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Kagome could only stare at the Inuyasha. Or rather the guy who claimed to be Inuyasha. He leaned against the wall of the hut, his new violet-black eyes boring into her. His shoulders slumped and his arms hung off his shoulders lifeless. Unlike his dog ears that rotated and twitched every few seconds, his human ears were just…there. His voice seemed to have lost its edge. It was softer and much more cautious, as if he walked on thin ice. This couldn't be the proud, graceful, powerful, and annoying, Inuyasha she had come to know. No this new guy just seemed so….diminished.

"Would ya quit gawking at me! I ain't gonna grow a second head or nothing!"

Scratch that, he was still annoying. "Given the circumstances, I wouldn't be surprised if you did!"

"Just shut up!"

"Not until you tell me what the heck is going on with you!"

"None of your business!"

"It kinda is now! So spill!"

"It's his period of weakness," the boy, Matahatchi squeaked. "It is a plight that plagues all half-demons."

Inuyasha could only glare at the boy. "And just how would you know about that brat?"

Matahatchi balked under the new human's glare. Kagome had half a mind to tell him to cut it out, but not before the child-monk finally gave some answers.

"I-I-It was a text written decades ago….b-by Master Hitoshi, the master of our temple. A-a half-demon took refuge in the temple for a period of eight months and Master Hitoshi recorded their interactions. H-he d-discovered that at a certain time of the year t-the half-demon would lose all his supernatural abilities and be rendered completely human."

Kagome reeled back, her brain racing to process this new information. It still didn't add up. They had faced Yura at night and Inuyasha seemed to be top form then, what was so different about this night? Maybe it was a certain time of night? But without a clock or watch how could she tell for sure? Her eyes flew upwards, searching the sky for any difference between this night and the previous ones. The stars, unobstructed by the fields of ambient light in her time, lit up the sky like a bunch of LED light bulbs. Had she paid more attention in astronomy class, she would have been able to point out all the constellations. As her eyes moved between the nearly infinite amounts of stars, she finally noticed the one oddity in the sky. There was no moon.

"The moon…." Kagome breathed. "Tonight is the night of the new moon. That's why…."

"Keh, took you long enough," Inuyasha scoffed.

"This happens to him every month?!" she exclaimed.

"Yes…" Matahatchi said. "According to the text it happens without fail."

"Darn, I wish my period of weakness was that regular…" Kagome muttered.

"What's that?" Inuyasha asked.

Kagome immediately flushed. "Oh nothing! Nothing at all! Don't worry about it!" Inuyasha let out another huff, before looking away. As her flushed face began to die down, another realization struck Kagome. "Wait a minute, if you knew this was going to happen tonight, why didn't you say anything?"

"If you remember, I was the one who wanted to keep moving! But no… you and the kid just had to stop at every turn!"

"That's because we didn't know!" Kagome shot back. "If we knew you were going to lose your powers, Kaede and I wouldn't have insisted on helping Master Muso! What the hell is the matter with you? You couldn't trust us with this?"

"I don't trust anybody! Got it!"

Kagome felt the fire leave her body. "H-how could you say that? I thought that…."

"You thought what? Just because we've been through some fights, I'd suddenly spill everything to you and the kid? Keep dreaming! This is how I protect myself and that's how it's gonna be! Ain't no one is gonna change that!"

Kagome's shoulders dropped and her eyes became glued to her sandaled feet. It's true; she really hadn't known Inuyasha and the others for long, barely a month. But in that short time they had gone through more than she ever had with her friends back home. Kikyo trusted her enough to finally open to her and drop that freaky emotionless attitude and Kaede had no problem sharing either. So why…couldn't Inuyasha do the same? Hadn't she proven herself trustworthy? True they could barely be alone without breaking out into a fight but she had thought that she was at least growing on him. The corners of her eyes stung with fresh tears forming. She grit her teeth trying to will them away.

"Inuyasha…I get what you're saying…." She said. "I just wish you would open up to me more….as your friend…"

"H-hey! Don't cry. I'm the one who's supposed to be down."

"Inuyasha…you're such a…such a….." The tears seemed to evaporate as her body gave way to the inferno building inside her. "COMPLETE IDIOT!"

Her voice seemed to knock Inuyasha off his prideful high horse as he attempted to cower back into the shadow of the hut. But Kagome stomped after him, her nostrils flaring and her nails digging into her skin.

"If it weren't for your pride this whole situation wouldn't have happened! Grab a brain next time! You're not John Rambo!"

"Who the hell is that?!"

"Lady Kagome…." Matahatchi whimpered.

"It doesn't matter who that is!" Kagome shot back. "We could have found you a nice place to hide out and this whole thing would have gone smoothly but no! You had to play Mr. Macho, you idiot!"

"Lady Kagome….!" Matahachi attempted again.

"You're the idiot! This situation wouldn't have happened if you and the kid had just moved on like I said we should!"

"We would have if you weren't being a secretive, irritating, jerk about it!"


The young monk's exclamation slammed into Kagome's ear drum, snapping her focus away from the annoying red-clad human before her. In all honesty, she had completely forgotten about Matahatchi's master. Then again, finding out that her escort and bodyguard suddenly lost his supernatural powers seemed to be more important. But watching the boy's quivering body and unending tears made her see otherwise. With Inuyasha human and Kaede still in training it was up to her. She might not be an actual priestess but she wore the robe and had the bow and arrow so she might as well act like one.

"I'm sorry Matahatchi. We got distracted," she said gently. "Tell me what happened so we can figure out a way to save Master Muso."

"You ain't going by yourself," Inuyasha said.

Kagome rolled her eyes. "Really? Now you want to play the hero?"

"Of course not! But I gave Kikyo my word that I would look after your dumb ass, so that's what I'm gonna do. Human or no."

"That has to be the most noble yet insulting thing I ever heard," Kagome replied.

Behind them the door to the hut slid open. Kaede, her eyes still gripped with fatigue, stepped outside. A light trail of drool ran down the corner of her mouth. "Why is everyone yelling? Is there a demon present?"

"Sorry, Kaede, but there's a bit of a….situation here," Kagome attempted.

The child's eyes seemed to wander until they fell on Inuyasha and all remnants of sleep evaporated. "I-I-Inuyasha? Is that you? What happened?"

Kagome and the human Inuyasha glanced at each other. Finally it was Kagome who spoke. "It's a long story."


Being human sucked! The thought repeated itself over and over again in Inuyasha's mind as the foursome made their way through the thick woods. His human nose was so shallow. He could only smell the natural aroma of the forest. The scent of the monk and his companions were non-existent. His ears could only pick up on the nearest sound which was a rabbit rustling in the bushes. And that was only a few footsteps away. His muscles felt meager and limp. His claws weren't claws at all, just fragile fingernails that couldn't even scratch rice-paper. He wasn't much use to anyone like this. He'd be better off sneaking off and hiding in a cave until morning. But his feet just kept moving forward; down the path the kid-monk said he and his master used to follow the bandits.

Listening to the kid ramble about what happened to the monk irked Inuyasha to no end. The monk just got cocky. They had tracked down the bandits to their camp where a large group of women were being fought over. The monk swooped in hoping to take them out, but then their leader overwhelmed him with some weird technique. Any other day Inuyasha would have been eager to see just what this technique was. But tonight he could only feel apprehension. If he still had his nose, he knew he'd reek of fear.

Ahead he could hear, just barely, the rowdy noise of a group of men. With his human ears he couldn't make out a word and his nose only picked up on the slight smell of a fire. If he had his regular agility and senses, he'd know exactly how many there were and more. Damn this new moon!

"That's the camp up ahead," Matahatchi said.

Only a few footsteps ahead, the forest became a wide clearing. Already the bandits had thrown together their makeshift cots with their latest plunder in the center. They were all spread out. Clusters of men gathered around several fires that dotted the camp. The nearest bunch was five men, all of them horrendous looking creatures.

Like most bandits their armor was shoddy and old. Their weapons looked even worse. In total there seemed to be least seventy or eighty of them. About thirty paces to the south of the camp a group of women huddled together. Even from his current vantage point, Inuyasha could see them whimper with fear. There weren't as many as he'd hoped there be. The black-haired teen had a good idea what had happened to the rest. But there was another element missing from the scene below.

"Where the hell is the monk?" Inuyasha whispered.

Matahatchi's quaking finger floated past his cheek and pointed to a strange oversized web cocoon fifty footsteps west of the camp. The grass around it had melted and the branches supporting the odd structure were slowly giving way. Green ooze seeped from the corners of the cocoon, eating away at everything it touched. Inuyasha's stomach churned. Whatever that stuff was the monk couldn't have survived long with the green crap surrounding him.

"What the hell did you drag us all the way out here for kid? The second that stuff touched him, he must have melted to nothing!"

"Inuyasha!" Kagome hissed.

"No! Master Muso is alive!" Matahatchi cried. "I saw it! He created a barrier around himself when the leader used his technique! Master Muso has no peer in this generation when it comes to his barrier techniques! Only the living Buddha, Saint Hakushin could rival him!"

"All right fine just shut up!" If he had to listen to more of the kid's whining he'd rip out his own ears. "Here's the plan, I go down there and take on those bandits. Kagome you take the holy kids and see if you can free that asshole monk from that cocoon crap."

Kagome's skeptical eyes bored into him. "Are you nuts? You don't have your demon powers remember?"

"Of course I remember! But what do you take me for a pup? I don't need my powers to take on a bunch of loser bandits!" As long as he had his firerat robes, he'd be fine against their pitiful human weapons. Besides, every new moon his irritation always peaked. It'd be great to have something to actually punch this night. He only hoped that Kagome could clear out the monk before the demon hiding among the bandits revealed itself.

"That may be true, but I still don't like it…" Kagome replied.

"Well I'm all ears for a better plan. Till then, this is the one we're going with."

Without another word, Inuyasha broke through the bushes, apprehension tensing his muscles. Behind him he heard Kagome and the kids make their way west. Although the fact that he could hear them with his human ears meant that the bandits could hear them as well. Inuyasha doubled his pace, this distraction needed to happen faster than he thought. But he could still feel the fear gripping his body. He couldn't be afraid. He needed to be angry.

He was only twenty paces ahead of the camp when the bandits' words started to became clear to his human ears. Their slurred speech and rowdy tone exposed their level of drunkenness. Some bit of good news finally. He could easily take on a bunch of drunks in his human form. Their rambunctious voices carried, filling the moonless night with their critiques of the women's "performances" tonight. Their laughter as they recalled the struggles and futile cries for help boiled Inuyasha's blood. At ten paces, fear had long succumbed to the rage building in his stomach.

In the midst of their intoxication, none of the bandits spotted him. He stood over a man sitting near the fire; the air escaping Inuyasha's flaring nostrils hitting the bandit's bald head no doubt.

"You should have heard this wretch's screams as I took his wife!" the man laughed. "I swear to all the gods I would have gone deaf!"

"She was a beauty," his friend to the right said. "I had my share of her as well. It's unfortunate about her face however."

"It's own her fault!" the bandit scoffed. "If she hadn't struggled so much, I wouldn't have needed to leave so many bruises on that pretty face. Besides, will such a minor thing stop you from having your fill?"

"Pah! Of course not!"

The men around the fire shared a hearty laugh. Inuyasha smirked at their inattentive senses. He cracked his knuckles, the motion finally grabbing the bandits' attention.

"Evening boys," he said. "Mind if I join you?"

"And who the hell are you?" the bandit nearest the fire exclaimed.

"A concerned citizen," Inuyasha replied.

His fist smashed into the bandit's face without a further word. The scum's nose immediately gave way under his knuckles and Inuyasha followed through. The bandit stumbled back, falling into the campfire. His screams grabbed the attention of the remaining bandits. The man's comrades rushed to his aid while the rest surrounded Inuyasha.

Inuyasha glanced around him and smirked. "Well bring it on! I ain't got all night!"

That did it. The bandits charged, their drunkenness replaced by blind aggression.

Inuyasha cracked his neck.

Every new moon needed to be like this.


It didn't take long for Inuyasha's little distraction to catch the attention of the entire camp. Based on the taunting she heard, Inuyasha seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. Kagome swallowed the lump in her throat and moved as quickly as she could in a hunched over crouched position. The arrows on her back rattled with each step. Behind her Matahatchi and Kaede crept, their small feet only making the slightest of sounds. Kagome peaked over the bushes to see almost the entire camp rushing towards the commotion, leaving both the cocoon and the seven remaining village women unattended.

Kagome shuffled even closer and the noxious scent of the cocoon struck her nose. Kagome felt herself turn green at the appalling smell. It was as if someone had mixed together every bit of sulfur, rotten tomatoes, gasoline, and bad cheese they could find. Kagome had to hold her breath just to push herself forward. She was only a few feet away.

"Kaede, when I fire my arrow, you and Matahatchi take the women back to the hut, got it?"

Kaede nodded, already bracing herself for a sprint.

"What about Master Muso!"

"Shh!" Kagome hissed. Even with the distraction there was no telling how many more bandits lied in wait to do worse to them than what they did to those women. "I'm going to fire my arrow at the cocoon. That should free him. I think…."

"You're not sure?"

"Look it's better idea than using our hands and exposing ourselves to god knows how many hazardous materials."

"Lady Kagome makes shots like this all the time Matahatchi-kun," Kaede said. "Master Muso will be out in no time at all."

Matahatchi gulped and Kagome wanted to do the same. Still the target was a giant cocoon, hard to miss that. She hoped. If she missed it only meant that it might catch the bandits' attention and cause them to attack, with no half-demon Inuyasha to protect them. The bow on her shoulder suddenly weighed a full ton. The schoolgirl took it in her hands to keep the imaginary weight off her quaking body. She took an arrow from her quiver; with any luck the darkness hid her trembling hands. "Ok, everyone ready? On the count of three…."

Her heart rammed against her chest. She could feel the unnatural chill pulsing off the strange cocoon. This was probably what Kikyo meant when she said she could sense demons. Inside her something began to flow like water, up her stomach, down her arm and entering the arrow. A lilac radiance emitted from the projectile. At any other point she would have thought it looked beautiful, but at the moment she wished she could turn it down a bit. The light painted a giant bull's-eye on their hiding place. Kagome took a breath and shut one eye. The arrowhead wouldn't stay still. She could see a clear line from the bushes to the cocoon, but her arms wouldn't allow her to line up the shot. Kagome grit her teeth, her draw arm straining from the resistance of the bowstring. She could feel the string cut into her fingers. It was now or never.

"Ok…here we go…" she muttered, though it didn't seem as if Kaede and Matahatchi heard her.

Kaede inched closer to her. "Make sure you exhale before you shoot."

Kagome released her held breath, her muscles releasing the almost unbearable tension. The bow steadied itself, for now. "Come on…hit the mark…! One…two…three!"

The arrow shot forward, the luminescent lilac illuminating the darkness like a flying lantern. But the arrow suddenly veered to the right. The projectile sunk deep into the right corner of the cocoon, filling it with her spiritual energy. The purple light moved from the arrow and glided down the length of the structure. The odd substance expanded like a balloon, until the energy sprang from the prison in a luminous explosion greater than any fireworks display Kagome had ever seen. The schoolgirl squeezed her eyes shut at the violent light and when the assault on her eyes concluded, she saw Master Muso on his knees, groaning. Both the village women and the kids stared at her in awe and Inuyasha's battle royale had come to an abrupt halt as the bandits gawked at the sudden attack.

Kagome shook her head, readjusting her eyes to the darkness and made her way towards the monk. It wasn't perfect, but she'd take it.

"Someone grab the chief!" she heard.

Kagome upped her pace.

It was time to go.


The bandits stood in a semi-circle in front him, their weapons either broken or bent. As he thought, his firerat robes held up, making their attacks useless. Inuyasha's knuckles already had a shade of red around them from the beating he had given the bandits. Many lay unconscious on the ground or conscious but nursing broken ribs, noses, or wounded pride. All three worked for Inuyasha. The remaining few were the cowards who were too scared to attack. But at the moment, he didn't have their attention.

They were all gawking at the purple blast that Kagome had caused.

Inuyasha groaned when he saw it. Apparently the girl's idea of saving the monk was creating a fireworks show bigger than the ones at Obon. It was only a matter of time before they went after her.

"Someone grab the chief!"

Or worse.

Inuyasha dashed forward, slamming his shoulder into the squealer. The attack knocked the bandits out of their stupor but Inuyasha was well out of range of their weapons by then. The human sprinted, already feeling the strain on his human heart. By the time he reached Kagome and the kids, he was out of breath. He wanted to curse but his lungs wouldn't allow it. The sooner this new moon ended the better.

The monk looked alive but worse for wear. A blue glow of spiritual energy receded back into his body while he used his staff to prop himself up. Kaede and the boy-monk helped the seven women to their feet. And at Inuyasha's heels were twenty or more pissed off bandits.

"We have to go, now!"

"Master Muso can't walk!" Matahatchi exclaimed.

"Well he better relearn because those bandits ain't gonna wait!"

Over his shoulder the bandits were gaining ground and fast. Agitation gripped Inuyasha's chest. He could hold off the weaklings long enough for the others to escape without a problem but against their leader he wouldn't stand a chance. With his luck, the leader was the demon hiding among them. Taking him on would be suicide. A good death for sure, but Inuyasha wasn't ready for that just yet. They could run but with the monk and the women in the shape they were in, they wouldn't make it to the hut.

"So what do we do?" Kagome asked.

The bandits were only a few paces away.

Looks like plan A was the only option.

"Go!" Inuyasha shouted. "I'll hold them off!"

"We're not going through this again!" Kagome exclaimed.

"Damn it, Kagome! Would you just listen to me for once?"

"No! Because half the crap you say is stupid!"

"You're the one who's stupid!"

"Pardon me, Lady Kagome," the monk said. "I believe I have a better idea."

The monk shuffled toward him, his eyes fixed on the approaching bandits. He reached into the folds of his robes and produced a small black orb that gave off an odd odor that even Inuyasha's human nose could pick up.

"Everyone, hold your breath!" the monk shouted.

The horde of bandits was close enough to spit on them when the monk hurled the orb. The second it touched earth, a loud crack went off like a firecracker. Pitch black smoke exploded from the object, shielding everything from the trees to the bandits with smoke and shadow.

Inuyasha felt the tug of Kagome on his robes.

Tonight's moon was filled with surprises.


Kagome wished she had a watch on her and a better sleeping bag. Between the march to the bandit's camp, the run back, running between Master Muso and the village women for injuries, and helping Kaede and Matahatchi cover the hut with Muso's barrier talismans, Kagome could hear her body scream at her for rest.

They had done their best with the limited space of the hut. The village women slept in the far corner. Kagome had done what she could for them, but their wounds seemed more mental than physical. She wished she had better experience in the former.

Master Muso slept near the door with Matahatchi at his side. It was sweet to see how devoted the boy was to his master. Still the kid needed a few lessons in nerves. Then again she wasn't one to judge in that department.

Kaede slept near the fire pit, the events of the evening took their toll on her too. With that in mind, Kagome did her best to keep quiet as she boiled some water for instant ramen noodles. She may have been tired but her stomach wouldn't let her rest just yet. And she didn't feel like waiting 500 years for the nearest Taco Bell to spring into existence.

Kagome stared at the embers of the fire dance around the kettle. She wasn't sure how much time had passed. She had counted to 120 about four times so it had to be close enough. After waiting for it to cool, Kagome took her midnight (or close enough to midnight) snack to the only place in the hut she could eat.

Climbing onto a roof with two cups of hot ramen in her hands was difficult, but not the craziest thing she had done in the last few weeks.

When she reached the top, unsurprisingly, it was occupied.

Inuyasha sat with his back to her, legs and arms folded, staring at the moonless night sky. But from the slight grunt that escaped his lips, she knew that he at least was aware of her presence.

"You should get some sleep," she said as she carefully made her way across the roof.

He huffed at her. "I ain't never gone to sleep during the new moon."

Kagome sighed. "Thought as much. Here, then at least eat."

He stared at the bright yellow cup peculiarly. "You want me to eat the cup?"

"No… Just the stuff inside. It's ramen, it's good."

He glanced at her one more time before finally taking the cup. He sniffed its contents a few times before diving in. He paused for a few moments, licking his lips in the interim. He nodded to himself and began to pig out completely. His hearty gulps told her that instant ramen noodles had another happy customer.

"Keh, I forget how hungry I can get these nights sometimes."

"You don't eat during the new moon either?" she asked as she ate hers in a less savage manner.

"Too risky." Inuyasha replied, downing the rest of the noodles. "You got more of this stuff? It ain't half bad."

Kagome giggled. "Depends, how long are you willing to wait?"

"How long does it take?"

"About two minutes usually."

"Damn! This shit would have been handy back when I was a pup."

Kagome slurped more of her noodles. "So….if you don't mind my asking, how long has this new moon thing been happening to you?"

Inuyasha raised his eyebrow. "For as long as I can remember. Don't see how it's any of your business though."

"It's not, I'm just curious. It isn't something I see every day. You…don't have any other transformations do you? Like during the full moon or something?"

"No, thank the gods," he replied. "And as soon as I become a full-fledged demon, this shit will be the first thing to go!"

"I dunno…. black kinda looks good on you."

"Keh….you're the only other person who thinks so."

"Who's the first? Kikyo?"

"My mother….."

A silence passed over them, broken only sparingly as Kagome finished off her ramen. She had never heard Inuyasha mention his mother. From his hunched shoulders and sullen expression it was easy to see why. It would have been better to leave well enough alone and let Inuyasha brood in his thoughts, but she didn't have a mouthful of noodles to stop her from asking. "What was she like?"

He glared at her, which really she should have expected. "She was nice," he said simply. "Took care of me, all the good that did. What about you?"

"My mom? Well….I don't know. She's really nice too. A great cook and she always has a smile on her face for me and Sota no matter what's happening around us. Ummm….let's see what else, oh, she loves the Beatles!"

"She loves a bunch of bugs?"

"No! The band of course."

"There's a band named after bugs? Why the hell would they do that?"

Kagome giggled. "You won't get it until you hear their music. It's something that can transcend time and borders. Heck, that's how my parents met."

"Because of this band of bugs?"

"Well no. The band had broken up by the time my mom was 17. But one of the band members named Paul started his own band, called Wings. They were doing shows all over the world and my mom really wanted to see them in person. But my gramps wouldn't allow it. He said their music was poison to the minds of young women, or something like that."

"What, was it like that bat demon's music?"

"Eh…sort of. It certainly made a lot of people faint, that's for sure. But anyway, my mom heard on the radio that the band was doing a show in San Francisco and she just made a vow right then and there that she would go see them, hell or high water. She got every part-time job you could imagine so she could have the money for her way across the ocean and for the concert ticket. She scrubbed every dish, washed every car, did every waitressing gig she could get her hands on, and she even did strangers homework for them. And well….long story short, she somehow ducked gramps, hopped on a plane and next thing you know she's in America."

"And she saw these winged people there?"

"Not exactly. For one thing, she didn't speak the language very well. She ended up in Los Angeles, like 300 miles away from San Francisco. She was surrounded by people who didn't understand her and had too much pride to call gramps to help her out. Not only that but the concert was in a couple of hours, she thought there was no way she could make it. She said she sat on the curb of the airport ready to cry when someone spoke to her in our language."

"Your old man, I'm guessing."

"Yep. Well at the time he was just some guy named Hiroyuki. As luck would have it he was on his way to the concert too. His parents had a house that was pretty close to the concert pavilion. He offered her a ride and of course she took it."

"She just rode with a stranger?"

Kagome shrugged. "It was a different time. Anyway, that entire 300 mile stretch they rocked out to all the hits. Hey Jude, Strawberry Fields, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Revolution, Help, Let it Be, all of them. He even put on some Rolling Stones and stirred up that classic debate."

"There's a band named after stones? Who comes up with this stuff?"

"Not the point! It was a five hour drive so of course by the time they made it, the concert was sold out, so they stopped at his parents' house for dinner. My mom was still kinda bummed that she didn't see the concert. All that hard work and it amounted to nothing you know. They were almost done dinner when he saw how upset she was. So he made the rest of their dinner into a picnic and took her to this huge hill that overlooked the entire concert. She could see everything, the lights, the crowd, and even the overpriced food vendors. She couldn't see Paul and the rest of the band all that well, but she was there. She could hear all the music just like she wanted and it was all because of him. And well, .it was all… so perfect. Talking about it now…maybe that's why they….you know….under the stars and everything…."


Kagome turned beet red. "Nothing! Anyway that's how they met. Even when she had to come back home, they sent letters and kept in touch over the phone. Three years later they got married. He was my mom's one and only…."


Kagome shut her eyes. Behind them she could see the amalgam of metal and glass that used to be the family car. All around the intersection were sirens and police officers redirecting traffic. She could see herself standing on the curb, numb. The pouring rain and the gashes on her ribs were nonexistent. The voice of the police officer asking for her name and home number seemed to be light-years away. All she could see was the stretcher with her mangled father underneath its sheets.

"Kagome? Hey Kagome!"

She blinked and she was back in the feudal era, with Inuyasha shaking her shoulder.

"Sorry…" she said faintly. "What was I saying?"

"Your old man…."

Kagome rubbed her arms, trying to warm the chill that passed through her body. "Oh, right. Well he…passed away… when I was twelve. A car accident."

"A car?"

"Think of it like a palanquin with wheels."

"Oh…. Do you remember a lot about him?"

Kagome giggled, albeit humorlessly. "I remember everything about him. He had these really strong pair of hands that could lift me up in one arm and carry a full bag of groceries in another. He had this straggly beard that my mom always told him to shave but he always joked the second he did, my mom would forget why she fell in love with him. When he worked he had this stern expression on his face, almost like one of the Buddha statues. But every time I sat on his lap he'd always rub my hair and smile." Kagome chuckled again. Her eyes were starting to sting. "I remember waking up in the hospital with my mom looking over me. She'd been crying, something I'd never see her do. When I sat up she gave me the tightest hug I'd ever gotten. She didn't want to let me go."

"I know how that feels," Inuyasha whispered.

Her vision became a translucent blur. "Every day after that accident, she's been trying to make everything the way it was. She put on a happy face for Sota and me for our sake. But I don't think she ever got the time to really grieve, you know. I never wanted to talk about him because I didn't want to make her sad too. But I know….I know she misses him as much as I do."

"Mothers are weird like that….aren't they," Inuyasha said softly. "My mother was the same way."

Kagome turned away, wiping her eyes as she went. "What do you mean?"

"Like you said, she always had a smile on her face. No matter what horrible shit was being thrown at me. Even when she cried she smiled. Keh….I can still remember her face when I asked her what a half-breed was for the first time. She didn't say anything. She could only look at me with tears in her eyes and hugged me like she didn't want to let me go. I didn't know shit back then. But she did, she knew everything. She knew what my life would be like…."

"She was trying to protect you," Kagome replied.

"Yeah…I know…"

"What happened to her….? I mean…if you don't mind my asking. It's perfectly fine if you don't want to talk about it. It must be tough to-."

"She got sick," he said simply.

"Just like that?"

"Yeah. She was always frail. She'd get these fainting spells or she'd throw up sometimes or just a fever but she'd always be fine in a few days. But one day I was playing with her in the gardens like usual. It was summer so all the flowers and everything were blooming. I was trying to make her one of those stupid flower crown things I'd seen other kids do, but my claws were starting grow so they kept cutting all the flowers I got. I must cut through half the garden's flowers before I got something barely recognizable as a crown."

Despite herself Kagome chuckled. The thought of a tiny Inuyasha running around a garden of flowers was adorable.

"I was running back to her when I saw her on the ground. She was sweating real bad and she could barely breathe. The servants brought her back inside and she stayed in bed for the rest of the day and the rest of the next day too. By the third day she only got worse. She couldn't keep anything down, not even soup. She had these coughing fits that kept her up at night. Blood was in her waste and just keeping her eyes open gave her trouble…."

Kagome winced. Her heart scrunched together as she imagined a child seeing such symptoms and having no idea what to do or why it was happening.

"By the second week she was really pale. Every ounce of color had left her body. She called me in to see her and told me that if anything happened to her that I should go find my older brother. She promised he would look out for me. I didn't want to believe she was going anywhere, but I agreed since it seemed to make her happy. She smiled at me one last time before telling me to go outside to play. She said was going to take a nap for the rest of the day. She….closed her eyes….and never opened them again."

"I-I see…." Kagome could only keep her eyes on the thatched roof. She didn't want to bring attention to the tears rolling down his eyes in the darkness. "How was the funeral?"

"I don't know. I didn't get to go."

"What? What do you mean?"

Inuyasha scoffed, hate dipping into his voice. "My grandfather in all his infinite wisdom said I was the reason she died!"


"'She gave birth to an abomination', the old fart said. So the gods must have cursed her with this disease to punish her! So to prevent the disease from being passed on, I got chased out like some traitor!"

Kagome gaped at him, his story twisting her heart into knots.

"Old bastard. I'm glad he's dead. Only wish I did it myself."

"But happened after that? You must have found your brother right?"

"Don't get too excited!" he snapped. "He's an asshole."

"He can't be that bad…."

Inuyasha laughed humorlessly. "Oh really? About four months after she died, I finally found him. I had to cross through a shit-ton of demon territory, at least six temples with major 'purification' hard-ons, and ferry across at least three rivers crawling with river demons. I found him while he was fighting some moth demon and saw him action for the first time. He was everything I wanted to be. Powerful, graceful, proud, swift and had an underling who worshipped every pebble he stepped on. I can still remember being so excited. Finally someone like me. Someone who could help me understand my claws and fangs. And maybe someone who tell me about my old man."

"Well….what happened?"

"He attacked me."


"I was 'no relation' to him, he said. That I was a walking repugnance that served no purpose but to remind the world our father's mistake. And that my human blood poisoned every aspect of his pure demon lineage. I was better off a corpse in the dirt. He moved faster than I could. His claws dug into my skin dousing me poison. I didn't know how to fight back then. I ain't got no idea how I managed to escape. But the wounds he left me with didn't even hurt all that much, at the time. I couldn't believe what he said. It was all the same as those human bastards who kicked me out. No matter where I went I was a monster, an abomination, someone who didn't deserve to live. I hadn't done anything to them. I didn't even want all that much! I just wanted… I just wanted…"

His voice broke as he related the incident. His hands curled into tight fists. His lips were shut tight yet his lip quivered. Kagome held her breath as she took in all that she saw. Stripped away of his pride, his power, and arrogance, Kagome could only see a lost boy. His quirks the previous few weeks suddenly seemed so small. Like a hard shell protecting the vulnerable child that still lied within him. Kagome reached out to his shoulder, stopping every few inches, expecting him to lash out, but he never did. Her arms wrapped around his torso and pressed her forehead against the center of his back. His body immediately tensed, but still he did nothing.

"I'm sorry…." She whispered to him. "I'm so sorry…."

Inuyasha exhaled, the tension leaving his body.

"I am too."

Underneath the shadow of the new moon, the stars were at their brightest.

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