I'm so close to finishing that I can't stop writing. Which is good, I guess. I was stuck for so long that I'm glad I finally feel like writing again. Anyways, this chapter is a little short because it's really the second half of the previous chapter. Enjoy!
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Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha
Chapter 47: Lights Out
I left Yash on the rock.
He was curled on his side, arm extended, reaching for where my body should have been.
I constructed a small soundproof barrier around both he and the stone, trusting it would be enough to stop his canine hearing abilities from picking up the noise of my departing footsteps. The barrier would last until I disappeared. Hopefully he would stay asleep that long too.
I gathered my courage as I walked away, knowing it was too late to turn back.
By the time I reached the house, I knew what I had to do.
I made my way up the stairs to my bedroom, carefully easing myself through the doorway. The room was dark, but I could hear Kikyo's steady breathing coming from the direction of the bed. Even in her sleep she was able to hold the barrier in place. I crept toward her, allowing my memory to guide me in the dark room. Kikyo was wearing the last Jewel shard around her neck. I held my breath and gently pulled the comforter away from her shoulders. The bright pink glow of the shard lit her features, freed from the dark, blanketed cavern that had covered it. Luckily the chained clasp had managed to twist its way to the front while Kikyo was sleeping. I moved slowly, my hands shaking with the effort not to wake her. The clasp released after what seemed an eternity, and I drew the small bottle containing the Jewel shard away from her body. I quickly tip-toed away from the bed, not releasing my breath until I was outside the bedroom door.
Kikyo was probably so exhausted that she was in a coma-like sleep, unable to sense anything.
It seemed like Lady Luck was on my side tonight.
I crept down the stairs and into the darkened living room, Jewel shard clasped in my hand. I flicked on a lamp and turned toward the coffee table, following the sickening pull of the tainted Jewel. Just as I reached out to touch the box that contained it, I sensed another presence enter the room. I turned quickly, and Shippo stepped out of the shadows, a faint smile on his lips.
"I think you're missing something," he said lightly.
My body language screamed that I was trying to hide something. The moment I'd turned around my hands had shot behind my back, bottle-enclosed Jewel shard hidden within. My posture was stiff, my expression accusatory; I swallowed the urge to shout I didn't do it!
I tilted my head, considering how I should respond to Shippo's statement.
Oh, what the hell? He obviously knew what I was up to. I sighed, and bit the bait. "What am I missing, Shippo?"
He stepped around the couch, a key dangling from one of his claws.
I peeked behind at the box. Damn. Why didn't I notice it had a keyhole? "So it's locked, huh?" I said with a raised brow. The key was gone from his hand; he had taken a comfortable seat on the couch, arms spread nonchalantly across the back.
"What are you planning, Kagome? You already know the Jewel can't be purified with a single pink shard, so what are you trying to do?"
I clenched my teeth in frustration and slowly lowered myself into the chair behind me. "I can't tell you."
His sea-green eyes narrowed as he leaned forward and placed his elbows on his knees, his claw-tipped fingers interlaced in front of his mouth. Gone was the joking façade; he had shifted into business mode. Shippo was the calculating CEO, I the suspicious subordinate. His expression seemed to say How can I deal with you?
I finally sighed and broke the silence. I didn't have time to sit around. I'd already made my decision, and though Shippo probably thought he could change it, there was slim chance of that. He had the key to the box, but there were other ways to break a lock. Miko powers being one of them. "I have to go inside the Jewel, Shippo. It's the only way to end everything."
"Naraku will try to enter your body the moment you touch that Jewel," he shot back.
"He won't be able to. Once I taint this shard, the Jewel will pull it back in, and I'll just go along with it. I don't think Naraku is strong enough to push against that."
"Don't underestimate him."
"Don't underestimate me."
We both grew silent. Shippo leaned back again, weighing the effect of his next words.
"You might die, Kagome."
"I know tha—Wait," I felt my annoyance shift. "What do you mean I might die? Is there a chance I won't?"
Shippo rubbed a tired hand across his face, as though regretting his choice of words.
His eyes met mine and something in my expression must have helped him make his decision; his body sagged and I knew I had won. He would help me.
"Once the Jewel is complete, the holder will be able to use it to make a wish." He furrowed his brow in thought. "I think that if you are the one to complete the Jewel, you will likely be considered the holder."
My heart sped up. "So you're saying I can make any wish I want? Like, I could wish that Naraku had never existed in the first place?"
Shippo straightened sharply. I jumped at the spike in his aura. "You can't wish for that!" he said sternly. "Think about it. If Naraku never existed in the first place, then everything you know will disappear. Five hundred and fifty years of history would be completely rewritten."
"Isn't that a good thing though? Everyone would be happy."
His eyes flashed. "You probably won't exist."
I grew still. "Why not?"
He pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Let's just say a certain monk and a particular demon slayer are your ancestors…. Which they are," he added matter-of-factly. "Without Naraku, they would never have met and had children, and so, following this logic, there is no possible way for you to come about 550 years later."
I blinked. What he was saying made sense…but…
"There's something else, though," Shippo added quietly. "If you make a wish, you'll be using a tainted Shikon no Tama to do it. It'll likely only work if your wish is selfish… or evil."
I sank back into the chair, turning this information over in my mind.
I get one evil wish, huh?
Shippo stood, the lamplight casting shadows on his face. "Call for me when you're ready," he said. "I'll give you the key."
I barely heard him leave.
I had been pacing the room for nearly an hour when I finally gave up. I could literally feel every second that passed, my heart jumping at even the slightest noise. How long would Yash sleep? What if Shippo went and got him?
I'm pretty sure Shippo's plan had been to confuse me, stall me long enough to change my mind. I could feel him prowling close by, probably keeping an eye on me in case I tried to force my way into the box.
Another aura joined Shippo's, and I stopped moving.
The two auras split, Shippo's remaining outside, the other moving at a quick pace toward the house. I blew a breath out in exasperation. It was now or never.
If Shippo had told Inuyasha my plan… well, I was probably about to be bound and gagged.
I hurriedly popped the top off of the bottle and poured the shard into my palm, clenching it hard in my hand, reveling in the tiny pulse of pure energy that emanated from it.
Step 1: Taint the last shard of the Shikon no Tama.
I turned inward, focusing my spiritual energy into my fingertips.
I pictured the Yash, and his future without me. He would be mad, upset, lashing out at anyone and everyone… but there would be one person that could calm him down. I saw all too clearly how he and Kikyo would bond through my disappearance. Over time, Yash would give in to her attention.
My mind's eye painted a nasty picture.
Yash approached Kikyo, pulling her into a hug, bringing her face up toward his.
The envy in my heart spread outward, coursing through my being, fusing with my spiritual powers. I opened my eyes and stared at my fingers. The pink light radiating from my hand pulsed once, twice, and wavered.
I saw Kikyo and Yash fall into a bed. The image shifted, two small children ran past me and scrambled all over a disgruntled Yash. Kikyo caught up, pulling one of the little boys from his father's shoulders.
The pink light pulsed one more time, and then turned black.
I pushed that dark force into the small vessel that I cradled between my fingers. My mouth hitched in a small grin as the pure pink light was swallowed up by the darkness.
The entire process had taken less than a minute.
Ironically, I felt much better after releasing all of the dark energy that I'd held in my heart. I'd kept it at bay for so long; it was like I had finally freed a part of me that had been locked away ever since the discovery of my powers. My grin turned into a full out smile as I directed my tainted powers toward the locked box.
I could feel myself changing; the idea of possessing the tainted Shikon no Tama suddenly became an obsession in my mind.
To have all that power?
To destroy the two people who would so easily forget me?
I needed it, wanted it.
The box-lid and front door exploded open in unison.
Inuyasha slid into the room, his golden eyes wary. I glanced at him. "Stop, Kagome," he said in a tightly controlled voice.
I looked away, slowly turning my gaze toward the dark depths of the Jewel. I could feel it calling for the last piece I held in my hand.
I couldn't drag my vision away. Didn't want to drag my vision away.
Inuyasha was suddenly across the room, his arm on my wrist. I hadn't even realized that I'd been reaching for the Jewel.
"You can't!" he growled. My gaze shifted to the place where his clawed hand was wrapped around my forearm. It would take one pulse of energy to blast him away. I tilted my head, considering. "It's my fight," he was saying. "I have to be the one to kill Naraku. Let me do it."
My whole body froze, his words reverberating through my mind. For a second, the hazy cloud of darkness lifted from my brain and a bolt of inspiration shot through me.
"You're right," I whispered, my eyes darting to his. "You should be the one to kill Naraku."
I think my response was enough to throw him off guard, because he didn't even defend himself when I released a load of dark energy into his body. He flew back, hitting the wall across the room.
I didn't wait to see if he got up.
I turned quickly, working fast. I could feel that every youkai aura within the barrier was now moving toward the house. Yash included.
Kikyo was alert upstairs and Shippo was coming through the front door. This was about to be a party.
I grabbed the ornate box and moved to the far side of the room, trying to buy myself as much time as possible. Inuyasha was back on his feet, cursing at me, and Shippo was standing next to him, eyes narrowed. He held his hand out in a gesture of peace, as though that would help steady the situation. The fox demon was regarding me with the look of someone trying to calm a crazy person, one who was standing on a ledge with a bomb strapped to her chest.
"Kagome," he said slowly. "Don't do this. We can think of something else. There has to be a better way. You don't need to die."
Dying. Death. Disappearing. It was all the same.
To be honest, there was a time after my father died that I thought often and seriously about my own death.
I was young at the time, and it wasn't that I was having suicidal thoughts or anything; I just found it morbidly interesting to think about how I was eventually going to die.
I'd finally reached the conclusion that no matter how it ended up happening, death was probably going to be painful. I mean, if you really think about it, how many people die in a beautiful and painless manner?
What percentage of people actually climbed into bed, went to sleep, and never woke up again?
Probably slim to none.
I was completely and utterly afraid of dying, and I became even more terrified as my hand closed over the Shikon no Tama.
You will not be able to return once you enter… Sesshomaru whispered in my mind.
I released a breath and closed my eyes, giving myself a few moments to just… exist.
This is it, Kagome.
I was probably going to die, and who knew if it would hurt or not… but taking Naraku down with me was enough.
I could hear the alarmed shouts of Inuyasha and Shippo in the background, faint and distant.
I could feel Naraku attempting to push his way out, to merge with me as he had before. I smirked and pushed back. Not this time, you bastard. My spiritual powers met his powers head on, and I finally brought the last Jewel shard to its proper place.
The Shikon completed itself with a sharp click.
I was still pushing against Naraku, but he fell back and I fell with him. The Jewel gladly pulled me into its dark abyss, recognizing my willingness to join it.
I glanced away at the last possible moment, taking my final look at the material world I'd known for my entire life.
My body must have fallen to the floor in the midst of my spiritual tug-of-war with Naraku, because the last thing I saw was very unspectacular.
I blinked at the wooden leg of the sofa, and between that blink and the next, everything disappeared.