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Timekeeper by Tsuki no Tennyo

Timekeeper

Author's Note: In my defense: this was already written back in January along with Tick Tock. …I've just been busy and didn't feel like posting it together with the other story.

Onto something else, I had a comment wanting a brief continuation, and normally I don't entertain the idea of sequels or the likes, but I have some wheels spinning this time. So real question: how interested would people be in reading an epilogue-ish of Kagome's daughters and Sesshoumaru? If I do write it, I promise it would be the last nail on this tragic series. (In the meantime, my next story will be a happy one, promise!)

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She met him when she was fifteen, this creature that was beautifully dangerous, or maybe he was dangerously beautiful. As mesmerizing as he was, he was nothing more than an enigma that escaped her as she had only eyes for the half-demon that shared his blood.

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At seventeen, she disappeared with the well, thinking only of his brother and the friends she was ripped away from.

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Eighteen, he stood a head taller in the crowd, looking nothing like the ethereal creature she remembered from a time gone by, but instilling a different kind of anxiousness in her as she felt her heavy legs dragged across the sea of people, her friends' concerns lost on her ears. Without thinking, she reached out for the sleeve of this stranger's suit, and he gave her a peculiar look.

She barely heard her voice speaking, tumbling over words as she gathered her wits and pulled away.

It was only when she felt his strong grip on her hand and heard his deep, rich voice did she realized how much she ached for the past, even if he was the only one left—the only one that came back to her.

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She had never imagined at nineteen she would be a stranger in her own time period, feeling so out of place, like an alien far from home. Stranger than her feeling of disconnection with home, she felt oddly comforted by his presence as she watched him drink his iced coffee, responding to her idle chatters with surprising civility.

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Twenty rolled by, and although she had an inkling of what had happened, she still asked about the half-demon that never came for her.

He is dead, he answered, short and cold, leaving no room for clarification.

I thought so, she admitted, feeling a strange weight finally being lifted off her shoulders as her heart continued to ache for a different kind of pain.

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She tried to stir up the past at twenty-one, but he had crushed her efforts with one firm reminder that he did not care for her friends or the past.

His words stung, but she tried not to let it get to her. Instead, she displayed her confusion, asking, Then why are you here—with me?

She waited for the answer that never came.

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She bustled into the café, twenty-two and late for their annual meet-up. Sweats gleamed down the side of her face as she settled into her seat, grinning after giving him a petulant stuck-out tongue when he scolded her for her tardiness.

Never once did she think they would banter the way they did, or talked as comfortably about nothing, and she realized she did not want to let it go.

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All dolled up at twenty-three in a red dress that hugged her slim figure beautifully, she captured several male gazes along the way, but she had eyes for only him. With a little liquid courage, she pressed her red painted lips against his, thinking he felt the same as she did.

He was still at first, but then he pushed her away.

You are not thinking clearly, she heard him say, shocking her.

Her mind became fuzzy as she tried to protest, feeling hot tears welling up in her eyes.

I will not be your replacement of him.

Her heart cracked at his cold words as she tried to make sense of everything. She never did remember when he had dropped her off at her home alone.

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She perfected her smile at twenty-four, talking with him about this and that, but never the one incident that nearly drove him away. She would rather bury the past than lose him again.

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A man that was not him walked into her life at twenty-five, and she hesitantly allowed him entrance into her heart, though she still left room for the former demon lord to come in, if he so chose.

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She did not wait for him at twenty-six when he left her for the other side of the world. She tired of distance separating her from everyone and everything she had ever loved. Worse, she realized why he had rejected her. She was only an instant in his long life. She could remember him when she was old and frail, but she wondered when he would start to forget her. She didn't think she could bear the thought, so she locked her feelings away and exchanged vows with someone who was not him.

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She was nervous at twenty-seven standing outside the restaurant as she felt her child kicked inside her womb. She smoothed her dress over her round figure and walked into the restaurant where he waited.

She had never seen his eyes as wide as they were then, and she couldn't help but smiled at that. When he gave her a long look, she laughed, Six months. I feel like a cow.

You look lovely, he said, voice calm and careful, and she ached.

What a liar, she scoffed as she sat down in her seat with his help.

She remembered a time when his very presence would instill fear, but now she felt warmed and safe by his side. She stroked her wedding ring, thinking she had almost everything she had ever wanted.

Except him. All of him.

Will I see you next year?

She looked at him, laughing, Why would you not?

Deep down, though, she knew nothing would last forever. Especially them. Whatever this was.

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Her world shifted at twenty-eight when she realized she loved someone even more than him. She placed a tender kiss on her newborn daughter's forehead, and apologized quietly for her sins.

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He asked the inevitable question when she was twenty-nine and expecting again: Should we stop meeting?

Without missing a beat, she snorted, Yeah. When I'm dead. She meant every word, not wanting to lose whatever moments she could create with him.

When he suggested the most expensive item on the menu for her baby's sake, she smiled widely, wondering how this was the same ruthless demon she had met when she was a teenager. They had both changed so much, and she quite liked that.

You spoil me, she said.

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He showed concern for her when she was thirty, thin, and tired from the unexpected turmoil of motherhood.

She assuaged his worries with a smile, but she could see a strange flicker of emotion in his eyes. He talked with her more and more, but there were still so many things he did not share. She wondered if she would ever get to know everything in his head and heart.

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Are you seeing anyone?

The words tumbled out of her mouth with ease as she waited with expectant eyes.

Yes, he answered, unknowingly igniting a jealous flame she hadn't felt in a long time. She hated herself in that moment for her hypocrisy, showing him pictures of her smiling family while holding some hope that he was still hers to have. She tried to smother the rage she felt at the thought of others touching him, having him in ways that she couldn't, and it frightened her to realize how deep her feelings were.

She reached across for his hand, holding onto it tightly. His steady gaze washed away her jealousy until she felt only faint hints of it.

I hope you are happy, she said, meaning every word no matter how much her heart throbbed.

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Thirty-two through thirty-five were a whirlwind of family affairs, circumstances, and other inconveniences. They made promises to find time, but every time she had blinked, a year had passed and they missed their chance. She wondered if they were both unconsciously doing this on purpose, igniting the end that perhaps should have happened long ago.

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Karma was a bitch, she realized at thirty-six after she had thrown her husband out of the house for his infidelity. She looked up from her glass of water, seeing him still waiting for her to speak since they had sat down at their table.

I left my husband, she finally confessed, and remarkably, registering the words for the first time since the incident took place. Resigned, she continued softly, appearing nonchalant, He was sleeping with his student. Who knows who else?

Realizing who she was meeting with again, she laughed bitterly to herself as she buried her face in her hands. Fuck, I am such a hypocrite.

You are nothing like him! his voice was full of rage, sending her into a startled silence.

She felt her heart beat softly for his words, his approval, his affection. She quieted those feelings, raising her menu, and forcing a smile on her face. What should we eat today?

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He was quieter than usual on her thirty-seventh year, eyes sweeping over her, searching, realizing.

She broke the ice, grinning, People are whispering. What are they saying?

They think you are a cougar, he said in all seriousness, causing her to keel over laughing with how true the image must look. He barely looked like he was in his mid-twenties even though she suspected he must be pushing towards a millennium already.

If only, she thought as she protested at his attempt to jest.

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At thirty-eight, she realized she had spent roughly two decades with him, here and there. She wished it had been fuller.

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Thirty-nine and she was cold and in pain, not seeing the car that had lost control and struck her down. Rain pounded mercilessly on her battered body and all she could think was of how disappointed he would be in her tardiness.

She could hear voices and sirens, but they seemed so far away now, being drowned out by a deafening ringing in her ears.

Her eyes closed, and the memories came rushing back, blurring the thin line of reality and desires. His calm, even voice echoed among the ringing: chiding her, exasperated with her, pleased with her. She could almost feel the firm but gentle grip he had on her wrist like on that fateful day. She ached, seeing those sad, lonely eyes, resigned to a life without redemption or peace. She knew she was dying, and yet she almost wanted to laugh that he was the one to flash through her mind. She wondered when his existence became etched into her heart, replacing all others and comforting her even in her last moments.

Kagome!

His voice broke through the ringing, stirring her out of her memories. For a moment, he looked just like how she remembered him when she was twenty-two. She managed a smile. He was back. He was here. He would be lonely again.

S-sorry, I'm late.

His face froze in shock, and then she heard a humorless laugh, feeling him gently lifting her close to his chest.

She was so cold and he was so warm. It was getting harder to breathe, but she didn't mind wasting her last breath on him:

I still...you…

Maybe in another life, they would get it right, she wished.

 

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