Disclaimer: Do you really think someone like me could own Inuyasha?

A/N. Sorry for the late update on peoples. u.u It's just that...I was in a deep depression because someone very close to me died...-sighs and dabs eyes with tissue- A retarded doctor intentionally gave her an overdose of the sleeping medicine during surgery...-sighs again- Oh well, it's not like anyone cares, right? D:

This was inspired by Tears and Promises by Ananke Yamiko. :D Read her fic. It's short, but it's very good and emotional! x)

Anyways, hope you guys enjoy this...I guess? ;)


"Sesshomaru, where are you going?" Kikyo cried out in surprise as she watched his retreating back.

Sesshomaru paused to glance back at her, his golden eyes blank and unreadable. "I will return," he murmured slowly, as if trying to carefully form the right words.

Kikyo narrowed her eyes slightly, realizing his intentions. "You're going after Naraku, are you not?" she demanded in a quiet whisper, but her voice wasn't accusing. Sesshomaru was slightly surprised at the timbre of her voice. It was shaky and low, as if she were struggling to hide her fear. Fear? He almost smirked. The powerful priestess, Kikyo, scared? The emotionless shrine maiden, Kikyo, afraid? The former protecter of the Shikon Jewel, Kikyo, frightened?

Did she doubt his strength? He narrowed his eyes in exasperation. Naraku was indeed powerful, but was she implying that he, the demon Lord of the Western Lands, Sesshomaru, no match for him?

He remained silent for a moment, gazing at her intently, wondering if he should be angered or touched by her concern. Kikyo approached him slowly, and he admired her graceful movements as she made her way to him. Her hands reached out, and he flinched slightly as both of her hands grasped his gently.

"Do not go, Sesshomaru. We shall defeat Naraku together," Kikyo tried to plead with him, trembling slightly. "You will die if you try to kill him by yourself."

"Hn. You're one to talk, priestess. You were the one who nearly died by his hands at Mt. Hakurei," he countered smoothly. A flicker of fear and shame flickered through her eyes, yet her expression revealed nothing except desperation and despair as she realized that he wouldn't listen to her pathetic pleads.

Guilt surged through him, but he managed to keep his face emotionless and disinterested. After all, she wouldn't have fallen into Naraku's miasma if he had the heart to save her. But no, his pride kept him from stopping Naraku. Instead, he just watched her die. He watched Naraku's tentacles slash through her shoulder. He watched her cry out in pain and agony as the tentacles knocked her into the miasma. He watched her fall, fall to the depths of death. He watched her die.

Kikyo hung her head slightly, her bangs brushing against the upper half of her face as they concealed her hazel eyes from view. She squeezed his hand tightly, as if frightened or ashamed.

"I underestimated his strength," she admitted softly, raising her head to meet his amber orbs. "I do not want you to make the same mistake."

"This Sesshomaru does not make mistakes, priestess," he corrected tiredly, his eyes narrowing in anger and exasperation. She was doubting him.

"If you will not stay, I shall come with you."

"No," he replied sternly. "You are too weak. You are not strong enough to handle Naraku. You will die."

Why did he care if she died? He let her die before. He let Naraku kill her. He watched her die. Why couldn't he do it again?

Something was holding him back. Why wouldn't he let her come along? Why did he care, anyway?

If something happened to her...Rin would never get over it. She was only a little girl. He had to spare her the death of that human priestess.

Was it really only about Rin? Or did he feel something for her too? Something more than respect?

Nonsense.

He shook his head to clear those doubtful and confused thoughts. He gazed blankly beyond the priestess who stood before him, his amber eyes vacant and empty.

"Sesshomaru...please listen to me," she begged.

"This Sesshomaru does not listen to humans."

"You may not listen to me, but you should listen to," Kikyo paused, as if afraid to continue.

"To what?"

"...what beats within you..." Kikyo finished sadly, trying to stifle her tears. "Your heart is what you should listen to, Sesshomaru, just as I do. The same thing that told you to revive Rin after she died. The same thing that keeps you from killing Jaken. The same thing that gives you feelings, Sesshomaru-"

Kikyo was cut off as Sesshomaru jerked his hand from hers. Before she could react, he had struck her with such force that it sent her colliding onto the ground. The atmosphere of the area seemed more silent and cold, and the pressure of the chill weighed down on both of them. Sesshomaru stared down at her blankly, his expression showing nothing.

Fingering the bruise on her once flawless cheek, Kikyo remained silent, yet she stared back at Sesshomaru with sadness, horror, and another feeling he couldn't name. Something within his heart stirred slightly, yet he tried to force the feeling back by replacing it with anger. Why was she making him feel this way?

"I never want to see you again, priestess," he muttered coldly, turning away gracefully. He walked away, yet stopped abruptly in his tracks as her sad cry reached him.

"You care for them, Sesshomaru!" she cried out after him, her sorrowful voice clinging desperately onto the air. "They care for you as well. Do not leave them. And I...I love you, Sesshomaru. Please...please do not leave me!"

Her last words came out as a mixture of a choked sob and a desperate scream. Her eyes felt moist and her cheeks felt warm as tiny droplets streaked slowly down her cheeks, leaving behind trails of fresh moisture. For the first time in her entire life, she cried. She wept bitterly but silently, lowering her eyes to the ground, her long bangs concealing the upper half of her face from view. He watched as she allowed her tears to flow freely down her milky cheeks as she cried, accepting his decision without resistance and objection. He watched as she cried, cried for Rin, cried for Jaken, cried for herself, cried for him.

His heart throbbed deeply with guilt and sadness, as his eyes softened slightly, so slightly that it was almost unnoticeable. It was as if someone had just plunged a sword into his heart, and twisted and twisted their weapon, squeezing the life out of him. All he wanted was to set out and defeat Naraku, then return back to them, as if nothing had happened. And now...it was just so hard and difficult...and confusing.

What was he supposed to do? Walk away? Comfort her? Stay? Do nothing?

Voices within his mind screamed loudly at him, ordering him to walk away and do what he intended to do. He immediately obeyed those voices and walked away silently, yet as the distance between the demon and the priestess grew longer, his heart throbbed painfully. He stopped. His heart pounded again, pounded so harshly within his chest that he was sure that it was fighting to burst out of his flesh.

He tried to ignore the pain and guilt, walking away once more silently. His heart throbbed with such force that he almost dropped to his knees from the unbearable pain, yet his pride stopped him. However, he stopped in his tracks, and the pain ceased, but didn't vanish.

Why was it hurting so much? Sesshomaru gritted his teeth, angry and frusterated and confused all at once. His heart throbbed again.

"You may not listen to me, but you should listen to," Kikyo paused, as if afraid to continue.

"To what?"

"...what beats within you..." Kikyo finished sadly, trying to stifle her tears.

What beats within him...

His heart was trying to tell him something?

What?

He didn't understand.

He suddenly discerned the soft whisper of a faint voice, and his eyes slightly widened as the familiarity of the mystical tinkling stuck him.

"I love you, Sesshomaru...Please do not leave me..."

He turned back hesitantly, his eyes focusing on the melancholy priestess. She was still in the same position, the position of misery and defeat. Her shoulders hunched slightly with hopelessness, her head hung low with despair, her bangs covered her glassy eyes, and fresh tears of sadness and loneliness slid silently down her face.

He approached her slowly and hesitantly, yet she was completely unaware of his presence. He knelt down beside her and placed his hand gently on her back, cradling her gently in his arm as he drew her closer to him. She was inconsolable. Her face was buried in his shoulder, her tears flying openly, staining his haori with wet yet warm moisture.

"I will come back, Kikyo." Kikyo lifted her face slightly, but not completely, from his shoulder, her eyes widened with confusion and shock as the tears continued streaming down her face.

It was the first time he had ever addressed her by her name, the first time he ever agreed to her pleads, the first time his voice possessed such warmth as he spoke to her. It was always "This Sesshomaru does not listen to humans" or "Priestess, priestess." He had never listened to anything she said, never cared. He never spoke her name; he always called her "priestess" or "human." He didn't care about her; she wasn't worth respecting. But...what was happening right now?

"I will return," he repeated slowly, cradling her gently in his embrace.

A quiet, choked sob erupted from her throat. "No...you will not return...You will die, Sesshomaru. Please do not leave me..." she begged him tearfully.

"I will return. I promise you, Kikyo, that I will always come back for you," he promised her gently, feeling a warmth within himself that he had thought no one else but Rin could make him feel.

"Sesshomaru, will you keep your promise?"

"I will, Kikyo," he vowed reassuringly, releasing her to wipe the tears from her moist face. He brushed a few strands of hair from her eyes, and tucked some of her raven locks behind her ear. "I will."

"You will always come back for me?"

"I will, Kikyo. I promise," he repeated once more, tucking several strands of her ebony hair behind her other ear.

"I will go with you! I will not let you die by yourself!"

"No. You will stay," he responded sternly.

"Please..." she pleaded tearfully. "I do not want to lose you...I already lost everything. My sister, my duty, my soul, my life...Inuyasha." His name came out as a hushed whisper. His eyes narrowed in anger at the name, and his blood boiled with hatred for Inuyasha. Hatred, not caused because Inuyasha had Tetsuagia, nor was it because Inuyasha was a weak half-breed. Hatred, stirred because Inuyasha hurt Kikyo. His Kikyo.

"I do not want to lose you as well, Sesshomaru..." Kikyo finished sorrowfully, her crestfallen expression stabbing into his heart. He wanted to stay. He wanted to be with his Kikyo, but he couldn't. He had made a promise to himself, a promise that he would defeat Naraku. He didn't break his promises.

Sesshomaru touched her cheek gently, as gently as as the soft feeling of a butterly. "I do not want to lose you either, Kikyo," he whispered softly, caressing her soft cheek. "If anything happened to you..." His eyes softened. "You have to understand that I care about you, Kikyo. I...love you."

Time seemed to stop. Kikyo bent her head to the side slightly, the touch of his hand against her skin causing a tingling sensation within herself. Her heart rose with hope. "Then do not go..." she pleaded, a tear sliding down her cheek. Her hand reached up to wipe away the tear, yet Sesshomaru wiped it away for her.

She knew she was being selfish. But wasn't that human? She was human, even if she didn't have a soul. Even if she was dead, she could still feel. She could still love.

"I will return to you, Kikyo," he promised quietly. "I will always be there for you." Sesshomaru cupped her chin in his hand gently and slowly tilted her face to meet her teary, hazel eyes. He leaned closer to her, closing his eyes involuntarily. "I promise..." he breathed softly before his lips claimed hers, caressing the soft skin of her mouth. It seemed to last forever, yet it seemed to end so quickly. He drew away and rose to his feet. She stood as well, and grasped his hand.

"I promise too, Sesshomaru," she whispered softly. "...To always wait for you."

He smiled faintly as she wrapped her arms around him for one last embrace. Her arms tightened around him, as if she never wanted to let him go. He embraced her back with his arm, feeling her bury her face in his shoulder again. He tilted his head slightly and sniffed her hair. She smelled nice, a delicate fragrance that overpowered the stench of soil, bones, and earth.

Half-heartedly, they both broke away from the embrace at the same time. Sesshomaru turned and walked away, this time, his heart throbbing with a pain that didn't hurt as much. A pain...a longing, sad pain, he supposed. But he knew, in his heart, his Kikyo would always wait for him.

Kikyo watched his retreating back, her heart filled with love and hope for the demon lord. The pain in her heart was a different kind. A pain that would be healed someday. She knew in her heart that her Sesshomaru would always return to her.

"I will always return to you..."

"I will always wait..."


A year later

She had known this would happen, yet somehow, she felt as if she were and weren't the one responsible for it. The ones who loved him cried, sharing the pain that his beloved felt within her heart.

"Why didn't you stop him?" a green imp had yelled angrily at her, upon hearing the news.

"I am sorry. I could not stop him," she simply replied sadly. "It was what he wanted."

"Lord Sesshomaru!" a raven-haired girl sobbed into her arms.

"Do not feel too miserable, Rin," she tried to reassure the child, yet tears streamed down her face as well. "Please...He would not want you to feel so much pain. It hurts, but he wouldn't want us to hurt. We can miss him without being miserable."

"I will try."

The villain, the cause of everyone's pain and misery, was dead. But so was the brave hero who defeated him. Nobody cared, did they? Only two other people shared her pain. Was everyone so happy that they didn't stop to think the heavy price that was paid to bring that happiness?

Sometimes, she was sure that his spirit appeared before her some times during the years that crawled by. Maybe it was all an illusion. She didn't care.

He didn't speak, but she could read the message in his eyes. I am here for you, he seemed to say. ...like I promised, Kikyo...


Another year later

She laughed playfully as a young girl twisted a flower into her hair.

"What are you doing, Rin?" She smiled happily at the child. She had watched her grow during the years, and Rin was slightly losing her charm and becoming beautiful. Only two years had passed, yet Rin never lost her childish, playful personality.

Rin smiled happily. "This flower was Lord Sesshomaru's favorite..." Her voice lowered with slight sadness. "It's a Chinese Bellflower."

Kikyo removed the flower from her hair and gazed intently at it, marveling at the beautiful color of the delicate petals. She tucked it back into her hair.

"Was it really?" she asked softly.

"Yes..." Rin paused for a while, her eyes glistening with longing and sadness. "I miss Lord Sesshomaru."

Kikyo smiled sadly, placing her hand on Rin's hair, caressing the top of her head gently. With her other free hand, she tucked strands of Rin's hair behind her ear, just the way Sesshomaru did before he departed from her life.

"He'll come back, won't he?"

"He will."


Epilogue

This feeling...It feels familiar...I feel so…light…

Darkess swirled through her head, yet it wasn't exactly the familiar black of the inside of her eyelids. It was more of a really pitch-black darkness, filled with deep emotions, but the strongest feelings in the darkness were sorrow and...happiness?

She opened her eyes, and found herself lying motionlessly on the ground. She rose into a sitting position, gazing around in confusion. She was in the Feudal Era, she knew, but it seemed more...different. She was confused and certain at the same time that she knew what had happened.

She stood and slowly walked towards the Sacred Tree. She reached her hand out to gently caress the trunk, yet her transcluent hand slid through it. She felt it, yet she didn't feel it.

Kikyo stayed motionless, thinking about how different she felt. Light, as if a heavy burden had shed from her soul, and...free.

A look of hope, along with great sadness was deep within her brown colored eyes. She gazed off, wondering, into the horizon, watching the sun slowly set. Her eyes stared at the sunset, and beyond that. Far beyond.

A slight breeze blew her raven hair into her face, and her crimson hakama whipped around the lower half of her body as her white top caressed her delicate flesh. Her hand slightly closed into a fist, which she rested upon her chest as she stared into the horizon, her eyes almost empty and vacant as her thoughts were filled with the one she loved.

"Sesshomaru..."

She said his name barely above a whisper, her hazel eyes glistening with love and longing. She closed her eyes, enjoying the sweet smell of the air. His image flickered through her mind, as clear and vivid as daylight, perhaps even more clearer than that. His silky, silver hair swayed gracefully in the light breeze, while he stood silently in his proud, elegant position, his golden eyes dragging him deep into their depths. She could read the same message in his faint smile and his amber eyes. I am here for you, he seemed to say. ...like I promised, Kikyo...

"Kikyo."

Letting her arms dangle to the side, she turned to face the source of the voice, a faint smile pasted upon her face as her eyes lit with hope and love.

"Sesshomaru..." Her hazel eyes grew misty as tears began to build rapidly in her eyes. She closed her eyes, allowing the gentle force of her eyelids to blink away the tears. They slid slowly down her cheeks, splashing against the green grass. She opened her eyes once more, her eyes shining with happy tears.

She wanted to run to him and scream out her happiness, she wanted to break down and cry, she wanted to touch and make sure he was real and not an illusion. After all of these years she had waited for him to return to her...it just seemed so...hard to believe he had truly kept his promise. He had come back to her.

"You remembered..." she whispered in a hushed tone. "You...kept your promise..."

He smiled back. Of course he did..."Yes," he replied simply. "I did. And I see...you kept yours as well."

Kikyo rushed into his arms, her face buried in his shoulder as she hugged him tightly. He curled his arm around her slender figure as well, tilting his head to bury his face into her hair. He breathed in deeply, inhaling her scent, which had shed the stench of the dead. The scent was clean, as if it had been purified of its scent of death. She smelled of life...of renewal.

"Of course I did, Sesshomaru..." she wept silently into his haori. "I...I never stopped waiting for you...It hurt so much...waiting for you...But I know it was worth it...I...Sesshomaru..."

"Hush, Kikyo. I am here for you, as I promised. You waited for me. That is all that matters."

Kikyo's grip tightened on him as she continued to shed happy tears into his haori. "I would search far and wide for you, Sesshomaru...Yet...I know now." Her eyes slowly rose to meet his.

"What is it?" he questioned.

Kikyo smiled faintly through her tears. "You were with me all along."

Sesshomaru smiled back, tucking raven strands of her silky hair behind her perfectly-curved ear. "Yes. We were always with each other, but it is far better for dreams to be reality."

She nodded slightly in agreement, her eyes resting upon his face. She reached out and her pale hand curved around to gently caress his cheek. Her hand dropped and joined her other one around his back. She buried her face in his shoulder again, breathing in his familiar scent. "Sesshomaru...I love you..."

His body was soft and warm, a special kind of softness and warmth.

A warmth she had never felt until she met Inuyasha...

A warmth that he took away and gave to another...

A warmth that she thought she'd never feel...

A warmth she wanted to embrace for an eternity...

"I love you, too..." he whispered softly, tucking some of her silky hair behind her other ear.

"Lord Sesshomaru!" a scratchy voice called out.

"Lady Kikyo!" a childish, joyful voice cried out.

They turned, smiling. Jaken and Rin were running down the slightly steep hill towards them. Jaken was hobbling quickly in a desperate effort to keep up with Rin, who ran with her arms spread out wide, her ebony hair whipping behind her, her mouth open in a gleeful, silent shout.

"Lord Sesshomaru!" Jaken cried out blissfully, ignoring the fact that his lord and a human were embracing each other.

"He's here, Lady Kikyo! Just like he promised!" Rin sobbed happily. Kikyo released Sesshomaru to sweep the young girl in her arms, and she laughed.

"Yes, Rin," Kikyo smiled joyfully. "He is here."

Rin grinned merrily through her tears, embracing Kikyo tightly before rushing towards Sesshomaru to hug him as well. Jaken was too pleased to see his lord to be disturbed by the sappy moment between his master and the humans. Kikyo smiled widely, her heart rising with hope and happiness.

They were all a family. Small, yet it was still a family. A family she had always dreamed she could have, yet always denied.

She was free now. She was alive. She was with her loved ones. She was the woman she had always desired to become.

Her eyes darted from Rin to Jaken, then to her beloved Sesshomaru. She wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled joyfully. At the same time, their faces drew closer to each other, and their lips met, reliving the pleasant feeling of their soft skin caressing the other.

A smile of pleasure and joy crept onto Rin's lips as she watched the two people she had come to call her parents share a deep, passionate kiss. The tears continued streaming down her face, and she hurriedly wiped them away with the long sleeve of her orange kimono. Was the afterlife truly the most happiest time of one's life?

For them, yes.

"Master Jaken!" she cried out joyfully, running over to him and embracing him, squeezing his small body with such force that he nearly suffocated.

"Awp!"

Sesshomaru and Kikyo broke away at the same time, streaks of moisture glistening upon their lips from the deep kiss. They smiled faintly as they took hold of each other's hands and walked away from their old lives, and into their new ones.

"Where are we going now?" Kikyo wondered.

Sesshomaru smiled. "Where we shall be together for an eternity."

And the dream shattered and became reality.


A/N. Cheesiness and sappiness...x) Tee-hee...:D Sorry, no sweets this time, but please review:)