Trembling fingers curled around a blood spattered palm as amber eyes watched wearily as the flickering of flames danced on the cave wall. What was the point in running anymore? Of fighting? Naraku had won and with his victory, Inuyasha had lost everyone he cared about. Everyone he loved. The decade that followed that day was a blur of grief and pain. Of loneliness. Chaos was everywhere. War was everywhere.
Today he’d gotten sloppy. For so many reasons. Kagome always assumed he’d forgotten or couldn’t keep track but he knew. He knew her birthday. So like an idiot he’d tried to steal something nice to put on her grave this year. But, of course, the village priestess felt his aura snooping about the village late at night. Probably assumed he was there to kill everyone. Three poorly charged spiritual arrows had embedded in his back - not immediately lethal but debilitating nonetheless. He’d probably just bleed out - the second he’d torn them out the pain increased tenfold. Probably ripped something vital.
And all of this started because he wanted a comb. He’d seen the merchant traveling with it and followed. Kagome cooed over one like it all those years ago and he’d told her it was a waste of money.
A shuddering sob escaped him as a tear broke free and he watched the shadows grow larger. Against his will, an image of her unseeing blue eyes open and wide - blood trickling down her mouth with her arms out at irregular angles.
She’d been the first to fall.
And after Kagome was gone, Inuyasha didn’t have anything left In him. He could barely move. Barely breathe. Barely think.
The others didn’t need to die but they did. Because of him. When he turned to face down Naraku, filled with rage and grief, his legs had felt like lead and his sword...it stopped working the second Kagome left this world.
Inuyasha let out a shuddering breath as he pushed himself up against the stone wall and winced in pain. Wet hot blood drenched his back and was pooling beneath him - his body was starting to feel numb. Cold. Maybe death was finally coming for him.
Naraku didn’t even bother killing him. Living was a far greater punishment. Death would’ve been too generous. Oh, Inuyasha had tried killing himself a few times but somehow always recovered. Always. After the last time, though, the idea that maybe killing himself would send him somewhere else rather than reunite him with Kagome stilled his hand. That such an act would stop him from reincarnating or something. Not that he knew that for certain but fear was motivation enough. That and the realization that he didn’t want to have to explain what he’d done when he did see Kagome again. Which hopefully one day he would.
Besides maybe he’d live long enough to stop Kagome from ever coming through the well. Just let her live. The result would be better for all of their friends. Well, except Miroku but he was dead either way.
Closing his eyes, Inuyasha leaned his head against the cold stone and willed away the pain. At least it would be over soon. That was something he’d wanted for a long time now.
“Forget that you were bitter enemies,” Kagome’s muffled and distant voice began ringing in his ears, “Kikyo died long ago, right?”
Inhaling sharply, Inuyasha opened his eyes and looked around the still empty cave. Was he officially going insane? This was happening more and more recently. Louder whenever he was injured - the memories of her and even the scent taunting him. Maybe because Kagome was waiting for him and wanted him to die faster.
“Since yesterday, you’ve been avoiding looking at me!”Kagome’s faint voice accused and Inuyasha let out a bitter watery laugh. Ah, so his mind was replaying that day was it? Things would’ve been so different if he’d just let that old hag have the ashes. Or if he’d sent Kagome home until he dealt with the witch himself. Without Kikyo getting in the way, maybe something could’ve happened but there was no point dreaming about ‘what ifs.’
Kagome was dead.
And it was his fault.
“What is your problem?!” Kagome bellowed in his ear firmly grasped in her hand and Inuyasha choked as his eyes flew open and met her angry blue gaze, “It’s because I look like her isn’t...”
Forgetting how to breathe, Inuyasha tried to wrap his mind around the situation - one hand patting his shoulder to see whether the wound was still there while the other pressed against his neck to check for a heartbeat. One was present. The other was not.
Even though his heart seemed to be beating, he had to be dead, right? He knew this conversation. Knew what happened next. He’d just been thinking about it after all.
Trying not to think too much about the strangeness of it all, Inuyasha spent the next few moments memorizing the details of Kagome’s face.
“Wait, Inuyasha are you okay?” Kagome asked worriedly as she quickly released his ear and cringed, “Oh I’m so sorry. I didn’t think...I shouldn’t have...”
“When...” he began hoarsely as he sat back and tried to stay calm, “When is this? How long have we known each other?”
Kagome blinked a few times at the strange question before pressing her palm against his forehead.
“Are you okay?”
“How long have we known each other?” Inuyasha repeated a little desperately and Kagome’s eyes widened.
“A month or so,” she replied slowly, “Maybe...”
Whatever this was, Inuyasha had no intention of wasting a precious second in Kagome’s presence. Maybe he’d been given a second chance. A second chance to do things differently. Maybe...maybe everything had been a premonition. Maybe it hadn’t actually happened and now he could just avoid all his mistakes.
A grin slowly began blooming on his lips and Kagome looked even more afraid.
After over a decade of waiting, they could finally be together. They’d been reunited! A disbelieving laugh escaped him making Kagome look more alarmed. Without Kikyo their relationship could actually happen because he’d make damn sure Kagome lived this time and...and...
“Long enough,” he laughed shakily and then his mouth was on hers. His arms pulling her to straddle his lap. Lips hot, fiery, passionate and demanding. Arms wrapped around her body pulling her as close as he dared. When she whimpered, he smirked against her lips and adjusted the angle to deepen their meetings. This was what should’ve been happening all that time. This right here. A soft moan escaped him when her arms slowly draped around his neck and she pressed herself against him. This was what he should’ve had.
When he reluctantly pulled away to breathe, he panted as he grinned at her flushed face - a clawed finger brushed a few ebony hairs behind her ear.
“So...so is that why you weren’t looking at me?” she teased shakily, “Because you wanted to kiss me so bad?”
Inuyasha chuckled good-naturedly and nodded seeing as how that was as good an explanation as any.
“Well there you go,”she laughed softly before leaning in to give him a quick kiss that he happily returned. Pulling back, she frowned though which almost had him panicking.
“Well...We should probably go get Kikyo’s ashes back,” she began as she tried to compose herself, “You know...”
Inuyasha shook his head as his heart began racing.
“No, why don’t you go back,” he offered as calmly as he could, “Just for a few days. I’ll come get you when it’s over.”
“Because you don’t want me to come?” Kagome asked in a hurt and confused tone, “But...”
“I just worry that this witch might try to hurt you,” he tried to explain as one hand cupped her chin to force her to look at him, “People think you might be Kikyo’s reincarnation. I don’t want her getting any ideas.”
“Is that why you kissed me?” Kagome asked as she paled considerably, “Because I look like...”
“No,” Inuyasha laughed once despite himself - his fingers still supporting her chin, “No, not at all.”
“You mean a lot to me,” he hummed as he leaned forward and pressed his forehead against hers, “More than anything. Thought I should show you since you were getting the wrong idea and all.”
Kagome was quiet for a moment as she considered this.
“But I look like...”
“If anything that’s was a score against you,” he admitted begrudgingly, “I don’t want a copy or something. That’s weird.”
“You sure? You said I wasn’t as cute,” Kagome teased and Inuyasha sighed shakily.
“I was lying,” he hummed before dipping down to kiss her again - breathing the last thought against her lips, “You’re prettier.”
All in all, Inuyasha thought he was doing a pretty good job so far. Surprisingly so. Which was suspicious and probably meant he was, in fact, dead but seeing as how he was in the process of making out with a seemingly alive Kagome, he honestly didn’t see a problem with that.
“But I don’t want you getting hurt, okay?” he sighed dejectedly - really not wanting to let her out of his arms, “So go home for a few days. I’ll come get you. I promise.”
Kagome seemed to be gauging his sincerity before humming and getting to her feet.
“Are ye coming?” Kaede called out, “Ye two need to do such things in private. Children reside in this village.”
“In the future we will,” Inuyasha teased and Kaede gaped for a moment before collecting herself.
“So are ye coming then?” Kaede asked and Inuyasha sighed.
“I’ll go. You need to stay here,” he offered, l’ll get Kikyo’s ashes and bring them back. I owe her that much.”
“And why is that?” Kaede countered as she gave him a disapproving look which quickly changed to shock.
“Because I loved her back then,” he offered as he helped Kagome to her feet, “And she doesn’t deserve to have her grave destroyed.”
Kaede examined the boy for a moment before asking straight out.
“Were ye the one who injured her?” Kaede asked and Inuyasha shook his head, “Then who did?”
Inuyasha had to consciously stifle his grin as a chance to rewrite certain things presented itself yet again.
“I smelled another demon on her,” Inuyasha offered by way of explanation, “Didn’t recognize the scent.”
“Another demon,” Kaede repeated skeptically and Kagome gave him a strange look.
“So why did ye steal the jewel?” Kaede challenged and Inuyasha shrugged.
“People do stupid things when they’re hurt,” Inuyasha answered dismissively, “She tried to kill me so I stole the jewel.”
“So ye did not attack her?” Kaede asked skeptically and Inuyasha bristled slightly.
“No. I would never have hurt her,” Inuyasha clipped back defensively, “Never.”
Kaede nodded wisely and began walking towards them.
“I had my suspicions,” Kaede admitted, “About who truly killed my sister. I never believed it to be ye. There was no blood on the hands or clothes. And the timing was irregular. I suspect the same could be said for my sister. She would not have attacked ye either.”
Inuyasha was pleasantly surprised by the old woman’s observations. Maybe that was why she’d always been kind to him. She knew something didn’t add up and wanted to give him a chance to redeem himself - which he ultimately did but not so early in the game. This whole second chance thing so far was fairly good. So far. Watch him go to get Kikyo’s ashes and die for the effort. That would be...
“I think you’re right. I don’t think it was her that tried to kill me either. Wasn’t like her,” Inuyasha conceded like he hadn’t heard of that before - which was completely untrue. All in all he was hoping he managed to pull that lie off. He was a lot of things but a good liar wasn’t one of them.
Kagome suddenly took his hand and squeezed - whether to reassure him or herself Inuyasha wasn’t sure but he’d gladly accept the token of affection.
“There is something strange about that as well,” Kaede hummed in agreement, “It was quite unfortunate what happened. Did ye smell the demon on her when she attacked ye initially?”
Furrowing his brow, Inuyasha honestly hadn’t thought about that before. Which was strange. He’d thought back on that moment more times than he could count and yet he’d never thought about the smell.
Because there hadn’t been one. His eyes widened slightly at the realization.
”She...what attacked me didn’t have a scent,” Inuyasha began slowly, “It looked like her but I never...”
Inuyasha shook his head before standing a little taller. He has just started something with Kagome and Kikyo was not about to ruin it a second time dammit. Stupid woman Kagome was would start getting jealous or think he needed time to recover or try to slow things down or...
Besides the old bat was building towards something. Trying to get under his skin so he’d let her go. Which he wasn’t.
“I want Kagome to go to her world and for you to stay here,” Inuyasha instructed firmly, “I don’t want to take any risks. I’ll go and get the ashes back.”
“But it is my sister,” Kaede argued and Inuyasha gave her a patient look.
“Kaede I was going to be your older brother, wasn’t I?” Inuyasha asked - trying a different angle with a smile playing on his lips while the old lady looked shocked stupid, “I want to make sure you’re safe. I failed Kikyo. I don’t want to fail you too.”
“While ye’s words are touching, the fact remains that Kikyo is my sister, Inuyasha,” Kaede countered as she visibly bristled, “I need to be the one...”
“I just want you to be safe,” Inuyasha argued gently, “And going with me with you being injured...I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I lost you too. I might be a jackass but I do care about you.”
Both Kagome and Kaede gaped at him like he’d grown a second head. Flustered Inuyasha released Kagome’s hand and folded his arms in front of his chest.
“What?! A guy isn’t allowed to care?! That ain’t a crime!” Inuyasha snapped and Kagome laughed.
“And there he is,” Kagome teased as she tweaked his ear, “You scared me a little. You’ve been acting weird today.”
Inuyasha blushed and tried to brush off the observation. It was going to be hard to remember the order of things. Miroku was with them before they met Sango, right? And shit, where did they meet Miroku? He was crucial to finding out it was Naraku and setting them on that path. Although if he got to Sango first, he might be able to save her village and, importantly, Kohaku but then...
“Just go home,” Inuyasha snapped half-heartedly before pointing at Kaede, “And you stay put. Either of you die and I’ll bring you back to kill you myself.”
Inuyasha winced as soon as that left his mouth but otherwise managed to keep his composure. They both, of course, did end up dying. And he’d begged and begged and begged Sesshomaru but they daiyoukai went a little insane after Rin perished in the battle and, well, yeah....he was pretty much useless.
In hindsight Inuysha realized it would’ve just been easier to take the sword and try to do it himself but, in his defense, he‘d gone a little insane too. That simply never occurred to him for some stupid reason.
“Okay, well go and I’ll have some ramen waiting for you when you get back,” Kagome offered after a moment as she began walking down the path and Kaede followed behind her, “But if you aren’t back tomorrow morning I’m coming back for you.”
“What about the word stay did you two not understand?!”
When the two women merely laughed at his obvious upset, Inuyasha rolled his eyes even as wave upon wave of relief washed over him. He had a fresh start. A very good fresh start if he said so himself. Like five minutes in he’d established a relationship with Kagome and kissed her like he’d wanted to do way back when. By sending Kagome back, he’d basically stopped Kikyo from being brought back which was the one thing that had always killed the possibility for a relationship with Kagome in the first place and which was a cruel fate he was kinda responsible for. At least now he knew not to say Kikyo’s name if the witch found a way around all this nonsense.
And sure, he hadn’t been sent back early enough to stop the jewel from shattering but he knew where all the shards were. They could get them all before Naraku even got his hands on most of them. This was going to be an easy, quick, pain-free quest. They’d pick up Miroku in about a week. Sango a few weeks after that. Hell if they moved fast enough, they could save the slayer’s village and just come up with some way to convince Sango to join them. If not, she’d get to live a long happy life with her family.
They already had Shippō so it was a little too late to save his dad but everything else would go great. Well not great but they’d all live was the point.
What could go wrong?