Let Me Be Weak

Suou-chan

Disclaimer: Inuyasha isn't mine. It belongs to Rumiko Takahashi. No legal ramifications please.

Sesshoumaru was dead. He had gone out to resolve some territorial business, and Kagome was waiting, amid court ladies and men, in the hall of the Western Castle for his return when she found out. When the somber soldier had laid himself prostrate before her and announced the terrible news, her face was immobile. Those standing close beside the sitting Lady of the Western Lands would later claim that she had paled a bit and her body shrank for a moment, that a shadow had crossed her face and that her eyes seemed to have lost a bit of its youthful luster and vivacity; but that was brushed away as tricks of the eye. For she had sat there, as regal and beautiful as ever – the Lady of the West never losing composure, her smile never leaving her face.

When the soldier informed his lady that her lord's body had been brought back for the necessary procedures called for on such…occasions, she had simply thanked the young man and smiled. When the caravan was brought in, its precious cargo carefully placed within, she had simply dismissed the solemn men and smiled. When it was revealed that the Western Lord's death was because of betrayal and the traitor brought in, Kagome's smile never left her face as she had the traitor executed before her feet.

Those present at court were amazed and not just slightly disturbed by the passive, serene visage of their lady. Whispers about Kagome's lack of emotion and dry eyes were exchanged throughout the hall, to which the woman in question did not bat an eyelash. And through the day, she did not waver once in her usual duties; though passing lords and ladies slowed their steps in regard and heads lowered in deference for the now deceased, Kagome simply smiled and nodded as usual, her mouth breaking easily into its customary grin as she briskly walked through the corridors. She attended the scheduled meeting with the visiting Northern Lord, had assured him that she was doing very well, that her darling pup Kazuki was quickly growing into a fine young hanyou and would soon be ready to learn the politics of ruling. She oversaw the kitchens, as the servants hurried to prepare dinner for unexpected guests that had dropped by to offer condolences. She played with Kazuki in the gardens while drinking tea and admiring the sakura blossoms with Rin, as was customary during spring.

Things went unchanged, as if the morning's events had never occurred.

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Rin, all grown up now, had become quite the intuitive young lady over the years. And along with a wizened Jaken, she saw clearly that behind her masterfully made mask, Kagome was an absolute breaking, sobbing mess. Before she had hastily turned her back to their scrutiny, they noticed that Kagome's expressive blue eyes had no life, her actions no spirit, and the very thing that made Kagome so uniquely Kagome was gone. Although no one else seemed to have noticed yet, Kagome was deteriorating, eating within herself. Tea in the garden was a painfully awkward occasion, and not even a giggling Kazuki amid sakura blossoms could hide her ill at ease. And yet they could not do anything except look on and wait. Kagome was a strong woman. Sesshoumaru-sama had loved her indomitable spirit, after all.

Rin sighed, a soft gusty wind that ruffled Kazuki-chan's tumbled mop of silver and tickled his nose, causing brilliant blue eyes to crinkle with laughter. Kagome had gone to welcome the guests that had unwittingly wandered into the garden and would be busy playing hostess; so Rin took Kazuki and left, with Jaken glancing one last time at the mistress he grudgingly came to respect, before sighing and slowly walking away.

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The castle was quite a popular place these days, and people often frequented the place, visiting under the pretense of offering their condolences to the newly widowed lady. The Lord of the Western Lands had kept his home very private, and very few had had the honor of entering. And thus, the palace was a place of mystery, and the petty lords and ladies of the court carefully exploited the current state of affairs to satisfy their own curiosity over the castle and its inhabitants.

And it was so damn annoying.

Shippou was irritated. They were giggling. Again. His youthful countenance was marred by a deep frown and his green eyes flashed murderously as he crossed the corridor, carefully avoiding eye contact for fear of being victim to an onslaught of rabid single women. Apparently, all the handsome, available men in the world had congregated in the castle, so it was only natural for those twittering fools to follow. Shippou glared at a particularly flippant youkai who had the gall to wave at him coyly and wink. 'Feh. Wench.'

He paused in his inner tirade, and sighed. 'I'm spending entirely too much time with Inuyasha…"

He thought about the past few days. Kagome had gone through the necessary meetings, organized the appropriate processions, and held the expected gala in commemoration of the Lord of the Western Lands with apt efficiency and poise. She was the model hostess, listening to the inane chatter of equally inane people with a smile on her face that showed nothing of what she was thinking underneath the mask. Shippou smiled. She still demonstrated her remarkable patience, her charming personality…but he could see the apathy in her words and actions, and it worried him. Yet the only thing he could offer her were hugs of silent comfort – which he doubted made any impact on the emotionally shattered woman.

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During the day, it was nothing. At night though, they knew that Kagome lived dreams of Sesshoumaru by her side. It had become habit for Rin and Jaken to pause outside her door each night, and each night they could hear her talking and laughing with who she evidently thought was Sesshoumaru. As the day of her koi's funeral approached, Kagome seemed to be happier and happier. She was the very image of a giddy school girl…a deliriously, maniacally giddy school girl. They grew increasingly concerned, seeing deep bags beneath her eyes that could no longer be hidden beneath carefully applied make up, and the slight tremble in her hands as she went to pick up Kazuki.

She never slept. But they didn't have the heart to drag her out of her delirium.

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The night before the gala dinner, one to honor "what a great man Sesshoumaru-sama, Lord of the Western Lands" was, Inuyasha had tried frantically to find Kagome. Sango and Miroku were afraid that Kagome was slowly killing herself in her sorrow, painting images of a grief-stricken Kagome flinging herself from the balcony or asking the Shikon no Tama for death. And having successfully infected his own mind with their worry, the demon exterminator and the monk had left him to his own devices, while they themselves felt considerably more at ease. His grumbled in his mind, 'of course that wouldn't happen, you idiot. Stupid Sango and that lecherous monk. Feh.'

He found her sitting in the ballroom, drinking tea. Inuyasha was inordinately relieved at seeing her safe and sound, rather than splattered on the terrace with her brains spilling out…and then sort of ashamed for feeling so reassured, because he had known that Kagome would be all right. After all, Kagome was strong, stronger than many people ever gave her credit for. Sango and Miroku, those jerks, getting him all worked up like that…'feh, they worried too easily.' He knew she'd be okay.

He paused and observed her for a moment at the doorway, taking in her ragged – but happy – looking appearance, and was just about to go in when he noticed Kagome laugh, as she suddenly stood and began dancing. She was humming, twirling to the song that she and Sesshoumaru had always danced to, pausing once in a while in her spinning to brush the air where once Sesshoumaru's ear had been, like she always did when they were dancing and hair fell over his shoulder.

She looked so happy, so serene, and so blissfully unaware that there was no Sesshoumaru and that she was dancing to an illusion, it broke his heart to watch. Inuyasha brusquely brushed hands over his eyes and closed his mouth, and with a quiet click , shut the door on a waltzing Kagome.

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It was over. Sesshoumaru was finally laid to rest.

Great lords and ladies had attended the event, with men roaring with professed rage at the unjust death of the "Great Lord", and women shrieking and wailing in lament at the loss of such a fine specimen of masculinity (for although he had mated with the keeper of the Shikon, at least they could still gaze upon the handsome lord in court). It was a stupendous occasion, one that befit a man of Sesshoumaru's station.

Jaken and Rin had been incensed by the indignity of it all, furious at the blatant displays of hypocrisy from the attending men and at the foolish displays of grief by the simpering ladies. Inuyasha had had to nurse a bruised ego and throbbing head after being the target of the dozens upon dozens of shrieking women curious about the "Great Lord's" hanyou half-brother. Sango and Miroku had come out relatively unscathed, but had been watching over an agitated Kazuki while an irate Shippou fended off herds of cooing lords and ladies eager for a look at the "Great Lord's" golden child.

And during the entire affair, Kagome had been graciously thanking guests for attending, playing the perfect host. She'd smiled so widely that her friends were afraid she'd split her face open from the strain, and her generous behavior at the joke that surrounded her amazed them to no end. After the guests left, Kagome had asked to be excused from her friends, as she was "very tired and would like to rest a bit" in her room. Her friends had shared worried glances before nodding, promising not to disturb her, and Kagome quietly padded away.

The entire group paused in front of the room Kagome and Sesshoumaru had shared. They felt a morsel of guilt for disturbing Kagome, but Kazuki was finally asleep and they felt that she'd been left alone for long enough. She had always pretended to be so strong, so unaffected…she refused to talk about her thoughts, and had shied away from the comfort they offered her, as if the very act of needing to be comforted would make Sesshoumaru's death an irrevocable reality. But it was, and they were determined to snap her out of her stupor. Frankly, Kagome's smiles were disturbing, and the laughter coming from within her room at night was scaring them.

It was silent for once.

The door sounded painfully harsh as it slowly creaked open, with six pairs of eyes peeking timidly through the crack in a decidedly comical fashion. A soft whoosh was heard as they let out breaths they weren't aware of holding, and one by one silently slipped into the beautiful room. Despite the new company, the room was unearthly quiet – a quiet that the intruders were unwilling to disrupt as they padded towards the bed, where a tiny figure seemed to be incased in a flannel cocoon. It felt like they were trespassing upon sacred grounds, that their very presence in the room was like defilement of a holy shrine.

Kagome was sleeping, lips graced with a sweet smile absent of its usual artificiality. She was sleeping an eternal sleep, where she finally found peace in beautiful dreams. Beside her hand were a letter and a tiny porcelain bottle, uncapped, with pale yellow liquid spilling from its mouth.

Minna,

I love you all so much. Gomen, but I'm tired now. I've fallen into a wonderful dream, you know. It's such a good dream, and it's been visiting me every night. I don't think I shall ever wake up from it now, so I've chosen these to be my last few minutes lucid. Rin, Shippou, please take care of Pup. He adores you. I can't ask Sango and Miroku, because they'll be busy. And Jaken, I know you'll help, ne? You always were a softie with me. I'm so sorry about leaving him…I suppose that makes me a terrible mother, doesn't it? Please tell him that I love him though, I hope he'll forgive me.

I've been strong until now, haven't I? Sesshoumaru never liked weakness, you know. And he always said that he likes my smile best. I hope I haven't disappointed him, or any of you. But if to seek death is to be weak, then let me be weak just this once, okay?

Please be happy, everyone. I'm going to see Sesshoumaru now.

Kagome

With unsteady hands, Rin gently smoothed the old parchment and set it down. With that, the room burst into a suddenly flurry of frenzied activity, as Sango propped Kagome up and Miroku examined the still Kagome, mumbling to himself about methods of extracting poisons. Inuyasha carefully picked up the porcelain bottle and sniffed.

It smelled like Sesshoumaru.

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Author's Note: Hi everyone! This is a one-shot, so I won't be continuing. I really can't see any point of continuing it either, given the chosen ending. I just wanted to write about the deterioration of Kagome, seen through the eyes of Sesshoumaru's group (Rin and Jaken) and then Inuyasha's group. I thought that by writing it in this way, I'd lend congruity to the two previously opposing factions that are brought to agreement in their common love for Kagome. I thought that the way Kagome acted hopefully wouldn't be to OOC, because as she is a very emotionally strong person, she lets herself love very deeply. Personally, I like to think that Kagome's entire episode with Inuyasha is, taken into consideration, only a puppy/little-girl's-first-shot-at-love type thing. And I also liked the idea of Kagome and Sesshoumaru sharing a love so deep that she followed him to the grave. The entire "swans mate for life" thing (I simply can't remember where I've read that before...oops).

Anyway, so sorry about the lecture. '' As a novice writer, you'll have to forgive any mishaps that happen along the way. As for the uncapped bottle dealio – when you first read it, you'd think that Kagome had swallowed poison to commit suicide. However, when Inuyasha smells the bottle, he doesn't discover poison. Instead, there's really nothing at all in the bottle besides Sesshoumaru's scent. Thus, the "pale yellow liquid" could be considered as "essence de Sesshoumaru," or something to that effect. What I was trying to portray was the idea that Kagome had conscientiously let go of her life, and that she didn't need poison or any other outside source, only a reminder of Sesshoumaru to guide her to death. I hope that clears things up…

Please, please, pleeeeease press the pretty button!

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