A/N: Thanks for the reviews!
In too deep
Chapter 5: An ending
Dusk was almost gone... Soon, it would be night. Darkness seemed to creep over the lands, driving away the last remains of light, creating shadows even more sinister.
Soon, night would have fallen and then... He would pay the Miko another visit.
It had become almost an addiction, an compulsive need...
He snarled fiercely as he admitted it to himself... He looked forward to the nights... He looked forward to their meetings... Something in him, deep down and instinctive drove him to seek her out every night.
Particular instincts that he never felt before in his long lifetime... He had to admit to a difficulty in clearly understanding them... And he knew while he kept fighting them, instead of giving in, to give over control... He would never truly understand them.
But he didn't let instincts rule him. He never relinquished control... The very few occasions he had done that, it had cost him dearly.
So he refused to let go of his prided control. But he did give in to the urge of seeking her out... He had found out that ignoring that urge was almost impossible.
But deep down, his true demon was starting to get impatient. It was riled up, and he did not know how to appease it... other than giving in to his instincts.
He frowned and bared his lengthening fangs. Even now, something swept through his blood and clouded his mind.
All right. He would go now.
Sesshoumaru didn't bother fetching Ah-Uh. He would run through the lands, hoping to release some of the tension that coiled inside him. It never seemed to work for long, but any release was welcome to him now.
He was a mere white flash racing through forests and over grassy plains. He took in deep breaths of the rapidly cooling air. He couldn't pick up her scent, no, not yet...
Damn. Where was this sudden obsession of him leading to? Maybe he should eliminate her, and the threat she somehow posed to his own mind.
No, he couldn't... not yet, any way, he had to-
Why did he kept deluding himself? Every time he had been on the verge of killing her, something within him stopped him... Why? What? How?
He hoped he would find out soon; he was afraid he would otherwise soon loose his mind...
"So, what are we eating tonight?" Kagome asked the bouncing Kitsune.
"Ramen! What else?"
"Yeah, stupid me."
"But your supply is running out... Maybe you have to get more." Shippou pulled a face when he said that. He always missed her very much whenever she went home, and now he actually suggested it himself! But she always brought that tasty treat... hmmm, chocolate...
"I suppose I have to go home soon, yes... My family would like to see me again..."
"I bet. You haven't gone home in a long while, Kagome. I bet your mother is very worried."
"They're all worried. I want to see them again, but-"
"But what, Kagome? Why haven't you gone home sooner? You still have school, haven't you?"
"Yes, well... It's just that you guys need me... Inuyasha has been so wound up lately... I don't want to upset him further... It would only make him angry if I would go home. We would waste precious time."
The little Kitsune snorted. "I don't think Inuyasha has the right to become angry anymore... He's treating you like dirt! And besides, we haven't heard about any shikon shard for a while. So I don't see why you couldn't go home for a while. But not too long, all right?"
Kagome didn't seem to hear him as she stared unseeingly in the distance.
"What's up, Kagome?"
"There are less and less shikon shards... Things are coming to a closure... and no matter how it will turn out, it will be something of an end... Naraku will soon come for our shards, I think."
Shippou didn't say anything at that, but jumped and perched on her shoulder, throwing his arms around her neck.
"I don't wanna think about that." His words were muffled in her hair.
"Me neither, but somehow I just can't stop it from popping up in my head from time to time."
"But we're going to win! W-won't we? We can't loose... Nothings going to happen, r-right?"
The uncertainty and fear in his voice tore at her heart. Their little group was all he had... If something happened to them... She didn't want to think about it; Shippou all alone, without someone to look out for him, to care for him. He was still so young, but too much had already gone wrong in his short life.
Shippou was enough for her to keep fighting. Inuyasha wasn't as important as her little demon child... Their fights should never lead to her forgetting about him... She was his parent now, not by blood, but by everything else that bound them together. Inuyasha didn't matter; Shippou came first, and she better had to remind herself of that... She had been too busy with her feelings of hurt and rejection, she should have known better than that!
She brought the kit down, until he was resting safely in her arms, head buried in her neck.
"Everything will be all right. Nothing will happen to us. I promise, Shippou. I will let nothing happen to us."
"I know, Kagome, but sometime... I feel scared."
"Me too. But we're going to be all right. I promise. Do you trust me?"
"I do, Kagome."
Both didn't need to say anything more and Kagome started once more for their camping site. Soon, the fetching smell of ramen tickled their noses and both felt their mouths starting to water.
"Oh, I'm hungry!" It seemed to come as a surprise for Kagome. Most of the time, she wasn't hungry, and food didn't taste her anymore. But now she really wanted a bowl of ramen!
As they entered the clearing, Kagome immediately noticed Inuyasha was not there. Shippo apparently noticed it too.
"Hey, where did Inuyasha go?"
"Do we ever know?" Miroku answered patiently.
"Stupid mutt," Shippou muttered.
"Hey, that's not very nice!" It was a mere automatic response, as Kagome immediately fell back in her dejected mood and suddenly, the smell of ramen seemed to have lost it's appeal.
"Though this time, he said he would be back soon. He said there would be some matters that needed to be dealt with... Don't ask for an explanation," Sango said beforehand, seeing Kagome open her mouth, "it was all he said."
"Well... I guess we can do nothing but wait now. Let's eat! But save something for Inuyasha, or has he already eaten?"
Kagome didn't fool them; she was nervous. They all felt strangely bothered and slightly anxious; like they were waiting for something unpleasant to hit them...
No one talked during their dinner, as everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and worries. Kagome ate something, but it wasn't much. She was too nervous to eat; she kept her eyes and ears open, waiting for Inuyasha to return.
Suddenly, Inuyasha seemed to drop out of the sky, standing in the middle of the little group.
Kagome let out a gasp of surprise, but quickly stood up, offering him a bowl filled with ramen with an inviting smile on her face.
"Eat up, Inuyasha! It's almost cold!"
"Feh!" He pulled up his nose. "I'm not in the mood for your human food!"
Kagome's face fell. What was the matter with him? He had never said no to a bowl of ramen.
"Besides, we have some things to discuss. Sit down." He barked at her.
Kagome almost toppled backwards in her haste to sit down, but was quickly steadied by Shippo. What was the matter with Inuyasha? He was acting more gruff and irritated than normal!
"Tell us what it is we need to discuss, Inuyasha," Miroku's voice was filled with a quiet anger. He apparently didn't take too well to Inuyasha's rudeness.
"We have to talk about the Shikon shards. Or better, the lack thereof."
"Lack? I didn't lost them," Kagome said, confused.
"No. Not yet, anyway." His biting words caused Kagome to flinch.
"What the problem is," continued Inuyasha, "is the fact that we haven't found many lately."
"We're doing the best we can. We listen to the rumours, but as long as Kagome doesn't sense one-"
"Indeed. Kagome doesn't sense them... She's the cause we're finding so few of them! Her abilities are inadequate at best, which she can't help, I'm sure. No, what we need are some reinforcements! Someone who can help us finding them sooner, before Naraku has a chance to get them! I'm sure you all see the necessity in that."
Kagome felt like she had been slapped in the face. She didn't say anything, but kept looking Inuyasha in the eyes, hoping to see something that made all this seem like a bad joke or something...
Nothing. She saw none of any gentler feelings there. Just determination and self-confidence.
When he saw her watching, contempt flashed in his eyes. Not him too! Her heart cried out.
"Face it, Kagome. You can't do much for us anymore, and you're only keeping us up."
She wanted to curl up and nurse her heart which seemed on the verge of shattering.
"We had Kagome as a kind of replacement for the real thing, and we have decided-"
"Replacement? And who are 'we'? Do you hear what you are saying, Inuyasha?" Sango was trying to control her anger.
"I can hear perfectly what I'm saying, so back off!" Inuyasha snarled at the demon exterminator, who visibly bristled at his rude remark.
"Now, let me finish! I, no, we have decided to work together against Naraku. We have forgiven each other for what happened in the past, and we... we have reconciled. With we, I mean Kikyo and I. So that means we don't need Kagome anymore. She can go home, or whatever she wants to do. Or she can go and mate with that stupid wolf for all I care. I don't need her anymore."
All at once, Miroku, Sango and Shippo were all talking rather loudly, angrily. But Kagome didn't hear their defence of her...
It was over. Their relationship, their friendship, her love... Truly gone. Her love completely thrown aside. Deemed unworthy, unwanted. Her heart felt it had shattered now, just like the Shikon had... And the fragments seemed to be so small and scattered... Could she piece it back together?
Did she want to?
All she wanted now was to cry, to scream, to weep... Would it help her?
Now, she started to feel a numbness start to spread through her... It felt like a nothingness.
Cold... She started shivering again.
"If you guys are smart, you should agree with me. We could make much more progress without her weighing us down. She can't fight; we always must look out for her! It's much better for all of us, if she went away and no longer bothered us."
"No!" Shouted Sango. "You are such a fool, Inuyasha! She has other values! She's our friend! Not some tool which can be thrown away once it isn't useful anymore!"
Miroku added in a quiet voice: "Do you actually listen to yourself? Kikyo? Working... together? I think she herself has been the cause of several of our setbacks. I do not trust her. I never will."
"If she interfered, it was only for the greater goal. She knows better than we the ways in which Naraku works."
"And how is that so? We all had suspicions about her working together with Naraku!" Sango said accusingly.
Inuyasha growled at her. "You will not taint her name, Sango!"
"I don't need to. She has already done that herself!" Sango refused to back down.
Inuyasha snarled and made a move as to attack her.
"Now, Inuyasha, don't do that. After all, we did start off on the wrong foot." The cold emotionless voice rang out to them.
Kagome looked with a sinking feeling of finality as Kikyo stepped into the clearing. Why hadn't see noticed her before? Why had nobody noticed her?
They had all been caught up in the outrageous words Inuyasha had spoken.
Kikyo suddenly looked her reincarnation right in the eyes and sent her a disturbingly satisfied smile. In her eyes shone the light of victory.
Kagome couldn't bear it any longer.
She stood up, and opened her mouth, but closed it again. Her shoulders slumped, and the biting cold seemed to flow throughout her entire body. Good; better feeling numb than torn apart, right?
"I'm going for a walk. At least you can give me some time to think it over, Inuyasha." Her voice was flat, dead.
"What's there to think about-"
"Give her a chance to think this through, Inuyasha. I think the poor girl is quite... shocked." Cold and mocking was her voice. Kagome wondered how Inuyasha could ignore the apparent maliciousness in her gaze.
But Kagome didn't ask, though suddenly, she wanted to scream out all her disbelief and questions. Instead, she hung her head and stood up and walked into the forest, ignoring the pleas of her friends.
She did not know how long she had been walking exactly. All thoughts of dangers went out of her mind, after all, the terrain was familiar for her; Inuyasha's forest. She was approaching the well. It had a strong pull on her suddenly; it stood for unconditional love and acceptance. Her family... It was true; she hadn't been home for quite a while and her family must by now be very worried.
Maybe it was better if she went home...
But she couldn't leave her friends, she couldn't leave Shippo. She wouldn't.
Still, the numbness in her heart scared her. Inuyasha had mercilessly crushed her heart and hopes; her fears had come true. Shouldn't she feel something?
For a moment back there, she felt pain like nothing she had ever felt. Then, the cold and numbness took over.
Was that normal?
Her eyes were dry, but burning. Something pressed behind her eyes, causing her a headache, but she seemed unable to cry out... As if the shock, the reality was too harsh and had disabled her mind and body.
She walked through the forest, unaware of the sudden quieting around her.
There, in the small clearing, was the well. She let out a deep sigh and went to sit on the edge. She peered into the darkness inside and let out another sigh. Here was where it all started...
"Going to throw yourself down, human? Finally relieve this world from your pitiful presence?"
Kagome closed her eyes.
Please. Not now.
"It seems you finally know where you stand now... don't you? It must be hard, being replaced in just a moment... And by such a creature... Neither dead or alive."
Kagome felt exhaustion flood her mind and limps. How long would this torture continue?
"You could have expected this for some time now, weakling. Haven't I told you numerous times that you don't have what it takes to capture and hold the attention and lust of that hanyou? Even though it's just a half-breed, my father's blood is strong in him. Of course he wants a real woman instead of a simpering girl-child."
Kagome didn't respond. She knew it... She just hadn't admitted to herself...
Stupid... She felt so stupid!
She dropped her feet back to the ground and stood on shaking legs.
Desperation had set in, suddenly, fiercely. It ripped through her soul.
With it came a sorrow and hurt too deep for words now.
He was right. Sesshoumaru was of course right.
Oh, and he enjoyed being right. He enjoyed seeing her reduced to something crushed and broken.
She was that now; crushed and broken.
She took one step towards him.
It didn't mean she had lost all her dignity. And a tiny spark of anger and defiance still smouldered deep down here.
She was going to end this, but on her terms!
"So, the great and mighty Sesshoumaru has come again to waste his time on this human girl." Her voice was entirely flat and emotionless. She raised her eyes to see his mockingly angelic face.
He looked down his nose on her, wearing the same haughty expression.
"You despise me... You kind of hate me for defending myself against you... and succeeding... You want revenge of course.
I think you've reached it quite well now." She said softly.
A menacing smirk adorned that beautiful mouth. "I can see you're quite broken, human. Yes, I think some matter of revenge has been reached..."
"What more do you want then? Finish it."
The Taiyoukai chuckled. "Now, now. Don't you know it pleases me much more to see you suffer-"
"Suffer? Oh, yes, I do. And by doing so, it gives me such a clear image of you." She pulled up her nose, like she thought of something disgusting.
He threw his head back, arrogantly. "You think I care of what you think of me?"
"I don't care if you do or don't... I just wanted to tell you."
How she wanted to end this now, but... he would never do such thing; as long as he had control, he wanted to see her suffer. So, what could she do about that? Her words did seem to rile him up on earlier occasions...
"You are nothing more than a... a monster." Still, her voice was flat and lifeless. "A monster... I fear you yes, hate you... But most of all, I despise you!!"
Barely she had uttered those words, or he was upon her. With a snarl, he was in her face. So close, that their noses almost touched. His deep breaths blew on her cold skin, as she stared in his golden, red speckled eyes. Raging eyes.
"You human? You despise me? Do you think I care? Don't be so careless with your words, or I'll rip your throat out."
She guessed it was working...
"So why don't you, then? I am so sick and tired of you! Sick and tired of your insults! Maybe I have a miserable life, but at least I don't mope over a blow to my ego!!" There was that smouldering piece of defiance!
Anger him, taunt him, make him loose control. He can put an end to it...
She kept silent, and continued to hold his gaze, watching for any kind of reaction. Reason had flew away, hurt and sorrow had clouded her senses. She just wanted a way out, a reprieve from the pain... A way to get away from herself! The rest of the world was forgotten... She started to experience more things now... new feelings. Betrayal raged through her blood, together with a deep sense of loss and loneliness.
His eyes now were blood red. Good. Now they were getting somewhere. With all sense abandoned and nearly hysterical with loss, she taunted the demon to come out. Because somehow, someway, she seemed to get under his skin. Never had she seen him let loose his control so quickly and almost eagerly as with her. Not even his much despised half-brother could get this kind of response out of him.
"If you can't get over the fact I somehow managed to stop you from killing us, twice, then fine!! Kill me, if that makes you feel better!
Or do you want to keep me around, broken and destroyed? I bet you like that, don't you?! But I don't care now anymore what you want, or Inuyasha, or anyone else! I want it to stop. Somehow, some way, I'm going to put an end to it. Don't you want to do the honours, Lord Sesshoumaru?"
Still, their eyes were locked, as he was snarling and growling at her.
Then, she tentatively reached out, and took his hand. The demon froze and a shock travelled through him. Kagome didn't know what to make of this behaviour, but her own hurt increased as she took it for disgust. Disgust for her touching him.
She took the strangely limp hand and placed it at her throat, pressing the sharp claws in her flesh.
"Come on...," she whispered. "It's so easy..."
Kagome stared into his eyes, willing him to end it.
"You've won, Sesshoumaru. Now, finish what you've started. I've had enough. Please."
She was begging.
She was begging for her own death. Wasn't that his goal? This was his victory!!
Why then, did he had this feeling that somewhere, it went all wrong? Somewhere, he had changed the purpose of this game of his, of his hunt, and he had fooled himself?
His instincts were almost out of control now... To kill, right? No, the urge wasn't there...
He didn't want her begging for her death... Though begging was good; she needed to learn her place.
Her pulse was tangible beneath his fingers, and her blood beckoned him. Not to spill, but to savour, to taste...
Gods, how had he failed to notice this?
Her small hand closed over his, and pressed it deeper into her skin.
"Please... stop this. Stop it now!" Kagome felt almost delirious from the vicious feelings deep inside her... She wanted them gone! To stop!
His foolish half-brother! Stupid! And how dared she to give up? Inuyasha's words couldn't be that cruel to drive her to this? Sesshoumaru felt suddenly strangely disturbed by her desperation. No, her death wish seemed suddenly so... wrong. So very wrong for this defiant, determined little human.
He, Sesshoumaru had driven her to this point. His half-brother had just been the final straw.
What was this? He needed to get his own blood under control! His demon was roaring at him, but somehow, he failed to understand this urgent message...
"Come on now, Sesshoumaru..." She drove his claws deep into her flesh, drawing blood.
The demon roared, thrilled by the smell. Mine! Mine to take! Was all that went through his head.
What?! Sesshoumaru almost winced at the sudden clarity in his mind.
No. This could not be! Not now, not with... with... her! But his demon, all his instincts pushed him to...
Not now and not without a piece of control. First, he had to come to terms with this!
Instead of doing something rash, he slipped his hand from her throat to her neck, and pulled her violently against him. She gave a startled cry, and he smelt her fear. She hadn't expected this ferocious reaction!
Surprise, little girl! Don't mess with this Sesshoumaru! He lowered his head, and crushed her unsuspecting mouth beneath his own. He delighted in her whimpers of fear, and attacked her mouth with a raging hunger. Her lips were closed, unresponding, but he set his fangs deeply into her lower lip, and got the desired effect. Her mouth opened in a gasp, and he was finally tasting her, licking her, filling her mouth, while the blood from the little puncture wounds tantalised his sense of taste.
Sweet, so sweet. Her taste, combined with blood, was driving him to the edge, as he kept on devouring her. His other arm went around her waist to press her even further into him, and as well to steady her, because the last remains of defiance had completely left her, leaving her weak and bereft from the last desperate urges to carry on.
She was lost in his kiss. He seemed to suck the live out of her... He felt the strange emptiness inside her and tried to fill it up.
Deep gulps of air, filled with her alluring smell filled his nose and lungs, and his body started to burn... Oh, he now knew what his instincts had been telling him...
He suddenly jerked away from her mouth, afraid to go on, afraid to loose control and just to...
No, not now. It took all of his control and determination to release her and to take a step back.
He was too preoccupied with getting himself back under control and to deal with this sudden revelation to see her raise her hand.
The sudden slap to his face brought him back to her.
How dared she?
"How dare you!!" She screamed in his face, and he winced at the volume.
"How dare you play with me like this, you... you! Oh, but by the gods, how I hate you! You are surely disgusting! I didn't know you could go this low!"
How dared she to be so defiant? Didn't she knew her new place in his- No of course not, and he didn't feel ready yet to acknowledge it to himself, and at least of all to her!
No, right now he needed a distance between them, otherwise he would- Argh! He didn't want to think about it!
"Shut up!" he growled at her, eyes still bloodred.
"Make me! You overgrown mutt! I hate you!"
She was angry... Not longer lifeless or despairing... That was good, for now. Later, she would learn respect and obedience, but now... This anger would be better for her.
"You, human... Next time you won't get away with such words. We'll see each other soon!"
He took to the air, wishing to get out of her presence, which was now deeply imbedded deep down in him...
"I won't count on it!!" She yelled to the air.
He smirked at that. Foolish girl; hadn't she learned anything yet? This Sesshoumaru was always true to his words.
How dared he? How dared he?! Kagome was suddenly furious. How did he dare to humiliate her even further by... by trying to kiss her?!
Or could she call it that?
Anyway, it was the last straw. That was it! She was going home!
But first, she had some things to settle!
She stomped off into the woods, heading for the campsite. Tears were running down her cheeks, but she angrily wiped them away. It was no use crying now. She had to be strong and dignified a little while longer... She could cry enough when she was home and with her family... She longed for them.
Just as she took a few steps inside the forest, something barrelled into her. The breath left her body and she stumbled backwards, but not before securing the sobbing ball of fur against her body.
"Kagome! You're still here! I thought you left already and would never come back!" The Kitsune hiccuped.
"You know I wouldn't do that!" She said reassuringly at the trembling kit, while mentally wincing at what she had tried to do just some moments ago... How could she be so utterly selfish?! Others came before her own petty needs!
"Yeah, but... I thought... Don't leave me!" Shippo buried his head into her stomach.
"Oh, there you are." Kagome looked up to see Miroku and Sango with Kirara coming towards her.
"Are you all right, Kagome? We thought we had heard you yelling... Did something happen?"
"Really, guys. I'm fine, nothing happened."
"Fine, my as-"With a scorching look from Kagome, Miroku shut up. "You're not fine, or did you want us to believe that what happened back there didn't touch you at all?"
"I can't talk about this right now..."
"We understand. But we came here to tell you we support you in whatever you decide to do... Even if you did decide to leave..." Sango said softly, sadly.
"You think I would give up on you guys, on the shikon? You think I would take the easy way out... Though sometimes, like right now, I want to forget but... It's my fault this land is in chaos and a power-hungry hanyou is on the loose! You think I don't feel responsible for that?"
"No! Kagome, we do not think that! It's just... We knew you loved him, and that it was more than just a crush. The pain can be so intense... Maybe you want to take a break from things." Miroku gave her a kind smile.
Kagome let out a deep sigh. "I can't say that I don't want that. I want to go home. I bet they are all very worried about me."
"So why don't you go home for a week? We'll wait for you. We do not want to travel with Kikyo. Whatever Inuyasha thinks or says, she gives us the creeps. She is untrustworthy."
"You don't have to stick with me, or to tell me that so I feel better. I know how important this is to you too."
"Oh, we can take a break of a week or two. Then, we'll search for the shards ourselves, without Inuyasha. It will be more difficult, but we'll manage."
Fresh tears burned in her eyes. "Thank you... for everything. You are really real friends. But where is Inuyasha? I... I really want to scream at him, for putting me through weeks of... But on the other hand... I'm afraid to... I'm afraid that when I see him I'll start crying and won't be able to stop... That would be the ultimate humiliation..." She whispered softly.
"He and Kikyo are gone... They said they would be back tomorrow and hear your answer. And they probably want the shards, too," Sango said, who was still rather angry.
"I'll keep the shards. I do not dare to give them to her! We can put ours and theirs together, if we can manage to obtain them all, or..." Kagome didn't finish, as she didn't want to think about the other option.
"That's what we were thinking. And in your time, they are relatively save, so Inuyasha has nothing to complain about... And if Naraku tries to go after you we will know who has told them about your whereabouts. And I don't think Kikyo is that stupid to do that."
"All right then. Shippo, I'll only be gone for a week... Ok? I'll bring back lots of chocolate and-"
Shippo looked rather said but said softly: "It's okay, Kagome. You need your Mum now... But I'll miss you..."
Kagome took him in a tight hug. "I will miss you too! And I will come back, even if it's only for you."
The Kitsune whispered something in her neck what sounded a lot like "Love you" and Kagome dropped a kiss on his cute bow. She put him down and said goodbye to her friends.
She waved at them as she settled herself on the edge of the well. She was going to miss them, but the idea of home brought some comfort to her broken heart.
She pushed off and felt herself being caught by the mysterious magic. She looked up to see the familiar well house.
She was home. And promptly burst into tears.
She didn't know if a week would be enough to get over the sudden betrayal.
And how long would it take before she had found all the pieces of her shattered heart?
Err... Right. This is chapter 5... A little bit revised and all, but still..; err... R&R, bitte (starts practising German for approaching vacation in Austria... Do you know how long it's been since I've had German in highschool?! That's about... Five years!! I'm getting... old!)
All right; now that you've all read this completely and utterly useless author's note, you have the ability to review! Yes! Isn't that an amazing opportunity?!
Vegeta appears, knocks author unconscious and drags her away
Vegeta: "That's what you get if you start writing in a different fandom! Damn authors! Stick to the good stuff!! Like... me!!"
Vegeta walks away, all the while summoning up fics and chapters which need sequels and updates to a author who is blissfully unconscious!