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14 June 2008 @ 10:38 am
One Final Time  
Title: One Final Time
Fandom: InuYasha
Rating: G
Genre: Angst, Romance
Pairings or Characters: InuKag
Warnings: None
Summary: An ending I've never written before, exploring the range of grief and hope. I had been so sure, after all that happened, that this was not the way it would end.
Word Count: 814
AN: Written for the "Three Years Later" challenge at firsttweak.

One Final Time

I had been so sure, after all that happened, that this was not the way it would end. I spent the first year inconsolable, swinging between shock and anger. The second was mostly numb depression and slipping grades. Only now, three years later, did I feel... well, feel again, really. It was as if he'd died, as if they all had. The well had sealed us apart, and there was no way to make that right. There never would be, and I had ceased trying to find the sense or the justice in it. The things I could feel, now that I was resurfacing from the nightmare, were not always the best. Often I was happy just to recognize the warmth of sunshine or the frustration of a poor grade. I clung to those little things because little things were all my life is made of any more. All the larger things had passed and gone. I worried that I'd outlived my purpose. Maybe I really was meant to be locked in the jewel, charged with an eternal struggle between good and evil. At the time, that sounded pretty terrible, but just then I think I would have taken it, if only to know my life did serve a purpose.

I had come to think of the well as a happy place, a friend, in my time going between times, but now it had become an enemy. I never went inside and if I spared a glance for the well house it was only a glower of loathing for what it had taken away from me. The well's barrier had stolen more than InuYasha. It had taken all that I thought my life would be when it held him in the past.

I'd wondered for a while if he would survive all the time between now and then to find me in present-day Tokyo. That had been the first year's disappointment.

I'd worried that he had survived and found his meaning in someone else with whom he made his home right now. That had been the second year's anguish.

Now, I did not spare a thought for wonder or worry. I recognized the futility of questions that haunted me with untraceable answers. Still, his fate after I had gone was probably the only thing I dwelt on more than my fate after he had gone.

I sat by the Goshinboku. I did that a lot. I had nearly lived against its bark in the early days, remembering the time when we'd been sealed apart and managed to forge a connection anew through its living grace. I never heard him, though. I did not retain hope.

What I did retain was a sense of being understood. This tree had been there. It had seen. It was my proof that InuYasha-- that InuYasha and I-- we had been real together. I could still make out, or at least convince myself of it, the jagged healed wound where Kikyou's arrow had pierced the wood. She'd been real also. She'd left her mark here. I never anticipated how happy I would be to see signs of the distrust and rage bred in Kikyou by Naraku. The healed wood was proof, too, of Naraku, and I wondered if we all would heal over like the tree, in time. Maybe it could show me how.

I sighed heavily, wondering if I even wanted to heal, or if that would be just so much more lost proof of the times behind me. "I just don't know," I spoke to the tree. "I don't know what to do next. Forward seems like the wrong direction, but I can't go any other way." I was burying my head against its roughness.

At first I thought it was my mind. Then the wind. Finally I could not turn my back to hope a moment longer. A voice had answered me. The tree? It surely couldn't talk.

No, the voice was not that of the tree. It was frantic and excited and edged with grief that seemed too familiar somehow. "Kagome!? Kagome is that you? Can you hear me?"

I thought I'd never hear his voice again. I beat my fists against the trunk and wailed, "InuYasha!" Whatever this was, whatever was going on, we'd found a link.

Hope, I found, once broken and regrown, was indestructible. We had to wait three more years, though we managed to talk though the tree every single day, to plan and plot and keep our spirits up. Our words grew profound since they were all we had, until, one night, the shrine grounds shook with a deafening crack that awoke us all. The Goshinboku had been struck by lightning, rent in two, and out of the smoldering cleft in the truck climbed a cursing and spitting hanyou.

InuYasha had come for me one final time.
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