Lost and Found

Chapter One

"I can't believe it. It's finally over!"

The cry could be heard for miles as the small group below rejoiced in their victory. They all sported grin of relief and happy faces. It almost seemed surreal.


Kagome laughed with boundless relief as Shippo launched himself at her from the cluster of bushes that the older members of the group had instructed he hide in. For a moment, as he watched his companions, people that had come to mean the world to him, fight for all that was good; for a good future, for his future, he had considered going back on his word but he knew in his heart that the distraction he was sure to cause could possibly cost them their lives as well as the battle.

The battle had been everything they all had thought it would be. It was tiring, it was bloody and it was satisfying.

However, as they began to take stock of their wounds, Kagome began to realize that most of the blood on her clothes wasn't her own. She looked up to see a pool of blood slowly forming around Inuyasha's feet and her brows knitted together.

Stubborn idiot, Kagome thought, striding purposefully toward him. She stopped in front of him, her hands on her hips, chin angled to look up at him. Had she not been watching so closely, she would have missed the almost soundless gasp he gave when he turned.

"Inuyasha, you need to get those wounds treated. They're serious and could get infected," she chided gently, her eyes swirling with concern.

In the last four years, Kagome had done a lot of growing up. Her face had lost all roundness of childhood and slimmed down, making her mouth softer and the bones of her face more accentuated and elegant. When Inuyasha looked at her now, he saw only traces of Kikyo. She had formed into her own woman.

"Keh. Nothing I can't handle, wench," Inuyasha rumbled with a half-hearted smirk. Her eyes narrowed and flashed ominously.

Though she had gotten rid of the subjugation necklace years ago, Inuyasha cringed whenever she got that look on her face.

Kagome looked away from him, her jaw working as she ground her teeth together. Finally, when she had composed herself, she looked up once again, the skin around her mouth pinched in irritation.

"Please, Inuyasha. Though, you may not be human, you're losing a lot of blood. You need to be treated."

So focused was she on keeping her temper in check, she missed the way his eyes slid over her head to focus on the foliage behind her. His mouth thinned and his eyes were unreadable when they finally connected with hers.

"Fine, but make it quick." He winced at the rough quality to his voice and had to stifle a curse.

I need to tell her soon. Before this goes too far, he thought as he sat down and Kagome began to fuss over his wounds. He took in her careful movements with haunted eyes. Before I hurt her more then I already will.

After everyone had stretched stiff, aching muscles, the exhausted group gathered their things to find a place to camp for the night. Kagome had treated and fussed over every person in the group, but didn't notice that each time she got up, she winced or that as the day wore into twilight, the blood on her jeans became fresher.

"This looks like a good spot," Sango sighed, wrapping the coat Kagome had brought back for her last Christmas tighter around her shoulders as the wind developed a bite. Kagome's eyes lit up and she let the straps of her backpack fall with a grateful groan. Turning tires eyes to her friend, she gave a bright smile.

"Hey, Sango, do you want to…to…"

She trailed off mid-sentence when her vision blurred and the world dipped dangerously. She distantly registered a flurry of movement in front of her as strong arms wrapped around her and she was scooped against a hard chest. A rough growl made her blink up at Inuyasha blankly.

"Stupid wench! Why didn't you tell me you were wounded?"

Kagome frowned in confusion and let her head fall back against his shoulder with a groan.

"I didn't think it was bad," she whispered, her eyes closing.

His troubled eyes connected with Sango's.

"I didn't notice it," Sango murmured, guilt bright in her eyes. Miroku laid a comforting arm around her.

Neither did I, Inuyasha thought, shaken. With all of our wounds and the smell of the battle, I didn't smell her blood.

He looked away from his friends, ashamed. As he looked down at Kagome's pale face, he couldn't stop from feeling every kind of bastard.

I let her down. I let them all down.