So it took three months to spit this out, but
Here it is, the final chapter. The first chunk of it is Chapter 30, and the last tiny bit is a short epilogue. This is definitely the longest chapter I've ever written, reaching past twenty pages!
Oh and there's an authors note you guys should read at the bottom of the chapter when you're done.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inu-Yasha, no matter how I wish I did – and also important: I do not own any of the commercialized stores, or products used in this chapter.
"And cut." A long, drawn out, frustrated sigh filled the studio, "Let's take the scene from the beginning."
With that cue, the camera man's assistant waved his hand in front of the camera, "Act two, take eight."
Inu-Yasha brushed his palm across his lips and regained his posture, straightening his back and clenching his jaw. He was upset, tired, sulky, felt like a failure and the last thing he wanted to do was film. Nevertheless, here he was, leaning against a Victorian Style arm rest, acting out a scene he had no clue how to and failing at it miserably. He let that take a punch at his ego, lately he seemed he was good at nothing, anyway.
The girl sitting in front of him, who was painted with pounds of makeup and wearing clothes too tight for her and extensions too fake, looked up at him teary eyed. "But who could have done this?"
He blinked at her, his mind blank. He parted his lips, in preparation to deliver his lines but simply stared at the teary woman in front of him. Dammit he'd forgotten his lines again.
"Cut." The word sliced through the silence and the director sullenly let his head roll back to rest against his head rest. "Let's just take five. All we need is a break, I think."
Activity busted out around the room at once and people at their post began to talk, some packing up for lunch. Dully, Inu-Yasha just sat on the set sofa and stared across at the actress whose tears had disappeared as soon as the camera had turn off.
She looked at him pointedly, anger brimming under her eyes. "Just pull it together so we can get through with today's shoot."
"Never asked you for advice." Inu-Yasha said, feeling a little guilty as her eyes widened. Instead of making a scene as he expected, she pursed her lips, got up and stalked out of the studio. Left by himself, he folded his arms across his chest before leaning back into the sofa to look at the ceiling.
No matter how he distracted himself, the sinking feeling that he had that had been there since Kagome had left, was still swirling around in his stomach. He felt miserable, lonely, rejected, wretched and guilty. How stupid had he been to even think Kagome would want him in her life again? For god's sake, she hated him and he'd just shoved his feelings down her throat.
It'd been an hour since it happened and half an hour since they'd started to shoot the same scene over and over again but no matter how he prepped himself, he couldn't pull it off. Not today anyway, an hour after Kagome had walked away from him.
Miroku, concerned as usual walked up to him, a free coffee in his hand. Handing it to him, he flopped down on the cushion beside him and took a long sip from his dark drink. "I take it the date went bad?"
Inu-Yasha, ignoring the heart crushing squeeze he felt in his chest, glanced at Miroku from above his coffee. "How'd you know -."
"I called Kagome last night and she filled me in. She seemed excited, how bad could it have been?"
Inu-Yasha scoffed, "Bad."
"Do you wanna bail on today's shoot?"
His ears perked up to the idea but the reality of the day kicked in, "And do what?"
A frown etched across Miroku's face and stumped, he sighed. "I don't know. Hang?"
Inu-Yasha shook his off the idea, knowing if he didn't have a distraction, the enveloping feeling of dropping down a long dark hole would probably just consume him. With utter boredom, he took out the vibrating cell phone from his pocket, flipped it open and looked at the 37 missed calls. "What the..."
Miroku raised an eyebrow and peeked at the cell phone screen, amazed. "Maybe it's Kagome calling to ask you to take her back."
"Miroku, jack off." Crouching forward, Inu-Yasha who had finally snapped out of the daze had been in since Kagome had walked away, scrolled down the list of missed calls. All of them except for about two had been from his family, Kagome's family, or Trasia Hospital Ward's payphone. Concerned, he checked the text messages he had received and read the first one from Karira.
'Have you talked to mom yet? I don't know what exactly happened but I'm already on the plane to New York. What hospital is Kagome in?'
Alarm shot through Inu-Yasha and for a moment, he felt sick. Then as Miroku snatched away his cell to read the message, Inu-Yasha ran a hand through his head and held himself to keep his calm. His heart had leapt in panic as he had read the last sentence but slowly, he felt his pulse return to a normal throb. Why the hell was Kagome in a Hospital?
Miroku wrinkled as both his eyebrows shot up, "What aren't you telling me Inu-Yasha?"
"I don't know what Karira is talking about. It's as new to me as it is to you. Now give my cell back," Snatching away his compatible piece of bling, he dialed Karira's number and held it to his ear, blocking out the studio's noise by getting off the couch and walking to the empty studio.
After the fourth bell, despite the static, Karira's voice broke through? "Hello?"
"Karira, what happened to Kagome?"
"Hello? Inu-Yasha I'm on the plane."
He tried to hold back a frustrated sigh but released it anyway, "Yeah, I got your text message. Listen though, what happened to Kagome?"
"Yeah, Inu-Yasha? Did you get my text?"
Inu-Yasha cursed, moving around to find a better reception area. When he stepped behind the lighting equipment, the static roared in his ear, almost deafening before he lost her signal and the dial tone began to beep in his ear. Dammit, he paid well over two hundred dollars for the stupid phone.
His stomach constricted in anxious knots, he had dialed the first six digits of his brother's number when the director walked back on set.
"Alright," he pulled on his beret, his fringes dampening against his forehead. "Let's try the scene again. Inu-Yasha, we're going to give it five more shots and if you don't get it, we'll shoot the scene tomorrow."
He held his groan, and snapped his cell phone shut, sliding the sleek and black device back into his pocket. It'd be damn miracle if he got through his lines now, and half of him urged to just bail on the filming.
But he stayed. Rolling his neck, he tried to ease away his tense muscles and walked back to his spot in front of the green screen. Focusing his attention on the lines he'd memorized, he ran over what Karira's text message had said and gave a shot at using some logic to make sense of it.
If Kagome had been hurt, she was at the hospital and in good hands...
... So there wasn't any need for him to worry. The doctors here in New York were, if anything, were known for their work and precise quality of care.
He took a deep breath and let it out, barely paying attention to the beeps of the camera as it began to count down from five to when it'd start filming.
'Alright Inu-Yasha,' He thought to himself, subtly rubbing his damp palms against his jean legs, 'Let's pull it off this time.'
The director raised his finger, "And - scene."
As the studio eclipsed in silence, one word filled the air, "Shit." Inu-Yasha broke out of character, his shoulders sagging and his hand racing for his cell phone. It took every muscle in him not to jog off the set and instead he opted to rush across the tiled floors to pat the director on the shoulder, "Do the scenes without me for today."
In the span of thirty seconds, he'd dashed out of the building, squinting his eyes to the sudden light and had his cell phone pressed to his ear. Kagome was in the hospital and that meant she was hurt albeit a sprained toe or something serious. As soon as Sesshomaru picked up his cell phone, Miroku flung open the building doors and was after him, worry creased in his face as he stopped in front of Inu-Yasha.
After what seemed like
agonizingly like an eternity, Sesshomaru clicked on his phone.
"Sesshomaru," Inu-Yasha stared pointedly at Miroku, his foot tapping against the pavement with impatience, "What's wrong with Kagome?"
Sesshomaru groaned on the other line, "Idiot. You're in New York and you're not there? I won't be there till tomorrow morning but get to Trasia Hospital immediately. She's been in a car crash."
Light music, soft, delicate harp strings strumming against each other played together in a harmony with a violin. Each pluck that vibrated in its hold played across her body, tingling her skin, pricking at her temples. Long notes echoed even longer notes, stringing together like wool being sown. Gracefully, almost the music repeated in her mind, distracting her from the pricking sensation around her temples.
Kagome's stomach shot a jab of pain through her body, but the wound felt distant, almost non-existent. The music, however changed, and she cringed as horrible, carnival music... Loud, abrasive, xylophone drumming music charged through her ears, making the pain seem so much more real.
She felt so disconnected from her body, so far away that she simply prepared herself mentally for the jabbing pain in her stomach to get worse. As she predicted, it did and she only struggled to awaken from the dark, lonely place she was in.
She echoed the word again in her head, and with panic, she realized she felt hands on her. But no matter how hard she tried to pry open her eyes, they remained shut. Panicking, she began to heave, and despite how heavy each breath felt, she inhaled and exhaled. Eventually, the horrible music receded and her breathing got heavier. If it was possible, the darkness around her became darker, blacker than pitch black. Tired from struggling, and thinking, she realized she was either: a) dying b) fainting or c) falling asleep.
Either way, she gave up and let her body fall under the aesthetic.
Ayame waved the load of bread over the scanner until it beeped once, signaling her to then put it in the plastic bag. Chewing her gum with boredom, she routinely smiled at the customer and ripped off the receipt from the machine. "That's a total of thirty seven dollars and fifty two cents."
As she swiped the customers bank card in the hand held ATM machine, she stalled on her gum as she saw Sango at the end of her customer line and for the first time that day, genuinely smiled. She turned back to the customer, "You're all set. Have a good day."
Two customers later, Sango dropped two dairy milk Cadbury chocolate bars, and a bottle of coke in front of her. "When's your break?"
Slowly, she took the first Cadbury chocolate bar and scanned it, upset. "I just came in late," she lowered her voice to a whisper, "There's no way my stupid jerk of a boss would let me leave for even five minutes. It's the first shift I've gotten in days anyway."
"Aw, Ayame." Sango's shoulders slumped, her eyes glazing with sympathy. "Oh well. I might be free from university next weekend. I'll just call you tonight, okay?"
Scanning the bottle of coke, she sighed. "Sure. That'll be four dollars and twenty cents."
After Sango had walked past the automatic doors, Ayame tried to hold back feelings of regret. The rattling of the air conditioning was strumming above her head and the continuous beeping of the scanner had already begun to annoy her. Unlike Sango, she'd handed in her university applications too late, and the next thing she knew... She was working a full time shift in Walmart to fill a year's gap. She bit in a sigh. Just leave it up to her to make some bimbo mistake.
Forcing a toothy smile as a woman dropped a bag of tampons in front along with a few magazines, she was simply going to drop the second magazine in the plastic bag when she saw a small tabloid picture of Kouga on it. Gulping as her throat suddenly went dry, she dropped it in the bag and handed it to the customer. "That'll be six dollars and seventy cents. Thank you."
Realizing no more customers were lined up to purchase anything, she sat down on her stool and took a deep breath, glancing at her silent cell phone beside her tote bag under the scanning desk.
To top it off with a lovely cherry on an iced cake... Kouga had basically forgotten about her the second she had left the Villa.
She knew she was stupid to even lay it upon him but it wouldn't have hurt to have her small summer crush carry on into fall and whatnot. Better than that, it was easier to give up and mope about it for a while than to forget and continue being happy. She hadn't seen him, heard from him, or even gotten an email. What made it even more upsetting was that while she was scanning canned beans and diapers, he was probably partying like the freaking celebrity he was.
"Are you closed?"
She looked up and immediately put on a fake cheery facade and smiled, "No of course not. Alright, a bag of chips is all you want?"
Kagome tried to lift her head but she simply lolled it to the side, her eyes still tightly sealed. Her heart was thumping erratically and all she wanted was for it to calm down, but it wouldn't and it continued to wildly beat against her ribcage. It was horrible, regaining consciousness to simply be surrounded in darkness and to lose it again to wake up to the same feeling of being trapped.
As something clammy and cold touched her chest, she relaxed in the notion that she was somewhat more in touch with her body than she had been before. But who was she to know, maybe she was drifting further in her sleep and even her thoughts were some sort of dream.
As something ice cold touched her head, her eyes shot open and for a mere second, a blinding light seared her eyes before she hopelessly let them clamp shut again. A little more sober, the minutes ticked by, and she was sure someone was touching her. Hands were on her legs, her stomach, and her head...
Her head. She felt her body inwardly cringe as something pierced her head and wanting to scream, fear finally spread in her heart as she realized she wasn't able to talk. If it had been able to, she was sure her heart began to beat even harder.
Her eyes fluttered open again as cold air rushed through her throat, only to be covered with a clear mask.
"Breathe in and it won't hurt anymore."
Desperate to get the pain to stop, she closed her eyes and again, fell into a deep sleep.
Sango flipped through her Calculus textbook, licking her thumb before she filed through the pages one by one. Her dormitory, consisting of a bunk bed, two desks, one wardrobe and one window was the absolute last place she wanted to be at the moment yet studying was better than hanging out alone.
Tipping her chair back, she effortlessly answered the questions in her head, flipping to the next page to see if she had missed anything for tomorrow's test.
Bored, she exhaled slowly.
It quietly came, but by its second ring, the music was clear and loud. Scrambling out of her chair, Sango stumbled for her cell phone and flipped it open by its fourth ring. "Hello?"
Miroku's voice, fresh music to her ears came through the speaker. "I stole the number from Inu-Yasha's cell phone. This is Sango right?"
Finally, she thought, a distraction. Happily, she sat on the bottom bunk and ignored its creak. "Yes this is Sango. How are you Miroku?"
He laughed, and she knew his eyes were probably twinkling. "So you recognized me. We haven't talked in a while, but we can talk about getting together later. First things first - have you heard about Kagome?"
She had laid down flat on her back and was drawing circles on her pillow but hearing the concern in his voice, she idly stopped. "No," she drawled out slowly. "What about her?"
"She's been in a car crash but no one we call will give out any more information. Either they don't know, or as the hospital says, it's 'confidential'"
All thoughts momentarily cleared from her head and she gasped, bringing her free hand to her mouth. "You're lying."
"I'm quite serious, actually."
She got up from the bed and began to pace, "This isn't funny, Miroku."
"Sango, dear. I'm in the car beside Inu-Yasha this very second. If you'd like to talk to him, I'd hand him the phone but his knuckles are so white at the moment, I'm not sure he'll be able to hold the cell phone properly."
Well, that explained the honking and noise on the other line, she rationalized. However, panic laced above everything else and she shook her head, unable to grasp the reality of it. "But Kagome can't be in an accident. It's Kagome for goodness sake, Miroku." When he didn't say anything, she continued on. "Is it bad? Is she hurt? Will she be okay? Is she awake? Is she talking? Does she remember everything? It was an accident right? She's just got a twisted ankle, right? She's fine right? God, Miroku, say something."
He was distracted, it was obvious as he said something to Inu-Yasha but he quickly continued to talk, "I don't know much but everyone, and I mean Kagome's family, Inu-Yasha's family are all headed to the hospital."
Sango felt weak in the knees. She'd known Kagome for her entire life and if something just happened to her now, she didn't know what she'd do. "So it's serious?" She asked, weakly.
"Let's hope not. Sorry for worrying you dear, but listen. We're pulling into the hospital now so I have to hang up."
"Wait!" She listened for a dial tone but continued as she heard none, "Miroku, call me as often as you can to keep me updated. I want to be there but I don't know how to get to New York."
"Will do. Ask Sesshomaru if he could buy you guys some tickets over. He's keeping everyone calm at the moment. I'm sure he'll help out."
She tapped her foot against the age-old carpet, nervous and anxious. "Thanks. I'll call him after I call Ayame. See ya." As Miroku hung up on the other line, she sat there, shocked. A minute ago, she'd been reading calculus and now...
Grateful, if for anything was that Miroku and Inu-Yasha were with Kagome and with that calming thought, she dialed up Ayame's cell number.
The music was back. Not the harsh carnival music either but the soft, stringing harp melody she'd heard what felt like a long time ago. The cold choppy wind didn't feel so abrasive either but felt like a gentle breeze washing over her.
But as her eyes rolled back, she twitched her eyebrows as fresh memories fluttered into her head, replaying them scene by scene as if she were watching like a third person. She was back in the park, watching herself walk with Inu-Yasha that morning.
And then his words replayed in her mind,
"Kagome, I want to try us again."
His sentence echoed in her head for a while, repeating itself until it was a dull throb at the back of her head.
Goodness, she wanted to try 'us' again too. Oblivious to her conscious brain, all she felt was the utmost regret at walking away from him, leaving him there. It was always her head that got in the way of things, blocking out her heart. She couldn't ever remember a time where she didn't over think things, or worry about consequences.
He'd been right, she was afraid of committing. Afraid of what would happen if she gave any relationship one more shot. Slowly, memories played in front of her eyes like a bad movie, random scenes with choppy editing. But she didn't try to stop them and instead she let them play, relishing in the remembrance of them.
It'd been two and a half hours, but the flight still had a long way before it'd land in New York, America. Restless, Sesshomaru rubbed his hand idly over his fiancé's finger, talking into his cell at the same time.
The sneaky bastard Naraku... He had been behind the entire car crash all along and the foolish excuse for a human being had been stupid enough to hire anyone desperate enough to do his bidding. It'd been a predictable crime, yet Sesshomaru was amazed no one had kept a closer eye on him.
Naraku had simply hired a hit man in a final attempt at revenge. From the confines of his prison, he'd managed to devise a plan and pay the jerk that'd driven a car via poorly guarded visits to his family and friends. The hit man, who'd been chased down after a tedious police car chase had confessed immediately.
And that only left way for an ugly court battle just waiting to unroll. But he'd manage that, he was sure. He began to end his conversation with the police investigator on the other line, "Alright, thanks." In the least, Naraku deserved lifetime in jail for attempted murder.
As he hung up, he relaxed on the lavish first class chairs in the plane and soaked in the peaceful atmosphere of the plane. There was a plasma TV in front of him, champagne and water in glass bottles near him and he and Rin were the only occupants of the plane.
He would've turned his cell phone off but if at any point the Higurashi's needed to call, he wanted to be right there to help. Looking to his side, he innocently stared at the beauty sleeping beside him; amazed she'd said yes to marry him.
She hadn't been asleep, and realizing he was done talking, she blinked her eyes open quickly to look at him. "Exhausted?"
The gently hum of the plane vibrated through the air and suddenly, he felt tired. He'd gotten out of bed as soon as he'd heard news of Kagome's crash and with less than an hours worth of sleep, he'd jumped on his private plane and had begun to make phone calls. He nodded, "Just a little. I'm fine though."
She rested her head on his shoulder, sighing into him. "I hope she's okay."
"She'll be fine."
"Hopefully." She smiled warmly, "I want you to know how proud I am of you for taking all the stress of the bills and legal court stuff off of the Higurashi's hands. Only a true gentleman like my little -."
"Please, Rin." His cheeks flushed a little. No matter how close they'd get, he'd never get used to her names for him, "I lied before. I'm exhausted."
He sighed, "You know I can't miss any phone calls."
Rin squeezed his arm, "You could always ask Inu-Yasha to take some responsibility. He's in New York, you know. Wait..." she weakly smiled, "He's probably taking it worse than any of us."
She murmured a thank you to the flight attendant as he handed her a bottle of water before looking up at her fiancé. "I don't think you should have sprung it on him like that."
Sesshomaru thought about it for a second and grazed his chin with his finger, "He can handle it."
Rin twisted the cap of the bottle open and brought it to her lips, "I hope so."
It was almost surreal, walking into the waiting room to see the Higurashi family tense and upset when they usually would have welcomed anyone with broad smiles and laughter. The room meant to comfort it's guests with its two plants and cushioned seats only filled anyone who walked in it with dread. If you were sitting in it, you had someone hanging on for their life in the emergency room.
Inu-Yasha's throat went instantly dry but next to the choking fear he had swirling in his guts, it was nothing. He hadn't bothered wearing any shades or a baseball cap to disguise his appearance but he ignored the murmur that washed across the room as he walked across it. People began to wonder out loud if it was actually him and if it was, if they talked to him. One kid took out his disposable camera and took a quick picture but as he sat across Kagome's distressed family, the nine or so people in the room hushed, deciding to let him be.
He barely registered it when Miroku sat beside him and all he could do was stare at Mrs. Higurashi bawl into her husbands shoulder. Her back was heaving and her shoulders shaking, one hand clamped across her mouth and the other clutched against her chest. Souta, who was at her side got off his chair and ran across to Inu-Yasha, embracing him in a deathly hug. Not saying anything, he simply hid his head in Inu-Yasha's shoulder, his tiny frame trembling as he scrambled to hold in his tears.
"Don't worry bud, she'll be fine." Inu-Yasha's voice, hoarse and barely audible as a whisper sounded unrecognizable even to himself. For the first time in years, he wanted his mom beside him to reassure him things would be okay. But he kept his frontier and patted Souta's back.
He wanted to talk but the numbness inside of himself stopped him and when Miroku talked, he hadn't remembered being more grateful.
"What exactly happened?"
Kagome's dad, eyes hollow and skin pale, looked at the two of them as if he just noticed they had arrived. "She was crossing a pedestrian when a car hit her."
Inu-Yasha flinched as he thought of the pain that must have damaged her with. If only he'd gone with her to make sure she made it home safe... It wouldn't have happened. Guilt poured in him like venom, gnawing at his heart.
Souta pulled away from him and slipped into the seat beside his, his cheeks wet from salty tears. "It wasn't a full impact hit though."
"No, no it wasn't, thank the lord." Mr. Higurashi ran his hand down his wife's back, "She managed to jump out of the way so the cars bumper hit the side of her stomach." He took in a shuddery breath; "She fell on the road hard."
Inu-Yasha clenched his jaw, anger at himself and anxiety swelling up inside of him like a dangerous water balloon just waiting to pop. Brushing a hand through his hair, he closed his eyes and resisted the urge to stomp into whatever room she was in just to remind her she'd better live through this or he'd begin to self-destruct one way or another. He rephrased the sentence in his head, she would live through this and the first thing she was doing was moving back into the villa until she was completely healed.
Miroku continued on with his questioning, "How long has she been in the operating room?"
Kagome's father sighed again, "A couple of hours."
"She went out without telling us." Mrs. Higurashi finally lifted her head, and Inu-Yasha immediately noticed her red, puffy eyes, "We woke up and she was gone and the next thing we know we get a call from the Hospital telling us she's - she's," The woman broke down crying again, hiding her face in her hands. "I love her so much."
Inu-Yasha wanted to comfort her, tell her Kagome would be fine simply because he wanted to see her again so damn badly, but instead he remained silent, his palms sweaty and his stomach constricting so tightly, he almost felt like vomiting.
The awful second hand of the clock ticked by, echoing in the silence as every being in the waiting room sat in nervous bundles for any kind of news to come.
Two Days Later
There was no harp playing in her heard, nor some abrasive music either, simply silence. Well, if you crossed out the quiet air conditioning whirr in the air, then it was simply silent.
Slowly her eyes creaked open and she barely registered the white ceiling before her vision went blurry and a cutting twinge shot through her head. Impulsively, she shut her eyes, trembling.
She didn't know how long it was, minutes, hours, or days before she opened them again, and this time she warily looked around with her eyes half shut before widening them completely. It took a moment to remember what had happened.
The screech of tires swiveling against the road, a white van swerving towards her and her legs jumping instinctively before everything around her had gone black. That was exactly how her head replayed the thoughts to her and with that in mind, she helplessly realized she was in a hospital room.
Half her face was hidden by an oxygen mask, and even though she had regained her ability to function her eyes, her arms and legs felt as heavy as a sack of bricks. She noted she was lying on a stark white mattress elevated by a wheeled bed, in the middle of the room. IV was dripping in her via a needle in her wrist, and a blanket was drawn up to her chest in case the breeze became cold.
She could feel a faint throbbing around her stomach but she guessed by the amount of pain killers in her at the moment, the real pain had been subdued.
"Did you have a good sleep?"
Kagome looked to her right, and saw a nurse push a trolley laden with supplies through the door.
Questions immediately sprang into her head.
How long had she been here for?
What had happened after the accident?
Did her family know?
Did Inu-Yasha know?
Were they even here?
Looking around the desolate room, she answered the last question for herself and felt immediately disheartened. No one had come so far. It was probably still morning... Her parents would be asleep and Inu-Yasha at the set for his movie.
Her eyes moistened, her emotions suddenly at an all time high. She hated hospitals, she hated the white rooms, the empty beds, the sickness, the pain, the sadness... She couldn't stand any of it. And no one was her with her to hold her hand while she was left awake to stare at her surroundings.
"You're in an ICU room for the time being." The nurse said, smiling as if it were something she said every other day. "We'll have to monitor you for a day before we can move you in a ward."
Kagome calmed as she heard that, ironically. At least that explained why she was alone. Maybe her family had heard about her accident but they simply couldn't see her because she was in an ICU room.
She backtracked. Didn't that mean she was in... Critical condition?
She was prepared to panic but the nurse sat down beside her, "We're going to take off the oxygen mask. Ready?"
Sure she was ready. Breathing without that mask didn't seem all that hard, and if it meant one more thing she was able to do on her own, then bring it on.
As the nurse took it off, she actually did a double take as she felt her lungs suddenly shudder before she managed to take a slow deep breath on her own.
"See. That was easy."
Kagome took cautious breaths; wary of the odd way her lungs tingled.
"How are you feeling, Kagome?"
Exhausted. Emotional. She wanted to say she felt like crying, but instead she opened her mouth and was surprised at the creak that escaped her lips, "Fine."
"Do you remember anything that happened?"
Speaking of her head, Kagome just realized that gauze was tightly wrapped around her forehead and she had a sudden urge to scratch an itch that had just appeared under the bandage. "I remember..." she took a few wary breaths, "I remember till the crash."
"What's your full name?"
The nurse wrote something down, still smiling. "How old are you?"
"Where were you born?"
"What's you're phone number?"
"000 387 1239."
"Are you dizzy at the moment?"
"... No, not really."
The nurse continued on, asking random questions to test her memory and her current mind. Despite the concussion the nurse later told her she had, her head was working right and so were her bodily functions, despite the fact her muscles ached when she moved them. The more she talked, the better she felt, and the better she felt, the more energy she felt she had. The build up continued to happen until up to one point where she just felt exhausted all over again. It was a good exhausted though, the kind one got after working or exercising.
She spent the day alone, being awakened whenever she fell asleep. The nurse came in every hour, and her doctor came in twice to see if her progress was well.
By the time night rolled around, she was already anxious to get moved to the visitor ward.
The Next Afternoon
"Oh, Kagome, just thank the lord. I'm simply never going to let you out of my sight again, you little fragile... Glass. I just love you so much," Mrs. Higurashi's eyes welled up with tears again and she pressed Kagome's hand to her lips, "I love you. I love you. I love you."
"Mom." Kagome said, smiling warmly. "I love you too and I'm sorry for worrying you."
"Worrying me? You had me more than worried, I was... I was... Worried sick." She kissed Kagome on the cheek for the umpteenth time that hour. "Your father and I couldn't sleep, eat or drink anything."
Kagome looked over at her dad and brother who were sitting on the other side of the bed, smiling. Her younger brother however, looked like he was about to burst into tears again like he had when he saw her.
"Souta, don't be upset."
"Well, you don't look all that happy."
Souta puffed, putting on a scowl identical to that of Inu-Yasha's. "Well, of course I'm not happy that you've got needles dripping stuff into you and that you've got a broken leg and that you've got a concussion and that you've fractured your pelvic bone. I'm not going to be jumping all over the place for all that."
"But if you pretended it was all alright, it'd make me happier too..." Kagome drawled out and grinned as Souta dropped his shoulders to sigh and give her a hug.
She'd been moved into the ward and even though the nurse still came around every two hours to check up on her, she'd been allowed visitors and that alone made her happy.
She was craving to see her family. Now she was craving to see her friends. And despite the ache in her heart, she was craving to see Inu-Yasha. Her family had been in here with her for three hours, yet there was still no sign of him. She held in her disappointment. Maybe he hadn't come, after all.
She'd been here for three days, unconscious for two and awake for one but he still hadn't come. He hadn't been that mad, had he?
"Kagome, Sesshomaru flew in a surprise for you."
Kagome's mother got up, signaling for her father and brother to do so also. After all three of them had kissed her on the forehead, they'd begun to head out. "Wait, you're leaving?"
Her father laughed, "A few friends are here to see you and we thought it'd be nice if you had some alone time. Don't sweat it, we'll be back here as soon as they're gone."
Kagome blinked as she saw her family close the door behind them and sat there in silky silence for a while. Confused, she watched in wonder as the door opened again and two heads popped in. "Oh my god."
Screams filled the room and Sango and Ayame rushed towards her, hugging her tightly as they reached her bed.
"We've been crying ourselves sick for nights."
"We've missed you."
"When we heard what happened, we couldn't believe it."
"I'm missing a Science Exam at the moment, by the way."
"And I probably got fired from my job but it doesn't matter."
"It just shows how much our lives hang in your balance, whatever that means."
Kagome groaned as Ayame accidentally jabbed her stomach but laughed as her friends pulled back to stand at her side, looking like kids waiting for candy. "Wow. I didn't expect you two to come here at all."
"We couldn't just stay there while you were suffering."
"I almost fainted by the way, when Miroku told me what happened."
"We were on the next flight to New York."
"I don't think our parents even grasped what we told them."
Kagome had never felt so blessed in her life as she watched her friends talk on and on about how much they'd gone through just to get here. She'd barely put in another thank you before they began to fret over her wounds, and then began to fill her in on gossip and entertainment news to keep her caught up.
Sango gingerly touched Kagome's forehead, "Does it hurt?"
"Only when I move." Kagome waved her able hand to get them to stop worrying, "How did you two get here?"
Sango began to talk however Ayame cut her off, "Sesshomaru booked us on the next flight to New York. He's been pulling all the strings here, making sure everything is being paid, press is on an all time low, and that, of course, everyone can make their way to see you."
They talked for what seemed forever and only when Sango absently strung Inu-Yasha in something she was saying did both of them fall into a hush.
Ayame looked at Sango uncertainly before speaking. "What time is it?"
Disconcerted at hearing Inu-Yasha's name after so long, Kagome kept her cool as she glanced at the clock on the wall, "It's three thirty."
Ayame clicked her tongue, "Crap, we really don't want to leave."
Sango shook her head, "We really don't."
Kagome raised an eyebrow, "Then don't?"
Ayame smiled, wringing her hands together. "But we promised Inu-Yasha we'd take like five minutes but it's been an hour."
Even at his name, jitterbugs spread across her body and she was already nervous. "Inu-Yasha's here?"
Sango laughed half-heartedly, "He's been here all three days, even when you were in the ICU. But we convinced him you probably didn't want to see him so he let us see you first."
Kagome mouthed open in shock, suddenly exhilarated with joy that Inu-Yasha had, after all, come. But as she remembered how she rejected him rushed back in her memories, she held out her needle free hand to stop them from leaving, "You can't leave me alone with him."
"Why not?" Sango picked up her tote bag, swinging it on her shoulder. "He seemed pretty depressed."
Kagome desperately searched for an excuse to make. She just couldn't stay in a room alone with Inu-Yasha. She'd walked away from him twice so far, and if anything he probably hated her guts. "I… just… well…"
"Relax, Kagome." Ayame leaned over to pat her shoulder. After the two had put everything back into their bags, they walked out of the room and shut the door behind them, leaving Kagome in an earth shattering silence.
It wasn't right to put a dangerously pained patient in a situation like this. Her heart was ramming against her chest already and she was filled with emotions she couldn't even define. When she'd been unconscious, all she had remembered were her regrets and how she probably could never revert them.
The door opened slowly and she didn't look as Inu-Yasha shut it behind him. She could hear him breathing, standing still as he took in her disheveled appearance. Oh god, she hadn't even thought about how she had looked. Her hair hadn't been washed in days, her body wrapped in flimsy, plain hospital attire. Wrapped in bandages and casts, her body seemed almost enveloped by it all.
The self-confidence and self-esteem she had built up to stand up against him suddenly shattered and all of a sudden she realized she felt so incompetent lying like a broken doll next to the trillionare walking in.
She expected him to ask how it had happened, or how she felt but as he rushed to her, but she barely had time to even comprehend what he was about to do before his lips forcefully crushed against hers.
He didn't force his weight on top of her, but simply held her head and kissed her. It wasn't passionate but it was desperate, and it wasn't hungry but it was loving. Despite the initial shock, Kagome fluttered her eyes shut and kissed him back, feeling as if she'd burst into tears at any moment. When he pulled away, her kissed her cheek, her ears, her neck, skimmed his palm over her arm and kissed her again, ceasing all her thoughts.
She didn't know how long he kissed her for, but when he pulled back, he ran his lips over her ear. "When I thought that there was a chance you could die -." He broke off and opted to nuzzle her neck, "Dammit Kagome, only you could do this to me."
Regardless of how she had prepared herself not to cry in front of anyone, her eyes moistened and she quickly raised her hand to wipe them.
"Shit, did I make you cry?"
"No." Kagome flushed red as he pulled back to study her face, "I thought you hated me."
"Fuck, Kagome." He pressed his head lightly to hers, "I could never hate you."
"Well, I'm an awful person," Her eyes welled with tears again and she looked tried to look away but her eyes locked with his. "I'm sorry for walking away -."
"We don't have to talk about that. Anyway, I understand. Don't worry about it."
Horror filled Kagome as she realized he was backing off, pushing the ball into her court. Either she was going to say something, or anything between them was over. "No, we have to talk about it. Just get me a Kleenex."
Inu-Yasha, his lips pursed and body tense, quickly pulled out a few tissue papers from the Kleenex box and handed them to Kagome, "If you insist. Fine."
They sat in silence for a while as Kagome wiped away the fresh tears as they kept on coming. Only after she had settled did she take a deep breath to settle her nerves. "When I was unconscious… all I thought about was how stupid I was to walk away." She rose a hand as he shot to her defense, "All along, it was me who was scared of being in a relationship because of what happened in the past. I mean," her lips wobbled as she thought about how close she had been to losing him. "You've changed, Inu-Yasha. You're not who you were a few years back, and I'm sorry for doubting you. Just forgive me and give me another chance."
Inu-Yasha stilled, his body tense under the hand she'd put on his arm. He searched her face, his eyes wide, his ears perked, almost as if he couldn't believe what she was saying. And then as if a hammer had come to break the ice, his face broke into a grin. "I love you, God dammit. Of course." He kissed her again lightly, chastely. "You're so cute when you're worried."
Kagome stuttered, reeling shock as he kissed her for the third time, "Wait what'd you say?"
His eyes glazed with innocence and despite his pale skin, he glowed from mischief. "That you're cute when you're worried?"
"No." She groaned as she saw he was playing with her, "Before that."
"I kissed you before that," He kissed her again to make sure she remembered.
But she was persistent. "No. Before that."
He pretended to think, "I don't know. I think you'll have to refresh my memory."
It clicked and realizing what he wanted her to do, Kagome laughed, feeling happier than she had in months. Gazing up at him, she smiled brightly. "If I told you I loved you, would you remember?"
"I love you."
He grinned, bringing his lips closer to hers again, "Good. 'Cuz I happen to love you too."
The tabloids had gone in frenzy, claiming that Inu-Yasha and Kagome had gotten back together but this time, it didn't bother anyone. The water in the pool was glistening as the sun berated down on it, it being a surprisingly warm day for a month in fall. The branches were almost desolated from their leaves and most of them had scattered across the gardens. Fresh, green grass felt like a silky haven for anyone who walked on it and as the thirteen people sat around a lavishly set picnic blanket, the air filled with laughter as the joker of the bunch blurted another one of his jokes.
The incident with Naraku had been almost forgotten, what with Sesshomaru working his wonders with the judge. In no less than two weeks, the felon who had used the car had been caught, put in jail and Naraku set to lifetime in prison for attempted murder.
That being said, Souta had put aside his Game boy to fill in the group about his latest Pokemon game, which everyone listened to intently. As he continued on talking, Mrs. Higurashi filled everyone's cups with orange juice, smiling at her son as he highlighted a specific moment in the game. Mrs. Taisho sipped silently on the orange juice and smiled as Sesshomaru finally took the floor from Souta and with Rin; the two began to talk about their wedding arrangements.
They were to get married in exactly four weeks and two days, but by the way Rin was running around planning, it seemed as if the wedding was to take place tomorrow or something. And out of everyone, only Ayame excused herself as her cell phone rang and she picked it up, grinning as she realized who was on the other line.
"It's Kouga." She whispered to Sango, Kagome and Karira who gasped shock as Ayame giggled.
Karira sighed wistfully as Ayame twirled a lock of hair around her finger and talked to Kouga, who seemed quite hooked on the girl. She had a date with a photographer she had met last week, and hopefully, he'd be the one.
Miroku, sitting between Kagome's father and Sango who he kept accidentally brushing on the thigh with his finger, blurted out another joke about Sesshomaru's head as the soon to be married millionaire blushed when Rin publicly called him Fluffy, again.
Wrapped in Inu-Yasha's sweater, Kagome circled her arms around Inu-Yasha and leaned into him, swiftly glancing at the Taisho Villa as it sat a while away from the gardens. It'd been a month since she'd been allowed out of the hospital, and even though she had to walk with crutches, her concussion was healing and her pelvic bone was fine.
Inu-Yasha cleared his throat to gain everyone's attention, "The director called me this morning."
A silence fell over the group and everyone listened intently. The movie deal had turned out to be a mess since Inu-Yasha had asked for a two-month delay on it. "He said he thought about it, and they're moving the filming to DemonWood. And I'm not going to play the good guy anymore, I'm going to be the villain."
Kagome laughed, ecstatic beyond words. "That's perfect."
"Oh, yeah. Congratulations."
Just like a cliché movie moment, everyone raised their cups and clinked them against each other, bursting out in laughs after they did so. As Sango slapped Miroku again as he by mistake grazed her behind, Kagome kissed Inu-Yasha on the arm.
He looked down at her, his eyes twinkling. "That means I get to stay here with you longer."
"Our one month anniversary is tomorrow. Better not forget about it," She giggled, "Or else."
"Or else what?" He pulled her closer, "There's not much evil you can do on me that you haven't done already."
"Oh, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve." She chuckled as he leaned in for a kiss and felt a blood rush of warmth when he did.
Instantaneously, the people around them groaned.
"Take it inside."
"We have kids in the vicinity."
Laughing, the two broke apart, a tinge of pink on both their cheeks. Even though they were sitting and eating, Kagome had her hand tightly clutched in Inu-Yasha's and they secretly snuck each other cute nudges here and then.
Sitting around the cloth laden with food, laughing with twelve tightly linked people, Kagome never remembered a time when she had felt so content with life. Even though her leg was still healing, she felt warm inside, and no matter how hard she tried, couldn't imagine her life playing out differently.
And she also couldn't remember a time when she loved the guy sitting beside her more. Sinking her teeth into a load of bread, she grinned as Inu-Yasha played with her fingers.
Maybe she had been wrong before.
Being backstage to all the drama, to the real lives of the rich and famous – to have the people she had in her life… wasn't so bad after all.
As a matter of fact, she wouldn't change it for the world.
I can't imagine what I'll do with my spare time now that I've finished Being Backstage. This story is definitely my baby, and I'm both happy and sad that it's over.
I had so much fun writing this, and all those readers who read it, and those reviewers who reviewed – thank you so, so, so much for making this story a success I never even dreamed it would be.
Also, thanks to the people who let me use their names in the story such as Kathy, Bum and Tiffany. Also, Mona – thanks for being the awesome friend you are. I remember how I used to come over and we'd sit in your room and just plan out how the story would unfold and turn out. Seriously, I miss you so give me a call or send me an email so we can get together. Also Super Ceech, thanks for being amazing as you are. I probably wouldn't have finished this story if you hadn't reminded me to.
I will definitely miss writing this, and I don't know if I'll continue writing fan fiction. I don't think I will… but if I'm to write anything else online, it'll be at fiction press under the name of k-lilah.
So please send in a review to tell me what you thought of this chapter, or the story in general, I will definitely respond to your reviews since I'm so grateful for each and every one that comes in.
So once again, thank you, and I'll miss writing this. But every story has its end.