When Ice Burns
Written by Kylara
Standard Disclaimers Apply.
I lied when I said I wouldn't use the Shinichinin-tai arc. Too damn interesting.
Heavy manga spoilers. If you're anime-watching only, you will not be lost. You will be severely lost. And you will starve to death in the middle of the desert.
Beware for cursing. I doubt youkai have sweet tongues, and we already know Inuyaha doesn't.
Part One: Deatta no Toki
[The Time of Meeting]
There was a dim, almost burning sensation in her head. Almost. It felt as if there was a stone in her skull, not moving at all, but weighing down her mind. Suffocating it.
Suikotsu was dead.
But then, he had never been alive. Some would theorize that his second death was worth no mourning, because only the living could actually die.
And Kikyou would not mourn. Not for that reason, but rather because she knew it was possible to die many times while living only once. But you did not mourn every single time you died, every single time your heart stopped, every single time your breath was still. Because there were worse pains.
She did not mourn because she could not mourn, because her full attention was given to the heaviness in her head, which was beginning to throb, whispering slyly to her, reminding her of things she would prefer not to.
Suikotsu was a member of the living dead, so much like herself. Now, he was nothing but dust and broken bones. A doctor that had loved children dearly, as much as any person she had known. And who had killed them.
Ah, but what was she?
A miko, as pure as the water that flowed by Ise.
Had been that pure. Had been then so corrupted.
A murderer, with the blood of youkai and innocents soaked into the very nails of her elegant fingers on her elegant hands.
Had held children with those hands. Had healed people with those hands.
A prisonkeeper of souls, with the tortured weeping of spirits filling her ears.
Their souls would never be reincarnated. They begged, and wept. For nothing.
For she heard it all, and did not so much as suffer a twinge of conscience, or wince from a bit of regret.
And was, instead, tempted to curve her lips upward in a beautiful smile.
She was mere meters away from Mount Hakurei, one of the holiest of holy places in Japan. The red skirt of her outfit was not completely clean – patches of fine, gray dust were scattered at random. It vaguely crossed her mind that some of the dust might have been Suikotsu, but only vaguely.
Suikotsu. She had broken yet another promise, this one to him. She had not possessed the power to take the shards of the Shikon no Tama, and, by doing so, save his soul. She had Jakotsu to blame for that, she supposed, but her guilt did not alleviate. And neither did her pain.
Although she did find it ironic, on a morbid level. All her promises seemed to be broken by people other than herself.
She wondered, did she even have the ihatsu with her anymore? She would have patted her outfit to check, but there were other things to think about. There always were.
The little girl was looking at her with wide, surprised eyes, tinged with the slightest bit of shock. Jakotsu must have scared the girl somewhat, Kikyou thought briefly, but she was simply surprised now, and the traces of that even now lifting. She was a bright, brave girl – had to be, in order to be relatively cheerful after that sort of attack - and a brief, surprising flash of affection flashed through Kikyou.
Sometimes, just sometimes, she still missed her little sister. Kikyou loved children, had wanted her own once she married and stopped being a miko. A little child, with a sweet face and familiar golden eyes looking sweetly out at her had once been one of her cherished dreams - before she had died. But it was impossible now, and Kikyou unconsciously avoided the subject, blocking her mind out to only her vengeance.
And if Kikyou ended up serving at villages that had many young children more often than those that did not, that was of no concern to anyone.
But for the moment, she settled to converse with the young girl, who hesitantly spoke to her. And noticed the hovering youkai only enough to recognize that he would not attack.
However, he did notice her.
And, for the briefest of moments, he did not know what to make of her.
"Ne, ne, did you hear?"
"Yes, yes," the voice replied gleefully. "He has been cursed to sleep."
"Yes, yes, and so disgracefully!" another voice screeched. "The son of the great Western Lord, bringing such shame to his name."
"The older or the younger?"
"The younger hanyou bastard, of course. The older, young as he is, would never do something like this."
"Really? How did it happen?"
"That damned miko Kikyou – " the name was spit out, as if something foul "- sealed him to a tree, then fell over and died, the bitch. Had he been a pure blood youkai, he would have died, since he was sealed by a miko's powers. At least he'd be dead then. But no, his rotten human blood merely kept him asleep."
"If he had been a full-blooded youkai, he never would have been sealed in the first place by a fucking human. Who was the miko, again?"
"The thrice damned protector of the Shikon no Tama? Ah, I hope she burns in hell for the next thousand years… the damned miko, Kikyou."
This miko was dead, like those zombies. Like them, she gave off an almost nauseating scent. There was no rotting stench of corpses from her, but rather the odd, unique smell of the earth from a jinja – earth that smelled like bones. Burial soil.
So she was dead. But unlike the members of the Shinichinin-tai, he had not seen one of the black shards that gave its absolute power so absolutely on her. Instead, her source of power seemed to be the gleam of radiance around her. It was not the incandescent pink of spiritual power that he saw, although it was there, but instead, he could only see a rather a dull silver light – for those who had the vision to see it, it was not pleasant to look upon. Not pleasant to be near enough to look upon.
Because if you could see it, you could hear it. You could hear them. The voices, many of them, weeping loudly and profusely. The sound scraped against his ears, irritating him greatly. It was the voices of many women, already having suffered by dying, now being used as energy for a body that never tired of them. And when they were gone, having ceased to exist, never able to reincarnate, then there would be more souls after them, doomed to the same fate, just as they were not the first to tread where they walked.
It would make some people wonder which was worse: being powered by the shard of a corrupt jewel, or being powered by the souls of dead women.
And though Sesshoumaru was above pondering such questions, he was not above wondering about the woman.
There was the possibility, perhaps, that this dead human miko, was the one killed by his own half brother, Inuyasha.
Because, even though he could smell the burial soil, even though he could see the souls, there was one last thing. Something he could feel.
A strong emotion towards his little brother, soaked into her bones. Deeply. Strongly.
It could only be hate, for in his experience, there were few other, if any, emotions that sunk into bones so strongly.
She hated Inuyasha…?
Whispering. "How did Inuyasha get tricked so easily by a miko's plot? Even though he was only a hanyou, he was still the son of the Great Demon of the Western Lands…"
Snickering. "Didn't you hear? He was in love with the miko. Didn't you?"
"In love? With a human?"
Shrieking, laughing. "How suiting to a hanyou! And a miko, at that… it's a shame he didn't just die."
A speculating hum. "Wouldn't it be easy to just go up to the tree and kill him, then? Imagine! The blood of the great Inuyoukai soaked into our talons…"
"That's bad luck. Some youkai tried that already. Snuck up the tree and started ripping at the hanyou."
"Damn, already? Inuyasha was a wanted bastard, wasn't he? Who was it?"
"Nobodies. But they're dead."
"That damn seal ripped them to pieces. Seems that most youkai can't get near the bastard without being blasted by some spell from that bitch."
Indignant cursing. "Why the hell would she do something like that?"
"They said…" the voice dropped secretively. "…that she was in love with the bastard."
"In love? With a hanyou?"
Harsh laughter. "A rumor.
Either that or she tricked the hanyou bastard to make him easier to
kill. Humans don't typically kill
things they love, do they? Probably an
accident of the seal."
"Probably. But we'd probably better go and see if we can anyway, can't we…"
Snickering. "Inuyoukai blood…"
Could that dead woman, after all, be the miko who sealed Inuyasha? Sesshoumaru speculated for the briefest of moments.
Then, as Kikyou walked away, forgot it, as Rin looked up at him with a bright shine on her face.
And neither the youkai or the miko thought about the other for many days.
A fortnight passed.
Rough Draft completed July 23, 2002.
Wow, I am pathetic. O.O I started this fanfic months and months ago (in fact, I started it in January) and here comes chapter one. ^_~ Sorry for the horrible ending lines. I was dying at this point.
Basic Notes (and there are a lot of them since I did so much blathering ^_^):
On Kikyou wanting kids, i.e. ones with gold eyes. This is pure speculation on my part (and slightly clichéd, perhaps), but I've got reasons. ^_~ Kikyou likes kids. This is an established fact. Plus, they like her. They follow her, like sheep. "Kikyou-samaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" This is five hundred fifty years ago. Kikyou is seventeen. They got married that young (younger). Maternal instincts were somewhat honed in young girls, although I suspect that for Kikyou, a miko (and a powerful one), it would have been somewhat diverted (might I add that one can only be a miko if one is virgin). So I find this all very plausible. Kiddies with The Golden Eyes Of Youkai Doom? Well, it's also well established that Inuyasha didn't tell anyone, including Kikyou, about the time when he turned human. Meaning Kikyou never saw him as "kurokami Inuyasha!" So if she was ever speculating getting married to Inuyasha, I somehow doubt that if she ever thought of having kids with him that they'd have violet eyes. If she did wonder what he would look like human, I doubt violet popped into her head. So gold it is. (I decided to leave the traits of hair alone, though.)
On Kikyou's purity comparison: Ise Jinja is the holiest of places in Japan, its relic being an object owned by Amaterasu (highest deity of Shinto religion) herself. Jinja can only be founded near running water (at least, according to these books here… ::hums::), so the water at Ise Jinja must be considered very, very pure.
On the youkai discussing Kikyou: I'm assuming that Kikyou must have been fairly well known by the youkai. For one, she protected the Shikon no Tama – if they had thought for one instance that they could blast past her, I have little doubt that they would have tried just that. And then there's the fact that there seems to be a recurring theme of bunches of youkai going off and killing those who hunt them, so hey. (Kikyou and the taijiya.) Inuyasha is known around because… well, he's Inuyasha, son of the Western Lord. Why not?
On the seal blasting youkai: HUGE, HUGE speculation on my part. This is my way of just fixing a loophole that occurred to me once when I first watched the anime…. Really. A guy gets pinned a tree for fifty years, and no youkai is slightly curious enough to go slash at him? (And it's not like the typical youkai has scruples about fighting a defenseless enemy.) Plus, it's not holy ground (there wasn't a jinja in that area yet), and there is no resident miko (Kaede was what, twelve?). Yet Inuyasha is perfectly intact after fifty years, not the slightest bit injured. (Of course there is the possibility that he and his clothes regenerated every time he was attacked, but the youkai is still there ^^.) Kikyou was in a very big sort of rush at the end of her life (I wonder why?), so she could have done things like this accidentally or subconsciously. ^_~ As for human interference, I have yet to see an instance where Kagome's spiritual power is aimed at another, perfectly normal (meaning not possessed) human, but I assume that it probably would not work on humans anyway. (Not that humans are not in need of purification.) That leads up to the fact that if the seal did have a don't-touch-me characteristic (except, of course, for Kikyou's soul ^^ her being the sealer), it wouldn't blast them. Plus, it seems simple to assume that Inuyasha terrified the villagers enough to the point where they just left him alone. Hence, perfectly intact Inuyasha for Kagome to feel up fifty years later.
On the souls that Kikyou eats: I'm not sure Kikyou strictly eats souls (although it's so much more fun to say she does) – rather, I almost think she absorbs them. I don't recall seeing her Shinidamachuu in these chapters, so I didn't include them. (Chances are they're not allowed in Mount Hakurei anyway.) At any rate, the screaming aspect of the women's souls is my own personal and not-really-canon touch.
On Kikyou's personality: Yes, I made Kikyou slightly less prickly. Then again, Inuyasha, Kagome, and Naraku aren't around (they seem to be her main offenders) so I speculate I'm much closer than one would think. ^_^ Plus, Suikotsu just died on her. Bad omens don't make cheerful people. If you're worried, don't – she'll be back to her usual chilly self in the next chapter.
If you read chapter 263 of the manga, it's kind of amusing. ^_^ Kikyou really does ignore him (she looks at him very briefly) while Sesshoumaru wonders if she really is the one who sealed Inuyasha.
I completely, one hundred percent veer straight off from the manga (and probably the anime, too) after this point. VOOM. Talk about different tangents. If my fanfic and the manga storyline were mathematical lines, they'd be skew lines. Never meeting. O.O I might, might, might, bring in certain aspects of the latest chapters of the manga to throw in at my leisure, but it's iffy.
On the youkai that are, er, snickering, laughing, cackling, and whispering: Queen called this "club youkai". I do not buy the theory that Jaken ran over to tell Sesshoumaru before a Big Battle With Big Hairy Cats That Were Really Weird that his delinquent brother had gotten himself stuck to a tree. That is an anime filler episode. I forgot it existed. Never mind that Sesshoumaru eavesdropping on low-class youkai conversation is even less likely. (At any rate, those youkai probably got blown up by the seal too.) If it wasn't this, it'd be him walking into a Laundromat washing his tail/boa/furry caterpillar and gossiping with the other youkai and mussing his make up when he went off with Naraku into the back close- you know, I think I need to go to bed.
ihatsu – hair of the deceased
jinja – temple
miko – priestess [originally meant specifically for the Shinto religion, but now it's just 'priestess']
Inuyoukai – dog demon.
Thank you for reviewing: Calendar [you review my stories so often ;_; thank you!!], baka deshi, Waku-chan [you do too! ;_: i love my reviewers...], Otaku-chan [THANK YOU FOR NOT CALLING HER A BITCH ^^;;], nightflame [lol, hope you did good], Winter [yay], ellaine [lol, I like her either way!], Seiyaryu [tense? lol, thanks], Yumi-chan no hentai [XD], Yayoi [sokay, yaay, you're alive!], Crono [uh, thanks ^^], Beige Chocobo [I can't believe that one anime episode went over it -_-], serenitynendymion [lol, do you understand this fic..?], Alice [HAHA, I had this chapter written when I got your review and I started laughing], and confused [uh, thanks for reviewing, but I'm a little curious as to what you didn't get o.O]
Another big thank you to Queen -- She beta-read this!! ::feels warm and squishy:: Sankyuu, Queen.
~ Kylara – and yes, there's a reason why Kikyou was smiling.
Reviews are good. E-mail is appreciated. Comments, criticism, and declarations of love/hate are all good, too. Send them to meeee ~~
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