Chapter 46: Passive
"Dead as dead can be," my doctor tells me, but I just can't believe him, ever the optimistic one, I'm sure of your ability to become my perfect enemy… Wake up and face me, don't play dead cause maybe someday I will walk away and say, "You disappoint me," Maybe you're better off this way… Leaning over you here, cold and catatonic, I catch a brief reflection of what you could and might have been… It's your right and your ability--to become…my perfect enemy… Wake up (we'll catch you) and face me (come on now); don't play dead 'cause maybe, someday I'll walk away and say, "You disappoint me," Maybe you're better off this way. Go ahead and play dead, I know that you can hear this… Go ahead and play dead… Why can't you turn and face me? You fcking disappoint me!
Sesshoumaru stood outside Michiko's stronghold feeling somewhat doubtful. He wasn't quite sure that the choice he had made was indeed the right one, but he knew that he wanted more than anything to see Kagome again. No sooner than he had stepped up to her front gates than he was told to wait with Enryomaru. He assumed that this was the silent kitsune that was standing beside him. He grimaced at the memory of Michiko's excitement. She certainly was not acting as though she was about to face an opponent of his might.
Casting aside thoughts of the upcoming battle, he sighed and looked around himself, seeing the worried looks of Kouga, Inu Yasha , and Sayaka. He stopped for a moment, knowing that something was missing. The taijiya! They were not there--neither was the houshi. "Inu Yasha, where are the others?"
Inu Yasha blinked and then he, too, realized that Sango, Kohaku, and Miroku were not in their company. His eyes quickly turned to the kitsune standing guard next to Sesshoumaru. "You! Do you have anything to do with this?"
Enryomaru shrugged. "I know nothing other than what Michiko tells me."
Inu Yasha reached for his Tetsusaiga. A low growl rose from his throat as he stepped forward. He began to speak, but was quickly interrupted by Sayaka. She stood in front of Inu Yasha arms spread in a defensive stance. "Enryo-san, are you sure that you do not know the location of these humans that were traveling with us?"
Enryomaru hesitated for a moment. "They may… well, they may not be able to come here at all and could be waiting safely for you just outside the castle ground. Michiko-sama re-created a barrier that was once present in this castle before she had it. Humans cannot pass through."
All fell silent as the mansion door flew open.
"Dammit!" Sango slammed her fist down on the ground. Only moments before, they had been following Inu Yasha and Sesshoumaru to Michiko's stronghold, and suddenly were thrown from Kirara's back. Kirara returned immediately, but not soon enough to save her mistress from the short fall. She had been very worried and apologetic at first, but Sango assured her feline partner that she wasn't at fault.
Miroku slowly approached the barrier and reached his arm into it. He was quickly rewarded with a painful shocking sensation over his entire arm. Ignoring the pain, he stepped back from it and stared in wonder. "Why only us, though?"
"We're human." Kohaku picked up a twig from the forest floor and began walking around, testing the extent of the barrier. He paused for a moment and studied his surroundings. "If, as Kagura mentioned earlier, this really is one of Naraku's old hideouts, I'm sure that I know another way in…"
Sango's eyes widened for a moment. "Another way? How so?"
Glad to be of assistance, Kohaku grinned as he began to walk further into the forest. "Ane-ue, I'll show you…"
Kagome whimpered as Michiko pushed her into the bright sunlight. After all, she hadn't seen the light of day since she had been captured. She blinked a few times and tried to allow her eyes to adjust.
Sesshoumaru threw the sword, lodging it in the soil several feet in front of Michiko. "I held up my end of the deal; release Kagome."
Michiko grimaced and then threw the still blinded girl towards Sesshoumaru. She quickly snatched up the sword, her eyes wide with wonder as she held it in her hands. "Finally…"
Kagome stumbled forward, barely catching herself before falling. She blinked a few more times before her eyes finally adjusted all of the way. She felt the rest of the world fall away when she saw Sesshoumaru. She ignored everything else as she ran into his arms. Her eyes stung with tears as she buried her face onto his shoulder. "Sesshou-kun… I missed you so much…"
For a moment, Sesshoumaru also forgot what was happening around him. He held Kagome tightly in his arms and took a deep breath, reveling in her cherry-blossom scent. How much he had longed to once again hold her in his arms, even though he knew that perhaps this would be the final time he'd ever see her in this reality.
However, upon noticing Michiko's movement a short few yards away from them, Sesshoumaru pulled away from Kagome. He turned so that she couldn't see his face and took several steps away from her. "Kagome… I just wanted you to be safe… please don't hold this against me…"
The words hit Kagome like a ton of bricks. She tried to move to see Sesshoumaru, maybe then she could at least reason with him. Before she could get so much as a step towards him, Inu Yasha had already picked her up and began running the opposite direction with her. "Inu Yasha! Put me down!"
Inu Yasha reluctantly ignored her protests. He bounded as quickly as he could away from Sesshoumaru, enduring the constant pounding of Kagome's fists on his back. It wasn't until he had gotten well away from Michiko's stronghold that Kagome remembered something... "Osuwari!"
Against Inu Yasha's sincere hopes, the incantation still held effect. Kagome still in his grasp, Inu Yasha went face-first into the dirt, throwing her to the ground shortly away from himself. Rather than his typical angered reaction, though, when he stood, he brushed the dirt from his clothes and stared at Kagome. Somber amber eyes met with frantic sapphire. "He doesn't want you to get hurt…"
Kagome hesitated for a moment and then quietly inquired, "Is he planning to die, Inu Yasha?"
Inu Yasha felt his heart in his throat as he tried to find words that would serve to comfort his friend. He reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders. "Kagome, we don't know exactly what is going to happen, but if things go precisely as Michiko seems to have planned them to, all of our effort to rescue you will have been in vain. Sesshoumaru wants you to be safe… He loved you more than his own life… and if he would have had to live a life knowing that he could have saved you, but didn't, he wouldn't be able to stand himself."
"So he thinks that I can live knowing that he died for my sake! How selfish of him!" Kagome bit her lip as she stared at the ground fighting back tears that were sure to fall in spite of her effort.
Kagome shook her head and pushed Inu Yasha away from herself. Her bangs shadowed her face, but that did not keep Inu Yasha from knowing of the tears that fell from her eyes. Kagome stood and wiped the tears from her eyes, looking back in the direction of Michiko's mansion. Without a moment's hesitation, she began running back towards the mansion until she was suddenly hurled backwards by the barrier. "Dammit…"
Kagome turned to see Sango, Miroku, and Kohaku--friends that she had missed quite a lot. She smiled in spite of herself as she waved at them.
Sango returned Kagome's smile; she knew immediately Kagome's smile had been false, especially after noting the fresh tears on Kagome's face. "Kagome, I--I'm sorry…"
In all of their tears, not one of them noticed as a figure flew above them and into the barrier.
Michiko had fully intended to immediately destroy Sesshoumaru, but upon noticing the hanyou girl in his company, she decided to toy around first. The girl's features were all too familiar to Michiko, perhaps with the exception of being so obviously hanyou, the girl was identical… (Aki… This girl resembles her far too much to simply be a coincidence… I wonder why I hadn't noticed before…)
Sayaka began to feel uneasy under Michiko's heated glare. She had assumed for some reason that Michiko would immediately begin battle with Sesshoumaru after Kagome had gone, but instead Michiko was watching Sayaka far too intently. In an attempt to regain her own confidence and to divert Michiko's attention, Sayaka spoke, "What seems to be the matter, Michiko? Are you fearful that I will stop you from completely taking the will from Sesshoumaru and Kouga once more? Are you worried that you might actually have an even match?"
Michiko's eyes instantly reduced to thin slits through which she concentrated all her energy upon Sayaka. Her abilities had always proven useless against a female opponent, but perhaps with the sword she held in her hand now… Apparently, Sayaka knew exactly what Michiko was attempting to do; she averted her gaze quickly so that Michiko would not succeed in her attempt. "You are Aki's daughter, are you not? I would have thought that Sesshoumaru would have had his finest hunters sent out to destroy you as a child, but it seems that he lacks the ability to destroy any hanyou… After all, his half-bred brother still seems to be breathing. But, you… how is it that you are able to stand next to the man who did not protect your mother from death? I'm certain, after all, that if Sesshoumaru had really cared for Aki as much as he claimed, he'd never have allowed my assassin to dispose of her so simply."
The insult to Inu Yasha had bothered Sayaka slightly, but upon hearing her mother's name a second time, Sayaka's concentration broke; she almost looked straight at Michiko, almost falling into her trap. "You lie!"
Michiko chuckled lightly as she began a slow approach towards Sayaka. "I am the one lying? My dear, what is it that you think I have to lie for?"
A low growl rose from Sayaka's throat as she gripped the hilts of her twin swords and drew them from their sheaths. "The assassin was supposed to kill Sesshoumaru! My mother died a noble death, protecting the one she loved…"
A smug grin on her face, Michiko shook her head. "My poor, poor, deluded girl… You are only convincing yourself."
Sayaka could take no more. Either Michiko was lying simply to anger her or she really had been the one behind Aki's murder… neither really mattered at this point. Sayaka took in a deep breath before she rushed at Michiko, holding one sword at a defensive position and the other aimed to Michiko's throat. "DIE!"
Sesshoumaru, yokai though he was, could not react quickly enough to stop Sayaka's attack. Just as he heard the clanging of swords, he saw the kitsune Enryomaru level a weapon of his own at Sesshoumaru.
Enryomaru had hoped not to need to attack anyone, but he knew that if he simply allowed Sesshoumaru to attack Michiko, his mistress had no chance of defending herself. He had pulled the naganata from seemingly out of nowhere and now had engaged Sesshoumaru in a fight that he wasn't sure if he would win. However, as long as he could avoid close-range attacks from Sesshoumaru, he would have at least one advantage in this fight.
Kouga had absolutely no intention of allowing his comrades to fight while he stood by watching. He moved to aid Sesshoumaru when a cloaked figure seemed to drop from the air in front of him. Angered by the sudden appearance of this third fighter, he instinctively threw his foot into the air, aiming a bone-splitting kick at his new opponent's rib cage. Kouga did not even have the time to blink before he realized that he was sailing through mid-air, courtesy his opponent's counter-attack.
Just as Kouga readied himself to land and attack his opponent, he felt a sharp pain in his lower back and was thrown into the opposite direction. Had there been more than one to attack him? Catching onto his enemy's methods, Kouga feigned a kick with his right leg and then doubled-over at the last moment, placing his fist squarely into his opponent's jaw.
"It'll take much more than that to stop me, okami-san." The cloak slid down to the ground, revealing Kouga's nearly untouchable opponent. A cascade of black hair fell over her shoulders and framed her face. Fierce magenta eyes glared at Kouga.
Kouga's jaw dropped. She could have been Kagura's double. He had been better off attacking a mysterious cloaked figure than trying to fight someone who looked like such a … close friend.
Taking advantage of whatever hesitation, Kouga's raven haired opponent lunged forward and sent Kouga flying into the air with one punch. Before he was able to react, much less land, she leapt behind him with blinding speed and slammed him into the ground. She stood for a moment, reflecting upon her nearly flawless attacks. She smiled to herself as the injured wolf began to stand.
Just as she was beginning to move to attack again, she noted that the winds had picked up quite drastically. She turned to the direction of the winds and noted that she had yet another opponent. Upon a second glance, she realized that this woman was the wind sorceress that had come less than a day before. The wind sorceress had been beaten so badly and so quickly that she probably did not even realize that she was being attacked by both Michiko and a hidden opponent.
Kagura winced as she stepped forward. Her injuries had not healed by far and were still quite painful. Her gaze immediately fell upon the woman who had been attacking Kouga. "And just who are you?"
"You people just think you can demand someone's name and they'll automatically give it to you? Ha, ha fine then, I am Lucia--Michiko's sister." A smug grin spread over Lucia's face as she turned to attack Kagura. She concentrated her energy on the natural shadows that were between herself and Kagura. The shadows swirled on the ground and then seemed to rush to the ground below Kagura's feet.
Though she hadn't noticed any sign of an attack, Kagura suddenly felt her body freeze. Recalling the fight that she had been in several hours previously, she realized that this was the same attack technique that kept her from being able to defend herself. "Kouga…"
Lucia raced forward in order to place the killing blow on the bothersome wind sorceress. She tightened the shadows around Kagura's body, crushing her body. She snickered as she was sure that she had already won the fight. She was barely able to react when she realized that Kagura had managed a quick attack while Lucia had been focusing on beating her. The wind blade sliced through Lucia's arms and abdomen. She collapsed on the ground, lifeless.
Kouga sighed with relief, seeing that their opponent had been defeated. "Kagura, you did it!"
When he received no reply, he saw that Kagura lay on the ground a short distance away, not moving. He rushed to her side and turned her over so that she lay on her back. His eyes widened in horror when he saw her expressionless eyes and a slight stream of blood trickling down her chin. "Kagura? Kagura, this isn't funny… please… wake up."
"I'm sorry for everything… Promise me that you'll be happy…" Kagura's final words were barely whispers. "Maybe it's better off this way…"
"No… no… don't do this to me. You can't. Just--" Kouga's voice broke as a tear escaped his eye and fell onto Kagura's face. "--don't leave me like this…"
Kagome followed closely behind Kohaku into a small hole just beneath a rather large, old tree. The tunnel was just enough that she could crouch and still walk. A small smile crept onto her face as she saw the light shortly ahead.
Inu Yasha knew that he should have kept Kagome behind, just as he had promised his brother. However, he also realized that once Kagome was determined to do something, there was no stopping her. I cannot let anything happen to her… I promised Sesshoumaru… She won't be hurt.
A.N. Okay, so it's been a whole year since I've last updated. What can I say, post-high school life is busy. I've learned a lot and most of what I learned was not in my college classrooms.
As for this update, I have Hanyoupup-sama to thank. If it were not for him, I probably would have long-forgotten that I even wrote fan fiction. I received almost monthly e-mails, always asking for how much longer was Kagome going to be locked in the dungeon and my readers kept in suspense. There are also the reviews that seem to continually leak into my inbox--always the same thing, 'please don't stop it there!' Well, everyone, I've returned to my keyboard for yet another go at finishing this 2 ½ year-old fan fiction.
I promise that I will finish it or die trying, and I know I'll pass on the latter. If for any reason any of you need to check up on me, feel more than free to contact me via my e-mail address or even on MySpace http/ (those are underscores, not spaces)