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Crescendo by Squash

Breathe no more

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha

Inspiration for this chapter: Evanescence Breathe No More

A single dainty hand swiped across the surface of the foggy mirror, revealing in one solid streak the reflection of deep sapphire eyes encased in flawless, sun kissed skin and rosy cheeks framed by ebony, softly-curling hair that made a soft tapping sound as it dripped wetly onto the tile floor beneath her bare feet.

Her eyes focused on the white line marring her left cheek, the remaining scar from a wound she had suffered during a terrible battle months ago while traveling through Sengoku Jidai in search of Shikon shards.

She tore her gaze away in a huff of hurt and anger at the memory, proceeding to brush her teeth and hair before dressing quickly.

Her over-stuffed yellow pack had been left sitting in the door way to her room, the supplies having been readied the night before. She slung it up and over her shoulder in one practiced move before bounding down the steps and through the kitchen.

After seeing her family off, she headed to the well house on the other side of the shrine. Remembering her mother's wishes, she closed the doors behind her softly before coming to the edge of the old, wooden well and positioning herself above it to peer curiously at the inky depths.

She lingered there for a moment, poised and staring down in the abyss as she felt the magic begin to activate with her presence, the air already beginning to churn with an otherworldly blue light.

She was anxious to get back.

The past had begun to replace her home in her heart. That time, that place, those people began to replace her family, her friends, her life... until she wasn't sure anymore that she wanted to return to this place once Naraku was defeated and the jewel was complete.

With a final sigh, she shoved herself off the edge and plunged into the darkness, meeting a soft resistance as her body was enveloped by the magic. She sank slowly into sparkling blue light that swirled around her ethereally, holding her arms out for buoyancy as she drifted slowly back to the past.

Inuyasha. Her heart ached at the thought. Their last encounter with Naraku, the one that resulted with the scar across her cheek, had altered the very foundations of the nature of their relationship. Just the thought of seeing him again caused her dread she was ashamed to admit feeling.

They had acquired almost the entire jewel fragment, lacking only a few shards, when the hoards came from the sky one evening at dusk, attacking their small camp.

The battle went on throughout the night until they were all worn down from exhaustion when Naraku finally made his appearance. To their shock, they found Kikyo lying unconscious in his arms appearing battered and beaten.

He taunted Inuyasha with an evil smirk. Inuyasha lunged for him, leaving Kagome undefended. As soon as he reached him, Naraku dropped Kikyo carelessly and Inuyasha plunged to reach her before she could impact with the ground.

With Inuyasha out of his way, he was free to attack his real target. Kagome narrowly avoided the tentacle that was meant for her jewel shard and it grazed the side of her face instead, burning on contact with the deadly singe of miasma.

Miroku and Sango attacked as she regained her footing, severing the first tentacle just in time only for another to manage a blow to her stomach, sending her barreling through the air and into the forest. She landed on her back hard, cracking the trunk of a large tree and knocking the wind from her as one hand came up to clutch the jewel shard protectively.

As the tentacle prepared to attack again, Kagome closed her eyes and concentrated until her whole body glowed a bright pink and the appendage was purified when it got too close, followed by five more.

She stood and walked slowly back on the battlefield, her eyes landing on Inuyasha and Kikyo. She had regained consciousness and they were...kissing. Passionately.

After that, she had attacked Naraku herself, running into the fray followed by her concerned companions both in awe and fear of her seemingly foolish actions. Her anger spurred her on and she felt the temperature change in her palms as they began to heat, igniting with the pink flames of her spiritual power.

Naraku tried to look indifferent to her actions, smirking right up until he noticed the power she had built up but by that time, it was already too late. She locked her fingers around his neck with both hands, her tiny thumbs squeezing into his windpipe as hard as she could manage while she poured her power into him. She stared hard into his face without fear, baring her teeth as he met her gaze with hatred and disdain. The skin in her hands bubbled as it burned with her touch and she clawed at the flesh under her fingers, refusing to relent even when she felt his spikes slam into her sides, cracking her ribs and pulling the breath straight out of her body.

They plunged into the skin of her ribcage and waist in six different places, three on her left and right. She felt her feet leave the ground as they lifted her into the air, cracking bone and ripping her flesh wide open with their ragged, serrated edges and she felt her breath become shallow from the effect on her lungs but still she held on as tight as she could. His efforts were unable to relinquish her hold and he roared in pain and outrage as he felt his body begin to purify even as the blood began to trickle from the corners of her own mouth.

His face was turning blue and just when she thought she could see a hint of panic in his eyes, she was suddenly falling, falling into blackness.

She awoke at Kaede's with several more jewel shards to add to her collection. Miroku and Sango told her how Naraku had fled after Inuyasha hit him with another wind-scar once they managed to release her from his spikes and get her onto Kilala.

Kaede had done her best to heal her wounds but her powers had pretty much taken over the process and patched her up in a display that amazed even the wise old miko in their speed. Even Inuyasha was surprised at how quickly she had recovered, implying that she had healed faster than he would.

Not only that, but they had no choice but to wait in joining the other shards with the main fragment hung around her neck as every time Inuyasha tried to reach for it he was shocked by her spiritual powers even in her sleep. Kaede and Kikyo were also unsuccessful in this task while the monk and slayer were content to wait until she awoke.

At the mention of Inuyasha, she realized he was not there to greet her and wondered aloud where he was. When no answer was forthcoming, she sighed and gathered her bathing supplies.

Sango followed her out of the hut and she wondered for an instant why before running headlong into the sight of Kikyo sitting across Inuyasha's lap under the God Tree. They were resting so peacefully and looked so happy to be with the other that she couldn't help the tears that rose in her eyes as she felt her love for Inuyasha dying, impaled with the realization that he would always love Kikyo over her.

Kagome wiped the tears from her face at the memory as she touched down in the past, looking up to see blue skies tinged with fluffy white clouds. The sounds of birds singing mixed with the sound of the wind rushing through the tree tops soothed her while she breathed in the scent of the clean, sweet air thankfully.

She closed her eyes, opening them only when a sudden shadow was cast about her form to see Inuyasha peering impatiently at her from the top.

"You coming up or you just gonna stand there all day?"

Her face fell into a mask of indifference, refusing to show the hurt she felt as she began to silently climb her way to the top. As she reached the lip, she hauled herself over, taking care not to glance even once in his direction before righting herself and heading straight to the village without waiting for him.

Inuyasha knew why she was acting this way and figured it was to be expected. She had to get over the fact that he had chosen Kikyo and that they would never be what she had always hoped they would. He wished things didn't have to be this way but he had to be true to his heart. In truth, he hoped one day they could be friends again, but for now they had to work together until they completed their mission of destroying Naraku and the jewel.

Nevertheless, he didn't like the way she was acting and wished she would just get over it, already. He raced to catch up to her, reaching out to take her hand in an attempt to stop her so they could talk...

"OW!" he shouted as a shock of purifying energy zapped him and he pulled away to hold his burned fingers protectively against his chest. "What'd you do that for?"

"Don't touch me, Inuyasha," she voiced harshly, still facing the opposite direction.

He gulped his shock to the depth of her anger displayed in those curt four words and the understanding that things between them were finished washed over him in a wave of shocking realization. She was right. He didn't have a right to touch her and he was wrong. Maybe he had been wrong about a lot of things regarding Kagome. Maybe it was actions like that that had led her on in the first place.

His expression fell to one of shame and remorse. "I'm sorry," he offered sincerely.

She shrugged lightly before resuming her walk, ending the conversation and the action cut him to the bone. How could he hurt her like this? How could his love of one creature be so harmful to another? But that was the way things were and there was nothing he could do to change it. He couldn't have both and he wanted one more than the other.

Kagome made camp with the others, chatting idly to Sango and Miroku while she passed out her gifts to everyone. Candy for Shippo, soda for Miroku, chocolate for Sango, ramen for Inuyasha and she even brought Kikyo some chocolate, too. ( she had always thought girls needed chocolate and it was a shame that it hadn't been invented yet in this time )

She made coffee for everyone after dinner ( hot chocolate for Shippo ) and passed out all the toiletries she had brought back. Shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste for everyone, deodorant (Inuyasha insisted he didn't need it and Kikyo was...well, not flesh )

Kikyo accepted her gift meekly, softly offering her thanks while Sango gave hugs, Miroku bowed politely, Shippo exclaimed with glee and Inuyasha consumed his ramen heartily.

She watched it all from a far away place, trying her best to wear a smile she didn't feel, to look comfortable where she felt awkward. But she didn't want everyone to know how much she was suffering. She didn't want to darken their hearts with the knowledge of her pain, so great did she want them to survive the final battle and destroy Naraku, to see the jewel gone from this world. Their hearts had to be free to do that and she would not be responsible for contributing to disheveled hope in her group just because she was hurting from a bad break up.

She still cared about Inuyasha and she cared about Kikyo, too. She had always respected their relationship, never wanting to cast a shadow in their regard for one another, never wishing to get in the way. Now she found herself no longer apart of the way at all and they had long since passed her by in their wake of devotion. She had no desire to make them feel guilty at their reunion on behalf of her feelings. She had no wish to discourage them from their happiness.

Neither did she wish either couple to be uncomfortable about displaying their love for one another around her but it was inevitable. She could sense the tension in the air all around her as Sango and Miroku avoided one another and Inuyasha and Kikyo seemingly did the same, fearing that if they embraced or held each other she would feel lonesome.

They did not consider that this seemingly helpful action only served to drive the loneliness deep into her heart like a metal wedge. She went to bed early just to be free of the tense atmosphere and laid there staring at the stars for hours before she finally let take sleep her but only just barely. She slept in fits, tossing and turning, the hair plastered to her sweating forehead. The sound of her muffled sobbing reached Inuyasha's sensitive ears from his position at the top a tall tree and it ripped through his heart like a set of iron claws.

Weeks passed and still they pushed themselves to traverse further every day in search of Naraku or the remaining jewel shards. There was no sign of either until late one morning, Kagome was rinsing the dishes from breakfast in a nearby stream when she felt a slight twinge in her mind.

She immediately rose in preparation right as a dusty tornado settled itself directly in front of her, revealing Koga of the wolf tribe. He stood grandly in front of her with his hands on his hips, grinning arrogantly as he always did. For a moment, the familiarity enveloped her and she felt a warm security in his presence. She was actually glad to see him.

"Kouga-kun!" she cried, pushing her face against a muscled chest, her arms locking around his waist to pull him close. Tears sprung to her eyes before she could stop them and she mentally cursed herself for the slip up. She was just so glad to see him! Here was one person from this time that she didn't have to feel awkward around, someone with whom her relationship had stayed exactly the same.

He gathered her against him instantly, confused by her outburst and sudden closeness but eager to comfort her as well. Her sweet, feminine scent enveloped him and he bent his nose forward in order to bring it closer as he memorized the way her small body felt closed safely in his arms, the way her breasts felt pressed firmly to his chest. The smell of salt interrupted his mental scolding of himself not to get an erection and he gently guided her to arms' length to examine her face more carefully.

She smiled a watery smile, her eyes lined with shimmering tears and her cheeks flush with color. He couldn't help but to smile softly back in sympathy at the broken look he found there. One claw delicately swept over her new scar, his expression a silent, reproachful question.

"Naraku," she answered simply and he nodded knowingly, the fury not gone from his eyes.

"Kagome? What's wrong?" he asked gently, warm concern winning the fight against his rage for the vile hanyou.

She couldn't help but feel flattered that he wanted to know, that he spoke as if it bothered him. It made her feel...wanted and cared for again.

He shook his head once at her continued silence and almost pleaded, "Please tell me what's going on?"

She sighed. "I just..." her bottom lip worried itself between her teeth idly before she suddenly released it and looked up at him. "Inuyasha and Kikyo are together now," she finally confessed. "He's chosen and they're traveling together. I don't mind, really," she assured him at his look of outrage. "I love them both and I'm glad that Inuyasha has finally come to a decision that will make him happy. And you know Sango and Miroku have been engaged for some time now and their relationship is coming along pretty fast..." she fidgeted nervously before him, trying to word her feelings right. "Everything is just so different since the break up. Everyone is acting so awkward around me now, like they're afraid to show their feelings for each other or they're afraid to be a couple around me out of pity. It hurts that I make them feel that way just by being close to them. It's the last thing I ever wanted," she finished, a single tear glittering as it fell from a sapphire eye.

Kouga pulled her close again when she finished, his claws softly running down her back in a comforting gesture. "I'll always be here for you, Kagome," he vowed faithfully and she reveled in that promise, a dim light of hope sneaking past the cracks of an ice fortress built around her heart. She looked at him and their gazes locked, Sapphire oceans against Topaz fire.

Kagome found herself lost in those eyes, lost in his bronzed skin and the sense of masculine strength that emanated from not only his muscled physique but his powerful demonic aura. It brushed against her own pure pink one and they both gasped as they felt them beginning to merge with one another, both accepting of the other.

This was new. Kagome had always noticed other demonic auras and when around her demon friends in this time and they had always interacted with her's in a friendly sort of way. But they had never mixed and this was more...sensual. His being entered her's and she was consumed with everything Kouga. His earthy scent, wind and rain and soil surrounded her and her eyes dimmed with want as her body grew slack in his arms.

Likewise, Kouga was reveling in the taste, the smell and everything else that was Kagome. Her aura had opened to him, meaning only one thing. He sensed her feelings, her emotions, her memories, her opinions and right now, she wanted him. It was all he could do not to gather her in his arms and sprint for his den in the East.

She felt his grip firm around her waist as his face came closer until the space between them was closed and his lips were on her's, devouring them. She moaned from the contact and the action surprised her when Kouga's tongue surged into her mouth, gently massaging her's in an erotic fashion that made her blood boil.

Before things could go too far, though, she pulled away and Kouga repressed the urge to growl as he felt her leave his embrace while her aura left his entirely.

"I'm sorry, Kouga," she whispered, panting. A blush stained her cheeks. "I...I'm not...ready for that. It's too...soon."

Kouga nodded understandingly but she was too focused on her feet to notice. "I'm sorry, too. I shouldn't have kissed you. Take as much time as you need, koi. I'm here for you whether you want me as a friend," one claw fixed under her chin to bring her eyes to his, "Or something more."

She shuddered at his touch, closing her eyes softly as he kissed her cheek. In a burst of wind and clouds, he was gone.

Later that night, she and Sango bathed together and she told her about everything that had happened between her and Kouga.

"I don't know, Sango. I...I wanted him to kiss me, in a way," she confessed with a blush and Sango fought the urge to smile at her friend's confession. "But I was just confused, I guess. I mean, I don't know how I was really feeling because I'm still kinda grieving over loosing Inuyasha. I feel bad that everyone feels the need to act distant around me and I guess I'm kind of lonely. I feel left out and I can't stand feeling sorry for myself. Or maybe I just feel detached from everyone else and it's warping my perspective on things...I honestly don't know. But when Kouga showed up, it was a refreshing burst of normalcy and I couldn't help being happy to see him.

"One thing led to another, our auras did this weird thing where they mixed a little and before I knew it, he was kissing me."

Sango perked up at the mention of her aura. "You say they mixed?" she asked interestedly, her eyes fixed seriously on her's.

Kagome got a strange chill from the way she said it. "Yea...around the edges, I could feel them mixing together and when they did, it was like I could feel Kouga, from his point of view."

Sango's face twisted into a mischievous grin. "That could only happen if you wanted him, sexually," she revealed slowly.

Kagome's cheeks reddened even further and she ducked down in the water to hide her embarrassment as Sango laughed.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of! You liked it, didn't you?"

Kagome, mortified, nodded. "But I panicked and pushed him away. I couldn't help it! No one's ever kissed me like that before. I just... Oh, how am I supposed to know if I love him, Sango?" she finally cried. "Sure, I find him attractive, but my broken heart could be casting illusions to make me feel better."

Sango sighed. "Well, you're right about not making decisions at this time. You're feeling a lot of things. My advice would be to let one emotion settle before you make a decision on another. Kouga said take all the time you need and that is exactly what you should do. Once you're sure you're over this whole mess, than you can really decide if Kouga is what you want."

She placed a reassuring squeeze to Kagome's knee. "These things take time to heal. No one blames you for needing it and we're all here to support you, no matter what you decide."

Kagome smiled, though inwardly, she already knew she did not desire Kouga as a mate. He offered her attentions she was starved for, her heart starving where he offered sustenance. She was no better than Inuyasha, she realized. She had led him on to believe that he had a chance and only because she was starved for affection.

The following months brought no sign of Naraku or the jewel shards. They were running low on supplies and the entire crew was exhausted, save for Kikyo. Finally Inuyasha made the call to turn back to Edo to rest and restock.

Once settled in, Kagome asked Sango if she would mind training her in psychical combat. Sango was more than happy to agree and began that day teaching Kagome a series of stretches, blocks and defenses.

She had gone to bed tired, sore and shaky but happy.

The next day they began again, bright and early after a light breakfast of rice balls. After hours of slow stretching, they sparred in the early morning air until the sun was high in the sky. As a break, they would swim in the river to cool off before beginning again until dusk.

After stocking her supplies back in her time during one quick visit, they continued their hunt for the shards but Kagome still insisted on continuing her training with Sango at every chance they got.

Before long, she had learned all her hand to hand combat skills, the stances and moves flowing from her with a graceful, practiced form.

Next, Sango insisted, was to learn balance on her feet and quick agility. She had Kagome climbing trees and walking mountain edges with weights strapped to her arms. Her exercises were always fashioned so that failure usually meant death, fear being the constant motivator behind her continued success.

Likewise, hours were spent with Sango holding some part of her body in a precarious position, explaining how to perform what she called handsprings, back bends, cartwheels, tucks, rolls, round offs, flips, swinging kicks and a multitude of other moves that took all her stamina and courage to accomplish. But she learned, given the choice was usually succeed or eat dirt when she fell on her face.

It took her almost two weeks of near-back breaking attempts to run up a tree into a back flip like Sango had and another month before she managed to land on her feet for the first time without her trainer's help.

She lost count of the broken toes and fingers, sprained ankles and pulled hamstrings she acquired while her bumps and bruises became the least of her worries. Vaguely she remembered a time when skinning her knee would bring tears to her eyes. She was proud to admit that it took no less than a broken bone after several months under Sango's tutelage.

One set of nasty splinters set her back more than half a week during one sparring match where she was thrown against a tree but she was on her feet again after prying them out like a trouper a few days later.

In the hours before dawn, she began rising with Miroku and running. He was trained as a Buddhist monk to breathe in a regulated rhythm while accessing a calm part of the mind to endure running over long stretches of space before tiring and he conveyed that teaching to her every day.

She found her sparring lessons with Sango lasting longer and longer, her once delicate, bruised body beginning to toughen as her endurance for those things lengthened much to her trainer's approval. Her lessons were accelerated with the slayer, moving onward to more broader topics.

In the evenings, once the sun had gone down she would sit in Kaede's hut for at least one hour a night concentrating on her powers and another after that studying medicinal herbs.

At first she fell asleep during every lesson with the old miko and for the first few months they didn't study herbs at all. But as Kagome grew used to her new rigorous schedule she had set for herself, she managed to juggle more and more.

The amount of sleep she needed to function was decreased significantly, along with the amount of food she required. For once, she began to wake at dawn without complaint. There was no more bickering on the road about needing breaks because she was tired for which Inuyasha was both amazed and grateful for.

Eventually she managed before dawn running with Miroku, sparring with Sango through out the day as well as any traveling or any encounters with demons, priestess training with Kaede at dusk, herbal training at nightfall and playtime with Shippo until she went to sleep.

When they were not in Edo, Kikyo took over her miko lessons and Kagome found it didn't bother her as she had expected it would. Instead, she found herself looking forward to what Kikyo would teach her next every day. Kikyo went so much further than Kaede in her lessons, expecting more potential from her and knowing exactly where her limits were. She was excited and eager to absorb everything she had to teach and Kikyo could not help some what enjoying the lessons with the jubilant young girl that was so like and yet not like her at all.

The best part about it was that their lessons were always private. Without Inuyasha coming between their affections, the two women found common ground they may have never knew they possessed had the hanyou not finally made a decision.

A year later, Sango had her on basic weapons training. They started with small throwing blades, then moved up to ninja stars. Her aim was already honed from her use of a bow and she caught on quick learning the weight and subsequent speed of a knife or dagger. She showed her how to make her own hidden 'pop out' blades to apply where ever she thought would be most helpful, suggesting the outer forearms in case she were ever assaulted from the front on the ground.

Next was staff training and Miroku was recruited as her sparring partner while Sango moonlighted her every move, offering correction where she saw mistakes. Half a year of concussions, split lips, bit tongues, raw knuckles and bruises later, she could successfully ward off both Sango and Miroku attacking her at the same time.

Several months later she was taught with a katana and after that Sango decided that she was ready to be fitted for her own weapons and armor.

Sango settled on a beautiful, light weight staff made of silver birch wood with a double sided blade attached to one end and a spike on the other for grounding. She had it blessed by Kaede and engraved with Kanji prayers symbols by the smithy that forged it so Kagome could eventually learn to infuse her purification powers with it.

Her armor consisted of an outfit like Sango's, a skin-tight under layer of black offering demon-bone protection at her shoulders, knees and elbows. The only difference was that where Sango's outfit was lined in reds and pinks, Kagome's was lined in dark blue and silver.

Her slayer sister purchased an outer kimono wrap to go around it, allowing quick access to her battle form. The bottom half was inked in a rich blue which gradually faded as it moved up shade for shade until you reached the top where it became a billowing white. A pale blue obi matched the shade around her waist.

The attire allowed her to fit in much better when they passed villages or happened upon an enemy. Sango explained that as women dressed this way, their chances of being underestimated in a fight were pretty large and that they should always take advantage of that and Kagome learned how fitting in could sometimes be just as advantageous to surviving in the Feudal Era as learning to fight was.

"Naraku is in hiding," Kagome finally huffed to the rest of the camp one night after dinner. It was what they were all thinking but didn't want to say. Their continued failure to find some sign of the jewel was beginning to frustrate even the most patient occupant of the Inu tachi.

"He's afraid of what we'll do when we find him. And well he should be," she threatened.

Everyone seemed to nod their silent agreement. Miroku rubbed his beaded hand again curiously.

"You know, it has felt different ever since that last battle with him," he remarked, his attention on the wrapped cursed palm. "It seems to be weakening day by day. I didn't notice it at first but as time has gone on, I think I can really tell a difference."

Everyone focused attention on the monk.

"Keh!" Inuyasha scoffed, "Why didn't you say something before now, Miroku? Let's see it!"

Miroku shrugged and walked several yards away from his companions before unleashing the wind tunnel into an open field in the opposite direction.

"It's...it's not the same," Kagome managed as she inspected the voracity of the winds as well as the light that came from the wind tunnel itself. No longer did it glow with black tendrils of power but a weak gray color that was slightly softer though no less dangerous.

"But what does it mean?" Sango inquired once the hole was again re wrapped with the rosary. Miroku rolled his shoulders, looking off into the distance. "I'm not sure. But my bets are on that he's not happy."

The shared expression of hope that passed across the features of all those gathered in the clearing was tangible at the evidence Miroku supplied. Naraku was almost finished and the war was almost won.

The monk resumed his place next to the slayer on a log by the fire and draped one arm across her shoulders casually. She responded by leaning into his warmth comfortably, content in reveling in the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Kikyo and Inuyasha also shared heated looks and Kagome could tell they all hoped, yearned for the possibility of just being with each other, of just living in a world without the constant fear of death, violence and corruption. While the world would always hold these things to a degree, they were close to ridding it of the worst villain it had ever seen and when he finally fell to his death they would be that much closer to reaching those dreams.

It gave everyone a light feeling of hope, everyone except Kagome who could feel the end of her mission in this time slowly edging closer, bringing with it the inevitability of her decision to go or stay. Sure, she loved Miroku and Sango like a sister would her siblings and Shippo was like a son to her. Kikyo and Inuyasha also played the role of older siblings in her life but without a romantic interest to tether her in this time, she would not be able to justify leaving her family behind in the future. Still, she knew she would long for this world once it was taken away from her, long to see endless starry skies unobstructed by light pollution, long to breath in clean, fresh air, long to drink from unpolluted streams, long for the independent life she could live here, taking care of herself.

She would be alone, she realized, in the end if she chose to stay. Shippo would need training soon to hone his own powers and they had long discussed the traditions of kitsune training. She knew within the turn of a year, he would be gone indefinitely to pursue that end. Miroku and Sango would settle down and Kikyo and Inuyasha would more than likely follow suit...

She could train with Kaede as a priestess and study herbs, helping the old miko until her time came. But then what? What would be her purpose in this world?

A chill wind picked up and Kagome shivered against it, feeling the familiar twang of anxiety and self consciousness, a swell of insignificance beginning to build inside her.

Even if she went back home, she would never be approved to go to college. She had simply had too many absences to even consider it an option. The only course left would be to start out at a low paying job and work her way up. She cringed at the thought of waiting tables and the life that would bring. She could already see herself withering away in that life, slowly succumbing to depression until she simply burned out like candle flame.

With a nod of her head, she dismissed the thought. Looking around at her friends, her heart softened. She decided then and there that she would do everything, everything she could to keep them alive. She would ensure that she was good for something and that she would NOT simply fade out of heart and memory. She would make a difference because she no longer had anything to loose.

AN: Reviews are my fuel :)

So, I took your advice!  This is no longer a songfic.  I hope everyone likes it better, I had to agree that the songs were taking away from the storyline and as an avid reader of fanfiction, I entirely understand the frustration of being knocked out of that sync you fall into when reading.  Typos and spelling errors are bad enough without a song every chapter to keep you raging.  Thanks for all the input and help, you guys have really kept me going with all your love.  <3

 

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