Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, or any of the characters associated with the anime/manga. All rights therein belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Co. I own Rhiodoru, Masaka, Akika, Shinobu, Mutsu, Isao, Zaniistar, Karameida, Miyuki, Kishotaka, Kuroyama, and Torokan.
( " " talking, italics thinking )
Kagome bent down and picked the small bead up off the ground. Holding it in her palm, she stared down at it. The kotodama rosary, the subjugation necklace that Inuyasha had worn for so long. Gone, shattered, destroyed. She smiled. It was probably about time anyways.
Pocketing the bead to keep as a memento, she turned and joined the others where they stood talking with Zaniistar. Walking over to Inuyasha, she ducked under his arm, snuggling up against his side, not caring that everyone could see. Inuyasha glanced at her, smiled a little, then returned his attention back to Zaniistar, looking awkward.
"Er, uh, well . . ." The hanyou trailed off, blushing. "Thanks for . . . all you did for me, Zaniistar," he finished in a huff.
Zaniistar smiled softly. "You're welcome, Inuyasha." The hanyou huffed again.
Kagome grinned. Inuyasha always seemed to have so much trouble expressing gratitude. In fact, he had trouble expressing a lot of things.
"Zaniistar," Miroku asked suddenly, "when you wanted to fight Rhiodoru, and Inuyasha ordered you not to, why did you listen? I mean, it's usually not a good idea to do what Inuyasha tells you to do in battle."
The hanyou in question snarled at Miroku. "Still don't know where to place your paws, do you, monk?"
Kagome started in surprise. For some reason, she hadn't thought Inuyasha would remember anything from when he'd transformed into the dog, like he did when he transformed into a full-fledged demon. It seemed that she had assumed wrong.
"Well," Zaniistar replied, "I obeyed because, even though Inuyasha is only distantly related to the spirit dragons, he is a descendant of Miyuki, and she was one of the most powerful, most respected dragons ever. Because Inuyasha is related to her, he outranks me, so I was compelled to obey. But even if I ranked higher than him, I would have listened anyways. I trust his judgment. I don't have very much experience when it comes to fighting. I'm not a warrior, but Inuyasha is." He smiled at the hanyou, his eyes filled with respect. "You did it, Inuyasha. You defeated Rhiodoru, the most powerful spirit dragon in hundreds of years."
"Ah, well, it's no big deal . . ." the half-demon muttered, looking embarrassed.
"You know," the dragon continued, "it's kind of ironic. The part of you that makes you different from the spirit dragons, your mixed blood, the thing that everyone thought would make you weaker, is actually what made you powerful enough to beat him."
Miroku nodded in agreement. "That's true." The monk then frowned slightly at the hanyou. "By the way, Inuyasha, how did you transform?"
Kagome looked up at Inuyasha's suddenly pensive expression.
"I'm not all that sure. I saw that you guys were in danger, so I was trying to get to you to help. I was going to try and destroy Rhiodoru with my mind powers, but it started to awaken my demon blood. Then I found myself wishing that there was some way for me to combine all my powers: the power of Tetsusaiga, the strength of my demon blood, and my mind powers."
The hanyou paused, looking thoughtful. "And then the Tetsusaiga started pulsing."
Kagome frowned. "When I saw you, you were pulsing, not just the Tetsusaiga."
Inuyasha scowled at her impatience. "I'm getting to that. When the Tetsusaiga started to pulse, I just sort of acted on instinct and touched the Tetsusaiga with my mind powers."
"You can do that?" Zaniistar exclaimed. "But you can only touch other minds with your powers, not inanimate objects!"
"But Tetsusaiga isn't inanimate," Miroku mused. "It's acted of its own accord before; it must have a will of its own."
Inuyasha nodded. "Tetsusaiga doesn't have a mind, but it does have an awareness. It doesn't really think, but it can feel." The hanyou paused, frowning. "If that makes any sense. I don't think I'm explaining it all that well." He shrugged. "Anyways, as soon as I did that, I started to transform, and I guess that would be when you saw me pulsing, Kagome."
"So you did merge with the Tetsusaiga then," Miroku said, sounding pleased that he had guessed correctly.
Inuyasha pondered the monk's words. "Well, I guess you could say that. I didn't really merge with the sword though, more the sword's inner consciousness, the power infused within it, and that gave me the ability to transform." He sighed in frustration. "Does that make any sense at all? It's really hard to describe."
"What was it like?" Zaniistar asked curiously. "Touching the mind of your sword, I mean?"
Inuyasha shrugged again, then tightened his arm around Kagome's waist. "Like I said, it doesn't have a mind. Just . . . an awareness of the things around it. I don't know how else to explain it." He thought for a moment. "It was a lot like touching a tree with your mind powers."
"A tree?" Zaniistar yelped. "You aren't ever supposed to touch insentient things with your mind! It's too dangerous!"
Inuyasha looked at the dragon blankly. "Dangerous? What's dangerous about it? I've been doing it since I was a little kid. You can learn a lot from trees, you know."
Kagome giggled at Zaniistar's horrified expression.
The dragon spluttered. "Why . . . but you . . . don't you know? Your mind can easily get trapped doing something like that."
"Trapped? No, you just have to do it a little differently when it's a tree, that's all. Maybe I'll show you sometime. It's really fascinating, believe it or not."
"Fascinating?" Sango asked skeptically. "What could you possibly learn from a tree?"
"Trees have a really profound view of time." Inuyasha explained. "I mean, touching your mind to a plant like grass would be totally pointless but something like a tree will remember everything it's ever lived through. And not only that, it gives you a really humbling perspective on just how insignificant you are in the overall scheme of things. I mean, one human lifetime is just a flicker of a moment to a tree, especially one like the Sacred Tree."
Miroku shook his head. "Only you, Inuyasha, would find a tree that interesting."
The hanyou growled at the monk. Kagome smiled. It was nice to be able to joke around and banter. The last couple of days had been so hard.
Zaniistar glanced up at the sun. "I should get back to the lair now. The shaman will want to know about Rhiodoru's defeat."
"One more thing, Zaniistar," Inuyasha said suddenly. "Do you know of a dragon named Torokan?"
"Torokan?" the dragon thought for a moment. "Torokan! I remember now! Wait, how do you know him?"
Inuyasha shrugged slightly. "I met him a long time ago. He taught me a little bit about my mind powers."
Kagome remembered Inuyasha telling them about the old dragon he had saved when he had first explained his mind powers to them.
"So who exactly is he?" Inuyasha asked.
"He was one of Rhiodoru's followers," Zaniistar said slowly, "one of the only elders to support Rhiodoru. He was banished along with Rhiodoru when Karameida defeated them. The power struggle nearly killed the old dragon and when he was banished, no one expected him to live very long at all. That was over fifty years ago. We all thought he'd died. I guess he did live after all if you know him."
Inuyasha shook his head. "No, he did die over fifty years ago. He was very ill when I met him."
"Ill? Yes, he would have been in rough shape. He was over four hundred years old, you know." The dragon's eyes suddenly narrowed. "Wait, when you met him? You can't be that old!"
Inuyasha waved his hand dismissively. "It's a long story. Didn't you say you had to go?"
"What? Oh yeah. I'd better get going, I guess."
"Goodbye, Zaniistar," Kagome said warmly. "Take care."
"And try not to get yourself killed," Inuyasha smirked, "again."
The dragon smiled. "Goodbye! I'm glad to have met all of you. And remember, you will always be welcome among the spirit dragons!" With a gust of wind, Zaniistar transformed.
Watching the dragon's retreating form disappear into the mountains, Kagome looked at the hanyou standing by her side.
"Inuyasha?" He turned to face her, a smile dancing in his eyes. "Let's go home."
Inuyasha yawned lazily, shifting position on a branch of the Sacred Tree. It had been a week since they had fought Rhiodoru. As soon as they'd gotten back to the village, Kagome had returned to her world to catch up on her 'exams'. Tomorrow they would all set out once more to continue their journey in search of the last of the jewel shards. But he still had one more day to relax.
With a little smirk, Inuyasha thought of how Sango and the lecher had been acting lately. All that hand-holding, mushy looks, and kissing when they thought no one was looking was really getting on his nerves, but he couldn't summon up any significant amount of irritation because he knew how happy they were. That, and the fact that he and Kagome had been doing the same things, just a little less obviously.
Allowing himself a smile of pure contentment, Inuyasha listened to sound of Kagome coming towards the Sacred Tree. He could recognize her anywhere. Not just her scent, but the unique sound of her footsteps, the tingle of her aura reaching out to him, even the sound of her breathing.
As she came into the clearing surrounding the ancient tree, Inuyasha's smile broadened. Who would have ever thought anyone could be so beautiful?
And who would have thought anyone could make me so happy?
"Inuyasha," Kagome called, "I'm back." She smiled up at him.
His own smile somehow managing to grow even larger, he leaped down from the tree, scooped her up, and returned to his branch with Kagome wrapped tightly in his arms.
Nuzzling her cheek, he smiled a little more. Kagome turned her head and gave him a quick kiss. She gazed deeply into his eyes, a little smile playing about her lips.
Inuyasha suddenly found himself thinking back to the week before last. He remembered meeting Rhiodoru. Battling the dragon. Kagome being attacked. Saving Kagome's mind twice. The pain of overusing his power. Telling the others of his mind powers. Playing with Kagome and Shippo. Meeting Masaka. Healing her mind. Sleeping with Kagome wrapped in his arms. Seeing the boy whipped to death. Reliving the memories. Punishing the headsman. Yelling at Kaede. Finally revealing his feelings to Kagome. Losing his soul to Kanna. Battling Kagura and his demon blood. Saving Kagome again. Sesshomaru's appearance. Meeting the spirit dragons. Kagome saving him. The kiss. Seeing Kagome in her bath. Kissing her some more. Supper at the dragon's lair. The tests. Escaping the shaman and elders. Miroku and Sango breaking into Kagome's room. Battling the dragons. Sesshomaru helping them. Kagome sensing the jewel shard. Battling Rhiodoru. Zaniistar saving him. Rhiodoru killing Zaniistar. The Tetsusaiga pulsing. Inuyasha transforming. Killing Rhiodoru. Talking with Sesshomaru. Zaniistar resurrected. Finally going home with Kagome at his side.
So much had happened in that one week. As the memories swirled through his mind, Inuyasha looked up into the vast, sprawling branches of the Sacred Tree. As the wind whispered through the leaves of the ancient tree, Inuyasha pulled Kagome closer to him.
"I want to show you something," he whispered in her ear.
He summoned his mind powers, carefully wrapping Kagome's mind in his. Then, swiftly making the easy mental shift needed protect their minds, he reached out and touched the Sacred Tree with his powers.
Images, feelings, and sensations flooded their minds. He felt Kagome's awe as the overpowering and humbling feel of time swept over them. A second, a century. It made so little difference to the tree.
A seed sprouts in the gentle warmth of spring countless years ago. A young rabbit nibbles on the tender leaves of the small sapling. A hawk soars high over the tree's spreading branches, balanced elegantly on the winter winds. Blossoms open to the nurturing sunlight as summer makes its slow approach. The years speed by, frozen in forever. The mature branches of the tree reach for the sky as petals slip through the soft breeze to kiss the grass with their feather-light touch as they land. An old buck wanders through the clearing, moving under the sheltering boughs of the tree, struggling through the deep snow as winter's cold embrace begins to lift. Seasons pass, years pass, lives pass. Thunder crashes and rain pours, wind howls and lightening flashes, but the tree stands firm. Other trees sprout, grow, and die, all in the protective shadow of the Sacred Tree.
A young couple holds hands under the tree's sheltering boughs. A mother and father cradle their infant in the calming dappled shadow of the uncountable leaves. An old man lays his hand on the trunk, reflectively relating to another of great age, smiling, peace in his eyes. A young demon wanders through the clearing, respect shining in her gaze as she looks upon the sprawling branches of the majestic tree. An old demon rests in the intricate maze of branches, taking comfort in the tree's presence. Demons come and go. Humans come and go. Families come and go. Villages come and go. And through it all, the Sacred tree stands, unmoving, unyielding, unchanging.
A young man, sealed to the trunk. Bound to the tree, held by the tree, protected by the tree. A young woman gazes at the sleeping hanyou, surprise and confusion in her eyes. The tree sees it all, experiences it all. The hanyou sits in the comforting welcome of the tree's boughs, his silver hair shining in the gentle light from the warm summer sun. The hanyou and the young woman, standing side by side in the tree's shadow, hearts light and pure with unspoken love. The hanyou and girl sit together, embracing, hands entwined, bodies entwined, hearts entwined, souls entwined. Minds entwined.
All this in a moment, a lifetime, an infinity. No beginning, no ending. Eternity in a one breath. One breath lasting an eternity. The beauty of life. The wonders of time.
"Oh, Inuyasha!" Kagome gasped, her voice soft with wonder as he gently pulled them from the tree's awareness. "That's . . . unbelievable."
He smiled gently. "Isn't it?" Then he smirked. "I told you guys that trees were fascinating, but no one believed me."
They both sat in the other's arms, silently, comfortably, thinking back over time, thinking of what they had just seen and experienced, thinking of everything they had ever experienced. Thinking back over each of their lives. Their two lives that had now become one.
"Inuyasha," Kagome asked suddenly, sounding a little nervous. "You remember back before we met Rhiodoru, when you were avoiding me, and we were mean about it, and you did that . . . thing?"
Recalling his little demonstration of manliness that night, Inuyasha blinked in surprise. He had completely forgotten about it. So much had happened since then.
"Yeah, I remember. What about it?"
Blushing deeply, she wrapped both arms around his neck and leaned close to his ear.
"Um, do you . . ." she whispered hesitantly, her breath tickling his ear, "do you think that you could do that again?"
Inuyasha blinked. Looked down at her. Blinked again. Then, with a wickedly delighted smile, he pulled her up against his chest and kissed her passionately.
"Kagome," he murmured against her lips, "I love you."
He felt her lips tighten as she smiled.
"I love you, too."
As Inuyasha kissed her again, he couldn't help but realize that this was a turning point in his life. The pain of his past was over, the newfound happiness of his future was now at hand. His happiness that was Kagome.
Kagome tangled her fingers in his hair, rubbing her fingertips over his ear. As he growled in pleasure and kissed her more deeply, he knew beyond any doubt that, no matter what happened, as long as he was with Kagome, everything would be all right.
What more could he ever ask for?
Torokan (tow-row-can) means Strong Speaker
Well, that's it! Hope you all enjoyed it! I would like to thank Sue Sue Magoo, Angelica Incarnate, and Rae for all their help and support. I would also like to thank all the wonderful people who reviewed my story! Thank you for your support! As well, I would like to thank all those who didn't review, but still faithfully read every chapter. I hope you all enjoyed it! I had an awesome time writing this story, and I really enjoyed reading the reviews. Thank you so much, everyone. I truly don't like pestering people for reviews, but I would really appreciate it if everyone who's read the story could leave one review, even if you don't normally. It doesn't have to be long, I just really want to know what everyone thought. Please and thank you:D
Miyuki, Inuyasha's spirit dragon ancestor, lived six hundred years before Inuyasha was born. A legend among dragons, she is revered as a figure of strength and honour in Inuyasha's time. But nothing good ever comes easy . . .
When a terrible threat emerges to threaten her people, Miyuki bravely journeys into unknown lands, facing overwhelming odds and terrible evils to save her friends and family. But when the boundaries of right and wrong are clouded by corruption, she must find the strength within herself to follow her heart and do what's right. When more than just her own life could be forfeit, she risks everything, all in the name of love.
Sukaimaru, son of the Inu no Taisho, is a powerful and respected Inu Youkai. But when his father commissions him to aid the mysterious spirit dragon traveling to their land, Sukaimaru's life is thrown into complete turmoil. When honour, law, and love no longer stand together, he finds himself facing danger beyond imagining, and a choice that will change his life forever.
This is their story . . .
Wondering Heart, Wandering Soul
With Rhiodoru defeated and their jewel shards returned, things seem back to normal for Kagome and the gang. They resume their search for the shards and Naraku's whereabouts, and all settles back into the prior routine. But now that Inuyasha's secret has been revealed, will things ever truly be the same? When hidden deceptions and unknown enemies lie in wait to tear the group apart, will Inuyasha be strong enough to protect his friends? Will he risk life and love to save those which he holds dearest?
The sequel to Secret Love, Secret Power . . .
Fatal Lies, Forsaken Hearts
Coming soon, to a computer near you . . .
Because of the demands of life outside of writing, it may be some time before I begin posting another major project. However, they will be coming sooner or later, so don't fret (but don't hold your breath either . . .). Just so you know. ;-)
And a great big huge thank you (again) to all the following people for reviewing Secret Love, Secret Power! I really appreciated every single review! (And please please forgive me if I missed someone, but this list took me over six hours to do, so by the end, I was going a little crazy.)
A PERFECT CIRCLE FREAQ
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( Can you believe there is yet more to this author's note? o.O )
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You failed to leave your email, or leave it in the correct format. I know that, for most, I could get it through FFnet, but . . . well, that's a lot of work. If you would still like your present, send me your email address either in the box provided (in anonymous reviews) or in the format "youremail(at)whatever(dot)com". Or you can just email me. Be sure to include the winning phrase to get your prize.
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Until next time,
Dreams of your Soul, Truth of your Heart,
All in the Silence of the Sky.