It was astonishing how peaceful he looked, lying pinned by that arrow.

It also sparked the tiniest bit of fierce, hateful envy in her heart. What right did this thing have to lie there, so peaceful in false death, when she had to carry on day after day, grieving and fighting and learning and hurting, having to live?

But she came anyway, each year on the day, to spend the entirety of a day within the forest.

The only time she was able to be selfish. And she valued it.

He looked, as always, pristine. Untouched. As though time had stopped in this clearing forever, and he would forever remain this otherworldly creature, existing, intertwined with the tree, unchanging.

She fingered her hair that was not quite so pretty as Kikyo's, not quite so glossy or silky. Her skin wasn't the pale, untouched alabaster of her sister's either. Time was not her friend, and chances were, it never would be.

"Why do you have it so simple?" she muttered, glaring defiantly at the closed eyes of Inuyasha. "You won't age. You won't die. You'll simply be here. Forever, long after my bones are dust."

Inuyasha offered her no response, no defense. His neck could easily be slit if she so chose.

"I don't hate you." She admitted, sighing. "There's just no point in hating someone who can't feel that hatred."

Kaede turned away."I'll be back next year, Inuyasha. Don't go anywhere."

She chuckled slightly.

That was a cruel joke.