Part II: Final
Rating: PG-13 (This is an automatic rating, I use it as a default.)
Current status: 2 chapters (as of now, complete)
Author's Notes: You're going to ask about a sequel - I know you will. It's just
inevitable. The answer is simple; I haven't decided yet. ^_^
Summary: Tragedy strikes along a stretch of road - two lives altered. Time can heal wounds and mend hearts - but it also ferments vivid memories, entrenching them so deeply one can never get away.
She didn't go out much. Somehow he'd always hoped the reports about her staying in were exaggerated. Kagome was a woman that thrived with people, she had been at least. Now she stayed in, alone. Kagome was never meant to be alone. He stepped away slightly, turning when he heard movement and saw Kikyo moving around behind him searching the closet for something.
She turned to him, a tint of a glare on her features. "Another of her admirers?"
Her voice was clearly bitter. Was she jealous? How amusing. She realized then she was a replacement for Kagome. Even more amusing.
"We're familiar with one another." He replied primly watching her reaction. "You're not a fan of hers then?"
She waved a hand at him absently, dismissively. "Really, could anyone dislike someone with a disposition like hers?"
He turned away, mouth quirking up into a smirk.
"And here I thought you were bitter that Inuyasha was still chasing after her even though she rebuffed him."
He could feel the scowl she shot at him without seeing it.
"I know that Inuyasha is in love with her, but I also know that Kagome doesn't return his feelings. Inuyasha is mine, Kagome is no threat to me."
"That's right, she's not." He turned to her, setting aside the mug with the golden tea still steaming a bit. "Because she's mine."
He turned to leave the room but she stopped him with her voice. "Where are you going?"
He considered briefly telling her to mind her own business but decided to answer. He felt burdened. "She's been waiting for me."
He started off once more, and no more questions followed. He stepped out, passing over his coat and stepping into the cold. He deserved to be cold, he thought as he walked across the sand. Inuyasha was still stalking his way over. They met almost halfway between the two houses.
Inuyasha glowered at him. "Where are you going?"
Sesshoumaru merely stared down at him, biting back a sarcastic remark. He looked up, she was standing there watching them at the glass panel door.
"Leave her alone," Inuyasha growled.
"Life is not making the same mistake twice."
"She's not the same! She's not the same woman you dated all those years ago. You can't just walk over there and expect her to be."
'Dated'? Sesshoumaru thought. Of course not, Kagome had never been a mere girlfriend. He'd loved her. He truly had. Before her, he'd had no one. His family did not count, they did not care for him. His insipid brother and absentee father, and a mother who had left them years ago. He'd been alone, bitter and rightly so.
Before her he'd never been stuck in a classroom with anyone. He'd never had to field off so many attempts just to be friendly, but she'd been persistent and he'd gradually allowed her closer. Very gradually. How long had he known her before he'd finally snapped all those last second doubts in the library when he found her with that ridiculous romance novel?
It must have been a year at least, before he'd acted on all the little emotions that had been awakened and stitched together. She'd done a lot of work on him that year, probably without even realizing it. To his knowledge Kagome had never set out to change a person before. She'd just wanted to be friends. She'd confided once, or shouted at him because he'd pushed her away again, she worried about him. Worried because he looked lonely.
That had been the afternoon before the library incident. She'd avoided him until he'd caught her at the library the next day. Then it had all just crumbled. He'd given in and kissed her. Nothing could've prepared him for her easy acceptance of him and her ardent response to his touch. He remembered every aspect of that day at the library. It hadn't been their only kiss, but it was the one he couldn't forget.
Even now - ten years later her memory haunted him. He wouldn't let her go. He wasn't about to be dissuaded by his brother who had no idea how much of his life was invested in the woman watching them from the window. The younger brother who had been kindly rejected by the woman that he, Sesshoumaru, still very much loved.
"Do you love her?" Inuyasha was clearly hesitant to ask.
"Do you love Kikyo, or is she a mere replacement for Kagome? That's what she thinks, you know."
Inuyasha gasped, eyes turning toward his house. Kikyo was not at the window like Kagome was. Sesshoumaru started walking, successfully avoiding Inuyasha's question about loving Kagome. He would not accept such questions from him. He had no right to ask them, and no right to an answer.
The few remaining feet passed quickly with his long strides. He reached, trailing a hand up the white painted wood railing ascending the meager set of three stairs. She remained at the door, just watching him. Her eyes were the same as he remembered them. Those expressive blue orbs. He approached the door slowly, feet making hollow sounds over the wood plank deck as he moved toward where she stood.
She had shifted so she was shadowed, and he could no longer see her eyes.
He stepped up to the door, raising a hand and wrapping his knuckles against the glass. He wouldn't invade her space. Not Kagome's.
He saw her hand reach out, eyes tracing over those slender fingers. She motioned, curling her fingers up, indicating he could come inside. He released the pent up breath. She was letting him in. He reached for the gleaming silver handle and slid open the door, a light fragrant scent assaulting his nose.
Kagome's perfume. He was surprised to see she still used the same one after all this time. He stepped in, relieved the cold wind was no longer battering his frame. He slid the door closed behind him with a small rustle and click.
"Hello," her voice was soft, as beautiful as he remembered.
He nodded, for the moment unable or unwilling to speak.
"It's very cold out there, you shouldn't have gone out without a coat," she admonished. "Come on in, I'll make you some tea to warm you up, okay?"
She turned, her black hair flowing behind her. It was short, shorter than he remembered. It fell just below her shoulders. He followed silently noting how she kept her distance.
Ten years was a long time. That much time could cause feelings to fade, or it could cause them to root deeply. So deeply one could never extricate themselves from the tangled web.
He knew the layout of this house, having inspected it thoroughly before arranging for Kagome to get a hold of it. It was in well kept order, no leaky roof, windows were in good conditions, walls were intact, it was a nice house. He moved to the kitchen window, his back to her as she moved around behind him heating the water in her teapot. He guessed she had been drinking some earlier and hadn't used all her water.
Through the window you could see Inuyasha's residence. He wondered, briefly, how Inuyasha was making up to Kikyo and if he should avoid the place a while. He didn't want to interrupt anything 'intimate'. Not that he cared about interrupting, he didn't want to leave here with disturbing images in his head. He stood there for several minutes just enjoying the peaceful quiet of the place and Kagome's presence surrounding him. He didn't know what she was doing behind him, he almost didn't want to see her discomfort.
He blinked, turning back. She'd called him by his first name, that was another good point. He'd been worried she would revert to 'Masaharu' or something. Good, that was good.
She was probably smiling at him but he couldn't see with her once again standing in a shadowed area. His brother's words came back to him. ' She's not the same woman you dated all those years ago.'
No, she wasn't the same. She was very much trying to avoid him seeing her, and contact with her. Although he was pleased that she at least sat down at the table with him, albeit on the opposite end putting as much space as possible between them.
"How have you been?"
"Fine. You?" He replied, surprising himself with his effort at conversation.
"Me? Oh I couldn't be happier, it's snowing out!" she exclaimed, looking toward the window.
"You still enjoy the snow?"
She nodded. "Of course."
They lapsed into silence, just staring or sipping at their tea. Kagome however was never one for idle silences and spoke up. "What about you? What brings you here, Sesshoumaru? I was surprised when Inuyasha told me you were coming to visit him."
He faltered on his answer.
She continued without one. "I was thinking maybe your father told you to spend more family time with him. More of that brotherly bonding stuff."
She was right of course. Her memory surprised him. She still remembered his father?
She nodded. "I'm not surprised. How do you like it? Staying with Inuyasha and Kikyo? Are they good hosts?"
"What about Kikyo? Nice lady, a bit stiff, but pleasant generally."
Kagome didn't like her, he realized. Kagome, who liked everyone, didn't care much for Kikyo.
"You don't like her?" He couldn't help asking.
"I don't 'not' like her, she's just... difficult to get along with. She doesn't speak very much and sometimes I think she's a bit resentful we look so much alike. I can't help it, I don't know what she wants me to do about it. I was here first."
He was going to reply when she stood.
"Oh! Let's switch rooms, okay? It's snowing out again and I like to sit in front of my favorite windows and watch. "
He stood accordingly and followed her out. She left her tea, apparently not interested in drinking it and moved out into the other room. He sat at the other end of the couch, giving her her space. She stared out the window brightly, her left side to him. He wanted her close, he wanted her to cry and lean against him and let him hold her. He wanted her to forgive him for ruining her life.
He was staring, it was rude, he did it anyway. The window held nothing of interest to him, he was here for her. She turned to him after a pause, curiously.
The space between them was suddenly too great. He moved forward across the couch noting how she tensed, one hand gripping the arm of the couch.
He reached out, placing a finger against her lips. She tensed further as though to move away but he moved even closer, trapping her against her corner of the couch.
"Sesshoumaru, you shouldn't-"
He slid the last pace closer that he could get, leaning close to her, turning her head to the side nuzzling against her neck. He turned sliding his lips up against her burn damaged skin and she hissed.
"Don't!" Her voice was full of panic and her body was stiff as a tree against him. He drew away a bit, worried at her fear.
"Does it hurt?"
He scoffed. "All you've done is hide, cower like some weakling afraid of everyone. I despise weakness, I won't have it."
She just increased her struggle to get away. "I don't care what you think."
"Do not forget, woman, whom you speak to." He snapped shortly, tightening his grip upon her when something caught his eye on the table behind him. He loosed his grip, dropping one hand entirely to reach for a small, white book. There were other books around but this one had a sensuous couple on the front. He was of the impression she didn't read these books anymore.
Not any romance novel but a tawdry book about sex. He almost grinned, well that was a surprise. His mind wandered again toward that evening car trip that had caused this fiasco. That would have been their first weekend together. He'd wanted everything to go well, for it to be memorable for Kagome. It should've been perfect the time alone, the mountain hideaway, the natural hot springs - the perfect place to become lovers. But on the way there it had started snowing and they'd encountered another car on the way to the mountainous retreat. A car with no headlights apparently experiencing trouble and they'd veered off road. Everything from that point was a disaster. Kagome had been very badly hurt, but he'd come out of it with minor cuts and scratches.
It wasn't really his fault - but he'd left her at the hospital. He'd gone and never went back. She'd woken up without him and wondered and never saw him again. He'd left her at the worst possible time. He hadn't left her because he'd fallen out of love, or because her injuries horrified him. He'd left because he'd felt guilty. He'd left because he couldn't stand the glances in his direction that were accusatory. Kagome was loved by so many, he was not. He was not well liked among those who loved her. He did care what others thought of him, not until he became convinced Kagome would blame him.
It had been a bad night, that night. When he'd seen Kagome's brother, Souta. The words of the younger man had been spoken in anger, but he'd been distraught then, trying to hold it all in, trying to cope, trying to think. He didn't realize in his daze Kagome would never blame him for the incident, so he'd allowed his pride to take hold and he'd walked away, salvaging as much dignity as he could. He'd left and it was the worst mistake of his life.
He wondered if Souta felt guilty now. For playing a part in making his sister miserable for the past ten years because Sesshoumaru damn well wished he did.
"You still read these books, unrealistic and ridiculous that they are?"
She huffed. "A girl has to live on something."
He dropped the book back onto the table. "Reality has so much more to offer."
He dropped the tone of his voice intentionally, to a low and sultry sound. It had the desired effect. Whatever comfort she derived from the few minutes of silence was abruptly lost.
Inuyasha had been right on that one point, he begrudgingly admitted. Kagome was very insecure. He reached, snaking his fingers through her hair at the back of her head, tightening his grip but not painfully, fingers against her scalp. He leaned forward again, nuzzling against her, breathing in her scent. He looked up as he raised his head slightly, gaze turning to the window. His eyes narrowed slightly as he saw his brother at the window across the way, watching them.
He smirked arrogantly, 'let him watch', he thought. 'Maybe he'll learn something'. His thoughts abruptly turned when she released a slow, low moan of his name. He nearly groaned at the sound. 'Oh damn', he thought. How many times had he wanted to hear that?
Everything told him to press forward. Kiss her, touch her, anything, but he couldn't. Not until he had her word. Not until there was something other than a moment of unrealized passion between them. He dropped his head down, his lips resting against her neck, turning so his head rested lightly upon her shoulder.
Just as he was about to raise his voice to speak the phone rang. He allowed her to draw away, suddenly realizing he'd wanted the separation. He wasn't ready for this. He heard her murmuring something to someone but wasn't interested enough to listen. Rather his thoughts were engaging him quite thoroughly, calling him a coward.
Moments later she was free again, turning her attention to him.
"Not that I'm displeased at seeing you, but why are you here? With me, I mean."
"I am indulging a curiosity." He replied and immediately regretted the choice of words when he watched her tense where she stood. She seemed to move, to draw back away from him, but he called for her. Halting her feet.
"Kagome. Come here."
It was nothing short of an order. One to be complied with. He half expected her to react as she once had and refuse to give into his wishes. To rebel against him, but he was disappointed. She came.
She reminded him vaguely of a scolded puppy sidling up to its master before it was to be punished.
"You shouldn't be here. I can't imagine why you are but -"
He held up a hand, silencing her.
"Sesshoumaru." He met her eyes squarely. "Just go home."
"Home?" The voice sounded hollow and seemed to reverberate in his head in a dull echoing fashion. He stood, towering over her slight frame. "I have no home, woman."
She shook her head absently. "Just leave."
He just barely bit back a snarl, snagging her elbow and hauling her to him. She gasped, startled or frightened, losing her footing. He stepped back falling onto the couch neatly, but Kagome tumbled haphazardly onto him. She tried to right herself, to move away, but could not as he moved his hands to her hips, trapping her.
Her breath was short and labored. "Let go."
He leaned forward, brushing his nose gently against hers staring into her wide eyes.
"Sesshoumaru..." There was a definite note of pleading to her tone.
"Stop being so troublesome. Let me see you."
"I don't want you to see me," she replied obstinately.
"Cease your idiotic chatter. I want to see. I have a right to know what it is I'm responsible for."
Her movement caught him off guard, as did her strength and sudden quickness. Her palm impacted with his cheek and he flinched. It stung sharply.
"Really, I should have guessed." Her voice suddenly sounded distant and distinctly frigid. "Let go of me."
He silently refused, still smarting from being slapped, and partly from the fact it hurt more than he was going to let on. Not even to mention it was a serious blow to his pride.
"I never would've imagined the great Sesshoumaru felt guilty. I thought you were beyond such pitiable emotions'?"
She stared at him, and he quietly stared back, not answering, not doing anything. Something in the depths of his eyes was disturbing her. When she gasped, he realized she'd discovered whatever it was she'd sought.
"I what?" He asked, finally settling back into his own persona allowing his surprise to slide away.
"You thought about me all this time?" The cool tone to her voice had abruptly melted and now she sounded vulnerable and small.
What did that mean? Of course he'd thought about her, that's why he was here in the first place.
Silence stretched between them leaving them at an awkward pause.
"Obviously," he replied at length.
She hung her head. "You didn't need to."
She didn't have to say it either. Sesshoumaru never did anything that Sesshoumaru didn't want to.
He wanted to think about her. He wanted to visit her. He wanted her to forgive him.
"You needn't have thought about it. It wasn't your fault, there's nothing anyone could've done."
He was forgiven, then?
"Did you send me the book?"
His eyes meeting hers was her only answer. After several minutes of terse silence he deemed her a reply.
"I had not intended at the time to come meet with you."
"If you came here for my forgiveness - you've got it. I never blamed you for what happened to me, Sesshoumaru. But I'm not the same person I was then, no more than you are the one you once were. We're different people now - different lives - different everything."
This was all too true.
What had he expected in coming here?
She had forgiven him. So now what?
He didn't know. There was nothing. No relief, no lightness - no feeling at all he could attribute to her words. Why didn't he feel anything?
He turned his gaze away as he stood.
He would leave then. That was it.
"It was nice to see you," her voice revealed nothing of her feelings.
She didn't face him and he didn't look back as he walked to the door.
It was better this way. It really was.
He stepped out into the cold wind. What was the point?
What did he want this for?
He didn't feel any better.
The wind pounded his frame and he repressed a shudder. Would it be so easy to let a ten year obsession slide away? Would the file he'd been collecting on her all this time go to the trash? Would he cease his constant vigil over her life?
He walked up the wood stairs and pulled open the door of his brother's house.
It wouldn't do any good at all, he thought grimly.
This trip accomplished nothing.
It meant nothing.
He stepped inside and pulled the door closed and then turned to face the window staring across the sandy beach. If her forgiveness hadn't been what he craved all this time...
What was it?
Author's Note: It ends rather vaguely, rather abruptly, with no ultimate conclusion. That's because I'm thinking about continuing it.
*Thinking* - just thinking, at this point. I've been so caught up with shoujo manga's lately I haven't written anything at all. I haven't even watched my new Inuyasha DVD and it's been a couple months sitting on the shelf. That's gotta be bad.
Thank you for reading, comments, corrections, etc are welcome - drop them in a review. If you would like to be notified via email when I update - check my profile. I have a list.
Oh - If you are a "Blind Stitch My Heart" fan - know this: I am revising. Not a little bit either - *major revision*. Soon chapters 6-11 will be deleted as I am completely rewriting them. So everything after chapter 5 - forget it happened. Okay? ^_^