Shadows of Doubt by Sereia

Shadows of Doubt

Author's musings: For SAFE 2021


Shadows of Doubt

"How did you talk me into this again?"

Miroku flashed her his usual smile. "Because you are a kind and generous woman who seeks to only help others."

Kagome glared at him. "More like Sango threatened to separate your testicles from your body if you touched the innkeeper's daughter again."

"Ah, it isn't my fault the world is filled with such beautiful women."

"No, but you could keep your hands to yourself once in a while. The twins are starting to copy you." She pursed her lips at the memory of the two young girls grabbing her ass. On more than one occasion.

"What can I say? They have good taste."

Kagome nudged the top of his staff, causing the other end to tangle with his robes and he stumbled, splaying out on the ground. Flipping her hair over her shoulder, she moved into position at the bottom of the shrine steps. Her hair should've been pulled back into the low ponytail customary to the miko of that time, but every time she looked in a mirror, Kikyou's reflection looked back at her.

Even after returning to the past and being known as the Shikon Miko for three years, she still hadn't been able to shake the doubt that lingered in the recesses of her heart. Her soul had been made whole, the full potential of her power unlocked, and yet…

She wavered.

Midoriko had been the first, the one to create the powerful jewel. Then Kikyou had died to protect it. Sure, Kagome had defeated the evil spirit inside it, but she'd also been the one to shatter it in the first place.

How many people had suffered because of her blunder?

The feel of Miroku's hands on hers pulled her out of her self-destructive thoughts and she bit the inside of her lip, focusing on the task at hand.

He and Inuyasha still traded services for exorcism at various villages and this one had been plagued by a spirit that had apparently been a peeping tom in a previous life. The single women of the village had been complaining of their clothing disappearing when they were bathing, and a few of them had claimed to see the face of a man in their windows while they dressed.

Miroku began to chant, his voice low and lyrical as he closed his eyes. Kagome followed suit, trying to clear her mind as pale, pink reiki swirled around her fingertips, it darkening to violet as hers mixed with his. Their combined power crept up his staff, using it as a conduit before seeking out the wayward spirit.

Pushing more of her power into the spell, Kagome felt her mind wander again. Her jaw clenched as she tried to keep her thoughts focused, but she couldn't help but wonder if someone else should be doing this instead. Someone more powerful.

More capable.

"Lady Kagome, the spirit is near, we must reign him in quickly."

She gritted her teeth and nodded, flaring her power as a lure before pulling it back towards her body. She could feel something tethered to the other end; it wasn't resisting as much as she thought it would. Perhaps it was tired of its antics and had decided it was time to move on.

Doubt swelled in her heart. She wasn't even needed here. If the spirit was ready to cross over, Miroku would've been able to exorcise it by himself. Once again, she was useless, better suited for just—

"Lady Kagome!" He nudged her urgently, her reiki wavering. Hissing through her teeth, she flared her powers again, easily pinpointing the spirit and yanking it towards the staff. It was starting to resist now and Kagome flexed her fingers.

"You've caused enough trouble, it's time to go home!" A tendril of reiki latched onto what felt like an arm and she sent out an electrifying pulse, blinding both of them as her power surged. The initial pulse flew back at them and forced them apart, dirt and rocks tearing at her palms as she landed on the ground.

Moaning softly, she rubbed her eyes, the edges of her vision still fuzzy as she felt Miroku pull her to her feet.

"Did it work?"

"Naturally." He brushed the remaining dirt off her shoulders. "I had no doubt we would succeed."

"That makes one of us…"

"You should have more confidence in yourself, Lady Kagome. We have dealt with much worse."

A grateful smile lifted the edges of her lips and she gave his hand a squeeze. "Thanks, you're wonderful."

"Please be sure to repeat that sentiment to my wife when we return to Edo."

Her laughter echoed around them as she linked their arms, pulling him towards the village head's hut. "Keep your hands to yourself on the way back, and I'll think about it."


"Are you alright, Kagome?" Sango handed her friend a damp cloth and Kagome put it on the back of her neck, murmuring her thanks.

She'd had a headache since they'd gotten back to Edo and she was sorely missing the convenience of modern painkillers. Miroku had apologized profusely, blaming himself for her overexerting herself, but Kagome had waved it off.

This felt different.

Like there was someone whispering in her mind.

She'd always had an overactive imagination—was prone to daydream more often than she should—but it was more than that. She wasn't even sure how to describe it. It wasn't sinister, in fact Kagome had felt waves of surprise and awe in the last hour, so she wasn't particularly worried. But the painful pulsing against her temples was a bitch.

Such foul language inside such a pretty mind.

Kagome jerked, looking around for the person that had spoken. Sango was sitting on the floor of the hut playing peek-a-boo with Hisui while the twins used their father as a mountain, playfully pushing each other over as they each tried to conquer him.

Frowning, Kagome got to her feet and padded towards the hut's entrance, pushing the flap out of the way and stepping into the sunshine. The villagers were milling around—each engrossed in their own task—but there was no one close by. Her head throbbed and she winced in pain, massaging the middle of her forehead.

So many lovely ladies. Introductions are necessary.

Like a marionette on a string, Kagome walked towards a pair of girls hanging laundry on a line, their gossip and subsequent giggles drawing her closer.

"Good afternoon, what are two divine goddesses such as yourselves doing mundane chores for? You should be basking in the sun and enjoying the day."

Had her voice always sounded like that? It sounded lower, smoother. And why had she said that?

The women's mouths dropped open before erupting into laughter, blushes adorning their cheeks.

"You're so kind to say so, Lady Miko. But we need to make sure the clothes are clean for when Father returns from his hunt."

"But—" Kagome snapped her mouth shut, giving them a curt nod before forcefully walking in the opposite direction.

That wasn't very nice, they are clearly in need of company. It would be better to escort them—

The voice was louder this time and Kagome groaned, rubbing her temples. Her fingers twitched against her skin and she suddenly felt the need to go for a walk. Perhaps along the riverside where she knew women of the village liked to swim on clear days like this.

"No. I don't want to go there."

The voice seemed to still for a moment, her vision becoming clearer before electricity shot down her spine, making her stumble.

If you aren't going to share, then I will be forced to take desperate measures.

"What—" More pain, this time in her hands, moving up her arms to her chest. She tried to turn around, to call out for Sango and Miroku, but her entire head had gone fuzzy, the sound of the village muted in her ears.

Struggling to breathe, she felt her knees hit the ground, then everything went black.


"Did Kagome say where she was going?" Sango asked, setting Hisui down in his cot.

"Again, again!" the twins chanted, pulling at their father's robes. Grabbing them both around the waist, she spun the girls around, revelling in their laughter.

"I don't think so, but I'm sure she hasn't gone far."

Sango's face scrunched up in concern as they exited the hut, allowing their youngest to sleep. "She's never had a headache this long before, something at the exorcism went wrong."

"My dear Sango, it was a standard dispensing of the supernatural, nothing went wrong. Neither of us could feel the spirit after we finished. I'm sure Lady Kagome merely needs some—"

A scream pierced the air.

The pair looked at each other before darting towards the river, handing the twins off to Rin and Kaede as they passed. Grass crunched under their feet as they burst through the trees, a few women clutching the folds of their yukatas to their chests as they ran in the opposite direction.

Kagome sat on the bank, her bare feet swaying in the water as she looked up at the sky, a serene smile on her face. She sucked in a deep breath, ebony locks spilling over her shoulders as she looked at them.

"Hi guys."

Sango cocked her head to the side, a frown still marring her features. "Are you alright?"

"Of course."

"Was there an attack, Lady Kagome? We saw some of the ladies run by—"

Kagome let out a snort. "Oh they're fine. I tried to help them relax and they overreacted." She slowly got to her feet, her lips pulling up into a smirk as indigo eyes gleamed at them. She picked up her sandals, holding them over her shoulder as she walked towards them.

"You two worry too much, I can handle anything that comes my way." Her smirk became a smile before patting Sango on the ass. "Though you're welcome to put on that wonderful slayer uniform and show me some new moves. Ones that involve a lot of intricate poses."

A low chuckle accompanied Sango and Miroku's slacked jaws as their friends sauntered towards the village. Sango was the first to recover, glaring at her husband.

"Still think nothing happened?"



But my dear, I'm having way too much fun.

Kagome cringed as the marionette strings lifted her hands, her fingers digging into the woman's ass before maneuvering out of the way of her flying hand, avoiding the slap as she waved at her.

"Always a pleasure!"

She winced, the strings pulling her on towards the next hut, her palms itching for more plump flesh, a wide smile on her face. The pain was constant now, moving between her eyes in a turbulent hum. She tried to relieve tension but her hands stayed at her sides, tucked into the sides of her robes.

"Why are you doing this?"

Because my time on this earth was cut short.

"That's no reason to take over my body and make me do all these things!"

You're more than welcome to join me. I don't know why you're struggling so hard.

"You're literally using me to flirt with everything in a skirt in order to get close enough to grope them!"

How can I resist with so many beautiful faces around?

Her attempt to walk back to her hut resulted in lightning shooting down her limbs, the strings tightening around her wrists and leading her towards Sango's hut instead. The slayer seemed to be the favourite of whatever was inside her and Kagome wasn't sure her friend was ever going to be able to look her in the eyes again.

Her new path was interrupted by a flare of youki and Kagome felt her knees sag in relief. Reiki sparked and sputtered around her, but she kept walking, eyes on the emerald fabric of Sango's skirt. Her fingers twitched, reaching out to caress the curviest part of her ass.

A clawed hand wrapped around her wrist, spinning her around.

"Why did you not answer?"

Even the being inside her could feel the power of the youkai in front of her and Kagome looked up at Sesshoumaru, internally pleading that he would notice that she wasn't herself. That he would notice something.

The strings tightened again, and Kagome felt herself smiling up at him.

"Sorry, I was in the middle of something." She pulled her hand out of his grip and clasped them behind her back. Intense gold bore down at her and she cocked her head to the side, the edges of her mouth hurting from keeping the smile in place.

"Miko, you are—"

"I'm actually really busy at the moment, can we talk later?" Her mind screamed, begging him to sense something was wrong, but the spirit clamped down on her psyche, refusing to let go. Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at her, then nodded.

"Do as you please."

So powerful and yet so ignorant.

Kagome raged, her jaw clenching as she turned around, waving at him over her shoulder. She winked at Sango as she passed by, humming to herself.

Miroku stood up from his sitting position outside their hut, looking between the miko and the daiyoukai.

"Good afternoon, Lord Sesshoumaru, how are you this fine day?"

The Western Lord whirled, eyes tinged in crimson as poison leaked out of his claws, the grass melting under his feet.

"What have you done to my intended?"


After explaining their trip to the neighbouring village and Kagome's sudden change in behaviour, Sesshoumaru sat in silence, his youki curling around the hut in dangerous tendrils.

"She hasn't been herself since they got back. She had a headache, but we thought it might just be from using too much reiki."

His gaze remained on their doorway, one arm laying over a bended knee. "Monk, there were no interruptions to the ritual?"

"No. Lady Kagome seemed a little distracted, but we were able to purge the spirit nonetheless."


Miroku looked at his wife, then back at Sesshoumaru, confusion written clearly on his face. "Lord Sesshoumaru, I assure you that—"

"The spirit did not disperse. It has taken hold of the miko."

The trio sat in silence for a moment before Sango smacked Miroku upside the head. "I told you something was wrong! I knew it from the moment you got back."

He winced, rubbing the back of his head. "I never sensed anything was amiss. And she didn't exhibit any of the usual signs of being possessed!"

Sango let out an inhuman growl and turned on her husband. "You are going to gather everything you need for another exorcism and fix this. I don't care how long it takes."


The pair froze, startled by the venom in Sesshoumaru's voice.

"But Lord Sesshoumaru, we can't leave her like—"

"There is no time. The possession is killing her."

"W-What?" Sango gasped, suddenly finding it hard to breathe.

"The being that has possessed her was a spiritual being in their previous life. Its reiki, combined with that of the miko, is eating away at her body. We must separate them now."

They sat in stunned silence, processing Sesshoumaru's words before Miroku's quiet, resigned voice wafted through the hut.

"Were you able to tell what kind of holy power the being was?"

Golden eyes slid sideways, eyeing him carefully. "A monk."

He ran his hand through his short hair, sighing softly. "I had a feeling. My lord, do you have a quicker solution to this problem?"

Sesshoumaru got to his feet in a graceful swirl of silks, one hand resting on the hilt of Tenseiga. "My father's fang will rid her of the unwanted presence."

"I thank you for that, my lord. And your price for this service?"

Deadly claws ran through silver hair. "Will be discussed after the deed is done."

"As you wish." Miroku got to his feet and grabbed his staff, following the daiyoukai outside. "One more favour, if you would be so kind?"

Gold eyes narrowed and Miroku could feel his patience waning. "Let me talk to her—him first?"

Sesshoumaru eyed for a moment, his hand tightening around the hilt of his sword. "I will grant you enough time to say goodbye."

Clasping his hands in front of him, Miroku bowed low. "You are most gracious, my lord." Then he took off running, leaving a bewildered Sango behind him as he went in search of his friend.


He found her on the riverbank again, lounging lazily as water pooled around her feet. Her hair was pulled back into a low ponytail, long dark locks cascading over one shoulder as she gazed at the village females washing laundry in the distance. A small bottle of sake lay beside her.

"You have learned your lesson."

Indigo eyes turned on him as a single brow raised in question. Miroku motioned to the women downstream, their yukatas rolled up to their knees and elbows, showing off slick skin.

"You watch from a distance now."

Her lips pulled back in a slow smirk before she shrugged a shoulder, stretching her arms above her head. "They are quicker to adapt than those I'm used to. Their beauty is only matched by their intelligence, it seems."

"That would be from your influence, Lady Kagome." Sitting down beside her, the rings atop his staff jingled as he laid it between them. "It is a shame you didn't gain that knowledge in your previous life—"

Kagome stilled beside him.


A low chuckle escaped her lips and she gave him a sideways glance. "What gave me away?"

"Besides the fact that you suffer from the same wandering hand that I do?"

The chuckle turned into real laughter, Kagome holding her stomach. "It's not an affliction, my son. I quite enjoy it."

Miroku poked her in the face, Kagome's dark eyes continuing to gleam even as she winced at the semi-permanent handprint on her cheek.

"You still walk the same."

Kagome's gait had changed in the last couple days, adopting a wider, more confident stance with a slight limp. As if she was used to having a staff in her hand.

She sighed, tucking her feet under her as she sat cross-legged. "I suppose this means my fun is over."

"I'm afraid so. Lady Kagome is a powerful miko in her own right, possibly the most powerful this world has ever seen, but even her body has its limits. Your combined power is hurting her."

"She has been rather quiet lately," she mused, placing a hand over her heart. "I thought she had just given up and was allowing me to enjoy myself."

Miroku grabbed her hand, giving her a pleading look. "Lady Kagome is a very good friend of mine. I would not be here with her. You need to release her."

A forlorn expression furrowed her features before she turned his hand over in hers, tracing the lines of his palm.

"I wasn't sure it was you at first. I had hoped—assumed with the way your power fluctuated like mine. But the wind tunnel…"

Clapping Kagome on the shoulder, Miroku flashed his father his most charming smile. "We beat him. The one that cursed Grandfather. Kagome helped break the curse and freed me." He watched as she blinked back tears.

"I suppose that I owe her a life debt then. And must vacate her lovely body."

Miroku squeezed her shoulder before the woman pulled him in for a tight hug. Her voice was low and gravely and Miroku was transported back to his childhood, before the trauma of his father's untimely death.

"I wish I could've spent more time with you."

He returned the embrace, his bangs covering his eyes as he laid his head on her shoulder. "As do I. Though I think Sango would've had a heart attack if we'd both started showering the sirens of this village with the attention they deserve."

An explosion of laughter escaped Kagome's lips.

"Plus, I can only imagine what she and Lord Sesshoumaru would do to us during that time."

"Lord Sesshoumaru?" She finally pulled back, having composed herself.

"The daiyoukai you met earlier. And rebuffed."

"Ah." She laid back on her hands. "Your friend fought the hardest when he showed up. She was very hopeful he'd notice something was wrong."

"Yes, well, not surprising considering—"

"What the fuck have you done to K'gome?!" Inuyasha burst through the treeline, Tessaiga already swinging around in front of him.

Miroku got to his feet, stepping in between them. "Inuyasha, everything is fine, Lady Kagome is simply—" His voice died in his throat as the tip of Inuyasha's blade was shoved in his face.

"Don't start with me, Miroku, I could smell the taint in her scent from the village. Something's wrong and I ain't waiting around to—"

Tenseiga clanged against the top of Tessaiga, the swords recoiling from each other.

"You will do nothing."

Inuyasha's head whipped around, golden eyes glaring at his brother. "The hell I will! Why aren't you more pissed? She's your—" He didn't get the chance to finish, Sango using Hiraikotsu to slam him into the ground.

"Next time wait until I'm finished explaining before you run off!"

His groan was muffled by the dirt around his face, Sango stepping over his body before shoving a finger in her husband's face.

"And you! You did the same thing without explaining anything. What is going on?"

Kagome grabbed Sango's hand and bowed low, brushing her lips against her fingers. "I apologize if my actions have caused you any distress. Would you do me the honour of bearing my—"

Miroku grabbed the collar of Kagome's robes and yanked her back, his usually carefree gaze hard and unwavering. "Sango is off limits, Dad."

Inuyasha's head flew up at the same time Sango's jaw dropped open, their combined screech causing a few birds to fly off in panic.


Sesshoumaru was the only one unsurprised by this news, brandishing Tenseiga as he moved closer. "Have you concluded your business, monk?"

Releasing Kagome's collar, he pushed the woman forward. "I appreciate the few moments you were able to spare me, Lord Sesshoumaru."

Kagome adjusted her robes, casting one more glance over her shoulder, a rueful smile tugging at her lips before she turned to accept her fate. Miroku's jaw clenched as Sesshoumaru's sword slashed down in front of Kagome, all her muscles stiffening as she lifted her face to the sky in a silent scream.

Sesshoumaru reached forward, collecting the woman as she collapsed against him, moaning softly. The image of a man rose above her, the uncanny resemblance to Miroku startling everyone in attendance. The spirit looked down at his hands, then turned around, nodding his head.

"I am proud of you, my son. I'm glad you found your happy ending" The edge of his hands and face began to sparkle, turning to stardust as he rose higher in the sky. His smile was the last thing they saw before he disappeared completely.

Miroku felt his wife's arm slide around his waist as she pulled him close.

"Are you alright?"

He patted her plump behind and for once, she didn't protest. "I'm good. Better actually. I never got to say goodbye to him before."

Kagome groaned again, shifting slightly before Sesshoumaru gingerly picked her up, his hands mindful of his claws as he held her close.

"You are lucky there was no permanent damage."

"I will accept all consequences on Lady Kagome's behalf."

Sesshoumaru gave a curt nod, then headed back to the village, one of Kagome's hands unconsciously gripping the front of his hakimono.

"Is someone going to tell me what the fuck just happened?"

Miroku chuckled and helped Inuyasha up from the ground. "All in good time my friend."


"It's alright, I'm not going to fade away."

Sesshoumaru's grip around her waist only tightened and she reached up to stroke his cheek, trying to will away his clenched muscles. They were nestled against a wall in her hut, her head laying back against his shoulder as he cradled her in his lap.

He'd refused to let her go since she'd woken up.

"I have never heard your heart beat so erratically before, allow me this luxury."

Her gaze turned soft, her eyes back to their usual shade of cobalt, and she kissed the underside of his jaw.

"Everyone else had suspicions but they didn't realize I'd been possessed. I guess it helps that you have such a strong nose."

"Your scent was not the first thing that alerted me to your situation."

She frowned. "How did you figure it out then? I didn't change much. Not at first anyway."

He loosened her hair from the tie at the nape of her neck, freeing it from the irregular hairstyle before dragging his claws through the ebony waves.

"It was enough."

"Even if he hadn't shown up, I knew something was wrong as soon as I got back. The village stank."


Kagome giggled. Inuyasha leaned up against the side of her door, arms crossed over his chest. He hadn't wanted to leave her either but being officially courted by the Lord of the Western Lands gave Sesshoumaru a few perks.

The flap was pulled aside and Miroku and Sango joined them. Miroku had been extremely apologetic, explaining what had happened during the exorcism and taking all the blame on himself. She'd reassured him that she was fine, though she was still a little groggy from the experience.

Giving her friends a small wave, she attempted to get up, only for Sesshoumaru to wrap his other arm around her and stilling her movements

"How are you feeling, Lady Kagome?"

"I told you before, Miroku, I'm fine. I'm just a little tired. I promise!"

His shoulders sagged a little as relief finally relaxed his features. He flashed her a small smile, then met the intense gaze of the youkai behind her.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, I was wondering about the price of your assistance in bringing Lady Kagome back to her senses. You still haven't told us what it is."

All eyes were on Sesshoumaru.

"I will be taking one of her memories."

Inuyasha bristled instantly. "The hell you are! No one else is messing with her head, she'd been through enough!"

"It is not up to you."

Kagome had initially stiffened at Sesshoumaru's words, but as she looked up at him, a refreshing calmness settled around her. The sounds of Inuyasha's argument dulled in her ears as he met her gaze, his stoic expression not giving anything away but making her smile anyway.

"It's alright, Inuyasha."

Her friend choked on his words, stomping indignantly. "How can you say that? He could make you forget anything! Including me!"

"He wouldn't do that. I trust him."

Pride flared around them, his youki teasing her skin and making her shiver. Squeezing one of his hands, she finally pulled herself off his lap. She could feel the unease of the three behind her, but she ignored it, focusing on her future mate.

Magenta stripes peeked out from the edge of his sleeve as he reached out, claws brushing against her skin before they began to glow, the light encasing her entire body. Warmth spread through her and she closed her eyes, her energy zeroing in on his touch as various memories flashed through her mind.

The glow faded then shifted to a brilliant blue as he unsheathed Tenseiga, his youki sliding down the edge of the blade, making it shine as he sliced through the air in front of her. Kagome tried to focus on the images, but they moved too quickly, blurring around the edges before darkness overtook her again.


Two weeks had passed since her possession and Kagome felt incredible. It was like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders and she was able to concentrate on things like training and playing with Shippou and Rin.

She blocked one of Inuyasha's attacks, spinning around and landing a hit against the hanyou's side. Letting out a cry of triumph, she did a little dance, pumping her hands into the air. Inuyasha repositioned himself, grinning at the miko.

"Nice shot, K'gome. Not even Kikyou was able to hit me."

"Who's Kikyou?"

Tessaiga hit the ground with a thud, his mouth dropping open at the same time Miroku and Sango gasped. The twins chose that moment to grab Kagome's hands, pulling her away from Inuyasha to convince her to join in their newly invented game.

Inuyasha recovered and stalked over to his brother, who was leaning against a nearby tree.

"That's the memory you took from her? Are you insane?! She—"

"Has the memory loss harmed the miko in any way?" Sesshoumaru didn't look at him, inspecting his claws. Inuyasha started as Sango and Miroku joined them, all of them watching Kagome spin around, one girl holding tightly onto each of her hands, their laughter mixing together as she pulled them close.

Inuyasha sputtered, having been the first one to make a comment about how happy she'd been lately.

"N-No, but you can't just mess with people's minds like that, ya bastard! I'm gonna go tell her—" Sesshoumaru's claws sank into his leg as Miroku grabbed his arm, Sango clutching a fistful of his hair.

"No!" they all chorused. Golden eyes widened as he struggled against them.

"The monk felt doubt in Kagome's aura prior to the exorcism. That is what his father's spirit latched on to. Without the memory of the dead one, she is free from such uncertainty in her own abilities."

"You can't deny Lord Sesshoumaru's claim, Inuyasha."

"I know… I d-don't, but—"

Miroku gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "They are not forgotten as long as they live on in our hearts, my friend. You have more than enough memories of Lady Kikyou."

"Plus, you can focus on all the positive ones. That's the best way to remember her. Not the way that Kagome knew her."

Inuyasha blew out a sigh, his body sagging in defeat. "I know."

Rising to his feet, Sesshoumaru finally released his brother's leg. He walked over to Kagome as the humans continued to placate the hanyou, revelling in the pure joy emanating from his intended. Sapphire eyes beamed at him as she flashed him a brilliant smile, holding out her hand so he could join the children's game.

His fingers intertwined with hers and he was once again reassured that he'd made the right decision.

On both accounts.


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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