I don't own anything Inuyasha.
"That old idiot has gone far enough!"
A middle-aged woman with black hair and overly kind eyes gasped at her father-in-law while setting down her tea. "Oh, how rude! Don't speak like that about…"
"Well!" the old man argued back before she could finish, "It serves him right! Every time I see that elder Hojo he's ranting about how 'old his family is' and what 'truly valuable artifacts' he keeps locked away! The Higurashi shrine is a well know and ancient place that has been around since the Feudal Ages! I've grown tired of that man using his old clan name as leverage!" Slapping his hands on their low family kitchen table, Kagome was startled from her most recent daydream of late night camp fires and seemingly endless bloody battles.
A newly teenage Sota slurped up a couple noodles, earning an unappreciative look from his mother, and said, "Leave it alone, Ojii-san. Who cares what he says?"
The old man smiled and gestured wildly at his youngest grandchild while proudly claiming, "Here is a Higurashi that knows our worth!"
"Actually, I think both of you old men peddle junk."
"Sota! We already have one rude man at this table, I will not tolerate two." Mother Higurashi picked up her tea once more and inhaled deeply before taking a calming sip.
Kagome blinked a couple times at her grandfather's gapped open mouth and tears in his eyes. "Ojii-san, what's the matter?"
With a softer expression, the old man turned towards his granddaughter. "Haven't you been listening?"
She apologized silently with a shrug and a guilty expression.
He huffed in silent irritation, but explained the situation again as she idly stirred her miso soup. "As soon as the spring festivals start that grandfather of your friend Hojo runs his mouth about how the Higurashi shrine only holds false relics; ever since that incident with that Sou'unga sword. Now he has made it a habit of showing off his family's prized heirlooms! It's disgraceful."
"As is your reaction to it," Mama said while her eyes kept closed.
Pointedly ignoring the jab, Grandpa started to shake his finger at nobody. "But this year, I will have him beat!"
With a sigh, Kagome couldn't resist asking, or encouraging him… either she guessed. "What is it?"
Finally, he smiled then leaned to his right. After reaching down for something hidden by the table he proudly set a gray, carved stone bowl topped with a matching, crude top in the center of the family's lunch. Before her grandfather could explain Kagome recognized it immediately, even though she's only seen it a couple times. It was hard to forget the old lady that chased Inuyasha around trying to purify him with the salt contained inside.
"This!" Ojii-san started confidently, "belonged to a powerful demon fighter!"
Kagome fought the urge to wince. Yes, if you count verbally fighting Inuyasha…
The old man, unaware of Kagome's connection, continued "She would bless the salt inside with her mighty spiritual powers and rid villages of troublesome youkai."
That woman couldn't rid a village of rats…
"The heroine could sense an ominous aura from yards away!"
With yet another sigh, Kagome couldn't come up with a mental argument other than thinking the exact opposite of what her Ojii-san was claiming.
"Clearly, this is rich with power and history! I can sense it!" The eldest Higurashi beamed, Mother hummed with a serene smile on her kind face, Sota reached for his sister's neglected soup, and Kagome tried to think of a kind way to let her grandfather down. He seemed to be extra excited about this artifact. Maybe it was because of the odd duel between the two aging men, but she guessed it was because somewhere, deep down, the old woman and her grandfather were similar in many ways; most of all the confidence in their non-existent abilities.
"So child," he said towards her. "What do you think?"
Kagome couldn't tell him what she thought. Really, all she could only hope for was that Hojo's grandfather was as weird as hers.
"I know, Ojii-san," she offered with a radiant smile. "Why don't I go to Hojo's and see what his grandfather has. He has been asking me over for weeks, so it wouldn't be uninvited," Kagome paused to wink, "or suspicious."
"Ha!" All eyes rounded with shock as the head of the house triumphantly stood up faster than any thought was possible. "She might not be school smart, but our Kagome knows how to battle!"
Kagome held back her reaction, not knowing whether to feel complimented… or insulted.
An hour later after she had tried on five… FIVE… different dresses that, truthfully, her grandfather did not approve of Kagome had slid the door quickly and slammed it on her way out. The last outfit and his comment that the dress, "Made her seem untrusting and her calves look big" replayed continually in her head as she stormed down the street towards Hojo's home.
Stupid salt bowl… Stupid dress… Stupid feud…
Kagome fumed and barely registered the laughter and smell of freshly cut grass as she passed by a city park. The lack of buildings made the noon sun shine brighter in her eyes, so when a small girl screamed she couldn't immediately see the problem.
"Don't worry!" a young boy yelled back. "I'll get it!"
As her eyes adjusted Kagome saw a flash of red streaked towards a raven haired child in a green sundress. They were relatively close to her, so she could see a decent sized spider crawling along the edge of the girl's sandbox. The boy in red waved a big stick at the spider several times before finally hitting it, then stood proud at his accomplishment. A tug at her heart followed as the girl wrapped her arms around his legs, offering him praise and admiration.
That's just… not fair.
She quickly walked away. The jewel was gone, but so were her friends. Inuyasha came for her inside the Shikon and returned her safely back home, just to be sent back himself. The well refused her. She knew this is how it should have been. Her duty was done, her fate fulfilled, and things should be back to normal.
Except she was not normal… far from it. She thought it was unfair that just because the well wouldn't let her back that she had to live as if she never went. A familiar sting invaded her eyes and she tried concentrating on holding back the tears. She was so enveloped with the memories and emotions of the past that had hadn't realized she was already standing at Hojo's front door.
"Higurashi-san?" Hojo's smile had already faded at the sight of her sadness. "Are you okay?"
Kagome looked up at the cherub face of her long time friend and saw his genuine concern in his bright, brown eyes. "I'm-" …lonely… "-fine."
He stepped behind her to lead Kagome inside, shaking his head slightly. "You look weak. You shouldn't have walked all this way in your condition." Touching the small of her back in a bold way that was impossible for him as a high school student, he guided his pale friend over to their front room and gestured for her to a seat. "Are you sure, Higurashi-san?"
Kagome nodded and smiled her most brilliant, fake smile she could muster.
"Hmmm… I know!" The shine in his eyes that had most girls swooning in junior high returned. It seemed he really enjoyed being able to help and heal; something Kagome could relate with completely. "My mom has this great salt bath for your feet! It should do wonders for decreasing the swelling in your calves!"
Oh, for the love of Kami…
After a reluctant salt foot bath and the color returning to Kagome's face, mostly from irritation, her and Hojo and were finally sitting at the table as she poured the tea out for both of them.
"I'm glad you could finally make it and I appreciate you risking yourself to come here on my invite." His cheeks turned a light rose color and he fidgeted with his hands. "Though you weren't feeling all that well, you still came." A smile as hopeful as the ones she used to give Inuyasha graced his handsome face and made Kagome feel guilty. It wasn't like her to use someone's emotions against them…
Okay, maybe it was a little like herself, but Hojo didn't deserve this.
"Actually," she started, "I'm here about our grandfathers."
His disappointment flashed for only a moment in his eyes before amusement took over. "Ah! Yes, that mess." He leaned closer, smirking, and whispered, "My mother is calling it the Feudal Find Feud."
Hojo has never been secretive, or quiet, or sneaky and she couldn't help but giggle. When he wasn't trying to win her heart, he was very enjoyable company.
He kept his smile and asked knowingly, "You want to see what my grandfather has this year?"
Kagome, staring intently at her steaming tea, nodded sheepishly. When the host laughed and patted her shoulder she suddenly felt so much younger than him.
"Come on, it's in the back room. But honestly, I don't think it's much."
Well, maybe Ojii-san will get a break this year.
They reached the room and Kagome stood in the doorway. Hojo went to claim the highly anticipated item and he returned to her field of vision holding a small, silk wrapped object. Watching him unwrap it carefully, Kagome started to wonder if she ever ran across it like she did with the salt bowl. She often thought about seeing something in a museum that she had once touched and felt sad that she didn't leave her own mark in the past. Sure, she helped vanquish the Shikon no Tama, but that was exactly the point; it was gone. And so was she, and everything else that tied her to that time.
Hojo missed the sad look on her face as he got to the last layer and started explaining. "We don't know if it was broken, or never complete, or just a weird thing someone made, but the hilt is beautifully crafted."
Kagome choked on her breath and her eyes threatened to pop out once Hojo revealed the item. Oh yes, she has come across this before. More specifically, it had run across her back as the last incarnation of Naraku sliced her with a non-existent blade. This was the reason she was trapped in darkness for three days alone with the jewel.
She was looking at the blade-less sword of Byakuya, the illusion demon, that once trapped Meidou's power in its invisible length.
She gave him no response.
His free hand shook her shoulder. "Kagome?"
She woke up from her daydream and shocked Hojo with the scared look on her face. Blinking a couple times he took his hand back and gestured at the hilt. "Wow, your grandfather must have a really crappy artifact."
She didn't respond and instead settled for raising her eyes back to his.
"It's harmless! Look…" Before she could stop him Hojo grabbed the intricate pattern of the grip and lifted it up to eye level. "See?" To emphasize his point he even waved the hand still holding the silk over where the blade should be, showing that truly nothing was there. The red jewel at its end reflected sunlight, but that was the only sign of life it gave.
Kagome's breathing slowed as soon as she let go of her anxiety. Of course it was harmless. Nothing of magic or power survived to this age. Everything was myths and legends, except for her own story, which was lost to the ages. Seeing the sword intact, in her era, and powerless made it all hit home. It was gone. It was all truly gone.
"Here," Hojo offered. "I'm sure it wouldn't hurt if you held it."
But here, in front of her, was proof that it all even happened and she found herself curious.
Setting the sword back on the silk, he offered it to Kagome. With a reassuring smile, more for herself then her friend, she reached out and lightly touched the etchings on the sword only used once.
Nothing happened. No spark, no evil aura, not even static electricity. She sighed, thinking herself silly, and fully gripped onto it.
Nothing visually changed at first, but both teenagers felt the room get dark. An ominous wind whipped at Kagome's dress and hair and lashed painfully against her face. Something deep and dark stirred in her belly, and with each passing moment she felt it grow.
Kagome tried to let go, but it was too late.
The wind built up and threw the random items in the room around, but they paid no attention to it. Once the dark purple glow started emanating from the sword she looked to a scared and confused Hojo, nobly trying the pull the relic from her strangely strong grasp.
"Hojo!" she cried out, but her voice carried another deeper one with it, one that plagued her nightmares. "Back away!"
He caught her gaze, but didn't comply until Kagome started fighting the evil back, glowing a brilliant pink as her reiki coated her body. The feeling in her stomach clenched down, twisting her innards and she felt her hand burn where it met the purple, familiar aura coming from the handle. It took all her will power to remain standing against the painful internal battle that was trying to take her over.
That's when Kagome realized the evil presence inside the relic was trying to possess her.
Hojo tripped on the discarded silk on the floor and fell back with a harsh thud. Kagome's jet black hair was flying around her face, the dress ripping in random places, and her face was… changing. The glow around her felt pure, there was no other way he could describe it, but what was happening to her was exactly the opposite. Everything bright and shining about Kagome, even how he felt when he looked at her, was becoming tainted.
It was loud, booming, and bolts of light started shooting from her hand, burning the room where it hit.
"Hojo!" she called out. "Run!"
He had no time to react. A ray of evil intent shot out in an illuminate purple and burned straight through Hojo's thigh, bone and all, and he scream in pain over the commotion.
That's when Kagome started screaming as well, knowing she lost the struggle. Her reiki fell into herself and the evil aura took over. She felt an unknown tingling at her scalp as her hair grew rapidly, pooling at her ankles. The sound of lightning cracked through the air and her hands balled in fists. She felt the aching fingertips tingle in the same manner, and then claws finally broke through the skin at her palms. Her own blood dripping to the floor served as a strange, welcomed distraction.
Another loud crack and a strong pulse of energy beat from Kagome before spreading rapidly across the room, knocking Hojo unconscious then continuing to roll out of his house, his neighborhood, and on past Tokyo…
Her blood felt like it was boiling and right when she felt herself faint the pain inside grabbed onto her heart and everything went dark. Kagome knew she didn't pass out, she was just gone.
In the dark.
Her form wasn't real, but she screamed and pulled at her hair until her throat was raw.
Hojo awoke to see Kagome, or Kagome's body, standing over him with the sword still tight in her grip. However, where there was once nothing attached was now a blade that looked like a beautiful night sky. Grabbing the silk without taking his eyes of her, Hojo wrapped his leg tight to slow his blood loss, wincing, and kept himself from screaming again. 'Kagome's' hair floated as if submerged in water, he could see claws where her unpainted nails used to be, and the eyes that were once a sparkling blue now were a malevolent red, narrowed dangerously at him. The possessed sword swooped across to stop only a few centimeters from his face and he averted his eyes for only a second until she spoke again.
A thick chuckle rumbled from his possessed friend. The voice was deep, smooth, and made his skin crawl. Hojo tried scooting back, but the laughing stopped and those red eyes pinned him down. "Human… where am I?"
The long, ebony tresses stopped floating and twirled around itself in a dozen, tentacle like limbs. The tight ropes of hair lifted her off the ground, except for one that shot at Hojo's injured leg to wrap itself around the crudely dressed wound, and it picked him up so he was dangling upside down in front of her.
"Useless human! I asked you where am I!" She snarled at him and Hojo felt queasy from blood loss and the deadly promise in her eyes.
As if pleading, he looked at his lifelong friend and yelled "Kagome!"
Her eyes widened. "The miko?"
When she received another dumbstruck look from the teenage human male her hair whipped and threw him towards a wall. The sounds of glass shattering as he crashed through a window faded and she found a mirror to stare into it with shock.
It was her… the miko who defeated him ages ago- the one that should have been locked in the jewel with him for eternity.
Internally, Kagome was concentrating on gaining her body back, but the fear was overtaking her spirit.
No No No NO NO NO! NNNOOOOO!
In a small glimpse of clairvoyance, she was able to see herself in the mirror as the being that possessed her stared at their reflection. When she saw the eyes she knew exactly who it was.
Naraku… he was back.
Instead of fighting harder she fell on her knees against the ground that was not there and wept until she felt she would split in two.
High in the skies, over the land once ruled by youkai, in a floating castle that is unseen by others, the pulse of energy from when Kagome's possession took hold beat against the walls and entered without destroying a thing.
Inside, the ornate halls were silent and dark in the unnatural still that encased the castle. The pulse that traveled throughout it made the curtains wave, breaking the spell and stillness.
The grandest hall was also the darkest, yet a blanket of silver that hung from the decorative, head wall shined regardless of the lack of light. As the thick pulse of energy traveled through the room the tall blanket stirred into individual silver hairs. They blew apart to reveal a crescent moon on skin as pale as the celestial gods and a darkened face. An aftershock of energy coming from the castle itself filled the dead space with life and beneath the shadows of the silver-haired demon's brow two dangerous, golden eyes shot open for the first time in three centuries.
They opened once again for a noble purpose and a worthy opponent.
A growl that rolled like thunder shook the castle walls and had millions of humans below look up to the skies.