I don't own Inuyasha. Or the song.

Prologue Part One: For Life.

The first cut is the deepest.

It all started the winter break of my sophomore year of high school. My dad's job was again requiring that my family pick up our roots and move to another town, only this move would take us out of Japan and to the United States. I, of course, being the rebellious teen that I was, refused to leave my home country. I would not send my last year and a half of high school in a foreign school with strange foreign people.

Not that I have anything against Americans… I've met some very nice Americans… I just didn't want to leave everything I knew… I guess you could say that I was scared… Looking back, I think it would have been better if I'd have gone with them… I think it would have saved me a lot of trouble…but I'm getting ahead of myself.

When my parents couldn't convince me to go (and I had ran away from home twice) they finally consented to let me live with my widower uncle and his two kids. I was thrilled, because I hadn't seen Sango-chan or Kohaku-chan in years, and now I was going to get to live with them…

Sango and I hit it off wonderfully when I arrived. Gosh, I love that girl. Good times Good times…but again I digress. After I had settled in, Sango decided I needed to meet her friends so that when school started back up after winter break I would know several people. I was grateful, having experienced the awkwardness of changing schools in the middle of the year several times; I knew just what a gift she was offering me. But she ended up giving me more than just friends. That's when I met the love of my life, Inuyasha.

Although, at that time he was just a rude, arrogant, violent, stubborn…you get the picture. I also met Sango's other friends at the same time. There was the slightly perverted Miroku, and the ice queen Kikyou. Kikyou, who quite amazingly could have been my twin, except for the fact that she was reserved when I was loud, sarcastic when I was naïve, and graceful every time I fell on my ass. We were even both on the archery team, although her skill was a bit more honed than mine. Our teacher said that I could have been just as good if I had been more focused. I think I stopped trying in archery after that. Even then I was getting tired of being compared to Kikyou. If only I had known. But I didn't, and I'm digressing again.

I felt a little out of the loop that first day, me sitting clueless while they laughed at all their inside jokes. But slowly I was let in on all the insideness of things, and in less than a month no one could tell that I was transplanted into the group… And surprisingly I found the closest friends anyone could ever ask for…in Inuyasha and Kikyou. You see after I had been there for about two months Miroku asked Sango out. As they began to pair off to do couple things, Inuyasha, Kikyou, and I were increasingly left alone together. By the end of our sophomore year we were inseparable….

It was a bit strange, two girls and a guy, always together like that. But we never really thought about it. Kikyou and I just wanted to be near Inuyasha, and as far as I can tell that's what he wanted too. Someone jokingly told Inuyasha that he was the luckiest guy in high school to have two hot girl friends that followed him around everywhere like puppies. Inuyasha sent the guy to the hospital for saying that, but I think his teasing words woke something up inside Kikyou and me. After that we both tried to developed friendships of the romantic sort with other guys in our school, but Inuyasha made it difficult. He was a very possessive friend and he didn't want to share us with any one else. Especially not when he was convinced that Kouga was some kind of speed demon who would only date me until he got what he wanted then he would leave me faster than I could blink, and that Onigumo, Kikyou's choice, was pure evil.

So Inuyasha convinced us that the only guy we really needed was him. And like little lambs we both came back, but it was different this time. Kikyou and I both realized that we loved him. That's when we started to drift apart, her and me. It was a slow thing…and I didn't even realize what was happening until Sango mentioned that Kikyou and I were competing against each other more than usual.

But things didn't really change much. Inuyasha still treated us the same as he had always done. That is until Kikyou got sick. She was out of school for a week, nothing seriously wrong with her, but Inuyasha never left her house. I felt a little – okay, more than a little - jealous of the time she was getting with him one on one, but I never said anything. Maybe if I had, things would have turned out differently, ne?

Things changed after that week. And unlike the other changes this one wasn't gradual. Suddenly, Inuyasha and Kikyou never had time to do anything with me. I convinced myself that it was just that they were both busy because graduation was coming up. I ignored all those knowing, pitying glances in the halls that said everyone was in on the joke but me. I looked the other way and refused to meet his eyes when Inuyasha sent me his "we have to talk" looks.

I guess I learned a valuable lesson though… Your world doesn't have to have your permission to crumble.

It all came to a head the night of the senior dance. Inuyasha, Kikyou and I had planed for months to go together. After all, this was our last big party before we all left for college and just because we were all enrolled in the same institution didn't matter.

Everything was great. I got to dance with Inuyasha, and for the first time I realized that he hasn't hugged me close in a long, long time. After he danced with me, it was naturally Kikyou's turn. I'll never forget the smile she gave me. It was sad, like she really regretted something. I shook it off. Too giddy from just being held so close be Inuyasha to let her get me down. I lost sight of them after that as I had fun with Sango and Miroku. It wasn't until the crowning of the king and queen that I noticed that they weren't in the ball room.

Kikyou needed to be crowned, so I went off looking for her. I found more than I bargained on finding. Outside, on the balcony overlooking Tokyo in all her splendor, were Inuyasha and Kikyou. And they were kissing. The words I had prepared to call Kikyou with died in my throat. All that came out was a dry, mangled sob. I turned around and fled before I could find out if they heard me or not. By the time I got back to the main ball room my make-up was a mess and I couldn't stop sobbing. Sango took one look at me and knew what was wrong. Hell, every one in that stupid place knew what was wrong, even our blind Japanese teacher who was at the dance as a chaperone. I was the only one who was clueless to what had been happening with my two best friends behind my back. And to make matters worse I was clueless by choice. All the signs that I had ignore came back to haunt me.

Sango and Miroku took me home that Friday night, and by that Monday I was on a plane to L.A. I didn't say good-bye to either Inuyasha or Kikyou. The prospect of seeing them after the secret they had kept from me, and then finishing high school and going off to the same college as they were, was just too much for me. I left Japan and the future I had planned out for myself, and went to live with my parents. A week after I moved in with them my high school sent my final scores. A week later I got an invitation to Miroku's and Sango's wedding. I never heard from Inuyasha or Kikyou. Not one word.

But Sango kept me posted on life in Japan, as I found a college in America and brushed up on my English. Kikyou and Inuyasha were now sharing a small apartment off campus and going to school full time. She didn't hold any information back, not even if she thought withholding it would spare my feelings. I think she was still feeling guilty for not telling about their secret relationship. I often wondered if they ever asked about me, but that was the one thing I never asked her. I didn't want to know. I guess I was still hiding from the reality of it.

Time has a way of healing wounds though, and after my first year of college things were beginning to look up. I met and started to date a very nice Japanese guy. It was so nice to have someone to talk to! My parents refused to speak their native tongue so Houjo was like a dream come true. He was also Inuyasha's total opposite in every way. He showered me with gifts and all of his attention was devoted to me. I knew I could never love him the way I loved Inuyasha, but I decided I would die trying.

Our first anniversary of being together came, and we decided that we were both ready to deepen our relationship. Everything was perfect, from the champagne to the candles. I thought that I was truly ready to give Houjo this special part of myself. Then the phone rang. At first I was going to forget it, but Houjo urged me to answer it because it might be important.

Sango's voice spilled over the line. I still remember how the crackling of the long distance line made her voice sound like a weeping old woman. At first I thought her frantic all had something to do with the child she was carrying, but I soon found out just how wrong I was. Inuyasha and Kikyou had been in a horrible accident. Neither of them were expected to live. I didn't even think twice about it. Houjo and everything else was forgotten as I threw some clothes in a bag and headed for the airport. I called my mom and told her that I would be back in two weeks. I called my professors and told them I would be back in two weeks…

I stayed for five years.

Inuyasha came out of his coma soon after I arrived, but Kikyou remained in hers. I never left Inuyasha's side the whole time he was in the hospital getting well…and I never once visited Kikyou. I blamed her for what had happened because she knew how much I loved him. Inuyasha, I guess I blamed him for what had happened too, but right then I blamed her more.

Inuyasha and I never talked about high school. We pretended that we never knew each other then, I think. I moved in with him the day he came home from the hospital so that he would have someone to take care of him. I failed my second year spring semester back in America and broke Houjo's heart. I found work in Tokyo, at a Shinto shrine's souvenir shop, to help pay the rent. Sango had her first child. Inuyasha started back to school in the fall, and somehow convinced me to start too. Without realizing it, I decided not to go back to America. I decided to forget the pain Inuyasha had caused me in the past and to start over with him.

Kikyou never woke up.

Inuyasha still went to see Kikyou every day, bringing her fresh cut flowers no matter what the season. He never told me about his trips and I never asked. I was just happy to have most of his attention for the first time since I had figured out that I loved him. And slowly we became a couple. I think it had something to do with us spending so much time with Miroku, Sango, and their small son, Rei. Or maybe it was because he missed Kikyou so much and I was the next best thing. Whatever the case, I didn't question what twist of fate that had made us lovers, I just accepted it.

It was only when Miroku and Sango announced that they were expecting a second child that I felt some of my happiness slip. Inuyasha and I had been together for four years, and I was ready for some commitment. I was 24 years old, I had a good job as an interior designer and he was training under his brother for a CEO position in his father's company. We could afford marriage and a baby now.

But when I asked he had all kinds of excuses on why we couldn't, and he mentioned every one on them at the top of his lungs except the real one. His main one being that I belonged to him anyway and that we didn't need a slip and a service to prove it. But I knew the real reason for his angry hesitation. He still believed that Kikyou would wake up someday. It was on the tip of his tongue, but he never said it. But he didn't have too say it. Over the past four years I had become very good at reading his unsaid sentences.

That night we fought and then made up. That night he told me he loved me and promised me that everything would work out. That night his love making had a desperate edge to it, as if he knew he was losing me too. That night I stopped ignoring the way he whispered her name in his sleep.

I slipped out of his embrace long before the sun came up that morning. I only knew two things for sure. I couldn't stay, and Inuyasha wasn't going to let me go. He had become very possessive of me lately. I knew I just couldn't leave like I had back in high school because Inuyasha would follow me and convince me to come back to play second chair to my one-time best friend.

I left him a note saying I had to work late and some coffee in the pot. Then I cleaned out my bank account and went to see Sango. Just like all those years ago, when she looked at me, she knew what had happened. She knew that I was tired of hiding from the truth. She didn't ask me where I was going, just told me to keep in touch. I hugged her and kissed little Rei on the head. And then I left.

Left…that sounds so simple, ne? Like getting in a car and just driving far, far away from all your problems. I wish it had been that easy, but nothing in life is. First I went back home, knowing that Inuyasha would be at work already. I pack two separate bags of clothes then I sat down and penned a short note to Inuyasha. I don't remember exactly what I said to him, because at that point my body had gone on auto-pilot. I put in under my pillow, in one last childish gesture to make him pay attention to me. I figured that if he missed me enough to hug my pillow tonight when he went to bed then he would find out what happened to me. If not, then I didn't want him to find it anyway.

Next came the tricky part. I went to the airport and bought a one-way ticket to L.A. I put one of my bags on the baggage carousel and even got on the plane. Right before it took off I claimed a family emergency and hurried off the plane. It left without me.

My plan was to now go live with an elder aunt that lived in Kyoto and ran a shrine. She was the perfect choice because Inuyasha didn't know I had any family in Kyoto. By the time he figured out where I wasn't (namely with my parents in America) I would be settled down enough in my new life to be able to refuse to come back with him.

That's where I'm at now. Sitting at Kaede's table, staring out the window into the rain that refused to stop falling. It all started in high school, but I've decided to end it here. I'm going to start over, make new friends, and maybe finally find out what true love really is.