Author's Note: The final chapter. Please read the bottom!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. I do not profit from this story.
So Now We'll Let the Rain Fall
Chapter Ten: Forward
Monday was weird.
There was no waiting at the front door, no searching for the raven-haired beauty. Kagome wouldn't talk to him and he certainly wouldn't talk to her. It wasn't a matter of wanting; it was survival.
Inuyasha got there later than usual. He didn't want to risk seeing her. He wasn't sure if he could stand to watch her move on by.
"Hi." A soft feminine voice, barely audible, stopped him. It was familiar and foreign at the same time.
Inuyasha turned, frowning when he saw Sango standing there, looking far more awkward than she did at the shelter whenever he saw her. "Hey, are you okay?"
Sango just smiled a little, like she knew a secret. The half-demon remembered back to what Kagome said all those months ago, about how Sango acted completely different from school to the pet shelter. "She told me what happened. I won't say anything, promise."
It hurt, maybe just a little that Sango and Kagome had talked but he himself hadn't seen her since… Well, since. "Uh, thanks," he mumbled. "Thank you. Where's Miroku?"
"At school," Sango replied, brow slightly raised. "He doesn't go here."
Inuyasha knew that, he did. He had just forgotten with everything else on his mind.
Of course, the next few days didn't go any differently. They blurred; everything so absurdly black and white. Sango seemed to notice and kept him company, giving him meek expressions at lunch before sitting down with him. They didn't have any classes together but he quickly learned that Sango was wicked smart and knew practically every subject there was.
A few times he would see Kagome out of the corner of his eye. If he wasn't careful, he could hear her laughing with other friends.
All he could think of was 'soon'.
She hated this.
It was like a dam, building and building with the water threatening to overflow at any minute. Kagome desperately wondered how much longer she could hold off, how much longer she could keep herself together without falling apart.
The weeks didn't go by fast enough.
Kagome's mother wasn't a help, not with the way she smiled and hugged her. News had travelled around the school like wildfire, ever since the unlikely duo parted ways. Sometimes Kagome would hear the whispers, the questions of what Inuyasha did to her to make them break apart, what Inuyasha said to make her leave, what Inuyasha threatened her with that she finally gave up. She had told her mother that night that she wasn't going to see Inuyasha again, and that she was sorry. Her mother had been right – it had been a mistake.
The words were bitter on her tongue.
At first her mother didn't believe her. Kagome could understand, at least a little bit. As she told her the words sounded flat, rhymed off as if she had repeated them over and over. She hadn't, but it didn't matter. What mattered was a week later, when obviously the gossip had filled the town and Ms. Higurashi's poor heart could rest in peace knowing that her daughter truly wasn't socializing with the troublemaker.
It would break her heart, just a little, to see Inuyasha at school. Kagome tried her hardest not to look but sometimes it couldn't be helped. There was a part of her that hurt at the sight of Sango so easily taking her place and helping Inuyasha. Kagome knew it wasn't the truth, knew that Sango was trying to help the isolated boy survive the rest of high school.
At night, all she could think was 'soon'.
The last day.
Getting to this point had taken an eternity, but when the bell rang for the final day of school, Inuyasha wasn't sure if he had been happier. He knew in the back of his mind that he had, but the feeling of euphoria was overwhelming, and he gave Sango a one-armed hug before shoving her into class. He was planning on going to his own, even though nothing productive was happening. The last day of school was generally a party, where the teachers grumbled to keep quiet while the students talked about future plans.
"Inuyasha, hey," Kouga said, stopping the half-demon in his tracks.
He turned, and even the sight of the young teacher didn't stop his smirk. "Kouga, hi."
The teacher rolled his eyes, grabbing his t-shirt and all but dragging him away. "You're annoying, the more I talk to you."
Inuyasha let himself be moved along, having spoken with Kouga at least a couple times per week. Most of it was after school when he didn't have to work at the pet shelter, and the hole where Kagome used to be was a bit more unbearable. Kouga understood, or at least he saw it. Together they would walk back to his place, Kouga tossing cookies at Inuyasha's head and complaining about the mess.
They had a friendship that was both easygoing and horrifyingly difficult. They bashed heads constantly, never liking the same team, never enjoying the same thing as the other. Sometimes Inuyasha would argue just for the sake of arguing.
When Kouga threw Inuyasha into his classroom and shut the door, the half-demon sat down on one of the desks. "So what am I here for? I hope it's not because it's the last day of school and you're going to hug me."
Kouga cringed, partially laughing. "As if I would touch you. I'm already getting shit for seeming too friendly."
"Really?" Inuyasha frowned. Student-teacher relations weren't supposed to exist for good reasons. The thing was that Kouga didn't seem to care all that much. He knew Inuyasha's problems, knew that there was nothing he could do without seriously messing things up. Instead, Kouga helped him by taking up his time and bickering with him.
Inuyasha was grateful.
"Don't worry about it." Kouga scoffed, waving a hand. "As of today you're free."
That he was. Inuyasha hugged him anyways.
And then he punched him.
Kagome stood in her gown, taking photos with people she would never see again. It was okay because she knew that it had to happen.
There was always a choice, and she chose him.
Her mother was waving now, walking away with the other parents towards the rows of seats in the auditorium. Kagome smiled back, even as she sighed. Though there were moments when Kagome wished that she had never listened to the half-demon, there were other moments where she was glad to have someone that was proud of her, looking out for her.
Just because her mother made mistakes, it didn't mean Ms. Higurashi didn't love her daughter.
The others were walking towards the waiting room, a line of students all in caps and gowns standing there proudly. Most of them were chatting, using their square tops as fans in the heat. Her last name put her near the front, but her class was huge and it was still a while down.
Graduation wasn't a massive fanfare, and Kagome found it mostly boring. As the line steadily moved towards the stage, her name card in hand with a list of accomplishments and her university of choice, she wondered what Inuyasha was thinking, what he felt about this. This was officially the last time he'd ever have to deal with any of their peers again. Did he feel relief? Joy? Maybe a hint of sadness?
Her name was called and she stood before an audience she could barely see. Kagome shook hands with all of the right people, accepting the envelope and scroll and giving a small wave as she exited. Teachers signalled her over to her seat in the front and Kagome sat down, staring at the stage as name by name went by.
When Inuyasha's name was called, Kagome held her breath.
Maybe it was because he had been waiting for this moment for so long that Kagome thought he looked…different. A good different. Inuyasha stood on the stage with a soft smile, shaking hands and nodding at something the principle said. A part of Kagome wanted to know what they were saying, if it was good or bad.
Then, as he was leaving, Inuyasha spared one glance at the audience.
Time stood still. The world suddenly felt right, like it finally had slid into place, snug in its spot of puzzle pieces.
Inuyasha moved out the day he turned eighteen.
There were a lot of legal obligations he had to go through, a lot of paperwork and a lot of messes that had to be cleaned up. And really, he would get to it.
But he had to get out first.
It had taken him by surprise when Kouga turned up at his house, his tall body leaning against his car as he raised a brow. "You got somewhere to go?"
Inuyasha rolled his eyes. "I swear, you're like a stalker. At least I know you're not after my virtue."
"Ass," Kouga replied, sighing dramatically. "You going to get in the damn car or what? I didn't just flirt with the secretary for nothing now did I?"
"You flirted with her to get my address?" Inuyasha snorted, looking back up at his house with disdain. "You are such a stalker."
The teacher closed his eyes, probably counting down in his head. Inuyasha knew him well enough to know that Kouga had a very short tolerance – especially for him. It was amazing Kouga had stuck around so much to help. And this? This hadn't been expected at all. "Get your luggage Inuyasha, or I swear to god I'll leave."
Grinning, Inuyasha walked the few steps towards him before punching him in the chest. "I know you're not really mad. You love me after all, or else you wouldn't be creeping around so much."
"Ass," Kouga repeated, opening the car door and sitting down. He tapped at his wrist impatiently, as if there was a watch there.
Unable to feel anything but relief, Inuyasha turned around and headed back into the house. The old man was still sleeping off the alcohol, and luckily enough the half-demon had managed to avoid the downfall of his anger. His wife was up though, staring out the window and looking at Kouga's car with dim eyes. Inuyasha didn't say anything, and when she looked at him the old woman said nothing either.
One of them was escaping, and that was something.
Inuyasha's stuff had been packed for a while, hiding under his bed. It was just one case of luggage, something old and torn and that he had since he was a child. All of his belongings fit snugly in there, each having their own place. It was time to move.
He got out without fuss, throwing his stuff in Kouga's trunk before hopping in the passenger seat. The teacher looked at him for a moment, light eyes trying to find something. Inuyasha wasn't sure what, and he wasn't sure if Kouga found what he was looking for by the time he glanced away. "You got a place?"
"I've got options," Inuyasha firmly corrected. "And a zip code."
Kouga sighed once more before laughing and shaking his head. "I guess we better start looking then, huh? You can stay with me until you find something solid."
It was more help than he expected, and Inuyasha smirked. "You stalker."
It was early August when Kagome finally convinced her mother to let her move in to her campus apartment. It had taken time because surely a student didn't have to move in so early just to prep books. Kagome used the excuse of wanting to learn the city, of wanting to figure out her options and her classes. The move-in itself was smooth, her boxes all labelled and packed away in an order that made getting it all back into a spot simple.
Ms. Higurashi stood at the door, having already spent the past two days helping her daughter put furniture together and go grocery shopping. There were tiny tears in her eyes, and her lips trembled just a little.
"Don't do that, you'll make me cry," Kagome murmured, hugging her mom.
"You're just…on your own," Ms. Higurashi whispered, smiling. "You'll be fine, I know."
The raven-haired teen nodded her head. "I'll be safe."
"Lock the door behind me, okay? And call me every night."
Ms. Higurashi laughed a little. "Okay, maybe not so much." She reached out, hugging her daughter once again. Kagome let it happen, let the moment be made so it could pass. "I'm proud of you."
"Thanks Momma," she whispered back, closing her eyes for just a brief second.
Ms. Higurashi pulled back, giving one more watery smile before heading out the door. Kagome shut it and locked it, knowing her mother would wait outside until she heard the click. When she spun around, Kagome took in the sparsely furnished apartment, the light clutter that made up some areas she had yet to conquer.
Sighing, Kagome tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, intent on getting more done when there was a light knock on the door. She rolled her eyes, unlocking and opening it. "What did you–" The words died out of her mouth the moment she saw him.
The silver-haired half-demon smiled crookedly at her, a little shy around the edges as he shifted from foot to foot. "Hi," he whispered, his golden eyes catching hers. "I, uh, saw your car the other day. I told you I'd find you."
Kagome took in his face, a little thinner but perfectly normal. The light grey shirt he had on looked soft, ideal for fall with the ripped jeans. He looked the same as before but… He was different, happier and Kagome could see it in his amber gaze as he watched her.
"Are you…?" Inuyasha frowned, and she could see the confusion on his face. "Okay? We talked about this before, I mean–"
Kagome laughed, flinging the door open wider and jumping at him. Her arms slid around his neck, fingers tangling in the silver locks. She fit snugly in his embrace, his arms low on her back as he hefted her up and hugged her. "You actually came."
"What?" Inuyasha looked at her like she was crazy, and maybe, just maybe she was a little. "You didn't think I would?"
"Well, it's been–" She stopped herself, shrugging. The words made it all so real, the days that passed when she had no one climbing through her window, no one to bug at school other than people she didn't care as much about. It felt like that last moment of her life was during that storm, when they were in this exact same position, crying instead of smiling.
"Two months," Inuyasha added in, filling the blank for her even though she knew. "I promised I would be with you everywhere and the shelter– It's not like I didn't see you. Time was just…dramatically taken away."
Kagome looked up at him. "I still missed you."
"Yeah I know," he whispered, nuzzling the side of her face as her hair got in the way. "Me too."
It was quiet, tense in a way that shouldn't be happening even as the seconds ticked on. It was like they knew the moment they pulled apart, things would start to crash around them. They would have to talk, to explain what had been going on the past two months they didn't get to communicate much.
Kagome didn't want to do the talking, not yet anyways. They had forever to talk. They had each other now because her mother wouldn't be there and they could be free to do what they wanted. Maybe one day Ms. Higurashi would finally remove the blinders from her eyes and see Inuyasha for who he really was. Until then though, they could make it. The two of them had come this far, and something had to give.
"Inuyasha," Kagome whispered quietly, afraid to move, to break the silence. "I'm glad you're here." She turned her head, just a little to the side so that her forehead could rest in the crook of his neck. Inuyasha didn't move, didn't make a sound. It was one of those moments, the ones like in the movies where the world fell away and all that was left were the two people holding each other. Kagome still knew that there was a world around them, but right then she couldn't care less.
Her lips pressed lightly against warm skin, barely there, like the brush of butterfly wings. She waited, felt and not so much as heard the hitch in his breath as his chest stuttered. She waited.
Just like she'd always been waiting.
Kagome half-closed her eyes; let his hands go from around her small body to her neck. She didn't stop him when he tilted her chin, his golden eyes staring, asking for some sort of permission that she couldn't fathom. Because after all this time, after all this waiting and wondering and hoping, the half-demon was still going to make sure, still going to make sure above all else, she was alright.
Her own hands slid up his chest, feeling the soft cotton tingle the tips of her fingers until Kagome grabbed the long strands of his silver hair and tugged.
Inuyasha didn't need anything more.
The kiss was quiet, sweet, like two old souls finally meeting for the first time in years. It was familiar and foreign at the same time, the smell and feel of him against her tugging at her memory while the press of his lips was something she couldn't have even dreamed of properly, no matter how many times she had imagined it. It was better, amazing, and Kagome felt the curl of a smile on her lips as the kiss deepened. They were closer now, not even a breath apart as her hands cupped his face and kept him there, never to disappear again.
Kagome didn't know how long they stayed there but when they pulled away she was breathing heavily. Her hands were still tangled in his hair, her grip loosening as she smiled at him. "You want to come in?"
"By this point I thought you'd never ask," Inuyasha replied, grinning at her, a little breathless himself. His hand reached out, grabbed hers, and Kagome all but dragged him into her apartment to show him everything.
It wouldn't be until later that she learned he had gotten another job, since the shelter was no longer an option being so far away. It had been easy apparently, far more so since they were now in a big city where troubled pasts could be left behind.
It wouldn't be until later that she figured out everything that happened between him and his foster parents – all the pain, the quiet suffering, the way he left. It was behind him now, something he'd never have to deal with again. Kagome would kiss him and promise to make up for every scar and bruise, to help him forget about the past with ideas of the future.
It wouldn't be until later that she learned Inuyasha and their teacher, Mr. Matsuno, regularly talked. Apparently they enjoyed fighting about sport games and when Inuyasha had been getting to a point where he was stuck and unsure and without her at the time, Kouga had come over and knocked some sense into him. Kagome would laugh and tell Inuyasha that he'd made a friend. Inuyasha would scowl and say, "Meh, I hope not."
It wouldn't be until later that they moved in together, stealing kisses at night between exam studying and caffeine-induced breakdowns. When they had free time, they would curl up on the couch and make fun of really bad movies. Sometimes a bag of popcorn would be between them, and sometimes it would be their holding hands.
There were a lot of things that came later – good, bad, ugly and breathtaking. There were times that Kagome wanted to strangle his neck and times that Inuyasha wondered if he was ever worth it. Others times would come and go, just like they always did. The constant was that no matter what, they had each other.
And on those rainy nights, when the water poured from the skies like it would never end and the clouds would roll and thunder in, they would hide under the covers and learn about the rest of each other, with kisses and promises and words never meant to be broken.
The two of them, finally together, finally free could just…be. Not survive. Not struggle. Not hide.
Kagome and Inuyasha would always be together, just as they were always meant to be.
Comments to Acknowledge
Irma: Wow, thank you so VERY VERY much. Your words were the kick in the ass I needed to make sure this chapter finally got posted (and I'm sorry it took so long!) I really appreciate that you took the time to leave me that amazing comment, so thank you again. I hope you liked the story :)
NurNur: Hi sweetie! Thanks so much for always being so awesome. I hope you liked the last chapter!
(): Thank you so, so much. I was sort of worried with this story in the beginning, because I wanted to do it justice and I wanted to get the depth right. I'm glad you thought so! I very much hope you enjoyed the ending!
CookieThief: I hope this didn't make you cry! Thanks darling for always leaving a comment, you're so sweet. And about the cat: aww! I might get a cat, but it's kind of hard when I'm at school...
EndlessIdeas: Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and great comments. I really appreciate it :D I hope you liked it!
Want a full copy of this story for keep? Download it at my profile, under "Multi-Chapter Stories" and then "So Now We'll Let the Rain Fall".
First of all, I want to give out the many, many, many thanks to absolutely everyone who has been so incredibly supportive of me over the years. I don't think you realize how much it means to me that you enjoy my stories, and even though this one was more like a bridge - in the sense that you're thrown almost into the middle and taken through the hard part, leaving the perfect ending to your imagination - I still hope you liked it. This story was always meant to be this way, always meant to end the way it had. I know that a lot of people might not agree with it, but anything more that could be written may not be realistic, because how romantic and sappy can I get on a story about two teenagers with messed up lives living together? Life isn't easy, and the rest would be just as hard as this was.
I have, as you can see above, a copy of the story available with a longer author's note in it. It's also explains the title of the story, since so many of you asked :)
Thank you again, and as always, feedback is greatly appreciated.