Disclaimer: Inuyasha and all of it's characters are property of the brilliant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them. Only the story belongs to me.

Summary: It matters not if you are youkai or ningen, if you're male or female, young or old, weak or strong, no it matters not in the end. All that matters is who is Alpha and who isn't. Brothers fighting for dominance, mikos fighting for control, who will end on top, who will have to submit? What's an Inu pack to do when there are far too many Alphas?

Pairings: Inuyasha/Kikyou, Sango/Miroku, slight Sesshoumaru/Kagome.

Follows: The Anime and movies.

"spoken" 'thought' (translations)

AN: Couple of things to note. Since I had a couple of reviewers on my last story mention Shippo calling Kagome mom and Rin talking in third person as clichés, which I will still be trying to stay away from, I will be changing it a bit in this story. They will still be there, however, will change it up a little bit to give everyone something new.

Rin will only refer to herself in third person when she is emotional, scared or excited, so it will be a little of both rather than one or the other.

Instead of Shippo calling her momma or okaa-san he will call her momma Kag, I realize this isn't much different, however, him calling her mom fits in with the story line.

For my repeat readers you may remember that I posted in the cliché notes about people using the well, however, I did mention that what was cliché was random people being able to go across for no reason. I am mentioning this because I do have one other person using the well, but I did explain why this works and used the only reason I could come up with for it to.

Also there is a cliché of Kagome's father returning and I mention this because he is mentioned in this story, that is it, however, just mentioned. I know in some book that was put out it said that their father was dead but this story is going by the Anime/movies where it is not mentioned what happened to him.

This is the first book in a three book series. Only one Kagome/Sesshoumaru moment in here, most will be in the last book.

Small edit on 9/20 fixed spelling of ladder.

Edited 2/14/08


It's really hard to believe that this day is finally here, truthfully I didn't think I would catch up my work in order to graduate with my friends, but some how I managed. After graduation everyone is planning their vacations and making last minute college arrangements. Me? I'm going to be spending a little time with my family and then going back to the feudal era. Yep I will be spending my summer vacation trying to finish up the jewel and defeating Naraku.

My friends are surrounding me talking about what they are doing this summer or which college they will be going to but I am not really listening to them, truthfully I stopped listening years ago when I realized their were more important things in the world than cute boys and shopping trips. Being thrown into the past, constantly fighting for your life, learning the true meaning of evil sure has a way of helping someone grow up quickly doesn't it?

Not that I am really complaining, I love the past and my family there, I just wish sometimes that I could get a real break from it and be able to spend some more time with my other family. I know it is my duty to collect the shards since I shattered it in the first place, but still I hope we can finish our quest so I can just get a vacation.

Bringing my attention back to my friends I realize Eri is talking about her current boyfriend and something about them spending a few weeks alone in a cabin. It's fun to watch her lower her voice and glance around to make sure her parents aren't listening, it would seem they don't know about the trip, or at least that they would be alone. It's funny really my friends worry about this and my family watches me jump through a well into the past with out saying more than 'be careful'.

Perfect, my okaa-san (mother) waving me over is going to save me from these three, couldn't be better timing either, since I can see Hojo making his way over toward us. No offense to the guy, he's nice and all, but he can't seem to get a clue that I don't want to date him and my friends always answering for me never helps any. So with a wave to the girls I head over to my family before Hojo can stop me.

"Great job onee-chan!"(Older sister) Souta cheered as I walked over. The now 12 year old boy rushed over and wrapped his arms around me.

"Thank you Souta." I replied ruffling his hair and laughed as he tried to swat my hand away. Looking down at him, I just had to smile, he was getting so big. In a few more years he would probably be taller than me. I sighed softly to myself thinking about all of the time I had missed with him while back in the feudal era for the last four years. Hopefully we could finish off Naraku and complete the jewel soon so I can spend more time with my present day family.

"Come on let's get home and I will make us all some oden to celebrate." Okaa-san suggested, knowing it would get everyone in the car quickly, especially me seeing as it was my favorite meal.

"Hai okaa-san!" (Yes, mother) Souta and I replied as we rushed toward our car eager to get home for a nice home cooked meal with the whole family. Since I would be going back to the past for longer stays now that I didn't have to worry about school, who knows when the next time we could sit down together would be.

We piled into the car quickly and were now waiting for our grandfather who was currently complaining about 'impatient youths' as he slowly made his way to the car. "Hurry up Jii-chan!" (Grandfather) Souta called out the window after buckling himself in, proving his grumbles to be correct.

Later that night I looked around my room knowing I probably wouldn't be seeing it for at least a month. So many memories in this room-waking up to Inuyasha sitting next to my bed when I had taken too long to come back, falling asleep at my desk trying to catch up on my school work, throwing my clothes out of my closet trying to find my winter coat, the girls coming over to chat spending the night with gossip and ice cream, even Inuyasha streaking in here when the bath water Souta had ran was too hot- at this I just have to smile, Inuyasha looked so cute all red and wearing nothing but his hand.

"What's so funny?" Okaa-san (mother) asked as she walked into the room to find me chuckling. I noticed she was carrying my yellow backpack, quite a bit deflated from what it looked like when I came home a few days ago. Guess I shouldn't be surprised since my books no longer took up much of the room.

"Just remembering." I answered with a smile and took the offered bag from her and set it on my bed to go through what was left in it. School clothes-into the clothes basket-, first aid kit-set aside to refill-, notebooks-add to pile of papers on my desk-, ramen and potato chip wrappers-into the trashcan next to my desk-, don't think I have seen this bag so empty since I started going into the past.

"What clothes are you going to be wearing now that you won't need your school clothes?" Okaa-san inquired as she returned to the room with supplies to refill the first aid kit with. 'Odd I never saw her leave.' Shaking my head to clear my confused thoughts I took the supplies she was handing me and put them into the kit, leaving it next to my bag since I wanted it on top seeing as it gets used so much thanks to Inuyasha and his brashness.

"Kaede is having some miko (priestess) garbs made for me so I won't stick out so much while I'm back there. So I'll need to save some room for clothes for when I get back to the village." I explained as I added my brush and some hair ties into the bag.

"Okay dear, I'll go get your ninja food." Okaa-san told me with a smile as she used Inuyasha's nickname for the food and headed out of the room, making her way to the kitchen where she had stored the bags she had bought for me to take back with me.

"Here you go dear." Okaa-san returned with her smile still gracing her face as she walked back into the room with tons of snacks. "I found a new quail flavored ramen and figured since Inuyasha liked the chicken he might like this one." she explained as she added the packages to the bag followed by Shippo's candy and Kirara's fish treats.

"I'm sure he'll love it." I agreed with a smile adding my diary and bath supplies to the bag before turning to Okaa-san and embracing her. "I should be back in about a month for a supply run if we aren't too far away from the village."

"Be careful dear." she pleaded as she returned the embrace and I smiled when I felt her place a soft kiss on the top of my head. "Bring Inuyasha back with you next time, I'm sure Souta would like to see him again."

"I will okaa-san." I promised as I closed the bag up and put in on my back, following okaa-san out of the room and downstairs to say goodbye to the others. I wouldn't realize until later, but the first aid kit lay where I had left it on the bed, covered by the grocery sacs.

"Welcome child." Kaede greeted looking up from the herbs she was stirring in the black pot in front of her when I walked into her hut. I gave her a slight smile as I dropped my bag into a corner of the room and sat down next to the small fire. "Stir this for me will ye child? I shall get ye garments." Kaede requested as she handed me the wooden ladle she had been using and rose slowly from the floor.

I began stirring the herbs slowly as I had seen her do before and taking a sniff tried to place which herbs she had boiling. I could only recognize two of the three but it was enough to tell me what the tea was for, someone in the village was having stomach problems and I could only hope it wasn't her.

We all knew that Kaede was getting on in age for people of this time, but none of us were quite ready to let her go. I looked up with a smile, pushing back my worried thoughts to dwell on later, as she came back into the living area of her hut. About a year ago Inuyasha and Miroku had built another room onto her hut to give her someplace to find peace and quiet when we were all here.

"I assume three will be enough for ye." Kaede commented more than asked as she sat back down next to the small fire and handled me three wrapped packages before taking the ladle back up to continue her stirring. I ran my fingers over the brown wrapping and silently prayed that it was not the color of the garments as well.

"Hai (Yes) three should be plenty." I finally answered as I set the packages down and began untying the ribbon around the first one. Pealing the wrapping back I found an off white haori and underneath a light pink hakama. The material was made out of the same as Kaede's own and I wondered what the cloth was, it felt like cotton but I knew that it wasn't. As I pulled them out to look them over, I noticed there were white socks and a pair of wooden sandals at the bottom of the package. "Pink and off white?"

"Off white will be better since ye travel so much and pink because I did not think ye would wish to look like onee-sama(respectful older sister) and I thought pink would be best since ye are the protector of the jewel." Kaede explained as she began pouring the boiled herbs into a mug and rose from the floor. "I will be back soon, ye may use my room if ye wish to change now." And with that Kaede was out the door to deliver the herb tea.

I said another silent prayer, thankful that the tea wasn't for Kaede and, gathering the opened garments and my bag, I started back into her room. Making sure no hentai (pervert), namely Miroku, was looking in through the window, I quickly pulled my shirt over my head and dropped it next to my bag. Unbuttoning and unzipping my jeans, I pulled them down and off my legs and they joined my shirt on the floor.

Grabbing my hakama first I quickly pull it on, not wanting to give anyone the chance to catch a peep show, and tied the strings to hold it in place. The haori was pulled on next, and tied just as quickly, taking another glance at the window. I was being paranoid I knew, but then again what else would I be when Sango and I always had to worry about Miroku watching us while we bathed. I knew he was there to see her, but it didn't help much.

Shaking my head to clear thoughts of hentai monks, I leaned over to begin pulling on my socks when I heard voices coming from the other side of the wall. "Hey Kagome-chan you in here? Kaede said you were back." Sango's voice drifted into the room followed by a loud smack and a thud. It would seem Miroku's hand was wandering again and Sango had taken care of him, again.

"Yeah back here Sango." I replied shaking my head at their antics and smiled up at Sango as she walked into the room. She gave my new look a once over and smiled as she nodded her approval.

"Wow you even look the part now." Her comment made me stop and think for a moment, did she mean I looked the part of a miko or the part of Kikyou? "It's good that the hakama isn't red, maybe Inuyasha will be less likely to confuse you with 'her'." Sango continued, she must have seen my hesitation and I had to smile at my 'sister' being able to read me so well.

"If he couldn't stop confusing us when I was wearing my school uniform I doubt he will now, but he has nothing to do with me changing my looks. I figured this would get me less comments about how 'indecent' my clothing was." I laughed as I waved my hand to dismiss the idea. Had anyone from this era seen some of the other clothes in my time they wouldn't think mine was so indecent. Heck I think that if they ever saw some of the lingerie they would probably have a heart attack.

"So what did I miss while I was gone?" I inquired as I started running my brush through my hair and began a French braid as she started updating me. Not much had happened, Shippo and Inuyasha had fought, they took care of a few lesser demons that were in the area, Miroku was a hentai, same old thing. When the braid was to the nap of my neck, I tied it off with a pony tail as I had seen on a movie one time.

I figured since people in this time had probably never seen the style before, they would be less likely to think I am Kikyou. I couldn't understand how people could confuse the two of us so much, yeah I'm her reincarnation and she does look slightly like an older version of me, but you would think perhaps we were sisters but not the same person. The only thing we really had in common was our long black hair and deep brown eyes.

Well and now the miko garbs, but really that was it. I really just can't understand people some times. I mean she is hard, cold and emotionless while I am happy, carefree, and busting at the seams with emotions. She is made of clay and graveyard soil and I am made of flesh and bones. She is the walking dead and I am alive. She steals the souls of the dead to stay on this earth and I am constantly feeling a hole where part of my soul is missing, knowing that I could take it back but it would kill her and Inuyasha would never forgive me.

Though that is not the only reason I don't take it back, no it would kill her, even though she is already dead, and I could not do that to her especially knowing everything she has gone through and lost. Sango clearing her throat brought me back to the present, seems my mind had wandered off again and she was looking at me concerned.

Flashing her a bright smile, I leaned down and gathered my stuff to put in my bag and stood back up with it in my hands. I flipped my long hair over my shoulder, wondering when it had gotten so long with out me noticing. The thought appeared to cut it, no way people would confuse me with Kikyou if I had a bowl cut, but as quick as the thought appeared it left, no way I was going to walk around with a bowl cut.

"Think Miroku is waking up." I commented with a giggle as the sounds of his moaning drifted in from the other room. As we walked in we saw him sitting up rubbing his head with his non cursed hand.

"Guess I didn't hit him hard enough." Sango decided, speaking loud enough for the houshi (monk) to hear her and hid a smile behind her hand when he visibly flinched. However, what ever comment he was going to make was cut off when the bamboo door covering was pushed aside and Inuyasha walked in. He gave me a once over and moved over to sit against the wall without any comment.

Noticing I was receiving a strange look from Miroku as well I decided it would be best to explain it. "Since I will be here most of the time, and only returning home for supplies until this is over, I felt it was better that I fit in with this time. I thought about wearing a kimono but it would be too hard to run and fight it that and my normal clothing was getting me more odd looks than I could stand. If I am going to be a miko full time now I might as well look the part right?" I wasn't really expecting an answer and so wasn't surprised when I didn't get one and decided to make a late night snack. And I knew just the thing to get Inuyasha over any awkwardness he might have.

"So who's up for trying a new flavor of ramen?" I called out cheerfully as I set a pot of water on the fire and began pulling the bags out of my backpack.

"Me!" Shippo raced into the hut and jumped into my arms, I wondered where he had been all this time, but shrugged it off as he was probably off playing and embraced him back.

"New flavor?" Inuyasha spoke up for the first time since he entered the hut and started sniffing the air. I wondered if he knew it was pointless since they were still in air tight seals but decided it didn't matter since he looked so cute when he did that. Very dog-like.

"It's quail, okaa-san thought since you liked chicken you might like this one." I opened one of the seasoning packets so he could smell it and had to force myself not to laugh when he inhaled the new scent too deeply and had to rub his nose to stop himself from sneezing. He gave a slight nod, which I took as his approval of the ramen, and checked on the water as he sat back down against the wall.

With the water now at a full boil, I began adding the noodles as Shippo told me about everything I had missed while I was gone. Like Sango he spoke of the fight he had with Inuyasha, but also about some of the games he had been playing with the village children, and how he could now transform into others without showing his tail, his bow on the other hand he still needed to work on. Seems this was what had gotten him and Inuyasha into the fight, he had transformed into Kouga and baited Inuyasha.

After hearing him admit that he was at fault for the fight but not really seeing a problem with it, I decided it was about time to add some discipline into his life, but that will have to wait until tomorrow as I was in no mood to deal with either his whining or Inuyasha's gloating tonight.

When I awoke the next morning, I could feel the warm rays of the sun filtering in through the doorway and briefly wondered why Inuyasha had let me sleep in so late. Normally long before now I would have a screaming hanyou (half demon) in my face complaining about slow and weak ningen (human).

Yawning, I stretched out the kinks I had acquired during the night and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Glancing around the hut, I noticed Sango was preparing breakfast while Shippo watched from his perch on her shoulder. Miroku was meditating in the corner not far from them and Kaede was quietly sipping her tea next to him. Looking around the hut again, I failed to spot Inuyasha, unsure if this was good or bad.

"Where's Inuyasha?" I questioned the others as I stifled another yawn. Sango glanced over, catching my eyes with hers, and I saw the look held within their depth. They didn't need to say it, I already knew where he was now. Sango only gives that look when ever 'she' is around. 'Why is she here in the morning though? She's never done that before.'

I smiled to the others to let them know Inuyasha's where abouts weren't bothering me and I wasn't really lying to them, 'their' meetings didn't bother me as much as they used to. "What's for breakfast?" I inquired with a bright smile as I was getting up out of my sleeping bag and noticed the looks they were giving me. Clearly they didn't believe that I was okay with it.

"Some left over stew from last night." Sango informed me as she returned my smile and brought her attention back to the pot in front of her. "You should have enough time for a bath if you want."

"Sounds good. You coming Shippo?" I asked the little kitsune (fox) and with a grin and nod of his head, he jumped from Sango's shoulder to my own. I grabbed my bathing supplies and bow and arrows, just in case, and with a quick wave to the others, I headed out of the hut toward the hot springs.

My first step out the door I was blinded by the sun's rays and wondered just how long I had slept in and why the others hadn't started breakfast earlier. I decided I would ask Shippo about it while at the springs, along with talking to him about his behavior. I really didn't want to play the 'bad parent' but he only acts that way toward Inuyasha and is always baiting him knowing I would 'sit' Inuyasha if he hit him.

It really wasn't fair to Inuyasha to always take Shippo's side like I do, but I guess they are not the only ones that have some growing up to do, seems I do as well.

"If she keeps smiling like that I may just start to believe it." Sango informed the others, her eyes still on the bamboo door covering Kagome had just past a few moments ago.

"You think perhaps Lady Kagome has given up waiting on Inuyasha?" Miroku questioned, opening his eyes, his meditation completed. Sango nodded sadly and they both turned to look at Kaede as she spoke.

"I myself would not be surprised if she had. Onee-sama (respectful old sister) coming back put up a wall between those two. I am surprised she lasted this long."

"I always thought those two would be so great together if Inuyasha would just grow up and see what was right in front of him. I can't blame Kagome-chan (honorific for girl or child) if she did, he has made no show of wanting to be with her other than fighting with Kouga whenever he comes around. A girl needs more than that to know you care." Sango sighed sadly and went back to stirring breakfast. A moment later a loud slap echoed in the small hut.

"That isn't helping you any houshi-sama (respectful monk). Try finding ways to show you care that aren't so hentai! (pervert)" Sango yelled, annoyed that he was already groping her backside this early in the morning. "It is far too early for this." she mumbled to herself and Kaede nodded silently in agreement.

"Shippo we need to talk." I dived right into the conversation, deciding it was better than beating around the bush, as I climbed into the hot springs and sat back against the large rocks that surrounded it.

"What's wrong Kagome?" Shippo wondered as he looked up from playing with the rubber ducky I had brought back for him a few months back. I patted the rock next to me and waited until he had swam over and sat down next to me before speaking again.

"We need to talk about what you did last night Shippo. We are going to have to change some things to make things easier on the group as a whole." I started as I poured a small amount of shampoo into my hands and started working it into his hair and tail.

"You're not going to make me leave are you?" Shippo whispered so softly I almost missed it and even then it took me a moment to figure out what he was talking about. Turning him around, I saw the unshed tears welling up in his eyes.

"Shippo I would never leave you." I assured him as I pulled him into my arms and sat him on my lap. "Even if I did it would only be for your safety and I would always return." I swore as I wrapped my arms tightly around him and pulled him toward me.

"Really?" Shippo wondered as he looked up at me. I could still see the unshed tears in his eyes but no more had formed and those already there were beginning to dry.

"Hai (yes) really." I replied as I sat him back down next to me and finished working the shampoo into his hair and waited as he dunked under to rinse it out. "What I meant Shippo is you can't keep baiting Inuyasha like that, it's not fair that I 'sit' him when you start it. From now on when you do something you shouldn't I am going to be discipling you just as I do Inuyasha and Sango does Miroku, just, uh, not so violently." Shippo and I both giggled at that before he sobered back up.

"Does that mean you don't want me to practice my tricks?" Shippo questioned, the worry evident in his voice.

"Of course not Shippo, those tricks are your birth right and I would no sooner ask Inuyasha to give up his sword than I would ask you to give up those. It's good that you are practicing and working on making them better. I am proud of you for doing that." I informed him giving him a reassuring smile and giving him a quick kiss on the forehead.

"It's how you practice that can some times be a problem. Such as last night. You shouldn't be turning into people just to annoy others and don't try to tell me that you weren't. There is no other logical reason for you to transform into Kouga-kun (honorific male). You knew what Inuyasha would do and you did it anyways. Try turning into one of us that are already there, though I wouldn't use Inuyasha's form as practice. That would annoy him as well."

"Anything else?" Shippo asked after being quiet for a few moments. The concentration that was evident on his face told me he was thinking over what I had just said.

"You are basically a really good kid Shippo, your main problem seems to revolve around Inuyasha. Calling him, or Miroku, names, baiting him into fights and running to me. Other than that you are an absolute joy to be around." I smiled down at him and slid out of my spot against the rock so I could submerge in the water and wet my hair.

"Can I wash your hair Kagome?" Shippo requested after a moment, startling me as I picked back up my shampoo bottle. I gave him a quick nod and watched with a smile as he transformed into Sango and took the bottle from me. If it wasn't for the blue bow on the top of his, err her, head I wouldn't know the difference.

"Did you enjoy your bath?" Sango wondered as Shippo and I walked back into the hut, letting the bamboo covering drop back down behind us. I gave her a quick nod and smile as I looked around the hut. Sango put her bowl down and started filling two others for Shippo and I. Kaede and Miroku were already eating theirs, still sitting where they had been when we left. Inuyasha still hadn't returned.

Shippo jumped off my shoulder, running to the bowl Sango was offering him, and quickly sat down to begin eating. I shook my head at him with a smile, took my own and joined him. "Thanks Sango-chan."

"You're welcome Kagome-chan." Sango replied with a smile as she went back to her own meal. "How was your time back home?" Sango inquired looking up at me from her bowl.

"It was good. I finished up school, at least until our search is over and then I will probably go to college. Jii-chan was getting ready for the summer traffic at the shrine. Souta should be heading to soccer camp in a few days and okaa-san said something about cleaning out the attic." I informed them and we all turned out heads as someone entered the hut. "Good morning Inuyasha."

My greeting was returned with a mumble and nod of his head as he made his way over to the pot and began pouring himself a bowl. "It's about time you woke up wench."

"Inuyasha I have been up for a while, long enough in fact to have my bath and eat my breakfast. Though I do appreciate you letting me sleep in a little." I decided not to let him ruin my good mood, it wasn't my fault if his meeting with 'her' didn't go well, and by the look of him it didn't, but since I did not interrupt them this time, I was not going to take the blame. "When will we be leaving?" I wondered, figuring it was best to change the subject all together.

"It'll be the new moon soon, we'll leave the day after." Inuyasha replied, not bothering to stop eating or even look at me. Ah yes the new moon, that could explain why he hasn't been all sun shine and rainbows since I got back, not that he normally was, but he's worse around this time. Heck if he was female I would be sure it was something else entirely.

I had to hide a giggle behind my hand at that thought and waved the others away when they looked at me strangely. "Well since we have some free time then, I know just the thing to pass the time Shippo." I informed him with a grin as I handed my bowl to Sango and waited for Shippo to do the same and jump on my shoulder before starting out of the hut.

"What are we going to do Kagome?" Shippo wondered from his perch and I could hear the others following us out, seemed they wanted the answer as well.

"We are going to play a game and work on our 'tricks' at the same time." I replied with a grin as I set him down and pointed to a spot a little ways away from me in the field. He quickly made his way over and turned back to face me, the questions clear on his face. "You practice your multiplying and I will work on my barriers. I will try to put a barrier around the real you okay?"

"Okay." Shippo said after a moment with a shrug as he grabbed a few leaves out of some unseen pocket and threw them into the air, each one becoming a Shippo look alike.

I start going through my senses to try and tell the Shippos apart starting with sight, however, since they all looked identical, I'm guessing my sight would not help me much here. I can hear the others settle down off to the side to watch and went to tell them not to help when I noticed one of the Shippos was zigzagging more than the others.

I start concentrating on it and after a few moments a small pink barrier closes around him, but the moment the barrier was complete, the 'Shippo' popped inside of it. I 'humphed' as the rest of the Shippos begin giggling at my expense. 'Alright back to the senses' I decided and quickly forget about smell since mine is no where near good enough to try for this.

Can't walk and touch him so that one is out as well, which brings me to hearing. Closing my eyes I try to pick through the sounds I can hear around me. Sango and Miroku are whispering to each other about which one they think is the real one, a few sniffs from Inuyasha and I know he's figured it out. Blocking them out I concentrate on the other sounds, birds singing happily in the trees nearby, Kaede working on something in her hut, cleaning by the sounds of it.

There. I can hear Shippo's heavy breathing from running around in the field. Unfortunately which ever one it is coming from is too close to two others to tell them apart. Taking a guess I send a pink barrier around the one in the middle, but once again when it is complete the 'Shippo' pops. I sighed noticing that I could no longer hear his heavy breathing.

I can hear Inuyasha mumbling behind me about 'slow ningen' and I just roll my eyes, though it does no good since my back is to him. "Sit." I mumbled and smirked when I heard the hanyou (half demon) crash to the ground behind me. Sango giggled as well as one of the Shippos, but before I could pin point him, he was already lost among the others and had stopped giggling.

'Hmm got an idea.' I thought with a grin as I reached into one of my hakama pockets. "Shippo want a lollipop?" I call out to him and suppressed a laugh when one of their heads popped up. I quickly erected a barrier around him and stuck my tongue out at him when he huffed at me.

"You cheated." Inuyasha complained from behind me after pulling himself out of the small crater he had created. Shippo nodded his head in a agreement as the barrier came down and he crossed his arms at me.

"That may be true, however, Shippo you need to learn not to let things distract you." I reminded him as I held out the lollipop and watched it quickly disappear from my hand. "Keep an eye and ear out for things going on around you, but never take your attention off of the battle."

"Hai Kagome." I could tell I was already losing his attention as he pulled the wrapper off of the candy and quickly stuck it into his mouth. "Can we play again?" Shippo finally asked once the lollipop was about half way gone and he remember we were still there.

"Sure Shippo." I replied with a smile and after he finished his lollipop, he ran back out into the field, grabbing the leaves from a pocket and threw them into the air, multiplying himself again. I grinned after sniffing the air and finding something even I couldn't miss. I quickly put up a barrier around the original Shippo and watched as the fake ones all popped.

"How?" Sango whispered behind me, I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or the others but decided to answer anyways.

"He smells of cherry." I informed her with a laugh and could hear them sniffing behind me. Shippo rolled his eyes at me and as soon as the barrier was down, rushed off to wash up. I laughed quietly when he raced back to the field and multiplied again without being told. Soon as the Shippos were running around, we went back to our game.

The next two days were spent playing the game with Shippo as Sango and Miroku looked on, sometimes joining in. Inuyasha was scarce, only hanging around when it was time to eat. We all knew where he was going when he would head back into the woods, it was hard not to figure it out with the soul stealers floating around.

The others weren't bringing it up and for that I was grateful. Him running off to her wasn't effecting me as much as it used to but I still didn't want to talk about it. I would have thought when I finally gave up on him it would hurt a lot more than it did, but I guess truthfully I knew this was coming for a long time and it gave me a chance to brace myself for it.

In fact everything was going great for our group, even with Inuyasha gone for most of the time. It was very rare for us to get a break like this and we were taking full advantage of it. However, all of that ended by something as small as Shippo skinning his knee and needing a band aid. Normally this wouldn't have been a big thing but when I searched my bag for my first aid kit I realized I had never put it back into my bag after we refilled it.

"I'll be back guys, I left my first aid kit on the other side of the well." I informed the others as I stood up and handed Shippo to Sango. "I'll be back as soon as I can Shippo." I promised as I kissed him on the top of his head and headed out of the hut. As I started jogging toward the well, I noticed the soul stealers were still around, explaining Inuyasha's lack of being in the hut. 'I guess we weren't the only ones taking advantage of the break.'

Shaking my head to clear thought of Inuyasha and mikos (priestesses), I picked up speed and arrived at the well in a few minutes. As I jumped over the lid, and watched as the blue light engulfed me, I had no idea that this jump was going to change the lives of everyone in the group. I had no idea of the horror that had occurred on the other side of the well.

Like so many times before, when I reached the other side of the well, I dusted myself off and started climbing up the old rusty ladder, however, this time a noise from behind me stopped my ascent. Confused, I turned and spotted Souta laying on the dirt floor of the well, huddled up and crying in his sleep.

Concerned, I jumped down from the latter and rushed the small distance to him, gently shaking his shoulder to wake him. "Souta what's going on? Why are you in the well?" I demanded when his eyes opened up and focused on my own.

"Onee-chan!" Souta cried throwing himself into my arms and knocking me on my behind. "They're gone onee-chan!" Souta cried even harder, his face smashed against my chest muffling his words slightly.

"Souta who's gone? Why are you here? How long have you been in here?" I questioned as I ran my fingers through his hair to try and help him calm down. I could hear him taking shuttering breaths and fighting to get his tears under control but having little effect.

"Okaa-san and jii-chan are gone. Papa killed them." Souta whispered barely audible over his wails. 'Papa? But papa was in jail.' I thought to myself as I tried to work through the confusion in my mind. Deciding there would be time to dwell on the details later, I knew I had to do something about Souta now. If what he was saying was true, he and I were still in danger.

"Souta look at me." I whispered as I raised his chin so he could look me in the eye. "I have to go back the other side. I will bring back a way to bring you with me. I want you to stay right here and don't move. Can you do that for me?" I asked him and after a small nod, I gave him a kiss on his forehead and moved to climb up the ladder. Once at the top, I wasted no time in jumping back across, the blue light surrounding me.

'Soul stealers. Soul stealers. Soul stealers!' I chanted in my head as I rushed through the woods moments after exiting the well. "Why is it when I want to see them I can't find them?" I mumbled to myself and wanted to cheer when I finally spotted a bit of white fluorescent in between the trees.

I picked up my speed, running as fast as my legs could manage, and followed it to where I knew its master would be waiting. I spotted them not a minute later, in an embrace of course, but had no time to worry about that now. I knew in an instant she knew I was there as her voice reached me, she was asking Inuyasha how he felt about me.

She was expecting me to wait on the edge of the clearing as I normally did, knowing I would cry when I heard his answer. However, I did not have time for her antics at the moment and instead rushed into the clearing and stopped in front of Inuyasha as I tried to catch my breath. "Kagome..." Inuyasha started, that look he always had when I'd catch them was already appearing in his eyes.

"No time... don't care... gotta borrow." I rushed over my words as I reached up and removed the rosary from around his neck. "I'll give it back!" I called over my shoulder as I wasted no time in running back toward the well. I raced back through the woods, weaving in and out around the trees, ignoring the branches that clawed at me and tore holes into my clothes.

In less than two minutes I was back at the well and never slowed as I leaped over the rim and plunged into the darkness of the well. If the well had been a living person I would have sworn I had surprised it as I had almost reached the bottom before the light finally appeared, taking me 500 years into the future.

"I have to go Kikyou." Inuyasha insisted as he tried to get out of her embrace and race after Kagome. He knew something was wrong and he had to find out just what that was.

"She finally allows us some peace and you are just going to rush after her?" Kikyou demanded, the hurt evident in her voice.

"Something is wrong Kikyou, I don't know what but whatever it is, it's bad. She's never taken the rosary from me." Inuyasha tried to explain as he continued trying to get out of her arms.

"It's about time she took it off anyways, you are not hers to try and control." Kikyou spat as she turned her gaze toward where Kagome had rushed off a minute ago.

"She keeps it on in case I turn full demon and she needs to protect others. Now I have to go Kikyou." Inuyasha removed her arms from around him and rushed off toward the well, knowing he would have to wait there since she took away his only way to get to her side of the well.

"Onee-chan!" Souta cried the moment the light disappeared, leaving me in the well. He was in my arms before I even had the chance to breathe in the dusty and damp smell of the old well house. I ran my fingers through his hair again, while holding the rosary out with the other.

I chanted the words Kaede had taught me quietly and watched as the light appeared around the rosary and it broke apart, only to reconnect around Souta's neck. "Come on little one. Climb on." I whispered as I turned around and bent down so he could get on my back.

He wrapped his arms around my neck, his legs around my waist, and held on tight as I righted myself and began climbing back up the old ladder. Once I reached the top, I pushed off, jumping backwards into the well and held my breath as I waited to see if it would allow him through. It worked for Inuyasha with the rosary and I prayed it was all I needed for Souta as well.

As the light faded, I looked up and saw the dark sky overhead, the stars the only thing telling me it was indeed the sky and not the top of the well house. I finally let my breath out out as I could still feel him on my back. "Inuyasha! I know you're up there, I could use some help!" I called up the well, knowing he would in fact be there after my little stunt in the woods.

Sure enough, soon as my voice carried over the well, I could see Inuyasha looking down on us. He spotted Souta right away and gave me a strange look before jumping into the well and landing next to us. "Can't explain now...help us out of the well please." He nodded after a moment and instead of taking Souta like I thought he would, he just picked us both up and cleared the well in an easy leap.

Once we landed back on the ground, Inuyasha set me down and I wrapped my arms under Souta's legs to make sure he didn't fall as I started walking toward Kaede's hut. "Why is he crying?" Inuyasha whispered a moment later and I looked over my shoulder and saw the reason he was whispering, Souta had fallen asleep.

"I couldn't get much out of him. I found him in the bottom of the well. He says papa killed okaa-san and jii-chan. I didn't have the chance to see if he was telling the truth, though I doubt he was lying just by the way I found him. Once I have the chance to si..." Inuyasha cut me off by placing his hand over my mouth and it took me a moment to figure out what he was doing.

I could not believe I had almost just 'sat' my little brother. Sending Inuyasha a silent thanks, I waited until he removed his hand before I continued. "When I have the chance to talk to him, I'll let you know what I find out. For now I just want to get him to bed and then I need to go back and get some stuff for him and see what's going on over there."

"I'm going with you." Inuyasha insisted as we entered the village and turned down the road Kaede's hut was on. I nodded my head at him, in no mood to argue and had already planned on asking him to come with me anyways.

"What's...?" Sango started before I shushed her and nodded toward my bag, Inuyasha quickly getting the idea, began searching through it and pulled out my sleeping bag. After he laid it down and opened it, he helped me lay Souta down and I covered him up, kissing his forehead. I reached around his neck and removed the rosary before I could attempt to 'sit' him again. Walking over to the others, I put the rosary back around Inuyasha's neck and sat down next to him.

"I can't explain much now since I want to get back before he wakes up." I started as Sango handed me a some tea and I took a quick sip of the hot liquid. "Something is wrong on the other side of the well. According to Souta both our okaa-san and jii-chan have been killed. I should know more when Inuyasha and I get back and after I talk to him when he wakes up." I explained as I finished off the tea and handed the mug back to Sango. "We'll be back soon." I called back over my shoulder as I started out of the hut with Inuyasha following.

The moment after we left the well house we knew Souta was right, there was yellow police tape surrounding the outside out of the house and shrine steps. I felt Inuyasha take my hand and give it a gentle squeeze and smiled my thanks to him. After Inuyasha sniffed to make sure no one was around, we began heading toward the front door but when I reached down to open the door Inuyasha stopped me.

"Kagome you probably shouldn't go in there." Inuyasha whispered behind me and I could tell from him using my name that it was going to be bad inside. I sniffed the air and found what he had already discovered when we first arrive. The scent of stale blood. I looked over my shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile before turning back and opening the front door.

The moment the door open, the smell hit us full force and I didn't have to look to know there was far too much blood for anyone to have lived through it, even in this day and age. I glanced around the front room and wished I hadn't. In jii-chan's recliner there was a pool of dried blood where his head would be laying down and I could see a small hole in the middle of it. Walking around the chair I confirmed what I had already thought. There was a large portion of the back of the chair missing. He had been shot in the head, probably while he was sleeping.

Shaking my head, I fought back the tears and made my way to the kitchen. Here there was another pool of dried blood, this time on the wall behind okaa-san's chair. A cup of long cold tea was still sitting on the table. I felt my breath catch as I turned around and Inuyasha's arms went around me, pulling me close. "We should go." Inuyasha whispered so close to my ear I could feel his hot breath on it.

I shook my head as I tried to get my tears under control. "I have to get stuff for us. I just want to get this done so I can get back to Souta." I whispered as I wiped my eyes and pulled away from him as I turned to head toward the stairs. I could hear Inuyasha following behind me and I was grateful to have his help knowing this was going to take a lot of out of me and I still needed to be able to help Souta.

"There's a camping bag in Souta's closest, can you grab that and pack some clothes for him?" I requested of Inuyasha as we reached the top of the stairs and I started toward okaa-san's room for the extra camping bag. Inuyasha mumbled something that sounded like 'sure' but was muffled by the distance as I was already in the room.

Walking over to her closest, it took me a few minutes to find her camping bag, packed way in the back, and pull it out. As I picked it up and was about to leave the room, I noticed okaa-san's petty money box and decide to bring it with us. That way when we need to come back for supplies we have money to purchase them with. I grabbed the box and headed back out of the room with the bag over my shoulder.

I walked into my room and started grabbing the mementos I wanted to keep with me and began putting them in the bag, followed by my undergarments and winter clothes from my closest. I gathered up my kimonos from the back of the closest and added those as well. Picking the bag back up, I headed out of the room toward the bathroom.

In went shampoos, conditioners, soaps, extra towels, Souta's bathing bucket, his comb, extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, some female products and then I did a once over to make sure I had everything I needed before heading back out of the bathroom again. As I was walking into the hallway, Inuyasha came out of Souta's room with out the bag. "I wasn't sure which toys of his to grab." he explained and with a nod I handed him the bag I had.

"Can you grab some of the food from the kitchen? I'm sure you can find the normal stuff." I said with a smile as I walked past him and went to go into Souta's room when his voice stopped me.

"Kagome about earlier..." Inuyasha started and I knew right away what he was referring to and waved it off with a smile as I turned back to him. "I want you to know before everyone else and wanted you to find out from me. After we defeat Naraku I'm going to take Kikyou as my mate." Inuyasha whispered unable to meet my eyes.

"Congratulations Inuyasha." I replied with a smile and laughed when his eyes shot up to mine with a confused look. "We knew this would come to pass at some point and I would much rather you take her as a mate than follow her to hell. At least this way I get to keep my best friend."

"You'll never lose me." Inuyasha swore giving me the first real smile I had seen on his face in a long time before turning and heading back downstairs. I smiled at the back of his head and turned walking into the bedroom. I wondered how much of the mess was Souta not cleaning up after himself and how much of it was Inuyasha looking for his clothes.

Deciding it didn't really matter, I started going around the room gathering up toys I knew he would want and started adding them to the bag Inuyasha left leaning against his bed. Making sure I added his soccer ball, I went to his closet to make sure Inuyasha had gathered his winter clothes, which he hadn't, and I added those along with Souta's traditional clothing. I grabbed his bag, swung it over my shoulder and started out of the room.

As I passed by the bathroom I thought about what Inuyasha had told me and remembered something that might help him. Walking back into the bath room, I grabbed the bottles of 'rain' scented shampoo and conditioner and tossed them into the bag. I remembered when okaa-san had bought them for me and Inuyasha complained that they made me smell like Kikyou and I had stopped using them.

"Got everything you need?" Inuyasha questioned when I walked into the kitchen to find him stuffing some packages of ramen into the bag. I had left the other over by the front door and so walked over to help him with this one. I gave him a nod as I put some tea and a bag of candy into the bag followed by Souta's stash of candy bars. Leaving Inuyasha to finish up with the ramen, I headed over to the counter and started to write a note.

To whom it concerns,

I have taken Souta to a place where he would be safe after returning from a stay in the hospital and finding out what happened to my family. Please contact my aunt and let her know what has happened, okaa-san would want her taking care of the shrine. You can find her number in my mother's address book in her purse. I can not tell you where I am taking my brother as I still fear for his safety but I can tell you there is no safer place for him. Please let his school know he will not be returning and for the police, as I am sure you will get this letter at some point, do not bother questioning our friends as they will not know where we are. Please find our father and put him back in jail as Souta has told me it was he who did this.


I placed it on the fridge behind a sushi magnate and turned back to Inuyasha. He had finished packing the bag and was currently fighting to get the top closed, seems he over did it a bit on the ramen. Any other time I would have been laughing, but now I just couldn't find enough humor in it to. He finally got it closed and threw it over his shoulder, following me out of the kitchen as I walked toward the front door and went to grab the other bag when I remembered what I had originally came back for in the first place.

I ran upstairs ignoring the strange look he was giving me and grabbed the first aid kit off of my bed. I would have to come back to buy some more supplies since okaa-san had used up the rest when we refilled it, but for now it would do. Taking one last look around the room, I headed back downstairs, and grabbed my bag before walking outside.

As we got to the well, Inuyasha stopped me from jumping in and grabbed my hand. "If you need a shoulder..." he left the rest of the sentence hanging and even though he was trying to hide it I knew he too was hurting. He had loved my family as much as Souta and I did.

"Same goes for you Inuyasha and I may take you up on that later, but for now I have to be there for Souta. My grief can come later." I replied with a small smile as I looked up at him before turning back to the well and jumping in with him.

Please R&R, good and bad reviews are welcome, however, I will ignore flames.