New AN: Hi all, this is Seigetsu Ren editing this story in 2015, ten years after this was initially published. At the time this was written, Inuyasha still hasn't ended, so obviously things in this fic didn't end the way it did in canon, not that it really matters, I suppose. I quite liked this story when I wrote it back then, but rereading both its contents and the notes, I find them clumsy and hilarious. I actually feel somewhat conflicted about whether I should really change everything for the better, or leave it as a memory of sorts. Still, I suppose an uploaded work should be written to the best of my ability, so here is the revised version. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, the series or any of its characters.
Countless days I have sat and waited, watching the sun rise and set as night vanished and returned in an endless cycle. The sakura bloomed and wilted, falling to the ground with the gentle breeze of spring. Then came the bright days of summer, when the trees were green, the water clear as it meandered down mountain slopes. Leaves soon turned yellow, orange and finally red, drifting in the autumn winds. At last the year ended in a cold winter, when the grounds became covered in a thick blanket of snow. Seasons came and left as I worked day after day, mending the wounds of the injured, feeding medicine to the sick. The children I taught once would grow old and weak - there would come the day when I dug their graves in the night. I left little time for rest, not only because I did not need it, but also that it would only make my mind wander. When I watched the fire, I would see it glow a beautiful red as it consumed the wood to mere embers. Its colour would remind me of your cloak, the very cloak that caressed my face and dried my tears, but its fleeting warmth would only force me to remember how long it had been since you had gone.
It had been too long. Far too long for me to keep count. Our meeting, our parting, our reunion, your leaving - all those memories seemed more like dreams on a lazy spring night now; I could hardly discern whether they were real. I was once the Miko of the Shikon no Tama, and you were the hanyou after it. I would pin you to the tree and draw the last arrow, but when I saw myself in your eyes, I would no longer have strength to let it fly.
You, seen as a monster, and I, seen as a saviour. Neither of us recognized as humans despite our weak, lonely hearts.
Maybe it was fated that we would meet and fall in love. We carved our own world into the fields known solely to us, overlooking the lake that reflected images of flaming maples warm as our wishes for the future. You would wish upon the Shikon to become a mere, mortal man, and I, its guardian, would have fulfilled my duty upon its disappearance.
But wishes were wishes because they would never come true.
The only arrow I had let fly pinned you to the goshinboku. It was then that my soul stopped, following you in death.
This should be the end. As tragic as this tale would have been to the traveller listening to it being told, it would have been complete, no pain to be felt no more. There should not have been a fifty years after. We should not have been revived again.
When you came alive again, you walked on ahead. You found friends. You found my reincarnation. You found happiness. But I could do no such thing. I died hating you. I would continue hating you. There was no moving forward for the undead.
Yet you did not understand. You clung to the dirt and ashes of who I once was, protecting this image of a love long passed. I would only bring you to hell, you know? What would it have taken to get you to let go?
Then that day came, the day that would keep replaying itself in my mind for many more seasons to come. The jewel was completed, clasped in Naraku's hand. My reincarnation and I clutched the same bow, drawing the same arrow. The last hope for humanity lay in our very hands. We shot at the Shikon, but it was not enough. He was too quick for us. Kagome tried to pull me to safety, but I had exhausted the last of my strength. His attack should've ended me.
But in the glow that met his wrath, I saw your back. Your blade had come to my rescue.
"Your life belongs to me, Kikyou. I won't give it to the likes of Naraku."
In the blinding light, everything vanished. The dark was no more, the sun rose to another day. All that remained was your red cloak and the vanishing Shikon, pink, warm, filling the soul within my empty clay body. I understood now. You had wished with all your heart that I wouldn't suffer death again. The pure wish caused the jewel to vanish, but you had lost your life in return, sacrificed yourself for me, shouldering the pain that should have been mine to endure.
Seasons come and go, I'm an immortal miko always waiting for you. Your friends have moved on, my reincarnation has returned to her time. I, alone, cannot move from that day, not because I'm dead, but because my love for you is eternal.
How I wish you too can see the seasons come and go, from here, by my side.
I am sitting under the maples, as red as your cloak, as warm as your heart. You may be gone, but I know deep down you are still here. Seasons after seasons, you live inside of me, as a dream, as a wish, as what seems so long ago it's surreal, but so true that it has given me life.
"Kikyou, my life belongs to you, I won't give it to the likes of Naraku either."
I widen my eyes. This...cannot be.
I turn to see you grinning. I see myself in the reflection off your golden orbs. I'm crying.
"Welcome home, Inuyasha."
- End -