Hey guys! :3 I realize people are impatient to read the chapter so they don't really read the author's note at the top (me included). Sorry for taking such a long time to upload this. But i was away on holiday :) Italy was awesome! shoutout to all italian readers! (if i have any... don't think so OTL)

Please remember to review!

I don't own Inuyasha

Enjoy! :)

Chapter 20

The sound of Kagome's footsteps echoed eerily off the walls. She had caught traces of the aura earlier and had been following it but now she felt as if she was going in circles. After wandering aimlessly around the campus grounds, trying to trace the source of the aura that was practically all over the school, she was so frustrated she almost wanted to give up.

Absentmindedly she pushed open the double doors in front of her and stepped into the auditorium. When she looked up she gasped and all weariness was vaporized. She had literally walked right into Shirai's trap. If it even was a trap. It was more like a nest. A thick, black gooey substance completely covered the floor, the walls and hung from the ceiling like vines in an overgrown forest. It flowed and clumped like it was alive. And worst still, it seemed to pulsate and beat every few seconds, like a heart.

It suddenly felt so cold and she felt as if invisible hands were wrapping themselves around her body and dragging her into the hall. With each step she took her feet sunk deeper and deeper into the goo. The goo clung to her and pulled her downwards, until she was so deep in that she could not move any further. Her breath caught in her throat and she looked wildly around, trying to find Shirai among the waves of black. Spotting a thin pillar of the black substance that extended from the floor to the ceiling, she grabbed onto it and pulled, trying to get herself out. Right now the goo was up to her waist; it was as if she was sinking into the floor itself. She pulled and yanked with all her strength until she thought her head was going to burst. She relaxed for a moment and let out the breath of air she had been holding. She wanted to let go of the line but found that she couldn't. The black goo had started to creep out from the pillar itself and was stretching over her hands.

"No! Let go!" Kagome cried out. The thought of calling for help crossed her mind in a flash but then she realized. Who knew she was here? She was alone. She wasn't even sure if Shirai was here or not. She had fallen for the demon's trap so easily.

"That's right… You're so weak and vulnerable… no one will come save you. Always protected? Are you longing for someone? Well, he's not here anymore, is he?"

Kagome stopped struggling. The voice was echoing from inside her head, louder and louder until the voice seemed to escape the confined space of her skull and to the rest of the hall, bouncing back to reach her ears again.

"So much sadness… locked away and buried under so many masks. Let's find the key shall we?"

Something icy cold started to snake up her arm. It was a shadow, barely visible, weaving around her arm and making its way to her chest. Then, quick as a flash it disappeared into her body. Instantly Kagome felt as if she had been stabbed her with a bolt of lightning. She cried out and cringed as her blood seemed to turn to liquid fire. But as the physical pain ebbed away after a moment, what followed was much worse.

All the heartache and silent tears she had suppressed was suddenly flowing out of her heart like a river. She was suddenly reliving all those months spent lonely and confused. All that sadness and pain of losing Inuyasha was suddenly concentrated into that very moment. It filled her entire being with an incredible emptiness. When she opened her eyes she saw Inuyasha, her friends, her life that she had lost. The memories spun and surrounded her and she was lost in a maze of her own emotions. All that she knew was chaos, and pain.

She couldn't move. Not that she wanted to anyway. She was so tired. Her entire body was cocooned in something soft. She was quite comfortable and all she wanted to do was go back to sleep. But something was hissing, echoing in her ear. It just kept getting louder and more annoying. She couldn't ignore it anymore.

As she opened her eyes, at first she thought she was still asleep; everything was dark. But as reality started to come back to her, she realized what was going on.

"Ah, Shirai, I see you have awakened." The voice said.

"W-what the hell's going on? Why did you make me do that? What did you do to Kagome? Did you just eat her?" Shirai yelled.

"Foolish woman, why would I do that? I do not desire to consume her body. Only her broken heart and dark emotions. Anyway, this was your wish, no?" There was a pinch of satisfaction in the voice.

"This… this wasn't how I wanted it! I just wanted to be noticed. To have friends. But you turned me into some witch! Where are you anyway? Show yourself!"

"I am right here and everywhere. The black mud you are sitting in is my body."

"Oh my god… get away from me!" Shirai started to flail and thrash wildly, trying in vain to break free from the pile of black gunk she was sitting upon.

"Kukuku… can't you see? I am already bound to you. As you are to me. You can never escape."

"You… you tricked me!"

"In the contract I agreed to get rid of this woman that you despise so much, with you being my host."

"But I don't want to be a murderer! You didn't tell me you would kill her, or that I would be your prisoner!"

"Shut up woman, you are of no use to me anymore. The illusions I am casting for Kagome is releasing such beautiful despair. Her heart has already been through such pain and suffering at such a young age. Such treasure. Your jealousy and hate pales in comparison. They were merely a pleasant snack. Your body was useful but now you have grown annoying. Perish, and become part of my body."

Black mud started to envelope Shirai's body. She screamed and clawed frantically at the air as her body was pulled into the mud. First her legs, then her abdomen, and her torso. Just as she was about to be completely engulfed in black mud, she felt a ripple travel throughout the entire mud body. The black mud stopped moving and was still for a moment.

For a second Shirai thought the monster had changed its mind. But in the next instant she was completely covered and buried in its body. Squeezing, suffocating her. All she could see, all she could hear, all she could feel was darkness. Then, all she felt was nothing.

Kagome winced slightly before opening her eyes. Her chest felt like it had been knocked open with a hammer and run through with a chainsaw. She wiped away the solitary tear that slid down her cheek. Now was not the time for crying.

The demon had unlocked all of the painful memories of the past she had stashed away in her heart. It had shown her countless illusions of her friends, and more importantly Inuyasha. She had seen his face everywhere. She had seen Kikyo too.

As Kagome got to her feet, her eyes were hard. The feelings that had been flowing out of her heart only a moment earlier was suddenly replaced with anger.

"What makes you think you can just go probing into people's hearts whenever you like it? Enough is enough. Let Shirai go!" Kagome shouted to the entire mass of black flesh all around her.

She yanked her hand free and grabbed her arrow. The demon's power was weakening. She stabbed the black flesh surrounding her with her arrow and it released her with a shriek of pain. She landed unsteadily on her feet but quickly regained her balance. Her gaze swept around the room. She didn't know where to point her arrow. She drew her arrow but her aim kept changing each time a lump of flesh moved.

"Miko, if you are looking for my heart. Here it is." A mound of flesh in the center of the room drew back to reveal an unconscious Shirai hanging limply from two pillars of black flesh that reached from the floor to the ceiling. Kagome could tell that it wasn't an illusion. It was Shirai. "My heart is right here, in this woman's chest. Go ahead, shoot her. I will die. But you will strike her heart and kill her as well. If you do nothing, I will consume you both. Either way, she will perish. Do you really want her to live anyway?"

The demon chuckled silently to itself. Foolish human, Shirai is not my heart. As soon as she strikes Shirai, her heart will become corrupt and for me to consume it would make me powerful. So powerful that I would be able to have my own body. Kagome will definitely save herself first.

Kagome was silent, her aim on Shirai's chest but not about to fire anytime soon. "Do you really think I still feel jealous over Kikyo? Do you really think I'm still afraid of the darkness? Do you really think I would shoot Shirai? I said it once and I'm saying it again. Let Shirai go!"

Kagome released her arrow, straight at Shirai's chest. The demon's invisible faced filled with glee the split second it was released. Just as it was about to pierce Shirai's body, it disappeared in a flash of light. The demon could only feel confusion for a fraction of a second before the arrow reappeared behind Shirai's back, aimed straight for its face.

What! NOOO!

The instant the arrow made contact, the entire room was saturated with a purifying light. Every last lump of black flesh turned to ash and was swept away in the passing wind. Kagome shielded her eyes with her arm and tried to steady herself. When she was certain the explosion was over, she dashed over to Shirai and knelt down beside her.

Kagome shook the other girl's shoulders lightly. Shirai winced and then opened her eyes. She looked at the ceiling for a few moments before looking at Kagome. Shirai stared straight into Kagome's eyes. Kagome stared back. Shirai got up to her feet. Kagome did likewise.

"You must think I'm a monster too, as well as a bitch." Shirai muttered.

"Why would I think like that?" Kagome asked.

"Well, you know, with all that that happened."

"You knew what was going on?"

"Well, duh. How did you know how to do that arrow thing anyway?"

"Ah, that… Let's say I have quite some experience with those demons."

"So that was a demon? Oh right, I forgot. You're a shrine girl. I guess I don't give you enough credit. That was some pretty intense stuff."

"I guess so…"

"Oh and by the way, that demon thing started bugging me way back. That mud-throwing gig was so totally not my idea. It was so lame. But I guess I owe you an apology. A huge one… I'm sorry."

Kagome had no idea how to respond to that so she just stared wide-eyed. "You're… apologizing?"

"Yeah, you don't need to act like volcanoes started spewing out flying pigs. I'm human too you know." Shirai commented sarcastically as she flicked her hair (now free from black mud) over her shoulder and walked towards the exit door.

Suddenly she stopped and turned around to face Kagome again. "And… thanks for saving me. I owe you one."

Kagome smiled and followed Shirai out the door.

Yay! Shirai/demon arc done. I have some cleaning up and explanations in the next chapter(s). So what do you think? I really didn't expect things to go in this directions but i'm glad it did. Anyway, please REVIEW if you liked it and feel free to put more suggestions in your reviews. Yup. That's about it.

btw this is my last chapter for the year. 2012 here i come!

O'levels... OTL