Obligatory Disclaimer: I clearly do not own any of the characters within (even those who may or may not be originals), any of the settings, concepts, or other potentially copy-written works within this piece. I am merely a vessel; A messenger who conveys a story, nothing more, nothing less.
Author's Notes: This is me, killing writer's block. We'll see if I can pull this off.
The wind blew through her hair, carrying away her sigh but not the empty sadness that lingered inside her as she knelt down and placed the flowers on the grave before her. It had been years since these graves were filled, but it still felt as if it were yesterday for the woman as she placed a gloved hand against the lettering on the tombstone. A small wistful smile came to her face when she traced over the familiar name.
"I know this isn't how we thought things would end. We had an agreement, but sometimes promises are broken in ways we cannot expect – often through no fault of the one making the promise. I've learned that now. I hope you can forgive me for everything."
The sound of a twig snapping behind her caused her to jump, and she turned to glance at the intruder through her dark veil. In his hands he held flowers as well, purple hyacinths – how fitting. Her lips faintly twitched. She stood stiffly and guarded, but did not step back as he neared and leaned down to rest the flowers along with the deep red roses she had set there.
"You have no right." Her voice held no anger, no real animosity, but it was clear that she would not give in to him if he chose to argue.
He nodded once. "You are correct, as usual. Can you forgive this trespass?"
Her eyes closed tightly and she pursed her lips, feeling suddenly very conflicted. "Why do you keep doing this to me?"
"Paying respects to distant family or…?" His question trailed off and both knew the unspoken portion quite well by now. Was she upset because he came to put flowers in remembrance or because he used it as an excuse to see her?
"Both. Don't even bother saying anything more. Just leave." She turned away from him, looking down on the grave before her as her lower lip trembled with the intensity of her emotions. If he didn't leave soon she was going to cry and she hadn't cried in months! Leave it to him to ruin a perfectly good string of stability.
"You could at least say please, Kagome." He said the words as if he was being funny, although they fell flat of any humor. In reality, he found none of this amusing – he just wanted to spend one more minute by her side, to hear her say a few more words. Even if those words were in anger, they would be worth it for him. He could cherish them until next year when they would have this dance again.
Her hands came up to hug her arms and she let out a sigh. "Please just go away, Sesshomaru."
His expression did not show how he felt within, how torn he was at the broken tone of her voice, or how he wished he could somehow go back in time and change everything – but he knew such things were beyond his power. Only she had somehow escaped time, and he was still not entirely sure how she had done so. Backing away slowly, he knew he had to act soon or he would lose everything, and he had already lost so much as it was.
Kagome felt him leave before she turned to look at the space where he had stood beside her. How it was possible that emptiness could somehow feel even more lacking simply because he did not occupy it anymore both intrigued and irritated her. Letting out a breath she hadn't been aware she was holding, she turned and smiled faintly at the graves once more, kneeling down to clean the next one.
"He won't hurt you again. I promise. You trusted him – we both did – and he broke that trust, so I'll protect you now when I couldn't before." Tears began to stream down her face and she let out a sob. Damn him! She'd sworn she wouldn't cry this year! Reaching up, she blotted at her face with the back of one of her gloves. "I'm sorry; I know you don't like crying. I keep trying to stop but it's not working so well."
Another breeze went past, rustling through the trees, and Kagome's eyes closed as she felt the air brush against her face. It was almost as if, for a moment, they were all here again and it was all some horrible, terrible nightmare that she had yet to wake up from. Unfortunately, when she opened her eyes the bad dream persisted and she was left alone to deal with the hollow discomforts it left behind.
Running her hands along the name on the tombstone, she smiled faintly and turned to the other. "I think you would have been good friends." The musical notes of her cell phone ringing halted her musings and she pulled it out of her purse, standing as she answered it quickly. "Hello? Souta? Yes, I'm almost finished. I'll be right there. Do you need me to pick anything up on the way? Okay. Be careful." When she hung up the phone she turned to look down on the grave again and gave a bow.
"I'm sorry he came today, Rin. I know you wouldn't hold it against him, but he has to learn his place." With a sigh, she turned to look to the other grave and gave a smile – her first genuine one since her arrival at the grave site. "InuYasha, I… I… I love you." Her eyes closed and she brought her hand up to clutch at her chest, letting out a slow breath before looking at the grave again. "And… and…" Her voice trailed off and she let out a sob, turning to run from the tombs, leaving them behind her but carrying the specters of their inhabitants with her.
Shortly afterward, she rushed into her childhood home with a wide smile plastered on her face. "I'm home!" She called out, entering and going into the kitchen only to pause when her mother stood there with a very weary look on her face. "What's wrong momma?"
"You have to let go, Kagome."
The daughter blinked and shook her head. "I don't know what you mean."
Her mother nodded and sighed. "I know it isn't easy, Kagome, but you have to let them all go. You're still holding on to one of them and it's not healthy or even fair to their memory. "
Kagome laughed and shrugged. "I'm fine, momma. Everything is fine. I only visit once a year, it's not as if I'm going every day!"
The elder woman raised an eyebrow and frowned. Before Kagome could do or say anything other than squeak in protest, her mother took her by the hand and dragged her from the house – practically tossing her into the abandoned well house. "Kagome, do not come out of here until you've said a proper goodbye and let it all out." At that, her mother slid the heavy wooden door closed, plunging her daughter into partial darkness. "And no more fake smiles!"
Kagome frowned and rolled her eyes, letting out a huff at her mother's ridiculous behavior. If she didn't know any better she might think the woman would ground her or take away her television privileges! For what… because she was having a hard time saying goodbye? It wasn't as if she could help it.
How did you say goodbye to someone you barely knew and yet loved so deeply that you would have rather died in their place?
How did you say goodbye to the light in your darkness, the very thing that was your driving force to continue on despite great struggles?
How did you say goodbye… to your own child?
She stumbled down to the well, gripping on the wood and letting out a heavy breath before the tears began to fall from her eyes and drop into oblivion. She felt stupid, but started speaking anyway. "I wish I knew what to say. If only things had gone differently. If only I had never been born with the jewel within me and had never fallen into this stupid well – would things have gone better or worse? Either way, you would still not be here – but at least I wouldn't have known you. Isn't that a terrible thought to have about your own daughter?"
Kagome's lip quivered and she shook her head. "I did love you, very much. So much I would have given anything to save you. If I could have, I would have brought you here but every time I tried the well refused to grant me access. Momma, your grandmother, says it's probably because it was your time and your destiny to die. I hate that – mostly because she's usually right."
The tears intensified and Kagome let out a sob, her knees suddenly giving out as she swayed forward and slid down beside the well. "Why did you leave me? Was I not a good mother?"
Her hand came up to cover her mouth and she closed her eyes tightly, shaking her head. "No. I don't mean it that way. I mean…" Tears began to flood out of her eyes and she rocked and sobbed, unable to continue on much more. "I love you, Sachiko. I always have. I… I'm sorry."
She continued to cry, her wails soon emptying the courtyard of the shrine as visitors feared the well house to be haunted. All save one left. This one lingered in the shadows, listening and waiting. When she finally fell asleep, hunched over and resting against the well, he knew it was the best time for action. She had finally given him the bit of information he had been waiting for. Now he knew that the well itself was her portal to the past, and as such he might still have a chance to make things right.
With that in mind, he entered the small building, closing the door behind him quietly before leaping into the well in a single bound. When he found himself standing at the bottom of the same well, in the very same well house, in exactly four seconds time from when he'd jumped into it – he felt a bit of irritation. It would not let him pass so easily, it seemed.
He frowned and considered his options. After some thought, he finally decided the best thing would be to take her with him – although that might alter things far more than he anticipated. Still, it was better to do things right, even if it meant he might lose everything again. With a small nod of agreement, he jumped back up, scooping the sleeping woman into his arms.
His instincts went on high alert as he felt her in his grasp, so close and sleeping so soundly – that is, until he moved to jump into the well. Her eyes flew open and she gasped, going to scream his name but pausing on the second syllable when the magic of the well lit up and carried them through to the past.