Publish Date: 9/5/2004
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha. BUT I WANNA PET THE PUPPY!!
The Shikon no Tama.
It was glowing a soft purple, cupped gently in Kagome’s hands. The light fell across her features, reflecting the awe in her expression. They had done it. After all this time, the legendary jewel had been put back together. It seemed too good to be true, and Kagome briefly wondered if she would blink and it would vanish from her hands.
Or perhaps she would wake up and realize that she was either camping out under the stars with Inuyasha and the others, or even be in her own room and find that the whole thing had been one long, overly elaborate dream. She wouldn’t be surprised by much at this point.
“We did it,” she breathed. “We actually did it!”
Miroku didn’t notice her joy; he was staring at his hand. A hand that for the first time in his life did not have to be concealed behind prayer beads. There was no black hole there, no curse. Sango was simply sitting on the grass; she looked inordinately relieved. Shippo was dancing around for joy.
“Man, now I can become a full demon!” Inuyasha cackled.
Nearby, Miroku stopped contemplating his now-normal hand and smacked himself in the forehead with it instead. Honestly, that half-demon could be such an idiot sometimes. He probably had no idea what he had just done.
She looked at him for a moment, then averted her eyes. “I…I guess you can get your wish now.” She could feel his surprise, even though she was looking everywhere except for directly at him. “I’m going home. Back to my own time. So…here.” She extended one hand, holding the glowing sphere out to him.
Inuyasha stared at her for a long moment. Was this a joke? She was just going to give it to him? Slowly, he reached out, and was amazed when she simply stood there and let him take the jewel from her hand. Her arm dropped limply to her side then.
“Kagome?” Inuyasha said, suddenly very perplexed and almost a little afraid. What was wrong with her? A minute ago, she had been so happy. Now…what was it?
“Well, I guess our work here is done!” Kagome said, suddenly smiling again. “So, that’s it, then.” When no one replied, she said, “I’m going home.” Before anyone could reply, she turned to Miroku and Sango. “I’m sure you’ll have a beautiful wedding. And Miroku, you had better behave yourself, or else.”
Had the situation not been what it was, everyone probably would have laughed, but instead they simply stared. The Shikon no Tama had been restored. And now Kagome was leaving. For good.
With one last look at her feudal-age friends (and a certain half-demon in particular), Kagome slipped off the edge of the well, and down into the darkness. Within seconds, she felt dirt under her hands and knees. There was no sunlight shining into the well from the opening above. It was shadowed; the sun was blocked by a roof.
It felt like ages before she moved. She climbed up from her hands and knees, dusting the dirt off before she began the familiar climb back to the surface. Finally, she clambored out into the shrine and tumbled onto the ground. She was on her feet quickly, and left the building quickly, not looking back, and not wanting to. She wanted to forget, and yet she clung to those memories with a ferocity that almost frightened her.
“Mom?” she stuck her head inside the house. “Grandpa? Souta? I’m home.”
She was only mildly surprised when her mother came around the corner. One look at her daughter told her everything she needed to know. “It’s over?” A nod. “Will you ever go back?” Kagome shook her head, and the first tear fell.
In a heartbeat, she was wrapped up in tight arms, the kind of hug only a mother can give; her face was pressed against soft blue fabric. “Shhh…it’s all right, sweetie. It’ll be all right.” She stroked her daughter’s hair in a way she hadn’t since Kagome was a child.
“But—“ Kagome hiccuped. “Mom, I love him! But—he doesn’t know, and…” She trailed off into more crying. She was vaguely aware that her grandfather and younger brother were watching the unfolding scene curiously, but paid them no attention at all.
They wouldn’t understand.
She had dared to hope, and she had been a fool for it.
She had been an idiot to hope that they could be together in the end.
It continued to glow in his palm, that same lavender light.
With a sigh, Inuyasha looked down at the water’s surface. It was blue-silver, illuminated only by the full moon overhead. Still, it was bright enough that he could make out his reflection. And the face in the water mirrored the same internal struggle as the original.
“Inuyasha?” Shippo chirped from somewhere nearby. “He’s still here!”
“How long are you planning to sit there?” Miroku asked.
“Long as it takes,” Inuyasha replied flatly.
To his surprise, the monk sat down beside him and smiled. “Perhaps it would help if you talked it out. Then an answer might be reached. Just say whatever’s on your mind, and see where you end up.”
There was a pause; then he began. “Kagome’s gone. And…it bothers me. I don’t know why, but it does. But…” He sighed, “there’s Kikyo too…” He trailed off for a minute, then asked, “Why is this getting to me like this?”
Miroku’s answer was enlightening. “It’s amazing. Listen to yourself. You’re actually getting worked up over a woman. I’m going to be perfectly blunt, because I think I can see it better than you can. Inuyasha—you love her.”
Silence descended with an audible thunk.
“And now you’ve got the chance to do something about it,” the monk continued, sounding far wiser than the usual woman-chaser he oft had a tendency to be. “I know you have feelings for Kikyo. But she’s gone. Kagome gave you the jewel so that you could have your wish. But you have to make the choice. What do you really want? No one can tell you what to do now.” Miroku climbed to his feet. “I know you’ll do the right thing.” And he left; the sound of footsteps padded away, quickly disappearing into the silence of night.
Inuyasha looked up at the sky. The moon was beautiful, but it gave him no answers.
He…loved her? Was that really it?
Who was Miroku to be telling people about their love life, anyway? He was probably incapable of fidelity. The half-demon actually felt a grain of pity for Sango, but at the same time, he wondered if the formidable demon-slayer might be the one who could get him in line.
They had a life together ahead of them. They were going to be all right. They had found their happiness. But where did that leave him? Where was he going to end up now?
Inuyasha looked down at the jewel in his hand. He had the power here to do whatever it was he wanted. And he had dreamed of becoming a full-blood demon for so long now. Was anything worth sacrificing that dream for, now that it was finally within his grasp?
“If you’re half demon…doesn’t that mean you’re also half human?” Kagome had asked him once. Yes, half human. The side of him that so few would acknowledge existed. He was a meeting of two worlds, existing between them, belonging to neither of them. His human blood outcast him from the demons; his demon half left him ostracized from the humans. He belonged nowhere, and no one understood it. Until…
Kikyo. And Kagome. Could he really choose between them? Or should he just go with his instincts and use the jewel’s power to make himself the demon he had always wanted to be?
His fist closed around the Shikon no Tama, his decision finally made.
He knew what he was going to do.
There was plenty of hustle and bustle in the classroom around Kagome. She ignored it with relatively little effort. She was only vaguely aware of some people speaking to her, saying ‘good morning’ and the like; she responded to no one. Her thoughts had carried her far away to a place where she was only connected to herself by the barest of threads.
Both elbows rested on the desk, and her hands provided an excellent place to rest her chin. She simply stared straight ahead at the dark green of the chalkboard. There were random writings still there, she assumed from the previous day’s lesson, or perhaps just random scribbles written up there by rowdy students. She was so out of it, she couldn’t have read the characters if her life had depended on it.
“All right, everyone, take your seats!” Mihara-sensei called as he came into the classroom. There were some last giggles and a flourish of movement as everyone hurried to obey. Within seconds, the room was silent and still.
And Kagome barely registered it.
“We have a new student with us today,” Mihara-sensei said, far too cheerfully for Kagome’s mood at that moment, had she really noticed. “I want you all to be nice to him and make him feel welcome.” He turned to the door. “Come on in! Everyone, this is Mika Takeo.”
The door slid open almost noiselessly, and the new student entered, closing the classroom door behind him. The classroom burst out in a flurry of whispers, mostly female. And Kagome still heard none of it, she was too lost in thoughts and misery.
“Let’s see, there’s an empty desk behind Higurashi. You can sit there,” Mihara-sensei instructed. And the new student started back, walking towards a girl who had yet to actually notice that he was there.
Said girl sighed, trying to wake herself up before the lecture started. One of Kagome’s hands dropped to her desk; as it did, her elbow moved, and knocked her textbook for the class from her desk. Biting back a curse, she leaned over and reached down to pick it up—
—and found that someone else had already picked it up and was holding it out to her.
“Ariga—“ she took the book, and the word nearly died on her tongue as she got a good look at the new student she had vaguely heard Mihara-sensei introducing to the class, “—tou…”
“Anytime,” the new guy smiled and took his seat behind her. Kagome stared straight ahead, the fallen book clutched tightly in her hands. She was still fairly out of it, but instead of her mind not being able to register anything at all, she was now fixated.
He was handsome. He had black hair, a little bit longer than most of the boys at her school, pulled back into a ponytail. His eyes were dark, and stood out plenty against sharp features. It all came together ]for a very striking image. The majority of her female classmates were whispering amongst themselves about the new guy’s good looks.
But that wasn’t quite the reason Kagome was now wide awake. He looked just like…
Well, like…he had at a certain time each month…but his voice. He sounded like…
She looked down at the bok in her hands, trying to clear her head, and noticed a small piece of folded paper caught under her thumb. Setting the book down on her desk, she unfolded the paper and read the note written there in a handwriting she had never seen before.
One line. Eight words that nearly made her faint from shock.
Miroku and Sango missed you at their wedding.
Where had this come from? No one else had been near her desk, except…
Mihara-sensei was just getting ready to start his lecture, which meant she had a moment still. Slowly, she turned around and looked at the new boy in her class. He was flipping pages in one of the books, but looked up when he realized he was being watched.
He looked so much like…
For what felt like eternity, but was probably more of a second or two, they stared at each other. Kagome felt extremely faint; was this some kind of sick joke? Was she paying for something she had done wrong? Or could it be…?
Then, to her amazement, he smiled.
And winked at her.