A massive thank you to MsKaycee1999 for the awesome beta work. You're simply the best.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha. I do not profit from this story.

How to Kill Me

Chapter Forty-One: How Far We've Come

"Imagine there's no Heaven. It's easy if you try. No Hell below us. Above us, only sky. Imagine all the people living for today…"

-Imagine, John Lennon


For not the first time that day, Inuyasha was sure that he was hallucinating. It was bright, so bright absolutely everywhere. His mind was a whirl of shapes and colours, moving too fast for him to comprehend. Something was…happening. There was screaming, so much screaming. Kagome? It swirled around and around and around. The sky was there and then gone. The screaming got louder, so much louder. Where was the ground? Everything hurt.

Then there was nothing.

His eyes flew open, the shock of silence forcing something to curl in his stomach. He spun around, nausea rolling up his throat as his hand went to his head. His hair was damp and when the half-demon pulled his hand away, crimson blood slid between his fingers. "Fuck," he whispered, stifling back a groan before forcing himself to look around. Kagome. For a long moment, he didn't even see her. He had been hit from behind, by what he couldn't even be sure, and maybe she had gone flying in another direction. They had been running, escaping.

You're not going to die. I am not going to let you fucking die or so help me–

Where the fuck was she?

It wasn't until the brush of ashes filled the air that Inuyasha realized what exactly was missing. There were no noises or roars or screams. There weren't any demons around. Everything was silent.

The ashes… Naraku was dead. Kagome purified him?

Struggling to get up, the half-demon stumbled over the uneven ground, blood dripping down his face and into his eyes. He blinked, rubbing at the golden orbs until he spotted Kagome's dark clothing, her body lying on the ground covered by ash.

Her brown eyes were wide open. He couldn't hear her breathing.

"Kagome?" he asked, the sound so quiet it was almost painful. "Kagome? Kagome!" He was shouting by the end, scrambling towards her and crashing down by her side. Her hands were clenched, mouth open, blood sliding down in droplets over her smooth, pale face.

The hole in her stomach made bile rise up and the half-demon barely had a moment until he was violently leaning to the side, throwing up what little was in his stomach. He could smell her, all of the blood and the death. Another wave of nausea slammed into him, making him dizzy. Everything distinctly hurt, all over. When he was finally able to look at her again – at her body because she wasn't there anymore – his golden eyes slid over to her hands, clenched so tightly the skin was sheet white. It made his eyes sting, but Inuyasha gently reached over and put his hands over hers. She was already cold, way too cold. He hadn't been passed out that long, had he?

Nothing was making sense. His eyes swept over her face but it was so hard to look at her when every part showed… Blood. It showed that she wasn't–

Shifting to hold her hand, Inuyasha realized with a start that she was clutching at something smooth and round. His heart pounded loudly in his ears and suddenly it was all he could see. The pink jewel, tinted just slightly darker glinted even without sunlight. So small and tiny, the half-demon barely had to move her hands for him to take it into his own, the power immediately singing into his veins. It was like a siren song, loud and piercing, thrumming. Like a tribal chant that grew louder and louder, making his whole body light up and dance.

The Shikon no Tama was calling him. It wanted him.

He could feel its power practically clawing and burying its way into him.

"She's dead."

The words, soft and far too calm, pierced through his skull. His hands dropped the jewel like it had burned him, the half-demon curling away from it and closer to Kagome. Inuyasha was breathing hard, startled and thrown by the wave of loss that hit him.

"It's almost impossible to let go of. It shows a great amount of feeling that you could."

"Who–" The words died on Inuyasha's lips when he looked over, seeing for the first time an angel so close. "Midoriko?"

"Inuyasha," the angel said, a tiny smile on her face. "And now we meet."

"What the fuck is going on?" Inuyasha asked, his golden eyes drawn to the Shikon no Tama. "I've never–"

"The jewel is tainted so very easily," Midoriko responded, her hand hovering over his shoulder before pulling away. "It's about power and forces that we cannot control within ourselves. It takes something stronger for us to let go of it."

Inuyasha shuddered, moving backwards until he hit Kagome…Kagome's body. "I didn't even think."

"What you felt for Kagome was far stronger than your need for power," Midoriko finished quietly. "It's a startling contrast from when you first began. However, it was always meant to be this way."

"That's why you nearly killed her?" the half-demon spat, suddenly angry. "When you flipped her car and sent her to the hospital?"

"I wouldn't have let it kill her," the angel answered, remaining so unbelievably calm that it irritated the half-demon further.

"Doesn't fucking matter now, does it?" Inuyasha demanded. He hazarded a glance downward, seeing her wide open eyes before standing up and turning away. It hit him then, suddenly and hard. "You saved her." The half-demon spun, glaring at Midoriko. "Kagome…died once before. You brought her to life."

Midoriko nodded, slowly. Her dark eyes gave nothing away. She still seemed so relaxed.

"Well what the fuck are you waiting for?" Inuyasha screamed, stomping on the ground. "Fucking bring her back to life! Why are you just standing there?"

It made him angry – so much angrier – when the angel just looked at him with pity in her eyes. "Last time…it was too early. We needed her. Having another as the Chosen One would've made it hopeless. It would've been too late. We needed Kagome alive."

Inuyasha growled. "Don't you fucking say it."

"It's done," Midoriko replied, unrelenting. "Naraku is gone. We have the jewel. Kagome is no longer necessary."

Without warning, the half-demon lunged, flying at the angel. Midoriko sidestepped his attack with far too much ease but it didn't stop the rumbling in his chest, the sheer fury he felt. He attacked again, catching the woman in the arm and sending her spinning. She blocked his next attack, her hands out as a barrier formed around her. Inuyasha didn't care. He didn't stop. He ran at the barrier, again and again. He scratched at it, his bloodied hands doing nothing but releasing the horrified intensity that was building in his chest.

Kagome couldn't just be gone. She couldn't be dead, with no hope for anything.

The barrier shattered suddenly, a screeching noise that made Inuyasha smirk. His eyes turned to the Shikon no Tama, feeling its siren call.

"Wait," Midoriko said, breathless. "Inuyasha, don't. I can't save her–"

"You fucking said that already," he hissed.

"But you can." The angel flew out a hand, the jewel coming at her beckon and soaring towards her outstretched palm. Her dark eyes caught his gaze, holding hard as she offered the Shikon jewel. "We must return the jewel to Heaven," she said, her voice far too fast. "But the jewel affects us like it does you," she explained. "It pulls at us." Her pale hand curled around the small item, just in the slightest, hiding it. "It's dangerous to all of us, but the humans. Naraku had demons within him, his own dark ritual that drove him mad with the jewel. Regular humans that are completely ignorant – it does nothing. But that won't stop the jewel from becoming tainted. No matter what the heart wants, it will always be tainted."

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes, taking a cautious step forward. "The jewel can save her," he said, adding it together. "Kagome can keep the jewel purified. Can it bring her back to…" Me?

"No," Midoriko whispered. "But if the jewel is a part of her, something that happened during her struggle to kill him, then I have no choice but to revive her or the jewel will be buried with her and there's no telling what could happen."

Inuyasha took a deep breath, ignoring the pull of the Shikon no Tama and instead falling to the ground beside Kagome's dead body. "Please," he whispered, touching her hair and pushing it back. It was thick with blood, clumped and dirty with dirt. "Just bring her back, for fuck's sake. Because I won't stop until someone does and there's no telling who I'll kill between now and then."

"Then I have no choice," Midoriko whispered. She floated over, footsteps so light she was like a ghost. She bent over, the jewel glowing in her palm brighter and brighter.

"It was always within her," Inuyasha said, swallowing. "I'm just making sure you revive her."

"And since there's no telling what would happen, I have to keep her alive until Heaven can come up with a new plan," the angel responded, nodding. Her words soon became nothing more than a whisper on the wind, sharp vowels being accented as her foreign language poured from her lips.

Inuyasha could do nothing but watch, his hands once again holding hers, his eyes stinging as it got brighter, and brighter, and brighter.

Waking up was painful.

A shudder, a deep intake of stabbing breath and my eyes flew up, body lurching into the air. There were hands on me, holding me down gently and a firm but soft voice near my ear. "Kagome, Kagome, it's okay. You're okay."

My body felt like it was humming, like it had been asleep and now was covered in full-body pins and needles. "Inuyasha," I gasped, twisting until I could crawl into more of the heat his hands were producing. I was so cold. A shiver ran down my body and I huddled into the warmth as Inuyasha grabbed and moved me until I was in his lap, encircled.

"It worked," the half-demon whispered, his voice catching in his chest. His arms tightened around me, almost too tight. "You fucking died on me again."

"I know," I whispered, involuntarily shaking as a cold wave hit me. "Naraku…I had to–"

"Stop talking," Inuyasha panted, "holy shit, just stop."

Somehow we ended up falling backwards, the ground shifting me so that Inuyasha's hands could wander down to my stomach. It tingled where he touched me, an uncomfortable feeling that had me pulling away slightly. "Inuyasha, I don't–"

"You'll feel that for a while."

I twisted around, still in the half-demon's arms but able to see Midoriko hovering near us. Her eyes were wide, taking in the way the half-demon and I clung to each other. "Did you…save me?"

The angel shrugged. "The jewel was within you after you defeated Naraku. I must protect the Shikon no Tama, and that cannot be done if you're dead and we have no connection to it." A small smile appeared on her lips. "Your half-demon, however, truly did save you."

"Thank you," I murmured, my hand immediately stroking through Inuyasha's long locks.

"Your duty has been fulfilled," Midoriko continued, drawing my attention away once more from the half-demon. "Although I will be back once we have decided how to handle the disappearance of the jewel within you, I have the opportunity now to honour our part of the contract."

The next breath I took had me shivering once more, but I was certain it wasn't from the cold. "I can be free? I can stop this?"

"If you wish," the angel replied, nodding her head. "You will no longer have powers but you will be shielded from demons and danger outside of the blissful ignorance. I can make you…normal, for lack of a better word."

Inuyasha smirked at me, his hands soothing lines up and down my back. I looked at him, a part of me torn between something I had wanted for long and another part of me terrified for losing my powers. Biting my lower lip, I stared at the angel. "My family will be saved?"

"Absolutely," she confirmed. "Your brother and his family…even your mother."

The thought of being able to go home was overwhelming. After all these years of thinking that I would always be alone, always unable to contact them to let them know the truth. Could I finally go back? Was that even an option anymore, after all this time?

"It's your choice," Inuyasha said quietly. "For once, this is entirely your choice."

"Christ," I whispered, closing my eyes. "Now you're all sentimental."

The half-demon gave a choked laugh. "Yeah, well, shit happens when you watch…" He waved his hand in my direction, expression tight. I could read between the lines. When you watch someone important die. Again.

Midoriko was calmly looking at me, patiently waiting for my response. Her hand extended slowly, a partial bridge that I could gap. "It's up to you," she conceded.

Taking a deep breath, I reached out. "Do it," I finally said. It sounded weak, scared. Licking my lips, I fixed my throat and tried again. "Take away my powers and please, protect my family."

Our hands touched and a bright light illuminated from between us. The angel's expression shifted slightly and her smile grew far larger than I had ever seen it. "It is done."

I expected to feel different, but there was nothing. My stomach still felt fuzzy when I reached down to touch the spot where Naraku had clawed through me. Midoriko looked pleased though and I had no reason to doubt her. "What about my friends?" I asked, looking around. "Where is everyone?"

"They are temporarily frozen in time," Midoriko responded, interrupting. "We had matters to discuss and not everyone can be witness." Her long dark hair spilled over her shoulder as she looked around the forest. "You'll find that they're already on their way."

"Thank you," I whispered. There was nothing else to say. "Thank you."

The angel tilted her head in acknowledgement, offering one last wave before there was a flutter of wind and she was gone.

Inuyasha groaned, sitting up and pressing his head against my shoulder. "Thank fuck."

"Well said, puppy, well said."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I yelled, rolling until I was in a crouch, staring at the duke of Hell. "I swear to fuck if you come near me I will not hesitate–"

"Your powers are gone, my star," Astaroth murmured, delighted. His hands were thrown up however, a show of defence when he didn't need one. "I've just come to say my farewells."

"You're not even supposed to be able to come near me," I hissed. Inuyasha was standing in front of me, still as protective as ever. "That was part of the deal."

Astaroth actually laughed, the skin crinkling around his red eyes. "That's adorable. My dear, I'm already hot on your scent. I'm like a bloodhound. You'll never get rid me."

"This is after, isn't it?" Inuyasha asked. I could practically hear the smirk in his voice. "I can rip him apart now?"

"Not that you want to," Astaroth corrected, waggling a finger. "But you both look so tense. Have sex, it'll loosen you right up; solve that tight anxious I-almost-lost-you energy."

"Where did you go?" I demanded, my voice rising. "You were gone."

"I was…delayed," the duke of Hell murmured. The smile completely left his face, his eyes hardening. In a split second, the expression disappeared. "Hardly matters now. I'm going to be off. I can hear your absurd human allies loping through the forest as I speak. Farewell, my star. I will miss you."

"I really am not sure I can say that same."

The duke of Hell grinned and snapped his fingers. "That's the spirit. I love your fire. Take care of this one, puppy. She's going to have a leash on you sooner or later."

Inuyasha growled but it was all in vain. The demon vanished before our eyes, his too-large grin the last thing to disappear.

"I hate him," the half-demon snarled. His hands slid around my waist, pulling me closer for a split second. "I can hear them coming. Miroku's not doing so good; hold on."

I watched as Inuyasha leaped, hidden by the foliage within a split second. I started to move forwards, inching my way over the roots and damaged tree trunks. Soon enough, they all appeared; Inuyasha carried Miroku with his eyes already in the middle of a roll.

"Kagome!" Sango yelled, grinning wildly as she ran over. She tackled me in a hug, unknowing to the fact that I had been dead a mere few minutes ago. The fact that I had been dead and would've been missing all this… I hugged my friend back tightly, burying my face in her neck. "Are you okay?" she asked, pulling back slightly.

"As good as I'm ever going to be," I murmured, smiling. "And powerless, too."

"Really?" Sango asked, curious. "They already…?"

I nodded, just in time for Inuyasha and Miroku to join our group. "How are you holding up?" I asked the black-haired man, shaking my head at his charming smile.

"I've sprained something," Miroku replied, shrugging. "But you know that wouldn't stop me."

"Obviously," Sango said, sighing. She turned to me suddenly, eyes soft. "What about the other demon? Is he…?"

I shook my head. "He's gone."

"What about your brother?" Miroku added, poking at Inuyasha. "Is he around?"

"That bastard wouldn't die, even if I begged for it," Inuyasha muttered, looking into the forest. I could see the way his golden stare scanned across, stopping every few seconds. Sesshomaru was still out there, probably on his own way. He had never been fond of me anyways.

"Time to go home?" I asked, linking my arm around Sango's. "Although, we don't have a duke of Hell to beam us."

"That's okay," Sango replied, grinning. "All we need is a bank. Miroku and I didn't own a popular demon slayer bar for nothing."

"Inuyasha," I said, a grin tipping my lips. "Go find us a bank."

"Only for you," the half-demon answered, smirking slightly at my shocked expression before he tightened his grip on Miroku. "Hold on tight. Trust me, the first time is the hardest."

"The first time is the hardest for–"

Inuyasha bent down and then leapt into the air, so air and far away that Miroku's screams were barely heard.

"Tell your boyfriend me next," Sango murmured, clearly amused.

I laughed and sank back down to the ground, finally able to relax.

A solid day later, after a very long journey back to the same dingy motel, Sango and Miroku both hugged me tightly.

"Are you sure you want to do this right away?" Sango asked gently, her hand tugging at my own. "You are allowed to have a breather, you know."

I nodded, smiling. "Yeah, but… This was already long overdue."

"Take as many stops as you need," Miroku murmured. "You slept a lot on the way here but don't overdo it. Inuyasha, make sure she doesn't."

"You make it sound like I have any sort of say," the half-demon drawled. Freshly showered with no blood in his hair, Inuyasha pressed against my back and put his head above mine. "I'll try my hardest though."

"Do that," Miroku replied, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Any means necessary, and all that."

"Miroku, please," Sango sighed, hitting him lightly on the shoulder.

"What?" he demanded, throwing his hands in the air. "They love each other. Why can't they have all the sex now that the big bad wolf is gone?"

I blinked, stilling. It was a hard reflex to kill and surely the half-demon behind me felt it, pressed against me as it was. We hadn't exactly said words like love yet. Or, they hadn't been said out loud.

When sober.

"Look what you did!" Sango yelled, her magenta eyes wide. "Look how terrified you made them! They both look like deer in headlights, goddamn it." She huffed, staring at me apologetically. "I can't control him."

"I noticed," I replied, not knowing what else to say. "Drive safe."

"We will." Miroku waved off Inuyasha trying to help him into the car. I could only watch as my friends got into their truck, weapons long forgotten in the forest but unneeded, at least for a long while. I smiled and waved as they drove off, waiting until they were no more than a blur in my vision before turning to face the half-demon beside me.

It was only slightly unnerving to see him staring at me intently, his golden eyes just as piercing as on the very first day when we met. Despite Miroku's words, nothing felt awkward between us. It wasn't like either of us were startled. We both knew it.

"You ready?" I asked, smiling teasingly at him.

Inuyasha took several steps forwards, forcing me back against my car before his lips touched mine. "Not yet," he whispered, closing the distance as his hands pulled me closer. I wrapped my arms around him, holding on, too afraid to let go. There were no more bad guys. There were no more demons that I had to take care of – I couldn't do much even if I wanted to.

Pulling away, Inuyasha pressed his lips against my forehead, his mouth moving slowly as the words I love you were placed on my skin.

My hands grabbed at his cheeks, tugging softly until we were once again kissing. "I love you too," I whispered, far too softly to probably even be heard, but like his lips against my forehead, I knew the message came across.

"Come on," Inuyasha mumbled gently, still holding on. "If we're going to drive all the way to Bridgeport, we'll need to leave now to get a good start."

"You think we should?" I asked, feeling the small pang of doubt that kept recurring every time I thought about it. "Is it…smart?"

"I think you need to meet your niece," the half-demon responded. "And I think your niece needs to meet the aunt she was named after."

I laughed, slightly hysterical. "They won't even believe me, if I have the chance to explain myself. I don't have powers or anything."

"Then I guess I'll have to suffer as you cut through my spell and show them my ears."

"They'll just think you're a strange cat." Inuyasha's glare was far too amusing, the tension easing up in my chest as I laughed. "Okay, okay."

"Drive," he urged, kissing me one last time before getting into the passenger seat.

For a long moment I stood there, letting the cool air settle along my skin. My hand touched my stomach, the buzz below my skin beginning to fade but still there. Staring at my hands, I looked at them and marvelled how they didn't look any different, but they were. So much had changed within a day, it was mind-blowing.

Opening my palm, I stretched it in that familiar way I always had when extending my powers. There was nothing around, nothing to connect it to, but– A sudden, tiny pink glow formed in the centre of my palm, like a flicker of a flame. It spread, slowly licking at my fingers as the buzz under my skin grew.

The car door opening startled me and the pink glow disappeared, my newfound powers from the jewel sinking back into my skin. Inuyasha growled out from behind me, sounding irritated. "Hello? Can we go? This car is already making me itch."

I didn't look back at him, my eyes drawn to my hand. It still looked so normal. Just like before. "Jittery?"

"It's fucking tiny in here. Come on, wench. Let's go."

"Maybe it's the new car smell that's finally getting to you," I murmured, unable to contain my grin as I clenched my fist. I spun around and got into the driver's seat, turning the Acura on. "Don't end the romance so soon there."

"I don't know what that word means," Inuyasha growled in response, his eyes closed and seat reclined back. "Drive, wench."

"Only for you, dog boy," I replied, giving his own words back to him before turning up the music loud.

Bridgeport, here we come.

After, well, many years, I am pleased to say that How to Kill Me is finally complete. This is 521 pages of my soul in Supernatural-esque AU hand-wavy madness. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

As always, feedback is love.