InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Here at the End of All Things ❯ Apocalypse Now ( Chapter 1 )
Part One: Apocalypse Now
"Watch out!" Miroku dove slantways and tumbled Sango out of the direct path of a poison attack. This battle was not going the way they'd hoped. The only guarantee was that something was going to end here. Either Naraku was going to be destroyed, or they were. The casualties alone were too much to bear at this point now... Naraku had pulled out all his stops, had reabsorbed all his incarnations and was struggling to absorb the completed Shikon no Tama. It was resisting him, amazingly.
Inuyasha lunged across the chasm that had opened up in the ground, with Kagome and Shippo just barely clinging to his arms and torso as he bridged a formidable gap. As he landed, blood spattered the ground from his many wounds, and his right leg buckled, sending him awkwardly to one knee. Shippo grabbed fistfuls of his liquid-silver hair and bawled in grief and terror. Kagome was still reeling with shock at their recent losses.
"Are you alright?" Inuyasha glanced over his shoulder, wincing at the tears streaming from Kagome's eyes. He hated to see her cry, though he knew her tears were well earned. So many of their allies had fallen to Naraku...
"Yeah... just, just get the bastard, okay?" She rubbed her eyes with a hand, willing her heart to freeze itself. She would grieve for Koga and the others when the danger had passed.
"I'm working on that. You get out of the way. I'll try to draw his fire. If you can get him with an arrow, so much the better. We might yet get that jewel away from him..."
"WATCH OUT!" Sango shrieked from where she and Miroku were hiding behind a boulder. Inuyasha pivoted just in time to block an attack aimed at him. Shippo gulped in fear and burrowed into Inuyasha's back, pulling the argent mane overtop to hide him.
"If you want to survive, runt," Inuyasha growled, "you'll get the hell off my back and run for it!" Grabbing Shippo around the waist, Kagome released her grip on Inuyasha's shoulders and dropped to the ground, sprinting to where her friends hid. As Miroku and Sango gathered her and Shippo in, she saw a burst of energy erupt from Naraku's hand, aimed at Inuyasha.
"Hyaaah!" Inuyasha launched a Backlash Wave, sending the blast wheeling back to hit Naraku in the teeth (not literally, unfortunately). Naraku laughed contemptuously. Inuyasha was tiring quickly. Loss of blood, emotional drain and nonstop dodging and parrying had sapped his reserve. Even if he cast away Tetsusaiga now and allowed himself to transform to a full demon, he probably wouldn't be able to do it.
Kagome covered her ears as a thundering roar rose up from where the ground shuddered beneath the blasts. How were they going to do this? Inuyasha would be rendered immobile simply due to fatigue before too long, and Miroku wouldn't be able to use the Wind Tunnel so close to Naraku without risking pulling in one of his companions. The closer to Naraku he was, the more renegade the Wind Tunnel became. The prayer beads only barely held it back right now, as it was.
Inuyasha aborted his plan and dove for cover with the rest of them. His mangled ears, bleeding profusely from being scorched by stray shots, twitched relentlessly.
"There's someone or something here. A demon lord," he hissed, "a powerful one. I can't smell who it is because of Naraku's stink, but I can feel it."
Kagome put her arms around him and hugged him, choking back the sobs.
"Get off me, woman," Inuyasha said peevishly, "now isn't the time for amorousness. Let me finish off Naraku and then..."
A blast of blue light and energy erupted from off to the left, countering a blow by Naraku. Kagome tightened her grip on Inuyasha, who was shuddering and trembling with fatigue. He was on the verge of passing out...
"Sesshomaru?!" Miroku hissed in shock as the white-haired demon lord approached from where the blue blast had originated. His clothing was badly burned and in rags, his armor shattered. Tenseiga pulsed in its sheath at his waist, while Tokijin strobed with blue light in his hand.
"Well, well," Naraku chuckled, "so you decided to show up, did you?"
"Don't be so conceited, Naraku," Sesshomaru said calmly. "You have overstepped your bounds. I would not interfere, but you have poisoned the very land of my domain."
Naraku didn't even deign to answer.
"Inuyasha," Sesshomaru said, almost conversationally, "come over here."
"I'll have nothing to do with you, Sesshomaru!" Inuyasha retorted.
"I did not," Sesshomaru replied coldly, "give you an option. Come here."
Against his will, Inuyasha was compelled to his brother's side. Sesshomaru sheathed Tokijin and drew the pulsating Tenseiga. Tetsusaiga began to glow and pulsate a bright red while Tenseiga pulsed blue. Inuyasha looked askance at Sesshomaru. The demon lord hadn't taken his eyes off of Naraku, but he swung Tenseiga as if to strike Inuyasha. As the blade of the Sword of Healing struck the blade of the Steel-Cleaving Fang, the contact created a great vortex of light.
Kagome, Miroku and Sango all ducked down, hugging the ground in desperation as the vortex of light emitted a high-pitched klaxom. Shippo sobbed in Kagome's arms, Sango shook with unreleased sobs and Miroku clutched at his sealed hand, trying to force the Wind Tunnel to behave itself.
"What the hell?!" Kagome looked up when Inuyasha leaped away from Sesshomaru and landed beside her.
Behind the young demon lord stood a gargantuan shadow figure of a dog demon that made Sesshomaru's demon form look like a miniature puppy. It was a ghostly apparition, bathed in an otherwordly green light.
"The Inu no Taisho!" Sango breathed.
"It can't be," Miroku gaped. "He's been dead for too long, how can Tenseiga have brought him back?"
*My land called me,* an otherwordly voice intoned. *I am here to help right an ancient wrong and heal my land.*
Naraku looked frightened for once as the specter stepped forward with the gait of a German Shepherd on the warpath.
From the right a purple light lanced through the air and pierced through Naraku's torso. The Inu no Taisho's ghost lunged forward and struck the dumbstruck half-demon.
"What in the bloody blue blazing hell is going on?!" Miroku's jaw fell further open.
"Kikyo?!" The name ripped itself from Inuyasha's throat. The priestess was running across the uneven ground, an arrow clutched in her hand. She leaped and landed on Naraku just as the Inu no Taisho struck, and with all her might she drove the arrow into Naraku's chest.
There was no more time for thought...
Kagome came to slowly, her head throbbing. As she opened her eyes, she saw the sky had returned to its usual sunny blue. She sat up with some effort to find herself amidst the ruins of Naraku's base. Miroku was kneeling beside where Koga had fallen in defeat, head bowed in prayer. Sango cradled the lifeless body of her firecat Kirara, weeping bitterly for her loss. Shippo clung to her shoulder, also sobbing.
Kagome looked around. Inuyasha was leaning on the sheathed Tetsusaiga, braced against a boulder, apparently in deep conversation with Sesshomaru and the giant dog-shaped apparition that was apparently their father. He looked absolutely wretched, and she could see the remnants of tracks of tears on his face. He also looked about ready to pass out and fall over. Sesshomaru wasn't looking at him, was largely ignoring him.
Kagome forced herself to stand up, forced herself not to look down at the bodies littering the ground.
"Inuyasha," she called, stumbling forward. "Inuyasha?"
He looked up, and it was a measure of his fatigue that he did nothing more than look at her and appear relieved. The deadened look in his eyes spooked her more than anything she could think of.
Had they failed? After all of that, all those lives lost, all that hard work, had they failed to destroy Naraku?
But if so, why were they still alive?
"Are you hurt, Kagome?"
"No, I'm fine. In body at least," she said, shuddering. "You should lie down, though, you're about to collapse."
"In a minute," Inuyasha said in a dull voice, then turned his attention to the increasingly-hard-to-see specter of his father.
*My time has ended,* the wind spoke the words of the Inu no Taisho. The ghostly shape was dissipating slowly. The great red eyes of the dog-shaped demon lord were steadily fading, but the voice was blissfully relieved. *Sesshomaru, it is your turn to rule the Western Lands. I can now rest in peace knowing that the evil I allowed to taint this land has been purged. The Shikon no Tama is no more, and with it, the many-demon Naraku is gone.*
Sesshomaru bowed in acceptance and turned to depart without another word. But there was no arrogance in his posture, nor did his behaviour give the slightest offense. He was accepting the mantle of his father.
The glowing red eyes softened a trifle as they shifted their gaze to Inuyasha.
*There is nothing left for you here, my dear son. My realm cannot be ruled by two, and it cannot be ruled by anything less than a demon lord. But make no mistake: I am very proud of you. You have done more than any other hanyou has ever dreamed of doing.*
Kagome put her arms around Inuyasha, offering her strength to help him remain standing, if he was so determined to.
*The portal that connects Kagome's time with this time period is now beginning slowly to deteriorate. By the next new moon it will be closed completely, and permanently. Kagome cannot stay here; she belongs in her own time. If she chooses to stay here, she will find the world around her will dissolve. There is a future for her back in her own time. The question, my son, is this: will you join her in her time, or will you stay here and wander the lands aimlessly?*
"There is nothing for me here," Inuyasha said, "except death, which I will meet sooner or later. But is there anything for me there except more of the same?"
"You'll have me," Kagome said softly.
There was a distressed cry from nearby. Miroku was clutching his right wrist in agony; "It's still here! My Wind Tunnel hasn't gone away! Does that mean Naraku escaped?"
*No such thing,* replied the wind from the Dog General. *But your time here has ended, itinerent monk. Only by leaving this world behind can you truly escape this curse.*
"What?" Miroku asked stupidly. "That can't be right..."
*And you, demon slayer. Will you stay here and waste away? What is left for you here in this world?*
Sango looked up at what remained of the Inu no Taisho: his glowing eyes. "I do not know."
*I can send you forward with Kagome, if you wish. With the last of my power, I can hold open the portal long enough for you to pass through, but you must decide now.*
last updated: february 27 2005