Disclaimed as usual: all characters are property of Takahashi Rumiko et al,and no copyright infringement is intended. I do this for love, not money. :)

This story was originally produced for a weekly fic challenge on LiveJournal, but I liked it enough to add it here. I hope you like it as well.


an Inuyasha fanfiction by

Lynn Gregg

What he thought, but did not say, was that it reminded him of a star--roughly diamond-shaped, just to the right of the elegant column of her spine, and ringed almost completely about with half a dozen smaller indentations marking the places where arrows had lodged. It drew him, his eyes and his fingers, each time he was called to dress another of her battle wounds, and his helpful imagination supplied details he'd have preferred not to consider: the shape, for instance, of the kusarigama's thick hooked blade which accounted for the mark's odd shape, the longer trailing downstroke responsible for the length of raised red tissue below the central star. The weight of the weapon upon impact, driving the breath from her lungs and the strength from her knees, and the feeling of skin and sinew tearing, the unbearable scrape of metal on bone, the copper tang of blood in the air and on her tongue as she fell, disbelieving, beneath her dearest kinsman's attack, the shy and awkward boy turned brutally adept in his new master's hands.

He could map constellations on the milky sky of her back; some old, others newly drawn, himself turned cartographer in his ongoing attempts at discovering her. Each contained a story. Most of them were known to him, because he had lived them alongside her, like that of the neat crescent just above her left shoulder, curving in toward her neck; the flailing talon of a dying bird youkai had given her that, striking off the edge of her armour and nearly knocking her off Kirara in the process. He'd sewn that one up himself, holding her closer than she would have permitted under most circumstances, humming softly as he made deft, quick stitches while she clenched her teeth and fists.

There were others, of course, many courtesy of Naraku and company, others from the endless procession of youkai which were her chosen prey; some of the older ones he'd asked about, distracting her from her newer wounds by calling up those which no longer held the power to hurt. This one--small puckered stripe on the right bicep--I was slow to block during a training exercise and caught the tip of my opponent's blade. That one--marring the strong curve of a calf muscle--I took a mid-air hit from a squid youkai's tentacle when I was first learning to fight from Kirara's back; it pulled me off, but she caught me and pulled me back up before I hit the water. Stories, some told with laughter and pride, others with the glint of tears she would not shed, each a chapter in the book of her life--which she was, at last, allowing him to read.

What he thought, but did not say, was that she reminded him of a star, the best and brightest in the constellation of his friends--her constancy, her courage, and her unassailable grace making her that fixed pole in the heavens of his shifting universe to which he could always, unfailingly, turn.

kusarigama - Kohaku's chain-and-sickle weapon.