Title: Where the Heart Is
Author/Artist: tuathafae (tuathafaerie)
Pairing: Sesshoumaru x Kagura
Theme: #20 The Road Home
Disclaimer: Inuyasha does not belong to me.
Note: This entry is rather short, and almost entirely prose, so please forgive my extended absence with nothing much to show for it. However! The next two should be a bit faster paced (since I’m already half way through with both of them) just give me time to type the rest of it up with my now crazy school schedule. (And wish with me that my organic lab dies. Rawr.)
She thinks, when the acceptance has come of her fate, seeing his
face above hers as she dissipates into the wind, that this new incarnation offers at least a few benefits. She is free, as she has always longed to be, and there are no constraints holding her back from traveling the world, as she has secretly wished. Her heart has never felt more full than at this time and with that thought.
So with little more than a flick of a feather and a gale of laughter at this newfound joy, she is off, determined to enjoy as much of life as she can, as long as she can, so as to avoid the inevitable pondering on just what exactly her existence is right now.
Her first stop is barely a few leagues away, as she whistles through a priestess’s ceremony, rattling the bells for all she is worth and enjoying their vicarious laughter. Between messing with the offerings to the resident water god and slipping in and out of conversations, carrying whispers and secrets father than they should have gone, she barely has time to make noises at the new baby as she revels in it, this new found freedom. This is joy, this is life
, more than she has experienced in Naraku’s service, more than she has experienced ever
in that mortal life, bound to clay.
Like a stone, buoyed on exhilaration, she skips across the water, an island away. The breeze she is riding slips through a forest, passing pandas munching on bamboo before it finally pauses to wind about a lake. The sylph that she is hides behind a waterfall as children splash in the pool, afraid of getting too damp lest her speed drop with the moisture. A break in their play has her shooting out again, and onward.
Another swirl of wind has her swept across deserts, a wild tornado in an untamed land. A caravan moves slowly by, plodding with determination through the harsh climate, and her passage and exploration of the strong people taking part has them squinting their eyes at the heat and taking a deep breath of the fresh air at the same time. She carries the will to stand against fate, and they sense it and take heart even as she moves on.
And so it passes, that she, like a beggar finding an endless trove of riches, dove in and immersed herself in this world. Every day was the beginning of an adventure, and every night the splendor of an endless mystery. She laughs with the jokers, cries with the wronged, and mocks the fools, never once realizing that with every encounter she is losing more of her soul.
So it is with startling pain one day that she watches two lovers in the arctic, desperately clinging to one another as they huddle near a fire, separated by misfortune or choice from society, and finds that she is just as cold as the chill around her. She watches them make their declarations of love and devotion in forced but hopeful phrases, watches them kiss passionately before moving closer to the flickering fire, watches them slowly fade with exhaustion and the understanding that they will likely die out here, and she can only feel emptiness.
Her light has faded faster than the fire, and she is confused. Why? Why, wasn’t this everything she had ever wished for? Freedom, agency, her own life? Were these not her goals when fighting against Naraku?
The last embers catch the shadows in the young lovers faces, and she spies, for just a moment, an expression she had not expected to find.
The image sparks her memory, and she recalls faintly that she had been wearing a similar look when she had passed on, when her life had faded into this half one, when her soul had finally been loosed. As she follows the path of such calm eyes and finds the other lover the recipient, a surprised moan flows across the tundra, the whispering howl writhing in dismay, as she also remembers, with a faster epiphany this time, just exactly what had offered that peace.
When she had died, she had been freed, not just from Naraku, and not just from mortal existence, but she had mistaken why exactly her soul had lifted so much that day. She had finally, for one aching moment, been truly happy - she had forgotten the painful realities of life and death, freedom and slavery, allies and enemies, she had forgotten that tangled web she had been born into and longed to escape - because for that moment, she had experienced the universal gift of affection, of love in its simplest form, and had known her self worth. In a strange way, it had comforted that struggling and vibrant spirit within her for that moment of acceptance and peace.
The fire dies, the lovers expire, and she knows, finally, what she has been looking for all this time. Happiness is not roaming the world, spying on others, and traveling without a moment’s rest, he is only roaming Japan, minding his own business, and resting according to the needs of his mismatched companions.
From it’s hiding spot within her chest, her heart shakes of the cold and rallies itself for the last, dreadful push, and suddenly if she does not go back she will burst. That organ that she had fought so hard for gives her the ultimatum, the backstabbing truth, that though she has satisfied her pride, her heart has been neglected, and unless she fulfills its wishes, it will pain her for the rest of time. It wants happiness, she
, she realizes, wants happiness, and right now, happiness is him
A lover’s falling sigh begins her journey, a breeze wafts her across Europe, a wildfire pushes her through the Middle East, a raging thunderstorm propels her through China, and a hurricane catches her at the coast before it swings and delivers her back to the southern most islands of Japan. The road that she had traveled for months has taken less than a day to retrace.
She finds him, oddly, in the same field she had left him, watching the clouds with almost idle fascination, and once again she is torn inside, her pride telling her that this is enough and her heart telling her she must move forward or she will regret it. She ignores both and winds her way hesitantly in his direction.
The prodigal has returned.
There is that tense moment, where she waits and worries to herself and his quiet movements still, as if listening to the breeze, but then she notices the flash of something soft against his breastplate, a feather tucked carefully beside his heart, and she can’t help herself. She rushes forward with a strange laughing sob because he hasn’t forgotten at all, even while she was confused, and she hovers around with joy.
The quiet whisper that comes only increases her happiness even as it calms her refreshed soul. She is worth something, she matters, and no matter how far she roams, she will always remain that way. Unconditional acknowledgment and acceptance is what he offers her, and as of yet, there is no place else where she feels better.
“Kagura.” He knows, somehow, that it is her, just like he has always known her, and she smiles. She is at peace. And finally home.