"Now!" Inuyasha screeched, tearing a small area of Naraku's armor off. She should see it, and as she took aim, Kagome's mind flashed through all the events that had lead to this moment.
There was the first moments in feudal Japan, when she blundered through the forest and ran into the peculiar boy that had been pinned to the tree. And the moment she removed the arrow, only to be recklessly pursued. Inuyasha had grown since then. The hanyou who certainly would have killed her for the jewel was the first man she ever kissed, and, if this arrow hit the mark, maybe a little more than that.
Then there were her other allies, all touched by the cruelty of the Naraku. Sango lost her family and then spent the better part of a year torn to pieces emotionally as Naraku used her little brother like a puppet. In a moment of lucidity and regret, Kohaku himself had used his sickle to remove the shard from his back, dying instantly. If this arrow hit the mark, Sango would be able to move on with her life.
"Kagome, you can do this!" Miroku shouted from behind her, staring down at his own curse. The wind tunnel in his hand was widening by the minute as Naraku's flesh-eating poison ate at the sides of it. He only had minutes to live. If her arrow hit the mark, he'd be free from his curse, and he'd help Sango move on with her life.
This is for everyone you've hurt, and every life you've destroyed, Naraku.
She heard the twang of her bow, and saw the light that surrounded the arrow as it sailed across the dark cavern. The earth-shattering noise and flash of light seemed to numb her senses, but when she finally opened her eyes again, the Shikkon Jewel glittered in the center of the cave, pure and free from it's former owner's wickedness.
Kagome walked over to it and picked it up, appreciating seeing it full and complete for the first time since she pierced it with her arrow so long before. All the suffering and work had been for this little stone, and it had finally returned to her.
Then, she suddenly felt subdued by the jewel, as if it had a will of its own. Kagome felt herself starting to lose consciousness, and tried to fight, but the will of the jewel drastically overpowered her.
When Kagome woke up, she was sitting in the bottom of the well. "Inuyasha?"
"Sis, you're okay!" Souta shouted. "Are you hurt?"
"What's wrong with you, Souta?" Kagome said. "I'm fine, just like always."
Souta peeked over the edge of the well. "Right, because you fall in the creepy well all the time. Stupid Buyo."
Kagome gasped, noticing Souta looked younger...Buyo...the creepy well...Kagome swallowed hard. "Souta, what's the date today?"
"It's the third of February." Souta said. "2001 if you're too stupid to remember what year it is."
"That's the day I feel in here!" Kagome screamed.
Souta was getting tired of Kagome. "Duh, how long did you think you were in there? I'm getting Gramps, I think you must have hit your head."
I completed the jewel, and purified it. I remember that much, but why would it send me back to the exact moment I crossed over? I'm fifteen again, and six years of my life just disappeared. Kagome thought.
Kagome tried to sense the jewel in her own body, but there was none. So, she decided she'd test her purification powers, but looked at her hands when nothing happened. Then, she pulled up her stomach, looking for the scar from Naraku's miasma. None. All of the scars had just vanished.
She crawled out of the well, realizing it was just a hole in the ground and it wasn't going to take her anywhere. As she left the well house, Kagome looked over at the Sacred Tree. It still bore the scar where Kikyou sealed Inuyasha to the tree, and she could almost imagine him lazily stretched out on the great branches.
"Kagome!" Her mother said, rushing out of their home. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Mom." Kagome said.
Six Months Later
Ayumi walked next to her. "I have those history notes. What were you so distracted about during class?"
"Oh, it was nothing." Kagome replied.
Kagome's life had largely returned to normal, as if nothing had ever happened to her. She still went to school, and she spent time with her disastrously nosy group of friends. The first weeks had been rough, but Kagome knew that she simply couldn't have expected to live in two times forever.
I didn't belong there. It wasn't my time, and my presence there already had an impact. But...I miss them. I miss Inuyasha. They're all dead now, claimed by old age long ago. The age of demons is over, and life now is different.
Maybe sending me back in time was the intent all along. I wrecked my life here to search for jewel shards, failing classes, ignoring my friends, even scarring and injuring my own body in the dangerous search for the jewel.
Kagome and Ayumi walked across the street from where they stood and entered a bookstore. "Alright, the project was to read something dealing with feudal life." Ayumi said. "In other words, a borefest."
Kagome giggled. Or so you think! They filed through the rows of books and she randomly chose one about religion in the feudal times, smiling as she remembered the lecherous monk, who, for all his sexual drive, had great spiritual power and a sense of peace, even as his life seemed to drain away.
"Which one? Mythology or Subsistence Farming?" Ayumi said, holding up two books. "Mythology might be interesting, I've heard people back then were really superstitious."
Maybe the jewel left this earth because of my mission? Maybe the jewel called me to come back and the energy to link both times used all of it's power?
Kagome couldn't deny there seemed to be something in her that allowed her heart to heal easily. Maybe some of the jewel's power? She sighed and continued walking home, realizing her life simply went on, regardless of how much she thought about her adventures in feudal Japan.
The book bored her, containing nothing that truly interested her. Life wasn't the way the author said it was, and the people certainly weren't pathetic, superstitious simpletons. They had legitimate reasons for being frightened. How many times had she seen entire villages destroyed?
The next week, she prepared her presentation, not feeling particularly happy about having to stand in front of everyone and talk. She could fire arrows and ride a half-demon, but public speaking truly made her feel shy. When her turn arrived, she walked to the front of the room.
"In feudal Japan, people were very suspicious, assuming anything that couldn't be easily explained was the work of demons. Many people were killed in what was similar to the witch hunt in early America. People with unusual features or traits were considered outcasts. Many monks took advantage of this." She frowned as her stomach turned. "I'm sorry, I don't feel well." She said, walking back to her seat and slumping down. How many times had Miroku gotten them food and beds with his 'perception,' constantly sensing demonic auras anywhere a pretty woman and a good dinner might be.
"Would you like to go to the nurse?" Her teacher asked, and Kagome nodded, happy to get out of class. She leaned against the wall just outside of her classroom and daydreamed about her long lost friends.
"...Sesshomaru..." Kagome's jerked back to reality as the name hit her ears. She listened to Ayumi, who was giving her report about mythology. "So, this Sesshomaru was some kind of warrior. Except he was only born with one arm. According to legend, he was actually a powerful demon and could walk around as a giant beast when he wanted to. Unfortunately, he was foul-mouthed and hot tempered, and lusted after a sword left to his older brother."
Wrong. Inuyasha was the younger brother. And the one with the potty mouth! And Sesshomaru wasn't born that way!
"In the end, he and his brother had a common enemy. They destroyed the Unnamed One, but his heart lived on. His heart possessed the body of a priestess and he placed a curse on the brothers, who fought until Sesshomaru was sealed to a cave for all eternity with the very sword he wanted."
Naraku. That's right...we never destroyed his heart!
"...the older brother..."
Inuyasha was younger!
"...died as a result of injuries from the battle, but killed the body of the priestess, ending the evil of the Unnamed One forever..."
Kagome felt the tears as she ran down the hallway. It can't be true. It can't! I fought so hard, and we killed that bastard! I can't believe Inuyasha died like that. It's not fair! Out the door and down the steps, then across the street, cars dodging her as she made her escape.
She ran through the park where she and Inuyasha were walking when So'unga came to them and fell to her knees, sobbing. "Inuyasha!" Kagome screamed out loud. She cried and cried and cried, until she felt as if she was all out of tears, and numb. Maybe that stupid book was wrong.
Even if everything it says was true, Sesshomaru doesn't deserve to be sealed up forever. The last times I saw him, he really seemed to have changed. Then again, it IS Sesshomaru. How many times did I nearly died because of him? Few demons could simply scare the crap out of me in the way that he could.
"I'm going to find out." Kagome said, resolutely. She wiped her tears away, straightened her skirt, and walked to the bookstore, grabbing a copy of the book Ayumi had read.
When she got home, she found that the book was mostly filled with crap, passed down from generation to generation, but she did find small bits of truth hidden in it. She smiled triumphantly when she turned to page 101, which told her exactly what she wanted to know.
"The two brothers fought in the Cave of Midoriko, trapped in a fight to the death. Unfortunately, neither emerged alive, and both the priestess and the elder brother were killed. The younger, Sesshomaru, was sealed to the wall of the cave for all of time." It read.
"I know where that is." Kagome whispered.
Three days later, she found herself scaling up a mountain. "I wish Inuyasha was here. He did all the work!" She grunted. Of course, it might help if the old road that lead of the mountain hadn't been destroyed and covered by rocks. The mountain had actually changed a lot, and she assumed there had been an earthquake or avalanche of massive proportions at some point.
When she reached the grassy area where the demon slayer's village used to be, she felt a sadness overtake her. Where there used to be reminders of the destruction, there was only grass, beautiful and thick. The graves of the slayers were no longer marked of visible, their memory disappearing into the earth. Why had they come here to fight? It seemed a strange place for Naraku to choose.
Kagome walked to the end of the village, to the cave, only to discover the entrance was blocked by a mountain of rock. " Perfect." She said, sarcastically. "How the hell am I supposed to get through that?" Noticing the warning that was carved into the rock nearby, she sighed. "I'm apparently not supposed to."
Kagome remembered the last time she'd been in the cave, the place haunted by the presence of Midoriko.
Maybe it was the will of Midoriko that I go back in time? She thought, kicking at the insurmountable wall of rock.
Her eyes wandered around for a possible way to sneak in, back she nothing. "Maybe if I just sit down." She said, jumping as the wall of rock rumbled and some of it fell. "Sit?" She said again, stunned when it came down just a little more. Oh no, his body must be in there somewhere. I...never took the beads off, and I was the only one that could. Inuyasha deserves a proper burial. Kagome thought.
Sorry, Inuyasha, but this is the only way for me to get to you.
"Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!" Kagome screamed, as the wall came crashing down, causing a cloud of dust. She coughed, and looked through the dust as it settled. She complacently slapped her neck, then froze as she realized she remembered that feeling.
"Myoga?" She said, holding the flea out in front of her.
"Kagome!" Myoga sobbed. "Is it really you?"
"You're...still alive." Kagome said.
He nodded. "I too was sealed in the cave, although given the choice, I would have stayed anyway." Myoga said. "I promised my master I would serve his family forever, and his family line ended in that cave."
"Inuyasha's body is in there?" Kagome asked.
Myoga shook his head. "No, his body was taken out of here when the mountain started to collapse. The beads must have fallen off of him." Kagome nodded, relieved that she wouldn't have to see his body. "Kagome, how did you learn about this?"
"I read a book about myths." Kagome said as she started to crawl over the rocks that had obstructed her way. She spotted the beads and picked them up. "He had to wear these for the rest of his life."
"Aye." Myoga said. "Even if he could have taken them off, he wouldn't have dreamed about it. Inuyasha was deeply saddened when you disappeared, although we knew you had simply been returned to your time to live your life."
"I read Sesshomaru has been sealed up forever." Kagome said.
"It seems that way." Myoga said, frowning. "It a sad end, since the brothers had truly accepted one another in the wake of Naraku's defeat."
Kagome put the flea on her shoulder. "So how do we undo it?"
"Tessaiga will not allow itself to be removed from Sesshomaru." Myoga said. "It rejects even my touch., still recognizing the will of Inuyasha, which was for Sesshomaru to remain here for all time."
Kagome climbed down into the cave and looked around, noticing the cave was lit quite well by the sunshine that spilled into it from the collapsed rock wall. Her gaze fixated on Sesshomaru. She had expected to see his elegant form impaled and stuck to a wall, but instead, the three legged beast was hanging high above them, as if his sealing had been violent and agonizing.
Myoga forlornly commented. "This place is pure, and Midoriko's faint residual aura has probably tormented him since the moment he was sealed."
Kagome's eyes widened. "Remember when So'unga took control of Inuyasha? The beads, along with a little force, were able to overpower the sword. We know the incantation still works, and it did take down that massive wall."
"That's right, Kagome!" Myoga said. "Those beads have Kaede's spiritual power in them!" Kagome nodded and started to climb toward Sesshomaru, pitying the poor guy. "Are you sure you want to awaken him?" Myoga said.
"We can't just leave him here forever." Kagome said, as her grip slipped. She reached out for something to stop her fall, hanging onto a wad of fur. The beads would never fit around Sesshomaru's neck in his canine form, and Kagome didn't really want to take something that had once been Inuyasha's and use it on his brother. She navigated across Sesshomaru's chest, his fur holding her up above the razor sharp stalagmites beneath them.
Reaching out, she realized she couldn't reach Tessaiga's handle because it was transformed into it's true form. "Damnit!" She climbed up higher, then slowly lowered her feet down onto the swords broad blade.
"Kagome, you're going to fall!' Myoga said. "Don't do this!"
Kagome lost her balance and fell forward, on her hands and knees on top of the blade. Still, she crawled forward and knotted the beads around it's handle. Then, she carefully made her way back to Sesshomaru's body and crawled onto the back of his neck.
"Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!" Kagome screamed, watching the Tessaiga battle the beads for dominance. "Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit!"
A hideous roar resonated through the cavern as the sword and the beads fell to the ground. Kagome held on tight to his neck, loosing him after he'd landed on the ground, whimpering like a puppy. Sesshomaru transformed, assuming his human form.
"Come, Sesshomaru-sama, you need to leave this cave!" Myoga said.
Kagome pulled on his arm, and he followed her, seeming to be in a daze. When they got to the pile of rock, he picked her up almost instinctively and bounded to freedom.
"I'm...free." Sesshomaru said, sitting down in the grass.
Kagome sat next to him, unsure of what to do. "Are you hungry or thirsty?"
"No." Sesshomaru said, his eyes sad, but thoughtful and confused. He looked down at the blood on his clothes, then at Myoga. "I killed Inuyasha."
"You were under a spell." Kagome said. "Do you remember me?"
Sesshomaru looked up at her, then recklessly buried his head in her neck, making her scream as he sniffed. "You're the miko that removed Tessaiga from Father." Kagome nodded. "It seems many years have past." He said, looking over the grassy area. "You look the same. Maybe even younger. How is this possible?"
Kagome explained about the well, Naraku, and how she'd been sent back to the day she first entered feudal Japan. Sesshomaru absorbed it all, seeming sad and distant, a change from cold and distant, which is all she had seen from him before. "This time is very different." Kagome said. "Demons don't just run around now. Most people think demons are just legend."
"Humans." Sesshomaru said. "A few centuries and they forget who once owned this land."
"Anyway." Kagome said. "I need to go home, or my mom is going to be pissed at me for staying out too late."
Myoga interrupted. "Kagome, what should we do?"
She hesitated. She hadn't thought about this before. "Hmm...you can stay with me. But my mom can't find out you're even there. There are so many things I don't want to explain. People would think I'm totally insane."
"Thank you, Kagome, your kindness always astounds me." Myoga said.
Kagome nodded and started the journey down the mountain. She got about twenty feet down and looked up to see Sesshomaru staring at her with a strange look of amusement. "What's so funny?"
"Humans." He said.
"You can----AHHH!" Kagome screamed as she suddenly found herself bounding through the air, held close to Sesshomaru as he landed and raced across the countryside for the city. "Stop, you don't know where you're going!" She said.
Sesshomaru didn't so much as credit her complaint with a response, continuing his lightning-fast trek across modern Japan. The taxi that took her to the base of the mountain took over two hours, but Sesshomaru brought her into Tokyo within twenty minutes. His face seemed to take on a look of disgust as he observed the movements of modern humans, but he mostly ignored it as he maneuvered onto the shrine grounds and then into Kagome's window.
"Wow." Was all Kagome said. "You're fast."
"Even this Sesshomaru understands the need to avoid drawing maternal wrath." He said, looking around her room. Inuyasha had been hasty and confused by technology, but Sesshomaru looked around as if wondering how it all worked. For all Kagome knew, he could probably sense the electricity and water coursing down their respective routes in the walls. "You should be thankful your mother is not Daiyoukai."
Kagome couldn't help but to smile. "This is my room. Sometimes my little brother will barge in here, or the cat. My mom and grandpa knock."
"You are a bastard child then?" Sesshomaru asked.
Kagome fisted her hands. "I don't see your dad anywhere around, does that make you a bastard?"
He tilted his head. "I have not been inside of your father's stomach." He said, referring to the day Kagome pulled Tessaiga out out the body of Sesshomaru and Inuyasha's father.
"My dad divorced my mom." Kagome said. "I don't really see him much."
Myoga broke in. "I'm sorry to hear that, Kagome." He hopped to the bookcase. "Your books, do some of them have history in them?"
Kagome nodded and pulled a few books out. "I think you guys should catch up before you try to go out. The world isn't the same, you can't just go Tokijin on everyone."
"I have no need. I can 'go Tessaiga' instead." Sesshomaru said.
"You took the sword?" Kagome asked. "And it didn't reject you?"
Sesshomaru didn't answer, but turned to the window. "I sense demonic energy. It is hidden, but poorly." He looked back at his bloody clothes. "Is there a place for me to wash these?"
"I can." Kagome said. "Take it off." Sesshomaru stared. "I've seen you totally naked in demon form. What's the big deal?" He took off his armor, and put it on the floor, then undressed, leaving just his pants on. When he turned Kagome gasped and pointed. "You don't have nipples!"
Sesshomaru gave her a decidedly perturbed expression. "I would need them for what reason?"
"Human men have them." Kagome said.
"Do they also breastfeed?" He asked.
"Ewww!" Kagome replied. "Of course not!" She suddenly found herself blushing, and she turned, "I'm going to go wash these."
"Miko, you would do good for yourself by not pointing at men when they disrobe." Sesshomaru said as the door closed.
Of course, when she returned, he and the flea were nowhere to be found.
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