Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha

Always

-1-


Kagome sighed as she plopped down onto her bed after shutting the door lightly behind her. She pointlessly glanced at her clock already knowing around what time it was.

"Awh..." she groaned. "Mid-terms..."

The orange glow of the sunset poured in through her bedroom window. Kagome Higurashi had only left the feudal Era a couple days ago and was already ready to go back.

"All that studying has made me so sleepy…" she whispered, yawning and sinking deep into her sheets. Sleep was welcoming her with open arms…

x.x.x.x.

Inuyasha leaned his head back against the lip of the well. The sun was fully set so darkness reigned over the clearing.

"Only a matter of hours," he mumbled dryly to himself, "…until I can go looking for the shards again."

The hanyou sighed, putting his elbow on his knee as a head rest. He pushed back the somewhat disturbing question that he'd been asking himself for a while now. Why was he waiting for her here?

Of course, a voice inside his lazy mind responded, because I hate waiting indoors.

He closed his eyes and a faint smile played on his lips; ears perked up for any sign of oncoming danger. As if there would be though. Not in this place.

Inuyasha was moments away from dosing off when his nose picked up a familiar scent. His eyes shot open and scanned the darkness of the surrounding trees. He could see nothing but he sensed her. He felt her presence in his core.

Soft swooshing noises could be heard in the distance, fading in and out of range like an echo bouncing off the rough, uneven walls of a cave.

Soul collectors, he concluded and found himself sitting up a little straighter.

Light foot steps approached and he hesitated before turning to look next to him.

Gold clashed with black.

"Inuyasha."

He knew that voice. The voice that used to be so warm and comforting but now sounded so cold and bitter…perhaps even foreign considering how much time and trickery had come between them.

"Kikyo…" he acknowledged softly.


"He clearly has some feelings for her Miroku, it's quite obvious." Sango raised her eyebrows at the still silent monk. "Geeze," she continued after prodding a bit more at the fire. "If you haven't noticed that yet you're stupider than I thought you were…"

"Sango, " his tone was stern, startling the slayer. She looked up at him questioningly. "You shouldn't speak of Inuyasha like that. If he truly loved her don't you think he would have told us by now? We are his companions."

In response to Sango's puzzled look he winked.

"What's gotten into you?" Sango asked more to the fire than to Miroku.

He motioned for her to come closer. After a moments hesitation Sango curiously obeyed.

"Listen Sango," he said in a hushed voice. "You are aware that I agree with you completely on the matter."

"Why are you whispering?" Sango questioned loudly.

"Shh! Have you forgotten already what happened yesterday? He could be listening in again..." His eyes flashed, looking cautiously to the window.

Sango laughed, taking a step back. "That was completely different. Shippo and you brought that upon yourselves by conversing so close to him. He has amazing hearing you know."

She walked back to the fire, hanging a pot of stew over the flame.

"And..." she glanced back at him. "You know where Inuyasha has gone."

"Yes but-"

"It's alright; I think we're fine until morning."

Miroku's mouth melted into a charming grin.

"If you insist my dearest Sango."

"Save it monk."

Miroku let out a chuckle and retreated back to the other side of the room where Kaede was crushing strongly scented herbs for ointment. She was oblivious to Miroku and Sango's conversation as she pursed her wrinkled lips in concentration.

After a moment, Sango stood and wandered to the hut's window. She was greeted with a thick darkness. For some reason this made her uneasy. Was the whole village asleep but them?

"…Inuyasha has been gone for a while." She began hesitantly. It was too early for all the village lights to be out. "I'm going to go tell him to come in. Kagome won't be back until morning and him moping around the well waiting for her definitely isn't going to make her return any faster."

She looked to Miroku who nodded his agreement.

"Sitting there will make it appear longer anyway and it's safest inside," he smiled. "Not that Inuyasha needs the protection. It just seems that everyone is out to kill him now a day."

"True. Then I'll be back in a bit," she said and hurried out the door.

The bamboo roll flapped back into place behind her, leaving Sango in the weak moonlight. Dead leaves crushed under her feet as she made her way towards the seemingly remote forest. She was nearly at the clearing when she saw them.

Kikyo. I should have known she was still alive...

Sango quickly took one step to the side and was immediately hidden behind a shady tree. Peaking over the edge of it she noticed they were speaking...arguing?

Why was she here, why now? Sango asked herself. This explains the quietness of the village...it figures only the residence of the priestess was not effected by the spell. What has she come for this time, Kagome?

This woman was not to be trusted. All that was left of this Kikyo was a hollow clay corpse, surviving on nothing but the souls of the dead and sheer hatred.

She hid herself again as Kikyo began shouting, her words confusing the demon slayer, yet wrenching her stomach with horror at the possibility.

x.x.x.x.

Her raven hair seemed to sparkle in the dim light, her eyes shining as if they were alive.

"Inuyasha." She repeated, louder, trying to shake him from his silence.

"Why are you here?" he questioned coldly, standing to his full height. He was trying to sound confident- bold, attempting to forget about their past together and focus on the ugly truth of their present relationship. You don't know her anymore.

"Here on this earth I no longer have a meaningful purpose," Kikyo began, turning to stare into the forest. "Although, me finding you here…is for us both to fulfill our destiny."

The wind blew rustling her robes and hair while and she smiled bitterly. Quietly, more to herself she said, "you still think of her, don't you Inuyasha. You are lying to yourself if you believe you can replace me."

He said nothing, so she continued. Her eyes bore into his own, feeding off of his uncertainty. Playing on his confusion. Depending on his weakness.

"We can go where we can be together. Is that not what you wanted Inuyasha?"

She relished in the hurt she saw in his face.

"There was a time when you loved me too," he reminded her. "Back before you became a traitor."

Her eyes clouded. It was a struggle to tell what she was thinking but he was eager to steer clear of the topic all together. Inuyasha couldn't bear to even look at her anymore. Everything would seem so clear and right in the world, then she would come and he always seemed to forget just how he felt about anything. About everything.

"Destiny…" he repeated to himself quietly. "Kikyo, you have to leave here."

The priestess' eyes flashed dangerously at him and he averted his gaze, knowing how much of a coward he was being.

Why was she doing this to him? She died in his eyes twice now, he couldn't bear to have this attachment to her again.

He raised his head, forcing himself to look her in the eye. It was the least he could do for her.

But this had to end. Tonight.

His expression turned into an unreadable mask. Not sad, not angry not confused anymore. "You can't stay," he repeated firmly.

Kikyo's smile faded into a thin line and her eyes into a penetrating stare at the thought of his rejection. "Then where will I go?"

He did not have an answer.

"This is the only way Inuyasha," she continued, sounding persuasively reasonable. "Together in hell we can fulfill our destiny. Mine to reign and yours to suffer for your tyranny." She laughed then, and it prickled along his skin like dry grass.

x.x.x.x.

'What? 'Sango stiffened. 'So she's finally trying to kill him. Inuyasha will finish her easily.' She exhaled slowly feeling the rough bark on her tense back. ' And for anything he fails to do out of his pity, I will be certain to finish.'

.x.x.x.x.

"I don't know what you're trying to say but if it's a fight you're asking for...I won't hold back on you."

Kikyo fixed her attention on him once more and she noticed him falter, just a moment, before finding himself again.

"You know, I do not need to fight you for you to come with me. I am too polite, aren't I?" she smiled.

Inuyasha's eyes widened in a mix of fear and fascination as a crimson glow came seeping out of her white skin. He felt its power, its purpose as it slithered around her whole being. Its presence was strong, almost alarmingly powerful and…It was beautiful but he could feel the danger entwined in the light. He cried out, a strangled sound, as the weight suddenly pressed down on him, flattening him into nothing.

I can't…

It was much too late by the time he realized what was happening. Inuyasha heard someone call out to him from far away before his vision went black and his bones felt heavy and his body broke out in a sweat. It became uncomfortably hot.

x.x.x.x.

Sango listened in confusion.

"You know, I do not need to fight you for you to come with me. I am too polite, aren't I?"

What the hell is that supposed to mean? She doesn't have the power to-

An eerie light caught the corner of her eye and she heard Inuyasha yell. The feeling that came over her body made the hairs stand up on the back of her neck but she forced herself to move and stepped out from the cover of the tree to face the well. The sight had her sprinting towards the two. Taking a dagger from her belt she cursed to herself through clenched teeth.

"Stop!" Sango screamed; panic turning her legs to jelly at the sight of Inuyasha's trembling body, slumping forward, slinking to the ground. She threw the knife at Kikyo and it got her attention. She glanced at the weapon protruding from the ground by her feet as if it was a child's toy, then back to Sango. The look was mocking, condescending and the way she tilted her head to the side was even more unnerving.

Hold on Inuyasha!

Sango felt herself being thrown back onto the grass, temporarily blinded. When she opened her eyes again, the clearing was dark and silent.

The clouds parted to let moonlight paint the outline of the leaves. A small crater replaced where Inuyasha and Kikyo once stood and remnants of energy still emanated from the earth there. Her dagger was embedded in the ground.

Her friend was gone.

"Inuyasha…?" Sango whispered into the shadow with disbelief. She scrambled over to the hole in the ground and pulled her knife from the earth. That bitch. Breathing in the chill of the night air, she clenched the handle of the blade tighter, angry. Realization struck her with force and she found herself running as fast as her legs would allow her in the direction of the village. She had to find someone- quickly.


End -1-