Disclaimer: I still don't, and never will, own Inuyasha and Co. As always, I make no profits from setting my plunnies free for your (and mine) entertainment.
AN: So, as yall might have guessed, things come to a bit of a head in this chapter and the consequences, though unintended, may cause some people to be unhappy.
Kagome gasped loudly, stepping back from Sesshoumaru and staring at Inuyasha as his eyes turned blood red. The turquoise blue ring in the center of those red orbs only adding to the fearsome look. The new markings on his face turned into jagged purple streaks upon the sides of his face. She watched in a horrible sort of trance as his fangs grew and filled his mouth as his jaw began to stretch. The in between state looking like a candidate for a horror film. His sharp and deadly claws began to elongate and curl over the ends of his fingers and toes.
Though the miko had once before seen Sesshoumaru transform, she found herself fascinated by what was happening before her eyes. The beautiful white of Inuyasha's hair seemed to be coming from everywhere as his fur sprouted from him and his form began to twist and grow. Self-preservation was completely lost on her at that moment.
"Get back, Kagome," Sesshoumaru said loudly enough to break through her daze. His voice was once again the thick, gravelly tone of his beast.
With wide eyes, the Shikon miko did as she was told and backed up several paces, steeping behind a large old sakura tree and peeking her head around it to see what was happening. Sesshoumaru had started his transformation much later than his brother who was nearly fully transformed, but the two huge inuyoukai both reached completion at the same time. Kagome thought about attempting to reason with Inuyasha as she had in the past when he had gone feral, but she knew that this was altogether different. His inner beast had taken over at seeing her with Sesshoumaru. She began to feel like this was her fault.
Kagome could not help, despite her guilt, but revel in the novelty and beauty of what was happening just feet away from while she stood in the shelter of the sakura tree. The two white dog demons faced each other in the gardens, only their markings showing any difference between the two. The miko knew if she were standing next to either, that she wouldn't even be as tall as their legs. They had to be nearly two stories high.
Sesshoumaru stood with his back to her in a protective stance as he guarded what was his. Inuyasha wasted little time in lunging for his elder brother with jaws full of cruel fangs snapping dangerously. The daiyoukai used a massive, sharp tipped paw to knock the lesser brother to the side and even further away from Kagome. Inuyasha snarled loudly and sprang at Sesshoumaru once again, this time aiming his jaws at the enormous legs supporting him. Sesshoumaru took to the air, guiding the once-hanyou ever further away from his little miko. He kept one eye on her location as he moved, ensuring her safety in the battle.
Kagome wanted to help in some way, but all she had at her disposal were her miko powers. She did not wish to purify either brother and knew throwing lesser energy was likely to just enrage Inuyasha and draw his attention to her. Fidgeting and nervous, the miko resigned herself to allowing Sesshoumaru to handle the current situation. She absolutely hated feeling useless after having looked out for herself for so many years.
The daiyoukai avoided Inuyasha's attempt to take out his leg, leaping on top of his back and closing his jaws around the fur covering the back of his brother's neck. Though he wasn't sure if he cared about killing the whelp, Sesshoumaru had practically taken him under his protection in offering to train him. Locking his jaw without actually digging his fangs too far into Inuyasha's flesh, the lord of the west attempted to bring Inuyasha back down to the ground beneath them. Sesshoumaru aimed for a clearing that was far enough from Kagome to make him even more sure of her safety.
Inuyasha flailed wildly in an attempt to dislodge his brother from his back. For all of his attempts however, the best he managed to do was roll in the air and take a swipe at his brother's belly with his deadly claws. Sesshoumaru growled fearsomely as they found minor purchase in his flesh and locked his jaw fractionally tighter around the exposed neck between his teeth. Inuyasha let out a sound somewhere between a roar and a deep growl and he tried to once again roll. Kagome felt the hairs at the back of her neck stand up at the sound as she watched with morbid fascination.
This time, they were too close to the ground and the younger brother found himself careening into the earth in an awkward sideways roll. Forcing his weight into the daiyoukai, Inuyasha forced his brother to roll with him in hopes of extricating himself from his current hold. Unfortunately for all involved, Inuyasha had managed to put them on a course straight for Kagome with his wild twists. The miko let out a yelp and backed up even further from where the pair had started.
Inuyasha's back crashed into the spot beneath the sakura tree where Kagome had just been standing moments before. Leaves showered the ground as they were loosed by the impact. A thunderous crack reverberated in the air as he slammed to a stop against the trunk. The miko only had a fraction of a second to realize that the great old tree was falling directly at her. She turned with the intent to run to safety before the first wave of pain sent a shockwave through her body.
Having no idea what was happening behind him, Inuyasha continued to snap his jaws at his brother and try to wound him with his claws despite his present submissive position. The harsh, feminine scream of pain finally made it through his consciousness and made him freeze. He knew that voice, that was his Kagome. That one rational thought began to give Inuyasha the opportunity to return to his senses. The jaws locking around his throat receded and the great dog was surprised to see his brother return to his humanoid form and move in a blur of motion to where the scream had come from.
Once Sesshoumaru pinpointed her location in the mess of branches and leaves, he used supernatural strength to pick up the entire tree and cast it aside with little effort. Even for him, it should not have been that easy, but every ounce of his focus was on the fragile onna trapped underneath. The daiyoukai was vaguely aware of Inuyasha's bestial self catching on and reverting form when he realized what had happened.
Kagome whimpered softly as the tree was removed from her, a few of the branches catching at her hair, skin and clothes. Sesshoumaru gasped aloud as he saw the damage to his miko. She was covered in scratches and gouges from the branches of the tree, but that wasn't what made his heart skip a beat. A thick branch had broken and impaled her upper left chest and shoulder, mere inches from her heart. The scent of her blood filled the gardens as it started a dark red pool beneath her that soaked her sky blue kimono and seeped into her hair. The broken piece had gone clean through her body. While the damage would have been easy enough for a youkai to heal with a day or two's rest, he knew in her state that she was severely wounded.
Sesshoumaru struggled with his control for a moment, his eyes flashing red. He wanted to kill his thoughtless half-brother for putting her in danger to begin with. Not only had he put her in danger by transforming, the whelp had been careless enough to have brought the battle close to the precious little onna. His youki radiated out from him and boiled around him with rage as he fought to retain control and not rip his brother's throat out. Kagome needed him now, no matter how much he wished to tear the life from his idiot brother.
Noticing that a few youkai had gathered to the edge of the garden, Sesshoumaru growled out loudly, "Get Kyoko!"
With his control having won out, Sesshoumaru turned back to the fragile miko that struggled to stay conscious. Her breathing rasped and when she coughed to clear her throat, a deep red stream of blood left her lips. Sesshoumaru carefully moved to cradle her in his arms without dislodging the branch that held most of her life's blood within her body at this moment. He stared down into her glassy blue eyes and whispered, "Stay with me, Kagome."
Kagome couldn't think, could hardly breathe with the pain wracking her body. If she tried to move even a tiny bit, the sharp throbbing in the shoulder threatened to steal her consciousness from her. Knowing she was losing consciousness and hoping this wasn't the end for her, Kagome forced her eyes to focus on the angry and worried pair that watched her. Those shimmering gold eyes held her attention, though she seemed oblivious to whatever was happening around her.
As the dark closed in on the edges of her vision, Kagome choked out a whispered, "I'm sorry."
Inuyasha's ears folded to his head as he looked on helplessly. He felt as if his heart were in a vice grip and he could barely breathe. When he heard her whispered apology, it felt as though a hot dagger had lodged itself in his heart. This was all his fault for losing control. His beast had raged upon seeing the two of them so intimately together and all he remembered was seeing a red haze over his sight. The inuyoukai wanted to approach, but thought better of it. For once, he put her first and let his brother take control of her care.
Kyoko arrived moments after Kagome went unconscious, and her eyes widened at the damage that had been wrought on her student. Her sensitive ears could easily pick out the still steady beating of the miko's heart and it reassured her. However, she could also hear the rattle of blood inside the punctured left lung and knew that even with her skills, she may not be able to save her.
"My lord, we need to move her inside. Can you move her without letting the branch be dislocated?" Kyoko asked softly, well aware that her lord was on the edge of his control.
Without a word, Sesshoumaru shifted his precious burden in his arms so that he could carry her. He balanced her torso beneath the deadly shaft of wood before taking off to land inside of his own bedchamber. He knew that Kyoko would gather what she needed and meet him here. The daiyoukai laid the injured miko on his bed, supporting her shoulder so that it was raised above the mattress. He stared into her pale, pained features and felt his heart tug in his chest.
Minutes passed and all Sesshoumaru could do was stare at her beautiful features. He listened to her steady heart beat and pained, shallow breaths. The daiyoukai did not care one bit as her blood stained the silken sheets of his bed.
Kagome's heart skipped a beat, unmistakable to his keen ears. He mentally cursed, praying to the kamis that Kyoko would arrive soon. Sesshoumaru would not forgive himself if his little miko died under his protection. Suddenly he realized just how important the onna had become to him in the short time she had reentered his life. The simple thought of never again seeing her smile caused an unfamiliar pain that threatened to steal his breath away from him. It felt similar to the second time that Rin had died before his mother had revived her, but this time his beast pawed and whined at him. His inner self unable to tolerate the thought of its chosen no longer being in this world.
Kyoko entered the chamber with a basket full of bandages and herbs with two of the other youkai healers following closely behind. Sesshoumaru didn't move other than to look over at the demonesses. The healer looked over the miko carefully, noting that, with the exception of her shoulder, the rest of the wounds were shallow and already scabbing over. Those could be cleaned after the miko's shoulder had been stabilized.
"My lord, this wound is going to bleed quite a lot when the branch is removed. Do you wish to move her to the floor until we have dressed it?" Kyoko asked quietly, eyes downturned submissively in respect for her lord.
"No, she doesn't need to be moved again," Sesshoumaru said simply. Truth is, he did not want to cause her any more pain or risk her waking before they had finished dressing the large and possibly deadly wound.
Nodding her head to communicate her understanding, Kyoko moved onto the bed with a thick, folded towel. The demoness placed the towel against the branch on the side of the outgoing wound. Wanting to prepare her lord, she said in a voice soft as a whisper, "My lord, this is going to hurt her. We need to remove the branch."
Sesshoumaru nodded, attempting to reposition the tiny miko so that Kyoko had a better view of what she was doing. She noted that the branch was tapered, which was lucky for her pupil as it would not cause any more damage as it was carefully removed. Taking a deep breath, Kyoko motioned to one of her helpers to come and remove the broken branch.
Everyone froze when they heard the disapproving growl from the daiyoukai. The demonesses bowed their heads quickly, not wanting to incite his wrath. Everyone in the room could tell that his beast was close to the surface.
"I will remove it, Kyoko," the daiyoukai pointed to one of the other demonesses with the hand not supporting her and commanded, "Come support her while I remove this."
The healer did as she had been bid by her lord and carefully switched places with him to support the young onna. When Kyoko nodded, Sesshoumaru pulled on the large branch with steady pressure and pulled it from her wound. Kagome screamed as the branch was removed and the towel placed at her back, quickly passing out from the excruciating pain. The high, keening wail that ripped through her throat constricted the daiyoukai's chest painfully and he was thankful when she went back to the dark oblivion of unconsciousness.
Three long and terrible days had passed since the incident in the gardens that left the miko wounded. Sesshoumaru had barely left her side in all of that time. He had refused to let anyone by Kyoko near the mortally damaged Kagome. Despite frequent cleanings and re-bandaging, the wound had developed the putrid smell of infection. Sesshoumaru was at his wits end as the poor little onna burned with fever and thrashed on the bed. She had been given herbs for pain and fever, but they seemed to help only minimally at best.
Kyoko was at the bedside, examining the shoulder wound when she turned to her lord with a solemn face. Speaking the words he already knew, she said softly, "The wound is infected, my lord. I do not know how much longer the miko can hold out until the poison enters her blood."
"You must know someone or something that can help her, Kyoko," Sesshoumaru said with a mixture of anger and extreme fear. He didn't even care if the emotions showed on his ragged features. The daiyoukai was becoming desperate. Reaching out a hand, he stroked the little miko's cheek. She had not woken up once since they had removed the branch from her shoulder.
Kyoko seemed to hesitate for several moments before meeting his eyes. She had no clue if the witch could help, or even if she would. Never did magic come without a price though. Sighing, the demoness spoke, "I don't know if it is a good idea, but I do know of a dark witch who has some experience with these matters. I know not if she would be willing or what the cost might be, my lord."
"Summon her," Sesshoumaru said without hesitation.
AN: So there is another chapter for you all! After two weeks of no updates, I definitely wanted yall to get at least two this week and I'm already thinking hard on the next chapter which I hope to get up this weekend or sooner. Poor Kags and poor tortured Shesshy… As always, thanks for reading and please take a moment to review!
P.S. Welcome back Mutnodjmet and thanks so much for the long review! Glad you and everyone else is enjoying the story so far! Much love to all my supporters on Dokuga and FF net.