The demon slayers had been paid in sake. Though they returned to Edo with no rice, Inuyasha had hunted, and come back with a fat boar, which they spitted and roasted in a little clearing close to the village, and now with night upon them, they feasted with their women beside a roaring bonfire. During all the time they had hunted the shards of the sacred jewel, they could not afford such luxury. Their fires were small and discrete, their campsites quiet and well guarded. Now, with Naraku gone, so was the tense silence and air of waiting. Flames leapt high into the air, and embers glowed orange and blue. There were stars in the dark, dark sky, but no moon. Inuyasha's hair had gone black and his eyes violet with the coming of night. It was his human night, a night he once dreaded and suffered in solitude.
Sake had little effect on the half-demon Inuyasha, but not so his human form, which was prone to all of the weaknesses of a mere mortal. Inuyasha took some satisfaction in being able to drink Miroku under the table on any moonlit night, just as he took satisfaction in being faster and stronger than the more clever, worldly monk. Indeed, Inuyasha for all his many years, was not known for his wisdom or cunning, but for his bravery and strength. Strength which was sorely lacking on this moonless, human night. Strength might be lacking, and there were no sweet dumplings, or the rice that his human wife, Kagome, craved so much, but there was much sake. The village they had saved was renowned for it's potent spirits, and Inuyasha had learned a lesson or two from Miroku during their years together. Miroku had spent his youth and childhood afflicted with a deadly curse, placed upon first his grandfather, then his father, and then himself and his offspring by the evil half-demon Naraku. The palm of one hand was not like that of other humans. It contained a void, which would grow with age and use, and was sure to eventually engulf Miroku as his grandfather and father had been engulfed before his very eyes. After the death of his father, Miroku had been raised by the debauched monk Mushin, and had learned at his side how to use sake and loose women to make his curse bearable. Now the curse placed by Naraku was gone, but the tribe which had formed around the half-demon and the monk had new troubles, and they were now well-schooled in the use of sake as a palliative.
Miroku had sworn in good conscience to give up his other women when he married Sango, the demon slayer. She had presented him with three children, and another was on it's way. Miroku had borne two curses, however, one for each hand. Naraku's curse was the newer one. Before Naraku ever existed, a great-great-great grandfather, as beautiful and filled with sacred power as his descendent, had been cursed by a spurned lover, who also happened to be one of the kami. The wind tunnel was gone, but the lover's curse remained. Miroku would not be capable of fidelity.
Inuyasha had mourned for Kagome for three years when they were separated by the well and the cursed sacred jewel, and grown up a lot in the process. He had treated the powerful little priestess horribly, and considered it his punishment to be separated from her. No matter how far he and Miroku roamed in search of paying work, at night he would rush back to the well in the forest that bore his name. The longest that he neglected his vigil was three nights, and that was when he was grievously wounded. Inuyasha did not really expect to find her there, at the well, waiting for him as she had done in the past. She had returned to him over and over, even when he went to his ex-lover, Kikyo. Inuyasha, though not overly perceptive, had lived a long and very tragic life. He understood the irony of fate, and it seemed fitting that, once Kikyo was returned to the grave forever, that her reincarnation, his second chance at love, would be lost to him also. When she returned to him, he vowed never to hurt her again.