"Shippo! Honey, please don't go too far!"
"I won't, Mama!" The young fox kit smiled happily at his mother, waving before he bounded off into the field of flowers. Kagome smiled back, pleased that her newly adopted son could have so much fun in these troubled times.
She sat delicately, trying to to squish any of the flowers. After many days of travel, the band had finally settled in this small village, a place that prided itself in the vast wildflowers that grew all around. The spring air was lush, and comforting. But Kagome was having a hard time fully enjoying herself. After all, it was difficult to think about anything when the issue of Inuyasha drew all her attention away.
The pathetic dog had drawn on her last nerve. It wasn't the fact that he had clearly made a final decision and chosen Kikyo over her. Kagome had given up on him after Kikyo had made herself present at her sixteenth birthday celebration, and draw Inuyasha away from the group for the entire night, before mysteriously vanishing again. Inuyasha had made it loud and clear during their fight that Kikyo was now the only one he wanted to give attention to.
Kagome tried to accept this gracefully, although there had been quite a bit of crying during her baths over the next few weeks, the only time she ever got for private things like tears. Sango had tried to help, but ultimately the transition wasn't as hard as Kagome expected. The hunt for the jewel was probably a good enough distraction that Kagome didn't have much extra room for things like heartbreak. No, the thing that bothered her most was that Inuyasha was such an ass now.
Maybe after deciding he didn't like her, he thought he could treat her like a scrap of meat, good for nothing except the jewel, but Kagome had hoped they could remain friends. She had tried hard to be gracious, especially after that awful fight on her birthday, but all Inuyasha ever talked about was Kikyo, and how much stronger her powers were, and how Kagome could never match up to her.
"But she's dead!" Kagome had screamed when Inuyasha first told her about his choice.
"Well, dead is better than annoying," he retorted. That had stung immensely. Kagome tried not to think about those words a lot, and it got easier every day.
Still, as she watched her kit, that she had officially adopted a year ago and begun calling 'son,' she found herself still wishing that Inuyasha would stop being a pig. She wasn't a naïve, young fifteen year old girl. She was a strong, eighteen year old woman. She knew more about her powers, and could control them much better. She was strong, and her team members wouldn't hesitate to agree. Inuyasha was the only one who called her weak.
"Ah! Mama, come here!"
Kagome shot up, hearing Shippo's cry for help. Even after three years, during which he had grown considerably, Shippo was still a young boy, and depended on her. Kagome guessed that the absence of his own mother when he was little influenced his child-like behavior today. Not that she minded, she loved him dearly and let him do as he pleased.
Now, she was flooded with concern as she rushed to him. Shippo was glaring, a burn mark obvious on his hand.
"Oh, dear! Hold still." Kagome bent down, pulling a bandage out of her pocket. Since graduating high school with an advanced designation diploma, Kagome had switched from her school uniform to a more flexible hakama, much like the ones Kikyo wore. It was dyed a deep blue, with large pockets for holding useful objects. She had gotten it from her world, but her mother had sewn it to look more like the style of this era.
"That stupid plants burned my hand," Shippo complained.
"Plant?" Kagome asked, wrapping the bandage carefully over Shippo's hand and cursing herself for not having any burn cream with her at the moment. "What do you mean?"
"There." Shippo pointed to the left. Kagome turned, and her eyes went wide.
Kagome's mother had started to fancy botany lately, and so she had become acquainted with quite a few plants. And growing out of the ground was a single rose, pointed to the sky.
Kagome knew enough about roses to know that they grew in bushes, not on singular stems. She also knew that there weren't any breeds that had such a prominent purple color, as this one did. It was a royal purple, with a hint of blue mixed in, and unlike any flower she had ever seen.
"That's not a normal rose," she said, mostly to herself. "Maybe it's some sort of magic? I can't sense any demonic powers coming from it." She reached out to touch it.
"Mama, be careful!" Shippo tried to stop her, but Kagome pushed him back.
"It's all right, Shippo, I can handle this. I want to see if it does the same thing to me."
"But you'll get shocked," he said, as if Kagome were the child, and not him.
"I'm just testing it," Kagome said. She was confident that if she were hurt, it wouldn't be much of a problem to heal herself. She was very good at it, especially since she had learned to concentrate her miko abilities towards healing rather than blunt purification.
Her finger delicately brushed a petal. Nothing. "Huh." Braver, Kagome wrapped her hand around the stem. She could sense a small aura, but it weakened the moment she touched it. Kagome pulled gently, and the stem gave way, without offering the normal resistance a flower might have to being plucked.
"You're not hurt?" Shippo sounded surprised. Kagome smiled at him.
"I guess not. I wonder what kind of flower this is?" Kagome inspected it, but other than the color, nothing looked out of the ordinary. "Strange, indeed."
"Let's ask the group about it," Shippo suggested. He seemed back to his normal mood.
"Good idea. Come on, sweetie. We can get you some ointment for that burn, too." Kagome held Shippo's uninjured hand, keeping the flower away from him in her other hand, hoping that the strange flower might finally break the monotony the group had been experiencing lately.
Everyone was at camp, resting after a long day's walk down a mountain. Sango was preparing some sort of stew, while Miroku lounged about. Inuyasha hung out in a tree, and didn't even flinch when Kagome and Shippo entered the area.
"Kagome! Just in time for lunch," Sango said, smiling. "I made stew. I hope you like it."
"Thank you, Sango, but I have something important to talk about." Kagome released Shippo's hand, placing the rose gently on the ground as she grabbed her trusty yellow backpack. Grabbing the burn ointment, she motioned for Shippo to come over.
"Important?" Miroku stood, standing next to Kagome. "What is it?"
"Shippo found something rather abnormal." Kagome put the ointment on Shippo's hand, rewrapping the bandage quickly and putting her equipment away. "Miroku, how much do you know about plants?"
"Not much, I have to admit. Why?"
Kagome grabbed the rose, holding it up. "I don't know about you, but I've never seen a rose quite like this."
"Goodness, it's purple," Sango exclaimed, leaning close. Kagome's dear friend had not changed much in the passing years, except that her hair was now cut off at the shoulders, and her trademark pink kimono had become damaged, traded in for a dark blue one.
"Careful!" Kagome warned, pulling the rose away. "This thing burned Shippo!"
"Then why does it not burn you?" Miroku questioned. The monk was much the same as he had always been, even after he and Sango had finally married the previous year. He even continued groping women, to Sango's chagrin.
"Maybe 'cause it knows she ain't a threat!" Inuyasha commented from the tree.
"Inuyasha, this is no time to be sarcastic," Kagome chastised, trying to keep a level head. Did he really have to do that when they were trying to figure out something that could be connected to a dangerous demon?
"What's the point, anyway? That thing ain't got anything to do with the jewels, does it?"
"Inuyasha," Miroku said, "this might be important, so be quiet."
"Eh," was his response, shifting to face away from the group. Kagome sighed. She just wanted things to be the way they had been before Inuyasha had decided to start treating her like crap. He wasn't even trying to be nice to the other group members anymore. He was just a jerk who only stuck around so he could use them to track down Naraku.
"Anyway," Kagome sighed, "this flower has a small aura coming from it. I can sense it. But I don't know why it burned Shippo and not me."
"Perhaps it's because Shippo is a demon." Before Kagome could object, Sango took the rose from her hands.
"Ow!" Immediately, Sango dropped the flower and nursed her now burnt hand. "Crap!" Kagome grabbed her bag, taking out the ointment and spreading some on Sango's hand.
"Okay, so that theory is out. Perhaps it is because Kagome has purification abilities?" Miroku knelt by the rose, but didn't touch it. "I cannot think of another good reason."
The dog smashed through the tree branch and into the ground, yelping on the way down. Kagome took some satisfaction in knowing that she could still do that. Part of her wondered if Inuyasha might finally be nice to her if she removed the necklace for him, guaranteeing that he would never have to sit again, but the other part of her knew that he would just sneer and complain about it not being taken off sooner. It was better to leave it on him.
"Anyway," Kagome said, "Miroku might be right. It might be my powers." She picked up the flower again. It was a very pretty rose, that, under normal circumstances, would have been something her mother would put on the windowsill for everyone to see. She touched the petals cautiously. They were softer than a normal rose, like silk. She leaned in carefully, sniffing it. It had a strong, sweet smell.
"Does it smell like a rose?" Shippo stood on his tiptoes. He was taller now than he had been when Kagome and Inuyasha first met him, maybe about the height of a nine year old, but still rather short.
Kagome nodded. "Yeah, it's really sweet. My mom told me that roses in my time are being cultivated by florists purely for looks, and the newer roses don't smell that strong. But this one has a very potent scent."
"I don't smell nothing," Inuyasha grumbled, still brushing dirt from his sleeves.
Shippo sniffed the air. "Neither do I. I can't smell any sort of flower scent."
"Interesting." Miroku put his hand on his chin, leaning in toward the rose. "I don't smell anything either. It appears that Kagome is the only one who can smell it."
"What makes me so special?" Kagome wondered.
"I sure as hell can't think of anything," Inuyasha mumbled.
"Sit," Kagome quickly said, not paying attention when he crashed to the ground. It was becoming somewhat of a reflex for her.
"Perhaps it would help to take this to Kaede?" Miroku suggested.
"He's got a point," Sango added. "She might know what it is. And we're not far from her village. We could be there by noon tomorrow."
"Great idea!" Kagome beamed. "Kaede would know for sure!"
"What about the jewels!" Inuyasha complained. "We haven't found a single shard in months, and Naraku hasn't shown up. He could be hiding around a corner, waiting for us!"
"Inuyasha, like Miroku said, this could be important," Sango chastised. "We'll find a shard if Kagome senses one, all right? You shouldn't be so impatient."
"Feh," was his answer.
"Don't mind him, Kagome." Miroku winked. "He's all bark and no bite."
"I know." Kagome smiled, but deep down, she truly wished Inuyasha could treat her with respect.
"Ah, Kagome. So nice to see you again." Kaede smiled warmly at her as she entered the hut, along with the rest of the group. "What brings ye here?"
"Hello, Kaede." Kagome waved, sitting down. "We have something important to ask about, actually."
"Oh? I'm not sure how much help I can provide."
"We're sure you might know about something as unusual as this." Miroku nodded to Kagome, who reached inside her bag. The rose was inside a cylindrical box that she used for holding herbs. She didn't want to risk damaging it. When she took it out, she expected to see that it was partially wilted, as flowers did when they weren't given enough water, but was surprised to see that it looked as healthy as it had yesterday.
"It didn't even wilt," Sango said, amazed.
"A purple rose? I don't think this old eye has seen something like that before." Kaede adjusted the patch over her bad eye and leaned in to get a better look.
"Watch out, it burns," Shippo warned.
"It's true, the rose has burned both Shippo and I." Sango rubbed her hand, still sore.
"And you, Kagome?"
"It doesn't burn, and I can smell a sweet scent coming from it. Shippo and Inuyasha claim they can't smell anything."
"Hmm." Kaede bent around, looking at the rose from all angles. "Interesting."
"Do you know anything?" Kagome asked, hopeful.
"I'm not sure. My sister was highly interested in plants and their uses when she was alive-"
"She is alive."
"Inuyasha, don't interrupt." He ignored her, but Kaede continued, "My sister used to tell me about different plants. The ones she studied were the plants with special powers, the ones that were used by intelligent demons for dangerous concoctions, and the like."
"I didn't know that." Kagome peered at the rose. There were many things that Kikyo had learned in her life that she did not yet know. Despite the fact that Inuyasha had chosen the revived Kikyo over her, Kagome admired her strength. She wanted to be a powerful miko like her.
"Aye." Kaede nodded. "I vaguely remember my sister telling me about something like this. I was very young, so forgive me if my memory is faded." She paused. "What I can remember is that she mentioned a type of flower, a rare type, that could only be picked by certain females. She could not find an example for herself, nor any record of them besides hearsay. She gave up on finding out any more about them."
The group was silent, thinking.
"That doesn't give us much, but it's a start," Kagome finally said. "Thank you, Kaede." She bowed her head.
"Aye, it is no problem, child. Let me know if you need my help again."
"We will." Kagome smiled. "We should be going. We still need to finish our hunt for the shards, and Naraku." She stood, urging the rest of them to leave.
"Finally, let's get some shards!" Inuyasha smiled, but it was more to himself than anyone else.
"I hope we can see you again soon, Kaede!" Shippo smiled and waved.
"Yes, I hope so too." Kaede waved back, hoping that withholding the information about the rose was the right thing to do.
The rewrite is here!
I hope you guys all like this. It's gonna be different from the original story, A Mysterious Flower, but I'm sure it'll be a lot better. Enjoy, and don't forget to review :)