She heard her name spoken in a vague whisper. In her world of pitch black she could do nothing but step forward, towards the direction of that beautiful voice, one she knew very well...but couldn't place.
Who was calling her?
Yes, she wanted to answer, but no sound came out from her moving lips.
The voice grew faint.
Don't leave me, she mouthed.
Don't leave me again.
A hand brushed away her tears.
"Don't cry," the voice said.
She knew who that voice belonged to now.
Isn't it funny?
Every since you left
My heart ached.
And it hurt…
So very much.
"Don't close your eyes," he said. "You must not close your eyes."
Six years ago…
And instead of falling asleep, she awoke.
You took my heart.
"Kagura! Kagura, are you alright? Inuyasha, go get the nurse!"
And you never gave it back.
"Happy birthday, Kagura."
"Happy birthday, Kagura."
She opened her eyes.
CHAPTER 1: Happy Birthday
Six years later
"Kanna found you on the floor, bleeding. Care to explain a bit?"
Kagura stared at her blankly.
"It wasn't suicide."
"I know that!" Kagome snapped. She had been unwrapping a teddy bear before the interrogation and now she was about to hurl it into the opposite wall. "You were coughing blood. All Kaede says is that you have an unidentified heart disease. Kanna knows something and won't say anything, she just looks sad. And," the miko took a deep breath. "Kanna has no facial expressions whatsoever!"
"Everyone knows that. So what?"
"It means that your problem is a serious problem."
"You're acting like a mother, Kagome."
Kagome gnashed her teeth. "Well, you're acting like this is all sunshine and dandelions! Who spends her twenty-first birthday in a hospital?"
Silence. Kagura reached out and gently tugged the teddy bear away from her friend's angry grasp, and hugged it tightly.
She closed her eyes.
Kagome bowed her head. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have—"
"It's fine. You were just worried. Could you send my sister in?"
The girl stood, her face pained as she close the door behind her. In the short moment of quietness that followed Kagura breathed the cotton scent of the bear and looked up. Her eyes were a weak pinkish red today. She felt no desire to drink the water on the bedside cabinet.
I'm acting like a child, she thought. A stubborn, unhealthy child.
She could have died. She would have died, but his voice saved her, urging her to wake up from her dark world. His dream-self had saved her more times than his real, breathing person had.
These days his name was a constant mantra in her mind. His name reminded her of the things she needed to keep safe—her friends, her sister. His name reminded her that she had to see him one last time before she died.
She could have died. But she didn't, because he saved her.
When in reality he was across the ocean, out of her reach, not even keeping his promises. He broke her heart and ripped it apart into pieces of fragile glass, and stomped on it.
This was not the first time. Her near-death state occurred once in a while, when her mysterious illness decided to reappear. And this time, it was on her birthday. Twenty-one years she had lived, and six years had passed since their parting. A pile of presents littered the floor. Including the teddy bear, she had received stacks of books and CDs, bouquets of flowers, a diary, and a black lace scarf. And on top of this pile a huge card was propped open with the message: GET WELL SOON, WIND BITCH. FROM INUYASHA.
She felt so loved.
Kagura patted the bear on its head, smiling sadly. All she wished was to become free from her aching heart and live the rest of her life peacefully.
Or to become a child again.
Her sister walked in without knocking. She stopped behind the foot of the bed, her bottomless black orbs infinite, uncertain of what to do.
"Sweetie, I'm okay. Give your old sister a hug." And for that moment Kanna's apathetic face changed into one of relief and joy as she jumped into Kagura's waiting arms.
"You're not old," the albino insisted. "Not old. Onee-chan is very, very pretty. I was scared of losing onee-chan."
"Don't worry. I won't go anywhere."
Kanna went on. "If onee-chan goes away, no one will love me."
No one will love me.
If Sesshoumaru goes away, no one will love me.
That was what Kagura had believed, once.
But someone had loved her, after he went.
They hadn't wanted her to leave.
Kagura felt a familiar tear in her chest. It wasn't her illness.
"Don't be ridiculous. Of course someone will love you. There's Kagome, and Inuyasha—well, not quite—and Sango, and Miroku, and Yura, and Kaede…everyone will love you even if I'm gone—"
"No one will love me," Kanna repeated. "I can see it in their eyes. They're afraid of me. Did I do something wrong, onee-chan? What did I do?"
When you left me, Sesshoumaru, was it because of something I did?
What did I do?
"Kanna," Kagura held her sister's face in her hands. "Listen to me. You didn't to anything wrong."
Everything I taught you, every love I gave you, I will now give to my sister.
That had been her vow.
"Onee-chan loves you very much. So does the other people. I'm not going anywhere. We'll bake cookies and fly on my feather-boat and dance and sing and look at the stars and play games and dress up and do all those things that sisters do, and I will love you, love you, love you."
I won't make the mistake he made.
Breaking people's hearts.
Kanna fished a book lying on the ground and held it up. "Read to me?" It was a book of fairytales from her birthday pile. Kagura noticed a sticky-note plastered on the title. It read: Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world. Love from Kanna.
Upon reading that innocent sentence the wheels began to turn, and unwillingly her mind dug out a precious memory. Her fingers turned the pages; her mouth spoke the words. Yet her eyes no longer reflected the illustration of The Frog Prince.
"In the olden days, in a distant land, there lived a king. Between his several daughters the youngest was by far the most fair and charming, and one day the little princess went off to a nearby forest to play with her golden ball.
Nine year old Kagura placed the cake on the table.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you," she sang. "Happy birthday dear Sesshoumaru, my very best friend."
"As the princess tossed her ball into the air, it did not fall into her uplifted hands as usual. Instead, it fell to the ground, rolled to the rim of the well and into the water. The golden ball was gone.
"Stop this nonsense." Sesshoumaru was grouchy, but Kagura knew he was pleased. She knew him better than anyone else, even his parents.
Dramatically, using elaborate gestures and twirling around, she presented him his present. "Here you go."
"The princess, for fear that she would never see her beautiful ball again, burst into tears. She cried and cried so pitifully that a frog poked its head out of the water and asked, 'What is the matter, little princess? You are crying so that even a hard stone would have pity on you.'
The box opened. An eyebrow rose. "What am I supposed to do with this?" He waved the silver chain in the air.
"Though she disliked the ugly frog the princess answered, 'My golden ball has fallen into the well. Could you bring it back to me?'
'Oh, I can. But what will you give me if I do?'
"The princess said she would give him all her dresses, jewelry, and beads—even the golden crown on her head.
"Wear it, of course!"
"I'm not a dog."
"The frog answered, 'I don't want them. But if you can find it in your heart to like me and take me for your playfellow, if you will let me sit beside you at the table, eat from your plate and drink from your cup, and if you are willing to let me sleep in your own bed besides: if you promise me all this, little princess, I will gladly retrieve your golden ball.'
"She promised. But as soon as she seized the ball she skipped away with it, thinking no more about the small creature who had returned it to her."
"But you're an inu youkai. Close enough."
Sesshoumaru sighed. "So childish," he muttered, but put on the chain anyway.
If it makes you happy,
I will do anything.
"YAY!" Kagura cheered. Then she grabbed both of his hands.
"Sesshy-kun, dance with me!"
"Don't be such a party pooper! Dance!"
In the end, he danced, to make her happy. They waltzed into the sky and tangoed over the moon, performed a pirouette in the midst of stars. And when they landed, back on earth, Sesshoumaru was smiling too.
"Huh?" She had stopped reading. "Oh. I must have dozed off, sorry Kanna. I'll read it to you again…" The pages were wet.
Kagura pressed a palm to her cheek. So she was.
Make me your friend if I return your golden ball, the frog had said. But the princess ran away with it. The princess who hadn't kept her word was unfair, but the frog, who had tried to win her affection with a price wasn't much better off. Yet when the king scolded her for her actions, the princess could only do by contract, and finally she got pissed and threw the frog into the wall. It was an acute near-murder.
Then the magic broke, and in the ugly frog's place was the nearby kingdom's prince. That was the story of The Frog Prince. Regardless of the princess's behavior he had seen so far, and regardless of whether he was the creature she had so hated, the two married and strengthened their lands and lived happily ever after. It was a story with no emotion, no moral.
Help me, and I will help you.
Love me, and I will love you.
Kagura thought there was that relationship in the story, too. In fact, that might have been the most basic and equal theme.
She wasn't a princess. And Sesshoumaru wasn't a prince. There was no rule between them that they should hate each other, simply for the reason that—
Love me, and I will love you.
Had he loved her?
She failed to tell him that day at the airport, those eight letters. I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U. She hadn't said them because she believed they would meet once more, that there would be another chance.
There had been none.
For the first time, Kagura wanted to hate Sesshoumaru.
Love me and I will love you.
I love you.
I loved you.
Youngest daughter of the king,
Open the door for me.
Mind your words at the old well spring;
Open the door for me!
Disclaimer: INUYASHA belongs to Takahashi Rumiko.
THE FROG PRINCE belongs to The Brothers Grimm.
Please note, that if anyone felt the interpretation of The Frog Prince as insulting, the author begs forgiveness. It was necessary for the plot. The author had no intentions of belittling the Brothers Grimm or their tales.
This chapter was written while listening to the song Breakaway, by Kelly Clarkson.
A typical day in the Higurashi Shrine; the sun was shining, the air was clean, and the chirping of the birds was interrupted by a loud shriek.
Only today, it wasn't Kagome that was chasing the unfortunate hanyou.
"I DIDN'T DO IT!"
"COME BACK HERE YOU ASSHOLE!" The door crashed open, followed by a fire-breathing dragon formerly known as our protagonist Kagura brandishing her fan wildly, causing a few trees to be uprooted in the distance. "COME BACK HERE! I HAVE TO KILL YOU!"
"I DON'T WANNA!"
"COME BACK HERE!"
Kagome sighed, stepping over her broken property. Why she was friends with those two, she'd never know. "What did he do now?"
"He broke Kagura's Venetian glass goblet," came the reply. Sango was nudging the door with her foot. "You asked her to bring it so we all could have a look, Inuyasha grabbed it too hastily, it flew over the couch, bounced on a cushioned chair, and it would've been fine if only that cat of yours hadn't kicked it away. Kagome, can I—"
"No, Sango, you can't borrow another thousand yen from me until you pay off all your I.O.U. debts."
Kagura caught Inuyasha by the collar of his red haori. "You may choose, Inuyasha. Either give me ten thousand bucks by tomorrow morning or kiss your sword good-bye."
Dog-boy choked. "Not…Tessaiga…"
"That's what I thought. And I want it in an attaché case, in cash!"
"GAH! That's impossible, wind bitch!"
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!"
A few minutes of shouting later, Kagura released Inuyasha, who crawled up a tree so fast that the onlookers agreed he must've been a squirrel in past life.
Kagome, Inuyasha, and Sango. They were all years younger than Kagura, earning some questions. Why would she consider them as friends? But she had been always lonely, none her age except him—whose name she promised herself to never mention again. This was her new resolution.
She didn't want to be hurt anymore.
Kurogami no Yura, before she left for a trip to Hawaii, had advised her to forget about him. He's forgotten you. It's time to make a change, Yura had said. Kagura had point-blank refused.
Without him, I would be an empty shell.
Kagura idly sipped her coffee. Truly, it was a nice day, if it weren't for the fact it was winter and she was enjoying it in a heavy coat. Winter was okay; at least it snowed a lot.
Spring was okay. At least flowers bloomed.
She loved autumn. It was the windiest season.
She absolutely detested summer. Japanese summer was stuffy and humid, and despite the excitement of seeing the ocean, who wants to sweat herself to death walking under the ultraviolet rays? And it was green, too green. It was a great color and all, but seeing a too much of it can get into your head (Kagura had once watched Naruto and had been amused by the vividly green appearance of Rock Lee.)
In winter nothing should be green except evergreen trees and Christmas wreaths. Thus Kagura found herself in a bad mood when she saw a moving viridian figure climbing up the shrine stairs. The man was toad-like, wearing sunglasses and suit.
"Ugh." Inuyasha, still up in the tree, winced. "Something smells horrible…like a toad. Wench, you have a customer."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!"
"Ouch, two screaming banshees in one day…"
"I'm outta here. It's time for me to pick up Kanna anyway." A gust of wind later Kagura was sitting on a humongous feather. "Ja ne, youngsters. Thanks for the coffee. I'll expect you in the morning, dog-boy."
She flew off before Inuyasha could get in a rude remark. "Keh. Stupid witch."
The toad-man entered the shrine gate. Kagome greeted him, which he answered with a nod. "I was told I could meet Miss Kagura here."
The threesome's expressions darkened slightly. "Who told you that?" Sango asked, suspicious. It wasn't like Kagura to tell anyone where she'd be. She had no one to tell to. "Who are you?"
The man coughed. "No one you should know, and my name is Jaken." He surveyed the grounds closely. "May I see Miss Kagura?"
"She isn't here."
"Am I expected to believe that?"
Sango frowned. "Are you calling us liars?"
"It's not very convincing." Jaken attempted to search the grounds, pushing Kagome away. "Get away, girl—"
Inuyasha was by her side in an instant, holding Kagome and baring his teeth. "Don't frigging touch her, ya stinking—I ought to—"
"Inuyasha! Calm down, I'm perfectly fine." He didn't calm down. The miko sighed. "What do we do when we're upset?"
"We take a deep breath and count to ten, but don't bother Kagome, he's been agitated enough already." Sango shifted in her place, ready to grab Hiraikotsu if anything happened.
Jaken attempted to look calm, but he was clearly startled by Inuyasha's action. The lamp-like eyes under the sunglasses widened, as if realizing something. He sighed, and rummaged around his inner pocket.
"I really didn't want to do this…"
In the toad's hands was a business card.
"I understand that I am unwanted here, but the matter is urgent." He handed Kagome the business card. "Please, contact Miss Kagura as quickly as possible. If not, I shall have to come here again." Jaken nodded at the looks on their faces that screamed 'GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HERE.'
He nodded again and POOF disappeared.
Inuyasha was staring at the card. "No way…"
Sango looked grim. "Should we…?"
"It's for the best. She's bound to find out somehow." Kagome was itching to destroy the card in a shredder. "The nerve…after all he did to her…"
The front of the card read: Taisho Industries
The back of the card had a fax and phone number and the name:
Author's Note: HELL YEAH! I'm finally done with…what, only chapter one? Oh well, can't have anything life. SCHOOL SUCKS!
The first chapter of Memorable Days has ended! Kagura's illness and new resolution! Inuyasha's protectiveness of Kagome! A Sango in debt! A Kanna in denial! A Jaken out of character! And Sesshy daring to show his face back on earth! Next time: Kanna makes a friend.
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