luxken27: (Kikyo)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2011-12-05 05:33 pm

By Request | The Miko’s Sacrifice

Title: The Miko’s Sacrifice
Fandom: Inuyasha
Universe: Pre-canon
Genre: General
Rating: T
Warning: Angst, (minor) character death
Word Length: 2,954
Summary: She never wanted to be a savior, but now she held humanity’s fate in her hands.

Links: LJ | | dA

Author’s Note: Written for [ profile] paynesgrey, on commission for the 2011 [ profile] help_japan fandom charity auction.

So, this fic was only overdue by seven months (*facepalm*), but finally, the second of my [ profile] help_japan stories has been completed =) [ profile] paynesgrey request was simply "I want something Kikyo-centric," so it was up to me to fill in the blanks. After tossing around a couple of ideas, I settled on a pre-canon scenario, because there isn't much background to glean for this incredibly important character. Originally, I was thinking along the lines of writing something about how she became a miko (and even went so far as to do some research in that vein - thanks, KK!), but then Life Happened and this fic was pushed to the wayside.

I want to thank [ profile] paynesgrey for being so patient with me - you're awesomecakes :D

Because this fic sat on the backburner for so long, I decided to simplify my idea, pulling a situation from the canon itself and expanding upon it. When the Inutachi meets Sango, they learn a little bit about the history of the jewel - its origins, and how it came to be in Kikyo's possession. This piece is my interpretation of those events.

I really like Kikyo - she has so much depth, right from the start, and is one of the most powerful characters in the story. She haunts Inuyasha from beyond the grave, and spends most of the story either hating him, or pursuing Naraku. The reasons she became entangled with Inuyasha in the first place are intriguing - she was this all-powerful miko, yes, but she was also a woman who yearned to simply be free. Witness her parting words to Inuyasha - "At last, I am an ordinary woman."

So I wondered how she came to be torn apart from that fundamental desire in the first place. There is some hint in the anime filler that Kikyo falling in love weakened her powers and made her mission to protect the jewel that much harder. So, to me, it makes sense that it was the jewel that sealed her fate - when she took on that responsibility, her life was forever altered.

It was interesting, trying to write Kikyo as a young woman. She's definitely one of the more mature characters at the core of the tale, jaded and cynical and utterly realistic. Trying to figure out who she was before those attitudes developed is the heart of the story.

I pulled a lot of inspiration from Elizabeth Chadwick's The Love Knot, which is a historical romance set in the Middle Ages, with a healer/midwife as its protagonist. One of the reasons I liked the story so much was because of the woman's profession; controversial but so necessary, healers were responsible for everything from tending sickness to selling potions to the superstitious. The titular Love Knot was one of those tokens; a spell is cast as the fibers are woven together, and it represents the bond between the two people who own it.

So, I transferred these sorts of duties to Kikyo for the purposes of this fic. Miko and medieval healers aren't exactly analogous, but they perform so many of the everyday duties in tending to their villagers. And, I can imagine, that it's difficult for Kikyo to see the others girls in the village who are her age (or even younger!) getting married and having babies, knowing her own chances for such happiness are bleak, at best. It's a difficult thing to struggle with, especially in a very traditional society. She is revered, yes, but it strips away her femininity.

I named her friend Himiko after an ancient shaman queen, mostly because I name all of my Japanese OCs after royalty (for canon-set stories) or tennis players (for modern day AUs) :P And, I thought it fit ~ like Kikyo, Himiko is a name rooted in Chinese.

The thrust of the story is the middle and the end, contrasting that sort of glimpse of daily life with the event that forever changes the course of Kikyo's destiny. For this, I'm pulling directly from canon: manga chapter 94 (pg 16), and anime episode 26, "The Secret of the Jewel of Four Souls Revealed":

One of the things I love about RT's art is how expressively she draws the characters' eyes - she can tell a story without uttering a word of dialogue. This scene in the anime only lasts a couple of seconds, but it tells so much. According to the anime, it was Sango's father who brought the jewel into Kikyo's care; her grandfather died from wounds he sustained in exterminating the youkai who held it. Sango's father is the leader of the taijiya, which I take to mean that he's not only exceptionally talented, but he's also powerful - power that would've passed down through the generations.

If Kikyo was confronted with a dying man, still holding onto dear life even though he clutched a corrupted jewel, could she really turn her back on him? She's been taught to heal and protect, after all - but encountering the jewel, being able to purify it at a touch, and having some mystical bond to the soul trapped inside it - this will radically alter her life. If she grants Sango's father's plea, it will mean that her path is sealed...even further down a road she didn't particularly want to travel.

And I think she regrets it, for the rest of her life (and her second chance at life).

But, what choice did she have?

So, that's where this story came from =) I'm delighted to say that [ profile] paynesgrey loved it (yay!) and granted me permission to post it publicly (double yay!). This was a challenge for me, and I'm glad I was able to fill it to my requester's satisfaction =)