Soul Cleansing by Serena530
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or his characters, and have no right to it except as a long time fan.
Chapter One: Understanding
Kagome started awake. She yawned and looked around groggily trying to figure out what had awakened her. Shippo was still by her side sound asleep. Sango and Miroku were also asleep. She blinked in confusion as she looked at the dying fire. Her eyes swiveled around their camp in search of the one member of their group that she hadn’t seen.
Gone. That explains the fire. But where… her tired thought trailed off as she felt a tug on her soul. That explains it. She thought as she closed her weary eyes briefly before opening them and carefully getting out of her sleeping bag so as not to disturb Shippo.
She added a few logs to the fire until it was glowing brightly once again then quietly retrieved her bow and slung her quiver of arrows across her back before walking off into the forest. She walked in the opposite direction from where the tug on her soul was coming from, which meant the opposite direction Inuyasha had gone, to a small clearing a distance from the camp but close enough to where she could still see the glow of the fire.
Kagome then sat in the grass against the trunk of a tree with a light sigh. She wanted to do some thinking and now was a good time. It was behavior like this, leaving their group unprotected and unaware that had been making her wonder more frequently why she loved Inuyasha.
There was more than that however, that made her question why she felt for him the way she did. He was always calling her worthless, weak, and stupid. Always in connection with ‘human’. It was like he made it a point to emphasize her humanity like he thought it was a bad thing, conveniently forgetting that he was half human. He was always comparing her to Kikyou. Saying she was the better priestess, better trained, better at using her bow and arrows, that she never complained, she didn’t whine all the time.
He had been treating her that way since the very beginning, so why in the world did she love him? He wasn’t nice enough for that to be the reason. He wasn’t romantic. Him saving her life wasn’t reason enough for her to feel that way either. In fact, she always had the feeling that he saved her life because she was his shard detector and Kikyou’s reincarnation, and therefore he couldn’t stand to see someone with her face die in front of him.
Kagome couldn’t picture herself spending the rest of her life with him, couldn’t imagine them having a family together. In fact, she couldn’t even picture doing anything intimate with him. They had only kissed once and that was a desperate move on her part to save his life during the Princess Kaguya ordeal. Even with the situation being what it was she had enjoyed it at the time and after they had been safe she had thought about it a great deal and wanted to do it again, but thinking back on it there had been no passion in that kiss, her heart hadn’t beat wildly. In fact, she was suspicious that he had only returned the kiss because he wasn’t all there and was seeing Kikyou’s face and not her.
She felt like she had only wanted to do it again because logically that would be the next step after kissing someone you liked who you thought liked you back. It wasn’t because she wanted to be close to him, or because she wanted to express her feelings for him, or even because she was sexually turned on by him. It was all logical despite her claims of loving him.
How could she love someone who beat a child? No matter what Shippo did or said he didn’t deserve to be hit because of it. Inuyasha was always saying that he was a demon and could handle it, but that didn’t mean that he should be hit. Especially when it was only because Inuyasha didn’t like what he said.
She also couldn’t understand why she loved someone who always kept her from her family. She was constantly arguing with him so she could go home and assure her family that she was still alive. He never seemed to think about how her time away would affect her family or if he did then he didn’t care. Never mind the fact that she had shared her family with him, that her mother treated him as another son, or that her little brother adored him.
Another reason she could not understand her feelings for him was the entire situation with Kikyou. He was always leaving her and their group to go see her like he was at the moment, always leaving her unprotected when the clay woman showed up at a fight. Never batting an eyelash when the woman tried to kill her. He either didn’t believe her when she told him or chose to ignore it. He had even officially chosen the dead woman over her a number of times, and she still seemed to love him!
Inuyasha also didn’t seem to care that in order for his precious Kikyou’s body to work the woman had to have a part of her soul. It was true that she fed on the souls of dead women in order to have her strength, but in order for her body not to fall apart regardless she had to have her soul.
How could she be okay loving someone who would allow her to walk around for almost two years with a piece of her soul missing? It was like missing a body part. She had heard that people who were missing a limb felt phantom pain or sensations from the body part that was no longer there. The same was true for her in a way, only worse because she still had a connection to the ‘body part’.
The fact that she herself seemed to be okay with not having that piece of her soul disturbed her, as well as why she seemed to forgive the fact that it didn’t bother him.
Forgiving him all the time was another issue she had. She was always making excuses for him, and forgiving him regardless of what he had done or that he hadn’t said he was sorry. She forgave him for going to Kikyou all the time, for always comparing her to the dead woman, for being rude to her, for pretty much tearing down her self-esteem, for beating on Shippo, for keeping her from her family. The list went on and on. A person could only forgive so much and she had gone beyond her limit long ago. She just couldn’t seem to stop herself.
Kagome was also becoming disturbed by the fact that she was always defending Inuyasha, and that the self-preservation switch in her mind seemed to turn off whenever she did. It didn’t matter if she was defending him verbally or physically, or if the person was human or demon, or could kill her within the blink of an eye.
She was all for defending her friends and would risk her life, but the situation didn’t seem to matter. It was like a compulsion. It didn’t matter if she knew that he would only be slightly injured, if at that, where as she would be killed. She would still open her mouth or step in front of the blow. Even small matters such as the repeat performance with Kouga. She was always quick to step in and defend Inuyasha from the wolf prince even when Kouga was right about him not treating her right. It was ridiculous!
Kagome sighed in frustration as she stared at the distant glow of the camp fire. Suddenly she saw a white glow in the corner of her eye. She looked over to see none other than Sesshomaru.
“Good even Lord Sesshomaru.” She greeted him politely from her seat on the ground and marveled that she could see him so clearly. It was as if all the white silk and his pale complexion made him glow in the dark.
“Miko.” His quiet baritone voice drifted to her before he glanced in the direction if her camp fire. “Why are you not at your camp?” He questioned curiously.
“I wanted to do some thinking but my powers tend to broadcast my emotions when I do, and I didn’t want to disturb my friends sleep.” She answered quietly as she eyed the fur draped over his right shoulder.
“Thinking.” Sesshomaru said as he gazed down at her. “Tell me miko, what you could be thinking about so late at night to have your emotions in such an uproar to threaten your companions rest.” He stated quietly from where he stood.
“My feelings for Inuyasha.” Kagome said truthfully. “And how I can’t understand why I love him with the way he treats me. I can’t even understand why I consider him my best friend.”
“Explain.” He said briskly, his golden eyes trained on her. She didn’t mind his manner. She wanted his opinion on her situation since he was there and willing to listen. He may not like the topic but he had to have realized that he might hear something he didn’t care for.
So Kagome began to explain in detail all that she had just thought through, being sure to give examples to make everything as clear as possible.
“I just can’t comprehend why I love him when clearly my heart isn’t in it.” She finished in confusion.
The clearing was quiet as the two occupants lost themselves in their thoughts. After a time the demon lord voiced a portion of his thoughts.
“Perhaps it is your soul that feels for the half-breed.” Sesshomaru stated.
Kagome frowned as she considered his words and blanched once she realized what he meant.
“Do you mean to tell me that the person who could make me happy and who I could make happy is out there alone because my soul is attached to Inuyasha?!” She said agitatedly and looked down so he couldn’t see the pain in her eyes. This was a completely different situation from being soul-mates as far as she was concerned. If that had been the case she wouldn’t be taking issue with it right now.
She was sad and horrified by that prospect and could already feel the depression creeping up on her, but the next thing she knew Sesshomaru was kneeling in front of her lifting her chin up with a delicate clawed hand.
“You are better than this miko. Better than someone who would sink into depression and give up without trying to find a solution.” He said calmly, his voice rumbling in her ears.
Kagome was surprised by Sesshomaru’s actions and words and even more so at her reaction to his touch and proximity. She shivered and her heart beat so hard that it affected her breathing. Still, she took in his words despite the distraction and thought he was right. It wasn’t like her to give up so easily.
“You’re right.” She said, shivering once again as his fingers slid from her skin. As she thought about his proposed cause for her problem she idly noticed that he had sat down a few feet in front of her.
“I think Kikyou might be responsible for this problem. I mean it couldn’t have been anything that happened to me during my time here because I had been drawn to him since the moment I saw him pinned to the tree, and I had even forgiven him quickly for trying to kill me and calling me all kinds of names.” She explained.
“I think she made a wish on the shikon jewel before she died. Something along the lines of wishing to be with Inuyasha in her next life.” Kagome theorized. “It would explain why I love him when he’s done nothing to encourage it, why I forgive him anything, why I make excuses for him and defend him regardless of the danger to my life or the mundaneness of the situation.”
“It would also explain why I’m okay with Kikyou having a piece of my soul. Being brought back to life in a clay body is her ‘next life’ as well, so that would also be fulfilling the terms of the wish.” She added.
Kagome sat quietly after that and wondered if she was going to be stuck compulsively loving Inuyasha for the rest of her life and never be happy. He had already shown on multiple occasions that he didn’t care about her feelings, and would do what he wanted no matter if it hurt other people’s feelings.
No. She thought quietly. She decided right then and there that she would fight it. She would do all she could to free her soul so she could love someone freely with both her heart and soul. Especially since she knew that in this time where demons and magic existed openly, having a free and untainted soul could be important when it came to finding someone to love.
“Do you have any idea how I can free my soul?” She asked with a hopeful look and watched as he blinked slowly and looked up to the sky. She said nothing of the action that looked like a dismissal. She simply waited patiently for his answer, having developed a great deal of patients over the years when it came to dealing with Inuyasha and his temper.
“You would need to purge your soul.” He said in his quiet tone as his gaze flicked back to her.
“How am I supposed to do that?” She wondered with a frown. His silence was enough to tell her that he didn’t know. Although, she had no idea how she was able to tell the difference between this silence and the previous one. “Hmmm…I could ask Keade, the old priestess that lives in the village in Edo who is also Kikyou’s sister, as well as my grandfather.” She said thoughtfully and then frowned as a disturbing thought came to her.
“Do you think it’s possible to purge my soul if it’s not complete?” She asked a little frantically.
Sesshomaru blinked slowly. He recalled her mentioning the dead priestess having a piece of her soul but he needed to be sure.
“The dead one has a piece of your soul?” He asked and watched her nod her head in affirmation. “How exactly did that happen?” He questioned with a slight, barely there frown on his face.
He listened as she related the theft of the priestess’ grave, the witch Urasue, her kidnapping, the half-breed seeing Kikyou and calling out her name, the miko’s soul being ripped from her body, and somehow being able to call most of it back to her. He listened to her explanation not liking it at all. Each fact that fell from her lips made him more and more angry with the half demon he was unfortunately related to.
“It is dangerous to live without your complete soul.” He said bluntly when she finished. “Souls are not meant to be shared, and it is surprising that you have not already started to experience problems because of it.” He explained. “The soul houses a beings power as well as the essence of who they are in life. Part of your problem in controlling your powers could be because you do not have all of your soul, and while I do not know if it is possible to purge only the part of your soul that you have access to, I believe that you will need all of it to accomplish the task.” He added.
Kagome nodded at his words as she released a slight sigh. She was a bit surprised at how much he had just spoken, but she guessed the topic was important enough to warrant the length.
How am I going to get the rest of my soul? I don’t know how, and part of me is always defending Inuyasha, which means that I can’t do something that would hurt him. Killing Kikyou would mean exactly that because taking back my soul would do that. She thought with a disgruntled frown before pushing the thought to the back of her mind to dwell on another time.
“Thank you for sitting with me Sesshomaru, and hearing me out and offering your knowledge to assist me. I really appreciate it.” She said with a smile. “I’m going to start watching what goes on around me and see how I react to situations involving Inuyasha now that I’m officially aware of what’s happening. I’m also going to try and get some proof to confirm that I’m compelled to act a certain way around him.” She finished.
Sesshomaru nodded slightly and she sensed approval at such an action on her part.
“I have masked my scent and aura so the half-breed will not smell me in the area or on you. Neither will he sense my power in the area.” He courteously explained so that she would not have to worry about the half demon making things difficult for her as it was clear from her earlier explanation such difficulties were common without outside factors interfering.
Kagome nodded in appreciation. “Even if he did he would have no one to blame but himself for not being here to keep watch like he was supposed to. That’s what happens when you shirk your responsibilities to do things with dead bodies!” She said with a huff and watched as a small smirk graced his perfect lips. Her heart pounded hard one time in response and she idly wondered what he thought of her body’s response.
Together they stood and she picked up her bow while he casually smoothed down the fur on his shoulder.
“Goodnight and again thank you.” She said and watched him bow his head ever so slightly before she smiled and began to walk back to her camp.
Once there Kagome placed her bow and quiver of arrows near her sleeping bag and slipped into it, careful of her sleeping kit. It was not long before she fell asleep, for some reason feeling safe with the demon lord in the area.
Sesshomaru moved at an easy pace as he made his way back toward his little camp. He had been once again securing the area for the night so his ward would be safe and sleep uninterrupted when he had come across the miko’s scent. It was his ever present curiosity that made him stop and go speak to her and offer to listen to her thoughts.
He was glad she was questioning her feelings for the half-breed and trying to comprehend them. He was even gladder that she apparently did not actually love the whelp, and any feelings of a strong friendship were fading fast with his treatment of her.
Even he with his taciturn, antisocial behavior, knew what a best friend was. It was someone who you could count on in your time of need, someone you could talk to about anything, trust your secrets to, someone who would defend you, someone you had no problems being around. All of these were reasons why he didn’t have a best friend. He knew no one in his life whom he could trust so completely.
Knowing these things he had, from the beginning of knowing of her existence and that she traveled with the half-breed, wondered why she traveled with the half demon. Even then he had seen that the whelp wasn’t treating her right as a friend and it hadn’t improved over time.
As her feelings seemingly began to turn toward the romantic Sesshomaru had even more so wondered why she had those feelings. She was right when she said that the half-breed had done nothing to encourage those feelings. He was rude and crude, and wouldn’t have even known how to encourage love from someone.
He couldn’t even blame it on not being taught how because as far as he was concerned it was common sense. The half-breed knew what it was like to be treated poorly, so common sense would tell him to do the opposite with friends and especially any females who interested him.
But then that fact right there may be the point. He had no problem treating the dead priestess properly, so it was obvious that he held no romantic or intimate feelings for the young miko. Either that or he was confusing which one of them to display his feelings to. Perhaps there would have been no problems if the dead priestess had stayed dead. No. The half-breed would have still treated the miko the same way, and she would have still questioned her feelings for him. Especially when he compared her to the dead woman even if she was still in her grave.
Still, he was glad that she was finally questioning her feelings and the whelp’s behavior as he had been doing for so long. Sesshomaru wasn’t one to lie to himself or hide from the truth, and realized that sometime during his mental questioning over the years he had begun to develop feelings for the girl. He had of course tried to deny it, especially when it became clear that she was developing feelings for the half-breed.
He came up with numerous excuses for why he could not mate her, but that was when he didn’t know her. Even now he knew that he didn’t really know her well, but he knew enough to know that he liked her personality. He knew that she would be extremely loyal, that she was educated, that she had good mothering instincts, that she was strong even though he now knew that she didn’t have access to all her power.
She was not a timid weak female who was use to people waiting on her and getting everything she wanted like Inuyasha’s mother, Izayoi, had been. She was not afraid to fight for those important to her, she simply needed to be taught how.
The one thing that really drew him to her was the fact that she was not afraid to stand up to him. She might be afraid of what he could do to her, but she did not fear standing before him, looking into his eyes, speaking her mind. He also knew that if he allowed it she would not be afraid to touch him. No female, including his own mother, was capable of any of those things.
The fact that she did not fear his touch was very promising, and the reaction she did have was very telling. He had heard her heart beating hard, so much so that it caused a hitch in her breathing. He had also been very aware of the shivers that ran along her body.
He would have her. She would be his. It appeared that her heart was already aware of him. Now he just had to show his interest and her mind would follow, then he would help her free her soul so that she would be free to be his completely.
In the meantime he would court her. She deserved that and it would allow the both of them to get to know each other better. He was aware that he would have to reassure her of many things. Starting with the notion of his hatred for humans. He didn’t know why everyone thought he hated them. The only human he had ever hated was Inuyasha’s mother and he had good reason to as far as he was concerned.
She was a home wrecker plain and simple. She knew his father was mated, married in the demon sense and she, a princess, was still willing to give herself to him and have affair with him. It was a slap in the face to his mother- an insult, especially when the female turned up pregnant. It dishonored and disrespected his mother, and he had watched the human female long enough to know that she had felt no guilt about it.
The female had not even seemed to care that her affair with his father had caused the older Inu to have to fight challenges on her behalf because she was powerless and too weak to fight them herself. She didn’t care that fighting challenge after challenge left him weaker each time and that it would end up being his death. She was a selfish creature. She only cared that he was only with her, taking care of her, and giving her anything she wanted.
So no, she was the only human he hated, the rest he ignored and stayed away from. They smelled bad and had no honor. To the point where they were willing to sell their own offspring to the highest bidder if it got them more money or more land or to pay off their debt so they wouldn’t have to.
The majority of them were also hypocrites. They claimed that demons were always attacking them and scaring their children, but when the tables were turned they were quick to take the opportunity to attack demons. They didn’t care that low level demons were different then high level demons or that a demon child was different than an adult. He had personally witnessed a group of human males recently attacking a demon child. The child hadn’t done anything, had only looked to be hunting, when they noticed his pointed ears and green hair. He had quickly put a stop to that.
Sesshomaru would also have to set her straight on how he felt about half demons. He didn’t hate them as many assumed. He only hated Inuyasha and as far as he was concerned he had good reason for that as well. He was a selfish, self-centered bastard and had been since he was a child. Courtesy of his mother. She had coddled him- given him anything and everything he wanted, and rewarded bad behavior with gifts as she made excuses for it. He supposed that she might have been trying to offset the poor behavior of the humans around him with gifts, but it had only made him think he could act anyway he wanted with no consequences. And it was likely that wasn’t even the case. It was most likely as simple as she got everything she wanted and felt her son should get the same.
She was selfish in keeping him to herself and had done her son no favors by not allowing him to see the child. Even with the boy being as bad as his spies reported, he had been willing to teach the pup the ways of his ancestors so he would know how to behave as an Inu and understand what his instincts were telling him.
By the time of her death Inuyasha didn’t trust him or anyone else, so he watched from a distance as his behavior got worse. When he did manage to make friends it was only a matter of time before they realized they were being used. It was always kind humans that he worked on since other humans were suspicious or scared, and demons- depending on the species- would have either smelled or sensed the deception coming from him.
As of now he knew that the half-breeds new group of friends trusted him and he trusted them, but he also knew that he lied to them and was using them. He had lied to them about never having friends and was using them because he knew that he needed them to defeat Naraku. They too had their reasons for hunting the arachnid but they most likely had no idea what would happen to their group once the deed was done. That is if they didn’t die in the process.
As for the little miko, she was being lied to and used on multiple levels. She was the one who had been told that the whelp had never had friends and had grown up alone, he was using her to spread his sorry story and to find shards of the jewel that he coveted, and he was using her affection for him to keep her where she was. It was possible that he may be confused about who to show his feelings to, but he knew that the miko liked him and he would not commit to her or release her so that she could move on to someone else. He showed her just enough to give her hope but not enough to be secure of his affections.
Sesshomaru was sure the half-breed used the situation to boost his ego. He had two women who wanted him. The ‘original’ and the reincarnation. They both loved him even though for one of them she was dead and it was a love-hate feeling on her side. It also had to help that currently the little miko forgave him everything like his mother had done. He most likely thought he could be his real self- lie, manipulate, use, and treat her anyway he wanted- and she would be fine with it. She would still love him and stay with him.
Not if he had anything to say about it. The little miko, Kagome- he allowed himself to say in his mind, would not be around the half-breeds pack for long. Now that she was questioning her feelings for the boy and consequently her loyalty to him, it was the best time to get her away from him. He only had to be patient and wait for the perfect opportunity.
He did not trust the half-breed. And now that he knew that she did not really love the boy and that he was now determined to make her his, he would not leave her safety to the whims of the boy. Even now he was off trysting with the dead priestess and leaving his pack unprotected. Not that it mattered at this point. He would keep her safe since he was in the area.
He also did not trust the monk and slayer. If he, with distance and hardly knowing the miko, could see that the half-breed was treating her wrongly, could detect irregularities and question her affections for the half-breed, then certainly those two humans closest to her could do more than that.
And why hadn’t they, after two years, taught her how to protect herself? The slayer could have taught her how to fight and even use a sword but had not, and the monk could have taught her how to access her powers at will and detect other things involving spiritual powers but he too had not. Why?
Did they think she would not want to learn? He thought that was ridiculous. She was always trying to protect someone. He would think that she would jump on the chance to insure her survival when she did so. Did they think she would not want to put in the time or effort? Did they think she was too weak to learn? Did it simply not occur to them to try or even ask?
Regardless of the reason, they should have taught her by now and he did not like that they had not.
With those unsettled thoughts Sesshomaru decided, as he neared his camp, that he would check on his little miko the next day, in the morning, and see how she was coping with the night’s revelations.