Kagome waited, her tearful eyes grazing the black canvas of the sky. She felt uneasy, seeing no trace of light. It was all dark and desolate. She glanced sideways to see Miroku and Sango swathed in blankets on the grassy terrain. Shippo huddled his tiny body as close to the sleeping bag as he could. All of them were fast asleep. Her heart ached as she remembered one was missing from their group, the one who had the power to hold her together and yet, chooses to unravel her at the seams.
She paced, for however long she didn't know. She just couldn't keep still. She felt wide awake and yet, exhausted simultaneously. She continued staring at the sky, the cold black sky. The stars usually twinkled so brightly in the Feudal Era, but they weren't there. Even the moon was shrouded in the dark blanket. Could it be that something happened?
You should rest Kagome, he'll be back. Miroku had said.
He always does come back. Sango had added.
He better come back or I will burn him alive with my fox fire! Shippo had added, his little hands already glowing green.
Kagome bestowed them her usual, feigned smile. Yeah, you're right. What am I worrying for. She faked a yawn and settled within the sleeping bag. Goodnight guys.
She had shut her eyelids and listened as the shy young couple laid out their respective beds. She eavesdropped on their conversation as they retired, though she didn't mean to.
Do you think he'll come back Miroku?
He always does Sango.
But this time-
Don't even think it Sango. He still lusts for vengeance on Naraku, more so now than ever before. He will come back.
She waited until their gentle snores blended in with the crackling of the fire. She then checked on Shippo, who was at the time, nestled by Kirara. Kagome slowly arose from her sleeping bag, and walked up to the place she last saw Inuyasha. His eyes laced with pain, anger, and bewilderment. His gaze never rested on her, but darted all over the place as though searching so desperately for something, or someone.
She had stood motionless, the battle from earlier leaving her completely drained. She couldn't fight with him. She couldn't beseech him to stay with her. The urge to use the rosary beads just to keep him near her almost overpowered her, but then he finally looked at her. Her heart shattered as tiny droplets cascaded down his handsome face.
It's ok. I understand.
He forced a small smile, but Kagome knew it was lie. Another façade of his to conceal his pathetic emotions. He turned then, without a second glance back, a second thought. He abandoned her, left her vulnerable to any danger that may be lurking around the vicinity. Yet, she knew he needed this, she just needed one assurance in return.
Promise me you'll come back.
She said it coherently, even her human friends picked up on her plea. Inuyasha was walking away from her, his dreariness hindering him from springing into his usual run. He wasn't that far away from her. He could hear her words, if he wanted to that is. She saw his ears twitch once, but never did he halt and never did a reply emit from his lips. He continued his walk, she watching his back as he vanished behind a sea of foliage.
He always does come back. Sango's voice flooded through her ears, halting her pacing.
"He did, but this time may be different." She whispered to herself. "Oh God, that look in his eyes… I've never seen him so depressed. Like he lost a huge part of himself."
The hours wore on, strangely keeping Kagome more awake than tired. She settled for just sitting in front of the fire, letting the heat comfort her in its own way. She closed her eyes, imagining the feel of Inuyasha's strong arms draping around her waist, protecting her, loving her in his own, unspoken way. But she couldn't feel him. She could only see him, wrapped possessively in the arms of her long time rival, the priestess Kikyo.
Her eyes opened, and she was startled to see the black sky had lightened into shades of soft pink and blue. The sun's rays spilled over the horizon, basking the earth in a warm glow. The fire was weakening and she ended its life by blowing it out. She stood then, her eyes eager to find Inuyasha, but he was no where in sight.
Her eyes welled with tears, her mind bombarded with troubling questions. Where was he? Why wasn't he back yet? Why didn't he assure her he would come back? Was he with Kikyo now?
The last thought weakened her knees and she collapsed. She brought her legs up against her chest and began to weep. What if he finally realized he needed Kikyo and not her? Did he- She couldn't bear to complete that thought. She needed him with her. She may not be the only one for him, but he was the only one for her. Only he could lift her up, only he could love her, only he could make her feel protected. Without him, gods she didn't know what she would do.
A crunch alerted her of someone's presence. She was torn between hoping it was Inuyasha or some murderous demon who could extract her from all the misery. She looked up and her heart soared as she saw a silhouette emerge from the foliage. She stood, recognizing the broad outline of the one she pined over for so long. He finally returned. He came back to her.
"Kagome?" Inuyasha asked, his eyes still containing a great deal of pain, but also enlightenment. He walked closer, apprehensive of the redness of her eyes. "Did you… wait up the entire night for me?"
Kagome could only smile, feeling lighter than she did hours ago. He came back. He actually came back to her. With a broken whisper of his name, she lunged into him. Her arms wrapped tightly around his waist, making Inuyasha feel uncomfortable. His arms hung limply at his sides, uncertain of what to make of this current situation. Then, he smelt her tears.
He pulled her back a bit, holding onto her shoulders. Kagome was still smiling at him, but her eyes were red with not only lack of sleep, but the start of tears. "Why are you crying?"
"I was so scared."
"Scared? Why? Did a demon attack while I was gone?"
She shook her head. "No. We're all fine."
"Ok, so then, why the tears?"
"I was scared. Frightened. I thought you wouldn't come back."
"Wouldn't come back? Why would you be scared of something that stupid? Of course I'll come back. You guys still need me to get the jewel shards and I still have to carry out my revenge on Naraku."
She was suddenly consumed with anger. The word of subjugation was on her mouth, the urge was there to voice it, but she just turned away from him. Her fists quivered at her sides. "Never mind. You wouldn't understand."
"Understand what? I tell you no need to worry about me not coming back and yet, you're still mad at me. I thought you said you understood that I-"
"Yes Inuyasha, I do understand. I understand perfectly well what she means to you."
"Then you know I needed to-"
"Would you care too? If I had died tonight instead of Kikyo, would it matter to you?" She went back to him, her face caressing his cheeks, which were stained with tears. "Would you have cried for me too?"
Inuyasha's eyes widened, feeling a little more than just uncomfortable. His hand reached up to clasp her tiny wrist in his. He pulled her into him, his arms coming up to wrap around her tightly. "Where is all this coming from?"
"I'm probably sleep deprived."
Inuyasha pulled away. "I wouldn't have to cry for you. I wouldn't have to grieve your death. I'd make sure I die first before I let anything happen to you."
"Why didn't you promise me you would come back?"
"I thought you already knew I would come back to you."
"No, that's why, before you left, I asked you to promise me. You didn't answer. You didn't even look at me. Inuyasha, do you blame me for Kikyo's death?"
"Never! If anything, I blame myself. I chose to protect you tonight instead of Kikyo."
"Remember Kagome? Those demons were going after you, but I killed them to save you. But, there were also other demons pursuing Kikyo. I knew, but I wanted to protect you."
Kagome didn't expect this and she lowered her head as though in shame. She didn't see Naraku and his demons heading straight for Kikyo. All she could remember was Inuyasha slaying her potential killers, then neglecting her after calling out Kikyo's name. She followed him, only to see corpses of demons lying in pieces around them and Inuyasha was holding Kikyo close to his chest.
Inuyasha, you're crying. Kikyo had said, her hand wiping away the tear tracks and staring at him as though in awe.
Forgive me Kikyo. I couldn't save you, like I had promised.
You're here now, that's all that matters to me. Hold me Inuyasha, as I finally let my soul find peace.
I want you to know Kikyo, that you're the first woman I ever loved.
The flashback faded then, leaving Kagome to feel even more empty. He told Kikyo he loved her. "You told her… you told her you loved her."
Inuyasha glared at her. "I told Kikyo she was the first woman I ever loved, but I never told her she was the only one."
Inuyasha came to her then, pulling her back into his arms. She looked at him in amazement and caught his smirk as he leant down. Her eyes fluttered close and shivered at the feel of his warm breath caressing her awaiting lips. Finally, their mouths joined in a sweet, tender kiss. She went to deepen the kiss, wanting to pour her love for him in every way she could, but he pulled back, his face flushed a bright pink.
"Kikyo was my first love Kagome. I'll always think of her in that way. But… I'm… feeling things… for you too. Please Kagome, I know I'm being selfish right now and you deserve much better than a half demon with mixed feelings. But… stay with me. Wait for me. Don't leave me."
"I've been waiting for you Inuyasha, and I'll wait however long I can for you. I want to be with you."
He kissed her cheek and smiled. "Someday, we'll both find peace, and then we can be together."
They stood, smiling at each other as the sun rose.