Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or Yu Yu Hakusho. They belong to their respective owners. I make no profit from the making of this fanfiction story. All plot related ideas within are mine and mine alone.

A/N: Here's another chapter for you all. Enjoy.

Chapter 15

Shelter from A Broken World



"Kagome…wake up…it's time to wake up…"


The young miko started with a visible jump as she heard her name shouted out with displeasure and a little uncertainty. She just had the weirdest dream about a boy with dog-ears, and the well on her family's shrine property. Her eyes drifted towards the voice which was still resounding on the other side of her door.

"Are you awake yet, sis?" the voice asked again as her bedroom door opened. It was dark in the room, and she shifted her eyes towards her window, which didn't exist. Her walls were cement, as was the ceiling. No wonder it was so dark – but this was usual, right? Her head throbbed lightly and she winced but she managed to look towards the owner of the boyish voice that had awoken her.

"Are you okay? You look pale…I hope you're not getting sick again…" he said as he approached her.

"Kohaku?" she questioned, seeing the brown hair of the other boy, and the deep brown eyes that set on his younger face. The boy gave her a quizzical look before shaking his head.

"Are you running a fever? It's Souta…you know, your little brother?" he asked, as he moved forward to place a hand on her forehead. His hand was cool to the touch and she instinctively leaned into it before blinking lightly.

"Souta?" she questioned quietly to herself, as she tried to figure out why that other boy's name popped into her head. Of course this was her little brother, Souta. She had grown up with him, had gone through many things with…her little brother. The boy nodded when she said his name before he frowned at her and she bit her lower lip in thought.

"I'm gonna go get dad…I'll be right back, sis." He said as he pulled back and gave her another uneasy look before he left. Kagome placed a hand on her chest as her eyes widened in fear. Her father was dead, and as far as she knew, and she would, her mother hadn't remarried. Her mind protested at her that he was alive, and had been alive. Another part of her mind argued that something was seriously wrong and nothing was as it was supposed to be.

She quickly moved to her feet before she looked around for a potential weapon. It was sad when she felt safer with a weapon in her hands than without. Another heartbeat later she froze. A weapon? What was she thinking? She quickly held up her hands to look at the palms of them, her eyes searching for answers that weren't forthcoming. What was going on?

Pink power engulfed them and her eyes widened again in uncertainty before she smiled. This was familiar. She remembered this; this power, this calming essence. It came from her very soul, and with that thought, an image appeared above her head.

"Your wish was fulfilled, Kagome, but nothing is as it was. You never went to the past, but it was your destiny to do so. Naraku continues his search for the Shikon no Tama, and Inuyasha and Kikyou never received their happy ending." The figure said, and for a moment, Kagome was scared, until she remembered who this person was.

"Midoriko? Then…does that mean…" Without another word, she fled the room and found that she had no idea where she was. Following the cement walls she found a set of stairs and quickly began her ascent of them.

"Kagome!" A strangely familiar male voice called out to her. Terror and disbelief filled her eyes as she turned towards the voice.

"…daddy?" she questioned, as she swallowed thickly and gripped the banister under her hand tightly. This couldn't be…it was impossible. Her father was dead, but standing before her was a little older version of the man she called 'dad'. He was just as she remembered him, down to his scruffy beard.

"What are you doing, sweetie? It's still light out; it's dangerous to go out at this time of day." He admonished her as he took a few steps towards her. Kagome moved backwards instinctively, not trusting anything around her as she shook her head.

"I have to check something out…I have to make sure…" she didn't give him a chance to respond as she turned and ran up the last few steps and pushed open a large metal door that allowed the sunlight to finally touch her skin.

"Kagome!" the strange man shouted again as the door closed behind her. She didn't hear it shut as her eyes struggled to take in the sight before her. Nothing was alive – there was no grass, or trees. She couldn't hear the sound of cars, or even see the sky properly. There was an unnatural haze over everything, and the sunlight hurt her skin. Tears prickled at her eyes, but she didn't allow them to fall. Without thinking she ran blindly towards the one constant that she remembered throughout much of her childhood – the Goshinboku.

Her feet scrapped over the hard earth but she didn't stop or slow her motions. She came to a sliding halt a few moments later when her eyes fell on the tall, decidedly wilted figure of the God's Tree. Even in such a strange world, it stood proud, standing up to the tests of time. However, it wasn't the tree, or the surroundings that had her staring in complete shock – it was the lone figure, still pinned to the trunk of the ancient tree. A light breeze moved the figures stark white hair around and a pair of puppy dog ears sat atop his still face. A withered arrow protruded from his chest in a morbid sort of way, showing the passage of time, even if the boy did not.

"Inuyasha…" she whispered, the name coming easily. She knew it from this time…she also knew it from another time…another place. She had seen this before, but he had been surrounded and sheltered by the vivid foliage of the tree, which was non-existent now.

Before she could examine him further, her senses screamed at her that there was danger and she whirled around, finding herself face-to-face with a demon that also looked familiar. "A human girl…rare. Most of your kind hides until the moonlight can protect you." His voice ground out as he smirked ferally at her.

Her eyes widened a fraction before she whispered in disbelief, "Hiei?" A sharp pain raced through her heart and she gripped the front of her pajamas quickly as if reassuring herself that she knew this person, no, demon.

The demon growled and took a step back, not trusting the girl who spoke his name. How did she know who he was? It wasn't as if he left survivors or allowed the rumors to spread too much. He so hated others learning things about him. "How do you know that name, girl?" he spat, his eyes bleeding red as he reached for his trusted katana blade that was strapped to his waist.

She flinched at the anger and distrust in his tone – it had been awhile since she'd heard it. The longer that she held onto the memories of her past, the past that she had lived in, not the one that she had wished herself into, she more she began to remember of that other life. Her mind protested harshly that those memories were lies and dreams – this was her reality, but she fought to retain those other memories. She had done something that changed everything with that one wish, and she hadn't even managed to fix one thing. It just made everything worse – what was she supposed to do now? "…I know you, Hiei. You…you know me, too. Don't you remember me?" she questioned, though her voice was soft, even as her heart was shattering in her chest.

She had tried to run away – she had taken the cowards way out and wished herself from that existence and she only made things harder on those around her and even Hiei had suffered more because of it. His eyes were dark, and completely lost. He had no love or kindness showed to him. Did he even know Kurama or Yusuke? Had he found his sister Yukina? Her heart lurched in her chest again as she lifted her head to look at him. His expression changed slightly, showing his confusion. He was supposed to know a human girl? He couldn't picture it and he would've remembered someone like her – she was beautiful for a human – her skin was fair, not leathery and damaged as with the rest of the human populace that had to live in this forsaken world. Her hair was long, and seemed to shine even in the harmful light of the sun. Her body was lean, and not unhealthily thin. Her family must have been one of the more well-to-do ones left in the world. Yes, he would have remembered her…but the images that fell from her mind had him rooted to the spot. That was him in her mind's eye – that was him who watched over her and protected her. The world was different though – full of life, unlike this one, which was dying. Where was she from? "Who are you, girl?" he questioned, his tone full of quiet wondering, even as he studied her further.

"I'm Kagome…" her heart lurched lightly as she clenched her hand into her shirt. "Where are Kurama and Yusuke? Are they alright?" she questioned, before asking, "Is Yukina okay? Genkai? Kuwabara?" She took a step forward, unable to stop herself as her face scrunched up in worry and uncertainty.

Hiei growled when she said his twin's name. He had managed to find her before the koorime destroyed her – they had tried to wipe themselves from the face of the earth, and thus taking her with them – he made them pay for their insolence. "How do you know Yukina?"

"She's my friend!" she shouted back, forcing back her fear as anger took hold. Hiei's eyes widened further as he looked at the strange girl. Images of his sister reached him, but it wasn't like he remembered her. She looked healthier, and warmer. She looked kinder and gentler than even he knew. The koorime had broken her down before he saved her, and he had never and would never, forgive them for that.

Another wave of energy floated over her and she whirled around with wide, almost unseeing eyes to Inuyasha's lone figure. "Inuyasha…" she whispered, even as his eyes opened and he looked slowly from her, to Hiei, and then back to her.

"Kikyou, you betraying bitch!" he shouted as he glared fiercely at her. "When I get down from here I'm going to kill you myself!" Kagome flinched gently before she shook her head and looked up at him – her expression was heartbroken. She remembered this from before, but it was different now. He had been pinned to the same spot for over 500 years. Everything he knew was gone. Then again, the same could be said for her – the difference was, she had wished this upon herself – this had been forced upon him.

"My name is Kagome." She said softly before she shook her head and said, "I'm so sorry…both of you, I'm so, so sorry." She had been saying that a lot lately and she was tired of it. She kept breaking things and messing things up. She broke the Shikon no Tama, she hurt Hiei, she wasn't able to help Inuyasha… "Why does everything I touch break!" she screamed as she shook her head and drew back from both of the demons near her. Each one looked confused, and angry. Inuyasha took a second to sniff the air and beyond the pollution, he could smell the girl's scent, and it wasn't Kikyou. More confusion and uncertainty filled his face as he looked from the girl to the other demon that was nearby. It was a hiyoukai, surprisingly enough, but the information did little to help him figure out what was going on.

Another flash of power resonated in the area, and Hiei and Inuyasha's eyes widened imperceptibly. "The Shikon no Tama?" the inu-hanyou all but whispered out. Hiei looked to the girl with complete shock. The Shikon was the most sought after artifact that had ever graced the planet. Since ancient times demons had searched for it, and one in most pursuit of the jewel was a demon named Naraku. Even for a hanyou, he was powerful – his physical strength was only enhanced by his mental prowess. He was known for his riddles and games, and toying with his prey before he destroyed them. If you were being sought after by the hanyou, your life was all but forfeit. The instability of HIei's own blood ensured that the hanyou would never target him – it was far too dangerous a venture to take over someone with such a volatile existence.

Kagome closed her eyes and felt for the forsaken jewel. It was there, just at her side, like it had been since the beginning. Tears fell down her smooth cheeks as she opened them to find both demons looking at her with newfound shock. "It's not gone…I thought it would have disappeared…but it's not gone."

"Gone?" Hiei questioned as he took a step closer to the strange girl. Mystery after mystery piled up around this human, and he had no answers. The images that were supplied for him only made things more complicated. Inuyasha glared at her before shouting, "Of course it's not gone, wench! It's not like it's going to disappear into thin air!" For him, he had not realized yet the passage of time, and thus was remembering just before he was pinned to the ancient tree.

"Of course, for once, you make sense, hanyou." Three faces turned to look at the new voice and Kagome gasped. Naraku stood at the edge of the clearing, Hiei growled under his breath as he drew his katana and glared at the evil demon. He was preparing himself for a battle, though he wouldn't of his own volition move to attack the strange demon. He didn't willingly go up against opponents such as him, but he would not let the demon just run off with the Shikon no Tama either. He'd heard legends of the jewel, and stories about what it was capable of. If he thought his life was bad now, in the hands of Naraku, the world would never be the same.

Naraku turned purple eyes towards the red of the hiyoukai before he smirked. "You would protect this human girl over a jewel that you don't even want?" he questioned, before laughing darkly. "You surprise me, hiyoukai."

Inuyasha growled before saying, "You won't lay a hand on her! Don't even think about touching her, you bastard!"

Kagome turned her head quickly to look at Inuyasha. Did he remember her? The inu-hanyou didn't turn his attention away from Naraku, and it allowed her to see that the arrow pinning him to the Goshinboku was now glowing. Without thinking, she rushed forward and hopped on the lower roots that were protruding from the ground. "Thank you…Inuyasha." Even if it wasn't for her, he would protect her. Her hand fell around the rough shaft of the arrow and with little effort, she pulled on it, and the arrow disintegrated in a small burst of light, freeing the hanyou from his timeless prison.

His golden eyes locked with her sapphire blues and for a moment, nothing moved until he grabbed her quickly and threw them both off to the side as a spray of miasmic poison laced the area. Kagome's power flared and purified the noxious fumes, as if she'd never lost time to begin with. Her training somehow stuck with her as she recalled how to manipulate her power. Hiei moved closer to the two, finding that even through the blast, somehow the air around the two was clean. He hadn't seen a true miko in years – every miko since the original protector of the Shikon no Tama had been slain by Naraku. He wanted to make sure that no one could rival him in power. How this girl had remained unharmed remained a mystery, but he didn't question it at this moment. If she was willing, they might just have the power to stop the evil demon before them and destroy him once and for all.

Kagome's eyes flew up towards Naraku before she quickly got to her feet, something that both Hiei and Inuyasha noticed. It was as if she had been trained for combat, which also didn't make much sense. With a glare and a vicious point of her finger, Kagome shouted, "You'll pay for that, Naraku!" Without thinking she rushed forward plowing through the miasma and tentacles that the hanyou threw her way. He had an additional five-hundred years to get stronger, but it was nothing in comparison to her pure priestess energies. Because he hadn't come against such powers in half a millennia, they were doubly effective against his demon blood.

Hiei snorted before he rushed forward, hacking and slashing his way through some of the tentacles. He wasn't going to let some human girl outshine him in battle. Inuyasha thought much the same way and he rushed forward to join the fray. Naraku screamed at the touch of her pure power, but almost playfully swatted away Inuyasha. Five-hundred years had made the inu-hanyou rusty – while Hiei was moving with all the experience that he had gained in this harsh world.

"I'll stop you…I won't let you hurt anyone ever again!" Kagome shouted as she jumped up recklessly and latched onto the human formed portion of Naraku's demonic body. Sapphire eyes locked with purple as he returned the favor. It almost looked as if they were lovers, locked in an embrace, but the flash of Kagome's powers signaled a scream from the hanyou that echoed in the clearing, leaving nothing left but the brilliant afterglow of her power, and ash, floating away on the breeze.

Kagome fell harshly to the hard, unforgiving earth, breathing heavily and looking at her hands in disbelief. It had been that easy. She had done it alone, with no one else. She had had the power within her all along. She moved to stand and turned, facing Hiei and Inuyasha, who were slowly approaching her. Hiei looked as if he had a growing respect for her, while Inuyasha had a sour look upon his face. "I could have done that." He said as he stood a couple of feet away from her.

Kagome couldn't stifle the small giggle at his oh-so-typical response. It was so him. Her eyes looked between the two before her expression softened once more. She had had the power to defeat Naraku inside of her all along; if she had the power to do that…then she had the power to fix what she'd broken…she had the power to apologize properly to Hiei…she had the power to save Inuyasha. She couldn't change him, nor did she want to…but she could save him…and she could save Kikyou, and their lost happy ending. She could give him the life he'd lost…she could turn back the tides of time…Sango's village…Miroku's curse…Shippou's parents…Kouga's pack…all of them, she could save them.

Quietly, she closed the gap between the two demons and she smiled softly. "Thank you for your help. You've both done so much for me…I'll never be able to repay you completely." Her expression gentled further. "But I'm still going to try."

Hiei lifted an eyebrow as the strange girl, 'Kagome' he thought to himself, placed a petite hand on his cheek. "No matter what happens…" she shook her head lightly as she withdrew her hand. "…I'll find a way to make it up to you."

'Make what up to me?' he questioned mentally as he watched her step back and she looked up, as if seeing something that wasn't visible to either of them. He frowned as he felt a pang in his heart and he looked to her eyes. They were serene and calm; a familiar flash of those same eyes filled with sorrow filled his mind as she said softly. "It's time to fix what I broke." He didn't say anything to that, but he felt like if he didn't say something now, he'd never get another chance. It was somehow important that he see her again.

His expression softened before he said quietly, "See you later…Kagome."

Kagome paused as she turned her eyes back to his to smile, though it was torn. "See you later, Hiei." Even if was a lie, she would give him that little spark of hope, she had hurt him too much to not give him at least that.

Midoriko smiled softly, though it was pained as well – Kagome was willing to sacrifice even more for the jewel, and though she was proud of her, she couldn't help but feel deep sorrow for her as well. Inuyasha looked with confusion to the girl that was not Kikyou and he stepped forward but was unable to voice what he was thinking. He was just so confused with the entire situation at hand. Kagome turned her head to see the hanyou's disbelieving eyes before she smiled and said, "Don't worry…everything's going to be okay. It's my turn to protect you."

He opened his mouth to say something but his voice was lost as she took off in a sprint towards the old wellhouse that was somehow standing despite the current universe she was standing in. Her legs shifted easily over the lip of the well as if her body had never forgotten the motion and she fell down, down, down, and through the rip in time, with the Shikon no Tama to guide her.

Hiei and Inuyasha rushed after her and watched as she disappeared over the edge of the well. As they looked into the empty structure, their eyes widened in disbelief: the girl had completely disappeared.

Her feet landed easily on the bottom of the well and Kagome looked up with a smile to find that the sky was the blue she knew and loved. Quickly she pulled herself out of the well and oriented herself for a fraction of a second. She wasn't sure what time this was or when it was in her adventures, but she pushed that thought aside for now. Her eyes locked on the towering figure of the Goshinboku and she made a mad dash for it, keeping her senses wide and open for any danger. She didn't feel anything which was calming. She knew that many avoided Inuyasha's forest, thinking it haunted though there was nothing to be scared of. Her feet came to a skidding halt as she stood before the ancient tree and she let out a breath of relief.

There, as if she'd never left it, was the tree – and it was empty. She'd already freed Inuyasha, or perhaps, he hadn't been pinned to it to begin with. She moved away from the comforting familiarity of the Goshinboku and made her way towards Kaede's village. As she came towards the edge of the village, she paused, noting the workers in the fields, and the peacefulness of the village. She was in her pajamas still, she only just now noted, as she continued forward into the village. She found her way to Kaede's hut, ignoring the whispers of the villagers that didn't recognize her. Her expression tightened as she pushed the reed door aside and peeked inside. A young girl with a patch over her eye looked up from the stew she was making and gave her a curious look.

"Are you looking for my sister, Kikyou?" she questioned, not bothering to wait for the girl to explain herself. Her sister was the village's miko, so it was common to have outsiders show up and visit with her. She was well known throughout the area for being one of the most powerful priestesses alive.

Kagome bit her lower lip before she nodded firmly and said, "Yes. Where might I find her?" she questioned as she watched the smaller girl stand and smile at her.

"She's taking care of Onigumo, I think. She should be back soon!" she said cheerfully as she moved forward and out the door. She took note of the strange garments the girl wore, but said nothing as she said, "Can I get you something to drink while you wait?" she questioned, as she pointed towards the river that ran near the village.

Shaking her head lightly, she just smiled. "No thank you…I'll just take a walk for now and wait for her to return." The young girl nodded gently before she gave a look to those who were watching the girl warily and they seemed to relax. Kagome glanced back to them before she moved towards the outskirts of the village. She was about to do something that would turn the tide of her soul one way or another. Her hands began to shake lightly and she fisted them at her sides and she crossed the small bridge that took her out of the village and towards the cave that housed the thief that had caused all of this trouble to begin with.

Quietly, she waited for Kikyou to emerge from the cave and a few minutes later, the miko appeared with two empty bowls. Her expression was hard, almost unforgiving and Kagome sighed gently before she hid behind a tree. She waited for the other miko to disappear over the bridge and towards the village before she turned and made her way back to the mouth of the cave. Even here, she could feel the demons just waiting for Onigumo's word to devour his soul. Her power flared as she moved forward, earning the attention of the immobile man on the floor. His eyes widened slightly as he looked at her before he whispered, "Kikyou?" His voice was full of confusion, but Kagome shook her head as she kneeled down beside him.

"I'm sorry, I'm not her." She said softly as she reached out her hand to touch him but she refrained. He had to be in immeasurable pain from his burns. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the girl – she was the spitting image of his dear Kikyou, but as he looked into her blue eyes, he noticed differences between them. This girl was calm, with a gentle aura that seemed to envelope him even as he lay there immobile. Her expression was tender, unlike Kikyou's, which always seemed to be stiff – it was clear that she took her duties seriously, but she found no joy in helping others. Kagome pulled her hand back lightly before let ting out a soft sigh. Now that she was here…what was she going to do? How could she fix what was broken here, in order to fix what was broken later?

He didn't say anything as he stared at her thoughtful expression. It was almost lulling to watch her as she sat there quietly. He rarely got visitors; the head of the village came to pay his respects before Kikyou and Kaede began caring for him, and that was the extent of his visitors. He was forgotten, left alone to slowly wither away and die. Kagome smiled softly to herself as she came up with an idea and she looked to him, though he was in hideous shape, she still managed a soft smile. He blinked slowly, not believing that anyone could show him such a gentle, compassionate look. He had wronged his partner and friend, Rasetsu, and had paid for it when the man burned him nearly alive. He had little faith that he could earn forgiveness, though he often thought of what it would be like to bridge the gap and restore his friendship – though that was a distant thought. There was no way he could forgive Rasetsu for what he'd done. Anger filled his eyes as he held back a growl. Kagome's expression turned into a frown as she asked, "Are you alright?"

He blinked lightly when he turned his eyes to look at the strange look-alike girl. There was nothing but concern in her eyes and he let out a painful breath before saying, "Do not worry for one such as I…my time will soon be nigh." He nearly gasped when her expression turned sad, and heartbroken. Such compassion for one such as him, more compassion than Kikyou had ever shown him in all the time that he had been here.

"But…" Kagome didn't know what else to say. It was just so terribly sad; she could understand his frustration, his longing for someone who didn't return his affection. She had spent years longing for Inuyasha only to discover that he would always love Kikyou more than he would ever care for her. There was no room in his heart for her. Her expression deepened with her sadness before she looked to his eyes. "If you could be healed…would you want to be?" she questioned, even as she struggled with her few options. If she healed him, he could just as easily go to demons still, but the main reason he had allowed the demons to devour him was to give him mobility so he could have Kikyou, and the demons wanted to destroy Kikyou. Both parts of him wanted the jewel, but if there was no jewel to be had…Kagome's mind was working overtime as Onigumo's eyes widened.

"Do you have that ability?" he questioned, trying to force down the small bit of hope that rose in his chest. He knew that some miko's had the ability to heal – Kikyou's power, while vast, was directed towards destroying demons, not healing. She had limited abilities in that area, and that was the reason that he was still here, surrounded by filth, and slowly dying.

Kagome's sadness lifted a fraction before she placed a hand on his cheek. Her power flowed slowly into his skin, regenerating the flesh and purifying the toxins that lay beneath the bandages and surface of his skin. He groaned, feeling a shudder racing through the rest of his body. He had never felt anything like her power before, and it was calming, soothing – it was unlike anything he'd ever felt before. Kikyou didn't have this ability. She didn't even really know how to console someone, yet this girl, from out of nowhere, was answering one of his prayers. Was she some sort of god or angel?

The young miko's smile broke as her face scrunched up in concentration. She moved her hand and the power flowed over more of his skin, healing and regenerating the dead flesh, and returning it to its former glory. He was but 23 years old and his youthfulness showed in his skin as the bandages parted and fell to the side, revealing healed, pale, smooth, healthy flesh. The bandages fell from his face and he moved his hand with no troubles as he touched underneath the bandages. His eyes, which had looked ghastly between the slits of soiled bandages now set gently within their sockets, and returned the youthful look that he had had before the fire. Her power ebbed and flowed over his body, healing the damage to his torso, and then his legs, and finally his feet as the healing process became complete. For a moment, neither person moved. Kagome leaned back with labored breath; she hadn't used her power like this before, and not only had she purified Naraku in that other place and time, but regenerated a man's entire set of skin.

Slowly, Onigumo sat up, feeling a small strain in his muscles, but otherwise, there was no pain. He pushed the bandages aside and revealed the rest of his body one part at a time. He was embarrassed to find that even his most private parts were completely healed. His eyes moved from his healed self, to the sparkling eyes of the girl, no, miko, that healed him. She wasn't a witch that was certain. Her power was familiar but he'd never felt such compassion from anyone, including any other mikos that he knew. He looked over her face but all he could do was compare her to Kikyou, and though he was grateful, he couldn't find himself feeling guilty over that. Perhaps Kikyou could be as kind as this girl, if only she'd been with the right person. He had heard rumors of her spending time with the inu-hanyou, Inuyasha, but he couldn't honestly believe that the protector of the Shikon no Tama would care for a demon, even if he was only a half-demon. Quickly, he shook his head of the lingering thoughts. It seemed a thanks was in order, and he shifted, finding that he could kneel. This deserved more than just a simple bow: the nameless girl had done the impossible for him.

Kagome's eyes widened in shock as she saw Onigumo bow to her, completely prostrating himself on the dirt floor to thank her. His bandages shifted and revealed more of his skin, and she was pleased to find that there were no scars left behind, but that did little to stop the slivers of uncertainty that raced through her. Had she done the right thing? Had she fixed what was broken? "Thank you, very much." He said, breaking her thoughts as they jumbled together in incoherent babbles.

"N…no thanks are needed. Anyone would do the same, if they could, I think." She said, as she waved a hand lightly in front of her.

He rose his head to look at her, showing his disbelief before he said softly, "Not everyone would use their power for good...only in human hands can the greatest gifts become the largest destroyers."

Kagome's eyes widened before they softened again in sadness. He was right, after all. It was a wise, but very saddening statement. After all, love, the greatest gift of all, was one of the things that could turn into the bitterest feeling imaginable. She ought to know – she'd been there before.

Onigumo hesitated to touch the young angel that had showed herself in his hour of need. Such sadness didn't suit her face and he paused before reaching out his hand and touching her leg lightly. "You have done what no one else would…I do not deserve the kindness you have shown me." He said quietly, earning another astonished look from Kagome. She had known that Onigumo wasn't really a bad person. He had fallen in love with Kikyou – he had, in a strange move, betrayed his friend, but he hadn't killed him. Rasetsu had tried to completely destroy Onigumo, showing just who the more evil of the two were. Sure, he was a thief, but that said nothing for his heart. After all, Youko was a thief, and he had a heart of gold underneath that almost impenetrable façade.

"Everyone deserves a second chance, Onigumo." She replied with a soft look, before she moved to stand. She reached out a hand to help him up. He had been immobilized for awhile, so he wouldn't be at full strength just yet. He looked from her hand to her face before he slipped his hand in hers and strained to stand. With her help he was able to get to his feet for the first time in months. Nothing hurt, and he realized just how bad he smelled, and the poisons that lingered around him from the wounds he'd received. Kagome must have noticed it as well, and said, "Would you like some help with a bath?"

He looked to the nameless angel, and nodded. Where she came from, and what her purpose was here, he didn't know, but he didn't need to know either. She had saved his very life, and sanity. He had no way to repay her kindness, but with her gentle smile and reassurances, he knew that she helped him with no ulterior motives – she helped him simply because she could, and it pleased her to help him, nothing more.

As evening came to the village, Kagome found herself sharing a space in the temple with Onigumo. Kikyou hadn't yet been informed of what had happened, and no one seemed to recognize the bandit, now that he was healed. They conversed quietly about his past, and Kagome listened, and gave advice where she could. Onigumo found that he hadn't felt so relaxed around someone in his entire life. Kagome was slightly distracted though, as she kept feeling for the Shikon no Tama. Her soul resonated with the other jewel – there was one within her, and one being protected in the temple. As night fell, and Onigumo fell asleep, the young miko stood and moved towards the pull that she felt. Before she got too far, Kikyou emerged from the shadows, arrow drawn and pointed at her.

"Where are you going?" she questioned, her eyes dark and fierce. She was incredibly protective over the jewel, because of her duty. It came before her life, before her very existence. Though she dreamed of a life as an ordinary woman, she would not shirk her duties. However, she had been speaking with Inuyasha, and they had a plan. Tomorrow, that plan would go into action.

Kagome paused in her steps as she looked at her previous incarnation, and she felt her soul stir within her. It was dangerous to be here, in the same time and place as Kikyou. Something protected her for now, but how long that would last, remained to be seen. She didn't want to wait to find out what would happen should that power fail. "I couldn't sleep." She replied quietly as she took a small step back. She didn't think that Kikyou would just shoot at her, but she didn't exactly trust the woman, either.

"It's dangerous out here at night. Demons run wild around the village and you have no power to protect you. Go back to your room." She ordered, her eyes narrowing lightly again as she lowered her bow.

Kagome frowned before saying, "I can handle myself just fine, thank you. Demons don't scare me." She wouldn't let Kikyou talk down to her like that – the girl didn't know anything about her and that condescending tone grated on her nerves like nothing else had.

Kikyou glared lightly at her before saying, "Do what you want then. If you get killed it's no concern of mine. I did warn you."

Kagome returned that glare before she nodded once. Yeah, she heard her all right. Without another word, the other miko went further into the temple and towards the jewel. For now, she would watch over it, and come early morning, Inuyasha would be there to "steal" the jewel.

The young miko watched her walk away, and sighed lightly. She always felt so drained after being around Kikyou – the woman was so...emotionally exhausting. Quietly, she moved towards the screen doors to look outside. The village was quiet, and there were no sounds except for the sounds of crickets and other insects. In the distance, she was sure she could see the faint glow of fireflies. This view was familiar, and calming. She remembered the first night she stayed in this temple. Images of the past shifted and stirred through her mind as she thought of the past, the mistakes she made, and how it all turned out. For a moment, tears stung at her eyes before she quickly shook her head.

No more tears. No more feeling sorry for herself. No more thinking about the mistakes she made in the past. She had a job to do, she had people to protect and save. There was no time to think about the past anymore. She would fix what was broken, no matter what happened to her.

With that resolve in mind, she waited for the sun's rays to greet her. She had a hanyou to speak with.


A/N: Uwaaa…I didn't know if I'd have this up by week's end, but it's only a couple days shy of my intended date. I hope you guys all enjoy it. Next chapter will probably be in a couple of weeks, depending on my job situation. As usual, thank you to all who read, review, watch, and favorite this story. You're guys' encouragement means the world to me.

Kudos, Loves!

Sayuri-chan aka animeinvasiongirl