Down the Rabbit Hole Again by Tsuki no Tennyo
Down the Rabbit Hole Again
Author's Note: [originally posted 06.24.15] Whoops, I wrote something depressing.
He had never expected to meet her again. The priestess who he had fought side-by-side so many centuries ago, who was then taken away by a peculiar well. She had disappeared without a trace, never to return, but here she was now five hundred years later. She looked older, more like a woman in her mid-twenties than the young girl who was by his brother's side.
"The patient's name is Higurashi Kagome, Dr. Nishimura."
Yes, that sounded correct. It was her, could only be her. The scent was undeniable.
"Family?" he asked, though he suspected he already knew the answer.
"Deceased, unfortunately. An automobile accident three years ago. Killed her mother, younger brother, and an elderly grandfather."
His eyes remained locked on her, but she sat still on the bed in her small room, eyes seeming distant and lost in a whole other world. She didn't move, didn't speak, didn't make any gesture that she was even aware of where she was.
"Where was she?"
"Her old schoolmates found her on her family's shrine trying to jump down an old well repeatedly. They believe she was trying to commit suicide and join her family."
"When they had her committed, she was even more malnourished than now. Poor thing."
"Yes," he murmured, tearing his eyes away from the young woman for a moment to look at the clipboard he carried. He skimmed through all of the information that was gathered about her: her birthday, blood type, past medical records, but he found himself remaining fixed on her name.
"Leave her to me," he said after a pregnant pause.
(How long had it been since white walls became a regular sight for her? They were so plain, ordinary, and mind-numbing. She had tried marking her days on it in the beginning, but after only four days, she was caught and reprimanded by the head nurse. It didn't matter, since it was beginning to get harder to keep track of when the day began and when it ended.)
"Kagome? Hello, I am Dr. Nishimura, and I will be watching over you from now on. How are you feeling today?"
He froze, not expecting her to recognize him in his new appearance. It had been so long since he had last heard the name he had abandoned, it sounded so foreign to his ears. Regaining his composure, he spoke gently, "I am sorry, but you must have me mistaken for someone else. My name is Nishimura Takeru."
"Takeru," she repeated, disbelieving.
"Dr. Nishimura," a nurse interrupted, stepping between the two, "Kagome here likes to create a fantasy world and make up characters," she glanced at Kagome with a forced smile, "don't you, dear?"
Kagome stared at the nurse, irked by her patronizing tone, but she remained quiet. She fiddled with the hem of her gown, needing something to distract herself from the people in the room.
"Nurse, please leave and allow me some time with the patient alone."
"Ye-yes, Dr. Nishimura."
He waited until the nurse left and closed the door. Then he turned and faced the one woman in the world who remembered him.
(Everyone said they were trying to help her, to make her better, but there was nothing wrong with her. It was them who were wrong. Her mind was perfectly sound, full of memories they would never be able to understand. She was blessed to have been a part of something truly amazing. No one would ever be able to understand that part of her life. No one, except maybe—
"You look different," she heard herself speaking, but she was lost in a daze as she stared at the man before her. "But it's you, isn't it?"
Sesshoumaru observed her carefully, noting that she rarely made any movement. She always had the appearance of waiting for something—someone. He suspected he knew who it was, and it made him wonder if he could be cruel enough to tell her the truth about the reality that was never to happen.
Such a sad girl, he had heard people lamented. So beautiful, but everything about her is so heartbreaking. No family, all alone in the world, and so very broken.
He wondered if he could be the one to fix her. Save her.
(Kagome stopped dreaming a long time ago. Only darkness filled her mind now during those long hours alone in bed. At times, nightmares visited her, adding more torment to her hellish existence. She would see her family again, all smiles and laughter one moment, and then bloodied remains of the last of her innocence.
She would wake up screaming hysterically, all covered in warm sweats while her heart beat wildly against her chest. The lights would flash on immediately as nurses swarmed her, all ready to dose her with more drugs. She would struggle, scream, fought until they drained the last of her will. As she fell back, barely aware of her head hitting the soft pillow, they would leave, turning off the lights and she would be back where she had started.
Staring up at the ceiling, she faintly remembered her friends from another time. She would slip back into oblivion, letting their images be the last thing she saw.
The beautiful demon slayer.
The fox demon child.
The kind monk.
"Kagome, kagome. The bird in the cage," she sang softly to herself as he walked into the room. He stood there in silence, listening as she sang through the rest of the song, and when she finished, he stepped closer to begin his daily examination.
"I've always hated this song," she whispered, not looking at him. "Still do."
He made no comment.
(It was no secret that he kept a close eye on her, but then, that was his job now, of course. It was, however, a secret that when he was not looking, she would watch him in the courtyard from her room's window, imagining the long silver hair flowing in the wind like once upon a time ago.
Instead of his sterile white medical coat, she would see armors that boasted of bloody victories.
Instead of his pen and syringe, she would see the two fangs, one that saved and one that destroyed.
Instead of that human face, she would see him. The real him.)
She was crying when he walked into her room one cloudy Wednesday morning. Kagome didn't say anything to him when he asked, but as the minutes ticked by, she finally whispered the reason for her tears: "It's my birthday. There's no one to celebrate with me."
It was funny how he had spent hundreds of years hardened, unable to feel empathy or compassion for others. It was funnier now that he felt everything for her. He felt his heart twist. He felt a strong desire to protect her. Comfort her.
He offered her a hug. She accepted.
"It was ten years ago when I met Inuyasha," she said softly against his ear. "And then you."
He pulled back, looking at her again to see if she remembered who he was. He swayed back when she pressed her chapped lips against his. He steadied her, holding her gently by the waist, and gave in to her in a moment of weakness.
"Why are you so kind now, Lord Sesshoumaru?"
"You have me mistaken," he responded, barely able to hold up his façade.
(They look alike, she would think, glancing at him when his eyes were away from her. His appearance was a little different, but not enough to fool her. He admitted his secret past to her once, but had since denied her the truth.
She wouldn't allow him this control.
"Don't lie to me," she commanded, unafraid. "Sesshoumaru."
She closed the door, grabbed his tie, and pulled him down until he was on top of her in bed. She stared into those old eyes, watching as they changed from dark brown to amber and then back again. It had been so long since she had seen those eyes. They weren't his eyes, but for a moment, she liked to think they were.)
He had never meant to cross the line between doctor and patient. Demon and human. Him and her. Like a siren, she lured him with mad, pretty little words, telling him of forgotten tales that he had lived through. He wanted to break away from her spell, to leave her to disappear in time as another forgotten soul, but there was a gravitational pull about her that kept him bounded to this woman.
He really could never escape her.
(She awoke from bed in a haze, seeing only silver hair and golden eyes. She thought of the half-demon whose destiny was tied with her, and she grew excited, believing that once again their love had transcended the boundaries of time and Heaven. Her spirit faltered when the figure came closer and she noticed the slight differences from her beloved demon.
The height was a little different, more foreboding than his. The hands caressing her was colder, less inviting, and yet almost possessive. Instead of the confident, youthful golden eyes she remembered, she found herself staring straight into piercing orbs that were able to freeze enemies at a glance.
No, this was not the demon she remembered, but she would still like to pretend it was.
"Inuyasha," she whispered fervidly, hoping that if she said it enough, it would come true. His hand supported her back, pulling her closer until she could feel herself pressed up to his muscled chest. Her hands grasped at his torso, frantically trying to unbutton his shirt. "Inuyasha."
He buried his face into her hair, inhaling the scent that only she possessed. She hoped he remembered her, remembered the young girl that pulled the arrow from him and set him free from his timeless slumber. Her hands shakily stopped at the middle buttons as she forced herself to repeat her mantra again.
She moaned his brother's name against his lips, thinking, dreaming, and wishing for the one that would never come for her. Her hands tangled into his hair, legs wrapped around him in a feverish hold. Her breath was so warm against his mouth he could just get drunk on her kisses.
He pulled her gown down, revealing smooth ivory flesh that begged to be touched, to be loved, and to be savored. He trailed kisses from her belly to her breasts, listening intently to each gasp and sigh, unaffected that she was crying for someone else.
He wondered when he became fine with being second choice.
(She lay on her side, watching as he got dressed, his every movement was logged in her mind to be replayed in slow motion. He reached for the doorknob, stopping only when she spoke up.
"Thank you," she said, eyes unwavering.
"That was not charity," he said quietly after a pause, leaving her to linger in their sex-filled musk.)
She remained quiet during daylight, ignoring all around her as she stayed alone in her room. A nurse had tried to make her leave for fresh air and social interaction once, but Kagome screamed and clawed until it was decided she was better off in isolation.
It wasn't long before the only person able to visit her alone without igniting a violent attack was Sesshoumaru. He visited her daily, often escorting a nurse as she placed the tray of food and medicine for the ill girl. After the two were left alone, he would begin speaking to her.
"Are you taking your medicine, Kagome?" he would ask, knowing the answer.
"Yes," she would lie, not even hiding the crushed pills on her windowsill.
He would sit in a chair, watching as Kagome ate her meal quietly, and when she was through, he would leave.
(Sometimes Kagome would ignore her meals, being unable to feel hunger or pain. She would watch the food grow colder, attracting only the attention of flies as they spoiled her meal. She would get chided by the head nurse again, but it did nothing to sway her. It didn't take long for her to lose weight, making her gown barely able to cover her already thin body. There were no mirrors in her room, but she imagined she was nothing but skin and bones now.
Would he recognizes me when we reunite?)
He watched as she teetered between sanity and madness. On good days, she would be quiet, but lucid, occasionally talking to him as if they were old friends. On bad days, however, she would disappear back in time to a whole other world, dreaming and remembering of things that were. To people that didn't know any better, they were the moonstruck words of a tragic woman.
He knew better, so he sat and listened, joining her in her reminiscence.
("Were they happy?" she asked him, warm breath gliding over his chilled skin.
"Yes," he lied.
"That's good," she said, unmoved by his benign lie.)
The ghost of his brother followed him through the different lifetimes he had taken. The phantom presence would relentlessly remind him of his past sins, of his inability to protect the few people he even showed a sliver of compassion for. He allowed himself to be haunted, to be manipulated like a puppet and take on roles that were a paradox to his very existence.
It was almost comical how powerful of a hold his brother had over him in death than when he was alive.
It wasn't as funny to see the hold he had over her, bounded and stripped away of her youth and beauty as she waited and waited.
(White, red, and gold were the colors of him, she reminded herself, afraid of forgetting almost as much as she feared being forgotten. She closed her eyes and mustered up the image of him, barely able to see the gleaming eyes and little fangs.
She opened her eyes again, seeing the one who was not him at her door.
"How are you feeling today, Kagome?" he asked like clockwork now.
"Tired," she replied.
She noticed he tensed for an instant, but then he resumed his physician role, continuing with their daily routine.)
"Inuyasha is dead," he forced the words out one sunny morning, finally finding the courage to be cruel. She was standing by the window, watching the other patients enjoy the warm day. He waited patiently for her to react, but she remained still, showing no signs of distress.
His hand clenched into a fist when he heard her finally speak.
"Oh. Well, that's alright," she said, knowing something that he didn't.
(It was late and she should have been asleep for two hours now, but instead she sat in bed, her eyes locked on the door, waiting for him to come. Through the small window in her door, she could see the lights flickered in the vacant hallway, adding further a quiet madness to this place she now called home. She counted the flickers, letting her mind go numbed as she waited.
She snapped out of her self-induced trance when she heard a soft creak, and then saw him entering, eyes dark with lust. He approached her, slowly changing to the warrior from the past.
She blinked slowly, and the clothes were off. He covered her form with his, barely able to restrain the last of his control as he began teasing her, worshiping her. He fell between her thighs with fast, rough movements, igniting a fire deep within her soul. He branded her with kisses; making it known that she was his and only his. She buried her face into his neck, kissing him hard and leaving her mark that he was hers and only hers.
"Sess-Sesshoumaru," she threw her head back with a moan, feeling him unravel the last shreds of decency she possessed. He groaned her name into her ears, a peculiar mixture of possessiveness and wanting.
She sighed softly against his skin, still lost in a state of euphoria and not even fazed when he stood up and got dressed. It was late, and he left her, like he always did. She allowed her last sight to be his disappearing back and the quiet closing of her door.
That night, she dreamt for the first time in ages, seeing a beautiful dream where everyone was waiting for her.)
Sesshoumaru began his day as normal: woke up before dawn, got dressed, drank his morning cup of coffee, and was then gathering his items when he sensed it. Dropping his briefcase, he followed the strong power calling for him. He opened his closet door and stared at the ancient sword leaning precariously in a dark corner.
It pulsated, calling for him after being dormant for so long. He reached towards it, but the pulsing ceased once he had grasped the hilt. He dropped the blade with a clatter, fearing the worst.
(Mama? I'm going now. Inuyasha and the others are waiting for me.
Crawling out of bed, Kagome staggered through darkness towards the door. She felt it. It was the well, alive again after forsaking her for so long. It was calling for her, telling her it was time for her to return. She wandered towards it, and then she opened the door and smiled, knowing that her loneliness was just seconds from being over. She had been a patient girl, waiting and believing that the well would one day call for her again.
It was time.
She stumbled forward.
She stood on the rim.
Just on the other side.
He arrived to the hospital seeing only red. He pushed through the crowd and walked across the yellow line until he stood before her. They had already covered her, labeled her as a tragic loss, but he knew better. He leaned down, pulling the cover back until he could see her face once more.
She was smiling.
And he wept.