Broken Dreams and Demon Nightmares
Chapter 1: How it all began...
"We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell."
-Oscar Wilde, `The Duchess of Padua'
There was a chill in the air, a cold, bone-chilling breeze that slowly spread through the land like a plague. To anyone familiar with these parts, the change in weather was obvious. Winter was fast approaching, bringing with it an ominous fog that had settled over the forest like a smoky veil promising death to any who dared to disturb it.
"Hiraikotsu!" a female voice boomed as a flash swooped by, cutting through the dense mist. The giant boomerang plowed through the woods, the swooshing sound of the weapon reverberating through the empty forest as it destroyed everything in its wake before returning to its master.
"Sango, behind you!"
From the corner of her eyes, the demon slayer noticed a flash of red and silver cut through the fog like a hot sword through wax...and it was heading straight for her. Time seemed to stand still for a moment and, before she was able to asses her next move, a massive cat demon jumped in front of her line of vision with a fierce roar, putting itself between its master and the raging beast that was fast approaching.
"Fox fire!" Echoed through the thick mist, just as bluish flames sprouted out of nowhere, effectively diverting the demon's trajectory from the surprised slayer's path.
Without a moment to spare, the bewildered slayer managed to jump atop the massive cat demon, her friend and companion, and flew off to safety.
Unfortunately, the angry monster turned its attention to the small fox demon that had, up until this moment, been hiding behind a rather large bush. The monster sneered. He could smell the unadulterated fear on this one. It thrilled him to the point of almost tasting the fox demon's blood in his mouth. Licking his deadly fangs with his tongue like a hungry rabid dog, he gave chase. Soon, it caught up with the slower fox demon-child, the thrill of the kill making the beast smirk and snap his powerful jaws hungrily with anticipation. Taking his chance, the beast leaped in the air and took a swipe at the fox with his long, lethal talons, nearly ripping the youngling's tail off, but the little pest managed to narrowly escape his grasp. He snarled in annoyance...
And just as he was about to leap once more, his own momentum was cut short by the long staff that hit him from behind.
Getting up slowly he growled deep and dangerously at his new attacker, his eyes covered by a curtain of silver bangs. Slowly, he looked up; his blood-red eyes filled with hatred and an insatiable thirst for blood- any blood. If looks could kill, the monk standing in front of him would have been dead ten times over by now.
The vicious growl almost turned into a macabre sort of laughter as he smelled the fear on the filthy human too. He liked that, but there was also something else mixed in with it...
It didn't matter.
Blood was blood and he wanted the blood. He needed it.
Flexing his claws, he gave chase again.
"Miroku!" Sango cried from her spot in the sky as she and Kirara followed right behind them.
"We're not gonna make it, Miroku!" the young fox shouted, suddenly running next to the monk as he appeared almost out of nowhere.
"Just keep running!"
They didn't know what else to do. Everything had been so unexpected and yet, they had seen it coming from a mile away. Why didn't they prepare for it when they had a chance?
They knew why, though... Somehow, they had clung to the notion that their friend would not lose himself to his own madness. They had lied to themselves when they thought that he would pull through this like he had when he had lost his first love...
However, this wasn't then.
Things weren't the same.
This time around, they were hurting too; he hadn't been the only one in pain.
Each and every one of them had lost something on that fateful day as well.
A friend... a sister... a mother...
Now, here they were, battling against a trusted friend... a brother... a father...
The pain that they had all felt on that unfortunate day had made it so difficult to see things clearly for what they were.
How did it come to this?
One day they were trying to move on with their lives, trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, and the next they were frantically trying to lure the vicious beast away from the village they had come to call home- desperately trying to spare the lives of more innocent people.
Things weren't supposed to be this way. This was not how they thought the fairy tale would end.
How did things get so bad?
Why did winning the final battle feel like they had lost the whole war?
Why did trusted friends become mortal enemies?
Why did fate have to be so cruel and heartless?
(Three days earlier)
The soft evening breeze carried the scent of death throughout InuYasha's forest. The scent wrapped itself around every rock and every tree- right down to the roots of every living thing with the exception of one... the God Tree.
Its scent was soft and...soothing, just as it had always been.
Atop its branches, the mourning dog demon still held onto his lost love. Its resolve focused simply on staying with the lovely corpse it held in its arms. His eyes were closed as he waited for death itself, so that he and his eternal love could once again be reunited in the afterlife.
Patiently, he awaited his death. Embracing his fate and allowing himself to die slowly.
Nothing in this world mattered anymore. There was nothing left here. Nothing. There was just no point in living if his beloved was not there with him. He had already lost himself in his own madness and despair long ago. And there was no turning back from that. Not now. He was simply an empty shell waiting to be swallowed whole by mother earth itself.
As he waited for his own death, something unexpected began to happen...something he could not understand.
Deep within him, he began to feel a pull. The faint feeling began to grow and grow, until it almost suffocated him.
Opening his eyes to the world for the first time in days, he looked down at the girl he held onto so delicately, just as something strange began to take place. There was a soft glow that began to form all around her pale form, surrounding her in a warm light.
He blinked as he tried to understand what was happening. Right before his eyes, his mate, his love...his very life line began to disappear into thin air. He wrapped his arms tighter around her, but her body simply began to dissipate, leaving a feeling of emptiness and loneliness in its wake. Just like that, she was no more. It was as if though she had never really existed.
Clinging onto empty air, he tilted his head again and blinked.
With one last shimmering spark she was gone and out of his life again. He felt the void in his soul, a void so vast that he felt like he was drowning. She was gone, truly gone. There was nothing left, nothing at all. There was nothing left to hold onto.
The feeling that slowly crept inside of him threatened to spill and overflow. He felt as if though a part of him had been forcefully ripped away and shredded into a billion tiny pieces that were scattered away by the cold winter breeze.
His whole body began to shake suddenly and his eyes held a rage that promised murder to everything in sight. A low growl began to grow deep within him until it couldn't be contained within his chest any longer.
"N-n-nn-n-n-n-n-n-n-noooooo! No! No! No! Noooooo!"
InuYasha's body trembled under his uncontrolled rage. He could feel the anger, the hate and the loneliness as it slowly swallowed him whole. He could also feel a thirst building up inside of him, breathing new life in him. He had lost everything and there was nothing to hold onto anymore. The pain he felt was unbearable, it was all too much to control.
He clenched his fists in a fit of rage until blood began to ooze from his palms, his long claws deliciously digging deep into the skin. With one leap he landed on the cold, muddy ground and began to run, his claws wreaking havoc to anything that crossed his path.
He wanted death; he could taste it as it hovered around him- so close, yet so far away. He clawed at anything that stood in his way as he ran through the forest, down to the river. Blood dripping from his battered hands, forearms and face, but he wanted more.
He wanted the blood, his blood.
He wanted life to end.
Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the river's edge and he became enraged. Why was he still here? Why couldn't he just die...why couldn't he be with her like he wanted to be?
Crying and snarling, he began to claw and slash at himself maniacally; trying to find solace in the pain, but it brought none. Deep gashes covered his face and chest, but it wasn't enough. He couldn't numb the pain. His wounds were healing too fast and the smell of his own blood maddened him even more, bringing him into a crazed frenzy.
He wanted more. More blood to ease the pain.
He wanted death. If not his own, then he wanted the death of everything around him.
Everything would pay.
Life would pay for taking everything from him.
For taking her away...
The world would be his hell; he would make sure of it.
(Three days later)
They were still not far away from the village, not that it mattered much how much distance they put between themselves and their home when InuYasha could easily make his way back at any time, if he really wanted to. However, the purpose here was not to try and kill the beast, but simply to get him to focus on something other than their village. That would give the old priestess enough time to erect a barrier around it that would keep InuYasha out- for a time.
It could kill the old woman, but it was a risk they were all willing to take. Also, they couldn't give up on their friend- not yet. Not until they had exhausted all their options.
"Come on Kirara! Hurry, we have to get close enough for me to throw Hiraikotsu again."
Kirara simply roared in acknowledgement and increased her speed.
Gripping the giant boomerang tighter, Sango braced herself as Kirara made her decent. "Miroku! Shippou! Now!" Sango yelled.
Afraid as he was, Shippou managed to muster all the courage he could and used his Bunshin to multiply himself and distract the rabid dog demon. In just seconds, the young fox had turned into fifty, but as great as that trick was, they all knew that his fox magic would only serve as a temporary distraction.
Quickly, Miroku seized the opportunity and attacked as well. "Please let this work," he prayed to any deity that would listen. Pulling out four spell scrolls, he tossed them in the dog demon's direction, momentarily immobilizing him. "I'm sorry InuYasha..." he whispered to his friend, brother even, if really thought about it, now-turned enemy, before shouting, "Now Sango!"
"D-do you think he'll be okay?" a scared Shippou asked. He had lost a family again the day they defeated Naraku. He had lost both a mother and a father again. It hurt, it hurt much more than he cared to admit.
"He'll be fine Shippou," Sango replied with a small, sad smile. "I only hit him with enough force to knock him unconscious. He won't be waking up anytime soon, but he'll be out for a while."
The young fox demon was skeptical and he sadly looked at the unconscious dog demon.
"That should hold him for some time," said Miroku as he placed the last spell scroll on InuYasha.
"You really think so?" asked Sango.
He looked thoughtful for a moment, maybe unsure of himself even. Would the scrolls hold InuYasha for long? "I- don't know."
A low growl caught their attention and all three companions turned to look at the bound dog demon a few feet away.
"Stupid humans," InuYasha said in low menacing voice that sounded nothing like they had heard before. It was more like a growl than anything else. "You can't stop me." His blood-red eyes shimmered in the night light.
His aura began to flicker and an evil grin spread across his lips. "You. Will. All. Die!"
Completely surprised, their eyes went wide in astonishment.
That was the only thought they could form at the moment. Miroku staggered backwards, while Shippou clung to Sango for all he was worth. The spell scrolls should have immobilized him for an at least an hour. Yet...he was moving, getting up slowly.
He lunged at them, his claws ready to rip their throats out. Kirara jumped in between them blocking InuYasha from them. She roared as his claws dug deep into her shoulder, but didn't stop her attack on the dog demon.
Thinking quickly, Miroku pulled out three spell scrolls and tossed them in InuYasha's direction. This time, he was frozen in place for a few seconds before the scrolls began to smoke against his skin. "Your tricks won't work anymore, filthy human." He spat in disgust.
He grabbed the scrolls with his clawed hand and all three watched as he ripped them to pieces with his claws before tossing them aside.
"It can't be," a stunned Miroku muttered.
Noticing an opening, Sango threw Hiraikotsu again, giving them an opportunity for escape.
InuYasha jumped back as he tried to avert the blow of Sango's giant boomerang and allowing Kirara to gather the trio as she quickly took to the skies, where InuYasha couldn't harm them.
"H-he's too strong for us, Miroku," Sango said, visibly shaken by what had happened.
Shippou trembled in fear as he held onto Kirara for dear life. 'W-what's gonna h-happen now?' he thought.
Miroku just looked down at InuYasha. The dog demon simply looked up at them as they flew away to safety, his eyes cold and empty of any emotion, not even the rage and hate he had shown them before. It was a disturbing sight.
"We need to go back to the village and warn Kaede. I'm pretty sure he's going back there. We'll need to be prepared. We need to help her keep the barrier in place."
"But it's InuYasha!" Shippou yelled suddenly. He couldn't hold back the tears anymore. "He wouldn't- he couldn't- he..."
"He is not the InuYasha we knew anymore," Miroku said softly. "The InuYasha we knew died in that battlefield."
"But- but... there must be away..." The young fox demon tried.
"Yeah Miroku, there must be away to change him back."
"I don't know Sango. I just don't know."