Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I updated my fics on this site. For all of those who are still reading this unfinished version of ForgetMeNot, please forgive me! But there is a finished version, so I beg you to read:
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Disclaimer: Sure! When I'm drunk enough. . .hoists bottle of vodka, holds out for cheers, and drinks deeply
By: Youkai Yume
Chapter 23: To Remember
The morning air was crisp, and slightly chilling in the golden and pink haze. The long night was finally over, and yet the silver haired-hanyou has yet to be seen. And the young heartbroken miko. . .disappeared over the moonlit horizon riding the ivory dog of a taiyoukai. In this time of torrent misery and uncertainty, Kaede wondered vaguely if things were truly alright.
Her old, and tired hands grasped firmly onto the bucket as water filled its' depths. A shaky sigh passed her lips when she lifted it, the droplets of liquid sliding from the wooden frame. 'Inuyasha. . .' the aged woman thought worriedly. 'What are ye up to?'
As if on cue, a looming shadow of a hanyou leapt over her. Kaede stood from her sitting position, and watched with patiently as Inuyasha made a graceful landing. A look of deep sadness and regret clouded over his amber orbs, causing her to furrow her eyebrows in concern.
"Inuyasha, where have ye been?" She inquired sternly, but not sharply. His gaze did not meet hers, and eyes remained downcast as he stood there in silent suffering. Almost heavily, his legs moved him closer to the old woman. Soon, he was in front of her, not saying a word.
He did nothing but stare sadly at her, and after several moments, he continued past Kaede, and towards the hut. The old woman looked solemnly at his retreating form. When he had gazed at her that moment, she saw such grief, such torn sadness and suffering flicker across his orbs. Her soul cried out towards the hanyou. 'What could've happened to have caused his heart to have shattered so?'
Walking in a dazed manner, Inuyasha kept his eyes on his feet. All thoughts were vacant from his mind---all except the thought of Kagome. How his heart wrenched when he thought of his miko from the future. Would she be there? Amber depths lifted to the hut just yards up ahead.
'Will she be waiting for me inside?' He wondered. A deep longing echoed inside of him, and basking in his fool's wish, hope welled inside of him that she was. That Kagome would be sitting there, waiting for him when he entered. That she would be smiling her warm smile---the smile that he had learned to cherish, to love so much.
She would be there, teasing him and laughing among the others; Sango, Miroku, Shippo. . .all would be as it were. And he would have a second chance at her forgiveness. Inuyasha did not know what was running through his mind, but all of a sudden, he believed it with all of his heart. He ached to hold her; just doing so would assure him that everything was alright. Just maybe. . .
He was running towards the hut now, so caught up in his mental vision of her accepting arms that he could not bear a moment longer to make the vision come true.
"KAGOME!" But when he burst through the straw-woven door, expecting to see her smiling face there. . .he was only met with surprised looks from all but her. She was not there. His hopes fell, and his heart felt it's shattered pieces once more. Disappointment filled him, and he turned his hurt gaze away from his friends.
"Inuyasha. . ." Miroku started, "You're finally back. . ." He said nothing, but entered anyway, sitting down soundlessly next to Kirara, who pounced in his lap. The houshi and taijia looked worriedly at one another before averting their attention back to their hanyou friend.
"What happened? You didn't come back with Kagome," Sango prodded gently. She noticed that Inuyasha flinched visibly upon hearing her name, but in a moment's time, stilled again. Miroku was becoming impatient with the silent treatment, and gripped the hanyou's shoulders tightly.
"Inuyasha! Please, we need to know! What transpired between you and Kagome. . ." A deep anger welled inside of him, and pushing the houshi back, he stood up and glared at them. He needed to be alone, and he couldn't possibly face them now. His fists clenched tightly and he felt like pulling his hair out.
"None o' your business!" He shouted at them, and he stormed furiously outside. Miroku was back on his feet in an instant and ran out after him.
"What did you do to cause Kagome such pain?" He said sternly, and this surely caught the hanyou's attention. Again, the feeling of pain and misery consumed him, and the words echoed over and over again in his head. 'I caused Kagome pain. . .' How many times does that make it now? And did he really deserve her forgiveness this time? Glancing back at Miroku, with Sango just by his side, waiting patiently for an answer, Inuyasha was at a loss of words.
'What can I say?' He thought miserably. What COULD he say? That he had left Kagome to die? For someone who wasn't even living? For Kikyo? His eyes burned with frustration. That he was the one that had betrayed her trust, left her for dead---literally! It was all too much for him, and the guilt and sorrow ate at his shattered soul. There was only one thing he could say.
"I screwed up. . ." He whispered.
"I SCREWED UP, OKAY!" He shouted angrily at them, unable to keep his rage and frustration bottled up any longer. "Kagome. . ." He started. His friends approached him cautiously, hoping to comfort the half-demon.
"What do you mean?" Sango asked him worriedly, but once again, he had fallen silent. After a while, his shaking form relaxed, and he looked solemnly at them.
"Where is Kagome?" Silence. He was only answered with deafening silence, and he sent them a glaring look when all they did was look nervously at each other. "Where is she?" He repeated, this time a little harsher. Finally, Miroku spoke up.
"Sesshomaru," Inuyasha stiffened. "Kagome is with Sesshomaru."
"And you didn't stop her?" He asked him rather angrily, sending accusing looks over at them. Why would they let her go with his brother? But Miroku did not shrink from his heated gaze, and stepped forward.
"Yes, it was Kagome's decision." At hearing this, Inuyasha looked away, his bubbling anger rising, and he looked to the blue sky. A mental picture of the giant silvery dog form of his brother carrying his Kagome away, and the look of disappointment that flashed through Sesshomaru's eyes. His brother cared for her. . .he realized. If he hadn't, he would not have saved her when he himself had left her.
And now, he feared that it was Sesshomaru that she was turning to for comfort. Sesshomaru who would make her forget. . .would she really forget about him? She loved him didn't she? 'But there's a fine line between love and hate. . .' a voice in his head echoed. Inuyasha hoped that in Kagome's eyes, he had not crossed said line.
"Will you go after her?" He heard Miroku ask him. The question rang in his head. He honestly didn't know, but he knew there was no way he could face her now. What good would it do anyway? A part of him told him that Kagome was probably too far beyond his reach to even listen.
His fists unclenched and fell limply to his sides, and eyes softening, he gave out a shaky and tired sigh. Did he really do it this time? What Kikyo had told him. . .did he really break her spirit? Glancing back at them, he said nothing, only shaking his head mournfully as he leapt off into the direction of the forest.
Sango made a move to follow after him, but was stopped when Miroku placed a firm hand on her shoulder. She gave him a questioning look, and he only shook his head at her.
"He will tell us when he's ready. But right now, I think Inuyasha needs some time alone," He advised.
Atop the Goshinboku tree, Inuyasha gazed longingly up at the blue sky. Wondering idly to himself where Kagome was. Maybe she was looking up to the same sky, maybe she was thinking of him. . .Even more so, he wondered if Sesshomaru was there with her, picking up the broken pieces of her heart. His own heart ached. If he would ever get to see her again. . . 'I won't let her go. . .' he vowed to himself, and to Kagome.
A dreamy haze was lifted from her eyes when she reluctantly opened her sapphire irises to the morning that greeted her. Blinking, she lay infinitely still on the soft futon, staring blankly up at the ceiling. Her soul, her heart, felt so very heavy. So much so that she felt it would hurt to sit up. 'Inuyasha. . .' She thought with a melancholy ache.
She had dreamt of the hanyou last night, and the memory caused tears to well in her orbs once more. It was the very moment when she had plummeted to her death and Inuyasha had called out for Kikyo. The dream, no. . .nightmare, plagued her restless soul, and shutting her eyes shut, she allowed two sorrowful tears burn a trail along the sides of her cheeks. It fell onto the pillow, and absorbed the fabric.
Kagome heard a soft mumble from her side, and she looked down to see Shippo sleeping soundly next to her. She smiled sadly, down at him and ruffled his red hair, and regretfully, she got up from the warmth of her futon. Groaning a bit, she averted her gaze to the direction of the shining rays. Birds were chirping from outside the window in the cherry blossom trees, and moving cautiously out of bed so as to not wake the little kitsune, she went to examine them a bit closer.
Sliding the window open, Kagome was caressed with the soft morning breeze, drying her tears from her fair skin. Inhaling the crisp air, she gave out a relaxed sigh. At least being here. . .soothed her soul, if only a little. A part of her was glad that she had come here, and Kagome silently thanked Sesshomaru for that.
"Sesshomaru. . ." She whispered into the morning wind. He confused her so much. Kagome never suspected a demon who had tried to kill her upon first impression could be so sweet and caring underneath. Was he always like this? Or perhaps he had changed somehow, into the gentle taiyoukai she had grown so fond of.
'Fond?' Yes, she admitted she had grown rather close to him. Despite his cold attitude towards the whole world and to her at first, she knew him to be a better person than he would ever let on. A small smile curved her delicate lips. He was like a child in a way. . .who was afraid of something new. Afraid of emotions to be more precise.
It was endearing, she thought. Stepping away from the window, she walked across the room and towards the door. Already Sesshomaru had done so much for her, and Kagome couldn't think for the life of her how she'd ever thank him. Placing a small hand on the shoji door, she leaned so that her forehead touched its' surface. Sesshomaru made her feel. . .different. . .in a way. . .But in what way she wasn't exactly sure.
Deciding to put thoughts of the enigmatic demon lord away for a rainy day, she quietly slid the door opened and glanced from side to side in the hallway. It was empty. 'Well, it is pretty early. . .' And taking one last look over her shoulder at the little fox that still slept upon the futon, she left the room, and tiptoed down the halls in the direction of the library. 'There's nothing wrong with getting some light reading done in the morning. . .' Just to get her mind off of things.
Kagome had finally reached the library, and a childish gleam flickered across her orbs. She loved books, save for the math book, but how she loved them so! It was her way of escaping reality, and the troubles of her life. Perhaps that was why she liked the Feudal Era so much. It was like living her very own fantasy, and Kagome being the romantic that she was, found herself helplessly drawn into these kind of things. Although, after what had transpired the day before, she inwardly admitted that a small piece of her wanted out of this tragic fairy tale.
Shaking her head of her saddening thoughts, she resumed her search of a good book. Kagome would've read more yesterday, if the children hadn't forced her to read books that THEY wanted. She didn't mind though, and was just glad that she got time to herself before anyone else awoke. She prayed to the gods that Sesshomaru wasn't going to get mad at her for being in here so early.
Peering over the titles, Kagome skimmed over the books. Nothing that she found in particular was awe-inspiring, and when she saw the sun up in the sky outside the library window, she figured it should be time to get Shippo. However, when she was about to leave the room, a certain leather-bound book caught her eye.
"Hello, why aren't YOU on the shelves?" She wondered as she went over to where the book was situated on the table. Picking it up, she examined it to be quite old. . .not as elaborate as the others, but there was something that drew her to this one. Kagome curiously thought that perhaps the reason it was out of place was because Sesshomaru had been looking through it.
Letting her curiosity get the better of her, she opened the book, flipping through its' pages carefully. As page after page were flipped, Kagome almost missed the blue and shimmering objects that fell from the book and fluttered gracefully onto the ground.
Kagome's sapphire depths followed them as they fell, and shutting the book softly, she kneeled down to closer examine them. Her eyes widened and a surprised gasp escaped her lips when she recognized what they were.
Silver hair swayed from side to side as he took graceful steps towards the miko's room. Sesshomaru closed his golden eyes when came nearer to her room, inhaling her sweet scent as if it was a habit when it wafted into his nose. He hoped that Kagome was feeling better than yesterday, and that some of her pain had resided a bit.
The demon lord released a sigh when a bit of salt was caught in her scent. 'She has been crying again. . .' He thought with bittersweet sadness. How much longer, he wondered, until she can let go of her brother's memory? A deep voice from within him told him that perhaps Kagome would never let go, but he hoped against hope that she would move on. . . 'Into my arms,' he thought selfishly.
Sesshomaru wanted so badly to just confess to her how he really felt for the fiery maiden. His soul felt like bursting ever since his self-admission, but even now he refrained. She was still in pain over what his idiot half-brother's decision, and being the honorable taiyoukai that he was, he didn't want to make it seem like he was taking advantage of her time of weakness. Now, when her emotions could be so easily swayed, and he also feared that if he admitted his love to her, he would only succeed in driving her away.
Tortured emotions swirled within him and although his face remained impassive, he felt torn inside. 'Kagome,' His heart ached. 'Can you and I ever. . .' He wondered, and stopping in front of her room his clawed hand smoothed up and down the panel of the door. Slipping his emotionless mask on once more, he slid the door open and stepped into Kagome's room.
"Kagome?" Sesshomaru peered into the room, his golden orbs sweeping the room, only to find it empty. His eyes fell onto the vacant futon, save for the little kitsune pup who still lay slumbering in the warmth of the blankets. Sliding the shoji door shut, he furrowed his eyebrows together in worry. 'Where could she be?'
His nose caught her sakura blossom scent lingering in the hallway, and he let out a sigh of relief. At least she had not run away from him, as that thought had crossed his mind when he saw the window in her room to be open. Following her intoxicating scent, Sesshomaru's feet lead him to the elaborate shoji doors of the library. A barely noticeable smile tugged at his lips.
Kagome's love for literature truly amazed him. Perhaps this was the reason why she had such an imaginative and creative mind. Drawing in a deep breath, he opened the door, almost anxious to see the maiden that held his heart on the other side.
When the library room was finally revealed to him, he saw Kagome standing in the center of the room, deep in thought. Soundlessly, he approached her, smiling softly at her still form.
"I see you are already awake," He greeted smoothly, causing her to jump at the sound of his velvety voice. She turned to meet his gaze, her sapphire eyes sparkling with several emotions that he could not define. Shifting his stare downwards, he saw her to be holding a red-leather bound book, and in her other hand she was holding. . .
His stomach tightened, and his breath became caught in his throat. Golden orbs locked with her sapphire irises, and he said nothing as she approached him carefully.
"You kept it. . ." Kagome whispered gently, almost in complete awe as she held out the blue forget-me-not flower. Swallowing, the demon lord closed his eyes and moved closer to the miko. When he was directly in front of her, all he did was gaze longingly into her depths. She didn't blink once, and turning her gaze to her hand once more, she fingered the other item. The strip of film that she had also given to him as a souvenir from his trip to her time.
"Why?" She asked him gently, looking at him once more. The silence was eating away at her insides, and she tensed when Sesshomaru brought a clawed hand up to caress her cheek softly. Relaxing a bit, she continued to gaze confusedly into his golden pools. She felt his hand slide from her cheek down to shoulder and brush past her arm. A shiver ran down her spine at his touch, but she did not flinch as his fingers slipped to her hand.
"To remember," He said stoically, causing her sapphire eyes to widen. Sesshomaru gently took the flower and picture from her hold and examined them for a minute, then he placed it into the book. Moving both his hands to hers on the cover, he carefully shut it, not removing his palm from her small hands. Kagome gazed at him with confusion, only to see that he gazed back at her with. . .tenderness?
"Come, Kagome," He said, his emotionless voice calling out to her. "You must be hungry." And with that, he took the book from her and placed it back onto the table. Still holding her hand, Sesshomaru guided her out of the library. As they walked down the hall in silence, Kagome couldn't help but steal momentary glances over at the demon lord.
She had a feeling he was hiding something, but she also had a feeling that he was not ready to let her know just yet. It was his way of telling her to drop the subject. Sighing, Kagome tried her best to smile warmly up at him, and laced her fingers with his own.
Sesshomaru glanced down at her in mild surprise, and felt himself grow warm when she smiled at him. Though he sensed it to still be sad, there was more sincerity in this one.
"So, what's on the agenda today?" She joked. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then decided to answer her.
"Training." Kagome's joking air vanished, and she stared dumbly at him.
"Uh. . ."
Sesshomaru looked amusedly down at her as she became at a loss of words.
"I believe it would be best if I gave you a few lessons in self defense. I suspect you will not be wanting to depend on. . .my brother as much," He said carefully, looking quickly at her eyes to see if he had caused any old wounds to reopen.
However, her eyes were downcast, and he stiffened for a moment. Finally, she lifted her eyes, and gave him a cheerful smile.
"You're right! Thanks, that's a great idea!" Sesshomaru relaxed, and his grip on her hand tightened. Averting his gaze forward he added gently,
"Just know that I will still be here to protect you," Kagome looked at him in shock, only to see that he had avoided her gaze by keeping his eyes glued straight ahead. Warmth filled her being, and she blushed at his words, confused at the new feeling that he seemingly invoked upon her more often. It made no sense, it was different than the warmth that filled her when with Inuyasha. Either way, Kagome was unable to stop it.
"A-Arigato, Sessho-kun," She muttered. "I'm. . .I'm glad."
Naraku waited patiently as the silver light of soul stealers streaked overhead. A sickening smile curved his lips, and crimson eyes followed the form of the undead miko as she landed into his courtyard. He had been waiting for her, he knew she would return.
"Kikyo. . ." Naraku cooed, earning a glare from the maiden as he did so. "Back so soon? I thought you were going to take Inuyasha into hell. . ." He watched as Kikyo closed her eyes to hide the anger that burned underneath, and the betrayal that seethed from her being.
"There has been a change in plans," She answered, stepping closer to him. "It seems I will remain here with you afteall, Naraku," He smiled at her, and took her into his arms, pressing his lips against hers in a supposedly comforting manner. And she returned it. Naraku smirked against her lips.
Yes, everything had gone exactly how he had planned. Inuyasha had fallen for his trap just as he had intended, and he was almost certain that the miko's spirit was indeed broken, and far beyond healing now. As for Kikyo. . .he had known from the beginning that the hanyou would not follow Kikyo into hell. Despite how much they might try to the fool themselves, both Kikyo and Inuyasha knew that he loved Kagome. That alone would keep him bound to life.
Naraku parted from Kikyo and lead her inside his bedchambers. Did she really believe that he would let her go with Inuyasha so easily? Right after he had claimed her as his mate? She was his, and no one else's and with Inuyasha's "betrayal," Kikyo now belonged to him. ALL of Kikyo.
The hanyou draped an arm around her waist. How fortune had smiled upon him as of late. And as he continued to bask in his gloating, Kikyo glared at him from the corner of her eye, a malevolent smile tainting her lips.
'Naraku, you fool. . .'
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