Learn To Be Lonely
Disclaimer: Inuyasha and friends belong to their respective owners.
Summary: Inuyasha wakes from a nightmare. Unable to sleep, he takes a walk, and begins to brood. Kagome interrupts his sullen thoughts, and reminds him that the impossible is, in fact, possible.
Notes: Just for future reference, Inuyasha's mother's name is Isayoi. (I've also seen it spelled 'Izayoi'... I just prefer to spell it 'Isayoi'.) 'Hahaue' means 'mother', but I've heard it's more of an old Japanese word. (And since this is feudal Japan we're talking about here, I'm using 'hahaue'.) 'Onii-sama' is kinda like 'very respected older brother'.
Cursing goes against my religion. So, I'll say stuff like "He cursed loudly as the attack missed" or something. Or creatively use the word 'crap'. Feel free to mentally add your own expletives where you deem necessary.
So... I am in love with The Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a very nice song for the new movie, and the lyrics simply screamed "Inuyasha". Hence, this fic.
Golden eyes snapped open. A figure clad in red sat bolt upright, upsetting his equilibrium and nearly tumbling from his perch high in a tree. He took a deep breath and looked around, remembering where he was.
Inuyasha leaned back in the boughs of the tree, brushing sweaty silver bangs from his forehead. Silently, he leapt out of the tree and counted the bodies sleeping at his feet. Good, they were all still here. And they were all still breathing.
Inuyasha knew he wouldn't fall back asleep anytime soon. He sighed in vexation and decided perhaps he'd take a walk. He didn't know that one of the lumps sleeping at his feet was, in fact, no longer sleeping.
He stared at the dew-laden ground, the scenes from that nightmare beginning to replay themselves in front of his eyes. He'd been right there... He'd seen that Naraku was going to attack... He should've saved Kagome... Inuyasha sighed and placed a clawed hand over his eyes. It had just been a dream... The real final battle against Naraku would not end like that, he told himself. They would all survive.
It had just been a silly dream... He wouldn't let it affect him...
He found his mind begin to wander to days gone by; days spent safe and warm in his mother's arms. Because, if he woke in the middle of the night, she had always been there to comfort him.
But then she died... And he'd been alone. No one would ever be able to give him the comfort and security his mother had given him.
No one had come to mourn Isayoi when she died. Her Lord and lover had already died, and her family had disowned her the moment she went with Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's father. To them, she'd simply received a just punishment for falling in love with a demon.
Inuyasha had gone to Sesshomaru shortly after Isayoi died. His brother had more or less moved away from the castle Inuyasha grew up in, so it was a while before the small half-demon found his brother.
"Hahaue's dead," he said emotionlessly.
"I heard," was Sesshomaru's equally apathetic reply.
"Onii-sama... C-can I stay with you?"
Sesshomaru allowed the surprise to register on his face. "No, Inuyasha."
Pleading amber eyes met cold ones. "B-but...Please, Onii-sama... I don't have anywhere else to go..."
"Of course you don't," Sesshomaru replied. "You're a half-breed."
"I am not your brother, Inuyasha. Don't you see? You do not belong with me, nor do you belong with your mother's relatives. Because you are neither human, nor demon. You're going to be alone, Inuyasha. I suggest you get used to it."
Inuyasha turned and ran at those biting words. Though he'd never be able to truly forget the way he'd felt that day, he'd never truly been able to hate his brother. He didn't know why – Sesshomaru deserved it, didn't he?
Perhaps it was simply his human side. Perhaps he simply couldn't make himself kill his own brother. Inuyasha couldn't help but wonder at times if the same rang true for Sesshomaru.
Inuyasha had, in truth, idolized his older brother when he was very small. All he ever got in return was Sesshomaru's trademark indifference, but that didn't deter the half-demon.
Sesshomaru didn't seem to care about Inuyasha one way or another until they were older. Isayoi... She was a different story.
Whenever their father wasn't around, Sesshomaru would do all he could to make Isayoi's life miserable. Of course, Isayoi, being as protective as she was, would never let Inuyasha know.
One incident that stuck out in the half-demon's mind was once when Inuyasha and his mother had been strolling along the covered patio on a fine spring morning. They passed Sesshomaru, and he leaned over and muttered something under his breath in Isayoi's ear. She'd frozen, and Sesshomaru had walked on, an uncharacteristic smirk twisting his mouth.
Inuyasha stared up at his mother. "Hahaue... What did he say, Hahaue? What did Onii-sama say?"
She smiled and shook her head. "N-nothing."
"Did he say... 'whore'? What's that word mean, Hahaue? Did Onii-sama say that to be mean?"
The smile never wavered. "No, darling. He said nothing of the sort."
What Sesshomaru really said to Isayoi, Inuyasha would never know. Nor would he ever truly know why Sesshomaru had hated Inuyasha's mother so much. Inuyasha had learned, however, that Sesshomaru had been an exceedingly spoiled child. He got what he wanted, when he wanted it.
But then there was the war, the war that killed Sesshomaru's demon mother. And Sesshomaru hadn't really grown a day since then.
Perhaps his childish mind laid the blame of his mother's death on Isayoi. Perhaps he couldn't get used to not having what he wanted when he wanted it.
At any rate, Isayoi did all she could to protect her son from the cruel comments of Sesshomaru, and others. She would hide him away from the rest of the world, which only made him yearn for freedom even more.
So she'd relented... And Inuyasha learned the word "half-breed".
He would never forget that day... He would never forget how she'd kneeled before him and pulled him close, crying into his hair. That was when it had crashed in on her. Her son belonged nowhere. They were shunned; both of them, and there was nothing she could do. Nothing would ever protect Inuyasha from the stares and the whispered comments.
Her health declined steadily from that incident onward.
...Had it been his fault? Had he killed her with his never-ending questions, his refusal to stay inside like a good little boy?
Had he killed her merely by existing?
A hand reached out and scratched behind his ears. Hahaue... She thought his ears were adorable... Scratching them calmed him instantaneously...
His mind still in the past, Inuyasha leaned his head back. "I didn't mean to kill her," he said mournfully.
"Kill who, Inuyasha?"
The half-demon jerked his head forward. He whirled around to face a startled Kagome. "D-don't sneak up on me like that!" he growled.
Why had she been able to sneak up on him? He had terribly keen senses, after all.
But he knew why he hadn't noticed Kagome. It was the strawberries.
Kagome smelled overwhelmingly like strawberries. It was that scented lotion stuff she used on her hair... And Inuyasha loved strawberries.
He'd been quite young... And he'd been hungry. There was that field, and the sun was directly overhead... The child half-demon panted in the heat. The field was full of sweet, succulent strawberries. Just one or two... So he'd leapt over the fence and had just bitten into his first strawberry, juice running down his chin, when he heard shouts and felt something heavy struck across his back.
Angry men were dragging him away into a forest, cuffing him... "Please, that's enough," a timid, feminine voice spoke up... "It's just a whelp..."
"Not worth it..." a man grunted, and dropped Inuyasha in a heap on the ground. "Let's go."
"Inuyasha? Earth to Inuyasha..." Kagome's brown eyes were concerned. "What are you thinking about?"
He was thinking of the rest of the strawberry story.
He didn't know how long he'd stayed there in that heap on the ground.
Night was falling when he heard hesitant footsteps. He raised his head slightly, and there was a woman standing there, something in her hands. She knelt down in front of him. "U-um...I..."
Inuyasha recognized that voice. It was the woman from today, the one who'd asked the man to stop beating the half-demon. He blinked the sweat and dirt out of his eyes. She'd brought him food.
But Inuyasha paid no mind to that. He was looking up at the woman, at the fear in her eyes. "G-go away..." he growled. He slowly pushed himself up. "Get out of here!" he barked, louder this time. "I don't need your pity!"
She jumped to her feet and began backing away, fearful. Without warning, she turned on her heel and ran.
Inuyasha stared at the food she'd brought him, and his stomach rumbled in response. No... He wouldn't eat it; he wouldn't... Because the one thing he detested as much as weakness was pity...
But before he even knew what he was doing, he'd seized a fish and was devouring it, bitter tears running down his face.
Inuyasha rarely thought of his mother, or of his old life after that day. Because after that day, the need to survive was his only thought.
Back in the present, Kagome was still waiting for an answer. Inuyasha wanted to tell her. He wanted to tell her about the dream, tell her about being alone... He even wanted to pull her close, and ask her never to leave him...
"It's nothing," he said roughly.
"C'mon," Kagome wheedled. "You'll feel better if you talk about it... I'll be your shoulder to cry on, Inuyasha!" she added brightly. "Well...Not literally, considering you don't cry..."
"Just get out of my face," Inuyasha growled. "I don't need your pity, alright!"
Kagome looked shock for only a moment. Then, silently, stonily, she straightened up. "I see. Sorry I bothered you."
Inuyasha's eyes widened as she began to turn around. She hadn't even taken a step before Inuyasha's hand shot out and seized her wrist. She inhaled sharply and turned, expecting to see his teeth bared, his eyes furious. Her expression softened considerably, however, when she noticed his expression.
"Don't leave yet, okay?" he said, surprising Kagome with the softness of his voice and eyes.
"Alright, I won't," she said just as softly, sitting next to him again.
"So...you're mad at me, aren't you?" he mumbled.
She smiled. "Nope." 'When he says it like that, how could I be mad at him?' she asked herself.
"So... What were you thinking about, Inuyasha? Who is it that you didn't kill?" Kagome tried again. She'd just gotten a peek of what was under the mask, and her curiosity was piqued, darnit!
He mumbled something.
"Uh...I didn't quite catch that..."
"Hahaue," he repeated, a little louder this time.
Kagome blinked. "Of course you didn't kill your mother," she said in surprise, leaning over onto his shoulder.
He sighed and smiled wryly to himself. Of course she'd say that... Because she didn't understand, and he doubted that he'd ever be able to make her understand.
However... Even though she was only saying it, Kagome's words comforted him slightly.
He slowly laid his head on top of hers. It was true... No one would ever be able to give him the same comfort his mother had given him. But Kagome came pretty darn close.
"And I had this dream," he said suddenly.
"You mean...a nightmare?" Kagome asked.
"Keh!" he said, after a pause. "I don't have nightmares..."
Kagome smiled to herself. That was the Inuyasha she knew.
"It just...made me think, that's all," he said uncomfortably.
"What happened in the dream?" Kagome cajoled patiently.
Much to her surprise, Inuyasha immediately yielded to telling her. "We were fighting Naraku... It was our final battle against him; don't ask how I knew that, but I did. Only, somehow... We seriously underestimated him, Kagome. S-so... You all died. He was coming straight at me, and then I woke up."
"Keh... I dream about death too much... And I'm sick of it, too-"
He froze. Arms were snaking around his waist. Kagome was burying her head in the softness of his fire-rat robe. "Don't worry, Inuyasha," she said into the cloth, her voice muffled. "When we finally do fight Naraku for the last time, it won't turn out like that. We'll all be okay in the end."
Inuyasha pulled Kagome close. "I know that, stupid!" he burst out. "I just...
"I don't want to go back to that time... That time when I was alone..."
She let go of him and looked into his eyes. She smiled. "Don't worry, Inuyasha. You won't be alone anymore."
"Yeah, yeah..." he said roughly, turning red with embarrassment now that the moment was over.
For a few moments, the two sat in silence. "Hey, you're shivering," Inuyasha said suddenly. Kagome shrugged, hugging herself. Indeed, she was wearing nothing but her pajamas, which consisted of a loose pair of pants and a t-shirt.
"I-It's not that bad," she told him.
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah... Try telling me that when you have to go back to your time with another cold..." Without giving her a chance to protest, he pulled her into his lap.
She held herself rigidly for a moment, before relaxing in Inuyasha's warm grip.
'I'm not alone,' Inuyasha thought defiantly as Kagome drifted into sleep, still safe in his lap. 'I've got to stop forgetting that...'
He couldn't help but think to the last time he'd held someone in his arms and thought he wasn't alone. 'Not like Kikyou,' he decided, looking down at Kagome. 'Kagome's a violent maniac, for one thing...' But it was impossible to really feel that way now as Inuyasha looked down at her, her face peaceful in repose.
And then somehow he was leaning down, his lips touching hers in a brief, chaste kiss.
Yup...definitely not Kikyou.
Never thought there'd be someone like Kagome to cry for him, to fight alongside him, to fight with him... Never thought there'd be people like the others of their misfit group. Never thought he wouldn't be alone.
A triumphant, ridiculous smile spread across his face. 'So there...'