Broken Dreams and Demon Nightmares
Prologue: How it all ended...
"Hell is empty and all the devils are here."
-William Shakespeare, ‘The Tempest'
A haunting howl could be heard throughout the forest. An agonizing howl that was full of pain, anguish, suffering... and something so completely primal that it sent a chill right down to the bone of every creature living and breathing. No one dared to utter a word about it; and no one dared to step into InuYasha's forest-- not man, demon or beast.
In the distance, perched on one of the branches of the God Tree, two lonely figures could be seen. The black haired beauty seemed to be sleeping peacefully, while the creature with flowing silver hair and blood red eyes cradled her close to him in a loving and tender embrace. Her pale face almost had an iridescent glow under the moonlight... she looked like an angel, a very beautiful angel. Softly, they swayed back and forth atop the highest branch.
Suddenly the creature shuddered and let out a chocked cry as he allowed the tears to flow once more. He held on to the beauty like a lifeline, burying his nose against her hair and letting the sweet lingering scent fill him and overwhelm him. The remnants of his heart breaking even more with each and every breath he took. Even in his current state, he could remember every single thing about her and that made it that much more painful for him. Somewhere deep down inside of him, his human spirit wept with the same force like that of his demon side.
He continued to howl as he had done for many days and kept on shedding tears for the loss. He cried for all the things that had been left unsaid and for all the years that they had spent together... He cried for all their fights and all their laughs...cried for all the tender moments they shared and for all the memories that filled his mind; the good and the bad.
His heart and soul knew no comfort. There was only grief.
The creature's mind was so completely lost to the world around him that only the darkness of his life's misery and the pain and sorrow he felt for his beloved filled his mind, heart, and soul. Only the tiniest bit of light seemed to remain and it refused to let go. However, that same light that had once burned bright and had been his reason for living was now slowly diminishing and decaying, becoming a black hole of nothing in his arms with the passing of time.
There was nothing else to offer the wretched world he lived in. Without her, there was nothing else for him anymore. The only thing that kept him from completely losing himself to the shadow of darkness within him was the girl that he cradled so delicately in his arms. Her sweet face being the only thing that kept him alive...a loving face of an angel and the memory of a smile that was brighter than the sun itself. A sweet face...and a name...
For many days he sat there with her... holding her, loving her, drinking her scent.
He sat there until he lost all sanity...
Sat there until there was no more of him left...
Sat there until there was nothing else to give...
Sat there until there was nothing left to live for...
Naraku had finally been defeated by his adversaries. In the end, everyone who was an enemy of Naraku was considered an ally.
The battle had been grand and demons, as well as humans alike, fought side by side to defeat the evil half demon. The Sacred Jewel of Four Souls had also been completed then and, in the end, the true power of the living jewel had been unleashed...a power so bright and pure that was too great for Naraku to fully control.
Once the jewel was complete, Naraku swallowed it whole and wrapped his evil aura around it, turning it black with his twisted hate, malice, and thirst for power. However, buried deep inside the jewel's core there was the tiniest bit of light that remained untouched and pure, as if Midoriko herself merely waited for the catalyst that would unleash the jewel's true power.
This thirst for total control of the jewel was Naraku's mistake and his ultimate undoing and it cost him everything.
In the end, the jeweled betrayed him as the light that waited within the jewel itself began to grow with Kagome's help. In the last hour, Kagome's powers, which had once been sealed by Magatsuhi, came back to life and with full force. Slowly, that tiny speck of light began to grow, consuming Naraku from the inside out until it weakened him. Naraku's evil wasn't vast enough to taint the jewel that slowly purified him from within. This gave Sesshomaru and InuYasha the opportunity to draw Bakusaiga and Tetsusaiga one last time and destroy him for good.
The blast of Bakusaiga kept Naraku from regenerating, but the blast that emanated from Tetsusaiga burned so bright that it illuminated the whole battle field for several seconds before dying out like a flame in the dark, leaving absolutely nothing but destruction in its wake.
Naraku was finally gone. And nothing- not even his dust remained.
However, the victory had been short lived, and as victories go, it was also bittersweet...
InuYasha lay on the battlefield semi-unconscious and badly injured. His body was a canvas of bruises and deep gashes that bled to no end. His body was also adorned with oozing angry burns that had just barely started the healing process. Slowly, he came to- his mind still a bit hazy from the battle. He managed to get up and look around. For a second, he couldn't remember where he was or what he had been doing, but slowly, the images of the battle began to seep their way back into his memory.
Somehow, at some point during the battle with Naraku he had transformed into a full demon. That he vaguely remembered. At first, this transformation had been just like every other, but somehow he was able to take control of his mind and soul. Soon after, he realized that he was no longer the mindless creature with a thirst for blood. He had in fact turned into a true demon, a similar transformation like the one he had once before when he used the jewel shards to break through a stone demon's belly to save his friends. He bore his father's markings on his face and body, his power had increased tenfold and his mind was sharper than it had ever been. He didn't know how it had happened or why, the only thing he knew was that it had, and that was enough for him.
Suddenly he felt a chilling pang at the pit of his stomach... ‘Where is Kagome?'
"Kagome!" he called out over the settling dust and morning fog.
His eyes scanned the surroundings frantically and he called out to her once more with urgency. "Kagome!!"
Reclaiming his composure, he allowed his senses to take over. Closing his eyes and letting his senses guide him, he tried to catch her scent through the thick air. The stench emanating from the battle field was enough to make him gag, but he steeled his resolve and took a few tentative sniffs. Slowly, his nose and ears began to pick apart all kinds of different things. Somewhere, he could smell Sango and Miroku along with Shippou and Kirara. They were safe; injured, but safe nonetheless. His keen hearing picked up their strong heartbeats and the sounds their bodies made when they shifted and moved around as they too tried to find one another.
Kouga and his pack brothers were still alive; Ginta lay somewhere unconscious in the battle field, with Hakkaku trying to sniff him out. They all had great injuries which would take some time to heal, but they seemed to be doing just fine otherwise.
Sesshomaru's scent still lingered along with the scent of his human ward, Rin and the annoying toad, Jaken. He knew his brother was injured, perhaps just as badly as he was. He could smell it, but he could also smell the girl's blood and there was a lot of it. ‘Too much, in fact.'
"Keh." ‘So the girl was badly injured too. That's why the bastard left in such a hurry,' he thought to himself quickly.
He continued to search the grounds, his own heart hanging on by a mere thread in his chest.
"Kagome!" he called out once more. After just seconds, he caught up with her scent and he let a very small wave of relief wash over him.
His body quickly began to react to his heart's excitement and his legs moved on their own taking him to where Kagome was.
From the corner of her eyes, Kagome could see him, just a flash of red and silver at first, then her eyes slowly began to focus until she could almost see InuYasha's figure completely. He was coming closer and closer towards her. For a moment she thought it was a dream, maybe she was still dreaming. In her heart, though, she knew that she wasn't.
She smiled weakly and tried to raise her hand, but her body wouldn't respond. She let out a small sigh through her nose and smiled once more. It was all finally over...wasn't it? They had finally won and the jewel was finally complete.
She felt a sudden sting of panic before she realized that she was holding the jewel in her hand. Somehow she had managed to hold on to it.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she suddenly felt the wave of pain that radiated throughout her body, leaving her completely paralyzed in shock more than the actual pain itself.
She closed her eyes for a moment and tried to control the sudden affliction. She didn't want him to see her this way- in so much pain. She wanted to be strong for him; she wanted to be everything she thought she should be- for him.
As he got closer to her, the scent of death mixed in with Kagome's own natural scent became stronger. At first, he tried to ignore it, tried to make excuses for it. He tried really hard not to believe what his nose was picking up from the girl that was just mere foot away from him. He tried to tell himself that he was wrong, that she was okay...that this wasn't really happening and that it was just some sick joke his own mind was playing on him. Maybe it was a bad dream- a nightmare. It had to be and he'd be waking up soon, right?
‘No... don't let it be true...'
Slowly, he dropped down in front of her, his eyes refusing to fully focus. Taking her hand in his, he hoped to feel the old familiar warmth. But there was none. She felt like ice. He looked down at her fingertips in fear of looking anywhere else and saw that they had turned slightly blue.
Gathering all the courage he could muster, he finally allowed his gaze to clear and really look at her for the first time since those last moments in battle. His heart suddenly felt as if though it would stop beating when his eyes finally came to rest upon her face.
"Kagome..." The words were softer than a kiss in the wind.
He had failed her. He had promised her that he would protect her, that he would keep her safe, and he had failed her. He felt the gut wrenching guilt rip through him. He loathed himself. How could he have failed her? How?
He thought he'd lost everything that mattered to him in that one moment. Thought that he would never get to hear her sweet voice or see her beautiful eyes filled with life again... He was breaking... all was lost. And it was his fault.
Then, she stirred.
For a brief second there was a glimmer of hope. For a brief second, life would go on and things would be okay. For a brief second...he allowed himself to be relieved and feel happy- truly happy.
She had been in so much pain, that she didn't notice InuYasha kneeling in front of her, with her hand in his. But the sound of his voice was able to break through her pain. "In- Inu...Yasha..." It was barely a whisper. Even with his perfect hearing, he almost missed it.
"Kagome..." he managed to say again, brushing away the stray hairs that clung rebelliously to her beautiful face.
She tried to smile for him through the pain. "Y- You're... okay," she said. "Is- is... e- everyone else... okay?"
He placed a clawed finger to her lips and genuinely smiled, his face the perfect picture of unconditional love and concern, "They're okay, Kagome. They're all okay. Your barrier worked and you saved them. They're all okay."
She let out a soft sigh and opened her eyes to look at him. "I'm- glad." She felt another wave of pain engulf her body, making her shudder and whimper in agony against her will. "Ug- uggh... uggh... Hmmp." She cried out unwillingly and swallowed hard. Eyes tightly shut, her face the perfect picture of pain and agony.
And then the pain subsided once more, leaving her body comfortably numb. "That- that was b- bad," she managed to say through gritted teeth, eyes still shut. "But it's...its better now."
"Shh... Shh... don't strain yourself. It'll be okay, Kagome... Just- just, hang in there. It'll be okay, alright?" InuYasha said through a chocked sob as he desperately tried to swallow that lump that had formed in his throat.
There were so many emotions running through him...too many for him to control. Just seeing her this way- it tore him apart inside. He had promised to keep her safe, promised to protect her, and he had failed her miserably; failed her more than he had ever failed anyone else in his life. Pain and sorrow weighed heavy on him, but heavier was the guilt he felt inside.
"My InuYasha," she said softly after a short pause; her eyes fluttered open and tears began to form on corners of her gray blue orbs.
The sound of her voice forced him to push his own feelings aside for the moment so that he could only focus on her. Only her.
"My best friend," she continued. "My beautiful half demon, my...my...one true love."
To InuYasha, it almost felt like a bomb the size of the world had gone off in his ears. His heart raced and was just about ready to explode, his mind trying hard to keep up with the pace. His mouth attempted to find the words to respond, but it failed.
She called him, her love. He was...her- her one true love.
She knew she was dying, she understood that now- she didn't have too much time left, and didn't want to leave with regrets.
So now here she was, at the end of her long journey, trying to find the courage to tell him what had always been in her heart. InuYasha was her everything. He had always been her one true love. Why did she always try to deny it or hide it before? She had always loved him. Deep down, she had always known, yet she never told him. Never really said exactly what was in her heart of hearts and she regretted that. Even after Kikyou was gone, she never really said a word about it in fear of what could happen if she ever did.
Maybe things would have been different if she had. Maybe he would have accepted her love either way, but now she would never know what could have been.
Now that things were going to end like this, what did she have to lose? ‘Nothing. I have nothing to lose.' "I- I'm sorry Inu...Yash..." she said closing her eyes and opening them again, tears falling against her will. "I always...wanted you to know...but I was- I was afraid that you wouldn't feel th- the same. Now I see- I see that...that I should have t-told you either way. I should- have- said it sooner. I should have..."
Finally, InuYasha let the tears he didn't know he was holding freely roll down his cheeks. Each one that landed on Kagome's pale face felt like hot rain on a summer day. How could he have been so blind? How could he have been so stupid? Why didn't he allowed himself to see what was right in front of him instead of chasing after ghosts or long forgotten dreams of a love that was never meant to be? Why had he hurt her so much? Why did he have to always be so stubborn? Why didn't he tell her what he truly felt inside? ‘Why? Why!? Why!' The word echoed in mind over and over again, resonating like thunder.
Kagome's pain returned once more with full force. Her whole body began to convulse making her cry out in agony as the pain made her body twist somewhat awkwardly.
InuYasha became distraught and felt helpless as he watched Kagome in so much pain- a pain that he could certainly feel as well as her. If he could, he would trade places with her in an instant. As he watched the love of his life suffer and slip away from him like sand through his hands, he prayed to any God that would listen to let him trade places with her and take his life so that she may live.
But as most prayers go, his prayers went unanswered.
"I'm not scared... InuYasha. I'm not scared... not scared..." she repeated over and over again. "I can't... I won't. I am...not scared anymore..." She sobbed trying to find her own courage after the pain had somewhat subsided.
Finally, her body stopped shaking and she let out a long sigh of relief. Gradually, she opened her eyes and focused on the troubled amber orbs that gazed back in anguish and a deep sadness that made her heart break. For what seemed like an eternity, they looked into each other's eyes, trying to find solace, trying to find a glimmer of hope. Trying to find something to hold on to, but everything was just too real. The pain was too real. Deep down inside, they knew what was to come.
"Will you kiss me?" she suddenly asked, breaking through the veil of silence that had fallen around them; a soft and sad smile adorning her pale face.
Without hesitation, InuYasha complied and kissed her tenderly, but passionately at the same time, as if trying to breathe life back into her. The kiss was everything and more than they had ever imagined it would be. There was a raging fire behind it. It completely consumed them until there was nothing left of them, but their souls- entwined.
InuYasha was the first to break away from the kiss to look upon her face. Then, almost absentmindedly he began to place soft butterfly kisses on her face as he cradled her possessively and more lovingly than he ever had before, as if trying to shield her from the world around them. Almost as if he was trying to steal her away from the clutches of death itself.
Kagome sighed softly, the warmth of the kiss still lingering on her soft, pale lips. "But I wonder..." she whispered softly, so softly that not even InuYasha could truly hear it. "Would... would you have loved me?" she asked, letting out a breath.
"Kagome," he finally managed to say as he ran his clawed fingers through her hair soothingly; his voice finally finding the courage that it had lacked before. "I... I loved you from the very moment I laid eyes on you." He paused as if trying to find the right words and looked into her eyes, those deep dark pools of emotion burning right through him. "No...that's not true..."
He closed his eyes and thought hard, real hard... and then a memory, something that had been locked somewhere in his mind for far too long began to take form. His eyes opened and he looked at her once more, almost in wonder. "I think I loved you even before that... You were in my dreams, Kagome. While I slept, pinned to the God Tree, I dreamed about you. I could hear your voice and sometimes see your smile. I knew you all your life, Kagome- and I fell in love with you then. I just didn't know it. And I was afraid, so I pushed you away. But now, now everything is so clear to me. You're everything to me... Always were. Please, Kagome. Don't say your goodbyes. Not like this... Not now! Please don't..."
He loved her. He truly loved her. Those three little words were all it took to make her happy...happier than she had ever been before in her life. Nothing mattered now that she heard what she had been waiting to hear for all these years. That gave her a peace of mind.
He desperately tried to hang on to her, to keep her here. He desperately tried to hold on. "I've always been so fucking stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I've been a fool!" he yelled, more to himself than anything else. "I failed you Kagome. I failed you." He cried to her. "Forgive me. Please...forgive me. Don't go. Don't leave me! I can't be without you. I- you... please, Kagome. Don't go. Not now, not ever!" He sobbed.
"There is... nothing to forgive. You've always been there f-for me. A-always..." she said tenderly, trying to comfort him.
"Kagome...I love you. Kagome, please don't leave me. Don't go. Stay with me. I am who I am because of you. I am a better person because of you. You changed me. You taught me everything. You're- you're the only one I ever really and truly loved. I was just too stupid to see it, to admit it to myself. To admit that you could love someone like me and now- please...don't- don't go."
Foolish. That's how he was acting, foolish. He knew it, but what else could he say? He knew they had no control over what was happening and yet he pleaded with her. Kagome's heartbeat just a bit faster and for a brief moment, as she heard his words, tears formed once again.
"I... I'm so sorry... InuYash...a." She sobbed, trying desperately to hang on just a bit longer.
"No. Kagome. Don't. Don't say you're sorry. This- this ain't your fault. It's mine. You hear me, wench! Just don't... don't." InuYasha all but wailed.
It was getting harder for Kagome to hang on. She could feel herself slipping away and InuYasha could feel it too.
"Please Kagome, you promised you'd always be here for me. You promised Kagome!! You said you'd stay with me! You can't leave me...you're mine. Please... Kagome, please, stay? Stay with me? Be with me. Be my love, be my wife... my mate for all eternity. Please Kagome... Stay... stay with me forever?" He pleaded with her. He knew he was being irrational, but she was so close to him and yet so far away. Soon, she was going to be gone forever. He couldn't imagine a life without Kagome in it. He simply couldn't. He didn't want to let go. He wasn't ready to. He wasn't gonna let go.
‘I'm never letting you go, Kagome. Never. Never. Never!' His stubborn mind yelled.
Kagome started to lose her vision, she couldn't see him anymore. There was only his voice. He was pleading with her, asking her to stay, to be with him, to be his wife...his mate. She smiled or, at least, she thought she did. The truth was she had always been his.
Even though they had never realized it themselves, they had always belonged to each other. They were more than soul mates. Each one was half of a soul that had somehow split apart from the moment it was created. Together, they were one. From the moment they found each other, on the day Kagome found InuYasha pinned to the God Tree, their souls had formed a bond with one another. They could feel the connection now, through their pain and their grief, they could feel the strength of the deep bond they both shared.
Funny how things made sense in the end.
"Yes," was her weak reply. ‘I'll stay...' "Always yours...Inu- Yasha... I've always...been yours... yours... forever... always," she said, her voice cracking and sounding more and more distant with each passing breath of air.
InuYasha held her close to him, cradling her limp body against his. He buried his face on the crook of her neck and kissed her softly between sobs. "Kagome...my Kagome..." he said between soft sobs and kisses.
Kagome could feel the heat that emanated from InuYasha's lips. It burned against her cool skin, warming up her soul to its core. She tried to say more, tried to stop time, but there was nothing she could do now but let nature take its course.
He continued to kiss her, to cradle her, to try and do anything that would breathe life back into her. His demon side pounded wildly against his soul, his human side mourned. Everything was happening so fast, he was losing her, losing her for good. Forever.
Yet, he refused to let her go.
‘She's mine! Mine!' The demon inside him growled. ‘I won't let you go!'
Finally he let out a piercing howl out of anger and agony, out of pain, and out of frustration. He then nuzzled against her neck, breathing her in. He kissed the curve of her neck once more, his eyes dangerously flashing between crimson red and melted gold. Then he began to lick and nip in between kisses and before he knew it, his sharp fangs had pierced her fragile skin, her sweet blood trickling out into mouth. Kagome felt the heat of his lips and his fangs upon her neck; so sweet, long lasting, nearly pulling her from oblivion. Almost instantly their souls began to merge together more deeply than before and she felt her aura stir and then lace itself against his without protest. She felt the way his soul and his aura wrapped themselves completely around her lovingly, protectively, making her warm all over.
The jewel in her hand began to glow suddenly; turning almost white and then it began to dissipate within her. No wish had been made and yet the jewel had acted of its own accord. Neither one seemed to notice or care.
Unexpectedly, her own powers began to flicker and then, as if driven by instinct alone, it vividly manifested itself in a pinkish, white light that emanated from her body, and surrounding InuYasha in its light. Kagome's own energy seemed to infuse itself into his very veins, into his demonic blood and aura and filled every part of his being right down to his soul.
How he was not purified by it would never be known. Maybe it was because their souls were one and the same, and had been for a long time. Maybe it was due to something else all together.
In turn, InuYasha's demonic blood and aura laced themselves with Kagome's own making her body even warmer than before. For one brief moment, everything was okay. They felt no pain. There was just their love and nothing else.
They held each other in this way for what seemed like an eternity. Until finally, Kagome's energy subsided and released its hold of InuYasha. He too, let go, not really comprehending what it was that they had just done.
He focused back on her and touched her cheek. His whole body tingled; he could feel her energy and essence surging through him. His eyes looking over her face lovingly and then lower to her neck. He noted how she now bore a mark, and felt his own burning against his skin... ‘Mating marks', and how their scent became one of a kind. How that had happened, he couldn't begin to explain. Kagome's scent was no longer her own and neither was his own. It was more like a mesh between the two. Neither one said anything for a moment as they tried to take everything in.
Finally InuYasha broke the silence by softly and soothingly whispering in her ear, "I love you Kagome." They belonged to each other now; he was hers and she was his. It was a bond much stronger than any demon or human could have ever formed. Of that he was sure.
But despite everything, Kagome was fighting a losing battle. Her body was too far gone to be brought back, even with the bond that they shared. She knew this and realized it long before InuYasha did.
She smiled weakly- wishing she'd be able to see her beloved one last time. "F- Forever...yours..." she managed to say. "Love you... InuYasha... there's only love..." She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. "T- tell everyone... that I- I love them, that I'll miss them. Tell them I wasn't...scared..." She breathed deep trying to fill her lungs. This was the end. She knew it was. "...love you...my...Yashs- a...my...love."
And slowly she exhaled one. last. time.
InuYasha blinked. Almost in disbelief. Something inside him began to break... Something he couldn't understand. He knew what his senses were telling him, but he refused to believe it, refused to accept that his Kagome, his love, his life...his mate, was dead.
"Kagome?" he asked tentatively. "Kagome?" But she didn't answer.
"Come on Kagome, don't go to sleep. Wake up. Kagome..." He couldn't hear the soft murmur of her heart anymore. Her chest wasn't rising. She was gone.
He began to shake his head violently, the tears in his eyes beginning to spill once more. His amber orbs flashed red again. His soul breaking, his demonic aura raging, his human side going mad with grief and guilt, his heart falling to pieces, his mind losing itself somewhere deep down inside of himself.
"No. No. No! No! No!! No!! NO!!" He growled his body shaking in pain and heartache for the loss. "Kagome! Wake up Kagome! Please. Kagome! Wake up! WAKE UP! Kagome! Kagome! Kagome!! KAAGOOMEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The demon in him snapped.
There was no right and no wrong anymore. No good or evil, there was no happiness anymore; there was nothing that mattered to him anymore but his Kagome. Only his Kagome.
The others watched from afar, they had been watching everything unfold since the beginning, their own grief and sorrow paralyzing them where they stood. They felt powerless, a piece of themselves breaking inside.
They had tears in their eyes, and fear in their hearts. InuYasha was beyond consolation, beyond control and beyond any rational thought. He was lost. Soon, he would be lost to the world completely. None of them would be able to bring him back. They could see it. They all could see it.
As the hours passed, InuYasha began to change...the demon inside of him slowly taking over.
Day turned into night and night soon turned to dawn.
After almost a day and a half of waiting, his friends slowly tried to get close to him, to offer some comfort. At one point, they tried to take Kagome's body away, explaining that all they wanted was to give her a proper burial and to lay her body to rest, but InuYasha had violently refused.
"Don't touch her! Don't you dare TOUCH her!!" He growled taking a swipe at them with his claws, his eyes flickering from a dark fiery amber to red and back to a deep sunset gold.
"I'll kill you! Hunt you down, kill you all if you dare take her away from me!! Do you fucking hear me?! I'LL KILL YOU!"
Wearily, they all backed away with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes. Their friend's misery was so great that it seemed as if he had gone insane with pain and grief. His suffering was palpable. He was completely lost to the world around him and there was nothing they could do to help him.
He held on to her. He wasn't letting go. He was never letting go.
Into the wind he howled...howled until the demon in him completely surfaced, howled until the sun began to set once more.
In his madness, he let his instincts guide him.
Before he even knew it, he was running through the woods, leaving everything that he was behind. His pack, his friends, his life, his humanity.
He ran without any specific direction with his beloved protectively cradled in his arms.
Soon, the scents of the forest became familiar, his own soul showing him the way where he needed to go.
To where it all began. The God Tree.
On this tree he now sits with what remains of his love as he waits.
But for what? Another life? Another time? He wasn't sure.
All he knew was that this- this was where it all began. This was the place where after fifty years of being trapped a death-like slumber he first saw the angel that had breathed life back into him and given him all of her unconditional love. She had been his salvation. Here, he felt truly loved.
This was home.
They were home.