Porcelain Courage

A/N: This plot idea came to me fairly recently. So I decided to write it. This will be a Sesshomaru/Kagome based fic. I'm just warning the impatient people now; this will be a slow moving romance. If you are looking for a quick fix, please look elsewhere. This is AU'ish canon-based. With this in mind, welcome. I hope you enjoy.

Plot Summary: Devastated by a horrific twist of fate. Kagome struggles to complete what she feels is her duty. Sess/Kag.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. If I did. I would have not allowed the endless mind numbing flashbacks concerning Kikyo and Inuyasha's past to play for the first ten minutes of all 170ish episodes.

Chapter 1

"Kagome!" Shippo's voice echoed through the open meadows. His large green eyes were wide as he bounced through the ankle high, sweet smelling grass that surrounded the opening that contained the Bone Eater's Well.

With one foot over the side of the splintering wood, her beaten up yellow backpack slung over her shoulder, she lifted her head. Kagome smiled down when Shippo stopped in front of her, "Hey Shippo! What's up? I was just getting ready to head back home for a bit."

"Inuyasha just told me. Do you really have to go Kagome? I don't want you to," his small clawed hand rested on her scuffed sneaker.

Kagome sighed softly. She really wanted to avoid this. Every time she went home, Shippo would protest. Her visage turned serious, "I'm just going home for a couple days. I promise." She reached down and ruffled his auburn hair.

He immediately pouted at her serious tone. Shippo let out a small huff of air before smiling up at her, "Will you at least bring me some candy back?"

"Don't I always?" Kagome laughed softly, the sound a gentle tinkling.

The kit backed up and then gave her a cheery wave as she flipped around, and vaulted off the side into the dark recesses of the well. He seen the tell-tale flash indicating that she was gone before he turned around to head back to the small camp that contained the rest of the group. His tiny nose twitched as he breathed in the residual scent of Kagome, a comforting mixture of apples and vanilla.

Inuyasha lifted his head when Shippo plopped down, his lower lip tugged into a pathetic pout. The hanyou shook his head, "I told you not to bother her."

"I hate it when she leaves!" he folded his arms while giving Inuyasha a heated glare as if it was all his fault for not talking Kagome out of it.

"We're low on supplies," Inuyasha replied lacing his arms together, wondering why he was bothering to even explain to the fox kit in the first place, "Besides, she said she missed her family."

Shippo sniffed in annoyance at Inuyasha's answer. He always gave the same one. He laid down on his belly and slowly he started to trace circles in the dirt with a claw.

Inuyasha watched the little fox demon for a few moments before shaking his head and turning away. He lifted his nose while gazing into the sky. He would never admit it out loud, but he hated it as well whenever Kagome declared she needed or wanted to go home. The five hundred years in the future factor, was still somewhat daunting even after having traveled with her for nearly two years. He used to argue with her whenever she announced she needed to go home to study but after being sat so many times for telling her she was an idiot to worry about these 'studies' while Naraku was wreaking havoc where ever he went. Inuyasha eventually learned that this was not the way to question Kagome. He silently bid her to hurry back.

-o-

Kagome half-skipped through the front door of her family's home. She called out, "Mom! Souta! Grandpa! I'm home!"

At her loud announcement, their three heads poked into the hall of the entranceway obviously surprised to see her.

Mrs. Higuarashi smiled kindly at her daughter, "Welcome home Kagome. It's been," she trailed off taking in Kagome's tired tanned face, "a while."

"I'm sorry I was gone for so long this time mom," Kagome grimaced, "You know I try to check in at least every couple weeks."

Souta's grin was wide, "Will Inuyasha come visit this time?"

She shook her head, "No. I'm just here for a couple days to stock up on our supplies."

"You need to visit more often. I'm running out of things to tell your school," Her grandpa complained through narrowed eyes, "I'm starting to make up sicknesses now."

Finally getting her shoes off, she padded over to her grandparent and wrapped her arms around him, "Thank you for covering me for so long. This is my last year."

He hugged Kagome back and then peered up into her face, "You've gotten so tall." The last part was said wistfully.

Kagome knew that in the on and off time she'd spent in the Sengoku period, her family in this time had gotten the raw end of the deal. She realized she had spent the majority of that time with the Inu-tachi in their ever persistent quest of hunting down the shards and vanquishing Naraku. She truly felt that she had two families. Often, Kagome was torn by guilt whenever she contemplated the situation too long.

Mrs. Higuarashi clapped her hands together suddenly, "It's still really early in the day. Want to go out to eat tonight?"

Souta pumped his arm in the air excited at the prospect of going out for dinner, "Yosh! Let's go have pizza. I'm tired of rice!"

Grandpa eyed his grandson with playful censure in his eyes, "Are you even Japanese boy?" A snort left the old man, "Tired of rice indeed."

Kagome couldn't help it, she laughed softly. She glanced down when she heard a soft meow. Bending over at the waist she let her nearly empty yellow backpack fall to the floor. Grabbing the fat cat, she nuzzled her nose in his soft fur so reminiscent of Kirara's, "Buyo! I missed you too!"

"Meow," he responsed, butting his forehead against hers. She rubbed him for a few more seconds. With him being the house cat that he was, he soon got tired of being held and began to struggle in her grasp. Kagome sat him down and watched him amble away.

"If you want to go and freshen up Kagome you have plenty of time. We'll leave in an hour or so," her mother waved a dismissive hand at her daughter. Mrs. Higuarashi could see the tired lines of fatigue around Kagome's soft brown eyes and the slight sag in her shoulders.

"Great! I've been dying for a hot shower," the miko responded before heading upstairs.

Kagome stopped in her room and glanced around. Her eyes went to the stack of hardbound textbooks on her desk, and she let out a guilty sigh. She would be fortunate to even graduate high school. She wasn't even sure what assignments she was behind on anymore, or how many tests she'd missed. After another thoughtful glance at her desk, she decided that it could wait until tomorrow. Tonight she would spend time with her family. Rummaging through her drawers, she pulled out a clean pair of jeans and a plain short sleeved purple top. She was only going out with her family and didn't see the point in bothering to get too dressed up. Kagome then removed the small jar that hung around her neck that held the few jewel shards that the Inu-tachi group actually had in possession. She went and hid them under her pillow. In her time, she didn't bother carrying them on her person, as there was no need to.

Entering the bathroom, she stripped leaving her traveling clothes in a messy pile. It felt so good to take off her dirty clothes before slipping beneath the hot pellets of water. She set the heat up as hot as she could take it, watching as the burning liquid speckled her skin red. After scrubbing her body, she washed her hair a good three times. Running around in the Sengoku period was interesting to say the least, but she had long ago reasoned that it was probably similar to visiting a third world country. She came across disease and sickness often, and she was glad that her mother always made certain her daughter was kept up to date on every immunization possible. Whenever she came home, she made certain to bathe thoroughly.

When she emerged from the bathroom a trail of steam following in her wake, she halted when she found Souta waiting for her. He made a face, "You take forever sis. Did you at least leave a little hot water?"

"Not a drop," Kagome stuck her tongue out at him playfully.

"You suck," he rolled his eyes expressively.

Kagome responded by hitting him with her damp towel. Souta mimicked her and childishly stuck his tongue out at her.

Back in her room, she took out her hair dryer and combed out her tresses while tracing the hot air over the ebony curls. Leaving her hair down, she stared into the mirror for a moment and on a whim she decided she'd go ahead and put on a light layer of make-up. A little mascara, purple eyeshadow, and peach-tinted lip gloss. Her chin lifted slightly when there was a brisk knock at the door. Souta called through, "Mom and grandpa is ready to go."

She frowned and opened the door looking into the eyes of her younger brother, who was pretty much the same height she was now. He was already dressed in a pair of black jeans, and a loose fitting gray top with a brand logo blazed across the chest. His damp bangs curved into his cheerful eyes, so similar to her own. Her lip quirked, "That was quick."

He grimaced, "Quick? You took an hour."

"You ready kids?" their mom called.

"Yup!" Souta announced before bounding down the stairs energetically.

Everyone went to go pile into the small economic family vehicle. Mrs. Higuarashi had bought it used a year ago, and was quite proud of the forest green car. It was far cheaper to take public transportation, so she only used the car for a special occasion. It was so rare to see her daughter, that she felt this outing fell into the special category. As soon as the sound of the locks popped, Souta ran to the left side of the car while yelling at the top of his lungs, "I got front!"

Kagome frowned and put her hands on her jean-clad hips unable to keep the lecturing hint out of her voice, "You should let grandpa have the front."

Their grandfather waved a gnarled hand, "That's fine. I prefer sitting in the backseat actually."

Her frown deepened when her sibling sent her a victorious look. Huffing, she sat in the back with her grandfather, making certain to fasten her seatbelt. Kagome was silent as she watched the familiar buildings pass by. She listened absently to the sounds of the city. After traveling on foot in the past out in the open, where there were no buildings for the most part other than small family huts, and the occasional Feudal Lord holding. It was in a word. Loud. It was time for most people to get off of work, and her brown eyes followed the people walking on the sidewalk, expensive briefcases in hand.

Kagome couldn't help the smile that touched her lips when her grandfather grumbled when in fact Mrs. Higuarashi pulled up into the parking lot of a pizza place. Stepping out of the vehicle, she stopped a moment to breathe in the city air and ended up coughing.

"I'll go in and get us a seat," Souta announced before racing into the building.

"He's energetic tonight," Kagome's lips tugged into a smile.

"He's missed you," Mrs. Higuarashi stated bluntly, eyeing her daughter, "He always does."

"I know," Kagome's chin dipped, a swift feeling of guilt tugging at her heart.

She glanced up startled when her mother placed a hand on her shoulder, "Don't think about it Kagome. Let's have a good time tonight."

"If you wanted us to have a good time. Why couldn't you have taken us to a ramen shop?" Her grandpa muttered irritably complaining in his usual way.

"We'll get you the seafood special on your side," Kagome turned and winked at him.

Mollified by this, the elderly man quieted down.

Inside, Kagome watched her mother order their food. Turning her head, she looked at Souta who waved at her, practically wiggling out of his seat in the process. Smothering an amused laugh, she strode over to the table next to the window and sat down next to him. Kagome was struck with an odd thought, while gazing into her brother's happy eyes. Why couldn't Inuyasha and Sesshomaru get along? She adored her sibling, even when he did manage to get on her nerves, which a brother was just naturally good at.

"Hey sis," Souta's voice interrupted her train of thought. He lifted his hand and waved it in front of Kagome's blank eyes concerned.

Snapping back to reality, she smiled, "I'm sorry. I was just thinking."

"You're thinking about them," her brother responded softly.

Kagome heard the slightly jealous tinge to his voice and let out a soft sigh. She didn't deny it, "Yes. But I was actually comparing our relationship to Inuyasha's and his half-brother."

"They don't get along?" he queried thoughtfully, eyeing his older sister's eyes.

"Not at all," Kagome immediately shook her head and then added, "Their loss."

They both glanced up when their grandfather joined them in the booth. His wizened face stretched when he smiled at them both before reaching into one of his pockets, and put some coins on the table, "Here you go kids. Why don't you go play some of those video game things?"

Kagome's eyebrow twitched. Here he went, treating her like a child again. Souta had no compunctions with being handed free money, "Thanks gramps!" His hand curled over the coins. He nudged his sister with his elbow hard, "Move it or lose it sis!"

"Ow! Hold your horses brat," Kagome hissed at him irritably, but moved to slide out of his way. So much for getting along.

He was off like a shot. Her grandpa waved a hand at her, "Why don't you go play with him?"

Kagome quirked a brow at her grandparent but then heaved a small sigh, she smiled, "I guess I should."

Mrs. Higuarashi came to sit down next to her father-in-law after having paid for their food. Her brown eyes watching her daughter picked her way through the gathering dinner crowd. She murmured, "I can't believe how much she's grown up."

"In many ways she's already become an adult. Her time in the past has seemed to force her to mature quickly for her age, and yet, I still see our little Kagome in her still," he responded thoughtfully.

"Indeed," was the monosyllabic reply.

Kagome decided to watch her brother play. He had picked out some sort of fighting game, where the blood would spurt out when he hit his opponent. Content with just standing next to him while he had a good time, her eyes trailed over the inside of the building. Several families had gathered, and seemed to be for the most part having a good time. Her lips drew into a wistful line when she thought of her other family and wondered how Shippo was doing without her. She got a mental image of Shippo and Inuyasha fighting over the last bag of chips she'd left behind. It made her smile.

"Did you see that combo move sis? Awesome!" Souta announced while jarring the joystick and mashing the multi-colored buttons.

"Yeah," her glazed eyes refocused. She forced herself to pay attention to her brother's antics, nodding and murmuring encouragement whenever necessary. Kagome nudged her brother when she saw her mother getting up to retrieve their food, "Hey, the pizza is done. Let's go help her carry the sodas."

"I'll be right there. I've almost kicked this guy's ass," her brother said.

"Don't let mom catch you talking like that," she warned before heading over to help her parent.

They all sat down and ate together, laughing and having a good time. She laughed at her brother who had, as usual stuffed himself with one slice too many and watched as he sank into his seat with a groan. With all her grandfather's complaining, he still managed to eat his fair share. She stood up and went to grab a to go box from the restaurant personnel, and after gathering up all the leftovers they left the pizza place, smiles still on their faces.

"Go ahead and take the front this time sis," Souta said to his older sister.

"Are you sure?" She teased, "You were so eager before."

"Yep," he replied before groaning again and putting a hand on his distended belly.

Kagome sent a questioning glance to her grandfather, still thinking that he should get precedence. He just smiled a pointed to the car. She nodded and headed to the left side waiting patiently for her mother to unlock the doors. She gazed up into the now black sky squinting, trying to see past the light pollution to the stars that she knew speckled the heavens.

Giving up on that endeavor quickly, she opened the door and sat in the plush seat and immediately strapped in. She listened as the engine roared to life and was silent as her mother edged the vehicle out of the tiny parking lot. Bracing her elbow against the door, she cupped her chin and watched the street lights blur past. Her mind went back to the textbooks that waited for her at home. Maybe she should get started on studying tonight, and see if she couldn't knock out at least some of her make-up assignments. Kagome made a face at her pale reflection in the car window.

Pivoting in her seat, she turned around to look at her brother, "Hey Souta. When we get home, would you mind helping with some of my math assignments?" He was a lot better at learning from the textbook than she was.

"Ugh, it's the weekend," he grumbled but then relented, "Sure sis..." Kagome tilted her head to the side when his eyes suddenly widened with fear.

"Souta what...?"

That was her only warning before she was interrupted by the squeal of brakes. It was just a split second but she turned around just in time to see her mom jerk on the wheel, a soft squeal of fright leaving the other woman. She heard her family's frightened cries, but they seemed distant to her mind as everything seemed to happen in slow motion. The small car veered left and Kagome's mind quickly assessed the semi-trailer that was coming straight for her side. What the? On impact, white hot pain immediately lanced up her left leg and then she was pitched into darkness.

Later she vaguely realized that she was going in and out of consciousness. She tried opening her eyes but was blinded by bright white light. In her sluggish mind all she could think was, am I dead?

She became aware of voices and the sounds of bleeping machines. The pain in her left leg was almost more then she could bear. Turning her face to the side, she seen a hazy gloved hand coming towards her face and then something covered her mouth and nose. Kagome wanted to protest but couldn't. Before the darkness engulfed her once more she thought about her family, wondering if they were alright. She caught the words just as she fell again into unconsciousness, "Leg... save..."

-o-

"Kagome's been gone for more than a couple days," Shippo complained to the rest of the group. He had finished his coloring book and was growing bored with out the miko around.

"That's nothing unusual Shippo," Miroku chastised the young fox-kit, "She may have gotten caught up in her studies. It's happened before."

"Feh, I hate to admit to it, but I agree with the kit," Inuyasha said while linking his arms together, "If she's not back in twenty four hours, I'm going to go drag her back myself."

"Patience Inuyasha. She'll be back soon," Sango interjected, looking up over the dancing flames of the fire within the small hut that they used whenever they stayed in Kaede's village. The demon slayer reached over and picked up Kirara pulling the fire-cat into her lap, "She's probably busy."

"Twenty four hours," Inuyasha grit out stubbornly.

Shippo glanced up the hanyou's face and was secretly glad he was so resolved to bring Kagome back. He'd do the same if he could.

-o-

When Kagome opened her eyes, she was fuzzy headed and in pain. The dull throbbing was what pulled her from her slumber.

"She's finally awake," a familiar feminine voice rasped at her side.

Kagome felt her hand being picked up and turned her head to the side, "Mom?" Her brown eyes widened at her mother's bruised and bandaged face. Then she remembered. They were in a car accident. Panic blossomed in her heart, "Where's Grandpa and Souta?"

"They're alright," her mother said softly to her daughter's relief, "You were the only one severely injured. We all were wounded but you..." the soft catch in her mother's voice made her worried.

"Mom," Kagome's throat constricted at seeing her mother's eyes welled up with tears, "Are you alright?"

Mrs. Higuarashi averted her eyes and said, "Yes. The nurse said to alert them when you woke up. I'll be right back."

Kagome watched as her mother walked away, her brown eyes concerned. Her mother's attitude worried her. Sighing, she looked up at the ceiling and after a minute began to count the cracks. She heard the door to the hospital room click, and she turned her gaze her curious brown orbs fastening onto the nurse. She was patient as the nurse slipped an apparatus around her arm to check her blood pressure. Kagome felt the squeeze on her upper arm but ignored the feeling. The nurse checked the machinery before exiting the room. A minute later, the doctor followed by her mother entered.

"Hello Ms..." he paused to look at his clipboard, "Higuarashi. I am Dr. Sasaki."

"Hello Doctor Sasaki," Kagome mumbled in response.

"I will be over-seeing your recovery," he added softly, eyeing the very pale girl in the bed.

"How long am I going to be here?" Kagome was almost too afraid to ask.

The doctor glanced at her mother a moment, and then he strode over and sat down on the stool facing her bed, "I see that your mother hasn't informed you yet."

Kagome felt her heart clench with fear. Informed her of what? She couldn't help but wonder.

"Your left leg and foot was crushed beneath the metal of the vehicle in the accident. It took the jaws of life to pull you out. We did manage to save your leg and your foot, but the road to recovery will be a long one. You may walk again, you may not. It's dependent on how well you do in in physical therapy. But be aware young lady, that your leg will never be the same again," The doctor explained slowly to her, not bothering to sugar coat his words.

Kagome felt all the blood rush out of her face. This couldn't be. This couldn't happen. She had things that she had to do. She didn't have time to lay around in a hospital bed. She looked past the doctor to her mother. Mrs. Higuarashi had her hand over her mouth and Kagome could see the tears welling in her mother's eyes. She had realized her leg was in pain, she just hadn't look down. Now, she was even less inclined to do so.

The doctor glanced at the machine that measured the patient's heart rate, quickly noting the major increase in speed. Immediately without a word of warning, he pulled out a syringe that he had prepared and jabbed it into her arm. Kagome's eyes widened a moment, but then curling warmth traveled the length of arm and into her body. She felt her eyes begin to flutter shut, and soon she knew no more.

Dr. Sasaki turned to Mrs. Higuarashi, "I'll give you the rundown to the extent of her injuries later and what her surgeries entailed. I suggest you go home and rest as well."

She nodded at the older man, "If ... anything happens. Please call me down here, I'll come immediately."

"Of course," he replied curtly before sweeping out of the room.

She went to her daughter, gazing down into her pale and bruised face. Mrs. Higuarashi brushed her daughter's bangs aside tenderly, "Oh Kagome."

-o-

"I've waited long enough," Inuyasha groused irritably.

"It has been longer than usual. It's been a week now. It's probably a good idea that you go and check up on her," Sango agreed while hugging Kirara tightly against her chest, her brown eyes full of worry.

"I agree with Sango. Kagome never stays away this long. Usually if she's going to be this long she tells us," Miroku added, his visage mirroring Sango's.

"Yeah! Bring her back Inuyasha!" Shippo demanded, his small clawed hands clenching the red material of Inuyasha's pant leg.

"I'll drag her back by her hair if I have to," he promised them all before jumping into the well followed by a flash of light.

On the other side, Inuyasha climbed up out of the well and out of the small hut. Immediately he lifted his nose into the air and sniffed for Kagome's scent. It was very faint, like she hadn't been there in a long while. Tilting his head to the side, he looked up at her window and noted that it was closed. Normally on a sunny day like this if she was doing that 'studies' thing she'd have her window open. His ears twitched a moment. He went to the front door and knocked.

It was at least a good minute before he heard scuffling on the other side. He was about to knock again, but the door was pulled open. Inuyasha's eyes narrowed as he peered into Souta's face. The kid looked like he'd gotten in a fight, "Hey Souta! Rough someone up?"

"I wish," the boy smiled sadly at him, "Come in."

He stepped inside, his clawed toes tapping against the hardwood floor. Inuyasha's eyes widened when Kagome's mother stepped into the hall. She looked like she'd gotten beaten up, just like her son. She smiled tremulously at him, "I suppose you're here looking for Kagome."

At that, Inuyasha's stomach knotted into a tight ball. Kagome's family was normally all happy and cheerful. The fact that they were injured didn't sit well with him. Fear for the miko welled in his heart. He asked louder than was polite but he didn't care, "Where's Kagome?"

"Come sit down," the older woman gestured to the kitchen, "I'll make us some tea. We need to talk."

Inuyasha wanted to protest but the look on Mrs. Higuarashi's face, so reminiscent of her daughter's stopped him. He only inclined his head, following the older woman in. He sat down at the table and propped his elbows on the surface. Inuyasha looked around, "Where's gramps?"

"He's... not feeling well. He's resting up in his room," she replied softly.

Inuyasha felt impatience tug at him as he watched the older woman bustle around the kitchen. By the time the tea was done, he was nearing the end of his patience. She put sugar and cream in the steaming beverage, knowing that's the way he liked it when he visited. Inuyasha watched Mrs. Higuarashi wince slightly as she lifted the cup and that's when he noticed that her arm was all cut up and bruised as well. It was laden with bandages. He ignored the tea sitting in front of him, "Where's Kagome..."

The older woman lifted her eyes, "I"m afraid Inuyasha that you will have to continue on without my daughter," she started off by saying, "You see. I really don't know how to explain this to you but well... last week when she came home to vist. We went out to eat. On our way home, we were in a car accident."

Inuyasha somewhat understood what a car was. He'd ridden in one before with Kagome's family. The sound of the engine had been unpleasant at first, but once he had gotten used to it, he found it rather pleasant. He just couldn't imagine what she meant by accident. He didn't like the sound of that, nor did he like the fact that he was being told to continue on without Kagome. Gold eyes narrowed, "Can I see Kagome? Where is she? Is she hurt?"

Mrs. Higuarashi tilted her head to the side and contemplated that question a moment. Slowly she dipped her head after glancing quickly at the time, "I think it may be good for Kagome to see you. I also think it may help you understand if you see her for yourself..."

Souta who had been listening from the other room said, "You can borrow my hat and sneakers Inuyasha. You'll have to leave your sword here though."

"She's not in the house?" Inuyasha queried thoughtfully.

"You'll see," Mrs. Higuarashi said softly.

After he put on the sneakers and blue hat to cover his ears he followed Kagome's mother out of the house. Impatience to see Kagome ate at him while they sat in what Kagome's mother called a 'bus'. His eyes widened when he looked at the huge brick building he was being led to. He asked, "She's here?"

"Yes she is," was the quiet response.

Inside, the strong scent of antiseptic made him sneeze. His dark amber eyes roamed the halls. It didn't take him long to figure out he was in a place for injured and sick people. The anxiety in his belly grew stronger, but he didn't say a word. Outside of a door with a number tagged with white numbers on it, Mrs. Higuarashi turned around to face him suddenly. Her eyes met his, "Be strong for her okay."

Slowly he dipped his head, not understanding exactly what the woman meant by that.

When she opened the door, she stepped to the side, "I'll give you a few minutes alone."

"Oh.. okay," Inuyasha stuttered, not knowing exactly what to say.

When he stepped through the door, the sight that greeted him was nothing that he expected. Although what'd he'd been expecting, he couldn't say. Laying in the bed, pale and still was Kagome in an ugly lime green hospital gown. Her face was speckled with bruises and still healing cuts just like her other family members. But that wasn't what disturbed him the most. Her left leg was slightly suspended on a flat frame. He could literally see metal pieces sticking into the flesh of her leg. Parts of it was bandaged, but what he did see bothered him. He'd seen a lot of death, but to see proud Kagome like that, was nothing short of horrible to his shocked brain.

"Kagome," he said her name softly and watched as she turned her head. The moment her brown eyes met him, he could see the tears well up in her large chocolate-hued orbs.

"Inuyasha. You came. I'm so sorry," she babbled at him.

His ears flattened against his head when he heard her apologize to him. In an instant he was at her bedside. He said the first thing that came to his mind, "Who did this to you? I'll kill him."

Kagome grabbed his red haori and buried her face into it, a small laugh leaving her at his protective words. She forced herself to gain control of her emotions and said, "You may want to sit down Inuyasha..."

"I don't want to," he growled stubbornly, his chest rumbling with the sound.

"Well as you can see, I'm pretty beat up," a small smile formed on the edge of her lips. She leaned back and stared into his eyes, "I'm going to be like this a very long time. I've been told that it may take me up to nearly a year before I can walk again. And even when I am able to walk, I'll be dependent on a cane. So with that said..." she sucked in a deep drag of air trying her best to ignore the look on his face, "I'll tell you where the jewel shards are so you can take them back with you. You guys will have to go after Naraku without me."

"No," he point blank refused the idea.

Frustration marred her face. The emotional turmoil of the past week having worn her dwindling patience thin, "What do you mean no? Look at my freaking leg!! Even when I can walk again, IF I'm able to walk again I'd be a hindrance! I can't go back like that."

"It doesn't matter. We need you Kagome. You're the only one who can set it right again," Inuyasha shook his head once more, his eyes never leaving hers.

Her lower lip trembled, "I know. But Inuyasha..." she hated the emotional catch in her voice. She'd spent so much time proving that she wasn't weak, that she was a viable member of their group, "I'm so afraid."

"I know," he sighed, hating with every fiber of his being seeing her that way. He sat down on the edge of her bed and wrapped his arms around her small, trembling body. His nose twitched at the scent of her tears. This woman, he loved her dearly, much like a sibling. A nice one. Not a mean, nasty, cold hearted half-brother he wouldn't bother to think about. In the first year he'd known her, he knew they both felt something bordering on romantic for one another. But it had faded over time as the struggle to chase Naraku and those blasted shards had worn on them all. Inuyasha wanted to tell her would be okay, but his eyes fell on the rods shoved through her leg, obviously through bone, holding it together. He just couldn't bring himself to lie like that to her. He said something to distract her, "At least the shards that you do have are on this side with you. Naraku will probably go nuts trying to locate them."

Kagome nodded against his chest doing her best to ignore the pain in her leg and in her heart, "That's true. But what if I don't get better?"

He told her, "Dammit Kagome. Stop saying crap like that. You've battled against worse things that have nearly taken your life and you always bounced back from it. Why not this? Yeah, so it'll be different once you're up and around again. We'll work around it. Just like we always worked around everything."

"I guess you're right," she sniffed against him, her hands clenching into the folds of the material of his shirt.

"Damn right I'm right! When am I ever wrong?" he patted her head awkwardly.

"Um," Kagome couldn't help the giggle that left her. Damn, it felt good to laugh again.

"Exactly."

Mrs. Higuarashi peeked in on the two, and felt relief fill her when she heard her daughter laugh. It was a small laugh. She was glad that she brought Inuyasha to see Kagome. She just hoped that her daughter's persevering spirit would last her this coming year. This would only be the beginning.

-o-

A/N: Well there you have it. The first chapter! I'm not a medical doctor, so I'm sorry about the lack of medical info. I studied what I could on the injury however, there's just so much crap on the Internet, so I took creative liberties with it. I just know most medical personnel isn't always the nicest of people, and so the doctor's callousness at least fit.