"Before and After"

This story takes place after the battle with Saffron in Ranma 1/2 and at the supposed end to Inu-Yasha (which hasn't ended yet so who knows).

Ranma 1/2 and Inu-Yasha belong to Rumiko Takahashi. You know, someone with real talent.


Inu-Yasha lay sprawled upon the ground in a deep trench of rock and dirt. The trench extended past his feet like the tail of a comet, to ten yards away where the dust that marked the remnants of Naraku shifted about and began to dissipate in the breeze. The pain that had screamed through his body only moments before was fading, replaced by a creeping numbness. He was so tired. His ears, matted with blood, twitched slightly as he heard his companions rising to their feet and calling out to each other.

"Is everyone ok? Shippo? Miroku? Sango?"

"We're ok, Kagome-sama," replied Miroku softly, gazing at the others. Shippo seemed to be sporting a new bump on his head. Sango was already bandaging several large cuts across her arms and chest.

Feeling his gaze upon her she gave him a half-hearted glare - just in case he was looking where he wasn't supposed to. - Or is it in case he's not? -, she thought absentmindedly while turning to watch Kagome as the young miko walked toward the place where Inu-Yasha lay. She seemed to be holding her right arm, no doubt overtaxed from all the arrows she had shot that day.

"Inu-Yasha?" Kagome asked tentatively upon reaching his side. The half demon boy's golden eyes blinked, but he showed no other signs of responding. - He's just dazed, - she thought desperately to herself, - and tired -. She reached out and tugged on one red sleeve. He didn't even growl at her. An icy cold feeling began to settle in the pit of her stomach.

A delighted cry interrupted her thoughts. She turned to see Sango and Shippo examining Miroku's hand. - The air rip -. Miroku turned toward her, a broad grin spreading across his face. "It's gone."

* * * *

They reluctantly made camp there for the night, trying to stay as far back from the area of demon carnage as they could. Inu-Yasha had passed out without saying a word, and none of the others had felt that they had the strength to move him. After a short meal Kagome sat gazing at him worriedly from her seat near the campfire. He looked pale and his breathing was shallow. She felt a gentle hand touch her arm.

"He'll be alright Kagome-sama. He always heals. It's just taking him a little longer this time."

"Yeah, don't worry," Sango stated, trying to keep her voice steady and firm for Kagome's sake. The battle had been their hardest. Naraku had thrown everything he had against them. But, with Inu-Yasha's determination, the power of the intact Shikon jewel in Kagome's hands, and, surprisingly, some last minute help from Inu-Yasha's brother Sessho-maru, they had plowed through his minions to destroy the instigator of so many of their sorrows. The Shikon jewel had then vanished. Whether its power had been used up or it had hidden itself to recover they did not know.

Kagome nodded reluctantly to the others' assurances, but couldn't help but turn frequently toward the hanyo. The ache in the pit of her stomach didn't seem to be going away.

* * * *

Sango woke Kagome for last watch in the morning. The eastern edge of the sky had barely begun to lighten. She splashed some cold water on her face to help keep her awake. As she sat blinking drops of water from her eyelids, she heard a muffled sound come from the direction of the entrenched hanyo. Walking swiftly over to his side, she smiled and clasped his hand as he opened his eyes and turned towards her.

A faint smile touched his face as he looked up at her. Somehow this small girl had dug her way deep down into his heart. She possessed a spirit whose fire surpassed that of even the great Demon Lords' and a will as stubborn as his own. He reached out a shaky hand to trace his fingers across her check. She clasped his hand and held it there, tears streaming down her face. "Didn't mean to make you cry," he whispered. She shook her head and opened her mouth to speak but he silenced her with a look. "I will - I will come back to you." Her eyes began to widen in alarm. " I will find you again, I promise."

"No, Inu-Yasha, you just need rest. You'll be just fine. You just have to . . . - Inu-Yasha? Inu-Yasha?" The half-demon's eyes had closed and his hand went limp in hers. "INU-YASHA!"

Kagome's last cry brought the others awake. They rushed to her side, rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Inu-Yasha had ceased to breath. "We have to get Kaede. Hurry!"

"Kagome. No. He's gone." Miroku tried to wrap his arms around her while the others huddled close.

"How can you say that!" she cried, striking his chest with her fists. "He . . . he can't die." Her friends looked back at her, sorrow and pity in their eyes. Shippo began to wail and Kagome gathered him into her arms. Sango wrapped her arms around her other side as Miroku continued to hold her. After several minutes of weeping they were interrupted by a cough.

"So," Sessho-maru murmured. "He didn't make it." A fleeting look that could almost be passed for sorrow touched his face, and then he vanished back into the trees.

When they turned back to look at Inu-Yasha Kagome gasped. His form had become indistinct around the edges, then slowly he began to fade. "NO!" Kagome groped forward to touch him but all her hands met was blood-soaked dirt in an empty hole.

After a week of mourning and good-byes, Kagome packed up all her stuff and took leave of her friends. They promised to seal the well, only to be opened again in order to let Kagome attend Sango and Miroku's wedding. Since he no longer possessed the air rip, it wasn't necessary for him to proposition every maid he saw and he felt like he could finally give Sango a heartfelt and sincere proposal. Much to her surprise. With final waves and tears Kagome disappeared back down into the well.

Well, this is for my siblings who have been bugging me for years to actually write something down. Inu-Yasha may appear out of character but remember he is dying and has become very close to Kagome throughout their adventures. I'll deal with what happened to Kikyo and the Tetsu-saiga later.