Springs Eternal



Early spring. Still winter, really, but Kagome was so eager for spring that she left off her scarf, abandoned her coat and mittens and went shivering. She stared up at the watery sunlight and waited for a warmth that didn’t want to come.


When she was young— still trembling on the verge of adolescence— Kagome had made a list of all the things she wanted “her perfect man” to be. He would be kind, she knew, gentle and sweet and wise. He would be patient and he would tell her he loved her every day, and how pretty and smart she was. He would have fine dark eyes and beautiful hands, just like her father.


Now Kagome squints at tiny branches still barren of life, hoping to see a hint of green at their tips. Sometimes she squints at Inuyasha, too, and wonders what went wrong.


He was nothing like her perfect man, after all: foolish and abrupt, fretful as a colicky baby. His eyes were not dark, and his hands were quite ugly. Crisscrossed with scars, they were, some thin and straight like a quick lash of paint from a brush and others ridged and tough, puckered like a mouth poised for a kiss.


White thorns at his fingertips, dangerous to friend as well as foe, careless as he was with them. Kagome’s clothing features snags and tears, carefully mended, from months and months of proximity to those claws. She’s accustomed to the feel of the roughened surface of the fabric, the nubbled texture that used to be smooth and lissome.


No, he’s nothing like what she thought he’d be, and yet she loves him no less. Loves him all the more, perhaps: loves his pain, loves his anger, loves his crudeness and cruelty and all the other things she didn’t think he’d have, back in that other life of hers.


Most of all she loves Inuyasha’s potential, loves how much undiscovered country there is inside him still. She knows it might take years for her to map all of him, knows he’ll resist, knows he might never let her in at all.


Kagome’s always been an optimist.