Title: No One At The Wheel
Fandom: Inuyasha
Pairing: KagomeRin
Rating: R
Summary: Life by accident.
Author's Notes: For Aiffe.

No One At The Wheel

It was in the past, so the end that they wait for has already happened. They simply do not know how it ended. But they will find out, when the vigil is done -

This is the day they seek: the day when over the lip of the well will come silver hair and gold eyes, in feudal garb, and if there is only one surely he will know where the other is as well, the day when into the courtyard will stroll silver hair and gold eyes, in modern garb, and if there is only one surely he will know where the other is as well, and all the waiting will go, and all the endless unknowing will end, and in the sudden roaring silence the future will come crashing in -


Kagome makes Rin's lunches before she walks her to school, always sure to pack lots of vegetables, and when Rin comes home in the evenings Kagome helps her with her homework.

Souta teaches Rin how to play video games, Kagome's friends bring her ribbons and sweets, and when Kagome has a day off sometimes Houjou takes them both to an amusement park, or to the pool if it's summer.

And each night they go to sleep in the same room, in the same bed, so that when Rin dreams of wolves she will not wake up alone.

Of course, Kagome dreams of wolves, too, but when she wakes up in tears it is for an entirely different reason.


And one day Rin sniffles and asks: "What if they've forgotten us?"

Kagome shushes her gently.

"Something must be keeping them," she says. "When they come, we'll find out why. But they'll reach us, without fail."

That is how it is.

Never if, always when. Never if, always when.


They never talk about it, the falling, the blood-filled well, the echo of that haunting, spidery laugh, the sound of shouting and snarling that followed them, the last fleeting moment in warm, red-clad arms -

(Sesshoumaru almost never yelled, but he had yelled then, and for once Inuyasha had listened. It was Sesshoumaru that bought the time, and Inuyasha who spent it wisely, and now Kagome and Rin had nothing but time, nothing but time to question the memories, nothing but time to make excuses, nothing but time to wait and wait and wait until their past caught up with their future, which had already happened.)

- because, really, it might not have happened that way at all. Maybe it was Inuyasha who bought and Sesshoumaru who spent, or maybe Kagome herself grabbed Rin and ran, took them both away, far away, and maybe Sango didn't die by her brother's hand, and maybe Miroku wasn't swallowed alive by his own curse, and maybe there wasn't nearly as much blood and memory is a strange thing, and maybe neither of them remembers it right anymore.

Maybe they can always hope.


And one autumn day when she is eleven, Rin says worriedly: "Isn't there anything I can do for you, Kagome-sama?"

Kagome shifts uncomfortably beneath the electric blanket and just smiles. "I'm fine, Rin-chan," she says. "Go shopping with your friends."

She shoos the girl away, but Rin looks back, all the time, trying to keep Kagome in her sights, always. Neither wants to wait without the other.


When she and Rin had landed at the bottom of the well, Kagome's leg had been broken. The strange thing was that she couldn't remember exactly when it had shattered, but once they hit the ground it was obvious. Help had not come for a whole night.

This is why she limps.

When Rin turns fifteen, she begins to talk about quitting school, about helping with the work and the minutiae of existence, to help with the business of waiting, but always Kagome soothes her and tells her that it's okay.

Kagome is quiet, and keeps her regrets inside. There was no way she could finish high school, so instead she works, waitressing at a local sushi bar, catering to tourists.

Looks of pity are always cast her way - she twists and hobbles when the sky grows heavy with clouds - but the pay is good. Westerners leave tips, and though feels weird and wrong she keeps them anyway. There's another mouth to feed, after all.

It's not easy, but who ever promised that it would be? She's lost weight, turned wispy and pale, and she is tired most of the time, but usually she can push aside the little thoughts that wonder what might have happened if she had just concentrated more on her studies, or if she had not pulled so far away from her friends, or if something had gone differently, back when something might have made any sort of difference at all.

These are the thoughts that she hides away. She doesn't want Inuyasha to see them, when he comes.


And one spring morning, Rin yawns, adjusts her fuku, and says: "What will happen when they come?"

Kagome, smoothing her hair down, twisting it into a simple traditional style, pauses.

"Well," she says. "Everything will be better, of course."

And Rin laughs, turns to her, embraces her tightly.

"Rin-chan!" Kagome cries, half-laughing, confused. "What on earth - ?"

Rin laughs again, and never tells.


As the years go by, it becomes easier and easier to smooth makeup over the dark shadows under her eyes, easier to smile brightly. It becomes easier and easier to stifle the sick feeling in her stomach that weighs heavy each time she stumbles in the rain, or discovers that she can no longer do something, like ride a bicycle, because her hip refuses to work correctly.

Each day that Inuyasha fails to show his face, it becomes easier to pretend that the face she remembers won't change when it sees the crippled creature she has become.


And one day when they are both tired, Rin wonders out loud: "When?"

Kagome has no answer for her.


The years go by, but Inuyasha doesn't. Kagome's lips remain unkissed, her body untouched.

She refuses to be unfaithful. The moment that she is, she knows he will return, and all those years, all that suffering will have been for naught.

She doesn't know all of Rin's secrets, but Rin, she is almost certain, has never been kissed either. Even were she not waiting, no one could ever compare.

This is the secret they both know, the secret that negates all silly questions, all mundane dreams: the scars left behind are too deep and too intimate - no one can match them except the ones who made them.


And one day Rin finally says: "It's okay."

Kagome doesn't have to ask to know what she is saying, because it's not important. The important thing is that Rin understands.


Even though Kagome and Rin never talk about the past with anyone else, they never talk about it with each other, either. There are secrets both of them were unwilling to tell the other. There are secrets that never need to be told, because both of them already know.

They never talk about the ones for whom they keep vigil.

Some things can only be said in the hollow spaces that words leave behind.


And that night Rin whispers: "This is a secret."

And it is. Secrets can't be shared, and soft skin and softer sighs and the strange moments when should be turns to is can never be shared with anyone. There is no way that, having ventured into that strange land, one may return and tell its tales to those who do not know.

And so they whisper their secrets that have no words at all.


Each caress is another scar, another unmatchable thing, but these will never be told, so no vigil will be forced, no facade kept up. Secrets only bind those who know about them.

And so.

It's a secret, the sweet, strong stroke of Rin's tongue.

It's a secret, the dark scrape of Kagome's teeth.

It's a secret, that special little spot on her spine that makes Rin arch, head thrown back.

It's a secret, Kagome's soft moans when slender hands skate over her breasts just so.

It's a secret, how warm Rin is inside.

It's a secret, how silently Kagome comes.


So together they wait for the end - which has already happened - and through the grey windows of the morning the future comes silently crashing in.