The Thousandth Paper Crane
Summary: He was just a boy who would come to visit her in the hospital, almost every day…until the day she wasn't there. InuxKag.
Inspiration: Social class.
Dedication: Julie C, Ashley T and Cassidy K – "Cassidy…stop eating my paper cranes!"
The Thousandth Paper Crane
Her thin pale fingers folded the paper again and again, transforming the ordinary scrap into a beautiful crane. She smiled down at the newly finished bird and set it to the side with the others before picking up another colored piece of paper and starting again.
A small sigh escaped her lips as she continued the tedious task, with only one goal in mind: her wish. Legends dating as far as time itself said that if you could fold a thousand paper cranes, you could get one wish from the Gods.
Her wish was to live.
She stopped her folding as the clock in her small white room chimed noon. She pushed herself from her chair and walked over to the window, watching the school across the street. Children rushed out of the doors, laughter ringing loudly as they all set about to have lunch. Her eyes glazed over as she watched, wistfully.
"Kagome…it's time for lunch." A soft voice broke through. The girl turned her head and smiled at her regular nurse. Walking away from the window, the sun, the laughter and the freedom, she sat on the white hospital bed, watching as her nurse started setting her lunch up.
"How are you feeling today Kagome?" The nurse's voice was soft. She was a beautiful young woman, with dark brown hair tied into a neat and professional bun. Her lips were a healthy shade of red and her eyes a deep maroon. She was in her early twenties, working at Shikon Hospital.
"It's been alright, Ms. Kagura." Kagome smiled up at the older woman and giggled softly when Kagura ran her hand through Kagome's soft, wavy black hair.
Kagome was only ten when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was now eleven, almost twelve. She had spent most of these last years in the hospital, suffering from the radiation-induced cancer, the aftermath of the atomic bombs dropped during the Second World War.
"Alright dear. Well, you have a good lunch, okay? I need to check on a patient." Kagura bowed and smiled softly before leaving the girl to eat alone. Kagome sighed and started sipping her juice, staring out the window and hoping that, one day, she'd be out there as well.
"Well, Mrs. Takahashi, I think you should be fine, but Dr. Kazzanna will need to take another look." Kagura smiled as she stood in front of the older woman. Mrs. Takahashi was beautiful, in her late forties with two children, Sesshomaru and InuYasha Takahashi. Sesshomaru was a few years older then Kagura while InuYasha was only twelve.
"Why don't you go into that room and I'll make sure that your sons find their way to the waiting room?" Kagura suggested. Mrs. Takahashi smiled and nodded, leaving the room. Kagura turned to Sesshomaru with a softer smile.
"Nice to see you again, Sesshomaru." It was a well known fact that Sesshomaru and Kagura had liked each other ever since they had laid eyes on each other. InuYasha rolled his eyes and gagged before turning away from his older, silver-haired, golden-eyed brother's flirtations with the nurse. He shook his head and slipped out the door, walking down the hall to the waiting room.
InuYasha was a tough young boy, ever since he was born. He was stubborn and hard-headed, arrogant and completely rude at times, but underneath it all he had the largest heart around. He never broke promises, never lied, and did everything with honour.
He walked down the white halls, arms crossed over his chest and an angry frown on his face. His dark violet eyes narrowed as he watched people nearly step on him. He wasn't that short for his age, but everyone was too busy to notice him much. He shook his head, his unusually long black hair swishing behind him, and continued forth until he heard a soft whimpering to his right.
Poking his head through the slightly opened door, he watched as a young black-haired girl cried softly. Not thinking, as usual, InuYasha walked right on in.
"What's wrong?" The girls head snapped up as she wiped her eyes, glaring at the boy that was now in her room.
"Hasn't anyone told you to knock before entering?" Kagome asked as InuYasha neared her. She suddenly felt shy as the confident boy jumped up and sat down on the edge of her bed. She blushed slightly as he looked into her eyes with a small smile.
"I'm InuYasha Takahashi." Kagome smiled a bit more.
"I'm Kagome." This time, she wasn't as shy as he reached over and wiped her eyes of tears.
"Kagome, guess who came to visit!" Kagura smiled as she poked her head in the room. Kagome's eyes lit up as she put the wooden brush she had been using to brush her hair down and hopped off the bed.
InuYasha stood, leaning against the door, with his arms crossed and a frown on his face. His boyish features were lightly painted pink as he looked into Kagome's blue eyes. She smiled sweetly up at him, taking small steps over. Kagura cooed to herself before placing the two sandwiches down on one tray and walking past them.
"Your brother will pick you up tonight." After telling InuYasha this, Kagura left the two kids to their own devices. InuYasha walked further into the room, closing the door behind him. Kagome stood in front of him, fidgeting with her fingers.
"Uhm…" Kagome stuttered a bit. InuYasha shook his head, a small smile slipping on his mouth at how cute she was before he ruffled her hair with his hand and walked to her small desk. Kagome blushed before following after him.
"What'd you do today?" He looked towards the many paper cranes on her desk.
"Folded Paper cranes…" Her voice was small. This was only the third time he had visited her since the day he had comforted her when she cried. She watched with shining blue eyes as he walked over to the desk and surveyed her cranes.
"The thousand paper cranes?"
Kagome nodded her head excitedly and smiled, rushing over to him and tugging at his sleeve. "You know the legend?"
He nodded with a smirk. "Guessing you wish to get better?" InuYasha asked as he pulled the seat out and tugged her to sit down. She blushed a bit but nodded as InuYasha stood next to her.
"Want to sit?" Kagome asked, moving over a bit. InuYasha blushed a bit but nodded as well, sitting next to her on the seat. Kagome pulled out a piece of paper and smiled.
"Want to learn how?" InuYasha was hesitant at first but then nodded as he looked at Kagome's smile. She clapped her hands together and pulled another piece of paper out; taking InuYasha's hands in her own she placed it on top. They both smiled softly before Kagome started,
"Alright, so you gotta…"
Kagome took a deep breath, trying to erase the pain from her mind as she snuggled deeper into the bed. Her blue orbs scanned the darken room; the only light source was the street lamps outside and below the window. She was about to give into sleep when her eyes caught the white crumpled paper of a paper crane.
Her smile grew immediately and the pain subsided as she thought back to InuYasha's attempts of folding a paper crane.
"InuYasha…you're supposed to fold it this way…" Kagome reached over and folded the piece of paper. InuYasha grumbled and frowned before throwing the piece of paper to the desk beside the bed. He crossed his arms over his chest and grumbled some more.
"Paper cranes are stupid anyway." Kagome giggled and rolled her eyes at his justification before finishing her own crane. She took his hands and placed the neatly folded crane into his palms. He smiled gratefully.
She smiled and reached over, minding the pain in her arm from the needles of the chemo and gently held the crane in her hand. Pulling it close to her, she finally let sleep take over.
"Do you ever do anything but sit here all day?" InuYasha said, sitting on the desk, his back against the wall and his feet sprawled over the edge. Kagome looked up from her folding and shook her head. He frowned. "Aren't you allowed out at all?"
She continued folding the paper. She shrugged. "Well…I can, but some days I feel too weak to do much of anything."
InuYasha scooted over to the edge and looked at her again. "How about today?"
"Well…I'm alright, I suppose." Kagome looked up at him, effectively halting her folding. InuYasha smirked and jumped off the desk, grabbing her hand and one of her lighter sweaters, which he held out for her as soon as she was standing.
"What are you doing?" Kagome asked. InuYasha rolled his violet eyes at her and stuck the sweater out impatiently. Kagome slipped her arms through the sleeves. InuYasha then took one of his jackets and zipped it halfway up before taking her hand in his, something he had been doing more and more of as time went by. They had known each other for a month or so now.
Kagome raised an eyebrow but followed as InuYasha walked her down the hallways, their hands securely intertwined with each other. He rushed her outside, past Kagura just in case and smirked in victory. Kagome shook her head but smiled up at him.
InuYasha looked down at her and smiled back as she hooked her arm around his own. They walked around the hospital for a while, looking at the cherry blossoms around the building and the kids across the street playing at the school's playground on the weekend.
"What's it like to go to school regularly?" Kagome asked suddenly as she rested her head on InuYasha's shoulder. He pulled his arm away from her hold only to wrap it around her waist, gently, letting her rest on him. He shrugged and scoffed.
Kagome laughed lightly and shook her head. Closing her eyes, she trusted InuYasha to lead her.
"How's the treatments?" InuYasha asked.
"Same old?" Kagome offered. InuYasha frowned at that. He knew how much it hurt her to go through the chemo, and he knew that soon she would loose her hair, something she wasn't looking forward to. He leaned over to her and kissed her head. Kagome blushed a vibrant pink.
"You'll be alright, I know you will." He whispered. And for the first time since she was diagnosed with cancer, Kagome believed the words.
"You two! Where have you been?" Kagura shouted as the pair entered Kagome's room. Kagura stood up and started lecturing them immediately while Kagome's mom, grandfather and little brother sat on the bed. Kagome's mom was in her late thirties. She had short wavy hair and beautiful brown eyes, with a small heart-shaped face and lightly tanned skin; she was a looker. She was holding baby Sota, who was only twenty-two months old.
Kagome's grandfather was half asleep on the bed as Kagura ranted on and on. He was in his mid seventies with stark grey hair and dull blue eyes. He was considered insane by most but the Higurashi family still loved him more then anything.
"Kagura, I think it's alright now…" Kagome's mom said as Kagura took a deep breath. She sighed and nodded her head before taking InuYasha by the ear painfully.
"Listen boy, your mom's here so we're gonna have a nice pleasant talk…" She glared down at InuYasha. He gulped and yelped painfully as Kagura started dragging him out.
"Sorry Kagome! Didn't mean to get you, ow! In trouble! I'll ow! See you later! Hey! Easy on the ear, I only got two!" InuYasha gasped out before he was taken away. Kagome laughed and shook her head before turning back to her family.
"Who was the cute boy?" Kagome's mom asked with a small smile. Kagome blushed and shook her head before her grandfather woke up and started rambling on about how boys were demons and carried 'cooties'.
"It's your birthday in a few months…" InuYasha whispered. Kagome nodded her head just barely, closing her eyes. She had just finished another round of chemo, and her body was resting, but she refused to cooperate unless InuYasha could see her.
As soon as he got into the room, he had snuggled up with her on the bed and held her closely, carefully of the soreness in her arms.
"You'll be twelve." He smiled. Kagome nodded gently. They sat in silence, just content with each other's presence. InuYasha looked down, seeing Kagome's breathing even out. He kissed her temple lightly, taking her hand within his own small one. His violet eyes darted around the room lazily before they landed on the paper cranes on her desk.
She had told him earlier that she had folded 400 between hanging out with him and her treatments. InuYasha didn't believe in the legend of the paper cranes but he knew it helped Kagome. He may not believe in some stupid legend…
But he believed in Kagome.
He smiled and closed his eyes, joining Kagome in a light slumber.
InuYasha dashed down the hallways of the hospital, passing by regulars who smiled and nodded at him. He ignored them in favour of running to Kagome's room. As he walked into the white room, he heard sobbing. Panic rose in the young boy's heart as he pushed the door open and saw Kagome sitting on the bed, her head down in her lap, crying.
Immediately InuYasha ran to her, gathering the small girl in his arms. He looked down at her, and realized why she was crying.
Kagome was losing her hair. Only a few strands remained her head as she held pieces of her fallen hair. She sobbed loudly at the surprise in his eyes and started to struggle, trying to shove him away from her.
"Kagome! Kagome stop it!" InuYasha yelled harshly. He held her wrists and tried to stop her flailing limbs. She whimpered again and shook her head; another fresh round of sobbing escaped her throat.
"I'm ugly!" She screamed. InuYasha's face softened as well as his grip. He pulled her back to him, wrapping his arms securely around her. He laid his cheek against her bald head, kissing it softly. His eyes lightened with an emotion she couldn't quite put her finger on and he looked into her own eyes.
"You're still beautiful."
And that's all Kagome needed.
"How many did you make today?" InuYasha asked, sitting beside her as he watched her pale fingers work delicately on the paper. She frowned a bit before coughing again. Her body shook ever so slightly. He worried more and more each day.
She didn't seem to be getting any better. Her beautiful black locks no longer flowed down from her head. Her blue eyes weren't the same shade of royal blue he remembered and her complexion wasn't as tanned. He may only be a kid, but InuYasha knew. She wasn't getting any better.
InuYasha smiled softly and placed his hand on the back of her scalp. Pulling her head towards him, he laid his forehead against hers. Looking into the light blue eyes with his own dark violet ones he leaned in, and kissed her nose just barely.
Kagome shook her head gently, giggling as she held his face within her pale hands.
"For being you."
"InuYasha, aren't you hungry?" InuYasha shifted his eyes from his udon soup to the worried eyes of his mother. She smiled softly, urging him to take some, but he couldn't. Not after seeing Kagome in so much pain.
Just hours ago, Kagome was taken away for her daily chemo, and again, he had heard her screams even while he was leaving.
"I'm sleepy." InuYasha mumbled before pushing off the dinning room table and walking to his room, his hands shoved deeply into his pockets.
"…He'll be okay, mother." Sesshomaru's eyes following the trail his younger brother left behind. His mother nodded before continuing to eat in silence. Sesshomaru's fist tightened just barely as he looked down.
The months drew together, the seasons changed as always. The birds started returning and the skies seemed to clear. Every moment, a second passed. Every moment…
Drew nearer to her last.
"Hey Kagome…" InuYasha stuck his head through the door with his usual smile. His birthday had come and passed; he was now thirteen, and what he believed to be a mature adult. Kagome shifted softly from under her white blankets and smiled.
Today was her birthday.
"InuYasha…" Her voice was a mumble. InuYasha slipped into the room and sat near the edge of her bed. The months had been harsh on Kagome. Her body grew even thinner; her eyes were almost a dull grey.
"What'd ya get me?" Kagome teased weakly. InuYasha smiled a bit. Even when she was so pale and weak, she was beautiful. He leaned down and kissed her forehead, from behind him, he drew out a small stuffed pink bunny. Kagome's eyes grew a fraction as she smiled.
"He's so cute!" InuYasha blushed and rolled his eyes shoving the bunny into her face. Kagome wrapped her thin arms around it and hugged it closer. Her eyes closed gently as she gave the small pink bunny a kiss.
"I'll name him InuYasha." She winked. InuYasha frowned.
"…Fine." Kagome smiled and tugged InuYasha's arm. He leaned down and hugged her tightly, the pink bunny settled nicely between them. As InuYasha looked into Kagome's eyes, and kissed her soft cheek, he couldn't stop the fear gripping his heart. The feeling of his soul ripping in half, of his heart breaking to small millions, the same feeling he got when Kagura had talked to him only seconds before he entered Kagome's room.
"She has a month."
His hand worked slowly, trying to make sure every movement was precise. As he worked away over and over again, trying to get it right, he smiled softly, the only thought on his mind was her, was how happy she would be.
"You…can't be serious…" I heard her voice, I heard her words, but I didn't believe her. I pushed Kagura's hands away from me, shaking my head as tears immediately fled from my eyes and down my face. I refused to understand her words. I refused to believe…
Kagome was dying.
I burst into her room; her mom, baby brother and grandfather were sitting around the small white bed, sobbing quietly. I stood still, my hand on the door handle, my heart beating a mile a minute in my chest. My throat burned as I greedily gulped at the air, trying to calm my system as I finally started walking in.
My steps were slow; my feet felt like lead… I didn't want it to be true. Kagura burst in a few minutes after with my brother and mom in tow. I didn't pay attention as I neared Kagome's bed, on her right side, the side I always sat at.
"Hey InuYasha…" I could barely hear her voice now. She looked so… so broken. Her eyes barely open, the smile barely moving her lips. I wiped my eyes stubbornly, trying to stop the tears as I sat on her bed. She shifted ever so slightly closer to me, the sun from outside hitting her soft white skin.
"You can't leave…" I whispered as I leaned down, holding one of her hands in my own.
"Don't lie…" I whispered back. She closed her eyes then, holding my hand as tightly as she could, which wasn't as tight as I knew she used to.
I shook my head, my black hair falling over us like a veil shielding us from the world. My eyes still bled tears, my hands shaking as I looked into her beautiful face.
"Yes you are." I closed my eyes.
"No…I'll still be here…right here." She placed her hand over my heart. I held the hand over my heart and the one in my other hand tightly.
"Forever." I smiled softly and took one of my hands away from hers, pulling out of my jacket pocket, a silver crane, perfectly folded. Her eyes opened even wider, smiling again. She looked at the crane for a few moments before she finally took it into her hand.
"Did you…?" I nodded my head.
"For you." She smiled then, holding the silver crane in her hand, and taking my hand in hers. I leaned down and kissed her lips gently, ignoring everyone in the room. I closed my eyes then, touching my forehead to hers.
"My thousandth paper crane…" Kagome whispered. I opened my eyes then. She was that close? She could make a wish! Wish Kagome! Wish!
"I…wish for you to be happy." She whispered. I gripped her arm then, my tears fled from my eyes, both angry and sad. Why would she waste her wish? Why would she do that! She smiled at me then.
"Please…be happy?" I couldn't stay angry as she kissed my hand gently.
That night, at ten fourty-three pm, Kagome died peacefully surrounded by family and friends. She was buried with her cranes, back in a small graveyard near her shrine. I never forgot her.
"Brother! Look! I finally made a paper crane!" I looked down at the small paper crane and smiled, ruffling the small boys black hair. His brown eyes looked up at me with admiration and I looked down at him with pride.
"Good job, Sota." Sota was Kagome's little brother. He was twelve now, the same age as Kagome was when she died. After the day Kagome died, I had still stayed in touch with her family. Sota grew up within the past ten years and he was a good kid. He always wondered about Kagome, though.
"InuYasha, are you ready to go home?" I looked up from the table and saw my brother and Kagura at the door. I looked over at the clock and sighed. I nodded my head and hugged Sota tightly; I walked toward Kagome's grandfather and bowed respectfully before turning to Kagome's mom and kissing her on the cheek. She smiled and hugged me before waving bye to us.
I followed behind Kagura and Sesshomaru as they walked before me. They finally got married about four years ago. Kagura shoved Sesshomaru playfully as he teased her about something. I rolled my eyes and smiled softly.
"When's your car getting fixed?" Sesshomaru asked, turning his head slightly. His silver hair had gotten a tad longer, but nothing had really changed about him. I shrugged my shoulders and smirked a bit.
"When I feel like it."
I chuckled as I shoved my hands in my pocket walking through the crisp October air. Kagome had died nearly ten years ago. I never really got over it. She was a beautiful girl, whose heart was enough to heal the world, and yet, because of a war, she was sick…she was dead.
I was angry at her for a long time after her death. She wasted her stupid wish on me, all for me. If she had lived, I would have been happy, didn't she understand? I shook my head with a small smile. She did. She just wanted me to be happy and even after wasting her wish on me, I was happy. Kagome had made me happy. Her wish came true.
To this day, Kagome would stay in my heart, along with the legend of the thousand paper cranes.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed!