Day 52

The idiot hasn't come back yet. I suppose he must be dead.

Naraku was proud at how apathetic he made it sound on paper. Because, truth be told, he would die before the readers of this found out that he had been endlessly pacing back and forth in his prison since Inuyasha left two days ago. If they knew how many times he envisioned all the awful scenes of Inuyasha's death in his mind, not with glee, as he once did, but with a gnawing sense of dread. If he was left alone in this prison by himself again…He shuddered at the thought of returning to the shade that he was before Inuyasha came, bringing food, water, and light.

Trying to distract himself, he picked up the now tattered book of poetry Inuyasha had given him so long ago. He'd read it cover to cover the first night. Thinking of something new, he thought: Inuyasha is doing whatever is happening in the first poem I open to. It was a soothing thought. Most poems were love poems, or contemplative poems, so it was safe to say he'd turn to one that wouldn't get him too worried.

"In one long string I wound

Three times her little throat around

And strangled her."

A sharp image of Inuyasha being strangled by the witch Kagome with his own hair popped into Naraku's mind, unwanted. No good. Even poetry couldn't calm him down.

Day 53

The idiot came back. Attempted to feed me some vile mixture of vomit and waste.

The third day, Inuyasha came back, putting on a forced smile.

"Where were you?" Naraku snarled, standing up from his place on the floor. Inuyasha looked worse than Naraku had imagined. He was covered in deep gashes and bruises, all over his body. His arms and legs were the worst, and Naraku wondered if there was any remaining skin on them. Worst of all to see, though, was that his hair was short, cropped close to his head. "What happened?"

"I just accidentally fell into some giant fans. It hurt, but I'm fine. It was my fault anyways, embarrassing Kagome at school." Inuyasha brushed it off. "How have you been holding up? I brought this awesome thing called ramen! You are going to love it!"

"You mean, that witch did this to you?" Naraku could barely conceal his fury.

"Well, I mean, it was an accident. She didn't mean to. I tried to get her attention from this window, and she was surprised and 'Sat' me, and I fell off. She didn't know the fan thing was there." Inuyasha was visibly agitated by the question. "But look, she felt really bad. She apologized a lot, and gave me as much ramen as I wanted, so it's fine."

"She didn't know there was a giant weapon right outside her window?" It was hard to believe. Naraku gritted his teeth, sitting Inuyasha down next to him to have a look at his wounds. Lacerations lined the arms he undoubtedly protected his face with.

"Well, we were pretty high up. Five stories, at least." Inuyasha shrugged, trying to hide his injuries. Naraku bit back his retort about how it was pretty evil to throw your lover from a building that high—how was she in a building that high? Naraku had never seen anything like that—fans or no fans. "But the real reason I was late was because we were looking for the remaining jewel shards for the last two days. Did you know where we could find them?"

"I will say nothing that will help that witch." Naraku touched Inuyasha's head remorsefully. "Your hair…did the fans do that?"

"Yeah, well, partially. It got really tangled up in them, and I had to cut it off. But, really, Naraku, quit worrying. It'll grow back in three days. Here, eat this ramen." Naraku glowered, disconcerted with Inuyasha's forgiving nature. If it had been him who had been accosted in such a manner…well, the first thing he would do would force her eyelids open with clamps. To make her watch as he slowly, painfully killed her.

He took a bite of the strange noodle dish, but quickly spit it out.

"What did you just feed me, hanyou?" Naraku growled, voice ice. "I would say it was poison, but no poison would taste that bad—nobody would swallow it."

"You don't like it?" Inuyasha seemed surprised. Naraku stared in shock. Wasn't it obvious? Who would like such a vile mixture?

"Naturally. I doubt anybody of sense would like such a soggy, detestable mixture."

"How can you hate ramen?" Inuyasha asked, almost scandalized. "Do you have a soul?"

Naraku rolled his eyes. "No."

"Whatever. More for me."

Naraku watched in disgust as he happily ate two bowls of the ghastly dish. When Naraku finally escaped this awful prison, he would have to show the hanyou what real food was like.

No, he checked himself. When he escaped, Inuyasha would have to die with the rest of the humans. Even if Naraku somehow chose to let him live, the hanyou would surely hate him for killing his friends. That would just be the way it had to be. They would never be friends. This alliance was a temporary necessity, nothing more.

Even as he thought it, he felt his heart clench in his chest.

Day 54

The idiot forced me to listen to him sing. The sacrifices I must make to escape this prison.

"Okay, Naraku. I'm going to have to practice down here. It's just the only soundproof place in the village"

"Practice what?" Naraku hoped the hanyou was going to say torture. How he longed to hear the screams of a pathetic creature.

"Kagome asked me to sing at this audition for some sort of school play, for moral support for her, and then also because not too many men were trying out. So, I did, and now I actually have to be in it. Luckily, they're not making me go to all of the practices, but…I'll be singing in front of almost one thousand people. I kinda want to do well."

"Do you do everything she says?" Naraku asked, irritated at how controlling the witch was.

"Shut up." Inuyasha shuffled through some papers. "Okay, here's the first one. It's called 'Soliloquy'"

"You are actually forcing me to listen to you sing?" Naraku complained. "Perhaps you were actually sent by the witch to torture me."

"Ha. Ha. Very funny. Just so you know, besides the stupid audition, I haven't sung since I was ten years old. So, can it, spider."

"That is very heartening." Naraku rolled his eyes preparing for the worst.

Inuyasha took a breath, than began.

"What have I done? Sweet Jesus, What have I done?
Become a thief in the night? Become a dog on the run?
Have I fallen so far and is the hour so late?
That nothing remains but the cry of my hate?
The cries in the dark that nobody hears?
Here where I stand at the turning of the years"

Inuyasha's voice was surprisingly good, urgent and full of emotion. Naraku felt his eyebrows rise when Inuyasha started singing.

Now this was an interesting new development.

"If there's another way to go, I missed it twenty long years ago
My life was a war that could never be won
They gave me a number, murdered Valjean
When the chained me and left me for dead
Just for stealing a mouthful of bread

Yet why did I allow that man, to touch my soul and teach me love?
He treated me like any other
He gave me his trust, he called me "brother"
My life he claims for God above. Can such things be?
For I had come to hate the world, this world that always hated me
Take an eye for an eye, turn your heart into stone
This is all I have lived for, this is all I have known"

Naraku felt his agitation begin to rise. Somehow, the words touched a knot of uncomfortable feelings within him. He silently longed for Inuyasha to stop his singing. But how could he show that such a small thing as a song agitated to such a degree?

"One word from him and I'd be back, beneath the lash upon the rack
Instead he offers me my freedom
I feel my shame inside me like a knife
He told me that I had a soul. How does he know?

What spirit comes to move my life? Is there another way to go?

I am reaching but I fall, and the night is closing in
As I stare into the void, to the whirlpool of my sin
I'll escape now from the world, from the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!"

As Inuyasha belted the final note, Naraku stood up, pacing the room. What was it about the song that itched at him so? How did it prick at his emotions in a way the crying of innocents could not? He felt his hands clench and unclench. What spell had the hanyou put him under?

"That bad?" The hanyou asked, scowling at the music perplexedly.

"Yes!" Naraku hissed vehemently. "How…how do you put such emotion into that song?" He had to ask.

"I just think of Kikyou, that's all." Inuyasha shrugged, blushing. "Look, I'll find somewhere else to practice."

With that, he left the room, leaving Naraku to agonize with the strange emotions gripping him.

Day 55

Why do I fight?

Naraku looked at the sentence, and then crossed it out until it turned into nothing more than a black spot on the page. He had his reasons for fighting. He hated the world. It was cruel and naïve and selfish all at the same time. He had seen the weaknesses of humans and demons countless times.

When he was a boy, Onigumo and his mother had been beaten by his father every night. They lived in fear, clinging to each other. He had loved her, and only her. She was the only person in the world that loved him through the bruises and harsh exterior. But when the time came, she left without him, abandoning him to the fury and frustrations of his father. The beatings got worse after that. His father got angrier.

Finally, when he was big enough and strong enough, Onigumo killed the man he called father and escaped into the forest. He starved then, forced to steal wht little he could to survive. He spent every day in fear, running from place to place, never with anywhere to belong.

What have I done? Sweet Jesus, What have I done?
Become a thief in the night? Become a dog on the run?

Finally, he found someplace he could belong. At the age of thirteen, he joined a gang of bandits. The leader liked how he would do anything for a scrap of food. Even kill. Onigumo hated the leader; that man that fed him scraps with a cruel laugh, calling him a dog. He hated the people he stole from, that they were so happy and fortunate while he struggled to live. Struggled to know who he was at all.

Have I fallen so far and is the hour so late?
That nothing remains but the cry of my hate?

Finally, Onigumo was a man, grown in hate and corruption. He no longer had any motive but his hatred. He hated the world, he hated his comrades, and he hated himself. But most of all, he hated the leader that had turned himself into an insect without morals or pride. So, he did what he had done so many times before. He killed what he hated. With the leader dead, Onigumo became the leader of the bandits he hated so much. He began to kill them too, without even knowing it himself. He would lead the band on missions he knew were hopeless, feeling a sort of sick satisfaction when each one died. He took women to his bed, laughing at their tears. They thought their lives were hard. Pathetic, simpering, weaklings that didn't know what it was like to be betrayed. Afterwards, he would lock himself in his room, and cut himself, forcing himself to release the pain he kept in a knot around his heart, careening into a sick state of euphoria.

Once he looked at his reflection in the water, but he recoiled at what he saw in his own eyes.

Pure, unadultured pain.

And then, it happened. He fell. Standing on the precipice of a cliff, fighting one of his dissenters, he fell into that deep chasm. At first, he was happy. Finally, the end had come. But then there was a moment of suspension. In a frenzied panic, he could think of nothing else but that he would be falling forever. That there would be no ground. For some reason, the expanse of nothingness terrified him. He flailed, trying to touch anything, anything at all.

And then he hit ground, in a smash of flesh and bone connecting against hard rock. He felt as if he had shattered into one thousand pieces, and there was no one there to help. No one to put back the pieces, to tell him he was going to be okay. Frenzied and alone, he tried to cry out, but his voice was just a weak moan. Nobody came. He was alone.

Why would anybody come? He had done nothing for anybody in his life.

The cries in the dark that nobody hears?
Here where I stand at the turning of the years

Until she came, trekking through the darkness to find him. She touched him without anger or hatred or disgust. She treated his wounds, prayed for his soul. She spoke to him, and listened when he told her of his life.

And then she brought him.

Onigumo saw the man's silhouette when he walked into the cave. He accepted that. Kikyo was a good woman. She deserved a man worthy of her.

My life was a war that could never be won.

He concentrated on Kikyo, speaking to her as usual. But he couldn't help sneaking a glance at the man, just once, to see what sort of a man she loved. He was average height, shorter than Onigumo had been. He was a half-demon, with snowy white hair and dog ears. Onigumo did not mind that, even. He figured maybe demons were better than humans. They had to be, actually. Nothing could be worse than a selfish, ugly human. But when he looked into those eyes—

He was falling again, trying to grasp something, anything to save himself. Images flashed in his mind, of his mother's betrayal, His abuser, dead at his feet. Of his years, scrounging for food. Of his hatred of himself when he stole food and clothing to live. Of how he turned himself into a killer.

The man had the same eyes as he did, full of the pain of the world.

For that, Onigumo hated him more than anything he had hated in his entire existence. He hated him more than his father, who had beaten and abused him. He hated him more than his mother, who had abandoned him as a child. He hated him more than the bandit leader that had stolen his humanity.

He hated him almost as much as he hated himself.

Inuyasha walked into the room then, shaking Naraku out of his memories. "Oi. I'm coming in. Don't be naked or something creepy." He said, handing Naraku a basket of food. "Here. Your dinner."

Naraku took it, looking into the basket. "Roast duck? The witch outdid herself this time."

"Oh, well, she does that." Inuyasha turned away, oddly blushing. "It probably tastes like crap, though."

"Sometimes I cannot believe she is Kikyo's reincarnation." Naraku admitted, setting the food out on the picnic blanket Inuyasha had brought.

Inuyasha let out a yelp of laughter. "I know, right? They're like polar opposites!"

"Could you imagine Kikyo riding that contraption around?" Naraku mused, and Inuyasha erupted into gales of laughter. "Holy garb flowing through the wind."He added as an afterthought, and Inuyasha laughed even more.

"Seriously, I think that's the most twisted thing you've said to me." Inuyasha laughed, wiping his eye.

"More twisted than when I wanted you to become one with me?" Naraku asked nonchalantly, taking a bite of an apple. Inuyasha chuckled to himself.

"Yeah, that was pretty twisted." He leaned against the wall. "Why'd you want to fight us, anyways?" He asked suddenly, breaking the short silence.


"Well, like, most of us had reasons. Kagome needed your jewel shards, Miroku had to kill you to fix up his hand, Sango wants revenge for her family, and to get Kohaku back. But you really had no reason to pick a fight with any of us. Why'd you do it?"

Naraku was silent for the space of ten minutes, staring at the shadows. Finally, he opened his mouth. "It multiplied upon itself. The monk's grandfather sought me out. Wanted to stop me from killing. Then the demon hunter village had always bothered me, like a single flower that still tries to survive in a hurricane. When I see things like that I just want to destroy them. And you—I'd hated you since the beginning. So killing you all seemed to be the natural course of action to take."

If there's another way to go, I missed it twenty long years ago

"What?! Why'd you hate me from the beginning? What did I ever do to you?" Inuyasha protested loudly.

"Your eyes…they were so full of pain. I hated it to the core of m being."

"Oh. I get it. That's called empathy. It's the suckiest feeling ever—right up there with guilt. You see someone like you, and all of a sudden all those emotions you've tried to stuff down inside start bubbling up, and you don't want anything but for it to end."

Naraku stared at the hanyou. It was a rare moment of insight, and Naraku was surprised to learn that the hanyou actually had a brain. "You have felt this?" He asked, amazed.

"Sure. Like when we found Shippo, when his parents had just died, or when I met Sango who was trying as hard as she could to avenge her village, or when someone begs for their life. I feel it every day. It's awful." He looked away.

Naraku stared at the hanyou in a new light. Still, he turned away sadly. "I doubt that's it for me. You can't have empathy if you have no soul." He was disgusted with himself. Why did he lead such a life full of shame?

I feel my shame inside me like a knife

"You have a soul, Naraku." Inuyasha said, matter of fact. "Just because you've done bad things doesn't mean you have to forever."

He told me that I had a soul. How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life? Is there another way to go?

Naraku didn't even know anymore.

Had he ever?

The excerpt from the beginning is from "Porphyria's lover", which is like, the best poem ever. It's by Robert Browning. No, I do not own it. Nor do I own "Valjean's Soliloquy", which is from the great musical "Les Miserables."

Oh, and I don't own Inuyasha, either, but we all knew that, right?

Thank you those who reviewed. :) You are so nice and amazing. :)

Also, I had Midterms this week, so I didn't spend any time to grammar check it. I will later, but for now...could you forgive any grammar/spelling errors you see? This was just sort of written in a mad rush in like two hours. :( Sorry. I will go back and edit it...eventually. when I don't have a seven page paper due. :'(

Oh, did you like or hate how much I ended up quoting from the song? Sometimes I like stuff like this, a lot of times I hate it. I can't really tell when It's myself writing it. It was quite a bit...But I liked the general feeling of it...gyahh...I get really selfconscious when it comes to my writing.

But I digress. Read and review! :)