A/N: Such a creative title, I know. I originally intended this to be a romance (obviously with Kohaku being a bit older) but then it became this instead. It has the same idea behind it though, so I'm happy.
Disclaimer: This is the worst thing that's happened to musical theatre since Andrew Lloyd Webber! …Plus I don't own these people.
A note for those unfamiliar with events that occur later in the series…:
SPOILER BEGINS IN
SPOILER STARTS HERE:
Kohaku eventually does regain his memory, but fools Naraku (and everyone else) into believing he hasn't in order to stay alive. His ultimate goal is to defeat Naraku, even at the cost of his own life. Kagura is also searching for ways to destroy Naraku. So look at that, they have something in common.
Kagura raised an eyebrow at her companion. The moment they had touched down in the middle of the forest he had begun to gather dry bits of wood in order to build up a fire. Then again, she supposed it was a chilly night and Kohaku was only a young human. As for herself, she never noticed the cold unless she really concentrated. Even then it did not bother her.
Having just carried out another misdeed for Naraku, both were left somewhat weary. But after a while it was clear that Kohaku needed time to rest. The two had silently agreed that anywhere was more favorable then going back to face more orders from Naraku or Hakudoushi right away, so Kagura took the first opportunity she saw to land.
Kohaku had built up a small blaze at last and huddled close to it with his knees drawn up to his chest and his back to Kagura.
"Cold, Kohaku?" Kagura asked innocently, filling her voice with false concern which easily turned to malice. "Naraku is a fool to keep such a weak human in his service. I don't see why he hasn't removed that shard from your back yet."
Kohaku didn't respond, for he knew that she was only trying to bait him either for her own amusement or because she needed something to take anger out on. Despite her cold words and his equally unfeeling lack of response, she moved to sit down lightly beside him and he did not shift away. They'd grown used to each other since they were often called on to work together, and so neither felt the other's presence particularly uncomfortable.
Kagura glanced at the boy beside her. He was frowning as if in deep concentration as he stared into the fire and absent-mindedly rubbed the chills from his arms. She couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking about, as she often found herself doing. In truth he was a complete mystery to her, mostly because he usually remained so silent. Kohaku was a loyal servant. He carried out any of Naraku's orders- no matter how gruesome- without flinching. And each time he would have this strange glazed look in his eye as testimony that he truly did not care about his actions. Kagura had no love for any living thing, but even she was disturbed to see a mere child carry out some of the actions that Kohaku did.
All this would lead her to believe that he truly did not remember anything. Not even being human. And yet…
Every so often she would catch him shooting death glares at Hakudoushi, or herself, or even Naraku, or else he would stare at his hands with a bewildered and pained expression on his face as if realizing what he'd accomplished with them. Kohaku was a closed book- untouchable and unreadable- and yet a turmoil burned within him that at times could not be suppressed.
Sometimes she wondered if the boy was merely fooling them all. Such an act to keep up. What could he possibly hope to accomplish?
"What are you thinking about?"
It surprised her to discover that the question had been asked in her own voice. Of course, Kohaku rarely if ever began conversations. She just hadn't realized she was saying her thoughts out loud until it was too late.
Kohaku returned from his daydreaming and gave her a startled looked. The look he wore quite often, she realized, that depicted the face of some one caught doing something they shouldn't.
"Nothing," he replied a moment later. He turned back to the fire, his face slightly red.
At this point Kagura had had it. Here they were, just the two of them in the middle of the woods. If she was ever going to discover anything about him then now was the time.
"Don't give me that," she warned him, "you're obviously troubled by something. Spill it."
Still the boy remained silent. Kagura sighed and looked away. Perhaps it would just be a waste of time and energy to try to get him to talk. The two lapsed into silence once more, both still and brooding. Finally Kagura gave way to curiosity and impatience. Whether to try to get him to open up or simply to break the silence they were all too accustomed to, she didn't know, but suddenly she found herself voicing her thoughts to the boy again.
"He thinks nothing of me. I've done so much for him, but just because he created me, and just because he could so easily destroy me… just because he has such control over me… he thinks I am nothing." Her words were bitter and cut a lot deeper than she had meant, but now that she had begun she could not so easily stop. "Even InuYasha and his company… they think of me just the same. A half-breed and a couple of weak humans think I am nothing. They think I'm just Naraku's puppet. As if I would do anything for him if it were my choice…"
As if subconsciously understanding her intentions, Kohaku spoke. "I don't think you're nothing. I think you're beautiful." He seemed startled, but not displeased that he had said these words, but did not turn his gaze from the fire. Kagura was caught completely off guard. The boy barely said anything at all, let alone to compliment her. She quickly gathered her wits in order to reply.
"Hah. That means nothing. I don't need to be beautiful."
"Then what do you need?" Kohaku asked, now entirely focused on her.
She stared at him, wondering for a moment if he was somehow reprimanding her for breaking their norm and trying to have an extended conversation for once. His eyes showed nothing but the purist sincerity.
"To be free," she said firmly. "That is all I want, and all I ever will want."
Kohaku nodded, obviously finding her wish reasonable.
"What about you?" Kagura pressed, hoping she wasn't going too far by tapping further into the boy's feelings. "You must have some sort of desire. That woman… that demon-slayer woman- she's your sister. You must know that by now. I hear you whisper her name in your sleep. Don't you want to be with her?"
Kohaku flinched but gave no other indication that her statement was true. He couldn't risk revealing anything, no matter how trustworthy Kagura seemed at that moment.
"I guess…" he began carefully, wondering how he could carefully phrase his feelings, "I guess all I want is a friend."
Kagura snorted. "A friend, huh? Well…" she hesitated slightly before making a quick decision and saying nonchalantly, "I suppose you'll have to call me your friend. We're stuck together often enough, and the rest of our colleagues aren't exactly sociable." She turned to see the boy's reaction and was surprised to find that he was shaking.
"You really think of me as a friend?" he asked quietly.
Again she snorted, though if he had looked Kohaku would have seen kindness flash briefly through her eyes. "I don't need friends. You do as you like, Kohaku."
He nodded, and for the rest of the night they were silent. But Kohaku's frown was not as deep as before and when fatigue eventually overtook him and he fell asleep on Kagura's shoulder she simply didn't have the will to move him.