Disclaimers:  I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters.

Notes:  My very first Inuyasha fic.  This is a Het fic, with pairings as follows . . . Sesshomaru/Kagome, Inuyasha/Kikyo, and
Miroku/Sango.  This is most definitely an Alternate Universe fic, and I take great liberties in changing their lives to suit my
purposes.  And for the most part, I stick with English terms and spellings for their names . . . I do hope you can get over it.

More notes:  Miroku's wounds are treated.


Part Ten

"But please, may we take this some place more comfortable?"

"Yes, of course," Kagome replied, smiling to the elegant demoness.

Kagome didn't think she had ever met a demon so beautiful before, nor one who exuded quite so much power.  She was strong,
this demon woman, and yet she had retained her freedom.  Kagome guessed that had something to do with her son, or more
likely the human man she had been married to.  Given she still held a high rank - if Kagome judged only by her regal garb - her
husband must have been of some wealth.  But then, Kagome was just guessing and she could be completely wrong.

She broke away from her thoughts and turned to Sango.  "Your house is closer than mine.  Can we take him there?"

"By all means," Sango replied with a waving gesture.  "I can use the opportunity to check in on Kohaku."

Sesshomaru motioned to Miroku.  "May I?"

Kagome looked from Sesshomaru to Miroku and then glanced at the regal demon woman before her.  "Is it all right?"

Miroku's mother nodded.  "Just as long as he's careful of my son's injuries."

Kagome didn't even relay that sentiment to Sesshomaru.  She trusted that he would show every care in handling the injured half
breed.  "I don't doubt that he will be careful."  She would have gone on, but just about anything else she could have said just felt
as if it would be the wrong thing.  Instead, she waited as Sesshomaru carefully lifted Miroku into his arms.  Kagome took the
moment to admire the way the muscles in the demon's arms worked.

Miroku whimpered at being moved, and his mother was at his side in an instant.  It was obvious that she cared greatly for him
as she stroked the side of his head, hushing and cooing soothing words to him.  Still, he trembled as his mother attended to
him.  Kagome didn't think she had met anyone so frightened before and wondered just what had happened to him to make him
so terrified of the world.

"If you'll follow me," Sango said after clearing her throat.  She led them through the market ... making sure to avoid the more
populated areas.  That made sense to Kagome since they didn't want to cause the frail demon any undue stress.  

It wasn't all that long before they were walking up the path to Sango's home.  Sesshomaru eased the injured youth down to sit
on a cushioned bench inside the modest home, while Sango ran to fetch water and bandaging.  The half-demon's mother sat
beside him, her hand sweeping up and down along his arm.  "Now, try to stay calm, Miroku.  I'm sure these people don't wish
you any harm."

Kagome smiled at the lovely demoness and nodded.  "Of course we won't harm you.  To do so would make helping you rather

Sango returned with a basket of supplies, which Sesshomaru took without an utterance.  He knelt before the injured youth and
with a decided gentleness began tending his wounds.  The first thing he did was to set the bone in his wrist back in place.  Even
with his mother holding on to him, Miroku wailed at the pain.  Setting the break in his wing merely caused a frail whimper, but
by that point Miroku was barely hanging on to consciousness.  He was eased to lie on his side by the two who were caring for
him, his head pillowed on his mother's lap, her fingers sifting through his dark hair lovingly.

Kagome felt awkward just standing there watching all of this.  But she didn't want to scare Miroku.  He was hurting and timid.  
Something horrible had happened to him.  "Excuse me, Madam ... but what happened to your son?"

The demoness turned a cold look toward Kagome.  The harsh expression faded away with a single whimper from Miroku, not
even sleep protecting him from his pain.  She soothed him delicately, her taloned fingers lightly grazing his scalp.  "That beast,
Naraku is what happened," she sighed.  "I foolishly fell in love with a human man and married him.  He had many faults, but I
forgave them because of my devotion for him.  He gave me a son, my dear Miroku."  She brushed the youth's hair again.  "One
day my husband came to me and told me he had gotten into business with a demon and things had turned sour for him.  He sold
the only thing he had of value to pay this demon back."


"Yes.  Out of fear, my husband sold off our only son into slavery.  I could not forgive him that.  He died ... naturally ... before
my son was returned to me.  For years I searched, and I finally found him in Naraku's keeping.  And he was like this."  She
settled her hand on the side of Miroku's head.  "I'd wager you wouldn't believe me if I said he was far better than he was the
day I recovered him.  "At least now he is able to leave his room...and the grounds of our home.  Though this incident may set
his progress back."

"I am finished, Mistress," Sesshomaru announced, gracefully rising to his feet.

Kagome brushed away the tears that had gathered in her eyes and forced a smile on her face.  "Thank you, Sesshomaru."

Rin, who had been all but forgotten, tugged on Kagome's hand.  "Will he be okay?"

Sesshomaru answered calmly, "He should recover with proper rest."

Rin smiled widely in reply.

"I suppose we should report to the Council now," Sango groaned.  Kagome knew the woman didn't find their boring lectures
any more pleasurable than she did herself.  Their questions were bound to be tedious and repetitive.  She'd rather spend her days
... well, doing anything else actually.

Sesshomaru carried Miroku again as the group went to the Council meeting room.  As soon as they walked in, Kagome knew
that something was horribly wrong.  There was a flurry of activity.  Guards were rushing through the doors and people were
shouting orders.  It was a mass of chaos and confusion.

Sango grabbed a passing clerk by the shoulder.  "What happened?"

"A demon escaped!" the boy exclaimed, blood smearing the side of his head.  "Whoever applied the collar did not latch it
properly.  It wasn't sealed at all!  He had help.  They attacked the Council ... so much blood.  And the screams!"

A pit of fear dropped into Kagome's stomach.  "What demon?"

"Some halfbreed.  Naraku.  They said his name is Naraku."

Kagome's legs felt like jelly.  She dropped to sit, her body going numb.  She couldn't believe it.  He was free.  He'd escaped.  
And there was no doubt that he would be wanting revenge against the people that had ruined his public life.  He couldn't show
his face in the village anymore, nor run his businesses.  He'd be coming after Kagome and the others all too soon.  What the hell
could stop a pissed off demon?


Kagome snapped her head up, her eyes meeting the stern golden gaze of Sesshomaru.  The fear and tension left her body then, a
sense of calm spreading throughout her.  She didn't know why, but her doubts were gone, as if his mere presence was enough
to keep all the shadows in her mind at bay.

He'd protect her, wouldn't he?  She certainly hoped so.

To Be Continued ...