Disclaimers: Inuyasha does not belong to us, nor do the characters or the plot(s) of the anime/manga. However, this plot does belong to us, as does this piece of fanfiction so please ask permission before use and do not steal.

Rating: I would give this an easy PG-13, maybe making its way to R.

Author Note: I told myself I wouldn't do another Inuyasha fic and then Fanfiction.net went offline for about three to four days and I started thinking. Thinking is not a good thing to do when you're bored, take my word for it. You start to plot and remember the things you like and the shit just hits the fan. Forgive me. And forgive Aeslinn, too, because she never could say no to a good anime fanfic.

Pave the Way in Light

The Stolen Choice:

            When it glowed like this, it was beautiful. Shining with the inner pink light of neutrality. She played with it for a long moment, merely caught by its beauty and she smiled faintly. This was the right choice. This was her wish and her choosing. He would become real, a mortal, and she would be free of it all finally. Free to be with him the way they both desired. She would do away with the ways of the Priestess and the people would accept them both.

            Goddess. Or mortal. In the end, all it is…is a choice…

            She slowed in her step, hearing the gentle voice in her head and she knew it not to be hers. Her conscience was silent today. Her head bowed, she stared at the jewel with hooded eyes, clutching it tightly. "It is not my choice, Midoriko," she whispered softly, her eyes caught in the pink glow of the Shikon no Tama. "Or rather, it is not a choice I am willing to make. Not to sacrifice this one chance."

            The Shikon no Tama was never meant to be created. It was my willingness to die to protect the people that created this jewel. It was not meant to be a jewel of power. But the wish is yours in the end. The release is yours as well.

            She hesitated as the woman whispered in her head, the voice bouncing eerily. And as she came to a stop, gazing at the Shikon no Tama, she asked, "Is it a wrong choice? Am I wrong…to want this for both him and I?" She felt a small wave of fear flash through her and she asked, "Am I being selfish?"

            The Shikon no Tama holds much power. It can sway the balance, shift it from darkness into light. And the people desire a savior, a martyr. They will see it as selfishness. You will see it as a liberation. They wish for the Goddess. You wish for mortality.

            She did not reply for a long time, the jewel in her fist. And she lifted her head to the clear sky, feeling her hair blow. "I will not make the wish for them, Midoriko. I believe this in my heart to be right. I believe in my heart he will change for the better, especially when he has a full taste of humanity. I can not be wrong in this…"

            It is wrong to have you protect it like this. Just as it would be wrong to ask you to make a wish to continue to protect the people. And yet, priestesses have died in the past and I fear for you. I have believed in you for many years and I will continue to do so, to believe in you to fight for those who can not. But I fear this jewel of power will fall into the wrong hands should you fall or fail. And I fear you will be hated for choosing him over the people who would look to you for salvation.

            She smiled faintly at her words, understanding. They would never understand her feelings for the hanyou. They would never understand him the way she understood him. They could never love him the way she loved him. "Do not fear, Midoriko," she said quietly, playing with the jewel in her hand. "I will vanquish the evil of all demons, all youkai. The divine power is in me to do so and I will not fail." And she resumed walking, her thoughts floating airily in her head.

            I believe in you, Priestess. To make the right choice, the choice of your heart, I believe in you.

            She nodded to herself, opening her mouth to speak and she never even had the chance to respond. The faint brush of feet across grass. The flowing clothes. From behind a sudden pain tore up her back and into her shoulder, her blood flying, and she felt the realization that she had failed. Only then, suspended in time for a pained eternity, she gazed at the clear sky through blurring vision, aware of the spraying blood still, and she understood that her time was done.

            Oh…no.

            He body crumpled to the ground, the Shikon no Tama falling away from her and rolling. Wincing, she opened her eyes to gaze at the neutral pink orb, and she reached for it slowly, her wounded arm slinking up beside her fallen figure and stretching achingly.

            I can still protect it. I can do it for him. Whoever it is, let me make it to him with the wish-

            And a foot came down on the jewel of power, causing her to stop. She lifted her eyes, already seeing the red of the pants and not wanting to believe. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be.

            But it was. Inuyasha with the silver hair. The amber eyes. The wild smile. She stared at him, trembling, watching him as he stooped and took the Shikon no Tama into his hand. His amber eyes glowed as he stared at the jewel, as he shifted his gaze to her to stare into her eyes rather blankly.

            Inuyasha…

            "You're a fool," he said to her quietly, causing her to recoil in disbelief at the coldness in his tone. "And the jewel is mine, now." Clutching the jewel in his clawed fist he rose away from her, turning to walk away and she couldn't have stopped herself, couldn't have ever believed it.

            "Iie! Inuyasha!"

            No, not you! Of all the creatures to want it, to desire it, not you! I did this for you, I was to use it for you-

            "You traitor!" she shouted, stiffening as the pain flared once more. And she bowed her head to the blood-stained grass and wept.

            Even then I couldn't have killed you. The choice was mine to make, it was always mine to make, be it to imprison you or to free you of your demon self and in the end I chose your imprisonment. I turned down the choice to be with you, to be free of you, to save the jewel. And in the end it was all for nothing.

            The look on his face, utter disbelief as the arrow punched into his chest and trapped him to the tree. He was a performer. A good one. His outstretched hand reaching after the fallen Shikon no Tama.

            "What-"

            And the spell had worked only too well, putting him to sleep. Because even after everything she couldn't have killed him.

            "Kikyo?" he asked, saying her name in sorrowful disbelief and her heart broke. She held her stance, held the strength behind it. She wouldn't show him her pain, her fear. And she wouldn't show him her love.

            In a grotesque image, his body fell into unconsciousness, suspended by the single arrow stabbing clear through him, pinning him to the tree trunk. He hung suspended in time and she maintained her protective stance for another moment. And then, understanding it was done, the bow fell from her hand, her legs melting under her and she fell, amid cries from the village people, cries from Kaede.

            Oh, Kaede. Is it over then?

            "Kikyo-sama!"

            I lost my chance, Kaede. In my belief that I could not make a choice for the people, I had the choice stolen from me. The Shikon no Tama would have ceased to exist. I could have been a woman. I could have been a Goddess. And now-

            "Kikyo-sama!"

            Now I am nothing. Oh, Kaede, please don't let the next Priestess make my mistake. Let the mistakes of the Past be forgotten. And let the path be paved in light.

            "Kikyo-neesama!"

            Let the path be paved in light…

So, I told myself I wouldn't be doing this again and here I am. This is…not good. Especially since I warned you all to stop me if I already had an ongoing story already posted on Fanfiction.net! People! You've ruined me! LMAO! Oh, who am I kidding? I live to stress myself out. Anyways, new story, let's see how long we (Aeslinn and I) can keep it going before I have no internet connection (I'm moving in about two weeks in which time I have no idea how long it will take to set up dsl and all that, seeing as how I have no modem… hmmm…). Which also means I won't be able to update this one or my Cowboy Bebop fic til I get back online once I've completed the move. This story is being cowritten, though, so maybe while I'm gone Aes can send out a few chapters just until I catch up. We'll see how it goes.

Anyways, tell me what you think!

-Cassandra