InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Possession ❯ Seventeen ( Chapter 17 )
[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Ten Years Earlier
She was shaking, staring at him. "All this time," Kagome whispered, her eyes filling with tears. "All this time you were only after the jewel?"
He couldn't look at her, focusing instead on the sparkling sphere that glowed between his fingers. She was going to hate him, there was no way he could tell her the truth. Even now, with Sango and Miroku dead, he couldn't bear to let Kagome see how weak and helpless he truly was.
"Of course I was always after the jewel," Inuyasha said softly. "I told you that from the beginning."
It was a lie and he was sure that she'd see right through him. Hadn't she always had some kind of power over him to do that? Maybe it was because she could drop him with a single word; maybe it was because she'd always been able to see inside him. It didn't matter; right now if he wanted to have the kind of power that would protect her, make him worthy of her, he had to bear it. Even if he had to pretend that she meant absolutely nothing to him.
"Miroku and Sango gave their lives to put an end to that jewel's evil," she said, pleading with him. "Don't make their sacrifice mean nothing, Inuyasha. Please don't do this."
Bitterness filled him at her accusations, that she'd so easily believe that he'd turn on her. It was necessary, but it still hurt him, left him wounded inside. If there'd been any other way…he wouldn't have chosen this. He'd never wanted her to hate him and he cursed himself for not finding a better solution.
He'd made the decision to use the jewel and become a full youkai the night after Sango and Miroku had died. Their sacrifice had shamed him, made him wish that he were stronger. They had been willing to die to protect what they loved, why couldn't he find it inside himself to be anything more than selfish?
The day had been hot, the air was thick and humid, hanging breathless in their faces like a foul and rotting stench. He'd seen exhaustion in the eyes of his human friends, exhaustion and waning hope. That was when he'd told himself that he would always be strong enough to fight for them, to protect them when they needed him. No matter what Naraku threw at them, he would not fail.
The bastard had chosen a grim and filthy piece of land to make his stronghold. Along the road, they'd seen the destroyed and burned out villages, the straggling survivors of Naraku's wrath. Inuyasha was sure that Naraku hadn't needed to kill so many people. No, this time he'd deliberately left these corpses like a trail, daring them to follow him, challenge him.
Kagome had broken down in tears when they'd had to bury children. It made Inuyasha sick. How many times had he seen her moved to tears by the pain of others? She didn't seem to notice that she was suffering every bit as much as these pitiful refugees. Naraku had loosed his demons again and again, driving out and murdering all the villagers in his path.
Her tears ate at him as he watched her and Sango pick the few remaining wildflowers to place upon the grave. They'd given up trying to bury the bodies individually by this time. A mass grave was the best they could do and Inuyasha knew better by now that to even suggest to his companions that they just leave the corpses to rot.
“Why is he doing this?” Kagome whispered, tears streaking her face. She'd turned her stricken eyes to his and reached for his hand. “These people couldn't have been any threat, they couldn't do anything to him. Why?”
“Suffering makes him stronger apparently,” Miroku said, not bothering to hide the pain and fury in his voice.
“He won't be strong enough,” Sango answered, her voice harder and bitterer than Inuyasha could ever remember hearing it. The exterminator seemed to burn with an inner fire every time she saw another ruined village, another dismembered and violated corpse.
“He's doing this to taunt us, he's doing this to show us that we can't stop him.”
Miroku reached out to comfort her, but Sango turned away, anger in the line of her shoulders and her hands clenched into fists. The monk folded his arms and closed his eyes as if he were contemplating yet another blessing for the dead. Inuyasha didn't miss the set of his jaw or the way Sango's anger brought a bitter twist to his mouth.
“We will kill him,” Miroku murmured, his voice as lost and forlorn as the ruined homes of dead innocents. “I swear to you, Sango. Naraku will pay for this and every crime he's committed.
The monk's words settled uneasily over Inuyasha. Like his companions, he also burned for his own revenge, but at the back of his mind something was gnawing at him. Something like instinct, sending warnings into his brain that he couldn't begin to interpret.
“What if it's a trap?” he asked, his voice quiet and calm in the face of their pain.
“A trap?” Kagome asked, wiping her nose on her sleeve. Inuyasha was suddenly filled with the urge to wrap his arms around her, offer some kind of comfort. But he held himself back as he always did. Now wasn't the time.
“Yeah,” he muttered, looking away from her. “I just feel like he's drawing us to him for a reason, like he's got some kind of fucking plan. He wants us to find him.”
“Of course he does,” Miroku snapped, glaring at him. “He wants to gloat over us, he wants us to see what he's capable of. This is just another one of his games; he wants to break our spirits. Then he thinks we'll be easy prey for him.”
“He might be right,” Inuyasha said, meeting the monk's angry gaze. “I don't like it, something stinks here and I'm not talking about the dead.”
Sango hissed angrily, turning to face him, but Kagome intercepted, making soothing noises. “We've got to at least consider that it might be a trap,” she began.
“I don't care anymore,” Sango cried, her eyes brimming with angry tears. “Let him trap us, let him think he can break us. We can't just turn around now!”
Kohaku, Inuyasha thought dully, unable to watch as the furious exterminator fell against Kagome's shoulder and wept like something inside her had broken at last. Her drive to free her brother had always exceeded any desire for revenge. Inuyasha wondered why he was the only one who could see it.
Naraku was winning. Slowly, they were starting to turn against each other in desperation for some kind of outlet for so much pain. This constant fighting, this constant death and destruction were eroding all of them. He had never thought that he'd be the one to suggest reason or caution. It was a strange place for him to be.
Only Kagome still seemed untouched by the bitterness, the despair. She'd cried openly over every victim, but he hadn't seen her start to freeze over and shut down to escape the pain. Instead she offered them all comfort and resolve no matter how hopeless things seemed. Even Shippou didn't smile anymore.
He felt a tug at his sleeve and looked down. The small kitsune had a pleading look in his eyes and although there was a time when he would have pushed him away, Inuyasha knelt down beside him.
“It's okay,” he told the young fox. “We'll get him, don't worry about it. Everyone is just tired, that's all.”
“What if it really is a trap?” Shippou asked in a small, frightened voice. Mustering a grin from somewhere, he roughly tousled the boy's lank red hair.
“Then we'll beat him,” he said, his voice growing stronger with conviction. Hell if he'd let Naraku take them down before they even got a chance to strike him where it hurt. Kagome turned a grateful glance at him, realizing he was trying to keep Shippou from falling into the same despair that was eating at them like a corrosive miasma.
“Thank you,” she murmured. He smiled faintly and stood up, clapping a startled Miroku on the shoulder and drawing the monk out of his foul meditation.
“We'll beat that bastard,” he said, wishing he felt as confident as he sounded. “There's no way we won't win. He might be setting a trap for us, but this time we'll take him instead.”
He couldn't have been more wrong.
Naraku had been waiting for them, just as he'd known that he would be. They'd battled their way through a host of demons, stronger than any they'd ever faced before. Sango and Kirara moved like lightning, striking down monster after cursed monster in a truly amazing display of their exterminator skills. The cat and the woman acted as one, Sango never needing to direct Kirara towards their targets. Hiraikotsu sailed through the air with the precision of a graceful bird of prey.
Miroku seemed to gain new energy by watching the determination with which the pair fought. Inuyasha found himself impressed by the monk's battle fury, his drive to fight through these monsters and slay the creature that had left so much pain in their lives. Even Kagome fought like he'd never seen her fight before. Her aim with her arrows was nothing less than perfection and he ruefully remembered how he'd taunted her, years ago, about never being the master archer that Kikyou had been.
Finally, they'd battled their way to the center of the storm, the abomination that was Naraku. He'd grown in power, letting them waste their energy pursuing his minions, his distractions. Everything had been a ruse from the beginning, their pursuit of his human heart. Hakudoushi. Mouryoumaru. It had all been a carefully crafted plan to allow him to gain control over the jewel.
“Naraku!” he shouted, using the Tessaiga to blast a path towards their hated enemy. Suddenly, they found themselves standing on the edge of a rocky precipice, separated from their quarry by a vast pit of molten lava. The heat pouring from the pool of angry fire was immense. Inuyasha could smell his own hair scorching just from standing so near.
“Keep back,” he snapped, realizing the frail human bodies of his companions would never endure the infernal temperatures. Reluctantly, they fell back as Inuyasha gauged the distance. It wasn't all that far, he was sure he could make it.
“Inuyasha,” Naraku laughed, making sure his voice was heard clearly. “Are you afraid to come for me? Could it be that you doubt your own strength?”
“Like hell,” he snarled. He backed up a few steps, sheathing Tessaiga as he did so. “You think a little thing like a pit of fire is going to keep me back? You ain't learned a damn thing, Naraku!”
“Inuyasha, don't,” Kagome said, running forward and latching hold of his sleeve. “Can't you see that's what he wants?”
He yanked his arm angrily from her grasp. “Of course I know,” he snapped, angry with her for distracting him. He needed all of his concentration to make this leap. Naraku was waiting for him, taunting him. He had to try; it was destined to be this way. He would succeed and slay the monster, or he would die in the attempt. He wasn't afraid to die, not if it meant destroying Naraku.
“Please,” Kagome begged. “Not like this, I have a terrible feeling…”
“Bah,” he said, brushing her away. Roughly, he shoved the girl back so that she fell into Miroku's arms. “Don't let her go,” he yelled, pointing a claw at Miroku.
The monk nodded, backing away as he held Kagome's arms. “Inuyasha, no!” she screamed, wild with terror. “It's a trick, please listen to me! He's not really…”
Whatever Kagome was trying to tell him was lost in the roar of the flames; they grew even higher as he readied himself. Inuyasha ran hard at the pit, gathering his strength and focusing on propelling himself not over, but directly through the wall of flame that rose up to meet him. So Kagome thought he was dumb enough to do what Naraku expected. Not fucking likely.
He covered his face with his arms as he hit the fire, feeling it lick angrily at his firerat clothing, singeing the ends of his hair. Naraku thought he'd jump for the ledge, but Inuyasha aimed for just under it, hitting the wall hard and digging in with his claws. He slid a few feet before he caught a good hold and started to angrily propel himself up the rocky slope.
With a dramatic leap into the air, he came down only a few feet from where Naraku stood, drawing Tessaiga and unleashing a massive Kaze no Kizu even as his feet hit the ground. The sword's energy spun around them in a whirling wind of energy, blinding him and Naraku effectively. Any barrier that Naraku might have raised was shattered and Inuyasha ran at Naraku and amazingly, he caught him.
Inuyasha pinned his hated foe against the far side of the ledge, his claws tearing into Naraku's flesh. He expected screaming, cursing and rage, but instead all he heard was a low, vicious laugh that sent a blaze of anger through his veins.
He had Naraku's throat in his hands; their faces were only inches apart. He's not a puppet, Inuyasha thought furiously. It's really him; I've really got him at last!
“So, you think you've won, Inuyasha?” Naraku asked, sounding anything but cornered or panicked. “You believe that you have at last revenged yourself upon me? You are entirely too predictable.”
“You're already dead,” Inuyasha hissed. Nothing had ever felt as good as this, digging his claws into Naraku's throat, smelling the foul blood. He was ready to just tear this monster apart with his bare claws.
“Really?” Naraku sneered. “Isn't there something that you've forgotten? Your friends perhaps? Would you trade their lives for my death?”
He couldn't help himself; he had to look to be sure. Without letting up on his death grip on Naraku's neck, he cast his gaze over his shoulder. He could see them clearly, standing safely on the other side of the gulf. Sneering, he started to turn back to finish what he'd come to do, when a motion to his right caught his attention.
“Kohaku!” He heard Sango scream her brother's name as the boy staggered to the edge of the pit. His expression was horrified and confused, but he didn't seem to be under Naraku's control. Instead, Kohaku looked utterly lost, his eyes wide and staring as he moved ever closer to the edge.
“You bastard,” Inuyasha growled, tightening his hands on Naraku's throat. “You can't fool me, you won't let him fall. You wouldn't chance losing the shard in his back!”
Slowly, lazily, Naraku raised his hand and something glinted from between his fingers. “You mean this shard?” the monster whispered.
“Sister?” the boy yelled, his hands held in front of him as he stumbled blindly. “Sister, where are you? I can't see you!”
“Kohaku, no!” Inuyasha shouted. “Stop where you are!”
The boy seemed not to hear him, fumbling his way closer to death. “Sister?”
“He can't hear you,” Naraku whispered intimately, his lips only inches from Inuyasha's ear. “He only hears what I tell him, and right now his sister is telling him to come to her.”
“You son of a…” Inuyasha hissed. He didn't know how Naraku had managed to keep Kohaku alive after removing the shard, but he knew that Naraku would do such a thing. Just to make them watch the boy fall to his death.
“Inuyasha!” Sango screamed, barely held back by Miroku and Kagome. “Stop him, please! Don't let him die like this!”
A dark chuckle sounded and Inuyasha felt icy fingers touch his cheek. “Yes, Inuyasha, save the boy. The exterminator has suffered so much, she shouldn't have to watch her dear brother die while you stand by and do nothing!”
Furious, he shoved Naraku away and sprinted towards Kohaku. He'd knock the kid senseless and then go right back to the business of destroying the monster. He was a fraction of a second too slow, Kohaku suddenly tumbled over the edge with a piercing wail.
“No!” Sango was already astride Kirara and diving towards her brother. Inuyasha stood frozen in horror as the boy fell, his sister only moments behind him when suddenly the flames leaped up and engulfed them both. He heard Sango's anguished screams of pain, they echoed in his ears and Inuyasha stared down into the hellfire, straining for a glimpse of them.
“Sango!” he heard Miroku shout, as the monk threw himself down to reach helplessly for the woman he loved. “Sango, no!”
Horrified, Inuyasha could only watch as his friend screamed and swore, finally ripping the prayer beads from his hand. Shocked, Inuyasha staggered backwards. He's not going to…
Miroku opened the wind tunnel for the last time. Floods of molten fire rushed up to him, sucked into the hellhole of Miroku's cursed hand. The monk's screams turned piercing, his body flailing wildly as he tried to control the wind tunnel, continuing to suck in great gulfs of lava. His shrieks were of pure agony as even the curse of his hand wasn't able to ingest such quantities of heat and molten rock.
A great wave of fire surged over the side of the crevice towards Miroku and Inuyasha caught a glimpse of his friend's agonized face as he tried to hold his ground. For a moment, it seemed he was successful in controlling the wind tunnel and then a sound like a muffled explosion shook the ground. Inuyasha stared in agonized helplessness as Miroku's body was flung high into air.
“You murdering bastard,” Inuyasha swore, turning back to Naraku with pure fury in his eyes. “I'm going to tear you apart!”
“Will you do that, Inuyasha?” Naraku sounded bored, only the gleam of evil in his eyes betrayed that he was enjoying himself immensely. “You would sacrifice your woman's life just to slay me?”
The evil hanyou pointed over Inuyasha's shoulder and again, Inuyasha found himself compelled to look. The lava that had surged in response to Miroku's wind tunnel had pooled on the ground and surrounded Kagome and Shippou. The girl was trapped, holding a terrified Shippou in her arms as she tried to find a way around the glowing mass.
“Kagome!” he shouted, getting ready to run to her.
“A pity,” Naraku sneered. “You won't be in time.”
Snarling with frustration, Inuyasha ignored Naraku's taunts and threw himself across the gorge. He hit the edge, scrabbling desperately up the side of the wall even as the heat burned into his hands. Heedless of any danger to himself, Inuyasha tore across the seeping lava flow to grab Kagome and leap to safety. His heart was hammering in his chest as he landed, quickly setting Kagome and Shippou down so that he could look at them.
“Are you okay?” he demanded.
Kagome coughed and nodded, tears streaming from her eyes. “Inuyasha,” she whispered. “Sango...Miroku…”
“I know,” he murmured, touching her hair. Shippou was unconscious, from the heat or the fumes, Inuyasha wasn't sure. “Stay here,” he said, stripping off his haori. He covered the pair with the fire proof material and stood up. Naraku still stood facing him from across the molten earth, smirking.
It was time for this to end. Grimly, Inuyasha unsheathed Tessaiga, the sword transforming instantly to the immense fang that was its true shape. “Naraku,” he called, anger and pain making his voice rough. “It's time for you to die.”
“Kaze no Kizu!”
He caught a glimpse of Naraku's manic grin just as he unleashed the power of the katana, sending a furious wave of destructive energy right at the evil monster. Naraku hadn't even bothered to raise a barrier against him, he'd been that confident of his victory.
Naraku flung up his hand as the surge of youki reached him and Inuyasha thought that it was nothing more than a desperate gesture. The power slammed into the opposite wall of the gorge, glowing brightly and making the air sparkle. Inuyasha lowered his blade, waiting for the smoke to clear. Naraku would be dead, nothing could have withstood…
Naraku stood alone, untouched and laughing at him. One hand was still held high above his head and a glow was emitting from between his fingers. “Thank you, Inuyasha,” Naraku said, his voice full of gloating triumph. “I needed you to perform this one test for me, to prove that even your Tessaiga is no match for the power of this completed Shikon no Tama!”
Naraku's body pulsed, power radiating from him. “You think you can defeat me now?” he sneered. “This kind of strength goes beyond that of a mere sword and without your sword, you are nothing!”
Inuyasha brought Tessaiga's blade up to block the wave of sheer energy that suddenly erupted from Naraku's hand. The maelstrom swirled around him, tearing at his hair and skin; Tessaiga was shaking, screaming in his hand. Inuyasha realized that the blade's own power must have been absorbed by Naraku and was being unleashed upon them tenfold.
Got to block it, turn it back…Kagome and Shippou…I can't lose them!
Tessaiga screamed, a wail of agony that shook his entire body with pain. The katana pulsed once more and transformed back into its sleeping appearance of a rusty blade.
“No!” Inuyasha shouted, frantically trying to deflect Naraku's blast. “Don't fail me, Tessaiga!”
A thousand swords sliced into his skin, Inuyasha could feel nothing but pain, nothing but sheer bone-breaking fury as he tried to use his body to shield Kagome and Shippou. They were still huddled under his haori and Inuyasha knew that their weaker bodies would be torn to pieces by this power. Furious, he threw the blade on the ground crouched over Kagome and Shippou, the only thing standing between them and certain death.
It's killing me… I can't stand it!
It wasn't going to be enough; they were all going to die at Naraku's hands. Just as Sango and Kirara, just as Miroku, there was nothing left to defend them, no strength left to fight….
He felt surge of power from somewhere deep inside him and Inuyasha growled deep in his chest. His blood caught fire and he felt the darkness inside him swelling, overpowering his mind with a raw, instinctive will to survive. His youkai blood brought to the surface by imminent death and his own half human heart's need to stay alive to protect the ones he cared for.
Snarling, he threw back Naraku's attack with a surge of his own youki, his demon side rising like a fiery tide inside him. The energy crashed against the wall and he dropped into a feral crouch, ready to attack again. His enemy was nowhere in sight. Naraku was gone.
A whimper drew his attention and Inuyasha growled, long claws reaching for the flesh that was huddled beneath the red fabric. His desire for blood wasn't sated, not at all; he needed to destroy, to kill.
Laugher from behind him and the demon whirled, sharp claws already striking for the source. He found nothing but air, nothing of the prey he needed to find before…
“Pathetic. In your mindless fury, you can defend yourself, but you are only dangerous to the ones who would have protected. Go on, Inuyasha. Be the demon that you truly are! Kill those weaker than you…it is your nature…”
He fought back the instinct with everything he had, restraining himself impossibly. Somewhere in his tormented mind, he knew this wasn't what he wanted. Desperately, he reached for Tessaiga again, hoping that its seal would still be strong enough to save Kagome before he completely transformed into a mindless beast.
As soon as he touched the katana, a sense of peace flooded him and Inuyasha dropped to his knees, panting. His hands were shaking. In another minute or two, he wouldn't have been able to turn it back. The strength that had saved them was too much to control. He'd never be strong enough on his own. Tessaiga had failed him.
And he had nearly failed himself.
When he dreamed, he dreamed of fire. Raging infernos of molten rock, white-hot agony, sometimes it felt as if his very blood would boil from the heat. Inuyasha tossed restlessly in his sleep, unaware that sweat was pouring from his body.
Hurry, can't stop, they're going to die. Have to save them, have to save her!
In his mind, the flames roared around him. He was in forest of fire; he was in a nightmare of blazing suns. He ran hard, his lungs and heart pumping furiously as he tried to make the jump to get them out of this danger. A body was slung over his back, he didn't know who it was, and he only knew that he had to save her…
He reached for his sword in the dream, the sword of his father's fang. Desperately, he hacked at the fire, the slim, rusted blade slicing and having no effect on the inferno. He growled his frustration, threw the sword to the ground only to have it melt and reappear in his palm.
Help me, he implored of the katana. You're supposed to protect me, protect her! What good are you? You're useless!
The flames parted then, an icy wind almost ripped his sweating flesh from his bones. Inuyasha found himself thrown to his knees, the burden on his back falling limp beside him. He couldn't move, as painful as the flames had been, this cold darkness was far worse.
He looked up when he heard his name called, a tall form striding out of the darkness, engulfed in a silver light. He couldn't see its face, but his heart pounded harder just the same.
“Father?” he whispered, shocked to see the towering figure that dominated him not just by its size, but also by the sheer power that was pouring from it.
You disappoint me, Inuyasha. I sacrificed everything for your life and you throw away my gift.
Shamed, he bowed his head, not willing to look into his dead father's eyes. “I know,” he rasped, bitterness like salt on his tongue. “I'm too weak, I couldn't save them. I'm…sorry, father. I'm sorry.”
Coward. You shame me as you have shamed yourself with your weakness. Give her to me.
“No,” he gasped, suddenly terrified. Blindly, he groped for the still form next to him. “You can't take her, she's all I have.”
You killed her yourself. Look at what you've done. You are no son of mine!
Inuyasha stared down at the body in his arms. A woman, her face and throat shredded and blood still flowing from her wounds. His hands were wet with it, stained with bright crimson. The long black hair wound around his arms, restraining him. Frantic now, he tried to free himself, tearing at the hair over and over as it wrapped itself around him.
“Please,” he said, his voice rough and fading. “I only wanted to protect you. Don't leave me!”
The woman's bloody face turned to him and her mouth opened wide, far wider than a normal human's should have. Darkness flowed from her lips, washing over him in wave after wave of despair and regret.
I love you, Inuyasha. I will always love you. Even in death, you will follow me.
“Kikyou?” he whispered, struggling again. “NO! You aren't her! You aren't her!”
My son, my poor son. Come to me, let me hold you…
“Get away from me!” he screamed, tearing at the hair that still bound them together in a cocoon of inky blackness. “You aren't my mother!”
A bright light cut through the darkness, bathing him in peace. His father's ghost vanished, as did the illusions of dead women who had loved him. He couldn't see, it was so bright, so warm, and so peaceful. A soft hand reached for him and touched his face.
Her voice was like a gentle breeze, she smelled of summer, green grass and fresh dew. Wildflowers. “Please,” he whispered. “You're the only one who can save me.”
I believed in you.
I trusted you.
He opened his eyes. She was already gone.
After the dream faded, Inuyasha lay awake and stared at the dark ceiling. It was always the same dream. The fire, the terror, his father condemning him as worthless and shameful.
Inuyasha swore bitterly as he sat up, pushing clumps of matted hair away from his face. His body was sticky with dried sweat and his limbs ached as if he'd really been running instead of just dreaming of it.
He hated this. He hated not remembering, he hated dreaming about death and destruction. It didn't happen, he told himself angrily as he got out of bed and stalked over to the basin he kept in his room. He washed his face with cool water, letting the drops fall from his cheeks and into the surface. A light breeze came from the open window and outside the clouds parted briefly, allowing the light of the moon to fill the room.
It touched the still water and turned it silver, making the basin a mirror for his distressed reflection. The moonlight caught his golden eyes and turned them pale, swimming like muted suns covered by mist. Thoughtfully, he touched a claw to the water just to see it ripple. The reflection shattered and reformed around his finger, mocking him.
“You're in a morbid mood tonight,” he told his reflection. Wisely, the image in the water didn't answer and Inuyasha turned away.
Sesshomaru thought the dreams might be memories that he didn't want to acknowledge. Since his stubborn mind refused to unlock the secrets of his past consciously, it chose instead to attack him in his sleep. He'd never told Sesshomaru that he dreamed of their father. For some reason, he was hesitant to bring the subject up with his older brother. It wasn't something they talked about and Inuyasha got the distinct impression that there were things better off not discussed.
Sighing, he sat down at the window to watch the night pass, a favorite occupation of his when peaceful sleep eluded him. Inuyasha leaned his head against the cool stone of the wall. It might have been easier to pass the time if he'd had some entertaining company, but the last thing he wanted right now was a woman in his bed. Not after what had almost happened with that human.
It had been a long time since he'd lost control like that. The madness, the fury that could consume him had come on so suddenly at the sight of her in those clothes. He hadn't had time to fight it. Instead he'd been instantly pissed off, enraged by her resemblance to Kikyou.
That bitch had put her mark on him in more ways than one, he thought, rubbing the scar on his bare chest that would never completely fade. Left him to die, left him to hang on a tree for fifty fucking years. It was no wonder that he had more holes in his brain than he'd been born with. Abruptly, he wondered if he'd dreamed at all during that time. If he'd just been asleep, he could have dreamed.
If he'd been dead, why the hell had anyone bothered unseal him? His brother wouldn't tell him, but that didn't mean that Sesshomaru didn't have the answer. All he knew was that someone had freed him from Kikyou's seal that should have lasted for eternity. Inuyasha grinned bitterly to himself, imagining a centuries old rotting corpse stuck to a tree. Only he'd been perfectly preserved, frozen in time as a fly caught in amber.
He wondered why to this day why she'd turned on him.
Because she didn't trust you, the voices whispered in his mind, because you were just a hanyou with filthy demon blood. Kikyou wouldn't have let you touch more than her hand no matter how much she said she loved you. That was why she wanted you to become human. A weak human male, something she could dominate. That was what that bitch wanted.
Shut up, he told himself, realizing that he'd find no peace at all with those kinds of thoughts running circles in his mind. So she lied. So she didn't love me at all. So fucking what? I'm better off like this, better off with my own kind. At least youkai women never flinched away from the touch of his claws or made him feel like nothing more than a beast that had been freed from its cage.
Inuyasha yawned into his fist, realizing he was more tired than he wanted to admit. A week patrolling the borders of his brother's territory, a hard run home with an unconscious wench over his shoulder. A kick to the balls that he absolutely had not deserved…at the time anyway. He wished he'd just let that monster eat both her and that stupid kitsune of hers.
Still, when he'd kissed her in the corridor, pressed her soft and yielding body close to his, he could have sworn she responded in kind. Something had passed between them before she'd recovered her senses and realized that she didn't want him anywhere near her precious self. No wonder his instincts had been confused, any male would have been confused by that.
He leaned his head on his arm and closed his eyes. Human bitches. They were more trouble than they were worth. He wouldn't make that mistake ever again.
Ten Years Earlier
"This is what I've always wanted, to become pure youkai. I never wanted to be only human, Kagome."
"You would have done it for Kikyou," she whispered.
"I was in love with Kikyou."
He watched as she sank to her knees, her hair hanging limply in her face. “You used me.”
It was hard for him to hear her say that, but he'd already made up his mind. He didn't expect her to understand. She couldn't know how close he'd come to killing both her and Shippou. What if the next time he transformed Tessaiga's seal failed to keep the wild youkai blood from devouring his mind? Inuyasha hated admitting he was too weak to control it; using the jewel to become full youkai was all he could do to make sure it never happened again.
"Don't take it like that," he said quietly. "This is for the best." His hand reached out to stroke her face and Kagome flinched away from his touch. "Look at me," he murmured as he ran his clawed fingers over her hair. She didn't look at him; she couldn't stand the sight of him right now.
He could barely stand it himself. But if it meant protecting her…
He loved her. He knew it now; he knew what he'd never been able to admit to himself before. He loved Kagome and he'd do anything to keep her with him. He was willing to make this sacrifice, even if it meant that he'd lose that human side of himself that ached for her, ached to hold her in his arms. He was doing this for her and now she wouldn't even look at him.
Suddenly angry, he grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. "When I tell you to do something, Kagome, you'd better do it."
She met his eyes with defiance. "I hope you'll be happy as a pure demon, Inuyasha. I hope it's everything you ever wanted because I'm not going to be here to watch."
Sullenly, he let her push him away as she stood and started to gather her things. Once he used the jewel, he could explain himself. Then he'd show her that he was strong enough, that he was the one who was worthy of her. Still, in the back of his mind, he was forced to wonder.
Was he doing the right thing?
Was this what he really wanted?
Coward, he thought to himself bitterly. The jewel burned between his fingers, begging him to use it. All the power and self control he'd ever dreamed of, everything he needed. All he had to do was wish for it and then she'd see, she'd understand.
He could tell her the truth.
In his human form, he'd always been too afraid to sleep. Late at night, he'd sit awake and stare into the dark sky, wishing for the dawn. He couldn't even protect himself when he was stuck in a miserable human body. The night after Sango and Miroku had died, he'd almost given into his weakness, his human need for comfort.
It would have meant so much to him to be with her, if he'd only been worthy. She didn't understand why he'd had to push her away. Bitterly, he'd realized too late that he loved her, but if he'd wanted to ask Kagome to be his mate, to be his wife and stay with him forever, he needed to be sure that she wouldn't suffer. She deserved better than a lowly hanyou, a half demon that was wracked with guilt and fear. He wanted her to be proud of him.
The jewel was the only way he could be what she needed.
Since transforming into a full youkai, he'd found a lot of things about her hard to stand. Kagome had always managed to annoy him with her questioning, but now it ran along his nerves like the sharp edge of a knife. She was human, his blood told him that she was inferior for that reason and she should obey him without question. She belonged to him, plain and simple.
Sometimes he found himself saying things that he'd never imagined, never dreamed he say to her. His brain burned with instincts he couldn't understand, frustrations that he'd found difficult to endure before he now found to be impossible. It seemed like his temper was always at the boiling point, damage and destruction just a slip away from him.
He hadn't used the jewel; he knew he hadn't wished for this. But it had used him, seeking out the demon blood that would catch fire and fulfill the power it craved. Inuyasha had given up trying to understand how it had happened. In the two weeks since the defeat of Naraku and his transformation, he'd given up all hope that he'd ever return to what he'd once been.
You should just let her go, he told himself when the darkness fell and he watched her sleep. Kagome cried in her sleep, tears she wasn't even aware of coursed down her cheeks in dreams. He wondered if she was crying for him or herself and decided it didn't really matter.
Stupid bitch. The thoughts came to him unbidden. Stupid and weak, just like all humans, just like he had once been. She thought he was being a bastard by keeping her from going home. She didn't know that something inside him was raging for her blood. And her body as well.
Take her. She's yours to do with what you want. A demon wouldn't hesitate.
No, he told himself furiously. He wanted her badly; the scent of her skin drove him mad with desire. He was filled with the drives of a youkai now, drives that said to throw this little wench on the ground and have her. Then kill her, lick her blood from his claws. It was only his true nature to do so.
But…I love her.
Demons don't love. Demons take, demons conquer. Keep the woman as a plaything, make her scream in pain, and beg for mercy. When you're finished with her, when she's used up and you've twisted the last drop of pleasure from her soft body, then you can leave her corpse for the worms.
I won't do that to Kagome! She's mine! And I need her.
The darkness laughed at him.
Demons don't need humans. Just fuck her and be done with it. Once she's dead, you will be free of everything that held you to your human heart.
With a howl of fury, he ran away from her, left her alone and unprotected in the dark forest. Over and over, he killed whatever crossed his path. Minor youkai, animals, nothing seemed to slake the bloodlust that wept for release. Nothing could stop the burning feeling of need for her. Nothing could answer the angry lust that wanted to destroy him.
Inuyasha found himself sitting alone on the forest floor, blood caking his claws and no memory of what he'd done. Tentatively, he sniffed his claws and was relieved to find that none of the blood belonged to humans. This time.
Next time, the darkness promised him. It will be hers.
No. It wouldn't happen. He was going to conquer this transformation and take control of himself. He wouldn't savage the woman he loved, the woman he wanted to love him. Inuyasha snarled to himself, filling with resolve to protect Kagome from everything, even his own twisted and painful desires.
He returned to her at dusk, not trusting himself to meet her eyes. She was his and he was bound to protect her, provide for her. But he couldn't trust himself to let her return to her home. Not when the madness might still take him over and he'd do something neither of them could live with.
“Inuyasha?” she asked, her voice soft and more timid than he'd ever heard it. “What are you doing?”
He'd killed for her. Bitterly, he set the skinned rabbits over the fire to roast. She was so stupid; didn't she see he was still trying to take care of her? He knew that she'd run out of her foreign food and he didn't trust himself to return to Kaede's village just yet. He wouldn't let Kagome go hungry.
“Supper,” he said, his voice harsh and irritable. “You need to fucking eat. It's not like you can hunt on your own.”
Why did everything he said to her come out like an insult? Inuyasha forced himself to ignore the hurt look on her face, the way she withdrew from him. Stupid little bitch, he thought, trying to calm the tide that seethed within him.
I'm doing this for you.
“Thank you,” Kagome said. He risked a glance in her direction. The girl sat quietly with her legs tucked under her. Her face was dirty and her hair was unkempt. Kagome had always taken such pains to try and stay tidy. In all the time they'd traveled together, he couldn't remember ever seeing her look so lost and forlorn. So heartbreakingly vulnerable.
It was his fault.
She's just a human bitch, the darkness whispered in his mind. She hates you now, why do you care? A filthy human priestess, we should have killed her long ago.
“Shut up,” he muttered, trying to make his hands stop shaking. He tucked them into his sleeves and glared at her. Now was no time to lose control, no time to break down into the weakness that would beg her to forgive him.
“I said, shut up!” he shouted, barely able to control the pain and rage that swam inside him. Kagome flinched away from him, shielding her face as if she thought him capable of striking her. Inuyasha sank back, resting his head in his hands.
What am I doing?
He looked up and met her frightened eyes. Grimly, he reached over and pulled the roasted meat from the fire. With a few swift passes from his claws, he neatly dismembered the rabbit and passed the meat to her.
“Here,” he said gruffly, wondering if she could feel the shame that was writhing inside him. “Eat it, already.”
She took it from him without a word, obviously too afraid of him to refuse. He could smell her tears, the faint salt, and her visible pain. He was a monster, he was a bastard, and if he had any decency left inside him, he'd just let her go.
Too late for that, the dark voice mocked inside his head. You want her too badly to ever let her go. She's better off dead, just kill her and get it over with.
“I won't,” he whispered. He glanced up, watching Kagome through a veil of white hair. She nibbled delicately at the meat. Her soft lips opened and closed, he could see hints of her even little teeth as they pierced the rabbit flesh. A dart of a pink tongue, Kagome licked her fingers, looked up at him and smiled.
He was hard as a rock.
Don't you think you've waited long enough?
I don't…I don't want to hurt her.
It's a little late for that.
Her smile faded as she looked into his eyes and saw the darkness swimming in them. Slowly, she lowered her hands to her lap and stared at her fingers. She knew what was coming; she knew that he was finished with waiting.
He was breathing hard already, his body gearing up as his blood burned like fire in his veins. Inuyasha licked his lips as he stared at her. “Kagome,” he whispered.
She didn't move as he got up and advanced on her like a predator. He heard Kagome gasp as he put his hands on her shoulders. Leaning close, he whispered in her ear.
“Did you have enough to eat, Kagome? I'm still hungry.”
Warned by some instinct unique to women, the girl suddenly surged forward, trying to escape him. Inuyasha pulled her back, kneeling behind her as his hands encircled her neck. He could feel her pulse hammering under his fingers. It excited him, the scent of her fear.
“Are you going to kill me, Inuyasha?” Kagome whispered. Her eyes were closed, her lips trembling. It made him want her all the more.
“Nah,” he murmured, stroking her hair. “I'm not.”
She shivered when he licked her throat, his claws scraping lightly along her skin as he brushed the hair away from her neck. “Inuyasha,” she said, whispering his name like a curse that she was afraid to believe.
“I know,” he answered, his voice soft. “Don't fight me, Kagome. You want this as much as I do.”
“I…” Kagome's words were cut off when Inuyasha turned her face towards his and kissed her. His tongue stroked her lips, demanding entrance before pressing inside. His arm slid around her waist and held her tight against his chest; her chin cupped by the palm of his other hand. Kagome's body went limp against him, submissively accepting the kiss. Their lips finally parted moistly and Inuyasha pressed his cheek against hers.
“You taste so good.” Hands sliding from her shoulders to her waist, she made a soft noise of protest when they slipped under her shirt. He wanted to laugh when she modestly tried to push his searching hands away, only tugging her up so that her back was pressed against her chest.
“Do you really want me to stop?” he asked, his tone mocking. She was like a bird trapped between his hands, her chest rising and falling rapidly in time with her breathing. He had no intentions of stopping, whatever she said.
There was a way between what his blood was demanding and the cruel nature of a demon. He wasn't giving her up, not at all. He wouldn't let the darkness inside him take her either. She was his, to do with whatever he wanted.
And he wanted for her to want him.
His hands cupped her breasts firmly, allowing her no time to be modest anymore. She twisted against him and brought her hands to his, trying to pry away his insistent but gentle touch. “No,” she whispered.
Inuyasha kissed the back of her neck, inching his way down her collarbone and burying his face under her jaw. He could smell her arousal, her panicked response to his touch. The monsters in his mind wanted her blood, but Inuyasha wanted something else from Kagome. He wanted to hear her say his name.
“Don't,” he said as she tried to pull away. Kagome twisted in his hold and tried to look at him.
“Inuyasha,” she said, her mouth red from his kisses.
“You keep saying my name,” he murmured, his hands never stopping their lazy exploration. “I like that.”
She cried out when he reached for the waistband of her silly little skirt. As if she didn't know what it did to him. All these years, her legs had been revealed to his eyes, the smooth pale curve of her thighs, the way the breeze would lift her inadequate garment just enough for him to see the round shape of her hips. She was the one who'd driven him to this, she was entirely too desirable for him to ignore.
Her skin felt soft and warm as he let his palm slide down her belly to the place where her thighs joined. He stroked her thoughtfully, as gentle now as his kisses had been rough. She shuddered, leaning her head back so it would rest on his shoulders. Submitting to him. Not fighting him. Damn right she wanted it.
Under her clothes, he shoved her undergarments out of his way so that his hand was filled with her soft breast. He heard the hitch in her breathing when his rough calloused thumb grazed over a pert nibble. His other hand continued to stroke the downy softness between her legs, cupping her gently as if she were a treasure in his palm.
“Do you like this?” he asked, his breath hot against her ear. Kagome shivered and then gasped when his hand between her legs prodded deeper. She was already getting wet for him; the smell of her musk was intoxicating. Inuyasha let his finger hover over a particularly sensitive place, teasing her with a feather light massage.
Kagome whimpered, reaching for his wrist like she wanted to pull him away. Instead she held on desperately, as if she were terrified that he'd stop what he was doing. He ground his hips against her back, letting her feel the hardness of him. Let her know what was coming next.
“Don't,” she said again as he attacked her throat with kisses. Her taste was driving him wild, every sense was alive and filled with her. The rest of world didn't exist for him; he was becoming lost, mindlessness with desire. But still, he managed to hold himself back. Before he was finished, she would be begging him to mount her, to make her his own.
Then Kagome would truly belong to him, only to him.
“Tell me what you really want,” he whispered, massaging her in firm stokes. Her hips twisted, evading him, but he'd already found her. He was careful of his claws, knowing that he could hurt her so easily. He pulled her against him, lifting her almost and making her thighs spread apart even wider. Kagome's hips were trembling; she clamped her hands around his arms desperately and ground her body against his probing fingers.
“That's it,” he murmured, lost in the scent of her hair. “Come for me, Kagome. I want to hear you cry my name when you come.”
Her voice rose to a shrill, high pitch and she did as she was told. Kagome cried out his name as the climax wracked her body, both hands rose above her head so they could clench in his hair. She sobbed helplessly as he stroked her, enjoying the way her over sensitized nerves made her shudder and quake.
His blood rising in an ever-intensifying fire, Inuyasha hardly even knew himself as he stripped her clothing off and laid the girl out on the soft grass. His mind was awash in a red tinged flood of desire. He fell upon her with a fierce growl, tasting her breasts with possessive need. Nothing mattered anymore; she was his to claim at last.
His hands explored every curve and crevice of her body, Kagome whimpering softly and writhing under his touch. His tongue searched places of want and he covered them with kisses. He ached for her unbearably, his need hardly slaked as Kagome offered herself to him with every breathless cry, her hips lifting under his hands and her fingernails scrabbling to find his skin.
Inuyasha buried his face between her thighs and became drunk with her taste and her scent. He didn't need to breathe; he just needed to have her taste upon his lips. He sucked gently and probed her with his tongue. She was musky and sweet, addicting and elusive as the wind and he lifted her hips from the ground to meet his searching mouth.
Again and again, she cried his name to the tops of the trees and the pale, bloodless moon. Inuyasha lost track of time and became lost in her, lost in himself as his claws left long scratches on her hips and thighs. She trembled and broke, crashing in on him over and over. Still he continued, ruthless and demanding, forcing her to beg him for mercy at last.
“Please,” she panted, barely able to raise herself on her elbows to look at him. “I…I can't…no more…Inuyasha…”
With a snarl, he dropped her and she looked up at him with her hair matted in sweaty strands over her cheeks. Her eyes were red and her knees trembled from exhaustion. She was utterly, completely his to claim now. Kagome wouldn't resist him; he'd left her nothing to protest with.
She was his. His to love, his to fuck, and his to protect. He'd never let her go, not now, not ever.
Growling, he tore at his clothing, letting the hakama slide to the ground and freeing his aching erection. His eyes were all but glowing crimson fire when he lifted her hips yet again, shoving himself into her as hard as he could.
Kagome screamed then, shrieking in sudden pain as he ruthlessly tore into her soft body. He could barely even hear her cries, his brain was on fire with primitive instinct, and his ears were filled with the roar of his own blood. Angrily, savagely, he thrust into her again and again, blood trickling down her thighs from where his claws pierced her flesh.
He'd meant to be gentle but he was too far gone to remember promises.
He came almost at once, hard and violent, a ragged howl tearing its way from his throat before he collapsed on top of her. Still hard, but not slaked, he let his weight rest on her exhausted body, thrusting his hips against hers in an angry rhythm. Her cries had subsided to muted sobs, her fingernails digging into his scalp as she pulled his hair.
He was rough, oblivious to her whimpers of pleasure or pain. His mouth devoured hers; heedless of the way his fangs snagged her lips as he drove himself inside her. Blood trickled from the corners of her mouth and he tenderly licked it away, lost in the scent of it, mindless of anything but the throbbing of his cock inside her. He tasted the tears and sweat as they mingled on her cheeks, savoring them until with low growl of pleasure; he spent himself inside her for the third and final time.
Dazed, he held her in his arms, wrapping himself in her warm scent. Kagome's heart was racing and he rested with his head on her breast, just listening as the girl's pulse gradually slowed. Her arms felt limp and heavy over his shoulders and her hips were still trembling under his. He squeezed his eyes shut, ashamed of how much he'd hurt her with his violent loss of self-control.
He was a monster, he was a bastard, he was a…
In every sense of the word.
Pushing himself up on his hands, he stared into her face. It was streaked with tears or sweat, leaving grimy runnels down her pale cheeks. The words choked him.
I'm so sorry, Kagome!
Please don't hate me!
The darkness inside him laughed at such pitiable sentiments, it knew him better. It understood what he had become. Love and apologizes were beyond his demon blood. He couldn't take them back, no more than he could restore a girl to the innocence that had fallen in love with him.
He opened his mouth and the words that came out shocked him, devastated him so much that he wished that he had died at Naraku's hands, that Kikyou had dragged him off to the hell that he deserved. Anything before he'd made Kagome look at him with such fear and horror in her eyes.
"You're mine," he said coldly. "I've claimed you, I've covered you with my scent and filled you with my seed. You belong to me, Kagome. Don't you ever forget it because I'll kill us both before I let you go."
His heart twisted inside him at the look on her face, the shattered look in her eyes. Kagome turned away from him, covering her face as she sobbed like her entire soul was in pain. Inuyasha pressed his face into her shoulder even as his arms encircled her shaking form.
I'll die if you ever leave me, Kagome. I…I can't protect you from myself but I can't let you go. Oh gods, forgive me…
Long after Kagome had slipped into an exhausted sleep, Inuyasha lay awake and held her tightly in his arms, the last precious thing that had been torn from him. He'd given up his humanity, his right to her love, and he knew he'd force her to stay with him until one or both of them died from it.
Despair overwhelmed him and the darkness rushed forward to claim what was left of Inuyasha. He gave himself over willingly, fatally, and knew at last what his destiny had always been. He was damned and he had now damned only person that had ever loved him with a completely selfless heart.
This time, he knew there would be no salvation, no arrow to be pulled from what was left of his heart. Again he found himself sealed by a curse and there would be no wakening as the darkness settled over him like a shroud of night.
There would be no dawn.