Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Divider Print This Chapter Divider

Through Waters And Stars by Lyra

The Liberation Of Light

-Dokuga Valentine's Day Secret Exchange-

~For SkyIsTheLimit~

Through Waters And Stars

I.

The Liberation of Light

Now and then I think of when we were together

Like when you said you felt so happy you could die

Told myself that you were right for me

But felt so lonely in your company

But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

 

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness

Like resignation to the end, always the end

So when we found that we could not make sense

Well you said that we would still be friends

But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over...

“Somebody That You Used To Know”, Goyte

~~~ - - ~~~

When the work of the day was over - the fields tended, the animals fed, cloth woven and clothing stitched, dinner eaten and cleared away – there was a clamoring of noise around the old woman's legs. She was the matriarch of a great family, the mother of eight sons and a single daughter, a nobleman's wife.

It was the voices of her grandchildren, twenty three boys and nine girls, that rose together in a chorus of pleading. It was the same chorus that had repeated each evening they were in her presence since the oldest of them could speak.

“Will you tell us a story, Obaa-san?”

“Yes, tell a story!”

“Please, Obaa-san!”

One eyebrow lifted, and the old woman turned her face aside, peering at them each in turn, waiting until they had quivered into stillness before passing her gaze onto the next child. They were used to this; it was part of the nighttime story-telling ritual, one of the things that was most anticipated about these holidays when the whole family was gathered in the matriarch's manor.

Not only the children appeared interested; eyes were turning in their direction from all over the main hall. The old woman was amused to see that her sons had managed to retain the youthful expressions of glee she remembered from their childhoods, though the youngest was now almost thirty.

Aoi, the youngest of her grandchildren, a pretty girl not yet six years old, was the only one too impatient to wait her turn. Clumsily, but carefully – because Obaa-san was fragile – Aoi climbed up into the old woman's lap, and turned wide brown eyes upward.

Stowwy, Stowwy please?

The old woman picked up the little girl and held her steady.

“A story...I suppose there is time for one before bed.”

A chorus of agreement answered her, and she settled back against the cushion of her chair with a sigh.

I have told you the story of two hanyou, Inuyasha and Naraku, and their long vendetta. I will tell you now the story of the demon Sesshomaru; of Sesshomaru and his chosen woman – the woman that he loved. It is a story of great tragedy, and great romance; a story of the most unlikely love, built on the most desperate and inconceivable foundations. A story of hell...and of heaven on earth.”

There was a great rustling, as thirty-one bottoms wiggled into comfortable positions, and thirty-one pairs of eyes turned up to watch her face.

Mukashi, mukashi...

~~~ - - ~~~

It came down to this; just this. The hanyou Inuyasha had believed that the miko Kikyou was dead; he had taken a newer, younger priestess for his mate for just that reason. Who else would he ever find that would come so close to his lost love? Who else would ever look at him from eyes so close to hers; who else could speak with a voice that echoed the tones of the dead?

That newer, younger woman was named Kagome – Higurashi Kagome – and though she was named for the sunset, she was as bright and beautiful as the clearest morning the world ever saw. Her love for the hanyou was as brilliant as the rest of her, but the love he returned to her was tainted by his memory of another woman and another time.

She did not know this, though she suspected; if their assumptions had been correct, perhaps the hanyou would never have been exposed. Perhaps false feelings might have become true, and withstood the test of time.

The problem was that their assumptions were not correct. Kikyou was not dead, and the day she came back to the village was one day too late for poor Kagome to change anything about the choices she had made.

The day Kikyou came was the day after the well closed forever; the day after she wished for the will of the gods to decide the fate of the shikon no tama. The exact consequences of that wish, she was unsure of – only that the power of the shikon no tama had disappeared in a blaze of light, leaving a clear glass bauble behind.

That was the worst part of the betrayal of the hanyou: that she could not escape, could not return to what she had left behind. Without the shikon no tama, she had never once been able to breach the barrier of Time.

The second worst part was that Kikyou did almost nothing to regain Inuyasha's trust and attention; before the eyes of the whole village, she approached, and stood still, and smiled at the hanyou with the dust of the road still swirling about her feet.

He was sitting in the door of the village miko's hut, Kagome behind him, his companions nearby. It was with a wrench at her heart that Kagome watched him stagger up to his feet and across to Kikyou's side, his arms outstretched, his movements jerky with disbelief.

And Kikyou reached out to him, reached out and pulled his face down for a long and loving kiss.

“Poor Inuyasha. It’s all right now; I’m here. You don’t have to pretend anymore...”

The hanyou returned her kiss, held Kikyou so suddenly, so tightly, that she gasped and laughed a little and then kissed him again, with more fervor.

There was silence for a long minute.

Inuyasha seemed to have forgotten that there was anyone there but his first love; though the noses of every demon in the village had wrinkled at the presence of the undead miko he seemed not to notice, did not care how cool her lips were against his mouth.

The sound of Kagome's single, hiccuping sob echoed in the quiet.

Immediately, as if startled out of a trance, Inuyasha started backwards and turned hesitant, regretful eyes toward the woman he had supposedly chosen; the woman who had sacrificed her life for him, her family...her future.

“Kagome – I'm sorry, Kagome, I was...just surprised, that's all -”

With more venom that he expected, she spat words back at him.

“Will you be that surprised the next time, Inuyasha? Or more surprised, maybe?”

She closed her eyes tightly, and then took one step back, away from him. She felt firm hands close on her shoulders, felt two presences close behind her.

Sango. Miroku.

Their support strengthened her.

You told me you'd chosen, Inuyasha. You told me you loved me -”

Kikyou interrupted her.

Be quiet, girl. You do not understand, even now, that you are in the way? That he does not want you – that you are a substitute, a stand-in! When I am here, you are not needed – you trouble our happiness!”

Kagome shivered, and threw her own words out in a cold and deliberate tone that was very unlike her.

“So now, I am the villain? Well...why not? Every story needs one, after all. What would David have been without Goliath; the Chinese Emperor without Yang Kuei Fei? Not history – that much is for sure...”

Her mouth twisted in a smile that was half wry, half spiteful.

“But you know what? This isn'thistory. It's...barely real. Just a dream. Even if now I have to live it forever...it won't mean anything. Nothing you do, Inuyasha, will be remembered. Nothing will remain, no one will remember, you will achieve nothing. Do you understand? Nothing.

She stood straight-backed and proud, her face quiet in its dignity even though tears streamed down her cheeks in double streams.

“I have already lived the future; I know what it is that's coming. And you – with all your youki, and your powerful sword, and your vanquished enemy – you aren't a part of that. The future is full of men, not youkai – do you hear me? The magic is going to die!”

Her words were indeed heard – intensely – but not by the ears she intended to hear them.

Behind her, unremarked upon and quiet, watching this confrontation with sharp and cutting eyes, Sesshomaru, the demon brother of Inuyasha, listened, and was disturbed. Deeply. Her words had struck a chord in him, echoed in his mind.

The magic is going to die?

And, a close second in strength and suddenness:

No! I will not allow it.

He eyed the miko, gaging her. He saw stubbornness, purity, beauty, and strength – all of them unmatched. He saw dignity, the intelligence of an educated mind, empathy that was too strong for her own good...

And then he blinked; she was approaching him.

~~~ - - ~~~

Though Sesshomaru and his small entourage of girl, toad, and dragon had accompanied Inuyasha and his band of companions for some time, this was a first. The miko had not been disrespectful, but neither had she approached him or made overtures of friendship, as was usually her wont – even with strangers.

Had it not been his reserve that restrained her after all, but her feeling for Inuyasha?

“Sesshomaru-sama.”

Her voice was quiet; he sensed the great anger she had just directed at Inuyasha simmering beneath the surface of her expressionless face – and he read not only anger, but resentment and regret in her eyes. Sesshomaru, used to reading the impassive masks youkai wore over their emotions, saw a riot of tension in her features despite her best efforts.

When she waited, silent, matching him gaze for gaze as he decided whether or not to acknowledge her, Sesshomaru allowed himself the luxury of examining her companions: the woman, whose scowl was directed at Inuyasha – her man, whose attention was divided equally between Inuyasha (in anger) and Kagome (in concern). Only the kitsune had his eyes on Sesshomaru; eyes that were quickly averted when their owner saw he had been noticed.

It was curiosity that decided him – curiosity that had been awoken the moment he had first heard her speak of future knowledge. And those words – those words would haunt him for a long while, he thought.

The magic is going to die

He answered her finally with a cold, controlled word.

“Miko?”

The corners of her mouth lifted in the faintest smile, and he was surprised. Had she not expected the acknowledgment?

Then why speak?

Her next words astounded him.

“I wish to apologize, Sesshomaru-sama; to apologize for...almost every moment between us since the first one. For my lack of respect when I met you; for my disbelief in the face of your long knowledge of your half-brother; for the disregard I encouraged my companions to show you. I did not even try to get to know you when you joined our company; if it is any excuse, it was for the sake of Inuyasha...but he, apparently, is not worthy of such consideration.”

It was Sesshomaru's turn to smile faintly, something he thought only the miko saw, and recognized.

“Your apologies are accepted; I have no quarrels with you, miko.”

Kagome bowed low.

“I, too, have no quarrel with you...and I will no longer interfere in your quarrel with your brother.”

Sesshomaru stepped back, already plotting, reassessing, in the light of all his new information...the new possibilities...and gathered his own companions to him.

It was time for regrouping, recalculation – and research.

Like any good hunter, he would know everything that could possibly help him before he approached his prey.

His miko – or rather, she would be his miko. She and her beauty, her strength, her future knowledge – his; all his. She was like him – unique. Solitary. Alone – even in company; alone, though she did her best to hide it; alone, and bright to him though he could see through her smiles to the empty truth within.

He watched her walk away into the circle of her friends, saw the peering intensity of Inuyasha's eyes, already seeking forgiveness though his arm was still wrapped around the other miko. He watched, and knew suddenly the first thing he would have to do.

Sesshomaru would make clear to his brother that his attentions were unacceptable, that he had breached the contract that made the miko his mate. He was no longer wanted; if he would not unbind himself as Kagome's mate, Sesshomaru would kill him and allow death to do the unbinding.

There would be questions, then – the things he needed to know; questions for the old Miko, for the woman, for her man.

He wanted to know Kagome's fears, her talents, her dreams and desires; then he would provide each thing she needed. He would draw her to him, seduce her...make it so that once she had come to him willing once she never wanted to leave again.

For another woman, his mere presence, his desire, would be enough to gain him the submission he craved. Kagome...Kagome was wounded by love; Kagome was hurting. Even if she had not been, Kagome would still be difficult...but worth it.

Worth it.

That had been proved to him many times already – he had just been too blind to see it. Too – proud. He had suffered a drastic reduction in pride lately, a reduction caused by being forced to acknowledge his inability to defeat Naraku on his own - an acknowledgment that had come the day he joined his brother's company...and the miko's.

Kagome.

~~~ - - ~~~

 

End Of Part I

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
No money is being made from the creation or viewing of content on this site, which is strictly for personal, non-commercial use, in accordance with the copyright.