Chapter 21: The plot deepens

"How?" Kagome breathed as she collapsed onto the bed beside Sango.

"We don't know how Kagome…but look."

She opened the file and her face paled.

She was looking at herself…dead. The resemblance was uncanning. The girl lying on the table had the same hair, the same skin… Kagome as suddenly thankful that the corpses eyes were closed because she had no doubt that if those eyes were to suddenly open, they would match hers perfectly.

Quickly scanning the information, Kagome found the cause of death.

"Overdose of painkillers," she read allowed, "I killed myself?"

"It's freaky isn't it?" Miroku mumbled.

"But how is it possible?" Kagome exclaimed, "I mean, with a DNA test, wouldn't they be able to determine that it really wasn't me?"

Miroku shook his head. "There was no need. Hojo identified your body, so they didn't feel the need for any tests."

Kagome read ahead, and sure enough Hojo's name was signed under head examiner.

"Naraku made you appear as if you'd disappeared," Sango sighed, "That way no one would go looking for you. It makes me wonder if Miroku and I have files like this out there."

"I wouldn't be surprised," Miroku spat.

"But who is this girl?" Kagome pointed down at the photo, "It's obviously not me, but she looks like my twin."

"Do you have a twin?"

Kagome shook her head, "It must just be a really unfortunate coincidence. I wonder where Naraku found her."

None of them wanted to think about it, that much was obvious.

"But there is some good news," Miroku whispered, "There was only three files. That means that your brother is still…alive."

Kagome smiled softly. She had been wondering the same thing. It was a relief to know that her brother was some where close by.

"We should get something to eat." Sango said, "All this talk has made me nervous."

…..LATER…..

Kagome, Sango and Miroku filled Kouga in on the developments during a quick dinner of instant noodles and rice. He sat beside Kagome, holding her hand in his. It felt nice.

Sango noticed almost instantly, and she sent Kagome an approving smile. But she sensed something else in her friend's eyes…Sango was remembering Inuyasha.

Kagome had been so stubborn to move on… it must be weird for everyone to see her so openly affectionate with Kouga.

"So when do you go back after Takashi, Kagome?" Kouga asked after everyone had finished.

She sighed, "Not for a while. I don't like how the missions are so far apart."

"Naraku is up to something," Miroku thought aloud.

"Tell me about it," Kagome ran a frustrated hand through her hair, "It's driving me insane. Where is he anyway?"

"He never says," Sango replied, "But I've overheard Kagura talking to Kanna about him trying to increase his power. I wonder why."

Kagome sipped from her glass of warm milk. The warmth was comforting, familiar in a way. Her mother use to make her warm milk when Kagome would come home from school or a bad date crying.

"The jewel," she whispered with a sudden realization.

"What?" Kouga's hand tightened protectively around hers.

Kagome closed her eyes, "He has the power to absorb beings with powers so he can add it to his own. When I refused to give him the jewel, he tried to do it to me. But the jewel repelled him…he couldn't touch it."

Everyone was silent, absorbing this new information. Kagome kept her eyes closed, not wanting to see their surprised faces…she had never told them what had happened up there.

"Maybe he's trying to increase his power enough to kill me and take the jewel for himself," she continued."

"That's it," Miroku whispered.

Kagome opened her eyes then, looking into Miroku's deep navy ones.

"What's it?"

"That's why he's sending you on this gay mission!" Miroku exclaimed, "To keep you distracted. He leads you after Takashi, who just happens to lead you to Hojo and the truth behind your 'death'. It was meant to upset you, that way your control over the jewel is altered with your sudden rage…"

"And if I can't control it…he can take the jewel so easily," Kagome covered her mouth with her hand, shocked.

"Naraku, that bastard," Kouga hissed, his teeth clenched.

"But then what's Naraku's connection to Takashi? I didn't recognise him as one of our own, and I doubt he would hire someone from an enemy gang," Kagome thought, "Getting me to follow a random civilian is too risky. There would be no guarantee that he would even lead me to Hojo."

"You said that Takashi said something to Hojo," Sango tapped her fingers on the table top, "Do you remember what he said?"

Kagome pressed her fingers to her temple, remembering.

"I couldn't hear much. But I remember him saying 'can't see her' and 'over a year ago'. But it doesn't make any sense," Kagome sighed.

Miroku hummed to himself as he ran a hand through his hair, ripping out the pony tail and letting his hair blow freely.

"Can I see your file from the morgue?" he asked.

Kagome handed it over. "Why? What does my 'death' have to do with this?"

Miroku scanned through the pages before answering.

"Everything," he breathed, "Kagome your death has everything to do with this."

"What do you mean?" she leaned over the table trying to read whatever had made him so excited.

"It says here that your body was laid to rest sixteen months ago. Hojo told Takashi 'over a year ago' right? And when he said that he couldn't see you, it would have been because you were buried long ago."

Kagome shook her head, disbelieving. "That doesn't mean anything, its just coincidence."

"Maybe not," Sango agreed with Miroku.

"I'm so confused," Kagome groaned, smacking her head on the table. "I didn't recognise Takashi. And if what you think is true, what business does he have with my dead body?"

Before anyone could answer, Kouga tensed. Kagome rested a hand on his arm.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

She could hear a deep growl growing within the demon beside her.

"Naraku's back."

…LATER…

After their little meeting, the next few weeks went by painfully slow. With Naraku back, no one was allowed to leave the compound without going through him first.

Kagome spent most of her time training or sparing with Kouga, which ended up being more of a make out session then a work out. Depends on how you look at it.

At night though, she would think.

She hated puzzles, but right now she felt as if she was trapped in some twisted labyrinth that Naraku could alter whenever he felt necessary.

"Kagome?"

It was Miroku.

"Are you ok?" she was worried by his serious expression, "Is Sango ok?"

He nodded, "It's Naraku. He's sending you out again."

She groaned, "It's like two in the morning!"

He shrugged, and she gave in, getting her bag packed quickly.

"What's my motive tonight? More pictures?" she asked.

He shook his head, "Just follow him. Naraku wants to know where he stays during the day. Supposedly Takashi does most of his work at night, so Naraku thinks he can take advantage of him while there's light."

Kagome nodded. That shouldn't be too hard.

"Here's some other information on where to go and such," he said as he handed her a small envelope.

"See you tomorrow then," Kagome pulled on a black bunny hug, "Will you tell Sango where I've gone?"

He nodded, but didn't move when she tried to walk past him.

Kagome looked at him questioningly, and the next thing she knew Miroku wrapped his arms around her, pulling Kagome into a hug. She hesitated for only a moment before returning the embrace.

"Stay safe Kagome," he whispered in her ear, "I don't know what we'd do if we lost you…Besides, I don't like this. Naraku could be sending you into a trap."

Her heart tightened painfully in her chest. How had everything come to this? In the beginning she had been nothing more then a prisoner… she didn't owe these people anything back then. But now she had found a second family with these people. Even though the past still hurt and she worried about her brother constantly, she felt comfortable in this messed up place.

What if she were to loose them?

Kagome smiled, "I'll be fine."

Kissing his cheek quickly, she brushed past him and ran down the hall.

She didn't want him to see the tears in her eyes…she didn't want him to see how unsure she felt.