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Yura of the Hair was bored. The last hunt had been disappointing. Those arrogant samurai never stood a chance against her. It had only taken a few stokes from her comb to take them out. The hair she collected from them had been a letdown as well. Far too many loose ends, strands and split ends, in such common colors too. Black or brown. At least she gained more hair this time. For the past several weeks all she had been catching lately had been foolhardy monks. Bald skulls were never fun. And with the death of so many monks, the humans nearby had branded her forest “cursed” which deterred any new prey and robbed her of any hair.  Yura huffed as she leaned against her bed of skulls. It was time to face the facts; this hunting ground was growing stale and fast.

She combed the hair of her latest skull. Relocating was always such a chore. Finding the perfect area, ensuring that there were enough humans to prey on, and making sure that the hair she collected was up to par. Her last hunting ground, the mountains of the north had been a disaster. There was hardly enough room to move how she wanted, the air was far too cold, and to make it worse the hair was just too thin and meek. The southern regions were spacious but far too much competition from lesser demons and to the West were extremely powerful demons, like that arrogant dog demon upstart.

However, the west was home to some of the best hunting grounds and the hair of the humans was said to be of the highest quality. If she were to relocate to the western lands, she would need more power. The demons that roamed the western plains were not keen to share their hunting territory to newcomers. She would need some extra firepower in her corner to show her dominance. And there was only one object that would give Yura what she needed.

The demon stood on the bed of skulls and chuckled.

“I believe it’s time I gave that priestess Kikyo a visit.”


It was about mid-morning when Kagome awoke. The early sun poked through the holes in the hut, giving the dim room some much needed light. Kagome rubbed her neck as she sat up, trying to locate an annoying knot that had formed during the course of the night. Sleeping on the hardwood floor wasn’t for her. And her mother wondered why she never wanted to go camping as a kid.

“Good morning Lady Kagome,” Kaede’s cheerful voice said.

“Good morning Kaede,” Kagome managed to yawn back as a hot bowl of miso soup was presented to her. She had spent almost the entire day talking to Kikyo before the priestess was called back to her duties. Kagome spent the rest of the time talking to Kaede who, much like Sota, seemed way beyond her years in smarts and unlike Kikyo seemed much more willing to talk about…well…everything. Especially about her sister it seemed. Most it involved recalling a great deed Kikyo did and how Kikyo kept her cool in the most dire of situations. At the thought of her twin, Kagome glanced around the mostly empty hut.

“Where’s Kikyo?” she asked as she began to eat.

“Oh, she started her rounds already.”

“Huh? This early? When does she wake up?”

“Right before sunrise,” Kaede answered as if it were obvious. “She’s usually out for the entire morning and eats lunch late. Sometimes not all.”

That can’t be healthy, Kagome thought. She had known a girl in middle school named Keiko who was rather obsessive with her grades. She had heard from Keiko’s friends she pulled all-nighters regularly and routinely skipped meals. She got into one of the best high schools in the country, but not too long after the poor girl had a major breakdown. Last time Kagome checked, she was still trying to recover in an institution.

“Aren’t you worried she might over extend herself?” Kagome asked, the image of a mentally ill Kikyo muttering to herself flashing in her mind.

Kaede stared at her bowl of rice. “Every day.”

Open mouth, insert foot, Kagome growled at herself. How could she have been so insensitive?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-,” Kagome started.

Kaede immediately perked up. “No it’s fine don’t worry about it.” She took several mouthfuls of her breakfast to emphasize her content. “Anyways, Kikyo wanted me to show you around today and we would meet with her this afternoon in front of the sacred tree.”

“Alright, sounds like a plan,” Kagome replied, picking at her fish. 

She finished the rest of her breakfast in silence while Kaede dominated the rest of the meal with information about the village. The various paths to the fields and the river, how far the scared tree was, the location of the shrine all passed in and out of Kagome's ears. The school girl mouth only opened when she began to eat, for fear of making another stupid comment.

When the meal finished, Kaede gather up the bowls and headed for the door.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” the girl realized and turned to Kagome. “Wait right here.”

Kagome watched as Kaede ran to the closet on the far wall of the hut and pulled out what looked like an extra set of Kikyo's priestess robes. She presented them to Kagome with a smile.

“Here, change.” 


“Well, Sister Kikyo said that all day yesterday the villagers were making side comments about you and the way you were dressed, so she thought for now it would be best if you changed.”

Kagome took the robes and titled her head. “Thanks but don't you have any regular clothes? Something she would wear off-duty?”

Kaede looked down. “She's never off-duty.”

Kagome glanced at the robes and smiled at Kaede. “Maybe you and I can change that.”


“Hand over the scared jewel priestess!”

Kikyo held in a sigh and notched her bow. It took a single arrow to dissolve the crow demon. This was rapidly becoming routine. Sense the demon, move to its location, the demon would demand the Shikon jewel, charge, fire an arrow and kill the demon. Proceed to repeat the process until the sun set, then she would wake up the next morning for the ordeal resume itself. Was this really what her life amounted to? A path tainted with blood? The duty of a priestess did indeed involve bloodshed, however Kikyo was sure her particular path left more bodies in her wake than a samurai warlord. Would it ever end?

“Priestess!!!” the baritone of an oni shouted alerting her senses.

A quick overview of his aura told the weary priestess this one was nothing to worry about. The demon raised its weapon of choice, a kabano and let out its battle cry. A ploy to intimidate her Kikyo figured. Other than showing off the demon's poor dental hygiene, it was highly ineffective. The demon charged when it realized the priestess was inapprehensive.

“Hand over the scared-!”

Its demand was cut short when four well placed arrows pierced into its torso. The oni collapsed at her feet before turning to ash. Kikyo stared at the rising ash. The addition of the oni placed her current count to eight demons for the day. She glanced at the sun, which told her that noon had not yet arrived. Her personal record was thirteen demons before the noon hour. Perhaps today she would best herself.

Kikyo shook her head. It was unwise to wish more demons on herself. Not too long ago, at the start of the new moon cycle, she had faced more demons than she could handle. She had defeated them but she had used more power than she had intended, leaving her drained. That was when she had sensed the half-demon. Not one to show weakness, she had displayed her usual cold demeanor. However her strength failed her and she collapsed. Yet the half-demon did nothing. He was in the perfect position to finish her off for good and take the Shikon jewel for himself, so why did he not take his chance? Was it a part of a grander stratagem? Kikyo shook her head at the thought. The half-demon's attack strategies had been no better than the oni's or the other demons she had faced. So why did he not just finish her off when he had the chance?

“Sister Kikyo!” Kaede's voice snapped Kikyo out of her brooding.

The little girl ran up the hill, a huge smile on her face, with Kagome in tow. Kikyo examined her reincarnation and had to hold in a chuckle at her attempts to keep pace with Kaede. Kagome clearly was not used to the robes of a priestess as she could barely keep her footing and caught her feet on the hakama. By the time Kagome had reached Kaede, the robes already had several smudges of dirt dotted around the torso.

“Good morning Kaede, and to you as well Kagome,” Kikyo greeted, hiding her inner amusement as much as possible.

If Kagome did not look like her twin before, she certainly did now wearing her spare robes and her hair tied back. “I'm glad my clothes fit you Kagome.”

Kagome dusted herself off with an embarrassed chuckle. “Do they come with an instruction book on how to walk in it?”

A small smile crossed Kikyo's lips. “No I'm afraid not.”

“Doesn't Lady Kagome look pretty Kikyo?” Kaede asked.

“She certainty does.”

Kagome face reddened slightly. “Thanks for the clothes and everything but...why exactly do I have to wear this? I'm already starting to miss my uniform.”

“I apologize for your discomfort but it is necessary for the deception to be effective.”

“Huh? What deception?”

“Yesterday the villagers all thought you were some kind of demon,” Kaede said with a small giggle.

“You can't be serious. Me a demon?”

“It is not as farfetched as you believe,” Kikyo said making her way towards a small lake. The familiar pulse of demon energy ran through her body. “Foxes and badgers can all change their shapes and pose as humans. In fact the most powerful demons are the ones that look the most human.”

“You wouldn't want the villagers to ask Sister Kikyo to exorcise you, trust me.”

Kagome's face paled. “I'll....take your word for it.” She glanced at Kikyo. “So what did you do?”

Kikyo notched an arrow. The demon was coming. “I merely told them that you were my long lost twin sister.”


“We were separated from birth during an attack on our village ten years ago. A priest found you and took you to a shrine in the southern region where you were trained to be a priestess. Several weeks ago, you learned that I protect the Shikon jewel and traveled here to find me.”

She glanced over her shoulder and saw Kagome staring at her with wide eyes. “Uh...when exactly did you come up with all that?”

“The day before, while we were sharing that cup of tea.” Kikyo glanced at them. “The both of you step back.”

“What's going-?” Kagome started, but Kaede grabbed her hand and led her behind one of the trees. Kikyo smiled slightly at her sister's obedience.

Her smile dissipated when the demon sprung out from the waters. A giant koi fish demon rushed at her, its crimson eyes intent to kill. Kikyo had to repress the urge to groan. Even the fish were after the scared jewel. The demon proved to be nothing more than size when a single arrow purified it. When the danger passed Kikyo turned to her two spectators.

“You two can come out.”

“Are you all right Kikyo?” Kaede asked.

“Awesome,” Kagome breathed.

“Come, let’s go home.”

“Um…Kikyo, it looks like you aren’t done yet,” Kagome said pointing over her shoulder.

Kikyo followed her twin’s finger and saw the red-clad half demon, a confident smirk on his face. She felt herself twitch in irritation.

“It’s you again,” she said.

He presented his claws as a warning. “Kikyo, had over the scared jewel.”

“I thought I told you to stay away from me.”

“And I thought I told you I wasn’t going to give up so easily!” he snapped. “We are going to settle this today. Now get that kid and your weak twin out of the way!”

“Hey, who are you calling weak dog-boy?” Kagome huffed.

“Kagome, I’ll handle this,” Kikyo said, not taking her eyes off the half-demon. “Take cover with Kaede in the trees.”


“Do as I say,” Kikyo said with finality.

“Fine.” Kagome muttered.

Kikyo eyed the half demon and met with his striking golden eyes. From his face down to his feet, he was indistinguishable from any other human. It was only until one noticed his dog shaped ears, sharp claws and great agility did his demon side reveal itself. A being that was neither human nor demon. A pitiful half demon, who was merely looking for his place in the world.

“There is something I wish to ask you,” she said, when it became clear the half-demon was not going to attack first. Perhaps he finally learned from his previous attempts. “Why didn’t you kill me that night? It would have easy enough given my condition.”

The half-demon twitched as if he were offended. “I don’t play dirty that’s why.”

A small chuckle escaped her lips, her first genuine laugh in ages. Honor. It was a word she had been sure demons were not aware of. “I see.”

“Hey! What’s so funny?”

He was an interesting one, that much was certain. “Let me ask you one more thing, half-demon what name do you go by? You must have a name even though your just a half-demon.”

The Halfling growled. “Hey! Quit calling me a half-demon will ya!”

“Then tell me your name,” Kikyo asserted. “And I shall never call you ‘half-demon’ again.”

“It’s Inuyasha.”

“Inuyasha. I’ll remember that.”

Inuyasha sprang forward, the time for words clearly over. “Prepare to die Kikyo!”

Four well placed shots ended Inuyasha’s charge and the half-demon once again found himself pinned to a tree at her mercy. Both his arms and legs were trapped by her arrows and his throat was wide open. It would only take one final shot end his attempts at the jewel. But was once again caught by his golden eyes. There was something about them that made her unable to release her arrow. Every ounce of her training and previous experience with demons told her to take the shot and end their little game. In the end however, whatever she felt overtook her training.

She sighed and lowered her bow.  

“Will you stop that!” Inuyasha yelled. “Why do you never finish me off!?”

Kikyo whirled around to face him. “Stop coming after the jewel. I have no wish to waste more arrows.”

She signaled to Kaede and Kagome that it was safe to emerge. As they made their way back to the village, Kikyo found herself hoping to see the half-demon, or rather Inuyasha once more.

A strange desire.

But a welcome one.


 “Sarohouziki,” Kaede said as she moved through the field. “Lady Kagome, over here, I found some!”

Kagome smiled and approached the girl. The rest of the morning had passed without much incident. Kagome had tried several times to ask Kikyo about her encounter with that Inuyasha guy. After watching Kikyo take down a giant koi fish with a single shot, she wondered why she didn’t do the same to Inuyasha. Kaede told her late that she wondered the same thing. Kikyo however was being as stoic as ever. When they had finished their meal, Kikyo asked Kaede to gather some more herbs for their dwindling supply and for Kagome to accompany Kaede while she went to cleanse herself of the bloody demon smell on her body. This seemed to catch Kaede off guard while Kagome was just confused. She really didn’t smell anything from Kikyo. Then again, what did demon blood smell like anyway?

“She’s never really cared about the demon smell on her,” Kaede had noticed on their way to the meadow. “Why the sudden change?”

Kagome could only shrug. If her own sister couldn’t figure out Kikyo, then she definitely couldn’t.

“So what does this herb do Kaede?” Kagome asked looking over the plant. Despite her stoic nature, Kagome could tell Kaede had nothing but admiration for her sister. Then again if she had a sister that could defeat a bunch of demons with only a couple of arrows, Kagome would admire her too. But then, Kagome thought. Maybe that was the problem too.

“Kikyo told me it reduces swelling,” Kaede answered, snapping Kagome out of her thoughts. “We could use some later.”

Kagome was about to reply when she felt a strange run down her spine. Her body stiffened as the feeling slithered down her backside like a snake. A faint beat was coming their way. Something similar to a weak drumbeat but it was getting louder as it got closer to them. She wanted ask Kaede what was coming but she got her answer seconds later.

“The scared jewel!” a shrill voice screamed.

Kagome looked up to see what could be described as the top portion of a woman and centipede mixture. The demon dived towards them, leaving little room to think.

“Run Kaede!” Kagome shouted.  

“I shall take the two of hostage and force that priestess to give me the jewel!” the creature announced as it extended its multiple arms towards them.

“No! Stay back!” Kagome screamed. At that moment something seemed to explode from her hand. Whatever it was, it pushed the centipede monster several feet. The monster gave Kagome a confused looked before charging again.

“You have the same powers as Kikyo!” Kaede realized.

“I do?”

“Hurry, try to do it again.”

Kagome extended her arms in front her and squeezed her eyes shut. “Stay back!”

But none of the power came.

“Stay back!!” she tried again but still no response.

She peaked open an eye to see the creature was only inches away from her. She was about to scream in terror when she heard a coarse voice yell out:

“Get down you stupid girl!”

Kagome dove to the ground in time to see a red figure slice the demon into pieces with a single swipe of his claws. Inuyasha landed with a slight slide on the grass as he looked over his kill with smug smile. He cracked his claws with scoff.

“Keh, no way I’d let a weakling like you get the scared jewel from under my nose.”

Kagome was frozen on the ground. Did he really just save them? But wasn’t he after this jewel too? Wouldn’t it be easier to go along with what the centipede demon wanted and kidnap them? Kaede approached their savior with a low grateful bow.

“Thank you, for saving us,” she said her voice timid.

Inuyasha glanced at her before scoffing once more. “You got it all wrong. I just don’t want anyone else getting the scared jewel, that’s all.”

“O-oh,” Kaede muttered as he turned on his heels to go.

Kagome wasn’t sure what is was, but seeing Kaede look so disappointed and crushed, shook off whatever remaining shock from the attack. The schoolgirl was on her feet in seconds, marching towards the departing demon.

“Unbelievable!” she shouted, making Inuyasha freeze in his tracks. “The least you can do is say ‘you’re welcome’ you ungrateful dog!”

Inuyasha’s ears twitched and whirled around to face her.

“What did you call me you stupid girl?!”

“What are those ears just for decoration now?” Kagome shot back, now nose to nose with him and temporarily forgetting that he could easily do to her what he did to centipede demon. “When you save someone, the least you can do is accept their thanks!”

“I don’t need your stupid thanks!” Inuyasha growled. “You should count yourself lucky I was even around at all!”

“Ha! Shows what you know, I had the situation under control.”

“Really? I guess screaming out ‘stay back’ is powerful spell where you come from!”

“I have you know I happen was a priestess back in my village!” Kagome exclaimed, hoping Kikyo’s little lie would save some face.

“If that’s the case I feel sorry for whoever had to put up with you for a priestess.”

“Ugh you’re such a jerk!!” she yelled at the top of her lungs.

Inuyasha took a few steps back as if he had been punched. Kaede covered her ears.

“Fine, if I’m such a jerk, don’t come crying to me when your weak ass needs rescuing!” he shouted back and leapt back into the bushes in a huff.

“Don’t worry!” Kagome yelled at his retreating form. “Next time I won’t need saving!”

She let out one final yell of frustration. Never before had she met someone so infuriating. Not even Sota with all his annoyances pushed her buttons this much! If she ever saw him again it would be too soon!

Kaede tugged on her skirt.   “Um…Lady Kagome…”

Kagome shook her head trying to shake off her anger. “Sorry about that Kaede. Let’s go back to the village before demon crows start attacking or something.”


Kagome stomped the rest of the way back, her mind still seething over her encounter with the half-demon.

Stupid, arrogant jerk! She growled. Where does he get off calling me stupid! He has some nerve!

Still…a small voice in the back of her mind muttered. His dog ears were cute.


“Inuyasha, you’re there aren’t you,” Kikyo called out to the bushes behind her.

Inuyasha slinked back hoping he could escape, but Kikyo wouldn’t allow him to.

“Why don’t you come down,” she said, more as an order than a request.

The half-demon leapt from his hiding place and landed near the sitting the priestess. He sat in a four-point squat, which made it easy for him to leap away in case she tried something. But her bow and arrows were on the ground and she seemed to have no hostile intentions. However, being too careful was what allowed him to survive this long.

“This is the first time we’ve spoken up close,” Kikyo said breaking the silence.

What was she getting at? “Yeah…so what’s your point?”

“I understand you saved my sisters Kaede and Kagome.”

Inuyasha scoffed. “Oh that.”

Kikyo inclined her head to him. “I wanted to thank you too.”

“Trust me; the gratitude thing doesn’t look good on you.”

“I see,” Kikyo said. She turned to him a small smile on her face. “However, according to Kaede there was a minor….disagreement between you and Kagome?”

At the sound of the twin’s name, Inuyasha could already feel his earlier temper rise. “Tell your sister to be more grateful to someone who saves her life.”

A small chuckle was Kikyo’s response. “I’ll be sure to relay the message to her.”

Silence passed between them for a time. They sat on a hill that overlooked the entire village. Inuyasha’s fingers fidgeted. Just sitting around doing nothing was never his style. He liked to keep moving, doing something. Just sitting around meant he’d be vulnerable to attacks. What was she waiting for?

“Inuyasha,” she said finally. “How do I look to you? Do I seem human?”

Inuyasha reeled back. What kind of question was that? “Now what are you going on about?”

“I show my weakness to one,” she continued unaffected by his confusion. “I must never have doubts. Or else demons would overcome me. I am human, yet I cannot be human. We’re quite alike you and I. You, a half-demon, that is why I could not kill you.”

Inuyasha stood up with a scoff. She’d just called him down here for a pity party. That he didn’t need or had any interest in. “Is that supposed be an excuse? Doesn’t really seem like you.”

Kikyo looked up at him and he froze in his tracks. “You’re right,” Kikyo said. “I suppose it’s not like me.”

 When he looked into her eyes any abrasiveness he had evaporated. She smiled at him, the first smile he had seen from her. It was small and easily missed at first glance but it was there. Yet her eyes were so sad and lonely. Like someone accepting an undesirable fate. As if she knew that loneliness would her only companion for the remainder of her life.

Like mother Inuyasha realized. Like me.


At the sound of his name, the Halfling closed his slacked jaw. “W-what is it?”

“N-nevermind. It’s nothing,” she said and began to walk off.


“Kikyo! Come back here tomorrow!” he yelled before he could stop himself.


“W-what I mean is….” He stuttered, his face turning rouge. “I-I…want to give you something.”

“You want to give me something? That’s good, because I have something I’ve been thinking of giving you.”

Inuyasha’s stomach jumped. “The scared jewel?!”

“No such thing,” Kikyo chuckled.

“Keh, should have known.”

Even as Kikyo disappeared down the hill, Inuyasha found it difficult to move. But it wasn’t out of fear of an attack. There was lightness and strange warmth in his body. Something he hadn’t felt since his mother was alive. It remained even as he leapt through the forest that was filled with demons that were willing to take a swipe at him.

He settled into his usual tree and realized he was oddly excited about tomorrow.

He wanted to see what kind of gift Kikyo would give. But more importantly, he wanted to see Kikyo again.

Sleep began to overcome him and for the first time in a while, he couldn’t wait for tomorrow to come.

A weird feeling.

But he liked it.

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