The Longest Road [on hiatus] by SHORTFRY

The Wanderer

A/N: It's now been a few years since I started this fic, and it's due for a re-write. I've learned a lot since, and might actually have a conceivable plot. 

read my other stuff first - this is now just a junk drawer until I come around to edit it. 

Disclaimer: Inuyasha & characters from the manga/anime belong to Rumiko Takahashi. I do not own Inuyasha, I don’t even own a house, or a car…. I’m poor.

The Longest Road

Chapter 1 - The Wanderer

Her eyes fluttered open, flinching against the harsh sunlight filtering through the room before closing again. Pinpricks of memory came flooding back, although in an indecipherable manner. No, she couldn’t remember, she refuses to remember. The dream that was slowly fading away would once again be locked behind bars of her consciousness, locked away with the rest of the snippets she refused to call forth and take notice. They were too tragic to forget, too painful to remember. Memories became dreams and dreams became memories. With a sigh, she lifted an arm to cover her eyes, blocking out the annoyingly bright sunlight that reflected the opposite of her mood. Sitting up, she raised her arms over her head in a slow stretch, releasing the tension in her muscles.

‘I guess I wore myself out again yesterday,’ she thought, pulling back a lock of her raven hair behind her ear. The girl languidly slid off her futon and took note of the quaint room around her. She had known the village was not the richest; in fact, it was quite poor, even for the Warring States Era. However, she was nonetheless extremely grateful for the accommodations of this little hut. Straightening out the red hakama that was wrinkled from her slumber, the girl stood and once again reached for a light stretch.

She was heading out today; the last day of her stay in this small village. A smile lifted the corners of her lips as she thought back on the past few weeks. No doubt the kids would miss her; they always did and it was always bittersweet. Grabbing her packed satchel from the night before, she headed out the single doorway of the hut, leaving the entrance mat gently rapping in her movement.

Approaching the village headman’s hut, she was greeted by a familiar voice.

“Lady Kagome, you are leaving us so soon?” An old man was walking out the run-down shed with a look towards the sky and then regarded her with a slight smile. “It’s barely past dawn, yet you seem so eager to get going already.”

Kagome followed his gaze towards her packed bag and gave a small nod of her head. “I wanted to get going to give myself enough time before nightfall. Are the children up?”

The headman’s smile widened at her question. The children of the village loved her, no matter how stricken with poverty and death the town seemed to be. When the wandering miko came into town, he knew that it was a gift from the kami themselves. She had brought smiles back to weary faces and gave a sense of strength and peace to the villagers.  Although many of the children she spoke of had lost their fathers or mothers to the recent war, the miko somehow erased the helplessness that was nagging on everyone’s mind. She brought with her a sense of determination to move past the tragedy. The last month and a half that she stayed, he could see the gradual improvement of the morale around his people. The conflict between the two human warlords in the vicinity had the small village right in the path of near destruction. It was a short conflict that in the grand scheme of wars it was barely a hiccup, but the effects on this tiny town was nonetheless devastating. 

“Ah yes, the children, they will miss you dearly, my lady. Will you not reconsider staying?” he asked in a hopeful tone. Kagome smiled softly at him, her fingers lightly brushing against her satchel as the slight breeze played with her hair. She hadn’t tied it back up this morning in the usual miko fashion. Perhaps for once, she just wanted to feel… free.

“You know I can’t stay. You have been more than gracious with providing me a home for the past while… but it is time I take my leave. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.” She took a few small steps towards the old man. He was looking upon her face as his eyes gleamed in understanding.

“No, you will never overstay as you will always be welcomed here, Lady Kagome.” The silence was not unspoken. Her smile broadened with appreciation and he, in turn, knew that she may never cross path with this village again. “Well then, you should go find the children. I believe they are just about to head to their lessons for the day, but you may catch them before they finish their breakfast.”

Kagome nodded to him and walked away down the small path to where she knew the youngsters were. She would come back afterwards to say her final goodbye.

‘We are thankful for you, Lady Kagome, for you have given us so much. You will have friends here…’ The headman watched as she made her way towards the other village huts, saying her last farewell to the children that adored her.


The night air was becoming colder. It won’t be long before the leaves start to change colours and the first snowflakes grace the earth from the heavens above. Kagome sat with her legs tucked underneath as she stoked the small campfire. It wasn’t often that she found herself camped out for the night, at least not since her days travelling with Inuyasha. She scowled as the thought invaded her mind. She didn’t want to think about it. Because thinking about it meant remembering, and the remembrance brought back pain that she did not want to deal with.

A frown tugged at her lips as remnants of last night’s dream played images in her head again. Five years and it was still painful. Although not as much as before, she had taught herself to dull the pain and to numb the feelings. She idly thought if this was how drug addicts felt when turning to narcotics to deal with their issues. Shaking her head, her gaze turned back towards the fire.

‘I miss them...’

No friends, no family, no home. Kagome shook her head again, realizing her slip into deeper thought as the fire dancing before her eyes took on forms of her memory’s shadow. Maybe she really was tired and exhausted. Yesterday’s healing of the villager’s battered arm had taken a bit more strength out of her. Although more trained in the art of healing with the spiritual power that remained in her, she was still drained from overuse.

She smiled at the thought. ‘Practice makes perfect, in this case, if it doesn’t kill me first.’ Sighing heavily, she lay down on the makeshift bed of leaves and shrubbery. Pulling the light travel blanket over her shoulders, the miko drifted off to sleep, one hand gripped loosely around the bow she carried with her on her travels.

It wasn’t long into her sleep that she awoke suddenly as a chill crept down her spine. Sitting upright and gripping her bow, she swept her eyes across the clearing. The small campfire had died not too long ago with the remaining smoke simmering from the burnt logs, leaving behind the faint smell of ash and charred earth.

She eyed the darkness around her. The tall canopy of the trees gave no mercy to the moonlight trying to make its way to the ground, covering everything in near pitch black. Only the outlines of the treetops could be seen on this cloudy night.

Kagome trained her ears as her human eyes were hindered from the darkness. Nothing could be heard except for the light breeze of the fall weather.

Slowly she stood, preparing her arrow’s aim while pulling back on the bowstring. She knew well enough through her travels that just because you couldn’t see or hear something, didn’t mean there was nothing there. Drawing in a deep breath, her senses focused on her surroundings…

The light breeze whispered around her ears.

Leaves wavered silently on their branches.

The dark was nothing but a blanket covering the forest in its mystery.

All she felt was…nothing… Not even a weaker youkai.

Kagome waited, letting a few drawn out moments pass by before slowly lowering her bow and loosening the arrow that was nocked. Whatever she had felt when she awoke was no longer there.

‘Or maybe it wasn’t even there in the first place,’ she thought dryly. Perhaps a month and a half of sleeping safely in a hut and then having to camp back out in the wild contrasted too sharply for her senses to adjust. Perhaps she was being silly and overly cautious. ‘This is just as bad as jetlag.’  

Settling back down, the girl let out a small yawn as she leaned against a nearby tree, bow securely tucked beneath her arm as her fingers brushed gently along the sturdy shaft. Kagome closed her eyes and soon enough, drifted off into a light slumber.


The next day her mood was significantly brighter. Her azure eyes squinted while peering up at the midday sun. ‘Just a few more hours,’ she thought.

A week before leaving the previous village, a small group of travelers had passed by, telling stories of a neighbouring village being nearly destroyed by the recent unrest. It was only about a two day’s walk and her heart wouldn’t let her ignore the call for help. She didn’t have anything left in this world, there was nothing tying her down to any one place, and so she had decided years ago that helping others would give her enough of a purpose to continue on moving.

She had been walking since the crack of dawn not wanting to waste any more time to reach the village. Maybe it was a sense of urgency to help those people, or a sense of adventure, or perhaps even a sense of wanderlust that ignited her want for travel. Or, perhaps, it was a sense of familiarity...

Soon enough, the soft murmurs of people milling about their morning chores reached her ears as the community gates settled in her sight cresting over the hill. Kagome quickened her pace.

Reaching the outskirts of the village, she could already sense the sorrow thick in the air. It didn’t seem any better than the last village. The sight of burnt and broken homes tugged at her heart. Indeed, it had been through a tragedy.

Villagers paid glances towards the unfamiliar girl walking further into town as the vast expanse of the forest faded away into her peripherals. Kagome was beginning to wonder why she wasn’t already greeted by the headman. Usually by now her miko attire would have garnered some attention of a town in such a need of a healer. She had heard from the travelers that this village’s miko had perished amidst the conflict, which was part of the reason she felt the need to come here and offer help.

The rivalling warlords had caused much trouble in the past year. The petty dispute over land and property bordered on insanity. She scrunched her face in disgust just thinking about it. She had been in the north when it had all happened and luckily avoided the brunt of the conflict and only trailing the aftermath, but even so, stories of the sheer brutality of it reached many ears.

Of course, the young miko had seen worse, but it still didn’t make it any easier to swallow whenever she looked upon the starved, dying, or deceased. The only positive light was that the war had lasted less than a year and it was only a human conflict. Thank the kami it wasn’t a youkai war. Had it been a fight amongst youkais, there would be nothing left of the village but a gentle reminder that something once stood there in the burning ashes. The thought of having to face another formidable foe so soon would have been deeply unsettling.

“Young miko. I don’t believe I have seen you around before. What brings you to our village?” came a deep, masculine voice.

Kagome jolted from her wandering thoughts, her gaze following from the dirt path and up into the dark brown eyes of a middle-aged man. Trying not to look too startled, she gave a haphazard smile and bowed slightly. “My name is Kagome. I was in the neighbouring village and had heard of the tragedy that struck your people. I…I came to offer my help in any way I can.”

The man regarded her with apprehension, his shoulders slightly tensed. It was rare for strangers to be so forthcoming, especially in a time of war and famine. Although common for miko to travel between villages to help the wounded, he had not encountered one in a long while and was hesitant on trusting someone he had never met.

Kagome was able to sense the apprehension as his stiff posture and silence displayed little warmth. It wasn’t the first time she wasn’t trusted on sight. If she didn’t want to be turned away and have to walk back another two days while camping out in the forest, she would have to speak up now.

“Um, Wakashi-sama has told me about the trouble that befell your people. I wanted to come offer my assistance…I can help heal the wounded…” Her words stopped before going further. Certainly he didn’t need to be reminded of their deceased village miko, and she had no intention of insinuating that she could take her place.

At the mention of his comrade’s name, the headman’s shoulders relaxed slightly as he took note of the honorific used. Wakashi was a trustworthy friend; perhaps this was what he had meant when he said he would send any help along his travels east. “How do you know Wakashi?” he voiced.  

Kagome brightened at his question; it gave her an opening. “I met him when he travelled by my previous village. It was through him that I found out about the destruction here and that you would be in need of a healer. Since I had helped as much as I can at the other village, I thought I would give my assistance here,” she said softly, her eyes never leaving his face.

He looked the part of a worn out man who’s seen more tragedies than a lifetime would ever see. It was the same weary look she’d seen dozens of times, the familiar sadness of having lost loved ones so apparently visible on their faces. The wrinkles on the edges of his eyes told stories of love and now of lost.

He knew of the neighbouring village she spoke of. Many of the nearby settlement were also caught in the path of destruction from this very needless war. If she had been a great assistance to the other settlement then perhaps it wouldn’t hurt for them to accept her help. She was right, after all; they were in need of healers. He kept silent as he flipped this thought over in his mind, but after a few moments, he spoke.

“Very well, Lady Kagome. I sense no deceit from you, but if you make a misstep to lose my trust, I have no qualms about throwing you out.” He looked her pointedly in the eyes. “My name is Takashiro. I am the headman of this village.”

Kagome let out a warm smile and a breath she hadn’t realize she was holding. “Thank you, Takashiro, I won’t disappoint you.”

“Good.” He relaxed a bit more and reciprocated her smile. “Come, I’ll show you around, starting with the infirmary.”

He gestured her down the path to the right. The miko started down the dirt road and Takashiro came up along beside her.

“There are many wounded. I hope it’s not too much for you to handle. As you probably have heard, the recent conflict showed no mercy even to bystanders such as our village.”

Kagome had only heard bits and pieces of the human warlord’s conflicts that had taken place in the south. Petty disputes and power-tripping men drunk on sake. What else was new?

“Yeah, I’ve seen some pretty bad wreckage caused by the warlords. My heart goes out to all the children that lost their parents…” She stopped mid-speech when she heard a sudden intake of breath, turning to see that he had stopped walking. Her brows rose curiously before realization dawned on her.

"I-I’m sorry… I didn’t mean…”

“No,” he interrupted her, “It’s alright…” His brown irises were now focused somewhere off in the distance. “His name was Aito. He’s in a better place now, along with his mother, and they are together.”

Takashiro turned his gaze back towards her, the lines of his face turning up into a reassuring smile. The young miko felt like kicking herself for bringing up such recent loss. She of all people knew what it was like to have painful memories brought back up to the surface. They continued the rest of the way to the infirmary in silence.

Upon arrival, Kagome stepped inside and gasped at the sight before her. There were at least four dozen injured lying about; most of them were men, only very few were women and children. There wasn’t even enough bedding for everyone, only providing comfort for the most gravely wounded while the others shared a cot.

“All of them…all of these…were from the war?” she asked in barely a whisper, craning her head to look behind at Takashiro.

The headman nodded solemnly. There had been more, but many had not made it through the first few nights. The rest of the men here were lucky survivors. Even after two months since the end of said war, some injuries were grave enough to keep many bed-ridden. What little protection this village had was offered by these brave souls. They were not soldiers, they were farmers. They were not fighters, they were simple village people. Yet the opposing armies from the warlords had marched right across the lands, ravaging anything within their path. It was only by a small miracle that the final battle took place further away, or else the complete destruction of the village was guaranteed.

“You can start on them tomorrow. For now, I am sure you would like to rest from your travels and have something to eat,” Takashiro said quietly as he made his way back out. Kagome took one more glance over her shoulder at the injured men before following him through the exit of the infirmary.

As Takashiro led Kagome down the dusty road again, he took the time to point out different areas for her to be familiar with. The miko took in the sights before her as they quietly made their way down the path, their feet softly grazing the ground with each step.

Many of the dwellings were burnt, broken, or in current repair. Able-bodied men were out and about carrying logs and hatchets or scurrying along to help another rebuild. She could already see that prior to the calamity that this village was a very close-knit community. They still were now, providing support to each other in a time of need. It was a rare sight. Often times when passing through areas ravaged by war, there would be nothing left but bitterness and resentment. Kagome counted her blessings for this and the last village she had come across.

She observed the man walking in front of her, his ebony hair held up in a short ponytail swaying gently with each passing step. His gait was strong and he walked with an air of confidence, she noticed. For some reason, he reminded her of her father.

‘Father…’ Distant memories began to cloud her eyes…


“Will I grow up to be strong like you, daddy?” The little girl looked up in awe at the way the man lifted the statue, crouching down as he carefully repositioned it near the entrance of the family shrine.

“You will if you continue to eat your vegetables, little one,” he said with a grin as he stood up, dusting off his hands on the front of his trousers. “You see this statue right here? It is called a Komainu.” He paused to look at his daughter, making sure she was listening.

Her eyes jumped from one statue to its twin on the other side of the entrance and then back again to the one her father’s hand was placed upon. “They look like lions, or dogs. They look kinda scary… What are they for?” The little girl eyed the pair of statues curiously.

Her father smiled warmly at her innocent question. “They are here to protect us and to ward off evil spirits. You see this one here?” He motioned to the statue on the left. Kagome nodded as she eyed the form of the Komainu, eyes following along the statue’s grounded paws, up the curve of its curly mane then lingering on its solid grey eyes.

“This one has an open mouth to say the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, which is pronounced ‘a’, while the other…” he gestured to the statue on the right, “has a closed mouth to sound the last letter, which is pronounced ‘um’. Together they form the sound ‘Aum’, which represent the beginning and the end of all things.”

“Like the sound the Buddhist monks make when they’re in the temple?” she asked cautiously, eyes still looking into the blank stares of the strange stone creature.

“Yes, aren’t you observant? It is a scared syllable in many religions,” the man said with mirth. His daughter would grow up to be a finely educated woman, logically smart and naturally beautiful.

Her eyes lit up at learning something new and knowing that the scary statues were there to actually protect her. She wasn’t sure what Sanskrit was but sure that it would be something she would eventually learn about in school, perhaps even next year in third grade.

Looking back up to her father, she asked, “They will protect everyone? Including you and mommy?”

The man gave a haughty laugh before placing a hand atop her head and ruffling her wavy hair. “Yes, they will protect everyone, including you, little Kagome.”


“…broken, so there may be a bit of a draft at night.” She caught Takashiro’s trailing words as they approached a small hut. Kagome blinked away the memory and noticed that he was now looking towards her expectantly.

She observed the hut in question behind him. A few tiles were missing from the roof and the doorway mat was a bit tattered. Still, it was in better shape than many of the dwellings she saw on the way into the settlement, and she wasn’t going to refuse free hospitality.

“Anything will do. I’m just grateful that I won’t have to be sleeping on the ground again,” she said cheerfully.

Takashiro nodded towards the rest of the path yet travelled. “I will come notify you of supper at sundown and afterwards I can show you the rest of the village. For now, please make yourself comfortable,” he said as he started making his way away from the hut.

Glancing over his shoulder at his newest visitor, he murmured “…Thank you, young miko, for offering your assistance.”


Kagome entered the infirmary with a basket full of medicinal herbs gathered from the garden earlier that morning. As promised, Takashiro had taken the time after supper last night to give her a tour of the different areas of the village, such as the location of the bathhouse, the barracks, and the herb garden.

Lifting the mat and pushing it aside, she entered the large building that housed the injured she had seen yesterday. Within her first steps into the dwelling, her vision was immediately assaulted by a blur of white and green. This was unexpected.

“Hi there! Are you the new miko coming to help us?” A young woman of about her age, maybe even younger, stood before her, hands clasped around a fresh bandage as she hopefully eyed the newcomer at the door. Takashiro had mentioned briefly the previous day that a miko of another village would be coming to help aid the wounded.

Leaning the basket of herbs against her side, Kagome nodded as she took in the sight of the bubbly girl. Her brown hair was tied up in a messy bun with a green ribbon matching her light yukata while a white obi delicately wrapped around her petite frame. She seemed relieved to see Kagome there, and looking around, there was a lot of work to do for these brave men.

“I’m Kagome. Just let me know what I can do to help,” She said cheerfully. The girl gleamed brightly back at her.

“My name’s Natsuko. I’ve been helping to heal the wounded, come! Let’s get started!” Natsuko quickly grabbed ahold of Kagome’s arm and started leading her between the rows of futons.

“I’m actually so glad that you’re here. I didn’t really believe Takahiro when he said a traveling miko just happened upon our village and is offering her aid.”

“I guess when you say it like that, it becomes less believable.” Huh, that did seem kind of fishy, even to her. “I’ve been traveling around villages for the past while to offer my help wherever I can. It’s sort of become my duty, in a way.” Kagome allowed the girl to lead her around as she looked from one patient to the next.

They stopped at a futon housing a patient on the far end of the building. Kneeling down, the girl lightly touched the man’s forehead with the back of her hand as he continued to slumber. “This one’s Nakana. He’s been here for a few weeks.”

Kagome studied his arm covered in bloody bandages as she knelt beside Natsuko. The brown-haired girl reached for a nearby bowl, wringing out a wet towel and gently wiped away the beads of sweat along the man’s face and forehead.  Silently, Kagome observed the girl unravelling the old bandages and rewrapping in new ones after cleaning the large wound.

“You’re really good at this,” the miko praised.

“I guess, though I won’t ever be as good as Kimiko,” the girl said with a sullen tone.

Noting the sudden change in the girl’s tone, Kagome peered at her face. However, the girl’s smile remained. “Who is Kimiko?”

“Kimiko was the head miko here… When the war came, she went into the battlefield to help the men even though it wasn’t safe for her to do so. She died when a soldier’s sword pierced her chest as she was trying to get a wounded villager to safety.” Natsuko spoke as she took the last bandage Kagome handed to her and finished changing the wrapping on the unconscious man lying on the futon.

Sensing that she was comfortable with the topic, Kagome carried on the conversation. “That was really brave of her. Did you know her well?”

Natsuko paused in what she was doing. “She was my sister.”

A bit unsure now, Kagome didn’t even realize she had paused when Natsuko reached over for the bandage she was mid-way in handing her. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude,” Kagome whispered.

Natsuko shrugged as she finished wiping away the rest of the dried blood on the man’s arm. “It’s no bother. I like talking about her. She was brave, giving, loving, and she needs me to remember her as such. Not talking about it means not remembering. And not remembering would be forgetting who she was, and what she meant to me. It would mean forgetting her entirely.”

Kagome watched silently as she continued her ministrations on the arm of the wounded. She was right, of course. ‘When we die, we are lived through by the people that remember us… just like my father.’

“You’re a good sister to remember her so fondly and to share her greatness with the rest of the world, whom would remember her as well, through you.”

The young girl beamed at Kagome with a proud smile. “She was the best, and should be honoured and cherished as such.” Natsuko looked back down at her handiwork. “This one’s good. Let’s go check on the next patient,” she said before placing both hands on her knees to help herself up.

This young girl seemed to understand so much for someone her age; she was probably no older than sixteen and yet, death didn’t seem to faze her. Kagome followed her throughout the infirmary as they continued their duties, changing bandages and reassessing wounds.

A few hours later, the two girls had made the rounds of tending to those in need. Many of them were asleep by now, the late afternoon sun filtering through the openings in the hut and letting in light to warm up the room.

Kagome glanced around her once more, taking notice of the depleted herbs in her basket. Natsuko had known which herbs to use to aid with healing, and Kagome was pleased to see such knowledge in a girl so young. But then again, she herself was like that at her age, remembering the times with Kaede in which she constantly asked which herb did what and which helped with what type of wounds. She must have been a headache to deal with.

“You know quite a bit for your age, Natsuko.” The younger girl looked up with proud eyes at Kagome’s comment.

“Of course! I’m training to be the next miko of this village. I need to know all of this. My sister had taught me.” Natsuko rinsed her hands of the blood stains in the small wash basin as Kagome regarded her.

‘She…reminds me of Kaede… and Kikyo. The sisters share such similar fates…’

Snapping out of her reverie, Kagome glanced down at her now empty basket. “Many of these men still have open wounds. I couldn’t find it in the herb garden, but I know of a place that grows a plant that can help heal flesh wounds ten times faster and to help disinfect any bacterial growth.”

Natsuko eyed the rest of the patients in the room. “They sure need all the help they can get. Unfortunately, half of our herb supply got damaged during the battle. We’ve regrown what we could, but it’s still taking quite a while.”

“Not to worry. A friend of mine grows just the herbs we need. He’s only a few day’s walk away. I can go to him to get the plant as well as get some seeds so your village can grow your own. I know for sure he won’t mind.” Kagome had been taking mental notes on what would be needed, and had already been thinking about it during the afternoon. She had seen the state of the herb garden, and as predicted, was barely sufficient for what they need.

The younger girl’s expression brightened. “Oh, you’d do that Kagome?”

The raven-haired girl gave a dip of her head. It was the least she could do. The men here didn’t need her spiritual healing as much as they had at the last village; many of these were recovering from slow-healing wounds. With the headcount in the infirmary, she knew she wouldn’t have the energy needed to heal everyone. “I’ll set out tomorrow morning. It’ll take a few days, but I’ll be sure to bring plenty back for you.”

Natsuko launched herself at the miko and said her thanks through the fabric of her clothing, embracing her in a tight hug.


The sunlight filtered through the tall trees, lighting the forest in a spatter of sparking rays. The only discernable noise was the soft sound of the miko’s footfalls on the lush grass. Before her was the narrow trail leading to her destination only another day’s walk away. With her strong wooden bow in one hand and her satchel by her side, she took leisurely steps making her way through the forest, enjoying the warmer weather of the past few days. It was like the calm before the storm, for the girl knew that after the sun, the snow would follow.

It had been two days since she had set out on foot following this reclusive trail. Natsuko had looked upon her with admiration when Kagome gave news of her departure and promised to return with rare medicinal herbs to heal the villagers. Takashiro had been hesitant to let her leave, yet she couldn’t understand why. Kagome had only been at the village for about a week and a half, spending most of her time in the infirmary with Natsuko. Takashiro frequented the two girls during their daily routine, watching silently as they changed bandages, applied herbal medicine and consoled the injured. With the help of Kagome, they had already healed and discharged a third of the patients.

Turning her face upwards towards the sun, the miko let the brightness warm her face. Unfortunately, the feeling of content didn’t last long as the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly straightened, her hand instinctively clutching her bow and grabbing an arrow from her quiver.

In a swift mechanical, motion she drew an arrow on her bow and aimed it straight ahead.

The sense of a powerful demon nearby caused her to hold her breath in anticipation.

Moments passed without a sound as she waited, arms still outreached and drawn tightly on the long bow.

Finally, ahead of her she spotted the distinctive white hair and the sound of joyful laughter.

“I don’t know, Master Jaken. I still think it’s a matter of opinion. How would you know you won’t like that taste until you’ve tried it? Human food isn’t poisonous.” The voice of a little girl drifted through the clearing. 

The small imp crossed his arms angrily over his chest while struggling to hold his metre-high wooden staff. “Human food is despicable, and as a youkai, I will never touch that filth. It is disgraceful!”

“Well, you’re missing out, Master Jaken. It’s quite delicious sometimes. Maybe you’re too used to guts and gore, nasty looking youkai food.”

Kagome let out the breath held within as she relaxed, lowering her bow and sheathing her arrow back into her quiver. Relaxing her shoulders, she began to walk along her intended path towards the only other travelers heading her way.

As they got closer, the little girl suddenly looked up while her eyes squinted to see in the distance. “Lord Sesshomaru! Is that Kagome up ahead? I think I see her!” The demon lord barely had enough time to glance her way before his ward promptly ran forward.  

“Get back here, Rin! Stop running!” the imp clamoured as he stomped his staff on the ground. Sesshomaru’s eyes followed Rin as she leapt into the arms of the miko ahead.

“Kagome! I haven’t seen you in so long!” the little girl nearly shrieked. Releasing her bow, the older girl brought her arms around to give Rin a tender hug.

“It’s nice to see you again, Rin. Look how much you’ve grown!” Kagome held the girl at arm’s length to get a good look at her. Indeed she had grown; her brown hair was longer and her height a bit taller. Her eyes sparkled with innocence and she was glad to be looking at a familiar face for once. “How long has it been? I swear it’s been at least 6 months since I’ve last seen you!”

Rin smiled her toothy grin at Kagome. “Do you miss me? I’ve missed you, Kagome. It’s good luck that we’ve run in to you today!”

Kagome embraced the girl once more before letting go and standing up to her full height. “I’ve missed you too, Rin. I hope that you’ve been good!”

“Psh, Rin? She’s always a trouble-maker! She never listens!” complained Jaken as he approached next to his lord, starring daggers at the little girl that always caused him so much grief. Glancing up, he gave a sharp look at the miko before him. ‘She looks the same as always. Wench; why do we keep bumping into her?’

Turning her attention towards the lord himself, Kagome met his icy gaze. He came to a stop in the clearing and his glance landed upon her with unnerving amber eyes. There was no greeting, only silence as he regarded her, the quietness settling in the space around them.

A brief moment passed before Sesshomaru focused back on the trail as he continued walking again, moving right past the miko with the small toad youkai following behind him.  

Kagome’s eyes followed as he walked by, landing her gaze upon his back as his white hair lifted lightly with each step. ‘It’s always the same every time I see him… always the silent one…”

Rin suddenly came around and gave her a quick hug. “Um, looks like I’ve got to go, Kagome! I hope to see you soon!”

Smiling, Kagome stroked her hand through the girl’s hair as she peered down at the source of the embrace. She was no longer wearing her side ponytail, letting her wavy locks fall freely around her. “I’ll see you again, Rin. You take care of yourself.”

Giving the older girl one last appreciative smile, Rin darted away to catch up with her lord. Kagome watched ruefully as the trio continued on their way.

They have each other,’ she thought sadly. Picking up the bow that she had dropped when Rin ran crashing into her, she continued on her way down the single trail. ‘It was familiar…’


So there you go, the first chapter. Please review, constructive criticism is welcomed!

Originally Posted: November 7, 2015

UPDATE: Just re-posted this chapter with a few minor grammatical corrections after the lovely BelovedStranger (on Dokuga) beta-read my story. Thank you so much!


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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