Higurashi Kagome slowly swept the courtyard of her family’s shrine, humming to herself softly as a cool autumn breeze blew by. She smiled as her thoughts turned to the last four years, the many adventures and dangerous situations flashing through her mind. Her group had been able to collect nearly all the shards, minus Naraku’s, and all were beginning to wonder when the final battle would come. They had made several allies along the way, along with many enemies, and the prospect of coming to the journey’s end was both frightening and relieving. No one quite knew what would happen when the Shikon no Tama would be completed and a wish made; possibly she would never see her friends again.
If, Kagome thought with some pessimism, thinking on how they would be able to take the shards from Naraku’s clutches. Still an unanswerable question, but one which would need a reply once all the loose pieces had been gathered by him or them. The kind miko only hoped everyone she cared about would come out of the confrontation alive and well.
Kagome stopped her work and uneasily rubbed the small, incomplete Shikon no Tama which was upon a necklace around her throat. They had gathered enough of the shards to create a pendent, inserting a string through the hole of the incomplete area, and thus she was able to dispense with the clumsy vile.
Unfortunately, several other problems still presented themselves too often for her liking. One was, naturally, the appearance of Naraku’s numerous offspring and his puppets. Always, though, her friends and she had come up with ways to destroy the vile children, all except Kagura and Kanna being defeated so far. The attacks by the dark hanyou had been more extreme during the last few months, a greater number of youkai under his command being sent against them. Easily dealt with by Tetsaiga, but very disturbing in Naraku’s increasing deadliness.
The second problem now rarely showed himself since Inuyasha learned to use the Bakryuuha, the disappearance both a blessing and a curse. Kagome sighed as she thought of the handsome, albeit cold and deadly, half-brother of the hanyou. Sesshoumaru, inu taiyoukai of the Western Lands, was most certainly a difficulty. She had hoped he would help them in the fight against Naraku, which would have given them a priceless ally, but the ice prince avoided the group as if they had the plague. Though not having to hear him shout “die!” repeatedly was a turn for the better, the line growing old after everyone kept coming through the encounters with their breathing very much intact.
Kagome turned her dreaming to more pleasant thoughts, laughing as a leaf blew into her face and fluttered off to pass by the well house. Lately the shard hunting had gone especially well, several of the final pieces having been found within the last few days, and she rewarded herself with a few relaxing days and a nice, hot bath in the modern era. She frowned as she remembered the tantrum Inuyasha had given her before her leave, accusing her of shirking her responsibilities and friends. Shaking her head sadly, she had come to realize many months ago her heart had finally given up on the hanyou. His antics, while amusing to her younger self, had grown increasingly annoying over the last year or so. He was now more of an irritating brother than a possible boyfriend, the idea of a lover even further from her mind.
Kagome suddenly stopped her sweeping and shook her head, a smile on her face. No, even Souta bothered her less than the hanyou. Possibly his actions resembled more of a spoiled cousin? That sounds like a better description she thought with a laugh, resuming her task.
Thankfully, her other friends were a solid source of comfort and joy in their continuing search for the last few shards of the Shikon No Tama. The taijiya and hentai had quickly realized her fading affections for the hanyou and had comforted her, glad she had finally decided where her heart did not lay. Kagome giggled a little when she thought of the two love struck people, happiness and relief stealing over her. Miroku and Sango had finally begun a somewhat stable courtship of sorts, though the houshi’s groping tendencies still often shortened the night for him.
Shippo had also changed, his appearance beginning to show his age as his height grew along with his insanely fluffy tail. Fortunately, his child-like innocence still remained and he was still an ever present companion in Kagome’s sleeping bag. She had officially adopted the kit not too long ago, allowing him to call her “haha” with grateful approval on her side. Certainly a mother would be proud to have such a kitsune as a son, his willingness to protect her with his life and the love she knew he felt for her showing a true and caring child.
Suddenly realizing she had stopped her sweeping and lifting her head from where she had been staring at the ground in contemplation, Kagome noticed with a start the setting sun behind the house. She had been so engrossed in her thoughts she had neglected the hour and had only finished cleaning half of the courtyard. With a groan as she thought of what her haha would say, the young girl attempted to complete her chore before the light from the sun was entirely extinguished.
In her haste to finish Kagome did not notice as a tall figure slowly walked up the stairs leading to the shrine, the stranger stopping within mere feet of her busy person. Suddenly the young woman stiffened in mid sweep, feeling a dangerous yet non-threatening presence behind her. Yet even with the lack of hostility her miko abilities were calling to her, practically screaming at her to place a barrier around herself or to purify whatever was now at her heels. She was severely startled when a single word was spoken from the previously silent individual, the voice calm and cold to her ears.
The miko’s body shook ever so slightly as her eyes widened in surprise. No, my name could not have possibly passed from those lips she thought frantically, grasping the broom in her hand with a quivering grip. But as she slowly turned around, her shocked and somewhat terrified eyes met with the amused glance of one certain demon lord.