Chapter 46: Unsaid Intentions
Kagome was no longer aware of anything around her as she had been. The being that had forced her into her own mental prison was gone, but now there was nothing holding her but her own power. The magic within her threatened to consume her, and she was having great difficulty pushing it back under her control.
It wasn't simply her guiding the power anymore. There was another force behind it, something that reveled in the destruction which would occur if she let go of her power. That same force drifted along her senses trying to convince her of how futile it was to resist, of how tired she was and the rest that would come of her succumbing to the power, of the warmth and comfort of sinking into the void.
But this wasn't her voice; though she did remember hearing it before. In an instant she realized where, and she set her determination against it more. It was the same voice that fueled her rage and anger when she fought Gooman; it was the force that made her wish to torture and play with the weaker soldier. It was the demon Midoriko had fought for so long within the jewel.
Dachi was right; the demon had followed the power of the jewel into Kagome to try to cause more damage and inflict more harm. It remained silently within her, waiting for her weakest states to emerge, when she was unable to crush it with her pure thoughts, when exhaustion and depression opened her to other thoughts.
The demon's voice of gentle persuasion changed the second she realized its origin. It no longer tried to convince her; now its goal was to crush her. Her power closed in around her, enclosing her in yet another prison. Only this one was far more dangerous than the mental cell she just escaped.
But Kagome couldn't stop it this time. The demon had gained control of the building power within and goaded it into overwhelming her. It would mean her death and the passing of the demon spirit, but the destruction she would cause would be enough to satisfy the demon. Kagome could feel its anticipation of the devastation.
It wasn't something Kagome had ever faced before. She wasn't sure of how to defeat herself, but she knew she had to do something because her efforts to push the magic back were no longer working.
Somehow she knew that if the power reached her, she would die and obliterate everything near her. She knew in the pit of her stomach she had to escape, but how? This was not a building surrounding her that she just needed to find the right door or hallway. This was magic, power that was closing in from every side, an all encompassing force. How did she escape that? And it wasn't as if she could run away, one can't escape their own body. Kagome despaired but still continued to fight the energy reigning down around her, wondering how much longer she had left of her life.
After Aishi had felt Sesshoumaru release Toukijin, he no longer feared for his lord. He quickly retreated into Kagome's mind to try to help her push back the power threatening to consume her. He wasn't sure what had caused her to lose the control she usually possessed, but she had, and stopping the potential expulsion of her power was all that mattered now.
He found the path into her mind again, but he couldn't follow it. The flames that surrounded her body kept him from entering her mind. He tried again to push into her consciousness, but her power repelled him and caused a searing pain to wash over him from inside out. Aishi thought it was her mind's way of protecting her from being possessed again, but he still couldn't help but feel frustrated at the defeated attempt.
The general emerged from his trance. He scanned the area for any potential dangers. Darkness was not too far from them on his knees. His posture was straight and his eyes were closed as if meditating. Aishi's eyes then switched to Sesshoumaru. His lord stood so close to Kagome, his arms enveloping her, and Aishi knew if Kagome's power wasn't halted all of them would die.
Its not like they could escape it, the explosion caused by a sudden release would encompass farther they could run in the short amount of time remaining.
Aishi grimaced, this was not good. He shifted his senses to their surroundings; there was nothing he could do now but pray that his lord could pull Kagome from this state and protect them from any who would attempt to harm them in the mean time.
Sesshoumaru stood before Kagome, his arms holding her to him, but she was completely limp. Without the support he was giving, she would have fallen to the ground in a heap. He was completely lost as to what to do. The taiyoukai knew the dire nature of the situation he was in, but hadn't the slightest idea how to fix it. He had tried speaking with her, but her glazed eyes hadn't cleared in the least. Empty pools frightened him. He had tried shaking her, but her body hadn't even tensed to regain her balance.
A sudden sense of hopelessness overwhelmed him.
This was wrong, so wrong. Fate had forced him to fall for another only to lose her to some tragic misuse of the power that had drawn him to her in the first place. He had his duty to the Western Lands, but nothing mattered to him at that moment other than the delicate woman he held.
Memories washed over him. They say your life flashes before your eyes before you die, but he didn't see his life. He saw the times he and Kagome shared. His thoughts drifted to their kiss, and he experienced regret.
He regretted that she had been the one to instigate it. He regretted that he had not been brave enough to do it himself. He regretted that he might not get the chance to feel her mouth moving against his ever again.
Sesshoumaru stared down at Kagome, so fragile and pliant in his arms. Her mouth called to him; he wanted to taste her lips again before it all ended. Pain tore through him as his lips caressed her warm, unresponsive flesh. Nothing signaled that she had even felt the stolen kiss.
She still tasted sweet, but it was bitter now without her passion-igniting responses. Sesshoumaru cradled her head in his hand and held her face to his, pressing his cheek to hers.
This was so wrong. Didn't they say love conquered all? Before Kagome, he had dismissed the saying as emotional drivel, but now he wished beyond all hope that they were right.
Because he loved her, and that should be enough.
It was time. There was no more room for her, and her power was so close to consuming her body that if she took a single step forward she would walk through the encroaching flames. Kagome took a deep breath, and resigned herself to saying her goodbyes to loved ones, praying that somehow they would hear her.
The miko blinked slowly trying to calm her mind from the fierce battle she had been fighting for what seemed an eternity.
But when she opened her eyes, she saw something strange. A slight discoloration interrupted the sterile, white walls of flame. The flames reminded her of the bleached halls of a hospital, but there was a point of light coming through.
A prismatic sparkle ripped a hole in the austere, white flames and extended itself in a rope of brilliant, white radiance. Kagome hunched in on herself, thinking this was an outcropping of the power in attempts to consume her faster. But the rope came nonetheless.
It touched her, and nothing happened. It lighted on the center of her chest…and just stopped.
Kagome just looked at it bewildered as the flames thrashed about her, ever encroaching. The light looked to be carved out of a prism, and a rainbow of colors showed from every angle. It was as if some master craftsman carved a chain necklace of pure diamond.
The demon responsible for Kagome's plight hissed at her sudden distraction, and resolved to bring her attention back to him. You see, her fighting the power, her terror at what would happen should she fail, gave him reign over the flames. Kagome's attention to the demon and what he was doing fuelled the power he held over her. This sudden distraction was not wanted. The confusion she gave to this newest discovery robbed him of what he needed, what he desired.
Curious as to what it was, Kagome reached up to it; her fingers tentative. With a deep breath of courage, she ran her hand over it.
The barest touch of her fingers over the light, gave her back the feeling of her body. She was dimly aware of warmth at her shoulders, warmth in front of her. A cool brush of breeze kissed her face.
The flames smoldered at her, trying to draw her back into the prison around her, but she was unconcerned at the moment, her curiosity overwhelming.
Steadying herself, Kagome's caress of the rope changed. With a deep breath, she gripped the rope fiercely. And she was jolted back into her body. Holding the rope, Kagome could once again see everything around her. She could see everything as clearly as if she had painted the picture herself. She saw Sesshoumaru holding her by the shoulders as he despaired at her unresponsive body; heartache and confusion tore at her. That is, until she saw the rope connecting Sesshoumaru's chest to hers. But before she could process the exact meaning behind it, he pressed her pliant body against his, and cradled her head with his hand.
It was at this point that Kagome realized that even though she could see the world surrounding her, she still couldn't move.
And she could still feel the demon guiding the power inside her into a monumental collision of power to destroy everything it could. It was a huge deal; it was something that could end so much life that surrounded her.
But as important as that should have been, it wasn't. What was important was the feeling of strong arms wrapped around her body, holding her like a lifeline. What was important was the veil of silver hair that fluttered across her vision. What was important was the warmth of Sesshoumaru pressed against her cheek. That was so very important.
She wanted to hold him to her; she wanted to turn her face into his. But she still couldn't move. Frustration filled her until she felt the ominous push of her power again. She had run out of time. Fear thrilled through her when she realized that Sesshoumaru was in her arms and would be the first to die. And that fear caused the energy within her to push to a mountainous peak. As the power built to a climax, she frantically tried to regain control, causing it only to peak quicker.
Just when everything was about to blow, her panic was halted by tiny words whispered into her hair. "Please, Gods, no. I love her."
Kagome's world hollowed into a pinpoint then exploded outward, and she knew she could die happy. Nothing mattered at that point except him.
The rush of power that should have flowed over her and tore her body apart from inside out didn't come. Instead, a rush of exhilaration like she had never before felt flooded through her body, through her limbs, replenishing strength.
And she could move again.
Sesshoumaru was reduced to doing the one thing he had never done before. Beg. As he held Kagome in his arms and felt the overwhelming power building, he pleaded to whatever god would hear and take pity on him.
It really was the gods' fault, anyways. Who else but the spinners of fate would be able to pull him into this position? And who else would know how to resolve what they had brought about?
So he uttered a plea to them in the barest of whispers. None would ever humble him enough to speak such an entreaty aloud, but for her, this once, he could breathe a request in hopes they would grant it.
The words were released into Kagome's hair, right above her ear. Then he clenched his jaw, closed his eyes, and waited for the explosion of her untamed power to decimate everything in its path.
But that was not what happened. Instead, he felt Kagome shift in front of him. Then her arms wrapped around his waist. He pulled back quickly, wanting, needing to see the light in her eyes. Needing to reassure himself that this was truly his Kagome.
Beautiful oceans of blue stared back at him, and she smiled weakly.
Sesshoumaru enveloped her into his tight embrace once again, not believing or understanding what had just happened. Her power had built and built around her; then it seemed as if she just swallowed it back into her body. It was still there, but dissipated. It was no longer wild magic without a master. She had tamed it. He didn't understand it, but he didn't care as long as she was safe.
Nothing else mattered, and he reveled in the feel of her arms pressing him to her. It was the greatest feeling, and that says a lot when one thinks of how little feeling he actually received through his armor.
When Kagome's power shrank back into her body, Aishi praised the gods above him. After his failed attempt to soothe her back into control through her mind, he realized the situation was out of his hands. He trusted his lord to bring everything into its proper place, but as her energy began to swell and stir more violently than previously, he started to doubt his life span.
And the only thing he could really think of was his promise. If he died, he lied to Mokuso. He told her…he gave his honor to her in the form of a vow, and his death would mean he wouldn't return to her despite how long she waited. It is true that he would be stripped of honor, something he had worked his entire life to achieve and maintain, but honor wasn't what he was concerned with.
Aishi would be robbed of the time he had anticipated, time Sesshoumaru would have given him leave to spend with her, time he could have used to start scouting for proper land to build a habitat for them to share.
Time he could have spent building a family.
It wasn't something he ever really considered before. A family was just something taken for granted, something he would eventually acquire. But as he realized that might never happen, as his death felt imminent, it became something he longed for, something he regretted missing out on.
And he missed her. Aishi pictured her face, her hair, neck, shoulders, her delicate hands, her dainty feet, and he hoped that if he lost himself in his thoughts of her, wrapped himself within her image, death wouldn't be so bad. The pain of a miko's purity would be bearable if he was with her, and he wished he could see her just one more time before death took him, but that would mean her death as well. And that was unacceptable.
She would live, and he prayed for her happiness.
And as he made his peace, as he prepared himself for death, Kagome's power dissipated. Saying he was relieved is like saying the ocean is damp.
He turned his attention to his lord and Kagome. He almost smiled at the image of them; the two held each other like he would hold Mokuso as soon as he met her again.
He had planned to leave them be, let them enjoy the other, but something tugged at his senses telling him he couldn't allow it, not if he was still his lord's protector. It seems Shouron and several others were approaching.
The extensive displays of power must have forced them from behind the walls of the Eastern estate to investigate. It was not the most ingenious move a general could make, for it could easily be a trap laid by enemies to draw the soldiers away from the safety of the palace walls. Aishi realized that was most likely what kept them from coming sooner, but the flare of both Kagome's and Sesshoumaru's power must have convinced him of the sincerity of the need.
Too bad that, had Kagome not regained control of her energy, they all would have been running towards their demise. Aishi almost found this amusing; the situation was not without irony.
But the arrival of strangers meant the forced separation of Sesshoumaru and his love. The taiyoukai was not one to flaunt relations, and if he knew his lord, Sesshoumaru would want to announce his intentions before the knowledge became public.
So he was forced speak, forced to break the embrace. "My Lord Sesshoumaru, others are approaching quickly."
Kagome felt Sesshoumaru tense at the words of Aishi; she, also, felt his reluctance to release her. Though she didn't want him to let go, something inside her felt warm at his reluctance. There was a blossom of heat in her chest grew when his fingers tightened around her shoulders. His head dipped to her ear, brushing his hair against her cheek.
"We have much to discuss, but it must wait for a private setting." As soon as the words were heard, he stepped a suitable distance away from her. Kagome stood on her own for less than a second before her knees gave out. Her body plummeted towards the ground but was stopped by an arm around her waist.
Sesshoumaru sighed. "You did not tell me you were unable to stand." His voice was even but hard in his irritation at her silence.
Kagome smiled, abashed. "Had I known, I would have told you."
He nodded in response and wrapped the other arm under her legs. Kagome reclined in his arms, too weak from fighting her own power to stand on her own. She could tell Sesshoumaru was not happy; she knew he did not wish to be seen in this position. It made her heart sink.
The way he had held her, the pain on his face made her think that he cared for her in more than a professional way. She knew had a very private personality, but it just seemed like he was ashamed of her, that he would lock her away in a tower for no one to know of save him. A toy he would take out to play with on special occasions.
He was ashamed of her. The thought ripped through her body like it was nothing more than paper in the way of an avalanche. But why? Was she not strong enough? That couldn't be true. She had proven her strength by fighting alongside his generals.
It had to be because she was human. That was the only other reason she could think of. Her human heritage, her blood, despite her power made her his inferior. He was a taiyoukai, and she would never be good enough for him.
Her heart clenched. But what was that light? The rope that connected them. It looked like the affection lines she used to enjoy. The light emitting from it sparkled like a diamond, reflecting every color in the spectrum, a combination of every good emotion that can exist between two beings. What else could that be but love?
Obviously love wasn't enough. Like a beloved toy from childhood to which the owner is too attached to throw away, but is a cause of shame, something to be hidden anytime company visits. A worn, tattered comfort that is and always will be loved but looks like garbage to any other.
Kagome loved him; she knew this, but she would not subject herself to such. She would not hide from the sunlight simply because he believed she wasn't enough. Her heart clenched at her thoughts, but what else could she do?
Freak. The thought echoed in her mind, and all at once her previous doubts came to the surface again. She was human; she would never belong amongst the arrogant youkai who surrounded the one she loved.
But she wasn't quite human anymore, either. She could surround herself with those who looked like her, but she would never truly belong. Kagome would have to leave when people became suspicious of her. A rogue.
Because Dachi had explained to her that she wouldn't die. Not unless she wished it. And her body would continuously borrow the power within it to heal itself. She wouldn't age because her body would not allow the skin to age, her muscles would never sag or grow weak like others who grow old. And she would watch those she loved, those she held closest, she would watch as they slowly die around her.
And she would face eternity alone.
She knew Sesshoumaru and other youkai didn't age as well; however, it seemed like she would be placed in a box until associating with humans was more acceptable. No. She wouldn't do it.
Kagome felt something inside her die at those thoughts. There, wrapped in Sesshoumaru's arms, a place she thought should feel the safest, she felt the most vulnerable. And she hated the feeling.
Shouron and about ten others broke through the trees and bowed before Sesshoumaru. They had expected chaos, but the only signs of a struggle were a small amount of blood on Sesshoumaru's left side, and a dark figure, barely seen in the dim light of the moon, which smelled strongly of blood Sesshoumaru's venom.
And there before the soldiers present, stood Sesshoumaru. In his arms was Kagome, so weak she seemed before death. Shouron was shocked at this. He knew Sesshoumaru had conflicting emotions for the girl, but he stood here practically proclaiming his intents and daring any to challenge him. It was quite unexpected.
The soldiers, who had no idea of their lord's associations with the strange human miko, were almost too stunned to bow before their superior. A mistake Shouron reminded of quickly.
"My lord." He spoke louder than necessary as he bowed.
The youkai behind him quickly followed the example. Kariudo, who had frantically followed as soon as he noticed Kagome was missing, followed the entire scene with his eyes. Everything was beyond strange to him.
And he was worried. Kagome's aura was so weak right now when it was normally rather overbearing. Ever since the confrontation with Gooman, Kagome had not bothered subduing the power behind her aura. But now, it was almost non-existant. What had happened to the woman Dachi had warned him to protect? He doubted he would ever forgive himself if she didn't recover. She seemed to pure of heart to fall into such despair.
Sesshoumaru barely acknowledged their arrival. Instead his gaze swung to Aishi. "Find him, make sure he is of no further threat, then bring him here."
The new arrivals were curious in their ignorance, but the others knew exactly to whom the taiyoukai was referring, the master who had made Darkness and Kagome into puppets and had almost succeeded in manipulating Sesshoumaru as well.
As Kagome's power threatened to wipe out all who were near, the possible escape of the creature was of no concern. If Sesshoumaru, Aishi, and Darkness could not run fast or far enough to escape the blast, then neither could that creature. He would die as well. But now as that scenario was no longer the present situation, the beast would have to be hunted down and subjected to the proper punishment for the crimes he had committed against the lords of the lands.
Aishi nodded then disappeared into the woods.
Sesshoumaru's gaze shifted from the spot Aishi had once occupied to his warriors. Kagome noticed he hadn't once looked at her since he had picked her up. And she couldn't take it anymore. The embrace her had held her in spoke of passion, the intimate way his arms held her to his chest now spoke of affection, but he refused everything.
He simply ignored her as if she wasn't there, and Kagome hated him for it. She still loved him, but that didn't mean she had to like him right now. It didn't mean she would simply sit there and be ignored.
Silence had prevailed over all until a weak, feminine voice spoke up. "Kariudo." She forced from her throat. Kagome had noticed his arrival and was grateful he was here. If he hadn't been, she would have asked Shouron. But she had a feeling, Sesshoumaru would not appreciate it if she took away one of his generals from what was probably going to be an important discussion of events.
All present blinked at the sound. It wasn't expected, and it was barely heard even with youkai senses.
Hesitantly, Kariudo stepped forward. "Yes, Lady Kagome." He spoke quietly, not knowing why.
Kagome coughed and felt Sesshoumaru shift her more towards him; however, she didn't really want to look at him right now. "General Shouron, do you have need of Kariudo right now?"
Shouron was shaken and greatly confused by everything that was happening at this time, but he answered her. "No, Lady Kagome, not unless my lord had need of his soldiers."
Sesshoumaru was about to reply to Shouron's statement but Kagome didn't allow his statement. "Kariudo, could you take me back to my room. I am tired."
The taiyoukai felt a rush of possessiveness course through him. Why would Kagome ask Kariudo? Did she prefer his company? Sesshoumaru nearly growled at the thought, and his arms tightened around Kagome.
She did not like the way he held her body anymore. It was to painful for her to feel his warm, to soak in his presence. She wouldn't allow it anymore, so she began to push away from his embrace.
Kariudo was not blind. He saw the way her statement upset his lord, but he could also see how she was trying to escape him. It wasn't a situation he wished to be in. "I will do as my lord wishes." He spoke. His words were a rather harsh remembrance that he was not her soldier, but he softened his tones as much as possible to dull the statement.
Sesshoumaru did not like what was happening at all. He felt anger at being ignored; he felt betrayed by the one he sought to love. And most of all, he felt jealously at the tone his soldier used. No matter what his words were, Sesshoumaru heard the affection Kariudo held for Kagome, and he did not like it.
But Kagome started pushing against his chest despite how weak she was, trying to get away from him. What had happened? He fought to contain the growl that tried to slip past his throat. "We have things to discuss, Kagome; I have not dismissed you, yet."
His formal, calloused tone caused Kagome to shiver. "I don't want to be held right now, Lord Sesshoumaru, put me down." She grated out through clenched teeth, trying to be formal in front of his soldiers but running out of patience.
"You cannot stand, Kagome, or do you wish to utilize the ground?" His voice remained steady even as his thoughts swirled at her intentions.
"At least then I'd be in the dirt at your feet where all humans should be, my lord." She hissed as quietly as she could hoping to avoid the hearing of the others.
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened at her words and looked down at her. Where had that come from? What did he do to cause her anger? Instead he shifted her against him once again. "Request denied." He said as his eyes bored into hers. "You and I have things to discuss." His voice was heated, but whether is was warmed by anger or other things, Kagome didn't know.
Kagome nearly growled at him in frustration, but her heart fluttered at the way his eyes lit her on fire. It was a strange and partially unwanted feeling. But another part loved his attention, loved the emotion in his eyes, and loved the feeling of his strong arms pushing her against him.
Because she couldn't make her mind commit to one feeling or the other, and because she couldn't really fight against him right now anyways, Kagome gave up. She sat in his arms and tried to ignore the feelings surrounding the demon that held her.
Not too much of a cliffie this time. For my extended absence, I apologize. There's really no one good reason for it. I just had too much real life to interfere. This story is still pretty close to the ending, but I added quite a bit to this chapter that wasn't originally intended. Because of this, there are still a few chapters left til its over.
Several people have asked me about a sequel…truth is, I'm having a hard time finishing this one. I don't think I can do another huge fiction like this one. I had an idea for a sequel, but it would take too much time to do the research I wanted for a background. And in all honesty, I don't like this story anymore. It just doesn't seem real to me, and I don't think I can honestly do a sequel to it. I apologize.
Don't fear for this story though, I will finish it. I hate leaving things undone. I do hope I haven't ticked too many people off with my extended absence, and I understand how hard it is to get back into a story after its been "gone" so long. For all those who are still there: Thank you for your patience, and I hope you like the newest addition.