A/N: I had been toying with this idea for awhile, but I wasn't sure if I should put it up.. Keep in mind that when Kagome speaks in sign language, it will be signified with brackets ([ ]'s).
Disclaimer: I disclaim any and all rights to Inuyasha.
Warnings: Inuyasha has a potty mouth. Also, I'm not abandoning School Daze. This, Kaigan, and another story in a different genre are side things, though I have a LOT planned for this story.
Chapter One: Through the Well
Kagome's mother used to tell her that there was good in everyone. She said that if you looked past the deceit and lies people usually put up to hide their true nature, you would most likely find a person who was insecure or without self-esteem. Her mother was usually right, but there were times when she had doubts.
She was most doubtful during school.
It was really like any other Monday morning. She stared helplessly at her ceiling and clenched her poor sheets to her chest, unwilling to face another day. Her lower lip became victim to her teeth and she bit down hard enough to nearly draw blood, as if that could protect her from having to face reality. Grimacing, she finally released her death grip on the blanket and shoved them off, irrationally upset that they wouldn't guard her from the malevolence of the world.
"Kagome?" her mother's kind voice came from behind her wall. Kagome sat up and looked in her mother's direction, distractedly reaching up to straighten her top. It had gotten twisted sometime in her sleep. "Are you awake, dear?" There were a few moments of silence while her mother waited for an answer. When Kagome didn't respond, her mother poked her head in with a shamed look on her face.
Kagome's lips twitched into a humorless smile. It had become a type of morning ritual for the two of them; her mother coming down the hall to make sure she and her brother were awake, and Kagome waiting for her mother to realize her handicap prevented her from making any sort of answer. She knew her mother felt guilty every time she made that mistake, but Kagome had long ago stopped caring.
"Oh, Kagome, I'm sorry!" Her mother clenched her hands to her chest in embarrassment. Her cheeks were stained pink. "It's not that I forgot, it's just that I've had so much on my mind lately, and.."
Kagome waved off her apologies. She slid out of bed, shifting a bit as her bare feet came in contact with the cold floor. Smiling in a way that she hoped eased some of her mother's concerns, she moved over to the older woman and embraced her. That had been a part of the ritual, too; Kagome reassuring her mother that she hadn't done anything wrong or hurtful.
Her mother smiled in apparent relief, and she kissed the top of her daughter's head. "Hurry up and get ready," she ordered, releasing the other girl and taking a step back. "Your grandfather wants to see you before you go to school today." Kagome raised her eyebrow with evident inquiry. Her mother smiled at her expression. "Don't tell me you forgot."
Kagome nodded sheepishly. At that, her mother laughed gently and reached over, giving the girl another hug. "Dear, today is your birthday," her mother reminded, then let go and gently pushed the pajama-clad girl out the door. "Now go see your grandfather. I have to go wake Sota up."
Dazed, and still a bit surprised from this sudden revelation, Kagome did what her mother told her and stumbled towards where she knew her grandfather would be. Stupid, she berated herself silently. You really are a freak. Who in their right mind forgets their own birthday? It's not like you turn fifteen every day..
"Kagome!" her grandfather called, halting her silent reprimands. He was kneeling in front of their eating table and holding a pair of chopsticks. "Where are you going? Didn't your mother tell you I wanted to speak with you this morning?"
She blinked in surprise and back-tracked a couple of steps, before turning and walking into the kitchen. She smiled in greeting and took her designated seat across from him, picking up her pen. 'Good morning, Grandfather,' she wrote in neat, precise letters, then slid the notepad towards him. The old man smiled in return, reaching under the table to pull out a small box.
"Ah, good morning, Kagome." He put the box on top of the table in front of her, still smiling. His entire face showed the smile, wrinkles folding over themselves and eyes crinkling in delight. "How does it feel, being fifteen?"
Kagome pulled the notepad back to her. 'Same old, same old. I suppose I would feel different if I grew an inch taller, or something.' Her grandfather chuckled at that, sliding the box closer to her.
"In any case, happy birthday."
Smiling radiantly, she tentatively tugged the cover of the box off. Her smile wavered, though, then turned down in surprise. Carefully, she plucked what looked like a shriveled hand out of the box and held it up with a mixture of incredulity and disgust.
"That," her grandfather said proudly, pausing a bit to add atmosphere, "is the mummified hand of a kappa. The legends have it.."
Kagome sighed and placed the hand back in the box. She supposed that's what she got for living in a shrine all her life. Carefully setting the box to the side, she stood up, flashed her grandfather a warm smile, then walked back out of the kitchen.
She tugged the white scarf tighter around her neck, looking up at the trees with a slightly awed expression. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, pregnant and awaiting their snowy descent to the ground. A childish grin briefly touched her lips as she just stood their for a few moments, watching in wonder as the wind lightly toyed with the branches, sending a few of the loose petals swirling to the ground. Maybe it would be a good day, after all.
She stopped at her name being called, turning around to look at the old well-house in surprise. That was odd. Her grandfather and mother had strictly forbidden anyone to go in the well-house, reiterating several times that it was far too dangerous to play in. Her mother and grandfather were especially protective over her, after her 'accident' several years ago. Frowning, she walked towards the voice that sounded vaguely like her brother.
[Sota,] Kagome said with her hands, moving her fingers quickly and deftly to form each letter. [What are you doing here? Mama and Grandpa specifically told us to never enter this place..]
"I know," Sota responded, after carefully watching her hand movements. "But, Buyo.."
Kagome heaved a small sigh and walked past her brother. She knew the smaller boy wouldn't set foot in the well-house unless someone else was with him, even if it meant saving their obese cat.
"Go on, Kag. Go get him," Sota whispered, as if afraid to disrupt any dormant spirits hiding within the recesses of the well-house. Kagome shot her brother a dry look. Apparently, the over-protectiveness her guardians had on her was lost on him.
[Aren't you a boy?] Kagome signed, a mocking look on her face. Her brother stuck his tongue out at her, nudging her towards the center of the well-house. There was a scratching sound, and Kagome's step faltered. The well-house had always been the source of all her fears when she was younger since it was so forbidden. She used to stay up late at night and scare herself, imagining the things that could be locked away in the small shack. She came up with some pretty creative ideas, and most of them were coming back to her in a rush at that moment.
"Well?" Sota hissed, shifting from foot to foot. He was as nervous as she, if not more. "Hurry up! This place is creepy, Kagome.."
She made a sharp gesture with her hand, frowning in annoyance. Her brother had the tendency to be pesky. She took another step into the well-house, carefully avoiding the bones that littered the ground. Grimacing, and trying to calm her pounding heart, she moved to the front of the well. A small parchment of paper was taped to the cover over some herbs, a ward to keep away any danger.
It seemed as if the cat was stuck inside the well.
This is a fine place for you to get stuck, stupid, she chastised the cat silently. Now hurry up and magically appear so I don't have to be in here any long—
Her thoughts were cut off when something small and furry rubbed against her bare leg. Kagome opened her mouth to let out a silent scream of terror and grabbed one of the rib bones on the ground, intent on using it to ward off any frightening, fuzzy creature that dared to rub against her.
Buyo meowed deeply, purring and looking up at Kagome with a face that ordered to be fed.
"Don't scare me like that!" Sota called from the entrance, one hand over his heart. Kagome glared at him darkly, then took a step towards the entrance. She made it halfway back before there was a shattering noise behind her. Much to slowly, she turned around to see what the noise was. Dozens and dozens of icy fingers grabbed her, around her neck, around her waist, and around her arms, pulling her down into the inky blackness of the well. Her mouth opened to scream, and her eyes became impossibly wide.
She twisted around to stare at her captor, her mouth working and trying to ask what was going on, even though she hadn't used it to speak since she was five. The.. thing that was holding her looked like a woman trying to mimic a centipede, but had failed miserably and was left with nothing but an impossibly long spinal chord.
"What strength," the woman grated out in a dead-person's voice. "I can feel my power returning to me! My strength!" The creature ran it's long tongue across the side of her face, tasting her flesh. Goosebumps shot up Kagome's arms and legs, but she was still frozen. "It is mine! I will consume you.. completely!"
This.. this thing wants to eat me?! Kagome thought in horrible disbelief. I don't think so! She brought the sharp rib bone down in a sideways arc, slamming the 'weapon' as hard as she could between through the woman's many ribs. Let me go, you freak! A blinding light shot from Kagome's fingertips, and the centipede woman screamed, her human arms breaking from her body and falling uselessly with Kagome. The monster retreated, and Kagome collapsed against solid ground. She stared at the ground in disbelief, before scrambling to her feet and running to the wall of the well. Her thoughts were dancing through her head at breakneck speeds, but the only thing that mattered to her was that what she had just saw was not a dream.
Bodiless arms don't just appear out of nowhere.
Vines? she thought, grabbing one of the sturdy nature-made ropes to help support her weight. Since when were there vines in our well? And where's Sota? Did that chicken run off..?
She stopped her mindless ranting when she reached the top of the well. Actually, to be more precise, she didn't exactly stop the thoughts. They stopped themselves.
Where the hell is THIS?! Hesitantly, she took a step in what should have been the direction of the shrine, but the area looked completely different to her. Gone was busy, industrialized city her home was in the middle of, replaced with more nature than Kagome had ever seen in her life. The girl blinked, baffled beyond words. It was as if her home of fifteen years had suddenly just stopped existing.
I can try to make some logic of this later, Kagome thought determinedly. Right now I have to find my home! There's the Go-Shin-Boku, she thought suddenly. THAT'S normal. I should be able to find my way back from there!
Without being exactly what one might call rational, she started to run towards the Go-Shin-Boku.
Someone was waiting for her.
She reached the Go-Shin-Boku tree in a record amount of time, considering she had never been there before. Well, she had been, only it had been different then. She sighed and shook her head to clear the cobwebs, confusing herself even more. Oh well, she thought, looking up at the tree. At least I'm at the.. at the.. She choked on her next word, staring in disbelief at the sight that greeted her.
There was a boy pinned to a tree by an arrow.
Staring at her.
"Oi, wench," the boy growled out. There was a grumbling somewhere in the middle of his chest, almost sounding canine. "So you've finally returned. You have no idea how long I've been waiting to rip your stupid little throat out."
That got Kagome to take a step back, hands flying to her neck. Thankfully, she hadn't lost her scarf when she fell through the well.
The boy seemed to wait for her to say something, but since that was quite impossible she just shook her head in denial. It didn't occur to her that she didn't have anything to deny.
"What's the matter with you, Kikyo? Cat got your tongue?" His voice was mocking, and Kagome tensed all at once. Oooh, did she hate that little taunt. Lord knows she had heard it more than once in the ten years she hadn't been able to speak.
[My name is Kagome!] She signed uselessly at him. [Not Kikyo! Ka! Go! Me!]
The boy just blinked in confusion, and Kagome sighed helplessly. [Uncultured jerk.]
"What are you doing with your hands, wench? Didn't you hear my question? Answer me!"
I CAN'T! she shouted in her mind, flailing her hands in vain. He just blinked at her, apparently untouched by her antics.
She sighed, counting to ten her mind, then climbed up the roots so that they were almost face to face. She was a couple of inches shorter than him, though, so it would have been impossible anyway. Carefully and precisely, as one might do to a three year old, she pointed to her throat.
"Something wrong with your neck?" the boy asked boredly. Charades wasn't his dig. Kagome nodded vigorously. That got the boy's attention, for some reason. "Someone was actually able to wound the great and powerful Kikyo? HA!"
Kagome smacked her forehead, then slid her fingers down her face. He was easily making her extremely frusterated. Struck by sudden inspiration, she grabbed the notepad and pen she kept in her skirt pocket, then began scribbling furiously.
'Can you read?' She held up the notepad in front of the boy's face expectantly, that simple sentence scrawled at the top.
"Of course I can, idiot! Do you take me for some kind of uncultured dumbass?"
However, she had lost interest after he had said the word's 'of course', and started to scribble again. 'My name is Kagome. Not Kikyo. KAGOME.' She held the notepad up again for him to see, and he blinked.
"You're not Kikyo?" He sniffed the air once. "Feh. I should have known. Kikyo was cute. You're not."
Kagome's eyes widened for a moment, before her face twisted into an angry scowl. I should have known. He's just like every other immature boy. She smacked him on the head with her notepad.
"Ow! Stupid! What do you think you're doing?" He growled again, ears flattening.
Ears that Kagome had previously looked over.
What are those? Curiously, she reached over and tweaked one of his ears. It turned in response to her touch, and she smiled gleefully. Without even really thinking about it, or what this boy might do to her for her actions, she gently rubbed both his ears, one hand still holding her notepad. They're so.. cute..
He wasn't about to say he didn't enjoy the sensation. It felt good to get his ears scratched, especially since he had been awake for a couple of hours and hadn't been able to scratch them himself, even though they were itchy. That was what stopped him from protesting right off the bat.
However, after a few moments..
"Hey, little girl! What do you think you're doing, huh?! Stop that! Do you WANT to die?"
Kagome ignored him, though, too amused by the fuzzy little appendages at the top of his head. It was also funny to see him squirm uncomfortably.
"Stop it! I said stop that!" The boy frowned in embarrassment, trying to push back the pleased little rumble that was building up in the center of his chest. The girl, as mute as she was, heard it and laughed silently, doubling her efforts in scratching his ears. He unconsciously leaned forward. After a moment of whining, he was struck by inspiration and flattened his ears to get them away from her hands. "Ha!"
Kagome took a small step back, eyes sparkling with mirth. He was half-heartedly glaring at her, too relaxed from the ear massage to be really angry. He just watched quietly as she started to scribble on the notepad again.
'What's your name?' it read. The boy blinked, then frowned. She really wasn't Kikyo..
"Inuyasha." He answered. But if she wasn't Kikyo.. "Could you get me down from this tree?"
Kagome stared at him as if he had grown a second head. Did he actually expect someone like her to break the roots that confined him to the tree? Her expression must have given something away, because he snorted derisively at her.
"Stupid. I don't mean to break the roots. If all I needed was that, then I wouldn't need the help of a puny human." He stuck his nose up a bit, but kept one amber colored eye on her. "What I meant was the arrow."
Her eyes snapped to the left half of his chest, mouth forming a small 'O' of surprise. She reached over and gently placed her free hand on top of the arrow, then blinked and glanced back up at him as if asking if that's what he wanted. He nodded quickly in encouragement, tendrils of white hair falling in front of his face. He blew them away in annoyance.
He wants me to pull it OUT of him? Blinking again, she shrugged and gave it a small tug. Inuyasha let out a small bark of surprise and pain, and Kagome immediately dropped her hands.
"OW! Bitch! What do you think you're doing?!"
Kagome huffed and scribbled something on the paper, before shoving the entire pad in his face. He pulled his head back slightly, in order to read the words.
'I was just doing what you told me to, jerk!'
"I didn't mean to actually HURT me. Just make it.. I don't know, disappear or something!"
She scowled at him and pulled her notepad back, jotting something down on it below her last note. 'Stupid. I'm not magic or anything. How am I SUPPOSED to get it out if I can't pull on it?'
"I don't know," Inuyasha responded after looking over her next note. "Be creative."
Be creative, he says, she thought, rolling her eyes. Sure. And then I have to deal with him yelling at me like there's no tomorrow.
"Not good for much, are you?" Inuyasha asked, sneering. Her head snapped up in surprise, anger clouding her expression. "Can't talk, can't get rid of enchanted arro—OW!" He was cut off rather viciously when she wrapped her hand back around the arrow, yanking it out with surprising strength. A clawed hand broke through the roots to fly to the small hole in his chest, covering it in surprise.
She.. she was actually able to take it out.. He blinked in astonishment at her, even more so when the arrow dissolved in the palm of her hand. She was looking at him, and where the arrow had been, with an equal amount of wonder. She really hadn't been expecting the arrow to come out at all, let alone that easily..
Inuyasha stared at her for a long moment, overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of power that rushed into him. He had almost forgotten that that bitch Kikyo's spell had laid his power dormant, as well as pinning him to the tree. He closed his eyes, reveling in the feeling of pure power that crashed back into him, stars dazzling him behind his eyelids. It was enough to almost make him feel drunk.
His eyes snapped open again when he felt something familiar niggling at the back of his mind. It was.. it was..
"You have it!" he roared, lunging at her with sudden ferocity. The girl opened her mouth to let out a silent scream and tumbled back, the roots exploding from his form as if they were paper. He landed easily next to her on all fours, the affects of being 'asleep' for several years seeming to do nothing to his reflexes. "Give it to me! It's mine!"
Kagome scrambled back, shoes digging small grooves into the soil. Have what?! Have what?! I don't have anything, I swear! Justifiably, she was beginning to think she shouldn't have pulled that arrow out.
He was quicker than her, grabbing her by her uniform collar. "Give it to me!" Roughly, he shook her. The scarf she had tied around her neck loosened a bit, one end sliding down to reveal a bit of her neck. Kagome lifted her hands to cover his in horror, digging her nails into the soft and yet rough flesh.
Oh god, oh god oh god oh god, he's going to kill me..
"Woman! Look at me! What did you do with the Shikon no Tama?! You have it! I can feel it on you!"
She shook her head vehemently, feeling tears squeeze out behind her eyelids.
"Liar!" He gave another rough shake. "Tell me where it is! You think it will be hard for me to kill you?!"
I would give it to you if I could! She really would have, too. At that point, she would have given anything for him to let her go.
Unfortunately, he wasn't a mind reader. Since she had no way of communicating with him verbally, she did the only other thing she could think to do.. Which was pray to every deity or god or whatever her grandfather told her to pray to with such vehemence that it would be sacrilege if they didn't. Fortunately, they did. Several arrows flew from seemingly nowhere and imbedded themselves in the Go-Shin-Boku, narrowly missing both Inuyasha and Kagome. It did, however, attract both said character's attentions. Inuyasha looked over her head in surprise.
"Demon!" a withered, authoritative looking woman shouted. Her voice sounded like hollow branches of sacred trees, ancient, but filled with the musical tone of nature and knowledge. Although she was so old, her stature demanded respect and attention. "Released the woman! She is not but an innocent, who does not deserve to be attacked by thee."
"Feh," Inuyasha snorted. He shot a dry look at Kagome's hopeful expression. "What do you plan to do, crone? Shoot her first?"
Several archers lowered their arrows. Of course that wasn't their goal.
"..Lady Kaede.." one said, worriedly.
"Do not be deceived, demon," 'Lady Kaede' continued, ignoring the archer who had interrupted her. Kagome's fallen hopes lifted again. "Your eyes are still blind from your fifty year sleep."
"What are you trying to say?" He raised an eyebrow, tightening his grip on Kagome.
"You have yet to recognize me for the miko I am."
Inuyasha let out a bark of laughter. "Miko? Miko? I may have been asleep for ages, but I know a miko when I see one, and, hag, you DEFINITELY aren't a mik—"
His rant, fortunately, was cut off when a beaded rosary suddenly wrapped itself around his neck. Surprised, he dropped Kagome and threw his hands around the rosary, trying to yank it off. "What the HELL is this?!"
Kagome stumbled back, too surprised to be frightened. She blinked, then turned around to look at the old lady. One inquisitive eyebrow arched up.
"Here," Lady Kaede said, smiling nicely and handing her a wooden whistle. Still surprised, Kagome wrapped her fingers around the small instrument, and, without being told, lifted it to her lips and blew.
"What the fuck?!"
Kagome blinked, then threw her hands over her mouth to hide her amused grin. Inuyasha was plastered on the ground, face first, with his ears flattened against his head.
If Kagome could laugh, she would be on her back right now.
The other people in the forest had no such restraints. Many of the archers were leaning on each other for support as they burst out in hysterics. Even Lady Kaede had a handkerchief out and was covering her mouth politely, disguising her laughter as raspy coughs.
"Shut up!" Inuyasha barked against the ground. He lifted his head up and glared hatefully at everyone around him, raking his claws into the ground. "Let me up!"
Kagome bit her lower lip and glanced at the old lady. Her eyes were still sparkling with mirth.
"Oh, do not worry about the impudent demon," Lady Kaede said reassuringly. "He will be able to get to his feet soon enough. Now.."
She was cut off when the forest seemed to part. The laughter disappeared all at once, as if someone had pressed the stop button. Kagome's eyes widened to the point where they actually seemed unnatural.
It was coming for her. The entire forest fell silent, little animals too afraid to call out to each other and disrupt the tension.
All conscious thought fled from Kagome's mind as the monster appeared. The centipede woman towered over her, the stumps where her limbs used to be wiggling around in a threatening manner. Well, it would have been threatening if she actually had arms. Nonetheless, Kagome felt her heart stop.
"What the hell is that?" Inuyasha asked disdainfully.
Kagome didn't hear him. Her heartbeat was pounding to loudly in her ears to hear anything, really.
"My beautiful body," the centipede woman crooned sadly. "LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO MY BEAUTIFUL BODY!"
The mute opened her mouth to scream, then turned around to blindly run deeper into the forest. She needed to get away from the demon. Of course, it came shooting after her, much faster than something of it's size should be able to go.
The remainder of the people stared in a type of fascinated horror. Except Inuyasha, of course. He actually looked rather put upon.
"..Stupid," he growled, leaping to his feet. "OI! The wench is MINE!"
And the chase began.
.:end chapter one:.
Proofreaders are welcome.