The Stream of Time
Part 2: Time Goes By
An Inu-Yasha fanfiction
By Azurite
azurite_moon@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/azurite_moon

Author's Notes I apologize for the odd formatting in the last chapter… I guess that's what happens when you convert DOC format to HTML, ne? Anyways, I wanted to get this part out ASAP, so I could really get started on the "TAFF." For those of you who don't know, TAFF is "Twisted and Fuzzy Feeling." (At least, that's how the other authors I know have defined it… if I have it wrong, please tell me!)

Legend
thoughts
* conscience *
"spoken"
emphasis

Disclaimer Everyone knows I don't own Inu-Yasha (as much as I'd like to). Therefore, this is my totally uncreative way of saying "I am not making any money off of this." This idea, however, is mine, and I would appreciate it if any potential fic archivers asked me before posting it on their pages. ^^

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Three days… Can I wait that long?

Inu-Yasha became perturbed again, the feeling that had hovered around him returning. After having yelled thoroughly at the darkness in the Bone-Eater's Well, Inu-Yasha sat there, smug for a moment. Then he blinked, taking in the absolute silence of the forest that bore his name.

Not even birds chirped—not a single noise was to be heard, save the rustling of the wind through the trees. It was very unnerving.

Fifty years I spent in silence. Suspended in sleep, from that damned tree…

Inu-Yasha's eyes alit on the Go-Shinboku God Tree. Fifty years, he had been imprisoned by it, without power, without life. He was a mere attachment, as any other leaf would be to a branch. Fifty years without aging…

If Kagome hadn't freed me from Kikyou's spell… then…

It didn't take a genius to figure out that he'd be still trapped to that tree. Was it Destiny, or some kind of Twisted Fate, that brought Kagome, Kikyou's reincarnation, into his time… causing Inu-Yasha to awaken from a spell meant to last forever? Or was it…?

When Kikyou pinned me to the tree with that holy arrow of hers, Inu-Yasha recalled, lightly touching the area on his chest, She was badly injured, and… she thought that I had gone about, destroying the village. It had really been Naraku, trying to get her to turn the Shikon no Tama evil… but…

Naraku had failed. Kikyou had died that day, and both the Shikon no Tama and the soul of the once-pure priestess were reborn… into Kagome. Something had drawn her back to the Sengoku Jidai, and it sure wasn't a Mistress Centipede.

So no matter what… Kagome would have been born, fated to come here… and because she bore the Shikon no Tama, and had Kikyou's soul… that was why I was awakened. I'm not sure if I ever thanked her… or if it should be Kikyou I should thank.

Considering the circumstances of the moment, with Kagome gone and Kikyou after him whenever she had the opportunity, Inu-Yasha was stuck –once again- with silence.

After a moment, Inu-Yasha stood. Leaves at his feet rustled, and a cool wind blew around him, tossing strands of his long, snow-white hair into his eyes. That feeling was back full force now, but he shoved it away.

She's just… just Kagome… right?

Inu-Yasha left the forest for the village, where he could discuss the recent events with Miroku and Kaede, and maybe get something to eat while he was at it. Hey, even hanyous got hungry. Better to think about that than the sense of dread… the fear… that maybe Kagome wouldn't come back this time.

Yes, better to think about food, however inconsequential it was.

Inu-Yasha didn't cast a second look back at the Bone-Eater's well. If he had, he might have had a glimpse of it, surrounded by an unearthly, dark aura…

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Three Days…

Kagome lay on her bed, hands bandaged. Her grandfather and mother had finally heard Kagome's distressed cries from the well  when she found she couldn't return to the Sengoku Jidai. Tried as they might, they could not calm her. Kagome was more than distraught… she was terrified. She kept on mumbling things about the Shikon no Tama, Kikyou, and the Inu-Yasha. She called the hanyou's name frantically, and even went as far to jump out of her mother's restraining arms, back into the well. There, she clawed at her wrists until they bled, hoping Inu-Yasha would smell it, and come for her.

Sure, he might be angry for tricking him into coming back, but just to know that he was there… that he still existed!

Finally, her grandfather had to resort to extreme measures, and used an ancient pressure point technique. His fingers deftly shot out and struck a nerve on the youngest female Higurashi's neck, and she promptly collapsed into the cool soil of the Bone-Eater's well. Ms. Higurashi helped her father draw her daughter from the well, a frightened expression on her face.

What happened in the Sengoku Jidai?

For once, Kagome's "sicknesses" were real. She found herself unable to sleep, and when she tried to eat, she only ended up throwing it up later on. Her throat became sore, and soon, Kagome couldn't speak. Her thoughts, day and night, revolved around the hanyou.

Inu-Yasha… you'll come for me in three days, won't you? You always come… after three days…

Her tired eyes looked to the calendar on her desk, and the clock on her endtable. He would come…

The seconds ticked by, and Kagome fell asleep.

She was totally unaware of the figure outside, stealing through the darkness… making its way to the Bone-Eater's well.

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Three days…

It felt like the longest three days Inu-Yasha had ever experienced. True, he hadn't "experienced" the fifty years he had spent asleep, for if he had, he was sure he would have begged a passing youkai to simply kill him.

Again, thoughts of Kagome, and two mere words echoed in the hanyou's head—"And then…?"

If anything he had learned over the past few months with Kagome, he knew that every moment was precious—and he had to trust his instinct. To ignore it was to spell certain doom for the mission… and her life. Inu-Yasha allowed himself to privately be aware that Kagome meant more to him than he could ever let on –to her, or anyone else.

Dammit… so what if I ignored that… that feeling… and she's really in danger this time?

Of course, his hurried excuse to the villagers –namely, Shippou, Kaede, and Miroku—was that the dratted girl had taken the Shikon no Tama with her, which meant there was no one there to protect it!

He hardly noticed the rolled eyes of the houshi, or the miko, or the kitsune demon. They exchanged a glance and shook their heads, sighing simultaneously.

You mean to protect herthey all thought at once.

Inu-Yasha hopped nimbly out of the well, and paused a moment to look around Kagome's home. Everything was so different from the village… the forest he had known. All hard and gray.

Feh. Why should I care? If Kagome can live with this drab city, then what does it matter?

Inu-Yasha looked about, hoping to spy Kagome quickly, so he could give her an earful and then they could return home.

Home? But this…

Inu-Yasha's eyes alighted on a girl about Kagome's figure, with black hair tumbling down her back. But something seemed oddly off about her. Inu-Yasha had no mind for frightening useless humans anymore, so he hoped this was her. But why… why would Kagome be dressed in miko's clothing?

Making his way to the figure silently praying before the temple's shrine, he prepared the shout-out he would give to Kagome. Three whole days, she'd him wait! There was no excuse…

*Bah, you were worried about her.*

Was not!!

*Whatever.*

Inu-Yasha reached out one clawed hand to tap Kagome on the shoulder, but the instant the girl turned, Inu-Yasha's amber eyes went wide, and his jaw slacked. The girl, for her part, looked mixed between fright and anger. Her eyes narrowed as she withdrew something from her robes and tossed it to Inu-Yasha.

Startled, the dog-hanyou stared at the place the object was to land—and he was blasted back by a great force.

What in the seven hells?

Struggling to move, Inu-Yasha stared at the form of the girl who had done this to him—and stared at her limp body crumpled on the floor. She must have fainted. But Inu-Yasha knew what he had seen—Kagome, but not Kagome. It was… she was… different.

Taller. A different scent, with everything…

*Older.*

"It can't be…" Inu-Yasha murmured. It couldn't be!

"Kagome-chan?" Inu-Yasha recognized the voice—that of Ms. Higurashi. He wanted to shrink back, for the last time he met the woman, she had played with his ears incessantly. It wasn't that he didn't like it… but… he wasn't some puppy to be pet! Dammit, he was a hanyou, and with the Shikon no Tama, would become a great taiyoukai!

The older woman stopped in front of her fainted daughter, and then looked at Inu-Yasha. Then at her daughter, and then at Inu-Yasha. For a moment, the dog demon feared that she too, would faint, and then he would be stuck here, with this odd spell glued to his chest, preventing him from moving.

Whatever it was, it sure wasn't like those silly charms Kagome's grandfather had tried to seal the well with. These… these looked real. What's more… they were working, dratted things!

"I-Inu-Yasha…" The woman mumbled. It was then that the hanyou's amber eyes met with Ms. Higurashi's tired brown ones. His eyes scanned her face, and his worst fear seemed realized—indeed, she too, was older. Gray hairs streaked her head, and her face was considerably less smooth. She did look tired… more than she should, for a woman of her age.

The image of Kaede superimposed itself over the woman, as she bent down and stared at Inu-Yasha. The young boy gulped, not exactly wanting the answer to his unspoken question of "what happened?" He knew he wouldn't like the answer.

"It has been… a long time, Inu-Yasha." She then pulled the ward off Inu-Yasha's chest, and he toppled backwards to the cool concrete. When he finally got himself upright again—that is to say, on his haunches—he noticed how dismal the place looked… cold and gray. Not just a covered forest, but a shadowed place… a faint reminder of how his own forest was considered to be a place of evil. How had the Sunset Shrine –a place blessed with Kagome's light—become like this?

Inu-Yasha's ears pricked at the sound of a movement, and he looked towards the open doorway in the house. There in the doorway stood a boy no older than Inu-Yasha himself—that is to say, 16 or 17—and his eyes were strangely dark.

That kid… it can't be… Kagome's kid brother?

Indeed, Souta's eyes caught on Inu-Yasha's form. He frowned, but came outside anyway to help his mother with Kagome. Neither gave any further acknowledgement to Inu-Yasha, so he stood up, if on somewhat shaky legs, and followed them inside the house.

Once Kagome had been properly tucked in to her bed, Ms. Higurashi went downstairs to prepare some soup. Souta said nothing to Inu-Yasha, which was a bit unnerving for the hanyou. The kid had practically idolized him back… back whenever… and now, he was almost Inu-Yasha's age!

Inu-Yasha stayed by Kagome's side, his mind absently running over the multitude of possibilities that could have caused this to happen. Kagome was… older. Much older. Suddenly feeling like Shippou, in the sense that he was surrounded by people years older than him, awkwardness crept over him.

She's older… and so… so…

Inu-Yasha could barely think the word, let alone say it. His eyes were riveted to the miko's face, and as such, didn't completely notice when he eyes fluttered open, a deep navy blue coloring them.

It seemed she was unable to move for the moment, and let out a groan. A tired hand reached up to brush some stray strands of hair from her face… at which she noticed the shadow looming over her.

An inaudible gasp came from her mouth, and Kagome shot upright, pushing herself against the headboard of her bed. Her eyes were wide with the same awe –and fright—as before, and Inu-Yasha wondered what had come over her. Sure, she was… older… but surely she had no reason to be frightened of him?

"D-Demon!" She cried, her lips trembling. Inu-Yasha's eyebrows quirked up in surprise—the powerful, stubborn, and headstrong Kagome he knew –or had known—was trembling in her bed, trying to make herself as far away from him as possible.

"Feh. Took you long enough to wake up, girl." Inu-Yasha muttered, crossing his arms, and purposely sitting down next to Kagome. He knew, just as well as Kagome, that she had no more wards to block him with, and wanted to see her squirm.

Not hearing any kind of a response –namely, "Osuwari"—from her, Inu-Yasha looked concernedly to her. She at least remembered him, right? This wasn't some kind of cruel joke that the well and the Shikon no Tama were playing on them, was it? After all, in order to find out what happened to Kagome, and how, he had to know what she saw… what she remembered…

What if… what if years really have gone by here… and she doesn't remember me?

The thought outright terrified Inu-Yasha, a feeling he long hadn't experienced. No… she had to remember him… she just had to!

"Hey, Kagome… it's me… Inu-Yasha." His voice had dropped a bit, nearing a whisper. His eyes met hers full on, expecting to see some kind of recognition… a reaction that said "yes, I remember you!" But there was none.

Kagome started to shake her head furiously, mumbling to herself. Inu-Yasha moved closer to her still to hear her fervent whispers: "No, no, no… this is a dream… he's not really here… demons like this don't exist in…"

Frustrated beyond belief, Inu-Yasha grabbed her hand. Startled, Kagome looked up at him in shock… and then at her hand.

It can't be though… Inu-Yasha… he was a dream… a myth! Yet… I can feel his hand… and it's so warm… so familiar

She guided her hand up to his face, where, to his surprised, she began to caress his cheek. Inu-Yasha's grip faltered, and his hand collapsed limply to his lap, while Kagome stared at him, her fingers gently running across his face. He felt himself getting hot, and knew that if Kagome kept on touching him like this… staring at him like he was meat, she would see him turn as red as his kimono.

"You're real… you're really here…" Kagome finally murmured, tears sliding down her face. Inu-Yasha looked at her, anxious that he'd made her cry again.

"Ah… ah, Kagome… please… don't cry anymore…" Inu-Yasha dared to meet her gaze, and was pushed back onto the mattress by the full force of Kagome hugging him!

"Ah…!" Whatever word or syllable had been on the edge of his lips died an easy death, as he reveled in the fact that she was holding him! The last time this had happened was when he had sealed the well from his side… and when she had finally come back, she came crying into his arms, sobbing about how she had thought him dead.

Inu-Yasha allowed himself a gulp as Kagome looked down at him, her body pinning his to the bed. She smiled devilishly at him, and then settled down on his chest.

"You're really here…"

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The end of Part 2: Time Goes By
I know, not much of a cliffhanger… geeh…

Coming up, in Part 3 of "The Stream of Time" – Wasurenaide

Kagome stirred restlessly in her sleep. Since Inu-Yasha had returned, she had not had a single night of fitful sleep. In her dreams –no, her nightmares—she saw him, destroying her village. Overwhelming feelings of betrayal and anger filled her, and when she woke up, heaving and sweating, she realized… this was her past.

Maybe that's why I can't remember Inu-Yasha… I don't want to! Whatever he did to me was… horrible… and now, he's back to do it again!

Kagome slid the covers off her bed, and sat stock still on the edge.

I won't let you Inu-Yasha! I'll seal you away, once and for all!

Subconsciously, she gripped the jewel attached to the chain at her neck. She didn't notice the slight glowing from it, or the swirl of darkness that blotted out that glow.

Nor did she hear the evil laughter coming from the room next door…

Until next time,
Azurite