The moonlight danced over the pair through a small window. Hitomi didn't know it, but Kagome was the only one in the room who was sleeping. Inu-yasha had heard every word that was said. Hitomi assumed that his head turned in his sleep, but Naoko sensed his emotions, and turned away so she wouldn't see that single tear that she felt roll down his cheek.
Kagome had resisted life.
"Come, Hitomi. It's late – very much past your bedtime." Naoko said as she started to nudge Hitomi out the door.
"But… But what if something happens? What if you need my help?!?"
Naoko smiled. Hitomi was so cute. She was only about six or seven, and she was genuinely worried about these strangers.
"I don't think anything will happen. If it does, I'll send Inu-yasha to come get you as fast as he can!"
"But he doesn't know where I live!!!"
"I wouldn't worry about that. He's a dog yokai! He'll follow your scent and find you right away. He'll even give you a lift so you can get here faster!"
"Ok…" Hitomi finally gave in. They started to walk towards Hitomi's house. They were just outside the door when stopped. She turned and looked back at the dark doorway.
"What is it?" Naoko asked, turning back to the young girl.
"Do you really think he'll leave her? If something happens, that is…"
Naoko was very surprised at this. Hitomi always surprised her that way. She was so… perceptive. She could read emotions almost as well as Naoko could! But she didn't have the powers that Naoko did… Maybe it was just because Hitomi had already experienced so many emotions. When she was very young, only a few years old, her parents had been killed right in front of her. She had seen so much… Naoko had read that on her when she first met her. Naoko had taken her in then to be her assistant. She always had nightmares, and Naoko would feel them. In a way, this helped, because it helped her comfort the little girl. One such nightmare had led to the discovery of her talent…
"I'll make him!" Naoko joked, putting on a silly face. Then she cleared her throat and stood up straight again. "Seriously, though… that's how sure I am that nothing will happen.
Hitomi looked confused by this. Naoko got down on her knees so she was looking Hitomi right in the eyes.
"Don't worry, Hitomi. She has demon blood in her now. Even to a lesser hanyou that wound isn't so terrible – it just hurts a lot. It will take a quite a while to heal, but she'll be okay."
Hitomi still looked doubtful. Naoko sighed.
"Tell you what – you can come over in the morning and ask her yourself. She'll probably wake up in the morning!"
Hitomi thought about this proposal for a little while. Then she smiled, and nodded her head up and down in a big, exaggerated motion.
"Ok, great! Now come on, let's get you home. It's cold out here!" Naoko said with a shiver.
Inu-yasha hadn't moved when they left. He still sat there, the moonlight shining in his silver hair. It also glinted in the track that his tear had left on his cheek.
'Why, Kagome? Why didn't you want my blood? Why didn't you want to be saved?' The image of Kagome's face before she passed out flashed through his head. Naoko was right – it had seemed like she was doing what had to be done. But that couldn't be right…
He watched as her appearance changed a little more. She had been changing, little by little, ever since she had received his blood. Her hair now had four streaks of silver in it, two on each side of her head. Her ears were slowly moving to the top of her head as they gradually turned into those similar to his. Her eyes rippled under their lids, and he knew that they, too, had changed.
Inu-yasha growled. This was all her fault, that stupid Naoko woman. Well, it was his fault for being unable to protect Kagome, but now he was entrusting her to her near-killer without so much as an explanation. What kind of fool was he? He didn't even know what kind of demon Naoko was. And she claimed that the shard had possessed her… that couldn't be right. Shards give power, but they can't take control…
Just then, Naoko came hurrying back into the room, and Inu-yasha feigned sleep again. Hitomi followed her soon after, but she smelled of fear. Naoko went to the large basket that Inu-yasha hadn't noticed before and dug through what appeared to be very old scrolls. Naoko found the one she was looking for and opened it. Inu-yasha opened his eyes a little to glance at it, and saw that it was written in a writing that he had never seen before, almost faded to a point where it was gone. It was, however, and ancient demonic tongue – that much he could tell.
Naoko motioned to Hitomi, who scampered quietly over to her. Inu-yasha heard every whisper.
"Is that it?"
"Yes, Hitomi, I believe this is the right spell. I just hope it works!"
"Read it to me, and I'll start the preparations."
But before Naoko could start, she was hanging by her neck, which was grasped tightly in Inu-yasha's hand.
"Bitch!" he yelled, as Hitomi screamed in fear, and Naoko gasped for breath. "I knew that I couldn't trust you! Casting spells on her when you think I have my guard down… You sicken me! I should just crush your throat right now!"
"No!! Don't!" yelled Hitomi. "We can explain! We meant her no harm!"
By now, several of the villager's had heard Hitomi's scream. Some men rushed in, armed with farm equipment, to see what was wrong.
"Demon! Put her down! We'll kill you!"
But Inu-yasha ignored them. They were too frightened to actually attack anyways.
Suddenly, Naoko used a burst of power to blow him away. He hit the wall and slid down. He instantly got to his feet, ready to take her on.
"You fool!" Naoko yelled. "We were going to help her! Don't you know what I am?"
"Besides a lying, deceitful witch? No! You were to busy lying to mention it!"
"Don't you dare talk to her that way!" yelled one of the villagers. "You vile demon! Bursting in here at night, trying to injure a child, a miko, and a wounded woman? And you accuse Naoko, who is far better than you can ever dream to be, of being bad?"
"Don't you dare speak of what you don't know, bastard!" yelled Inu-yasha, whose eyes were starting to turn red. "Your precious priestess is the one who tried to kill Kagome, and was about to cast a spell on her to finish the job!"
All eyes turned to Naoko.
"Inu-yasha, I will tell you everything. I am sorry that this happened. The rest of you, go back to bed. These are guests of the village, and we have much healing to do."
The villagers looked quite surprised, but did as they were told. Naoko turned to Inu-yasha.
"Well, what do you want to know?"
"Who are you?" Inu-yasha snarled, not ready to believe anything.
"I did not lie before. My name is Naoko, and I am a cross between a miko and a healing demon – a perfect balance of each. That is why," she continued, cutting Inu-yasha off, "the shard was able to possess me. I myself was neutral, while it was evil. The evil part of the jewel took over – the soul from the demon of demons. The great demon possessed me to take its final vengeance on Kagome."
"But Kagome was Kikyo's reincarnation."
"And Kikyo was Midoriko's first reincarnation."
Inu-yasha thought about this for a while.
"What spell were you going to cast without my knowing, then?"
"I wasn't doing it without your knowledge. I knew you were awake. And I wasn't going to cast it, either. I was merely looking for it."
"Why did Hitomi come back with you?" The girl glanced up upon hearing her name. "I thought you were taking her home for bed."
"I was. But when she came to give me a hug, she touched some of the blood on my clothing, and it gave her a vision."
"Hitomi has visions. That's why she's my helper – I'm helping her learn how to control these visions, and how to decipher them."
"And this… this vision… it told you to come cast a spell on Kagome?"
"No. Hitomi saw that Kagome wasn't going to wake up in the morning. Indeed, she was not going to wake up for many days. That's as far as she told me, before telling me that her soul was trying to leave, trying to die. She also told me there was a spell in my scrolls to fix all of this."
Inu-yasha turned to Hitomi, who tried to act brave, but was obviously afraid of him.
"Well? What was the rest of the vision, girl?"
Naoko also seemed interested to find out what Hitomi had seen. However, Hitomi was still frightened. Whatever she had seen, it had been bad.
Suddenly, Naoko strode back over towards the scrolls and grabbed what appeared to be a large, flat rock with ancient writings inscribed on it.
"Here, Hitomi, use this."
Inu-yasha recognized this – it was a Seeing Stone. True seers could use them to show others their visions. He had seen it happen before. There was no way to put a spell on one, and there was no way to create a false one. If you created something meant to trick others into believing that you were a seer, it would break itself – the magic in the actual stones were that powerful.
Hitomi, looking only slightly relieved, walked over to it. She sat in front of it, placed her hands on the edges, and closed her eyes.
Like on the 'tee-vee' thing that Kagome had shown him, a picture leapt up from the rock, but there was no screen on this. The image was merely floating in the air.
The other main difference between this and the TV was that Inu-yasha did not like what he saw.
Well, that was a loooooonnnng chapter, so I hope everyone's happy! I just got an urge to finish this story, so I'm really trying!!! Wish me luck, and keep reviewing!!!!