DISCLAIMER: ‘Inuyasha’ belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, and not me. I do not own the characters either. In short, the only thing in this story that is mine is the plot. Do we all understand now? Good, on with the story.Her Future
Kagome sighed, looking out the window as she once again let her mind wander. She knew she should be paying attention to what the teacher was saying, but she just couldn’t bring herself to care about mathematical equations right now. She hadn’t been able to bring herself to care too much about English verbs in her last class either, and the worst thing was she still had another four classes to get through before the day was done.
Kagome sighed again. She was currently one month in to her first year at high school, and had only just passed the entry exam to get here. She and her friends had managed to defeat Naraku and finish the jewel over the summer, although not without a hard fought battle to do so. Once she and the others and recovered from their wounds, Kagome had decided it was time to start seriously thinking about her future, now that the threat posed by Naraku was gone. It was with a heavy heart that Kagome decided it was time to say goodbye to her friends for a while and concentrate on her schoolwork. None of her friends had been that happy about her decision, but Inuyasha had taken it especially hard when told that she wouldn’t becoming back to the feudal era nearly as much for a couple of years at least.
“Why?” Inuyasha had demanded harshly when told of her plans. “Why can’t you stay here now that Naraku’s dead and it’s safe again?”
“Because now that everything’s finished, I need to start thinking about myself Inuyasha, and my future.” Kagome tried to explain. She felt so guilty for some reason talking to Inuyasha about this, and almost wish he would yell and insult her like he used to do when she tried to go back to her time for tests back in Junior High. The hurt, broken look on his face right now was so much harder to deal with, and tore at her own heart.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“It means I can’t afford to miss any more school work now that I’m in High School, Inuyasha.” Kagome had tried to explain. “School’s very important in my world. It was bad enough that I missed so many classes in Junior High, I can’t afford to do the same in High School if I ever want to get into college and have a good job in my world…”
“You don’t need any of that ‘school’ stuff to have a good job here.” Inuyasha had tried then. “You know Kaede would gladly train you as a miko if you just ask. In fact, I’m sure she’d love to have you here to take over for her one day.”
“I, I can’t Inuyasha.” Kagome had said sadly even though part of her – a rather large part, truth be told – had wanted to say yes to that. “This isn’t my world, I don’t belong here.”
“This might not be the world you were born into, but you do belong here, Kagome.” Inuyasha’s eyes were actually starting to fill with tears by this point, and that shocked Kagome more than anything as the only other time she had ever seen him cry was that time when he had thought she and the others ha died. “And what about me, I told you I loved you and I meant it. Didn’t that mean anything to you at all?”
“Of course it did Inuyasha.” Kagome cried, shocked that he could think that even for a minute. Inuyasha had confessed his true feelings for Kagome in the aftermath of the final battle with Naraku, and the memory of it still brought a warm feeling into her heart. “I told you I loved you too, and I meant that! You could come with me if you wanted.”
However, Inuyasha and simply turned away, tears running down his face in earnest now. “Like you said, it’s not my world. And we both know I really don’t belong there.”
“I’m sorry Inuyasha.” Kagome said, feeling tears fill her own eyes as she realised the truth of his words. “But I need to think about my future.”
That conversation had taken place about a week before school started, and it still weighed heavily on Kagome’s mind. Even if neither of them had said the words, it still felt like they were saying goodbye. Although Kagome had been back to visit Inuyasha and her other friends in the feudal era a couple of times on the weekends since then, thing just weren’t the same between them. They were all disappointed by Kagome decision to stay in her time, and the easy friendship she had once shared with Sango, Miroku and Kaede had become strained. Although they tried to be supportive of her choice, it was clear that they wish it had been different. Shippo was even more hurt, and his eyes had often filled with tears when he looked at her that not even her gifts of candy and toys could whip away. As for Inuyasha, he hadn’t even been able to look her in the eye the last few times she had returned, as if doing so was too painful. It was if everything in the feudal era that she had come to love was slipping further and further away from her everytime she returned to her era, and she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to get it back in her grasp.
And the worst part of it all was, she wasn’t even sure why she was doing this anymore. Sure, before school had started, it had seemed like returning to her world and returning to her education was a must, something she had to do for the sake of her future. But now that she had been here for a whole month, going to school and once again doing those things a normal Japanese high school girl did, she found herself constantly waiting for when it would all be over. It was getting harder and harder to remember what her life was like before she first went to the feudal era, but she thought that once upon a time she had like going to school and learning. Now, she forever asking herself what all the fuss was about and why on earth a person needed to know all this crap? Really, what kind of job could she possibly get that she needed to worry about geometry and all that? For that matter, what on earth kind of job did she even want? For some reason she had never even asked herself that before coming to her decision that she needed to come back to school. Now however she was thinking about it, and found herself rather disappointed by the answers she came up with. The only thing she could come up with that she wanted to do was help and heal people, but she knew full well that no matter how much time and effort she put into her studies, she would never have good enough grades to become a doctor. She though about being maybe a nurse, but truthfully that didn’t seem to fit too well either. Either way, being stuck in the middle of this stinking city for the rest of her life seemed like something out of a nightmare. She found herself longing for the wide open spaces and clean air of the feudal era six or seven times an hour these days, and for the first time was really starting to understand why Inuyasha hated her time so much. Damn it, was it always this loud and noisy and smelling and she just never noticed before? The feudal era, with all its hidden dangers, was so beautiful in comparison.
Kagome sighed again, before being rudely pulled out of her thoughts by the angry voice of her teacher.
“Higurashi, am I boring you?” The teacher demanded loudly. Looking up in shock, Kagome was surprised to see that the teacher and left the board and come to stand directly in front of her desk while she wasn’t looking, and was currently staring down at her with an angry look on his face.
“No sensei.” Kagome said meekly, trying to concentrate on what she was supposed to be learning.
“Then stop looking out the window in daze and pay attention to my class.” The teacher said sternly. “I’m not just talking for my own amusement you know. Really Higurashi, considering how lucky you were to even pass the entry exams into this school, you could try a little harder to learn this.”
Kagome tired not to get angry, but this was the third time she had heard this teacher tell her how ‘lucky’ she was to be in the school with such a low score on her entrance exam. It was like he wanted the whole school to know how dumb he thought she was. Kagome was tempted to yell back at him and tell him the real reason she hadn’t done so well in school last year. She’d do it too, if it wasn’t for the fact that to do so would get her kicked out of school and possibly committed to a metal institution.
However, it looked like her teacher want to get a big speech out of this one, and continued talking in a preacher-like voice.
“I think you should really start to ask yourself what you are doing here Ms Higurashi, and ask yourself just what it is you want to do with your life. Otherwise, I don’t know why you are continuing to waste your time and mine. Do you even want to get into college or university and get a good job, or are you hoping to magically fall into a world where you don’t need any of that? This is the real world Higurashi, not a fairy tale, and in the real world education in important. It’s well past time for you to take a good long look at yourself and think about what you want for your future.”
Kagome looked at her teacher in surprise. Funny how the teacher she hated the most, who she was pretty sure hated her as well, had just helped her out so much. What was she doing here? What did she want with her life? She had been asking herself those same questions for a while, but somehow when he said them everything just fell into place.
Kagome smiled up at the teacher, clearly shocking him. “Your right sensei, I do need to think about what I want for my future.”
“Well good.” Her teacher said, clearly surprised that Kagome was agreeing so fast, but pleased that he had apparently finally gotten through to such a problem student. “I’m glad to see you are finally thinking things through Higurashi and looking at things objectively. It is about time you started actually trying in school, education is backbone of our society after all and… Higurashi what are you doing?” He demanded when he finally got off his soapbox long enough to realise that Kagome had been packing up her bag while he was talking.
Kagome didn’t answer for a moment, as she finished zipping up her backpack and standing up to swing it out her back. Only once that was done and she was standing firmly on her feet in front of the flustered and annoyed sensei did she once again look him in the eye. The all-too-happy smile on her face seemed to upset him even more than her actions.
“What am I doing?” Kagome repeated innocently. “I’m thinking about my future.”
Without another word or even looking back to see what her teacher’s response was, Kagome turned around and walked out the door.
Feudal Era, a short time later.
Inuyasha sat up upon his favourite tree by the well, thinking about his life and how everything had turned to crap in barely a couple of weeks. When Naraku had finally been defeated he had been so happy, despite the injuries he and the others had suffered. Now Kikyo was finally avenged, and the constant threat that had been hanging over them all for almost a year was gone. He also finally worked up the courage to tell Kagome how he truly felt about her. It was the happiest moment of his life when she told him that she loved him too.
But then, only a few weeks later she had announced that she was leaving him, and going back to her world and her ‘school’. It was a blow that hurt almost as much as Kikyo’s arrow had. He knew she wasn’t trying to betray him and his feelings when she decided that, but it still felt like it to him. After everything they had shared together, after admitting their feelings, she was just going to turn around and walk away? How could she do that if she loved him like she said she did? Was that just a lie to make the injured hanyou feel better?
She had offered him the chance to come with her and live in her world, but Inuyasha had turned her down. In the weeks following, filled with grief and missing Kagome more than he felt he would miss the air he breathed, he found himself reconsidering that carefully many times, but in the end he always come to the same conclusion, and that was that he just couldn’t do it. For all that he wished he could, he knew to do so would mean that he basically be a prisoner at the shrine for the rest of his life. Youkai and hanyou didn’t exist in her time, and he would never be able to fit in there.
There was something else, the thought of which was equally painful to the hanyou, that had been on his mind since Kagome had left and it was just this morning that he had come to a painful decision about it. He couldn’t stay here any longer. He couldn’t bare to be here when Kagome came through for her short visits only to leave a few hours later not to return for days if not weeks. Everytime he saw her again the pain in his heart would grow tenfold, as the mere sight and scent of her filled him with longing for something that he knew could now never be. Even worse was the gapping hole that appeared where his heart used to be everytime she disappeared again. He honestly didn’t know how much more of it he could stand before his heart broke for good. He also wasn’t sure how much more he could take of seeing the love between Miroku and Sango, knowing that he would never be able to be that way with anyone. Kagome was the only one besides his mother who had truly accepted and loved him as a hanyou, and he wasn’t foolish enough to think that it could happen again. He knew that his friends were trying to be supportive of his feelings and not fluent their love ion front of him, but he still saw it. He was truly happy for them and wished them the best, but seeing them plan their wedding and prepare for the kind of future he had hoped to have with Kagome was too painful to the hanyou.
His friends would be okay now, and they would be happy. Miroku and Sango were getting married at the end of the month, and would no doubt take Shippo in if need be. And as for Kagome, she was moving one with out him, but she would be happy and have a good life id he understood how her world worked. He would just have to be content with that. It was time for him to move on. Where he would go he didn’t know, but he had survived on his own before and could do so again. It was too painful to remain here where the memories were so strong. He would leave and once again find his way in the world by himself, but this time he would have some precious memories to take with him, of a time when he was truly accepted and loved. He would be forever grateful for that.
The only thing was, he couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to Kagome, or he would always regret it. He wondered if she would be upset, or if she had already moved on enough that it wouldn’t bother her all that much. With a sigh, Inuyasha looked up at the sun to get a better idea of what time it was. Seeing that if he remembered correctly it was still a couple of hours left before her school got out for the day, Inuyasha sat back against the trunk of the tree wishing that time would go by faster. He needed to get this over with soon, least his resolve crumble. He had already considered the idea of waiting until her next visit and dismissed the idea, knowing he had no real idea of how long it would be until that happened and that however long it was would be too long. No, as soon as he was sure she was home from her school, he was going to see her and say goodbye. It would be hard, but he had to do this. His heart simply couldn’t take it any longer.
Inuyasha was so deep in his gloomy thoughts that at first he missed the voice calling out his name from below him. When he finally realised that someone was there, and then just who that someone was, he was frankly shocked.
“Kagome?” Inuyasha asked in surprise, looking down at the young woman below him. “What are you doing here, shouldn’t you be at that school of yours?”
Indeed, she was wearing the short black, white and blue uniform she had started wearing when she had entered high school. That alone was surprising, for while she had often worn her old junior high uniform to the feudal era, since entering high school she was usually wearing the clothes of her time that Inuyasha had learnt were considered more ‘casual’ on her visits back to this era. When asked about it, she would simply say that the high school uniforms were more expensive and that she didn’t want to risk ruining them, but part of Inuyasha couldn’t help but wonder if it was some way to further separate him and the others from her new life.
“I left early.” Kagome explained, still looking up at him with a huge smile that Inuyasha couldn’t help but wonder about. “Can you come down here for a moment? I need to tell you something.”
Inuyasha felt his heart shrink slightly inside his chest. He had been thinking that he need to get his goodbye to Kagome over and done with, but now that she was here he wasn’t sure whether he could go through with it. Nevertheless, he steeled his heart and prepared himself for what he had to do. He would listen to whatever Kagome had to say, and then he would say his piece. Hoping that whatever she was going to say wouldn’t shatter his already strained resolve, Inuyasha jumped down from the tree and landed in front of her.
Inuyasha was completely caught off guard when Kagome practically leaped on him to engulf him in a bone-crushing hug and give him a huge kiss. Before Inuyasha recovered from his surprise enough to respond, Kagome had backed off and was looking at her feet, suddenly shy.
“Kagome?” Inuyasha asked, surprised and confused by her behaviour. However, he couldn’t quite squish the sudden hope that bloomed in his heart, that maybe Kagome was considering giving him and his world another chance after all.
“Inuyasha, I’m sorry.” Kagome said, and for a moment Inuyasha feared she was referring to the kiss, before she continued with, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve put you through this last month and more. I realise now that I made a huge mistake when I decided to needed to go back to school. You were right, I might not have been born in this world but it is where I belong now. So many times this month when I was in my world, I found myself wondering what I was even doing there, and this morning I finally realised. I was trying to hold onto something that was long dead… my old life. School is really important in my world, and part of me was stilling clinging to that idea, unwilling to let go. It was a way to try to hang on to the girl I used to me, but I’m not that girl anymore, and that’s no longer my life. My new life is here, in this time, with my friends and… and with you, if you’ll still have me after all the pain I know I caused you.” She sounded so scared, like she really thought that he would turn her away after she finished speaking.Inuyasha couldn’t find his voice to tell her how happy he was that she had come back to him, so he decided that maybe it was better to answer without words, as he reached out to hug her close and kiss her the same way she had done to him. when she kissed him back with equal passion, he knew she understood what he was trying to say.