This story was first uploaded on iyblind, an Inuyasha fanfic challenge community on livejournal, on June 19, 2008.


Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha.

PROMISE ME FOREVER

I flung myself at the wall of my prison, snarling in frustration as it melted out from under my claws. Almost immediately it reformed, mocking me. The surface was solid when I thunked my fist against it, but as insubstantial as a dream every time I tried to slice through it. And almost as irritating. Twitching my ears with barely suppressed rage, I scanned the four white walls. Damn! No way out. White mist eddied around my feet, forming strange shapes with half-remembered names. But they were gone before I could get a good look.

"Show yourself, asswipe!" I roared at the unresponsive ceiling. "Where are you?" Growling under my breath, I started pacing around the room. The bastard would pay for trapping me like this! Yes, he would pay! He...

My thoughts trailed off as I tried to remember just who had trapped me like this. Things were so fuzzy. I couldn't remember. Snatches of faces drifted through my memory, irritatingly just out of reach. There was a girl with brown eyes and black hair. And a shadowy figure wrapped in a baboon pet. And who was the tall individual with a white pelt draped over his shoulder?

My head started to ache. This wasn't getting me out. I'd figure out who these people were later. Up high, where the wall met the ceiling was a slightly discolored spot. Maybe if I hit it just right...

"Calm yourself, Inuyasha."

The unfamiliar voice startled me. I jerked and stumbled forward a couple of steps before catching myself. Finally! The bastard had appeared. Probably to gloat. Well, I would show whoever that trapping the great Inuyasha was a mistake... their last mistake. I whipped around, hoping to catch the asshole by surprise.

A small white rabbit youkai stood behind me, but there were no doors showing how she got into the room. She held an ordinary brown clipboard in her hands.

A rabbit? I tried to keep the surprise off of my face. I sniffed the air, searching for hidden danger. The little youkai smelled of clean white snow and moonlight, but I refused to relax. She could be more dangerous than she appeared.

"How do you know my name, bitch?" I snarled. Actually, I wondered how I remembered my name when I had forgotten everyone else's. I sank into a crouch and flexed my claws. Let her see that I was dangerous. "You'd better let me out of here if you know what's good for you! I have to get back to... to..." The name eluded me, leaving only a memory of a strange green and white outfit. Better bluff. "... the annoying bitch with the weird clothes!"

The rabbit youkai sighed. "Too strong. This is what happens when the Shikon no Tama is involved. Well, come along." She gestured at a door I swore hadn't been there before.

I refused to budge. My memories may have had more holes than substance, but I wasn't an idiot. "Why should I go anywhere with you?"

"Suit yourself." The rabbit youkai shrugged. "Stay here in the holding cell if you want. Less paperwork for me."

I glared at the retreating back of the rabbit. She disappeared into the white mist that filled the doorway. No way was I going in there. Slowly, the edges of the door began to grow fuzzy and turn into the wall again. My safe little cell? Or the unfamiliar abyss? Of course I was staying. I'm not an idiot. I... oh shit, the door was fading fast! With a muttered curse, I stomped through the door and almost ran over the youkai waiting on the other side. She nodded and continued her purposeful march down the hallway. Damn, but she was fast for such a little youkai. I tried to stretch my stride without appearing to hurry. Doors faded and reappeared at irregular intervals. My breath started to come in harsh pants. When she stopped, I almost ran over the top of her.

"We're here."

I rocked back on my heels. "Warn me when you're going to stop like that," I snarled, trying to catch my breath. Great, another room.

"Thank you, Kasumi. You may go now."

I nearly jumped out of my skin again. To my right was some kind of cat youkai (a snow leopard if I had to guess) holding a clipboard identical to Kasumi's and wearing a very bored expression. Kasumi bowed and stepped though one of the briefly appearing doors. She and the door vanished almost immediately.

I was very rattled by this time. So much was happening and none of it made any sense. When at a disadvantage, attack first. "Who the fuck are you? What did you do to me? Where's what's-her-name and the annoying runt with the bushy tail?" Why couldn't I remember anything?

"Name's Hikari. Follow me, Inuyasha. There are procedures to follow." She stepped through another reappearing door, shaking her head and muttering, "Too strong. Midoriko and her misguided quest for balance. As if we weren't busy enough."

For a brief moment, I considered ignoring the cat's stupid order. But, then again, whatever lay beyond couldn't be worse than freaky disappearing doors and creepy mist.

Hikari barely looked up as I barreled into the room. It was virtually identical to the one I had awakened in, but with the addition of a chair and desk in the middle of the room.

"Now then. You are Inuyasha, correct?"

What a stupid question! She'd already called me by name. But she seemed to be waiting for an answer. I gave an irritated grunt. With a slight eye roll, Hikari began reading from her clipboard.

"Son of the great Dog Youkai Lord of the West and a human mother. Half-brother to a full-blooded dog youkai. 'Killed' or 'enchanted' by a powerful miko, guardian of the Shikon no Tama. Companion to a houshi, a taijiya, a kitsune, and a human girl. Rival to the wolf youkai prince and enemy to..." here she paused and flipped through several pages "... numerous creatures, both youkai and human."

I listened hard without trying to appear interested. Damn. Some of it sounded familiar, but it was all a jumbled mess in my head. The mention of the wolf in particular made me want to put my fist through a wall, or a smirking face.

"What the hell is going on?" I braced my feet and yelled. Clenching my fists, I growled at the snow leopard. She refused to flinch. "If this is some kind of a new plot, I'll—"

"You're dead," Hikari interrupted. "And if you would just remember that sappy promise you made in the presence of the Shikon no Tama, you would realize why this is so complicated."

Taken totally by surprise, I gaped at her for a long moment. Finally I closed my mouth long enough to snort and say, "I can't be dead. I was just with...uhm...hell, it's on the tip of my tongue." I frowned in concentration. "Kagome! That's the name! Annoying girl who never shuts up, but looks kind of cute in that short skirt she wears."

"Right." The snow leopard nodded her head. "You promised to always remember her and that you would always find her so the two of you could spend eternity together. The Jewel, even uncompleted, tried to grant the desire."

"Meaning?"

Hikari consulted her clipboard. "You were dumped here with a faulty memory, and got moved to the head of the reincarnation list. The Afterworld may exist outside Time, but normally it takes decades or even centuries for a request like this to go through the proper channels, like it did for your little miko girlfriend last time. All it takes is the right door and a little patience to find the right vessel for your soul. But, because of the Shikon no Tama messing with the system, we are required to fulfill your wish before other, more patient, souls."

"Reincarnation?" I raised an eyebrow, but didn't relax. This sounded promising. "What are you bitches waiting for then? Reincarnate me and get me out of here!"

"There are procedures..."

"Don't care. Reincarnate now."

"Fine. Kasumi!"

The little white rabbit popped back into the room, just suddenly appearing out of thin air. She handed a sheet of paper to Hikari, keeping a small vial for herself. The annoying cat slowly read through the whole thing, ignoring me. I wanted to fidget—I even growled and deliberately examined my sharp claws—but these two seemed immune or too dense to recognize a threat. What was taking so long? I was remembering more with every passing second, the way Kagome's eyes would light up when she was angry with me, the soft touch of her hand when I was hurt, even her cute blush when she was embarrassed.

Hikari cleared her throat. "There are very few openings right now. You could be reincarnated as a daisy. Of course, there aren't any flower openings in the right century. But after a few decades you—"

Spend my next life as a fucking flower? "No."

"How about an oyster? Work hard and you might even make a pearl or two. You know that girls love jewelry."

"I ain't going to be no fucking bottom feeder. The whole deal is to be with Kagome, not spend my life on the bottom of the ocean."

"A puppy? Something soft and fuzzy? There's a litter about to be born in--"

I snorted "How clichéd can you get? I ain't spending my time drooling and sniffing butts. Think human."

"Fine." The calm and collected cat was starting to look a bit frazzled. I expected her to start hissing and spitting at any moment. My future was riding on these two, but I was starting to enjoy myself. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing just how far you can push someone. It's a dangerous game that can only be understood by other dogs, and possibly wolves.

Hikari and Kasumi consulted in furious whispers as Hikari flipped through the list. Getting bored again, I was considering shredding the rabbit's ears just for something to do when Hikari spoke.

"There is a human opening that just came available. The date is set for August 1, 1990. He'll even be born in Tokyo. You would need memory modification that wouldn't be necessary as a plant or animal."

Kasumi held up the vial of dark purple liquid labeled 'Clean Slate.'

I frowned. Something didn't sound right. Despite the little fuzz-brain's (Shippou! That's it) assertions that I am an uneducated lout, my mother did teach me to read and count. "No fucking way! That would make me only six when Kagome is fifteen! Try again, bitches!"

Hikari growled. "Last chance, hairball! Shikon no Tama or no Shikon no Tama, we aren't paid to put up with your shit!" She stalked forward and shook the list under my nose. Well, the little kitty has claws. I almost smirked.

"You have five minutes to decide. A human soul is due to be born in Tokyo in 1979. And, before you start counting on your toes, that would make you 17. Furthermore—"

This was going too far. I growled and flattened my ears. I really hate cats, they are so uppity. "Fine. I'll take it."

"I really need to tell you—"

"What part of 'fine' don't you understand?" Now that I had a definite goal, I was getting antsy. If I never saw a cat again it would be too soon, and the next rabbit I saw had better be in a stew. "Where's the door?"

A door swung open behind the rabbit, filled with slowly swirling mist. Kasumi spoke for the first time in a long time. She held out the vial and another piece of paper. Damn, but these two seemed to like paper. "We just need you to sign this and—"

"Out of my way!" I sprang easily over the top of the little youkai.

"Wait! There's something you need to know!"

Hikari shouted something and Kasumi tried to grab me as I sped past; I actually felt her fingers snag on my sleeve. There was only one thing going through my mind. Kagome would be waiting for me. She had promised! I was filled with a burning need to see her again, to feel her smooth arms around me, even to listen to her complain about school and call me an insensitive jerk.

Darkness surrounded me. Walls started pressing closer until I could barely move. I reached for Tetsusaiga, but the sword was gone. That is when I started to panic. Maybe I should have listened to those crazy bitches. My arms and legs were pressed close to my body, and it was getting hot. And damp. It was like being enclosed in a bubble of water. Ripples vibrated through me as the walls alternately squeezed the breath out of me before relaxing enough that I was able to wiggle a few inches in the only direction left open to me: forward.

I sensed light ahead of me, even if I couldn't see it. I fought my way forward, using the undulations of the walls to speed my progress. At last I felt air on my skin, which felt cold after the heat and damp of my prison. I struggled to make my eyes adjust to the outside world again, but all I could make out were vague blurs. Drawing breath into my lungs, I let out a fierce cry. Only, somehow, it didn't sound right.

Then I was moving. It was like a giant reached down and seized control of my helpless body. I wiggled and fought, but my limbs seemed reluctant to respond to my commands. A voice, deep and too loud for my sensitive ears, boomed from somewhere above me. The tone was distorted, but I was finally able to make out the words.

"Congratulations on a healthy baby, Akemi!"

Damn it! Reincarnation! I had to start over again! Fucking childhood! At least it couldn't be as bad as the last one. I sucked more air into newborn lungs and feebly twitched an arm.

I'll find you, Kagome! We'll be together forever!

"It's a beautiful baby girl."

Shit!


Food for Thought: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this little story. This particular plunny has been knocking around inside my skull for months. I just finally found the time and motivation to write it.