Chapter

The dust cleared. The last battle for the Shikon was over, she could feel it. Her friends stumbled to their feet with smiles plastered to their faces. Inuyasha was the first to move towards her to hug her but was stopped by a dark energy. A dark green tentacle shot up from below the ground and grabbed Kagome around her waist. She screamed a weak amount of power streaming from her body trying to defend herself from the attack but it was useless. Naraku rose up from the ashes of his defeat and sneered at the writhing miko. Laughing he sent out a strong blast of miasma and when Kagome tried to turn around to see if her friends were alright he forced her to face him.

"They are dead, Kagome, and you killed them," were the last words she heard before she passed out.

The next thing she knew she was awake but not in her own body. This body was smaller and weaker than her body. Naraku laughed as she discovered the chains around her wrists that held her up. At least he had left hr clothed, the thought was the only thing that allowed her to keep her dignity and glare. He laughed at the two year old Kagome who still had the audacity to glare at him. His amusement didn't last long though, and soon he hit her for the first time. The first hit was to her face, then he punched her in the gut, and, just as he was leaving, he dragged his claws down one of her arms. All she could try to do was try to breath and keep her younger self from crying even after he was gone.

As the years past the torture got worse, sometimes he'd use whips or machines and others he'd just beat her to the brink of death and leave her in a pool of blood. Always he reminded her that her friends were dead because of her and what she'd done in a previous life. By the time she was seven she didn't even make a sound for Naraku to hear. Her body was littered with scars from his torture and from a failed escape attempt. For Naraku the pleasure of her pain was beginning to bore him.

"Perhaps, miko," he stressed her title and she tensed, "there is another way to break you."

She squeezed her eyes shut, determined that no matter what he did she wouldn't break. Behind her there was a large explosion that sent chunks of dirt flying everywhere and she could sense the presence of the group that had done it lurking just beyond the hole. Naraku prepared to fight but when he saw how their eyes lingered on the bloody girl a new plan formed in his mind. He would let her go free, give her the taste of freedom and maybe more and then rip it all away. He vanished.

"Somebody, retrieve Hōshō, she's wounded." The leader yelled. "It'll be alright, little one, you're safe now. We're gonna take you somewhere safe."

Another man joined her group of saviors and gently released her from her the chains that had been holding her up. "I think her arm is broken and all these lacerations…what did this man do to her?"

"We should stabilize her and take her to the village," the leader said.

Hōshō went about healing the visible cuts and set her arm. The men took turns carrying her on their backs all the way to the village. No matter how hard they tried none of them could get the broken girl could talk or get any information out of her. By the time the group arrived at the Hokage's office they were certain she was mute from all the torture she'd endured. The Hokage immediately ordered her sent to the hospital while her rescuers stayed behind to give their reports.

"Who is she, Asuma?" The Hokage asked.

"I don't know. We found the man responsible for the destruction with her; it looked like he had been torturing her for years. As for an identity, she hasn't spoken a word since we found her. The physical wounds we can see but what I'm really worried about are the mental and emotional scars that we can't."

"I'll keep my eye on her while I can but I want you to watch her as long as she is in the village."

Kagome was covered in bandages and was hooked up to several machines the beeped when her body did things. A bitter memory hit her about her fathers and just how much she hated hospitals. A stream of nurses had been parading through her room all morning with sympathetic glances and flowers from villagers who'd heard about her. It made her sick. Did they really think that flowers or words would heal the damage that had been done? After a while of trying to bare it she moved on and pretended to sleep.

"Is she asleep?" the voice of the leader rescuer asked.

"I think so but you can go in if you like." Her current nurse said.

"Has she said anything?"

"Yes, her name is Kagome and she thinks she's seven."

"Thinks?" the man asked confused.

"During the check up the doctors found signs of repeat abuse, they haven't dated all the injuries yet but it appears that man had her there for years."

"Thank you." He paused and waited till the nurse left and then leaned in to whisper, "I know you're awake." She opened one eye. "Hello, Kagome. How are you feeling?"

She turned her head looked at the wall in front of her. All she wanted was to be out of that place and to get the chance to have her revenge on him. On the other hand, she did owe this man her life for leading the tam that had rescued her. She took a small breath, "I'm fine." Her voice was monotone and soft, effects of having been silent for so long.

"See, now we can talk," the excitement in his voice made her stomach clench.

"I want to leave this place." He will kill them all, just because I was here. I can't let that happen, not to these innocent people, no matter how foolish they are.

"You can trust us, Kagome; we can protect you if you let us. This village is strong and there is a will that binds everyone who lives here together, that makes us strong. Wouldn't you want to be a part of that someday?" He asked hopefully.

"No." she rolled over as best she could and closed her eyes. "Go away."

Asuma lingered for a moment, hoping that she would change her mind. Eventually when she didn't roll over he sighed and left the room. When the door shut she rolled back flat staring at the door. She had to admit a small part of her wanted him to stay to fight her and fight for her but she pushed it down. It was better that they never got close to her or else they would die too, just like everyone else she'd ever cared about. He would kill them.

Two weeks later she was released from the hospital. After her release the Hokage and Asuma arranged for her to be placed with a foster family in the village. Asuma would visit her from time to time and slowly their relationship improved. At the time she hadn't quite figured out to tell him that she wanted to go to the Academy in two years when she was old enough. Kagome knew she was letting them get too close but she was starting to heal in ways she never thought she would ever be able to. Two months passed and her voice was beginning to sound more human than before and she was smiling for the first time in years. She was playing in the park when she ran into Asuma, who had just come back from an important mission, and the two spent some time talking about the Academy. He was still with her when the Anbu came with the news.

While she had been out her surrogate parents and sister had been killed. The house was a mess off blood and disembodied limbs. At first many of the villagers believed she had killed them but Asuma told them that he'd been with her at the park and his testimony spared her the accusing glares. For her part Kagome did not shed a single tear for them and Asuma could see her pulling back into the shell he'd found her in. Villagers whispered that she was cursed and that the Hokage should send her away to a temple or something. Soon enough only Asuma remembered the real Kagome and the light in her eyes as it slowly faded away.

"Kagome!" he called to her one day as she made her way home from the market. "Hey, Kagome!"

She continued to ignore him until he was forced to follow her all the way back to her house. On the wall beside her house he could still see the remnants of the spider mark left by the murderer in their blood. "Leave me alone, Asuma Sarutobi, or you'll die too. I'm not a good friend to have." She went in and locked the door behind her.