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Enough by OnyxIvyStone

My name is Kagome...

My name is Higurashi Kagome.  I was born seventeen years ago in Tokyo.  My mother and father were desperate for another child, not because they wanted my life, but because they needed it to save my sister.  Her name is Kikyo and she is three years older than me.  When she was two, she was diagnosed with a horrible and degenerative desease.  She needed a donor who shared the same bone marrow and blood type. Neither my brother Miroku or Souta were a match and so they had only the one recourse.  My parents conceived again  and the doctors ensured that I was the perfect donor for my sister.  My parents didn’t want me.  They had the perfect daughter already.  They needed me to keep her alive.  They’ve never let me forget that.  Even my name echoes the fact that I am nothing, mean nothing.  I’m only a means to an end.

————

She sat in the waiting room alone with her knees drawn up to her chest.  In the hospital room several doors down were her parents, her brothers and her cousin all huddled around the hospital bed where her sister lay.  The prognosis was not good.  It was never good.  It meant that she would need another operation too so that they could harvest what was needed to keep Kikyo alive.  Every year the prognosis worsened.  Soon there would be no saving her at all.

A flash of silver moved past the doorway to the waiting room.  She looked up, vaguely interested.  The form stepped back into view and amber eyes met her azure ones.  “She’s in the room across the way, Inuyasha.”  She said softly.

He nodded.  “Why aren’t you in there with them?”  There was faint concern in his voice.  He was in love with her sister.  He had loved her since they’d been children.  He saw Kagome as a sister and had always treated her well, as had her own siblings and cousin.  Her parents didn’t neglect her, but she could always see it in their eyes when they looked at her.  It was the question of why Kikyo had to die when Kagome lived.  Sometimes, like now, even Inuyasha carried that look in his eyes.

“Because it is quieter here and I can’t cry with them.”  She said, simply.  She couldn’t cry when she was all but helpless when it came to her sister’s survival.  She was her donor.  She was the reason Kikyo hadn’t been taken yet.  

“Sometimes I don’t understand you, Kagome.”  He said with the vaguest bitterness in his voice.  “She’s your sister.”

“Yes.  She is.  And I love her.  And in twenty four hours, we’ll both be on the table while the doctors cut away another segment of my liver to transplant into her body.  I won’t cry now because if I do it will be like I’m mourning her.  I refuse to mourn her unless she dies and I wake up in our hospital room with her bed empty.”  She met his eyes with a sudden fierceness.  “Forgive me if I can’t bring myself to an emotional breakdown right now.”

He scowled and shook his head.  “Fine.  Whatever.”  He turned and entered Kikyo’s hospital room.  They exchanged glances and a faint smile.  “How are you feeling?”

“Like always.”  She said softly and smiled as he took her hand.  “Doctor Onigumo said that if the transplant is successful I should have another year, maybe two.”

“We’ll hope for two.”  He whispered and kissed the crest of her knuckles gently.  He looked up to her mother and smiled faintly.  “Kagome’s still in the waiting room.”

“We couldn’t get her to come in once Doctor Onigumo left.”  Mrs Higurashi said softly with a hint of coolness.  “But she’s just like that, Inuyasha.  How are your parents?”

“Well enough.  Looking forward to Sesshomaru’s return from Europe.”  The half demon replied.  His half brother was nearly thirty and had taken up his father’s business interests in Europe nearly six years before.  He had become burnt out and so was taking some time off to recover back at home.  The Higurashi family and the Taisho family had been mutual business partners between the demon and mortal underworld for centuries.  When the elder Taisho’s first wife, Sesshomaru’s mother, died, he took a mortal woman and distant cousin to the Higurashi clan as his wife and sired Inuyasha.  “They send their best wishes.”

“When is Sesshomaru returning?”  Mr Higurashi asked softly as he held his daughter’s other hand.

“A week.”  Inuyasha replied.  “He got a bit burnt out doing all that work and no play.  You know how he is.  Finally reached his breaking point.  He plans to go back, though.  In a year or so.”

Sango stood after a few moments and left the room to sit with Kagome across the hall.  She was two years older than her cousin and her closest friend.  She understood her when most simply thought she was cold and heartless about her sister’s condition.  Sango couldn’t understand how no one saw the truth.  Kagome would give up her own life for Kikyo if she thought she could.  As much as it pained her, Sango knew why.  Kagome didn’t believe she deserved to live when Kikyo could not.  She’d been born specifically to keep her alive and when she was gone, her purpose was no longer valid.

“How are you doing?”  She asked softly as she sat next to her cousin.  She didn’t look at Kagome or touch her.  She knew that Kagome had a strange thing about her personal space especially when she was upset and anxious.  

“As I always am doing right before a surgery.  I’m making my peace.”

“You know, you’re more likely to survive this than Kikyo is.  Why do you always resign yourself to death?”

She shrugged and smiled faintly.  It was a sad, lonely smile.  “Because sometimes things go wrong and, really, if she doesn’t survive, I might as well be dead.”

“You don’t mean that, Kagome.”

“It doesn’t matter what I mean, Sango.  Aside from you and maybe Miroku, everyone else believes that.  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy and I’ve been caught up in it since my first breath.”  She murmured and drew her knees to her chest, resting her brow against her legs.  “If Kikyo dies on the table, it will be my fault.  No one will ever say it that way, but it will be in every word and thought.”

She sighed and shook her head.  There was no point in arguing with her.  She looked up and across the hall,  Miroku stood in the hallway, watching them with his gentle indigo eyes.  He was his father’s only son from his first marriage and the only reminder of the woman who had come before the current Mrs Higurashi who was Sango’s aunt.  Both she and Miroku were of the opinion that Kagome had to bear too much on her shoulders but  no one, not her mother, father or Souta and Kikyo agreed.  They were under the impression that Kagome was strong and capable.  Miroku and Sango knew better.  When Kikyo died, Kagome would fall and most likely would never recover.  

————

Doctor Oniguma Naraku leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes lightly.  On his desk were the two files he’d been engaged in for almost eighteen years.  The sisters, Higurashi Kikyo and Kagome, were a pet project of his.  He had been the specialist called in when the eldest daughter, Kikyo, had been diagnosed with her illness.  He had been the one who had commiserated with several European geneticists who had helped him develop the technique required to ensure that Kagome would be born with the proper genetic markers so that she could be the perfect donor for her sister.  He had been the surgeon who had performed every transplant surgery since the first and, as a result, he had become a world renouned doctor and surgeon in his field.  Higurashi Kikyo and Kagome were more than simply patients.  They were his livelihood.  

He turned and looked out his large window and sighed faintly.  Kikyo was dying.  There was little to nothing that he could do to stop the process.  The next transplant would ensure a year or two more of life for the girl, but at that point there was no hope for her.  Unless, that is, Kagome died and her heart became available.  He hadn’t discussed this with her parents.  They still believes there was more that could be done, however the truth was far more chilling.  Kikyo’s body was shutting down.  She needed a new heart and even then she would face death several years later when there was no more donations from her little sister and savior.  However, by then, if he were lucky, he could discover a cure for the young woman.  He was so close to it now he could almost taste it.

He already had a plan for getting what he needed.  As Kagome’s doctor, he could ensure that she died slowly and without anyone suspecting.  She’d given so much already, it only made sense that her body would slowly give out and then he could have the girl’s heart in order to save her sister and then ensure his own immortality in the field of medicine.  He supposed he could try to discover the cure to Kikyo’s condition in the two years he’d be able to buy her through the transplant, but the fact was that he didn’t want to have to chance Kagome deciding to stop donating once she reached adulthood, or worse, changing doctors and escaping his reach.  He needed to ensure that Kikyo received Kagome’s heart and within the next three weeks before Kagome reached eighteen.  He had the perfect plan to do so and would put it into practice as soon as she was in recovery after the transplant.  He had to be careful or else suspicion would be placed on him.  Kagome was strong and healthy aside from missing a kidney and a good portion of her liver.    It was sad in a way.  The girl had all her life ahead of her and yet the only reason she had a life at all was because she was necessary to ensure the life of her sister.  In this way, perhaps, she would serve her only purpose.  It was the only way he could justify what would be his actions.  And yet, he wondered why he tried to justify himself.  The only justification he needed was his own eventual and continuing success.

————

He leaned back in the seat of his family’s private jet.  He was supposed to be coming home a week later, but he decided to come home sooner.  The night before when his brother had reported to him about Higurashi Kikyo’s surgery the next day.  To be more exact, he was more worried about Higurashi Kagome’s surgery.  He slipped his hand in his pants pocket and pulled out his wallet.  He opened it and pulled out the three pictures he had hidden behind his own identification card and passport to look at them again.  The first was of a little girl, no more than five years old with long ebony hair in braids and azure eyes.  Had she been set along side her older sister at that same age, they would have been twins with the exception of those eyes.  The next was of the same girl, only age ten laughing, sitting beside him while he draped his arm around her shoulder.  He had been twenty three then and she had been one of the few people who could light up his world.  The picture was a Polaroid taken by his mother shortly after he had split with his fiancé, Onigumo Kagura, the half sister of Kikyo and Kagome’s doctor.  The woman, while passionate and beautiful, infuriated him with her temperamental nature and distinct cruelty to anyone she did not see as valuable.  Namely, Kagome.  It drove him nearly to violence how the girl was treated by nearly everyone in her family.  He knew she’d been born specifically to save Kikyo, but it was one thing to have that be the truth.  It was distinctly another to constantly remind her of the fact.

The last picture had been taken only half a year previous on her sixteenth birthday.  She looked so beautiful and yet, so very very sad.  He’d left to go to Europe on the request of his father and his father’s business partner, Mr Higurashi shortly after the incident as it was now referred to.  Kagome had been eleven.  Kikyo needed a new kidney and so it was decided that there would be another operation.  The night before, Kagome had slipped from her house next door to his parent’s and crawled into his room.  She’d begged him to hide her and keep her safe.  She was frightened and crying.  He’d held her until the morning and then had returned her to her parents intent on making them understand that they could not treat their daughter in such a way when it was clearly harmful to her.

Somehow, during the conversation, Sesshomaru had broken Mr Higurashi’s nose.  He’d said in front of his daughter to Sesshomaru that she was fulfilling her purpose.  That she wouldn’t even be alive if she was not necessary to save Kikyo.  Sesshomaru broke and then he broke the man’s nose.  A few days later, as Kagome rested in recovery, he was informed by his father that he was to be assigned a position in the European branch of the TaishoHigurashi corporation.  He could still see her face shimmering with tears as he was forced to say goodbye to her.  She’d held onto him as long as she could and he couldn’t help but feel as if he were losing a part of himself when the plane took off from Tokyo.  He let his fingers caress the picture of the nearly grown woman who filled so much of his heart and sighed faintly.  He wanted to make her happy.  He’d never tried to put a name on the love he felt for her.  She was not a sister but neither did he ever think of her as a lover.  He wanted her to be happy.  He needed her to be happy.  Forever.  If it were in his power, he would ensure it.

He looked over to the seat next to him.  The little girl sitting next to him was barely six years old.  He’d adopted her only a few years before after both of her parents had died.  They had been dear friends of his that he’d made over his time in Europe and when they were killed in a car accident, the infant was left by herself in the world.  He’d adopted her so at least she would have some level of normalcy with someone who knew her parents.  Since there was no other family, he had been the best choice.  She played with her stuffed bear, making him dance.

“What are you doing, Rin?”  He asked softly, smoothing her hair.

“Bear wants to dance.”  She giggled and leaned into his hand.  She couldn’t remember her parents.  She’d been only two and barely walking.  “Sesshou, why are we going back to Japan so quick?”

“Remember the pretty lady whose picture I carry in my wallet?”  He said softly.  When she nodded, he continued.  “She’s going to be in the hospital and I want to go and be with her.  She’s a very good friend of mine and she shouldn’t be alone.”

“Where is her family?”

“They are there, but they don’t understand what she needs.  She needs her friends and I am one of them.”  He said simply and patted the girl’s hand.  

“Do you think she will like me?”  She asked with hope in her voice.

He chuckled and looked down into the girl’s brown eyes.  “There is not  a person in this world who is capable of disliking you, Rin.  Now continue playing with your bear.  I wish to rest for a while.”

“Ok, Sesshou.”  She said happily.

He smiled and leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes.  She was there, waiting for him in the dark. I will be there, Kagome.  When you wake, I will be the first face you see.

————

Inuyasha paced the floor within the waiting room.  He couldn’t sit still the whole ten hours that they had been waiting for news of Kikyo’s condition.  And Kagome’s condition.  His mind told him.  He cared about Kagome and wished her well, but he couldn’t help but always have his attentions of Kikyo.  He was in love with her.  It was only natural.  However he knew very well that the only two people other than him who even spared such worry for the youngest Higurashi were her oldest brother and cousin who sat holding hands across the room.  And Sesshomaru, but he isn’t here.  There was a bitter taste in his mouth at that thought.  Sesshomaru had fought with Kikyo and Kagome’s father when Kikyo had needed a kidney transplant.  He’d actually hit him.  But he had reason…  Kagome shouldn’t have ever heard what came out of the man.  It was almost too cruel and calculating.  But she had heard.  Ever since that day the girl had been depressed and cold.  She’d never cried again that he had seen.  The last time tears had touched her cheeks was when Sesshomaru had left and she had no one to turn to entirely who completely and only ever thought of her well being and wanted her to be happy.  Miroku, Sango and Inuyasha all wanted Kagome to be alright, but they knew that it was impossible unless Kikyo died.  As much as they cared for Kagome, Inuyasha especially could not put her first or make her happiness of the greatest importance.  It simply came at too great a price.

He looked up suddenly as his eyes heard the familiar foot falls approaching the waiting room.  When his brother came into view, he felt something akin to relief.  At least someone was here for Kagome.  “Sesshomaru…  I thought you weren’t going to be back until a week from now.”

He frowned faintly to Inuyasha, tilting his head.  “You said Kikyo needed another transplant.  I’m here so Kagome won’t have to wake up alone.”

“She’s never alone, boy.”  Mr Higurashi said, standing to meet the eldest Taisho brother.  “She’s our daughter.”

Sesshomaru snarled faintly.  “You should act like it more often.”  He said simply, then sighed and forced himself to relax.  He was a full blooded demon.  Losing his temper was dangerous and volatile.  “I haven’t seen my friend in several years.  I want to make sure she’s alright.  I was coming home already, so I decided to come earlier when I heard about the operation.  I didn’t come here to start up another fight or open old wounds, Mr Higurashi.”

The older man backed down and shook his head.  “Stay if you wish.”

“How long has it been?”  Sesshomaru asked his brother softly.

“Ten hours.”

“She should be out of surgery by now.”

“Transplantation is a long process.”

“I mean Kagome.”  He said shortly.

Inuyasha looked down, slightly ashamed.  “They usually tell us when Kikyo’s out.  I have no idea whether Kagome’s still in the operating room or in her room.”

“Then I will go and check.”  He said softly and looked to Mr Higurashi, giving him a meaningful look.  “I would hate for her to be alone any longer than she needed to be.”  He turned on his heel and walked down the hall before the old man could respond.

After asking a nurse, he found Kagome and Kikyo’s recovery room.  Kagome had already been put in her bed and was resting.  He looked into the window of the room and found Kagome in the bed by the window.  Her eyes were already open and focused on the light.  He opened the door and entered the room.

“Its too soon…  Is my sister dead?”  She asked in a pained voice he could not remember her owning.  She turned her head when there was no response and then her eyes widened.  Tears that had been held for years fell again and a pained sob slipped past her lips.  “Sesshou.”

He crossed the room in three long strides and sat on her bed.  He leaned and kissed her brow gently as his clawed hands tenderly smoothed away her tears.  “Shhh, its alright.  You’re alright and there’s no word on Kikyo yet.  I only wanted to see you.  You shouldn’t be alone.”

“I am always alone.”  She breathed and curled gently into his embrace.  The incision had already been closed and knitted along with the muscle beneath her skin.  The only healing that needed to be done was internally where another part of her liver had been cut away.  She calmed and relaxed as his arms tightened around her.

“You have never been alone.  Just out of reach.”  He murmured and ran his hands through her hair.  He felt himself almost painfully aware of the minutes that passed since he had gotten onto the jet with Rin.  Every moment, every instant trudged toward the magical date that was Kagome’s birthday.  The day when he could take her away from her family if only for her own protection.  He cared if Kikyo lived or died, however he cared more if it was only her sister’s sacrifice of normalcy that kept Kikyo alive.  It had taken him years to reconcile that fact in his mind.  He loved his brother.  He wanted him to be happy, but he could not abide Kagome’s suffering.  She bore it so quietly that some might have mistaken it for strength.  Acceptance is not strength.  Its giving up.  It’s ending the fight.  The girl in his arms was not strong.  Pure, beautiful and loving she was.  But not strong.  At least not yet.  No one had taught her to find her own strength and so he had made it his purpose to be her strength until she could discover how strong she truly was.  “You will never be alone.”

“I missed you, Sesshou.”  She whispered and pressed her face into his chest, breathing deeply.  He always smelled the same.  There was a wild musk to him that spoke of thick forests and harsh winds that could both cut and comfort.  She had always loved being near him.  When he was with her, she felt like the most important person in the world.  Even as a child he had been her friend.  Her father and mother had frowned on their friendship.  There was thirteen years age difference and, as a five year old, calling the tall eighteen year old her best friend rather than any of her other playmates, there was a certain question of how appropriate their relationship was.  He had never been inappropriate with her.  Her father had said that when, at thirteen, she’d slept in his bed that he had stepped over the line, she had vehemently defended him.  He’d only been comforting her and had slept over the covers while they shared a bed.  Then the horrible words had passed between Sesshomaru and her father.  She’d realized that she was nothing more than a donor to her parents.  She wasn’t wanted.  She wasn’t loved.  She was only necessary to preserve Kikyo.  And then Sesshomaru had been sent away.  Her father had threatened to end the business partnership between himself and Mr Taisho that had lasted over a hundred years if Sesshomaru was not sent away.  Her beloved friend had been exiled.  She had been lost then in duty and pain.  She’d pulled away from the world.  But now he was back.  He was holding her and comforting her and, for the first time in almost eight years, she felt loved and wanted.

“I missed you too, Kagome.”  He breathed and kissed the crown of her head.  He held her tightly for a long while without words.  There were no words necessary for the conversation between them to have taken place.  Slowly he tilted her chin upward so they were meeting each other’s gaze.  “Kagome, you will eighteen in three weeks.”

She nodded.  “Yes, I know.”

“When that happens, I want you to consider something.”

“What is that?”

“When you turn eighteen, will you come with me back to Europe?”  He asked softly, gently, hoping for the response he wanted.

She felt herself shudder and instinctually clung to him more tightly than before.  A sob escaped her and she began to weep, wordlessly grateful his embrace only tightened.  After a long, overwhelming few moments of uncontrollable relief and tears, she managed to nod, whispering her response.  “Take me away…  Take me away before there’s nothing left for me to give while I’m still breathing.”

He trembled down to a soul level as he rested his lips at the crown of her head, fighting his own tears.  He’d never imagined the pain he could all but feel resonating through her.  He’d allowed himself to believe some part of the joyous little girl who had grown up idolizing him, considering him her best of all friends had survived, and while he knew she was there somewhere, the Kagome in his arms was vastly more shattered than he’d been able to imagine.  

“I will make the arrangements…  I will not leave Japan unless you are by my side,” he whispered into her hair, realizing suddenly how much he had ached to have her with him.  

“She will not be leaving Japan,” Sesshomaru looked up sharply, feeling Kagome tighten her grip around him.  He met the gaze of Dr. Onigumo with traces of hatred coloring his gaze.  “Her sister needs her to survive.”

“That is her choice in only a few weeks…  A choice she has already communicated to me, Naraku,” he saw the shorter man tense.  “Since you are here, I assume Kikyo is safely out of surgery…”

“Do not change the subject,” Naraku growled softly, noting how comfortably Kagome rested in Sesshomaru’s protective embrace.  He cursed softly that Kagome had already been cleared to return home that evening.  So long as she was careful, she would recover fully.  Naraku had simply not anticipated the girl would not be alone when he came to inject the syringe full of the cocktail that would slow and eventually stop her heart before she was released that evening.  Sesshomaru’s very presence thwarted his plans, and he knew the man’s temperament.  He wouldn’t leave Kagome until she was released to go home.  “Kagome, if you go with him to Europe, you will be killing your sister.  Who knows when she will need another transplant, infusion or marrow?”

“You said yourself there was only enough of my liver remaining to sustain me…  It will not be fully regenerated for a year at most,” she murmured softly.  She remained in Sesshomaru’s embrace, but she had found some of her footing again as she wiped the tears from her cheeks.  “I’ve had enough marrow removed and blood banked over the last two years to ensure Kikyo has what she needs to live as fully as she is able in the time she has…  I’m useless to you, her, and my family unless I’m dead and I don’t want to wait around here where I’m not even wanted or loved just in the off chance that I die right when she needs another organ I can’t give without…”

Sesshomaru felt her tense and growled lowly.  He met Naraku’s gaze angrily.  “Is that it?  You’re hoping she will die or some horrible accident will befall her so you can take all she has left?”

“What slanderous folly!  I’m a physician!”  Naraku stammered, noting Sesshomaru’s gaze flashing red in anger.  No…  He most certainly had no chance at the moment in following through with his plans.  Unless…  Unless he could convince Mr. Higurashi to keep Kagome away from Sesshomaru…  Somehow…  “I will not stay here and listen to this madness any longer.  The girl is clearly deranged and suicidally depressed.  This is a matter to speak with her parents on, not some person not even related to the situation.”

As Naraku turned, Sesshomaru scowled and looked down into Kagome’s eyes.  She was deeply depressed, he was correct, and certainly had wanted death for a long while now…  But as he met her gaze, he knew Kagome had ceased wanting to die.  She had hope again.

—————

“Simply, I worry for her safety under these circumstances.  I was foolish to have ignored the symptoms before, but Kagome clearly needs to be hospitalized with professionals who can ensure she does not harm herself,” Naraku finished, carefully gaging those in the waiting room.  The only two who looked as if they even remotely would protest were Miroku and Sango.  The young woman was trembling with rage.  He turned his gaze to Kagome’s father.  “Mr. Higurashi, your daughter is mentally ill.  I can have the paperwork drawn up in the hour, and…”

“She’s not suicidal!” Sango stood and cried out sharply, tears welling in her eyes.  “Terrified…  Feeling abandoned and depressed because the people who should love her most see her as a tool that will loose its function if Kikyo dies, but she’s not suicidal.  Uncle…  Aunt, please…  She’s been through too much.  Don’t do this or you might risk losing what little love she still has for you, her own parents.”

“Sango, that’s unfair!” Inuyasha began, then flinched at the angry look Sango and then Miroku cast as he stood beside her.  “We’ve all seen her become antisocial…”

“When the one person who has always been on her side was sent away, yes…  Yes, we have,” Miroku cut in, stepping forward and meeting Inuyasha’s gaze angrily.  “Kikyo isn’t the only person losing her life over this.  Kikyo isn’t the only one who has been cut into over and over and over again.  I don’t think Kagome has once woken up in her recovery room with any of us there for her until today…  Even when she was just a little kid.  I’m as much to blame for her depression as anyone else in this room, but I won’t stand for this.  Father…  Please.  Kagome’s your daughter, too.”

Souta shuddered hearing his brother’s words, suddenly realizing the cruelty of his youngest sister’s life.  “Don’t let him do this, Dad…  Don’t sign the damned papers he’s proposing.  Let us take Kagome home and help her heal.  Let us try to be a family for her.  Locking her up isn’t going to do a damn bit of good.”

Mr. Higurashi shuddered and looked at the floor.  Admitting they were right felt like swallowing a jagged stone, but he knew they were.  Kagome literally had nothing left to give.  “She’s given everything ever asked of her, Dr. Onigumo…  Kagome has never complained, just borne it like her only purpose was saving her sister.  I don’t agree with what you’re saying…  Kikyo might have two years remaining.  Two years…  But Kagome has her whole life ahead of her.  She’s healthy even having given up most of her liver and one of her kidneys.  If I lock her away, I know I will face losing two daughters, not just one when Kikyo can no longer continue.”

Naraku tensed at the decision, noting how Mrs. Higurashi leaned against her husband, slipping into his embrace as she began to cry.  They weren’t tears of sorrow, he realized.  Everything he saw in the woman spoke to her guilt.  “Sesshomaru has offered to take Kagome to Europe when she turns eighteen.  When she goes…  There is no way to sustain Kikyo if something truly devastating happens.”

Inuyasha felt sick rise in his throat.  So that had been the impetus leading to this sudden declaration and concern for Kagome’s health.  “If something truly devastating happens with Kikyo, the only way to save her would be to sacrifice Kagome…  Kikyo wouldn’t want that.  She loves her sister…  You fucker, you actually wanted to stand in front of Kagome’s happiness just so she could be here and, what?  Die at just the right moment so you could take everything she had at the last moment to save Kikyo?”

“How dare you!”  Naraku felt their eyes suddenly piercing into him and felt panic well inside him.  “I would never endanger the life of a patient!”

“You’ve never treated her as anything more than a walking donor bank,” Inuyasha said with venom.  “She can’t give any other organ or part of an organ within the time Kikyo has remaining.  She’s banked enough blood and marrow to ensure Kikyo has enough for the time she has left.  What other reason could you have to try to get her parents to commit her just to make sure she doesn’t run away with Sesshomaru?  And who the hell are any of us…  Even her parents to keep her from being happy after everything she’s given up already?”

“But to accuse…”

“Get out,” his voice was hushed, but dangerous.  Mr. Higurashi met Naraku’s eyes fiercely.  “You are fired.  You are no longer my daughters’ physician and surgeon.  If you go anywhere near either of them, I will have you forcibly removed.  Do you understand me?”

The hanyou tensed and put up his hands.  Naraku knew he had no recourse, no alternative but to walk away.  Still, it burnt into him.  “Fine.  Fire your daughter’s only chance.”

“Get out…”

As he turned and left the room, stomping down the hall, Inuyasha looked to the family around him.  “Mr. Higurashi…  Mrs. Higurashi…  I know Kikyo and I said we wanted to wait until she was healthier, but…  I don’t want to waste any more time.  May I ask for your daughter’s hand?”

“Of course, Son…  And I have no doubt her answer,” Mr. Higurashi smiled sadly and shook Inuyasha’s hand.  He frowned softly and looked to the door.  “What of your brother?”

“I haven’t spoken more than a few times to him since he left for Europe…  But I know he’s always felt like he abandoned her, Mr. Higurashi.  Whatever the form his love for her takes, I have no doubt he came back here for her…  Any doubts I had about that fact were erased when he showed up and went directly to her.  But, for Kikyo, I want the wedding to be quick.  I know she’ll be upset if Kagome isn’t here to be a bride’s maid.”

————

Kikyo watched silently as Sesshomaru lifted her sister from the bed and settled her in the wheel chair.  She’d only returned an hour earlier, and Kagome was going home.  She felt tears well in her eyes seeing the relief in her younger sister’s eyes and the simple lack of tension that had become such a part of her being for so long Kikyo had almost forgotten she was once a carefree and playful girl who had so dutifully done what it had taken to save her older sister.  The argument between Sesshomaru and her father had devastated Kagome, but no one had paid enough attention to her to really realize it…  But they should have.  She should have, and now as the two prepared to leave…  Kagome not saying more than a few words to anyone, Kikyo understood the damage that had been done.

“Kagome…” Kikyo whispered, feeling tears slipping down her cheeks.

Kagome looked up after a moment from Sesshomaru who had been crouching in front of her, helping her settle into the wheelchair.  “You won’t be alone, Sister…  You never have been or are…  Inuyasha or Momma or Father have always sat with you in the night.  You don’t need me in the bed, and I want to sleep in my own bed.”

She trembled and a soft sob escaped her.  “Kagome, I just…  Thank you.  It seems so strange that I’ve…  I haven’t ever…”

“Don’t,” she said sharply, then smiled sadly and looked down, again meeting Sesshomaru’s concerned gaze.  She took one of his hands in both of hers to steady herself.  “Don’t ever thank me.  It seems like something you’d say to a stranger, not to your sister who loves you.  Do you understand?” Kagome met Kikyo’s gaze again, tears slipping down her cheeks again.  She could feel the room tense, realizing they’d forgotten she could cry.  “I know I’m nothing but a tool to keep you alive, but you’ve always been my sister…  And I’ve always loved you.  Thanking me…  It cheapens that, you know?  So don’t ever thank me.  Just live the life I’ve given you and be happy with Inuyasha…  And know I’d do it again if I could…  I’d give you all if I could…”  She trembled and a soft sob escaped her as Sesshomaru took her hands and drew them to his lips.  She met his gaze again and managed a mournful smile.  “But he won’t let me.”

“No,” Sesshomaru breathed, kissing her hands again before releasing them and standing.  “I will not.”

“Will you go to Dad’s house?”  Inuyasha asked, sitting beside Kikyo and attempting to comfort her as she wept.  He hadn’t expected the words of Kagome.  Somehow, he’d managed to forget just exactly what kind of person the youngest Higurashi was…  And he felt suddenly like he’d lost out on so much because of his blindness to her pain.

“To pick up Rin, the little girl I told you I adopted in Paris.  I have rented an apartment for the few weeks before we will return to Europe.  Kagome will stay with us,” he said firmly, noting Mr. Higurashi and his wife’s lack of protests to his assertions.  “When she is well enough, we’ll come to pack away her things to be sent to my home in Paris.”

“You don’t…  You don’t plan to…”

“I’m not hiding away from anyone, Inuyasha, but I refuse to pretend any longer what my intentions are…  Whatever happens in the future, I will not obfuscate the simple matter that I don’t give a damn what happens with all of you from this point on.  Be happy.  Live your lives.  Leave us alone.”

“She’s…”  Souta felt like he was watching everything crumble away.  Sesshomaru was like a fortress wall suddenly built around Kagome, and he couldn’t find a way to get to her.  “Kagome’s our family.  What the hell gives you the right…”

“She does,” Sesshomaru said sharply, meeting Souta’s gaze angrily.  He gripped her hand as she captured his, calming him instantly.  He let out a shuddering breath, noting the look in his brother’s eyes.  Inuyasha finally understood, as if the veil had finally lifted.  “Kagome is every best moment of my life,” he murmured, feeling her grip tighten suddenly.  “I’ve…  You seem to suddenly all be so concerned with her…  But she’s been my concern since the first moment I ever saw her…  Just this perfect, innocent infant born for a purpose so far from loving her, it terrified me.  I promised at least she would have me, and now I can make that promise a reality.  I don’t even care if you forgive me for taking her now.  I don’t give a damn.  I only care what she wants from life, and I’m finally in a position to give her exactly what she decides that will look like.”

————

The sweet little girl skipped and swung her bear at her side several yards up the hallway as Sesshomaru pursued with Kagome tucked carefully in his embrace.  She was deeply asleep, her head resting against his shoulder.  Rin had obediently remained silent the whole car ride when he’d buckled her into her seat in the back.  Kagome hadn’t been able to stay awake much longer than five minutes after leaving the hospital.  She’d begged him wordlessly to sing to her, and he had obliged in his sweet baritone voice as he had when she was younger.  Now, only a few yards away from the door to the apartment he was renting, he finally felt some of the tension in his back release.  

Rin had been put in charge of the key and the small bag of Kagome’s pain medicine and vitamins while he had slung her bag over his shoulder before gathering her into his arms again.  Carrying her over the threshold, he continued to pursue Rin who went to the third bedroom as instructed and put the bag of pills in the bathroom as Sesshomaru settled Kagome into the soft bedding.  Seconds later, she had his pinky and ring fingers captured in her small hand and was looking at Kagome as she slept.

“She looks like a princess,” Rin whispered and Sesshomaru smiled before picking up the little girl and hugging her.

“She is a princess, and so are you.  My princesses,” he whispered, carrying Rin out of the room with him.  “And she needs her sleep.  Do you want to play a game?”

“Snack and a game?”

“Spoiled little princess, aren’t we?  Did you not get chocolate iced cream from my step-mother while you waited for me?”  Sesshomaru chuckled at her pout.  “Fine, one more snack before we make dinner.  Apples, carrots or cucumber?”

“Mmmm…  Apples!”  Rin giggled as he went to the kitchen and put her down before taking a knife and slicing up a few of the lovely pink apples from the bowl on the counter, coring them and putting them in a bowl.

“Now…  Who won the last battle?”

“You!  You always win!” Rin pouted and then giggled at his raised brow.  “Can we play another game where we play together?”

He let out a very put upon sigh, playing up his annoyance.  “The silly princess game?”

“You can be Princess Rose-bud…”

Sesshomaru sighed and sat in front of the couch.  He placed the bowl of apples on the small table before grabbing the two controllers and handing one to Rin who sat on the couch directly behind him, dangling her legs over his shoulders and onto his torso.  He smiled quietly.  “Are you not always Princess Rose-bud?”

“Yes, but you hate being Princess Blue-berry…”

“You always choose for me…  And Princess Rose-bud and Blue-berry are a formidable team.”

“I can be Princess Blue-berry this time,” she giggled as the bright graphics and cheery music from the game began.  Sesshomaru turned the volume down a few levels much to her annoyance.  “Why so quiet?”

“Kagome is sleeping.  Even with her door closed, the sound would wake her,” he smiled as they began and chose their characters, beginning the first quest.  “When she wakes, if you want to play again, we’ll turn the sound up louder.”

“Do you think she’ll want to play Princess Moon-beam?”  Rin asked with a soft smile.  “The three of them can really do some damage together.”

“What damage?  There is no damage in this game…  They only have the power of their auspices and true love…”

Rin giggled.  “Love is powerful…  Didn’t you tell me it is powerful?”

He looked at the screen and sighed, unable to keep himself from chuckling softly and shaking his head.  “I did, didn’t I?  But it’s a different kind of power, little one.  It doesn’t destroy…  Love saves.”

————

The wedding invitation had arrived that morning along with the letter all but begging Kagome to be Kikyo’s maid of honor.  Rin was playing her game on the couch while Sesshomaru and Kagome sat on the bare balcony overlooking the Tokyo skyline.  She was resting back against his chest, her eyes closed, the two envelopes, the beautiful card stock invitation, and the letter held protectively against her chest while Sesshomaru looked thoughtfully at the reply note.

“What do you want to do?”  He asked her softly, his other arm snaking around her waist.  She’d woken in the night with a cry, and he’d gone to her, acquiescing to her soft, barely spoken request not to be left alone.  He’d at first curled next to her atop the blankets, then joined her beneath them when she’d begun to cry and he realized he would not be able to leave her once she returned to sleep.  Even awake, he could barely tear himself from her side.

“I think I’ll regret it if I don’t go…  If I’m not her maid of honor.  I know they are only doing this out of guilt, but they planned the wedding for the day before my birthday.   They chose a day they knew I’d still be in town to attend.  I don’t see how going could hurt anything, and then we can say goodbye forever.”

“You will not want to return?” He inclined his head and kissed her cheek gently, feeling her tremble as she pressed closer to him, turning enough to meet his gaze.

“No,” she whispered, meeting his eyes with surety.  “I’ll only come back for one thing…  The day they call and say she has passed on, and then I’ll need to come back to put it all to rest, but I can’t live so close while she suffers.  I’ll always want to do something to save her, and I know you won’t let me…”

“I won’t,” he breathed harshly and sat up to embrace her protectively.  “I will defend you against yourself if I am forced.  No one is taking you from me again…  Not even you.  Only if you told me you wanted me gone from your life and meant it…  And even then…”

She clung to him and pressed her eyes closed tightly, breathing his scent in deeply.  “Even then…  Even then, you would defy me.  You know I’d never be able to send you away.  I…  I think…”

“Not yet,” he whispered and kissed her brow gently.  “You don’t know what you want yet.  I’ve been your protector your whole life.  After we’ve been gone a while…  Once you’ve had a life, then tell me.”

“You aren’t afraid I’ll change my mind?”  She looked deeply into his eyes and he sighed, caressing her cheek.

“You will always love me, and I will always love you, but the form of that love…  Kagome, I don’t care what form it takes.  So long as you are happy and still in my life, I don’t give a damn what you choose,” he smirked faintly and drew her back against his chest.  “I might have my preference, but I don’t need to have my way.  I’ve seen you sacrificing yourself and your joy too long to want anything but what will make you happy, even if that isn’t me.”

She smirked and hugged him tightly.  “Do you want to take us shopping tomorrow?  I don’t think I have anything nice enough for a wedding.”

He smiled and ran a hand through her hair.  “I’ll buy you and Rin whatever you want, just point it out.  Perhaps you and she can buy something that matches.”

“Only if your tie matches as well,” she glowed softly at his low chuckle.

“I have missed you,” he whispered, knowing she understood.  Pieces of the girl he’d known and loved from her childhood were returning and cementing back into place.  Her wit and playfulness came in shards, but they were there fragmenting together until she began to resemble his Kagome.  He could only imagine…  Had she been born and Kikyo had been healthy what might have been.  Would he have been so devoted to her?  He knew part of his devotion stemmed from wanting her to have the love she deserved and her family mostly kept locked away from her.  Now that they realized the cruel thing they’d done to her, all she wanted was him and his devotion.  She didn’t know how to be loved by anyone else, and it worried him that she might never open her heart.

Later that afternoon, they went to a boutique and bought dresses for the wedding.  While Kagome and Rin chose the color and style of dresses they wanted, he took the reply envelope and dropped it into the post before returning to his girls.  On their way home, he made one more stop…  To purchase a lavender tie of the same hue of the dresses they chose.

————

The wedding was a casual and intimate affair.  Kikyo was beautiful as she walked down the aisle set up in their parent’s back yard and Kagome smiled a genuine smile as the bride and groom kissed.  She had not answered any of the calls from her family and had only called Kikyo to confirm that she would be her maid of honor.  At dinner, Kagome sat with Sesshomaru and Rin rather than at the head table at her own request and, after the first dance, said her goodbyes and asked to go home sooner rather than later.

Sesshomaru thought he’d never seen anyone so devastated as Kagome’s father.  She had not even acknowledged him the whole night, nor her mother.  As much as he wanted to feel it was justified, he knew Kagome would regret it in time.  He took her hand and pulled her to the side.

“You need to say goodbye to them…  Say something to them…”

“Why?” She met his gaze unflinchingly and he sighed, taking her hand and kissing it.

“Because, someday in some distant future, you’re never going to be able to speak to them again, and I don’t want you to know what that feels like when you’ve never had the chance to say one last goodbye.  I know you’re angry, Kagome, but they know…  They know they’ve done something unforgivable.  Whether or not you forgive them now, your future self doesn’t deserve the kind of pain you’ll know…  That I’ll need to watch you endure.”

She sighed and slipped into his arms, feeling near tears.  After a moment, she gathered her strength and went to say goodbye to her parents.  She’d be on a plane two days later, and she didn’t know if she would have the strength or will to see them again.

Inuyasha watched with a tearful Kikyo as Sesshomaru’s car rounded the corner.  He kissed her cheek and sighed.  “She’ll be happy now…  And we need to make due with the time we have, Love.  We owe her that.”

————

Six months had gone by, and she’d finished her high school degree.  The internet courses had been easy enough, and it had given her the ability to stay home and write.  Sesshomaru only asked that she go out at least once a day for a walk or to shop.  She’d made a compromise and would walk to pick Rin up from school every afternoon, choosing to spend the morning after they had gone and breakfast had been cleaned up working on her novel and school work.  

Kikyo had sent her word that she and Inuyasha had chosen a surrogate to carry their child.  She’d actually been happy for them.  In reality, it hadn’t been them who had hurt her so deeply, or Souta, Miroku and Sango…  It had been her parents.  They wrote to her every few days, but Kagome could not yet bring herself to read the letters and so had put them in a shoe box under her bed.  Now it was three shoe boxes.  She knew…  One day she’d read them and maybe even forgive them, but for now…  For now, she wanted the life she had.

The doorbell rang and she sighed, standing and answering it only to find a huge bouquet of two dozen red roses delivered to her.  She looked at the giant bouquet in the beautiful vase and trembled a bit as she looked at the card.  It was signed from Sesshomaru.  She felt herself glow as tears slipped down her cheeks.  She knew it was only a congratulatory gift, nothing more, but she ached that it might be…  Maybe someday.

————

He watched her as she typed furiously at the computer on her desk.  Kagome was coming up on her deadline for the third book in the series she’d been writing, and she was still three chapters short.  They had lived together, raising Rin for nearly four years.  What he felt and what he saw in her eyes was so similar, he wondered still why he had not yet acted on his heart’s desire.  He stood and went to check on Rin who was supposedly getting ready for bed.

He found the little imp playing on her laptop on her bed rather than calming down for sleep.  “Here now…  Enough of that!” He snatched up the computer and closed it, ignoring her pitiful pleas.  “You have school in the morning, young lady.”

“Kagome stays up all night writing…”

“Kagome is an adult, and writing is her job.  When you are an adult, if you want to make your job playing games for a company, you can…  But for now…”  He smirked softly at her whining protests, then finished settling her to bed with a kiss on her brow.  He closed the door and returned to the living room where he placed Rin’s computer on the coffee table.  Kagome was sitting back groaning with her eyes closed.  The computer was closed, denoting that she was finished, and he knew that meant she was bemoaning what would come next: the editing process.  He chuckled and shook his head.  “You know it will come back with only a few suggestions…  I do not know why you always tear yourself apart at this point in the process.”

“Because it’s out of my hands,” she replied with a wry smirk as she met his gaze.  “Because I’m not the one who gets to make the next move…  And I hate waiting to see what will happen.  It’s not editing I hate…  It’s waiting.”

Sesshomaru blinked and studied her a moment before standing and walking to her.  He leaned over her and captured her lips in an achingly tender kiss, feeling a sudden thrill as she instantly responded.  

He wasn’t certain when or how they’d managed to make it to his bedroom, but he was glad they remembered to close the door as they undressed and slipped beneath the sheets, never once speaking a word to ask or confirm if this was what the other wanted.  They didn’t need to.  Every caress and sigh answered the unspoken question.

He woke some time late the next morning to the sound of Rin playing video games in the living room, groaning as he noted the time.  Not only was he three hours late to work, Rin had missed the first few hours of school.  He scowled hearing Kagome laughing, still tucked in the curve of his body.

“This isn’t funny…”

“No, it’s hilarious,” she chuckled and turned to kiss him lovingly, caressing his jaw.  “I can’t think of a better excuse…  You made me wait so long…”

————

They hadn’t been in Japan in nearly six years.  By some miracle, Kikyo had survived to see her daughter’s first days of school, and then her body had simply given up.  Kagome and Sesshomaru had returned with Rin and Kagome five months along with their first child.  They’d married quietly, going to the court house the day after Kagome had discovered her pregnancy.  It had not been announced, but Inuyasha noticed the rings instantly in addition to the scent of life growing within his sister-in-law’s belly.

After the funeral, Kagome stood at the sink cleaning dishes.  She had barely spoken to anyone.  She had very little to say, in reality, but she held no anger anymore, or any resentment.  What was there to say other than she was as sad and lost as everyone else.  She gasped as she felt the little life move within her for the first time and felt hot tears slip down her face.

“Kagome?” Her mother embraced her and gasped as her daughter clung to her.  “Oh, my sweet girl…”

“Was she happy, Momma?   Was she at least happy before the end?”

“I’ve never seen her know greater joy, dearest…  And when the end came, she was at peace…”  She ran her hand through her daughter’s hair and sighed as Kagome pulled away.  “You will be such a wonderful mother.”

Kagome smiled sadly and looked up to her father as he and Sesshomaru entered the kitchen.  She stepped forward and embraced him, trembling as she cried, feeling her father hold her tightly as she’d always yearned for.  “It’s ok…  I’m happy now…  I’m happy now, too…”

————

Kagome smiled as she watched Sesshomaru cradle their son by the hospital window.  Her parents were flying in, as were his and Inuyasha and the rest of the family.  The labor hadn’t been difficult, but she was exhausted.  “I love you,” she whispered and smiled as their eyes met.  Wordlessly, he responded with a smile, and she knew it was enough.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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