Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 7 of 60

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I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death.
– Robert Fulghum.

Sesshomaru returned to the House of the Moon and went immediately to his office. With typical purpose, he walked to his desk and sank down behind the mountain of paperwork that had become the bane of his existence.

Inwardly groaning, he sensed she was there, silent and waiting. She always knew when something happened.

"What is it Hoshi?"

"So, you had another run in with InuYasha. Did you kill him this time, or merely remind him of his inferiority yet again?" Hoshi's sarcasm was not lost on Sesshomaru.

"I did not kill him. However…I was sorely tempted," Sesshomaru said as he straightened the pile of papers in front of him.

Sesshomaru's deadpan comments never failed to amuse Hoshi. She'd known him since he was a pup and understood better than anyone the razor sharp intellect and bizarre sense of humor that lurked beneath his stoic façade. She also knew that what he needed more than anything was for someone to come along and challenge that intellect. Whoever Sesshomaru took as a mate, it was obvious that she would need to be an equal to him in every way.

"I'm glad you didn't kill your brother. Your father would have frowned upon that…" Hoshi's half smile was lost on the young lord as she continued.

"Half-brother." Sesshomaru piped in during her little speech.

"After all Sesshomaru, he is the only family you have left."

"Oh Hoshi, I always have you. No matter how often I consider changing that," his muttered words only seemed to encourage his housekeeper and oldest friend.

"Sesshomaru, you're so sentimental!" she smiled as she sat across from him "Now seriously, why did you fight with him this time. Don't tell me you still want your father's old sword."

"No. I was just getting a little exercise." Sesshomaru stood and walked to the window. "He actually asked for my help."

Hoshi was inwardly surprised at the statement. Neither of Inu no Taisho's sons were especially good at asking for anything. They usually just took whatever they wanted brashly and by force. Even though Hoshi had never actually met InuYasha, both Myoga and Totosai whom she had known for centuries, kept her apprised of the young hanyou's escapades.

"Hmm…what did he want?"

"He didn't ask, one of the humans that travels with him actually asked, but he might as well have." Sesshomaru continued to look out toward the garden. "He needs help retrieving the Miko that travels with him."

Hoshi had heard of the human girl that traveled with InuYasha. She understood that the girl was the reincarnation of Kikyo, InuYasha's first love. Myoga had frequently mentioned how important she had become to both the hanyou as well as the quest for the Sacred Jewel shards. He had also told her how powerful the girl was and that if she could train properly, could surpass the strength of any miko to ever live. Hoshi was intrigued with the girl and took every opportunity to learn as much about her as possible.

"What's happened to her?"

"Naraku captured her and is using something called the Crown of Chikara to track down the jewel shards."

"The Crown of Chikara?" Hoshi asked with surprise, "So it has surfaced again…How interesting."

"You know what this crown is, then?"

"Yes, it's a very powerful device of control. Did they explain why they asked for your help?"

"Something about my sword and a spell. I'm not really that interested and I have work to do."

Hoshi was aware that this was Sesshomaru speak for 'drop it', but that didn't stop her from getting the last word in regardless. She knew it drove him nuts, which was reason enough, but even the mighty Sesshomaru needed a little guidance on occasion. She also knew that he would never ask for it.

"Sesshomaru. All evil needs to succeed is for honorable men to do nothing."

With that, she left him to brood in silence.

Later that day, Kagome and Katsuro tracked down another shard. It took no time at all to dispatch the panther youkai as her powers had only continued to strengthen. They were both aware that at this point, it would take a pretty powerful youkai to cause her any real amount of trouble.

When they confronted this particular youkai, Kagome was surprised when she felt Katsuro push her powers through her hands instead of the stone in the crown. The pink light that had shot from her palms and blasted the youkai was the strongest burst of power she had yet to release. Till now, her bow and arrows were the way she channeled her powers. It was only until she had a chance to think back to earlier battles during her long treks through the woods with Katsuro that she remembered how her powers would surge out of her entire body in response to danger. It shouldn't come as a surprise that she could use her hands as weapons.

As the youkai came crashing to the ground, Kagome looked down at her stinging hands. Her palms were scalded and bright red. As she gaped at the burns, her mind willed them to heal in order to stem the pain.

'Oh God, look at my hands. What can I do with two burnt hands?' As she curled her fingers, tears dripped down her cheeks and a bizarre tingling began in her palms.

Gasping both from pain and surprise, she looked down and watched in awe as the burns began to shrink at the edges and slowly heal from the outside, in.

Kagome closed her eyes, thinking she had finally gone crazy, and opened them again. Perfect pink palms.

'What the hell…?'

"So, you finally tapped into your healing powers?" Katsuro's amused voice broke through her shock.

She blinked and looked up at him, unsure how to react.

"I assumed one as powerful as you would be aware of the ability to heal yourself and, in the right circumstances, others."

"I've seen youkai heal themselves, but I didn't know a human could," Kagome looked back down at her hands and curled her fingers into fists, testing for pain.

"Most can't. It takes an incredible amount of energy to heal a wound."

Katsuro walked up to Kagome and grabbed one of her hands in his oversized claw, inspecting her handiwork.

"I'm happy you've realized this ability. It'll make our task easier."

"What task?"

Just then a familiar dust cloud appeared in the distance and Kagome recognized the well-known youki that invaded her senses. She quickly forgot the question in lieu of the impending disaster approaching quickly.


The whirlwind stopped directly in front of her and Koga's smiling blue eyes stared down.

"Hey there Kagome, where's mutt-face?"

"Oh Koga, why did you have to come here?" Kagome had been dreading this moment for weeks.

Koga looked at her and seemed to finally notice that something was wrong. As he observed the crown on her head, he sensed the youkai standing behind them and turned quickly, ready to attack.

"Who the hell are you and why are you with my Kagome?"

Katsuro just stared at the wolf demon, anticipation lighting his face as he sensed through Kagome the two shards in his legs.

"Koga. I wish you hadn't come but now that you're here…" she bit her lip, not knowing how to phrase the next sentence, "I need your shards." She paused again, adding as if she were a child asking for candy, "Please."

"What are you talking about Kagome? I'm not giving you my shards" he huffed as he went to take her hands. The red sparks that shot out, threw him back.

"Hey! What…?"

"Koga please, just let me take the shards and you won't get hurt."

She started to feel frantic as Katsuro gathered her powers once again and focused on the wolf. She didn't want to hurt Koga but she knew that there was no way he was going to get out of there without losing his shards.

Katsuro was a little apprehensive himself, since he could feel the turmoil inside Kagome and knew that this could turn out to be like the exchange they had with InuYasha by the river. He didn't need her figuring out that she could possibly break through the binding spell of the stones. He needed to end this little interlude as soon as possible.

Her powers shot from her hand but Koga sprang out of the way before he was hit.

Landing, he straightened and yelled, "What the hell are you doing Kagome?"

The look on his face was like a punch in the gut for Kagome. She had never seen such hurt on his face, and knowing she was the cause made it that much worse.

"Please Koga…" she pleaded as her powers gathered again. She was out of time. Repeating whatever it was that had saved InuYasha by the river was Koga's only hope.

She met his eyes and whispered just as her powers surged, "I'm sorry."

As the powers were released, she concentrated on the feelings and absorbed as much back into her body as she could. It burned like hell, but not nearly as bad as before.

Koga hit the ground unconscious, but alive. She stretched her senses out and could tell that she had not purified his youki strength very much.

She turned to Katsuro and yelled venomously, "That's all you're getting out of me today. If you harm him while taking the shards, I'll find a way to destroy you, even if it kills me."

She turned and headed back into the forest, not wanting to see Katsuro take the shards. She kept her senses on Koga to ensure that he took her threat seriously.

She was pissed. Katsuro needed to learn, just as InuYasha had, that being a youkai didn't matter.

There was nothing more dangerous than an infuriated woman.

That evening, Miroku and Sango were quietly discussing the confrontation between InuYasha and Sesshomaru.

"I can't believe he wouldn't help us. I thought he wanted to defeat Naraku as much as we do." Sango rubbed Hiraikotsu with a rag, polishing the large weapon with care.

Miroku inwardly smiled at her practical attempt to release some of her pent up hostility. His smile broke through as he thought she might rub a hole right through the powerful weapon. He wouldn't say that to her however. She was never one to meekly stand by and not speak her mind. It was one of the things he loved most about her.

"Sesshomaru does not do anything unless he benefits directly from the outcome."

"I know. But I still think he should have helped us. He's done things out of character before." She propped Hiraikotsu against a tree and returned to her place next to Miroku.

"I'm not surprised at his answer. However, I am concerned with the effect Sesshomaru's words had on InuYasha."

"About failing to take care of Kagome and Kikyo you mean?"

"Yes. Sesshomaru was intending to harm InuYasha with those words and may have succeeded more than any of us want to accept."

"I saw InuYasha's face after Sesshomaru left. It was the same expression he had after Kagome was taken. I know he thinks that he failed her, but it falls on all of our shoulders." Sango's shoulders drooped as she picked at the hem of her sleeves. He hated to see her struggle with guilt, first with Kohaku, now Kagome.

Miroku took both of her hands in one of his. Squeezing gently until she met his serious gaze, he brought a hand up and tucked a small wisp of hair behind her ear and touched his forehead to hers. Her eyes closed as his soft whisper soothed her tight nerves.

"I promised we would save her, Sango. I will see it done, if only to see you smile again."

The next morning Kagome and Katsuro were on the move again. She hadn't spoken a word since their encounter with Koga and had no intention of changing that fact.

They were down to the last missing shard and Kagome had a feeling that this one was going to present the biggest challenge.

Her emotions were torn about finding the last shard. On one hand, her constant search for the shards would be over. One the other, she couldn't help but wonder if she would survive Naraku and the final battle for the Shikon Jewel. The events of the last four years were about to be decided. Never in that time had she thought she would be forced to face her friends across the battle line.

It was the unknown that she feared the most. The fear she would lose all that she loved became the most difficult emotion to come to terms with.

As she continued to ponder these thoughts a familiar sensation stopped Kagome cold.

'The last shard is nearby.'

Katsuro came up and stood next to Kagome to look up the forest path they had been traveling. Not far away a familiar form materialized out of the morning mist and faced the pair about twenty yards away. It was the last person Kagome ever suspected to have possession of the final jewel shard.

"Kikyo," Kagome breathed the word more than said it.

Kikyo did nothing as she stood and stared at the woman who was supposedly her reincarnation. Kikyo knew better than that. She understood how her sister, Kaede, had gotten the mistaken impression. Kagome was similar in appearance as well as spiritual powers. The girl was also linked to the jewel and it had taken Kikyo several years to solve that particular mystery. Now that she understood, it became clear what Kikyo had to do. It was Kikyo's destiny to be right here, right now and follow through with this particular task. In turn, Kagome would be able to fulfill her own destiny. She only hoped that Kagome would realize and understand Kikyo's actions sooner rather than later. It would save so much time.

'Now Kagome, we will do what we were always meant to do,' Kikyo thought as she raised her hand and shot a blast of spiritual powers at Kagome.

The powers made contact with Kagome's body and knocked her back a few feet. As she regained her balance she looked into Kikyo's eyes and saw resolve mingled with the soul deep sadness that always seemed to be present. It made Kagome's heart twist to look into the older Miko's eyes.

"Kikyo, what are you doing?"

"It is time to face our destiny Kagome." Kikyo raised her hand again and Kagome braced against the impending burst of powers. "It is time that the fate of the Shikon no Tama be decided."

Kagome raised her own hand and looked at the woman she was always held in comparison to. Dawning realization hit her like a kick in the gut.

'One of us is going to die today.' Kagome's heart skipped a beat at the realization.

She recognized belatedly that Katsuro was staying out of this and allowing her to control her own actions in this fight. She knew he was still linked with her mind, but was hovering in the background and for the first time felt a wave of unease wash over her from his youki.

'Am I starting to be able to read his mind and feelings as well?' The thought barely had time to gel in her mind before Kikyo attacked again.

The impact of this blast was decidedly stronger and Kagome shot back in kind. She didn't really understand what was going on. It was like she was following a script, though she wasn't sure why, reacting to events in a way she neither understood nor wanted to accept.

"Do it Kagome."

Kagome was confused as to what Kikyo wanted. "Do what? I don't understand."

"Do what you came here to do."

Kagome watched as Kikyo pulled the shard from inside her clothing. She held it between two fingers and looked at Kagome again, waiting.

Kagome glanced at Katsuro, who was watching the exchange intently, and then back at the miko in front of her.

"Do it now Kagome!" Kikyo's strong voice resonated in the gloom of the forest.

Kagome had no idea where the impulse came from or why her heart was telling her to do it, but she gathered her full strength and fired at the woman who had always come first in InuYasha's heart. She stared at the glowing energy flowing from her hand and felt the well of emotions within her break open as she poured the years of misery and heartache into the energy of her powers. From deep inside she heard that voice again, the one that had sounded during her forced attack on InuYasha. It sounded like Kikyo.

'Breathe Kagome and let the power flow through you.' Kagome let out the breath she had been holding and looked up at Kikyo's face. Just as Kagome's powers reached Kikyo, the shard in her hand began to glow.

'It's time Kagome. Trust in your destiny.'

At that moment, Kagome realized that Kikyo had absorbed the jewel shard into her hand. Kikyo's spiritual energy rushed out of her hand and met Kagome's. The two pinkish lights collided and sparked. Where they touched the light began to glow a pure white so bright that none could look upon it.

Kikyo's voice spoke to her again.

'Take it Kagome, take all of it.' Kagome closed her eyes and felt her body absorb the power she had so forcefully sent at Kikyo a moment before. The white light rushed into Kagome and both mikos began glowing. Kagome was emitting a soft white light and Kikyo a soft pink.

InuYasha and the gang rushed into the clearing, drawn by the massive surges of energy and flashes of light given off by the pair. InuYasha stood silent and still as he watched his worst nightmare play out in front of him.

With one final surge, Kikyo pushed the last of her strength and life force into the shard. The shard then shot from Kikyo's hand into Kagome's left breast, next to her heart.

The light died and both women collapsed to the ground.

Silence reigned over the forest, as if the earth itself knew the importance of this moment.

Kikyo's last gift to this world was bittersweet indeed.

Her ultimate sacrifice to protect their savior.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 7 of 60

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