Chapter 4:

They were at a stand off. No one moved. Suddenly, voices were heard.

"There's something here."

"I can smell something."

"There's so much power here."

Kagome felt her insides churn. It can't be, she thought to herself. Then she looked to her side to see if the others ran off, when she noticed the three guys brandishing strange swords. The pressure in the air grew thicker as they unsheathed their weapons.

'Ken-chan' looked in her direction, "You should leave. We don't need dead weight." Although his words were harsh, he looked like he didn't even care that she was there. He looked like a man waiting for a good fight.

Kagome frowned, "I'm not dead weight." She looked back at the hollow and continued, "Stay out of my way and you would get hurt."

When the hollow screeched, the attack commenced. It became a flurry of swings, thrusts, and dodges. Soon ash began to litter the air and the skies as she jumped higher and higher to reach those that those to make an aerial assault.

When none were left, she began her trek back to her home, only to be stopped by an annoying voice, "Oi, what the fuck was that?"

Pausing, she turned her head to look out the corner of her eye. "What was what?" She continued her way home. Not once did she bother to turn back. This was not her war. This was not her place.

She left fighting when she left the Sengoku Jidai. She would defend herself, but she would not get involved; she wasn't like that anymore. She didn't have that naïve belief that she could save everyone.

Ikkaku looked at Kenpachi and back at the young woman walking away. "Taichou, what was that?" Renji frowned. That reiryoku felt off. It was nothing like Ichigo. Hell, it didn't even feel like Orihime, Chad, or Uryu. Kenpachi grinned, "I don't know. What I wouldn't give to fight her." Shaking his head of thoughts of how he could fight and how she could respond in those particular circumstances, he turned to Ikkaku and told him to open the Senkaimon.

Right before he walked through, he paused and sent a quick glance over his shoulder in the direction the woman had walked to.

As soon as he arrived on the other side, a jugokuchou flew to him and gave him his message. With a curse, he looked at his third seat and fuku-taichou. "Go back to the squad room, I have a meeting with the other taichou." He grunted and went on his way.

Yachiru looked at Ikkaku and Renji, "Come on Q-Ball, you heard Ken-chan!" She exclaimed as she jumped on his shoulder and pointed in a random direction.

With a pleading look sent to Renji, to which he received a chuckle and a shrug, he groaned and made his way to his barracks.

Arriving at the sou-taichou's office, Kenpachi made his way to his spot and closed his eyes, preparing to take a nap while waiting. Sadly, sleep wouldn't come. His mind conjured up an image of the girl - no, woman - that had been looking at him when he was running earlier.

He grinned, that would be a great fight. He chuckled; he just knew she would be a hell care in bed. That thought brought a frown to his scarred face. He hadn't been with a woman in a really long time. He gave up on the whole thing and he didn't want to have to think about such pansy-ass crap.

Sighing, he resisted the urge to scratch his chin when he thought about the fight.

Before he had a chance to get lost in his thoughts about the woman that had returned Yachiru to him, Yamamoto Sou-Taichou called for everyone's attention.

"Kurotsuchi Mayuri has received rather interesting data. Normally, we would continue to watch, but unfortunately, these particular findings cannot go overlooked." His voice was slightly raspy as he spoke to his subordinates.

"There has been an increase of hollow activity in Karakura Town. What is worse, hollows are appearing in groups. Kurosaki Ichigo and Kuchiki Rukia are not able to handle the sheer amount alone. I will be sending two Taichou level Shinigami that may select three people from any squad. One member from Squad's 4 and 12 will accompany you."

He glanced at each of his Taichou, wondering which ones to choose. He wanted to chuckle. He had had the information for days, but hadn't gotten around to actually choosing which Taichou to send.

He almost frowned and decided not to shake his head at his next thoughts, I think I want to take a nap. Being in front of these young ones with almost no respect, he tried not to glare at Shinsui and Kenpachi, is tiring. I think I'll send Kenpachi, just to get him out of here again. We don't need the entire 11th Squad of out commission again. Toushiro already knows the World of the Living, seeing as he's been there on previous missions.

He almost sighed…almost. It was centuries of control that made it possible for him not keep a blank face.

"The results found were as such: an source of great power was found in the World of the Living. This has been attracting hollows since it appeared in Karakura Town. This problem is worse than when the Quincy, Ishida Uryu, released 'Hollow Bait' in his juvenile quest to outdo Kurosaki Ichigo.

"This source emit's a strange form of power that we have not seen in centuries. I do not want this to be brought to the attention of Aizen. If he finds out about this, he may do whatever it takes to acquire this power. I want this found and brought before me as soon as possible!" He slammed his walking stick against the floor, resulting in an echoing throughout the hall.

"Zaraki Kenpachi, you, along with Hitsugaya Toushiro, will be leading this mission. Both of you will pick your three subordinates and, along with Hanataro Yamada and Tsubokura Rin, will be heading to the World of the Living in two hours time. Pick your subordinates and gather in front of the Seikaimon. Tardiness will not be tolerated! Dismissed!" He slammed his stick again and watched as the taichou filed out.

Kenpachi glanced down at the child prodigy he was forced to work with," Matsumoto is going to be coming isn't she?" He grinned at the shudder the silver haired shorty tried to hide.

"Ah, isn't Kusajishi going to go too?" The much shorter taichou asked as he glanced out of the corner of his eye.

Kenpachi chuckled, "Ah. Ikkaku and Yumichika will want to come along and see Ichigo."

"I guess I'll have to ask Kuchiki if I can borrow Abarai. That leaves a third person for me." He frowned, "I don't even want to go."

Kenpachi chuckled and slapped him on the back, "Have fun while you're still young!" He shouted as he waved and took off, chuckling at the fuming chibi.

Toushiro's eye twitched. He just knew this was going to be a long mission. Now, to go look for that nosey drunkard of a fuku-taichou. He sighed, it was going to be a long three hours. Maybe he could get Hisagi to come. He paused and almost smiled; yeah, Hisagi would be a good idea.

Kagome tried so hard not to slam the front door, that it came to no surprise that she failed in doing so. She saw her old cell phone lighting up and she wondered who could possibly be calling her on that. She made a mental note to cancel it. Luckily, she had kept it on silent even if she never turned it off. She was going to take delight in it dying in its own.

Everything that had to with that phone and that life were no longer welcomed in her current one. She even had to carry around two phones when she was living with the Higurashis just so her mother could keep tabs on her. Now that she was gone, she could finally get rid of that thing, especially since it was Mizuki who was paying that bill.

Kagome could almost picture the look on Mizuki's face when she found out what had really been going on. Not too long after she had gotten the job at the dojo, she had bought her cell phone. The only people who had that number, were people from work, her professors, and people she had met after she had returned from the Sengoku Jidai for the last time. No one prior to her final jump had that number. Whenever her friends had asked, she would shake her head and say she needed it for work and school.

She smiled at the thought of her professors. They would occasionally call her in to do guest lectures on mythology of that period. They had told her she had the most hypnotizing way of telling the stories that she should try teaching it herself. Kagome would laugh and say she couldn't take all the fun from her professors.

The phone lit up again and she was surprised that it hadn't died yet. She hadn't charged it in a week, not that she ever used it. She glared at the phone before looking at the caller ID. Seeing Mizuki's name appear, she set it back down and glared at the inanimate object.

Her thoughts did a 180 as she remember why she was storming into her house on such a low note. Those creatures - 'hollows' - 'Red' had called them. They could sense the Shikon no Tama.

She pulled it out from under her shirt. She had to make a rosary and engrave seals on each bead just to limit as much of the reiryoku it poured out. She was not a happy camper; not at all. She had taken every precaution she could think of to seal as much of it as she could. She couldn't exactly seal the Shikon itself; really, she had tried. Kami knew she tried. They shouldn't have been able to catch hide nor hair of the cursed thing, and yet they had!

What's worse, is that she had to wear the damn thing every second of the day! Not because it would be tainted; hell, she would have hoped it was so that her reiryoku could mask its own. Oh no, that's not why at all.

It was those damn seals! She'd had to infuse them with her own blood! Meaning it had to be in contact with her at all times or the seals would break! Oh the irony! It was sealed while in her body so now, only her body could continue to seal it! The damn thing didn't even return to her side. No, it decided to float in the air and do absolutely nothing till she grabbed it! She shouldn't have touched the damn thing!

Look where it landed her! Involved with more blood thirsty monsters looking for more power! After what she had seen, she determined not to get involved! This was not her war! She had had enough of war and destruction and she would not add to it. Who am I kidding? As long as this thing exists, there will be a river of blood just waiting to run.

She remembered the man she had seen running down the side walk and blushed. Bad Kagome! Not thinking about that man! He is a part of what you're trying to run from! It doesn't matter how tall, tanned, deliciously sinful-bad Kagome! No thinking about how great those rough hands would feel! She groaned. If she saw him again anytime soon, she was going to run in the opposite direction as fast as she could!

Her delightfully, sinful fantasies were interrupted when her cell phone went off. She groaned but was grateful for the distraction, "Hello?"

"Hi Higurashi-san. It's Minami Nishikawa."

"Ah, Nishikawa-sensei. How are you?" She smiled. Nishikawa-sensei had been one of her best professors and the one that wrote her first recommendation. She had gotten together with her other professors and "forced" them to write some as well, not that they minded. She had been loved by all of her professors.

"I'm good. I have a favor to ask." Her voice was strained.

"What?" She drawled out in suspicion.

"Well, I have a couple of classes tomorrow that I won't be able to teach. My son is in the hospital going for surgery tomorrow. Since I don't really want to miss the lectures, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind doing them for me?" She sounded tired and stressed.

"What's wrong with him?" Kagome was saddened. She really liked Mamoru. He was the most adorable little seven year old around.

"Appendicitis. He's getting it removed tomorrow. Please, I'll pay you for the classes."

Kagome sighed inaudibly, "Yeah, tell me when and where and I'll go. Just don't be surprised if you get complaints from students that can't handle me and what I have to say."

Minami chuckled, "Thanks, Kagome. You're a life saver. I'll text you the details in a sec. The doctor needs to talk to me." The line went dead.

How do I get myself into these messes? Oh right, she gave me the best job I'd ever had; I can't exactly say no to her.

Kagome got the details and readied her stuff for the following day. It was going to be a long day tomorrow. If she had to put up with one student making a stupid crack, she was going to kill them. Okay, not kill, maybe just psychologically scar them for life. Yeah, that'll work.

Kagome groaned at the idea of work. That reminded her, she needed to find a couple new jobs closer to home. She could always go to a new dojo, but she really loved the kids at the current one. Too bad it was too far out of her way. She would need something closer to home.

Come to think of it, she saw one near the local high school on her way home. Maybe she should just start her own dojo? No, that would be too much work. She would go to the one she saw earlier tomorrow after her classes. She didn't want to get rusty after all. She would need recommendations for the new dojo. She finally had things to do. Luckily the dojo was not to far from the university she had graduated from. Hopefully Master Raishi would let her go. She would go to visit when she had the time, after she had left the dojo, she promised herself.

There was nothing she could do about the museum. That was not a place she would leave. To have access to all that history made her heart race. She had always loved history and she wouldn't give that job up for the world.

As for the fast food joint, maybe she should request a transfer or just quit entirely. She would be able to spend more time at the dojo and risk less time getting rusty.

Sesshoumaru would kill her if she had gotten rusty, which she hadn't. She shuddered at the thought of him finding her now and thinking she had. Yeah, those nightmares were better left in the darkest parts of her mind where nothing ever came to light. Yeah, she was going to spend more time at the dojo instead of working at a fast food joint. That settled it, dojo wins.

A/N: My lovely readers, I apologize that it took so long to get to you the next chapter of this story! I hope you enjoyed reading it. I ask that you please review and spread the love to Milkshake-sama and I. I just started my new semester in college so things have been a little hectic on my end.

Many thanks and Much love: