Kagome had made some progress over the next week. She could now walk on her own for a short distance. When her back began to pain her, she simply would sit down and wait for it to pass. This progression had allowed Bankotsu to allow her to venture outside the cave.
Today was like yesterday: absolutely beautiful. The tall trees danced with the influence of the wind singing which in turn caused the sun rays to play upon the forest floor. It was warm enough to wear shorts but the breeze made sure to not make it too hot. Birds, though not visible, were clearly present as well, singing in tune with the wind. Small sounds also made it clear that a number of insects thrived here as well.
She returned to the small stream she discovered, pausing only twice to rest her back. The stream that trickled before her was barely two feet wide and no more than six inches deep. She wasn't sure why she liked to stare into its clear waters but something about it made her feel relaxed. She leaned forward from her sitting position to lay her head merely inches from the steady waters. Her hand found it's way into them and the cool sensation made her smile.
She could stay here forever if she weren't determined to make it back to Inuyasha. The thought stole the smile from her face. The last time she saw Inuyasha he was leaping to her rescue, a curtain of fire surrounding them. Then she woke up with Bankotsu at her side, vaguely remembering insane pain from her back. Bankotsu still had not told her what befell her beloved. Or if he was even still alive.
Tears came to her. Inuyasha…You have to be alive.
She shook her head. She couldn't let herself think that way otherwise she would never get the motivation to leave Bankotsu. Quickly she dried her tears and sat up. She was about to get up to leave when movement in the water caught her eye.
Kagome leaned in closer to see frogs staring up at her. Three of them to be exact and they were all intently gazing upon her. This startled her for there was a certain…intelligence behind those eyes. But they appeared to be simple frogs.
"Hello?" She found herself asking, and immediately felt silly. They were nothing but frogs. She shook her head and stood up.
Kagome froze. Where did that voice come from? She looked down at the frogs who still stared at her intently. No way… Kagome thought.
She leaned down toward them again, "Did you just…" She trailed off as the middle frog popped its head out of the water.
"You want to get out of here right?" The frog spoke leaving Kagome's mouth hanging open out of shock. Her eyes darted around her looking to see if this was a trick of some sort but she spotted nothing. "No one is trying to deceive you. I am a demi-god, and it is my duty to aid those who are lost or held against their will."
Kagome gulped and then nodded, "Yes, you are right…but how did you know? How did you find me?"
The frog made a chirp sound in its throat, "As I said I'm a demi-god. I know."
For some reason Kagome felt it was unwise to challenge his methods again so she asked a different question, "What is your name?"
The frog chirped again this time blowing the lower jaw out like a bubble. "I go by many names but you may call me Kaeru."
Kagome gulped, "How can you help me? I am…disabled."
"Human disabilities mean nothing to one such as myself. For I do not intend to lead you." The frog leapt out of the water and onto a small rock. "Come closer to me."
Kagome crawled up to the frog cautiously. She remained silent and the other two frogs leapt to Kaeru's side.
"Hold out your hands." Kaeru demanded. When she held out her hands, palms up, the two frogs jumped into them making Kagome's face distort with disgust. Kaeru himself jumped directly onto her head. This time Kagome groaned.
"Silence. Now. Think of your home. Be sure to have a clear picture or you will be transported to an unknown location." Before Kagome could ask Kaeru what it meant, the frogs started humming with a strange language she had never heard before.
Kagome quickly closed her eyes and concentrated on the small village. She saw the small hut Kaede slept in and often addressed wounds and made them stew. The large rice plains surrounding the village and the tree next to the well, but what she saw most of all was him. Inuyasha.
Her heart swelled with happiness when she saw his face looking at her. He smiled and waved at her as the wind blew his silver hair into his face.
She winced. That sounded real.
She opened her eyes to find herself sitting in front of the well. The frogs were gone and her name rang again.
She barely had time to turn before the little fox tackled her, knocking the wind out of her and sending intense pain throughout her back so intense she couldn't even cry out.
"Kagome! How did you get here?" Shippo's tears were as large as waves. "We've been looking for you everywhere! How did you escape?"
Kagome opened her mouth but couldn't answer due to both the pain and because she was just as dumbfounded as he. She settled for a simple shrug.
"We have to tell everyone!" Shippo exclaimed. He grabbed her hand and tried to pull her with him but all he got was dead weight. Confused he looked at Kagome.
"My back…I can't move very fast for very far…Go on ahead. I will follow as fast as I can." Kagome gave him a reassuring smile.
"What happened? You were hurt?" Shippo now seemed reluctant to leave. His big green eyes flickered toward her back.
"Shippo go get Inuyasha. Or it will take me hours to make it to the village. Now!" Kagome pushed him forward and laughed at him, "I'll be alright just go!"
Without another hesitation Shippo raced out of sight screaming for Inuyasha. Kagome sighed and rolled onto her stomach, a pleasant smile on her face. Those frogs…how could she ever thank them? They really sent her back. How long had it been since she saw Inuyasha? Almost three weeks?
That image in her head of Inuyasha smiling and waving at her was going to be real again. Warmth filled her heart.
Before she had time to react, hands clutched her. They gently pulled her up and she met golden yellow eyes. Inuyasha looked close to tears.
"Inuyasha!" Kagome smiled and threw her arms around him, ignoring the pain. Her own tears flowing freely.
Inuyasha couldn't get the sight of her laying in front of him out of his mind. The kimono she was wearing had slipped to expose her scarred back. It was his fault. The guilt weighed on him like Japan itself fell onto his shoulders. If he were stronger he could have saved her from that tragic fate. If he was able to control his demon blood he could have taken Kagome out of danger before attacking Bankotsu. He was weak.
Kagome pulled back and looked at him concerned by his lack of response. "Inuyasha?"
He couldn't even look at her he was so ashamed. He couldn't even rescue her, she had to escape on her own. He swallowed hard and took a shaky breath. "Kagome…I'm…so sorry."
She arched an eyebrow, "What are you talking abou-"
Inuyasha stood up abruptly, the shadow of his bangs hid his eyes. He bit his lip with one fang until a small stream of blood dripped from his mouth. "I did this to you…"
Kagome's face fell. She shook her head and stood up as quickly as she dared, "Inuyasha, you are not to blame for this!"
"I am! You can barely stand because of my carelessness!" Inuyasha turned away from her. "It's my fault you're like this…"
Kagome reached out to him, "Inuyasha…whatever you feel you're at fault for I do not blame you! Nothing you do could make me turn from you! Surely you know how I feel!"
Inuyasha noticeably relaxed, "Yeah…which is why it is my fault all the more. I…I am not fit to protect you anymore Kagome."
Kagome felt a dagger to her heart."What?"
Inuyasha remained silent.
"Go home Kagome!" Inuyasha screamed.
Kagome's lip trembled. No. He couldn't mean that.
"I said GO HOME!" Inuyasha snarled.
She jumped at the ferocity of his voice but instead of being scared anger boiled. "What?"
Inuyasha looked at her stunned by the venom in her one simple word, obviously not expecting anger.
"I will NOT go home Inuyasha! I have suffered for weeks simply because I wanted to see your face again! And now you tell me to go home because you're a coward? I will NOT let you command me when you're right. This IS your fault! But I do not blame you for the physical scars but my mental torment! I love you, you stupid half breed! And you do nothing but push me away! Well I will NOT stand for it anymore! SIT! SIT SIT SIT SIT! "
Inuyasha was three feet under the grounds surface by the time she was finished. He moaned in pain.
"Now TAKE ME TO KAEDE'S NOW!" Kagome roared.
Inuyasha had to laugh. He had wished for her sit commands and he got them. He was an idiot.