Disclaimer; you know the drill.
Kagura's hair was whipping around her face, smacking her skin harshly as the breezes blew in alternate directions around her and her companion. She glanced at Kohaku once who sat huddled against her back, his knees tucked up under his chin.
'He's probably chilled.' Kagura allowed as her feather drifted closer towards the ground. She peered further behind them to see the kid's sister and the monk following behind them on her large cat demon. She wasn't worried of being attacked; they would not risk the life of Kohaku she had long ago learned. She frowned though when she didn't see the priestess or the half-demon, Inuyasha.
'They should have followed as well.' Kagura thought, her brow furrowing. She tipped their flight closer to the ground, gaining speed with the descent. Riding the air currents was second nature to the wind sorceress, something she did and reacted on with pure instinct.
She felt a tremble against her back and felt her lips turn down though she did not peer back again.
"Where are we going, Kagura?" His voice was deeper than it had been when the runt had first been tied to Naraku.
"To safety." She replied without elaborating.
In all reality, Kagura had planned to dump the kid off with Inuyasha. With Kohaku's memories returned, the boy had released the grasp of Naraku's servitude, merely ending ties of control. His life still dwelt in the jewel shard in his neck, and Kagura had thought that the young priestess would find a way to help the boy.
Not that Kagura cared or anything, she was sure to remind herself with a shake of her head. It was simply, well, upsetting to see this human being who had no choice in his manipulation get the short end of the stick like that. And he was sure better company than Kanna's stony silence.
But if Inuyasha wasn't around yet, then Kagura would have to seek out the next best thing.
"Sesshomaru had a ward near Kohaku's age…" she remembered faintly. Kagura had no idea where to begin looking for Sesshomaru and she suddenly wished she had Kanna and her mirror of infinite knowledge.
The thought of Kanna brought a mild pain to the heart that was not in her chest. She was jealous of Kanna's heart and her new freedom. Kanna was the girl who had nothing to say, nothing to question, and nothing to feel. What use would she make of a heart?
Kagura had always been the opposite. She was full in body and full in heart, her emotions prone to be volatile and ever changing, just like the wind she bent. She yearned and maintained desires and constantly was tortured for her insolence.
Because she was supposed to be a tool and nothing more.
She had become so immersed in her thoughts that she almost didn't sense the flying pink arrow that barely grazed the feather. It immediately shrunk its size, sending the two passengers into a sharply vertical descent.
Momentarily dazed, and with echoes of Kohaku's surprised screams in her ears, Kagura pushed herself up from her unforgiving crash into the dirt. The boy hand landed near her, his heel landing smartly into her spine.
"The hell?" She spit out while rolling the boy off her as she quickly stood up, her fan at the ready.
She sensed the priestess before she saw her. The clay woman came through the trees, her soul eaters swirling around her protectively.
"What was that for?" The demoness grumbled, using her fan to whip the dirt away from her robes. She sent a quick whirl to the male next to her, brushing him off in one fell swoop.
Kikyo was eerily silent as she stood at the base of a tree with her bow still held firmly in her grasp.
"You're talkative." Kagura sarcastically replied to the woman's stare.
"I sensed the jewel shard." The priestess stated, her gaze turning from Kagura to Kohaku next to her. Kohaku's eyes widened as he unconsciously reached a hand backwards to scratch at his neck and the jewel shard that was just under the skin there.
"Kohaku!" The shout made Kohaku jump, though Kagura was unsurprised by the entrance of the demon slayer and the monk.
The woman quickly pulled her brother into her body, embracing him fiercely. The monk took a stance in front of her, his staff held protectively in front of his chest.
"Just what is this that is going on?" He asked calmly, eyeing the scene before him. Kagura watched as his eyes quickly took in the scenario, his brows rising at the presence of Kikyo.
"Kikyo." It wasn't a question, but more of a confused statement. Kagura felt her own glance darting back towards the dead priestess, searching for a reaction.
It wasn't the first time that Kikyo had seen the child, Kagura knew. There had simply been far too many crossovers in battles and travels for her to have missed him. That still did not explain why the wind sorceress and companion had suddenly been shot down from the sky.
"As the pervert asked," Kagura heard a belligerent 'Hey!' from behind her, "what is happening here?"
Kikyo merely stepped forward, never batting an eye at Kagura. She stepped past her, making no sound on the grass and leaves beneath her. She stepped forward to Miroku, looking just past his shoulder.
"Inuyasha does not appear to be in your company." She stated monotonously. Miroku pursed his lips at that, but Kagura saw the realization dawn when he realized the woman was right. He gripped his hands tighter on the staff, standing straighter.
"He and Lady Kagome are perfectly able to take care of themselves." He replied, taking a step forward to better guard his wife. "If you have no other business with us, than we can each carry on our way."
"The jewel is my business." She replied, her eyes now glued to the man in the demon slayer's arms. Her arms flexed tighter around him, while he simply stood there with his eyes widely staring at the clay priestess. "And he has a shard."
The two stared at each other for a moment longer before Sango pushed him behind her back, unnerved by the woman's gaze. Kagura could sense the unease and contempt those two held for the dead woman.
"In fact," Kikyo continued, "I believe it to be the last shard not accounted for."
She turned her stare to Kagura, piercing her red eyes with her own brown ones. "Is this not so?"
Kagura felt the stares of four people attack her at once. She stood straighter as she stared back at each of them in turn before settling back onto Kikyo.
"You might or might not be mistaken." She replied haughtily, letting her fan hang at the tips of her fingers.
"Kagome holds her own, while Naraku holds the remainder." Kikyo pointed at Kohaku, her hand eerily pale and sharp in contrast to the setting around her.
"This is the last to be collected."
Sango shook her head, her hand clenched into a fist at her chest.
"That can't be true. Koga still has his two jewel shards!"
Kagura shook her head in response without a second thought. Sango saw the movement and jerked her head towards her, questioning her with her eyes.
"His shards were taken only weeks ago." Kagura said dryly, crossing her arms as she did so. What was the point in hiding it?
The demon slayer and monk exchanged a look that obviously communicated whether they should trust the information or not. Sango stretched her hand to touch Kohaku once more, her fingers running through his hair. Kohaku leaned into the motion despite the awkwardness Kagura knew he felt being around his sister.
"Your brother's life is tied to the jewel shard embodied in him?" Kikyo turned her eyes straight to Sango's.
Sango nodded, glancing down at the boy who was staying so silent.
"We have yet to discover a way to remove it without…" She let the thought trail off as her knuckles whitened when she tightened her hand on his shoulder.
"Without ending his life." Kikyo surmised. Sango nodded before Miroku added, "If his is truly the last shard, than it would seem Naraku no longer has a use for his… existence."
He turned towards Kagura, his expression contemplative.
"Where were you taking him?" He asked suspiciously.
Kagura shifted her weight to her other foot.
"Away." She answered simply.
"She was taking me to find you guys…" spoke a timid voice, and the whole group turned towards Kohaku who was pushing away from his sister's arm. "She was trying to keep me safe." His voice was quiet, but convincing. Regardless, Sango and Miroku held a face of distrust at this explanation.
"Why did she not stop when we followed then?" Sango quickly asked
Kagura just smirked, glancing up and down at Sango and Miroku.
"You're strong," She paused for a brief moment, "for a pair of humans. But the only ones who could really protect him from Naraku was Inuyasha or Sesshomaru." She ignored the disbelief in their eyes. "Inuyasha did not follow, and we were too close when we passed you."
"Too close?" Miroku seemed to glance around.
"You are near my master, Naraku." Kagura relayed.
The air seemed tenser as Sango and Miroku straightened, peering around them.
"When Inuyasha and that other woman didn't follow, I decided to find Sesshomaru." Kagura ruffled a hand through her hair. "That is, before I had an untimely collision with the ground."
Kikyo was unapologetic.
"You would give the last sacred jewel shard over to the protection of a demon?" Kikyo's voice was low and full of distaste, a malevolent tone making even Kagura's skin feel chilled.
"To anyone capable of defeating Naraku." The wind sorceress retaliated, puffing out. Like hell she would be bent by this priestess.
"Someone who is capable of handling the jewel should be its protector."
"This isn't about protecting the jewel!" Kagura retorted, her fan poised and ready.
"It's about protecting my brother!" The shout startled even Kagura, but more was the fact that the woman was suddenly at Kagura's side, her own pose threatening in stance. Kagura's eyes met Sango's for a brief moment. They nodded once before turning back to face the clay priestess.
Kikyo was obviously surprised, but only reacted by sliding her bow over her shoulders, raising her hands.
"Of course you would want to protect your brother. I meant no harm." She replied. "Merely that someone with skill and knowledge with concern to the jewel might be a better help than some demon."
"And what is it you're suggesting?" Kagura spit out, her brows furrowed.
"Let me take him." She replied simply. Sango shook her head immediately.
"You're not taking him out of my sight."
Kikyo furrowed her brow at Sango.
"You are too preoccupied with the battle at hand. You cannot defend and attack at the same time." Kikyo said.
"Like hell I can't-" Sango began to reply before being cut off by Miroku stepping between the two groups.
"I think we should hear Lady Kikyo out." He reprimanded his wife quietly, staring only in her eyes.
"Kohaku is my brother." Sango muttered through her teeth, glaring back at her husband. "If you think I'm going to let him go off with Kikyo…"
"Kikyo is not our enemy." Miroku reminded her softly. Kagura's eyes flitted between the three, her stance never relaxing.
"I would watch over him with Sesshomaru, if that is the desire." Kikyo continued slowly.
"I don't want him with Sesshomaru either!" Sango exclaimed, nearly stamping her foot like a child.
"Pardon, but… do I have a say in what happens to me?"
Everyone jerked their heads towards Kohaku who stood, one foot scratching at the other as four pairs of eyes met his.
"I-I mean, I don't really wanna be killed either." He said lamely, his cheeks flushing.
"And you won't be, if I have anything to do with it." Sango growled out.
"But Sesshomaru won't hurt me." Kohaku continued. He took a few steps, growing in confidence the closer he reached his sister.
"Naraku is the enemy, and the only enemy of worth in being destroyed. Kagura and I know this better than anyone." He continued on after nodding once at Kagura. "Sesshomaru would not hurt me, because I've helped Rin." He glanced over at Kikyo.
"She won't hurt me, because… she's a protector." Kohaku knew very little about this Lady Kikyo, but he could read it in her nature. She was not evil. Kikyo attempted a soothing smile.
"I'll be safe." He turned back to his sister. "If there's a chance that I'll live, I'll take it. But defeating Naraku is the only thing that's really important, and that's your job, sister."
Sango's lips were ajar. Her emotions betrayed her as her eyes started to fog over with tears.
"But…" She started.
"I can take care of myself now, sister." Kohaku cut her off, but placed his hands on her shoulders. He neared her height, but he was still young enough to push himself into her arms for an embrace. Kagura and Kikyo averted their eyes, giving the family a moment of affection.
"You're going to be an uncle, you know." Sango whispered into his ear. Kohaku lifted his head and grinned.
"That'll be great." His head turned towards Miroku with a raised brow who gave a slight nod with a smile.
Kohaku nodded in kind, softly speaking one sentence to them both.
"My family is growing again." He said, before stepping back. He turned towards Kagura who merely snorted at him and gave him a half-hearted "Be safe, kid. I didn't risk my neck bringing you all the way out here for nothing."
Kohaku only shook his head at that before turning towards Kikyo.
"We should depart soon." He said. He eyed the soul eaters around Kikyo, watching them dance in their circling, swirling fashion.
Kikyo nodded and merely bowed before the crowd around her before walking towards the forest. Kohaku waved once before jogging to follow behind her.
The three stood in silence for moments, simply staring before Kirara touched her head to her master's back.
"Why did you save him?" Sango suddenly blurted out, not even looking at Kagura.
The wind sorceress looked at the demon slayer and frowned, raising her hand to grab her feather from her hair.
"He grew on me." She answered simply, before releasing her wind and taking to the clouds.
Sango watched her disappear back from where she had come, not realizing that her tears were now streaking her cheeks in silence.
"We should find Inuyasha and Lady Kagome. I fear they might have run into trouble." Miroku stated, gently pressing against his wife's shoulder. She nodded, wiping at her eyes quickly before striding towards Kirara to saddle her.
While flying, Miroku rubbed her shoulders.
"He knows who you are at least." He stated softly.
Sango nodded, staring ahead stiffly.
"Which only makes this all the harder." She replied bitterly.
Authors Note;; Am I even alive anymore?