DISCLAIMER: Sadly, I don not own Inuyasha. I just like playing with them.
By: Lara Winner
The mouth of the small cave rose out of the ground sending a cold chill down Kagome's spine. Her gaze darted about her surroundings leaving her with the feeling that she was trespassing where she did not belong. She knew this place and exactly like the first time she set foot here, the dark and ominous presence of evil remained vivid and overwhelming. Not daring to step closer to the entrance, the name of her fears was like a whisper in the still air.
Kagome hugged herself tightly to ward off her unease. Despite the afternoons warmth and the bright rays of sunlight she felt cold. The anger that had driven her to storm out of Kaede's hut was now dying embers as dread began to seep into her soul. Something was not right. Thought she couldn't place where the instinct materialized from, she knew with morbid certainty that she should not have come here.
It was all Inuyasha's fault. The wretched boy had once again pushed Kagome past her limits and in the need to keep from strangling him with the prayer beads he wore she had gone for a walk to cool her temper. She had no desire to say things she would later regret and the hanyou's disregard for her feelings was quite disheartening. But now standing before the birthplace of an evil no mortal could comprehend, Kagome wished she had stayed put.
When the unnerving feeling of being watched compounded her current discomfort, Kagome felt her blood run cold. An icy breeze caressed her arms making the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. The touch was purposeful and gentle, almost like a lover's embrace. She took a frightened step back only to become paralyzed with fear as the air began to solidify forming a figure right before her eyes.
A gray mist swirled in a macabre dance slowly taking on the shape of a woman. Soulless black eyes became prominent as an ashen face appeared, the subtle lines revealing the beauty of youth. Long gossamer hair flowed over the apparition's shoulders covering her nude form to her waist. At the hips the body became a shapeless tail of mist that tapered off into the ground.
A scream welled up in Kagome's throat as the creature lifted one hand imploringly. A sardonic smile curved its full colorless lips and its voice, sexless and soft as velvet, was mocking as it laughed, "Only a fool travels this land alone."
"What do you want?" Kagome asked in a choked whisper. "And what in all the Gods are you?"
"I am Kaimi. If that does not help then I'm sure you are well acquainted with my creator, Naraku." The ghost woman replied.
Kagome felt faint. Her heart pounded in her chest as pure adrenaline pumped through her veins. "You are another of his offspring?" she gasped.
"I suppose," Kaimi chuckled. "But to refer to such a beast as my father is quite appalling to me actually. I prefer to ignore his existence if at all possible."
"Wha…why…" Kagome stuttered, confused. "What do you want with me?"
The creature folded its hands demurely. Cocking its head to the side, it seemed to study Kagome while saying, "If I could give you the chance to end this all here and now would you take it? Would you spare the life of your friends?"
Kagome dragged in a deep breath and tried to focus on the creature's words. They made no sense and she frowned. "There is nothing you could give me that I would except. I will not betray them to you or your master."
The creature merely smiled patiently. "I did not seek you for Naraku's sake nor did I come for the jewel shards you possess. My purpose is to offer you the chance to destroy Naraku once and for all. He has made a grave mistake in dealing with me and I have no use for his command nor this existence. Naturally it is to my benefit that I offer to extend my services should you be interested."
"I'm not." Kagome insisted without hesitation. Keeping a weary eye on the woman, she backed away slowly wishing she had had the foresight to bring her archery equipment.
"Then tell me Kagome, do you love Inuyasha?" it asked.
The question was simple but it came out of nowhere throwing Kagome's mind in chaos. She had to stop herself from answering with her heart. Instead she countered with her own question. "What does my answer mean to you? I know you're not asking out of curiosity."
"Your feelings for the hanyou mean nothing to me. It is you who will live with what you feel, not I." The gray lady conceded and bowed her head respectfully. Again she lifted both hands beseechingly. "I only ask for a grave favor and offer you one in return. Will you not accept?"
Though the creature's voice was barely above a whisper, there was a hopeless ring to its sad words. Kagome felt compelled to help the woman. Even fearing the emotion was only a magic rouse, she could not discredit Kaimi's request.
"Why then?" Kagome asked, "Why do you want me to destroy your maker?"
For a moment Kaimi did not seem as if she were going to answer. Her head remained bowed and her hands clenched together tighter. The sheer mist that formed her body rippled as something dark and powerful rose inside her. Kagome took another step back and cursed silently when she found herself up against the cavern wall. Then Kaimi looked up and Kagome gasped.
Red rivulets streamed from both of her obsidian eyes. Her mouth twisted in a bitter smile as she pressed her fisted palms where her heart would be. "I was mortal once." She explained painfully. "My father was a poor farm worker with nothing to show for his hard work. I was his only surviving child and his only remaining family. I took ill a short time ago and a seemingly generous lord named Naraku said he wanted to help cure me if we would help him in return. My father agreed. Naraku took us to his castle and…"
Kaimi's voice trailed away as a sob shook her body. But almost instantly she sniffed loudly and pulled her composure together. Her words tuned cold as ice as she continued, "Naraku needed a living body to form Kagura from himself and he needed a pure soul to create me. Naraku tricked my father and when my father tried to stop him Naraku killed him. He stole my body and my life. He even admitted the illness I suffered was part of his spell to capture my soul. Now I am trapped, not living and not dead. I have nothing but my memories and I long to either live or die, anything but this."
Kagome could only stand motionless, her gray eyes filling with tears as her heart ached for Kaimi. Tears of blood continued to trickle down the creature's face as she began to move closer toward Kagome. The threatening vibes were slowly fading as Kaimi reached out and tried to touch Kagome's cheek. Her smokey fingers passed right through Kagome's flesh and for one second a wave of pain hit Kagome, twisting her heart with a sadness she'd never felt before.
Kaimi smiled. "You are crying for me. Such compassion is not seen these days." Drawing her hand away, she sighed, "I cannot kill Naraku. As you can see, I can do little else but be seen. My purpose was never to destroy life. I was simply created to prevent you from returning through the well the next time you go back to your time. I was to hold you there and not let you reenter the well until Naraku had destroyed your friends."
"Oh no." Kagome breathed.
"Tis true. Naraku knows that Inuyasha looses his will to fight when you are not present. It gives the coward the advantage." Kaimi explained. "So again I ask you, do you love Inuyasha?"
This time Kagome's heart jumped to answer. "Yes."
"Then know this, if he stands against Naraku he will die." The ghost girl said sadly. Kagome opened her mouth to protest but Kaimi held up a hand to keep her silent. "There is nothing your presence can do to change this. It is Inuyasha's destiny and I have seen this in Kanna's mirror. Naraku will annihilate him and your friends and then he will take you as his prize. You are the closest he can be to Kikyo and your eternal suffering at loosing everyone you cared for will be his ultimate trophy."
Kagome shuddered as she stared at Kaimi with wide and frightened eyes. The thought of loosing everyone, especially Inuyasha, sent raw fear into her heart. She had to find a way to save them. "If Inuyasha can't defeat him then what else can be done?"
"I have a plan but it will come down to a very important choice on your part Kagome." Kaimi warned. "The question is do you love Inuyasha enough to give him a different destiny? Knowing that you'll never be with him again and even knowing that in his new life he will not remember you, would you still rather him be alive and happy?"
never be with him… will not remember you… love him enough…
Like shattering glass, Kagome's heart broke, the pieces falling to the bottom of her soul leaving her hollow and empty. There was only one answer she could give and tears welled over her cheeks as she cried, "Yes I do."
An understanding smile crossed Kaimi's face and her soulless eyes, if at all possible, softened with sympathy. "Then you will set things right by going back and killing Onigumo. What should have been will now be through your actions. You will give Inuyasha the life that Naraku stole from him. He will be given a second chance to live as he chooses with…"
"…with Kikyo." Kagome finished for her.
"Yes, with his soulmate."
Eyes squeezed shut, Kagome lowered her head as a pain, similar to what Kaimi herself was feeling, ripped apart her last shred of hope. She no longer questioned this demon's cause. Kaimi was genuine, something deep inside Kagome told her that. And now she was given the chance to end everyone's pain, at the cost of her heart. Inuyasha was not meant to be hers…
"What must I do?" she choked hoarsely.
"Go back to Kaede's village and say your good-byes. At dawn return here and I will be waiting." Kaimi said softly.
Kagome nodded her head, not able to trust her voice. Turning away, she headed back toward the village feeling as if she were walking to her death.
A.N.- This was an idea that struck me. It's probably been done before but I thought I'd give it a shot. This is only the first chapter. The story will get very interesting before it's through and I only hope I can pull this off. I just wanted to see how the story would go if given an alternate ending. This is just my opinion of what I think might possibly have happened if Kagome had the choice to relinquish destiny...