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Author's Chapter Notes:
A lot of Kikyo and Kagome interaction but it was nesscary to establish their relationship. Besides there's hardly any interaction between Kikyo and Kagome on good terms in the series.

50 Years Too Early

Chapter 4: Gifts

It didn't take long for Yura to reach the village where the sacred jewel resided. The village had after all reached the point of legend among demons. Countless lesser demons crossed rivers and mountains to try their hand at defeating the ruthless priestess and snatching the sacred jewel as their prize. In a way the jewel had become a contest among demons with only the bravest or foolhardy willing to make the attempt. Yura was no different. Ultimate power after all was too tempting of a prize to pass on. She stood on one of the tallest trees that overlooked the area. Already her hair was the combing the forest for any potential threats and familiarizing themselves with other demons lurking around who would steal her prize.

She would have to tread carefully however. From what she could gather from her hair, the priestess' barrier encompassed the entire village and a good portion of the forest. And even if by some chance Yura got around it somehow, direct combat with the priestess was a foolish choice. During her journey, she had heard many tales of countless demons throwing themselves at the priestess only to be turned to ash by her sacred powers. Then again, direct combat wasn't Yura's forte regardless, which gave her some type of advantage. But there was still that cumbersome bow to get past. Even if she fought in the manner usual for her, that priestess could still pick her off with one shot of that bow. Destroying the bow meant getting close and that would be too risky. Attempting to use her hairs would be useless, the priestess would not only be able to see them but most likely knew countless defense charms against such attacks. Yura sighed as she sat against the tree.

"Oh my, quite the conundrum," she said A flick of her wrist shot hair to a nearby tree-branch allowing her to swing through the forest. "I guess I'll just have to be creative."

With each swing she left strands of her hair on every tree-branch and leaf until long strands of interconnected hairs filled her side of the forest. Yura looked over her marked territory with a smirk. It really didn't matter how she went about it, the jewel would be hers.

She leaped off the tree and continued to spread her hair, her mind going through various ways to take down the priestess. Another smirk crossed her lips.

She was enjoying this already.


Kagome all but collapsed the wall when she and Kaede returned to the hut at dusk. Kaede had proven herself to be quite the handful of energy. From showing her every herb and special plant around the village, to playing ball with the other village kids and picking flowers, there seemed to be no off-switch on the little girl. Kagome did her best to keep up but when they reached the hut, all her remaining energy gave out. Kaede had gone to fetch some more water to make their miso soup for dinner. Kagome leaned against the wall thankful for a break.

"I don't even remember Sota tiring me out this much," she muttered.

"You'll have to forgive her for that," Kikyo said as she entered the hut.

"Oh, hey Kikyo..." Kagome said, too tired to be surprised at her twin's sudden appearance.

"It would seem you and Kaede had quite the day together,"

"That's putting it lightly," Kagome said with a light laugh. "Is she always so energetic?"

Kikyo set down a small wooden box with strange purple beads on a nearby table. "Just the opposite, in fact. She's usually much more reserved and is often off playing by herself."

"She doesn't have any friends in the village?"

Kikyo looked down. Kagome had to kick herself once more. She really needed to stop bringing up sore topics.

"Often times, the villagers and the children treat her as another priestess," Kikyo replied, her voice dropping as well. "In several of the villages we've stayed in, the children seem afraid of her."

Kagome was taken aback. "Afraid? Of little Kaede? She's so sweet!"

"Yes but as a potential priestess herself, villagers often see her power or what she could be capable of prior to anything else."

"So they see a mini-priestess first before they see her as a kid?" Kagome reasoned.

"Exactly. In fact, I doubt she's made a single friend since I took my oaths as a priestess."

"Oh...I see..." Kagome replied, unable to think of anything else to say.

"That's why I believe Kaede has become so attached to you, so quickly," Kikyo said, her expression more or less brightened. "You see her as a child and not anything more."

Kagome rubbed her head, and could feel her face turning pink. Kaede liked her for something as simple as that? This place really was strange. "Don't mention it. If that's the case, I guess I can manage a bit more energy on my part."

"I'm sure Kaede would appreciate it," Kikyo said turning to the beads.

"So how was your day?"

"I spoke with Inuyasha today."


"The half-demon who saved you and Kaede from the centipede demon earlier today."

At the recognition, Kagome felt her skin grow hot from their encounter and the resulting argument. She gritted her teeth at the thought of it.

"You mean that red-clad jerk! Why would you want to talk to him? I'm surprised he didn't bite your head off too!"

"It seems he's made quite the first impression with you," Kikyo said with a small laugh.

"Ugh...I've never met anyone so arrogant and full of himself in my life!" Kagome huffed and folded her arms. "If I ever see him again it'll be too soon."

Kikyo shook her head with another small laugh. "You musn't be so quick to judge, Kagome. Inuyasha is truly quite...gentle."

"That guy? He wouldn't know gentle if it smacked him on his head."

"You would be surprised," Kikyo replied as she turned back to the beads.

Kagome examined her twin up and down. Something was different about her. There was a lightness in her face and her voice that wasn't there when they first met. Her eyes seemed less downcast, as if rays of sun had begun to poke through the bleak clouds in her mind. Was her encounter with Inuyasha really that great?

"I'm back!" Kaede announced.

"Welcome home, Kaede," Kikyo said.

When Kaede title her head and looked at Kikyo as if she hadn't seen her in months, Kagome knew she was right in thinking something was different about her normally aloof twin. Kaede looked over Kikyo's shoulder at the beads.

"Aren't those beads used for subjugation? Are you giving those to Inuyasha?"

"Yes I am," Kikyo replied. "It may be a little underhanded of me, but these will prevent Inuyasha from doing anymore wrong." She stared at the beads with a small smile, as if they held a secret only she knew. "Now then, what trigger word should I use for the beads to take effect?"

"Trigger word?" Kagome repeated.

"If I say a certain word, the beads will bind Inuyasha's spirit," Kikyo explained, though Kagome still wasn't sure what she meant.

"That's right," Kikyo said as if she had just remembered something. "That priestess Tsubaki put a curse on me." She shook of the thought with a light sigh. "The path I choose is a path of carnage so why should I fear an unnatural death?"

Talkaboutamorbidthought, Kagome said to herself.

"Now for the beads, beloved, that's a good trigger word."

"Beloved? That doesn't sound very binding," Kagome said.

"Oh? What word would you suggest, Kagome?"

Kagome paused for a moment. She thought back to her encounter in the field with the dog-boy. His ears were the first thing she remembered about him.

"Well he's part dog right? How about, sit boy?"

Kikyo reeled back. "Surely you jest Kagome. That sounds rather demeaning."

"Oh come on, think about it," Kagome pushed. "It'd be pretty funny."

"You certainly have quite the imagination," Kikyo said with a fuller smile. "I'll consider it." She glanced over at Kaede who began chopping vegetables. "In the mean time, would mind helping Kaede with dinner?"

"Sure no problem."

As three settled into their tasks for the night, a long strand of hair slithered back to its waiting mistress.


For Kikyo, her morning rounds couldn't have ended sooner. It had been a slow morning. Only two demons had attacked so far, a crow demon and a newt demon. Their demon aura had been so weak Kikyo did not feel the urge to kill them. A simple repel charm cast on her bow was enough to make them pull back their assault. The lack of danger left Kikyo with a rather strange feeling. She was on edge, but not a in negative fashion. She would keep looking at the sun every second, hoping this time it would be at its noon position. She fiddled with her bows and arrows as if such tasks would somehow make the time go by faster She checked her sleeves for the prayer beads she tucked away every other second as well. The only other time Kikyo felt this way was back when she took her first oaths as a priestess. Since then her stoic demeanor had dominated almost every aspect of her life. But now a child-like excitement, one that she thought was long gone, had awakened inside of her and it was not diminish. Whatever was the cause of this, she did not want to question it.

When the temple bell rang, signaling the noon hour, Kikyo made her way to the meadow. Her pace three steps faster than usual. When she saw the red-clad half-demon on the hill, her pace increased to a light jog. She couldn't have been that late could she? How long had he been waiting?

"Inuyasha!" she called.

"So you came after all," he replied.

"Forgive me, I did not mean to keep you waiting."

Inuyasha scoffed and looked away. "Keh, who said I was waiting for you?"

Kikyo titled her head. "Did you not say yesterday that you wanted to meet here again?"

A shade of red that matched his robes crossed his cheeks. "Y-yeah well...I was just...on the look out for more demons. I don't want anyone else to take the Scared Jewel after all."

Kikyo allowed herself a soft chuckle. "Of course."

"Anyway," he said, waving off the topic. He reached into the folds of his robes and presented a small clam shell with a crimson bow at the end.

"What is it?" she asked, the meaning not reaching her.

"No sense in me keeping it, so I might well give it you," he said. "Go ahead take it."

Kikyo examined the small gift, hoping her confusion was not too apparent. As he fingers ran along the surface she found that it opened. Inside was a small pool of rouge. She had seen several of the village girls and many noble women color their lips with it. Though she wondered why Inuyasha would carry around rouge in the first place.

"The only things my mother left me were that and the robe of the Firerat," he said answering her unasked question.

"Your mother was human?" Kikyo reasoned, she had never seen demons wearing rouge before.

Inuyasha looked away. "Yeah well..."

"This must mean so much to you," she said softly.

He still wouldn't look at her. "Don't worry about it, the robe of the Firerat is useful enough, it's all I need."

She had been so blind. She had known that she and Inuyasha were alike, but until now, she had never known the depth of their similarities. Both her parents had perished when she had been a child. The only thing she had found in the rubble had been the mirror her mother used from time to time. She cherished it. It was the only link she had to her life before her oaths. If anything ever happened to it she did not know what she would do. The rouge and his Firerat robes must have meant the same for Inuyasha. How could he so easily give it to her when she so mercilessly shot at his cherished robes? She glanced up at him and he seemed more content to stare at the nearby lake.

She took his hand, which finally caught his attention. "I'm so sorry Inuyasha," she breathed, squeezing on his hand through the sleeves of his robes. "I didn't know and I shot so many arrows at it."

He glanced down at her hand as if confused. He met her eyes before settling back into his familiar demeanor.

"Keh don't worry about it. This robe heals about as fast as I do," he said. "Oh, by the way what did you say you wanted to give to me?"

At the reminder of the prayer beads, Kikyo reached into her sleeve but stopped. Was it right of her to take advantage of Inuyasha like this? He obviously held no ill will against her for their previous encounters. For him to give her an object so precious to him as well only made her stomach sink at the thought of tricking him into the beads. Ever since their last talk, Inuyasha hadn't made a single attempt at the jewel. She had sensed his presence near her on a few occasions but he never attacked not even when she was cleansing herself, when she would be the most vulnerable.

Inuyasha didn't need the beads to keep him in check. All he needed was someone to care. A friend.


She looked up at him with a small smile. "Oh, I'm sorry, I must have forgotten it."

Inuyasha groaned. "Oh come on, I've been waiting and everything!"

"Forgive me. I'll be sure to give you something even better at a later date."

"Keh, you better," he said, folding his arms and looking away.

Kikyo stared at the rouge. "Are you sure I can keep this gift?"

Inuyasha opened an eye and offered a genuine smile. "Sure thing."

"Thank you."

"So uh..." Inuyasha started. "When do you gotta go back?"

As if on cue the temple bell rang, signaling the end of the noon hour.

Kikyo sighed. "Now it seems."

"Oh..." he said his disappointment clear.

"However...today has been rather uneventful. I suppose there would be no harm in staying for a few more moments."

She sat down on the grass and indicated for Inuyasha to join her. He took his four point squat a good distance away but he was at least a good step closer to her than the last time they had talked. They exchanged brief but descriptive stories about their childhoods and experiences, careful to lighten or avoid particular topics. Inuyasha, she noticed, only spoke of his mother never about his father or if he had any siblings and she only spoke of various missions she had been part of, never about her training or her life prior. The omissions in their stories were left unacknowledged. For Kikyo there were certain aspects about her life that were...uncomfortable to discuss and Inuyasha most likely felt the same.

A few moments quickly turned into entire hour. When the second bell rang, Kikyo could not ignore it.

"I suppose I should be getting back," she said standing up.

"Yeah...I guess I'll see you," Inuyasha muttered.

Despite their parting words, neither moved. Kikyo's stomach felt as if it tied itself into a knot. She wanted to say something to him, but she couldn't fathom what it was. Was she looking for another excuse to stay? Did Inuyasha want her stay? If she asked him would he accompany her on her rounds? She opened her mouth to speak.

"Goodbye for now, Inuyasha."

"Y-yeah, later."

The half-demon gave her one last look before he leaped away into the trees. Kikyo couldn't help but watch him as he bounded away. There was a strange lightness in her stomach that seemed to extend into her steps. As she made her way back to the village, she found that it was harder for her to return to her expected apathetic demeanor.

"Hey Kikyo!" Kaagome called, starling her. How could she not have sensed Kagome's presence?

"Good afternoon, Kagome," she greeted as they fell into step. "Kaede is allowing you a time to rest I see."

Kagome laughed. "Yeah, I convinced her to ask some of the kids to play with her. It seems to be going all right so far."

"If you're idle, some of the villagers could use some help with the rice patties this afternoon."

"Um….All right, but I'm not quite sure what I can do to help."

"You'll do fine."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence I guess." Kagome glanced at her. "So what's your pocket?"

"I'm sorry?"

"You've been fiddling with something in your pocket since you got here."

"No I-," but when she looked down, her hand was indeed in the pocket where she had placed the rouge. Kikyo vaguely wondered exactly when that had happened.

"So what is it?"

Kikyo sighed. There was no point in hiding it at this point. "I will show you, but I would prefer if it is kept between us."

"Is it that serious? It's not anything dangerous is it?"

Kikyo chuckled. "No of course not. It's rather...nice to be honest."

She pulled out the seashell and revealed the rouge to her reincarnation, whose eyes brightened.

"Oh wow. Who gave it to you? A secret admirer?"

Kikyo's face grew warm. "N-no it's nothing like that." Inuyasha as an admirer? "It's merely a friendly gesture..."

"Riiiight, because guys just give girls lipstick when they just want to be friends."

"I never said it was from a man," Kikyo muttered.

Kagome grinned at her. "I don't see you denying it."

A small blush crept across Kikyo's face at being caught in Kagome' minor trap. "It's nothing serious I can assure you of that."

"So why are you blushing?"

"I am doing no such thing."

Kagome just shrugged, unconvinced. "Keep telling yourself that. So have you tried it on yet?"


"So what are you waiting for?" Kagome grabbed her hand and lead her into their hut.

"K-Kagome, I still have my rounds to complete," she protested.

"Ah, you'll finish that later; this'll only take a second anyways."

Kagome sat her down in front of the table and pulled her hair ribbon, allowing her hair to cascade down her back. Kikyo allowed her hair down only when she slept. To have it down during the day felt strange, but Kikyo could not deny the freeing aspect of it as well. Kagome looked around the small table for something else.

"Do you have a mirror around here or something? Are those even invented yet?"

"The center drawer," Kikyo answered, passing her hand through her unshackled hair. "It was my mother's mirror so please, be careful with it."

Kagome withdrew the mirror and dipped her finger in the rouge. She turned to Kikyo with a bright smile that Kikyo could not help but mimic slightly. Her reincarnation was a strange one, but if Kagome truly was her from a different world, she did not mind.

"All right pucker up," Kagome said.

"I'm sorry?"

Kagome sighed. "Never mind, just hold still."

Her finger passed over Kikyo's lips. In only a few dabs the process was done.

"Wow! You look like a completely different person!" Kagome remarked.

Kikyo took the mirror and examined herself. Kagome had exaggerated of course. As a whole, she looked the same but the simple make-up created an air of sensuality that was not present beforehand. She touched her cheek as if to make sure the reflection she was seeing was truly her.

"I really am beautiful," Kikyo whispered. There had been many young men who had passes at her with compliments of her beauty, but it was only now that she believed it.

"I don't know why it was a question in the first place," Kagome shrugged. "Add in a little eyeliner and some mascara and every guy in a ten kilometer radius will be fighting to get your attention."

"Inuyasha would probably be the first in that line," she whispered.

"Inuyasha? Is he the one who gave you that rouge?"

Kikyo flushed. "I-that is…"

"You like Inuyasha?"

"N-no! O-or rather…I-I suppose…"

Kagome grinned at her. "I never thought I'd see your face so red."


"You really shouldn't be so wound up about things like this," she said as she made her way out.

"I have to," Kikyo replied, washing off the make-up. "It is a part of my duties."

"I suppose. I mean, I'm not a priestess or anything, but to me if feelings were meant to be left inside of us, then there would be no point having them right?"

"Perhaps. Although I'm not quite sure I understand."

Kagome just laughed. "Neither do I. Anyways, I'm going to help with the rice patties, so I'll see you later tonight."

When Kagome left, Kikyo remained still, left with only the lightness that remained in her stomach and a flushed face.

Perhaps Inuyasha's gift was more than just the rouge.

Chapter End Notes:
Hope you guys liked this chapter. Don't worry action will start up next chapter.
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