Author: Pretty P PM
IYYYH Kagome, lost in a land unfamiliar to her, discovers there's more to the Great Youko Kurama than debonaire and sly thievery and inadvertently helps him discover his heart. KagomeYoukoRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 12,419 - Reviews: 107 - Favs: 105 - Follows: 184 - Updated: 09-21-07 - Published: 09-08-05 - id: 2571449
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: You know the drill. I don't own any of the characters, only the plot of my little fic here.
AN/ -singing- It's been a long time, since I left you, without a dope beat to step to. –dances around- Anyway, here I am again. It's been a long time coming… a ridiculously long time. But I've finally got a free weekend! YAY!
On a side note, there are BATS in my HOUSE!!! Or at least in my walls. I'm just mentioning this, because I'm sitting at the computer and I can hear them chirping somewhere above my head and it's FREAKING ME OUT!!!
When they were walking on the beach, I was imagining Kagome and little Shippo singing Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. How cute!
But on to the story!
Fall of the Pale Petals
Chap. 3: Vulpine Chivalry
Kagome smiled kindly down at the little fox kit following closely behind her as they sang a song she had heard on her last visit home. Most of her songs the fox knew by heart just from listening to her sing them. He had an amazing gift for memorization, though the ones in Chinese and English were always a little harder for him to remember, as he didn't know the languages.
He was singing an American song along with her right now and she knew he had only memorized the words and had no idea what they meant. Come to think of it, he probably didn't even know what America was.
Gradually, as the sun rose higher and the sand grew hotter, their singing died down and now it was quiet as they trekked across the sand, the wind whipping Kagome's long, unbound hair wildly around her face.
The journey was long, and in the back of her mind Kagome realized that it was starting to look a little hopeless as they had been walking this way for a week now and still had not found a human village. But this morning, she had awoken in a cheery mood and all day just couldn't shake the feeling that something good was going to happen soon.
'After all,' she thought to herself, 'with so much bad stuff happening to us lately, we're about overdue for some good luck!'
With optimism at the forefront of her consciousness, Kagome continued on down the beach with a little bounce in her step. Not much time passed before she felt a familiar weight on her shoulder and she turned her head to see Shippo staring back at her with wide green eyes.
"Kagome, I'm tired. Do you think we could stop and rest for a little while?" he asked sweetly, puckering out his bottom lip in a pout.
Kagome didn't need the pout to give in to his request. She was quite tired herself. Nodding with a smile, she stopped and set down her bag, taking out two bottles of water and handing one to Shippo.
The little kit took it happily and immediately swigged half of the bottle. Kagome sat beside him, leaning against her bag for support, and began drawing little symbols in the sand with her finger.
"What do those ones mean?" Shippo asked, leaning over from his seat beside her and pointing to a group of symbols she had just written.
"Those say 'Inuyasha'," she said quietly, her mind going to the hanyou.
'Inuyasha… I wonder what you're doing without me…'
She watched distractedly as Shippo copied the symbols below hers in sloppy, childish writing. She smiled fondly and traced a few more symbols in the sand for him to copy.
"This one is 'ocean,' this one is 'sand,' and this one is 'tree'," she told him, pointing to each one in turn. He did his best to copy them and after a few times, his attempts became neater and neater until they matched her own. He was a very quick learner.
"Great! Those look perfect, Shippo-chan!" she beamed proudly at him and he smiled back in that impish way of his.
After Shippo got tired of writing they played Tic-Tac-To, a game which the little fox had become quite fond of after she had first taught him how to play on one of those slow days when their were no jewel shards to be found. She smiled as she remembered how Inuyasha had reacted to the game.
She and Shippo had been sitting under a tree with Inuyasha in one of the branches above them, pouting as usual about having to stop and rest every few hours of non-stop walking. When Shippo complained that he was bored, Kagome had found a stick and drawn the board in the dirt and shown him how to play. He was, of course, overjoyed and pretty soon the games had progressed into a dissonance of "aaaaws" and "Yeah!"s.
Inuyasha had become curious and come down to watch what they were doing. After sitting down beside Kagome and watching a few rounds, he'd asked, "Can I play, too?"
He'd looked so childish then. His ears were perked forward, his eyes were wide with query, and there wasn't a trace of the normal scowl that always pulled at his mouth. He was just curious.
Before she could think of the consequences, Kagome had told him that it was only a game for two.
The effect was immediate. She only had just enough time to see the hurt look cross his face before he turned away from her with a "Feh!," ears lowered in anger.
Kagome, being the compassionate person that she was, immediately realized that this had probably been a flashback for him from his childhood. The other children probably hadn't let him play their games with them either.
She had to find a way to reconcile the situation.
An idea struck her.
She moved around Inuyasha to see his face. He turned his back to her. Again, she crawled around him to look him in the eyes. He turned around and ignored her.
Kagome huffed in annoyance and grabbed one of his furry ears to get his attention.
Her response was a growl. "What do you want, woman?"
She let go of his ear and he finally turned to face her with that oh-so-familiar scowl of his firmly in place. "I was just wondering if you wanted to play Magic Fingers with us."
The scowl didn't leave, but it had lessened a little as he turned around to play the game with her and Shippo.
'I really miss him,' Kagome thought to herself as she and Shippo moved to the shade of a nearby tree. Yawning tiredly, she laid back in the sand and relaxed. 'I'll just rest my eyes for a bit.'
And she fell off into a light slumber.
Youko wasn't sure which was more amusing: the girl's singing or the odd little dance she was doing as she and the fox kit skipped merrily down the beach in the midday sun.
The sneaky fox slipped in and out of the shadows just beyond the trees, fallowing behind the pair quietly as they made their way down the shoreline, both grinning from ear to ear with no apparent cause in sight.
The miko, who he had taunted earlier this morning by surreptitiously throwing small twigs in her direction when she had her back turned, was singing an up-beat song in a strange language that sounded vaguely familiar to him and shaking her hips to a rhythm only she could hear. The tiny fox demon, tagging along beside her at her ankles, was singing loudly with her and was, Youko recognized with grudging fondness, slightly off-key.
Together, they made quite a spectacle.
Youko couldn't help but smile as the little fox skipped a few lines where he obviously didn't know the next words to the odd song, allowing the girl's talent for singing to shine through unhindered.
For the past few days he had been tailing them with his presence masked, and had come to find that he genuinely liked the girl beyond a physical sense. It had been only a few days since the encounter with the boar, and she had demonstrated on numerous occasions a strange ability to make anyone smile.
Granted, the young fox kit wasn't difficult to please, but even he had caught himself grinning when she said kind things to her companion or went out of her way to entertain him.
On one such occasion, they had been walking up the beach at a subdued pace late in the evening, the sun sinking on the horizon and casting an orange glow onto the shore's lone occupants. The little kit rested on her shoulder, fiddling with her hair in boredom, and mentioned in passing how "cool" he thought those flips Inuyasha did in battle were. (Youko still wasn't sure what this word "cool" meant or who the Hell Inuyasha was.)
Kagome had told the kit casually that she could do flips like that. Granted, she had elaborated, not as high or certainly not as gracefully as this Inuyasha, but she could do a flip or two. Shippo had raised his eyebrows, but said nothing. Obviously, he didn't believe her. Youko wasn't so sure he believed her either.
Until, that is, she had promptly set down the large bag on her shoulder with Shippo on it, turned to face the way they had come, took and deep breath, and jumped backwards onto her hands and pushed herself right-side-up again in one quick motion.
Shippo had squealed with joy and had gone into a frenzy of questions about where she had learned to do that, why she didn't use those kinds of moves in battle, and if she could teach him to do flips.
Neither Youko nor the miko had heard the end of it until she had put the little kit to bed that night.
Another thing he had learned about the miko was that she was obviously very well educated, which was an odd thing for a woman in this country. He had heard her speak three different languages so far, two of which he understood and the other one only sounded distantly familiar. She also had very fluent speech in her native Japanese tongue. And then there was also her ability to write.
Whenever they stopped for rests or food, the miko and kit liked to write in the sand with sticks. The kit was obviously a beginner with written language, and could only write his own name and a few kanji symbols for common words. But the girl must have been writing for years and made it a point to teach her young companion at least a few new symbols every chance they got. The little fox was overjoyed with being able to write.
Youko took a seat on a thick tree branch when the girl stopped for a rest and pulled from her bag those strange clear containers in which she kept their drinking water. He watched as she traced lethargic symbols in the sand and gazed distractedly at the words. He couldn't see what they were from here, but he could see that her eyes shined with unshed tears as she stared at them.
He heard her tell the young fox that they read "Inuyasha."
'There's that name again. Who the hell is this Inuyasha?' In their conversations, one named Inuyasha had been mentioned many times, but he still couldn't work out who exactly he was.
He knew that this Inuyasha was an adult male, had a nasty temper, could do flips, liked to fight a lot, and had once saved both the kit and miko from two demons called the Thunder Brothers.
But what was he to Kagome?
Well, Youko could confidently say that this man was definitely a demon. If he hadn't already seen how close Kagome and the little fox kit were he might have been more inclined to assume that this Inuyasha was human, as most humans would not associate themselves with demons. But Kagome seemed to be the exception.
And there was the simple fact of the guy's name. What human mother would name their kid "dog demon?"
So the guy was definitely of demon heritage. This led Youko to believe that Kagome did not have any sort of romantic relationship with this Inuyasha. After all, he could not smell the mark of a mate on the little miko and if Inuyasha was a demon and romantically involved with her, he would have marked Kagome.
And he obviously hadn't.
For some reason, this lifted some of the tension from the old fox's shoulders. Knowing that he was free to take Kagome as a lover (the idea of which he had toyed with numerous times as he watched the girl sigh and murmur in her sleep from his tree above their campsite) brought a devious grin to his handsome face.
Leaning back against the trunk of the tree, he pulled his silver tails into his lap and petted them languidly and watched the miko and kit move to the shade of a tree and lay out on their backs to rest.
It was a while later when he heard something crashing around in the woods behind him. He could sense the youki of a lesser demon not far off. His silver ears twitched and swiveled back; it was getting closer. And by the sound of its lumbering, it was large and stupid.
The fox leapt quietly through the branches over to the tree where the couple was resting. He surreptitiously peeked down through the branches, being sure to stay out of sight, to see that their eyes were closed and their breathing slow and steady.
'They're asleep. Perhaps I should take care of this little nuisance and let her rest. She is only human,' the fox thought to himself.
She looked so adorable lying there with the little kit curled up to her side. Again, his eyes were drawn to the broken jewel hanging around her neck, but he tore his gaze away before he could be pulled into its spell again.
Quickly, he stole away through the trees to the source of the crashing. As he approached, he could see through the trees the broken from of a small ogre. That is to say, small for the standards of the beast's species. The ugly thing still towered over Youko by several feet. But it was evident that it was neither powerful nor very intelligent, and the fox's furry silver ears lowered in disappointment when he realized that this fight would be far too easy.
'Oh, well. At least it will be quick,' he sighed.
Kagome awoke with a startle and shot up, looking wildly around for whatever had woken her from her quiet nap. There was nothing. But she felt like she had been punched in the gut.
Warily, the miko rose to her feet, laying the still-sleeping Shippo at the base of the tree they had been resting under, and turned around, looking in every direction for something, anything out of place.
A moment too late, she realized that the tingling in her stomach was her miko powers trying to alert her to the presence of a demon.
Something slammed hard into her left side, throwing her off balance and causing her to tumble into the sand. Quickly, she tried to catch herself on her hands, but all she got for it was a sickening pop as pain shot up her arm from her right wrist. Kagome screamed in agony and tried to pull her hand up to her chest, but realized it was being held down.
Looking to her right, she saw a man, no, a demon with violet hair and clouded crimson eyes. There was one jagged red stripe extending out of his hairline down his forehead. His handsome face was twisted in a wicked sneer as he held her wrists, one of which she was pretty sure was broken, above her head and snarled in her face.
"Give me the jewel, miko!" he rasped, reaching with his free hand for the glowing jewel around her neck.
His eyes were wild as he curled his clawed hand around the half-completed jewel. Kagome screamed as the demon ripped the necklace from her neck and rolled off her.
"No!" she yelled, struggling to get to her feet as the demon crouched beside her, holding the jewel to his face and whispering nonsense. By this time, she could hear Shippo yelling to her. "Just stay back, Shippo-chan!" she shouted. Hopefully, he would listen.
She tried to pull his arm away from the shikon, but he simply backhanded her into the sand without a second glance. As he looked into the luminous depths of the blackening jewel, his features began to twist and transform into something hideous. His skin turned a pale green and his eyes darkened to black voids as the poison of the jewel permeated his consciousness.
He was losing his mind to the Jewel of Four Souls.
Kagome cradled her wrist and watched in terror as the demon began to transform. 'Oh, Inuyasha. I wish you were here.'
Just when she thought the situation couldn't get any worse, she again felt the tingling in her stomach and looked immediately toward the trees where she could feel something dark approaching.
All she saw was a silver blur before the demon beside her suddenly stopped moving and the sand was splattered with a line of blood.
Kagome watched, mouth agape, as the demon slowly split down the middle of its body and fell into two bloody pieces, the jewel falling into the dampened sand in front of them.
Kagome was speechless. She turned wide gray eyes to a white form in her peripheral vision and saw standing before her the most gorgeous man she'd ever set eyes on. He was tall, much taller than herself for sure, and pale as moonlight. His golden eyes glowed with mischief as they gazed unabashedly back at her and two white, vulpine ears sat perched atop his silver head, twitching every now and then.
"Um…" She wasn't sure what to say.
"Get your jewel, love," his voice rolled over her like a warm ocean wave. For a moment, she sat, transfixed on the molten pools of amber, until his gaze moved from her to the black orb lying in the sand.
"Oh!" She blushed furiously and reached out with her uninjured hand to pluck the jewel from the sand. As soon as she touched it, the black disappeared into its swirling depths and the purple glow returned. She missed the relieved expression that crossed his handsome face.
Cheeks tinted lightly with a rose hue, Kagome turned to see the youkai approaching her with an outstretched, clawed hand. For a moment, she was frozen with terror. What if he wanted the jewel, too?
But then she realized that he was offering a hand to help her up. Carefully, she put the jewel into her right hand and winced when closing her fingers caused more pain to shoot up her arm. She took his hand with her left and he pulled her gently into a standing position.
"Um, thanks," she whispered, suddenly embarrassed at having been found in so helpless a position. 'He must think I'm so pathetic.'
She gasped lightly when he grinned in return and spoke with a voice like thick, hot honey. "Think nothing of it, love. I was merely passing through."
Nodding, she pulled her hand away and bowed quickly to the beautiful youkai. "Yes, well, I'm terribly sorry to have troubled you."
"No, no trouble at all, Miss…?" Silver brows rose in question as he regarded the flustered miko with a heated gaze.
"Oh, how rude of me! Kagome! I'm Higurashi Kagome," she smiled amiably when she finally realized that he really meant her no harm. The fluttering in her stomach had dissipated and she took that to mean that she was in no immediate danger.
The grin he flashed her was nothing short of heart-stopping. Heat rose to her cheeks, but she didn't know why. "I am Youko Kurama. It is a pleasure to meet you, love." He bowed to her, but never took his eyes from her face.
Suddenly, there was a shuffling from behind them and they both turned to see Shippo scurrying over to Kagome and perching himself precariously on her shoulder to get a better look at the newcomer. "Thank you for saving us, Youko-san!"
Youko grinned again, but turned his attention to the little kit. "Please, just Youko." Here, he turned his molten gaze back to Kagome. "Honorifics are so very spurious, don't you think?"
For some reason, Kagome found that she was having trouble breathing. "Um..." Heat rose to her cheeks again and she silently cursed her inexperience with boys. She'd never been very flirt-savvy in high school. 'This is no high school heartthrob. This is a god in youkai form.' Her cheeks darkened at that thought.
"You're a fox, aren't you?" Shippo piped up from her shoulder once again, thankfully saving her from her awkward floundering. He had raised his nose to the air and sniffed lightly at the new youkai.
Kagome nearly sighed in relief when those warm eyes turned away from her to her companion. "Yes, I am. One of the most powerful of my kind," he gloated, grinning and swishing his nine silver tails behind him.
"Well, um," Kagome began, looking out over the sea to the setting sun. "Shippo and I really need to set up camp. We're very tired from traveling all day. So…"
"Oh, yes, of course. I wouldn't want to keep you from your beauty sleep. Though I hardly think you need it, love," he spoke huskily.
Kagome blushed from head to toe at that comment. The whole "love" thing was really starting to get to her. She was about to send him on his way with a wave of her hand, but soon realized that moving her right hand was definitely not a good idea. She hissed in pain and clenched her jaw to keep from screaming.
"Oh, you need to wrap this, love." He was taking her hand which was still clenched around the Shikon Jewel and turning it over to look at her already swollen wrist. "It's only sprained, I think."
She noticed that he took special care not to touch the jewel as he examined her injury.
When he received no answer, just a bewildered stare from the confused girl, he pulled her other arm and gently led her over to her bag. "I will wrap it, love," he said in that silky voice of his. "What can I use?"
She lowered herself to sit beside him, Shippo still perched on her shoulder and still intently studying the other youkai. "In my bag there's a white box with a red cross on it. All my medical supplies are in it," she told him distractedly as he laid her hand gently in his lap and began searching through her bag.
He soon found what he was looking for and pulled out a long strip of stretchy brown cloth. "What a peculiar material," he said, more to himself than anyone else, and began wrapping her sore wrist in the cloth.
"So," he said, still wrapping the cloth tightly around her hand, "are you native to this land?"
He had been dying to know where she came from since he'd first started following her a week ago. Now he would finally get some answers. 'If I play my hand right, perhaps I will get more than answers,' he snickered to himself.
Kagome was startled out of staring at his twitching silver ears. If her hands hadn't currently been occupied, she would have grabbed them without a second thought. "Well," she began evasively, "not really."
AN/ Well, there it is. They finally met. Hoorah!