"I don't understand," Inu Tashio's half brother, Nonomatsu, began with ire. "Why does this Naraku hide himself if he thinks he is so powerful? Would he not-"
"He is strategizing, my son." Si-eshomaru said. "Only the most brazen and thoughtless warriors go head long into battle with no tactical plan." All of the demons in the area agreed, as did Sango and Miroku who turned their eyes to Inuyasha. He ignored them, paying attention to the discussion at hand.
"Father," Sesshoumaru called as he and Koga came into the gathering of demons. "The hanyou's scent has seemingly disappeared, just at the edge of the Western reaches of our immediate lands."
"I had thought as much." Inu no Tashio commented, turning his eyes to his mate for a moment. They had both thought so. "Boshin, I have need of your eyes."
The tiger demon came forward, bowing before his King. "I am at your service, my Lord."
"There is an item, a piece of the false jewel, that I would like you to hold. Tell me what you see." Inu no Tashio demanded, pulling out a piece of the cracked glass from his sleeve.
Boshin hesitated upon touching it, alarm bells tolling loudly in his mind. But he also knew this was necessary for the house of Tashio, and having pledged his allegiance to his Lord, Boshin would not fail him. Even if this act could very well end his life, he would not fail the Western Lord.
Taking the glass, a fire burned across his internal third eye, the scorching heat of nonexistent flames evaporating after an excruciating moment. He felt himself flowing through the fabric of time, using the essence in the false jewel to find the future from the one who left the impression upon it. To Boshin's surprise, he found himself looking at a miko, huddled over in pain, a demon within her false body. The soul of the priestess was surrounded by the blackness of a very evil soul. She was fighting as much as she could, but she was trapped endlessly.
Her despair and her exhaustion blew over him for a moment, and then his focus was on the hanyou, Naraku. He was between the folds of time, not belonging to his own, but not belonging to this period either. His red eyes watched the struggling miko with enjoyment, the lack of concern and easiness on his face bespoke of just how powerful the half breed felt her was.
"Soon, this will all be over." He told the large jewel fragment in his hand. "And you will fail, Midoriko."
The demon within Kikyo looked through her brown eyes to Naraku. "And you will unleash me into the world."
Naraku nodded. "Kill Kagome and Sesshoumaru, I don't care who is first. Just kill them both and then you will have your freedom." His eyes moved abruptly to the jewel in his hand and he grimaced as it stung him weakly. "This accursed thing has a mind of its own." He grumbled.
Boshin was pulled from the vision as a noise sounded from behind him. The doors of the dojo had been opened and a familiar scent filled his nostrils. He was weak from the original flaming the object had torched him with and so remained knelt, breathing heavily as his eyes refocused.
Sesshoumaru stepped forward, his eyes on Kagome's and hers on his. She felt his youkai above all others as it reached out and caressed her, checking to see if she was well. It helped her stand more strongly in the presence of so many powerful demon lords. "The creator of the Shikon no Tama sent me a message." She said quietly. "She warned me that Kikyo is possessed by a demon-"
"That's impossible!" Inuyasha growled. "Kikyo is a powerful priestess, she couldn't be possessed."
The demons around Inuyasha seemed to agree with him by their aura's, looking at Kagome skeptically. She didn't know how she was going to prove it to them. All she had was the warning, that was it… There was no proof of Midoriko's voice, no feedback she could play.
Sesshoumaru believed her, so did his mother and Inu Tashio, well… She couldn't tell what he was thinking. Actually, he was looking down at something. Yet beyond all the tall youkai, she didn't know what it was.
"What did you see?" The demon lord asked, his eyes emotionless, revealing none of his thoughts, none of his hope that it would be proof to what the miko claimed. The demon's breathing was labored and his muscles were taught, making the dog general wonder at what sort of pain he was in.
"It is as she says." Boshin barely managed. Kagome could hardly hear who spoke and so moved forward, Akin with her at her every step. "The priestess… She is consumed by a demonic soul. It comes from the true jewel."
"That's not possible…" Inuyasha whispered, denial clear in his pained voice.
Sesshoumaru ignored the idiot half brother he would one day have and approached Kagome. As she felt his nearing, she stopped trying to reach whoever it was that sounded so weak so she could wait for him to reach her. All of the youkai in the room parted more willingly for him than they had for she and Akin, but she couldn't be irritated about it. Instead she was glad because she found herself closer to him sooner. Somehow, Sesshoumaru helped her think and figure things out.
"Remember that not all things are as they seem…" She heard silently, unsure if she were remembering Midoriko's words from the youkai ball an evening so long ago and yet so recently. "You will not find solace in another."
Sesshoumaru didn't seem to have heard anything, no one did, so Kagome didn't draw attention to it. "Did the miko warn you of anything else?" Sesshoumaru asked gently.
"Your fates have been sealed." Kagome heard. "You will not find solace in another." She tried thinking beyond it, shaking her head a little as some jolted across her skin.
"Lady?" Akin asked in concern.
She heard him and went to reply, but she couldn't. "Miko of the future. Taiyoukai of the past." Kagome took a deep breath as power swelled up through the jewel and bathed her skin with its energy. "To become the present in one time where great discoveries and new beginnings will be made." And then it made sense…
"You and I…" Kagome told him almost silently as she placed her hand on the young demon's chest to help her support herself. "This is the last time we'll be together. Tonight." She managed as tears pricked her eyes.
"I fail to comprehend." Sesshoumaru said, his body tense beneath her fingers. The sight of her eyes and the certainty in her voice bothered him.
"We will become the present." She told him. "You're the past, I'm the future. We'll have to find a middle ground. So whatever happens tonight, whether Naraku dies here or dies where he belongs, we will be separated."
"Not if you decided to stay." He told her firmly, almost harshly.
The youkai in the room were growing uncomfortable by the boys intensity, but Kagome only found herself in awe of it. "I don't understand…" Kagome managed.
He took her hand in one of his own, while he place his other at her mid back, pulling her closer. "Remain with me here." His eyes were burning, desiring. "Become my-"
"That's enough." Inuyasha said, coming forward. "She don't belong here, dumb ass. Get that through your head."
That Lady of the western house looked as though she were going to murder Inuyasha, but that, everyone realized, would have to wait. Naraku's energy could suddenly be felt once more, along with something much darker, much more evil. "Ready yourselves." Inu no Tashio called, looking across the way, to a demon Kagome had not met, but he looked strikingly similar to Akin.
The demon nodded, calling out orders to the may soldiers in the giant dojo. Kagome felt a tremor move through her and Sesshoumaru held her more tightly, his eyes gaining a pink hue. "She was giving me an opportunity to say goodbye…" Kagome realized softly. Sesshoumaru wouldn't see her for some three hundred years, maybe more…
"We will not be parting tonight." He told her firmly. "There-"
"Sesshoumaru." His mother called. "Your armor, fool."
He grit his teeth. "I have no need of it." But he did have a need to speak with Kagome.
"Do not snap at me." She warned, her eyes flashing warningly. "Do as you must, while I speak with Kagome." He bit back a growl, looking into the girl's solemn blue gaze, graying right before his watchful gaze. With a small bow, he turned and left. "You may go as well, Akin."
"Yes my Lady." The guard bowed lower, more respectfully because that was his station and left.
Inu no Tashio looked upon them for a moment before leaving his mate to do what she felt she had need to. He just needed to keep Sesshoumaru away long enough for her to do it. "Child," she said softly to Kagome's withdrawn features. "What you say is true? You can not stay, even if you wish to?"
"I can't." Kagome confirmed. "I know what I have to do, I can't stay here."
"What is it you must do?" Lady Syoa asked her, taking her arm and walking with her. Sometimes movement helped humans find their frazzled thoughts.
Tears still stung the girls eyes, but she wouldn't let them fall. "I have to see if he's waiting. If I didn't die, then… I don't understand why Sesshoumaru is so… emotionless toward me."
"Could it be because you left?" She asked the girl seriously.
Kagome shuddered. "I don't know."