A Life for a Life

The blinding light slowly cleared away from Kagome's vision. She blinked slowly as she tried to regain her sight. When it came to her, she found herself in a room filled with light. The study, the room she had been standing in, was now completely restored. The books and scrolls lining the shelves were still new and their pages crisp. The wood of the doors and walls was no longer dulled with dust and age, but deep with color and polished to a dull shine.

Kagome turned around slowly as she took in what she was seeing and tried to figure out what had happened.

- DONG! -

The deep chime of the old clock startled Kagome so badly she jumped and spun around to face the noise. But as she turned, her foot caught against something and she lost her balance, tumbling to the ground. The wind rushed out of her when she landed, but when she shifted to try and pull herself up, her hands came in contact with something hot and think which made her blood run cold.

- DONG! -

Her eyes finally saw the large puddle of dark red liquid spreading out across the floor, and as she followed it to its source she found the body lying dead within the pool of its own blood.

- DONG! -

Kagome crawled over to the body. She reached out with a shaky hand and turned it over so that she could look upon the face, but though she hadn't seen him yet, she knew who it was.

- DONG! -

A heavy sob left her as she reached to brush away the silken strands of his hair from his face. His alabaster skin had been left deathly pale, and even the makings brushing across his cheeks and rested upon his brow were dulled of their vivid colors. His eyes were closed to his life, but even so, Kagome could picture the piercing gold that she wished she could look upon one last time.

- DONG! -

Her eyes traveled down his body, her sight coming to rest on the darkness staining his pristine white garments. She moved her hand to rest over the wound, but though she could feel his blood there was no more force behind it. His heart had already stopped.

- DONG! -

"Sesshomaru," she called his name softly and reverently. To see such a strong and proud being brought down in this way was breaking her heart. "Please," she whispered. "Please wake up. You can't die like this. Not you. Not like this."

- DONG! -

Her tears spilled from her eyes, crystalline waters filled with her pain and heartache. She knew she was too lat to stop it. But as her tears fell, dripping down to mingle in with his blood; something strange began to happen.

- DONG! -

A warming pulse coursed through Kagome body, startling her. Her hand slipped away from where it had rested against Sesshomaru's chest, but instead of hitting the floor, it came to rest on the blade by his side. The pulsing came again, strong under her hand, and Kagome realized that it was the blade speaking to her.

- DONG! -

"Tenseiga," She whispered in awe as she closed her hand over the hilt of the sword. "Can you help him even now?" The sword pulsed again in answer, and Kagome understood. She pulled the powerful fang from its sheath and held it up with the blade pointed downwards. "Please work," she prayed. Then, with shaky hands, she plunged the blade deeply into Sesshomaru's chest.

- DONG! -

The Fang of Heaven pulsed again in her hands as its length began to glow a magnificent blue. Through its magic, Tenseiga opened Kagome eyes to the servants of the underworld. She knew what had to be done. She called upon the sacred powers coursing through her veins, pushing the into the demon's blade in her grasp. The light given off by the sword intensified, becoming so brilliant that the creatures come to take away the soul of the dead pulled back from it in horror. But they could not escape what magic had been released, and they were consumed by the light.

- DONG! -

When the magical light faded away, Kagome drew in a shaky breath and pulled the sword our of Sesshomaru's chest. She let it clatter to the floor beside her, paying it no more heed as she focused her attention solely on Sesshomaru. She called his name softly as she leaned in to him looking for any signs of change. She lifted her hand and brushed it softly against the side of his face, feeling warmth again in his once deathly-cold skin.

- DONG! -

Slowly, his eyes opened, revealing to her the magnificent gold she had so hoped to see. She smiled at him, a smile of pure joy, and she couldn't help the relived tears that spilled down from her eyes.

But her time in this place had come to an end. The witching hour had drawn to close, and as the time of magic faded for another day, Kagome was fading with it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Sesshomaru watched as the young miko faded from his sight. She had been there with him, not simply some apparition, but the girl herself. His senses would not lie to him, and he knew that those tears she shed were real and that they were for him. But even before his mind caught up with what had happened and what she had done for him, he realized that it wasn't possible for the miko to have come to him, because the girl had already died in the battle against Naraku.


Rin's tortured scream from the courtyard spurred Sesshomaru into action before he think any further on the matter. In a flash of demon speed, he left the warm light of his study behind and moved to confront the darkness.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

- - DING DONG - -

Kagome shot up in her bed. She looked around frantically, her breathing rushed and harsh, but there was nothing out of place in her bedroom.

"KAGOME!!" Souta's voice carried up to her from where he had yelled her name at the bottom of the stairs. "YOUR FRIENDS ARE HERE!!"

Kagome pulled her covers away in a rush and rolled out of her bed. She moved quickly to the door, but when she saw her reflection in the mirror, she stopped dead. She was still dressed in her miko's garb, even her bow and quiver were still slung across her shoulder; and soaked deeply into the fabric of her clothing Sesshomaru's blood still stained the cloth.

"Kagome?" The door to her room swung open, and Yuka, dressed in her maid's costume, stepped in. "Hey, nice costume!" She cried happily. "A dead miko, how'd you ever come up with that one?"

Kagome stared wide-eyed in shock and disbelief at her friend, but the surprises for the young miko were not over yet. Behind Yuka, Kagome could see Eri and Ayumi coming up to her room to greet her. They were both smiling and laughing as though none of the horrors they had experienced together in the haunted mansion had happened.

"Kagome?" Ayumi asked in worry as she stepped closer to her friend. "Is something the matter?"


Thankfully, Kagome's stuttering was interrupted when Yuka laughed merrily at her. "Ok, Kagome, we get it, you can't talk. But you know, I think you might be pushing the whole walking dead thing a bit. I mean, who says the dead can't talk?"

Kagome blinked and turned her head in jerky motions to face Yuka, but she just laughed again, still thinking Kagome was playing her Halloween part.

"Come on," Yuka urged as she put her arm around Kagome's shoulders. "We're going to be late."

"Late for what?" Kagome asked with a trace of fear in her voice.

"Ahhh, nice try, Kagome," Yuka replied. "But you don't honestly expect me to believe you don't know where we're going when you were the one that came up with those awesome invitations."

"Yeah!" Eri chimed in with glee. "I hear this party is going to be the hottest thing anywhere tonight!"

"You sure must have friends in high places," Ayumi added with a bright smile.

"Well, that's enough chit-chat," Yuka cut in. "It's getting late, and we don't want to miss out."

And with that, Kagome friends grabbed onto her and began pulling her out of her room towards whatever it was they were leading her towards.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kagome shivered violently as the cab she and her friends were riding in pulled down the same stretch of road that they had gone down to approach the haunted mansion. She wanted to say something, she wanted to stop the cab, she wanted to scream and to run away from what was coming; but all she could do was shiver with fearful anticipation. All around her, her friends were carrying on about how wonderful the party was going to be, and swapping tall-tales with the driver as to how they obtained their invitation to the exclusive event. There was so much joy and excitement in their voices, but Kagome couldn't feel any of it.

As the cab neared the spot where they had gotten out on their last journey to this place, Kagome was surprised to see that a large laneway lit with beautiful hanging lanterns running the entire length. The cab pulled down the laneway, and Kagome began to take in the sight of the forest surrounding them. The trees were large and full with branching stretching high into the sky, but they were not the angry sentinels that had bore down on them as they trekked through the forest, and through the bare branches the light from the moon and stars spilled down to fill the wood with natural light. There was no deep and penetrating shadows, there was no ghostly howls echoing through the night. It was as though the darkness had been stripped away from this place.

They approached the grand estate, passing by the proudly standing statue of the great white dog at the elaborate gates. Even from a distance, Kagome could see the bright lights of the mansion sending their merry glow into the night and hear the sound of joyous voices calling out in celebration. This place, she realized, was no longer haunted by death, but filled with life.

She had stopped the darkness from corrupting this place when she had saved Sesshomaru, and in so doing she had changed the future.

A small, happy smile began playing on her lips as the cab pulled up the main entrance of the estate. When she stepped out of the car, all around she could see humans and youkai alike dressed in elaborate costumes in spirit of the season, and conversing with each other as thought no differences existed between them. They all laughed and smiled as they enjoyed the generosity of the master of the house.

Then, from out of the main entrance, he walked forward to greet her. Kagome nearly lost her composure when she saw the gentle smile on Sesshomaru's lips meant only for her, but she lost it all together and promptly fell on her ass when he bent at the waist and dipped gracefully down into a respectful bow.

She looked up hesitantly from her position on the ground, only to be greeted by a sound she thought she would never hear: the deep, smooth rumbles of Sesshomaru's laughter. He reached down to her and offered her his hand. She hesitated a moment in indecision, but then accepted his offer to help her to her feet.

"It has been a long time, Kagome," He told her once she was standing on her own. "But you once saved my life, and now I plan on returning the favor."


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Well, that was fun ;)

I thought I should take the other side of the time paradox for this one. Where I usually play on the idea that everything in the timeline runs in a circle, so that events that happened in the past must always happen again to create the future; this time I made it so that what happens in the past does change the future. Anyways, it was fun while it lasted.

How does one than a Shadow? Why, by reviewing of course!

Disclaimer: Unfortunately my imagination only goes so far as to create plotlines not characters. I don't own any of them.