Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha

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Fingers curled into cool smoothness. The dirt of his homeland. He leaned forward, sighed, hand outstretched before his face. He peered through the dry, crumbling rain of dirt at what remained of his once prospering village.

It may have been the pervasive late-summer heat, it may have been his heart's desire, it may even have been denial. The sound of an encouraging, kittenish mewl nearby. The feel of an arm around him; fingers pulled to slump him against its owner's form. Uncertainty of the future hanging in the air, stagnant dreams, memories far from recently unearthed.

No matter the cause, he cursed his eyes. They lied.

Faded ghosts of villagers carried on with life, walking from home to home, building to building, shop to shop, caught in the midst of nonexistence and bathed in the bloody glow of the dying sun. They walked over their own graves in mindless, carefree oblivion. Echoes of laughter-chatter floating like dead leaves, they moved in flickers, vanished, appeared, vanished, returned, vanished, appeared… as if a simple trick of light were responsible.

This pretty lie lay before him, the residue of a life he once knew. A life fully destroyed, exterminated. Something slashed and bled dry, endlessly trying to reconstruct itself for those who wished to deny reality.

He squeezed his eyes shut.

Dry winds swept across the village, moved over him like a hand's caress. He stared beyond the emptiness of his past to the desolation beneath. Pretty stains streaked across the darkening horizon, lighting the wishful vision aflame. With a waver and a shimmer all remnants of the lie, a fleeting memory, were gone.

She pulled him closer, sighing.

The sun set. On them, on the village, on taijiya life. It couldn't be rebuilt, this graveyard of a home. But they could try.