by: Del_kaidin and Tiranth.
Chapter 18 - Final Battle
She knew they were upset that she hadn't told them the plan. Yet, she had no choice. The unspoken part of his request was to not only find Akisame but return her to him. She had to do as she had done. Now there was one more thing. Ignoring Naraku she stepped before Sesshomaru. "I have fulfilled your request. I have found and returned your mate to you, Lord Sesshomaru. If there is nothing further I shall take my leave." It was a formality one that had to be carried out.
Her face burried in his neck, Akisame spoke softly to her mate. "Leena must ask you this. You can release the Maiden or you can ask her assistance in the battle. Leena will remain no matter only you will loose some of the Maiden's magic. Also she told me you must fight with Tensaiga not Tokijin."
Sesshomaru nodded his understanding. "Maiden, please assist us in punishing this filth." Nuzzling his mate's neck one last time, he gently pushed her behind him. It was time to fight. He drew Tensaiga. The sword pulsed. The taiyoukai didnt quite understand how his healing sword would be of use but he trusted Leena's advice.
She half listened to the conversation, keeping her eye on Naraku. The evil youkai was finally getting over his shock. She saw his eyes narrow, from beneath his kimono, tentacles shot out. 'Oh no you dont,' she thought, speeding forward she cut the seeking appendages. A purple gas began to seep out from the wounds. "What the hell is that?"
From behind her mate she began preparing her mind. She wasn't sure she could do what Leena required of her. But she would try to do as she wished.
Bowing to Sesshomaru she spoke her voice was different. It was the voice of the Maiden ageless, strong, powerful, deadly and yet comforting. "Tenmou it shall be." Turning she saw Taka attacking Naraku's tentacles. Leaping she grasped the girl by the collar and pushed her towards Akisame. "Protect Akisame." She began the Youai Kata at full speed. This was the fight she was meant to fight. The others were to protect Akisame until she was prepared.
Taka caught herself and saw one of the few guards left charging. She easily sidestepped his attack and slashed his stomach spilling his insides on the snow. Protect Akisame. That's what she was told to do and that's what she would do. She took up a position at Akisame's back, wondering what the girl was up to. She seemed to preparing for something.
A few tentacles snaked toward him and he swung Tensaiga. The sword pulsed again and the tentacles evaporated into nothingness, not even miasma poured from the wound. Naraku cried out in pain and frustration. A feral smile graced Sesshomaru's lips as he snarled once again. Tensaiga's swings protected them from tentacles and miasma alike as Leena fought. He could feel Akisame at his back, preparing. What was she doing? He couldnt take the time to ask as more tentacles shot out at them and more youkai were called in from the surrounding areas.
Faster and faster she moved spinning and slicing. Desu rejoiced in the blood soaking it. She briefly wondered how her companions fared but knew she could not check on them. She felt the moment arrive and cried to the heavens "SISTERS, ASSIST ME." Four women stepped from nothingness each with hair of silver. They surrounded Naraku. "Sesshomaru stand there." She pointed to the woman to Naraku's right. "Taka, there" Pointing to the woman behind him. "Akisame, There." She pointed to the woman standing before him. Taking her place beside the woman on Naraku's left. She took a deep breath. "When you're ready Akisame." She released all her agression.
Took her place as indicated. She smiled at the silver haired woman beside her. "You have something for me?"
The woman smiled at her. "Yes little one." She reached into the night sky and a soul appeared in her hand. A brilliant and pure light. She slowly lowered her arm to touch Akisame's abdomen. The soul disappeared within. "Take good care of this soul, it is powerful and will do much good."
Smiling Akisame reached out to each of her companions. Asking for them only to think of the things they loved most.
Expecting this request, Leena called to mind all her loves. Inu Yasha, Souta, Sango, Miroku, Shippou, and the new family she had found. She sent those thought to Akisame.
Taka had taken her indicated place. When Leena's request came she thought of her own grandsire, this Sesshomaru, Leena, and Akisame. She allowed those thoughts to fly to Akisame
He watched amazed as the woman placed the soul within his mate, his child. He sent her all the love he had come to feel for her and for the new life they had created.
She had never done this without touching before, yet she knew she must. The Maiden beside her raised a bow to her cheek. Then she realized what she needed to do. Touching the arrow she poured all the love into it.
As the Maiden released her bow the arrow flew straight and true. The jewel pulsed as the pure emotions reached it. Purifying itself with them. As the light of it's purification poured forth the demon Naraku began to writhe in agony.
"NOW! Sesshomaru use Tokijin." She screamed and leapt into the circle they had created. Careful not to hit the now purified Shikon No Tama, she began to slay the small demons that had made up Naraku.
The four Maidens of this world held their positions. Protecting their world from any demon that might escape the three fighters.
He sheathed tensaiga and drew toukijin, surging forward, slicing through the demons that fell parted from Naraku. He saw his companions fighting beside him, feeling proud of all of them.
Taka reached down and drew her dagger, fighting with both it and her katana. She fought feircely beside Leena and Sesshomaru, not faltering. This was their moment.
The fight raged for hours, when finally it ended they stood in the center of the circle. Before them all that remained of Onigumo. A burned husk of a man wheezeing for air. Raising Desu she extract the vengeance that had been requested. She turned and nodded to the four maidens. "Thank you sisters."
Three turned returning to the nothingness they had come for only the Maiden nearest Akisame remained.
She looked to the Maiden beside her. "Why do you stay?" She asked.
"Because child. I must speak with your mate. Now go and retrieve the Shikon No Tama, while I speak with him." She moved to stand before the Taiyoukai smiling gently at him.
Taka dropped to her knees, katana and dagger held loosely in each hand. The battle was over and she was more tired than she had ever been in her life. Vaguely she registered the dissappearance of the other Maidens, Akisame stepping forth to retrieve the jewel. She wanted one thing, the child within her, the one long denied her mother's love, wanted the new mother she had found. "Leena?" she called in a trembling voice.
He gave the Maiden before him a bow, thanking her for her assistance. "What is it you wish to speak about My Lady?"
Lifting the Shikon No Tama from its position she felt it's pulse. She looked at the pale pink jewel, amazed something so small could hold such power.
Hearing her name she turned to see Taka staring at her. She stepped towards the pup releasing the magic that was the Maiden. Taking the girl in her arms she stroked the sunset curls. "You did great." Over the girls head she watched the exchange between the remaining Maiden and Sesshomaru.
"Sesshomaru." The Maiden spoke gently. "Once long ago, I placed your soul in your mothers womb, knowing that there was a special purpose for your life. I did the same with your brother. Did you not wonder why you, your brother, Naraku, Kikyou, and Midoriko were in each of the worlds your companions are from? I even admonished her to prevent you from closing your heart, yet I failed to give the warning to your sire. I learned from that. So now I give you the same message I gave your mate. I have gifted you with the priviledge of siring a child that will be even greater than your own sire. You must protect him and teach him. In each world you exist your first born is special. In Leena's world she was destined to become one of the four Maidens. In Taka's world her mother was destined to produce Taka, who has yet to find her own destiny. There will be others, but none will be as special as this child, for he will be your first born. Do you understand my warning?"
She put her arms around Leena's waist, laying her head on her chest, sighing. "Thank you Leena."
A child that would be greater than his own sire? Sesshomaru was amazed by this revalation. He looked at Akisame. Did this mean they would be able to stay together? It must. He knelt before the Maiden, bowing his head. "I understand, I will not let my son repeat his sire's mistakes," suddenly something came to him, "Maiden, if I may ask a question?" The inu waited for her nod before continuing. He still needed to take revenge on Akari's killer. Her face would continue to haunt him if he did not. "Where or when will Akisame and I be together?"
"That I can not answer. As in all things, there is an answer but you will need to find it on your own." Stepping forward she placed a hand on his head. "You will find the answer. For you and Akisame were destined to meet and not part." Stepping back she too disappeared into the nothingness.
"You're welcome. Now come on. I, for one, need a bath. I want to wash the stink of Naraku off." She softened her words with a pat on the girls back.
She watched her mate speak with the Maiden. Fear gripped her as she realized that soon they might be pulled apart. She moved to his side, "Sesshomaru?"
She laughed. "I agree, if I had know he was really going to smell this bad, I would have bought something different to wear so I could burn it after."
Sesshomaru turned to his mate. She was afraid. Afraid that they would be parted. He reached for her again, "Do not worry we will not be parted. There is something that must be done in my world, but I will not be parted from you," he told her reassuringly. His ears pricked at Leena's suggestion of a bath. Then his face fell. "Will I have to wait until you are done this time?"
Seeing Sesshomaru's face she laughed. "No, no girl talk sessions this time. Just a bath. Come on I saw a nice large bathing chamber in the castle." She started forward, "There might even be some clean clothes we can wear."
She had been afraid that the fates would seperate them. She rested her head on his chest, enjoying the warmth his body gave. As they stood she took her hand in his reasured. She knew what needed to be done in his world. She looked up at him and asked, "If we return to your world... will your brother and his friends accept me?"
He smiled at her, "I am certain they will. There will be some explaining to do though," they followed after Leena, "Do not concern yourself with that now. We will do it together."
They made their way to the chambers. The bath was certainly big enough for all of them. She shook her head. "He certainly thought alot of himself, did he not? I've been wondering something...how much time do you think has passed in our worlds?"
She looked at the pup. "Naturally he thought alot of himself. As for how much time I don't know." She looked at her four companions and the small kitten sleeping nearby. She settled into the warm water, letting it relax the muscles that had been tense for so long.
Her mind raced as she seated herself in the tub. Once they returned the jewel to Midoriko, would they all simply vanish to where they had been before? World Naraku still be alive in her world? Would she be able to remain with Sesshomaru? He had said they would remain together. What of her curse was it lifted? Looking to her companions she decided to find the answer. "Taka?"
Taka slid into the water sighing in relief. Her eyes closed drifting on the edge of sleep. Through her haze she heard Akisame call her name. Opening her eyes a small crack, she looked at the woman. "Hmmm?"
"I need to know... You are the only one who...." She stopped and took a deep breath. "May I see you mind?"
Her eyes opened wider in suprise. She had seen what happened when Akisame touched others. She didnt want to be the cause of pain to her new friend. "Oh," she looked at Sesshomaru, "Yes, if you want to..."
He opened his eyes and looked at Akisame, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Are you sure?"
His touch so familiar, now only his current concern came through. She looked up into his golden eyes, her own filled with tears. "I have to know." Reaching out her hand to Taka she waited for the girl to take hers.
She edged forward, looking at first Sesshomaru then Leena. Finally she took a breath and placed her hand in Akisame's.
She steeled herself for the pain so familiar, it did not come. Yet, still the girls life played before her, not at the lightning like speed of the curse but gentle as a spring rain. The sense of the future was gone, but not the ability to see the past. Smiling she released the girls hand. "It has changed. I can not see the future only your past." Now she had no fear of taking anothers hand, or a chance brush of a shoulder while in the market.
She had tensed when their hands had touched, not knowing if the curse remained or not. True Miroku's had passed with the death of Naraku, but she wasn't sure Akisame's would. "I've got an idea. Why don't we spend the night here. Tomorrow we can start the journey to return the Shikon No Tama to Midoriko?"
She smiled back, sighing in relief. "Thank goodness." Taka settled back into the tub to soak away the battle with Naraku.
He too breathed a sigh of relief when the contact did not bring the scream he had been dreading. He lay his head against the side of the bath. His eye lids slid shut so that he looked at his companions through tiny slits. "Yes Leena, tomorrow, we will begin the journey home."
That ends this tale. To find out about the journey home, and an excellent fight between Leena and ????? read Homeward Bound. Which will be under Tiranth's id.