OK, this is my first attempt at an Inu-Yasha fanfic - I've only read the first three graphic novels (though when I wrote this I'd only read the first two), so some thing may not be consistent with events that happen later in the manga.  Please don't forget to send me C&C!  ^_^  Ja mata ne!

Out of the Darkness
by Renee-chan

He drifted in nothingness.  A bleak, oppressive nothingness that bore down on him relentlessly.  Sometimes he fought it.  More often than not, he let it overwhelm him.  At first, he tried to keep track of time, fought to hold on to some sense of consciousness.  But eventually, even that became too much to hold on to and it, too, slid away.  After a time, there was nothing left but the memories...


The blue sky shown brightly overhead, the deep earth was cool underfoot.  He raised his head to the heavens, scenting the wind.  It was crisp, and smelled of new leaves - a beautiful spring day.  Even he had to admit that that was true.  An expression that might almost be called a smile crossed his features as he tossed back his cloud-white hair.  He felt giddy... almost happy, really.  He'd almost forgotten how that felt...

With one mightly leap, he propelled himself skyward, wrapping his hands around the thick branch of an old tree.  He'd always liked this tree.  It was so strong and solid - it gave him something to cling to in a world that was tossed daily by the winds of chaos.  Like her.  She, too, was strong and solid - like the tree.  But her spirit burned with an inner fire that warmed his shadowed soul.

He looked up at the sun, which was just now beginning to set, and smiled again.  She would come soon.  Always, at this time of the night, she came.  He settled down on the branch to await her arrival, dark pink robes flapping in the wind.

He didn't have to wait long.  Her scent assailed his sensitive nose at the same time as her mystic presence filled his mind.  There was no mistaking her.  She appeared at the other end of the clearing, holding her bow up high to prevent it from snagging on any low branches.  A full quiver of arrows hung on her back and he held back a hiss.  Those arrows...  He'd learned the hard way how strong her sacred arrows were.  A slow shudder ripped through him.  He'd have to ask her to leave them outside the clearing from now on.

Her temple robes were lightly wrinkled - but that was always the case when he saw her.  He smiled lightly, If she was strong enough to keep her robes from getting wrinkled while tromping through the forest, her power would be formidable indeed...  He let his eyes continue to move upwards, taking in the deep crimson and pure white of her robes and finally her face.  Her midnight black hair never ceased to fascinate him, though he could never understand why she chose to confine it as she did - such glorious beauty should be left unbound...  But what fascinated him most of all about this young priestess were her eyes.  Eyes of deep, stormy grey that could see through to a person's soul.  Sometimes he wondered what those eyes saw when they looked on him...

As if she heard his thoughts - which might well have been the case - her face turned upwards, her eyes searching through the foliage to find his.  With one graceful leap, he landed beside her, a playful smile on his face.  Her own face lit up in response, and he could feel his heart warm as her gentle voice rolled off her tongue, "Inu-Yasha!"

He wrinkled his nose in a grin - he never tired of hearing her say his name.  It was almost as if, because it was her voice speaking it, his name became something more.  Something almost pure... and good.  At first, he'd hated it.  Hated the weakness such an image of goodness brought to mind.  But now... now he found he didn't mind quite so much.  From her, such goodness never seemed weak - it seemed strong.  Stronger than any evil he'd ever encountered.  He bowed his head slightly in response, "Kikyo."

She laughed and reached forward to hug him.  He couldn't help it - he winced.  A frown crossed her features, "What's wrong?"

A pained look crossed his face as he backed up a pace, "The arrows..."

She blushed.  He almost laughed at the embarrassed look on her face.  It wasn't often he could catch her in a mistake like that.  She removed the quiver and placed it and the bow outside of his clearing, hidden by a boulder.  When she came back she held open her arms to him. He sank into them happily, lightly nuzzling her neck.  She grinned as she stroked his back, "Better?"

He nodded once before pulling back to look down into her eyes, "Much.  Thank you."  She moved off to the side, sitting down on a nearby rock and beckoning him to join her.  He did, amazed at how easy it was to do.  When he'd first known her, he couldn't even bear to come out of the tree if she was in the clearing.  They leaned lightly against each other, shoulders touching.  He smiled, eyes warming.  He wasn't even sure how this had started...  In truth, he didn't even know what "this" was.  All he knew was that he enjoyed Kikyo's company.  Being close to her made him feel a joy that he hadn't felt in a long time.  He wished she didn't always have to leave...

She frowned slightly, shifting uncomfortably.  He looked sharply down at her, then snorted, "It's not polite to eavesdrop."

She hung her head, sighing heavily, "I know...  I couldn't help it.  Inu-Yasha, you know why I can't stay here with you all the time."

"Because you have to watch over your sister," he mumbled.  "When will she be old enough to care for herself?"

She fidgeted, finally getting up and pacing, "It's not that simple.  There...  There are other complications - reasons why I can't
stay.  I do wish that I could..."

He stood up and wrapped his arms around her.  She rested against his chest, tucking her head under his chin.  He kissed her raven locks and pulled her closer, content for now to take what he could get.  But Kikyo was keeping something from him - and he was damn well going to find out what.


In the drifting nothingness, he shuddered, trembling.  Why hadn't he been content to leave well enough alone?  For the first time in years, he'd been well and truly happy.  Why had he fought it?  Why push for something he hadn't really needed?  In the end, it hadn't been worth it.  He knew that now.  How well he knew it... The price he'd had to pay hadn't been worth the potential treasure.  He just wished he'd known it at the time...

        

His heartbeat sped up as he raced through the trees, canine ears swiveling to catch any sound of pursuit.  At last...  At last, what he'd sought for so long was about to fall into his grasp.  After years of searching, he'd finally found it.  The Shikon no Tama would be his!  Ever since he'd been a child, he'd been caught on the cusp of two worlds - the demon world and the mortal world.  He'd cursed his dual heritage from day one - and so had many others.  The other demons, often goaded by his own
brother, rejected him from their ranks as being too much of a weakling - too human.  The humans feared and hated him because he was too much of a demon.  No matter what side of the line he walked, there was no one to accept him.  No one except Kikyo...  He pushed the thought aside.

During his travels, he'd sought a way to be accepted.  He wanted nothing to do with mortals - there was enough demon in him that the weakness of his human counterparts disgusted him.  No - what he wanted was to be a full-blooded demon, worthy of his father's heritage.  His father... the demon-dog who had ruled the western territory.  He wanted to be a demon his father would have been proud of, a demon his cursed brother could respect.  And that had led him to the Shikon no Tama.

Legend had it that the Shikon no Tama would make a demon invincible.  Surely it could make him into what he so desperately craved to be.  It had become an obsession very quickly.  He hunted for traces of the jewel day and night for years.  His search had finally led him to this area.  Rumor had it that the Shikon no Tama was protected by a clan of humans that lived nearby.  No matter.  No human had ever been a match for him.

But then... before he could retrieve it - he'd met Kikyo.  And for a time, he'd actually forgotten why he'd been seeking the jewel in the first place!  He'd been happy just to be with Kikyo.  He snorted.  What a fool he'd been.  Kikyo was nice enough, but she was human.  Mortal.  He wouldn't fall into the same trap that had brought about his father's destruction.  Not when he was so damned close.  Besides - who said he couldn't have Kikyo and the jewel, too?

He smiled and pushed himself faster as the scent of humans started to waft against his nose.  Here we are...  He burst into the village, claws bared, fangs sharp, and eyes flaring.  Humans scattered left and right, shrieking and screaming.  That's right... run from the monster.  Pathetic.  He tore apart the village with single-minded intensity, desperate to home in on the Shikon no Tama.

And he found it.  With a howl of triumph, he grabbed the jewel and raced back towards the forest - to his tree.  As he ran, he felt a moment's hesitation.  Had it been his imagination?  He thought he'd seen a girl with Kikyo's midnight-long hair and grey eyes...  Eyes that had been filled with quiet pain as she'd whispered his name...  He'd caught the whisper on the breeze as he fled...  ~Inu-Yasha... What have you done?~


When he reached the tree, he held up the Shikon no Tama, a fierce grin crossing his face.  See, Father?  I haven't let you down.  I'm not weak, I'm not a coward.  I'm worthy of you...  Then, before he could activate the jewel, he was pushed back and pinned against the tree.

Each movement was agony.  Pain flared in waves from the sacred arrow embedded in his chest.  He dropped the jewel and clutched at the arrow, whimpering even more as it burned the flesh of his palms.  Darkness began to descend over him.  He jerked his head up, desperately fighting the eternal sleep spell.  He saw... No!  His voice rang across the clearing, anguished with disbelief, "Ki- Kikyo??"

How could this be??  Kikyo lived alone in the forest with her little sister, Kaede!  She'd told him!  His eyes filled with pain, "You...  You lied to me..."  It had been her all along.  The priestess.  The woman with mystical power fit to rival any demon.  The protector of the Shikon no Tama.  All along, it had been Kikyo.  She'd been toying with him the whole time.  Only befriending him to keep him from finding the jewel.  A thousand crushed hopes cascaded through his soul, drowning his heart in
despair.  He should have known...

A single tear leaked down his cheek as Kikyo advanced on him, stormy grey eyes burning with anger.  Her normally gentle voice was harsh, choked by her lifeblood.  She held up the jewel, her eyes boring into his, "For this...  For the Shikon no Tama you would destroy my village.  How dare you...  You're no different from any of the others.  You deserve your fate, Inu-Yasha."  With those last words, she clenched the jewel tight in her fist, spun on her heel, and strode off to the village.

He was too far gone to care.  The only woman he'd ever loved - the only friend he'd ever had - had betrayed him in the worst way.  And she'd taken with her his one chance at salvation.  He would have his revenge...  The darkness stole over him, enfolding his soul with its ebony wings.  Revenge...
      


In the darkness, a demon wept.  Wept for what he'd had, wept for what he'd lost.  And in the darkness, a demon prayed for the chance to make it right.


Far away, high in the heavens, a bright soul heard his prayer, and granted it.


In the future, a wail resounded, and the stars sang in response.  A young mother smiled with happiness as her body finally relaxed and she held her baby girl in her arms, "My angel...  My bright one...  Welcome to the world, little Kagome..."


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