Inuyasha was probably having the worst day of his life. Even Kikyo pinning him to a tree couldn't transcend this. No wait - the day he decided to propose to Kagome was the worst - the day she accepted was the best.
He had woken to a cold, empty bed; no beautiful miko to keep it warm. Rolling over he buried his head in her pillow, inhaling her scent. His daughter was getting married today. To Koga. That pig headed, over bearing, dim witted, foul mouthed canine. Inuyasha growled. It wasn't like he was afraid the wolf would mistreat her or anything... It's just that years of hatred were difficult to overcome. At least this would mean he didn't have to worry about that wolf thinking about Kagome... he'd be thinking about Kaori. Which was ten thousand time's worse. Because Kaori thought the same thoughts about him.
"Inuyasha... come one, get up. We'll be late for the wedding." Inuyasha grumbled, but rolled out of bed and proceeded to get ready for his daughters funeral... wedding... whatever.
It wasn't so bad, he thought. Kaori practically glowed, and Koga looked happier than he'd ever been in his life. The ceremony was simple, held in pack lands with only family attending. Ryu and Tsuyu had returned from the future to witness the event. Yoshi stood by with her husband, proudly displaying the swollen belly that was a testament to Haruko's first child.
Kagome's teeth were constantly seen as she smiled, as she laughed, as she talked. She pulled Sango, Kaori and Yoshi together in a little corner where they proceed to turn the bride into a strawberry with all their hushed advice. About the night's activities... karaoke and dancing. Of course. What else would it be? he thought with a smile.
Kagome cried though, when they left the party. Had expected it, (she had suprised him with the action at Yoshi's wedding) and had come prepared. Pulling out a handkerchief he wiped her tears, removed his fancy outer kimono, and pulled her into his arms. Picking her up, he proceeded to carry her back home, to her bed, to peaceful slumber.
She hadn't noticed getting older. One day, as she sat in front of the mirror brushing her hair he had come up behind her. Taking her into his arms, he reached up and plucked a hair from her head and showed it to her. She had laughed when she saw the white strand, saying it was about time. At his confused look she told him of an old wives tale, that if you were in love with someone, you would start to look like them. He laughed along with her.
But over time, he grew more and more disconcerted. He was a young demon, just brushing his prime, while she grew to be an old woman. Wrinkles appeared around her face and eyes; her skin grew papery, she began hobbling, and soon her hair contained not a single strand of midnight. She laughed at the changes, calling him "Sonny" and patronizing him about his youth. But the looks from strangers grew more and more unnerving. Finally, when they were in a market and a woman mistook him Kagome's grandson, he could take it no longer. He pulled her into his arms and leapt into the air, conscious of the fragile bones of his beloved wife. He strode into their house and gently set her on the bed.
"When did this happen?" he asked, one hand smoothing her white hair, and the other caressing her brittle bones.
"Inuyasha..." she scolded wearily, "Our youngest granddaughter's due to be married this month. Do you expect me to still be in high school?"
"No. I just don't expect to be a walking c-" he clamped his mouth shut.
"A walking corpse?" she asked gently. He nodded, looking down at the bed. She smiled at him, and pulled herself into his lap. "Inuyasha..." she looked away, "I won't be here much longer." Silencing his protests with a finger at his lips she continued, "there's nothing you can do. There isn't a demon you can kill, a Lord you can threaten or a deity you can beg. It's gonna happen." she leaned against him "What will you do when I'm gone?" she asked.
And for the life of him, he couldn't answer her.
It had been a quiet death. Kagome had lain on her bed, surrounded by family and friends, and held within her husbands arms. There was no pain, no gasps, no seizzures. Simply the passing of the soul into the beyond, to join the family and friends who had already passed on. As she gazed at her children she smiled. As she looked to her husband she wept.
"Oh my love... how will you live without me?" He held her as tightly as he dared. "How long shall it be before you join me in the world beyond? And don't say that you'll kill yourself. I want no risk taking, no suicide, no throwing your life away. Each of us has an allotted time; mine is ending, but yours is just begining. Live your life, and know that I will alway's be with you, watching over you, loving you."
Inuyasha was too choked up to answer her. Instead, he merely kissed her on the forhead as she closed her eyes. With a sigh, she was gone.
As little Kaida began sobbing, Inuyasha looked up at his family. They stood there, bowed with grief, but they would not break. They could survive a life without her. He could not.
And so, in that moment he promised himself. He would find her. Whether it be in the world beyond, or in a new incarnation was unimportant, so long as he found her.
A new resolve filled his breast as he arose, and proceeded to live.
Inuyasha was not happy. He was sitting in a car with his brother and sister outside a school. His new school. Where he would have to learn. He was definently not happy.
"Stop sulking Inuyasha." said his brother in a bored voice. Inuyasha merely growled at him. "In case you forgot, I still need to get Rin to school on time. Which I will not be able to do with you in the car." Inuyasha glanced at his little sister, who was currently giggling at the many students crossing the lawn.
"Why do you have to take us to school anyway?" Inuyasha muttered. "It's not like Mom can't."
"Mother seems to think that the three of us need bonding time" he looked faintly amused at the idea. Wait, amused? Sesshoumarou was actually showing emotion! Call the Guinness Book of World Records! Inuyasha sighed as he grabbed his backpack,and got out of the car.
It was his second week of school. Inuyasha was dragging himself through the halls, grumbling, bemoaning the algebra test that he would be failing in exactly... he checked his watch... three minutes. What was the point of this anyway? It's not like it was useful. He was firmly convinced that the only point of learning math (beyond the basic addition, subtraction etc.) was to learn more pointless math.
But he was stuck here and he couldn't do anything about it so he did the only logical thing: sulk.
Until that is, he saw her. She was sitting in his math class, third row in, second seat from the front. She had never been there before, at least he didn't think so. The teacher was speaking quietly to her about school work. He walked to his seat and proceeded to stare at the back of her head. What the heck? He woulda failed the test any way's...
The rest of the day, he did nothing but think of her. He'd seen her somewhere before... He just knew it.
He was lost. Dang it! Great. Lost in the middle of Tokyo. Sesshomarou would never let him hear the end of it. Inuyasha wandered through the streets aimlessly, following some inherent tuition... wait... wouldn't that be intuition? Hmmm... maybe he could smell his way home? Right, 'cause he was really a blood hound. He just pretended he was human...
He came to a hill. There were several steps leading up to what looked like some kind of shrine. He shrugged and started up them. Maybe whatever deity owned the place would look more kindly on him after he paid his respects? Worse came to worse the priests could give him directions, or at least let him borrow their phone.
As he came to the top he paused, taking in the shrine, the grounds, ambiance. He narrowed his eyes. It felt like he knew the place, like he had been there before. Which was utterly rediculous. He'd never been to that area of Tokyo in his life.
He quietly walked to the shrine. It was small and simple, but there was a peculiar feeling to the place. Like the very dust held power. He paid his respects and left, heading for the house.
He froze. Strange feelings were washing over him. Pain, and betrayal; love, and despair. Hope, and... something else he couldn't quite put his finger on. Familiarity maybe. A sense of home. He looked around, trying to discover the origins of such feelings when his eyes fell upon a tree. It stood majestically, boughs stretched to the sky in sacred homage to the gods. There was a round place on the tree, where the bark was thinner, making an indention. In the middle of it was a hole, like bullet... or more likely, an arrow- it was to big to be a bullet- had peirced it.
Mesmerized, he drew up to the tree, reaching out carefully, hesitantly, before placing his hand on the hole. A voice from behind startled him.
"I've been waiting for you Inuyasha."
"So let me get this straight. I'm the reincarnation of some all powerfull demon -"
"Hanyou. Half demon"
" - hanyou, and I need to find some girl I'm supposedlly in love with. The same girl that's your mother."
The man - Sota was his name - shook his head. "While the soul is the same, the memories will be different. Although in escense she is my sister, she may be a completly different person. The emotions will remain, but the personality may not have."
"So, this girl... will she be a time traveler like your sister?"
"Most likely not. This well is the only time device to my knowledge, and I doubt she's gone through it. Though she probably could if she wanted to... why would she?"
"So how am I supposed to find her?" Inuyasha was, to say the least, sceptical of the whole deal.
"Well, considering you look almost exactly the same... save a few erm, canine attributes... how much youkai do you have in you anyways?"
Inuyasha bristled. "My father is Hanyou, my mother is human." He did not like discussing his heritage.
Sota nodded. "I thought so. You have just enough human in you to escape detection. But back to your question. As you could be a clone of the Inuyasha I know, I would imagine she looks the same. She might even posses the same name." He reached into his pocked and pulled out a picture.
"Her name was Kagome Higurashi." Sota said, handing it to Inuyasha.
Taking it, he froze. It was of a midteens girl, in an old fashioned school uniform; she stood in a group of people who couldn't be much older than him. In fact, if you gave him dog ears and claws, he would look exactly like the boy standing next to her. Standing next to them was a dark haired man he could have sworn was in his history class, a child who looked like Rin's new best friend, and a girl he had seen talking to... to... to her. The girl in his math class. The girl in the picture. The one he couldn't get out of his mind.
He began finding out everything he could about the Kagome - both the past and present.
She had build the shrine where her family now lived, married the famous hanyou Inuyasha, been the first of a long miko line of power that ended a few generations before her grandfather, and restarted by herself.
She had been born out in the country, she was new at this school. She had three different classes with him, and his lunch. Her friend's names were Sango, Koga, and Yin.
She had been the most powerfull miko anyone had ever recorded. Dressed in unusual clothes, she was a master archer, and her spells would hold for eternity if left to their own devices.
She was incredibaly loyal, and had never started a vicous rumor in her life. Her friends spoke nothing but praise for her, her enemy's, few though they were, held nothing but contempt. She seemed to be perfect.
She was the all knowing matriarch.
She was the inocent school girl.
She held infinite power.
She snorted milk when she laughed.
She was the savior of the world.
She sucked at video games.
She was Kagome Higurashi.
And he was walking up to her table.
"Uhhh..." the group looked up at him, "can I sit here?" Smiling warmly at him, the wonder that was Kagome nodded. He sat down, and the introductions began.
She was always smiling. That was the first thing he noticed about her. Even though horrible things happened, (failed math tests... pop english quizzes... getting threatened by bullies...) she always seemed to get over it. And when she smiled it was like the ocean after a storm - laughing and dancing in the sunshine. He pretended not to notice. Well, that wasn't quite true. He would glare, call her a wench and ask what was so good about it. She never answered, other than laughing in his face. Which just intrigued him all the more.
Sometimes it seemed like one of the angels had been sent to earth, to show mere mortals what life was truly about. It was funny, he reflected, how even when she was professing her ignorance on some subject or another, she seemed to have the answers to every thing. Life held no mysteries for her. Except for him.
Inuyasha was the only thing she didn't seem able to understand. It was funny really, in a cruel twist of fate way. In her last life, she had been able to understand him perfectly - or so he heard.
She never had, acording to Sota. Not really. She couldn't understand why he fought for her, why he yelled at her, why he couldn't let Kikyo go. After everything they had gone through together, she still couldn't understand why he thought the way he thought. There was to much of his life she was ignorant of, too many memories she couldn't understand.
But maybe, Inuyasha reflected at their lunch table, just maybe, this time would be different. This time she wouldn't disapear for fifteen years. This time she wouldn't leave him to wander the earth.
This time, he wasn't letting her go.
A/N: This was the original ending to Driven By Blood (with a few modifications - Sota was originally Tsuyu) and the bridge to the next story, but as it seems I'm never going to finish... I might as well put it up. Meh, tell me what you think!