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If You Fly Away Tonight by Kanna37

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha, nor do I own the song “If You Fly Away Tonight” by Disciple. While this story is not quite a songfic, it does have leanings in that direction.

~oOo~

Sesshoumaru sat on a branch of the Goshinboku, watching silently over the shrine that the little miko, Kagome, came from. Golden eyes piercing and focused settled on the well shrine; every sense he possessed was turned to the same place.

He was waiting... waiting to hopefully make up for his actions five hundred years ago. Hoping that those actions could be made up.

He let his mind run through the memories, forcing himself to face what he'd done.

Forcing himself to once again see the blood on his hands.

Miko blood.

~oOo~

It was never my intention to harm her, but I was so angered, that I lost my control for the first time in several centuries. And at that point, I did not care what I destroyed, just as long as I could get at Naraku. It never occurred to me that it would be her...

Naraku had once again proven his honorless, underhanded nature, by taking Rin – only this time, unlike the first time he'd done it, he'd kept her near him. And blooded her.

That was what had clouded his mind and called his animalistic nature to the forefront. And if it had only been a confrontation between he and the spider, there wouldn't have been any negative consequences to his explosion of rage at the scent of his ward's blood.

Unfortunately, his half-brother's group had appeared almost instantly, and looking back, he was very sure that Naraku had deliberately led them right into the middle of the battle. After all... the miko carried all the shards that he, himself didn't have. The only way for Naraku to get them, was to defeat his brother and the others, and take them from the tiny woman's body afterwards.

But the spider had underestimated his opponents power – Sesshoumaru was a daiyoukai, a Cardinal Lord. In a world where it was kill or be killed, he was at the apex – the most powerful of all. And if at first, he'd ignored the greedy hanyou, it had been because he was just that – a hanyou with little power of his own – such a one was beneath him.

However, when he took Rin... he earned the daiyoukai's eternal enmity – and as implacable as he was, he would continue to hunt the vile spider until he'd caught him. And then he would wipe him from the face of the earth.

That had been exactly what he'd been about to do, too - and then his brother and his companions just appeared on the battlefield.

By that time, he was so maddened by the scent of Rin's blood, that he wouldn't have noticed if he'd killed his own mother.

Enraged at the thought of someone taking his kill for themselves, he'd turned on his brother the moment the fool tried to interfere in his fight, not really recognizing who he was attacking at that point. With one powerful swipe of a heavy paw, he knocked Inuyasha into the trees...

The hanyou had been carrying the little miko on his back.

It didn't take me five minutes after that to completely destroy Naraku, and take the chunk of jewel he had. And then I went after Rin, not realizing that my actions had severely injured the only being that could purify the jewel, and get rid of it.

He'd gone after Rin, relieved, (though he'd never admit it) to find her well, with only a few cuts on her arm where Naraku had bled her. After gathering her up, he'd exited the dingy palace the spider had stolen, and headed for his brother and the priestess.

That was when he'd discovered what he'd done.

At first, he'd paid no attention to the grief stricken faces of her friends as they hovered over her, arrogantly assured of his power to restore her with Tenseiga.

But Tenseiga had refused his call to be wielded, and that was when he'd felt guilt practically drown him. It was clear that the miko was still breathing – but barely, and she was unconscious, with blood leaking from her nose, mouth and ears.

I knew what that meant – internal injuries... after all, I had been guilty of causing many internal injuries on many different opponents.

I demanded that one of them tell me of the miko's origins – perhaps healers there could save her, was my thought. That was when the monk confided in me about the Bone Eaters Well... and a gap of five hundred years between her home, and mine.

I was, of course, stunned, but then hopeful, when my brother told me how much more advanced their healers were. I picked the young woman up as gently as possible, and determined that I would take her to her home. It angered me when I was informed that only Inuyasha could pass through.

The problem was that Kagome was fading fast, and Inuyasha couldn't get her to the well fast enough to worry about needing to get through.

That was when I ordered the whelp to stand near me, and then I enfolded us all in my light sphere. As soon as we reached the well, I handed Inuyasha the miko's limp, tiny body, and watched as she disappeared from that era as though she'd never been there.

He'd vowed, then, that he would be waiting on the other side the moment that his brother came through the time slip, and would make sure Kagome had the best care money could buy.

And that was why he was sitting tensely in the Goshinboku, waiting for his brother to come through on this side of time.

Atonement.

And maybe... more.

~oOo~

Inuyasha landed on the bottom of the well in Kagome's time, and leapt out quickly, too afraid for her to linger or move slowly. He tried his best not to jar her, though, not wanting to aggravate her injuries.

Sliding the doors of the well house open, he didn't even bother to close them, simply heading for the house where he knew her mother would know what to do.

Imagine his shock when his brother's aura washed over him, and a tall, silver-haired male dropped from the god tree to flash-step to his side.

Inuyasha gaped at Sesshoumaru – seeing him in modern clothes was odd and confusing, and he didn't know what to make of it.

“Oi, what the hell are you doin' here, Sesshoumaru? I ain't got time to mess with you, she needs help now!”

“Give her to me, Inuyasha. I vowed when you left me by the well back then that I would be waiting for her when you came through, and that she would have the best medical care that could be provided by my wealth. I will take her to the facility that I built for her care,” he said, his tone brooking no argument – this was the alpha speaking to the beta.

His canine nature not allowing him to refuse his brother's demand, he did as ordered, and once again found himself ensnared in his brother's light orb. Within seconds, they landed in front of a small building, and Sesshoumaru wasted no time taking the dying young woman inside.

As Inuyasha walked in at his brother's side, it was apparent that his words were strictly fact – these healers where here for one reason, and one reason only – to take care of Kagome. The moment that the daiyoukai stepped into the building, nurses pushing a gurney rushed forward, and Sesshoumaru laid the little miko on it tenderly, watching with well-hidden fear as she was hurried into her room trailed by the several doctors in his employ.

With a deep sigh, he turned to look at his brother, taking in his fire rat clothing and bare feet almost nostalgically. It had been centuries since he'd seen his brother, as he'd eventually gone to hell with the undead miko.

“Come, Inuyasha – there is a comfortable room set aside for us to wait in. The healers will speak to us as soon as they have any word on her condition.”

The hanyou nodded curtly, silently following his brother into a well-appointed room, and after looking around, plopped into a comfortable looking chair. The silence stretched as the two brothers became lost in their own thoughts.

It was decidedly strange seeing his brother and the miko looking just as he'd last seen them five hundred years ago. For them, it had been only seconds, for him, centuries. It gave new meaning to the words deja-vu.

Inuyasha being slammed into that tree was not even bothered much – but... Kagome... she was injured so severely. Humans are so delicate and breakable, he sighed to himself.

Inuyasha looked up at his sigh, and scowled at him. “You know when I go back, we're gonna fight, right? For what you did... Why the hell did you attack me like that, anyway?” he demanded.

Sesshoumaru looked down at his clasped hands. “Naraku had taken Rin again – only this time, he'd blooded her. It was that scent that sent me into my true form and animalistic rage. When you appeared and attempted to attack Naraku, my blood was enraged further at someone interfering and trying to attack my prey.” He shrugged almost wearily. “You should know what the blood scent of someone an inu claims and cares for will do to them - even though you are hanyou, I know you have the same reaction yourself to Kagome's blood scent.”

The hanyou recalled the scent laying over the clearing, and some of his anger eased; it was true – he couldn't fault his brother for something that he would also have done if in his brother's place.

“Keh. Still... while I can handle what you did with no problems, you can see what it did to Kagome. If she dies...” he said warningly, and Sesshoumaru nodded in understanding, though he knew it wouldn't really matter, since Inuyasha would never know either way.

“This one knows, Inuyasha.”

Silence fell once more, and almost an hour passed in that manner, until one of the doctors came in. Instantly, both brothers were before him, waiting to hear just how bad it was.

“She is in surgery right now – she's bleeding internally. So far, she is doing well, but there is the possibility she could die on the table – her injuries are most severe. One lung is punctured, and she has several broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and her left leg is broken in two places.” The man sighed, shaking his head. “On top of that, she is in a coma... it is almost certain that there is brain damage, but how much we won't know until and unless she wakes up. She may never do so,” he warned.

As each injury was named, a part of Sesshoumaru writhed in pain at the knowledge of what he'd done to her in a moment of unthinking rage, and for the first time in his entire life, he almost felt like crying. If it would help save the young woman, he would get on his knees and beg the kami themselves, since Tenseiga had refused to help her.

He'd been so angry at Tenseiga's refusal that he had taken the thrice-bedamned sword and stuck it in a vault, never to touch it again in all the centuries since.

I wonder if it will work now... or if it would still refuse. Perhaps I should have it brought just in case.

Nodding at the doctor's words, he said, “The moment she is out of surgery, inform me.” As the doctor agreed, then left, he took out his cell phone and dialed a certain number, curtly giving instructions to the one who answered. It took less than a minute, and then he closed his phone, and went back to sit down once more.

Inuyasha was worried and angry – some of what the healer had said he understood – like all the broken bones. But he wasn't sure what surgery was, or a coma, either.

“What's surgery, and this coma, the healer was talkin' about?” he asked flatly.

The daiyoukai caught his brother's eye. “Surgery is where they go inside the body to repair damage. And a coma is... I suppose you could somewhat liken it to the state you were in when you were sealed to the Goshinboku. Only instead of a spell, hers is caused by injuries to the head.”

Scowling, Inuyasha gritted his teeth for a moment, trying to keep control. After he'd regained his temper a bit, he spoke again. “Will she wake up?”

Sesshoumaru closed his eyes at that question, guilt once again surging inside him, along with a pain that his brother would never have imagined. “Only time will tell. However... the longer she remains that way, the less chance she has,” he admitted.

He opened his eyes, then, and met his brother's worried and angered gaze without his usual ice, and Inuyasha was taken aback at the sheer emotion contained in his brother's eyes. “It also depends on how much damage to the brain there was.”

Ears flattening against his head, the hanyou thrust his hands into his sleeves, nervously picking at his skin. “Keh... it doesn't look good, does it?” he asked quietly after a moment. His eyes flashed red as his brother shook his head in the negative.

“No... it doesn't look good,” he admitted softly. “Not good at all.”

~oOo~

Hours passed by with a heavy silence in the room, and little movement. Finally, six hours after the doctor had been in to speak to them, another of them, the surgeon, still in his scrubs, came in, and once again, he was instantly confronted by the brothers.

“She made it through surgery, and is breathing on her own,” he said immediately. “However, she is still in a coma, and all we can do now is wait. If you would like to see her, follow me, and I will take you to her.”

Both brothers followed eagerly behind, and were led back to her room. Inuyasha, looking around, had to admit that his brother had apparently spared no expense... the room was exceedingly comfortable.

Then his eyes landed on Kagome, and they widened in shock. He had never seen the likes of what confronted him now.

“What the hell is all this stuff?” he asked, voice gruff.

Sesshoumaru answered without looking away from the evidence of his loss of control once. “The machines she's hooked to monitor her heart and breathing – they will warn if she stops breathing or her heart falters. The fluid is to keep her hydrated, since she cannot drink, and also so they can administer pain killing medications.” His voice tightened. “The object around her lower leg is called a cast; it keeps her from moving the limb until the bone is set. As for the rest – it keeps her bones aligned correctly so they heal right.”

“How long will she be like this?” he asked, gesturing towards the cast and bindings around her ribs and collarbone.

The doctor answered. “About six weeks.”

Inuyasha moved forward to stand at the side of her bed, and ran the back of his hand gently over her cheek with sadness, fear, and grief in his eyes. He bent down, and heedless of the two in the room, kissed that same cheek. “Hurry and wake up, wench – we want you back,” he whispered.

After a moment of just breathing her scent in, he straightened, and face once more set in a scowl, he turned and headed for the door. “I'm going back to let the others know what's goin' on. I'll be back tomorrow,” he said, and then he was gone.

No you won't, Inuyasha, the daiyoukai thought sadly, as he watched his brother leave, knowing he would never see him again.

The doctor checked over her stats and noted them in her file, speaking softly to the inu Lord. “All we can do now is wait, Sesshoumaru-sama,” he said, and the Lord nodded, moving to sit in the chair next to the bed.

“Thank you,” he responded, and the doctor nodded back and left – it was an obvious dismissal.

With all that the kami asked of her, she should have been made youkai, so that she wouldn't have been injured so. A youkai would have stood up and attacked me instead of being at death's door. She gave so much up... and gained nothing in the end.

As he'd lived through the centuries from then 'til now, he'd begun to understand so much about the little miko that he'd always had questions about. She was, besides Rin, the only ningen, female or male, that he'd ever paid any attention to. After his brother had gone through the well carrying the wounded woman, he'd stayed near the village, speaking to all those that knew her, trying to gain every insight into her that he could - into what had made her who she was.

He'd learned much, and none of it bad. His respect for her had only grown, and his guilt along with it, as those who knew her grieved and worried over her fate.

Inuyasha had come through the well to tell everyone what was going on, though he'd not mentioned any of the circumstances, such as his own involvement – but when he'd tried to go back through the well, it had sealed... and so none of those who'd cared so much for her had known her fate. His brother had gone insane for a time, destroying a good section of his forest in rage, even as the others had also poured their anger out on the kami's ears.

He had been surprised, however, that no one had really blamed him for what had happened – instead, they blamed Naraku. When he'd asked the monk about that, he'd said, “You weren't in that clearing to harm Kagome. You were there to save your ward. Naraku manipulated all of us. And though you were in you true form, and not thinking logically, we all took note of the fact that when you batted Inuyasha out of the way, you didn't hit him hard enough to kill, only knock him away from your prey. It was just bad luck that Kagome was still on his back.”

While what he'd said was true enough in its own fashion, Sesshoumaru had never been able to rid himself of the guilt that he felt. He had nightmares for years where that hit would replay over and over in his mind, and he would see and even hear the sickening sound of her slight frame hitting that tree. His dreams ran with blood... but he could take no joy in that as most youkai did – because it was innocent blood.

In a way, over the centuries he'd been waiting, she'd become his obsession. Though he'd never admitted it back then, and not really now, either, to anyone save himself, he'd always thought her attractive, and been drawn by her scent. Of course, back then, those facts had simply irritated him – at least, at first. After a while, though, he'd simply accepted them and moved on.

He remembered Rin's reaction to Kagome's injuries, and smiled slightly in fond remembrance. She had not been worried at all, stating with complete faith that Sesshoumaru-sama would fix Kagome and then everything would be okay.

She'd always thought of him as a god, almost, and her faith in him had been absolute. But he wasn't a god... and the woman laying before him was proof of that.

He reached over and tucked her blanket in a bit at her side, his hand lingering against her for a few moments.

I had just spoken with her a few days before this happened... about that book she'd brought me.

When he'd realized just how educated she was, he'd begun to cross paths with her group more, and enjoyed debating things with her. Sometimes they'd exhaust hours that way, while the others just watched in confusion and incomprehension. He'd never figured out how her knowledge was so advanced – until the monk told him of her true origins. Then it had made sense.

I would give everything I own to be able to do the same now... but you're lying here in this bed so silent and still. Won't you open your eyes so we can talk once more? We are the only two left - and I don't want to be left as the last...

And finally, as he watched her laying so still, the knowledge that he'd carried for five hundred years broke open across his conscious mind, and his head lowered in pain as fear that she was lost to him ripped through his mind.

If you fly away tonight, Kagome,” he whispered, voice hesitant, choked, “I need to tell you that I... love you. I hope that you can hear me, and pray that you can feel me, wherever you are. I'm so sorry that I never told you when we were face to face – I was too proud, too arrogant, too afraid to say those words. If the truth were to be told,” he looked down, ashamed, “I am still too afraid, and that is why I am saying it now, when you cannot respond.”

I was cold for so long, that I do not know how to be warm, now – it is an awkward thing for me to show emotion. But sitting here, I cannot help but feel the emotion I'm so unable to show.

“You breathe in, and out, so measured, and I have to wonder – is it really you, are you really there, making it seem that there's some hope, or are you already gone?” he murmured, eyes clenched tight against the reality in front of him. “Is there any hope that I could have the chance to say these things to your face, when you're actually aware? Truly, if it were not for you, and Rin, there would be no grace in my life – and now Rin is gone... leaving only you. Will you leave me, too, Kagome?”

Hours passed by, doctors and nurses coming in at intervals to check on her, and every time, it was the same – her body was stable... but she was showing no signs of awakening, and as time passed, lessening her chances, the hope that she would be okay began to flitter away.

The night passed, and then the day, and once again night fell, with no change. And inside, where no one could see, the indomitable spirit of the inu Lord began to falter, leaving him to slowly bleed in ways that no doctor could ever fix.

Tenseiga lay on the dresser in the room, ready to be used if she passed, though there was no guarantee that it would work any better now, than it had then. But it was his only hope, and he clung to it as more hours passed...

And still, there was no life in the still figure on the bed.

A week had passed, and her condition was deteriorating – the kami were calling her home. Once more, Sesshoumaru took up Tenseiga, praying for a pulse, a beat, any sign of life from the quiescent blade... but to no avail, as the sword remained as silent as it had before. With an enraged snarl, he threw the sword against the wall, not caring if he ever saw the thing again.

Jaw clenched, he moved back to the bedside, smoothing a dark lock back from her pale face gently. Her skin was already cooling slightly, and his breath left him for a moment, as he finally was forced to acknowledge that he, Sesshoumaru, was faced with a situation that he was unable to change. He, the most powerful youkai alive, was helpless.

There was nothing left for it but to send for her family so they could say goodbye. A quick phone call, and that was taken care of.

“I will say my goodbyes now, Kagome,” he said softly, his heart in turmoil already, knowing the pain would only get worse once she passed. “I couldn't save you, but this I can promise you; I'll see you again, and I'll beg your forgiveness when I do. When it's my time to pass, I'll tell you all the things I never said here, and, if you care to grace me with it, bask in your sweet smile.”

He continued to watch her for a little while, gently caressing her cheek, until his phone rang notifying him that her family was arriving. With a heavy heart, he inhaled her scent one last time, and then, fists clenched tightly, he took one final look, and turned, making his way out of the room, so that her family could have their time with her before she passed.

It was the only thing he could do for them now.

~oOo~

In the moment that she breathed her last, Sesshoumaru watched the Shikon no Tama's glow dim, and then fade completely, gone forever just like the woman whose body it had been born into, was.

I was right... the jewel, by being bound within her body, was tied to her life force, and when she died, so too, did it.

That is perhaps the only good thing to come of this.

~oOo~

Four days later, on a sunny but cool autumn day, Kagome Higurashi was laid to rest on her family's shrine. No expense had been spared, and it was a beautiful funeral... if you could ignore the grief from all those gathered – including Sesshoumaru. He didn't cry, but no one seeing him could mistake the fact that his grief ran deep.

He'd been shocked at her family's acceptance of him even after being told how she'd come to be so injured, but they had basically said the same thing as the monk had said to him five hundred years earlier – her death was Naraku's fault, not his own. Despite that, he knew he himself would never believe that – he would always carry the guilt.

As the funeral ended, and the gathered mourners took their leave, Sesshoumaru stood on the little hillside her ashes had been interred on, and once more spoke his heart out loud.

“I love you, miko... and if the kami have any mercy for me, they will call me from this empty life soon that I may join you and all the others on the other side.”

A breeze suddenly erupted at his feet, swirling leaves around him and into the bright sky, washing a faint echo of her scent to his nose for several long seconds that seemed to him to be an eternity, but wasn't.

And then it ended, and he knew she was truly gone.

 

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