Inuyasha groaned. His body felt like it had been ripped apart and sewn back together. Slowly opening his eyes he found the energy to turn his head to the side. He saw Kagome leaning against the wall closest to him. Her eyes closed and her breathing heavy. Her raven locks were matted and in complete disarray, her skin was paler than normal extenuating the bags beneath her eyes.
She looked like hell. He tried to sit up and yelped at the throbbing pain coming from his abdomen. Yanking off the dirty sheet draped over him he saw the numerous white bandages that wrapped around his skin. Taking in his surroundings Inuyasha found himself in cramped room, the only light coming from lantern by Kagome’s feet.
Kagome stirred in her sleep, lazily opening her cocoa eyes.
"Inuyasha?" Remembering the events of the last few hours, she rushed to his side checking his injuries and making sure he wasn't in too much pain.
"Kagome stop it, I'm fine." He said not liking all the attention.
"I'm so sorry." She whispered holding her head down in shame. It was all her fault Inuyasha was hurt. She’d almost killed him. A tear rolled down her face when she thought about how long it’d taken her to get the bleeding to stop, how when he finally fell asleep she stayed up watching his chest rise and fall, praying to any God that would listen to keep him breathing. More tears trailed down her cheeks. What if she had lost him? She never been able to forgive herself.
Inuyasha looked horrified. He absolutely hated anyones tears, especially female tears.
"Kagome? Kagome, what's wrong?"
"You almost died today and it would have been all my fault." She placed her head in her hands and sobbed loudly.
"You can’t blame yourself, Naraku had you under a spell! You had no control." Inuyasha said trying to reason with her.
"You don’t understand. I could see everything! I could hear everything and I couldn't do anything about it! I tried so hard to break free, I really, really did!" she whimpered. Unable to rise Inuyasha gave a small tug on her wrist, coaxing the distraught girl to come closer. Kagome let herself be guided by Inuyasha’s gentle yet firm touch and soon found herself stretched out next to him, curling into his side as his arms wrapped around her and his presence brought her comfort.
She sobbed into his shoulder until her eyes burned and her throat was raw. The relaxing circles Inuyasha rubbed into her back aiding in the cessation of her tears.
"Why didn’t you run?" Kagome said breaking silence they had fallen into.
"I wasn't gonna leave you behind. You obviously have more control than you thought because I'm here with you and not dead." He said gently.
"You should have left me." she said " You should have ran away the first time I told you to in the secret garden and never looked back."
"I can't." he said simply.
"Yes you can. You're putting your life in danger just by being around me! I'm not more important than your life." She said trying pull out of his embrace, but he wouldn't let her go.
"That’s where you’re wrong.” Inuyasha said seriously, titling Kagome’s chin so she was looking at him. ”You're my something to protect." Inuyasha had finally figured it out. Why he was so taken with this girl the first time he met her, why they had similar nightmares, why he felt the overwhelming need to keep her safe from anything that could bring her harm.
Just like his mother had been precious to his father, Kagome was precious to him.
He loved her.
"I don't understand?" Kagome said.
"Kagome my father died protecting my mother and me because she wasn't born into royalty." Inuyasha ignored her gasp of surprise and continued. "The night I was born an attack was launched on my castle because everyone felt my father had 'tainted' the family name. He died protecting my mother and me because we were important to him and you…" Inuyasha hesitated. He wanted to say it, but the words were harder to speak than he thought they would be.
"Inuyasha?" Kagome asked concerned. His face was burning up and sweat was starting to form along his hairline. She hoped that his weakened state had given him a fever.
"You're important to me too." He finished bravely. He averted his gaze, embarrassed by his confession. When he finally found the courage to look back he was met with Kagome’s surprise expression, and the sting hurt worse than the hole in his gut. Even after everything they’d been through, it was foolish of him to assume she’d feel the same.
"Look just forget everything I said-" he began trying to lessen the blow, but her quiet voice cut him off.
"You're important to me too Inuyasha." A hot blush stained her pale cheeks. Their eyes locked and she gave him a nervous smile His arms came around her again, pulling her small body close.
Laid on her side still Kagome stared into Inuyasha’s eyes and violet clashed with brown. Sitting up on her elbow slowly she began to lean in. Inpatient to feel softness of her lips Inuyasha’s fingers took refugee in her raven hair, bringing her head down to meet him.
When their lips met Kagome swore she saw stars. His mouth was soft against hers. This was her first kiss and little did she know it was Inuyasha's too. It was a little clumsy but it was the best kiss the both of them had ever had.
"I just love the color red, don’t you Kanna? It reminds me of blood." Naraku said smirking evilly. How did things get so perfect?
Kikyou was dead.
And Inuyasha was next in line. Impersonating a guard had been simple enough and once he’d informed the lord and lady of the Takahashi Clan's betrayal things went downhill fast.
Looking into Kanna’s the mirror he watched with delight as soldiers ripped each other apart and the world burned. There was so much destruction, so much misery.
It was truly a beautiful sight.
"The prince is not dead." Kanna's willowy voice stated.
"Of course I know. I knew the minute the wench had broken through my spell, even so it doesn't matter. Inuyasha cannot fight properly this badly injured. Having the love of his life slaughter him was an entertaining idea, but as the saying goes, if you want something done right you have to do it yourself."
"Kagura!" A young woman entered the room upon her master’s call. Her wavy locks were held on top of her head by two white feathers, her intricate held closed tightly and cinching her waist, a fan held delicately in her hand. Her ruby eyes were cold and she wore a ruby smirk to match.
"You wanted something?" she droned in a bored tone.
"I have an important task for you Kagura, don’t fuck it up."
"And what is it you should have me do?"
"Kill Inuyasha and Kagome's friends."
“You call that an important task? Just sounds like your dirty work to me." She was absolutely bored with his entire plan. Who would go through so much trouble just to have one human girl and a human kingdom?
Kagura was a demon, one born of the wind. She had better things to do than be involved in silly human squabbles.
But Naraku sure did pay handsomely for her assistance. So assist she shall.
"Enough of your back talk! Do you know who I am? I could take away everything you hold dear!" he sneared.
"I care for nothing."
"Except for your freedom." Kagura paled. There was something about this man…he was not be to taken lightly. He looked human enough, but his soul was as dark and corrupted as a demon's. Maybe it would be wise for her to hold her tongue more often.
"You are to slay Inuyasha and Kagome's friends. They are a nuisance and if they get to Inuyasha and Kagome before I do it will be an inconvenience to me, and I can't have that."
"Pft whatever. Kanna show me the humans." The mirror shimmered and showed Sango and Miroku running through the castle hallways.
"Kill them as quick as possible." Naraku warned
"What a pain." Kagura turned and walked out the small room heading to intercept the humans and get this stupid task over with.
"Inuyasha how are you feeling?" Kagome asked. They needed to get moving. They needed to find Miroku and Sango to make sure they were okay. Hearing the commotion outside only further confirmed their suspicions of something being terribly wrong in the castle.
"Much better." he said sitting up. He gave a small grunt of pain but after some herbal tea Kagome had made him the pain was steadily numbing to a dull throb.
"Good. We need to get a move on. Something's going on outside and we need to find Miroku and Sango."
"Right." Inuyasha reached for the upper portion of his kimono, quickly putting on his undershirt followed by his haori.
Kagome packed the bandages, nettle, and thread she had found when they first stumbled upon the small room. She also packed more of the herbs she had snuck off to get to help with Inuyasha's pain.
"Are you ready?" Though she put on a brave front Kagome was scared. They would soon be leaving the comfort of this small room and stepping out into the real world. The unknown was the only thing waiting for them beyond these walls and Kagome wasn’t sure she was ready to take that plunge.
She was brought from her thoughts when Inuyasha slipped his hand in hers.
"It's gonna be fine Kagome. I promise, I’ll protect you with my life." His eyes shined with the upmost confidence and the conviction in his words calmed her racing heart.
Though she trusted Inuyasha meant what he said, it would be foolish of her to be so naïve. Blood would be shed and lives would be lost before this ordeal was over. Tears blurred her vision at the thought that this could be the last time she saw Inuyasha alive.
How had she'd grown to love him so much in such little time? Why was it when things were finally going right for her, everything began crumbling beneath her feet?
Giving Inuyasha's hand a reassuring squeeze she leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. She poured all her love and fear into that kiss. Even if she never got the chance to tell him again this kiss would show him just how much she loved him.
When she pulled away he smiled at her and gave her hand a small squeeze in return.
"Let's go." he said.
Inuyasha and Kagome stepped out of the peace of the tiny room and into a world of chaos.
"Sango where should we go next?" Miroku asked out of breath. Since Hamako had come to inform Sango of Princess Kikyou's death and Inuyasha's impending arrest they had been searching nonstop.
They had searched the north, east, and south ends of the castle and they still were nowhere to be found. That only left the west end uncovered.
If they weren't there then…well she didn’t really know.
"The west part of the castle is the only place left to look. We have to get to them Miroku." Sango said worry laced through her voice.
"Ah but you see I can't really let that happen." Both Sango and Miroku came to an abrupt halt, as a woman they had never seen before blocked their path.
"Who are you?" Sango spoke up.
"It's Kagura, but don’t feel any pressure to remember it. You’ll be dead soon anyway."
"What do you want from us?" Miroku asked stepping in front of Sango to shield her from Kagura's crimson gaze.
"Didn't you just hear me tell you I was gonna kill you?" She said with a roll of her eyes.
"Why? Who sent you?" Miroku continued to question her.
She slowly let out a deep breath. Humans, they were so inquisitive, just another one of the many reasons Kagura found them irritating.
"Apparently you lot are a liability and I’ve been sent to tie up some loose ends, aka kill you. Now say goodbye." Kagura lifted her and fan gracefully flicked it open.
"Dance of the Dragon!"