Okay... So sorry I took awhile to update, but school and work have been keeping me away from my story. I didn't have much chance to write, seeing as how I have like, four art projects going on at the same time and I've worked a lot and I get home around 10:30 every night. Yeah. So basically I'm really sorry and I'll try to be better but I can't promise anything.

And I would write review responses, but I'm really tired, seeing as how I just got done with a cashiering shift, and it was swamped for the entire time. I just wanted to post for you. Hope none of you are too mad at me. I really did appreciate all of you who reviewed and I'll try to get back to you next chapter.

disclaimer: No, don't own Inuyasha. We all know this.

Several days later, the group had gone through quite a bit of countryside, finding more attacked villages and no apparent sign of Inuyasha or Shippo. Kagome was beginning to worry herself sick and Sango was beside herself, thinking that Kohaku could have been the one to destroy so many villages. Miroku was concerned for them both. After finding another village that was a wreck, Kagome sat down on a rock and rested her head in her hands.

"I can't keep running around all over like this. Where are they? I have a test coming up soon at school back home. I'll have to go so I can study and take it."

"Can't you just skip school for this year, Kagome? Is it really that important?" Miroku asked.

Kagome whipped her head up with a glare. "What do you mean, 'is it that important?!' Of course it is! In my time, school and education are everything! It is the most embarrassing thing possible a student can face… repeating a grade…" Kagome shuddered. "All my friends would be a grade above me, and everyone would think I was stupid," she said, returning her head to her hands.

"I'm sorry Kagome… I didn't know…"

"Well now you do," she snapped. Miroku and Sango looked taken aback. Kagome was extremely tense. When no one said anything she looked up and began to cry.

"I'm sorry… I'm just so worried."

Sango leaned down, crouched next to Kagome and put a hand on her shoulder. "We're all worried, Kagome. Who knows what terrible things Naraku has been doing. Don't let it all get to you like this. Shippo and Inuyasha are fine, I'm sure," she said soothingly.

"Right," Kagome sniffed. She rubbed her hand across her eyes and got up. "Let's head out then."

They started off down the path.

It was nearing the noon hour and all three were hungry. Miroku recalled this part of the country from his travels before and knew another town was straight ahead.

"If we go there, I'm sure someone will remember me. We might be able to get a free meal," he said happily.

Sango looked at him, not quite sure how to take what he just said.

"Who will remember you, Miroku? The palace women maybe," she said sourly.

Miroku looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "Still jealous about that, huh?" he said slyly. Wrong thing to say.

Kagome sighed as Miroku took off running with Sango hot in pursuit, intending to inflict major damage upon Miroku's cheek.

"I was not jealous!"

"Oh I think you were!"

"Come back here and say that, if you dare!"

"They fight like an old married couple, don't they Kirara?" Kagome said to the little fire cat walking beside her. Kirara answered with a cheery mew.

Miroku was still hurrying along the path looking back at the demon slayer right on his trail when he suddenly bounced off a huge pink blob. It disappeared with a "pop" and he saw that he had nearly collided with an old man walking with a cane. Miroku exclaimed and sputtered apologies as the old man waved his hands and said that was all right. Miroku was so busy apologizing he didn't realize someone else was there until Sango came up behind him and grabbed his arm. A little ball of fur jumped up onto the man's shoulder.

"Thank you lad. Without you that monk and I wouldn't have known what hit us!"

"No problem grandpa!"

"Shippo?!" Sango exclaimed. Shippo looked at her with huge question marks as Sango turned around and yelled for Kagome to catch up quick.

Kagome came running and when she caught sight of Shippo she went even faster, blew past Miroku and Sango, snatched up the poor fox kit and hugged him as hard as she could. Shippo protested and the old man made feeble attempts to take back his "grandson."

Kagome planted a huge kiss on Shippo's little cheek, which was almost more than he could take, and she finally set him down.

He rubbed his cheek furiously, to get off the girl cooties, and then looked up at Kagome with his big eyes and said, "Who are you, lady?!"

Kagome realized just what she had done and covered her mouth.

"I'm so sorry Shippo! But I've missed you so much! I'm so relieved to see you're safe!"

"Shippo, do you know this woman?" the old man put in.

Shippo shook his head. "I've never seen her before, grandpa."

"Grandpa?!" Kagome exclaimed. "He's not your grandpa! Shippo, you belong with us!"

Shippo looked at Kagome with furrowed brows and edged away. He hopped up onto the old man's shoulder. "Honestly, lady, I've never seen you before."

Kagome looked absolutely heartbroken. She knew that Shippo was still under the curse, but to see him act this way was too much for her to bear after all the stress. Sango grabbed her shoulders and led her away.

"Sir, if I may explain, we have had a bit of trouble with the members of our traveling party. Shippo here was with us. We would very much like to have him accompany us once more," Miroku stepped up.

"Shippo doesn't seem to remember any of you," the old man said. "How can I trust you? This seems a little odd to me. I've been taking care of this young kit for nearly two months now. He's all I've got."

"Two months…" Kagome said softly. 'I've been looking for everyone for only about two and a half weeks. Was I really in Naraku's castle for that long? No wonder Grandpa had just decided to tell everyone I was in a coma…'

"Please sir, Shippo was with us originally and we always took very good care of him," Miroku urged.

The old man looked at them suspiciously. It didn't help matters when Shippo kept whispering in his ear that he didn't know these people and didn't want to leave his grandpa.

Finally the old man grunted and said, "Shippo wants to stay with me. I think you're just some young hooligans who just want to torture the poor little lad. Be gone with you and let us on our way." And with that the old man pushed past Miroku and didn't even look when Kagome started bawling.

Sango patted the distressed girl's back and Miroku watched the old man walk away with Shippo.

"I guess the only thing left to do is follow them," he remarked. Kagome stopped crying long enough to nod.

When they reached the town the old man was heading for, they sent Kirara to go and scout out where the two were staying. He headed for a small shack on the outskirt of the village. Kirara went back to the others who were patiently waiting. Well, Miroku and Sango were patiently waiting. Kagome was biting her fingernails.

They decided to visit Shippo after dinner. Convincing Kagome that getting something to eat first would be a good idea wasn't easy. After a long discussion she stubbornly agreed. Somewhere inside her mind she realized she was acting completely irrationally. 'What is wrong with me? It's not as though Shippo's going to be in any sort of danger and he's not going anywhere. We just have to say the spell and get him back. Piece of cake, right?'

Their peaceful meal however was interrupted by a shrill scream.

Sango and Miroku jumped up and Kagome dropped her chopsticks in a fright. Kirara mewed and bounded out the door, followed by the two fighters. Kagome went and looked out the window. A large demon was hovering over the houses. It had a long dark purple and putrid grey body, large knife-like fangs and glowing red eyes. Sharp scales and spikes covered its torso and tail. Kagome recoiled in horror when she realized it was about to strike the hut where Shippo was staying.

Kagome covered her eyes when it swung its large tail around and completely wiped out the shack. Villagers screamed and ran as Miroku and Sango jumped into the fray with staff, scrolls, and boomerang. Kagome followed just a little late as she snatched up her quiver and bow.

Miroku was already running along the length of the demon's body and aiming well placed strikes at break points in the scales while Sango made huge cuts with her boomerang. The monster howled and swept its tail at Miroku. The monk nimbly jumped up, stepped on its back and flew over. Sango made a few more damaging blows and then both looked on as a beautiful purple ray shot directly through the demon's chest. It growled in pain and then its whole body turned bright blue and disintegrated with a flash. Miroku and Sango looked over in astonishment at Kagome, who still stood in her stance with bow pointed and a dignified look of determination on her face. She slowly lowered her weapon and turned and scanned the on looking villagers for Shippo and the old man.

"Okay, is it just me, or did Kagome go from being extremely cross to a weepy pitiful mess to a powerful looking priestess in the span of two minutes?" Miroku whispered to Sango behind his hand. Sango was so bewildered she barely nodded, still staring at the girl who was now demanding the old man let Shippo come with her. Somehow they had miraculously escaped before the demon struck the shack.

Finally Sango came out of her stupor and hurried over to Kagome.

"Listen, why don't we find a place to settle for the night, all of us, and we'll explain what happened," Sango said, calming the heated argument.

"So you see, we need to get him back," Kagome said, this time without the aggressive shouting. She explained Shippo's situation, with a little help from Sango and Miroku.

They were seated in a friend of the old man's house on the other side of the village. Everyone had cleared away from the mess deciding to begin cleaning up the debris the next morning. An eerie full moon hung low on the horizon, just peeking over the tree tops. A hazy film seemed to surround the glowing orb as Kagome laid bare the past two and a half weeks to an old man and a very confused Shippo.

"I'm just going to say the spell, and then we'll try and get you back, Shippo," Kagome said, cheering up a bit. She held out her hands, said the chant, and then twisted her mouth into a frown. What could she do or say that was important enough for Shippo to remember?

They all looked at her expectantly.

"Well, don't you have something in mind, Lady Kagome?" Miroku said.

"Ummm…" she drew out slowly. "Shippo, don't you remember me?" she said weakly.

Sango watched her friend. Something was different about her. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but one minute Kagome was a blubbering mess, the next incredibly powerful and confident, and then she was being as stubborn and defiant as a rebellious teenager. Before Kagome was nearly always cheerful, no matter how bad the situation got. Something had happened to Kagome. Sango thought back to Kagome's nightmare and her awful scream. She had never heard Kagome scream like that, not even when she had a reason to scream like that. As she watched Kagome look around the room in a feeble attempt to grasp at something that could bring Shippo back, Sango vowed to herself to find out just what had taken place while she had been cursed.

Kagome finally got it together and a smile crossed her face. "I think I know…" She got up and hefted her large yellow bag over. She began digging through it, and then brought out a beautiful brownish orange pelt. She gently laid it into Shippo's lap. He at first didn't want to touch it, then he looked shocked and stared with wide eyes.

Shippo saw a clear stream with the sun reflecting brilliantly off the laps of water, slippery rocks on the lush green banks covered with flowers of all colors. He laughed, as he watched his mother and father splash each other in fun. It was a hot day, and the sun beat down on his little back. With a wild whoop he cannon balled into the water.

Then, he saw two menacing figures loom up in front of him, the sky turned gray and jagged bolts of lightening flashed and thunder rolled. Shippo watched in horror as his parents were slaughtered. He sobbed and then snarled with fury as he saw his father's pelt around the waist of his murderer. Five jewel shards glowed from their foreheads. Then a flash of red and a large sword swept through and made them both vanish.

Kagome's bright face smiled cheerfully, and Inuyasha's sour expression followed. Miroku, Sango, and Kirara popped up next, and then Shippo blinked.

"Kagome?" he said softly.

Kagome jumped up and repeated her actions the first time she saw Shippo, yet this time the kit waited patiently for the girl to stop squeezing him to death and didn't wipe off the girl cooties.

"Why are you hugging and kissing me like that Kagome?!" he asked after she was done.

"It's a long story, Shippo," Miroku sighed.

"That was really clever of you to think of Shippo's father's pelt, Kagome. But… why do you still have it in your bag?" Sango asked.

"I always carried it around because Shippo wanted me to. It was the only thing he had to remind him of his family," she said, smiling sadly at the little orphan.

Shippo still looked like he was in the dark.

"But, it's okay. We're his family now," Kagome said, gathering Shippo up in her arms again. Shippo looked at Miroku and Sango and shrugged.

And there's another chapter for you all. I hope you liked it, and sorry again that I took so long to update. You know how school can be though. Anyway, review please! I promise I'll write a response to you!