Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, characters, names, etc used without permission.
Author's Notes: Important note at the bottom, please read it.
Point of view (p.o.v) change and setting change has been marked with ( . . . )
There were perhaps no words to describe the thrill of excitement that rushed through one's body and mind when a successful plan had been put into action. Naraku sighed, leaning back against the cool wall behind him. He couldn't have hoped for better results. In fact, he was just short of stunned at how well the girl had cooperated.
It had been easy to reach out and manipulate the jewel shards the girl foolishly carried around her neck. Did she not realize his capabilities? The majority of the jewel was in his possession and manipulating it to suit his needs had been easier than expected. If she anticipated her rather limited abilities as a miko to keep the shards pure and safe from him she was stupider than she acted.
The thrill of victory, the sharp, surprising sting of astonishment, and other indescribable emotions were bubbling over in him. Not that it would have been noticeable as he stared absently out the open shoji screen door, a weak grin tugging at his lips.
It had been little more than a suggestion he'd breathed through a spell woven around his chunk of the Shikon and he'd had to do naught but watch as her mind plotted out her own fantasy. However, she had some minor assistance from his spell and the Shikon shards of course.
Still yet, watching the drama unfold upon Kanna's mirror had proved to be unexpectedly exciting. Her view of him had been intriguing and inviting all at the same time. Knowing, that on some level that she desired such intimate attention from him was utterly thrilling.
Kikyo's darling little reincarnation- the perfect little devotee that followed around the hanyou mutt, apparently, had passionate daydreams about him, Naraku, of all people. He was inseparable from his grin.
If she only knew, he thought, just how willing he was to bring her twisted little dream to life. Now he sat watching her flickering image in Kanna's mirror. Her awkward gaze danced over her companion's faces as though she feared they knew what her spacing out' spells had been.
His name falling from her lips had proved to be delectable; a discovery that brought him unforeseen amounts of delight. He had so little to do. It was almost as though he had to do nothing but reach out, and she would fall, willingly, into his corrupting hands and allow herself to be defiled. No trickery, no lies, or disguises, she knew. She knew what he was about and she had given in of her own volition, but that had been naught by a dream. A vision, an image conjured up from the shadowy corners of the girl's mind. Perhaps the dream was not as telling as he'd have liked, still yet, she'd not known it was a dream.
The memory of that night just a day or so past was clear in his mind. He'd gone, sneaking close to their campsite, his Shikon chunk held tight in his palm as he watched her. She was sleeping in her blanket surrounded by her companions and the kit in her arms. Inuyasha had been in a tree some distance off, sleeping rather heavily after the detachment he'd sent after the hanyou had worn him out. It had all worked out so well.
He'd cast the spell from where he was and quickly left, returning to his residence to watch the drama unfold. How could he have known it would blossom into something, dare he say, beautiful? Violence, betrayal, death, lust, surely they added up to something 'beautiful'.
He had been focused upon her dream more intently than upon the girl herself. Nonetheless, she had risen the next morning and functioned 'normally' albeit more quietly and sedately, drawing the suspicion of her friends. She hadn't responded to their queries while her mind was trapped in his vision. He chuckled, trapped in his visualization while she spun her own fantasy world.
The day was quickly expiring, he thought as he gazed upward into the dimming skies. In a westward direction the sky was beginning to melt and run as the sun sank below the horizon. He looked toward Kanna's mirror once more.
He watched the silent show as the girl; the object of his intense scrutiny shouted and otherwise harped on the hanyou who equally returned the attitude. What an immature pair they were. He watched as she stormed off into the village at which they had arrived.
. . .
"Stupid dog-face! Who does he think he is? He doesn't own me! I'll go home any -" she froze suddenly hearing a rustle and snap behind her. The two obvious signs that someone was stalking you, she thought wryly, or that you were being paranoid.
"Inuyasha?" she tentatively called out, glancing around anxiously.
She bit her lip nervously before breaking into a sprint toward the well that loomed just in front of her. If she could make it, she'd be safe.
Her breath caught sharply as she was suddenly encircled and her vision faded black. It was impossible not to feel the warm body pressed against hers and feel the soft lining of whatever it was that now covered her from head to toe. There was an arm wrapped tightly around her waist and the ground vanished beneath her feet, and she closed her eyes tightly.
Her large yellow sac remained behind where she'd clumsily dropped it. Inuyasha was angry with her; he wouldn't notice she was missing for days! She felt a well of panic bubble up inside her, what was she going to do? She was being kidnapped!
The time period between her abduction and her being released was remarkably short. Her feet touched solid ground once more and she whirled around.
He grinned down at her as he let the pelt slid away from his face. She felt her blood run cold.
"You look surprised to see me, lovely."
"Inuyasha is-" she started.
"Forget the mutt," he snapped. "Unhappy to see me?" he purred advancing toward her slowly.
She backed away at an equal pace.
"Um Hmm" she licked her lips apprehensively. "I "
"Keeping secrets from your friends Kagome? Is that fair to them? Why are you so afraid of them finding out what your dreams are about?"
How did he know!? She blanched at the comment, almost tripping as she continued to back away.
"What do you mean?" she sputtered nervously.
"Don't play stupid girl. Naraku sees all."
Realization struck her like an arrow. The Shikon's glow, the dream - "It was you!" she exclaimed.
He chuckled lowly. "Ah, figured it out, did you? How did it feel to peer into your own murky shadows? To confront your own hidden desires?"
"You lie! That entire dream was your doing!"
"You'd like to think so wouldn't you? I cannot create dreams, I can only make you see your own."
No, it couldn't be, she thought, frowning.
"Afraid to face your own wanton desires?" he snickered. "What reason would I have to plant such a ridiculously comical dream in your head? I assure you, had it been my own you wouldn't have enjoyed half the luxuries you were subject to. Although I did find your representation of me quite amusing."
She didn't reply but was instead plotting means of escaping her current situation.
Both were surprised at the new, cold voice that interrupted their private conversation. Naraku's head turned just as hers did off in an eastward direction.
"Kikyo," He chuckled once more and shot a glance back at Kagome as though to say 'now's your chance'.
She shot him back a stare that seemed to reply 'you must be kidding' and he grinned in response while Kikyo watched them wearily narrowing her eyes in suspicion at the silent conversation.
"We are having a private conversation," Naraku intoned, only too happy to inform her.
"Oh?" she raised a brow questioningly throwing venomous looks at both of them before drawing an arrow.
Kagome watched as Kikyo scowled at them both while Naraku simply stared back at her. When the deep, black miasma that was characteristic of Naraku began to fill the area, she wasted no time in running. There couldn't be anything worse than hanging out with those two. She wasn't even sure which one was more dangerous nor did she wish to discover it.
She spotted the well ahead of her and felt her spirits lift. If she could just get down it, she'd be fine and wouldn't have to deal with this chaotic mess. She heard the flap of heavy material in the wind and skidded to a clumsy stop. There just beyond the well he stood. He was ramrod straight, covered head to toe in the white baboon fur. She felt the icy claws of desperation sink into her belly, wasn't there any way to escape him?
"Perhaps we should continue this conversation privately?"
"Maybe we don't need to have a conversation," she snapped, glancing back toward her bag.
"Surely you aren't afraid Kagome. Come now, you should listen to yourself. Your own heart tells you to ally with me and yet you resist?" He sounded amused, as his face was again hidden behind the white cloak.
"You lie. I don't want you!" she spat suddenly angry.
With more speed than she'd ever given the hanyou credit for before, he was suddenly in front of her. Tall, looming, dangerous, sexy... Sexy? Eh? She blinked. Clearly she was losing her mind, she thought absently almost forgetting the hanyou towering before her, white baboon head again displaced.
She was brought rudely back to reality when a warm hand rose to her face, cupping her cheek. He leaned down, his head beside hers, his hair almost falling over her shoulders as he leaned to her.
"You may play games with the mutt or the stupid wolf. It doesn't matter if you want Naraku, but if Naraku wants you."
In that mere few seconds of time she felt his lips press against her neck, then there was a shift in the breeze and she was alone again. She exhaled heavily as she peered around. He was gone. Without further thought she leaped down the well, forgetting her bag.
She was tapping her pencil against her desk. Even worse was that the sound was getting on her nerves and she didn't even realize it was her making it. Frustrated, she threw the pencil down, and it bounced as though to mock her and rolled off onto the floor. She glared at it angrily and determined to leave it there, besides she wasn't getting any algebra done anyway. She sighed. He couldn't be right, could he? She really didn't think that way about Naraku.
The memory kept replaying over and over again. Memory, she thought darkly. It was nothing but Naraku's tampering with her head, she scowled, but the doubts wouldn't be quelled. What if it wasn't? What if she really *had* thought up that dreamscape on her own? Why had she thought such things about him?
Better yet why couldn't she forget the haunting images? Why couldn't she forget the way his fingertips had burned her skin with their touch? Or the way excitement had raced through her blood as he kissed her? How could she remember each detail of something that hadn't been real? Why was she disappointed? Why didn't it feel the same when she was with Inuyasha?
She turned to the window and found Inuyasha perched on her sill. She expected to be happy, to see him there, urging her to return with him, to be back with him, but she wasn't. She was startled to find her feelings were inexorably altered, she felt... twisted. No matter how much she railed and rallied against herself as she stared across the small space that separated them, the feeling didn't return. Rather there was a harsh, irritating feeling that grated against her nerves. As though to say 'why did he have to come now' or 'why did he have to come at all'. It made no sense at all, what was wrong with her? Was this some residual side effect of the spell? It must be, she concluded.
"I'm sorry, what did you say Inuyasha?" she breathed absently turning back to her desk and searching for her pencil before remembering it had fallen to the floor some time previously and that she was angry at the offending object.
"I *said* what are you doing back here, wench? We have shards to be collecting, I didn't say you could leave."
Instinctively she felt drawn to respond heatedly but once again the feeling was gone. She felt hollow, she suddenly realized. Empty and incomplete, what the hell had he done to her, she wondered. Dropping her head into her hands, she ignored the hanyou that was now crouched on the floor.
"Go away Inuyasha, I'm busy."
She heard the rustle of fabric, and guessed he was offended when she heard, "Keh! I have stuff to do, I'll be back tomorrow morning. You okay?" He added the last part hesitantly.
She could almost see the caring glow in his brightly colored eyes even though she never turned back to him. "I'm all right."
"You sure?" he asked tentatively.
"I'm sure." she replied, keeping her head down and voice steady.
She thought momentarily he might approach her but he didn't, instead, he left. She would later notice he'd returned her bag after having forgotten it earlier that day.
She opened her eyes as she felt her feet touch solid ground once more and looked up to see a bright sky and a partial canopy of trees. So far, so good.
She reached up, clawing her way out of the murky well and sat herself comfortably on the rim. Just beyond this place was the village where her friends were, where Inuyasha was, and where all her problems and emotions would snarl at her once more. She sighed deeply, wanting nothing more than escape.
She'd come to a startling conclusion as she lie in her bed the previous night. She wanted to be wanted. Sure she was a look alike for Kikyo, and certainly Naraku would harbor the same kind of Kikyo' comparisons, but it was different. Naraku wanted her instead. He wasn't afraid, embarrassed, or even deceitful in his decision of choosing her. Choosing her over Kikyo, and that had stuck with her all night. Naraku would take her over Kikyo despite the fact they had shared history together and that she was nothing more than a replacement'.
Bitterness was a nasty thing, and it had been growing more steadily in her since she'd woken from her dream. She'd thought perhaps the dream had implanted it in her, but she now realized that wasn't so. It had been there long before, way back to when the miko had first been revived. The first time he chose Kikyo over her, the first time he failed to believe anything bad about her, the first time he'd seen Kikyo in her face could all of these things be the blossoming of one hated emotion? They were.
Each ragged instance had caused the deceitful bloom to grow and flourish within the inky depths of her heart; the tattered shadows that even her purity couldn't reach. The dank depths of her soul that she thought had been sucked out of her when Kikyo had kept a little piece of her. The darkness the others couldn't see but that Naraku had realized was there. The ones he had forced her to face and realize, to see and feel the parts of her she'd locked away in fear or loathing of them. The pieces of herself she couldn't stand, the pieces of her that had been Kikyo and had twisted into something so awful and abhorrent that her own soul could no longer harbor them.
There was a feeling on the edge of her senses. A Shikon shard, she vaguely realized, but she felt no desire to rush after it as she had done so before. Yet even as she sat there, her curiosity peaked, the shard wasn't moving. Was the owner sleeping or something?
Realizing the unlikelihood of such a thing, but still led by her interest she roused herself onto her feet and started toward the lingering twinge pulling at her senses. She passed tree after tree until stepping into a small clearing.
There, upon the ground, clear as day, was the Shikon shard, and no youkai within sight. The entire situation reeked of trap' but she was here, so the plan had already worked, hadn't it? Who, but her, would be able to track the shard so easily?
Therefore, she stepped forward and retrieved the small gem fragment, palming it in her hand as she waited for the inevitable, whatever that turned out to be.
She vaguely wondered why she wasn't running, but she was tired of running. She was tired of being afraid, of being protected, and worst of all, of being hunted.
"Quite unexpected, you weren't supposed to just stand there."
Kagome turned to meet the glowing crimson gaze of Kagura, who had her fan raised to cover half her face.
"Kagura," she murmured, and suddenly decided, she steeled her resolve and stepped forward. "Take me to Naraku."
The female spawn of Naraku was clearly stunned at this development judging from the look in her eyes even as the lower half of her face remained hidden behind her fan.
"This was not part of the plan."
Kagome grinned unexpectedly at her. "No, I think it was the plan all along."
Although baffled, she plucked a feather from her hair, and the two were off. The uneasy flight left Kagome feeling nauseous and dizzy when she finally touched ground again before an elegant mansion.
She tossed a glance in Kagura's direction but the wind youkai just stared toward the building almost apprehensively before taking flight upon her feather and leaving the miko alone in the courtyard of the grand residence.
Once again rallying her nerves, she walked to the door, and let herself in. What was the point of knocking anyway? Maybe she'd get lucky and startle him with her appearance even though she already had a feeling he was expecting her, maybe she was giving him too much credit.
The interior of the mansion was much like that of her dream, if not in structure, certainly in lighting. Everything was dim and shadowy, as though he meant to project an evil image to any visitors he may have. She had hardly made her way past the first hall when out of a doorway stepped Kanna.
The blank girl did nothing to impede her, nor did she say anything. She merely stood, standing, her mirror facing slightly to the ground.
"Where is Naraku?"
She blinked and turned away, walking silently down the hall and Kagome took this as her cue to follow and did so.
The girl stopped at a set of sliding doors.
"He's in here?"
She nodded weakly and Kagome smiled. "Thank you."
She received no response from the girl as she padded off toward another location. Again alone she reached for the doorway, before thinking better of it, and knocked. There was a gruff, muffled reply from inside, but she failed to distinguish what it was. Feeling suddenly brave, she slid the door open boldly and peered inside.
She was almost startled to discover the place wasn't as horrible as she thought. It was clean, mostly empty but that her fantasy world had accurately pictured what he would look like in his environment.
There upon the wood floor he sat, his red tinted gaze directed fully upon her. The gaze that this time was all too real, as were the hands that rested in his lap, and the body leaning against the shoji doorframe where he was sitting. His expression was blank, empty of anything for her to analyze and she was already at a disadvantage in the dim light of the room.
She heard him clearly however when he spoke. "Close the door."
She wasted no time in obeying the order and slowly, almost inching, she moved herself closer and closer to him, as though afraid he'd jump up and attack her.
"Well?" she prompted, causing his blank face to slide away into one of mild amusement.
Within she was warring. First her thoughts had betrayed her, then her feelings, now even her voice was rebelling!
"Well what?" his deep, smooth voice replied as though to urge her closer even as he made no move to encourage or hinder her progress.
"What is it Naraku wants?" she breathed.
The surprise on his face was not hidden, and he made no attempts to hide it apparently not feeling threatened by her presence even though she had destroyed his first body with one shot of an arrow.
He was real; his body was real, as was her body, and her powers. There was no blinking awake this time and reflecting on things that hadn't really happened.
When he drew one leg up to bend his knee, she thought he was rising up to his feet, but he didn't stand, but merely appeared to be adjusting the way he sat.
"Have you decided to abandon the mutt then?"
She suddenly felt defiant and crossed her arms. She wasn't about to admit anything. "I came to see what you had to say."
. . .
He watched her as she stood before him, the flicker of the candle dancing over her voluptuous figure in the dim light. Her raven colored hair spilled down her back, and over one shoulder carelessly while her brightly colored eyes clearly showed the conflict brewing within her. He'd torn her almost asunder, as she fought tooth and nail against herself without any further interference at all from him.
"There is nothing left to speak of, simply decisions to be made."
He watched her tighten her fist momentarily before she came to stand a simple arms length away. She kneeled beside him, her eyes having lost their conflicted appearance.
"You are disgusting, as worthless as the human heart that made you." She spat.
He chuckled lifting a hand to trail her jaw. "What a corrupt little creature you are becoming right before my very eyes."
She only growled lowly in her throat before the emotion drained out of her, as quickly as it had come and she slumped down beside him. She raised her hand to his pressing their palms together, his fingers entangling with hers. He felt the Shikon shard against his palm, was she giving it back to him? Amazing.
He watched her as she shut down, piece by piece and then fell forward, her head dropping on his shoulder, and her eyes finally fluttering closed. A fierce wave of elation tore through him violently even as he held back the snarl of utter triumph. She was his, her power was his, the jewel was his and the mutt The troublesome mutt and his bitch would be dead!
As exhilaration poured over within him he forced himself to stay still and not to wake the sleeping miko even as he desired to shove her away harshly and simply take her here upon this floor while she stared up at him with those wide, innocent, confused eyes.
His jaw was tense even as he held his teeth together tightly trying to ignore the fact that his body was begging for her. Every disembodied voice of the collective Naraku, even Onigumo's called out for him to have her, to release this vicious tension ripping through his body.
His breath caught and he exhaled raggedly when she lifted her head, raising her luminous eyes to his.
- Author's Notes: That's it. Some of you may have seen this at Princess Destiny's site, or maybe you haven't. It's been posted there for a while, it's been done for a long while.
Important Note: That's it. The last chapter I'm writing. This story is being continued by someone else. I am tired of it, I've got no ideas really and I got an email request asking if they could continue it so I said 'yes'. ^_^
Although I imagine I'm going to get complaints for it, I guess it can't be helped. I'm in the middle of a lot of fics right now and I just started a new one today called "Belonging". *sigh*