Never Enough by ShadyMinion
A wry smile.
They all thought she was strong. She only did what had to be done. Truthfully, it was torture. She had done her best, her very best. She had tried her hardest. It would never be enough.
She stood slowly, broken ceramic slicing into her bare feet. She stumbled, more from weakness. She hardly noticed the pain.
"It has come to my attention, that we are quite unsuitable."
Kagome winced. Her foot twisted beneath her. She landed heavily on her hands and knees, the cold floor unforgiving. Sharp ceramic shards cut into her hands as she pawed the ground blindly.
"I think it best that we end this farce, as it is no longer beneficial, nor necessary for either of us."
She left messy, bloody handprints on the floor as she struggled to her feet. She tottered a few steps before collapsing against a wall, sliding to the ground bonelessly. In her hands, she grasped a photo. It was from a Polaroid she had brought through the well once. It had been a spur of the moment decision, and all of her friends regarded it as a soul-stealing device, despite its lack of any magical abilities, but she had never regretted it. She had taken wonderful photos that day. She had many candid shots of her friends, of Shippou posing, and of a certain demon lord who had stopped by that day.
"What is that device?"
"Strange contraption...You ningen have certainly advanced through the ages."
"What precisely does it do?"
"I'm blind you wench! Undo this trickery immediately! Infernal ningen device...all it does is spew sunlight!!"
"Does it also make...images of you, as well?"
"I would like one."
She bit back a sob.
"You are a very lovely creature, Kagome. You're kind, warm, strong. Do not doubt yourself on petty faults. They don't become you."
Blood ran down her arms.
"Kagome, you're bleeding."
"If you are injured, you must receive treatment. Let me see it."
"Must you be so difficult? If it was just a scratch, you wouldn't look like you're on the verge of passing out. Quit your incessant babble."
"Inuyasha is fine. Your friends are fine. Even that cub of your's is fine. You however are not fine. Hold still."
"Was that so bad?"
"You're blushing. I must say, the color suits you."
Her eyes stared sightlessly, tears slithering down her cheeks. The photo lay crumpled in her hand. Her fingers curled about it weakly. Around her collected the remnants of her broken life. Memories she had tried to destroy.
"Running from your fears is a weakness."
Words of comfort she tried to ignore.
"I...do care about your well-being. It isn't as if I were purposely degrading you by pointing out your faults. You have to work harder at this."
"You are anything but weak, Kagome. Do not feel as if you are inadequate."
"I believe in your power."
A love she had tried to forget.
"It is not easy to say..."
"You are making it more difficult."
"I...care about you, deeply. I don't wish for you to sacrifice yourself needlessly."
"You will always have something to come back to."
She had come back. She came back alone and unloved.
As long as I live, I will love you. Even if a barrier of time or death separates us, you can trust in my love, Kagome.
She blinked. Lies. Her mind was playing tricks on her. The stray thought had invaded her mind. She couldn't remember hearing those words, but...they had sounded unspoken, as if they were a mere thought, instead of a vocal declaration. She was wishing, she realized. She had heard what she had wanted to hear. In her lonely thoughts, her mind had created memories that she wanted to believe in, even if they were false. She sighed. She was going crazy, wasn't she?
-:- -:- -:-
Kagome stared, uncomprehending. "'Farce'?" She repeated. "This was never a farce, Sesshoumaru."
"Do not speak to me so familiarly, ningen. I am the Taiyoukai of the West. You will refer to me by my proper title." He said sharply.
She was taken aback. "What?"
"Are you so simple? I am the Youkai Lord. You are a human. I no longer have need of your services. Leave my presence at once."
"Services?" She repeated weakly. No, that wasn't true. Their time together had merely be 'services'? He had been using her? No. Of course not. He had to be lying. "You're lying."
"Have you known me to lie?"
His eyes, so cold. It was like talking to a statue. He had reverted to the icy Lord of the West. It left Kagome feeling to empty, like she had failed.
No, he never lied. It was 'dishonorable'. Yet, he couldn't have acted it all. The feelings had been so real. She knew that he had loved her, as she had loved him. So why was she doubting it? "This was all...just a sham to you?"
A slice of claws answered her question. She stood frozed as blood welled up on a crimson line on her cheek.
"Leave." He hissed.
She trembled. In her weakness, she turned and fled, not out of fear of him, or trying to escape his words, but trying to outrun the her self-doubt. Had she been so very wrong? After all this time, she still wasn't strong enough, was she?
-:- -:- -:-
She had gone back, on numerous occasions, to the spot where they always met at a particular time. It was a private location, known to only them, but each time, she had turned away, alone. She had sat, and waited for hours, each time. He never showed up.
Then once, she had heard his voice, that smooth baritone she had grown to love. Almost far too eagerly, she had ran forward. Such a foolish child she was. Stupid really. There he stood, another female ensconced in his arms. She was so lovely, so beautiful. She was everything Kagome wasn't. Kagome didn't blame Sesshoumaru for leaving her if he had something so perfect to look forward to.
They were so wrapped around each other, they didn't even notice her presence. Something had died within her then. She saw the hopelessness of it all. She left, and never returned to that spot.
It have been their spot. The secret location meant just for them. It was something childish that she treasured, like a secret hiding spot. It kept them close, and he had kept it a secret just for her. The fact that he was sharing it with another, when he knew full well how much it meant to her, well, the message couldn't have been clearer. She would have to give up on her love for him.
But she couldn't. No matter how hard she tried. She focused on other things. She learned from her friends, learned to fight, learned to heal. She even began the tenuous lessons of illusion. If anything, she needed to learn to deceive. She needed to hide herself, bury her feelings so deeply, no force in Japan could unearth them. But she still felt them, so she tried her hand at fooling herself. For a while, she tried to learn to love another. Her friends thought her happy, and that made her happy. So she lived in the illusion that she was happy.
Then the illusion broke, and she was left shattered.
-:- -:- -:-
"Why are you here?"
Kagome looked up startled. She was on her knees in the garden, replanting some of Kaede's herbs. Her hakama was covered in dirt, and freshly turned earth streaked her cheeks. "What?' She stared into the face of the one she had tried so hard to forget. Why was he here, looming over her as if she were some criminal? What had she done now? She hadn't even seen him in months.
"You. Why are you still here? I told you to leave?" He hissed, his fingers curling, claws outstretched.
"I..." She hesitated, puzzled. "I live here." She replied finally. And indeed she did. She had made her home within the village.
"In this time. You should be gone. Leave."
The anger that burned so brightly in his golden eyes. She shivered. He still affected her so. Why? Even in his cruelty, he was beautiful, and her heart beat no slower in his harshness. She still loved him with everything that she was.
"No." She said softly, but firmly. If Sesshoumaru had taught her anything, it was to stay her ground. She wouldn't leave. This was her home now.
Kagome didn't understand. Did he hate her that much. Was her presence so unpalatable? "No! I'm not going to leave, just to suit your fancy! You may have played with me before, and I'll admit, that I let it happen. I fell for you. And I truly do love you. But I won't allow you to toy with me any more. You leave!" She enunciated her words with a sharp blast of her powers, not enough to harm him critically, but enought to let him know that she was serious.
His eyes narrowed.
-:- -:- -:-
Kagome winced at that particular memory. For some reason, she hadn't truly believed that he had meant her harm. She had been wrong. She was just a stupid chit after all. She rubbed at her scars absently. To this day, they still stung when she thought about him too much. She assumed it was his mark, to remind her that she was just a brainless fool. She didn't deserve his affections, frivoulous as they must have been to him. It didn't matter now. He was happy with his new woman.
She coughed. Blood poured from her mouth. She was already too weak to attempt to wipe it off.
She leaned to her side, sliding all the way onto the floor. She hadn't finished cleaning up, but ah, she was too weak to last that long anyways. She should have known better. She sighed, closing her eyes for the last time. Stupid to the very last. How very worthless of her. She should have known from the very beginning, she would never be enough.
-:- -:- -:-
Sesshoumaru raced from his castle. It had taken longer than he had wanted. He had assumed that once he sent her away, Kagome would have returned to her time. He didn't want her involved in the conflicts he had become embroiled in. No, he wanted her safe. So he sent her away, knowing that he would break her heart. But he would return to pick up the pieces. He just had to clear away the youkai politics first.
They had been forcing him to mate, even though there was only one female for him. He was supposed to mate to the daughter of another youkai lord. She was beautiful, it was true, but that was all. She was another brainless chit, raised from birth to be nothing more than a breeder. Kagome was so much more. She was witty and sharp. She was strong and unpredictable. She always kept him amused. No, he would never take another female in her place.
When the conflict escalated, he tried to send her away by force. He hurt her. But it was for the best. It was to protect her. He knew that she would live. But, if she stayed, he wasn't so sure. He didn't want to take that chance. It tore at his heart when he saw her, still in the village, some other male with her. He knew though, once he returned, once he explained, they wouldn't have to worry any more.
He had rushed to clear things up. She wasn't leaving, but he would be damned if she was dragged into it. Youkai wars were terrible things, hence their rarity. But they could occur over such things as choosing mates. Yet, finally, he had finished. It had ended in battle, but in a much smaller scale. He had simply slain the chit's father, and gained more land to boot. He was unconcerned about that though. Kagome was more important. So, he flew to where he knew her hut still stood, the lord's blood still fresh on his claws.
He slid open the door so violently that it tore off. "Kagome." He said softly, expecting her answering reply, as unfavorable as it might have been. The hut was silent. But she was in it, he could smell her powerful scent. He paused. Something noxious was lacing the scent. It coated the air with poison. That terribly familiar coppery smell.
He entered her hut. It was in complete disarray. Broken glass lay on the floor. Blood coating the shards. His head swung to the side. Kagome!
She lay lifeless on her side. Her body was pale, cold. She held no breath.
No...It wasn't possible. Kagome was stronger than this. She was strength. She was...
"Kagome." He repeated, softer. He refused to believe that she had tried to...
He took a step back, upturning a cup as he did so. Dark liquid spilled out. Tea. He didn't have to pick up the cup to know of it's contents. Tea, boiled with the seeds of a castor plant. Botanical poison at its deadliest...
She had killed herself. And it was his fault. Because he had lied to her, she had died. She had been strong, until he had broken her. He had been wrong. He couldn't return to pick up the pieces for there were none left.
So, he sat in the hut, surrounded by her broken memories, and contemplated what might have been.
-:- -:- -:-
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SM: This ended pretty poorly. About a third of the way, something gave up and it all went down the toilet. Yet, I'm still posting it because I know that I won't work on it anymore, and I want to be able to stick this under 'completed' on my computer. So for totally selfish reasons, you're stuck with this poorly written piece of attempted angst. Much, much, much later, I might decide to rewrite it, but not in the near future. And if it was confusing, just e-mail me, and I'll answer your questions. Really, e-mail me, review me, I love the input.
Oh yeah, and the castor bean does possess the most deadly botanical poison. However, I am too lazy to look up poisonous plants that grew in Japan 500 years ago, so humor me and believe that the castor plant grows there. Also, I don't know hos heat would affect the poison, if it was protein in nature, heat might denature it, but I don't know, so in this universe, it's possible to make a tea out of it. Bah...that's all I care. I'm the author! I'll do what stupid things I want! Mwaha!