Disclaimer- I don't own Inuyasha.

The first time, they're both young and lonely, looking for solace in the least likely places.

They dream of belonging, of a life that was never in their reach.

And it all falls apart.

The second time, he's wary and bitter, swearing never to fall again. She's young and kind, fear tempered by compassion.

They dream of nothing at all, yet soon are dreamers of love.

Instead they find enemies and friends and allies, battles and hardship and betrayal, and the return of the dead.

And it works for a while.

But, just as before, it falls apart with the bitter tang of mortality.

The third time, he's old and tired, full of apathy. She's a child, who wants to know why those golden eyes are filled with bittersweet sorrow.

Its maddening, to watch her live and grow and yet to think of her as the past.

The intricacies of fate are cruelly complex.

He doesn't want to fall in love.

He still does.

He knows what is coming, can almost feel the pulsing of the jewel within her.

And he wants to scream, to grab the jewel and stop this never-ending dream.

But he does nothing.

And within a few years, she falls down a well.

He knows the end is coming. He waits, day after day.

He sees himself a few times. Watches the hardness in those amber eyes melt away.

And hates himself for it.

He wants to grab himself, stop this unending torment.

And yet he does not.

Because to do so would deny him that time of sweetness that comes before the tragedy.

And that, that he will not take away.

Days, weeks go by and he doesn't notice. He spends as much time as possible near her school, watching for the signs.

And just as he knows it would, little by little, she stops coming to school, stops coming back to the shrine.

It takes a long time for him to remember that she's dead then.

And when he does remember...

He finds that he cannot find the energy to care anymore.

He watches with nothing but weariness in his soul as her mother waits patiently, her brother grows up, her grandfather passes.

And knows that it should be she who is watching this slow motion life.

Eventually, he stops coming to the shrine entirely.

To stay any longer would be to remain in the dream.

He finds that he just cannot do that anymore.

Then one day, he returns.

The mother is gray and weary, her smile fractured and her eyes dulled.

The brother is an absent presence, preferring a life away from memory.

He himself is exhausted by this endless dream.

With aching limbs, he sits in the boughs of the Goshinboku, leaning into the still strong sentinel of nature.

He closes his eyes, and is taken away from the dream at last.

She's waiting for him, as always.

And everything is right with the world.