To all who have read and especially to those who have reviewed, this story is for you.

Iluvmitsukue, amarous, demonking101 and all, thanks for every word.

Special thanks to my fiancee, Inuskye. My darling, may our life together be always happy and full of light, far from the dark reaches of the mind. I need you with me always. I love you.

Thanks also to the bard Inugrrrl who always has a kind word. Ya'll bettah recognize, this grrl has mad skills :P

Sorry this has been so long in coming. I just want this chapter up, because it was almost ready for months, just waiting. I could have had it up half a year ago, but my life's journey and toil, and fear, and procrastination are a deadly mix. I want to have this story finished soon so it at least will be behind me. I'm not the same person that began this story, with every want and wish to have a wife, and a home. I have both. And that, I think, is where the theme and title of this story came from. The want to rise above poverty and nothing and get what I have always desired.

Now I am rambling with my thoughts of the heart. I hope you all enjoy this chapter, as I've tried to let the "true" writing show through, with life in each word. That is when the muse strikes (or bites in my case). The rest is real work :P But I must perservere, even as I walk across the world to ease my troubled mind...

Disclaimer: Penpaninu does not claim to own Inuyasha or any characters with likenesses linking to, thereof. I do own the plot for this ficcy however, about all I do own, beside the laptop I'm writing it on. This Inuyasha mousepad belongs to me too, I paid for it. All proceeds went to the original Takahashi Enterprises (Grin).

Impoverished Heir chapter thirty-three

"Vow to Forever"

When you look back at the events that transpired, the officials would be quick to say everything was fine. Nothing serious had gone on, everything had been under complete control.

The students and schoolchildren would disagree. Kindergartners to college level holed up at home with their parents or roommates; all of the schools and universities had been closed.

The business men and women would disagree. All companies from the proudest skyscraper to the corner convenience stores were forbidden to open. Red national tags had been chained to each business door, forbidding a keyed or forced entry.

The commuters and tourists would heavily disagree. All had been trapped inside the airports, forbidden to board planes exit bound from Japan; all incoming planes were forbidden to land. There had been more than a few runway accidents and travelers had fought amongst each other and airport staff as the eternity of waiting set in. Bags were stolen, food in restaurants ran low and tempers flared.

The Diet and formal Japanese government had issued a state of National Emergency, and even Emperor Akihito-sama had given his voice to the population. All would be well, all would resume normally as soon as possibly conceived. As long as everyone would lend their patience, as long as everyone would wait.

All in charge had assured the public everything was operating just fine even with all the obvious irregularities. The state of official lock-down only confirmed a more serious matter to all not buying the cover story.

The whole length of Japan swirled in eddying mists in tones of sepia to grey. Tokyo lay at the eye of the storm and swirls of misting black ghosted the concrete streets and grassy parks. The state of emergency had been called, in hopes of isolating the acts of violence and vandalism that had spread like wildfire at the first sign of the airborne corruption.

It didn't mean it stopped the criminal and criminal-minded from venturing into ghosting, deserted streets to wreck havoc or hunt prey to victimize. Every dark thought and act or brutality by those dark enough to commit them were done so with ruthless glee.

It wasn't to mean the Darkness didn't effect the Pure and the Innocent. Massive outbreaks of flu and fever plagued mothers and children; the gentle students and the meek men who couldn't harm another if their lives depended on it.

Other beings haunted the streets as well; stooped figures with horned brows and talonned hands; tiny, hopping imps with bulging eyes, other creatures thought to be myth roamed freely out into the open. News stations across Japan insisted the creatures were a prank or act of sick terrorism intended to induce mass hysteria.

At least that's what wild-eyed news reporters insisted before the networks all blacked out. Static hummed in each monitor like many insects called to the feast of fear.

One monitor in Tokyo reflected the image of calm despair. Mrs. Higurashi knelt in front of her family's television set and tried to pick up something. Anything. The fatiguing grey of static rippled across the screen and mocked her efforts.

Souta watched his mother from the doorframe, his brows knit with worry. It wasn't the fact his university was mysteriously closed, it was the way everyone was going crazy about the high-level national lock-down that had him irate. The trains had been shut down as effectively as the other modes of public transportation, and Souta was lucky his dorm mate Sachi had his car and enough gas in it to carry them to his home.

All the gas stations were closed down, but Sachi's car made it just in time. His beat up Toyota had chugged on empty just within sight of the shrine steps from the street. Souta and his friend grabbed their bags, intending to make a break for his house when the screaming had begun. They didn't want to look, but trouble came looking for them as a girl ran sobbing from three men hot on her heels.

Souta's blood had seethed when they captured her and began tearing at her clothes. They were going to rape her right on the shrine steps! Sachi and Souta gained a quick advantage over the intended rapists... for they had only one thing on their mind and were not expecting anyone to save their toy. Souta had temporarily tapped into red, he recalled, as he kicked the shit out of the three men, Sachi's heel crunching one jaw as his own sneaker splayed cartilage as easily as crunching drywall. Blood soaking his shoe...

"Ma, leave it alone," Souta called. He banished the memory back. "I don't think anyone's going to say anything."

Mrs. Higurashi looked over to him, her face a mask of worry. She nodded and closed her eyes. "I can't help it, Souta. I wish I could reach Kagome. Her cell phone is off..."

Souta risked another glance down the hallway. The girl they had rescued, Noriko, was resting in a back bedroom in a spare futon and comforter. Sachi was sitting at her side so he allowed himself to think of his bright, older sister.

"She'll be okay, Ma," Souta said with a touch of optimism he barely felt. "Inuyasha's got to be with her. You know how he devoted he is to her."

Suddenly, his words FELT optimistic. He had met Kagome's live-in boyfriend a handful of times, but had liked what he saw each time.

Mrs. Higurashi sighed and breathed a quiet prayer. "Yes... she'll be fine with him. Now, why she hasn't been engaged to marry him yet is beyond me!"

Souta cracked a wary smile. Anything to clear the weirdness going on outside the shrine. "You're not getting old, Ma. You'll see grandchildren from her yet."

"And why haven't you tried for me, dear?" Mrs. Higurashi cocked a wicked smile to her son. Souta held up his hands, beseechingly. Not this discussion again!

"I'm not ready yet... take a number and get in line!" he protested. Mrs. Higurashi 'tsked' at him and finally snapped the tv off. Both felt immediately eased by the lack of pressurized noise.

"I hope that's not how you talk to the girls you go to school with."

"Come on, Ma, I..."

"Hey, she's not doing so good," Sachi entered the family room, grimacing. He was a nice enough guy, but this was beyond him and it showed. His short hair stood up in spikes when he ran his fingers through it. Souta sighed.

"They must have scared the shit out of her."

Mrs. Higurashi patted the young man's shoulder and made her way down the hallway. "I'll go sit with two stay out here."

"Yes, ma'am," Sachi said. Souta walked into the kitchen and collapsed into a chair.

"So much for knights in shining armor, huh?" he asked. Sachi peeked out the kitchen window. Souta's grandfather, clad in his habitual shrine robes, was wandering in a wide circle around the trunk of the most enormous tree he had ever seen. He seemed to favor one spot and would stop to prostrate himself on the soil throughout his chanting.

"What's your grandfather doing?" Sachi wanted to know. Souta shrugged and went to look.

"What, with the Goshinboku? Ojii-chan's funny like that. He takes everything as some kind of sign. Especially with that tree."

"I'd say the nation panicking is a big enough sign," Sachi said wryly. Souta set his chin on his hand, eyes narrowing.

"Yeah, but to what?"

"I don't know what, but... hey, Souta, you have visitors coming up," Sachi's tone was clipped. Souta tensed and leaned on his shoulder to look.

"Get something heavy to..." he began when Grandpa Higurashi shrieked and rushed at the two figures swathed in shadows. Souta relaxed when the mists revealed his sister Kagome, squeezed tight in Grandpa's stout embrace.

"It's just Kagome, thank God... and Inuyasha."

Souta's heart was glad he would have some good news for his mother. "Ma! Kagome's..."

Mrs. Higurashi's head whipped around the doorframe of the back bedroom, her short hair disheveled.

"Kagome's here? Is she alright? Is she okay, Souta?" she demanded.

Souta shrugged. "I don't know, she just showed up..."

"You two stay with Noriko-chan," Mrs. Higurashi commanded. "Kagome! My baby!"

Sachi and Souta stared as the middle-aged woman tore running out the kitchen door to the shrine courtyard.

"I give up," Souta said.

"So, is your sister hot and do I get to meet her?" Sachi grinned. Souta wound back to the bedroom and sat next to Noriko's bed. He watched her snore.

"She's got a boyfriend... AND he's a Takahashi."

Sachi's jaw dropped with each word and he seethed with unveritable envy at the last impossibility. "Well, shit! No fair! How'm I gonna compete with that?"

"You don't," Souta allowed himself a grin. "Inuyasha's got you beat in every way."

"Awww, just rub it in," Sachi complained.


In the courtyard, Kagome held onto her mother tightly. Fujiyoshi and his partner stood a safe distance away, along with three short Kitsune guards. "I'm okay, Mom... really, I'm okay! I promise!" Kagome tried to smile but Mrs. Higurashi's face wouldn't change from a pinched expression of sorrow.

"Where are you two staying at? Why are you out in all this? It's dangerous to be on the streets! The emperor's said everything's shut down. You shouldn't be out!" she exclaimed in one breath.

"I'm sorry to have worried you," Inuyasha said quietly. "I promise you'll have nothing to worry about with Kagome at my side." His partially golden eyes gleamed with sadness at the other mother in his life. He intended to make her his mother-in-law so he acquiesced to her worry.

Mrs. Higurashi regarded the young businessman, and her resolved slipped a notch. She almost relaxed on the spot from the dedication in Inuyasha's eyes. His long fingers trailed next to Kagome's hand; he wouldn't let her out of his sight and to danger.


Ojii-chan sniffed. His daughter may have been sure, but he was not. "And what do you intend to do about all of this, young man?"

"Whatever needs to be done," Inuyasha blinked, looking curiously at Kagome's grandfather. Was he STILL trying to get on his case? He didn't need this, not really. "I'll protect Kagome, no matter what."

"And we're here to help," Fujiyoshi's partner chimed in. Fujiyoshi elbowed him in the ribs.

"Don't worry, ma'am. We'll watch over your daughter, and Mr. Takahashi as well," Fujiyoshi said. Mrs. Higurashi lowered her gaze at his words. Kagome was amazed to see a dart of pink splash across her cheeks. Fujiyoshi waited for the woman to raise her eyes, and held her gaze with his own.

Ojii-chan looked from the tall, bulky guard to his daughter and directed his animosity from Inuyasha to Fujiyoshi.

"Hey... hey! You're beneath my daughter to be looking at her like that!"

Fujiyoshi blinked and took it in stride as his partner chuckled with the Kitsune.

"Father, you shouldn't be so hard on him! You don't know him..."

"And neither do you!" Ojii-chan snapped.

"If we could get back on track here," Inuyasha sweat-dropped. The Kitsune were already digging at the base of the Goshinboku tree.

"What are you doing?" Ojii-chan shrieked. Kagome put a hand to her brow.

"We buried something for safe keeping, Grandpa," Kagome said. "We're just getting it up."

"Well, I hope they know what they're doing!"

Satsu knelt on his shovel, and took a glance upwards into the leafy bowers. He could feel the years receding over the surface of the gnarled bark. He extended one fingertip to an ancient hole...

"Come on, Satsu, put your back into it," Kitsune Hatsuko complained. Satsu retracted his touch and knelt down. Soil clamped onto the knees of his green leggings. Hatsuko knelt beside him with a shoulder bag, and Kitsune Matsuda laid his hands on the other side of the lid. Satsu and Matsuda pulled gently, and mud-caked glass came up inch by inch.

"There it is..." Kagome breathed. Inuyasha squeezed her hand and let go as Kagome padded up to the Kitsune guards and carefully accepted the mud-covered jar with black soil. Satsu carefully helped her slide the jar into a waiting shoulder bag, and helped Kagome adjust the straps over her before letting go.

Mrs. Higurashi bowed to the three, short guards and regarded her daughter with a mystified look. "I'm not going to pretend I know what's going on, Kagome. Just please be safe. And come back home..."

Kagome blinked, and before her eyes, she was ten again, was climbing the branches of the Goshinboku with Souta. She was a child, as vulnerable as the girl sleeping in her bedroom...

Inuyasha watched Mrs. Higurashi, his heart pulling low. Kagome's mother was worried. Kagome's mother... mother... His own mother Izayoi stood tall in his memory, her kind hands extended to touch and soothe.

'Always take care of yourself,' she had said once, smoothing her fingers along his round, childish cheeks. 'If not for you, then surely for me...'

'Oh, Mom,' Inuyasha thought. Tears bled into his heart and made him freeze.

"I will, Mom... I promise..." Kagome whispered when Fujiyoshi and his partner stood as a wall between her and the shrine steps.

"Who's that coming? I can't tell..."

The three Kitsune, Satsu, Hatsuko and Matsuda anchored at their sides until the figure approaching was revealed. Soft hips held a gently rolling gait, round breasts stretched her blouse, long black hair hung long and unbound. Ruby red lips parted to reveal obscenely white teeth and Inuyasha felt a twinge of panic deeper than five seconds ago.

Standing before all of them was Onikage Kikyo... and Inuyasha knew he wasn't the only one to have the thunderous thought…..

Where the heck had she been, and why was she here now?

"Onikage-san!" Inuyasha said in surprise. Fujiyoshi turned.

"You know, her boss? She okay?"

Inuyasha nodded, his fingers searching for Kagome's. She slid her hand in his and squeezed. "Yeah, she's my old boss. I don't know why she's here..."

Wait, Wolf Shit, that is, Kouga had said something about seeing her before being exiled to Ayame's care... what did she do to him anyway? Kikyo's lips spread into a conserved smile. "I've come to meet you, Inuyasha. I am only sorry that it took so long for me to figure out the song and dance."

Kagome felt a shiver through her being at the cryptic words. With all that was going on, why not? But she wasn't irritated. Merely intrigued.

"Who are you, really?" she found herself asking. Kikyo was barely outlined against the dark mist, a dream of ivory and red against the yawning void swirling around them.

And the scene was too picturesquely grotesque to seem to want to be real.

Kikyo smiled and the expression was not unkind. Kagome felt it was very sad, indeed. "I am here and the scene is fading. It is as if I never was, and never will be in your company."

She reached a pale hand to Inuyasha's face, long-nailed fingers seeking to stroke his cheek... And the moment passed. Inuyasha felt the reflection of longing. He seemed to look through a dark mirror at an alternative life with her... or was that a past life? His salt and pepper hair sifted through the slight breeze as he bit his lip, trying to think.

Kagome looked at her lover and saw the incredulous look on his face. She squeezed his hand.

"Did I know you before?" Inuyasha murmured. Kikyo shrugged, her red skirt swaying by an unseen touch.

"Perhaps so. Or you might have, if not for her love," Kikyo looked to Kagome, and her eyes were very sad. Kagome cleared her throat. She should feel strong to be at Inuyasha's side, to be his, but Kikyo's sadness was making her feel edgily uncomfortable.

"What will you do, Kikyo? Where will you go?" she asked and felt an eternity of what-if's wrap themselves up and finish.

Destiny complete.

"I will go away from here. I have unfinished business to complete, as well as goodbyes to make. Inuyasha... I wish you all the best from any and every possibility to who you are."

Inuyasha's throat felt dry. He licked his lips and bowed his head at the odd goodbye. "Be well, Kikyo-san."

Kagome bowed at his side. The short Kitsune arrayed themselves at her side, and fidgeted. Onikage Kikyo smiled fully, her red lips a painted line in the mist. She walked backwards and all but vanished before their very eyes.

"What the..."

"Hey, where'd she go?"

"She couldn't just disappear!..."

No one needn't have worried or tried to look. Because Onikage Kikyo had stepped far away, into the shadows of her name,and through the black mists between syllables.

And right to Onigumo Naraku's feet.

Kikyo felt extreme pleasure at the utter look of surprise across Naraku's pale features before he reigned in his emotions. 'Point one, to me. I've already seen the real you..' Even if momentarily.

"Onikage Kikyo! ... I'd ask to what I owe the pleasure, but I find the real question that comes to mind is 'How did you find me?' "

Kikyo shifted her sandaled foot over a pale limb. A couple of young women were laying on the dirt floor to the side of her, shackled by wrist and ankle. They cringed away from her and tried to disappear into the floor. She felt a flare of disgust for the half naked man lounging before her, dark beads outlined against the lithe muscles across his pale chest.

"I think you know the answer to that, Naraku. Now I think the real question is... What are we going to do with you for betraying your contract?"

Naraku shifted languidly; his black hair fell over his shoulders and onto his perch. " 'Do with me?' Oh, come now, Kikyo-san. You were so eager to upgrade me to my current position, were you not. Why so high and mighty now?"

Kikyo did not blush. She stood as still as Kanna, her dark eyes boring over, unamused. Her pale hands were folded over in front of her waist. She waited an insane amount of time before speaking and Naraku was all but ready to throttle her.

"Do not reach above your position. That was all I asked. I bring my results around by pleasure. All I ask is that you do the same."

"Ha ha!" Naraku laughed in her face. He stretched lazily, his arm muscles pulling taut. Then he leaped to his feet, his bare toes digging in the soil. Kikyo noticed with delayed reaction that when the shadows pulled back, he was naked and she let the disgust show across her lips. Naraku leered down into her face, close enough to kiss. "And it brings ME pleasure to do things my way. You can't do anything about it, witch. You were in heat enough for my dick to begin this and that's all you're getting from me."

Kikyo wanted to slap the look off his face. Unfathomable rage welled through her chest and her fingers twitched at her sides. It was a good thing she had such a handle on her emotions otherwise her long nails would have been in his cheeks gouging his smooth looks.

"Shut. Your. Mouth." Kikyo demurred. Naraku's smile froze. "Don't act with ME, Naraku. I know what you are and where you began. You are nothing. And you will die a nothing. It matters not what you can do now. I gave you that power. And you are beyond arrogant if you think you will keep it."

As the words issued from Kikyo's ruby red lips, the look on Naraku's face changed. He was no longer amused, and he was getting very, very angry. He would show this slut who was boss. Her mouth had been all over him, stoking his essence to spill violently; that was all her mouth was good for!

"Enough," he growled. Kikyo started in surprise when Naraku's large hand closed around her snow-white throat. Her eyes widened slightly as he started to squeeze.

"You will shut up, slut. I don't know how you found me, but I've had enough of you. You showed me the path but I have taken it beyond what you thought. What I do with it is not your concern!"

Kikyo's eyes slit as Naraku shook her back and forth like a cuffed puppy. Her black hair swayed back and forth, and her feet left the ground. Her sandals fell off her toes and onto the dirt. The girls behind her whimpered and cowered back. Naraku's mouth opened and a series of high-pitched laughter rolled from SOMEWHERE, and out the portal of his spread, gleeful lips. His eyes bled blackness; the mere absense of pupils was disturbing enough, but the inky holes in his skull dripped from beyond, and onto his bare chest. Flecks spewed across Kikyo's face.

Each fleck that stung her skin sang of harrowed madness and doom. It would have been enough to drive anyone mad and it had certainly cowed the youths cringing naked in chains and in dirt.

But Kikyo was not as young or inexperienced; her eyes slit and reaching, her toes found footing on the dirt below. She raised her hand and smacked it flush against the lithe, paleness of Naraku's pectorals.

"You slug, you're too low to fit on the totem pole," Kikyo hissed out. Her throat ached, but her fingers splayed, and squeezed the warm flesh beyond his chest. Her fingers touched, and knew.

Behind the pale marble of his torso, she felt the reins of darkness Naraku had opened up. She HAD shown him the path to power, but it was her place to know how to do so.

Naraku gagged as her fingers dipped inside and psyhically squeezed the flecks of black inside his body. Where she touched, the blackness merely disintegrated.

"Stop!" Naraku hissed. His other arms fell limply, dead to move. Kikyo adjusted her stance and pressed harder. Her hand visibly SANK inside his chest and dug around as Naraku gasped harshly in pain and surprise.

"You weren't betting I COULD take it back, were you?" Kikyo smirked. Her dark eyes slanted, promising retribution. Naraku staggered back, his dead limbs swaying next to his naked hips. His manhood shriveled and shrank, his hair swept back so Kikyo could see.

She smirked.

"Stop!" Naraku hissed. He clawed at her hand, his nails digging in for dear life. Kikyo planted a second palm against his cheek and Naraku saw his life pass back to mortal lenghs, for he saw his life flashing quickly to end at this witch's hands.

"No! Stop her!" Naraku hissed. The two girls looked up and one started for an unseen object in the cave's corner. The other one stopped her. She could see a way out of this, even if the other one was so afraid she would have aided Naraku out of his demise.

Several loping figures peeled off of the rock wall and one snatched up the long object from the floor. The creature pulled and dark steel gleamed from the black scabbard in his hand. Naraku smirked in Kikyo's face as she was run through from behind. Her grasping fingers let him go.

The expression on her face, he must say, was priceless.

"Glack!" she gagged on her own blood as the oni skewered her middle torso with the blade, and kept cutting to pull it out her other side.

Naraku rose to his full height and kicked the fallen woman. Her middle opened up even more, drenching the earth with her life's blood.

"No," she whimpered. To have lived so long a careful life and have it ended at the feet of an enemy!... panic bulged Kikyo's eyes as the color dimmed from them.

Naraku trod upon her grasping, reaching fingers. "That was too close," he murmured, checking his chest and insides for injury. She had taken some of his powers, sure, but there were ample stores she hadn't had time to get to.

She had barely scratched the surface and made it bled.

"At your service, leige," the oni rumbled. He offered the dark katana to Naraku hilt first. Naraku took the weapon and turned to his prisoners as Kikyo gasped small, shallow breaths on the floor.

"You were going to let her kill me," he growled. His extra limbs flexed and grabbed the hair of the girl who had started to reach for the sword.

"I wasn't, sir! I promise! I was going to get your sword!" she sobbed. Snot ran down her nose and off her chin. Naraku threw her down and smiled benevolently.

"I know. I believe you, child."

The girl momentarily relaxed until he thrust down with the blade. Her hand raised up instinctively to block the blow... and flew away as the blade detached it from the wrist.

The girl screamed in agony and pain, thrusting her stump into the air. Blood sprayed across her shocked companion.

"But you moved too slow," Naraku smirked. He wiped the dripping katana on the back of Kikyo's reddening blouse, adding more insult to injury. The oni watched the girl's injury with open blood lust and let themselves feast at Naraku's nod.

Her screams were horrible to hear.

"You, on the other hand, were going to betray me," Naraku hissed to the girl, the one who had stopped her companion from helping.

The girl's eyes grew huge and the spark in them slowly died as she understood what her punishment was going to be.

The last thing Kikyo heard as she lay dying were the soft sobs of the girl held down as Naraku punished her with his bodily thrusts that split her open.

Inuyasha, Kagome and their guards returned back to Takahashi Enterprises with speed and protection. The short Kitsune cringed inwardly at each scream or laugh from outside the safety of the armored vehicles, but their job was to see their charges back safely. Kagome leaned against Inuyasha's shoulder, too weary to want to listen. Inuyasha was worried. He knew she cared enough for the innocent outside, but unless they went to battle Naraku, there wasn't alot they could do for everyone.

The atmosphere was tense and even more so once the company of SUV's were safely ensconced inside the Takahashi garages. The empty lobby was deceiving for as the group ascended to guest floors above, they were greeted by a bevy of people.

Short red-haired Kitsune milled around clad in legal attire or furlined vests with green leggings.

Ookami men and women had exchanged their business attire for combat gear. It gave Inuyasha a chill to think that all these able-bodied warriors were related to Kouga. There were so many.

Kagome leaned her hip against Inuyasha's allowing her posture to sag slightly. She could see Miroku and Sango talking to a couple of the Ookami. How she longed to just rest now, just for a moment. Inuyasha turned to watch her still expression, his eyes narrowed with concern. He longed to take her into his arms, but there was quite a crowd.

And he was Inutaisho's son. His partially golden eyes swept around the crowd to the white, shining figure his brother made...he stuck out like a lily among the daffodills.

Sesshomaru's yellow eyes locked with his; he nodded. Kouga and Ayame were conversing with him, and Rin was ever by his side.

"Oh, I got you, Dad," Kouga was saying. His father, Ookami Senior, had entered the audience room in his slightly bent way, his gait bent further by the oldest man Inuyasha had ever seen clinging to his arm. His eyes weres slanted to two pupils of penetrating orange, his ears pointed along the sides of his sparsely covered scalp and his small claw-like hands shook with palsey. But he still gazed at everyone with quick intelligence.

And the reverence Kouga and Ayame showed him spoke of his immense status within the Ookami clan. Ookami Takeru beamed as the elder leaned against his son and allowed him help to a chair.

"Friends," Sesshomaru's voice rang out. Everyone stilled and lent their ears. It secretly impressed Kagome how quickly everyone was to respond to his voice. It was a trait her brash-speaking lover could do with. "I thank you all for coming here to do your part instead of waiting it out as so many others must. The real storm is here and you have chosen to ride the lightning instead of playing it safe. I am grateful, and truly honor me with your presence."

Inuyasha's heart swelled with the lifting speech, even as his childish ego taunted his big brother for trying to act so pompously proper. The Kitsune cheered and the Ookami grinned. Kagome leaned against his side, and her mouth stretched in a small yawn.

"He always did know what to say," Inuyasha had to admit. Kagome snuggled closer, in the crowds of people. Miroku caught her eye and he and Sango came closer. The four friends knotted together amongst the legions of partial youkai and humans.

"Is there any way we can get away for awhile? They may be up for awhile," Sango said. Inuyasha nodded and jingled a pass card produced from his slacks pocket.

"We can head to a conference room and take some quiet time. I think we all need to get away..." His hand squeezed Kagome's hip as they went.

Tomorrow was going to be hard enough as it was.

End for now


Well, well, well, the second post this year! When will this monstrosity be done? I hope soon. I will be far too busy enough if I get my college studies started. I want this thing to be behind me. Please, inspiration, bite me hard so I don't get too sad and just get the story written. I have gone through the layers of my mind far too many times.