InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ The Ghost of Christmas Present ❯ Staying Alive ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Blanket Disclaimer:

Inuyasha, and the characters therein, are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I am in no way affiliated with Takahashi, or VIZ Productions.


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Chapter three: Staying Alive




Having rushed back into my dorm room to get dressed, after first taking care of my bodily needs while in the bathroom, I didn't bother trying not to disturb Eri in my haste, needing to tell her where I was going anyway so that she wouldn't panic upon noticing my absence in the morning. She groaned and blinked shortly after I clicked the light on, asking me in a suddenly wide awake tone of voice what was wrong as soon as my rapid dressing dawned on her. Quickly, I explained what'd happened and that I needed to go speak with Kohaku's spirit. I needed to see if I could fix this. I didn't have any classes the following day, anyway, what with it being the day before Christmas. I would've originally been going home that morning to be with my family. Now, I'd imagined that I, and the rest of the family, would probably be spending Christmas Eve at the hospital. Eri wished me good luck as I raced out the door.

Even though I'd been desperate to get to the hospital as quickly as possible, it had definitely been my goal to arrive there under my own power as a guest, not in an ambulance as a patient, and so I obeyed all the traffic laws, especially since it was once again just past 'closing time' for all the bars. There were a lot of drunks on the road, not to mention a lot of cops, who were looking for the drunks but definitely wouldn't hesitate to pull me over if I went zipping through a red light. Trying to steady my shaking breathing, I'd tried to remain calm as I navigated the mostly deserted streets. Fortunately, I made it to the guest parking lot incident and accident free.

During the few minute drive Inuyasha had told me he'd go check on Kohaku, let the boy know I was on my way. He didn't want my cousin doing anything foolish or rash without thinking things through. It surprised me when, shortly before arriving at the hospital, the radio in my car had suddenly clicked on and turned to a nothing station of white noise static. We hadn't communicated like that in a over a year, both of us having grown so much stronger as time went on. Inuyasha knew how to draw energy more efficiently as he and I experimented with different options, and plus just like working any other muscle, the part of my brain that enabled me to communicate with ghosts was also a lot stronger now than it used to be. Hearing his voice come through over the static, I immediately learned why he was so weak all of a sudden. He'd fed Kohaku. The boy was consciously aware, but would have previously been invisible to me, a voice only. As a brand new ghost he didn't really know how to draw energy from the environment yet. Inuyasha had given him a lot of his own energy, but not so much that it would make him disperse, for which I was grateful; Inuyasha had known I would definitely want, no...need him by my side for this.

Parking and getting out of the car, the blast of cold air that enveloped me left me with a metaphorically warm feeling inside, knowing it was Inuyasha wrapping himself around me. A ghost hug. I wasn't alone. Still, to any outside observer I knew I appeared alone, and I knew that part of this I would have to do all by myself. I hesitated for only a moment before entering the waiting room area, since I knew visiting hours were long since over, but there was something to be said for portraying yourself with an air of confidence, of acting like you belonged. Forcing myself to walk at a normal pace instead of dashing frantically down the hall like I'd wanted to do, I walked with my head held high right past the receptionist station and nobody paid me even the slightest bit of attention. It probably also helped that at least some of the staff recognized me from my numerous visits, and since I knew precisely where Kohaku's room was located I navigated the various twists and turns with ease, like I really did belong. I passed a couple of doctors and nurses during the journey but they all just smiled and nodded politely as I walked by.

Peaking into Kohaku's room, I felt my heart jump up into my throat. His body looked the same, lying still in bed, the monitors attached to him beeping steadily. He didn't have a breathing tube. He was breathing on his own. Sitting in a chair that had been pulled up to his bedside and slumped over his body in a deep and restless sleep was my aunt Susan, Kohaku's mother. The poor woman looked ragged, exhausted. I could see her face and her closed eyes were sunken in, the dark bags under them looking especially prominent in the low florescent lighting. Neither of these sights were as heart wrenching, though, as the duplicate image of the young teen in the hospital bed standing silently in the far corner of the room, taking in the same sight of the unconscious boy and his mother with a troubling look of guilt and sympathy.

Standing there, wanting to be quiet so as not to wake my aunt, I waited as patiently as I could for Kohaku to notice me, trying to ignore the feeling of my heart, once up in my throat, sinking lower and lower into the bottom of my stomach.


It seemed like an eternity, although realistically I'd guess it was only about ten seconds. Count it to yourself, imagine standing in a doorway for ten whole seconds trying to will somebody in the room to turn and notice you. Takes forever, right?

Anyway, finally, he turned, our eyes locking.

“Kagome... he said slowly, his voice sounding far away, a phenomenon I was used to at that point so it didn't phase me in the slightest.

Silently, I motioned for him to come with me, follow me out of the room so as to let his mother sleep. He seemed to understand, glancing back sadly in his mother's direction before turning and walking my way, making not a sound as he did so. Another thing I was used to at that point. Inuyasha had told me that while making the sound of footsteps was something ghosts had to deliberately do, it was also one of the easiest things for them to do, to let 'normal' humans hear them and be aware of their presence, but it still took an extra amount of energy to accomplish and so most of the time Inuyasha didn't bother, using his energy to be visible to me instead.


Kohaku was new and didn't yet know all the tricks of the trade, and if I had my way he wouldn't yet for a very long time. Logically I knew that he would one day die, as would we all, but I wanted Kohaku to live another good sixty years, at least, before it would finally be time for him to learn what all it meant to be a ghost. I was refusing to even think of him in such a way in that moment. He wasn't a ghost because he wasn't dead. He was alive, in a coma, and merely having a very vivid out-of-body experience, astral projecting his spirit. That's how I was choosing to think of him. A lost soul, and one I could hopefully help find the way...and not into the light.


Granted, it wasn't necessarily a one-way trip. That knowledge was a stress reliever, for sure. You heard sometimes of near death experiences where people talked about going some place, of seeing family and friends, and somebody would tell them it wasn't their time yet and that they needed to go back. The only problem was, as Inuyasha had explained it, going to the other side usually stretched the thread connecting the spirit and body too thin, and if the soul 'moved on' then the body would die as a result...at least without modern medical intervention. That was the catch. Yes, if he moved on there would still be the chance that he could come back later, but only if we managed to save the life of his body in the meantime, so while going into the light wasn't a one-way trip in and of itself we still only had one shot at saving his life if he did. If we blew it, he died, whether his ghost decided to return from the other side at some point or not. The silver lining, at least, was that Kohaku was already in a hospital. Provided they saved him in time, he could stay on life support indefinitely, if it came to that. It wasn't like the movie Ghost Dad where it was a race against the clock because his body was going to die if his soul didn't return to it. The bad news was that if he did decide to 'move on' it would then be a race against the clock to save his body before he suffered any major brain damage. Yet I didn't know how to warn the doctors to be on stand-by without sounding like a crazy person; it wasn't the sounding crazy part that bothered me either, it was that nobody would believe me if they thought I was crazy.

A person could be crazy and still be right.

I should have just woken my aunt.

Kohaku went with me out into the hall. I saw Mary as we passed and she gave me a look that translated as 'good luck'. Kohaku gave her a sad smile as we passed, which made me nervous.

“The women's restroom?” he questioned as we reached the door, his voice now sounding like it was coming from the body I could see standing beside me.

“So we can talk privately.” I answered, after a quick glance around to make sure no one was coming up the hall.

“There's not really that much to talk about though, is there?” he asked as he followed me into the small, single person room, and the finality in his voice had me whirling around to face him as I resisted the urge to yell frantically that it wasn't his time yet.

He believed it was, and that knowledge scared the shit out of me. The only comfort I could find as I looked into his eyes was the obvious remorse I could see there. He believed it was his time, but he also felt guilty for his mother's pain.

He had just been sticking around because he'd wanted to say goodbye to his family through me. Because Mary and Inuyasha had both told him to sit tight because I was on my way to speak with him. The good news there was that I'd figured he wouldn't leave until he'd had his goodbyes. That bought me some time, or so I'd thought.

Calming down some in my belief, I'd smiled then, trying a different approach.

“You're right, there's not that much to talk about, except for when you're going to go back into your body.”

He kind of slumped his shoulders and gave off the impression of sighing although he made no sound of exhaled breath.

“Kagome, be reasonable...” he said softly, both sounding and looking tired of this argument. I knew I was the third person he'd had this conversation with that evening. “I died.”

“No, you didn't.” I stated quietly but with authority. “I realize you'll be in for some physical therapy, but you're not that injured. With time, you can and probably will make a full recovery. Don't you want to continue living, continue experiencing all that life has to offer?”

He bit his lower lip, looking hesitant on what to say, and without giving him time to answer I continued.

“Inuyasha can vouch for how bad it sucks to die young, how much he missed out on.”

“Yeah, but...now, it's like he's immortal! That's way cooler.” Some of his excitement was back, now, like the reaction he'd had when I'd first told him about and introduced him to Inuyasha last summer.

“You will die, one day... Inuyasha's disembodied voice said in that moment, which didn't surprise me because I'd felt his presence with me the entire time. “What's the hurry?”

Kohaku looked at me for a moment longer before lowering his eyes. I didn't want him to feel like we were ganging up on him, but on the other hand, I was glad I had Inuyasha's help.

“Plus think of your parents, and Sango.”

“Sister...” Kohaku sighed with a far away look, before meeting my eyes again with a look of determination. For a second I got my hopes up, but he dashed them just as quickly. “She'll understand, if you help me talk to her.”

For a second I thought about blackmailing him, refusing to help, telling him that if he stubbornly wanted to die then he would have to do so without saying any goodbyes because I wouldn't, couldn't face our family with such news. But even though I was scared shitless, and honestly didn't want to face them, I just couldn't find it in me to say such a thing to him. Not because I was afraid he'd try to call my bluff, but because I was afraid he wouldn't even think I was bluffing, accepting my position and moving on on his own, without telling anyone goodbye first. I'd really catch hell for it then, my aunt and uncle probably never forgiving me, not to mention my own failure would eat me alive.


I decided to be completely honest, then.

“I really don't want to have to give them any messages from you.” I said, almost begging as I added, “Please, don't make me.”

If I couldn't make him want to live for his own sake, I'd hoped that maybe, just maybe, I could guilt him into it.

“I...let me think about it.” he said then, his expression unsure. “Maybe...maybe I'll be back.”

I didn't like where this was going.

“If you go to the other side the strain will be too much for your body,” I warned, “you might stop breathing.”

I'd known the risk of giving him that information but I'd felt it couldn't be helped. I hadn't wanted him to accidentally do anything unintentionally because he had lacked such knowledge. He could go anywhere on Earth and the distance wouldn't matter; it wasn't a matter of how far he went in that sense of the word. That was why those few who had in fact mastered the skill could astral project and travel the world. China was closer than the exact same spot in that hospital on the other side of that invisible border between worlds.

Indeed he had not known this, his eyes widening a bit at the news. Then, much to my horror, he smiled an almost relieved, peaceful smile.

“Then that takes care of it.” he said simply.

No...

“No, Kohaku, wait a minute, please...”

“It's all right, Kagome,” he attempted to reassure me, “I won't let my parents blame you. I'll tell them myself, in their dreams, that it was my decision and you tried to stop me.”


“It's not even them blaming me that I dread as much as me blaming myself!” I admitted. “I don't want to tell them not because I fear their reaction, but because I don't want to have to tell them I failed.”

Okay, so I did fear their reaction, too, but it was still true that I didn't want to have to deliver the bad news in and of itself. I'd feel like a police officer having to perform that unfortunate duty, coupled with the guilt of being the paramedic who had attempted and failed to save the loved one's life.

His eyes softened at my words, seeing the sincerity behind my gaze, my honest desire for him to live. I was silently pleading for him to understand, to change his mind.


“Kohaku,” Inuyasha chimed in again, “we don't want you to regret any decisions made in haste. If you die, then change your mind, it will be too late...

That was the heart of it.

“I understand your need to think it over,” I added then, “but if you go to the other side and stop breathing then it could cause severe brain damage even if the doctors resuscitate you and then your decision will be made for you. If at that time you change your mind it could be too late. Just stay in this realm while you weigh the pros and cons so that your body will still be available to you, just in case.”


I flashed my cousin a hesitant smile. I was nervous, but ultimately knew this was the right move; it had to be Kohaku's decision. I wanted to insist that he rejoin with his body right that very minute, but as a therapist, I knew I couldn't force him to do anything he didn't want to do. As a ghost whisperer, for lack of a better term, I knew even more vividly that I was at the mercy of whatever the spirit agreed to do. If we could just get him to agree to listen, that was half the battle.

He released another silent sigh; it was no longer weird for me to see such a thing without hearing any audible accompaniment.

“Do what you need to do, if you want to save my body so badly,” he said defiantly, “but I'm crossing over. What I want to see and experience isn't in this realm.”

His tone of voice revealed his decision was final.

Without a backwards glance, I was out the door.

Racing back to Kohaku's room I was prepared to be lectured by somebody about running in the hall but there thankfully wasn't anyone around. On the other hand, we would be needing a doctor in a minute, so the deserted hall was rather worrisome. We were only going to get one shot at this.


Dashing into his room, I wasn't surprised to see that everything was still calm in that precise moment. After all, Kohaku hadn't left yet, and his body wouldn't go into arrest until after he did. Until then, he was still just unconscious. My frantic appearance succeeded in waking my aunt.

“Kagome...?” Aunt Susan asked in confusion, blinking the sleep from her eyes as she sat up. “What...?”


“I-” My words were immediately cut off by a disembodied voice only I could hear.

“Tell her...tell her I love her, and that I'm sorry...

I glanced all around for the source of the voice, finally spotting him behind me in the doorway. He was transparent. “You can tell her yourself, Kohaku.” I answered, getting desperate. Realizing his mother was freaking out now by this little display I begged shamelessly, “Kohaku please...”

“Goodbye ... was all he said, as he faded away.

“No!”

“Kagome!” my aunt said again, on her feet and desperate, and so I told her a quick rundown of my conversation with her son. Tears were running down my cheeks unchecked as I apologized for my failure, while at the same time reassuring her that it wasn't too late and that I wasn't giving up. Examining his body I discovered with dread that he had in fact stopped breathing. I would've actually given anything to be wrong in that moment and look like a total idiot for worrying my aunt for no good reason, but I wasn't wrong. Aunt Susan was beyond wide awake now, screaming Kohaku's name over and over.

I ran back to the doorway. “Help!” I yelled out into the hall, not caring how many other patients might have been trying to sleep. “Code Blue! Code Blue!”


An orderly ran by, summoned by my shouting, and I immediately told him that Kohaku had stopped breathing. He started crying out for the doctor as well, then.Suddenly, Kohaku's heart monitor stopped beeping, instead giving off that horrible, steady tone. He was flat lining.

“Shit!” That came from Inuyasha, and I knew it was serious.

“No...no no no no!”

Running up to my cousin's body I immediately started administering continuous-chest-compression CPR. In my panic I still knew there was no point in pausing to breathe into his mouth; I knew he wasn't going to be waking up and so my only goal was to keep his blood pumping, to help his brain last as long as possible by spreading what precious oxygen his blood had left.

“K-Kagome...?” Voice quiet, Aunt Susan was crying too now.

“It's all right Aunt Susan,” I said with conviction, “as long as we can save his body I haven't given up on him yet!”

A few people rushed into the room then so I let them take over, as they began using the defibrillator. Biting my lower lip, I was feeling worse with every zap. I hadn't thought about his heart stopping; if he had only stopped breathing then a simple breathing tube would have solved the problem. I especially hadn't thought that they wouldn't be able to get his heart started again. Why the hell wasn't it working!? They tried to get my aunt and I to leave the room but we only backed away a few feet, giving them room to work. We refused to leave otherwise, and they didn't have time to worry about arguing with us about it. Frantically, Aunt Susan embraced me, grabbing both of my upper arms almost to the point of pain. At least she was no longer afraid to make eye contact with me.

“Kagome!” she pleaded, not angry at all but hopelessly upset. She even shook me a little. “Tell me exactly what happened with Kohaku's spirit!” And so I did, I gave her the full version of our conversation, including Inuyasha's parts, uncaring of the medical staff that could've been listening in, provided they were paying attention, as preoccupied as they were.

Once I got to the part where I couldn't convince him to go back into his body right now and had conceded to let him think about it I crumbled against her.


“I'm so s-sorry!” I cried. “I told him to just stay in this realm! I t-told him not to cross over!”

Amazingly, she didn't blame me.


“You...you did what you could, Kagome...” she said slowly as she awkwardly rubbed her right hand down and through my hair in what was supposed to be a reassuring gesture. “Kohaku...he's always been a stubborn one, always independent.”

I pulled back and out of the embrace, turning to glance back at the doctors.

“But it wasn't supposed to be like this.” I said, distraught.

“I'm sorry, miss...” one of the medical staff said to me then, everyone looking remorseful. “Sometimes...sometimes these things just-”

“No! Don't give me that.” I interrupted, not rudely – or at least that wasn't my intention. “I'm a medium and can communicate with ghosts. Kohaku said he just needed to think about it; he's got some mild brain damage and wasn't sure if he wanted to come back to life or not. The other side's very appealing. But he's only supposed to be thinking about it and in the meantime we need to save his body so that if he wants to, he can return!”

All the medical staff kind of paused to stare at me then, probably assuming my grief was getting to me.

I turned to look at the one nurse in the room that nobody else could see. The only one who knew I wasn't crazy.

“Nurse Mary, help me out here. What can we do?”

That earned a few raised eyebrows, a couple of the living nurses' eyes widening in surprise. The ghost of Nurse Mary had a bit of a reputation in their hospital, after all.

“We must restart his heart.” Mary said with conviction.

“I have an idea ... came Inuyasha's voice immediately afterwards.

I wasn't sure what he was planning but in the meantime we couldn't just stand around doing nothing. Ignoring the living doctors' expressions I pleaded with them, “Please, zap him again!”

It hadn't been that long yet, after all. Maybe three or four minutes, and they had a breathing tube standing by. If we could just get his heart going again there was still a chance.

Reluctantly, the doctor complied, charging up the machine, but right when he touched the paddles to Kohaku's bare chest the lights flickered and when he tried to zap him nothing happened, the machine suddenly drained of all its power.

“Move away from him!” shouted a powerful, male voice, that I immediately realized everyone in the room could hear by their reactions.

Wha-!” the doctor with the dead defibrillator paddles started, completely baffled.

“Do as Inuyasha says.” I said then, urgently, and dropping the paddles, clearly frightened, the doctor backed away.

That was Inuyasha?” my aunt asked. I nodded.

“It'll be all right now.” Mary said, and I don't think anyone else heard her although I glanced her way with hopeful eyes. She nodded reassuringly.

What happened next would have the hospital gossiping for years to come.

The defibrillator machine started shaking and sparking, everyone backing away, including myself, everyone nervously wondering just what the hell was going on, although for myself personally I was less afraid of what was happening and more just nervous over whether or not it would work. Suddenly, Inuyasha's form appeared, one hand on the machine, which kept registering power drain on its dials. It would build back up and then drain again as if used, build and drain, build and drain, and Inuyasha's form almost started to glow, little sparks of electricity coming off of him. Yet his hair wasn't all fly away from the electricity, looking just as perfect as ever even as I felt my own hair get frizzy from the energy in the room. If it hadn't been such a dire moment I would've been playfully envious.

I heard my aunt gasp, and all the doctors and nurses were staring with wide eyes and dropped jaws, and I realized in that moment that they could all see him too, now.

“Don't touch me.” he warned, his tone gentle but firm, and the one nurse who'd been moving towards Inuyasha as if to see if he was really real backed away again. With one hand still on the machine, Inuyasha reached with his other hand into Kohaku's chest, and the monitors still attached to the boy beeped for a moment every time he zapped his heart. It still wasn't working, but it was quite a sight to behold.

Inuyasha closed his eyes, as if concentrating, and suddenly Kohaku's heart was beating again, although when Inuyasha didn't pull his hand away I quickly realized that he was simply manipulating his heart in a way to make it beat properly. I doubted he had a human hand grabbing and squeezing the heart. Being energy, and with as much energy as Inuyasha was absorbing in that moment, I imagined that what disappeared into Kohaku's chest became a type of netting of energy that fully embraced the heart and coaxed it to move properly with delicately placed compressions and zaps. There was no way Inuyasha would've been able to pull something like that off without the aid of the electricity from the defibrillator, and even with his other hand still firmly on the machine and the machine continually refueling him it still looked like whatever he was doing was a tremendous strain. He was making Kohaku's heart beat, but it still wouldn't beat on its own once he let go, and so he wasn't letting go.

“Breathing tube.” Inuyasha said suddenly, and Kohaku's doctor braved approaching the glowing ghost that was my boyfriend in order to insert said tube. As Kohaku's chest began rising and falling my aunt and I sagged in relief, at least knowing that new oxygen was now going into his system, and that thanks to Inuyasha, his blood was circulating it.

Inuyasha couldn't just stay like that forever, though. We had to get his heart beating again on its own.

“Adrenaline.” Nurse Mary said suddenly, and Inuyasha immediately repeated it for the doctors to hear before I could.

Somebody fumbled over to the side of the room at his command and produced a special needle they then, with shaking hands, managed to fill from a little glass bottle.

“Now!” Inuyasha commanded, pulling his electrified hand from Kohaku's chest and – unbeknownst to me at the time – disappearing from view to everyone but myself. The doctor immediately plunged the syringe into Kohaku's heart. The heart monitor started beeping like mad and everyone held their own breaths for a moment as the machine continued to breathe for my cousin, as we waited to see if his heart would stop again.

It didn't.

I sagged to the floor, emotionally exhausted, as the doctors, nurses and my aunt all cheered. I was vaguely aware of other doctors and nurses rushing up to the doorway, asking what was going on, and Kohaku's doctor explaining that the most incredible, amazing thing he'd ever witnessed in all his life had just happened. It didn't take long at all for the story to spread. I was a medium, and my spirit guide, Inuyasha, along with Nurse Mary whom a lot of the hospital staff had already believed existed, had just aided in saving my cousin's life. I didn't pull out of my shock until I registered the sensation of somebody taking a seat on the floor beside me, Aunt Susan's head tilting back to thump lightly against the wall behind us.

“You're...you're truly amazing, Kagome.” she said. Words I'd never thought I'd hear from her mouth. “Tell Inuyasha I...I'm in his debt.”

I shook my head lightly, a faint smile gracing my lips.

“We still have to get Kohaku's soul to come back from the afterlife.” I said, not trying to sound like a Debbie Downer although I'd wanted to make sure my aunt understood the fact that, for the moment, Kohaku was still brain dead.

She merely nodded.

Like you said, the important thing was saving his body.”

She gestured with a nod of her head up to her son's hospital bed, his heart monitor beeping away. His pulse wasn't as frantic as it'd been a minute ago, having steadied into a healthy rhythm.

“So long as the body is alive, there is always a chance, always a choice.” I said. “Inuyasha told me that.”

She swallowed nervously.

“I...I never expected Inuyasha to look so...”

“Human?” I supplied.

Releasing a shaky breath, my aunt just as emotionally exhausted as I was, she nodded again.

“Was it...was it scary, when you first discovered your gift?” she asked me then.

I told her the truth, that no, I was never afraid of ghosts. I even told her the little story about having seen Dad's ghost at age six, and fleeting glimpses of my grandmother's ghost, and how I'd probably always had the gift since I was born but for the majority of my life I'd turned it off, tuned it out. To put it simply, I'd been in denial. I'd already told her the story about how I'd gone to the graveyard with my friends the Halloween before last, and she was also familiar with the old legends of Inuyasha and Kikyou's tragedy from my university. She knew precisely who Inuyasha was. She still didn't know he and I were involved romantically, and I'd figured that'd be a bit too much for her to digest in that moment, but I did tell her as we sat there listening to Kohaku's heart monitor that Inuyasha and I had become close friends during the short time we'd both been working together to help Kikyou's spirit find peace, and that he'd decided to stick around afterwards instead of just moving on himself because he didn't really want to move on. Instead, if he could help me help other spirits, as I now wanted to do, then he'd wanted to be a part of that because he was my friend, and also because it was a noble cause he was glad to be a part of. It was the best reason I could think of for why he'd want to stick around without admitting the real reason, because he was in love with me, but I hadn't really lied since the reasons I gave were also true. He was indeed my best friend, besides just my boyfriend. Sango was my best girlfriend but there was nothing I couldn't tell Inuyasha, and some of the time, my problems were things that I could only tell Inuyasha.

Speaking of my ghostly boyfriend, he was still present, and visible to me thanks to his power boost. He was leaning casually against the far wall, giving me and my aunt some privacy as he studied Kohaku's body. I'd wondered what he was thinking, and I'd really wanted to thank him for that amazing stunt of his, but that moment belonged to Aunt Susan as I listened to her confess to me her own personal ghost story, and why she was afraid of spirits. Turned out, she'd spent a few years of her childhood in a haunted house until her parents had moved once the activity had gotten to be too much. She didn't have my gift and couldn't see a ghost unless the ghost put forth the effort to let normal humans see it, but she told me in that moment about all the other signs of the haunting. All the footsteps in the middle of the night, chairs scraping across the floor, the disembodied voices. There had been more than one spirit, and they had not been happy spirits. Her parents had found out that a murder/suicide had taken place in that house, a husband having gone crazy, shooting his wife and then himself, and, apparently, the ghost of the victim was still being tormented by the ghost of her husband to that day.

You'll have to give me the address so I can pay that house a visit.” I told my aunt causally as I leaned my head back against the wall and closed my eyes, the lights starting to give me a headache because of all my crying. “Thank you...for telling me.” I added after a moment, my eyes still closed.

“Keh, no wonder finding out you were in the ghost business freaked her out so badly.” I heard Inuyasha say.

I nodded a little to acknowledge his words.

So now what happens?” she asked me then. I cracked my eyes back open and turned my head to look at her, my expression serious.

“Now, we give Kohaku time, and pray he ultimately decides that life is worth living.”

She swallowed, but nodded, not arguing the point. I was helpless, and I hated it. She understood.

“I can go talk to him.” Inuyasha said then, and I snapped my eyes back to him. He chuckled at the flicker of worry behind all the hope in my gaze. “Don't worry, I will always come back to you, no matter what your cousin decides. Won't be my first trip to the other side. My place is with you.”

If my aunt hadn't been sitting right next to me I would've gushed to him just how much I loved him in that moment. The look in his eyes assured me he understood, and felt the same way. Of course, the way he'd suddenly captured my full attention did not go unnoticed by the woman sitting beside me, and she asked me with a worried edge what was wrong. I immediately reassured her that nothing was wrong, that Inuyasha had merely surprised me by suddenly saying that he could go talk to Kohaku. I phrased it in such a way to let her assume I was implying Inuyasha had just reappeared in the room. No need to let her know he'd been chilling against the back wall the whole time she and I talked. Her eyes lit up with hope as well at this news. Regretfully, I'd emphasized that all Inuyasha could do was talk with Kohaku. It wasn't as if he could physically grab a hold of the boy and drag him back kicking and screaming. She understood. She was still tremendously grateful to know that we had an ally on our side who could at the very least go and talk with her son, instead of all of us being locked away from him and completely at Kohaku's mercy, whatever he decided. This was true. Honestly, I was just as grateful, hoping that with luck, Inuyasha could get through to the boy. Unfortunately, there was nothing we living humans could do in the meantime except wait.