DISCLAIMER: All Inuyasha characters are the creation of, and © to Rumiko Takahashi, and subsequent parties. Full Circle is the creation of my demented mind, and © to Shun'u Hanashiro 2000-2001.
Author's Notes: Italicized text (or //) can indicate private/unvoiced thoughts – or – flashback sequences. Colons [::] indicate insinuated thoughts by another character into one's subconscious. Be forewarned that all of the events prior to tankouban 14 of the manga are up for grabs in this story.
F U L L
An Inuyasha Fanfiction
Deep within a castle somewhere in Japan and sometime during Sengoku Jidai, a shadowy figure plotted the downfall of his nemesis. And in 20th century Tokyo, a young girl sitting with her friends on her school lawn shivered despite the late summer sun beating upon her back. She felt as if Death had just brushed his long fingers across her shoulder blades…
Part 1: What Went Before, Comes Again
Late summer was a lovely, lazy, sleepy time of year. There was nothing that couldn't wait for another day, nothing that had to be rushed. Even mosquitoes seemed to take their time floating from person to person, seeking just the right blood. Kagome had always loved this season, but she had never truly appreciated it until she had fallen through the Bone Eater's Well and begun her quest for the Shikon no Tama with the half-breed youkai Inuyasha. Ever since then, she had felt as though she were being pulled into four different directions without knowing which one to follow. It was disconcerting, to say the least, when she had to travel back and forth through time, essentially leading two lives.
Which was exactly why she was taking her time drowsing on the riverbank and listening to Inuyasha, Shippou, and Miroku bicker in the background. Correction. Inuyasha and Shippou were arguing; Miroku was playing referee and keeping score of their points based on who garnered the most reaction with his insults. Kagome listened to them with half an ear and let her eyes droop closed. It was a beautiful day.
At last, the Shikon no Tama was almost complete. Naraku stared at the nearly perfect opalescent sphere held between his thumb and forefinger, smugness written across his face, and began to laugh. His voice echoed throughout the dimly lit castle. A bored guard down the hall wondered what his gloomy master had found to be so amusing.
"One more. One more shard and the jewel will finally be complete," Naraku said to himself. "Then, Inuyasha, you will learn what it means to cross me, Naraku. I will begin with the ones you hold closest to your heart…" Naraku chuckled some more.
He carefully pocketed the jewel, a plan already brewing in his agile mind. Naraku went to a small cabinet made of dark polished wood. Small drawers with golden handles lined the cabinet from top to bottom, four across, and five down. Naraku selected the first drawer in the upper left hand side and pulled out a sheaf of yellowed fibrous paper. Written in tiny, cramped, precise handwriting were instructions on how to create an Air Rip. Naraku smiled an unpleasant smile. He had stolen this from an old enemy many decades ago. That enemy was dead. And soon, very soon, so would Naraku's most provoking opponent in fifty years.
"Rin, stay here," Sesshoumaru told the rambunctious five-year old trailing after him.
Normally, she would have listened to him instantaneously, however, the little girl was being more obstinate than usual. She followed like a tiny shadow. Sesshoumaru frowned. He knew the reason why Rin was behaving the way she was. Dropping down on one knee, Sesshoumaru placed his hands on Rin's tiny shoulders and waited for her to look at him.
When she did, he said, "I am only going to say this one time." Putting just the right touch of steel in his voice, Sesshoumaru continued, "I will find Kagome and bring her to visit you, but you are not going to come with me. I want you to wait here and heed Jaken. Is that clear?"
His heart came dangerously close to melting when he heard Rin sniffle. Luckily, he had plenty of youkai blood to counter this strange compassion that Rin and Kagome had somehow inflicted on him. Not giving any ground, for he knew that to do so would only result in his taking Rin along to find Kagome, Sesshoumaru waited patiently for Rin to acquiesce. It was not that he would have minded the child's company, but he did not want Rin to be around if Inuyasha were to attack without thinking. His brother could be a hot-tempered idiot at times.
Finally Rin nodded and said, "I promise. Will you come back soon Sesshoumaru-sama?"
"And you'll bring Oneechan with you?"
"Can I come with you to get Oneechan?"
He stared her down. Rin didn't even flinch, which mildly worried Sesshoumaru in the back of his mind. Did that girl have a contagious disease that made her unable to feel fear? More importantly, did she contaminate Rin?
It was a contest of wills, with Sesshoumaru as the victor. So it was that he found himself trekking back to the village that neighbored the Bone Eater's Well a week after having left there. He was in a dark mood the whole way.
I'm losing my touch.
He found her sleeping by the river with Inuyasha, the kitsune, and the monk quite a distance away. Detachedly, Sesshoumaru wondered if they had any idea of the kind of dangers the girl could be in while they were unaware. If it had been more than a month past, he might have killed her without hesitation. Quietly, softly he approached Kagome on light feet that barely made any impression on dry summer grass. Kagome's eyes shot open when his shadow fell over her, cutting off her source of warmth.
Naraku smirked. They were making things too easy for him. He observed the pair, Kagome and the youkai, Sesshoumaru, from his vantage point high in the upper branches of a tall leafy tree. Even from such a distance, Naraku had cloaked his presence as much as possible, not trusting that Inuyasha would not surprise him again with his untimely luck. Now he was thankful for his precaution, as Sesshoumaru would definitely have known he was there even if Inuyasha had not. He frowned upon this thought. Sesshoumaru was an elusive character. Naraku had not been able to gauge his strengths yet, but that was not from lack of trying. Simply put, he had no idea what Sesshoumaru was capable of, and that made him wary of the youkai lord. Given that Inuyasha had been able to surprise him consistently in their battles, Naraku did not want to touch what Sesshoumaru could do when tested to his limits.
Breaking off his morose thoughts, Naraku searched the ground with senses made sharp by the Shikon no Tama's proximity. He found where Inuyasha was with the houshi and kit. They weren't even aware of Sesshoumaru yet, the fools. Naraku was fine with that. It would help his cause if they were caught by surprise.
Now, it was time for him to test the Shikon no Tama's powers.
"Inuyasha, you jerk!" Shippou screamed at the dog demon that was currently suspending him in the air by his sensitive tail. "Let go of my tail!"
"Fine." Inuyasha did not hesitate to drop Shippou.
The kitsune landed on his face, eating dirt, and promptly jumped back up to attack Inuyasha's equally sensitive ears. Miroku spoke from his perch on a log.
"Point goes to Inuyasha. Score's 25-23," he tallied using his fingers. "Shippou, you may win another five points if you can get Inuyasha to cry."
"What the fuck," Inuyasha exploded. He was pulling at Shippou to get the kitsune out of his hair, and away from his ears, to no avail as the kitsune was well and truly angry. "Stop encouraging him, Miroku!"
Shippou continued to gnaw on Inuyasha's head.
Miroku yawned. "But there's nothing else to do, and you guys are pretty good at distracting me." Inuyasha growled deep in his throat, sounding eerily like a wolf. Unfortunately for him, Miroku was getting pretty good at ignoring his bluster. "If only Sango-sama were here, then I could pursue my greatest wish." Sigh. "To have the honor of having a child with Sango-sama... or even better, to have one with Kagome-sama…"
Shippou and Inuyasha swiveled their heads and screamed simultaneously, "Get your head outta the gutter!"
Miroku sweated when they gave him their full attention. He decided to change the subject. "So, Inuyasha, what're we going to do now that Naraku has all of the shards?"
"We're going to find that cowardly bastard and get them back, is what we're going to do." With a determined gleam in his eyes, Inuyasha cracked his knuckles.
"But how?" Shippou hopped onto Inuyasha's convenient shoulder, prior grudges forgotten for the moment. "He always sends his lackeys and runs away when we're this close." He demonstrated how close by pinching his tiny child-sized fingers together.
And that was the crust of their problem. It wasn't very difficult to find Naraku, but every time that they did, something or someone would intervene, and Naraku would take the opportunity to escape. Frustrating was the mildest way of putting it. Miroku sighed.
"Let's go back to Kagome-sama," he said. And they were going to, if it weren't for the sight that met their startled eyes. All three of them gaped to see Kagome sitting and, if their eyes didn't deceive them, talking to Sesshoumaru. Miroku heard Inuyasha's growl and yelled, "Wait," too late.
The trip from waterside to Kagome was approximately a hundred meters long. Inuyasha made it to her in less than five seconds. Concern for her and long festering anger at his cold-blooded half-brother warred within Inuyasha, making him slightly less reasonable than usual. If Kagome's reaction to his appearance was any indication, he was practically frothing at the mouth.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome asked hesitantly.
"Kagome, get away from that bastard," he ordered flatly.
She was taken aback by his tone, and worried by the way the whites of his eyes were turning pinkish. As if blood saturated them. He was turning into his youkai form before her. She glanced at Sesshoumaru to determine his reaction, but the youkai was oddly still. Quickly thinking of a way to avoid a fight, Kagome spoke to Inuyasha in a soothing voice.
"Inuyasha, please calm down."
"I said, get away from that bastard, Kagome." He repeated. Not about to give any more warnings, Inuyasha drew Tetsusaiga out of its saya. Sesshoumaru stirred. Inuyasha glared at him with eyes gone crimson. "I won't let you hurt her, Sesshoumaru. Not like you hurt us."
Naraku's violet eyes gleamed with malice. The Shikon no Tama was bright and hot, cupped in his palms, and exuding an iridescent light. Sitting on a thick branch, he was hunched over the jewel, hair falling into his face, shoulders tense, and mind completely focused. In the distance Inuyasha's fury grew in proportion to the jewel's intensity. Naraku's smile widened.
The power of the Shikon no Tama was intoxicating, sweet and sharp like wine. Ribbons of energy coursed through Naraku's veins, making him light-headed and giddy. Drunk. Vaguely, Naraku thought that the jewel was almost seducing him, but he brushed that thought aside. It was an inanimate thing, with no sentience. But if this were the incomplete jewel's power, what would it be like once he had the whole thing?
"What the hell is he doing?" Miroku muttered as he raced Shippou to the dueling youkai.
Shippou gasped and answered helpfully with, "I don't know. But it doesn't look good."
"Has Inuyasha ever attacked Sesshoumaru like this before?"
"No." Shippou leaped over a boulder and leveled with Miroku. They were halfway to Inuyasha who was facing off with Sesshoumaru. Inuyasha had just drawn Tetsusaiga and was speaking to his brother, but he wasn't speaking loud enough for them to hear his words. "It was always Sesshoumaru who started the fights."
"Not this time…" A surge of power made the houshi's scalp tingle. Gasping and falling to his knees, Miroku fought with a bout of dizziness. Shippou skidded to a halt and returned to help his friend.
"What's the matter?"
"I, ugh, something's wrong."
"No kidding!" Shippou was anxious; the sound of clashing swords had begun.
"Not that," Miroku whispered weakly. He grabbed his head between his hands and groaned in pain. "There's something else, someone out there."
"What?" Finally taking the houshi's words seriously, Shippou scoured the surrounding forest for any signs of danger. His fox ears and nose twitched when he felt what Miroku was talking about. "Shit."
"Yeah," Miroku was surprised into a laugh. The dizziness was fading, but tingling remained. "Do you see anything?"
"No," Shippou frowned. Fear crept along his skin. "Let's get to Kagome. I have a terrible feeling about this. It's probably what's causing Inuyasha to go ballistic." Miroku had a bad premonition that Shippou was right.
Kagome was having her own problems. It was supposed to have been a simple day. She was just quietly sleeping and enjoying the sun. The others were goofing off as usual. Why isn't anything simple anymore?
When she had woken up to see Sesshoumaru blocking the sun overhead, Kagome hadn't been too surprised. That in itself was a surprise, because at one time she would have screamed her head off upon seeing his elegant face so close to her. Instead, she sat up and listened to what he had to say. Again, he surprised her. It was a recurring experience with this unpredictable youkai.
"I take it that you are neither angry nor do you want anything from me."
Kagome flushed and sat up. She chastised him with, "And good afternoon to you too."
Unfortunately for her, Sesshoumaru didn't have an apologetic bone in his body. He shrugged indifferently. "There is nothing particularly good about it." Kagome glared at him. He continued smoothly, "But if you insist, I suppose that the sun is brighter, and the air is fresher than usual." He was rewarded for his conciliatory effort with a chagrined smile from Kagome.
"So what brings you here, Sesshoumaru-san?" A terrible thought occurred to her. "Rin is okay, isn't she?"
"Rin is fine. In fact, she is running around, picking on Jaken, thanks to you, and basically making my life miserable with her damned hyperactive hide." Sesshoumaru glared at Kagome and said, "And she refuses to leave me alone, constantly asking for her Oneechan."
"Er…" Kagome didn't know how to respond to that long list of complaints.
"You could help by visiting her," he said. Kagome felt like she had just been run over by a juggernaut.
She finally found her voice, and said, "You want me to visit?"
"Visit Rin," he made sure that she understood that fine point. A little bemused, Kagome just stared up at him.
That was when Inuyasha had interrupted them. Now the brothers were fighting. That was not unusual, but what was, was that Inuyasha had been the one to instigate the fight this time instead of the other way around. Something was terribly wrong. Kagome felt that in her bones as surely as she was human. Desperate to stop Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha for hurting each other over a misunderstanding, Kagome tried to reason with them.
"Inuyasha, stop it! He wasn't doing anything," she yelled at the half-youkai.
"Stay out of this Kagome!" Inuyasha yelled back at her. He was not about to listen to reason. Already his voice was deepening and gaining that gravely quality that it had when he was transforming. "This bastard would have hurt you if he had the chance. I just stopped him before he did."
Inuyasha turned his shoulder and brought the transformed Tetsusaiga up just in time to stop Sesshoumaru's downward strike. The two strained against each other, swords held at angles and locked at the hilts. Their feet were leaving grooves in the dry earth from where they had planted themselves. Kagome could see the strain on Inuyasha's face from Tetsusaiga's weight. Ever since Toutousai had re-forged it, the sword was heavier and Inuyasha had as yet to become used to its weight.
"Stay out of this, bitch," Inuyasha snarled back.
Shocked and hurt despite herself, Kagome flinched. Seeing that he could not be reasoned with, she turned to Sesshoumaru to see reason. "Sesshoumaru-san, please tell him this is all a mistake."
"…" He didn't act as if he heard her at first, making Kagome worry that there was no hope of stopping the pointless battle, and then he said, "Inuyasha, put the fang down."
"Who do you think you're fooling?" Inuyasha challenged him. "Don't you think I know that if I do that, you'll take advantage?"
It was the wrong thing to say. Sesshoumaru snarled and bared his fangs. His voice was vicious when he spoke. "You," he made the simple word sound like a curse, "have no concept of honor."
Sesshoumaru twisted his grip and slid Tenseiga off of Tetsusaiga just as he flipped out of reach. Inuyasha dropped his sword and gasped for breath, but continued to glare after his opponent. Kagome looked on with wide eyes. Miroku and Shippou had finally reached her, but they did not have time for questions, as Sesshoumaru was not done with what he had to say yet. He simply would not, could not, stop the words from pouring forth. Decades of locking them away, and in a single unguarded moment, he could no longer contain them. Sesshoumaru was detachedly disgusted at himself.
"Inuyasha…" he said. "You always thought you knew everything. Ever since you were but a child, always, you were judgmental and accusing. But you know nothing about me." The last was spoken softly, tragically, coldly.
Inuyasha's eyes flared. His response was swift, raw and bleeding like an open wound. "Don't talk to me about honor," he screamed. "You. You are the one who killed our father. You are the one who caused my mother to die from heartache. You're the one who abandoned us!"
Kagome's heart stopped; she swayed on her feet, feeling pain buffet her on all sides, relentless, unforgiving, and so fresh. Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha were cutting each other up with words.
Naraku was more than satisfied. In fact, if he were capable of joy, then that was what he was feeling as he watched Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru's destined confrontation. The jewel pulsed in time with his heartbeat.
Inuyasha screamed at Sesshoumaru even as tears spilled. His, hers, or someone else's, he did not know. They blurred his vision as he charged at Sesshoumaru with Tetsusaiga raised to his right shoulder and level with the ground. Bringing his own sword up, Sesshoumaru knew that a deep rage had taken seed in his brother. But that anger was just as well. It was time that the truth was revealed.
"No, no, no," Kagome gripped her knees and chanted the words repeatedly. Tears flowed hot and never-ending from between her tightly shut eyelids. Distantly, she could not understand her own behavior. Sesshoumaru needed help, and Inuyasha needed to be stopped. The entire situation was a complete turnaround from the norm, bizarre, but even more so, was the fact that she felt such immense aching pain from seeing them fight. Kagome was nearly paralyzed by her own inexplicable intensity of emotion.
Miroku knelt by her in growing concern. He had never seen Kagome react in such a way before, and it bothered him on many levels, some of which he would not broach for fear of losing his self-formed illusions.
"Kagome-sama," he tentatively touched her shoulder, almost afraid that she would push him away and call him a pervert again. Kagome didn't. She fell into his surprised arms and cried into his shoulder. His arms encircled her of their own volition. Miroku closed his eyes to hide his guilty pleasure, his pain, and his secrets.
"Make them stop," she cried. "Please, Miroku-sama, make them stop hurting each other."
He flinched at the mention of the combating brothers. Always, it is about them. Miroku pushed aside his personal interests. He needed to warn her of the danger. "Kagome-sama, there is something behind this. Someone is out there causing this."
"What do you mean?" she asked. Blurry and huge in a pale face, her eyes lit on his.
Shippou, who had been quiet and observing Miroku, spoke up. "There's something wrong with the way Inuyasha's acting, Kagome. I know he's a jerk but he wouldn't pick a fight with Sesshoumaru if he were in his right mind. Heck, no one would unless they wanted to commit suicide."
"'Unless they wanted to commit suicide.'" Kagome quoted.
A whisper of power tickled at her imbalanced senses. Those words triggered something in her mind, opened a door she had been ignoring all morning, and Kagome felt it: the Shikon no Tama. Unerringly, Kagome looked into the trees and spotted a recognizable baboon pelt. Miroku and Shippou followed her gaze in dread.
Naraku cursed the interfering and frightening girl. She would ruin his plans yet again, if he did not do something quick. Naraku chuckled. Well, he would do something all right. Nothing would stop him this day.
"Come now Inuyasha, let us take a walk down memory lane. Surely you haven't forgotten what it felt like to kill the one you love."
The jewel flashed brilliantly, shifting colors in rapid succession. And yet, somehow, it was always a little gray around the edges of that brilliance: tainted.
[End Part 1]
Sengoku Jidai: Japan's "Era of the Warring States", this was a feudal period in which clans across Japan battled for domination and land.
Shikon no Tama: "Jewel of Four Souls" Breaking down the Japanese words, this is literally [FOUR SOUL(s) (particle indicating possession) JEWEL/SPHERE/BEAD], however one must use a lot of context clues when translating Japanese. =P
Houshi: wandering monk? … I have to look this up. (Gomen ^^;)
Oneechan: used to address an older sister with fondness, or can be used with a slightly older female you are close to and speak casually with.
Hai: literally "yes", this is an expression of agreement that can be translated many ways.
Aa: expression of agreement… I think only men are supposed to use this… not sure though.
Saya: a sword sheathe