It was strange, Kagome mused. Maybe she had never really loved Inuyasha at all. Or maybe this was what it felt like to get over your first crush.
It didn't bother her, she realized, when the half demon kept bringing up Kikyo every now and then. It was like he was trying to provoke her. It was irritating, yes, when he kept telling her that the undead priestess was better at this, and better at that. She watched the way he grumbled and was startled that she found it disgusting.
"You know, Inuyasha," she drawled, cutting off his rant. Placing both her hands behind her head, elbows in the air, she looked completely unaffected, "You keep saying that Kikyo is better at everything, that she's even better looking than me, but you're forgetting something."
The rest of the group was silent as they watched the young priestess finally speak. She had been silent up till now, listening to Inuyasha's ranting. Kagome turned around to face him, one brow raised, "I'm not Kikyo. I don't have her training. I don't have her experience. And I hope to Kami, that I don't have her looks, because quite frankly, it'd be really creepy if I go around looking like another Kikyo. So I really don't understand the point of your little temper tantrum."
Inuyasha's face grew red, and he opened his mouth, but she continued, unperturbed, "Look, if you want Kikyo, then go ask her to join our group. Nobody's stopping you."
The silence was so heavy, you could shatter it with a pin.
Finally, Inuyasha broke it, spluttering, "W-What?"
"Something wrong with your hearing?"
He struggled to speak, and finally mustered up a pethetic attempt at a sneer, "Yeah, so you can start sulking? I don't think so."
"Sulking?" She frowned, thoughtfully, "It would be a lot easier if we had another priestess in the group who could detect jewel shards. What do you say, guys? The workload would be easier, and plus you'll probably stop whining, so it'll be a relief."
It was Miroku who spoke now, his eyes fixed on the girl, "It would be better, overall. What do you say, Sango?"
As the slayer admitted, hesitantly, that it would be easier, Miroku's mind wandered to his conversation with Kagome. It seemed that she really had moved on. Or was she deluding herself? He found himself worried about her. Kagome was very good at hiding her feelings. He couldn't be sure about what was going on in her head.
"But Kagome," Shippou clambered to sit on Miroku's shoulder, "Kikyo doesn't like you. What if she tries to kill you again?"
"Shut your mouth, you annoying brat!" Inuyasha snarled, quick to defend his undead lover. However, a cool 'sit' from Kagome made him shut up for a few seconds.
Shippou had a point, she realized, "Well, um, that's going to be a problem." She threw a scathing look over her shoulder at Inuyasha who was still in his crater, "Inuyasha certainly wouldn't come to my rescue when it involves his precious Kikyo."
Inuyasha raised himself to growl something and she waved a hand in his direction, "Oh, save it, Inuyasha. We all know it's true. Your opinion doesn't count right now."
He gave her a shocked, albeit, angry look.
"Kikyo has attempted to kill you on a few occasions," Sango murmured. "It probably wouldn't be a good idea."
"But he's being so annoying, Sango!" Kagome stomped her foot in frustration, gesturing towards the inuhanyou, "If Kikyou joins us, it'll shut Inuyasha up. He's really irritating me."
"I'm right here, you bitch!"
"Shut up, Inuyasha. Nobody's talking to you. Why don't you go chase a cat or something?" Kagome shot back.
Ignoring the furious insults that were being flung her way, she pretended not to notice Sango's shocked look. She knew she wasn't acting like herself, but enough was enough. She had to take a stand sometime.
"Maybe we should think about this for a few days," suggested Miroku, cautiously. "Jumping into such a big decision is not a wise move."
Kagome nodded, "He's got a point."
The rest of the day passed uneventfully, with Inuyasha's muttering profanities and Kagome trying to avoid him, choosing to walk at the tail of the group, Kilala curled up on her shoulder. Miroku had been walking with Sango, when the girl whispered, "I'm a bit worried about Kagome, Miroku-sama. I thought she was in love with Inuyasha?"
The young monk sighed, "I do not think she loves him, Sango-sama.. Maybe she had finally outgrown him."
The woman spluttered, disbelievingly, "That's ridiculous! Kagome was madly in love with him."
"Ah, but Kagome-sama is growing up, becoming more mature. There comes a point where you get tired of waiting to be loved." He sent a pointed look in the taijiya's direction. She ignored it and argued, "She's just going through a phase. She loves Inuyasha. She'll come to her senses soon enough."
Miroku didn't know why but Sango's blatant refusal to believe that Kagome was moving on was a little irritating. He would have thought her to be more happy for her friend. Wanting to make his point he continued, "His infidelity hurt Kagome-sama. Shouldn't you be happy that she's not in love with him anymore?"
Sango frowned, and replied in a matter-of-fact tone, "Inuyasha is right for her, Miroku-sama. Men are always unfaithful. She should get used to it. I do not understand her customs." She peered over her shoulder at the seemingly oblivious miko, "The world where she comes from is strange. But if she plans to stay here, she should get married to Inuyasha. Whether he's faithful to her or not doesn't matter."
Miroku halted in his tracks, staring at the demon slayer as if seeing her for the first time. "Are you serious, Sango-sama?"
She looked confused, "Of course, I am. He will provide for her, give her children and she will be happy. If he looks for his pleasure elsewhere, that is not her business."
Not knowing what to say to her, Miroku grew quiet. He clenched his teeth. Is that what Sango thought? After a few moments, he slipped behind to walk besides Kagome. She looked startled at his appearance, and then gave him a small smile, "Everything all right?"
He nodded, curtly, "Yes. I just no longer wished to walk besides Sango-sama."
Kagome raised a brow at that, "I thought you liked Sango."
Miroku refused to meet her gaze, instead settling for the dusty trail they were walking on, "I thought so, too."
He finally looked at her, a sad smile gracing his lips, "She has certain beliefs that trouble me."
Kagome opened her mouth to ask, but snapped it shut. Instead, they just walked on in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
"So," It was Miroku who spoke now, "Kagome-sama, did you bring the writings you wanted me to translate?"
Kagome's eyes brightened, and she dug in her jeans pocket. She had stopped wearing her uniform because it was expensive and got torn up a lot. She drew out a clean sheet of paper with a paragraph scribbled on it. Blushing, she handed him the paper, "Sorry, I was in a hurry."
Miroku studied the lines and raised a brow, "This was the first letter?"
He read and then re-read it and frowned, "They're love letters or something of the sort."
Kagome looked startled, "They are? I just thought they were to a friend or something."
Miroku made a non commital hmm and raised his brows in surprise, "I don't think this individual actually sent the letters. They were written and held on to."
"He didn't send them?"
He shook his head.
"So, what does it say?"
Miroku cleared his throat and spoke in a low voice, not wanting to be overheard, "I knew you were different, set apart from all of us, but I never imagined that I would start depending on you, and you on me. Especially after everything that you have been through, after what we have both been through. I want to hold you, to tell you everything will be all right, but that would be a lie. I know you think I do not see the pain you are going through, but I do. We are both stuck and unable to come out of this. At night, I see you cry, I hear your muffled cries. I wish you could talk and tell me, unload your pain, your burden on me, but I know it is impossible."
Miroku nodded slowly, "Who wrote these letters, Kagome-sama?"
Kagome stilled, looking uncertain, "I don't think I should tell you."
The young monk frowned, "Perhaps, but I find myself curious. Where are the other pieces?"
Kagome looked at her bag, "I'll show you after dinner. They're in my bag. But I can only copy them and show you."
He nodded, "Of course."
He looked at her.
"Don't tell Sango or Inuyasha about this, all right?"
Miroku grinned, his eyes twinkling, "Don't worry, Kagome-sama. This will be out little secret."
A.N: SO this will probably have some drama, pain, blah blah blah. I know I updated late, but having a few problems these days. I just wrote this and flashed this in. Please review.