Disclaimer: No!. Don't own it. Oh well. Le Sob! Le Cry! Le Whimper!! The song itself isn't mine either.
"I love you," she whispered into Sesshoumaru's ear. "I love you so much and I'm so so sorry I didn't tell you before now. I'm so sorry Sesshoumaru."
Golden orbs opened and connected with hers, drinking in her face as he reached up and gently caressed her cheek. Time seemed to still and he gurgled something, the blood bubbling on his lips.
"What?" Kagome said and leaned toward his mouth. "I didn't hear you Sesshoumaru. Say it aga-" He exhaled suddenly and the hand against her cheek dropped to the smooth stone beside her. The light in his gaze faded to nothing and his body, tense under his pain, relaxed and drooped against her.
The heavens opened and the rain began to wash the world clean.
End Of Chapter
Chapter Forty: The End of A Tragic Legend!
There was only that moment, the moment he chose to leap in front of the kitsune prince.
The decision to protect Shippou wasn't well planned out but once made there was no thought to dispute it. The bullet was burning but his rage was a hotter fire, much hotter than the searing bit of metal that pierced his skin and embedded itself into his chest. He barely felt the pain of his transformation either, his canine version shedding almost effortlessly as he reached out and grasped the vile human by his neck. The fear, the terror, that poured from Naraku was thick and rich. It nourished Sesshoumaru's bloodlust, the snarl of the beast deafening in his ears as it drank it's fill. He was without regret when he held Naraku over the ledge and opened his hand without remorse.
It was when he turned around that everything came crashing back, his crimson gaze connecting with blue as the world faded back into focus. She stared up at him in confusion, then fear and began to shrink away from him. He reached out for her, parted his lips to say something to her, and was sickened by the metallic taste in his mouth. He disbelieved at first-
'Surely my injury is not so grievous. . .'
But his blood soaked gi and his painted hand spoke otherwise and he was on the stone ground, his head placed in her lap, before he could understand what happened. Her tears splattered on his face, cooling droplets on his suddenly fevered skin. He could see only her in his fading sight, could hear only her voice as she whispered her apology and desperately wanted to say something, anything that would make her smile again.
'What a fool I have been. . .to think that I could have left you. . .'
But it was not to be. In an instant he was standing beside her, watching his last labored breaths from over her shoulder.
"What manner of-"
"I did this."
Kikyou stood behind him, more solid than she had been in hundreds of years, and gave him a thin smile. The sleeves of her white haori, the pleated legs of her hakamas and the ponytail at the crown of her head was reminiscent of the first time he met her. Her face, then and now, held no warning of the havoc she would bring down like a bolt of forked lightening into his once well ordered life. Now, instead of the innocent adoration she once bestowed him with, she grieved his passing into her side of the plains.
"I. . .it would hurt," she tried to explain, her voice tight and pained. "Your suffering. . .you-"
"Speak mi-woman," Sesshoumaru demanded crossly. "Cease this melodrama and explain yourself."
Her face twisted, a mix of anger and laughter, and she shook her head. "Your chest, and the odd sounds you were making when you breathed. The bullet punched through your lung and sliced open an artery. You are-were bleeding to death."
Sesshoumaru glanced back at himself, his pallid features and his labored breath, and returned to Kikyou. "Then I cannot save myself. . ."
"Dawn is too far away," Kikyou replied. "You wouldn't have lived for long. Any emergency help would have been too late. I'm sorry Sesshoumaru."
He said nothing, merely turning back to the tragedy behind him. He expected his death, if it ever came, to be mourned by his multitudes, servants, lesser lords and taiyoukai alike. He expected ceremony, substance and respect from all parts of Japan. Yet here he was, watching himself bleed out on the patio, the scent of thunderclouds heavily in the air, attended to by a kitsune prince, his hanyou brother and yet another miko.
He could not have had a better audience for his untimely end.
The grief on their faces was profound, so much so that he felt shaken, moved beyond all reason as he watched Shippou cry into his paws, his brother's silence and Kagome. . .
. . .his miko. . .
Cradle his head in her arms and weep into his dark hair. The sky opened above them, lightening streaked the sky and the rain began to carry his blood across the stones, over the edge of the balcony to the unassuming street below. Life had fled from the human Sesshoumaru, the one held in arms he now found sacred, and the spirit, the inu and the youkai now of one mind, kneeled before Kagome and kissed her forehead.
"There is naught to be sorry for, my miko," he whispered against her rain soaked skin. "Had I not been so foolish, so blind. . ." He sighed, closed his eyes and glanced up, his gaze connecting with Kikyo's as she watched him.
"Say goodbye Sesshoumaru," she told him. "I can give you time to do that much but that's all I can give you."
Sesshoumaru nodded and gazed down once more. Kagome began to rock his body, her sobs now quiet tears as she began to sing to him, to Chance, and to the youkai she never knew. His heart clenched in his chest and he grieved, not for his spent life but for the one he denied and the joy he deemed himself above.
"Goodbye koshii," he said as he placed one final kiss to her temple. "I would gladly have been human for you." He stood up and stopped, unable to move, and nearly choked on his sudden rage.
"After a lifetime of suffering," he thundered aloud in the blinding rage, his usual cool shattered in the face of the night's sudden events. "And almost an eternity of sacrifice am I destined for the pits?! To suffer more?!"
"No Sesshoumaru." Kikyou's bright laughter, so sudden in his ear, sang out against the rain. "Turn around while you still can, while you still see me!"
He struggled to do so and was surprised to find her changed, her clothes the same but the bright light that suddenly shone from her was blinding. She was grinning -heaven forbid- and jumping, waving and laughing at him. "Sesshoumaru! I-"
"What is this woman!" he demanded heatedly. "You celebrate while I descend to Hell! You ungrateful-"
"Just one minute puppy," Kikyou shot back at him with a disapproving frown. "You've never done anything for me, so I don't have a thing to be grateful for. But if you would be quiet I could tell you that I'm free! I can go on to the Ever After now!"
"Wonderful," Sesshoumaru growled back. "At least my afterlife will be peaceful."
"Afterlife?" Kikyou replied as she began to slowly fade away. "What afterlife?"
It hurt him, sitting so close to her as Kagome grieved, knowing that he couldn't do a thing about it. She was singing under her breath a tune that was hauntingly sweet. He was guilt ridden and scared that Kagome would hate him. It was his fault, all his fault that Sesshoumaru was dead and the man-inu-had risked his life for him and now he was gone, Kagome distraught and Inuyasha. . .
The white haired hanyou. . .
The Western Steward. . .
Shippou looked up, horrified, as he realized what he'd done. Inuyasha noticed him just as he began to tremble, his auburn tail shivering like a branch in the winds of a hurricane as full blown panic began to sink in. "I-I-inyaah-" Shippou stammered desperately, tears welling in his bottle green eyes. He yelped when Inuyasha snatched him from his place and into his lap. He held Shippou tightly, shielding him from the rain and offering what little comfort he could to the shaken kit.
"You shouldn't have to see stuff like this," Inuyasha growled unhappily. "This is supposed to be the modern era, and this was supposed to end happily." He sniffed, huffed and growled, "This sucks."
Inuyasha whipped around, Shippou still in his arms as he readied himself for further horrors. Instead his mouth dropped open, fangs glinting in the falling rain, as Sesshoumaru's body slowly rose from Kagome's arms. His limbs hung limply from his sides and his head hung suspended above her waiting lap.
"What's going on?" Kagome asked, sapphire orbs desperate as she searched his confused gaze. "Is this normal? What's going to happen now?"
"What are you asking me for?" Inuyasha wondered aloud. "What do I look like, a search engine?"
A sudden series of pops interrupted them, the sound vicious as movement began underneath Sesshoumaru's robes. His legs and arms lengthened, then broadened underneath the red silk. The nails on his fingertips lengthened then sharpened into deadly talons, and deep magenta stripes banded his wrists to cross the back of his hands. His hair, still pooled in Kagome's lap, became heavier and faded to a beautiful silvery paleness. Kagome nearly shrieked as something grasped her leg, the massive hunk of fur wiggling into her lap and around her shoulders like a fur stole.
A brilliant green flash went off around Sesshomaru's body, blinding Kagome before it faded and his body began the slow descent back to her lap. Magenta stripes slashed across his cheeks, which were rapidly regaining color, and a Persian crescent moon in a vivid blue appeared on his forehead. Kagome reached out to touch the stripes on his cheeks and gasped as lifeless hazel orbs flashed open. The rim of honey brown lightened rapidly, shifting hues until beautiful, amused golden orbs stared back at her.
"You," Kagome began as Inuyasha and Shippou stood back in awe. "You came back?"
Sesshoumaru reached up, without words, and caressed her slick cheek.
"How?" she asked. "I mean, I don't understand-" He sat up, the rain washed gi now free of his blood, and gathered the soaked miko in his arms.
Though she still did not understand and perhaps never would, she accepted it, accepted him and returned his embrace as the mark of the moon appeared on her exposed shoulder.
Miroku growled into his pillow, his dream of topless dancing Sangos evaporating quickly as the voice of his beloved stole its way into his dreams. Their bedroom was still dark, the rain outside a soft pitter-patter as Sango nudged his side.
"Yes my butterfly?" he finally said when her sharp little elbow dug too far into his ribs.
"Do you think Kagome's happy?"
He sighed, cast rest into the little box he kept it in when Sango wanted these late night heart to hearts, and rolled over. "What brought this on?" he asked as he gently pushed her head toward his shoulder. She succumbed easily and snuggled into his side.
"I was just thinking, that's all," he heard her whisper above the rain. "She gets into the strangest situations sometimes. So much has happened to her and-"
"Kagome is a fighter," Miroku assured her. "Little Shippou couldn't be in better hands."
"I know that," Sango huffed and 'lightly' punched his arm. "Shippou's so cute and you can tell that he and Kagome care a lot about each other. I'm more worried about her relationship with the other two."
"The Taishou brothers," Miroku assumed with a sigh. "Sango, I believe Kagome couldn't be in safer hands. Inuyasha, though brash and a little loud, will keep an eye on her and I believe Sesshomaru to be just as devout if not more so. Besides," he finished as he tugged her into his sleepy embrace. "If those two fail there's always Chance."
Sango giggled and kissed his cheek, then snuggled further underneath the covers. . .
. . .Unaware of the crescent marks that glowed between their touching cheeks.
In all, four members of the holy shrine received the marks of my house. Sango will live to one day see a cure for her disease, Miroku to see his art truly appreciated, and Souta to . . . Do whatever it is that Souta has planned. It saddens me that Kagome's mother and grandfather did not receive the mark but it is my belief that they would not want it if they could.
Which leads me to Kagome, my beloved miko. . .
The power behind the signal was strong, so strong that Inuyasha was up and moving toward it before his eyes fully opened and his brain was fully aware. By the time he woke up he was standing outside on his balcony, the city of Tokyo stretched out below him like a sparkling blanket. He searched the night sky for the bearer of the power and wondered if he should alert Sesshoumaru to the threat.
He suddenly growled, aggravated, and sat in one of the nearby balcony chairs. "If you let the humans catch you," he said to the empty air. "They will lock you away and study you." A tiny firefly fluttered onto the balcony, it's glow barely bright enough to catch in the vast moonless night. "And stop showing off."
The firefly shimmered as if angry before it settled and grew, until the perturbed form of Sesshoumaru towered over him. "This Sesshoumaru does not show off."
"We've got to work on that," Inuyasha responded before reaching underneath a nearby table. He pulled free a beer inside a hidden ice chest and offered one to Sesshoumaru. "Well, I can't blame you," Inuyasha joked when the older youkai refused. "Cant have you arrested for FUI now can I?"
"Crude jokes aside," Sesshoumaru huffed irritably. "I've come to talk to you about the West."
"Oh," Inuyasha replied offhandedly. Inside his stomach flipped, though he tried not to show it. 'He's come to take over. It's not my place to tell him no since everything was built off of his fortune. But he's only been normal for a month. Is he-'
"I have decided to leave the West in your care."
"That's fucked up!" Inuyasha exploded suddenly, the force of his outburst launching him from his chair. "I've worked too damned hard for you to just come up and-wait a sec. What did you say?"
Sesshoumaru glared back at him, his gaze frigid as he regarded his hanyou sibling. "It is nice to know that the ears on top of your head are merely decoration."
"Did you say that you were leaving me in charge?"
"However. . ."
'I knew it,' Inuyasha grumbled as he sank back into his chair. 'Here comes his thumb, ready to slam down on me and squish me like an ant.'
"I do wish to be informed of important company decisions. It is my understanding that you have done quite well for yourself and for the West."
"That's it?" Inuyasha asked in disbelief. "Just let you know if I do something major?"
Sesshoumaru nodded and turned, his visit now over.
"How's Kagome?" Inuyasha asked before Sesshoumaru could leave. "Is she. . .adjusted?"
"She is as to be expected."
"Ok. . .hey Sesshoumaru?"
"What is it Inuaysha?"
"Oh, never mind," Inuyasha replied and waved as Sesshoumaru disappeared into his tiny light form and disappeared. In a way, dressed as he was in the Sunset Shrine's colors of white and cobalt blue, Sesshoumaru answered his question for him.
It took seconds to leave Inuyasha and return to the shrine, but instead of landing he hovered above it, watching the humans below as they went on with life without him. He could hear Ms. Higurashi cleaning the kitchen, the softly spoken lyrics of an old musical spilling from her lips as if etched forever on her heart. Kagome's grandfather was already in bed, the old man's snores slicing through the air like a buzz saw. Kagome he searched for last, watching as she and Souta tried to teach Shippou how to play soccer. They laughed as if they were Shippou's age, Kagome more beautiful than ever he remembered as the odd glowing orbs nearby reflected their light into her eyes.
"Keep trying Shippou!" Kagome called as she passed Shippou the ball. "You're doing great!"
"Great?!" Souta wheezed and took a time out. He braced his hands on his knees and leaned over, his breathing labored and the grin on his lips face splitting as Shippou circled around him. "This kid could take on Brazil!"
"You really think so Uncle Sou?"
"I sure do," Souta replied and reached out to ruffle Shippou's shock of orange hair. "But you have a tail, and that's like having a third leg. That's cheating."
"It is not!" Shippou shot back and used said tail to flick the ball towards Souta. "It's not my fault you don't have a tail. It's not cheating is it Kagome?" Shippou turned and Souta looked up, surprised to find themselves alone on the courtyard.
"Where did she go?" Souta asked while Shippou stared into the night sky. Shippou smiled, then picked up his ball and walked back to the house.
In my time the world has changed. . .
Warlords have risen and fallen, castles were built and burned, the earth marked and washed clean time and time again.
Yet I wonder about the youkai I could have been, would have been, if it had not been for the wenche's spell.
Youkai. . .
She ran, her laughter ringing in the air as she ducked her father's arms. "Slow Daddy!" she giggled and ducked again. "You can't catch me!"
"I don't think you can dear," her mother called from the nearby porch. "She's very fast"
I am no man
"I know," he huffed and groaned when the little one avoided him again. "I need a nap!"
Nor am I tamed by any means
"Daddy, you're so lazy!" she called and squealed when, after a quick jerk to the right, he stepped directly into her path and scooped her up. "I've got you , my little goblin!"
Yet I have a heart
She shrieked in delight as he tickled her, his grunts and growls lost in her giggles as her mother stepped off the porch.
"It's. . .nice, to watch her, I mean," Kagome whispered from beside him. They peered through the same bushes Dominion, before becoming Chance, peered through twelve months before. "She looks well taken care of." She rolled her eyes at her silent companion and turned just in time to see the mother pounce on the father's back.
"Mommy, you'll hurt Daddy!"
"They're taking good care of her, you know that don't you?" Once again she met silence, but this time it was marked by a much larger hand gently grasping hers. Claws were carefully kept away from her fragile skin and his lips were careful when he brushed them against her wrist.
"Are you ready?"
She stood up quietly, sapphire orbs understanding when he remained crouched down. "I'll be waiting in the car." He listened as she walked away, her footsteps on the soft grass background to the play in the yard beyond. The little girl shrieked, laughed and played with people who obviously loved her. She was healthy, happy,
And no longer needed him.
He sighed, golden suns lowered before taking on last glance toward the girl. He stood up, and went back to the blue beetle that changed his life.
Forever and ever
SF: That's it! The end of Second Chance! Yay! (throws streamer at the back of Naraku's head)
Inu-chan: It took for-effing-EVER! What took so long?!
Kagome: You know what happened-
Sango: First there was the Little Muse moving two states away!
Shippou: Then there was her getting engaged-
Inu-chan: What fool would marry her?
Kagome/ Sango: INUYASHA!!
Kagome: Sit boy!
Miroku: Plus her losing her grandmother. Really Inuyasha. You are a cad sometimes.
SF: That's funny coming from you Miroku, but thanks. That's my life in a nutshell. The Little Muse has moved away, I'm getting married in October and my grandmother passed this July. I'm really sorry about how late this was so thanks to everyone who was patient enough to wait for it. I hope it meets your expectations and if not, then I hope it at least answers some questions. Thanks for coming.
Come back soon.
Tuesday, August the 5th, 2008