The massive boomerang cut a deadly arc through the cloud of youkai before hurtling back to its owner, The force of catching the spinning weapon sent the demon-slayer sliding backward almost a foot, her booted feet carved a small trail in the dirt. Fatigue was setting in hard as the initial adrenaline faded and she staggered to one knee, surveying the battlefield with bleary eyes. A hollow echo rang through the exterminator's mind... They were losing.
The final battle with Naraku had arrived; the hanyou had collected all the shards save the few the little miko possessed and the small shard in Sango's brothers back. The shards the wolf demon Kouga had possessed Naraku had brutally taken; injuring the wolf in such a way that everyone wasn't sure he would ever walk again. Then there was Kohaku. The thought of her brother made the slayer cringe and almost miss the demon attacking from her left flank. After dispatching it with more effort than should have taken, Sango frantically searched the field for her friends.
InuYasha battled Kagura, the wind demon toward the center of the battlefield. Kagura looked tired, but InuYasha was so covered in cuts and blood that you couldn't tell the difference between where the blood ended and the red of his haori began. The hanyou swung the Tetusaiga with weary abandonment, tearing the ground to shreds with the force of his kaze no kizu, with Kagura bounding about using her feather and fan to avoid his attacks.
Kirara flew high above the field with Shippo on her back, swooping, dodging and clawing lesser demons that got close and attempted to keep the small fox demon safe from the carnage below.
A yell of "KAZANAA!" rang out over the din of battle as Miroku sucked smaller hordes of demons into his wind tunnel, attempting to lessen the burden to the others; the strain on his face was beginning to show as he had been using it all day. The monk could feel the wind tunnel protesting and beginning to widen dangerously as he closed up the opening with his prayer beads, sweat forming on his brow and soaking his robes. Taking up his staff once again, he charged back into battle.
A maddened and half crazed roar broke Sango's concentration and her head snapped up to see Sesshomaru, the ice prince himself locked in combat with none other than the wretched Naraku. The evil hanyou laughed and taunted the full dog demon as he deflected his incredibly fast blows. The taiyoukai's eyes glowed with an eerie, fierce red and his fangs protruded from his lips giving him a half mad, feral appearance.
Naraku had begun the battle after kidnapping Rin and Jaken, Sesshomaru's adopted daughter and loyal retainer. Laughing maniacally he shredded them to tiny pieces before everyone's astonished eyes and proceeded to scatter them across the field and beyond, showering them all in the innocent girl's blood. This ensured that Sesshomaru had no chance of bringing the girl back with Tenseiga. Despite everyone's pleas and cries the Great Demon Lord completely lost it, his youkai raged within him, tearing at his soul and pride at the great wrong that had just been dealt him.
Blood ran crimson from a million cuts all over the demon's body, but he showed no signs of stopping or even noticing. The taiyoukai's mind was all consumed with the thought of rending the despicable hanyou to little pieces and covering his claws in the foul blood.
Blast after blast of pink purifying energy lit up the field as the little miko Kagome shot arrow after arrow, holding back the tide of lesser demons from InuYasha's back while he was distracted with Kagura. Her quiver was getting dangerously low, but she kept up the stream of arrows, the purifying light lent hope to the weary fighters. Blood ran down the little miko's leg and still she continued, her determination to keep her first love safe spurring her on, waves of raven hair blowing behind her with the power of her shots.
Kagome was now sixteen years old and it was hard for the wayward high schooler to believe that so much had happened in only one year. Nevertheless, she pushed all thoughts of what would have to happen after the battle and focused all her energy and thoughts on the situation at hand.
Sango turned back to her end of the battle, working furiously to keep the horde of demons at bay. Her brow creased in concentration and sweat poured down her aching body, despair rose within her as she fought back the feeling of overwhelming defeat. The tide of demons seemed endless.
A cry of alarm and pain drew her attention back across the field where the man she hoped to one day give the children he was always asking for with suddenly fell to his knees and doubled over in agony. Miroku's hand glowed with an eerie black as the wind tunnel began to expand beyond hope. Everything around him began to be sucked toward its strengthening power. Sango cried out and leapt forward, running toward the man she loved when suddenly she felt the wind knocked out of her. Puzzled she stopped when her knees gave out unexpectedly from underneath her. Sinking to the ground, as though in a daze everything felt so heavy and her eyes dropped down to her chest to see the point of a sickle poking out from where her sternum should be, right beneath her collar bone.
She heard Kagome shout in surprise and anger, but the exterminator couldn't seem to lift her head to look at her best friend. Familiar boots came into her field of vision and slowly, as if in a viscous liquid, she brought her head up to see her brother, Kohaku standing off to her side staring down at her with vacant eyes. Brutally he ripped the sickle from her back and she fell forward onto all fours coughing blood and other fluids, white hot pain wracked her slim frame. As she looked up the blank eyes of the young boy she once called brother went completely dark and he toppled over, falling into a heap in front of where she crouched. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out as her mind screamed denial, not noticing as her life blood drained into the earth below her.
The shard that once resided in her brother's back lay in the grasp of one of Naraku's insects as it hovered there momentarily before returning to its master. Naraku laughed gleefully receiving the shard from his minion and fused it with the nearly complete shikon after dodging another hasty swing from the enraged demon lord's sword.
The exterminator finally cried out, the pain in her heart over-riding the pain in her chest as she dragged herself to her fallen brother. Scooping the limp body into her weak arms, she cradled his head to her bleeding chest. Her last glance up before she faded away to join her brother was that of the man she loved being sucked into the wind tunnel that had plagued him all his life, their eyes met briefly before both were gone. The tunnel collapsed in on itself and disappeared along with the monk and Sango slumped forward onto the body of her brother.
Tears clouded Kagome's vision as she reached for another arrow, only to find her quiver empty. Pain exploded in her shoulder as a demon made it through her defenses and stabbed her with its claws. Throwing her hand out at her attacker she blasted the beast with a wave of purifying energy, disintegrating it on the spot.
Clutching her shoulder, she struggled to her feet, training her wavering vision on InuYasha. Her one hope was to get close enough to his battle with Kagura in order for them to help protect one another. A sickening thud behind her stopped her in her tracks. Turning slowly her breath hitched in her throat and she fell to her knees, tears streaming down her face distorting her view of the horrific scene, nothing but a choked sob escaping her.
Kirara lay lifeless a short distance away, still in large form; her whole body was matted with blood from the massive slashes all up and down her sides. Shippo had similar slashes all over his tiny body, nearly rending the demon kit's body in half. Despair washed over the young woman and she covered her face with her hands, hopelessness seeped into her soul as she fought back the waves of overwhelming grief. Was it all for nothing? They were all going to die here. Her traitorous mind informed her that happy endings were for fairy tales. This was anything but. Forcibly she averted her sight from the carnal endings of her adopted son and cat friend, eyes overflowing and soaking her face and crimson stained sailor top. No. No, she wouldn't et their sacrifice be in vain. With monumental effort she steeled her heart and forced her emotions away. She had a job to do.
The injured miko turned back to the battle, struggling to rise to her feet, the slashes on her hip and through her back caused her massive amounts of pain, finding it difficult to cling to the fringes of her shaky resolve.
Kagome looked up just in time to see Naraku stab sneak a tentacle behind Sesshomaru's defenses and plunge it through his back and out his chest, shattering his spiked armor before retreating away from the snarling demon lord. Sesshomaru limped backward away from the hanyou, his one remaining arm covered the massive hole in his torso, furious with himself for being so blinded by rage to miss such an obvious attack. Naraku's momentary reprise from battle with the demon lord gave him the opportunity he was looking for. Massive tentacles shot out from his horrific form, tearing through everything they touched before embedding themselves through Kagura and into InuYasha.
"INUYASHA!" Kagome screamed in a choked voice. Time seemed to slow down and the silver haired hanyou's shocked face turned toward the young woman, their eyes locking briefly before Naraku's tentacle sliced upward, ripping InuYasha and Kagura's bodies in two.
The little miko collapsed to her knees, all resolve shattered, staring at the bloody mass of flesh that used to be her first love, too shocked to shed any tears yet. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Naraku approaching, his hideous form looming over her in all its shapeless mass, the torso of the attractive man Naraku once was sticking gruesomely out the top.
She shuddered as he came down to her level and drew closer to her. In her peripheral vision, she could see Sesshomaru struggled to his feet, his demon healing having closed some of the wound, but not enough to fight yet. Tōkijin dangled from his one hand weakly as he began heaving his heavy form to an upright position.
Sapphire eyes returned to the wickedly grinning face of the horrid hanyou and all that filled her thoughts were the last moments of the only true friends she had ever known, her first love, and her adopted son. Crimson bore into deep blue as he finally spoke.
"Now you will be mine and through you I will control the shikon. You will stand at my side and together we will rule," Kagome resisted the urge to cringe. Staring into the bottomless evil in his eyes, she cupped her hands around the shards of the shikon and gave him the ultimatum.
"Fine, but you have to kiss me first in order to establish the bond," Naraku grinned wickedly and she could see Sesshomaru's look of disgust, as if he knew she would buckle like all other weak humans. Not today, she thought.