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50 Years Too Early

Chapter 9: Downtime

Something didn’t feel right to Kagome. She stood in a meadow a few miles away from Kikyo’s village. The grass reached her ankles and the landscape was barren save for Onigumo’s cave to the north. Thick clouds floated across the sky, shielding the sun on a few occasions. The resulting shadow over the world only heightened Kagome’s unease. She took a few steps forward, her sandals stepping on dry grass, causing an ever present noise to accompany her walk. A bitter wind passed through the meadow, making the tall grass sway. The cold seemed to bypass her clothes and strike her skin directly. Kagome could already feel the goose bumps forming up her arm. The wind only grew stronger, blowing some of her hair into her eyes and mouth. Kagome reached up to adjust her hair, only for her hand to be caught in the long white sleeve that made up her priestess uniform. Kagome pulled the sleeve back but suddenly froze.

Priestess uniform? The schoolgirl looked down and sure enough she was clad like Kikyo, from the top down. When had she changed? She remembered facing Yura of the Hair in her home clothes with Inuyasha’s fire-rat robes over her. She also remembered not staying long afterwards since she needed to get the first-aid kit from her house to help Kikyo’s injuries and that burned bandit she had found. But Kagome’s recollection only puzzled her more. None of it answered the question of why she was suddenly standing in the barren meadow in Kikyo’s uniform or why she felt so uncomfortable. A stronger wind passed through, this time blowing several of the cherry blossoms off their branches. Kagome managed to catch one with her hand and paused once more.

Cherry blossoms? In June? By now they should have become leafs. What was going on? Was she losing her mind?

“Guys?” she called into the emptiness. “Kikyo? Kaede? Inuyasha?”

No answer, only more wind. Kagome rubbed her arms. Why was it so cold? Wasn’t it supposed to be spring or summer? She glanced at the still rising sun.

“Maybe they overslept?”She took another step, unsure where she was headed. She must have taken only a dozen steps when she heard it.

Something was moving in the grass, something moving extremely fast. Kagome first passed it off as some animal, but that was before she heard that low guttural chuckle. Before she could even take another step, claws ripped through her back from the shoulder down to her hips. Pain careened through her body. All the air seemed to escape from her lungs, making Kagome unable to cry out. The world seemed to slow down as she felt her blood fly out from her body and her legs lurching forward unable to support her. Everything around Kagome became indistinct like a mist had suddenly formed around her eyes. She finally hit the ground but the pain from the blow numbed her to any other sensation. Even moving her fingers sent shockwaves up her arm and down her back. Kagome squeezed out a small cry, tears forming in her eyes.


A bare foot crushed her exposed hand. “Fool.” Her attacker taunted. He started talking, but Kagome couldn’t understand anything he meant. But she did make out,

“But I shall take this nonetheless. Thanks!”

She tried to call out but no words came from her mouth. Kagome laid still, left with only pain both in her body and her heart.


Kagome’s eyes snapped open and immediately shot up in bed, throwing Buyo from her chest to her lap. The annoyed cat voiced his protest but Kagome could only hear her pounding heart. While annoying, Buyo’s meowing did remind her that she was indeed in her room in the present era. She glanced down and saw that she was wearing her blue and white checkered pajamas. Her school bag was in the corner of her room, with her school uniform hanging over her window, washed and ready to wear tomorrow morning. The clock on her nightstand ticked away, set to go off at 6:30am. Everything was normal.

Kagome let out a sigh of relief. “It was just a dream.” She slipped off her pajama top and felt her back. Only her skin greeted her fingers and no wound. “At least I think it was a dream. Last time I checked, dreams weren’t supposed to hurt you.”

The pajama top returned to its original position and Kagome lay back, unable to return to sleep. She could still feel those claws slash through her like it was nothing. And that laugh dominated her ears despite the quiet of her room. Just thinking about it made sweat pour down her forehead. She closed her eyes trying to get back to sleep but the laugh of her attacker persisted throughout the night.

By the time her alarm clock went off, sleep had not returned to the schoolgirl. Her eyes were heavy but every time she closed them, she was back in the meadow. As she dragged herself out of bed, she felt slow. Already the lack of sleep was present. She managed to reach the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face.

“This is going to be a long day.” She muttered.

She was proven right when she reached the breakfast table. Just picking up her chopsticks took all her effort. And to make matters worse, she couldn’t follow any of the conversation between her mom, Sota, or Gramps. All she could hear was her attacker as he stepped on her hand and mocked her.

“I shall take this, nonetheless. Thanks,” she heard. 

Her mom shook her shoulder, brining Kagome back to the present. “Kagome, are you all right?”

She shook her head and forced a smile. “I’m fine, mom.”

“You look pale, dear; maybe you should stay home today.”

“Maybe she got some weird disease from that crazy feudal world,” Sota said.

“Evil spirits and demons have been known to cast spells of sickness upon their victims,” Gramps said. “If my granddaughter has been struck with illness, an exorcism is in order!”

“No, everyone, I’m fine,” Kagome insisted. “Besides I’ve missed enough school as it is.”

“If you insist, but call me if you feel worse.”

“I will, thanks mom.”

The walk to school took far longer than usual. She struggled to keep herself moving and had to focus to avoid her eyes drooping. With every step, she was reminded of the meadow….and the claws.

“Kagome!” she heard behind her. She nearly jumped out of her skin. Kagome turned, half expecting to see her attacker, but instead it was merely Eri, Yuka, and Ayumi.

Kagome sighed. “Oh it’s just you guys. What’s up?”

“What’s up?” Eri repeated. “You’ve been absent for almost a week and all you can say is what’s up?”

“Has it really been that long?” Kagome asked aloud. “It doesn’t seem that way.”

“Everyone thought you were sick or something,” Yuka said.

“Or according to your grandpa, spirited away,” Ayumi added.

Kagome smacked her forehead. Seriously Gramps? That was all he could think of?’

“So what’s the deal?” Eri pressed. “Were you actually sick?”

“I wasn’t sick; I was just at Kikyo’s.” Kagome’s hand flew to her mouth immediately when she realized her mistake. But it was far too late to take it back.

“Who’s Kikyo?” Yuka asked.

Kagome searched the sky for a proper answer. “She’s…my….sister….?”

“You have a sister!?” they exclaimed in unison.

The bell went off, signaling the start of first period. Kagome let out a sigh of relief. At least now this gave her a good six hours to come up with a proper story. As she ran off to the school gate, Yuka called out to her.

“We’re meeting up after school for burgers, you better tell us more then.”

“Looking forward to it!” Kagome called back. “Not really…”

By the time the second bell rang, Kagome was in her seat and classes began. Normally school was a painful and prolonged experience with Kagome eager for the final bell to ring. But now she welcomed any opportunity to get her mind off her dream. Although she could have done without the sine, cosine gibberish her teacher was spewing. By third period, the dream was at the back of Kagome mind. Catching up on a week worth of material came to the forefront. When the final bell rang, Kagome could feel her brain was at the breaking point. Two papers, a unit test, and three quizzes all within the next couple of weeks?! Did the school not know the meaning of overbearing?

It wasn’t until she reached the burger shop to meet Yuka, Eri and Ayumi did she break out of her academic stupor. They took their usual spot on the second floor near the window and once their burgers arrived, the trio swarmed around her like locusts.

“Ok, classes are over,” Eri said. “So spill, since when do you have a sister?”

“Would you relax? It’s not like I was hiding her or anything,” Kagome said, sipping her diet Coke. “I just found out about her a few days ago.”

“How’d you find her?” Yuka asked. “Did she just ring your doorbell one day?”

“No, nothing like that….” Kagome said. “I got a letter in the mail over the weekend. We were separated at birth and when she found out about me, she wanted to meet me.”

“How did you guys get separated?” Ayumi asked. “Someone kidnap her?”

“Not quite. She was in the accident that killed my dad, so my mom thought she was dead. But in reality a bystander managed to get her to a hospital. The nurses had no way of contacting my mom so one of the nurses adopted her.”

“Oh wow!” Eri breathed.

“Sounds like one of those movies on Lifetime,” Yuka said.

Kagome flinched. In truth she had just described the same Lifetime movie she had watched with her mom last night. “Whatever gave you that idea?”

Thankfully Ayumi jumped in before Yuka could press. “So where does Kikyo live?”

“In Hokkaido,” Kagome said. “And you know going there isn’t exactly a day trip.”

“She must know great skiing spots!” Eri exclaimed. “Maybe we can plan a trip there for winter break.”

“Uh….yeah sure…that could be fun.”

“What’s your sister Kikyo like Kagome?” Yuka asked. “Is she anything like you?”

“Oh no, she’s my exact opposite. She’s really quiet, frank, really focused, and can be kinda scary at times. But once you get past that she’s really nice and gentle. She really cares about her little sister.”

“Wait, there’s another sister now?” Yuka said.

Kagome nearly smacked herself. How did Kikyo come up with these stories so easily? “Yeah…Kaede. She’s the biological daughter of the nurse who adopted Kikyo. Kikyo thinks of her as her real sister.”

“Oh that’s so sweet,” Eri swooned.

“Does she have a boyfriend or anything?” Yuka asked.

“No…or actually…maybe…I don’t know, it’s weird.”

“What do you mean?” Ayumi asked.

“Well…from what I can tell, she likes him but she’s too focused on her duty and studies to want to do anything about it. And he totally likes her but he’s too full of himself and stupid to realize it.”

“Sounds like they’re both just afraid of their feelings,” Yuka reasoned.

“Or maybe your sister just needs to relax a little bit more,” Eri said.

“Trust me I’ve been trying to get Kikyo to relax,” Kagome sighed. “All she does is work.”

“Well what does she do?” Ayumi asked. “Maybe she just doesn’t have time for a relationship.”

“She works at a shrine like grandpa, but she takes it much more seriously than gramps does. Plus she’s practicing archery and studying to be a doctor.”

Eri gaped. “And I thought my workload was tough. How does she do it?”

“She sounds less like your sister and more like Wonder Woman,” Yuka said.

“No wonder she won’t act on her feelings, I wouldn’t want to either if I had all that on my plate,” Ayumi said.

“Yeah but she seems….I don’t know…happier when he’s around,” Kagome shrugged. “But in the end it’s not really my business.”

“Are you nuts?” Yuka exclaimed. “You’re her sister; of course it’s your business.”

“If he makes her happy, you should be encouraging her to go for it,” Eri said.

Kagome took another sip of her soda, mulling over her friends’ words. Encouraging Kikyo would mean getting more involved. But then again she was already involved; taking on Yura was just the icing on the cake. She remembered Kaede saying how Kikyo was never off duty and how flushed the priestess got just by the mere mention of Inuyasha. Maybe she could do something about it.

“Where do you think I should start?”


Kikyo let out a small sneeze as she stirred the gruel in the pot. When the sensation passed she grimaced. She couldn’t afford to get a cold in her condition.

“Are you getting sick, Kikyo?” Kaede asked, adding more wood to the fire pit.

“Unlikely. Perhaps it’s merely the smoke from the fire.”

Kaede smiled. “Or maybe someone is talking about you right now.”

Kikyo chuckled. “I highly doubt that. Besides, who would think to talk about me?”

“Maybe Lady Kagome,” Kaede said. Then added with a smile, “Or maybe Inuyasha.”

Kikyo paused her stirring and considered the thought. She tried to imagine Inuyasha sharing some kind of gossip about her, but all she could see was the halfling cursing her as he planned his next attempt for the Shikon Jewel, or getting into yet another argument with Kagome.

Kikyo shook her head. “Inuyasha is the least likely suspect.” But the more she thought about it, the more the light feeling in her stomach returned. “Still,” she added under her breath. “It would be nice if he did.”

Kaede glanced up from the fire pit. “Did you say something Kikyo?”

The priestess felt her face warm. She quickly looked down into the brewing stew, hoping the smoke hid her red face. “It’s nothing.”

The strong scent of the gruel filled the hut, telling Kikyo that it was ready to serve. Instinctively Kikyo reached out for a bowl with her right arm. Pain shot up her arm from her shoulder wound, reminding her that she was not fully healed. Kikyo winced, hoping Kaede didn’t see her small lapse in judgment, but she was proven wrong when her younger sister came to her side and repositioned her arm back in its sling.

“You shouldn’t overexert yourself, Kikyo,” Kaede said.

Kikyo held in a sigh. The life of an invalid did not suit her at all. The frequent pain was one thing, but relying on Kaede to help her do minor tasks such as pouring gruel into a bowl, or gathering herbs, or merely moving from one side of their hut to another, was maddening. It had only been two days since their battle with Yura and Kikyo knew firsthand that healing was a slow process, but everyday Kikyo wished for her body to return to its previous health. And moreover she cursed her own carelessness. Never before had a demon injured her to this lasting extent. In the long term, these wounds were minor and could have been worse, but the idea that Yura’s sneak attacks struck her not once but twice, infuriated Kikyo the most. It would not happen again.

Kaede finished the readjustment of her sister’s sling and began grinding the herbs. “I hope Lady Kagome returns soon with the medicine from her world.”

“As do I Kaede,” Kikyo said with a nod. She took the crutch by the fire pit and with Kaede’s help, rose to her feet. “But for now we’ll have to manage.”

Kaede sprinkled the herb bits into a small container and slipped it into a bag. “Are you sure you’ll be ok going outside?”

Kikyo smiled at her sister. “For the fifth time today, yes. That bandit Onigumo needs care or else he will succumb to his wounds.”

Kaede nodded and handed Kikyo the bag. But the priestess couldn’t help but notice the disapproval in her sister’s eyes. 

Venturing outside of the hut in her condition was a risk. She couldn’t afford to showcase her weakness or else the seekers of the jewel would take advantage. But remaining confined in her hut meant leaving both the jewel and the village unprotected. Her barriers that protected the village and the shrine where the jewel was held were strong. They could repel most demons, but as experience taught her, there were always those who managed to get through regardless. Those demons required a personal touch. And while Kaede showed promise, her younger sister was not ready to face demons on her own. Moreover, Kikyo refused to impart this burden onto another, especially her little sister. She would just have to take the risk.

The walk to Onigumo’s cave was slow and arduous. The villagers often approached her asking if they could do anything to assist her, to which Kikyo frequently responded with an honest no. But their requests persisted, causing Kikyo become curter with her answers than she would have liked. The true test however came when they reached the forest. Kikyo could feel the countless demon auras on the fringe of her senses. They circled around her like crows near a corpse. She could feel their bloodlust ready to rip her to shreds. Kikyo did her best to maintain her apathetic composure but with every few steps, the pain in her leg or shoulder cracked the façade. She must have winced one too many times because once they reached the center of the forest, four demons broke from the pack and rushed their position.

Kikyo narrowed her eyes and went for her bow, but someone beat her to the punch. From a distance she felt his unique aura bound through the woods and attack the four demons. She heard him cry out his attack and claw through the demons in seconds. He paused, allowing Kikyo to spot his red-clad robes in the distance, but he leaped away, disappearing in the forest’s canopy. But rather than move away, Kikyo could feel Inuyasha linger at their flank. As their walk continued, Kikyo felt Inuyasha’s aura above them. He never ventured closer yet he never distanced himself either. It was only when a demon approached them that Inuyasha would move beyond her sense. After the demon was defeated, he would return to his perch above them.

It didn’t take long for Kikyo to realize his pattern. It was his motives that perplexed her. Had he not willingly helped her defeat Yura just two days ago? Why did he insist on distance? Were they not allies or acquaintances at the very least? When they reached the meadow, Inuyasha withdrew back into the forest. Kikyo couldn’t help but scoff. No place for him to hide in this open field. A talk would be in order when she finished with Onigumo.

The cave was a shallow and compact structure. The tight setting allowed for the various scents of herbs, bodily fluids, candle wax, and moss to fester together into one assaulting stench. Years of exposure to such smells allowed Kikyo to enter with no incident. Kaede, however, was not as fortune. The young girl’s face scrunched together at the smell. Her hand flew to her nose and mouth as if she were entering an area infested with plague. She coughed several times before taking two steps back from the entrance.

“Wait outside for me, Kaede,” Kikyo said. “I can manage on my own from here.”

Kaede attempted a brave face. “N-no, I can handle it. I’m a priestess too.”

“A priestess in training,” Kikyo corrected. “You are not required to deal with this task just yet.”

Kaede sighed, dejected. “All right, I’ll be outside.”

The priestess approached the stationary bandit. The white bandages that enclosed his body, made him easy to spot in the dim light of the cave. Kikyo lit a new candle and managed to kneel next to the cripple. His one exposed eye looked up at her, the veins surrounding his pupil reminded Kikyo of a spider-web.

“K-Kikyo….it’s you….” He groaned.

“Yes, I’ve brought some gruel for you,” Kikyo replied presenting the small bowl.

Despite his burned skin, Kikyo could see the beginnings of a blush across his cheek. “F-forget me. Don’t even bother coming anymore.”

Kikyo stirred the gruel and spoon-fed the bandit, ignoring his pleas.

He tried again. “Go away….”

When the bowl was finished, Kikyo began to change the bandit’s bandages. A difficult task with only one usable arm, but she managed.

“Why do you take pity on me priestess?” Onigumo asked when she finished. “I am a bandit; most would have left me to die.”

Kikyo placed the old bandages in the bag she had brought. “As a priestess, it is my duty to take the actions others would not.”

“I see. But in doing so, do you not fear interrupting the world’s natural order?”

Kikyo raised an eyebrow. “The natural order?”

“The Buddha said so himself, in his four noble truths, to be alive in this world means to suffer. It is only natural in this world of frequent war, famine, disease, and demons. Death is the only escape from this. By healing the ailments of others, are you not merely prolonging their suffering in this world?”

Kikyo allowed herself a chuckle. “It’s rather uncommon for a bandit to quote the truths of Buddha.”

“I have raided many temples in my time priestess….I’ve read their scriptures.”

“And you use this fledgling understanding of the Buddha to justify your actions?”

“I only speak truth, Kikyo. This life is far too brief to waste it on the ailments of others,” the bandit continued. “True nirvana lies in doing what you please with no worries of afterlife or the future.”

Kikyo looked over the bandaged bandit. “Indeed, and look what you’ve gained through that worldview.”

“I did not say it was without risk. I make no apologies, priestess.” 

“Nor do I,” Kikyo said. “We agree on one matter, Onigumo, this life is brief. But it is because it’s so brief that every life holds value. Even an unapologetic bandit such as yourself deserves the opportunity to enjoy all of what the realm of the living has to offer. As a priestess it is my duty to care, console, and protect those who wish to experience the peace and prosperity this world holds. And in that mission, I will never relent or yield.”

“But what of your own happiness, priestess? Do you honestly see this selfless path ending with you dying of old age in your bed, surrounded by loved ones? No, in truth, you will be cut down by a demon finally getting the better of you, or a disgruntled feudal lord, or perhaps through one of the very diseases you strive to cure. You will die never knowing the touch of a man or what it means to love. Is that truly what you desire?”

Kikyo paused at the cave entrance. “If that is my fate, then so be it.”

A light cough echoed through the cave. Onigumo’s attempt to laugh, Kikyo guessed. “You are an interesting one, Kikyo.”

“Same to you, Onigumo.”

Kikyo blew out the candles in the cave and left the bandit to his thoughts as she climbed through the entrance.

“How is the bandit, Kikyo?” Kaede asked her.

“He’s an unusual one, I’ll admit that much.”

Kaede cocked her head in confusion but said nothing else as they approached the forest once more. The moment they entered, she felt Inuyasha’s presence nearby. Just as before he remained at the peripheral of her senses, taking out demons who dared to come close to her, yet not saying a word to her or coming down to converse. By the time she and Kaede reached the hill overlooking the village, Kikyo had enough of his behavior.

“Kaede, why don’t you go to the village and prepare a meal,” she said glancing at the tree line. “I shouldn’t be long.”

“All right, I’ll try to make something great.”

As the little girl jogged down the hill, Kikyo called down her “protector.”

“Inuyasha, I know you’re up there. Come down, we need to talk.”

She sensed him attempt to move away.

“I insist.”

He paused but eventually leaped down to the hill in his four point squat.

“So…what’s up?” he asked. “Need help sitting?”

“I can manage. However, I do appreciate you holding off the demons for Kaede and myself today.”

His ears twitched, before he scoffed and looked away. “Keh, oh that, who said I was doing it for you?”

Kikyo sighed. “You weren’t?”

“Course not!” he insisted. “I was just cutting down the competition for the Shikon Jewel is all. You just happen to catch a break from it.”

“I see. So is it safe to assume your assistance with Yura two days ago was for the same reason?”

“Of course it was!” he said. “Why else would I help you out?”

“So you consider us opponents still?”

Inuyasha flinched. He opened his mouth but only a stammer came from his lips. “W-well yeah,” he said finally. “I still want the jewel after all!”

Kikyo sighed once again and stood. “Very well. If you’re so sure that we are enemies, then strike me down.”



“If you’re so sure that we are enemies, then strike me down.”

Inuyasha buckled like he had just taken a blow to his chest. He glanced at Kikyo like she had just transformed into a demon. His jaw dropped and he sprang to his feet.

“W-what?!” Did he hear her right?

Kikyo stood with difficulty but the sternness in her eyes exposed no weakness. “It is as I said, Inuyasha. You believe us to be enemies correct? Then prove it to me. Strike me down, I’m helpless. Now is your chance to take the jewel.”

Inuyasha gaped at the priestess. In reality, this was the ideal situation. He didn’t have to kill her, just strike her enough to knock her out, or hit one of her wounds. Then he could easily take the jewel. But to strike an injured woman in cold blood like this? And not just any woman, the only woman he knew that would speak to him like an equal, who didn’t see a monster or a demon that needed to be exorcised. She valued his help and actually wanted him around her. When he had seen her injured and walking around still, he knew the other demons would take advantage. In truth he just acted without thinking. He couldn’t really say why he did it. But he knew he couldn’t strike Kikyo.

The priestess must have sensed his hesitation because she closed the distance between them. She was at an arm’s length. Her nostrils flared and her eyes held no hesitation or fear.

“Why do you pause?” she asked. “Strike me! You didn’t hold back against Yura, why is this moment different?”

Inuyasha stepped back, unable to make his mouth form words. “I-uh…”

“Do you think I lie? Is that why you hesitate?” Kikyo said, her voice rising. “Do it!”

His hands were pinned at his sides, as if he were bound by an invisible rope. He couldn’t even manage to move his fingers let alone build up an attack. The disgruntled priestess only drew closer until there were only inches between them. At this distance Inuyasha took in her entire face, something he only had a few occasions to do. Her pale face was flushed with anger and strands of her hair were falling out of place. But Inuyasha’s eyes lingered on her lips. There was something captivating about them, something that made Inuyasha not want to strike but to take her in his arms. The half-demon shook his head, clearing himself of such thoughts.

“What’s the matter?” she said, breaking him out of his thoughts. “Are you scared? Is that it? Are you a coward?”

Inuyasha growled. “Hey! I ain’t no coward!”

“Then why don’t you strike?”

“Because I can’t ok! I could never hurt you, no matter what happens!” he blurted out.

Kikyo flinched and stepped back like she had been slapped. When his brain finally caught up to his words, the half demon felt his face redden to the point where he was sure it matched the color of his robes. He looked down with another growl and nearly pulled out his hair.

“Damn it! Now look what you made say!” he exclaimed.

Kikyo looked away, her eyes now soft and distant. “Did you truly mean that?”

Inuyasha looked up, unable to look at her directly. “Well….what do you think?”

The priestess’s eyes returned to him, the sternness returning full force. “Inuyasha….”

Inuyasha wanted to scratch out his hair. “Damn it, you know I meant it! Now quit asking!”

He saw the corners of her lips curl upwards and soon her mouth parted, allowing him to hear the most pleasant fits of laughter Inuyasha had ever heard. It didn’t last long but Inuyasha knew it would echo in his ears for the longest time.

“I see,” Kikyo said when her laughter subsided. “You are….an odd one, Inuyasha.”

“Me? You’re the one who walked up to a demon and said strike me!” Inuyasha shot back, a smile tugging at his lips despite himself.

“A foray into the impulsive, I’ll admit,” she said, her smile not dropping. “But what choice did I have?”

Inuyasha folded his arms. “Keh, you’re lucky it was me and not anyone else.”

She looked up at him, her eyes soft, warm and inviting. Looking into them made it feel like a knot in his chest was being untangled. “Yes,” she said. “I suppose I am lucky.”

A comfortable silence passed between them and before Inuyasha knew it, they had fallen into step. They talked about nothing in particular, just minor stories about what they had been doing since the fight with Yura. Inuyasha lost all track time and soon they reached Kikyo’s hut.

“So uh….I guess this you….” He muttered, scratching an invisible itch on his neck.  

“It is,” Kikyo said, not quite looking at him. “Will I see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” he answered quickly. “I-I mean if you want me to.”

“Of course I do,” she said just as quickly. “I-It would be easier to ward off demons with your assistance.”

“Yeah…easier…” he muttered.

Silence again. It felt as though something was missing, but he wasn’t sure what it was.

“So….until tomorrow Inuyasha,” Kikyo said finally.

“Yeah. Uh…same spot?”

She gave him another full smile. “Yes.”

“Then yeah, I’ll be there.”

Kikyo nodded at him before disappearing behind the straw door. The half-demon lingered in his spot. His ears picked up on the villagers walking around him and whispering to each other about the strange stationary halfling. He could smell several demons nearby, all of them ready to take a swipe at him.

But all Inuyasha could hear was the sound of Kikyo’s laughter.

Even when he leaped away the sound lingered.

He didn’t mind at all.  













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