The Five Stages
Just A Starving Writer

Standard Disclaimer Applies

Author's Plea: Yeah, yeah, I swore I'd never write another SessKag and yet... These short-shorts were written for the multifandom stagesoflove community on livejournal -- a marvelous place you should visit if you have a chance. Divided by stage with title following. Enjoy if you can.

I. Attraction: Entirely Noticeable

It is not possible or plausible. It is not acceptable.

This girl, this pitiful human girl, should not be noticed. She should not be seen.

But she is there, a sight, a colorful spot at the corner of his eye.

He wonders why he did not kill her before, in the beginning, before ever she'd caught his eye. Or perhaps she really has bewitched him for this long and he has been fool enough to only notice it now.

But he is no fool and does not suffer fools lightly, his acceptance of Jaken the only notable exception.

And so he searches in her for something that would have made her noticeable, something he can blame for his present interest. The fact that the sight, the colorful spot in the corner of his eyes has become his full focus is not lost on him.

He still finds nothing that would serve to make him see her, to make her visible. He still finds nothing in her he can claim to appreciate. She is noisy and he does not like noisy females. She is demanding, and he finds such a trait disturbs his peace.

She is not acceptable. His interest is not acceptable.

This girl, this pitiful human girl, should not be noticed. She should not be seen.

And yet he does see her. He sees her and he knows, just as he knew his father would die for his supposed love, that there is nothing he can do to deny his interest.

II. Romance: Acceptable

He is seeing something in her that simply is not there. He is seeing a shade of what could be, perhaps. Of what he wishes were, more likely.

He knows this loud woman, this unremarkable female has nothing of value to him. He knows this, and he still sees that glow, that vision of something more, and he wants, and he loathes wanting.

He wants to loathe her.

He is unable to loathe her.

However, he is becoming more and more accustomed to being unable. He is unable to obtain Tessaiga. He is unable to kill Naraku. He is unable to deny his interest in one pathetic human female.

And he is unable to leave her dead.

When her eyes open, when the shadow of death has been removed from her visage, the only words he can say are silence.

She is gracious, as rightly she should be. He listens not.

It is with great discomfort that he accepts he is unable to deny his want of this girl. His hand extends as an offering, if granting her life was not enough. When she accepts it, uses it to raise herself off the ground, he accepts her.

He knows there is no honor in defeat. He knows there is honor in reevaluating the strategy.

He is unable to loathe her. He will be able to keep her.

III. Passion: Frailty

She is not a warrior. A miko she may be, but her place is not in battle. She will never be strong enough to survive against someone of his caliber, should such a being exist.

And yet that angry fire burning in her eyes as she pulls back her bowstring... it's enough to make the warrior part of him sing with excitement. It has been long since he has felt this invigorated due to battle. He admits silently that he appreciates the change.

He saves her two, three, four times before he stops counting. Once he admitted his interest, he admitted her worthiness. It no longer matters how weak she is so long as she does not submit to those who would harm her. So long as she submits to no one but himself.

When all have been killed and her companions are breathing a sigh of relief, it is she who spots the final assassin, and it is her arrow which purifies the being out of existence. The harshness of her eyes, the depth of her satisfaction tinged with that fragment of sorrow... it is enough to make him push any remaining doubts away. When he approaches her and takes but a second to crush her against him and demand his own satisfaction, he knows the position is uncomfortable for her, knows his armor is hurting her.

And when she responds regardless of her own frailty, he knows she is exactly what he needs even if she has nothing he wants.

IV. Intimacy: The Next Time

The first time she cries for him, he does not understand. He knows his injury appears terrible, but he does not know why it calls for such honest misery from her. Whatever disgust he has for himself over obtaining the injury only strengthens at how it affects her. He tells her to stop and she does. The ensuing silence is harsh, and the weight of her stare is far worse than her stifled sobs.

The second time she cries for him, he is angry. She is the one injured this time and, she should not be wasting her energy on such a frivolous thing as tears. He says as much and she merely smiles apologetically. She tells him she cries because she is upset. She didn't mean for him to worry. He stares at her blankly before demanding she cease. He decides there is no understanding a human, particularly this human. He wouldn't have it any other way.

The third time she cries for him, her eyes defy him. Her eyes defy nature and death, good and evil, and everything in between. She tells him to stop asking her to do the impossible and that she will cry if she so feels. She tells him to admit that discontent, that worry is forming in his mind. Tears are still trailing down her face as she turns her back on him, such a beautiful treacherous back, and begins wholeheartedly searching for his lost ward. He cannot classify what exactly he thinks of her defiance. He only knows that he respects it.

The fourth time she cries for him, he lets her.

V. Commitment: No Fool

When she goes through the well that last time, he knows it is only a matter of time before he sees her again. Moments, possibly days at most, she'll see him again.

But he... he will suffer in solitude, living these dangerous years between.

He doesn't regret letting her go because that would be foolish and he is no fool. Instead he accepts the necessity even as he abhors it. Her place is with him and there should be nothing keeping him from keeping her.

But there is. This world, despite his presence in it, does not belong to her. These open lands, these warring people cannot hold her here, and they certainly cannot hold her love. It is in that other world across the blue expanse of the well that they must continue.

He wonders for a moment if these years, so short and so terrible, will make him cease to be interested in this one human girl. He wonders if she wonders the same.

And then he dismisses the thought as foolish. He is not one to let go of what he wants so quickly, and if she loses faith in his love so easily, then she isn't what he thought she was.

Yes, forgetting her, becoming disinterested would be foolish and he is no fool. For her to think him forgetful would make her a fool, and he is not one to be interested in fools.

He will be there on the other side of that well, only five hundred years from now. He will be there with his hand out, welcoming her back into her world just as welcomed her back from the dead.