Okay... BIG EDIT!
The last chapter! Thank you all for the support throughout this story!
Remember Me Always
Summary: Three little words he spoke to another broke her heart in ways he would never know. It's painful for her to remember him. She wants desperately to forget. And with the completed shikon no tama in her hands... she can. InuKag
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of the characters from the series.
"Why do you still have your soul?" she blurted out before thinking.
Kikyo laughed cruelly. "You think I really needed to have you killed so I could steal your soul and use it like I told Inuyasha?" Kagome shuddered. "Foolish girl," the dead miko spat out pityingly. "I merely wanted you to get the punishment you deserved for trying to take Inuyasha away from me." Kikyo smiled cruelly. "I could just imagine your torn look when Inuyasha ripped your life away from you like I suspected he did to me years ago."
Kikyo's face paled for a moment. "It is one of the worst feelings, being betrayed by someone you love so deeply."
She turned to Kagome. "However although my plan with Inuyasha did not come into effect, it does not affect me negatively at all. For you see, I have long since already conjured a spell to bind the stolen souls within me in a way that you cannot interfere with."
Kagome desperately tugged inwardly at her feet, urging herself to move.
"Save your energy," Kikyo spat out coldly. "You will not be leaving alive."
With that, she cast her blood-encrusted blade at Kagome's throat.
Kagome sucked in her breath as the tip penetrated her skin.
'Inuyasha!' her mind screamed out, but it was too late.
She felt warm blood generously gushing down her neck.
She was dying.
Kikyo had killed her.
Kagome gasped inwardly as she felt the all too real dagger-tip puncture the base of her neck, causing her to emit a choked, silent noise of eminent struggle.
She couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't scream, not even for her life.
She realized with an overwhelming fear that there was no way Inuyasha, the one person she always looked to for protection and assurance, could save her this time.
Warm, crystalline tears overflowed from her frightened brown eyes in one cascading motion, and dribbled helplessly down her face to splatter softly onto the ground by her feet, where the tears were immediately swallowed up by the soil, unheard and unheeded.
Kikyo watched silently as the girl pathetically attempted to restrain her tears.
A wave of satisfaction washed over Kikyo's earthen heart.
At last it was Kagome's tears that fed into the hungry, waiting ground, and not her own.
Kikyo cherished the moment; watching her rival suffer the ultimate, slow death, while she watched from the side.
She silently wondered if Inuyasha might come sauntering along any time soon. She definitely did not deny expecting it.
Kikyo grunted, feeling some of the old hurt creep back inside of her. She could not believe that Inuyasha had deserted her for that cheap replacement. The dead miko shot Kagome a hateful glare.
She stepped forward and shoved the still dagger deeper into the girl's neck.
Kagome's eyes widened and appeared at the brim of bursting. Kikyo frowned in disgust, knowing full well what a shrieking racket would be terrorizing the meadow at that moment, if she had not sealed the bleeding girl with a spell that prevented all movement and speech.
Kagome regarded the dead miko before her in incredulity, finding it hard to believe that someone who had been as deeply loved by Inuyasha as Kikyo had been could ever be so cruel.
"This is just what you deserve, you little whore," Kikyo hissed uncharacteristically, venom poisoning her already hateful words.
Kagome suddenly felt a feeling of ultimate nausea wallow up in her throat, washing over her like an unstoppable illness.
She could not think of a time when she had felt any weaker.
Even Kikyo, whose shield of tranquility had been formed over an expanse of many years; even Kikyo shuddered in surprise as a generous amount of blood suddenly spewed from Kagome's mouth.
The girl's bright eyes suddenly went out.
Kikyo walked forward and checked the girl's pulse from the side of her bleeding neck.
Kagome was dead.
Kikyo looked somewhat disbelievingly at her own hands, blood-encrusted. She knew that the blood stains seeping into her fingernails, like guilt, would never been truly washed away.
She had killed the detestable girl at last.
Inuyasha was all her own now.
This was the moment she had been waiting for. The moment she had been anticipating for more than fifty years. She could finally be together with Inuyasha again.
She had her heart back. She could finally love Inuyasha once more.
But a muffled, choked voice inside her head came out of seemingly years of hiding and shrieked in disappointment.
Kikyo was not a woman who killed harmless, unarmed people.
A few stray tears wandered from the dead miko's pain-stricken eyes as she realized something that hit her like a sharp spear being thrust into her heart.
The Kikyo that Inuyasha was familiar with would never be so cruel as to kill an innocent girl like Kagome.
The woman whom Inuyasha had known and loved was a kind miko who helped others and saved people from death.
And here, Kikyo had just sent someone into death.
Kikyo slammed a clenched fist into the ground, not even wincing as numerous pebbles, like little miniature daggers, pierced into her skin.
She was not the same Kikyo whom Inuyasha had loved.
Kikyo eyed her bloody knuckles.
She was a fake.
Before she even knew what was happening, she had stood up and found her way to stand in front of the blindly staring girl frozen still as a statue in the middle of the meadow.
Kikyo frowned and pulled the bloody dagger out of Kagome's neck in one heave.
Suddenly, she heard a crunch of leaves behind her.
She whirled around expectantly.
"What… have you done?"
Tears now flowed freely from Kikyo's desiccated eyes.
"Inuyasha," she murmured, falling to the ground in a heap of grief.
The hanyou disregarded her and, in one bound, leapt in front of Kagome.
"K-kagome?" Inuyasha stumbled on his words in a most uncharacteristic way as he attempted to lock gazes with the girl's empty eyes.
But she always seemed to be looking at something beyond him.
Inuyasha frantically grasped Kagome's hands and wrapped them inside his own.
"You're cold," he muttered in a low voice.
A sudden cry caused Inuyasha to turn around.
Kikyo laughed bitterly. "After all that I did for you, Inuyasha, you still chose to love her."
"What did you do to her?" Inuyasha demanded, his eyes flashing red for a moment. He caught hold of tetsusaiga, tied at his waist. His eyes immediately relaxed back into their golden color.
The hanyou unsheathed his sword and held it threateningly close to Kikyo's neck.
The dead miko eyed Inuyasha warily, before sighing. "Do what you must. However, I must say, I cannot believe that it has come to this between us." Kikyo closed her eyes quietly, but one tear slipped through to flow down her face.
"Why did you kill her?" Inuyasha mumbled.
Kikyo opened her eyes slowly.
"This was between us," Inuyasha growled softly. "She was innocent!"
The woman eyed Inuyasha scornfully. "Innocent? How could she be innocent when she took you away from me?"
"Just undo your spell," the hanyou commanded, a growl at his lips.
Kikyo carefully scrutinized Inuyasha.
"Is she that important to you?" the dead miko whispered softly. "More important to you than me? More…" Kikyo locked glances with Inuyasha, her eyes tainted with a miserable sadness. "More precious?"
Never had déjà vu hit Inuyasha so hard. He vaguely remembered that moonlit night many years ago, when Kikyo had asked him something very similar before sinking into the ground.
He had been unable to answer back then, but he had had a long time to think since then, and a decision had finally formed inside of him.
Inuyasha nodded slowly.
"I'm sorry, Kikyo," he added after a moment of hesitation, seeing the woman's frozen look.
Kikyo stood up and eyed him distantly.
"That is your decision, Inuyasha, and I suppose nothing I say can ever change it." Her voice was cold, and her tone was foreign to the hanyou before her.
Kikyo turned to face the direction where ten feet away, Kagome was standing still as a statue.
Kikyo held up a hand and thrust it forward into the air.
A torrent of wind seemed to form from her palm, and when it hit Kagome, the girl crumpled onto the ground in a heap, finally released from the spell that had bound her.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha leapt to the fallen girl's side.
"How could you do this?" Inuyasha turned to Kikyo accusingly while settling Kagome gently in his arms.
"The Kikyo I knew never would have done anything like this!"
Kikyo clutched a hand at the base of her neck in a sudden scorch of pain and inner struggle.
"I… tried to be perfect for you, Inuyasha," she whispered softly, tears pricking at her eyes. Kikyo looked at the ground. "I wanted to be the perfect woman for you, because I believed that you deserved no less."
Kikyo lifted her head to reveal her tearstained face as she stared at Inuyasha accusingly.
"But while I tried to protect our love, you did not!" Kikyo pointed at Kagome. "You let that girl come between us!"
"You still didn't need to kill her!" Inuyasha shouted back. "You could have found another way. You could've told me!"
"I did try," Kikyo replied quietly. "I tried to tell you, Inuyasha, of how I detested it when I saw you and her," Kikyo nodded towards Kagome, "together. But you never gave me a chance! You never took my hints."
"So you killed her because of that?" Inuyasha said incredulously. He stood up, letting Kagome rest on the ground gently. He moved a hand to the hilt of his sword.
"She is NOT DEAD!" Kikyo screamed back at the hanyou, unable to contain her grief any longer.
Inuyasha stopped in his tracks.
He watched in confusion as Kikyo crumpled onto the ground, sobbing pitifully. He had never seen this side of the miko.
She had always been calm and always seemed to have things under control.
Inuyasha crouched down next to Kikyo, searching for an answer in her glossy, tearstained eyes.
He was beginning to see the tortured, miserable woman hidden behind the perfect mask.
"If Kagome isn't dead, then what's happened to her?" Inuyasha asked.
"I conjured this dagger," Kikyo gasped between sobs, pointing at the bloody blade sitting on the ground beside her. "Not long ago, I discovered a spell that could enable one to switch worlds with someone else."
Inuyasha listened intently, impatient to know how to restore Kagome, but unwilling to push the tortured woman before him any further. He could see easily how much she was fighting, but he knew that she was dangerously on edge.
"I cast that spell on this dagger, so that when I stabbed Kagome with it," Kikyo began, "she would switch worlds with me. I should have been in the world of the dead these past few years, and the spell recognized this. Thus, Kagome has been cast into the world of the dead, where I should have been, and I have been brought to the world of the living, where Kagome had previously been. The spell can only be used once by a person, so I cannot reverse the spell."
"World of the living?" Inuyasha muttered. "Then-"
"I am truly alive right now. I am able to breathe again," Kikyo whispered, a few more tears brimming over her eyes. "I have a real, beating heart at this moment. I suppose that is why I'm hurting so much. I had a hopeless hope that we could be together again."
Inuyasha looked away. "If Kagome's in the world of the dead, then isn't she dead?"
"Choose, Inuyasha." An expression of pain crossed Kikyo's customarily emotionless face. "Me or Kagome. This is the last time. I will not ask you again." Kikyo let her last bit of hope show in her shaky voice.
Inuyasha locked gazes with the miko before him.
"I'm sorry, Kikyo," he muttered. "But I-"
Inuyasha's speech was interrupted when Kikyo placed two cold fingers on his lips.
"You do not need to explain, Inuyasha," she whispered. "I just want you to know…" she looked into the hanyou's eyes. "I will love you always and forever. Even if I cannot stay by your side anymore, I still want you to…" Kikyo grunted in pain.
"Kikyo!" Inuyasha shouted in shock. He stared down at where Kikyo had wrapped her hands around one of his. Together, their intertwined fingers held a dagger that was plunged deep into Kikyo's stomach.
"I-I still w-want you to know that I will a-always love y-you," Kikyo gasped as she collapsed into Inuyasha's arms, blood gushing from her wound.
"Why did you do this?" Inuyasha muttered in a low voice.
Kikyo smiled sadly, her face already paler than usual. "The only way to reverse the spell I cast on that dagger is for me to die. Once the conjurer of the spell dies, the spell is rendered ineffective. Kagome will be back with you after I breathe my last breath."
Inuyasha closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them, they were slightly gleaming.
Kikyo reached a hand up to brush away the small, almost unnoticeable tear starting at Inuyasha's eyes.
"You will be able to see the girl you love again," Kikyo whispered. "That is reason to be happy."
Inuyasha hastily held Kikyo up into a sitting position. "We have to get you to Kaede," he muttered, beginning to stand up. "She might be able to save you."
"She will not be able to now," Kikyo said softly.
Inuyasha looked down at the woman in horror as he saw that her hand was around the hilt of the dagger, which she had plunged even further into her stomach.
The hanyou bent down hurriedly.
"I want you to be happy, Inuyasha," Kikyo smiled slightly, then wincing in obvious pain. "I was dead once anyway; I belong to the world of the dead already. What better way to die again than in the arms of my one and only true love?"
Inuyasha hastily held Kikyo more securely in his arms.
"We really should go back," he urged her, slightly frantic now. "Kaede really might be able to save you!"
Kikyo wrapped her hand more firmly around the dagger's hilt.
The hanyou growled. "Don't be stubborn. I'm being serious."
"As am I," Kikyo whispered sadly. "Make my leaving moment a happy one… please."
Inuyasha growled, then joined the miko to sit down.
"I'm so sorry, Kikyo," he whispered, holding her tighter. "I'm too weak. I couldn't protect you or Kagome."
Kikyo closed her eyes, but she was unable to restrain the tears that came washing through her eyelashes.
"Thank you for not killing Kagome," Inuyasha finally said quietly.
Kikyo's eyes remained closed, but her lips formed a slight smile.
"You could've just killed her instead of the whole spell thing," Inuyasha muttered. "But you spared her life."
Kikyo opened her eyes. "I suppose this means I am not yet cruel enough to kill people, then?" she said softly. "Perhaps there is still some of the old, kind Kikyo you loved left in me?"
Inuyasha smiled slightly – he didn't smile often, and Kikyo cherished it.
"Yeah," he muttered.
"That is all I want," Kikyo whispered. She smiled and closed her eyes again. A tear trailed from the corner of her eye.
After a moment of hesitation, Inuyasha spoke again, shifting Kikyo slightly in his arms.
"Kikyo, do you think things could've been a lot different between us today if Naraku had never tricked us?" Inuyasha asked quietly.
When Kikyo did not answer, Inuyasha shook her slightly.
Suddenly, Inuyasha heard someone move a few feet behind him.
The said hanyou turned around immediately, to lock gazes with Kagome, who was sitting up and rubbing her eyes in confusion. There was no sign on her neck showing that she had been knifed to death just a few minutes ago.
"Kagome," Inuyasha returned.
Kagome stood up and walked towards the crouching hanyou.
"Wha…?" she whispered softly, gesturing at where Kikyo had been lying in Inuyasha's arms.
Inuyasha looked down and saw that, where Kikyo had previously been, there was only a pile of scattered earth.
Inuyasha stood up slowly, trying not to disturb Kikyo's remains.
"I guess Kikyo is gone, then," Inuyasha muttered, his voice slightly cracked.
"What?" Kagome inquired, standing closer to Inuyasha to listen. "What did you say?"
Inuyasha turned to Kagome. "You don't remember what happened?" he asked her curiously.
"Don't remember what?" Kagome replied, frowning. "Did I fall asleep here or something? I meant to find you breakfast."
"No," Inuyasha said quietly.
"Is there something on your mind?" Kagome inquired, watching the hanyou carefully.
"Kikyo is gone," Inuyasha said heavily. "She died… for me."
Kagome glanced back at the pile of soil on the ground. "That can't have been… Kikyo?" she whispered seriously.
Kagome was about to ask the hanyou what happened, but, upon seeing his worn expression, she decided not to push any further.
"Should we… erm… bury her or something?" Kagome suggested.
The hanyou shook his head. "That pile of earth isn't her real body. This pile of earth made up a body that only allowed Kikyo to hate, and she experienced a lot of pain through it. I don't think she'd want this pile of earth to be kept as a souvenir of her pain. It'll probably only let her remember all her sorrow. No, let the wind carry it away."
Kagome nodded slowly.
"What… happened, exactly?" she asked softly after a moment's hesitation, placing a hand comfortingly on Inuyasha's arm.
"It's a long story," the hanyou muttered. "I'll tell you later."
"Okay," Kagome agreed immediately, not wanting to linger too long on this subject that seemed to cause Inuyasha a lot of pain.
"Let's go back to the village," Inuyasha suggested.
"Yeah," Kagome nodded. "Oh… and, could I…"
Kagome stopped walking.
Inuyasha turned around to face her.
"Can you let me go back to see my family?" Kagome pleaded. "They're probably really worried about me. I haven't seen them in over a month!"
Inuyasha gave a nod of consent. "Fine. But only because you're gonna come back soon." Inuyasha drew his face closer to Kagome's so that their noses were touching. "You are gonna come back soon, right?" he scowled slightly at her.
Kagome pushed her face a little bit closer to Inuyasha's.
"Of course! How could I not? I'm missing you already!" Kagome laughed.
Inuyasha suddenly used one hand to push Kagome's chin closer towards his own, so that their lips joined.
At first, Kagome let Inuyasha lead her into the kiss, but when she was ready, she deepened it, hungry for more.
When at last they broke apart to breathe, Kagome allowed herself to fall into Inuyasha's strong arms.
She just felt so safe when she was with him.
Kagome smiled with her eyes closed. She loved everything about him; his smell, his touch… everything.
Being with him was exhilaration.
"You'd better bring me some ramen from your side of the well!" Inuyasha suddenly commanded, waking Kagome from her fantasies of spending the rest of her life with the hanyou.
Kagome pulled back from the hanyou and frowned playfully at him.
"You know just how to ruin a romantic moment, don't you, Inuyasha!" Kagome pouted.
Inuyasha raised an eyebrow. "We were having a romantic moment?" He scowled. "Well, who would've guessed that I'd ever have a romantic moment with a wench like you?"
"SIT!" Kagome screeched, looking annoyed.
"OW!" Inuyasha complained, waiting for the spell to wear off so that he could stand up again. "I thought you forgot how to do that when you forgot everything else!"
Kagome laughed. "Well, I guess I didn't wish hard enough, 'cause I'm regaining my memory pretty fast!"
Inuyasha stood up. "What?" he inquired seriously.
"What what?" Kagome asked, still grinning.
The hanyou looked at her strangely. "You said something about wishing…?"
"Does this have something to do with the disappearance of the shikon no tama?" Inuyasha asked urgently.
Kagome took a deep breath. "Well, you see…" she began, nervous under Inuyasha's intense stare. "Ijustrememberedthatimadeawishtoforgetallaboutyou," she said hastily.
Kagome took another deep breath. "I just remembered that I made a wish to forget all about you," she said softly. A brief look of hurt crossed Inuyasha's face.
"This was a while ago!" Kagome assured him.
"Oh," Inuyasha replied.
"It was because I heard you tell Kikyo you loved her," Kagome said sadly. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have acted so rashly."
Inuyasha put a hand to Kagome's lips, but Kagome brushed it away forcefully.
"You need to understand," she continued, tears starting at her eyes. "I could've lost you forever!" Kagome started to tremble slightly. "I-it's all my fault! I never would've forgiven myself if making that wish hadn't led me to you again." Kagome looked up into Inuyasha's golden orbs. "But I could've lost you forever, Inuyasha!" she gave into sobbing pitifully.
Suddenly, she felt Inuyasha's strong arms encircle her.
"You think I would've allowed you to do that?" the hanyou's low voice reprimanded the girl in his embrace.
"I love you, Inuyasha," Kagome told him softly, raising her face from his chest. "That's never gonna change. If anything, after I forgot about my love for you before, I fell in love with you all over again. And if you don't believe me, then-"
Inuyasha cut off her speech when he placed his lips firmly on hers.
When he drew back, he found himself face to face with a breathless Kagome.
Kagome looked into the hanyou's eyes.
"We're a long way from truly understanding each other, but we're on the right track," Inuyasha muttered quietly. He took Kagome's hand in his own.
Inuyasha looked at Kagome curiously. "What?" he asked.
"We have to make a promise. It forms the beginnings of a relationship. You first," Kagome said seriously.
Inuyasha raised an eyebrow.
"Okay… Then I promise I'll try my best from now on to understand your strange girl ways," Inuyasha said.
"Right. And I promise… to love you and remember you always. You'll be in my heart forever," Kagome said solemnly.
"Yours sounds better than mine," Inuyasha grumbled. "How the hell do you think of these cheesy lines?"
Kagome laughed. "It comes naturally. You're way too un-romantic."
It was Inuyasha's turn to laugh. "That's why I need you to balance it out, wench."
Kagome's faced turned as red as a tomato.
"SIT! SIT! SIT! SIT! SIT!"
WOOT!!!!! My first finished fanfic! Thank you all for all the support throughout this story! Please review! Thanks!