Thursday, October 11, 2007

Property - Chapter Fifteen

Sesshoumaru was rubbing soothing circles on her back and trailing his soft, sweet kisses from her eyes to her nose to her neck. Kagome had missed this, she just realized, as she twisted to meet his mouth with hers. She had dreamt about this and forgotten, she thought, as she felt his tongue dance with hers.

It was a balmy spring day, full of sunshine. A zephyr entwined their hair as Sesshoumaru pulled Kagome down onto the dewy grass. He landed gracefully, carrying both of their impact.

When Kagome opened her eyes again, though, it was to see his gold eyes staring intently at her and his silver hair drifting lazily in the clear, blue sky. She smiled tentatively at him.

His lowered his forehead against hers and gave her another deep kiss. She found herself grabbing onto him quite tightly when he started pulling away.

"Kagome," his whispered, his voice sounding strangely hoarse. "I..." He stopped as he stared at Kagome's guileless smile and into her sparkling honey eyes. Suddenly, he felt inarticulate with his words and leaned down for another kiss. A kiss would tell her what he felt... what he wanted... what he needed.

Kagome leaned up against him, awkwardly, hoping that he wouldn't stop this time. His hands were warm contrasts against the summer breeze as he slowly, carefully traced her soft body from her bosom to her soft hips.

There was no frenzy this time. No uncertainty of what would happen. To Kagome, it felt as if Sesshoumaru was giving her time to pull away, but she didn't want to pull away. She wanted this. Even if it would be slightly uncomfortable in the end, she wanted the feeling of being one with him, of cocooning and protecting him. She wanted him. She wasn't quite sure how to express herself, though, and instead allowed herself to enjoy his kiss and his hands and his warm weight on herself.

To Kagome's disappointment, he pulled away again. "I shouldn't," he told her, breathing more heavily than usual. He explained, "I shouldn't do this here. Or now."

Kagome knew it was for her own good, but she felt reckless right now. She didn't care. Besides, he might not know about it, but her reputation had already been ruined. But even if she was still the heir, she doubted that she would have stopped them. So, she kissed him, as he had kissed her and her hands found their way to the smooth skin of his broad shoulders.

Vaguely, she noticed that the wind whistled louder and strange tap tap sounds were approaching. It wasn't until Sesshoumaru had stopped moving for several long moments that Kagome noticed the hard tension in his shoulders and arms.

She looked up at him questioningly, but his passionless gaze was fixed elsewhere, where she couldn't see.

She turned to see what had him so entranced, only to have his hold on her tighten. Apparently, she was supposed to stay still.

"What is it?" she asked, assuming that there was a reason that he had stopped. There had better be a good reason.

For several moments, he didn't answer. Then his eyes narrowed and he spat, "Naraku."

Miroku knew that he had bungled things up. He knew that he had hurt Sango. But at least now any of her children would be safe, though it pained him that he would not be the father. At least, he wouldn't hurt her more by staying in her life.

It was better this way. It must be better this way.

The thought of Sango being happy was a double-edged sword, but at least it dulled the sharp agony of their separation. The gaping hole in his hand was nothing compared to gaping hole in his chest.

The gaping hole in his hand would devour the world, though. He would pass down the gaping hole to his son, and his son's son, and so on until the end of his line and thus the end of the world, or the end of Naraku.

He had been so determined to preserve the world that he had sought to sire a son on any woman he met, which he now realized would not be practical, since he most likely wouldn't stay long enough to teach his son about the curse. And he wouldn't want to stay long enough to see the woman hate him, as she inevitably would when she learned how he had hurt their son.

As Sango would, with her protective nature that he loved so much. She would be especially protective of her own son. And he would be the one who hurt him.

But he had just seen some poisonous bees buzzing around the forest—those strange servants of Naraku's—and he could feel the vague pulsations of power. He remembered Naraku... that if he killed Naraku, the curse could be ended as well.

Of course, Naraku had existed for hundreds of years and had yet to be defeated despite the countless who wanted him dead.

Still, Miroku reasoned, Naraku was evil and he should at least try to get rid of Naraku. Who knew, maybe he would even succeed.

And then he could confess to Sango. Surely, she would forgive him. And maybe they could still get married and live together and have baby boys and giggling girls to spoil.

And if he died in the battle against Naraku... Well, he would just be sure to bring the hanyou down with him.

Either way, the curse would end with him and Sango would live happily in a world without impending doom from a gaping hole in somebody's palm, Miroku decided as he followed the strange bees.

Bandits? What bandits? Sango almost felt disappointed as she watched the boomerang slice through the last squealing demon.

She wiped her bloody hands on her pants. The low-level boar demons had already spattered all over her outfit and she would have to burn it anyways. Better the acrid smell on her clothes than on her skin.

She strapped Hiraikotsu onto her back and made ready to return to the taijiya village when Kirara growled low in her throat.

"What is it?" Sango asked.

Kirara was smart enough to understand Sango—at least the tone of her voice, but she could not respond with words. Instead, she growled some more.

Sango waved her hands a bit. "Is it the blood?" she asked and wrinkled her nose sympathetically.

Kirara shook her fur impatiently and continued growling toward the other side of the forest, where Sango had not planned on going.

"More youkai?" Sango guessed.

The produced a little bounce from Kirara.

Sango sighed. "They're on the other side of the forest. We don't even know if they're pests or just some benevolent youki-producer."

Still, Kirara refused to budge.

"Okay," Sango accepted. "So, they're probably not some pretty and harmless youkai if they produce youki this strong. But still, this is none of our business."

So saying, Sango tried to tug Kirara's attention forcibly away from the other side of the forest. Still, Kirara was bigger, heavier, and stronger than Sango and a youkai to boot and Sango accomplished absolutely nothing other than getting some futile exercise.

Finally, Sango gave up. "Fine. You take me to that place with the youkai. If any humans are in immediate danger, I'll do something about it. Otherwise, we're heading straight back home."

Kirara gave a yip of assent, all the while growling, as Sango climbed onto Kirara's back.

"Kukuku," a voice chuckled from where Kagome could not see.

Hastily, she arranged her clothes less revealingly and twisted precariously to see the being called Naraku. From her view on the grass, he seemed to loom above her. Her eyes followed him up, starting with his thick white fur cloak—in this warm weather?—to his ringlets of black hair, which she could barely make out from under his hood.

When Sesshoumaru stood and pulled her up beside him, Naraku took a step forward and his hood fell to unveil his face.

Which, surprisingly, was not very alarming at all. Rather, Kagome thought, Naraku could be considered handsome, in a very slimy sort of way.

But when she looked at Naraku closer, she saw that his features matched those of the man from her nightmares.

A feather swooped down from the sky, and a woman and a girl stepped down from it. One was a willowy woman with red eyes and an elegant fan. The other was a pale specter of white, holding a mirror with the most sincere gravity.

Kagome no longer doubted that these were the three figures in her nightmares, if she had had any before.

Prophetic nightmares, after all.

But she shouldn't be surprised, since she had found out that she was a priestess.

"Give me the Shikon no Tama," Naraku demanded.

Shouldn't there be some sort of preamble? Kagome thought wildly and inanely in her panic. There was always the speech about threatened horrors and potential evils. But there wasn't. So perhaps Naraku wasn't very strong after all.

Or maybe he just didn't need to bluff.

Kagome sat up and pressed against Sesshoumaru's solidity. "You can't have it."

Naraku smiled blandly. "It's of no use to you. You'd only become tainted if you wish on it."

She pointed out defiantly, "The same would happen to you."

This time, Naraku chuckled. "I rather suspect that it can't taint me anymore. See Kagura?" He gestured to the woman with the fan who stood silent and still behind him. "I have her heart. And see Kanna?" He pointed to the other girl, with the mirror. "I have her soul."

Here, Naraku paused and tilted his head a bit to reconsider. "Actually, her soul is my soul... and I don't really have a soul worth mentioning. Either case, you're better off giving the Shikon no Tama."

Kagome found that she was clenching the jewel at her neck. "No."

Naraku took a step toward Kagome. "That's not the right answer," he warned.

Then, before Kagome really realized what was happening, Sesshoumaru pulled her away from Naraku and somehow she had to look past his broad shoulders and long, white hair to see Naraku. A moment later, Naraku and Sesshoumaru were trading blows, but Kagome couldn't follow their motions, they were so fast, and then she couldn't even follow their blurs because Kagura and Kanna were on her.

Just as quickly, though, Kagura and Kanna were gone. Kagura and Inuyasha, who had joined the scene with a series of loud and crude expletives, fought together against Kagura. Kikyou shot arrows into Kanna's mirror, which had started glowing white instead of the usual flat surface of a mirror.

Then, out of nowhere, Miroku joined the fray. The Hiraikotsu preceded Sango, and she caught it smartly when it returned after wiping the air clean of a swarm of poisonous bees.

"Thanks," Miroku breathed when he maneuvered himself next to Sango.

She hadn't known that her Hiraikotsu just saved Miroku's ass, or she probably would have simply left him to his own devices. He still owed her. He'd probably owe her until eternity.

Before she could reply, he approached Naraku again from behind. He thought that he could defeat the hanyou while its attention was focused on Sesshoumaru, but a strange root-like tentacle shot out from under his cape and stabbed through his torso and jettisoned him out into Sango's arms.

He looked up at her irate face and smiled, a bit weakly. "It seems I'm destined to be with you."

Sango grimaced. She did not find his comment at all entertaining. "Good time to make your vows."

His face turned serious. "I want you to know... that I love you."

This made Sango angry. "You're not dying," she declared. "And you can't say that after all that you've done to me."

He smiled and he looked wistful. "I love you. And I am dying. And even if I don't die right now, Naraku's curse will be the end of the world."

"Curse?" Sango asked and felt his head. Usually delirium was from a fever, but it was too soon for a fever to have set in.

"A hole in my hand," he answered. "No, I'm not telling you this so that you will forgive me. I'm telling you because I might die—"

"You won't!"

"I might." Miroku continued serenely, "The hole sucks things up, which is why I'm always wearing this guard over it. But I have no son, and if I die before Naraku dies, the curse cannot be passed on and it will split open my hand and it will suck everything into it until Naraku dies and if Naraku is sucked into the hole, then the world is doomed."

"You're not dying," Sango asserted vehemently.

Miroku tried to grasp Sango's hand, but his strength was leaving him quickly.

Kikyou was shooting soul-ful arrows into Kanna's strange mirror, but it only absorbed her arrows. Still, she thought she was making progress because the girl's face looked more and more strained as she shot more and more arrows into the mirror.

Vaguely, she noticed Inuyasha fighting with Kagura out of her peripheral vision.

She concentrated on shooting arrows into the mirror, though, and it was taxing. She could feel her soul being drained.

She took a second to regroup and gather up more miko power when she found a strange blade coming toward her. From Kagura. Normally, she would defend herself, but she was already staggering under the energy she had had to expand for her arrows.

Kikyou watched it come toward her with a strange dispassion.

Until Inuyasha took the hit for her, his blood making bright splatters on her white shirt.

"You idiot!" She tried to shout at him, but her throat seemed to close up strangely. "What do you think you're doing?"

He grimaced a bit. "Guess I just can't do anything right."

"Why did you do that?"

Inuyasha managed a faint shrug and his customary sheepish look.

"You didn't have to. You shouldn't have." Kikyou found herself strangely agitated. "I didn't ask this of you."

"Not... because of blood-bond," Inuyasha whispered, his breaths coming shorter.

"Why, then?" Kikyou demanded. Her nose felt sore all of a sudden, and runny.

Inuyasha stared at her with those strange gold eyes that had always fascinated her. He took a breath to answer her question, but something caught in his lungs and he started chocking and coughing up blood.

When his coughing finally stopped and he was still again, his eyes were still open and blood was on the corners of his vague smile. But there was no more breath in him.

Inuyasha was hers, Kikyou thought wildly, fiercely. Inuyasha was hers and they just unraveled the puzzle of the past and everything was working out. They had just learned some things about themselves and each other. They were just...

And the bitch took him.

Kikyou felt a strange emotion power her—it must be hate, she thought. Not the pale imitation she had used as a mask for her hurt, but a real, deep-seated, powerful hatred that fueled her as much as love ever did. And then, the wind started listening to her commands and the trees bent to her will. She unleashed something, but it didn't hurt the bitch. It only splintered her fan.

Good enough, Kikyou thought, she had disabled her. Now, she could treat the bitch to a slow, torturous death as she deserved for taking Inuyasha away.

After all, what use did she have for love without Inuyasha?

The battle didn't take long at all. The next moment, Kagome saw that Sesshoumaru was kneeling on one leg, supporting himself with his sword. Sango was leaning against Kirara and held tight to Miroku, who seemed to be murmuring to her. Kikyou stood still and quiet and expressionless, and a few feet in front of her lay Inuyasha, with the ground staining steadily more crimson.

Kanna seemed shocked, the first expression that Kagome had seen on the girl. The mirror still stood in her hands, but cracked and useless. Kagura's fan lay in splinters on the ground, its owner's face stoic. Naraku stood, though he, too, was heaving.

He didn't attack, though. It was all rather useless anyways. "Give me the Tama, or I will take it myself."

Instinctively, Kagome held the Tama closer and clenched it tighter.

The Tama would grant a wish, she thought suddenly. I could wish that Naraku's dead. Or that my friends are alive. Or that we won this encounter with Naraku dead and no other casualties.

So, she grabbed the jewel so tightly that her knuckles turned white and her fingers became numb. She took a deep breath and said, "I wish that we had won—"

Naraku had caught on quickly, and ripped the jewel from her hands.

Her wish was not granted.

For a moment, he caressed the jewel and marveled at it under the pretty summer sun. Then, he smiled maliciously and his eyes glinted as he clenched it tightly in his hands to make his wish.

No, Kagome thought desperately. She had no idea what Naraku would wish for, but she knew that it would be nothing better than the worst. She would blast him, she thought, she still had her miko powers. Or she could simply tackle him, so long as she stopped him from making that wish.

While Kagome was still making up her mind, though, Naraku had already made his wish.