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Against All Odds

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Against all odds

“Come on, Inuyasha, get down from there.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Quit being so stubborn and just get down here! You’ve got to eat sometimes too, you know.”

“I already told you, Miroku, I’m not hungry. Can’t you get it and just leave me the Hell alone?”

The young man standing at the roots of a tall three sighed. He was wearing the purple robes of a monk and his short, black hair was pulled into a ponytail at the back of his head, at the base of his neck. He looked up again to the person sitting a few meters above him on one of the lower branches of the tree with a sad look in his eyes.

“Inuyasha…” Miroku started but the man in the tree ignored him. He had long, silver hair and had his eyes been open, they would reveal deep, gold-amber orbs. He was clad in a red kimono that his friends knew was his armor, as it was made of the fur of the self-healing fire rat. On the top of his head sat a pair of triangular, white dog ears which normally stood upright proudly. Now though, they were let down giving the hanyou an air of defeat that seemed completely out of place. Miroku sighed again as he glanced quickly at the Bone Eaters Well that was roughly twenty feet away, before looking up at his friend again.

“Inuyasha, do you really think she would want you to do this to yourself? Do you really think Kagome-sama would approve of what you’re doing now?” he asked calmly.

“Urusai!” the half-demon replied almost immediately, a faint tone of anger audible in his otherwise emotionless voice, as he punched the trunk of the tree he was sitting on so hard that a few leaves fell onto Miroku’s head. Sighing for the third time, the monk turned on his heels and decided to leave.

“She would have sat you if she knew what you’re doing to yourself,” he said once more before leaving, his disapproval heavy in the air behind him.

How can I just let you walk away

Just let you leave without a trace

“Just shut up,” Inuyasha said again, though his friend was already gone, his voice calmer this time as it once again lost all its emotion. It’s not like she could ‘sit’ me again, he thought as his hand absent mindedly traveled towards his throat where the enchanted beads once were. His clawed hand closed over his kimono in a tight fist as he finally opened his eyes, revealing the ambers behind his eyelids. But they were dull and seemed almost unseeing. There was no soul in them. They were empty. Just like his chest where his heart once was.

It had been five years since Naraku had been destroyed along with the Shikon Jewel. Five years since the fight was over, the Sacred Jewel was no more, Miroku’s cursed Wind Tunnel had disappeared and they could finally live in peace and happiness. Five years since she left and took both his heart and his spirit with her. And the worst of it was… that it was his fault that she had left him for good.

She had decided to move to this side of the well. Her family had nothing against it, understanding why she decided it and only wishing for her happiness. But he had screwed it all up.

He didn’t even remember what they started to argue about anymore. He was quite sure it was something stupid though… and something that he had started. She had gotten angry and decided to leave after all.

She hadn’t come back since.

And he hadn’t left this tree, as close to the well as possible, since, either, except sometimes to eat. Even that was more and more rare, though – and all because she left and took his everything with her, leaving the shell of a hanyou behind.

Inuyasha let his hand fall to his side again as his vacant, soulless eyes looked at the well again and the memories of that day flooded his mind once more, teasing him, haunting him, reminding him of the girl he loved so  much, yet ended up pushing away in the end thanks to his big mouth.

When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

“I get it,” she said calmly as she faced away from him. “You don’t want me here then. Fine then, I’ll go and leave you alone.”

He felt as if a bucket of ice cold water was thrown right at his face. That was not what he wanted to say at all. Alright, he did say it, but only because he was mad. He hadn’t meant it. He wanted her to stay. But she had already started retracing her steps back towards the well. Panicking slightly, he reached for her and tried to follow.

“Wait… Kagome! I…” ‘I didn’t mean it’ he wanted to say, but she interrupted him.

“SIT!” she yelled as she clenched her fists. The beads around his neck shone bright pink, much brighter than any other time that she used the word. Unceremoniously, he crashed into the ground a three-foot-deep hole forming on the spot he hit the ground from the force of the spell. It hurt a lot too, much more than any other time she ‘sat’ him. But that wasn’t what bothered him. The words she said moments before did.

How can you just walk away from me

When all I can do is watch you leave

He tried to stand back up and run after her before she really left, but the spell’s force kept him where he was and he could do nothing but watch as she neared the well, then sat down at its edge before swinging her legs over so that all she had to do was push a little with her hands and she would fall into the well and back into her time. And he could do nothing to stop her.

“Wait! Kagome, please wait!” Inuyasha yelled as he felt the force of the magical necklace fade and tried to push himself back to his feet. She didn’t acknowledge him, didn’t turn around or even look over her shoulder. And ever so slowly, she started pushing herself into the well.

“WAIT!” the hanyou yelled at the top of his lungs as he finally managed to stand and dashed towards the miko.

‘Cause we shared the laughter and the pain,

And even shared the tears

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

He tried to reach for her, but Kagome had already jumped, and Inuyasha’s clawed hand caught only air, missing the black haired girl’s hand only by mere inches. And then she was gone.

But he wouldn’t let her go like that. No way!

Without thinking, he jumped too and landed gracefully at the bottom… only to freeze as he glanced up again. He expected to see the wooden roof of the well house above him, like every time when he went to Kagome’s side of the well. But when he raised his head, he was staring at the same blue sky that greeted him, like every time he came back to his own time.

Furrowing his brows, he jumped back outside. Sure enough, he was still in his forest. Cursing, he tried again and again, but the well wouldn’t let him through, no matter what he did. After about ten tries he finally gave up and just stood there, gazing down the well, as if simply staring could bring Kagome back. Without noticing, one of his clawed hands traveled to his throat where the beads tying him to Kagome should be, as if his voice could reach her through them. But his hand grasped only his kimono and his eyes snapped open in realization.

The last sit command had been so strong that the necklace couldn’t withstand the strain and it broke.

The beads tying his and Kagome’s soul… were gone.

So take a look at me now

There’s just an empty space

And there’s nothing left here to remind me

Just the memory of your face

He tore his gaze away from the well as the familiar ache in his chest started again. He had waited here for her ever since that day, every day hoping that she would come back. But she never did and he was unable to follow her. It didn’t matter how often he had tried, the well never let him through. Without the enchanted beads, there was nothing tying him to Kagome… nothing tying him to her time… nothing to let him travel five hundred years into the future.

So he waited. And waited. Inuyasha didn’t care how long he’d have to wait to finally see her. He would wait for Kagome’s return no matter how long it took. But as time passed, the seed of doubt was planted in him that maybe she didn’t plan on ever returning. And yet, he still waited, a little part of him dying each day he spent waiting fruitlessly until there was nothing of his former self left, just a hollow shell of who he once was.

And yet - still he waited.

Oh take a look at me now

There’s just an empty space

And you coming back to me is against the odds

And that’s what I’ve got to face

Sango and Miroku had long since accepted Kagome’s permanent departure. Even Shippo had managed to move on. They were sad and missed her, but they accepted her departure and continued to live their lives. Only the silver haired half-demon refused to accept the reality that Kagome would most likely never return. He refused to accept it. He didn’t care how improbable it was, he still believed she would come back one day. That’s why he kept waiting in that same tree, almost never moving. He didn’t even care enough to hide on the night of the new moon anymore.

Instead, he stayed there, waiting for her.

When the pain of her absence became too much, he would close his fists on the beads that once hung around his neck and tied him to her. He had spent almost three days after her departure looking for every single one of them, and once he found them, he held onto them as though they were the only things keeping him sane, because once she returned, he would ask her to put them back where they belonged: around his neck. So that they’d be tied together once more and so that nothing would separate her from him again.

Her smiling face flashed before his mind’s eye again and he closed his eyes in silent anguish. There were no words that could describe how much he missed her. Kagome was the only reason he ever felt happy. She had accepted him. She had helped him befriend other people. Kagome had even managed to even make him accept himself as he was: a half-demon.

No one else had even tried.

But without her… Inuyasha didn’t really have anything worthwhile left to live for. Kagome had brought happiness, friendship and love into his life. Kagome was Inuyasha’s happiness. He was nothing without her. He understood that now. But it was too late. She was gone.

He still refused to accept that she may never come back, though. He still hoped… even though it was this hope that was slowly and painfully killing his spirit. Yet still, he waited, the memory of that day haunting the young hanyou every waking minute of the day and night and teasing him in his dreams. Inuyasha knew no rest nor fatigue nor hunger nor thirst anymore. All he knew was that he would wait for her, no matter how long it took… or how much it hurt.

I wish I could just make you turn around

Turn around and see me cry

Inuyasha gripped the edge of the well tightly as reality hit him. Kagome was gone and he could not follow. She had left him and Inuyasha had no idea when she would return. If she ever would…

NO, he thought. She will come back. She has to.

He wanted to believe it. He really wanted to believe that she would come back some day. And he did. And yet, something inside him already mourned her as if she were gone forever. Inuyasha closed his eyes.

But… what if she doesn’t? Just the lone thought made him shiver… and it wasn’t long before something wet dropped on his palms. A rain drop, probably. Then another and another. And something rolled down his cheeks.

He hadn’t even realized he’d started crying. He almost never cried. There were only two times in his life that he shed tears. Once when he realized how close to death Kagome, Sango and Miroku were. Thanks to Myouga, they survived that close call. The other time being when Kikyou died in his arms. This time… there was no reason to cry! No one died and it wasn’t like Kagome left forever. She would come back.

But no matter what he told himself, Inuyasha couldn’t stop the tears that kept flowing from his eyes. The fact still remained that Kagome had left for God only knew how long… maybe forever (even though he refused to acknowledge the possibility) and it was all because of him.

There’s so much I need to say to you

So many reasons why

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

“Damn it!” he cursed himself and punched the  ground with all his might, after crouching down next to the well in a dog-like manner. “Damn, damn, damn!”

He had wanted to tell her so much that she needed to hear. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her. How much he needed her. How much she meant to him. But she left before he could even start, and it was his fault she went away. If she ever decided not to return, then he would never be able to tell her. She would never find out how special she was to him, how much she had changed him. And how grateful he was for it.

She would never know…

He shook his head. That wasn’t right. She would come back some day, he knew it. And when she did, he would tell her. He wouldn’t let his pride get in the way anymore… like it did today. He would tell her, as soon as she returned. Until that time, he would wait for her, no matter how long it took. Inuyasha was planning to wait for Kagome, even to the end of time if that’s what it took. And if he had to wait for five hundred years until she was born, then so be it.

That decision made, the half-demon dried his tears with his sleeves before he stood up, turned around and sat back down, leaning against the well.

No matter how long it took her to come back, he would wait for her.

So take a look at me now

Well there’s just an empty space

There’s nothing left here to remind me

Just the memory of your face

Later as the time passed, he had cried again and again a few times, whenever the pain became too much to bear or when he would fail in his belief that she would return to him.

 But things were changing, a little. He wasn’t crying anymore. He just had no more tears lrft to cry. And yet he never left his post near the well, always waiting.

Sometimes, his senses and his mind would play a trick on him and he would turn towards the well in hopes of seeing her, but so far it had always been a false alarm, and each time the woods would laugh at him, as if saying ‘did you really think it was her? Did you really think she would come back?’

It hurt. Each time when his hopes were crushed, it hurt. Every time it happened, his heart was ripped out of his chest and crushed, only to be put back together so hastily, that one false move would break it again. Every time his imagination got away from him, the whole process would be repeated, until the pieces were just too small to put back together.

His heart was crushed and his soul was dead. He was no better than Kikyou, who was trapped inside a body of earth, dirt and bones. He was less than an empty shell, less than a shadow of himself by this time. But still, he waited, each day a new day of pain, anguish and torture that he endured alone.

He hung his head, inwardly crying but no tears falling from his eyes, as her face came to his mind again, torturing him further. If only he could see her again… just for a few minutes… how much he would give just for a few minutes with her?

Now take a look at me now

‘Cause there’s just an empty space

But to wait for you is all I can do

And that’s what I’ve got to face

He didn’t notice when it started to rain. He didn’t really care, either. That is, until Sango came around to try and persuade him to leave his waiting post.

“Come on, Inuyasha! At least until it stops raining. You’re soaked to the bone! Come down! Kaede’s hut isn’t that far away from here you know,” she tried.

“I’m not leaving here,” he answered stubbornly, refusing to look at her. The demon slayer snorted. Even in this state, Inuyasha was still the same hard headed, stubborn idiot that he always had been.

“It’s not like you’re going to miss her arrival if you just go into the hut to shield yourself from the rain. And she wouldn’t want you to push yourself this far just to be here when she arrives. Besides, how long would you need to run from Kaede’s back here? Less than a minute. Just enough time for her to climb out of the well. So come down and let’s get you out of this downpour!” Sango all but yelled at him.

“Keh, I’m still not leaving here,” he said. Nothing would force him away from the well. As long as she was gone, he would wait for her here. It was all he could do, so it was what he would do until she’d come back.

“You’re hopeless,” Sango muttered under her breath before speaking up again. “You think Kagome-chan will be happy to see that you risked your health just because you wanted to wait for her? Inuyasha, you know her better than that! If anything, she’ll sit you for your stupidity.”

Inuyasha didn’t respond. He didn’t have the strength to argue with her anymore, and besides himself, no one noticed that the beads had broken (probably because he never left the tree). But that didn’t mean he would go with the demon slayer. He just wanted to be left alone. Why couldn’t they understand that?

“I give up,” Sango sighed and left, more than happy to hide from the rain in the old miko’s hut. Inuyasha stayed in his tree, waiting, unmoving, completely ignoring the rain soaking him. He was already drenched. Not that it mattered anyway.

Take a good look at me now

‘Cause I’ll still be standing here

And you coming back to me is against all odds

It’s the chance I’ve got to take

Inuyasha froze suddenly as his ears stood to attention on top of his head before twitching a few times and his golden eyes widened, their soulless look dissipating and showing the first emotions in years: surprise and wonder.

Was it just him… or did he really just hear a sound coming from the Bone Eaters Well? Is the scent his nose is picking up just his imagination again? Or maybe… could it be… that she’d finally come back?

His hands shook a little as he gripped the branch he was sitting on before he jumped onto the ground. He closed his eyes again as he turned towards the well. If it was another of his mind’s tricks on him to destroy him further… he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to take it.

Holding his breath, he straightened up from his crouched position, still not trusting himself to open his eyes until…

“Inuyasha?”

Take a look at me now…

His eyes snapped open at the sound of that voice. And there she was standing before him, her black hair and her clothes already all wet because of the rain. It didn’t look like she’d changed much in the past five years. Maybe she grew an inch or two and she was dressing differently, but that was that.

Inuyasha blinked a few times, trying to reassure himself that she wasn’t a vision of his broken mind and soul. But she didn’t disappear. She was really there, right in front of him!

“K’gome?” he dared to ask, his voice quiet and uncertain. He almost couldn’t believe that after all this waiting… she really came back.

“Hai,” she replied, just as softly before smiling at him. “It’s… been a while, hasn’t it?” she asked as her eyes darted away, looking everywhere but at him. She seemed uncertain, as if wondering if it had been a good idea for her to have come back. And she looked ready to dart back into the well at any second.

He didn’t dare move, afraid that she’d disappear or flee back if he did, so she chose to take a hesitant step towards him. Then another. And another, until she was at arm’s length from him.

Forcing himself to move, he slowly raised his hand to touch her face, his eyes never leaving Kagome’s. He had a feeling she could see how frightened he was and he could tell she was confused, probably by the fact that he was indeed scared. But he couldn’t bring himself to say anything to her or to explain. It was as if his mind had partially shut down either due to disbelief or to fright that it was some kind of illusion and that she’d disappear any second.

Hesitantly, his hand cupped her cheek and he blinked again. He touched her… and she didn’t vanish. She was still there. She was really there.

“Inuyasha?” she asked, her voice betraying her bewilderment at his actions as he suddenly pulled her towards his chest into a tight embrace. Her eyes widened in surprise, but she didn’t push him away. “Inu…?”

“You’re really here?” he interrupted her, his voice still as quiet as before, though this time shaking a little. He didn’t see Kagome blink in rapidly, obviously asking herself what he was talking about. Inuyasha was too focused on the answer he was about to receive. The answer that would either make or break him entirely. Tears started to form in his eyes when he felt her nod against his chest, but he couldn’t tell what kind of tears they were. Happy? Those of disbelief? Then again, what did it matter?

“So then… it’s… this isn’t a dream… is it?”

“No, it’s not. I’m back,” she replied as she returned his hug, finally understanding what he meant apparently. His hold on her tightened some more and she noticed something that made her eyes go wide, though Inuyasha did not see it for his face was buried in her shoulder.

“I thought… I was afraid that… I might never see you again,” he choked out and it was Kagome’s turn to tighten her hold on him. His body started to tremble in her hold as he couldn’t hold the sobs at bay any longer. She was bound to have noticed he was crying, but that didn’t matter to him. At all.

And here he was, thinking that he had already cried all the tears he could, but apparently he had been wrong. He didn’t care though. All that mattered to him was that she was finally back where she belonged.

He wanted to tell her how much he missed her and how much he loved her. He wanted to tell her how happy he was to see her again. He wanted to tell her so much… yet at this moment, words failed him and he could only hold on to her and reassure himself that she was truly there.

“Did you… wait here for me? All this time?” she asked in a small voice and he could only nod in response. He couldn’t find his voice right now. “I’m sorry,” she whispered and would have probably said something more, but he shook his head.

“Forget it,” he murmured. All that matters is that you’re back where you belong, he added in his thoughts and he heard Kagome inhale sharply.

“Back… where I belong?” she asked quietly and his eyes snapped open. He hadn’t noticed that he was still speaking aloud. Suddenly, he felt that fright again, like he had just minutes before. What would she say to that?

But his fears were unfounded as she just leaned against his chest and sighed.

“Yeah… I’m home now,” she said and he could only shut his eyes tightly and press her against his body as strongly as possible without crushing her, and inhale her scent. She was back. She had truly returned to him. She was finally back.

And he would not let go of her again.

"I would have come and got you," he said suddenly after he calmed down somewhat. He was still shivering, but this time for another reason entirely. Not that he cared. It wasn’t like this minor detail was anything important. What was essential for him right now was to make sure that now that Kagome was back, she wouldn’t leave again. She couldn’t. The lone thought of it made new tears form in his eyes.

No, she couldn’t leave again. If she did… he had a feeling he wouldn’t survive it. Not a second time.

"I would have," he assured her as he held her as close to him as he could. "I would have if I could. But… The well wouldn't let me through… because… the beads… they… broke," he choked out, the memory of the discovery and what it meant for him still plaguing him. When the beads broke, he couldn’t get to her. He wasn’t connected to her anymore. He was all alone… again.

He hated that feeling. He was sick of being alone. Meeting Kagome taught him what it was like to live in a group like Inu-yōkai were supposed to live. But it took five years of her being gone for him to realize how much he hated to be alone. How much he wanted her around.

Of course, even before meeting Kagome he knew he had enough of being alone all the time. This was why he approached Kikyo, because she didn’t kill him on sight. She even became his friend. Well, as close to a friend as she could get.

But it took meeting and then losing Kagome to make him understand what it really was that he hated about his life before meeting her. It wasn’t the fact of being alone, that he could stand especially in some of his moments when he actually wanted to be by himself. No, what he really hated was to be lonely. To be alone and to know he would always be alone. To know that there’d never be anyone who’d care about him. Kagome had taken that feeling away from him before he even realized he ever felt it.

And then she left, and that feeling returned full force. Even stronger than before, for even if Miroku and Sango were still with him and were his friends, they could not replace her. Same went for Shippo. And all of them had their own lives to live anyway. So in the end, no matter from which side he looked at it, those five years… he’d been alone. And that was what it took for him to finally realize just how lonely he was, making him finally see just how much Kagome changed in his life. How much she gave him. And how easily she could take it all away as well.

But he wouldn’t make the same mistake again. He wouldn’t let her take it all away. He wouldn’t let her go. Because he wanted and needed her with him. Because he was sick of being lonely and of being all alone.

Then again, he couldn’t force her to stay if she wanted to leave again in the future, could he? But… he could at least ask her to take that feeling of being alone away.

"K'gome…" he said quietly and he felt her shift in his arms. He pulled back just enough to look at her and his eyes met with hers. He couldn’t help but feel the fright again though. What if she refused?

“What is it?” he heard her ask in a small voice. Was she afraid too? Or was it something else?

Steeling himself, Inuyasha attempted to ask the dreaded question. Well, not as dreaded as the question of whether she’d leave or stay, but that one had been cleared already, so he could hardly count it anymore.

"Would you… would you put them… the beads… would you put them around my neck again?" he stuttered out, his eyes never leaving her face. Inside, he was pleading with her, even begging on his hands and knees for her to agree. Heck, he was even ready to do it for real. Anything, just to have her back.

To have her by his side like she was five years ago.

He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw her nod and he withdrew from her a little in his surprise. Just enough to reach inside the sleeve of his kimono and to take out the beads he was holding there. But he didn’t dare to let go of her entirely. He was still too afraid she’d disappear or he’d wake up if he did. Physical contact was the only reassurance he had and he trusted that she was still there. His ears, eyes and nose have been fooled often enough for him to lose his trust in them.

As soon as the beads were in her hands, Kagome raised her arms and put the necklace around his throat. His heart was pounding wildly in his chest but he doubted she noticed it. Inuyasha had a hard time believing it was all really happening after the five long years of waiting for just this moment. The moment when they were finally about to be together again, just like they should always be.

Together.

“Aishiteru,” the hanyō heard the young woman say as she held him close. His eyes widened slightly at her declaration, but it didn’t change the sudden surge of happiness that flowed through him when he heard her say it. And the warm feeling spreading from the blue-glowing beads as they registered the ‘word’ did nothing to stomp in this happiness. It only made it escalate even higher as he could feel their connection clicking closed again.

“I love you too,” he answered her and heard her contented sigh as an answer. But that was enough for him. He was with her again. She was truly here and she was going to stay. He wouldn’t be alone anymore… and neither would she. He was going to make sure of that.