Disclaimer: I own nothing, as per usual.
Author's Note: AU, slight OOC quite possibly, and very, very strange to boot. What a way to come back into the Inuyasha fanfiction section.
A voice whispers in her head.
Kagome cannot recall when she first heard the voice; it has always been there, in the back of her mind, soft and soothing and strangely, strangely seductive. When she was a child, the voice formed no clear words, no full sentences, nothing she could understand. But it was there, she knew it was there, and it was a presence only she could sense, something she could grasp that was far beyond her mother and grandfather.
She calls it her imaginary friend, and falls asleep to its murmurings.
Kagome is twelve when the voice speaks clearly for the first time. It is nothing especially dramatic or interesting; she is doing her history homework, reading about wars and eras and demons that have faded into legend, and honestly, she is kind of starting to fall asleep when suddenly:
"You don't find it interesting?"
She isn't surprised. Somehow, she knows, this is natural. It was only a matter of time before the voice could form words, could speak. There is no shock to it, not to someone who has lived with the presence for as long as she has. Now awake, she shifts slightly on her bed. "Not really. It's stuff my teacher already covered in class."
"Really? I find it fascinating."
The voice is soft, and feminine, and somewhat cool, distant; she is someone Kagome shouldn't talk to. But she sounds genuinely curious, and the young girl can't resist. "Really?" she asks. "I think it's pretty boring."
"I suppose it's because so much time has passed. It's fascinating to think of how much things have changed."
Ah, so she is old, then. Kagome doesn't know how she decides the voice is a she, or that she is old; she simply goes by gut feeling, and the quiet hint of longing she hears in that voice, a longing of someone misplaced and somewhere they don't belong. It makes her sad to hear such longing in the presence that has always kept her company, even when she was too small to appreciate it.
"Do you want me to tell you about it?" She honestly doesn't know that much about history, but maybe if she talks about it, she'll find it more interesting and easier to stay awake. Mama would like that.
There is a moment of silence; then, softly, the voice whispers "Yes, please" and for an instant Kagome could swear she sounds ready to cry.
Her name is Kikyo.
Kagome learns it one day by accident, while they are discussing her history homework; it occurs to her that she hasn't even introduced herself to the voice after so long, so she interrupts their conversation briefly to give her name, apologizing because it's kind of late and stuff, and she doesn't need to answer, but then the voice is quiet before she replies, "You can call me Kikyo."
It is a beautiful name.
The name along brings memories to Kagome's mind; a beautiful pale woman, with long black hair and smooth skin. There is no doubt in Kagome's mind that Kikyo was beautiful. She doesn't know why she believes this, or why the image is so clear in her mind, but she is only twelve and she clings to it.
"Ne, Kikyo." Kagome is working on math now, chewing her eraser, and she knows Mama will probably scold her because she hates it when she does that. "How old are you?"
A soft laugh echoes in her head. "So forward, Kagome?"
Kagome blushes. It's an honest, innocent question. She already knows Kikyo is old; Kikyo doesn't know many things that Kagome herself knows like the back of her hand, and her fascination with history indicates that she missed many of the events that took place. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to," she mutters, scribbling down some small equation to solve a problem. "I was just curious."
Another soft laugh, and her blush deepens. They stay that way in content silence for awhile, before Kikyo speaks again. "Do you really want to know?"
"Well, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
"No. I want to tell you." Kikyo sighs. "It's just, I died when I was eighteen. I don't know how much time has passed since then."
Well, that explains why in her mind, Kikyo is always a tall, beautiful young woman. To Kagome, Kikyo is eternally eighteen, frozen in the time before her death, never moving forward and never moving back.
Kagome is fifteen, and Kikyo is no longer just a voice in her head.
She has an image now, a body to match the voice that Kagome has heard ever since she was small, the voice she has spoken to since she was twelve. Whenever Kikyo speaks, Kagome sees the mental image in her head of a young woman in the garb of a miko, sitting on a windy hill. It is truly a beautiful image.
And yet, Kagome always feels that Kikyo looks so lonely.
It bothers her. She doesn't know why it does, but it bothers her to think that Kikyo was that lonely at one time, that she is still lonely. It eats at her from the inside and makes her chest hurt, so badly that some days she wants to rip her heart out so the pain will stop. It hurts so badly that it makes her stomach roll and rumble, as if she might get sick.
It bothers her, and she doesn't understand why.
She has earphones on as she lies in bed one night, gazing up at the ceiling. She wonders what Kikyo does when they don't talk; she can always sense the older woman's presence, even when she is silent. It makes her wonder if Kikyo just sort of floats there minding her own business, or if she briefly ceases to exist.
Frowning slightly, she slides her earphones down so they rest around her neck. "Kikyo?"
Hearing her voice fills her with relief; Kagome smiles and sighs happily. "Good. I was kind of worried."
"Why?" Kikyo sounds genuinely confused. "I'm not going anywhere."
"I know. I guess I was just thinking too much."
Kagome wants to ask her, then: were you lonely? She feels the desperate, sudden, overwhelming urge to ask, and she still doesn't understand why.
So instead, she says the first thing that comes to her mind.
"Did you know you're really pretty?"
It is almost comical, how Kikyo reacts whenever Kagome says she is beautiful. Her voice never changes, but in her head, Kagome can see changes in her image, in her body; a gleam of amusement in her eyes, then a blush of embarrassment when the younger girl insists no, really, she's very pretty, why doesn't she believe that?
She prefers Kikyo this way, when she is blushing and embarrassed and amused, when she is denying that she is beautiful. When Kikyo is like this, Kagome knows she isn't lonely. The younger girl never wants the former miko to be lonely.
Kagome is sixteen, and her friends worry about her. She expresses no interest in boys, even that one really hot one that is definitely into her, but she doesn't really notice him, sorry. It amuses her to see them so worked into a frenzy over it. Mama and Grandpa don't seem to find it odd at all, and Souta is much happier not thinking about his big sister dating, thank you very much.
It is night, and she has her earphones on, music blaring away as she works on her history homework. Normally they would talk about it, but Kagome put her music on right away when she got home, and it kind of annoys Kikyo because she doesn't like talking over that nasty racket.
How can she possibly like that thing?
"Kagome. Hey. Ka-go-me."
Finally, Kagome seems to hear her; she shifts on her bed and slides off her earphones. "What's up, Kikyo?"
"You never gave him an answer, you know."
The school girl blinks. "Who?"
"…" Kikyo sighs. "The boy. The one who likes you? Hojo or whatever his name is?"
"Oh." Kagome blinks again, then shrugs, chewing on her eraser out of habit. "I guess I don't really know what to say. He wants me to go to the dance with him."
"Why not say yes? It would be fun."
Kagome resists the sudden urge to ask For who?. She knows Kikyo means well. She has always meant well, in her backwards kind of awkward way. It's just, well….
"I'm not really interested in him, I guess. I'd like to go to the dance with someone else, if I could."
And there is silence.
Kagome is surprised. It isn't like Kikyo to be quiet when she says something like; normally she would ask for more. Who she wants to go with, why, so on and so forth. But she doesn't ask, and it's kind of strange. Still, she feels no urge to speak, so she turns off her music and continues working on history.
She wonders what it would be like if she could take Kikyo to the dance. Would she look lonely then? Kagome is certain she would look beautiful in a dress. It would be a long, fun night, and she would wish it never had to end.
She lowers her pencil, takes a quiet breath. "Ne, Kikyo."
"Hm? What is it?"
"You know… I'd like to take you to the dance, if I could."
There is a long, long moment of silence; Kagome's mind seems to freeze. Her heart pounds against her chest, so hard she fears it'll burst, and she swallows against a sudden, hot lump in her throat.
Then, in her head, the image of Kikyo smiles—a true, honest, happy smile.
"I think that would be a lot of fun."
It is the most beautiful thing Kagome has ever seen.
Yeah. My bunnies bite, and they make no sense. I wanted to try out an AU fic I have in mind that would mainly be Kagome/Kikyo centric and decided to write it out as a one-shot, and ended up with this... strange thing.
Read and review, please!