Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 8 of 60

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If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
-Anne Bradstreet.

InuYasha held Kikyo's lifeless body to his chest. Even though she hadn't been in a live body for several years, her spirit had always managed to survive. Naraku had killed her twice before, but she had always been able to return to him. His heart bled as he realized it was impossible this time. What was worse, InuYasha's need for revenge had always been his driving force and reason to go on.

This time was different however. This time it was Kagome who had dealt the final blow.

InuYasha was left with a bereft sense of purpose, knowing he could never harm Kagome for what happened to Kikyo.

'Kikyo.' InuYasha's heart broke for the last time.

Kagome awoke to the sound of wind howling in her ears. A moment passed before she realized Katsuro was carrying her as they streaked through the evening air.

She looked down and saw the jewel shard glowing purely in her chest. She was still bewildered about what happened between her and Kikyo, but one thing was clear, something inside was very different. Her body hummed with energy, like she had just chugged ten espressos. Her heart pumped as she considered the powers surging throughout her body. With it came a feeling of internal peace that was previously missing, as well as a sense of self-control that was both foreign and comforting at the same time.

Katsuro landed in the courtyard of Naraku's castle and set her on her feet. Kanna stood near the steps and had obviously been waiting for their arrival.

"Where is Naraku?" Katsuro asked.

The girl didn't answer, only turned and started up the stairs into the castle.

"Come on," he barked as he followed behind Kanna.

Kagome started walking, but stopped cold. Katsuro was no longer linked with her mind. Her thoughts raced backwards and she realized that he hadn't been linked with her since her confrontation with Kikyo. She raised her hands to the crown only to be burned by the red sparks of the binding spell.

Her disappointment was crushing as she trudged in after the retreating pair.

'So much for hope,' the dreary thought seemed to weigh her down as she carried the final shard to her nemesis. Her doom was at hand.

InuYasha carried Kikyo back to her village. Kaede and the other villagers met him at the base of the shrine.

He spoke not a word as he placed her on the soft grass near the grave and began to dig. He accepted no help as his friends were forced to watch his silent grief.

Tears fell from Shippo's green eyes as Kirara, in small form, cuddled the little kitsune. Shippo cried because he knew InuYasha would not. Miroku watched his friend dig a grave to bury the woman he loved, all the while conscious of Sango's warm body tucked firmly against his side. The heartache his friend felt was resonating with his own dark fears. He had witnessed Sango being attacked numerous times in battle, but until this moment had been able to ignore the possibility of losing her to an enemy.

Miroku's attention then turned to Kikyo.

When it came to loyalty, it was obvious with whom their support would always lay. Kagome was a dear friend and powerful ally. It went without saying that none of them wished for Kikyo's death. Especially seeing InuYasha now, hollow with despair, Miroku understood the torment his friend had felt over Kikyo. His love for the miko had never faded even after meeting Kagome. He believed that InuYasha loved and cared for Kagome, but it wasn't the same depth of emotion that he held for Kikyo.

InuYasha finished burying Kikyo and stood staring down at the mound of dirt before him.

Over the past few hours, he finally admitted to himself that he had never given up hope he and Kikyo could share the life they had planned all those years ago. Though he was committed to keeping Kagome safe and he cared a great deal for her, it was never equal to what he wanted with Kikyo. She had claimed his heart all those years ago, and even after Naraku's betrayal he still loved her.

Accepting she was gone would take longer than InuYasha could ever contemplate. If acceptance came at all.

Without a word, he took off into the woods, running blindly as he tried to escape the crushing darkness that was trying to suffocate him.

He looked up as a familiar sight came into view. Sliding to a stop, he stared at the Bone Eater's Well. Kagome's well. Kagome.

InuYasha crouched next to the well and glared at his claws as they dug into the soft grass.

'I lost Kikyo to Naraku, but I'll be damned if I lose Kagome as well.'

InuYasha sat for a moment longer before he stood and bounded back toward the village.

There was a score to settle. It was time to stop Naraku once and for all.

Kagome backed away in fear as Naraku stalked after her, anticipation lighting his eyes a deeper shade of red.

"So you bring me the final shard along with news that Kikyo is slain. You've proven far more useful than I anticipated," his teeth glowed in the gloomy darkness.

Kagome's body glowed for a moment as she bristled at his words.

"Where is it?" his voice eager as he looked from Katsuro back to Kagome.

"It's imbedded in her chest, be careful removing it."

"It is of no consequence if she dies", Kagome shivered at Naraku's evil chuckle.

As he extended a tentacle toward Kagome, Katsuro stepped forward to stop him, not wanting to lose his precious prize to the greed of the filthy hanyou. He was stopped as Naraku made contact with Kagome's flesh and a shot of purity wrapped around his tentacle, turning it to dust.

All three stared in wonder at the ashes on the ground. Naraku seemed to snap out of it first and demanded "What is this!?"

Kagome turned wide eyes to Naraku and stuttered, "I…I...d-don't know."

He tried again, but the same thing happened.

"Give me the shard!" he roared as he advanced on Kagome.

Her fear spiked and she shot a small amount of her powers at Naraku. This time he was prepared and dodged the ray of light, staring at her as if she had gone mad. He then turned to Katsuro and demanded the same thing.

"Katsuro, get me that shard."

The youkai walked up to Kagome and linked his mind with hers.

'What's going on little miko?'

'I don't know, but I'm sure as hell not gonna let him kill me for this stupid shard!'

He could tell something was different. As he searched her mind he felt a presence other than hers buried deep, as if hiding. She was even stronger and more in control as if… as if…

"Holy shit!"

Naraku grabbed Katsuro and held him by the throat.

"What is going on here Katsuro, and I suggest you hurry and explain before I lose my patience."

"I'm not sure, but I think that the other miko is still somehow protecting the shard."

"WHAT!?" Naraku's wrath caused miasma to leak from his body.

It was purified with ease as her powers caused a barrier to come up around her body.

Confusion and wonder rocked Kagome. Did something happen when their powers had collided? Had Kikyo been able to influence the shard in a way that would thwart Naraku? She concentrated hard, but couldn't feel anything beyond the increased energy flowing through her veins.

Naraku threw Katsuro across the room and walked up to the barrier around Kagome.

"I will get that shard. And then I will take great pleasure in slowly draining the life out of you."

Kagome awoke later that night in her old cell, sweat pouring down her face and body.

She looked around frantically; searching for the woman she had just been talking to.

"Kikyo? Are you there?" she whispered in the dark.

Silence was the answer.

"Great. I'm officially crazy," she muttered as she settled back onto her disgusting palette and pulled the blanket Katsuro had given her up over her head.

Kagome replayed her dream and silently reeled with the knowledge of what she just learned. Understanding was beginning to dawn on what had happened between Kikyo and herself in the forest.

Kagome was drifting among the clouds, enjoying the fresh air. She felt free and alive as the sun caressed her skin. A soft voice on the wind broke her silent reverie.

Kikyo appeared at her side and took her hand.

"You did well Kagome."

Kikyo then smiled and Kagome realized just how beautiful the miko really was. It was disarming to see the woman she had mistrusted for so long seem normal and happy.

"Kikyo, what happened back in the forest?"

"I will explain what happened, but there is much you will need to discover on your own."

Kagome ignored the cryptic comment since she was focused on what happened between the two of them and nothing more.

"When I learned that Naraku was using you to find the remaining shards and that he had employed the use of the Crown of Chikara, my destiny finally became clear. I had to find one of the remaining shards and use it to keep the jewel from ever becoming tainted. I infused the jewel with what was remaining of my soul and then bonded the shard to your heart. In order for Naraku to take the shard, he must kill you. If he does that, the shard will remain pure forever because of the sacrifice I made to keep it that way."

Kagome stared with wide eyes at the miko floating next to her.

"You mean that Naraku can never take this shard from me?"

"Well, not exactly. He can take it if you freely give it. It won't be much use for him unless he can corrupt it enough to be able to join it with the rest of the Jewel. Beware Kagome, if he learns this, he will stop at nothing in order to corrupt your heart."

"I thought you said he can't corrupt the jewel because you sacrificed your life for it?"

"He can't corrupt the shard because it's infused with my soul and the purity of your heart. If he can corrupt your heart enough, then he can take the shard. Remember I said that I bonded the shard to your heart, and my own soul still has memories of Naraku's betrayal of InuYasha and me. As long as your heart is pure, the shard will remain the same. Kagome, you must make sure that you remain pure of heart since my soul is vulnerable to corruption. Do not allow any manipulations of Naraku to dissuade you of your beliefs. Evil can twist even the most honorable soul. You must remain strong."

"I will, I promise."

"In the meantime, I'll be here to help as much as I dare. I can keep Katsuro from being able to manipulate the shard, but I doubt I will be able to do more. Maybe some occasional advice, but that's about it."

The glint in Kikyo's eyes sparked a memory.

"I knew it! I knew I heard your voice back by the river and in the clearing!"

"Yes, I was able to help you out when you needed it."

"How is that possible?"

"I have told you enough, the rest must be discovered by you."

"Wait! I have more questions. Kikyo!" Kagome watched as Kikyo drifted off and disappeared.

Kikyo's voice echoed in the sky a moment later.

"The Shikon Jewel will guide you to your destiny Kagome, and in turn you will decide its fate, and the fate of us all."

It was with those ominous words that Kagome woke.

So Higurashi Kagome was to decide the fate of the world.

"That's a cheerful thought," she muttered as she turned onto her side and curled her legs up to her chest.

'I'm not exactly the person I would have picked for this job. In fact, I'm the last person I'd pick. Hey here's a thought! Maybe someone with, you know, control over their own body and powers perhaps?'

She sighed into the dark and closed her eyes. Maybe if she was lucky, she could fall into another dream and ask Kikyo some more questions. For starters, how does one go about deciding the fate of the world? Is it before afternoon tea, or after?

"Aarrrggghhhhh, this sucks!" she wailed as she pounded the side of her fist into the stone floor. As pain lanced up her arm, she realized how much that sucked too.

InuYasha walked into Kaede's hut and sat down near his friends. He looked each one in the eye before ending on Shippo. To the little Kitsune he said in his customary manner. "Well…are we just gonna sit here and waste time, or are we gonna go and get Kagome?"

Shippo cracked a smile for the first time in weeks. The InuYasha he had come to love and rely on was back.

They were going to get her back.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 8 of 60

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