The bite of the cold woke me up. Our campfire had died out. Inuyasha was supposed to have tonight's watch, but he has obviously been away for some time. Sango and Miroku kept each other warm enough to remain unaware as did Shippo and Kirara. I quietly rose from my sleeping bag and started to look for him. In the distance, I saw the glow of Kikyo's soul collectors and I immediately knew. But this time, I wasn’t hurt. I wasn't even disappointed. For me to be disappointed, I should be hopeful in the first place, but I expected this to happen. This time, I just feel empty. I feel emotionally exhausted. I began to gather my things, but I stopped. Instead I changed my clothes. I removed my school uniform and I wore my priestess kimono with black bottoms. This would be something that would help me to blend in. I didn't bother to even hide behind a tree. I was confident that everyone was well into REM sleep and my silent movements wouldn't wake them. Deep in thought, I stared at their sleeping bodies. I felt a certain bitterness toward them. To everyone. I’m just so angry. Initially, I felt that I was angry at them, but I realize that this frustration is misguided. I need to be alone.
Anger filled my heart like poison and encouraged my decision. I left behind everything except my bow and arrows. The more distance I put between myself and my friends, the more adrenaline flooded my veins. Before I knew it, I was sprinting with the moon lighting my path. I almost felt as though I was in danger. I couldn't turn back. I couldn't let Inuyasha find me. I just didn't want to see him. I didn't want to see him ever again. I didn't care if he became the most powerful man in Japan or if he let Kikyo drag him to hell. I just wanted him out of my life and I wanted him gone for good.
Suddenly, my heart stopped. I inadvertently stopped running as well. Inuyasha could track me down by my scent. Damn dog. I can’t let him hunt me down. When the shock of this realization wore off, I was able to gather my thoughts. I knelt to the ground and closed my eyes. I willed my consciousness to explore the land beyond what I could physically see. I searched for something that could help me. Anything. This was something that I had never done before, but I followed my intuition, however mysterious it may sometimes be. I have not fully explored my powers and sometimes, I don’t understand exactly what it is that Kikyo has passed on to me. I’m not sure she even understands. At least she doesn’t seem to understand while she exists in this undead state that I have only ever known her to be in.
I want to hate Kikyo, but Kikyo and I are the same soul. I am the one that chose to make these decisions, but in a past life. Now, I am directly suffering the consequences for my actions. Kikyo and I continue in this cycle of self-destruction. I ruin her life and she ruins mine even though we share the same face, the same voice, the same life force and power. Inuyasha will never see this. He is too attached to a clay doll to see that I am living and breathing. He is blind.
To my surprise, I sensed water nearby. At home, I have seen something like this in movies, where people will run through water to confuse the dogs that are tracking them down. I cannot think of anything else to try, so I run to this water, uncertain of the time I have left to escape this strange life I have lived with this stupid man. In the darkness, something tears through the fabric of my kimono and scrapes my leg. I can feel blood beginning to ooze from my cut, but I don’t stop running. Fuck. He’s going to find me. I need to be more careful.
I reach the water and before I can stop myself, my foot strikes Jaken in the face. He screams and I see his staff fly through the air. Shocked, I can’t even think of anything to say. “What are you doing here?!” he cries.
“What are YOU doing here?!” I screamed back at him. I couldn’t tell you why I said that to him. I don’t think I even knew how to respond. Honestly, I was a little embarrassed. I did just kick him in the face, afterall. Then, I felt my blood go cold. “Wait… Where is your master?”
Sesshomaru stepped out of the shadows of the forest and I drew my bow. To my left, I could see Jaken pointing his staff at me. “Can I kill her, Lord Sesshomaru?” Jaken begged. “Please let me kill her!” Someone’s ego was obviously a little bruised.
“Where is Inuyasha?” Sesshomaru’s deep, velvety voice inquired. I held my breath. I was cornered. I searched his face for any compassion and I found none. I lowered my bow and spoke softly.
“Sesshomaru, I am not here to fight you. We do not even need to be enemies.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. I have no desire to fight with you. I am alone now.” I pleaded. Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow and I knew that I had a chance to make it out of this. “I have left my friends and
I never intend to return. I can show you that I mean it. I just need a chance.” I let my bow drop to the ground. For a moment, there was a complete silence between us. I could hear crickets chirping. I could hear the wind blowing through the leaves. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. Sesshomaru studied my face.
“Where are you going to go?”
“I don’t know. Right now, I just need to get away from Inuyasha. I don’t want him to find me.” I confessed.
“Very well.” Sesshomaru relented. “There is a town across this river.” Sesshomaru snapped his fingers at Jaken and Jaken lowered his staff.
“Do you know how I can cross?” I sighed, relieved that he chose to let me live.
“There is a boat. We are crossing. You may cross with us.” Sesshomaru was testing me. I could feel it. Regardless, I was not prepared to turn back, so my only choice was to move forward. I had to go with Sesshomaru. When Sesshomaru began to walk, I picked up my bow, pulled it around my shoulder, and quietly followed him. I could hear Jaken muttering to Sesshomaru about how untrustworthy I was, but Sesshomaru ignored him. After a few minutes, Sesshomaru broke his silence. “How do you expect to survive alone in this world?”
“Well, I-” I started and stopped. I was surprised he ended the silence. It was intense, but I was certain that he preferred it that way. The last thing I suspected was that he might even remotely take an interest in anything I was doing. “I am a priestess.”
“Yes, but what if someone attacks you?” he quizzed me. His question caused many bitter emotions to rise in me.
“I can shoot, Sesshomaru.” I declared. “You have seen me shoot before.”
“You weren’t good at it.”
“I’m good at it now.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes.” I spat, becoming angry in spite of myself. “I shoot well.” Sesshomaru stopped walking and turned to face me.
“What?!” Jaken panicked. “My Lord! No! You cannot be serious!”
“What? I couldn’t shoot him.” I said to him.
“You kicked him in the face earlier. I’m sure you can shoot him.” It was then that I noticed a sly little smirk on Sesshomaru’s face. Jaken was shouting incoherently at this point.
“Well, if it would prove to you that my aim has improved…” I drew my bow and began to aim an arrow at Jaken as he sprinted off into the distance. Sesshomaru and I started to laugh. Suddenly, I realized that there was so much I didn’t know about him. “Do you think he will ever figure it out?”
“He never does.” Sesshomaru laughed. I smiled at him, feeling as though I have been rewarded for some reason.
“But I can shoot.”
“Yeah?” he said.
“Shoot that tree over there.” he pointed at a tree far off into the distance. I smirked at him and aimed carefully, maintaining a steady pace. I released my arrow and it struck a tree. Well, not the tree. “You missed.” he teased.
“No, I didn’t.” I insisted, not meeting his eyes. “I thought you meant that tree.”
“You definitely knew what tree I was talking about.” he said, grinning at me.
“How could you possibly know that?”
“Because you’re blushing.” he laughed. In spite of myself, I blushed harder and for a moment, I forgot all about the bitter feelings I had only moments ago.
We walked along the river until we came across a well-lit home that clearly belonged to a fisherman. Sesshomaru sent Jaken to knock on the front door. I could see Jaken barking orders at the man that lived there. They were arguing. This can’t be right. Why are they arguing? “Sesshomaru, where is this boat that you mentioned earlier?”
“The boat is here.”
“Is it his boat?” I asked. Sesshomaru squinted his eyes at me. “I’m going to take that as a ‘yes’.” We watched Jaken and the man argue until Sesshomaru decided to intervene.
“Kaito, it’s me.” Sesshomaru sighed.
“Lord Sesshomaru?” Kaito gasped. “What are you doing here? I thought you were trying to find some powerful sword or something. Did you hear about something that was near here?”
“No, Kaito. I have decided to stop pursuing that kind of thing.”
“Why?” Kaito asked, stunned. What are they talking about? Is the sword the tessaiga? He must be a little outdated. Also, how do they know each other? I thought Sesshomaru hated humans. My mind began rushing with questions.
“I wish to visit the villages across the river. I’m looking for something new. Not a sword.”
“Ahh… Interesting.” Kaito mused. “Perhaps we can talk about it more in-depth next time. I can see that you’re in a hurry to get to this new thing you’re looking for.”
“Thank you.” Sesshomaru said.
“But I don’t want that little green guy in my boat. He was very disrespectful to me and my family just now.” Kaito said. Sesshomaru looked at me and I shrugged.
“Jaken,” Sesshomaru began.
“Yes, my lord?”
“You will find a different way to cross the river.”
“WHAT?! You cannot be serious, Lord Sesshomaru! How will I get across? I may not find you! What will I do?! Is there another boat? How will I know what village-”
“Just start walking. He won’t even notice.” Sesshomaru whispered so that only Kaito and I could hear. We began to walk to the boat while Jaken babbled on. He didn’t seem to notice until we began to paddle away.
Once we made it across, Sesshomaru decided to camp in a clearing tucked into the woods and out of sight of the river. At first, I was hesitant about staying there with him, but upon further thought, I concluded that it would be better that I stay. I would have more protection if I stayed with him. Since we crossed the river, there was no fear of Inuyasha finding me. Tomorrow, Sesshomaru would be able to guide me to a good village and I wouldn’t have to wander around aimlessly. Besides, I wasn’t afraid of him anymore.
I laid on the ground, suddenly regretful of my impulsive decision of abandoning my belongings. I rested my head on a root. Sesshomaru rested in his giant fluffy thing. He looked nice and cozy. What is that thing anyway? The only sound between us was the crackling of our campfire and the crickets. It was so late. “Where are you going to go?” Sesshomaru suddenly asked. I jumped. I thought that he was sleeping. Sesshomaru peeked at me over his fluff without moving a muscle.
“When I left, I had no idea where I would go…” I said carefully. “But now, I think that I will travel. I mean, it’s what we-my friends and I-have done all this time. I could offer my abilities as a priestess to the villages I encounter and survive that way.”
“But why? Why don’t you return to that strange land you come from?”
“Well, I’m from here. Just in the future.” I explained. Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow at me. “There’s this kind of magic well that I travel through time in-” He didn’t believe me. He was blankly staring into the flames of the campfire now. I stopped explaining, fully aware of the pointlessness. I studied his face. “Where will you go?” I asked him, softly. I was uncertain as to whether or not he would answer me.
“Do you really want to know?” Sesshomaru scoffed.
“Well… Yes.” I said slowly.
“I’m going to find a nice village to live in… one without any of those monks to bother me.” Sesshomaru said, returning my stare. Intimidated, I broke my gaze. Wait, why would he do that? Why would he want to live with humans? He can’t mean a human village.
“I thought you hated humans.”
“What happened?” I innocently asked. Sesshomaru sighed.
“Go to sleep, Kagome.”
“Are you retiring from your power hunt?” I teased.
“Something like that.” Sesshomaru rolled over and I knew that our conversation was over.