Years Come and Gone
Chapter 1: Burden of the Sleeping Beauty
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha
Hello all – I know it has been an extremely long time since I have written or posted anything. There has been an idea I've had for awhile and I have finally brought myself to write it! I am a little rusty at writing fanfictions at the moment so I apologize if this chapter is up to standard. Before you begin I would like to say that this chapter may seem a little slow to some because of the lack of words spoken. This chapter is merely to introduce the story and to show what is going on. I plan for the following chapters to be more interactive with the characters. So without further delay – let's get this thing rolling!
After I started this story it has come to my attention that this story shares similarities to another story by Texanlady. I would like first off apologize to her and her fans. However, I would also like to say that I have never had the chance to read her story to try and steal any of her ideas. This story has stemmed from my own idea that I have had for several years now. I haven't written any fanfiction for a long time now and so it's obviously taken me a lot of pushing to bring myself to write this story. I hadn't realized that in the time that it took me to write this story that someone else had already come up with a similar idea. I would really love to continue this story because it is an idea that I have had for so long. After seriously thinking about it I have decided to continue this story after all - though I wish to apologize once again to Texanlady and her fans.
In the end things didn't go as one might imagine them to go. Our last battle – the fight to end them all wasn't as big and dramatic as some of us thought it would be. In that final battle, Naraku was killed and we were freed from him and the burden the tama had become to us all. Sure there were casualties, however, anywhere the tama ever went there had been. There were many that died along the way to that final battle, along that long parlous journey.
Koga, as brave as he was, lost so much on this journey and only came out with two others of his tribe. There wasn't a day gone by that he mourned for those he was unable to protect. When it came to Naraku though, there was little that anyone could protect. I would like to say that at the end Koga was able to find peace. The murderer of his men died that final day or at least the one who had written their death note.
Kagura, as strong as she was in spirit could never free herself of Naraku. She was powerless against him while he still held her heart. So she could not honestly be blamed for the men she had killed. As much as Koga had wanted her death, I think he understood what really happened. I believe knowing this and being able to let her go made him both stronger and wiser. So when Naraku was finally killed, Kagura was finally free. When that first feeling of freedom washed over her, she was happier than she had ever been. Because, the wind must be free to blow in whichever path it desired. So given that right that she had been denied until that moment, she left. She had no real desire to fight, it was Naraku's battle and the battle he lost, not hers.
There were many other deaths, ones that must be respected and honored as any death should. The ones that stand out the most were Kanna, Kohaku, and Kikyo. Kanna was but a child yet she held wisdom beyond her years. She however was but a victim and creation formed from Naraku's ill will. When death drew near for Naraku, he absorbed her into himself to gain any power that he could. Kagura's screams of injustice and sorrow echoed over everything in that moment. Kohaku never did see the last battle. Even though it brought great grief to Sango, it was best that he was finally able to rest and I think she knew that. After the horrors Naraku caused him to do and see - no one could ever hope to recover from. Finally, there was Kikyo's death or really her return to the afterlife at the end of our battle…
Above the sky was dark and only a few stars were visible through the rolling clouds. The night sky had never looked as beautiful as it did in that moment. In the aftershock of their victory over Naraku, all there in the clearing looked up at it. Their chests heaved as they drew in shaky breaths, exhausted from the battle as their adrenaline waned off. Naraku, like the coward he was, attacked once the sun has left them in darkness. There was nothing left of the villains body, every trace of him had been purified as if he had never been there in the first place.
The wave of peace that washed over the group was soul consuming. No one in the group had honestly believed this day would really come. Yes, they had all hoped for it above all else, but they could never actually visualize it. Their small group was overwhelmed in a mixture of shock, happiness, and sorrow for the ones they had lost over the way. No one could bring themselves to break the silence that had formed, or even to as much as move from their spots in the clearing. The soft rustle of the swaying grass beneath could be heard as the wind wrapped around their tired bodies.
"It's over… it's really over." Kagome was the first one to break their silence and verbalize the shock they all felt.
In the palm of her open hand rested the jewel that had caused all of this. Some of the members of the group had never seen the tama whole. For the few that had, it had been a very long time. Now though, all of their fighting and determination paid off. Looking at the jewel it was hard to believe the amount of destruction such a small thing could cause. The tama had never looked so pure, void of any hate or malice as it did now, resting in Kagome's palm. Kagome smiled happily; pleased that she was finally able to fix what she had so long ago broke. Closing her palm into a lightly clenched fist, she rested it against her chest. Her eyes shined happily as she looked back up at the sky.
The other members were still stuck within their own thoughts. It was a slight gasp from Kikyo that finally drew their minds to the present. They all took in the peaceful look on her face, her closed eyelids and soft smile. Her limbs fell gracefully to her side as the wind curled around her, sweeping her hair away. It was then that a gentle blue glow wrapped around her. She shimmered lightly before she faded away; her ashes were taken away on the winds current. It was her hate and her soul's unrest that kept her here. Now that her soul's purpose had been fulfilled she was finally allowed the peace she had been denied for so long.
The shock among the group, gained in its intensity with Kikyo's sudden departure and into the afterlife. Inuyasha's eyes widdened the most and he opened his mouth to cry out but stopped. He wanted to be hurt but even he knew that would be selfish. Both she and he had accepted she would leave eventually and to move on. It had been a complicated affair and an emotional one at the time. Now though - Inuyasha knew he could only be happy for his past love, she too was at peace. In their surprise, no one had seen Kagome fall to the ground until Sango called out in surprise.
Sango was the first one to reach their fallen comrade. Worry shinned in Sango's eyes as she took her adopted sister into her arms. Did Kagome suffer from some unseen injury? The rest of their group quickly formed around them in concern. Kikyo's departure was quickly taken over by Kagome's fall.
"Is Lady Kagome alright?" Miroku asked, kneeling down beside Sango.
"What's wrong with Kagome?" Shippo was the second to voice his concern.
"Stop babying her – she's fine." Inuyasha spoke in his normal crude manner, turning his attention to his friend on the ground.
He crossed his arms over his chest and huffed slightly.
"Sango, Inuyasha is probably right. She must have used a great deal of energy from purifying the jewel." Miroku explained as reason came to him.
Sango didn't release Kagome, despite Miroku's reassurances. It was unlike Kagome to suddenly faint like this. She had lost her brother only a moon cycle ago. In that time Kagome and she had grown increasingly close, closer than they ever had before. It frightened her to think she might lose another sibling; blood related or not.
"Speaking of the jewel, where is it anyways?" Inuyasha asked, looking around on the ground for it. "She better not have dropped and lost it. After all of this I want my wish finally!"
"Inuyasha!" Sango exclaimed. "Is that all you can think about?" Her lips formed a thin line.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Inuyasha all but growled out.
"No – Inuyasha's right… I think she dropped it 'cuz I don't see it." Shippo cut in, looking around in the grass to see where it may have rolled to.
Inuyasha grumbled about Kagome being clumsy while both Shippo and he looked for the misplaced jewel. Kirara transformed into her smaller form and padded over to Kagome, nudging her gently. Looking up at Sango and Miroku, Kirara mewed softly.
"Damn – I don't see it!" Inuyasha growled in frustration.
"Inuyasha…" Miroku began tentatively. "Didn't you once say that when Kagome first brought the jewel to this world, that she brought it inside of herself?"
"Yeah, what about it?" He asked in annoyance, pausing to look back at Miroku.
"Is it possible that the jewel may have gone back into Kagome?" Sango asked, voicing the question Miroku himself was thinking.
"I wouldn't be surprised… she is supposed to be its protector. It's always seemed to be drawn to her and her to it with her ability to sense the shards."
"What?" Inuyasha marched over to the duo hovering over Kagome. "Well then I'm going to take it right back outta her!"
"Inuyasha!" All three other members exclaimed.
Inuyasha's ears flattened against his skull. Shippo hopped up onto his shoulder and hit his head.
"You can't do that!" Shippo yelled. "That would hurt Kagome and I'm sure she didn't mean to…"
Inuyasha jerked his shoulder and successfully knocked Shippo off. Shippo landed in huff on the grass beside Kagome. Raising his nose, Inuyasha looked away and crossed his arms once more. The four members of the group grew silent, each one trying to think what this possibility could mean for them and their group.
"I… I don't sense the jewels presence." Miroku's words shocked even himself as he spoke them.
"What do you mean Miroku?" Sango asked, tightening her grip on Kagome.
"I don't know how to explain it… It's like it is there but it is silent." Miroku's brow furrowed together in confusion as he looked at Kagome.
"Well it didn't just vanish!" Inuyasha yelled in frustration.
Inuyasha looked at Kagome with worry written on his face. Though he could never admit it easily, Kagome had become his closest friend. She was his first real friend and through the years his best friend. She never judged him for what he was and only tried to help him, no matter how hard he pushed or treated her.
"The tama… it sleeps."
He woke up with a start, his amber eyes quickly swept across the room. He let loose a growl of frustration at the dream that had plagued him. Five hundred years has passed since this burden has been set upon him. Five hundred years that he has been plagued by the past, unrelenting even as time grew on. His dream tonight was of a memory of the night Naraku had been slain. However, he had not been present that night and this was not his memory. It was her memory; this was its memory, the memory of the tama. That cursed jewel that had cursed him as her sworn protector.
He closed his eyes as he bowed his head, his long silver hair falling over his shoulder to collect on his black sheets. He had to calm his frustration with the jewel unless he toss the jewel's protector out of his home once and for all. Sesshomaru was a strong man of intellect, he was not however one to take such torment.
That night five hundred and some years ago, the night in which he dreamed of, the monk had been more accurate than he would have thought. The half-breed's group would not come to understand what had fallen upon the priestess until several nights later. He knew what had occurred within the small group from what they themselves had told him. He also knew because the jewel seemed to want him to know through unpredictable visions and dreams. The small ragtag group waited for their fallen comrade to awaken. The next day when she did not awaken, they moved to visit the elder priestess who resided along Inuyasha's Forest. As on day fell into the next and then another and so on, their comrade never did awaken. The monk had been completely right without full knowledge of his words. The jewel did sleep and it would never awaken again and thus neither would its protector. The jewel once complete, went back within its chosen protector. It joined with her and the two became one and both would forever sleep in dormant.
Sesshomaru would not come to know of what had occurred till several weeks later, when he came to inquire if the half-breed known as Naraku had been slain as rumor had it. There had been a great discussion and finally her comrade had placed her within his hands to protect. Inuyasha had been against this idea fully. It was only the jewel's demand that the hanyou had finally accepted this. Silently, the jewel had acted through control over the winds and as much as to push others away while restricting him from leaving her. It was through these actions that the jewel had stated its will. He would have never accepted to protect the girl if it had not been for that. It should not have been his responsibility and duty to partake on. However, the jewel in its own way had chosen him and so he had accepted his fate. Throughout the years he would come to regret this time and time again, loathing the sleeping girl for the power that chained him to her.
The girl still slept from this day, never moving through these long years. She lost her need for food and nourishment before the jewel had claimed her. It seemed the jewel had given her eternal life because the girl never aged from the night in which she first fell into slumber. It seemed intent on keeping its protector and its tie with her. Through the years he had come to understand the jewel's connection with the girl and thus his own connection with her. Sesshomaru could barely stand the sight of the slumbering girl. When he looked at her he only saw what he had lost over the years. It was better that he did not look on her unless it was needed. So he kept her as far away as the jewel would permit him within his home, in some dark forgotten room that he could easily avoid.
Sesshomaru brought a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose while the other clenched his sheets in his closed fist. There was something he was thankful for over the centuries. After time his arm had regenerated itself though that was due to the jewel's whim. It was yet another sign reminding him of the chain that linked him to the sleeping girl.
Sleep was clearly no longer an option tonight. He silently rose from his bed and stood on the cold polished wooded floor. His marble chiseled chest gleamed under the moonlight penetrating through the window. Sesshomaru walked across the room in a few strides and exited his room. The hallways were dark but he could easily see clearly. The soft tug he felt a week ago had become stronger, waking him finally from his own slumber so that he might answer its call. If he went long enough the jewel would pull him closer as if by gravitational force. It was as if it needed him to be near the girl, to acknowledge her. Sometimes he purposely went against it to test his own strength. In the end though, the jewel always won once he grew tired of ignoring it.
The walk through his home seemed nonexistent. He stood outside of the double doors leading to her. He brought a hand up to the doorknob and closed his eyes. If he stood still he could feel its sweet caress, welcoming him and urging him closer. He hated how sweet and warm it felt as much as he loved to divulge in this feeling. He quickly shook the feeling off and pushed the door open.
The same sight greeted him as it always had. Not a thing had changed except for the new various objects her remaining companions brought to her. Inuyasha scent lingered on a vase he had sent from his home in the Americas. His scent was quickly fading though for which he was thankful. An even larger and elaborate vase that was overflowing with exotic and rare flowers smelled of the wolf. It seemed as if the wolf leader had sent this possibly two days ago. The most prominent scent which clung to almost ever object was of the fox. The small fox child that the girl looked after had grown into a powerful and a well respected lord. He made sure his surrogate mother had nothing but the best of care, almost annoyingly so. After Rin's passing Sesshomaru had easily forgotten the girl, to the point the fox child claimed she was 'neglected'. It was through his constant complaining that he made sure she had 'proper' care as he put it over the years.
Walking, he erased the space from the door and to the elaborate four poster bed. The fox had recently bought this for her in the past six or so months. It was not that Sesshomaru was bad at caring for the girl as that he did not see the point in covering a room with lavish decorations for someone who would never wake up to appreciate them. The fox seemed to think otherwise obviously as by the state of the room. If the jewel would allow him, he might have just given the girl to Shippo.
This room felt too familiar to him, familiar enough to bother him at least. Every so often he would find himself coming into her room just like this during the night. Though he would never admit it aloud, sometimes he found it pleasant to observe her. Because as much as he came to hate her, he grew to care for her and the connection to his past she presented. The world around his has changed drastically but she (like him) has stayed exactly the same.
Sesshomaru brought a hand up to brush her hair from her eyes. She smelled softly of soap from her bath that one of his servants had given her earlier. Underneath the scent of soap he could still pick up the soothing scent of rain. Over the years her beauty seemed to have grown like a wine with age, or perhaps he came to see the beauty she had all along more clearly. Her kimono tonight was a soft powder blue with a scarlet red sash. Once she had been taken into his care he had quickly rid her of her clothing he had always labeled as indecent. Though the current time no longer called for this style of dress, he thought she looked better in the style of dress he had known when she came to him.
"Will you ever cease to confuse me?" Sesshomaru's words lingered in the air, and were only greeted by silence.
Since the day Sesshomaru first laid eyes on this young woman he was always confused. He could never figure her out; Kagome was and would always remain a mystery to him. Every word she had ever spoken left his mind reeling and now in silence she was more of s mystery than ever. After taking her under his care her companions had told him much about her. They told him where she came from, who she was and her life in the time that had been his own. His curiosity was never satisfied and looking upon her only worsened it. If he sat looking at her long enough he would only go mad with frustration. He wanted to awaken if only to answer his questions.
It seemed as if anything and everything was drawn to her. She didn't need the jewel for that, everyone that came into her path or so much as heard of her were instantly drawn to her; demon and human alike. Even after five hundred years of sleep people still came to be in her presence. Kagome's friend's loyalties towards her never faltered through the years. Those that knew her were forever coming to visit her, even if she could not communicate with them. For the rest that didn't know her, as soon as they heard of her they were instantly captivated by her and her tale. She was the living image of Sleeping Beauty to them. The difference between the fairytale version and Kagome was simple; Kagome wasn't waiting on a prince to waken her. If that were the case she would have been awakened by one of her suitors long ago. Kagome was asleep to the world and she would forever remain so. Some could not accept this, but he had many years ago.
Work over the changing years had grown increasingly dull. As humans rose and demons fell back to the shadows, life of war and bloodshed faded too. Today's world was built on business and money, something that became tiresome. The only upside was that he could have many whose jobs took up most of the drab small details of business. Outside his office window the sun was high and most in the large high-rise building were gone for lunch. It was a time of day where Sesshomaru could be at peace and finish what paper work he needed to do in silence. That at least was his normal plan, today just wasn't going to be normal.
Sesshomaru sensed the other demon the moment he stepped into the building. This demon had a different signal than the rest. This signal screamed of the oncoming annoyance he would soon have to endure. His mood was already foul from his disrupted sleep and now it grew darker as his afternoon was also taken from him. The moment the fox stepped off of the elevator and onto his floor he released a sigh of heavy annoyance.
"What is it you want fox?" Sesshomaru called as Shippo stepped through his office doors.
"I saw you secretary was out so I took the liberty of letting myself in." Was Shippo's response, the corner of his mouth rising in a sly smile.
"So I see." Sesshomaru's voice was even and punctuated with irritation.
It was not that Sesshomaru disliked Shippo. As a matter of fact once Kagome came into his care so did the kit. The child refused to be separated from his surrogate mother. He did prove useful though as a playmate to Rin and took care of his mother. As he grew older he helped him patrol his lands and spoke to the other lords on his behalf when he was unable. Shippo had change a great deal from when he was but a kit. He was now almost as tall as himself with equally long red hair. His eyes were still the same color but they held a life's worth of pain and wisdom in them. Shippo was no longer a child but a man who had grown up at a very young age. It was after Shippo left to claim his own lands that he became an annoyance. The less he was able to see and care for his mother the pickier and stubborn regarding her care he became.
"I am still waiting for your answer." Sesshomaru reminded him.
"Well you see…" Shippo began, unsure as to where to start.
"Yes?" Sesshomaru asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"Inuyasha wants to return."
Silence and tension were present before Shippo had even finished his sentence.
"No." Came Sesshomaru's authoritative answer.
"He wants to come home; he's been gone for almost seven years now." Shippo continued as if he hadn't heard Sesshomaru's answer.
"I thought he liked it in the America's. He's brash behavior seems to fit in easily with those there." His tone had grown amused with a mixture of annoyance.
"He wants to see her; you must know how much it hurts him not to see her."
Sesshomaru narrowed his amber eyes on Shippo instantly.
"That is out of the question – last time he grew too attached to her younger self. We do not need him trying to prevent her from going the course she was meant to live."
Sesshomaru spoke of Kagome's younger self that still lived within this time. Time had eventually caught up with the time in which Kagome was originally from. Once Inuyasha found her again he couldn't leave her alone. He picked up a habit of following her younger self around in a foolish act of trying to protect her. When the time came that she would begin traveling into the past he was determined to stop her. He reasoned if she never went back then the jewel would have never been taken away and shattered and thus she would have never been placed in the state she was in today. If he had actually allowed Inuyasha to go through with this he could have changed the course of history drastically. Things happened as they did for a reason and it was Inuyasha's weakness to try and prevent it. Sesshomaru had instant ordered Inuyasha to the other side of the world to prevent him from causing any damage.
"Her past self has already been sealed in the past." Shippo tried to reason.
"How do you know this? Did I not tell you along with the others to stay away?" Sesshomaru's words became quipped and harsh upon hearing Shippo went against his orders.
"I never interfered." Shippo reasoned once more, growing frustrated as well.
Sesshomaru leaned back in his black leather chair. He released a pint up sigh and brought a hand up to his head. A headache was already growing and it would surely get worse.
"By now she has already been placed asleep by the tama. It is safe for Inuyasha to come back now; he can no longer do any harm."
"By that you mean he has already taken upon himself to come back." Came Sesshomaru's knowing reply.
Trust Inuyasha to come back against his orders and without discussing his actions with him. His half-brother had changed little over the years.
"Yes." Shippo answered sheepishly.
"I will deal with him when he comes back. Instruct him that he is to report to me once his flight comes in."
There was little he could do now if he was already on a flight here. Inuyasha was hardheaded enough as it was.
"I assume you have something else for her?" Sesshomaru drawled out with a sigh.
"Yes actually – I had a kimono commissioned for her. I believe you will actually like this gift."
Shippo walked over to the desk and placed a package down on top of a stack of papers. Sesshomaru waved a hand to Shippo and picked up the heavy package. Unraveling it, he revealed the clothing inside. Deep purple and crisp red quickly assaulted his vision and he instantly stopped. This kimono was a replica of one he had seen many years ago.
"Rin at least liked it."
Sesshomaru let out a growl to silence Shippo as he spoke that name.
Sesshomaru had only arrived home with the sleeping priestess but three days and already he deemed her attire unsuitable of a woman under his care. She needed something – anything more appropriate than the scantly little outfit in which she wore now. Seeing as there had been no woman of her age in his home since he was a child, he had to have new clothing made. His personal seamstress sat before him, waiting to hear what his new commission would be.
"What style would you like me to create my lord?" Was the seamstress' humble question.
"Does it matter? The girl sleeps so I hardly imagine that the style is of any great importance."
"Yes sir." The man bowed lowly, trying not to offend his lord any more than he already had.
"Purple." Came Rin's strong opinion.
When Sesshomaru looked over at her seated form next to him she quickly looked down. Her cheeks stained red in embarrassment. It was not custom for Rin to speak so boldly so he allowed it.
"I think Lady Kagome would look very beautiful in purple." She continued meekly.
"Anything else you would like Rin?" Sesshomaru asked.
"Red, purple and red that is." She quickly clarified.
"Very well." Sesshomaru nodded his head in agreement and waved a hand to dismiss the seamstress.
Rin had been right when she suggested those colors. Even he could see how the colors flattered the sleeping priestess. It had been a simple Kimono in style made of the finest silks. The purple color looked well against her skin as well as the red trim and sash. It had quickly become Rin's favorite. As she would often take care of Kagome in dressing and washing her, she took care of ordering clothing for the slumbering girl. After Rin's death Sesshomaru could no longer stand the sight of the kimono.
"Yes she did." Sesshomaru responded after a moment of silence. "Very well, I shall see that she wears it."
"Do you still blame her for Rin's death?" Shippo inquired.
Sesshomaru's answer could be seen in his hardened gaze.
"I will be coming to visit her tonight, I am sure Inuyasha will be joining me."
Sesshomaru moved the package from his desk and waved Shippo off. Shippo understood the demon lord was done with him. Nodding his head he took his leave. Once Shippo stepped on to the elevator, Sesshomaru let out a weary sigh. He was in no mood to continue his work from here. He wanted to be in the peace of his home – or until the others arrived to ruin it for him. Either way he would not be able to find peace anymore today in his office. Collecting his papers, he placed them in his briefcase along with his other needed items. He paused and looked at the package Shippo had given him. Too many painful memories had resurfaced. Kagome did look lovely in it though; possibly her wearing it would strengthen his connection with his own past and bring him some form of peace. Rin would have loved to see her wear it after all.