Remember Me DISCLAIMER I: Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairytale is the property of Rumiko Takahashi. PrincessMelissa83 does not own any rights/licenses/copywrites to Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairytale.
DISCLAIMER I: Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairytale is the property of Rumiko Takahashi. PrincessMelissa83 does not own any rights/licenses/copywrites to Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairytale.
DISCLAIMER II: Lyrics and music to Remember Me are performed by Journey for the Motion Picture, Armegeddon. The fic was originally done to those lyrics. Because of the new rules at this cite, I have removed the lyrics but a version with the lyrics can be found at my mediaminor(.)org cite.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I was never really happy with the sequel that I did to Probably Wouldn't Be This Way and so I decided that it was time that I rewrote it. I think I like this version a lot better. There will, eventually, be a third part to it. Just don't hold your breath. And of course, please read and review!
He stood in the doorway of a hut, looking into the darkened room at the single object that was housed there. He was aware of the fact that this wasn't his body, that he was looking through the eyes of another, but he could not, even with his best efforts, control the actions of this person.
A small, glowing orb caught his attention and he moved towards it. The pearl hung from a beaded necklace on a pedestal and he ripped it away, clenching the sharp beads in his fist. The person spoke, but the words were muffled as if coming through a thick layer of wall and he could not understand what was said.
Something behind him caught his attention and he looked back before making an enormous leap and crashing through the roof of the hut and bounding past an angry mob towards a line of trees. He was vaguely aware that the buildings behind him were on fire, but it didn't seem to matter.
He had just touched ground and was beginning to sprint away when someone called to him. In mid leap, he turned to see the figure of a gorgeous woman with black hair, dressed in ancient miko garb. But what really caught his attention was the arrow, pulled taunt and aimed directly at him.
Things seemed to go in slow motion. He tried to dodge, but he'd been in the air at the time and had no way to alter his course. She screamed something that he didn't hear and let the arrow fly. With horrified eyes, he watched as the deadly shaft spun in its flight before finally colliding with his chest, just above his heart. The momentum shoved him backwards, knocking him into a tree where the arrow embedded itself and kept him pinned.
Liquid fire ran through his veins and, if he'd had the energy, he'd have screamed. The pearl he'd been clutching in his hand fell as his muscles began to relax from the electric current that seemed to be jolting through him. He tried to speak, to demand a reason, to plead for help, but his voice was a mere croak and he couldn't form the words.
So this is death, he thought as his eyes drifted closed and the last of his breath left his body.
Koinu sat up, looking for all the world like a scared jack-in-the-box. Black hair, damp with perspiration, clung to his forehead and neck as he gasped for breath, clutching a hand to his chest. He had the dream again - the same nightmare that had been repeating in his mind since the accident.
He would never admit it to anyone - in fact, he'd never even told anyone about the recurring nightmare because he didn't want to seem weak - but it scared him. Unlike his usual nighttime visions where he could wake up and allow them to fade into a fog of forgotten memory, this delusion stayed with him always. And worse, when awakened, he could still feel the pain of the steel tipped arrow for nearly an hour afterwards.
He ran a hand through his hair, pushing it off of his forehead and stood on sleep weakened legs. If he closed his eyes, he could still see the chain of events that nightly took place in his mind. The look of pure hatred in the woman's eyes was unmistakable and he couldn't imagine what he or anyone could have done to warrant it.
Leaning over the sink, Koinu splashed cold water over his face, washing the sleep from his eyes with the icy wetness and shivered. He made a face of disgust and reached for a towel, doubting he would sleep again. It was rare that he ever was able to sleep again after the nightmares.
With a resigned sigh, he slipped a shirt on over his bare chest and trudged downstairs, towards the kitchen for a late night snack.
So, he wasn't the only one who had decided to raid the fridge, Shippou thought when his adopted nephew and god-son ambled groggily in. He grinned when the younger boy propped himself on the refrigerator door and studied the contents, scratching the back of his head. It was amazing how much the boy reminded him of one he'd known so long ago...
Shaking himself from those depressing thoughts, he cleared his throat, getting the younger male's attention. "There's cake in the cabinet," he offered. "Your mother thought she could hide it from me."
Koinu snorted. "Keh, she should've known better than that." He grabbed a plate from a cabinet and cut himself a slice, pouring a glass of milk for himself and refilling his uncle's glass. "What're you doing up so late?"
"I woke up and was hungry," he answered with a shrug. "Can you believe your mother thinks that I'm getting old and fat?"
"You are old and fat." Koinu put the milk away and sat at the bar across from his elder. "And totally useless. I don't know why she keeps you around, jijii." He smirked in a haughty way and stabbed his fork into the mound of chocolate on his plate.
"I beg your pardon. Now, just who was it that saved your neck when your uncle wanted to kill you after you wrecked the car? And who bailed your ass out of jail the night you snuck into that club and got into a fight - and didn't tell Izyaoi or Sesshomaru?" Shippou narrowed his green eyes and pointed a short and rather chubby finger at the boy. "Keep insulting me and I may not be so nice next time."
Koinu sneered and glared at him with violet eyes. "Only reason you didn't tell Mom and Sesshomaru is 'cause they woulda blamed you. You were supposed to be responsible for me, remember?"
The twenty-one year old had him there. At the time, the boy had only been sixteen and on lock down for bad grades. Shippou had been supposed to make sure he didn't get into any more trouble while Izyaoi accompanied Sesshomaru to a banquet in honor of her late husband.
But it had also been the day that a certain young girl had fallen through a shrine well and he had gone to pay her mother a visit that night, leaving the boy without a chaperone.
The woman was clearly distraught as she paced before the entrance of the shrine, a cordless phone in her hands. He had kept to the shadows of a building across the street until he'd seen the young boy and old man leave. Only then had he emerged and approached. It was imperative that he speak to the woman alone for only she would be able to keep the secret. It was too risky telling the old man and child. The old man reveled in telling stories and the boy was prone to hero-worship. No, they couldn't know.
"Excuse me, Higarashi-san?" He smiled gently, taking a few steps closer to her. "My name is Shippou Takamaru. I'm a friend of Kagome's and I know where she is."
Once he had calmed her down, he had explained the situation with the time traveling well and the Shikon no Tama, as well as Kagome's having been Kikyou's reincarnation. She took it rather well given the circumstance and the fairytale type nature of the story.
"You understand that I can't tell you everything," he told her when he finished, "but I did want to tell you this so that you wouldn't worry. And it was kinda important that you not call the police and report her missing. Calling that kind of attention to her disappearance would only cause major problems when she comes back in a few days."
Mama Higarashi had nodded and clutched her hands in her lap. "But she will come home?"
"And she'll be okay?"
He smiled. "Hai, she'll be fine. There are people there who would die to protect her if the need arose. She is very precious to them and I promise you she will be kept safe."
The woman had smiled then and nodded. "I know I should worry and question what you're telling me as well as your sanity and my own for believing you, but sometimes things happen here that can't be reasoned with normal explanations." Slowly her smile became a giggle and then a lighthearted laugh. "And to think there really is some merit to Dad's stories. There'll be no living with him once he finds out."
It was all part of fulfilling a promise he had made to someone many years before; someone who had been a mentor, a protector, a friend and a father to him when he had no one else.
He sat outside the hut where Kaede and Sango were making last minute changes to Kagome's kimono and wedding attire so that everything would be perfect when she and Inuyasha went through the well the next day to have the ceremony. All the giggling and whispered talk had finally gotten on his last nerve and he'd had to escape. There was only so much girl stuff one kit could take.
A shadow fell over him and he looked up to see Inuyasha. "They're not done yet."
The hanyou snorted. "Keh, I figured that much. I don't know what the big deal is. It's just a kimono." He looked at the woven mat door and shook his head before turning his golden gaze back to the kitsune. "Oi, come with me kid."
Shippou blinked in surprise and then shrugged it off, hopping onto Inuyasha's shoulder as they headed off towards the woods, away from the prying ears of the giggling women and lecherous monk. "Me and Kagome...we're gonna be together...a family, I guess. You know Kagome wants you to stay with us, but..."
He trailed off and tears filled the child's eyes. Was Inuyasha going to send him away from the only mother he had?
"Oi! What the hell?" The hanyou grabbed the back of the kitsune's shirt and held him out in front of him. "What's with you?"
"I don't wanna leave Kagome!" Shippou exclaimed, wailing. "It's not fair! I won't leave! I won't!"
"What the - who the hell said you were leaving?"
His cries ceased and he looked up, hopefully. "You aren't sending me away?"
Inuyasha growled. "Feh, as if Kagome would let me." He released the kit so he could scramble back to his shoulder and then sighed, settling at the base of a tree where he could still see the hut, but have his conversation private. "I need you to do me a favor, brat."
Shippou hopped down and sat cross legged on the ground in front of him. This was big. Inuyasha never asked for help from anyone.
"You know Naraku ain't dead yet and the bastard's still got most of the jewel. We chose not to wait on this marriage thing, but there's still no telling how things are gonna end. I already kinda talked to Kagome about it. If anything happens to me, she goes back down the well and seals it. It's too fucking dangerous for her to be roaming around here by herself."
The child nodded in understanding and waited patiently. As difficult as it was for Inuyasha to ask for someone's help, it was even rarer and harder for him to be as open with his thoughts and feelings as he was being now.
"Youkai live a long time. From what I get, Kagome's side of the well is this same village in several hundred years," he continued, frowning slightly as he tried to put together the concept of the time/space continuum that Kagome had attempted to explain once. "You're just a kid. Chances are, you'll still be around in five or six centuries and even if you ain't, you'll probably have a kid who is."
He stopped and looked away, turning his gaze back to the hut where Kagome was. "What I'm saying is, if something happens to me and Kagome goes back through the well, I need you to stick around this place. The shrine here is gonna belong to her family one day. Look for her and, when you find her, keep an eye on her, protect her. But you can't let her know you're there, at least not while she's traveling through the well. She tried to explain it, but who understands half the shit she says about that place?" He shook his head. "Can you do that, kid?"
The boy nodded, determination set on his features. "I promise. I'll protect her with my life," he swore.
He hadn't really considered the possibility that anything might actually happen to the hanyou. In his eyes, the half youkai was invincible. Though he was never as bad as Souta, he had his own sort of hero-worship of Inuyasha. The young man had begun to teach him to hunt and to fight, becoming less like an annoying older brother and more like a dutiful father.
It had come as a surprise to them all when he had fallen in a fight with Naraku and it had devastated the miko, but with Naraku dead and the jewel purified she had been left no excuse to argue returning through the well and allowing it to seal. And Shippou had settled in to keep his promise.
The years had gone slowly at first. He lived with Miroku and Sango when they married. Rin had pled with Sesshomaru to restore the life of the taijiya boy and so Kohaku also resided with them. As they aged, the young boy and girl had expanded their friendship until Kohaku had bravely asked Sesshomaru for permission to marry Rin. Another hut had been erected beside the Sango's and both couples had lived long and prosperous lives, each giving life to a new generation.
The years continued to go by in much the same fashion. Always there was one or two of the children who would remain in the village to take care of the shrine that had once been abandoned and was being rebuilt. Mostly it was Rin and Kohaku's decedents. Those spawned by the blood of the monk and taijiya had more of a roaming nature. For a little over a hundred years Shippou remained living with the offspring of his former friends until the youkai race began to die out and there were few of them left.
It was the growth of the human population and expansion of villages and towns that ultimately did in the youkai. Many of them were stubborn and set in their ways, unwilling to give up their wildness and wilderness for the evolving times. They had fought the change and many were killed for it. Others starved or took their own lives. Those who gave in became more like the humans they had to co-exist with and mated with them, thinning the youkai blood until there was none left. Oh, there were still a few full blooded youkai left, but they kept themselves hidden, masquerading as regular humans for the most part.
With the changing of the times and the dwindling youkai population, the creatures that had once been so powerful and feared became little more than legend. As far as most people were concerned, they had never even existed.
And so, to have a relative who never seemed to age or die, who your grandmother could remember her grandmother taking about was a bit disconcerting. To keep from drawing attention to himself, two-hundred and fifty years after Kagome had returned to her era, Shippou bid goodbye to his adopted family and disappeared. It was assumed that he died, but in truth he had sought out the inu youkai, Sesshomaru.
The centuries following Inuyasha's death had diminished the youkai's strong hatred for his half brother until it was little more than a slight annoyance when his name was mentioned. He had allowed the now adult kitsune to stay with him, keeping a silent vigil over Rin and Kohaku's decedents for several generations until he was seemingly forgotten. Then he had reacquainted himself with the family, finding himself and Sesshomaru as business partners with them as the inu youkai would not deny his protection to his adopted daughter's family.
It was in that way that five hundred and twenty-five years passed and birth was given to a baby girl, named Izyaoi after the mother of a family legend. When she had come of age and married, Sesshomaru had come forward, bringing her husband into business with him - a successful real estate business - and taking him under his wing in such a way that he was quickly accepted as family, as was the newly wed man's good friend, Shippou.
Izyaoi had given birth to a baby boy and fondly called him Koinu, but tragically, she lost her husband that same year.
And then it happened. The chance for Shippou to begin fulfilling his promise had finally come when he happened to see in the nursery window one morning, when Izyaoi had brought Koinu to the hospital for a check up, a beautiful baby girl - Higarashi Kagome.
He had watched her grow into the caring and wonderful young woman he had known as a child and had kept tabs on her while she traveled through the well. His intention had been to announce himself the day that she returned for the last time so that he could be there to help her through her grief. It would help, he thought, for her to have someone familiar from that time to cry to and he could tell her all the wonderful things that had happened in Sango and Miroku's lives; how they had raised five beautiful children and let her in on the fact that Sesshomaru had revived Kohaku - the tai youkai had not yet returned the boy when she said goodbye to them.
The ting of a fork hitting a plate pulled him from his musings and he looked up to find Koinu braced with one elbow on the bar and his head in his hand, asleep. He rolled his eyes and poked his bare arm with his fork tongs. "Koinu, you're about to fall in your frosting. Go to bed."
The young man jumped and blinked bleary eyes, mumbling something under his breath that even Shippou didn't catch. Finally he shoved himself up from the seat and stumbled back to the stairs leaving the kitsune chuckling in the kitchen.
Shippou put his and Koinu's plates in the sink and shook his head. He wasn't absolutely certain of the exact date Inuyasha had died, but he knew close enough to guess and what he had discovered was, while not all that surprising, still a bit to swallow.
His nephew, his best friend's son, the boy he'd watched grow up, the man who was a direct descendant of the slayer and monk who had raised him, was Inuyasha's reincarnation.
He had always known the two were similar in their habits and attitudes. Koinu was almost a carbon copy of the hanyou on his human night, only with shorter hair. He had just figured it to be a coincidence. The one thing, though, that could not be disputed was the scar.
The scar had never been there before, he knew. Then, after the accident, after the cuts and all had started to heal, he had noticed it. On the boy's right shoulder was a light, circular scar with the kanji for Kagome's name. That was how he had known.
And the wreck, the motorcycle accident that had marked this turn of events had taken place on the same day at what was the exact moment when Inuyasha had died five hundred and seventy five years before.
Because of Koinu's admittance to the hospital, he'd been unable to approach Kagome on that next day. He had attempted to since then, but it never really felt quite right so he had kept his distance and just watched over her.
But one thing bugged him...He had believed that when Inuyasha died, the scar Kagome bore with his kanji, marking her as his, would disappear. He had noticed it was still there the day she left, but he hadn't been able to think much on it and it had never seemed important. And he knew that with a reincarnation that scar would not have appeared the way it did. It shouldn't have anyway.
"Unless," he muttered, returning to his room - he'd moved in after the death of Koinu's father to help Izyaoi out. "Unless, maybe Koinu is supposed to know..."
Koinu stripped his tee shirt off and stretched, catching sight of the scars from his accident. It only been six months since the accident and though all his wounds had healed, the scars were still prominent against the sun tanned tone of his skin. There were tiny scars from the scratches he'd received, rolling down the slight embankment and the larger ones where sticks and other debris had ripped through the material of his shirt and jacket, tearing his side open in several places.
He'd been lucky and he knew it, just like he was aware that it was his own stupidity that had caused the crash in the first place. He was damn lucky to be alive. So what if his mom never let him own another bike? After that, he didn't have much interest in them anyway. None of his friends did either.
He fell across the bed and tossed the sheet over himself, staring up at the ceiling. He had no interest in going back to sleep, but his body protested staying awake any longer and he finally gave in to his body's demands.
She was sitting on the lip of the well when he appeared and he felt his resolve waiver. No, he had to do this. He had obligations, responsibilities, that couldn't be ignored. He wasn't free to give her what she wanted, what she deserved, and it wasn't right to keep hurting her.
She looked up and smiled, a small tug of her lips that indicated just the slightest bit of pleasure at his presence. "Inuyasha," she said his name softly and then sighed. But the smile was still there. "I've been thinking and I came to realize, Kikyo and I are alike in at least one way. We both wish to be with you. The only difference is that I want you to live, Inuyasha. But what I want isn't important. What you want is. Whatever you decide to do, I'll support you and I'll be by your side for as long as you'll let me."
He felt like a complete jerk. Here was this wonderful, beautiful girl who, by her own confession, wanted nothing but to be allowed to stay with him and he couldn't offer her anything in return. Maybe it was for the better, though. He didn't deserve her. "Thank you."
She smiled again, a bit brighter this time and stood, timidly slipping her hand into his. After a moment, his fingers curled around hers and squeezed lightly before heading off b ack to join the others, hand in hand
She didn't know he was there. The kid and the neko probably did, but he wasn't giving any signal that he did which was just fine with him. She'd been angry with him when he'd stalked off before and he didn't really feel like eating dirt again. Somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered at these memories and feelings, but it didn't seem that important to him at the moment.
At that moment his entire being was focused on the young woman in the clearing. She was holding a long, flimsy wand with several circular cut outs at the top and jogging in lazy circles. Every so often she would stop and dip the tip into a vat of liquid and begin again. As she moved, the wind would catch the liquid and bubbles would come out of circular cut outs. The kid held a smaller version and hoped around behind her while the neko jumped into the air, batting and biting at the bubbles. Some part of him knew what the contraption was and what its purpose was, but he didn't know how.
The woman laughed at the neko's antics and dunked her stick once more, making larger bubbles than the ones made by the kid. After a moment she dropped to the ground by the liquid, still laughing, to catch her breath. She took out a much smaller wand and dipped it, then held it to her lips and blew. A stream of small bubbles came out and floated through the air.
He was captivated.
It wasn't just her physical beauty that entranced him. Even he could admit that he'd seen prettier females in his past, but everything about her called to him in a way that no one else ever had. The sound of her laughter, the way her nose crinkled when she smiled, how her hair caught the sunlight and reflected it back in shades of blue, the way she moved - not quite graceful, but not clumsily either. He loved it all.
She looked up, exactly at the spot where he was hiding and he stiffened until she smiled. He'd been forgiven.
But most of all, he loved her for her heart, which she had willingly given to him.
White mist swirled around him and he encountered a young woman, in her mid twenties, dressed in the fuku of a warrior priestess. In her right hand was a string of beads and in her left was a sword which she had taken from its sheath as she approached.
He growled and prepared to fight. He'd already been forced to leave the one thing that meant anything in his life. He had thought himself dead, but death didn't have mikos with weapons coming at him.
Then again, how would he know? He'd never really died before.
"Calm yourself, hanyou," she ordered and maneuvered the sword so that the tip stuck in the ground by her foot and her hand rested on its hilt. "I have not come looking for a fight. Fate is not done with you. You have been given a second chance. It is time for you to awaken!"
With a movement quicker than he could have given her credit for, she once more brandished the sword and lunged forward in an attempt to strike him.
For the second time that night, he awoke with a start and popped up as if he had been attached to a string. With a frustrated groan he fell back against the bed and opened his eyes focusing on the ceiling above him, trying to put into place the pieces of scattered memories and emotions that had fallen down around him as he slept.
It was there - all of it. Every look, every word, every touch, every embrace, every moment spent in her presence...it was there. He had remembered it, relived it, rejoiced once more in its happening. He there. He knew who he was, finally, after all these years. The knowledge had always been there, just beneath the surface, but he'd never been able to grasp it until now.
And now, there was only one thing left that he needed.