So She Ran Faster

BY : Milady_Bellatrix_Black
Category: InuYasha > General
Dragon prints: 331
Disclaimer: I do not own the Inuyasha fandom by Rumiko Takahashi. I do not profit from this story in any way.

“That’s right, little girl. Run! Let’s see if you can make it—like a game. If you can reach the well, I will let you go home safe. Run, Kagome. Run, little rabbit.” The voice that made the threat sounded so composed, reasonable even. Of course. All she had to do was get to the well and all would be fine and she could go home. No problem. No one would ever know what had happened to her, but she would be safe.

Kagome shook her head as she bolted through the trees, ‘What a ridiculous thought!’ Kagome wasn’t safe! She knew that this would be it. The dead miko with the lethal aim would make sure of that, even if she made it to the well. The arrow wound in her back throbbed with lightning strike pulses every time she came down on her left foot and her vision began to get hazy from lack of oxygen but she had to run faster. Her skirt slapped on her thighs, soaked in blood, and it dripped down her leg with every jolt-but she had to keep going, she was so close. She still had to try.

But it was becoming harder. Harder to keep her breath, harder to move, harder to keep conscious. The intensity of the pain in her back emanated throughout her torso and became almost unbearable. And then another searing explosion—this time Kikyo struck the back of Kagome’s thigh with a glancing shot, enough to make her stumble and fall, the bow flying out of her hands. In seconds, Kikyo caught up, grabbed her by the throat and lifted her bodily from the ground with one hand.

There was no look of triumph on her face, no look of pleasure in the act. Instead Kikyo looked dead, inside and out. “Well, little rabbit. You lost. You tried so valiantly, I commend you. You have tremendous will and it has served you well, for a time.” Here Kikyo’s fingers squeezed Kagome’s throat tighter, making her gasp the last breath of air left in her lungs. “You always knew that in the end one of us would have to die. We can’t both be. I can’t be truly alive while you are here and that means I can’t let you exist where you are from either. Not if I am to defeat Naraku. You would still have what I need. I will use the jewel to purify him and then I will pass from this world and I will need all of my soul to do so.” Kikyo tilted her head to the side and looked deeply into Kagome’s eyes.

“Let me defeat Naraku and think of your sacrifice as a gift to us all. A gift to Inuyasha. I know you love him. Give him the gift he deserves so badly. And now, girl…you die.” Tiny lights were exploding behind the tears streaming from Kagome’s eyes and the lungs deep in her chest screamed with the need to inhale, but the iron-like grip of Kikyo’s slim fingers tightened on her windpipe. A veiled shade began to drop across Kagome’s vision, and she knew that Kikyo would be the last thing she was going to see. This woman and her pain and her anger—her…her…Kagome couldn’t think any longer, the darkness taking over. The last thought that flooded her brain became the image of his face, ‘I wish he knew I loved him. I never got to say it.’ A hissing sound resonated in her ears.

Suddenly, the grip released and Kagome fell to the ground on her face. Opening her mouth wide, she sucked in massive amounts of cool night air and the darkness began to recede from her sight. All strength had left her limbs and she lay prone on the forest floor, weak and helpless, hearing shouting and noises of anger and fear. Her throat hurt badly and the wound in her back still throbbed, the arrow lodged firmly in her flesh. From her place on the ground she began to regain the ability to process stimuli, the cold air hitting the blood all over her body making her shiver, the smell of the vegetation all around her, the sound of Inuyasha shouting her name. Her name

“KAGOME!”

Her name? He came for her! He came for…who did he come for? Kagome gathered enough strength to lift her head toward the heated argument. Her brain couldn’t process thoughts—she couldn’t think straight. Who had he come here seeking?

He had been yelling for some time, his claws drenched in the blood he ripped from his chest in a Sankon Tessō attack. Kagome noticed Kikyo’s bow tightly drawn and an arrow nocked, aiming at his heart. Her clothes looked torn from his attack and a twisted look of fury marred her normally beautiful face. “…SOME STUPID IDEA, KIKYO? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? Have you gone MAD? If you’ve hurt her, I SWEAR Kikyo—you,” Inuyasha’s legs were bent in a crouch and he seemed ready to spring into action.

The miko cut him off with a sharp laugh. “What, Inuyasha? What will you do? For this woman—this woman that you love? Will you fight me for her? I remember when you fought for me, is this the same to you? Are a hanyou’s thoughts so fickle that you forget this? That you came to me and caressed me, and called yourself mine? That you loved me? So what will you do for the woman that you love?”

Kikyo released the tension on the bow string, slightly, as she smiled cruelly at him, but truly her gaze bored into the eyes of her rival. Her words stung Kagome’s heart. They were wicked and cruel to the poor man, and Kikyo didn’t mean them, Kagome knew. She couldn’t mean them! Kagome knew that the only one the miko had ever loved stood before her, his claws dripping with blood he would shed for her again and again. Inuyasha would know, too. He would regret the things he did, go to her and profess his love to her. Embrace her. Kagome he could forget, Kikyo never. She prayed to die right there, so she wouldn’t have to hear or see anymore. Wouldn’t feel the pain in her heart that was oceans deeper than the pain in her side.

“You’re DAMN right that’s what I will do! I WILL fight for the woman I love. You are completely insane! The Kikyo I knew and cherished, wanted to turn human for and die with—she couldn’t have done this! Any bit of soul you had tucked in that body of yours must be gone if you are willing to take the life of an innocent, pure woman to fulfill your desires. You have lost your right to be human, even if we could have found a way to save you. All you have become is the clay and bone you’re made of.” Kagome couldn’t believe what she heard. Never did she think that he would…she sat up, painfully, and got to her knees, struggling to reach her bow and using it as an aid to help her stand. He…he chose her? Because he loved her? Her heart swelled and she could feel tears falling freely from her eyes. He loved her and was fighting for her in a battle that was sure to break him. But still he loved her!

“You want to defeat Naraku—you go ahead and try. But you do it on your own and without hurting the woman I love.” He flexed his claws, menacingly, “Do NOT come near her again! And when you fail to beat him, we WILL triumph over Naraku. Kagome and I, and all the people who care for her. Standing with her in battle—NOT against her. You and I…we are done here.” He turned to search out Kagome and in that instant she knew Kikyo meant to release her arrow.

Not registering the pain, Kagome blindly reached behind and tore the arrow from her body, ripping skin and muscle and showering the forest floor in blood. She fitted it, pulled it back, and screamed, “OSUWARI!” sending Inuyasha plummeting to the ground. The arrows, both emitting powerful spiritual energy, released at the same time and the singing of duel bowstrings hummed in the air. Kikyo’s halted in mid-air within inches of Kagome, seemingly stopped by a barrier. The arrow fell to the ground, bamboo splintering as though meeting stone.

Kagome’s, on the other hand, didn’t miss its mark. The wooden projectile lodged firmly in the chest of the shocked miko. Her face a mask of pure confusion as she looked down at the arrow protruding from her body and reached delicate fingers to touch the weapon, as if in disbelief. Then she stared up at Kagome, standing a distance away with a defiant look to her eye. Kikyo cocked her head to the side with the briefest hint of a smile as though finally accepting Kagome to be truly her equal. She started slowly towards the other miko, her robes rippling with each step she took, making her way to Kagome.

At her approach, Kagome noticed that Kikyo’s wound didn’t weep normal vital fluids nor did her hakui show any signs of blood. Instead, the indent made by the arrow seemed to be leaking powdery ash as she strode past Inuyasha, towards her reincarnation. What Kagome did see was that her very flesh, struck in pattern of fine webbed lines, scarred as though made of cracked fine porcelain. Standing in front of her rival…her past, Kagome suddenly felt the horror of what she had done send a shockwave through her, “Kikyo? Kikyo! Forgive me, please—PLEASE! I’m sor..”

Kikyo put her finger to Kagome’s lips and with the other hand, pulled hard on the arrow in her chest. It came free easily and a steady stream of ash and bone fragments began to pour from the open wound. She handed it to Kagome who stared at it for a moment before looking back up at the woman in front of her, tears in her eyes, whispering, “Can I take it back? Can I heal you?” The arrow pulsed with raw power, almost stinging her hand. Kikyo’s lips bent in a soft, sad and lonely, smile and Kagome noticed again what a beautiful woman stood before her.

“No. And even if you could, I wouldn’t allow it. Thank you, Kagome. I give this gift to you—this arrow will be the way you defeat Naraku. The purest thing I have—a sacrifice of my life for you to live. Aim courageously and aim true, Kagome. Only this sacred arrow together with the Tessaiga will allow you two to finally best him. I lied before…your power is strong. Stronger than you will ever know and strong enough to do the rest. I believe in you, little miko.” She bent and hugged Kagome, her flesh hard and unresisting. She whispered in Kagome’s ear, “Please. Love him for the both of us. I did…once. But this body, this soul can’t truly understand and I am tired. Thank you, Kagome. My blessing to you…” Kikyo pulled away and kissed Kagome’s forehead.

Kagome felt a swelling in her heart that fluttered throughout her body and knew that Kikyo’s touch began transferring the part of her soul residing in the body of the miko back to its owner. Kagome closed her eyes and gasped, feeling an intense warmth and power flooding through her and the tears poured down both her cheeks. Kikyo pulled away and smiled again, but that small motion started the process of her death. Her lips started to crack along the spider lines and in an instant, Kikyo’s whole body crumbled like unfired clay earth and the red and white cloth fell to the ground, spreading fine dust.

“NO!” Kagome cried out and fell to her knees, running her fingers through the clothes on the ground, trying to find a part of the woman who had disappeared into dust. “NO! NoNoNoNo!”

In an instant, Inuyasha flew to her side. “Kagome? Kagome! Stop!” He reached out and grabbed her frantically searching hands to still them, saying, more gently than she had ever heard his voice, “She’s gone. She’s gone and it’s okay. Stop.” She stared up at him, wild eyed.

“NO! It’s NOT okay! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry—Kikyo! I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry, Inuyasha.” Her crying turned desperate and the air seemed to go out of her lungs. She couldn’t think and she couldn’t let go of her iron grip on miko’s clothes. It was as though they were some sort of final spiritual tie to the dead woman. She needed it like she needed to breathe. Inuyasha pulled her forward and embraced her tightly, stroking her hair and lightly scratching her scalp with his clawed hand. Though it took some time, this action along with his gentle breathing, the closeness of his body, and his whispered shushes lulled her into a less panicked state. Slowly he pulled back from her to look her in the eyes, his hands dropping to her waist. Once there, his fingers registered the amount of blood seeping from her wound and he paled.

“Kagome? KAGOME!” She didn’t hear what came next as her world spun out of control and, the adrenaline receding, she fell forward onto his chest in shock.



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