50 Steps

Written for Fayyasha

Based on "Retreating Into Each Other" by ALM82

Kagome waved goodbye to her friends and started up the stairs. Fifty stairs, one slow step at a time. One-step for each day she had cried. One-step for each night she had jumped into the well only to be denied its magic. One-step for each day without the one she loved.

It had seemed inconceivable to her fifty-one days ago that this would be how it ended. The battle won, the Shikon no Tama completed and purified. Those things she had expected. She hadn't expected when she placed the jewel in his clawed hand, the hand that had protected her throughout the journey that she would be pulled back through the well and to her own time. Screaming at the well, at the Goshinboku and even at the heavens had not helped. She had finally accepted that it was never meant to be.

She reached the top step and looked again at the only connection she had left. The Goshinboku. A flash of silver and red at its base caught her eye. A tourist had dropped trash at the base of the tree, his tree … their tree. Angrily she stalked over to the tree. She froze at the site before her.

The robe of the fire rat was ripped and stained with his blood, his silver-white hair fluttered in the spring breeze. Golden eyes watched her as she stepped slowly towards him and fell to her knees beside him. They stared at each other for a long moment, both afraid the other was merely a figment of their own imagination and wishful thinking.

Swiftly he pulled her to him and held her. Her arms circled around his neck to hold him as tightly as he held her. Silent tears fell wetting white and red cloth as they rejoiced in being together.