“You know, InuYasha,” she started, kicking her legs lightly in the water. “Humans and demons are more alike than you think.”
I scoffed. “What would you know about it?” I shot at her.
Kagome looked thoughtful for a moment, and her legs stilled. “Well, take you and me for instance.” She withdrew her feet from the water, and pointed at them. “I have ten toes, attached to two feet, and two legs. So do you. We both have a pair of eyes, a nose, and a mouth, even though our ears are different.” She giggled at that, and I opened my mouth to retort, but stopped immediately when she took my hand. My breath caught in my throat, and I could feel my heartbeat quicken at the contact. What is wrong with me? I thought desperately. What is wrong with her?
Before I could speak, she laid her hand against mine, flat and erect, our palms touching. “See?” she pressed, smiling. “Even our hands are the same.”
“Feh.” I scoffed again. “That means nothing. I’m part human, so of course I look like one. And not all demons have a human form.”
She smiled again, and didn’t release my hand. “Ok, then think of it this way. Humans and demons both feel things. We both have emotions; love, hatred, anger, jealousy, despair. We feel joy and pain. We feel a desire to protect the people and things we care about. We even feel desires to destroy.”
I frowned at her. She had it all wrong. Humans and demons were nothing alike. No way. “Kagome, that makes no sense at all.”
Her grip tightened on my hand and she drew it toward her chest. My eyes grew wide as she flattened it against the top of her breast, right where her heart should be. What the hell!
“Do you feel it, InuYasha?” she asked me seriously. “Can you feel my heart beating? You have one too.”
I was shocked. Where was she coming up with all of this? Why did she seem so intent on proving to me how alike we were? “What are you trying to say?”
She sighed and released my hand (much to my dismay.) Then she turned to stare at the lake, a faraway look in her eyes. “We’re not so different, InuYasha,” she said. I grew even more surprised and confused at that. “You and me, humans and demons. Even hanyous. We’re a lot more alike than you give us credit for.”
I shook my head, not comprehending what she was trying to say. “Kagome...”
“I just don’t understand why you hate humans so much.”
Now I was even more shocked. Was that what she was so concerned about? My dislike for humans? “I don’t hate humans, Kagome. I just think that they’re weak, pathetic creatures, who can’t even lift a finger to defend themselves, and - ”
She cut me off. “All humans, InuYasha?” she asked. She turned toward me, her eyes holding mine like magnets. “Do you think of all of us that way?”
“No.” I turned away from her. “Not all of them. Not you. You’re different.”
“But even some demons are weak and pathetic, too, you know.”
She smiled sadly. “But it doesn’t always have to be this way, InuYasha.”
My head jerked toward her. What did she mean? I had heard those words before, when Kikyou first asked me to turn human. Kagome couldn’t possibly want that of me... could she?
“Kagome,” I began, my voice suddenly edgy and serious. “Are you trying to tell me that you want me to become human?”
Her eyes widened in shock. I could see the answer written all over her face, and I was relieved that that wasn’t it at all. “No!” she exclaimed. “That’s not what I’m trying to say! You’re perfect as a half-demon, InuYasha.”
My relief gave way to exasperation, so much so that I didn’t even notice the last sentence she had uttered. “Then what are you trying to say?”
She was quiet for a moment, and her gaze burned into mine so intently that I had to look away. “All I’m trying to say,” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper, “is that I wish you would open your heart more.”
My heart froze at that statement, and I turned to look at her. “Kagome,” I began, but before I could continue, a voice called her name in the distance. Shippou.
Just as she stood up to leave, I grabbed her hand. “Wait,” I pleaded. Her eyes were surprised, and she searched my face, seemingly contemplating something. Then she leaned down and wrapped me in a fierce hug, and I felt wetness against my cheek. She was crying.
“Open your heart.” Her voice was a feathery whisper against my ear, and for the second time that day, my breath caught in my throat. “Open your heart, and you will see what I mean.”
With that, she released me and turned to walk away, leaving me to stare after her in silent wonder and affection.