Sengoku Jidai, about five hundred years previously...
I hefted the small round jewel in my hand, staring ahead
into the gloom of Inuyasha's Forest. It was dusk, the light in the sky almost gone, and the darkness was thickening with a
coming fog. There was no sound, as if even the insects were holding their breath and were waiting for me to choose. Waiting
on me to make my wish.
There was a soft step behind me, likely made audible on purpose. I turned, meeting auburn eyes,
and smiled at him. Inuyasha stilled. "Kagome..." He hesitated, then went on. "What are you going to wish for?"
my lip, lifting the Jewel. I had already made my decision, a long time ago. Perhaps even the day Kikyo and I met. "Why don't
you stick around and see?"
He frowned, then nodded. "Okay. I'll get the others-"
"No," I said, taking a shaky
breath, "they're not needed."
Inuyasha gulped. "Why? Kagome, what are you..."
I turned my back on him. "I wish
you happiness," I murmured. "I wish for the happiness of my friends, for their relationships to hold strong and for me to
be forgotten. The memory of me is to pass beyond recollection, only a distant shadow in the fight." I closed my eyes, feeling
the magic of the jewel rising up around me. "I wasn't any use anyway."
"Wait! Ka...go..." I heard the sound of him
falling to the ground, unconscious. When he woke, I knew, I wouldn't be remembered. There would be no guilt for him, no pain,
no agony. He and Kikyo would be happy.
I looked down at my hand and opened it. The jewel had turned to purple dust
and now blew away on the breeze. I dropped my hand and picked up my bag, shrugging it high on my shoulder. Then I walked the
few feet between me and the well, jumped the rim and let the magic catch for the very last time.
was actually kind of surprised that Koenma-sama knew about me," I murmured thoughtfully. "But I suppose the memory of Gods
wouldn't be messed with."
Hiei hummed thoughtfully. "Koenma, as a demigod, exists in all of time and space. If he wished
to deal with something in the past, or future, it would be a simple matter for him. As easy as dealing with something in the
present. Time does not exist for gods." He shrugged.
"Oh." I looked down, staring at the bedspread. It made sense,
a little bit. And if I wanted to see them, Koenma could make it happen, couldn't he? He could-
"No," Hiei said suddenly,
frowning at me. "The past is buried. You are forgotten. To them, you are a stranger and never existed. It would be stupid
to try now." He eyed me for a moment before adding, "And you've already said that you aren't stupid."
"Stay out of
my head," I retorted, but it was without heat. I knew he was right. There could never be a 'me' in the past. I belonged in
I belonged at home.
The next time I stumbled upon Hiei, he was sitting in the middle
of a park, having a semi-relaxed conversation with someone whose back was to me. He hadn't even realized I was approaching
until I stepped into sight.
Then he was suddenly in front of me, sword at my throat. I stared at him, eyes wide. "Hiei?"
He blinked slowly, opening his mouth. "Take two steps back, Hiei," a soft, feminine voice murmured from
He obeyed instantly, and it was then that I realized my ki was flaring in response to the brief demonic
threat. I struggled for a moment to control it, and managed to stuff it back. I looked down, blushing. "Sorry. I didn't mean
"Who are you?" the woman demanded. She now stood just behind Hiei, and when I looked up I gasped. Her face, once
beautiful, was half-covered by a horrible mottled scar. Her eyes narrowed at me. "Woman," she hissed. "Answer me."
stiffened, spine straightening in irritation. Hiei was just watching me silently, not looking about to say anything to either
of us on the topic. So I lifted my chin and met her wary gaze straight on. "Kagome. I'm Kagome."
"Kagome?" she murmured,
sounding the name out slowly. Her gaze slid to Hiei for a moment before she eyed me more curiously. "I see. The Miko, then.
I am Mukuro."
Now that she less openly hostile, I nodded at her and offered her one of my fake smiles. "Hello Mukuro.
It's nice to meet you."
"Liar," she scoffed, but didn't look away.
I beamed at her, not planning on denying
it. "Are you a friend of Hiei's?"
"Lover," Mukuro replied, smirking at me.
Hiei scowled at her. "Liar," he retorted,
echoing her. "She is a..." He stopped, considering the woman, then looked at me. "She is my friend."
I couldn't say
I'd ever heard him say the word 'friend' in relation to anyone. Something in me was a little happy that he had a friend, especially
one he trusted as much as he did her. My next smile felt more real, genuine, and was directed at him. "Good! I'm glad."
snorted and looked away sullenly, likely having taken a peek into my head. Jerk. "Whatever," he muttered. "I have other things
to do. Good bye." And he vanished, leaving me alone with the woman.
I caught myself staring at her scar again, and
when her brow lifted, I flushed. "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to stare." Well, I had, but I hadn't meant to be obvious about
"I'm used to it," she replied with a shrug. Her gaze hadn't once left my face, as if she were trying to
see into my soul or something. Finally, she turned away. "Goodbye, Miko."
"Wait!" I cried, but she, too, flickered
away into the darkness of the night. I sighed.
I was being followed, and I knew it, but every time I glanced
back, there was nothing and no one. I didn't see them, meaning they were fast, but this yoki... I didn't recognize it.
a hand grabbed my shoulder, claws digging into my arm. I screamed and darted away. I heard an answering scream of anger as
I ran. Then nothing.
Need shelter, I thought as I spotted a nearby apartment complex. I didn't know anyone there,
but I should be able to hide until it left. That in mind, I ran through the unlocked doors and up a nearby set of stairs -
one lesson of survival is that you never use elevators. Once I reached the top level right below the roof, I glanced back
down the stairs. There he was.
It was an electric demon.
Gulping, I glanced through the door for the top floor,
then shoved it open, ducked out of view from below and ran up the stairs for the roof. Hopefully, he'd think I went onto the
top floor. I looked around for a place to hide, just in case, but there was nowhere. The rooftop was completely empty, save
a plastic lawn chair, but that didn't help at all.
I went to the edge, trying to judge the distance between this roof
and the next. I might be able to jump it, but only as a last resort. That was a big 'might'.
Behind me, the
door clanged open. I spun around, caught sight of the demon, and panicked. "Stay back!" I yelped shrilly. "I'm a miko!"
demon laughed at me. "Well, that just makes this even better. Miko always taste better than regular humans."
He was planning on eating me! "I'll scream," I threatened feebly, only making him laugh more.
"I'll enjoy it," he cackled,
and took a step.
I turned and dove off the edge of the building, reaching for the next. My hands caught concrete, but
I nearly lost my grip. I panted, hanging from the edge by my fingers. It wouldn't last forever.
I glanced back. The
demon now stood on the roof's edge, scowling down at me. "You'll fall!" he said irritably. "And die."
being eaten!" I retorted with more courage than I actually felt. Oh gods, I was going to die! Irrationally, I thought about
Hiei. Hiei wasn't here, so he probably wasn't anywhere nearby. Otherwise he'd be saving my butt. Again. Meaning there was
no one. I had only my own self to rescue me.
"Oh, not for me," the demon continued, breaking into my thoughts. "But
this is easily remedied." He jumped across the narrow alley, landing on the rooftop I was clinging to. Then he grabbed my
wrist with the intent of pulling me up.
I shrieked and held onto the ledge with all my might, but it was no use. He
easily broke my grip, grinning. "I'm going to eat you now, miko-chan~" he sang eagerly.
"Not today," I whispered. My
power was whirling through the air around me, traveling up my arm and into his hand. He shrieked as his flesh dissolved to
ash. Even as my body started to fall, I watched the demon vanish before my eyes, burned to cinders with my spiritual power.
I was screaming, hands reaching out as if I could grab onto the wall. It was pointless, I knew, because I was already landing.
rather, moving sideways. And there was a jaw in my line of sight, and arms wrapped around my legs and back. Then I wasn't
moving at all, staring right up into annoyed crimson eyes. "Idiot," he snapped.
"Oh, good, you're here," I said, feeling
dizzy. My hand, resting on his shoulder, felt numb. So did the rest of me, actually. Was I...? Nooo... really? "I think I...
am going to faint," I mumbled.
"Figures. I just really need a maiden fainting maidenly in my arms," Hiei replied
I giggled, fighting the pull of sleep. "Really? Glad to be of service. Does that mean you're my knight
in shining armor?"
"Don't make me sick," he snapped. "And don't you dare faint."
I tilted my head so that it
gently thumped against his shoulder, right below my hand. "Okay," I muttered.
"Woman... Don't you dare-!" But I was
It couldn't have been for long, because before I knew it I was coming around, aching all over. I felt
like one big bruise, and probably looked like it too. The surface beneath me was hard, concrete. I opened my eyes sleepily,
looking up at Hiei, who sat sulking beside me. Around me was the rooftop I'd tried to jump to. This one didn't even have a
"So glad you decided to wake up," he said, glowering at me.
I heaved a sigh, struggling to sit up.
He reluctantly gave me a hand, then returned to his seat. "Sorry," I whispered. "And thank you."
Hiei scowled, scoffing.
"Whatever." He fell silent for a few minutes, then grunted. "You're hurt."
I blinked and looked up at him. "Ah?" Then
I looked at my left shoulder. Blood was seeping through the torn fabric. "I am!" I wondered how that had happened before remembering
that the demon had grabbed me earlier. "Ah... I'll survive."
"Idiot," he scolded, getting up only to crouch on my other
side so he could poke at the wound. Literally.
"Ow!" I yelped, slapping his hand away. "That hurt, you jerk!"
answer was a glower. He ignored my interruption, but when he went back to checking out the wound, he was gentler. Even so,
despite the extra care he took this time, I still hissed in pain occasionally.
"You didn't need the knife," he murmured,
prodding the wound.
"Why were you going to use it last time?" he asked, and sat back with another scowl.
He opened his cloak, revealing a small pouch tied onto the side of his pants.
"I didn't know I could do that," I admitted
as he opened the pouch and removed a clean roll of bandages. He used most of them to bind up my arm.
Once that was
done, he put the rest away and sat back. "You'll live," he decided, looking rather pouty. For Hiei.
"What, you expected
me to die?" I asked, pouting back at him.
He sneered. "No. You're too stupid to die."
I wanted to hit him for
that, but managed to control myself. Barely. "At least I'm not an egotistical jerk with a stick up my ass."
"Is that the best you can come up with? My point has been proven."
"Uhg! You're so- so stubborn!" I growled.
"I swear, you've got no respect for anyone! I just fell off a freaking roof, you know!"
"Because you were stupid enough
to purify the demon while he was still holding you over the alley way," he refuted.
"He was going to eat me!" I snapped.
"And besides, you caught me!"
He rolled his eyes, arms crossing over his chest. "You couldn't have known that I would
get there in time, even if you'd known I was coming, which you clearly did not."
"It's called trust, Hiei,"
I said without thinking. "You know, it's something that friends do! You've been there every time since the first demon. I
trusted you to be there then, too."
Hiei, however, didn't have an answer for that. Instead, he was staring at me without
any expression on his face, pupils dilated and focused on my face. When I finally realized why he was so quiet, I felt a blush
creep over my face and looked down. He still didn't look away.
I knew that he knew I wasn't lying about that. Somehow,
at some point, I'd begun to trust this man, like I'd once trusted Inuyasha. Like I could never trust a human, any of my friends.
Humans, regular humans, were too fragile, so easily broken. They panicked having no way to protect themselves and so died.
Sure, there were a few - very few - with powers like Kazuma, but not many. Kazuma was special, as was his sister. Yusuke was
tough, and I suspected that he never would have been as strong as he was now if he hadn't died first.
The point was,
I trusted Hiei. I trusted him to save me if I needed it, and I trusted him not to get himself killed.
And neither of
us, Hiei or myself, knew what to say to that. So we didn't say anything.
Things changed, bit by bit, after
that. Hiei and I didn't argue as much, though we did enjoy the occasional scuffle. More often than not, if someone was looking
for one of us, they'd have to keep an eye out for the other. As Kurama said it, "Where I find Hiei, Kagome's not far away,
and vice versa."
It was a funny feeling, I had to admit. Almost like belonging. I could look at Hiei and smile, or
cry, or get angry, and I wouldn't have to worry about the lies anymore. I didn't need to keep up the pretense of happiness
anymore, because this wasn't fake. It was real, and it was all because of him.
I hesitate to say that Hiei had replaced
Inuyasha, for I would always, always love Inuyasha. I would one day love Hiei, too, but it wouldn't be the same, and I'm not
sure I even wanted it to be. Inuyasha was my first love, my first crush. He took my first kiss, and made me
kinder, made me understand that sometimes the unbelievable happens. He made me realize that people aren't always the way they
appear. Sometimes they're kinder, or colder, but everyone has a heart after some fashion.
With Hiei, it wasn't so much
him teaching me as it was a learning experience for the both of us. He once admitted to me that he'd thought of a relationship
with Mukuro, thought 'what ifs' about a possible future with her. But in the end, it wasn't enough. She was too self-dependant,
too weary of giving any part of herself to another. She neither needed him, nor really wanted him.
So that ended before
it had even really begun, though he was now able to be good friends with her because of it.
I had told him that I loved
Inuyasha, but he would always love Kikyo first. It was a twisted sort of compliment. He loved Kikyo, who was my previous incarnation,
and loved me. It was almost like saying he'd love me forever, even beyond death and rebirth. But it wasn't really "me" that
he loved. It was Kikyo. Forever Kikyo. He didn't think of Kikyo as "the previous me". He thought of me as "the next Kikyo".
think he's a moron," Hiei replied to that.
I giggled. "Yeah, he was pretty stupid most of the time, but he had his
"You don't blame him," Hiei said, more a statement of fact than a question.
Smiling, I shook my head.
"No, I don't. Someone once told me that you cannot control the way your heart yearns for another. You can't tell it to stop
beating in that person's presence anymore than you can bring back the dead. It's simply not possible."
me quietly for a moment. "No, you can't," he agreed finally. "It's impossible, to tell it who to love."
At the time,
I didn't think anything of that, didn't guess that it could be a prelude to something else, something greater. How stupid
A few weeks later, Kurama turned up at my door, smiling and holding roses. I stared at him for a
minute, wondering what on Earth he was up to and who he was plotting against, before I took the proffered roses and stepped
aside, offering tea.
He politely accepted, following me into the kitchen - I didn't have a dining room - and sitting
at the tiny table in one corner. "How are you?" he asked as I set a kettle on the stove to boil.
I fetched cups and
teabags out of their respective cupboards, casting a glance at him over my shoulder. "I'm good, and you?" I asked, more out
of habit than any real concern for his welfare.
"Wonderful!" he chirped.
I almost cringed. Kurama chirping was
a scary thing. It meant he was definitely plotting something, and I was a little afraid to ask what. "Oh, that's good," I
He smiled at me. "Most definitely."
I turned to eye him suspiciously. "Yeah," I replied lamely.
redhead chuckled, then appeared to get a little more serious. "So how's Hiei? I haven't seen him in a while, but you always
seem to know."
I quirked a brow, then shrugged, knowing full well that Kurama saw him at least once a week, unless
Hiei was irritated with him. "He's okay. Why?"
"Merely concerned," he said, basically brushing the question off. "Do
you know how Mukuro-san is?"
My eyes narrowed at him. "No. Why should I?"
"Oh, well I assumed that she and Hiei
"No way!" I snapped. "They're not like that, just friends."
He quirked a brow, green eyes dancing. "Ah,
I see. No need to get so upset, Kagome-chan."
I felt my face heat up, but I refused to respond to his teasing. Instead,
I turned to check on the water while I fought off my blushing. It hadn't even started bubbling yet, so I was forced to turn
back around. He was watching me, but I'd known he would be. "So... is that the only reason you came over? To ask about Hiei?"
had the gall to look wounded. "Kagome-chan! Can't I visit a friend?"
"Not when you're clearly up to no good," I replied
Kurama grinned. "Ah, I can see that you are no fool," he said with feigned regret.
"Alright, then I suppose you want me to get to the point?" When I nodded, he chuckled. "Very well. I wish
for your assistance."
I blinked. "You need my help?"
"Something like that, yes," he agreed, nodding. "You see,
there is a good friend of mine that I would not mind... ah, 'hooking up' with, but... well... her brother seems rather against
it. And, as you and he are good friends, I want you to distract him while I speak with her."
I lifted my brows. "Really?
I had to clamp my hands over my mouth to keep back a fangirly squeal. Oh my god! He likes
her! I very clearly remembered Shizuru once telling me that she wouldn't mind dating a 'fine piece of ass like that'. Then
I frowned. "Kazuma-kun is against it?"
He sighed, but nodded. "Yes, unfortunately. He seems to think I'm dishonorable.
Or at least, he has doubts in me because of my... reputation." He grimaced.
Not that I blamed Kazuma. It was Kurama's
own fault, but I didn't say as much. "Right! I can invite him over for dinner tonight, if that's not too soon," I offered.
"Ooh, and I can invite Yukina-chan! I haven't actually gotten to talk to her much at all." Hiei usually distracted me... hell,
he was distracting me from pretty much everything, so that wasn't anything new.
Kurama gave me a strange smile. "That'll
do. Thank you."
"No problem!" I said, and poured the now boiling water into our cups for tea.
that night, a grinning Kazuma and sweetly blushing Yukina came to my apartment and I lead them into my bedroom - the only
room other than the kitchen and a tiny bathroom - where I'd set up for company. The bed had been propped up against one wall,
held in place by the dresser. A tea table now sat in the middle of the room, set for three with snacks and, of course, tea.
was going according to plan. That is, of course, until the doorbell rang halfway through a movie. Not that any of us had really
been watching it. Mostly, we'd been chatting and catching up on the happenings of our recent life.
Curious, I got up
and answered the door, not really surprised to see Hiei standing there. I had sensed him after all. Also, he was wet.
locked your window," he said grumpily.
"I have company," I retorted, but stepped aside.
He made a face, and
then sent any and all moisture on him up in steam. I coughed through it, taking a few steps back, then glared at him once
it had cleared. He smirked back at me. "Show off," I muttered.
"Hn." He walked past me and into the bedroom, sitting
against the wall beneath the window.
"Hello, Hiei-san!" Yukina greeted cheerfully. "How are you doing?"
looked at her. "I am fine," he replied after a beat, causing her to smile happily.
"Good! Did Kagome-chan invite you
too?" she asked.
He shook his head. "No."
"Ohh, I see..." She tilted her head, then looked at me as I scooped
up the cushion I'd occupied. "Are you going to get him tea?"
"He doesn't want any," I replied, smiling at her thoughtfulness.
"Oh! But that does remind me... Hiei, I have icecre-" But he was already gone. I giggled. "Dork."
Yukina grinned, even
as Hiei returned with the carton. I saw this and scowled. "Hey! That isn't all for you!"
"You have another carton,"
he retorted, sticking a spoon in it once he'd set the lid down.
"Of a different flavor!" I snapped, propping my hands
up on my hips. "Haven't you ever heard of sharing?"
"No," Kazuma snorted, scowling at Hiei. "Don't go stealing other
people's stuff, shrimp!"
"Mind your own business," Hiei retorted, glowering at the bigger male.
smiling as the two bickered back and forth. She sidled up next to me. "So, does Hiei-san come over often?" she queried.
looked away from the fire hybrid in question, brows raised at her. "I dunno," I admitted. "I guess?"
"I see," she said,
now eying Hiei. Then she smiled up at me. "I think he likes you."
I flushed, glancing at him and catching his eye.
He knew we were talking about him. I nearly scowled. Of course he knew. Cheating, eavesdropping, little pain in the ass. "That's
ridiculous," I decided.
Yukina looked at me. "How so?"
"Because he's... well, he's... Hiei! He doesn't like
me. He likes tough do-it-yourself chicks, not weak little girls with random patches of temporary insanity," I explained.
giggled. "You're sweet, Kagome-chan. He likes sweet things."
The double meaning wasn't lost on me, and I wondered
if she knew she'd made it. I shook my head. "No, he doesn't like me. Well, I suppose he likes me well enough, but just as
a friend. Not like... well... like, romantically."
"Have you asked him?" she asked.
My face felt hot as I shook
my head frantically. "No! Of course not! Why would I ask him something so silly?" Come to think of it, why wasn't he interrupting
already? He could clear this up in the span of seconds, just by revealing that he was listening and that Yukina was wrong.
smiled. "Aren't you curious?"
"About what?" I demanded, exasperated.
"About who he likes! Hasn't he ever
told you he fancies someone? But until now, no one had a clue. Well..." She shook her head. "I think Kurama-san knew, but
no one else."
"It's not me," I said, knowing where she was trying to go with this. "Definitely not me."
gave me a vexed look. "I think you're wrong, Kagome-chan, but I'll leave it be for now," she told me. "Just think about it,
I wrinkled my nose in disbelief, but shrugged. "Sure," I agreed, mostly to get her to stop.
and went over to separate the boys. I was a little surprised that they stopped fighting as soon as she was within striking
distance, as if they both wanted to keep her from getting hurt.
I stared at Hiei for a while, watching him watch Yukina.
Then I went to get the other carton of icecream. Only a few minutes later, he found me sitting at the kitchen table, eating
right out of the carton (the thing I'd just scolded him for doing). He sat down in one of the other two chairs and continued
to eat his own (filched) icecream.
It was quiet for a while longer before he decided that he wanted to talk. "Interesting
"You shouldn't eavesdrop," I replied blandly. "It's rude."
Hiei snorted. "Like I care," he said,
and took a bite of icecream.
"You should," I answered. Actually, I was a little angry. What Yukina had said, what she'd
guessed about Hiei's feelings, had rung true, at least with me. I didn't think Hiei liked me, of course, but I was now certain
that I'd gone and gotten a crush - or more, but I didn't want to contemplate that - on another person that would never in
a million years return it.
"Hn." He scooped up a spoonful of his cookies and cream. "Trade."
I looked at him,
then down at my own cookie dough ice cream. Smiling slightly, I scooped up a spoonful myself and gave it to him, taking his
and eating it. I loved cookies and cream, which is why I suspected that the jerk had taken that one. When I looked
up, he was smirking at me. "What?"
"Yusuke once called that an indirect kiss," he commented, amused.
red. "How old are you?!" I retorted, then stabbed the spoon into my icecream. "Uhg."
He continued to smirk at
me. "Three hundred and eighty two, if you must know."
I blinked at him. "Your age?" He nodded. "Oh... I see." Only
a little over a hundred years older than Inuyasha...
"Don't compare me to him," he said suddenly. "I am not
Inuyasha, and I never will be. If you want Inuyasha, then..."
Heart hammering in my chest, I met his eyes. "Then what?"
I'm an even greater fool than the oaf," he scoffed, looking away.
I frowned. "You're not a fool," I said. "Why would
you think that?" But deep down, I already knew, and the look he gave me said that he knew it. I grimaced. "Oh. What Yukina-chan
said?" He hesitated, then nodded reluctantly. "It's true?"
"Yes, woman," he retorted irritably. "Why do you think I
didn't stop her from saying it?"
"Because you have a surprising soft spot for Yukina-chan?" I ventured. "Which I don't
get, by the way."
He shot me a disgruntled glare, then looked back at his melting icecream. "That's not important,"
he muttered, and sighed. "I didn't tell her to stop because it was true. I just have..." He seemed to struggle with the wording
for a beat. "I have... difficulties, when it comes to you. I can't say what I mean and usually end up just blurting out the
exact opposite. I suspect that damn fox knew it, too."
"Huh?" I tilted my head. "What do you mean?"
think he really went over to talk Shizuru into a date, do you?" he asked incredulously.
"Idiot." He rolled
his eyes. "He probably knew that Yukina would see it, and tell you about it."
"Oh." I poked shyly at my icecream for
a moment before getting up and leaning over the corner of the table, kissing his cheek.
He scowled, then caught my
shoulder and jerked me further down, into an actual steamy kiss, with tongue, and heat, and... well, damn.
coughed. I jerked back and turned, seeing Kazuma gaping at us and Yukina smiling while shyly averting her eyes. I blushed
brightly and sat down. "Oh, hi."
"We were worried when you did not come back," Yukina said, judging it safe to look
I felt Hiei grab my hand under the table and I gave a gentle squeeze in return. "We're fine," he said gruffly,
in a 'go away' tone of voice.
Yukina smiled at us. "Actually, I think Kazuma-kun and I are going to go home now," she
said, though it was obvious she just wanted to give Hiei and I some time to sort things through. "It was nice visiting."
nodded, getting up to escort them to the door. Hiei followed, mulishly refusing to let go of my hand. "Thanks for coming.
We should do it again soon."
Yukina nodded and bowed, nudging Kazuma out of his shock long enough to make him bow too.
"See you later."
The door had only just closed behind them when Hiei pulled me into another kiss, clearly deciding
that he hadn't finished yet. I smiled through it and kissed him back. No, he wasn't like Inuyasha at all.