Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own a thing.
Chapter Eight – Wish
Kagome could feel him, feel his darkness slowly spiral up her spine and into her chest, grip her pounding heart as they neared the clearing settled in the forest of the west.
"How do you know he'll give you your heart?" She asked the demoness Kagura as they landed, Sesshoumaru not too far behind and hidden in the shadows.
"You're more important to him." She replied and tugged her forward by the wrist.
Kagome looked behind her, saw a glint of silver blue hair in the moonlight and felt the dread and fear ease right before Naraku materialized in front of them. His red eyes gleamed as a predatory smile turned his lips.
"I've missed you Kagome."
"My heart for her." Kagura held on to the blue-eyed woman, eyes alert and distrustful.
"Of course." His hand outstretched, it started to glow an eerie blood red as he moved closer to them, as Kagura was drawn to what was so precious to her.
But right before her eyes, Naraku curled his deadly fingers and crushed it, let the icy wind carry away the crimson sands of her heart.
"Foolish demoness. You put too much faith in my lying words."
A cry in her soul and before she knew it, a black tentacle was driven through her chest. Kagura choked out a harsh breath, shoved Kagome behind her before another could grab the woman and called upon her element one final time. Razor sharp blades of wind spun and effortlessly sliced through Naraku. But she cursed as her final breaths left her body, as she started to disappear just like her heart. Just a puppet.
In a flash of silver blue, Sesshoumaru had Kagome in his arms before the real Naraku could get to her. Now in the open, the half demon faced him, fury in his eyes.
"If it isn't the almighty Sesshoumaru-sama." He sneered and looked at Kagome. "She belongs to me so if you don't mind, do hand her over."
Sesshoumaru held her closer, tighter. "You will die tonight Naraku."
He narrowed his crimson eyes, felt his blood flow in an angry rush. No one was supposed to touch her but him. His back exploded in a mass of black tentacles, snaked towards the daiyoukai in streaming waves.
"I will paint your lands in your blood Sesshoumaru!" Naraku shouted as his minions burst through the trees.
Sesshoumaru deftly unsheathed the swords at his waist and turned to look at Kagome. "Inuyasha and my men are right behind us. Run to them and they'll protect you."
She hesitated before nodding and taking off at a run.
"You cannot escape me my nightingale." Naraku sent his black extension flying towards her, smiled when it caught her ankle before it was sliced in half. He turned his eyes towards Sesshoumaru, growled at his interference and engaged the inuyoukai in the final battle.
Inuyasha flew through the trees and broke into the clearing, immediately pulling out his sword. He saw Kagome running towards him and yelled for Sango and Miroku to protect her. She nodded and grabbed the other woman by the arm as they fended off the enemy army closing in.
Blades and arrows pierced through armor and skin, punctured lungs and hearts as blood ran in rivers onto the snow-covered ground. Inuyasha drove his sword into an enemy and punched another in the face, crushing its jaw. Swinging his blade in a large arc, he sliced clean through a demon's arm, kicked him to the ground and rammed his razor sharp weapon into its chest. Inuyasha caught sight of his brother and Naraku not too far away and fought his way through the throng of madness. Everywhere the sounds of metal against metal, screams of the dying and wounded. Bodies fell to the ground, were stepped on as soldiers fought to the death, fought to see another sunrise.
Sesshoumaru sliced through tentacle after tentacle. His acid whip spiraled all around him as he got closer and closer to Naraku. He could see his brother rapidly coming in from the side and just as Inuyasha extended his blade outward, the glint of his sword diverting Naraku's attention, Sesshoumaru jumped into the air and like lightning drove the tip of his sword deep into the evil hanyou's chest, eliciting a sharp cry of pain and a cascade of dark crimson.
But Naraku wouldn't allow the daiyoukai to escape unscathed and quickly materialized a tentacle from behind Sesshoumaru and propelled it through his shoulder. He gritted his teeth as his demonic life-blood poured from the wound and down his arm, staining his once pristine kimono red. Inuyasha was thrown to the ground as another one of Naraku's extensions of himself tore through his middle, leaving a gaping hole in its wake.
Hissing in mind numbing pain, Naraku ripped out Sesshoumaru's blade. Mind consumed with infernal rage, he attacked the dog demon. "You will die Sesshoumaru and after I have ended your existence and all that you know, I will have her and all that she possesses!"
Sesshoumaru dodged a black barrage, silently cursed when one was able to wrap around his leg and bring him to the ground. He quickly cut through it and took to the air. And it was with growing alarm that Sesshoumaru could sense the silent leak of Naraku's miasma into the clearing. If they didn't do something quick, the black poison would soon engulf them all.
Kagome was pushed to the ground as an arrow whizzed by, Sango releasing her bone crushing weapon to ruthlessly cut down the archers. A large staff to the gut and flashes of holy power sent several enemy youkai flying through the air and onto the ground as Miroku tried to secure the little group. How much more could she take of being protected, of not doing anything as those she'd come to know fought for their lives, survived by a thread in order to end Naraku?
A pulse deep within her, a call from the fathomless reaches of her soul.
She stood on shaking legs and clutched her chest, looked all around her, at all the death and dying, took in the blood that covered bodies, seeped through wounds too many to count. She saw Inuyasha struggling to stand as Kikyo tried to get to him, saw Sango and Miroku protecting her with their lives, and saw Sesshoumaru, bleeding and trying to end everything but unable to find the opportunity to do so.
Another pulse vibrated through her, told her that time wasn't on her side.
Kagome glanced one last time at Sango and Miroku, at Inuyasha and Kikyo and all the men she'd come to know in her short time with them. 'Thank you…for allowing me to be a small part of your lives.' And as she shed the outer layer of her kimono, now not as restricted in movement as before, she broke into a swift run towards Naraku and Sesshoumaru, ignoring Sango's calls to come back.
Kagome weaved through the fray, dodged swords and flying bodies, but always, always keeping her blue eyes on both Naraku and Sesshoumaru. Almost there. Her power hummed all around her, divided the black tendrils of poison that were slowly starting to blanket the clearing.
Sesshoumaru felt her before he ever saw her, darting her way towards them, power so pure and tempting being drawn towards the surface.
"Sesshoumaru…" It was a plea to come through with what he'd seen in her eyes. And to end it all he'd have to. It was the only way…
Kagome flew across the distance, glanced at Sesshoumaru as she passed him and felt him follow right behind her. It gave her courage…comfort that she wasn't alone in her last few moments. And as the evil hanyou finally realized what was going to happen, it was already too late. Bursting through the dark shields he'd erected just seconds ago, she threw her arms around him and gasped when Sesshoumaru drove his blade through her body and pierce Naraku's a moment later.
Throwing her head back, eyes wide and unseeing, Kagome exploded in a wave of pure white power that engulfed everything in the clearing, stopped time for an ephemeral moment as the brilliance of what she was purged the darkness…ended it all. She stared into Naraku's wide crimson eyes as he faded in her arms, as the sounds of all the demons he'd consumed crashed into her, dissipated, became nothing in the ebbing tide of her soul.
And as the bright light of her power receded to a dim halo that settled around her, Kagome tried to stop the tears that slid down the contours of her face. A freedom had but oh so fleeting. She would always cherish it though, wouldn't trade it for all the world or even the chance of forever.
She glanced at her fading hand, tried to listen to her own heart that no longer beat a living rhythm and felt the sorrow well within her. It was over and now everyone would be safe. They would live and hopefully they would all love, treasure one another because life was only a breath and time, a moment away. Kagome slowly turned around and saw Sesshoumaru reaching out to her, felt him gently trail clawed fingers down the side of her face and across her lips.
"Thank you Kagome…"
She smiled into his caress, ghosted her vanishing hand along the strong angle of his jaw. Remember me…
"Goodbye Sesshoumaru…" Kagome whispered as her body faded under the stars, becoming infinite, sparkling grains of a dying power swept along the winter breeze.
Perhaps in another life…another time…when the sky wasn't so gray and the night so dark…they would all meet again…
'What do you wish for Kagome?'
'…a life that is mine…a life beyond this golden cage…'
A/N: This story that has grown near and dear to my heart was never meant to be something long or epic. It was planned from the beginning as a piece that was short and beautifully tragic. And I purposely left it vague, undefined in many aspects as so many things in life often are. Wonder and draw from it what you will. I'm glad so many of you found it enjoyable though. Appreciation from the bottom of my heart to all those who gave this a chance and read, to all those who reviewed. Many many thanks and much love.