KSDG: Holy crap, I didn't think I would miss writing for pleasure so much! -hugs laptop close-

Inu: Bitch, you're just lazy. Look at all the other fics left to rot.

KSDG: I was busy with summer school! And excuse me, Mr. Ungrateful, but I let you do what you want. Everytime I wanted to write this you go: "Nah, I don't wanna do that." or "Oi! Rewrite this!"

Inu: As the main character, I can demand what I wish!

KSDG: Little shit, come 'ere and say that!

Inu: Little? -smirks- Who are talkin' about shorty?

KSDG: -blank stare- -suddenly turns into Ed-

Inu: ...

A/N: Yeah, as said, I had to put off other stories to concentrate on this fic, despite the fact that they were already late. And, for warning, no calling me "shorty" anyway-not even in a joke.

This is also a special fic created for my friend: InuKik4Ever. Happy Birthday! And I apologize for the wait.

Yes, I'm well aware that the two never had a physical relationship in their past, but I promised InuKik-chan fluff, and, honestly, the characters wouldn't obey me. Then, I just let it flow. It was a challenge however since I'd never written anything pre-series until now. Note please, that since I have to come to my aunt's house to type now (my mom's too lazy to get me internet at our new home) I'd appreciate some patience. My nerves are already kinda shot and forgive the grammatical errors.

Each chapter will have a song too since it's no longer a one-shot. These song lyrics are from "A Simple Kind of Life" by Gwen Stefani when she was in the group "No Doubt". Check it out sometime.

Enjoy! ;)


Finale:

Past, Present, and Future


Amazing how much he would give up, when not long ago, they were the strangest of strangers and the deadliest of enemies. Neither was prepared for the understanding to bloom.

Inuyasha couldn't understand how he had fallen so much-all for the sake of her.

Was this humiliation worth it? He would wonder when pesky children chirped to tweak his ears.

Was this embarrassment worth it? He would ponder when she turned to him out of curiosity, his cheeks burning red from something he hadn't meant to say.

Then, the woman would smile; yes, it was still laden with sadness, but it was rare for her to smile without the company of children at her heels. And what's more, it was directed only to him. In truth, it made him feel…special. It was the first time in a long while that he would feel something akin to happiness, far too long when he could look at someone without seeing fear and hatred etched into their faces.

The hanyou could recall the day they had encountered each other-resentment and arrogance was what he sneered at the priestess, just like she showed him nonchalance and haughtiness. In the beginning, he hated her with every fiber of his being. It wasn't just because she would constantly defeat him in their brief quarrels, or the way she resembled his older brother, too much for his taste…but because he saw something in the woman that he refused to acknowledge within himself.

It was the pained loneliness.

Inuyasha absolutely detested looking into her cerulean oculars. Too much laid evident before him, even though it remained concealed for most periods of time beneath voluminous veils of black.

The half-demon disregarded these looks however, and merely kept his one priority in the front of his mind: the Shikon no Tama.

One day however, he couldn't find her as quickly as usual. It confounded him at first, but he managed to catch her scent. Following the faint traces of her smell, Inuyasha knew that he didn't find it as fast because she was near water.

It was an interesting combination of aromas-fresh like the dawn and morning dew, mingling in with the scent of pomegranates. He had come across the fruit once when he was very small, a vendor had been selling the produce; however he, being a hanyou and without currency, had to steal one…of course.

Luckily, Inuyasha had grown into quite the adept thief-it was necessary after all-and managed to escape the humans who immediately gave chase. The fruit was sweet, he recalled; and the boy liked how the seeds seemed to melt into his mouth, tantalizing his tongue. He's had a taste for them since then…

Creeping up silently towards the cliff, he tried to sense the jewel's aura-for it would send beckoning signals towards him, somehow, someway; almost pleading for his soul-tainted with both human and demon blood to make a wish.

Inuyasha immediately knew it wasn't there; but another signal probed him to continue, something else made him continue further out onto the ledge. He was curious to see the vulnerability, the shedding of the robes that made Kikyou the priestess everyone revered and praised. In this state, he might just get her back…

Instead, the young half-demon felt his tongue grow lame, eyes widen a fraction as a burning sensation flamed into his cheeks. To say, he was stunned by the obsidian tresses that flowed down her back like an aquatic halo, no longer bound by that tenuous ribbon. The robe had water seeping through, clinging to her form, and he was able to tell that her skin resembled the smoothest of alabaster; but no doubt, softer and suppler.

Hastily, Inuyasha turned away.

Like any other man around his age, perhaps even younger, would begin to question the opposite gender. He'd frown at the couples he sometimes saw in his traveling, trying to deny this little pest called 'envy'; ask himself if he would ever smile at someone like that, feel proud and strong to have a smaller hand entwined in his own. Just to feel needed.

These were, of course, foolish young mans' wishes; and his hanyou blood only made it all the more difficult to see some thing like that happening in his life.

Lightly scoffing, the half-demon spun to leave when he felt an intense sensation start to bore into his back; he had felt those eyes many times, to his face and from behind. Inuyasha glanced at the miko who watched him carefully. It always appeared as though she wished to dissect him, her cerulean orbs weren't thrashing, but they still looked tumultuous, never wavering.

He hated it; unnerving. And he leapt away without a second glance.

-(--

Kikyou watched Inuyasha continue the glare; she didn't need to question his defensive stature. Being who he was, he must've fought through much trial and error to ensure himself of his survival. It was the way of the hanyou, the half-breed.

She decided to break the tension. "This is the first time we've spoken up close,"

"So what's your point?"

The miko caught the distaste, but paid no mind; casting him a brief look through her peripheral vision, Kikyou wondered about this half-man who now sat by her side-only three feet away, yet she could feel the warmth of a being, just by him crouching there. A question slipped from her lips, one she hadn't meant to say, nor even thought of.

"Inuyasha, how do I look to you? Do I seem human?"

"Now what are you going on about?" he answered with a question of his own. Inuyasha cursed mentally; what the hell was she scheming?

She continued-against her better judgment, but nonetheless, did so. "I show my weakness to no one; I must never have doubts or else demons would get the better of me,

Inside, I'm an ordinary woman, yet I cannot reveal myself as such."

Then, she said something that surprised them both.

"In many ways, we are similar-both outsiders. That is why I was unable to kill you,"

It was a lie, he just knew it; Inuyasha tried convincing himself that it was a fallacy-meant to have him let his guard down, respond by sympathizing with her, tell her his own dark secrets. Well, it wouldn't work on him. The hanyou swore to never let another being near, no matter if they were sincere or not.

"Get over it, we all got our own cross to bear." He replied acridly, sneering down at her as he began to leave. There was no saying why he stopped; Kikyou hadn't told him to halt, yet he did.

Inuyasha was, again, stunned by the longing in her blue eyes, lonely and sad. It was like looking into a mirror, one that he had gazed into for many years, trying to decipher what to do with his own inquiring person, how to repent and gain acceptance into this hell he called 'life'.

"You're right," she murmured to him. "I shouldn't complain,"

Inuyasha quirked an eyebrow, but remained silent; nothing came to mind, so he couldn't respond. The young half-demon merely continued to watch the miko as she rose from her spot.

Kikyou expected no sympathy, no kind word-and she didn't want him to. Though they've only known each other for a little while, it's quite apparent that Inuyasha was reclusive. She understood this, and pressuring him wouldn't do anything. Kikyou had no right to do such a thing anyway; and it's more of a matter to why she would it in the first place.

It didn't take her long to realize that she just wanted to talk. Telling Inuyasha that bit of information…it made her feel relieved, a part of the weight lifting off her shoulders. It was dangerous to risk your personal life with someone whom you didn't know much about, especially when they were an enemy as well. However, it wasn't the case with him.

It couldn't be called as trust, the priestess concluded, but more based on the fact that he wouldn't say anything. Who would he tell?

Still, she thought as she glanced at the man's retreating form. A tinge of that trust was indeed forming. Whether she couldn't help it or not, if it was for better or for worse, it will be left alone to grow.

Foes were many, comrades were few…but companions were rare; even if they didn't like you.

--)-

"You're improving rapidly Kaede," Kikyou told her younger sister.

Kaede's eyes instantly lit up. "Really, Onee-sama?! Am I really getting better?"

"Yes," she assured her sibling with a small smile. "Every day you are able to hit the mark even closer."

The little girl grinned up at her older sister; she was delighted that she was doing something right-so well enough that she smiled. In truth, it was her dream to live up her sister's reputation as the powerful priestess she was regarded by, both from near and far.

Since she still had much to learn, Kaede knew that it would take a long time before she could accomplish anything worth measuring. Right now though, Kikyou's praise and encouragement was good enough.

Notching in another arrow, the child pulled back the string and released. Her brown eyes widened when the arrow hit nothing, not even the ground; it merely lay resting in clawed fingers, and Kaede couldn't help but fume.

"Inuyasha-san that was a perfect shot and ye ruined it!"

He held the urge to smirk at the young girl-mostly because of the dialect only the elders used. "Really? Didn't seem like it was goin' anywhere,"

Kaede pursed her lips in anger, clenching her small fists tightly, while keeping her eyes locked on the male; the girl simply took another arrow from her quiver and readied it again. She made sure that the hanyou was at bay before she could shoot then released.

And again, he caught it.

"Inuyasha-san!"

Biting back the urge to give a victorious smirk, he retreated a step and lifted a hand in surrender. Handing her back the arrows he held, Inuyasha walked over to the older priestess and leaned his back against the trunk of the tree she sat at.

No words were passed between the three-the elder folk just watched the young child keep aiming for that specific mark. Casting a short sidelong glance at Kikyou, Inuyasha cocked his head upwards, his face in its usual stern concentration, ears attentive to every sound made in the density of the brush.

It wasn't like the two to conjure up a sort of small talk; from one who's had experiences in the ways of couples, it'd seem as if the two were too shy to speak anything. That was not the case. The priestess and half-demon found they never really had to converse of insignificant topics. Neither was completely aware that the sense of the other's presence was more than enough.

Inuyasha let out a small sigh of annoyance. Kikyou continued to remain where she was seated, never even blinked as the youkai suddenly appeared from the wood, teeth bared and hissing. Kaede was the one who gave a small scream, but was done just as fast as it had squirmed in her throat and been let out. Inuyasha killed it with a flick of his wrist, not even breaking from his façade-but it did deepen.

"That was such a waste of seconds," he grumbled, putting his hands through the sleeves of his keso.

Kikyou chuckled lightly-catching her sister and the half-demon off guard. "Then maybe you should've let it live a moment longer; after all, you don't seem highly entertained today."

Tilting his head a slight bit to the right, Inuyasha found that he was fighting off a sheepish grin. For a woman he's only known for a brief time…she sure knows how to get underneath his skin. The ears upon his head twitched-curious if she actually laughed. Indeed, Kikyou let a small one leave her throat.

Kaede looked back and forth between the two, shook her head and disregarded this 'adult moment' with a notch of an arrow and a pull of string with index, middle and ring fingers.

-(--

For a long time, I was in love

Not only in love, I was obsessed

Inuyasha looked across to the middle of the small field, watching the woman and children intently. He snorted derisively. Sure, the priestess loved kids, but why the hell did they have to treat her like a doll-pulling her back and forth like that. Honestly, give the priestess a damn minute to walk.

Were it he in her position, little shits would already be ruing the day they dared to—

"Inuyasha," the voice was smoky and warm. "Why don't you come down and join us?"

Surprised by Kikyou's voice, he did what he always did in 'uncomfortable' situations, "Keh! You gotta be kiddin'!" he sniffed as he turned around and plopped down on the branch he'd been on.

"Let's play ball!" one child shouted.

"No; pick flowers!" another cried joyfully.

Kikyou simply continued to laugh; it wasn't like the coquettish giggles he would so oft hear among the throngs of young maidens, their coy dark eyes already seeking possible husbands. Even though the young girl hardly allowed herself to break from her stoic mask, when it did happen, your ears would sharpen on their own accord-wanting to hear the mirthful yet melancholy chuckles. It was one that could make you cry from its wonderful sorrow.

And gods, he loved hearing it.

With a friendship that no one else could touch

It didn't work out; I'm covered in shells

"Hanyou-sama!"

Confused by the honourific following his daily insult, Inuyasha turned his head down. Two young children eyed him with inquisitive pools of brown.

"My sister wants to know if you wanna play."

Crap, not again. He inwardly groaned.

"Hey, aren't you going to play with us?" the little girl inquired, appearing slightly annoyed.

"No, I'm not goin' to play with a bunch of brats like you; now go about your business and leave me be,"

"We're not brats for asking you to play with us," the boy-around the age of nine summers he guessed-fumed with a pout. "Besides, you should be grateful that we're asking you to play. Half-breeds don't get much attention do they?"

Inuyasha sent him a glare-one that visibly caused the lad to gulp and regret.

"Nii-chan, that's mean!" the sister scolded.

"He started it Ami!" the boy retorted.

Ami shook her head at him, making another attempt to beckon the half-demon to come down. Inuyasha decided-with much reluctance-to acquiesce to their stupid wish. Another reason why he hated kids: they were so demanding about the littlest things.

"Lady Kikyou, we got Hanyou-sama outta the tree!" Ami shouted jubilantly, pleased with her and her brother's accomplishment, grabbing the end of Inuyasha's sleeve and dragging him with much force.

Upon seeing her head roll to see them, the half-demon couldn't help the blush now tinting his cheeks. How did he wind up following the requests of these children anyhow? As he pensively thought about his dilemma, the two joined the rest of the group in the colours pooled over the ground, laughing in their silly way about simple things. Inuyasha had no doubt Kikyou would be dragged in the midst of it all, not that she would mind.

The priestess played with them, not minding how the leaves seemed to flitter into her hair, pale yellow, brightest orange, and deepest crimson catching themselves into the night's threads. His heart pounded at seeing Kikyou in what seemed to be all her glory. The array of colour made her look more beautiful, the setting sun kissed her usually milky skin, turned it into the lightest of bronze-almost the golden brown of honey, red thin rays making her blue eyes dazzle and bewilder-ice was actually burning...

And all I wanted was the simple things

A simple kind of life

If Kikyou was a normal girl, would this be her true nature? Always her demeanor…?

When she turned to him, he realized that he'd been holding his breath. Kikyou then walked slowly over to him, a small smile plastered on her lips.

"Not fond of children are you?" she inquired.

Inuyasha scoffed. "Can't stand 'em." He then regretted saying it; rather odd.

Allowing the smile to further widen, the maiden slid her pale eyes to her companion's face. His skin was already lukewarm; right now however, it seemed to glisten in the rays. Those silver tendrils were reflecting the shine of the dying sun, and she contemplated the softness of the texture, if it would feel like running your hands through the most expensive of silk-it appeared that way.

Then there were his eyes… She just liked looking at those golden pools as the light was dimming. It seemed to set his already intense eyes blaze more, and Kikyou admitted that she would love to drown in those pits of yellow fire-eyes which belonged to this god among men. He couldn't be considered beautiful, there wasn't any sort of femininity in him, and he'd probably feel insulted-to the point of slitting throats- should he be told that. Inuyasha could definitely be defined as handsome, with his rugged looks and even rougher demeanor. At this here moment, with the sun making one last glimmer upon him, he was gorgeous.

"What're you staring at?" Inuyasha asked, not really liking the look. It didn't unnerve him in a wrong way, it just made his hand itch to touch her face, tangle his hand into her hair.

"Nothing," she replied calmly and resisted the urge to place her hand in the crook of his arm.

And all I needed was a simple man

So I could be a wife

--)-

Gathering her weapons, Kikyou said 'goodbye' to Kaede and made her way to a neighboring village-a day's walk if the snow didn't fall too hard.

"Kikyou!"

Turning around, she was a bit perplexed to why Inuyasha was now coming towards her. Nonetheless, she was happy to see him.

"You're gonna need help." He told her.

"With the youkai?" she asked, as he nodded.

Kikyou didn't doubt her abilities, but since this demon was from another country, she might need help if it proves to be a capable opponent. So she resumed her walk, and Inuyasha kept following.

Together, they walked onwards in complete silence. Kikyou, on one hand, was merely focused on getting to their destination as quickly as possible. Only Inuyasha was more observant to the surroundings and the slight tremble in the maiden's shoulders.

She hasn't complained about the weather conditions, the length of the journey-nothing really. Still, if it bothered her this much, would it kill her to tell him?

I'm so ashamed, I've been so mean

I don't know how it got to this point

"Hey," said Inuyasha finally.

"Yes?" Kikyou returned, looking over her shoulder and paused.

"Would it hurt to say something?"

At her confused expression, the hanyou resisted the sigh.

"I'm fine." She assured him suddenly.

"If you were, I doubt your teeth would be chattering," he admonished the girl lightly, pushing Kikyou gently on the back to make her continue forward. Inuyasha then realized, he was touching her-didn't mean to, hadn't even thought about it; but it happened. And even though he knew he shouldn't, he allowed his hand to linger, despite the nervous pit in his stomach about feeling such a slender form. When the hanyou suddenly sensed it-there was a thump, an erratic increase in her heart rate.

Was she scared? Maybe even repulsed?

He shifted his eyes briefly at his hand, fingers born with long and deadly claws…

Immediately pulling away, he tried to focus on something other than her.

The miko looked askance at him, attempting to decipher what he was thinking now. When he put his hand on her, it was something unexpected; it felt nice however. A forbidden feeling crept into her spine, made her pulse quicken in a kind of dark anticipation for something else. Being a priestess, her duty required an extreme amount of commitment, couldn't afford the mind to ravish itself upon plain and common dreams every girl thinks, wishes, and yearns for.

It was not the way for a spiritual being.

And there was no time for self-pity.

I always was the one with all the love

You came along, I'm hunting you down

When night finally fell, the two sought shelter; the snow had begun to swarm about them, the wind howling in their ears as the cold bit them mercilessly. Inuyasha was used to the harsh bitter winter-always having to deal with it, but Kikyou was not. She might deny it, but the priestess was still just a human.

Luckily, the village wasn't too far away; pressing on, the hanyou made extra care to keep an eye on her, should an accident occur.

Reaching it, he ignored their task and concentrated on looking for an available hut.

"Hold on alright," Inuyasha told her as he picked her up and ran towards it, pushing aside the door flap.

"Warm huh?" said he with a triumphant smirk, looking about the place if it had wood. A gulp was swallowed by the half-demon, noticing that Kikyou was still in his arms. Placing her carefully down, he bracketed his arms cross his chest while cantering over to the pile of branches and twigs settled in one corner of the hut.

Now before a burning fire, the woman held her hands outstretched at the flames. Turning her head towards the small window, watching fairly noticeable white specks fly swiftly against a void of black.

"The demon's probably not far,"

"Most likely," she replied to Inuyasha.

The half-demon then glanced at the falling flakes, taking deep breaths. Rising up, Inuyasha removed his haori and carefully lowered it on the girl's shoulders.

"Here,"

Kikyou wrapped it gratefully closer, murmuring her thanks. The material was rough against skin; but it was warm and that was the important thing. Chancing a peek at his expression, the miko reined in the smile that threatened to appear.

It was wrong to look at him like that. It was strictly against all the laws laid before ones such as she-love was a gift granted only to those without these chains.

Kikyou knew that her destiny was already decided-since the day of her birth she would be meant to take on the role of a priestess, and not question any word of it. There, in this position of power and defenselessness, was a sadness which grew, few people comprehending the fact that she just wanted a simple childhood. Life was not fair however; this was an aspect that needn't have been questioned-especially with the things she's witnessed in this short lifetime.

Even though it was not to happen, she knew this much.

A sort of affection was blossoming for her friend; it confounded the young woman as to how it came about, after she had tried to rid herself of all those whispers, all the time trying to push the feelings away.

Yet it happened.

Maybe this was a message from the gods. Perhaps the jewel she guarded was about to become a distant memory, covered by crimson valences spilt by the foes she killed and the allies lost.

As Inuyasha wrapped an arm round her shoulders-she was shivering again he said-the girl knew it was a fallacy. But…it could be worth a try; she wondered, laid her head on his arm and fell asleep.

-(--

Once the horizon shone with a new light, the hanyou and miko rose to do their assignment.

It actually didn't take too long to kill the creature; what proved to be difficult was the fact it could blend with the vast whiteness. When it was finally located, Inuyasha made it come out in its true form, while Kikyou notched her arrow, and killed it with a single shot.

The villagers said their 'thank you', offering payment for all her work-clearly disregarding the hanyou whom stood at her side. The priestess caught the distaste, and took a short look at Inuyasha, his usual mask of cockiness and irrelevance to all things in place once again.

Giving a mere humble bow, she told them there wasn't any need for money and turned around without another word.

With a trained ear, Kikyou was able to notice the distinguished remarks thrown; if she heard, then of course he did-every word. The acrid comments made by the men, women narrowing their eyes in disgust. Some children who were outdoors even watched them in fear; hiding behind the yukatas of their mothers and clinging on for dear life should the half-breed attack.

It must hurt whenever decided to refer to him like that…an outcast.

Inuyasha glanced at the maiden, wondering if she heard what they said about her.

Truthfully, the shock was still there. Kikyou risked her life coming out here; if the unknown demon hadn't gotten her, then the heavy snowfall surely would've caused her to freeze to death. Yet they dared to mock her, insult her, hurtful things he hopes she didn't hear.

The hanyou has already heard every sarcastic remark, seen every sneer shown to him. Those names he heard didn't even scathe the surface of the armour he created around himself. His older brother had said worse so it toughed him up a little.

It angered him that they called Kikyou names-some not even said about the women in brothels.

Like a sick domestic abuser looking for a fight

And all I wanted was the simple things

A simple kind of life

They should all drop dead.

"Inuyasha?"

Sliding his golden oculars to hers, he quirked a brow in question.

"Are you alright?"

"Feh; fucking insults don't even itch. I could come up with better stuff,"

Kikyou smiled inwardly; always the strong one. She still felt that she should've said something-done anything to assure them that he wasn't one to harm anybody.

"Don't worry about it," said Inuyasha after a moment, almost like he read her mind. "There's nothing that could've changed their minds."

"Used to it, I suppose."

"Yeah…"

Inuyasha shifted his eyes over to her again; she still appeared far too lost in thought.

"Something wrong?"

She let out a sigh. "It's rather interesting how one of the same kin could ridicule another being."

So she heard them… The young man stated to himself.

"It bothers you?"

Shaking her head, Kikyou continued to tread through the snow. "It's more of a fascination I have on others. Humans are naturally prejudiced against their own kind, not even wanting to understand how some people are."

"If it's how ningens are… I don't see why I wish to fit in with them."

Kikyou laughed lightly at that. "Everyone longs for a place to fit in, Inuyasha. It's the nature of every living thing here-no matter if they are human, demon, both or neither."

It was peculiar how the tone, one without ominous intent, could sharpen the words. A dent appeared in his shell.

"Guess so," he answered after a while.

The miko smiled at him, limpid pools sparkling with a tiny amount of mirth.

"Kaede's probably wondering why it's taking us a while." She said suddenly, making conversation.

"Probably," the half-demon said with a smirk. "Should we rush?"

Kikyou cast her eyes downwards. "She's alright, I'm sure,"

Inuyasha shrugged a bit, chancing looks at her every so often. At this moment, he was delighted just by the fact he was with her. Kikyou actually showed raw concern for his welfare-the first person to do so since his mother's death. Almost every moment made him feel special…all from a kind word.

--)-

Spring approached even more rapidly than winter. Flowers bloomed in abundance, and the stark trees regained their lush green colour. Kikyou noticed that there were more herbs this year; so much medicine should be on hand.

Kaede was happy with that good news. Most of her friends had caught an illness; one which many proposed didn't have a cure. Kikyou was an expert in the field of medicine and the lore of herbs, resulting in their good recoveries.

The young child however, wasn't very pleased when she met this one man who was now under her sibling's care.

He went by the name Onigumo.

Kaede immediately felt an uneasiness quell inside her the moment she laid eyes on him. Kikyou apparently had heard his groans coming from a cave on the hillside bordering the field and the forest. She had begun to take care of his wounds since the beginning of the spring, for both his legs were no longer intact.

At first, he seemed to be grateful for the time she'd spent dressing his scars, cleaning the scorched and putrid flesh. By the looks of older marks, Kikyou assumed he used to be a bandit. Time had passed for a while now, and Kaede hated the looks he sent her sister. Being as young as she was, she didn't know much about the darkness a man's heart was capable of becoming; she became a descrier within those walls of moss and rock, watching the looks he gave: evil, malevolent and desiring. It gradually worsened when he regained the ability to converse and his true nature emerged.

Kikyou had to purify the jewel before she left the temple, and kindly asked her if she was alright with checking on Onigumo's condition. Keade knew the man was immobile, but she feared him nonetheless-a scourge in humanity. But it wouldn't hurt to aid her sister any way she could.

"You…young lass," the bandit demanded after she was done with the bandaging.

"It's Kaede." She replied, moving the sick smelling cloth in the bucket, hoping it would dissipate.

"Your sister possesses what is known as the Sacred Jewel, does she not?" he asked.

"What would ye know about the jewel?" she answered with an inquiry-glaring defiantly at that one glazed and blood-shot eye.

"All who are wicked know of it…and pursue it." He stated, as if it was the most obvious aspect in the world.

"Ye included?" Kaede remarked bitterly.

Onigumo's eye widened more so, causing more red lines to appear. "I understand that the more evil the jewel absorbs, the more evil it becomes… Outstanding!"

The young girl resisted the tension in her muscles to pour the water on him, gripping the washcloth tighter. "My sister has it under her control; it won't be corrupted."

"Kikyou's manner is self-righteous." Onigumo continued, a sadistic glee shining in his eye. "For once… I should like to see her apprehensive and frightened. That would bring me true pleasure!"

Kaede listened to his cackle, her ire rising at his mockery towards the one who cared for him-despite his cruel nature. Exiting from the cave, Kaede then saw Kikyou approach the mouth, carrying a basket. She immediately told him of what he said.

"I see," Kikyou replied once she finished, her façade not even cracked as she collected a marshmallow plant. "Onigumo said that, did he?"

"Big sister, I don't care for that man,"

"Bear him no grudge," the priestess reprimanded softly. "Give him pity; his injuries are great. He shall never move from there again."

The young girl listened carefully, admitting that her elder sibling was right. He might be a filthy man, worse than any demon she'd ever seen, and kindness would not melt the ugliness away. Kaede was willing to change her attitude towards Onigumo if her sister thought it was best.

She decided to move the matter towards something else.

"Where's Inuyasha-san?"

Kikyou paused for a moment-miniscule and barely there; being Kikyou's younger sister, she caught the reaction since her sister never hesitated.

"Out searching for something to eat, I'm certain."

Kaede laughed at that. "Inuyasha-san does like to eat doesn't he?"

The older woman smiled a bit, letting it grace her regal features. "That he does enjoy. However, he's probably gone into hiding for the night."

"Hiding?"

"I've noticed the patterns he makes during each month, always leaving during the new moon."

Watching her sister quizzically, Kaede raised a brow. Kikyou patted her sister upon the head. "It's nothing to be concerned about really. He usually returns the next day."

Nodding, Kaede inwardly grinned at the gentle change in Kikyou's stoic manner. In the beginning, she had her doubts about the half-demon as well. Since he had begun to visit them in the woods, even making occasional appearances in the village, her older sister now held a warmth that wasn't there before. It was almost like a transition for the both of them. Kaede's happiness equated to Kikyou's, and because this all came from Inuyasha, she loved him too.

Without his knowledge, he brought them closer. A wonderful feeling…

-(--

A boat wasn't too much of a request. The priestess had politely asked if it was alright to borrow it. The men gave in-not that they had much of a choice. Surely, it was the least they could do for all the things she'd done for them.

Kikyou sat in the back of the boat, both she and her companion reaching the small island floating in the middle of the lake. She told him once that it was one of favorite places to contemplate things, wonder about ambitions denied.

She, of course, never mentioned it to anyone other than Kaede.

But that was another quality Inuyasha was always denying-the fact he was a good listener. When she inquires him for an opinion, at times he'd catch her off guard, tell her something so wise and profound, it baffled her. Being a half-demon, it was possible for him to be her senior by a few years-more even. She found that the two of them together would have matches. Inuyasha was a pessimist: no one should guess why. Yet, he taught her the value of certain events, why nature takes a particular course and runs like so forth. The questions he asks her on those quiet nights makes her stay up later in the evening, long enough to see the sun rise.

He was scholarly-in his own way.

Stepping onto the grass, Kikyou lowered herself, propping one knee up to rest her arm with the other leg tucked underneath. Inuyasha, too, made his seat in the fairly short grass. For a time, neither spoke.

The woman slid her pools of blue over to the hanyou at her side. Her heart suddenly ached-wanting to reach up and touch those ears; breathe in that scent of his-the forest and sea mingling together as one strong but relaxing fragrance.

It was incredible that she fell in love with someone like him. But it was more confusing how it happened in such an interminable amount of time. There was no regret however, happiness just spreading through her being.

The jewel was the obstacle to overcome.

If her duty didn't bind her to it, then maybe-just maybe-the two of them stood a chance against fate, the centuries of feuds which incurred the wrath of both demons and humans alike, the massacres placed from united bonds between the two different species. Especially the acceptance of half-breeds: the ones who were known to be the lowest form of life, not meant to be loved or given an identity.

If the Shikon no Tama disappeared…

"Inuyasha?" she murmured carefully, trying not to choke on the sudden dryness of her mouth.

"Yeah, Kikyou?" he replied.

Eyes downcast for a minute, she tilted her head back up to him. "What would you say about becoming human?"

Inuyasha's eyes showed the astonishment-obviously an unexpected topic. "Me, become a human?"

"It is possible," Kikyou continued, gaze never leaving his. "It's true that you're half demon, but you are also half human."

To admit, the question startled him. Since he'd learn the existence of such a powerful object-one with the potency to grant his lifelong dream: to become a full-fledged youkai. During the encounters with this girl beside him, it seemed that the jewel was no longer of significance to him-a longing for the bearer came before he knew what hit him.

If we met tomorrow for the very first time

Would it start all over again?

Would I try to make you mine?

To be with her… This opportunity was too surreal. Becoming human would grant him the ability to join a race, no longer denied for something he'd never meant to happen. It wasn't his fault that he was born like this-a monster to ningens and a pest to youkai.

The thought of having her at his side was a welcoming idea, seeing her wear that smile like she did that autumn day. Even the sound of children didn't ring too badly; fatherhood was a prospect he'd never truly known-having no paternal guardian, a void was always there.

Inuyasha was lost in his mind, he didn't lost track of what Kikyou was explaining to him. If he used to jewel to become a human, everything would cease. No more fighting, no more deprecating stares and belittling gestures. And if she was right…then the miko he met so long ago, would be gone. She would be an ordinary woman.

He didn't answer quickly-caught in the middle between the 'yes' and 'no'. Should he go with the transformation, how will she be protected? During the night of the new moon, he was as helpless as a newborn babe, senses diminishing with every second a star appeared. To live like that for the rest of eternity; it's true that he loathed his half-breed self, but it was a part of him, and he relied on his youkai half should danger emerge.

When he finally reeled back to reality, Inuyasha detained the jump from those cerulean eyes staring at him, waiting.

Kikyou must've understood that he would need time to ponder what she was insinuating. Speaking nothing more, she smiled and headed down to the boat.

I always thought I'd be a mom

Sometimes I wish for a mistake

Heading back to the other side, Inuyasha reared it carefully to the dock, prodding the long pole to stop its movement. Getting out, with the pole still in his hands, he was actually still taking in that offer.

And then he saw her trip.

It happened so quickly, it didn't occur to him to drop the pole, Kikyou's head landing into his chest. He felt overwhelmed by the nearness of her body to his, drinking in her scent as though it were tangible. Did she do it on purpose? He asked himself. This woman was not known to fall over nothing after all.

Withdrawing slightly, the young maiden lifted her chin, eyeing him with a quizzical and innocent gaze. That couldn't be correct. She honestly didn't seem to have a clue how that managed to happen. Inuyasha's ears detected the increase of her pulse again, palpitating in rate and matching his own.

Almost in a feeling of recognition, he understood what it meant-though the experience was entirely new. He let the pole fall, pulling her into his embrace. There was a crawling sensation in the pit of his gut, and Inuyasha simply held her closer. Nothing mattered at that moment, it was just him and her on the dock, and the hundreds of eyes faded to black.

He whispered the promise of love to her, and he could've sworn Kikyou sucked in her breath. It must've been disbelieving to her ears that he would be willing to give up his strength and capabilities, all for her. Inuyasha heard her affirmation to his guess. It made him give her a quirky smile.

Of course he would do it.

Dropping her bow and quiver, the bride-to-be told him to meet her at dawn at the Goshinboku. She would be there, with the Shikon no Tama in hand and everything will erase.

The longer that I wait, the more selfish that I get

You seem like you'd be a good dad

--)-

He could sense the purification of the jewel. Told himself it wasn't taking place-it was supposed to be filled with malice, otherwise it would no longer behold a substantial beauty. What enraged him the most was the fact she had fallen for him…that worthless, pathetic mongrel.

A presence in the shadows engulfed him, the demonic auras multiplying within the cave. Hisses escaped the mouths of beasts, whispering to the bandit who remained on the ground in growing resentment towards the one the hellish ghouls called 'Inuyasha'.

The man could practically see the silhouette of the virgin beauty; obsidian tresses framing that winsomely beautiful face, delicate hands scooping gruel into his mouth with a utensil. There wasn't a night that went by that he had not imagined those porcelain fingers tracing his skin in a sensuous manner, making her one with him, listening to her screams in his rapture.

He cursed the men who burned and stripped him of his pride, now damned forever to rot in this corpse he no longer considered his true body.

His soul continued to hate, a beacon in the perpetual black.

Onigumo made them an offer: his flesh and bone would be a feast for the youkai; and in return, they would give him the ability to rise again and claim what was rightfully his: the Sacred Jewel and the priestess, Kikyou.

Indulging themselves upon him, the demons were absorbed into the husk, his soul exceeding theirs in quantity of sheer evil. Once whole with them, his heart untouched kept beating with the rush of rebirth-and the demon Naraku was born into the world.

Now…the priestess.

-(--

Mayhap he overslept. It was a casualty he'd always performed.

Kikyou stared at the Sacred Tree for another minute before sauntering over to the meadow. He could be there resting in one of the branches.

A furtive chill ran along her spine. Suddenly, her shoulder felt like it was being licked by flames, torn at the muscles and joints, cutting deep into her.

The priestess felt the hard impact of the ground, scarlet pouring out profusely and staining her white haori, blood on fresh snow. Kikyou opened her eyes, vision blurry but she could still make out the jewel, round and gleaming. Reaching out for it, the object felt cold against her fingertips. A crack resounded in her ear, and she wondered if her fingers were broken, but how—

A cackle came from above her, Kikyou's eyes widening in shock and fear that it was familiar, but cruel and filled with depravity.

"Fool," he told her. "I have no desire whatsoever to become human."

Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life

How'd I get so faithful to my freedom?

Inuyasha…?! She asked herself incredulously, the pain from her open wound forgotten and replaced with a bleeding heart.

"I'll take the jewel nonetheless. It'll absorb a great deal of suffering, when I use it to slaughter the villagers."

He left without another word, his footsteps echoing distantly.

"A lie…?" she murmured, blue eyes now raging with contempt. He had tricked her from the very beginning. Everything a despicable lie: about becoming human, living together; all meaningless because he still wished to be a youkai.

"I hate you…" she whispered into the red blades. "I hate you, traitor!"

A selfish kind of life

--)-

Inuyasha terrorized the huts and men, slashing through nets and snapping their spears. It didn't matter anymore. She betrayed him.

After all they had tried to achieve together, when she had become the most important person in his life. The woman lied through her teeth, just like everyone else. Schemed behind the smiles, plotted as she nullified the hurt; and yet she could do this?

He'd gone to the tree, managing to hold his patience intact for once. And she'd shot at him, arrows flying with murderous intent. Astounding, too dreamlike and yet it fell together so perfectly. It was too good to be true, yesterday at the dock. She meant to have him let his guard down, so she could breach his defenses without warning.

Liar…

The hanyou rushed towards the temple, once again feeling the call for his tainted touch. Inuyasha slammed into the roof, smirked deviously and covered his mouth and nose from the incense burning inside. It shone magnificently in the dimly lit room, and once he grasped it, another tremor seemed to course within.

The doors abruptly opened, men shouting orders and hoping to catch him. With a sniff, the young man dodged with graceful versatility, escaping from the hole previously made. He watched as the temple burst into flame and smoke, obscuring it from view.

"I can finally become a demon." Inuyasha murmured to himself, holding it nearer.

Just one wish and it'll go away. All that's been done washed away forever, waves rolling on the sandy beach, wiping the marks clean...

When all I wanted was a simple thing

A simple kind of life

The next thing he knew, there was a shout of anger, and an arrow protruding from his chest, his back pinned to the Goshiboku. Slowly, he tilted his head up, golden suns staring on astounded, Kikyou looking on with a despiteful glare, never showing it towards him-even before they learned about each other. He then realized how her enemies felt when cornered by her, the look was intimidating but his hate for her glossed over that emotion.

How could she? He asked himself once more. Then, he began to slip into an abyss, voices drowning into nothing with a simple images of his lover etched into his mind-smiling at him like always.

The young miko mustered all her strength into walking to the tree, weary from the emotional scar rather than the physical one itself. Finally, she collapsed before the jewel, entwining the chain firmly into her grasp.

Yelling and cries came from behind her, but paid no heed to them.

A simple kind of life

"Sister Kikyou! Who did this to you Kikyou?" Kaede questioned frantically, looking on with now one eye shifting from the wound to her sibling's face and back.

Glancing at her young sister, worry flickered in her blue orbs. Kaede was too young to have this responsibility thrust upon her shoulders. Should she die, the jewel will continue to be and then Kaede would become its new protectorate. It wasn't right for her to suffer anymore; and Kikyou cast a sidelong look at the bandage over one of her little sibling's eyes. Now handicapped, it would prove more challenging.

It glimmered in her palm, asking, begging, and pleading for her to use it.

She realized, there and then, that if she used it for herself, it would be a selfish wish. Kikyou didn't want to leave Kaede alone-the only family they had was each other; but the Shikon no Tama, simply a stone of translucent glass and spirits, could not possibly understand the turmoil living beings felt.

A simple kind of life

Even if she needed to live for her sister, it would still mean she was saving herself.

Kikyou then slid her eyes at the hanyou pinned to the trunk, taking in his peaceful face, the limpness of his body. She narrowed her eyes for a moment, no one catching the affection swirling in the depths.

Calmly, she explained to burn her body with the jewel. That way, it would no longer be a threat to those here on earth. The last thing she felt was the final beat of her heart.

Following her order, the great priestess was cremated, the Sacred Jewel gleaming as both it and its former guardian went to hell.

And from the green foliage, Naraku watched the ceremony. She still managed to escape, didn't even pray into the jewel, which would've caused it to glint with the venom in her once pure heart. Somehow, the wench foiled her plan, ruining everything he planned. It was then that Onigumo's heart started to sink further, becoming dormant as the demons roamed the countryside, searching for new victims to torture for the next half a century.

A simple kind of life...