The Best Revenge
It was a lovely late summer afternoon. InuYasha sat out on the veranda of his house, a place he often sat at to look at the view of the woods and the hills beyond the village. The warm afternoon sunlight invited viewing, but his head was bent down as he studied his hands. Miroku walking up the path, shook his head and took a deep breath, looking at his friend. He’d seen that look before with InuYasha, finding him head bowed and almost curled up in himself, looking like a little boy lost. This happened a lot when Kagome had been trapped in the future for three years, but always when InuYasha thought no one was looking. The monk had hoped never to see it again, but the events of two days ago, though, had been hard on his friends. Miroku wondered if he could say anything to help.
InuYasha did not look up as he neared, although his ears twitched as the monk’s staff jingled. Miroku stopped in front of him, not speaking.
InuYasha looked up only enough to stare at his friend’s feet. “Say what you want, Bouzu,” he eventually said.
“How is Kagome-sama?” Miroku asked, sitting down next to him. He lay his staff across his lap.
“Sleeping,” InuYasha said. “She was awake earlier, but the medicine Kaede left made her sleep some more. She’s in a lot of pain without it, though.”
“Probably a good thing,” Miroku said. “Sleep helps one heal.”
“Yeah,” InuYasha replied. He stared down at his claws, flexed his fingers. “That’s what Kaede tells me.”
Miroku thought about what to say next, and for a moment, the silence stretched out between them. A crow cawed off in the distance. “You can’t be everywhere at once,” he said at last. “And Kagome-sama, you know she would start fighting you if you tried to keep her too close.”
“I know,” InuYasha replied. He brushed a stray bit of hair away from his eyes.
Miroku rested a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “And she wouldn’t be back in her own house if it weren’t for you.”
“Yeah,” the hanyou said. “Yeah. I know.” He straightened up some. “They were going to sell Kagome and the girls to a tea house. One of the men didn’t want to wait.” He looked up at his friend. “I saw red. I tore his throat out just because of what he said about Kagome.”
“You think I wouldn’t do the worst I could do if someone threatened Sango or one of my girls?” Miroku asked.
“Keh,” InuYasha said. His ear twitched. “When I found her, her clothes were torn and bloody, and her face had already started to turn purple. She looked so small and broken. I turned to ice when I saw her. I had to watch her for a moment to make sure she was still breathing.”
“But she was still breathing,” Miroku said. “And you saved her, and girls that were with her.”
“Yeah, the girls. I scared them, too. They asked if I was going to hurt them along with the bandits.” The hanyou stuffed his hands into his sleeves.
Miroku leaned back against the wall of the house. “You do look pretty formidable when you are in attack mode. But they’ve said nothing but good about how you rescued everybody. You may have a case of hero worship budding in the youngest. I hope Kagome-sama won’t get jealous.”
InuYasha barked a short, bitter laugh. “That’ll be the day - me, somebody’s hero.” He lifted his head up, staring at the ceiling of the veranda. “What I’d really like to do is grab those bastards, and cut them into shreds for what they did. But I already killed them, so I can’t. How screwed up is that?”
“Sounds very natural to me,” Miroku said. He stood his staff up. “But you can do something better to get back at them, my friend. Take care of your wife and son. Live a good life with your family. They were going to take all that away from you and Kagome-sama. Your best revenge against their ghosts is to not let them take that life away from you.”
Taking a deep breath, InuYasha looked at Miroku. “I know you’re right, but there’s this knot inside of me. I don’t know how to get rid of it.”
“All I can tell you is you do it one step at a time.” The monk stood up. “I remember when I watched my father die. Mushin held me back, and I hated him for it. It took me a long time to get past that.” He sighed. “Atae’s been asking about you. He wants to come home.”
“I – ” the hanyou said, then let out a deep breath. “I don’t know if I can take care of him.”
“One step at a time, my friend,” Miroku leaned on his staff. “I’ll bring him when Sango sends your dinner over. Even if you need to send him back after a visit, it’s one blow against the bandits. It’d do Kagome some good, too, probably.”
“Yeah,” InuYasha said. He stood up. “I’m going to go check on Kagome.”
“I’ll see you in a little while, then,” the monk said, moving towards the path.
“Yeah. And Miroku?” InuYasha said, lifting the door mat to the house.
“Yes, my friend?”
“Thanks. Keep talking to me like this.” InuYasha walked into the house.
“Any time, any time,” Miroku said, but then dropping his voice as he headed down the path, he whispered,“But please, merciful Kwannon, don’t let them need me for something else like this for a long time to come.”