REVISED ON 4/25/2004

Title: Submission

Rating: PG – 13

Summary: [Companion fic to Forgotten] All that mattered was her brother, and no one else.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha.

Spoilers: Through Episode 50: The Face That Doesn't Fade From My Heart

Author's Notes:  Procrastination is my friend. And so are one-shots.  On another note, this is dedicated to Nghi, because my gore will never be as good as hers. Love her people, love her.

Warnings: Gore, Sango and Kohaku centric, Kohaku-sufferitis, Sango-sufferitis

.

.

.

.

.

.

It touched her gently – softly.

It curled around her body and seeped into her pores, causing an oddly bitter warmth to settle within the pit of her being – slowly spreading to the tips of her fingers and the roots of her hair – making itself known. She could feel it, just as she could feel a blade upon her skin, cutting into her with precision – a thick lethargy enclosing around her, attempting to encase her within an icy darkness. It was making her feel bitter and cold – causing her to want blood, to see the beautiful crimson dripping from her fingers as it stained her hands, corrupting her heart – making her hate.

And for the briefest moment, it was what she wanted.

She wanted to be able to hate – to be able to kill without a second thought – to allow the adrenaline to explode throughout her body until she was tired and weak, unable to stand on her burning, shaking legs. She wanted to be able to see her blade kiss his flesh, to see a thick crimson liquid seeping into the earth – becoming one with it. Because it was beautiful. Because it would show who was victorious – who was stronger. And she knew that she was stronger.

She knew that she would be able to take his life with a flick of her wrist and watch as he bled, his eyes turning a dull and glassy gray. She would be able to watch as his skin turned clammy and wet – slick with sweat as his lips turned purple and his skin the color of alabaster. She would be able to watch as his body trembled, that same blank look plastered on his face, acting as though he felt nothing. But she knew.

She knew that he was able to feel everything that touched upon his heart – she knew that he was able to hear to every hurtful and bitter word that she threw at him. And distantly, she was aware that every word cut through his barriers, and it wounded him. It wounded him in a way that only she understood. Because his master's words cut through her barriers. Because his actions wounded her heart in a way that only he knew how.

His eyes, she was always able to see the hint of recognition in them, despite that cold blank look that he always gave her.

She knew that part of him remembered – that part of his past continued to linger within the thick fog of his mind, drowning him in sorrow and confusion. But his master always refused to remove that sorrow, that confusion. Because it hurt him. Because it tortured his mind and his soul. Because his master knew that every time he looked upon his sister part of him wanted to reach out to her, to hold onto her tight and not to let go. But the other half of him… every time she looked upon him, she was able to see the hesitance in his eyes. She was able to see any and all doubt that he felt for her – the emotions of hate he aimed at her for not being able to protect him when he needed it most.

And, truthfully, she hated herself as well.

She hated herself because she wasn't able to keep him close – because she wasn't able to protect him from being so thoroughly tainted, to where his soul was almost black. Because whenever he looked at her, his eyes were always blank and cold and emotionless, and it left her angry. It left her angry because she knew that there had to be something that could help him, something she could do to help alleviate the pain in his heart just to make him see. Just to make him remember.

Because… because she felt guilty.

She felt guilty because she wasn't able to keep a tight enough hold on her – because every time she closed her eyes and allowed her dreams to take hold of her she wasn't able to do anything about his predicament. Because she knew that Naraku was causing him pain – was making him suffer through the memories of his past, regardless of how painful they were. Just so he could keep him in control. Just so he could keep her brother running back to him because he was so afraid of what might happen if he did find out. And – and she just wanted to feel his kusarigama sink into her flesh, cold metal meeting hot sticky blood, because she wasn't supposed to feel guilty.

Sorrow and hate, yes.

But never guilty.

Never guilty because she had been tricked by the man she had learned to hate – by the demon that had killed so many, and felt no remorse.

Because he always looked at her with those cold crimson eyes, sneering at her – laughing at her misfortune and causing the icy bitter waters of reality to come crashing down on her.

You can't win.

But she kept trying, regardless of what she knew was true.

He belongs to me.

And she could feel the thick woody tentacle biting into the flesh of her thigh, blood sluggishly flowing from the thick wound as her bones splintered and cracked leaving her immobile and helpless and she hated it.

My servant.

Her voice sounded cracked to her ears, her throat tight as she stumbled onto the barren earth, doing her best to ignore to sharp scream that made it past her dry, bleeding lips. She tried her best to ignore the thick purple poisons surrounding her body – teasing her senses as it caused a chill to roll up her spin and her skin to become slick with sweat. Distantly, she could hear him laughing, his deep throaty chuckle becoming poison to her mind as her lungs began to burn and her tongue began to swell until she couldn't speak. Until she couldn't scream.

And she wanted so badly just to look into his cold dark eyes and tell him how much she hated him and wanted to see his blood staining her blade – her boomerang. She wanted nothing more than to hear his hiss of pain as it cut through bone and muscle and flesh until there was nothing left but a rotting bleeding corpse with tears collecting in the corners of his eyes.

She wanted him to feel her hate – to know what it felt like to burn and to scream and to know that there was nothing else left to live for.

She wanted him to taste the bitter bile of defeat rising in his throat as she lifted her silver blade above the hollow his neck, ready to slice through his sickly grey flesh – ready to hear the sickening sounds of her sharp blade colliding with his vertebrae as they cracked and splintered and shattered.

She wanted to see him suffer.

And slowly, quietly, she ignored the pain lancing up her leg, she ignored the thin shards of bone cutting through her flesh. She ignored the way her lungs refused to work and the hot tears that blinded her as she shifted her weight onto one leg. She ignored the way her comrades called for her to be careful – to stay safe so that she may live another day.

But she didn't want to live.

She didn't want to be safe.

She just wanted him – her brother – the person who meant the world to her.

And her blood was pounding in her ears as she lifted her boomerang into the air, anger controlling her emotions – giving her strength as the winds tugged at her back, threatening to pull her closer, tainting her heart and her soul. Trying to break her.

But he didn't matter.

All that mattered was her brother, and no one else.

She knew it was cruel – she knew that she was being selfish, greedy, and disrespectful, but as his red eyes gazed hauntingly into hers, daring her to make her next move, she knew that she didn't have time for technicalities. She knew that her comrades had come to the battle, knowing the risks, knowing that they were digging their own graves and – if she died, then he would have no reason to keep her brother. He would take his life and let him forever wade through the icy darkness of the underworld, searching but never being able to find the people he called family. The people who he loved beyond anything else, and he would be lonely and afraid and be forced to be left with nothing but his memories with no one to help him through.

He would go insane.

And she couldn't let that happen.

She couldn't let him suffer more than he already was.

But he was daring her, and she had no choice but to accept the challenge, her hate and guilt overpowering her needs for common sense, making her forget, that yes, other people were at stake, and other people mattered too. Only, they didn't.

And it was already spinning through air, moving closer and closer to its destination, slicing through dead rotting flesh, scales, and wood. And she could see the thick purple, almost black, poisons rising within the air, threatening to melt her lungs and her flesh until there was nothing left.

And he was smirking, his eyes twinkling with amusement as he reached out with one hand, ignoring the sharp twinge of pain that shot through his arm as her boomerang sliced through the bone of his wrist.

Because she had been taken back in time, her eyes wide as she was bombarded with so many emotions as once… because she could see him lifting his kusarigama once again to take the life of the people he loved.

And she could hear herself screaming his name, struggling to reach him in time, fighting just to keep him safe.

But then time slowed down, and everything was back in place and she could see him move towards his master – her enemy – unsure of what to do, unsure of the feeling of familiarity surging through his body as he locked his emotionless eyes on her.

He was moving for protection and –

It was all wrong.

Choking back on a sob, she rushed forward, ignoring the empty feeling in her heart as the bitter iciness pricked at her skin, threatening to tear it to shreds.

Because she was just so close – she could feel the warmth radiating off of his body as she neared him, and she could feel his slick hot flesh as her fingers dug into his small shoulders, dragging him closer and closer to her.

She could feel the tears spilling from his eyes, feeling hot on her skin.

"Kohaku," her voice trembled, and slowly, she pulled away from him, just so she could look in his eyes once more – just so she could see that hint of recognition as he gazed into her beautiful burgundy eyes.

Nothing.

There was nothing.

And… it hurt.

It hurt so incredibly – it felt as if her heart was being burned – stepped on, spit on and tossed aside without a second thought. She could feel the tears streaming down her face, freezing two thin trails of sorrow down her cheeks, feeling different and more bitter than his did.

His fingers, they reached out, and distantly, she knew that seeing her cry had sparked some bit of life in him – it made him remember something important to him. Because when she was younger, he would comfort her. He would comfort her because he loved her and he wanted her to feel loved. He comforted her because he knew that no one else would, thinking that she were nothing more than a woman with too many emotions and not the warrior that she was. He knew that they would forget how much strength her small, fragile heart of glass held within its core – they would forget how she would continue to fight regardless of whether or not she would be fighting to her death. They would forget that she never gave up and she never gave in, and he comforted her because of that.

And she desired that more than anything.

She wanted to feel that same warmth spreading to her toes as he wrapped his arms around her body, placing a soft kiss on her cheek and telling her not to worry. Telling her that everything would be all right and that she was the best and better than everyone else. Telling her that he loved her regardless of what mistakes she made and that she was his sister and nothing could ever break the bond that they shared.

She desired it.

And for the briefest moment, she had been able to feel it nestling in the palm of her hand, urging her to close her fingers around it so that it wouldn't slip away – so that she could forever have it wrapped around her finger, becoming it's master and making it obey.

"Aneue."

The whisper was soft and gentle as it reached her ears, and for a moment, she thought that she had been hallucinating, but as his fingers grazed her cheek, she knew that she wasn't. She knew that even if for that moment, he had grasped a piece of himself – he had remembered – and she was happy.

"Kohaku?" She asked, leaning forward as dirt, poison, and sweat began to slid into her open wound, thin bone fragments cutting through the elastics of her body suit.

"I can," he whispered, kneeling in front of her," I know your sorrow."

And he was leaning forward, wrapping his arms around her neck, bringing her into a hug.

And despite the happiness swelling within the pit of her stomach, she could still feel his presence lingering near her, she could still feel his eyes burning into her, tracing the outline of the scar that had been left on her back due to his manipulation and deceit.

She could feel her brother's arms go slack around her neck. She could feel his quick movements as a cold metal chain wrapped around her neck, blocking off her air supply, causing her fingers to claw at the tender flesh as she began to panic, her own skin getting stuck behind her nails.

She could hear the deep, dark, tainted voice resonating within her mind – laughing at her – telling her that she was weak for feeling such emotions. For being caught so off guard.

My victory.

She could feel his presence suddenly raining down on her, drowning her in hate, sorrow, and anger, making her skin bubble and blister and bleed as the thick woody tentacles wrapped around her thighs, pressing into her open wound.

She couldn't hear herself scream – she couldn't feel herself breathe.

All she could see were two burning fiery eyes staring into hers – the source of all of her pain and anger – telling her that she lost. Mocking her. Letting her know what a fool she had been.

And she knew.

She knew what a complete and utter fool she had been for believing, she knew what would happen if she came too close to the pair just to hold her brother in her arms again.

She was a fool.

And – her dreams meant nothing.

They didn't matter.

And as the realization struck her, all she could do was reach down to grasp the hilt of her blade, anger pulsing through her veins, blinding her so completely.

Naraku had shattered her dreams – turned every thing that she once lived for into a nightmare and… there was no escape.

Because no matter what she did, he was always there, breathing down her neck, reminding her of what he held over her.

And as he pressed his lips to her hot, sweaty forehead in the same condescending fashion, she could hear his voice resonating within her mind once more, laughing at her stupidity – at her audacity to think that he would actually give her back the one person that mattered most to her.

"His memories meant nothing to him," Naraku whispered against her feverish skin, smirking cruelly as her body shook with anger and hate, "and you can't force him to remember."

She wanted to say something – anything – to tell him that he was wrong, that she could help him remember despite the fact that he still had control over his soul. Over his mind and his body.

But – his heart.

She still had his heart and –

The chain was tightening around her neck, causing her skin to turn pale and clammy and sweaty and…

"I love you Aneue," Kohaku whispered before he wrapped the cold chain around his knuckles, his brown eyes still emotionless as he watched the life slowly slipping from her body with each passing second, "but I hate you. I hate you so much."

No.

NO!

Her fingers curled around the hilt of her sword, anger strengthening her despite her weakness, despite her inability to breathe as the thick wooden tentacle tightened around her thighs, crushing her bones as blood spilled over the marred brown surface.

Because she only had once chance…

She was so close and she only had once chance to make it right, to change everything.

"I… hate… you," she rasped violently, ignoring the blood that spilled from her mouth and down her chin.

His eyes only glittered maniacally, two words forming on his lips as she unsheathed her katana.

He's mine.

And then the moon was reflecting off of her blood stained blade as she swung it through the air.

And yet…

It was all wrong.

Because… it wasn't him.

And she could see it all, moving in slow motion in front of her eyes as though attempting to mock her – as though attempting to make her lose her cool.

Tearing flesh.

Blood, thick and sticky and crimson, flowing sluggishly onto her armor – making her slick and wet and angry.

And she cried.

She cried because she knew that there was nothing else she would be able to do – she knew that there was no way she could reverse what had happened. She cried because she wasn't able to notice the way the thick metal slowly unraveled from around her neck, allowing her to breathe once again. She cried because she knew that she had lost him again, after working and fighting so hard just to see his brown eyes rest upon her with a hint of remembrance in them. Because she wanted to be able to feel that familiarity – to be able to hold him in her arms once again and just act like his sister. But… she couldn't. She couldn't get rid of the burning guilt festering within her – stinging her heart as it cut deep wounds into the thin flesh, causing her to bleed – causing tears of blood to run down her face.

Because she didn't have him.

Because now, Kohaku's memory would be fading into a cold black nothingness and he wouldn't remember her.

She cried because she knew whom he had protected and it wasn't her.

And as she felt his large tentacle tightening around her abdomen, causing her to want to scream and writhe in pain, he pinned her with his cold harsh stare, a tiny smirk quirking his lips up in a condescending fashion.

And two simple, yet defeating words were all that entered her mind – made it past her hysteria, that caused her to hate him all the more.

I win.