Walk into My Parlor
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: (AU) 99.9 KINU, the hottest radio station, is hosting its annual Halloween Haunted House. Inuyasha has snagged tickets for the first walk through. However, at midnight of Halloween, more than just mechanical monsters awaken in the house and the group finds themselves at the mercy of the true spirits of Halloween.
Warning: Mature means mature.
& & & & & & & &
Chapter Eleven A Heavy Nothing
"God damn it! Kagome! Kagome!" Inuyasha yelled as he threw his body against the solid door. It was blocked with something, maybe even a spell. "Hang on Kagome."
He continued working on the door, hearing her cries and whimpers from the other side. Frantically searching around him, he found nothing he could use to break the door down. His own strength had failed him.
He turned to see – surprise - his brother running up to him with Sango, Rin, and Miroku behind him. What surprised him even more was what his brother brought for him. Was the situation that bad? He thought he could handle it by himself. It looked like the others might have thought otherwise.
"But Kagome's in there." He yelled at his stupid half-brother. "I don't want to fuckin' kill her."
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes at his ignorant sibling. "It won't kill her if you're careful."
"Fuck you very much." He spat rudely, snatching the object out of his brother's hands. Then he noticed what Sesshoumaru brought of his. He looked at his brother, now more worried than before.
"Just in case."
Inuyasha nodded. After getting everyone to stand back, he took a deep breath, gripping and re-gripping the handle of his sword in his nervous hands. He wouldn't kill her, but he wasn't going to let her die either. Raising the fang above his head, the sword swirled in red, activating the barrier breaking technique. It was the only thing that could be keeping the door closed. He swung his sword down, releasing a shockwave of power that quickly tore away at the barrier that imprisoned Kagome.
With sword in hand, Inuyasha rushed in for find Kagome. She was bound to a chair covered in giant spiders, about the size of a tarantula. He swiped at them with his claws, clearing them off of her body.
"Kagome!" He called out.
She opened her eyes and let out a blood-curdling scream.
"Kagome. I'm going to get you out of here. Just hang on."
"He's . . . he's still here." She warned him as he sliced at the rope that confined her to the chair. He looked at her. The way here eyes stared blankly forward, she was in shock.
"You hear that?" Inuyasha yelled out behind him.
Just then, Sesshoumaru entered the room. Kagome eyes went wide at the sight of Inuyasha's older brother. "What are you doing here?" It was the last thing she asked before passing out.
"Inuyasha, hurry and get her out of here. We need to all leave now."
Cradling an unconscious Kagome bridal style, the six hurried out of the building, only to stop once they reached the safety of the street. They all turned to look back at the structure, knowing that the evil that had imprisoned and tortured Kagome remained hiding inside. Exactly where inside though, they didn't know for sure.
Inuyasha, placing Tessaiga into his black leather belt, was able to get his first real look at Kagome. His youkai howled angrily for vengeance and his human side wept for her pain. The clothes she hardly wore did very little to cover her body, exposing not only her skin, but the lacerations that covered her creamy flesh.
Sango bent down next to Inuyasha, watching as he licked his fingers so he could wash the blood away form the more serious wounds; his saliva would help them her to recover quicker and without as much scaring.
"Inuyasha, she needs medical help. Now." Sango wasn't going to touch Kagome, let alone try to take her away to get the help she needed. Not while Inuyasha clung to her beaten body.
Inuyasha shook his head, taking great care in helping her as much as he was able to. But he knew that it wasn't going to be enough. He still had to go after the thing that did this to her.
"Take her to Kaede." He barked his order at Sango.
"Huh." She as surprised that he was so willing to let her go. For sure she thought he'd make Kagome wait until he killed whatever it was that lurked about.
"Damnit. Take her to Kaede's. I don't trust those damn doctors." Inuyasha gently handed Kagome over to Sango. Miroku was by her side to help with the limp girl, receiving a very threatening growl from the hanyou. Even Miroku knew better than to try to cop a feel of the girl of a very possessive inu-hanyou.
Sango and Miroku loaded Kagome up into the backseat of Sango's SUV. Sango stayed in the backseat with Kagome, cradling the girl's heavy head in her lap. Inuyasha gave no indication as to how far gone she really was. Perhaps he didn't want to burden himself with such a morbid outlook.
Inuyasha stood alongside his half-brother, both had their darkened topaz eyes narrowed at the site where the one that dared harm Kagome dastardly coward from their mere presence.
Yet, if they were to walk back inside, they would set foot into his domain, a place that was under his control. This left the brothers with only a limited number of options. And out of those, there was only one that would satisfy the inu-youkai of both brothers.
Their burning sulfurous eyes met for a moment, a moment of understanding. They knew what they had to do. Sesshoumaru unleashed Tensaiga and held it out to his side, the thin narrow blade extruding out almost vertically. Inuyasha had Tessaiga over his head, his stance ready to give the final blow.
With a fluid flick of his write, Sesshoumaru swung Tensaiga, opening a perfect black circle, the doorway to the bottomless pits of hell. Now that the doorway was opened, Inuyasha brought his sword down, launching a vibrant attack at the building.
"Kaze no Kizu!" Inuyasha shouted over the shriek of his youki attacking the cut in the whirlwinds of his own youki, Sesshoumaru's youki and that of the monster inside.
A horribly cry screamed out form inside the building as it was engulfed in Inuyasha's power, only then to be vacuumed into the darkened gateway to hell, courtesy of Sesshoumaru. The brothers watched as everything within the circumference of the circle disappeared. The circle Sesshoumaru called forth quickly closed up, leaving only a giant hold of dirt.
Kagome's nightmare was just about over.
Rin ran up to Sesshoumaru as he placed Tensaiga back into its sheath, a sign that the threat was over with. Tears flowed from her chocolate eyes as it was finally over and yet, they still didn't know how Kagome was fairing. Sesshoumaru lead Rin over to his vehicle and helped her inside.
"Inuyasha." Sesshoumaru's voice remained calm for everyone's sake. He was not one to lose his temper, though he would not blame Inuyasha for giving into his emotions this one time.
Inuyasha climbed into his brother's car silently. He would not feel anything until he knew that Kagome was going to be fine. Until then, he would hold out on celebrating, or grieving.
"Inuyasha." Sango greeted the hanyou as they arrive at the old miko's house. Miroku stood next to Sango in the living where they were waiting.
"Any word?" Rin asked knowing neither brother would open their mouths to ask.
Sango pressed her lips together before shaking her head. "No. It's still too early."
"Sit." Miroku kindly instructed the others. "I believe it may be a long wait. Even Kaede-sama was shocked by her condition.
Sesshoumaru opted to stand by the leather recliner chair Rin found to relax in. Sango and Miroku continued to occupy the matching leather couch. Inuyasha was restless. He paced around the room, occasionally growling or mumbling to himself. His white dog ears were flattened against his skull, his arms cross against his chest, and the Tessaiga was still at his hip as he stood guard and waited.
When dawn broke with still no word on Kagome, Rin and Sango made tea and brought out snacks for all to share. Inuyasha refused to eat until he knew something on Kagome's condition. Sesshoumaru accepted some tea and nothing else.
Inuyasha grew more agitated as the hours passed. Sango and Rin fell asleep from the long wait. Miroku grew tired, but remained awake to wake up the girls in case of some news.
"Old hag better not be fuckin' sleepin' in there." The first sentence that Inuyasha had muttered all night that was intelligible to Sesshoumaru's ears.
Kaede finally emerged from the back part of her house that evening. Miroku shook Sango awake as Sesshoumaru did the same to Rin. Five curious and eager faces were locked on the one-eyed miko that stumbled into the empty wooden rocking chair.
"Well . . . ?" Inuyasha demanded none too politely.
She ignored him as she took a deep breath, closing her sleepy eye long enough to compose herself for the onslaught of questions and answers that would be exchanged among the group.
Kaede reopened her eye and fixed her gaze on the hanyou.
"Kagome will be fine."
A chorus of relieved sighs filled the air as everyone but Inuyasha was finally able to relax. He needed to physically see her, to let his senses overfill with everything Kagome. For him, hearing the old woman say it was not near enough to quell his youkai. His aura needed to feel hers.
Now it was turn to unmask the cause of Kagome's condition so she could properly treat the other wounds that Kagome suffered. Sango offered the weary old woman a cup of tea, which she graciously accepted.
"Now," her voice spoke out, strong and demanding of their attention and open honesty. "Calmly tell me what happened to Kagome."
Stone-death silence plummeted down onto the room. Five pairs of tormented eyes skimmed the old woman's room. The tension amplified at an exponential rate, threatening to burst the moment any one of them dared to speak.
Sango sat up from the soft leather cushions she had sunk into, mouth open, ready to talk. "Uh . . . "was the only sound she could utter. "Well . . . we . . . we really don't know. One minute she's . . . and the next . . . "Sango couldn't find a worthy explanation. She felt that without giving Kaede something to go off of, that she was abandoning her best friend.
"Aye child. Calm down. Just tell me, from the beginning, what you did, saw. I do not expect thee to give me a detailed analysis of all forces involved."
"Okay then." Sango smiled. She felt her stiff body relax as the memories slowly revealed themselves to her in a manner that was useful. "Kagome and I headed over to the Takahashi cabin to finalize stuff for the party. We were there for about three and a half hours I'd say."
Sango looked to Miroku for confirmation, to which he nodded in the affirmative. "Then we left to attend the haunted house for which we had tickers for."
"Haunted house?" Kaede hadn't realized that people still explored those things. But tickets, that meant it was a business, and the house was set up for fun.
It was Rin's turn. "Yeah. The radio station I work at, KINU, we put on a haunted house every year for Halloween." She paused to yawn. "This year, the company that owns KINU bought this old house for us to use. We'd just have to change things every year."
Kaede listened intently, just letting them tell their tales only as they could. But she was compelled to interrupt, to ask one question.
"Uh, the one next to the Tsutakawa's estate."
"Kumo no su."
Kaede couldn't believe she dared to speak the name of that house. A house that many her age remembered, and tried so hard to forget. Nothing more needed to be said from the youngsters. Kaede had found her answer.
Could she, did she have the resolve to share with these children the tale of horror that haunted her as a child? Kaede knew that none of them would be satisfied if she warned them to just forget about it.
"Fifty or so years ago, that house was a family home. A beautiful young woman lived there with her mother and younger sister. One night, a stranger came to town. As a family of miko, it was in their hearts to allow the stranger boarding. All they had done was invite pure evil into their home."
Closing her eye, Kaede sipped on some tea to soothe her parched throat. It was a difficult story to tell.
"The mother and the youngest were killed instantly, sparing the eldest daughter's life. The man had fallen in love with her and wanted her only for himself. When she refused him, he went mad."
"You said kumo woman. Explain."
Kaede winced at Sesshoumaru's voice. She was getting around to that. It was best to keep comments about the inu-pack to herself.
"The man tortured the woman, hoping that pain and misery would help her to change her mind. This was no ordinary man. He was a kumo, a spider youkai with a mind incapable of love. The bodies of the three women appeared in the front yard three weeks after his arrival into town. All were horribly mutilated. There are no words . . . "
"Priests and monks worked on sealing the evil, but none were powerful enough. Instead, the house was left alone, to sit there until there came a time when its evil could be eradicated."
Miroku glanced over at the story-teller. "How does this relate to Kagome? And why not Sango?"
"Kagome is a miko. And she bore a physical resemblance to that girl. It was as if the devils were giving him a second chance."
"Or the Gods giving us a chance to destroy him." Miroku added.
"What . . . what was this man's name?" Sango has never heard this story which surprised her because a demon was involved. Her family would have had some involvement.
"He arrived in town as Onigumo. And remained there as Naraku."
Sango found herself unable to move. Onigumo. Naraku. She knew those names. The names those in her family, her clan, were forbidden to utter at anytime.
"Ye know of his name."
"Yes. The only bounty my people have ever failed at capturing. Many died trying to obtain him. It is something that . . . oh gods." She sobbed out. "If . . . poor Kagome."
Sango turned into Miroku and cried, finding herself believing that her family's history made her somehow guilty for Kagome's condition.
Kaede placed her empty cup of tea down on the table. Her exhausted bones grumbled as she stood up. As she had nothing more to say and needed to hear no more, she headed toward the room where Kagome slept. Now that she knew who was responsible, she could start immediately on Kagome's other injuries.
"Oi, I wanna see Kagome." Inuyasha had tightly grabbed the old woman's arm, but not enough to hurt her, just keep her still.
"No?" He questioned. How could she deny him the right to see Kagome?
"No. ye will not like it."
Inuyasha didn't like that response. "What the hell do you mean hag?"
Kaede placed a comforting hand on the wound-up hanyou's grip. "Please Inuyasha, not yet."
He didn't know how to take that. Kaede took advantage of his stall to escape into the back part of her house. When Inuyasha noticed Kaede had left, he hurried after her.
"Fuck." The other heard Inuyasha yell. "God damn barrier."
Miroku stifled a quick chuckle. Inuyasha growled at the boy.
"Sorry, I was going to warn you."
Inuyasha grumbled a fit of fresh expletives that had Rin in a fit of giggles. Sango smiled at the girl, even though guilt still bounced around in her thoughts. Inuyasha found that all he could do was wait, grumble, cuss and wait.
& & & & & &
Kaede knelt down on the tatami mat next to the thick futon where Kagome's tattered body lied. The girl was naked except for a light piece of cotton cloth draped over her waist. It was the only part of her body that had been spared from Naraku's inflictions.
It wasn't Kagome's slashed body that she was worried about, it was her mind. What Kaede hadn't said to the young ones was actually what was hurting Kagome the most. Yes, she mentioned torture, but not how Naraku was able to torture his victims.
That family of victims, when their bodies were found, had been found in a state of composition consistent with a body that had died three weeks prior, except for the one girl, who had been buried just days earlier. But the injuries, the markings . . . for all of them, they hinted at weeks, even months of captivity and daily beatings. Naraku was not just evil, but he was an illusionist.
Kagome rested here, now, as a girl who had been in his clutches for mere minutes suffered wounds that had lasted almost three whole weeks. In the young girl's mind, she had hallucinated a terrible delusion brought on by Naraku, a delusion that Kaede couldn't heal. As long as Kagome slept, Naraku still had control of her. His body, his soul may have been sent to the underworld, but a part of him remained in Kagome.
This was why Inuyasha or any other could not visit her without knowing what had transpired in Kagome's nightmare, it was safer for Kagome to remain alone. In Kagome's mind, it could have been Inuyasha who violently tortured her flesh.
Kaede had to tread carefully, for she may have been a part of the young girl's torment. It was why Kaede had her remain in an ofuda-induced coma, one which reduced her mind into a tabula rasa. It was all she could do until help arrived, someone who could enter Kagome's mind and help her find an exit from Naraku's illusions.
The door to Kaede's house opened as three strangers entered. The five still waiting for Kagome watched as the three walked down the hallway and easily passed through the barrier Kaede had set up to keep the others out.
Inuyasha suspiciously eyed the trio. Kaede gave no mention to guests or weird youkai coming over for a morning visit. This troubled him. They could easily be related to Naraku. And since Kaede had refused to come out from behind that damn barrier, he knew nothing on Kagome's condition.
"Damnit . . . I . . . "Inuyasha didn't know what to say. His only goal was Kagome.
Inuyasha turned to see his brother approaching him. They met in an area away form the humans, giving Sesshoumaru the opportunity to converse with his brother privately.
"Do you know who those three are?"
Inuyasha sniffed the air as their scents still lingered. He shook his head as he found no recognition of those youkai.
"The tall woman with the dark hair adorned with feathers is Kagura. The smaller female, the pure white one is Kanna. And the young male is Akago."
Those names Inuyasha recognized. Kagome had mentioned them to him when used to talk to him about her miko training with Kaede. She explained how there were injuries to the body and then there were injuries to the mind. Inuyasha struggled to grab onto the memories of that conversation. But those names, Kagome mentioned those names specifically.
It hit him hard. "She's . . . "Sesshoumaru just walked away, letting the rushing revelation quickly fill his ignorant half-brother's mind.
Kagome, his Kagome was . . .
He fell to his knees, cradling his aching head. This was why Kaede kept him from her. This was why he sat out here, along, waiting. Kagome's mind was falling apart. Those demons were here to try and salvage it. But it was a delicate process. A mind could be easily manipulated and extremely difficult to save.
& & & & & & &
Kaede bowed to her guests. "I thank thee for coming so quickly."
The trio bowed to the old miko. Only for Kaede would they come without an appointment; just a polite phone call. They noticed the girl lying on the futon concluding that she was the reason they were summoned.
"Are those her friends out there?" Kagura asked, noticing the frazzled group of mixed heritages in the living room. Interesting mix for a miko at such a young age. Times had certainly changed.
"Aye. They are eager to hear of good news."
Kagura smiled at the old woman. "Then we better not disappoint."
Kaede repositioned herself in the far corner of the dimly lit room, making herself comfortable on one of the tattered sitting cushions. She watched as the three youkai positioned themselves around Kagome's dormant form.
Akago was a small child youkai with white hair. His periwinkle eyes examined the girl that lay before him. He knelt down next to her hand, hands folded in his lap as he waited for the others.
Kanna, an albino youkai child, pulled out a round mirror from her knapsack as she sat down next to Kagome, on her right side. Gracefully, she held the mirror in a manner so that Kagura, who sat directly across from her, could look at it.
"You may remove the ofuda." Kagura instructed Kaede as the three of them were ready to start the procedure. Kaede nodded as she pressed her hands together and whispered the release command.
"AHHHHHH . . . ." Kagome screamed, her back arching to the onslaught of pain and the continuation of her illusion. Her body thrashed as her mind fought with her invisible enemy.
Kagura placed her hands on Kagome's sternum and held her down. She looked over at Akago. Closing his eyes, he placed his hands on her head, his fingers melting into her flesh, searching for a connection from his mind to hers.
Kagura watched as Kanna's mirror reflected Kagome's memories and her illusion to Kagura. She was surprised that Kagome's mind allowed them such easy access. Many clung onto their illusion as their true reality. In Kagome's case, a part of her refused Naraku's illusion. This gave them hope that she could be completely saved.
Akago worked on guiding Kagome out of the illusion to a place where she was once again the master of her mind. Kagura noticed sweat beading on Akago's face as his brows furrowed. He was struggling to help her.
"Inu . . . ya . . . sha . . . "Kagome's quiet voice feebly whispered.
In Kanna's mirror, images of Inuyasha flashed by, some bringing a blush to Kagura's mature cheeks. From the scenes, she made a quick conclusion. It was something they'd never done before. But seeing Akago struggle, it was worth a try.
"Who is Inuyasha?"
"The impatient hanyou who waits outside."
& & & & & &
Kaede strode quickly down the hallway and found the upset hanyou curled up against the wall. She was reluctant to the idea, but trusted their decision.
"Inuyasha." He jumped up to his feet at the sight of the old miko. "Follow me."
Quietly he followed her down the hall, hesitant to go through the barrier, but Kaede reassured him that he was allowed through. Kaede slid the shouji open and motioned for Inuyasha to enter before closing it again. Kagura stood there to greet the hanyou.
"I'm Kagura." She stated. "Please, sit down here." She showed him the red sitting pillow put there for him next to her green one. Inuyasha sat down after Kagura.
His youkai wailed at Kagome. She held little color, little life in her. He could easily sense her distress and his immediate response was to hold her, find some way to bring her comfort.
"Please, take her hand if you wish."
He didn't have to be told twice. His clawed hands tenderly encased hers and he could already feel a change in her aura. The trio of demons noticed it too.
"You may talk to her. She'll hear you." Kagura suggested. After only seeing images of the love Kagome had for the hanyou did they surmise that his presence would greatly give her strength. Her mind was still battling Naraku, even in his death. He'd infused the illusion onto her soul.
"Uh . . . hi . . . Kagome . . . "His wavering voice cracked out. He didn't know what to say or how to act.
Kagura frowned. She for sure thought that his voice would help her. "Is that how you normally talk to her?" Inuyasha looked confused. "I've seen her memories." She explained.
Inuyasha understood. He'd been afraid to say anything to her that would hinder the healing process. Looking down at Kagome, he saw the only girl he trust, the only woman for him.
"Oi, wench, when are you going to wake up? I'm going to have to clean that fuckin' cabin all by myself."
Kagura motioned for him to continue. Nothing was better than her getting worse. Kagome may need to hear more. Inuyasha nodded.
"And you have to help me pass that Trig test next week. Come on, lazy ass and get moving. I don't have all weekend to sit around watching you sleep all day."
Still nothing. But Kagura urged him on. They had nothing to lose by it.
"Shit, Kagome. Fine. Stay here. Tomorrow, I get to eat your lunch. And I'll be late so those girls in Trig will flirt with me so they take my tardy."
Kagome's aura pulsed. Akago's hands were forced out of her mind and Kanna's mirror went blank. Everyone in the room sat still, unsure of what was actually happening. Nothing like this had ever occurred before.
"Uh." Kagome forced a grunt out as she became aware of her stiff muscles working against her.
"Kagome?" Inuyasha examined the girl, taking in the changes she was going through.
" . . . "A few words that Inuyasha couldn't even make out left her parched lips.
"B . . . bad . d . dog . . . sit."
"Goddamn wench." He widely grinned.
Kagome opened her eyes and the hanyou's honey colored eyes were glaring happily back at her. The others in the room sighed. It was over and it would appear that Kagome would be mostly okay. There would always be those lingering images, but she had won. Naraku's illusion was broken and any trace of him was sitting all in hell.
Kaede motioned for the trio of demon psyche healers to leave the two alone. She would have to tell the others of the happy news. As she feared, it would be some time before Inuyasha would ever leave Kagome's side.
"How ya feelin'?"
"I think I'll be okay." She really didn't know what to feel. In a span of half an hour, she lived an extra three weeks. It was over with, that she was glad about.
How was she going to deal with three weeks of memories that never happened? Her relationship with Inuyasha was technically only a few days old, not those weeks that had happened in her mind.
Inuyasha arched a brow at her blush, and the scent of arousal. "Oi, what did happen in your illusion?"
Kagome naughtily grinned at him. "You'd like to know, wouldn't you?" She teased hoping that the laughing and the jokes would distract her from the pain.
He really wanted to take that bait, but he couldn't. Not this soon. Not everything that happened in her illusion was that good. Still, it wasn't fair that she got to have memories like those when he only had poor fantasies.
"Inuyasha." He looked at her, waiting. "Thank you, for saving me."
"Really. My illusion . . . it was . . . these wounds are self-inflicted, at least I, in the . . . I did this to myself . . . and I found myself at a point where I had no hope. My illusion of you, my memories of the real you, all of you, saved me."
Kagome stretched up her hand, reaching out to his face. He was her real Inuyasha. She sat up, despite his whimpers of protest, her caressing thumb quieting him down. Closing her eyes, she leaned in close, brushing her lips against his.
Inuyasha lost track of his breath, his body stilled at her kiss. She pulled away from his shocked form. Running her fingers along his lips, she smiled.
"Stay with me."
He nodded as he lied down next to her, holding her body against his. The Tessaiga rested next to the futon, just in case. He would always protect her and he would keep that promise for as long as they both lived. Lying with her, neither noticed that their auras melded into one, their souls reaching out to touch the others. That only happened when the owners of those auras were in love.
A Scribe's Babble:
Sorry about the confusion of the story being complete. I left Wednesday to go to a wedding, and I had marked the story complete and I forgot to upload the chapter. Many apologies.
Anyhoo, there you go. A Halloween story with a Valentine's Day ending. I hope you all enjoyed it. It was fun to write. Except for the spider part. I thought spiders were attacking me any time I felt an itch or a tickle from a piece of fuzz. And you may never look at a zit or pimple the same way again. Sorry.
Tabula rasa is a term used in philosophy that states when we are born, are minds are blank slates and that we have no inert traits or qualities, everything we learn and know come from experiences of our daily physical lives. I used this for Kagome because the coma that Kaede induced reduced her mind to a blank slate. Just for clarification. Tabula rasa actually means blank slate.
Kumo no su spider's web. You can think of that house as Naraku's spider web, where he waits for his victims to enter before trapping them and torturing him.
The title of this chapter is a twist off of Shakespeare's description of a dream which he calls an 'airy nothing'. Since this was a nightmare, I thought heavy would be a good descriptor and since it was an illusion it was nothing.
The title of this entire story comes from a poem by Mary Howitt. I couldn't resist the whole Naraku and his spider mark. If Naraku were confined to some padded room in a mental hospital, I imagine this would be the type of song he would sing.
you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there."
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