Hi, minna!!!

Just to let you know, this is going to be my official collection of really sad one-shot (& usually death) fics. I think I have some unresolved issues buried deep in me, cuz if I write when I'm tired or feverish, it's always sad and someone dies. None of these fics (when I get more up, that is…) are related to each other. If they are, I'll put a note up about it.

Disclaimer: I own them! They're mine! All mine!!! Mwuahahahhahahahaaaa!!!! Wow… the sky just turned neon green… ^.~

And now, Koneko-chan presents…

Forever Stained:

A Miko's Tears

            It trickled through her hair and traced patterns on her face, giving her an eerie beauty; it soaked through her clothes and ran races down her arms to drip off her fingertips, creating large puddles on the rocky, barren land; it was seeping into his clothes as well. Inu-yasha closed his eyes as he inhaled the scent that was on the air, that was all around him, that would never leave him – that he so hated.

            It was her blood.

            He was covered in it. Of course, some of it was his, for he had suffered many wounds. He had continued to fight, and his wounds had showered all around, leaving the stony ground speckled with his blood; yet now, all of his wounds were gone. The remnants of the great battle still lay around them, including many yokai remains, shattered rocks, and a powerful aura of evil that would probably never leave; the evil that had caused it, though now gone, had been none other than Naraku himself, at the height of his power.

            But it was her blood that mattered; it was her blood that was draining, and taking her life with it. To make it worse… there was nothing he could do. She had already lost so much blood… not all the bandages in the world could help her now. Before, he might have taken her to her time with all speed, and they might have saved her… but now, it was too late. He could never get through the well in time; she would die before he even got there, and the race there might injure her more. The last thing he wanted to do was cause her more pain than she already had.

            And she was in pain. Her clutched her crumpled, broken, bleeding form gently to his chest; he could feel it shaking with each ragged, slow, torturous breath; he could feel all her broken bones, cuts, and bruises, all the large gashes and holes in her frame; he was nearly having to hold her innards within her body. She wouldn't… couldn't last much longer… a few minutes at most… With that thought, the tears finally spilled from his eyes as what was happening struck home with an incredible blow: Kagome was dying. His Kagome was dying.

            As tears leaked out of his eyes and trickled onto her hair and mixed with her blood, he could only sit there, clutching her too him as her life was fading away. She had done this for him. All of her pain, her suffering, her death… all for him. She had saved him at the price of her own life. Not just today, either. She had sacrificed the past two years of her life to constantly be with him, to fulfill a quest of legends. She had actually been away from her home for two months now. She had saved him so many times. Not only physically, either. She had summoned a new strength from deep within him. She had taught him what love really was, even though he had denied it for so long. Now he couldn't any longer, yet he felt that strength that she gave him fading away.

            But now… did it really matter any more? She was dying in his arms. Even now, her breaths were becoming shallower and farther between, each one a raspy convulsion of her shattered body. He stroked her hair as she shuddered, no longer aware of the world around her, only aware of her world of pain. She was enduring this for him. Any moment now, she would let go… just fade into the darkness…and he would… lose her…     

            He stared at her face, at her eyes, squeezed shut with pain, and began to think back about what had just happened…

***********************************Flashback***************************************

            Naraku had led them into one ultimate trap. Shippo and Kirara had been kidnapped, as well as and a group of children who had been out at play. At first, Miroku had devised a plan to retrieve them all safely. It fell through, and Naraku, to show them how serious he was, killed one of the children, right in front of them all. The little girl had screamed, and her mother had fainted. Then, the sword flew, and went straight through the girl's heart. She was no more than six.

            Kagome had let loose an arrow then. She had refrained from doing so before, for fear of hitting the children. Now, she was mad; her arrows would hit.

            But they didn't. Naraku had been expecting this, and in that one moment when she shot the arrow, he finally used the power of his Shikon shards for himself. His power increased, but he dedicated all the new energy into his speed.

            In the past, every time she shot an arrow, she would always pause to see if it hit. This time, Naraku used that pause to race forward with his new speed, and run directly into her, then back to his hostages. None had expected that, and Kagome was thrown far by his power. Inu-yasha caught her just before she slammed into a wall.

            Only too late did they realize what he had done.

            He had their large Shikon Shard. He then did something they didn't expect – he used the power from his newest shard, mixed with that of the ones he had, to summon the remaining shards.

            About 20 shards came racing through the air at his call, as well as demons who had sensed the power of all the assembled shards. Naraku had planned everything. They were near a mountain roost of demons – hundreds of demons. They felt the shards, and came racing to the power.

            Even as the demons came racing in, Naraku was absorbing them into a vast new body. With the power of all these demon, and the help of the Shikon no Tama, he was just as great as the demon Midoriko had faced all those years ago. He may have been greater. The Shikon no Tama, now nearly fully corrupted, was morphing him.

            As Inu-yasha, Sango, and Miroku jumped into the greatest battle of their lives, Kagome ran to free the children and her friends. Once she had them freed, she knew she had to protect them. She ran a ways away from the kids, and drew another arrow. She searched for where she could see the Shikon no Tama, so she could judge how well digested its power was at that point. It was not looking good, seeing that Naraku just kept growing. Inu-yasha had numerous wounds, and was continually bashed into the walls. The Tetsuseiga was having little to no effect on the great demon, formed from hundreds of others. Kirara was guarding the children, while Sango and Miroku were fighting off the remaining unabsorbed yokai.

            Naraku saw Kagome taking aim.

            "Do you really think that will work? Your arrows may have worked against my other body, but not this one. I am the ultimate evil, that not even purifying powers can defeat! Not even Kikyo could damage this body, and she was a real miko, well trained since she was young." He noted that Kagome, though a little frightened, still had the arrow on the string. "Fool. Try it!"

            Inu-yasha attacked from behind the preoccupied Naraku at that point, intent on cutting him down. Unfortunately, the hide forged of many hides repelled Tetsuseiga, bouncing Inu-yasha into the air a small ways. It also brought Naraku's attention back to him.

            "Fool."

            Before Inu-yasha could catch himself, Naraku had hit him with most of his strength, sending him crashing into the high rock wall. A huge hole formed, and a large amount of the cliff face fell to the earth below, taking Inu-yasha with it.

            "Inu-yasha!!!" Kagome ran to the area, but he was buried.

            "Heh. Fools! I'm not even trying yet." Naraku sneered.

            An incredible wrath filled Kagome, like she had never felt before. She put an arrow to her bow again, and shot at Naraku with the most powerful arrow she had ever shot. Her power was greater than Kikyo's had ever been, and her only thought was to destroy Naraku.

            The arrow raced towards Naraku, full of purifying energy – but upon contact, the energy faded. Kagome was stunned, to say the least.

            "Ouch… really, Kagome, that stung," Naraku sneered. He had barely felt it.

            Inu-yasha managed to climb out of the rubble, bleeding in many places. Just as he prepared to attack again, Naraku slashed at him with one of his many new claws, and Inu-yasha took a bad blow. Kagome got out of the area when Inu-yasha yelled at her to. Her arrows would still be able to help the others fight the normal demons.

            Kagome was helpful there, but it was a losing battle. Inu-yasha was getting heavily beat up, and there was nothing they could do.

            Suddenly, Naraku, tired of playing, merely stuck one of his new arms through Inu-yasha – and straight through his heart.

            Inu-yasha staggered. This was the end. He had failed; he hadn't avenged Kikyo, he hadn't gotten the Shikon no Tama back… and he couldn't protect Kagome anymore…

            Kagome saw him fall, blood pouring from his body as though he were a life size, murderous fountain. She saw him try to stand, then stagger, and fall to the ground, which was dripping of his blood. She called to him, and ran to his side, but he couldn't make out what she was saying. He could smell that she was crying, but her face was so blurred that he could barely see it.  

Kagome called desperately for Miroku and Sango to help, but they were deeply buried under the yokai. Both were bleeding heavily, and even as she watched Sango fell to the ground, either unconscious or dead. A few seconds later, Miroku joined her. Naraku had shot poisoned barbs at them, and they were falling under the vile substance as it ate through their blood and veins until it found their hearts. Shippo and the children were nowhere to be seen; hopefully Shippo had gotten them out of there. Even as she thought that, Shippo came into view. He was immediately hit with another poison barb. He cried out in pain, but managed to crawl over to Kagome before collapsing, nearly lifeless, in her lap.

            Everyone was dying.

            "Heh heh heh… What now, little miko? I'll kill you slowly for all the trouble you've caused me…" The giant demon reached down to pick her up while Inu-yasha watched, helpless, from below, barely able to make out what was happening as his vision blurred.

Even as she was raised into the air, Kagome could only think of the lives that had been lost, that were dying down below. It was all her fault. She had brought the Shikon no Tama back to this time, and she had broken it, she had let it fall into the wrong hands. Now her friends had to pay.

            Suddenly, Kagome felt a new power erupting from deep within her, from a place she didn't know had existed until now. The anguish of her soul was giving her strength, and her entire body was starting to shimmer with it. Inu-yasha, even though he was dying, watched in amazement and shock. He could feel her power from where he was, dying on the ground, and it was unbelievable. He had never felt such power coming from a horde of demons, much less one mortal! It even began to grow!

            Naraku felt his hand burning, even melting, and released her quickly. If nothing else, the fall would kill her.

            But she didn't fall.  She stood there arms out, suspended in the air with a mystical red glow around her. Tears were pouring from her eyes, yet the droplets didn't fall to the earth; they, too, remained, hanging like little diamonds. Naraku, starting to fear this new power,  tried to hit her down, but was burned by an incredible shield.

            And still the tears gathered in the air. From a small scrape on her forehead, a single drop of blood leaked. It joined the floating tears, now in a circle around her. The droplet of blood stood out like a ruby, glistening at the front of the circle.

            Kagome stretched out her arms, palms facing Naraku, fingers widespread. Her face bore a serene look now, and she looked rather peaceful.

            "This is my sacrifice." She whispered, but the sound was carried by her power so that it echoed for miles. "All of this was my fault. By my tears and blood, you shall die, and all others shall be saved. This is a Miko's sacrifice – blood and tears!"

            Suddenly the tears shot forward, latching onto Naraku and paralyzing him. Naraku cried out in pain, eyes wide with fear, as they sank deep into his skin, eating away his flesh.

            The single drop of blood had risen higher into the air. Something rose from Sango, Miroku, and Shippo's still forms, and from Inu-yasha's ragged shaking body. The substance was misty, and deep bluish-purple in color, highly resembling a painted cloud. A huge mass of it was forming, swirling restlessly above the drop of blood.

            "Do you know what this is Naraku? It's all the pain that you've caused all of them. Now feel the might of my pain. These were my friends! They were innocent. Everyone was innocent. Everyone but you. Now they all are dying…" suddenly her face changed from the calm, serene look, and was suddenly dominated by a look of fury and pain. "You will not get away with this. By my ultimate sacrifice, you shall pay!"

            All through her speech, the drop of blood had been moving until it was directly over Naraku. Now, it fell, seeping quickly into his skin. Suddenly, a huge mass of the bluish pain burst from Kagome, equal in size to the combined pain of the others. As it passed the other mass, the two merged, and both followed her blood deep into Naraku. It entered through his skull, and every place it went began to shimmer – coursing through his veins first, then eating away at his flesh. Finally, in a great, brilliant light, he vanished.

 He was gone.

            Inu-yasha was on the verge of blacking out. He couldn't let go! Not now! Kagome had won! He had to go to her…

            But it was too late. The darkness took him.

            The next thing he knew, the same light that had just taken Naraku was around him. At first he thought he was dead, seeing as his wounds were healed. Then the light left, and he looked around. Sango and Miroku, both fine now, were doing the same thing. The light was on the other side of the field now, but when it moved away, Shippo could be seen, looking mystified. Was this the next world?

            Inu-yasha looked at Kagome… and gasped, knowing that this was his world, and no other.

            "KAGOME!!!"

            Kagome was covered in wounds, far worse than he had been. Far worse than any of them had been! All over her was bleeding and bruised, except her beautiful face. Her eyes were squeezed shut in pain, and tears were running from her eyes again, but this time from sheer pain. Inu-yasha scooped up her frail, broken body and held her close.

***********************************End Flashback***************************************

            Sango and the others had long since figured out what had happened to Kagome. Sango had fallen to her knees sobbing, clutching Shippo in her arms like a teddy bear. A crying teddy bear. Miroku had dropped to his knees and was embracing them. He held Sango's head to his chest, slowly rocking her back and forth as her body convulsed with sobs. He rested his chin on top of her head so they wouldn't see the tears falling from his shocked, blank eyes. They needed him to be strong right now. He helped her up, and they walked away, Sango leaning heavily against Miroku, to give Inu-yasha his last moments with Kagome.

            Inu-yasha didn't even notice them leave as more of his tears fell onto Kagome's wind-blown hair.

            "Why, Kagome? I…you… you didn't…but…why?" He didn't know what to say. She had saved them all, but her sacrifice had been much more than tears and a drop of blood. For every life she had saved, she had taken on the wounds that had deprived them of that life.

            Suddenly, her eyes opened. Just a little bit, but he could see the misty grey of her eyes, shimmering with tears of pain and agony.

            "Because… this was all… my fault…" Her speech was broken by her labored, gasping breaths. Even as she spoke, blood was dribbling from her mouth.

            "Shhh, don't speak; please don't hurt yourself anymore. It wasn't your fault! None of this was. You saved us all!"

            "I owed it… to you..."

            "You owed us nothing! You've already done so much for me! You gave me my soul back… you taught me to trust… you taught me to love again!"

            Kagome's body shook with pain as the poison made its presence known.

            "The… Shikon no Ta-tama… should be there… you can… make you and Kikyo… human… and live… like you wanted to… she'll get her soul back… now…" Her eyes squeezed shut again as a wave of pain washed over her body.

            Inu-yasha didn't have the heart to tell her that the jewel wasn't there anyways. Most likely it had been purified entirely with Naraku, but he really didn't care anymore.

            "No, Kagome! I don't want Kikyo! I want you! You!" She was hardly responding, still shuddering in pain. "Please don't leave me…"

            "I'm sorry…Inu-yasha…"

            "No, please… don't leave me… I need you!"

            Kagome couldn't respond; she could barely breathe.

            "Then at least let me have this…"

            Kagome's eyes opened just a little to see what he meant, and she was met with his tear-streaked face as his lips met hers. She gasped slightly, then melted into it. Inu-yasha could taste the blood on her lips, but he did his best to ignore it. This was his first real kiss, and it was Kagome's too; he could tell.

            The kiss was abruptly broken off as her body tensed as she inhaled sharply, and her eyes shot open with a look of shock and pain.

            Then her body relaxed and hung limp in his arms. Her eyes were still open, but they weren't seeing anymore.

            "Please, Kagome… don't do this… I love you. Oh, Kami-sama, I love you so much!"

            "I…" Her sentence was cut off by a huge convulsion of her body. "I love you too…"

            "…goodbye…"

            And with that last whisper, she was gone.

            Inu-yasha stared at her for a moment in disbelief, tears still streaming from his eyes. She couldn't be gone. This couldn't be happening. There was no way tis could be happening.

But she wasn't breathing. And he couldn't hear her heartbeat. He shook his head, not ready to believe this.

"No… no, you can't do this… Open your eyes! Dammit, wench, open your eyes!" But it was all in vain, and he broke into sobs. "Dammit… Wake up! Please, please wake up…you can't be gone… please…"

Inu-yasha gently cradled her lifeless body to him, holding her carefully, as though worried he would hurt her if he held her to tight. He rocked back and forth, consumed in his grief

            "No!! You can't do this to me! Don't leave me, please, don't go! I need you so much Kagome… you're everything I have… Please don't go…" he continued wailing over her body, wishing that this was just a bad dream, that everything was fine.

            One hour later, he loosened his grip on her. She sat there in his lap, completely limp, eyes still staring blankly ahead and starting to glaze over.

            Inu-yasha carefully closed her eyelids over her sea-gray eyes. Despite all the blood and gashes, she looked peaceful. Her face was still beautiful, even now, for it bore only the one scrape across her forehead, the trickles of blood having been rubbed off by Inu-yasha's careful fingers.

Inu-yasha was no longer weeping, but the tears wouldn't stop falling from his eyes. He wasn't sure they ever would. He couldn't have cared less. He just felt so empty now…

            Inu-yasha stood up, still holding Kagome close to him, and walked out of the clearing.

            Sango, Miroku, and Shippo hadn't gotten far, Sango having collapsed just outside the clearing. They saw him leaving, holding Kagome's body and walking like he was in a trance.

            Shippo looked up with a tear-streaked face and watched Inu-yasha pass, then looked up at Miroku from Sango's lap.

            "Where's he taking her?"

            "Home… to her family…"

Inu-yasha didn't even remember going through the well. He was just suddenly at Kagome's front door. He didn't bother to knock and just walked right in.

            He heard Mrs. Higurashi in the kitchen.

            "Kagome, is that you?" He heard her leave the kitchen and come towards him. "Oh, it's been so long since you came home! We were… worried about… you…"

            Mrs. Higurashi stared in shock at her shattered daughter and the bloody hanyou holding her. Then she started screaming.

            "What… What happened? Oh, kami-sama! Kagome, open your eyes! Please! Oh my gosh, is she… is she…?" Mrs. Higurashi looked up at Inu-yasha for answers, tears spilling from her eyes.

            "She saved us all… completed her mission… She took all our wounds to give us our lives… the Miko's ultimate sacrifice…"

            Kagome's grandfather had just come hurrying into the room when he heard the screams. He was horrified to find his granddaughter, bleeding and long dead.

            "You monster! You lie! What did you do to her?!?"

            "No lie… the sacrifice…" Inu-yasha wasn't making much sense anymore. He was in complete shock, though his eyes were still pouring tears.

            "Only one miko in the entire history of the world has ever used that magic, and that was hundreds of years ago! Kagome couldn't have…couldn't have…" Then realization hit home. "It was her… She was the one…" He sat down in the closest chair and shook his head in complete disbelief and began to weep.

            Mrs. Higurashi was weeping over her daughter. Sota had just come into the room. He screamed when he saw Kagome's mangled body. Even now, the blood was still leaking from it, creating puddles on the floor. He ran from the room, unable to comprehend what he had just seen. How could Inu-yasha not have protected her? How could she be… be…

Kagome's mother ran after him, not able to stay there any longer. Kagome's grandfather merely sat there, still in shock.

            Inu-yasha carried his precious burden upstairs and into her room, where he laid her on the bed. He could hear her family sobbing downstairs. He burst out in fresh sobs, and the tears once again and fell down his cheek with renewed force as he fell to his knees next to her bed.

            "I'm sorry Kagome… "

            He looked out her window with a tear-stained face and realized something: it was a new moon. No wonder his power hadn't felt as strong earlier. But he could still smell her blood… and the poison in it that had tainted everyone's wounds. This wasn't surprising, though, because she was bleeding in so many places, and it was seeping into the bedspread. Blood was still trickling from her mouth and down her chin. He leaned over and gently wiped it away with his sleeve, leaving her face clean. He felt a burning where the blood touched his skin, and knew that it was Naraku's lethal poison.

            Inu-yasha got up and sat on the bed and looked down at her body, so small and frail, lying limply on the blood stained blankets.

He knew what he had to do.

            "I hope you waited for me, Kagome…" he whispered, soft as the wind. And with that, he took her lips again, drinking the poison-filled blood from her mouth. He flinched a little when he first tasted her blood, hating the taste immediately. The kiss grew worse as he truly felt her lips, which were stiff and cold. Slowly, he pulled away.

            He shuddered as he felt the poison already taking effect on his almost-human body, and wondered how she'd held out against so much of it for so long. Then again, he really wanted to die.  He could feel his strength draining… his breath getting shorter… the pain that was coursing through his veins.

            He climbed back onto the bed next to Kagome. He pulled her to his chest and tucked her head under his chin. They would sleep the eternal sleep forever, like the lovers that they should have been. With that, he let out his final breath.

            And that was how they were found, hours later. Inu-yasha had his arms around her waist, pulling her into a tight embrace, and his face was buried in her hair. His silver hair fell all around both of their bodies, hiding many of the gashes on Kagome and adding peace to the scene. If it hadn't been for the blood, it could have been said that they were sleeping.

They were buried side by side, out in front of the Goshinboku at a private ceremony. A shrine was always kept there, dedicated to the hanyou who had defeated all but love, the girl who gave him even that, and their love that could not be.

            Well, there you have it. This was originally going to be just practice at using lots of description and consist of only the opening paragraph, and that was supposed to be about rain. But, I was tired, and I got this idea, so…. So, please tell me what you think!!!

            Sadly enough, I already have an idea for the next one, but only if you guys think I should write more of these… let me know! Or if you have any plotlines you feel like giving me… you'll still get credit for the plotline, I'm not a thief. I just get stuck after a while. Should I bother to write more, tho?eko-chan~~