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Darkest Days by BelovedStranger

Darkest Days

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

An A/U oneshot depicting my personal one true fear. I wrote this not only for myself but for all those who have suffered and lost someone they hold dear or fear to loss that special someone. We may fight and be at odds with family and friends, but at the end of the day, I believe we must push those hard feelings aside and be thankful for the ones we love, that they are still with us in this life and always remember the ones who have passed on to the next.

No, the person I write about is not lost to me. Like I said, this is a fear of mine because I love her so and would be devastated if she were gone. Also, this story encourages people to not be lost in grief and turn to others for comfort. We are not alone even in our darkest days.

 

The car pulled to a stop near the cemeteries’ entrance before being shut off. Dusk was setting, the light quickly extinguishing to shadows as the couple sat in the unmoving vehicle in silence. It seemed louder than if they had been in a crowded room with the buzz of many conversations and laughter echoing around them.

The silence was almost deafening. Horrifyingly so.

A man sat in the driver’s side in an unhappy silence, not because he didn’t wish to be here but because the woman he loved above all others sat beside him in the passenger seat was sad. No, worse.

Devastated.

Though he didn’t turn to look at her, he knew what he would see. A pale face surrounded by a mass of vibrant black hair, the inky blackness only serving to make her appear more lifeless. Her pale features seemed to glow in the darkness, almost like a ghost’s, reminding him of death. That was why they were here today, to visit a grave newly dug, to gaze at a gray headstone, all that could be visible of the life that resided beneath the ground. A poor substitute of the young woman who died too young.

Sesshomaru clenched his hands around the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. He feared if he removed his hands from the hard plastic, he might punch something. But not Kagome, never her. He knew he should turn to her, offer her some words of condolences, to somehow bring comfort to the mother of his son, but he could not.

Though he silently admitted to himself that he was weak, he didn’t want to see the dull, glazed look that had yet to leave her eyes, to see the utter turmoil and defeat reflected in her brown depths. Those eyes brought an unbearable pain to his chest, made him feel like a failure for being incapable of bringing life back into her gaze.

He was a coward. The knowledge angered him, made him realize he was no better than anyone else, that he could have the same shortcomings as some scumbag on the street. And yet, it saddened him, too, but for the life of him, he could not reach across the small space between them, to wrap his arm in comfort around her frail shoulders. The distance felt far greater than it actually was.

“I’ll be right back.”

The soft sound of her voice made him tense. He should stop her, or at least go with her. What would it hurt? Then he knew what would happen once she got there. He wanted to be there for her when it happened, but he also dreaded it, the feeling of utter hopelessness that would overcome him.

He forced himself to nod once, but she didn’t wait to see the slight movement of confirmation, for she was already opening the car door, before getting out. The door barely made a sound as she gently closed it. Sesshomaru didn’t even watch her walk away. It was too painful.

Kagome walked through the open, iron gates in silence, her gait slow but steady. She should be stiff, as if she approached some horror that should give her pause to even think about getting closer to it. And she did. But stronger still, she felt defeated, like the weight of the world rested on her shoulders, bowing her frame.

Her heart was heavy.

Worse, she felt as if the organ had been ripped asunder, and the only thing preventing her from feeling the full amount of pain from such a wound was the fog her mind seemed to be traveling in. Everything felt so surreal, like it wasn’t really her walking down the straight, dirty path towards a destination veiled in darkness.

Oh, there was still enough sunlight left to see her way without difficulty, but she knew at the end of her journey, the reality of her nightmare dwelled. The trek was a relatively short one, and yet it seemed like it took an eternity to reach. But when she neared the end of her destination, she thought it had come too soon.

Her steps slowed, became more hesitant.

It was too soon. Surely she was not already there? Panic threatened to consume her, almost made her lose her very mind, forget who and what she was. A mother, a beloved woman by both family and friends, but there was someone missing, that vital part of her she could not live without.

And yet she must. 

The thought almost caused the panic in her breast to splinter her very mind, breaking it beyond repair. However, somehow, she found the strength to continue forward. Taking a deep breath of much needed air that somewhat cleared her mind, erased some of the panic, but it was still there, waiting for her.

A demon lying in wait to devour her.

And then she was there. Kagome blinked, not having realized she stood like a statue before a grave marker, her headstone. No, it couldn’t be hers! It was a lie, a lie.

But when her eyes settled on the words chiseled expertly on the stone, she ignored the sentiments and merely focused on the name.

Kikyo Higurashi

Denial came swiftly on its heels.

That couldn’t be her name, not the one belonging to her beloved twin. But then she read the rest of the short message. A mistake.

In loving memory of Kikyo, a beloved daughter and twin. She will surely be missed.

Pain the likes of which she should have grown accustomed to this past week assaulted her chest, made it hard to breathe. Had her heart stuttered in her breast, threatening to stop? And why shouldn’t it with the lacerations cutting deep, drawing blood?

Surely the wound would kill her, bringing her closer to her twin, her Kikyo. If only the accursed thing would cease to beat and then they would be reunited. But it wasn’t to be. The stubborn organ refused to give up on her, taunted her with every thump against her chest. It mocked her, laughed at the agony she felt.

Below her name, the name that shouldn’t be permanently etched there, haunted her.

1991-2014

Twenty-three. She was only—had been—only twenty-three, just as she was. This can’t be right. That was way too young, surely, to die.

It’s a lie!

Her gaze once again settled on ‘Kikyo’, and she shuddered, not in fear, but in horror of the realization that it wasn’t a lie.

At that moment, the full impact of her loss drove her to her knees, which hit the soft, recently dug up grave, saving her from bruising herself. She didn’t care, hardly felt the jarring fall. The only thing she was aware of, the only thing that mattered was that her heart had been ripped out of her chest.

She couldn’t breathe. Without realizing it, she clutched her fist in her shirt above her heart, as if she could stop the pain. If only she could.

Pressure built in her throat, insistent and intense. She couldn’t hope to contain it.

An agonized wail filled with unbearable loss, a scream of denial ripped through her, poured out of her mouth and echoed around her, mocking her pain—or so it seemed. Unable to stop once it had begun, another scream was torn from her already abused throat, ripping it asunder with the force of its power and strength. But this time it was a name, the name of the one now dead, buried forever beneath her.

Sobbing now, crying as if she would never stop, could never cease, Kagome fell to all fours. No, she dug, digging her nails into the soft dirt, flinging the offending soil away. She had to get to her, to save her.

How could she breathe down there with the weight of the ground pressing her in, shutting out all light? She had to be terrified, crying out for her twin to dig her out, to rescue her.

She chanted her twin’s name over and over again, tears falling like rain down her face as she continued to dig.

Suddenly, someone was behind her, holding her, restraining her arms to her sides, preventing her from saving Kikyo.

“Stop! What are you doing?” Sesshomaru shouted.

She barely heard him above the rushing of blood in her ears, the pounding of her heart, Kikyo’s heart. It was beating. She was alive! She had to get to her.

“No, no, no!” she wailed, trying to fight him off.

Didn’t he hear it? Kikyo’s heart beating, the distant sound of her crying out for help?

“Get off of me! I have to save her.”

But no matter how she fought, she could not get free. How long she struggled, she didn’t know. Time meant nothing to her now. It merely mocked her that the Earth kept spinning when she wanted only for it to stop.

Sesshomaru held her, doing what he should have done from the very beginning, comforting her, murmuring soothing words in her ear. She needed him now. He would never abandon her again.

All at once, the frantic woman subsided, ceased fighting the arms that didn’t restrain her, but holding her as if she were precious, offered her the comfort she sorely needed.

It wasn’t until she heard him whisper, “She’s not here. She’s gone. It’s too late to save her,” that clarity returned in all its unpleasant glory.

Sesshomaru was right.

Kikyo was gone.

Too late, her mind whispered insidiously.

Agony worse than before, for it was filled with hopelessness and despair, crashed down on her. But she wasn’t alone. Even though the arms surrounding her weren’t the ones she desperately needed, she fell into them, accepting the comfort offered, for she needed that, too.

One thought kept circling around in her mind as she cried as if her heart was breaking, and it was, all over again.

She’s gone.

 

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