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Coup de Foudre

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There was a darkness surrounding Kagome. It was dense, completely surrounding her. It felt like being underwater, floating in the deep end of the pool. She was dangling on the precipice between sleep and consciousness. But was she asleep? And should she be? Kagome felt unsettled, although she was unsure as to why. Her thoughts were muddled; she was having a hard time discerning where she was or what she had been doing. The darkness was thick around her, but slowly a bit of light began to bleed through the edges of her mind, bringing her closer and closer to the surface...

 

The first thing Kagome noticed was how cold she was as she came to, followed by the thunderous pounding that was ripping through her head, as if someone was smelting iron - her head being the iron. Her eyelids seemed to be held together by glue, not wanting to open. Waves of nausea rolled through her as she attempted to lift herself. Her whole body ached. Slowly, her hearing began to return, a bland, metallic alarm ringing throughout the room.

 

Kagome shakily sat up, trying to remember what happened. Her mind was blank, and memory fuzzy, so she began taking stock of her surroundings in an attempt to figure out her situation. She was sitting on the floor of what looked to be a bed room of some sort. Behind her was a simple twin bed, the metal legs of the frame fused to the floor. The only other piece of furniture in the room was a simple desk that sat at the foot of the bed. The floor was littered with an array of objects; pens and scrolls that Kagome presumed came from the desk, books that had fallen from the alcove in the wall in front of her, and several broken picture frames. 

 

Kagome carefully picked up the nearest picture frame, slipping the photograph out from the broken glass. The photo was of a family taken in front of a beautiful garden. A middle aged woman with short, wavy hair stood with her arms around two men. The man on her left was older, hair already gray, with a stoic look on his face, while the younger man - a teenager by the looks of it - had short black hair, a giant grin plastered on his face, his free hand holding up a peace sign with his index and middle fingers.

 

'I remember them!' Kagome thought, past memories beginning to play in her mind as she looked at the family- her family. It was a picture of her mother, brother, and grandfather. Taken the last time she was on Earth.

 

Slowly, Kagome began to remember. 'My name is Kagome Higurashi. I am an anthropologist, specializing in alien societies. I work aboard the SS Sengoku. My team of colleagues and I are travelling in the Solas galaxy in search of the mysterious Shikon no Tama.'

 

Kagome sat on the floor, repeating the lines like a mantra in her head as she took deep breaths in, and then out. The pain in her head had started to dwindle dramatically, and, while it was still present, Kagome was able to push it aside in order to find out more about what had happened. The ship's alarm system was still going off, and it looked like the ship had gone dark, running on emergency power. Kagome had been sitting at her desk, reading over some ancient manuscript when something seemed to crash into the ship. Whatever it was must have been big. Kagome eyed the smear of blood on one of the legs to the bed frame; she must have fallen from her chair at the impact and smashed her head against the leg of the bed, knocking her unconscious. She slowly lifted her hand over her forehead, hovering around the spot where her head hurt most, hissing when her fingertips barely made contact.

 

Kagome folded up the picture and shoved it in her pocket for safe-keeping before using the bed behind her to lift herself up to standing. She stumbled toward the wall adjacent to the desk, pulling a section of wall to the left, showing a small closet. Kagome reached for a white box on the top shelf. It contained a rudimentary first aid kit, with a few survival items for emergencies. She would eventually need to get to the medical bay for a proper treatment, but Kagome was unsure of what was happening on the ship outside her room, and thought it would be better to prepare for a worst case scenario and at least put some ointment on the wound. The alcohol swabs stung like a bitch, but Kagome merely ground her teeth together and pulled through it, using the bathroom mirror to apply a bit of antibiotic cream and roughly slap a bit of gauze to her forehead. Once she was as put together as she could possibly manage, Kagome grabbed an LED flashlight from the kit and set out to find some help.

 

The emergency system doesn't power any of the self opening doors on the ship, so Kagome had to manually unlock and slide the door open. The hallway was dark, the red tint of the emergency power lights casting insidious shadows on the walls. Kagome turned left from her room, walking away from the rest of the crew living quarters and towards the main decks.

 

Kagome's goal was to make it to the main command center. If any of the first officers had survived the impact to the ship, they would congregate there, brainstorming ideas and taking action to get the ship back online. Kagome wasn't sure if she could be of any help in that matter, but she would be able to easily find out if remaining survivors were quarantined in the Med Bay or perhaps one of the cargo bays depending on the size of the crew. It wouldn't do her any good to be blindly roaming the hallways.

 

The blaring sound of the alarm continued ringing throughout the darkened hallways. Even with the flashlight, it was difficult for Kagome to see more than a few feet in front of her. The yellow tinted floor panels that activated with the emergency power that helped lead stray crew members to the command center only put off so much light. Kagome shivered slightly - partially from the cold, since the emergency power ran only what was needed to climate control, and partially to the state of the ship - as she slowly navigated herself around bits of metal and wall paneling that began increasingly littering the floor.

 

Kagome was becoming increasingly worried about what had actually happened during the time she was passed out. She expected to see a bit of chaos brought on by the collision as she passed by the last of the crewmember quarters - things strewn around from desks or pictures flung from the walls, just as they had in her own room. But the closer she got to the main level, which housed all the necessary rooms for maintaining the ship, the more she suspected something else was afoot, more foul than just crashing into…something.

 

'Which is frightening in and of itself, isn't it? Outer space is supposed to be….infinitesimal, what could we have hit that our radar systems couldn't pick up beforehand? Or did something else hit us? Was it an accident, or something more intentional?' Kagome had a hard time turning off the paranoia as she continued on, not another soul in sight.

 

Which was another ugly, terrifying thought that began to burrow itself in her mind. She had yet to see a single person since she left her room. Kagome expected to maybe see others, like herself, making their way towards the main level. Or perhaps hear a pre-recorded message come through the speakers, directing stragglers towards a safe space, or commanding engineers to report to engineering. Instead there was nothing but the klaxon alarms screaming CODE RED with every blaring horn.

 

Something was horribly wrong, and Kagome was only proved right as she turned around the next corner.

 

She was sure that whatever collided with the ship couldn't do the sort of internal damage she was looking at in front of her.

 

It looked like a battle had taken place, the hallway utterly destroyed.

 

Rubble covered the floor, so much so that Kagome was practically tripping her way through the corridor. The walls were shredded, like some sort of animal had clawed its way through. Wires were poking out through the gashes and randomly sparking, giving the corridor a sedated strobe light effect. A series of hissing and popping noises from the escape of pressurized air could be heard from within the bowels of the ship. Circular scorch marks littered the walls, indicating that the security team had used their phasers at full power.

 

It was the blood that freaked Kagome out the most.

 

Some of it was pooled on the floor, or smeared in a given direction, as if something had been dragged through it. Arterial spray dotting the walls. This wasn't a case of an external collision, either with a ship or space rock or otherwise unidentified object; this was a fight  between two sets of opponents. To the death by the looks of it. Kagome hoped that the blood belonged to whatever enemy the ships security officers were going against, but she was becoming more and more sceptical of that thought by the second.

 

She picked up her pace, less concerned about the noise she made as her feet slapped against the laminate floor, and more concerned about getting to the control room. 

 

She finally reached the corridor that held the main control room a couple of minutes later. The double doors were closed, so, like she had done in her own room, Kagome pressed her left hand against the left side door while she placed her right hand on the indent of the handle and pushed the left side of the double doors aside.

 

Kagome let out a pained whimper as she surveyed the room.

 

It was a sight of carnage to be sure. Almost all of the chairs, even the ones that were fused to the floor, were broken and scattered throughout the room. Some of the computer screens were dark and broken, glass covering the action panels below, while others were lit up with error screens from the jumble of power. There seemed to be even more blood in the control center than there was in the hallway.

 

And there wasn't a soul in sight. The command center was just as empty as the hallways had been on her way there.

 

'Where is everyone? Why is there so much blood?'

 

If Kagome hadn't been afraid yet, she sure was now. She brought a hand up to her mouth to hold off gagging as the metallic scent of blood permeated the air around her. She backed herself back out into the hallway, nauseated but unable to look away from the horror scene she had stumbled upon, because there was so much blood, why was there so much blood - 

 

"Huehuehuehue"

 

Kagome stopped in her tracks at the sound of a deep chuckle behind her. While Kagome had been so starved for human interaction just minutes ago, now she wished she could have stayed in the quiet. It wasn't a boisterous laugh, or a laugh in admiration of something. This was a taunting laugh, from a predator to its prey, that sent cold shivers down Kagome's spine.

 

She had no desire to turn around and face whatever was behind her, nor did she want to keep looking at the destruction of the control room; she was stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak. For a second, Kagome had the idea to just close her eyes and curl up in a ball, to forget about the nearly empty spaceship covered with blood floating along who knows what quadrant of the galaxy. Perhaps she could just dive right inside her head and simply will whatever had appeared behind her to just disappear.

 

Another deep chuckle broke Kagome from her reverie, causing her to slowly turn and face the strange entity.

 

An almost inaudible whimper escaped her lips at the sight.

 

"Heh, what's the matter little bird? Never seen a monster before?"

 

'Monster' was definitely the first word she thought of upon seeing the mysterious figure. Followed by 'demon' and ending with 'alien'. It was like something from an old horror film; dark, leathery skin stretched over taught muscle, perhaps a dark mauve color although it was too dark for Kagome to truly nail down his skin color. It's face was elongated at the nose, almost like a bird or a reptile. Given the natural shape of its jaw, Kagome might have thought it was actually grinning at her, a mouthful of sharp, white teeth glistened with saliva that dropped from it's partially open mouth. A set of large, curved horns protruded from the top of his head.

 

What was most terrifying for Kagome, though, was its blood red eyes. They almost glowed, despite the darkened environment, and held nothing but hate in them. It's piercing stare held her where she stood, turning her legs into anchors.

 

"I can smell your fear little bird. It's delicious," it said, raking its long tongue over its teeth, covering them with a new film of saliva.

 

Kagome let out the breath she had been holding in and took another quick breath to jolt some oxygen to her brain. Once the immediate wave of shock had dissipated a little, Kagome began to take note of the creature. She was utterly baffled at what she was seeing. The creature looked like it was an Oni, a species of alien from section 664 of some other far off quadrant. Unlike humans, Oni were more animalistic in nature. Generally solitary creatures - until time for reproduction - they hunted for food at night and slept in dark, cramped places - such as caves.

 

They sure as hell didn't speak like humans, that's for sure. Although its capacity for human language was not the only thing that separated it even more so from the rest of its species. It was nearly twice the size of a normal Oni, taking up the entirety of the hallway she had just come from.

 

Little bird . That was an unusual title for it to call her, too. Images of an older man with dark messy hair and circular thin glasses flooded her mind, memories of her late father hoisting her into the air, with her arms stretched out as far as they could go, telling her to fly little bird.

 

Her family were the only people to call her that. Out of all the names in the world, how had it known to call her that ?

 

"I see you little bird. All of you," it continued to taunt her, this time taking a small step towards her. Kagome couldn't help taking a step back, wanting to keep as much space between them as possible, but going backward would only corner her into a room with no other means of escape. She surreptitiously glanced to either side of her. There were two other hallways going in separate directions of each other, one going towards Med Bay while the other led to the ship's engine room.

 

'If I can just manage to sprint towards one of the hallways, I might be able to outrun it, with how big it is,' she thought, hoping that this tentative plan would work well enough for her to get away. Exactly where she would run to was another question, one that she had no desire to answer in that current moment.

 

Another deep chuckle bellowed from the creature, giving Kagome the push she needed to put her plan into action. She would attempt to run towards the Med Bay first, hoping beyond hope that if someone else was alive on the ship, that's where they'd be, and would be able to help her. With a jolt of adrenaline that could only be produced via fear, Kagome lunged to her right in a foot stomping run, quickly closing the distance between the open corridor she was currently inhabiting and the hallway in front of her. 

 

Right before she was about to enter the hallway, Kagome took a moment to look behind her at where the creature was. A foolish thing to be sure; isn't that how people were killed in old horror movies? The main character would be running away from the killer, look behind them and see that no one is chasing them, only to be confronted by the killer as soon as they turned back around. Kagome used to watch those movies all the time with Souta, constantly begrudging the character for stupidly cutting their survival chances in half by wasting time looking back when they should have been keeping forward.

 

Kagome didn't think she'd ever watch a horror movie again after this, but if she did she certainly wouldn't begrudge the characters actions again. As much as she knew she shouldn't look back, it was almost as if there was a guiding force pulling her head back.

 

She supposed karma had to be somewhat behind the empty hallway she was now glancing back at.

 

Kagome whipped her head forward just in time to come to a stop before plowing into the hulking creature that was now completely blocking the hallway. It had barely been only a few seconds and the creature managed to move from one side of the corridor to the other. Kagome struggled to remember if the Oni were actually that fast or if this was just another aspect of the creature that didn't line up with what was known about that particular species.

 

"Where are you running to, little bird?"

 

Kagome immediately began to double back toward the other hallway, but this time the action was more a flight instinct than actually believing she would get away. This time, she didn't bother looking back, watching the dark blur of the creature as it moved swiftly past her to once again block her only forms of escape. If she wanted to, she could always try doubling back again in an attempt to catch the creature off its guard and run to the Med Bay, but Kagome had a feeling the creature was simply toying with her. It was its way of asserting its dominance over her, showing her how futile it was to try and escape.

 

It was going to kill her.

 

It was enjoying every moment of her fear and watching as her hope slowly began to dwindle. Kagome began to shake as the breath tore out from her lungs. Is this how she was going to die? Alone and scared and helpless? She had known there would be risks when she agreed to help lead the anthropology team on this mission through space, but this was a situation Kagome never could have foreseen for herself.

 

She let a few tears stream down her face, a million thoughts running through her mind - I'll never see my family again, will anyone ever find out what happened to us, this ship has so many priceless scrolls just floating in space for the taking.

 

"Hey asshole."

 

The creature spun around to look behind him before being knocked back, the high pitched squeal of a phaser blast square to the chest pulling a shout from Kagome.

 

"Why don't you come after a more worthy opponent?"

 

The creature snarled at the newcomer, one of his giant hands coming to lay over his chest where the phaser blast hit him. There was almost no damage, save a small scorch mark. It seemed the blast didn't even break the skin.

 

"Heh," the creature chuffed, taking a few sharp sniffs in the stranger's direction. "I suppose a half breed would make a better play thing than the human, even so, there is no hope for your survival."

 

Suddenly, the creature shot out towards the stranger, and Kagome darted into the command center to hide from the ensuing battle.

 

It was becoming painfully obvious how much the creature had been holding back while taunting her. Both figures in the corridor could barely be seen as they lunged and dodged each other's attacks. The stranger would fire a barrage of phaser blasts, none of which seemed to hit the creature. It was like watching a game of cat and mouse; the creature would either block the stranger's way, or sneak up behind him. It never attacked him though. The creature wanted to toy with his prey, human or not.

 

Yet, the stranger never seemed to be frustrated by his lack of target hits. Kagome could barely get a good glimpse of him at the speed he was moving - except for his long, silver hair of course - but the stranger seemed determined in his every move, as if not getting another shot off of it was the plan all along.

 

Kagome took another step backward into the command center and tripped over some rubble, landing on her butt. She tried to pick herself back up - in case the creature decided it was tired of playtime and wanted it's snack - and ended up slipping in a small pool of blood that was beside her.

 

Kagome couldn't seem to make the room stop spinning. Her breath was running ragged; unable to take any more air into her lungs, but unable to let it go either. She could feel how the blood rushed to her cheeks and shoulders, so sure of the hives that would begin to dot her shoulders. She was trembling, despite feeling like she was burning up from the inside. Kagome wanted to believe that this was all a dream. That this mysterious man was here to save her. She was trying her best to keep herself centered, but the events of the past hour were finally starting to tear her down. If this stranger couldn't kill that creature, then she would die.

 

A slight movement out of the corner of her eye startled her from her attack; It was a fairly large chunk of rubble. Many of the pieces of debris from the ship had been pushed toward the entrance of the control center during the fight between the stranger and the creature, so Kagome would have barely thought twice about a piece of metal being flung into her space. Except this spec ific piece of metal seemed to be moving at much more steady pace than simply being thrown into the room or bounced off a wall from a phaser blast. 

 

Not to mention the fact that this piece of metal was moving toward the fight.

 

Neither the creature nor the stranger seemed to notice the piece of metal as it moved slowly towards them. Although, with a quick glance towards the battling figures, Kagome was fairly certain the stranger was purposefully keeping his attention away from her. In fact, it looked like he was trying to keep the creature facing away from Kagome in the control room. Any time their positions would even remotely turn enough for the creature to be able to see into the control room, the man would fire a set of phaser blasts, or move himself so the creature would follow him.

 

Before Kagome could ponder any more on those thoughts, the moving piece of metal made it to the opposite side of the doorway, and with a faint pop! it transfigured itself into….Kagome's first thought was it was a small child, but there was no way that could be possible. Inanimate objects don't just transform into small children! Unless…

 

Kagome let out a small gasp as her brain started catching up with her eyes. He was small, about the same size as a toddler. Auburn hair held together with a tie matched the tail he sported, and Kagome suddenly had a much better understanding of what was going on.

 

The child was a kitsune, a species known for shape shifting and illusionary tricks.

 

He turned his head to look at her after her audible gasp, and brought his finger up to his mouth, giving her a silent look that said 'be quiet' . He turned his head back to the fight, pure determination etched onto his face. His eyes constantly flicked back and forth from the creature to the stranger.

 

The creature made a lunge for the man - who managed to just barely evade him with moves that were practically acrobatic in nature - and then another, until he ended with his back to the command center. This must have been the sign the child needed, because as soon as the creature was in his path, he raised his hands up. His left hand was empty, his fingers extended like he was holding a ball, but his right hand held a canister of some sort. 

 

Using his feet - or should she say paws? - he leapt up into the air, holding the canister against his left hand, which instantly sparked into a blue flame.

 

"Get a taste of my fox fire !" He shouted, a giant blue flame engulfing the creature's face. It began to scream in agony, clawing at it's own face as if he could simply wipe the fire away. The child jumped toward Kagome, pulling her farther into the room as the creature began to flail about. It had given up on its pitiful attempt to get rid of the fire and tried to take a swipe out of whatever it could get its hands on.

 

"DO YOU THINK THIS WILL STOP ME?! I WILL DEVOUR YOU ALL!" 

 

Kagome let out a small scream as the creature slapped at the wall, putting a dent in the wall as it's anger steadily grew. It began to enter the room, fumbling for any errant pieces of broken furniture that it could throw. Kagome took the child in her arms, not paying any mind to the clutter or the blood, and rushed backward until her back hit the wall-to-ceiling glass viewing screen.

 

Before the creature could get any closer, the stranger jumped in front of them. A long blade sprung out from the bottom of the barrel of his phaser gun, and with a deep grunt, he jabbed it into the underside of the creature's neck. The creature ceased it's movements, took a few burgled breaths, and crumpled to the floor with a loud thud as soon as the stranger released his weapon from its throat.

 

For a moment, everything was quiet. No one moved, keeping their eyes on the dead creature on the floor, as if they were afraid it would come back to life again. The man was the first to turn his gaze away, wiping the blood from his weapon onto the side of his pants before pushing the blade back into its hidden spot, effectively holstering the phaser.

 

"Good work, Shippo," he murmured, turning to face them both. He bent down slightly to hold his hand out for her to grab. For the first time since he had appeared, Kagome was finally able to get a good luck at her savior. She could tell even from her position on the floor that he was tall. Muscular, too, if the definition of his biceps told her anything. A fine sheen of sweat covered his face, making the baby hairs near the ears stick to his face.

 

Or, a better description would be 'the baby hairs where his ears should be'. Because they sure weren't where normal humans had theirs. I'm fact, they were on top of his head, nestled in his beautiful, silver hair. Two fluffy triangular ears that looked remarkably like a dog's. An akita maybe? Although, the most striking feature of his face was surely his eyes, two golden honey orbs that Kagome was sure that in the proper lighting could shine even brighter than the sun.

 

She took his hand - are those claws? - and stood up, keeping her hold on him until she was sure she was on steady feet. The child - whose name she now learned was Shippo - jumped from her arms onto the stranger's shoulder.

 

"Th-thank you. For saving me," Kagome said softly, afraid that any loud noise she could make would be a calling card for any other treacherous being aboard the ship.

 

"It was no problem! We were just lucky to be at the right place at the right time! So what's your name? What are you doing on this ship? Were you stranded, or did you find the ship like we did?"

 

"Dammit Shippo, use your brain, she ain't gonna want to answer all your stupid questions right now!" The man said sharply to Shippo, glaring at him.

 

"Well why not? They're all good questions!" Shippo poured, his lower lip sticking out in true child like fashion.

 

"It...it's okay. I'm Kagome," she answered. "I was a crew member of this ship before…" She trailed off, not quite wanting to put into words what they all knew was true. I was a crew member of this ship before everyone else was killed.

 

"Well, I'm Shippo! And this big brunt is Inuyasha," Shippo chuckled slightly, poking his companion playfully in the cheek.

 

"Alright, alright," Inuyasha batted Shippo's hand away. "Now that introductions are over with, let's get going. I don't want to get stuck here when the bandits arrive." He turned around without giving Kagome another glance and started walking away.

 

"W-what? Wait!" Kagome exclaimed, the calm demeanor she had been working herself up to over the past minute shattering with the thought that this man was just going to leave her there. Stranded. In space.

 

"Yeah, hold up Inuyasha! We can't just leave her here!" Shippo jumped off his shoulder and rushed forward into the doorway. Kagome watched as he dove into his pocket for a bright green leaf - the color was such a contrast to the dark and dull, metallic colors of the control room - and placed it on his forehead. With another faint pop! , Shippo transformed into a giant pink ball, blocking the doorway. Inuyasha attempted to push his way through, but with every push, Shippo would take in a deep gulp of air to make himself slightly bigger each time, cementing him more into the doorway.

 

"Dammit Shippo," Inuyasha growled. "We've already stayed here for too long. We can't wait for her to try and call for help!"

 

"Please!" Kagome ran up to Inuyasha, grabbing his arm, another preventative measure to keep him with her, so she wouldn't be alone. She instantly let go, though, as soon as her hand came into contact with the skin of his arm.

 

It felt like electricity. It flowed through both of them, pushing and pulling like the tide. The feeling was so strong that Kagome thought they both might burst into flame if they kept touching. Inuyasha looked just as perplexed as she was, a hint of nervousness exuding from his demeanor. Kagome thought he looked like a dog backed into a corner; her presence seemed to make him nervous, but he was trapped in the same room as her, unable to flee.

 

"Please take me with you!" She continued on. "My team and I were working on a long standing project. I need to get a hold of my team leader and tell her what happened!"

 

Inuyasha looked away from her, opting to stare Shippo down instead. The kitsune had begun to sweat a little, and Kagome didn't know how long he could keep his illusions up.

 

"I can pay you!" She pleaded. It was her last shot at getting help. If this Inuyasha wasn't the type of person to help someone out just because it was the right thing to do, then she would let her money talk for her. Not that she had a lot of it, but she would gladly give it if that's what it took to get her on that ship. Money was inconsequential to her; so long as she had enough for food, shelter, and the occasional shopping trips, she was satisfied.

 

Inuyasha squinted his eyes, taking his concentration away from Shippo, possibly having a full conversation in his head weighing the pros and cons of bringing her aboard his ship. The pros must have won out, because he gave an impatient grunt that Kagome felt might have actually been the word 'fine', but she decided not to push her luck by asking him to repeat himself.

 

Shippo must have either heard what he said or recognized this as a routine trait of his, and with a little poof! transformed back into his usual self, allowing Inuyasha to finally escape.

 

"Let's go if we're gonna go then," Inuyasha huffed impatiently.

 

"Okay, I just need grab a few things from my room-"

 

"No time. Just leave it all so we can get going."

 

Kagome huffed at his backside. He wanted her to leave her things? What kind of woman did he take her for? She could care less about any of the decorative accoutrements she might have picked up over her time in the galaxy. Her work was far more important.  Scrolls, books, her notes. It was several years of sweat, blood, and discovery, and Kagome would not leave any of it behind.

 

"I can't leave without my work. I've spent years cultivating it, and I need to make sure it's safe and protected."

 

Inuyasha turned back to stare her down. Kagome was unfazed, meeting him with her own glare and her hands placed firmly on her hips. It was her 'I mean business and won't take no for an answer' stance. Inuyasha was the first to cave, rolling his eyes as he turned back around and started walking down the hallway toward engineering. 

 

"Fine, you got five minutes. I'll leave with or without you. Shippo, help her with her shit," Inuyasha ended with a flourish of his hand and disappeared down the hall. Kagome huffed out in a bit of indignation. How was the man who saved her from being killed also the asshole who would just leave her here to die?

 

"Heh," Shippo chuckled nervously. "Inuyasha is a little...rough around the edges, but he's a good guy, I swear!"

 

"Oh yeah, he's charming alright…" she grumbled. Kagome took a deep breath in, feeling completely drained now that the adrenaline rush from her fear earlier had all but dissolved from her. Shippo jumped from the ground to sit on her shoulder, his tail wrapping around her neck.

 

"Well, lead the way Kagome! Inuyasha will give us a little more than five minutes but….He um, wasn't kidding about leaving us if we talk too long."

 

And so, she marched on, out of the destroyed command center and past the empty hallways. Kagome put Shippo in charge of all her books as she collected whatever was left, and they worked in relative silence. Ten minutes later, she was packed and boarded on their little ship. She took one last look behind her before the bay doors closed, thinking about her life on that ship for the past six months. She thought about the people she worked with; how each of them had such a passion for discovery and history and science. So many good, kind souls who would never get to light up the world they lived in.

 

As they flew away, Kagome made herself a promise. She would make sure their dreams lived on. She would do everything she could to find the Shikon no Tama. All she had to do was get in touch with Kikyo.