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Rectify by Ashley

The Cry of a Raven

AN: My first try at a fan fiction in over a decade. I do plan to make this on the longer side so bear with me. This is a MA story, it will contain: violence, character death,  and sexual scenes later on. This does start off dark but it will progress past that.

Rectify

Chapter One: The Cry of a Raven

     Slowly cerulean eyes cracked open. The late afternoon while beautiful, held an odd chill for this late into spring. Gaining awareness she sat forward, all pretense of sleep disappearing. The very air was charged and electrifying, a direct oddity to the picturesque scene. "Something's happened."

     Kagome stood suddenly, flaring her aura immediately. Nothing. Quirking her head she continued- pushing herself harder dowsing the lands for miles in her unmistakable power. She had to learn the hard way ,more than once to trust her instincts. Still nothing came back abnormal. "I need to return, anyway, I have overslept already."

     Grabbing her bag and shouldering her aged staff Kagome left the calming shelter of Goshinkboku. Her instincts chanting at her to hurry. Her feet knew the path, by heart, so her eyes never left the foilage. At the first sign of the buildings to the village- not so much a village any longer but a town; she let herself calm some what.

     It did not take long for the first person to send her a heated glare nor the second. She immediately averted her eyes back to her feet. If only she could as easily ignore the words. Every time their hate struck another chord to her heart.

     She covered her mouth both suppressing her yawn and not trying to fan the problem. The last few weeks had been hell for the lack of a better word, she had needed the rest. Kagome hated the suggestion but he had been right. Still she could not help but to hate to leave him.

     "Move you idiotic beast!" Kagome jumped, as the headman's son, Ichi screamed at her atop his under fed mount. Kagome immediately stepped back from the street.

     " I'm so-" Kagome began to reply but his snarl made her stop. He never even looked back, ushering the gelding into a quick trot. More than used to the treatment she ignored him in favor of her instincts yelling at her once more. Knowing she had waisted more time she turned the corner leading to the inner section of Edo and sharply ducked into the larger hut.

    The scent of illness was startlingly pungent, and Kagome allowed herself a moment to gather her nerve. "Miroku, I'm back!" She called out . Seeing that the fire pit was down to embers she set her items down in the corner. Grabbing wood from the stack, Kagome set herself to re-igniting the fire. Once the blaze was to a full roar she situated the pot of medicinal tea back on the hook to heat.

     The silence was deafening.

     "Miroku?" She once more yelled. When he still did not answer the hair on the back of her hair stood. " No, no, not today. Not so soon. " Kagome prayed. Nervousness had her running into the two adjacent rooms she had helped craft years before. The first was empty, but the second she found him. His body was prone on the floor, his chest not rising, his head in a small pool of blood.

     Her heart stopped, before kicking her into overdrive. She immediately flipped him to his back, feeling his neck for a pulse. Nothing. The rattling in his lungs and warmth of his body her only hope.

     "No !" Kagome checked his throat for a blockage before starting chest compressions. Blowing oxygen harshly into his mouth it was not until the third set that her heart dropped and panic truly set in. In her frenzy to revive her friend, she sent a concentrated blast of her raw powers into his heart.

      Miroku's body harshly spasmed then fell back to the floor. "Damn it Monk!" Kagome screamed, " Wake up! You are not allowed to die on me yet!"

     Drawing more power she sent another blast and was finally rewarded with a sluggish heartbeat and watched brokenly as he immediately went into another coughing fit. Blood splattered along his robes. Fading violet eyes finally opened and immediately caught her own. " Sango?" He whispered trying to catch his breath. His shaking hand reaching for her cheek.

     With tears in her eyes she drew his wrinkled hand to her "You came back." She said. His once clear and wise eyes now beginning to dull she could easily see him trying to figure out what happened.

     " Kagome? "

     "Hai, I'm here ." Trying to hold in her sobs she squeezed his hand tighter. He was her lifeline . Her last friend and he was dying. Slowly his eyes began to close as sleep rose to claim him. The rabid coughs the only noise outside of her gentle crying. She waited for the last coughing fit to ease, before gathering him to her and lifting him. Even with her being as tender as she could his face drew into a grimace.

     Laying him down on the futon she began her routine of cleansing him of the blood. As the years had passed her modesty had gone with it. She easily stripped him of his soiled robes and eased him into a fresh set whenever the coughing ceased. Tucking him in she parted his now whitening hair while mopping the sweat from his brow.

    Reaching to the table set beside his futon her already breaking heart cracked further at the sight. He was giving up; his morning medicine and tea sat untouched before her. They both knew his death would be any day and she knew she was being selfish trying to keep him with her. She could not seem to help herself. He was all she had left.

     Rising and wiping the tears from her eyes she set her focus on the blood on the floor and set out to scrub it clean. Dropping to her knees, she began the too frequent task. He was getting worse so quickly. Kagome knew he was already here for far longer than expected. If it was not for her suspicion of cancer and her treatments with her useable reiki he wouldn't have made it much longer than Sango. Not knowing if it was her pink coated hands or the thoughts of the slayer that was drudging up the past,- she allowed herself to become lost in her memories.

     They had all been so young and foolish. So lively and brash. Never once had they considered the ramifications of charging headlong into each battle or fray. If they had maybe their lives could have changed.

     Maybe Sango would have never suffered the crippling blow that both ended her chances of remaining a taiji and ever having a family. Maybe her and Miroku would have had twelve kids instead of ending her life on her own katana ten years to the day after Naraku's death . Maybe Miroku could have been spared enough miasma not to have developed lung cancer, maybe Inuyasha would still be here. Maybe Shippo would not have run away in his anger and hatred for her. Maybe she would have had signs, warnings, maybe she would have never become an abomination. So much could have changed but the Kami clearly had a different plan and their ragtag group even with all the good that they had done were not spared their wrath.

     " Kagome .. Are you still here?" Miroku's ragged call broke her train of thoughts

     "Of course." Kagome replied rising to sit next to him. Clarity swirls in his violet eyes and her answering smile broke through the tears.

     "Can you help me to sit?" He gently asked.

     " Miroku I don't think that's such a good idea. " Kagome began to fuss before he surprisingly shooed her hands away.

     "I do not have much longer and we have to speak once more." Miroku said determinedly trying to pull himself up. Even though she wanted to continue arguing she bent and helped him to sit, placing pillows behind his back to brace him.

      He took a moment to gather himself and when his eyes once more found hers it was with his own tears caressing his cheeks. " I'm so sorry Kagome. " Here she went to interrupt but a steady hand stopped her. His fingers found hers and traced her claws, before rising to the line of the sutra wrapped seals on her arms.

      ''Let me finish while the fits have subsided. I'm so sorry for how things have turned out. You of all people should not have to carry the burden that you do. I'm so sorry we blamed you for his death. " Miroku sobbed, his grip tightening .

      Kagome felt the pain lance through her. Ignoring the everlasting heartache she joined him on the futon cradling him to her. "Miroku you had every right, you all did. Everyone still does. " Kagome whispered. Reaching out her fingers to his lips, halting his own reply. "I could not do my duty, I could not control them, and in the end I killed him ."

......

      Miroku simply watched as her tears came again. His body ached with the pain that took what little breath he had left away. Nothing though could contend with the pain in his heart.

     He did not have the strength to tell her this would be his last night. How he could not keep fighting to stay by her side. He knew it down to his very bones. Miroku refused to leave her with the thought that he still hated her.

     "Kagome you are no more to blame than he was. None of us could have known." he said pausing to raise her bent head. "I'm so sorry for treating you how I did in the past. I was angry and hurt and I took it out on you. You are not a monster Kagome. "

      " All I am is a monster! Look at me! " she snarled startling him. Miroku jumped slightly, surprised at the rage in her voice. But he did look at his friend. Kagome never aged a day since the jewel had been wished on. Her eyes though the centers were the same startling blue, were rimmed in the color of blood. Three delicate ruby slanted slashes angled acroas her cheeks , her hair that used to be jet black now had a tinge of blue. Claws draped her hands, a natural pink in color, and though hidden mostly by her thread bare kimono he knew her arms were wrapped in sutra lined seals. You could not mistake what she had become whether from looks or the powers that still poured over the restraints.

      Kagome had neither lost her humanity nor turned youkia. She was both and yet neither. Her reiki and youki even dormant crackled against each other in eternal conflict much like their host. The sign of the tama stamped on her brow, a permanent reminder of the curse it left.

      "You are as beautiful now Kagome, as the day I kidnapped you." Kagome jerked from him with a hiss, standing to pace the room. "

     " Miroku don't patronize me. " Kagome snapped stopping abruptly , to stand before him. He could only watch as she pulled the pain back inside allowing the differential look to reclaim her . " I'll go fetch you some water"

      "Not today! You will listen to me Kagome Hig-" he choked as the fluids in his lungs rushed to suffocate him. She was there instantly holding him to her, as carefully as she could. Miroku could only cry tears of frustration in silence. Feeling the cold begin that would soon claim him and his chance to make things right.

      "It's okay we can talk about it tomorrow ." She whispered stroking his hair. As the he struggled to clear his lungs and throat he shook his head.

     " I'm sorry Miroku I should have never pushed you . Thank you for trying to comfort me. I just never want you to blame yourself. I understand my fate, and I am fine with it. " she whimpered. Miroku reached a shaking hand for her face.

     " We .. We were wrong Kagome . Wrong to ... Hate you. To fear you Do not let... Us define you. The kamis have a plan, trust in it and yourself. "Miroku gasped. They held each other's gazes both eventually smiling , though it never reached her eyes. He knew . The pain was too great and he would not be able to reach her in time, he could only hope his last resort paid off. He had failed her.

     " We can talk tomorrow Miroku. It is getting late, let us get you to bed. You aren't going anywhere yet monk."

     Miroku nodded allowing her to fuss with him and the blankets before closing his eyes a final time. The cold had turned frigid, his body losing what heat it clung to. He felt her lips on his brow before whispering a goodnight . He did not have the strength to open them.

     He could only pray for what was and what would be. For his friend and her peace. He prayed to every Kami He hoped would listen He prayed until his last breath and whispered the name he had waited so long to meet again as death finally claimed him "Sango."
.....

     Kagome woke the same time the first rays of sun peaked across the horizon. Standing she arched her aching back. She had not been able to leave him, and had slept next to the door leading to his room. One footstep closer and her mind cracked. The scent of death already strengthening in the small space.

     Her howl of anguish shook the foundation of the hut. She sunk to her knees leaning against the door frame, sobs racking her frame. Kagome could feel her powers rising her anger with it. " It's not fair! " she screamed. Her eyes flickered , and before she knew it she punched a hole through the wall of the hut. She howled her despair again, her anger sending another wall to the floor.

     The sound of foot steps approaching jerked her head to the entry way. Slowly the village was waking and in her anguish she had only alerted them to the situation. Miroku was the only barrier she had to them. To their anger for her. The respect the village had for her friend enough to at least allow her in. From the violence that thickened the air, they at least suspected what had occurred and the truce was over.

     Kagome clung to her rage, knowing she would need it. Once the full impact of his death caught up to her, she would fall. She didn't feel as her claws pierced her skin, she allowed the anger to fuel her enough to rise.

     Emotions dancing in her eyes and knowing time was short for even still more villagers were gathering, she hurried. Their voices starting to echo in the hut as she wrapped his body. Eyes glistening she never hated herself more as she kissed his brow a final time closing the sheet over him.

     Lifting him to her, she straightened her spine and allowed the anger to coat her like a shroud. She marched out the door knowing if she seemed weak the villagers would attack.

     "Leave the monk!"

     " Let his own kind bury him, demon whore! "

     "Finally tired of caring for him, did you murder him too?!"

     "Get out witch!"

     "Evil begone!"

     Each of their faces would haunt her, the words burning in her mind. Kagome set her chin and took her first step. Then another .She kept moving until someone tried to snatch him from her. Acting on instinct , to protect Miroku, she sunk her claws deeply into the offender's arm. With a wail he disappeared only for two more to take his place, these armed with swords.

     "She attacked Toji!" One man yelled.

    " Just let me pass, and I will go. " she snarled her counter.

     " Miroku is gone she'll kill us all! A woman screames.

    Head swirling, she witnessed as all of Edo seemed to be joining the ranks. Her hope for the situation dwindling even the skies seemed to agree. Thunder booming overhead as a heavy spring storm came swiftly pouring in.

     Rain began to drop in earnest as the first villager lunged. She tried to jump back, paying careful attention of her previous cargo she didn't notice the circle had condensed around her. The welcoming blade behind her dug deeply into her back.

     Hissing she pulled the blade out and embedded it into it's owner's foot. Kagome could feel the first seal begin to heat, the charmed clasp shaking in effort to restrain the eager powers. She was out of time.

     Drawing herself to a crouch she concentrated what power was available to her and launched herself down the street. The rain threatened to blind her it turning into harsh stings as it relentlessly pelted her. Kagome tried dodging the enraged villagers but protecting herself and Miroku was impossible .

      Blades tore at her, rocks assaulted her and as the pain rose the first seal began to crack. Kagome cursed,always afraid to tap into the demonic strength in case it damaged the seal but she had no choice. She reached for it and as always it eagerly accepted.

     Energy surged through her and everything began to blur as she ran faster and faster. She did not slow at the outskirts, but plunged into the relative safety of the forest. Trees whipped past her, branches dug into her already abused flesh. She had but one destination in mind.

     Between the tears and rain she almost crashed headfirst into the Goshinkboku. Panting heavily Kagome lay her bundle gently down and went to the other two gravestones she had visited yesterday before her nap. Inuyasha , Sango... She sobbed, but didn't let herself stop. If she did she would never rise. Using her own hands she began to dig as fast as she could, they would soon be after her.

     Using the last of her strength and anger she clawed at the ground , ignoring the blood draining down her face. Over and over she tore at the ground her sobs muffled by the moving earth.

     An hour passed and echos of the feral crowd grew closer, and with the dizziness increasing she had to stop. Crawling out of the fresh hole, Kagome proceeded with what she had done twice before. She sent a final prayer to the Kami for Miroku and with as much care as she could lowered him.

     Even as their roars drew closer she would hurry no further, she OWED him this much. She had promised him she would bury the two would be lovers together. Hand by hand she covered him and as the final mound was placed she finally allowed herself to collapse .

    " I'm so sorry, I could never do more for you all. Forgive me" she whimpered giving into the blackness that rose to claim her.

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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