To Live Again
By Rurouni Star
Yay! Last chapter! I'm so proud… and so sad… *sniff*. I'm not sure why I'm posting it today, especially since I just executed a LARP I've been planning for months… but even though it's midnight, I'm finishing up! For those that want to know, my next fic will either be a Miroku/Kagome or another A/U I've been working out in my head. If you want a sample from the first chapter of the A/U, read it at the bottom!
Thank you everyone for all the reviews and the support. It really does make my day to find such wonderful reviews waiting for me. I hope you like the last chapter! It has something for everyone.
Chapter 20 – Of Endings
Sesshoumaru returned to the spot he'd left, tiredly noting that Jaken and Rin had started the long journey home. They would not have made it had Naraku lived, but there was nothing now that could overcome the staff of heads coupled with a two headed beast. And nothing that would be foolish enough to try something on those clearly marked as under his protection.
He could catch up later. There was no reason to hurry.
The demon lord sat against the tree remembering how he'd held her. Her scent lingered on his haori just a bit, tantalizing him with the short time he'd had. She was gone in a way he hadn't anticipated.
Gone like everything else he'd ever cared about. The tears had surprised him. He hadn't cried since his father had left. Pathetic indeed. With his last words, Naraku had finally told truth. He was pathetic, a failure at everything he'd put his mind to. And the full truth hit him – he'd fallen in love with a human. Of all things.
And he'd lost her.
Sesshoumaru sat against the tree uncaringly. The sun fell from the sky, but come twilight, he was still sitting there.
Shippo stared as Kagome walked away.
Perhaps she didn't realize it, but Kikyo would never replace her. Not in the eyes of her friends or even Inu Yasha, though he now had his love back.
No one followed her, though. Why weren't they following her?
"She left," Miroku said disbelievingly, his right hand forgotten. "I don't believe...she really..."
"Yeah." Kouga could only echo him. "I don't get it, she looked so happy just a while ago." Kikyo clenched her fists.
"She gave up her home for me." The whole group turned to stare at her. "She sealed the well, to keep Naraku from going through. She could have repaired it with the Shikon, but she didn't. She brought me back instead." The importance of this announcement startled the group to silence. Shippo spoke first.
"Why aren't we going after her, then?"
Sango shook her head. "I think...I think she wants to be alone just now. That can't have been easy," the taijiya said quietly. The fox looked on morosely, but didn't follow.
Not too far from the commotion, a bloody figure gazed at its unblemished skin in awe.
"He killed me…" Kagura murmured quietly. "I felt it. I know he killed me! He even tore my heart to little pieces." The soft memory of a haunting melody played through her mind, the warm feeling that had suffused her body, and then… terrible pain. Pain unlike anything she had ever experienced, even at the hands of Naraku. The searing sensation of something piercing her chest. A bright path to her current awareness… the creature jerked her head at a startling sound.
A steady thud was emitting from her chest.
The wind user's eyes widened, and she pressed a hand to her chest wonderingly. The beat of a heart – her heart! – greeted her. She stayed there, in a heap on the ground, bloody and dirty, listening to that most wonderful sound for a long while. Her eyes closed, and she let loose a silent cry of thanks to the heavens, to whatever Kami had listened to her prayers. Even after death… there had been hope.
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of voices. Curious, with a small foreboding at the thought that Naraku might return to make her grovel again, to steal her newly won heart and freedom again, Kagura approached them.
"She gave up her home for me…" that woman, Kikyo? But she didn't have the aura of death anymore. How? "She sealed the well, to keep Naraku from going through. She could have repaired it with the Shikon, but she didn't. She brought me back instead." Who? The girl? Kagome!
So she had been right after all to keep her alive. Kagome was responsible for Naraku's death.
Should this mean something to her?
Kagura pondered the thought for a moment.
It could mean something to her. Because Naraku was dead, it could mean anything to her. The woman smiled, and her hand went to a feather nestled in her hair. It could mean something now, and just to prove that he was gone… it would.
"Girl." Kagome ignored the harsh voice. "Get up, you pathetic sobbing mass." The words weren't said in a rude voice, but more of a grumble. The miko refused to respond. A gentle kick in the side was her reward. Someone knelt next to her, and a hand grabbed her chin roughly. Her blue eyes met smoldering red ones, and she flinched away. "That's better," Kagura muttered. She stood up once more, having caught the girl's attention.
"N-Naraku is dead!" Kagome said with difficulty. "You won't gain anything from killing me." The wind user raised a delicate eyebrow and scoffed at her words.
"Kill you? Why should I want to do that?"
There was a short pause as Kagome digested this turn of events.
"You… don't want to kill me," she said slowly. Kagura let out a soft curse and kicked her again, a bit harder this time.
"No. I'm free. In return for your part in the matter, I'm actually helping a damn human. Don't ask me why." The demon's hand went unconsciously to her chest, where a steadily beating heart had taken its rightful place. When she realized what she was doing, she jerked it back hurriedly and put on a self-righteous expression. "Well? Are you going after him or not?"
A blank face met hers. "Him? Him who?" The wind user resisted the urge to beat her head against something hard. She'd finally decided to do a good deed, and the recipient was completely missing the point.
"Sesshoumaru, damnit. Are you going after him or do I have to haul you bodily?" Kagome blinked.
"He hates me. We decided that after our bargain ended and I helped kill Naraku, he would be free to kill me again." Kagura ran a hand through her loose, bloody locks angrily.
"Are you deaf or just stupid, girl? Naraku told you what I saw. He's been taking care of you like glass. The man is in love with you."
"Well…" What was she to say to something like that. "Well…" The crimson stained woman's face grew hard.
"You are really getting on my last nerve." She grabbed the girl's arm with her hand, ignoring the cry of protest. Kagome let out a small shriek as she found herself in the air on a flimsy feeling feather. "Now then. This is the part where you shut up for a while and I do my duty and then we split up and never mention this to anyone again." Kagura leveled a glare at the surprised girl. "Got it?"
It was all Kagome could do to nod helplessly.
As Kagura's feather came out over the tree where Sesshoumaru sat, the miko had a sudden feeling of foreboding.
Just before she was pushed off of the flying feather… in midair.
Her scream of terror made the demon lord look around confusedly before a human torpedo landed quite heavily on top of him. Kagome squeaked as she hit something (or someone) rather soft, and her breath left her with a slight 'whoosh'. Sesshoumaru, being the inu youkai he was, did not have any bones broken. But that had hurt.
Gathering her breath for the best apology she'd ever done, Kagome began. "I'm sorry, it wasn't my fault, she pushed me and I didn't expect it and I couldn't do anything! I swear I didn't mean it and it'll never happen aga-" A clawed hand held her chin in place, snapping her mouth shut. Kagome looked up hesitantly. Sesshoumaru was not glaring or getting ready to kill her. In fact, that odd emotion was back in his eyes.
"S-Sesshoumaru?" she asked timidly.
"Why are you here?" he asked her. The miko blinked.
"I…I don't know. Kagura dropped me off here. I'm still sorry about that, by the way." He looked up into her eyes very suddenly. His fierce gaze caught her off guard.
"You're supposed to be with my brother." Kagome bit her lip uncertainly.
"Why?" she asked, confused. Sesshoumaru still wasn't looking away. Kagome started as he pulled her forward into his haori, his head burying itself in her black locks.
"Do I scare you?" he murmured into her hair quietly. She shook her head slowly.
"Not anymore. I trust you." He inhaled deeply of her scent before pulling her against him, her eyes looking directly into his.
His lips met hers and Kagome let out a noise of surprise. The miko's bow dropped to the ground, though, as her arms came up to wrap around the demon's neck. Fire raced through her blood as all of the things she'd seen in his eyes but not dared to believe came to life. A growl escaped his lips against hers, and she shuddered, as it seemed to reverberate throughout her body.
At first, she was hesitant, but the thought came to her that she no longer had any reason to hold back. She could love him as much as she wanted and he wouldn't hurt her.
Kagome surprised even herself when she opened her mouth in invitation. The demon lord took it hungrily, his fangs nipping at her lip as his tongue slid into her mouth. The girl shivered slightly in response, and even that small signal made him pull her closer, crushing her to him and molding her against him. It wasn't enough to have her only burning against him, but there was no way she could be closer. He could never have enough of this fiery woman, and he'd long since resigned himself to it. As her arms wrapped around him, Sesshoumaru deepened the kiss, slowly beginning to realize that she wasn't going to pull away.
"You're mine," he told her in a possessive growl against her lips.
"But you're mine too," the girl muttered back.
He couldn't disagree with that statement. In fact, he rather liked the idea.
The rather depressed group of people was surprised by the sudden descent of a rather large feather into their midst. What was more surprising was the figure on it, in all of her tattered, bloody glory. Kouga let loose a ferocious growl at Kagura's arrogant appearance.
"You don't worry about your precious priestess," the woman sniffed haughtily, despite her ragged appearance. "I took care of her."
The reactions to this statement were much different than she'd anticipated. Kouga leapt at her with a snarl while Inu Yasha attempted to pull his sword. He was held back by Kikyo, who had a strange look in her eyes.
Kagura's face was no longer smug as the wolf demon held her down, her wrists restrained. In fact, it barely masked a terrible panic. A whimper escaped her, completely surprising Kouga.
"What, angry because I gave her to another man?" she said desperately. "I'm unarmed, damnit!" Her hand went limp, and the wooden splinters of what had been a fan fell to the ground. The wolf's ferocious face turned confused as he looked at the shivering creature beneath him.
"Kagome is not dead," Kikyo stated grimly. "You can get off of the demon now." Kouga's face tightened.
"Even if she isn't dead, I have a score to settle. You killed my kin and animated them for your uses, Kagura. Do you deny it?" The woman beneath him squirmed, a terrified expression on her face.
"I had no choice!" she spat in a quickly fading anger. "I just did something good, you're not supposed to kill me for it!" Inu Yasha moved forward quickly, one arm going around the raging wolf's neck, dragging him away from the wind user.
"It won't hurt to hear her out," he said quietly. "You got caught in Naraku's trap yourself. You know how he works." Kouga growled deep inside of his throat, his gaze never leaving the female demon. He strained against the hanyou's grip to no avail. "Talk quick if you want to live," Inu Yasha told her. Kagura tried desperately to regather her confidence.
"I… I dropped her off with Sesshoumaru again. He took care of her before, he showed that he wanted to keep doing it, so I took her to him. Last I saw they were quite happy, thank you!" Her eyes flickered to the wolf with murder in his gaze, and she drew back involuntarily.
Damn me for not having a fan. I need to get a new one… if I live through this.
"And Naraku?" Kikyo prompted with a knowing look. Kagura gave her a grateful look, something she would never have seen herself doing before.
"He held my heart. I had to do whatever he wanted – and it's not like I'd willingly put myself in danger just to slaughter some demons meaninglessly!" Her feather quivered beneath her, ready to launch at a moment's notice. "I'm not saying I'm a saint, but I don't go out of my way to do that stuff."
"So you want me to ignore that you did?" Kouga shouted angrily. "Just have you apologize and that's it? You killed hundreds of them!" His voice dropped low again. "No. Hundreds isn't right. I can't group them together like that. Each one of them had their own life. And you took it away!" Kagura's feather rose into the air as her face turned frightened again.
"I could have killed you! All of you! Countless times!" she yelled back. "But I didn't, and I paid for it. So – so stick your stupid revenge where the sun doesn't shine, because I couldn't care less!" The feather disappeared into the distance as Kouga struggled against the hanyou's grip more forcefully.
"She's getting away! Let me GO!" Inu Yasha obliged him as soon as Kagura left their sight. The wolf went speeding in the direction he'd seen her go, and Shippo shook his head.
"That's going to be one weird relationship," the fox muttered.
Everyone turned to stare at him. He shrunk beneath their scrutiny.
"What? Miroku and Sango fight all the time, and we all know they like each other." The two in question blushed bright red. Miroku cleared his throat and attempted to change the subject.
"Wouldn't Sesshoumaru kill Kagome on sight?" the priest asked. Sango rubbed her forehead.
A look of comprehension dawned on Inu Yasha's face as he remembered Kagome's resurrection. "He was crying…" he murmured to himself. At first, his expression was morose as he thought of the woman he loved with his long hated brother. But Kikyo's feather light touch on his shoulder reassured him – as long as Kagome was happy, it would all be okay. A slow grin spread on his face as many things clicked into place. "If anyone can take him on, she can. Maybe she'll take back the rosary and collar him...I can just see the bastard being henpecked already." Kikyo's soft touch turned into an elbow which came down hard on his head. "Ow! What was that for?"
The woman raised an eyebrow. "You're essentially talking about me, you know." The hanyou snorted.
"Yeah. You always were a handful."
This resulted in quite an argument, although it was a good-natured one. Miroku grabbed Sango's arm, spinning her around to face him.
"What was that about when we survived this?" he asked her.
"Technically we didn't," the taijiya told him smugly. The priest's face froze. "But then, I don't much care for technicalities." Sango pulled him forward roughly by his robes and pushed her lips to his, enjoying the utterly shocked look on his face. It was rather frustrating that he wasn't responding at all, but then, it had surprised her too.
It took the woman a while to notice the sudden silence in the clearing. Inu Yasha gave a whistle.
Her first reaction was to pull back, but the thought struck her that she could probably be completely shameless just this once. After all, she had just had a death experience. Sango pulled the poor monk closer, grabbing his arms and wrapping them around her waist. His arms stiffened, probably because of many months of conditioning that told him this was the point at which he got hit over the head.
Shippo made a disgusted noise. "Man, I don't ever want to grow up."
When Sango finally stopped for air, a light-headed priest stared at her. She blushed bright red. "Um...sorry?" she managed, her modesty finally coming back to her.
"In your dreams," he muttered, pulling her forward again for another kiss, this time letting her know in no uncertain terms that she could kiss him all she wanted to. Inu Yasha smirked.
"Her brother will be free now," Kikyo murmured in the dog demon's ear. "His spirit was trapped when Naraku took the shard and killed him, but he can now go on to the next world. He wanted me to tell her that." The hanyou smiled.
"She'll be overjoyed. As soon as she stops sucking face with the bouzou, that is. Might be a while."
The two figures traveled side by side through the forest, occasionally talking quietly. The sharp contrast was apparent, one with silver hair and another with dark black; one tall and well muscled and the other slender and lean. However, the connection between them was as apparent as their many differences.
"You smell...different," one said quietly. "The jewel has left its mark on you." The other stopped walking, looking at herself with confusion.
"Funny. I don't really feel different," she said aloud.
You won't age. Kagome started at the sudden voice in her head. She looked up at Sesshoumaru.
"Did you say something?" she asked him. He shook his head.
Everyone can have a happy ending. Even you. Don't forget to say hello to your family when the time comes. Kagome's mouth worked without words. You truly are a great woman. But I've told you that already, and you should know it by now.
"Do you have another fever?" the demon lord asked wryly. She shook her head and threw her arms around him wordlessly.
"Things did work out in the end," she said, joy evident in her voice.
Sesshoumaru snorted and put a hand on her head, raking his fingers gently through the raven locks. "Whatever you say."
An excerpt from my possible next fic (which I think I will have mostly finished before I post it – may be a while – sorry. In the meantime, I have a decent Miroku/Kagome almost done…)
Title All Life's a Play
Summary …and the players just got switched around. Kagome the hanyou is awakened from an enchanted sleep by Inu Yasha, who doesn't quite know where he is! Wait – Hojo's whose brother and why is the lecherous Miroku no longer a priest? The lines have changed, and so will the story!
That there was no breakfast was the first thing he noticed, but Inu Yasha wasn't concerned by it. He could always make something when he got hungry. His first priority was…
He looked out the kitchen window to where the blooming cherry tree awaited.
No figure. No vines, even. So what had he seen last night? Had it simply been an illusion of his mind? He hesitated with his hand on the doorknob. What was it his brother had said?
"…the priest sacrificed his life to bind the demon to the tree. Supposedly, the demon is still there, but that's only because no one knows what happened to it."
He couldn't have seen a demon?
Inu Yasha shook his head violently. He didn't believe in legends. They were meant to attract tourists and spook younger brothers. And just to prove it, he would go outside to that tree – now.
He turned the knob and walked out, slipping on some outside shoes on his way. Inu Yasha made his way to the tree uncertainly, feeling a lot less secure in his confidence now that he was up close and could see the sheer enormity of the thing. It towered high above him… he couldn't encircle it with his arms even if there were two of him.
But there was no one attached to the tree. At all.
He put his hand against the tree tenuously – and let out a yell.
An arrow speeding toward her – piercing her through the shoulder. A scream of pain. Blackness encroaching…
A man with a bow… himself! Stumbling, bleeding, falling to the ground beside his bow.
"Why…" a gentle feminine voice asked quietly. "You betrayed me…"
Inu Yasha jerked his hand back with an oath. He jumped back from the tree with wide eyes and looked from his hand to the place he'd put it.
A girl. She was pinned to the tree by an arrow.
He had seen her! He was seeing her now!
The boy reached out a hand to touch the specter swimming in front of him, but his hand went through it, and it disappeared.