The battle had been raging for close to an hour and the hanyou with amber eyes was wearing thin. His fire rat haori, as well as his silver hair, was soaked through with sweat. He stood poised and faced the demon that had evaded almost every attack so far as well as managed to take away his precious tetsusaiga.
Inuyasha grunted as he dug his nails into his arm and with a small snarl, and a smile that barely exposed the tips of his fangs, he made his move.
"Blades of blood!" he cried as he leapt into the air and arcs of red blades flew at the enraged demon.
With a blood curdling yelp, the demon lost her right arm to Inuyasha's attack and stood dumb founded.
"Ha! That's what you get for taking my sword you old wench," said the hanyou, only audible to himself. Then finally his voice thundered in impatience.
"Kagome, where's the jewel shard?"
The priestess in training concentrated for that familiar tug within her soul and the glint of purple that would become visible shortly there after.
"I'm trying, Inuyasha," she began but couldn't locate it anywhere on the she-demon's body. She inched her way around the she-demon, forcing herself between a rocky ledge and the demon's lost arm in an attempt to gain a different vantage point and discover the whereabouts of the shard embedded in the creature before her, but with no luck.
"What little patience our half demon comrade had is running thin with this long battle, Shippo," drawled the voice of Miroku to his little kitsune companion. With his sacred sutras all but used up, he was left with only his wind tunnel. However, with Inuyasha on one side of the battlefield and Sango riding Kirara's back on the other, there was no chance for him to use his ultimate weapon without sending his friends into an endless void. He gripped the beads around his hand nervously with that thought on his mind.
Finding her footing once again, the she-demon began to laugh, chilling everyone nearby to their very souls. Her green hair swung loosely around where her arm once was and within moments, her fallen limb began to grow back. Another cackle was let loose from between her ruby red lips and her green eyes glittered as she flexed her new hand at the halfling that had lost it for her in the first place.
"You really think you could render me useless so easily?" she snarled with a glint of her fangs shining. "I think not half blood."
"Shut it! I'm not through with you yet…Iron reaver soul-- KAGOME! LOOK OUT!"
But it was too late for Kagome. Without warning, the demon had wrapped her forest green hair around the young girl's neck and lifted her into the air, hanging her perilously over the edge of the rocks and into a ravine below.
"I-Inu…Yasha….Help…me…" choked out Kagome. She could feel her world slowly slipping out of focus and she dug her hands into the green hair and squirmed in an effort to free herself when she saw it. The jewel shard was embedded in the blackened tree that InuYasha's sword had been buried in at the beginning of the battle.
"Kagome! Hold on, Kagome!"
With the last bit of oxygen stolen from her lungs and no way to bring it back, Kagome let her world fade to black.
With a flash of heat, Sango landed between Miroku and the she-demon at the far end of the battlefield.
"Sango, shouldn't you be out there assisting Inuyasha?"
"I should, but I'm afraid that my boomerang would be no help. I'm afraid that I would only send Kagome falling to her doom!"
"My lady. What kindness you have in your heart to keep your companion safe!"
It wasn't long there after that there was a loud THWACK and the lecherous monk was left with a red handprint on the side of his face and Sango retreated to safety with Shippo. There was no doubt that the monk had let his hand wander to the demon hunter's rear.
"The tree? Is…Is that where the jewel shard is hiding? I'm going for it!"
He dodged and weaved between the demon's attacks of leaf blades and shots of poison. He lunged at his tetsusaiga and ripped it from the tree's meat and watched in awe as it shuttered from the force.
The tree disintegrated in an instant and with one final ear piercing shriek that nearly paralyzed Inuyasha on the spot, the horrible she-demon exploded into nothing more than a pile of deep green leaves and it wasn't until then that he saw what he had done wrong.
She was falling, and fast, into the deep ravine. He couldn't tell exactly how deep it was as the sun was setting and casting an eerie pink glow into the depths of the pit, but he sprinted forward with little more than a flash of red before Miroku and Sango's eyes.
"Inuyasha! Kagome!" yelled Miroku then stopped and surveyed the new peace and silence that had settled around him.
Before he truly understood what was happening, he was plummeting through the air and Kagome was about a hand's length from him. His tetsusaiga remained unsheathed in his right hand, but still transformed to its full power.
"Gotcha!" he cried as he snatched Kagome from midair.
Kagome, please. Open your eyes. Open your eyes and yell at me. Tell me I'm stupid. Damn it, you can sit me for all I care, so long as I know you're alright!
He turned, pulling Kagome close to him and dug his tetsusaiga into the rock wall in front of him as well as his feet to slow their descent. He thought he heard a small click and his shin began to burn, but with his demon hearing quickly fading him from the sudden adrenaline rush, he couldn't be sure of anything more than the pain.
C'mon. C'mon! Work damn it! I can't risk harming her!
The tetsusaiga ripped through the rock as if it were butter and did little to slow their plunge. Inuyasha looked upward and watched as what little pink was left in the sky darkened to purple.
C'mon tetsusaiga. I can't afford this tonight. Not with the…
There was a pulse and InuYasha gasped and watched as a yellow light formed around tetsusaiga and it transformed back to its dull, lifeless state. The blade immediately halted in the rocks, paying no heed to Inuyasha and the girl in his arms. Then it happened. There was a pop and InuYasha felt his shoulder give way under the immense pressure of stopping. He began shaking with the effort to hold both him and Kagome in place and soon he could do nothing more than let go.
I'm sorry, Kagome. I've let you down.
He brought her close to him and, with much pain, brought his right arm around the girl's tiny waist and cradled her head with his left while they fell. He rotated through the air, placing himself beneath her to protect her from the impact of the fall. He shuddered as the pain in his right shoulder became overwhelming and soon he felt his left shin and ankle screaming in agony from their part in slowing the duo's descent. His vision became less and less clear and he felt his claws shrinking to nails, his fangs to normal human teeth. He took a shaky breath as he resigned to his human transformation and prayed to the gods that he could save Kagome's life. He didn't know whether they had fallen feet, inches or even miles when at long last he hit a pond, resigned himself to his pain and passed out.