“There’s the village up ahead.” Inuyasha informed the group. After a long day of traveling, everyone was elated by the idea of an inn and a hot bath. They had been told it was a prosperous village that held no animosity to youkai. Their elation was short-lived, however, when Inuyasha took another sniff and spoke.
“I smell smoke and a lot of blood.”
Kagome gasped. “We have to go help them if we can.”
Inuyasha knelt and Kagome and Shippo got on his back as Kilala transformed, allowing Sango and Miroku to ride. They quickly arrived to a devastating scene. The village had been practically destroyed. A great number of huts were burning and the Inu-Tachi could hear the sounds of the wounded. Everyone moved quickly to offer assistance to the villagers who were trying to help others. Hours passed quickly as they were kept busy by putting out the fires, tending to the wounded and burying the dead.
Miroku learned from a village elder that bandits had attacked and burned the village. Once things had settled for the night, the elder invited them to at least stay in the confines of the village. They were able to find a shed near the end of the village filled with straw. It wasn’t luxury but at least it beat sleeping on the bare ground. After a quiet supper, Shippo fell asleep curled up against Kilala.
Kagome was longing for a bath. She felt sticky and dirty. Her heart also ached for the villagers. From what she could see, these were just ordinary people who didn’t deserve to have this happen to them.
‘In my time, things are so different.’
Suddenly the space felt so confining. She knew the river wasn’t that far and a cold wash was better than being covered with dirt, blood and soot. Deciding to take the soiled bandages with her, Kagome turned to Inuyasha.
“Would you come with me to the river? I want to wash out these cloths.”
Picking up his sword, Inuyasha followed Kagome out of the shed. The moonlight shone through the trees, making the river path easy to find. Their walk was quiet, the silence broken only by the sounds of the night.
When they reached the river, Kagome stopped in awe. The moonlight reflecting off the water was beautiful. Kagome appreciated the beauty but could only feel sadness. Today’s events had really shaken her. Trying to dismiss that ache, she knelt beside the river, dumping the bloody bandages and began scrubbing.
Inuyasha remained a few steps away, keeping a watchful eye out for any threats. A shift in the wind bought a surprising scent to him.
Looking at Kagome, he could see the moonlight glowing off the tears running down her face. Hurrying to her side, he was surprised when Kagome threw herself into his arms and began to sob. Not knowing what else to do, he pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her shaking body. They remained that way for a long time as Kagome cried tears for the villagers and her lost innocence.
Finally, Kagome pulled away from Inuyasha. He reached down in the pile of clean bandages and carefully wiped her face. Giving him watery smile, Kagome felt she needed to apologize.
“I’m sorry I fell apart like that.”
Inuyasha shrugged. “Feh. It’s ok. It’s been a hard day for everyone.”
Sighing, Kagome leaned on Inuyasha again. “It’s just that I read about this in school. You know, about the wars and the bandits and all of that. Seeing the suffering of these people made me realize that those weren’t just words on the page. It was real. People suffered and died and yet they continue to live every day as if those things didn’t happen. How do you go on? I don’t understand.”
Silence lasted for a long moment before Inuyasha answered.
“Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to continue to live. It’s so easy to give up. It’s harder to fight to see another day even when you don’t want to see it. Even when you’d rather be dead.”
Kagome pulled Inuyasha closer and held him. As they sat in silence in the moonlight, each lost in their memories, the realization came to Kagome. There are things out there that injure the heart. Bearing the scars, although painful, in the end would make you be able to withstand the next attack. Living even when it hurt was the only panacea for the pain. Sitting there with the man she had grown to love, Kagome suddenly understood how he survived all the years of pain. He fought every day, refusing to quit. Tears started rolling down her face again as she absorbed everything that had happened in the past and what the possibility of their future held. She just hoped that she would be able to provide him with the happiness he so deserved.
“Why are you crying again?” Inuyasha asked, using the cloth to clean her face again.
This time Kagome smiled. “I’m just hoping we’ll get through.”
Inuyasha grabbed her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I know we will. We are strong and we’ll live to fight for another day.”
Kagome returned the squeeze. "That's all I could ever ask for."