Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of its characters they are the property of Rumiko Takahashi. This story was written for the purposes of entertainment and I by no means will profit from the story other than the satisfaction of exercising my imagination and writing abilities.
Two Women, One Soul….
The silver haired hanyou could still taste dirt in his mouth as he crossed his arms and leaned back against the trunk of the tree. Below the branch he was perched upon sat the monk and the annoying kitsune, discussing amongst themselves the events of the day. Occasionally a snicker would reach over sensitive canine ears causing him to growl in frustration. The two imbeciles were still laughing over the fact that Kagome had used that damn command. Inuyasha pulled slightly at the offending beads that hung around his neck. Once more he cursed Kaede and the young girl for this most inconvenient gift. Even still his heart and conscience knew that he had been foolish enough to speak within hearing distance of the well. It was true that Miroku and Shippo had goaded him into saying it, but he could not deny that he did want both Kagome and Kikyo.
Another stifled giggle from Shippo was enough to worsen his already sour mood. Damn them, they didn't understand. To these two simple minded fools it was so simple, but they didn't know the quandary he struggled with. How could they? But it didn't matter he knew his companions were right; in the end he would have to choose.
The word filled his mind, taunting him with its finality, drowning out the strains of the conversation that drifted upwards to his ears. At the moment it was almost impossible to even comprehend how it had come to this. For anyone else it would be, but for him it wasn't. His entire existence was one complication after another. This was just another to add to the ever growing list.
His life had never been placid, and he suspected that the fates had not meant it to ever be so. Why would it be? His very existence was the result of a forbidden love between a mortal and a demon; a hanyou.
That word still managed to stir those unwanted emotions that made him weak. And no matter what he had tried so far he had not managed to become anything more than just that. Golden eyes closed in frustration as these thoughts came unbidden. That overwhelming sense of loneliness made itself at home.
The sensation was not one he was unaccustomed to. For much of his life he had been despised and ostracized by both humans and demons. Humans feared him and demons thought him a freak of nature. Both races agreed that he needed to be exterminated. His half brother never missed an opportunity to re-emphasize that last point whenever their paths crossed. To survive Inuyasha had to squash those yearnings that craved the love and acceptance he had been given so readily in the arms of his all too human mother.
It had been years since he had allowed himself the indulgence that particular recollection of his mother. When she died he had been left alone in this callous world. In order to survive he stifled any urges he had for what she had so readily offered him. He knew that to give into those fancies, to let the aching of his tender human heart free would only end in disappointment. He had been so certain that no one could endure one such as him, let alone bestow upon him the emotions that his parched heart craved.
Then something totally unexpected happened, to him it was nothing short of a miracle, he had met Kikyo. At first the beautiful miko merely baffled him with her lack of bloodlust. She had many chances to end his miserable existence but she hadn't. Initially Inuyasha believed it was nothing more than a ploy designed to wear him down. Innumerable times he had felt the rush of air as her arrows zipped by catching onto his fire rat haori. But she never finished what he knew she should and he couldn't help but question why.
Intrigued and wary, he began to follow this conundrum of an adversary. He observed in silence as she easily slew full blooded youkai and tended to the village children. During these espionage sessions opportunities presented themselves and he too could have taken the final blow and sent her to hell, but he did not. He could not. And no matter how hard he tried he could not figure out why. There were things about her that brought to mind the single person he had ever held dear. The way she smiled when taking a crying child in her arms, the soft lilting sound of her voice, her long ebony hair, even the way she walked with a regal grace. Or maybe he couldn't kill her simply because she had spared his life. One thing remained certain was that she had managed to totally befuddle him.
Then one afternoon the world he knew, the beliefs he held were shattered by an innocent act; she spoke to him. Well, many had screamed and threatened him, but this was different. The miko was actually speaking from her heart about her troubles and his. In that clearing, all those years ago he finally had his answer as to what had made her different; what made her special. She was as desolate as he was. He had found a kindred spirit in Kikyo. The miko longed as he did to be something other than she was.
He was fascinated that her dream was to be a normal human. This was a novel and most surprising wish that he almost couldn't fathom. Kikyo was the most powerful human he knew. In her capable care was entrusted the safety of the Shikon no Tama. He knew intimately how adept a defender she was. Numerous times he had witnessed but a part of what this woman was capable of.
The irony was that the very powers that gave her this strength set her apart from other people. Kikyo was like a rare creature who inspired awe in all those who were fortunate enough to cross paths with her. People loved to gaze upon her, to be near her but even in their close proximity they were still apart from her at the same time. To these mere mortals she was beautiful and all mighty, devoid of hardships of her own. The villagers looked to her for solace and comfort. Yet this would be goddess had no confidant to share her burdens with. None of her faithful devotees would ever have guessed that at the core of their ebony haired angel laid a human heart as weak and fragile as their own. As his was.
Listening to her speak candidly he knew that this formidable miko, like him, was trapped by an accident of birth and placed into a predetermined role. He was cast as a villain. She was given the part of the savior. Though for reasons quite opposite from one another they were segregated from everyone else. There was no one for them to whisper the secrets that plagued them or the dreams that spurred them to greet each day, and hers had remained unspoken until now. For some inexplicable reason she had chosen him; a would be enemy, as her confessor. The implications of this seemingly insignificant conversation were not lost upon the hanyou. She, just as he, had no one else to turn to.
Every moment thereafter Inuyasha remained her faithful shadow. Discovery was no longer his objective; he simply needed to be close to her. Not since his mother's death had he allowed these feelings of loneliness to engulf him, and that afternoon her words struck him where her arrows had yet to… his heart. The guileless honesty of her words pierced through the gruff demeanor he had so carefully crafted over the years and took root.
Kikyo's constant example gave him cause to reconsider many of his firmly held views. With this priestess as his teacher he began to alter some of wishes of his heart. She showed him that there was something better than the future he had chosen and the desires he harbored. It didn't occur in a moment, no it had been a slow process, but she had earned his trust and his love.
Since his mother's demise his heart had been starved. His father was nowhere to be found. He had a brother who despised what he was. So he had sought the Shikon no Tama. With its help he would become a demon worthy of his father's notice and maybe even the respect of the brother that loathed him. It took Kikyo's love to expose the truth; all along he coveted their love. This quest, all his actions had been guided by that need for their affection.
Now, he knew he didn't need to change a thing; this peaceful siren loved him as he was. But as always The Fates asked a price for such a gift, but he was more than willing to pay it. Kikyo wasn't at liberty to give her heart to him so long as the jewel existed. Her life had been pledged to its protection and it was a responsibility that she could not shirk. Nor would he ask her to. But there was a way to free his lonely priestess from the chains that bound her; use the jewel to become human. The lost soul was only too willing to pay that price if it meant that he could have her at his side forever because it meant that once again he would love and be loved in return.
But it was not to be. The powers that be had already marked him as unworthy of happiness. Punishment for this second stab at felicity was far worse than just taking Kikyo from him, because he would have gladly followed her into oblivion and beyond. No, the penalty was more dire than he could have envisioned. The agony within his heart when he thought she had betrayed him was more than he could bear. A portion of his soul wanted to curl up and die, but he would not let her and everyone else believe that he was weak. If he gave up the gods and the world in general would have what they wanted all along…his demise. Inuyasha wasn't about to give them the satisfaction. Rage boiled within him the likes of which he had never felt before. He had been duped and she was going to pay. His fury lent to his already formidable strength and he tore through the village without remorse, snatching up the jewel for himself. Yet he wanted to make her pay and suffer, the village she cared so much for would be destroyed as was his heart.
Inuyasha clenched his fist as the mental images began once again. It hadn't been long after he awakened that he discovered what had really happened. He and Kikyo had been manipulated by the machinations of an embittered madman. He had been an all too willing target for this deception, so worried he was about what his eyes had seen, he had not paid attention to the feelings that balked at what he saw. His senses told him that something was off, but he paid them no heed and had acted out in blind savageness. He meant to inflict the pain that tore through him upon anything that crossed his path. They would all finally comprehend what he felt, if only in part.
It was Kikyo who had stopped his rampage with a single arrow. Still he wondered why she didn't just put an end to his existence forever. She could have put an end to his existence once and for all, yet she did not. No he was preserved, held fast to a tree by some sort of spell in an enchanted slumber. He wouldn't find out until he awoke the price Kikyo had also paid for loving him.
Pained amber eyes closed as the mental pictures of her angry face, the accusation in her glittering obsidian eyes and finally of the sacred arrow as it hurtled towards him flashed through his mind. He could still envision the arrow as he had that fateful afternoon. It was as if time had slowed allowing him to observe the deadly tip as it hurtled closer and closer but then the image changed. The arrow faded, and in its place was another's familiar face, her dark eyes glistening with tears, tears she had cried for him as she had lunged at him when he was held fast in a spider's web. It was a vision etched upon his heart, the countenance of a woman who despite his efforts had made herself a home there.
Amber eyes opened once more and the chimera of her face was still before him casting the vista before him in its shadow. The scent that was uniquely hers still hung in the air and taunted him with its pervasive presence. The look in her eyes, those soft brown eyes all too often that were filled with trust, was almost too distressing for him to recall. That look of heartache in their depths was too much to bear, because he knew that despite everything he had tried to do to keep her safe, today he had in a way failed her.
Inuyasha sighed, his heart heavy with the burden of choice that was now his. He loved Kikyo, but he loved Kagome as well. He was loath to cause her misery in any way, and more than that he couldn't walk away from her as easily as he thought he could. Since she had freed him that young girl had become an important part of his existence. Whenever she returned to her world the air around him felt immeasurably thin and he knew that without her here by his side his lungs would explode from lack of air. He wasn't even sure how it had come to this but it had.
Such a far cry from when he had first awakened in answer to her heart's desperate cry for help. Remorse, regret and a number of unpleasant emotions tickled his senses as he remembered that first meeting with Kagome. Kikyo's scent had hung in the air, he could still smell it, and he knew he couldn't have been mistaken, and yet the truth still eluded him. Ebony hair, flawless porcelain skin, albeit strange garments he had never seen before, he had been so sure that the girl who ran past had been Kikyo. His bitterness had easily resurfaced as he watched her fumble and flee from the centipede that relentlessly pursued her.
It wasn't until she was pressed against him that he realized this girl was not the one that had sealed his fate. However, it was this bumbling girl who had the power to set him free. Thinking back he could only wonder at how blindly trusting she had been; how she still was.
It had been Kaede who had saved her from his claws then. The old priestess and these damned beads. Absently clawed fingers once more touched the cursed necklace that hung about his neck. He wondered if he would have killed Kagome for the jewel. Would he have been able to look into those frightened helpless eyes of hers and … He shook his head then leaving that query unfinished. Its answer didn't matter, just another in a series of what ifs. Besides, he reasoned, as clumsy as Kagome was it wouldn't have been necessary, he could have taken the jewel without having to harm a hair on her head.
But it hadn't happened that way. And quite unexpectedly he found himself satisfied that it hadn't. Kagome may be Kikyo's reincarnation but she was an enigma all unto herself. He had known almost from the beginning that Kagome wasn't Kikyo; there were too many things that were different, too many ways that Kikyo was superior to this strange girl who possessed the soul of the woman he had both loved and despised. Despite that knowledge, Kagome had worked his way into his heart and it wasn't because she possessed Kikyo's soul.
It wasn't long after he met her that it was quite certain that this strange female was not the woman he loved. She was not a brilliant priestess who could take care of herself. She was one of the rare humans he had lost the ability to truly fend for herself. At the time he thought if she was left to her own devices her demise was more than certain. However, there was resilience to this girl; a quiet courage that he wasn't sure was stupidity or true bravery.
Memories surfaced then of that determined look set upon her face. Stubborn, yes the girl was stubborn when she set her mind to something. No matter what it was or who she faced. She had confronted his brother without fear for herself. The faith she put in his abilities astounded even him and because of her he found himself trying harder. He couldn't let anything happen to her, because without her he just wouldn't be the same.
The hanyou reasoned some might think that this young woman was trying to compete with the dead priestess. He knew the truth, whatever drove her wasn't that. The girl wanted to be herself. Kagome was well aware that she didn't have the skill or control Kikyo had but that didn't stop her from trying to fight against Naraku, his brother or any demons that stood in their way. Inuyasha quite hadn't made up his mind if she was foolish or not, but he could not but help but admire that spirit within her that drove her to fight. There was a fire in her eyes that wasn't in Kikyo's. A passion for life burned within her; that was something he had never felt from her predecessor.
Images of the two women floated through his memory then. Mentally he perused the well known features of each face noting the differences. Kikyo was always so strong, so together, so in control of her emotions. Kagome wore them openly for all to see, trusting everyone she met with a piece of her heart. Not that the late priestess didn't possess passionate sentiments, it's just she was more careful about showing them to others. She was so much like himself in that respect.
Inwardly he turned to the picture of Kagome in his mind and looked into those brown eyes. Eyes that truly mirrored all she felt, Inuyasha knew he could gaze into them forever. Trust, acceptance and an unconditional love he had not known since his mother lived shone in their depths for him. Those same eyes also flashed with anger and annoyance before she issued that annoying command. Then there were moments when her sadness and fear shone through cutting him through the heart. Moments like today. Amber eyes rested on the well and he wondered again if she'd return.
Silver locks swayed gently from side to side as the reflective hanyou shook his head in an attempt to physically put that thought from his mind. She would come back. He had no doubts that she would. How many times had he pushed her away certain that this time would be the last? The young woman always came back, even against odds that would have sent others running in the other direction.
A particular incident was immediately brought to mind then. He could still see her coming for him, tears falling from her eyes as she raced against the spider head to reach him in time. She should have left like he told her to, after all he was just a human then, he couldn't save himself there was no way he could save her. Kagome had come back though. Despite the danger she put herself in she faced it for him. He couldn't recall an instance in his long life where someone had risked their own safety for his. She had, this girl with no skills whatsoever; just a heart, a will of iron and luck, she had come back for him.
He was so certain that she'd run away when he was a mere powerless human. He didn't want to tell her, just as he didn't tell Kikyo. That was something no one living knew. His secret had died with his mother and had been passed along to Kagome. Her past incarnation was never told for fear that she would think less of him and that he wasn't sure he entirely trusted her, a fact that he now regretted. He reasoned it didn't matter anyway as he had promised to be human for her. He wondered if Kikyo would have turned away from him if she had know, would she have found him less intriguing? Questions he would now never know the answer to.
And yet now, where once it had only been his mother who had known, now the secret was kept not only by the young time traveler but a lecherous monk and a precocious kitsune. It was true that Kagome had changed his life drastically when she had come into it. For the first time since his mother had died he had a constant companion in her. Because of her she was no longer his only companion they now had Shippo and Miroku with them. A demon and a human he would never have thought such a thing possible, but somehow Kagome had managed it. Inuyasha would never admit it aloud but he knew he was glad for their company, company he would not have had if Kagome had not been there.
Inuyasha would have rather died than admit that to anyone and he fought to keep the others at a distance, scared that if he let them in one day they would be gone. He tried to get rid of them on his own terms… even going so far as to push Kagome into the well, sending her back to her own time with no way to get back. She would be safe, and so would he, because he could not take the heartbreak of watching her die, or worse yet watching her leave on her own. But she had come back, running straight into his arms concerned for his well being her first concern. And something in his hungry heart felt strangely satisfied.
Kagome accepted him for who he was… no one had truly done that since his mother. Sure she fought with him, and sat him more times than he cared to remember, but she had made it plainly clear that she wanted to be by his side. How simple it would be to just give in and be with her… but what about Kikyo?
Could he turn his back on the feelings that coursed through him when he saw her? The memories, the thoughts of what could have been assaulted his mind then. His heart still reacted the same as it had all those years ago, but still to him it was as if it were yesterday. In a way it was. The world had changed all around him; growing, expanding and he had been cocooned in a dream, a nightmare. Upon awakening he learned the truth, and everything had changed. Part of him couldn't help but wonder if this was a chance to set the past to rights.
But another part couldn't help but think that this was just another trick, another sadistic machination thought up by whatever force it was that toyed with his life thus far. Of course his choice would not be the normal which woman would you rather be with. No the two women he must choose from shared the same soul. Were they not in essence the same being? If they were why was it so important to choose?
Inuyasha sighed in defeat as the questions began to mount. This was an impossible thing he had endeavored to do, and any decision was beyond his ability as well as his inclination to make. Any choice would leave one hurt, and he found he was unable to give up either one.
So here he sat… alone… dreading that one day he would really have to choose between two women he loved. Fearing that it would be him that would choose which incarnation of a beautiful soul would survive, and which would not. Neither from the world in which he had awoken to; one dead fifty years earlier an echo of who she had been, the other from a time in the far off future an apparition of who she would one day be. He loved them both for the women they are and the soul they share. In his heart he knew there was no need to decide, fate had already decided for him. Somehow he knew that in the end he would have neither. He had lived long enough to know his lot in life was inevitable. Happiness was not for him, but he wasn't one to let fate decide, he would hold onto whatever happiness he could get along the way.
He would make no choice, for in his eyes there was none to make.
Author's Note: Just a small one shot about why Inuyasha can't choose between Kagome and Kikyo. I was inspired to write this after thinking about a fic written by PenPusherM entitled "Victim", as well as a review written by DarklessVasion for that fic which got me thinking about this. Any and all comments are welcomed, feel free to leave me an e-mail( which can be found in my bio) or a review, which ever is most convenient. Thanks for reading.