Shiroi Inu - The White Dog

An Inuyasha Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah

 

Note: Inspired by “The White Cat” by Madame la Comtesse d'Aulnoy, a book I had when I was a kid.

 

     “Happy Birthday, Kagome!”

     “Happy Birthday, Oneesan!”

     19 year-old Higurashi Kagome smiled a small, appreciative smile. They were only doing what any normal family would do on someone’s birthday. She didn’t want to tell her mother and brother that to her, her birthday was one of the saddest days of the year; second only to January 1st (another inappropriate day to be morose). It was on January 1st two years before that she had come back home for good.

     After dinner, Kagome went to the shrine and prayed. She whispered to her grandfather’s spirit to watch over her and her family then turned to go back into the house. A chill ran down her spine.

     “I hate this time of year,” she moaned and hugged herself. The evenings were much cooler than the day-time and she always forgot to put on a sweater. Memories both good and bad, inextricably linked in her heart forever washed over her. “Damn it. Why couldn’t I have just forgotten the whole thing? Kagome trudged back into the house.

    

.x. 1. Denial 否定Hitei

In which the mourner denies a loss has taken place, and may withdraw from her usual routine.

 

     For months after coming home, Kagome avoided her family’s questions, changing the subject whenever they asked about the Sengoku Jidai. Due to her long absence, she graduated high school a semester behind her friends. When she was younger, Kagome had wanted to go to university, and her scores were good enough, but when she finally finished, her heart just wasn’t in it. She then helped her grandfather tend the family shrine. He had been trying to convince her to go to school, but she never listened. That winter when he died, Kagome took up the full time job of Kannushi for the shrine. Her heart was also only partially into her job. Nothing seemed important to her and no matter how often her family and friends asked her what was wrong, Kagome still replied, “nothing.”

 

     Only a few months after she had become kannushi, on a crisp autum day, a middle-aged woman brought her son to the temple. She was a patron whom Kagome knew well. Her son, for several years, had been showing signs of autism. His mother wouldn’t believe the doctors, but now that he was school-age, she was forced to confront it. In blind faith, she brought her son to the shrine to be exorcised.

     Kagome stared blankly at the woman. She knew how to perform such a ritual, but the shock she experienced was from the very idea that anyone in this day and age would believe in such a thing. She apologized to the patron, told her to come back tomorrow and ran out of the temple in hysterical tears.

 

     It had been more than a year since she had returned from the Sengoku Jidai. In all that time, Kagome hadn’t thought about the spiritual realm even in the slightest. Although her job now centered on this, she had concentrated on helping people, not being a spiritual leader, much less a full-fledged miko. She had put all of that away.

     Whenever she would find some memento of the Sengoku Jidai (a pressed ginko leaf in one of her text-books, for example) Kagome would put it in a shoebox in her closet behind her sweaters. Her logic was if she knew where things like that were, there was no way that they could surprise her again with their blinding reality.

     Kagome ran up to her room and pulled the sweaters down around her. The shoebox hit her on the head and landed on the floor, spilling its contents on the carpet. She stared at it for a minute before falling to her knees. Her hands shook as she touched the items. An acorn Shippo had given her as a white-day present, a bit of pink fabric Sango had used as a bandage, a gold coin from Miroku and a small, carefully spun ball of long, white hair were among the contents. One by one she touched each item and put it back in the box. Then, on second thought, she put them on the dresser.

     “I will never forget,” she whispered and went back to work.

2. Anger. 怒り Ikari

The grieving person may then be furious: at the person who inflicted the hurt, or at the world or even herself, for letting it happen.

 

     It was late when she emerged from the shrine. Just outside the temple, Kagome stopped and stared, slack-jawed. In the twilight, between the shrine and the house, an eerie, white shape glowed. She stood very still and watched it as if she had never seen anything out of the ordinary before in her life. Her legs trembled and her stomach turned. Suddenly the thing’s jaws parted and it panted.

     “Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s just a dog!” She tried to walk around the large, fluffy, white dog. It whined in response and blocked her path.

     A chill ran down Kagome’s spine. “Go away.” It yapped and wagged its tail. Kagome swallowed hard and clenched her fists. “I said, go away! Shoo!” she nearly screamed. Memories flooded her heart and her pulse raced. Finally, the dog got the hint and paced slowly away with its tail down. Kagome watched it for a moment then shook her head and continued towards the house.

     Tires screeched followed by a loud yelp. Kagome ran out to the road. A flat-faced Isuzu truck was pulled over just past the house and in the street lay the white dog. The driver apologized profusely for hitting it and offered to drive them to the veterinarian. Wordlessly, Kagome accepted. Still in her official robes, she got into the passenger side and rested a hand on the poor dog’s head. He whimpered but didn’t move.

     “Happy birthday to me,” she muttered.

 

.x.

     “Kagome, where have you been!?” her mother cried as she held the door open for the vet’s assistant.

     “This dog got hit outside the house. I had to take it to the vet.”

     Mrs. Higurashi watched as the man walked in with the large dog in his muscular arms. He set it down on the floor in the living room where Kagome indicated, tipped his hat and left.

     “They said they were full up. We have to take care of it till we can find its owner.” She sat down facing away from the dog. Its leg was bandaged, but otherwise it looked happy enough. Its tongue lolled out the side of its mouth as it panted.

     “Oh wow, can we keep him?!” Souta cheered and pet the thing enthusiastically.

     “No, Souta,” Kagome snapped and left the room. Her mother pouted and followed her.

     “Kagome-chan…”

     Kagome tensed up whenever her mother called her that recently.

     “I’m almost 20 years old, Mother.”

     “I know, but you’re still my baby.”

     She sat down on her bed and looked up at her mother’s smiling face. She could smile through anything. Kagome couldn’t remember ever seeing her mother look sad; not even when they visited her grandfather and father’s graves.

     “This dog…” her mother began.

     “I know what you’re gonna say, so don’t. Just don’t”

     She folded her arms and simply waited.

     “Kaasan…” Kagome grumbled.

     “Just because it’s a white dog doesn’t mean you have to shun it.”

     Kagome blinked. That wasn’t quiet what she had expected to hear. Her mother turned away and could be heard telling Souta to not be so rough with the wounded animal. Happy, short, strong barks sounded from the distance.

 

.x.

     The months passed into winter. Kagome had practically wallpapered the whole of Tokyo with “found dog” notices, but not one person called. Souta and Mrs. Higurashi doted on the beast, but Kagome still kept her distance.

     One snowy afternoon, she emerged from the temple and squinted against the glare of the sun off the bright, white snow. She heard a rustling sound from her left and stopped to listen. “Better not be that stupid Samoyed again,” she grumbled. Some snow fell off of a branch. She let her guard down.

     “Rrrruf!” he barked and leapt out of the snow right in front of her. Kagome shrieked and jumped instinctively. The path was still slick with packed-down snow. She lost her footing and fell, wrenching her ankle as she did so.

     “You stupid mutt!” Enraged, Kagome clutched the snow and threw it at the startled dog. It hit him on the nose. He whined and backed away until she tried to get up. “OW! Damn it, my ankle. I twisted my fucking ankle. Do you think that’s funny, dog?”

     “Nee-chan!” Souta was just walking home and ran to his sister’s side. “You ok?!”

     “That accursed mongrel startled me and I twisted my ankle. I TOLD you we should have gotten rid of him!”

     “But Inuyasha-oniisan is…”

     “HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL HIM THAT!?”

     Souta frowned and stopped trying to help her. “What is your problem?! Ever since you came back home you’ve been such a bitch. The dog didn’t do anything mean to you, and he looks like Inuyasha-oniisan so that’s what I named him. You can’t just call him ‘dog’!”

     “What’s my problem?!” Kagome screamed back, but stopped. She had never told her mother or brother what had happened. “My problem…” The dog called Inuyasha was still sitting obediently about six feet away, looking more like eyes, a nose and an outline against the brilliant snow.

 

     Kagome took some tea and limped up to her room. She fell asleep almost instantly. She didn’t wake till long after dark.

     The house was quiet except for the obvious sound of Domoto Kyoudai coming from the living room. “Sheesh. I slept too late. Must be about 10…” She turned over and her foot met something heavy. “Ow, shit,” she hissed as her ankle throbbed.

     The Samoyed blinked at her from his prone position. She watched him for a moment, trying to decide exactly which colorful words to use to tell him to get off the bed. As she stared, unblinking into his small, black eyes, her anger ebbed.

     “What is my problem…?” she whispered. The dog panted, as if relieved that he wasn’t going to be scolded. “Souta’s right. You didn’t do anything. Can I tell you a story, dog? A story I haven’t told anyone?” Tentatively, she stuck her hand out. The dog sniffed it, approved of her and scooted himself up closer to her. He nudged her hand with his nose till it was on top of his head. She laughed lightly and pet him. “Why do you have to be so damned cute? And white… Any other color would have been fine…”

     She sighed. “Three years ago, I came home from the Sengoku Jidai which is this time a long time ago. I didn’t want to…” Kagome closed her eyes, but continued to pet the dog. “He threw me in the well. This boy you remind me of. The one my brother named you after. The one who’s name I can’t even think about without…

     “We were fighting Nara… this evil hanyou. I don’t want to say his name. This hanyou had collected all of the shards of the Shikon no Tama…” The dog whined. “Sorry if I’m boring you,” Kagome groaned. “This bastard hanyou killed two of my human friends in front of me. I was so shocked and enraged that I went after him with my bow. I put myself in danger. I didn’t care. But that baka! He jumped in front of me and blocked Nar… the evil hanyou’s attack. It went right through him.

     “The next thing I knew, the baka was running with me through the woods. He tossed me down the well. I heard him scream, then nothing.”

     Kagome’s hand wandered up to the dog’s ear. “When I woke up, I couldn’t get back through. I knew the baka had to be dead. Baka. Baka!” Finally, Kagome cried.

     “Why did you save me?! I wanted to die. I wanted to die fighting, not running away. I wanted to stay with you! I wanted to tell you… I never got to tell you…” she sobbed. The dog scooted up again, but before she could swat him away, he began to lick her face. Kagome gave up and wrapped her arms around the dog. She cried into his thick, white fur. As if this was totally natural, he lay very still and let her sob herself to sleep.

3. Bargaining. 取り引きTorihiki

Now the grieving person may make a deal, asking, "If I do this, will this feeling go away?"

 

     Kagome began taking long trips out into the countryside. She would spend days away, like she had when she was a teen, but this time when she returned, there were no stories for her mother and brother. This was not a quest, this was research.

     She wanted to learn about the state of spirituality in the modern world. She began with her forays into the wilderness, looking for youkai or kappa or tengu that might cross her path. Kagome always carried her bow with her, ready should the one who held the Shikon no Tama come calling. After winter became spring, she shifted her concentration by visiting all the Shinto and Buddhist shrines in Tokyo and speaking to kannushi and monks. She didn’t tell any of them of her adventures in the past, but many were intrigued how such a young kannushi could know so much about demonology. Certain shrines she visited had a definite glow about them, but nothing sentient: no youkai, no oni.

     Kagome made her rounds and visited the Kameido Tenmangu in Tokyo. She seated herself and meditated. To her delight, a specter swirled out of the woodwork. It wailed and screamed and blew incense ash and gohei all around. As it turned out, the spirit was simply the ghost of a poet for whom the shrine was built. She apologized for waking him and ran away before reporters could question her about the disturbance.

 

     At night, when the spirit world was supposedly more alive, Kagome would meditate in her shrine, calling out to anything supernatural. For many months she did this, in all weather, but nothing happened.

     At 19 years of age, Kagome wished that she had asked her grandfather more questions before he died. Then she had an idea.

 

     It only took a little while to remember how she had drawn out the spirit of the poet. A thin, white curl of what looked like smoke began to appear.

     “Ojiichan?” Kagome asked.

     “Kagome-chan?” a thin, voice echoed.

     “Ojiichan I’m having a hard time…” She told him of her search and waited patiently for him to answer.

     “Hmmmm you never listened.”

     “What?!”

     “Never mind. You are wondering where all the youkai have gone, yes?”

     “Yes…” Kagome blinked and watched the floating apparition scratch his chin. “If Nara…”

     “No!” the spirit shouted. Paper gohei shivered in the breeze and Kagome hugged herself to keep away the chill. “You must not speak his name. The evil one who killed your friends…”

     “How do you know?!” Kagome cried.

     “Do not question the dead; it’s poor manners. You mustn’t say his name. To do so would give him power and help him to locate you.”

     “You think he’s still alive!?”

     “I am sure of it. With the power of the Shikon no Tama, he could not have withered away like the others.”

     “Withered away…?” Kagome knew he was trying to help, but everything he said just presented more questions.

     “As I explained just a few years ago when you weren’t listening… and what is much more clear to me now, being part of the spirit realm myself, I know that the spirit realm needs energy to survive. Ghosts can thrive because their loved ones and even those that hated them remember them. Youkai feed off of energy from humans in a similar way. In the beginning, humans needed the spirit realm to explain things; why the sun set, why the sky was blue, why people died. Now, science explains all of that for them. Humans have, over the centuries, grown too knowledgeable to need youkai anymore.”

     “So… what happened to Nara… to all the youkai, Jiichan?”

     “They faded away…” he smiled and his image dissipated.

     “Ojiichan!”

     The ghost was gone. Night had fallen when she finally emerged from the shrine. Tired and disappointed she dragged herself back to the house.

4. Depression. 憂うつ Yuu’utsu

The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

 

     The white dog charged up a small hill, turned quickly and barked.

     “I’m coming, sheesh!” Kagome replied. She held her side as she crested the hill. “Damn, I am really out of shape.” The dog called Inuyasha cocked his head to one side. “What? You think I’m getting fat?” she asked. “Ugh! What am I asking you for? Baka.” She ruffled his ears and they continued their walk. It was a sunny, cool day; perfect for walking a dog. If only he wasn’t snow white and the ground wasn’t so muddy.

     “Baaakaaaaa…” she groaned as he dove head first into a particularly muddy bit of earth and rolled. “Ugh. You are so stupid. You know what you’re gonna get?” He stopped for a moment and looked up at her upside down. His tongue lolled out of his mouth, nearly into his eye. “A BATH!”

     “Rrrrruf!” he flipped and righted himself the took off running through the trees again.

     “Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh. Baka dog.”

     She continued on a few steps, but stopped as an icey chill ran up her spine. Kagome folded her arms. She had remembered her sweater, but all of a sudden the air felt about 10 degrees colder. She held her breath and listened. When she heard nothing, she closed her eyes. Just to her left was a strong wave of energy.

     Kagome clutched her fists. ‘Maybe it’s a youkai…’ she thought, ‘woken at last…’ Concentrating as best she could, she opened her miko’s eyes.

     “Kagome…” the voices sang in unison in her head.

     Immediately, Kagome knew where she was; only a few hundred yards from the well; approximately where she was the last time she had seen them.

     “Sango! Miroku!”

     Their forms were translucent and wispy, struggling to remain visible. ‘There’s only one reason they’re still on this plane,’ Kagome thought quickly. “You were never blessed!”

     In tears, Kagome fell to her knees and clutched her hands together. She muttered prayers, consecrating the ground on which she had seen them die nearly 500 years ago. Their images smiled and dissipated.

     “Thank you…”

     Kagome watched them go then watched the clouds overhead. Once again, the dog startled her. He was digging just a few feet away.

     “Whu.. what are you doing?” she mumbled, dazed. “Hey, cut that out! My friends are probably buried here!!” She got up and ran over to him, but he ran away, back in the direction of the house.

     “Stupid dog. I’m sorry, guys.” She bowed and wiped the tears from her eyes.

 

     “Did The Baka make it back without me?” Kagome asked as she came into the house. Her mother was making lunch.

     “Mmhm. What would you like for lunch, dear?”

     “I’m not that hungry…” She wanted to tell someone about Sango and Miroku, but that would just make them ask questions about the Sengoku Jidai.

     “Oh, silly dog. What’s he gotten into now?” Mrs. Higurashi put her hands on her hips and looked down at the mess he had tracked in.

     “I told him he’d have to have a bath. You think he coulda stayed outside…” As Kagome crossed to the cabinet with the cleaning supplies in it, she noticed his water dish was also dirty. “What, he eats dirt too? Ahhhh Baka!!”

 

     Kagome stormed up the stairs. “Ok, what did you eat, dog?”

     Souta dropped his game controller and ran into the hallway. “Be nice to him, Nee-chan!”

     “Baka?” she asked, sternly. He was lying on the floor in her room, happily munching on something. “Whatever it is, give it here!” Dreading the worst, she struggled with the beast and opened his jaws. “You swallow it and I’ll have your stomach pumped, you hear me?”

     Finally her fingers touched something smooth and round. He gave up and left the room. Kagome sat on the floor and stared at the drool-covered bead. “What the…?”

     “What is it, Nee-chan?”

     “Uh... just a bead or something. Baka dog…” ‘Where did he get this…?’ The purple, ceramic bead was a little gnawed on, but instantly familiar. “BAKA!?” she called out, got up and ran downstairs.

 

     The white dog walked up the hill and looked back at his mistress.

     “Keep going! You show me exactly where you got this!” Kagome commanded and waved the bead in front of his nose again. With his tail down, he went back to the spot he had dug up earlier. Kagome sank to her knees and tore at the earth. One by one, more beads emerged till there were 40 of them and eight bony claws, also with holes for stringing. The string had long since disintegrated. Horrified, but desperate to know, Kagome dug furiously. The dog joined in, but not one single bone was to be found.

     “If there’s no skeleton...” she thought out loud, “and Sango and Miroku’s were the only ghosts still here… Where did he go?”

     “Ruff!”

     She slumped her shoulders, collected the dirty beads in her sweater and headed back home. “Be quiet… Oh, Inuyasha....”

     “Rrrruff!”

     “Not you, Baka. He died a long time ago. This necklace was his.” She clutched the sweater. Tears poured silently down her face. The dog hung back and barked as she walked away. Kagome paid no heed. “Inuyasha…”

 

     “Kagome-chan…?” Mrs. Higurashi opened the door cautiously. The white dog lifted his head from his post at the foot of her bed. “Will you be going to work today?”

     “No.”

     “Will you have some breakfast?”

     “No.”

     Her mother clutched her apron. “Kagome-chan, I’m worried about you!”

     “I’m fine.”

     “No you’re not! Why won’t you let me help you? What’s the matter?”

     “Can you bring back the dead?” Kagome turned over to face her mother. The bags under Kagome’s eyes startled her.

     “N... no…”

     “Then you can’t help me.”

     Mrs. Higurashi left quickly and could be heard crying openly as she ran down the hall.

5. Acceptance. 受諾 Shoudaku

At last, the person accepts the reality of the loss.

     Mrs. Higurashi stood outside her daughter’s room and listened. The white dog panted lightly, sensing the woman’s presence and she heard the soft whisper of sheets sliding as Kagome turned over.

     “We’re going now.”

     “…”

     “We’ll be at Auntie Hibari’s till Sunday night.”

     Still, there was no reply. She sighed and went downstairs. “Is Nee-chan gonna be ok?” Souta whispered.

 

     Kagome had been in bed for nearly a week. Her appetite was gone. She slept almost all day. Occasionally, she pet the white dog, but never said anything. Any time she did speak she either cried or her mother would come in and attempted to get through to her.

     A few hours after they left, Kagome opened her eyes. It was just getting dark out, and her room was all greys and shadow. The white dog almost glowed at the foot of her bed. She rolled over and stuck her hand out of the covers. He inched forward and nuzzled it. A slight smile touched her lips for a moment.

     “I hurt, Baka,” she admitted. “I don’t want to anymore. I want it to go away, but it doesn’t.” The dog whined and licked her hand. She retracted it back under the covers. “A long time ago, I loved this boy, but I never told him. Then he died. I couldn’t save him, but he saved me. I want to be with him.”

     “Jiichan said I shouldn’t say his killer’s name… He said it would give him power, that it would make him able to find me. His name is Naraku.”

     “Naraku killed Sango. Naraku killed Miroku. Naraku killed Inuyasha. If it hadn’t been for Inuyasha, Naraku would have killed me too. Naraku…” Her breath became heavy and drawn. “Naraku!” she shouted and curled up into the fetal position. “Come get me, you bastard! Kill me too!”

     The white dog barked loudly, bringing Kagome out of her spell. She pulled the covers away from her face and looked at him. His black eyes looked so sad as he lay at the foot of the bed. “I… I’m sorry,” Kagome sobbed. “I didn’t mean to scare you… I just… don’t care if I live or die. I’d rather be dead because I just can’t… I can’t…” The dog crawled up closer to her and she threw her arms around him.

 

     Around 1 AM, Kagome woke from a sound and relaxing sleep with a start. The white dog was standing up on the bed, his fangs bared, hair bristling, staring at the door. Her heart went into her throat. “B… Baka…?”

     The sky flashed with the pulse of distant lightning. She relaxed a little. Dogs hated thunder and lightning, she knew that. Her dog was no exception. Hell, he was even afraid of her cat, Buyo! Never had she known a dumber, more cowardly dog.

     “Ugh…. Do you need to go hide under the stairs again, Baka?” She slipped out of bed and opened the door. The dog bolted past her and charged down the stairs. “Stupid dog,” she groaned and turned to get back into bed. Even before she could get a leg up, she heard a loud crash coming from downstairs, followed by the dog barking viciously from outside. With a bit more panic than anger, Kagome quickly put on a robe over the shorts and tee-shirt she had been wearing and ran down the stairs. The window by the side door was broken. She flipped on the lights and saw a bit of blood and white fur on the shards of glass.

     “Baka?!” she cried and clumsily unlocked the door. Outside, the white dog was standing just in front of the house, looking out at the shrine. The streetlight illuminated the courtyard from the road, and standing only 50 yards away was a hunched figure in a white, fur coat. The white dog growled menacingly and took a step towards it.

     “No… It can’t be…” Kagome whispered.

     “Kukukukuku…” it laughed. “You called me…”

     Kagome gasped. ‘He’s found me!’ Her legs refused to move, even to run away. All thoughts of wanting him to kill her disappeared. He approached, almost slithering across the yard. Naraku’s face was completely covered in shadow by the baboon disguise. Kagome knew it was truly him and not some puppet because could feel him; his youki was overpoweringly strong, almost like a stench.

     “So long now I have been waiting… drawing on the power of the Jewel… waiting for this moment…”

     The white dog snarled and stepped forward.

     “So, you found her did you?” Naraku wheezed as he moved, as if even walking was an effort. “It is unfortunate that I’m going to kill her before she gets a chance to save you.”

     “What…?” Kagome whispered. The white dog barked in warning, as Naraku grew closer. ‘Wait, what am I doing!?’ she thought. ‘I’m a shit load more powerful than I used to be and Naraku looks like he’s having a hard time even with the Shikon no Tama. I can kill him!’ “Hold him there, Inuyasha!” she shouted, calling the dog by the name her brother gave him for the first time. He barked over and over and began to circle the half-demon.

     “How sweet; she calls you that name. Let me finish the job I should have done all those years ago…” Naraku extended his hand and a thick vine of hair shot out from his sleeve towards Kagome as she ran to the shed where she kept her archery equipment. The white dog leapt through the air and yelped as the extension perforated him. HeHe fell to the ground a few feet before her.

     “Inuyasha!” she screamed, but knew what she had to do. She grabbed the bow and quiver and without even trying, nailed Naraku in the middle of the chest. The hair vine shriveled and turned to dust. He sank to the ground.

     “Damn you, girl. At least you will never see him again…” The hood of the costume fell back, revealing Oni Gumo’s scarred visage. In moments, this too turned to dust. Kagome walked over and withdrew a glowing orb from the ashes. As soon as she touched it, the Shikon no Tama was puriefied. Without even having to think about it, Kagome held the jewel between her palms and prayed. When her hands separated, the Shikon no Tama was gone.

 

     A few drops of rain began to fall making tiny craters in the pile of dust that was the most evil being on the planet: the one who had killed her love.

 

     “Baka!” Kagome remembered, cried and rushed to her pet’s side. “Baka!” The dog was dying. She tried to pick him up, (regardless of the fact that he was at least 150 lbs.) thinking that she could rush him to the vet at this hour of the night, but a strange feeling came over her. She took off her robe and lay it over the dog. She pet his face and he whined in pain.

     “Thank you,” she whispered. “Thank you for saving me.” She pulled out another arrow and covered his eyes. “I love you, Inuyasha.” With all the strength she had, Kagome brought the arrow down into the animal’s chest. He stopped moving instantly. She closed her eyes and hung her head. The rain picked up and soon she was soaking wet. Kagome turned her eyes to the heavens and let her tears and the rain mingle.

     A strange sound drew her attention back to Earth; a sound like an egg hatching or a leather saddle creaking; something very out of place.

     The dog was moving. Kagome shrieked and scrambled back a few feet from her seat on the ground. She watched with horror and anticipation an the shape bulged and twitched. Under the glow from the windows of her house, it was hard to tell just what was going on, but soon, a moan confirmed what she thought she saw.

     “Uhnnnn…”

     He pushed himself up with his hands and the white fur-skin slid off his back. His long, black hair hung down in his face. Kagome’s robe covered him below the waist. He sat up, pulled the robe closer to him and pushed his damp hair out of his face.

     “Kagome…?”

     She stared at him, unblinking. The rain ran into her eyes.

     “You did it? Naraku’s dead?” he asked.

     She nodded slowly.

     “I knew you weren’t completely useless,” he said, stood up and smiled. That was it. She was sure. She stood as well.

     “Inuyasha… But… you’re…”

     “I’m what?” he asked, incredulously.

     “You threw me down the well and then… what happened?!”

     “You’re safe! I mean I sorta knew it was you, but not really. He was gonna kill you, so I had to get you the hell out of there and then I turned around and he was practically on top of me. He was gonna kill me, too then he changed his mind and cursed me instead. He said I’d live my life as a dog over ‘n over till the day I died by your hands. He musta thought it was fool-proof. But you did it; you killed me!”

     She laughed a little in disbelief, eyes wide.

     “Sorry. I haven’t talked for a few hundred years. I guess I must be rambling, just tell me to shut up and I’ll…”

     Kagome tackled him. “Inuyasha!!!”

     He laughed and hugged her back. “Hey,” he held her out so he could look into her eyes. “What happened to the Shikon no Tama?”

     “It’s back where it belongs: where I found it five years ago.” She patted her heart. “Will you help me protect it?” she asked.

     Human Inuyasha wiped rain from her face. “On one condition.”

     “Oh?” she asked, surprised.

     “That I can still sleep with you.” He grinned.

     She blushed crimson, her eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “Oh my God… You were my dog this whole time!!!”

     He laughed at her as she playfully hit him, clinging to his arm. “Hey, ow! It’s not like I knew what was goin’ on! I was a dog!”

     They went inside and got some dry clothes.

     Mrs. Higurashi and Souta weren’t due home for another three days.

 

END


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