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The Cost of Courage by Philosophy Blue

Chapter 1

Some day you guys are gonna track me down and kill me in my bed for having so many ongoing stories. :) But whatevs. I'll just lock my windows!

-oOo-

Be silent.

Be invisible.

Be respectful.

Be obedient.

And above all, be useful.

These are the five golden rules in Kagome's world. For the humans, at least. Youkai live however they want and do whatever they want. It's just how it is. The humans slave away under their command, and youkai gift them in return with death. In the tier of life, the youkai perch at the top, in the heavens, and humans are somewhere far below them, bound forever to the earth. Hanyou, of course, verge on hell. Again; it's just how it is.

And Kagome hates it.

She hates how no matter how the youkai mock them, ridicule them, beat and kill them, the humans don't say a word. They lower their heads and go on with their miserable lives, because they're scared; or worse, they don't think it is their right to fight back. They're scared what will happen to them, their families, if they speak out. No, not even that; just a simple misinterpreted look, and you are wiped off the face of the earth.

Like dogs.

They're useful. They're amusing sometimes. But if one acts up… Rest in peace. Or, more often than not, pieces.

That is how Kagome grew up; second class, dominated by harsh, unfair laws. But whereas everyone else was beaten down by the never-ending sense of inferiority, it made her blossom. As her classmates' necks stiffened into permanently bent positions from staring at the ground all the time, she held her head proudly. As bright eyes dulled all around her, hers shone all the brilliantly, like a pair of diamonds in a pile of granite.

Because Kagome Higurashi was a fighter.

She never sparkled as much as when the situation was gloomy. She was never stronger than when she was helpless. She was never happier than when she was rebelling against her oppressors, whether it might be a small thing or not; a discreet middle finger aimed towards the back of a haughty youkai, or spiteful graffiti adorning the alleys.

Because Kagome Higurashi had a vendetta.

They had killed her best friend. They had made her watch as they beheaded and gutted him like a fish, and kicked him into the gutter like trash, that wolf demon with the dark ponytail and the harsh, mocking blue eyes, him and his pack. She'd watched alright, mute with horror as her best friend's life bled out onto the street, glistening dark red on the pavement. Then they had beaten her, slamming their fists and their feet and their knees and their words into her soft, unprotected body, again and again. When they had at last walked away, bent over with laughter, she'd sworn right then and there to herself as she sprawled in the street, her blood blending indistinguishably with that of her friend, that she would avenge him. She would avenge Inuyasha, her hanyou. She would never let the youkai transform her into one of the mindless faces that obeyed their every order. She would fight; she would live to fight, and die fighting. It was all she could do, and damn it all, she would do it.

And she has, all throughout the long years that have passed since that day when she lost everything but found a purpose. Spring to summer, summer to autumn, and autumn to winter and back to spring again, she is always fighting. She is the one face which stands out in the huge crowd of the oppressed. She is the light in the darkness.

It is winter again, the seventh one since that awful day, and soft snowflakes drift down from the sky, coating every exposed surface with its pristine white blanket. It wreaths Kagome's hair with icy flowers, delicate frosty petals alighting on her lowered lashes. In a colorless world, black and white and gray, her eyes are two pinpoints of blazing color, the purest blue there ever was. She breathes out and watches the physical manifestation of the proof that she is alive hover in the air, wispy and smoky, before it dissipates in the air, a brief moment of heat in an otherwise frigid environment… Just like her, she muses. Her life is but a brief flicker in the vast span of time. She looks up and thinks that the sky looks like it is falling. Just as she will fall one day.

But she has time, she thinks. She has time before it is her turn to be courted by death, before her identity is lost.

And that is where she is wrong. Her time is coming, sooner than she thinks, although it is not the kind of death she expects and longs for in her desolately dark, lonely heart. No, she will not see Inuyasha again. She will not meet and embrace death of the body. She will meet a much more dire fate.

Death of the soul.

-oOo-

As you can probably tell, this will be an awfully dark story. I'm also trying out present tense. So... Tell me what you think?

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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