DISCLAIMER: I don't own Inuyasha, but if you want to think I do then be my guest.
Walking Through Fire
by: Lara Winner
Chapter 1: Save Me
Kagome knew it all came down to this moment. The last two years of her life, all the trips through the well, every jewel shard… all of it boiled down to this one moment when the demise of Naraku was so close she could feel it like a tingle across her skin.
Kagome stood with Kikyo, side by side crating a vortex of violet energy that twirled in a dark spiral with Naraku's youki. Uneasy allies formed a unified front against their vulnerable opponent and it was time for the killing blow. He was defenseless, protected only by a magical shield that was useless against their miko powers combined.
Kagome could sense the others behind her, watching with baited breath as the purifying power that she and Kikyo shared collided with Naraku bathing the surrounding land in a bright shower of white light.
It was then that she heard Inuyasha call Kikyo's name.
It was odd how she could distance herself from the moment. Perhaps it was adrenaline, or maybe it was the fact that what was transpiring was almost too much for her frail human body to take. Kagome felt like she was dying and yet at the same time the scene played out in her mind as if she were outside herself watching from afar. She heard his cry so clearly but it wasn't his concern that tore Kagome's heart apart, it was the fear and desperation that laced his voice. It made her realize for the first time exactly how deeply his feelings for her predecessor ran.
Then everything exploded in a rush of movement and there was no time to think, only to react. The intensity of power rushing about both mikos was destroying Kikyo's clay body. The souls that fueled her began to slip free as her form began to crack and crumble. With Inuyasha's voice ringing in her ears, Kagome did the only thing she could do.
She tried to save Kikyo.
Kagome grasped her hand letting all the healing energy she could muster flow out and into her rival. The pain was a memory. Everything was so far away as Kikyo drew the life from her. Then Kikyo turned to Kagome and smiled. Not a nice smile, but a victorious one as she took back the last of what life Kagome could offer.
When the mushroom cloud of metaphysical power subsided Inuyasha was not prepared for what was left in its wake.
The hanyou had braced himself for bits and pieces of Naraku, or at least the remains of the many demons that patterned his carcass. He was willing to sift through a knee-deep puddle of limbs and bodily excrement's to retrieve the whole Shikon jewel that had been in the bastard's possession.
Inuyasha was even prepared to face that fact that Kikyo could not have possibly survived a maelstrom of power of that caliber. The residual effects left his own skin a bit singed around the edges. He could only imagine the havoc it wreaked on her clay form.
But when the damage was done and the dust finally settled there was nothing left but a lone figure crumpled on the battle scarred ground.
Bits of ash and dust flittered about the air compounding to the horrid scent of burnt flesh and grave dirt, but Inuyasha paid no mind as he skidded to a halt beside the fallen girl and dropped to his knees beside her.
"Kagome…" he whispered softly gently lifting her dead weight into his lap. As her body was shifted Kagome's left arm slipped to the side and the complete shikon jewel fell from her slack fist and rolled a few inches.
Inuyasha quickly snatched the jewel and tucked it safely away in his haori before cradling Kagome against his chest. But he gasped as the ebony tresses that hid her face fell away revealing her once clear, gray eyes which were now clouded over with a milky sheen as they stared sightlessly onward. Shallow breaths labored to escape her lungs in a slow rhythm that matched the sluggish beating of her heart.
The hanyou's blood turned to ice in his veins, horrified. He'd seen this before. He knew the blank look on Kagome's face and her catatonic state all too well. He'd watched it happen when Urasue cast the enchantment that had stolen her soul.
A panicked growl rumbled in his throat.
"Inuyasha is Kagome-sama…" Miroku choked on the question as he crouched down beside the hanyou and paled, comprehending the situation instantly. "Damn this is worse than I thought!"
Inuyasha glared. "We have to get her back to Baba. She'll know what to do."
Not to be ignored, Shippo climbed onto the Monk's shoulder to get a better look. What he saw made his little face scrunch up in worry. "Is…" he swallowed hard, "is she dead?"
"Oi baka! She's not dead! Don't ever fucking say stupid shit like that again!"
The kit flinched and Inuyasha struggled to get a hold of his emotions. He could feel Sesshomaru's cold stare boring holes into his back and for the first time he really didn't give a rat's ass how pathetic he looked right then. He also sent a silent prayer of thanks to the gods that Ginta and Hakaku had already carted off a very unconscious Kouga sometime earlier. The last thing he needed was that pansy ass wolf in a tizzy over Kagome's condition.
When Inuyasha had the gut feeling things were only going to get worse he was rarely disappointed.
"Inuyasha you had better come see this!" called Sango from a few feet behind.
Securing his hold on Kagome, the hanyou made his way to the exterminator's side. Kirara mewed softly and pawed at the ground as Kohaku crouched down beside Sango, both watching him with trepidation as the realization of what she had found dawned on him.
It was broken bits of clay, scattered by wind and not at all resembling the animated mannequin it had been. The large pieces were caked in a paste of grave dirt and old blood. From the ground part of a face looked back at him, neatly broken, bearing a high cheekbone and an empty eye socket.
He felt sick.
This was déjà vu all over again. He could taste Kikyo's cremated remains on his tongue as he breathed. Kagome's sallow flesh was a little too corpse like for his piece of mind. And of course there was the burning question…
If Kikyo was gone then where the fuck was Kagome's soul?
It was best to deal with one thing at a time and holding onto that thread of reason like a lifeline, Inuyasha pinned Miroku with a stern look. "Is Naraku dead?"
"I believe it is safe to say he has been eliminated-"
"Take off the fucking glove bozu! I want to know for a fucking fact that he's not coming back."
Miroku moved to undo the prayer beads but his fingers paused, hovering over the cool glass beads. Inuyasha snarled and took a threatening step forward and the monk hastily removed the beads and then the glove, holding his breath as the lifted fabric revealed the smooth and unblemished skin of his palm.
"Naraku has fooled us with this before, but this time it feels strange. Perhaps he really is dead." Miroku breathed in wonder, flexing his fingers.
"But what of Kagome-chan?" Sango asked sadly. Her eyes took on far away look as she stepped closer to he hanyou and his charge.
"I'm taking her back to Kaede's." Inuyasha amended. "Try and keep up."
Before his companions dared blink the hanyou was at a dead run and disappearing from sight.
Inuyasha paced the small confines of the hut as the elderly miko remained focused in silent concentration. She sat beside Kagome with her hands placed upon young girl's brow. A bowl of crushed blossoms, coriander seeds and smoldering woodchips gave off a thick fog of incense that made the hanyou's eyes water.
Kaede's low chanting was wearing on his nerves but there was nothing he could do to still the turmoil raging inside mind. His heart was heavy and his stomach was one twisted knot of fear and anger.
No not anger.
It boiled and bubbled inside his gut with no extension for release. He fisted his hands in repetitious reflex oblivious to the blood seeping from the gouges made by his claws. There was nothing in the world he hated more then feeling helpless and right now he was wallowing in a murky pit of the worthless emotion.
First Kikyo, now Kagome. It was tearing him up to admit that he could not do more to protect them. He should have risked getting purified and joined them in the thick of things. He should have done something, anything to prevent such a horrid outcome.
He wasn't sure he could stand to loose them both. Not now. Not when he had the chance to set things right between Kikyo and himself. And even if Kikyo had demanded his life as final payment, his one reassurance was that Kagome would live on. Kagome was his strength. She stood for all the good things he had thought had long since died, in himself and in the world around them.
Suddenly so much became pointless without Kagome's presence to secure its value. Even his own existence seemed bleak and small when he envisioned it without her vibrant soul to illuminate the darkness.
But he fucked up bad this time and now the price was coming down on his head two fold. Without her soul it was only a matter of time before Kagome's body would burn out. It could take days, even weeks, but eventually the hollow shell she had become would cease functioning and she would die. As it was, he could already pick up the scent of death upon her.
There had to be a way to fix it. All he needed to do was locate her soul. It didn't just vanish into thin air. It was somewhere and he was going to find it even if it killed him.
So where was he supposed to look? Miroku said he had done a thorough search of the battlefield but Kagome's aura was no longer there. The monk had blessed what little was left Kikyo's remains and had placed them back in their proper resting place at the shrine. The portion of Kagome's soul that Urasue had taken was no longer there either.
It was as if she were carried away by the wind.
If Inuyasha hadn't seen Kagura's demise personally he would have thought that this was another mastermind scheme to credit to Naraku. He still was not quite convinced the bastard was dead and gone. He had fooled them once and led them on a merry chase through the looking glass. It could happen again.
Inuyasha checked the urge to break the hut apart in his immense frustration. His head was throbbing and the pressure behind his eyes made his head feel ready to explode. He needed air. The damn incense was going to make him relieve the contents of his stomach if he didn't step out of the hut for a quick breather.
Growling under his breath, the hanyou stormed out into the late evening darkness. He cast a quick glance at the roof but the idea of sitting still and keeping vigil under the twinkling stars was unappealing. He needed action. Instead he headed toward the forest that bore his namesake.
The hapless trees never knew what hit them as Inuyasha vented his pent up emotions. One after another the trees crashed to the forest floor, splintering apart from the force behind each blow. He was so intent on spending every last ounce of energy he possessed that when he caught the scent of wildflowers and human female pheromones he over looked it.
It was a delayed reaction. He froze mid swing as a name and face flashed across his mind in conjunction with the warm scent that wafted through the air. His golden eyes widened in disbelief and he slowly turned, only now becoming aware of the woman standing behind him.
There were a few not-so-subtle changes that Inuyasha would have been a fool to miss as he faced his former lover. For starters she was smiling in a cheerful manner, one that made her doe brown eyes sparkle in a way he had never seen before. Secondly, she stood before him naked in all her youthful glory. And third was the most disturbing…
Kikyo was very much alive.
A.N. – Hmm… this is an idea that I had started back last October. The story is almost complete and I was inspired to finish this by the latest manga chapter. And I was just beginning to like Kikyo too.
I know Kikyo is being portrayed as a bitch in this fic but it fit for the plot and well… it just works for me. So let me know what you think and I'm going to have another up chapter date up by next weekend.
Thanks for reading!