Author: Kanna37 PM
We all know the canon story - but what would have happened if one person was taken out of the equation? Welcome to the - much shorter - tale of Inuyasha... without Naraku. Rating is for language.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Inuyasha & Kagome H. - Words: 14,556 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 56 - Follows: 8 - Published: 05-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8094558
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Inuyasha.
"So... you're saying that all I have to do is wish on this to become human, and then we'll be together?" Inuyasha asked sceptically, watching as Kikyou nodded.
"Yes. The only way to get rid of this thing is through a pure wish, and what could be more pure than purging your demon blood so that you are no longer tainted by it?" the priestess asked, clutching the Shikon no Tama as it shimmered deceptively innocently under the bright sunlight of a typical Sengoku Jidai summer day. "Then I will also be freed from my life of service, and could be a normal woman – just like you would be a normal man."
Inuyasha couldn't deny that it sounded good. While he hated being human, he hated being alone and outcast more, and if this was the only way to be accepted, to find love and happiness, then he would take it. Kikyou was a beautiful woman, and he could imagine having a home and family with her easily enough. So, even though his original desire had been to become a full demon instead of half, he was willing to go the other way just to have some peace in his life.
He ignored his senses that were blaring warningly at him, thinking it just his demon blood not wanting to be destroyed, and nodded, then, with a sigh, looked up to catch her gaze upon him – and ignored the shadow of hate in her eyes. It was his demon blood she hated, not him, right? "Okay. Let's do this."
Kikyou nodded in return and held the jewel up towards him. "Clasp your hands around mine," she said, not trusting him enough to just hand him the jewel. If she did, she was certain he would run off with it. When he did, she said, "Close your eyes and make the wish – to be completely human. Once you do, the jewel should disappear after granting your wish."
Not allowing himself to back out of their pact, even as he once more caught the mistrust in her eyes, he did as instructed, and closed his eyes, then said the fatal words...
"I wish I was human."
For a moment, nothing happened, and then horrific pain sliced through him and, snarling, he tried to pull his hands away from the jewel and Kikyou's grip...
Only to find that he was no longer holding anything, and that Kikyou was no longer there. It only took a few moments for the truth to kick in – he was dead.
He looked down and caught sight of both he and Kikyou in a disappearing haze, and realized that they were both dead, and that the jewel, covered in blood, was glowing crimson as it sank inside her body.
It was then that he realized her hatred of youkai meant that in truth, she had hated him, and had only been willing to consider caring for him once he was something different – once he was completely human. But Inuyasha wasn't human, so in truth, her promise had been a false promise, and he had simply been a fool to listen to her. A lonely fool, just as she was. A fool that had hated humans as much as she'd hated youkai.
As darkness took over and he surrendered to eternity, his last thought was one of anger... and ancient hurt. So what if he was hanyou... did that mean he wasn't worthy of love? Apparently it did... so all he could hope was that in his next life, he wasn't hanyou.
He didn't want to live another whole lifetime being hated for something beyond his control.
It didn't occur to him as he faded away into darkness that the same thing applied to his feelings towards humans... and Kikyou.
Yash slouched as he looked ahead to the huge school he was heading for, and sighed. Life quite simply sucked.
He had barely gotten used to his old school, and then his dad had gotten a raise – as long as he moved to Tokyo to the company's new and more efficient lab. Going for broke, he had accepted, and moved his entire family to the capital city of Japan, dropping his youngest son right into the middle of the teenage hell called new school.
New school in a big city, even.
Missing the cracked pavement in his angst, he stumbled, dropping his bookbag and spilling its contents all over the ground, causing several nearby kids to chortle at him. Glaring, he snarled grouchily at them in warning, ears flat against his head, and they paled, scooting off and leaving him to pick up his things alone.
Or so he thought.
"Here, let me help you get that," came the sweetest voice he'd ever heard, and blinking in surprise, Yash looked up and into startlingly beautiful blue eyes that were looking at him without one ounce of fear or disdain. It stunned him so badly he literally couldn't move.
While hanyou weren't hunted and killed outright as they had been in the past, there were still those that treated them poorly, and most hanyou lived fairly lonely lives, most of the time sticking to socializing with other hanyou – if there were any others around. They still weren't commonly seen.
But this girl, clearly completely human, wasn't looking at him any differently than she looked at any of the other kids around them, and he absolutely didn't know what to make of that. And on top of that, as he looked closer at her, he found that she was a miko – which was even more odd. A miko, talking to him like he was, well, human? Had he woken in a strange alternate reality or something?
The girl looked at him as she handed him his bag and smiled after a moment, a sad lilt to it as she took in his expression of dumbfounded surprise. She clearly understood why he was so surprised.
"I'm Kagome," she said, her smile brightening as he took his bag back cautiously, wondering if this was some kind of prank where she waited 'til he took his stuff back and then zapped him to make everyone laugh. But she didn't, only waited patiently for him to take his stuff, not paying any attention to the other girls she'd been walking with as they whined at her to leave the hanyou alone and hurry on to class. She simply waved them on with a glare for the slight towards him and promptly forgot them. "What's your name?"
"Uh... I'm Yash," he muttered, clutching his bag and starting to walk again, not wanting to be late his first day on top of everything else and gain any more negative attention than he already would as a new student.
"New here, huh?" she asked sympathetically. "I always hated having to go to a new school, even when it was just transferring from elementary to middle and then to high school - and I knew most of the people that would be there, too. Do you know where the office is to pick up your schedule?"
He shook his head as he looked at her surreptitiously as she talked cheerfully to him. She had to be on of the prettiest girls he'd ever seen. She wasn't what you could call classically beautiful... but she was so pretty she could make your heart ache, and her face was so lively that he was totally convinced she could completely outshine any woman who might be considered technically more beautiful than her.
But she was strange. Humans, and especially ones with reiki, didn't act like this with youkai and hanyou. It was unheard of.
"No," he said slowly. "You... you're a miko," he blurted suddenly. "Why are you talking to me so nicely? What's the joke?"
She stopped for a moment, her expression draining of life and happiness and becoming saddened, instead. "There's no joke, Yash. I just don't understand why people treat youkai and hanyou badly, or why hanyou and youkai treat humans badly so often. We're all living beings with brains – or at least most of us are," she said sourly as some guy hollered her name across the grounds and started heading in her direction. She grabbed his arm. "Come on!" she gasped as she started running, obviously trying to get away from the male that was heading towards her at speed. Yasha glanced behind to catch a glimpse of the guy following them. Wolf youkai, he growled to himself.
"What's with that wolf, and why are we running away from him?" he asked, confused, though he continued to follow her without argument.
Pausing in her all out run to pull open a door, Kagome glanced at him over her shoulder, an exasperated look on her face. "That's Kouga. He's a neanderthal, I swear. Insists that I'm 'his woman' and chases every guy away from me no matter how many times I tell him I'm not his and never will be. He just makes me so mad!" she huffed, a little out of breath.
Apparently, they'd managed to slip through the guy's net, as he didn't appear behind them, and with a sigh of relief, Kagome let go of his arm and smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry for grabbing you like that," she told the totally bewildered boy. "I just spend half my day running from that guy it seems like, so I'm used to it." Her expression turned wryly amused. "I should join the sprinting team – I've certainly gotten a lot faster since he started coming here."
Yash couldn't help but smile, though it was a little uncertain – her bright personality was contagious, apparently. "So... where are we going?" he asked.
"Oh! I'm sorry," she giggled, rolling her eyes at herself. "I was escorting you to the office so you could sign in and pick up your schedule. If you'd like," her smile turned a little shy, "I could show you around, you know, show you your class and where everything is. You don't have to feel obligated, though, if you'd rather me take myself off, just let me know," she finished sheepishly. "I didn't mean to take you over like that."
"No!" he blurted out quickly, not wanting her to leave. Hell, he couldn't remember the last time he'd had such a pretty girl of either race, or hanyou either, seem willing to spend time around him. But it occurred to him in that moment, that such a pretty girl probably had a boyfriend – who most likely wouldn't like another guy, and a hanyou at that, hanging around his girl. Reluctantly, he said, "I didn't mind at all, but you probably have friends waiting to hang with you, and I'm sure your boyfriend wouldn't want you hanging around another guy. It might be better if I figured my own way around."
A lovely peal of laughter came from her, then, and he stared, transfixed, as she shook her head at him. "As for my friends, if they're really my friends then they'll like you, too, and I don't have a boyfriend, so don't worry about that."
Yash looked stunned, he knew he did, because his jaw was hanging open. He snapped it shut as she grinned at him. "You... don't have a boyfriend? Are the guys here all blind or something?" he muttered under his breath, not realizing she would hear him.
"Nope. I was never one to just date any guy because he asked me. I've actually never dated," she admitted, a slight blush on her face as she led him toward a set of double doors with the word 'office' printed above them. "I won't ever, either, until I find a guy I really want to be with. I won't date unless I have very strong feelings towards that person. That's just me, though. Anyway, here's the office, so let's go in and get your papers!" she said with a smile.
Opening the doors and stepping inside, Yash looked around curiously as Kagome led him to the counter, cheerily greeting the lady behind it. "Good morning, Miyamoto-sensei!" she chirped. "I've brought you a new student. His name is Yash...?" She turned to him with a blush and laughed at herself. "I didn't even think to ask your full name, and just began calling you so familiarly. It's just that it almost seems like I've known you forever. I apologize for being so forward, though."
He shook his head. "Ain't your fault, when you asked my name, I just gave my first, so please don't go getting all formal on me now. Anyway," he looked at the lady who was smiling behind the desk, obviously familiar with Kagome and her friendly ways, and said, "The names Nishimori Yash. I've already been registered," he finished, bowing slightly.
The lady nodded, looking through a stack of papers on the desk, and pulling one from it. "Ah, here we go!" She looked it over and smiled. "It looks like you've lucked out – you're in Higurashi's class – class 2A. She can take you around and show you where everything is during your lunch period."
Secretly pleased to be able to stick around the cheerful girl for what amounted to the entire day, he nodded and accepted the paper she handed to him, juggling his bookbag to put it inside. He watched Kagome bow to the woman, and then she led him back outside the office. "I'm really glad you're going to be in my class! Let's hurry, though – warning bell has already gone and we don't want to be late."
He just nodded and followed along at her side, not really paying any attention to the building itself, though he noticed all the sideways looks and heard more than enough whispering about who he was and how Higurashi seemed to know him. It was telling, though, that no one seemed surprised to find her walking around with someone new – and a hanyou to boot. From the gossip he overheard as they passed through the halls, she had as many youkai friends as human, and the few hanyou that attended this school were all friendly with her, as well. Seemed she was just one of those very few people that were completely unbiased about race.
It eased his natural caution, though, finding that she was truly just as friendly and uncaring about his half blood status as she'd seemed.
Taking note of the many glances she kept shooting him from the corner of her eyes, he finally snapped, "What?" a little embarrassedly, wondering what was drawing her eyes so frequently – did he have something in his hair?
She blushed, realizing he'd noticed her glances – but she just couldn't help it! It was his ears – they were just so darn adorable and she so badly wanted to touch them! And all that long, beautiful hair – she'd never seen hair quite that color. It wasn't really white, and it wasn't really silver, either. It was iridescent, and so gorgeous she wanted to wrap herself in it and never let it go.
"Uhm..." her blush deepened, and then she squeaked, "It's your ears! They're so adorable and I want to touch them!" She ducked her head and closed her eyes, embarrassed. "I'm sorry... I just can't help it..." she trailed off.
Yash blinked, startled again by this girl, and then blushed, too. She likes my ears? She wants to touch them? Unbidden, the thought came that he'd be more than happy to let her, but he flushed deeper and pushed that thought away. "Keh. You're a strange girl," he finally said, eyeing her with a clear look of confusion. "Never met anyone who wanted to touch my ears – at least, not in a nice way, anyway," he finished, scowling as he thought of those that had at times over the years 'touched' his ears. It had usually hurt badly, as the appendages were very sensitive, and those people had been trying to hurt him.
He pushed those thoughts aside as Kagome chuckled a little nervously but smiled at him as she came to a stop before a door. "This is our classroom here. If you want, you can sit next to me on my right – the girl who used to moved away last week."
He nodded and opened the door, not surprised when the talking in the room all came to a halt when those already in the room saw him, though it started again when Kagome followed him in, clearly walking with him and showing him to his new seat – right next to her, as she'd said. He could see the questions on the faces of three girls that also sat near Kagome, and knew that she would be being interrogated at some point. He shook his head and put his bag down on the desk as he took his seat.
He took the time to look around the room. It was clearly a much nicer school than the one he'd attended before, but then again, that had been a small provincial school, and this one was a huge city school that was attended by those who appeared to be well off. None of those around him looked rich, but they all looked to be from families that at least had a decent living, so he supposed he fit in just right with them in that respect, at least.
He returned his attention to Kagome only to hear her being subjected to the interrogation he'd known she would be as the girls surrounding her on her other side, front and back whispered at her about her new 'companion'. He didn't feel any remorse for listening in – it was a matter of self-defense.
Kagome just seemed too good to be true. He had never met anyone like her, so it was not surprising that he was still somewhat cautious in just trusting her openly. Some of his natural caution had been alleviated by the adult's reactions to her treatment of him and the talk he'd heard in the halls that spoke of her very unprejudiced attitude. It made him willing to see what she was truly like personally, and he found himself fiercely hoping that she was exactly what she portrayed herself to be.
"... another hanyou to befriend?" on of the girls was whispering to her, Kagome giving her a dirty look. He tuned in to the conversation interestedly.
"So?" she snapped back. "Is there a problem with that? He's a really nice person, and that's all that should count. If you're gonna act like that then don't bother hanging around with me. You should know better than that kind of stupid prejudiced stuff around me, anyway, Eri! It's not like you haven't known me since we were little, and I've always had lots of youkai and hanyou friends, too."
One of the other girls rolled her eyes as the one called Eri recoiled at her friend's words. "I bet the first guy she dates is either youkai or hanyou. You always have seemed more attracted to ones with demon blood than plain ol' human boys."
Kagome blushed at that as he glanced at her beneath his lashes, and he caught her flickered glance in his direction. "Shut up!" she whispered harshly to her friends. "I'm serious, guys. If you can't treat Yash just like everyone else and be nice, then you can just stuff it and go find someone else to hang around with, because I like him and I'm going to be his friend – as long as he'll let me be, of course."
Yash's heart warmed, then, hearing her defend a virtual stranger to people she'd obviously known for years, and decided then and there – if she wanted to be friends with him, then he'd be her friend to his dying day. He wondered about some of the other hanyou she was supposedly friends with, and what they were like.
He turned his attention to her as she tapped his arm. "So... did you want me to show you around at lunch, or would you rather I introduce you to some of the other hanyou in the school, and have them do it?" she asked, her face falling a little at the last part of her sentence. She had no idea how that little bit of evidence that she wanted to be around him made him feel.
"Keh. I'd rather you do it than someone I haven't even met yet," he said, a tiny smile crossing his lips for her. "Though I am kinda curious about the other hanyou and youkai around here."
"Well," she said, her face turning sour, "you've already seen Kouga. He's pretty much the strongest full youkai here, since he's one of the only predator youkai at this school, besides you now, I guess. There's really only a couple in his little group, and they're considered the bad boys. More like obnoxious if you ask me," she said in an annoyed aside. "Anyway, as for hanyou, there's only a couple of them. One is Jinengi. He's a horse hanyou, and very, very big and tall, and then there's Shiori, she's a bat hanyou. She's really pretty but very shy. Then there's Ai – she's a water elemental hanyou and very tiny. There's a couple others... I'm sure they'll introduce themselves as the day goes by."
She glanced at the top of his head again, and he said, in a grumbly voice that was just a tease, "As you can probably tell by these ears you keep lookin' at, I'm an inu hanyou."
Blushing, she dropped her gaze and apologized again. "I''m sorry," she wailed softly, her cheeks a charming cranberry color. "I just can't help it!"
The door opened just then as the last bell went, and everyone stood up and bowed as the sensei entered the room at a fast clip. He placed his briefcase on the desk and nodded at the students, who then returned to their seats. Looking around the room, he caught Inuyasha's eye and nodded again. "I was told I would have a new student. Please stand and introduce yourself."
Hating that little ritual but knowing he had to go through with it, Yash stood and bowed again at the sensei. "I'm Nishimori, Yash. I moved here from Aomori Prefecture." He sat down as the sensei nodded.
"That's a long ways to come," he remarked. "Well, welcome to Tokyo and Muromachi High School," the small man said.
With that, the school day began, and since it was close to the start of the year, Yash didn't have too difficult a time catching on, though he would probably need a little catch up practice work. The sensei mentioned it, and Kagome raised her hand and offered to help him with that, which Yash was grateful for – he didn't want to be stuck with someone who was only reluctantly doing what they were told to do, and couldn't wait to get away from him.
He'd had enough of that kind of thing with his old school – and his brother. He could only be glad his brother had finally graduated and that he didn't ever have to look forward to being stuck in a school with him and all his full-youkai 'magnificence' ever again.
The day passed slowly, and Yash stayed near Kagome the whole time, which she didn't seem to mind, though some of her other friends did, giving him rather dirty looks as though he were interrupting something. He just ignored them; as long as Kagome herself didn't complain, then he'd stick by her and be glad for having someone who wanted to be friends rather than torture the new kid.
The group of hanyou kids accepted him easily, and he figured he could get along with them just fine, though he didn't want to stop being around Kagome. There was just something that was drawing him to her. He'd never been the type to cling to someone in the way he was to her, but every time he thought about letting her go off with others and leave him behind, he would start to tense up and his youkai blood would snarl at him.
The only real problem he had that day came when Kouga caught sight of them before Kagome caught sight of him, and came roaring up to challenge him for walking around with her.
Just as he was about to unleash on the wimp, though, Kagome did, which shocked everyone around, since she'd never actually acted so belligerently. Apparently, she was feeling very protective of him, and he could hear all sorts of whispers about her actions from all the students around them.
Hands glowing pink, Kagome brought them up and lunged at Kouga threateningly, watching in satisfaction as the thick-headed wolf backpedaled in shocked fear. Once she'd caught his attention, she went off on him.
"Listen to me, Kouga, because I am not going to say it again. I am NOT your woman!" she shrieked. "If you come around me one more time trying that claiming crap, I'm going to purify certain parts, are we clear? I'm done with your foolishness. In fact, I never should have put up with it for this long," she spat, eyes fierce and reiki snapping and crackling around her body in agitation. The wolf just stared at her, too stunned to say anything. "I'm not your woman, I will never be your woman, and truthfully, I feel sorry for whoever does end up being your woman! So just stay away from me, Kouga – and I mean far away from me. And stay away from Yash, too. Go find someone else to hound!" With one final crackle of her reiki, which zapped the spellbound wolf just a bit, shocking him, she turned on her heel and smiled up at an equally stunned Yash as though nothing had happened.
"So... wanna go eat lunch together? Lunch period's almost over, but we have enough time," she smiled, completely ignoring the sputtering wolf behind her, and the crowds now dissipating from around them.
"Uhm... sure, I guess so," the hanyou mumbled, clearly unnerved at her show of power. He was caught off-guard at her laughter.
"Don't start being nervous around me all of a sudden because of that," she sighed. "I've been holding back for months on that fool, trying to just avoid him and hoping that would get the message across. But when he started trying to threaten and intimidate you into staying away from me, I just got... really, really angry, for some reason." She looked a little uneasy, then, but nonetheless held his gaze. "I... you're probably going to think me strange, but I just feel... drawn to you. It's like something inside is pulling me towards you," she confessed awkwardly.
He stared at her, nonplussed; he'd been thinking earlier on the same feelings on his behalf towards her. Should he tell her? He decided after a moment that he should – after all, she'd had the courage to do it, and he wasn't about to be beat out for strength of will by a girl.
"I don't think you're strange, I just think the situation is strange, because I've been feeling the same way," he said slowly, still holding her gaze. "It's odd – normally, I wouldn't be so determined to stick to someone I barely know, 'cause I've always been kind of a loner, and suspicious of people. It's just part of being a hanyou. You never know who's going to hurt you, and who's going to ignore you."
She nodded, understanding his words, and then they both turned and began to walk, looking for an empty patch of grass to eat their meals on.
They found a small spot near the corner of the building, and taking a seat, Kagome pulled out her bento box as Inuyasha did the same. She giggled when he scrunched his face up at the food inside. "I'd rather be eating ramen, but I guess I'm outta luck," he sighed, picking up a shrimp roll and stuffing it in his mouth.
Kagome watched him for a minute, amused, then opened her own lunch and dug in, quite happy that she wasn't eating ramen. They both were quiet as they ate, though she smiled in welcome when a few of the hanyou came and sat down with them and her twittering female friends from first period also showed up. He was simply content to sit there and eat his food and watch her laugh and talk with all her friends. It was apparent that she was quite popular, and Yash wasn't surprised by that at all; with her personality, looks, and intelligence, he would have been more surprised if she hadn't been.
Warning bell for the rest of the day went, and stuffing lunch boxes back in bags, the chattering group stood up and headed back inside to get back to their classes. Yash followed Kagome quietly, still not quite familiar with the school enough to find his way alone.
A male voice calling for Kagome startled a scowl out of the hanyou, but he quickly wiped it off his face and stopped as she did, turning to see who was calling for her. A tall male was hurrying towards her, smiling.
Feh. Human...he thought to himself disdainfully. Weak. But apparently the giggling girls standing behind Kagome were quite interested, as they all broke out in vapid-sounding sighs, whispering how cute he was and that Kagome should go out with him. That last made his hackles rise.
"Oh, hello, Houjo," Kagome said, a smile on her face, though her voice didn't sound all that cheerful and welcoming – it was more just a polite recognition. Yash shot her a sharp look at that – it seemed she wasn't sighing and swooning over this guy like the other girls were.
"Ah, Higurashi, I was very glad to see you finally put Ookami in his place," the tall boy said, smiling at her. "I wanted to ask if you would go with me this weekend for dinner and a movie?"
Kagome flushed, elbowing her increasingly annoying female friends as they tried to push her into the date. "Um, Houjo, would you step aside with me for a minute?" She waited for his affirmation before pushing her friends off, then turning to Yash and asking, "Wait for me for a sec?"
Jealous as hell, nonetheless he nodded. What else could he do? After all, they'd only just met that day, and he had no hold on her, no right to be jealous. Besides their strange mutual feelings of fascination, of course. He watched as she walked down the hall with the other male and then stopped near a small alcove.
Kagome sighed as she wondered why the guys at this school were so thick-headed. Kouga was bad enough, but Houjo was just as oblivious, though not as forceful.
"Houjo, I'm flattered that you asked me out, but I thought by now most would understand that I don't date. I'm saving myself for the one who I will always be with. You are a nice guy," she said regretfully as his face darkened, "but not the one for me. Please, find another girl to ask out on that date, okay?"
The young man nodded stiffly, angry, though he refused to show it. Was he not good enough? After all, he was human, as was she. It was only appropriate that she date him, instead of hanging around with hanyou and youkai. He'd make her regret her decision, he vowed silently. "If you will excuse me, then?" he asked, bowing slightly before turning on his heel and giving Yash a dark look of hatred before disappearing down the hall in the opposite direction.
The inu blinked, startled. Why the hell was he glaring at me? I didn't do anything, he thought as he glared back. He looked back at Kagome as she came towards him with a small smile and beckoned him to follow her, which he did. "So... what was up with that? Why'd he glare at me so harshly?" he asked after he caught up with her.
She shrugged. "I'm not sure, but he wasn't happy that I turned him down. But I mean, by now these guys should all know that I have no interest in any of them. After all, I've said why I don't date a lot of times, and if I was to develop feelings for a guy, then I would tell them. So if I haven't wanted to date any of these guys by now, you'd think they'd all get the hint that I don't have those feelings for any of them. I mean, we are in our final year of high school, so it's not like they're all just meeting me," she finished, heaving an annoyed sigh.
He didn't say anything, and they made it back to their class in short order. He was forced to frighten another male out of his seat, however; with a scowl, he snapped, "Oi, baka, get the hell outta my seat! What do ya think your doing?"
It came out then that there were apparently a lot of guys at the school who'd wanted a chance with Kagome, but had been kept from saying anything by fear of Kouga's wrath if they made a move on her. But with her finally putting him in his place, it seemed all the idiots were going to come out of the woodwork, and Kagome sighed, dropping her face into her hands.
"Maybe I should post it on my locker – that I'm not interested in dating any of these guys?" she sighed into her hands. "This is going to get old fast."
The boy muttered something under his breath before slinking off to his own seat, and Yash glared at him for several seconds before sitting down. "Keh – I think it should be her choice if she wants to date any of you fools. Looks to me like she's smart and staying away from you all, though," he said loudly, making sure the angry boy heard him.
Kagome's three female friends gasped at his words, then looked at her. "Hey, Kagome – are you going to go with Houjo?" one of them asked, giggling vapidly.
The girl in question sat up and glared at her friend. "No, I'm not going to go with Houjo anywhere, Ayumi, and you should know better. I've never had any feelings for him and I never will!"
Wide-eyed, the girl flinched back from her friend. "Okay, okay, calm down, Kagome! Sheesh. I don't see why you're so averse to dating – I mean, Houjo's smart, cute, and human. What's wrong with him?"
Yash did a rapid double-take when Kagome actually growled. "Why is it that being human is a reason to date him? There's lots of guys that are human, and yet scary as hell, and just as many guys that aren't human and very interesting! If I find the guy I want, and he's youkai or even hanyou, then I will be with him, and I don't give a darn what anyone else thinks! And there's nothing wrong with him – except I don't have feelings for him, and he should find someone who does. I never will, so there's no point in dating him. And as for the smart part of things, I don't need a smart guy to hang from for better grades. I'm smart enough on my own!" she seethed, beginning to get really angry.
It seemed the girls caught on, because they all backed off and Yash simply stayed quiet, watching as the bell went again and their next teacher entered the room. Silence fell as class got going and everyone got working on the assignment given.
Yash sighed as the final bell of the day went, and he began stuffing his books in his bag, preparing for the rather long walk home. He wondered idly where Kagome lived.
"Oi, Kagome," he said, catching her attention as she also stuffed her books away in her bag. "Where do you live, anyway?"
She smiled. "My family runs the Sunset shrine over on the northern edge of the city proper. Why?"
"Just wondered, that's all. But it's really strange that should be the place you live," he said slowly, something flashing in his eyes. "I actually live not far from you. When we first moved here two months ago, something about your shrine drew me and I had to go see it. When I saw that tree, you know, your sacred tree, it felt almost like I'd seen it before. That feeling was so strong that I asked my dad if we'd ever lived here before, but he said we hadn't, that we'd always lived in Aomori. That whole area just seems so familiar – kind of like you. It really is beginning to drive me crazy."
Kagome frowned at that, also beginning to wonder. "Well, maybe we knew each other in a different life and lived around there or something. After all, there used to be a village just there," she laughed, though it was uneasily. Something about that thought sounded oddly right...
Yash looked at her in surprise, that same uneasy feeling she was getting overtaking him. "Yeah... maybe we did," he whispered, for once not scoffing about reincarnation. He was beginning to think she was exactly right with her words.
He shook his uneasiness off after a moment and looked away. "Well, since we both live in that direction, I'll walk you home, if that's okay," he said, finishing packing his bag.
Blinking, Kagome pulled herself out of her sudden odd humor and smiled at him. "Sure, why not? After all, we've been together pretty much all day, so why would I demur at walking home with you when we're both going the same way, anyway?"
He shrugged, and they both swung their bags over their shoulders and left the classroom behind, walking slowly, clearly not in any hurry to get home.
"So... you said that your family runs the shrine, right?" he asked, and when she nodded, he continued. "How long's it been around?"
"About four hundred and fifty years," she said proudly. "That area used to be a small village, and old legends say that the priestess who guarded the Shikon no Tama was from there."
Yash felt a strong pulse from his soul at that name, and frowned as he listened to her talk.
"... say she died near there, and that's when the Shikon no Tama disappeared, never to be seen again. My family built the shrine there around the Bone-Eaters Well first, and then as the years went by the shrine grew. We even have a graveyard from that time period, and supposedly, one of the old monuments back there was built for that priestess." She chuckled uneasily as she told him that part of the story – for some reason, she felt odd, uncomfortable, as she'd never felt telling anyone else about it.
Needless to say, Yash was also feeling distinctly odd, though for some reason, those two, the Shikon and the mention of that priestess just made him hurt... and sad. He couldn't figure out why, though.
"Keh. Well, all I can say is I'm glad I'm not living back then. My life woulda sucked a lot worse back then than it does now, that's for sure," he sighed after a moment, remembering his lessons on what hanyou used to go through. Most didn't make it out of childhood, and their parents were usually killed for daring to cross the boundaries of race.
He shivered, a cold feeling washing over him at those thoughts. Once again, he brushed them away and refused to think about it.
"So... you decided where you want to go to college at yet?" he asked, deliberately changing the subject.
Kagome glanced at him, clearly knowing what he was doing, and just as clearly glad he had done it. She smiled at him brightly. "Not yet," she said. "It's a big decision, ne? There's several possibilities, after all. But I want to stay close to home, so I'm thinking Tokyo U." She glanced at him with a twinkle in her eye. "What about you?"
Shaking his head, he flexed his fingers as he thought about it. "I dunno. At one time, I wanted to go to the local college, Aomori Public College*... but that's not gonna happen now. Things have changed so much this last year what with moving here and all."
"Yeah... I guess moving from such a small place to a big city like Tokyo would be a really big change. I've lived here all my life, so I really can't imagine anything different." She shook her head, her eyes far away. "I have an aunt that lives on the outskirts of Sendai, and I've visited her at times. But I've never really seen what it's like to live in such a small place day in and day out. Here, it's so different than the rest of the country, you know? And yet sometimes, I've found myself almost yearning for a simpler time, and a less crowded place."
"Yeah," Yash said softly, looking up into the afternoon sky. Kagome was immediately struck by his beauty as his long gorgeous hair swirled around him in the breeze. It made her heart ache; how anyone could deny him and treat him badly because of his blood she just couldn't understand. His features were strongly masculine but elegant, his hair was amazing and his ears simply adorable. And his body... she flushed as she caught herself thinking of such a thing, but there was no denying it – the boy was built. And having known other hanyou, she knew it was natural – there was no need for working out, because youkai simply had perfect bodies without any need for trying like humans did, and sometimes they managed to infuse their half-blood children with that same perfection.
It gave a large clue to his youkai parent's status – from little things he'd said throughout the day, his father was the youkai parent, and with Yash's power, even as a halfling, it was clear that his father was daiyoukai. For the most part, Yash may as well have been full youkai himself – he easily overpowered Kouga, for instance. He was actually the most powerful hanyou she'd ever come across.
"Your father must be really powerful," she blurted; he turned to look at her, surprised at her words.
"Well, yeah, I guess so. Back in the day, dad would have been a Lord. But things are different now, of course. Still, I've never felt anyone stronger than my dad, though my half-brother Sesshoumaru is pretty close," he said, his expression turning sour as he spoke about his brother.
"You have a brother?" Kagome asked, surprised.
"Unfortunately," he sighed. "Sesshoumaru's full youkai like our father, and was really pissed at our dad when he didn't marry his mother. Instead, he married my mother, who's human, of course. Sesshoumaru thinks humans are beneath him – at least, most humans, anyway. And he always has to rub into my face that he's a full demon and I'm just a half-breed."
Kagome frowned. "That's too bad. I'm sorry you have to deal with that," she said. "So... I gather he's older. How much older?"
"In demon years fifty years. In human years it's like a two year difference."
"Oh. So you had to go to school with him for a while, too, huh?" she asked, her eyes wryly understanding.
"For a year, yeah," he replied, beginning to slow as they finally came to the seemingly endless shrine staircase. "It sucked alright. But he's gone on to uni now, so I don't have to be bothered by him very often. He goes to Tokyo U, as a matter of fact." They came to a halt, and he looked at her for a moment. "Uh... you wanna walk together tomorrow?" he asked, suddenly shy, and felt relieved as Kagome smiled warmly at him and nodded.
"Sure! I've really enjoyed spending the day with you, and I'm glad you kinda dropped your bag all over the ground in front of me this morning," she teased, a faint blush on her skin. "I hope you had a better day today than you were thinking you probably would."
He blinked, then thought about it. Of course he had – there was simply no comparison. She'd made the whole day great, and he couldn't ever remember having a better day that hadn't been spent with his parents. He smiled a little at that thought.
"Of course it was. How often does any new student have a good first day, even human ones? I think it's always awkward, you know? But you made it like I've been here a while, not like this was my first day," he finished, watching as her pretty ebony hair danced around her like a living thing.
For some reason, both felt the need to look up just then, and Yash had no trouble picking out the leaves and branches of the sacred tree over the other trees around the area. It was as if it was beckoning him...
Before he'd even realized it, he'd taken several of the steps, only to come back to himself and realize that Kagome had also seemed to be in the same trance as he was, because she was right next to him and looking just as confused.
She reached over after a moment and took his hand in hers, surprising him again. Tilting her head up, she met his eyes solemnly. "You felt it too, didn't you? The sacred tree, the Goshinboku, calling us? And something else, too..." she trailed off, her brow furrowing. Whatever else was pulling at them, she wasn't sure, but she just knew that they needed to go to the tree.
Claws flexing anxiously, Yash nodded, his own eyes narrowed. "Yeah. Something's going on, and I'm beginning to get very curious about this whole thing. Why have I been so drawn here, and then, why are we both so drawn to each other? It's like... I don't know," he shook his head, then, frustrated and confused, "like we're tied together somehow."
Kagome nodded excitedly. "Yeah! That's it! I felt like someone had knocked me over the head when I saw you this morning – it was like all of a sudden, everything fell into place. But I don't know what I mean by everything! And that's what's so frustrating!"
It was quiet for a moment, and then Yash said, "Well, since we seem to be being pulled towards the tree, we may as well go and hope we find out what's going on, ne?" while squeezing her hand gently.
She didn't say anything, just smiled, nodded, and squeezed back.
Step by step the two made their way up the steep hill that the shrine stood on, and when they finally reached the top, Kagome glanced around, wondering if her grandfather was around. She didn't see him... however, she did see someone else...
Brow furrowing in anger as she watched the boy carving something into the sacred tree, Kagome pulled away from Yash and stormed over to the tree, her anger clear in her voice as she berated the person for what he was doing.
Yash, stunned into stopping when they'd crested the stairs and found some guy desecrating a holy object, cursed and took off after the enraged Kagome, somehow knowing something was very wrong.
It was that Houjo character, and as the boy spun around to face Kagome, all he could focus on was the glint of the knife the bastard had been using on the tree. Shit, shit, shit! he snarled to himself as he lunged after her, trying to get to her before she could be hurt, but somehow knowing he was going to be too late.
"Houjo! How dare you! Have you no respect for the kami?" she shrieked, in her anger not even noticing the knife he was holding low and oddly competently as he glared at her, his anger deepening as he caught sight of the damn hanyou that had been hanging around her all day over her shoulder as she rushed towards him.
"You stupid bitch!" Houjo snarled, stunning her as he lunged at her, slashing her low on her right side. She fell back, too shocked by the pain to even scream as Yash caught her before she could hit the ground. "You're a miko – you shouldn't be hanging around with youkai and hanyou scum, you should be destroying them! You're nothing but a traitorous whore!"
Yash, completely enraged at the scent of her blood and the tears in her eyes as she clutched her side, set her gently against the bench at the foot of the tree and went after the fool, claws out and ready to embed them into the bastard as far as they'd go. Kagome's sweet voice stopped him as Houjo sent a dark look seething with hatred her way and ran off.
"Yash," she gasped, seeing the crimson seeping into his eyes and not wanting him to get into trouble, "stop! Just let him go – I'll have my family call the police." She winced and he immediately returned to her side, dismissing the fool for the moment, though he had every intention of tracking him down and destroying him later.
"And it'll be our word against his, Kagome!" he snarled as he pulled her hand away from her side to see the wound. "What good's that gonna do?" he continued, upset and getting ready to slip into a good old fashioned rant at the girl. Until he saw something shining brightly just under the blood, and frowned, glancing up at her face to see if she was seeing what he was. "Uh..."
It was obvious she was at the confused look on her face as she frowned down at her side and hesitantly plucked at the small round object, hissing painfully as she pulled it from inside her body.
"What...?" she asked, her eyes meeting his as she held the small ball up between them, only to almost drop it as the object in question actually pulsed.
Instantly, so fast that even Yash didn't have time to react, everything went black for just a moment, and then began to lighten a little at a time as a pink glow illuminated the darkness. He was relieved that he was still holding on to Kagome, and that they both seemed okay... just in a different place than they were mere moments before, still holding to the glowing bauble.
"Where are we?" Kagome whispered, clutching tightly to his hands.
"I dunno," he replied, looking around cautiously.
Neither was prepared for the voice that came then – the voice that seemed to be surrounding them.
"Do not fear," it said, and abruptly, there was a flare of light; when it faded away there before them stood a woman dressed in truly ancient armor, with an oddly designed sword held in one hand. She smiled at them.
"I am Midoriko," the glowing woman said, and smiled when Kagome gasped, her whole face evidencing her extreme astonishment. "I see you, at least, know the name, young Kagome," she said, her eyes alight with laughter.
Yash glanced down at Kagome, seeing her nod, and then looked back at the woman, trying to weigh her for threats as he hovered over the injured young woman protectively. "Keh... I don't, so someone wanna let me in on the whole thing?"
The woman, Midoriko, laughed as Kagome looked up at him, awe in her eyes. "Midoriko was an ancient warrior priestess – basically the mother of all modern miko. Before her time, things were different. She's also the creator of the Shikon no Tama," she whispered, now glancing at her hand and the small round pearl that she was beginning to realize was the legendary Shikon itself. She looked back up at Midoriko. "But... what was it doing inside of me?" she asked, totally bewildered by the turn of events in the last several minutes.
Midoriko sighed, then, and nodded at them. "And that is why we are here... to finish what was started so long ago – though in the right way, this time." She assessed the glassy-eyed stares of the two young people and then smiled. "Why don't we sit down? This might take a little while," she finished, and after a moment, Kagome nodded, sinking down as Yash settled himself right next to her. Midoriko chuckled at his closeness to the girl, and caught his eye – he wasn't about to let any harm come to her, and that was as it should be between those two, so she was quite pleased.
"Long ago, in this area there was a small village." She caught Kagome's wide-eyed look and grinned. "I believe you know some of this part of the story, but hear me out, little priestess, for you don't know it all, and Yash here needs to hear it." She waited for Kagome's nod, then continued. "In this village there was a miko named Kikyou. She was the guardian of my jewel, keeping it pure and away from any who would use it for ill until the proper wish could be found to destroy it and finally grant me rest. But Kikyou was lonely, and wished nothing more than to be freed of her duties so she could be a normal woman."
Yash was spellbound, something about this story sounding so familiar that it was driving him crazy. He listened, almost forgetting that they were in some weird place that resembled reality not at all and talking to someone who had been dead for centuries.
"The story of my jewel passed around the land, drawing all those who wished to use it for purposes of their own, including an inuhanyou named Inuyasha. Inuyasha wanted to use my jewel to become a full-youkai, so that he would no longer be hunted by youkai, and would be left alone by humans as well. But after a while, he was drawn to the miko Kikyou instead of the Shikon by his loneliness, since she was also lonely."
Kagome sighed, her eyes sad as she glanced at Yash out of the corner of her eye. It's better for hanyou nowadays, because at least they aren't fighting for their lives, but the loneliness hasn't changed, and that's sad... She was drawn from her thoughts by Midoriko's continuing story – this was a part of the story she'd never heard, though something about it sounded familiar.
"It took a little time, but the two grew cautiously closer to each other, though deep in the hearts of both, there was hatred and mistrust towards each other. You see, Kikyou had been taught all her life that youkai and hanyou were evil, never to be trusted, only destroyed. And Inuyasha had grown up hating and despising humans, and was just as unable to trust Kikyou as she was to trust him." Midoriko stopped, and sighed, her eyes far away. "Still, though the two mistrusted each other, they also wanted not to be alone any longer, and finally, after thinking on it for some time, Kikyou came up with a plan she believed would work."
"So... she thought she knew what kind of wish to make on the jewel so it would disappear so she wouldn't have to be its caretaker anymore?" Kagome asked, brow furrowed.
"Yes. But what she saw as a wish of purity, was really one of hatred and bias. She told Inuyasha that if he were to wish to be human, then the jewel would disappear and she promised that if he would do so, she would be with him as his wife."
Kagome scowled at that, not noticing Yash's sad expression. "That's not a pure wish!" she snapped, angry at the stupid priestess. "Inuyasha was a hanyou, and he was perfectly good as a hanyou. She shouldn't have tried to change him!"
Midoriko shook her head, amused at the fiery young woman. Yes... she is finally ready. This incarnation is the right incarnation as Kikyou was not – and Yash is the right one, as well, as Inuyasha could also not have been.
"And that is correct, Kagome. However, what they didn't realize is that there is no such thing as a pure wish, and it is not what is required to destroy my prison, anyway. There is no pure wish, but there is a right wish. At any rate, Kikyou convinced Inuyasha to try the wish she'd thought of – and both of them died immediately, as the wish was tainted with hatred and mistrust, and the blood of both of them covered it as it sank within Kikyou's body."
Yash frowned at that. "But that doesn't explain why it was inside Kagome," he rasped, something about that story hurting him in a very personal way.
A gentle expression settled on Midoriko's face, then, and it was with an oddly fatalistic acceptance that Kagome heard her words. "Actually, yes, it does, Yash. Have you not figured it out yet? Why you were so drawn to Kagome, and why she was drawn to you, as well? She is Kikyou's reincarnation... and you are Inuyasha's. The two of you are bound by the red cord of fate – but the incarnations of Inuyasha and Kikyou were not ready to be together as they were. You two are. Kikyou needed to get over her hatred of youkai, and Inuyasha needed to get over his hatred and mistrust of ningens. And in this life, you both have, which is why your souls have already interlocked even though you have only just met each other this very day."
Stunned, Yash looked at Kagome, echoes of that day, the day Inuyasha and Kikyou died, lighting his eyes, just as they did hers. And for some reason, maybe the light of the Shikon allowing it, they could both suddenly see that which Midoriko was speaking of – for her words were quite correct...
They were tied together by the red cord of fate.
Kagome couldn't move her eyes from that red cord, her mind swirling wildly with everything they'd just learned, not a thought in her mind of denying any of it or trying to convince herself that the whole thing was a dream or hallucination. It made perfect sense to her, that her heart was already tied to someone – that was why she'd never felt the need to date any of the guys she'd met. None of them were the one chosen for her by the kami.
But she had no idea what Yash was thinking, and that scared her. Would he deny the whole thing – deny her? Call this whole thing crazy, and push her away? Or would he blame her, carry over the hatred and mistrust that Inuyasha must have felt as he wished what Kikyou had told him to, and died because of it?
He was so silent, staring at the cord with blank eyes, and the longer it went on, the more worried she became.
It was not so surprising, then, with her fears and thoughts, that his first words caught her completely off-guard.
"Keh. So Kagome... you have any idea of what the right wish is to get rid of this thing?"
She blinked. "Eh... what?" she asked, not sure she'd even heard him right. Wish? He's thinking about wishes? Is he just going to ignore what Midoriko said about us? She glanced surreptitiously at said miko, and was confused to find her smiling at Yash.
A hand waving in front of her face recalled her to Yash's presence. "Oi, woman! Quit disappearin' on me. Didn't you get the drift of that story? We aren't ever gonna be free of that stupid jewel if you don't make the right wish. I don't know 'bout you, but it already messed with us in one lifetime – I sure as hell don't want it to do the same in this one, too."
"Well," she said, staring at the jewel still shining crimson in her blood-covered hand, "I don't know about you, but I don't want anything from this thing except for it to go away forever – that way it can't ever bother anyone again."
A huge pulse came from it then, startling them, and the crimson burned away from the thing, turning it a beautiful shimmering pink as Midoriko stood up and began to fade, a peaceful and grateful smile on her face.
"And as easy as that, you have found the right wish, Kagome. Thank you for my freedom – and may all my power go to giving you both happy lives. Your hearts have been opened to each other, and all the love that exists within both of you for the other has been released – you are a couple now, and always will be. From now until eternity ends, you will be together, never again to be alone," she finished as she faded away, her sweet smile and powerful words something neither would ever forget.
Before either could react, however, the jewel pulsed again, and then it exploded, dissipating into dust that sank into both of their skins. Once again stunned, the couple stared at the dust as it shimmered within their flesh, and then darkness began to fall again, and Yash instantly grabbed for Kagome, cradling her protectively against him as their sight was stolen from them.
For several seconds, it was as if they couldn't breathe, and couldn't see, but just as Yash began to panic, worrying that he couldn't save Kagome or himself, light and life returned to them, and they found themselves still beneath the spreading boughs of the Goshinboku as he clutched her protectively against him, still holding his hand to her bleeding side – only this time, there was no Shikon no Tama shining strangely beneath her skin.
Looking at each other, needing to reassure each other that what had just happened had been real, Yash sighed and Kagome smiled a bit as they both accepted the things that had happened, and everything that had been said and heard.
After a moment, Kagome winced as she tried to sit up, her side burning painfully and still pouring blood. "I wonder how long we were... wherever we were?" she asked, pressing her hand tighter to her side to try to staunch the flow of blood, wincing again at the pain.
Yash scowled as he watched her try to stop the bleeding; pulling his school uniform jacket off, he stripped his under shirt off and gently pulled her hand away from her side, pressing his shirt to her, instead. "I don't know, but it couldn't have been too long – you're bleeding pretty good, and yet there's hardly any blood anywhere, yet. But I don't care about that right now," he said harshly, his mind setting aside the experience they'd both just had to focus on his rage at Houjo.
Kagome blinked up at him, beginning to feel a little woozy. "Then what are you worried about?"
He stared at her incredulously. "That asshole Houjo, that's what! I'd like to get my hands on him – I'll claw his face off for this!"
Shaking her head, Kagome slumped a little, feeling very tired all of a sudden. "I don't want you to get in trouble, Yash – like I said, I'll have my family call the police and press charges."
"And like I said, how are we gonna prove he did this?" Yash yelled, getting angrier as she looked weaker. Swinging her up into his arms after putting his jacket back on, he headed for what was obviously her house, hoping her mother could figure out whether or not she would need to go to the hospital.
"My family has just recently installed security cameras around the shrine, Yash. We kept having vandals destroying shrine property at night. They're kept on twenty-four hours a day," she said.
At her words, Yash suddenly grinned, feeling much happier. "Good! Then I hope they lock the bastard up and throw away the key!" He came to a stop before the door and suddenly looked awkward, but Kagome just reached out and slid the door open, then told him to go inside.
"Mama," she called out, her voice weak but strong enough to reach her mother, and within moments, a woman that looked a great deal like Kagome came into the room through a doorway, coming to a startled halt at seeing a stranger holding her daughter in the manner he was.
Then she caught sight of the blood and immediately took charge.
While she cleaned the wound up and assessed it, Kagome told her what had happened, leaving out the whole portion with the Shikon and Midoriko, of course, and Yash, blushing, was treated to the thanks of a grateful mother.
It turned out that the wound would need stitches, and without further ado, she stuffed both he and Kagome into the car after making sure that Kagome's grandfather knew to watch out for her little brother's return from school – and to prepare the videotape of the camera focused on the Goshinboku for the police. Yash, knowing he needed to go with Kagome to the hospital, as the police would also wish to speak to him, simply called his mother to tell her what had happened and that he would be home late, then followed along silently as they arrived at the hospital and Kagome was whisked off to be stitched up.
Refusing to leave even after the police had come and gone, he waited in the waiting room until she was released to go home, then sat in the back of the car with Kagome, pulling her into his side as he let her curl up against him and fall asleep.
When they arrived back at the shrine, her mother was treated to the reason he'd refused to have his mother come get him – he was not about to allow Kagome to have to walk up all those stairs after having been hurt, and swinging her out of the car and into his arms so gently she didn't even wake, he carried her right into her house, and following behind her mother, into her room, setting her with care onto her bed.
Bowing, he said his goodnights to her mother, and with one last glance at Kagome, showed himself out and walked the two blocks to his home after retrieving his bookbag, suddenly very tired – this had been a long, long day.
Tomorrow, he would go to school so he could get all their assignments and then bring them to her. And while he would stay and work on them with her, the minute they were done, he was going to set all of that aside, and they were going to have a long talk.
He figured they had two lifetimes to speak of, and that was going to take a while...
Not that he minded at all.
He was actually surprised to find the entire school buzzing with talk of the attack the next morning – the police had arrived at the school and hauled Houjo away just minutes before Yash arrived, and the gossip about what had happened was rampant.
The other hanyou surrounded him as soon as he got there, Shiori being the one to tell him what was going around and how everyone knew the basics of what had happened.
Apparently, Houjo had been obsessed with Kagome for a long, long time, and had gotten progressively angrier at her as it seemed she preferred the company of those with demon blood. Her refusal of his offer of a date yesterday had just been the last straw, and he'd left school early headed for her place, planning on making her pay for her refusal by scaring the hell out of her.
He hadn't, however, expected the hanyou who'd been following her around all day to also show up, and that had tipped him over the edge from just frightening her and damaging shrine property into actually assaulting her.
Scared, angry, and almost out of his head, Houjo had shown up this morning babbling the story of what had happened to some of his friends, trying to get them to lie for him by giving him an alibi. Those friends had immediately spread the story, however, after denying him – they weren't about to get into trouble helping him cover up an assault, especially against Kagome, and the whole thing had spread like wildfire through the school.
"Feh," Yash snorted, dropping his bag on his desk as everyone in the room fell silent trying to hear anything he said. "Those guys better be glad they didn't decide to lie to the cops about that – that shrine recently put in security cameras and the whole thing was caught on tape."
Jinengi nodded, pleased to hear it – he'd always had a crush on Kagome, though he'd known he'd never be anything but friends with her, and so he asked in his slow, deep, careful voice, "Is Kagome going to be okay?"
"Yeah. She'll be home for the week, though. He did get her pretty good – she had to have eleven stitches, though it was actually a deeper wound rather than a super long one." He scowled, thinking of her pretty face pale with pain. "And here I was hoping the cops wouldn't get to him before I could – I had all sorts of plans to rip his face off," he said, cracking his knuckles as people glanced at his very powerful claws.
"I am just glad that you were there to protect her," Jinengi sighed, and Shiori and Ai both nodded solemnly.
"Keh." His scowl deepened as he caught people staring at him. "Yeah, well, something like this had better never happen again unless someone wants to come up against me – 'cause from here on out I'm always gonna be around to protect her." He knew quite well his declaration would get around just as fast as Houjo's tale had, and that before school released for the day everyone in it would know that to go after Kagome was to face him. It had already been noted yesterday that his youki was much, much stronger than anyone elses that attended that school, since a youkai's or hanyou's youki was always noted most carefully when attending a new school for the first time, so they all knew that taking him on would be a very bad idea.
Not that Kagome really had any enemies, so to speak, besides Houjo, it seemed, but if she had, his words would have instantly put her on the off-limits list as indeed, they had. No one would even think of bothering the girl again, no matter what – not even Kouga and his so-called bad boys.
The day passed way too slowly for the poor half-demon, though he found himself an instant celebrity within the school ranks for his protection of the universally popular girl, and before the day was through, Yash found himself at the beginnings of what would turn out to be several long-lasting friendships. He couldn't help but think that meeting his apparent soul mate had made his life much happier already – even after just one day.
When the last bell rang for the day, he shouldered his bag and headed off, carrying Kagome's homework and a lot of hastily written get well soon notes, as well, and using some of his speed, soon made his way up to her house, a smile fighting to get out and wipe his normally sulky expression away.
He'd really missed her presence at his side through the day. It was so strange to think about it and realize he'd only known her for about thirty-six hours. But it didn't seem to matter at all, and he wondered as he knocked on the door how he'd managed to get along in his life so far without her.
I guess when the kami decide to tie two people together, they don't take any shortcuts, he snorted to himself.
Her mother answered the door promptly, welcoming him in and smiling at him with pleased eyes that he'd thought of her daughter and brought her work home with him, and that he'd planned to spend his afternoon and evening, even, helping her get through the assignments. But she wasn't blind, either, and it had struck her as quite odd that a couple who'd only met just yesterday were acting as though they'd known each other for years – and as though they were completely in love. His protectiveness and care yesterday had been quite telling with what she knew of youkai, and her daughter's total trust and comfort in him after her injury equally as telling with what she knew of her daughter.
So she asked the boy outright, and wasn't surprised when he was, choking out a shocked "What?" when she questioned him so openly about such a thing. After a few moments to swallow his surprise, he sighed and said, "Actually, Kagome and I need to talk about that, too, which is a big part of why I'm here. Could you wait 'til we've talked about it, and we'll tell you after we've had the chance to discuss it, Higurashi-san?" he asked politely.
He was relieved when she'd only smiled wider at him and nodded before sending him up the stairs to Kagome's room, where the young woman in question had just woken up about an hour earlier – the pain medication the hospital had given her knocked her out when she first took it, and kept her asleep for several hours.
Blushing a bit shyly as Yash entered the room once bidden, Kagome smiled a little uncertainly at him – so much had happened yesterday, and Yash had never really said anything about Midoriko's assertion about their status as bound by fate, nor her final blessing basically tying them together for, well, forever.
That left a very large elephant in the room – at least from the poor girl's perspective, and when she hesitantly thanked him for collecting her assignments for her, he rolled his eyes at her uncertain demeanor even as he plopped onto her bed at her feet and stared almost belligerently at her.
"Cut it out, woman," he grouched, folding his arms and tapping his claws on his arms as he glared at her. "Stop acting like we're strangers with nothing between us and you're not sure whether I'm gonna bite you and give you rabies or something."
Not sure what to make of his words, she said, "But really, we are strangers, Yash. We only just met yesterday, after all."
His ears went straight up in surprise. "Keh! Didn't you pay any attention yesterday, Kagome? Come on, I know you saw the same thing I did... you know, that cord and all," he said slowly, finally looking away. "You gonna try to deny it now, or something?"
"No!" she denied hurriedly, also looking away, a deep blush washing over her cheeks. "But... well, I didn't know what you thought about any of that – after all, you didn't say anything about it at all when it happened, like you didn't even see it or hear what she said."
He blinked, surprised. "What was I supposed to say?" he asked blankly. "Was I supposed to argue with her or something? I'm not so contrary that I'm gonna start a fight over something that I can feel is right, sheesh, woman. 'Sides-" he glanced at her, blushing a little himself at the soft look he knew was in his eyes and at what he was about to say, "-I don't feel like I've only known you one day. I feel like I've known and... loved you-" he blushed even fiercer, as did she, "-forever. Ain't no point in hiding from something that was so meant to be that the kami and that ancient miko and her jewel and all got involved in it just to make sure that we found each other."
Kagome just sat and stared at him, his words resounding within her. Because truthfully, as strange and even scary as it was, she felt the same way. It was like Midoriko's story and blessing yesterday had unlocked her heart completely and poured all the love it was capable of on a beautiful boy she'd just met... and yet was already in love with. Of course, Midoriko had said that would happen – that all the love they had for each other was unlocked in full immediately – they wouldn't have to go through all the silly little steps of falling in love because they were destined by the kami and blessed by her.
That didn't mean the love they each felt for the other wouldn't deepen over time...
She cleared her throat. "Love," she said softly, letting the word linger in the air around them.
Yash just nodded and said, "Love," in return.
A little surprised when his hand fell atop hers, stopping her fingers from twisting in the sheets she was covered with nervously, she looked up at him and smiled, simply accepting his words and his touch. And then he said something that sent her off the deep end...
"Your mom wants to know what happened and why we are the way we are with each other already... do you think she'll believe our story?" he asked, brows furrowed worriedly.
She gulped. Oh boy...
"Mama!" she chirped, a nervous smile lighting her features as her mother stepped into the room with a tray with sodas and snacks for the two on it – and a cup of hot tea for herself, as well.
Eyeing her daughter and what she could already tell was her future son-in-law with firm eyes, she set the tray down and took a seat at her daughter's desk, then said, "Well, there's only one way to find out if I'll believe your story, and that's for you to tell it. We'll find out from there, won't we?"
She almost laughed at the strained expression on both their faces as they exchanged wary glances.
This was looking to be quite the interesting tale, and Higurashi Ren smiled to herself as she sat back with her cup of hot tea and waited for the explanations to begin.
The room was dead silent after everything was told, Kagome not wanting to disturb her mother's thoughts as she and Yash waited for her to speak. Tellingly, had they thought about it, they were clutching each others hands almost desperately, as if afraid they were going to be forcibly separated or something.
"So that's what really happened to the Shikon no Tama and the priestess who guarded it," Mrs. Higurashi finally sighed. "I always was fascinated by that story, and the mystery of what happened to the jewel after she died. For that matter, why she died. I don't remember hearing any part of the tale that spoke of her dying with a half-demon, but..." she trailed off, looking up to catch the two's surprised expressions. "You know that her monument still exists here on the shrine, right, Kagome?"
Kagome blinked, then nodded, a funny feeling going through her as she actually thought about what that meant. "Um, yeah," she said slowly, her eyes far away. "I wonder who built it for her?"
Her mother answered. "Her uncle did, at her younger sister's request. He agreed, and the villagers all pitched in since she was their village miko."
"How'd you know about that?" Kagome asked, curious.
"One of the old scrolls in the shrine spoke about some of the background to that legend."
"Oh." She looked at Yash, then, eyes somber. "I wonder what happened to Inuyasha's body?"
Yash shrugged a little uncomfortably, but again, Kagome's mother answered. "He was probably burned, just as she was. Back then, people weren't buried, their bodies were burned. It was supposed to keep any bad things from being able to steal their loved ones remains and use them for anything nefarious. Not that it always worked – I heard of one legend of a youkai sorceress that could even use the ash and grave soil of a victim to forge them new bodies. She was supposedly a potter with dark powers." She smiled at the nervous teens and stood up to gather the remains of their afternoon snacks on the tray. "But that's not stuff you two should be worrying about on a fine bright day like this. I'll let you alone so you can get busy on your school assignments."
Her smile was bright and happy, and Kagome was hopeful enough at her manner to ask, "Mama... umm... you know, you never said whether you believe what we told you or not."
Ren looked at her daughter, and then over at the young hanyou sitting near her, and she doubted he even realized that he was even now leaning closer to her protectively as though to keep her from being hurt, even by her own mother.
"Why wouldn't I believe you? You mentioned some things from the legend, parts of it that I never told you, and I know your grandfather never did, either. There's only one way you could have known those things. And for Yash here, to know any of the story at all tells me that what you say happened to you really happened." She shook her head, setting the tray against her hip as she moved to open her daughter's door. "I'm not about to set myself up against the kami, so all I ask is that you, Yash," she winked at the handsome hanyou with the adorable ears, "keep my daughter happy." She turned to leave the room, then stopped and looked back. "Oh, and if you get any more visits from famous old miko or kami or anything else and learn about any more old legends... please, let me know. I've always loved those old stories, and especially when they turn out to be true," she grinned, then let herself out of the room with a small laugh at the looks on the faces of her daughter and the boy her daughter was fated to love.
And unbeknownst to the two, later that night, she visited a certain very old monument, leaving a wreath of flowers... and a scroll with the end of the tale that had begun with Kikyou and Inuyasha, as well.
The next spring, as Yash and Kagome prepared to graduate from high school and celebrate their official engagement, the priestess Kikyou's monument was found to be covered in Chinese Bellflowers for the first time in all the years that written records existed for the shrine.
Before then, the monument had always been barren.
But the coming together of Yash and Kagome healed the broken past, and finally, Inuyasha and Kikyou could rest peacefully within their new incarnations, joined together as they'd always been meant to be...
Without all the hatred and fear and mistrust.
Now, life could truly move on.
A/N: This friggen one shot would NOT stop! It was only supposed to be maybe five thousand words... just a short little one shot. NOT just at fourteen thousand words. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever end.
And as for those who think mama wouldn't act that way, approving of her daughter and Yash getting together after only knowing each other one day, I think she would under the circumstances. Hell, in canon, she just allowed her daughter to wander off five hundred years into the past with a half demon, so why would something as easy as falling in love with one because you were meant to be any different? Anyway, this is just my take on what would have happened if there had been no Naraku in the picture. If you don't like it, fine, but I won't tolerate any flames, k? So don't waste your time or my own by sending me one.
Oh, and what Houjo carved into the tree? Nothing major, just some bad word - which faded away afterword since the god tree would never allow itself to be so tainted.
Hope everyone enjoys!