Ok, so it's come to my attention that I've been leaving the whole battle, and war against Naraku to the side, soI want to get back into that, hopefully start rounding that, so here is my chapter to try to make that happen.

Enjoy, and sorry for taking so long! I wish I could promise it won't happen again, but as I'm in my last year of University, with examns and all work, I can't make any promises. I can only give my best and write in all the spare times I have.

Fragments of A Shattered Moon

A Lord Rising

Sesshoumaru presses his sword against the neck of the bakeneko demon.

'Wouldn't it be nice?' Sesshoumaru thinks silently, face not revealing exactly how frustrated he is, 'if I still had Bakusaiga?'

But the sword was lost when his house fell, and in a moment of irony, it was just Tenseiga who stayed at his side. A blessing in disguise, as it had given him the ability to rescue Kagome.

But still…

He had forgotten exactly how annoying other strong youkai could be. Kagome, of course, was annoying, but she was the right kind of annoying

This was unacceptable.

The youkai that had survived had an ear out for other survivors, as he had found out through Kouga. They did not come into contact, and they definitely tried to pretend the others didn't exist, but they knew about them, and they knew where they most probably were. Kouga's informant had almost been right.

Three groups of rebel youkai, including Kouga's, two powerful youkai, and a strategist. That was all that had survived. It had to be enough. There was no more.

On his second week, he had managed to track down Raiko, a raccoon leader in charge of a group similar to Kouga's, although smaller. It was easy. He had showed up, let a bit of his power out, and Raiko had said, "Well, finally." Apparently, Raiko had similar plans. Although much weaker than Sesshoumaru would have liked, the youkai had common sense, or survival instinct better than Kouga's. So they agreed to join him, even with mikos, who he had adamantly admitted could be useful.

Raiko also had information of the whereabouts of Shiori.

Shiori had been one of his father's strategists. By the time he came into the job, Sesshoumaru had already started fighting with his father, and so had stayed as far away from anything that had to do with the man. But he had heard of Shiori and paid a special interest in him. Although young to be in the position he was, the youkai was brilliant. He could give a victory to Sesshoumaru's father where everyone else saw a defeat.

Sesshoumaru hadn't even known he was alive until Kouga had told him. And Raiko knew where he was. Leaving a subordinate to prepare everything and everyone to move to Kouga's camp, Raiko had gone with him to find Shiori. Now older, but still as bright as Sesshoumaru remembered, the youkai had agreed to work with Sesshoumaru, so long as it was only Sesshoumaru who he had to report to. The youkai had survived purely on his brilliant mind, as he had no real power.

His mind was gold, though, and so, in two weeks he had found himself allied with a genius strategist and some rebel youkai.

That was when the easy part ended, and Sesshoumaru considered himself to be lucky of even that much.

The cat youkai in front of him, Yuna, was more powerful than Raiko, and on the level of Kouga.

Unlike Kouga, though, she was sharp, played dirty, and had a devious mind.

Sesshoumaru might have liked her if he didn't find her a nuisance. She fought with vengeance. From the moment she had felt him, she had prepared her attack, which had lead to lots of tricks, and a very frustrated Sesshoumaru. For every hit he had, she had a counterattack, a way of escaping.

When his sword touched the skin of her neck and her tricks ran out, Sesshoumaru allowed the tiniest of smirks to appear on his face, and his eyes flashed for a tiny instant.

Yuna did not miss this.

"So, it is true." She stated. Her green eyes fixed on him. "You are involved with a human. Voice of your return flew fast, as well as news of your companion. A human? It seems the apple does not fall far from the tree, afterall." A cat-like smile broke on her face, and Sesshoumaru had a second to marvel at how audacious she was been with a sword to her neck.

He has always hated dealing with cat youkai.

Raiko's black eyes were boring into his eyes, as well as Shiori's brown ones. Sesshoumaru stopped the sigh that was already forming. He had spent too much time around Kagome with no one else around him, and it showed.

Before her, they would have found nothing out of his expression.

"No." Sesshoumaru says, loud enough for the farthest youkai to hear him. "I am not involved with a human. I am involved with a miko." Technically, that is not true. Kagome is not his mate. He has not taken her, but she is his. Even if she does not know, and if it was for him, she would be involved with him in every way.

So, they are involved, and he has no plans of changing that.

The Sesshoumaru from before would have tossed her aside, never had risked his position for a mere mortal, but this is now, and he is not the Sesshoumaru from before.

He is Sesshoumaru, just Sesshoumaru, still as powerful, still as vicious, and cruel, but he is also Kagome's. He loves her, and somehow, that came to mean everything.

He will not deny her.

"A miko? How low you have fallen!" Yuna exclaims, a sneer forming on her face. Sesshoumaru will simply have to erase it from that face. There is a crack and a repressed scream, and Yuna finds herself with a broken leg.

Raiko and Shiori move to block the youkai moving around them as they see their leader fall, but none of them dare come closer.

"The cut is clean. Someone can set it back in place with no problem." He looks at Yuna, ice in his eyes, and somehow, it burns more than fire. "This is me being nice." He explains his tone bored. "You think you can outsmart me, and that is a fatal mistake." Before Yuna can do anything, Sesshoumaru grabs her arm and makes a clean break of it. Yuna stiffens another scream. "That is also a clean cut and can be healed just as easily as it was made." Sesshoumaru turns his golden eyes towards the rest of the youkai, making sure to make eye contact with Raiko and Shiori. As valuable as they are right now, he will break their necks if they pose any treat towards Kagome.

"I am involved with the miko Kagome, who happens to be the Shikkon no Tama miko. For your own good, I hope you are not stupid enough to know that Naraku's power comes from the pearl and the witch Atsuki. You might be stupid enough to not realize that this means we need mikos to win. Naraku cannot be killed while he has the Shikkon no Tama, and we need mikos to deal with that." His eyes turn to Yuna, and for a moment, he lets her see his fury.

After all, now he can show more emotion. Kagome has rubbed on him too much, and if he is going to show emotion, he might as well do it usefully. "We have all isolated ourselves from the world, focusing only on our survival. This cannot be anymore. We have allowed Naraku to win ground, to win over us by using our own prejudices. If we are to survive, we will have to work together."

"But under you." Yuna manages to say through gritted teeth, insolent even in pain.

Sesshoumaru can appreciate the fighting spirit, the will to not bow to anyone, but he will not tolerate it. "Of course under me. No matter how many changes, the fact remains that I am stronger and wiser than you are. The mikos, Kouga's and Raiko's group are with me, and if you are smart, so will you."

A daring soul asks from over the youkai. "And if we don't?"

Sesshoumaru's face is calm, collected, as he delivers the next news. "Then you will be eliminated. I cannot have possible enemies running around, and it is too late to be neutral. Raiko, if you could tend to Yuna's injuries."

Sesshoumaru walks through the crowd of youkai, well aware that they are already on his side.

After this, only the winter youkai and he can go back to Kagome.

'There are bad days', Atsuki thinks, 'and then, there are good days.'

Obviously, it is not a good day for Naraku or Kagura.

It is a wonderful day for Atsuki.

Naraku, his eyes bloodshot and a malicious snarl on his mouth, has been shouting at Kagura for the last half hour. Sango, who looks so bored she might pass out any second, is sprawled on a sofa, right arm falling to the side, eyes blank. Inuyasha sits on the floor next to the sofa, a second from falling asleep as well.

Atsuki, on the contrary, looks as smug as a cat who plays with a poor mouse. She sips her green tea and casts Kagura a look of triumph.

It is no secret how much she hates the other youkai.

"You incompetent fool!" Naraku screams once more, grabbing Kagura by the shoulder and throwing her to the floor. "How could you let this happen?" his eyes narrow and he throws a nearby base against a wall. "Your job was to eliminate all the groups!"

"I eliminated as many as possible." Kagura replies, her eyes stuck to the floor, and not daring to raise her voice beyond a few tones over a whisper.

"It was not enough." Naraku yells, looking frankly about him, as if to find his next victim.

Inuyasha and Sango smartly glance away, while Atsuki just smiles.

Naraku will not do anything to her. Not after everything, she has done for him. The almost perfect use of the Shikkon no Tama, the puppet army, and now the Oni.

Fearsome and powerful, the giant horned demons now fight for Naraku.

Atsuki takes another sip from her green tea, Mali's favorite.


Rumor has it she is now Kagome's teacher. Atsuki knows Mali, and she knows how deep her power goes. The miko was always too bright for her own good. Too pure, too powerful, too beautiful, too everything. Always making Atsuki look like nothing compared to her. Forever having what Atsuki wanted. She could destroy all she has been working on. Atsuki does not know how much she has taught Kagome, but anything is bad.

It is imperative that they kill Mali.

"How did you manage to leave the strongest ones alive? How could you not find them?"

Naraku is still screaming at Kagura. The female youkai has been messing up and Naraku is starting to get to the point where he thinks eliminating her might be better than keeping her.

"I will correct my mistakes," Kagura says, bowing to demonstrate how willing she is to erase her wrongs.

"Sesshoumaru is out there, uniting youkai. He already has the miko at his side, he has Kagome." He snarls. "She might not look it, and she was definitely not it before, but now she is our greatest enemy. Mali is training her. Sesshoumaru is protecting her, and if things keep going, she will have a youkai army to fight us back. This is the Shikkon no Tama miko, and no matter Atsuki's power, it will be nothing if the miko decides to eliminate the pearl." Naraku closes his eyes, tightens his teeth, tries not to explode and kill everyone around him.

Atsuki narrows her eyes, aware of how all her powers can do nothing if the Shikkon no Tama miko decides to claim what is hers to protect.

"You should remember that she probably has the last shard, as reports say she was chasing around for it, and now that she has disappeared from our radar…." Sango says all this in a matter of fact tone and shrugs. A small smile forms when Naraku goes into a rampage again. Chairs are thrown, a table is broken, and Kagura receives a kick to the side. She is smart enough not to even whimper.

Naraku picks Kagura from the floor and brings her eye level. "Track down Sesshoumaru." He snarls.

"And kill him?"

"No." Naraku says firmly, and without looking at Inuyasha, delivers the next orders.

"Inuyasha, you will go with her. Kill Sesshoumaru. Atsuki, you will go, too. It is most probable that Sesshoumaru is traveling with Mali or Kagome. Eliminate them. Sango, go as back up. Bring some puppets with you."

The corners of Inuyasha's lips curve into a twisted smile. Naraku does not have to order it of him. It is his utmost wish to destroy Sesshoumaru.

Atsuki finishes her tea. It has been almost a century since her path crossed Mali's. Once a best friend, she is now her most hated enemy. The witch still remembers the envy she always felt, the need to try to beat her, but it was for nothing. All the villagers saw was the beautiful miko Mali, with strength that could protect them from anything.

Atsuki was always the one they had to watch out for and she proved them right, didn't she?

Oh, yes. They wanted her to be evil, to hurt them, and she did more than that. She destroyed them, killed them all.

Except for Mali.

Ot is time to remedy that.

True to her word, Mali left Kagome alone until she got better. Unfortunately, it took but three days after Sesshoumaru's departure for her to get better. She slept and was occasionally interrupted by a miko that would bring her food, or on rare occasions, Shippo would eat with her.

Surprisingly, it was not awkward, although that could be because Kagome was more interested in trying to eat without throwing up.

She did not look forward to conversations with Shippo now that she was better.

But back to her current problem...

"Mmmm, you shoot a little to the left."

Kagome could feel the vein on her forehead popping. With great effort, she swallowed her snappy comment and focused once more on the target. Arrow, bow, pull back, focus, don't breathe, let go. She could hit any target, moving or still. It was very difficult for her to miss, and yet here she was, not even putting miko powers into the arrow, and practicing…

"Still to the left."

Kagome grits her teeth. She is practicing patience, apparently. Maybe this is a plan to make her think before acting. If so, it is a very lame plan, especially considering she has Sesshoumaru, and he would stop her from jumping into anything without at least taking a good look before.

Kagome took another arrow.

Mali stands next to her, arms crossed as she stares intently at the target. The old miko looks…considerably young, for being as old as she was. Just like the witch, she was forever trapped in a body little under thirty. If they aged, it had to be at the pace of a youkai.

"Maybe your arm is wrong." Mali announces all knowledge and wisdom.

"For Kami's sake, Mali, can't you shut up?" Kagome finally explodes. The miko and youkai training nearby discretely put distance between them. Three days of glorious sickness, followed by three weeks training with Mali and away from Sesshoumaru. Everyone is used to these outbursts by now.

It was not always target training. Sometimes they built her miko strength, tested her powers, hand-to-hand combat, and sword. Once, they had even tried to see if her miko powers could protect other youkai. Unfortunately, for the youkai, they can't. Kouga had yelled at them for about thirty minutes, which was the longest they had talked in three weeks. Okay, the longest he had avoided her eyes. Kagome called it progress. Maybe next time he would actually yell at her.

"Your aim should be perfect." Mali says, as if that was the most obvious thing.

"My aim is as perfect as it can be. I always hit."

"It's a little to the left."

"Arrrggg!" Kagome intelligently answers, throwing the bow to the ground. "What is your problem? Are you trying to get a rise out of me?" Her face must be red. Kagome can feel it heating from fury, but Mali looks so damned calm, and it only helps to make her angrier.

"Yes, I've been trying to find out the limit to your patience." Mali smirks at her. "The enemy will do the same, taunt you until you explode, so I wanted to know when to expect it, so I could interfere. Although, I'm pretty sure Sesshoumaru knows it by heart." If the miko could look more proud of herself, she would explode.

Kagome stares at Mali with bewilderment. She can't believe it. It actually is patience training.


Mali raises a hand to stop her words. "Congratulations, Kagome, you last an hour more than you did last week. I believe we can make something out of you." The miko gives her another grin before turning and leaving Kagome seething.

"How dare…" She starts and then turns to find a victim, but no one is around her. "Aaarggg!" She yells once more, kicking the grass and walking away from target practice.

A walk through the woods should calm her. At least, Mali will not be there. Thankfully, the woman still trains her mikos rigorously. Only now, Kagome trains with them in the morning and Mali with them in the afternoon. Mali may be their leader, but Kagome is the Shikkon No Tama miko, which makes her the most important miko of them all. Like she needs even more responsibility.

She is beginning to get why Sesshoumaru was always so stuck up. Having so many people dependant of you could do that to someone.

Kagome sits on a clean-looking rock and allows the sun to warm her, or pretend to warm her. Really, it might as well go away with how chilly the day is. Kagome sighs. Nothing seems to be working out for her, her nerves are extra sensitive, and her patience is non-existent.

"Shouldn't you be training?"

Kagome does not jump as she hears the voice. The old Kagome would have. Too lost in her thoughts, she would not have sensed someone coming closer to her. This Kagome merely turns her head and gives him a weak smile. "Shippo." She greets, patting the space next to her after a bit of hesitation. Shippo accepts also after some hesitation.

Once, he would have jumped into her arms, and she would have had them opened for him. Two years are not supposed to be anything to a youkai. Even ten years are considered nothing.

These two years are different.

After all, in a way, didn't they both die?

Now, what was it Kagome had said? Oh, yes, she is Sesshoumaru's, and he is Kouga's.

"I decided to have a break. It was that or blowing up Mali." Kagome said, trying to make the situation lighter.

"The leader miko does…" Shippo tries to find a nice way to say 'make you go insane with frustration, annoyance, and a deep urge to kill', but thankfully, Kagome seems to get it.

"What are you doing here, Shippo?" Kagome's blue eyes are intense on him, her face just as serious.

Shippo is not sure how to treat this Kagome. Memories of the Kagome that took care of him, treated him like his child, flash in his brain, and yet the Kagome in front of him is not that one. She is too serious, too powerful, and too aware of her surrounding to be the old Kagome.

But he must say what no one else is saying.

"Why Sesshoumaru?" He does not like the idea. Of course, he understands Inuyasha is gone forever, that there is no way they could ever be together. Not in the past, and most definitely not now, but Sesshoumaru? When there is Kouga? "He is mean, Kagome, and how can…how can you choose him over Kouga?"

He wants to understand, because Kouga is a hero, he is what he wants to be when he grows up, and Sesshoumaru…powerful, untouchable youkai, how could he ever love Kagome the way she needs?

Shippo is not blind. He has seen the way the inu youkai looks at Kagome. His eyes follow her everywhere, and his senses are always tuned towards her. And he took care of her, for kami's sake! When she was sick, when she is not sick. He listens to her babbling, lets her touch him and even smile at her.

But, well, that was before he went away to find other youkai.

"He has always been there since this started." Kagome says, a smile forming on her smile.

"Kouga would have been there!" Shippo yells. "You didn't see him when he thought you were dead. He only kept going because he had so many people under him, but he was dead inside, Kagome. He has always loved you. He can love you like Sesshoumaru couldn't because he is not afraid of what other youkai will say. Do you really think Sesshoumaru can lead all this youkai with a miko by his side? That he could build back his empire with a human! He will ignore you when he comes back!"

The silence that comes after his sudden outburst is the loudest noise Shippo has ever heard. He can hear his heart bumping fast, his blood rushing to his ears. His eyes widen, and he waits for Kagome to explode and purify him to a better life…or at least a life where he will hopefully know how to keep his mouth shut.

"When it mattered. When I had nothing else," Kagome starts, and to his surprise, her voice is gentle, "he was there. He was even there when I was still with Inuyasha. Perhaps as background, but...he's always just...been there" Kagome smiles so gently it hurts Shippo. "Sesshoumaru…is selfish and has a god complex. Sometimes, I just want to strangle him. Of course, he is a jerk and border line racist, but…you see, he brought me back to life because a dying human girl begged him to, and he stuck to my side because of the same promise. He could have turned his back to me, to Rin, to all of us, but he did not. He wants revenge, not because of his land, but because of the people he lost, and even if he will not admit it, even Inuyasha is part of them. He stands with Mali and Kouga and everyone else not because he doesn't have anything better to do, but because he knows this is our last chance." Kagome looks Shippo directly in his eyes. Her gaze seems to glow, a fire inside of them. "He could walk away. Naraku would leave him alone, but he is still here. Always here. And me…I…" Kagome closes her eyes briefly, and when she opens them, they are so sad, Shippo aches to embrace her. And he understands, a bit, why she is so set on Sesshoumaru.

"I know things between us will most certainly change. I was stupid, I didn't tell him I loved him, and I think now might be too late. There is a war to win, and a world to recover, and he…well, he will be the leader of so many, once more the powerful Sesshoumaru, and not…" Kagome sighs, looks at the sky, "not my Sesshoumaru anymore, but that is alright." She turns to Shippo and smiles.

This…this is so Kagome he really wants to smack her. Hard. Didn't she learn anything with Inuyasha? Is she a masochist? All the sadness he felt for her evaporates, leaving anger.

"Kagome…don't be stupid again." That, Shippo thinks, pretty much resumes everything. "You did that with Inuyasha. If…if you can't see how good Kouga would be for you, then at least fight for Sesshoumaru, even if he is just an arrogant jerk. You fight for everyone. Why not for yourself?"

Shippo decides this is as much as he can get with before Kagome decides to kill him. Just one more thing, while she is still in shock at his words. "And if Kouga has no chance, at least talk to him. He has always been there, too. You've just never seen him."

Naraku feels trapped.

Kagura and company have already left, and the plan to kill Sesshoumaru is already in motion. Inuyasha is vicious, and much stronger than he was before he killed him, but Sesshoumaru…

There is a reason Naraku did not try to kill Sesshoumaru in the first place. He does not know how strong the taiyoukai is. His hopes were that he would not want to interfere once he lost everything.

Kagome had made all this crash down. He hadn't factored her in. Hadn't thought Sesshoumaru would ever help her. If it hadn't been for Rin's words… he should have killed the girl instead of taunting Sesshoumaru.

It's too late for that.

Sesshoumaru is building an army, and he already has the miko group on his side. By what he knows, he surely is hiding wherever Kouga is. The wolf is good. Try as he might, Naraku has not been able to find his hideout.

That means Sesshoumaru already has one of the biggest rebel groups on his side. From that, he will surely move to Raiko's and Yuna's, and then Shiori. The last will be the winter youkai, and for the first time since Atsuki helped him, Naraku sees danger in the world he now rules. But he will not let it grow bigger.

He will squash them all, make them wish they had never dared set foot on him. They will be slaves at his feet, except Sesshoumaru, the last son of the West, who he will destroy.

Naraku sits in his dark throne room, red eyes glimmering in the dark.

Maybe if he'll even make that troublesome miko his slave. Wouldn't it be nice to have the Shikkon no Tama miko as his?

Kagome is left with the arduous job of trying to comprehend what just happened. She blinks, wondering if a child youkai really just gave her that sermon. Seriously, she knows he is much more mature now, but he is still a child, and…

How can he know?

Of all the people that could have told her, it was Shippo. Shippo, who has no love story and cannot possibly know what she is going through…,

And somehow makes more sense than anyone else.

Of course, Kouga chooses to materialize right at that moment.

Stupid Shippo probably sent him.

Kagome looks at the youkai she could have loved, loved to a certain degree. She looks at the youkai that could make her happy, that wants to make her happy beyond anything else, and is filled with sadness.

She already loves someone, much more than she ever loved anyone else, and whatever chance she might have had with this wonderful youkai is impossible.

She was able to be with him for two months without caring about Inuyasha, but she could never do that with Sesshoumaru in her life.

Even if it's hopeless with him, how could she ever be with anyone but the dog demon? How could she let someone else touch her, or another's lips cover her own? How could she do it without thinking of the silver hair youkai?

It cannot be.

Besides, Kagome already has a plan.

She will very happily finish Naraku and become a hermit. She will go with the wind or, if by some divine miracle, is permitted to go back to her own time; she'll…dedicate herself to her studies and never think of men, Youkai. Whatever. Free like the wind or married to her studies. Kagome likes her thoughts. They are nice and uncomplicated, and of course, very unrealistic.

Kouga is looking at her like she might die again.

"It's never going to be our right time, is it?" Kouga says, and it feels like a punch, like ice falling over her, or like opportunity escaping.

She wishes she could love him, but she doesn't. Shippo is right. She has never seen him, and when she did, it was briefly, and she put him in the background just as quickly. Kagome gives him the most heartbreaking smile.

This youkai would have given anything for her. Loyal, compassionate, possessive, protective, passionate, tender…he is everything she's always been looking for in a man. He is the youkai who she should have fallen in love with. The one man whom her heart should belong to. He'd catch her when she fell, let her cry when needed, and make her laugh when life got to be too much.

If she had met him first, if she hadn't loved Inuyasha so much, if meeting Sesshoumaru hadn't been so tragic, so life changing, so…

She could have, maybe would have, left Inuyasha for him. After time and many mistakes, maybe she could have walked away from the hanyou.

But now there is Sesshoumaru, strong, beautiful, with stupidly soft hair and mind blowing golden eyes.

Sesshoumaru, who brought her back to life in more than the literal way, who she put before Inuyasha, before Shippo, and before Sango.

She looks at the youkai in front of her, at those horribly sad eyes, and desolate air.

He is right, of course.

There are people who are right for you, perfect, and would make you immensely happy. The kind that borders on ridiculous. People that would make your life easy, that are easy to love. It would be right, like a dance long ago learned.


"No." And the truth hurts because she does not even want to love him, like she so desperately wished sometimes when she was with Inuyasha. She does not want to do the effort, to forget about Sesshoumaru, and start with Kouga.

Some happily ever endings are simply not for you.

"You can't love me." His voice does not break, even if the youkai himself looks like he is about to do so.

"No, I…I could have, maybe, when it was Inuyasha, but with Sesshoumaru…"

"Why him?" So lost, so hurt, maybe Kagome should have stayed dead for him. Perhaps it would have been less painful.

"He…understands me, is there for me, he makes me smile and yell, and he makes me want to live to my fullest, and…it is natural to me. To love Sesshoumaru…it takes me no effort."

"He is not right for you."

Kagome gives a small laugh. "Oh no, he is completely wrong for me. I wouldn't have chosen him myself, but you see? We fit, somehow, and now, well, I guess we fit so well we forgot how to disentangle ourselves."

"I love you."

Kagome takes a deep breath before her next words. "Yes, but to me, you are just a friend. A dear friend, but nothing more."

When Kouga turns without another word and walks away, Kagome does not stop him even though she want to. She never meant to cause Kouga pain. He was her friend. She wanted him to be happy and smile that cocky smile like he used to, but things were never going to be the same. Not for any of them.

'I miss Sesshoumaru.' She thinks miserably. 'I missed him since before he left, but now…'

Now it's goddamn intolerable.

The biggest problem is not even that he is not here, where he should be, but where he is going, probably already is.

They fought, trained, slept, ate, freaking lived with no one around them. For two and something years, it was them against the world, and somehow, even though they were in the middle of a dying world, it was safe.

It was safe to be with Sesshoumaru.

There was no one to judge them, to frown upon them, and to remind Sesshoumaru that he was older, wiser, above Kagome's league. Kagome was not stupid. She knew Sesshoumaru's ideas on humans. He treated all the mikos like mere nuisances, and the youkai like a necessary bad. It was only she that was spared Sesshoumaru's …arrogance.

But now…

The miko's opinion was of no importance to Sesshoumaru, and he would rather listen to them than to Kouga, who was the one closest to Sesshoumaru's power, and still too far. Sesshoumaru was out to get powerful youkai into their ranks. Youkai whose opinions actually mattered. Youkai that would surely frown upon them, maybe not even follow them if mikos were involved. If she was involved with Sesshoumaru.

It's been a lifetime, but Kagome can still remember those icy eyes on her, or rather, looking through her. He never really looked at her, did he? She was always a pest, Inuyasha's miko, and nothing more.

Kagome runs a hand through her hair, fists it there, wishes, fervently, that nothing changes between them, but they will, won't they? They already have.

When he comes back, what will happen with them?

She shakes her head madly.


Whatever changes between with Sesshoumaru and her, it does not matter. She will concentrate, continue training, and she will do it not just for Sesshoumaru, but for her. Because she owes it to the world and herself to be better.

Ok, so another chapter, and I swear I will finish this story, whatever it takes. Review!