InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Out of Time ❯ Kagome ( Chapter 16 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The vague outline on the horizon was nothing more than the swirling mist. Gathering together, undulating into itself, the massive cloud of miasma ebbed closer. InuYasha hopped out of the tree, drew his sword, waited.
“Naraku,” Miroku said, his tone disbelieving yet certain, too. Sango stepped up on InuYasha's other side, Hiraikotsu in the ready.
“Where's Kagome?” InuYasha asked without shifting his glower off the incoming mist. He was uneasy. There was something a little too odd about the miasma.
“She was taking her bath. Let's hope she don't come out here.”
Miroku sighed. “She's a miko. She will know.”
The mist shifted, writhed, the pull and tug making it harder to breath. Shielding his face from the putrid stench, like a thousand corpses were converging on him, InuYasha felt the fuzziness seeping into his mind. Shaking his head, willing it away, and yet it still came, washing over him in waves, the unbearable reek pulsing through him as he sank to his knees.
Sango gasped as InuYasha succumbed. The strongest of them was the first to falter? A melancholy voice, an echo in the darkness. `Sango . . . don't leave me! What have I done?'
“Kohaku!” she cried, the name of the brother she'd said goodbye to before. She reached out her hand, wanting to touch him. He faded from her sight, her hand slipped through his. No more than a vision in the miasma, the power to hurt her was there. “No!” she screamed. “Kohaku, don't go!”
Lunging forward, intent on finding Kohaku, Sango felt the ripping, the tearing, the shattering pain in her body. Kohaku's laughter echoed in her head as she flew through the air, landing beside InuYasha. “Save . . . Kagome . . . houshi-sama . . . Kagome . . . .”
“Show yourself! I know you're here! Naraku!” Miroku called, anger seething, rolling through him like thunder.
“Heh heh heh, pathetic monk. Think you will escape me any better than those two did?” His voice came from nowhere and everywhere at once.
Miroku closed his eyes, focused his energy, called together the presence of his mind, and when he opened his eyes again, Naraku stood before him, a great, hulking mass of twisting vines covered in human flesh. “What did you do to them?” Miroku asked quietly.
“They're dead, just as you will be.”
Miroku ripped off the prayer beads that sealed his kazaana. Bracing his arm, he shouted, “Kazaana!” The mist sucked into the air rip, parts of Naraku broke off and were absorbed. Growling in frustration as fatigue set in, Miroku grimaced. Poison from the absorbed vapor weakened him fast. If he was going to die, he'd take Naraku with him, too. “For Sango and InuYasha!”
The glowing pink arrow whizzed over his shoulder, piercing the dark, disbursing the miasma. Miroku sealed up his kazaana and sank to his knees beside the others. His conscious was fuzzy, altered, and Kagome put her hand on his shoulder to stay him as he struggled to get back to his feet.
“No, Miroku. This is my task. You live, and you tell the others . . . I love them all.”
“Dead,” he gasped out, collapsing onto the ground again. Kagome had to know . . . was she truly the strongest of them all?
She shook her head—at least, he thought she did. “Naraku can't hurt you. That's the wish I made.”
“You were supposed to die,” she said, turning to face Naraku. Her voice was calm, quiet, serene. She stepped into the lingering miasma, her body enveloped in a pink haze, “but I guess evil can't be destroyed. It can only be suppressed for a time.”
“Miko, your aura's strong. Surely you don't think you can seal me? The strongest of you have already died, leaving you, little girl, and you think you can stop me?” Sinister laughter rang out.
Kagome stared. She hadn't paid attention to what she had grabbed as she hurriedly dressed when Naraku approached. Looking down, she wasn't surprised to see the green skirt, the white blouse . . . the outfit that started it all. A strange sense of coming full circle cloaked her.
“They're not dead. You can't kill them. You'll never hurt them again, and I'm going to make sure you can't hurt anyone else, either.”
“How will you do this, little Miko? You destroyed your one chance. You wished on the jewel, and now it's gone. How do you think to destroy me? This Naraku cannot be killed.”
“You're pathetic,” Kagome said, her voice still soft, still calm. Dropping her bow with a loud clatter, she shrugged off the quiver of arrows and let them fall, too.
Kagome stepped closer. Naraku shot out a runner, capturing her, dragging her nearer. “Prepared to die, little Miko?”
An odd smile broke over her face, as though Naraku had done the one thing she'd counted on. Behind her, she heard her friends stirring. She didn't look away from Naraku. Bringing her hands together as though she was praying, Kagome closed her eyes, centered her will. Her aura pulsed. As though from far away, across time, across space, she could hear InuYasha screaming at her. She opened her eyes, gazed back at her friends. Her smile turned a little sad, and she willed each of them to hear her goodbyes.
`Miroku . . .'
The monk lifted his head, still weak from the poison but he would survive.
`Take care of Sango . . . She's not nearly as strong as she thinks she is.'
“K . . . Kagome . . .”
Her eyes drifted deliberately past InuYasha on to Sango. The youkai exterminator sat up slowly, obviously still quite shaken from the hit she'd endured.
`Sango . . .`
Her friend looked up at her, tears pooling in her eyes.
`Tell him you love him, Sango . . . because I know that you do.'
“Kagome . . .?”
And InuYasha . . .
Scared to meet her eyes, the hanyou she adored stared at the ground, angry, frustrated, unwilling to believe what he saw. His head was still suffering the effects of the smell. He swayed unsteadily, leaning on Tetsusaiga for support.
`InuYasha . . .'
Those golden eyes she knew so well finally rose, locked with hers, suspiciously bright in the light of the moon.
`Thank you for protecting me, and for being my friend . . . Tell Shippou I love him . . . Promise me you won't be sad.'
“Kagome . . . Kagome!”
As his shaking hand reached out to her, Kagome let the tears fall as she turned back to stare at Naraku. “This is finished.”
Her name echoed from every direction as pink-white light engulfed the courtyard. InuYasha lurched forward, propelled on sheer will alone. The blast of energy pushed him back, threw him against Goshinboku. He struggled to his feet again, and as the light faded, he saw . . .
Kagome. His Kagome. The one he'd fought for, the one he . . . loved . . . Trapped in Naraku's tentacles, she was motionless, locked forever in a place where he couldn't reach her.
He stumbled forward, a wail building up, somewhere deep, somewhere savage, somewhere he'd almost forgotten. Miroku and Sango reached out to stop him, to draw him back. He shook them off and kept going.
“Kagome . . .” he whispered, touching her face. Cold as marble, yet smiling, happy. Even the tears that she shed at that second were crystallized, locked forever in the hands of time. How had she done it? Why had she done it? Her face, in his mind, forever shining, forever happy . . . and forever just beyond him. She was unmarked, unblemished except for the hole where her heart should have been, and sitting inside that hole . . .
InuYasha pulled out the shimmering pink orb. She'd done it. Kagome had trapped her soul and that of Naraku . . . forever.
He fell to his knees. It came from far off, to him. In his mind, he comprehended yet didn't understand. A strange howling wind ripped through the trees, echoed in his ears, in his head, in his mind, in his soul . . . she was gone from him yet still in his heart. The howl closed in on him, boxed him in, cut off his escape. Coming at him with such force, he smashed his ears down, hands trying to block the noise. Too much, too soon, too many things he never got to say, and now . . .
The shriek came again, yet this time, he realized what he hadn't before.
The sound of it, the echo, the resonance . . .
It had come from him.
Before I get lynched…… there's an epilogue… and I'll post it tomorrow.
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Out of Time): I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.