome felt her eyes fill with unrelenting tears and she turned away from Sango's hold. "I'm honestly really scared to talk to him, Sango-chan. I don't know if I can. I don't know if I can face him. I'm so scared of what he'll say."

"What do you think he's going to say? Do you think he'll call you 'that word' again?" the demon slayer asked curiously.

Kagome shook her head, biting down her lower lip, not able to control her tears anymore that she had been trying to hold back since riding on the hanyou's back down to the village. "I'm scared to death that he blames me for not being able to save Kikyou. Sometimes I feel like it's all my fault she didn't survive. If only had I had been stronger, I could have protected her and saved her from dying." The miko's body trembled with silent sobs, and she felt the comfort as the demon slayer placed her arms once more around Kagome, holding her like an older sister would. Kagome clutched onto the front of Sango's kimono, willing herself to stay calm. Sango rubbed the back of the miko's head in much the same way Kagome always had whenever the girl had comforted the slayer through hard times. "I'm almost afraid to go back to the village because I'm afraid Inuyasha would want me to go back home and not return. I'm scared that he'll never want to see me again," Kagome admitted.

"Oh, Kagome-chan. I don't think for a minute that Inuyasha blames you for Kikyou's death. It wasn't your fault. Kikyou had already been tainted past the point of saving. That had been Naraku's plan all the time, but atleast you were able to set her suffering soul free. That's saying something," the demon slayer encouraged Kagome. "I think Inuyasha is struggling with his feelings right now. I don't think he expected to ever have to try and deal with something like this, and he doesn't quite know how to handle it. Maybe you should just try and go talk to him?" Sango proposed.

"I just don't know, Sango-chan. I honestly don't know anymore," replied the hurting miko as she allowed herself for the first time in two weeks to break down in the demon slayer's arms, not being able to speak anymore. Would Inuyasha ever understand how she felt? Would he ever be able to get past Kikyou's death? Would the hanyou even care that Kagome was just as broken inside, if not more? Would he ever be able to love her in the way that Kagome loved him?