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01 March 2008 @ 03:05 pm
Understanding Comes in Cyclic  
Title: Understanding Come in Cyclic
Character: Kikyou & Kagome
Fandom: Inuyasha
Genre: General, Friendship, Backstory
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1.247

Understanding Comes in Cyclic

Kikyou opened her heart, touched others’ hearts deep and pretty and engulfed the world entirely, took the miniature people into her embrace, took the long, dreadful years and time into her palms.

Kikyou loved brutally.

It had been five hundred years since she died (for what seemed like the fiftieth time), but purgatory was cruel and wicked and unforgiving, and so, she remained, lingered, as a shadow. She watched humans from her window, high up above and below. And Kikyou smiled ironically.

It was so bizarre, an enigma, that they were not extinct. A human, Kikyou decided, was a parasite—eating away at your organs and bones till you suddenly dropped down dead. Then, there was so much remorse. But not while you’re alive, no one cared when you’re breathing.

-x-

Her kimono had gone tattered and frayed and nostalgic. Kikyou counted the years flickering by. Kikyou counted the pains, stinging and throbbing in her ashy, clay womb. And finally, she realized: It was nearly time.

Don’t you care about me, Inuyasha?

He didn’t because he was the one who left her to rot.

And along came a girl-child, dressed in green and white, and called herself Ka-go-me.

-x-

In the summer, Kagome turned fourteen. She laughed brightly all that morning and thanked everyone for their attentions and gifts. Her face was still round and stomach slightly flaccid from youth, but she was pretty—that much they conceded. There was a glimmer in her eyes, and today, it felt like she could ride up the clouds and contort the world.

Today, she was fourteen-years-old.

Today, she met a woman who looked just like her, and today, the woman gave Kagome her first kiss (on the cheek, assuredly).

It was all very chaste and all very sordid.

“Who are you?” Kagome asked; Kagome implored.

She reached and clutched for the woman’s wrist, but too bad, too measured, the woman was gone, disappeared, faded, into air. And Kagome was left standing there all alone and pensive. And what she did, she felt, was wrong and right—and wrong.

-x-

Kikyou was nearly gloating when she remembered Kagome’s face, but she bit down her lips, and told herself she was jubilant. When she kissed that girl, Kagome shivered up and down her spine, every vertebrate resonated with her shock. Kikyou was happy, and Kagome was confused.

Today, Kikyou did an awful-awful thing.

Today, Kikyou believed the world to be beautiful.

“Who are you?” that girl had asked, startled and terrified, like a fat rabbit ensnared in a golden trap.

I’m you, Kikyou wanted to reply, but that would have been just horrid, and Kikyou wasn’t horrid. She was simply horrible—

Like the succubus slithering and whispering, like the dead lady being unearthed.

-x-

Kagome’s little brother, Souta, fell and scraped his knee while running in the park. Kikyou happened to be nearby and just happened to take him to the fountain (how fortunate and auspicious, this surely was) and cleaned him up nice and well.

He thanked her quietly and jumped at her touch. It felt like a corpse’s love. And it was just so weird, that she looked like Kagome, but wasn’t Kagome, because Kagome would never have had the sense to do anything.

So, he thought, the stranger must have been just that: a stranger.

“You’ll be all right now,” said Kikyou.

“Thank you, uh…”

“Kikyou.”

There was no need to hide from him. Children read all her secrets in bare sight, examined her decay-painted face and wondered why she continued to walk. There was no need to conceal the obvious, futile anyway. And she went away, forgetting that he was motionless on the pavement, like a bird caught in a cage, with his fragile bird-boy soft sighs.

For a moment, she was almost motherly, but not quite.

-x-

“Hey, Kagome,” Souta announced cheerily at dinner.

Kagome looked up from her bowl and told herself to be patient and sweet. She was growing up. “What is it?”

“I met a lady today, at the park. I fell, and she washed out the wound.”

“So?” Kagome demanded. She wasn’t so good at being empathetic and sanguine, not just right. She was still growing up.

“Funny thing is, she looked like you.”

And with that, Kagome almost died herself. She smoothed out her napkin, dabbed at the corner of her mouth, and rested her chopsticks down before releasing hell loose. Composure was key, and so was letting nothing out.

“Oh? Must be your imagination.”

Outside, draped over dusk and sun and black, there was a woman laughing, and Kagome thought she recognized the sound. Loud and low, it came with vengeance and ferocity.

Must be your imagination.

-x-

once upon a time…

there was a little monstrosity born

born blue and cold and sullen too

all the children sang, and all the mothers hanged

but this happened

once upon a time

-x-

Her mother was out, her grandfather too, and Souta was at school, and Kagome was in bed with the flu.

Kikyou came, stopped at the door and drew from her memories that mortals still swore by propriety. Pity, decorum was always such a nuisance. So, she knocked—thrice—strident and clear, so she wouldn’t be ignored. Kagome answered, coughing and dizzy, and when she saw Kikyou, she could have fainted too.

But her imitation face was polite and detached and ordered Kagome to rest. And together, they sat on Kagome’s bed, with the mirror shattered and piercing, tucked neatly in between.

“Who are you?” said Kagome (again).

“That’s not important.

“Why are you here, then?”

“That’s not important either.” Kikyou’s lips curled upwards grimly. Kagome was so naïve, like she always was, and Kikyou was just plain Kikyou. “The last time I saw you, you were older.”

Kagome’s eyes enlarged in disbelief, and her heart did that fluttering thing when apprehension was sinking, crawling up her legs. “But that can’t be possible.”

“Of course it is and don’t worry, I just wanted to see you myself, in your time. That is all. I had thought that you would be someone special, exuding spiritual aura or whatever, but you’re not. You’re only a girl, in a time, in a world. There is nothing special about you.”

At this, Kagome was indignant. She squirmed in her chair, anxious (for some obscure, childish reason). “Now hang on a minute. You come into my house and insult me? Who do you think you are, lady?”

“I’m not insulting you. I’m warning you not to make a mistake. Think before you act, or will act. It’s not just your life at risk.” It’s mine too, Kikyou wanted to add. But held her tongue and made herself beautiful in lies.

“What are you taking about? What mistake? How can I prevent it if I don’t know what you’re talking about?”

“You’ll see.”

And Kikyou left, and Kikyou vanished, and for the first time in a long, long while, Kikyou felt safe. Like the eternal longing in her artificial heart was finally dissipating, like she could move on—finally.

Sometimes, the living needed the dead to remind them of all that they missed. And when they do, it would always be brutal.

Kikyou loved brutally.

-x-

Five hundred years ago, Kagome helped bring Kikyou back to life, again. She pushed into Kikyou’s heart, with the two attendants watching in wonder and concern by the river, by the pool. Will it work? —yes. And so it did, and so Kikyou was resurrected. But this time, Kagome felt no regret.

It wasn’t just her life at stake.