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A Halloween Tale by tenchi no mai

A Halloween Tale

This was written in response to Rikayu and D.S.Anno’s Halloween challenge. 

Theme:  Must contain something pertaining to Halloween

Due:  October 26, 2009

Required Word Count:  Minimum 700 words

Actual Word Count: 7532 - Story Only

Universe:   AU – Modern Day    

Rating:  MA

Warnings:  Character death, innuendoes, language 

Disclaimer: The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz Media.   Only the plot to this story and my original characters, Shun and Hayato, are my intellectual property.  I do not make any money from the writing of this story. 

‘Italics’ = thoughts

A HALLOWEEN TALE 

Shun watched with barely contained mirth as Kagome finished advising them about her ideas for their Halloween costumes.  This was the first time he was privileged to participate in this so called holiday with Kagome, and even after her rather long winded explanation he still wasn’t sure if she was kidding him or not. 

“Oh, come on Sesshoumaru!  It’ll be fun.”  Kagome had her notebook and sketch pad spread out on the large table in the breakfast room.  Swatches of fabric were stapled to the sketches and sticky notes were, well, stuck all over the pages of the notebook and sketch pad. 

“It may be ‘fun’ for you, Kagome, but I don’t see any reason for me to take part this year.  You have Shun to help you, and I’m sure you can always coerce Inuyasha into participating again.”  Sesshoumaru glared at her.  He didn’t like this poor excuse for a  holiday to begin with, and absolutely detested her idea for the costume contest. 

“Princess, tell me again why you want to do this?”  Shun couldn’t hold the laughter in any longer, and quickly set his coffee mug down on the table, he really, really didn’t want to get burned. 

“Shun, weren’t you listening the first time?”  Kagome was now getting aggravated with both of her mates.  One was laughing hysterically, and the other was, in her opinion, sitting there sulking with his arms folded across his chest.  She turned to Shun with her hands on her hips.  “I’ll explain it one more time.” 

“As I understand the story, it started many, many years ago. Ever since the year of the accidental poisoning, the High Youkai Council has held a Halloween party for all the demon children so they don’t get any candy that will harm them.  It’s held at the Council Hall and has evolved into a huge affair.  The Hall is divided into sections and smaller rooms and the adults are given a space to decorate either in the theme for the year, or just plain scary, and during the evening the kids go around trick or treating.” 

“Extortion is more like it.”  Sesshoumaru mumbled under his breath.  ‘At least the size of the grounds around the shiro and the gates keep the little ghosts and goblins, as well as the other beasts, from deciding to soap the car windows or toilet paper the shiro on Mischief Night.’ 

Kagome glared at Sesshoumaru for a minute before turning back to Shun and continuing.  “Any way, there is a buffet dinner, a costume parade for the little ones, contests by age for the kids costumes, the adult costumes, and for the best decorated spaces conforming to the theme, as well as the scariest.  Last year our theme display took Second Place.  Do you want to see the pictures?” 

“Sure, Princess.”  Shun was still laughing as Kagome ran off to her sewing room to get the photo album.

“You will not be laughing once she gets you involved in this insanity, take my word for it.”  Sesshoumaru smirked at Shun.  “You may decide to go along with her lunacy, but this Sesshoumaru will not allow himself to be attired as a geisha.”  His ego had taken quite a hit when Kagome explained her idea to them. 

“Well, maybe you could be an tayu, or perhaps a taikomochi.”  Shun was just about falling off his chair laughing at the horror struck look on Sesshoumaru’s face.  “No?  How about a otogishu or hanashushi?” 

Sesshoumaru continued to glare at Shun, as he roared with laughter.  “Let’s see how funny you think it is after you see the pictures from last year.  The theme was Fairy Tales.” 

Kagome returned with several photo albums in her arms, and plopped them down on the table.  Shun pulled her into his lap as she picked up the top album.  Wrapping his arms around her waist, he peered over the top of her head at the pictures.

 Frowning slightly as he looked at the photos, he quickly realized that this was not just something slapped together.  It was apparent that a lot of time and effort went into the preparation for this event.  The costumes and makeup were extremely detailed and the construction and decoration of the props was quite extensive. 

Kagome had been flipping through the album rather hurriedly until she came to several pictures of the wolf demon clan.  “Here’s Kouga and his gang.”  Kagome was continuing to explain the photos to Shun.  “They took the easy way out and did Little Red Riding Hood.” 

The next few pages were some youkai he didn’t recognize until Kagome told him who they were.  This was beginning to look serious.  Shun glanced over at Sesshoumaru, who raised an eyebrow at him. 

“Oh, and here is Jak and his boyfriend.  They decided to do a tableau from Sleeping Beauty.”  Kagome was giggling as she remembered their original idea.  “They started to do Cinderella, but ran into problems and changed their minds.” 

Finally there were several pages of photos showing the preparation and construction of the Taisho ‘castle’, as well as Kagome sewing and fitting the costumes.  The last pictures were posed ones from Halloween night showing Kagome as a medieval European princess with long blonde hair, Inuyasha as a dragon, and Sesshoumaru was the knight in shining armor. 

Shun ran his finger over the page of photos as he suddenly began to understand Sesshoumaru’s warning.  “This looks like it was quite complicated, Princess.” 

“Yeah, it was, but it was also a lot of fun.  The entire pack helps each other out, so it isn’t too bad.”  Kagome nodded her head and was reaching for the second album when Sesshoumaru spoke up again. 

“Kagome, why don’t you explain to Shun what your first several ideas were for last years entry?  And how we finally came to settle on that specific scenario?”  Sesshoumaru had picked up his coffee mug and was slowly sipping the contents as he calmly directed all of his attention across the table at Kagome, comfortably ensconced in Shun’s lap. 

“I thought we had agreed to not talk about that again.”  Kagome was rapidly getting extremely agitated.  Shun felt her posture stiffen and he suddenly realized she wasn’t blushing, but becoming angry, as a dusky pink shade suffused across her delicate features. 

“Yes, we did, but I think it may serve to remind us why some things are off limits, while others may be somewhat more tolerable, and save us all a lot of time, disagreements, hurt feelings and… temper tantrums.” Sesshoumaru continued to leisurely sip his coffee. 

Shun, ever curious, watched the exchange taking place, still not quite understanding exactly where Sesshoumaru was going with this, and what the point was in upsetting Kagome.  He abruptly grimaced as Kagome began to glow bright pink and grabbed onto his thighs.  It was like the closing of an electrical circuit as her miko powers began to sizzle and pop across his flesh.  

Grabbing her wrists, he quickly stood, growling loudly, and holding her away from himself at arms length, with her hands over her head.  “Kagome! I happen to like all of my appendages attached and intact!” 

“Oh Kami, Shun, I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to do that to you.”  Kagome gasped as she realized that she had just zapped Shun, her anger leaving as quickly as it had risen.  She was trying to twist around to see if he was okay, but Shun had an unyielding grip on her wrists, and was holding her up on her tip toes. 

Shun kept a close eye on her, as well as a firm grip, until he was sure her powers had receeded completely.  He sighed and pulled her back into his lap as they sat down again. 

Kagome turned to wrap her arms around him and tipped her head to look at him with tears in her eyes.  “I’m really sorry, Shun.” 

Leaning down to nuzzle his mating mark, Shun flexed his hips against her little round bottom so firmly nestled against his groin.  “Don’t worry about it Princess.  We’ll check to make sure everything is still in working order in a little while.  I’m sure I can think of a way for you to make it up to me.” 

Sesshoumaru cleared his throat.  “First thing, Kagome, I think you need to start your daily meditation again if your powers are slipping out of your control that easily.  If you need me to call Miroku for a few more lessons, let me know.” 

Kagome opened her mouth to reply, but Sesshoumaru held up his hand, halting her words and leaving her gaping like a fish out of water.

“Second, this Halloween thing will be settled this morning.  I am sure you remember the rules that were put in place last year.  If not, we can go over them again.  We will all sit and talk this through like adults, or the house of Taisho will not be participating this year or next year.” 

“Sesshoumaru, that’s so not fair!”  Kagome ranted from within Shun’s embrace. 

“Fair or not, that is my decision to make.”  Sesshoumaru gestured for her to hand him the notebook.  “Is that the notebook we started after last years fiasco?” 

When she nodded and handed it to him, Sesshoumaru flipped to the front, and unclipped the first few pages from the alligator clips holding them to the front cover.  He quickly read the pages, grabbing up a pen to add a few more notes, then signed and dated them.  

Handing it back to her along with the pen, he raised an eyebrow.  “I see that you didn’t re-read the rules before you began planning for this year, or if you did, you blatantly ignored them.  Where on earth did you get the idea that geisha’s would be an acceptable entry to this years contest?” 

Kagome began to blush a bright red.  “Well, Jak and his boyfriend are going to be a geisha and a samauri.  I thought it would be interesting to combine our two sections into a tea house, since we’re next to each other this year.” 

“Hn.  You will proceed to read the rules out loud, then sign the newest few that this Sesshoumaru has added.  Once you have finished, Shun will sign in both places stating that he understands and will comply with the rules.” 

Shun smirked; Sesshoumaru must be really ticked.  He had reverted to speaking in third person, which he only did now when he was truly irate.  He had actually given up the annoying habit about a century ago.   Their little mate really knew how to roil the waters.  Later, when he could get him alone, he would have to ask Sesshoumaru what had occurred last year to make him implement such a strange set of rules.  ‘But then again, as upset as he is maybe I shouldn’t bother asking.  Curiosity did supposedly kill the cat.’  

A few hours and another pot of coffee later, the basic ideas were agreed upon and only needed minor tweaking to complete for the Halloween gala.  Kagome was definitely not thrilled as she slowly gathered up the photo albums, notebook and sketch pad before halfheartedly trudging off in the direction of her sewing room. 

Sesshoumaru smirked as he watched her leave the breakfast room.  “Shun, why don’t you go catch up with our mate and make sure your ‘appendages’, as you called them, are still in working order; maybe you can put her in a better mood.  Then meet this Sesshoumaru in the dojo, there is an urgent need for a sparring partner for my kendo workout today.” 

Shun debated momentarily, he was between a rock and a hard place.  One still somewhat put out and greatly annoyed mate, or one rather irritated daiyoukai?  Both needed a good workout.  Somehow he just knew the kendo practice would be the easier of the two to survive. 

~*~

Kagome glanced around the large room after she had finished arranging the final pieces inside their allotted display space.  She was surprised, there were actually quite a few entries; in fact it almost looked like a small feudal era village.  

There was a sake tavern, a tea house, an area set up like a market, with several ‘palaces’ spread throughout; though the idea  of “History” still didn’t seem much like Halloween.  Whoever had approved this years theme need a good swift kick in the pants. 

Off on the far side were several caves that Kouga and the wolf clan  had built along with a couple of short rises in elevation that were supposed to make it look somewhat mountainous.  The fake rock that Ginta had found at an advertising supply house was actually quite amazing. 

“Damn!”  Kagome cursed herself, she had forgotten the containers for the candy again.  She would have to make a note to put them on the kitchen counter so she didn’t forget to bring them with her when they came back later. 

Looking at her watch, she realized she had to hurry home and get changed, then help Shun and Sesshoumaru with their outfits and makeup.  

It had taken her a while, but she finally talked Sesshoumaru into dressing as his father.  Shun would be costumed as Sesshoumaru.  The clothing was the easiest part; it took her awhile to figure out how to recreate all the pieces of armor in fabric, but between her and Shun, they worked it out.  They were going to use the replica swords that had been made for display purposes.  The originals were too precious and were locked safely away.  

Kagome’s costume was a three layer kimono, with several additional collars sewn inside to make it look like a seven layer kimono.  There was an elaborate brocaded obi as well as kanzashi, kogai and kushi for her hair. 

~*~

“You don’t think he stood us up, do you?”  Kagome questioned Shun as she handed out candy to the trick or treaters.  Sesshoumaru had gotten a phone call as they were getting ready to leave the shiro, and had waved them to go on ahead, saying he would catch up with them at dinner. 

“No, he wouldn’t do that.  He’ll be here, don’t worry.”  No matter how calmly he managed to reassure Kagome, Shun was starting to get nervous.  He had tried calling Sesshoumaru several times, at first getting busy signals, then later going directly into his voicemail. 

“Do you suppose something happened on the way over here?”  Kagome fretted uneasily, wrinkling the edges of her sleeves as she clenched and unclenched her fingers in the fabric.  “If he doesn’t show up soon, we’ll be disqualified as incomplete when the judging begins.” 

Kagome turned when she heard her name called out, then smiled and waved as Hayato came strolling over.  He made quite a dashing dracula with a long black cape and his hair slicked back.  Maybe next year she would sign the Taisho’s up for the Fantasy and Fright section.  Either Sesshoumaru or Shun would look super as Sepiroth or Alucard.  

After hugs and kisses, Hayato looked around questioningly.  “Where’s the big guy?  Wasn’t he supposed to be here tonight?” 

“Sesshoumaru got a work call just before we left the house.  He should be here soon.”  Shun tried to get the dai-tengu’s attention before he asked any more questions.  He didn’t want Kagome to get any more upset than she already was. 

“Do you want me to stand in for him for a while?”  Hayato cocked his head as he watched Shun anxiously shifting from one foot to the other.  “It would only take me a minute to alter into anothers shape.  Togaou was the youkai from the painting in the library, correct?” 

“Yes, he was.  You would do that for us?  I know Kagome would be appreciative, she is afraid of being disqualified during the judging.”  Shun was surprised that Hayato remembered the painting, although when he thought about it, the dai-tengu had been over to the shiro often enough. 

Hayato smirked as he stepped behind one of the hand painted shoji screens after watching Shun lean over to whisper in Kagome’s ear what was going to happen.  With a quick swirl of jyaki, he transformed into the great and terrible dog general. 

~*~

Ruby red eyes observed from a distance the goings on at the Taisho entry.  His plans were coming together magnificently.  He hadn’t known that Kagome was that friendly with the dai-tengu, however that wouldn’t stop him from completing his work tonight.  Maybe he could make use of the tengu in his scheme.  Once the work was done, the fun could begin.

~*~

‘Well, Halloween is over for another year!’  Kagome sat on one of the cushions, clicking through the pictures in her camera.  Inuyasha had shown up wearing his fire rat with the replica Tetsusaiga, and they had all posed for a “family” portrait.  Hayato had done a great job of portraying Togaou, you could really see the family resemblance between him and Inuyasha.

There were pictures of Jak with his samauri, and Kouga with the rest of the wolf clan.  The little ones were so cute! 

‘Second Place again this year, and still no Sesshoumaru!’  She was really ticked off.  Then to top it all off, Shun had gotten a phone call and was now walking around trying to get a better cell signal.  Kagome hoped he wouldn’t be too long, she really wanted to get home and find out what was going on with Sesshoumaru, this was so unlike him. 

Looking up from the camera, she saw that Shun was still talking on his cell phone.  Kagome was suddenly tired, and leaned her head against the shoji screen frame for a minute. 

~*~

Shun was still having difficulty with the reception on his cell phone.  He had gradually walked in a wider circle around the area trying to get better reception, and now realized that he was slowly being ushered towards the exit of the building. 

“Hey, wait a minute, my mate is still in there!”  Shun motioned to one of the guards who was turning off the lights.  

“No one is left in these sections.”  The uniformed guard waved his flashlight towards both sides of the now mostly darkened building.  “The last people out of here were a girl in a kimono and a guy dressed as Dracula.”

‘Kagome left with Hayato?  I guess I was on the phone longer than I thought.  I knew she was getting tired, but I would have thought she would have let me know she was leaving.’  Shun shook his head as the call cut off. 

~*~

Hayato observed the lights slowly being extinguished, section by section as the hired night watchmen secured the building.  Everyone would be back tomorrow to take down their displays and help to clean up the great hall.  However, something wasn’t sitting right with him, he could hear the large dividing walls being slid opened, everything should have been left as it was until tomorrow, there was no reason to open the space into one enormous room. 

With the theme this year there were a number of antiques used in the History displays.  Having not immediately recognized the guards, he decided to stick around for a while to make sure that there was no attempt to steal anything from the Council Hall. 

Quickly making a decision he transformed into his true form, a large black eared kite, and with a few flaps of his wings was sitting atop one of the large sugi trees close to the building.  From here he could observe the structure itself, as well as the parking lot and surrounding grounds.

~*~

Sesshoumaru was beyond furious, if that was at all possible.  He had been ambushed as he started towards the Council Hall, and was now in the back of his Hummer, wearing the type of restraints used for violent youkai criminals that subjugated their jyaki and left them without the use of their powers.  

He had been struggling for hours to get loose or gain the attention of anyone passing by, but without the use of his poison to melt the restraints, it was not going well.  As the demons that did this to him were getting ready to slam the tailgate shut, one of them laughed and said that someone would be back eventually to let him out so that he could take the blame for the events that were going to occur.

~*~

From atop his selected cedar tree, Hayato closely monitored the area for anything unusual.  Having seen the guards lock up the building, and drive towards the guardhouse at the entrance from the access road, he was getting ready to head towards his car when the flash of an enchanting spell from inside the structure caught his attention. 

The magic flared brightly before settling down to a steady hum.  The feel was of something old and evil, something barely remembered from centuries ago when a great malevolence stalked the countryside of Japan.  It made the feathers rise on his back as it took over the entire three stories of the building. 

Hayato had left his little assistants, as he called the konoha-tengu, inside the Great Hall.  They had been asleep in the trees of his Vampries Forest, A Touch of the Dead.  Most of them had been enchanted as bats, but a select few were vampires hidden among the eerie trees and broken down walls of Dracula’s castle. 

Calling to them through thier telepathetic link, he commanded them to scout out the main floor and find out what was going on there.  Listening to their internal chattering, he realized that the “bats” were fine, but the rush of magic had reverted the “vampires” back into their natural avian forms. 

Using the vision of his favorite konoha-tengu, Hayato scanned the forest that had overtaken the main floor of the Great Hall, until he came upon the feudal era village form the historical entires, which still stood in its entirety.  Noting that several more huts and a shrine had been added, he closely observed the surroundings, interested in the significance of a rise with an odd well that seemed to have somewhat more magic emanating from it than the rest of the illusion.  And an illusion was exactly what it was, as  dai-tengu, with great powers of his own, he could see through the elaborate fantasy. 

Landing on the wooden roof of one of the small huts, the konoha-tengu paced back and forth, checking out each of the buildings.  Hayato’s eyes widened noticeably when he saw Kagome, apparently sound asleep, laying on several cushions. 

Dropping from the tree, Hayato assumed his humanoid form, folding his huge wings around himself, becoming invisible.  He hurried throught the grounds towards the parking lot, intent on retrieving his cell phone from the charger in his vehicle to call Sesshoumaru and Shun.

~*~

A tall male with long wavy black hair paced across the floor of the main hall, checking his illusion with a critical eye.  He needed to double check the second floor and basement again, then his work was complete, and the evenings entertainment could begin.  It had taken a great number of years of planning, practice and manipulation to make this fantasy night come about; it was going to last as long as he could possibly make it, and he was going to enjoy every second of it.  The best part was the dai-youkai lord was powerless to help his little priestess or interfere this time. 

~*~

Kagome startled as the air around her shifted.  Slowly sitting up, she rubbed her eyes, staring around in amazement.  

It was as though she was back in the feudal era, she was in the middle of a scaled down version of the village of Edo, even the shrine in its 16th century appearance was here.  Peering through the encroaching forest, she could just barely see the Bone Eaters Well.  Looking up, the stars were twinkling brightly in the evening sky, as the full moon cast a cold blue light over the landscape. 

She realized it had to be an illusion, but it looked so real.  There were not many youkai that possessed the power needed to create something like this.  One of the few that she knew of was Hayato, but couldn’t think of a reason he would go to this extreme. 

Stumbling to her feet, Kagome grabbed onto the frame of the doorway, backing up behind the wall.  “Shun!  Where are you?”  Peeking outside, she fully expected to see him pacing around,  still talking on his cell phone. 

Listening carefully as her voice echoed, Kagome realized she was alone.  The only sounds she could hear were the high pitched screeching of bats swooping around and the occasional cawing of some birds. 

Suddenly a sinister disembodied voice floated across the village.  “Ah, priestess, I see you are finally awake.  How… pleasant… to see you again.” 

Kagome’s head swiveled as she tried to pinpoint the location of the eerie voice.  “Who are you?  And what’s the meaning of this?” 

“You could be somewhat more appreciative, priestess, I went to a lot of touble to arrange this little surprise for you.” 

Once again listening carefully, Kagome was still unable to locate the person speaking. 

Not getting an answer, the male chuckled darkly.  “I can’t believe you don’t remember me, priestess.  It hasn’t been that long, at least not for you, has it?” 

The first tendrils of fear began to wrap around Kagome’s spine as the voice became clearer and stronger.  “Who are you?” 

“All in due time, my dear priestess.  First we are going to play a little game.  I left you some supplies in the hut.  Why don’t you check them out and then do me a favor.  Change into the school fuku that’s in the backpack.  I always did enjoy seeing you run about in it, plus you have filled out rather nicely since the last time I saw you wear one.  Don't forget the little piece of jewely I made for you.”  Chuckling again, he walked off through the trees, still keeping his aura tightly reined in, giving Kagome some time to think about, and comply with, his “request”.  

Kagome leaned back against the wall as she visually searched the small room she was in.  Her eyes widened when she noticed the yellow backpack sitting on floor.  It was a very close approximation of the one she used to carry around the Feudal Era with her.  Next to it was a bow and quiver full of arrows. 

Approaching it slowly, waiting for a trick or a trap, Kagome nudged it with her foot, jumping when it fell over.  As her heartbeat settled back into a somewhat normal rhythm, she dumped the bag out.  There was a flashlight, two bottles of water, a hooded sweat shirt, the school fuku, and a pair of socks and sneakers.  A small jewelry box was the last item to come tumbling out of the bag. 

‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to play this sicko’s game!  Though I may have to use the sneakers.  I can’t really evade anybody very well while wearing these geta.’   Kagome sniffed as she picked through the items from the bag.  There was a faint odor that she couldn’t quite place.  

She divested herself of the inner two layers of her kimono, keeping the thicker out layer.  Hiking the kimono above her knees, she used the obi’s from the inner layers to hold the yards of fabric in place.  Keeping her tabi socks, she put the sneakers on her feet, tieing them firmly.  

Picking up the bow and quiver, Kagome stepped quietly over towards the door, slowly expanding her aura as she searched for whoever was out there.  Tripping over the small jewelry box, she picked it up and opened it.  Her eyes widened in horror.  Inside was a bloody fang and a replica of the completed Shikon no Tama.

~*~

Hayato called Sesshoumaru, surprised when the call went directly into voicemail.  Leaving him a quick message, he dialed Shun’s number, relieved when he answered on the second ring. 

“Hayato, is Kagome with you?”  The panic in Shun’s voice was more then evident.  “The guard said she left with you.  Well, I assumed it was you, he said someone in a Dracula costume.”  Shun had been calling Sesshoumaru since he left the Halloween Gala, continuing to get his voicemail. 

“She is still at the Council Hall, and something very strange is going on.”  Hayato rapidly described what he had seen so far.  “You need find Sesshoumaru and get back here as quickly as you can.” 

“I’m almost at the shiro, let me get Sesshoumaru and some weapons, we’ll be right there.”  Shun clicked off the call as he pulled up to the gate to the shiro, almost taking it off its track when it didn’t open fast enough for him. 

Hayato went back to circle the building again, looking for an unlocked entrance or open window.  Starting with the roof this time, he checked the chimneys and vents, but they were all too small for him to fit through.  The second story windows were all locked down tight, not even a stray breeze would get in that way.  He wondered if they were actually locked, or if the enchanting spell was responsible for the security.  From the outside he was unable to tell, only by gaining entrance would he know for sure.  Until he knew what magics were used, Hayato had no way to counteract or reverse the spell.  

The first floor window and doors were also sealed, no one was getting in or out of the structure.  All the windows were darkened, the only way he could see inside was through the eyes of his konoha-tengu.  Thoroughly frustrated, Hayato could only hope Sesshoumaru and Shun got here soon.

~*~

Listening to him chuckling darkly again, Kagome was wondering what kind of deranged madman she was dealing with. 

“Who are you, and what have you done to Sesshoumaru?”  Kagome was getting more upset the longer she held Sesshoumaru’s fang.  ‘How and what could this maniac have done to Sesshoumaru, and where is Shun?  Are they okay?’ 

Tucking the fang into her bra, Kagome prayed to all the Kami who would listen to let her mates be alright.  She left the replica Shikon no Tama in the box and shoved it into the backpack; it was glittering weirdly in the half light and gave her the creeps. 

“Ah, priestess, is that finally fear I smell twisting within your usually delicious scent?  It is making it all the more alluring and exquisite.”  The disembodied voice once more floated through the village.

Kagome was trying to not let this creep terrify her any more than she already was.  She had to find a way out of this illusion and get to Sesshoumaru and Shun.  Stepping out of the hut she kept her back against the wall and edged her way around the hut and towards where she thought an exit from the building was supposed to be.  She hadn’t realized this room was so huge. 

A sudden breeze rustling past her and the feel of a kiss on the back of her neck had her screaming and breaking into an all out dash across the floor.  One of the kogai had been pulled from her hair and it was quickly unwinding and falling down her back as she ran. 

He was getting angry now.  She hadn’t listened to his polite request to change into the school fuku.  He had forgotten how stubborn the bitch could be.  He hadn’t wanted to touch her just yet, the chase was supposed to last for a while longer before her real punishment began and he could have some fun.  It had taken quite some time and subterfuge, but he had managed to get all the equipment moved into the basement and the torture chamber set up.  As he unfurled his aura and gave it free rein, he spoke again, while stalking after his prey. “Priestess, have you figured it out yet?” 

Kagome stopped short and almost retched as the overpowering aura assaulted her senses.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the faint stench of miasma trailed along with it.  ‘Naraku!  It can’t be, I know he’s dead!  We killed him, then completed the jewel.’ 

“How?”  Kagome ducked behind a tree and quickly threw a barrier around herself.  

“I had a long time sitting in hell to figure out how to escape.  Once I was able to attain some knowledge, it was not too difficult.  Obtaining the body was the easiest part.  Unfortunately, I have had to keep slowly upgrading to more powerful youkai, but I think the end result was worth it.  You might actually be impressed when you see me.  I will not keep playing this cat and mouse game with you all night, I have some better plans in mind for us before you meet your end. Speaking of the end, your beloved dai-youkai lord will be blamed for your demise and any other collateral deaths once he and his beast finally escape.” 

~*~

Hayato was now prowling around the lower level of the building.  There were some small glass block windows spaced around the foundation and at the rear of the building several sets of bilco style doors for descending into the basement from the outside.  The first two sets of doors were tightly locked with padlocks in place.  Hayato cocked his head and listened.  He thought he heard a scream.  There were also creaking and moaning sounds emanating from the third set of doors.  As he approached the last set of doors his youkai senses began to tingle, and he realized that the magic from inside the building was forcing its way out through the unlocked doors.

~*~

Kagome felt like she had been running for hours.  Her legs were aching, but she couldn’t stop moving.  The barriers she was using were not quite strong enough to hide her completely.  She was shooting arrows every chance she had, and had almost hit Naraku once.  The forest she was now stealthily making her way through was steadily becoming more and more sinister looking, the gnarled and bent trees were losing their leaves, and branches were beginning to drop. 

Just when she thought she couldn’t go any further, a hand clamped over her mouth and a strong arm pulled her back against a firm chest as a giant pair of wings enfolded her.  From inside her mind she could hear Hayato speaking.  ‘Do not make any noise, do not move.  We are invisible to anyone looking in this direction.  I can speak to you telepathically and read your thoughts.  Do you understand me?’ 

Quietly exhaling and trying to catch her breath, Kagome nodded, then leaned her head back against Hayato’s chest.  She had dropped her bow and last arrow when he had abruptly grabbed her.  The noise must have tipped Naraku off, he was heading in their direction.  

“Priestess, where are you hiding now?”  Naraku stopped right in front of them, bending down to pick up the bow and arrow.  “I am tiring of this game and wish to move on to something more… entertaining.”  A noise off to the left had Naraku sprinting in that direction.

 Kagome’s heart was ready to burst from her chest, and she didn’t realize she had been holding her breath until Hayato whispered into her mind, ‘Breathe.’ 

Hayato backed them up behind a large tree.  ‘Listen carefully.  I cannot get you out of here without help to distract that madman.  The only way I managed to get inside was because my aura is similar to my konoha-tengu’s who are already here.   Sesshoumaru and Shun are on their way.   I will hide you, but you must stay quiet and remain still until we return for you no matter how close he gets, what he does or what he says.  Nod if you understand what I just said.’ 

Kagome nodded as tears of relief began to roll down her cheeks. 

Hayato was slowly walking them sideways, while trying to help Kagome calm down.  He explained that there were several alcoves along this wall and he intended to hide her in the largest one using his most powerful magic, then with a concealing spell, seal them all up so it looked like one smooth wall.  Hopefully this crazed youkai was not too overly familiar with the building. 

It was easier explained than accomplished.  Kagome was still terrified, and he hated to leave her alone, but he had no choice. 

~*~

Shun drove like a madman back to the Council Hall.  He still couldn’t find Sesshoumaru, but did manage to bring both Tensaiga and Tokijin with him, as well as his own long sword, a pair of short swords, and his favorite bull whip.  

At this point he was desperate to get to Kagome, and then find Sesshoumaru.  Bypassing the guard post at the front of the building, he used the delivery entrance and parked his pickup truck next to Hayato’s car. 

 Within several seconds Hayato appeared and told him what he knew and what he had done to conceal Kagome.  

“It looks like Sesshoumaru’s Hummer parked in the back of parking lot behind the old garage.  Did you see it?”  Shun was wondering what the vehicle was doing here if Sesshoumaru was not.  

“No, I didn’t.  I was too involved in trying to get into the building.”  Hayato was running after Shun as he headed in that direction. 

Shun opened the drivers side door and took a look inside as Hayato circled the vehicle.  Not noticing anything out of place, he slammed the door shut.  “Let’s go get Kagome.  We can come back here and look for any clues afterwards.” 

Hayato stepped on a large key ring and instantly recognized the keys on the ground by the rear of the vehicle for what they were.  “I think we may have the answer as to where Sesshoumaru has been.  These keys are for youkai restraints, very powerful ones if I’m not mistaken.” 

Coming around the rear of the vehicle, Shun saw the Hummer’s keys in the lock.  Opening the tailgate they looked into the murderous eyes of one incapacitated, infuriated and bloody dai-youkai lord.  

Quickly releasing the restraints, they both jumped back as Sesshoumaru burst out of the back of the vehicle, snarling and baring his fangs at them.  “Where is Kagome?”  

~*~ 

Kagome tried to press herself further back against the wall behind her.  She knew that Hayato said Naraku wouldn’t be able to see her, that she was hidden by his most powerful magic.  But that didn’t help as the lunatic ran around searching for her, calling out to her, finally resorting to a huge temper tantrum, screaming and cursing her out, threatening to do the most vile things to her.  She could see him as he stood not twenty feet away from her.  Hayato’s spell was like looking through a screen, not entirely clear, but clear enough for it to be extremely disturbing and frightening. 

“Priestess, where the fuck are you hiding?  I’ll find you, and when I do you’ll be one sorry bitch!”  Naraku ranted and raved, picking up and throwing rocks and sticks, before suddenly smiled evilly.  It had just occurred to him how to find the little whore.  Section by section he was going to release his spell, until there was nowhere left to hide.  He would get his hands on her very shortly, then she would begin to pay for the hell he had suffered for the last 500 years. 

 ~*~

After retrieving Tensaiga and Tokijin, Sesshoumaru raced towards the building, Shun and Hayato struggling to keep up with him.  

As they approached the structure, the magic was weakening and Hayato glanced over at Sesshoumaru.  They may not need any spells to cross the threshold of the building after all. 

Entering through the basement doors, Sesshoumaru was on high alert for a trap of any sort.  His eyes narrowed as they passed instruments of torture on their way to the stairwell.  He knew what most of these items were used for and it fueled his rage to think that anyone would plan on using these on his precious mate. 

Weapons drawn, they ascended the stairs to the main floor of the Council Hall just as the last of Naraku’s illusion was dispelled.  The great hall was empty except for the jumble of items at the far end that only hours ago had been the village from the historical entries.  

“Priestess!”  Naraku screamed.  He was so enraged that Kagome had slipped through his fingers that he at first didn’t even notice the Lord of the West glaring murderously at him. 

Whipping around and drawing his sword, Naraku charged at Sesshoumaru, who quickly stepped aside.  

Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow.  Apparently Naraku was unable to use a sword any better than Inuyasha could.  Unless Naraku regained enough of his sanity to use some of his magic, this was going to be a very one sided battle.  

Hayato was waiting for an opportunity to retrieve Kagome from her hiding place and get her out of the building.  Shun readied himself to aid Sesshoumaru if needed, as well as to protect their mate. 

While the two combatants were involved in a particularly heated exchange of sword thrusts and parries, Hayato waved his arm across the expanse of the wall, releasing his concealing spell. 

Kagome stumbled from the alcove, screaming, “Sesshoumaru!”  Hayato grabbed her around the waist, pulling her back firmly up to his chest, preparing to leave the building.  Kagome struggled with him trying to get down, as Shun stayed between her and Naraku.  

“Priestess!”  Naraku gasped as he tried to peer around the large and irate dai-youkai who had him in a killing hold, with a sword pressed against his neck.  

Sesshoumaru was trying to ignore the ruckus behind him.  He truly didn’t want to kill Naraku with a sword.  Sesshoumaru wanted to kill him with his bare hands,  to plunge his poisoned claws into his chest and rip his beating heart out.  

Before he had a chance to do so, the first rays of the rising sun pierced the large floor to ceiling windows, working their way across the now scuffed and marred hardwod floor. 

Naraku was so preoccupied with jealously watching his obsession struggle in the arms of another youkai, he at first didn’t notice the creeping rays of light and warmth.  As they touched his body, his flesh began to sizzle and a whispy smoke curled off his form.  With a loud scream, he disintegrated into a pile of ashes and clothing. 

Sesshoumaru looked on in disbelief as Naraku disappeared in a puff of smoke.  Kicking the sword away from the remains on the floor, Sesshoumaru strode over to his now quiet mate. 

He nodded to Hayato as he took Kagome from him and held her close to his chest in a tight hug.  She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist as he kissed her desperately. 

Noticing a brilliant flash from on the floor, Hayato walked over, bending down to pick up a large gold ring from the pile of ashes.  As he straightened up, there was a tap on his shoulder and a deep voice said, “I will take that back now, thank you.” 

Turning to look up into the scowling face of Emma-O, the Lord of the Dead, Hayato placed the ring in his outstretched palm.  “The vile hanyou stole this from me a number of years ago, and I have been trying to get it back ever since.   This was how he managed to escape from Jigoku.  A mistake that will not be repeated.  He will return with me to hell for rest of all eternity.” 

With a swirl of flames, the Buddhist deity, as well as all signs that Naraku had ever graced the face of the earth again, vanished. 

“I think it’s time to go home and get some rest.”  Sesshoumaru tightened his grip on Kagome as Shun released her from a hug.  He shook his head as she tried to see if one of his fangs was truly missing.  Sesshoumaru bared his remaining fangs and the empty space at her.  “Don’t worry, little one, it will grow back in a few days.” 

“Well, Princess, did you have enough excitement this All Hallow’s Eve?”  Shun was picking up the sword from the floor as he spoke. 

“Definitely.  I think next year, I’ll stay home and watch the two of you play a game of Go.”  Kagome laid her head down on Sesshoumaru’s shoulder.  “Maybe Hayato would like to join us and we can start a new Halloween tradition.” 

Sesshoumaru chuckled as they headed out into the bright sunshine of a new day towards their cars.  ‘She may say that now, but I know how much she dislikes that game.  After a year passes, she’ll be ready for the next Halloween contest.’

 

~*~

Fin

 

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