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Night Terrors by mythicamagic

Chapter 1

AN: This fic takes place around episode 52 where Inuyasha lost control of his demon blood.

Warning: angst. A LOT OF ANGST. Features character death and hurt/comfort. Potentially triggering scenes involving grief, the whole shebang. You'll know if this fic is for you or not by the first chapter.

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She'd been running.

Kagome's legs burned, lungs protesting as she fought to breathe. Everything ached. She would've collapsed if she had the luxury.

Panting harshly, the miko ran like a thing possessed- mind blank with pure terror. Navigating through the twisting, gnarled trees and uneven hillside became second nature, mud-soaked loafers slipping on upturned tree-roots as she descended deeper into the forest. She stumbled, knees shaking- shoulder colliding with the hard, sturdy surface of a trunk and sending her down. Kagome yelped as her knees banged against the earth. Using her elbows to prop herself up, she caught her wheezing breath, feeling slick with sweat. She couldn't use her arms to haul herself up, so the miko blearily forced herself to stand by shifting both feet- legs wobbling like jelly.

A distant sound reached her ears, and Kagome bolted like startled prey. The snarling came again, far off- but entirely too close for comfort.

Whimpering and praying, Kagome could barely think, racing through the trees in a blind panic. However, the distant knowledge of dogs and scent tracking came to mind when rushing water came into view. At this rate, with blood practically soaked into their forms, they'd eventually be caught.

Kagome adjusted the small form within her arms, cradling him close against one shoulder and blinking rapidly, eyes stinging. Her eyelids felt like crumpled sandpaper, exhausted from crying. Stepping down onto some moss-covered rocks gingerly, she dropped into the chilly river below, feet finding the bottom of the riverbed. Water sloshed about her waist, and progress was slow as she waded as quickly as possible. Kagome grit her teeth and murmured an apology into blood-streaked red hair, before plunging beneath the surface and kicking her legs.

Keep going, keep going, keep going.

A drumming noise thundered loud and fast within the miko's ears- her heartbeat. She held her breath until her lungs constricted, surfacing with a cough.

The kitsune's solid, cold, dead weight resting against her shoulder made her stomach turn. Kagome grit blunt teeth and pressed on. If she let herself stop…

If she paused, even for a moment, she'd release the noises locked behind her now chattering teeth in a horrifyingly loud wail.

Hearing movement above them beyond the rocky incline of the riverbank, she stilled. Chirping insects fell silent. Her breathing suddenly sounded too loud. Blue eyes snapped up to the crisscrossing branches of the trees overhead, searching for any glimpse of familiar red robes that would've previously made her entire being glow.

A twig snapped.

Kagome shrank away, water thrashing. She hurried madly, muddied shoes scraping the bottom of the riverbed and quickly getting out of the lazy current. Throwing herself under the shade of some jagged tree roots that spilt out above them, creating a small alcove, she panted.

Shivering and clutching the small, lifeless body close, trembling fingers groped around madly around her, not daring to take her eyes off the opening.

Feeling something cool and jagged meet the slick surface of her palm, Kagome gripped it tight. She thrust the sharp rock up protectively, letting out a yelp just as a shadow swooped down before the opening.

Boots landed hard in the water, creating a splash.

Kagome panted wildly, weapon poised mid-air. She'd die, the miko realised dimly. She'd die and Mama would never know what had happened to her.

A hand appeared in her vision, seconds before she began screaming- yanked out from her hiding spot.

Sesshoumaru's dispassionate, glowing eyes gleamed brightly in the sunlight filtering down from high tree branches. Kagome slowly stopped struggling, held aloft by an iron grip curled into the front of her ruined school uniform.

His nostrils flared, attention roving over her. Cruel lips parted, breathing out a single name with a soft utterance;

"Inuyasha. This was his doing, was it not?"

Tears swamped her vision, making everything blurry. A poor time to let it happen, considering the situation. She shouldn't have dropped her guard. This was the Killing Perfection, an enemy. But Kagome couldn't fight anymore, and truthfully the rationale side of her had been seeking him out, hoping for a chance encounter.

When he released her to stumble back into the shallow current, Kagome let the tears flow free. She sank down tiredly to her knees, bowing her head.

"P-please…"

Silence met her wobbly plea. Kagome ignored it, swallowing thickly and choking on a sob as she lifted Shippo's body out to him, supporting his small head. "Please, revive him."

She didn't know the demon lord well enough to understand what emotion flitted over such controlled, stoic features. He gazed at the fox kit's broken body, barely held together. Claw marks had gouged through sinew and bone. It was a credit to the miko's caring nature that the child hadn't been jostled enough to fall apart in her hands.

Golden eyes slid to Tenseiga, lingering. Grim understanding seemed to dawn on his face after a prolonged silence.

"What is it?" she demanded, chest heaving. She didn't like that look. She'd rather he look at her with complete disgust or annoyance, as he'd done so before. Anything would've been better than the blemish of almost...pity simmering beneath his steady gaze.

"I cannot do what you ask."

Blue eyes flew wide. Terror gripped her throat. "W-what? Why not?!"

"Tenseiga does not stir."

"Then stir it!" Kagome snapped, rising to her feet unsteadily and feeling water drip down her body. "I crossed miles! I barely rested! You don't know what I had to do just to keep holding him!" she burst, tears flowing down her cheeks. It was a marvel she had any left to shed. "What do you want?! If it's Tetsusaiga, I left it behind, but I can show you where it is. I'll do anything!"

He considered her for a moment dispassionately, "miles? How many days has it been since you fled?"

"... A few days, I think?"

He cut through her with words swifter and deadlier than any blade. "Then it appears this useless heirloom has a time limit," gripping the blade and wrenching it free from its sheath, he considered the silent metal grimly, his voice a soft, cruel caress on her frazzled nerves. "It does not stir, miko."

Kagome stared at the sword she'd rested the last of her hopes on. After sprinting so far with barely any rest and relying on pure adrenaline alone, she felt herself weaken. He may as well have delivered a swift blow to her stomach. It probably would've hurt less.

Collapsing in on herself and staring ahead uncomprehendingly, Shippo's dead weight felt like a heavy stone in her hands.

Kagome slumped onto her side within the water, clutching the lifeless carcass of her dear friend all the while.

She became unconscious to everything, as though drugged with a deep, visceral brand of complete and utter despair, content to turn her face into the cool current.

Sensations slid over her meaninglessly as Sesshoumaru plucked her from the water with a single arm after putting Tenseiga away. He held her against him expressionlessly and coiled an orb of pure energy around them, taking to the air.

 

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