Publish Date: 9/7/2004
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha. BUT I WANNA PET THE PUPPY!!
With a slam, the school doors burst open, nearly flying from their hinges with the force of Kagome’s passing. It was a miracle that the glass planes in the door didn’t shatter. It was equally surprising that she didn’t crash into anyone as she fled from the school building.
She passed through the gates and was a few feet down the sidewalk before she slowed her steps, finally coming to a stop. Her breath came in ragged gasps, and she reached one hand out to a convenient wall to try and steady herself. Eventually, her breathing returned to normal, but her heart was still racing. Giving up, she slumped against the wall for a moment.
And one figure stayed at the center of her thoughts. She had looked for him after school, but hadn’t seen him. She had actually been somewhat relieved to have apparently missed him, and had taken off as fast as she could. Why she was so panicked, she couldn’t say.
Her feet began to move again, carrying her towards the shrine that she and her family called home. If she knew their routine, Souta would just be returning home from his own day at school. Her mother would be waiting to hear how her day went. And her grandfather would be entertaining guests with the so-called legends of the Shikon no Tama.
Legends, he called them. They were no more tales of fiction then she was. She had held the jewel in her very hands. It had been locked away within her body. She had fought to put the pieces of the thing back together. It was no legend.
Before she had realized the time had gone by, she was standing outside the grounds of her home. When had she gotten here? Had she really been thinking about things all this time? Even her thoughts now were something of a blur. With a sigh, she headed down onto the grounds.
“Kagome? How was your day?” her mother asked a little too happily for her current state of mind. She knew she was trying to be cheery for her daughter’s sake, but it was almost having an adverse affect.
She muttered something to the effect of ‘fine,’ and wandered across the grounds. Her feet obviously had a destination in mind, and she wasn’t in much of a mindset to deter them. When she finally stopped, she looked up at where her miniature trek had ended.
She was standing beside a building.
In front of her was the door. Beyond that door lay the well that had been the source of so many adventures. A twist of fate had sent her tumbling through that well into another world, where she had made some of the most wonderful friends a person could have ever asked for. Sango—a tough demon-slayer with a heart of gold. Miroku—the occasionally wise but exceedingly perverted monk. Shippou—the little fox-demon who had taken to her as a surrogate mother. And…him.
Laughter, tears, pain, sadness, joy…all of it had happened in the well hidden behind this door.
Unconsciously, she raised one hand and pressed her palm flat against the door’s rough, unfinished surface. It was cool, unwarmed by the sun’s rays. He was the one who dominated her thoughts at the moment. And she didn’t want to think about him right now. It hurt too much.
Turning away from the building and the memories that lay therein, she headed back towards the house. Her mother was probably waiting for her to come inside and talk about her day, when all she really wanted to do was curl up in bed and cry for a while. Her schoolbag, still clutched tightly in her hand, unconsciously swung back and forth by her side; she had all but forgotten that it was even there.
She passed into the shadow of the sacred tree and looked up at the green foliage—that was where they had first met, so long ago. He had been pinned to the tree trunk by an enchanted arrow, asleep for decades. And somehow, he had woken up when she had come near him.
It was then that she became aware of someone standing nearby, watching her. When she realized who it was, her heart stopped. “Oh…Mika-san.” The strict formality felt strange rolling off her tongue, for some unknown reason.
“I looked for you after school, but I couldn’t find you,” Takeo said casually, giving her a winning smile that had probably broken frailer hearts than hers. But hers was already cracked and falling apart.
Mika Takeo, the incredibly handsome new guy at school. Still in his black school uniform, he cut quite a figure. A young man who looked heartbreakingly like someone who had been very dear to her, but someone that was now absent from her life forever. Unless…
She was nervous about Takeo, truthfully. It wasn’t just his uncanny resemblance to her feudal friend; his voice was the same as well, if a bit kinder. But most unnerving of all, a note had appeared in the book he had picked up for her, mentioning Miroku and Sango, and when she had turned around, he had thrown her what could only be described as a conspiratorial wink.
Was it real? Or was he just flirting? She was attractive enough for that to potentially be the case, she knew without conceit. But he was here now, all of ten feet away; there was just enough distance between them that she had to speak up to be heard.
Her face must have reflected that something was amiss, because his expression shifted into concern, and he took a step towards her. “What’s wrong?” he asked softly.
Strangely, she felt compelled to answer. “You…you remind me of someone I know—knew.” She corrected herself hastily. “Someone I knew. I don’t get to see him anymore.”
He nodded his understanding. “Someone important to you?”
“Yes. He was very special to me…” she answered softly, not at all sure why he was telling him this. Her eyes shifted to the tree, just because it gave her a place to look that wasn’t at him. “We actually met here. By this tree, I mean. This was where we first met. But our first meeting was a little..strange.”
“Strange?” Takeo looked up at the tree as well, and he smirked. “Yeah, it was, wasn’t it?” Kagome froze while he continued, “It looks exactly the same. And trust me—when you spend fifty years stapled to some weed, you remember it pretty well.”
His gaze dropped to study her. Her mouth was open, her dark eyes wide, and he could see tears welling there. And he felt his smile soften. “Oh, and that osuwari thing isn’t going to work anymore.”
One shaking hand moved to cover her mouth, and the first few tears sprang loose. It took her a few tries before she could speak, and even then, the voice that came out of the trembling mouth was not the same as the girl who would regularly bark the word to send a certain half-demon tumbling painfully to the ground. “In…Inuyasha?” the single word, breathed with a sort of desperate hope.
Her school satchel fell from nerveless fingers and clattered to the ground as she launched forward. There was all of ten feet between them, and yet it felt like she was moving in slow motion, unable to reach him even though she was reaching out with both arms. “Inuyasha!” she screamed.
And finally, blessedly, she felt herself collide with something warm and fairly solid. Her face pressed into scratchy black fabric when she closed her arms around him tightly. Part of her was desperately afraid that this was all some sort of sick dream or hallucination, and he would disappear now while some higher power had a good laugh at her expense.
But he didn’t disappear. Instead, he caught her easily and didn’t let go.
“Kagome…” she heard him murmur into her hair. It wasn’t a dream. He was real, and really here. And the shoulder of his school jacket was starting to acquire a certain salty dampness to it.
“I—I wasn’t sure…” she hiccuped. “But it’s really you…”
“Who else would be this good-looking?” he teased, and she muttered ‘osuwari’ out of habit, knowing it wouldn’t have any effect at all. And she knew he was probably laughing at her. But a sudden thought occurred to her.
“But—how?” she pulled back enough to look up at him. “How can you be—“
One clawless finger pressed against her lips, silencing the tirade before it could even begin. “You talk too much,” he said softly, and she actually laughed while that same hand brushed away her tears.
It didn’t really matter, she thought, as he kissed her.
And so, in the end, they were back where it began.