(AN: For those of you that have read this story of mine before, I have just revised this chapter and I plan on following with the other chapters. I will keep the basic outline of the chapters the same, but some small details might have been changed)
Disclaimer: Don't own Inuyasha and Co.
Starts with Goodbye
"So hard to see myself without him/ I felt a piece of my hear break/ But when you're standing at a crossroad/ There's a choice you gotta make" -Carrie Underwood
This isn't happening. This can't be happening! Were the only thoughts that made it through Kagome's mind as she stared blankly at the silent phone in her hand. This had to be some kind of joke. It had to be!
Her breath hitched as panic began to set into her heart. Her eyes began to burn as she forced her legs to support her weight. Choking on a sob, she bolted from the warmth of her room, her legs carrying her down the stairs and out the door before the dam holding back her despair began to crack and crumble.
Her feet sank into the snow, the frozen water only dimly registering in her mind as it soaked through her thick socks quickly. Her vision began to blur when she reached her destination and a sob escaped her throat when she caught sight of the bare branches of the tree that had started it all. Wavering on her feet, her legs could no longer support her and she sank bonelessly to her knees, her eyes never leaving the sight of the bare branches swaying in the cold wind almost mockingly.
This is a joke. Mama will call back and tell me that Grandpa was just tired, just senile. That she isn't really going to…going to…
Biting her lip, Kagome rested her forehead against the rough bark and couldn't stop the torrent of tears that fell from her eyes that left cold tracks down her bloodless cheeks. Her lips trembled before she pressed them into a thin line.
Kagome eyes widened at her mother's words and a hysterical laugh escaped her lips. "What did you say Mama?"
Her mother's voice was dim, tired and thick with tears. "Your Grandfather passed away last night, Kagome. The nurses say he passed in his sleep some time during the night. I'm sorry, honey."
Kagome lifted a hand to her mouth to stave off the cries of denial that wanted to spill forth. Just as she parted her lips to say something, anything, her mother spoke again. "That's not all, Kagome." There was a beat of silence in which Kagome could feel dread fill her. Whatever it was, it wasn't going to be pleasant if her mother's silence was anything to go by. The hand that wasn't hold the phone curled into a fist in her lap as she prepared herself for more bad news. "The last thing he told me was his last wishes. He…he wanted to seal the well, Kagome."
Kagome choked for a moment but managed to grind out, "What?"
Her mother's voice gave a weary sigh. "He told me to seal the well when I got home. He knew how much stress the past was putting on you and he was worried about you. He made me promise to tell you after he…passed. He wanted you to stay in the present."
Kagome held her breath for a moment, but when her mother didn't continue, she spoke slowly, carefully. "You're not going to listen to him are you, Mama?" The silence that followed said it all. "But I have obligations in the past Mama! I can't just leave them there! People are dying because of me. If I don't help them, they may never find all the shards. I have to help them at least find the last of the shards. It's my fault that Naraku got as powerful as he did. I have to help clean up my mess!"
"I know how you feel about it, Kagome. But this was his last wish. I promised him, Kagome. I can't back out of my promise."
"A promise you made to a probably delusional old man on his death bed!"
"Kagome!" At her mother's sharp reprimand, Kagome deflated and felt the fight leave her.
"I'm sorry, Mama. I didn't mean it."
Her mother sighed once more. "I know it's hard for you, honey. But your grandfather wanted this for you. He just wanted what's best for you. I'll be home after I make the arrangements for his funeral."
"Okay, Mama." Her voice was small, weak like that of a child who had just been punished.
"I'll see you in a few hours. It might be best if you said your goodbyes while you can."
A spark of defiance came to life inside her and Kagome lifted her head. I won't do it! I can't leave them…I can't leave him.They're my family. I can't just leave them like this.
Shame flowed through her at her mother's words "It was his last wish for you, Kagome."
She was being selfish, she knew. But when it came to Inuyasha, her selfish side always had a way of making an appearance.
Fresh tears burned down her face and Kagome reach up with trembling hands to place them on the bark of the God Tree, the wind whipping her hair around her harshly.
This can't be happening.
Her heart seemed to be squeezing the breath from her lungs as visions of all those she would miss flashed before her very eyes. She would never see Miroku and Sango get together. She would never watch Shippo grow strong. She would never see Sango save her brother from Naraku. She would never see the evil of Naraku get vanquished.
But above all she would never see him again.
This can't be happening!
She would never feel the wind rush past her as she pressed herself along his powerful warm back as they raced through the forest. She would never see his eyes sparkle down at her in amusement. She would never see those golden eyes darken with affection, with warmth. She would never see those few and fleeting smiles he bestowed on her when she pleased him. She would never see the pride and power in his stance after he defeated an enemy, after he protected those closest to him from harm.
She would never feel his warm, calloused hand against hers again.
She would be without his warm presence. Already a hole began to open somewhere inside her. A hole that couldn't be filled by anything by him.
This can't be happening!
Blinking back more tears, Kagome gathered her feet beneath her and staggered to stand. Trailing one last hand down the bark of the God Tree, she turned to the well house with a sense of dread that made her steps slow and reluctant.
Maybe if she never said goodbye, it wouldn't be real. She would find herself awake in her bed and this will be nothing but a horrible dream. An awful nightmare.
But the snow that soaked through her wet socks and made her feet numb with cold was too real to ignore. The wind that whipped her hair about her face and sent shivers of apprehension down her spine wouldn't let her forget that it was reality she was in. Not a dream, but reality.
Sliding the doors open, she paused when she caught sight of the well. Her tears had dried and seemed to have frozen inside her heart. Frozen and unreachable, like her despair.
The steps that lead down the stairs and carried her to the well seemed to be the longest steps of her life. Her heart was pounding loudly in her ears and her fingers seemed frozen stiff as they gripped the lip of the well to haul herself over into its dark depths.
When the bright magic surrounded her, she couldn't stop herself from closing her eyes and soaking it in. This would be the last time she would be traveling this way. The last time she would be going to see him.
This can't be happening! Please God!
When her feet landed gently on the soil of a different time, Kagome winced when the bright sun greeted her entrance, almost as if mocking her and her pain. A frigid breeze stirred her hair, making her shiver and wrap her arms around herself to attempt and keep a semblance of warmth on her skin. The sky was a bright, cheery blue and Kagome could feel her throat dry up in her numbness.
Gripping the vines with stiff hands, Kagome barely managed to summon the strength to pull herself up and out of the darkness of the well. The sunlight brought no warmth as it fell on her hunched form.
This can't be happening to us!
Inuyasha's head snapped up when the breeze brought a scent to his eager nose. His golden eyes widened and he straightened from his relaxed stance against the God Tree. He had been leaning against the cool bark and fondly remembering all that the Tree had brought him in his life.
Against his will, a small smile lifted the corner of his mouth as he raced to the source of the wonderful scent of apples and sunlight.
It seemed as though each time she came back from her time, he was more and more eager to see her again, smell her again, touch her again. And each time she left, it was harder and harder to stop her from leaving his sight.
He landed gently in the grass of the clearing, the gentle smile still on his lips and his golden eyes bright with happy relief as they landed on her waiting form.
When he caught sight of her face, however, his smile fled as if it had never been.
She sat on the lip of the well, her fingers curled tightly in the worn wood as if to anchor herself there. Her head was bowed in defeat and her shoulders hunched in on herself as if to shield herself from something. The sight sent a jolt of déjà vu through him of the last time she had looked this despondent.
"Kagome," he murmured almost too quietly to hear. Her head snapped up at the sound of his beloved voice and his concern doubled. It pushed him to take a couple steps toward her, his brows furrowing in worry. Her brown eyes connected with his golden ones and they were swimming with suppressed tears. Her plump lips trembled as the sight of him and her chin quivered weakly.
His eyes widened when she jumped to her feet and barreled to him, her body hitting his at full speed. He easily took the weight of her impact and felt her slim arms clutch him almost desperately. Once again he felt a sense of déjà vu and wrapped his arms around her tightly as worry beginning to eat at him.
Kagome buried her face in his chest and breathed him in. The scent of him finally broke the dam holding back her tears and she dissolved into thick, horrible sobs that shook her whole body and barely left her with enough air to breathe.
Concerned, Inuyasha looked down at her brown head, trying to stifle an almost whimper of unease. What could have made her react this way? Had someone in her family been hurt? Had something happened to her in her time? Had someone hurt her?
He was still trying to mull it over when suddenly it hit him. Instinctively, as he listened to the utter heartbreak and devastation in her sobs, as he felt how desperately she clung to him, he knew.
She was leaving him.
His eyes widened and against his will, his arms around her tightened to almost a painful extent. He lowered his head over hers, pressing his nose into the depths of her fragrant hair, denial rejecting his thoughts.
"No," he whispered, causing Kagome to only sob harder. "No!"
His hands fisted with his need to hit something, to make something feel as awful as he did that moment. But all he had was a devastated girl in his arms that felt his pain as clearly as she did her own.
"Why?" His voice was rough and agonized. "Why?"
"I'm sorry," she whispered between her sobs. "I'm so sorry. But they won't…I can't…my grandfather…" She choked on another sob and couldn't continue.
Inuyasha's heart dropped. So it was the old man that was making this happen. And it seemed that whatever the reason be, Kagome couldn't deny them their request.
Even though it tore his heart to shreds, he only took a deep breath of her scent, trying to memorize it for the future lonely nights ahead.
"Don't explain it to me. I trust you," he said, gritting his teeth. Pulling back enough to see her face, he reached down to tip up her chin. Her watery brown eyes met his and he gave her a small, sad smile. "I trust you," he repeated. His heart pounded in his head and his hands shook with nerves, but he knew this would be his only chance to make memories that would last him. Taking a deep breath, he lowered his head slowly, slow enough for her to pull away if she so wished.
Kagome did no such thing. In fact, she leaned up on her toes and closed the distance between them. Her lips trembled against his, her tears adding saltiness to the sweet taste of her. Plunging her hands into his hair, she pressed herself against her front, trying to memorize the feel of him against her.
Their kiss wasn't passionate, wasn't wild. It was full of despair and love. It was the kind of kiss that they would both remember for the rest of their lives.
It was the perfect way to say goodbye.
They pulled back and Inuyasha's eyes fluttered open. Looking down at her tear streaked face and the flush that had colored her cheeks a faint pink, he had never thought her so beautiful. He loved this girl with everything he was and now she was being torn from his grasp as if they had a right to.
Rebellion flared in his blood and made him pull her back against his chest, a fierce frown on his lips. When she tilted up her face to look up at him, he met her eyes intently, full of promise.
"I'll find you again. I swear it."
She smiled through her tears and nodded silently, burying her face against his chest once more. Breathing him in, she knew he meant his words.
"I'll come back to you," she whispered. "If ever there is a time for me to, I will return to you." She paused and fisted her hands in his clothes. "I-I lo-"
"Don't," his agonized whisper cut into her hesitant confession and made her close her lips. "Tell me the next time we see each other."
She nodded mutely and closed her eyes.
Minutes passed as the would-be lovers embraced and tried to console themselves for their impending separation. Finally, Kagome stepped from the warmth of his arms, Inuyasha offering no fight, even though he had to fist his hands to keep them from pulling her back.
Her eyes met his bravely and she smiled at him, a small but loving smile that he knew would haunt him. Taking a step back, she never let her eyes separate from his.
"I'll miss you," she said quietly, her smile wavering just the slightest bit.
Inuyasha grinned a little bit. "I'll miss you too."
Her eyes dropped from his to look behind her at the well that would take her from him. Turning back to him, her smile was gone and her tears were back, brimming over her lashes and making her eyes bright with emotion. "Tell the others-"
He cut her off curtly. "Don't worry about it. I'll make them understand."
She nodded and turned her back to him, facing the well with lead feet and a wavering resolve.
Why, why us?
When she reached the well and had braced one knee on its lip, she turned back to him, the tears flowing down her cheek freely once more. His eyes met hers and she had to stifle a sob when she saw one tear fall down from his bright golden eyes to trail down his cheek caressingly.
"Goodbye, Inuyasha," she whispered.
"Goodbye, Kagome. I'll see you again."
She sent him one last, bright smile and then dropped out of sight to disappear into the depths of the well that brought her into his arms, only to rip her out of them once again.
This can't be happening! Not to us!
(AN: Well? Horrible or Awesome?)