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I am Alpha

I am Alpha

1st book of Alpha Pack Mates

Chapter 3

Disclaimer: Inuyasha and all of it's characters are property of the brilliant Takahashi-sama and I claim no ownership of them. Only the story belongs to me.

Summary: It matters not if you are youkai or ningen, if you're male or female, young or old, weak or strong, no it matters not in the end. All that matters is who is Alpha and who isn't. Brothers fighting for dominance, mikos fighting for control, who will end on top, who will have to submit? What's an Inu pack to do when there are far too many Alphas?

Pairings: Inuyasha/Kikyou, Sango/Miroku, slight Sesshoumaru/Kagome.

Follows: The Anime and movies.

"spoken" 'thought' (translations)

AN: Okies just for fun I am going to add a game to each chapter. It's called 'What Anime could this be the name of?'. First round is going to be easy...Lunar Navy. Just put your answer in your review and the next chapter will be dedicated to the first readers to review and answer correctly on both fan fiction and a single spark.

By the way if you wish to be added to the update list send a request to Rachel-Hamel (hot mail) all other questions and comments go to the email on my profile page.

Edited Oct 11 for two small mistakes in plot.

Edited 2/14/08

As if the sky was waiting until the evil no longer darkened its doors, the moment Naraku was destroyed the rain dissipated, clearing the way for a bright, sunny day. Multi-colored rainbows, sparkling in the rays of the sun, littered the field bringing a bit of beauty to an otherwise gloomy place. Birds and other such forest creatures, that had hidden themselves away to escape the darkness that emanated off of the evil hanyou, returned, their normally quiet chirps and chatter, echoing around the field as all stood silent. No one dared move or breath, in fear that the spell would be broken.

I cast my gaze out across those that were gathered here, those who fought to destroy a great evil thus preventing him from turning the world into something dark and tainted much like him. My eyes first came upon Sesshoumaru, who was sporting some rather serious looking gashes across his chest and arm. Blood spread from his wounds, dying his normally brilliant, white silk a deep red. He, however, remained his normal graceful and breathtaking appearance. Even from here I could tell the wounds inflicted upon him must be extremely painful, but he showed no outward sign other than annoyance.

His amber eyes caught my own and I could have sworn there was mirth hidden in their depths along with a slight smirk gracing his lips. I decided rolling my eyes was the best plan of action at the moment. Here I was checking to make sure he was okay and he arrogantly thought I was checking him out. Were all male demons like that or was it just a male thing altogether? Shaking my head, I switched my gaze to the next member of our odd alliance.

Kouga was bent over slightly and panting. Judging by the multiple shallow scratches that covered his body, Kagura had done a number on him. Other than that he was in almost perfect health and I was thankful for that. He had been around Kanna as well and could have easily lost his soul within the void of her mirror. I turned to the two incarnations next and saw that like Kouga, Kagura was mostly untouched. Kanna had not a mark on her, more than likely she had just stood by and watched as Kagura hadn't needed her help.

My eyes scanned the battle field until they came to rest on Miroku and Sango. Kohaku lay unconscious at their feet, only visible injury was a small bump on his head, more than likely what had caused his impromptu nap. Both the houshi (monk) and taijiya (slayer) were covered in cuts created by Kohaku's weapon, thankfully none as deep as the one he had placed on Sango's back when Naraku first took control of him.

Finally I allowed my gaze to turn to the hanyou and miko on the ground not far in front of me. As always not a single hair was out of place, not a smudge of dirt clung to her garments. Kikyou looked just as she did when she first came upon the field. Had I not seen her fight myself, I would have sworn she had not participated in the battle.

Inuyasha was well Inuyasha. Covered in cuts, gashes, bumps, bruises, blood, dirt and whatever else he could manage to get into during a fight. His fine, white hair was crusted in slowly drying blood, clinging to his brow and neck. Tears littered his red haori exposing the white of his inner haori. If I wasn't mistaken there was a piece of tentacle sticking out of the folds of the garment. I wondered how long it would take him to noticed but was unable to dwell on it long as his gaze captured my own.

A large grin spread across his lips as he jumped to his feet and rushed over to me, arms surrounding me and lifting me into the air as he cheered, "We did it imouto-chan!" (younger sister)

I could help but giggle as I wrapped my arms around his neck and allowed him to spin me around in the air as though I weighted nothing. "Hai anija-sama, that we did." (older brother, respectful) I could hear, or rather couldn't hear the others around us as they grew even more silent at our words but I paid them no mind as Inuyasha beamed brightly at me.

"Sama?" he whispered into my ear as he stopped spinning but continued to hold me to his chest.

"Hai you've earned it, many times over." I replied as I kissed his forehead and hugged him one last time before I slipped out of his grip and smiled up at him. "I am very proud of you anija and I know, where ever your parents are, they are as well."

The silence was broken when Kouga decided to speak up in another attempt to claim me. "Good now nothing stands in the way of me and my woman."

"I'm/she's not your woman!" Inuyasha and I yelled in unison causing our group of friends to break out of their stupor and bust up laughing.

"What do we do about those two?" Inuyasha wondered nodding toward the two incarnations.

"What else? We killed them you baka (stupid) mutt!" Kouga yelled turning back to them as he raised his clawed fingers.

"No." I began as I let go of Inuyasha and walked over to place my hand on Kouga's shoulder before he could attack the two sisters. "A life for a life." I told them as I locked eyes with Kagura.

"What are you talking about Kagome? She killed my pack mates." Kouga insisted as he stared down at me in disbelief.

"Kagura saw me leaving with Rin at the beginning of the battle. She could have easily attacked or told 'him' about us, instead she turned 'his' attention to you so we could get away unharmed. It is 'his' fault that your pack mates were killed and with 'his' death they were avenged. I return the gesture Kagura by sparing your life and that of your sister. However, if you stray from the correct path I will purify you myself. One human life taken not out of self defense or when it could have been avoided and you will join 'him' in hell." I warned as I glanced toward Kanna to make sure she was listening as well before turning back to Kagura.

She nodded slightly to show she would heed my warning and turned to Kanna as she pulled a feather out of her hair. "Come Kanna I feel the wind calling me." A gust of wind almost knocked us off our feet and as it was we had to shield our eyes from it. When it died down Kagura and Kanna were sitting on the large feather, gliding on the air away from us.

"Lady Kagome, what was with the tentacle on you arrow?" Miroku wondered after a brief moment of silence as we watched until they could no longer be seen, at least to the human eye.

"Huh? Oh when I first came here this baka crow youkai stole the jewel and I used one of its feet to guide my arrow, since my aim was really bad back then, and it worked although it shattered the jewel in the process." I explained as I turned back to look at my friends. "How is he?" I inquired as I glanced over at Sango, I knew I didn't need to speak his name for her to know who I was referring to.

"He's still out for now. Tomorrow I will remove the shard." I went to argue with her since we weren't needing the shard at the moment, but the look in her eyes begged me not to and I decided to drop it for now.

"So who's hungry?" I wondered with a grin as I glanced around at everyone. We all looked worn out and tired and I figured a celebration would be the best thing for us right now. Not bothering to wait for answers I started back toward the village knowing the others would follow if they wanted to.

The celebration lasted late into the night. Most of our rag tag alliance stayed except for Kouga, he wanted to get back to his pack as soon as he could and tell them the good news. He showed up just long enough to tell me as I was starting preparations and then he was off in a cloud of dust. I think he was still a bit sore at me for not letting him kill Kagura but knowing Kouga he would get over it sooner or later.

Sesshoumaru's group stayed, although he just sat against a tree ignoring everyone and everything around him. Rin enjoyed herself eating, dancing and playing with Souta and Shippo as Jaken tried to keep up with her. The toad still claims that he can't stand her, but if you look in his eyes while he's looking at her, you can tell it's all for show. Whether the little demon realizes it or not, he loves the little girl. I think it's safe to say the same about Sesshoumaru, as long as it's not out loud that is, since every time one of the male villagers came up to her, you could hear the slightest of growls coming from him. What's funny is I don't even think he realized it was happening since he never seemed to be looking at her at the time. Maybe some kind of instinct with inuyoukai and their pups? Maybe I'll ask Inuyasha about it some day.

Kohaku remained unconscious and since the bump on his head wasn't that bad, we figured it was his body's way of filtering out 'his' influence. By some unspoken agreement we had all agreed to never speak the evil hanyou's name again. It was time to move past that point in our lives and start again, or in some cases pick back up where we left off.

Sango remained by Kohaku's side for most of the party but would join the others every so often to celebrate and have a little fun. Miroku was of course attached to her at the hip all night. If she was sitting down some where, he was. If she was getting food, he was. If she was dancing, he was. Oddly enough he didn't try anything hentai all night and it even earned him a small peck on the cheek at the end of the night. Sango tried to hide it from all of us, but I don't think anyone but the kids, who were asleep by then, missed it.

Inuyasha spent most of the party talking to Kikyou and trying to get her to join in, guess big crowds weren't her thing. I could tell we had a long way to go, every time Inuyasha came within five feet of me she was on edge and sending me dirty looks. You'd think she'd get over it now that we considered each other family but it would seem not.

Late that night, all of the villagers had gone back into their huts to sleep off their intake of sake and the kids were sleeping soundly in my sleeping bag. Kikyou had disappeared some time earlier into the forest, more than likely off gathering souls to replenish her strength. Those of us who were still awake sat around the bonfire and Inuyasha brought up the topic I had plaguing my mind all night.

"Now that 'he's' gone what are you going to do about Souta? Still going to leave him here while we search for shards?" All eyes turned toward me, except for Sesshoumaru's. He continued to stare off into space as if no one else was around him. Jaken, however, gave me his full attention for some reason.

"Well as long as the group doesn't mind I would like to take him with us. The whole reason I was having him stay here is now dead and I would like to spend some time with him." I replied as I glanced down at the sleeping bag, filled with kids, that was close by.

"Isn't it still too dangerous though? He doesn't know the first thing about this time and doesn't know how to defend himself." Sango pointed out and it seemed that Sesshoumaru was paying more attention than it seemed as I saw his gaze turn to me when she said 'time'. Truthfully I wasn't worried about it, Sesshoumaru wasn't the kind to try and use this against me, even without being partly allies, he would see it as being beneath him.

"When I first came here I didn't know anything either and he will have a lot more people to help him than I did in the beginning. And besides with us staying here now I want him to be able to get used to it. Best way I can think of him adapting is the same way I did." I explained as I smiled at Inuyasha. "Besides I think he is becoming really good friends with Rin and he won't see her very often if he stays in the village." I had to stop myself from laughing at the squawk that came from Jaken. Turning to him I raised an eyebrow in question.

"And just what is that ningen's (human) intentions toward Rin?" he demanded pointing a small, lumpy finger at the sleeping bag.

"His intentions? Why Jaken you almost sound like her father." I pointed out making everyone but him and Sesshoumaru laugh. "But to answer your question I do not know. Souta is still too young for anything serious but to put your mind at ease, my brother is very much like me and would not do anything inappropriate." I assured and was surprised when Sesshoumaru answered before Jaken could.

"And dressing in a very revealing kimono while traveling the country side is appropriate?" I couldn't believe it, I had been waiting for the wench that never came. After a moment I remembered the 'deal' in the cave.

"That was my school uniform and I was referring to with the opposite sex." I replied ignoring the fact that he had to had been paying enough attention to me to notice what my clothes had or had not covered. The look on his face told me he didn't completely believe me, but turned to stare back out into the forest all the same.

The conversation was dropped completely when a soul stealer appeared from the tree line. "Try not to come back too late anija." I commented with a smile as I took out a blanket and laid it upon the ground. He nodded to me before taking off into the forest.

The silence settled upon us again, only the sounds of the forest night life preventing the silence from becoming defining. However, the peace was short lived when Jaken spoke up again. "Doesn't it bother you that he leaves for the undead wench?" I thought about it for a moment, not that Inuyasha had left, but that I couldn't figure out if he had called Kikyou an 'undead wench' or if he had called me 'wench'. Shaking my head of those thoughts I turned to address him as I sat up in my makeshift bed.

"Nope. Now don't get me wrong, I would rather he spent his life with someone who was truly alive but as long as he is happy I am happy." I laid back down staring up at the twinkling stars above. As the silence reined down upon us once again, I pointed out the constellations I knew to myself.

"But he left you, and while you are not that great, you're better than most ningen, for an undead wench that walks the land stealing souls. How could you be happy to have someone not of the living chosen over you?" I guess he was calling her the wench and not me, good toad.

"But she wasn't chosen over me Jaken. As much as I would have loved to have been, I was never in the running. Even the day I freed him from the tree, he was still in love with her. Anything he thought he felt for me was cause I'm her reincarnation. While it may not seem fair, I would rather have gained an anija and lost a potential boyfriend, than been left with nothing. I love Inuyasha and I always will. But wasn't meant to be in love with him. It may not make sense to you Jaken but I really couldn't be happier. I get to keep my best friend and he is happy. That is all that matters."

"Seems your journey is starting over." Kikyou pointed out with a slight mocking tone as Inuyasha came through the clearing she was waiting in. She had sent a soul stealer to let him know she was waiting and knew it wouldn't be too long before he arrived. He always came when she called for him and always would.

"She did what she had to do to save everyone. Because of that we were able to beat him, that is all that matters." Inuyasha insisted feeling the call to protect Kagome even from words.

"We should search for the shards Inuyasha. The two of us can find them faster than anyone. The faster we find them, the faster we can use the wish." she offered sweetly as she pressed her hands against his shoulders, trapping him against a tree. Leaning up, she lightly kissed him on the corner of his mouth. "When should we start searching?" she whispered as she leaned up so her lips brushed the shell of his ear lightly.

"I will talk to Kagome about you joining us tomorrow." he replied when he had finally found his voice. "If she has no problem with it than you can join us."

"Why does everything always have to be about my reincarnation? I want us to go search for the shards together not with her. She's already shattered it twice, I think she has done enough damage don't you?" she spat back angerly as she turned away from him.

"She's not the only one who's made mistakes you know." he reminded her coldly as he thrust his hands into his sleeves.

"We're together Inuyasha not you and her and yet everything is still always about that copy!"

"Enough Kikyou I have already told you not to call her that. She is my friend and as it is I have not had many of those in my life. She has been there for me since the day we meet no matter what I did. I will not turn my back on her no matter what. We maybe together but she comes first. She is part of my pack and pack always comes first. If you want to be with me than you will have to learn to accept this. Now I will talk to her about you joining us. Goodnight Kikyou." Inuyasha turned and walked back toward camp without waiting for her to respond.

'Damn that copy, always getting in my way. Inuyasha is supposed to be mine and yet she keeps him on a leash. That'll be the first thing I change when I join the group.' Kikyou thought to herself as she headed off into the forest, meeting up with her soul stealers and allowing them to lift her into the sky.

The morning dawned bright and early with clear skies and a warm breeze coming from the west. Already Sesshoumaru's group was getting ready to head out while our group was just barely beginning to rise. Miroku began gathering fire wood while Sango checked on her brother, who had not awoken during the night. Glancing over at the sleeping bag I see Shippo and Souta are still sleeping and decide not to wake them until breakfast is ready.

"Has Rin had breakfast yet?" I inquired looking over at Jaken since I was pretty sure Sesshoumaru wouldn't answer me. A quick shake of his head and I was adding another helping of food to what I was making and smiled at the young girl. Glancing around, I try to spot Inuyasha but am unable to find him. Seems he knew I was looking as he dropped out of a tree in front of me with a grin.

"Right here imouto-chan (younger sister). Can I talk to you for a moment?" I could tell just by the serious look on his face that it was probably about a certain miko. Giving him a slight smile I called over to Sango to ask her to finish up breakfast and followed after Inuyasha into the forest.

"What is it anija-chan (older brother)?" I questioned the moment we were out of the others' hearing range as I turned to look at him. It was funny that I had just started calling him my brother and already the term came to me automatically as if it had been that way from the beginning.

"It's Kikyou." he began and I nodded to let him know to continue. "She wants to join us in looking for the shards." I could tell by the look on his face and his tone that he was not really looking forward to this conversation.

"She wants to or you want her to?" I wondered pretty sure I already knew the answer. He flinched slightly turning his gaze away from me. Even though we had already talked about the two of them being together and I told him that I was happy for him, he still didn't seem to quite believe it and almost seemed worried that I would 'sit' him for what we were talking about. I had thought about removing the rosary but since he would need to to travel through the well and in case he turned into his demon form and I needed some way to stop him, I felt it was better to leave it on.

"She wanted me to leave and go with her. I want her to join us." he admitted keeping his gaze anywhere but on me. Walking over to him, I cupped his chin and turned him so he was looking me in the eyes.

"For you she may join, but there are going to be certain rules that she must follow for the good of the group. I trust you with my life Inuyasha but I do not trust her. I will give her a chance for you, but I will not put the others in danger in any way." He nodded that he understood and stepping back I called out not bothering to turn around. "You can come out Kikyou I already know you are there."

By the look on Inuyasha's face he hadn't realized she was there and I wondered why he was unable to smell her. I decided it was probably because I was so close and my scent evaded his senses preventing him from smelling anything else. Turning around to face her I decided to jump right in. "You will be given one chance Kikyou and only one. It is only because of Inuyasha that you are getting this and if you screw up you will only be hurting him. There are certain ways we do things and it will remain this way. You are coming in just above my brother on the food chain, since he has no experience at all, and don't think other wise.

“You are Inuyasha's intended and a miko, that is it as far as the group is concerned. You do not nor will you out rank me. Learn your place fast and you should be okay. But know this, no one will side with you against me so do not bother trying to turn them against me as you have with Inuyasha in the past. You will only be wasting your time and chance. Keep your soul stealers away from the group unless injury prevents you from going to them. As part of the group it will be your job to protect the others, just as it is their job, so I would try to get to know them and get along with them as they will be the ones watching your back.

“One more thing, and this is very important so pay close attention." I paused as I waited to make sure she was listening. "Stay away from my soul. I can recall the part you have so I know you can do the same. The only reason I have no taken it back is because it would hurt Inuyasha and I wouldn't feel right killing a miko, even if she is already dead. But if you try to take it back I will stop you and don't think I can't. It is my soul and it has been calling to me since you first got it. It knows where it should be and if you try to fight me over it you will lose. Keep what you have but don't even think of becoming greedy, you will lose everything if you do." I warned before turning toward Inuyasha and giving him a quick nod before I headed back toward camp.

'This is going to be fun.' The thought kept running through my mind on the way back to camp. I knew the others were not going to like having her join our merry little band but like me allowing it for Inuyasha, I knew they would allow it for me. This did not make my job any easier. Deciding it would be best to wait until Sesshoumaru's group had left, I merely walked into the camp with a smile on my face.

The others were already busy eating and as I sat down, Sango handed me a plate. "Everything okay Kagome-chan?" she inquired quietly as she sat down next to me.

"Everything is fine." I assured with a smile. I could tell she didn’t truly believe me, but none the less, let it drop for now. We would have plenty of time to deal with it soon enough so I didn’t worry too much.

"Say goodbye Rin." Sesshoumaru commanded breaking me out of my thoughts and I turned to see the young girl smiling over at us. After quick hugs for a few of us, they were on their way. I watched until they were hidden by the tree line before turning toward the others. "We need to have a group meeting." I told the others as I finished my plate and set it down next to the others that needed to be washed.

Sango and Miroku turned to me from where they were sitting and the boys put up the crayons they had been playing with to come sit next to the fire with us. "Inuyasha has asked to allow Kikyou to join us on our journey and I have told him yes. I need you guys to understand that I am giving her this chance because of Inuyasha and not her. Until she proves worthy of otherwise she will not have my trust, but we all owe Inuyasha a lot and can allow him this. She has already been warned about what she can and can not do while around us. I don’t expect you guys to become best friends with her or anything but for me and Inuyasha can you give her a chance?"

"Are you sure you’re okay with this Lady Kagome? With everything she has tried in the past?" Miroku questioned concerned.

"I have already warned her if she tries to steal my soul again I will take back the small piece she has. Truthfully I do not expect her to be any different than she has in the past but for Inuyasha I am giving her this one chance. All I ask is that you guys do the same."

"If she tries anything Kagome-chan, I won’t hesitate to stop her. You are my sister, you know this. No matter what she is to Inuyasha, your safety is more important." Sango warned. I smiled my agreement to her and turned back to the others.

"If there is anything we need to talk about, bring it up now. I want everything worked out before she joins us."

"What about Lady Kikyou’s soul stealers? I don’t believe it would be wise to have those around the children." Miroku pointed out and I turned to smile at him.

"I have already told her she is to meet up with them elsewhere unless she in unable to."

"I guess I don’t have a problem if you don’t Kagome, just be careful. I don’t want you to get hurt." Shippo whispered as he jumped up into my lap and I pulled him close to my chest.

"I will Shippo do not worry. Was there anything else?" I inquired as I glanced around at the others. All of them shook their heads no and so after placing Shippo back down on the ground, I began gathering the dishes to be washed. "Be ready to go soon. I’m sure Inuyasha will want to leave soon and you know how he gets when we don’t leave when he wants." I joked with a smile before turning and heading toward the stream.

"Alright let’s go. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover." Inuyasha stated and headed out the village, not waiting to see if we were following. Him and Kikyou had arrived a few minutes ago while we were loading a still unconscious Kohaku onto the back on Kirara. We decided to bring him with us since it might not be safe for Kaede to leave him with her and there was no other place to put him.

Inuyasha and Kikyou were at the front of the group. She looked as cold and distant as she normally did but it wasn’t like I was expecting any miracles, especially on the first day. Behind them were Sango and Miroku, keeping close to Kirara to make sure Kohaku didn’t fall off. Souta came next, talking with Shippo, who was on his shoulder, about something or another but I couldn’t quite hear what they were saying. I brought up the rear, keeping an eye out for any incoming shards or would be attackers.

Our pace was set much slower than it normally was but I guess Inuyasha was allowing it for Souta, who wasn’t used to walking fast all day, and so Kohaku wouldn’t get jarred too much. I think he wanted to keep him asleep for as long as he could since Sango wasn’t going to go through with her decision as long as he remained unconscious.

With a sigh I decided to turn my thoughts away from Kohaku’s fate and began to watch the passing landscape. Normally we would be going too fast to really be able to appreciate the scenery and I would gladly take advantage of this time. Glancing around, I am reminded of how different this time is from mine. Instead of buildings and paved roads it’s rolling fields and tree lines. Fresh air instead of smog. Clear skies during the day, star filled skies during the night rather than skyscrapers blocking out the sunlight and lights blocking out the stars. Fighting with a bow and sword rather than guns.

My time. Funny how this is now my time. What does that make my original time? My past? My future? Does it even matter anymore? Shaking my head I clear my mind of the path these thoughts are taking. What good would it do for me to dwell on it now? It wouldn’t change things. Wouldn’t bring back my okaa-san or jii-chan. Blinking my eyes, I cleared the unshed tears that were beginning to form. Now would really not be a good time to break down and start crying.

Bringing myself back to the present I wanted to smile. What better way to take my mind off of things I can’t change? Yeah my senses tingling couldn’t come at a better time. "We've got incoming Inuyasha. One shard, one demon." I called up to him as I un-strapped my bow and jogged to catch up to Souta and Shippo to put them behind me. "Sango leave Kohaku with us so you can worry about the battle."

Giving me a nod she turned to Kirara and told her to stay with me as she un-shouldered Hiraikotsu and prepared herself for battle. "Where is it?" Inuyasha questioned as he came back to us and sniffed the air.

"That way." I said pointing toward the way we had been traveling. Nodding he unsheathed Tessaiga and I watched as it transformed into the larger fang. As I checked to make sure the kids were safely behind me, a crash caught our attention from the tree line in front of us. A moment later a large nekoyoukai (cat demon) burst through into the clearing. Judging by its black stripes and almost orange fur, I would have to guess it was a tiger youkai.

"Forehead Inuyasha." I called out the moment I spotted the tell tale tainted light of a shard coming from the middle of the youkai’s forehead.

The battle went much like many before had, but with slight differences. Shippo and I stood off to the side unless needed, but had two more boys to watch over. Miroku fought with his staff since he no longer had a Wind Tunnel. Sango attacked with Hiraikotsu, but kept sneaking glances back at her brother. Inuyasha attacked relentlessly with Wind Scars, but this time had Kikyou standing off to the side nearby without joining in the battle.

Deciding to ignore this fact for now, I turned my attention back to those who were fighting at the moment. "Hiraikotsu!" Sango called out letting her boomerang fly at the same time that Inuyasha shouted, "Wind Scar!" Both attacks came no where near close to hitting the target as the tiger was too fast.

"You have a shard, give it to me!" the youkai demanded as it shot past the others and came changing at me. Commanding a quick ‘Stay’ to the boys I turned and ran away from them to keep them out of harm. Risking a quick glance over my shoulder, I spotted the tiger quickly catching up with me.

Pulling my bow out in front of me while stringing an arrow I skidded to a stop and turned to face the youkai, causing it to stop a few feet from me. "You think you can beat me little miko?" the youkai mocked with a sneer. Ignoring it, I began to seep power into the air as my eyes darted over to Inuyasha’s. Catching him moving into a good position I turned back and smiled at the youkai.

He ignored it and raised a paw to take a swipe at me. "Now Inuyasha!" I cried out as I pulled the arrow back as far as I could and let it go. So busy blocking my arrow, the youkai didn’t not have enough time to move out of the way of the ‘Wind Scar’ aimed at its back. The blast cut through the youkai as I raised a barrier around myself to protect me. I needn’t have worried as the attack died before it made it to me, but better safe than sorry right?

Letting my barrier dissipate I walked over to the tainted shard and picked it up out of pieces of youkai, purifying it on contact.

"Kohaku?" Sango called out after hearing a moan coming from his direction and moved toward him slowly. I saw Inuyasha’s hand tighten on the hilt of Tessaiga. Miroku griped his staff a little tighter. Shippo and Souta backed up a little even as Souta looked at me in question of what was going on. I sent him a look saying I would explain later as I turned back to look at Sango and Kohaku.

"Onee-chan? What happened?" Kohaku wondered as he looked up at her before glancing around at all of us.

"What’s the last thing you remember Kohaku?" Sango questioned as she stopped next to Kirara and helped her brother down off her back.

"I remember fighting a spider demon for a village." he replied rubbing the almost completely healed bump on his head. Sango turned back to look at the rest of us and I could see the same thought running through my head in her eyes. Kohaku didn’t remember anything since before ‘he’ took control of him the first time.

"Well let’s get going. We can worry about this later. Kohaku and Souta will ride Kirara so we can make up a little lost time." Inuyasha decided before turning and heading the way we had been going before the youkai attacked. Once the boys were situated, Shippo jumped on my shoulder and we picked up the pace to keep up with Inuyasha.

As the sun was setting Sesshoumaru arrived at his destination. A small cave in an isolated part of the forest. He had left the rest of his group outside of the forest knowing this was no place to bring the two lesser youkai, let alone a ningen onnanoko (human girl). Walking into the dark cave, lit by only a few torches, he made his way toward the back. Knowing the way from the last time he was here.

He knew he couldn’t trust her, not that he normally trusted any body, but he knew she would try something stupid. He wasn’t worried of course, anything stupid she did would only get her killed. He just hoped it was after their deal was concluded. He didn’t think he could find another capable of doing what she could and was unwilling to wait for nature to do things on its own.

As the cave opened up into a large room, Sesshoumaru found himself face to face with the one he was looking for. "Do you have it?" the serpent youkai inquired turning around to face him. Kami how he hated looking at snake demons. While most demonesses he came in contact with, that could take a human-like form, were quite beautiful, snake demonesses, however, were anything but.

The one in front of him was no exception. A green, scaly body, long, stringy brown hair, yellow silted eyes and of course a forked tongue. Said tongue was licking her lips, as she looked him over. If he hadn’t needed her services he would just had killed her. Sesshoumaru held up the item she was asking for out to her.

As she walked toward him, the far too short black kimono she was wearing rode up, showing far too much of her scaly thighs than Sesshoumaru would wish on his worst enemies to see. "One blood stone." Sesshoumaru commented, looking at the jewel in his hand rather than at the demoness.

"It iss perfect. Ssshall we get sstarted?" she inquired as she held out her hand for the jewel and he dropped it in. Not waiting for his response, she began chanting as the bloodstone started to glow. A moment or two later, the glow died down and she glanced back at Sesshoumaru. "For my payment."

Sesshoumaru reached into his haori and brought out a silk bag full of jewels. Holding it out for her, he watched as she shook her head. "I have changed my mind. For what it iss that you want, you musst become my mate Ssessshoumaru."

He allowed his gaze to trail over her body once again and wasn’t sure if he could laugh or become sick. ‘Did she really think she was worthy of this Sesshoumaru?’ Taking the blood stone out of her hand before she had the chance to react, he threw the bag of jewels onto the ground at her feet. "You live only cause this Sesshoumaru doesn’t not want to become dirty." he spat as he turned away and started back the way he had come.

Her chanting caught his attention and he turned back to see what spell she would try to weave against him. "You will regret thiss." she hissed at him when the spell had finished.

"This Sesshoumaru doubts that." he replied coolly as he called out his whip and quickly severed her head from her body in one clean swipe. Turning around once again, he headed back out of the cave. Once he had reached the outside, he glanced down at the bloodstone in his hand before placing it on the stump of his arm. Another bright light appear and he had to turn away to shield his eyes.

Once the light had died down, he clinched his hand in a fist to keep for crying out as the pain began to pulse at the end of the stump. He started to think the demoness had put a curse on the jewel in case things hadn’t gone her way, but soon dismissed that idea as new bone and flesh began to grow from the stump. After a few minutes of extreme pain, not that you could ever see anything from the outside, he glanced down to find his left hand completely re-grown.

Heading back the way he had left his companions, he paid no more attention to the chant the demoness had cast before he had killed her. By the next morning, he would realize that might not have been such a good idea and would cause him to do one thing he never thought he would.

"We'll camp here for the night." Inuyasha informed us as he stopped in a clearing and jumped up into a the nearest tree. Kikyou headed off into the woods, more than likely going to meet with her soul stealers, as the rest of us began making camp and setting up a fire to cook dinner.

Once dinner was over, the boys fell asleep quickly and I joined Miroku and Sango who were sitting next to the fire. "Have you decided what to do Sango-chan?" I inquired after a moment of silence.

"What do you mean? I already told you..." she started before I interrupted her.

"Sango-chan think about it. The whole reason you were going for that plan was so he wouldn't have to live with what he did. He no longer remembers anything. For him it's like none of this ever happened."

"But what about the shard?" she wondered after thinking about what I had said for a moment.

"For now it's fine where it is. I've already purified it so any of 'his' influence that might have still been there is gone. And we can leave the shard where it is until we find another way to save him. You've been given a second chance with your brother Sango-chan, if I was you I would take it." I told her with a smile as I gave her a quick hug before turning in for the night myself. As I was falling asleep, I could hear Miroku and Sango talking quietly next to the fire.

As dawn arrived, Sesshoumaru instantly knew something was amiss. He had awoken to the sounds of the forest awaking. And that was the problem. He never slept out in the woods, only in the safety of his own den. And what's worse, he couldn't remember falling asleep.

Taking a quick sniff of the air, he tried to search for any signs of incoming danger, but found he couldn't smell anything. While this would normally be seen as a good thing, however, it gave him a sense of foreboding. He couldn't smell Rin, or Ah-Un. Not even the smelly toad Jaken. Nor the dirt beneath him.

Opening his eyes he glanced around the camp, everyone was where they should be, but everything was not as it should be. The colors were wrong, not as bright as they normally were, and it was like before he had been looking through a magnifying glass and now there was none.

He looked down at his hands and found nothing to prove they were the hands he had all of his life. No claws, no maroon stripes, even his normally pale skin was a bit darker. Deciding it would not be a good idea to try and figure out what was going on while out in the middle of the forest, Sesshoumaru stood and started making his way toward the others.

"Wake up." he commanded causing them to stir. Rin stood and went to begin gathering wood so she could make herself breakfast but his voice stopped her. "We don't have time, you will eat later."

Rin rubbed her eyes as she turned toward him confused. Lord Sesshoumaru never made her wait for breakfast. Glancing up at him for the first time that moment, her question caught in her throat as she could do nothing but stare.

"Lord Sesshoumaru what happened?" Jaken squawked as he looked up at him.

Before Sesshoumaru could answer, if he even had the answer for it, a crash camp from behind him causing him to turn. "Get Rin on Ah-Un and get away." he commanded as he kept his eyes on the forest. He could hear them do as he said and only had to wait a moment before the youkai crashed into the clearing.

"I thought I smelled the great lord Sesshoumaru. And who has brought you to your knees?" one of the youkai mocked causing his companions to laugh. Ignoring the remark, Sesshoumaru glanced them over. They were tiger youkai. Easy enough to dispatch on any normal day, but Sesshoumaru was fast learning that this wasn't any normal day.

"What do you want with this Sesshoumaru?" he demanded deciding it would be best to remain his normal self.

"Truthfully nothing. We weren't even looking for you. We are searching for the ones that carry power. They killed our leader yesterday while he was trying to obtain more pieces of the jewel. This, however, will be a nice treat." the youkai mocked as the ones behind him moved to circle around Sesshoumaru.

"Leave now and this Sesshoumaru shall spare your lives." he warned as he unsheathed Tokijin drawing the blade in front of him. Though nothing showed on the outside, inwardly Sesshoumaru was worried for the first time in many, many years. His demon blade was refusing to let him be in control. He would have to fight with it as just a sword rather than a demon blade or risk the chance he was unable to control the sword.

"You are in no position to make demands 'lord' Sesshoumaru. We can smell your mortality." the youkai mocked now that his companions were completely surrounding him. A moment later the battle began. What should have been an easy fight, and over in seconds, was causing Sesshoumaru to stay on the defensive rather than offensive.

For the first time, in a very long time, Sesshoumaru knew he would not win the battle and was glad that Rin had gotten away. Though that didn't last long when Ah-Un came flying back into the clearing, knocking back a youkai that was about to take a swipe at Sesshoumaru's unguarded head. "I told you to leave." he hissed turning to look at them.

"Come on Lord Sesshoumaru, we have to get out of here." Rin pleaded and as much as he wanted to demand they leave again and fight this battle knowing he would lose, he did not wish to die such a pathetic death. But he also would not run from a fight. As he was about to tell them to leave again, one of the youkai moved to attack Rin.

He had to make a quick decision as Ah-Un tried to keep the youkai away from the young girl. If he stayed not only would he die but she would as well, seeing as she showed no signs of leaving him no matter how much he commanded her to. While he would not run from his death, he would protect her, even if that meant running.

His choice made, he jumped onto the back of Ah-Un and held onto Rin as the dragon took off into the air again. "Fine them." he commanded, knowing the dragon who know who he was referring to. Looking down, he noticed Jaken was hanging off the side and pulled him up, dropping him into Rin's lap.

He didn't want to have to do this. In fact on a list of things he swore he would never do, it was at the top. The closer he got to them, the more he knew this had been a bad idea. They would never help and he would end up looking weak.

Taking a glance behind him, he spotted the tiger youkai that were still following and decided for the small girl in front of him it didn't matter. As long as she was safe, he would do anything.

As dawn arrived at our camp that morning, instead of being awoken by Inuyasha yelling for us to get up already, instead it was him telling us that Kikyou sensed a jewel shard. We had decided to continue searching in the east since we were already there, but now she was wanting to send us west. As the others turned to me in question, I allowed my senses to spread out as far as they would go in search for any sign of a shard. I received none.

I glanced over at Kikyou and noticed she would not look at me or Inuyasha for that matter. I knew better than to trust her but at the same time I told Inuyasha I would give her a chance. So standing up as I gathered my things I called over my shoulder, "I do not sense the jewel but we can check it out just in case." Turning around to Kikyou I continued, "Two hours, if we do not find it or I do not sense it within two hours than we go back the way we were planning."

Whatever argument she was coming up with died in her throat as I just walked past her and started out of the clearing. The others caught up soon enough and we began making the trek with Souta and Kohaku once again on the back of Kirara. Part of the time Shippo was on my shoulder, the rest he spent talking and playing with the boys.

The country side passed by us quickly as we moved to cover as much ground as we could. And as the first hour rolled by with no sign of a shard I was even more certain than I had been back at camp. There was no shard. Whatever reason she had us following this wild goose chase I could not fathom, but I had said two hours and I would stick by that.

But the moment that second hour had passed, I stopped. Sending out my senses once more, I searched for any sign of a shard. Once again I got none. "It's time to change directions. There is no shard." I told the others as I turned and started the direction we had planned on going in the first place.

"Just because you are not strong enough to sense it doesn't mean it's not there." Kikyou insisted coldly causing me to turn around a face her.

"And just because you 'do' sense it doesn't mean that it is. We have traveled for two hours after a shard that I could not sense all because you said it was there. By now, unless it is moving really fast, I would have sensed it. If it is moving so fast that it continues to stay out of my range the entire time, then we aren't going to catch up to it anyways. Now if you want to go chasing after it be my guest, the group is going to go the way we were planning." I told her and turned to begin walking away again. I could hear her trying to get Inuyasha to go with her but paid it no mind.

"Let's go Inuyasha, if she doesn't want to do her job and find the shards then we can."

"I'm staying with the group Kikyou. Kagome has always been our shard finder, and I will go by her judgment" Inuyasha replied as he followed after the rest of us.

"Why don't you guys make lunch while Sango-chan and I go clean up at the springs." I suggested when Inuyasha stopped us at a clearing for a break since we hadn't had breakfast or lunch yet. After a couple of nods from the others, I followed after Sango with my bathing supplies.

"I don't trust her Kagome-chan and neither should you." Sango warned as we stepped into the hot springs.

"Don't worry I don't. I have no idea what that stunt was about this morning but it won't happen again. From now on if I don't sense a shard I'm going to just assume there isn't one. I'm giving her a chance for Inuyasha but if she screws up I'll kick her out." I assured her with a smile before leaning back to relax.

"I know you want this to work for Inuyasha, but are you sure it's worth it?" Sango wondered after a few minutes of silence.

"He is." I replied without opening my eyes. After a few moments of silence I decided to change the subject. "Have you decided what to do about Kohaku?"

"You were right. As long as he doesn't remember he is free to live the life of a child as he should. I will not take that chance away as long as it remains. But when it is time to complete the jewel and take his shard back, I will just take it out and let Kami decide his fate." Sango explained as she began washing out her hair.

"If that is your decision I will stand behind you Sango-chan." I replied with a smile.

The rest of the time in the springs was spent in silence as was the trip back to camp. We were just sitting down to eat when Inuyasha went on alert. "What is it anija-chan?" I inquired as I stood and grabbed my bow off of my shoulder. I could see the others reading themselves as well. We had been around the hanyou long enough to know when he sensed trouble coming.

"We've got incoming demons. The smell like that tiger from yesterday. But that's not all..." he paused, looking as though he was trying to figure something out.

"What is it Inuyasha?" Miroku wondered.

"I don't know, but something is not right." he replied shaking his head as he drew the Tessaiga as the rest of us prepared for battle. A moment later a dragon broke through the tree line, followed closely behind by about five tiger youkai.

"Inuyasha isn't that?" Sango whispered as everyone looked up at the dragon, who was coming toward us at a fast speed.

"Yeah." he replied. Soon enough the dragon was close enough for us to see clearly that it was in fact Ah-Un and who the passengers were. Everyone's intake of breath told me that was I was seeing was in fact correct.

"Anija-chan he's..." I began, unable to complete the thought as I stared in disbelief.

"I know." he replied as he rushed toward the youkai. "Get away from my brother!" Inuyasha yelled before sending a 'Wind Scar' toward the incoming youkai. Getting over their shock of what they had just seen, everyone jumped into action, heading off with Inuyasha to fight the youkai while I rushed over to Ah-Un who had now landed.

"Rin stay with Souta and Shippo." I commanded as I helped her and Jaken down, setting them on the ground behind me. Glancing over Sesshoumaru quickly I went to ask what had happened, but a movement coming toward me interrupted me and instead I had to ready my bow. "Duck." I commanded as I pulled the string back and began to seep power into the arrow.

I was pretty sure the noise he made was supposed to be a growl, but didn't have time to stop and figure it out. None the less, he did as he was told and I shot the arrow where he had been sitting up just a moment before, catching the incoming youkai in the chest. Once he was purified, I glanced around the battle to see the others were quickly dealing with the rest as well.

Two other of the youkai had been destroyed leaving only two remaining. Miroku and Sango were dealing with one while Inuyasha fought the other. Once again Kikyou was standing to the side doing nothing. We were definitely going to have a talk about that later, if she wanted to be a part of the group then she needed to act like it. But for now there were other pressing matters at hand.

One more 'Wind Scar' and both of the remaining youkai had been destroyed. Since there were no shards for me to purify, I turned my attention to the children to make sure they were all safe as Kirara transformed into her mini version and headed over to Sango. "I remember you." Rin told Kohaku excitedly after a moment.

"He's lost some of his memory Rin, he doesn't remember you." I explained when Kohaku looked a little lost and Rin turned toward me with a frown before shrugging and sitting down next to the others kids. I watched as Souta got out crayons and coloring books for everyone and they began playing around the fire.

Sheathing the Tessaiga, Inuyasha and the others came back to the camp to sit around the fire and turned to Sesshoumaru in question. A few moments of silence passed while everyone waited for Inuyasha to speak. It was his brother so I guess we all figured it should be him who brought the subject up. He seemed to be thinking things over for a moment as he took in Sesshoumaru's appearance. Shaking his head he finally spoke. "So anija want to tell me why you are human?"

Please R&R, good and bad reviews are welcome, however, I will ignore flames.