Warnings/Spoilers: Spoiler warning up to chapter 376, implied yuri, character death

Notes: I've wanted to write this for awhile, mainly to dedicate to Aiffe who's been having a rough time for awhile in RL. I only hope that she's okay and that something like this will cheer her up when she sees it.

Two Within One

Kagome blinked.

Then, her eyes widened when she finally came to, her mind finally processing her current situation.

At first she felt dizzy and weightless, yet her feet appeared grounded. She felt less than whole, and she had a lingering ache within her frame, as if she had been ripped out of her own skin.

"Have you finally come to your senses, Kagome?" a familiar voice had asked her. Kagome turned around quickly and came face to face with Kikyou. The world around them seemed foreign and dark, but they were indeed still in Feudal Japan.

"Kikyou!" she gasped, and then looked at her with confusion. "Do you know…what's going on? How can I be standing here …" she paused and looked down at the body at her feet. "…and lying there at the same time?"

"Fool. You are dead," Kikyou said briskly. Kagome's eyes narrowed at her in disbelief.

"Dead?" Kagome turned around and saw Inuyasha cradling her body with Miroku and Sango hovering over them with pained looks on their faces. Kagome could see Inuyasha's mouth moving as if he was yelling, but she couldn't hear him. She couldn't hear a sound at all: no breezes, no birds, no Inuyasha.

Her eyes traveled down her body, noticing the blood pouring out of the side of her chest and her skin getting very sallow and gaunt.

Kagome whimpered. 'This can't be! I can't be dead! We haven't destroyed Naraku yet! We haven't completed the Shikon Jewel! I can't go! Inuyasha needs me!"

Kikyou gave her a classic placid look. "It's unfortunate, but it appears your friends will have to go on without you. Without us."

"Us?" Kagome asked, eyeing her with confusion again.

Kikyou turned around and faced the second body lying on the ground. No one had jumped at the chance to mourn her first as they had with Kagome – not even Inuyasha. Deep inside this had troubled her, and she felt envy rise once again for her incarnate. She looked over at Inuyasha, who began to cry as he continued to hold Kagome's body. The monk had said a prayer for her, and then he walked over and bid his respects to Kikyou as well.

"How – how can you be dead too?" Kagome asked. "I mean – you're already… how can you be gone too?" Kagome stared at Kikyou's body, which had once been pale though lifelike, looked wooden and decayed. The clay of Kikyou's host body seemed to decompose quickly as time went by.

"It appears that we are more than just incarnations of the same soul, but connected as well. When your soul left your body, the part that I held left as well," Kikyou answered.

"But that shouldn't matter. You had Midoriko's energy sustaining you, right? You shouldn't be here like me!" Kagome said. All of this didn't make sense to her. She was fighting back crying in front of Kikyou, but she couldn't hold back the tears. They fell silently down her cheeks, and she just couldn't bring herself to accept this fate.

Kikyou gave her a leveled look. "It appears that Midoriko's energy wasn't as powerful as I had surmised. It was always you, Kagome, that had fueled me," she cocked her head at Kagome as if she had finally realized something.

She reached out and grabbed Kagome's hand. "Come. We have to go now."

Kagome felt it too. Something was calling both of them, telling them that they could not linger here any longer. Then, their dark surroundings began to brighten, filling with intense light that washed out the background of the living world.

"Back where?" Kagome had stuttered in a small voice.

"Back to where we came from, of course," Kikyou said, looking into the concentrated center of the light. "We need to go back so we can start all over again."

Kagome felt afraid. She didn't want to go. She wanted to remain here. "You go – without me. I'd rather linger around here, and help Inuyasha. Even as a ghost I'm sure I can do something."

Kikyou turned her head to Kagome and gave her a displeased look. Kagome was being stubborn as usual, and she did not know why she didn't just accept it. She had longed for death for so long.

"Come on. There's nothing you can do here anymore," Kikyou said.

"How can you be so accepting? You're the one that wanted vengeance against Naraku. You said you couldn't rest until you took him down and brought Inuyasha to hell with you, didn't you?" Kagome seethed. She didn't know what was wrong with Kikyou. She thought Kikyou wouldn't want this at all.

"If you cannot rest, then I cannot rest," Kikyou said with glaring eyes. She pulled Kagome closer to her. Kagome gasped as Kikyou's face was inches from hers, and she felt the warmth of her body flush against her. She blushed, feeling Kikyou's breasts rub against her own. Kagome dared not look down at their position. Kikyou's hand snaked around her back, and she looked at Kagome with an intense gaze. Inside her dark eyes, Kagome felt like Kikyou was pleading with her, beckoning her to give into pain and resolve. "Please, Kagome…"

Kagome appeared stunned, and she felt her heart aching. She had never heard such a tone from Kikyou before. "Kikyou…"

Then it tugged at them again, this force that was pushing them out of the lingering realm into the next.

"There is no way we can go back? No way we can help him?" Kagome asked, and Kikyou sensed Kagome's will was giving in.

"I don't feel that there is," Kikyou said mournfully, resting her head on Kagome's shoulder. "We have to go. There's no turning back."

Kikyou was right. Their time had ended, and it was time for them to move on.

"It feels strange," Kagome whispered shakily in Kikyou's ear, watching tendrils of her hair move from her breath. Kagome did not see the small smile of ease that Kikyou had while leaning against her.

Kagome felt like she was drowning in the white light. Her head throbbed with pressure as the space began to shove them together, pushing them further into each other. Kagome's eyes glazed over with sleepiness, and she looked down momentarily, shocked to see that Kikyou's body was melding in with hers.

Kikyou moaned softly against her. Kagome felt even more scared, and she struggled to pull away.

She couldn't. Some strong unknown force continued to press them against each other.

"What … what is this?" Kagome panicked, and Kikyou gripped her tightly. Kikyou closed her eyes and gave into the inevitable.

"I think we are becoming one. This may be the first time where two incarnations of the same soul are in limbo together. I feel like something is forcing us back together, forcing us back as one," Kikyou mused, reveling in the myriad feelings she was experiencing. Kagome shivered against her.

"I'm scared, Kikyou," and Kagome squeezed her hand tighter. Soon, Kagome felt melting warmth as their entwined fingers slid together.

"Shh…" Kikyou said soothingly, and Kagome felt her own eyes close. "Just give in."

"But Inuyasha ..."

"Give in ..."

"But ..."

She felt a wave of heat, and then color swirled in front of her eyes. She closed them, too lethargic and too weak to resist on any longer.

She fought to find the voice to scream for Inuyasha, but having Kikyou's body and hers sink into each other began to oppress that thought. She was actually leaving, not with her own will, but by the will of something greater. She had regrets, and she was sure Kikyou had regrets too. And in spite of it all, that thought made this situation more acceptable.

Leaving with Kikyou made her feel better. With her last attempt of resistance fading, Kagome leaned into Kikyou, and she felt a tear escape her eye and vanish into oblivion.

Hands within hands, lips within lips, breast within breast, and cores within cores, they were finally one.

The light spilled out brighter and larger around them. Then, they were gone.