Artwork by kalcia
She looked out at the stage, her shoes slung over her shoulder, contemplating her past, her present, her future.
It had been her dream, all her life, to dance.
From the time she was a child, she had envisioned herself onstage, performing for others, dancing her heart out for others. And not as a part of the corps de ballet: as a principal dancer, as the star of the show. As the one everyone paid the big money to see.
The shoes had been her ticket to that life. The shoes had been that life, from the first time she laced them up and stepped up to a barre. The shoes had carried her over the years, through countless pirouettes, tour fouettes, tour jetes, and Firebird leaps. The shoes had outlasted partners, companies, performances.
Through it all, they whispered in her ear, words of encouragement, of insistence, of possession. That she could do it; that she could be the best. If only she danced a little longer, a little harder, and a little more dangerously.
The shoes had been there, through it all. Her one constant companion.
Save for Inuyasha. The other near-constant who remained by her side.
He loved her; she had loved him. They had married; they were together. He had told her that the dancing didn’t matter; that only they mattered. How she wished that she could have believed him. How she wished that she could have listened to him.
Because ultimately, as much as she loved him, as much as she wanted to be with him, she had wanted the dance even more.
Or at least, the shoes wanted the dance more.
Kagome had just wanted Inuyasha.
But Kagome, the shoes...what was the difference between the two? Did it even matter?
Even now, she could feel their call, their pull, their yearning. Whispering in her ear:
Lace us up again, Kagome. Let’s dance together, just one last time.
The thing was, she had laced them up for the last time, over and over and over.
Tonight had been what she hoped would be the final straw. The thing that would cause her to throw the shoes away for good. Odile, the Black Swan in Swan Lake , is famous for her 32 fouettes. Every ballerina who dances Odile must dance the 32 fouettes. Kagome had danced this role before, and her body was easily able to handle that number of turns.
The shoes, however, had other ideas.
They had kept Kagome turning, and turning, and turning: 32, 42, 52, 62...on and on and on until she nearly collapsed onstage from the number of turns. She’d heard a gasp in the audience: she knew that it was Inuyasha, and she knew that he would be rushing backstage to check on her.
Even if they weren’t together anymore. Even if their marriage was now in name only.
Because Kagome had chosen the dance. Even if she didn’t want to.
Kagome danced her part; she brought down the house. Odile always did get the bigger ovation when compared to Odette, anyway, but still. The number of turns had left her barely able to perform, and yet the shoes compelled her to push forward, to continue her performance. To be the best.
And Kagome was the best.
But now, standing backstage, her feet bloody and bruised and swollen, she had to wonder if it had all been worth it. The pain. The sacrifice. The loss.
“Kagome.” His gruff voice, coming from behind her, still set her on edge. Still fired up parts of her body that nothing, not even dance, would be able to fill. It was him, and only him, and she turned her head slightly, looking at him out of the corner of one eye, a sad smile on her face.
“This was it,” she said.
“Keh,” he scoffed, his dog ears pinned back, his handsome face twisted in a scowl, his golden eyes burning with his love for her. “You’ve said this before, and you couldn’t quit. What’s different this time? Nearly collapsing on stage give you a new perspective?”
She paled. “That’s--that’s not it,” she said slowly. “You know why I haven’t been able to stop.”
“The shoes,” he spat.
“They...they possess me, Inuyasha,” she admitted. “Like they did tonight.”
In two strides he was behind her, turning her around, and wrapping her up in his arms so tightly that she couldn’t breathe. His lips were on hers: bold, insistent, hungry. Taking her for his own; possessing her, the way that the shoes had possessed her.
“They cannot have you, Kagome,” he whispered desperately between kisses. “They can never have you. You are mine, just as much as I am yours. The shoes don’t own you; the shoes don’t tell you want to do.” His voice was dark and rough. “Please, Kagome. Give them up. Give this up. Come home. With me. For us.”
She wanted to. Gods, how she wanted to. She wanted to feel his hands on her, to feel his lips worship her skin. To feel him pressed inside her, making love to her.
To feel all the things a woman should be allowed to feel.
But even now, safe in his arms, Kagome heard the shoes’ gentle call. Felt their tingle against her skin.
They knew her name.
And they called to her, to the deepest, darkest parts of her soul.
Kagome pressed herself closely against Inuyasha, shaking her head, no.
The shoes were not going to get her. The shoes could no longer possess her.
She was her own person.
She was Kagome.
And she only belonged to those she chose to belong to.
“Inuyasha,” she whispered.
“Yes?” He was right there. So close. Just as he had always been. Kagome knew that he would support her in whatever decision she made. No matter where they had been or what they had gone through…
She and Inuyasha...they were meant to be together. Much more than Kagome and those stupid, hurtful, possessive, shoes.
And that was more than the shoes could possibly overcome.
Kagome gripped the ribbons of the red shoes, broke momentarily from Inuyasha’s grip, and hurled the shoes forward, into the darkness of the stage. Inuyasha gasped, and Kagome sank back against him. Together, they heard the shoes clatter on the floor of the stage, bounce away, and come to settle someplace on stage left. She sighed, then looked up at him, her gray eyes tired and weary.
“That’s it,” she said simply. “That’s...I won’t be dancing, anymore.”
She knew that he could hear the pain, the resoluteness, in her voice, and he held her to him tightly, tenderly, carefully. She was completely wrapped up in him again, and Kagome buried her face in his shoulder, sighing deeply, clutching at him with everything that she had.
Because now there was a hole in her heart that nothing could fill. Not even Inuyasha, no matter how badly she wanted him to be the one.
No...it was just dance. She would give it up; she could give it up. But even now, she could hear the shoes singing to her, tempting her.
But Kagome had thrown the shoes away. She would resist, and she would move on with her life.
She reached up and caressed his cheek tenderly. “I love you,” she breathed, “and don’t let other people tell you otherwise. Because I’m your heart; you know it to be true.” She paused. Dare she say it?
“Because I am yours, and you are mine. Because we belong to each other. No one...no thing...can tear us apart. Not anymore.”
Inuyasha growled his joy, and kissed her, and kissed her, and kissed her. And Kagome returned every kiss, every touch; she allowed him to lead her away, back to their life together.
Except what Kagome never told another person was that the day she left the shoes behind?
She left a piece of her soul behind, too. A piece that she desperately hoped that, through Inuyasha’s love, she could rebuild and start anew.
The shoes, though, had other plans for Kagome.
She might have thrown them away, but they knew:
She would be back.
And they would be waiting.