Chapter 26: Perhaps... such things happen...?
It was over. So many things were.
Kagome wiped her brow and looked up at the ceiling. It was over. It had been since the professor said, "Time's up."
It felt strange, actually. The thought of no work, no late nights, no running to the store to buy some more paper... it had all vanished...
Well, for now, at least. She still had much more to do. Five odd some years still lay before her.
However, late spring and summer now quietly gazed at her... questioning. What was she going to do the whole time?
When was the last time she actually had a free moment?
But truth be told, she didn't want to have a free moment. Life was so much easier when all you could concentrate on was school. No family problems, money problems, entertainment problems, and relationship problems -- they all just disappeared when school decided to lay the work on extra thick.
Gathering up her notebooks, pencil, and eraser, she slung her backpack over her shoulder. With one hand she picked up the suitcase that had been resting by her side.
There had been a technical malfunction on the train going back to campus, so she had reached Tokyo much later than she originally expected. Truth be told, she had to sleep over in some hotel.
Needless to say, that had not put her at ease for the finals. But she had rallied and proven herself in endurance.
But now... the blue bird of happiness was beginning to sing its song, and she could feel a sense of relief and calm enter her body.
Smiling to herself, she patted Inu Yasha on the back, telling him that "she was sure he did wonderfully."
Inu Yasha smiled for a moment, and yet as he did, there was a searching look in his eyes. Questioning. Questioning.
Kagome looked at him momentarily. There was a sort of sorrow in his eyes, a sort of disappointment. And the worst part was, she knew the reason why he looked at her as a failure. Although his hopes had crashed to the ground, he had not expected hers to also...
Gently she urged him out of the room. No words needed to be spoken, for they shared a tacit understanding.
While Inu Yasha and Kagome walked, he thought to himself --
--What the hell is wrong with my idiotic brother? Why the HELL didn't he tell her, or damn it -- do SOMETHING. Both of them are now gunna fuckin' regret this for the rest of their life --
He brushed his hand through his hair. It was all so annoying! Why did this whole thing have to happen?! It was like one love triangle from hell!
He only hoped that it would end soon...
Inu Yasha once said to his brother, he forgot exactly when it was, but sometime in high school...
It still brought a grin to his lips.
"You know, Sesshoumaru, the day you fall in love will be the day hell freezes over."
Then he had beaten the crap out of him.
Inu Yasha laughed aloud -- causing Kagome, who was walking next to him, to stare at him curiously. It was strange -- he admitted -- to suddenly laugh out of the blue?
"What?" Kagome questioned, smiling.
"Oh, nothing." Inu Yasha snorted to himself.
"Come on, tell me!" Kagome insisted, grinning happily.
"Well," Inu Yasha began, putting his hands behind his head and bending his arms back, "I was just remembering that when I was in high school, I told Sesshoumaru that 'the day he fell in love would be the day hell freezes over.'"
Kagome grinned broadly, "Really? And I bet he beat you up after that, right?"
"Hell yeah." Inu Yasha smirked. "But it irritated the hell out of him, I could tell. It was one of my few good comments."
"You guys are really rivals, aren't you?" Kagome asked. "I wonder how such things happen..."
The two walked for a bit longer, chatting at times, but most of the time in reverie, quietly pondering their own situations. At last, they separated at the park -- Inu Yasha going to his apartment that he shared with Kikyou, and Kagome going to her dorm where she promptly collapsed on her bed and slept.
When she woke, it was nearing dusk -- the quiet atmosphere finally settled over the city like a comforting warm blanket. The fading day highlighted a few clouds -- the dregs of the last storm which had caressed Japan's shores.
Hoisting herself up, she saw Sango bending over the burner, cooking some gyoza. Sango looked toward her, her eyes friendly questioning, "Want some?"
Kagome got out a plate and picked a few from the sizzling grill with her chopsticks. The smell overwhelmed her -- the scent of home, familiar qualities of her life. Nothing seemed stable any more, and she felt as if she were a spectator, watching her life go by.
Biting into them, she stopped chewing when Sango said casually, "While you were gone, Sesshoumaru came over here, asking for you."
"What did you tell him?" Kagome questioned, resuming her chewing.
"I told him that you went out of town. Really, I didn't know where you went, so I couldn't help. Not much, at least." She paused momentarily, "He seemed really upset." Sango commented, plucking off a few gyozas and putting them on her own plate.
"Sesshoumaru? Upset?" Kagome inquired, almost laughing.
"Yeah. Strange isn't it? Usually he's like Mr. Snowman." Sango chuckled. However, her tone changed as she added, "He sort of... got physical with Miroku. But, looking back on it, it's sort of funny."
"It sounds that way." Kagome grinned, swallowing the gyoza.
"Maybe you should go see what he wanted." Sango nudged, "I mean, it might have been serious."
"I don't know about that. I really don't know if I want to go. We sort of... well, we haven't been on speaking terms lately." Kagome said, choosing her words carefully.
"Well, still, he probably regrets whatever he did. He seemed to, sort of. Anyways, it's your choice, ne?" Sango smiled softly.
"I guess I'll go, that is, as soon as I'm done with the gyozas. These are really good." Kagome remarked, stuffing another into her mouth.
"Really? My mom sent them." Sango said.
A few more moments of silence as the two finished the gyozas, the sky falling into darkness minute by minute. Finally, Kagome gathered her coat (for there was still a bite in the air) and waved goodbye to Sango.
The light continued dimming and night approached.
She knocked. She felt slightly sick and strangely nervous... the seconds melting into hours. However, the door slowly opened, and she saw Sesshoumaru looking down at her.
Kagome could not quite read the look in his eyes. It seemed to be one of astonishment -- but then, trying to figure out looks on Sesshoumaru was always so hard.
"May I come in?" Kagome whispered softly. Her voice had vanished.
"Sure." Sesshoumaru said rather casually, backing away from the door and receiving her inside his apartment.
The inside was dark and quiet, lit only by the dim light of the falling night. They walked silently into the living room, a mass of tangled objects silhouetted against the moonbeams. The still-fresh smell of new growth flooded in through the open windows out on the balcony, and a rare bird song chirped from a rooftop garden.
"I heard," Kagome began, "that you were looking for me."
Damn that Sango woman! Sesshoumaru silently cursed.
"Yes, actually, I was." He said coolly. Crap... this is going to be terrible... how exactly is this going to work out? How could he get the words out of his mouth? Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.
"... Well..." Kagome said, waiting patiently, "Is there something you needed to talk to me about perhaps? Even though I don't know what you could have to talk to me about."
The words were like knifes. But he deserved them -- for his blows had been much more frequent and painful. Perhaps she had nearly bled to death -- and he had watched. He had watched her fall under his vicious blows -- he had watched her tears --
He had watched it all.
"Kagome..." He began softly.
"Sesshoumaru... listen..." she began, finding it rather hard to talk. Her throat was tied into knots. "We have nothing to say to each other do we? Seriously now, our lives are completely different... I'm just a college student, but you... you on the other hand are in the real world now."
"That is true... our lives are different." Sesshoumaru admitted. This was not going to work. He could not say it. He could not. His brother was braver than he. How sad.
"The truth is... I came here tonight to say goodbye." Kagome continued. Her eyes were now brimming with tears, and it was getting difficult to distinguish his features.
"What are you talking about?" he asked, his voice now cold. Questioning. Fearful.
"I don't want to see you again. You have your life, I have mine -- You know what you want to do; I'm just discovering it. We're on two different levels..." Kagome whispered.
"Listen..." He urged, trying to tell her, trying to convey.
"No...! I don't want to listen. After tonight -- we go our separate ways, and I'll never bother your family again. Inu Yasha is a smart boy, and he can take care of himself without me." Kagome continued, her hot and salty tears now streaming down her face like a waterfall destined to cry for all of its days. "We have nothing more to say to each other."
"So, Goodbye, Sesshoumaru." She concluded.
Tenderly, she reached up and wound her arms around him. How broad and comforting his shoulders were... but nevertheless, this was goodbye. Forever. She could feel his frame stiffen as soon as she touched him, as if her fingers were like poison -- but it did not matter now.
He smelled dimly like a mixture of incense with the light odor of pine. A scent of things old and forgotten, yet living on... a comforting scent. It was reassuring, even if he wasn't. She wanted to hold him, at least once... at least once like this...
Kagome closed her eyes and treasured the moment. It too, like a rainbow, would soon disappear.
She pulled away, and looking up into his beautiful face, she found herself smiling as the never-ending tears ran down her cheeks, gently hitting the ground. They whispered sadly...
It could not be like this....
But he could not find any words. None could reach his lips...
She was turning to leave... the prophecy would be fulfilled... he did not want to see her disappearing figure running away from him anymore. He never wanted to see her walk away from him again. He was tired of being lonely. He was tired of these false masks. He was tired of the turmoil which suppressed his feelings and desires. He was so tired of it all.
Quickly, he reached out his hand and gently touched her on the shoulder. She stopped moving but did not turn to face him. He could still feel her body trembling from the tears. Why did it have to be this way?
Slowly, cautiously, as if she were porcelain, he wrapped his arms around her. How comforting it was, as if all the troubles of the world were lifted off his shoulders as soon as he found her in his arms. If only he had found such happiness sooner before it had been too late...
He leaned down and whispered in her ear, softly, "I probably should have told you sooner..." He felt her tense beneath his hold. What a fool he had been to hope. Hope only led you to sorrow... however; he dimly remembered long ago that to love, one must embrace the pain of losing it.
He had already lost...
"It has been with me for so long... these feelings. I tried to hide them..." His voice was becoming unsteady, "I tried to bury them away deep inside myself. To fool even you..."
He moved forward and turned to face her, smiling a soft smile, gently tracing her jaw line with his fingers... slowly, softly, tenderly...
"But Kagome, don't you see? This will not do..." he murmured.
Sesshoumaru leaned in closer, closing the space between them and embraced her. He would not let her go. This girl he now held... she was his happiness...
And he had been a fool not to see it sooner. His pride had caused him to lose sight of things that he had secretly treasured, pretending these gems were garbage. How wrong he had been. But now... of course, it was too late. Any feelings the girl had for him had been tossed aside long ago...
How could a person care for him? Him, of all creatures?
Sesshoumaru could feel her moving within his arms... he would not keep his trapped bird. He would set her free. For after all, didn't she want to fly far away?
Slowly, almost painfully, he relaxed his arms and let them fall quietly to his sides. She would go now... far, far away. He cast his glance aside, not wanting to see her anymore -- he would live his life as he had once done before. Alone.
And yet she did not move. She stood there, her small frame unnervingly still, as if the touch of his fingers had caused her to turn to ice. Her head lay cast down, her dark hair falling about her face so he could not see her expression (which, he figured, was probably one of disgust).
She roused herself, and looking up towards him, her eyes filled with no hope, no happiness, only sorrow -- sorrow now gleaming in the moonlight.
"Why do you do this...?" She asked, her voice imploring, almost as if concerned.
But for Kagome to be concerned... hah... no, that would -- could not be.
"Why do you live your life this way?" Kagome questioned again, now stepping towards Sesshoumaru and grasping onto his shirt, wrenching his gaze onto her face. She had begun trembling again, as though some great fear were coming. But strength shined in her eyes.
She was no longer afraid.
"Why do you distance yourself from everyone who cares for you? Why do you push me away?" She whispered.
Sesshoumaru gazed down at her... quiet. What was she saying?
Like a wave of happiness, it washed over his body, calming his angry soul. As strange and unholy as it seemed -- Kagome cared for him... The tears she wept were not ones of bitterness and hatred toward him, no, they had been ones of regret and sorrow...
His piercing eyes lifted from the floor onto her face, moving until they met hers. What Kagome saw there held her captive, rendering her as still as she had been just a few moments earlier. There was a soul shining out from them, burning and immaculate...
Sesshoumaru leaned forward and swiftly wrapped his arms around the girl, who for so long had tortured his existence. How long had he yearned for this moment, which until now he had only dreamed would happen?
Her lips were soft just as they had been on the night of the festival, but a difference was noticeably there... there was a longing burning to match his own. Had she too found this dream impossible?
... I'm sorry, Kagome... I did not know...
As he held her there, a gossamer yet scintillating aura was gently floating around them. Kagome was dimly aware of how warm his body was surrounding her, as if all the winters of the world could not penetrate this barrier. Was this what she had waited for? Had their happiness finally come to pass?
... Perhaps it had...
"If Ever You're In My Arms Again"
It all came so easy
All the loving you gave me
The feelings we shared
And I still can remember
How your touch was so tender
It told me you cared
We had a once in a lifetime
But I just couldn't see
Until it was gone
A second once in a lifetime
May be too much to ask
But I swear from now on
If ever you're in my arms again
This time I'll love you much better
If ever you're in my arms again
This time I'll hold you forever
This time we'll never end
Now I've seen clearly
How I still need you near me
I still love you so
There's something between us
That won't ever leave us
There's no letting go
We had a once in a lifetime
But I just didn't know it
Till my life fell apart
A second once in a lifetime
Isn't too much to ask
'Cause I swear from the heart
The best of romances
Deserve second chances
I'll get to you somehow
'Cause I promise now