InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Seven ( Chapter 7 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
The throbbing ache of her head woke her first, followed by the pain of her cramped and twisted muscles. Kagome tried to move and a tiny whimper of pain escaped her lips. Every part of her body hurt, she felt dizzy and sick with it and tried to sit up only to collapse again as it seemed all of her strength had disappeared. For a moment, she couldn't remember where she was or what had happened.
Slowly, her hand reached up to touch a swelling lump on the back of her skull and Kagome winced. "I must have hit my head," she mumbled, matching the painful lump to her dizziness.
She reached up to feel her scalp with her other hand and hissed. Kagome groaned and clamped her right hand to her left shoulder, horrified when her fingers came away sticky with blood. He had shot her! That stupid son of a bitch had tried to kill her! Kagome couldn't move, caught up in horror as the memories played over her.
Scott had come all the way to Japan to kill her for divorcing him. He'd planned to murder her in cold blood. She started to shake, choking on her own breath from sheer terror. She'd discounted him, brushed him aside like he was worthless and weak. He'd come to pay her back. Why hadn't she realized that he would never leave her alone?
And he'd fired the gun, but at least the bullet had missed her, leaving only a long, shallow gash in its wake. She couldn't be sure, prodding again at the injury in the darkness. He'd shot her and she'd tumbled backwards, falling, that must have been how she'd hit her head.
"I'm in the well," she whispered, feeling a chill of dread that wiped out her pain. Oh gods no, the last place she wanted to be.
Looking up, she couldn't see anything, it seemed like darkness itself had covered the opening of the well. She wondered how much time had passed, was Scott waiting to see if she survived? Had he ran away after shooting at her, bolting blindly into the streets of Tokyo? Or had he calmly concealed his weapon and slipped away into the night, thinking her dead and no one the wiser that he was in Japan to murder his ex-wife?
She had to chance that he was gone. She'd thought him stupid but at the same time, no one would be dumb enough to stick around after shooting one's ex-wife. In a panic or not, she had to assume that Scott had left. Otherwise he would have climbed down to check, making sure that she was dead and his goal had been accomplished. She didn't have anything else to go on.
Her wound seemed to have stopped bleeding. Thankfully the scrape seemed to be shallow and she honestly didn't know what she'd done to be so lucky. He'd been aiming for her head and she remembered turning away, trying to shield herself even as the realization had sunk in that even Scott wouldn't miss at this distance. The wound was clotted with blood and her robe was stuck to it.
She told herself that she really didn't want to poke at it too much, that could wait until she was back inside the house and had called the police to report that a dangerous lunatic had just attacked her. She hoped they'd catch him, by the gods she'd make sure he never saw the light of day again.
And when she got back to Hawaii, she was going to scream bloody murder at the judges who had thought her restraining order excessive. Someone was going to pay for this.
Her rage began to fade as she stared up at the dark opening of the well. She couldn't see a damn thing down here and Kagome wondered how the hell she was going to get herself out. She couldn't very well sit here all night; her mother would be worried sick and never think of looking in the well. Maybe jiichan or Souta would have, but they weren't there. Her mother might think she went out on her own and Kagome could yell and scream for hours with the hope that someone would come near enough the well house to see.
It was her own damn fault; she'd gotten rid of the ladder that used to hang in here. Kagome snorted and shook her head at her own paranoia of years past. Why remove the ladder? Inuyasha had never used it; he'd never needed it. The ladder had been just for her use when she climbed out of the well. After sealing it, who the hell would have thought she'd need it to get out again?
Kagome cursed to herself and started feeling around the sides of the well, hoping for anything that might give her a handhold. She couldn't see, not a damn thing, but it was still night and being able to look up and see the roof of the well house wasn't going to do her any good.
She flinched when she felt rope dangling against the cold stone wall of the well. Hesitantly she pulled, wondering why she'd left a rope down here and not remembering having done so. Did Souta or jiichan actually climb inside the bloody well after she left?
Kagome cursed again, this time in both French and Chinese, having run out of suitable Japanese or English descriptions for her dear husband. She was going to have him killed, to hell with the police. Her lawyers in Tokyo probably knew some shady characters, yakuza mobsters or something like that. She'd pay almost anything to see that Scott never left this country alive.
Some things were better handled privately, not in the courts of law.
As Kagome started to climb out of the well, the smell of flowers tingled in her nose. That's when she realized it; suddenly felt her senses screaming from it. She almost let go of the vine that she'd mistaken for a rope. Wildflowers never grew on her side of the well nor did vines.
Oh please, no.
“It's impossible,” she chattered to herself and started climbing again. “I sealed it, the seals were intact. I don't have the sacred jewel; the well wouldn't have opened for me.” She felt dizzy and pressed her forehead against the cold side of the well. It comforted her, seemed to welcome her.
She wasn't back. This was all just a bad dream.
A really bad dream.
After a few moments of blind panic and shaky prayers, she grit her teeth and continued to climb.
Ten Years Earlier
She'd never been so scared as she was right now.
Naraku was dead. He'd been laughing, safe behind his impenetrable barrier that even Tessaiga couldn't cut. Then suddenly barrier was gone, evaporated as if something had sucked all the spiritual energy, even the youki energy, out of the area. She'd felt it and tried to protect herself but like Naraku had been caught unawares, so had she. Kagome found herself swooning as if she'd lost the strength to carry her own weight.
When she'd recovered at least enough to lift her head and look up, she'd seen Kikyou beside Inuyasha, helping him stand. There was a conversation, she couldn't quite make out the details, but Inuyasha seemed to be protesting something. Angrily attempting to persuade the priestess of something, finally giving up and looking over his shoulder at Kagome as he really needed to tell her something. Kagome met his worried and determined gaze as he readied his blade and sent the most powerful Kaze no Kizu she'd ever seen right at Naraku.
Naraku's gross, misshapen body was blasted apart, bits and chunks of demonic flesh falling all around them like a grotesque rain of gore. And Kagome still couldn't move, she could only lie there and watch, helpless. Her body felt so heavy, so lifeless. Why couldn't she move?
"It's over, Kikyou," Inuyasha said, sheathing his sword. He walked back to Kagome, standing protectively over her body. "Let up on that spell, damn it. You're hurting her."
Kikyou ignored him and went to where Naraku had been. Slowly, the priestess knelt and started sifting through the remains. She stood up with something in each hand and walked over to Inuyasha. Kagome wanted to sit up, ask her how she'd done it, and even congratulate the priestess for her part in Naraku's destruction. Why couldn't she move?
Something wet and disgusting dropped right in front of Kagome's face, she would have flinched away from it if she could have done so. "That," Kikyou intoned in her deadly calm voice, "is Naraku's heart. Once it is destroyed, he'll have no way to rebuild his body."
"So what are you waiting for?" Inuyasha hadn't moved from his protective stance over Kagome. Did he think that Kikyou was going to threaten her? Would the priestess turn on them both now that Naraku had been destroyed?
Kikyou cupped her hands in front of her. Something between them was glowing, making her pale fingers turn transparent, bloodless as the priestess herself was. Kagome just stared up at her helplessly as Kikyou seemed to be in some kind of trance.
"This is what I died for," the priestess murmured, lost in the radiant, swirling energy. "I was afraid to use it before, I was frightened, but now I know better. Perhaps I should wish for a new life."
Inuyasha stirred restlessly. "Let Kagome free now, I told you, she's got nothing to do with it. Use the jewel if that's what you want."
"I can't," she said, her voice flat once more. "It will take the last of me, this destruction of Naraku. Once his heart is gone, I will curse his soul straight to hell and myself along with it."
"Does it have to be that way?" Inuyasha asked. His voice was sorrowful, filled with regrets for the Kikyou he had once known.
"Yes," she said. "You might want it otherwise, but I will not forget my duty."
With those words, Kikyou knelt and placed her hand upon the corrupt heart of the monster that had caused her and others so much misery. Her hand glowed and the chunk of flesh fell away as only ash, purified into nothingness by her touch. Kagome watched as something floated away, a glowing, indistinct ball of light that Kikyou reached out to capture, letting it be absorbed into her body.
"That was Naraku's soul," she said. "After all this time, I finally have him."
"Good," Inuyasha muttered. Kagome thought he should sound happier, but he didn't sound happy at all. "You should let Kagome go," he repeated yet again. "She's not a part of this anymore."
I'm not, Kagome thought, hurt and confused.
Kikyou smiled. "I will release her, I have no wish to harm her. You know what I need to do now, Inuyasha. And why I need to do it."
Stubbornly, he looked at the ground. "No. I'm not going with you, Kikyou. I'm still alive; when I'm dead you can have my soul and be welcome to it. Not before then."
Don't trust her, Kagome wanted to scream. Inuyasha, get away!
The jewel in Kikyou's hand pulsed suddenly and Inuyasha dropped to his knees. "Damn it," he said, obviously fighting something. "I don't want to..."
"You don't have a choice, my Inuyasha," Kikyou said. "This ends as it should have, we've both completed our tasks. We belong to each other, as we always have. This girl may have convinced you that you deserve to stay alive, but we both know you better than that. You haven't been honest with her any more than you have been honest with yourself."
Inuyasha gasped and seemed to be pulled up on his knees, his face turned skyward as an ethereal light filled his body. "Please," he whispered.
Kagome looked on in horror as another sphere of light appeared and this light she knew was Inuyasha. It was him, it was his soul that Kikyou was preparing to absorb and drag to hell with her. After everything they'd been through, Kagome just couldn't stand the idea. She summoned every last bit of spiritual energy inside her, fueled it with her desperation and her love. She broke through Kikyou's spell and sat up, reaching out blindly.
"Stop it!" she cried.
Inuyasha's soul hovered, checked by her command. Kikyou scowled and tried to twist the hanyou's energy from her grip but Kagome held fast. "Just take the jewel," the young reincarnation murmured. "You don't need to have him too! Let him go. Please!"
She felt the clash of their wills. Kikyou's eyes flashed with anger and her hand clenched around the Shikon no Tama, but she could not break Kagome's hold over Inuyasha's soul. The priestess' eyes met Kagome's. "I know you think you're saving him," Kikyou said softly. "Believe me, you do not understand."
Kagome grit her teeth and concentrated on holding him. "I understand that he didn't choose to go to hell with you."
The priestess seemed to be weakening, already she looked faded. "It's taking all my strength to restrain Naraku's soul," she said. "I can't fight you and him both. I ask you, please, let me finish what I must."
"You will not take him," Kagome said, her voice hard and strong. For all the times he'd risked himself, for all the times he'd fought for her, she would now fight for him. "You have Naraku, you have the jewel. Just let go of hating him. Let Inuyasha go."
"I don't hate him," Kikyou whispered. "I loved him, I still love him. Don't you understand that? This is the only way to save us both."
"I don't believe you," Kagome said. She was winning. She was the copy; she was the lowly incarnation, the imperfect version of Kikyou's perfection. And she was beating her. "Let him go."
"Do you love him?" Kikyou asked, her voice starting to fade. "Do you think your love makes a difference, that it really changed him?"
She didn't know what Kikyou was getting at, but it was making her angry. "He has changed," Kagome said tightly. "If you ever really loved him, you'd see that, you'd understand why I have to stop you." She raised her chin, got to her knees and faced Kikyou fearlessly. "I won't ever abandon him!"
"If you love him, you'll listen to me now," Kikyou said. "After I'm gone, the jewel will still be here and every bit as dangerous as it was before you shattered it. You must purify the jewel immediately. Then hide it. Take it some place where there are no demons and bury it deep in sacred grounds. You must promise that to me, Kagome. If you promise, I will let him go."
That didn't seem like so much trouble, Kagome thought. She would have done it anyway, if only Kikyou had asked her. "I will do it," she agreed.
Kikyou met her eyes. "No matter what, no matter what the reason or the need, you must keep Inuyasha from taking the jewel."
"He doesn't want it anymore!" Kagome shouted. "Why can't you see he's changed? He's seen what it can do; he knows it isn't what he wants. Believe me, Kikyou!"
"I wish I could," the priestess murmured. "In any case, I'm growing weak now. Please remember, Inuyasha must not use the jewel. If you love him..."
Kikyou's body was dissolving, becoming filled with holes of light. Kagome realized that they were trapped souls, trying to tear themselves away from her at the last minute to keep from being dragged to hell. Under Kikyou's feet, the ground was fading away, becoming less solid. Kagome crawled over to Inuyasha's side as the tiny point of light that was his came to her, hovering in front of her eyes. Using her will, she pushed it back towards his body, sighing in relief as it faded when it touched his skin.
She couldn't look as Kikyou finally faded away completely, lost in a darkness that was spilling from the gap in the earth. Protectively, she threw her body over Inuyasha, pushing him down as a wind began to howl over their heads. She buried her face in his back and clenched her teeth because she could hear the howling of the damned as Kikyou made her descent into hell.
Then it was over, everything was silent. Inuyasha coughed, trying to push himself up. She rolled to the side and covered her face, drained. It's over, she thought, grateful.
"Kagome," Inuyasha's voice sounded dazed. "What happened?"
Wearily, she pulled herself to her feet and something clicked against her shoe. Kagome knelt and picked up. Such a harmless looking little trinket, it could be a child's marble, a toy. It flared briefly at her touch, instantly purified. She smiled. Promise kept.
"Kagome?" Inuyasha sounded annoyed. "Where is Kikyou? Did she do it, did she take Naraku to hell?"
Tears in her eyes, she went to stand next to him. "Yes. And almost you too. I managed to talk her out of it at the last minute. I think she was just tired of fighting."
His expression was suspicious. "She just let me go? Just like that? I don't understand."
He didn't protest when she went and put her arms around him. "You made her let me go," he murmured. "I remember now, you forced her to let me go."
Inuyasha's arms came around her and he held her tightly. This was wonderful; this was why she'd saved him. He deserved better than to be dragged to hell with a dead love's vengeance. He deserved his chance to start his life over, not be ruled by hatred or anger or revenge. This was what she'd fought for the whole time, for him, for Inuyasha. She smiled at him as he tipped her chin up. "Why do you stay with me, Kagome?"
It made her want to laugh. "You idiot, you know I love you. That's the only reason that matters."
He smiled, a faint, strange look in his eyes. "You've always been so sure of me, so honest. I don't think you understand the kind of gift you're giving me." His lips touched hers and Kagome melted against him, accepting his kiss as passionately as her own inexperience would allow, her arms winding around his neck.
His hands traveled from her shoulders and down her arms, gently pulling her hands away from him and clasping them tightly. "Everything will be different now," he said. And she believed him.
For he held up his hand and showed her the Shikon no Tama, she realized he'd taken from her grasp when he'd kissed her. Her face fell and Kagome looked at the ground and did not care when Inuyasha pulled her close again and buried his face in her hair.
This was not happening.
Her hands were scratched and bleeding, her injured shoulder still ached with a dull throb. Kagome had nothing to use to hack at the thick vines, which seemed to seal the well better than any physical covering could. She didn't remember it being so difficult to climb out of the well, but with just her bare fingers, not even a kitchen knife, or a sharp rock to help cut her way through, she had to practically battle her way out.
Finally, she managed to carve a hole for herself, just wide enough for her body and she wormed her way through the twisted overgrowth and sighed in exhaustion once free. The vines had completely overgrown the well covering on this side. She didn't remember them being so thick or strong and wondered why they'd been allowed to grow so wild.
Was someone trying to protect the old well or seal it further? Perhaps Kaede had planted the vines; maybe it was just the result of ten years disuse, nothing going in or out of the ancient well to impede their growth. She didn't remember them from the first time she'd traveled through time.
Either way, it was a damned inconvenient thing, having to fight her way out of the well when she barely had the strength to stand on her own two feet.
It was still night, but the sky was starting to lighten. Kagome was grateful. That meant morning would be coming soon. In spite of the circumstances, it would make her feel better just seeing the sun. She tried not to worry about how she was ever going to get home right now. Perhaps Kaede would have some idea on how to persuade the well to take her home.
One thing she remembered, jewel shards or not, the well had always taken her back to her own time. That didn't seem to depend on any special powers, sacred jewels or bad tempered half demons.
When she'd came to that realization, she'd laughed an only slightly hysterical laugh of relief and let herself drop from halfway up the well to the dirt floor below, fully expecting to feel the strange floating sensation that heralded a trip through the ages. Her stomach expected the weird falling feeling; she actually looked around her expectantly for it just as she leaped.
Nothing happened, there was no magical transport for her. She could almost feel the well's rejection. She'd landed badly, unable to see around her, and twisted her ankle. She was lucky, it wasn't broken or sprained, just a nasty little wrench of pain to add to her growing list of grievances.
Now she stood under a clear night sky and the air in her lungs tasted strange it was so clean. The smells around her were playing games with her memories, triggering things she'd long repressed. For a second, she was fifteen again, scared because this was all so new and strange. She half wanted to turn around and look down the well, searching for the centipede bitch that had tried to kill her the first time.
Involuntarily, her fingers went to her side feeling for the old scar. It had faded so much only she was able to see it in certain lights. Not one single lover had ever mentioned it, not even those that had pored over her body with an almost drunken fascination.
Kagome, you're so beautiful. I knew the minute I saw you I'd have you as mine.
She was disgusted at the memories, revolted by her selfishness. How had she ever fallen into that trap? Allowed herself to only feel worthwhile when some man was on fire for her, demanding for her. It made her sick now. In all other aspects of her life she was the one in control, the queen bitch that nobody challenged. She always got what she wanted.
And what she wanted was the power that a man's helpless desire gave her, the power that said she was the one who wrote the rules, they played her game. None had ever made her feel vulnerable, but none had ever burned her soul to ash with his passion either.
Her fingers fell away from her side as she walked, firmly putting the memories back in the place. Not all of her scars were on the outside; she reserved the ugliest ones for herself alone.
Kagome thought about that as she made her way to the village. Ten years later and she still knew the path by heart. It was overgrown and full of weeds, the forest had stubbornly tried to reclaim the path, but Kagome expected this after seeing the condition of the well. Why would anyone else come this way if they weren't maintaining the well?
The villagers had been leery of the forest from the beginning; it was off limits, no one wanted to encounter whatever lurked in the darkness. The forest bore his name, but Kagome had never understood the villagers' fear of it. Inuyasha had been sealed when the forest acquired its reputation, but even sleeping he was frightening to them.
She snorted to herself. Sleeping he was nothing, sleeping he was innocent and sweet, just a boy. Just a boy and nothing more.
She wondered if anyone would remember her. She thought so; she'd had friends here once. She hoped old Kaede was still alive, so many times over the years she'd wanted to talk to the old woman. Kaede always knew what to say, how to put her confusion into perspective.
She missed that. Someone in the village would remember her as the strange priestess, the one who woke the hanyou and fought evil at his side. She might not get the warmest of welcome, but they'd help her. They had to. Didn't they?
The sun was starting to creep higher in the sky, not over the horizon yet but she could see shades of pinks and golds see in painting the sky in the distance. A breathtaking sunrise was on the way. Kagome normally didn't like to be awake at sunrise; she always thought of herself as a sunset person and had seen many of those over the years. From the beach in Hawaii, from the glass encased skyscrapers of Los Angeles where the thick, smoggy air turned sunset into a firestorm. The French Riviera, where she and Scott had honeymooned so long ago. From her company's private condo in Hong Kong, looking out over the harbor and drinking expensive wine with a dashing Chinese investor that was so taken by her beauty and her intelligence that he'd quite lost out on getting the best deal for his own interests.
No matter, as she recalled life in the village began early. Already the women would be up cooking for their men, preparing them to spend the entire day working in the fields. Children would be waking as well, crying for their morning meals. Chickens would be wandering restlessly around the hard packed earth of the village yard, and girls would be going to the river to draw water soon and boys leading the livestock to pasture.
She was no longer acclimatized this pastoral existence, but something inside her was welcoming it and the pleasant memories it invoked. Like she'd never learned that in her heart, she was born to be a city girl.
Kagome crested the hill, following the curve in the land that took her to the little village. She wondered how tall the youngest children she remembered had grown and how handsome the young boys were now. So she had a faint smile on her lips when she rounded the bend and walked into the village.
And stopped, frozen in place. Trapped in horrified surprise. The village...it was gone.
The buildings were still there, at least what were left of them. It was obvious that something terrible had happened here and also obvious that it had happened a long time ago. Most of the homes were wrecked; pathetic and sad little structures that had been bashed in, some burnt. Nothing left but the wood and thatch that had once held them together.
Something had torn through the village like a juggernaught, an angry hellfire of revenge. It wasn't random; the huts were methodically torn apart, roofs caved in and the walls ripped away. And it had all been left in ruins.
That was what struck her; no one had tried to rebuild this place. And she knew, oh yes she knew because she'd seen this vision before in her darkest nightmares. The ones that told her that just because she'd escaped didn't mean anyone else would be spared from his wrath.
"Oh Inuyasha, how could you?" she whispered, a single tear slipping down her cheek.
Her feet didn't want to move, but she made them carry her forward anyway. Even the pain of her sore ankle was ignored as she toured the place she'd known so long ago. Ten years, she thought, grim and grieving. There wouldn't be any human remains left in the open after so long. Scavengers would have picked the bones clean, probably scattered them as well. She didn't see any graves, the survivors hadn't stayed to bury the dead or there hadn't been any survivors at all.
She winced, raising her hand to her face to wipe away the tears that were now flowing freely. Salt on her lips, the taste of regret. Sad as it was, she couldn't help but regret the most that she would find no help in the ruin of a village.
Kaede's hut looked the most intact, strangely enough. She wondered why. Maybe he'd spared her home deliberately. Maybe he remembered all the times that Kaede had supported them, tried to help them. Maybe he'd just caught the old woman outside and hadn't needed to wreck the little hut after all.
Kagome suddenly felt so tired, so very tired. She knew she might be suffering from shock, if not from Scott's attempt on her life, from the sheer stress of transition and finding herself back where she'd started. She wasn't thinking clearly, but she still wanted to go into Kaede's hut. She had no other shelter and the old woman's hut had at least it had kept its roof.
Entering, the memories intensified until she started to shiver uncontrollably. The morning air was chill and all she had on was a light robe and a delicate silk nightgown. Kaede's floor was coated with dust and dirt, not tidy as she remembered it always being. Such a small place, but a lone old woman didn't need much space.
It was only when filled with her friends that the small hut would feel crowded. She remembered curling up on Kaede's floor, not caring much about the rough wood and still finding it easy to sleep on the small mat that the elderly priestess provided for her. In that corner, Sango would have bedded down with Kirara cuddled close to her chest. At a suitably groping-safe distance, Miroku would have also laid down to rest.
She herself would choose a place by the fire, for warmth and for light, with a kitsune lying as close as possible next to her. They all rested well here, usually returning from some adventure or another to be comforted by Kaede's warm hospitality and simple meals.
And on the roof, a hanyou that didn't like to admit that sometimes he was every bit as tired as a human would often keep watch over his little group of friends.
No one was going to watch over her now, if any humans had survived the destruction of the village, they probably knew she was to blame. It was her that woke him, her that tamed him. Her that brought him into their midst and her that unleashed his fury when she ran for her life.
Kagome was too tired for old guilt, too tired for a lot of things, even feeling sorry for herself. Exhausted, she lay down and pulled her knees tight against her chest and willed herself to rest.
Why did you do it? Why did you become such monster?
Why was it so important to you? You didn't need to become a demon.
I would have stayed with you forever.