Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi. Too bad…
Inuyasha wandered aimlessly through the forest. Three years. It had been three years since they had destroyed Naraku, since they had purified the Shikon no Tama, since they had all gone their separate ways.
It had been three years since Kagome had left him.
Oh, she hadn't meant to. She'd had every intention of staying with him. But she'd wanted to finish school. So he had let her go back to her world, and she had come to visit him, or him her, on those days she called 'weekends'. But then, after she'd finished school, she wanted to go to college. And then that school had kept her so busy that her visits with him had become shorter and longer in between. He'd no longer been welcome in her time; she was too busy with homework or exams, or she just wasn't there. So he'd waited. And waited, and waited.
She never had any time to spend with him now. It had been almost four months since he'd seen her. Just one more year, she'd told him last time they had been together. Just one more year, and she'd be finished school. But Inuyasha knew better now. After school, it would be something else. And then something else. And then something after that. He couldn't join her in her world, and so that left them worlds apart, five hundred years apart, forever apart.
So now, as he wandered through the forest, alone, so very alone, he tried to come to grips with his life. But the prospect of life alone; it scared him. He didn't want to be alone, not again. But Kagome had her own life to deal with, he couldn't ask her to come to his world and stay with him. That left him with no one. Kaede had passed away a year ago. Sango and Miroku had gone back to the slayer's village to rebuild the town and begin training new slayers. Shippo had gone with them. And Kagome was busy doing whatever it was she did in her world.
So where did that leave him?
That left him nowhere, with nothing, with no one.
His wandering finally brought him to Goshinboku, the Sacred Tree. Leaping into its sprawling branches, Inuyasha tried to find solace in the tree's silent, but somehow comforting, presence.
Curling up on a branch, he wrapped his arms around his legs and rested his chin on his knees. Closing his eyes, he struggled against the crushing waves of loneliness that threatened to overwhelm him.
In the dark of the night, the moon hiding behind the wispy clouds, the shadows that flickered around him reminded him of the shards of his shattered dreams.
He shivered, curling up tighter, trying keep himself warm. But he knew the cold he felt came from deep within, not from the icy breeze that brushed against his skin and ruffled his long silver hair. He knew the dark, consuming cold came from deep in his heart, as his soul slowly died within him.
The sunrise at the end of that long, cold night brought him no warmth. No, instead, it merely revealed all the pain that he tried to hide from in the darkness. The pain that would not leave him, not now that he had acknowledged it, not now that he had accepted it. It was a familiar pain; he knew it well. He had lived with it through nearly his entire childhood after his mother had died. But it seemed so much worse now, now that he had experienced friendship and love, and had lost it.
Smiling sadly, he wished he could cry. Perhaps that would alleviate his pain. Shaking his head, he knew there would be no relief for him. Tears would fix nothing, change nothing. All he had ever wanted, all he had ever cherished, was gone.
Thinking back over his life, Inuyasha wondered where he had gone wrong. Where? When? With whom? How? How?
So many questions. Not a single answer.
He wondered what Kagome was doing right now. He wondered if she was thinking of him, if she missed him. He missed her. He missed her with all his heart, all his soul. But deep down, though he couldn't, wouldn't, admit it, he knew that she, in all likelihood, was not thinking of him at all. And that destroyed the last remnants of his heart.
"Why?" he asked in a sad whisper. He looked up into the morning sky, the bright sunlight and happily chirping birds a paradox to his inner darkness and silent agony. "Why?" he yelled at the uncaring sky. "Why me? What did I do? What have I done to deserve this? Why me?" His voice broke, his words echoing in the suddenly silent forest. "Why?" The last word came out in a sob.
At the soft voice that whispered his name, he looked up into the eyes of the last person he had expected to see in that moment.
"Kikyo," he whispered, staring into the dark eyes of the woman he'd once loved.
She gazed up at him, her familiar scent wafting up to him on the gentle breeze.
"Inuyasha," she said again, her voice a soft caress, a whispered question.
He returned her stare with one of his own. Kikyo, the woman he had loved, who had killed him, who had been born again with a body made a clay. Kikyo, the woman who seemed to hate him, who seemed to love him, the woman who wasn't really alive, but who, at the moment, had more life left in her than him.
No. He wouldn't. He couldn't.
She waited for him. She waited for him to come to her. But he couldn't go back to her. Not after what had happened. Not with the memories still hiding in the shadows, waiting for a moment of weakness to consume him. Kikyo was the walking dead. She hated him. Didn't she?
He'd tried. He'd tried so hard. He'd tried to forget her. He'd tried to forget what they'd had, what they'd lost. He'd tired to forget the love, the happiness, the peace she'd brought to his heart. He'd tried to forget the pain of betrayal that had burned in his heart, that had burned away the love. He'd tried, and he'd nearly succeeded.
But he had no one else. And she was here. She was the only one here, the only person left for him now. The only one.
"Kikyo," he whispered again, the pain and darkness swirling in his heart. He slowly stood up on the branch, his eyes never leaving hers. "Kikyo!"
With an anguished cry, he leapt off the branch, landing in front of her. He looked deep into her eyes, searching for the love he had once seen glowing in the depths of her gaze fifty years ago.
Could he put his heart in her hands again? Did he truly want to risk having to experience that kind of pain again? Could he do anything else?
He watched her silently, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to think. Not knowing if he really wanted to remember.
Kikyo reached out a hand, her fingers brushing his cheek, brushing the tear he hadn't realized he had shed.
"Inuyasha," she whispered, her voice a soft promise. She gently wrapped her arms around his waist.
The pain and darkness faded. Ah, to be free of the pain, the loneliness, the heartache. "Kikyo." He wanted what they'd had before. He wanted to be with her. He wanted her to save him.
He raised his hand and ever so gently ran his fingertips down her cheek, his claws a caress on her skin.
He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against his chest, holding her as tightly as he could, as though she were the only thing keeping him alive. And right now, she was.
Memories flashed through his mind as he gazed into her eyes. Memories of holding her, being with her, loving her. Memories of fifty years ago. Memories of his past. Memories of them.
"Kikyo," he whispered softly, "Kikyo, I—"
She pressed one soft finger against his lips, quieting his raging emotions, calming his very heart and soul with one touch.
It swirled within him, swirled in his heart, swirled in his soul. All the pain, the loss, the loneliness, the darkness. And as it threatened to overcome him, she calmed the maelstrom of memories and emotions with her gentle presence, her loving touch. She healed his inner wounds even as they reopened.
She held on to him as he held on to her. They clung to each other, one healing the other, one comforting the other, one saving the other; their lives, their hearts, their souls entwined.
He looked deep into her eyes as the memories, the wonderful, glorious, beautiful memories flooded his mind. She'd died. She'd died fifty years ago. But they were together again. Together, just as they had wanted, together forever, in this life and the next. Wherever their paths took them, they would be together. Always and forever.
He slowly, gently, lovingly, lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers in a kiss with all the promise of the future.
Did . . . did I just write an Inuyasha/Kikyo ficlet?
:falls out of her chair in shock:
Though I'm not a fan of the Inuyasha/Kikyo pairing, I've always felt that it's important to acknowledge and attempt to understand the powerful relationship that existed between the two (before Naraku twisted their hearts for his own perverted pleasure, of course). I mean, this ficlet is always a possibility, right? . . . Right? :nervous look at the angry crowd of Inuyasha/Kagome fans advanding on her: . . . Or maybe not . . . ;-)
Dreams of your Soul, Truth of your Heart
All in the Silence of the Sky