The second lemon

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha


Once upon a time there was an old king who had an only son. In the circle of court, high-born ladies and beautiful princesses would gladly die for one of his glances. But the prince favoured no one, and the years went on and on, and still the prince showed no sign to take a bride.

Sick at heart, the king summoned his only son and said: "Surely it would be easy to find a mate amidst these fair maidens you see around. Isn't time my son to seek a wife, and grace my fading eyesight with an heir?"

Well aware of his father's feeble heart, the prince cast down his eyes for there was no damsel in whom his heart could take delight in this house.

The prince longed for a very rare beauty; "she should be fair as the morning, white as the snow, and as pure as an angel," he said. "And I do not know of such maiden."

The old king sighed in despair and pried fervently the God of earth and sky and all creatures to grant wisdom to his delusional son.

As long days and nights rolled in turn, the prince had a vision. An old woman had appeared in his dreams: "Find the glass hill, pluck the three lemons, and you will have your heart dearest desire." She had said.

Through snow-covered mountains and desert plains, rode the prince on and on through his long journey. For a very, very great distance he went on; to no avail.

To make a long tale short, the prince came across three ladies who asked him in turn to perform great tasks in exchange for the object of his quest. And finally, he got the three lemons of which he should bestow upon the greatest care because should his wits fail him three times, he will die without a mate.

In the middle of the journey that would lead him back to his father's castle; the prince decided to take a rest and cut open the first lemon. He had no sooner done so, than a most exquisite Princess appeared before him, and with a bashful glance asked him to give her some water.

The prince alas was glued to his spot, for ever in his life has he set his sight on such a beautiful frail creature. He could do nothing but stare in disbelief at her vanishing form.

The lovely maiden had vanished and he lamented his stupidity, calling for her again and again, but his voice was lost in vain. With a sour and bleeding heart, the prince proceeded to the second lemon, and in rapture he stayed, not even heeding her call for water. She was even more beautiful than the first, in fact the first maiden was nothing compared to her. But all what he could grasp from her was a sad reproachful look as she also disappeared from his mournful sight.

Kagome rather wished she had never known him than having to come to this. Wasn't she supposed to be the second lemon after all?

How strange? She shivered. It was really a cold night, but to the fevered head on which that cool air blew, it seemed to come laden with remorse. With a throbbing heart and a burning skin, eyes hazy and heavy, thought hurried and disoriented, Kagome shrunk way from the well.

This place was infested with so many hurtful memories.

"What the hell's wrong with me?!" She screamed aloud at the raging wind.

Every one was growing up; it would've happened sooner or later. At the first, she had merely shrugged at the fact; but as the years kept mercilessly passing by, she came to realize the extent of her loneliness, and it seemed that her sanity has taken a serious blow too.

In kagome's eyes, Inuyasha was that stupid prince. He has failed them both. Eventually, she and Kikyo were no different. He was too much afraid and awed that he couldn't keep them unharmed. In the end, he lost them, one after another.

Hopefully, he won't miss his third and last shot. Somehow, she doubted it.

"Sweetie, you really need to go inside," her mother protested when she saw her shivering daughter staring into nothingness. How much more could she take?

Kagome rubbed her eyes, trying desperately to hide the tears or at least make them stop. Failing miserably, she broke into a fist of sobs unable to hide the pain anymore.

Her mother smiled kindly at her, and softly poked her nose. "You," She whispered. When she gave her a confused look, she continued, "Because I know you so well."

Relinquishing in the warmth of her mother's embrace, Kagome asked, sincerely curious:

"If there is such thing as 'the one', what happens if you never meet? Are you supposed to spend your whole life waiting?"

"Either that or you settle for the closest you can find." Came the wistful answer.

"I am thirsty," she murmured. "Will he not let me drink from his golden cup?"