Author’s Note: This was the first oneshot I wrote, and most of the feedback I received about it was wishing it was longer and more drawn-out. I still like the original piece, but thought it was worth the effort to expand it. So, here it is – now with 50% more angst! Enjoy!
This piece was inspired by the art of chapter 310 of the manga, “Irritated Heart.” It is divergent from the storyline.
Disclaimer: The Inuyasha concept, story, and characters are copyright Rumiko Takahashi and Viz Media.
“Love Song” © 1989 Robert Smith (The Cure). The version that inspired this piece was the cover by 311, © 2004
“I won’t thank you for saving me. It was your choice.”
Kagome winced as she thought of Kikyo’s parting words. What a thing to say to someone who’d just saved your life! Well, not exactly; Kikyo wasn’t exactly ‘alive’ anymore. What’s with the attitude? I feel like an idiot now. How could I not save her? She looked out across the cobbles, still shivering from the poisoned water. “Did she honestly think I’d let her die just because of Inuyasha?” she muttered.
A foot appeared in her line of vision. She looked up to see the object of her thoughts standing before her, as if she’d conjured him with her words. He looked down at her, his expression torn. Just as I suspected, she thought morosely. He didn’t come to see me.
“Kagome, are you okay?”
She looked past Inuyasha and saw the rest of her friends standing there. Sango and Shippo moved closer to her, while Inuyasha looked around desperately. Kagome let Sango put her arms around her shoulders as she stared up at the half-demon.
“If you’re looking for Kikyo, she’s long gone,” she said tonelessly.
“What?” Inuyasha replied, a choking sound in his throat. “Is she okay?”
Kagome looked down at her feet. “She is now.” She didn’t want to see him leave her again, to go off in search of Kikyo. She didn’t think she could stand it. Please don’t go, Inuyasha, she begged silently.
She heard the rustle of his clothing as he jumped away; as if that wasn’t enough, Miroku shouted after him as he left. It was too much for her. She squeezed her eyes shut as the tears threatened.
“What a fool,” Shippo muttered into her ear. His was a welcome weight on her shoulder, though she flinched again as another aftershock of the water coursed over her.
“Kagome, you’re drenched!” Sango cried. She pulled off the kimono of her travelling costume and draped it across her shoulders. “What happened?”
Kagome took a few deep breaths before she felt steady enough to reply. “Kikyo was lying in that pool. She had been poisoned by Naraku’s miasma at Mt Hakurei, and the poison was leaching from her chest. Her shikigami told me I was the only one who could save her, so…I did.”
Miroku sat down beside her, his staff jingling as he thrust it between the rocks. “Inuyasha is an idiot,” he declared. “He didn’t even ask how you were before running off!”
Kagome sighed and shook her head. “We know how he acts when it comes to her.” Though I was hoping…after the incident with Naraku’s baby… Yes, he’d burst through the door after she declared her undying love for him, thus not hearing her confession, but he’d promised not to leave her side after that. It was a promise she knew he couldn’t keep, but now, at the first test of that loyalty, he’d failed. Miserably.
Sango’s hold tightened on Kagome’s shoulders, and she looked up. Inuyasha had returned. She pressed her lips together and looked away, again trying to conceal her tears.
“I…I couldn’t find her,” he said, his tone dazed.
Kikyo. She was alive? She was well?
These thoughts raced across Inuyasha’s one-track mind as he sprinted away from the pool where his friends sat. He had to know; he knew he’d have no peace if he let this opportunity slip by. He didn’t even look back, thus missing the stricken look on Kagome’s face and the angry glares of his friends.
He raced across the forest floor, widening his path to all the surrounding areas. He didn’t even so much as catch her scent, and that worried him. After meeting the holy woman, he knew she’d survived her fall from Mt Hakurei, and now he was desperate for answers.
He slowed as he found himself further and further from his friends. There was no sign of Kikyo or her shikigami, and if he continued, he’d be more than a day’s sprint from the pool. No, he had to turn back. The sun was setting; Kagome really needed to return to the village before nightfall.
In the haze of his thoughts, he realized he hadn’t even made sure she was okay before running off. Is Kikyo more important to me than Kagome? He didn’t like thinking about these things; they made his head ache. But he was beginning to feel sorry. Sometimes following his immediate instincts only got him into trouble.
He walked back to the site of the poisoned pool and saw his friends sitting around Kagome. He saw their protective stances, and the anger practically radiated from them. Kagome wouldn’t meet his gaze at all.
“I couldn’t find her,” he said, hoping it would serve as an icebreaker.
His hope was in vain. Miroku rolled his eyes; Sango glared at him. Kagome just sighed. He was overwhelmed by her scent then, and it troubled him. He could smell the anger and the frustration and the tears that enveloped her. That’s when he realized just how much he’d hurt her.
I failed, he realized. I told her I’d never leave her side again, but the first chance I got…!
He felt himself separate then; it was as if he was an outsider looking in on the scene. He watched as Kagome climbed onto Kirara’s back, sandwiched between Sango and Miroku. He trailed behind his friends on the way back to Kaede’s village, feeling quite rightly punished by their cold shoulders. He didn’t even bother attempting to enter the hut, figuring he’d save them the trouble of kicking him out. Instead, he settled into a nearby tree.
Fine. Let them work through their anger. They just don’t understand. Kikyo was the first person to ever show him kindness. She died to follow him into the afterlife, and now he owed his life to her. It was a question of commitment to a cause. He didn’t necessarily like it, but he was a man of his word.
The sun had already set; soon enough the hut’s inhabitants settled into some semblance of sleep. Inuyasha gazed down at the dwelling, wondering if Kagome would ever be able to forgive him. The others, he could deal with. Her…he hated letting her down.
He sensed a rustling at the door and was immediately on guard. He was quite surprised to see Kagome slip out, especially considering the day she’d had. She didn’t look well, and she didn’t acknowledge him as she passed under his tree. She merely picked her way down the lane entering the forest, and he suddenly saw him chance.
Silently, swiftly, he followed her, keeping an eye on her on the ground as he hopped from tree to tree. He could get her alone and apologize to her. Before she goes back…!
She climbed onto the ledge of the well as he jumped out of the tree. “Kagome!” he called, rushing towards her.
She whipped around to face him. “Go away, Inuyasha! Leave me alone!” she cried, swinging her legs over. “I hate you!”
The words rattled around in his brain as he watched her disappear into the time warp. His heart thudded heavily in his chest as the scent of anger and tears lingered in his nose. He fell to the ground in utter shock before leaning forward to rest his forearms on the ledge of the well.
I’m sorry, Kagome.
The next morning, he wasn’t surprised to find his friends making their way towards the well. They’d obviously noticed Kagome’s absence and were investigating. Shippo hopped onto the ledge and looked down the well speculatively, but none of them spoke to him. Sango still appeared angry, but Miroku spared him a pitying glance.
Go away, Inuyasha groused, still staring into the middle distance beyond the well. I don’t need your pity or your pain.
He was a bit surprised when they complied with this silent request, but made no move to stop them or explain. He was happy when they left, taking their silence and strain with them.
He’d had a lot of time to think, and the more he thought about it, the worse he felt. Now he knew exactly how it looked when he ran off: like he didn’t care a whit for Kagome, like he only loved Kikyo and worried for her safety. That just wasn’t true!
But something else worried him more than that. Kagome hadn’t given him the chance to apologize. The first opportunity she had, she told him off and jumped down the well, back to her own time. Every other time he’d screwed up in the past, she at least heard him out, or gave him a much-deserved ‘sit’. This time, he’d hurt her beyond that, and now he was afraid…that she never wanted to see him again.
He reluctantly opened his eyes and sat up, absently wondering when he’d fallen asleep. Standing before him, with only the well separating them, was Kikyo.
He looked up at her. The day was fading, and he could see her soul collectors streaming against the darkening sky. He was still as she maneuvered around the well, coming to sit beside him.
“There was no hesitation in that child’s touch,” she said, smiling softly as she crossed her palms over her heart.
“What’re you talking about?” he asked, rubbing his eyes and blinking. She looked so much like her former self, the gentle miko with the sacred arrows.
“That girl healed me without hesitation,” Kikyo confirmed. “I was dying, and she saved me. She has a bigger heart that I ever imagined.”
Inuyasha’s mind was racing. Kagome saved Kikyo? That’s why she was at that poisoned pool?
Kikyo looked incredibly happy. “Don’t you see, Inuyasha?” she asked him, putting her arms around him. “Why else would she purify me, if not for your sake?”
Her arms were cold around his neck, and suddenly he felt like he was being choked. Did she really purify Kikyo for my sake? he asked himself. Or was it because she’s just that kind of amazingly good-hearted person?
“She won’t come between us, Inuyasha,” Kikyo whispered, pulling herself closer to him.
Inuyasha shrugged off her touch. “I think she already has,” he mused thoughtfully, standing up and gazing at the well.
Before Kikyo could react, he jumped in.
It was dark on her side of the time slip. Inuyasha stepped out of the well house at the Higurashi Shrine and was grateful for the coverage of the night. The sky was covered with twinkling stars, and he smiled, his pulse racing steadily.
Kagome, you’re amazing, he thought as he skipped across the courtyard and up to her second-story window. He gazed in at her. She was sleeping in her pretty pink bed, her body curled into a ball against the wall. A shaft of light sparkled through the window behind him, bathing her face with its softness.
No hesitation in your touch. He slowly opened her screen and leapt into her room, landing softly on the carpet. For a moment, he could only breathe in her wonderful scent. There was the usual fragrance, bright and clean, but mixed along with it was that ugly scent of irritation and tears. Shed tears, all over the place. His heart constricted, knowing he was the cause of her misery.
I wonder if you’d ever touch me that way, he thought, looking at her. Her head was visible above the covers, her hair streaming across her pillow, and the tips of the fingers of her left hand peeked out from beneath the blanket.
Oh, God, I’m sorry for hurting you, Kagome. He knelt at her bedside, staring at her with uncertainty. Should he risk waking her up, and getting the ‘sit’ he probably – no, definitely – deserved?
“Kagome,” he sighed, reaching for her.
Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again.
He gently touched her hair, brushing it from her brow, letting his fingers stray down the line of her jaw.
Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel I am whole again.
She sighed in her sleep. He froze, his fingers mere inches from her face.
Whenever I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am free again.
“Inuyasha,” she whispered, her voice thick with sleep. Her breathing was slow and regular.
He swallowed convulsively, rooted to his spot in the floor. Was she awake? Was she dreaming about him?
…however far away…
…however long I stay…
…whatever words I say…
“I will always love you.”