Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or its characters. I am not making money out of this.

Kagura half-laughed, wheezing, as an ominous ribbon of smoke escaped the openings of her kimono. I know I've never been a good person, but to actually turn into foul-smelling smoke… I hope someone, somewhere, is laughing their ass off, she thought madly, because I sure as hell can't. She watched as the wind dissipated the tendrils, momentarily numbed. Then, it hit her that she wasn't controlling it, and that the wind had existed forever before she was born and would exist forever more after she was gone, and the full weight of failure had her leaning on both hands for support.

The sudden weakness brought a brief wave of panic. Maybe she wouldn't make it. Damn it. But I don't want to die just anywhere. At least let me have this, she prayed, mind half-absent. An escaped lock of hair brushed her cheek. Kagura felt entirely too disheveled for dying.

Touching the side of her feather delicately, she steered it left and noticeably faster. The glare of the sun and that burning desperation were what inspired the move, but other than that she had no specific plan. All she knew was that she was looking for something, and that she definitely had not found it yet. I am dying, she reminded herself whenever a reasonable amount of time seemed to have passed, and felt the dread bloom afresh. She would do all she could before letting go all alone – before letting herself become an afterthought to anybody. Kagura was not completely sure who she had in mind until her subconscious helpfully provided a vague, flowing image of glaringly white hair and cruel, glacial eyes. The hem of her kimono was ruined before she noticed her long nails had been deeply buried in it. Shit. If he did show up he might turn around at the very sight of me.

As she passed over a narrow river, her eyes caught the reflected gleam of the sun and she turned her head away abruptly, sending another puff of smoke upwards. The sea! That was what she'd been looking for…she had never seen it. But there was no time – she could feel herself become fainter, like a mud stain washed off by a tired housewife in that very river. The forest – boring, old, indistinctive forest – would have to do. Kagura had resigned herself to look for a suitable clearing, blinking hard to clear her eyes and slow, strangely sleepy brain, when she spotted a broad field of pale pink flowers, spilling over the grassy area like milk. Kagura steered her feather gratefully, descending in a slow spiral until the ground was firm beneath her.

As she crawled, Kagura felt herself crush the flowers with her knees and the heel of her hands. Mildly horrified, she pushed herself to reach a more central area. She wanted to be surrounded. The acrid smoke rose up to her eyes, making them water. For the first time she could remember, Kagura briefly felt like it might be okay to cry, to let go a little – blame it on the smoke, blame it on this ragged, shameful state. But then she realized there would be nothing else to attach her dignity to. So she did not cry; instead, she crawled on until her arms trembled and all she could see were flowers everywhere.

Halfway between kneeling and sitting, Kagura briefly considered lying amongst the flowers. She felt fainter than ever. But when she moved, something white and sudden caught the corner of her eye. She looked up.

Kagura had always considered herself pretty ballsy – she'd tell herself it was because she had nothing to lose, and perhaps once it had been so. But she had also been shameless and accustomed to using low tactics, as well as to expect the worst of anyone. She remembered the weight of the jewel shards in her hand, the excitement in her chest at the thought of the power she now had. Not from the shards themselves, but because it was irrecusable currency. Now she could have whatever she wanted – namely, her freedom – because she could pay someone, anyone, to get it for her. And she knew who she wanted. More than anything, the thought of having his attention and cooperation, even if for a price, thrilled her.

But he did refuse. And she would never forget his words, epiphany-inducing as they were: get it yourself. Paired with the disdain in his eyes and manner, his meaning was clear: he did not respect her for looking for strength elsewhere. If she didn't have it, then she probably didn't deserve it. And in that moment, she felt something like a true nature claw its way up her chest – from her wounded pride, her obstinacy to get what she wanted, her need to be in whatever group of people he considered worthy. Because he was worthiness; because when one was the most powerful being in existence, surely one did not need anyone else to validate them.

Kagura wanted to be Sesshoumaru, she realised.

And there he was, standing on the edge of the flower field like a beautiful statue. "You came," she whispered. She heavily suspected her eyes might be translating her adoration to him, but she did not care one bit. I'm dying, she reminded herself again, for good measure.

She saw him narrow his eyes nearly imperceptibly, and reach for a sword. For one mad second, she thought he might use it to kill her. It surprised her to realise she hoped that was what he would do. But he made no move to get closer. Kagura started slightly as she noticed what seemed like bits of her body and clothing flying away and disappearing. This is it.

As Kagura closed her eyes, she knew there wouldn't be enough time to open them again, so she was pleased to find out that she remembered every detail of his face, knowing he might not be wearing those same clothes by the time she was born again and went looking for him. She squinted hard, not really sure whether she still had eyes. First, there were sparkles. Then white.