Author: LoveAcrossTime PM
Inuyasha and Kagome are tricked by a demon named Ryoku, who wants Kagome's power. Will Inuyasha be able to protect her from her own heart? Will he be able to make his final decision, in order to save the one he loves? And can they ever defeat Ryoku? [IK]Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Kagome H. & Inuyasha - Words: 8,377 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 30 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-08-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3582522
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I've been working on this, on and off, for a long time. It was one of those fics where I came up with a line from the middle, and then wrote the whole fic around it. I could probably have gotten two or three chapters out of this, but I wanted it to be a one-shot, so it is. A very long one-shot. It's really different from my usual style, and I hardly ever write battle scenes. But...let's say I'm experimenting.
I decided to use the Japanese terms for Inuyasha's attacks in this fic, because the English ones aren't strictly correct. Translations are below.
Sankontessou…Literally Soul-Scattering Iron Claw. Referred to as Iron Reaver Soul Stealer in the dub.
Kaze no Kizu…Referred to as Wind Scar in the dub.
Bakuryuuha…Referred to as Backlash Wave in the dub.
Kongosouha…Referred to as Adamant Barrage in the dub.
No, I don't own Inuyasha. That honor belongs only to the great Takahashi-sensei. If I did, something like the events in this fic would have happened a long time ago.
Rated for some cursing (naughty Inuyasha), minor violence, and a bit of really good kissing.
Kagome pulled her blanket up to her chin, snuggling deeper into her mattress. Why couldn't she get comfortable? Usually she had no trouble falling asleep when she was in her era—the strain of keeping up with a strenuous pace day after day, not to mention frequent battles, tired her out enough as it was. And sleeping on the ground, outside, didn't exactly help matters. She should be fast asleep already…but she had been lying awake for at least an hour, maybe more, and sleep wasn't coming to her. And she really had to get to sleep…as long as she was home, she really should go to school for once. Only five more hours until her alarm went off, she estimated. She really needed more sleep than that…
Kagome sighed, rolling out of bed. It was useless trying to sleep. There was no way she could sleep. Not with her anger coiled within her like that, sitting like a venomous snake curled around her heart, squeezing tighter and tighter. It was stupid for her to be this angry…she really should just go back and apologize…but no. She couldn't. As she had hundreds of times in the last hour, she replayed the scene.
Inuyasha was sitting by the campfire. Sango and Miroku had already gone to sleep. Kagome wandered over and sat down beside him.
"Inuyasha? Okay if I sit here?"
"Keh. Do what you want," the hanyou muttered, turning away from her. Well, that was a bad start, Kagome thought to herself. Why did he shy away from her attempts to be nice? Why did he have to be so stubborn?
"Um…" Kagome began. Okay, that was stupid. What did I mean to say to him, anyway? Why can't I remember? Did I even have anything to say? Kagome was somewhat flustered. The warm, red glow of the firelight reflected in Inuyasha's eyes, making them glow a deep amber. Kagome couldn't quite bring herself to meet those golden eyes, and yet she felt herself drawn to them. Hastily, she looked away.
"Are you gonna gawk, or do you have anything to say?" asked Inuyasha impatiently. Hmmm…Kagome wondered. Bad timing on her part? Or did Inuyasha have other, more important things on his mind? Important things like…Kagome gasped and looked up. Weaving through the sky, just above the tree line, was a thin, icy blue demon.
"Kikyou's soul collectors…" Kagome murmured to herself. Sure enough, several more of the snake-like demons drifted up above the trees, confirming Kagome's thoughts. Kikyou was definitely nearby. But why? Had she come to see Inuyasha? Kagome glanced nervously at the hanyou beside her. Clearly, he had sensed it too. His body stiffened, and his eyes focused off into the distance. And Kagome knew why he had been so brusque with her. He had sensed Kikyou's presence…just as she had, she suddenly realized. Why else would she have come to sit by Inuyasha, even though she was exhausted, and desperately needed some sleep? Unconsciously, she had wanted to see what he'd do. If he wouldn't talk, she'd have to simply observe him…and things didn't bode well for her, at the moment.
With a swoosh of cloth, Inuyasha rose from the fireside.
"Huh?" Kagome started. "Inuyasha, where are you-"
"Nowhere. Forget it." He wouldn't meet her eyes, or say her name. It was like…like before she'd made her choice to stay with him. Before she'd become…something to him. She wasn't sure just what, although she knew, somewhere in her heart, that that was what she wanted, no, needed, to find out.
"Inuyasha-" She glanced back up…but he was gone.
And so Kagome had had no choice but to come home, really. Of course, she could have stayed, could have tried to talk to him when he returned. If he returned. But she couldn't deal with sitting there, waiting for him, all night long. Just like she had done hundreds of times before. Why did she bother? Why did she stay with him, even though she knew, knew in her heart that he loved another. Knew that he could never forget Kikyou, could never love her. After all, Kikyou had died for him, because of him. Even if he no longer loved Kikyou, he could never forget about her. Not what with everything that had happened. And what had she done? Nothing. She'd done nothing. Nothing except love him, with all her heart, even though she knew it was futile.
But…there were times when it seemed that it wasn't. Times when he acted like he at least cared for her. Actually, she knew that he cared for her. But…could he ever love her? Love her the way she loved him?
Kagome bit her lip, and buried her face in her pillow. Coming home had been easy. She had simply requested the assistance of Kirara, who had gotten her to the well in a mere fifteen minutes. And she was sure Kirara could somehow communicate to Sango where she'd gone. She'd done so before.
Kagome really didn't know when she'd go back. Buried in the bottom of her heart was a hope that he would come for her. That he'd come back to the camp to find her gone, and he'd worry about her. He'd come to find her. But she hardly even dared to wish it. It wouldn't happen. What did he care if she came home, after all?
Kagome wiped frantically at her eyes, trying to cease the flow of tears that had been slowly leaking out over the last hour. I can't cry. I won't cry. I've just come back for a few days to go to school, that's all. No big deal. She pulled her comforter over her head, curling up into the fetal position. Now I have to get to sleep. I have school tomorrow.
But then suddenly Kagome sat bolt upright, her heart pounding. It was faint, but in the quiet of her room it was like a blaring trumpet in her ear. It was…she wasn't sure what it was, really. It was some sense in her mind that had twinged anxiously. As though it was alerting her to some kind of danger. She knew that she was perfectly safe, in bed in her era. So who else matters to me as much as I matter to myself, if not more? Kagome was out of bed and pulling on a jacket over her pajamas before she even had time to finish the thought. Inuyasha…
Meanwhile, Inuyasha felt a similar twinge in his mind. Damnit…I knew I shouldn't have left camp tonight… He leapt higher, alighting to a tree branch and then pushing off again. But I… He shook his head, concentrating on running. Or trying to. But he was finding it extremely difficult to concentrate. Because his mind kept flipping back to the one thought that had been plaguing him all day. The one thought that, in fact, occupied at least half of his mind all the time. The thought that had led him to find Kikyou, because he knew she was nearby. What the hell am I going to do?
It had never really mattered, before. Inuyasha had simply accepted that he cared about two different women. But in time, he'd found himself getting more and more confused, as his feelings for Kagome grew. He knew that he had loved Kikyou, and perhaps loved her still. He knew, also, that by all rights he had to die with her, for their relationship had led to her death. But…he had tried to keep his heart on Kikyou, since he had loved her first, after all. But against his will, he had found himself caring more and more for the miko from the future. He panicked when she was hurt, was happy when she was happy, angry when she was angry, sad when she was sad. He had known, from the beginning, that eventually he would have to choose. He couldn't keep traveling with Kagome and occasionally running off to see Kikyou. But he couldn't let go of Kikyou, could never let go of her, but yet…there was no way in hell he could leave Kagome.
It was Kagome who was on his mind at the moment. He had rushed off to Kikyou, hoping that seeing her again would clear up his mind somewhat, and he'd be able to decide at last. It hadn't worked. And then, on his way back to camp, he'd felt a familiar twinge in his mind that generally meant that Kagome was in danger. He could always tell. Kagome…I'm coming…
Kagome's heart pounded as she pulled herself out of the well, looking around. It was a clear night. A crescent moon hung in the sky; the stars were clearly visible. Kagome, normally enraptured by the beauty of the sky, did not spare it a second glance. Inuyasha…
Suddenly the air shimmered. Kagome gasped, reaching out a hand to grab an arrow. Her hand closed on thin air, and she let out a soft cry of despair. Her bow and arrows were back at camp! Stupid Kagome. Stupid!
The shimmering air solidified into a clump of orange light, and then drifted slowly towards the ground. Kagome could only watch, her eyes wide. As the glowing orb touched the ground, it seemed to spread, slowly forming a humanoid shape. The color faded, leaving a vaguely human figure, still glittering with a faint orange light.
It was tall, taller than some of the smaller trees surrounding the clearing. It, or he, for it seemed to be masculine, had long black hair and narrow orange eyes. The colors of his armor were so vivid that everything else in the surrounding area looked pale and insignificant by comparison. And the aura! The aura was so great that once the creature had fully materialized, Kagome was nearly thrown back by its power. The creature hovered several inches above the ground. It offered a cold smile to the girl.
"Who-what are you?" Kagome stuttered. Her voice hardened. "Where's Inuyasha?"
"Inuyasha, you say?" He chuckled. His voice was cold, so cold that it actually made the miko shiver. "He is with his precious Kikyou. As to me, you may call me Ryoku. While you have the chance."
The creature's terrible voice casually stating what Kagome already knew sent a dagger through her heart. Biting her lip, she ignored the cold set upon her by Ryoku.
"How do you know where he is?" she asked boldly. "He could be back by now!"
"Oh?" Ryoku's voice was chillingly casual. "Has he ever spent this little time with her? You know he is with her. I can see it in your soul."
"M-my soul?" Kagome's breath came short. Who is he? What does he know about Inuyasha?
"You wonder who I am. I just told you. I am Ryoku. You wonder what I know about Inuyasha? I know everything that you know. I can clearly read your soul, young priestess."
"You can read…my soul?"
"Of course. I am Ryoku," the demon stated, as though that was some kind of answer.
"What do you want?" Kagome asked, trying to sound more brave than she felt. Her heart was pounding in her chest. Where was Inuyasha? And what did this Ryoku want with her?
"It is simple, priestess of the future. I want your power."
"H-how…but you can't…" Did he plan to drain her power and use it for his own purposes? But he was a demon! Trying to take in her spiritual power would surely kill him.
"As you suspect, I am a demon, of sorts. However, I am also far more. I live off of the powers I have taken from others. I am many things, and few. I have the demonic powers of many demons, the strength of many warriors, the skill of many slayers. What I lack is spiritual power. My instincts brought me to you. Your spiritual powers are immense, but you know not how to use them. I will find much better use for them than you."
That explains the demonic aura, Kagome thought anxiously. "Why are you telling me all this?" she asked out loud, taking a step back toward the well. She could probably rip off some wood to use as a weapon of sorts, and she would feel better if she was armed, albeit shabbily.
"Because you will soon die," Ryoku stated bluntly. "And do not bother trying to arm yourself. Mortal weapons will not work against me."
Kagome gulped. Here she was, alone and weaponless. Caught in the very position she had worried over and anticipated many times before. Barely suppressed doubt in herself flowed forth. I am nothing without Inuyasha to protect me. They all say they need me, but it's a lie. I can't take on this demon. It's going to kill me. Inuyasha is my protector, but he was Kikyou's protector first. When it comes down to it, he will protect Kikyou. And I will die.
"Very clever, miko. You understand your situation well. Inuyasha loves Kikyou. That is obvious to anyone who is not deluded, as you are. I came to you, although Kikyou's powers equal yours. Inuyasha protects her. He does not protect you. I am tired, and you are easy prey. I will take your powers, and grow much stronger. And no one will stop me."
"Th-that's not true!" Kagome stammered. "I-I don't…Inuyasha…Kikyou…" her voice broke. The demon was right. Inuyasha was with Kikyou. And she was going to die. And if Kikyou was in this situation, alone with a demon, she could fight it, Kagome thought bitterly. She could destroy it. But that wouldn't happen, anyway. Inuyasha will always protect her.
"No one will come to save you. You cannot save yourself. You are pathetic, worthless, with great power that you are unable to use. I am going to take this power from you now."
"N-no," she whispered hoarsely. It's like the time with Hakudoushi. Only much, much worse. Hakudoushi tricked me. He said Inuyasha would not come. That's when I admitted that I loved him. And he did come. But then, Kikyou was dead. Now, she is alive. And Inuyasha is with her. Protecting her. Maybe he didn't mean to, but he made his choice. And now, I am going to die. Kagome had never accepted defeat in battle. Her strength, or her heart, had always won in the end. She had been determined. Strong. But right then, she felt neither determined nor strong. She felt weak.
"Your heart is giving. I had never thought you were one to doubt yourself, Kagome. Very smart. You are at last coming to grips with the truth. Inuyasha does not love you."
Kagome felt her strength ebbing away. She fell to her knees. "Y-yes! He d-" she tried a last attempt to break through the spell this demon was casting on her. It was no use. I can't say it. I can't say he loves me. Because…because he doesn't. He never will. I have to just…give up.
There was no telling whether it was Kagome herself or Ryoku who spoke in her mind at this point. She remembered what had worked the last time. Her love had freed her.
"I love him!" she gasped, amazed at how slowly her mouth moved. She had very little strength left. "I love Inuyasha!"
"Do you think that will free you?" Ryoku laughed coldly. Kagome gasped in pain. "Your love is not strong enough. It is shadowed by doubt. You are afraid. You are afraid to love him. Because he does not love you. And he never will."
Kagome gasped again. She felt as through claws were raking across her heart. As though it were being ripped in two. For some reason, she thought of Inuyasha's primary attack. Sankontessou. Soul-Scattering Iron Claw. Just then, for the first time, she understood the attack time. She truly felt as though her soul was being shattered.
Ryoku laughed again. "He. Does. Not. Love. You."
With every word, Kagome felt a stab of pain. She curled up in a ball on the ground.
"He. Never. Will."
This time Kagome screamed. She felt something being ripped from her chest.
"You are weak. Pathetic. Defenseless. You need him, but he will not come. He does not need you. He needs her. Kikyou. He will always protect her. He will not protect you."
Ryoku spoke both aloud and in the young miko's mind. She screamed at every word. Her vision was blurred, and she could make out no distinct shapes. All her strength was gone. She couldn't move. Slowly, torturously, she felt her power being ripped from her. She screamed again, tearing her throat, not even feeling the blood that ran down her hands, which had been helplessly scrabbling in the dirt. Smiling broadly, Ryoku reached toward her. He ran one long claw down her chest, making a shallow cut. It glowed pink with Kagome's aura, and then power began to stream from it, jumping from Kagome's chest to Ryoku's outstretched fingers. He laughed coldly as the power began to flow into him. Kagome's vision went entirely red.
It looks like…Inuyasha's haori…when I'm riding on his back…when I'm safe…
And then the world went black.
Inuyasha growled, letting out a string of curse words that Kagome would have scolded him for had she been there. He leapt again and again, from treetop to treetop. It was the fastest way he knew to get to her. Why hadn't she just stayed in camp? He cursed again, leaping so hard that several tree branches shattered and crashed to the ground behind him. He ignored them. If anything, he picked up his pace.
The hanyou had been dismayed to reach camp and find that his miko was not there. Not bothering to wake their companions, he had taken off in the direction that her scent was strongest. He could tell that she had taken Kirara wherever she had gone from the quality of her scent, but traces of it still lingered in the air. Enough for him to track her. Easily. Of all the scents in the world, hers was the easiest to track. His nose was perfectly tuned to that scent. He loved it. He could pick it out from among thousands of other scents. And right then, he did not like where it was leading him.
Damnit! Did she go home? Did I upset her that much? I didn't-I was preoccupied! I couldn't…I wouldn't…I would never hurt her! Doesn't she know that? Doesn't she know that I have to visit Kikyou, to clear my mind up about…certain things? Doesn't she know that I'm never going to leave her?
But she keeps leaving me!
Inuyasha no longer needed the scent trails, not that he planned to stop smelling them. He knew where she had gone. She had gone to the well. She had left him.
And he couldn't shake the feeling that his Kagome was in serious danger. He could always tell. And he would never, never, let anything happen to her. He couldn't!
"KAGOME!" he yelled, not slowing his pace by a hair. Sweat streaked his forehead; he didn't even notice. "I'M COMING!"
Pink light continued to flow from the unconscious Kagome to Ryoku. He chuckled softly. He had implanted images in her mind, images of Inuyasha and Kikyou together. Images that she would believe were real. He had taken the images from her own mind. In unconsciousness, her fears had floated to the very forefront of her mind. Ryoku used those fears.
It was all just too easy. But then again, everything was easy for Ryoku. It had been very simple indeed to place a minor influence upon Kikyou's mind, so that she would come the way of Inuyasha and his group that night. Simpler still had been planting feelings of doubt and indecision in the hanyou's mind. They were already there; he just had to strengthen them. The rest played out just as he knew it would. Humans were so easy to manipulate, with their silly hearts and ridiculous emotions. He wanted Kagome's power. And he would have it.
Inuyasha burst through the trees above the well. There's the damn thing. I'll just go jump down it and find her. But then he froze. His golden eyes fixed on the sight below him. He did not notice that he was rapidly plummeting downwards. He saw only Kagome, curled up on the ground. She wasn't moving. Inuyasha's vision burned red. He reached for the hilt of the Tetsusaiga, stilling the demon within him that was raging to be freed. And then he saw the creature. He was crouched by Kagome, and a pink light that Inuyasha knew to be Kagome's aura was flowing from her to him. Inuyasha's whole body burned with rage.
"KAGOME!" he cried.
The creature looked up. He blinked. Inuyasha had come. What had happened? What had gone wrong? Then Ryoku smiled. It would be easy enough to fix. He stepped back from Kagome, breaking off the flow of power for now. He would let the half-demon at his wench. Ryoku had a plan.
"KAGOME!" Inuyasha screamed again. It was the only word he could make his mouth form. He landed beside her, not bothering to bend his legs to absorb the shock of his fall. He did not even notice the pain that raced up his legs. He fell at Kagome's side, hands reaching for her. Then he saw the cut.
"Y-you! What did you do to her?!" He spun on Ryoku, effortlessly drawing Tetsusaiga. Ryoku only smiled. Inuyasha made to lunge at Ryoku, but stopped as he felt Kagome stir slightly behind him. Ryoku's smile widened. Making the girl stir in her "sleep" was easy enough to do.
All thoughts of battle forgotten, Inuyasha dropped at Kagome's side again.
"Kagome! Oi, Kagome!" he shook her carefully, but she did not twitch a muscle. He pulled her into his arms. She was strangely hot. She shouldn't have been that hot. She couldn't be that hot.
Inuyasha felt his heart breaking as he looked down at her still face. He knew she was alive. But she would not wake up. She would not move. She would not…could not…recognize him.
"Kagome! Kagome, wake up!"
"Did you ever consider, Inuyasha, that maybe she doesn't want to wake up?" The soft voice was Ryoku's. Inuyasha spun on him, Kagome still clutched tightly against his chest.
"What do you mean, you bastard?" A low growl erupted from the hanyou's throat. "What did you do to her?"
Ryoku smiled. "That scratch you see on her chest was the only injury I gave her. The rest is her own doing."
"What do you-Kagome wouldn't-she-"
"The girl is in love with you, Inuyasha. She cannot bear to see you with your love, the priestess Kikyou. It was her own doubt, her own fear, that got her like this. I merely…encouraged her a bit."
"Why you ASSHOLE! You-you-" the rest of the sentence was drowned in loud growls. "How DARE you!" Inuyasha's mind did not stop to register Ryoku's first sentence. He lunged.
"So you are selfish as well as silly," murmured Ryoku. Inuyasha froze. "The girl needs you, but you are more interested in fighting me. You will leave her. Ignore her. It was you doing that that got her like this."
Cursing, Inuyasha spun. He ran to Kagome, pulling her into his arms. "Kagome! Wake up!" he called to her. "I didn't mean to leave you! I will never leave you! Never again!"
Kagome stirred, just slightly. Of her own accord. Ryoku blinked once. It was time for the second part of his plan.
He altered the sound waves in the air so that a terrified scream rang out, clearly from some distance. Creating sound was easy for Ryoku. He used both the miko's and the hanyou's memories of the priestess Kikyou for this, so that it was clearly her voice that pierced the night. Inuyasha stiffened. Spun.
For a moment, he felt a pull to go to her. To save her. He had promised he would always protect her. Inuyasha did not break his promises. It was the only surety he had in the world. And he cared for her. He did not want her to die.
But his heart stopped him. His grip tightened on Kagome. He had promised her, too. Just moments before, he had promised to never leave her. He was promised to both of them. He had to break one promise. And he had to do it, soon.
Time stopped for him. His vision narrowed. He did not see Ryoku, or the forest around them. At last, the decision had to be made.
He had put it off as long as he was able. He had not been able to make it. But because of that, because of his reluctance to make the decision, it had come to this. It was Kikyou's life or Kagome's life. He could only protect one of them. It was his own damn fault, too.
Kagome was in no state to be moved. If he moved her now, she would die. If he left her, she would die. But he knew, as sure as though it had been implanted in his mind, that Kikyou was dying. If he was correct, Ryoku had been draining Kagome's power when he arrived. He probably wanted Kikyou's power as well. He most likely had minions there, taking it from her, at that very moment. It was one or the other. He had no choice anymore. It had come down to this.
Promises didn't matter anymore. Surety didn't matter anymore. They were equal in that respect. What mattered was love. Inuyasha remembered what Ryoku had told him. Somehow, it had filed away in the back of his mind.
The girl is in love with you, Inuyasha.
And he knew, suddenly, that it was true. Kagome was in love with him. He could feel it, somehow. He could feel it in his heart.
Kikyou loved him too. But he did not feel that in his heart. He felt it in his mind. He just…knew that she loved him. Because she had told him so. But that was different. Saying it and meaning it were two different things. Kikyou had loved him once, there was no doubt about that. But…things had changed.
And once, Inuyasha had loved Kikyou. Now he felt bound to her by his promises. Not by his love. He never thought of his promises to Kagome. He was bound to her…by his heart. His love.
He loved Kagome. He knew it. He loved her more than anything else on earth. Far more than he loved himself. He felt another tearing sensation at the thought of abandoning Kikyou. But he couldn't, couldn't, abandon Kagome. It wasn't even an option.
Ryoku was puzzled. He had expected the confused hanyou to rush to Kikyou at once. But he was hesitating. Clutching Kagome to his chest. His eyes had gone blank. And Ryoku knew that something was very, very wrong.
Inuyasha opened his eyes. He saw Kagome's face. It pulled him. Its stillness tortured him.
"KAGOME!" he yelled. It was his choice. She was his choice.
"Wake up, Kagome!" Inuyasha was furious as he held her to him. "You can't leave me like this! I need you!" A muscle in her cheek twitched. Inuyasha did not notice the tears pooling in his eyes. As he had hesitated, she had weakened. She had gone from far too hot to very, very cold. Her breath was slowing. It would kill him if he had waited too long. Again.
A tear slid down his cheek, unnoticed, to fall on her forehead. "DON'T LEAVE ME, KAGOME! DON'T LEAVE ME!" Inuyasha's breath was ragged. He had forgotten Ryoku, forgotten Kikyou. There was only Kagome. "YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME, KAGOME!" And then the words were out of his mouth before he could even acknowledge them. "I LOVE YOU!"
His eyes were too clouded with tears to see her face twitch. Her eyes fluttered. He knew in his heart that she was dying, and thus, he was dying. As though in a trance, he drew closer to her. He needed her. He would do anything.
And then he did see the slight movement. A shred of joy bloomed in his chest. She was still alive! Not thinking, hardly breathing, he lowered his face. Roughly he pressed his lips up against hers. He did not register their softness, their sweetness. He just kissed her, hard, trying to bring life into her. Strength. Power.
He also did not hear Ryoku's strangled gasp. Inuyasha had chosen Kagome! He had gone against everything Ryoku knew about humans, and even demons. Half-demons surely. Why? Why didn't it work? Everything always worked for Ryoku.
Inuyasha felt warmth return to Kagome's lips. Life. He pulled back, his breath coming in gasps. Her lips twitched. Her eyes fluttered. And opened.
"Inu…yasha…" her voice was soft, barely there at all. But Inuyasha heard it.
"Kagome!" Roughly, he pulled her to him. Her head fell onto his chest. She said something that he could not make out. He pulled back from her just a bit.
"What?" he murmured. She looked up at him, her brown eyes wide.
"Why?" she whispered. Inuyasha blinked. "Why did you come?"
There were a million things Inuyasha could have said. But he didn't say any of them.
"Because I love you," was what he said. Then he pulled her to him again.
He heard, or rather, felt, Kagome gasp. He allowed himself a small smile.
"Inuyasha…" she began. He held her tighter. She was going to be okay.
"You bastard!" a voice growled. Inuyasha jumped, and spun, still holding Kagome. Ryoku was glowing with an eerie orange light, and his eyes were ablaze. "How dare you defy me! I will kill you both!"
"Keh. You're never laying a hand on Kagome again." As gently as possible, Inuyasha set Kagome down on the ground behind him. He grabbed Tetsusaiga from where he had thrust it into the ground.
"You think you can fight me, half-demon? I have all the power I need. You cannot hope to survive." Ryoku had no weapon. He raised a clawed hand. Orange light streamed from it. Inuyasha thrust the Tetsusaiga in front of him, blocking Ryoku's attack. Tetsusaiga shuddered, pulsated…and held.
Ryoku blinked. "That's a strong sword. Can you use it?"
Inuyasha stood. He saw the swirling aura of wind surround his sword. He smirked. "Would ya like to find out?"
Ryoku smiled. "Yes."
"Happy to help." Inuyasha drew the sword up above his head, then brought it swooshing down. "KAZE NO KIZU!"
Predictably, there was a loud wooshing sound, and Inuyasha's vision was obscured by a huge blast of wind. He blinked, watching as the dust cleared. Ryoku was standing there, unharmed, dust floating down around him.
He deflected…the Kaze no Kizu…?
Ryoku smirked. "That was impressive, for a half-breed. Not enough, unfortunately. I have no weakness."
"Oh, yeah?" Inuyasha panted. He watched the orange swirling around Ryoku. The orange…demonic aura! Inuyasha grinned. "Don't be so sure about that, Ryoku." He raised the Tetsusaiga again.
"You will not defeat me." Orange light gathered around Ryoku's outstretched hand. It was Inuyasha's turn to smirk. He brought the Tetsusaiga down again, cutting through the Kaze no Kizu, releasing a greater attack.
Wind swirled around Ryoku. But it did not take on the orange color of Ryoku's power, as expected. It dissipated quickly, again leaving Ryoku standing there, unscathed. The orange light was gone.
"I am far greater than you can ever hope to be," Ryoku stated calmly. "I can dissipate my demonic aura if necessary. Your Bakuryuuha will not work on me."
"Fine." Inuyasha was out of breath. It took a lot of effort to utilize his attacks, effort that he just did not have after his long sprint through the forest. He raised the Tetsusaiga one last time. If this didn't work, he didn't know what to do. But he would not, would never, give up. "KONGOSOUHA!"He gasped, letting the point of his sword fall to the ground, and watched as shards of adamant flew toward Ryoku. This doesn't even seem like a battle. But I have to defeat him, and soon. Kagome needs to be taken to safety, or…
His thoughts trailed off. Ryoku was gone. He shook his head, and watched as the chunks of adamant maimed several trees. Where was Ryoku?
"I am here." Inuyasha spun. Ryoku was standing behind him, bending over Kagome. There was not a scratch on him.
"KAGOME!" Inuyasha lunged, throwing his body over the miko.
"You are thinking that I will never lay a hand on your beloved again. You are thinking that you will kill me, and get her to safety. You think that she can recover." Ryoku sighed, a smile tugging at his lips. "I know well the human heart. You may be a hanyou, but your heart is human. Because of this, you will die. Then, I will drain the rest of your precious miko's power. When she has no power left, she too will die. In the morning, villagers will come here and find your two mangled bodies lying in this very clearing. No one will ever know how you met your tragic end, trying in vain to protect the one you love. You are not strong enough to protect her. She will die, and it will be all your fault."
Inuyasha gritted his teeth. He felt a cold hand clenching around his heart. She's going to die. I can't protect her. I am helpless…
He dropped to his knees. Ryoku laughed. He was getting the hanyou exactly the same way he had gotten the miko, taking his darkest fears and feeding them right back to him. He doubted half-breed power would do him much good, but he would take it anyway. And the sword. The sword he could use.
Inuyasha's eyes were blurring. He looked down, blinking rapidly, at Kagome's still face. Had she passed out again? Or was she…
Kagome blinked. Inuyasha felt a jerk at his heart. It was trying to free itself from Ryoku's grasp.
Kagome felt the blurry darkness around the edges of her vision slowly fading away. Inuyasha was there? What was he doing there? And then she remembered. He-he said he loved me. He came for me. He saved me. He protected me. She tried to smile, but could not move her lips. So she only stared up at his face. His eyes were glazing over. No! She screamed inwardly. Ryoku's getting him how he got me! Don't fall for it, Inuyasha! You're stronger than this! I thought you said you loved me! If you love me, please, DON'T LEAVE ME!
She struggled to speak, to move anything other than her eyes. Inuyasha could no longer feel his heart. I can't protect her from this monster. I can't protect her! His eyes glazed over.
Ryoku smiled. The miko was trying to speak. She could not. She didn't have enough power left. She had managed a few words before, but he had been steadily, slowly, draining her power since she had awakened. She had very little left. He watched the hanyou struggle, a cold grin fixed on his face. It amused him how very predictable humans were.
"Humans are weak," he said out loud, knowing the miko could hear him. "They are pathetic, slaves to their emotions. This hanyou, with his human heart, is no different. Watch him, young priestess. Watch him die."
No! NO! It couldn't be true. Inuyasha was different. He would not give in to it. He couldn't. Kagome summoned the last of her power, the very dregs at the bottom of her heart. Deep within her. She pushed them out, as hard as she could, using everything she had left to force her mouth to move. And she spoke.
"Don't give into it, Inuyasha!" she gasped, her voice weak, barely a whisper. "Don't; you can't! I love you!"
Inuyasha felt a pang. His vision returned. His heart began to beat again, hard, ridding itself of the strands of Ryoku's power that had wrapped around it.
"Kagome…" he whispered, his voice nearly as hoarse as hers.
"You're back. I'm so glad you're back." And then Kagome's eyes fluttered closed. She had used the last of her power. It was gone.
"No…" Inuyasha croaked. He pulled her limp body to him. "NO!"
Ryoku watched the hanyou in shock. How come he could move? His heart should be entirely trapped by now. Then he smirked, watching as a tear trailed down the hanyou's cheek. The stupid girl had used the very last of her power to declare her love. There was none left. She would not wake.
Inuyasha pressed his lips to Kagome's. They were cold. Desperately, he kissed her. He would protect her. No matter what, he would protect her!
"She will not wake this time." The cold voice was Ryoku's. "She used the last of her power to speak to you. She has none left. If you hadn't fallen to my trap, she wouldn't have needed to do that. She would be alive and well. You are no kind of protector, if you let your love sacrifice her life for yours."
Inuyasha could not speak. He gently laid Kagome down behind him. Then he turned to Ryoku. His eyes burned with a fury Ryoku had never seen before. He shrugged. That would simply make it more entertaining.
"Your heart is far too weak. Your pathetic human mother gave you this heart. Thanks to that, the girl will die. Humans are so weak." Ryoku smirked. He expected Inuyasha to lunge mindlessly at him. Then it would be easy to take him down. What he did not expect was for the hanyou to grit his teeth and stand his ground. Nor did he expect him to speak.
"You're wrong," he whispered, his voice shaking with cold fury. "I'm not like the other humans you've killed. I'm not like the other demons, either. My heart may be human, but it is not weak!" And then he lunged.
"Perhaps. But you're going to die now, so none of that matters." Orange fire surrounded Ryoku, spreading out away from him, gaining color and substance as it did. A tongue of the fire reached out to wrap around Inuyasha. He screamed. It was hotter than any fire, sharper than any sword. He was surrounded by pain. There was nothing but the pain, going on, endless…
And then it stopped. Inuyasha fell to the ground in a heap. Am I dead? He raised his head. He was still in the clearing. But it was bathed in a harsh pink light. He blinked.
Kagome stood beside him. The pink fire surrounded her, and a tongue of it had reached out, just as Ryoku's had. Inuyasha raised his eyes upward. The orange and pink fires were locked around each other, twisting and writhing. Grunting, pain shooting up his legs, he stood.
"Kagome…how…" Kagome turned to face him. Sweat trickled down her face, into her pain-filled eyes. Her teeth were gritted. Inuyasha stumbled over to her, wiping the sweat out of her eyes with his sleeve.
"How is this possible?" Both Kagome and Inuyasha turned to look at Ryoku. Shock was evident in his face. "I drained all your power. You should not have enough left to move, yet you are attacking me with it. I do not understand."
Inuyasha turned to stare at Kagome. He had a feeling that this was the first time Ryoku had ever ceased to understand something. Pride swelled in his chest. His Kagome had confused Ryoku!
When Kagome spoke, it was with a voice laced with pain. "You will never understand, Ryoku. You think that you understand the human heart. You don't. My power comes from within my heart. When I call upon it, it will always return to me. You cannot hold it, for you have no heart."
Ryoku grimaced. "I should have known. A careless mistake. But, never mind that. I can still overpower you."
His fire shoved Kagome's out of the way. It shot toward her. Inuyasha screamed, throwing himself at Kagome. He wasn't fast enough. Kagome fell to her knees, gasping. Inuyasha ran to her.
"Kagome!" Ryoku drew back for another attack, and Inuyasha took the opportunity to wrap his arms around Kagome, blocking her from Ryoku with his body. She smiled tiredly up at him.
"I'm sorry, Inuyasha," she whispered. "I tried." She rested her head on his chest, resigned. She still had her power, and her Inuyasha. She could die happily.
"Don't say that!" Inuyasha's harsh voice caused her to jerk her head up. "It's not over!"
"How dare you say that!" he growled. "I will protect you!"
"The miko is right, Inuyasha. It's over." Inuyasha looked up. Ryoku stood above them. "You fell right into my little trap. You must realize that the other miko is unharmed. That was all part of the trap. She is completely unaware of all of this. You two have proved particularly resistant to me, however. I will delight in killing you at last."
"You will not." Inuyasha rose, still clutching Kagome to his chest. "I will always protect Kagome."
Ryoku chuckled. Orange fire formed around him once again. "You can not defeat me."
Inuyasha looked down. It was Kagome.
"What did you…"
She shook her head emphatically. "No. He can't. But…we can."
"What?" barked Ryoku. Surprisingly, Kagome smiled.
"Give me the Tetsusaiga," she murmured. Wordlessly, Inuyasha handed it to her. She rested a hand on it. It swirled with pink light for a moment, and then settled, tinted a faint pink. "Use the Kongosouha."
Inuyasha nodded, and took the Tetsusaiga back from her. Keeping one arm wrapped tightly around her waist, he raised the sword with the other.
"Never doubt the human heart," he hissed at Ryoku. "KONGOSOUHA!"
Ryoku's face was fixed in a smirk as the attack hit him. It changed rapidly to a look of horror as he felt the shards of adamant rip through his body. What went wrong? he wondered desperately. His attack should not hurt me. Could it be what he said…the human heart… Ryoku, for the first time, felt fear. Doubt. He smirked, one last time. Human emotions. I, Ryoku, experiencing human emotions. For the first time. And the last. And then the last of the shards hit him, tearing his now defenseless body to shreds. His face stayed fixed in the smirk. His expression would never change.
Inuyasha felt Kagome's body droop in his arms. He scooped her up, and her head fell onto his shoulder. He had some business to attend to. And then he would take her back to safety. He sheathed his sword, and gently kissed Kagome's forehead.
"Told ya I'd protect you," he whispered.
Kagome's world was red. She saw nothing but a deep, enveloping red. She blinked, and pulled slowly away from it. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
Groaning, she sat up and looked around. She was in her sleeping bag, back at camp. She would have thought it all a dream, if it weren't for the hanyou asleep beside her.
She looked down at him and smiled again. His arms were tightly wrapped around her waist. His face was peaceful as he slept, snuggled into her pillow. Yawning widely, Kagome looked at the sky. It was almost dawn. Inuyasha must have taken her back after she'd collapsed. After they had defeated Ryoku.
A soft moan brought her attention back to her hanyou. She brushed his silver bangs from his eyes, which snapped open. He looked up at her, and smiled. Then he turned an interesting shade of red, easily matching his firerat haori.
"I…you…I didn't mean to…I was worried…I…" he stuttered. She stopped him with a hand to his lips.
"It's fine," she murmured. He sat up too, tightening their embrace.
"It's just…me sleeping here…"
"I liked it, actually." She beamed at him, blushing slightly herself. He kissed her softly, stroking her hair.
"So," she said when they had separated, lying back down. He followed suit. "What happened after Ryoku died?"
"I brought you back here," he replied, not quite meeting her eyes. She rested a hand on his arm.
"We didn't come straight back, Kagome," he muttered. He looked up into her gentle brown eyes. "We…er…went to see Kikyou first. I told her everything."
Kagome's heart skipped several beats. "And…" she breathed.
"She understands." Inuyasha pulled her to him again, although for her comfort or his, he wasn't sure.
"So…it's over…?" Kagome could hardly dare to believe it.
"I made my decision back in the clearing by the well, Kagome. No, before that. I made it a long time ago."
"You did?" Kagome pulled back to look into his eyes.
"Yeah. It just took something like this to make me realize it."
Kagome smiled at him. "I love you," she said simply. He ran his fingers gently through her long, dark hair.
"I love you too."
And then she kissed him. And it was unlike any kiss he had ever imagined before, let alone experienced. His lips burned with a strange fire. Her tongue flicked into his mouth, and he parted his lips to let it in. He pulled her even closer, sliding his tongue into her own mouth. She tasted so sweet…
"It seems we've missed something." Inuyasha jerked away from Kagome, sitting up instantly. Miroku was smiling down at them, and not even Inuyasha could miss the suggestive tones of his voice. Sango stood behind him, bright red, her mouth forming an "o." Shippou cowered behind Sango, his hands clasped firmly over his eyes.
"Shit," Inuyasha cursed, blushing redder than Shippou. Kagome squeaked and jumped away from him, looking anywhere but at her friends or Inuyasha.
"It…that…wasn't…it was nothing!" Kagome managed.
"It didn't look like nothing to me," replied Miroku smoothly. Kagome blushed redder.
"I…er…what exactly did we miss?" Sango squeaked. Kagome tried and failed to find her composure. Inuyasha stood up, protectively hiding Kagome from the others. Kagome laughed nervously, reaching for his hand. He pulled her to her feet.
"I believe you have some explaining to do," offered Miroku. Kagome nodded.
"We sure do."
A/N: Well, I hope you liked the fic. Please review if you did, I live off of reviews. Flames, however, are unnecessary and rude. If you don't like this sort of fic, just don't read it. Reading to flame is just stupid, not to mention childish.
Oh, and just to clear up confusion on this, when Kagome asks Inuyasha if she can sit, the rosary would not have been activated. The word "osuwari," which is the trigger word for the rosary, is the way one would command a dog to sit. It is not the form of the word Kagome would have used in asking if she could sit down. Just so I don't get reviews asking about this, which I have before.
So! Thanks for reading, please review. XD