All Hallows Rites
Published on / 1 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)
Kagome comes home from trick-or-treating to find out that her pet cat, Demon, has a request of his own. Yes, Inuyasha has been turned into a cat here.
All's Hallows Rites
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with the Inuyasha franchise. All those pesky rights go to Rumiko Takahashi and VIZ media.
Kagome threw open the door to her bedroom laughing. Honestly, her friends had lost it this year. Going trick-or-treating at their age. They were eighteen! And they didn't even have their siblings with them. Nope. They dressed up in the cheesiest costumes they could think of, the kind they would have loved to wear when they were kids, and set out to stuff their pillowcases.
Ayumi was a roller derby queen and Eri had found a Rainbow Bright costume somewhere. But Kagome went as the same thing she had as a child, a witch. There was just something about subtly adjusting the costume each year to make it a different. One year she would have a black garbage bag as a cape and paint her face green and the next she would be ethereal and glittery.
Her friends thought she was obsessed. Her parents thought she was rebelling. Kagome thought she'd found her niche. She wanted to study history in college thanks to witchcraft. She had books on demonology, on aromatherapy, herbology, mythology and articles on the Salem witch trials. She felt a sort of kinship with the misunderstood women of the previous eras, the lonely women who were persecuted for having the knowledge to help people but when fear and illness took over, were persecuted for it.
Kagome just passed the threshold of her room when the shadows shifted and she knew she wasn't alone. Her parents would still be out at a party and her brother was staying overnight at a friends. The only one in the house was her cat.
“Demon? Is that you?”
“In a sense it is. And in a sense it is not. Which answer would you prefer, Ka-go-me?”
The shadows moved and a figure stepped into the moonlight. It was a young man. A naked young man. Everything about him seemed medium; his height, his build, even his coloring, but Kagome was under the impression that he was anything but unassuming. He moved with a grace that would be better suited to a predator stalking its prey.
“Ummm, both I think. Who are you and how did you get in? Do you need help? Are you hurt? Do you mind putting some pants on? What about my cat?”
A low chuckle came out of the darkness. “I should have anticipated your answers would be more questions. You always try and understand everything and help everyone at the same time.” The man moved closer. “To the last, I am the cat you call Demon. As for the pants, are there any clothes here that would fit me? No, I am not injured but I would like your help. Are you well versed in the history of a witch's familiar?”
“You mean the animal that can enhance a witch's power? I have books on them. But I still don't get it. How are you my cat? And there are sweats in that top drawer by you. There's a pair I stole from my dad in there.”
The strange man turned and she could make out his perfectly sculpted outline, the breadth of his shoulders, over the muscular curve of his butt, and right down along his calves. Being a feline, if that was true, hadn't hurt him one bit.
“Silly girl. Didn't any of your books tell you how a familiar was created? That a male witch who died unjustly at the hands of another witch would become a familiar? That I've been with your family for years, well, the ones that would have cats anyway, and I've been waiting for you.”
“Waiting for me? Why? I'm nothing special, ask anyone. I always have my head in the clouds and my feet are busy tripping over everything in sight.”
“That's precisely the point, Kagome. Close to three hundred and fifty years ago I was condemned as a witch on this property. My wife was the one to turn against me. She knew my secrets, she shared them, but while I was content to live my life as a mortal, she wanted to do as she pleased. One day her carelessness led the witch-hunters to us.” He sat on the bed.
“I still remember the book sitting on the pulpit, Malleus Maleficarum, the witch-hunters bible. Heh, and they called me the devil. That book had more tortures in it than Hell could possible wish to inflict. They started with Kikyou, stripped her bare before the elders and their wives and pricked her with pins. The only thing I could think was that they didn't really want her, that she could be useful because they found nothing. And they always found something. I was given the trials, forced to submerge my hands in boiling water and then to walk along main street barefoot while they covered the path before me with hot coals. If I healed in three days, I was innocent.”
Compelled by the pain in his voice, Kagome moved closer to the man. There was something otherworldly about him. He was too beautiful to be real. His hair hung in midnight waves to the small of his back and now that she was closer, she could see his eyes were still that cat-like amber, absorbing and reflecting the moonlight.
“You died of infection?” she whispered.
His laugh was rough. “That would have been a pleasure. No, I was taken before the people I grew up with, who I thought I knew, and I was hung. It was not a quick death; I was purposely kept from breaking my neck so that I suffocated while the priest ranted about my sins.”
“And your wife?”
“She was the one to kick the stool out from under my feet.”
“Oh, God.” Kagome couldn't stop the tears from falling. “What does this have to do with me? How can I help you? Why me?”
“Because you are her. You are my wife.”
“What? That's crazy! I'm Kagome!”
“Of all the things I told you, you find that impossible? This was my wife, Kagome. I have carried this for over three centuries in hopes that she would come back and explain why I had to die.”
He produced a small locket from near the floorboard. Demon was always shoving things there and hiding them. That he knew the cat's hiding place didn't surprise her. The picture in the locket did, however.
“It is me,” she breathed. The face staring back at her was definitely hers. Maybe a year or two older, she was dressed plainly, in a dark dress and apron and her hair was concealed by a bonnet, but Kagome could see herself in the long dead woman.
“Very close. Your eyes are different. Hers were always cold, dark, even when she was happy. Yours dance with all the emotions you are feeling. You are Kikyou reincarnate. And I need you, I beg you, to help set me free.”
“What will happen to you if I help you? Will you die?”
He shook his head. “I don't know. Perhaps I will rest, but I never really died in the first place. At least not that I recall. My heart screamed out in pain and then I remember the pain stopped and there I was, tail and all. Perhaps I will have the chance to live out the life that was taken from me. Will you help me?”
She nodded. The ceremony was surprisingly simple to set up, though she blushed furiously when he asked if she was indeed a virgin. The blood of the innocent was not used in white or good magic, but blood was needed to call blood and innocent blood, regardless of the context of the ritual, was strongest. They sat facing each other inside a circle of candles, her hands in his, the blood from their open palms spreading on the strange symbols on the floor. The witch's alphabet, he'd told her. He promised it wouldn't hurt.
“Do you swear that I will come back? I don't like the thought that my body will be taken over by someone else and that I won't get it back.”
“I promise to bring you back, Kagome.”
“But she's your wife. What if she's sorry? What if the reason she deceived you is a good one? Won't you be tempted to have her back? The real her, that is?”
He squeezed her fingers lightly. “No Kagome, I won't be tempted to have her back. She made her choice and I would never willing cut another's life short before its time. Now time is running out, it's nearly midnight.”
“Wait! Your name! I want to know your name first.”
“Yasha. My name is Inuyasha. An old family name. Now, are you ready?”
Tonight the veil between the living and the dead is a its most fragile. The past and future combine in to the present and the spirits walk together with the living. I invoke thee, Kikyou, my wife, to this time, this space, to face your past. To face your demons.
Kagome felt nothing at first then something inside her moved. It was almost as if her soul shifted, making room for another. She looked out her eyes as though she were looking out from behind someone else.
“Inuyasha.” The words came out of her mouth, but it wasn't her voice. It was lower, huskier and sounded almost resigned.
“Kikyou.” He didn't let go of her hands. “It's been far too long. I didn't think you'd ever come back to me.”
“I didn't intend to, but I was given no choice. The child is good, isn't she? A bit of a dreamer though.”
“She is, but this isn't about her. Kikyou, I'm tired of being tied to this place, I need to be let go. The only way for that is for you to tell me what happened. My pain ties me here and I can't let go until I know.”
She sighed and tried to break contact with Inuyasha's hands, but he held tight.
“You might not forgive me, or even understand my reasons, even after three hundred years. Inuyasha, I was in love with another. I committed adultery. We were so young when you asked me to be yours and at the time, I thought no one could be better. But there was someone. The mayor. I loved him and he loved me. That's why the witch-hunter found nothing. The mayor told him I was just an innocent pawn and that you were the guilty one. He paid his handsomely for my innocence.”
Inuyasha looked pained. “But why did you have to tell him I was a witch? I was so careful.”
“I couldn't be with him unless you died, you know that. Until death do us part. I just didn't think it would be as painful as it was. He promised it would be quick, to spare me, but the crowd was so incensed.”
“So you had your perfect life while I died. Or rather was cursed for a few centuries.”
Kagome could feel a pain shoot through her chest that wasn't completely her own.
“I never believed the stories about familiars, having never met on myself. I didn't think you'd be tied to the place where you died, I thought you would pass on. You were...are… a good man. You shouldn't have been forced to exist as some animal. In answer to your question, I only lived for about six months after you died. I was pregnant and suffered from complications. I forced the midwife to save the child, the mayor's daughter, instead of myself. At that point I was so sick with guilt over what had happened.”
“But you still married him.”
“Yes. I didn't have to observe a mourning period because he and the priest convinced everyone that marriage to a God-fearing man would help to save my soul.”
“And it was through that child that this girl is linked to you.”
Kagome felt the spirit in her trying once again to separate her joined hands, but Inuyasha held on all the tighter, linking their fingers now.
“Inuyasha, I am sorry for what happened to you. It might have happened to the both of us, I can't be sure. We were too healthy, too blessed in times of famine to go without notice. But please believe me when I say that I never wanted to cause you that kind of pain. I never imagined they would put you through the trials. I never thought that I would be the one to deal you the final blow.”
The man before them closed his incredible eyes and sighed.
“I find that I can forgive you, Kikyou. It's been a long time. Mostly I wanted to know why you betrayed me and now that I have that answer I can let you go.”
Kikyou pulled forward and Kagome felt a twinge of fear.
“But do you want to let me go, Inuyasha? True, I made mistakes when we were alive, but don't you think this could be the gods giving us a second chance? The girl looks so much like me; you wouldn't even notice a difference. True, she's a bit younger, but that wouldn't matter much.”
He shook his head. “Kikyou, her life isn't over yet. I swore that I would never take the life of another.”
Kagome could feel Kikyou's anticipation build. And the strange voice was now eager.
“Perhaps this was meant to be. Perhaps she was born to bring me back to you.” The other woman was silent for a moment and Kagome desperately wished she could hear the other thoughts going on in her head. “Yes, that would make sense wouldn't it? I made the wrong decision in my life, that's why I died so soon. I was meant to be with you. It would take so little to change this course, my darling. Just let go of her hands.”
She tugged again but the man held on. Kagome was terrified now. This was what she was afraid of. Kikyou would convince her husband that she still loved him and then her life would be forfeit. And she couldn't even really blame them. Inuyasha deserved a happy ending as much as anyone.
The grandfather clock in the entryway stuck twelve.
“Inuyasha let her go. What does she mean to you except as a means to speak to me? She treated you as a common housecat, a pet. I love you as a man. Let us be together as we were denied in the past.”
The clock continued its toll, but Yasha remained still, his eyes closed.
“Inuyasha, I'm your wife.” Kikyou's voice took on a slightly hysterical edge.
“No, Kikyou, you were my wife. You were the one to give that up, not me. I owe you nothing and you owe me everything.”
His golden cat's eyes were intense when they finally opened. Kagome shuddered inside at the fierce light emanating from them.
“I don't know what will happen when I let you go. Kikyou, but I do know that I will finally be free from the past. I know that I did nothing to deserve my fate. Will I turn into a cat when the night is over? Will I simply disappear? I don't know. But I do know it will be my choice.
“Goodbye Kikyou. Know that once I did truly love you.”
The clock made its final chimes. It was now All Saints Day. Kagome heard a pained scream and it took a moment to realize that it was being ripped from her throat. One moment the pressure in her chest was unbearable and the next it was gone.
“Inuyasha. You didn't let her take me. Thank you.” She cocked her head. “How do you feel?”
“I feel…good. Strong. I don't think that I will change back into that cat.” He released her hands and stood, stretching.
Kagome look at the floor. “So I'm guessing that you'll leave now, right? Go and try to find your life?”
Yasha's eyes glittered in the moonlight.
“Oh, I don't think I'll be going anywhere, Kagome. After all, this house, this land, technically belongs to me. And I know just how to get it back.”
The heavy moon was obscured by the graceful shape of a hunter pouncing its prey.
Commenting is disabled for guests. Please login to post a comment.