Life Lessons


Inuyasha jumped over the lip of the well, grumbling under his breath because, as usual, Kagome was late in returning. He practically threw the well house doors open only to find the said missing girl squatted down with the much too curious brat she called a brother. While in some ways Souta's admiration of him was enjoyable - and a definite ego booster after spending so much time with the others constantly berating him - much time with the others constantly berating him - the boy's constant chatter and ceaseless questions were enough to try the patience of a saint and everyone knew Inuyasha was no saint.

His shoulder's sagged slightly in defeat. He knew if Souta started twenty questions he'd have to play along or Kagome'd 'sit' him unless she decided to play his savior, but that wasn't likely. Baka girl loves to watch me suffer. Why else would she have subjected him to her 'sk-ool' friends?

However, curiosity was getting the best of the hanyou. Kagome always knew when he was there - she could sense youki like she could sense Shikon shards - but she was completely ignoring him. What in the hell are they looking at?

Kagome couldn't help but smile when she felt Inuyasha come through the well. Souta thought she was just smiling about their object of fascination. After a few minutes she looked over her shoulder. Sure enough she found one confused silver haired teen. "Oi, Inuyasha, come look." She waved him over and waited while he was sitting beside her.

He glanced at the thing that had them so raptured. On the ground in front of the two was a small see through box with a lid on it. Inside the box was what looked like a lot of dead grass covering the bottom, a large stick with a few dead leaves stuck to it and some sort of brown leaf hanging from it. Unconsciously he curled is lip wondering what was so amazing about this, but before he could voice his thoughts on their apparent stupidity the dangling 'leaf' started to wiggle.

Kagome giggled. "It's a cocoon. A butterfly, I think. Or I hope it is. It could be a moth, but I think it's a butterfly," she said, glancing at him with a smile. "Souta found it last fall. We knew if we left it, Buyo might destroy it, since it was in his favorite spot. So we broke the twig it was on and kept it in the container out on the back fence. I didn't want to take it away from the fresh air and sunshine - I just wanted to protect it."

He gave the container a suspicious glare. "So what's so interesting about that thing that you ended up being late again? It's just an insect."

She laughed again. He loved that sound. "It's time for the butterfly - or moth - to come out. She spun the cocoon during the winter and spent the entire time developing her wings so that when she came out in the spring she would be a beautiful butterfly...or a plain jane moth," she conceded with a shrug. "Right now she's starting to wake up and come out to greet the new season. We're watching to see what she'll be. Besides, it's so neat to be able to watch such a wonderful stage in life."

As she spoke the cocoon had continued to wiggle. Judging by the redness in their legs and the way Souta kept shifting around, they'd been at this for a while. Kagome's squeak brought him back to the box in time to see the cocoon crack and the wings and then front legs and body and finally the tail end of the insect emerge and climb out to stand on the cocoon shell. The whole process took quite a bit of time, but Inuyasha didn't seem to notice anymore. Kagome tensed with anticipation and she put one hand on his arm, fingers digging in slightly, while her eyes stayed glued t the creature inside the container as though she was silently willing it to keep going, giving it a gentle encouragement. When he saw her lips start to move, he knew that was exactly what she was doing. The same way she always seemed to encourage him with a gentle smile or an understanding glance. Kagome was really good at that.

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye, bushing when she realized he was watching her. Feeling slightly self conscious about the way he was looking at her, she busied herself with carefully removing the container's lid and setting it on the ground. Carefully she lifted the stick and set it on the lid. It had been broken in such a way that several twigs still sprouted from it and would support it in a standing position up off the ground. She watched as the creature unfurled it's wings and flapped them slightly to test them and to help dry them.

When he leaned forward to get a better look at the winged insect cleaning itself, she bit back a chuckle. Who would have thought something so small as this (though she enjoyed it) could fascinate her hanyou?

The butterfly fluttered into the air, hovering for a second or two to test it's flight before rising higher in the air and leaving them behind. Souta sighed softly. "Well, that's that and I've got homework." Kagome had lectured him earlier about pestering Inuyasha whenever he came through the well.

"I don't get it," Inuyasha said softly when the buy was gone.

"Don't get what?"

He frowned, thoughtful and she watched him rarely did she ever get to see this part of the teen. "You worked so hard to keep it safe and you liked it, right?"

Kagome nodded. "Yes, I made sure the cocoon didn't get damaged and butterflies are one of my favorite creatures. They're grateful and beautiful. So?"

"So, why'd you let it get away?" He looked out over the path the butterfly had taken. You could have kept it in the box."

Her smile was sweet when she touched his arm again. "Hai, I could have and it might have lived for a while at least, but I know that it wouldn't be fair to the butterfly. She deserved a choice." She stood, stretching her stiff legs. "When Souta and I were little we used to catch fireflies and we tried to keep them in a jar so that we could watch them glow at night, but Mama would never let us. She would take the jars from our hands and smile gently and say, 'I know you loved them, but you have to learn that when you really love something, you should let it go and give it the choice to stay with you or not. If it comes back then you know it loves you too, but if it goes and you never see it again then you know it wasn't meant to be.' Then she would open our jars and set our fireflies free and tell us to be happy for them because even though it was sad to know that they weren't coming back to us they were doing what made them happy and when you love someone then their happiness is the most important thing.'." She smiled brightly and turned away from him. "Well, I've already packed. I just need to get my backpack out of my room and give Souta his bug container back." With that she started picking up the lid and box.

She hadn't known it when her mother told her, but that little lesson would become very important in her future. It was what gave her the strength to forgive Inuyasha every time he left her to see Kikyo. I love him so I let him go. He's always come back and I'm glad, but even if one day he didn't, it would still be okay because I know he was doing what made him happy and as long as he's happy, I will be too.