I do not own Inuyasha or its characters, all I can claim are the words that make up this story, and the story itself.
One month...Sorry guys- I had no idea this chapter would take so long. To those who have reviewed, but arn't members...thank you! I would reply if I could to your reviews, but without emails, it is rather difficult. To those that I may have missed, thanks again for reviewing. I love hearing from each of you, and your reviews always leave me smiling. And to those who I have replied to- Thanks again...I loved every review!
Chapter 24: The End
Naraku stalked toward the cave, his fury at Kagome's deceit raging through his blood. She was smart, was already beginning to learn the traits that came with her gift. He'd learned all about her power, had studied it relentlessly though the two hundred years that had passed since taking Midioriko's life.
She was becoming powerful, and soon would be unstoppable. She carried ancient blood in her veins, and with it would come the whispering knowledge to guide it. But he would have her before that happened, would bend her will to his own to use her gift for his own benefit.
And he would punish her for her trickery, for making him track a useless scent for the last hour. She was wasting daylight, his daylight, and he would soon need her blood to continue his ability to exist during the day. He could feel the faint prickle of his skin as he moved through the sunlight. It would become more painful as time went by, and soon he'd be forced to the shadows, and then back into the darkness of the night if he didn't replenish the blood he'd taken from her. His body was burning what was left of her essence at an alarming rate. He needed to feed from her soon.
Naraku stopped at the sound grating past his ears, his dark eyes searching the clearing for the cause. The Earth groaned in agony, its faint rumble becoming louder and louder still. He could feel the ground beneath his feet begin to quake, small tremors at first followed by increasingly turbulent aftershocks.
He turned in a slow circle, his hands flaring outward to expose his claws, his body taking on his curse.
His skin drew tight around his face, eyes falling further into his skull, the whites of them disappearing; only a bead of bloody irises remained in their hollow depths. Fangs glided from his upper jaw as his teeth shifted, and a bitter smile pulled at his lips. Perhaps Kagome was bringing the fight to him after all.
Moving toward the cave at a faster pace, he swore when the Earth exploded before him. He turned instantly, rock and dirt pelting his back, and he narrowed his eyes when he felt it tearing through his shirt and into the soft flesh. The sound of the explosion melted beneath the roaring growl of a pack of wolves. Turning to look over his shoulder Naraku allowed himself to smile.
Kagome was learning her power, and had grown even more powerful. Her wounds were healed, and Naraku knew in that moment that she'd fed, from more than one male in her pack. He wondered if she realized the more she fed, the more powerful she'd become. But no matter. He'd have centuries to teach her, to use her, to corrupt the power she was only now coming to realize.
He waited until the Earth settled around him, then straighted and turned toward the coming battle. He watched as her wolf pack fanned out around her, one large brown wolf with two smaller ones to her right. His eyes stopped momentarily on the only cat with the group- a cat with stunning, bright orange eyes standing near a red wolf off to Kagome's left. So she wasn't fully human either huh.
No matter. He was only interested in the female being shielded from him in the center, the two silver haired wolves standing untransformed beside her. But he wasn't going to give them the long-drawn-out battle they were expecting. No, he didn't have the time nor the patience for that, and the increased stinging of his flesh wouldn't allow it either.
" Come to me." Naraku narrowed his gaze on Kagome, his voice low and hypnotic. He sneered when her head snapped back, her body tensing as she fought his command.
" Never!" she hissed, eyes narrowing in determination even as her foot lifted to take a forward step.
" NOW!" Naraku snarled, sneering when her body shifted a bit closer, her eyes widening in fear the moment she realized she was loosing her control. She was becoming powerful, but she had centuries to go before she could be his equal.
Naraku growled in fury when Sessomaru stepped in front of her, and Inuyasha instead took first one step, then two closer, the red and large brown wolf following. The cat maintained her original position, the two smaller female wolves flanked slightly behind her.
" The only thing coming to you Naraku, is a slow, painful death. Kagome is mine, and I'll tear you apart before you'll lay another finger on her!" Inuyasha snarled, eyes flashing from amber to red and back.
Naraku laughed, his eyes narrowing on Inuyasha's angry form. He stood proud, his body tense and ready to fight. Sessomaru stood silent a few feet behind him, his arm and hand extended to keep Kagome behind him.
The two smaller wolves stayed behind, the one on the right shifting her paws nervously beneath her. She wasn't used to this form, which meant that she had to be Sessomaru's new mate. And what better way to draw Sessomaru away from Kagome than to go after his mate. Instinct would draw him to her leaving Kagome vulnerable; it was just a matter of getting around the rest of the pack, and Inuyasha.
He shifted to mist immediately, watching the pack shift their movements, noses to the air trying to find his scent. The breeze shifted through the trees, the flutter of leaves giving a false sense of peace. Naraku circled, barely touching past the red beast. If he had been in his physical form, he'd have smiled at the way one called Shippo jumped sideways, fierce jaws snapping at the afternoon breeze.
The others of the pack shifted, their eyes searching the sky for something they'd never find. Naraku moved over them, finally coming between the cat and the smallest female noting silently the flawlessness of her shape, even though it currently resided within the body of a beast. Her muscles flexed and released, her soft brown eyes shifting all around as she tried in vain to find him.
Perhaps he could just maim the girl. The women of this pack were beautiful. If any survived this encounter, he'd keep them as toys, use them against Kagome. Yes, and should Kagome refuse him, or grow strong enough to become a threat against him, he'd still have leverage in the women of her pack.
With no male mates to guard them, they'd become nothing more than frail things at his mercy, and in his bed should the fancy strike him. Redirecting his attention to the female he suspected was Sessomaru's new mate, Naraku materialized, his hand snaking out to grab for her neck, but was surprised when she fell back taking him with her. He could hear the vicious growl of her mate echo behind him.
Rin fell back, her body reacting violently to Naraku's touch. She scrambled beneath him, her rear paws clawing at his stomach as they fell. He hovered above her, the bones of his face nearly visible beneath the thin paleness of his skin. His eyes narrowed in surprised anger, his lips pulled back in a feral snarl to expose long, sharp fangs. Distantly she could hear something tearing, and a moment later realized the claws on her back paws caught the front of his shirt. She could hear Sessomaru's anger, and Inuyasha's swearing a few feet further away. But they were coming.
With effort borne of desperation, she kicked out, her rear paws catching the flesh of his stomach to send him hurling up and away from her. She watched in awe as the others in their pack spread out, Inuyasha and Sessomaru running through the center before Inuyasha jumped up and over, his clawed hand grasping Naraku's exposed throat, Sessomaru beneath them.
Naraku found himself sailing through the air, his plan shattered not two minutes after its formation, his shock at the unfolding events keeping him from shifting to mist again. He caught sight of Kagome, and tried twisting his body to land nearer to her when he saw Inuyasha and a moment later felt his flesh tearing, his windpipe crushed violently in the Dogs hand. Naraku's eyes widened in fear, and he realized the second he felt something tearing through his back that it was over. He had underestimated this pack, and their need to protect their own, and it had cost him his existence.
Inuyasha fell to the ground, his feet landing securely beneath him, his arm reaching out to bring Kagome closer to his side, before pulling her face to his chest. He dropped his bloody hand beside him trying to shield Kagome from it and watched Sessomaru pivot beneath Naraku's falling body, his arm nearly elbow deep in the Vampire's flesh.
Naraku fell silent, his body colliding with the ground, his eyes open long enough to see Sessomaru crouched a few feet from him, his still beating heart dropping from the eldest Dogs hand. And then his eyes closed, and Naraku knew no more.
" Are you alright?"
Sessomaru's voice was soft as he knelt before his mate, Kirara and Sango's fur covered bodies curled around her. Rin's body shook in fear, its now human form huddled within the protective bodies of her friends, her mate's voice calling out to her. She'd been so afraid, terrified when Naraku had appeared out of nowhere in front of her. And she'd reacted instantly. Her new form needed some concentration to maintain, but in her terror she'd lost that concentration. Now she sat huddled, naked, between Sango and Kirara.
" You could have mentioned that when one transforms back to their human state, it is without the clothing needed to cover oneself." Rin muttered, smiling when Sessomaru draped his tattered shirt over her shoulders, then lifted her into his embrace.
" You are uninjured?" He already knew the answer to that question, she was fine, but this Sesshomaru needed to hear it from her lips.
" I'm fine Sess, though it would be wonderful to get home to a hot bath...and some decent clothing. "
" But where's the fun in that?" Miroku growled, then yiped when Sango nipped his ear.
" Keep your thoughts to yourself, pervert. Most of us prefer clothing when out in the daylight. " Sango answered, her eyes roving over his form.
" My dear Sango, you would look ravishing nude beneath the afternoon sun, your lithe figure coated in a fine sheen of perspiration, my tongue whispering over your well shaped bre..."
Inuyasha laughed gently at the sight of Miroku running toward the tree line, tail tucked between his legs, Sango hot on his heels. Shippo and Kirara followed, as did Sessomaru carrying Rin.
" Can we go home now?" Kagome murmured, her eyes still resting on Naraku's body. " Is it over?"
Inuyasha tipped her face to his closing the distance between their lips. He kissed her gently before pulling away and smiling down at her.
" It's over. " He replied, his hand reaching to smooth the tattered remains of her clothing.
" Let's go home Kagome. We'll eat, clean up, and then I'll show you again how much I love you."
They moved into the tree line then, their pack not far ahead of them when her voice whispered through the forest.
" Your bed or mine?" Kagome smiled, laughing when Inuyasha caught her against him, his mouth crashing against hers in a heated kiss.
Sure, they'd have some rearranging to do. And they still had her powers to figure out. But they'd do it together. Inuyasha would always be there to protect her, though he would never have to protect her from himself, because she was just as desperate for his love as he was for hers.
It was their laughter that graced the breeze then, their heated whispers that glided harmoniously through the leaves.
And then it was silent, the wind dipping to take the dusty remains of a Vampire off the forest floor, then disappearing as if there had been nothing happening within the sheltered recesses of the forest.
Centuries of time had changed them. Where once they had reigned as feared demons; giant dogs of the sky; evolution had indeed touched on them. It gradually compressed their massive size until their forms were smaller, easier to blend in with the rising cities and the growing population of humans. But even with their new, smaller frames there had been those throughout history who had happened on them when their beasts were no longer contained within their human shells. Their tales have been told throughout history giving birth to horror stories born from years of re-telling. Stories meant to frighten young children to stay in bed at night, campfire tales that haunted ones perspective of what was real, and what was myth. The once prominent title of Dog Demon had long since been replaced by the title of Werewolf. Man by day-beast by night.
But are we sure that they are confined by the darkness?
I know that this chapter is short, but this is the way my head put it together. I had an idea for a new twist for this story, and perhaps later on I will use that twist to create a second part for this story, but for now this is where I will leave it. I know the battle was short, but I think that should Inu and Sess work together, their enemies really wouldn't stand much chance on their own. My opinion...lol
I know that Kagome's powers were never truly explained, but that is intentional. Who truly nows what they are capable of. Your lives, and your abilities are what you make of them, as is your appearance.
It is our differences that make us beautiful. Not our beauty that makes us different.
I am sad to see this story end, but it has been fun, and your thoughts and prayers were there to see me and this story through. In this fic, I found not only over whelming support through your prayers when I had brain surgery, but encouragement, thoughtfulness, and friendships that I will aways cherish. This was one of the most challenging things I have done- not the story, but the energy and passion needed to continue it when so many other challenges presented themselves. But you were all there for me, many sending well wishes through emails just for the sake of saying " Hi- how are you doing?"
And I thank each and every one of you for your continued support, and your friendships. I wouldn't do this without you. I will continue to write as much as I can, and I dearly hope you will all be there to read what my imagination tries to put into words.
Thank you all. Without you all to read it, my words mean nothing.