No More Confusion by SakuraRyuu
Summary: Kagome makes it impossible for Inuyasha to confuse her with Kikyo.
Categories: Fables Characters: InuYasha, Kaede, Kagome, Kikyou, Miroku
Genres: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Oneshot, Psychological, Tragedy
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 6 Completed: Yes Word count: 6689 Read: 8175 Published: August 18, 2011 Updated: August 19, 2011
Story Notes:
Inuyasha and all characters in this fan fiction are the property of Rumiko Takahashi.

1. Chapter 1 by SakuraRyuu

2. Chapter 2 by SakuraRyuu

3. Chapter 3 by SakuraRyuu

4. Chapter 4 by SakuraRyuu

5. Chapter 5 by SakuraRyuu

6. Chapter 6 by SakuraRyuu

Chapter 1 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
If this fic is rated T, M, MA Kagome is over the age of 18 years old.
Inspired by the fanart “I’m Not Kikyo” by sugar0o on dA.
Again Kagome was closed up in a hut in Kaede’s village with a human Inuyasha who had tried to be badass and cut it too close on the night of the full moon. The battle against the basan should have been easy, but as Inuyasha got weaker, it seemed to get stronger. Its screech was mind splitting, and when it flapped its giant wings, the warriors fell back, rolling over themselves. As it pecked dangerously at the head of one foe it used its back claw to swipe at the other. The humor wasn’t lost on Kagome at being chased around by a giant chicken. Had it been a regular chicken she would have grabbed it by the legs and dangled it upside down, causing it to go limp. Unfortunately, she wasn’t as big as she needed to be, and this chicken wasn’t going down so easy. Finally, after what felt like hours, they were able to best the beast, but not without Inuyasha taking some considerable blows, and deep gouges from dirty claws. By the time the sun had set pain, and bleeding looked like they were going to plague him throughout the night. It was still too early to tell if he would suffer the beginnings of an infection or fever.

Kagome broke out the first aid kit and gave Inuyasha what medicine she could to help make him comfortable before she set to work on his wounds. They went through their customary cycle of Inuyasha grousing, and Kagome putting her foot down only to end up nursing him anyway. She often wondered why he even bothered because it always ended the same way.

Once she got him settled down to rest Kagome left Inuyasha in Miroku’s care while she went to the closest stream to cleanse herself. The weather had been muggy, and combined with a sweaty battle and a confining hut; a cool dip was just what she needed. It was almost mid-night, much later than her usual time for a bath. Not wanting to be gone long she set about taking care of the necessities, dressed in a set of borrowed priestess robes, and headed back to the hut. Settling down next to her backpack she began to dig, making a mental note of all her supplies. She was out of clothes, thanks to the giant chicken; they needed medicines, a few things to keep Shipp occupied, but she still had her basic camping supplies. Pocket knife, matches, water bottles…

Inuyasha’s body hurt, and he could feel the hot, sore spots in his skin every time he breathed. Cracking his eyes open the first thing he noticed was how much they ached. Everything was fuzzy, making his head swim. His mouth was also dry, and the wet cloth over his forehead was no longer cool. Noticing the priestess a few feet away sitting cross-legged, her back to him, he licked his lips and tried to call out to her.

“Kikyo…” His voice was raspy, and barely above a whisper. She didn’t turn around so he tried again.

“Kikyo.” That time she stopped what she was doing, and turned her body toward him slowly. Confused at first Inuyasha didn’t register the look on the woman’s face, just that it wasn’t the face he was expecting.

Kagome’s heart skipped a beat. Kikyo. They had been traveling together long enough for him to know she wasn’t Kikyo. Inuyasha should have known by then it was always Kagome who looked after him, not the resurrected woman. He should have known by then Kikyo was never with him, but Kagome always was. She felt that familiar pang in her chest, but this time it was different. This time it took her breath away.

“What do you need, Inuyasha?”

“Water.”

Kagome grabbed a water bottle from her backpack and helped him hold his head up while she held the bottle to his lips. He drank greedily but she stopped him for fear too much at once making him sick. Checking his bandages quickly, she let him settle into sleep while she went back to where she had previously been sitting.

She picked up her pocketknife and began to use the blade to push around the stuff she had piled on the floor. Kagome could no longer concentrate, her mind rolling around Kikyo’s name in Inuyasha’s voice over and over again. Finally she stood, walking out into the night.

“Kagome, where are you going? Even though morning is close it’s still too dark for you to be wandering.” Miroku had been sitting outside the door, leaning against the hut.

“I’m going to go for a short walk. It’s too stuffy in there. Pry just to the well and back. Keep an eye on Inuyasha? There’s a water bottle he was drinking from next to him.”

“I’ll be sure to.” Miroku gave her a friendly smile to see her off.

She had to get away, even if it was for a moment. She couldn’t afford the luxury of sneaking off in the night, but walking up to the well was perfectly normal for her, so that’s where she went. Sitting on the edge of the well Kagome began to dig at the lip with the blade of her pocketknife. The longer she sat the deeper the hole she gouged into the well. When she noticed she felt guilty. She never had been a vandal, and the well was sacred. Sitting her knife down she stood up and stretched tall, arms above her head. Putting her hands on her face she ran them back through her hair and gathered it up in her hands off her back. Suddenly she froze, eyes big. Letting her hair fall back she tilted her head back and gathered it up again as if to put it in a ponytail. Instead she grabbed her pocketknife, and sliced through her locks just below where her hand held it all together. Knife falling to the ground she looked at the fistful of hair she now held. Amazed at what she had done she began to laugh. Once it started she couldn’t stop. She laughed so hard she eventually got a stitch in her side and had to sit on the ground, resting against the well. Finally the laughs turned into giggles, and those subsided into silence as she watched the sun rise.

Waking at the feel of his transformation Inuyasha opened his eyes and waited. As the sun rose so did he, feeling much more like himself instead of the pitiful human he had been all night. Noticing Kagome’s backpack open and her stuff spread out all over the floor, he stood, walking outside. She wasn’t anymore there than she had been in the hut. Nudging Miroku awake he asked, “Where’s Kagome?”

“I’m glad to see you’re up, Inuyasha! She was very worried about you.”

“So worried she’s no where around? Where’d she go?”

“To the well. It was still dark when she went. She asked me to stay here with you.”

“She went home. Nice.” Headed out in a dead run Inuyasha made his way to the well, ready to jump in and tear Kagome a new one once he got to her house. But once he reached the well he stopped dead in his tracks. Sitting against it, her head tilted back so her hair fell over the lip and into the well, sat Kagome, staring up at the sky.

“What are you doing? You been here all night? Miroku said you left hours ago while I was all banged up and human in that hut.” As he ranted he walked closer, noticing Kagome didn’t seem to be noticing him. “Hey, Kagome. You listenin’?”

Slowly Kagome turned her head to look at him, and Inuyasha saw the biggest, saddest eyes he had ever seen. Turning away from him again she went to stand, and that’s when Inuyasha noticed her shoulder length hair, and the first of hair she carried. Walking toward him she stopped a few feet away and laughed cynically.

“Who am I, Inuyasha?” Kagome waited for him to answer. When he said nothing she screamed at him, throwing her first of hair at his chest. “Do I look like her now, Inuyasha?! Can you tell that I’m not Kikyo NOW?!”

Stunned, Inuyasha watched as Kagome walked back to the hut, her hair blowing in the wind.
Chapter 2 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
Kagome takes some "Me" time and gives Inuyasha some "She" time.
Still sitting at the hut Miroku saw Kagome before he heard her and what he heard when she got close enough was almost enough to make him blush. As she got closer he noticed something off about her but it wasn’t until she blew past him into the hut that he saw she had cut her hair. It was virtually unheard of for a grown woman to have her locks so short and he knew the village would talk. Turning around back towards the well he saw Inuyasha moving a bit slower, stopping every so often to pick something up. By the time he reached the hut to go in Kagome was coming out. They nearly ran into each other over the threshold.

“I’m going home for a while. I need to have my hair properly cut, we are low on supplies, and I need more clothes.” You could hear the disdain in her voice when she gestured to what she had on.

“Yeah, ok. Don’t you want to take this with you?” Inuyasha had collected as much of the hair she had thrown at him as he could to return to her.

She looked at it in disgust. With fake cheeriness she said, “Burn it. Then we get to wait and see if it’s resurrected. Won’t that be fun?”

Miroku stopped her. “Kagome, you don’t seem yourself, and you definitely don’t look yourself. What can I help you with?”

“I think Koga over there – Oops! I meant Inuyasha, honestly! I think Inuyasha could use your help more than me. I’m sure he won’t understand why I just called him Koga instead of Inuyasha, I’m sure he won’t understand I’m mad, I’m sure he won’t remember what he said, and I’m sure he’ll be angry for no reason at all because all of these things are what he does. Then he’ll get it in some small way, become indignant, and go to my house raising Hell, because that’s also what he does. My suggestion would be to send him to Kikyo and let her take care of him for a while, and let her listen to all his crap, and leave me alone while I take care of my own things. I’m bored of this never ending cycle of stupid right now, and I refuse to take it home with me, which means he stays here. Maybe if he spends some time with her, expecting her to do what I do for him, he’ll finally figure out when she doesn’t that we are different. Then it won’t just be my short hair that will force him to recognize me as Kagome instead of automatically thinking I’m Kikyo.”

“I think I understand. Please be careful and get some much-needed rest. When you are feeling better come back. I’m sure we will still be here.”

“Ok, Miroku. Thank you.” Smiling kindly to her friend she made her way to the well and hopped in.

“Hey, wait up Kagome! I’ll walk you to the well!”

“Fuck off, Inuyasha. I don’t want you near this well. You wish Kikyo was me so bad go hang out with her and leave me along until I get back.” Bag over her shoulder Kagome jumped in not even bothering to give a second glance.

Once home she wasn’t interested in talking about anything with anyone. What was there to say? “He called me Kikyo one too many times so I lopped my hair off to help him figure out who’s who?” That sounded just crazy. Cutting her hair was more than that. It was a freedom. She was free to be seen for herself, she was free to be differentiated from any other priestess who traveled the roads, she was free to disguise herself if she wanted. It was like freeing a whole new person.

At the salon she went for an adorable bob cut that brought the waves out in her hair to make it fuller and bouncy. Kagome found it was still long enough she could tie it back off her neck and out of her face to help keep her cool. She could literally wash it, towel dry it, and go! The simplicity of the style won her over instantly.

Back at the shrine Kagome just took some time to relax. No school, no pesky friends, just her hanging around the house, helping her family, and occasionally going into the city to stock up on supplies. A few days turned into a week but what did it matter to her? She was where people knew her, and that’s what was most important to her at the time.

Inuyasha almost immediately went down the well after Kagome but Miroku got to him first. “You heard what she said. Do you know why she’s mad at you? Do you know what caused her to cut her hair? Do you understand any of what’s going on?”

“Yeah, sorta. I woke up in the hut last night needing water and Kagome was wearing priestess robes. I called her Kikyo. She answered and took care of me anyway, then I guess she left. When I got to the well this morning I was pitching a fit when she asked me who she was. I knew she was Kagome but I didn’t know what to say. Then she threw all that hair at me and said something like I should have no problem telling them apart now. All I know is I gotta go fix this.”

“Inuyasha, she doesn’t want you to fix it, she wants you to figure it out. She wants you to travel and fight with Kikyo for a while and see what that’s like. I think she wants you to know the difference between being in Kagome’s care and in Kikyo’s care. There’s something there she wants you to see.”

“See what?” Now Inuyasha was getting irritable, true to form.

“I can’t tell you. It’s something you have to figure out on your own, but whatever it should should help you realize the differences between Kagome and Kikyo so you don’t keep mistaking her anymore. She knows you don’t mistake Kikyo for Kagome so why would you mistake Kagome for Kikyo? These are things you need to discover while she’s gone.”

“Then I guess I need to go find Kikyo.”
Chapter 3 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
Inuyasha travels with Kikyo for a short while.
In his search for Kikyo Inuyasha took to the countryside. He had no idea where she would be, so he stopped at each village he came to asking if they had seen an itinerant priestess. It was three days before he came to a village that had seen her, and two more before he was finally able to catch up to her. Coming up from behind on a trail he called her name. It was no surprise she didn’t stop walking.

“What do you want, Inuyasha?” Not bothering to slow her pace or turn around she spoke out knowing he would hear her.

“I want to travel with you.”

“I have no need for your protection. Besides, a hanyou will prevent me from helping in villages I come across. They will not accept me if you are my traveling partner.”

“I’ll stay in the forest once we come to a village so they won’t see me with you.”

For a time they traveled in silence, Inuyasha simply being happy to be by Kikyo’s side again. He reminisced it was like the old days when they fought youkai together so they wouldn’t get the Sacred Jewel.

“So, where is Kagome?”

“She went back to her time.”

“Why are you here with me?”

“I couldn’t stand sitting around the village waiting on those weak humans. It takes them too long to recover from hunting the jewel shards, so I left them behind.”

“Ah, I see.”

Again silence fell between them. They traveled through the day until they came across a small village set back from the road. Kikyo made her way to the small collection of huts and Inuyasha found himself in the treetops.

Through the evening he watched her care for the sick and elderly, treating them all kindly and speaking gently to them. He noticed how she touched them all with ease, and wasn’t afraid of the open sores she treated. It made him think how, aside from the few moments they had shared, most of the time he was only allowed to touch her out of necessity. And of those times most of them were after she had been resurrected.

As darkness settled over the village everyone began to go inside, settling into their nightly routines. Inuyasha stayed in a tree close by, reluctant to leave Kikyo unguarded. She had earned a bed and a meal by helping the villagers, and she followed them in for the evening. He didn’t mind staying away because he was doing it for her comfort. He didn’t want her to suffer for being with him. Closing his eyes he tried to relax, listening to the sounds of the village.

Unexpectedly Inuyasha began to think of all the times Kagome had rushed to his side to protect him, or hold him up. All the times she fought with him to clean and bandage his wounds, knowing they would heal in just a few hours. He was reminded of all the villages they had stayed in, and all the times they had slept outside when they were rejected because of Inuyasha. She traveled with him, never asking him to hide for her benefit. He thought of Koga and how the stinking wolf was always trying to steal her away, yet she stayed. She took care of him, no matter what. These thoughts left a bad taste in his mouth.

The next morning they set back out on the road, Inuyasha carrying the provisions the villagers had given Kikyo. It felt strange to him, carrying a sack. He wasn’t used to having the extra weight. Again, Kagome snuck back into his thoughts, and how she carried her backpack, bull of books and provisions, all the time, never complaining or asking anyone else to carry it for her. And he never offered, yet here he was, carrying Kikyo’s sack because he had simply taken it from her. He didn’t like how that tasted, either.

Later that afternoon they crossed paths with a rather obstinate oni. When Inuyasha had first known Kikyo he didn’t have his sword and fought with his hands. Kikyo was used to being the one to deal the more serious of blows. Now, trying to fight together, Inuyasha found himself singed more than once by a purifying arrow. He would yell for her to step back and let him fight, but she refused. Instead of working like a team they kept getting in each other’s way. In the end the oni went down, but it was slow and agonizing for everyone involved. Not at all like the battles he fought with Kagome and his friends. Those battles went much smoother with minor injuries because they worked together.

After the oni went down, Kikyo moved on, not a thought given to Inuyasha or his wounds. He knew he would heal without any intervention, but it had been nice having Kagome fuss over him.

“I think I’m going to head back to the village in the morning. Everyone should be ready to travel again by the time I get back.”

“Inuyasha, I told you before I do not need your protection. If you are ready to go back, go now.”

“But where will you go?”

“I will continue on, going from village to village helping those I can while I wait for Naraku to resurface.”

“Alright then.” Handing her her sack of provisions, Kikyo took them then turned and walked away as if Inuyasha wasn’t still sanding there. He wished she would turn back around, as if she thought of him, but when she didn’t he couldn’t help the small pang of disappointment. Accepting he didn’t cross her mind again after she turned to walk away he turned and headed back down the road in the opposite direction.
Chapter 4 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
Inuyasha returns to the village to wait out Kagome’s return.
Inuyasha felt like he had a full head as he made his way back to Kaede’s village. He ran at a constant speed, stopping only to eat, drink, and rest in short spurts. He wanted to get back with enough time to sleep before Kagome came back. This time he was not going to get her like he was known to do. This time he would wait for her to come back when she was ready.

As he ran he thought over his time traveling with Kikyo. It wasn’t long, but it was enough to show him a few things. Like how Kikyo expected Inuyasha to hide in the forest while she earned a bed and a meal in that village. Or how they couldn’t fight together, and she would shoot her arrows with no regard to where Inuyasha was or how close they got to him. He noticed she didn’t try to care for his injuries, either. And finally, she didn’t care if he traveled with her or not, showing him no respect as a person. He made the connection that all of these things were exactly opposite of what Kagome did for him, and she did so much more. There was also so much more to her as a person than there was to Kikyo. He understood that sometimes his mind got muddled, especially when he was badly injured, and when Kagome had to borrow clothing from Kaede, it would remind him of Kikyo. The truth was anytime he saw a woman from behind with her hair back wearing the red and white colors of a priestess he thought of Kikyo. He couldn’t help that. But at this point in his life he started to feel he should know it isn’t Kikyo there to help him because she didn’t do that. She was never with him and she never took care of him. Even now she didn’t know he turned human once a month. He wasn’t sure if this is what Kagome wanted him to notice, but they were the things that made an impression on him.

Two and a half days of travel found Inuyasha back in Kaede’s village, tired and hungry. Seeing Miroku sitting next to the doorway of the hut they used he wondered if the man had moved a muscle in the week he had been gone. Walking up to him he nudged the monk with his foot, causing the man to open one eye and look at him.

“Inuyasha! Glad to have you back! How were your travels?” Miroku stood to his feet t welcome his friend back properly.

“They were fine. No jewel shards, no sign of Naraku, and only one small battle with an oni in the woods. Kagome back?”

“Not yet, my friend. Why don’t you go inside and rest? I just brought up some cool drinking water. Kaede will be by soon with stew for supper, then we can go down to the stream to wash, and settle in for the night.”

“Keh.” Inuyasha went in and took a long drink of the water Miroku offered. Once he was finished he sat with his back against the wall in a corner of the room, and closed his eyes. He was wearier than he thought, easily dozing off.

The smell of warming stew woke him some time later, making his stomach rumble.

“Aye, Inuyasha, you may join us for an evening meal. I’m glad to see you’ve returned from traveling with my sister. I trust your travels went well?”

Taking the offered bowl Inuyasha put a spoonful in his mouth, savoring the robust flavor. Chewing the rabbit and vegetable, he swallowed and replied, “It was peaceful enough. We had a run in with an oni but there was no sign of the Jewel shards or Naraku.”

Giving him a knowing smile Kaede asked, “Did you learn your lesson?”

“Dunno. Guess we’ll find out when Kagome gets back.”

Finishing his meal he scooted back over into his previous corner and closed his eyes, ending any further discussions.
Chapter 5 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
Kagome settles into a comfortable routine at home.
It took about four days before Kagome found herself staring out her bedroom window at the well house. The first day she came home, dropped her bag in her room and went straight to the tub. One hot shower later she put on a pair of cute blue shorts, a white top, and blue sandals, and was headed into the city for a proper haircut. She fell in love with the simplicity of her new bob cut. She could still pull her hair out of her face, it was short, bouncy, and cute, and she was able to towel dry it and be ready to go. It took no time to dry on it’s own. It just felt so good to look so different. For fun she stopped by a nail salon and got a pedicure. She never got them before because her travels destroyed her feet. She just trimmed her nails and went, but now that she was home for a while she could enjoy being a modern girl, wearing cute clothes, with her cute haircut, and her cute pedicure. She got home in time for supper, and fell asleep on the couch watching a movie with her family. Laying a blanket over her her mother left her to sleep, knowing it would be peaceful.

Her second day home had her helping her mother clean house. After breakfast they started with the upstairs, cleaning windows, dusting, vacuuming, and making minor repairs. Settling for a light lunch of sandwiches the tackled the downstairs. By suppertime the house felt fresh and clean. While both women headed to their bathrooms to shower and change, Kagome’s grandpa had ordered pizza, and they had a carpet picnic in the living room, eating pizza, drinking soda and watching movies. Full and tired from the day’s work Kagome excused herself at the end of the first movie and went to bed, Buyo following her up the stairs. That night he slept wrapped around her head, his purring lulling her to sleep.

Making a late appearance the next morning Kagome brushed her teeth and made it to the kitchen for left over pancakes and coffee for breakfast. Seeing her mother dressed to leave she stopped her to see where she was headed.

“Hey, Momma. I don’t have anything to do yet today. Where you headed?”

“Oh, Kagome, dear, I’m going to do some grocery shopping. Would you like to come with me? I could really use the help.”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Let me run upstairs and get dressed.” Putting her dishes in the dishwasher Kagome ran upstairs, threw on a lovely blue sundress and blue sandals, and headed down to meet her mother.

Walking down the street Mrs. Higurashi finally asked, “So, what happened?”

“He had gotten hurt and I took care of him, then while he was sleeping I went to get cleaned up. I had to borrow clothes from Kaede, and when he woke up enough to notice me he called me Kikyo. Again. I still helped him, but after I went to the well, and I don’t know what happened after that. One minute I’m digging at the lip of the well with my pocketknife and the next I have my hair in my hand, except it wasn’t attached to my head anymore. When Inuyasha came for me that morning after he transformed I threw it at him and asked if I still looked like her. I just couldn’t stand it anymore, Momma. I couldn’t stand him calling me her name after all I do for him every single day we are together. Even now I’ll be buying supplies for when I go back, so even when he isn’t here I’m still doing things for him. It’s like, whenever he’s really hurt, he doesn’t even see me. He just wishes I were her. I had to find a way to be different. A way he wouldn’t be able to overlook, because he sure doesn’t see anything else.”

“It must be hard in his position. To him it’s just been a few months since he and Kikyo destroyed each other, and his heart still hurts, I’m sure. Now here she is again, and no matter how hard he tries she won’t have him. Then here you are, Kagome, reminding him. He never really got the chance to get over the relationship ending, and he definitely hasn’t had the chance to move on. And he can never have anything with her because she isn’t even human anymore. Not to mention she only wants him to die. I can’t imagine living with all that on my back all the time, feeling it crushing me.”

“It’s not like I’m not sympathetic, Momma. I know he still loves her and I know she won’t let him go. I just want him to see me. I want him to know and understand I am the one who takes care of him, of all of them. I know things about him she never did. I want him to look at me and see me, Momma. No matter what condition he’s in, no matter what I’m wearing or how I smell, I want him to know it’s me, and I want him to recognize all I do that she never has. I feel there should be no mistaking who is who.”

“I understand, Kagome. Come. Let’s get our shopping done.” With a warm hug and a smile they headed in to the grocer’s.

The rest of Kagome’s time home found her helping her grandfather on the grounds of the shrine gardening, clearing out storage, and greeting guests. Every day she got up, got dressed, and found something worthwhile to do at home that left her comfortably tired at the end of the day. She even spent some time playing with Sota and helping him with homework. At the end of the week she was feeling restless, and started packing her backpack.

On her eighth day home she said goodbye to her family and headed for the well house. Sitting on the steps inside she stared at the well, hesitant to make the final leap. She missed everyone but she just wasn’t sure if she was ready to face Inuyasha yet. She had told him not to come for her and he hadn’t, which made her wonder how he had spent his time away from her. The thought gave her nervous butterflies. Finally she stood, climbed over the side of the well, and dropped in.
Chapter 6 by SakuraRyuu
Author's Notes:
Kagome is back and joins Inuyasha to see what he has discovered.
Climbing out of the well, Kagome wasn’t surprised that no one was waiting for her. She hadn’t known when she was coming back so she couldn’t expect anyone else to know, either. Putting both feet on the ground she stood and gave her backpack a jostle to get it settled more comfortably on her back, then headed down toward the village. Walking past the first hut she got a warm welcome from some of the village children playing out front. Making her way to Kaede’s hut she saw Miroku first, sitting outside the door like he had been the morning she left. She wondered quietly to herself if he had moved a muscle while she had been away.

Hearing the village children welcome someone, Miroku had opened his eyes to see Kagome walking his way. Standing, he greeted her warmly, making her feel genuinely missed. “Ah, Kagome! Welcome back! You’ve been missed! You’re looking well! How is your family?”

“Hello, Miroku! They are good, thank you! How have things been here?”

“It’s been quiet. No sign of Naraku and no word of any Jewel shards so we have been here. I have been helping Kaede around the village, and enjoying the time to rest. And you?”

“I spent much of my time the same way. I helped Momma clean the house from top to bottom, and helped grandpa with the shrine. I even helped Sota with his homework.” At this Miroku laughed, knowing how much her brother annoyed her. “But my first day home I had a total girl’s day. I got my hair properly cut then I went to a place that cleans your feet and paints your toes nails. It was wonderful.”

“I’m glad to hear you got the chance to relax and enjoy yourself. If you’re going to be looking for Inuyasha soon, he went to the lake to fish. The truth is I think he’s been feeling a bit restless.”

“Ok, thank you. I’m going to go in and say hello to Kaede, then head out to meet him if he isn’t back yet.”

An hour later Kagome set out to the lake the village used for fishing. She had to agree with Miroku, Inuyasha had to be restless to go fishing at this time of the year. The fish in the lake were only half grown, and there was plenty of easy game in the forest to tide them over until the fish were fully-grown. Seeing him sitting on the edge of the lake cross-legged, his back toward her, she walked up next to him and sat, being careful to respect his space until he was ready for her to.

Not turning his head to look at her he simply said, “You’re back.”

Looking out over the lake she answered, “I am.”

“How was school? I’m sure you spent your time running around with your friends in the future.” He didn’t try to hide the sarcasm dripping from his voice, and Kagome didn’t try to acknowledge it.

“As a matter of fact I spent the time with my family. I got a proper haircut, had my feet cleaned, I helped Momma clean the house from top to bottom, and I help grandpa around the shrine. We went shopping for supplies that are now at Kaede’s, and I helped Sota with his homework. In the evenings we would watch movies and fall asleep. It was good, and I feel really good, so I guess I needed it. How about you? Did Miroku actually send you off with Kikyo?”

“No, he didn’t. I went myself. Miroku explained there are things I keep doing and I’m not trying to understand why they make you mad. That I compare you to Kikyo, which ends us up in the situation we were in when you left, but that I don’t compare Kikyo to you, and unless I do that I won’t understand what you want me to. So I left.”

“It took me about 3 days to find where she was and another day to catch up. She wasn’t happy to see me like you are, and that’s where the comparison’s started. As we walked we came across a village. She went in to help the villagers, and earn a bed and a meal. She knew they wouldn’t accept me so I stayed in the trees nearby. I remembered all the villages you and I had stayed in, and the villages we left because they wouldn’t accept me. We had gotten into a battle with an oni and her sole concern was taking it down, no matter who got in the way. If I didn’t get out of the way fast enough her arrows singed me. That happened a couple of times. We both were trying to take the lead and she wouldn’t step back to let me do what I had to. The battle went on too long and I was watching over my shoulder for the oni and for her because I felt caught in the middle of their battle. It didn’t go as easily or smoothly as any of the battles we fought. And after she just walked away and left me on my own to get cleaned up. Then I noticed I was carrying her sack of provisions, of which nothing was going to be shared with me. But you carry everything in your backpack that we all use.”

“It started out just being happy to be with her but as the day went on into the night and the next day I started seeing more ways of how you take care of me, and everyone in our group. We all fight well together, we stick together, and we are all accepted or no one is. You have respect for me. I started to see you are so much more than Kikyo with who you are and what you do.”

“I also discovered something. I’m used to seeing you in your school uniform and I’m used to seeing Kikyo in her priestess clothes. When I see any woman in this era wearing priestess clothes I automatically think of Kikyo. It’s not something I can help. It does confuse me to see you wearing those clothes, and when my mind is already confused from a fight and an injury, and a priestess comes to me that I don’t recognize as Kaede, I’m going to think it’s Kikyo because they are the only two priestesses I’ve known. I’m not trying to hurt you by calling out her name. I’m trying to find out if it’s her, since you wear something different.”

Kagome sat quietly, contemplating what he had said. “I get it, Inuyasha. I just want you to see me for me, and it doesn’t seem you can do that. In my mind, when I’m hurt and the same person always takes care of me, why would I think that person is someone else who’s never around? I don’t want to be compared to Kikyo anymore because we are not the same; we are not copies. I am more than her in ways that make her less than me and Sango is more than me in ways that does make her better, yet I don’t get compared to her. So I don’t want to be compared to anyone. I am me, and if anyone can’t see that, I can’t be bothered with them.”

Both sitting in silence a few minutes more, looking out over the lake.

“So, we good?” Kagome wasn’t willing to leave until they had some type of understanding.

“Keh. I feel like I understand you better. I’ll do my best.”

“That’s all I ask, Inuyasha. I just ask you to do your best in seeing and appreciating me for me. I’m not anyone else.”

“Keh.”

They spent the rest of the afternoon in companionable silence watching the sunset and enjoying each other’s company.

*fin*
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