Disclaimer: I do not own IY or YYH...
A/N: First... I am so sorry for my absence lately... life is getting in the way I guess. And I know, I know; I totally should NOT be starting another fic... trust me I know. However, I'm currently experiencing massive writer's block (again) with Lies by Omission... And while listening to some music on the way home for work... this piece popped into my head and has more or less refused to go away. So, in the hopes of clearing up some creative space in my head for LBO... I'm going to work on this for a bit. Again, as with any new fic... I have no idea how long I'll go with this fic before my muse gets side-tracked again. (Stoopid A.D.D. Muse... .)
In any case, I hope you enjoy...
I want to be a good man, I want to see God
I want to be faithful but I know that I'm not
I want to be a good man, I want to do right
I don't wanna be a criminal for the rest of my life
(Good Man-Devour the Day)
She looked up at the figure that stood a few feet from her; he stood, half turned away, seeming to blend into the very shadows of the dark alley she had been dragged into.
It had been just her luck that she had become the focus of a couple low level demons who wanted to use her as a shield against the being that stood before her.
She didn't so much as twitch as the daiyoukai – there was no way he was anything less – casually flicked blood from his katana. Seemingly without any effort, the bodies of her attackers burst into flame; instantly reduced to nothing more than ash.
"Are you injured," he inquired, his voice cold and emotionless, though Kagome doubted strongly that he honestly cared one way or another.
"No." She replied, very carefully climbing to her feet. Oddly enough, as large and imposing as he had first appeared; in reality, he was only as tall as she was. Not that that made him any less dangerous.
Size meant little in the demon world; only strength and power were respected.
"Thank you," she said, giving him a deep bow.
The demon tilted his head slightly and gave her a slow, measured blink; almost as if he was puzzled….or perhaps he was just contemplating the best way to eliminate her.
Kagome barely resisted the urge to gulp; at that angle, his eyes glowed a hellish red.
"For saving me," she clarified nervously, forcing the words past the lump of fear lodged in her throat; "I know that it wasn't your objective or intention; but thank you never the less."
The demon watched her silently, his eyes narrowing slightly; suddenly Kagome felt something slither along her mental shields seeking a weak spot.
After all the times her mind had been over taken by demons or dark priestesses; she had trained long and hard to improve and strengthen her mental defenses. After years of work, the walls around her mind were tall and strong; though she held no illusions that should he want to, a demon of his caliber could shatter her shields easily.
Unnerved, she slowly backed away, her eyes never straying from him; not that watching him would help should he decide to dispose of any witnesses.
He had moved so fast before that even the demons who had grabbed her hadn't seen him coming; how could she, a mere human, hope to track his movements?
She was more than a little surprised when she got around the corner without incident; she half expected him to have attacked her or preformed some sort of memory wipe. Demons were not generally so…well-tempered.
Still, she didn't feel even remotely safe again until she felt the familiar brush of her own energy as she passed through the shrine's protective barrier.
Once safely tucked away behind her wards; she heaved a sigh of relief.
By all that was holy….that was close.
She had always wondered if demons lived in her era; now she had her answer. It was just sheer dumb luck that such knowledge literally tackled her and dragged her off into an alley.
One moment she had been walking blissfully home from the grocery store; the next, she had felt the sudden and familiar twang of demonic energy, and before she could even turn…she had been tackled.
Where the hell had they come from? Honestly it was like the blasted things just popped out of thin air.
She flopped down against the base of the Tree of Ages and let out a huff. InuYasha was right; she attracted trouble like a magnet.
To make matters worse; she had dropped her bags when she was grabbed, so now she didn't even have the groceries she went out for….and she would be damned if she left the safety of the shrine until day break.
Which was a silly thing to think; it wasn't like light would make much of a difference… demons weren't necessarily nocturnal. Pity they didn't burst into flames like movie vampires did….
Not that she had anything against demons; in fact she missed HER demons a great deal….but without the protection that InuYasha and them provided; Kagome had no delusions about what her chances were if she had to defend herself, especially against a daiyoukai.
If she hadn't been so startled by the random attack, she could have purified those low level demons without a problem.
Her rescuer though… he was another matter.
She had been fortunate that he hadn't been interested in her in the slightest; his target had been the low level demons.
She knew without a shadow of a doubt, that if that demon had felt incline to kill her; there would have been nothing she could have done to stop it.
At least, not without a LOT of preparation.
The sheer speed of her rescuer was amazing. Even Koga hadn't been able to move as fast. She wouldn't have been able to manage any sort of defense in the time it would take for him to skewer her.
It was probably just as well that she had been too startled to focus her powers; had she indeed purified those demons, the daiyoukai would undoubtedly have seen her performance….
From experience she knew demons did not take kindly to Mikos…. Even demon-tolerant ones such as herself.
Months passed before Kagome saw her accidental rescuer again; though honestly she would have preferred to NOT have seen him again.
She had gone to the park with her mother to watch one of Souta's soccer games. Now in high school, her little brother was quite the athlete and a talented soccer player.
It was there, sitting on the sun warmed grass with a soft spring breeze tugging gently at her hair; that a strange scent made her nose twitch.
It wasn't strong, in fact, at first Kagome dismissed it as being a whiff of someone's cologne.
Yet, there it was again.
Such an odd scent, and worse, it made her instincts tingle and alarm bells sound in her head.
She looked around; casually so she wouldn't draw attention to herself.
When she caught the scent again; she stood, gently telling her mother that she was going to stretch her legs a bit.
Kagome moved slowly through the throngs of people that had shown up to watch the game. Her eyes scanned all the strange faces looking for….what?
She didn't have a clue.
She wasn't even sure if it was a 'scent' she was detecting. With the warning bells going off in her head, Kagome suspected that the 'scent' wasn't so much of a physical sense as it was a psychic one.
Every now and then she would catch the subtle scent that had tickled her nose; the further away from the crowd she got, the stronger the 'scent' became.
She paused at the edge of the soccer field; to go any further would be asking for trouble. From there, the park broke off into various forest pathways for hikers or bicyclers... She would be leaving the safety of the masses and essentially walking into the proverbial lion's den.
Common sense warned her to go back, to return to the protection of the group; yet, her natural curiosity begged her to find out the source of the strange scent.
It was so familiar… yet… as she stepped away from the field and started down one of the trails; nervousness assaulted her.
Even as that strange scent tantalized her; it frightened her on some primal level.
She moved down the secluded forest path, her sneakers occasionally making a soft scuffing noise on the paved ground.
Around her the forest seemed to grow darker, more menacing.
She paused as a sudden rush of adrenaline urged her to rush back to the safety of the soccer game.
It took a considerable amount of will power to deny her instincts, they were so intense. Whatever it was she was detecting; it was close….
Instead of running away like her instincts wanted, she slowly made her way over to a rock just off the path; a stream gently flowed next to it.
If not for the strange, menacing aura that she was sensing; the scene before her would have been beautiful and picturesque.
Still, despite the danger, she forced herself to casually sit down on the boulder; trying to appear as casual as possible.
Even if she was in danger, running was foolish. She knew this without a doubt; predators loved to chase down prey…. If she ran, she would be instantly labeled as 'prey'.
She gazed at the moving water in front of her; trying to get her heart rate to settle and letting her thoughts drift.
As they always did when she was alone, her thoughts drifted to her friends in the past… were they ok? What had happened to them? Did Sango and Miroku finally tie the knot? Was her sweet little Shippo still annoying the hell out of InuYasha? And what of her beloved hanyo? Did he miss her at all? Had he moved on?
Her heart clenched at the thought. She loved the stupid mutt more then she should; he was her best friend, despite a somewhat rocky start…she knew he loved her as well. The problem was… she wasn't sure if he was IN love with her….or just loved her like a dear friend.
With everything he had gone through with Kikyo, it was a small wonder that he was cautious with his affections. Now, with Kikyo's spirit finally at rest, his heart could finally begin to heal.
Perhaps if Kagome had been able to stay with him, like she had intended; their mutual affection for each other would have blossomed into love…. But, with five hundred years separating her from InuYasha, she feared that the budding love they had been developing would never be given that chance.
Suddenly weary; she leaned back against the warm stone, her hands behind her head and closed her eyes. She didn't know why she let her mind wonder down that path; it always left her utterly depressed.
She focused on the soft sound of water over rock and the whispering of the breeze through leaves and let the sounds of nature sooth her spirit.
Still lying back; she opened her eyes to gaze up at the sky barely visible through the bright new forest greenery.
That's when she saw it… a dark figure, resting quietly in the top most tree branches; he would have been completely hidden from any other angle.
Her heart slammed in her chest as she suddenly realized why that 'scent' had been so familiar.
In the alley, barely noticeable under the over powering scent of blood, bile and burnt flesh… the subtle scent of wood smoke and cinnamon with undertones of cold… like the scent of snow or ice.
Swallowing hard, Kagome slowly got up; once again not taking her eyes off the predator that was now lounging in the trees.
For all appearances he seemed to be asleep… but it wouldn't be the first time a demon had pretended to be sleeping in order to deceive.
Yet, as she made her way cautiously back to the soccer field; no one jumped her from behind. She didn't sense anyone following her either.
"Are you ok, Kagome, dear?" Her mother asked when she sat back down, "You look awfully pale."
No mama, Kagome thought, I'm not ok. Apparently demons do indeed live in this era and it's my nasty luck to have run into a powerful demon twice… and honestly, mama, though he hasn't done anything to me, and in fact he saved me from a bunch of low level demons…..he still scares the shit out of me. And from the looks of it, he's taken up residence in the park…isn't that peachy?
"No, I'm fine mama," Kagome said, instead, "I guess I just need to get more sun then."
She saw him numerous times after that; somehow easily able to spot his figure despite his smaller stature. Perhaps it was the strange way he dressed, or maybe the distinctive spikey flame-like hair, or even the dangerous 'tempt me and I will kill you without a second thought' aura he possessed.
Whatever it was… her rescuer was easy to pick out of a crowd.
Didn't help that his friends – if a daiyoukai like him HAD friends – were just as distinctive and easy to spot; which meant that they were just as dangerous.
As a general rule; powerful demons did not make a habit of 'hanging out' with those weaker then themselves…unless, like Sesshomaru – their servant or wards accompanied them. However, none of the individuals Kagome saw with her demon appeared to be servants.
They were all too proud and alert. They all moved with an inhuman grace that belied their mortal appearance.
No, none of them were servants; which meant they were at all daiyoukai of some form.
She had seen them in various places in the city; though generally they were out doors either near one of the parks or occasionally walking down the street.
Today, however, they were in a crowded mall…in the middle of Tokyo.
Figured it would be her dumb luck that a group of freaking daiyoukai – creatures that as a general rule are normally solitary beings- decided to shrug off the stereotype and go shopping on a busy Saturday afternoon!
The air fairly crackled around them as she watched with no small amount of awe as the masses of mall-goers parted instinctively for the group as they walked.
"What are you looking at?" Ayumi asked, coming to stand to her. Kagome jumped slightly and smiled sheepishly.
"N-nothing…" She stammered, instantly getting Yuka and Eri's attention.
With suspicious expressions; both young women came to the railing to see what had caught their friend's attention. Instantly, Yuka grinned.
"Ooooh, I see what caught your attention," she purred, looking directly at the small group that comprised her demon.
Wait…since when was he 'her' anything? She didn't even know his name… didn't WANT to know his name…. association with daiyoukai never, ever, ended well for the humans involved…look how much trouble little Rin was put in simply by being associated with Sesshomaru. The poor girl died…TWICE...and had been kidnapped so many times Kagome had lost count.
Nope, nope, association with Daiyoukai never ended well for humans; well…. Demon association rarely ended well for humans in general.
"You were looking at Shuichi Minamino," Yuka continued, breaking her out of her rambling thoughts, "Can't fault your taste. He is a grade A, fine specimen of a man."
If he's in THAT group, then he's not a 'man', Kagome thought sarcastically, He just looks like one.
Instead she asked, "Shuichi?"
Yuka pointed to the group, now lounging in the food court a level below them;
"The utterly delicious red-head with the dreamy emerald green eyes…."
Kagome blinked, "How in the world do you know his eye color?" she asked, "You can't see that from here!"
Yuka rolled her eyes, "Just because YOU have had your head in the sand for the last few years where men are concerned; doesn't mean the rest of us have. Everyone knows about Shuichi… there are clubs dedicated to the man's perfection."
Kagome snorted, "Careful Yuka," she said with a smirk, "You're beginning to sound like a fan-girl."
"For a chance to ogle that man," Yuka said, "I will sacrifice my dignity and be labeled…a 'fan-girl'."
Kagome shook her head and laughed at her friend, even as an uneasy feeling began to creep into her stomach.
"Aaaamen," Eri added, "I'd even put up with dealing with Urameshi and Kuwabara for such a chance."
Once again Kagome felt the gape that her travels had caused between her and her social life;
"Who are they?" she asked. Both Eri and Yuka rolled their eyes.
"Kagome you are soooo out of the loop, it's pitiful," they teased.
"Kuwabara is the taller carrot top with Shuichi," Eri supplied, "Urameshi is the one next to him with the slicked back hair and jean jacket. They are both trouble with a capital 'T'."
Kagome let her gaze sweep across the group of six, placing names to the faces she kept seeing; though, as often as she spotted her demon and his associates, she had never seen the taller man or the two women before.
"And the others?" she asked out of idle curiosity.
"The short guy in black, I don't know," Eri replied, "But I've seen him around, normally not too far away from either Shuichi or Urameshi; he's cute in a dark and brooding kinda way, but a total jerk. The dark haired girl with 'em is Keiko Yukimura; she use to date Urameshi for a while, or still does…it's hard to tell with them. Don't know what she saw in him since from what I understand Keiko is their school's class president, or rather was. They're 'bout our age, so I'm pretty sure they all graduated already. Guess it just goes to show that just 'cause a girl is smart doesn't mean she has good taste in men. The girl with the teal hair… I don't know her. Love that hair color though…. Wonder where she got it done…"
Kagome repressed a smirk, that woman was definatley a demon; her coloring alone pegged her as 'nonhuman' same for the red-head they called 'Shuichi'.
Her smile faded though as her friends words sank in; Eri and them knew these demons. Maybe not personally, but they had been around long enough that they were recognizable. Long enough to have…fan-clubs! They had apparently gone to SCHOOL here….though, youkai going to a human school was admittedly a new one on her.
That was beside the point though; point was….this was their HOME.
"Crap…." Kagome muttered as reality set in.
She had been hoping that it was just coincidence that she kept seeing her demon rescuer around town… she had been hoping that he was just on some sort of business and would eventually leave.
Apparently, that wasn't the case. Even if he did leave on occasion; he was still around often enough that humans recognized him and accepted his presence.
The other two had apparently been around for at least two decades….
She sighed irritably; this complicated the hell out of things.
She glanced back down at the group below them and started. Intense dark eyes locked with her own.
Her demon had spotted her….
Hell and damnation….
A/N: Alright, what do you think? Like I said, I have no idea where I'm heading with this... so I hope you enjoy while my inspiration lasts! LOL. Don't blame me for my writer's A.D.D... blame the musicians that write songs that inspire my muse and distract her from her work! LOL
As always...please REVIEW!