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Lady Almost Lost by Lyra

Lady Almost Lost

Lady Almost Lost

~~~ - - ~~~

I.

To love someone is madness, to be loved by someone is a gift, loving someone who loves you is a duty, but being loved by someone whom you love is life.”

~~~ - - ~~~

Inuyasha surprised Kagome, when their battle with Naraku was through. He brought her home to the village, and stayed with her there, offering, not promises, but something. It was a something she had thought she wanted for a very long time; the admission of deeper feelings that had stirred her for so long...but once she had accepted that admission, things began to change...

And not for the better.

The next time she tried to leave with him, to go journey on a newer, smaller adventure, he did not forbid it, but neither did he encourage her company. Perhaps it was knowing that she would never allow him that much control that prevented him from ordering her to stay; perhaps if he had said something explicit, they would have argued their usual argument and then moved past it.

But he was so obviously upset by her intentions, so distressed, so irritated – and in a way that she had never seen before - that Kagome did not go. She stayed, and tended the house, and was there to welcome him home with dinner and a half-embarrassed kiss.

There was no argument about the subject, because Inuyasha never brought it up willingly and because Kagome felt she could not berate him for his feelings; she thought she understood, even without asking, what it was that he expected – what it was that had changed.

Inuyasha intended to be a warrior, protecting the village – and now that she was not needed to seek out shards, Kagome was...only a woman, not even a true miko.

Her place was in their home, though that was surely not what she had hoped for.

She had grown used to their exciting life, to the danger...to youkai and battle and the things that had once frightened her. Those were the things for which she had given up her other life – and she missed them.

For a while, she bore up well, never thinking to complain...or what she might complain of, really. She managed, for the sake of Inuyasha’s love, which she had tried so hard to win. He did not speak of it often, expressed it less than that – the occasional embrace, more rarely still, a kiss – never anything more. But the knowledge was there, and so for a time, it sustained her.

For a time.

But a month passed, and then three, and then six. By the time winter descended light and woolly over the village, she had begun to fade. Her skin, always prettily pale, gained pallor instead. She slept poorly; she lost weight. She found she had little to do, keeping house just for herself and Inuyasha, who did not require much, and cared about less – but one morning it took all her energy to get out of bed, and she was...surprised.

How had she gotten so weak?

Kagome spent the day in a pool of wan sunlight that seemed to drip heavily and puddle just outside her door. She stared at the forest, wishing for things that she had expected to never want again; wishing for the promise of destruction or just a little bit of mayhem...wishing, and listening hungrily for the sounds of the wild world.

~~~ - - ~~~

That day, when he returned home with a deer over his shoulder and found Kagome asleep by the threshold, Inuyasha couldn’t help but notice, finally, that something was wrong; very wrong. He fretted, carried Kagome to bed, tucking her in securely, ignoring her protests when she woke to find him home. Then he summoned Kaede, who came at once and then immediately did the worst possible thing out of the best possible intentions.

She confined Kagome to her bed, softening her strictures only with the addendum that she would be better soon, and free to get up then.

Kagome’s eyes grew dark with her objection to this, but nothing she could say would convince either Kaede or Inuyasha to see reason. She tried again when Sango and Miroku visited, but they saw her “condition” and began to speak in hushed voices; even Shippou, returning from his Kitsune training to see her, was dim and quiet, his exuberance repressed by Inuyasha’s glares, his smiles turned to confusion and worry.

None of them, it seemed, understood what the problem was, or even seemed willing to listen. The next morning, Kagome tried talking to Inuyasha, tried talking to Sango and Miroku...but only Shippou seemed to hear her, and he could do no more to convince the others than she could.

The difficulty was...immense. How could she explain, and how could they understand, that what was killing her was life, in the feudal age? She had not been prepared. She had thought – but no. It was too completely different from what their lives had been on the move.

Miroku had always had dreams of a quiet life, a life without the threat of Naraku hanging over his head, a life with sons who would never know a curse. Kagome had known this, but finding that Sango shared similar dreams surprised her. Her friend, the closest thing she would ever have to a sister, was settling with contentment and even delight into the role of wife and mother-to-be. Sango still kept her skills tuned – just in case – but even so she stayed close to home.

And Inuyasha...what was there to say about Inuyasha? He had always wanted a normal life, to be one thing or another rather than endlessly in between; Kagome knew that. But she had equated their travels, their battles, their endless trade, one foe for another, with normal. And that was wrong. She had known, in the beginning, that it was wrong, but as time went by, and dragged on, and on -

She had, not forgotten, but rather allowed her knowledge of the normal past to slide into the background of her thoughts.

Normal was sweeping, sprinkling water on the dirt floor to cool it and tamp it down. Normal was cooking rice, cooking meat, cooking ramen – for as long as it lasted. Normal was to sew, or embroider, or weave, or spin, or do laundry; normal was...boring.

Empty.

Normal was to very occasionally be visited by a villager seeking a remedy, when Kaede wasn’t available; normal was to twice each week go to visit Kaede, both to check up on the elderly woman and to be further trained. At first, she had used the evenings to her advantage, stretching normal to its limit so she might practice with her bow...but when Inuyasha had caught her he seemed upset, had gone so far as to ask why she kept up such training, when “I can protect you now, Kagome.

She had thought that silly; she had been the one to purify Naraku, after all...but she had not argued. What was the point? He looked so hurt, as if she thought him incapable of keeping her safe.

Now, with the time that had passed, she had wilted like a beautiful flower in stagnant water. Her arguments no longer mattered. She doubted she could draw the bow far enough to shoot an arrow any more.

What had sustained her this long was hope, merely hope. That Inuyasha, who had seen the modern world, her world, might understand – but at the end of one afternoon’s strained conversation, she was forced to give up. His only real knowledge came from observing her family, and her mother had stayed at home, tending house and watching over her father-in-law as a good woman should.

What Kagome came to understand in the course of that one conversation, perhaps a week after she had been put to bed, was that Inuyasha had never understood what she was learning at school – what mathematics and English and chemistry actually were.

He thought she was learning wifely duties; he thought that school was to teach her the only things he knew that women could do with their lives. Close to exasperated but too tired to put any force into her feeling, Kagome tried one last time.

“But there aren’t just girls – there are boys in my school, Inuyasha. Do you think they were learning – wifely duties?”

He had looked at her as if she had said something incredibly foolish.

“Of course not! They learn farming and martial arts and archery and...that stuff, right?”

He had taken her silent stare for agreement, and she had been forced to roll over her entire interpretation of Inuyasha...to roll it right into a grave. Of course he wouldn’t understand the future! How could he? She had given pieces of it to him – video games with her brother, ramen noodles, the knowledge that automobiles were not demons – but he didn’t have the context to hang those things on. The culture was lost on him; he could not see it. And so many things had changed...

In the same way, she could not adapt to the confinement of the past, and they, who loved her, could not see it.

In a brilliant moment of clarity, she saw that even Sango did not know Higurashi Kagome; only Kagome, Maiden of the Shikon Quest. Kagome, an incomplete Priestess, an incomplete woman; Kagome, the guardian of the sacred jewel.

Long days in bed gave her nothing to do but think, and occasionally make little notes in the margins of an old school notebook that she used as a journal. Kaede’s north-western window became the frame for Kagome’s whole world.

After three weeks had passed, and the pen had grown too heavy to hold, and all her thoughts were become as white and trackless as the snow, she began to wonder if she would see the spring.

She thought of death, and life, and felt no fear but only a sad sense of disappointment. Kaede saw what was happening, but said nothing to the others; it would do no good, only worry them, and lately Inuyasha’s worry had begun to translate into rage.

She might have withered away, a flower made fragile by its time on the vine; alone, without anyone to understand.

In the end, it was Sesshomaru who saved her.

~~~ - - ~~~

II.

~~~ - - ~~~

He came unannounced and unexpected, surprising even Inuyasha, who had been far too worried about Kagome to track suspicious scents or auras. The surprise was greater because Sesshomaru came bringing his girl with him; Rin, a child as elusive as a forest spirit.

The expression that settled on the girl’s face as she walked into Kaede’s house beside Sesshomaru was like that of someone going to her execution, but only Kagome noticed. She had never seen Rin other than happy any time she was not in danger, and slowly, her eyes moved between Sesshomaru and the child, wondering. But her thoughts were exhausted and she fell back against her cushions almost at once.

The faint thump of Kagome’s head against her pillow interrupted Sesshomaru’s first attempt to speak to Kaede – and he turned, giving in to an impulse which he rarely denied. He had always been...curious, about this woman-who-was-not-quite-Inuyasha’s. She had always seemed like a storm to him; unafraid, and beautiful in a wild way that was appealing. He desired her – quietly; and like all things that he desired but could not yet have, he watched her carefully – when he was able.

Looking at her in that moment of distraction, Sesshomaru found himself confused, and almost angry. Her skin pale as wax, her eyes hollow, black circles beneath them, her hair thin and unkempt -

He found himself suddenly alone in the middle of the room as the others back away from a swell of power he was completely unaware of. Kagome opened her eyes, feeling the surge of youki, and her doing at that moment was unexpected enough that she caught a moment of unguarded expression on Sesshomaru’s face...a fierce protectiveness, a terrible desire...and a more terrible anger.

He looked down at the girl standing beside him, and then up again, his eyes moving to each person standing in the room – Inuyasha, Sango, Miroku, Kaede.

“Rin, there is a change of plans. Seeing now how my brother and his...companions take care of their own human woman, I have no intention of allowing them to do the same to you. I will not be asking anything of them. You will remain with me.”

Kagome saw the haunted expression leave Rin’s wide brown eyes; it was replaced with the smile she was familiar with. But her eyes were yanked back to Sesshomaru’s face as he spoke again.

“Inuyasha...”

He turned slowly, and fixed his brother with an unyielding stare.

“Tell me why it is that on the day I come to seek aid for my ward, I have instead found that you are killing this woman?”

Inuyasha flared immediately.

“Killing – you bastard! Kagome’s been sick and we – we don’t know what’s wrong -”

Sesshomaru took one quick step forward. A sharp smack silenced Inuyasha; blood flowed from the corner of his mouth.

“Even you, half-breed that you are, should be able to scent this woman’s health, Inuyasha. She is so weak one foot is on the threshold of darkness – but she is not ill. You will not lie to...”

He paused, seemed to blink, reassess, and then his eyes widened the slightest bit.

“You are not lying. You believe this...foolishness?”

He had been forced to change directions in mid-sentence; he was not sure whether to be more irritated or relieved that his brother was not cruel, only an idiot.

Sesshomaru turned to Kagome, and looked her over again, far more closely than he had ever done while she was aware of him. He traced the trembling of her lips with his eyes, the staring curve of her cheekbone, the deadness of her gaze.

And then he spoke.

“Miko, you will tell me what is wrong with you. The truth. I will know...anything else.”

He left off what he did not have to say: that for him to know anything else would be...unpleasant, to say the least.

For nearly an entire minute, Kagome sat quietly, and then surprised everyone by beginning to sob. If she’d been in any shape for it she probably would have run out of the room. Sesshomaru heard mumbling through her tears, the occasional odd word.

“All my fault! Should have....tried...I tried...can’t go...but I can’t stay! I can’t...I can’t live, here. It’s...”

She dissolved completely in her upset, and Sesshomaru watched with a great and growing irritation as Kagome’s friends stood staring in great uncertainty. Only Inuyasha approached her, and he reached out a hand to pat her shoulder, gently, awkwardly.

“Kagome...Kagome, what are you talking about? You can’t leave, not like this; you aren’t going anywhere! It’ll be okay...we’ll figure out what’s wrong, I -”

But she shook her head, and then leaned back against her pillow, wiped her eyes and closed them.

“No...no...I just can’t get anyone to understand. Not even you, Inuyasha. Don’t you see that I’m just not...just not meant to be here? I’m not sick, I just can’t do it. I can’t live...this life. I thought I could, I thought I knew...but I was so wrong! The adventure’s over and I...I can’t be the woman you want me to be, Inuyasha.”

She was quiet, and did not sob any more, but tears continued to trickle past her eyelashes. Sesshomaru stared at her, continuing his careful examination. He was not pleased with further things revealed to his eyes, and her words brought him interesting thoughts. “The adventure’s over...and I can’t be...

He turned, once more, to his brother.

“She cannot be the woman you want, Inuyasha? What have you done to her?”

His tone was deadly cold. Inuyasha snarled, growled.

“N-nothing! Kagome’s my – she – I -”

He flushed brilliantly and scowled, muttering a few choice words under his breath.

“She’s my woman, damn it, and she’s been doing what a woman’s supposed to do! That’s all -”

The look of fury that illuminated Sesshomaru’s face in the moment following his words succeeded in shutting Inuyasha’s mouth.

He now understood, completely. He had seen over many human generations the life that a woman was expected to lead. And the miko – Kagome – she was different from any woman he had ever seen. It was clear to him now what it was that was afflicting her.

“In youkai, this thing that is taking the woman is called battle fever. It is not a sickness, but it does kill...so slowly, so silently. It comes when those who live for the sake of their rushing blood are forced to do otherwise; it is the pressure of silence, the pressure of empty days. It is both suicide and murder, and you – you -”

Humans cowered against the walls. Inuyasha’s ears drooped flat on his head. The surprise that had overwhelmed him with Sesshomaru’s involvement beyond sudden scorn turned to terror with satisfying rapidity. Something very different than the usual darkness was moving in Sesshomaru’s face; various expressions came to life there and then fled, all of them horrifying.

He, too, had once been trapped by someone else’s expectation of his duties, by someone else’s outline for his future. He had cut his way clear, had cleaved a path through blood and fire to have his own life, the way he wanted it.

That included this miko, who he had come to desire more than any other thing in his world; because she was beautiful, and strong. Because he owed her a debt of destruction that he had not yet paid.

He would not let her die; not now, not ever.

Sesshomaru reached out and grasped Kagome’s hand, and then reached behind her shoulders to steady her. He felt the bones in her fingers, the utter thinness of her, the complete lack of flesh, and felt anger...and pity.

And then again anger.

“What were you thinking?”

The words were barely more than a hiss, directed at Inuyasha. Then he bent, and ignoring her decidedly feeble protests Sesshomaru gathered Kagome up into his arms. Immediately, Inuyasha stepped forward, his sword slipping easily from its sheath into his hands, but he could do nothing without risking harm to Kagome and he stood vibrating with tension, redness flickering in his eyes.

Sesshomaru ignored him, and looked down at the woman in his arms, light as a shadow.

“I save your life, Kagome. Now it is mine, to do with what I will.”

She stared at him; he waited for her argument, her fire, the spark that had brought her to his mind. The spark had summoned him back to her, more than once...

But there was nothing. He felt a pain; had he waited too long?

“Do you understand? I am bringing you with me, woman. I have decided to save your life, not end it. I should never have believed the half-breed was intelligent enough to care for you; I should never have waited so long.”

He eyed her for a moment, then the rest of the room...and then decided to hell with them all. He would neither hide nor deny his intentions; that, more than anything, had gotten his father into trouble.

You wake in me kyouran, the fury, the madness. You wake in me a feeling – and so I make you mine. I make you mine, for as long as you will have me...Kagome.”

He contemplated for a moment, and then shook his head; he had heard that name called too many times by his brother, in anger and frustration and fear.

“Your name, though – I will find something more...suited to you.”

“You can’t change my name!”

He was pleased to find that there was some life left in her, and smiled very slowly. She had protested his intentions, but not his claim; already, she gave him more than he had expected.

The shock of his warmer expression silenced her. He felt her become immobile in his grasp.

I will not change it. You do not know the rituals of courtship; you will learn. It is enough for you to know that I will choose another name; a name suited for you – a name only I will use. A name to hold the fullness of my feelings.”

He went to the door; at the threshold, he turned and said a summoning word.

“Rin.”

The girl trotted to his side; Inuyasha leapt at the door, and Sango and Miroku just managed to catch him by the sleeves and hold him back.

“Inuyasha – Inuyasha! You’ll hurt Kagome – Inuyasha!

They held him by the cloth of his haori, pulling him back with all their strength, and still he managed to take five steps outside, dragging them with him, following his brother.

By then it was too late; Sesshomaru had taken to the sky, where Inuyasha could not reach him.

A heart-rending cry followed the cloud of youki as it sped away toward the horizon with its precious burden.

“Kagome! Kaaagooomeeeeeee!”

~~~ - - ~~~

By nightfall, Sesshomaru had returned to his fortress, and his guards and servants were astonished to see that not only had he returned with the girl who was meant to become the ward of a human village – he had returned with another human - a woman; a woman whose scent and presence was heavy with purifying power.

He brought Kagome to a deserted wing, and summoned servants to put together a curtained bedchamber under his own eyes. With the swiftness usual of youkai service, it was done in less time than it took for him to arrange, and Kagome, who had drowsed uneasily in Sesshomaru’s grasp, found herself being laid on a pile of soft furs.

Then Sesshomaru bent, and brushed his lips against her mouth. It was barely a kiss, more a promise than anything – but it woke her to the meaning of the words he had spoken in Kaede’s house, words she had thought it would be better not to trust or believe in.

You wake in me kyouran, the fury, the madness; you wake in me a feeling, and so I make you mine...

She stared up at him, blinking in confusion and terror and joy. The pounding of her heartbeat was loud in her ears, and she waited for something, anything, to happen – to break this moment.

And then he spoke, and she found herself sinking back into drowsiness, the open doors of sleep...wondering what it was that she had gotten herself into this time, and glad of it. More glad than she had ever been in her life.

“Good night, miko. In the morning, your life begins again.”

After the months she had spent living to be Inuyasha’s and only for that reason, the thought was oddly exciting. Surely to be Sesshomaru’s would be to be alive - to be on the very edge of life, to be immersed in the essence of it. And that kiss – there was such promise in it...

In all the time she had been with Inuyasha, she had never felt as wanted as in that single moment, feeling great passion restrained in the brush of Sesshomaru’s lips.

Slowly, she lifted one arm, stared at her hand, her grip loose, her fingers fleshless, the veins at her wrist blue and prominent beneath translucent skin.

And still, he desires me? What is left...to desire?

She leaned her head back against the soft furs, and nestled against them, and slept. It was a deep and nurturing sleep, a real rest like she had not had in ages. She dreamed that Sesshomaru had not only kissed her; she dreamed that he had climbed beneath the furs with her, that he had stayed to show her the passion that he had hidden from her in waking life.

She moaned and turned in her sleep, reaching for someone who was not there.

The sound crept through the halls and galleries of the shiro, until it came to Sesshomaru’s ears. Again, he smiled; it was good to know he was not alone in his desire.

In the morning, Kagome found herself attended by two watchful pairs of eyes, one gold, one brown. Sesshomaru was sitting very close to her, and she was embarrassed to find that she had turned in her sleep; she was somehow holding onto him, her fingers wrapped around his fingers, and his other hand rested gently on her hair.

That day, with a kiss and the promise of any breakfast she desired, Sesshomaru began to heal her. She was brought to a courtyard that was golden with sun and patterned with leafy shadows; she wondered at it, feeling the warmth on her skin, the lack of winter. It made her feel more alive just to be outside. She was not the most steady on her feet, but Sesshomaru walked with her, talked with her, supported her...

She was becoming Higurashi Kagome again, becoming complete. Slowly, peering out of her shell, as it were, Kagome began to notice things about Sesshomaru. She saw that he was not cold, only reserved; that he was not silent...but neither did he speak merely to hear the sound of his own voice. He said what was necessary; spoke in warning, and in command...and sometimes asked her odd questions, which seemed to follow on some train of thought that she could not follow.

She learned to love the sound of his voice, and even more, the infinitely rare sound of his laughter...but she didn’t notice what it was that was happening to her until the night she took her good-night kiss herself. Then, basking in the glow of his eyes, feeling warmth and heat spread out through her limbs, into the tips of her fingers -

Then, she knew. And she did not think to question whether it was good, or bad, or appropriate...she knew why it had happened, too. She thought back to the first moment, the moment in which this had begun.

“Sesshomaru – Sesshomaru, what is it you are going to do, now that you’ve made me love you?”

The glow in his eyes became something more; something other. His hands reached for her, and she allowed them; tenderly, almost gently, he pressed her back into her bed.



~~~ - - ~~~

III.

~~~ - - ~~~



The love they bore for one another was strong and deep and true. It saw them through violence, and peace – through births, and deaths, and more births...and more deaths.

After sixty years, it was still easy to remember how they had come together; alone, at last, each of them, except for the other. No one else understanding. And then a madness; a fury.

Love.

But Sesshomaru would be alone now - again. Time had done what it could to him, but that was nothing; it had done what it could to her, and that was...death.

He had known; he had warned himself, day after day. He thought his father might have been the lucky one after all; to go out in a blaze of glory, never to see his woman falling inward upon herself like a worn blanket. Then again, she had not lived long, that woman; not like his Kagome.

Even at eighty, she was still beautiful; the warmth of her eyes, their perfect almond shape...her skin was still pale, even if wrinkled; her hair was white, but still thick and lovely. She had aged well, but oh – how she had aged.

He he had not been able to wait to see her die; could not stand it. The scent of death; how close it clung to her, these days! Like a shadow hunched over her shoulder, peering at him with black shutter eyes.

She knew, like she always knew, and had kissed him long and lovingly – and then had sent him out to walk the mountains, out to stalk the night. It was wise of her; and he would not have had the will on his own.

Wise of her; these days, his control over his darker nature was loose and trembling. The Inu moved in him, would not be still. His selves, as he thought of them, the Warrior and the Beast, were both aware of the terrible truth.

I am losing her.

He had expected it.

But he had not expected grief.

Not now; not yet. She was not even dead; even here, beneath the dark and the green leaves, he would know – the moment she was gone. The moment she left him.

But still; he felt it, a terrible pain, a tightness in his throat, a constriction he had never felt before. Just to test it, he tried to speak.

“Ka – gome.”

Was that his voice? That broken thing -

He had been following a river. In both hands, he bent, and scooped up cold water, peered down at his reflection as it stilled. He saw red eyes, wildness, anguish, terror, grief -

Terror?

He tried, but he could not make the feeling go away. He could not even make it leave his face. Slowly, very slowly, he sank to his knees on the soft bank of the river. Water leaked away between his fingers. He stayed that way for a long time, waiting.

When it happened, it was still night, or perhaps once again night. There came...a terrible pain. A terrible pain. Agony so all-eclipsing that everything he had been feeling was only a shadow, a mockery of foreknowledge. Great sobs shook him, one after the other. Once, he opened his mouth, but only a terrible cry came out, an Inu-howl, a summons by name.

Kaaagooomeee!”

But the time was past when she could answer him; he knew that. Knew. The place in his soul where she had been bound to him was ragged and raw; he almost expected to be able to look down and see blood flowing from a real wound.

In the moment when the anguish was becoming to much to bear, the moment he thought of death, rather than live with this pain – there was fire from his side. It was Tenseiga, a companion of habit, glowing great and blinding blue.

Slowly, half-hoping and not knowing for what, exactly, he hoped, Sesshomaru drew the sword. The blade glinted blue at its tip, as if had transmuted its steel to light; slowly, that transformation ate the blade, drew down to the hilt and consumed it.

He was stood holding a sword of pure glow, blue illumination that lit the forest for miles around him in its brilliance. He was completely unprepared for Tenseiga to leap from his hand in a blur like lightning; he saw, mere moments later, a pillar of energy grow upward and then flow down in flux, miles away.

Instantly, he was running, running toward that blue glow; he knew where it was. Hope had become a flame burning in his chest, pushing all his movements, forcing him forward faster than he had known he could move. He was a blur of golden intentions; the wind was friction-hot in his face.

He crossed mountains, ocean, and fields in minutes; he burst open the door to the house where he had left Kagome with a convulsive movement that shattered the hinges.

In his presence, the great blue light went out; as the illumination failed, Sesshomaru saw that Tenseiga was, once again, steel; it had imbedded itself in Kagome’s chest, and Kagome – Kagome -

She wore the flesh he had first seen her in, brilliant with the glow of youth, her cheeks alive with the pale pink bloom he so loved, her lips as velvet as rose-petals....

Slowly, he reached out and touched the hilt of the sword. It tingled in his fingertips; in his thoughts there was a murmur, a voice he remembered well.

Well Done.

He blinked; then he shook his head, and took a deep breath. With one movement, smooth and swift, he pulled the sword free from Kagome’s body. As he did so, she breathed; her eyes opened. She stared at him in wonder, and for a moment in fear; then she smiled and reached out to him, touched the places where his cheeks were damp.

Sesshomaru – how?”

He couldn’t speak; it didn’t matter – he didn’t know. He shook his head, drew her close. He retracted in his thoughts anything he had ever said to diminish what had father had given him, in giving him that sword.

He had been given back her life, a life he loved more than his own. He had not expected that to happen, but it had; and because of that -

There was no more precious gift.

~~~ - - ~~~

Fin





A/N: Aiiiii I’m posting this so late! But I haven’t had internet for a week and so I was doomed...anyway, it’s here now, and I suppose late is better than never, right? [SIGH] At any rate, this is for Second Annual Fanfiction Challenge, Round 2. Against the most estimable Lady Battousai am I set, and now that I have posted this I must go see if she has posted and read what I’ve been set against...oh doom! But you should go read hers too, and then send Tangerine Dream a vote for one of us! I believe voting has begun, and will end in...ten days? So go, oh Dokugans, and vote!

On an entirely different note...

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