You or Me?

Hello! This is a depressing idea that I've been toying with for a long time. It was actually an important plot point in a chapter fic idea I had earlier.

This was inspired by reading The Sight by David Clement-Davies (I LOVE THAT BOOK! …really creepy, though). For those of you who have read it, it's specifically based after that one scene between the parents, when the rebel leader (don't remember any of their names…) holds them prisoner and forces them to fight.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or this specific plot point in The Sight. I love Takahashi-san and Mr. Clement-Davies forever for creating such awesome stories, but I hate them because I can't buy their creations (pout).

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

Slam!

"Damn it, Naraku! Let us out!"

"Wind Blades Dance!"

"Inuyasha!"

"Kagome, duck!"

The black-haired teenage girl dove to the hard stone floor of the dungeon cell. Blades of seemingly harmless air swished over her head, instead slicing into the wall behind her, leaving claw-like gouges in the stone.

"Inuyasha, lose your temper as much as you wish. After all, you will not be the one paying the consequences; this wench of yours will be," said the man wearing a white baboon's pelt. The head that normally served as a mask had been flipped back, revealing his cruel red eyes.

Inuyasha gritted his teeth, a fang biting into his lip. He glared hatefully at the man through heated amber eyes. "Damn you Naraku…" he growled. His dog ears, characteristic of half-dog-demons like him, were pointed aggressively forward, his clawed fists clenched into tight balls of anger.

"Please, Inuyasha, go ahead and lose your self-control. I would love to have a go at this little girl you seem so fond of." The woman who had just spoken snapped her white fan open and shut, staring at the other girl with dislike. Her red eyes flicked toward Inuyasha. "She can't dodge forever after all…"

"Damn it, Kagura, just stop!"

"Inuyasha! Please!" the adolescent girl begged. She grasped the bars between her and her would-be attackers, sending her pleading, blue-eyed gaze across the passageway and into Inuyasha's cell. "Don't make it worse."

"That's right, Inuyasha, don't make it worse," Naraku repeated, staring with cold amusement at the longing, protective looks the two captives were sending each other. "Kagura!" he snapped abruptly. The woman looked sullenly at him. "Keep this two out of mischief. I have a special use for them…"

She nodded without questioning him, although the glance she sent after him as he walked away said that that was just what she longed to do.

"How could I let this happen?" Inuyasha muttered fiercely, slamming a fist against his knee.

"Inuyasha, this is not your fault in any way," Kagome said soothingly. The tone of her voice felt like a comforting embrace. "We were all caught off guard, and we all made mistakes."

He glared half-heartedly at her. "But if I had been paying attention, you wouldn't have gotten captured!"

She shook her head. "How can you know that? All we know is we have been captured, and there's no point in dwelling on past mistakes."

"Kagome…" he murmured. Moving with a fluidity that betrayed his life of fighting, he dropped to his knees and grasped the bars of his cell. "I'm so sorry."

"It's not your fault," she repeated. "It'll all be okay."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Kagura said with a smile, scratching her chin with the fan. "Naraku has only taken a prisoner once, and that was because he certain uses for her. But Kikyo eventually won out on that one. He won't let that happen again." She grinned cruelly at Inuyasha. "He must have something very special in mind for you. Naraku usually prefers letting his little pawns suffer outside."

Kagome slapped the wall with the palm of her hand, generating a loud crack that made both Kagura and Inuyasha jump. "We aren't things, Kagura. We aren't objects that you or your master can just play around with and manipulate," she hissed. "We aren't little pawns to be moved wherever he pleases. We are human; we have hearts, souls, wills of our own, and we will fight anyone who dares to treat us like we don't deserve to be." Her malevolent, intensely blue stare pinned the red-eyed woman to the wall.

But only for a moment. After a moment, she chuckled humorlessly and shook her head. "Do you think you and your little friends are the only ones who feel that way?"

Inuyasha glared at her suspiciously. "What are you saying?"

"What am I saying, my dear simpleton?" she said softly, staring at the door Naraku had disappeared through. "I am saying that I hate Naraku just as much as you."

"Liar," Inuyasha snapped. "If you hate him so much, why do you work for him?"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "I was born of him, you fool! He holds my heart in his hands!" She lifted a hand, as if she were holding something. "Should I disobey him…" She clenched her hand into a fist, illustrating only too well what would happen if she didn't obey his will.

Kagome shuddered involuntarily. Although she didn't trust this woman, her simple, angry gesture made her own chest tighten.

"Why do you think I never told him of your night of weakness?" Kagura hissed. "You were the only hope I had for my freedom, after that Sesshomaru refused to aid me." She spat out the name of Inuyasha's older half-brother like a cockroach she had accidentally eaten.

But even as the demon's fingers tightened around the base of her fan, even as her mouth contorted in anger, Kagome thought she could see hurt in Kagura's blood-red eyes. 'Was there something going between her and Sesshomaru?' she thought incredulously.

"Inuyasha," she murmured. "Maybe it's true. I mean, I know she hates us, and that's the only logical explanation for why she wouldn't immediately tell Naraku the best way to kill us all."

"Not that it would matter anyway," he muttered bitterly. "It's not like he doesn't have some nasty plan in store to kill us both here and now."

She shook her head. "We can only hope."

He caught her blue eyes with his amber ones, saying seriously, "Whatever happens, Kagome, I will protect you. To the very last."

Before Kagome could respond with a blush, a heated comment that he should look after himself, anything at all, a cold, oily voice washed over them all. "How touching, Inuyasha."

All three glanced up quickly, all reacting differently, but all with hate. Kagura stared flatly at Naraku, internally roaring with anger. Inuyasha snarled demon curses at him, but kept a tight rein on himself all the same. Kagome balled her hands into fists and glared into Naraku's cold red eyes, muttering so quietly that even Inuyasha's sensitive ears could not understand her, although the hatred in her eyes already said plenty.

"How appropriate that you have already made such a touching pledge, Inuyasha," Naraku sneered. "Perhaps you will find yourself eating your words in a few moments time."

"What are you planning, bastard?"

"My, such nasty words, and I have not yet done a thing! But I will make it worth your while. You, Inuyasha, and you, Kagome, will be fighting each other tomorrow. To the death."

Inuyasha snorted. "As if that will ever happen!" He stood. "Nothing can ever make me hurt her, just as nothing will ever turn me from killing you, Naraku."

Kagome stood to support him. "No harm will come to Inuyasha if I can say anything about it."

Naraku's sneer widened into a cruel smile. "There's more. You will fight to the death tomorrow, Kagome with her arrows, Inuyasha with his claws. And the survivor will die as well. But slowly. And painfully. I will personally make sure that their death is drawn out for at least three months. And if you refuse to fight, both of you will be tortured for twice the time. Think about it. Wouldn't a quick death be so much more merciful than that?"

Kagome and Inuyasha were speechless with horror. Even Kagura was shocked, barely responding when he ordered her to make sure that both remained capable of fighting the next morning. With that, he swept out of the dungeon.

The adolescent girl stared hopelessly after him. "No…"

Inuyasha said nothing. But his fists, steadily putting more pressure on the bars of his dungeon, were actually starting to bend the iron. He seemed oblivious to the world.

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

It was night. The tiny windows, barely large enough to see out of, could reveal that much to him. But as Inuyasha stared blankly into the darkness, his only wish was that those windows could somehow be blocked, so he would never have to see the dawn coming. The new day, when his world would end.

His decision was clear. If one of them had to die painfully, he knew in the blink of an eye who would be dying in a single blessed moment.

"Kagome?" he whispered, knowing from his sensitive ears that she was still awake.

"What is it?"

"Tomorrow…tomorrow, just show me your throat. One quick cut to a major vein, and it will be over. I'll make it quick, I promise."

He didn't know how she would react. Resignation? Fear?

Whatever he would have expected, he was caught off guard by her explosion. "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" He jerked, falling off the poor excuse for a bed that each cell had. He heard Kagura shift abruptly, almost losing her balance. "Tomorrow, you stand for me. One arrow, that's all it takes."

He sat up. "I won't let that happen!"

She stood, her clothes rustling slightly, and banged a fist against one of the bars. "Do you think I want you to be tortured to death? Exasperating you may be, but as long as I have the power to keep that from happening, I will."

He stood as well, shaking one of the bars as hard as he wished he could shake her. "And do you think I'd let you go through that?"

"How can you expect my soul to rest in peace knowing that you'll be in pain?"

"How can you expect me to just stand by and let you be tortured?"

"Inuyasha, listen—"

"No, Kagome, I can't! I don't want to see you suffer! I don't want to die knowing that you'll suffer because of it! I want to protect you, Kagome! I swore I would, and I will. I will to the very last drop of blood in my body!"

"Don't you realize that I want to protect you, too? Haven't you noticed in all this time we've spent together that you mean so much to me?"

"If I mean so much to you, can't you let me put my mind at ease!" Inuyasha shouted.

"And let you die by torture? No! I care too much about you for that!"

"I care about you, too, Kagome! I can't let this happen to you! What would you rather have? A slow, painful death, knowing that you are going to die hated and alone? Or a quick death, knowing that you are dying because you are loved?"

"If it will spare you, then I will take the slow death and welcome it!"

"I don't deserve to be spared, Kagome! Only you deserve a quick death!"

"I don't care what you think about yourself, Inuyasha! You are worth the world to me, and I will give up the world and more for you!"

"Kagome, I am not going to sacrifice your happiness for a painless death!"

"What, do you think you're making me happy by insisting on dying at Naraku's hands?"

"Better me than you!"

"Damn it, Inuyasha! Will you stop being so goddamned stubborn? I don't want to you to suffer!"

"If you're spared, I don't care, Kagome! As long as you're safe, I don't give a damn about what happens to me!"

"Inuyasha! What about me?" The scent of tears floated into his cell. "What about me? I give a damn about what happens to you! I give more than a damn! Inuyasha, I care about you so much, can't you just put my mind at ease? Just promise me…"

Inuyasha struggled with himself. He hated to see her cry…it tore at his heart.

But, no. This was a fight he could not give up. Not for an ocean of her tears. "No, Kagome. I can't. I'm sorry, but I can't."

"…fine then. Tomorrow, we fight, just as Naraku wishes," she said bitterly. "Either way you choose, he has to win." (AN: Sound familiar to any Phantom of the Opera fans?)

Inuyasha sighed bitterly. No words to say to that. Just a grunt, then both of them shuffling back to bed.

As he lay down on the hard wooden bed, he heard Kagome almost whisper, "Inuyasha?"

"What now?"

"I…Inuyasha, I have to say this now. I want you to live. I desperately wish for your happiness. The only reason why I want to kill you…the only reason why I'm allowing Naraku to win this fight is because I love you."

Inuyasha froze like a hunted rabbit. He dared not move; he hardly breathed. He listened as Kagome sighed and murmured, "Good night," clearly not expecting an answer.

But now, he felt compelled to say something. Anything. But he couldn't think of anything that wouldn't set them arguing again. Finally, all he could say was, "Sleep well, Kagome."

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

Blackness. An absolutely empty void. Except for her. Her, in her white and green school uniform, looking garish, bordering on the inappropriate, in the face of this endless night.

'Am I alone?' she wonders.

No, she isn't. From far away, a shaft of light appears, lancing through the darkness and revealing the corner of cold, cement room. Illuminating the teenage boy leaning against the wall, smirking, baring a white, white fang. His white hair seems to merge withthe light, so intense is the gleam.

She finds herself walking forward, reaching out to him. He raises a clawed hand, gently grasping her wrist. He pulls her toward him, encircling her back with his arms, planting gentle kisses on her cheeks, lips, nose, mouth. She closes her eyes for a moment, wanting to reciprocate, but unable to move.

Suddenly, he pulls away. As her eyes fly open again, he pushes her away, and she slams into an invisible wall. Surprised, she looks at him, then sees a shadow looming behind him.

The shadow transforms into a giant spider, with claws on the ends of its front legs, pincers guarding its mouth. She wants to shout a warning, but can only watch as a claw sinks into his body, pulls out his pulsating heart, puts it to its pincers, and slices it into bits.

Unable to bear the sight and unable to scream, she forces her eyes to his face. He is smiling at her.

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

"INUYASHA!" Kagome sat up in bed, sweating, shivering, sobbing.

A rustle, a thump, rapid-fire cursing. Then, the swearing stopped, as Inuyasha noticed Kagome's frightened tears. "Kagome, what's wrong?"

She stared at him, or tried to; the tears were blurring everything. "I…I had a nightmare…a terrible nightmare…you were kissing me, and then a spider came and started eating your insides, and I looked your face, and you were smiling at me!"

Inuyasha's forehead creased. For a moment, he didn't say anything. Then, "Is…is that it?"

Her sobs doubled in force. "Is that it? You're asking me if that was it! Inuyasha, you died, and you were smiling at me! Like you were glad to die. Inuyasha, it scared me, it felt like you were trying to save me from that spider, and it was all my fault that it got to you!"

He was silent for a moment, before he asked, apparently for lack of anything else to say, "…I was kissing you?"

Despite the terror that still had her in its grasp, she blushed. "Yes…"

He turned beet red as well.

Wait a minute…

She could see him! Which meant…

Kagome spun around, staring at the tiny beam of light falling in through the window. "No…no, it's already morning!"

"That it is." She spun around again, fiercely wiping her eyes, unwilling to show Naraku her weakness. "Are you two ready to fight to the death?"

She felt Inuyasha's eyes boring into her, but she didn't turn. She didn't want to hear him plead for torture again.

Naraku smiled cruelly. "Come on then. Bring them, Kagura." He swept back out of the dungeon.

With a tired sigh, the demon woman snapped her fan open and flicked it downwards, sending out two Wind Blades, one cutting through the lock on Inuyasha's cell, one freeing Kagome. "Come on, you two," she ordered. "And behave."

Kagome stood and walked to the door, pushing it open. "Inuyasha…before we fight, can I ask you one thing?"

"What's that?"

"Can I have…just one kiss?" Her cheeks brightened again.

Inuyasha was no better off. After a moment of awkward hemming and hawing, he finally nodded.

Shyly, she walked toward him. Placing her hands on his shoulders, she raised up on her toes slightly and tilted her face upwards. Inuyasha leaned his head down toward her, closing the distance between their lips.

For a moment, it was just that, an awkward meeting of the mouths. But then, Kagome felt her arms wrap around his neck, bringing his head further down, as he pulled her tightly against him. A rush of bittersweet warmth shuddered through her as they crushed their lips against each other. There was only this one moment, this one kiss. Why not make it last?

The sharp crack of a fan flicking shut startled them both, reminded them that they were not the only ones in the dungeon. Looking guilty, they separated, then started walking. But even though the kiss had been broken, they remained connected; somehow, in the confusion of their embrace, they had linked hands.

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

Like a huge bowl. That's what it was. Just a large, empty arena, with sides too steep and smooth to climb, too high to jump. Inuyasha stood at one end, feeling naked without his sword dangling from his hip. Kagome stood at the other end, nervously fingering her bow, one hand fingering the enchanted quiver that never ran out of arrows. Naraku's barrier, one that Inuyasha could only break with Tetsusaiga in hand, shimmered between them.

Naraku, or rather, one of his golems, a puppet he could control from afar, stood in the middle. He raised a hand. Kagome set an arrow to her bow. He brought the hand down. The barrier evaporated as he jumped out of the way. Kagome released the arrow. Inuyasha, already predicting that, leaped into the air, letting the arrow streak past him in a rush of pink purification energy, to shatter against the arena walls.

He charged at her, readying his claws. "Iron Reaver, Soul Stealer!" Claws of golden light flew to slice at Kagome. Somehow, she managed to dodge them, and sent another arrow flying at him. Cursing, he landed and rocketed up again. The energy surrounding the arrow left his feet feeling singed, but at least he could still fight.

He growled and dug his claws into his shoulder, until each claw was covered in blood. "Blades of Blood!"

Kagome jumped back and fired at the claws made of his own blood; to Inuyasha's surprise, they evaporated as the arrow streaked past them. He had only a moment to dodge the arrow, and lost half of his sleeve.

'Damn it, she's gotten better,' he thought. 'And to think that I was happy that her aim had improved.' He sped toward her and, gritting his teeth, raked at her chest. Only her own foot saved her as she stumbled over it in the process of ducking. She got away with a gash on her arm. "Damn!" Now, she was dripping blood and obviously in pain. 'That wasn't supposed to happen!'

He tried to fly at her again, but was deterred by another arrow. "Kagome, stop making it difficult! One slice and it's all over, I promise!"

She glared at him and screamed, "Do you think I'm about to let the man I love be tortured to death? Do you think I'm going to let that happen?"

"What about me, Kagome?" he shouted back, halting for a moment at the other side of the arena. "How can you think for even a second that I'll let you go through so much pain?"

Both took a break as they each begged the other to surrender. "Kagome, I don't want to hurt you! I want your death to be quick and as painless as possible! So, please, just—"

She shook her head. "No! When it comes to the choice of you or me, you will always be more important! My own pain doesn't matter, as long as I know you're all right."

"All right? All right? You think, by submitting yourself to torture because of me, I'll be all right?" Inuyasha growled and soaked his claws in blood again. "That's not going to happen!" With that, he lunged toward her, shouting, again, "Blades of Blood!"

Kagome was caught off guard and had no time to even grab an arrow before the claws reached her. One sliced into her arm, leaving a gash down to the bone. Another slashed the fronts of her thighs to ribbons. With an agonized scream, she fell.

Inuyasha stood for a moment in horror, then raced to her side, faster than he had ever run before. "Kagome!" He knelt at her side and lifted her in his arms. "Kagome…"

"I-Inuyasha…" she mumbled, her eyes glazed with pain. "I'm sorry…I couldn't protect you…"

"Oh, Kagome, I don't care, I don't care anymore! You can die peacefully, that's all that matters!" He resisted the urge to bandage her wounds, to tell her that the wounds would heal. They couldn't heal. They shouldn't heal.

"Kagome, whatever you may have thought last night, however you interpreted what I said to you..."

She shook her head, obviously putting a lot of effort into the motion. "No, you don't have to apologize, Inuyasha…I couldn't save you, that's all that matters to me…"

"Kagome, listen!" he protested, smoothing her bangs away from her face, biting back the odd choking feeling he had in his throat. "I love you, too, Kagome. That's why I want to protect you. Don't worry about me, Kagome. As long as you are okay…I don't care…"

He leaned over and gently kissed her, savoring the sensation of her lips against his. He felt her tense, trying desperately to respond more than she was able to. He brought his hand up and, murmuring, "I love you," against her lips, slit her throat.

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

How long had he sat in this arena, gently rocking Kagome's body to and fro as what seemed to be all of her blood drained onto his already red clothes?

'Kagome, how is it that you are still so beautiful, even when your face is gray, your eyes open and staring at nothing?' he thought wildly, running his claws through her hair. 'How could I ever have thought that you looked like Kikyo?'

He heard a rustle behind him and lifted his head, but did not turn. "Do your worst, Naraku."

The other half-demon's voice was cool and satisfied as he sneered, "I am happy to comply."

Reluctantly, he let Kagome rest on the ground, knowing that Naraku would probably let her be torn apart by demons, or worse…

His heart wrenched. What if that monster decided to possess her, as he had done with Sango's brother, Kohaku?

But it was too late. He was already fully upright, had already committed himself to his fate, and could not turn away, even to properly bury Kagome. With a parting glance at her still-gorgeous face, he turned to Naraku, who was still wearing his baboon pelt, and said, "Well, get on with it."

For a moment, nothing happened. All he did was sneer with those hateful red eyes. Suddenly, the walls of the arena, the castle that had lain beyond Kagome's final resting place, evaporated. So, the whole place had been an illusion, if not a frighteningly real one.

But, instead of forcing Inuyasha to come with him to his real palace, Naraku disappeared in a burst of poisonous miasma. His voice echoed across the clearing Inuyasha had found himself in. "It would be so easy, Inuyasha. One stroke, and you'll be with your wench again." He glanced down at his feet and saw the Tetsusaiga, almost begging to be unsheathed.

"One stroke. No torture, no loneliness. You'll be in the blessed lands of the dead with Kagome. With just…one…stroke."

He stooped and grasped his sword. "So many times you saved my life, Tetsusaiga," he murmured to it. "So many times you protected Kagome for me. Are you going to save me again?" He unsheathed the sword, which transformed into a giant fang. "Just one stick to the heart, and I'm finished, is that it?"

He raised it and experimentally pressed it against his chest. He was dimly aware that Naraku's presence had disappeared completely. He pressed a little harder and felt his fire-rat armor tear.

Suddenly, a low, clear note emanated from near his feet. As if that had been some sort of command, Tetsusaiga changed back into a rusty old sword, hardly capable of cutting the driest twig, much less the tough flesh of a half-demon.

Inuyasha stared down in mild surprise. Had that been the sheath just now? The magical sheath had called the Tetsusaiga like this before, in times of his greatest need. Was now one of those times?

For some reason, he turned, and saw Kagome's body. Oddly, Naraku had not carried it off. He stared at her glazed blue eyes, remembering with yearning how fervently she had fought for his sake, how intensely she had always opposed Naraku, the defensive feelings he was always swamped with when he thought of her…

Flashback

Inuyasha snorted. "As if that will ever happen!" He stood. "Nothing can ever make me hurt her, just as nothing will ever turn me from killing you, Naraku."

End Flashback

He felt like he had been slapped. It was like someone, with a voice much like Kagome's,was screaming in his ear, "What in all hells is wrong with you?"

What was he doing here, trying to kill himself, when Naraku remained unpunished for all the crimes he had committed? How had he let himself fall so far?

He bent and picked up Tetsusaiga's sheath, fastening it once again at his waist, and let his sword rest in its sheath again. "Nothing will stop me. Not now, not ever." He turned and picked up Kagome's body. "I can promise you that, Kagome."

And he started running, ready to search for his friends and continue the fight against Naraku. It was no a longer a choice between him or Kagome he faced, however self-evident his decision had been. Now, it was Naraku's life or Kagome's memory. And that was an even more obvious choice to make.

111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

(sigh) I'll be the first to admit it: it flopped and diedat the battle. I just can't seem to nail what I really want to say, and it BOTHERS me! But I liked the beginning and middle, so that's all good. I especially like Kagome and Inuyasha's argument, but that's just me.

Anyway, updates for my chapter fics will come…as soon as possible. This particular thingie, however, will not be extended, cuz I have absolutely no idea of what would come after this.

Should I explain the plot of the chapter fic I had wanted to use this idea in? Well, I will anyway.

So, it all starts with an odd dream Kagome has, where a man with silver hair kills her in a dungeon. She wakes up and goes to work, meeting Inuyasha for the first time. Both have really odd feelings toward each other that they can't explain. Even though they've only just met, Inuyasha feels extremely protective of her and feels jealous when other guys approach her. Kagome always feels a little angrier than usual in his presence, but still cares about him more than she should care about justany old coworker.

Meanwhile, everyone (including Sango and Miroku) has odd dreams where people call them different names, and they seem to know these people that they have never met. These people are Kikyo, Sesshomaru, Mushin, Yuka, and Onigumo, among others who I hadn't decided on. So anyway, throughout the story, they start sharing their dreams with each other, and piece together the stories of these people's lives. Eventually, after wondering why the hell they're having these dreams, they come across the theory that these people are their previous incarnations. That theory is proven true as the dreams get stranger, as voices start to speak in their heads, and feelings that are entirely inappropriate to the situation start surfacing when they're together.

So, after a while, they find that Kikyo, Kagome's incarnation, and Sesshomaru, Inuyasha's, were in love (I know it's gross, but that's the only way it would've worked), but were captured by Onigumo. After Onigumo threatens to torture Kikyo to death if Sesshomaru doesn't kill her himself, he makes a difficult choice and kills her. But Kikyo didn't know, and so, her soul is seeking vengeance against Sesshomaru's. Basically, at the end, Kikyo and Sesshomaru's awarenesses kind of possessKagome and Inuyasha, and everything works out, and, of course, the standard couples fall in love, and all ends well!

If you actually read that, then you a) have too much free time, b) are a very devoted reader (I LOVE YOU), c) didn't have any idea of what you were getting into, or d) any combinationof the above.

Anyway, cheer me on through the end-of-the-year rush of projects, finals, Color Guard practices, and whatever other crazy stuff life throws at me, and review!