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The Future Awaits by Allycat

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 

Kagome sighed as she gripped the ladder to begin her climb out of the well. She was thankful to be back home for a few days. Visions of her soft bed and her mothers oden made her mouth water and she could feel the knots in her shoulders easing even as she pulled her self over the lip of the well. Moving her way across the small shed that housed the well she slid the doors open peaking outside to make sure there wasn’t anyone around.  Seeing nothing but the clear pathway to the shrine surrounded by green grass and further back the forest that wrapped around the grounds she walked quickly across the pathway to get to the side door of the house. 

“Mama! I’m home! Please tell me you are making oden tonight?” Kagome called as she slipped her shoes off and placed them along with her yellow backpack into the closet beside the door. Not getting an answer from her mother she moved further into the house searching for her or anyone from the family. 

Just as she turned to look into the living room she heard the door she just came in through open and close followed by the voices of her brother and mother. As they moved closer to the living room Kagome was able to pick up more of what they were saying.  Sota seemed to be trying to convince their mother of something with the slight whine in his voice.  “Mama I don’t understand why we have to eat oden tonight, ‘Gome’s not even here. I want something else.”  Kagome’s eyes lit up when she heard this. It was her lucky day!

 “Trust me Sota. You’re sister’s coming home today. A mother knows these things- “ Ms. Higurashi turned into the living room and her eyes lit up, “Ah ha Sota! Here she is! Oden it is!”  Walking closer to her daughter she pulled her into a tight hug and smoothed her hands down her back.

 Kagome cheered in her head that she would be getting oden as she relaxed into her mothers warm embrace the last of her stress melting away with her mothers soothing motions. She pulled back slightly and couldn’t stop her eyes from misting. She didn’t realize how stressed she had been feeling until she was in the safety of her mothers arms.

 Picking up on Kagome’s unease Ms. Higurashi let go of Kagome and turned towards her son. “Sota dear, go find Grandpa and tell him Kagome’s home,” After seeing Sota off she turned back to Kagome and pulled her down to the couch.

 “I’m glad you’re home Kagome. Tell me what is on your mind,” Ms. Higurashi took her daughters hands in hers and gave them a gently squeeze. Kagome looked into her mother’s soft brown eyes and was amazed at how easily her mom read her.

 “I don’t know what to do Mama,” Kagome sighed as she looked down at the family couch. The faded brown fabric soothing in a way that she couldn’t explain. The couch was so familiar- it had been in their living room as long as she could remember. Closing her eyes she started thinking of what had been bothering her since she started traveling back to the past again.

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It had been three years since the well had let her back to see her friends on the other side. It hadn’t been easy to be ripped away from everyone so suddenly and without being able to say goodbye. One of the last things she saw was Shippo’s heartbroken face as she started to fade away, another one of his mothers lost to him. Inuyasha’s look of shock and sadness stung her, another friend taken away from him.

 The first week she remembered staying in bed crying. Crying for what was lost to her. Crying for what could have been. Crying for Shippo and how she wouldn’t get to see him grow. Crying for Inuyasha who had so little people in his life that loved him and was left with out her. Crying for Sango and Miroku who were like older siblings to her and now she was missing out on their lives together.

 After a week her mother came to her and told her enough was enough. She remembered how her mom told her to live. Live for them, as they would want her to. Kagome shrugged her mother off. What did she know of what she lost? She was still ashamed by that thought. Her mother lived through the death of her husband and had to raise two children, take care of a shrine and her ailing father-in-law. Her mother knew of loss. Kagome couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed at what actually got her out of bed though.

 Halfway through week two of being remote and crying a delicious smell began to waft into her room. Her brother Sota came quietly into her room and sat on the edge of her bed calling out to her in a soft voice.

 “ ‘Gome,” Sota whispered in the name he’d been calling her since he could remember. He had never really called her by her name, when he was younger he couldn’t say her whole name and the shortened name stuck. “ ‘Gome,” he whispered again, “Mama made you something downstairs and I helped so it’s extra special.”

 Kagome sniffed and flopped over on her bed to face her brother. Her eyes were red and swollen, her hair a matted mess and dull looking. Sniffing her nose again she heard her brother laugh and she snapped at Sota, “What are you laughing at!”

 Sota kept laughing not scared of upset by her outburst, “ You can’t resist Mama’s oden! If you don’t come downstairs I’m going to eat it all!” He jumped from her bed and ran out of her room slamming the door.

 “You better not!” She called after him as she yanked her pink comforter down and ungracefully rolled out of bed. ‘Ugh’ she thought as she nearly tripped herself and stumbled towards her door.  Gaining her balance she took off out of her room and down the stairs to the kitchen to make sure her little brother didn’t eat all the oden.

 Kagome’s eyes narrowed when she got to the kitchen and saw that it hadn’t been served yet. Her face started to heat up when her family started to chuckle and she realized she got out of bed for food. Feeling embarrassed that she forgot her grief for a moment because of food she couldn't help but chuckle lightly with her family before sitting down to join them for the first time in almost two weeks.

 Soon after that she found herself in a routine. She spent the first few months upgrading her classes by attending a local night school near the shrine. After she applied to an accelerated nursing program that ran with out summer breaks so she could graduate in two years instead of four. Constantly fixing up Inuyasha and the gang definitely gave her a head start in some areas especially working on people. She couldn’t even pretend to be skirmish she had definitely seen worse.

 When she wasn’t in class she was helping her family at the shrine. She knew it made her grandfather and mama happy to have her around and helping to organize the shrine and festivals to be held. She bonded with her Grandfather as she confirmed some of his tales and added more detail to them, especially the ones that revolved around the jewel.

 Kagome had been practicing manipulating her holy powers when she felt a tug on what she could only describe as the center of her being. Shivering as the feeling ghosted over her she focused on her holy energy again trying to get it to heal a small burn on her arm from last night’s supper when she felt her center tugged again. Her powers fizzled and faded back into her at the sudden pain and she groaned.

“Ugh what is going on?” Yelling to her mother that she would be back soon she stomped out of the small living room she had been practicing in and to the side door to slip her shoes on and go outside. She had an idea of where the pulling was leading her to but didn’t want to get her hopes up. It had taken her so long to pull herself together she didn’t want to end up even worse then before.

Walking over to the well house she slid the door open and peered inside. The well looked as if it was glowing and Kagome unconsciously took a step forward. Just as she reached her hand out to grip the rim pressure on her shoulder stopped her. Kagome let out a started shriek and turned around and found her mother holding her yellow backpack out to her.

 “Mama?” Kagome asked a little apprehensive about what she was doing. Her mother had prepared her bag but what if she couldn’t come back? She missed everyone dearly but she had accepted she wouldn’t see any of her friends again. Could she go through that again with her family in her time?

 “Go Kagome. I know the well is calling for a reason. I packed some food for you and your first aid kit. I also put your nursing textbooks in here. They may come in handy.” Her mother reached out and grabbed Kagome’s hand and smiled at her. “We will see each other again. I know this isn’t goodbye.”

 Kagome searched her mothers face looking for any signs of distress. When her blue eyes met the soft brown of her mothers she saw nothing but reassurance. “How do you know Mama?” She asked as she grabbed the bag from her mother’s hand and slipped it over one shoulder. ‘Man, this is heavier then it use to be’ She thought with a mental laugh at herself. She hadn’t had to carry so much stuff in a while.

“Call it a mothers intuition. We love you and try to visit soon” She said and reached over to kiss Kagome on the cheek before gently pushing her towards the soft light of the well. A small smiled played on her lips and Kagome couldn’t help but wonder if there was something her mother wasn’t telling her.

“Ok Mama.” She whispered a little nervously. Gathering her courage she looked back at her mother to say goodbye, “I love you. Tell Sota and Gramps!” With that Kagome climbed on top of the well and with one last look at her mother she stepped off of the lip of the well and into the swirling blue light that was tugging at her.

 When she arrived on the other side of the well she stared up into the clear sky and couldn’t help the huge grin that broke over her face. She was back! She would get to see everyone again! Her smile faded as she looked at the side of the well and realized she would have to climb up the side with her heavy bag.

“Ugh, I should have joined a gym so I would still be able to do this” She muttered to herself and frowned as she searched for anything to grab on to. She didn’t want to yell for Inuyasha incase he wasn’t around and ended up attracting unwanted attention to herself. With a sigh of relief she found the old rope she use to use to pull herself up with stuck to the side of the well. Yanking it free from the plant growth on it she gave it a pull to make sure it wouldn’t come loose before starting the long climb to the top.

Heaving as she gripped the edge of the well she finally pulled herself up and over to land in a pile on the soft dirt and grass surrounding the well.  Huffing and muttering to herself about needing to get back in shape she didn’t notice anything around her. It wasn’t until she felt her holy power rush up to stop demon energy from harming her that she noticed she wasn’t alone.

Sesshomaru stood on the edge of the forest staring across from her with a look of boredom on his face. His amber eyes stared at her cooly as the light breeze gently ruffled his clothing and hair. “Hn. It is just you,” he whispered quietly and turned away making his way back into the forest.

 “Just me! What does that mean! Why didn’t you help me up Sesshomaru!” She shouted after him ticked that he would dismiss her as if she was no one and embarrassed that he probably witnessed her struggle to get out of the well. She was also embarrassed because while they may not be friends the woman in her couldn’t help but appreciate many things about him. His amber eyes, proud strong stature, magenta stripes and strength she knew him to have called to her no matter how hard she fought it.

Her yell didn’t stop Sesshomaru’s retreat but she wasn’t really surprised. They may have fought Naraku together but they hadn’t really spoken or created any sort of friendship with each other. It was more a necessity to join forces so they could end it quicker that brought them together.

Grumbling about mean dog demons Kagome pulled herself up and started to follow the path into Edo where she hoped to meet up with her friends. The sound of her name drew her attention further up the path to a small body with red hair running towards her.

“Shippo!” She shouted as she dropped her bag and ran to meet him. It didn’t take very long before the small kit was in her arms and crying into her neck and she smoothed her hand over his hair and kissed the top of his head.

“Oh honey I’m so sorry I was gone! I didn’t want to leave you. I wished everyday I was with you,” She cooed to him as she walked back to bag to pick it up before continuing into the village.

Shippo hiccupped as his tiny paw clenched the fabric of her warm sweater. He couldn’t bring himself to talk as he took in the scent of his adoptive mother. He didn’t think he’d ever see her again and didn’t want to let go incase she disappeared again.  He sniffed as he took in the scents of Sango and Miroku approaching them causing his paws to grip tighter poking holes through her sweater. He didn’t want to let go of her so she could hug them.

Smiling sheepishly Kagome gave a one armed hug to the heavily pregnant Sango and beaming Miroku. Each of them holding a small child to them as they introduced her to their twin daughters.  “Oh Sango, Miroku they are adorable! I am so happy for you and look at you Sango pregnant again!” Kagome reached out to run a hand gently of her friend’s stomach and smiled when she felt a little kick.

“Kagome,” Sango cried as she half hugged her friend again, “I’ve missed you so much! So much has changed and didn’t feel complete with out you. I’m so glad we’re here today. We came from my village so Kaede could help with the birthing. She’s the only one I trust other then you!” She babbled as she let go of Kagome to gesture to her swollen middle.

Kagome smiled at her then down at Shippo who had cried himself asleep while the spoke. She kissed his head gently as they continued the hut Sango and Miroku were staying in while they were in Edo to lay him down and to drop of her bag. Kagome didn’t say anything out loud but it was killing her shoulder.  She had no idea how she carried it all before. She didn’t even consider what her mother packed a full bag. 

Kagome took in her surroundings as she walked. The village had increased in size since she left and she couldn’t help but smile at all the people milling about selling fabrics, food and other items. She noticed that there weren’t just humans in the village but some demons and half-demons as well that were walking around. 

Taking notice of Kagome looking around Miroku offered some answers to the questions building in Kagome. “After the battle we came back to Edo to tell Kaede what had happened and we noticed a few half demons around. They weren’t doing anything but instead were asking if this was where Inuyasha and the Priestess he travelled with were from. They wanted to come here as they heard there was peace between the humans and the half demon,” Miroku paused as he looked at the gathered people in the village. It was amazing to see them all in one place. 

“Do they all live here now?” Kagome asked as she looked further into Edo. She couldn’t believe that this was happening. She was so happy. Inuyasha was finally apart of a community that would accept him for what he was not what he could be. 

“Not all of them. Some just pass through but there are a few that have settled in. Even started families,” Sango answered as she turned off the path towards a hut near Kaede’s. Sliding the door open Sango gestured Kagome inside and towards a corner to place her bag down.

“Oh that feels good,” She whispered after placing the bag on the floor. Glaring at the bag she rolled her should to ease the sore muscles it caused. Reaching her arm up she started to peel Shippo’s paw out of her sweater gently noticing little drops of dried blood on her sweater from when his clawed went through the fabric. 

“Mama,” Shippo mumbled as she finally got his claws untangled and began to lay him down on a mat the Miroku laid down. She ran her hands through his hair as she whispered promises of not leaving and of love. Looking around the hut she had a small smile. It felt like old times with them all together the only thing missing was Inuyasha.

Settling her eyes on her friends she whispered low so she wouldn’t wake Shippo, “Where’s Inuyasha?” She noticed as Sango and Miroku looked at each other then down to her with soft eyes.

“He’s here Kagome,” Sango started then looked away feeling guilty for the news that they were about to tell their friend. She couldn’t imagine how she would feel after hearing what had ended up happening to Inuyasha.

Miroku cleared his throat then walked over to Kagome placing an arm around her shoulders. She was like a younger sister to him and he hated for her to have to hear this but it was better from him then seeing Inuyasha in the village or to hear it from some random villager. “After you left Kagome Inuyasha was a mess. He disappeared for a few months and when he came back he was pretty depressed but as time went by he started to be his old self,” Miroku paused and looked at Sango to continue. 

“One day some new people came to the village. And well with them was a woman…” Sango trailed off and offered Kagome a smile to try and soothe her. She smiled and Miroku pulled Kagome in for a hug and didn’t even lower his hand to Kagome’s backside. 

Kagome let a few tears out as she grasped what Sango and Miroku were telling her. Inuyasha had met someone else and was with her now. Kagome lingered in Miroku’s hug before she mentally sighed and pulled herself together. She couldn’t be mad at Inuyasha. He didn’t know she would be back, heck she didn’t know she’d be back.

“It’s ok guys. I didn’t expect him to wait around for me. I mean we didn’t know if I would ever be back right?” She said as she lowered herself to sit next to Shippo. She could sense that he was about to wake up from the way his energy was moving through the air. Reaching out with hers she gave his a rub to comfort him and smiled when his eyes fluttered to look at her with a little fanged smile.

“Besides I’m not unhappy about it. I have you guys and my little Shippo too,” She reached out and pulled him into her lap and tickled his sides causing him and the rest of the occupants to laugh.

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INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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