[AU One-shot] Part one of the Spirit Arc. "Another hand stopped hers and held it comfortingly. The feel of the hand was warm and calloused and much larger than her own. The spirit in the dungeon was a man."
Categories: Fables Characters:
InuYasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango
Alternate Universe, Drama, Horror, Oneshot, RomanceWarnings:
July 13, 2007 Updated:
July 13, 2007
1. Chapter 1 by SaiyanBlack
This came off the top of my head while watching one of those “Haunted Castle” programs on the Discovery Channel. It’s amazing where inspiration comes from sometimes . . .
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the anime Inuyasha or any related material. I am not gaining any monetary payment for this work of fiction based of the anime Inuyasha. The views of this work of fiction do not reflect the views of the creators of Inuyasha or the website on which it is being archived.
First Posted: August 2004
Docteur de Spectre
She knew it was a bad idea, but it was what Miroku wanted. She knew Sango was concerned, but her curiosity overrid the worry. And she had to convince herself she could do this. After all, it was just a dungeon in an old medieval castle in Wales. A very haunted dungeon.
Miroku led her back into the stone room by flashlight and guided her over all the wires and cables that webbed the packed dirt floor. Her brother was concerned in his own way, but like Sango, he was much more interested in the feelings she had received earlier that evening when they had explored the “hot spots” of the old castle. The places where there had been previous sightings of ghostly apparitions by owners and workers of the fortress-turned-museum.
“We’re going to have the night-vision and infrared cameras on you,” Miroku told her as he motioned for her to sit on the stone bench along one side of the square room. “Sango and I will be in the entrance hall, only several feet away from the room, so just call if you want out. The low frequency microphone will pick it up and we’ll hear you.”
She nodded, nervous and uncomfortable in the dark room as her brother positioned her with her back in the corner and the microphone only feet away on the bench beside her legs.
“Are you going to close the door?” she asked quietly, watching her brother’s dark face as he set up the rest of the equipment. He nodded.
“Yes.” Then seeing the look on her face, “It will only be an hour, Kagome. It’ll be over before you know it and I’ll come to get you. Then we’ll go to the hotel, sleep as long as we want and I’ll treat you and Sango to a huge stack of IHOP pancakes in the middle of the afternoon!”
She giggled, some of her nervousness gone, “I don’t think they have IHOP in England.”
He gave her a sour look and kissed her forehead, “Then I’ll take you out for some apple scones . . . and some chocolate coffee cake. I saw that in the tea shop down the street from our bed-and-breakfast.”
She nodded and he left the dungeon, taking the flashlight with him. He stopped at the doorway and seemed to look in at her, but she couldn’t see his face with the light illuminating him from the back. And then he closed the heavy iron-braced door and all the light was gone. The nervousness was back ten fold and she found herself seeking comfort in the fact that she was neither afraid of the dark nor claustrophobic.
‘If I was,’ she thought, ‘then this would be an even worse experience than it is now.’
She could feel the point at which the two walls at her back connected and thanked Miroku’s insight of placing her in a corner where nothing could come up from behind. Though a normal person would ask why she needed that assurance in a dungeon cell all by herself. There was no other living being in the confined space and even she knew that.
But she wasn’t alone.
Not in any sense of the word.
When she was around seven, she had gone to her grandparents’ old eighteenth century home in New Orleans with her family, for a visit after her little brother Souta was born. Her grandmother had greeted them with smiles and treats, but when conversation had started among the adults and the teenaged Miroku, she had grown bored and decided to explore the old house.
It was like any old home; the stairs creaked as she climbed and doors squeaked as she opened them to peer into the rooms of the three-story city house. The furniture was obviously not the originals from the previous family a half-century before her grandparents, but they seemed to be reproductions of that time era to fit the house. She found nothing interesting on the first two floors and had continued up into the third.
There were only three rooms on the third floor; another bedroom, a study and the attic. Of course, what she found wasn’t in the attic. In fact, in the entire week long visit to her grandparents’ she never set foot in the attic. But the old study was a completely different story.
She remembered her mother and father telling her that there was an old gentleman that was living with her grandparents and she only assumed that the man she saw in the study was him. He was an elderly black man, with short-cut gray hair and wearing a formal suit of some kind. Thinking about it now, Kagome remembered him as one of the nicest people she had met in all of her eighteen years. She had probably sat on that study floor for several hours listening to his stories about the war and the magic that was in New Orleans.
It was only when Miroku appeared on the stairs to the third floor calling that she had turned away from the old man. But when she looked back, he was no longer there.
Miroku had always been interested in ghosts and the paranormal, so it was only icing on the cake to find out that his little sister was a psychic and could communicate with those spirits he was always searching for. It was he who determined that the war the old man was talking about was the civil war – not World War II or the Vietnam War like she had assumed while listening to him. After all, her grandfather told tall tales of his time in the service constantly, it was only natural for a seven year old to think it was all the same.
So here she was; a psychic Japanese-American, 18-year-old girl, just out of high school, in a dark dungeon in an old castle in Wales with her 27-year-old brother and his on-again/off-again girlfriend outside watching her every move from expensive “ghost hunting equipment.”
Oh, yeah. She was so normal.
In the darkness, she pulled her oversized flannel jacket tighter around her body, in her mind making it some type of barrier against the presence in the cell with her. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back into the corner of the wall, trying to forget the uncomfortable feelings that she got from just being in the room.
She wondered how long it had been since Miroku had shut the door. Her sense of time had completely stopped and minutes seemed to pass by like hours and seconds at the same time. A chill ran up her spine and she shivered, tightening her jacket even closer. Her eyes still closed, she contemplated dozing as she traced the fingers of her right hand over the stone of the bench. But another hand stopped hers and held it comfortingly. The feel of the hand was warm and calloused and much larger than her own. He was a man.
The spirit in the dungeon was a man.
Slowly, she opened her eyes and turned to look at the space beside her not surprised to see the profile of a man’s face in the darkness next to her. He was colorless to her night-vision, but she could clearly see the definition of his jaw and nose, the way his long hair fell over his shoulders and his bangs nearly covered his eyes. He was blurred around the edges and she could only see his face clearly. But she could feel the warmth that radiated from his body as he sat next to her on the stone bench and the feel of his hand around her own. He seemed to look off at some point across the room, but his eyes didn’t glance in her direction.
She reached her left hand toward him, as if to touch his face with gentle fingers, but he stopped her with a word.
The sound seemed to hang in the air like a silent echo and she stopped her movements, placing her hand back into her lap. The other he still held on the bench between them.
“Sorry,” she apologized, but he shook his head and turned to look at her. His eyes immediately caught her attention, the only color in the room of black. He had wide, soulful amber eyes that seemed to glow against his pale face from behind a veil of equally pale hair.
“No,” he said with a heavy Scottish accent, “I am selfish. I want to touch you.”
She didn’t understand, but he gave no other answer and turned back to look across the room at that hidden spot. She was again graced with his profile, but the golden glow from his eyes was turned away from her.
“My name is Kagome. What’s your name?” she asked, watching his face in the darkness.
The knowledge struck her dumb. In Japanese, the native language of her father, Inuyasha literally meant “dog demon.” But she was in an old castle in Wales, and entire world away from her father’s home country, and there was a spirit with a Scottish accent in the castle dungeon with that name. She was taken out of her thoughts by the feel of his hand pulling away from her own and in a panic she clutched it, willing him not to leave.
“You have a very beautiful name,” she told him and he whipped his head around to look at her with surprised golden eyes. She had read the feelings coming from him correctly. His name was a sore spot and her comment had struck home.
“It is not!” he told her heatedly, turning his head away again, but his hand grasped hers almost absently. “It is just another reason why I am stuck in this rotting hole!”
“Only one? There are more?” she asked, genuinely curious and concerned for this lost spirit of a young man only a couple years older than her at heart. His voice tugged at her soul and the warm grip of his hand around hers made her feel oddly connected to him. It was as if he was a friend she had known since childhood, one who had sought out her help.
“I am different here,” he told her, “an abomination of man. My own clan sold me to the Christians! But they got their reward!” he said bitterly, almost speaking to himself. “The Romans killed them all!” The air in the dungeon seemed to get thicker with his hate and bitterness and the temperature went suddenly cold.
“Who were your clan?” she asked, using past tense only because he had obviously lived to see their slaughter. Or hear about it.
“Celtics, the dying race.” At her surprised expression he gave her a sad smile, “I knew we were done for when the farming people began to worship the Roman god and rule. The clans would be destroyed, our people turned against the faith of the Druids. I wasn’t ever one of clan, not really. That’s why they sold me to the Romans.”
The air seemed to clear, as if he was coming to terms with his past. It was no longer so cold and it became much easier to breathe. He didn’t seem finished, so she waited for him to continue, his profile the only thing she could see in the darkness.
“The Christian priest called me devil’s spawn because of my differences from normal men; demon . . . it was like they knew the meaning of the foreign name my mother gave me. Like they knew the wild presence in my blood.” He turned to look at her with haunted eyes, “Do you know what my name means? The name you think is so beautiful?”
She itched to touch him, to comfort him. But she remembered not to and satisfied herself with tightening her hold on his hand, trying to convey her comfort to him through that small physical connection.
“I know,” she said quietly. “My father comes from the foreign land that speaks the language that you’re name comes from. It means dog demon,” she paused and looked at his sad amber eyes, “and I still think it is beautiful.”
His face held surprise and awe and he seemed to stare at her for ages before he moved. With his free hand, he reached across the space between them to touch her face with warm, calloused fingers, tracing the curve of her cheek gently. She said nothing and he followed the line of her jaw, touching her lips with feather-like touches as he moved to brush a strand of hair behind her ear. Through it all she watched his face, which seemed to hold only tenderness as he touched her face.
“What is a lass like you doing around dead people?” At her look of surprise he laughed, “Oh I know I am no longer among the living, not like most of the wanderers in this stink hole. They are stuck in time and thanks to that Christian priest I am stuck in this room.”
“How are you stuck?” she asked, her head tilting absently into the hand that cupped her cheek. His thumb stroked her skin and sent a warm feeling through her.
“I don’t know,” he admitted, somewhat grudgingly, “Some crazy Roman spell for all I know. It didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard before.”
“Well, was there anything distinctive you remember about it?” she asked, hoping to narrow it down. “Something the priest had? Something he read?”
His hand fell away from her face and he leaned back against the wall behind them, looking up at the ceiling as if it had answers for him. He was silent for what seemed to be quiet a while, but the hand that still held hers was caressing her skin with gentle movements. She watched his profile as he thought, noticed the slight crease in his brow as he attempted to remember a single moment nearly one thousand years before.
“I remember not being able to look away from the jewel that he had at his neck,” he told her, still looking up against the ceiling. “It was a rosy color . . . but the more he spoke the more colors I began to see in it. It had a chip in it, like a piece of it was missing and he kept playing with something in his hand.”
“Do you remember what he did with whatever was in his hand?” They were getting somewhere, if they could figure out what was keeping him in the cell, she could free him. She could let him rest in peace. He seemed to think, trying to remember the moment exactly.
“I was pushed into the cell by soldiers while he was still chanting. But I remember hearing the sound of flesh on stone under the sound of the door being closed.” He turned his head to look at her, his eyes giving her a puzzled look, “At least, I think that is what it was. It was hard to tell around all the voices and the door locking.”
She tried to think of anything around the door to the cell that would indicate some type of anchor for the barrier that seemed to keep Inuyasha’s spirit in the room for so long, but could think of nothing. Except . . .
“I know!” she burst, startling him out of his thoughts and making him look at her. “There’s a small hole in the doorway! I noticed it when we took a tour this afternoon . . . or yesterday, or whatever! That could be it!” She turned toward where she knew the microphone was, “Miroku! Open the door!”
“Wait, wait!” Inuyasha cried, pulling her hand, “What are you talking about, lass?”
She calmed down and turned to face him, “There’s a hole in the doorway of the cell, on the outside, that I noticed earlier when we had a look around in daylight. It seemed to glitter when I first looked at it. I think that’s it! That’s what’s keeping you in here!”
The sound of the door opening as a beam of light fell into the room, startled her into looking away from her pale companion and suddenly her she didn’t feel the warmth of his hand around hers. She turned back to where he had been sitting, only to see nothing but the stone bench. He was gone.
“Kagome?!” Miroku called as he crossed the dungeon cell, “Kagome, what was going on? Who were you talking to . . . ?” He stopped as she jumped up and slid out the door, but stopped just outside.
She had no light, but Miroku soon provided it as he followed her out of the cell, she snatched his flashlight from him and began to search the doorway for the glitter she had seen.
“Kagome?” her brother asked, sounding very concerned. A second voice soon called her and more light was added to the area, but she paid no heed to Sango either as she searched. It took her a moment, but on the right side of the doorway there was a slender hole in the solid stone and something seemed to sparkle from inside when she shone the light at it from a certain angle.
“Miroku?” she asked, turning to look at her older brother. “Can I borrow your pocket knife?”
He gave her an odd look and shared a glance with Sango before reaching down into his jean pocket to retrieve the tiny Swiss army knife that he carried. Handing it to her, Kagome promptly began to dig into the hole with the blade, attempting to get whatever was in the stone out. Then suddenly, with a small click, something glittery fell out and onto the dungeon floor.
She looked up at the sound of her name to find Miroku and Sango with equal looks of shock on their faces. But the voice hadn’t belonged to her brother, but to the pale Scottish man that stood in the doorway next to her. Inuyasha cast her a smile and leaned down to her upturned face to press a warm kiss on her lips.
One of his hands cupped her cheek and she closed her eyes, feeling the warmth that he gave off and feather brushes of his hair against her skin. He pulled away from her lips, touching her forehead with another kiss.
“Good lass,” he praised and faded, leaving the impression of his hair against her skin even as he disappeared.
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InuYasha © Rumiko Takahashi.
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