Disclaimer: I do not own InuYasha, which belongs to Rumiko Takahashi and possibly other people. I am writing this story for fun, not for profit.

Itsuki is young and brash, but also sweet and kind. The girls in his classes think he is cute, and after he joins the baseball team his popularity rises even further. After girls start sending him creepy notes with their chocolates on Valentine's Day his mother gently suggests that he start dating just one of the girls to get the others to leave him alone. (Her exact words are, "Well, they all seem like such nice girls! Why don't you try finding out more about them, and seeing if you like any of them back?" But Itsuki knows what she means.)

With much blushing a stuttering, he asks a girl who's quite the tomboy and has a bunch calluses on her hands from kendo if she would be his girlfriend, and amidst much cat calling from the boys and hissing from the girls, she accepts with a bright grin and a brighter blush.

Itsuki is holding his girlfriend's hand under an umbrella in the rain. They have been dating for almost two years now, and Shun has something to tell him. He is not too worried, because last time she'd had something to tell him that she had two younger siblings and that her sister, Kisa, had Aspergers, and that if they had any children there was always a chance—at which point he'd cut her off, because they were fifteen. Itsuki didn't want to think of having children until he was at least in his thirties.

"I think we should break up."

Itsuki is stunned, and gets outwardly angry while fretting inside, but Shun is used to seeing through his bluster and slaps the back of his head before he can become too insulting.

"It's nothing you did," she assures him. "But I honestly don't think you like me . . . you know, like that."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I always initiate everything. Even this," she gestures to their hands. "You don't even think about it, do you?"

"I. . . ." And then Itsuki hesitates, because he can't think of anything to say. It's true.

"You've also admitted to me that the main reason you asked me out was because it would make the other girls leave you alone and I was so like a boy."

"But those are my reasons."

"And that's the problem." She lets this idea hang in the air for a few seconds as Itsuki thinks about it, his expression going from confused and frustrated to understanding and sad. "So, break up?"

Itsuki looks at Shun and reluctantly nods. "Yeah."

Itsuki is walking home alone from baseball practice, as Shun is with her new boyfriend (a perverted bastard, literally, that Itsuko has sworn to castrate and disembowel if he ever hurts Shun). He is fingering his hair and wondering if he should start running now or later. His baseball manager is constantly telling him that he may be good, but he could always be better if he just applied himself a little more. So Itsuki has told himself that every day he will run at least five kilometers and bench press at least three sets of ten reps. It will change depending on how much time he has and how he feels, but at least he has a starting point. Then a little kid runs into him.

"Watch where you're going, ya old geezer!"

Itsuki recognizes the twerp who ran into him from his bright orange hair. "Who you calling a geezer, you midgetty kid?"

Shou scowls up at Itsuki. "I'm not a midget!"

"Oh, I'm sorry—who's fourteen and smaller than a nine year old again? Oh, it's you? Well—"

Shou tackles him to the ground. The pavement actually hurts, and he probably ripped his clothes again (his mother is not going to be happy about sewing up his school uniform again). He retaliates by grabbing Shou in a chokehold and giving him a noogie.

"Argh!" Shou yells. "Leggo!"

Itsuki, of course, doesn't let go.

After a brief bought of roughhousing and some disapproving stares, Itsuki and Shou start heading home.

Itsuki and Shou live near each other. From just a few houses away, Shou had made it his duty from birth to annoy Itsuki to death. Itsuki has to admit that Shou isn't that bad when he's not being annoying, but those moments are few and far between.

Shou takes a swipe at Itsuki when he ruffles his hair. Itsuki leapes back with a laugh and takes off down the road. Shou chases him two blocks before giving up and heading back home to his family, but Itsuki keeps running. He's decided that this will be his run for today, and he has further to go.

He's run over two kilometers on his spontaneous run through the streets when he passes a girl. It's just a regular girl. He's probably passed her many times before. But this time she is close enough that he can smell her, and the indescribable scent (that he shouldn't be able to smell, but does) snaps his head around as she passes.

He pauses in his run, staring backwards, and the sudden stop almost trips him into an old woman carrying groceries. He yelps and apologizes, and the old woman yells at him for a little bit before moving on with a huff after he's cowered enough for her.

Itsuki stares after the old woman for a moment before his head snaps around and he looks for the girl with the scent (that, really, he can't have smelled her, that was impossible, he was only human and the girl had been at least a half meter away and he had been running).

She's gone.

He looks for her. For months, he keeps his eyes peeled, hoping and praying every day to see her again. This time, he swears to himself, he will stop her, talk to her, charm her—get a date, or at least some way to contact her again.

But time passes with no sight of her.

He starts feeling depressed, which is new to him and shows that he actually has feelings, as Shun so helpfully points out. Shun's boyfriend, Michi, has the idea to take him to a shrine to pray.

Itsuki says, "I thought you were Buddhist."

"But you're not."

"I'm not?"

". . . Of course not. Your mother invited me to some shrines last Christmas. Not to temples."

"We go to shrines?"

Michi sighs in exasperation.

"I'm just messin' with you. But I don't think praying's going to help."

Michi explains, "It is not just the act of praying that is helpful. It is the knowledge that you are handing over your problems for someone, or something, else to handle. That whatever you do now, you can but try your hardest, and what will be, will be."

It sounds vaguely suspicious to Itsuki, but it also sounds kind of nice, so he agrees to go.

They end up going to the Higurashi shrine on a school day (Itsuki knows he's a bad influence, a delinquent, and gives a little internal cackle), where the hustle and bustle of the city fades away to let in sunlight and birdsong. That alone gives a feeling of peace, but there is also this quality in the air that makes the shrine seem mysterious. He's not sure what it is or where it comes from, but as Shun and Michi head towards the front of the shrine Itsuki finds himself distracted and wanders towards a tree.

A tree, old and scarred, comes into view. He stops before it, feeling curious about the spot of lighter wood in the middle. What could have made such a mark?

Further away there is a well house, and his feet lead him there without Itsuki making a conscious decision. Interested, and seeing it unlocked, he opens the door to look inside.

It is a normal well. A purely simply, normal well. Also a dry well, Itsuki notes as he peers in. How odd. He would think that they would fill it in since it has no water. And who even needs a well anymore? There's always the option of indoor plumbing.

A gasp behind him causes him to turn guiltily, the thought passing his mind that he probably shouldn't have wandered away from Shun and Michi.

There is a little boy standing behind him, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. His mouth snaps closed and he points at Itsuki's head. "What happened to your hair?"

Itsuki's hand automatically goes to his hair. "My hair?"

The boy yelps, "And your ears?"

Itsuki's hands clap over both his ears. "What about my ears?" he growls. He knows his ears are kind of big, but there is really no call to gape at him like this.

The boy stares at him for a moment longer before lowering his hand. "Oh, you're not. . . ?" The boy stares at the ground and seems to pull himself together, because when he looks up again he's smiling. "I'm sorry, I mistook you for someone else! I'm Souta, and I help out at this shrine! What's your name?"

Itsuki's hands hesitantly lower as he realizes that the boy is not about to make fun of his ears again. "Itsuki," he mumbles.

"Itsuki-san." The boy nods. "I'm afraid that this is simply an old well, and not a part of the shrine. Would you please follow me, and I can escort you back?"

Sheepishly, Itsuki followed Souta out of the well house. Souta gently closed the well doors behind them before leading Itsuki, not to the shrine as expected, but to his house.

Itsuki sends Souta a questioning look as the boy slips off his shoes. "Sorry, this will take just a moment." Then he slips on some house slippers and steps up into the house. He turns around the corner into a place where someone is clanking dishes. Itsuki can just barely hear his voice. "Mom?" And unintelligible answer. "Can you call my school to tell them I'll be a little late? There's . . ." and his voice fades too much to make out any more.

Itsuki stands awkwardly in the entranceway, unsure of what to do and feeling a little guilty that he's—he checks his phone—made Souta late for school. After a few moments he starts looking around the entranceway, which he notices is nice and clean.

A little ways in there are pictures on the wall. There most prominent one includes Souta, an older man, an older woman, and a teenage girl.

He knows that teenage girl. Or, wishes he knows her. He'd seen her a few months ago, and has since then regretted not talking to her.

"Oh!" Itsuki turns at the sound, and sees Souta and the older woman from the picture standing behind him. The older woman (most likely Souta's mother) is wearing a stunned look and has a hand over her mouth. "I see," she murmurs.

Itsuki stares, but when it seems like Souta isn't going to say anything he asks, "You see what?"

"Oh, nothing." The woman waves away her comment with a smile.

There is an awkward silence. Itsuki takes the moment to ask, "Who is that?" while pointing at the picture with the teenaged girl on it.

"Oh," says the woman with a small look, "that's my daughter."

"Her name's Kagome," adds Souta.

"Kagome," Itsuki can't help but murmur. He hesitates to ask his next question, but something inside of himself drives him to. "Where is she?"

The boy and his mother share a short glance before both looking back at him with pity in their eyes, as though they understand why he's asking the question. (Which is just ridiculous—no matter what Shun says, he is not an open book, thank you very much.) "She's gone," says Souta sadly. And Itsuki knows what that means.

"Oh," he says awkwardly. "I'm sorry for your loss." Also sorry for his own loss—he never even got to speak to her. To Kagome.

"Thank you," says Souta's mother kindly.

Then Souta leads him back to the others. It takes a little while, for they aren't in the shrine any more. When they find Shun, Michi, and an old man that Souta says is the priest of the shrine (and also his grandfather), the three explain that they had been looking for Itsuki. The priest explains using considerably more yelling.

The scolding is getting a little tiring after the first two minutes, but Shun and Michi simply stare at him in disapproval, as though they agree with what the priest is saying. Suddenly the priest pauses his tirade to squint at Itsuka. "Say, have I seen you somewhere before?"

"No," says Itsuki. He is sure he would have remembered an old man as kooky as this.

"Are you sure?" the priest asks suspiciously.

"Grandpa, this is Itsuki," says Souta, gently buy firmly. "It's his first time at this shrine."

The priest hmphs. "Well, after today, I'm not sure I'd like him back," he says, as though Itsuki is not standing less than a meter away from him.

Souta looks to Itsuki. "Don't listen to him." He turns to include Shun and Michi. "We'd love it if you all came back again."

The priest starts sputtering and ranting about ungrateful grandsons, and Souta waves a friendly wave before walking leisurely off to school.

It is only a few minutes later when Michi scolds him as they walk down the stairs, telling him that it is very rude to go wandering around where he's not supposed to be and that he is very, very lucky that the Higurashis are so kind.

Itsuki only listens half heartedly, his mind with the girl in the picture (Kagome) and how he will never see her again.

AN: Yes, Itsuki is InuYasha's reincarnation, Shun is Sango's, Michi is Miroku's, and Shou is Shippou's, and Kisa is Kirara's.

I hope no one is offended at Kisa/Kirara having Aspergers. I myself have an autistic brother and cousins with Aspergers, and I was thinking that making Kirara a cat was just too overdone, and Kirara is much smarter than a regular cat, and that she and Sango (and Kohaku, but we don't see him with Kirara too much) were very much like family. And so. If it is offensive, if someone could please explain it to me, then I'll take it down.

So, obviously, Kagome isn't dead. Her family knows that she's just in the past (or, at least, they hope she's not dead yet), but Itsuki doesn't know that.