A/N: Surprise! This is the second to last chapter. I'm going to be switching back and forth between Inuyasha's and Kagome's perspectives. You'll know the switch by this string of numbers: 1234567890
Got it? Great. First Kagome. From where we left off.
Kagome felt the sword inside of her. And it hurt, but she wasn't dead. It was more like thin needles piercing her skin than a giant sword. It must be the purple veins she was feeling. Her own power couldn't hurt her. It was just forming the structure of whatever Naraku had poured into those veins.
Naraku grinned. "You didn't think I'd let you die that easily, did you?" He twisted the sword, causing the needles to scrape her insides. It was a kind of pain different from anything she'd ever experienced before.
She tried to compartmentalize it and think quickly. It was her own power he was using. He'd obviously done something to it, but the power was still hers. It wasn't all of her power; she could still sense the little ball somewhere else in the building. But the sword he was using was definitely a small section of what was hers. If she could only tap into it . . .
Gritting her teeth and still struggling to ignore the strange slicing feeling inside her chest and his leering face dancing in front of her, she tried to call the power back to her.
At first nothing happened. Then, slowly, she felt the veins on the edge of the sword start to peel back. Unfortunately for her, it was excruciatingly painful. Like turning needles into hooks. Also unfortunately, Naraku noticed her efforts immediately and tried to draw the sword out. She grabbed his hand, calling on all the muscles she had developed in the last couple weeks to hold him in place. She could tell that the power in the sword was all he had brought, and he couldn't tap into it as it was. That meant it was his base physical strength against hers. And she only needed to hold him for a few moments.
Kagome had never had so much singular focus in her life. She poured weeks of angst and frustration and self-discipline into continuing to peel the sick purple veins off of the sword and through her internal organs. It was like willingly dragging a rusty knife through her own flesh while also trying to win an arm wrestling match.
Sweat broke out on her brow. She heard Naraku snarl, but didn't stop focusing long enough to evaluate his reaction. As long as she held his hand in place . . . as long as she could keep peeling away the darkness for a little more . . . as long as she could stand the pain . . .
Suddenly, her skin started rippling, then tearing, then, finally, mercifully, the veins ripped through, snaking haphazardly in the air for a few seconds before dissipating completely. Her own power flowed into and through her. But it was weird, like the power couldn't find an anchor. Her inner well was still blocked off. So instead of settling in, it exploded upwards, blasting through the ceiling.
Kagome panicked. She couldn't let it get away when it was her only weapon! Summoning any strength that was left within her, she pulled on the tail end of the stream of power, calling it back. Obediently, it snapped back into her body with force. But it still wouldn't settle. It was all she could do to keep it down. Before she could come up with any kind of plan to use it or help it find an anchor, Naraku grabbed her by the neck and roughly pulled her closer to his face.
"Give it back," he snarled ferociously.
Inuyasha slammed his fist into a wall. Kagome was shutting him out. Somehow, knowing that Naraku was torturing her and not being able to help her through it was worse than experiencing it with her. He was about to call out to her again when a column of pink, shimmery energy erupted to his left, shattering the floor, the ceiling, and a giant branch overhanging the roof. It promptly tumbled down and took a big chunk of the wall with it. Then, without warning, the column switched direction and seemed to suck itself back into the hole, speeding away from sight leaving nothing but the destruction it caused behind it.
As the dust settled, Inuyasha exchanged glances with Kouga.
"What was that?" the wolf asked.
"I don't know, but it looked like… her."
As soon as he admitted it out loud, Inuyasha knew it was true. She was here after all. Without thinking, he launched himself into the hole, free falling to find its source.
It was a much deeper hole than he anticipated. Floors and floors sped by him, first made of wood, then made of steel. How had that beam pierced all this?
Finally, he landed in a dank, almost completely empty room.
And there she was. She was thinner than last he saw her, and a little more muscular, too. She was beautiful.
And Naraku had her in a choke hold.
Quelling the demon rising within him, Inuyasha allowed a snarl to escape from his lips. Both heads snapped in his direction, but he didn't wait for them to figure out why he was there. Lengthening his claws, he sliced through Naraku's filthy hand, severing his connection to Kagome. Then he thrust the girl behind him and got ready to face his opponent.
As Naraku's hand fell away, a tentacle began to slither out of the stump of arm that was left. Wordlessly, Kouga landed beside him and readied for the fight as well.
"Kagome," Inuyasha murmured. "Does he still have your power?"
"No," she answered. "I have part of it, and the rest is in another room."
A slow smile spread onto Inuyasha's face. "Go get it, then. We'll take care of him."
Kagome nodded, barely able to mentally process Inuyasha's sudden presence. She was still struggling to keep her power contained in her body. Stumbling towards the door, she tentatively tried to let a small amount of power go forward to unlock it. Instead, the whole mass of it surged forward, blasting the door away completely. Again, she barely managed to grab the edge of it and pull it back. This time, the impact as it slammed back into her was even rougher, forcing her to her knees. She couldn't keep this up. She had to find the rest of her power and re-open her inner well soon.
After forcing herself back onto her feet, she took off running.
Finally, Inuyasha was alone with a Naraku who no longer had access to Kagome's powers. It was what he had fantasized about for a long time now.
He darted to cut off Naraku's exit from the now gaping escape route, and Kouga circled to stand behind him. They exchanged a triumphant look.
"Don't think it will be so easy," Naraku sneered. Then his body started to bubble and change, tentacles bursting out and whipping around him with terrible speed.
The fight began.
Kagome followed her instincts. She didn't try to figure out which hallway to take, she just sprinted towards the ball of powers she sensed, and when she came up to a wall she blasted it. Her body and mind were stretched thin from sending out and taking in such force. She was a human slingshot. But finally, she destroyed the last barrier.
She was standing in what must have been Naraku's bedroom. It was decorated in the same garishly opulent style as the first room he had given her. And there, hanging on a hook by the canopy bed, was the necklace her mother had given her. With shaking hands, Kagome reached for it and placed it over her neck.
The power in her rushed forward to meet it. She could feel it leaving her. But once it was completely gone and back in the necklace with the rest of her powers, everything stopped. The necklace was pulsing with her energy, but that energy didn't take its rightful place inside of her.
She screamed in frustration and tried to break it to see if that helped, but the orb was indestructible.
Desperate, she turned on her heel and ran back the way she had come.
Inuyasha slashed his way through tentacles, barely aware of Kouga doing the same. Naraku was strong, but without Kagome's powers, he was nowhere near a match for them. It wouldn't take long.
When he had cut his way to Naraku's body, he plunged his hand through the bastard's throat. Blood gushed around his fingers, and Naraku choked on it.
Just then, Kagome sprinted back into the room.
"Wait!" she cried.
Inuyasha froze. She couldn't possibly want to spare him after all of this, could she? He looked at her uncertainly.
Let me, she thought in his mind.
He nodded grimly. She deserved it.
He pulled his hand slowly out of Naraku's throat, leaving him choking and spluttering on the ground, his tentacles laying limply around him.
Kouga, too, stopped fighting and looked to Kagome respectfully. She must have spoken in his mind, as well.
Gingerly, she stepped through his slimey limbs and crouched down in front of him.
"This is for my mother," she whispered.
Then she stood and stomped on his torn and bleeding throat with all her might. He made a strangled, pathetic noise, and then his eyes went blank.
Immediately, the orb around Kagome's neck began to glow and absorb itself into her skin. She closed her eyes and smiled softly, her hair fluttering in waves around her as her aura rippled and bent to accommodate the addition. Then finally her ebony hair drifted softly back onto her shoulders and she opened her eyes to look into his.
"What took you so long?" she asked.
He laughed, and it was a strange sound coming from his mouth. He hadn't laughed in ages. Not since she'd left.
Then they fell into each other's arms and he hugged her as fiercely as he let himself, reveling in the knowledge that he'd never have to let go again.
A/N: So I hope you guys like that. It's not completely over. I will be writing a chapter on the aftermath, but it's going to be pretty epilogue-y so I'm going to mark the story complete from here and I'll get to that when I get to it. I decided to end it because it seemed like interest in this story was flagging, but I wanted to give it closure. I hope it was satisfying, and if there's anything specific you want to know about in the epilogue leave it in a review. Actually, say anything you want in a review, as long as you review. I really value your feedback. Please and thank you!