Tailz: O.O Angel-Wing person… Wow, Sanj, you have fan mail!
Sanji: FINALLY! Erm…say, Angel… you're not gonna try to…er… trap me in a closet, are you?
Tailz-; You mean, like Moogle did?
Tailz- Eh-heh…well, super-omg-I-love-you-thank-yous to everyone that reviewed! I'm so happy! Could I take a second to respond to some reviews, Sanj?
Sanji: Well…it's your fic. You tell me.
Tailz: Yes, but…dare I risk it? Delaying the story usually makes the Angry Anti-Tailz Mob even angrier…
Sanji:Shrug: If they don't want to hear it, they can skip down to the chapter.
Tailz- Good point! Okay, here we go….
-THIS IS WHERE THE RESPONSES BEGIN! YOU ARE WARNED-
Katty-kat: Katty:Glomp: How are you, pouty-kins? Keep your chin up—I'll update just as soon as I can!
Sanosa: Oooooh, you're the clever one, aren't you? You'll just have to wait and see…that's right! Curse me! BWAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAa—
Sanji: Tailz…. Hurry up….
Tailz: I thought you said this was 'my fic'?
Sanji: And it is, but the Mob is sharpening their ladles again…. And this time they have thumbscrews….
Tailz: Hey! I was wondering where those things went!
Tailz: Okay, okay, fine…
Myeerah: As a writer, I know I've got to try to get used to criticism… but it's really hard. T.T But at least you were polite about it… Yes, I know there's errors dancing all over the place in here. You're right; the fact of the matter is, I'm on such close updating time, I usually submit the chapter without reading it more than once, so I miss a lotta little typos and things. Bear with me—I'm trying, and one of these days I'm gonna go back and edit chapters 8 and 9.
ChicaCubana: Oooh, another angst-lover! Perfect:D Don't worry—you won't be disappointed.
Silver's Shadow Tamer: Oh! Oh! SHE DID IT! This person just told me what she liked best about the story! And threw in a little actual-review-crit as well! Thank you:Hug: (Now if we could just get everyone else to do that….:sigh:)
AngelWing1138: Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your nice long review! You made me giggle! And…yes, you've come to the right place. There'll be plenty of fluff, angst, drama, and action coming soon!
Miara Rigawa: Thanks for your input! I know there are a lot of mistakes… please read my response to Myeerah. As to the beads… I think it's been translated as both. You'll find a variety of fics that refer to them as both 'praise beads' and 'prayer beads'. In this fic, it's going to stay 'praise beads' until I get a chance to go back and edit everything. (Can't remember if I just thought it wrong or typed it wrong; sometimes my thoughts don't reach my fingers-; ) Anyway, thanks again!
Tailz: Okay, okay. One more thing. I'm sure you've all noticed my increasing number of mistakes, huh? Would any of you be okay with being my editor? I'd send you the chapter a few days in advance, and you we could look for mistakes together. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one!
Sanji: IF YOU DON'T HURRY, WE'RE NOT GONNA HAVE ONE PAIR BETWEEN THE TWO OF US:Pulls Tailz down just as an arrow flies over their heads:
Tailz: Meep! Guys—!
—THIS IS THE END OF THE RESPONSES! NOW ONTO THE STORY!—
I waited and waited, not even talking to myself, for the moment that Miroku would mention something to Inuyasha about our encounter. It was the only thing I had to hope for; I couldn't bear to try to appear to him again—every time I looked at him, his broken spirit was evident. I never would've thought Inuyasha could be so lifeless and slack looking.
Finally, two days after the incident with my family, my wish was granted.
It was late afternoon, and we were traveling again. Sango, Kirara, and Shippo walked a few feet ahead of the rest of us. Shippo mentioned the flowers in a happy voice, and Sango smiled halfheartedly. My heart ached for her, but I said nothing, hover-walking quietly behind Inuyasha and Miroku. My heart almost exploded with excitement as Miroku said the words I'd been willing him to say.
"Inuyasha," he said discreetly, and the hanyou's ears twitched and swiveled in his direction to show that he was paying attention.
"What is it, monk?"
Miroku looked mildly uncomfortable. "I don't know how to tell you this."
"Just say it."
"You're not going to believe me, are you?"
"How the hell am I supposed to know?" Inuyasha hissed through his teeth. "Spit it out before I lose my patience." The monk stared at him for a long moment before shifting his eyes to the ground moving beneath his feet.
"The other day…when you were going to Kagome-sama's home…."
Inuyasha glanced over quickly.
"…I think I saw something."
"What? What did you see?"
"I saw…" Miroku hesitated. "I think I saw Kagome-sama."
I smiled. More than smiled, heck—I cried out in joy. I wanted to do a jig. Miroku had said it! Inuyasha would have to believe him! He'd know that he hadn't been hallucinating before, that I really was still here, and he'd figure out some way to help me!
I ran ahead to fall in step with the two of them, watching Inuyasha's face. He stopped in his tracks, and disbelief crossed his face. His eyes slid out of focus and I recognized the sparkle—hope—that glistened momentarily there. But it was only momentarily. Inuyasha closed his eyes as if he were wincing, shook his head, and walked resolutely onward, considerably faster than before. Puzzled, Miroku and I followed him.
"That's stupid, Miroku." His voice was soft and bitter. "The dead don't wander around without good reason."
"Who's to say Kagome-sama doesn't have good reason?" Miroku countered in that soft way of his. "Spirits often linger when they have unfinished tasks, unexpressed feelings, or…" He paused, before adding, even more quietly, "…Or a wish for revenge."
"No," Inuyasha said. "Not Kagome. She wouldn't. She's moved on."
"I saw her clearly, Inuyasha, and I sense her even at this very moment. Don't you?"
"No," Inuyasha answered shortly. "Don't be stupid."
"Inuyasha." Miroku said his name with such uncharacteristic sharpness that the hanyou stopped and turned around. "Whether or not you admit to it, you do feel her presence. You know she's still here, and you know something must be done for her. It isn't productive for the dead to linger on Earth. Kagome-sama must be persuaded to move on. You must see that."
"Look, monk. It doesn't matter what you think. Kagome's dead, and nothing you do or say can change that!" He stormed off moodily, leaving Miroku and me alone at the back of the party.
"Kagome-sama." The monk addressed me almost inaudibly, but I could hear. "I know you're staying in loyalty to us. I know you want to ease Inuyasha's suffering most of all, but your lingering here is not helpful to anyone. You are only delaying the inevitable, and the longer you stay, the more dangerous it will become for you."
I swallowed and backed away a step.
"If you don't go yourself…" Miroku turned and looked in my direction, his eyes sad but determined. "…If you don't go on, it will be my duty to send you forward. I'll give you a little while longer. Please, my friend." And then he turned and walked off after the others, leaving me far behind.
I contemplated Miroku's words for the rest of the day. We set up camp in the thick of the woods, a good forty feet from the trail, and everyone settled down quicker than they once had. Miroku gave Inuyasha a meaningful glance before settling against his tree; Sango and Shippo glanced between the two, confused, before shrugging it off and climbing into a pallet to sleep.
The fire burned down low as I made my way to the tree where Inuyasha was sitting for the night. I rose through the branches to his branch, landing finally at his feet. His eyes were closed, but he really wasn't sleeping. He never really slept.
Miroku's gentle warning echoed in my ears.
I was running out of time. I had to do something and fast.
I reached up absently and caused a small twig to fall directly onto Inuyasha's head. Even at the small movement he jerked awake, instantly alert and looking about suspiciously. It took him about ten seconds to figure out what had roused him; he plucked the twig from his head in annoyance and threw it to the ground below.
He was awake. Now was my chance. I hovered in the air directly beside him, gathering a good bit of my strength. Concentrating, I turned my palms towards him face up and shoved with all my might.
To both his and my astonishment, Inuyasha slid right off the branch and began falling.
He grappled with a branch a few feet below and pulled himself up, blinking incredulously. I breathed, centering my energy, and pushed him again. And again. And again, until he was hanging suspended eight feet above the ground. By that time, Inuyasha's eyes were each as wide as the full moon, and I was almost out of energy. But I wasn't finished. I reached over and tickled him right beneath his ribs on a whim, and what do you know—the Great Inuyasha was ticklish! He yelped and fell onto the soft dirt with a thud.
My head hurt, but I ignored it. This was my chance. It was perfect. With careful (but hurried) precision, I picked up the twig I had hit Inuyasha with and began scrawling a message in the sand. His eyes widened in disbelief as he saw the message I was writing: I'm here.
His bewildered face was the last thing I saw before I blacked out.