Obligatory Disclaimer: The "Inu Yasha" series and its characters are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Sunrise, Shounen Sunday, Viz, and other corporate types. I am none of those entities. I'm just a silly fan writing silly stories because it's fun. Suing me would only be a waste of time and funds, so please don't.
I CHOOSE NOT TO WARN!
This story contains material that might be disturbing or outright triggering to some. Reader discretion advised.
Seed of Memory
The Heart Always Knows
"Oi, what's taking so long?"
"Haven't you ever heard 'a watched pot never boils'?"
Inu Yasha gave her a quizzical look. "Nope," he said.
Kagome bit back a sigh. "It means that if you just sit there and stare at something, it'll never happen. In this case, it's pretty literal, though."
"So you're saying because I'm sitting here staring at it, it won't boil?"
"There are some things even you can't will into hurrying up," Kagome said, giving him a pointed glare.
"Keh!" Inu Yasha said, turning his head away.
Kagome rolled her eyes and went back to retrieving the two cups of ramen from her pack, setting a third one off to the side just in case. Normally she didn't indulge him so much, wanting to spread their rations of food from her time out as far as they could go, but he deserved it.
The last village they'd been in, there were lingering blood sucking birds that harried the villagers, but no sign of Princess Abi or Naraku. Even after dispatching the errant birds, the villagers had been more than willing to accept Sango, Miroku, and Kagome. They were a bit leery about Kirara and Shippou, but they gained the benefit of the doubt since they were small, cute, and there was a monk, a demon slayer, and a miko to keep them in line. Where their gratitude stopped had been at Inu Yasha. They'd made it clear that while the rest of the group were welcome, he was not.
Kagome hadn't missed the fleeting spark of hurt in his eyes before the mask came down and he'd stalked out of the village, loudly proclaiming that the town stunk anyway. When she tried to follow him, it had devolved into a fight right outside the village gates.
She had hoped that using the rosary would allay the villagers' fears, besides just being pissed off about Inu Yasha's insistence that she stay in the village, but it had all been for naught. Still, once Inu Yasha could move again, he grudgingly accepted the fact that if he didn't take her with him, she would just go wandering after him, likely getting lost and eaten by a rogue youkai.
"Hey, you were right!" Inu Yasha exclaimed, marveling at the way the water in Kagome's saucepan now bubbled.
Kagome couldn't help but smile, peeling back the tops of the first two cups of ramen before taking the pan off the heat and adding the water to the noodles. Then came the familiar countdown of three minutes before she stirred them again, this time adding a little of the seasoning packet to hers, then the rest and Inu Yasha's whole one into Inu Yasha's cup.
"Peace?" she said, extending the offering.
"I suppose," Inu Yasha said, looking at her out of the corner of his eye for a moment before accepting the cup. "Probably better that it didn't work, anyway. If there's one thing I've learned, staying where you're not welcome isn't healthy."
Kagome tried not to stare as Inu Yasha tucked in to his meal. The vial of antidote weighed heavily against her hip. She couldn't say that she didn't like this wiser Inu Yasha, and it did make their disagreements easier to hash out. However, it wasn't reality. She wished she could spare him the pain, but his wounds were older than her very existence. No one had the right to simply pretend they never existed except the man himself.
Kagome had barely started eating when Inu Yasha tossed his cup on the fire.
She picked up the spare package. "More?" she offered.
She nearly drowned in the understanding and gratitude that welled up in his now oh-so-expressive golden eyes.
"Sure," he said with a shrug.
Kagome used the last of the still scalding hot water to cook the ramen. Once the noodles were ready, she added the seasoning packet and slipped the vial out of her pocket. She poured the entire thing into the cup, mixing it all up well before handing it to her companion.
"Thanks," he said, before devouring his second cup with as much gusto as he had the first.
Kagome focused on eating her own dinner, trying to keep her breathing even and her heart rate down. She had no idea what happened the first time. She'd still been unconscious when Inu Yasha ate the umeboshi. So when he suddenly stiffened, then keeled over on his side, Kagome sprung up, letting the ground have the rest of her dinner. She rushed over as he began to spasm, and she quickly doused the fire, trying to move everything out of his way without getting hit by a flailing limb. A few minutes later, he quieted, sweat pouring down his face.
Kagome felt her heart trying to rip its way out of her chest. Had Kikyou tricked her?
Inu Yasha's breathing was shallow, but steady. Kagome knelt beside him, feeling his forehead, his cheeks. As she did so, she felt waves of power pulse against her hands before dissolving into nothing. She pressed in at the pulse point on his throat, noting that his heartbeat was rapid, but not dangerously so.
Kagome fought back the tears that were threatening to cloud her vision. Please be all right. Please be all right...
She didn't know how long they stayed like that, but eventually, Inu Yasha's eyes opened, only to slam closed again as he winced.
"What did I head butt? An ox youkai, or you?"
Kagome laughed, less at his joke than in sheer relief. If he could insult her, he would be all right.
He sat up slowly, gingerly, rubbing his forehead once he was in a sitting position, one leg bent at the knee to support his elbow. "Seriously, what happened?"
"What's the last thing you remember?"
"We were sitting here, eating dinner.. wait. I was acting really weird."
Kagome could see the wheels turning, so she simply sat back and watched Inu Yasha think. The flickers of emotion that crossed his face made her heart sink further and further. She knew she'd made the right choice. She'd been honest when she told Kikyou that she loved Inu Yasha, past emotional scars and all. Yet seeing them throw a dark cloud over him again hurt.
When he finally turned to her, the agony in his eyes nearly broke her.
"She made me forget about her," he said so quietly it was nearly a whisper before his entire demeanor transformed. He grit his teeth and snarled, punching the ground with enough strength to cause tremors even Kagome could feel. "I should've known it wasn't just a coincidence those umeboshi were in Kaede's hut. Kaede hates them, but Kikyou is the only one I've ever told that I love the stupid, fucking things."
"Please don't hate me for making you remember," Kagome pleaded. "It just didn't feel right having such an integral part of you erased."
Inu Yasha shook his head slowly but firmly. "I could never hate you, especially for a dumb thing like that," he said. "If there's anybody I'm angry at, it's Kikyou." He lifted his hand, slowly uncurling his fingers to study his now dirty and bloody knuckles. The initial shock of pain had taken the edge off his rage, but now that pain was morphing from physical to mental as hurt and confusion set in. "Why would she do that?"
Kagome took her time, thinking hard before replying. "I truly think she was trying to make amends," she said. "I also don't think she realizes how much you still care about her."
"I may be stupid, but I'm not blind." Kagome took a deep breath and looked at Inu Yasha. "I said I'd stay by your side, and I meant it. I know your feelings, but I know mine as well."
"Do you really think you know my feelings?"
Suddenly, he was there, in her face. She could feel the heat of his breath against her nose and cheeks.
"You've been worried about Kikyou ever since you thought there was even a chance she was still amongst the living," Kagome countered. "You want revenge on Naraku for what he did to you and Kikyou. What else is there to know?"
"Plenty! Dammit, Kagome, I..." Inu Yasha snarled. "I know I take you for fucking granted, okay? Killing Naraku isn't just about getting revenge for me and Kikyou anymore. I want revenge for everything he's done to ALL my friends. That includes you!"
Kagome felt her heart begin to shatter.
"Oh for..! That's not what I meant, either!" Inu Yasha was practically quivering with suppressed emotion as he grabbed her, fighting to keep his claws from digging into her shoulders. "You want me, just the way I am."
Kagome couldn't deny the truth of his statement.
"I may worry about Kikyou," he said, "but the one I want is you."
He couldn't be saying.. could he?
A light dusting of pink washed over Inu Yasha's cheeks. "Even though I didn't have all my memories at the time, I still meant the things I said under the Goshinboku.
"I want Kikyou to find peace, just as I want Miroku's kazaana to disappear and Sango's brother to survive losing his shard. Yet the thought of losing you along the way kills me. I'm upset that Kikyou tried to erase herself from my memories, but if you ever tried to pull that shit on me..."
Kagome placed a finger against Inu Yasha's lips. "I won't. I would never."
"I know," Inu Yasha said firmly, after taking her by the wrist and placing her hand against his chest instead. "Did you mean what you said back then, or were you just humoring me because you knew my memories were screwed up?"
Kagome's blush matched his own. "I meant it."
His eyes were glowing, and Kagome had a very strong feeling of deja vu.
Apparently Inu Yasha felt the same way.
"You gonna push me away this time?" he joked.
"No," Kagome said, her eyes falling closed in anticipation.
He only left her hanging for a moment before tentatively touching his lips to hers.
It was light, sweet, and slightly awkward, the newness of the act as well as the intent setting both their pulses racing. There was no desperation this time, no coercion. Only a silent promise that this kiss would be far from their last.
"Still trust me enough to camp out here for the night, wench?" Inu Yasha said as they parted.
"Maybe I should go back to the village. Lots of ravenous youkai out here.. I'm kidding! I'm kidding!" Kagome cried as Inu Yasha pounced.
"Is there something you and Kagome-sama want to tell us?"
"What're you talking about, bouzu?" Inu Yasha snapped.
The next day had dawned bright and sunny, and the whole gang had reunited, on the road once more to try and find more news of Princess Abi, Naraku, or both.
"Oh, just the fact that we heard Kagome-sama shrieking in the forest last night. It was all we could do to hold the villagers back from coming to her rescue."
Inu Yasha blushed, which only made Miroku's lecherous grin worse.
"The jerk tickled me, if you must know, Miroku-sama," Kagome said.
"Ah, and where might those ticklish spots be.. ow!" Miroku rubbed the new lump on his head from Hiraikotsu. "What? If Kagome-sama is vulnerable in certain places..."
"We'll protect her entire body, just in case," Sango said, shutting him down.
Miroku sighed a bit wistfully. "Yes, dear."
Now it was Sango's turn to blush.
Shippou hopped onto Kagome's shoulder, breaking the tension. "It's a really nice day, isn't it?" he said.
Kagome looked to Inu Yasha, who was pretending to ignore them at the moment, but she noticed an ear was cocked back her way.
"Yes, it is, Shippou. It's an absolutely wonderful day."
~ Fin ~
Author's Note: Alas, all good things must come to an end, and that time has come for this particular story. I had a total blast writing this, even though the story fought me every inch of the way. I know the most recent drama CD makes a big, huge joke about the fact that Inu Yasha didn't properly propose to Kagome, but who says he didn't? In his own way, that is. Hopeless romantic, that's me!
I'd like to thank everyone who has read this story, especially my followers, favers, and reviewers! Once again, I am blown away by the response to this, and it makes me very happy that I've finally decided to start sharing my scribblings with the world. I have many more stories to tell; I'm just still working on those. I'd rather not add to the huge pile of unfinished WiPs out there, so I always at least have a rough draft done before I start posting something new. That way I can keep a regular schedule.
Thank you, one and all.
One last little thank you: Riley Night, and your review brightened my day after a fairly tough one for me. New favorite fic? That is such a massive compliment! I just hope this last chapter didn't change your mind. ;)