Summary: Together forever.
This, too, shall pass.
In the time before memory, they tumbled over a cliff, fighting and scratching, filled with famished, mindless need.
It was an accident, and it was because of a cut of meat. He was so hungry, so hungry, and she had food. She was already devouring it, so he attacked and she struck back. It was a time of poor hunting, and between them hung the precious carcass, limp and sad, bedraggled fur and bloody skin.
They fought, and then they fell, because of a rabbit.
And that was the first time.
The next time, he wanted her, and she didn't want him.
That did not matter, so he tangled his spidery fingers in her hair and dragged her away. She didn't fight, but waited for him to seal his own fate with the kiss of bodies before she sank the stone knife through his belly.
He strangled her as he died with his body poured out and empty, crushing her soft throat, watching the light fade from her eyes.
And that was the second time.
Time and time again, they find each other.
The first time he remembers, he sees her from across a field. He knows her name and has seen her every day of his life, but this time he feels the wounds she made in his flawless flesh.
He runs, runs, runs, for years. Becomes an outcast, remembers her killing him, remembers dying again and again until he comes full circle, back where he started.
One day, insane and hungry, he steals bread. In his escape, he kills a child. Another accident, a sharp shove, a sharp corner, and then crimson wet seeping into the ground.
It is she who finds him hiding in that old abandoned hut, she who shrieks his secret, and he is filled with righteous arrows as he screams and drives through her with a broken, rusty sword.
The next time he remembers, he takes her as his wife.
This time, he thinks. This time, I will not kill her.
This time, she will love me.
They kiss and fumble in the dark, and she dies in childbirth.
In a stream, she crawls through his open veins, strangles his heart, and he dies cold and alone.
Time and time again after that, they find each other, and he remembers. Unable to stray, he treads the endless, circling road, chasing his shadow into the dark, and out again.
A beautiful whore this life, and he a proud warrior. She looks familiar the first time he sees her exhibiting her wares, but it is the second time he glimpses her smile when he is hit with recollection. Furious, he buys her, intending to punish her for all the wrong she's done to him.
And then she remembers, and when she does she kisses him hard, even though he's given up.
"Save us," he says to her, parting her creamy thighs, falling into her. "End this."
"I'm trying," she tells him, drawing him in, every curve of her body filled with compassion and sadness, each soft smile hopeful and new. She sobs gently, sweetly, as he moves inside her.
"I'm trying. I'm trying."
She is bloated with disease, and so when he fills her up, he kills them both.
The next time she remembers, they are betrothed. Their first meeting, their wedding night, and she brims with pain and kisses him tenderly.
"I know you," she murmurs, snaking her way inside his clothing. "We are meant to be."
Too tired to argue, too tired to fight, he kisses her back.
"This time," she promises. "This time it will work."
"Yes," he lies.
But in this life he's corrupt, rotten inside and out, too angry to be good, too exhausted to try. When she can't take it any longer, knows she can't save him, tap, tap, a poison in his drink. Foam drips from his silent mouth, and he slits her perfect white thoat as his own body turns on itself.
Time and time again, they open their eyes, remember, fight, and fall.
Again the memory comes back. He hates her. He is so tired of seeing her face, wants her to die this time so that he may continue.
Escape, he thinks. Escape.
Burned and twisted at the bottom of a cave, he cannot move. He has to look at her beautiful form, whether he wants to or not.
Time to end this.
Through with suffering, he gives up his humanity, just to be free of her.
She dies, and he lives on.
Fifty years later and she's back again, looking for his death, and he wants to scream.
When the road reaches its end, just before it loops again, he calls out her name beneath the killing moon.
"Kagome," he says. His voice sounds like the dull roar of a storm on the ocean of the world, and it is and is not her name, for they gather and discard names like dark garments though underneath they are always the same. They will always be the same, no matter what names they wear, and each will always know the other.
At the sound, her eyes widen, and he can see that she is floating through eternity again. Once more, he is with her.
The waters of forever are cold and deep, and there are few who may cross them. Chained together, they always reach the other side, no matter how desperately they try to drown.
"No," she whispers. "Please, no."
With cold, hollow fingers, he loosens his clothing, and bares his skin to her.
She chokes and lets her arrow fly, running to him as he dissipates.
This time, she cries in the center of his nothingness.
Kagome returns home, and wonders if it's over. She places her bow and arrows next to her bed, just in case.
Only a year later, she is still sleeping in the bed in which she spent her childhood, and he slides through the window and crawls in beside her. She knows it is him. She would know him anywhere.
Turning in the circle of his arms to face him, she tries not to cry.
"It didn't work, did it?" she asks, though the fact that he is there is the answer.
He replies anyway. "No," he sighs into her hair. "It didn't."
"I'm done," she says around the lump in her throat.
"Me, too," he tells her.
He looks down at her wide, despairing eyes. She looks so lost in the darkness, and he hates her and loves her and just wants to go to sleep in her arms and never wake up again.
A single tear slides down her cheek, and he licks it away. "Tomorrow," he whispers.
She nods and burrows into his embrace.
They stay entwined until the blood-red morning breaks upon them and they rise. With bitter adoration, they complete their story once again.
Together again they fall into slumber beneath the crimson sun.
They wake up in a new life, the same as all the others.
When she is five, she meets him again on a playground. She is wearing a pink dress, and he is wearing thin cotton shorts that show his bruised legs.
"Where'd you get those bruises?" she asks, pointing.
He kicks a pebble angrily. "None of your business," he mutters.
She is bright and sweet. "Okay!" she tells him. "I brought my lunch. Want some?"
He stares at her.
Together they sit under a tree and split an apple. When they are finished, she reaches out and grabs his hand.
Their fingers curl around each other, holding fast as she pulls him to his feet, and they walk side by side.
She smiles at him, and he at her, in the time before memory.