It was strange how much can change in just a mere moment. One minute we were all standing around the bone eaters well, feeling relieved that it was all over, the next Kagome was being sucked into a Meido that had appeared behind her. Inuyasha tried to grab her, calling out her name as she was pulled in but he didn't get there fast enough. The echo of her calling out for Inuyasha cut off as the Meido closed. I was in shock, Kagome...gone? How could this be? Inuyasha was beside himself with shock.
"Was Kagome really cut by Byakuya?" Shippo asked, suddenly scared. Inuyasha looked at Shippo,
"Yeah, she was." Shippo began to shake as he continued.
"Because I saw him inside Naraku's body. He was stealing demonic energy from the Meido Zangetsuha!" Inuyasha sucked in a sudden gasp of air. I had been too busy staring at Inuyasha and Shippo to notice anything else. It wasn't until Kaede spoke that I realized that something else was wrong.
"The bone eaters well!" Miroku and I were standing in front of Kaede as she stared. Miroku asked,
"Yes, what about it?"
"What happened to the bone eaters well?" I felt dread pass down my body as we all turned to look. There was just the sound of everyone's breath as we gaped at the point where the well once stood.
"She's right it's disappeared." Inuyasha said. It was clear that Shippo was hoping for the best when he said,
"Maybe she went home. You know, to the world on the other side of the well?" Inuyasha turned and stared at the ground.
"I doubt it. The thing is, if Naraku wanted to eliminate Kagome he could have done it long ago. Instead he was focused on reaching this well in this village. What was it? What was Naraku's final wish?" with sudden hurry, Miroku called out,
"Inuyasha, what happened to the Shikon Jewel?" something seemed to cross Inuyasha mind because suddenly his eyes went wide and he drew his Tetsusaiga with haste. As he held it, the blade changed to the black blade. Kaede called out,
"Inuyasha!" but he wouldn't listen. He swung his sword high overhead and called out,
"MEIDO ZANGETSUHA!" and brought the blade slashing down. His Meido formed below him and he charged into it without another word. We all stood there as the Meido closed behind him. My mind was blank with fear and worry. What was Inuyasha thinking? It was well known that once the Meido closes, you couldn't return. What was Inuyasha thinking? Miroku's face showed that he was doing some serious thinking. His eyes abruptly shifted to Kaede.
"Kaede, do you know what is going on? Do you have any ideas?" I looked at her, as did everyone else. Her eyes shifted their gaze to the ground.
"Unfortunately I do not." My eyes went back to where the bone eaters well should have been and I stared hard, as though the force of my stare could bring back Kagome and Inuyasha.
"I think that Inuyasha is convinced that he can save Kagome. That is why he went after her. Perhaps he thinks that the Shikon Jewel has a terrible plan for her and he is determined not to let it happen at any cost." His words washed my body in cold shivers. I was shaking uncontrollably as I stood there and stared while wild thoughts chased themselves around my head.
Apparently I had been so absorbed that I had been unaware of what was taking place around me. Kohaku took a seat next to me, I hadn't even been aware that I had sunk to the ground. He looked down at where the well should have been and hugged his knees to his chest.
"Sister, are they going to be okay?" he was looking for comfort. I was not able to give it even though my natural instinct would have been to do so. I closed my eyes as tears formed.
"I...I don't know." Was all I could manage. I was suddenly aware that we were not alone. Miroku was standing close by and Shippo was crouched down and staring avidly at the empty space where the well was missing. He never spoke just stared as his eyes would randomly water.
Five hours passed and there was still no sign of them. The sun was beginning to set and fires were being lit in the village. Kohaku had left a while ago to get some food. Miroku was now sitting to my left in silence. Shippo whimpered a little.
"I hope they are okay." I looked at him. He looked awful. His tail was matted and his eyes were drooping. Dirt was smeared across his face accept for tear trail marks down his cheeks. Miroku stood up and offered me a hand. I took it without a thought. He pulled me aside to a quiet spot.
"I know things are rough right now, but we need to discuss something." I blinked at him confused. What could he possibly want to discuss when our friends were still in such danger?
"I know no one wants to hear it but it is possible that Kagome and Inuyasha may not return. In that event we need to come up with a way to memorialize and honor them." Tears prickled the corners of my eyes and I looked away from him.
"I cannot think of things like that, not yet." My voice cracked and I shuddered. He was holding tightly onto my shoulders as he stared into my face. I couldn't look at him, my eyes were down cast. Kagome and Inuyasha, gone? No, it couldn't be... it just couldn't. It was impossible to wrap my mind around it. Miroku smiled kindly and pulled my face up towards his.
"Listen, right now what you need to do is be there for Kohaku. And there is still Sesshomaru to deal with." I looked back down at the ground. That right, I had tried to kill Rin. Sesshomaru had witnessed that. Was he going to kill me for that slight? Would I fight? No, I felt overwhelming guilt for what I had done and I would not fight him if he wanted to take my life. But it seemed that he was giving me time to get things in order first. At least he was that considerate. I placed my hand on Miroku's chest.
"If Sesshomaru wants my life, it is his to take. Don't forget that I wanted to kill Rin if it meant taking down Naraku. The fact that it was an illusion means nothing." But Miroku interrupted me with a kiss. My eyes became wide and my face flushed red. He was kissing me. His lips felt so warm. I could taste something salty but also sweet on his mouth. My natural reaction was to pull back and smack him but then my brain went foggy and I was kissing him back. Tears ran down my cheeks as the pain and suffering from all that we had gone through crashed down around my chest and heart. What was going to happen? What did my future hold? Should I push Miroku away to save him? I was sure that if Sesshomaru came after me that he would fight for my sake. Someone cleared their throat close by. My cheeks warmed as we pulled apart. Kohaku was strolling up to us with Rin. She was smiling sweetly as they walked up to us.
"Kaede sent us to find you two and bring you to her." Kohaku said also blushing. I nodded and followed a few steps behind Kohaku and Rin all the way up to Kaede's house. A-Un and Mo-mo was just outside, eating little tufts of grass. Inside was packed with a mixture of people and demons. Totosai was there along with Myoga the flea, Kirara was on Kaede's lap, and Jaken, clutching the staff of two heads. Sesshomaru was leaning against the wall in a dark corner. Rin's face split into a smile and she giggled as she hurried over to him and kneeled down close to him, facing the fire. Kaede shifted a little in order to make room for everyone.
"Now that we are all here, there are things that we need discuss and they be hard things to speak of. First off is what we do if Inuyasha and Kagome nay not return." I looked down at the ground, the corners of my eyes stinging with unshed tears. I didn't want to think about them not returning, it just wasn't in me to think that way. Rin whimpered a little.
"I don't like to think that they won't be back. It's just awful." Jaken snorted.
"Well, Inuyasha is merely a half demon and Kagome is only a mortal. The likely hood of them returning is minimal." With that almost every eye narrowed in anger towards Jaken. In a flash, he had at least three lumps on the top of his head as he cringed in pain. Miroku spoke up.
"Shall we give them three days and if we don't see or hear from them we erect a memorial in honor of their brave efforts?" Kaede stared at Miroku and nodded.
"That sounds like a grand idea. Does anyone decline?" everyone shook their heads.
"It is settled then. In one week's time we will start preparations for a memorial." Totosai spoke up,
"I will make a replica of Tetsusaiga in honor of him." Sesshomaru growled. Myoga sniffed,
"Why master Inuyasha, why did you have to follow Kagome into the Meido?" all eyes were downcast at the fire.
"Next, I have been told that ye Sesshomaru and Sango have a score to settle." The air became thick as every eye stared at either me or him. At the mention of his name Sesshomaru's eyes glinted. He stared at me for a second then looked away.
"What score?" He asked in his deep aristocratic voice. My jaw tightened in surprise. So, he wasn't going to kill me? Kaede smiled.
"What score indeed." Kaede speared Sesshomaru with a look.
"Sesshomaru, I understand that ye have an attachment to young Rin but I think it would be for the best if she were to stay here with us." There was an outcry. Rin wailed,
"But I want to stay with Lord Sesshomaru forever!" Jaken screeched,
"How dare you assume that Lord Sesshomaru would listen to your human logic!" Sesshomaru growled,
"No, the girl stays with me." Kaede had a serene expression on her face as she waited for them to quiet.
"I understand that ye want to protect her but she needs practice living among humans so that she can make the choice for herself." For the first time ever, I saw Sesshomaru's face soften. His eyes were on Rin's gleaming face. There were tear tracks on her cheeks and her hands were balled in her lap. There was a brief pause then he grunted,
"Very well." Sesshomaru conceded. Kaede let out a breath. Jaken and Rin took in sharp gasps of air.
"But, Lord Sesshomaru..." Rin began but he cut her off.
"You will stay here." His eyes were intense and she closed her mouth tight.
Shippo stumbled in at this point I looked at him and I could tell from his expression that nothing had changed at the well.
"Sorry I just need to eat." Kaede smiled sweetly at him as Kohaku, Sesshomaru, Jaken and Rin all exited the house. I looked at Kohaku with a question in my eyes.
"I won't go far sister." He said and I nodded.