Chapter 20: Sango's discovery

Kagome woke the next morning, her head humming with an uncomfortable ache. Climbing out of bed, she paused when she stepped onto a sleeping bag.

"Sango…" Kagome mumbled, remembering that her friend had fallen asleep on the floor the night before.

But the space on the floor was empty. Checking her watch, Kagome groaned when she saw that it was well past lunch time.

"Sango must be up already," she decided.

After changing into a pair of ripped jeans and a red t-shirt, Kagome walked out into the hall…and directly into what felt like a wall.

Looking up, she came face to face with Kouga.

"Morning Kagome," he smiled brightly as he quickly kissed her on the cheek.

"Umm, morning Kouga," she smiled half heartedly, "Say, have you seen Sango?"

"Her and Miroku went out. Said something about a mission that came up short notice," he smirked, "But if you ask me, I think they-"

Kagome pressed a few fingers against his lips.

"I don't want to know," she smiled.

His hand came up and caught hers' and before she could pull away he had placed a gentle kiss to her finger tips. Heat flooded her cheeks unexpectedly…

Why am I blushing? She thought to herself….its Kouga…

"I sensed you wandering around last night," he whispered softly as he released her hand, only to wrap both of his arms around her waist. "Was everything ok?"

Kagome only nodded. She couldn't figure out what to do with her hands, so she rested them gently on his biceps. He took this as a good sign because he tightened his grip on her waist.

"I was trying to find some information on Takashi," she spoke quickly, trying to distract herself from the feeling of his strong arms holding her. "But there was nothing."

Kouga sighed, "Naraku's a weird guy. Making you chase a ghost…"

He leaned toward her, resting his forehead against hers gently. She flinched…why wasn't she pushing him away?

She didn't like Kouga like that…

Did she?

They had gotten closer over the past two years, and Kagome now considered him one of her best friends. She didn't feel awkward when he held her anymore…she almost felt… safe…comfortable. Almost like she had with…him.

She suddenly felt frustrated with herself. Why did she always have to think about him? She loved him…she still loved him more then anything…but…

Kagome closed her eyes and relaxed against Kouga. She concentrated on his warmth, his substance…he was there. He was real…alive.

Inuyasha was dead…

When was she going to accept that?

"Kagome," his lips were almost on hers now, and she found herself rising up to meet him.

When their lips finally met, it was painful. It felt as if her heart was being torn in two halves.

…Who knew letting go would be so hard…

Her past self screamed, the sound ringing in her head as if it would never stop. It begged her to push Kouga away, to cling to the love she still had for Inuyasha…

Inuyasha…that name. It seemed so strange to her, almost like a dream. It was the prince in a fairy tale that she knew would never come true…

She had loved him…really loved him. And she would never love anyone like that for as long as she existed…

But why couldn't she let herself be with Kouga? Why couldn't she learn to love him? Never would it be the kind of love she had with Inuyasha…but why couldn't she try to have the next best thing?

Kouga's lips were suddenly urgent on hers, almost as if he understood her choice of surrendering to him. Kagome wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, matching his passion.

She could feel his lips curve into a smile against her mouth. He had won…he had broken through her false reality and brought her into his. He was real. He was there holding her, not Inuyasha.

Kagome pulled away then, holding Kouga's face in her hands so she could look at him.

He smiled, kissing her quickly, "Give me a chance Kagome. Give me the chance to show you that he-"

She kissed him to stop him from finishing.

"I'll give you a chance Kouga," she whispered.

He pulled her tightly against him, hugging her.

She missed being held like this…

…..LATER….

Kagome was humming to herself later that night when Sango and Miroku suddenly came bursting into her room.

"Where have you two been all day?!" she exclaimed.

They both looked out of breath as they sat heavily on the edge of her bed. Sango's hair was dishevelled and Miroku look beyond exhausted.

"What have you two been doing exactly?" she raised an eyebrow.

"Oh shut up," Sango glared, "We had to run all the way here because someone is too good to answer her cell phone."

Kagome pointed at herself. "Me? I didn't even hear it. Wait…why did you have to run?"

Sango smiled, "Remember how you aren't allowed to leave the compound unless Naraku lets you?"

"Yes, and thank you for reminding me I'm like a dog on a leash," she hissed sarcastically.

"Well we decided to follow that friend of yours for you," Miroku said.

Kagome's eyes widened, "You mean Hojo?"

They both nodded.

Kagome sat crossed legged on her bed next to them, "What did you find out?"

Both of their faces suddenly became serious.

"Just start from the beginning," Kagome sighed.

Sango nodded, "He's pretty boring. We followed him to work and he pretty much worked from nine until ten."

"That's it?" Kagome's eyes narrowed, her voice flat.

Miroku shook his head, "We got bored, so we broke into his files to do some research on his past. There was nothing on himself personally that would link him to Takashi, so we figured that there must be some kind of relation with one of his…patients? Bodies? What ever you call them."

"People, I'd settle for that," Sango said.

"Ok, so we looked to see if any of his 'people' would connect him to Takashi," Miroku continued.

"And?" Kagome was getting exited, they were pretty much doing her homework for her! "Was there anyone?"

Sango shook her head, "We didn't find anything that relates to Takashi."

Kagome's spirits fell. Damnit. She had really hoped there was some sort of significant connection…now she was back at square one…

"Although," Kagome looked up into her friend's face to see that she looked alarmed.

"What is it?" Kagome grasped her friend's hand tightly.

"We found something that concerns you actually…" Sango sighed.

Going into her backpack, she pulled out two files. When Kagome grasped the heavy files in her hands, her whole body numbed as she read the names.

Higurashi, Yoko….Higurashi, Toshiyuki

"My parents…" her voice faded.

Opening the files with shaking hands, Kagome closed her eyes with a rattling sob as she was faced with the post mortem photos.

She could feel Miroku's hand on her shoulder, "We're sorry Kagome, it was a mistake to bring these."

He tried to take them from her, but she held tightly to them.

"No… I'm glad you guys did," she whispered, "I want to see them…"

But the pictures were unrecognisable. Both of her parents looked so…fake…so abused. Reading the cause of death Kagome could feel her blood boil.

It read, "Single gun shot wound to temple of husband. Through and through wound similar to the husband inflicted in the wife…self inflicted. Crime of passion… Appears that the wife killed her husbands for reasons unknown and turned the gun on herself…"

The papers shook in her grip as tears blurred her vision.

Crime of passion?

Wife killing the husband?

"Naraku," Kagome seethed, her voice sounding foreign even to herself. The jewel pulsed inside of her, begging to be released…to be tainted by her rage.

Taking a deep breath, Kagome painfully suppressed the power, sealing it deep within herself once again.

"We're so sorry Kagome," Sango said, her voice shaking.

Kagome looked up, surprised to see tears running softly down Sango's cheeks. Miroku's face was unreadable, his arm wrapped protectively around Sango.

Reaching over, Kagome hugged both of her friends.

"It's ok," Kagome whispered, "But I think I will keep these."

Getting up, Kagome opened the bottom drawer of her dresser and buried the filed under old book and clothes.

Holding back tears, Kagome turned her back to the other, "I'm going to go and take a shower."

"Wait Kagome," Sango cried.

She turned back to her friend, her eyes widening to see her holding out a third file.

"What…"

"This is why we came back so fast," Miroku whispered, "You need to see this. We can't figure out how…"

Kagome slowly grasped the file, her ears ringing.

Please…

Don't be Souta…

Don't be my brother…

She read the name…

And her heart stopped.

…Higurashi, Kagome.