Disclaimer: Do not own - do not sue.
A/N: This story was my second attempt at writing - and the first at a multi-chapter tale. As such, it needed extensive editing - and even some re-writing. Since the idea behind it was a good one, I felt it deserved that editing, and so, I pulled it from the website, and am now re-working it. I will post chapters as they are finished, so there is no set schedule as to how long the re-post will take, as I have several open stories I am working on currently, and they take priority.
However, it should not take too long, since the story is already written.
At any rate, I hope to make this one better than it was originally.
Prologue: When the Dead Plot
The woman stood, silent, on a small promontory overlooking a glade deep in the woods, and watched the people that were settled around a campfire inside it.
Her attention, however, was only on two of them.
A man, at first glance, anyway, until you looked closer, and found that he was hanyou, and the young woman sitting near him, occupied her thoughts to the exclusion of all else.
I need to find a way to separate them permanently - and soon, or he won't live up to his promise to me. Anger crackled in her aura, then, and she scowled as laughter rang through the night air from the people below her.
That foolish copy of me has stolen his heart from my grasp, and I must find something to pull them apart, or I will lose him entirely.
She watched, anger in her heart, for a few more minutes, then turned and began to walk away, her shinidamachu circling about her cold form almost as though to comfort her.
It would work best to find something from her past... I will watch her dreams.
Perhaps there I will find what I need.
Chapter 1: Ask me no questions, and I'll Tell You No Lies
"Hey, Inuyasha? Can I talk to you for a moment?" Kagome asked, looking slightly apprehensive. She knew Inuyasha far too well, and knew that her request was going to piss him off, but she had no choice.
"What the hell do you want now, wench?" he asked disgruntledly, with a scowl in her direction. She was looking down, at the ground, and he watched the light play in her long, sable hair... she's so beautiful, he thought idly... but she looks down right now, wonder what's wrong with her?
He looked around the clearing that they had chosen the night before as their campsite, watching as Sango and Miroku finished packing up the supplies, getting ready to leave.
"Well?" he asked again, "what's on your mind, spit it out already!"
Kagome looked up from the ground to see Inuyasha looking out across the camp... Still not looking at me... why am I not surprised? But then again, I really don't want him looking at me right now...
" I need to go home today, Inuyasha." She noted his widening eyes and knew he was about to start yelling, and she cut him right off. "It doesn't matter what you say, either, because I'm going back anyway!"
"What? Why? Damn it, we don't have time for this, Kagome, you know that!" he yelled, seething.
Why does she always have to go back to that place beyond the well? Damn it, she's supposed to stay here with me! I hate that world of hers!
"Inuyasha," her shoulders slumped wearily, "I have to go, I didn't say I want to go, and I won't be gone long. I'll be back tonight. But this is something that I - have to do." Kagome looked away again, for a moment, then said, "There's just some things a person has to do - even if they don't want to... even when it hurts."
Hurts? What the fuck? If something's hurting her over there then I need to know about it... but I bet she won't tell me, the stubborn bitch.
He growled under his breath at the thought of her keeping secrets from him.
But what could it be? She's never really spoken of anything... Damn it! I hate hearing pain in her voice, but... there's nothing I can do but let her go. And maybe do a little snooping around - one way or another, I'm gonna find out what's going on.
"Okay, fine. I'll take you back to the well, and I'll wait for you there, when you're done we can come back and catch up with the others. But let's not make a habit of this, alright?" he scowled as he finished, wanting everyone to know that he wasn't pleased with this delay, even though he was magnanimously allowing it.
"Sango! Miroku!" Inuyasha called out. "Kagome has decided that she absolutely has to go home right now. I'm going to take her to the well, and we'll be back sometime tonight, so you guys continue on this path, and we'll catch up with you tomorrow, alright? Stay out of trouble!" And then he thought about that...
I really don't need them to get all caught up in something big when I ain't around, he decided, with an internal growl of annoyance. "Never mind... just head back to the village, and we'll head out from there in the morning," he sighed.
Despite the questions from the two, and the sulking from Shippo, who didn't really like being away from Kagome any more than Inuyasha did, they managed to finish breaking camp in fairly short order. With a wave and a fake smile, Kagome climbed onto Inuyasha's back, and he was moving almost before she was even settled. She looked around as they flew through the air, a sad smile crossing her face.
I always love traveling this way, it's one time I can touch him and not feel embarrassed... not to mention the sense of total freedom!
"Hmm..?" Kagome wasn't really paying much attention.
"I want to know why you need to go home so badly, and why it's upsetting you so much. And don't lie to me, you know I can smell it when you do," he said, glancing at her over his shoulder.
She put her head down for a moment, frantically trying to come up with something convincing, without actually telling him the truth.
It's just too much to talk about. I'm not ready to try to explain about Kichiro and maybe... maybe I never will be.
"Don't worry about it, Inuyasha," she whispered. "It's not something I'm ready to really talk about right now, okay? Just - trust me, I'll be alright."
"Damn it, Kagome, don't lock me out! What's so horrible that you can't tell me about it? I thought you said I was your best friend? Don't you tell your best friend everything?"
"Maybe at some point I will tell you about it; but not now. I'm not ready to talk about it. Can't you just respect that?" she cried. "There's plenty you don't tell me about your past, or even about your sneaking off to Kikyou. You expect me to respect that you have a past with her, and a present, that I'm not a part of - extend me the same courtesy! This is a part of my past that I haven't shared with anyone, not even my mother. So please - just back off!"
Inuyasha's mouth tightened. Damn it, she's right. I hate this! I hate the feeling that there's a part of her life that I don't have anything to do with...
And then it hit him... this must be how she feels every time I lock her out, and run off after Kikyou, even though I don't do anything with her.
He frowned, then, as he ran, clutching her tightly to his back.
Kagome's wrong about one thing though: my past does belong to Kikyou, and part of my present does... sorta. But if I have anything to say about it, one way or another, my future won't.
Because I don't want it to.
Kagome sneezed as she hit the bottom of the well on her side, since the well in her time was enclosed, the dirt at the bottom was dry and fine, and tended to puff out all over the place as soon as any little thing stirred in the well. Swiftly climbing the side of the well, she jumped out and ran up the steps, opening the sliding door as soon as she realized no one was around.
I guess I'm lucky I got out of there as easily as I did, hopefully something will come up quickly once I go back, and distract Inuyasha from asking any more questions. I know I'll have to talk about this some day, but I'm just not ready. Although, maybe I should talk to Kaede about it; she never knew Kichiro, or his family, or mine, so she would be impartial. I'll have to think about this some more.
"Tadaima!" she called out, running through the front entrance, "Mom, how much time do I have to get ready?"
"Kagome! Welcome home, dear. I wasn't sure you'd make it this time. Did you have a hard time convincing Inuyasha to let you come back?"
Kagome's mother was a very understanding person - and very, very fond of Inuyasha. She was also well aware of the feelings the two had for each other, and couldn't wait for them to finally get it together. But she also knew how difficult Inuyasha could be.
Kagome smiled sadly at her mom. "No, he didn't argue with me too much, I think he realized that I was going to come back today no matter what, and so just decided not to waste the time fighting. He knew I wasn't really in the mood for a fight."
Kagome's mother looked at her consideringly for a moment. "Honey, have you ever told Inuyasha why you come home every year on this day? Are you so sure he wouldn't understand?"
Kagome shoulders slumped. "Mom, you know Inuyasha has never really had friends, or family, before now, his mother died when he was just five, and his father at his birth - and everyone else cast him out as soon as his mother died. He has never had anyone to grieve over. Plus, he's half youkai, and I don't think they have the same customs as humans do regarding their dead. He wouldn't understand why we do this every year 'in rememberance'." She closed her eyes. "I know he has never forgotten his dead, but it's not something that he will ever speak of, or openly acknowledge. It's just... different for him, that's all."
"I see. Well, anyway, dear, you should go take your bath, we need to leave in about an hour. I laid out towels for you, just in case." Her mother sighed... Poor Inuyasha, left so alone.
Kagome had told her mother some about his childhood, and she could well understand his reticence about his past.
And my poor Kagome, I wish she would bring up what happened that night, so I could help her past it, but she never has, and since I can't be sure about the circumstances, I don't want to bring it up, and then have it turn out I was wrong.
Letting out another sigh, she turned and went upstairs, to finish getting ready herself.
Kagome looked around at the cemetery... its funny, really, how this patch of land given over to the dead, mirrors the dead. In life, things are always changing, even how the land looks. But here, in the cemetery, nothing changes, just like for the dead. The moment of death is the moment that persons soul is stuck in, and they cannot get past it. I... fear that, I think - not so much death itself, but the thought of being stuck like that, it's frightening.
And that's what Kikyou lives with.
"Kagome, dear, we're here, and it's time."
Kagome pulled her thoughts back to the present with a wrench. "Sorry, mom, just thinking."
"It's okay, dear. You must greet Kichiros' family, they still think of you as their daughter, you know," her mom said.
Kami, you have no idea how guilty that makes me feel, because I can never tell them, but I never saw myself as their daughter. I could never have married Kichiro, I only saw him as a brother, or a best friend, not as a, a lover... and that's why he died!
She shook her head slightly, a sad look in her eye.
How could I ever say that to anyone? Your son died because I couldn't love him, yeah, sure, I can just come right out with that so, instead, I live a lie, for his family's sake.
She looked over at his monument, waiting for the family to take their seats, so the memorial could begin. It was fairly informal, just different people who had known Kichiro in life, sharing memories of him with everyone. It made him seem closer, still a part of everyone's lives, and his family really needed that. So Kagome came, every year; to listen to what the past had been.
She hated this day, for the grief it had brought to everyone, and the guilt that it gave her.
At least its sunny this year...
For the first time in the four years since his death, the day was sunny and warm, not hot, but nice. It - helped. Seeing the sky gray and gloomy, with soft rain coming down, that all just made it seem worse. And because the weather was nice, a lot of the stories today were good ones, even some funny ones, listening to the scattered laughter, Kagome actually managed to smile, even if it was a small, sad one.
She came out of her reverie to the sound of Kichiro's father's voice calling her name softly. "Kagome...? Do you have a story to share with us today?"
"Hai, Arakawa-san. I do," she said softly. " I am ready to share him with you, in this way - I can free myself of some of the pain."
Kagome stood and moved to the front of the group, then knelt next to him. "This memory," she began, "is my favorite of them all, it happened the week before he died. Do you remember, Arakawa-san? He came to take me on a date, the first one after he got his car." Kagome smiled, and her eyes had a far away look.
"He was so very proud of his car. I kept teasing him because he talked about it like it was alive. After the date was over, he walked me up to the house, and as we passed the Goshinboku, he stopped. He stopped because he knew that I always stop at the Goshinboku - it gives me peace when I share my day with the tree."
She paused, and looked up then, and her smile widened. "He looked over at me, and started laughing, then he said "You share your day with a tree, and I share mine with a car, maybe we should be sharing our day with actual people!"
Kagome laughed, lost in the memory for a moment, then continued.
"He was smiling, and his eyes were laughing at me, and then he sobered up for a moment. He put out his hand and placed it on the tree - and his eyes widened. He pulled his hand away slowly, all the while staring at the tree with almost... wonder, in his eyes.
Then he glanced down at me, and said "Keep sharing your day with the tree, someday, you will be glad that you did."
He never did tell me what he saw, or what happened, but it made me feel good that he finally understood how I felt about the Goshinboku." She smiled again, wiping away a few tears. "That's the memory I wanted to share." And she bowed to his father, then stood up and went back to her family.
"That was good, Kagome. I'm glad you finally were able to share a memory with us,' her mother said.
"Yes. It felt good to share that, I'm glad I did." she said, softly.
It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but I'm glad that's over.
The memorial broke up soon after that, since she was one of the last ones to share, so they arrived home very quickly. But, of course, not quickly enough for a certain very impatient hanyou.
"Oi, Kagome, what the hell took you so long!" he yelled as soon as she set foot in the house.
"Inuyasha! You baka, I told you I would be back tonight! It isn't tonight yet!" she yelled right back. " OH! Sometimes you make me so mad!"
She stormed up the stairs, and then yelled back down at him, "I'm packing and changing now, and then we can go, just so I don't have to listen to you whine!"
Hitomi smiled. "Inuyasha, why don't you sit down at the table and I'll make you some ramen while you wait, okay?"
Inuyasha's eyes widened and he grinned. "Alright, if I gotta wait, thats the best way to do it!"
"Oi, by the way, why was Kagome all dressed up? It wasn't one of those 'dates' again, was it?" he was almost growling by the time he got that last part out, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Kagome's mom laughed at his obvious jealousy. "Inuyasha, we were at a memorial service, for a friend of the family. A memorial service is usually held every year on the anniversary of the person's death. The family and friends of the deceased gather to share memories of the person. That's where we were. She wasn't on a date."
Inuyasha thought about that. " So that's why she wanted to come back today. Who was the person that died?"
"His name was Kichiro, and Kagome and he were good friends, as was his father and Kagome's father. He died four years ago today."
Inuyasha didn't like the sound of that. Kagome was good friends with a male other than him? He narrowed his eyes further. "How close were they?"
"Well, you must understand, Inuyasha, that Kagome was only fourteen when he died. I think she saw him as an older brother, but of course, only she could say for sure," she said, as she handed him the now finished ramen.
Inuyasha considered this while he ate. Guess its a good thing the guy is dead, Kagome's got enough males traipsing after her as it is. Damn that Koga, and Hojo, and even that Akitoki guy had the hots for her for a while, how many more men am I gonna have to chase off?
Of course, in some ways I can't really blame them, she is beautiful, even more now than when I first saw her. He sighed, and shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Damn, I'd better stop thinking about this, even my hakama aren't that loose.
Kagome had finished packing by now, and was waiting at the front entrance. "Hurry up, you baka, you're the one always wanting to rush, and now I'm waiting on you!"
Inuyasha flushed red and scowled, getting up from the table and heading to the door. "Arigato, Higurashi-san, for lunch, and for telling me what you did," as he grabbed Kagome and leaped out the door.
Kagome froze inside as soon as she heard what he said.
Telling him what she did? What's that supposed to mean? Just what did mom tell him?