Disclaimers: I do not own InuYasha or any of the manga/anime characters. They belong to the wonderful genius Rumiko Takahashi.
AN: As always, thanks so much to inufan625 and Knittingknots for acting as betas. If you haven’t read their wonderful stories, you need to check them out. You’ll be glad you did.
Warnings: Spoilers beginning with Manga Chapter 524
Angels Aren’t Always Heaven Sent
Kagome couldn’t believe it – it was snowing. She stood in awe in the clearing near the Bone Eater’s Well, watching the large, soft flakes drift lazily towards the earth. It was as if Mother Nature were white-washing the region in an attempt to erase the pitch-black taint of Naraku.
Naraku – that evil had finally been defeated, but not before nearly everyone had been damaged in some way. He preyed upon their fears and their weaknesses, and each of them had suffered under his deceptions. However, the others seemed to be recovering. Sango and Miroku had each other and were to be married as soon as their house was completed. Before he disappeared, Sesshomaru had collected Rin, who seemed no worse for wear considering everything that had happened; Jaken, who was still muttering about being left behind for the battle; and his two headed dragon, who had been patiently waiting. The only one who still seemed to have trouble facing what had happened was InuYasha. Kagome couldn’t figure out why he was becoming so reclusive, acting as if he were afraid to be around them – or more specifically, her.
The others told her that when she purified the jewel and then Naraku from existence, she’d passed out. InuYasha had scooped up her unconscious form and raced back to Kaede with her, screaming at the top of his lungs for the old baba to get out there. He took her to the same shed where Miroku had lain unconscious after he tried to suck up Magatsuhi in his Kazaana, and laid her gently on the straw bedding. They said he had refused to leave her side or even to eat or drink as long as she slept. She had been completely drained by her actions that forced the seal on her to break like a dam, freeing her spiritual powers before she nocked an arrow in the bow that had become bonded to her very heart and fired it at the completely polluted Shikon no Tama. This time, rather than shattering the Sacred Jewel as she had done with her arrow in the incident the year before, her arrow entered it as it had Kanna’s mirror what now seemed like a lifetime ago. Her power found the single point of light that still existed in spite of Naraku’s evil – the tiny speck still controlled by Midoriko with the help that Kikyou had given. The spot grew until it exploded like a dying sun going supernova. When the blinding light dissipated, the now pure white Shikon no Tama fell to the ground and rolled away. Naraku was no more and they were all free. Kagome had smiled and collapsed to the ground.
The young miko slept for four days and three nights. When she awakened, it was to anxious amber eyes watching over her. She’d whispered, “Inu… Yasha…”She was too hoarse to really speak and desperately needed a drink of water. He seemed to understand her desire and held the cup to her lips, allowing her to take small sips. When it appeared she’d had enough, he set it aside and tenderly wiped the corner of her mouth where just a bit had dribbled. However, she was completely confused about what happened next. Kagome had told him, “Thank you,” for the water, and then instinctively reached to rub the bandage on her arm. That was when the hanyou’s eyes opened wide, and he fled.
Kagome was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t feel something being draped across her shoulders. She was startled when she looked at herself and realized she was swathed in red, and turned to see only the prints of bare feet in the snow. “InuYasha? InuYasha! Where are you? I want to talk to you!” she called out.
A tear trailed down her cheek when she received no answer. “Forgive me, InuYasha,” she whispered before she yelled, “Sit!”
A thud and string of curses nearby led her to the hanyou. She ran towards him, yelling, “Sit!” once more to keep him from escaping before she reached him.
“What the fuck was that-” InuYasha was cut off as he tried to climb to his feet by the small frame of the girl throwing herself at him and wrapping her arms tightly around him. “Kagome,” he said softly.
“Why… why won’t you talk to me?” she choked out through her tears, her voice muffled. She fisted her hands in his juban as she held herself to him.
InuYasha sighed and eventually wrapped his arms around her in return. What could he say? How could he explain when there was no explanation? He felt a shiver go through her and realized that not only was she cold, she was hugging him in spite of the fact he’d been thrown face down into the deepening snow. “You’ll get sick,” he whispered to her. “Foolish wench.”
“Isn’t it beautiful?” she replied in return.
“What? What are you talking about?” the confused hanyou asked.
“The snow - it’s as if everything is being erased, and we’re being given a clean slate – a new start. There’s never been a snow this late since they started keeping records,” Kagome responded.
“A… new start?” InuYasha’s heart was pounding in his chest. He couldn’t forgive himself for what he’d done, but he still couldn’t stay far away from the miko in his arms. He was always nearby, even if she wasn’t aware of it. Did she want a new life without him in it at all? Not that he could blame her…
“Yes, a new start in a world where Naraku no longer exists. All of the pain and suffering we went through was not in vain, but we shouldn’t dwell on it, either. InuYasha, what did I do? Why did you run like that when I woke up? You were the one I wanted to see most, but you took off. In spite of my power being released, you know I’d never hurt you-”
“Hurt me! Kagome, I hurt you!” the hanyou exclaimed. “That cut on your arm… I did that…”
“Oh, InuYasha… is that what you’ve been upset about?” the miko asked.
“Keh, of course! I promised to protect you with my life, and instead I tried to kill you. There ain’t no excuse for that…”
“InuYasha, you may have been taken over by your youkai because of the tainted Shikon no Tama and Naraku, but if you’d really wanted to kill me, you would have. Instead, you did take a swipe at me and gave me this, but then you pushed me away. I think you were trying to save me from yourself, not kill me like Naraku wanted,” Kagome responded.
“But Naraku said-” the hanyou started but was abruptly cut off.
Kagome was angry now. “How can you possibly believe a single word that he told you? You know he thrives on deception and lies, so how could you listen to even one word that he said!!”
“Your blood was on my claws,” he said so softly that she barely heard him. “I didn’t want to believe it, but the proof was right there… I can never forgive myself for what I did…”
“InuYasha, you have to. We can’t move forward until you get past this. My arm is healing fine – you didn’t do any permanent damage. And the fact is that I’d already forgiven you the minute I woke up after it happened. I have faith in you. I wish you’d have a little in yourself.” The miko finally pulled away just far enough to look up into his eyes. What she saw there made her very soul hurt, for his eyes were full of pain and fear.
“InuYasha, I still love you. That hasn’t changed,” she added.
He gasped as her words sunk in. “You… you… you love me?”
She had pressed herself to him again though he could feel her nodding against his chest. “What did you think I meant when I said I’d stay by your side always?”
The hanyou sighed and wrapped his arms more tightly around her. “I… I… I…”
Kagome sobbed into his juban. “You don’t love me, do you? I’d hoped you meant the same when you said you’d protect me…”
“I did,” he whispered.
Unable to put his feelings into words, InuYasha cupped her chin in his hand and tipped her face upwards. Lowering his mouth to hers, he gave her a tentative kiss.
This time it was Kagome’s eyes that opened wide. When he started to pull away, she wrapped her hands in his forelocks and pulled his face back down to hers. She closed her eyes as their lips met again, though this time with need and passion. She couldn’t hold back the tears of happiness that spilled from under her closed lids.
A shiver ran through each of them, though whether it was from their desire for each other, or the fact that the white flakes were still falling around them and over them, they didn’t know.
“I don’t want you getting sick, Kagome,” InuYasha said quietly when they finally pulled apart. “The snow is still coming down.”
The young miko nodded. “All right - we probably should go back to Kaede’s. You must be cold, too, since I have your firerat.”
“Feh. I ain’t no puny human. You need it right now,” he answered.
“What I need is for you to forget what you did and forgive yourself. You need to give yourself a clean slate,” Kagome suggested.
InuYasha shook his head. “I can’t – I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I need to remember what I did, but I’ll try to remember that I was supposed to kill you, but didn’t.”
“That’s what’s important,” Kagome agreed. She wrapped her hand around the kotodama and yanked it over his head. “And I never want to use this on you again. I didn’t want to use it on you this time, but you wouldn’t answer me, and I had to talk to you. Promise me we’ll try to talk things out from now on, rather than making assumptions. I trust you, InuYasha; I always have. That was something that Naraku never understood. You need to learn to trust yourself.”
Kagome giggled softly when he scooped her up in front of him, and she saw the imprint that InuYasha had made when thrown into the snow.
“What’s funny about that, Wench?” the hanyou asked, trying to sound harsh but failing miserably. The imprint he had made in the ground where he flailed his legs and arms in the snow was still there, but a new layer of white covered the bare ground.
“You made a snow angel, InuYasha,” she answered.
“I ain’t no angel!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, you are – you’re my guardian angel,” Kagome said with smile. “Will you take me back now, before we both end up with pneumonia?”
InuYasha nodded and took off with a bound, his own angel tucked safely in his arms.