Title: Birdcage
Author: Silver Dragonfly
Genre: General, Drama, Cannon Divergent
Rating: PG
Character Focus: Higurashi Kagome (No Pairing)
Warnings: Mentions of PTSD, Canon-level Violence (Discussed only)
Challenge: The Big Moxie 2022 – Q1: Canon Divergent
Words: 10,187
Beta: Grammarly/None
Summary: Kagome has returned to the present now that the Shikon-no-Tama is gone and the battle with Naraku is truly over. Now, she must find her place in a modern age despite all her effort to find her own strength while five hundred years in the past. Now she just needs to finish her education, find a way to learn to control her spiritual power that has no place in the modern-day, and face all the trauma she has from living in survivor mode for the past three years.

Notes: Cannon Divergent from the final episode. I cannot believe Kagome’s past adventures only last a single year as hinted at in canon. This story is working off the assumption that she spent three years traveling and fighting in the Sengoku Jidai (Feudal Era).

“She was a lioness in a birdcage.
A bird in the depths of the sea.
She was powerful and free,
but she was not where she should be.”
– MvDarkLight[1]

Kagome awoke with a strangled gasp. Her chest heaved as she tried to take in more air and tears clung to the corners of her eyes. She pulled herself upright and stared at the darkened room as she struggled to slow her breathing.

She was in her bedroom.

She was at home, in the modern era.

The battle was over. They had won.

“But I still lost them all.” She breathed out in a ragged half-whisper. A shiver raced through her body, and her fists clenched in the blanket tangled around her stomach and legs. She took another slow and measured breath before she moved to untangle herself. After successfully freeing herself from the tangled mess of sheets and blankets, she turned to put her feet on the floor and she pulled herself from the raised western-style bed. 

Her mind wandered as she headed to the bathroom and the now familiar after nightmare rituals. Washing away the sweat and panic from her face and neck, she paused and stared at her own face in the mirror. Her unusual blue eyes stared back at her from the mirror, the exhaustion and depression of her soul evident. She turned away and headed downstairs to the kitchen. She would not get any more sleep tonight. She never did after the nightmares. The vivid images of the final battle ending in an all-consuming loss in her nightmare saw to that. She started making herself a cup of tea to help settle her nerves. She turned off the heat and removed the kettle moments before it could start to whistle and poured the steaming water over the prepared ginger and lemon tea. 

“Kagome?” her mother’s voice asked gently from the kitchen entry.

“I’m sorry, Mom. Did I wake you?” Kagome asked quietly as she covered her teacup.

“I heard you get up and come down.” Her mom asked as she stepped into the kitchen and pulled down a second mug to prepare her own cup of tea. “Honey, are you okay?”

Kagome tried to smile, but felt it wavering. “I… I’m lost mom. All I keep seeing is their deaths. I don’t know the truth of it and my imagination is taking the worst of my memories and twisting it all up.”

Her mother nodded in understanding. “It’s hard, I know, the not knowing.”

Kagome winced, as she was suddenly reminded of all the times her mother had been left not knowing if Kagome would be okay, or if she’d been injured or even killed. Not knowing until the next time Kagome managed to come back home through the old bone-eater’s well, as if nothing was wrong at all.

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

Her mother reached up and brushed Kagome’s bangs away from her eyes. “None of that. I knew what I was signing up for when you came back the first time, only to leave again. I just had to trust you to do your best, just as you have to trust that they’ve done their best.”

Kagome nodded, accepting her mother’s support, but tears still welled up. She had given her family’s feelings and worry about her such little thought in the years she was traveling. They had all given her so much support, and it had allowed her to accomplish all she needed to. “I owe you all so much.”

Her mother just smiled at her gently. “We are your family, Kagome. That you found family in the past was a relief to me, even if the loss of them is hurting you now.”

“I think it’s worse that I know they are all dead at this point in time, so even if they didn’t die back then, they are still gone.”

“Oh, my brave daughter, so strong and fierce. Inuyasha and the others wouldn’t want you to grieve so over them. They would want you to live and be happy.”

Kagome nodded, accepting the statement for the truth it was, but the very heart of her still mourned the loss.

“Will you be able to go to your meeting at the school in the morning—well, I suppose later this morning?” Her mother asked as she finished preparing her tea. Kagome clutched her own cup between her palms, leaning back against the countertop. 

“Yes, I’ll be going still. I really can’t afford not to. At least the timing of my return landed during the long break before the next year starts. I have to find out just how badly I’ve hurt my high school career with all my absences.”

“I think you will find that you did keep up with it all better than you think. Did the school give you any idea ahead of time about what they needed to talk about?” Her mother asked before taking a position leaning against the counter next to her daughter, her own cup in her hands.

“Just that it would be very important for my academics going forward to meet and make a plan.”

“At least it sounds like they are ready to help you and not hold you back.” Her mother added.

Kagome could only nod and drink her tea, letting the soothing warmth of it spread throughout her still tense body.


Kagome walked through the school entrance gates and up the path toward the main building. She had been fortunate that her high school had offered a correspondence program that she had been able to switch to when she had begun spending all her available time in the feudal era. This had allowed her to continue the education she had planned on, as well as meet the responsibilities and obligations she had taken on after accidentally shattering the Shikon-no-Tama. 

She had never dreamed it would take the next three years to resolve and added an extra year to her high school education along with it. That had been the negative to switching to the correspondence program. She would have bursts of intense school activity, followed by month or longer gaps where she did as much as she could while constantly traveling.

She found the main office, her usual point of check in on the rare days she had been able to attend classes in person, usually for exams, and entered. “Excuse me, my name is Higurashi Kagome. I have an appointment at ten am.” She introduced herself to the secretary.

“Ah yes, Higurashi-san. We have been expecting you. Your homeroom teacher of the last three years is taking an extended leave and Ito-sensei will be taking her place. Ito-sensei has asked to meet with you to go over your study plans and make sure you have everything you need for the next year.”

Kagome blinked in surprise but nodded. “I understand. Where does Ito-sensei want me to meet with her?”

“She has a small office set up on the second floor for these meetings, room 2-9A.”

Kagome thanked the secretary before she exited the room and headed up to the second floor as she considered the change. She hoped this new homeroom teacher would be as easy to work with as her last one. She quickly found the correct room and knocked gently on the door frame. 

“Come in.” A woman’s voice called from within the room.

Kagome slid the door open and entered. “Good morning, Ito-sensei. I am Higurashi Kagome.” Kagome bowed in greeting after she entered. “You wanted to meet with me?”

“Yes, Higurashi-san. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Ito-sensei smiled warmly at her as she rose to her feet and bowed in return before returning to her seat and motioned Kagome to the open chair in front of her desk. “You’ve had an interesting academic program the last few years. I wanted to review how you’ve been doing. Determine where your weak spots are, and what you need going forward, as well as any career goals.” 

Kagome felt a knot of tension in her shoulders begin to ease. Already this woman had more personal interest in her schooling than her previous Homeroom teacher. She had been relieved by her former Homeroom teacher’s lack of attention as it prevented her needing to tell lies to cover for her time-travel shenanigans, but she had been worried that they would not help her refocus on the now, either. This change would mesh well with the change in her circumstances. “I would like that.”

Ito-sensei nodded and pulled a file from a stack of such files on the shelf behind her. “Now, you originally enrolled to attend on-site and had to change to remote schooling within the first few weeks. The notes in your file indicate a very strange variety of health problems, that really do not make sense.”

Kagome flushed hot over her entire face. “I apologize. There was a family issue that required me to be at the family shrine or traveling to visit extended family frequently. My grandfather decided to amuse himself by getting more inventive with illnesses to excuse my absences and confused the paperwork to be honest. My mother filed the correct paperwork for the necessary leave of absence and to switch me to correspondence classes.”

“Yes.” Ito-sensei nodded as she collected a decent sized stack of papers in the file and placed a new cover sheet over the stack and made a few notes. “There was another note regarding that change request, but I wanted to ask you about it. So, I could properly resort these notes about your supposed illnesses.” She explained as she finished reorganizing the file and slid the new section to the back. “It seems one of the school board members intervened when a request to have social services investigate your home life was brought up, due to the questions your grandfather was raising amongst the staff. There was quite a bit of concern over your situation.”

Kagome clenched her fists in the skirt fabric in her lap, frustrated by her grandfather’s antics all over again. “I understand.” Though why a school board member would have intervened on her behalf, she couldn’t begin to guess.

“Now, looking at your course history, you have done very well. Despite your focus on self-study with remote courses, you have continued to earn high marks on both the coursework and exams. That is really quite impressive.” Ito-sensei explained as she laid another sheet down on the desk facing Kagome and pointed to the marks she was referring to. “The only weak spots I’m really seeing are the courses that require more supplemental labs and your Phys-ed credits. You will need to do a fair number of mixed science labs and make up nearly three years of Phys-ed credits.” She pointed again to the sections full of blanks.

“Now, which courses we will use to fill those gaps will be impacted by what your personal goals are for the future. Regardless, I strongly recommend you pick up some extra-curricular activities that would help fill in the Phys-ed gaps.” She pulled out another piece of paper with a list of various school clubs and teams. “These are all the activities that would help fill those credits that we have active programs available in. What do you think?”

Kagome focused on the list and began skimming through the list. Just the thought of some of the team sports and the crowds often associated with them had a new bundle of nerves starting to fill her middle. Then she spotted one that immediately made her relax. “We have an active Ky?d? team?”

Ito-sensei smiled. “We do. Hououji-sensei, who teaches history, is the club advisor and coach. She has also been very pleased with your history coursework.”

“And Ky?d? would actually count toward Phys-ed credits?” Kagome asked, surprised.

“It would, but it won’t fill all that you need by itself.”

Kagome resumed scanning the list and smiled at the next one she paused on. “Cross-country then.” Kagome added, her fingertip resting next to it on the list.

Ito-sensei nodded. “Yes, that would do nicely.” She turned and pulled open a drawer before pulling out a couple of forms. “You’ll need to fill one of these out for each activity so we can get you properly registered with the advisors and let the team captains know to expect you.”

Kagome nodded and began filling out the forms laid out before her. Once done, she handed them back over to Ito-sensei. 

“Now, regarding the science labs. If you can come in for them twice a week for the next two terms, you should be back on track.”

Kagome nodded. “I will not be needed to travel constantly like I did before this year, so that should be manageable.”

“How about your long-term career goals?”

Kagome thought about her future and frowned as she realized she really didn’t know. “I’ve been so focused on the present… I haven’t really been thinking about the long-term.” She admitted reluctantly.

Ito-sensei nodded. “Understandable, but if you plan to continue to a university or further specialized training, we will need to know soon to make sure you are prepared.”

Kagome nodded. “I… The last few years have changed my outlook on life and what I would want from it a great deal. I think I’ve thought I’d always help manage and run the shrine my family has had the care of for generations… but now my younger brother is planning to follow the path of a Shinto priest, so I’m not sure I’ll be needed.”

“Have you considered event planning or business management?” Ito-sensei asked, her expression hopeful. “You could help coordinate events to bring more visitors, tourism, and resources into your family’s shrine.”

Kagome considered that thought and felt the power just barely sleeping inside her resonate. “I think I’d like that.”

Ito-sensei nodded, “Even if you end up not working for your family shrine exclusively, they are skills that will give you options.”

Kagome nodded and smiled, feeling a sense of rightness well up through her. “Yes, the more I think about that direction, the more right it feels.”

“I’m glad. Now, let’s look at the courses you should be focusing on this year to support that direction change. I recommend you also ask to join some of the school event committees this year.”

“Will that be a problem with me still being a primarily remote student?”

“It shouldn’t be. You won’t likely be nominated for official roles by your classmates due to being out of sight most of the time, but that should not affect your participation in the committee’s themselves.” Ito-sensei explained as she pulled a different paper list from the file drawer at her side. “Here’s the list of elective courses you can choose from. Many of these lend themselves really well to your remote course study and you won’t be constrained to the term schedule to complete them. As you complete the required course work, we can schedule your exams for them with the teachers who handle them. Do you have any other questions for me?”

Kagome skimmed through the list and made mental notes about which courses she wanted to pursue and in what order. “I don’t think so.”

“Good. Make sure you submit your course selections at least a week before the new term starts.” Ito-sensei closed up the file on her desk. “Keep up the good work you have been doing so far and you will be in a good position at the end of this year.”

Kagome smiled warmly, ideas already starting to spin in her mind as she considered this future direction. “Thank you, Ito-sensei.”

“You are welcome, Higurashi-san.”


Kagome climbed the steps back up to the main grounds of the shrine where her family lived and let her mind drift. She had been uncertain what to expect from her meeting that morning, but had found the results far more helpful than she had expected. She reached the top of the steps and approached the Goshinboku. 

The tree was the heart of the shrine and was well over a thousand years old. It had existed long before the shrine itself and it had been Kagome’s most steadfast anchor, as she had nearly become lost in her time traveling adventures. She reached out with her spiritual power, seeping it into the tree and feeling out its health and the condition of the warding that protected it. She felt the tree’s presence rise up to meet her in warmth and greeting. She smiled and offered more of her power to the old tree so that it could continue to thrive and guide her family and those who visited the shrine for years to come.

“—gome. Kagome!”

Kagome blinked and pulled back from the tree, suddenly feeling dazed. She let her palms slide down and away from the tree trunk and turned to find her mother at her side. “Mom?”

“There you are. You had me worried. A shrine visitor started exclaiming about a glowing woman coming out of the tree. We managed to convince them it was just the sunlight hitting you, but Kagome, you were glowing.”

“Glowing…?” Kagome asked and blinked slowly again as she fought through the daze. She had been glowing? She gasped and almost stumbled as she felt the wave of spiritual energy rush through her before settling back into a familiar, warm presence. 

Her mother reached out carefully, resting her hand on Kagome’s shoulder. “Kagome, are you okay?”

Kagome bit her lip and wrapped her arms around herself. “I don’t know, Mom. I’ve never felt like this before. There is so much just waiting for me to call on it.”

Her mother reached out to her gently and pulled her into a hug. “We’ll figure this out, Kagome.”

Kagome relaxed into her mother’s arms and held onto her tightly. “I never needed to worry about it before when there was always a chance for the next youkai to be an enemy and attack. It was a relief then to have this ability to defend myself. Now, it seems like a risk all of its own and I have less control over it than ever before. It just wells up on its own.”

“Let’s go inside and have some tea. You are still exhausted due to waking up from nightmares so often lately. You can take a nap and we can start making a plan afterward.” Kagome’s mother murmured to her as she gently tugged her toward the house inside.

Kagome nodded and let herself be guided along, still feeling a bit dazed.

It was several hours later, and dusk had fallen, when Kagome awoke once more in her bedroom. She sat on the bed and studied the room around her. So much had changed in the last few years that there were times, even now, that this room no longer felt like hers. And maybe that was part of the problem. Here, she was Higurashi Kagome, a simple high school student. She no longer needed to be Kagome, The Shikon Miko, or Kagome, enemy of Naraku and ally of Inuyasha, Miroku, Sango, and Sesshoumaru. Or even Kagome, adoptive mother of Shippou and friend of Kirara, and yet, she was all those things. Just because she could no longer travel to the feudal era where those things had all defined who and what she was, did not mean she had to leave it all behind here in the present. 

She considered that thought alongside her meeting from that morning. Archery had become such a vital skill for her in the past. It had often meant the difference between life and death, not to mention it was a single arrow that had shattered the Shikon-no-Tama on that first fateful day. Archery had become a critical and necessary skill, especially when she learned to channel her power into the arrows. 

Now, she wasn’t using that power on a regular basis; either in combat, or with the other miko-based skills Kaede had been teaching her. That same power was trying to bubble up and find an outlet on its own. More than once she had woken up or come out of a meditative trance to find a faint translucent glow around herself. If she was going to live as normal a life as possible in the present-time, she just needed to find a way to channel that power outside of battle. 

Kagome considered that thought and the new club activities she would soon be taking up. Ky?d? was a form of meditation, after all. It was known to have its roots in both Shinto practices and those of the warriors of the past. These facets resonated with her deeply. In the Feudal Era, she had learned to shoot power focused arrows. She would now have to learn how to shoot both normal arrows on command, and yet, still be able to call on her spiritual skills at will. She had fought too hard gaining that skill to let it fade to nothing now. 

She also had no desire to be glowing when not intended and draw unwelcome attention to herself and her family. A lot of meditation was in her future. She briefly considered trying to find someone in the modern day who could help her with her abilities, but the day of the miko as a recognized individual of importance was no more. 

Modern day miko were really nothing more than shrine maidens who helped care for, maintain, and run a shrine. Sometimes they had important roles in ceremonial dances and promenades, but they were not recognized as an individual of importance or power. Learning about the importance miko played in villages during the Feudal Era firsthand, along with all the different skills and abilities they often employed, had been fascinating, terrifying, and overwhelming. Particularly when she had been so often mistaken for Kikyo. No, her chances of finding someone who would take her seriously in the modern day were pretty much zero.

A soft knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. 

“Kagome, are you awake?”

“Yes, Mom.”

The older woman slid her door open and peeked into her room. “Are you feeling a bit better?”

Kagome smiled at her mom. “More or less.”

“Dinner is ready, if you’d like to come down and eat with us?”

“Yeah, I’ll be down in a minute.”

Her mother nodded and smiled before she turned and headed back downstairs. Kagome washed up quickly and headed down to join her family, a familiar warmth spreading through her as she first smelled and then spotted the udon her mother had prepared. “My favorite?” Kagome asked, both thankful and amused.

Her mother smiled as she carried a tray with four bowls out from the kitchen. “I thought you could use the pick-me-up.”

“Why does Neechan need cheering up?” Souta asked before quickly shoving his first mouthful in his mouth.

Kagome huffed. “Don’t imitate Inuyasha’s eating habits, Souta.”

Her younger brother rolled his eyes but kept most of his attention on his udon.

“To answer his question, Kagome had another bad night, followed by an incident this afternoon at the Goshinboku.” Kagome’s mother explained as Kagome began eating her own bowl. “A visitor spotted her glowing as she stood with the Goshinboku.”

“Glowing! Is that tree trying to lure you away again?” Grandpa Higurashi demanded with mixed glee and frustration. The old guardian of the shrine loved all the history and stories Kagome would return with just as much as he had disliked the necessity of her travels. He had admitted to being relieved she was home permanently after the well had closed, despite how much he had supported her. That he had also amused himself with tales of the illnesses she had caught, had just been icing on the cake as far as he was concerned.

“No, Ojiisan.” Kagome quickly interjected before he could start spinning some wild story. “The tree is not trying to lure me away again. I was checking its health and wards. It only felt like a few minutes to me, but must have been over an hour. I used to use my abilities as a miko all the time in the past. Now I’m not, so it’s responding a little enthusiastically. My power also seems to have expanded a great deal since the closing of the well. It feels just barely restrained all the time.”

Her grandfather swallowed his own mouthful of noodles and eyed her critically. “Is that dangerous for you?”

Kagome shook her head. “Not in the way you are asking. I’m more worried about strangers seeing it and drawing a lot of unwanted attention. The days where miko were respected and valued members of the community have passed. I don’t want to get taken off to some hospital to be studied.”

Grandfather Higurashi huffed, “Of course not. Anyone who tried would be a fool to do so.”

Kagome shook her head and focused more on her own dinner before it got cold. 

“So, what’s your plan?” Souta asked as he set down his bowl after drinking down the leftover soup once the noodles were all gone.

“I need to work on more meditation techniques.” Kagome began stirring her own bowl slowly.

“I also have to join a couple of clubs at school for Phys-ed course credits. I agreed to join Ky?d? and Cross Country. My choice about Ky?d? might have been a bad idea if I can’t control my power….”

“Glowing arrows and exploding targets!” Souta exclaimed, excited.

Kagome was exasperated at his excitement, but nodded. “I was thinking we should restore the old archery dojo hidden back behind the main shrine.”

“That would be amazing!” Souta exclaimed. “Neechan, you’ll teach me?”

“Hmm. Ambitious. That dojo hasn’t seen any use in over a hundred years.” Grandpa Higurashi said in consideration.

“It’s interesting that you bring that up.” Mom Higurashi said in thought. “Since you started traveling to the past, Kagome, we’ve had several letters of interest in doing just that. We didn’t want to be drawing extra attention to your coming and going by having extra people around, so we put it off.”

“Is it that badly off?” Kagome asked, concerned. Before her adventures had begun, she’d had little interest in the shrine’s history.

“Not that bad, but it has suffered from a lack of attention and care. The roof and building should be sound as it was redone at the same time all the rest of the buildings were.”

Kagome hummed in thought and considered the possibilities.


Kagome walked down the path she had been directed toward on her way to meeting with the Ky?d? club advisor. Hououji-sensei had contacted her two days after she had met with Ito-sensei to confirm her pending membership on the school’s Ky?d? club. They had agreed to an informal meeting so Hououji-sensei could determine where she was at skill wise and go over the basics with her.

The school’s Ky?d? club shared space with some of the other clubs and alternated times and days that the dojo was in use for archery. Kagome was surprised that they did not have a dedicated club space, but she considered that many Ky?d? places already had active memberships and clubs of their own. She also could not remember hearing about the Ky?d? club being involved with any competitions, or if they had been not advancing to more regional or national titles, this would in turn mean less funding for the club.

She found the designated building and slipped inside. The large space was empty, though two targets had been set up near the far wall. Directly across the room from the door were two other doors that were clearly marked for storage. She looked around and studied the space, noting the stack of additional straw targets sitting inside the open door of one storage room. She walked quietly across the shooting space and peered inside the open storage room. Just inside and in the shadows, she could see various bows stored on wall mounts. She scanned the dojo once more and, after not seeing anyone, stepped inside the storage room.

Once inside, she scanned the various bows, noting that several had name tiles hung next to them, indicating who they belonged to. She left those alone and moved further in to find a collection that did not have name tiles hung on the pegs beside them. She ran her fingers down the wood of one of them, noting the common wear and tear marks. She frowned as she came to one spot and shook her head. If she tried to draw this one, she would snap it in two. She inspected the one above it and found a similar weakness in that one. She reached up and lifted the topmost bow down and began her inspection of it as well, smiling and testing its flex as she found no such weaknesses. Kagome began to scan the storage space for bowstrings when an interested hum caught her attention.

“Interesting choice you have made. You clearly know your bows.” The woman now standing in the open doorway to the storage space said in interest and amusement. “Higurashi-san, I presume?”

Kagome flushed and turned to face the woman fully, bowing in greeting. “Yes, mam. You are Hououji-sensei?”

“I am. You can find bowstrings in the bin there on your right, next to the targets.”

Kagome nodded and turned to find the bin. It took her only a moment to find, and she tested the elasticity and checked for snags on several strings before choosing one.

“Good, let’s see how you shoot and what we have to work on, shall we?” Hououji-sensei asked, still obviously amused.

Kagome watched the woman and realized she wasn’t really all that much older than Kagome herself. She must have started teaching around the same time Kagome began her adventures. She was of average height, with her blonde hair in a stylish shoulder-length bob cut. Kagome thought she had seen a hint of green in her eyes behind the casual frames that rested on her nose. 

“How familiar are you with the practice of Ky?d?, Higurashi-san?” Hououji-sensei inquired, interrupting Kagome’s study of her.

“Ah, not very, to be honest. I’ve practiced archery for marksmanship purposes, but never as a meditation.” Kagome answered. “Learning the more ceremonial and meditative practices is what I would like to accomplish.”

“Competitive Archery?” Hououji-sensei asked.

“No, not in competition. I want to learn well for myself.” Kagome asked, not sure how she could explain years of learning to shoot accurately under the pressures of battle in the modern day.

“Interesting. Well, go ahead and set up. Let’s see what you’ve got.”

“Yes, Sensei.” She followed her answer by stringing her bow and testing its draw several times before she accepted the arrow Hououji-sensei offered her. She sighted on the target and took a slow breath before drawing the bow string taught, the arrow resting across the top of her left hand and the string pulled back just past her right ear. Another breath, and she let go. The arrow flying true and striking the center mark of the target.

“Marksmanship indeed.” Hououji-sensei said softly. “Your draw is very practiced and at ease.” She said warmly as she stepped up to Kagome’s side and viewed the target head on. After a few moments, she turned her focus back on Kagome. “Show me your right hand, please?”

Kagome frowned but held out her right-hand palm up. Hououji-sensei cradled her fingers between her palms and ran er own finger tips up and over Kagome’s index and pointer fingers, feeling the calluses there. “Have you always practiced without an archer’s glove?”

Kagome blinked surprised, “I suppose I have.” She said slowly, “It just never occurred to me.”

“Not even after shooting your fingertips raw?” Hououji-sensei asked with an arched brow.

Kagome shrugged. “I got good at wrapping in first aid tape.”

“Hmm, well from now on I’d like you to use a glove. I’ll give you a list of places you can purchase one before you leave today. In the meantime, you can use one of the spares we keep on hand.” With that statement, she turned to head back into a small office that Kagome had not noticed when she first entered the dojo space. Hououji-sensei returned shortly and held out a thick leather archery glove as well as an under glove to be worn with it. Kagome accepted the glove set and quickly set about securing it around her right hand and wrist. 

Hououji-sensei then slid a quiver off her shoulder. She pulled a stand from within the quiver and then propped the quiver up on the stand. “Run through all of these. After you’ve used all these, then we’ll talk some more after.”

Kagome nodded her understanding and drew the next arrow. Just as before, she set the arrow in place and sighted down the field to the target before drawing the string back. She breathed in, out, in again, and released on her exhale. The arrow made a satisfying thwack as it penetrated the target immediately adjacent to the first. She smiled and after that fell into a rhythm.

Pull an arrow from the quiver.

Set her frame, she had long ago learned that her entire upper body could be used to anchor herself before she fired an arrow.

Nock the arrow in place.

Focus on the target and set her hands firmly. 

Breathe in and draw the bow. 

Exhale and release.


She pulled the next arrow and repeated. ‘Thwack.’

She smiled softly to herself at the three tightly clustered arrows, satisfied she had not lost any of her skill. She pulled the next, ‘thwack’, and on she continued settling into the rhythm of the motions. Her mind drifted, and she remembered learning under pressure, learning control under Kaede’s grandmotherly tutelage. 

A piercing whistle of air and a resounding thunderclap echoed throughout the space. Kagome stared wide eyed at the pile of straw and torn paper, dust floating in the air above the mess and sparkling in the sunlight.

Hououji-sensei stepped forward to stand beside Kagome and studied the demolished target. “Well, I suspect we will have to study target crafting while you learn some control.”

Kagome winced, head hanging. “Yes, Sensei.”

“Has this sort of thing always been a problem for you?”

Kagome chewed on her lower lip as she considered how to answer. “Not exactly? I learned to do it when I wished, but it became such a habit that now it happens even when I’m not trying for it.”

Hououji-sensei hummed in consideration. “I heard from the other staff that you had to spend a lot of time away from home in the last few years, and that is why you were doing all your coursework by correspondence. Did that have anything to do with this?”

Kagome shifted on her feet. “Not exactly. There was an old priestess I was staying with and helping out. She was the one who taught me archery.”

Hououji-sensei nodded. “Well, it’s definitely something we’ll need to work on. I’ll have you practice individually until you have that under full control again. No need to make everyone else all excited over it.”

Kagome wasn’t sure what to make of Hououji-sensei’s reaction to the very loud and bright glowing arrow she had all but incinerated her target with. She was taking it in stride, but not quite treating it like it was normal either. “I don’t understand…”

Hououji-sensei smiled, “Let’s sit down, shall we?”

Kagome nodded and followed her over to a bench along the back wall. 

“When I was just a bit older than you and starting at University, I had a very interesting roommate. She was sassy, opinionated, but had a heart of gold. She also saw ghosts, had a friend who claimed to be part youkai, and despised anyone who was a bully.”

Kagome was starting at her teacher wide-eyed at this point. 

Hououji-sensei just smiled at her reaction. “It was quite the shock, I assure you. It turned out her family had been blessed with priests and priestesses of all sorts, though no one in her current generation had taken up that mantle. This led to many of them being rather spiritually attuned as it was.” 

“How did she—”

“Learn to control it?” Hououji-sensei asked, amusement still clear, “Practice and getting up to more trouble than you can probably imagine. From what I’ve heard, her niece and nephew have it even worse than she does.”

Kagome felt relief. She wasn’t the only one. There were others like her. Not just in the past, but here and now in the modern era. Despite that relief, however, she was also confused. “I don’t understand. Why are you telling me this?”

Hououji-sensei stretched her hands out in front of her and looked down the length of the archery hall to the destroyed target. “Because you apparently need some guidance and help Higurashi-san. If you had a teacher already, you wouldn’t likely be having this problem, and unless I misunderstood, that old priestess you mentioned is no longer available.”

Kagome sniffed as she tried to hold back the sudden surge of tears that the thought of Kaede being dead brought. “About a month ago now.” Kagome choked out; she had lost everyone then.

Hououji-sensei reached out with a comforting hand. “You aren’t alone, Kagome. I’d like to put you in contact with my friend. Would that be okay?”

Kagome thought about it and nodded. Knowing that there were others who could share in her abilities, or at least something like it, would be such a relief. “Yes, I would like that.”

“Good. If you leave me your contact information today, I’ll see she gets it.”

“Yes, sensei.”

“Well, now that is sorted, I suppose we should clean up that target. We can go over the basics of constructing them while we do so.”

“Should I store this bow back in the storage room?” Kagome asked, her fingers absently stroking the wood.

Hououji-sensei eyed the bow and seemed to be thinking about it for a long moment before she spoke. “No, I don’t think so. There should be a bow travel case in storage. I think you should take that one with you.”

Kagome looked down at the bow in her lap, her fingers still idly stroking the wood. “Are you sure?”

Hououji-sensei nodded. “Yes, the more I think about you leaving it behind, the more wrong it feels. Go ahead, find the travel case, and I’ll fetch the wheelbarrow so we can clean up your target.”

Kagome rose to her feet and went to look for the bow case Hououji mentioned, her mind whirling at the new revelations. She was not the only one with spiritual powers in the modern day. It was something she had hoped was true, but she had never expected to find anyone, let alone this quickly. She soon found the case in the storage room and froze as soon as she rested her palm on it. She knew this case. She wasn’t sure how, but she did. 

She set the bow down on an empty wall bracket and went back to the case, picking it up and studying it carefully. It was a bit large for a single bow, and yet it felt light and solid. She slid the top cap off and peered inside. There was a pocket built into the side that already held a couple dozen arrows. Kagome ran her fingers over the shafts, and her eyes widened in shock. She knew these arrows! She drew one from the carry pocket and ran her fingers over the shaft. She had helped craft these arrows, carefully gathering the wood given to her from an old youkai tree. The tips had been crafted by T?t?sai, and the feathers she knew had been provided by Sango, but she had never learned their source. Tears burned behind her eyes once more. Somehow-someway, her friends had protected these and managed to arrange for them to find their way back to her. 

She slowly turned back to the carry case and wondered—she already thought it looked a little large for a single bow. She felt inside and under the arrow pocket and her fingers brushed over a familiar curved frame. Her youkai-made longbow had found its way back to her. She reached a hand up to rub away the tears that she could no longer hold back, and carefully stowed the new bow in the available space inside the case before she carefully sealed it up. She studied the exterior of the case. Now that she knew what it carried, she recognized it was the familiar red of fire-rat fur covering the hard protective case and the hidden treasure within. Inuyasha…

Higurashi-san, did you find it?” Hououji-sensei called from the main room.

Kagome scooped up the case and headed back out into the archer hall. “Yes! I found it, thank you!”

Hououji-sensei glanced her way and smiled, “Yes, somehow that case suits you. The bright red color of it kept most from making use of it, but you seem quite pleased.”

Kagome nodded. “Yes, it reminds me of good things.”

“All the better, then. Let’s talk about target-crafting, shall we?”

Kagome carefully set the case out of the way and moved toward the target brackets and the mess of her destroyed target. “I’m ready.”


Kagome let out a breath of relief as she crossed the ward line onto the land granted to her family’s shrine. She had set the ward a full year before her feudal journey had ended, but she was so very grateful for it now. Enhancing the wards and layering them to be more subtle and precise had been the first project she had tackled after being returned to the modern era for the last time. This had allowed her to add new layers or filters into them that she had learned since she first laid them. 

These enhancements had included a passive and strong purification layer that naturally filtered out a great deal of modern-day pollutants. A skill she had learned in defense against the various poisons Naraku had employed against her and her allies. Kagome had been feeling sick from it after those first two weeks and the need to lay that added layer onto her wards had been a driving force in getting her to start living instead of just grieving.

Kagome finished the climb up the many steps to the main shrine grounds and sent a warm pulse of greeting to the Goshinboku. The tree echoed it back to her, and she smiled as she headed into her family home. 

“I’m home!” She called out as she propped the bow travel case against the wall gently and exchanged her shoes for house slippers. “Mom? Souta? Ji-chan?”

“I’m in here!” Souta called from the dining room. “Mom is out running errands and Ji-chan is going through inventory in one of the storage sheds. Something about getting a head start on things for the next community festival.”

Kagome entered the room and approached the table that Souta sat at with a pile of old journals, sheafs of paper, and even some scrolls. “What’s all this?” Kagome began skimming her fingers over what titles and snippets of information she could easily read.

“My history project. Well, it was, but I kept going after I turned in the requirement for the class.”

“Going on what exactly?” Kagome asked, not quite making sense of all the different materials.

Souta marked his place and closed the old journal he had been going through and set the open notebook on top of it before setting it aside and reaching for another notebook. “Look here, it’s the lineage history of our family and this shrine.” Souta explained as he began to open the notebook and show the different family connections he had mapped out on the pages. About halfway through, he had done a more extensive line chart that folded out several times to make a continuous page. “I wanted to see if I could trace it back all the way to people you met back in the feudal era, but I got stumped here.” He said as he pointed out at the far end of the page to the names of Konoe on the father’s side of a son named Sasaki, who had married another a girl named Higurashi Kinu. Kinu’s parentage just listed Miroku and Sango.

Kagome felt tears burn in her eyes as she carefully sat down in one of the open chairs. “Konoe was Kaede’s only living child, a son.” She rubbed at her eyes as tears welled up and sniffled. “Miroku and Sango had a daughter who married Kaede’s grandson.” She half sobbed and laughed all at once. “They survived and lived.” She felt Souta’s concern, and she smiled at him. “Thank you for doing this. Thank you for finding proof that they survived, and lived their lives, that they aren’t only in my memories.”

Souta smiled. “I hoped it was them, but the records that mentioned even this much were really vague. There were some mentions of the legend of the Shikon Priestess in the same journals, but they never listed names of the priestess, so I couldn’t tell if they mean you or Kikyo.”

Kagome huffed. “I’m not surprised. Kikyo’s story was surprisingly well known, and I was often mistaken for her. Combine that with the fact that I really only existed in that time for a few years at best… only my closest friends would likely have mentioned me, and even then, perhaps not. The time I spent with all of them was full of pain and hardship. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame them for wanting to focus on more happy and peaceful memories going forward.”

“I know you were fighting a lot because of Naraku, but was it really that bad?” Souta asked, his expression concerned. 

“At the time, it just seemed like something to overcome.” Kagome stared at the pile of journals, her eyes unfocused. “We had to collect the shards to restore the Shikon-no-Tama. I can’t even tell you when exactly I decided how I would wish it away completely. The Shikon-no-Tama was the driving element behind it all. I shattered it and started this mess, so I had to see it through to the end.”

“I remember hearing you explain that part of it to Mom and Oji-san. I didn’t really get it then, but I think I do now.” Souta said quietly.

Kagome smiled at her brother; he had grown up so much in the years she had been living mostly in the past. “You have to remember, my very first experience was the Centipede Woman who first tore the Shikon-no-Tama out of my side. In truth, I’m so very lucky she didn’t rip me in half and kill me outright.” Kagome said. It was something she had not acknowledged for a long time.

Souta winced. “You would have just disappeared, and we would have never known what happened.”

Kagome nodded. “That event was only the first of countless near-death experiences for me. I don’t even know how I managed those first few months, except that I was too naive to realize the danger I was actually in. I was just reacting.”

Souta frowned. “How did you keep going when you realized?”

Kagome shrugged. “Duty, obligation, a fierce need to protect my friends. When it came down to it, all those were more important than my fears.” She stroked one of the journals and its soft and worn leather cover. “Each terrible battle we overcame brought its own set of nightmares and confidence that if I survived this, then surely I could survive the next. Just kept focusing on the end goal, one shard at a time.”

Souta frowned. “You never used to have a problem with crowds. You haven’t gone to the market or shopping for yourself once since you came back.”

Kagome took a deep, slow breath. “I… Naraku began to use swarms of lesser youkai in his attacks. The sheer pressure of that many people in a market, the shopping mall, a subway… it puts me on edge and throws me right back into those fights. I can’t risk reacting badly and hurting innocents by mistake.”

Souta nodded. “It’s a good thing more and more places are offering online ordering and delivery then.”

Kagome choked on her laugh. “Souta!”

Her brother just grinned at her impishly. “What? I’m not going to make you face all that trauma again just to go buy milk.”

Kagome shook her head and wiped away the tears that had welled up in her eyes. “Still trying to protect me?”

Souta crossed his arms and glared at her. “Well, even if you did face all that terrible stuff and survive it, you had Inuyasha and the others with you then.” He fidgeted then, “I know I can’t replace them, but I won’t let you face everything alone, either.”

Kagome reached out a hand and was grateful when he accepted it and squeezed hers as he wrapped his own hand, bigger than hers now, around it. “You’re the best brother.”

Souta smirked. “I’m your only brother.”

Kagome withdrew her hand with a final squeeze and rolled her eyes. “So, where did you find all these journals?”

“Oji-san found them. We were cleaning all the storage out in the old bone-eater’s-well shed and found this hidden cupboard with them all tucked away and wrapped for safe keeping. We plan to have them scanned into digital records for the future before putting them into special archive and display cases. The myth of the bone-eater’s-well should be remembered. It’s part of our history, along with the care of the Goshinboku.” Souta explained.

“We found records that indicated the shrine itself was first build nearly five-hundred years ago. We think it was probably done by those who knew you.” Souta said softly.

Kagome smiled at the thought and the memories it brought up. Kagome had not known which side of the well she would end up on when it was all said and done. She and the others had talked about ‘what if’ scenarios around campfires more than once. Building her family’s shrine had been a somewhat common topic. “I’m glad.”

She eyed her brother then. “Though I’m going to have to get used to crowds again eventually, even if it isn’t for shopping.”

Souta shrugged. “No pressure.”


One year later…

Kagome pulled out the heavy stationery she had picked up especially for this very special letter and laid it out on her writing desk. She picked up her pen and dated the upper right corner with a wry smile and wondered what would happen if some historian found her letter years past. She had always been careful to try to not leave evidence of her presence in the past. As she remembered her bicycle which she had left in Kaede’s village, she frowned. Well, there was nothing she could do about it now. She looked out her bedroom window at the Goshinboku and nodded once before refocusing on the paper before her and beginning to write.

Hello Everyone!

It has been one year since we defeated Naraku, and I wished away the Shikon-no-Tama. One year since I last saw you all and was able to travel into the past. It’s been a difficult year and I’ve missed you all a great deal. 

The last year has brought many challenges for me as I have had to adapt to life here, in this time, and not split between the two times, and my friends and family on each side of the well. I know it doesn’t have much meaning for you in the past, but I successfully graduated from my school education problem and will be continuing on to university (yes, more school) in just a few short weeks. This was challenging, as despite all my work to keep up while we traveled, searched, and battled to restore the Shikon-no-Tama, I was still a bit behind in some of my classes. University entrance exams are especially challenging, and I had been unable to do any true prep work for them until this last year.

I’ve continued to train my miko abilities despite them being largely unnecessary and unrecognized by the general population in this time period. Surprisingly, I found others like me who were able to help me get my power under control when it threatened to overwhelm me. They have become dear friends and teachers in the short year I have known them. Just knowing that I’m not alone in this has helped me re-orient to the present time a great deal.

In addition, I have made great strides in overcoming the trauma and its lasting effects from all our battles. I had not realized just how much I had been stuck in ‘survivor’ mode and how that affected me in other aspects of my daily life. Crowds of people were a real challenge, and while I don’t immediately tense up as if swarmed by youkai anymore, I still find them difficult. 

Don’t worry Sango, Inuyasha. I haven’t given up my skills in archery. I practice daily, in fact, and it has become a large part of how I manage my power. I don’t know how you all managed it, but my longbow has returned to me, and it has been a great reassurance.

She started a new page for personal messages. She would write each personal message on a new piece so that they would all be able to keep it without any fighting amongst themselves.


You have been and always will be one of my dearest friends. I know our friendship has had its ups and downs over the years, but I hope you will treasure those memories as I will. Be happy Inuyasha. Do not dwell on the past and live your life to the fullest! 


My little fox, I miss you dearly. I know I wasn’t in your life all that long in the long-view of the lifespan you can expect to have, but I hope I will always be remembered fondly and that you don’t resent me for not being able to return. You are the child of my heart. Never doubt that. Grow strong, wise, and above all else, remember to be kind. 


I know you would expect me to chastise you for your lecherous ways, but I already know your attentions have settled on one individual and the rest of it was all an act. Make her happy, Miroku, and don’t forget to be happy yourself. You are already wise in the ways of the world, so don’t forget to be kind and give up your con-man ways if you can? You are a wonderful storyteller and I’m sure your family will enjoy your stories for years to come.


Sister of my heart. I hope you can finally lay your family memories to rest in peace. Remember the good and don’t dwell on the bad. Your family has been avenged. Your family lives on in both you and Kohaku. Be happy and enjoy your family as you move forward in life and love. Never forget your passion and know that I always admired your strength. You will be a wonderful mother. Also, tell Kirara that she is amazing, and I know that she will continue to watch over your family because her loyalty is unwavering.


Thank you so much for everything. Without your support and guidance, I never would have been able to accomplish everything that I did, both in the past and future. Your teaching has stuck with me and given me the foundation I needed, even now. My brother has been working on an ancestry project, tracing our family lines back to the feudal era. What he found gave me so much peace. Someday in the future, your son, and grandchildren became one of the deepest roots of my family history. Live the rest of your life in peace and happiness, and rest easy knowing that you have had such a deep and long-lasting impact on the future.


Please, tell all who ask about me that I have returned home to my family and am doing well, but that I will miss you all. 

However, life goes on, and as much as I miss you all, it is time to say goodbye. I will be sealing the bone-eater’s-well after I drop this letter into it, with the hope that it will reach you in the past. 

With love and affection always,

Higurashi Kagome

P.S. For the long-lived of you, if by some chance you are still living your lives in the modern-day, please, come visit.

She carefully folded the seven-page letter into envelopes and addressed them each appropriately. She wrapped the entire set of individual messages with the opening letter and then tucked that into a slightly larger envelope. She pulled out the small selection of pictures she had copies made of from her photo album and tucked them inside of the envelope as well. She closed and sealed the envelope, and for added measure, tied a ribbon around it and added a touch of her power to protect it from the elements and hopefully call those to it that it was meant for. She took a deep breath and looked up out of her window once more at the Goshinboku before rising to her feet and heading out to the old well house.

Her mother came out of the kitchen as she was putting on her shoes and noticed the ribbon-wrapped envelope.

“Do you need help?” She asked, drying her hands on the towel she held.

Kagome shook her head. “No, I need to do this myself.”

Her mother nodded and smiled in understanding. “If I don’t hear from you in an hour, I’ll come check on you.”

Kagome smiled, thankful for her mother’s support. “Okay, Mom.”

She waved to her grandfather, who was tending to the yard before she went into the old well house. Stopping at the top of the stairs and for several long moments, just letting herself get caught up in the memories, both good and bad.

She stepped down to the level of the well and ran her fingers along the wood that had been worn smooth over the years. It was a study in contrast, considering how many splinters the same wood had given her on the feudal side of things.

She held up the wrapped letter and took a deep, even breath. “Well, I guess this is it.”

Kagome held the bundle over the well opening and let go. A pang of sorrow welled up through her at the lack of blue glow, but she had known the chances of the bundle passing through to the other side were slim. She took another deep breath and moved to the waiting well cover her grandfather and Souta had both helped construct. It was made from branches gathered from the Goshinboku and carefully crafted to fit the old well perfectly. She had infused her power and wards into it during its making, and it almost glowed to her own senses with protection and love. She pulled it up onto the well and let it drop into place. 

She laid both palms flat on the cover and gave it one more big push of her energy, adding a complex and robust ward onto the top. The well would be sealed, permanently.

As the power faded into a passive hum, she stood up and took one more careful look around the well-house before climbing the short stair up to the entry and back outside. She closed the door behind her and stood there, her eyes closed and forehead resting on the wood. It was hard, saying goodbye, but she had too much to live for here and now to keep dwelling on the past.

A familiar presence tickled across her senses, and she whirled to find a stranger standing just a few feet away. The young man looked a bit sheepish and nervous as he smiled at her as Kagome studied him. 

“Who…” she trailed off as she took in the coppery colored hair that pulled back in a half bun and below that secured in a warrior’s tail. Bright teal-green eyes shined at her in amusement and something more. Kagome’s eyes widened in shock. “Shippou?”

The man nodded and held open his arms. “It’s been a while, Kagome-kaasan.”

Kagome choked back a sob and flew into his arms. “You’re alive!”

Shippou chuckled and reached up to wrap his arms around her tightly. “You think I wasn’t going to show up after you sent that message?”

Kagome laughed and cried all at once. “I didn’t dare hope.”

Shippou huffed, “Well, you can definitely do more than hope now.”

Kagome nodded as she buried her nose in his chest and held on tight. “Yes. The future looks very full of hope.”

The End.

[1] Darklight, Michael V. “Befitting.” Poem. In The Philosopher of Fools, 54. House of Darklight, 2018. 

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Silver Dragonfly

reading ~ writing ~ doodling ~ that's me Working day by day to bring creativity back into my day-to-day life when it's been lost to the monotony of work and bills.

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