Disclaimer: I don't own anyone.
Notes: Just to say thanks for reviews! Things will become clearer later on. I hope, lol. Oh and I gave Jinenji's mother a name, I don't think it ever really mentions it. If it does, and you know her real name, tell me and I'll fix it ASAP.
The human in the corner nodded slowly not taking his blue eyes off Kagome. "He's been like that for a while now," Jinenji's mother, who was name Kari, said. "Since he's a hanyou, he had his one human day just like all the others, except this month he didn't change back."
Jinenji spoke this time, even Sesshoumaru listening, interested as to why that would happen. "I hate my human form, I hate it even more than my hanyou form... But I have to get used to it now." he said. His voice was soft and soothing in this form, not too different from before.
Kagome coughed up another slight bit of blood before speaking. "Are... You scared of your human form?" she asked.
"You might say that..." Kari replied. "Being only half youkai means that he will never be accepted by either race. The youkai part of him will be hated by humans, and the human part despised by youkai."
"But I accept him!" Kagome protested. "I'm a human!"
In the back of Sesshoumaru's mind, he didn't believe that.
Kari sighed sadly. "Not everyone has your kind heart, Kagome. Now," she said more forcefully, which was the Kari that Kagome remembered, "You others get outside while I bandage Kagome's wounds."
The human Jinenji followed Sesshoumaru outside gingerly and stood a large distance away from him. The youkai Lord ignored him like the lowly human he was. Kagome was an exception, being a miko, but any other besides Rin wasn't worth his time.
A few moments later Kagome poked her head out of the hut and motioned them back inside. One shoulder of the kimono Sesshoumaru had gotten her was pulled down and Sesshoumaru could see the bandages. "So, what did ya come for?" Kari asked.
It was Kagome who spoke instead of Sesshoumaru. "It's Rin..." she began, "She was poisoned and got ill, and Sesshoumaru took her to a priestess that calls herself Harumiko, but she can only sustain Rin's life... Not cure her sickness."
Jinenji looked up when he heard Rin's name. "That little girl... She looked like you, Kagome." he said, "She came to us to save her friend."
Kagome smiled at him. "Rin is a very sweet girl," she told him, "She'd do anything for Jaken and Sesshoumaru,"
Sesshoumaru didn't say anything and merely waited for the old woman to say something about how to cure his young ward.
Eventually, after a drawn out sigh, Kari answered. "I... I can't heal her... I'm so sorry..."
Kagome's heart skipped a beat and she felt the tears about to fall. "But there must be something you can do!" she persisted, "Can you at least tell us something we can try?"
Sesshoumaru's eyes had widened only the slightest, but inside he felt like tearing something to shreds and feeling the blood run between his fingers, but he still stayed silent to listen to the lady.
Kari thought long and hard, a tense silence filling the hut, then finally she said, "No..."
Jinenji saw Kagome about to break down and he walked over to her and knelt down. "But that doesn't mean she can't be saved. There still could be another way, Kagome,"
"But none that we know of..." Kari sighed again, tears coming to her own eyes as she watched the young miko.
Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes and gritted his teeth, staring at the ground, thinking of anything, anything at all that could help Rin... but nothing came to mind.
Tears fell down Kagome's face, but then she realized that what she felt is probably nothing compared to what Sesshoumaru was going through. She stood from her kneeling position with some difficulty because of her wounds, and stood beside him. He didn't even glance at her, being too caught up in trying to think of something. He clenched his fists in irritation and showed his fangs.
Kagome saw this emotion, and yet he wasn't trying to hide it this time. She noticed how distressed he looked, and she momentarily glanced down at his hand. She had slowly moved her hand towards his, wanting to comfort him, but just before she touched it-
"Come, Kagome. We're going to see that priestess." he said suddenly, Kagome pulling her hand away before he could notice it was there.
She had waved goodbye to Jinenji and Kari before following Sesshoumaru out of the hut. "Y-you said my name..." she told Sesshoumaru once she realized it.
Sesshoumaru then mentally slapped himself, but found a way to cover it up. "I told you I will call you what I wish to call you. I can even call you 'wench' or 'bitch' if I want to."
Kagome looked at him indignantly. "What about what I want?" she asked.
"What you want is none of my concern," he answered after a pause.
"Well, just to let you know, that's what Inuyasha calls me!" she countered.
"I don't care what Inuyasha calls you. I am not he."
Kagome pouted and crossed her arms as they walked. "Now I know what you two have in common..." she muttered, "You're both jerks."
"Obviously you don't know what a 'bitch' is." Sesshoumaru continued walking without looking at her, though the faintest look of annoyance could be seen upon his face.
"I do too! It's a bad word women shouldn't be called!" she retorted and she jogged to catch up and walk beside him.
"Do you have any idea how much you sound and look like a child?" the taiyoukai asked, giving her an irritated look.
Kagome took heed to his words and uncrossed her arms.
"Most women in this time would be proud to be called bitches because it means they are mated to a inu taiyoukai." he finished.
She blushed slightly and looked away. "Oh... Sorry..."
Sesshoumaru merely nodded as he continued to walk. After an awkward silence, she spoke again. "Inuyasha would call me that all the time... But he's in love with Kikyo..."
"Inuyasha is a disgrace to taiyoukai... Both by being a hanyou and falling in love with a dead miko. Pathetic." he said, disgusted.
Sesshoumaru sniffed the air and turned left, Kagome following in silence once more. Soon they came to a small, yet somewhat happy village. There were children playing by a river, pets drinking and eating out of bowls outside a few huts, and people shopping and chatting merrily. "Is this where she lives?" Kagome asked.
Sesshoumaru nodded and let her to another, larger hut, walking right inside. Kagome hesitated for a moment before she heard someone say, "Come in, young miko."
She gulped and walked inside, not seeing what she expected to see. She had suspected that Harumiko was an old lady, wizened and experienced by the years of training and living, but it was not so. The woman that stood before her was young and beautiful, with long brunette hair and eyes that shone like emeralds with a childlike glint to them.
"You are here to see the child, are you not?" she said, smiling at them.
Kagome nodded and tried her hardest to smile back, but it was hard as she was worried so much about Rin.
"Come, Kagome and Sesshoumaru-sama. I will take you to her."
Harumiko walked out of the hut and Kagome turned to Sesshoumaru. "Did you tell her my name?" she whispered.
"No." he replied, also staring after the woman in confusion.
"Well?" Harumiko asked, peeking her head back into the hut, "Are you coming?"
Sesshoumaru shook off the confusion and followed the woman, Kagome by his side. They followed her until they came to a smaller hut, though made of sturdier wood than the others, and with a sweet aroma that even Kagome could smell emanating from it. "Oh, and Kagome, dear, I trust Sesshoumaru-sama has told you my name?" the older miko asked, just as Kagome was about to go inside.
"Hm? Oh, yes, he did." she answered and forced a smile as she walked inside.
Rin was laying on a bed Jaken snoozing in a corner. She had a cool cloth on her forehead and was sleeping soundly, though her breathing was ragged and her fists clenched.
Kagome held back her tears as she knelt by the child, wishing more than anything she could help. Sesshoumaru had followed her inside and was just staring down at the child with a slightly distressed expression, and you could tell he was gritting his teeth.
Harumiko stood in the doorway sadly. "I know of no way to cure her, but I believe I have found a way to extend her life longer than I previously thought."
Kagome looked at her expectantly. "How?"
The older woman sighed. "I... can't say exactly whether it will absolutely be successful, but it does require some work on her part... And it may or may not cause her pain. And if I'm right, it should gather you enough time to at least try to find something to help."
Sesshoumaru frowned at her. "And what exactly will you have to do?"
"There is a potion I have heard rumors about from the older miko that has been passed down through this village for generations. No one that I know has ever used it, for it causes the drinker to relive their worst memories and experience their worst fears. However, it has been used before, and it was said that it expended the persons life. For it to work on this child without killing her, she has to be strong and do her best to endure it," Harumiko explained, Kagome and Sesshoumaru listening intently.
"But..." Kagome began, "She's too young! She's been through too much..."
The older miko shook her head. "I've seen how strong she is in your absence. Despite her illness, she insists to go out and play with the other children, though I can clearly see the pain on her face. She is strange indeed, never showing sadness and almost always smiling. I can promise you that with some help, she will make it through this part. The rest is up to you to try and find a cure."
Sesshoumaru was clearly in deep thought. He didn't want to cause Rin pain, but he didn't want her to die either. He was sure that he and Kagome could find some way to save her, they only needed time. "You're completely sure you can do this?" he asked after some time.
"And you're sure she's strong enough?"
"Do you not have faith in her abilities?" she countered.
This sort of stumped him and he looked away, clenching his fists.
Kagome saw this and stood up next to him, gently grabbing hold of his hand reassuringly. "It's okay, let her help. You trust Rin, right? You just have to trust that she can make it through this."
Sesshoumaru almost pulled away from the contact, but decided against it for reasons he didn't understand. He closed his eyes and sighed. "I do trust her, but-"
"You don't want to cause her pain?" Harumiko asked.
Sesshoumaru opened his eyes and just looked at her.
"Sometimes, pain is necessary for one to find the strength to keep living. That is the whole purpose of this. When the heart and mind have gone through so much, it makes a person stronger, giving them the will they need to live and keep living, they only need to find it. Rin can find it, unlike others who've been driven mad by just drinking this potion. Rin is stronger than that, and she can live, she just needs help." Harumiko said, "Preferably... By you."
Uh-oh, cliffy! -sigh- I'm sorry I haven't updated, but at least it's a long chapter.