Inu-Yasha manga fanfiction
by Gary Kleppe

The characters of Inu-Yasha are the creation of and rightful property of Rumiko Takahashi. They are used here without permission. This story may be freely redistributed, but it should not be altered substantially or used for profit in any way.

SPOILER WARNING: For those who haven't read past volume 6 or so (or who have only seen the anime) there will be some important spoilers in this story. If you've read what Viz comics has published so far, you're safe. Please note that while this story depicts an ending of sorts for the Inu-Yasha series, this ending is my of own creation and not a spoiler; as of this writing, IY is still being created, and I don't know how it will really end any more than you do. :)


"Here's a question for you," she said. "Where do the shadows go when you switch on the light?"


I paused for a moment trying to think of the best way to respond to her. I didn't really feel like wasting my time with silly riddles, but a madwoman had to be humored. If she was going to open up to me and tell me what I needed to know, I had to play her games. Otherwise, at best she wouldn't tell me anything. At worst, well... I knew what she'd done that had gotten her locked up in this place.

"Well... they disappear, I suppose. They're gone. They don't go anywhere."

A sly smile crept across her face as her answer sounded through the telephone receiver in my ear. "Ah, yes. I used to think so too." I could see her lips mouth the words, but not hear her directly through the thick glass wall that separated us; the effect was odd, like a poorly-edited movie.

"No?" I raised an eyebrow, trying to seem genuinely curious.

She shook her head. "The shadows are still there. It's just that you can't see them."

"I... see," I said, feeling more and more frustrated by the second. So close, but yet so far. I could practically see the book in my mind. The Kagome Higurashi story. My ticket to fame and fortune. Her arrest had been the lead story on the television news for three straight months. People were demanding that she to be put to death -- something that would've been unthinkable in Japan not ten years ago. Everyone wanted to know what could have driven such an innocent-looking young woman, someone who could have been anyone's next door neighbor, to murder five people -- chosen at random, as far as anyone knew -- and in such a grotesque fashion. Everyone wanted to know why, and I was going to be the one to tell them.

But only if I could get her to talk to me.

"Look," I began, "you're probably wondering why I've come to talk to you. I'm a writer. A reporter. I want to hear your story, so I can tell it to the world."

"My story?"

Her eyes gazed at me, narrowing slightly as comprehension slowly dawned in them. The hospital obviously had her on some sort of heavy drugs. I hoped she could stay coherent long enough to tell me what I needed to know.

"Oh yes, I'll tell you," she said. "I'll tell you my story. And you will tell the world?" Her tone rose skeptically at the last statement.

It was the response I'd hoped for. So why did I feel as if she were a spider and I had just blundered into her web?

"I'll tell you my story," she repeated. "The story of a rather typical teenage girl, who was concerned with the usual things that are usually on a teenage girl's mind -- clothes, music, boys. Certainly not with magic or demons, which she saw as mere superstitions."

"At first?" I prompted. Finally, she was opening up to me.

"At first, yes. But then this girl fell into a magical well, and found herself in another time. Japan's feudal era. A time of shadows. A time when demons roamed the land freely. And this girl didn't want to believe in demons, but she felt their slimy touch, felt their claws dig into her flesh, and knew that they were real."

My hand zipped across the page of my notebook, taking down everything she was saying. Magic wells? Time travel? This girl was more delusional than I had thought.

"For several months, she adventured in the past. She met Inu-Yasha, a half-man, half demon who became a companion of sorts. She met Kikyo, a powerful priestess who was said to be herself in an earlier incarnation, killed and then brought back to a sort of life via ogre magic. And she encountered the Shikon Jewel, an artifact of great power which became scattered across the countryside, and she had to track down all of its fragments and eventually reassemble it.

"Then one day...."


A storm coalesced over Musashi country.

The clouds darkened, their black, smoky tendrils swirling and churning violently. Low rumbles echoed through the air. In the center of the storm, a pair of eyes could be seen, their fluorescent red gaze piercing through the blackness.

The villagers below left their fields and huddled inside their houses, praying that they would be sturdy enough, some certain that this would be the end.

In the middle of it all, a lone woman hovered, clad in plain-looking robes. Kikyo the priestess. The storm clouds thickened and descended ever lower, like a hand reaching down to clamp over the nose and mouth of the village to suffocate it, and Kikyo smiled.

Nearby, in a decaying old hut, a pair of figures watched, while a third lay motionless on the floor. A thin bubble of yellow energy surrounded the hut, crackling and sparking as if charged with lightning.

Inu-Yasha pointed beyond the protective bubble, to the gathering storm. "What is that thing your sister has conjured, old woman?"

"I don't know. A demon? Or perhaps some sort of primal force." Kaede's eyes slowly scanned the outside scene, then gazed dubiously back at Inu-Yasha. "If you're thinking of dashing out to fight it, don't. You wouldn't last ten seconds. Kagome's power is the only thing keeping us alive."

"What do you suggest we do, then, crone? Remain huddled here like frightened children?"

"Kikyo is the key," Kaede muttered, more to herself than to him. "Only being bound to her life force allows that... thing to exist on this plane."

Inu-Yasha glared back at her in defiance. "If you're suggesting that she be killed, I'll not allow it, no matter what the consequences."

"The point is moot," Kaede said with a sigh. "With a new body and the full power of the Jewel of Four Souls, my sister is far beyond either of our abilities to defeat."

Inu-Yasha bristled at the slight to his prowess, but offered no argument. Thunder boomed in the sky. "Then I'll go and talk with her. Perhaps... perhaps killing me will be enough to satisfy her."

Kaede shook her head ruefully. "If that were her goal, she'd have long since done so. The power of the Jewel, tainted by Naraku's corruption, has taken her beyond any reason." She regarded the unconscious girl at her feet. "Our only hope is Kagome. She still possesses the soul that once was Kikyo's. As long as she does, we still have a chance. Yet even so, we'll not be able to hold out indefinitely."

"So you are saying that we are helpless?"

"I am saying," she replied with the serene acceptance that only the aged seemed able to achieve, "that only something beyond the two of us can be victorious here."

Thunder exploded from above. With a giant whoosh of wind, black rain began to pound against the barrier.

Slipping free from the bonds of consciousness, Kagome's spirit expanded like air into a vacuum, touching everything and yet invisible.

The rain gushed down unstoppably. Hot and sticky like molten tar, it burned with its touch. An unlucky few who hadn't made it to shelter could only watch in horror for a few stunned seconds as their flesh dissolved, washing away like dirt. Mercifully quick deaths, at least. The rain's poisons would seep gradually into the soil and water, accumulating in the vegetation like rust on metal, passed from plant to animal to human. For such persons, the end would be slow and agonizingly painful.

Above it all hovered Kikyo, observing, fully aware of all that was happening below but caring not the slightest. To her, all that mattered was that Inu-Yasha would suffer. Even knowing that it was not he, but Naraku, who had struck her the killing blow that day did nothing to dampen the fires of her anger. If he had trusted her in the first place, if he'd understood the value of his humanity instead of rejecting it, Naraku's plot never would have been possible, and Kikyo would never have been condemned to this empty existence, this lifedeath, for eternity. And now, Inu-Yasha would forever know that he himself had been responsible what happened here. His own conscience, the very humanity that he had thought to deny would be his tormenter. How fitting.

Kagome forced herself to break contact. She knew that if she stepped too close to the dark pit of Kikyo's mind, she would slip and plummet down to unimaginable depths. *She can't really be me,* Kagome thought. Whoever had come up with that reincarnation theory had to have been mistaken. There was no way that she could ever feel such hatred, could harm innocent people so callously.

As she swam back up toward wakefulness, Kagome was frightened, perhaps more so than she'd ever been, but she knew what she had to do.


The priestess spun in the air at the sound of her name. "You." Looking down at the girl was akin to seeing her own image mirrored in turbulent waters; a distorted reflection, a dim memory of what perhaps once was, of what might have been but would not. Kikyo's lips curved into a smile. "You will battle against me?"

Kagome gazed upward with steely-hard eyes, barely visible in the darkness. "No."

"What are you doing, girl?" Inu-Yasha's voice called from within the protective bubble. "She'll destroy you!" It amused Kikyo to hear such concern, such weakness from the self-styled ruthless, cold-hearted demon. But it also hurt, with a pain that twisted deep inside. All the more reason she would delight in making the prediction a reality.

"I'll not fight you," Kagome said. "I surrender. My... our soul is yours to take."

"Kagome, no!" Kaede shouted.

"Stop, you fool!" Inu-Yasha cried.

Kikyo peered closely at the girl. "If this is some sort of trickery, it will not help you."

"No trick." The skirt of her school uniform flapped in the howling wind. "Take it."

Glowing tendrils of energy sparked out from Kagome's aura. Ripping a path through the darkness, they enveloped Kikyo in their grasp before she could react, swallowing her whole like a frog gulping up an insect. She tried to struggle against it, only to find it as impossible as pushing the earth out from under her own feet.

Memories, both her own and not her own, smothered the priestess' consciousness. Memories of a childhood game of kick-ball, of deliberately aiming the ball at the head of a younger girl, then feeling so bad that she invited the girl home for juice and cookies to make up. Memories of being tutored in spirit lore by kindly Suzu-sensei, not having the heart to reveal that she'd long ago learned everything the old woman had to teach. Memories of being attacked by Naraku in the guise of Inu-Yasha, of shooting to trap the half-demon rather than to kill, going peacefully to her death afterwards rather than risk corrupting the Jewel, then meeting and freeing him again fifty years and a lifetime later, trusting him and seeing her trust justified.

In the skies above Musashi country, a storm entity began to slip away from this plane of existence. It scrabbled desperately for a handhold, finding none; the spirit to which it had anchored itself had become ethereal, untouchable, and it slid down, down, pulled by the weight of its own malevolence to fade into the void. The sky lightened as the cloud began to dissipate. Cautiously, villagers peeked out from windows as the sun came into view. The storm was over.

Unnoticed, Kagome crumpled to the ground.

"Kagome!" Inu-Yasha rushed to the fallen girl, with Kaede following behind him. "You fool, why did you have to sacrifice yourself?"

Kikyo's eyes lowered. She began to speak, but Inu-Yasha silenced her with a hard stare. At some later time, he would listen to her sorrows and self-recriminations; for the moment, he had room for none save his own. He stood silently, eyes riveted to Kagome's lifeless form. Such a beautiful flower -- all the more beautiful in her fragility, thriving and growing where it should have been impossible. Yet that same quality seemed to make it inevitable that such a flower would end up squashed. If that was so, then perhaps it would have been better to use the Jewel to become a full demon. Humanity, it seemed, ultimately led to nothing other than this feeling of something clawing his heart from his chest.

"Kagome!" The howling voice echoed into the distance. "Kagome, you fool!"

Suddenly, Kagome's eyes flew open, and she sat up. "Huh?"

All eyes gaped at her as she slowly rose to her feet.

"What's going on?" she said. "Am I late for school or something?"


"So you didn't die after all?" I asked. Stupid question, of course, to ask someone who I was speaking to. "Why not?"

Kagome didn't answer, and I looked up from my notepad. A nurse took the phone receiver from her. "I'm sorry, but visiting hours are ending, and it's time for Ms. Higurashi's medication. I'll have to ask you to come back another time."

"All right," I said reluctantly, wanting instead to stay and hear more of this story. "I'll see you next time, Kagome." She couldn't hear me, but she nodded and smiled as if she'd understood my meaning.

Walking down the drab and sterile corridors toward the exit, I knew that I'd be back. These stories of demons and time travel were ludicrous, of course, but beneath it all, there was... something. I didn't know what it was, or even what made me think so. But it was something big, maybe even bigger than the book I was planning. And I was going to find out what it was.

The next day, I went back to see Kagome as soon as visiting hours had begun.

"You were telling me about how you had given up your soul to that priestess," I prompted, to get her started.

"Yes. At first, I thought it strange that I could do that and still keep being myself afterwards," she said. "But, thinking about it, it made sense. Why shouldn't two people be able to share a soul? After all, isn't that what reincarnation is all about -- a soul shared by two people, separated in time?"

"But you weren't. Separated by time, I mean."

"Yes." She looked up at me, her eyes unfocused, as if she were staring at something a long way off. "And now that Kikyo had recovered, it was time for me to leave. I think something inside of me, whatever it is that the two of us shared, knew that. I had called out across time to myself for help, and now the job I'd came to do was finished."

I nodded, waiting for her to continue.

"Strangely, it didn't bother me that I was leaving Inu-Yasha behind. Before then, I'd been jealous of his feelings for Kikyo. But when the time came, there was no question that leaving him behind was the right thing to do. This was his time period. He belonged there. I didn't."

Her gaze abruptly sharpened, eyes staring directly into mine.

"I spoke with Kikyo before I left. I asked her whether she was worried about being attacked by demons now that the Jewel had been destroyed." Her voice dropped to a whisper. I felt as if she were offering me one of the secrets of the universe. "Do you know what she said?"

"Er, no. What did she say?"

"She said that she wasn't worried, because humans will always prevail against demons. Demons may be stronger, faster, tougher, but there's one thing that we have that they don't."

"We do? What's that?"

"The ability to care about one another. Oh, a demon will work with another when it's in their mutual interest, but it'll stab the other in the back as soon as it's no longer useful. They can't truly rely on each other, and as long as we can, they'll always fear us more than we do them."

"Interesting," I said. Kagome had certainly thought out this fantasy world of hers in great detail. It might make a good novel, I mused, if she could be convinced that it wasn't real.

"So," she continued, "I returned to the present, and never went back. I almost expected to meet a present-day incarnation of Inu-Yasha when I got home. That's the kind of thing that always happens in romantic movies." Her eyes drifted back into a dreamy, drugged-out stare. "That's one thing I know for sure now. Life isn't a romantic movie."

I knew I had to say something to get her talking again. "So... what happened then?"

"Well... I'd missed a lot of school. Somehow I still managed to graduate, but college was out of the question. I hadn't even shown up for most of the admission tests. So I resigned myself to the year of remedial study that I had in front of me.

"Luckily, my uncle has connections at Ikasama university. He got me a part-time job as a gofer for the facilities department. I worked for them twenty hours a week, and used their library to study for exams the rest of the time. It went quickly. Concentrating was easier not having to worry about demons jumping out of the shadows.

"Until one day....

"Excuse me, young lady," the man in the suit said. "Where might I find Professor Tanaka?"

Kagome looked up from the overhead projector she had been installing. "Oh. Uh...." The man looked perfectly normal. Well-built, muscular, a youthful face, a touch of gray at the temples. But.... "He's over in the next room." Something about him was just... wrong.

"Thank you, miss." The man in the suit flashed a smile, then followed in the direction that she had indicated.

"Who's that?" Kagome whispered to Yuzu, her supervisor.

"His name is Mr. Joi," Yuzu answered. Though she was in her thirties, she was a full head shorter than Kagome; that, combined with the playful smile she often wore, made her look positively child-like. "He's with the Buradoeri foundation."

"The Burai- what?"

"The Buradoeri foundation. They're a group that funds a lot of community service projects. Last year, when tax cuts depleted the university's funding for student groups, they helped make up the shortfall. He's going to be part of some sort of panel discussion Wednesday evening."

Funny, Kagome thought. I wonder why I've never heard of them. Then again, that wasn't so strange for someone who'd spent the better part of the last few years in another time period.

Still, as she stared at the man through the doorway, she couldn't shake the feeling that something about him just wasn't right. It was like walking into a kitchen and smelling something odd; and you look inside the refrigerator, and under it, and under the stove, and nothing looks out of place, but something still smells rotten, and you know the smell has to be coming from somewhere....

"Why don't you go to the library after you're done here?" Yuzu suggested. "I'm sure they'll have something on Buradoeri, if you're curious."

"Good idea," Kagome said, forcing her attention back to the transparency projector she'd been setting up. Though she couldn't quite say why, her curiosity wouldn't let her go until she found out more.



Kagome had searched through all of the catalogs and indexes that might possibly be relevant. There was no information on the Buradoeri foundation, apart from a few odd references to things they had given money to help fund. Including, she noted, this library. Why wasn't there anything more? Was someone keeping a secret, or was it just that no one was interested?

Maybe she was making a big deal over nothing here. Maybe she was just over-tired, and it was making her imagination play tricks on her. But when she'd seen that man, some sort of alarm had started blaring inside her mind. Time to wake up, Kagome. It was a feeling like... like she'd had when....

Suddenly, she knew exactly what the feeling had been trying to tell her. She'd experienced it many times before -- just not in this century. Joi was a demon.

But knowing that posed as many questions as it answered. Had this demon followed her into the present? And if he had, why take the place of this particular person? Why would a demon be interested in a non-profit group?

Thoughts whirled around Kagome's mind like hurricane winds. Too many questions, no answers. But if this person was a demon, then maybe she could get answers by exposing him. And as she thought about it, she knew exactly where to go to get what she would need.


"Oh, can it be true? My little Kagome is finally ready to learn to defend herself against evil spirits?"

"Chill out, Gramps." Kagome glanced up from the workbench. "I'm just, er... playing around with this stuff a little."

He looked over her shoulder at the scroll she was painting. "Kagome, that's not the proper way to make a spirit ward." He picked up a brush. "Here, let me show you...."

"No way!" Kagome pulled her scroll away. "Um, thank you, Grandpa, but I want to try this myself. Learn from my mistakes, y'know?"

"Oh, all right," Grandpa said reluctantly. "Try it your way if you like. I'll give you some tips later." He strolled out of the workshop. "My little granddaughter is finally ready!"

Kagome forced herself to ignore him. He had no idea what he was talking about. Somewhere inside her was something that really knew how to do this. She just had to relax, let herself draw whatever felt like it was right.


"Our next panelist is Mr. Joi, from the Buradoeri foundation." The audience applauded politely as the man stepped over to his designated seat.

*They're in for a surprise,* Kagome thought to herself with a smile. As soon as he touched the scroll that she'd left on his chair, his true form would be exposed. Though now that she thought about it, an exposed demon running around the university might just be a little dangerous, and this time there'd be no Inu-Yasha to come rescue her if she got into trouble that she couldn't handle. But this was the twenty-first century, not the feudal age. Police and soldiers would have weapons that could deal with this thing once it was revealed for what it was.

Joi pulled his chair back and sat down. Kagome craned her head to see over the people in front of her.

Suddenly, the man dropped behind the table. Nice try, Kagome thought, but the other panelists would be able to see--

"I'm afraid Mr. Joi is indisposed," the panel moderator said into his microphone. "We'll just have to carry on with the remainder of our guests." The curtain behind him rose slightly as the man-turned-demon slipped under it.

Kagome could only blink in surprise.


The discussion was going strong as Kagome slipped out the back. The demon must have had those people under some sort of hypnotic control. That was the only way it made sense. But she had to see for herself, just to convince herself that she wasn't just imagining all of this.

Silently, she crept up to the entrance to the preparation room. Pausing to listen first, and hearing nothing, she slowly crept her head around the doorway to see.

A voice from behind nearly made her jump out of her shoes. "You."

"Uh, hi. I'm with the facilities department, come to check the room, and...." One look at him told her that this story wasn't going to wash. His face had turned red, with huge, gnarled horns growing out of his forehead.

He threw her scroll back at her. "You did this."

"I was right," she said, trying to sound unafraid as her heart thundered in her chest like machine gun fire. "You're a demon."

He lumbered toward the doorway, forcing Kagome into the room. "So you know."

"I know all about you, and what you're doing here," she bluffed. With luck, he'd end up answering all her questions.

"I congratulate you, young lady. Few people are even aware that my kind ever existed. And most of those think that we died out after the feudal age."

"But you didn't." She tried her best to sound as if she'd known it all along, while inwardly her mind reeled. Of course they'd died out!

The demon smirked. "How arrogant your race is, to believe that ours would simply fade away when you brought light into the shadows, so to speak, and entered the so-called age of reason. But, of course, it was convenient for us that you did. Being presumed destroyed allowed us to infiltrate your society, to play the same games that you do, and we were better at them." He raised a massive fist to his chin, stroking it ponderously. "But what am I to do with you now?"

Kagome inched backwards. "I've got friends who'll be looking for me!" she said, not even sure whether it was the truth or another bluff. "If you kill me, that'll blow the lid off this-- this--"

"Oh, I do hope something like that won't be necessary," he said. "You're quite an intelligent young lady. Surely you can see that you'd do better with us than against us."

Kagome's mind raced as she considered what he'd said. "You want me to...."

"To come and work for my organization. I'm sure we can find a position for someone as capable as you obviously are. You'll be safe, and well rewarded by having chosen the winning side. We take care of our own."

*Oh, do you?* she thought. That's not what Kikyo said. Something deep inside her, some sort of intuition, told her that this was a lie. As soon as they had no further use for her, she'd be discarded without a second thought.

Still, she needed to stall for time....

"What makes you so certain that you're the winning side? You're just a handful of misfits against the entire human race."

"Ah, I see that you are not quite as well-informed as I had thought." The demon laughed. "We are many more than a 'handful.' We are the wealthy, the influential leaders, truly the blood elite. We've nothing to worry about from humanity. It takes its orders from us without knowing we exist."

"And you want me to work for...." Kagome abruptly jerked her head to the side. "Oh! Yuzu!"

The demon's head whirled to look out the doorway as he stepped to the side.

So much for nothing to worry about, Kagome thought. Then she bolted through the doorway.


Out the building and down the shadowy streets ran Kagome. Block after block of sidewalk sped by under her feet. She gasped and wheezed for air, desperately wanting to slow down but not daring to. Just get to somewhere safe. Where? Her home? No. The bone-eater's well? Yes, that was it. She could jump in and return to the past. They'd never be able to find her, and if they did, Inu-Yasha and Kikyo would be there to protect her.

Maybe I came back to the wrong future, she thought. A science-fiction story that she'd read came to mind. The man in the story traveled back in time and stepped on a butterfly, and when he came back everything was different. Maybe that was it. That would be easy to fix. She'd just go back through the well and... and un-do whatever she had done.

No. As much as she wanted to believe it, it made no sense that she could've changed things so radically but have the world still look the same. It had been months since the last time she'd visited the past; months during which everything still looked the same and she'd had no idea that there were modern-day demons running around. If they'd managed to remain hidden for that long, they certainly could've done so her whole life.

No, this wasn't a different present. But Joi wasn't necessarily telling the truth, either. Maybe he wasn't even a real demon. Kagome remembered the Peach Man, who had given himself demon-like powers through some sort of mystic means; not to mention Naraku, who had originally been a human.

Across a now-empty faculty/staff parking lot she ran, and the place that the students called "The Tunnel" loomed ahead. The dark, narrow space between the Chemistry and Psychology buildings used to be a popular shortcut, until one girl got mugged there. Now, and with budget cuts having left the university unable to pay to have a light installed, almost no one used this route at night -- which, Kagome figured, probably just made it that much easier for the muggers.

It didn't matter, though. Going this way was the quickest route to the main part of campus, where there would be too many people for Joi to risk attacking her. She began to sprint faster as she entered the shadowy corridor. Memories came to mind, of a little girl walking down suburban sidewalks, trying to run past all the lawn sprinklers without getting wet.

A noise sounded at the far end of the "tunnel." Silently, Kagome flattened herself against the wall of one of the buildings. Ahead, footsteps clopped against the pavement. Her heart began to thud in her chest as they approached nearer and nearer. Was it Joi? A mugger? Some random passer-by?

The beam of a flashlight stabbed through the darkness. Kagome began to inch gradually backwards, ready to bolt and run at an instant's notice. A figure stepped into view; atop its head was the wide, flat-topped hat that Kagome instantly recognized.

"Oh!" She stepped forward. "Officer! I--" What could she tell him? Help me, I'm being chased by a demon?

The police officer abruptly reached out to grab Kagome by the shoulder.

The smell lingered in the air for a moment; the dirty kitchen smell. Then the world went black.


Kagome swam.

Arm and leg muscles shoved against the stiff, viscous water that surrounded her. Was she making any headway? It was impossible to tell. Her destination stood impossibly far ahead, under orange-haloed clouds. How long had she been swimming? Dim memories stirred, of floating in calmer waters... a swimming pool? The image fluttered away from her mind.

All at once, she was below the surface of the water, lungs gasping for air, arms flailing to grab onto something, anything. Looking down into the murky depths, she saw what looked to be hordes of demons, their eyes glowing a pale yellow, their fangs bared as if about to leap forward and tear out someone's throat. Ghostly voices burbled around her, barely comprehensible whispers.

Aw, look at that. Ain't that a shame? She's gone and killed herself. Guess she couldn't live with the guilt of what she did.

A shame? It's one less maniac in the world, that's what it is. I'll sleep a little easier knowing that my kids are that much safer.

C'mon. Let's finish typing up those reports. That's what we were doing when this happened.

Yeah, sure. I-- huh?

Suddenly, Kagome was no longer drowning; she floated, breaking through the surface of the water with a loud splash, rising higher as life-giving air flooded into her lungs. Stopping to hover, she pivoted around to see who her rescuer was.


The priestess remained silent, her expression neutral, only acknowledging Kagome's presence with a slight nod.

"The bow and arrow." Kagome pointed to the weapons strapped to Kikyo's back. "Let me use them."

No, came Kikyo's reply, one which Kagome felt more than heard. Remember what I've told you. You can win. But not that way.

And Kagome understood, or at least something inside her felt that it understood what her other self had meant. A deep breath, and she plunged back into the water. Straightening her legs, she kicked, and began the long task of moving forward, ever forward....


Kagome's world came back into focus with a painful jolt, like being on a speeding train as it suddenly came to a stop. She was lying on a cot; its springs groaned and sagged precariously as she shifted her weight to sit up. The walls of the tiny room were bare, and in front of her a set of vertical steel bars blocked off the exit.

Bars? she thought. I'm in... jail?

"So you're awake," a voice said. Kagome turned her head to see a policewoman, her hand half-buried in a bag of potato chips. "I was beginning to think you were gonna sleep through your whole trial."

"Trial?" Kagome rose to her feet, grabbing onto the bars as if to bend them apart. "Let me out! I haven't done anything!"

The policewoman snorted, tipping a glance to a newspaper under her shoulder. "Just a little mass murder," she half-mumbled through a mouthful of chips. "Nothing much."

"Mass--" Kagome pointed at the paper. "Could I see that, please?"

"Sure, honey." The policewoman handed the newspaper through the bars, then walked off. Kagome unfolded it and read the headline: slasher murderer captured.

"No!" Her frantic shout echoed through the cell. "No! It's a lie!"


"By the time my trial came up, they had managed to produce half a dozen 'witnesses' for the prosecution; people who had been bribed or intimidated into telling the court what they needed to hear to convict me. They made sure that my assigned defense attorney was incompetent. Physical evidence was manufactured, and any officers who couldn't be trusted not to blow the whistle on the operation was quietly assigned elsewhere. If there was any doubts in the jurors' minds as to my guilt or my sanity after that, hearing me talk about demons erased it."

"They're all demons, then?" I asked. "The police, I mean." It was difficult to keep a neutral tone in the face of such obvious paranoia.

"No. No, I don't think so. A few strategically-placed agents, probably, but no more than that. From what I've been able to gather, most of the police have no idea that demons even exist. A few of them went along with this because their superiors wanted it, and they needed to make points. Others were bribed, and still others believed that I was guilty, and weren't about to let an inconvenience like lack of real evidence stand between them and a conviction."

"Why go through all this trouble?" I asked, thinking that I had her now, that she'd never be able to answer. "Why not just kill you?"

"Because Kikyo was right," she answered without missing a beat. "Because they're afraid of us. And their secret isn't nearly as well-kept as they'd like it to be. A fair number of people do know that demons exist. If I simply turned up dead, people would ask questions. They'd need to know the story behind this murdered woman.

"So the demons gave them a story. But a different story, one with a different kind of moral: lock your doors, trust no one except us, because crazy people like this woman are running around stabbing people to death, and we're the ones who protect you from them.

"I don't know who really did those killings," she continued, as if in answer to an unspoken question. "It's possible that the demons wanted them out of the way, and saw the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Or perhaps there's a real mad slasher, still at large somewhere."

She paused for a moment, resting her head against an open hand, then looked me in the eyes.

"Does that tell you what you came to learn?"

I got up from my chair. "Yes, I think it does. Thank you very much for your time."

Smiling a half-smile, she looked at me as I turned to go, with an intensity in her eyes, enough to drill a hole right through me. I needed to go, needed... time to think.

It seemed clear enough. This woman went off the deep end, thought she was being chased by demons, and knifed a bunch of them to death. Nothing more than that.

But... something about that answer just wasn't completely satisfying. Maybe it was just prejudice on my part. No one expects a slasher murderer to be a pretty young woman.

But it was more than that. I hadn't questioned any of the witnesses, hadn't checked into the physical evidence. Neither had any other reporters that I know of. Everyone had just assumed that if she'd been locked up and convicted, she had to be guilty, because the alternative was just... unthinkable.

Suppose she's telling the truth, I told myself. What if she's really the damsel in distress, being held captive by evil monsters. What would you do? Turn around and go? Walk away and let them eat her?

Leaving the building, I emerged onto the hot noonday streets. I trudged toward the train station, weighed down by invisible shadows.


Part of the inspiration for this fic owes to the excellent "An Awakening of Demons" fanfic series. (If you haven't read it, do so here) and comments from Vince Seifert asking how demons could go unnoticed in present-day society. I started to think about what roles they would play in this modern world, and, much later, certain other events gave me the idea for this story.

Thanks go to the FFIRC crew, who saw various bits of this story during various hour challenges. Thanks also to Krista Perry and Ronny Hedin for providing IY canon info beyond what I've read.

"Buradoerito" = "blood elite," according to the online Japanese/English dictionary; a pretty obvious Japanization of the English phrase. For the Foundation's name, I dropped off the last syllable so it wouldn't sound like something you'd get at a Mexican restaurant. :-)