AN: InuKag flurff kinda. Its about time, too.
Note: (InuKag) They hold the middle together.
They lay together in the darkness, peering at the winking stars above with quiet wonder. Soft grass against their hair, the occasional gentle brush of an arm or a hand shifting, the secret frown or sigh hidden in the vacant space between them and the sky. It was contentment, perfect without the intruding gaze of the silver moon.
Though side by side, in the darkness, they could never have been farther apart.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome whispered. A tiny rustle and the grass trilled with her movement.
"Hmm?" His voice seemed slightly muffled.
"What are you thinking about?"
There was a pause. She could imagine in her mind the frown furrowing his brow, the down turn of his lips. What she didn't see was the way he fingered a lock of his hair, staring at it, unable to distinguish it's dark color from the shadows.
"The beginning," he said finally. He sounded so distant, so lost, caught in some memory she had no recollection of.
She didn't understand.
She wondered how lonely that must make him feel.
The beginning was not a well. It was not a girl, or a miko, or an arrow, or a jewel. The beginning was a reddish-brown stain on the wooden floors left untouched by a long put out flame. A silky fabric slipping through his fingers, a smile and a face and its tears.
It was a game and a child and a memory. Once theirs. Now his.
That was his beginning.
"Oh," she replied softly. She rolled to her side, facing him. Another silence enveloped them, and she noticed that he had drifted off again. In the darkness, she could see the slight sheen of his grey eyes, cloudy, withdrawn, reflecting the faint light of the stars.
Sometimes, on nights of the new moon, he would remember. Only for a moment, of course. His memories were little ghosts chasing around his mind, so blatant and vibrant, and yet try to grasp them and they slipped through his fingers, one by one, trilling little laughs at his misfortune.
Mostly he didn't care, but sometimes, he desperately needed to remember. It didn't feel right otherwise, like a story incomplete.
Inuyasha started, or so it sounded by the slight rustle of the grass. There was a silent pause, before he turned to her as well, and she felt the faint brush of his hand against her arm.
"What do you mean," he said gruffly, obviously a little confused.
"I mean, why are you thinking about the beginning?"
Silence. "Why not?"
His first memory was of death. Her cold stiff arms cradling him, her vacant eyes searching the ceiling, her mouth formed into a tiny 'o'. And then her expression, that look of utter desolation on her face, like a jagged scar mapped on the plains of her brow.
He thought it unfair that on his human nights, the first and only thing he could think about his mother was of her death.
That was not something she would have liked to pass on to him.
"Well..." Kagome stared at his silhouette for a moment. Suddenly, she had the distinct horrifying feeling that if she reached out he might not be there, a specter of her dreams instead of the real thing. Tentatively, her fingers itched towards him. "Well..." she repeated, fighting down panic, "Beginnings signify birth, right? Its hard for me to believe that you can remember when you were born."
She could almost feel his raised eyebrow. "There are more then one kind of beginnings, Kagome."
The beginning was his mother and before the beginning was his father and after the beginning...was the end. And all the things that lay before it, but mostly just the end.
He already knew the end too.
This time, Kagome frowned. Her fingers halted their progress forward as she thought, and she stared off into the distance. "No..." She said slowly. "How could there be? The beginning is when everything starts. Everything else is just change, isn't it? Unless you mean the beginning of change..." she trailed off. She blinked, but then continued firmly, "There is only one beginning. And one end, for that matter. But there are many pauses and many continuations and enlightenments and..."
She trailed off again, blushing. "Well!" she said finally, flustered. "What does all that matter anyway? We're not at the beginning and we're not at the end, so there's no point worrying about it anyway. Besides, they aren't everything. They're like bookends, they hold the middle together..." Then her gaze turned nervous, and her eyes snapped back to his silhouette. "Right? I mean, we're not anywhere near the begining or the... right?"
She knew the end too.
He was quiet for a long while. Finally he sat up with a grunt. The grass rustled around for a moment, and then his hand clasped around hers. Kagome turned pink.
"No," he said, perhaps softly, or perhaps his voice was just groggy from tiredness, or maybe he had a sore throat because he was human now, after all. Still, Kagome was pleased.
His grey eyes glinted, focused intensely on her as he finished, "This is the now."
And now was somewhere between the beginning and the end, and before or after the middle, and the one and only thing he didn't know.
Perhaps that was why he liked it the best.
"What's a bookend?"