A/N: The promised epilogue. Now that this is finished, it means I'll be starting Unknown, the long-awaited Inu/Kag portion of my trilogy. I know a lot of you are rabid for it, so please bear with me. I hope you all enjoyed this story, I know I did! (I have been transformed into a HUGE Kagura/Sesshomaru supporter thanks to this story.) Don't forget to check out my new venture Wish Fulfillment, if you're tired of waiting for Inu/Kag action. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or anything there in. I own quite a few ideas, a novella I'm trying to publish, and the idea for my first novel! (I don't own any of the songs Sango sings either. They are songs I have very proudly pirated off the internet.)
What is love?
An editorial by Kagura Hart A short while ago, had anyone asked me, I would have told you that love was a burning desire to make myself known to someone who couldn't see me. That love was a kind of admiration so deep you would be blind to the people you hurt in attempts to receive the same feeling. A few weeks ago, love was merely an illusion because I had never truly allowed myself to love. But there are some people in this world that just beg to be loved, that are just so wonderful in what they do and who they are, that a person can't help but love them with all one's heart and soul. I know three such individuals, and because of them, because of the love I have for them, I can become a better person.
What is love? No, it's not just a song title. Love is something that the human species has agonized over for generations. Since the beginning of time. Love is the strangest of all our emotions. Some people say that it's just a chemical reaction that is interpreted by your brain to see one or several individuals as special. Something unique in your eyes. Others believe love to be the quintessential. Something we search for our entire lives. The thing to make us complete.
An editorial by Kagura Hart
A short while ago, had anyone asked me, I would have told you that love was a burning desire to make myself known to someone who couldn't see me. That love was a kind of admiration so deep you would be blind to the people you hurt in attempts to receive the same feeling. A few weeks ago, love was merely an illusion because I had never truly allowed myself to love. But there are some people in this world that just beg to be loved, that are just so wonderful in what they do and who they are, that a person can't help but love them with all one's heart and soul.
I know three such individuals, and because of them, because of the love I have for them, I can become a better person.
The sun, burning high and clear above the suburban driveway, brought little warmth to the occupant pacing the length of concrete. She hugged herself in her army jacket, both for insulation and out of aggravation at the small green car in front of her.
"I swear to the Gods," Kagura grumbled. "I am selling this hunk of junk."
"You always say that," Kagome laughed from where she sat on the wooden fence. Her legs hung from the middle rung, and Kagura marveled at how she could still wear a skirt in this weather.
"I mean it this time!" the writer growled. "This is the last time I get it fixed."
"Shouldn't I be the one to say that?" Sango laughed, coming up for air. Her face was streaked with grease, her hair hanging in her face, and she looked lovely. "I'm the one always fixing it."
"That's only out of your divine love for me," Kagura said with a kind of haughty knowledge.
"True," Sango nodded, then she smiled and went back to fixing the car. "It'll be ready in a minute. You were leaking oil."
"Of course I was," her sister sighed. "Next thing you know, I'll be driving down the highway and the engine will fall out."
"Don't say that," Kagome warned. "Or it might happen. You know, karma and all that stuff." She proceeded to knock on wood.
Kagura simply glared at the pair of them before plopping down on the driveway. "So, what time are we leaving for Serpentine tonight?"
"Eight," Kagome replied.
"I'm stoked," Sango added. She shut the hood of the car and wiped her hands off on a rag. "The annual Serpentine Halloween Party looks to be the best so far."
"So we're told," Kagome amended. "Last year's was horrible. The music was bad, the patrons were evil, and there was so much pot smoke in the air it burnt the inside of your nostrils." She wrinkled her nose for emphasis.
"But this year, Diego is in charge," Sango said with a smile. "Which guarantees great music and a comfortable atmosphere. Plus, candy!"
"The purpose of Halloween," Kagura nodded with a smile.
Originally, she had opted to man the candy door as she had every year since she was fourteen, when she had stopped trick-or-treating. But this year, Kagome and Sango had roped her into going to the annual Halloween party with her. She didn't put of that much of a fight, considering her unofficial boyfriend would also be in attendance. And of course, there was the bitching costume Kagome had helped her make just sitting in her bedroom, begging to be worn. And maybe Kagura just wanted an excuse to party with her friends. Because who didn't want to party with their friends?
"You're playing Mommy tonight, Kags?" she asked her friend, coming over to lean on the fence.
"Taking the boys out trick-or-treating for a while," Kagome nodded. "Rin is coming over to come with us. Mom gets off work at seven, so then I can pretty myself and we can party."
"And I'm going too," Sango piped up, hopping up to straddle the fence. Then she turned to Kagome. "So, what's your costume again?"
"Ha! I'm not telling. It's a secret."
"Aw, Kagome," Sango whined. "You know what me and Kagura are going as!"
"That's only because I had to help you make them," Kagome grinned. "I swear Sango St. John, you can fix a car better than anyone, but the day you find your way around a sewing machine is the day I build a Chevy with my bare hands."
Kagura snickered. "She's got you there."
"She had to help you too!" Sango shot back, not really offended at all.
"That's only because I was working so hard on my article! If I had more time, I could have done it myself."
"How did the article come out?" Kagome asked, tactfully changing subjects.
"Sesshomaru was dazzled, appropriately," Kagura smile proudly. "I think it's my most honest work."
"Of course your boyfriend would be dazzled," Sango laughed. "He wouldn't get any if he mocked it."
Kagura snorted. "I respect his opinion, so he'd get some either way."
"Kagura, you're such a wicked girl," Kagome laughed.
"Seriously, he liked it, and I'm glad."
"Then Sango and I look forward to reading it," the pretty neighbor girl replied with a smile.
"Well, I'll skip the niceties," Sango grinned. "I've got to go clean up. Then it's time for a candy run!"
"Aren't you too old to trick-or-treat?" Kagura asked as Sango headed back to the house.
Sango turned and only shrugged. "Free candy knows no age, sister dear."
Kagome giggled and got up from her seat. "I swear, that girl will never change."
"I hope not," Kagura agreed. "I'll see you later tonight."
Love is probably the most misunderstood of emotions. Love and kindness are often mistaken for weakness because compassion moves people to mercy. In a dog-eat-dog world, where it is often survival of the fittest, mercy can be the clincher. The real question is would you rather be a compassionate person and come in last, or a selfish person and come in first?
Success. Ruthlessness. Such things are needed in a business world. Determination is key.
Even in a world of such cut and dry, black and white morals, there is gray. Gray like the areas of love and hate. Yin and yang. Light and darkness. You can't have one without the other. People are capable of both. It's one of those benefits of free will. We can chose between being loved and loving others, or looking after number one forever.
"Down this street!" Rin informed her older brother, pointing a finger.
"I know this street," Inuyasha commented. "My friend Sango lives here."
"Yeah, Kagome lives next door to Sango and Kagura," Rin told him while rolling her eyes. "I've only told you that like a million times. You're so deaf sometimes."
"I resent that, little miss," he teased her, pulling up along the curb. Rin went to open the door, but he stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. "You remember the rules, right?"
Rin nodded, rolling her eyes. "Stay with the grown-up. Don't talk to strangers. Don't eat any open candy, or have someone look at it first. I'm eleven, Inuyasha. Not five."
"Not those rules," he nagged, poking her in the arm. "My rules. I expect a candy tax for carting you over here, you know. I would have taken you around our neighborhood."
"Yeah, but then you would have spent most of your time pelting houses with eggs and I would only get like four pieces of candy." Rin shook her head. "I want to enjoy my youth."
Inuyasha grinned at his sister, then leaned over in his seat. "Kiss, squirt." Rin obliged him with a kiss on the cheek. "I'll be back here to pick you up at eight."
"And I'll save all my Twix for you."
"That's my girl!"
Rin giggled as she hopped out of the car, pillowcase in hand, and scurried up the lawn to the Higurashi family front door. Inuyasha watched until she was admitted inside, then took off back home. He and Miroku were, upon invitation from Sango, attending some kind of party at the Serpentine tonight. He still had to get a costume together.
"Hey, Rin," Kagome greeted, letting her inside. "You look so adorable!"
Rin posed. She wore a white and red kimono, which would have been fine on its own, but Rin was a rebel and improved it. There was a small fake sword hanging at her hip, a few pieces of armor on her shoulders, and a huge fluffy, white boa hanging over her right shoulder.
"Thanks! Inuyasha helped me make it. I'm a demon!"
"What kind of demon?" Kagome asked, smiling.
"A really strong one," Rin smiled. "A demon lord or something. I could smite you with one arm."
"Wait until you see my costume," Kagome grinned back. "Then we'll see who smites who."
"Where are Kohaku and Souta and Shippou?"
"Sango is helping them add the finishing touches to their costumes, come on." Kagome took Rin's hand and led her upstairs to where the boys were finally ready.
"Hi, Rin," Kohaku greeted. "You look great!"
"You too," Rin agreed.
Kohaku was dressed in a black and blue body suit, much like one of the outfits he wore during karate class. Sango came up behind him, dressed alike except hers was pink and black, and proceeded to hug him senseless. "He's my mini-me," she laughed.
"We're demon hunters," he told Rin, squirming in Sango's hold.
"So you're going to be hunting me?" Shippou asked, hopping down from the bed. He was going as a fox demon, complete with red fuzzy tail and pointed ears. Kagome had tied leaves into his hair for added effect. He looked like he had in the doodle she had done of him weeks before.
"Me too!" Souta exclaimed. He was a cat demon with two tails, whiskers, and fake ears on his head. Kagome had also purchased fake claws for him, so he could frighten other kids.
"Looks like we demon hunters will have a lot to do," Kohaku sighed. He had stopped struggling and let Sango cuddle him. He didn't really mind, since all three boys loved Sango as a second sister.
"You're right," said second sister replied. "We should arm ourselves."
"Yes!" They both took up their arms, which were really just a pair of fake swords that went through their belts, and a hand-made weapon of cardboard and rope. Kohaku's was a small bone-like projectile at the end of a rope. Sango's was like a giant boomerang that she pulled over her shoulder on a strap. "We're ready to fight the forces of evil."
"Kagome," Sango smiled. "You're the only one not in costume yet."
"I know," she laughed. "I'm just tormenting you."
Sango pouted for a moment, causing Kagome to laugh even more, then went back to playing with the four kids. Kagome trekked up to her room to change before coming back down the stairs. When she returned, she was dressed in a pair of strange red and white robes. In her hand was a bow, and a quiver of fake arrows were on her shoulder.
"What are you supposed to be?" Souta asked, rubbing his nose.
"I'm a miko," Kagome told him. "A priestess. I have magic powers and fight demons to save the day." Then she grinned evilly. All the demons in the room proceeded to gulp.
"Come on everyone," Sango announced, pillowcase in hand. "It's candy time!"
A cheer went up that could be heard down the block.
When she and Kagome were within distance, she leaned over and whispered into her ear. "This is your big secret costume?"
"One of them," Kagome smiled.
Love comes in many different forms.
A lot of people believe that it comes in only one form: the love one has for the person they want to share their lives with. But that just isn't so.
It is also a common belief that heartbreak only happens when you lose a lover. I am proof enough to tell you that there is heartbreak for the loss of others.
I lost my mother at a young age, and the pain of that will be with me until the day I die. It broke my heart, knowing that she would never be there again, and such an experience kept me from loving others for a very long period of time. I thought that to love anyone, family, friends or lovers, would just be another heartbreak.
As hard as it is to fully love someone, the kind of unconditional love you give whole-heartedly, it is even harder to live without it.
At 7:59, Kagome was racing around her house.
"Mom, have you seen my wig?"
"It's in the bathroom, dear," her mother yelled from the kitchen, where she was doing the dishes after feeding four very sugar-hyped grade schoolers.
"Its not in here, Mom!"
"The other bathroom, Kagome."
Her mother chuckled in that mother-like way. Kagome bounded down the staircase just as there was a knock on the door. Kagura and Sango burst into the house, hollering about partying until the sun came up. Though Sango was dressed the same as always, Kagura had changed into her costume. A slinky kimono complete with feathers and a lace fan. They were making so much noise that Kagome didn't hear the phone ringing until her mother called for her.
Kagome took the phone in the kitchen, an older model that still had a cord, so she stretched it out into the hall for a little privacy.
"Kagome? This is Principal Schemata, I was wondering if you would be interested in participating in a new program the school is sponsoring."
"What kind of program?"
"It's a tutoring service. You'll be paid for your time, of course. Would you like to hear more?"
"Mr. Schemata, I would love it."
The most magical thing about love is that it is never ending.
I could find a million and one people who tell me that it does end, or that people can fall out of love, but that isn't so. Love, real love, lasts forever. Affection can change. Lust can be sated. But love is forever. That is the kind of love that is between a parent and a child. The kind of love between best friends. The kind of love shared by real lovers.
Maybe the parent can pass away, or the best friend can move away, or lovers can split up, but a part of that person will always be with you. You will always love them, even if you can't see or hear or smell them. You can still feel them in your heart. You can still hear their voices in your mind and see their faces in your memory.
Real love leaves a lasting impression that will remain with a person until the day they die. And I suspect, it can remain even longer.
"A tutor?" Sango asked for the third time from the backseat. "You're seriously going to be a tutor? When will you have the time?"
"Well, since I get paid for my time tutoring, I can ask for less hours at the store," Kagome rationalized. "I'll be making more an hour tutoring than I would at the video store, anyway. Plus, no taxes."
"You'll probably get stuck with some snot-nosed freshman who needs you to help him remember his A-B-C's," Kagura grinned. " I'd never stand it, but Kagome has more patience than either of us."
"True," Sango agreed.
The three girls pulled into the Serpentine parking lot and jumped out of the car, pumped and ready for a night of partying.
"So, Kags," Sango said, draping an arm over her friend's shoulders.
"This is you last costume, right? I mean, if you hid a third in that purse, I'd be mighty impressed."
"Nope, this is the only other one," she smiled. Kagome had changed from her miko robes into a long white skirt, a white turtle neck, white sneakers, and a slivery-white wig. She also wore a pair of white cat-like ears on the top of her head. Now, it would seem a kind of frumpy costume, if she hadn't cut away the section of shirt that covered her stomach, sections of the sleeves, and improvised long slits in the skirt that started halfway down her thigh. The way she figured, Halloween was the only night she was allowed to be trashy.
"What do you call this one?" Kagura asked, giving the normally conservative Kagome a good once-over.
"A dog demon's bride," she said with a mischievous grin.
"Hey, look," Sango pointed. "Kouga's here!"
Kouga stood near the entrance, in his signature wolf costume. It was the exact same one he'd worn every year since the fifth grade—except layers were added on as he got older and taller. When he saw the three girls, he smiled and waved.
"Yeah," Kagome said as she waved back. "Tonight is the big date with Ayame."
"Oh, lovebirds," Sango sighed. "You must love them to pieces."
"You know I do," Kagura butted in with a smirk. "I just hope Ayame doesn't chew him up too badly."
"Ah, he can take it," Kagome said with a wink. Then she sped up a step to meet her friend at the door.
"Do you think this hook-up will work?" Sango asked her sister.
"Definitely," Kagura nodded. "The pair of them can drive each other to distraction."
Sango would have retorted, but she was suddenly mauled from behind. "Sango, my love, it's been so long!"
"Demon!" Sango shrieked, struggling to throw him off. "Warn a person! I nearly had a heart attack."
Kagura laughed and kept moving. "I'll see you inside, San."
"Wait! Don't leave me here alone!" But it was too late, Kagura was gone and she was indeed alone, at the mercy of Demon and Grimm, who came swaggering up a minute later.
"Help me?" she asked, being reduced to giving in a puppy face.
"Ok." Inuyasha made short work of tugging Miroku off of Sango, despite minimal protests.
"Come on! I haven't seen her in three whole days! Plus, luscious costume! I couldn't help myself."
"If you hadn't been cutting class, you would have seen me in school," she pointed out. "But on the costume front, thanks."
"Yeah, well… Yeah!"
Inuyasha and Sango only laughed in his face.
"Well, I can see you guys put great thought and detail into your costumes."
Miroku was dressed in black with a purple sheet draped over his shoulders like a toga. He also held a long wooden stick, like a staff. Inuyasha was dressed in some old red martial arts clothes that he had stopped wearing after advancing to a new level in his training.
They both shrugged. "Laundry," was said in unison.
She nodded, understanding perfectly.
"Come along then, we have to party. Oh! I want to introduce you to Kagome, finally. She's here with Kouga and her friend, Ayame." Almost as an afterthought, she quirked a brow at Inuyasha. "Did Sesshomaru come?"
"Oh yeah," Inuyasha smirked. "But you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"No, probably not."
Can love be one-sided?
I don't believe it's possible. I believe that if one person has feelings for another who has none for them, it is not true love. True love can only exist between two people, not one. No matter how deeply the feeling is held in one person, no matter how much they long for the person, no matter how much they would give for the other's happiness, if adoration is not returned, it can not be considered love.
That is why a person should not be able to chose who they love. If they were, they would end up spending all of their time pining after people who didn't love them simply because they had a cool car or a lot of money or a nice rear end. Love is something that is greater than the physical or the material. Love is something that can make two people who would ordinarily have nothing to do with one another become inseparable. Love knows no race or creed or religion or gender.
The ancient Greeks believed that humans were once two beings joined at the back, either two women, two men, or a man and a woman. One day, humans split into two separate beings. They believed that it is the greatest obligation of the human to find their other half, regardless of who they are. That is the essence of soul mate.
"That's her?" Kouga asked, pointing to the redhead sitting at the juice bar. She wore a wolf-like costume as well, ears and fur abound, and managed to look both beautiful and alluring in the process.
"That's Ayame," Kagome nodded, taking his hand. "Come on! I'll introduce you."
Ayame sat on her stool, a bored expression on her face as she sipped at her drink. It was one of those coconut drinks with a straw and an umbrella, but she was no more interested in that than she was in anything else that was going on around her.
"Ayame," she heard someone call from behind. Looking up, she saw Kagome coming toward her in a killer costume, flaunting an even more killer smile. Trailing behind her was a very attractive boy in fur. Ayame was already perking up.
"I'm glad you could come," Kagome said with a nod.
"Me too," Ayame agreed. Girl rule number one: small talk to make a guy feel like he wasn't as important as he really was. "So, who is this with you?"
"Ayame, this is my good friend, Kouga. Kouga, this is Ayame." She yanked Kouga in front of her, made proper introductions and waited for the results.
"Hello, Kouga," the video clerk greeted, flashing him a flirty smile.
"Hi, Ayame," he greeted, nodded his head as he held out his hand. They shook, and the sparks that flew from that single physical action made Kagome inwardly cheer. Attraction was a powerful thing.
"Well, I'll let you two get better acquainted," she said with a pat on each of their shoulders. "I'm going to go mingle."
"Have fun," they both said, not even giving her a second glance. Kagome didn't even mind.
"So, would you, uh, want to dance, or something?" Kouga asked, kind of shy, kind of awkward. Utterly charming.
"I would love to dance," Ayame nodded, smiling sweetly. No urge to be catty or teasing. His attention was totally hers, even if there were prettier girls around.
Kagome watched them head on to the dance floor from further down the bar, sighing from the depth of her romantic soul. Hojo never asked her to dance, it just wasn't his thing. Now a days, he was more interested in getting her to the backseat of his car. Still, she wished he were here. He had bailed on the Halloween party at the last minute, to go to another one at his friend's beach house. Kagome had been invited, but she had previous plans. He was unhappy, but she made it clear that his pouting wasn't going to change her mind.
"Kags," Sango called, bringing her back to herself. "I want you to meet someone!"
She had just noticed that there was someone trailing Sango, or rather, someone clutching on to Sango's hand for dear life as a mosh pit erupted around the bar area.
"This is Demon. Demon, this is Kagome."
When they came face to face, Miroku blanched. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed, pointing at her as if she were the missing link. "Video store girl!"
Kagome only blinked, adjusted her ears, and cocked her head to one side. "Uh...hi?"
"You work at Starland, don't you?" he asked earnestly.
"Yeah," Kagome confirmed, smiling a little. "Why?"
"I just recognized you, that's all," he said, grinning like the Devil himself. "Where's Grimm?"
Sango turned around and looked back into the crowd. She saw a flash of red up by the speakers, but that was it. He was gone. "Disappeared," she shouted over the music. "Just like him to book when he's needed."
"Oh man, he shoulda been here," Miroku laughed. Then he smiled in a friendly manner and took Kagome's hand. "Sorry, I'm Miroku. You can call me Demon."
"Hello, Miroku. I've heard a lot about you," Kagome responded, shaking his hand. "If you don't mind, I like to stick with real names."
"I've heard oodles about you too, sweetie," he said with a grin. "And you can call me whatever you want."
"No funny ideas, you pervert," Sango warned.
"I am pure as the freshly driven snow!" Miroku cried indignantly.
Kagome giggled. "I like you."
Thus the friendship between Kagome and Miroku began.
I was placed in charge of the Cultural portion of our school newspaper to discuss the important issues facing all young people today.
To me, nothing is more important to a person's life than the people they love.
It should never matter, who you love. Because to love is a gift. To be loved is a blessing that should be cherished.
Mixed race dating, arranged marriages, homosexuality… none of that should matter in the long run. It doesn't matter who you love, because love in itself is a mystery. That is the way it has always been, and always should be. From now until the end of time. No one can ever tell you who to love, or how to love. It should simply be embraced.
It is the most important thing in the world to find love, in one shape or form, with some person. Love in any form, be it for a family member, for a friend, or for a lover. To live a life with love is to live a life, and that is the greatest thing in the world.
Kagura waited to the side of the stage. Diego sat behind his turntables, playing one loud and dance-worthy song after another. She danced a little after being dragged out on to the floor by Kagome and Sango a few times. She happily engage in a conversation with Bankotsu and Jakotsu, who had crashed the party dressed like a cocktail waitress and waiter. All the while, she was waiting for her boyfriend to show up.
What she didn't expect was to be approached by Naraku, who came up beside her when she took a breather at one of the tables to the side.
"Hey, Kagura," he greeted, sitting across from her.
"Naraku," she said in surprise. "I didn't think you'd be in attendance."
"Didn't think this was your scene," he shot back.
"Not usually," she admitted. "My friends dragged me here."
"You're not on a date?" he asked, a smile playing at his mouth and a light entering his eyes.
"Not at the moment," Kagura told him with a shrug. "He's late."
"So it's true after all."
Naraku shrugged, looking toward the juice bar. "You're involved." 'With our anal retentive newspaper editor,' went unsaid.
Kagura smiled, a kind of dreamy smile that one only can make when one has a lover. "Yes."
"It's too bad," he told her, leaning closer. "You would have looked really good at my side."
Kagura smiled and leaned a little closer to him. "If you had noticed me anytime during the past three years, I would be at your side." Then Kagura pushed back in her chair and stood up. "But I don't think it's bad at all, because I am completely devoted to Sesshomaru." Smiling at him one more time, Kagura turned and moved into the crowd.
Naraku was filled with an unfamiliar kind of emotion. Something akin to anger, but also a longing feeling that was foreign to someone who had always gotten what he wanted. Jealousy maybe. He smiled a little, at the very idea of feeling something so petty.
He had been rejected before, well, out off. Hitting on girls with boyfriends, like Kagome Higurashi. But that had never been a serious conquest he would have gone after. Kagura was different. As he watched her walk away, he felt something new roiling in his stomach.
She had seen him come in through the front doors. It was impossible not to see him, really. Sesshomaru just had a commanding presence, and he demanded to have his presence known.
Now that she had a better look at him, she smiled. He was wearing the same costume as Rin had been wearing that afternoon, only a size to fit him.
"Love the costume," she complimented, coming up beside him.
"Thank you," he replied, as poker faced as ever. Sarcasm was wasted on him.
"A thousand apologies. My mother felt the urge to take pictures of Rin and me when both of us were dressed."
"But you look adorable," she offered with a grin. "And your sister did as well."
He looked at her levelly, then turned away. "Yes, well, it was all Mother's idea, for us to dress alike."
"It's probably your last year to ever wear a Halloween costume," Kagura rationalized. "It's only right you have to suffer through commemorative photos and prodding from your girlfriend."
"Girlfriend?" Sesshomaru echoed, looking at her quizzically. "You're my girlfriend now?"
"Yes," she informed him, linking her arm around his. "Whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me now."
"I think I could get used to that."
Once upon a time...
There lived a girl named Kagura…
Who dreamed of finding her true love…
Instead of finding what she was looking for…
She found something even better…
And she and her Frog Prince lived happily ever after!
A/N: Thanks again to all the readers of this story—you've made it worthwhile. Hang around for the next installment; it should be starting in the next two weeks!